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Volume 10 : Number 089

Wednesday, January 15 2003

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Tue, 14 Jan 2003 11:13:57 -0500
From: "David Glasner" <DGLASNER@ftc.gov>
R. Akiva Glasner on Shabbat Shirah (and Tu bi-Shevat

Soon to be posted on the Dor Revi'I website <www.dorrevii.org>

 From Iqvei ha-Tzon (ma'amar shabbat shirah) 
 by Akiva Glasner z"l (mi-liphnim ab"d dk"k d'kloizenburg)

Shabbat Shirah

The song of thanksgiving (shirah) that the Children of Israel sang after
the Red Sea was miraculously split holds an important place in our holy
Torah. The printed page is too short to contain all the Midrashic sayings
that praise the loftiness and greatness of this song. The special place
occupied by this song is due not only to its uniquely eloquent style,
recognized by all students of literature, but to its nobility of spirit,
to its incomparable awakening of sublime and lofty feelings, and to its
elevation, and joining together as one, of the soul and the person.
Not for nothing did Hazal, deducing from the word "saying" (leimor)
that it would be said for all time, include it in the Pesuqei d'zimrah,
consisting entirely of songs of praise and thanksgiving to the Almighty,
prior to the morning prayers.

The angels also wished to sing a song of praise to G-d at that moment
when Israel emerged from the sea. However, the Holy One Blessed Be He
prevented them from doing so, by saying: "Let Israel go first." From
this R. Aqiva deduced the following:

    At the moment when Israel sang the song of thanksgiving, the Holy
    One Blessed Be He donned a cloak of glory on which were engraved
    every word "then" (az) in the Torah.

And the Midrash on the verse (Psalms 8:3): "Out of the mouths of babes
and suckling ones you have founded a bulwark" teaches us:

    Even fetuses in their mothers' wombs recited the song of thanksgiving
    on the sea as it is written (Psalms 68:27): "Bless G-d in the
    assemblies, the L-rd, O you that are in the source of Israel."

So it is necessary for us to reflect on this song and on wherein lies its
value, its importance, and its glory, and on why, more than any other song
in the Scriptures, it is praised and extolled. Now hear, my dear reader,
what my Fortress has inspired concerning this lofty and sublime matter.

We find the following in the Midrash and the Gemara:

    "Then will [he] sing" (az yashir). It is not written "then [he] sang"
    (az shar). Rather, "then will [he] sing." Here we find an allusion
    to the resurrection of the dead in the Torah.

This association between the tense of the verb "yashir" and the
resurrection of the dead is an amazing idea that demands explanation.

Now in the initial mission of the Moses to Israel, the Almighty says:
"I Am Who I Am" (ehyeh asher eyheh) which was an answer to Israel's
question (anticipated by Moses): "what is His name?" Quoting the Sages
in Berakhot 9b, Rashi comments,

    "I will be with them in this difficulty and I will be with them again
    when they will be subjugated to the nations." (See the Gemara there
    and the explanation in the Hidushei Aggadot of the Mahrsha.)

The upshot of this remarkable statement is that when He first sent Moses
to Egypt the Holy One Blessed Be He promised that He would redeem Israel
from any danger that would come upon them in their future journey through
history. So they were supposed to understood that in the future they
would be beset by enemies from all sides, and that the name of the Eternal
signifies that He was, He is, and He will be - past, present and future.
This was the awesome and holy name that Moses revealed to Israel, which
teaches that there is a constant, miraculous, Divine Providence upon
Israel and upon the destiny of the national life of this holy, distinct,
and unique people.

However, Moses did not reveal to Israel that the future would bring
trouble after trouble, subjugation after subjugation, for he did not
want to reveal to them that a long chain of subjugation and persecution
awaited them on their path. Moses understood that Israel in Egypt no
longer stood on a moral plane high enough to trust that their Redeemer
would come to their aid in all the terrible eras that they would undergo
in the future. He therefore said to the Holy One Blessed Be He: "It is
sufficient to mention a misfortune in its time. Israel is no longer fit
to be told about its future and what will happen in future times."

Moses therefore told them only about the salvation from the trouble
that they were then experiencing. However, after leaving Egypt, after
seeing all the miracles and wonders that were performed in Egypt and
then on the Red Sea, the Children of Israel were elevated from a deep
valley to an exalted peak. They saw with their own eyes the special and
sublime Providence of the Eternal. As the Sages of Blessed Memory said:
"A maidservant saw on the Red Sea what Ezekiel the son of Buzi never saw."
They were raised from their lowly station in Egypt to the highest level
of boundless faith, and they believed in the Eternal and in Moses,
His servant.

It was only then that Israel was aroused to sing a song of thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving, not only for all that had happened in Egypt and that was
happening then at the sea, but, from their inner belief and recognition,
they trusted that the salvation of G-d would come and protect this
suffering and oppressed people in all future eras. Therefore: "then
Moses and the Children of Israel will sing" (az yashir Moshe u-v'nei
yisrael). That is, their song was in the future tense, because they sang
in thanksgiving and praise to G-d for all the salvations in the future.
At that moment, they trusted in the promise of the Holy One Blessed Be
He to Israel in Egypt - "I Am Who I am" - to deliver them not just in
this trouble, but in all the future troubles of their subjugation to the
nations. This song of thanksgiving about the future shows the exalted
moral level up to which the Children of Israel had raised themselves
at the sea by giving expression to their faith and trust in the Eternal
in this extraordinary song of thanksgiving - the song of Moses and the
Children of Israel.

It was thus appropriate for Hazal to have praised and extolled this song
for symbolizing the faith of Israel and their reliance on the Eternal
and His promise "I Am Who I Am." And the inference of Hazal that the
future tense alludes to the resurrection of the dead is correct as well.
For this inference accords with what the Sages said in Nedarim 64 that
there are four who are called "dead," among whom is the poor person who
is oppressed and persecuted and afflicted by excruciating difficulties.
They inferred this from the verse (Lamentations 3:6): "He has made me sit
in dark places, as the dead of long ago." For in exile we are like blind
people who are feeling in the gloom and the darkness of the difficulty
of the exile.

The redemption from the difficult and awful conditions of the "dry
bones of all the house of Israel" as Ezekiel in his prophecy describes
the end of days - that redemption is indeed a resurrection of the dead.
Our emancipation from the subjugation to the nations that have tortured
Israel throughout all the eras will be a resurrection of Israel which
resembles a person who, because of his agony, his subjugation, and his
poverty, is considered to be "dead." This is the resurrection alluded
to in the song of Moses. Then will Moses and the Children of Israel sing
(az yashir moshe u-venai yisrael). A song for the future.

All this explains as well why Israel did not sing a song of thanksgiving
and praise on the night that they left Egypt, when the King of the
king of kings revealed Himself in His person and His glory, but waited
until after the miracle at the Red Sea to do so. For it was only when
the miracle of the Red Sea occurred that Moses's mission was confirmed
and the name of the Holy One Blessed Be He - "I Am Who I Am," in this
difficulty and in the subjugation to the nations - was revealed to Israel.
Immediately after the exodus from Egypt and their deliverance from
bondage and servitude to Pharaoh, a new misfortune came upon them when
the Egyptians pursued and caught up to them while they were standing
before the sea that blocked their path with the Egyptians at their back.
Moses then said to them (Exodus 14:13-14): "Stand firm and see the
deliverance of the Eternal. . . .The Eternal will fight for you and
you have only to keep still." Then came the salvation and Pharaoh's
host drowned in the sea as the Children of Israel went in the dry land
in the midst of the sea, which confirmed the promise of the Eternal:
"I Am Who I Am"- in the present difficulty and in future difficulties.

Israel therefore sang this song not just for that deliverance, but for
the entire future that was destined to befall them. That is why they said
"then will Moses and the Children of Israel sing." "Will sing" in the
future tense. For it was a song of thanksgiving for the past and for the
future. Similarly in Egypt, the sacrifice of the Pascal lamb that they
brought symbolized the pending redemption, when the Eternal was about to
pass over the houses of the Children of Israel. In trust and belief that
their redemption was at hand, they celebrated even before the redemption
came. Thus, even the Passover celebrated in Egypt was a Passover for
the future, for the Passover in Egypt was celebrated in recognition of
the future in the belief that on the night of the fifteenth of Nissan
the Eternal was going to pass over the houses of the Children of Israel.

How appropriate, then, is what is said in the Midrash Yalqut:

    From the day that the Holy One Blessed Be He created the world until
    Israel stood at the sea, we find

    no one that sang a song of thanksgiving to the Holy One Blessed Be
    He except Israel. He created Adam, but Adam did not sing a song of
    thanksgiving. He saved Abraham from the fiery furnace, but Abraham
    did not sing a song of thanksgiving. He saved Isaac from the knife,
    but Isaac did not sing a song of thanksgiving. He saved Jacob from
    Esau and Shekhem, but Jacob did not sing a song of thanksgiving.
    But when Israel came and the sea was split for them, they immediately
    sang a song of thanksgiving, for it is written, "then will Moses and
    the Children of Israel sing." And the Holy One Blessed Be He said:
    "It was for this that I was waiting."

The meaning of the Midrash is obviously that even though Adam and the
Patriarchs also sang songs of thanksgiving, thanking and praising the
Eternal for the miracles that He performed for them, they sang songs
of thanksgiving only after a miracle was performed for them, when the
salvation of the Eternal had already come to pass. But the superiority
of the song of Israel at the sea consists in the singular characteristic
that they sang the song in the future tense for the salvation that is
destined to come upon them in the future for every trouble and misfortune
that may beset them. They understood and they knew that the future would
bring upon them the subjugation to the nations and the yoke of exile.
But they believed that the Guardian of Israel would not sleep and would
not slumber. They believed in the promise of the Eternal contained in
the name "I Am Who I Am" - in every period of difficulty and subjugation
to the nations. It was for a song of thanksgiving like this, a song of
thanksgiving for the future, that the Holy One Blessed Be He was waiting.
In this rests the value and excellence, the extraordinary importance,
of the song at the sea. A song for the future.

This astonishing idea finds expression, too, in the custom of Holy Israel
to celebrate the fifteenth day of Shevat, when the budding of the trees
begins, as the New Year's day of the trees. For in most years this day
falls in the week in which the portion containing the song at the sea
is read. Not only after the harvest, after gathering the blessing of
the land, the increase of the threshing floor and the increase of the
winepress, do we, in the festival of the first-fruits (Shavuot) and the
harvest festival (Sukkot), celebrate and give thanks and praise to the
Holy One Blessed Be He for all the good that he has bestowed upon us.
Rather, as soon as the trees begin to bud, do we, in anticipation of
what is destined to come in the future, in the trust that the land will
give its fruit and the trees will carry and be loaded with the fruit for
which the land of Israel is renowned, celebrate and give expression to
our trust in the blessing of the land and its fruit.

Hazal found an allusion to the idea that a judgment is rendered even on
the trees because in the Psalms (96:12) we find that the trees of the
field say: "Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy before
the Eternal, for He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth."
This corresponds to the song at the sea which was a song of thanksgiving
for the future that in every generation when they arise against us
to destroy us, the Holy One Blessed Be He saves us from them. This
is the "great hand" (yad ha-gedolah) that the Eternal used in Egypt,
which encompasses all future times. It assures us that even when we
shall be in the land of our enemies, He will not despise us and will
not abominate us to destroy us utterly, for He is the Eternal our G-d.
"I Am Who I Am." That is His name and His memorial for all generations.

David Glasner

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Date: Tue, 14 Jan 2003 11:30:16 -0500
From: Arie Folger <afolger@aishdas.org>
Re: Melo Kol Ha'aretz Kevodo - 1st addition

[Reply to another one of my off-line requests for clarification. -mi]

RMB wrote:
> You lost me, I think because you use the words differently than I do.
> AIUI, pantheism is the notion that the universe is god.
> Panentheism is that the universe is part of G-d.
> Both imply that "Hashem is everywhere". The difference is whether
> that's /all/ He is.

In hakhi nami. The Gra accused the Besht of limiting God, i.e. engaging
in panentheism.

I am using the words the way my teacher of Qabboloh used them, when we
studied the Gra and R'HV (=RChV). My teacher is Dr. Alan Brill (who,
IIRC, is also rabbi by training).

Forgetting the terms, the issue can be simplified to God is everywhere
and the Godliness can be found everywhere (Besht), vs. God is nowhere
because the finite cannot contain Him, even just a bit (Gra).

I am learning, from our ongoing thread, that there is another disagreement
between Gra and Besht, where R'HV sides with the Besht. This is however
a different ma'hloyqes than the one I was referring to.

[Email #2. -mi]

Reb Micha Berger wrote:
>: In hakhi nami. The Gra accused the Besht of limiting God, i.e. engaging
>: in panentheism.

> Panentheism isn't limiting. Pantheism is. See below.

Depends on your interpretation. The Gra held that the Besht was limiting
God while the Besht obviously didn't think so.

>: Forgetting the terms, the issue can be simplified to God is everywhere
>: and the Godliness can be found everywhere (Besht), vs. God is nowhere
>: because the finite cannot contain Him, even just a bit (Gra).

> Immanence vs transcendence. I would think it's simply a dialectic,
> and each is true in its own way.

That is the way both Gra and Besht would understand the Zohar's two
statements of memale kol 'almin and sovev kol 'almin. But that is not
what they think about each other's way of explaining the Zohar.

>: I am learning, from our ongoing thread, that there is another
>: disagreement between Gra and Besht, where R'HV sides with the Besht. This
>: is however a different ma'hloyqes than the one I was referring to.

> Could you make this clarification on list, in case I was not alone in
> misunderstanding.

Absolutely. However, I deleted your replies, so you should post them,
as well. Also, since you approve all Avodah posts, I didn't bother
ccing you;-).


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Date: Tue, 14 Jan 2003 11:47:58 -0500
From: kennethgmiller@juno.com
Re: Hebrew grammatical question

Regarding the melachos as listed in the Mishneh, I wrote <<< but once you
add the "heh" to the beginning, doesn't that force it to be a noun? >>>

R' Ira Jacobson pointed out: <<< I don't think so. How about hamal'akh
hogo'el oti? >>>

Good call. Excellent example. But still, "ha'goel" would be a phrase
which includes a verb but acts as a noun (Is there a more formal term for
what I'm describing?), namely, "the one who redeems", or "the mal'akh who
redeems". So too, in the Mishneh, "ha'ofeh" would not be the simple verb
"baking", but a noun-phrase, "the one who bakes".

R' Gil Student's comment was <<< I believe that this goes back to an
issue we once discussed: Whether Biblical Hebrew has a present tense or
just uses nouns in a way that we interpret as being a verb. >>> And my
point is that whichever way you want to take that, the heh hayediah was
deliberately used, and I can't imagine any reason other than to take
one's attention from that action, and focus it on the person doing the
act. Thus, "the one who bakes", and NOT simply "baking".

Akiva Miller

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Date: Tue, 14 Jan 2003 22:25:25 +0200
From: "Ira L. Jacobson" <laser@ieee.org>
Re: Hebrew grammatical question

At 11:43 14/01/03 -0500, Seth Mandel stated the following:
>The "present" forms are actually participles.  Just as in Indo-European 
>languages, such forms have aspects of both verb and adjective/noun, and it 
>is impossible to extricate which meaning is "dominant."  However, with he 
>hay'di'ah, it has to function as a noun.

Two well-know counter-examples (verbs):

"Mi ha'ish hehafetz hayyim?"  Hamal'akh hago'el oti."

[Email #2. -mi]
My reply to:
>:> "Ani ofeh" can mean either "I am a baker" or "I bake", but once you add
>:> the "heh" to the beginning, doesn't that force it to be a noun?

My reply was then:
>: How about hamal'akh hogo'el oti?

R'MB's reply to my remark was then:
>"The angel who is the one who redeemed me". The noun clause of the
>sentence, telling you who Ya'akov wishes would bless the children.

I don't think so. "The angel is the one who redeemed me" would have to
be "hamal'akh hu shega'al oti." The extra "who" is not clear. And the
change of tense seems uncalled for.


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Date: Tue, 14 Jan 2003 14:33:42 -0500
From: "Gil Student" <gil@aishdas.org>
Re: Eldad HaDani

Arie Folger wrote:
>IOW, the posqim did not accept them by dint of
>his great story and the text of his writings where
>every halakhah comes "mipi hazkeinim, mipi
>Yehoshu'ah, mipi Mosheh Rabbenu, mipi haGvurah".

>OTOH, the posqim did quote him without getting into
>lengthy arguments about whether or not he is an impostor.

Two places where Eldad's halachos are rejected outright as irrelevant
are Shu"t Maharam 193 and Ibn Ezra on Shemos 2:22.

But I'm really looking for someone who talks about the historical veracity
of his story.

Gil Student

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Date: Tue, 14 Jan 2003 19:47:37 -0500
From: Arie Folger <afolger@aishdas.org>
Re: Eldad HaDani

On Tuesday 14 January 2003 14:33, Gil Student wrote:
> Two places where Eldad's halachos are rejected outright as irrelevant are
> Shu"t Maharam 193 and Ibn Ezra on Shemos 2:22.

> But I'm really looking for someone who talks about the historical veracity
> of his story.

And I stated that in the wrinting of posqim you shall find very little,
as they are more concerned with assertions and ideas, rather than with
reputations of protagonists.


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Date: Wed, 15 Jan 2003 01:18:48 EST
From: T613K@aol.com
Re: nouns and present-tense verbs

> I believe that this goes back to an issue we once discussed: Whether
> Biblical Hebrew has a present tense or just uses nouns in a way that we
> interpret as being a verb.  See the Avodah thread titled "Boneh/Boney
> Yerushalaim".

> The "present" forms are actually participles. Just as in Indo-European
> languages, such forms have aspects of both verb and adjective/noun,
> and it is impossible to extricate which meaning is "dominant." However,
> with he hay'di'ah, it has to function as a noun.

Doesn't really answer the question, because it is not always obvious
whether a given he is a he hayediyah or not. (Obvious ex of a he
that is not he hayediyah: "Hamechaseh Ani meAvraham..." where it is
he hashe'eilah.)

I realize that when I discuss grammar in these august precincts, and
especially when I accuse RSM of not answering a question, I am a mouse
playing at the feet of lions. (I hope lions will be more forbearing
than a house cat would be.)

Toby Katz

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Date: Wed, 15 Jan 2003 11:28:15 -0500
From: Mlevinmd@aol.com
Re: Hebrew grammatical question

Akiva Miller asked:
>"Ani ofeh" can mean either "I am a baker" or "I bake", but once you add
>the "heh" to the beginning, doesn't that force it to be a noun?

In Aharon Yakov Shapira Sefer Hadikduk (reprinted 1966) Vol. 1 he says
that when used with shem haguf it is verb (Ani shomer) but without it
is shem hoetsem.

Philosophically, this means that unlike the European languages which
set a distance between what we are and what we do by using is, am,
are, Lashon Hakodesh emphasizes that we are what we do. At the time we
are watching we are or are very close to being watchmen. As it says in
Tanya, for the moment that we sin we are sinners and it is not correct
to beleive that we can sin and remain the same person that we were before.

M. Levin  

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Date: Tue, 14 Jan 2003 15:03:43 -0500
From: kennethgmiller@juno.com
Re: sanhedrin

I wrote <<< To my history-challenged mind, the idea of Tzidukim taking
over the Sanhedrin is about as reasonable as Hebrew Union College taking
over the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah, or the Rabanut HaRashit. I have to
wonder how did such a thing could occur? >>>

R' Eli Turkel responded <<< The problem is you are associating the
Sanhedrin with a religious court. Instead of Sanhedrin use the phrase
Supreme Court of Israel. It would be the same as if at one point the
Supreme Court was all religious and later was taken over by chilonim. As
to why this happened that was discussed by Gil. >>>

Yes, I understand that the Sanhedrin also functioned as a civil and
political court. Are you suggesting that when it included Tzidukim,
it was ONLY non-religious, and refrained from all religious cases and
religious legislation?

R' Gil Student had written: <<< Chanoch Albeck suggests that ... When Beis
Shammai and Beis Hillel agreed they were in the majority and decisively
controlled the Sanhedrin. But when they disagreed there were then three
parties - Tzadukkim, Beis Shammai, and Beis Hillel - and none of them
could gain a majority. So any issues on which B"Sh and B"H disagreed
could not be decided by the Sanhedrin. >>>

It seems to me that if they were involved in purely non-religious issues,
we today would not care about any of their judgments. Clearly, we must
be speaking about their religious legislation and/or their decisions
on religious questions. I find the analogy to be unavoidable: The way
Beis Hillel and Beis Shammai treated the Tzidukim and the Sanhedrin must
have a lesson for how our rabbis should treat Reform and the religious
organizations of today.

Shouldn't Beis Hillel and Beis Shammai have either refused to sit in
a Sanhedrin that included Tzadukim? Or at least, shouldn't they have
taught their students that "None of the three had a majority, but the
Tzadukim don't count and therefore Beis Ploni had a clear majority and
so the Halacha is like them", no?

Why did they allow the Tzidukim to have a voice in religious questions?
If they were somehow forced to do so, couldn't the following generations
have repaired the damage?

To me, it seems much simpler to say that the initial premise is mistaken,
and that no kofer was ever allowed to sit on the Sanhedrin.

Akiva Miller

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Date: Wed, 15 Jan 2003 11:54:21 -0500
From: "Gil Student" <gil@aishdas.org>
Re: Saducees in the Sanhedrin

R' Reuven Margoliyos, in his Yesod ha-Mishnah va-Arichasah pp. 9-12 (and
particularly in notes 20 and 26), suggests that the official Sanhedrin had
been dissolved by the kings and that a pseudo-Sanhedrin, one that dealt
with civil issues, was appointed by the king. However, this would not,
in theory, prevent the chachamim for gathering on specific occasions to be
"omed le-minyan" and make official decisions to resolve disagreements.
And this was done until the time of Beis Hillel and Beis Shammai.
B"H was known for teaching to everybody while B"Sh was more exclusive.
Because of this, B"Sh did not consider everyone in B"H to be worthy of
being counted and would, therefore, refuse to sit together with B"H.
Only on rare occasions, such as in the loft of Chananiah ben Chizkiyah,
would B"Sh sit with the best of B"H (the not-as-best were physicall
turned away).

Gil Student

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Date: Tue, 14 Jan 2003 16:18:22 -0500
From: Mlevinmd@aol.com

I have a question that I hope someone can help me with.

We learn in Kiddushin 70b that HKBH does not rest the Shchina except on
mishpochos hamyuchosos b'Isroel. This is explained by Rashi Sanhedrin
39b to mean nevua. There it says that Ovadia was zokeh to nevuahm as
Rashi explains, despite being a Ger because he hid prophets in a cave.

How does on explain Ch. 28 in Yirmiahu. Chanania ben Ozur was a false
prophet from Givon who according to the the Sifre was originally a true
prophet. We do not find that he had any special zchus; so how could he
have been a navi, being a ger? Why didn't Yirmiahu point this out in
his response?

M. Levin 

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Date: Tue, 14 Jan 2003 17:44:53 -0500
From: "Allen Gerstl" <acgerstl@hotmail.com>
Working for a living, was Chatam Sofer, Avodah V.10 # 84, 87

[Quotes trimmed by yours truly. -mi]

On Sun, 05 Jan 2003 16:26:58 -0500 R. Isaac A Zlochower
<zlochoia@bellatlantic.net> wrote:
>The Chatam Sofer in his commentary on T.B. Succot 36a (the Gemara on
>etrog hakushi), and, I believe, in a teshuva maintained that the heter
>for not teaching your son a trade and teaching him only torah applies
>specifically to the golah. ...

On Fri, 10 Jan 2003 13:35:41 +0200 R. Motya Gofman <mgofman@zahav.net.il>
>1. If you read the Chatam Sofer carefully, he does not poskin like
>R' Yishmael in eretz yisroel. Rather, he says that R' Yishmael only
>ARGUED with R. Shimon ben Yochai [concerning]in e.y....
>2. In terms of R. Yishmael's opinion, see Nefesh Hachayim 1:8. R. Chaim
>derives from R. Yishmael's lashon "hanheg imahem minhag derech eretz"
>that R. Yishmael never suggested leaving learning. Rather, while totally 
>occupying one's mind in learning, a person is allowed to simultaneously 
>pursue a parnasa.

>3. In Kiddushin, both the Rif and Rosh only bring R. Nahorai's opinion
>and do not mention R. Meir

My comments:

These issues are discussed in a recent book:

By the Sweat of Your Brow -
Reflections on Work and Workplace in Classic Jewish Thought
By David J. Schnall (Yeshiva University Press, New York: 2001)
Chapter 4 (p. 68-102) "Torah Is Their Trade."

This chapter contains a review of the issue of whether a talmid chacham
should have an umanut and whether he may receive public funds. The
following is a quote that summarizes the conclusions of the author as
to this topic (found at p. 95):

"...The mainstream of rabbinic thinking sharply differentiates the broad
majority of the population and the small, select handful of scholars. The
former expresses its religious devotion and fulfills its spiritual
obligations in large measure by working diligently and honestly, setting
aside time for study and reflections as possible. The commitment of the
people in this segment of the populace to honest and gainful employment
is in no wise demeaning, nor does it undermine their status...

By the same token, the study hall as an exclusive [i.e. without other
work] domain is reserved for the very few. Even those who have made
a spirited defense of this lifestyle over the years would hardly argue
that it was intended as normative and modal for the broad population. It
is scarcely likely that they envisioned tens of thousands of students
entering this pursuit virtually as an entitlement, with little
consideration for their abilities or predisposition, and with little
hold them accountable.

Indeed, in the minds of leading authorities over the generations, even one
who claims the "Torah as his profession" is obliged to earn his keep and
see to the material needs of his family. He is warned not to depend upon
charity for his maintenance, nor to "thrust himself upon the public"...

Hardly a distraction, according to many, it is a mitzvah... which
embodies intrinsic spiritual value. Whether directly or by implication,
they made it clear that gainful employment never undermined one's claims
to "Torah as his trade". Over this there was little debate.

The intellectual battle raged over the legitimacy of taking any
financial benefit from the Torah, whether in return for service as a
teacher or religious leader, or as an outright grant in the pursuit of
religious study Even among those who supported the ideas, is was seen
as a concession.
Latter-day scholars, they opined, simply could not earn their keep
while attempting to master texts. To place this added burden upon their
shoulders was a sure formula for the abandonment of Torah.
... It is a relatively recent claim that massive Torah study is a
contribution to communal well-being and security, evocative of the status
of the ancient Levite, or that it qualifies per se for charitable support.
Except to exempt themselves from local taxes and related levies, scholars
rarely raised the issue...."
The following is a selection by me from the citations found in the
footnotes at the end of the chapter (I have removed comments, changed
the transliteration and abbreviated those footnotes):
1. BY:OC 388:1; Shelot U'Teshuvot Harambam, item 123.
6. Tosafot: Brachot 35b, s.v. kan bizman; Agadot Hamaharsha: Brachot 35b,
s.v. shene-emar
7. R. M. Greenberg, Henaheg Bahem Minhag Derekh Eretz: Bayn Torah
VeAvodah LeToratam Umnatam, Yehivat Kerem B'Yavneh, 1999; R. Ovadiah Yosef,
Shut, Yechaveh Daat, 3:75. For a contasting view, see R. Moshe Feinstein,
Iggerot Moshe: YD 4:36...Y. Levi, Torah Study: A Survey of Classic Sources on
Timely Issues. Feldheim, 1990, espec. P. 56-63
9. Rambam Yad 3:10-11 and Perush Hamishnayot 4:5
10. Kef Mishnah: Hilchot Talmud Torah 3:10
11. Tashbetz, 1: 146
12. Shut HaRosh 15:10
13. R. Modechai HaLevi, Shu”t Darkhei Noam, CM itmes 55 and 56
14. Terumat Hadeshen item 342; Shu”t Maharam Al-Shakar item 19   Shut 
Binaymin Zev item 252, Shut Maharalbach item 140, Kolbo item  147. See also 
SA:YD 243:2 and Shach YD 243:6-7.
15. Tur YD 246 and OC 156; BY YD 246:21 and OC 156:1
16. Shach YD 246:20
17. Taz 246: 21
18. Rema YD 246:21
19. SA: OC 151:1
20. Aruch HaShulchan OC 156 : 1-2
21. Same YD 246:39
22. Same OC 156:3
23. (Mishnah Berurah) Beur Halachah: OC 156:1
24. Bereshit Rabah 99, s.v. zevulum le chof
26. Rambam Yad Hilchot Shemittah VeYovel 13:13
27. Ridvaz commentary to Rambam, Hilchot Shemittah Veyovel 13:12
28. Iggerot Moshe, YD 4:36-37
30. Same OC 3:111
31. Chiddushei Chatam Sofer, Sukkot 36a; R. Ovadiah Yosef, Yechaveh Daat 3:75

I hope that the above is of use in this discussion.


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Date: Tue, 14 Jan 2003 18:46:46 -0500
From: "Gil Student" <gil@aishdas.org>
Birthpangs of Mashiach

I believe SBA recently asked this question.

Since the establishment of the State of Israel, religious Zionists like
yourself have been saying that this is the promised Redemption. Now, after
two years of Intifada and hundreds of terrorist killings, Israel is once
again facing the threat, G-d forbid, of Iraqi missiles armed with all
kinds of warheads raining down on Tel Aviv. Not only that, but Israel's
economy is ailing, the country's leaders haven't any answers, and the
rabbis are held in contempt. I ask you, where is the Redemption in this?

Your concern over the situation in Israel is understandable, but the
fact that there are problems in Eretz Yisrael does not in any way negate
the great Redemption which we are witnessing in our time. In fact, the
opposite is true. The tribulations and wars which we are experiencing
are signs that Mashiach is on the way...

Gil Student

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Date: Wed, 15 Jan 2003 09:51:02 -0500
From: "Gil Student" <gil@aishdas.org>
Re: moshiach

Eli Turkel wrote:
>Rambam (Sanhedrin 23:10) states that the Moshiach will not
>come until the Sanhedrin is established.

Where? I don't see it. Unless you mean in the Peirush HaMishnayos
to Sanhedrin.

But see Hilchos Melachim 11:1 where Rambam says that after Moshiach
comes "choz'rin kol ha-mishpatim be-yamav keshe-hayu mi-kodem" which
seems to imply that the Sanhedrin will not be re-established until after
Moshiach comes. R' Menachem Kasher in his commentary to this halachah
(HaTekufah HaGedolah, end of vol. 1) suggests that the Rambam was chozer
from what he wrote in his PhM.

>1. Tekah Beshofar  (10)
>This beracha is an early one since it is mentioned in Ben Sirah
>and so is certainly from the pre-Macabbee era.

Aren't they all from Anshei Kenesses HaGedolah?

>To quote R. Yaakovson (in translation)
>The request are from the easy to the hard and there are levels of
>(a) the return to Jerusalem (physical)
>(b) the return of the shechinah to Jerusalem, see Yechezkel 43:1
>(c) the kingdom of David as a later stage of the geulah

Doesn't the Gemara in Megillah discuss this?

>3. David (15)
>consists of two stages
>(a) the return of David (Moshiach) - et tzemach david avdacha
>mehera tazmiach
>(b) the redemption - ve-karno tarum be-yeshuatecha

Lav davka two stages. This could alternatively be referring to two
different aspects of Moshiach's greatness (e.g. din gavra, malchus).

>Finally, IMHO we are in the stage of kimah, kimah. Things
>happen slowly and in stages. We get a partial ingathering of
>the exiles. We are also get a partial Jerusalem because we
>don't have the Bet haMikdash. Some people seem to insist
>that we have don't have everything we don't have anything.

While I am not saying that you are definitely wrong, I can make a case
that you are. IMHO the RZ interpretations are not any more convincing
than the Satmar Rebbe's. RMM Kasher, in all his greatness, makes some
pretty far-fetched arguments although his sefer also contains some great
gems that are not fundamental to his main case.

Is the modern State of Israel a unique occurence in history? Absolutely.
Is it the beginning of the geulah? I hope so but remain uncertain.

Gil Student

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