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Volume 10 : Number 092

Tuesday, January 21 2003

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Mon, 20 Jan 2003 00:45:05 +0200
From: "Daniel Eidensohn" <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
Chasam Sofer and R' Shimon

Understanding the view of the Chasam Sofer regarding Berachos 35b
is interesting. But perhaps of greater interest is clarifying the
discussion in the gemora Berachos itself. It seems that typically it
is understood that R' Shimon is saying that you can't be a great talmid
chachom while working so therefore have bitachon and your work will be
done by others. R' Yishmael is typically understood as being pragmatic
and insisting that people not rely on miracles but get a job as well
as learn. Since most people don't have the proper bitachon the gemora
concludes by saying that for most people the approach of R' Yishmael is
the one that works.

I'd like to show an alternative understanding of the gemora.

A major factor in understanding the gemora is the mechilta in last
weeks parsha.

Mechilta (Shemos 16:4 ) Gather a day's portion everyday. The One who
created day created his livelihood. From this R' Eliezar Hamodai said
that everyone who has enough to eat that day and he asks "What will I
eat tomorrow?" is someone of little faith…R' Yehoshua said a person who
learns two halachos every morning and two halachos in the evening and
spends his day working – is considered as if he fulfilled the whole
Torah. From this R' Shimon ben Yochai said the learning of the Torah
in depth was only given to those who eat Manna. For how could a person
think clearly if he doesn't know where his food and clothing is coming
from. Therefore the learning of the Torah in depth was only given to
those who eat Manna or second best those who eat Teruma.

At first glance R' Shimon seems merely to be insisting that mundane
concerns interfere with learning so one should rely on miracles such as
those who ate manna - the typical understanding of gemora Berachos. There
are two problems 1) why is the person worried about food and clothing -
doesn't he have bitachon? 2) Teruma was not a miraculous source but
was a reasonable source of food for cohanim.

The Zayis Ra'anan to the Mechilta notes:

This Mechilta concerning R' Shimon bar Yochai apparently contradicts
his view as found in Berachos (35b). There he says "Is it possible
that a person plows in the time of plowing... What will become of his
Torah". The gemora there concludes that many followed the path of R'
Shimon and failed? The answer is that the two gemoras are in fact saying
the same thing. If a person sits and he doesn't know where his food is
coming from his Torah learning will not be preserved. But if he pursues
an occupation he surely won't be successful in Torah. Therefore the
Torah was only given to those who eat manna.

It seems therefore that R' Shimon is not insisting that a person sit
and learn and have bitachon that he will be miraculously taken care of
by others. He is merely stating the obvious - that you can't be a great
scholar if you are concerned about parnosa. The gemora is not then a
debate between Torah and Derech Eretz vs Torah exclusively.

The Netziv expands on this idea:

Berchas Netziv (Mechilta Beshalach 2): In depth study of Torah is
impossible without a mind free and clear of worries of livelihood. This
state of mind was found amongst those who lived on manna since they
were guaranteed their food and were not dependent upon any person in
any manner. Second best were those who ate teruma who were also secure
that the people would give the cohanim more than the levites got from
maaser… But the cohanim had less security than those who ate manna since
the donor had the right to give only to the cohen he wanted… In fact
in each generation there are two circumstances for people to be able to
study Torah properly. 1) The father who gladly supports his son and all
his needs and that is similar to the eats of manna. 2) Support provided
by benefactors who want the merit of Torah study and are similar to
the donors of terumah…. This merit of the serious study of a talmid
chachom is acquired by the masses only when they support him so that he
is enabled to study properly. This occurs only when he is totally free
of any worry about earning a living.

Rav Moshe Feinstein follows in this path when he discusses the Yisachar
Zevuelen relationship

Igros Moshe (YD 4:37:19) It is not relevant to make a partnership to
support Torah learning for just a number of days or even weeks. That is
because the average person would not be able to learn with peace of mind
when his financial status is only secure for a short period. Even though
a person has an obligation to have bitachon in G-d and not worry about
what will be tomorrow, that applies to his attitude concerning what
has already happened. In such a case he shouldn't lose his trust in
G-d since everything is from Him and He provides for everyone – He will
surely send appropriate sustenance to the person and his family. In fact,
however, a person must obtain a livelihood, food and all his needs as
well as those of his wife and family not just for a single day but for
a long time by agriculture or business. Thus when someone wants to be
a benefactor to support another learning Torah, this is not relevant
except when the benefactor can according to natural reality guarantee
this i.e., that he has property or business to cover the expenses for a
year or sometimes less. But it is totally not relevant if the benefactor
wants to provide the support just for a number of days. Obviously, in
such circumstances the scholar will not have the necessary tranquility
to learn properly. Even if the scholar claims that it is sufficient for
him to learn well without worries – it is obviously not because of the
support but rather because the scholar has great bitachon in G-d that
the benefactor will support him for a longer time. In such a case it is
not a partnership but charity. Therefore it would only be permitted if
the scholar is a poor person i.e., he has less than 200 zuz. ...

Further statements that learning full time is not an issue of miracle
and bitachon:

Igros Moshe (Y.D. 2:116): Should a talmid chachom who wants to be
fully successful in his Torah studies take money from a kollel? Should
rabbis, roshei yeshivos and teachers take payment or should they support
themselves? The answer is that there is no question that taking payment
is correct as the Rema (Y. D. 246:21) poskens. Similarly this is the psak
of the Shach:"The Kesef Mishna.(Talmid Torah 3:10): Furthermore even if
you want to say that the halacha follows the Rambam, nevertheless all the
sages throughout the ages have taken payment from the community based
on the principle that it is indispensable for the existence of Torah
(ais la'asos). The Maharshal writes that if payment weren't taken then
Torah would have already ceased because it is impossible for most people
to succeed in Torah while supporting themselves and it is sinful if
he doesn't accept support from others even if has a profession that he
could support himself because it impossible to succeed if he interrupts
his studies to earn a living." Therefore it is a clear and obvious fact
accepted in every generation - either as din or as emergency decree –
that it is permitted to accept payment for Torah study or to teach Torah
to others or to be a rav or posek. One should not refuse payment even as
an act of piety. In my view those "pious" individuals who want to follow
the view of the Rambam are following the advice of their evil inclination
to interrupt their studies and devote themselves to business...

Igros Moshe (O.H. 1:111) Not only is a person allowed but in fact is
obligated to have a job to provide his livelihood. It is prohibited for
a person to say that even if he does nothing that G-d will provide his
livelihood in some manner. How does he know that he has the merit for a
miracle aside from the fact that it is prohibited for a person to rely
on a miracle even if he has the merit? This prohibition of praying for a
miracles is stated clearly in Berachos (60) concerning praying that one's
pregnant wife should give birth to a boy. The gemora raises a question
from the fact that Leah prayed that she have a girl. Therefore even
Leah – one of the Matriarchs who surely merited miracles – apparently
should not have prayed for a miracle. The gemora according to the first
answer indicates that Leah was an exception and that she can not be
emulated. According to the second answer since it was with the first 40
days, she was not praying for a miracle. We see clearly from the gemora
that it is prohibited to depend on a miracle to provide livelihood without
us doing any action or having an occupation. Even though it is necessary
to know that all the profit which comes from working or business is only
from G-d according to what was fixed on Rosh HaShanna – but this is only
when we have some occupation or business dealings. This necessity for
effort is stated in the Torah "by the sweat of your brow you will eat
bread" and is discussed at the end of Kiddushin.

Even R' Nehorai who only taught his son Torah and not a trade - indicating
that there is no need to teach a trade to one's son - agrees that one
can not rely on a miracle. His view is that the majority of people
can not learn Torah and a trade at the same time while young. Thus his
position is that when a person is an adult, G-d will provide him some
way of earning a living and supporting his family - even if he didn't
learn a trade while a child. However as an adult even R' Nehorai would
agree that it is prohibited to do nothing and rely on a miracle. This
understanding is seen in the Rambam who poskens like R' Nehorai that there
is no need to teach a trade and poskens in Hilchos Talmud Torah (3:10)
that it is necessary to have an occupation.... Thus this prohibition
applies even for gedolim and tzadikim who are on the spiritual level
where it is possible that a miracle will be done for them and surely it
prohibited to those in our generation - orphans of orphans - to rely on
miracles. Furthermore there is no sin in trying to find an occupation
which is easier and more pleasant and which is more profitable according
to human evaluation. Even though of course we must believe that G-d can
give parnosa through any occupation as R' Meir states in Kiddushin (82)
- but perhaps a person does not merit to get parnosa except through
one that is more likely to be profitable. But one must know that all
his profit - after all his efforts - is only from G-d who gives the
ability to succeed. As Targum Onkelos states that He gives advice to
the business man as to what approach will profit.

In sum. Practically speaking a gadol requires the tranquility of mind that
comes from financial security. This security comes not from miracles or
bitachon but from others or financial independence. Most people do not
have the financial security or the ability for greatness in Torah so
they should combine Torah with working. There is thus no disagreement
between R' Yishmael and R' Shimon and no need to decide between them.

                                                        Daniel Eidensohn

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Date: Mon, 20 Jan 2003 03:14:16 -0500
From: Joelirich@aol.com
Sefardi sefer torah

Can a ben ashkenaz be yotzeh lchatchilah (or bdeieved) kriat hatorah
from a sefardi sefer? Can he get an aliyah and make a bracha?

Joel Rich

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Date: Thu, 16 Jan 2003 13:33:57 GMT
From: remt@juno.com
Re: Hebrew grammatical question

I'm far from an expert on dikduk, and assume that those who are will
correct me if I am wrong.

The statement was made that "hamalach hago'el" and "mi ha'ish hechafetz
chayim" contradict the statement that only nouns can have the hei
hay'diyah. But is it not true that words or phrases which modify nouns
with hei hay'diyah themselves get a hei hay'diyah? If so, there is no
counterexample: "hago'el" modifies "hamalach," and "hechafetz" modifies
"ha'ish;" but when freestanding, "hago'el" must be a noun, and not a verb.

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Date: Sun, 19 Jan 2003 22:13:20 EST
From: Phyllostac@aol.com
Chosson and Kallah - no 'bride and groom'

I was listening to Rav Yosef Schwab shlit"a (of Rockland county,
NY) on World Jewish (Torah) radio before and, in the course of his
program on the parsha, he said something like 'there is no 'bride and
groom' in Hebrew. Chosson = Chasan (son-in-law) and Kallah = kallah

Any comments on that ? Is it just a linguistic point or have deeper
implications as well..... ?


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Date: Sun, 19 Jan 2003 22:18:26 EST
From: Phyllostac@aol.com
Chartum = Khartoum ?

I heard an odom choshuv recently say that he saw in some old chumash with
a Yiddish commentary that the word chartum - as in 'chartumei mitzrayim'
- comes from Khartoum (capital of present-day Sudan) - where there was a
'University of Kishuf' - and whoever studied / graduated from there was
given the title 'chartum'.

When I related this to someone, he commented that in the olden days
(as today too, though perhaps to a lesser degree now) there were close
ties between 'Upper Egypt' (including Sudan) and other parts of Egypt.

Comments ? Hayeish mamash bozeh ?


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Date: Mon, 20 Jan 2003 23:59:41 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Chartum = Khartoum ?

On Sun, Jan 19, 2003 at 10:18:26PM -0500, Phyllostac@aol.com wrote:
: I heard an odom choshuv recently say that he saw in some old chumash with
: a Yiddish commentary that the word chartum - as in 'chartumei mitzrayim'
: - comes from Khartoum (capital of present-day Sudan) - where there was a
: 'University of Kishuf'...

I read something similar in a book on Egyptology. Except that the art
taught was reading and writing, not magic.


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Date: Mon, 20 Jan 2003 09:42:11 -0500
From: David Riceman <dr@insight.att.com>
Re: Aishdas and Benjamin Franklin

> I am currently listening to a biography of Benjamin Franklin. The Mussar
> Movement's links to BF's ideas are far more significant than I hitherto
> realized.

> I think Aishdas should more consciously emulate BF's model.

There is another problem with BF. His methodology was similar to that
of the mussar movement, but his goal was not. His goal was success -
health, wealth, and popularity. He actually failed in the last of those -
he was viewed by his colleagues as manipulative and dishonest. So you
do have to take his advice with a grain of salt.

David Riceman

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Date: Tue, 21 Jan 2003 00:35:22 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Aishdas and Benjamin Franklin

On Mon, Jan 20, 2003 at 09:42:11AM -0500, David Riceman wrote:
: There is another problem with BF. His methodology was similar to that
: of the mussar movement, but his goal was not. His goal was success -
: health, wealth, and popularity....

Similarly, Dale Carnegie. Teaches great middos. RBRuda noted the similarity
to REED's advice in MME. (I have the page in PDF, but forgot the mar'eh

But Carngie's tachlis is "How to Win Friends and Influence People".


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Date: Mon, 20 Jan 2003 13:21:47 -0500
From: "Michael Frankel" <michaeljfrankel@hotmail.com>
History, Truth, Memory: Nemonus of Baalei Mesorah

"The Children of Israel were commanded to be a kingdom of priests and
a holy nation, they were not commanded to be historians". (cribbed from
Yoseph Haim Yerushalmi -- "Zakhor")

I should like to share some thoughts on the nature of "truth" inspired
by a recent exchange with my interlocutor who noted that -- in the matter
under dispute -- his own source of understanding was:

<<" What you describe as vertlech, others accept as a Torah sheleimo
kabolo ish mipi ish.">>

As a jumping off point I offer the following three quotes (all from
impeccably frum sources):
1. "..the study of history is a waste of time..." (Rambam, Intro to
Mishnayos Sanhedrin, pereq cheleq)

2. "..The whole scheme demonstrates, to a large extent, that its
innovators were torah scholars, for whom the history of the Talmud was not
a matter of intrinsic interest, but rather a matter which was touched on
only in passing and about which they might issue an occasional remark..."
(Prof. Abraham Weiss, z"l, "Hishavus Hattalmud Bish'leimuso", former
head of Talmud studies at both YU and Bar Ilan)

3. "...G'dolei Yisroel never invested interest in delving into
the history of b'nei yisroel...behold, the legacy of our masters,
rishonim and acharonim, lives on in the mouths of those who hold close
the torah.... Every bais midrosh is filled...with those who learn
living torah as if it had been formulated for the first time this very
day...Tzaddiqim whose words are their memorials. And, as for those few
G'dolim who did interest themselves in historical matters, it was done
incidentally and as an afterthought. Their real energies were focused
on learning Torah...and from their they drew also their (incidental)
historical knowledge." R. Chaim Ozer Grosdinsky

Now -- what are they saying is that the study of history held no
particular brief with traditional chakhomim, nor should the off hand
remark they might make about, lets call it conventional historical
matters be treated or greeted as being particularly authoritative as
they invested no great energies in understanding the meanings, context,
or examining the credibility of such data.. i.e. they simply had no
great interest and thus expertise in the matter.

But what about the issue of "ne'emonus ish mippi ish" -- who would dare
say that our chakhomim are not trustworthy individuals? Well -- what
are we trusting them to do? convey factoids about which they had neither
interest or concern and didn't "matter"? or rather -- the right answer --
pass on moral "truths" which may or may not bear relation to uninspired
factoids of the conventional who, what, where, when variety. Let me
illustrate this by pointing to one of the volumes in my library. It is
distinguished from many other similar volumes in the library only by
the frankness which the editor/translator announces his program. It is
entitled "HeChasidus" by Aaron Marcus -- a very committed yekke (unusual)
chosid personally m'qurov to many admorim -- authored in 1901 and first
translated from the german in 1927 -- an easy date to remember since the
greatest team to ever spit tobacco juice on natural grass plied their
trade that year in the Bronx, but I digress. Oh yes -- my edition was
published in 1980. The translator of the 1927 issue, making no bones
about it, tells us that he left out a bunch of stuff which could be
taken as derogatory, since he is sure that R. Marcus's nishomoh will rest
more easily. By the time the 1980 edition rolled around the new editor
decided the previous editor had not sufficiently guarded the eternal
m'nuchoh R. Marcus's nishomoh and announced his excision of yet more
material. At least these guys bothered to tell you. But was the author
being "untruthful" or simply taking care to preserve the transmission of
the deeper moral truths that he wished to pass on. e.g. there is little
moral edification in understanding the "why" of the later contempt of
Sanzer with Rhyziner/Sadigora -- or even that it existed at all -- that
may have appeared in the original. Certainly none of the many Chasidic
followers of both houses would have much interest in remembering those
bothersome factoids.

I was particularly struck by one tale told by RShachter in his TuMJ
article which describes the outrage felt by one Yated reader who faulted
yated for publishing a retrospective of R. Dessler which included the
nugget that he had read Uncle Tom's cabin and other classics in russsian
translation as a child. The outraged reader upbraided Yated with a letter
castigating them for not conveying "emes -- truth" violating the torah
description of God "she'chosomo emes". He did this without the slightest
sense of irony and without even deigning to dispute the mere "factoid"
of R. Dessler's reading habits -- an unimportant matter! he wanted --
demanded -- that Yated not provide factoid -- truth, which is not truth at
all, but rather some "real" truth -- that which conveys a moral message
and preserves the spiritual integrity of the readers. And who is to
say that he is wrong? I do not. I merely demand that we recognize which
referent is in play when we deploy words and, having fixed on our usage,
we cannot sneakily segue over to the other semantic and claim that we
simultaneously are conveying both senses of "truth". It is this game of
semantic bait and switch that one objects to in the endless Artscroll
hagiographies rolling off the presses. There is a kind of moral truth
being conveyed, surely they think so, but there is zero ne'emonus on the
basis of simple factual truth -- and it is irksome to hear their false --
and constant -- assertions to the contrary.

It should be screechingly obvious that the kind of trustworthiness that
my interlocutor demands by appealing to the ne'emonus of baalei mesorah
has everything to do with their stature of teachers and preservers of
"spiritual truths" and almost nothing to do with (mere?) factual truth
and is thus lacking factual credibility. why he thinks that an oral
transmission -- which has overlayed all this moral pruning the additional
facet of message corruption known to every school child who has ever
played a game of "telephone" -- has much factoidal ne'emonus is quite
beyond me. So you will understand why I don't take the argument that these
great men have."ish mippi ish" transmitted the facts etc very seriously.

I should also like to say a word about "memory" since I believe the
current interest in "making of a godole" provides us with a laboratory
example of collective memory in the attempted making. In the 1980's Yoseph
haim Yerushalmi of Columbia University published a graceful little volume
titled Zakhor (which I would recommend for your reading list. its both
insightful and quite well written) which discusses the difference between
"History" and "Memory". I cannot do any justice to the work in a few lines
here so I will only say that it focuses our attention on the prevalence of
a people's collective memory and the organic nature of its preservation
and propagation -- a highly selective process in which certain memories
live on while others are "winnowed out, repressed, or simply discarded"
And I would add, "edited" as well. A process which the historian,
uninvited, "seeks to reverse". It serves a purpose as the repository
of the common life sustaining understanding which provides coherence,
purpose, and meaning, to the continuing jewish group identity. But it may
have little to do with filling in the dry factoids, or even getting them
"right" that is starting point for the interpretive exegesis which is
the warp and woof of the historian's craft

After finishing this brief note, I re-read RJJShachter's excellent
article "Facing the Truths of History" which I had read when it originally
appeared a few years ago and the source from which I had remembered that
Yated-Uncle Tom's Cabin story whose details I had wanted to re-check and
found, to my chagrin, that he had made the same points, inter alia --
only much more thoroughly. (being a historian of course is part of his
day job, not mine).
 BTW, two of the three quotes with which I began here -- the Rambam and R.
Chaim Ozer were cited by RJJS (happily he missed, or chose not to include,
prof Weiss) as well as a citation to Yerushalmi's Zakhor. With regard to
the latter however RJJS's one line reference mentions only Yerushalmi's
assertion that the vessels in which medieval jewish collective memory is
found to reside are rituals and liturgy rather than historical documents.
For our purposes here I wish to emphasize the selection, pruning and
editing aspect of a collective memory.

But it has also occurred to me that Yerushalmi may have missed something
for which consideration of the current "making of a godole" brouhaha,
or any artscroll hagiography for that matter, is exemplary. And that is
the notion that collective memory may also be created full blown out
of a conscious program by dedicated individuals, as opposed to some
more unfocused "organic" development over time. Yesrushalmi suggests
in his volume that with the "decay of memory" i.e. the dissolution
of the old structures, and adherence to common myths and universal
acceptance of their vehicles of transmission that formerly bound the
jews together, we have yet to find an adequate modern substitute. He
offers for consideration the notion that novelists, and presumably poets
and polemicists as well, i.e. literature and ideology, be viewed as at
least temporary modern surrogates for the task of hosting our jewish
collective, borne previously by the universally accepted ritual and
liturgical vehicles of the past. But then there is the new vehicle
-- Artscroll -- which he does not notice -- perhaps because it is a
phenomenon associated with such a narrow slice of the jewish nation.
however, the sheer volume and variety of artscroll output (and quality
of production) is reaching jews in numbers out of all proportion to the
numerical strength of their core constituency.

And Artscroll is also intent on presenting a version of the past, not
as it necessarily "was", but as a life sustaining inspiration for the
present, the past as it SHOULD be remembered to give content and meaning
to their now. In short we've got a group with both a new vehicle and a
conscious attempt to shape our collective memories from the ground up.
Surely this is a completely new phenomenon. Observed up close it ain't
pretty -- like "Making of a Goldole" (I know that's not artscroll per
se) or -- to scratch for another simile -- most of us would rather
contemplate our potato salad delivered on a plate in neatly bounded
culinary counterpoint to a sprig of parsley, rather than observe the
process of creation in the back rooms of a restaurant. (sorry about
that. some of my early training as a professional busboy still survives
in my personal metaphorical phase space).

BTW -- I temporarily bow to conventional usage and cite "Mesorah" in
the catch phrase of this note. I do so only because my correspondent
referred to "baalei mesorah" in some communications. i personally prefer
to reserve those words for their original referent.

Mechy Frankel			H: (301) 593-3949
michael.frankel@osd.mil		W: (703) 845-2357

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Date: Mon, 20 Jan 2003 16:42:32 GMT
From: Eli Turkel <turkel@math.tau.ac.il>

As part of the shiurim for RYBS 10th yahrzeit I went to a shiur by
R. Aaron Adler who was his driver for 3 years (his brother took care of
the Rav's apt in YU). I won't repeat all the shitot but some interesting
stories many of which I did not know.

Early in the 50s some financial experts volunteered to invest his savings
and over time they made a sizable amount. It seems that RYBS spent over
50% of this on various causes including large amounts to yeshivat Brisk
in Yerushalayim (who never publically acknowledged any connection) as well
as to R. Neriah and hesder yeshivot. R. Adler asked hom how he could spend
more than 20% against the psak in SA. RYBS answered that every person has
a sin and in order not to make Mishle a lie that's how he chooses to sin.

RYBS had many brisker chumrot. However, for other's he was makil
especially if it involved kavod habriot (if a derabban was involved).
He said that there are only 2 areas where he advices people to be machmir
- tzeddaka and lashon ha-ra,

He (and Brisk) were known to be anti-mussar. He came into a talmid's apt
and saw michtav me-eliyahu and expressed surprise that a talmid would
read it. He said that it is most important to elevate people and he was
strongly against those shitot that tried to put man down. He was also
very much against deciding for others. When people came with personal
questions he analyzed the situation and gave them the options. When
pushed what should be done his answer always was that each individual
might decide that for himself. He opposed that aspect of Chasidism where
the rebbe decides for the Chasid as the "easy" way out.

 Prof. Eli Turkel,  turkel@post.tau.ac.il on 01/20/2003
Department of Mathematics, Tel Aviv University

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Date: Mon, 20 Jan 2003 09:46:26 -0500
From: David Riceman <dr@insight.att.com>
Re: working for a living

gofman wrote:
> 4. (Note: consider
> the fact that the Rambam himself was supported by his brother while
> writing the Yad. He only took his position as physician in the royal
> court after his brother's tragic death at sea).

This is not true. The Rambam's younger brother did the travelling
associated with the business, but the Rambam was a partner (and,
since he was a bchor, I would guess that he was the majority partner).
He explicitly codifies that a talmid chacham may permit his partner to
do the actual marketing of the partnership/s goods (I don't have the
source available right now).

David Riceman

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Date: Mon, 20 Jan 2003 11:41:00 -0500
From: "H G Schild" <hgschild@hotmail.com>

My daughter wants to know how old was Yocheved when she died? i.e.
did she see Moshe again? leave Egypt? Any Midrash anywhere?


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Date: Mon, 20 Jan 2003 20:30:23 -0500
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Re: Aishdas and Benjamin Franklin

At 09:42 AM 1/20/03 -0500, David Riceman wrote:
>> I think Aishdas should more consciously emulate BF's model.

>There is another problem with BF. His methodology was similar to that
>of the mussar movement, but his goal was not. His goal was success -
>health, wealth, and popularity. He actually failed in the last of those -
>he was viewed by his colleagues as manipulative and dishonest. So you
>do have to take his advice with a grain of salt.

Umm... listening to Carl Van Doren's '39 bio of BF that does not seem
to be the case - he seems to have decided early on to pursue moral and
ethical perfection and virtue for its own sake. At least according
to CVD - who seems to be reasonably open about BF's seamier side -
he was not motivated by health, wealth or popularity, but by a general
"goodness." I'm only so far into the 1760's though.

Kol Tuv,
ygb@aishdas.org  or  ygb@yerusalmionline.org
essays, tapes and seforim at: www.aishdas.org;
on-line Yerushalmi shiurim at www.yerushalmionline.org

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Date: Mon, 20 Jan 2003 21:00:27 -0500
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Re: Aishdas and Benjamin Franklin

At 12:35 AM 1/21/03 +0000, Micha Berger wrote:
>Similarly, Dale Carnegie. Teaches great middos. RBRuda noted the similarity
>to REED's advice in MME. (I have the page in PDF, but forgot the mar'eh

>But Carngie's tachlis is "How to Win Friends and Influence People".

Yes, but if you read DC you see he tries (not necessarily convincingly)
to persuade the reader that the method may lead to lucre but should be
regarded as good for its own sake.

Kol Tuv,
ygb@aishdas.org  or  ygb@yerusalmionline.org
essays, tapes and seforim at: www.aishdas.org;
on-line Yerushalmi shiurim at www.yerushalmionline.org

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Date: Mon, 20 Jan 2003 22:02:43 EST
From: Mlevinmd@aol.com
Re: Lav shebiklolos and drashos

The question was: How can there be Malkus on things learned out through
drasha - isn't it (in addition to the pshut pshat and other limudim from
the same posuk) a lav shebiklolos.

In fact, not all lav shebiklolos is potur from malkus. According to
the Ramban in shoresh 9 of Sefer Hamitsvos (the Rambam is similar but
importantly different), there re 3 categories. If drasha is viewed as
something actually written in the posuk (just requires knowing how to read
using principles of drush), it would be most similar to his #3. This is:
many examples in one posuk included in the same lav in its beginning
or end. This would carry malkus for each example. See also Rashi Makkos
18a on top of the page.

M. Levin

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Date: Mon, 20 Jan 2003 20:51:05 -0500
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Re: History, Truth, Memory: Nemonus of Baalei Mesorah

At 01:21 PM 1/20/03 -0500, Michael Frankel wrote:
>After finishing this brief note, I re-read RJJShachter's excellent
>article "Facing the Truths of History"...
>BTW, two of the three quotes with which I began here -- the Rambam and R.
>Chaim Ozer were cited by RJJS...
>But it has also occurred to me that Yerushalmi may have missed something
>for which consideration of the current "making of a godole" brouhaha,
>or any artscroll hagiography for that matter, is exemplary.....

As usual RMF demonstrates erudition in an entertaining manner and I am
loathe to quibble; but quibble I must.

1. The impression is of course left by RJJS's long discourse and the
citations by RMF that Gedolei Yisroel were monolithically opposed to
the pursuit or study of history. I do not think he meant to leave that
impression, but just to clarify, a section here from Prof. Yehuda (Leo)
Levi's "Facing Current Challenges" (p. 225):

"But even studying the history of other nations has its benefits, such as:
not being considered an ignoramus in these matters, understanding Jewish
history more deeply, and knowing how to manage public and state affairs
today (based on Ba'eir Heiteiv OC 307:18 and Mor u'Ketziah 307:16). RSRH
was eloquent on the subject, declaring that we must 'listen to history
with the ears of the prophet Isaiah,' for this we would come to the
recognition of G-d (RSRH to Deut. 4:32 and frequently elsewhere).. Chazon
Ish [!}, too, encourages the study of history: 'History and world events
do much to instruct the wise man on his way, and on the basis of the
chronicles of the past he establishes the foundation of his wisdom'
(Emunah u'Bitachon 1:8)."

I would add that Dr. Isaac Breuer's expansion of TIDE is inextricably
and organically linked to the understanding of history (u'me'meilah
the knowledge thereof) and that RAEK has a short but important essay on
how to study history as an excursion into seeing the yad Hashem in the
progression of events and epochs in the world.

2. I work for another division of Artscroll, so there critique of AS
above is not nogei'ah me directly. But the faulting of a publishing
house for publishing books that sell to its audience in a capitalist
society has always struck me as quite odd.

Frankly - and I exclude RMF here - I generally suspect that the critics
of AS are not-so-deep-down jealous that they are so successful, to the
point that all other publishers in our sliver of humanity fall far behind.

I dunno. Don't like what they're doing? There's lot of capital out there -
go out and compete!

Kol Tuv,
ygb@aishdas.org or ygb@yerusalmionline.org
essays, tapes and seforim at: www.aishdas.org;
on-line Yerushalmi shiurim at www.yerushalmionline.org

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Date: Mon, 20 Jan 2003 21:16:28 -0500
From: rothmanfamily@juno.com
Animal Suffering

R' Micha wrote
"This would have no impact on the meaning of dinim of tza'ar ba'alei
chaim. For reasons similar to Moshe's need to show hakaras hatov to
inanimate objects. Being cruel to something that seems to suffer leads
to becoming a callous person."

If a person was confident that the animal is not experiencing any real
pain than why would torturing it make him into a callous person.

I would also like to point out that in Bava Metziah 32b it says that a
person is required to go out of his way to alleviate the suffering of
an animal.

Regarding if "Chai" has pain I remember reading somewhere that when
plants are cut they send out distress signals. Does anybody know something
about that?

Yona Rothman

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