Avodah Mailing List

Volume 10 : Number 094

Thursday, January 23 2003

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Wed, 22 Jan 2003 12:07:17 -0500 (EST)
From: "Jonathan Baker" <jjbaker@panix.com>
Subject:
Re: MO and RW: definitions?


[Until now, this Areivim thread didn't raise any issues not discussed
here before. -mi]

RGD: 
> From: "Jonathan Baker" <jjbaker@panix.com>

>> And to the Gra, who has said that without knowing
>> math, one cannot know more than 1% of halacha (according to R' Baruch
>> Shick of Shklov, translator of Euclid into Hebrew).

> I think that is a misquote.  Do you have or have you seen the quote?

It's very hard to find. I bid on one once at an auction, but it rapidly
got too expensive - it sold for close to $1000.

The statement is attested in Altmann's biography of Mendelssohn, p. 358,
and in Schochet's book on the Gaon, p. 150: "if one is ignorant of the
secular sciences in this regard, one is a hundredfold more ignorant of
the wisdom of the Torah, for the two are inseparable." (Sefer Ukelidis,
den Haag, 1780 - Schich's translation of part of Euclid's Elements,
undertaken at the behest of the Gaon). Hillel of Shklov is mentioned
saying something similar about the value of the seven wisdoms of the
world (corresponding to the Trivium and Quadrivium of the universities,
I think), cited from Kol haTor.

Bezalel Landau, "Hagaon Hechasid meVilna" quotes and tries to cast
doubt on this statement, and certainly demonstrates that more extreme
pro-Haskalah statements were likely forgeries, but given that Ukelidis
was published 16 years before the Gaon's death, I'd be surprised that he
hadn't tried to discredit it, if it were false. He leaves us with the
impression that the Gaon did have some support for secular sciences as
tools for Torah understanding, if not quite as extreme as some maskilim
wanted to paint it. Perhaps the Gaon's thoughts were closer to those
expressed in P'at haShulchan, "all the wisdoms are necessary for Torah
and are included in it. ... algebra, trigonometry, geometry, music,
and knowing the qualities of each." (see Landau, p. 218).

   - jon baker    jjbaker@panix.com     <http://www.panix.com/~jjbaker> -


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Date: Tue, 21 Jan 2003 14:18:25 EST
From: T613K@aol.com
Subject:
Re: Animal suffering - plant suffering?


From: rothmanfamily@juno.com
> 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?

There was some nut who claimed that plants send out distress signals
when cut. He claimed if you attached EKG leads to their leaves, graphs
would show "distress" spikes on their readings when you cut the plants,
but experiments proved he was wrong. If it were true it would certainly
be a very strange world, requiring us to inflict distress in order to
survive. Plants also do not respond to music or to loving speech on the
part of their owners, two more nutty theories making the rounds--and
abundantly disproven.

The closest thing to truth in this is that trees, when attacked by certain
predatory insects, seem to excrete some kind of "warning" chemical that
nearby trees can sense. And do what, I don't know. But plants have no
nerve endings.

OTOH I am convinced that animals do experience pain and do suffer.

Toby Katz


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Date: Wed, 22 Jan 2003 00:36:13 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Subject:
Re: Hebrew grammatical question


On Tue, Jan 21, 2003 at 09:42:25PM +0200, Ira L. Jacobson wrote:
:>is no Hebrew equivalent. Eg: Barukh Gozeir uMqayeim - Blessed is He
:>Who legislates and He Who fulfils.

: Which is much more simply expressed as "Blessed is the legislator and 
: fulfiller."

"Legislator" is a noun. BTW, the two differ in meaning. "Legislator" is
one who regularly legislates. My circumlocuted version doesn't imply
that much.

: And by the way, if the former translation ("Blessed is He Who legislates 
: and He Who fulfils") is indeed faithful, how would you translate " Barukh 
: Hagozeir vehameqayeim," and how then would you translate "Barukh Hagozeir 
: umeqayeim"?

"Blessed is He who decrees and He who causes to exist." Or, since English
allows us to factor the "He who" over the "and", "who decrees and causes
to exist".

...
: For the life of me, and WADR, I cannot fathom why one must do verbal 
: acrobatics and add unnecessary words, just to deny that hago'el is a verb 
: preceded by the definite article.  It is a form that exists all the way 
: from biblical Hebrew to modern Hebrew.

So, translate the sentence leshitaskha.

(I also wonder why you are arguing with me, the supporter of this opinion
with the weakest knowledge of grammar rather than RSM or REMT.)

: "The angel who redeems me from all evil will bless the children . . ." has 
: the identical meaning to "The angel, the one who redeems me from all evil, 
: he will bless the children . . .," and in addition does not suffer from an
: extra pronoun ...

Fine, still a noun clause -- as it means the same as my more explicit
version. You turned "hago'el osi mikol ra" into an adjective.

-mi

-- 
Micha Berger                 "And you shall love H' your G-d with your whole
micha@aishdas.org            heart, with your entire soul, with all you own."
http://www.aishdas.org       Love is not two who look at each other,
Fax: (413) 403-9905          It is two who look in the same direction.


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Date: Wed, 22 Jan 2003 14:48:33 -0500
From: rothmanfamily@juno.com
Subject:
Tza'ar Ba'aley Chaim


In #92 I wrote that person has to go out of his way to alleviate the
suffering of animals.

Later I found an Even Ha'azel hil. Rotzaiach 13 that talks about it. He
cites the Nimukey Yosef that it is permitted to cause pain to animals if
necessary for human benefit. Based on that the EH says that if a person
has a reason why he does not want to help the animal then he Patur
because his not wanting to be Matriach is also a human benefit. But if
he chooses to help the animal it is a mitzvah and sometimes can override
an issur derabanan (see Shabbos 154b)

Yona Rothman


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Date: Wed, 22 Jan 2003 11:19:07 -0500
From: Mlevinmd@aol.com
Subject:
[none]


Posted by: T613K@aol.com
> The Chazon Ish gives more of an explanation...
> Rabbi Karelitz seems to be saying that the harshness of nature,
> demonstrated by predatory animals, is part and parcel of the overall
> grand tapestry of creation.

> This answer is far from satisfactory, but it's the best I came
> up with. ... If anyone has any other
> thoughts on this topic, I would love to hear them.

Another thought does occur to me. When Yeshayahu speaks of the lion
lying down with the lamb in the time of Moshiach, it seems to hint that
animals preying on each other is an aspect of an unredeemed world, an
imperfection--whose ultimate cause is human sin--that will be corrected
when the world is redeemed.

This idea is quite explicit in the last chapters of Iyov. A good
explication of it is in a chapter by Robert Alter in his book "The Art
of Biblical Poetry".

M. Levin


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Date: Tue, 21 Jan 2003 21:42:25 +0200
From: "Ira L. Jacobson" <laser@ieee.org>
Subject:
Re: Hebrew grammatical question


R' MB, in reacting to my "radical claim" that Hebrew does indeed use
the definite article before a verb (How about hamal'akh hago'el oti?),
and not only before a noun, stated:

>As for the extra "who", it's like the English word "is" for which there
>is no Hebrew equivalent. Eg: Barukh Gozeir uMqayeim - Blessed is He
>Who legislates and He Who fulfils.

Which is much more simply expressed as "Blessed is the legislator and
fulfiller."

And by the way, if the former translation ("Blessed is He Who legislates
and He Who fulfils") is indeed faithful, how would you translate "
Barukh Hagozeir vehameqayeim," and how then would you translate "Barukh
Hagozeir umeqayeim"?

>Perhaps "the angel, the one who redeemed me, ..." which conveys the
>same notion as the translation I gave earlier, would have been a better
>choice. Better than either would be to use "redeem" belashon hoveh. So,
>let me correct it to:
>     The angel, the one who redeems me from all evil, he will bless
>     the children...

For the life of me, and WADR, I cannot fathom why one must do verbal
acrobatics and add unnecessary words, just to deny that hago'el is a
verb preceded by the definite article. It is a form that exists all
the way from biblical Hebrew to modern Hebrew.

As in this week's parasha: "Vegam hakohanim hanigashim el Hashem
yitqadashu."

"The angel who redeems me from all evil will bless the children . . ." has
the identical meaning to "The angel, the one who redeems me from all evil,
he will bless the children . . .," and in addition does not suffer from
an extra pronoun and excess verbiage (additional three words out of 12)
that serves no valid purpose. And it does not change the clause to
a non-restrictive one. And it thereby translates the Hebrew clause
faithfully. Note how economical the clause is in the original Hebrew.

Imagine translating Mi ha'ish hehafetz hayyim as "Who is the man, the one
who . . . ."!


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Date: Tue, 21 Jan 2003 15:20:08 -0500
From: "Gil Student" <gil@aishdas.org>
Subject:
Re: Behind a curtain


Ira Jacobson wrote:
>>The foremost commentator Rashi, Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki (c. 1040-1105) had
>>three daughters and no sons....

I believe that this was debunked by R' Avraham Berliner, cited in R'
Dan Rabinowitz's article in Tradition last year about Rayna Batya.
The correct reading as attested in manuscripts is to Rashi's daughter's
son, Rashbam.

Gil Student


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Date: Tue, 21 Jan 2003 22:29:58 +0200
From: "Ira L. Jacobson" <laser@ieee.org>
Subject:
Re: Behind a curtain


Gil Student stated:
>Ira Jacobson wrote:
>>>The foremost commentator Rashi, Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki (c. 1040-1105) had
>>>three daughters and no sons. His daughters were known to be outstandingly
>>>knowledgeable in Torah. Once, Rashi lay sick, with no strength to write a
>>>profound and complicated reply to a query he had received. He therefore
>>>asked his daughter Rachel to write it. This may mean that he dictated it...

>I believe that this was debunked by R' Avraham Berliner, cited in R' Dan
>Rabinowitz's article in Tradition last year about Rayna Batya.  The correct
>reading as attested in manuscripts is to Rashi's daughter's son, Rashbam.

Please clarify.

Rashbam is the correct reading for whom in the above story?

~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=
IRA L. JACOBSON
=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~
mailto:laser@ieee.org


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Date: Tue, 21 Jan 2003 15:33:15 -0500
From: "Gil Student" <gil@aishdas.org>
Subject:
Re: Behind a curtain


The word "lachen" preceding the word "bat" (or "habat", I don't remember)
should read "le-ven" meaning that it was Rashi's grandson - according
to RA Berliner, Rashbam -- and not Rashi's daughter who transcribed a
complex teshuvah.

Gil Student


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Date: Wed, 22 Jan 2003 00:26:46 +0000
From: "Ira L. Jacobson" <laser@ieee.org>
Subject:
Re: Behind a curtain


R' Akiva Atwood stated:
>Gemara quote the case (I don't remember from where) of a woman who used to
>give shiur in a yeshiva FROM BEHIND A CURTAIN.
>IIRC The Maidel of Ludmir.

Toby Katz asked:
>Wasn't it Bruriah in the Gemara?

R' Michael Frankel stated:
>nah. If I am not disremembering  which happens -- it was the daughter of R.
>Sh'muel b. Ali Gaon in the 12th century or so. also it was tanach rather
>than g'moroh. the eidus is given by one of those medieval traveling guys,
>either binyomin or p'tachyoh.

This week's "L'Chaim -- Weekly newsletter -- Yisro" carries the following,
adapted from an article in The Yiddishe Heim:

>Throughout the ages, we find great women who have been respected Torah
>scholars.

>The renowned Sefardic Torah giant, Rabbi Chayim Yosef David Azulai (known as
>the "Chida," 1724-1806) in his bibliographic work Shem Gedolim, has a
>special listing for "Rabbanit" ("Rebbetzin").

>He quotes the Talmud (Megilla 14a) that the Jewish people had seven
>prophetesses: Sara, Miriam, Devora, Chana, Avigayil, Chulda and Esther. In a
>commentary in Genesis, Rashi says that all the Matriarchs were prophetesses.

>The Chida mentions the renowned Bruria, daughter of Rabbi Chanina ben
>Tradyon and wife of Rabbi Meir (both Tanaim -- Sages mentioned in the
>Mishna). The Talmud says she would review 300 teachings of 300 Torah masters
>in a single day. She knew so much that she could express her own opinion in
>questions of Jewish legal matters, disagreeing with respected Tanaim, while
>others endorsed her opinion. So authoritative was Bruria considered, that
>eminent Tanaim would reverently quote how she rebuked them for not adhering
>properly to the teachings of the Sages.

>On occasion she would even rebuke students for poor learning habits, giving
>as her source her interpretation of a scriptural verse, an interpretation
>that the Talmud later quoted.

>The foremost commentator Rashi, Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki (c. 1040-1105) had
>three daughters and no sons. His daughters were known to be outstandingly
>knowledgeable in Torah. Once, Rashi lay sick, with no strength to write a
>profound and complicated reply to a query he had received. He therefore
>asked his daughter Rachel to write it. This may mean that he dictated it to
>her; even so, it reveals Rashi's confidence in her ability to accurately
>transcribe the complicated subject matter, for which she must have been a
>considerable scholar.

>Maharshal, Rabbi Shlomo Luria (c. 1510-1573), one of the greatest Torah
>authorities in a generation of great luminaries, writes of an ancestress of
>his, some seven generations back:

>"The Rabbanit Miriam, daughter of the Gaon Rabbi Shlomo Shapiro and sister
>of Rabbi Peretz of Kostenitz, of a continuous line of Torah scholars tracing
>its ancestry to Rashi...who had her own yeshiva, where she would sit with a
>curtain intervening, while she lectured in Jewish law before young men who
>were outstanding Torah scholars."

>Nor was this phenomenon confined to the Ashkenazi lands where the prevailing
>non-Jewish mores were more tolerant of women in positions of prominence.
>Rabbi Pesachya of Regensburg, Germany (c. 1120-1190), one of the Baalei
>Tosafot contemporary with Maimonides, traveled extensively, and an account
>of his travels still exists. He wrote about Rabbi Shmuel Halevi ben Ali,
>dean of the yeshiva of Baghdad in those days, [who] had an only daughter
>known to be expert in both the Bible and Talmud. Despite the emphasis on
>modesty, she would teach young men Tanach. She would sit indoors near a
>window through which she could be heard, while her male students would
>listen outside on a lower level where they could not see her.

>Another woman of this period who is recorded as being a Torah scholar was
>Dulce, the saintly wife of Rabbi Elazar of Worms (1160-1238), renowned
>author of Sefer Rokeach and other works and one of the greatest "Chasidei
>Ashkenaz" (the pious German Kabalists of the 12th-13th centuries).

>Together with her two daughters, she died a martyr's death in 1197 at the
>hands of Crusaders who murdered them in her husband's presence. He mourned
>her in a touching elegy in which he describes her as extremely pious and
>wise, hospitable to the Torah scholars, expert in the rules of Torah
>prohibitions, and as one who would preach every Shabbat -- to women, we assume.

>Historians mention other women of this period who were very knowledgeable in
>Torah. Usually they are known only by the Torah books they wrote in Yiddish
>for other women to study, or for their translations of classic Torah works
>into Yiddish.

>The Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe writes, "Several women in the generations of
>the Tanaim and Amoraim, and also in generations closer to us, were
>knowledgeable in Torah." The Previous Rebbe might have had in mind his
>ancestress Perel, the scholarly wife of the renowned Maharal of Prague,
>Rabbi Yehuda Liva ben Betzalel (1512 -- 1609).

>The Maharal was ten years old when he was engaged to Perel, who was then six
>(as was common at the time). Realizing his great genius, she decided to
>study Torah assiduously so that she would never be an embarrassment to her
>great husband. She said that from age eight, no day passed when she did not
>spend at least five hours studying Torah. Perel arranged and redacted all 24
>of her husband's renowned works. It is said that in at least eight places
>she found errors in his works where he had misquoted Talmudic Sages, Rashi
>or Tosafot.

~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=
IRA L. JACOBSON
=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~
mailto:laser@ieee.org


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Date: Wed, 22 Jan 2003 21:39:32 EST
From: RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com
Subject:
Re: working for a living


In a message dated 1/18/2003 11:03:36pm EST, mgofman@zahav.net.il writes:
> 4. Regarding the Rambam. While it is true that the Rambam blasts someone
> who throws himself on to the tzibbur, he is refering to a person who has
> no means of providing for his financial needs and chooses to rely on
> the public purse. The Rambam is NOT referring to a person who makes a
> financial arrangement with a partner to support his Torah study. Would
> the Rambam invalidate a Zevulun- Yisachar relationship (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).

I think the Rambam's opposition for taking money for teaching Torah
Se'bal peh goes beyond waht is implied above. Although the truth as I
understand it from HISTORY is that the Rambam himself did use a Yisachar
Zvulun reltioinaship with his brother who died AIUI in a shipwreck

However, as Reb Mechy has cited, the Rambam did not hold from HISTORY.
So if you cannot ignore reality and simple yosher d'as then you ignore
what the Rambam DID and pay attention to only what he WROTE in the text.
His actions are at best mimetics and at worst HISTORY and therefore have
no Halachic weight - at least according to the way most people view how
Halachah works based upon Rambam etc.

The Rambam wrote in a fairly didactic {IOW black-and-white} style in
the Mishneh Torah. Aopparently in his tshuvos he was far more flexible.

I recently heard someone say the following and iti is worth pondering:

"You cannot apply Karaitic tactics in interpreting Chazal because they
were after all Prushim." IOW why would we epxect Chazal who did
not READ the Torah as literally as textualist such as the Karaites,
be themselves expected to SPEAK so literally."

This statement was not applied direcly to the Rambam per se, but it is
soemthing to think about.

Real life ironic example.

There is a Minchah Minyan that does not do Chazaras Hastatz. Both those
in favor of doing Chazaras Hashatz and those who oppose cite the Rambam
to back their arguments. Those in favor cite the Rambam's Yad and
those who oppose cite the Rambam's tshuvos.

Another academic example of irony is the machokes in explaining why does
Tallis precede Tfillin? MY LOR P {Rabbi Larry Rothwachs} claimed ma'alin
bikdushah and I countered tadir v'she'eno tadir.... His source was the
Mechabeir of the Shulchan Aruch and mine was the Beis Yosef. Should we
then say that the mere historical factoid that they happened to be one and
the same person {i.e R. Yosef Karo} is perhaps such a factoid that should
not get in the wayt of a good lamdusher machlokes or what? <big grin>
 
Kol Tuv - Best Regards
Richard Wolpoe
RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com


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Date: Tue, 21 Jan 2003 12:21:25 -0500
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Subject:
Fwd: BF and A II


>Subject: BF and A II

>In the autumn of 1727 the Junto began its Friday evening meetings.
>Franklin's "Standing Queries" illustrate the young tradesman's interest
>both is getting ahead and in doing good, as well as his interest in
>life-long learning. Franklin's own words hereafter will appear in italics.

>Previous question, to be answered at every meeting:
...

So can we do this in online meetings?

Virtual vaadim?

YGB


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Date: Wed, 22 Jan 2003 21:47:22 EST
From: RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com
Subject:
Re: Benjamin Franklin and Mussar


In a message dated 1/18/2003 11:03:17pm EST, Mlevinmd@aol.com writes:
> However, BF was far from a tsadik. In his house in Philadelphia you
> will be shown an outside curved mirror that he invented to be able to
> observe cuckolded husbands when they came to him after finding out his
> affairs. He would then be able to escape unobserved. This is not how a
> Jew percieves being a man of integrity. In musar terms a man who speaks
> the talk but does not walk the walk is an abomination.

This is true in the Torah world, tocho k'bor'o is important.

Apparently the Gentile world is willing to allow a multiple personality,
the one having a noble, ideal shita and the other not living up to
this ideal. JFK is a prime illustration of someone who held a very
noble vision and was quite a low-life in his personal life.

By Torah standards, this is a BIG flaw. By secular standards the ideals
are not necesarily compromised by a great thinkers personal character
flaws.

One can make a case for such a dichotomy within Shlomoh Hamelech whose
wisdom in Mishlei seems to be at least somewhat compromsied by his
real-life behavior.

Those who can emulate Rabbi Meir as in his relationship to Acheir can
gain a lot from BF et. al. OTOH, those who cannot so easily discard
the psoles indeed should be probably avoid such a dilemna.

Kol Tuv - Best Regards
Richard Wolpoe
RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com


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Date: Wed, 22 Jan 2003 22:01:47 EST
From: RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com
Subject:
Re: RYBS


In a message dated 1/20/2003 7:37:38pm EST, turkel@math.tau.ac.il writes:
> 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.

AIUI, RYBS wanted everyone to challenge himself to the max. Deferring to
authoritiy figures or any form of self-deprecation would compromise a
peron's ability to actualize himself. In this sense I consider him
to have held a Religious version of Abraham Maslow's Philosophy of
self-actualization. I would not be surpprised if Hirsch looked at
self-realizaation in a simlar way
 
Kol Tuv - Best Regards
Richard Wolpoe
RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com


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Date: Thu, 23 Jan 2003 04:06:06 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Subject:
Re: RYBS


On Mon, Jan 20, 2003 at 04:42:32PM +0000, Eli Turkel wrote:
: 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....

Mussar? Put people down?

Interestingly, R' Wolbe warns against allowing mussar to cause hubris.

    It is incumbent on us to find a path in /avodah/ that does not awaken
    pridefulness. This is a difficult thing, a bit of a contradiction,
    because how can a person not become prideful when he is becoming a
    "man of deeds" that from a strict legal perspective he is obligated
    in, and it's as though it's a gift of his heart that he is developing
    them? This difficulty requires us to devise for ourselves a new
    lifestyle: the path of /hislamdus/.
			    - Alei Shur II "Avodas haMussar" ch 5

I think the flaw is two-fold:

1- That mussar's focus on yir'as H' is to produce someone who is
hunched over, quaking in fear. To quote RYGB's translation of
RAKE's Be'ikvos haYir'ah:
   For example, when we mention yir'ah to this person he
   can only translate it thus: Bent head, wrinkled brow, glazed eyes,
   hunched back, trembling left hand, right hand clapping al cheit,
   knocking thighs, failing knees, stumbling heels. And he does not know
   that this translation is heretical for the one who knows what yir'ah
   is and what it means, the source from which it flows, and from whence
   it comes... There are times that demand tears and eulogies... It is
   necessary then to stoop like rushes and take up sackcloth and ashes.
   Times come upon the world when our sins require these. Such, however,
   is not Yir'as Hashem, not it and not even part of it. It is not
   yir'ah's essence, but only preparation for it...

   Yir'ah is not anguish, not pain, not bitter anxiety. To what may
   yir'ah be likened? To the tremor of fear which a father feels when his
   beloved young son rides his shoulders as he dances with him and
   rejoices before him, taking care that he not fall off. Here there is
   joy that is incomparable, pleasure that is incomparable. And the fear
   tied up with them is pleasant too. It does not impede the freedom of
   dance... It passes through them like a spinal column that straightens
   and strengthens. And it envelops them like a modest frame that lends
   grace and pleasantness...
...
   When the Torah was given to Israel solemnity and joy came down bundled
   together. They are fused together and cannot be separated. That is the
   secret of "gil be're'ada" (joy in trembling) mentioned in Tehillim.
   Dance and judgment, song and law became partners with each other...
   Indeed, this is the balance... A rod of noble yir'ah passes
   through the rings of joy...
			- In the Footsteps of Rabbi Avraham Eliyahu
			  Kaplan zt"l http://www.aishdas.org/rygb/raek.htm

(The full essay is at <http://www.aishdas.org/raek/yirah.pdf>.)

2- That mussar promotes an anivus which translates to "ich bin gornish".

If this were true, then mussar would depress and immobilize. If someone
lacks self esteem then he lacks the confidence to accomplish. That is
obviously untrue of all the products of Slabodka who ended up on the
20th cent's collection of pedastals.

Expressions of ga'avah are most often a cover up for internal feelings
of worthlessness, anyway.

The Alter of Slabodka defines anivus as being fully aware of one's true
standing and the gap between that and one's potential. Not a reduction
of one's self worth, but of disabusing oneself of the notion that one
has accomplished all he could and can rest on those laurels. It's
motivating, not debilitating.

-mi

-- 
Micha Berger                 When you come to a place of darkness,
micha@aishdas.org            you do not chase out the darkness with a broom.
http://www.aishdas.org       You light a candle.
Fax: (413) 403-9905             - R' Yekusiel Halberstam of Klausenberg zt"l


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Date: Wed, 22 Jan 2003 22:48:43 -0500
From: kennethgmiller@juno.com
Subject:
Re: History, Truth, Memory: Nemonus of Baalei Mesorah


In Avodah 10:93, Rabbi Daniel Eidensohn quotes Rabbi Schwab (Selected
Writings p233-234) as writing:
<<< A historian ... must report the stark truth and nothing but the
truth. ... What ethical purpose is served by preserving a realistic
historic picture? Nothing but the satisfaction of curiosity. We should
tell ourselves and our children the good memories of the good people,
their unshakable faith, their staunch defense of tradition, their life
of truth, their impeccable honesty, their boundless charity and their
great reverence for Torah and Torah sages. What is gained by pointing out
their inadequacies and their contradictions? We want to be inspired by
their example and learn from their experience. ... That means we have
to do without a real history book. We can do without. We do not need
realism, we need inspiration from our forefathers in order to pass it
on to posterity. >>>

I do not understand this at all.

Rabbi Schwab raises important questions. I do not understand the answers
he offers.

For example, I agree that we should tell ourselves and our children about
"their unshakable faith" -- *IF* in fact their faith was unshakable. But
if they went through a period of questioning, where their faith might
have shaken a bit, I hope that Rabbi Schwab would agree that it would
be a forbidden lie to claim that their faith was *always* unshakable.

But I get the feeling that Rabbi Schwab would want an author to
conveniently omit such points. He asks, "What is gained by pointing out
their inadequacies?" This is a good question, but I think I have a good
answer: We would gain inspiration. We would gain a role model.

Indeed, "We want to be inspired by their example and learn from their
experience." A person who never had questions is useless to me as an
"example", and he has no "experience" that I can learn from.

Rabbi Schwab writes "We do not need realism, we need inspiration..."
Perhaps Rabbi Schwab can be inspired by fiction(*), but I find them to
be nothing more than entertainment.

(*) I hope no one thinks I'm being disrespectful to Rabbi Schwab by my
use of the term "fiction". But *HE* is the one who wrote <<< we have to
do without a real history book... We do not need realism... >>>

Akiva Miller


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Date: Wed, 22 Jan 2003 22:23:50 -0500
From: kennethgmiller@juno.com
Subject:
RE: Rambam and Yissachar zvulun


In Avodah 10:93, R' Meir Shinnar wrote <<< While it is true that
the Rambam blasts someone who throws himself on to the tzibbur,
he is refering to a person who has no means of providing for his
financial needs and chooses to rely on the public purse. The Rambam
is NOT referring to a person who makes a financial arrangement with
a partner to support his Torah study. Would the Rambam invalidate a
Zevulun-Yisachar relationship >>>

Just to clarify: In which of those two categories would you place the
following common situation: A person has chosen to learn in a school,
where that school pays him for his time, and then makes appeals
to the public to help support their students. Is this student in "a
Zevulun-Yisachar relationship" with the people who donate to his school,
or has he chosen "to rely on the public purse"?

Akiva Miller


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Date: Thu, 23 Jan 2003 08:41:57 +0200
From: Akiva Atwood <atwood@netvision.net.il>
Subject:
RE: History, Truth, Memory: Nemonus of Baalei Mesorah


>     When Noach became intoxicated, his two sons Shem and Japhet, took a
>     blanket and walked into his tent backwards to cover the nakedness of
>     their father. Their desire was to always remember their father as
>     the Tzaddik Tomim in spite of his momentary weakness. Rather than
>     write the history of our forebears, every generation has to put a
>     veil over the human failings of its elders and glorify all the rest
>     which is great and beautiful. That means we have to do without a
>     real history book. We can do without. We do not need realism, we need
>     inspiration from our forefathers in order to pass it on to posterity."

Yet the Torah saw fit to mention this incident.

Akiva


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