Avodah Mailing List

Volume 10 : Number 096

Sunday, January 26 2003

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Fri, 24 Jan 2003 08:59:28 -0500
From: "Shinnar, Meir" <Meir.Shinnar@rwjuh.edu>
Subject:
RYBS and mussar


RMB writing about RYBS and mussar
> 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

There were different mussar movements, with very different shitot.

with regard to the opposition of brisk to mussar, and the notion of yirah-

it is perhaps of significance that the mussar representative who came
to Volozhin and rav Chaim was rav israel blauser(?? never saw name
with nekudot), one of the outstanding talmidim of r Yisrael Salanter.
In Dov Katz's book on tnuat hamussar, he describes that r blauser's
shitta of mussar was based on the concept that in our times, we are not
ready for yirat haromemut, and we need to focus first on yirat haonesh,
with which he focused on with great detail. Not that he didn't believe
in the higher level of yirah, but that he felt that yirat haonesh was
the best educational way to reach today's person. The initial aim was
indeed to produce someone who was " hunched over, quaking in fear" -
and once this was produced, then it could be refined.

Slobodka, Kelm, and Mir (from which rav Wolbe shlita comes) took quite
different approaches. Rav Chaim rejected rav blauser's shitta. In one
of the rav's articles (don't recall precisely where) he mentions that
the mussar movement later on progressed, and did not take such a negative
view of man, focusing more on man's potential greatness.

Meir Shinnar


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Date: Fri, 24 Jan 2003 00:17:46 EST
From: RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com
Subject:
Re: Pshat vs Drash


In a message dated 1/12/2003 11:53:05 AM EST, Daniel Eidensohn
<yadmoshe@012.net.il> writes:
> Chavas Ya'ir (Mar Kashisha): page 29. "Pshat is not that the simple
> meaning of the words according to what a child or ignoramus says but
> rather that which the highly trained mind sees. Therefore if the simple
> translation of the words do not make sense and it is necessary to explain
> them differently so that they make sense - that acceptable explanation
> is called pshat."
> 

And what is the pshat in the above pshat on pshat?  <smile>

Bepashtus it means not to take the words literally but you do not
necessarily need to be an expert scholar either.

IOW, for any intelleigent perons pehsat should be a "piece of cake"
unless they assume by piece of cake to mean a physical literal piece of
cake instead of using it as an idomatic expression, which is the intended
pshat in piece of cake.

the problem evolves over time that idioms tend to lose their meaning.
OK the Navi tells us that hagam shaul banevi'im is a metaphor but many
times we don't know that a meatphor or simlie is coming. THEN you need
a scholar.

Example, if you watch the X files NOW you can make an obvious connection
between FOX as in Molder and FOX as in Network, but in a 1,000 years
that sublte double entendre may be lost to those who CAN get the science
fiction part but are unaware of the background that FOX network produced
the X-files...

Illustration: the pshat in Rus' re: Machlon and Chilyon were probably
a lot more appraetn at one time. Now it is hard to know if these are
their literal names or just "nicknames" referring to their fate. etc.

Bottom line, Pshat is the SIMPLE meaning but not necessarily the
LITERAL meaning. Men are from Mars and Women from Venus should not
require a PhD to understand but it cannot be read too literally either.
If you are clueless as to the referneces to Mars as the Roman deity for
War and Venus as the Roman for the diety of Love then this title will
be mis-perceived. But it does not require "DRASH" to know that much fact

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


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Date: Fri, 24 Jan 2003 00:44:18 EST
From: RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com
Subject:
Re: saves a life, or a Jewish life?


In a message dated 1/17/2003 12:03:38 PM EST, micha@aishdas.org writes:
> The question is: Which is the original version? Was the limitation
> to Jewish lives there to begin with, and then taken out as a result
> of Church censorship? This is suggested in the book of corrigenda,
> Hesronot Ha-shas. Alternatively, was the universal formulation the
> original one, and the limitation to Jewish lives introduced into it at
> some later date, perhaps in a period when particularly severe persecution
> of Jews generated a justified feeling of xenophobia?
> 

Consider this.
We say on Taanis Tzibbur - ha'oenh b'eis tzrar but there is a versio
nwith ha'ane l'amo yisrael b'eis tazraa

also kio ato shomei wchi one

Tefilas call peh {Chabad and Ari and edot mizrach}
Tefilas kal peh amcha yisrael... {nusach Sfarad}
Tefilas amcha yisrael {Ashkenaz}

one hypotheies is that the chasimas rofei cholei amo yisrael was really
rofeh cholim. Source is unknown

We DO know that the older version of the last barcha is actualy oseh
hashealm and NOT hamevareich es amo yisrael bashalom

Hypothesis {not totally mine}:
There is an appraent drift in nusach towards yisrael and away from a
more universal nusach,

My Caveat: we can show some exceptoins in the other direction, too


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


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Date: Fri, 24 Jan 2003 09:03:27 +0200
From: "Carl and Adina Sherer" <sherer@actcom.co.il>
Subject:
RE: History, Truth, Memory: Nemonus of Baalei Mesorah


On 23 Jan 2003 at 8:41, someone wrote:
>> 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. 

I didn't understand this story that way at all (I don't remember who 
wrote this, but if this is from Rav Schwab zt"l then b'mchilas 
kvodo...). I understood that Shem and Yefes were covering their 
father's nakedness so that he should not be shamed (pun 
inintentional). I don't think it has anything to do with how THEY 
remembered their father afterwards, although it might have something 
to do with how others remember their father afterwards. 

>> 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. 

But there is no way that those who actually knew the forbear are 
going to be able to entirely block out their memories. There is no 
way that one has a memorable experience in life and is able to 
totally obliterate it from one's subconscious. So while two or three 
generations from now, those who did not know the Gadol will not be 
aware of his faults, in the generation after he was niftar, those who 
knew him will be aware of them. 

>> 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.

And that is the real question IMHO as RAA points out - we have to
understand why the Torah records this incident for posterity so that
even later generations will know what happened. I can think of a number
of possible lessons: maintaining priorities. The realization that even
a tzadik tamim can succumb to temptation. The contrast between Ham's
behavior and Shem and Yefes' behavior teaching us a lesson in honoring
(elderly especially) parents.

Perhaps this is an answer - learning history is good when the tachlis
is to learn from the deeds of a gadol. And it's not good when it's stam
to gossip. Perhaps Rav Schwab feared that history has become gossip?

-- Carl

Please daven and learn for a Refuah Shleima for our son,
Baruch Yosef ben Adina Batya among the sick of Israel.  
Thank you very much.


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Date: Fri, 24 Jan 2003 15:37:02 +0200
From: "Daniel Eidensohn" <yadmoshe@012.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.

The latest edition of Jewish Action has a letter severely criticising
R' Feldman from the editor of the Jewish Observer for making such an
assertion. R' Feldman responds with an articulate - as usual - response.

Daniel Eidensohn


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Date: Fri, 24 Jan 2003 12:53:47 +0200
From: "gofman" <mgofman@zahav.net.il>
Subject:
[none]


This is a misrepresentation of the rambam to conform with other opinions.

The Rambam rejects completely the notion that one can accept money for
studying - whether from the community or from an individual. In his
hilchot talmud tora, he goes in detail into what is acceptable and not
acceptable - and yissachar zvulun is not among the acceptable.


1.See hilchos talmud torah 3:11. The Rambam refers to supporting oneself
as a ma'ala gedola and a midas hasidim harishonim. The implication is that
is not an obligation but rather a madrega. If it is true that the Rambam
"rejects completely the notion that one can accept money for studying,"
how is it that the Rambam only describes supporting oneself as a midas
hasidus?

2.See the Biur Halacha 131 who quotes the D'var Shmuel as saying that
the Rambam was not refering to anyone involved in harbatzas torah and
proves it from the rambam in hilchos shkalim 4:4, 4:7.

3.See Aruch Hashulchan Y"D 246:40 who says that the Rambam's issur was
refering specifically to someone who throws himself onto the tzibbur
and NOT someone who has made a financial arrangement or whom the tzibbur
has decided to support.

motya


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Date: Fri, 24 Jan 2003 11:07:35 EST
From: RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com
Subject:
Re: Rambam and Yissachar zvulun


In a message dated 1/23/2003 10:34:53 PM EST, Meir.Shinnar@rwjuh.edu writes:
> With regard to the substance - the rambam does not allow to accept money
> for learning in any way - he does not have Yissachar zevulun, and would
> clearly assur what you are describing.

Not exactly

Rambam rules out taking money for TEACHING Torah Se'bal Peh. He rules
that taking money for teaching Torah shbeichsav is depndent upon the
Minhag hamakom

I'm not sure how he rules specificaly re: tking money to LEARN - as
opposed to teaching.

He does say that if one MUST pay to learn Torah sheb'al peh he should
do so - despite the fact that lich'ora, leshitaso, it would constitute
a mesayei lidvar Aveira. So

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


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Date: Fri, 24 Jan 2003 15:37:08 +0200
From: "Daniel Eidensohn" <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
Subject:
Re: MO and RW: definitions?


On Thu, Jan 23, 2003 at 08:58:41PM -0500, RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com wrote:
>: One important point re: the Gaon. His thirst for secular knowledge
>: was AISI totally lishma in order to understand Torah better...

Prof. Etkes in his book on the Gra p52 cites a letter from the previous
Lubavticher Rebbe in which he accuses the Gra of having actively promoting
the introduction of Mendelssohn's translation into eastern Europe. "For
many years the Gra expressed his great agony ...concerning the fact that
there was no Yiddish translation of Chumash with a simple explanation
for the masses...When it was heard that there was a great talmid chachom
in Berlin who had translated Chumash into German he sent 5 of his best
students...and sent them to Berlin to check out this talmid chachom and
to obtain copies. These students stayed in Berlin over a year and copied
many pages and brought them back...they found favor in the eyes of the
Gra and he gave permission for them to be distributed and studied. The
distribution of the translation of Mendelssohn diminished the light of
Torah and served as a bridge for tens of thousands of bnei Torah of the
highest level to go to Berlin and to learn German, medicine etc including
R' Baruch Shick...the author of Sefer HaBris and R' Shlomo Dubno."

In other words the Gra was accused of actively promoting the haskalah
in Eastern Europe because he lacked the understanding of how dangerous
secular studies were. Etkes says the story is totally absurd but
accurately represents the view of the chassidim that only the Litvaks
were influenced by haskala.

Daniel Eidensohn


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Date: Fri, 24 Jan 2003 10:10:23 -0500
From: "Gil Student" <gil@aishdas.org>
Subject:
Re: Tza'ar Ba'aley Chaim


Yona Rothman wrote:
>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.

Just to add that this is how the Rama paskens in EH 5:14.

Gil Student


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Date: Fri, 24 Jan 2003 10:31:38 -0500
From: "Gil Student" <gil@aishdas.org>
Subject:
Re: HaShavas Aveidah


[Story from Areivim and many other places around the Jewish 'net. -mi]

>Late last night, my family & I returned from Cleveland to Baltimore. At one
>rest stop along the way, we noticed a frum woman wearing a snood enter the
>building. She returned to the car & her husband, wearing a kippa serugah, used
>the facilities. We assume that there was a child in the car sleeping, that they
>took turns watching, or else they would have gone in together.
>Meanwhile, my wife & I also used the rest area, where-upon my wife &
>another woman located a diamond ring resting by the sinks in the women's
>restroom. The theory here is that the frum woman removed her ring to wash for
>HaMotzei.

>Before we could put all the peices of this puzzle together, they had driven
>off and we don't know who they are. If you know of someone who was
>travelling this route or part of it - most likely going to the Baltimore,
>Silver Spring or DC area - last night (Wendesday night), if they have at least
>one child and lost a ring, please have them contact us to assist in reuniting
>ring and owner.

Is there a chiyuv hachrazah on this ring? On the one hand, the woman
lost it in a place where most of the passersby are not Jewish (and are not
obligated in hashavas aveidah) so we assume that she had ye'ush (Shulchan
Aruch CM 259:3). However, here the finder probably found the ring
before the woman realized that she had lost it. If so, it came to her
(the finder) before ye'ush in which case she is obligated to be machriz.

My guess is that there is no chiyuv hachrazah and, in a case like this, I
do not believe that there is even a lifnim mi-shuras ha-din to be machriz.
Am I right? I'm not sure.

Gil Student


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Date: Fri, 24 Jan 2003 09:58:34 -0600 (CST)
From: sbechhof@casbah.it.northwestern.edu
Subject:
Re: HaShavas Aveidah


"Gil Student" <gil@aishdas.org> writes on Fri, 24 Jan 2003 10:31:38 -0500: 
> Is there a chiyuv hachrazah on this ring?  On the one hand, the woman lost 
> it in a place where most of the passersby are not Jewish...
>                   However, here the finder probably found the ring before 
> the woman realized that she had lost it.  If so, it came to her (the finder) 
> before ye'ush in which case she is obligated to be machriz. 

> My guess is that there is no chiyuv hachrazah and, in a case like this, I do 
> not believe that there is even a lifnim mi-shuras ha-din to be machriz...

Without looking in great depth, IIRC the Meiri says that if the goyim are
gedurim then you must return even to goyim - and I think he (or another
Rishon) defines that as they keeping sheva mitzvos and returning lost
objects. I think many of the non-Jews who stop (or work) in rest stops on
highways are the types who would return a diamond ring. The environment
is thus created that there may not be yei'suh.

Besides, lomir zoggen that there is yei'ush - but what about the chesed
of relieving this couple of great agmas nefesh that may even lead to a
shalom bayis problem?

Finally, it would have even, all else aside, been worth learning gantz
Yerushalmi for BM 2:5 (8a in the Vilan ed.), the ma'aseh with R' Shimon
ben Shetach. Ayain sham heiteiv!

YGB 


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Date: Fri, 24 Jan 2003 18:10:26 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Subject:
Re: HaShavas Aveidah


On Fri, Jan 24, 2003 at 10:31:38AM -0500, Gil Student wrote:
: Is there a chiyuv hachrazah on this ring? On the one hand, the woman
: lost it in a place where most of the passersby are not Jewish (and are not
: obligated in hashavas aveidah) so we assume that she had ye'ush (Shulchan
: Aruch CM 259:3). However, here the finder probably found the ring
: before the woman realized that she had lost it...

Isn't your "probably" a standard yi'ush shelo mida'as?

-mi


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Date: Fri, 24 Jan 2003 10:47:48 -0500
From: Mlevinmd@aol.com
Subject:
[none]


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

You make a good point but I disagree in a sense. I think that one can
winnow good form the bad in the realm of hashkofos. Yakov was able to
live with Lavan who personifies one type of a hippocrite, one whose
failings are private and one who is very clear to himself about his true
beliefs or nonbeliefs. Eisav, on the other hand, is a semi- public kind
of behavior not matching his professed opinions. This, in fact happens
often when the principal himself is not fully aware of his hypocrisy and
thinks that he is really a good person. Such have been the illustrious
ones of our times - JFK, Clinton and F, Franklin. The confusion of the
good and bad, choshech v'eor mishtamshim b'arvuvia, is the dangerous type,
to be kept away from at any cost for it itself confuses and corrupts. I
may be wrong but this is what my experience has taught me.

M. Levin


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Date: Fri, 24 Jan 2003 10:52:28 -0500
From: Mlevinmd@aol.com
Subject:
[none]


We say in certain tefillos (e.g. selichos) 'kiracheim av al bonim, kein
tiracheim Hashem oleinu' (as a father has mercy on children, so should
Hashem have mercy on us). Note the depiction of a father's mercy as the
paradigm - and not a mother's. Does that perhaps imply that the father's
mercy is greater than / superior to the mother's ?

The sefira of chesed is masculine, bderech moshol, since it "gives"
to the sefirah of gevurah, which then is seen as "feminine". This may
bethe intent of the above.

M. Levin


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Date: Fri, 24 Jan 2003 14:25:48 -0500
From: "Brown, Charles.F" <charlesf.brown@gs.com>
Subject:
Re: Malachim singing shira by yam suf


>>>I heard an explanation on HKBH reprimanding the malachim..."ma'asei
yadai tav'u vayam v'atem omrim shira?" Why does it say "tav'u" (drowned)
instead of "tov'im" (are drowning),<<<

Megillah 10b says tov'im?

>>>The malachim thought to kill the Mitzrim by singing shira, just as they
would do hundreds of years later to Sancherev's army at midnight. HKBH
said no, just as ma'asei yadai (the Jewish male babies, not Paro's army)
were drowned in the yam (actually thrown into the Nile), so too the
Mitzrim must die by water.<<<

I believe this is brought by the Maor V'Shemesh.

As to the kashe of what to do with the gem that ain malachim omrim shira
l'ma'alah ad shyisrael omrim shira l'matah, maybe you could be mechalek
based on R' Hai Gaon's shita (discussed by Brisker Rav) that there are 2
types of shirah/hallel - there is a din shira commemorating a nes which
occurred in the past, and there is a separate din to sing shira b'sha'as
hanes (the chiddush l'halacha being that hallel on leil pesach is the
latter type of shira since chayav adam liros es atzmo, etc., with various
nafka minos). Perhaps the "regular" cycle of daily shira as commemoration
must be initiated by BN"Y - since no new break from teva occurred, man
must initiate the movement toward greater ruchniyus. However, by shira
on a nes as it occurs, by definition there already has been an impetus
to break teva, so this would bring malachim to sing as well.

(just not sure this fits the nefesh hachaim so well, but at least the
gemara works out better).

-Chaim B.


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Date: Fri, 24 Jan 2003 02:00:56 EST
From: T613K@aol.com
Subject:
Re: nouns and present-tense verbs


This is from a couple of weeks ago, but I see this subject is still
being discussed on Avodah. People are claiming that all present tense
verbs are nouns (if they have he's in front of them) but I still wonder
if that is really true.

A chaver wrote to me, in answer to my question:

>> Since none of the dikduk experts have seen fit to respond, I'll 
>> demonstrate my membership in the group of those who rush in where angels 
>> fear to tread.

>> The distinction between hei hay'diyah and  hei hash'eilah is simple: the 
>> former has a patach (or, where the noun's first letter cannot take a 
>> dagesh, a komatz), while the hei hash'eilah has a chataf-patach. The 
>> former is only appended to a noun; the latter can serve as a prefix to 
>> other parts of speech as well.

> TK:  Thank you for this info.  I didn't ask my question very clearly, but 
> what I really wanted to know was whether  there is some other kind of hei 
> that is not a hei hashe'eilah and not a hei hayediyah either, a hei that 
> goes in front of a verb and means something like "who is [verb]ing."  

> An example:  "Mi vami haholchim."  Does that mean "Who are the Goers" with 
> the hei being a hei hayediyah and the word holchim being a noun?  Or does 
> it mean "Which are the ones *who* are going" with the hei being a pronoun, 
> the pronoun "who" or "that"?  And if so,  is there a name for a hei which 
> is a pronoun?  And is there something about the way it is punctuated that 
> would tell you whether it is a hei hayediyah or a hei hapronoun?

TK


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Date: Sat, 25 Jan 2003 21:37:17 +0200
From: "gofman" <mgofman@zahav.net.il>
Subject:
Re: Rambam and working


This is a misrepresentation of the rambam to conform with other opinions.
The Rambam rejects completely the notion that one can accept money for
studying - whether from the community or from an individual. In his
hilchot talmud tora, he goes in detail into what is acceptable and not
acceptable - and yissachar zvulun is not among the acceptable.

1.See hilchos talmud torah 3:11. The Rambam refers to supporting oneself
as a ma'ala gedola and a midas hasidim harishonim. The implication is that
is not an obligation but rather a madrega. If it is true that the Rambam
"rejects completely the notion that one can accept money for studying,"
how is it that the Rambam only describes supporting oneself as a midas
hasidus?

2.See the Biur Halacha 131 who quotes the D'var Shmuel as saying that
the Rambam was not refering to anyone involved in harbatzas torah and
proves it from the rambam in hilchos shkalim 4:4, 4:7.

3.See Aruch Hashulchan Y"D 246:40 who says that the Rambam's issur was
refering specifically to someone who throws himself onto the tzibbur
and NOT someone who has made a financial arrangement or whom the tzibbur
has decided to support.

motya


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Date: Sat, 25 Jan 2003 23:13:38 +0200
From: "Daniel Eidensohn" <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
Subject:
Re: Hirsch--"nobody reads him"


> But the systematically apologetic
> distortion of the man -- his real background, his education, his
> pre-frankfurt life, his relationship to his contemporaries and their
> opinions, his expressed views etc. -- to conform to expectation is
> particularly egregious. I do not feel that RSRH could possibly be held
> in the same regard he is today in certain circles without the comforting
> and wholesale airbrushing that has been taken to his life.

Let me given an example of the above which also ties into R' Schwab's
views on inspiring historical writings. When the Artscroll collection
of RSRH's responsa and letters was published it was noted by R' Klugman
that most of responsa have been lost and that there are some who felt
that Hirsch himself did not want them published. I remember reading
[I think it was in the book on the Breuer family] that in fact much
material was burned by one of his daughters because she was certain they
were not meant to be published. After going through the material I noted
that his discussion of the nature of agadata was not included. I called
up R' Yaakov Breurer who said he had also been surprised that it had
been deleted and said he did not know the reason for this. It wasn't
until I found a footnote in an article by Prof Larry Kaplan that the
mystery was solved. BDD #5 summer 1997 "Torah U Madda in the thought of
R Samson Raphael Hirsch" note 25 Ma'amar ha Rav Hirsch al Aggado Hazal
[Hamaayan 17:2 1976 pp 1-16]

"Regarding the controversial nature of these letters I believe the
following may be of interest. In my memorable phone conversation with
Rabbi Schwab referrd to in note 14 our conversation at one point turned
to the recent important collection of writings of Rabbi Hirsch Shemesh
Marpei edited by R' Kiugman and published by Rabbi Schawb himself
(above n. 5). I took the opportunity to express my surprise that these
two letters of R Hirsch to R Wechsler were not included inthe volume
which purports to include all of R' Hirsch's major Hebrew writings
published and unpublished. R' Schwab replied - and I am citing him
practically verbatim - "Yes you are correct. The editior [R' Klugman]
consulted with me and I advised hm not to publish them. I told him that
the letters are controversial and likely to be misunderstood and that
his publishing them would just bring him unnecessary grief (tzoros)"

------------------------------------
What follows is an excerpt from these letters
------------------------------------------------

Published in Light Magazine Numbers 191-195 Volume XIV:1-5) in 1978 as
translated by Yehoshua Leiman.

"Beyond any doubt, the wisdom and the mussor that Chazal - our Sages of
the Mishnav and the Talmud - presented us in their agadic statements
and in their medrashim are incalculably great and lofty....There are
no meaningless statements there, and if there seem to be any - that is
our failure, for our intelligence has fallen short of understanding
them. Nevertheless Chazal put up a wall between these statements and
halachic ones when they transmitted a major principle to us: One does
not derive Halacha from agadic statements (Yerushalmi Peah 2 4) nor does
one cite them as refutations or seek to refute them.

"I think this stands to reason, first of all, because all agadic
statements are not rooted in the transmission from Sinai that forms
the basis of the "Naasaeh V'nishma" covenant; they are rather the
personal ideas of the maker of the individual statement. Even though any
intelligent person with a mind happy, willing, and able to reason and
comprehend will surely yield to the opinion of any sage of Chazal even
when the latter is not explaining the Mesorah but is making a statement
based on his own perception, because every one of them was greater than
all of us put together -- who are no more than grasshoppers in our own
eyes compared to them -- nevertheless this is not part of our obligation
as Jews. A person whose reason leads him to differ with the reasoning
of one of Chazal on any agadic topic is not considered an apostate or
a heretic, especially since their opinions vary on many statements,
and since there is no rule, "The Halacha is like So and So" in matters
of Agada as there is in Halacha.

[several paragraphs deleted]

"Consequently, it seems to me that we need not be wiser or more pious than
the greatest of our early scholars. Let us follow in their footsteps,
for whoever forgoes their words forgoes life. I refer to the Geonim
Rav Sherira, Rav Hai and Rabbeinu Nissim. Following in their footsteps
is Rabbeinu Chananel and after them Ritva. Their statements are cited
a number of times throughout Ein Yaakov by the Koseiv (Berachos 59,
Bava Basra 73,74) All of them teach Jewry the principle that agadic
statements are only opinions or estimations and we are to derive from
them only whatever is confirmed by reason. Rabbi Shmuel HaNagid, in the
Introduction to the Talmud printed in the first volume of every set of
the Talmud, formulated this principle, ďAgadah is every commentary on
any topic in the Talmud which is not a mitzvah. This is Agadah. And you
are to learn from it only things that make sense."

> Since we're talking about -- or protesting, whatever -- RSRH, I'll mention
> that the relatively recent artscroll biography by a R. Klugman, which
> i've read, is another example of artscroll at its best (i'm speaking
> sincerely here). It is very heavily footnoted so the author did a good
> deal of research -- this isn't one of those potato chip or comic book
> "bios" that one notices in jewish book stores all apparently authored by
> a fellow named shulman, but a substantial piece of work. But what it is
> successful at doing is preserving the "memory" of RSRH as opposed to the
> real RSRH which would have made much of the readership uncomfortable. It
> shades or censors facts, distorts motives, skips over unpleasantness
> etc. and of course basically doesn't touch RSRH's actual philosophical
> writings at all. But then again its purpose was not a "true" history,
> but a "true" memory.

An example of the above is the treatment of the dispute between Rav Hirsch
and the Wurtzburger Rav which doesn't cite the extensive discussion
of this by Prof Jacob Katz.[though he cites Prof Katz on other issues]
It is important to note that while R Klugman notes that the full text
of Rav Bamberger's reply to RSRH is found in the Collected Writing
volume 6 p 226-253, he fails to mention critical information from the
reply e.g., Rav Bamberger's views of Rav Hirsch as a talmid chachom -
which is critical to understanding the context of the dispute.

                                            Daniel Eidensohn


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Date: Sun, 26 Jan 2003 04:07:07 EST
From: T613K@aol.com
Subject:
Re: Hirsch and the other guy


From: "Daniel Eidensohn" <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
> One of the reasons for being concerning about how Mendelson was viewed
> in previous times is an interesting comment made years ago in the Jewish
> Observer. It asked what in fact was the difference between Mendelson and
> Hirsch? ... .Both integrated secular concepts with Torah....The answer 
> proposed was that the basic complaint about Mendelson was that his 
> activities came at an earlier time when most people were frum and thus he 
> facilitated the exit from frumkeit into assimilation. In contrast Hirsch's 
> activities came after Judaism
> had hit bottom. Thus his approach served to bring people back in....

I'm sorry I got to this after so much time has elapsed, but this must
be answered as strongly as possible. It is not acceptable to talk
about Hirsch's "deviations." In fact, it is probably assur to use that
word in connection with such a great man. RAV HIRSCH DID NOT BREAK
ANY WINDOWS! He was one of the greatest tzaddikim of his generation.
It is simply outrageous to talk about him this way. I don't know who
the Reb Chaim is who is quoted here, but this must be a misquote.
"For a valued customer one tolerates the damage he does." How can you
talk about Hirsch that way? He did not do any damage, he UNDID damage!
"Mendelssohn and Hirsch both caused damage but G-d forgave Hirsch because
he was a better customer?" What kind of talk is this?!

I thought the analogy was going to be something like this: One person
broke the windows and the police were called. The other person hammered
out the broken glass, so he could repair the windows--he was the glazier.

And even then it wouldn't be a good analogy, because HIRSCH DID NOT
BREAK ANYTHING.

Toby Katz


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Date: Mon, 27 Jan 2003 01:25:57 +0200
From: "Daniel Eidensohn" <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
Subject:
Re: RMF vs. RSBA


> IMHO, MM was on the right track BUT FLAWED. It took the experience
> form his flaws to produce a far more perfected version - I.e. the TIDE
> of Hirsch. But Hirsch - as do we - had the luxury of hindsight...

> IOW, it would be a big mistake to take MM lock stock and barrell, but
> it is alos unfair to condemn him completely. A more selective view
> is needed. MM blazed the trail for a ghetto-free frumkeit....

A similar analysis is found in Das Sofrim by R' Chaim Dov Rabinowitz page
194, 206 pp262-267

                                                            Daniel Eidensohn


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