Avodah Mailing List

Volume 10 : Number 101

Monday, February 10 2003

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Fri, 7 Feb 2003 14:06:56 EST
From: RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com
Re: excuses for living in chu"l

In a message dated 1/23/2003 10:34:31 PM EST, cmsherer@fandz.com writes:
> That makes sense. How many of us are marbitzei Torah in chu"l on Rav 
> Shachter's level? Leaving aside the question of whether there may be 
> other valid reasons for staying in chu"l....

Bepasthus to me
Echad ha'marbeh v'Echad ha'mam'it - uvilvad sheyechavein es libo lesheim

Kol Tuv - Best Regards
Richard Wolpoe

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Date: Fri, 7 Feb 2003 14:31:54 -0500
From: "Feldman, Mark" <MFeldman@CM-P.COM>
RE: History, Truth, Memory: Nemonus of Baalei Mesorah

From: Carl and Adina Sherer [mailto:sherer@actcom.co.il]
> 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?

(I am catching up on my Avodah reading.)

My impression is that the opponents of history (as opposed to newspaper
reporting) are not motivated primarily by a fear of gossip. Rather they
are afraid that their world view will be challenged. R' Schwab wrote
(as quoted by RDE):

    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

What if their inadequacies and contradictions undermine the whole notion
that their ways are to be emulated? Alternatively, what if it turns out
that what R Schwab considered "inadequacies and contradictions" are such
only from a charedi perspective--i.e., the gedolim (such R YY Weinberg)
weren't as charedi as their talmidim have made them out to be?

Kol tuv,

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Date: Sat, 8 Feb 2003 22:52:57 +0200
From: "gofman" <mgofman@zahav.net.il>
re: lifnim mishuras hadin

See Ramban on Devarim 7:18. There he states that the passuk v'asita
hayashar v'hatov is an obligation to go lifnim m'shuras hadin.

Also see Baba Metzia 35a- the sugya of shuma hadar- and the end of the
sixth perek ibid. for two examples of this chiyuv.

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Date: Fri, 7 Feb 2003 14:04:21 EST
From: RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com
Rambam, pshat in

In a message dated 2/4/2003 7:43:40 AM EST, Meir.Shinnar@rwjuh.edu writes:
> WR to physical labor - this isn't creative interpretation, but simple
> pshat. Again look at the perush hamishnayot, and try to reconcile your
> pshat with the perush hamishnayot. the tannaim are not praised for an
> act of hasidut for working and learning - it is viewed that it would have
> been wrong for them and for anyone else to accept money. The rambam is
> quite against current standards, but he is exquisitely clear.

This reminds me of the joke:
In BD shel Ma'elh the Rambam ges up and speaks his mind and Rav Chaim
Brisker jumps up and says and THIS is what the Rambam MEANT. --smile--

Back to reality and  the question reamions:, 
Do we sinceerly believe meforshim are really giving us the original
intended meaning or are the giving us their spin on the original

Let me be perfectly clear. The meforshim's "spin" on a statement might
actually be the more Halachically authoritative one, nevertheless it does
not necessarily mean that it is intellectually- epsaking the accurate one!

Kol Tuv - Best Regards
Richard Wolpoe

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Date: Fri, 7 Feb 2003 14:06:56 EST
From: RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com
Re: excuses for living in chu"l

In a message dated 1/23/2003 10:34:31 PM EST, cmsherer@fandz.com writes:
> That makes sense. How many of us are marbitzei Torah in chu"l on Rav 
> Shachter's level? Leaving aside the question of whether there may be 
> other valid reasons for staying in chu"l....

Bepasthus to me
Echad ha'marbeh v'Echad ha'mam'it - uvilvad sheyechavein es libo lesheim

Kol Tuv - Best Regards
Richard Wolpoe

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Date: Sun, 9 Feb 2003 15:44:44 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Badim on the Mizbei'ach Nechoshes

According to R' Yosi, the mizbei'ach in the mishkan was 3 amos high.
But according to R' Yehudah, it was 10 amos.

That would put the badim at around 5 or 7 amos above ground level,
or in modern terms at least 7.5' (2.5m) or so.

How would that help anyone carry it?

Did R' Yehudah believe that Moshe Rabbeinu was both literally 10 amos
high and rather typical in dimension?


Micha Berger                 "The most prevalent illness of our generation is
micha@aishdas.org            excessive anxiety....  Emunah decreases anxiety:
http://www.aishdas.org       'The Almighty is my source of salvation;  I will
Fax: (413) 403-9905          trust and not be afraid.'" (Isa 12) -Shalhevesya

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Date: Sun, 9 Feb 2003 14:31:19 +0200
From: "Daniel A. Schiffman" <schiffd@mail.biu.ac.il>
Mishloach Manot

What I have in mind is that there is a lack of personal contact; you just
write someone's name on a sheet and pay money. I was under he impression
that the mitzvah is intended to promote keruv levavot, and here is being
turned into an impersonal thing. It's not ish lreieyhu but through an
office. On the other hand, mishloach implies that shlichut would be OK.
And we accept this sort of arrangement for fulfilling matanot laevyonim.

Daniel Schiffman

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Date: Sat, 8 Feb 2003 21:22:25 EST
From: Phyllostac@aol.com
sound guidelines : barber shops and bathrooms

R. Akiva Miller's post on bringing things into bathrooms reminded me of
some things I recently thought about.

1) Sound in barber shops - I have been in Jewish barber shops where radios
were on and were playing Jewish radio programs (and/or taped Jewish
content - songs or otherwise). When I felt that I could do so easily,
I asked the barber to change the programming / station (turning it off
would be okay for that too), the reason being that since the radio
would be / was playing songs that included pesukim / holy thoughts,
hearing them could/would likely make me think divrei Torah bigilui
rosh (by hearing them while having my hair cut, when, IIRC, one is
ossur liharheir bozeh). Some of the barbers are Jews that don't know
much halocho and think perhaps that they are making frum customers more
comfortable by playing such things. Perhaps that is so - esp. for people
waiting their turn and maybe for the barber himself too. However, it
could be a possible infraction of lifnei iveir for the barber to do so,
vis a vis the bareheaded customer he is working on.

2) Recently, I stopped to daven in a Yeshivishe beis midrash, and had to
use the 'facilities' during davening. While I was in the bathroom, I was
able to hear the shliach tzibbur saying kaddish. This caused difficulty,
similarly to the barber case above. I therefore recommend that anyone
that can, should try to see to it that such bathrooms as soundrpoof as
possible, to avoid such problems. In large Shuls, Yeshivas, etc., where
the facilities are usually / often not that close to the actual places of
davening and learning, such problems may not usually arise - however, in
some smaller places, like the one where I experienced the aforementioned
situation, the limited amount of space can cause the locations to be in
closer proximity and more danger of the above type of situation arising.

Comments ?


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Date: Sat, 8 Feb 2003 21:25:53 EST
From: Phyllostac@aol.com
Re: visiting friends of parents - kiyyum of kibbud av ?

In a message dated 2/4/03 8:11:38 PM PST, kennethgmiller@juno.com writes:
<<  I don't understand your question. What is your uncertainty? It sure
 sounds to me like it would indeed be a kiyyum of kiddum av v'em. The only
 safek I can think of is the possibility that the avel is mistaken, and
 that for some reason the visit would NOT give nachas ruach to the
 But, presuming that the avel is correct, then I can't imagine what the
 question is. Suppose the parents were still alive, and the friends were
 in a distant city, which this child happened to visit for some reason. If
 it would give nachas to the parents to know that their child was
 sufficiently thoughtful as to visit that friend, would this not be a
 kiyum of kibud av v'em? So why would it change afterward?>>

Maybe the question is if such would be a kiyyum of kibud av va'eim
afilu bichayeihem. Chaza"l (brought on Rash"i on kabeid es ovicho
vies imecho, IIRC) say - eizehu kovod - machilo umashkeihu, malbisho
uminaalo.....eizehi mora....lo yeishev bimkomo vilo yistor es divorov.....

Even though, in the popular imagination, visiting friends of parents may
be included in kibud ov vo'eim, is it actually correctly so ? Perhaps the
visiting would be a kiyyum of another mitzvoh, e.g. viahavta lireiacha
komocho or so - I am not saying it shouldn't be done....but is it kibbud
ov vo'eim ? It doesn't seem to fit into the categories mention by Chaza"l
brought in Rash"i above, IIRC.

Of course, in the popular mind, to some/many, kibbud av means that
children must always listen to their parents - which is not true and
a distortion of the mitzvoh . So we see that there is some confusion
at times about the meaning of it.....Is 'giving nachas' to parents
a kiyyum of kibbud ov vo'eim (as opposed to other mitzvos / inyonim)
? Never ? Sometimes ? Always ?


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Date: Sun, 09 Feb 2003 09:18:57 +0200
From: "Carl and Adina Sherer" <sherer@actcom.co.il>
Re: excuses for living in chu"l

On 7 Feb 2003 at 14:06, RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com wrote:
> In a message dated 1/23/2003 10:34:31 PM EST, cmsherer@fandz.com
> writes:
>> That makes sense. How many of us are marbitzei Torah in chu"l on Rav
>> Shachter's level? Leaving aside the question of whether there may be
>> other valid reasons for staying in chu"l....

> Bepasthus to me
> Echad ha'marbeh v'Echad ha'mam'it - uvilvad sheyechavein es libo
> lesheim shamayim.

I don't think that applies when it's being used as an excuse to avoid 
the performance of other mitzvos aseh, especially when the one you're 
(ostensibly) doing could also be done in EY.

-- 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: Sun, 9 Feb 2003 09:13:36 -0500
From: kennethgmiller@juno.com
Re: sanhedrin

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

Rabbi Rich Wolpoe responded <<< The assumption is that there was ONE
and ONLY one Sanhedrin. This is misleading. ... The term Sanhedrin can
be conidered to be a lot like the more modern Term Senate or Soviet and
therefore can refer to various and sundry official councils. >>>

Sorry. I thought I was clear. My point is that no kofer could have
been allowed to sit on ANY sanhedrin (even a minor or local one) if it
was involved in eternal halachic issues. I grant that a sanhedrin which
was involved in temporal political issues may have had to have kofrim or
no-Jews sitting on it for practical reasons, but when halachic issues were
involved then the Torah-true judges would have refused to participate.

RRW also wrote <<< And don't forget, Yochanan Kohein Gadol was in office
BEFORE he became a tzadukki. A lot of judges on the US Supreme Court
changed their ideologies AFTER being appointed for life >>>

Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan (The Handbook of Jewish Thought 10:20) writes that "if
a member becomes very old or sexually maimed, he must be replaced". He
cites seven sources for this in his notes, and one dissenting view. I
think that it is reasonable to presume that according to the view that
a an elderly or maimed dayan must be replaced, the same would apply to
someone who developed other pesulim, such as becoming a kofer.

Akiva Miller

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Date: Sun, 9 Feb 2003 23:25:18 -0500 (EST)
From: "Jonathan Baker" <jjbaker@panix.com>
Slobodka mussar

> JJB:
>:> R'Mi:

>:>> How come there is more knowledge of Xianity, and ability to contrast
>:>> Yahadus to it, than there is of mussar or of ability to compare
>:>> Brisk to mussar or chassidus?
> ...
>: Furthermore, the style of mussar that you qua Aishdas wants to push,
>: that of vaadim, doesn't exist any more....

> I would say you're confusing cause and effect. Those Talmidim of
> Slabodka-derived yeshivos that you cite probably learn Brisker
> derekh. Yiddishkeit has been defined nearly exclusively in terms of
> halakhah. Isn't that after all the underlying concept inherent in Brisker
> derekh -- that all of halakhah is understood only in terms of kelalei
> halakhah, with no appeal to underlying values or ta'amim?

> Ve'adim ended at Nazi gunpoint and crematoria. In the US, where getting
> a yeshiva going was a challenge, no one tried establishing anything beyond
> a focus on shas. There was no experiment to pronounce a failure.

I would say that this letter reflects as little real knowledge of 
contemporary Slabodka-derived yeshivot as I had.  I received the
following in two letters from list-chaver Ira Brandriss (reposted
with permission):

: I learned in Chofetz Chaim (post high school) for about 13 years.  The above 
: statement  [referring to a suggestion that the Slobodka practices of mussar
: shmuessin and vaad'n were only done in the distant past, but not done now]
: is absolutely untrue with regard to shmuessin.  There were two shmuessin
: a week (except when the Rosh Yeshiva was ill or away) all the time I was
: there.  There even was time often officially built into the schedule to 
: review these shmuessin and there were frequent sessions with the Rosh Yeshiva 
: in which we would challenge the ideas and "proofs" of the shmuessin much as 
: we would challenge a shiur in Gemara.  A person was not considered a real 
: talmid of the yeshiva unless he was "into" the shmuessin in this way.  

: With respect to vaad'n, the statement may be more accurate, depending on what 
: is meant by vaad'n.  We had "chaburos" in which people regularly said their 
: own shmuess'n in Chochmas HaMussar for the critique of their peers.   Vaad'n 
: in which a group of people worked on a middah together, existed only 
: sporadically, in my experience.  (The kind where friends critiqued each 
: other's character was indeed considered something of the distant past and not 
: apropos today.)  More common, however, was a practice in which people 
: consulted each other on a one-on-one basis (and often on a mentor-mentee or 
: rebbi-talmid basis) on middos and mussar issues.  One thing was clear, 
: however: involvement with mussar -- and Slobodka in particular -- was part of 
: the air, atmosphere, and character of the yeshiva.


: It was always taught in Chofetz Chaim that there were three components of 
: mussar:  Chochmas HaMussar, Chinuch HaMussar, and Limud HaMussar 
: be-Hispaalus.  This came from R' Dovid Leibowitz, a prominent talmid of 
: Slobodka, who founded the yeshiva and was the father of the current Rosh 
: Yeshiva, R' Henach Leibowitz.  

: Slobodka emphasized Chochmas HaMussar.  I do believe that this intellectual 
: tradition of Slobodka is alive and well in Chofetz Chaim and in the shmuessin 
: of the Rosh Yeshiva.  (A good introduction to the methodology, which was as 
: important as the substance, may be found in the recently published "Defining 
: Humanity" by R Berish Ganz, a talmid of the yeshiva.  The contents of this
: work also offer a glimpse into some of the substantive intellectual processes
: and thematic concepts that are part of this legacy.  See also, in Hebrew,
: Sefer Chiddushei HaLev, including the haskomos and introduction.)

: The same is true for many of the general hashkofos and what you might call 
: practical applications of the Slobodka derech.  For a review of these, as I 
: and my friends received them, you may want to look at an article I wrote on 
: R' Dovid in December 1991 in the Jewish Observer, which was largely 
: expanded in a pamphlet Chofetz Chaim put out on the occasion of R' Dovid's 
: 50th yahrzeit that same year.

: Of course, the understanding of Slobodka we received was ... the 
: way R' Dovid, and then his son, understood that tradition, as naturally will 
: always be the case.   You might find of interest that some friends of mine 
: and I "interviewed" many of the great roshei yeshiva who were products of 
: Slobodka and were still alive at the time, and we found, by and large, that 
: our perceptions of its shittos were very much on the mark, with some 
: interesting divergences.  These interviews included, in America, for 
: instance, a series of three long sessions with Rav Yitzchok Hutner in around 
: 1976 and a session some years later with Rav Yitzchok Ruderman. Others from 
: our group contributed more from conversations with Rav Meir Chodosh (I
: think it was) and Rav Mordechai Schulman in Israel, and others.  (Rav Hutner, 
: who you mention, told us about how he believed a certain aspect of Slobodka 
: outlook no longer applied.  I think it is fair to say -- this is my own 
: judgment -- that his Shmuess'n were not in the Slobodka way.)

: But I digress.  The component of Limud HaMussar be-Hispaalus was (and still 
: is) also very much stressed at Chofetz Chaim.  The daily seder in Limud 
: HaMussar be-Hispaalus was mandatory and "enforced."  The Rosh Yeshiva 
: stressed it frequently, and let his outlook be known that such learning was a 
: sine qua non of being a "baal mussar", which in Chofetz Chaim was an 
: inseparable aim from being a ben Torah.  If you were not involved in this 
: aspect, in very real terms you were not really part of the yeshiva.  It was 
: emphasized by the Rosh Yeshiva often that this was the only way that mussar 
: could affect a person on an emotional level, and, on occasion, when he felt 
: there was a bit of laxity setting in, he would talk very forcefully about it. 
:  (He also sometimes made a point of joining the seder in the bais medrash 
: himself.)  This "emotional" aspect of working on oneself was taken very, very 
: seriously in the yeshiva, and I do believe it has had strong impact over the 
: decades on the product of the yeshiva.  

: This is not to say that the Chochmas HaMussar component was not also seen as 
: critical to the development of a baal mussar.  I am not 100% certain of this, 
: but I am fairly certain that our Rosh Yeshiva taught (and teaches) that iyun 
: into the finer nuances of middos, the workings of the yetzer hora, and 
: various proclivities of human nature works on a person in the way Rav Yisroel 
: Salanter taught that iyun into a particular halacha affects a person's 
: sensitivity to and dikduk in the observance of that halacha.  This, of 
: course, besides the self-awareness hopefully such insights will bring 
: (although, concededly, they often do not).

: In any case, as Tenuas HaMussar also explains, Slobodka did see intellectual 
: involvement and cognitive clarity as a key aspect of mussar-personality 
: development.  

: The dual involvement in the shmuessn and in the limud ha-mussar be-hispaalus 
: did lead, as I alluded last time, to many, many serious-minded talmidim 
: seeking very seriously in one-on-ones about how to improve their middos and 
: yiras shomayim.   (Many also had direct consultations with the Rosh Yeshiva 
: himself, as well as with other rebbeim.)  This was, in fact, part of the 
: atmosphere.  "Working on oneself" was part of the daily lexicon.  (Let me add 
: the caveat here that I don't present myself as an exemplar, and have 
: certainly fallen off a great deal over the years.)

: The vaad, I agree, was not a common tool towards this end.  It strikes me now 
: that there may have been some thought aloft that we were not of the level to 
: give -- and moreso, to take -- analysis of our peers.  

: I have not talked much about Chinuch HaMussar because that area was pretty 
: much left to the individual.  I have some memory about that being a 
: difference between Slobodka and Kelm.  On the other hand, there was much talk 
: about certain practical things, like taking care that one's chitzonius not be 
: confused with inner religiousness, what is a wise gader and what is a foolish 
: one.  People sometimes traded "tachbulos."   

: In my day, many people had the sefer "Cheshbon Hanefesh," which was recently 
: highlighted on Avodah or Areivim as based on Ben Franklin's self-improvement 
: system.  (At one point, a reprint became available based on the version that, 
: interestingly, was published in Slobodka, in spite of the aforementioned 
: school's shying away from Chinuch HaMussar).

: These are just a few thoughts that came to mind on the points you raised.  
: Thanks for writing.  Kol tuv, u'v'chovod,  
: Ira Brandriss

> OTOH, the gaps in American O communal cultures are huge and blatant.
> We're clearly missing /something/ major. A huge refocus on ehrlechkeit,
> and away from knee-jerk, chitzonios oriented frumkeit.

> Wouldn't it be nice to have a community where people would actually
> prefer to do business with us, because there was a kol about our
> honesty?

Of course it would.  But it also seems that the mussar-derived yeshivot
*do* engage in some form of mussar training, and

1) it doesn't involve vaadim - so evidently the roshe yeshiva felt that
vaadim weren't appropriate for the American scene. And if full-time
yeshiva people aren't on the level to take vaad work, what chance do we
baalebatim have?

2) it may or may not be accomplishing its purpose, if you feel that
"the gaps in American O communal cultures are huge and blatant..."

Is there a notable difference in that kind of ehrlichkeit between
graduates of the mussar-ish yeshivot, and the graduates of more
Brisker-style yeshivot? Yes, mussar in RIETS/YU is all but non-existent,
but Ira seems to indicate that it's taken more seriously in Chofetz
Chaim and other places. OTOH, one of the older CC musmachim I know,
I'm not terribly impressed with his personality. I guess there are no
guarantees, although the other CC people I know seem to be good people.

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

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Date: Sun, 9 Feb 2003 11:55:07 -0500
From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
Half a pasuk

I had commented a few weeks ago concerning the minhag of hakafos at the
levaya of Rav Landau z"l. One thing that I noticed is that they said
only part of the pasuk "ki ata Hashem machsi" (in the shir shel pegaim).

Could this week's daf yomi wherein it seems that they did so during
hosafa al ha'ir be a makor for this?


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Date: Sun, 09 Feb 2003 19:52:13 +0200
From: "Carl M. Sherer" <cmsherer@fandz.com>
(Fwd) The Mitzvah of Living in Eretz Yisrael - Rabbi Zev Leff

Received from one of my epals....

-- Carl

------- Forwarded message follows -------
The Mitzvah of Living in Eretz Yisrael
By: Rabbi Zev Leff

Is there a mitzvah to live in Eretz Yisrael? This question has long been
disputed by the greatest halachic authorities.

The Ramban says that it is a mitzvah to conquer and settle Eretz Yisrael,
and it applies in all generations. The Sefer HaCharedim, similarly,
counts it as a mitzvah d'oraisa that applies at all times.

On the other hand, Tosafos in Kesubos (110b) cites the opinion of
Rabbi Chaim Cohen that because travel to Israel was very difficult and
dangerous?those who did so were prey to illness, piracy and shipwreck?the
mitzvah does not apply. Beyond that, there are many mitzvos hataluios
b'aretz that are difficult to keep, And therefore nullify the mitzvah
to live in Israel.

Today, there are few pirates, it's not so difficult to get here, and
the mitzvos hataluios b'aretz are getting easier and easier to keep.
Beyond that, there are rishonim, notably the Maharit, who maintain that
the opinion attributed to Rav Chaim Cohen was mistakenly inserted in
the Tosafos by a student. The Maharit says that he never heard of such a
thing---that because a mitzvah is difficult to keep, therefore it doesn't
apply. He says that the opinion of Rav Chaim Cohen never existed. Others,
however, uphold the validity of the Rav Chaim Cohen opinion.

The Rambam doesn't mention this mitzvah specifically, and there is a
great deal of discussion about his omission. Some say he left it out
because living here is more than a single, specific mitzvah; it is
the foundation of all mitzvos. All mitzvos depend on Eretz Yisrael.
You can't observe Taryag mitzvos without being here.

However, it's very difficult to say such a thing because the Rambam
includes the mitzvah of emunah in Taryag, and certainly emunah is a
basis for all mitzvos. If the Rambam counts that, and certainly yishuv
ha'aretz is no more of a foundation concept than emunah, it should also be
counted. There are those, therefore, that say that the Rambam's opinion is
that there is no mitzvah from the Torah today to settle Eretz Yisrael. It
existed in the time of Yehoshua, and ceased when we went into golus, and
will come back when Moshiach will come. There are those who maintain,
however, the Rambam would agree that settling Eretz Yisrael is a mitzvah
of rabbinical origin.

The Chazon Ish, the Gerrer Rebbe, Avnei Nezer and the Pischei Tshuvah
in Shulchan Aruch agree with the Ramban and the Chareidim that there is
an obligatory mitzvah from the Torah today. Theirs is the majority view
of the latter-day poskim.

Rabbi Moshe Feinstein ruled that it is a mitzvah today, but only of a
voluntary, not obligatory nature. He compared yishuv ha'aretz to tzitzis,
which is also a voluntary mitzvah. (One doesn't have to wear a four
cornered garment, but if one chooses to, he needs tzitzis.) But how would
we look at a person who doesn't wear tzitzis because it's only a voluntary
mitzvah? Obviously, such a person is not a yirei shamayim. He's not a
person who's looking for opportunities to do mitzvos. The gemora says
that in a time of anger one is punished for avoiding a voluntary mitzvah.

But even if there is a doubt about the mitzvah does that mean it should be
dismissed? How much money is spent, how much time is spent on acquiring
a kosher mezuzah, written with every hiddur, in careful fulfillment of
all the shitos? In normal everyday mitzvos, we take care to be mehadrin
min hamehadrin, to be yotzei all the shitos, to take all the halachic
opinions into consideration. Yet, we don't find the same attitude when
it comes to yishuv ha'aretz. There are people who build their sukkos
using only wooden pegs, just to fulfill the shita of the Chazon Ish,
which nobody else holds like. The same Chazon Ish says it's a mitzvah
to live in Eretz Yisrael.

There are, of course, factors that may exempt a person from yishuv
ha'aretz . One factor is parnassah. Will you be in a situation of
financial crunch, in which you will not be able to survive? Secondly,
will you be able to survive religiously? Will your Torah stature be
enhanced or diminished by living in Eretz Yisrael? Thirdly, safety.
Are you placing yourself in danger?

Before continuing, it is important to note that these criteria are
relevant only to those living outside the Land. Once you're living
here, you can never leave permanently, even for parnassah, Torah
study, shidduchim, or other valid reasons. The heteirim are at most
temporary. One must always have in mind to return.

There is no doubt that living in Eretz Yisrael is something that involves
a tremendous amount of expense and hardship. Accordingly, there are
three factors that may exempt one from the mitzvah of yishuv ha'aretz:
finances, safety, and one's level of spirituality.

Will you be able to survive in Eretz Yisrael financially? If you can
survive without begging, that's called making a parnasah.

What is the standard of living that the Shulchan Aruch has in mind
that would exempt a person from a mitzvah in which he is otherwise
obligated? Is it a question of owning one car instead of two? Or dwelling
in five rooms instead of twenty? Will you be able to afford only one
maid instead of two, or maybe no maids at all? A person who is used to a
certain standard of living, who would have to sacrifice that standard in
order to live in Eretz Yisrael, might indeed be exempt from the mitzvah.

But the question is: How proper is it to maintain a life style that
prevents you from keeping mitzvos? Is that the kind of life that
HaShem wants of a person? So it depends on how we define making a
living. Baruch HaShem, there are people living here who are eating,
who are functioning, wearing clothing, and are making ends meet without
going around begging. Or if not, at least they're close to making ends
meet. And if they're not close, someday it'll get close.

But I'll tell you a secret?there are also people in America who don't
make ends meet. It all comes from HaShem.

The same Ribono shel Olam who can give you a parnasah in Eretz Yisrael
can take away the parnasah in America. I know people in America who, by
American standards, aren't making a living. Maybe they should move here.

Safety: I find it very amusing. I live on a moshav in what the newspapers
call "The West Bank." I don't lock my door at night. True, the moshav is
surrounded by a barbed wire fence, and we have guards all the time. But,
Baruch HaShem, even after the intifada, the problems have been very
minimal. At least I know when I walk out, what my enemy looks like. And
I know that the people in the street with the guns are on my side.

But in Boro Park, I'm not sure that the people in the street with
the guns are on my side. When I visit the States, a day doesn't go
by without somebody being mugged. I find it extremely amusing to hear
someone asking me, "Don't you feel unsafe living on the West Bank?"?as
they lock the six locks on their door. One has to face the fact that it's
not safe in America, either. And in Eretz Yisrael one has a very good
protection policy, Hinei, lo yanum v'lo yashen, Shomer Yisrael. HaShem
has a special connection with Eretz Yisrael.

Will living in Eretz Yisrael enhance my mitzvah observance? In Miami?at
a time when we had neither a mikveh nor a yeshiva in the community?a
baal habayis came to me in all seriousness, and said, "Rabbi, there
is only one thing missing in our community, that if we would have it,
it would make it a top-notch Torah community." I was anxiously waiting
for him to suggest that we build a mikveh, and I was going to make him
the chairman of the committee. What was missing? He told me that what
we were missing was "an elegant, glatt kosher French restaurant!" Now,
I have nothing against French food. I love French fries. But that would
make it a top-notch Torah community? In all my years in yeshiva, there was
never a course given in French pastry making. There's something not right
with such an attitude. The places of Torah in chutz l'aretz are just an
extension of the Torah of Eretz Yisrael. They are meant for people who
want kedusha, but cannot go to live in Eretz Yisrael. For such people,
for all practical purposes they are in Eretz Yisrael. (Whereas someone
who has his feet in Eretz Yisrael, but his mind is in chutz l'aretz,
is in chutz l'aretz.)

It's said that someone who learns the parshayos of korbanos, it's as if he
brought a korban. But that's only for someone who cannot bring a korban,
because there is no Beis HaMikdash; someone who can bring a korban in
the Beis HaMikdash and learns the parasha instead, isn't fulfilling
anything. If you can be here and choose not to, just wanting doesn't help.

Go to top.

Date: Sun, 9 Feb 2003 21:05:50 +0200
From: "Daniel Eidensohn" <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
Re: sound guidelines: barber shops and bathrooms

> 2) Recently, I stopped to daven in a Yeshivishe beis midrash, and had to
> use the 'facilities' during davening. While I was in the bathroom, I was
> able to hear the shliach tzibbur saying kaddish. This caused difficulty...

This is thoroughly discussed in the Tzitz Eliezar vol 13 Simon 1.2 -
He concludes that there is no issur in hearing davening while in the
bathroom 2 - there is no need to put ear plugs in or do other things to
prevent hirhur in this case of onas 3 - there is no need to go someplace
else to avoid the situation. He also discusses tape recorders Simon
1.1. He also notes that if one hears a neighbors radio etc it is also
considered onas and is mutar lchatchila.

Mishna Berura Simon 85 also discusses issues relevant to above.

See also Igros Moshe YD I 172-3

                                            Daniel Eidensohn

Go to top.

Date: Sun, 9 Feb 2003 14:12:34 EST
From: Joelirich@aol.com
Re: sound guidelines: barber shops and bathrooms

In a message dated 02/09/2003 10:48:22 AM EST, Phyllostac@aol.com writes:
<< 1) Sound in barber shops... When I felt that I could do so easily,
 I asked the barber to change the programming / station ... the reason
 being that since the radio would be / was playing songs that included
 pesukim / holy thoughts, hearing them could/would likely make me think
 divrei Torah bigilui rosh (by hearing them while having my hair cut,
 when, IIRC, one is ossur liharheir bozeh)>>



Go to top.

Date: Sun, 9 Feb 2003 15:50:32 -0500
From: "Feldman, Mark" <MFeldman@CM-P.COM>
Re: Mishloach Manot

// you just write someone's name on a sheet and pay money. I was under
he impression that the mitzvah is intended to promote keruv levavot,
and here is being turned into an impersonal thing//

Yet it is clear that merely appointing a shaliach to give MM works (in
fact, many say that it is preferred). So the impersonal nature of the
method under discussion should not be problematic.

Kol tuv,

Go to top.


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