Avodah Mailing List

Volume 10 : Number 115

Friday, February 28 2003

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Wed, 26 Feb 2003 17:32:10 GMT
From: Eli Turkel <turkel@post.tau.ac.il>
gadol ha-dor

There is a chiyyuv who refuses to abide by this decision because he
claims that Rav Elyashiva paskend therwise and he is the Poseik hador.
More on that thread later bli neder

This completely throws for a loop. Does that mean that "yekkis" should
give up their customs if that's not the psak of Rav Elyashiv. The psak
in Beth Aaron is based on the psak I heard from both RYBS and RAS that
one sjould say gaol yisrael out loud. I assume it is a brisker minhag
among others. Does everyone give up their minhagim because R. Eliyahiv
or RMF or some other psek disagrees?

[Email #2. -mi]

BTW the question of who to pasken is a major issue in out shul.
ROY paskens in many case that everyone including ashkenazim show do
things the sefardi way in Israel. Some sefardim in our shul try and use
that psak to do things differently than the minhag even though we are
an ashkenazi shul.

They say that the psak of ROY overrides local minhag.

I disagree with that vehemently

 Prof. Eli Turkel,  turkel@post.tau.ac.il on 02/26/2003
Department of Mathematics, Tel Aviv University

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Date: Wed, 26 Feb 2003 11:36:05 -0500
From: David Riceman <dr@insight.att.com>
Re: rambam yisachar zevulun

gofman wrote:
> I maintained that the Rambam was only assuring someone who throws
> himself onto the tzibbur, i.e., the kesef mishna's main pshat in the
> rambam. Consequently, there would be no reason to mention schar since
> the rambam is only saying what is assur.

This is false. H. Talmud Torah discusses the laws of how to study Torah.
If it were acceptable to receive payment for studying that is where the
halacha belongs. Especially since the Rambam says there "assur leihanos
b'divrei Torah baolam hazeh".

> I repeat my earlier assertion that the rambam is not saying the
> exclusive way of reaching olam haba.

This is false. The Rambam in H. Yesodei HaTorah discusses the nature
of the human soul, and deduces from its nature that it can survive
bodily death through knowledge of God. If there is another aspect of the
nature of the soul which enables it to survive bodily death through kiym
mitzvoth it is there, in the chapter devoted to the nature of the soul,
that it belongs.

>> the relationship between mitzvoth and knowledge in H. Deoth 3:1-3

> The rambam in h. deos is not refering to mitzvos

This is false. "Therefore our sages commanded that a person refrain only
from those things prohibited by the Torah". The Rambam, rashly assuming
that you have read chapters 1 and 2, is informing you that enjoying what
is muttar and avoiding what is assur will instill a moderate temperament,
which will in turn enable you to study effectively, whereas excessive
chumroth or kulloth will lead to a distorted temperament which will
prevent effective study.

David Riceman

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Date: Wed, 26 Feb 2003 16:37:53 -0500
From: "Feldman, Mark" <MFeldman@CM-P.COM>
FW: Proselytism

 From my father, Dr. Louis H. Feldman of YU in response to an Areivim posting:

-----Original Message-----
As to Perushim trying to proselytize there is only one reference, which
is much debated, in the New Testament, Matthew 23:15, which declares
that the Pharisees "compass sea and land to make one proselyte."
There are references, both positive and negative, but mostly positive,
toward welcoming proselytes. There are rabbinic portraits of Abraham,
and others as missionaries. See Michael Goodman, "Proselytising
in Rabbinic Judaism," Journal of Jewish Studies 40 (1989) 175-185.
There seems good reason to believe that large numbers were converted to
Judaism during the Second Temple period (see my Jew and Gentile in the
Ancient World, pp. 288-341), but we do not know the names of any Jews
who were missionaries, unless you regard Paul as such, nor do we have
any missionary tracts.

<Second email:>
As to when the anti-gerus began, we do not really know,but it
is commonly stated that it began with Hadrian's decree forbidding
circumcision. Hadrian's successor, Antoninus Pius (138-161) permitted
circumcision of Jews, but apparently the permission did not extend to
the circumcision of non-Jewish converts to Judaism. However, there
is evidence of conversion to Judaism in the third, fourth, and fifth
centuries. See my Jew and Gentile in the Ancient World, pp. 383-415.


BTW the book can be purchased at Amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/6i0w
Also, I encourage readers to write additional online reviews at Amazon.
The only reviewer removed a star because of my father's strong
religious affiliation. He wrote: "I highly recommend it. 4 stars
because the authors religious "affiliation" is dangerously obvious from
the hyphenation of G-d's name in the text; in narrow minds, this could
cast doubt on his ability as an objective scholar."

Kol tuv,

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Date: Wed, 26 Feb 2003 19:35:00 EST
From: RaphaelIsaacs@aol.com
Re: Shoshanas ya'akov

In a message dated 2/26/03 6:38:41 PM EST, charlesf.brown@gs.com writes:
> 3) why the emphasis on "yachad" (obviously the theme is unity, but
> this theme is not played up in megilla; adreaba, there are distinctions
> between bnei kfarim, kerachim, and cities in reading megilla)

A counterattaack on Haman's kitrug that Klal Yisrael was "mefuzar u'meforad".

[Email #2. -mi]

> 4) what was the gadlus of seeing mordechai wearing techeiles - the
> culmination of the nes is the downfall of haman, the saving of klal
> yisrael, etc. why is this nekudah of wearing techelis so critical?
> I have seen #4 asked in a few places and it strikes me as the most
> interesting.

Me too.

In my drosho on Parshas Tetzaveh, I focused on the Megilla's inordinate
amount of time spent on clothing. The fabrics at the party, Mordechai's
clothes, change of clothes, refusal to change clothes, Esther's changing
clothes, Haman's wish to wear the Melech's clothes, dressing Mordechai
in the Melech's clothes...Clearly relates to Parshas Tetzaveh that always
coincides with Purim or Purim Katan.


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Date: Wed, 26 Feb 2003 21:03:43 -0800
From: "Ezriel Krumbein" <ezsurf@worldnet.att.net>
Re: When to investigate a chazakah

>But the case of the woman in the story is very different, as I see
>it. If it had been impossible for her to find any information about
>that Conservative Rabbi, then she has what to rely on. But if she *can*
>clarify the facts, why is there no obligation to do so?

I cannot answer this for certain but there are two things to consider.

1) The source for relying on a chazaka to say a situation is the same as
is before, is from tumas batim. The cohen goes into the house and inspects
the maga on the wall then tells them to remove all of the items from
the house so that they will not become tame and then declares the house
tamei. Now the gemara learns from this that since there is a minimum
size for the tuma and the cohen is outside the house and not looking
at the size of the maga at the time he declares it tamei maybe it got
smaller? Therefore he must be relying on a chazaka that it remained
the same size. In this example it is clear he could have looked or
sent someone to look but it is not required because of the chazaka. See
Chulin daf 10b. However this is a case of chazaka dmeyikara.The case you
are talking about, I think, is a different type of chazaka which the
Encyclopedia Talmudis describes as 'something accepted among people
in certain situations we accept as fact'. See volume 13 page 714.
The Encyclopedia Talmudis has 5 types of chazaka listed there.

2) In the case of mamzer, if the mamzeirus is not known there is no
requirement to reveal it. I first became aware of this from Rav Hershel
Schachter's article on Ethiopian Jews in The Journal of Halacha and
Contemporary Society Number IX Pesach 5745 page 157. There he also
discusses the lack of need to check if something is orlah in chutz
laretz and the permission hide that information from someone. Obviously
in practical situations one needs to consult their Rav.

Kol Tov

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Date: Fri, 28 Feb 2003 01:56:27 +0200
From: "Daniel A. Schiffman" <schiffd@mail.biu.ac.il>
Communal mishloach manot

I asked Rav Zev Leff if one is yotze with communal mishloach manot.
See the question and answer at


His maskana is that one should (lechatchila) give at least one "regular"
mishloach manot in addition to the communal one.

Daniel Schiffman

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Date: Thu, 27 Feb 2003 10:29:24 +0200
From: "Daniel Eidensohn" <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
Re: When to investigate a chazakah

 > I'd like to open a discussion on what sort of "chazakah" this situation
> is, and why it should not be investigated. It has been my understanding
> that the purpose of the rules of "rov" and "chazakah" are to determine
> how to deal with a situation in which the facts are unknown -- and
> (I thought) unknowable.

> But the case of the woman in the story is very different, as I see
> it. If it had been impossible for her to find any information about
> that Conservative Rabbi, then she has what to rely on. But if she *can*
> clarify the facts, why is there no obligation to do so?

The key to understanding your question is that mamzer is different. See my
previous posting citing Igros Moshe EH IV #13.4

There is no status of mamzer until it has been established that the person
is the product of a prohibited relationship. Thus the matter should not even
be investigated unless there is a likelihood the information will come out
eventually. Reb Moshe EH IV #9.4 notes that even though Eliyahu will come
and resolve all our halachic question - however concerning mamzerim he will
only reveal those who are mistakenly considered mamzerim but will not reveal
those who are products of prohibited relationships that we don't know about.
Thus Reb Moshe held that it was enough to know that a marriage was Reform or
Conservative to rely on the chazaka to invalidate it and avoid the status of
mamzer. However if other information is known the chazaka is useless.

There have been unfortunate instances of well meaning but ignorant teachers,
kiruv workers etc who suspected that someone was a mamzer and righteously
investigated and verified their suspicions and then went to Reb Moshe and
other poskim -  where they were strongly criticized for ruining people's

General Rule - Always ask a major posek before doing anything in this area.

                                                    Daniel Eidensohn

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Date: Thu, 27 Feb 2003 08:48:42 +0200
From: "Carl and Adina Sherer" <sherer@actcom.co.il>
Re: gadol ha-dor

On 26 Feb 2003 at 17:32, Eli Turkel wrote:
> BTW the question of who to pasken is a major issue in out shul.
> ROY paskens in many case that everyone including ashkenazim show do
> things the sefardi way in Israel. Some sefardim in our shul try and
> use that psak to do things differently than the minhag even though we
> are an ashkenazi shul.
> They say that the psak of ROY overrides local minhag.
> I disagree with that vehemently

I do too. But the reality is that it is quite common to have members 
of Eidot HaMizrach come into an Ashkenazi shul in EY and say their 
own nussach for Kaddish. I've only been in one shul in EY which even 
had a sign requiring that all Kaddishes be said according to Nussach 
Ashkenaz - and that shul wasn't makpid if someone came in and did 

-- 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: Thu, 27 Feb 2003 11:03:19 -0500
From: "Gil Student" <gil@aishdas.org>
Re: Self Evident Apikorsus

I apologize for being vague. If poskim TODAY hold that someone who
believes in the Documentary Hypothesis is a kofer then it is
irrelevant if a talmid chacham, who is probably much greater than
any of us on Avodah, once held of a similar idea. Irrelevant. It is
a matter of halacha to determine what ideas are kefirah and
therefore the rules of pesak apply. A da'as yachid is exactly that.
Battei din have executed based on majority opinions in an halachic

I furthermore contended that many of R' Mechy Frankel's readings of
rishonim who disagree with what some might call the contemporary
approach to texts is highly controversial. It is not clear to anyone
what the Ibn Ezra held so, I am claiming, he cannot be brought as
proof to justify Lower Biblical Criticism. In other words, you say
that Ibn Ezra supports it and I say no he does not. You say the
Tanchuma supports it and I say no it does not. You say that Rashi
supports it and I say no he does not. (On Ibn Ezra, see his comments
to Bereishis 36:31 and Shemos 6:3 to add a little perspective to the
other passages regularly quoted on this issue.)

R' Mechy Frankel wrote:

>The "historicity" of ezra's remark one way or
>the other is irrelevant. What is relevant is the
>casual propagation of this aggadah by the chazalic
>sources who did not gasp in astonishment
>at the self-evident apikorsus of such a notion
>of ezra's powers.

Those who knew how to read midrashim properly would not have raised
any eyebrows.
> 2. R. Mordechai Breuer
>2. of course the bible critics are quite correct. the torah
>does contain many contradictory versions from different
>perspectives that are not harmonizable as the traditionalist
>approach has it.

I apologize for not stating clearly that I had read R. Mordechai
Breuer's article in the Orthodox Forum book, as well as R. Carmy's
and R. Leiman's accompanying articles.

RMB holds that whatever contradictions and varying layers may be
found in the Torah were intentionally placed there by HKBH for
whatever His reasons may be. He absolutely holds that the Torah we
have is the Torah that HKBH gave to Moshe at Sinai. (Regarding the
Masora, see his introduction to The Aleppo Codex and the Accepted
Text of the Bible). The only chiddush he adds that is relevant to
our discussion is that biblical critics have done us a tremendous
service by finding patterns and complexities in the Torah (that were
intentionally put in by HKBH).

>R. Weinberg, as was his wont, was neither vague nor
>inaccurate. He simply had a different perspective than
>you espouse here, but despite this, it hardly needs
>saying that he wasn't a kofer.

Or, more likely, he was merely referring to chaseiros and yeseiros
which is nothing out of the ordinary.

>BTW, apparently Minchas Shai was also a believer
>in Lower Biblical Criticism, else our torahs today would
>look much different than they do.

Certainly not. Minchas Shai was only trying to decide between the
varying Masoras.

I again apologize, this time for breaking with politeness and
self-referring to what I've written at
http://www.aishdas.org/toratemet/en_text.html and

Gil Student

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Date: Thu, 27 Feb 2003 10:08:05 -0500
From: "Shinnar, Meir" <Meir.Shinnar@rwjuh.edu>
RE: RAYHK and separatism

[I approved this post (obviously). But could we please avoid arguing
whether some particular JTS-affiliated person was an apiqoreis? The
point, AIUI, is to understand the limits of the concepts of austritt
and gemeinde. Not to finger-point. -mi]

> I thought that you were citing precedent for PSL to join the JTS faculty
> from Gemeinde Orthodoxy. Since PSL was not required to join the faculty,
> the implication is that it is incumbent upon an individual to join the
> community and its institutions, even those that are not co-extensive
> with Emunah and Shemiras Shabbos. etc. You then imputed this perspective
> to RAYHK. Taken to its natural conclusion, it would have been incumbent
> upon him to join the Zionist organization, via the Mizrachi, as (from
> your perspective) the Grossgemeinde of EY. Have I missed something?

Yes. The precedent was for the heter to RSL to join JTS, and the necessity
of joint action when it is needed. RAYHK could have joined Mizrachi,
or Aguda - but didn't. However, he didn't assur it, and was willing to
work together. If such joint work required membership - then he would
have joined (eg, in spite of his opposition to aguda as a particularist
movement, he went to original kenes). Whether one is required to join
depends on what it is necessary to achieve - but the crucial issue is
maintaining joint action on crucial issues.

Mine (old)
> >I would add that this commitment to the wellbeing goes not only to working
> >with the individuals, but  extends to working with the institutions.

> Of course, you (or perhaps R' Joseph) imply that many Gedolim v'Tovim
> were not yeshorim.

That isn't my implication - that is the direct statement of the netziv
regarding the rabbinic leadership during the end of bayit sheni - whose
gadlut no one questions...

> For example, we often have strident disagreements here, yet I hope none
> of us are son'im of the others. Aderaba.

> This Netziv is, therefore, beautiful, fundamental - and well known -
> and irrelevant.

No, it is so beautiful, fundamental, and well known, that its message is
essentially ignored as irrelevant.  One is reminded of the Mesilat Yesharim,
where he says that everything he is saying is well known, just igonred.  It
is highly relevant.

> >Two more points:  There is a difference between an institution that is
> >devoted to the destruction of the torah, populated by people committed to
> >such destruction, and an institution that is split between ovde hashem and
> >people denying the torah.  The first institution is far more problematic,
> >and is at the heart of what RAYHK suggests was the rationale and
> >justification for austritt.  However, JTS has always (at least until
> >recently) a curious mix - combining people with yirat shamayim (such as R L
> >Ginzburg, R S L, RDHL, others in the talmud department, etc) and epikorsim
> >such as RMK.  Its institutional commitment was never to the frank
> >elimination of torah - but to a gemeinde vision (whether that vision
> >accurately reflected reality is a different issue).  One should be leery of
> >using texts devoted to institutions dedicated to rejecting the torah to
> >institutions where there is a battle going on where some want to reject
> >torah.

> I do not know how you know that Louis Ginberg was a yerei shomayim! We
> do not even know if he believed in God (or kept Shabbos)! And while PSL
> was a shomer Torah u'Mitvos, is that the sum total definition, in your
> estimation, of yiras shomayim?! Grist for our mill!

How do I know that any rav x was a yere shomayim? This casual denigration
of talmide chachamim (whom the SE addressed as harav hagaon ...) requires
some mecha'a. As the gmara says - eyzehu epikoros - hamevaze talmid

It isn't that yiras shomayim is equivalent to shmirat torah umitzvot,
but my x ray vision into souls is currently malfunctioning, and shmirat
torah umitzvot (as well as being an outstanding talmid chacham) is the
only hard evidence available.

> >This different vision of the nature of JTS is, I think, at the heart of the
> >issue - and (to go back to an old point) why the SE could recommend to his
> >student to join JTS - something that RYGB thinks incomphrehensible - but
> >actually, to someone who knew the gemeinde communitiy in Germany, quite
> >within that tradition.
> No, my comprehension is quite good, thank you. I see your chilluk. I
> contend that it is not mechallek. (The SE, BTW, was he a Grossgemeinde
> kind'a guy? The Hidesheimer seminary was pro-Austritts - do you know
> that he was against the official policy?) I have not seen any ra'ayah,
> other than your contention and your claim that it is otherwise.
I am sure your general comprehension is quite good - then how do you
understand the SE recommending that his student join JTS to help in the
fight to move it to the right, rather than go to a bland academic
institution with no religious affiliation?? Yelamdenu rabbenu

WRT to the SE and Gemeinde - according to R Marc Schapiro, the SE maintained
a public neutrality about Gemeinde versus austritt, but was willing to work
with both - (and while Hildesheimer was formally austritt, it collaborated
closely with the Gemeinde community - the austritt was to maintain
independence, rather than a declaration of tarfus).  I didn't say that the
SE was himself gemeinde - but that he knew it and respected it.

Meir Shinnar

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Date: Thu, 27 Feb 2003 11:39:00 -0500
From: kennethgmiller@juno.com
Re: When to investigate a chazakah

This post may sound rhetorical or sarcastic, but I mean it sincerely.

Rabbi Daniel Eidensohn wrote <<< There is no status of mamzer until it
has been established that the person is the product of a prohibited
relationship. Thus the matter should not even be investigated unless
there is a likelihood the information will come out eventually. >>>

According to this, why is there any talk of requiring a Sefer Yuchsin?
Everyone is kosher unless we already know otherwise!

And in the case story cited, the information (that the woman was the
result of her mother's second marriage) was not only likely to come out,
it was already common knowledge. It seems that she is allowed to
investigate it, but only if the investigation is headed in a direction
which will have a lenient result: She could ascertain that the officiant
was a Conservative Rabbi, but she is supposed to stop there and not
investigate the degree of his Conservatism?

It is one thing to go out of one's way to find a heter, and a far
different thing to say "Let's leave well enough alone, and not try to
determine any more objective facts."

A different listmember (sorry, I seem to have deleted that post so I
don't know who to thank) directed me to an article by Rav Hershel
Schachter on page 157 of the Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society,
issue 9 (Spring 85), where he explains how the halachos of mamzer are
unlike others, so that without actual knowledge of the mamzerus, one is
not even a safek mamzer. He explains that well enough, but there are a
few points which I still don't understand:

First, my question of the Sefer Yuchsin still stands; why stir up trouble
when the problems will be forgotten in a few decades? Second, he quotes
two authorities (Avnei Nezer EH 17, and Rav Elchanon Wasserman in Degel
Hatorah 93:4) that "Should a particular individual know of the mamzerut,
he need not alert others to its presence... the person who knows about
the mamzerut may even officiate as Rabbi in marrying the 'mamzer' and
another Jew. If there is no knowledge, there is no issur." -- But if the
Rabbi knows, then why doesn't this count a "knowledge"? And if only the
couple's knowledge counts as real "knowledge", doesn't this strengthen my
question about the Sefer Yuchsin?

Akiva Miller

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Date: Thu, 27 Feb 2003 11:59:11 -0500
From: David Riceman <dr@insight.att.com>
Re: Ikkarim

Mlevinmd@aol.com wrote:
> As far as the Rambam's definition of belief, see R. Chaim Heller's
> discussion of the meaning of the Arabic "Amanat" in the first few notes
> to his edition of Sefer Hamitsvos....So, belief, even according to Rambam is
> the logical supposition, not
> the entirely provable fact.

The Rambam says in the MN is that different tyes of proof apply to different
subjects.  Medicine and mathematics, for example, do not use the same degree
of certainty.  The Rambam did not consider the Ikkarim "beliefs", he
considered them the things that all Jews must know, and to him that implied
that they be provable (in the good old days the English word for that was
"probable", but we probabilists have absconded with that word now and use it
for something very different).

> You know that his is so, for the Rambam
> includes unprovable ikkarim in his list of 13, including, Creation (#
> 4, see discussion in Fendel's book on the principles) that he himself
> states in the Guide cannot be convincingly proven and # 12 and 13.

The Rambam believed that Creation was provable.  What he believed unprovable
was that the world was created in time.  I don't have a peirush hamishnayoth
with me right know (I will check, DV, tonight) but yigdal does not include
creation in time (kadmon can mean logically prior, which was Aristotle's
opinion, and an opinion the Rambam considered irrefutable though unprovable).
The Rambam thought, however, that a consequence of Aristotle's position was
that people would lack free will.  The experience of free will was enough to
incline him to the position that the world was not eternal (again it's a
degree of proof appropriate for the subject).

David Riceman

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Date: Thu, 27 Feb 2003 13:10:57 -0500
From: "Gil Student" <gil@aishdas.org>
Re: Self Evident Apikorsus

R' Yaakov Weinberg, Fundamentals and Faith (Targum:1991), pp. 90-91:

In contrast, it is difficult to understand /Ani Ma'amin/ literally,
i.e., that the Torah we now possess is the same Torah given to Moshe
Rabbeinu. It is true that as long as the Temple stood and the Torah
scroll which Moshe Rabbeinu wrote was kept there, the Jewish People had a
standard to which to compare all new Torah scrolls that were written. But
we are told [19] that after the destruction of the Temple, when Ezra
returned to Israel, he found three Torah scrolls which were either
considered valid. Even so, thee were minor discrepancies among them,
which were maintained or discarded depending on whether they appeared
in two of the three scrolls. Although the Torah itself instructs Jews
to follow the majority in making a decision [20], one suspects that
after many such occurrences, his decisions are not going to produce
/absolutely/ accurate reproductions of the original Sinai version. The
Talmud, too, says that we are no longer experts in the exact spelling of
many words. Consequently, the rabbis could not count the exact number of
letters in the Torah [21]. Certainly, these were very minor variances --
such as spelling a word with a /hei/ or an /alef/, or with or without
a /vav/ -- changes which did not seem to affect the meaning significantly.

The Rambam knew very well that these variations existed when he defined
his Principles. The words of /Ani Ma'amin/ and the words of the Rambam,
"the entire Torah in our possession today," must not be taken literally,
implying that all the letters of the present Torah are the exact letters
given to Moshe Rabbeinu. Rather, it should be understood in a general
sense that the Torah we learn and live by is for all intents and purposes
the same Torah that was given to Moshe Rabbeinu. The real emphasis of
this Principle is that this Torah, which includes both the Written and
Oral Law, is word for word, /letter for letter from the Almighty/, and
absolutely none of it was edited by Moshe in any way whatsoever. There
is not one phrase, not one letter that Moshe added to clarify or explain
what was transmitted to him. He had no input of any kind but functioned
only as the mouthpiece of the Almighty.

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Date: Thu, 27 Feb 2003 14:01:05 -0500
From: Mlevinmd@aol.com
Re: Ikkarim

I think that we agree on your first point

Regarding your second point:

The argument for the 4th ikkar being about creation rests on its otherwise
similarity to the first one and also on the Bodelein library manuscript
that most scholars believe was corrected by the Rambam himself.
In it you find an addition to #4 in Rambam's own hand that clearly
explains in in terms of Creation. It is also so explained by the Abarbanel
in Emuna Rama.

According to Aristotle, time is property of motion. First Cause can only
be understood if you remove the time element in causation. Viewed this
way, the First Cause is very intimately causing all effects; without the
time element which is only an artifact of motion, It causes all things,
so to speak, at once. As I recall MN, beginning of Part II expresses
this quite clearly.

As you point out, this contradicts the principle of free will, which the
Rambam also called an ikkar gadol (Ch. 5 of Teshuva). Bechira presupposes
distance of G-d so as to enable exercize of choice and its consequences
and it contradicts the first 4. May be this is why he did not include
free choice in the 13 principles.

Yigdal speaks of Kadmon lekol davar asher nivro. It seems to me that it
specifically upholds the fact of creation.

M. Levin

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Date: Fri, 28 Feb 2003 03:10:29 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: fanaticism

On Wed, Feb 19, 2003 at 09:24:29PM +0200, gofman wrote:
: Regarding Rav Wolbe. In Alei Shur, helek 2, pg 141, Rav Wolbe opposses
: the term hashkafa. Hashkafa implies a worldview and philosophy of life
: independent of torah. That does not mean that Rav Wolbe would say that
: the Torah has no opinion about the various issues and approaches you
: mentioned. He could very well reject some of them entirely.

Actually, a few pages later RSW recommends sifrei machshavah. Books
most of us would call hashkafah sefarim.

I agree: RSW rejects something quite narrow when he rejects hashkafah.
RYGB appears to be crossing topics because both use the same term. He
: >2. As we know from RSW, Hashkafa is not a good thing. Kana'us for Hashkafa
: >is kol she'kein a bad thing. It leads to all sorts of negative phenomena,
: >from the extreme right hashkofos to the extreme left hashkofos, vekm"l.

But what about kana'us for inyanei machshavah?


Micha Berger                 For a mitzvah is a lamp,
micha@aishdas.org            And the Torah, its light.
http://www.aishdas.org                       - based on Mishlei 6:2
Fax: (413) 403-9905          

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Date: Thu, 27 Feb 2003 10:17:30 -0500
From: "Shinnar, Meir" <Meir.Shinnar@rwjuh.edu>
RE: Birkat haminim

As my post on birkat haminim caused some brouhaha, with claims that it
showed at the minimum extreme fanaticism if not sinat hinam, I would
like to show that this attitude has mainstream roots, and indeed,
is mainstream.

My main source is hagaon rav yosef Eliyahu Henkin zt"l, hopefully
accepted as mainstream by all here, and by no stretch of the imagination
a Zionist fanatic.

Two articles (published in his lifetime, and republished in kitve
hagria henkin

First, is vol 2 p 220 - hahagana al hadat beyisrael (appeared in 5718)

It is devoted to an analysis of birkat haminim based on brachot 28b.
He says that the bracha was written before the destruction of bayit sheni,
that rabban gamliel is rabbi gamliel hazaken, and that it deals with 4
sects who were against hazal:

1)	Essenes, who were nazirites, did not at all wish for Jewish self
rule but merely in avodat hashem according to their derech.  As the
government at that time (the time of the rebellion) was hofshi - they
waited for the time that the roman empire will conquer the state, in their
hope that then they will be able to worship  better according to their
derech than before the rebellion.  And there were those of them who
expressed their hatred of the state in public, and even reached malshinut
before the Romans
2)	 Nonreligious nationalists, who respected the torah without
observing it
3)	Kuhites and apostates/traitors, who hated the state and the torah
4)	Fervent nationalists who rejected the torah

The question was how to deal with these groups:

Against the Essenes - whose intentions were pure, he did not say a curse
but warned them -velamalshinim al tehi tikva - that is, the Essenes
who are waiting for a non Jewish state, and Jews who hope therefore to
be able to worship hashem according to their way - that is a false hope
(tikvat shav), because if rome wins , they will not discriminate between
a hasid and a lohem.

The other sections of the bracha apply to the other categories (
in detail)

This issue has again risen. We pray for a good end, but we need to derive
lekach umussar from the past to prevent tragedy. The Hasidim hakanaim
need to take into account:

That the fate of the state is still in the balance - and complaints to
the nations may has veshalom decide the balance and cause a danger of
annihilation to millions - and the Hasidim are at the head of the danger.

Therefore, viewing that the language of lamalshinim in the bracha refers
to those who go to the nations, or even merely pray for a non Jewish
state - is due to RYEH.

He has another article that is relevant from 5719, also republished in
vol 2, p 215-218, entitled lo taamod al dam reecha

I was astonished when I read in Homotenu, from heshvan 5 5719, words of
destruction (divre bela) that one has to give one's life in order not to
help medinat yisrael against those who arise against them to destroy them.
And they rule that this is a law according to the holy torah, based that
hazal forbade to rebel against the nations.

And this is giluy panim batorah shelo cahalacha, to bring into danger
millions of Jews. Hazal warned against rebelling against a nation that
they were still subject to because of danger, but once they removed the
yoke of that kingdom, even though they transgressed the warning, one is
obligated to help them bimesirat nefesh. And that was the case before the
destruction of bayit sheni, when hazal warned not to rebel against Rome,
and also the Jewish king was against the rebellion, however, once the
rebellion started - hazal helped the rebels.

In Yosippon it is told that rabbi shimon ben gamliel sent an army and a
general to fight. And hazal said about yaakov, that he was against the
war of shchem, however, once they did it he said am I going to allow my
sons to fall at the hands of the nations, and immediately wore a sword.

And all the rabbis who were against Zionism and the establishment of a
state that was prior to its establishment, but after it came into being,
any one who tries to destroy (lispot) it in the hands of the nations of
the world even there wouldn't be in this any danger, harehu mosser gamur
verodef klal yisrael (!!!!!!), and even more so that the situation today
is a real danger of destruction.

And this sin is derived from another sin, that they judge all the Zionists
and Mizrachists and Agudists and rabbis to heretics and epikorsim,
and already hazal said: Who is an epikoros - he who denigrates a talmid
chacham (relevant to another thread ... MS)


And I am not writing to them - but am turning again to the gdolim on
whom they rely, that they should publicize that their hand is not with
them, and they should not delay, because the arabs and their partners
use their words, and the days are days of danger to the world - both
external and internal.

The articles I have written before the establishment of the state and
afterwards will testify that I am not a fan of the government, and that
I protested with full force against the establishment of the state,
(and therefore that even though I am close in spirit to the Aguda,
I am not a member, so that on one can think that I agreed with them
about the establishment of the state), but now it is the obligation of
all of us to help the state against its persecutors from the outside,
and to lead it it in the derech hatora shecol deracheha shalom. And
anyone who hears the libels (gidufin) of homotenu and is silent, I am
afraid to say that he is caught up by their words. And already hazal
said that mitzvat tochecha is even a talmid to a rav, even a hedyot to
a kohen gadol, , he should rebuke the gadol shebigdolim, ki eyn chochma
veeyn tvuna vegomer veeyn holkim kavod larav.

Zchuto yagen alenu. May we learn from him and appropriately protest those
who fulfill these criteria today. The real question is why my position
is deemed so controversial

Meir Shinnar

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