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Volume 10 : Number 116

Saturday, March 1 2003

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Thu, 27 Feb 2003 23:41:50 -0500
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Re: fanaticism

At 03:10 AM 2/28/03 +0000, Micha Berger wrote:
>But what about kana'us for inyanei machshavah?

Yishme'u oznecha mah she'picha medaber! (or, mah she'yadecha metaktekot)!

A paradox if there ever was one - Kana'us for inyanei machashava...!

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

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Date: Fri, 28 Feb 2003 00:05:10 -0500
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Re: Maamar vs. Dibur

At 08:54 PM 2/25/03 -0500, Gershon Dubin wrote:
>Why is it asher "bidevaro" ma'ariv aravim, but "bema'amaro" barah

A ma'amar is a definitive statement. A dibbur is subject to interpretation
based on how it is heard: "Achas dibber Elokim, shnayim zu shamati ki
oz le'Elokim" (Tehillim 62:12).

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

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Date: Thu, 27 Feb 2003 22:25:09 -0500
From: "Michael Frankel" <michaeljfrankel@hotmail.com>
Re: Self Evident Apikorsus

RGStudent:<<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. ..>>

Since RBreuer more or less believes in the Documentary Hypotheses
(i.e. that the torah is composed of different documents, albeit all
mosaically divine) I presume you are rather focusing on the issue of,
lets call it the Different Authors Hypothesis. Nobody before RB ever
thought these anything but synonymous. My point was not to claim that
RB believed portions of the torah were post-mosaic (though we've seen
plenty of others who did) but to emphasize the radical nature of RB's
assertions which your descriptions kindof glosses over.

I myself am leery of suggestions that "It is a matter of halacha to
determine what ideas are kefirah", I see little imperative to subjecting
ideas to a k'firoh court, nor am I confident that I recognize what
is a "p'soq" in these matters (who asked the shailoh?) rather than an
expression of opinion/hashqofoh. Nor do I understand how one ought to
relate to an issue which one odom godole perceives as k'firoh and another
disputes. What I am confident of is the notion that a lot of stuff that
some here might wish to pass off as k'firoh, isn't.

Rgil:<<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.)>>

It is simply not so that we are dealing with a case of "R'Mechy says
this but Rgil says that" (though if it were naturally people should
believe me). We are generally speaking of cases with a long mesorah of
a reading interpretation by different talmidei chakhomim. Additionally
while it is possible to m'falpel away from the simple p'shot for some of
these citations, it simply is not credible in the slightest in others --
and people don't try. Thus in the Tanchumoh (b'shalach 16) it is difficult
for me to believe that RGS has actually read it and still says as he does
"..I say no it does not".. E.g the tanchumoh i've looked at comes with
a peirush (eitz yaacov) who certainly understands it precisely as i've
indicated. Indeed he's quite shocked by this and insists it must be some
"talmid to'eh" kind of forgery rather than the real tanchumoh.

It is also not true that "It is not clear to anyone what the Ibn Ezra

On the contrary all of those "anyone"s -- notable talmidei chakhomim
to a man -- have a very clear opinion of the IE's shittoh and say so
explicitly. of course they could still be wrong, but it doesn't mean that
had any doubt at all about IE's p'shot. And it didn't bother them. A
number, understanding it would sound radical, even explicitly defended
his p'shot. Which is quite sufficient to prove the point that there
is a history of rejection of Rgil's notion that to think such a thing
is k'firoh. And there is an alternative exegetical history to Rgil's
preferred derech of "explaining it away". So, while my reading might
be "controversial" it is hardly unique and in this instance certainly
not original.

RGil: <<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.>>

Again this ignores the documented history of talmidei chakhomim who
understood this aggodoh in precisely this manner. Of course Rgil might
prefer to exclude from the category of those who know how to read
midroshim properly anyone who disagreed with him. We might start most
recently with R Moshe Feinstein who understood it precisely in this
fashion and was driven to reject it as a forgery. But it didn't occur to
him (i've become a bit of a mind reader too hanging around this list)
that there was any way to m'falpel away from the simple p'shot of what
was written. Indeed i wonder if Rgil can point to anybody besides Rgil
who understand this p'shot differently.

<<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.

Rgil: <<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..>>

As I had previously noted RMB indeed holds that the torah was all
mosaic. RGil's notion that RB's "only chiddush...by finding patterns
and complexities in the Torah..." is a choice of words that rather
deliberately underplays the nature of RB's chiddush which is more
accurately conveyed by my description of the existence of unharmonizable
strands. RB was roundly attacked for this by his critics but you could
hardly guess why, or the radical nature of his suggestion, from Rgil's
softball description.

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.

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

since the reality is that uncertainties are not limited to chaseiros
and y'seiros (unless Rgil means to dispute that assertion as well),
to keep insisting that R. yaacov was not referring to them effectively
accuses r. yaacov of being ignorant. I don't imagine that he was. But
to pursue Rgil's notion that all such comments refer "only" to chaseiros
and y'seiros, I fail to see how the fact that these are "nothing out of
the ordinary" is helpful. I don't recall rambam making an exception for
chaseiros and y'seiros.

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

Rgil: <<Certainly not. Minchas Shai was only trying to decide between
the varying Masoras.>>

deciding between girso'os is precisely an exercise of lower biblical
criticism. but perhaps this is just a semantic argument.

Rgil: <<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 http://www.aishdas.org/toratemet/en vayera.html.>>

no need to apologize. Sometimes talking to oneself is the only way to
get an intelligent conversation going. I did scan the first lengthy
article by Rgil and it seems like a fine summary of a number of textual
issues, more or less following, and trying to provide some traditionally
oriented counterpoint to, emmanuel tov's textbook. I also disagreed with
some chunks of it. Here I will simply cite Rgil's summary remarks where
he again places the entire "onus" of uncertainty in the torah text on
choseir and yeser. as mentioned above I fail to see how long familiarity
of this choseir-moleih stuff somehow makes it lose its problematic nature,
nevertheless as also mentioned previously, since text uncertainties
extend to a number of different halakhically resonant matters besides
choseir-yeser, this conclusory summary is demonstrably mistaken.

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

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Date: Fri, 28 Feb 2003 09:46:30 -0500
From: David Riceman <dr@insight.att.com>
Re: Ikkarim

Mlevinmd@aol.com wrote:
> 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.

You're right.  R. Kafih says he added it later.

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

Here I think you're wrong. Kadmon can mean logically prior as well
as temporally prior. Yigdal, like the first sentence in the Rambam's
fourth yesod, is deliberately ambiguous.

The Rambam seems to suffer from what you described in an earlier post as
a modern problem, i.e. that rather than choose a priori what to believe
he let his reason decide what is correct and chose to believe that (see,
e.g. MN I:50 and the critique of the method of the Kalam in I:71).

David Riceman

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Date: Fri, 28 Feb 2003 00:18:37 -0500
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Re: Shoshanas ya'akov

At 05:51 PM 2/26/03 -0500, Brown, Charles.F wrote:
>Just throwing this out for discussion:
>"Shoshanas ya'akov tzahala v'sameicha birosam yachad techeilas mordechai"
>1) why ya'akov and not yisrael?

Because those who were bechinas Yisroel did not have to go through the
bechina of tzoholo before reaching simcha.

>2) what is the chiluk between tzahala and sameicha?

Tzoholo is a shout of joy (middak'neged midda of the z'eoko gedola
u'moroh); Simcha is inner happiness.

>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)

Yachad is k'neged Tzoholo - the shout of joy is intensified by its
being rendered by masses. Simcha is ba'lev, and requires hisbonenus,
and is not necessarily strengthened by yachad.

>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?

Because simcha is k'neged yirah, so therefore techeles, domeh l'kisei 
ha'kavod, is what provoked yirah, and thus was the source of simcha.

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

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Date: Fri, 28 Feb 2003 07:10:22 -0500
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Who Is a Posek?

To make it easier to copy this discussion on to Avodah, I include here my 
original post [preliminary question about beinging it here deleted. -mi]:

Let us jump into the "Mi-Hu Posek?" question!

I would propose that it is anyone who meets one (or more) of three

1. Is approached by thousands of people, which must include significant
numbers of those who are not members of his shul or talmidim of his
yeshiva, for psak (and he responds to their queries).

2. Has written seforim (at least one) on psak halacha which have become
accepted by a broad segment (let us say dozens) of other reputable
mechabrei seforim in halacha as a frame of reference that they cite as
authoritative in their own work.

Poskim who meet these criteria can still only be regarded as Poskim only
in the areas of halacha in which they are consistently asked or concerning
which they have written. However, once they have proved some competence, a
ba'al ha'bayis may ask them questions on other areas and assume they will
not respond unless they are knowledgeable in the area under discussion.

3. Has given so many renowned shiurim to thousands of shom'ei likcho
or written seforim recognized by thousands of lomdim as master works
in the field of Talmud (not Mikra, Mishna, Mussar, Machashava, etc.),
and has a reputation as a yerei shomayim (i.e., someone focused only on
fulfilling Ratzon Hashem in this world - although there is much more
to YS than that), that he is recognized as on a different astroplane,
akin to what RHS describes b'shem RYBS as someone wedded to the Torah.

Now, RCS, responding to my post of a correspondence with one our
chaverim asked:

At 08:49 AM 2/28/03 +0200, Carl and Adina Sherer wrote:
>> I had R' X specifically in mind when writing the criteria - they are
>> not requirements! What we are looking for is criteria by which an
>> individual is established as one whose halachic opinion may be taken
>> without further investigation to be a valid basis of behavior for
>> Hamon Beis Yisroel. Rabbi X,
>>  can
>> be cited as such amongst "yod'ei chen" - but that is insufficient for
>> the quality of Posek and falls, in the functional categorization, in
>> the category of Rav or Rebbe.

>So is Rabbi X a posek or not? It sounds to me like Rabbi X (and I
>have no idea of whom you are speaking) is someone who is ra'uy
>l'hora'a but not actually a moreh hora'a. Would that be a fair

A would differentiate between a moreh horo'oh - or rav, as I would use the
terms interchangeably - and a posek. I may believe my rav, moreh horo'oh,
who is my personal posek, to be the Gadol ha'Dor, but if he does not meet
the above-mentioned criteria when I quote one of his psakim to you, you
will not (unless you are aware of this person's gadlus, or you personally
trust me) assume that a statement in his name has a priori (muskal rishon)
validity and weight. Please recall that the call for a definition of
a Posek went out here because of, or at least contemporaneously with,
the discussion of why a position taken by R' Moshe Feinstein is granted
a priori weight while a statement by Rabbi Rackman is not.

To a certain extent, the term Posek as we use it in common parlance
is, therefore, arbitrary. We are trying to use terms to categorize the
difference between levels of authority and weight with terms that are
not necessarily precise.

>Does someone who is ra'uy l'hora'a wake up one morning and suddenly
>become a posek or is there a transitional process?

Clearly it is to be hoped that someone has been paskening she'eilos for
awhile before he attains the status of a unversally recognized Posek. That
is why I prefer to draw the distinction between a Moreh Ho'ro'oh or Ba'al
Halacha - which not all Rabbonim are, but of which there are quite a few -
and a Posek.

>Does becoming a posek require some sort of shimush, and if so, does
>it matter if that shimush is before or after one becomes ra'uy
>l'hora'a? (I once heard from Rav Moshe Tendler that he watched his
>shver pasken ksamim for 18 years before he started paskening them on
>his own).

I imagine that shimush facilitates one's growth as a Moreh Horo'oh in all
areas, and I think in areas such as nidda (of course!), gittin, eruvin and
tereifos it is essential, but I am not sure it is required in all areas.
One can probably become a Ba'al Halachah in most areas of Orach Chaim,
and even a lot of Yoreh Deah, through study.

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

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Date: Fri, 28 Feb 2003 18:43:48 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Ikkarim

On Fri, Feb 28, 2003 at 09:46:30AM -0500, David Riceman wrote:
: Here I think you're wrong. Kadmon can mean logically prior as well
: as temporally prior. Yigdal, like the first sentence in the Rambam's
: fourth yesod, is deliberately ambiguous.

For that matter, Yirmiyahu's (44:6) "Ani Rishon vaAni acharon,
umibil'adai ein E-lokim" is also taken to be causally and teleologically
respectively. H' is both Primary Cause and Ultimate Purpose of creation.
Which is why there is no Legislator of moral or natural law but Him.


Micha Berger                 The mind is a wonderful organ
micha@aishdas.org            for justifying decisions
http://www.aishdas.org       the heart already reached.
Fax: (413) 403-9905          

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Date: Fri, 28 Feb 2003 13:20:32 -0500
From: "Seth Mandel" <sm@aishdas.org>
Birkat haMinim

There has been some discussion in Areivim about birkat haMinim and which
group Hazal wished to condemn when they established the b'rokho. It was
even posted that "While the bracha is called birkat haminim, the language
of the bracha is velamalshinim." This is a misconception.

The word "lamalshinim" that is in all Ashk'naz siddurim today, is not
the iqar of the brokho, nor is it even in the old texts. Below is a
quick review:

The text in the Siddur of R. 'Amram Gaon is:
(1) Lam'shummadim 'al t'hi tiqwa;
(2) V'hamminim k'rega' yovedu;
(3) V'khol oyvei 'amm'kha m'hera yikkaretu;
(4) Umalkhut zadon m'hera t'aqqer ut'shabber v'takhnia' bimhera b'yamenu.
BA'H shover r'sha'im umakhnia' zedim

R. S'adya Gaon is similar, except that he has only lines (1) and (4):
(1) Lam'shummadim 'al t'hi tiqwa;
(4) Umalkhut zadon m'hera t'aqqer ut'shabber b'yamenu.
BA'H shover r'sha'im umakhnia' zedim

[Unless noted, all the texts have the hatima used nowadays (shover
'oyvim etc.)]

The Roqeah, representing original Ashk'naz:
(1) Lam'shummadim 'al t'hi tiqwa;
(2) V'khol hamminim k'rega' yovedu;
(3) V'khol oyvei 'amm'kha m'hera yikkaretu;
(4) Umalkhut zadon m'hera t'aqqer ut'shabber utmagger v'takhnia'
    bimhera b'yamenu.

All the Ashk'naz manuscript siddurim that I have seen have this nusah,
with very minor changes (e.g. v'khol oyvei 'amm'kha Yisra'el in line
(3). The nusah of Mahzor Vitri was apparently the same, but R. HY
Ehrenreich's edition omits all offending words (with dots indicating the
omissions). Most of the changes in Ashk'naz to the current nusah first
appeared with the advent of printed siddurim.

The Rambam:
(1) V'Lam'shummadim 'al t'hi tiqwa;
(2) V'khol hamminim

(3) m'hera yikkaretu;
(4) Umalkhut zadon m'hera ta'aqor v'tishbor bimhera b'yamenu.

What is really interesting are the nusha'ot of the b'rokho from the
G'niza. In his study, R. Yehezkel Luger brings 3 nusha'ot:

  1.. (7 mss, which mostly represent nusha'ot which are prevalent in
  (1) Lam'shummadim 'al t'hi tiqwa;
  (4) Umalkhut zadon m'hera t'aqqer ut'shabber utmagger v'takhnia'
  (2) vhanNotzrim vhamminim k'rega' yovedu;
  (3) v'khol 'oyvei 'amm'kha v'tzor'reihem m'hera yikkaretu;
      ushvor 'ol haggoyim me'al tzavvareinu.
      BA'H shover r'sha'im umakhnia' zedim
  2.. (6 mss., which mostly contain nusha'ot which are prevalent in EY)
  (1) Lam'shummadim 'al t'hi tiqwa
      'im lo yashuvu l'Toratekha;
  (2) vhanNotzrim vhamminim k'rega' yovedu;
      yimmahu misSefer Hayyim v'im tzaddiqim 'al yikkatevu.
      BA'H makhnia' zedim
  3.. (2 mss)
  (1) Lam'shummadim 'al t'hi tiqwa;
  (4) Umalkhut zadon m'hera t'aqqer ut'shabber utmagger b'yamenu;
      BA'H shover r'sha'im umakhnia' zedim
This last, of course, is identical to the nusah of R. S'adyah Ga'on. But
note that a) and b) both contain a clear reference to Christians.

The bottom line is that _none_ of the old nusha'ot even contain the
word malshinim, and that all mention m'shummadim. Most mention minim

The change of Nusah that occurred when Ashk'naz siddurim were printed
is clearly due to censorship (almost all printed books had to pass a
censor and be stamped with his approval). Nevertheless, many included
the word minim somewhere in line (2) or (3), and these versions were
well represented in shuls in my youth, even though they were not in the
majority of printings and not represented in the Artscroll printing. It
is also notable that the fact that the modern nusah has as much to do
with Christian censors as it does to Hazal was known to many g'dolim
of previous generations. R. Ya'aqov Emden in notes to his siddur comes
to the conclusion that one should say the old nusah, as best he could
reconscruct it. R. Hayyim Brisker, although he did not know what the
language of the old nusah was, insisted that the words malkhut zadon
and minim be mentioned in the b'rokho.

In Teiman, where printing was extremely rare up until modern times,
they preserved the nusah of the Rambam.

Unfortunately, studies have not yet been done on the mss. evidence of
the S'faradi Nusah; I only have evidence from printed siddurim. The
nusah of the Spanish q'hilla in Holland:
(1) Lammalshinim 'al t'hi tiqwa;
(2) V'khol hamminim v'khol hazzedim k'rega' yovedu;
(3) V'khol oyvekha v'khol son'ekha m'hera yikkaretu;
(4) v'khol 'osei rish'a m'hera t'aqqer ut'shabber utkhallem v'takhni'em
bimhera b'yamenu.

The common nusah of 'Edot haMizrah nowadays is:
(1) Lamminim v'lammalshinim 'al t'hi tiqwa;
(2) V'khol hazzedim k'rega' yovedu;
(3) V'khol oyvekha v'khol son'ekha m'hera yikkaretu;
(4) umalkhut harish'a m'hera t'aqqer ut'shabber utkhallem v'takhni'em
bimhera b'yamenu.

Both explicitly mention minim. But there is no way for me to tell whether
the word malshinim in line (1) appeared only after siddurim appeared in
print and were censored or whether it went back earlier in S'farad.

There is no way of telling from the evidence which group of minim Hazal
had in mind in composing it, unless the texts mentioning Christians
explicitly are original. At any rate, from the Rambam's formulation,
it is fairly clear that the b'rokho/q'lolo is meant primarily to apply
to all Jews who deny the principals of faith or convert and cause trouble.

Seth Mandel

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Date: Fri, 28 Feb 2003 13:47:46 -0500
From: "Gil Student" <gil@aishdas.org>
Re: Ikkarim

M. Levin wrote:
> 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.

There are those who argue that the 4th ikkar implied creation even
before Rambam changed the wording later in his life to make creation
explicit.  See the list of sources in Menachem Kellner's Dogma p. 57
and also Marvin Fox in Interpreting Maimonides p. 253.

Gil Student

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Date: Fri, 28 Feb 2003 14:51:02 -0500
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Who is Posek?

>Date: Fri, 28 Feb 2003 11:51:41 -0500 (EST)
>From: shinname@UMDNJ.EDU
>To: areivim@aishdas.org
>Subject: Who is a posek?
>Message-ID: <1046451101.3e5f939d41410@webmail.umdnj.edu>

>WADR to REMT, and RYGB, and his learned post about who is a posek, there are
>several separate issues which are being conflated.

>1) Who would we (or our community, or the broader community) accept as our

I have addressed this issue. In order to give admittedly arbitrary terms to 
real categorizations I distinguished between rabbonim or more horo'oh and 

>2) (cringe) Who is a gadol??

Not relevant. There are many poskim who are not necessarily "Gedolim." 
Rather than throw in that ambiguous and obfuscating term, why not focus on 
being helpful?

>3) Who has the right to pasken?

True, anyone who has a "heter horo'oh" has the "right" to pasken. But, 
anyone who has no rebbe or recognized gadol (whatever the definition) in 
the vicinity can pasken even without a heter horo'oh.

Thus, in reality, there is practically no such thing as the as the "right" 
to pasken. Go ahead, Reb Meir, pasken!

That is not what we are discussing.

We are discussing what makes someone a recognized "Posek," meaning someone 
whose halachic statements possess a priori weight and must be taken into 
consideration. Something well beyond Yoreh Yoreh, and even Yadin Yadin.

Semicha, today (meaning, over the last 100-200 or so years), has come only 
to mean that the individual who possesses it has passed a series of 
non-standardized tests on limited sections of YD (sometimes it means even 
less...). To assume that anyone who has Yoreh Yoreh Yadin Yadin is a Posek 
and a Dayan is patently absurd.

Anyone who imputes that weight to a "Rabbi Tom, Rabbi Dick aor Rabbi Harry" 
Shul Rav is merely to exercise ostrich-head-in-the-sand syndrome to an extreme.

>even withouth achieving the type of recognition that is demanded now.  Today,
>some have tried to deny the authority of the local mara d'asra (we had 
>years ago a discussion about that) in view of the existence of modern
>communications, but that is an area of dispute.

Who has come to deny that "right?" We live in free societies, everyone is 

>To give a classic (and less controversial)example, R N Lamm is far more 
>known for communal work and work in machshava than halachic works (even 
>he has published halachic works).  I therefore doubt that many on this
>list would give him the status of "posek" as defined by REMT and RYGB.
>In the 50s 60s, when he was setting up the West Side Eruv, he was strongly
>criticized by RA Kotler - and I think that most on this list would view a
>debate between RA Kotler and and R N Lamm as heavily one sided in the 
>and psak department.  RN Lamm discussed this with RYBS.In spite of RYBS's
>personal oppostion to eruvim (a la Brisk), he told him that he gave him 
>so he could pasken, and if his sources were legitimate, and he could stand 

Correct. So Rabbi Lamm (I am assuming, since he did not publish on the 
topic himself) knowing that these matters were over his head, enlisted 
greater authorities - go read the Noam volume on the Manhattan eruv and you 
will see who they are - to provide him with the basis for his conduct.

>The take home message (and the one that was meant) for much of the MO 
>(as previously discussed) is precisely that the local rabbanim are given a
>great deal of autonomy - and the ability to pasken.  The limits to that
>autonomy are  primarily self (recognition that one does not know) and 
>(lack of  acceptance), rather than the requirements of some "gadol".  While
>clearly there is a recognition of a hierarchy  of poskim for that community
>(RYBS, and now RA Lichtenstein and RHS being among those at the top), the
>functioning of the hierarchy is far looser and more voluntary.

Hey! Reb Meir! All affiliations today are voluntary! No one even compels 
Vizhnitzers to be Vizhnitzers! Nor Mizrachists to be Mizrachists! If there 
are massive trends, then there is some democratic reason for them.

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

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Date: Sat, 1 Mar 2003 22:03:09 +0200
From: "gofman" <mgofman@zahav.net.il>
: Re: rambam yisachar zevulun

David Riceman wrote:
>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 always thought that the rambam only codifies halachos mentioned
explicitly in the gemara. If there is no mekor for such an issur, he
would not mention it.

>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.

I appreciate your summary of hilchos yesodei hatorah. The discussion at
issue, however, is the rambam's kavana in the last halacha of the fourth
perek. Perhaps you could email some of the sources used in the parshanut
classes that you took. My training was to read the words of the rambam
in every specific halacha independently rather than take the rambam out
of context.

>"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.

You somehow came to the conclusion from hilchos deos that mitzvos can
not be a source of olam haba. I failed to see your train of thought.
Perhaps it is the parshanut again.


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Date: Sun, 02 Mar 2003 00:01:13 +0200
From: "Carl and Adina Sherer" <sherer@actcom.co.il>
Re: Maamar vs. Dibur

On 28 Feb 2003 at 0:05, Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer wrote:
> At 08:54 PM 2/25/03 -0500, Gershon Dubin wrote:
> >Why is it asher "bidevaro" ma'ariv aravim, but "bema'amaro" barah
> >shechakim?

> A ma'amar is a definitive statement. A dibbur is subject to
> interpretation based on how it is heard: "Achas dibber Elokim, shnayim
> zu shamati ki oz le'Elokim" (Tehillim 62:12).

I would have thought the opposite because in the Torah dibbur is 
lashon kashe and amira is lashon raka....

-- 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.

Go to top.

Date: Sun, 2 Mar 2003 00:52:13 +0200
From: "Daniel Eidensohn" <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
Re: When to investigate a chazakah

> 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!

> 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."

In this case the heter is where evidence is that there was marriage
to rely on Reb Moshe's chazaka not to investigate further. It is not a
desirable situation l'chatchila. Mamzer - as opposed to aishes ish - is
created by the knowledge about the relationship not by the relationship

There is a story about Einstein. After finishing a report on some
profound aspect of physics he looked for a paper clip to hold the pages
together. The only one he could find was one that had been pulled apart
into a straight wire. After he sent his secretary to get a new one
he started playing with the wire to restore it to a paper clip. When
his secretary returned 5 minutes later he told her not to disturb him
while he worked or solving the problem. After an hour he emerged from
his office with a reconstituted paper clip. What is better to have a
something mutar lchatchila or something that takes a gadol to salvage?

Reb Moshe's hetair based upon the chazaka that it was a Reform
or Conservative wedding was not universally accepted by other
gedolim. However it was universally accepted that those Jews that Reb
Moshe pronounced kosher were kosher.

So we have a number of alternatives 1) Create a situation where there
is no halachic problems - Sefer Yuchsin 2) Permit only those who have
adequate information to show they are not mamzerim and reject the rest
3) Use Reb Moshe's hetair and take the chance that the information will
not be uncovered 4) Don't ask any questions and hope that no doubts
arise later.

Without Reb Moshe's hetair there would be huge problems for many baalei
tshuva today. Even with the hetair there is the danger that a baal
teshuva (or child of a baal teshuva) might find after his wedding that
he is a mamzer because some zealous teacher suspected that something
was problematic and investigated.

                                                        Daniel Eidensohn

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