Avodah Mailing List

Volume 11 : Number 049

Wednesday, August 6 2003

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Tue, 05 Aug 2003 13:24:56 -0400
From: Zeliglaw@aol.com
Re: TIDE cont'd

The Frankel pamphlet is an amazing statement or condemnation that the
Breuers' kehillah does not represent TIDE in any way, shape or form. It
is a fascinating indictment. I wonder whether some of our resident Yekkes
and members/alumni of the "kehilla" view the very serious analysis that
"the emperor has no clothes."
Steve Brizel

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Date: Tue, 5 Aug 2003 14:13:06 -0400
From: MPoppers@kayescholer.com
Re: TIDE cont'd

In Avodah V11 #48, RYGB replied:
> Since I know family members whose lives are in sync with the romanticized 
> version...

I know [some of] them, too :-)...and others. Not every German Jew is
(or wants to be) a "TIDE personality," because not every German Jew
is a Hirschian, but I think Mr. Frankel (Danny to us WHers) captured
an important aspect of the Hirschian Weltanschaung in writing, and his
implication that non-German Jews (even without the minhogim and tunes
which are very much the tafel of a life lived in consonance with TIDE)
can be (and that many currently are) Hirschians bears broadcasting.
Oi lanu that very few living examples of this way of life, both at-large
and among the KAJ and YRSRH populations, exist in this world (as Danny
put it, they're a "vanishing species") -- all the more greater is the
challenge for those of us who believe in TIDE as a l'chat'chilo way
of life to ensure that Akiva and everyone else gets a taste of what it
translates into. Thank you, RYGB, for quoting from Danny's essays on
this forum.

All the best from
Michael Poppers * Elizabeth, NJ

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Date: Tue, 5 Aug 2003 20:51:26 +0200
From: "Yisrael Herczeg" <yherczeg@barak-online.net>
the name Yehudis

R'n Katz:
>As for the reasons Esav changed his wives' names, Rashi says he did it to
>make them look better in his parents' eyes. As if "Yehudis" were really
>a nice Jewish girl. Bimchilas kvod Rashi, this is anachronistic and
>far-fetched. Jews were not called Yehudim until the end of Bayis Rishon,
>after the ten tribes were lost and most remaining Jews were from Yehuda.
>When Esav got married, the original Yehuda wasn't even born yet.

Rashi doesn't say anything about the name Yehudis being connected to
Jewishness or Judah. He says that Esav called his wife by that name
because it suggests denial of avodah zarah. The gemara (Megillah 13a)
says that one of Kalev's wives called Yehudiah in Divrei HaYamim I 4:18
is Bityah bas Paroh, and that she is called Yehudiah because of her
rejection of avodah zarah. Nothing to do with the tribe of Yehudah.

Your question about the change of the names of the father-in-law is
dealt with by Mizrachi, Gur Aryeh, Biurim LePeirush Rashi Al HaTorah by
the Lubavitcher Rebbe, and Emes LeYaakov by Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky.

Yisrael Herczeg

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Date: Tue, 05 Aug 2003 22:21:32 +0300
From: Akiva Atwood <akiva@atwood.co.il>
RE: TIDE cont'd

My only objection was the tendency in the quote to present things in
"absolute", stereotypical terms -- All German Jews do this, all TIDE
Jews do this, etc.

I'm sure there were serious TIDE Jews who, for example, did NOT "love
nature and the outdoors (frische luft!), yet felt most at home in the
large cosmopolitan cities, from whose cultural resources he drank deeply."

(Of course, I think T *includes" M and DE, so IMO TuM and TiDE are


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Date: Tue, 5 Aug 2003 14:53:10 -0400
From: MPoppers@kayescholer.com
Re: ['kabel brachamim...

In Avodah V11 #48, SBAbeles asked:
> [Do Yekkes say it?}

I know many who do (my father a'h' did -- he wasn't a Yekke, but he grew
up with Minhag Frankfurt). Just to be obvious, these p'sukim echo the
verses about to be said by the SHaTZ (q-b-l, yud, ayin) -- as a kid,
I thought of them as a mnemonic, but I'm not sure if they were meant to
be a vocalized mnemonic by the tzibbur to the SHaTZ to ensure he said
"tiskabal" and the other two verses properly and in order.

CSherer wrote:
> MB 56:11 brings that the Arizal said not to say them and concludes 
> that they should at least not be said where there is an independent 
> issue of hefsek other than in the Kaddish itself (e.g. between 
> Yishtabach and Yotzer or between Geula and Tefilla at Ma'ariv).

They are only indicated for Kaddish "Tisqabal." Checking OC 56 and MA
56:7, it's clear that the p'sukim in question are "V'atah yigdal na,"
etc., p'sukim which are said _before_ the SHaTZ begins saying Kaddish,
hence the issue of hefsaiq between Yishtabach and Bor'chu or bain G'u'la
liT'fila. FWIW, I say "V'atah yigdal na" (assuming I've finished "Uva
l'Tziyon" before or at the same time as the SHaTZ, which doesn't always
happen) on ordinary weekdays (and probably should also say it before
Kaddish "Tisqabal" whenever that Kaddish is about to be recited!).

All the best from
Michael Poppers * Elizabeth, NJ

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Date: Tue, 5 Aug 2003 22:11:19 +0300
From: "Akiva Atwood" <akiva@atwood.co.il>
mussar vs psak

In a recent off-list exchange the following question came up:

When a Gadol gives mussar, quite often he phrases it in terms of psak
(i.e. "It's assur to do X").

When should one take that as a psak? Always? Sometimes? Never?

Any ideas?


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Date: Tue, 05 Aug 2003 16:13:37 -0400
From: Mlevinmd@aol.com

As a product of both of these educational systems, I would like to
add a couple of observations so as to shift the debate from rarefied
strata of ideology and philosophy to more even levels of sociology and
communal life.

It seems to me that both systems of thought suffer form basic built
in impracticality, which is why neither seems able to survive or
fluorish. TIDE can only work in a particularly German compartmentalized
mentality framework; only there can a dikduk m'mitsvos live amicably
together with a disregard of their emotional and, yes, mystical
potential. As far as TUM, it works for geniuses and no one else. An
average person cannot synthesize such huge reams of information on his
or her own, or somehow bring Torah breadth and depth in congruence
with the entire Western civilization's load of culture, literature,
philosophy, history, science and patterns of thought.An average person
needs a community that proclaim simple digestible ideology and asks him
or her just to be a good person and a good citizen.

So, good bye elaborate permutions and long live good old fashioned
litvishe pragmatism.

M. Levin

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Date: Tue, 5 Aug 2003 23:16:25 +0200
From: D & E-H Bannett <dbnet@zahav.net.il>
Re: Qabbalat Shabbat introduced

R' Arie Folger questioned for sources on the work of Ramak and R' Shlomo
Alkabetz on Kabbalat Shabbat.

The following is not a contemporary source and not very enlightening
but I think it does add a bit to our knowledge.

 The only source I know for R' Moshe Cordovero being the one who
introduced the five or six mizmorim before Mizmor L'David is R' Ya'akov
Emden. I've seen and heard R' Emden quoted as an authoritative source
on this.

I doubt very much whether it is true for a simple reason. In the siddur
of R' MCordovero there is a kabbalistic peirush and, in addition, a word
or words in small print above each word of the tefillot giving applicable
sefirot and other mystical data.

In kabbalat Shabbat, on Mizmor l'David there is a long peirush as well as
annotations over every word. The mizmorim preceding this have no peirush
or superscript annotation and were obviously put in by the printer for
our convenience. It appears that we are speaking of an Ashkenazi printer
as there are only five mizmorim, not six for the six weekdays.

Furthermore, if more proof is needed, Ramak's peirush starts with the
words "Pot'chim rishona bmizmor havu laH' b'nei elim.

That the Ar"i said only Mizmor l'David and that Ramak preceded him
in Tzefat, and is considered by some to be his teacher, is additional
evidence that Ramak did not way the other mizmorim.

The single mizmor is followed by bameh madlikin with peirush and word
annotations (not every word, sometimes phrases)` and Mizmor shir l'yom
haShabbat with peirush and annotations. In between them is l'kha dodi
in small print and without any added wisdom from Rama"k, evidently the
addition of the printer.

Ramak probably not saying l'kha dodi is interesting as they were not only
contemporaries but related. Ramak was married to R' Alkabetz's sister and,
I have been told, was RShAlkabetz's student.

BTW a song with the chorus l'kha dodi but different stanzas has been
found and, I believe, it preceded the version of R' Shlomo. Of course,
his stanzas have his name. Evidently, the chorus was not original. IIRC,
my source is R' Meir bar-Ilan (the grandson) who quotes the older version
in his book on the Heikhalot

Back to the Ramak siddur: After mizmor shir l'yom haShabbat, there is a
parenthesized comment by the editor, "omer H' malakh, timtza l'eil...".
To me at least, this again indicates that H' malakh was not in the
original Ramak and there was no peirush or superscript. The printer's
note continues with. "noh'gim lomar k'gavna" which then appears also
without Ramakian additions.


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Date: Tue, 05 Aug 2003 22:17:22 -0400
From: "Yosef Gavriel & Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.it.northwestern.edu>
Re: TIDE cont'd

At 02:13 PM 8/5/2003 -0400, MPoppers@kayescholer.com wrote:
>I know [some of] them, too :-)...and others.  Not every German Jew is (or 
>wants to be) a "TIDE personality," because not every German Jew is a 
>Hirschian, but I think Mr. Frankel (Danny to us WHers) captured an 
>important aspect of the Hirschian Weltanschaung in writing, and his 
>implication that non-German Jews (even without the minhogim and tunes 
>which are very much the tafel of a life lived in consonance with TIDE) can 
>be (and that many currently are) Hirschians bears broadcasting.  Oi lanu 
>that very few living examples of this way of life, both at-large and among 
>the KAJ and YRSRH populations, exist in this world ...

Although, again, I disagree with many of Mr. Frankel's theses, he makes
a very interesting point about the expansion of the TIDE personality
beyond the confine of the German-Jewish "pedigree." He does so in the
form of a rhetorical question (p. 36):

"Let us imagine a different scenario in Monsey. Suppose a group of
orthodox scientists and professionals, enamored with the writings of
Rav Hirsch, approached us to become a branch. They have hired a college
educated rav who not only knows what TIDE is but actually believes in
it! However, they insist on davening Nusach Sefard (perhaps because
they are not of German background). Would we grant them beanch status
and the support that comes with it? If the answer is no, what does that
say about our values."

[Email #2. -mi]

At 04:13 PM 8/5/2003 -0400, [RMLevin] wrote:
>It seems to me that both systems of thought suffer form basic built
>in impracticality, which is why neither seems able to survive or
>fluorish. TIDE can only work in a particularly German compartmentalized
>mentality framework; only there can a dikduk m'mitsvos live amicably
>together with a disregard of their emotional and, yes, mystical
>potential. As far as TUM, it works for geniuses and no one else. An
>average person cannot synthesize such huge reams of information on his
>or her own, or somehow bring Torah breadth and depth in congruence
>with the entire Western civilization's load...

I fail to comprehend why TIDE is linked to "a disregard of their emotional
and, yes, mystical potential."Personally, I try to combine both approaches
and do not think I am the first to do so - disparately, Dr. Isaac Breuer
and Reb Shraga Feivel Mendelovitz come to mind. "The World of Prayer"
by Rabbi Munk also indicates that a "compartmentalized mentality" is
not necessary.

"Litivishe pragmatism" is not a term that I would associate with some
of the Lithuanian schools that come to mind...

[Email #3. -mi]

I think that regardless of the precision of the labels or lack thereof, the 
fact is that there are real differences in perception of Ratzon Hashem 
between the schools. To use but one framework, in the machlokes Rashbi and 
R' Yishmael over v'osafta deganecha in Berachos, TIDE would hold like RY 
while TuM and TO (Torah only) would (like the Nefesh HaChaim) hold like 
Rashby. The chilluk between them would be that TuM holds that Rashby's 
quest for intellectual development should include Madda while TO would 

[Email #4. -mi]

Again, from Mr. Frankel's pamphlet (pp. 44-45), without comment:

"One final word about Eilu V'Eilu. True, Eilu V'Eilu is the voice of 
tolerance, but ultimately it is the voice of neutrality, of someone who is 
above the fray. It is not the voice of the true beleiver.

"(Would Rav Aharon Kotler have dreamed of saying, 'you know, we have a fine 
way of life here in Lakewoood, but those yekkes in Washington Heights also 
have a fine way of life. I think I'll write a book called Eilu V'Eilu in 
which I shall explain both approaches, and then we can all pick and choose!'?)

"Rav Breuer did not say "Eilu V'Eilu." He said, quoting his father Rav 
Shlomo Breuer -

"'TIDE will bring the geulah!'

"As an aside, it is interesting to reflect on this statement of Rav Breuer, 
that TIDE will bring the geulah. It is hard to believe that mere chauvinism 
motivated it. What is the connection between TIDE and the geulah?

"This how the prophet envisions the end of days -

"'On that there will be inscribed even on the bells of the horses 'holy to 
the Lord'.... [author's ellipses] Every pot in Jerusalem and Judah will 
be  holy to the Lord of Hosts....' [author's ellipses] (Zachariah 14).

"What is this but a vision of TIDE! In the future there will not be sacred 
and profane, God's imprint will be seen as clearly in nature as in the 
pages of the Torah, all the sphere of man's activities too will be exalted. 
And TIDE will have paved the way!

"So TIDE will definitely prevail and be the wave of the future. We have Rav 
Breuer's assurance for that. The only question is: will we be its champions?"


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Date: Wed, 06 Aug 2003 12:59:23 +0300
From: "Danny Schoemann" <dannyschoemann@hotmail.com>
Re: ['kabel brachamim...

RSBA requested "Any further input would be appreciated" regarding the
3 extra lines in kaddish, specifically asking "[Do Yekkes say it?}"

In KAJ on Johannesburg, IIRC, they were said by the old-timers in an
undertone. Load enough for me to hear my Opa say it, but not load enough
to bother anybody.

In Strasbourg, (where the KAJ equivalent is called Etz Chaim) there
were old-timers who said these lines rather load. I recall my first
kaddish sholeim (Shabbos Mincha, soon after turning 13) when I got such
a fright from the "yelling" that I stopped. The Rov had to convince me
I had nothing wrong and could continue Kadish.

I no longer recall what the "real" KAJ and Breuers did. I was only there
a few months.

In EY I don't recall ever hearing these psukim being said even in (the
Bnai Brak KAJ equivalent, located in the hospital) Ma'ayonei Hayeshua,
but I've only been there twice.

They are not even printed in many (local) sidurim anymore.

- Danny

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Date: Wed, 6 Aug 2003 16:31:20 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
History of knowing the molad

On Wed, Aug 06, 2003 at 09:26:30AM +0300, Zoo Torah wrote to Areivim:
: On a related note: I have been dismayed at the nonsense written in many
: Torah/Science book...
: 2) Something that is indeed in the Torah, but which the non-Jews of that
: time knew also (such as the length of the lunar month), or:

How precisely did they know the average length of the lunar month?

The molad is the average synodic month, the time it takes for the moon
to be in the same relation to the earth and the son, which is slightly
further than once around the planet, the sideral month. The actual length
of a given synodic month is between 29.26 and 29.80 days.

I once figured out that given a normal distribution, it would take roughly
24,000 years to get an average that was correct to the nearest cheileq.
Which would explain the need for it to be given halakhah leMosheh miSinai.

I'd be surprised to hear that people knew the molad anywhere nearly that
accurately rather than being able to observe when it occured lema'aseh.
(Or getting it from us.)


Micha Berger                 Zion will be redeemed through justice,
micha@aishdas.org            and her return will be through righteousness.
Fax: (413) 403-9905          

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Date: Wed, 6 Aug 2003 16:20:58 +0200
From: Arie Folger <afolger@aishdas.org>
Re: siyum on 9 days of Av

RSM and others questioned why Chabad, among others, try to organize
siyumim during this time of the year, and wondered in particular about
one quote to the effect that the Lubavitche Rebbe intended to increase
joy in the world through siyumei massekhtot.

Well, we must not forget what the din is, what the minhag is, and how
the phenomenon of 9 days siyumim relate to either.

Midina digmara, only se'udah hamafseqet is to be devoid of meat and
wine. The minhag has been either to abstain during the week of 9 Av,
or during the entire 9 days. Yet, no gzeira in sight. So, this matter
does not contradict that din.

There is another din that we refrain from doing joyous things during
ta'aniyot tzibbur, and in some respects 9 Av is one. However, as the
'Arukh haShul'han explains, this is either restricted to weddings, since
only zivvugim (his term) create true sim'hah that is prohibited at that
time, or, it is restricted to matters that are not mitzvot. Either way,
this second din will not prevent one from eating meat, and the question
would merely be to do a siyum, any siyum, during this period, an issur
nobody heard of.

The 'Arukh haShul'han discusses whether it is ok to do a siyum in order
to eat meat in light of the minhag to abstain therefrom, and he condemns
waiting with a siyum until the nine days, but permits learning from
scratch in order to do a siyum, since study of Torah is a good thing(tm).

Thus, there appears to be little that is objectionable with the
practice. What is objectionable, and I vividly recall the condemnation
thereof I heard from my then-mashgia'h, Rav Matityahu Solomon, when I was
in Gateshead, is the practice of some restaurants to have a siyum every
hour by a paid TC, so that innocent bystanders would be able to eat meat.

Nizkeh lirot bene'hmat Tziyon,
Arie Folger 
If an important person, out of humility, does not want to rely on [the Law, as 
applicable to his case], let him behave as an ascetic. However, permission 
was not granted to record this in a book, to rule this way for the future 
generations, and to be stringent of one's own accord, unless he shall bring 
clear proofs from the Talmud [to support his argument].
	paraphrase of Rabbi Asher ben Ye'hiel, as quoted by Rabbi Yoel
	Sirkis, Ba'h, Yoreh De'ah 187:9, s.v. Umah shekatav.

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Date: Wed, 6 Aug 2003 11:04:23 EDT
From: T613K@aol.com
Hirsch on Tisha b'Av

 From *Judaism Eternal* by R' Samson Raphael Hirsch
[written in 1855]

It is now some six or seven and twenty years ago since, one evening
of the ninth of Av, the Rabbi of a small town in South Germany had his
synagogue brilliantly lit up and invited the members of his congregation
to attend in their best clothes. This was the night when over the whole
face of the earth, wherever a small group of Jews form a congregation
and come together for prayer in the House of God, light and cheerfulness
and festive mood are banished from the gathering, and every man who
calls himself a Jew sits mourning on the ground, and the Lamentations of
Jeremiah over the orphaned city of God find an echo in every Jewish breast

And it was on this evening that the preacher mentioned mounted the pulpit
and raised a loud protest against this sadness and this mourning and
this yearning for Palestine. He accused the milions of his mourning
brethren in the whole world around him of treason and enmity towrds
State and Fatherland. Jerusalem, he said, was here. Palestine was now
situated on German soil.

"Do not be hostile to the Egyptian for thou didst once dwell in his
land." This precept was ever kept in mind by our ancestors, in spite of
the fact that the Egyptians had laid on them a heavy yoke, had drowned
theiir children, had in their land made them drain the bitterest cup of
inhuman scorn and heartless cruelty.

With heartfelt and genuine affection they clung to the soil on which
their cradles had been rocked, on which they had greeted the first
laughter of their children, which, however grim and forbidding without,
had kept intact for them the homes where they could enjoy their sweet
and God-fearing family life.

Only with a struggle, only under the stress of extreme need, did they
bring themselves to wander away to a strange country; with deep and
strong love they clung to the land of their birth and of the graves of
their ancestors; but they looked with equally strong and deep yearning
towards Palestine.

This hope fo a future in Zion shines through all their prayers; the
lamentations for the fall of Zion drew from their eyes the warmest tears;
and not only once a year on the ninth of Av but every midnight the most
thoughtfuland sensitive among them were to be found sitting on the ground
mourning the fall of Zion.

Toby Katz 

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Date: Wed, 6 Aug 2003 12:46:10 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Birthdays

Ari Kahn said:
> I have a sefer at home called Zichron Shlomo, it is a memorial volume to Rav
> Shlomo Kalish (son in law of the Chelkas Yoav) his birthday was Asarah
> Bteves...

This raises another question about birthdays, one mentioned in teshuvos
about Americans celebrating Thanksgiving. If birthdays may/ought be
celebrated, is it permissable to mark a date in the Gregorian month? Or
is it a violation of "hachodesh hazeh lakhem"?


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Date: Wed, 06 Aug 2003 12:49:31 -0400
From: Mlevinmd@aol.com
Woman as temptress

RTK wrote (in paraphrase): 
R' Toby asked an excellent question concerning our understanding of the
role of women as depicted in the beginning of Bereishit, (Areivim 11:302 -
"El ishech teshukasech"). This thoughtful, serious, and non-polemical
exposition of 2 related verses belongs on Avodah. The verses in Gen. 4:7
and 3:16 use strikingly similar language to describe Kayin and his
"chatat" (4:7) vs. Chava and her subordination to Adam (3:16). The
conventional peshat in 4:7 is that "chatat" (chatos, b'laz) refers to
sin which lies in wait, longingly, for Kayin and for mankind, but can and
must be mastered. When similar language is used to describe Chava's fate
to long for Adam who dominates her, R' Toby is impelled to ask whether
this indicates that the woman in marriage is seen as a temptress who
must be controlled? Is she really to be compared to the yetzer ha'rah?

This is, of course, a very Christian reading of these verses. However,
one can also read them Jewishly by realizing that the underlying message
of both stories is that of fragmentation/ and re-unification. Following
the Netsiv, the women was first a a part of man and even after separating
from him, remained an accessory part of him. After Adam's sin, they
were farther separated so that they always long to be re-united. She
looks for a re-unification as an accessory fragment as before to which
a man respond through attempting to reabsorb her - v'ato timshol bo.
The story of Kain is likewise about the fragmentation of the self,
internally through separation of personality into the Yetser Hatov and
Yetser hara and externally through fratricide. Again, reaunification
of personality is accomplished through mamshala. This is why the
languages are similar but they express the identity of the processes
of fragmentationa and reabsorbtion and not some kind of facile reading
of a woman as the evil impulse. Externalization of yetser Hara and
its replacement on to another human (Jew, woman, heretic) is a very
characteristic Christian mode of thought.

M. Levin

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Date: Wed, 6 Aug 2003 12:53:38 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: kollel and PhD

R Gil Student said:
> I heard R' Hershel Schachter say more than once, based on the Shulchan Aruch
> HaRav's hilchos talmud torah, that a man is obligated to know the entire
> Torah - Tanach, Midreshei Halacha, Mishnah, Tosefta,
> Bavli, Yerushalmi, Rambam, and Shulchan Aruch. "It's not so much.
> It all fits on one shelf!"

I am totally unsurprised, but I still want to note how Brisker this
definition is. Leshitaso, "kol haTorah kulah" only includes that
aggadita in Tanakh and the Bavli. This is not supposed to be lilmod al
menas la'asos.


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Date: Wed, 6 Aug 2003 13:22:10 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Ahavas Chinam?

Yosef Gavriel & Shoshanah M. Bechhofer said:
>>Doesn't RAYKook mean unconditional love? Conditional love must be earned,
>> you have to work to satisfy the condition. Unconditional love is present
>> even when the person is acting very unlovably.

>>Or, to put it another way, ahavas Yisrae'el is loving someone for an
>> attribute (essence?) that HQBH gave him. Not for something he worked for to
>> earn. With the possible exception of geirim, but that's arguable.

> What is unconditional love?

> It is not unearned or unmerited love - which would be the defintion of
> Ahavas Chinam. It is love that has been earned or merited that is maintained
> despite some significant shortcomings. But it is certainly not "free." If
> one loves "for free" then one does not truly love, as love requires the
> identification of some salient aspect - be it physical, emotional,
> intellectual, ideological, theological, whatever, but some aspect - in the
> beloved. It need not be a tangible identification - it may be chen, a
> chemistry, but be there it must.

Let's distinguish between a number of things:

Ahavah she'einah teluyah bedavar is unconditional love. Despite my
earlier post, I'm no longer convinced it's the same concept as ahavas
chinam. Let's stick more with my second concept, unearned love.

Which is different than unmerited love. Love for no reason whatsoever
is arbitrary. Which is I think RYGB's point -- it has to have some cause.

So, let me translate ahavas chinam as unearned love. Loving another for
what he is, for his simply being a fellow Jew (as the phrase is used in
context) or perhaps any human for being a tzelem E-lokim, not for what
he does. It is chinam because it's loving someone for what HQBH gave him,
not for what he worked for. Unearned, and yet still of purpose.

Ahavah she'einah teluyah bedavar is similar, but broader. It doesn't
look at whether the cause of your love is earned or gifted, but rather
whether it's of an attribute of the beloved, or of the essence. As the
gemara focusses on -- whether it's something the beloved can lose and
therefore the love can pass, or not.


Micha Berger                 Zion will be redeemed through justice,
micha@aishdas.org            and her return will be through righteousness.
Fax: (413) 403-9905

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Date: Wed, 6 Aug 2003 13:35:16 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Nissim and Miracles

R Eliezer Portnoy said:
>>True violations of natural law are "devarim nivre'u bein hashemashos".
>> Which then leads back to our frequent discussion about the Ramban and when
>> miracles were created.

> But is there such a thing as a 'true violation of natural law'? As defined
> by Quantum Mechanics, natural law is given by probabilities of events
> occuring/being observed. There is always the probability, however small,
> that strange things might occur. For example there is an incredibly minute
> probability that a baseball will tunnel through a solid wall. We would call
> that a miracle, yet it technically still did not violate any natural law.
> What then would be called a true violation?

True, in the quantum universe the line I'm proposing between nissim and
nivre'u bein hashemashos gets blurry. However, the probability of that
baseball tunneling or of every particle of the relevent section of Yam
Suf ignoring gravity simultaneously is so small as to not matter. You're
close enough to the end of the spectrum as to make no difference.

To look it another way, even non-deterministic statistical systems need
to obey their statistics. When the law of large numbers (the rule that
the more times you flip a coin the more likely 50% of those flips will
be heads) is violated, it's still the violation of a law.


Micha Berger                 Zion will be redeemed through justice,
micha@aishdas.org            and her return will be through righteousness.
Fax: (413) 403-9905

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Date: Wed, 6 Aug 2003 13:38:10 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: The roots of minhag Ashkenaz

R Saul Stokar said:
> I was
> wondering if someone familiar with the details of
> this hypothesis can comment on the Tosphot Avoda Zara 38b (V'Ata)...

I'll try my hand at it despite my not fitting your target audience.

> It seems to me that this Tosphot says that the people in Ashkenaz not only
> follow Talmud Bavli (over Talmud Yerushalmi) but also Minhag Bavli over
> Minhag Yerushalmi. How do Agus/Soloveitchik/TaShma explain this?

In this one case. In fact, the fact that Tosafos raise this point
despite it not being part of their target agenda of explaining the sugyah
(usually in light of other sugyos), might indicate they thought it was a
"man bites dog" rarety worth noting, rather than a norm.


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Date: Wed, 6 Aug 2003 15:47:31 EDT
From: RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com
Re: The roots of minhag Ashkenaz

In a message dated 8/3/2003 1:48:57 PM EDT, dp22414@elbit.co.il writes:
> In the past (e.g. V4#12 &V5#121), a number of people on this list
> have cited a theory proposed by Professors Agus, Soloveitchik and
> TaShma that states that the roots of Minhag Ashkenaz lie in Eretz
> Yisrael, while the roots of Minhag Sfarad lie in Bavel...
>       . I was wondering if someone familiar with the details of
> this hypothesis can comment on the Tosphot Avoda Zara 38b (V'Ata)...

> "from the entire discussion it is apparent that we require that the
> Jew make at least some contribution to the cooking (to avoid Bishul
> Akum). The common practice to have the Jew (simply) toss a splinter into
> the oven (i.e. even though the splinter contributes almost nothing to
> the cooking) relies on the "(list of) differences between the citizens
> of Bavel and the citizens of the West (i.e. Eretz Yisrael)". It is
> found therein: "inhabitants of Bavel suffice by tossing a splinter into
> the oven, while the citizens of the West say "what does this splinter
> contribute?". [However] we follow the citizens of Bavel and their talmud
> (anu nimshachim acharei bnei bavel vetaludam) ."

> It seems to me that this Tosphot says that the people in Ashkenaz not
> only follow Talmud Bavli (over Talmud Yerushalmi) but also Minhag Bavli
> over Minhag Yerushalmi. How do Agus/Soloveitchik/TaShma explain this?

Let me make a few quick comments.

1) As Micha points out, a general trend is not disproven by an exceptional
2) Despite the demonstrable general trend of Tosafos leaning towards
Minhag EY and Yerushalmi it is NOT clear that Tosafos was conscious of
this tendency. Aderabbah, nearly everyone typically assumed or at least
claimed to have allegiance to the Bavli.
Which leads to the 3rd tier:
3) Despite what Rishonim say they are doing, you alwas have to look
to see what they are doing. EG we know that R. Yoseph Karo Claims to
follow his hypothetical BD, but many exceptions abound. Simklarly,
Rambam occasionally paskens like Yersushalmi and/or Tosefta over the
simple read of the Bavli, although I do concede that he rarely does so
in a a case that is 100%opposed to the Bavli.
Ein lemadim min hakllallos.

Rashi and Tosefos were out to promote the Bavli as THE authoritative text.
Tosafos in particular promoted the Bavli on the one hand while OTOH,
refused to surrender Minhag Ashklenaz. However, the idea that minhag
Ashkenaz was at tiems in direct opposition to the Bavli might not have
been obvious to Tosafos who instead pilpulistically attempted to make
a reconcilliation.

So you have different spins on what Tossafos was REALLY doing.

A) Promoting Minhag Asheknaz in the face of textual opposition
B) Promoting the Bavli as THE primary text of TSBP
C) Promoting pilpul over simple pshat.

As you can imagine, different schools have grasped different aspects of
Tosafos's methods.

In my POV, and I suppose Professors Agus, Ta Shma and Soloveichik, the
ideal has been to make aspect A prime, Aspect B is secondary but the Bavli
is undedrstood the single best text of TSBP, and ASpect C is minimzed.

Others who sought to minimize pilpul simply reject Tosasfos and Minhag
Ashekenaz with it. This has lead to a more modern school that sees the
Rambam as the idealzed interpretor of the Bavli. The problem with this
apporach is not that the Rambam is an inferior commentary on the Bavli,
rather the problem is the abaondonment of the corresponding Ashkenazic
norms, sort of throuwing out hte Minhag Baby with the bathwater of Pilpul.

So I would presume to say that Dr. Agus v'sayyasom were/are probably
happy that Tosafos preserved oral and mimetic traditions but probably
squirmed when he did so using Pilpulistic methods instead of stating
more clearly what he was doing. IOW, it would be neater if Tosafos were
more upfront in what he was doing. There are several cases BTW that he
is more upfront on this matter, but again they are not that common

Kol Tuv - Best Regards
Richard Wolpoe
The above post is dedicate to the Memory of My Mom 
Gertrude Wolpoe OBM, Gittel Bas Nachum Mendel Halevi A"H

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