Avodah Mailing List

Volume 12 : Number 005

Wednesday, October 1 2003

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Tue, 30 Sep 2003 09:42:30 +0200
From: "Danny Schoemann" <dannyschoemann@hotmail.com>
Re: tefillin knots

RYGB wrote:
>Yekkes used to use the double daled, but are moving away from it (such as 

I'm curious to know the reason for this migration. After all, changing a 
minhag is not something we do lightly.

I always thought the move was due to most tefillim coming with a single 
daled; even though learning how to tie tefillin knots is not rocket science. 
(We were taught teflillin-knot-tying in summer camp.)
I didn't realise it was a conscience effort to change.

I do recall in high school we had a shiur by a tefillin expert. There's a 
halachic issue with the "square knot - double daled". This, however, refers 
to a rather larger square knot with a hollow in the inside, he went on to 

- Danny, with a double-daled like his ancestors.

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Date: Tue, 30 Sep 2003 15:38:09 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: tefillin knots

> RMM Kasher goes through all the different shitos in his Divrei
> Menachem vol. 1 no. 14.

See also the MB (32:232), who prefers the dalet.

The Bada"tz in Y-m came out (or at least someone did using their name)
with a statement recommending the dalet -- only because they doubt that
our current woven-square is the actual double-dalet knot.

The "Sanzer knot" is also a double-dalet, but it actually looks like
two dalet knots with significant space inside the square. (Info from R'
Moshe Shulman, who is CC-ed on this post.) I assume this is the other
possibility the Bada"tz was referring to.

(I wonder if the double-dalet qiyum of a halachah leMosheh miSinai is
based on the implication that the din predates our use of Ashruris...)

See <http://www.chayas.com/tefillin.htm> for some Teimani shitos,
including comments from "Rav Yosaph Ibn Yikhya ElGafeh zs'l" (a/k/a R'
Kafih / Kapach).


Micha Berger             "I hear, then I forget; I see, then I remember;
micha@aishdas.org        I do, then I understand." - Confucius
http://www.aishdas.org   "Hearing doesn't compare to seeing." - Mechilta
Fax: (413) 403-9905      "We will do and we will listen." - Israelites

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Date: Tue, 30 Sep 2003 13:07:04 +0300 (IDT)
From: Eli Turkel <turkel@cem.tau.ac.il>
bees honey

> I do not see why the arguments are flawed.
> The bee does not produce the honey from fundamental components the way
> milk or urine is produced. The nectar is neverfully decomposed. so what
> a few enzymes are left. why should that make it non-kosher. THe honey
> was not "produced" by the bee.

If we artificially add enzymes from a bee to the nectar would it still
be kosher - how about other nonkosher enzymes?
Isn't this like davar ha-maamid?

Eli Turkel

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Date: Tue, 30 Sep 2003 16:10:47 +0200
From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
Suffering: Individual vs Community

I was just asked to find the source of a statement heard directly from
Rav Soleveitchik which he cited from the the Akeidas Yitzchok

Rav Soleveitchik said that normally when a clamity happens to an
individual - he needs to accept as we see with Aaron and get on with his
life. In contrast when it happens to a community - it is appropriate
to ask questions. Iyov apparently is an exception to rule. I have the
Akeidas Yitzchok on CD - but have no idea what word to look for. Any
help would be appreciated

          Daniel Eidensohn

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Date: Tue, 30 Sep 2003 12:47:20 -0500 (CDT)
From: gil@aishdas.org
Hebrew Pronunciation

I grilled my paternal grandmother over RH about exactly how she spoke
Hebrew and Yiddish in the alter heim (where she and my grandfather grew
up) and, to my surprise, it was not as I had thought. Let's just say
that Shea is an appropriate nickname for my son, Yehoshua.

Le-halachah ve-lo le-ma'aseh, what obligation do I have to daven with
the Hebrew pronunciation that my great-grandfather used if I was never
taught that way by my parents?

Gil Student

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Date: Tue, 30 Sep 2003 10:46:54 -0400
From: Mlevinmd@aol.com

MB posted the pshat of Avudraham that kidshanu b'mitvosov meand who
betrohthed us and the mitsvos is the "ring". This has already happened at
Sinai. If so, why do we ask "kadsheinu b'mitvoseicha" in Shabbos davening?

M. Levin.

[Are you sure it was me? I don't recall learning that Avudraham. -mi]

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Date: Wed, 1 Oct 2003 00:27:49 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: tehillim

On Mon, Sep 29, 2003 at 04:46:56PM -0700, Harry Maryles wrote:
:> And had the same level of kavanah been put to the matbei'ah, of course
:> the zechus would have been greater.

: I might agree with you if the story were told over that way. But the
: emphasis in the story is the intensity of the supplicant Am HaAreatz.
: No where in the story is the point you just asserted made.

Because the chiddush is that there is hope for ignoramii, anyone can
redeem himself. Not that tefillah with kavanah is better than that
without -- what's the need for a story to underscore /that/?

:>> Crying is not praying....

:> If this were true, then teqi'as shofar would not be part of mussaf
:> RH.

: That the blasts of the Shofar of Tekiah, Shevarim, and Teruah are
: representative the different ways a baby cries is a nice Drasha. But
: our D'Oraisa obligation to hear Tekias Shofar does not include those
: breakdowns....

Still, it's wordless, and it's part of the din of mussaf. I'm not arguing
based on ta'am, but on those two simple points of metzi'us. Therefore your
whole bit about shofar being choq is off the point.

I said nothing about the connection between shofar and genunei ganach
or yelulei yalal, or eim Sisra, or...

:          Ther breakdowns of the three different types of Tekios is
: D'Rabbanan, and therefore no proof that there would be no Tekias
: Shofar would not be part of the Musaf...

1- Teqi'ah, teru'ah, teqi'ah deme'umad is de'Oraisa, arguably only
the three of the 10 kolos that correctly represents the de'Oraisa's
teru'ah. The three types of teru'ah is a pesaq to avoid pasqening a
safeiq de'Oraisa.

2- The teqi'os deme'umad are derabbanan, as they're part of tefillas
mussaf which is derabban.

:>> When one looks at Chazal's construction of any prayer they will see
:>> that it is verbalized and specific. Chazal could have simply said to
:>> us: If you want to gain favor from HaShem, just cry as hard as you
:>> can! They didn't do that....

:> Actually, the did. I reiterate: you're confusing tefillah with tachanunim
:> by calling both "praying".

: HOW... did they?

How did chazal spell out the difference between tefillah and tachanunim?

Kol ha'oseh tefillaso keva, lo asa tefillaso tachanunim. Or, see Devarim
Rabba at the begining of parashas va'Eschanan. Or the Gra on E-lokai
Netzor, which he holds was cited in the gemara as one tanna's tachanunim.

:> Yes, they mandate a matbei'ah tefillah that can be understood on many
:> levels. But that's only one aspect of Jewish prayer.
: Amourphous crying is not a substitute for a clear expression and
: whenever possible it should be the preffered method...

Of course it's not a substitute. Tefillah is no less a chiyuv just because
tachanunim are also mandatory.

: It behooves his teachers to teach him how to pray rather than to encourage
: him to cry incoherently.

It does. Who say they didn't? However, if he approached the Besh"T erev YK,
it's a little late for that.

: If you look at the Amidah which is the essential Teffilah mandated by
: Chazal, you immediately notice the twofold aspects of Teffilah that I
: pointed out.

And you think none of my sources know this? Your argument would be
valid if you were arguing my own shitah, and I could have overlooked
the obvious. However, this is not my own Torah.

Tefillah, as the gemara tells us, is threefold: shevach, baqashah,

: I submit that this is all the proof I need to show that the primary
: purpose of prayer is designed to either praise God or beesech Him for
: help since this is how Chazal constructed Shmoneh Esreh.

However, tefillah is an excercise in how one ought to praise, make
requests, or thank G-d. If it were actual requests, for example, wouldn't
it relate to the actual needs we're facing, and change as our lives do?

Second, if it were an actual request, it wouldn't work. G-d won't give
you anything more or less than what you deserve no matter how much or
how little you beg Him.

And, if it really were communication, why wouldn't it include non-verbal
communication? Your argument makes things worse for your conclusion, not
better. I'm saying that tachanunim can be non-verbal, but tefillah must
be the fixed matbei'ah. Your version of tefillah is closer to my tachanunim.
In which case, why would /any/ means of making your needs known not qualify
as a qiyum. And if crying the alef-beis because that's the only way you
can think of to say "I need to be closer to YOu" is all you can do, how
did you /not/ just justify doing it?


Micha Berger             "I hear, then I forget; I see, then I remember;
micha@aishdas.org        I do, then I understand." - Confucius
http://www.aishdas.org   "Hearing doesn't compare to seeing." - Mechilta
Fax: (413) 403-9905      "We will do and we will listen." - Israelites

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Date: Wed, 1 Oct 2003 00:39:16 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Aseres Ymei Tshuva (was Re: cholov Yisrael) 2

This isn't a chassidishe thing, it's from the Yerushalmi. So, we can't
just dismiss it as yenem's derekh -- the question presses.

Also, all this talk of 'tricking' Midas haDin reminds me of tricking
the satan by not blowing shofar erev RH. As far as I can tell, the satan
can't be dumber than your yeitzer hara (YhR), or even ignorant of anything
you -- and therefore your RhR -- knows.

In addition to RAM's and RJR's answers:

1- Related to RJR's post comparing these things to his mom making his
young self dress up for some event, it sets a tone. Perhaps chumros like
pas palter that you don't plan on keeping over time are simply part of
setting the mood of teshuvah season.

2- Perhaps it's like the Rambam in Hil Dei'os, that to make a change stick
you need to change beyond where you expect to end up. Similar to tenu'as
hamussar's concept of making qabbalos.


Micha Berger             "I hear, then I forget; I see, then I remember;
micha@aishdas.org        I do, then I understand." - Confucius
http://www.aishdas.org   "Hearing doesn't compare to seeing." - Mechilta
Fax: (413) 403-9905      "We will do and we will listen." - Israelites

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Date: Tue, 30 Sep 2003 20:45:04 -0400
From: David Hojda <dhojda1@juno.com>
re: R. Shlomo min Hahar

From: Mlevinmd@aol.com
>>I looked up the Beis Haleivi on the beginning of Shemos. He says that
>>is a person would ahve done an aveira anyway, the fact that there is a
>>ptur, such as Pikuach Nefesh, does not patur that person form onesh. In
>>the English translation, there is a note referring to Shut Tzitz Eleizer
>>that uses this Beis Haleivy L'Chalocho - an observant physician should
>>take call on Shabbos because otherwise the non-observant doctor will be
>>punished for violating shabbos even for pikuach nefesh.

Now that R' Meir has sent this response to Avodah, let me fill in the gaps
for those who were not privy to the original discussion at the Shabbaton:

Techumin 22 includes a series of brief responsa from Rav Shlomo Min
HaHar z"l to an officer in Tzahal.

Among the questions asked by the officer was whether, when assigning tasks
that include permitted violation of Shabbos, it would be preferable to
assign a dati soldier, a non-dati, or whether the soldier's religious
status was irrelevant. (Let's say that two soldiers were to patrol the
border on Shabbos, one driving and the other looking out the window with
binoculars. Who should drive?)

Rav Min HaHar wrote that he had thought about this issue for many years
and quoted a Ramban al HaTorah which said that the entire Clal Yisrael had
the status of shoggegin in respect to Torah violations in times such as
ours. The non-dati soldier would be violating Shabbos as a shoggeg; the
dati would be doing so as a mazid. Since we wish to minimize the Chillul
Shabbos, even when it's required, the officer should therefore assign
the Shabbos-violating task to the non-dati rather than the dati. (This
would only apply when it was a time of peace, when the added delay in
seeking out a non-dati would not endanger lives).

This was the psak that I found quite intriguing and to which R' Meir is
now responding.

Dovid Hojda

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Date: Tue, 30 Sep 2003 20:39:44 EDT
From: T613K@aol.com
Re: the story of the man who davened aleph bais

In a message dated 9/30/03  Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org> wrote [in]
Avodah V12 #4:
>> R Harry Maryles wrote (WRT the moral of the BSHT/Am HaAretz story):
>>> Is a person's intent more important than an act mandated by the
>>> Torah or Chazal?

> RMB:
>> This question isn't raised by the story. After all, the BST isn't cited
>> as telling the masses to daven the alef-beis along with the ignorant
>> farmer. It's only the man who is unable to daven the proper matbei'os who
>> "gets away" with not doing what chazal mandated.

>> And had the same level of kavanah been put to the matbei'ah, of course
>> the zechus would have been greater.

> RHM: I might agree with you if the story were told over that way. But the
> emphasis in the story is the intensity of the supplicant Am HaAreatz.
> No where in the story is the point you just asserted made.

> RHM:
>>> I have a difficulty with that because it implies
>>> that the entire purpose of those acts is to acheive D'veikus and if
>>> D'veikus could be achieved without performance of the Mitzvos than
>>> we could skip right over them....

The story is only tangentially about deveikus and certainly does NOT
imply that the purpose of davening is to achieve deveikus, or that
deveikus without davening is a worthy goal, let alone preferable to
actually davening.

The story is a chassidishe story, which you all seem to be overlooking
completely. Its point is that in the eyes of Heaven a simple person may
be much more "valuable" so to speak than the shul big shot, and no one
has the right to look down at another person and assume that he is better
than that person. A person who is a big T'C and who understands every
word of the davening has not necessarily achieved a higher madreiga in
the eyes of G-d than an am ha'aretz who longs to serve Hashem.

The story is supposed to deflate the pretensions of the high and mighty,
and also to encourage and inspire the am haratzim to "give it all they've
got" and not despair of ever being any good in G-d's eyes. It was these
kinds of messages that innoculated the chassidim against the ravages
of haskalah, Reform and so on much better than the Litvishe world ever
managed, with its message that the am haaretz is lower than dirt and
only the Torah scholar has any importance in G-d's scheme. Eventually
the hamon am in the chassidishe world also became more learned than
the hamon am in the Litvishe world, where the stratification of society
was much more marked and the ignoramuses felt the sting of rejection.
Chassidus was the original kiruv movement.

Toby Katz

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Date: Wed, 1 Oct 2003 01:16:26 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: the story of the man who davened aleph bais

On Tue, Sep 30, 2003 at 08:39:44PM -0400, T613K@aol.com wrote:
: The story is only tangentially about deveikus and certainly does NOT
: imply that the purpose of davening is to achieve deveikus, or that
: deveikus without davening is a worthy goal, let alone preferable to
: actually davening.

: The story is a chassidishe story, which you all seem to be overlooking
: completely. Its point is that in the eyes of Heaven a simple person may
: be much more "valuable" so to speak than the shul big shot...

I firmly disagree with the first point.

Yes, it's a chassidishe ma'aseh about how even the lowliest person may
be more valuable...

But that's /because/ the assumption is that emotional deveiqus is THE
measure of value. And therefore the ignorant who has real kavanah,
and therefore real emotional deveiqus, can out-do the shul's big shots.

If the Besh"t spoke about sheleimus, his ignorance would have had to
have been weighted much more heavily. Although it's still possible that
the shul big shot's rote was a bigger pegam than the ignoramus's
emunah peshutah.


Micha Berger             "I hear, then I forget; I see, then I remember;
micha@aishdas.org        I do, then I understand." - Confucius
http://www.aishdas.org   "Hearing doesn't compare to seeing." - Mechilta
Fax: (413) 403-9905      "We will do and we will listen." - Israelites

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Date: Tue, 30 Sep 2003 21:29:32 EDT
From: Joelirich@aol.com
Re: newly found manuscripts of rishonim

In a message dated 09/30/2003 8:01:59 PM EDT, sba@iprimus.com.au writes:
> I recall seeing b'sheim both the CI and the SR that we ignore any newly
> found manuscripts of rishonim which would change the halocho from what
> we have been mekabel.
> IIRC the reason being that HKBH would not have allowed Klall Yisroel
> to be nichshol all these years - and had it been relevant or indeed the
> halocho so - it would have been in our hands centuries ago.
And the reason HKB"H allowed it to  become available now is??? (a test ?)

Joel Rich

PS On a somewhat related topic-do we have instances where a later bet din
was gadol bminyan etc. than an earlier one and overturned a gzeira(how
far apart were the generations)? If so, when did this cease?

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Date: Tue, 30 Sep 2003 20:39:49 -0400
From: "Yosef Gavriel & Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.it.northwestern.edu>
Re: Hashgocha protis - non chassidic view

>The Sifsei Chaim, Pirkei Emunah ve-Hashgachah vol. 1 devotes ma'amar
>4 to the issue of whether there is hashgachah peratis on non-humans.
>He brings down three views:
>1. The Ramban's (pp. 82-83): Hashem's individual providence is only on
>those who recognize and cling to Him.
>2. The Ramak's (pp. 83-87): Individual providence applies to animals only
>when it relates to people. [This seems to be the view of R' Aryeh Kaplan
>in Handbook of Jewish Thought vol. 2 19:7-8 pp. 288-289.]
>3. The Gra's (p. 87ff.): Individual providence applies to everything
>created. He quotes R' Yonasan Eybeshutz and Radal who agree.

What about the Rambam's view that it applies to species, but not individual 
animals? (Raises the question of whether spotted owls were a species bifnei 
atzmam or part of the larger species of owls!)


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Date: Wed, 1 Oct 2003 12:00:08 EDT
From: Mlevinmd@aol.com

> The position of the Gra is much more problematic....
> Looking more closely at the words quoted in the Sifsei Chaim - it
> seems that the Gra never said that hashgocha protis actually applies to
> animals. He says that everything about everything in the world is known
> by G-d, was known by G-d at creation and is all included in the Torah.
> This seems to be the view of the Kuzari that everything is ultimately
> from G-d but there are direct and indirect paths. However the indirect
> path is not usually called hashgocha protis.

It seems that one needs to distinguish between hashgacha in the sense of
Hashem knowing about everything that goes on and HIm acting to interced
in it. I recall that R. Bachya in Vayeira makes that distinction on the
Posuk "ki Ydaativ" adn that Chavel brings it down in the Ramban edition.

M. Levin

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Date: Wed, 1 Oct 2003 08:43:19 +0200
From: Arie Folger <afolger@aishdas.org>
Re: unetane tokef

Reb Newman,Saul Z, wrote [to Areivim]:
[unetane tokef]
> http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/344460.html  written by whom .
>  haaretz'  take...

Probably quite right. The name Amnon is unknown in 11th century Ashkenaz,
plus, the way the Or Zaru'ah cites Rabbi Efaim from Bonn, it apperently
(didn't check that personally) seems to be presented as a not so reliable
report (that is, REfB considers it half unreliable). One theory is
that the piyut existed from an earlier period, and that the story was
purposefully created as an amalgam of two stories, to hide the identity
of the key player. There is a Rav Amnon who, in the 10th century, was
martyred in Italy IIRC, and there is a Rav Qlonimus ben Rav Meshulam
(or was it Meshulam ben Qlonimus?) (the one who saw Rav Amnon in his
dream after the latter had passed away, and told the story to the world)
who headed one of the big three Ashkenaz communities (I believe Worms)
and was killed, with much of his community, in the crusade of 1096.

Possibly, the piyut was introduced in teh Ashkenaz prayers as a reaction
to the murder of the above community and its leader (who is, after all,
a protagonist in the legend, too). It is apparently not one Rav Amnon,
but an entire community that gave its life for Qiddush ha<Shem>, and it
may have been (according to one account) Rav Qlonimus ben Rav Meshulam
who asked for time, not because he was really considering converting,
but because he was hoping the hordes of viscious crusaders would calm
down or leave by the next day.

The above analysis is presnted in a book which IIRC is called Binetivei

Gmar 'hassiemeh toiveh,
(should I now write Gmar Chassimoh tauwoh? ;-))

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, 01 Oct 2003 10:36:43 +0200
From: "Danny Schoemann" <dannyschoemann@hotmail.com>

This was first posted to Areivem in response to payos being included on a
It is reproduced here at RMB's urging, but tidied up with accurate
sources and some corrections and additions.

Amazingly enough, payos, per se, aren't a chumra. They have clearly
defined halochos in SA Yore De'ah 181. (Easy to remember: "Kipa"
spelled wrongly. It's just before Hil. Nidda.)

Since YD is not part of the "syllabus", :-) the Chofetz Chaim included
Hilchos Payos in OC. You can find it in the Biur Halocho on 251 - which
talks about "not to do work after Mincha on Erev Sh.". (Starts with
"afilu" - "even from a Jewish barber".)

In a nutshell: The (triangular) area from the top of the ear to the
"top corner" of the forehead to the bottom of the ear is the payos
area. Cutting men's hair too short in this area would be an Isur d'Oraysa.
(The area below this is the beard-area with its own (slightly different)

For the record:

 - These halachos do not apply to women's hair.
 - These halochos apply even if a goy or woman cuts a mans hair, even
without his help.

 - The Beis Lechem Yehuda mentions that the Ari z"l had the following
payos: The width of hair alongside the ear until 1/3 of the forehead and
back to the top of the ear and slightly higher. He did not to cut any
hair in this area until it grew into the beard-area. He then trimmed it;
as below the ear is not called payos-of-the-head.

 - This seems slightly larger than the area defined by the MB.
 - The SA mentions in 181:9 "this entire width, no hand should touch it".
The Biur haGr"o adds that since this is a d'Oraysa one should be stringent
and not rely on an opinion mentioned in the Bes Yosef that allows one
to leave only part of the width.

 - After studying the above references (YD 181 and MB 251) the recent
"minhag" of growing a few strands of hair only behind the ears seems
 - a case of "looking fruhm". (Especially when the sideburns are trimmed
very short (or removed, chalila) and even more so when the entire
growth it outside the payos area.)

The entire area has the same din. You can hold one of 2 ways:
 - Either you hold that you cannot cut any hair in that area. (You can trim 
it once it has grown out - keeping it "bushy" only within the lines.)
 - Or you hold it can be cut, but not too short. See ibid and ask your LOR 
for exact measurements and what instrument to use. The mechaber in 181:1 
paskens that scissors-like-a-blade are forbidden. (As opposed to the beard 
where it's allowed.)
Growing only part of it demonstrates a certain lack of understanding,
either in halocho or in your ability not to blindly copy-cat chumros. :-)

 - Growing pretty side-curls is not mentioned ibid. Though it makes you
look chasidish and explains what Yosef Hazadik was doing at age 18, re:
mesalsel besa'aro. :-) The Yemenite yidden also have this minhag, though
I'm not sure that in either case the length went into the beard-area,
"in the olden days".

 - Supposedly RYSE is against hiding your payos (neatly) behind your ears
(like yours truly). Hence him & his talmidim have short (to the bottom
of the ear) bushy payos.

 - In EY it's not uncommon to see people in the work-force with noticeable
payos, from chassidim in full black garb to kippa sruga wearers.

 - In 1983 I asked Rav Neuwirth (author of ShShK) where the lower limit
of the payos is. He put his finger in the corner of my ear lobe and jowl,
asked me to open my mouth and pressed up (rather hard) onto the "corner"
of my jaw-bone and skull. That was the lower limit of the payos.

 - The above ignores the opinion of the RAMBAM, that payos are part
of Hil. Avoda Zoro, and therefore can be "modified" in case of need,
such as contact with government officials. The SA clearly does not pasken
that way.

 - The Pischei Tshuva mentions a Tshuva from the Chasam Sofer to Rav
Akiva Eiger, allowing one to comb payos, even though hair may be pulled
out in the process.

Gmar Vechasima Tova
 - Danny (not a Rabbi. Just quoting SA; hopefully accurately.)

Please daven for a refua shleima for Chaya bas Naomi Zehava amongst other 
Cholie Yisroel. Thanks.

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Date: Wed, 1 Oct 2003 12:38:15 +0200
From: "Shoshana L. Boublil" <toramada@bezeqint.net>
brides and asking the rabbi

One of my major problems as a Kalla councellor is how to convince young
women of the importance of going to a rabbi with She'eilot.

The problem starts with the fact that we teach basic mar'ot and then
tell the women to go to a rabbi when they aren't certain. With the basic
tendency in society to consider a Machmir attitude as a good one, it takes
a lot of explaining for the young women (with no experience of marriage)
to understand why it is vital that they not automatically machmir,
and that they should turn to rabbis for psika, especially as they don't
really grasp how their decision regarding the mar'eh could possibly be
a "chumra". Only by emphasizing the impact of their decision on their
spouse, can I get them to think about the idea of asking a sheila when
the answer seems clear.

With this question on my mind, I came across an interesting idea while
studying the 1st Mishna of Berachot. The mishna is well known -- it
discusses till when to say Sh'ma at night. The conlusion of Chachamim
is "till Chatzot" and then a story is presented: Raban Gamli'el's sons
return from a Se'udat Mitzva after Chatzot and they haven't said Shma.
Raban Gamliel paskens for them that they have to say Shma.

How is this story relevant to my question?

We can assume that Raban Gamliel's sons learned in yeshiva and knew
the halacha that shma is said till Chatzot. Based on current practice,
we would assume that at this point they would realize that they had
missed keeping a mitzva of Shma, but as the time paskened by Chachamim
had passed -- that was that.

Instead, they ask a shaila. And what is even more eye-opening, they are
told that under the specific circumstances, not only can they say Shma'
 -- they are obligated to do so.

Apparently there is one more answer to the question of why this is the
1st mishna. It teaches us that even when we are sure that we know the
answer -- we should ask; that the circumstances surrounding a situation
do indeed impact on the psika. In fact you might say that the basis for
the Shulchan Aruch Chamishi is presented in this mishna.

As to the brides, I'll probably start teaching this mishna as part of
the study material. <g>

Another issue raised in this mishna is the issue of machloket. Sometimes
my posts here and on Areivim have caused machloket and sometimes they
were a result of machloket. I would like to ask forgiveness for any
instance where any of my posts insulted anyone (especially as that has
never been my intention) or harmed anyone and I state categorically,
that I forgive any who have hurt me.

Shanna Tova, Ketiva VeChatima Tova,
Shoshana L. Boublil

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Date: Wed, 1 Oct 2003 08:20:43 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>

1- Note that tichleh shanah veqileloseha is invoked WRT citing qelalos, not
living through them.

2- Since when is any negative nevu'ah supposed to be taken as not possibly
being contingent?


Rabbi Dov Kramer

This year (as in most years) Parshas Ha'azinu coincides with Shabbos
Shuva, the Shabbos in between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Ha'azinu is
primarily the song (or poem) that Moshe taught the Children of Israel
before he died. There are several parts to this poem, including how the
nation angered G-d, was therefore punished by G-d, and eventually is
redeemed by G-d. However, the Talmud (Megilah 31b) tells us that the
reason we make sure to read the curses in Sefer Devarim before Rosh
Hashanah is so that "the year and its curses should come to an end."

But, as Tosfos (d"h Kellalos) asks, since punishments are described in
Ha'azinu as well, how could we read it after Rosh Hashanah? (Those years
that Ha'azinu is not read on Shabbos Shuva it is read a week later,
so the same question would apply.)

Tosfos answers that all Ezra (who set up the Torah readings) wanted
was that there be a week without any curses before Rosh Hashanah (which
is why either Netzavim or Netzavim/Vayelech always precedes it, not Ki
Savo, where the main curses are) -- not that all of them had to have been
previously read. But, if Ezra was concerned about any punishments being
read the week before Rosh Hashanah, why wasn't he concerned about them
immediately preceding Yom Kippur? Isn't Yom Kippur also a Day of Judgment?

The Abarbanel (Devarim 31:19) says that the nature of the punishments
in Ha'azinu are different than those mentioned in earlier weeks. While
the other "curses" were conditional, only to occur if we sin, what is
described in the "song" of Ha'azinu is not contingent upon anything
occurring. Instead, it is a straightforward foretelling of what will
definitely happen. The focus of the song, therefore, is not on our
sinning, or being punished for our sins -- but that ultimately we will
be redeemed (see Rabbeinu Bachya on 31:21 for a similar thought). This
"song" is important because it is designed to always give us hope, even
after suffering the consequences of our (and our ancestor's) actions.
When we feel the most vulnerable, we must remember that, in the end,
G-d will restore us to our former glory.

It seems odd, though, that on Shabbos Shuva, when we are (supposed
to be) focused on doing "teshuvah" (repentance, or returning to G-d),
we read about the glorious future that awaits us. Wouldn't it be more
appropriate to read about the consequences of our actions (or inactions),
so that we become more motivated to correct our ways?

It's possible that this is precisely the message being sent by the
song of Ha'azinu. Our actions greatly impact what will happen to us
as individuals, and, in the immediate future, as a nation. Ultimately,
though, G-d will turn the tables on our enemies. The Jewish people have
a destiny, and it will be fulfilled. It is up to us to be a part of it,
even to hasten it. Whether or not we (as individuals) return to G-d,
the nation as a whole will. We can choose to either become part of that
Jewish destiny, or be left on the sidelines.

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