Avodah Mailing List

Volume 12 : Number 021

Wednesday, October 22 2003

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Wed, 22 Oct 2003 00:01:47 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Subject:
Re: Question on Tfilas Musaf the second day Sukkahs


On Mon, Oct 20, 2003 at 09:13:04PM +0000, simchag@att.net wrote:
: does anybody know the reason why we don't say the 'sfeikeh dyomah' korban on 
: the SECOND DAY of Sukkahs?

It would contradict the shevisah.

Similar to the reason why Shemini Atzeres curtails the sefeiqa deyoma
of Hoshana Rabba.

-mi


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Date: Wed, 22 Oct 2003 00:04:34 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Subject:
Re: Hebrew vs. Greek


On Tue, Oct 21, 2003 at 08:41:09AM +0200, Arie Folger wrote:
: Your statement would only be true if you would claim that it is Jewish
: thought that influenced the Hebrew grammar, which in turn perhaps
: limited extraneous developments in Jewish thought. Somehow, I would
: sooner believe that Greek developed alternative verbs in order to solve
: the difficulty of using these homonyms. IOW, a technical rather than
: cultural/philosophical development.

1- Look up the Whorf-Safir hypothesis.

2- Hebrew is part of torah. It reflects how Jewish thought ought to be,
even if not how it is.

-mi


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Date: Tue, 21 Oct 2003 20:46:02 -0400
From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
Subject:
Buying in Bulk and Ribis


From: gil@aishdas.org
<<Let's say that my family uses a dozen eggs each week. I can buy it
from a frum grocer for $2 each week or I can buy a big four-dozen box
for $7.50, with a $.50 discount for buying in bulk, and keep the eggs
in my fridge until I need them.

Is the grocer charging me (avak) ribis for buying the eggs weekly?>>

A bulk discount is just that, not a loan. A cash discount would
(possibly) be ribis.

Gershon
gershon.dubin@juno.com


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Date: Wed, 22 Oct 2003 00:20:20 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Subject:
Re: Basics for Philisophical discussions


: Night is dark and day is light. That is the dividing line. What the
: causes are can be discussed later. Same thing C and O. C denies Maamid
: Har Sinai; O believes in Maamid Har Sinai. What the causes are can also
: be discussed later and are irrelavent to the definition.

I disagree.

Much of my objection to pronouncing the mabul to be an ahistorical
allegory is that it uses an epistomology I feel inconsistant with O
thought. Once experiment trumps mesorah WRT the mabul, it's only one's
unwillingness to cross the line -- not reason -- that stops one from
applying the same reasoning to yetzi'as mitzrayim or ma'amad har sinai.

Another difference between us and them is that even if we found a
ma'amar Chazal to be scientifically wrong we wouldn't simply dismiss it
as ignorable. We would look to cull the meaning that made the statement
mesorah worthy. No?

This comes from the epistomolgy, not necessitated by our difference in
TmS. And yet, this lack of faith in the mesorah has much to do with
our pragmatic differences.

-mi

-- 
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: Tue, 21 Oct 2003 17:42:18 -0700 (PDT)
From: Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
Subject:
Re: Rabbi Yosef Bechhofer & Eruvin


Kenneth G Miller <kennethgmiller@juno.com> wrote:
> Lemme see if I have this straight: There are some people who are aware of
> certain shitos which the OU and Empire follow, and which they'd rather
> not rely on, so they avoid eating those foods. That sounds (to me)
> like a very intelligent and reasonable approach.

> But how do those people get hold of that information? Can anyone give
> me any examples of (a) a debated halacha where Empire might follow a
> different shita than others; (b) names of the lenient poskim who Empire
> relies on; (c) names of the poskim who reject the lenient opinions;
> (d) other brands which satisfy the stricter opinions.

> I'm not referring to claims such as "My rav feels that Empire shechts
> too many chickens in too short a time." That's a shikul hadaas, an
> honest difference of opinion. But that's not what we're talking about
> here. The topic here is hechsherim which choose a lenient minority in
> a machlokes haposkim.

Well, I wasn't necessarily reffering only to a,b,c, and d. Baalei
Nefesh will often check into the standards and practices of various
hechshir organizations, as well as their reputations. This has become
fairly common amongst Bnei Torah. It is more than Shikul Hadaas. It is
a matter of whom do you trust. With Eruvin, OTOH Bnei Torah are not as
familiar with the details as they might be with Kashrus issues. Often
there is only one Eruv at issue and one Rav Hamachshir. So there is a
greater element of trust. That being said, there are Bnei Torah who are
makpid to not use city Eruvin. It is just that it doesn't compare to the
numbers who scrutinize Kashrus situations. I am not casting aspersions
on the OU or Empire. I used them only for illustrative purposes and I
use their products.

Bottom line... this is just an observation and speculation on my part. I
could easily be proven wrong.

HM


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Date: Wed, 22 Oct 2003 00:21:26 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Subject:
Re: Rambam and creation


On Mon, Oct 20, 2003 at 04:39:53PM -0500, gil@aishdas.org wrote:
: Regardless, we have a late manuscript in the Rambam's own handwriting
: in which he explicitly added belief in creation ex nihilo to the fourth
: principle. This version can be found in the Qafah edition of Rambam's
: Peirush Ha-Mishnayos. For details on the manuscript, see Kellner's Dogma
: p. 240 n. 211.

Doesn't Tzur relate to giving tzurah to chomer, not to yeish mei'ayin?
Tzur is related to yetzirah, not beri'ah. No?

On a different note: whether or not beri'ah is a necessary element of
the definition of O, it's not a meaningful criterion for distinguishing O
from the liberal movements. A majority of non-O Jews believe in a Creator.

I find it interesting that we started this subthread by asking if belief
in Beri'ah is necessary, when in fact it provably is from the 2nd word
of the Torah. We asked if the Rambam requires it, and it's the essential
word (and the 3rd word) of the very first Ikkar.

However, it all turns out to be irrelevent. "Borei" may not mean
"yeis mei'ayin", and the alternative, "Tzur" very well may. And yet,
the scholars who want to shake the authority of this ikkar make a big
deal about word usage -- despite the counterexample in the begining of
the text!

-mi

-- 
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: Tue, 21 Oct 2003 17:18:55 -0700 (PDT)
From: Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
Subject:
Re: new birth control?


Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org> wrote:
> You're still presupposing your own definition of "zera". By insisting on
> a "zera" that is procreative you simply assert your position with little
> basis. Words do drift quite a distance from their roots' prumary meanings.

Evens so Zera is only half the phrase. The word Shaches (the root of
Hashchasa) has only one meaning. Destruction. When there is Hashchasas
Zera, something needs to be destroyed. If there is only semen and no
sperm, what exactly is being destroyed?

 
>:               If we don't then we are perpetuating the falsehood of that
>: semen itself being procreative, irregardless of whether it has any sperm.

> Only if procreativity was relevent.

It IS relavent! Even though it is not the only reason for permitting
marital realtions it is certainly the primary one.

 
> Consider this alternative:

> The issur of HZL is related to that of qedeishah, and has to do with using
> one's sexuality for anything other than emotionally bonding as a couple.

You seem to be saying that the primary function of sexual relations is
emotional bonding. That's a nice Drasha but I doubt that you can prove
your premise. As I just said I believe that procreation is the primary
purpose, not emotional bonding, though that... MAY... be a secondary
reason.

> The issur therefore has nothing to do with procreation, which explains
> why it doesn't apply when one's wife isn't fertile.

But it does in the case of an Aylinis. One may not marry an Aylinis
precisely because there is no way she can have children. If, one marrys
an infertile woman without prior knowledge than the Torah permits the
relationship for secondary reasons.

> ...
> : Zera is a concept not a percept. The concept's definition of Zera, or
> : seed, is that item which when implanted will produce offspring whether
> : animal or vegetable...

> This is the only real argument that doesn't assume your conclusion.

> I agree that this makes the word dachuq, but no more so than "qedeishah"
> which has little to do with sanctity, or the use of "dachuq" for
> intangibles in this sentence, or the connection between an "iveir"
> and skin, or....
> 
> In reality, zera (by any defintion) isn't a seed, the idiom would only
> make sense if the woman's egg has no chalos. 

There is no such thing as Zera for a woman. The ovum is not Zera,
Clearly the male contributes Zera. That doesn't mean the Ovum doesn't
have a Chalos. It's Chalos is just not defined as Zera. Its Chalos is an
entirely different concept and is just as important in the procreative
process. But not in the Halachic process. A woman may "waste" ova all
day long, which of course she does during menstruation. The Issur is for
men to waste seed. It is a Chok. But IMHO the Chok pertains only to the
procreative seed... not its medium, semen.

> Again, it fits the "ignoring the microscopic" idea.

> Or, to put all this another way. Some plant seeds are damaged and
> infertile, are they not "zera" And if they can be "zera" why can't
> damaged and infertile semen -- as well as the healthy sort? 

Not the same thing. Semen is not damaged zera. Only damaged Zera is
Zera.

> Further, seeds are mostly food for the budding plant. Is "zera" only
> that part of the seed that becomes the new plant? 

No Zera is the "cell" that in its entirety fertilizes and creates human
life. Semen has no part other than as the medium for sperm. Next you'll
be saying that arousal is Zera too.

> If not, why aren't
> constituents of semen necessary for the success of the sperm (if all
> were well) also within the word "zera"?

Maybe semen is necessary for the success of the sperm but only as an
aid to reproduction, not as actual Zera. If you take your argument
far enough you can say that dating for the purpose of marriage is
Zera as well.

>: OK then it is not Hashchasas Zera. It is, however, making oneself a Krus
>: Shafcha. Does it really matter if [one is] castrated, or [has] a vasectomy,
>: or take a pill which sterilizes [him]? Aren't they all accomplishing the
>: same thing?

> Yes, it does make a difference. See Tur, EhE 5. Petzua' daka uqerus
> shafcha have very specific defnitions, which are anatomical, not based
> on functional effect.

This is one area (of many) where I simply do not know enough. IRRC,
a man who has undergone a vasectemy is equivalent to a Patzuah Daka
and therefore forbidden to marry. If this is the case, than why should
a pill that prevents the manufacture of sperm be any different than a
vasectemy? Both prevent sperm from exiting the body. In fact a pill may
be worse in that it not only cuts off the exit of sperm from the body,
it prevents it from even being manufactured.

HM


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Date: Wed, 22 Oct 2003 00:23:30 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Subject:
Re: new birth control?


On Tue, Oct 21, 2003 at 07:48:02PM +0200, Arie Folger wrote:
:> 1- As I've posted here repeatedly, R' Dovid Lifshitz did make a general
:> klal out of halachah ignoring the microscopic. (Could someone let R'
:> Bleich know that someone else held of his chiddush?) As RDL is my rebbe,
:> finding out he was mistaken would surprise me.

: RDJDB's 'hidush is not to ignore the microscopic, but on the contrary, to 
: consider it, where its presence is well known and is cause for concern (i.e. 
: a foetus).

Is that then not included in RAYHKook's view, that we're chosheid for
changes in science -- but only lechumrah? RAYHK's instance was that of
beitzei kinim as well.

-mi


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Date: Wed, 22 Oct 2003 01:25:22 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Subject:
Re: new birth control?


On Tue, Oct 21, 2003 at 05:18:55PM -0700, Harry Maryles wrote:
: Evens so Zera is only half the phrase. The word Shaches (the root of
: Hashchasa) has only one meaning. Destruction. When there is Hashchasas
: Zera, something needs to be destroyed. If there is only semen and no
: sperm, what exactly is being destroyed?

Semen.

:>:               If we don't then we are perpetuating the falsehood of that
:>: semen itself being procreative, irregardless of whether it has any sperm.

: > Only if procreativity was relevent.

: It IS relavent! Even though it is not the only reason for permitting
: marital realtions it is certainly the primary one.

Neither procreation nor pair bonding is more primary. One is from
Bereishis 1:28, the other from 2:24. As RYBS points out, piryah
verivyah is Adam I's approach to intimacy, Majestic Man's power of
procreation. Vedavaq be'ishto is Adam II's, Covenental Man's relationship
to the marriage community.

My first objection to your literal approach to defining "zera" is that only
one of the two make sense that way.

My 2nd is that it requires giving a chalos to a microscopic component.

3- That semen itself -- when properly functioning -- causes growth
because it contains sperm, which is enough for it to merit the word by
any normal use of a language root.

:> The issur therefore has nothing to do with procreation, which explains
:> why it doesn't apply when one's wife isn't fertile.

: But it does in the case of an Aylinis. One may not marry an Aylinis
: precisely because there is no way she can have children. If, one marrys
: an infertile woman without prior knowledge than the Torah permits the
: relationship for secondary reasons.

Which is a problem of qiyum of piryah verivyah, no one claims it's SZL.

:> In reality, zera (by any defintion) isn't a seed, the idiom would only
:> make sense if the woman's egg has no chalos. 

: There is no such thing as Zera for a woman...

Relevence? Sperm doesn't work in the same way as plant seeds, not once
you know microscopic female anatomy. So, mima nafshach:

4- Either the microcropic doesn't count, "zera" has to do with the parallel
to planting, and the term must refer to semen because it's the non-microscopic
thing that is supposed to contain the power to plant. Or, the microscopic
does count, and there is no parallel to planting, and your whole literalist
approach fails.

...
: Not the same thing. Semen is not damaged zera. Only damaged Zera is
: Zera.

If functioning semen produces children, why isn't semen "zera" in just as
literal of a sense? The fact that it could have its critical component
non-functioning or missing shouldn't change that. Any more than the existance
of defective seeds would argue that "zera" doesn't refer to the whole seed,
but only that part which actually procreated.

:> Further, seeds are mostly food for the budding plant. Is "zera" only
:> that part of the seed that becomes the new plant? 

: No Zera is the "cell" that in its entirety fertilizes and creates human
: life. Semen has no part other than as the medium for sperm...

Again a blind, assertion.

Sperm is a part of semen. Semen is visible, and because it contains sperm,
it causes fertilization. Now in what sense does it not fit Hebrew norms for
being called "zera"?

: Maybe semen is necessary for the success of the sperm but only as an
: aid to reproduction, not as actual Zera. If you take your argument
: far enough you can say that dating for the purpose of marriage is
: Zera as well.

Not an object.

: >: OK then it is not Hashchasas Zera. It is, however, making oneself a Krus
: >: Shafcha. Does it really matter if [one is] castrated, or [has] a vasectomy,
: >: or take a pill which sterilizes [him]? Aren't they all accomplishing the
: >: same thing?

: > Yes, it does make a difference. See Tur, EhE 5. Petzua' daka uqerus
: > shafcha have very specific defnitions, which are anatomical, not based
: > on functional effect.
: 
: This is one area (of many) where I simply do not know enough. IRRC,
: a man who has undergone a vasectemy is equivalent to a Patzuah Daka...

Someone who had a testical damaged is a PD. Someone who had one amputated
is not. As I said, it's not defined by function.

-mi

-- 
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: Tue, 21 Oct 2003 18:22:07 -0700 (PDT)
From: meir <meyoz@yahoo.com>
Subject:
[none]


Simcha G asked:
<<does anybody know the reason why we don't say the 'sfeikeh dyomah'
korban on the SECOND DAY of Sukkahs?>>

The answer is in order not to be Mezalzeil Byom Tov Sheni

Meir Zirkind


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Date: Wed, 22 Oct 2003 11:35:27 +0200
From: S Goldstein <goldstin@netvision.net.il>
Subject:
eiruvin


RAF quoted a Bavli about the purpose of an eiruv. The citing was
incorrect. Where's the Gemara?

Shlomo Goldstein

[RAF posted an email titled "Re: R' Yosef Bechhofer and eruvin &&
early Purim?" A serious response was not intended. -mi]


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Date: Wed, 22 Oct 2003 11:37:01 +0200
From: S Goldstein <goldstin@netvision.net.il>
Subject:
aveil on sukka


Sukka 25b says a mourner is obligated in sukka. The Gemara asks isn't
this obvious? and answers you might think he is patur because he is
mitztaer...this is not the case.

RGS asks, what's the question? Aveilus is cancelled by regel.

The Ritva learns the Gemara's answer that the mourner must allow the
sukka to comfort him (nichum).

The Rosh says that the mourner prefers to be alone in a dark place in
pain than in the [happy, public] sukka.

The Pnei Yehoshua touches on the question of RGS noting that aveilus
btzina exists during regel. [This is when shiva did not start before
Yom Tov, S"A Y"D 399:1] and therefore it would be aveilus b'farhesia,
and forbidden, to refrain from sukka.

Shlomo Goldstein


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Date: Wed, 22 Oct 2003 04:06:20 -0700 (PDT)
From: Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
Subject:
Re: Hilonim and wine


gil@aishdas.org wrote:
> Just to clarify, the Binyan Tzion's teshuvah on the subject is published
> in a section titled "She-lo le-ma'aseh" and the Achiezer used the view in
> conjunction with other reasons to be lenient (...in permitting the
> use of a Tinok Shenishba's wine, not considering it Yayin Nesech)

> I saw that R' Chaim Hirschenson in his Malki BaKodesh vol. 2 p. 160 ff.
> argues that a Mechallel Shabbos, even if not a tinok she-nishbah, does not
> assur wine.  In Malki BaKodesh vol. 4 p. 38 ff. there is a letter from
> RCH's mechutan, R' Tzvi Pesach Frank, politely but vehemently disagreeing.  

It would seem like the best approach is to be Machmir when one is able,
but one can be Mekil and Yesh Al Mi Yismoch.

My own approach would be to be Machmir as a rule but to be Mekil in
situations of Kiruv and to prevent embarrasment to another.

HM


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Date: Wed, 22 Oct 2003 08:53:54 -0400
From: Kenneth G Miller <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
Subject:
Re: Rambam and creation


On Mon, 20 Oct 2003, R' Meir Shinnar wrote <<< in the Mishne torah,
when he defines halachically required belief, he is very careful not
to use the language of boreh ... In the More Nevuchim, the rambam goes
into great lengths about different approaches to creation and eternity -
and is quite explicit that creation is not something that is an ikkar
emuna, but, if there were good logical proofs for eternity, one could
reinterprete parshat breshit as allegorical - and concludes that there
are no proofs either way. >>>

No proofs either way? Here's the proof that I've always learned, and
I'd like to know how the Rambam (or others) might refute it:

1) If Hashem did *not* create the universe "yesh me'ayin", then the
universe is eternal.
2) Hashem is eternal.
3) "Hashem Echad" teaches that there can be only one eternity.
4) Therefore, Hashem and the universe are the same, c"v.
5) Conclusion #4 must be rejected, therefore supposition #1 is mistaken,
and it must be that Hashem *did* create the universe "yesh me'ayin".

My apologies if I have used any philosophical terms incorrectly. I hope
my meaning was clear enough. (FWIW, I have very little interest in knowing
which scholars claim the Rambam said this, and which claim the Rambam said
something else. My main concern is to improve my understanding of Hashem.)

After writing the above, I reviewed more posts in this thread, and found
this from R' Micha Berger:
<<< Beri'ah need not mean yeish mei'ayin. It could mean logical priority,
and given either an Aristotilian or a Platonic spin. ... "Beri'ah"
is a loose concept. It only rules out some forms of eternalism. >>>

This could punch quite a hole in the "proof" I offered above. How many
"forms of eternalism" are there? Where might I find some descriptions
of them?

Akiva Miller


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Date: Wed, 22 Oct 2003 06:35:17 -0700 (PDT)
From: Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
Subject:
Re: Basics for Philisophical discussions


Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org> wrote:
> Much of my objection to pronouncing the mabul to be an ahistorical
> allegory is that it uses an epistomology I feel inconsistant with O
> thought. Once experiment trumps mesorah WRT the mabul, it's only one's
> unwillingness to cross the line -- not reason -- that stops one from
> applying the same reasoning to yetzi'as mitzrayim or ma'amad har
> sinai.

Not unwillingness. Belief. The refusal to cross that line still keeps one
in the fold even if there is an over reliance on reason as the source of
all knowledge which causes the rejection of traditional beliefs about
the Mabul. It is the epistomology of O that both reason AND Mesorah
determines belief.

I am not convinced that reason is the entire source of all C's knowledge
either. They have some element of Mesorah as well, or they wouldn't
even say that the Torah was "inspired" by God and would reject the
Torah's validity entirely. In fact reason alone would tend to make one
an agnostic.

> Another difference between us and them is that even if we found a
> ma'amar Chazal to be scientifically wrong we wouldn't simply dismiss it
> as ignorable. We would look to cull the meaning that made the statement
> mesorah worthy. No?

Yes. But it is Mesorah combined with reason, and not Mesorah alone.
When one finds scientific facts that seem to contradict formerly held
belief then it becomes necessary to seek a synthesis. If one chooses
to ignore newly discovered facts in favor of an older understanding
of Mesorah alone, then one loses intellectual honesty. If one chooses
to ignore Mesorah in favor of reason we are guilty of the arrogance of
belief in the superiority our own fallible minds.

For example, scientific eveidence very strongly indicates that the
universe is billions of years old. Yet our Mesorah teaches that it is
only about 6000 years old. Do we throw out the new knowledge because
of unwillingness to cross the line? Or OTOH do we just throw out the
Torah? We do neither. We seek to find truth by combining our newly
gained knowledge with our belief in Mesorah using our own reason combined
with traditional sources to come to a newer and deeper understanding of
existential reality.

> This comes from the epistomolgy, not necessitated by our difference in
> TmS. And yet, this lack of faith in the mesorah has much to do with
> our pragmatic differences.

I do not think it is a LACK of faith on their part. It is just a
insufficeint appreciation of the value of Mesorah. They overvalue reason
to the detriment of Mesorah. But as I said, it doesn't really matter HOW
they get there. The fact that they are THERE (the lack of belief in TmS)
is what defines them out of O.

HM


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Date: Wed, 22 Oct 2003 09:36:48 -0400
From: Kenneth G Miller <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
Subject:
re: Question on Tfilas Musaf the second day Sukkahs


R' Simcha G asked <<< Does anybody know the reason why we don't say the
'sfeikeh dyomah korban on the SECOND DAY of Sukkahs? since we ARE 'boki
bkviyeh dyarche'...and we only do the second day yom tov as a decree of
'hizharu bminhag avoiseichem.'>>>

My understanding of Yom Tov Sheni is this:

The fact that we *are* boki, or that the day is a "safek Yom Tov" is
*never* used as a l'chatchila argument. It is reserved specifically
for very rare or difficult situations, such as for medicines, burials,
or to allow making an Eruv Tavshilin "al tnai" on Thursday.

But l'chatchila, the approach is to always consider that day as being
the "real" Yom Tov. Whatever aspect of Yom Tov you're thinking of, if
today is Yom Tov Sheni, we totally disregard the idea that yesterday was
(or may have been) Yom Tov too. Lack of tefillin on the last day might
be the best demonstration of this.

That's why on the second day of Sukkos -- which was really the *first*
day if what we thought was the first day was really Erev Sukkos -- musaf
contains only "uvachamisha asar yom". It does not contain "uvayom hasheni"
because of any safek about the day, because the whole point of Yom Tov
Sheni is to act as if today is the real one and only day of Yom Tov.

But all the above refers mainly to Yom Tov, and not to Chol Hamoed,
as we'll now see.

RSG continued: <<< we end up NEVER saying the actual korban for the
second day Sukkahs >>>

If you're referring to the paragraph which begins "uvayom hasheni",
we most certainly do say it. The day which Chutzniks refer to as "First
Day Chol Hamoed" counts as both the third day of Sukkos (if what we call
"Yom Tov Rishon" was the real Yom Tov) and as the second day of Sukkos (if
what we call "Yom Tov Rishon" was really Erev Yom Tov). So we combine the
two, and on that day we say both "uvayom hasheni" and "uvayom hashlishi".

Akiva Miller


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Date: Wed, 22 Oct 2003 09:13:21 -0400
From: Kenneth G Miller <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
Subject:
Re: new birth control?


R' Harry Maryles wrote <<< I contend that in instances where there is
absolutely no zera present, for example in a totally sterile individual,
then any seminal emission would not constitute Haschasas Zera. >>>

I have vague recollections of a gemara (or some other sefer) which
discussed the situation when a husband separates from his wife, but then
some zera continues to drip out of him. The question was whether perhaps
it is forbidden to separate until he is confident that there is no zera
left to drip out, lest he violate Hashchasas Zera. The conclusion was
that only the "beginnings" of the zera is capable of producing a child,
and not the later drippings.

If the above is accurate, then it would seem that Chazal WERE aware of
a distinction between "zera which is capable of producing a child" and
"zera which is *not* capable of producing a child" -- even if they has
no concept of the difference between "semen" and "sperm".

If so, that would support RHM's contention as I quoted him above.
(L'Halacha, at least. L'Maaseh, we'd still have to determine whether or
not we could rely on the doctors who claim that even the "beginnings"
of this man's zera is not able to produce a child.)

Akiva Miller


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Date: Wed, 22 Oct 2003 09:28:50 -0400
From: Elazar M Teitz <remt@juno.com>
Subject:
re:m'taher/mitaher (was simchas beis hasho'eva)


>> Which does R' Aqiva say "lifnei Mi atem
>> m'taharim" with a sheva under the mem of "m'taharim", or "mitaharim",
>> with a chiriq? Respectily, that would translate to "Before Whom are
>> you tahor" (besheva) vs "Before Whom do you render something tahor"
>> (bechiriq; from context, that something is ourselves).

WADR, I believe this is a mistranslation. With a sh'va, it means
"Before whom do you purify (something)." L'taher is a transitive verb.
With a chirik, it _means_ to purify oneself. Litaher is "to become pure."
Thus, we have, in M'tzora, hakohen ham'taher and ha'ish hamitaher.

> A similar question has bugged me for years in Mishna 3 of Bameh Madlikin:
> "aino MITAMAY tumas ohalim"....

The Mishnah is not saying that the _object_ becomes tamei. Rather, it
is the ohel itself which becomes tamei. If the ohel is made of anything
else yotzei min ha'etz, what is under it becomes tamei, but the ohel does
not. Pishtan is the exception: it itself is tamei by being ma'ahil al
hameis. Thus, it is mitamei (it becomes impure), just as mitaher means
to become pure.

EMT


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Date: Wed, 22 Oct 2003 07:36:53 -0700 (PDT)
From: Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
Subject:
Re: new birth control?


Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org> wrote:
> : Evens so Zera is only half the phrase. The word Shaches (the root of
> : Hashchasa) has only one meaning. Destruction. When there is Hashchasas
> : Zera, something needs to be destroyed. If there is only semen and no
> : sperm, what exactly is being destroyed?

> Semen.

How do you destroy an entity which in fact is not being altered in
any way? Semen sans sperm remains nothing more than semen.

> Neither procreation nor pair bonding is more primary. One is from
> Bereishis 1:28, the other from 2:24. As RYBS points out, piryah
> verivyah is Adam I's approach to intimacy, Majestic Man's power of
> procreation. Vedavaq be'ishto is Adam II's, Covenental Man's relationship
> to the marriage community.

All you've shown is a source for both as legitimate reasons for marital
relations. But you have not shown equivalency. I do not think RYBS
meant show equivalency either. He was merely trying to illustrate the
differences between Adam I and Adam II. Of course by the time the sixties
rolled around we already had Adam XII. :)

> My 2nd is that it requires giving a chalos to a microscopic
> component.

So? I've already explained that there is a Chalos. Newly discovered
realities require a re-examination of what is or is not the Chalos.
You have been maintaining that microscopic entities have no Halcahic
Chalos. I disagree with that as a blanket statement. I DO believe that it
was a blanket statement before the advent of microscopes because that was
the known extent of reality then. But once more accurate determinations
of reality are understood, Chalos attaches.

This is different than not requiring the use of microscopes for bugs.
In my view, microscopes did not change our understanding of what bugs
are the way it did for what Zera is. All it did for bugs is increase
the universe of bugs to include the existence of microscopic versions
of them which do not have a Chalos. In the case of bugs, it is only what
is visible to the naked eye that has this chalos. In the case of sperm,
an entirely new discovery was made as to what is actually the entity
that causes the creation of life.

To say that microscopes cannot not be used to determine Halachic Metzius
would mean that in matters of life and death we would have to ignore
information obtained using a microscope to determine Psak even when
a microscope clearly determines a life saving course of action over a
course of action that might be advocated without a microscope that might
in fact be harmful. Clearly that cannot be the case.
 
> 3- That semen itself -- when properly functioning -- causes growth
> because it contains sperm, which is enough for it to merit the word by
> any normal use of a language root.

...Only if you choose to ignore the realty which understands the two as
separate entities.

>: One may not marry an Aylinis
>: precisely because there is no way she can have children. 

> Which is a problem of qiyum of piryah verivyah, no one claims it's SZL.

No one claims it isnít either. One may in fact be violating both...
two sides of the same coin.

>: Semen is not damaged zera. Only damaged Zera is
>: Zera.

> If functioning semen produces children, why isn't semen "zera" in just as
> literal of a sense? The fact that it could have its critical component
> non-functioning or missing shouldn't change that. 

Of course it does. If a car doesn't have a motor, is it still a car?

>: Zera is the "cell" that in its entirety fertilizes and creates human
>: life. Semen has no part other than as the medium for sperm...

> Again a blind, assertion.

...No, a scientific one.

> Sperm is a part of semen. Semen is visible, and because it contains sperm,
> it causes fertilization. Now in what sense does it not fit Hebrew norms for
> being called "zera"?

I am not a Baal Dikduk (to say the least). Our argument boils down to how
we define Zera. I look at the scientific data to understand the essence
of reality and therefore to re-define Zera in more precise terms. You
look at the Masoretic use of the word Zera and refuse to grant any Chalos
to a newly discovered reality. You have applied principles such as the
non acceptability of microscopic entities as having no Chalos in any
situation. I disagree and believe that microscopes do make a difference
Halachicly in certain instances. You look at semen and say it is Zera
and indivisible from the sperm contained therein. I look at semen and
say it is the medium of Zera. I know that sperm can impregnate without
semen and that semen without sperm cannot.

I think we will have to agree to disagree.

HM


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