Avodah Mailing List
Volume 12 : Number 075
Saturday, January 10 2004
Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Thu, 8 Jan 2004 22:28:40 +0000
From: Chana Luntz <chana@KolSassoon.net>
Subject: Re: Mrs Katz's dilemma
Just wanted to comment on one matter you raised in this post, no time
for any more tonight (and next week is looking hairy, work wise, so
>3. Several people have claimed that a husband is required to be m'shamesh
>his wife. I asked for sources. Several people cited passages in the
>Kesuba. I suggested an alternative explanation, and pointed out passages in
>Hilchos Geirushin which harmonized with my explanation, and I pointed out
>that according to the other explanation certain halachos in geirushin ought
>to exist which don't. So, as in A above, I will take this as a mistaken
>claim until I am given a source.
Maybe this issue has been raised before, but how about the obligation of
onah? Why, technically, is it not hishtamshus?
Go to top.
Date: Thu, 8 Jan 2004 17:44:45 -0500
From: "Seth Mandel" <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Mrs. Cohen's dilemma
I appreciate R. David Riceman's efforts to argue through the issues with
me, but I still find his arguments unconvincing, and also his objections
to my position.
R. David has rightly pointed to the Yerushalmi as the source of the
R'Mo. To quote him, <the source of the issur of hishtamshus is a
Yerushalmi (Brachos 8:5, 12b.). There it really is a case of personal
service, not priority.>
However, let us examine for a minute how this Yerushalmi made it to
The R'Mo quotes it from the Mordechai in Gittin, who is discussing the
question of whether a kohen can be nirtza' (have his ear pierced). He
quotes a Tosefos (not in our edition of Tosfos) with the following story:
A kohen washed the hands of Rabbenu Tam. A talmid (a smart aleck) asked R.
Tam, "but does not the Yerushalmi say that one who is mishtammesh with
a kohen has committed m'ila?" R. Tam replied, "they do not have q'dusha
nowadays, since we hold that "bigdehem 'alehem, when they have bigdei k'
hunna they have q'dusha, and when they don't, they do not." The talmid
asked, "In that case, we should not have to treat them with any kind of q'
dusha?" R. Tam did not reply.
R. Peter answered: even though they have q'dusha, they can be mohel,
as we learn in Qiddushin: a kohen may not be nirtza', because he will
become a ba 'al mum. If he could not become a slave, the entire case
could not; so we see that he can become a slave. That is the end of the
Mordechai that is relevant to this issue.
Indeed, not only do we know from this g'moro in Qiddushin that a kohen
can theoretically be a slave, it was also practiced. Rovo had an 'eved
who was a kohen (Hullin 133a), as the Mogen Avrohom notes.
So "the issur of hishtamshus" with a kohen allows for the kohen to sell
himself as a slave. On what basis can you distinguish between a kohen
selling himself as a slave and serving as a slave from a kohen assuming
upon himself an obligation to serve his wife?
Before I discuss the "the issur of hishtamshus," let me answer R. David
Riceman's qashyes on me. He deduced from my position two constructs,
which he referred to as RMC1 and RMC2. To quote him:
<RMC1: The husband's mehillat kavod is an inherent part of the marriage
contract. Consider a Jewish king. He is halachically incapable of mehillat
kavod ("melech shemahal ein k'vodo mahul"). It follows from RMC1 that
he cannot marry. Since the conclusion is false (H. Melachim 3:2 IIRC) the
premise, RMC1, is false.>
First, there is a problem with this argument. Kings are a very unique case.
A melekh, when faced by a wife who refused to do his bidding, could have
her executed as a mored b'malkhus. I scarcely imagine that anyone would
claim that other Jewish men have that right. Another problem is the normal
k'subba, whose purpose, according to Hazal, is to ensure there are significant
financial consequences for a divorce so that the husband won't just drink
a bad cup of coffee and decide, "OK, that's it. She must go." For a king,
what sort of clause in the k'subba would accomplish that? Even if you put
in a tosefes k'subba of $1 million, the king could just impose a tax on the
kingdom, resulting in no loss for him. I would expect that the k'subba for
a melekh would be significantly different than for us, hoi polloi. AFAIK,
no such kingly k'subba has ever been found, and the chances of finding such
a k'subba before the destruction is very small. (We have no k'subbos from
EY from before the Hurban; they could only have survived in the desert, and
most women wouldn't put them there. We do have k'subbos from Elephantine,
but the observance of mitzvos of the Jewish community there is suspect, and
there were no kings.) At any rate, you cannot learn anything from supposing
that the k'subba of a melekh was the same as other men.
<RMC2: "Eflah" in the kesuba constitutes a commitment to do household
errands like taking out the garbage.
Now consider the following two pleas to a Beis Din:
P1: My husband refuses to get a job, and he cannot support me as he
is halachically required to do without working. Please force him to
2: My husband refuses to take out the garbage. Please force him to
P1 is grounds for a coerced divorce (EH 154:3). Unless there is a lacuna
in my Shulhan Aruh P2 is not grounds for a coerced divorce. According
to RMC2 P1 and P2 are equal violations of the kesuba, and should be
treated the same. Hence RMC2 is false.>
This argument does not hold, either. Not everything in the k'subba must
be grounds for a coerced divorce. M'zonos and parnoso are an obligation
from the Torah; they would be grounds for divorce even if they were
not written in the k'subba. According to your interpretation, where you
claim that eflah means "I have to get employment to support my wife,"
if a husband is lazy and borrows money from his parents to support his
wife, would you say it should result in coerced divorce?
The proper question to ask is that according to me, where eflah and
oqir are non-financial obligations of "serving and honoring," why are
the obligations for m'zonos and parnoso, by which the husband would be
bound even without a k'subba, written in it at all? I think the answer is
that when Hazal established that the husband has to take upon himself a
monetary obligation in case he divorces his wife or predeceases her, thay
also had him promise to observe the other obligations that a husband owes
his wife, whether they are specific financial obligations that are grounds
for coerced divorce, such as the latter two, or general obligations that
Hazal felt are proper, such as "serving" your wife or honoring her.
The key to understanding this part of the k'subba, IMO, is to read
the entire clause. The k'subba does not just say "eflah v'oqir v'ezun
va'afarnes yatikhi"; it modifies that by a clause "k'hilkhos guvrin
y'hudain d'falhin umoqirin v'zanin umfarn'sin yat n'shotehon b'qushta"
("as is the practice of Jewish men who faithfully serve, honor, support
and provide for their wives"). The groom is obligating himself to treat
his wife just as all Jewish men are supposed to treat their wives,
with honor and respect.
Does this mean specifically that he has to take out the garbage? Of course
not, nor did I claim it did. But it does mean that he has contractually
obligated himself to help his wife and honor and respect her. That may
include taking out the garbage or it may not; if it does, he cannot say
"but I am a talmid chochom" or "but I am a kohen" and therefore exempt. He
already contracted that he was not exempt from normal husbandly duties,
just as a kohen who sells himself into slavery contracts to serve
According to Hazal, a husband must treat his wife with honor and respect
even without the k'subba, just as he is hayyav in m'zonos even without
a k' subba. But Hazal felt that it was important to remind the husband
of his obligations while he was contracting to monetary obligations in
the event of divorce or death. And the k'subba implies, as I read it,
that the bride is agreeing to the marriage, "utz'viat marat P'lonit
b'tulta da," in light of the fact that the husband is publicly confirming
(the k'subba is read in public) that he is undertaking to treat his wife
"faithfully, as is the way of Jewish men."
(BTW, I am not claiming that eflah means physical service. Eflah
is the exact translation of 'a'avod in Hebrew. But the Hebrew verb,
usually translated as "to work," differs from the English. It is a
transitive verb. In English, to work is intransitive; one does not "work
someone" except in the meaning of "I gave him work to do." In Hebrew
however, it is normal to say "la'avod et haShem," or " 'avadtikha,"
or hundreds of other examples. I have translated these as "serve,"
as do the standard translations, but that is also not exact in modern
English. To serve, in modern English, normally has the connotation of
"servant," and connotes service similar to that of a slave. Ya'aqov did
not mean that he was Lavan's service when he said " 'avadtikha." Rather,
la'avod covers a range of meanings from "to work for" (as in Lavan),
and "to serve faithfully, to be devoted," as with HQB'H. "To serve"
has that as one of its meanings in English, but it is only one of the
meanings (I found 13 at dictionary.com. I think that with the clause "k'
hilkhot guvrin y'hudain" it is clear that it means "to serve faithfully."
Now to the larger question: how is a kohen allowed to bind himself
to serve someone? Why is his employer not bound by the "the issur of
As we saw in the quotation from the Mordechai, Rabbenu Peter claimed that
this is based on the ability of a kohen to be mohel on his q'dusha. But
this is not the only opinion. First of all, it is clearly not R. Tam's
opinion. R. Tam did not explain exactly what he meant, but it is clear
that he feels that something in the status of a kohen permits him to
"serve" other people, at least nowadays.
Secondly, the major discussion of the obligation is in the Rambam, in
Sefer HaMitzvot, 'Aseh #32, and in Hilkhot k'lei haMiqdash v'ha'ovdim
Let me translate what he says in Sefer haMitzvot:
"we have been commanded to exalt the descendants of Aharon, to honor them
and to esteem them highly, and to accord to them a rank of sanctity and
honor. Even if they reject this, we are not to pay attention to them,
for this is part of exalting God who singled them out to serve Him and to
offer the sacrifices, as it says (Vayiqra 21:8) "thou shalt sanctify him,
for he offers the 'food' of thy God; he shall be holy for you." The Torah
sheb'al Peh explains this means you must sanctify him in every davar
shebiq'dusha, to read in the Torah first, to bless first, and to take
a nice portion first. The Sifra says "v'qiddashto: b'al korho," meaning
this is a mitzva that we have been commanded, and it is not subject to
the choice of a kohen. It further says (Vayiqra 21:6): "q'doshim yihyu
lEloqehem": 'al korham, "v' hayu qodesh": l'rabbot ba'alei mumin. So
we cannot say, "since this [kohen] is not fit to offer the 'food' of
his God, for what reason should we accord him precedence and esteem him
highly?" for it says "v'hayu qodesh," "and they shall be holy," which
includes all of the noble descendents, whether perfect or with a mum."
A couple of things are clear from the Rambam: a) a kohen may not choose
to forgo the honor due to him, since it is our obligation; b) it applies
whether or not the kohen can offer the sacrifices.
In the Mishneh Torah he just says "it is a positive commandment to set the
kohanim aside, to sanctify them and to prepare them for the qorbanot. and
every Jew is obliged to accord them great honor (kavod rav), and grant
them precedence for any davar shebiq'dusha, to open [the Torah] first,
to bless first, and to take a nice portion first."
So how can the Rambam explain that someone can take a kohen as a
slave? The clue comes in a t'shuva of the Rambam, Blau #135. There,
the Rambam offers his opinion that talmidei chachomim are punished if
they allow a kohen who is an 'am ho'oretz or is lesser than them in
knowledge get the first 'aliyah (!!). How can he say this? Is it not
one of the 613 mitzvot to let a kohen take precedence?
But the mitzva is kavod, as the Rambam states in Mishneh Torah, and
letting him take precedence is part of that. And in Hilkhot Talmud Torah
5:1, the Rambam says "there is no kavod that exceeds that of the rav,
nor any awe greater than the awe due to the rav; Hazal say that the awe
you have for your rav should be like the awe you accord the Heavenly
One." So the mitzva of giving a kohen precedence may be trumped by other
considerations. In this case, the honor due a talmid chacham is greater
than the honor due a kohen. Similarly, I will argue, if a kohen wants
to sell himself to be your slave, it is more of his honor to accept the
deal (and offer him a proper price) than to let him or his family suffer
in poverty (which is the only reason Jews would sell themselves to be
slaves). And if a kohen wants to marry, it is more of an honor to him
for his intended to accept the proposal; as part of that proposal is
his promise to serve her and honor her as do all Jewish men.
I don't really consider this to be "m'hila" on his kavod; I would say it
is greater honor to accept what the kohen offers than to reject it. The
Rambam certainly would not consider this to constitute m'hila, since he
states that it is not the kohen's choice to forgo his honor.
The Taz says something very similar. He disagrees with Rabbenu Peter,
noting that we pasken lahalokho that we sanctify a kohen against his will,
and therefore we force him to divorce his wife if he married a g'rusha:
why don' t we say that he was mohel on his kavod when he married her? The
Taz answer that a kohen only obliges us to honor him in something that he
would prefer if the Torah allows. Both conditions are necessary. But if
he prefers something else, something that we would normally not consider
a greater honor, it is his honor that we honor his wishes, as long as the
Torah permits it. If not, we do not pay attention to his "m'hila." And
so the Taz explains the case with R. Tam. The kohen wanted the "honor"
of serving R. Tam. Rabbenu Tam didn't respond to the talmid's question
because he didn't want to say "since I am a gadol, it is his honor
to serve me." (See the whole Taz, who brings other similar examples,
beyond the scope of this already overlong post.)
So is there an "issur of hishtamshus" according to the Rambam (who
does not mention such a thing)? Only as a corollary of the obligation
to honor the kohen, but granting his desire may sometimes be a greater
honor than not letting him "serve" his rebbe or his wife. The Taz will
agree, although he would probably phrase it differently. And even Rabbenu
Peter will say that a kohen is mohel his kavod when he agrees to become
a slave or when he wishes to marry.
Go to top.
Date: Fri, 9 Jan 2004 14:14:59 +1100
From: "SBA" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: shape of the menorah
From: Eli Linas <email@example.com>
>>(The g'moro says explicitly that whereas certain oils are preferred and
>>certain forbidden for Shabbos, there is no preference whatsoever for
>>Hanukka. There was a custom of some to light with olive oil (not minhag
>>Ashk'naz, which was to light with wax),
> ..a Kol Bo, quoted by the Darkei Moshe in tuff reish eyin gimmel,
> which says that "the mitzvah min hamuvchar is with olive oil, because
> the miracle occurred through it."
Also brought in KSA 139:4.
[Having, as a cheder yingel, learned that KSA every year, I always
presumed that shemen zayis is everyone's preference.]
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Date: Fri, 09 Jan 2004 09:27:25 +0200
From: "Carl and Adina Sherer" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: Mrs Katz's dilemma
On 8 Jan 2004 at 22:28, Chana Luntz wrote:
> Maybe this issue has been raised before, but how about the obligation of
> onah? Why, technically, is it not hishtamshus?
1. Because the husband has to be tove'a it ("v'el ishech tshukaseich").
2. Because the husband also derives pleasure/benefit from it.
Go to top.
Date: Fri, 09 Jan 2004 08:39:10 -0500
From: "Yosef Gavriel & Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Ramban/Shechinah
At 10:27 AM 1/5/2004, Mlevinmd@aol.com wrote:
>>Did the Ramban on Shechinah (46:1) - shiur that normally lasts 45m went
>>1hr overtime! Finally understood that the Tanya means "chelek eloka
>>me'ma'al mamash" literally. Always thought like the Rambam that Shechinah
>>is a kavod nivra, but I see Ramban strenuously objects (nafka mina to
>>daven to Shechinah), and holds Shechinah is not separated from HKB"H,
>>that Pnei Hashem is Shechinah, and it can be seen and much more...
>This issue has a long history. Some early Mekubbolim compare it with a
>flame which always remains connected even as it extends.
>Sheckhina is Malchus. BYTW, R. Saadia Gaon in Emunos VDeos was the first
>to suggest that Divine is present within the corporeal world...
I have been told that RSG held that Shechinah is indeed present in
the corporeal world, but that it is a "kavod nivra," not a "part"
of Hashem. (I have no idea where my copy of EvD is, so I cannot check
offhand, but my source referred me to R' Kapach's MN 1:64 n. 9 for the
marei mekomos in EvD.)
While I understand that the mekubbalim associate Shechinah with Malchus,
I do not understand how that can be reconciled with the Ramban - surely
it is theologically untenable to say that the sefiros "exist" other than
conceptually, or, at best, as a created parable a la "kavod nivra?"
>I may be wrong but it seems to me that the same issue is again in the
>center of discussion whether a human being can be filled by Divinity but
>remain connected so that one who worships him, does not commit the sin of
>avodah zarah for he worships the divine within. Such an explanation has
>been offered by some fringe radicals in our time but, fortunately,
>disavowed by the leaders of the group. This relates to the whole issue of
>incarnation, which literally means spirit within flesh ( to my knowledge
>the only one who accepted this possibility as ligitimate is R. Bachya in
>the beginning of Vayeira). The pity is that such ideas have long been read
>out of Judaism but still every once in a while resurface and are accepted
>but those ignorant of the intellectual history of this whole issue.
In Rabbi Chavel's notes to the famous last Ramban in Bereishis he cites
an essay in Tarbitz (he does not identify the author) who explains that
according to the Ramban there is a tzeror ha'chaim to which some tzaddikim
already cling in this world: "she'tiyeh nafsham tzerurah b'tzror ha'chaim
KI HEIM B'ATZAM MA'ON LA'SHECHINAH ka'asher ramaz Ba'al haKuzari."
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Date: Fri, 9 Jan 2004 15:37:22 +0000
From: Micha Berger <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: Ramban/Shechinah
On Fri, Jan 09, 2004 at 08:39:10AM -0500, RYGB wrote:
: I have been told that RSG held that Shechinah is indeed present in
: the corporeal world, but that it is a "kavod nivra," not a "part"
: of Hashem.
See Emunos 2:10. And since you can't find your copy, use
the pretty color-coded version of RY el Qafeh's edition at
<http://www.daat.ac.il/daat/mahshevt/kapah/2b-2.htm#10>. (Thanks RGS
for the Torahnet entries!)
As I understand 1:10 (repeat, this reference is in mama'amar alef),
RGS understands the term "shekhinah" (which would be lower case "s")
to refer to any created thing that reassures the viewer that Hashem is
shokhein beqirbo. Whether it's the kavod H' riding the merkavah or the
amud ha'eish in the midbar.
Both he and the Rambam (Moreh 1:46
<http://www.daat.ac.il/daat/mahshevt/more/a12-2.htm#1>) are really more
focussing on the problem of what did Yechezel see. The problem of the
very human description of "kavod Hashem" in the ma'aseh hamerkavah. The
Rambam's resolution is to declare "kavod Hashem" a synonym, either
referring to Hashem biKhvodo uveAtzmo or to nivra'im that indicate
To the Rambam the problem is more extreme. He holds that even a mal'ach
is only seen benevu'ah, and the mal'achim Yechezqeil sees are therefore
not seen through anything related to normal sight. I'm toying with the
idea that this machloqes between the Rambam and Ramban is related to
the one in the beginning of Vayeira on that subject.
Our Ramban calls "Sh-ekhinah" a sheim H'.
I'm not sure how RSG solves his original question, as his sevara holds
that such a vision would be entirely implossible, yet hisconclusion
based on pesuqim seems to say that it's the difference between Yechezqeil
and Moshe's "Panim el panim". But in Shemos, Moshe Rabbeinu also saw a
The Rambam also considers "hareini na es Kevodekha" to be a use of
"Kavod" to refer to Hashem Himself.
The Medrash (30) on Mishlei 22:29 discusses a time when Sanhedrin wanted
to count Shelomo haMelekh [!!!!] as a 4th king who has no cheileq le'olam
haba. The shechinah appears *before HQBH* to argue in favor of Shelomo
R' Moshe bR Chasdai (Kesav Tamim, Oshar Nechmad 3) says that RSG's
shitah is based on a misunderstanding of this medrash. I'm not sure
what he considers the correct peshat.
Also involed is the Shiur Qomah. Shelomo ben Yerucham, a Qara'i,
challenged the authority of chazal based on the notion that R'
Aqiva and R' Yishma'el had primitive notions of deity and believed in
a humanoid god. RSG defends them by (1) questioning the authorship
of SQ; and (2) if they did write it, it must be about the Kavod.
Micha Berger A person must be very patient
email@example.com even with himself.
http://www.aishdas.org - attributed to R' Nachman of Breslov
Fax: (413) 403-9905
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Date: Sat, 10 Jan 2004 19:48:22 +0000
From: Chana Luntz <chana@KolSassoon.net>
Subject: Re: Mrs Katz's dilemma
In message <000901c3d62a$e38e4c30$21cd4b0c@Ricemanhome1>, David Riceman
>> what are you gaining by defining it as a din of bizayon, it all seems
>> rather unnecessary?
>(a) The words of the Rama can be read naively
But the Rema/Mordechai cannot be read naively in any event.
The wording of the Mordechai, coming from the Yerushalmi is that one who
is hishtamesh b'kohen moel.
But that cannot be taken at face value, because the concept of meila is
one which brings with it a whole set of halachos none of which make
sense in this context. For example, there are two kinds of hekdesh,
those where there is meila acher meila, and those where there is not,
but with the latter the hekdesh becomes pagum, and is yozei l'chol. (See
perek daled of hilchos meila). Now which is a kohen? It would see that
he should be the first, but the mishna, as quoted by the Rambam in perek
daled, restricts this first category to behemos and klei
tashmish/sharet. To add in the kohen, you start needing to put in
references into hilchos meila where none exist anywhere.
In addition, the halacha of meila is derived from its own pesukim (see
Rambam, hilchos meila perek 1, halacha 3 and the discussion there), not
So the reference in the Mordechai/Yerushalmi is difficult in any event.
And then the Rema makes it even more difficult by saying "k'moel". What
is meant by "k'moel", ie in what way is it k'moel?
The Aruch HaShulchan (siman 128, 68) deals with this difficulty by
bringing sources showing that the term "moel" can just mean the doing of
an averah, and not be a specific reference to meila (as in hilchos
meila) of the beis hamikdash. However, while this deals with the
Mordechai and the Yerushalmi, it is more difficult to deal with the
Rema, because, while he does add in the word "k", he also adds in moel
"b'hekdesh" , which makes the Aruch HaShulchan's reading rather more
>(b) Mrs. Cohen has no special status (again making the Rama read naively:
>I'd expect the Rama to spell out such an important exception)
Not really. The argument about Mrs Cohen having a special status is
actually a separate (and, to my mind, weaker) argument than the argument
that the din is a din of kavod.
That is, even if you were to hold, that it is a din of b'zayon, rather
than kavod, you might still argue that Mrs Cohen has a special status -
as the argument for her special status is due to her having taken on
some of the kedusha attributes of her husband (based on eshet chaver,
k'chaver, ishto k'gufo argument).
Part of the reason I brought two alternative arguments originally (the
one above, and the one about the ketuba) is because I felt that the
first one was not entirely convincing, although it may well have some
You go on to say responding to me (actually, you said it earlier in your
post, but I have rearranged):
>>If you say that
>> the Yerushalmi is saying something different about this pasuk, arguably
>> you have a contradiction between the two.
>I think "arguably" is the operative word here. It seems just as plausible
>that there are two aspects to the mitzva of v'kidashto: a positive offering
>of kavod by "liftoah rishon ul'varech rishon", and a negative protection of
>kedusha by "assur l'hishtamesh".
I think that we really need to have a close look at the Yerushalmi here
to get a better idea of what is going on.
The situation is (the source is Brochos 8:5) that the gemora is
discussing a machlokus between Beis Hillel and Beis Shamai regarding
which brocha you make first, over yayin or shemen, and consequently
which hand you hold these in, is it the kos in the left and the shemen
in the right or vice versa. And in connection with this, it brings a
story in which R' Abba bar bar Chana and Rav Huna were sitting and Rav
Zeira (a Cohen) was being mishtamesh them. And Rav Zeira brought the
shemen and the yayin together in one hand, and R' Abba bar bar Chana
made a sarcastic comment (about whether his other hand had been cut
off). And the father of R' Abba bar bar Chana got angry with him, and
said not only is it that you are being mishtamesh in him and Shmuel says
that anyone who is mishtamesh b'kehuna moel, but you are disgracing him
as well, and he made R' Abba bar bar Chana get up and be mishtamesh Rav
Zeira. So the gemora then asks from where do we know that one who is
mishtamesh b'kehuna moel, and they bring a proof text from Ezra (8:28)
which says "atem kadosh l'shem v'kelim kadosh l'shem" just as, if you
are meshtamesh with the keilim moel so too, if you are mishtamesh
Note first of all, that this Yerushalmi does not bring as the source of
the issur of mishtamesh b'kohen the pasuk "v'kidashto". Rather it
brings a pasuk in Nach (which as we all know, cannot be the fundamental
source of the issur). It is various achronim and the Mishna Brura who
identify this issur with v'kidashto. What we know is learnt from
v'kidashto is that you have to give kavod to a cohen (see my previous
citation to Nedarim and also in Gitten 59b) and also that we force a
cohen to divorce a grusha even after he married her (Yevamos 88b).
Secondly, the question of the Aruch Hashulchan (128:66) is very
pertinent. Why didn't the father of R' Abba bar bar Chana protest at the
point when Rav Zeira started serving them, instead only at the point at
which his son made his sarcastic remark?
>> I think the "k" is very suggestive, especially where he is deviating
>> from the source text.
I therefore stand by my statement regarding the "k" - and would suggest
a possible resolution to the problem of the Rema mentioned above, on the
basis that the Rema is not and cannot be read naively and the din of
mishtamesh b'kohen is learnt, fundamentally, as per the various
achronim, from the din of giving kavod to the kohen, which is learnt
(whether by asmuchta (Tosphos) or actually (Rambam)) from v'kidashto.
And the way to explain the peculiar loshen of the Rema regarding k'moel
b'hekdesh is that the Rema is attempting to answer the question that has
come up repeatedly on this list when this whole question is raised,
namely "what is meant by mishtamesh"? The answer being that one needs
to look to the din of meila to understand what is meant by mishtamesh
(ie by analogy to the keilim, which is what the Ezra reference
I also have a few comments on RSM's post, although I am broadly in
agreement with the idea that a concept of mechila for the kavod of the
kohen is to be found in the language of the ketuba, indicating that he
will do what Jewish husbands do for their wives (by implication, even if
it would be generally against his kavod).
In message <000c01c3d639$03be50f0$6500a8c0@newlaptop>, Seth Mandel
>Now to the larger question: how is a kohen allowed to bind himself to serve
>someone? Why is his employer not bound by the "the issur of hishtamshus"?
>As we saw in the quotation from the Mordechai, Rabbenu Peter claimed that
>this is based on the ability of a kohen to be mohel on his q'dusha. But this
>is not the only opinion. First of all, it is clearly not R. Tam's opinion.
I do not think this is necessarily true. R' Tam may have agreed and
Rabbanu Peter was explaining his position, or alternatively he may have
felt that given that the kavod for a talmid chacham takes precedence
over a kohen, there is no need for mechila, but of course that would
have meant him stating that he was a talmid chacham, something that he
may have been reluctant to do.
>A couple of things are clear from the Rambam: a) a kohen may not choose to
>forgo the honor due to him, since it is our obligation;
Not necessarily. A kohen has a right to kavod, but that does not
necessarily mean he cannot waive that right, only that he cannot ever be
in the category of somebody without that right.
In any event, this discussion about mechila or the lack of it seems a
bit odd, in a way, because the language of the Rema indicates clearly
that the Cohen can be mochel "im lo mochel al kach" means that if he
*is* mochel al kach, there is no meila/averah/problem.
On the other hand, this discussion is clearly there in the achronim.
And note that the Mishna Brura (128 si'if katan 175) discusses two
concepts coming out of this din - kavod (where there can be mechila) and
b'zion (where there cannot) (which occurs in circumstances where there
is no hana'ah).
However, stating that there cannot be mechila seems to go against the
language of the Rema.
One option though is to look at it through the question of the Aruch
HaShulchan. The Rema is only dealing with the question of "meila" as
referred to in the Yerushalmi, and there can be mechila there (as was
shown by Rav Zeira doing what he did). BUT what Rav Zeira was not in a
position to do was to be mochel on the b'zayon caused by R'ABBC's
sarcastic remark (which is what caused his father to object). So there
is a further aspect that can be learnt, that of b'zayon, which he cannot
be mochel, and which (arguably) applies in the case of when a kohen
marries a g'rusha, thus answering the Taz's question.
BUT, that has nothing to do with taking out the garbage, or mishtamshus,
because mishtamshus is not b'zayon (as can be seen by the actions of Rav
Zeira). On the other hand, it might well be a problem for Mrs Cohen to
make sarcastic remarks to her husband if he doesn't take out the garbage
PS One last point - kavod for a talmid chacham. Since certain of the
dinim for a talmid chacham are learnt out, in Nedarim as cited, from
v'kidashto, via a citation showing that talmidei chachamim are like
kohanim, it is logical to say that whatever applies to a kohen, applies
to a talmid chacham as well, mishtamshus, b'zayon etc
Go to top.
Date: Sat, 10 Jan 2004 23:17:29 +0200
From: Daniel Eidensohn <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: Ramban/Shechinah
Concerning the relationship of the Shechina to tzadikim there are a
number of relevant sources - most of which are found in Al HaTzadikim
R' Avraham Pavzener published by Kfar Chabad. This sefer was written to
justify the descriptions Chabad makes. See Prof David Berger's writings
on the subject.
Devarim Rabbah(11:4) [[[THE MAN OF G-D: this indicates G-d, of whom it
is said, The L-rd is a man of war (Ex. XV, 3).1 And why all this? In
order that the Scriptural verse may be fulfilled, And a threefold cord
is not quickly broken (Eccl. IV, 12).Another explanation: AND THIS IS
THE BLESSING. R. Tanhuma said: If [Moses] is referred to as ' G-d ',
why [is he also termed] 'man', and if 'man', why also ' G-d? The reason
is this. When he was cast into the river of Egypt [the Nile] he was a
man; but when the river was turned into blood [by Moses] he was as G-d.
Another explanation: When he fled from before Pharaoh he was a man, but
when he drowned [Pharaoh in the sea] he was as G-d. Another explanation:
When he went up to heaven he was a man. And in which respect was he a
man? Compared with the angels who are made entirely of fire. But when he
came down from heaven he was as G-d. Whence this? For Scripture says, And
they were afraid to come nigh him (Ex. XXXIV, 30). Another explanation:
When he went up to heaven he was as G-d. Just as the angels neither eat
nor drink, so too he neither ate nor drank. Whence this? For it is said,
And he was there with the L-rd... he did neither eat bread, nor drink
water (ib. 28). Another explanation: What is the meaning of THE MAN,
G-D? R. Abin said- His lower half was 'man', but his upper half was
Emuna v'De'os (2:7) [[[Now some people are confused by the story related
in Scripture that our teacher Moshe requested of His Master Show me
I pray You, Your Glory (Shemos 33:18). They are even more confused by
G-d's answer to Moshe: You cannot see My face, for man shall not see
Me and live (Shemos 33:20). And their confusion is doubled by G-d's
subsequent remark: And you shall see My back; but My face shall not be
seen (Shemos 33:23). I say, then invoking the aid of G-d in the effort
to reveal and clarify all this that G-d has a special light which He
creates and makes manifest to His prophets in order that they may infer
there from that it is a prophetic communication emanating from G-d that
they hear. When one of them sees this light he says "I have seen the
glory of the L-rd." Often however he would say simply "I have seen G-d"
by way of ellipsis. You know also that about Moshe and Aaron, Nadab and
Avihu and seventy of the elders of Israel (Shemos 24:9). Scripture says
at first And they saw the G-d of Israel (Shemos 24:10). This is explained
afterwards as follows: And the appearance of the glory of the L-rd was
like devouring fire on the top of the mount (Shemos 24:17). However,
when they beheld this light, they were unable to look upon it
on account of its power and brilliance. Indeed whoever looked upon it
incurred the disintegration of his entire makeup and the flight of his
sprit form his body as Scripture says; Lest they break through unto the
L-rd to gaze and many of them perish (Shemos 19:21). Moshe, accordingly
asked his Master to give him the strength to look upon this light. The
latter, however answered him that the first rays of this light were so
powerful that he would be unable to view them clearly with his naked
eyes, lest he perish. He would rather cover him up with a cloud or the
like until the first rays of this light have passed, because the greatest
strength of every radiant body is contained in its initial approach...As
for the Creator Himself, however, there is no means whereby anybody
might see Him. Aye that is in the realm of the impossible.]]]
Kuzari(3:65): It is known that prophecy continued 40 years into the
period of the Second Temple amongst those sages [Chagai, Zechariya,
Malachi (Ezra)] who were sustained by the power of the Shechinah that
manifested itself during the First Temple. The independent ability
to acquire prophecy had ceased with the departure of the Shechina and
prophecy only manifested itself on rare occasions and then only in very
great individuals on the spiritual level of Avraham, Moshe, Eliyahu,
the future Moshiach and those like them who are themselves a dwelling
place for the Shechinah. Through the guidance and teachings of these
individuals, others were also able to acquire lower levels of prophecy.
Kol Yehuda(Kuzari 3:65):Because complete tzadikim like these are
themselves the chariot of G-d's Shechinah comparable to the Aron Kodesh
that was covered by the glory of the Shechinah during the First Temple
as we have written in Kuzari 2:14). The Sefer Ikkarim (3:11) The Aron
Kodesh would radiate out the spirit of G-d in the same way that the
light of the sun is reflected off that which it shines on. Consequently
the spirit of prophecy could be received by someone near the Aron Kodesh
who was prepared. In the same way a person who was not a prophet could
become a prophet by the prophecy that reflect from a genuine prophet...
The tzadikim were themselves dwelling places for the Shechinah... There
was prophecy when the Shechinah was directly manifested as well as at
times it wasn't. This can occur in one of two ways. The first is that
the prophecy is simply a continuation of the prophecy he had when the
Shechinah was directly manifested. The second is that there exists a
very holy tzadik who radiates the power of prophecy to others.... This
holy tzadik functions in the same way as the aron kodesh as the dwelling
place of the Shechinah and thus others can be prophets of varying levels
Kuzari (2:14) [[[In the same way the gift of prophecy was retained
among Abrahams' descendants in Israel, the property of many as long
as they remained in the land and fulfilled the required conditions,
viz. purity, worship, and scarifices, and , above all, the reverence
of the Shechinah. For the divine influence, one might say singles out
him who appears worthy of being connected with it, such as prophets and
pious men and is their G-d. Reason chooses those whose natural gifts
are perfect, viz Philosohpers and those whose souls and character are
so harmonious that it can find its dwelling among them. The spirt of
life, pure and simple is to be found in beings whicha re endowed with
ordinary primary faculties, and parituclarly adapted to higher vitality
- viz. animlas, Finally, organic life finds its habitat in a mixture of
harmonious elements and produces - plant.]]
Kuzari(4:3):[[[In a like manner we point to heaven, because it is
employed to carry out the divine will directly and without the assistance
of intermediary factors. On the other hand we cannot point to compound
objects, because they can only operate with the assistance of intermediary
causes and are connected with G-d in a chain like manner. For He is the
cause of causes. He is also called "He who dwells in heaven (Psalms 123:1)
and "For G-d is in heaven" (Koheles 5:1). One often says, "Fear of heaven"
and "fearing heaven in secret" "mercy shall come for them from heaven". In
a similar way we speak of the "pillar of fire" or the "pillar of cloud"
worship them and say that G-d is therein, because this pillar carried
out His will exclusively, unlike other clouds and fires which arise in
the air from different causes. Thus we also speak of the "devouring fire
on the top of the mount (Shemos 24:17), which the common people saw,
as well as of the spiritual form which was visible only to the higher
classes: "under His feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone"
(Ver. 10). He is further styled : Living G-d. The Holy Ark is alluded to
as "The L-rd of the whole earth" because miracles happened as long as it
existed, and disappeared with it. We say that it is the eye that sees,
while in reality it is the soul that sees. Prophets and pious Sages are
spoken of in similar terms, because they, too are original instruments of
the divine will which employs them without meeting with unwillingness,
and performs miracles through them. In illustration of this the Rabbis
said, "The words: You shall fear the L-rd your G-d" includes the learned
disciples. He who occupies such a degree has a right to be styled "a
man of G-d" a description comprising human and divine qualities and as
if one would say: godly man...
Rabbeinu Bachye(Devarim 10:20): You should fear means not to transgress
negative commandments; serve Him means to keep His positive commandments
cling to Him means never to cease thinking about Him. Ramban(Devarim
11:22) It is possible that this is referring to those elevated people
who cling to G-d even during their lifetime. They themselves are the
dwelling place of the Shechina as is alluded to by the Kuzari (3:65).
Chazal (Pesachim 22b) darshaned that You should fear your L-rd G-d
means to include fear of the sages. This was appropriately said by
Rabbi Akiva since he was one of those who entered into paradise and left
Ramban(Devarim 11:22) And you should cling to Him...[[[it is possible
that the term "cleaving" includes the obligation that you remember G-d
and His love always, that your though should never be separated from Him
when you walkest by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up
to such a degree that a person during his conversation with people by
mouth and tongue, his entire heart will not be with them, but instead
be directed towards G-d. With men of such excellence it is possible that
even in their lifetime, their souls shall be bound in the bundle of life
since their very being is a residence for the Divine Glory as the author
of the Kuzari (3:65) alludes....
Kitzur Shulchan Aruch( 60:9) When seeing a great talmid chachom recite
the beracha Who gave of His wisdom to those that fear Him (since Jews
are a part of G-d and cling to Him therefore it says shechalak [gave
part of]. When seeing a great secular scholar recite the beracha Who
gave of His wisdom to mankind.
Megila(18a) [[[R. Aha also said in the name of R. Eleazar: How do we know
that the Holy One, blessed be He, called Jacob El [G-d] Because it says,
And the G-d of Israel called him [Jacob] El. For should you suppose that
[what the text means is that] Jacob called the altar El, then it should
be written, 'And Jacob called it'. But [as it is not written so], we must
translate, 'He called Jacob El'. And who called him so? The G-d of Israel.
Bava Basra(75b):[[[ Rabbah in the name of R. Johanan further stated: The
righteous will in time to come be called by the name of the Holy One,
blessed be He; for it is said: Every one that is called by My name,
and whom I have created for My glory. I have formed him, yea, I have
made him. R. Samuel b. Nahmani said in the name of R. Johanan: Three
were called by the name of the Holy One; blessed be He, and they are
the following: The righteous, the Messiah and Jerusalem. [This may be
inferred as regards] the righteous [from] what has just been said. [As
regards] the Messiah -- it is written: And this is the name whereby he
shall be called, The L-rd is our righteousness. [As regards] Jerusalem --
it is written: It shall be eighteen thousand reeds round about; and the
name of the city from that day shall be 'the L-rd is there.' Do not read,
'there' but 'its name'.
Zohar (2:38a) [[R. Simeon then ceased, and R. Hiya and R. Jose prostrated
themselves before him and kissed his hand, saying, with tears in their
eyes: 'Surely not only earthly creatures, but also celestial beings,
look out from their abode to catch a sight of thee! The Holy One,
blessed be He, built Jerusalem below as a counterpart of the Jerusalem
above. He made the walls of the city and the gates thereof holy. None
may enter the city unless the gates be opened for him, nor ascend unless
the steps of the walls are firm. Who is able to open the gates of the
city, who can fix the steps of the walls but R. Simeon ben Yochai? For
it is he who opens the gates of the mysteries of wisdom, and fixes
the ladder to the higher spheres! It is written, "Three times in the
year all thy males shall be seen before the face of the L-rd" (Ex.
XXIl, I7). Who then is this "face of the L-rd"? None other than R.
Simeon ben Yochai! And as to the reference to the "males" appearing
before him, indeed only "the males of the males" (the truly manly, i.e.
students of the esoteric lore) may draw near to him
Kedushas Levi( Shoftim): To the sun or the moon which I did not command.
Look at Rashi "Which I did not command you to worship"... We find in the
Torah that people bowed down to a tzadik e.g., Ovadiya bowing down to
Eliyahu (Melachim I 18:7) because the tzadikim have G-d's Torah. And
we find (Megila 9b) that G-d called Yaakov Avinu - "G-d". That was
because since he fulfilled the entire Torah he had the aspect of "G-d".
Similarly every tzadik - because of the command of the Torah - has
this aspect and it is permitted to bow down to them. In contrast it is
prohibited to bow down to the the sun and the moon which have not been
commanded by His Holy Torah. This then is the meaning of "to the sun
and the moon which I have not commanded". In other words that they do
not have my command i.e., the Torah which was given to Israel.
Tanya (1:2): [[The second soul of a Jew is truly a part of G-d
above...Nevertheless the root of every nefesh, ruach and neshamah from the
highest of all ranks to the lowest that is embodied within the illiterate
and the most worthless, all derive as it were from the Supreme Mind which
is Chochmah Ila'ah [the doctrine that all souls are related in that they
all come from the same source was given much emphasis by the Baal Shem
Tov and was a major issue of contention between the protagonists and
antagonists of Chasidus].... Nevertheless they remain bound and united
with a wonderful and essential unity with their original essence and
entity; namely the extension of Chochma Ila'ah, inasmuch as the nurture
and life of the nefesh, ruach and neshamah of the ignorant are drawn
from the nefesh, rauch and neshamah of the saints and sages, the heads
of Israel in their generation. This explains the comment of our Sages on
the verse, "And to cleave unto Him" - He who cleaves unto a scholar is
deemed by the Torah as if he had become attached to very Shechinah. For,
through attachment to the scholars, the nefesh, rauch and neshamah of the
ignorant are bound up and united with their original essence and their
root in the Supernal Wisdom, He and His wisdom being one, and "He is the
Knowledge... (As for them who willfully sin and rebel against the sages,
the nurture of their nefesh, ruach and neshamah coms from behind the back
[ungraciuously or unwillingly see chap 22].
Go to top.
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