Avodah Mailing List

Volume 12 : Number 092

Wednesday, February 11 2004

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Tue, 10 Feb 2004 20:17:53 -0500
From: "Ilana Sober" <sober@pathcom.com>
Subject:
Missing nun


[Were you expecting a mysterious new development in Jewish-Catholic
relations? Nope, this one's about dikduk. :-)]

The verb nun-kaf-heh, to strike or smite, appears frequently in Tanach
in hiphil/huphal (makeh, l'hakot). As is usual in these binyanim, the
initial nun drops out in every single form, so that many people are
unaware of its existence.

The way I understand it, this shoresh appears three times in Chumash in
pi'el/pu'al, meaning to beat, batter, destroy:

Shemot 9:31-32, describing the crops that were destroyed and spared
during the makah of barad - "v'hapishtah v'has'orah *nukkatah*" and
"v'hachitah v'hakusemet lo *nukku*" - both pu'al.

Bamidbar, when Balaq is plotting against B'nai Yisrael - "ulai ukhal
*nakkeh* bo" - which seems to be the maqor of pi'el (cf. in the same
perek, v. 17 "kabbed akhabbedkha" and v. 37 "kabb'dekha").

Unfortunately, while I have some grasp of modern academic dikduk, I'm
really not that familiar with the approach of the mefarshim. I'm sure
the following questions are pretty straightforward, and would love to
hear if anyone knows the answers:

Targum Onqelos often translates l'hakkot as mem-het-yod
[mem-het-aleph]. In Shmot, he translates lamed-qof-yod - which is
consistent with his translation of "vayuku shotrei b'nei Yisrael" in
Shmot 5:14. In Bamidbar, he translates nun-gimel-het (Jastrow - to wage
war - does anyone know if this is ever used for nun-kaf-heh?). Does he
consider these instances to be versions of "makeh", or not?

Rashi in Shemot rejects the notion that the common verb "makeh" could
have a nun in the shoresh and holds that nukku/nukkatah is a completely
different shoresh. In Bamidbar, he suggests either that the nun is
the first person plural prefix, or a different shoresh (normally
found in mishnaic Hebrew). Rashi frequently mentions dropping nun
phenomenon (e.g., Shemot 3:22, d.h. v'nitzaltem: "....Every nun which
sometimes appears in a word and drops out, like nogef, nosei, noten,
noshekh...."). Why doesn't he consider the possibility that "makeh"
has a missing nun when explaining nukku/nukkatah and nakkeh?

Thanks!

 - Ilana


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Date: Wed, 11 Feb 2004 01:59:08 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Subject:
Re: some thoughts on Shiras HaYam


On Fri, Feb 06, 2004 at 01:29:09PM -0500, Zeliglaw@aol.com wrote:
: 1) Why were Klal Yisrael scared and frightened at the Yam Suf? ...

Were they? I see no mention of pachad or charadah.

Yir'ah requires realizing one is in the presence of something, or
Something greater than oneself. Which fits RGS's essay in "Mesukim".

 -mi


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Date: Wed, 11 Feb 2004 02:13:28 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Subject:
Re: Hasgachah Pratit/Klalit


On Mon, Feb 09, 2004 at 05:10:06PM +1300, jcoh003@ec.auckland.ac.nz wrote:
:> Second, how do you divorce the question of worth of an activity from that
:> of its consequences, or a choice from its purposes? What does "worthwhile
:> in and of itself" mean once divorced from "lead[ing] to good results"?

: The whole concept removes 'tov' from the realm of human understanding,
: just as 'dayan ha'emet' implies a greater definition of 'emet' than one
: we can understand, a la Asara harugei Malchut...

But then the statement is vacuus. To say this event is inherently good
on some supernal level doesn't help me come to terms with it on my own
level.

:                                                 . This type of approach
: seems to me to be muchrach at the higher level where we realise that
: Hashem is not bound by time, and so every event which takes place must
: also have significance in some way removed from the continuity of time.

An event is definitionally something within time. When one speaks of an
event, or even of a Divine Act, one is speaking of how the effect is
manifest within time.

After all, since Hashem Echad, there is only one Cause, one Relationship,
which is responsible for every effect.

 -mi

 -- 
Micha Berger             Until he extends the circle of his compassion
micha@aishdas.org        to all living things,
http://www.aishdas.org   man will not himself find peace.
Fax: (413) 403-9905                        - Albert Schweitzer


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Date: Wed, 11 Feb 2004 02:20:43 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Subject:
Re: Back to Yissakhar


On Tue, Feb 10, 2004 at 12:29:18AM +0200, D & E-H Bannett wrote:
: All of the numerous chilufin listed in Sefer Hahilufin are on fine 
: points such as shva na' or nach, mileil milra', meteg here or meteg 
: there, or no meteg. There is no case of drastic change in pronunciation 
: for the simple reason that our ancestors were very careful in reading 
: the Torah and had strong traditions of correct pronunciation. It 
: appears they were even more strict on pronunciation than on spelling.

Perhaps this is an indication that they assumed yeish eim lamiqra, and
therefore placed more stress on preserving miqra than mesores?

 -mi


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Date: Wed, 11 Feb 2004 02:22:40 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Subject:
Re: Direction of Tefillah


On Mon, Feb 09, 2004 at 08:18:16PM -0500, Russell Levy wrote:
: >It's only if the 4x4 shi'ur is taken to be an area that one can't rely on
: >construction, and must rely on calculation and therefore on estimation.
: >There is no way to "square the circle" as it's put.

: It is clear from the gemara, that no matter what we would say that R'
: Yochanan holds, that the explanations when dealing with PI are based
: on perimeter.

That's not the way Tosafos understand it. They invoke the notion of limits
to prove that the formula for circumferance of pi * diameter (2 * pi * r)
implies the fomula for area of pi * r^2. See the pretty pictures. <g>

 -mi


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Date: Wed, 11 Feb 2004 02:26:00 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Subject:
Re: Sefiros according to REED


On Mon, Feb 09, 2004 at 03:00:24PM -0500, David Riceman wrote:
: (W) for the weak doctrine of schar va'onesh: that the total of what
: happens to a person over his lives and after/between/lives is what he
: deserves, and
: (S) for the strong doctrine of schar va'onesh: that each thing that
: happens to a person is precisely what he deserves.
....
: IIUC most rishonim, including most rishonim who were mekubbalim,
: accepted (W) but not (S), but RMHL&REED accepted (S)....

REED accepts universal HP, at least for people. That doesn't actually
mean S. Hashem could tailor one's life's events for reasons other than
sechar or onesh.

...
:> 2- Projecting upward: We are comprised of these 10 sephiros. Through
:> each of these "lenses" we see a different perception of Hashem's actions,
:> therefore we see those actions as being similarly divided.

: I think that in the passages in which RMB understands REED to be
: describing #2, really he is describing a procedure known in certain
: circles as hamtakas hadinim (henceforth HD)....

Nope. In vol I, pg 311 or so, the last section on Olamos, he lists a
number of conclusions. The first explicitly states that the sefiros are
according to our perception, each according to where we are omedim.

Not some relationship between din and chessed. In fact, specific sefiros
are not discussed or even named.

: So that RMB is incorrect in saying that "#2 says they're perceptions".

As I said, it's a pretty exact translation of the sentence.

 -mi

 -- 
Micha Berger             Until he extends the circle of his compassion
micha@aishdas.org        to all living things,
http://www.aishdas.org   man will not himself find peace.
Fax: (413) 403-9905                        - Albert Schweitzer


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Date: Tue, 10 Feb 2004 22:38:23 -0500
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Subject:
Re: Ein Bein


> I would presume that "the only difference will be lack of shibud
> malchiyot" is an exaggeration, intended for rhetorical purposes. Surely
> there will be other differences, such as bringing korbanos, no?

The chiyuv to bring korbanot exists now as well. The only reason we
don't bring korbanot is because of shi'abud malchiot (including Medinat
Yisrael); once that is gone, then naturally we will be able to bring
korbanot, learn Torah properly, etc.

Other prophecies, such as 've'amdu zarim vera'u tzonchem', and 'vehayu
melachim omnayich', which will give us time to learn Torah, presumably
depend on 'zachu'. Or perhaps they too are the result of the end of
shi'abud malchiot - when the moshiach comes and the galut is over, the
nations will naturally see the superiority of Am Yisrael, and the value
to them of our Torah learning, and will therefore volunteer to do our
work and support us in kollel.


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Date: Tue, 10 Feb 2004 20:49:32 -0500
From: "Avi Burstein" <avi@tenagurot.com>
Subject:
Re: Halachos of the 'Kosher Lamp'


> Besides, the light button on your watch is less of a problem if it is
> considered ONE keil. It's tafeil to the primary function of that keli --
> being a watch. Otherwise you're moving a separate lamp.

I always though that a lamp was a keli shmlachto l'issur, and is then 
allowed to be moved ltzorech mkomo. Isn't it? 

Avi Burstein 


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Date: Tue, 10 Feb 2004 22:44:19 -0500
From: Andrew Marks <ajm58@cornell.edu>
Subject:
Re: Halachos of the "Kosher Lamp"


"The 39 Melachos" book states that fan may be turned or moved on shabbos
as it is only Muktza Melachto l'Issur.. Kal v'chomer, this should not
be a problem.


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Date: Wed, 11 Feb 2004 15:41:50 -0500
From: "Yosef Gavriel & Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <rygb@aishdas.org>
Subject:
Dishwashers on Shabbos


R' Chaim David Regensburg in his sefer "Mishmeres Chaim" has a teshuva
about dishwashers on Shabbos, and permits their use on a timer. Avsha
milsa is a very difficult concept to pin down, but certainly the oilem
is meikel on many things (such as lights and air conditioners) which
could have been characterized as avsha milsa or a related concept, and
in fact have been classified as such by some of the greatest poskim. I
think that it has become mekkubal that household appliances are not
b'geder avsha milsa.

My mother in law is remodeling her kitchen, and after we discussed
the issue she started looking for a dishwasher with no lights that
could be used on Yom Tov at least (on Shabbos locking the handle may
be gram hav'arah even if the timer is off at the time; on Yom Tov gram
hava'arah is not a problem - someone should get the franchise for the
Tzomet disabling service in the USA. He could make a mint!). It seems
that the only one of its type was a discontinued model of some foreign
brand, the entire remaining stock of which had been bought out by one
of the stores catering to the frum community (Drimmers maybe? I don't
remember). I believe she bought one.

YGB


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Date: Tue, 10 Feb 2004 22:42:47 -0500
From: Kenneth G Miller <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
Subject:
Re: kol isha al hayam?


A few days ago, R' Saul Newman sent us a link to
http://www.biu.ac.il/JH/Parasha/eng/beshalah/kos.html but did not make
any other comment.

I went there, and was surprised to find that article's translation
of that pasuk (Shmos 15:21) as <<< ... And Miriam chanted for them
(masculine suffix): Sing to the Lord, for ...>>>

Previously, my understanding had been that the women separated from the
men, and sang among themselves. But this is not tenable, if the word
"them" is masculine, and indeed it is "lahem" (not "lahen"), and I thank
the author of that article for pointing that out.

Unfortunately, it seems to me that he focused far too much on that word,
and he entirely glossed over the word "vataan" which does *not* have to
mean "she chanted".

As R' Gil Student wrote, <<< I don't even understand the question. Where
in the Torah does it say that Miriam sang?>>>

I thank RGS for pointing out that Miriam might never have actually sung.
If I understand him correctly, "vataan" (vav, tav, ayin, nun) would mean
that she answered or responded to the men. This does not necessarily
mean that she sang at all. In fact, in view of the previous pasuk, I
think that it can easily mean nothing more than a musical accompaniment
with tof, tupim, and m'cholos, and then she told the *men* to continue
singing to HaShem.

Akiva Miller


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Date: Wed, 11 Feb 2004 00:09:28 -0500
From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
Subject:
Hatov vehaMeitiv


In discussing the beracha made on birth of a boy, my son in law mentioned
that he had heard that Rav Aharon Kotler held not to make it. Any idea
if this is true and if so why not?

Gershon
gershon.dubin@juno.com


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Date: Wed, 11 Feb 2004 11:12:35 +0100
From: Arie Folger <afolger@aishdas.org>
Subject:
Re: Direction of Tefillah


On 29 Jan 2004 at 13:39, Zev Sero wrote:
>> It seems to me obvious that one should face the great-circle path (i.e.
>> NE from NY).  

RCS wrote:
> But that's not the flight path either. The flight path is NNE (straight
> up the east coast and then over the outer reaches of Nova Scotia
> and Newfoundland and then across) at the beginning, and gradually it
> turns ESE.

Up until a few years ago two engine planes were prohibited by the FAA from
straying too far from the coast line. Hence transatlantic flights still
fly along Greenlands' and Canada's coastline. This is why the 747 was
developed as a 4 engine plane, although in reality, neither the 747 then
(or the MD11 with 3 engines) or all planes now venture much further into
the Atlantic than was then the norm. Hence the planes do not fly along
a great circle, except when flying from, say, London to Tokyo over the
North Pole.

The smell in airplane bathrooms is not due to faulty tanks, but is a
general "feature" of public facilities, after someone has not followed
the commonly accepted practices, all other people become less higyenic
when using those facilities. Thus, it wouldn't be a beis hakissei,
but like any place where urine has been left behind, a temporary BhK is
Talmudspeak IIRC.

[Email #2. -mi]

From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
>> Due east from the NY area is definitely wrong - that doesn't even get
>> you to Israel on a Mercator map, and davening toward 'mizrach', as
>> opposed to toward Eretz Yisrael, is actually the exact opposite of what
>> we are supposed to do.

SBA wrote:
> Interesting note on this subject.
> Here in Melbourne I have noticed that the direction of davvening depends
> which Shul you are in. Thus one has a choice of davvening in any one of
> 4 directions(!).

This is fairly common although most European shuls do face either East or
South or something in between. In reality, the first consideration is the
layout of the plot on which the shul was built, so that when entering,
one would enter from the back of the shul.

I was told that in Bet-E-l in Borough Park, both the main shul and the
'heder sheni face West. Since the pulpit of the auxilary synagogue was
movable, baalei tfillah would often, for weekday services, fight it
out against other mitpallelim as to whether the 'amud should be moved
to the other end of the room, and it even happened that the 'amud was
moved in the middle of davvening. I don't need to tell you what I think
of such behaviour.

Arie
 -- 
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, 11 Feb 2004 12:16:27 -0600 (CST)
From: "Gil Student" <gil@aishdas.org>
Subject:
Re: Tu B'Shvat and snapple bottles


[REMShtern:]
> 1) Has anybody heard anything besheim R' Hershel Shachter regarding
> snapple bottles and tevilas keilim? Someone recently told me he had an
> interesting shittah in the matter, but he couldn't give me the specifics.

I once sent my chavrusa to ask RH Schachter whether reusable glass
containers (like pickle jars) require tevilah. RHS said that they do
even before the first use. But after further nudging, he confirmed that
he wife does not empty out pickle jars, tovel them, and then refill
them. He said to tovel them after you finish the first use if you want
to refill the jars.

The chavrusa I sent was R' Moshe Schapiro of the YU library so feel free
to bug him and see if his recollection is the same as mine.

Gil Student
gil@aishdas.org
www.aishdas.org/student


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Date: Wed, 11 Feb 2004 22:05:29 +0200
From: Simi Peters <familyp2@netvision.net.il>
Subject:
Re: Avodah V12 #90


I'd like to thank R' Toby and R' Meir for their interest and kind words
about my book.

R' Meir's sample readings are well worth . They are especially
interesting to me because we are doing similar things, using (as he
points out) somewhat different kinds of midrashic texts, and (more
significantly, at least from my perspective) a somewhat different approach
to interpretation. As he says, he tends to see theological issues as
central to interpretation, and tries to relate his interpretations to
the larger arena of the entire range of Jewish knowledge. As someone
who started out as a teacher of Tanach, I am more focused on how the
midrash helps me understand the psukim/inyanim at hand.

I am particularly interested in how R' Meir would define "omek peshuto
shel mikra" and distinguish it from "peshuto shel mikra." It will be
exciting to explore issues like this with such a knowledgeable bar siach
(and with all the other knowledgeable chaverim in Avodah).

One suggestion about the site: It would be helpful to have the source of
each midrash cited so that readers can look at the original. (Obviously
it would be even easier to have the original reproduced on the site,
though that might create technical difficulties--and, of course, it's
always better to see the citation in context anyway.)

Kol tuv,
Simi Peters


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Date: Wed, 11 Feb 2004 07:55:38 -0500
From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
Subject:
Giyur


Yisro went to be megayer his family. Would being megayer his own family
be an exception even nowadays to the halacha of not "pushing' giyur?

Gershon
gershon.dubin@juno.com


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Date: Wed, 11 Feb 2004 09:29:23 +0200
From: "Avi Burstein" <betera@012.net.il>
Subject:
teshuva


[RCS:]
> It's much harder to fight a yetzer hara for something in which
> you have been nichshal in the past. Once you've tasted/felt
> something and know how good it feels, it's much harder to avoid
> tasting/feeling it again.

Not necessarily. Very often after being allowed to indulge in a prohibited
act, one feels how empty the experience truly is. In such cases, it
makes the struggle easier, as one doesn't have the notion anymore that
he's missing out or that the grass is greener on the other side.

> I think that's why the Rambam says that perfect tshuva is being
> confronted by the exact same situation again and not sinning. You
> already know the result of the bad action and the hana'a you got
> from it. That makes resistance much harder.

I always understood this Rambam to be about a person perfecting himself.
Not about how hard the struggle may be. Perfect teshuva is like the
Rambam described it because you have proven that you are no longer the
person you were yesterday. That person from yesterday sinned in such a
situation. The person you are today has proven he wouldn't. That's what
teshuva is supposed to be about. Correcting our flaws. Not just putting
up a fight (which has value in it's own right).

Avi Burstein


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Date: Wed, 11 Feb 2004 13:29:00 -0500
From: Mlevinmd@aol.com
Subject:
Missing nun


> Rashi in Shemot rejects the notion that the common verb "makeh" could
> have a nun in the shoresh and holds that nukku/nukkatah is a completely
> different shoresh....
>                Why doesn't he consider the possibility that "makeh"
> has a missing nun when explaining nukku/nukkatah and nakkeh?

Rashi does not hold of a three letter root theory. He therefore does not
employ it. He seems to hold that a word can be either have a three or two
root shoresh, see Gur Arye parshas Chukas (and many other places)on the
word nida. Others who hold a tow letter theory include R. Hirsh, Malbim
in the 3rd or 4th item in Ayeles Hashachar and Menachem in the Intro to
Machberes. All of them have specific twists in their views, ayein sham.


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Date: Wed, 11 Feb 2004 13:29:00 -0500
From: Mlevinmd@aol.com
Subject:
Missing nun


> Rashi in Shemot rejects the notion that the common verb "makeh" could
> have a nun in the shoresh and holds that nukku/nukkatah is a completely
> different shoresh....
>                Why doesn't he consider the possibility that "makeh"
> has a missing nun when explaining nukku/nukkatah and nakkeh?

Rashi does not hold of a three letter root theory. He therefore does not
employ it. He seems to hold that a word can be either have a three or two
root shoresh, see Gur Arye parshas Chukas (and many other places)on the
word nida. Others who hold a tow letter theory include R. Hirsh, Malbim
in the 3rd or 4th item in Ayeles Hashachar and Menachem in the Intro to
Machberes. All of them have specific twists in their views, ayein sham.


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Date: Wed, 11 Feb 2004 15:46:37 -0500
From: "Ilana Sober" <sober@pathcom.com>
Subject:
Re: Missing nun


From: <Mlevinmd@aol.com>
> Rashi does not hold of a three letter root theory. He therefore does not
> employ it. He seems to hold that a word can be either have a three or two
> root shoresh....

Thanks!!

If I understand correctly, this means that Rashi has no problem with kaf-heh
as the root of makkeh. And since there are only three instances in all of
Tanach with a nun, and hundreds without, he doesn't propose a droppable nun
in the common verb makkeh as an explanation for the uncommon verb
nukku/nukkatah/nakkeh.

How does Rashi explain the dagesh in the kaf in most forms of makkeh? (In
the three-letter version of dikduk which I'm familiar with, I think it's
because of the missing nun).

 - Ilana


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Date: Wed, 11 Feb 2004 16:48:15 -0500
From: Mlevinmd@aol.com
Subject:
Re: Missing nun


Actually, he would probably say that these types of words have only 1
letter as root. The problem is that the three word root theories have
been well worked out but the 2 root ones have been abandoned early on
and no rishonim left works on them. We are missing a 1000years of work
in this theory.

Similarly, I don't know how to explain the dagesh according to these
theories, although I vaguely recall something in the intro to machberes
that has some relevance to this. May be someone out there can contribute.
Now a tangent,

BTW, I think that the sefer yetsirah also holds a 2 word theory. All
objects are composed of combinations of letters. Here is an excerpt
from Ch.2

    Seven doubles: Bet, Gimel, Dalet, Kaf, Peh, Resh, Tav which are to be
    pronounced in two tongues: Bet, Vet, Gimel, Ghimel, Dalet, Dhalet,
    Kaf, Khaf, Peh, Feh, Resh, Rhesh, Tav, Thav, a pattern of hard and
    soft, strong and weak. The doubles represent the contraries. The
    opposite of life is death, the opposite of peace is evil, the opposite
    of wisdom is foolishness, the opposite of wealth is poverty, the
    opposite of fruitfulness is barrenness, the opposite of grace is
    ugliness, the opposite of dominion is slavery.

     4. Twelve simples: He, Vav, Zayin; Het, Tet, Yod; Lamed, Nun,
    Samech; Ayin, Tsadeh, Qof. He engraved them, hewed them, tested them,
    weighed them, and exchanged them. How did He combine them? Two stones
    build two houses. Three stones build six houses. Four stones build
    twenty-four houses. Five stones build one hundred twenty houses. Six
    stones build seven hundred twenty houses. Seven stones build five
    thousand forty houses. Thenceforth, go out and calculate what the
    mouth is unable to say and what the ear is unable to hear.

Ch.4

    Par 4. Twenty-two letters: He carved them, hewed them, refined them,
    weighed them, and combined them, and He made of them the entire
    creation and everything to be created in the future. How did He
    test them? Alef with all and all with Alef, Bet with all and all
    with Bet, Gimel with all and all with Gimel, and they all return
    again and again, and they emanate through two hundred and thirty-one
    gates. All the words and all the creatures emanate from One Name.

    Par 5. He created reality from Tohu [Tav-He-Vav] and made His
    existence out of His nothingness, and He hewed great pillars from
    the intangible air.

If you think of the 2 letter theory as simply 2 letters you will be
unable to create too many words. This is Ibn Ezra's proof for the three
root theory. From the above passage it seems that many words have letters
that are not visibly present. If I recall that is what the Raavad suggests
in his commentary to sefer Yetsira.

We now return to the idea that certain roots contain letters that drop
out, the same idea that is used in the 3 letter root theory to explain
why yod, hei, vav and nun drop out. The first three imply the idea of
G-dliness surreptitiously present in words; I do not know how to explain
dropping nun, except that word nefila starts with nun.

M.Levin


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Date: Wed, 11 Feb 2004 16:15:23 -0500
From: "David Riceman" <driceman@worldnet.att.net>
Subject:
Re: Sefiros according to REED


From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
> REED accepts universal HP, at least for people. That doesn't actually
> mean S. Hashem could tailor one's life's events for reasons other than
> sechar or onesh.

Except that according to RMHL the reason God created the world is to give
people schar.  Ultimately everything reduces to schar vaonesh.

> Nope. In vol I, pg 311 or so, the last section on Olamos, he lists a
> number of conclusions. The first explicitly states that the sefiros are
> according to our perception, each according to where we are omedim.
> Not some relationship between din and chessed. In fact, specific sefiros
> are not discussed or even named.

I think you misunderstand what he's saying. Suppose you see a father
spanking his child. In a lower perspective you'd say "that's din".
In a higher perspective you wouldn't say "that's hesed", you'd say
"that's din motivated by hesed". You would, in fact, seee a relationship
between lower and higher olamos. That's what it means to say that lower
olamos are part of higher olamos.

The defect of the lower perspective is that it sees the spanking without
the motivation, not that it sees the spanking.

David Riceman


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Date: Tue, 10 Feb 2004 22:29:33 -0500
From: "Moshe Sober" <sober@pathcom.com>
Subject:
Re: New teshuva against murex trunculus tekhelet


In Avodah # 89 we learned of Rabbi Miller of Toronto's recent teshuvah
against murex trunculus tekhelet, and were treated to an immediate
response by Rabbi Bechhofer. I am in a unique position regarding this
question. During my years in Israel I was able to invesitgate the
arguments in favor quite thoroughly. I know several of the people
involved; indeed, the head of P'til Tekhelet is a former student of
mine. I chose not to put on Tkhelet precisely because the arguments
appeared so overwhelmingly convincing. In my experience, issues are never
so one sided, and I wanted to hear a coherent argument against before
taking a stand in favor of a major change in halakhic practice. But
in Israel, I could not find anyone who is really opposed. Thus, Rav
Elyashiv came out against the tekhelet, but a big talmid chakham who is
very close with RE told me that in fact RE thought the tekhelet people
were probably right, but that until certain questions were answered,
he believed it wrong to change halakhic practice. Then five years ago
I moved to Toronto. Here I heard that Rabbi Miller had investigated the
matter personally, even visiting the factory, and had concluded that the
tekhelet - wasn't. I have had little contact with RM personally, but
after hearing what purported to be his arguments, I decided the murex
people had the better argument, and have worn Tekhelet ever since. It
must be said that RM's teshuvah is far superior to the second-hand
version on which I based my decision, but even so, I still think the
murex people have the better argument. But in view of the Gemara (Hullin
7a), cited by RM - "when a Talmid Chakham makes a halakhic statement,
one does not dismiss it lightly" - I want to reserve my judgement on
his teshuvah until I check all the sources carefully, at which point I
promise another posting to Avodah.

In the meantime I want to respond to Rabbi Bechhofer. Despite what I
wrote above, I find his criticisms of RM to be unfounded.

>I fail to understand how the chemical similarity between techeles from
>murex trunculus and the kaleh ilan dye from plant sources makes m.
>trunculus = kaleh ilan. This is very sizable lomdishe leap that Rabbi
>Miller - great talmid chochom as he is, and he certainly does not need
>my haskomo (on the contrary, I have one on my eruvin book from him!) -
>is making, and I do not understand how it can be made unless one assumes
>that Chazal classified the dye of kaleh ilan on the basis of chemical
>analysis. There does not seem to be any basis for this assumption.

Kaleh Ilan is not a halakhic concept like tekehet. From the halakhic
perspective it is merely an example of a close fake. Any other close fake
is FAIAP kaleh Ilan. But it is unnecessary to rely on logical arguments,
as Rambam (hilkhot tzitzit 2:1) when discussing kaleh ilan, does not even
use the term, but refers to "b'istis o b'sh'chor or b'sh'ar hamashchirim."

>It is not clear to me why those who do not hold m. trunculus to be valid
>techeles simply say that there is no need for them to wear it - and, of
>course, they are right about that. Why not leave those who do wear it do
>so in peace? Surely there are far greater problems in Orthodox Jewry today
>than some people wearing m. trunculus techeles? There is ample precedent
>for shev v'al ta'aseh - which is what rov minyan u'binyan Am Yisroel did
>in the face of the Radziner's techeles. You do not find (to the best of
>my knowledge) from that time literature attacking those who did decide
>to wear it. Yet today, with a far more likely candidate, that is the case.

In fact I had thought there was a very bitter controversy regarding
the Radziner. But in any case, there is nothing in RM's teshuvah that
should cause offense to anyone. His arguments - convincing or not -
are all reasonable Torah arguments. His opinion is that it is not only
unneccessary, but wrong to wear what is almost certainly kaleh ilan. But
again, there is no need to rely on an apologia. Ma'aseh rav. I live
in Toronto, and wear my tekhelet openly wherever I daven shacharit,
including, on occasion, standing right next to RM in his kollel (that
was before I read his teshuvah; I had no intention to be chutzpadik). No
one in Toronto - not RM, nor his talmidim, with some of whom I am very
close - have uttered so much as a word of criticism. Indeed, RM's kollel
itself put out a tape by one of its fellows, Rabbi Kulik, discussing
the pros and cons of the murex, which challenges R.M's arguments, and
more-or-less concludes that the tekhelet is probably correct, but that
a conservative attitude is appropriate. In short, there could not be a
better example of a community that "advocate[s] for middos tovos and
sholom al yisroel," and I join with R. Bechhofer in considering that
far more important even than the intriguing question of tekhelet.

Moshe Sober


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