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Volume 14 : Number 024

Monday, November 8 2004

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Fri, 05 Nov 2004 09:42:16 -0500
From: Mlevinmd@aol.com

I have a general question on how current business theory on price
setting squares with onaah as a halachic concept. I would appreciate an
explanation form someone who understands these fields.

There are 3 ways to set price, as per marketing textbooks:
1. Cost + a designated price which depends of the field. F.E. a
supermarket may determine its cost and then add a 30% surcharge.
2. Survey the market and set prices in the same range as other sellers
3. Survey buyers ands set the price based on what they are willing to pay.

It seems that onaah cannot apply for #1 and 3. How would onaah be relevant
for the modern price setting methods?

M. Levin

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Date: Thu, 04 Nov 2004 22:44:42 -0500
From: Noah Witty <nwitty@optonline.net>

My son seeks a source for 100 or a thousand baruch hu u-varuch she-mo
do not equal even one amain, 100(0) amains don't amount to a barchu,
barchu to amin yehai shmai rabah, and finally to Torah. Also, it was
worth 6,000 years of earth for one amain.

Noach Witty

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Date: Thu, 4 Nov 2004 22:18:20 GMT
From: Chana Luntz <Chana@kolsassoon.org.uk>
Re: Intergenerational conflicts and Hilchos Shabbos

I wrote:
>>1. ROY's view is not just his view, it is the view of the 
>>Sephardi poskim based on the Rambam and others, and held 
>>down the years. It is a much a distinction between 
>>Ashkenazi and Sephardi halacha as kitniyos on pesach.  
>>That is, Sephardim can do chazarah on shabbas so long as 
>>it is garuf and katum and the food is fully cooked and 
>>there is more solid than liquid, even from completely cold.

You wrote:
>The Rambam's view, adopted by the Mechaber, is that if one 
>removes food from a fire which is garuf vekatum, one may 
>NOT return the food to the fire unless it is still hot, and 
>was not yet placed on the ground (253:2). 

The understanding of the Sephardi poskim has always been that that is
in relation to a dvar lach, not to a dvar yavesh (ie liquid rather than
solid), hence the divergent minhagim with Sephardim putting cold fully
cooked solid food (with a minority of gravy) onto a covered stove and
Ashenazim not (actually, even that is not quite true, some Sephardim ha
the minhag of holding ain bishul achar bishul also in relation to a dvar
lach, and poskening against Maran, but that is not and has never been the
mainstream minhag). The Sephardi poskim read 253:2 as relating to a d'var
lach, and 253:5 as relating to a d'var yevesh that has been fully cooked.

This is not some chiddush of ROY's, but absolutely standard Sephardi psak.
To give you an illustration in terms of what I could find to hand, in
Dayan Toledano's book Fountain of Blessings which is intended to be a
restatement in English of Orech Chaim according to the Sephardim (in which
he is usually careful to bring divergent Sephardi customs) he states:

(Ch 17, paragraph 7): Once solid food has been properly cooked, then
even if it is reheated after it has been cooled this is not reckoned as
cooking ... However if a a liquid has been boiled and then cooled, it is
still forbidden to reheat it on Shabbat sinc this is considered cooking.
This is the ruling of our teacher Rabbi Josef Karo.

It should be noted that many communities in North Africa did not follow
his opinion but that of many other leading authorities, who held that
the prohibition of recooking does not apply to liquids either"


11. "We have said above (No 7) that the prohibition of reheating
previously cooked food applies to liquids only. With regard to solid
food, it is permissible to reheat them on a hotplate or on a gas-stove
providing there is a sheet of metal (known as a Blech) between the pot
and the source of heat.

12 It follows that it is allowed to heat chicken or rice which has been
completely cooked before Shabbat, on a hotplate, it being understood that
the hotplate was switched on before Shabbat. Similarly it is allowed to
heat the the chicken on a gas-stove which has been lit before Shabbat.
It is important that a sheet of metal be likewise placed on the gas stove.
It should also be noted that the above law also applies to sold food
even if there is a small about o gravy mixed with it."

There is more in Chapter 18, but absolutely no dissent is brought to
the basic halacha.

Couple of other off the top of my head illustrations of the fact that
there are accepted and recognised differences vis a vis this halacha,
and that it is not some chiddush of ROYs are:

a) when my husband was in yeshiva, periodically on shabbas they used
to go and find him to get him to put stuff on the blech, because as the
token Sephardi, he could and they couldn't.

b)when I was discussing with Rav Aaronreich (Rosh Yeshiva of Eretz
Chemda who at the time was teaching gemora also at Nishmat) some of my
reservations regarding marrying Robert and whether I could cope with the
divergent Sephardi/Ashkenazi minhagim, his comment was that one of his
daughters married somebody Sephardi, and her comment was that it made
life so much easier given that it was so much easier regarding chazara
on shabbas.

I know that is not the way that the Ashkenazim traditionally learn
this sugya. But it is important to understand the way the Sephardim
have traditionally learnt this sugya and how they have and do practice
l'chatchila. (Especially if you are in fact teaching girls, and there is
any chance that they might make a Sephardi shidduch, this is stuff they
need to know, and ought to learn as part and parcel of their halacha
classes, instead of being thrown in the deep end with different rules
flying around after marriage).

> - but it is a view which among Ashkenazic authorities,
>certainly in Chul, is rarely considered.

Agreed. I am not saying it is the Ashkenazi view at all. But the subject
under discussion is a girl who is insisting that her parents, who now
live in Israel but are formerly American, have been "mechallel shabbas"
all these years because she has been taught in her halacha class certain
things as black and white. Now we don't know what these things are,
but it is a fair chance that this is one of them, and while it is still
(according to most opinions) pretty b'dieved for Ashenazim, even in
Israel, to be relying on such opinions, I suspect it is likely that
a bit more tolerance can be elicited if she understands that half of
the halachic world does not read the sugya the way she and her halacha
teacher does, even if it is not her half of the halachic world.

>2.  > But even there *in Israel* (at least outside of 
>>Jerusalem where there were always two beitei din)they 
>>again have ROY to rely on, because ROY holds that Maran is 
>>the posek of Eretz Yisroel and that the Ashkenazim should 
>>never have set up different betei din and poskened 
>>differently and should all have switched to Sephardi 
>>minhagim on moving to Israel.

>> So, according to ROY, these parents (at least in Israel) 
>>in this regard are acting in ways permissable l'chatchila.

>Again, this view is not the view of the Mechaber,

Sephardim pretty universally, as far as I am aware, view it as being
the view of the Mechaber.

> Furthermore, ROY's insistence that the Mechaber was 
>the "mara deatra" of E"Y and that all should adopt his 
>opinions in E"Y is certainly not accepted by Ashkenazic,
>and non-ROY sephardic poskim. Let us not forgot that ROY is 
>engaged in asefardic halachic revolution, which has met 
>opposition by the old school sefardic authorities,

I agree that ROY's view about Ashkenazim being required to adopt
Sephardim minhagim is not mainstream (unlike doing chazara, which is fully
mainstream and how every Sephardi group here I am aware of, S&P, Iraqi,
Syrian, Morrocan posken in practice), and I think I indicated as much
(it is actually a much more sophisticated argument than I have set out
here, and very interesting halachically, but it has not been what has
been practiced).

The point I was making though was here we have a girl who says (assuming
that chazara onto a blech is one of the issues at hand) that her American
born but Israeli living (presumably Ashkenazi) parents are being mechallel
shabbas, and RDE has asked us for help in convincing her that her parents
have not been mechallel shabbas all these years, becuause the parents
are distraught. Now I would have thought that pointing out to her that
at least a posek of ROY's stature says that what her parents are doing
(assuming this is one of the issues) is perfectly OK, is exactly what
RDE is looking for - because it will help shake the absolutest world
view that is causing her parents so much distress.

>As I never stated MY halachic conclusion, nor how I present 
>different halachic views, and since the purpose of my post 
>was davka to argue that halacha teachers must present a 
>more complex view, I'm not sure I should be
>the target of your comments.

I agree for the most part (and agreed with its sentiments for the most
part). The part however that jumped out at me was your statement (as
reiterated here) which states the Askenazi halachic position (that you
cannot do chazara to a blech for cold solid food) as the only halachic
position (it is like stating flatly that one cannot eat kitniyot on
Pesach and that eating kitniyot is bideved - whereas that is only true
for half the halachic population).


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Date: Sun, 7 Nov 2004 10:58:41 -0500
From: Zvi Lampel <zvilampel@juno.com>
Re Sanhedrin Stuff

"Michael Frankel" <michaeljfrankel@hotmail.com> posted on Thu, 28 Oct
[R' Zvi Lampel:]
> I was only aware of a Saducee presence in the Sanhedrin during the
> relatively short period right before Shimmon ben Shatach eliminated
> them, as stated in the Talmud. What evidence is there of the above?

>well, no- this is not stated in the Talmud which seems to know nothing
> of this incident...

Sorry (and embarrassed) about my loose and lazy usage of "Talmud" to
refer to the passage in Megillas Ta'anis.
Megillas Ta'anis (10) reads:
"On the 28th of Teves the Gathering [in the Lishkas HaGazis] returned to
its proper standard (yasiva b'knishta al deenah). ["Gemora":] For when the
Saducees were sitting in THEIR Sanhedrin, King Yannai and Queen Shalmonin
sat next to him [as was the custom in non-Jewish courts] and NOT ONE OF
YISRAEL [i.e., not one Pharisee] sat with them, except for Shimon ben
Shetach. And they would ask [about] teshuvos and halachos and not know
[enough] to bring proof from the Torah. Shimon ben Shetach said to them,
'Whoever can bring a proof from the Torah will be fit to sit in the
Sanhedrin. Once, a matter [i.e., a question] fell among them, and they
didn't know [enough] to bring a proof from the Torah [for a solution],
except for one elder who was prattling before him: he told him, 'Give me
some time and tomorrrow I will answer you.' He gave him time, the next day
he was too embarrassed to come, and Shimon ben Shetach replaced him with
one of his [(Shimon's)] talmidim. Thus he would do day in and day out,
until they [the Saducees] were all removed, and the Jewish Sanhedrin sat
[in the Lishlas HaGazis] al da'aso. And that day they made a yom tov."

Mechy, I have problems with what you wrote and the tone in which it is
written. You write,
>[I]t is only mentioned in the "gemora" to an otherwise 
> obscure reference in m’gilas ta’anis composed at least 600 years after the 
> events in question (i.e. the "g'moroh" not the m'giloh). Nevertheless, the 
> thrust of the tradition that the day commemorates removal of Sadducees is 
> undoubtedly true. ... --though the elaborated tale describing how shimon 
> b. shetach set them a task which they failed etc. is undoubtedly an 
> embellishment.

"Obscure"? Why? Reads quite clearly, in my opinion. Obscure in the sense
of not widely known? Why, even I knew about it! "Composed 600 years after
the event"? So? All events and statements from Mattan Torah until then
took place an even longer time before their having been recorded in the
tannaitic works! Is this supposed to cast an aspersion on the record in
Megillas Ta'anis, a source the Talmud holds in high regard, with all due
respect to Josephus? "Nevertheless... undoubtedly true... undoubtedly
an embellishment"? What kind of talk is this regarding talmudically
accepted tannaitic/amoraic records of events?

You continue,
> But bain kakh u’vain kakh, there is absolutely no reason to 
> think that their estrangement from the Sanhedrin was anything but temporary, 
> as subsequent hashmonaic kings reverted to their adversarial posture to the 
> p’rushim. And there is reason to think otherwise. [I assume you meant
> to repeat that there is NO reason.--ZL]

I had asked for evidence for your assertion, phrased as plain fact, that
the Sanhedrin "had representation from groups other than the A-team,
notably including Saducees, who only disappear as an organized element
in the Sanhedrin and elsewhere with in the yavneh era."

A clear passage from a braiisa or mishna or gemora (or Josephus, etc.)
would be examples of evidence. "No reason to think otherwise," without
such support, is not evidence. Until hard evidence is brought, the
suggestion that the Sanhedrins of Sh'maya and Avtalyon, and Hillel and
Shammai, as well as any preceding or later ones, would sit together in
judgement on dinei d'oraissa and dinei d'rabbanon, Torah sheh-bichsav
and Torah sheh-b'ahl peh, with the despised and doctrinatedly-opposed
Saducees, discussing and voting with them as equals of the 71-member
body, is weird enough "to think otherwise." Indeed, a scholarly ben
Torah's proclivity should be to seek unweird ways to understand any
sources that may seem to suggest such an idea, and/or scrutinize them
carefully. There is no good reason to conjecture, not to mention concoct,
sensationalist and grotesque understandings of things when an orthodox
way of explaining them is plausible, not to mention probable.

> Allon notes various "hints" in 
> Talmudic memory of the presence of saducess- e.g Sanhedrin 52 which records 
> an incident where a woman was put to death according to the saducee 
> interpretation of the arboh misos bais din with the acknowledgement that it 
> was a tzduqi dominated bais din,

Sanhedrin 52b does not refer to a "Saducee DOMINATED bes din," not to
mention Saducee dominated Sanhedrins. It speaks of a Saducee bes din
(which the gemora dates as occuring in the period immediately before the
churban). There were Roman government courts, and Saducees set up their
own courts (twice usurping the locale of the Sanhdrin), and when they
had the power they inflicted their decisions on unfortunate women and
others--such as Yosay ben Yoezer and the many other Tannaim the Romans
executed. The often corrupt, government-appointed High Priest might have
headed the Roman government's Supreme Court of over the Land of Israel,
which promulgated state (not Torah) decisions, and Pharisees might
have participated in these courts--much as Rav Shamshon Raphael Hirsch
participated in the Austrian Parliament--but these were not the Torah
courts that determined the mesorah of Sinai and were kovei'a halachah
for Am Yisroel l'doray doros. In other words, the Sanhedrin b'm'komo
was either 100 per cent Saducee (twice in history) or 100 per cent
Chochmei Torah, except for the period in which Shimon ben Shetach was
strategically replacing the Saducees, one by one, with chochmei Torah.
There is every reason to repudiate the idea that the Tannaim would
participate in Saducee-membered courts if such courts would claim to be
Torah courts. (See R. R. Margolios, Y'sod HaMishnah V'Arichasah, p. 9
note 9, and the chapter of R. Y.I. HaLevy Rabinowitz's Doros HaRishonim.)

>or the tosefta which refers to the 
> Sanhedrin hagg’doloh as a bais din of cohanim, levites, and yisroel(s). none 
> of this is quite explicit and it can be argued that references to acohen 
> representation does not automatically mean saducees, but it is nevertheless 
> suggestive.

It is suggestive of Allon being very chimerical but ignorant of the
Torah's recommendation for the Sanhedrin to include Kohanim and Leviim as
members of the Sanhedrin (Sifray Parshas Shoftim, 10): "'And you shall
come to the Kohanim-HaLeviim [and to the judge that will be in those
days, and you shall search and they will tell you the d'var ha-mishpat]
(Devarim 17:9).'--It is mitzvas Bes Din that there shall be in it Kohanim
and Leviim." Unless Allon maintains that the Sifray requires a Saducee
presence in the Sanhedrin!

> But beyond the Talmud, there are also numerous explicit references to 
> saducees in the Sanhedrin in both josephus and early Christian
> literature.

Cite sources, please, with quotes (with those from Josephus preferably
from Whiston translation). If they are the ones the Doros HaRishonim
quotes Sherer, Konen, et al as citing (e.g., Josephus stating that
Hyrcanus attended Herodus' trial, or Christian sources using the term
"Sanhedrin" loosely--sort of like calling Megillas Ta'anis part of the
Talmud), they are, R. Rabinowitz shows, as feeble as Allon's "suggestive"
"evidence" from the tosefta about Kohanim and Leviim.

Zvi Lampel

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Date: Mon, 8 Nov 2004 16:09:07 -0500 (EST)
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Asking Questions

In v14n21, RDE cited R' Chaim Brisker. I thank him for sending me a copy of
the original Hebrew. According to RDE's translation, RCB writes:
> *Rav Chaim Brisker****(MeAtiki Shemuah): *Some ask how it is possible to
> ask question about the Torah? They answer that in fact one can not ask
> critical questions but can only raise questions rhetorically in order to
> present the answers...

R' Chaim actually writes about "qushyos al haTorah", questioning the
Torah, not asking about the Torah.

Which fits his next sentence:
>                      Therefore questions are only permitted if they have
> answers.

As I understand R' Chaim, he is talking exclusively about qushyos, which
are particularly dangerous since someone who doesn't find a teirutz might
conclude that one does not exist, that ch"v he actually found an upshlug.

Therefore R' Chaim needs to justify this risk-taking by noting that
the qushya itself is Torah, since Torah was given in Q&A form. And
therefore WRT those naaratives which are not to be analyzed, one may not
ask qushyos. (RCS doesn't write in the cited portion which naaratives
those are. Ma'aseh hamerkavah certainly. Probably ma'aseh bereishis
too. What else?)

The topic on hand was curiosity, which is more about questions that
request information, as in "ibai lehu" than qushyos.

>                                                          However if the
> question is not itself Torah than in truth it is prohibited to ask the
> question since the material is written in the Torah and therefore one
> must accept what is written without any questions.

It would seem RCS rules out asking qushyos from science on Torah.

But notice he's still speaking about accepting vs questioning. It's very
much about the danger of qushyos getting in the way of acceptance.


Micha Berger                 Life is complex.
micha@aishdas.org                Decisions are complex.
http://www.aishdas.org               The Torah is complex.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                                - R' Binyamin Hecht

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