Avodah Mailing List

Volume 14 : Number 083

Thursday, February 17 2005

< Previous Next >
Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2005 10:33:21 -0500
From: "David Riceman" <driceman@worldnet.att.net>
tumas mashkin

Does anyone have any idea why Hazal made the gezeirah of tumas mashkin?

Does anyone have any idea of the proper historical sequence of the
following events:
     the gezeirah of tumas mashkin
     the custom of eating hullin al tohoras trumah
     the gezeirah of ahorayim shel kli

Could these be related to Albeck's idea that eating terumah had become
ritualized by the time of the Mishna?

David Riceman 

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2005 06:34:14 -0500
From: "JosephMosseri" <joseph.mosseri@verizon.net>
New Insight on Seudat Purim

I sent a question to Avodah about 2 weeks ago regarding the proper time
for seudat Purim when it is on Friday. Almost every response seemed to
indicate that halakhah dictates that it be done in the morning. I did my
own research and found otherwise. I would like to share this with all of
you and eagerly await your thoughts, insights, comments, and criticisms.


         This year Pourim day falls out on Friday March 25,2005.
        Pourim day has fallen out on Friday 12 times only from 1900--2004.
        Pourim day will fall out on Friday only 12 times from 2005--2103.

This e-mail is concerning Seoudat Pourim BeEreb Shabbat.
What is correct?
What is it based upon?
What do you remember from previous years?
Who instructed you?
What are you planning on doing this year?
What have you taught to your congregants?


Maran Ribi Yosef Karo in his Shoulhan Aroukh siman 695 discusses the
laws of Seoudat Pourim. He himself mentions nothing about Pourim on Ereb
Shabbat, but Mouram Ribi Mosheh Isrelish says in Seif 2 that in such a
case the Seoudah should be in the morning due to the honor of Shabbat. It
seams that his only source for this is Sefer HaMinhagim of Maharil.

Shoulhan Aroukh first printed in 1564 , Rabbi Yosef Karo (1488-1575)
Hagah first printed in 1578, Rabbi Mosheh Isrelish(1525-1572)
Sefer Maharil first printed in 1556, Rabbi Yaaqob HaLevi (1357-1427)

Now comes along a great Hakham whom I will term "our Sefaradi Hagah",
his name is Ribi Yaaqob Castro, better known as Mahariqash. He lived
from 1523-1610 but his book of hagahot, Erekh Lehem was not published
until 1718. In it he writes, that when Pourim fall out on Ereb Shabbat,
you make Seoudat Pourim while it is still day and when night falls you
make Qidoush and continue to eat. Then he also mentions that there are
those who make their Seoudah in the morning and everyone should follow
their minhag.

The prolific writer and genius Ribi Haim Yosef David Azoulai (1724-1806)
who wrote so much on every subject does not seam to have mentioned a
word about this situation. I have checked all his halakhah books and
have come up empty handed, maybe I've missed something, let me know.

Rabbi Hayim Palaggi (1787-1868) who was Chief Rabbi of Turkey wrote in
his Moed Lekol Hai (1861) chapter 31 item 45 that on a Friday Pourim the
most correct time is to have the Seoudah in the morning after Shahrit or
at the very least prior to Hassot (mid-day). He also is of the opinion
that the Seoudah should always be in the morning no matter what day of
the week it is.

Nehar Missrayim (1908) by Hakham Refael Aharon Ben Shimon (1847-1928)
who was chief rabbi of Egypt from 1891-1921 wrote that regarding the time
of Seoudat Pourim. There are those who make it early and those who do it
late, but most god fearing people make the seoudah after hassot closer
to the evening. That is the time that the poor stop making their rounds
for charity and no one makes the seoudah in the morning. He then goes on
to quote HaRambam Hilkhot Megilah Pereq 2 Halakhah 17 who stresses the
importance of spending the earlier and better part of the day engaged in
Matanot LaEbyonim and Mishloah Manot. He then continues that When Pourim
falls on Ereb Shabbat the nice and pleasant minhag is to make the Seoudah
after Minhah when it is almost night (before sunset). In the middle of the
meal (once it becomes shabat) you should spread a clean tablecloth say
qidoush and resume eating, what is now your Seoudat Shabat. For this he
quotes Mahariqash. Then once the meal is complete you say Birkat Hamazon
with Al HaNisim (and Resseh VeHaHalissenou). Then you should pray Arbit of
Shabbat. And this way is the most correct and straightforward path! This
is how we conduct ourselves and such is the custom of many who awe god.

Now I recently found in a book I've had for a number of years a
teshoubah on this exact subject. The book is entitled VaYaan Shemouel
and printed in Jerusalem in 1959. The author is Rabbi Shemouel Marssiano
who was originally from Dobdou, Morocco and in 1959 he was in Lod,
Israel. There is a picture of him in the book in which he looks very
old and "holy". The Haskamot by very prominent Rabbis of the day also
refer to him as the great saintly and old from a great line of rabbis
etc.... In any case on page 18 siman 29 he discusses the situation at
hand and first he quotes the Baer Hateb (by Rabbi Yehoudah Ashkenazi)
siman 695 seif qatan 6 "and I found written in the Mordekhi, that
he would eat seoudat Pourim on Ereb Shabbat , pray arbit, spread a
tablecloth, make qidoush, and say al hanisim in birkat hamazon." He then
continues and says that others wrote that no he did not pray arbit at
that point, for if he did, he would not be able to say al hanisim in
birkat hamazon. Maharil wrote therefore it seems to me that he should
say birkat hamazon first then pray arbit in order that he shouldn't
run into any problems. Now Maran in siman 271 seif 4 writes that it is
forbidden to even taste anything even water before qidoush, if he began
prior to shabat he must stop, spread a tablecloth and say qidoush. There
the Baer Heteb in seif qatan 5 writes that obviously he need not pray
arbit yet since he is spreading the cloth and saying qidoush, because
he has begun with something permissible. Maran also writes in the same
place that if they were drinking wine before hand they must still make
qidoush but not birkat hayayin (bore feri hagefen) and then say birkat
hamossi. And see Baer Heteb seif qatan 7 on that. From all he wrote in
this teshoubah it would seem that he also agrees with Nehar Missrayim
and Mahariqash to make Seoudat Pourim close to Seoudat Shabbat, saying
Qidoush in the middle of the meal , saying birkat hamazon with both al
hanisim and resseh, and praying arbit after birkat hamazon is over.

I've been looking high and low for any posqim who discuss this issue of
Seoudat Pourim when Pourim falls out on Ereb Shabbat. Thank God I just
found two more sources and they both seem to concur with the idea as
originally laid down by Mahariqash (Hakham Yaaqob Castro).

They are :

1) Hakham David Cohen Saqli (1862-1949) he was Ab Bet Din and Chief of
all Rabbis in Oran, Algeria for over 40 years. His She-elot ouTshoubot
entitled Qiryat Hannah David was published in 2 volumes in Jerusalem
in 1935 & 1936. It carries the haskamot of the Rishon Lession Hakham
Yaaqob Meir as well as the leading rabbis of North Africa and that of
the Chief Rabbi of Paris Dov Halevi Englander.

In Volume 2 siman 90 he writes about our case and says "sarikh" you
have to start the Seoudah prior to Shabbat and when Shabbat arrives
pores mapah and make qidoush, etc... continue eating, say birkat hamazon
with al hanisim and resseh then pray arbit. He also mentions that since
both hagefen and hamossi were recited prior to Shabbat while it was
only pourim, since it's all one big meal, to not say birkat hagefen in
qidoush nor to say hamossi afterwards. Just make qidoush and continue
eating, etc,,

2)Hakham Baroukh Abraham Toledano who was born in Meqnes, Morocco and was
Rosh Ab Bet Din there for well over 30 years, he passed away sometime
after 1974 but I'm not as yet sure exactly when. His son Rabbi Pinhas
Toledano who is a Dayan in London has begun publishing his fathers works
and in his responsa Sha-alou LeBaroukh (Jerusalem 1993) he writes in
siman 76 concerning the minhag when Pourim falls on Friday when is the
proper time to eat the Seoudah. He says that the custom of "the rishonim"
was to start the meal prior to Shabbat and once Shabbat arrives to spread
a cloth, say qidoush and continue with the meal. In Birkat Hamazon say
Al HaNisim and Resseh then pray Arbit. And this is what I saw my fathers
do and it seems to me to be the correct way to practice.

So far if we just say majority rules it would seem that the above
mentioned system is in the lead as stated by Erekh Lehem, Nahar Missrayim,
VaYaan Shemouel, Qiryat Hannah David, and Sha-alou LeBaroukh.

Before I continue, please allow me to share a scenario with you. This
is very common if not the norm for most people that I know.

Here we are Friday morning of Pourim. You get up to join a minyan for
Shaharit, sefer torah, megilah, etc.. you finally finish the prayers
and it's later than usual. You have to go running off to work. It's
a Friday of course so for many people (especially retailers whom are
closed on Shabbat) it's a very busy day. As it is it's Ereb Shabbat and
that doesn't leave you much time to dilly dally, either to get to work
late or have a long lunch, or to leave earlier than you would normally
have to on a short Friday.

Some may suggest getting together with friends at a restaurant for a
longer than usual festive lunch, the only problem is that most better
restaurants in Brooklyn or Manhattan are closed on Friday.

If you plan on having the Seoudah in the morning while drinking wine
you may be better off not getting on the road. Or for that matter for
driving all around town with mishloah manot.

If you have time to get together with your family for a late morning
meal or an early afternoon lunch then you're probably off from work and
all of this doesn't make much difference to you.

As a side note, when Pourim does not fall out on Friday, I do not work
on Pourim day and I do my best to convince others not to as well, it's
not a day for working. When it's Friday it's a whole different issue.I
have no choice but to work and so do many others who have deadlines to
complete projects before the weekend.

The only feasible plan would seem to be:
Get a minyan together at someone's home, pray Minhah about 1 hour
before sunset then begin seoudat pourim (recall that on a "normal"
year most of us begin our Pourim Seoudah about 1 hour before sunset),
before sunset light candles, at sunset "pores mapah" and make qidoush,
then continue the meal. At the meals end say Birkat hamazon with al
hanisim and resseh vehahalissenou then pray arbit shel Shabbat.

One small question here is :
When should Qabalat Shabbat (which includes bameh madliqin) be recited...
a)before candle lighting?
b)before qidoush?
c)after birkat hamazon before arbit?

Now, it should be remembered that the whole custom of qabbalat Shabbat
was begun by the AR"I HaQadosh, and only gradually spread out from Safed
to other communities. Thus, it is very possible that MaHaRiQaSh did
not have this problem.

Incidentally, the custom of having a leisurely late-Friday-afternoon meal,
then "prisat mappa" followed by kiddush etc. and only finally Shabbat
prayers -- was the normal custom every week in 15th century Alexandria,
as related by Rabenou Obadiah MeBertenura in his accounts of his travel
to Eress Yisrael!

Finally I have just had the opportunity to do more research on this
subject and lo and behold look what turns up. Rabbi Obadiah Yosef in his
Yehaveh Daat (1st edition, Jerusalem 1980) volume 3, siman 55, page 171
in the footnotes.

He cites Rabbenou HaMe'Iri, on Ketubbot 8a, who writes:
    "It is our custom, and that of our fathers, that when Pourim falls
    on Friday, we begin the Seoudat Pourim in the late afternoon, and
    when the day becomes sanctified [= i.e., Shabbat begins] we spread
    a mappa, and make kiddush, and complete our seoudah, and say birkat
    ha-mazon and mention therein "'al ha-nissim".

So, this custom known to MaHaRiQaSH is actually a custom of the Rishonim.

 From the context, it seems that Rabbi Obadiah Yosef may agree with
this, although he is quoting it in the context of another issue under

Have I missed anything?????????
Your insight is greatly desired.

Joseph Mosseri

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2005 16:27:36 -0500 (EST)
From: "Jonathan Baker" <jjbaker@panix.com>
Azariah de Rossi

From: Mlevinmd@aol.com
> In brief, in 1772 Azaria De Rossi pubished a tri-partite work "Meor


> Einaim". There are uncanny similiarities between then and now. My
> information about this comes from Reuben Bonfil's selected chapters from
> the work (which has not been reprinted since then) with an extensive

There is a translation:

hollis.harvard.edu also lists several reprints: 1969, 1899, 1829, 1794.
and the Jewish Encylpedia mentions one in Vilna 1863-66.

   - jon baker    jjbaker@panix.com     <http://www.panix.com/~jjbaker> -

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2005 23:28:46 +0200
From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
Re: Torah and Science and Jewish vs. Secular chronolgy

[R' Rael Levensohn:]
> It is interesting to note that In Rabbi Jacob Reiner's lecture he mentions
> that in a personal conversation with Rabbi Shimon Schwab, Rabbi Schwab
> mentioned that before publishing his article he showed it to Rabbi Moshe
> Feinstein and Rabbi Aaron Kotler (I cannot recall whether he mentions
> that they actually read the article or the ideas of the article were
> presented to them) and they both gave permission for him to publish
> it. This can be found around the 58th minute of the above shiur.

I find the above assertion beyond incredible. I have been told that as
soon as Rav Moshe Feinstein found out about the article he called Rabbi
Schwab and severely criticized him for his outrageous comments. In fact,
none of the talmidei chachomim I have talked with about this article
have considered the thesis acceptable. It boogles the mind to consider
that these two gedolim - who were known for the tremendous value they
placed on the status of chazal - would assent to Rabbi Schwabs thesis.
Furthermore if he had the approval of these two gedolim it makes no
sense that he would have retracted his thesis.

Daniel Eidensohn

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2005 16:48:38 -0500
From: Gil Student <gil.student@gmail.com>
Re: Was kefira or Age of U. or something along those lines

FWIW, the Netziv also quotes the Me'or Einayim many times.

Gil Student,          Yashar Books

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2005 16:56:11 -0500
From: David E Cohen <ddcohen@verizon.net>
Re: It recently became kefira

R' Rich Wolpoe wrote:
> Beis Shammai's shitos were specifcally rejected by the Gmara,
> while Rabeinu Tam's shita was not been rejected by the Gmara.
> So you have to answer the question: Why is one NOT yotzei
> following the shita of Rabbeinu Tam since after all Rabeinu
> Tam's shita is NOT in conflict with the Gmara!

As you suggest, perhaps one could, theoretically, understand that the
gemara (Menachos 34b, quoting a beraisa) simply requires that that
"kadesh li" and "ve-hayah ki yeviakha" be in the right 2 batim, and
"shema`" and "ve-hayah im shamoa`" be in the left 2 batim, and does not
"take sides" on the details of the order beyond that.

On the other hand, one could also understand that the beraisa was
referring specifically to the arrangement of Rashi or to that of
Rabbeinu Tam, and that one of them interpreted it correctly, and the
other interpreted it incorrectly. This seems much much more likely to me,
given that "ha-kore kore ke-sidran" does not suggest deliberate ambiguity
on the matter. Also, Rabbenu Tam's question on Rashi demonstrates that he
thought Rashi's position was in implicit (though not explicit) conflict
with the Gemara.


Go to top.

Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2005 00:00:10 +0200
From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
Re: Was kefira or Age of U. or something along those lines.

Mlevinmd@aol.com wrote:
>It came to me, as dispute and controversy swirled around in the past
>couple of months, that there may exist in the past something to learn
>and perhaps even a key that can resolve or at least illuminate the
>profound questions that have recently been so extensively discussed in
>this forum. What I mean is the Azariah DeRossi (min hoadumim) controversy.

Rav Moshe Shapiro in his initial letter of strong condemnation draws 
direct parallels to the Meor Einayim.

>In brief, in 1772 Azaria De Rossi pubished a tri-partite work "Meor
>Einaim". There are uncanny similiarities between then and now. My
>information about this comes from Reuben Bonfil's selected chapters from
>the work (which has not been reprinted since then) with an extensive
>and erudite introduction. It was published by Mosad Bailik.

There is an excellent english translation of the Meor Einayim with 
extensive notes by Dr. Weinberg Yale University Press published 2001

There is also an intelligent discussion of the points of conflicts and 
the less than honest assertions of the Meor Einayim by Prof. Lester 
Segal "Historical Consciousness and religious tradition in Azariah de' 
Rossi's Me'or Einayim published by JPS 1989.

>4. In Tsfas, R. Yosef Karo led the opposition and a ban (curiously not
>signed by him) was formulated adn circulated. Additional opposition
>but not as a ban came from Maharal in Prague and a number of other
>Ashkenazi Rabbonim.

These are rather misleading statements. R' Yosef Karo was prepared to
sign the ban and had it by his deathbed - but died before signing. See
the Sdei Chemed under the category of Seforim The Maharal describes
his angry reaction to Meor Ainayim in the 6 section of Baer HaGolah. He
strongly condemns the Meor Ainayim's assumption that the Torah needs to
justify itself to the standard of secular knowledge.

>5. I add that his work led to a whole new approach to study of Aggadah
>by Maharal, Gr"o and ultimately Mikhtav M'Eliahu by the way of having
>to save aggadah from his criticism.

It seems rather strange to praise heresy because it motivated rabbis to
write polemical works. The criticism wasn't new. What was new was that
a talmid chachom should present the criticism which had previously been
leveled against the Torah by non Jews or academics. The Maharal's Baer
Hagolah addressed the criticism of chazal by the many who valued secular
knowledge over Torah. It was not just the Meor Ainayim.

          Daniel Eidensohn

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2005 16:56:54 -0500
From: Gil Student <gil.student@gmail.com>
Re: hamotzi

>This morning I saw the Mishna B'rura in 271:9:41 that says one 
>should have the challos covered during kiddush and then one should 
>have them uncovered during hamotzi.If one is noheg like the Tos'fos 
>and the Gra and brings the challos to the table after kiddush, should 
>they be covered or not?

Yes, to resemble the mon that had tal above and below it, like the
Chayei Adam mentioned in the MB.

Gil Student,          Yashar Books
Subscribe to "Sefer Ha-Hayim - Books for Life" Newsletter:
news, ideas, insights and special offers from Yashar Books
Phone: (718) 951-1254  Fax: (718) 228-5150

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2005 17:06:26 EST
From: T613K@aol.com
Re: hamotzi

In  Avodah V14 #82 dated 2/16/2005 "reuven koss" <kmr5@zahav.net.il>
> This morning I saw the Mishna B'rura in 271:9:41 that says one should
> have the challos covered during kiddush and then one should have them
> uncovered during hamotzi. If one is noheg like the Tos'fos and the
> Gra and brings the challos to the table after kiddush, should they be
> covered or not?

The challos should be covered because the mon was covered with a
layer of dew. Since there was also a layer of dew /under/ the mon,
there should be a plate, board or napkin under the challa, as well.
Some people put the challa directly on the tablecloth. If the table is
not covered, e.g., you're having your Shabbos meal at a picnic table,
you should put something under the challa.

--Toby  Katz

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2005 17:37:40 -0500
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Re: Mezuzah

Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org> wrote:
> On Fri, Feb 11, 2005 at 01:19:55PM -0500, Zev Sero wrote:
>: I've already cited the examples of tzedakah and korban, where it's also
>: clear that a person does not get the schar mitzvah if it didn't work out,
>: even though he did all he was expected to...

> There are two things being jumbled here: oneis be'isurim, and an oneis
> ba'asei.

I don't see where you think they're being jumbled. But oness rachmana
patreih is certainly applicable mitzvot asei, i.e. to the two that
carry an onesh. Most assin, though, including mezuzah, have no onesh,
so the concept is not applicable, which is exactly my point.

> Last time around this bend (v5n67, 68) RCBrown (based on a m"m in the
> Y-mi that he could not recall) that oneis Rachmanah patrei is a pestur
> oneshim.

Exactly. That's exactly what I've been arguing from the beginning, that
it is only applicable to onesh, and therefore has no relevance to mezuzah.

> RGStudent replied that R Elchanan Wasserman in the begining of
> kesuvos and R' Chaim Brisker are choleiq about whether one did a ma'aseh
> aveirah. RCB also cited the aforementioned Ran.
> But that's WRT violating issurim.

How about the assin that bear an onesh? Would anyone say that just because
someone who can't get a bris has no onesh, he is counted as having done
maaseh hamitzvah? I don't think so.

> We have a pretty clear RSZAurbach quoting Shu"T Rav Poalim 4:2,
> that somene gets sechar for wearing tefillin that turn outo to be
> pasul. RYZirkind said the maqor for the teshuvah is the mishnah
> on 66b, from "barukh H' cheilo."

It's a gemara there, BTW, not a mishna, and it's absolutely clear to me
that it does *not* apply to this case. How can one possibly say that a
pasul tefilin or mezuzah is like a ben grusha, and not like a baal mum
or a short mikveh?

> WRT fulfilling an asei, one DOES get sechar when relying on a
> chazaqah kedin.

 From where? What's your makor on that? The gemara in Kiddushin doesn't
help you, in fact it's a raayah listor, *at least* in the case of a psul
that can be discovered by checking.

> Which is why I asked:
> :> 2- How can "keman de'avad lo amrinan" apply, since he actually
> was avad?

And I repeat my answer that he was *not* avad, any more than the person
who tovelled in a short mikveh was avad, or the baal mum she'avad was
"avad", so to speak.

> R' Zev Sero wrote on Feb 11, 2005 at 03:12:45pm -0500:
>> And a mezuzah that lost a letter while being rolled up after checking?

> : The same as a kohen who became a baal mum while getting dressed after
> : his last physical, or a mikveh that became pasul a minute after its
> : last measurement. It's still objectively verifiable, and therefore
> : not like a ben grusha...

> It's not like either the baal mum or the ben gerushah, as neither are
> about getting sechar bedi'eved, but about deciding lechat-chilah whether
> he should do avodah.

No, they are not. They are explicitly about bedi'avad. Do you really
think a ben grusha can do the avodah *lechatchila*? Of course he can't!
Once he knows his status he is a chalal. "Barech Hashem cheilo" only
kashers the korbanot he did before he found out. And it is explicit that
the same principle does *not* apply to a baal mum, or to a short mikveh.
It's not clear that it applies to *any* other case, because it's a gezerat
hakatuv, but there's at least a hava amina that it can be extended to
other cases where the psul is not objectively verifiable, which would
include a mezuzah that was written out of order; but this is not such
a case.

> 1- Efshar levareir would be a non-issue bedi'eved.

Not true.  It's an issue because it's a way to distinguish between ben
grusha and baal mum.

> 2- The lav vs asei distinction made above.

Not sure how this applies to this gemara. The avodah of a pasul kohen
(whether a ben grusha or a baal mum) is a lav, but we're now concerned
about the consequences, i.e. whether the korban he brought should be
considered retroactively pasul. Bringing a korban is an asei.

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2005 16:33:10 -0500
From: Sholom Simon <sholom@aishdas.org>

At 03:43 PM 2/16/2005, [Micha] wrote:
>There is a basic paradox in the
>concept of bein adam lachaveiro lishmah: if the lishmah is "lesheim
>mitzvah" then it actually gets in the way of connecting to shoreshei
>hamitzvah (to borrow the chinukh's term). And if the lishmah is having
>in mind the shoreshei hamitzvah, then one is simply following what
>seems right, with no connection to avodas H'.

Does that necessarily follow? What if you learn that what you thought was
the correct action bein adam lachaveiro was not halachically acceptable.
And so you change your behavior al pi halacha. In that case, one has in
mind, both, the shoreshei hamitzvah and avodas H'.

-- Sholom

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2005 21:25:53 -0500
From: "Cantor Wolberg" <cantorwolberg@cox.net>
Bein Adam and Whom?

On Mon, Feb 14, 2005 at 08:29:41PM -0500, Cantor Wolberg wrote:
: The analogy brings us to the conclusion that just as the coin is a means
: to an end, so it is with the mezuzah. What is the end regarding the
: mezuzah? The end is following HaShem's directives, and it matters not
: if that is with a mezuzah, with tefillin, with tzedaka or anything else.

Micha Berger responded:
> Is that really the ends WRT tzedaqah? Does bein adam lachaveiro derive
> its value from bein adam laMaqom, or is it a value in itself?=20
> I ask because I have an instinctive discomfort with the invocation
> of "tzelem E-lokim" to motivate others to respect people. The true
> development of ahavah lerei'akh is hampered because the person isn't
> seeking the rei'ah in his actions. There is a basic paradox in the
> concept of bein adam lachaveiro lishmah: if the lishmah is "lesheim
> mitzvah" then it actually gets in the way of connecting to shoreshei
> hamitzvah (to borrow the chinukh's term). And if the lishmah is having
> in mind the shoreshei hamitzvah, then one is simply following what
> seems right, with no connection to avodas H'.

Your question is very complex and mind probing. I was always under the
impression that whatever we do, we do because HaShem commanded it. That
is the different between "relative" and "absolute" morality. According
to the Torah we have an absolute morality. When the Torah tells us
that we must help our enemy if we see him struggling with a burden, are
we helping him because we want to be nice or because it is a mitzvah?
Regarding tzedaka, we first give because it is a mitzvah. We hope also to
cultivate the ahavah lerei'akh, but that is an emotion which sometimes
we may not be able to feel. You make an excellent point that there is
a basic paradox in the concept of bein adam lachaveiro lishmah.
However, life is full of paradoxes and the Torah recognizes them. The
greater the person, the less chance of the paradox. It takes a very
religiously mature person to be so integrated that the mitzvah bein adam
lachaveiro is felt as strongly as fulfilling the mitzvah lishmah. One
does not have to be mutually exclusive of the other. How many of us have
reached that madreiga?

Richard Wolberg

Go to top.

Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2005 00:41:05 +0200
From: "reuven koss" <kmr5@zahav.net.il>
Re: Bikurim ("First Fruit") issues

From: "Schoemann, Danny (Danny)** CTR **" <schoemann@lucent.com>
> 2. Shvi'is
> This morning somebody asked me if Bikurim applies during shmitta.

> I have no idea. The mishna doesn't seem to talk about it, nor does
> the RaMBaM.

I could think of a few reasons why not:

1) Reishis bikurei admas'cha -your adama and in shemitta it is not yours.
2) asher tawvee meiartz'cha - same as above.
3) one of the reasons for havaas bikurim is as a hodaah for the seasons
harvest and during shemitta one does not harvests his crops.
I'm sure i saw that one doesn't bring the last time I learnt bikkurim ,
but i can not seem to find it.

Go to top.

Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2005 11:15:23 -0500
From: Mlevinmd@aol.com

In  Avodah V14 #82 dated 2/16/2005 "reuven koss" <kmr5@zahav.net.il>
> This morning I saw the Mishna B'rura in 271:9:41 that says one should
> have the challos covered during kiddush and then one should have them
> uncovered during hamotzi. If one is noheg like the Tos'fos and the
> Gra and brings the challos to the table after kiddush, should they be
> covered or not?

> The challos should be covered because the mon was covered with a
> layer of dew...

My minhag is to uncover htme. I think that theit is based on the other
explanation of why the challos are covered - because it is a busha for
bread when Kiddush is made on wine and not bread. This does not apply
after the kiddush is finished. On the contrary, if not for Rn's Katz's
reason, one should have them uncovered so that you see them during the
brocho, can put 10 fingers dorectly over the bread and have less of a
delay in cutting and eating the challah.

M. Levin

Go to top.

Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2005 03:02:36 +0000
From: "Rael Levinsohn" <rael12345@hotmail.com>
Was kefira or Age of U. or something along those lines.

For those interested, Azariah de' Rossi's work Meor Einaim can
be purchased in English under the title The Light of the Eyes
(Yale Judaica Series) by Azariah Ben Moses Dei Rossi, Joanna
Weinberg. It retails for US $125.00 on Amazon (new copy,
second hand copies are also available from Amazon see --

I agree with my Rebbi, Rabbi Levin that that this particular issue can
serve for us as an enlightening lesson in history. Three contemporary
issues are raised with this book 1) the ban 2) Conflicts between Science
and Torah 3) Minority Sources in our tradition.
I hope to make some comments on the issue of the ban, and hope to write
a much lengthier post on each of the other topics in the future


It seems based on this episode that the Rabbi's of a previous era were
reluctant to issue an all out ban on particular books (perhaps this is an
exception, rather than a standard case study, someone with more historical
erudition should please correct me if I am wrong). Rather they were
more prepared to voice opposition in the written form and allow reading
of the material, except restricting to whom and when it may be read,
analogous to placing a PG rating on a movie l'havdil. I feel that this
is much healthier educational approach. In the contempory western world
which many of us live in, censorship and "hiding the truth" is offensive
in the extreme as well as been ineffective educationally bordering on
the line of miseducation(although I acknowledge that in other circles
with different educational principles that might not be the case).

An open and positive approach to these issues is much more effective than
labelling the topic as taboo, essentially allowing the topic to fester
underneath the surface, causing much greater problems later on. Another
example from history can illustrate this point. I quote from pg 16 of
Michael Friedlander's "The Jewish Religion" (a fine book if ever there
was one). The quote is from one such "heretic" Moses Mendelsohn "If I
were to find my reason in contradiction to the Word of God, I could
command reason to be silent; but the arguments so long as they have
not been refuted, will nevertheless assert themselves in the innermost
recesses of my heart; the arguments will assume the form of disquieting
doubts, which will resolve themselves into childlike prayers, earnest
supplications for the enlightenment. I should utter the words of the
Psalmist: 'The Lord, send me they light, thy truth, they may guide me,
and bring me they holy mount, to thy dwelling place'. Perhaps history
would have been much different if Mendelssohn had someone to share his
doubts with and try and come to a reconciliation of the issue.

Creating bans is like creating walls, and although walls are important,
too many make life claustrophobic and the wall intended to protect the
people inside, ends up imprisoning them. Also walls can be jumped over
and or broken down no matter how high. For further elaboration of this
idea see the following essay by Rabbi Nataf <http://tinyurl.com/6lpsd>
[Reduced from a www.cardozoschool.org page. -- mi]

In fact it could be argued that miseducation and setting up too many walls
was the cause of the first sin of mankind in the garden of Eden. I quote
from "Equality Lost" by Rabbi Yehuda Henkin pg 18. [quotes in square
brackets my own]

"Zilzul [disrespect, belittlement, underestimation] then is operative in
a number of episodes in Bereishit, and in fact its roots stretch back
to the garden of Eden. G-d said to man prior to creating woman ".. but
from the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, G-d said
"Don't eat from it and don't touch it, lest you die" The Rabbis disagree
as to the source of "and don't touch it". According to Bereishit Rabba
(15:3) woman added it herself, while according to Avot deRabbi Natan
(1:5) man added it when he conveyed the warning to his wife. If we accept
the traditional explanation that woman first touched the fruit, noted
that she was still alive and concluded erroneously that he could also
eat from it without being punished, we must adopt Avot deRabbi Natans
version, for if she herself added "and don't touch it" she could hardly
have confused her own words with G-d's.

Whether or not Adam treated Eve with contempt by inflating G-d's
prohibition to include touching -- as if she couldn't be relied upon to
observe the commandment as given -- his attitude to her is clear from
what he did not tell her. Woman said "The tree which is in the midst
of the garden". Why didn't she call it by name, the tree of knowledge
of good and evil? Moreover, the serpent said, "the day you eat from it
your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods, knowers of good and
evil". Since the tree's name was "tree of knowledge of good and evil"
what did the serpent tell woman that she didn't already know? Woman
didn't know the name of the tree. She didn't know, because man didn't
tell her. He treated her like a child, telling her what to do without
sharing with her information he himself received from G-d. The serpent
gained her confidence by revealing that which her husband without from
her, and mixed truth with the fateful untruth "You will not die...."

Man and woman were created equal but from the first he related to her
as inferior, by doing so he caused her to stumble and the result was
that she caused him to stumble, measure for measure. We still suffer the
consequences of this primidorial zilzul, in the form of the respective
curses given man and woman."

I hope these comments have been helpful on the issue of the ban and how
we can learn from history to enlighten us on contempory events. I look
forward to some readers comments

Rael Levinsohn
Sydney, Australia

Go to top.


[ Distributed to the Avodah mailing list, digested version.                   ]
[ To post: mail to avodah@aishdas.org                                         ]
[ For back issues: mail "get avodah-digest vXX.nYYY" to majordomo@aishdas.org ]
[ or, the archive can be found at http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/              ]
[ For general requests: mail the word "help" to majordomo@aishdas.org         ]

< Previous Next >