Avodah Mailing List

Volume 15 : Number 017

Friday, May 20 2005

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Wed, 18 May 2005 10:23:16 -0400
From: MPoppers@kayescholer.com
Subject:
Re: beli reishis beli sachlis


RMB to RTK in Avodah V15#14:
> If we can't picture the real thing, then don't picture anything.

To paraphrase a mishna in Avos, we can't paint the full picture of hQbH
using human concepts, but we also cannot remove ourselves from the attempt
to describe Him (and certainly shouldn't criticize the attempts of our
fellow Jews). FWIW, "b'li raishis" isn't an attempt to picture something
but rather an attempt to picture the _lack_ of something (viz. derech
RaMBaM), and I see "Rishon..Acharon" as another way of saying "You are
Everything," with Everything being a bit more than something ;-).

All the best from
--Michael Poppers via RIM pager


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Date: Wed, 18 May 2005 14:06:14 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Subject:
Re: beli reishis beli sachlis


On Wed, May 18, 2005 at 10:23:16AM -0400, MPoppers@kayescholer.com wrote:
:             . FWIW, "b'li raishis" isn't an attempt to picture something
: but rather an attempt to picture the _lack_ of something (viz. derech
: RaMBaM), and I see "Rishon..Acharon" as another way of saying "You are
: Everything," with Everything being a bit more than something ;-).

I can't understand this post. Are you agteeing with me that the expression
is about a "_lack_ of something", or are you assering it's about "a bit
more than something"?

The advantage of not presenting that lema'alah min hazeman means
everywhen, as opposed to nowhen, is that questions like hakol tzafui
vehareshus nesunah evaporate. Hashem doesn't know today what you will
decide tomorrow, because Hashem isn't within "today". He just knows,
period.

-mi

-- 
Micha Berger             Today is the 24th day, which is
micha@aishdas.org        3 weeks and 3 days in/toward the omer.
http://www.aishdas.org   Tifferes sheb'Netzach: When does domination or
Fax: (270) 514-1507        taking control result in balance and harmony?


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Date: Wed, 18 May 2005 10:39:35 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Subject:
RE: wearing tzitzis out


R David Eisen wrote:
> .... Moreover, virtually all Ashkenazim who do
> not wear tekhelet also do not tie huliyot on their Tzitzit as is the
> Yemenite tradition to this very....

Tangent:
First, let's exclude those Chassidim (L and other) who make chulios
leshitas SA haRav. But aside, from that, nisht azoi klor.

There is a basic dilemma of how to fit the medrash's description of
having 5 knots (+ 8 strings + the gematria of tzitzis in kesiv malei =
613) with the obligation of having between 7 and 13 chulios, which would
seem to translate to having 8 to 14 knots separating them.

The Teimanim have a mesorah that the chulios are themselves a kind of
knot that has three windings on the outside of it. They therefore make
one double knot (which is de'Oraisa), followed by 13 of these chulios. The
Rambam doesn't mention the medrash, no dilemma.

(It would also be within the shitah of the Rambam to have 14 double
knots separated by three windings each.)

Ashkenazim and Sepharadim follow the medrash, 5 knots, separated by
windings. So, where are the chulios?

RDE writes, as per the Rosh, that today we don't require chulios since
there is no techeiles.

Tosafos, the Chinuch and the Gra do not divide chulios by knots, but
by switching color from white to blue (or back); a chuliah is a stripe
of three windings of the same color. This means that:
1- Chulios are impossible without techeiles.
2- With chulios the windings could be separated by five knots, as long
as there are multiples of three windings between the knots.
3- You would would need an odd number of chulios (ie 7, 9, 11 or 13
chulios) in order to begin and end with a white one.

Alternatively, chulios are not three windings necessarily. According to
the Raavad, the Gemara is describing chulios of 7 to 13 windings. This
also eliminates the idea of 7 to 13 chulios. Our tzitzis do have chulios
according to the Raavad. (Thus my lack of clarity on RDE's assumption.)

See <http://www.tekhelet.com/guide.htm>. I didn't entirely agree with
it, so I made a modified version (which I now see doesn't work very well
with Firefox) at <http://www.aishdas.org/articles/tzitzis.htm>.

-mi

-- 
Micha Berger             Today is the 24th day, which is
micha@aishdas.org        3 weeks and 3 days in/toward the omer.
http://www.aishdas.org   Tifferes sheb'Netzach: When does domination or
Fax: (270) 514-1507        taking control result in balance and harmony?


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Date: Wed, 18 May 2005 00:46:59 -0400
From: "Yosef Gavriel & Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <ygb@aishdas.org>
Subject:
Kedusha


A post I submitted to MJ way back when in '94 (MJ 12:92) - writing on my 
386, no doubt!

No conversation ensued.

Perhaps here it might?

YGB

Kedusha

In honor of Lag Ba'Omer I thought I would post a question that I hope
will  lead to a new thread of conversation on MJ: What is Kedusha?

This is certainly a critical question for us, especially at this  time
of year, as at Mt. Sinai we were  charged  to  be  "Mamleches  Kohanim
v'Goy Kadosh", a "Nation of Priests, a Holy Nation", so  this  is  our
destiny - we better know what it is! Kedusha is a recurring  theme  in
the Torah and Chazal, and I wager to say that it is  the  pinnacle  of
Jewish aspiration and achievement.

Preliminary comments: In my line of work I speak a lot, and I like  to
speak on this topic. I find often that even Orthodox Jews take a  very
reductionist viewpoint on Kedusha, i.e., it is a status of  separation
and mission. Many audiences become uncomfortable when I  explain  that
in my understanding our status as  the  Chosen  People  imparts  us  a
uniquely elevated and special status, with more sacred neshamos and  a
vastly different  -  and  superior  -  role  versus  the  Gentiles  in
determining the destiny of the Universe. Indeed, many people  are  not
enthused when I invoke the Ramban and Reb Chaim Volozhiner to  explain
how a mitzvah impacts mystically on both the character and sanctity of
an individual, and, indeed that of the entire world.

I refrain for  now  from  proposing  my  own  expanded  definition  of
Kedusha. If this thread does develop I will be pleased, and  certainly
eager to discuss same. And, if it doesn't, why bore everybody  :-)  ?


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Date: Wed, 18 May 2005 14:11:14 -0700 (PDT)
From: Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
Subject:
Re: Kedusha


"Yosef Gavriel & Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <ygb@aishdas.org> wrote:
> What is Kedusha?

Kedusha.

Here's is my off the cuff understanding of it... limited though it may be.

First it must be stated that Kedusha is a spiritual concept of
purity... of removal of Tumah. Kedusha is in no way a physical concept.

The ultimate Kadosh is God. Kadosh, Kadosh, Kadosh HaShem Tzavakos,
M'lo Kol HaArtez Kevodo...and... Kedoshim Tihiyu Ki Kadosh Ani HaShem
Elokechem. All Kedusha as it applies in Olam Hazeh stems from Him. To the
extent that we emulate Him is to the extent that we sanctify ourselves.

There are certain items that God himself vests with Kedusha, such as
Har Sinai during Matan Torah, or the Kodesh HaKodoshim in the Batei
Mikdash. We, too, can vest living and inanimate objects with Kedusha
through the medium of a Konam or by simply donating an item to the
Beis Hamikdash.

God mandates from us that we emulate Him: Kedoshim Tihiyu. In the
sense that Kedusha applies to mankind one might say that it is achieved
through Mitzvah observance. As we strive to fulfill God's will through his
Mitzvos we spiritually elevate ourselves to higher levels of Kedusha. And
contrarily as we fail to observe His Mitzvos we recede from Kedusha and
fall into an abyss of Tumah.

This is how Rashi on Parshas Kedoshim defines it: Separating oneself from
the Aveirah of Arayos. Where one finds a Gader Ervah, one finds Kedusha.
The Ramban famously disagrees with Rashi and says that Kedsohim Tihoyu
refers to activity beyond Mitzvah observance. Kedoshim Tihiyu is about
not being a Naval B'Reshus HaTorah. It would therefore seem from the words
of the Ramban that Kedusha is to be acheived as something beyond actual
Mitzvah observance. It is as though he is saying Mitzvah observance is
the starting point and becoming Kadosh involves an activity beyond that.

Rav Gedalia Shorr asks, "How can we as human beings aspire to any level
of Kedusha? God, as the ultimate Kedusha implies that we humans are
inherently incapable of ever reaching this "Godly: state? He answers
that we are all created B'Tzelem Elokim and we can therefore strive to
achieve the potential of Kedusha that Tzelem Elokim imlplies....never,
of course reaching the level of God's Kedusha.

To look at it from another perspective, I would say that Kedusha is the
opposite of Tumah. Tahara, which one might think is Tumah's counterpart
is in reality just the required state one must be in in order to achieve
Kedusha.

Just a few thoughts off the top of my head.

HM


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Date: Wed, 18 May 2005 15:52:48 -0400
From: "Cantor Wolberg" <cantorwolberg@cox.net>
Subject:
Reality of the Universe


[Micha]:
> As others (RMS and RSC) already explained: My point is that when the
> Rambam says that our existence is contingent, he isn't making us less
> real.

I never thought of it that way. From a philosophical point of view this
makes perfect sense but from a theological point of view, the fact that
we have free will would by definition have to make us real in the full
sense of the word. And it would seem to me that anyone who believes in
"free will" in the traditional sense could never say that though our
existence is contingent upon something other than our own essence,
makes us less real. If anything, it makes us more real.


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Date: Wed, 18 May 2005 16:35:13 -0700
From: Daniel Israel <israel@email.arizona.edu>
Subject:
Re: Reality of the Universe


Micha Berger wrote:
> As others (RMS and RSC) already explained: My point is that when the
> Rambam says that our existence is contingent, he isn't making us less
> real.

> Contrast this to Rn Gila Atwood's (a member way back) signature line:
>> We are pixels in Gd's imagination.

> I do not believe the Rambam would agree with this sentiment. RZL's
> understanding of the Rambam allows for this kind of idea.

I still think you're chasing a squirrel around a tree. My imagination is
real. It's really my imagination. This all comes down to how one defines
real. The difference between my imagination and God's "imagination"
is that God can create something that has physical substance by an act
of will. That doesn't make that something more real, although it makes it
really something different that that which is created by my imagination.

-- 
Daniel M. Israel
<israel@email.arizona.edu>
Dept. of Aerospace & Mechanical
   Engineering


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Date: Wed, 18 May 2005 20:35:01 +0200
From: saul mashbaum <smash52@netvision.net.il>
Subject:
Re: Brocha on tvila


RSM: 
> It is *possible* that a similar concept may apply to the mechaber, 
> who says a bracha is made only if the mitzva is obligitory 

RCL: 
>> No, because Sephardim do not make a bracha on Hallel when it is only 
>> a minhag (eg Rosh Chodesh) despite the fact that they do make bracha 
>> when it is obligatory (such as Channukah). 

RSM (continuing) 
> (and not when it is voluntary, as it brachot on lulav and succa for 
> women). It may be that if the mitzva requires a bracha when obligitory, 
> as tvilat nashim mitzad hadin, a bracha may be made over it when it 
> is strictly not, if it achieves a significant halachic effect, such 
> as achieving tahara which would allow one to enter har-habayit. OTOH, 
> since a man's tvila l'keri is never strictly required, it does not merit 
> a bracha, even though it achieves the same effect 

I am saying that a *similar* concept to what I suggested about Tosfot
may apply to the mechaber, not the same one.

I said that according to Tosfot, one may make a bracha on a minhag if
the same action is sometimes obligatory (such as Hallel). I am well
aware that the mechaber does not hold this, as RCL points out. But RSZA
may be saying that even according to the mechaber, something which is
sometimes required may merit a bracha even when it isn't, (such a tvila
l'chumrah) *if* it has a significant halachic effect (tahara l'knisa
l'har habayit). (Thus, whether one did or did not say Hallel may have
no nakfa mina; whether or not one was tovel may).

Saul Mashbaum


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Date: Thu, 19 May 2005 11:27:05 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Subject:
Re: re:kofrim who say tehillim


On Thu, May 19, 2005 at 09:04:15AM -0400, David Riceman wrote:
:>LAD, and I'm posting because I'm very open to alternatives, tefillah
:>is about becoming the kind of person for whom HQBH would do the
:>tova.

: This is Rabbi Dessler's opinion, and I also find it appealing. But let's
: consider a typical case (all details are fictional). Someone in Syracuse
: gets sick. His neice lives in my town, and I know her husband by face
: but not by name. At the end of davening one morning he gets up to the
: bima, klops, and starts reciting a tehillah, and everyone else responds
: verse by verse. At the end he says a prayer for the choleh.

Not just Rav Dessler's opinion, but also RSRH's nad RYBS's. RSRH notes
the use of hitpa'el for the verb -- lehitpalel. Davening is something one
does to oneself.

RYBS (as explained to me in Morashah Kollel by R' Cohen) explaines the
dynamic of a "Mi Shebeirach" in terms of perfect Divine Justice.

When someone is sent to jail, the state punishes him. But they also
deprive his children both financially and emotionally, his wife, his
parents, his friends (who not only have one less friend to hang out with,
they might feel their whole clique will now be tarred by that brush),
the people who were stuck on jury duty who could have been doing something
else. The wife of the co worker, who now didn't come home on time because
someone was out doing jury duty. And if in her haste with the extra load
she's impatient during a pone call with her mother... And so on... A judge
can't take all that ancillary damage into account.

Perfect justice means that HQBH would not work things out for that juror's
co-worker's mother-in-law to get snapped at if she didn't deserve it.

By transforming a person's pain into the kehillah's pain, you make it
that mouch more likely that there is someone who doesn't deserve that
share of the communal suffering. Not to mention the cheshbon of the
kehillah itself as a corporate entity.

To get back to the original question: What about the typical kehillah,
where no one is thinking in such lofty terms and the Mi Shebeirach is
in fact treated as a formulaic way to aid another's help. Is that
minyan engaging in tefillah, or lachash?

-mi

-- 
Micha Berger             Today is the 25th day, which is
micha@aishdas.org        3 weeks and 4 days in/toward the omer.
http://www.aishdas.org   Netzach sheb'Netzach: When is domination or
Fax: (270) 514-1507                          taking control too extreme?


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Date: Thu, 19 May 2005 09:04:15 -0400
From: "David Riceman" <driceman@worldnet.att.net>
Subject:
Re: re:kofrim who say tehillim


From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
> LAD, and I'm posting because I'm very open to alternatives, tefillah
> is about becoming the kind of person for whom HQBH would do the
> tova.

This is Rabbi Dessler's opinion, and I also find it appealing. But let's
consider a typical case (all details are fictional). Someone in Syracuse
gets sick. His neice lives in my town, and I know her husband by face
but not by name. At the end of davening one morning he gets up to the
bima, klops, and starts reciting a tehillah, and everyone else responds
verse by verse. At the end he says a prayer for the choleh.

1. What has the recitation of tehillim to do with the prayer?

2.  If I were truly pious I would really care about this particular choleh, 
but I've never met him, and I know nothing about what's wrong except that 
his niece's husband has klopped on the bimah.  Even if saying those tehillim 
has changed me immensely it's hard to believe that the main purpose of his 
getting sick is to effect a change in me rather than in him.  So (1) why 
should God make him sick just to get me to change (better make me sick), and 
(2) if God made him sick for other reasons why should my change be 
sufficient to make him better?

3. The argument of #2 assumes the Ramban's theory that disease is
primarily induced by sin. My impression is that the bulk of people who
get this (tehillim) treatment are very elderly, often beyond average
life span. Does this mean that older people are worse than younger
people? I find the Ramban's theory empirically very hard to justify.

> Or a
> better explanation of how they [kemaios] fit on the muttar side of the 
> line?

Don't forget that the Rambam permits lahash except when it uses psukim.
He permits kemaios as well (the discussion is in H. Shabbos concerning
wearing them outside on Shabbos). Why should kemaios be different from
any other lahash?

David Riceman


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Date: Fri, 20 May 2005 00:19:59 +1000
From: "SBA" <sba@sba2.com>
Subject:
sfira lecha dodi tune


From: "Joseph I. Lauer" <>
> Lecha Dodi for Sefira and specifically responds to Saul Z. Newman's
> question, "has anyone seen this minhag of sad melody for sefira?"

AFAIK [and IIRC] Hungarian Oberlender kehilos including Pressburg
had special nigunim for LD for sefireh and 3 weeks.
Also, IIRC, this was - at least in the very recent past - observed by the 
Vienner and Debreciner kehilos.

SBA


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Date: Thu, 19 May 2005 07:16:46 +0300
From: Akiva Atwood <akiva.atwood@gmail.com>
Subject:
Close-circuit TV on shabbos/Yomtov


http://chareidi.shemayisrael.com/BHR65akosel.htm

It seems the only issur involved is one of writing?

Am I missing something basic here?

Akiva


-- 

there are no dilemmas without confusion, there's no free will without
dilemmas, and there's no humanity without free will.


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Date: Thu, 19 May 2005 08:47:51 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Subject:
Sefira question


RSBA forwarded the following to Areivim (Why Areivim? It should have
gone here or [better, if you're subscribed] Mesorah):
> Somebody asked me why until Asoro be'Omer we say yomim (shnei yomim,
> asoro yomim) but after that we say only yom - achad osor yom, esrim yom,
> shloshim yom.

It's the norm in Tanakh as well. Bereishis 5:3 is the first of many
examples, "Vayechi Adam sheleshom ume'as SHANAH, vayoled..." In 5:5,
"tesha MEI'OS SHANAH" -- nine gets "hundreds", but 900 yets "year"! 5:7,
"sheva SHANIM utesha mei'os SHANAH". And the singular is not just for
numbers in the hundreds -- in 5:8, "Vayehi kol yemei Sheis, shteim esrei
SHANAH, us-sha mei'os SHANAH..."

"... hamoleikh meiHodu ve'ad Kush, sheva ve'esrim umei'ah MEDINAH..."

etc, etc, etc...

So the full question is why the plural form is used only for numbers
from 2 to 10, and for things that are measured, not counted.

By measured, I mean things like "mayim", which not only looks plural,
it takes plural adjectives and verb, such as "vayyashoku hamayim"
(Ber' 8:1). Distance is measured, but the amos it's measured in are
counted. Which is why in English we say "How many feet?", not "How much
feet?" I couldn't see an example to know if "orech" gets a "hayah" or
"hayu". But one or 20 amos are called "amah" in the Torah.

I do not have an answer why the same form is used for singular or for more
than 10. I just wanted to adjust the question to the more general one.

Along these lines, Ashkenazim tend to daven in biblical Hebrew, often
due to hypercorrection by overzealous siddur printers. Could someone
with ready access to a Sepharadi siddur check if it's "...yom ba'omer
sheheim..." or "...yamim..."? Also, Q for RJC: What's done in Teiman?

-mi

-- 
Micha Berger             Today is the 25th day, which is
micha@aishdas.org        3 weeks and 4 days in/toward the omer.
http://www.aishdas.org   Netzach sheb'Netzach: When is domination or
Fax: (270) 514-1507                          taking control too extreme?


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Date: Thu, 19 May 2005 12:05:15 -0400
From: "David Riceman" <driceman@worldnet.att.net>
Subject:
Re: re:kofrim who say tehillim


From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
> Perfect justice means that HQBH would not work things out for that juror's
> co-worker's mother-in-law to get snapped at if she didn't deserve it.

> By transforming a person's pain into the kehillah's pain, you make it
> that mouch more likely that there is someone who doesn't deserve that
> share of the communal suffering. Not to mention the cheshbon of the
> kehillah itself as a corporate entity.

But perfect justice also means no less suffering for the sick person
than he deserves. How does helping the co-worker's mother-in-law mean
that it's perfect justice to mitigate the disease?

David Riceman 


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Date: Thu, 19 May 2005 17:42:33 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Subject:
Re: re:kofrim who say tehillim


On Thu, May 19, 2005 at 12:05:15PM -0400, David Riceman wrote:
: But perfect justice also means no less suffering for the sick person
: than he deserves. How does helping the co-worker's mother-in-law mean
: that it's perfect justice to mitigate the disease?

1- Meting out less punishment than what is just involves understand how
HQBH fuses Chassed and Din.

2- This might be part of #1, but in case not... What if the person would
instead get the punishment later? But, now that we stalled his end-date,
or at least the potential time of punishment, we bought him an opportunity
for teshuvah.

-mi

-- 
Micha Berger             Today is the 25th day, which is
micha@aishdas.org        3 weeks and 4 days in/toward the omer.
http://www.aishdas.org   Netzach sheb'Netzach: When is domination or
Fax: (270) 514-1507                          taking control too extreme?


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Date: Thu, 19 May 2005 19:11:36 +0300
From: Simon Montagu <simon.montagu@gmail.com>
Subject:
Re: Sefira question


On 5/19/05, Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org> wrote:
> Could someone
> with ready access to a Sepharadi siddur check if it's "...yom ba'omer
> sheheim..." or "...yamim..."? 

In a couple of siddurim I looked in it's "yamim" up to 10 and "yom"
from then on, just as described.


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Date: Thu, 19 May 2005 19:51:51 +0300
From: Simon Montagu <simon.montagu@gmail.com>
Subject:
Re: Sefira question


On 5/19/05, Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org> wrote:
>> Somebody asked me why until Asoro be'Omer we say yomim (shnei yomim,
>> asoro yomim) but after that we say only yom - achad osor yom, esrim yom,
>> shloshim yom.

> It's the norm in Tanakh as well. 
<snip>
> Along these lines, Ashkenazim tend to daven in biblical Hebrew

I'm not sure this is restricted to biblical Hebrew anyway. "Sho'alin
vedoreshin behilchot haPesahh kodem laPesahh sheloshim yom". Does
anybody have a counter-example?


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Date: Thu, 19 May 2005 14:38:09 -0500
From: Elly Bachrach <ebachrach@engineeringintent.com>
Subject:
Re: Sefira question


Micha Berger wrote:
> Along these lines, Ashkenazim tend to daven in biblical Hebrew, often
> due to hypercorrection by overzealous siddur printers. Could someone
> with ready access to a Sepharadi siddur check if it's "...yom ba'omer
> sheheim..." or "...yamim..."? Also, Q for RJC: What's done in Teiman?

Regarding Ashkenazim and yom/yamim: it is the Mishnah Berurah who lists
this as one of several aspects of the way to say the words of the sefira
that are for "tzachus halashon", but I don't think he gives a source.

el

--
Elly Bachrach
Engineering Intent http://www.EngineeringIntent.com
mailto:EBachrach@EngineeringIntent.com


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Date: Thu, 19 May 2005 17:33:37 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Subject:
Re: Sefira question


On Thu, May 19, 2005 at 07:51:51PM +0300, Simon Montagu wrote:
: I'm not sure this is restricted to biblical Hebrew anyway. "Sho'alin
: vedoreshin behilchot haPesahh kodem laPesahh sheloshim yom". Does
: anybody have a counter-example?

I bet you could think of at least two without opening a book:
    Shiv'im leshonos
    Avos melakhah arba'im chaseir achas.

"Yom" might be a special case in Mishnaic Hebrew, or the form could have
been in transition, with both in use. Either would explain Sepharadi
nusach for omer.

-mi

-- 
Micha Berger             Today is the 25th day, which is
micha@aishdas.org        3 weeks and 4 days in/toward the omer.
http://www.aishdas.org   Netzach sheb'Netzach: When is domination or
Fax: (270) 514-1507                          taking control too extreme?


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Date: Thu, 19 May 2005 11:10:48 -0500
From: "Gershon Seif" <gershonseif@yahoo.com>
Subject:
alarm clocks on shabbos


This past shabbos I was told by someone that a well known Maggid shiur
in our city quoted some teshuva that said that it is proper for bnei
Torah to not use alarm clocks on shabbos. Does anyone know of the mekor
for this? Does anyone know anything about this? My guess is it has to
do with having one's keilim being mashmia kol, where even though we
pasken like Bais Hillel that one's kailim can do melacha, it shouldn't
be in a loud and/or public way. Just a guess.. But why have I never
heard of such a thing? Is this a daas yochid? If it's a real issue,
any suggestions for how I should make it in time for krias shma? ;-)


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Date: Thu, 19 May 2005 14:28:20 -0400
From: Russell Levy <russlevy@gmail.com>
Subject:
What should a kohen do?


This morning, I davened at a shul at which I rarely daven on weekdays.
They had 3 chiyyuvim -- to bar mitzvos, and a yarzheit (my zaidee's).
The gabbai knows me, but I don't think he saw me. When torah reading
started, I didn't know that there were any bar mitzvos there, and the
gabbai called out, "ein kan kohen, ya'amod", and i shouted, 'wait! i'm
a kohen!'

 From what I understand, a kohen can't be mochel on his kavod for an
aliyah (to say, a talmid chacham who deserves more kavod to begin with)
since people will think he isn't a proper kohen (the same reason you
can't call up two kohanim in a row for the first two aliyot, but you
call the same one twice if there are no levi'im).

When I said it, they just kept going, so I said it again, but either noone
heard or I was ignored. What should I have done? Was it right to call out
(when you think they really would give me the aliyah)? Should I have done
more? Had I been asked to leave, I would have, but noone said anything!

-Russell


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Date: Thu, 19 May 2005 18:17:30 -0400
From: Russell Levy <russlevy@gmail.com>
Subject:
Re: Sefira question


> Along these lines, Ashkenazim tend to daven in biblical Hebrew, often
> due to hypercorrection by overzealous siddur printers. Could someone
> with ready access to a Sepharadi siddur check if it's "...yom ba'omer
> sheheim..." or "...yamim..."? Also, Q for RJC: What's done in Teiman?

The sephardi sefirah sheets that the shuls (Moroccan) give out in
Toronto are just like the ashkenazim (with ba'omer instead of la'omer
of course).

 -Russell


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Date: Fri, 20 May 2005 00:17:20 +0000
From: "Seth Mandel" <sethm37@hotmail.com>
Subject:
RE: [Mesorah] ענ: Sefira question


> Somebody asked me why until Asoro be'Omer we say yomim (shnei yomim,
> asoro yomim) but after that we say only yom - achad osor yom, esrim yom,
> shloshim yom.

This is a feature of all old Semitic languages, in which the numbers
below 10 take a plural, whereas above 10 they take a genitive or
accusative singular. Classical Arabic uses it as well, as do some
non-Semitic languages. In later development the system is simplified
to use the plural always with numbers, and so in later Biblical Hebrew
and in Mishnaic Hebrew you only find the plural. We do not know how
Hazal counted s'firah; the evidence we have points to counting in
Aramaic (Teimanim still do), and in Aramaic the plural is always used.
However, whenever the printers decided to use Hebrew, they deliberately
imitated old Biblical Hebrew. I do not know when this started; most old
siddurim do not have a nusach for s'firah, just assuming people know how
to count in Aramaic or Hebrew (or perhaps in some periods they counted
in the spoken language, since there is no reason 'al pi halokho to count
specifically in Hebrew).


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Date: Fri, 20 May 2005 00:40:00 -0400
From: "S & R Coffer" <rivkyc@sympatico.ca>
Subject:
Re: authority of poskim in the realm of hashkafa


On Wed, 18 May 2005 Micha Berger wrote:
> On Mon, May 16, 2005 at 01:51:34PM -0400, S & R Coffer wrote:
>: This may be true but if Chazal used science to come to certain conclusions
>: in Halachah, then what you are saying is that Chazal would then be fallible
>: in Torah matters too, right?

> Wrong.

> This has been discussed at least a dozen times on Avodah in the past.
> RGS has an essay on the subject title "Scientific Changes and Halakhah"
> at <http://www.aishdas.org/toratemet/science.html>.

RGS's article is well written. Thank you for the link. 

I would like to clarify something. On May 10, R' Gershon Seif asked the
following question:
> What is the name of the issur of saying chazal were fallible? I've heard
> the words makchish magideha. Where does that term come from? Anyone know
> if it's been used in the past in a similar way?

After some back and forth, RMB stated the following:
> But our discussion is about a third category of maamarim: neither
> halakhah nor aggadita. I believe he's asking about their fallibility on
> scientific matters.

The problem with this is as follows.

1) I'm not convinced that R' Gershon is referring necessarily to
science. As far as I'm concerned, he is asking a simple, straight forward
question. Why should it be assur to say that Chazal erred? Period. In
any field. This interpretation of his meaning is supported by the fact
that he quotes the term "machish mageedeha" which applies to all words of
Chazal, not just science. Frankly, the question is a very good one and
cannot merely be swept aside; however, I contend that whatever answers
resolve the acceptance of their infallibility in Torah will automatically
put the scientific issues in context as I will attempt to illustrate in
number 2 biezras Hashem.

2) Infallibility implies the impossibility of error. Despite the most
unassailable reasons one might forward for Chazal's infallibility,
it is obvious that certain items in the Gemara simply don't "shtim"
with modern day science. There are several ways to approach this seeming
contradiction to the infallibly of Chazal.

A) One is to say nishtanu hativ'im which means that at the time of Chazal,
the various material conditions which existed perfectly coincided with
Chazal's conclusions in science although in later generations those
conditions became altered.
B) Another is to say that Chazal never meant to condone the scientific
conclusions represented in the Gemara; rather, they were used to
illustrate their Torah conclusions just as a mashal is used to illustrate
a nimshal
C) Another (specifically relating to refuos and segulos) is to say that
Chazal knew that these segulos didn't work yet itemized them in the
Gemara anyway to teach us that just as it is mutar to be lochesh on a
makah to calm a sick person down, so too it is mutar to avail oneself
of these sugulos without the chashash of transgressing the issur of
darchei emoree.
D) Another approach is to say that we simply don't understand Chazal
(very feeble approach...my least favourite) and
E) Yet anther approach is to say that Chazal had a mesora regarding
the proper halachah, e.g. killing keenim on Shabbos is not considered
netilas nishama, and relied on the current day science to explain the
halachah but if the science was found to be faulty, the halachah would
still persist because the halachah was not predicated on the science
(my most favourite approach).

Although each one of these approaches requires further elucidation, the
common denominator amongst them is that Chazal didn't err in their Torah
conclusions. However, if you say that Chazal predicated certain halachos
solely on their understanding of science, and their understanding of
science was erroneous, than by definition their halachos were erroneous
too. To me, this approach is the most problematic yet RMB clearly
entertains this idea because he writes,

"That is why it's so relevant that the Rambam, who (as far as we can tell)
coined the term makchish magideha, did question not only their science
but even halachic conclusions based on that science to pasqen lequla!"

So, when I wrote above "This may be true but if Chazal used science to
come to certain conclusions in Halachah, then what you are saying is
that Chazal would then be fallible in Torah matters too, right?" and
RMB responded "Wrong", I have yet to see precisely where I have erred.

RMB continues 
> On Mon, May 16, 2005 at 04:18:48PM -0400, he [Simcha C] wrote:
>: No. Anything the Rambam took from Greek science and the like is not
>: obligatory on us whereas anything he took from Torah is. (unless another
>: Rishon argues etc.)

> Why are you comfortable saying this about the Rambam, but not Chazal?

Because the Rambam openly states, on many occasions, that he accepts Greek
philosophical doctrines regarding this or that matter. Chazal do not do
this and thus I turn to one of my above five reasons (A-E) to reconcile
discrepancies between Chazal and science whereas with the Rambam, he makes
it very easy on us by telling us straight out that he is relying on the
Greeks and basing this or that matter on their approach etc. In fact,
the Rambam in Hilchos Kidush haChodesh (17,24) enjoins us to reject old
conclusions based on faulty science and accept conclusions based on solid,
empirical evidence. I am only following his injunction, nothing more.

RMB concludes
> R S' Coffer wrote in a third email:
>> Aha! Then you *do* have sources for pesak in your hashkafah. Good. That
>> means we agree. Essentially there is no difference between Halacha and
>> Hashkafa. Both of them require a source.

> Having a source does not mean having a concept of pesaq. Requiring
> a source doesn't mean azlinan basar ruba, or that I can't revive the
> position of a tanna that no amorah or rishon took.

I have responded to R' Harry several times about this issue. All I can
do is repeat. I am not discussing elective hashkafa. I am discussing
mandatory hashkafa. If, for instance, one believes that Hashem has a body,
his shechitah is treif (according to the Rambam).

Best Wishes
Simcha Coffer


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