Avodah Mailing List

Volume 15 : Number 034

Sunday, June 19 2005

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2005 14:21:52 -0400
From: MPoppers@kayescholer.com
Subject:
Re: The Appropriate Use of Chitzonius


In Avodah V15 #32, Micha noted:
> There's a difference between wearing clothing in order to cause a
> change in self image and motivate living up to it, and doing it in order
> to look like one who already lives up to it when one in actuality doesn't.

Yet another example in Yiddishkeit where one's motivation and intent
makes all the difference, and NB (as is always the case) that others
most likely cannot accurately discern what one's motivation/intent is.

> The second problem is that an aspiring baal teshuvah is told by the
> gemara (when wearing all black was rare) Qiddushin 40a to dress in
> black.

Sounds like a prescription (i.e. a very-temporary change) meant to both
[RaShY ad loc] prevent him from committing the specific sin he fears
succumbing to [also in Tosfos ad loc] and to disguise his identity should
he neverthless succumb (and the prescription includes shinui maqom, too).
Not at all a case of more-permanently wearing certain clothing, the way
that misab'lim al Yrushalayim did, so why consider this sugya in conflict
with Sotah 22b and with criticism of those who act b'yuhara (or those,
as per RaShY in Sotah ad loc, about whom "ain tochan k'varam" applies)?

All the best from
 -Michael Poppers via RIM pager


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Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2005 15:45:14 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Subject:
R' Gifter on an old universe


In <http://www.zootorah.com/controversy/RavGifter.pdf>, RMG wonders
why the question even came to him, as it's well-known that Telzhers
believe that science and Torah could never contradict, and have no
problem considering the variety of possibilities about the age of the
universe. He writes that both those who insist on Ber' 1 being literal
and everything else is apiqursus as well as those who think science's
current theories are final are speaking from ignorance.

RMG writes that someone with even a little knowledge of Torah would know
that there's no room in these inyanim for a literal point of view.

:-)BBii!
-mi

-- 
Micha Berger                 Time flies...
micha@aishdas.org                    ... but you're the pilot.
http://www.aishdas.org                       - R' Zelig Pliskin
Fax: (270) 514-1507


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Date: Thu, 16 Jun 2005 16:45:04 -0400
From: Mike W <micah2@seas.upenn.edu>
Subject:
lo sasur


[On Areivim, a discussion veered into what is lo asur. Does it apply
without a Sanhedrin? If so, is it limited to following one's poseiq?
The next two posts are bounced here in an attempt to move the conversation
over. -mi]

R' Sero wrote [to Areivim]:
> There's a gemara that says "lo tasur" applies to anything told to you by a
> "gadol"? That's news to me. AFAIK "lo tasur" applies only to halachot
> paskened by the Sanhedrin - "min hamakom hahu".

The Sefer Hachinuch is explicit that Lo Sasur applies even nowadays
(without a sanhedrin). So perhaps yes, one could claim that it applies
to the gadol hador telling you something(The Rambam seems to argue,
in hilchos melachim, , the Chinuch is definitely explicit, though) . I
do agree to your point of the the halacha not applying to situations
without halachic ramifications, though. Excellent ha'aroh!
                                      MikeW 


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Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2005 13:41:48 GMT
From: "Gershon Dubin" <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
Subject:
lo sasur


From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org> [on Areivim]
> The concept of "gadol hador" is non-halachic.

Not so; there's a Tosefos about Shmuel Hanavi being moreh halacha lifnei
rabbo that says that although Shmuel hadn't (yet) learned anything from
Eli, Eli's status as gadol hador made him ipso facto Shmuel's rebbi.

There are mefarshim that are medayek in Tosefos that this only applies
when the person is coming to learn with the gadol, not just by dint of
gadol status, but here we fade to Avodah....

Gershon
gershon.dubin@juno.com


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Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2005 08:58:03 -0700 (PDT)
From: "M. Levin" <mlevinmd@aol.com>
Subject:
[Der Alter] False Refuge


He paid its value and went down into it to come with them to Tarshish
from before the L-rd (Yonah 1:3).

"Since it is self-evident that Jonah is traveling with the ship's crew,
the superfluous "with them" must be meant to express the existential
isolation of one who carries the word of the L-rd and to find acceptance
as just one more member of society (JPS Bible Commentary, Jonah)."

By repeating that Yonah was running away with "them", the verse
indicates to us that the seamen on the way to Trashish were a part of
his escape. The dynamics of the situation were surely complex. Yonah
found his escape for Hashem in the company of the sailors but it is also
apparent that they willingly, though perhaps not fully consciously,
aided him in this goal. He came to them with love in his heart and
they reciprocated. Yonah entered the ship eyeing benevolently this
new society of his, this new family in which he were to spent the next
several years of his life. This determination to become one of them,
the love and affection with which his heart must have overflowed at
that moment undoubtedly explains the otherwise surprising loyalty, even
devotion that these seamen would soon show to him at a time of danger to
their very lives. " As reflection of face to face in water so is heart
of man to man (Proverbs 27,19)."

The heartfelt commitment of a man of Yonah's sincerity and stature must
have been not only readily apparent but powerful as well. As we will
see over the course of next several weeks, it began for the sailors a
process of inner growth that is perceptible as the story unfolds. To
gain a sense of what being "with them" means, let us consider a well-
known Rabbinic comment on the same expression in the story of Joseph
and the wife of Potiphar.

And it was as she spoke to him day after day, he would not listen to
her to lie next to her to be with her (Genesis 39:10). "To be with her -
in the world to come (Sotah 3a)". To be with her means to share her fate
for eternity. To be with a woman means to "cling to her" (Genesis 3:24)
to the exclusion of anyone else. It signifies a covenant and a commitment
which is forever. Yonah, in his heart, made such a commitment and when
push came to shove the sailors reciprocated.

In a wider sense, this illustrates that the no one escapes G-d into
nothingness. Wherever we may run, our first stop on the escape route is
almost always relationships. Just look around- in our society romantic
love has almost totally displaced the quest for G-d. So much effort and
energy is expended in this often fruitless and almost always meaningless
search - all to fill in the aching in the heart for the one true object
of our love Who we have betrayed for reasons, sometimes honorable and at
other times despicable or childish. And if it is not love of a woman,
it is a political affiliation, a professional society, perhaps even
a charitable association. We follow causes in which we do not fully
believe and profess loyalties that we do not fully share, all in order
to be with other humans and to belong and exchange commitment with other
similarly affected sufferers. What a sorry travesty, what a powerful and
deplorable self-delusion! The unbearable loneliness demands a cure, and
other humans are a ready substitute. This exchange of what is eternal
and all-powerful for short lived alliances built on the shifting sands
of mutual need is what the prophets address in the the following immortal
lines ( Isaiah 2:22): " Cease ye from man whose breath is in his nostrils
for in what way is he of value?". "Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this
and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, says the L-rd. For two
evils has my people committed; they have forsaken Me, the fountain of
living water to hew for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that will
not hold water (Jeremaia 2:12-13).

Hashem did not permit Yonah to find refuge in the company of men. He
sent a storm that will tear him away from that false refuge to face
existential loneliness alone. The sailors, having been exposed to a
spiritual reality they never imagined existed, will continue, changed,
on their way while Yonah will undergo a rebirth in the belly of the fish
and emerge having re- engaged his Maker in the heart of the seas.

Text Copyright A 2004 by Rabbi Dr. Meir Levin and [1]Torah.org.
--
Posted by M. Levin to [2]Der Alter at 6/17/2005 11:55:00 AM

References

1. http://torah.org/
2. http://deralter.blogspot.com/2005/06/false-refuge.html


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Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2005 16:49:17 -0400
From: David E Cohen <ddcohen@verizon.net>
Subject:
Learning Halakhah from Agadah


In response to R' Nosson Sternbach's query of where we see that halakhah
is learned from agadah, R. Shalom Kohn wrote:
> The view of Rabbeinu Tam that there are two sunsets (the origin of
> the 72 minute view) derives from an aggadah in Pesachim as to the
> size of the world, and its apparent inconsistency with the gemara
> in shabbat 34b. See Tosafot Shabbat 35a.

One needn't even go as far as Rabeinu Tam. On the previous amud,
Pesachim 93b, the gemara first brings up this aggadic statement (of
Rabbah bar Bar Chanah in the name of R' Yochanan) in reference to the
halakhic question of how to understand the "derekh rechokah" (in this
week's parashah) that will defer a person to Pesach Sheni.

Sometimes I doubt that Chazal really had this strong notion of two
separate categories of halakhah and agadah. Can anybody think of a
place where the gemara has the hava amina to bring a certain statement
of a tana or amora into a halakhic discussion, but then rejects its
applicability by saying "it's only agadah"?

 -D.C.


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Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2005 17:00:58 -0400
From: Gil Student <gil.student@gmail.com>
Subject:
Re: Kuntros HaSemicha - copy?


>A friend of mine needs help finding a copy of "Kuntros HaSemicha"-
>apparently an anthology of the correspondence surrounding The Mahari
>Beirav's semicha.

Isn't it printed in the back of the Shu"t Maharalbach? Beware: It's
r-e-a-l-l-y long.

Gil Student
www.Yasharbooks.com


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Date: Sun, 19 Jun 2005 00:43:54 +0200
From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
Subject:
Re: lo sasur


Mike W wrote:
> The Sefer Hachinuch is explicit that Lo Sasur applies even nowadays
> (without a sanhedrin). So perhaps yes, one could claim that it applies
> to the gadol hador telling you something(The Rambam seems to argue,
> in hilchos melachim, , the Chinuch is definitely explicit, though)...

There is a very intelligent summary of the different position in HaTakanos
b'Yisroel Prof Yisroel Stefansky published by Mosad Rav Kook.

He states that there are 4 major positions regarding lo sassur as a
doreissa prohibition

1) Limited to Beis Din HaGadol when they were in their proper chambers in
the Temple - Rambam according to Margenisa Tova, Yereim, Ramban for things
learned from the 13 midos,explanations of the Torah and Halacha L'Moshe.

2) Limited to Beis Din HaGadol but applies even when not in proper
chambers - Rambam according to Lev Someach, Maharetz Chajes, Ran, Rashba,
Rabbeinu Yonah, Ralbach. This is also relevant to the dispute between
Rambam and Ramban in Sefer HaMitzvos #153. Ramban asserts Sanhedrin ended
with cessation of capital punishment and destruction of Temple. Rambam
asserts that every beis din hagadol has the status of Sanhedrin. Thus
Rambam holds that Sanhedrin existed until Abaye and Rava - the fourth
generation of Amoraim.

3) Applied to the end of the Talmud in the days of Ravina and Rav Ashi -
Rambam's view according to Ramban and Chinuch, Rashbatz, Mabit, Lechem
Mishna etc.

 4) Applies in all generations even today concerning to the chochmim of
the generation - Chinuch as understood by Minchas Chinuch. Rav Perlow
hold that the Chinuch is a daas yachid

Lo sassur as rabbinic or asmachta

    1) Ramban concerning halacha stated in the gemora. - Ramban in Sefer
HaMitzvos. Ramban hold that rabbinic laws which are not founded on Torah
laws - are not obligated by lo sassur even on the level of asmachta -
even if these takanos were from the Sanhedrin.
    2) Ran holds that as asmachta applies in all generations and even to
takanos made by contemporary poskim.

He also notes that there a number of sources in the gemora which state
that there is Torah obligation to listen to divrei chachomim and rishonim
(Rosh Horius 2 2/Rashba Rosh HaShanna 16a) assert this is because of
lo sassur.

         Daniel Eidensohn


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Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2005 13:51:06 -0700
From: "R. Avi Mansura" <avim@yhol.org.il>
Subject:
re: where were all the firstborn


The Ramban in Bemidbar 3:45 dibbur hamatchil "tachat kol bechor" brings
up the question, suggests that these numbers are only the firstborn
born since leaving Egypt (past 13 months) - and immediately says this
is impossible because that would imply an amazing birthrate in a very
short time.

In 1993 a PHD from the math department in Bar Ilan, by the name of
Eliyahu Beller wrote a mass about this problem (published in "Higayon
vol. 2 1993) and using all kinds of mathamatical models brings support
that this suggestion of the Ramban is not only possible but is a lot
more probable than the other possibility - that were all the living
firstborn in B"Y at the time.

Some of his assumptions in building the models are not perfect, but it's
quite interesting. I didn't read the article itself but a summary and
critique in a different book in Hebrew.

Avi


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Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2005 16:59:48 -0400
From: Gil Student <gil.student@gmail.com>
Subject:
Re: Where were all the firstborn?


This question could be phrased in more than one way, e.g. how come only
23,000 women had firstborn sons and not 300,000?

See the archived thread titled "Proportion of First Borns to All B'nei
Yisrael" starting here:
<http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/vol09/v09n028.shtml#12>

I tried to address it in one of my first posts to Avodah here:
<http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/vol04/v04n089.shtml#08>

Gil Student
www.YasharBooks.com


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Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2005 17:27:50 -0400
From: "Herbert Basser" <basserh@post.queensu.ca>
Subject:
ksv vs. kvs


its quite common--- 
its official name is metathesis--letter reversal salma/ simla,
perush/pesher -- its not dyslexia-- it is a lingusitic thing that
happens.

Zvi Basser


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Date: Sat, 18 Jun 2005 22:24 +0300
From: BACKON@vms.HUJI.AC.IL
Subject:
Re: What's a rasha


On the one hand, we have the Chazon Ish YOREH DEAH 2 s"k 16 that in our
days ein danim din mumarin v'apikorsin because ein ha'hashgacha geluya;
on the other hand, we have the Minchat Chinuch written 150 years ago
where on Ribit he mentions (MC 343) "yesh anashim resha'im af she'heym
yisrael mutar l'halvot la'hen, ayen barishonim u'ba'acharonim".

We have the Aruch Hashulchan (written 120 years ago) who seems to
differentiate the din of passul l'edut (Choshen Mishpat 34 # 14) where
actual edut in a bet din is needed to invalidate testimony of others,
vs. the din of chashud (Yoreh Deah 119 # 20) where "ein ha'kavana davka
shenitkabel edut b'vet din".

And there's the type of edut: edut re'iyah vs. edut shemi'ah (see:
Beit Shmuel EVEN HA'EZER 42 s"k 12).

The concept of tinok shenishba is quite narrow (she'eino yodea mitorat
yisrael KLAL) [caps mine].

In any case, the *definition* of rasha is "kol she'avar aveira shel torah
b'meyzid v'chayyavin ale'ha mita o karet o malkot bein she'avar l'hach'is
bein she'avar l'tey'avon" (Aruch Hashulchan CM 34 #2) and CM 34 #4 "aval
ha'porek ohl mitzvot d'raban me'al tzavaro afilu mitzva hayoter kala,
harei zu min u'passul min hatorah".

Josh


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Date: Sat, 18 Jun 2005 04:40:18 -0400
From: <gil@aishdas.org>
Subject:
[Hirhurim] If I Were Called Before A Jerusalem Beis Din...


Let's say that I, living in Brooklyn, have a disagreement with someone
living in Lakewood. He feels that I have acted improperly and, therefore,
contacts a Beis Din (religious court) in Jerusalem and has them summon
me to a civil trial. I believe that I have acted properly and question
why he went to a Beis Din all the way in Jerusalem. Here are my options:

1. I can assume, probably naively, that he went to a Jerusalem Beis Din,
rather than one in Brooklyn, Lakewood or anywhere in between, out of some
Zionist fervor and submit to their ruling. I would then have to fly out
to Israel and stay there throughout the civil trial, hoping that they
do not have some unusual policy that makes them more sympathetic to my
litigant's claim in this particular case. Probably not the smartest move.

2. The Rema (Shulhan Arukh, Hoshen Mishpat 14:1) rules that one litigant
cannot force another to travel a long distance to go to a Beis Din
if one is available locally, even if the distant Beis Din is better
qualified. This is the case so that one litigant cannot force the other
to spend a large amount of money to travel. If this were not the case,
one could simply summon another to a civil trial in a distant town and
the other would prefer to settle for a small amount rather that lay out
a large amount for travel expenses.

The Arukh Ha-Shulhan (14:3, 26:5) is very explicit that, when the two
litigants live in different cities, the one who calls for the trial must
travel to the other litigant's city and that if one litigant refuses to
utilize a particular Beis Din in favor of another, he is not considered
to be refusing to utilize the Beis Din system in general.

Therefore, I would have the option to state that I refuse to travel
to Israel for a civil trial and insist on using a local Brooklyn,
established Beis Din.

3. The Shulhan Arukh (Hoshen Mishpat 3:1, 13:1) rules that if one
is called to trial, even in his own town, and does not like the Beis
Din that was chosen, he has the right to perform a Zabl"a. This means
that each litigant chooses one judge and then the two selected judges
choose a third. This does not work in a community in which there is
one established Beis Din that oversees all religious trials. However,
that certainly does not exist in America today.

Therefore, I would have the option to choose a court using the Zabl"a
method.

As always, ask a competent rabbi before acting on anything you see here.


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Date: Sat, 18 Jun 2005 22:31:27 -0400
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Subject:
Re: lo sasur


"Gershon Dubin" <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
> From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
>> The concept of "gadol hador" is non-halachic.

> Not so; there's a Tosefos about Shmuel Hanavi being moreh halacha lifnei
> rabbo

Berachot 31b, dh "moreh halacha".

> that says that although Shmuel hadn't (yet) learned anything from
> Eli, Eli's status as gadol hador made him ipso facto Shmuel's rebbi.

"gadol hador hayah, uva lilmod lefanav".

> There are mefarshim that are medayek in Tosefos that this only applies
> when the person is coming to learn with the gadol, not just by dint of
> gadol status, but here we fade to Avodah....

Eli was "gadol hador" in a specific sense: he was the head of the Bet
Din Hagadol, the receiver of the mesorah from the Zekenim and Pinechas
(Rambam, preface to the Yad). So even if "gadol hador hayah" is not -
as a simple reading would suggest - merely a preface to "uva lilmod
lefanav", the point might be that, as the successor to Moshe Rabbenu,
he was literally "rabban shel kol yisrael".

-- 
Zev Sero
zev@sero.name


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Date: Sat, 18 Jun 2005 23:49:28 -0400
From: "S & R Coffer" <rivkyc@sympatico.ca>
Subject:
Re: kofrim who say tehillim


R' Micha
> :> In Hil' AZ 11:16 the Rambam writes it was slight-of-hand. Even the issur
> :> is to use slight-of-hand to lead people religiously astray.

Simcha 
> : I'm sorry but that's not what the Rambam says. First of all, he never
> : even mentions the chartumey mitzraim in this perek...

R' Micha 
> But he also discusses it on the mishnah AZ 4:7 ...

Also discusses what? Not chartumey mitzraim...

The Rambam's primary discussion in the above-noted mishna is talismans
which he considers a form of Avodah Zara. This does not mean that the
Rambam didn't hold that nachash (certain forms), meonein, michashef
(certain forms) or koseim had no efficacy at all. In fact, there are
several ra'ayos that the Rambam *did* hold of their efficacy. IMO, there
is a fundamental difference between the above-noted items and the purely
occult which generally the Rambam rejects.

> "Something that could have happened by chance, but is attributed to
> these forces."

Forces of Avodah Zara, not the items I mentioned which the Rambam groups
under the general heading of lo selchu bchukos hagoy although they are
not necessarily AZ, depending on the circumstance.

> And that's how the Ramban understands the Ramban
(I assume you mean Rambam),
> an opinion that he then argues vehemently against.

Mareh makom please?

Simcha Coffer


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Date: Sun, 19 Jun 2005 00:23:33 -0400
From: Russell Levy <russlevy@gmail.com>
Subject:
Re: Where were all the firstborn?


RGS posted back in 1999
<http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/vol04/v04n089.shtml#08> that RAC sugessted
that may be more girls were born first. I proposed this answer when
someone asked the same question, based on a gemara I had learned just two
days earlier, BB 141a -- bas kodemes siman yafeh l'banim. I do believe
it's a copout, but it was the first thing that came to mind.

Now, assuming that the proportions are even, that solution doesn't work. I
decided that to approach this question using large family sizes. Here
is an e-mail I sent to a math friend of mine (who is periodically reads
and posts to this list):

So, here's what we have: 603,550 between 20-60, with 22,273 bechorim.
Assume: P(girl) = P(boy). P(first born girl) = P(first born boy).
Also, Assume two births of 6 each (from the beginning of the shmot)
per family. Therefore, 6 guys, 6 girls.
Now let's ignore the girls, and look at the guys. Each family has 6
guys, and 1/2 of those family have bechorim.
So, we have 100,592 families, 50,296 bechorim.
We are still off by a factor of more than two, so we have to adjust our
assumptions.
Here's what I thought of:
Assume a larger percentage of bechorim died at some point in Mitzrayim
in comparison to the general population.
Number of people in pre-Death Mitzrayim = Number of bechorim pre-Death
*6*2 (six males per family, half the families have bechorim).

Let % represent the % of bechorim who died.
Let x = 1-%
# people = people + dead bechorim.
# pre-dead bechorim: 22,273/x
# dead bechorim: 22,273/x-22,273

603,550 + (22,273/x-22,273) = 22,273/x*6*2
581277 = 22,273*6*2/x - 22,273/x
x = 52.15% 

Change original to: three males per family (one 6 birth):
581277 = 22273*3*2/x - 22273/x
x=19.16%, so % = 80.84%. 

Change original to 1 male per family (two kids)
581277 = 22273*2/x - 22273/x
x = 3.8%, so % = 96.2%

I thought the second and third percentages were very close to the
estimates in the midrash of those of the general population dying
during makas choshech (80%, 99%). I had theorized, just as RAC did, that
possibly they died during makas bechorot. I also figured that though the
eldest male of each household of the mitzrim were killed even if they
were not the true bechor, if any Jews died it would follow the system
of those who were under the mitzvah of "kadesh li kol bechor". However,
I couldn't think of a reason why the percentages would be the same.

Finally, I discussed this with a local Rav here, R Chaim Dovid Kulik,
and he mentioned that he had read the following kasha (and I can't
remember the name of the sefer): There are those that explained that
the sheves levi was the smallest since they didn't have to do avodas
parech (which caused b'nei yisroel to grow even more). That being the
case, the percentage of bechorim in sheves levi should be higher than
in the general population, but we see it is much lower. (It could be,
according the sevara that there is a brachah of having a girl first,
that the levi'im had even more girls first.)

I guess all I did was be mechaven to RAC, which is good enough for me! :)

Gut Voch!
 -Russell


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Date: Sun, 19 Jun 2005 11:38:48 +0200
From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
Subject:
Re: Learning Halakhah from Agadah


David E Cohen wrote:
> Sometimes I doubt that Chazal really had this strong notion of two
> separate categories of halakhah and agadah. Can anybody think of a
> place where the gemara has the hava amina to bring a certain statement
> of a tana or amora into a halakhic discussion, but then rejects its
> applicability by saying "it's only agadah"?

Your assertion seems consistent with the view of the Maharal

*Be'er HaGolah #6): *One does not always accept the literal meaning of 
Agada as our Sages said, ג€œthat one does not resolve apparent 
contradictions in Agada.ג€ That is because it is possible that the idea 
of the Agada was said in a concealed manner. Therefore, there is no need 
to ask or resolve contradictions in Agada since by apparently clarifying 
one Agada a contradiction to a different Agada can be created. It is 
possible that the original problem was not a problem to those who 
understand their esoteric nature. In contrast, Halacha cannot be 
utilized without resolving all apparent contradictions and 
inconsistencies. Agada on the other hand was not created for the purpose 
of learning what is prohibited or permitted and therefore consistency is 
not required. By attempting to create consistency it is possible that 
problematic elements will be rejected when in fact there was never a 
problem in the first place to those who are experts in Agada. That is 
why the Yerushalmi (Pea 2:4) states that one should not learn Halacha 
from Agadaג€”since it has not been conceptually clarified by the dialectic 
process of questions and answersג€¦

R' Hartman's notes that apparently the Maharal held that if agada was 
clarified through the dialectric process it could be a source of halacha.

There is a brief summary of the issues in the Encyclopedia Talmudis 
under the entry of Agada.

The Toldos HaPoskim asserts that chazal made no clear distinction 
between halacha and agada. He claims that this was an innovation of the 
gaonim for various reasons. In particular that they lowered the status 
of agada because of the ridicule it engendered by opponents of 
traditional Judaism. Such a tactic has also been ascribed to the Ramban 
as well as the Me'or Ainayim. Rav Dessler asserts that it was a common 
kiruv tactic of the rishonim. The Maharal obviously disagreed with this 
approach.

Daniel Eidensohn


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Date: Sun, 19 Jun 2005 11:52:37 EDT
From: Mlevinmd@aol.com
Subject:
Learnming halacha from Aggadah


> In response to R' Nosson Sternbach's query of where we see that halakhah
> is learned from agadah, R. Shalom Kohn wrote:
>> The view of Rabbeinu Tam that there are two sunsets (the origin of
>> the 72 minute view) derives from an aggadah in Pesachim as to the
>> size of the world, and its apparent inconsistency with the gemara
>> in shabbat 34b. See Tosafot Shabbat 35a.

> One needn't even go as far as Rabeinu Tam. On the previous amud, Pesachim
> 93b, the gemara first brings up this aggadic statement (of Rabbah bar Bar
> Chanah in the name of R' Yochanan) in reference to the halakhic question
> of how to understand the "derekh rechokah" (in this week's parashah)
> that will defer a person to Pesach Sheni.

> Sometimes I doubt that Chazal really had this strong notion of two
> separate categories of halakhah and agadah. Can anybody think of a place
> where the gemara has the hava amina to bring a certain statement of a tana
> or amora into a halakhic discussion, but then rejects its applicability
> by saying "it's only agadah"?

There are actually many Tosafos like this. However, the Sepahrad school
did not take aggados literally, as is well known. SO what we haaave here
is a disagreement between Tosafos and Chachmei Sefard.

M. Levin


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Date: Sun, 19 Jun 2005 17:36:11 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Subject:
Re: SheLo Asani Isha


On Tue, Jun 07, 2005 at 05:08:46PM -0700, Harry Maryles wrote:
:>            To whatever extent we can understand and learn from His
:> motivation, it was leheitiv -- that's agreed upon across the spectrum
:> from R' Saadia Gaon to the Ramchal.
: 
: In my opinion, God's motivation cannot be questioned because it is
: impossible for the human mind to comprehend the mind of the Infinite.
: Why did God create the universe? Why did he need it and if He needs
: it so much why give Mankind Bechira Chafshis? ...

Already answered. We are enjoined to understand what we can of why He
created, and there is a commonly given answer from across the hashkafic
spectrum.

In order for that answer to make sense, we must understand how Hashem
is meitiv us. Even WRT sechar va'onesh, and therefore of the mitzvos
that earn us that sechar.

...
: Let me try again. Schar VeOnesh is an absolute necessity without which
: Mitzvah observance is a non-starter. Once you establish a realtionship
: between Mitzvah observance and Schar VeOnesh, you can then do the Mitzvah
: because of Ahavas HaShem. This means that one's realtionship with God
: is one of love not exclusively based on Schar. Schar VeOnseh is merely
: the proof that God cares about what we do. Once we know that God cares
: we can do the Mitzvah out of love and not Al Menas L'Kabel Pras.(This
: is how I understand that MIshna in Avos.) We know the Schar is there
: but it is secondary. We do not even necessarily know what the Schar is
: but it doesn't matter. It only matters that we do God's wishes and the
: Schar will take care of itself.
: 
: It is like the love of a parent for a child and then a child for a
: parent. The parent will somehow communicate his or her love for the child
: in an intangible way. The child then senses that love and reciprocates
: by doing the will of his parent, not necessarily because the parent will
: physically reward him, but because the child knows that the parent loves
: him and the child acts on that love instinctively. God shows us his love
: by giving us Schar in Olam HaBah. We intuit from that that He loves us
: and wants us to do well (by doing His will). If a parent never transmits
: any love to a child that child will never want to obey that parent in
: any way. Similarly if God does not communicate his love (through the
: concept of Schar VeOnesh) we will have no motivation to listen to him.

I have two serious problems with your ideas here.

First, parents love their children before their children love them back.
The relationship does not start with receiving, but with giving. In fact,
it's an old mussar chestnut that love comes from giving, not receiving.
See <http://www.aishdas.org/asp/2004/12/love-part-i.shtml> for the famous
RYSalanter story, RSShkop's take on ahavah and chessed, and my own
elaborations on the subject.

Second, you seem to be saying that only conditional love exists.

:> How's this for a reason: In order for life to have meaning, 

: Meaning? What does it mean to say life has meaning? Meaning to who?
: God? So, what do I care if my life has meaning to God? If He doesn't
: provide Schar VeOnesh it won't ever matter to me.

Meaning, as in "Man's Search for Meaning" and Victor Frankl's Logotherapy.
Man has an innate need for meaningful existence. As primary and
first-principle as his desire for reward. In Frankl's thought, it's
actual more primary and more central for happiness.

...
: Once again, who cares? What is the point of fulfilment? In the end I
: and my Neshama will remain the same. No Schar, No Onesh, No change.
: (Change implies Schar VeOnesh).

Sechar va'onesh requires change. Change is NOT necessarily sechar
va'onesh.

-mi

-- 
Micha Berger             None of us will leave this place alive.
micha@aishdas.org        All that is left to us is
http://www.aishdas.org   to be as human as possible while we are here.
Fax: (270) 514-1507            - unkown MD, while a Nazi prisoner


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