Avodah Mailing List

Volume 15 : Number 039

Tuesday, June 28 2005

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Sat, 25 Jun 2005 23:38:07 EDT
From: T613K@aol.com
Re: Helping non-Jews

In Avodah V15 #38 dated 6/25/2005 Saul Lieberman quotes a letter by R'  
Jehiel Jacob Weinberg (?):
> his  sexual intercourse does not render a woman forbidden to her
> husband according to R. Tam because their issue is like that of
> horses.

News to me. Do we posken that way? The woman is mutar to her husband?
But is she to be put to death? Or it's as if she never committed
adultery? Is the child of that relationship a mamzer? What's the din
of a woman who has relations with an animal, is she mutar to her husband?

I'm happy to say that I never heard of this last shailah coming up
lemaisah but nowadays, nothing would be surprising.

 -Toby  Katz

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Date: Sun, 26 Jun 2005 10:29:59 -0400
From: "David Riceman" <driceman@worldnet.att.net>
Re: [Hirhurim] Downloading Music

From: <bloglet@bloglet.com>
> Anyone even
> remotely familiar with the current state of the music industry knows that
> illegal copying and downloading has caused huge financial damage to the
> entire industry.

Just a comment on the economics rather than the halacha. As far as I
know all of the studies claiming this are funded by the music industry
and are laughably naive. They assume, for example, that any tape which
was illegally copied would otherwise be legally bought, and they make
no attempt to estimate positive benefits (e.g., spurring further sales)
of illegal copying.

The main problem the music industry currently faces is product
substitution (there are more industries competing for the same limited
funds for recreation).

David Riceman 

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Date: Sun, 26 Jun 2005 00:06:29 -0400
From: Gil Student <gil.student@gmail.com>
Re: Saving Nachriim on Shabbos

You might find this essay relevant as well.

Gil Student,          Yashar Books
Subscribe to "Sefer Ha-Hayim - Books for Life" Newsletter:
news, ideas, insights and special offers from Yashar Books

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Date: Sat, 25 Jun 2005 23:44:36 -0400
From: "S & R Coffer" <rivkyc@sympatico.ca>
Re: Learning Halakhah from Agadah

On Tue, 21 Jun 2005 Micha Berger wrote:
> However, the Rambam makes a clear distinction between the practical and the
> theoretical. They do not match 1-to-1 with halakhah vs aggadita. My #4 above
> is pragmatic aggadita, and nearly all of the halakhos of the beis hamiqdosh is
> not lemaaseh bizman hazeh. Therefore, AIUI, the Rambam would say it's
> impossible for a poseiq to issue a pesaq on these dinim -- it's all simply
> eilu va'eilu with no resolution. But may that change BBA!

If your above interpretation of the Rambam regarding the distinction
between practical and theoretical is correct, how do you explain whole
sedarim in the Yad like Taharos, Korbanos, Kedusha etc. that pertain
only to the times of Mashiach and despite this, the Rambam very clearly
paskens one way or the other? Furthermore, the Gemara (Sanhedrin 51:)
openly states that we are obligated to come to conclusions regarding
*all* halachos, even those which pertain to Y'mos haMashiach, so how
can the Rambam argue on this?

The proper interpretation of the Rambam you are quoting is that if an
aggadita never has or never will have any practical applications such as
if the dor hamidbar are bnei olm habba, then there is no room to pasken
one way or the other.

Simcha Coffer 

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Date: Sun, 26 Jun 2005 18:55:50 +1000
From: Rael Levinsohn <ralevinsohn@gmail.com>
Re: Saving Nachriim on Shabbos

There is an interesting audio file by Rabbi Yitzchak Blau (of the the
Hamivtar yeshiva) on this topic availible at (<http://tinyurl.com/7pqyp>)
entitled "Saving A Jew for a moment & Saving a non-Jew on Shabbat".
To the best of my knowledge this is the only audio file on this topic
that is availible online.

As an aside, there are are some very interesting audio files on a
variety of topics at the Hamivtar website. It is availible here

Rael Levinsohn

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Date: Sun, 26 Jun 2005 11:15:34 -0400
From: "Rivka S" <rivkas@thejnet.com>
re: TIDE

>For example, the GRA was certainly a believer in TIDE.

What was that?  I seem to recall reading that the GRA learned mathematics
and science before he was bar mitzvah and would be mechuyav in vehagisa bo
yomom volailah, but was only mechuyev in Yedias haTorah.  According to my
son, before bar mitzvah he knew the entire shas, meforshim etc. and he had
no further chiyuv in limud hatorah, so he learned chochmos chitzonios, until
he was bar mitzvah.  Elsewhere I read that he learned science in places
where one could not learn Torah.

That is rather different, in my understanding, of TIDE.  

Rivka S
(- who graduated a TuM high school and spent almost two years at Breuer's

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Date: Sun, 26 Jun 2005 11:24:56 -0400
From: MPoppers@kayescholer.com
Re: TIDE, from the parallel discussion on my blog (rygb.blogspot.com)

RYGB, responding [in his blog and] in Avodah V15 #38 to someone who
disagreed with his "IMHO, to have sustained TIDE and jettisoned the
minhagim than to have sustained the minhagim and jettisoned TIDE":
> To me, the contribution that German Jewry made to the world of Judaism
> was not some quaint minhagim, but a weltanschauung.

I 'hear' RYGB more than his interlocutor. The minhagim we're talking
about, even when ancient and traceable to pre-Galus ("quaint" seems a bit
harsh), essentially fall under (reference is to the Mishna in Avos) the
Avodah rubric, while TiDE is a methodology that extends across Torah,
Avodah, and GmaCh. Someone (IIRC, RnTK) referred to Rav LYBreuer's
concept of "glatt yashrus" -- even that one practical aspect already
falls outside Avodah, and there is so much more to TiDE than merely the
practical and/or externally-visible aspects like minhagim and yashrus.

All the best from
 -Michael Poppers via RIM pager

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Date: Sun, 26 Jun 2005 23:37:36 -0400
From: "Yosef Gavriel & Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <ygb@aishdas.org>
re: TIDE

At 11:15 AM 6/26/2005, [Rn Rivka S] wrote:
>> For example, the GRA was certainly a believer in TIDE.

>What was that?  I seem to recall reading that the GRA learned mathematics
>and science before he was bar mitzvah and would be mechuyav in vehagisa bo
>yomom volailah, but was only mechuyev in Yedias haTorah.  According to my
>son, before bar mitzvah he knew the entire shas, meforshim etc. and he had
>no further chiyuv in limud hatorah, so he learned chochmos chitzonios, until
>he was bar mitzvah.  Elsewhere I read that he learned science in places
>where one could not learn Torah.
>That is rather different, in my understanding, of TIDE.

I regret that you were misinformed.

The Gra's famous siyum on all Chochmos was made well after his Bar
Mitzva, at a time when he had talmidim who were already talmidei
chachomim muflagim in their own right - such as the Pe'as HaShulchan
who was present.

I too *heard* that the Gra studied chochmos chitzoniyos in oso makom. I
now no longer believe the authenticity of that assertion and have yet
to see it reliably verified.

The truth is, however, it is immaterial when the Gra mastered CC's. Zohl
dohs zayn afilu fahr his BM. The attitude he had - that to the extent
that a person lacked knowledge of CC's he would lack correspondingly
(or, according to the other version, much more) in Chochmas HaTorah,
is a truly TIDE perspective.


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Date: Mon, 27 Jun 2005 00:20:09 -0500
From: "brent" <fallingstar613@hotmail.com>

> I wasn't clear. The Beit Din does not metaher mamzerim. BUT until a
> person is declared a Mamzer by a Beit Din he has a din of  Yisrael and 
> can marry any Jew.  T

May I ask, what is the source of this? I mean the din in the Torah that 
the result of certain unions are mamzerim. A mamzer is a mamzer. Where is 
it in halacha that this must be declared so by a beis din? Is this a 
modern thing? It sounds like you're saying that this is similar to a 
kohain that must declare tzaras tameh in order for it to be so.

brent kaufman 

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Date: Mon, 27 Jun 2005 07:42:14 -0400
From: "Yosef Gavriel & Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <ygb@aishdas.org>
TIDE and TuM, from the last go around

I forget who keeps the time clock as to when issues recur on Avodah -
guess it was time for TuM/TIDE!

Anyway, from an old Avodah post (the essay quoted by Reb Micha below tends 
to be overly warm, fuzzy and biased towards TuM, but the points are made).

Date: Thu, 15 Nov 2001 10:53:42 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Subject: TIDE and TuM

I am not sure I agree with R Steinberg's take on RYBS's shitah on the
subject. However, the topic of variants of TIDE and TuM has been raised
here often enough for me to know the chevrah would be interested.


Date: Tue, 6 Nov 2001 10:00:28 +0200 (IST)
From: Nehemiah Klein <ndk@hakotel.edu>
To: rambam list <hk-rambam@lists.hakotel.edu>
Subject: HaRav Steinberger's Shiur #5762-2 [and #5762-3 -mi]

"Torah UMaddah" in the Thought of Rav Soloveitchik zt"l
(Excerpts from an article that appeared in "HaTzofeh" last Sukkot)

One of the great, actually the greatest thinker to whom people attribute
some of the most liberal ideas in Orthodox Jewry is the late Rabbi
Dr. Joseph B. Soloveitchik, who headed Yeshiva University for almost
half a century. In the following article we will try to reexamine the
"Weltanschauung" of the Rav in "Torah UMaddah" issues. Naturally,
the conclusions have clear ramifications for our "Derech" as modern
Bnei Torah.

Contrary to the prevalent opinion among many of the flag bearers of
the concept "Torah UMaddah", the Rav's focus was to maximize the status
of Torah through Maddah and not the other way around. He was opposed,
as is evident through his writings, to the academization of Torah.
He clearly held that Torah is the "Gvirah" (lady) and "Maddah" is the
"shifcha" (maid). Torah and science are not equal and certainly one
should not use Torah just as another feature of one's education, an
ornament rather than a major feature.

The Rav taught the Sugya in the authentic language of Brisk. He radiated
the aroma of the old Beit Midrash. His shiurim were usually peppered
with stories and anecdotes containing the humor of previous generations.
Even, when addressing a secular audience in his essays or public lectures,
he always functioned as a true ambassador of the Torah culture in the
grand tradition demonstrating an unequivocal admiration for the wisdom
and the conduct of earlier Gedolim.

He never felt the need to be apologetic vis-a-vis secular wisdom.
The Rav did hold that the words "Chillul Hashem" was the dearth of the
Jewish sages and wise men who were revered even by discerning gentiles.
The prestigious status of the great Torah scholars even in the outside
world, added to the pride of the students within. This fact helped
influence the brainiest youngsters to strive for excellence in learning.
Even on the social scene, the Talmid Chacham used to be at the top.

This situation changed. Even if Klal Yisrael has continued to
produce Gedolim, they have failed to occupy a place among the towering
intellectuals and cultural leaders, as they had in the past. There were
times when kings and leaders used to consult the Jewish sages, recognizing
their unique general wisdom, Vespasyanus was impressed immensely with Rav
Yochanan ben Zakkai; the royal princess with R' Yehoshua ben Chananyah;
Antoninus, the Roman Emperor, learned "Chavrutah" with R' Yehudah HaNassi,
R' Shmuel HaNaggid and later R' Yitzchak Abarbanel served as ministers
of the Royal Court in Spain; the Maharal and later R' Yonatan Eibshitz
were advisors to the king in Prague -- to mention just a few examples.
This has come to a screeching halt, because the recent Gedolim failed
to master the language and the terminology of a developing world in the
past century.

There is no way to dismiss the terrible crisis in the world of Torah
caused by the emergence of a sophisticated very impressive secular
culture and science. The Jewish mother, who used to shed tears while
lighting Shabbat candles, praying for children Talmidei Chachamim has
redirected her prayers. Now she prays for a son with a Ph.D. or MD.
The Yeshiva student, who was once perceived as a witty sharp minded
intellectual became the object of scorn in the literature of the Jewish
Enlightenment. Because of this devaluation in the status of the Yeshiva,
only the "chareidi" (ultra-Orthodox) world continued to idolize the
Talmid Chacham. Even the modern Orthodox public abandoned Torah learning.
Till quite recently it had to rely on Rabbinical and Educational Torah
leadership -- mostly imported from the Chareidi Yeshivot. Similar to
the non-observant, these modern Orthodox Jews began to appreciate only
academic and economic success. Much of the Jewish society of Eastern
Europe, the cradle of intensive Torah atmosphere, internalized this new
approach -- when masses of Jews emigrated to the New World at the turn of
the twentieth century and abandoned completely any connection with Torah.
At that time it seemed that Torah values were a relic of a bygone era
and no longer relevant, especially in the United States.

Rav Soloveitchik observed all these phenomena. He wanted to revitalize
Torah learning and restore its diminished glory. He held, rightly so,
that preaching against materialism and assimilationist values will not
achieve anything. (Mussar, as a method has never been accepted by Brisk.
See "Man of Halacha" -- in Hebrew -- page 67). The Rav understood
that in success oriented America only if Torah learning can again be
made a prestigious occupation, there is a chance to attract the youth,
especially the talented ones.

Like Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch, in his times, the Rav saw the biggest
damage having been done by the Enlightenment and Emancipation movements
in the fact that they managed to attach the stigma of primitivity and
anachronism to the religious way of life. [See Y.Y. Weinberg's essay
about Rav Hirsch "Seridei Esh" Volume IV. According to him, Hirsch
tried to emphasize that Judaism and culture not only are compatible
but they fit harmoniously. The detachment from the practical world
caused the misconception that Judaism is synonymous with intellectual
deprivation.] The Rav wanted very much to change this, not totally
baseless, image. Like Hirsch, he also advised Bnei Torah to acquire
higher education.

Nevertheless, there are some clear differences between the two. Hirsch
appealed more to the average Jew. He was a pragmatist and functioned as a
pastor. The Rav, on the other hand, was a prince of Torah, a scion of the
Torah aristocracy of Brisk and an elitist. The Rav himself distinguished
his outlook from that of Rav Hirsch. He used, in one of his drashot, the
name "Ramatayim Tzofim" (See Shmuel I 1:1) symbolizing the dichotomy of
Torah UMaddah. There are twin peaks -- one of Torah, the other of Maddah,
which remain forever asunder. No synthesis exists. As a proud father,
he described the schedule of his son Chaim [the prodigy son of the Rav,
who studied by his father and also on Yeshivat Ponovizh in Bnei Brak. He
is today a Torah scholar and a leading professor of history). One day
Chaim deciphered a complex Talmudic passage -- on the other he reads
Max Weber. Two peaks, two days. Rather than "Torah im Derech Eretz" of
Rav Hirsch, towering Torah which is apart from towering Maddah. Only
the separation and the intensive care of each achieves excellence in
both. (About Rav Hirsch, see also introduction to "Shemesh UMarpeh"
Messorah, NY 1992, and my book "Ishei Yovel" page 387 and on)].

[Part II, sent in a 2nd email numbered #5762-3 -mi]

There is a lot of evidence, both from the writings and the lectures
(based on testimony of his students in RIETS), that the Rav viewed Torah
learning and the furtherance of the Holy Tradition as the ultimate goal.
Thus, "Maddah" inevitably functioned only as a vehicle to aggrandize
Torah, or at the best, as a separate entity. This is contrary to some
opinions which identified the Rav as a reformer and religious liberal,
who supposedly gave a "Hechsher" (endorsement) to the new way of life
called "Modern Orthodoxy" in the United States and beyond. It might be
true that there was a kind of dichotomy in the way the Rav appeared as
a Rabbinical leader in his Boston congregation or as a spiritual leader
of the RCA (Rabbinical Council of America -- the forum that unites the
Modern Orthodox Rabbinate) vis a vis his appearance as a Rosh Yeshiva
and true Torah leader in the learned circles of RIETS.

Nevertheless, no person claiming intellectual honesty can dismiss the
fact that the most authentic representative of a spiritual leader is his
legacy to future generations, as formulated in his writings and teachings
to the highest caliber students, or the most intimate memories of his
closest circle and family.

All the above does not leave much doubt about the Rav's real legacy to
us. Needless to say that his Halachic "Lomdische" writings were in no
way academically phrased or oriented. On the contrary, the reader can
hardly distinguish between them and the classic Brisker Torah of his
illustrious family members: R' Chaim -- the grandfather, R' Moshe --
the father, HaGriz -- the great uncle, etc. (A list of his Halachic
writings -- which substantiate our claim: Kovetz Chidushei Torah,
Shiurim LeZecher Aba Mari, Kuntres Avodat Yom HaKippurim, Chiddushei
HaGram veHaGrid -- Kodshim, Inyanei Taaniyot, Reshimot Shiurim: Sukkah,
Nedarim, Shevuot, Baba Kama, Shiurei Gittin, Igrot HaGrid, Hararey Kedem,
Haggadah -- Siach HaGrid. Besides, there are many Halachic articles in
"HaDarom", "HaPardes", "Messorah", "Ohr HaMizrach", "Beit Yitzchak"
and many pieces quoted in "Nefesh HaRav". There are also many Halachic
points in the Rav's philosophical -- homiletical writings, especially
in the footnotes. Part of the above was written by the Rav, the rest
by editors from his family and/or students). But even his non-Halachic
writings leave no doubt: The Rav was a firm believer in the absolute
hegemony of the Torah including the style and methods sanctioned by the
classic Tradition of Torah learning.

[In this context it is advisable to read especially the Rav's early essay
"Man of Halacha". Also "Mah Dodech Midod" -- a eulogy for his uncle,
the Rav of Brisk. A complete list of the Rav's writings appears in "the
Rav: The World of Rabbi J. B. Soloveitchick" by Aaron Rakefet). Nowhere
in the Rav's written legacy can one find emphasized liberalism in Psak
(Halachic rulings), nor an endorsement of scientific research-oriented
Talmudic scholarship. The only leniency is, the somewhat more colorful
and articulate language, than the typical terse language used in
Halachic literature. This is done in order to explain more precisely his
sophisticated Lomdus. And still, even in these instances, the language is
a classical mixture of Hebrew and Aramaic, "Yeshivish", par excellence.
(A slight deviation from this style can be found in "Shiurim LeZecher
Abah Mari", where the Rav seems to mix Halacha with Machshava and Bible
commentary. But even there, there is no trace of academic language
and secular terminology. This book is rather "Rabbinical" in style than
classic "Yeshivish" bearing the insignia of the Rav as a pulpit Rabbi and
a teacher to the laymen, albeit learned, rather than as a Rosh Yeshiva.
The same can be said about "Al HaTeshuva" a compilation of the Rav's
Tshuva Drashot. Dr. Peli, the editor, a liberal professor of Jewish
philosophy, would have probably been happy to quote the Rav's wider and
more secular sayings, had there been any of the sort in those lectures].

Furthermore, there is no need to revert just to the evidence offered
indirectly by the writings and their style -- there is clear outstanding
evidence about the Rav's emphasis on adhering to the spirit of old
traditions in Torah. The Rav cherished very much the stories of his
illustrious ancestors. He repeatedly described the event when his namesake
and great grandfather, the author of "Beit HaLevi", was asked to express
his Halachic opinion about the "Techelet" which had been discovered by
the Rebbe of Rodzin. "Beit HaLevi" refused even to start a Halachic
discussion. We have no "Mesorah" -- practical Halachic tradition --
concerning the identification of the "Tchelet", he said. Therefore,
he terminated and declared futile any proofs concerning the findings
of the Rodzhiner. (See "Shiurim LeZecher Aba Mari" volume II, page 228,
"Ish HaHalacha" p. 99, Rabbi Shachter, probably the Rav's closest student,
devoted in "Nefesh HaRav" a whole chapter to matters of Tradition --
"Mesorah", see there volume I, page 34. Actually the whole book is about
the customs and Halachic behavior of the Rav).

Therefore, those who supposedly see themselves as the guardians of the
Rav's legacy, by teaching Talmud and Halacha in quasi academic method
and style, lacking the vitality and old charm of Gemara learning, are
performing disservice to the great master's true spirit. The Rav was a
great teacher and pedagogue. He was a tremendously gifted commentator,
using his panoramic knowledge of: ruling precedents, history, folklore
-- all done with much wisdom and a brilliant sense of humor (often
sardonic, characteristic of the Litvishe Lamdan he was). He used all
these to stimulate the minds of his students and to instill in them a
true love for Torah learning. He did not hesitate to frown, sometimes,
on his students who failed to grasp the serious responsibility in saying
a "svarah" or understanding the shiur. He did not believe in the style
of constantly patting the shoulders of the students (so prevalent
in some of the Israeli Bnei Akiva style Yeshivot, see my article in
"Hatzofeh" -- 24 Tevet 5757: "Excellence in the Zionistic Yeshivot
-- Dream and Disappointment", see also Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein's:
"Talmud Instruction in the Yeshiva High School", there, Iyar 18 5761). He
objected to flattering the student, lest it might devaluate the prestige
of Torah learning, he was also against academization of Torah learning
which might falsify the belief in the Divine origin of Torah.

The Rav will be, no doubt, remembered as one of the greatest Lamdanim
of the Beit Hamidrash, whose "sevarot" and Halachic definitions, will
be quoted forever. (Even the Chareidi Torah world, which opposed him
philosophically, like Brisk, Mir, and Lakewood, just to mention a few
outstanding Yeshivot, admired his Torah scholarship. R' Michel Shurkin,
a Chareidi Rosh Yeshiva, participated in the Rav's shiurim for many
years, unwilling to have anything to do with YU. Even in his book,
"Hararei Kedem" where he presents the Rav's shiurim, he introduces him
with the title "Gavb"d Boston" and nothing else). Rav Aharon Kotler, who
was perceived as Gedol HaDor in the American Chareidi world, naturally
opposed the Weltanschauung of the Rav, yet he loved to hear the Rav's
"Chiddushei Torah". Eventually, because of this "semi-secret" friendship,
the Rav accepted the honorary chairmanshp of the Chareidi "Chinuch Atzmai"
-- education network, which was the "baby" of Rav Kotler. Rav Y. Hutner,
Rosh Yeshivat Chaim Berlin, another Chareidi luminary, corresponded
with the Rav in Halacha. See "Sefer HaZikaron Pachad Yitzchak, page 221.
When Rav Shmuel Rozovsky went to Boston for medical treatment, he made an
effort to meet the Rav. Rav Rozovsky, the head of the extremist Ponovizh
Yeshiva, who personally held relatively moderate views, apologized about
the meeting, saying that he had just wanted to see the man who had been
revered as having "the head of R' Chaim" -- his legendary grandfather).

The New York Times eulogized the Rav as the greatest Jewish theologian
of the century, whose teachings will be remembered in a thousand years.
Similar views were expressed in Time magazine. These publications
substantiate the prestige the Rav enjoyed on the general cultural
scene. Since the Rambam there has perhaps not been a figure who combined,
on such levels of excellence, both Torah and Maddah and achieved such
a recognition in both worlds. [Another, example was Rav Dr. Yaakov
Yechiel Weinberg the great posek of Europe after the war, the last dean
of the Hildisheimer Rabbinical Seminar in prewar Berlin. Still there were
differences: Rav Weinberg stood out more as an expert posek and less as a
Lamdan. Also his philosophical achievements were less intellectual than
those of the Rav. And, curiously, while he was considered more Chareidi
than the Rav, his Talmudic approach seemed to be more academic oriented
-- see "Seridei Esh" volume IV, his textual treatment of the "Sugya
of Meitav". In short, even he was no match for the Rav as the towering
intellectual of his generation in both Torah and secular studies.]

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Date: Mon, 27 Jun 2005 10:49:59 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>

More on the idea of TIDE's synthesis vs TuM's dialectic...

RYBS definitely formulated TuM in neo-Kanetian terms that life is about
navigating dialectics, that the conflicting values and struths in our lives
acan not be synthsized. Nor should they be -- it's by grappling through these
dilemmas that one excercises free will and personal growth.

R Lamm tried recasting RYBS's dialectic back into a synthesis. But it
really doesn't work (IMHO, of course). Once one makes "mada" an opposite
pole and then synthesizes Torah with it, definitionally one is left with
something that is not quite Torah.

Contrast that to RYYW's tzurah-vechomer metaphor for TIDE, that I've posted
here in the past. Here's another quote from RYYW (SE vol 4, translation by R'
Elyakim Krumbein):

    The Israelite religion does not wish to uproot the Jew from the soil
    of his growth, and transplant him elsewhere. Rather, it wishes to
    influence the whole man, to prepare his whole heart, his thoughts
    and deeds, for his exalted tasks. All that is human is near to it,
    for Judaism is - as Rav Hirsch himself put it - flawless, perfected
    humanity, a Jewish humanity. So it was in ancient Israel, and in the
    time of the Tannaim and Amoraim and Geonim, and partially so in the
    Golden Age experienced by the Jewish people in Spain. Judaism was
    never a source of suffering for Israel. Judaism for Israel was life
    in its fullness. No one dreamed of a possible separation between
    religion and life, as though they were separate or opposing forces.

    But the Jewish people underwent a mighty change during the time of
    the terrible Crusades. The terrible persecutions, the banishment from
    the different areas of life, the deprivation of breathing space and
    limitation of movement, also damaged the religious strength of the
    Jew seriously and weakened it.

    Together with the impoverishment of our life, the scope of our
    religion became increasingly narrower. Broad, important areas
    of life were cruelly wrested from our people and its religion.
    The Hebrew soul was torn to shreds. That joy which results from
    the total correspondence of spirit and life, ceased in Israel.
    Religion no longer had anything to do with life, and consequently,
    life ceased to be a matter of religion. Concrete living lost its
    religious form, and became a secular affair.

    The concept 'secular life,' which is foreign to the spirit of Israel,
    came into being during those dark times. The religious sense no
    longer drew sustenance directly from life... and was sustained only
    by the fear of death, and terror of the severe penalties of the
    World-to-Come. It is true, of course, that belief in divine reward
    and punishment is a basic Jewish principle... but extensive use of
    it, placing it at the center of religious feeling, turning it into
    the solitary propelling force for fulfilling mitzvot - can plunge
    a man into depression and induce spiritual malaise...

    This 'separation from life' resulted in the adoption of a negative
    stance towards life's achievements. The spirit of Israel wore black,
    donning a cloak of asceticism foreign to the spirit of Judaism.
    The ghetto stood for hundreds of years, and brought forth great,
    pious, holy men... who benefited from the splendor of the Torah, and
    whose thoughts, speech and deeds were inspired by its holy Presence.
    But within the ghetto walls lived multitudes who couldn't taste Torah
    or be inspired by it. They thirsted for life, and their spirit was
    crushed by their inability to reach it...

    But one day new winds began to blow in the world. The ghetto walls
    fell. Swirling currents of hope for light and freedom, for the
    prospect of life and productive activity, acquisition of wealth and
    social standing, flooded the furthest corners of the ghetto and its
    disenfranchised residents. The thirst for healthy life, so natural to
    the Jews... awoke once more with storm and fury. These revolutionary
    developments brought a crisis upon the congregation of Israel.
    The one-sided, life-negating religiosity collapsed ...On the one hand
    stood the elders... who defended with all their might the accepted
    form of religion which was based on the negation of life and its
    achievements, and on the other hand raged the newly-liberated from
    the ghetto-prison, intoxicated and giddy with freedom, who destroyed
    without scruple all that was precious and sacred in traditional life.

    At this time of peril appeared Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch of blessed
    memory and stood in the breach. He stood and proclaimed the ancient
    truth of Judaism: Religion and life are one and the same...


Micha Berger             Take time,
micha@aishdas.org        be exact,
http://www.aishdas.org   unclutter the mind.
Fax: (270) 514-1507            - Rabbi Simcha Zissel Ziv, Alter of Kelm

Go to top.

Date: Sun, 26 Jun 2005 10:03:07 -0700 (PDT)
From: Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
Re: SheLo Asani Isha

Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org> wrote:
>: 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.

I'm not sure how this answers my questions. To understand what we can
just means that we can't really answer to our satisfaction which then
leaves the question unanswered.

> 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.

How... does not explain... why.

> First, parents love their children before their children love them back.
> The relationship does not start with receiving, but with giving. 

Of course. That does not contradict what I said, however. All I am saying
is that it is in the nature of humanity to feel loved before one can
give love. Every parent who gives love unconditionally to a child has
first experienced that love him or herself. If one has not experienced
any love from a parent or surrogate parent, they cannot later impart
that love to a child but instead they become a bitter and perhaps even
a psychopathic personality. Even though love is a natural emotion if it
is never experienced in childhood, that emotion is stifled. The bottom
line is that children must experience a nurturing love from a significant
figure in early childhood or they become dysfunctional.

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

I wouldn't call it conditional. I would call it a necessary component
of the human condition that in order to give love properly one must
have been properly (or at least minimally) nurtured in childhood.
Perhaps there are pshychologists on this list that would disagree,
I don't know but I don't think so. Similarly for an individual to do
Mitzvos through Ahavas HaShem he has to understand (at least a basic
emotional level) that HaShem loves him. That is done through the component
of Schar VeOnesh. It isn't that we will only do Mitzvos conditioned on
whether there is Schar VeOnesh. It is that we are only humanly capable
of experiencing the feeling of Ahavas HaShem (and then doing His Mitzvos
in that spirit) if we know that He indeed does love us.

>:> 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.

Judaism is all about meaning. The meaning of life is in the service of
God. That's all we CAN know of meaning, IMHO. There is no search. We are
already there. God commands. We fulfil. Our reward is in eternity. But
reward there must be. Meaning is not motivation and that is my primary

> ...
>: 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.

All I meant is that if there is any change in the way one experiences
Olam HaBa determined by their behavior on earth, that automatically
means that Schar VeOnesh exists. I cannot conceive of a change in the
world of the Infinite that does not include a plus or minus. If change
in the world to come is a lateral move it would seem meaningless.


Go to top.

Date: Mon, 27 Jun 2005 09:02:16 -0700 (PDT)
From: Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
re: TIDE

"Yosef Gavriel & Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <ygb@aishdas.org> wrote:
> The truth is, however, it is immaterial when the Gra mastered CC's. Zohl
> dohs zayn afilu fahr his BM. The attitude he had - that to the extent
> that a person lacked knowledge of CC's he would lack correspondingly
> (or, according to the other version, much more) in Chochmas HaTorah,
> is a truly TIDE perspective.

In the same way that you illustrate that the GRA was the true progentior
of TIDE, I can argue that he was the true progentior of TuM. (In the case
of the GRA, however, I would agree that the definition of TuM would not
include the cultural aspects).

IIRC, TIDE is more utilitarian and values that part of CC that would make
one a better Jew (Derech Eretz)... and would therefore not include all
Chachmas Chitzinius. But if the GRA did make a Siyum on CC, that implies
that he valued ALL of CC, a concept more in line with TuM than TIDE. By
way of example I would point to the famous essay by R Aharon Lichtenstein
where he points to his study of English literature in order for him to
appreciate certain portions of Tanach better. According to the Shittas
HaGRA as you outlined: If a person lacked knowledge of CC's he would
lack correspondingly (or, according to the other version, much more)
in Chochmas HaTorah. This is TuM much more so than TIDE, is it not?


Go to top.

Date: Mon, 27 Jun 2005 21:28:45 -0500
From: "brent" <fallingstar613@hotmail.com>
Fw: Mamzerim

> I  wasn't clear.   The Beit Din does not metaher mamzerim.   BUT
> until a person is declared a Mamzer by a Beit Din he has a din of  Yisrael
> and can marry any Jew.  T

May I ask, what is the source of this? I mean the din in the Torah that
the result of certain unions are mamzerim. A mamzer is a mamzer. Where
is it in halacha that this must be declared so by a beis din? Is this
a modern thing? It sounds like you're saying that this is similar to a
kohain that must declare tzaras tameh in order for it to be so.

brent kaufman

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