Avodah Mailing List

Volume 15 : Number 046

Monday, July 11 2005

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Thu, 7 Jul 2005 19:23:50 -0400
From: "Aryeh Englander" <iarwain1@earthlink.net>
David Rohl

I would just like to point out something that might be of considerable
interest to this discussion group:

There has been considerable talk amongst historians, specifically
Egyptologists, about revisions that should be made to the standard
"othodox" chronology of history. The "new" chronologies range from a
revision of about 70 years, to revisions of up to 350 years. Obviously,
this would change the timing for Yetzias Mitzrayim and possibly many
other things as well.

The most well-known chronology revisions are those of of Professor
David Rohl. (His theories were recently described briefly in a Mishpacha
article but the article did not do him justice IMO.) His book is called
"Pharaohs and Kings: A Biblical Quest" in America and "A Test of Time"
in the UK. Be warned that the book can get very technical (but, IMO, it's
much more interesting and MUCH more intellectually stimulating because
of that). Other books are "Legend: Genesis of Civilization" (a more
speculative book on identifying the people and places in Beraishis) and
"The Lost Testament". Another famous book with an alternative chronology
is "Centuries of Darkness" by Peter James.

There is a web discussion group on this subject called the
NewChronology Group - very technical but extremely interesting - at
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NewChronology/. I suggest you read the
books as well as the files, tables, and some of the links before joining
in the discussion, otherwise the discussion will probably be a bit over
your head.

Now for an interesting point (I'm posting this point on the NewChronology
forum as well- I'll let you know bl"n if I get a response):

Might Rohl's chronology revision affect Sumerian history as well,
thereby removing 350 years from the accepted chronology of Ancient
Mesopotamia? This would have the very interesting effect of placing the
date of the Sumerian flood story 350 years closer to us than previously
assumed. Historians (at least, I've heard it said b'shmom) think that
the Sumerian flood happened around 2900 BCE. We say it happened around
2200 BCE. That's a difference of 700 years and a bit shver (especially
since we have very detailed records of events around 2200 BCE, and
there's no mention of a Mabul). But with this chronology change it's
only 350 years, which may be a lot easier to work with. And especially
if you believe the 163-year discrepancy in Persian chronology, then the
difference between our records and the Sumerian records is only about
200 years. (Also note that, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica,
the first really historical personality in Mesopotamia is dated to only
about 2700, so dates that far back are very variable anyway.)

On the other hand, I think Sumerian chronology is mainly based on
an independant Assyrian/Babylonian chronology that would be mostly
unaffected by Rohl's revision, so perhaps the revision won't help at
all. (The NewChronology group has had numerous discussions in regard
to the affect of the different revisions on other chronologies, but I
haven't gotten around to reading through them all.)

Aryeh L. Englander

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Date: Thu, 7 Jul 2005 12:46:28 -0400
From: Eli Turkel <eliturkel@gmail.com>
chasid - HP

Daniel Eidensohn wrote:
: 2) A chasid must accept the teachings of the Besht - whether or not
: they contradict previously accepted views of rishonim. Therefore even
: though the views of the rishonim are not heresy even post Besht - they
: are not acceptable for a chassid to think or believe...

Micha responded:
> I think this is simply true by definition. A chassid is one who follows
> derekh haBesh"t. To the extent that one does not accept one of the
> Besh"t's core ideas, one isn't quite a chassid. The statement is
> tautological, not some halachic or even aggadic declaration.

The question is the permissibility of accepting the Besht against
Rishonim. There were certainly major complaints against changes in the
Nusach Hatefilla and other changes introduced by chassidut. Were there
complaints about hasgacha pratit (eg Nefesh HaChaim).

Eli Turkel

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Date: Thu, 7 Jul 2005 09:48:25 -0700 (PDT)
From: Gil Student <simcha365@hotmail.com>
[hirhurim] [Hirhurim - Musings] Shaking Hands With Women III

Another correction:
I was incorrect in stating R. Yisroel Belsky's view on the subject.
This is what someone involved in kosher supervision, in a position to
know R. Belsky's view, wrote to me:
> Rav Belsky holds that, generally, a mashgiach should NOT shake the
> hand of a female factory official. He holds that the Hetter should
> be used ONLY in isolated incidents--and when accompanied by
> personal protective acts to restore the level of pre-deviation
> zehirus and to maintain kedushah.

Also, Toby (Bulman) Katz wrote of her father's (R. Nach Bulman)
> My father zt'l permitted shaking hands if the woman extended her
> hand, to avoid embarrassing her. A man should not put out his hand
> first.

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Date: Thu, 7 Jul 2005 12:52:04 -0400
From: Eli Turkel <eliturkel@gmail.com>
nogea be-davar

It was reported that R. Elyashiv paskened that the Jerusalem kashrut
board could not fire their rabbinic masgichim.
Since one of the 2 is R. Efrati who is R. Elyashiv's shamash is that
considered nogea bedavar

Note - this is a halakhc question not a political one !!
i.e. what is the extent of paskening in a case involving close workers
but not relatives.

Eli Turkel

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Date: Thu, 7 Jul 2005 05:56:41 -0700 (PDT)
From: Gil Student <simcha365@hotmail.com>
[Hirhurim - Musings] Casting a Lot

The book of Esther (3:7) tells us "פ פר  ר פ  ,"
which the KJV translates as "they cast Pur, that is, the lot, before
Haman" and the NRSV as "they cast Pur--which means 'the lot'--before

What is this Pur and why does the Hebrew imply that it was thrown (פ)?

R. David Cohen, in his Sefer Esther Ha-Malkah (p. 12), quotes unnamed
archaeologists who found numerical cubes in Persia that, apparently,
were used for divining the future. They would throw these cubes and,
based on the number that landed, would attempt to discern the future.
Thus, it is perfectly understandable why a verb meaning "to throw"
is used in reference to the Pur.

R. Amos Hakham, in the Da'as Mikra commentary to Esther 3:7, adds that
Pur is an Akkadian word that means lottery (ר), as the text itself
indicates. Why does the book use this Akkadian word and then translate
it into Hebrew, instead of just using the Hebrew translation? R. Hakham
suggests that since the holiday was named Purim using the Akkadian word,
the author of the text left in the original Akkadian.

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Date: Thu, 07 Jul 2005 18:14:23 -0400
From: Leah & Menachem Brick <levaynim@optonline.net>

In Avodah V15 #44 dated 7/6/2005 RMB [R Menachem Brick, not me -mi]:
> Question for the group. If I take out a loan for family member from
> a lending institution. He pays back the loan including the ribis. Do I
> need a heter Iskah? Please offer MM.

I found the source YD 168:17 which seems on point. Thanks all

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Date: Thu, 7 Jul 2005 23:26:52 -0400
From: Russell Levy <russlevy@gmail.com>
Rashi and Ein Mukdam uM'uchar

It seems that I am misunderstanding something with regard to parashiot
shlach and korach:
Siftei Chachamim says on Bamidbar 13:1 that Rashi holds that shlach
happened AFTER korach (I guess like Ibn Ezra), and that's why he asks the
"lama nism'cha".

Throughout Korach, Rashi seems to make reference to the meraglim happening
in the past (16:4, 16:14, etc). Ein Mukdam means there is still a real
order, not that everything is one big mishmash*. So what's going on
here? I can't imagine that the Siftei Chachamim just missed these psukim.


*While looking up the spelling of mishmash, I found out it's from
yiddish. What do you know!

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Date: Fri, 08 Jul 2005 12:24:00 +0200
From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
Re: nogea be-davar

Eli Turkel wrote:
>It was reported that R. Elyashiv paskened that the Jerusalem kashrut
>board could not fire their rabbinic masgichim.
>Since one of the 2 is R. Efrati who is R. Elyashiv's shamash is that
>considered nogea bedavar

**If the report is true ** a possible explanation is the fact that Rav
Moshe (IM CM II #51 page 265) discussed the halacha concerning a relative -
even though he states he is not poskening. It could be that that Rav
Eliyashiv was merely giving advice and not poskening.

Daniel Eidensohn

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Date: Fri, 08 Jul 2005 08:57:22 -0400
From: Shaya Potter <spotter@cs.columbia.edu>
a way to understand chazal/science/halacha?

something I was wondering, there's been a lot of ink spilled on this
issue, but for myself I've come to what I think is a very simple answer
which seems to make me feel good (but posting it here, will probably
cause lots of holes to be poked into it :) ).

many people have hypothisized that chazal didn't have a mesorah for
science and just used the science of their day.  The problem with this,
is that they seemingly paskened halacha based on that.

What I was thinking, perhaps one can say that chazal actually wasn't
paskening halacha based on this, but was trying to explain halachot they
had a mesorah for based on science as they understood it (I would think
this at least works in their psakim on halachot d'oraita).

So for instance, chazal had a mesorah that one could kill lice on
shabbos.  For whatever reason, based on the science of their day they
gave the reasoning for this mesorah to be that they spontaneously

So some would want to say, chazal paskened incorrectly.  What I would
say, their psak was giving over their tradition of how they understood
the halacha, and giving a reasoning for it (as they didn't assume it was
a "Chok") based on the science of their day.  This would be similar to
those that try to explain torah concepts based on the science of our
day.  The Torah is our mesorah and we sometimes try to understand it
through the science of our day.  If the science will change, it doesn't
mean our mesorah was wrong, just that our understanding of it at time X
could have been.

this doesn't quite work for "divrei sofrim", as those are things they
inovated, unless one is willing to say that the practice was inovated,
the reasoning was quickly forgotten and then they had to recreate a
possible reasoning and used the science of their day to do it (weak
explanation, I'd think). 'm wondering if there are many of those issues
in practice?

any thoughts?

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Date: Fri, 8 Jul 2005 06:10:40 -0700 (PDT)
From: Gil Student <simcha365@hotmail.com>
[hirhurim] [Hirhurim - Musings] Flatbush Eruv III

(Continued from here
<http://hirhurim.blogspot.com/2004/05/flatbush-eruv.html> and here

 From R. Chaim Jachter, Gray Matter (n.p., 2000), pp. 174-177:

     During the 1970s, the contruction of the eruv in Flatbush (a
     neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York) aroused great controversy. To
     this day, its permissibility remains disputed. The Va'ad Harabanim
     of Flatbush permits carrying inside the Flatbush eruv, while many
     rabbis and rashei yeshivah there, such as Torah Vodaath's Rav
     Yisroel Belsky (personal communication), forbid its use.

     Rav Yosef Eliyahu Henkin (Kitvei Hagaon Rav Y.E. Henkin 2:25)
     strongly encourages the construction of eruvin in New York's five
     boroughs, including Brooklyn (whose population easily exceeded
     600,000 already in hsi day). Although Rav Henkin does not explain
     why these places are not reshuyot ha! rabim [official public
     domains - GS], a number of arguments have been offered to support
     his cotnention that Flatbush is not in this category. First, Rav
     Shlomo David Kahane's argument regarding the Warsaw eruv seemingly
     applies to Flatbush, too, because no street within the Flatbush
     eruv runs straight from one end of the city to the other.[6]

     Second, the ruling of Rav Chaim Ozer Grodzinski and the Chazon Ish
     also seems to apply to Flatbush. The faces of the buildings and the
     fences along the Belt Parkway appear to constitute the majority of
     a wall on three sides.[7] (Ironically, this lenient consideration
     is most often applicable in densely populated urban areas rather
     than smaller suburbs, which frequently have much empty space
     between buildings.)

     Third, the Aruch Hashulchan's unique (but highly questionable)
     approach might be taken into account (Orach Chaim 345:19-24)...
     Rav Moshe Feinstein (Teshuv! ot Igrot Moshe, Orach Chaim 4:87)
     vigorously disputes the Aruch Hashulchan's argument, citing a proof
     to the contrary from the Gemara (Shabbat 96b). The Divrei Malkiel
     (vol. 3, p. 267) also writes that one may not rely on the Aruch
     Hashulchan's novel insight... Rav Aharon Lichtenstein conveyed
     sentiments similar to those of the Divrei Malkiel and Rav Moshe...

     A fourth defense of the Flatbush eruv is the opinion of Rav Efraim
     Zalman Margoliot (Beit Efraim, Orach Chaim 26) that only
     pedestrians count when determining that 600,000 people travel in a
     street. He argues that the requirement for 600,000 people is based
     on a comparison to the encampments in the desert. The comparison
     can thus be made only to pedestrians, as the 600,000 people who
     were in the quintessential reshut harabim were all pedestrians...

     Both Rav Moshe (Teshuvot Igrot Moshe, Orach Chaim 1:139:6) and Rav
     Binyamin! Silber (Teshuvot Az Nidberu 6:70) reject this argument,
     pointing out that wagons (agalot) were used in the desert
     encampment's thoroughfares. [I believe the Mishkenos Ya'akov, a
     contemporary of the Beis Efraim, also disputes this position - GS]
     Despite all of the arguments in favor of being lenient, Rav Moshe
     did not endorse the construction of the Flatbush eruv (see Teshuvot
     Igrot Moshe, Orach Chaim 4:87-88). He explicitly rejects all of the
     arguments presented and rules that the 600,000 people who regularly
     travel the streets of Brooklyn render it a reshut harabim.[10]

     [6] Even Flatbush Avenue and Bedford Avenue bend at various points;
     Ocean Parkway does not extend from one end of Brooklyn to the other.
     [7] The Chazon Ish (O.C. 107-5-7) requires that there be at least
     one street in the town that either bends or ends inside the town.
     Brooklyn meets this requirement, as we have explained in the
     previous footnote.
     [10] Rav Moshe's concern was not for the 600,000 residents but
     for 600,000 people traveling the streets at any time (drivers and
     pedestrians) within an area that is twelve mil (approximately eight
     miles by eight miles). He thus requires that the population be so
     great that 600,000 people are regularly found in the streets. Rav
     Moshe estimates that this requires at least 2.4 million residents.
     Rav Moshe is the lone authority who requries such a large
     populations, and even he (O.C. 4:87) expresses reservations about his
     view, noting that no other authorities mention it. Nevertheless,
     Brooklyn is so populous that even Rav Moshe considers it a reshut

I should note that volume 2 of Gray Matter is currently in production
with Yashar Books.

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Date: Fri, 8 Jul 2005 12:24:53 GMT
From: "kennethgmiller@juno.com" <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
re: [Hirhurim - Musings] Shaking Hands With Women

R' Gil Student wrote <<< As someone who has been shaking women's hands for
years, I simply cannot understand his reasoning. A quick handshake yields
no pleasure, and is so quick that it cannot even warm a cold hand. >>>

I too get no hana'ah from it, but someone once taught me: "That's not
the answer. That's the *problem*!!!"

In other words #1: We may be misunderstanding the cause-and-effect
relationship of what's going on here. We presume that contact is assur
in order to prevent hana'ah. But perhaps it is also assur in order to
prevent becoming desensitized.

In other words #2: We have become desensitized, and are using this as a
heter to allow contact. This could just be another tactic of the yetzer
hara. What we ought to do is REsensitize ourselves by avoiding even casual
"cold fish" contact.

I do not necessarily endorse the above ideas for all people and all
situations, but it is certainly something to think about.

[Email #2. -mi]

R' Gil Student opens a new thread asking <<< ... exactly what kind of
touching is prohibited... >>>

I haven't learned these Shachs and Igros Moshes as deeply as RGS and
some other posters, but there is an interesting halacha which I think
might be important for this topic. Unfortunately, I cannot find this
halacha right now (probably because it occurs so rarely), so I may be
remembering it inaccurately, in which case I'd appreciate being corrected
if I'm mistaken.

Namely, the halacha that if the wife becomes a nida during relations, they
should NOT separate immediately, because that too causes hana'ah. Rather,
they should wait until the separation occurs automatically, so that the
hana'ah is avoided. (I'm trying to be careful with my language here. If
I'm too unclear, write me offline.)

This halacha teaches an amazing point. One would think that contact is
forbidden, so they should minimize the amount of time that they are in
contact. But that is not so. Rather it is the hana'ah which is to be
minimized -- even at the cost of MORE contact!

To me, this suggests that we may be mistaken about what the real issur
is. Is it the contact, as we often say? Or perhaps contact is not assur
at all, or is only a minor issur as compared to hana'ah. But it is very
difficult to define and legislate against hanaah, while contact is a
much more objective point to define and legislate.

Just some thoughts...

Akiva Miller

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Date: Fri, 8 Jul 2005 16:34:31 -0400
From: "Cantor Wolberg" <cantorwolberg@cox.net>
Regarding the most recent issue of "Mesora" Jewish Times - The Weekly Journal on Jewish Thought

I was quite upset by the following statement contained in the recent
publication of "Mesora." Mesora does have some very valuable material
but it can be badly corrupted by material such as what follows. I am
sending the following for inclusion in its next publication. rw

To make a statement that can be viewed by anyone that "The never changing
Torah remains firm in its position that all religions except Judaism
are false, and all elements of other religions require extermination"
is quite inappropriate at best.

It's these type of statements that have increased much hatred to our
People. Rambam explains that any human being who faithfully observes the
seven Noachide laws (Sanhedrin 56a-59b) earns a proper place in heaven.
"The duty is enjoined upon them to set up judges in each district to
deal with these six commandments and to caution (educate) the people."
(Rambam, Laws of Kings 9:14)

Clearly they must teach the people to know and to live by the Laws
of Noach. The foundation and basis of the Seven Noachide Laws is
love and brotherhood. Even the word Noach indicates: pleasantness and
friendliness. And when Gentiles observe the Seven Noachide Laws they are
called "pious (righteous) Gentiles," which indicates kindness and love.

As well, when Shlomo Hamelech built the Beis Hamikdash in Yerushalayim,
he specifically asked God to heed the prayer of non-Jews who come to
the Temple (1-Kings 8:41-43). The Temple was the universal center of
spirituality, which the prophet Yishayahu referred to as a "House for
ALL nations."

So you see, the Torah is for all humanity, no conversion necessary. In
light of this, the above statement at the beginning which you have
printed in your most recent issue of Mesora is patently obnoxious and
foolish. I am truly embarrassed by your lack of sensitivity. This is
unfortunately only one example of the type of offensive material your
publication has printed. I think you do a great disservice, as well as
committing a chillul HaShem by printing this type of material.

To end on a positive note, we Jews, of all people, must show kindness
and emphasize the goodness and pleasantness which the observance of
the Noachide Laws will bring to the world and society. We certainly
don't accomplish this by knocking down others. This has been clearly
articulated by one of the gedolei ha-dor in 1986 on Shabbos Hagadol by
the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, zt"l.

Richard Wolberg

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Date: Sat, 9 Jul 2005 21:53:00 -0500
From: "brent" <fallingstar613@hotmail.com>
tinok shenishba

I have read in a sefer discussing "tinok shenishba" that there is a shita
that 'one who has never actually seen the Beis HaMikdash can be called
a tinok shenishba because that person has never seen "Torah b'Tifarta"
(Torah in its true glory). I have not been able to relocate this sefer
since then. Does anyone know of this shita and who's it is?

When I learned in Yeshiva Torah Ohr, I was told by one of the rebbeim
there that is the Rosh Yeshiva's (Rav Sheinberg's) talmid, that
R. Sheinberg said that David Ben Gurion was a tinok shenishba because had
he gone to a proper cheder and been shown the beauty of Torah he might
have had a different belief in Torah. (Being a tinok shenishba doesn't
lessen his being a rasha because he was a mean person towards Torah
and fought against it. And being mean and cruel has nothing to do with
whether he is a believing Jew or not. It is a simple matter of being a
civil human being that respects the beliefs of others, which he did not.)

Nonetheless, it is my opinion (and that need not be worth anything
to anyone) that a rav and really any Jew who has the ability to view,
judge and/or poskin l'chaf zechus towards other Jews and see them as
guiltless as possible (as R. Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev, and this example
of R. Sheinberg show) is a much more positive force in Am Yisrael for
good. Therefore, it seems from the teachings of R. Levi Yitzchak,
that finding those shitos that view more Jews as tinokei shenishba
to the greatest extent possible according to Torah, is... well, what
Hashem wants.

And as it has been stated on this forum in the past in the words of the
Bnei Yissachar, a person that strives to judge other Jews l'chaf zechus
will in turn be judged l'chaf zechus when his turn comes.

Anyway, does anyone know where or from whom the afore mentioned shita

brent kaufman 

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Date: Sat, 9 Jul 2005 23:07:56 -0400
From: "Rich, Joel" <JRich@Segalco.com>
Tzedaka from nachriim

[RSBA, one Areivim:]
> And many of the younger generation with large familes claim to belong
> to Tony Blair's Kollel - with some unbelievable social security benefits
> being offered.

I've been wondering about a related issue - why doesn't this fall under the
category of taking tzedaka from non-Jews  [=chillul hashem](see S"A O"C

In addition is there a category of people who are not idol worshippers
and not keepers of 7 mitzvot bnai noach? (see Rambam hilchot mlachim
10:10 versus Matnot aniyim 8:9 re taking tzedaka)?

Joe Rich

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Date: Sun, 10 Jul 2005 01:40:47 +1000
From: "SBA" <sba@sba2.com>
Re: [Hirhurim - Musings] Shaking Hands With Women

Gil Student <simcha365@hotmail.com> posted on Tue, 5 Jul 2005
> R. Moshe Feinstein repeatedly (Iggeros Moshe, Orah Hayim vol. 1 no. 113;
> Even > Ha-Ezer vol. 1 no. 56) ruled that a man enjoys shaking a woman's
> hand and  it is therefore prohibited.

From: "Zvi Lampel" <hlampel@thejnet.com>
> That is how I had read R' Moshe zt"l as well. However, at my boss's
> insistence, I asked R' Reuvain Feinstein, shlita, and he insisted that
> Rav Moshe permitted handshaking with a woman where she extends her hand
> first, on the basis of avoiding the issur of embarrassing her.

Strange. Seeing that the embarrassment issue IS the main problem, why
wouldn't RMF say this in any of the tshuvos on this subject?


PS BTW, isn't it interesting how often we will find that those who rely
on RMF for their chalav stam - do not accept his handshaking psak - and
conversely those who insist on CY do accept his ruling re handshaking...?

A case of taking kulei BS and kulei BH?

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Date: Sun, 10 Jul 2005 01:41:09 +1000
From: "SBA" <sba@sba2.com>
Re: Ribis

From: Gil Student <gil.student@gmail.com>
>Question for the group. If I take out a loan for family member from a
>lending institution. He pays back the loan including the ribis. Do I
>need a heter Iskah? Please offer MM.

I'm pretty sure that Rabbi Reisman discusses this in his Ribis book in
terms of mortgages in someone else's name, and he says that you do need
a Heter iska.

I have no MM, but have heard this psak many times.


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Date: Mon, 11 Jul 2005 12:41:42 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Rabbi Yaakov Feldman" <YFel912928@aol.com>
Der Alter: Alei Shur (1:3 concl.)

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Alei Shur (1:3)

   "There are two aspects to the intellect: perception and judgment. (As
   to perception,) if the intellect isn't mistaken in its perceptions,
   then what it perceives is true and every reasonable person would agree
   with it. But we'd find it impossible to agree with a perception for
   two reasons: either because the perception is off or because we'd
   claim that the perceiver is either dishonest or had been `bribed'
   (i.e., prejudiced). That's to say that we demand that the intellect be
   honest and pure in order to arrive at true and objective perceptions."

   "And the mind judges (i.e., accepts or rejects, places values on
   things). We typically judge things (emotionally) far more often than
   we perceive them (rationally). In fact, we judge things all day long
   (rather than perceive them, per se)."

   "Contradictions between our objective perceptions and subjective
   judgments bring about bitter inner conflicts, but a person of
   substance finds value in things he perceives to be true."

   "The intellect is the realm in which we're helped by Heaven. It's what
   moves us to do good things and warns us about what not to do. And it's
   the (seat of the) conscience that pangs when it comes to things we've
   done wrong."

   "The realm in which man experiences d'vekut (closeness to G-d) is the
   honest and pure intellect."

posted by Rabbi Yaakov Feldman at 8:32 AM   

Alei Shur (1:3 cont.)

   "An impure intellect isn't qualified to pierce through to the core
   lying behind the surface of things, because it's bribed by surface
   (appearances). For (only) someone who arrives at the actual core is
   sure to come to valid conclusions, thanks to his upright intellect."
   "The point at which someone turns to G-d is a moment of pure and
   upright intellect (for him); he draws close to Him then."

posted by Rabbi Yaakov Feldman at 5:40 AM   

Alei Shur (1:3 concl.)

   "The realm in which our perceptions (of what's right and wrong)
   actually transform into (changes in our) personal traits and behavior
   is our knowledge."
   "(But there are two forms of knowledge. The first is what we'd term)
   'common sense' .... thanks to which we know how to act (civilly on) a
   mundane level even when it comes to things we've never been taught
   .... For indeed, there are many such everyday things we know about and
   are sure of on our own, and which we have no doubts about ... (Such
   things are) termed 'axioms' in the sciences.... (But it's) the second
   form of knowledge ... that contains the awesome power to connect our
   perceptions with our traits, ... (and) which penetrates each stratum
   of our abilities and traits, purifies and sanctifies them, and
   attaches them to the intellect. It's (also) the flame that emits from
   the point of holiness in the Jewish soul .... It is knowledge of the
   way of moderation. It focuses upon adjusting our traits by
   deliberating over things .... (and) on mediating between character
   extremes. Whatever it solidifies in us flows throughout our other
   traits and sets them in the right direction. That (form of) knowledge
   is the (true) human being in each of us."

posted by Rabbi Yaakov Feldman at 11:12 AM   

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