Avodah Mailing List

Volume 16 : Number 033

Saturday, November 19 2005

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2005 22:02:57 +0100
From: Minden <phminden@arcor.de>
Re: Re; TIDE

Shinnar, Meir wrote:
> The last point that RYGB makes is that the small towns were a different  
> reality than the big towns. That statement is partially correct - small  
> villages were different, and there were small villages that remained  
> Orthodox - but most of Germany, even rural Germany, wasn not Orthodox by  
> the turn of the century.

Most of rural Southern Germany and Alsace a hundred years ago was what
I call altorthodox, or pre-denominational. In my eyes, the situation
resembles how Seforadim and Benei eides hamizrech lived before most went
to EY, and just as you still don't really have non-Ashkenazi reform etc.
movements because the pigeonholes simply don't match, you have the same
kind of shoumer mitzves pre-denominational people in Switzerland and
Alsace. They're getting less, unfortunately.


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Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2005 15:25:31 -0500
From: "Samuel Svarc" <ssvarc@yeshivanet.com>
Having a job being b'diavad?

From: Ken Bloom <kbloom@gmail.com>
|If the Torah has so many mitzvot related to agriculture and to one's
|occupation in general, and Jewish theology is all about sanctifying the
|physical, rather than retreating from the physical and engaging solely
|in the spiritual, then how is it that we can have a hashkafa that makes
|people who don't study Torah all day, and who have jobs and a secular
|education feel B'Dieved?

I wouldn't characterize "having a job" as being a b'dieved by the
Torah-Only crowd. They look at it as not the optimum. Surprisingly enough,
in some way, you agree with them. It would appear from your post that
you're not from the Torah-Only people. I'm sure though, that you stand
up for your Rav (and any TC). However, if a job is just as optimum as
learning, then why are *you* standing as opposed to them? Now, I know
that you'll answer that in the choice to learn or work, neither is better
or some such thing, but learning brings along other things (knowledge
of Torah etc.), and they are the cause that you stand for a TC. Fine,
but you agree that on some level it's better to learn.

Now, as for, "Jewish theology is all about sanctifying the physical,
rather than retreating from the physical and engaging solely in the
spiritual", whose arguing? You know any Jewish monks? Jews marry, have
kids, etc. This isn't physical enough? Only a job is physical enough?
M'nu Lon?

Finally, how do people ,who believe in Torah-Only as the optimum, deal
with the fact that the Torah has mitzvos that apply to working stiffs?
Well, in a general way, they answer that, "Harboh asu K'Reb Shimon v'lo
olso b'yotom", since the chait of eitz hadass people by definition will
need to work, and therefore the Torah tells you how to approach it.
Similar to the fact that the Torah specifies the korban a sinner brings,
and teshuvah is a mitzvah. No one understands that as condoning sinning.
Besides, in all honesty, *no one* understands the mind of G-d. Hashem
gave us mitzvos and *that's* why we follow them.


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Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2005 13:59:36 -0600
From: "brent kaufman" <fallingstar613@hotmail.com>

R' Simcha Coffer wrote:
>1) the idea that TIDE, as a movement, although necessary then and perhaps
>necessary today too, is not necessarily the ideal approach to Yiddishkeit
>and 2) RSRH, despite his incredible development of the approach of TIDE,
>could ultimately agree with my number 1 if the circumstances were right.

WADR, If you would read enough passages of RSRH, you would realize
that with all the great svoros in the world you may try to offer, RSRH
stated explicitly, way too many times, with way too much passion, that
the whole tachlis of human existence is living TIDE,

When I was in yeshiva in Eretz Yisrael it was common knowledge that the
Steipler said that our present system of Kollel (Torah only) was not
the system intended at Har Sinai. People were meant to live Torah and
work and that the current kollel system is ONLY a hora'as sha'ah after
the holocaust, in order to rebuild the Torah world.

I've seen it in writing but don't remember where. Does anyone know
the source? (Chai Olam?)


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Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2005 22:21:26 +0000
From: Arie Folger <afolger@aishdas.org>

On Thursday, 17. November 2005 18.27, Avodah wrote:
> This "very large Grossgemeinde Orthodox community" was so Orthodox,
> that they were content to live without an Orthodox Rav. Furthermore,
> when finally, according to you, 11 families sent for an Orthodox Rav,
> they were so Orthodox that they didn't even "sign on". Lets not get
> confused here, we are talking years before Austritt, when there *were*
> Orthodox families who stayed in the regular Kehilla (with the consent of
> their Orthodox Poskim). You'll forgive me for doubting their "Orthodoxy".

[RYGB] and others have already pointed out how false this statement
is. Let me add that
1) the Orthodox did not miss a beat. Immediately after the defeat in
1830, which had been several years in the making, they got organized in
'hevrot, or emphasized membership in preexisting 'hevrot ('hevrat shas,
etc.) and already before the defeat they had been hiring some talmide
'hakhamim to give shi'urim, and these became their leaders. When the
gemeinde stopped fulfilling the religious needs, such as kosher food,
they didn't start fasting, but made arrangements that didn't depend on
the kehillah.
2) RSRH didn't invent separatism, the IRG did, and it was established 2
years ealier. RSRH merely developed separatism into Austritt, and there,
he didn't draw so much support. It is estimated that only about a quarter
of the members of the IRG left the gemeinde.
3) Rav Hildesheimer and C? did not oppose Austritt nor did they support
it. REH was the Rav of Adas Yisroel, which housed the yeshivah and
... was Berlin's Austrittgemeinde. REH mostly kept a neutral profile. He
supported the grosse gemeinde wherever there were good chances of doing
'avodat haqodesh, but did try to discourage a pupil from joining the
grosse Gemeinde of Frankfurt.
4) Arguing whether or not REH held of TiDE is silly, REH and RSRH were
in agreement mostly, they only differed as to how much one could/should
coopt Wissenschaft. Here RSRH was the community rav, more pragmatic,
and REH more the rosh yeshivah, bent on turning out talmidim who will
earn respect from all.
5) While I am in agreement with much of what RYGB wrote, I am puzzled
by the trichotomy Haskalah/Reform/assimilation. I am right now writing a
lecture that includes a section on Haskalah. Based on this and previous
lectures I prepared on the topic, let me state that until Abraham Geiger
appears, Reform and Haskalah are the handmaiden of emancipation coupled
with assimilation. Reform was invented to serve assimilation. What RYGB
wants to say is perhaps that Haskalah only really gained its intellectual
aspects afterwards, in the middle of the 19th century, when it was
reaching Eastern Europe, and thus, the intellectual, non-assimilationist
Haskalah is an Eastern European product. The Wissenschaft you are all
mentioning played a negligible role in the first third of the 19th
century. By the time Reform and Wisenschaft become significant, most
German Jews were no longer frum, and the Orthodox were already well on
the counteroffensive.
6) RSRH did not make Germany frum, but did manage to keep his kehillah
frum in very turbulent times.
7) the Rabbinerseminar was very influential. Our community, Basel
Switzerland, is Orthodox because of REH's student, our first rav, Rav
Asher Mikhael (Arthur) Cohn. He fought on behalf of yahadut and guess
where he learned that...

Arie Folger

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Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2005 15:32:21 -0800 (PST)
From: Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
Re: Belief in HaShem

On Tue, Nov 15, 2005 at 07:24:21PM -0500, Joshua Meisner wrote:
> 1) Is the mitzvah of belief in HaShem a command to intellectually know of
> His existence (or better, to strive for this knowledge) or is it a command
> to have simple faith in His existence? Some combination?
> Machlokes?

Avodah Zarah - Do not worship false gods/idols. It seems implicit in these
words that if there are false gods, there must be a true One. To then say
that non-belief is acceptable is to contradict the implications of this
Noahide law. Some might even say that atheism is itself a false "god".

While Bnei Noach do not have "Anochi" as one of their mitzvos, I think it
is never-the-less a corolary of the command to "not worship false gods"
...to "beleive in God".


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Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2005 18:46:41 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Belief in HaShem

WADR to RHM, I do not see how a prohibition against elohei neichar would
include atheism or simply not caring to have a theological stance.

According to the Rambam, the 7 mitzvos benei Noach must be fulfilled
because they weare mitzvos. Which presumes belief in the One who was

Adding REMT's proof:
> According to those who believe that shituf is permitted for a ben Noach,
> it would seem that the _only_ chiyuv he has is the positive one of Anochi,
> and not the negative of Lo yihyeh l'cha.

We've now concluded that R' Tam and the Rambam would each hold that
BN must believe in HQBH.

I also wonder if an argument could be constructed based on their issur
of "birkhas" Hashem... It would seem a qal vachomer to me that if they
can't curse Him, they can't deny his existence altogether. (Apathy, not
sin'ah, is the opposite of ahavah.)


Micha Berger             Here is the test to find whether your mission
micha@aishdas.org        on Earth is finished:
http://www.aishdas.org   if you're alive, it isn't.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                        - Richard Bach

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Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2005 18:35:15 -0500
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Re: Peirot Shevi'it

A few weeks ago I asked some questions about Hilchot Shevi'it. Does
anyone have any answers? I thought the chevra in EY, who live with this
stuff, would at least have some ideas. If not, is there an expert in
these halachot whom I could ask? (I doubt that too many Chu"l rabbanim
know these halachot very well.)

I went looking for the halachot in Shulchan Aruch, thinking they'd be
there because they would have been practical halacha for the Mechaber,
but I couldn't find them. Then I realised that the chapter structure
was set up by the Tur, for whom Shemita was "hilcheta limeshicha", so
there was nowhere for the Mechaber to discuss it. So, apart from the
Rambam's Hilchot Shemitah, where should I look?

Zev Sero

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Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2005 19:15:38 -0500
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Re: Names in English

> Is "G-d" a name?
> In terms of spoken word, as in prayer, it's identical to the word for
> deity, "god" with a lower case "g".

I don't think etymology matters. The only question is what is the Name of
the Creator, in the English language. And if you ask any native English
speaker, in any English-speaking country, they will invariably identify
the G word, with a capital G, as His Name. They will not offer the L word,
or Almighty, or anything else, even though they will probably understand
those terms as also referring to Him; in other words, they are all English
kinnuyim. And the halacha is that, when praying in a foreign language,
one must use the Name in that language, and not a kinnuy. I'm not sure
what one is supposed to do if the language has no Name for Him; perhaps,
in such a language, one must use the Hebrew Shem Adnus.

Zev Sero

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Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2005 21:37:28 -0500
From: "Zvi Lampel" <hlampel@thejnet.com>
Writting His name in full

"brent kaufman" fallingstar613@hotmail.com wrote:
> So, even according to these opinions [The Shach] (who) states that in
> other languages one may write G-d's name out, however, it has become
> the Jewish way of writing it, and The Kitzur SA in 6:3 (which) says
> that one may not write His name in any other language] writing God on
> computer is permissable.

Unless one should take into consideration the possibility (or perhaps
likelihood? -- that one will print it out. Or perhaps this merely puts
the onus on the printer-outer.

BTW, in the "ancient" days of "hot type" linotype, a typsetter formed his
letters into lead lines of words and when the "page" was filled melted
the lead for more typesetting. The hetter for typesetting siddurim
and other works with Hashem's name in them was that the words he was
imbedding into the lead were mirror-images, and only appearred as the
actual name of Hashem on the paper it was printed upon.

Zvi Lampel

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Date: Fri, 18 Nov 2005 02:46:04 GMT
From: "kennethgmiller@juno.com" <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
Re: Writting His name in full

R' Micha Berger asked <<< Is "G-d" a name? >>>

When a bracha is recited in Aramaic, it begins "Brich Rachamana..." I
recall somewhere either the Mishne Brurah or Aruch Hashulchan writing
that (despite what the linguists might say) "Rachamana" does NOT mean
"The Merciful One". Rather it is The Name in that language; it is the
*proper* Name, the word which is used to directly refer to Him, the way
people use the word "Akiva" to refer to me.

If that recollection is correct, then I see no question. It is perfectly
reasonable English to say "G-d did this" and "G-d said that", and if so,
then in English, "G-d" *is* His Name.

Akiva Miller

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Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2005 19:26:50 -0500
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Re: Geirut

"Rich, Joel" <JRich@Segalco.com> wrote:
> Some time back we discussed what we would tell a ben noach who came to us
> and asked whether hkbh wanted him to convert.  I was thinking about the
> bracha a ger makes upon geirut.  What mitzvah is he saying it on? Who is
> commanded?

Which bracha? "Al hatevilah"? He says that *after* he has become Jewish,
and is therefore commanded to immerse himself on certain occasions,
one of them being on becoming a Jew. The same bracha is made by women
when they immerse themselves, and, I believe, by men who are preparing
to eat kodashim or to go up to the BHMK.

Now if the ger were to say a bracha "AKBV lehitgayer", then your question
would make sense.

Zev Sero

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Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2005 21:50:08 -0500
From: "Samuel Svarc" <ssvarc@yeshivanet.com>
Re: Geirut

From: "Rich, Joel" <JRich@Segalco.com>
>Some time back we discussed what we would tell a ben noach who came to us
>and asked whether hkbh wanted him to convert.  I was thinking about the
>bracha a ger makes upon geirut.  What mitzvah is he saying it on? Who is

This is a very good question (as an aside, there are many questions on
Avodah and Areivim that start me thinking).

AFAIK it's k'tzas mashmia in the Gemara, that HKBH *is* interested in a
sincere convert. OTOH, *we* are required to try to dissuade him. I would
suggest not answering the question directly, but to say something like
the following, "What would give you that idea? In fact we're required
to try to dissuade you!"


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Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2005 17:19:57 -0800 (PST)
From: Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
Re: Belief in HaShem

Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org> wrote:
> WADR to RHM, I do not see how a prohibition against elohei neichar would
> include atheism or simply not caring to have a theological stance.

What I said was: ...SOME... might even say that atheism is itself a false
"god". But that was not my main point and you're right, atheism is not
included in the prohibition against elohei neichar. My main point was that
the implication of the words "false gods" is that there must be a true
One. There is also the Noahide law of "Do not curse God". The very concept
of blasphemy is in an of itself indicative of a requirement to active
belief in God. If there were no God then whom would one be blaspheming?


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Date: Fri, 18 Nov 2005 11:23:34 +0200
From: Eli Turkel <eliturkel@gmail.com>

R' Brent Kaufman responded <<< Chassidim didn't accept this either. Most
mekubalim that I've spoken to and learned from do not accept this as
binding any longer. >>>

 From the phrase <<< any longer >>>, do you mean that they accept that
it was binding at some time, but not nowadays? If so, what happened to
change it?

R. Zadok brings an opinion that once Kabbalah became public that there is
no longer a prohibition to teach/learn it. He rejects that opinion but
then states an even more lenient opinion. He says that the prohibition
on teaching kabbalah in public is only what he calls "mesirah". Where
it is 100% clear and obvious what everything means. This cannot be done
by books. He brings a story that the talmidim of the Ari were able to
perform Yichudim and learn things while the Ari was alive. However once
the Ari passed away the same acts no longer worked. Hence, Kabbalah is
more than mere learning of phrases.

Eli Turkel

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Date: Sat, 19 Nov 2005 21:46:38 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Admin: Getting Back on Track

I've been a little busier than usual at work the past couple of months,
so a number of things got by me that shouldn't have. Now would be a good
time to refocus and bring Avodah back up to where it should be.

A second issue is that I reduced digest size to accomodate PDAs, but
that means that digests come closer together. Faster exchanges seem to
promote people writing more quickly.

First, people have been writing a little bitingly. I'm not saying
outright nasty (I wasn't totally asleep at the moderation switch),
but a shade more critical of eachother than strictly necessary.

Second, not everything that comes to mind needs to be posted. On many
issues people know there are two sides. If you have little to say about
the other side, you needn't post just to mention its existence.

If you really have a burning need to give your opinion, why not start
a blog? The instructions at www.blogger.com are really straightforward.

Third, Avodah is a discussion group, not a debating forum. It's not
about scoring points on who said what, but about getting to the emes.
People could repoly to say things to elaborate what you did -- they
didn't necessarily dispute your point. Misspeech and misunderstandings
are errors, not crimes.

Last, if you are going to bother writing to a large audience something
that will stay on google indefinitely, then perhaps you should invest
the time to look up meqoros. Not posting meqoros because you are working
off personal sevarah or can't find them is one thing. But lack of trying
simply isn't appropriate.

If you only have the access to read and reply to Avodah at the office
(its own set of issues), print the email, look it up at home, take notes,
and reply the next day.

If you think it's worth saying to a wide audience, it's worth investing
the time to present it as well as possible.

Gut Voch!

Micha Berger             Feeling grateful  to or appreciative of  someone
micha@aishdas.org        or something in your life actually attracts more
http://www.aishdas.org   of the things that you appreciate and value into
Fax: (270) 514-1507      your life.         - Christiane Northrup, M.D.

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Date: Fri, 18 Nov 2005 06:19:28 -0500
From: "Rich, Joel" <JRich@Segalco.com>

someone asked about a bracha starting wirh brich
brich rachmana malka  dalma di yahavin l.....

Said when seeing onr healed from a serious illness

joel rich

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Date: Fri, 18 Nov 2005 12:27:30 +0000
From: Arie Folger <afolger@aishdas.org>
Re: Torah and communal sheleimus

On Thursday, 17. November 2005 23.05, Avodah wrote:
> Second, are you adding that because the Torah only addresses the more
> advanced levels of human development, a person could choose to use the
> Torah correctly, but be unready to do so on those issues where he's
> still more immature in his development?

This fits somewhat with RSRH's evaluation of Jephetic culture as a
prerequisite for Torah. Nut I am uncomfortable with this notion.

Arie Folger

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Date: Fri, 18 Nov 2005 12:42:49 +0000
From: Arie Folger <afolger@aishdas.org>

RMS wrote:
> Now, while Reform is not the same as Haskala, and is not a necessay
> sequel to haskala, they share much of the same values. They both share an
> openness to the surrounding culture and a belief that the intellectual
> tools of modern culture can and should be used in understanding our own
> religious heritage (this I would even argue might be viewed almost as a
> defintion of haskala) - and is also part and parcel of Modern Orthodoxy
> (and of RSRH - even if he wasn't a proponent of Wissenschaft...) - and
> it was something that was almost universally shared by all of German
> Jewry by the late 19th century (almost all of whom, even in small towns,
> went to either public schools or to Modern Orthodox day schools) -
> and the major issue that RSRH dealt with on a sociological level was
> the meaning of torah in this modern, post haskala environment.

Based on information I have gathered from my studies, this seems
anachronistic. Neither Reform nor Haskalah started as an exercise
in Jewish self-understanding, but rather as tools to bring about
emancipation. It is only a three four decades at least into the
Haskalah that these movements present themselves as having intrinsic
Jewish values. In fact, the question of openness may have been mostly
an Orthodox issue, for the nonobservant had no need to consider that
question, they were culturally assimilating, period. Reform became a
way to make the little bit of religion they were ready to accept more
meaningful and coherent, or, as we could legitimately cynically remark,
a way of making Judaism more harmless.

References: Heinz Moshe Graupe in "The Rise of Modern Judaism", David
Ellenson in "Rabbi Esriel Hildesheimer and the Creation of a Modern
Jewish Orthodoxy", Robert Lieberless in "The Resurgence of Orthodox
Judaism in Frankfurt am Main, 1838-1877" and numerous articles, for
example in the Jewish Encyclopedia (http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com)
and Encyclopedia Judaica.

More references can be produced, but this should get you going.

Arie Folger

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