Avodah Mailing List

Volume 16 : Number 084

Tuesday, January 10 2006

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Sun, 8 Jan 2006 11:45:59 -0500
From: Gil Student <gil.student@gmail.com>
Re: citations & g'neivas da'as

Someone asked on Areivim whether there is a heter for someone
to quote from an online source (e.g. Wikipedia) without
attribution and pretend that it is his words. R. Aaron Levine
discusses a similar situation in his new book Moral Issues
of the Marketplace in Jewish Law (published by Yashar). See
for the relevant excerpt. In short, it all depends on the assumptions
of the readers. If the readers assume that the author did the research
to arrive at this information, then it is geneivas da'as to refrain
from citing the source. If the readers have no such expectation and
know perfectly well that the material is not original, then there is no
geneivas da'as in not stating explicitly that it is not original.

However, there is also the issue of ingratitude to the original source
and failing to show respect to a teacher.

Although, R' Danny Schoeman pointed out that the author quoting Wikipedia
could very well have been the original Wikipedia author.

Gil Student,          Yashar Books
Subscribe to "Sefer Ha-Hayim - Books for Life" Newsletter:
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Date: Fri, 6 Jan 2006 14:09:25 -0500
From: "Rich, Joel" <JRich@Segalco.com>
tfilat refua

[From Areivim -mi]

From: Newman,Saul Z [mailto:Saul.Z.Newman@kp.org] 
> would it be halachically problematic to say one wouldnt pray for the
> recovery of a given jew, either due to their political or religious views?
> eg ex-Gaza jews [ or current Yesha jews] praying on behalf of one who
> would exile them...

for the sake of clarity are you suggesting specifically having in mind
during rfainu that it includes all cholei yisrael but this one(I hope not,
I would think this is a classic example of being sure to call down special
scrutiny on one's self and all those that one specifically prays for)?

Joel Rich

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Date: Sun, 8 Jan 2006 22:01:13 -0500
From: "Zvi Lampel" <hlampel@thejnet.com>
Re: Joseph and His Father

R. Micha Berger wrote that on Fri, Dec 23, 2005, Zvi Lampel pointed us to
<http://www.aishdas.org/articles/josephAndHisFather.shtml> where he wrote:

> Rashi cites the Zohar, which says that Yaakov's sending Joseph was
> Hashem's interfering with his normal thought-process. "He sent him out
> from Aimek Hebron, the deep place of Hebron. -- But Hebron is highland,
> not deep! It means that Yaakov's sending Joseph to his brothers was part
> of "oso eitza amuka," that deep, divine, master plan, to eventually put
> Yaakov in a situation forcing him against his will to leave Canaan and
> relocate in Egypt...

> Where is the Zohar? What do people who claim a late date for the
> Zohar do with this Rashi?...

And on Fri, 30 Dec 2005, R. Simon Montagu <simon.montagu@gmail.com>
correctly commented:
> The Zohar is at I 184a, but Rashi's sources seem to be Sota 11a and BR
> 84, 13

Unfortunately, my reference to the Zohar was not fully accurate. It
actually says that although Yaakov knew that his sons hated Yosef, he
nevertheless sent him out to them "because he did not suspect them [of
doing Yosef any harm] because they were all 'zaka-in,' but Hashem caused
all this, to fulfill the decree of the bris bein ha-besarim." The piece
about "oso eitsa amuka" is not there. Also inaccurate was my statement--

"Indeed, Malbim further cites the Zohar which says that after Joseph's
disappearance, every time Yaakov thought back to his sending Joseph away,
he felt as if spears were penetrating his body. "Why did I do such an
irrational thing as sending my beloved Joseph out to a dangerous place?!'"

This is not at all in the Zohar but, (as RSM pointed out) in Bereishis
Rabbah (84:13), which states that when Yaakov Avinu considered his
sending Yosef out to his brothers, "his inwards tore themselves [to
pieces] (mis-chas'chin). (No actual mention of "spears penetrating his
body.") It depicts Yaakov as saying, "You knew that your brothers hate
you, yet you said "henneni"!--which in its literal sense would indicate
that Yaakov ultimately knew, or at least suspected, that his sons were
responsible for Yosef's disappearance. It then goes on to the piece
about "oso eitsa amuka." Thus, Yaakov is depicted as not realizing the
extent of the brothers' hatred, yet after-the-fact thinking that Yosef
must have been aware of it; and it depicts him as being "torn" by the
thought that Yosef followed his orders without question (and not, as
I stated, that he was later astonished by the irrationality of his own
actions). Nevertheless, my thesis stands that Yosef, after years of not
hearing from his father, seriously considered the possibility that his
father /was/ aware of the brothers' actions, and agreed with them.

What was I thinking when I wrote of the Zohar? In the back of my mind was
another fascinating Malbim (on Bereishis 35:21) about Reuvain's feeling
of responsibility for Yosef because, as reported by "the mekubalim" and as
stated in the Arizal's Kanfay Yonah (hence my confusion about the Zohar),
Ephraim and Menashe were supposed to have been conceived through Yaakov
and Bilhah the night Reuvain interfered. (And this explains Reuvain's
personal interest in saving Yosef from the pit, and it explains why in
Parshas VaY'chi, Yaakov declares Ephraim and Menashe to be his children
as much as are Reuvain and Shimon.)

Zvi Lampel

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Date: Sun, 8 Jan 2006 22:39:09 -0500
From: MPoppers@kayescholer.com
Re: Joseph and His Father

I saw this past weekend that HaRav MEliyahu pointed readers to the
commentary of Ohr HaChayim (on Braishis 45:26, s.v. "V'rawiysiy") re
why Yosaif didn't try to contact his father after becoming viceroy.
Ayin sham.

All the best from
 -Michael Poppers via RIM pager

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Date: Fri, 6 Jan 2006 12:10:58 -0800 (PST)
From: Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
Re: Length of Maaseh Breshis has no impact on halacha (science of origins is speculative and suspect)

Mendel Singer <mendel@case.edu> wrote:
> While
> this might not be intellectually pleasing to everyone, how can you say
> that the planting of bones is trickery?

> Sorry. I just don't see this is as tricking people. I can understand why
> people might not like this approach, and why people would find others
> more satisfying, but this isn't trickery.

I do not think it is trickery. I believe that dinosaurs actually
existed. But to those who say they didn't, the burden is on them to
explain how those bones got there. The view that God just put them there
to make the world look old for no reason makes no sense. It also makes
no sense to say that he put them there to test us. Would a caring and
loving God force His people to deny their intellect by planting false
evidence and challenging us to deny our reasoned conclusions? What kind
of a God does this? It can only be one that wants most of His people to
fail that test.

I prefer to believe that God created a physical universe that follows the
laws of nature which He built into it. To the extent that we can analyze
and explain to the best of human reasoning certain data rationally, and by
allowing for an older universe than the literalists, which additionally
has corroboration by Rishonim and Gedolei HaAchronim... we can maintain
our faith without suspending our intellect.

You prefer the literalist method of denying the intellect and simply
saying God created the world to look old... and to the extent that we
think it does look old, it is just a way of God testing our Emunah...
fine. But for me this doesn't work.


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Date: Sat, 07 Jan 2006 19:06:49 +0200
From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
1000 sacrified for 1 Godol

Rav Dessler (Vol 3 page 357) talks about the sacrifice we must be
preparred to make to produce gedolim. He cites the Rambam "Let a 1000
fools be sacrified in order that one gadol benefits".

Where does the Rambam state this? I searched both Bar Ilan and DBS and
could not find such a quote.

Daniel Eidensohn

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Date: Mon, 09 Jan 2006 14:33:30 -0500
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Re: Length of Maaseh Breshis

Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org> wrote:
> On Mon, Jan 02, 2006 at 10:13:03PM -0500, Zev Sero wrote:
>: Since we seem to be back to this question yet again, let me trot out my
>: standard reply: artistic completeness...

> ... And my reply: Complete compared to what? Art might imitate nature,
> but when we're talking about the artistry of nature, Hashem defines
> what "normal" is. Therefore had He chosen to draw a teva exaplanation
> that didn't involve billions of years, and otherwise were closer to
> Bereishis 1, we would find that equally artistic, complete, and in line
> with current teva.

It didn't have to involve billions of years. Ela mai? Millions?
Thousands? Decades? Whatever He did would have to imply *some* time
before creation. And the same question of Hashem "fooling" us would have
applied to that time, however short. And unless you want a universe where
mountains form and erode over a period of decades or centuries (what would
happen to human flesh in such a universe?), the existence of mountains
and valleys must have implied to Adam an extremely long prehistory.
The only sense I can make of your argument is that that prehistory could
conceivably have been a bit shorter than it is. To which I respond that
such a world would not be as magnificent as the one we have.

Zev Sero

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Date: Tue, 10 Jan 2006 11:55:32 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Length of Maaseh Breshis

On Mon, Jan 09, 2006 at 02:33:30PM -0500, Zev Sero wrote:
:>... And my reply: Complete compared to what? Art might imitate nature,
:>but when we're talking about the artistry of nature, Hashem defines
:>what "normal" is. Therefore had He chosen to draw a teva exaplanation
:>that didn't involve billions of years, and otherwise were closer to
:>Bereishis 1, we would find that equally artistic, complete, and in line
:>with current teva.

: It didn't have to involve billions of years. Ela mai? Millions?
: Thousands? Decades? Whatever He did would have to imply *some* time
: before creation...

Hashem could have designed nature such that 6 days would have been a
logical and reasonable interval for creation.


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Date: Tue, 10 Jan 2006 12:01:08 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Rav Zeira

On Tue, Jan 03, 2006 at 08:17:09PM -0500, Shmuel Weidberg wrote:
: The gemara in Shabbos daf ayin ches amud beis: (It's a paraphrase with
: Rashi included and some details and questions skipped)
: Rabbi Zeira found Rav Yehuda in a good mood and asked him a number of
: questions...

A tangent: It's interesting to see R' Zeira engage in milsa
bedichusa. In general, we find other tana'im trying to cheer /him/ up.
See Niddah 23a (R' Yirmiyah), Sanhedrin 59a, and RYH's post at


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Date: Tue, 10 Jan 2006 12:50:49 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Tzadik vtov lo

The following post also addresses the Hashkafah 101 thread, which I had
on back burner so long it ended without me.

I would say that sechar mitzvos behai alma leika because this world is
not about sechar va'onesh, it's about providing the ideal environment
for maximizing one's ability to recieve tov. The actual reciept of that
tov (or not) is in olam haba. This is at the begining of the Ramchal's
Derekh H'.

Even if HP is universal, sechar va'onesh need not be a major factor
in hai alma. Hatavah is. That sometimes coincides with SvO, but more
often doesn't.

So, one gets onesh in olam hazeh if the best way for the person to
get from where they are to where they should be requires going through
onesh. Or nisayon, or yisurim...

Onesh in olam hazeh does therefore increase one's sechar in olam haba --
if responded to correctly.

The rasha is incapable of that. Therefore, he is given an easier life
rather than challenges he can not meet. And that lack of growth will
cost him, in the long run.

Thus, this is an olam hafuch because it's all about the means, not the
ends. The one with the most potential is the one driven hardest.

So the underlying principle behind hashgahah in olam hazeh is simple:
Kol man de'avad Rachmanah, letav avad. But in order for that to have
any explanatory power, we not only would need to know ourselves and
what is good for us better than we do, we would have to know all of
the hypothetical "me"s that would exist for every possible life Hashem
could have given us to know why He chose this one, and not that. So,
despite knowing the principle, we can not second-guess reasons for the
events of life.

I believe that sechar va'onesh is causal, and yet meted out by HQBH
"Personally". This seems like a paradox, but until one realizes that
for Him, there is no difference in when He set up the causal system,
and when He metes out SvO. They are just different models for allowing
people to understand the same idea.

But since SvO is causal, I understand things like "YK mechaperes" as
meaning that YK, when experienced correctly, changes one in a manner
that effects kaparah and removes the internal cause for onesh.

I already referred the chevrah to a list of blog
entries where I bring meqoros for this position. See

However, SvO is only one vector amongst many
for hatavah. As in "The Thermodynamics of History"
the "equilibrium stated is a perfected self in a perfected world. That's
what we believe in in the 12th and 13th ikkarim. And thus, that's where
hashgachah is directing us.


Micha Berger             When a king dies, his power ends,
micha@aishdas.org        but when a prophet dies, his influence is just
http://www.aishdas.org   beginning.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                    - Soren Kierkegaard

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Date: Tue, 10 Jan 2006 13:14:59 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Al ta'amin b'atzmecha

On Fri, Jan 06, 2006 at 06:05:13PM +1000, sba@sba2.com wrote:
:> quoted in Vayaged Yackov.
:> http://www.torah.org/learning/hamaayan/5758/shlach.html
: I clicked there [though I would really like to see it inside]. Vezeh
: leshonoy:
:> R' Levi Yitzchak of Bereditchev z"l writes that the statement, "Do 
:> not believe in yourself until the day you die," is part of the 
:> statement that comes before it, i.e., "Do not separate yourself 
:> from the community." Chazal promise that a person who causes others 
:> to do mitzvot will be protected from spiritual harm. "Do not 
:> separate yourself from the community;" rather, attempt to teach 
:> them. Only in this way can you be spiritually secure.
: Is RLY disagreeing with the Mishna? or what?

I too would prefer to see the primary source. However, what the version
in Hamaayan seems to say is that RLYmB is taking the mishnah as an action
and a motivator to so it.

Al tifrosh min hatzibur. Why? Because al ta'amin be'atzmekha... Nothing
else but participation in the tzibur will keep one in line. Don't think
that you're okay, and don't need this protection -- not until yom mosekha.


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: Mon, 9 Jan 2006 19:35:44 -0500
From: "Zvi Lampel" <hlampel@thejnet.com>
RE: Xmax and Assimilation

Thu, 5 Jan 2006  ""S & R Coffer"" rivkyc@sympatico.ca wrote
"In fact, we had two birthdays. Personally, I think the whole gift-giving
thing should be abolished :-)"

Where was it that I read that the right perspective of things would be
that the children, in hakaros hatov to their parents for all they did
to bring them into the world and raise them, should on their birthdays
give gifts to the parents! (It wouldn't have made any sense to me in my
younger years, but it sure makes sense to me now that I'm a parent... )

Zvi Lampel

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Date: Tue, 10 Jan 2006 13:22:13 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Xmax and Assimilation

On Thu, Jan 05, 2006 at 09:01:41PM -0500, S & R Coffer wrote:
: I have a question. If something starts out as theistically motivated but
: ends up being driven by other motives to the point where the initial
: underpinning is all but forgotten, what is the halacha?...

We've discussed this question in terms of other holidays. Thanksgiving
seems to be a machloqes. Holloween isn't observed by any of , but most
of us don't consider it yom eidusim to the extent of prohibiting giving
out candy on it.

Santa and Xmas gifts is closer to Holloween than Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving of Lincoln's commemoration of a historical event that was
religious, and the commemoration is some non-descript monotheistic in
overtone -- not of a particular AZ. (And even that they're trying to
take out.) OTOH, Holloween is from a religion they don't even believe
in anymore. Thus, this is somewhere in between.


Micha Berger             "The most prevalent illness of our generation is
micha@aishdas.org        excessive anxiety....  Emunah decreases anxiety:
http://www.aishdas.org   'The Almighty is my source of salvation;  I will
Fax: (270) 514-1507      trust and not be afraid.'" (Isa 12) -Shalhevesya

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Date: Mon, 9 Jan 2006 23:42:54 -0500
From: Shmuel Weidberg <ezrawax@gmail.com>
Re: 1000 sacrified for 1 Godol

On 1/7/06, Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@012.net.il> wrote:
> Rav Dessler (Vol 3 page 357) talks about the sacrifice we must be
> preparred to make to produce gedolim. He cites the Rambam "Let a 1000
> fools be sacrified in order that one gadol benefits".
> Where does the Rambam state this? ...

In the introduction to the Peirush Mishnayos, the Rambam says something
along those lines.

Kol Tuv,

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Date: Tue, 10 Jan 2006 08:21:44 +0200
From: "Shoshana L. Boublil" <toramada@bezeqint.net>
RE: vest kavua nowadays

From: "Samuel Svarc" <ssvarc@yeshivanet.com>
> I was fortunate to have learned Hilchos Niddah as a chosson with one of
> the four official Lakewood poskim. He introduced vestos by saying that I
> basically wouldn't need to worry about a vest kavua for the rest of my
> life, it is that unheard of.

I am truly astonished. ALL the women in my family have veset kavu'a.
Not ony that, but through 15 years of teaching Kallot, the vast majority
had one type or another of veset kavu'a.

What I did find was that young women rarely truly keep track of their
veset for halachic reasons(though they write it down for other reasons)
b/c they are told that "there is no veset kavu'a anymore".

When I got married, approx. 24 years ago, rabbis still talked about veset
kavu'a, and more importantly -- young women knew enough about the issues
to be able to determine themselves if they had veset kavu'a.

In another post someone raised the issue of 3 or 4 repeats to set the
veset. I'm specifically referring to women who can state clearly that
they had the same haflaga (date is rarer) for xx years -- since shortly
after they received their period. Sometimes the haflaga is more complex
-- the haflaga isn't a single time but a period of, for example, always
28-30 days (never earlier and never later) that can be determined by
observation over a period of years.

In one case, a young woman had written down every veset for the past
few years. She had a veset haflaga that was built of cycles of 30 days
-- 26 days -- 30 days -- 26 days. We marked the calendar and saw that
this repeated again and again and again. The Rav we asked to confirm
the wedding date also stated that this was a veset kavu'a, and that she
didn't have to worry about the optional dates (check for 26 when it was
time for 30 etc.).

I am willing to accept though that women with diet problems (anorexia,
bolemia) etc. will find that this impacts on the cycle. Women with
anorexia at some point cease to have a cycle. Also, extreme sports also
have similar impact.

But, I would like to reiterate -- there are plenty of women out there
with veset kavu'a; both young women and mothers.

Shoshana L. Boublil

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Date: Tue, 10 Jan 2006 09:59:21 -0500
From: "Zvi Lampel" <hlampel@thejnet.com>
Shemoneh Perakim Chapter Six

Phillip Silverman notified me that while Rambam wrote the Shemoneh Perakim
in Arabic, all the script, not just the Hebrew phrases, was written in
Hebrew letters. This strengthens the (side-)point I was raising (but not
seriously) that one might suggest that the Rambam's original text read
"orlah," but the top of the "lamed" was lopped off to make it look like

Also, I had referred to ". those forms that /are/ forbidden to b'nay
Noach and universally acknowledged as sinful, which the Chazal the Rambam
refers to as "gilui arayos" -- such as adultery,[4] and unnatural forms
such as bestiality and homosexuality."

When I wrote "universally acknlowledged as sinful," I had in mind the
Rambam's description of these being things to which the "da'as is noteh"
and, regarding adultery, I was thinking of the universal attitude of the
earlier biblical times of Avraham and Yitzchak (Avimelech and Pharoah
regarding Sarah and Rivkah), and Yosef (regarding his imprisonment
for his alleged crime against Potufar), where the kings and officers
understood it to be an evil. Regarding homosexuality, I had in mind Rav
Nissim Gaon's comment in his introduction printed at the beginning of
Brachos. There he explains why the people of Noach's time and of Sodom
were held accountable for these acts, even without a kabbalah forbidding
them: In those earlier times, when moral reason was not yet corrupted
by generations of acculmulated sin-acceptance, people were responsible
to realize on their own that theft, bestiality and homosexuality are
sinful acts.

Zvi Lampel

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