Avodah Mailing List
Volume 16 : Number 094
Thursday, January 19 2006
Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Thu, 19 Jan 2006 12:59:29 +0200
From: Shalom Berger <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: Avodah V16 #92
Akiva Miller writes:
> Biur Chometz has no more to do with Bal Tashchis than Hafrashas Challah
> does. Has anyone suggested that we be careful to take only a minimal
> mashehu as Challah?
In its ideal form, Hafrashas Challah is one of the Matnos Kehunah. When
we can perform it correctly, I do not imagine that anyone would suggest
that we take a minimal amount. Today, when it is destroyed it is logical
that we should minimize the amount that we take. This is clearly the
practice with regard to Hafrashas Terumah, which has no Biblical shiur
(afilu chitah achas poteres es hakri). When it was given to a kohen a
significant amount was given (1/40, 1/50 or 1/60). Today when it will
be destroyed we take a mashehu.
With regard to Chametz, there appears to be a machlokes rishonim on the
matter. The Gemara in Pesachim (13a) quotes a baraisa that brings the
teaching of Rabbi Elazar ben Yehudah ish Bartosa regarding erev Pesach
that falls on Shabbat. He teaches that in such a case the hametz must be
destroyed on Friday, leaving just enough for the Shabbat meal (as is our
custom today). Furthermore, Rabbi Elazar taught that all hametz should
be burned on Friday, including terumah tehorah, leaving only food for
two Shabbat meals from non-terumah hametz. The Gemara is concerned with
burning Terumah so early - after all, maybe kohanim will come who will
eat it, so it won't have to be destroyed? A discussion on the matter
ensues, but the Maskana follows Rabbi Elazar ben Yehudah ish Bartosa.
While the baraisa discusses whether or not it is appropriate to burn
terumah on the day before erev Pesach, it does not deal directly with the
question of burning regular hametz (hullin). According to many rishonim
(Tosafos, Rif, Ramabm) the conclusion that needs to be reached is obvious
ג if we can burn terumah, then we can certainly burn hullin. Some
argue, however, that we are allowed to burn the terumah only because it is
available solely to a limited number of people - kohanim - to eat. Hullin,
however, can be eaten by anyone, so it is likely that someone will come
tomorrow who would be willing to eat the hametz. Therefore we should not
destroy it until the latest possible time (Tosafos Shantz, Baal HaMa'or).
Rabbi Shalom Z. Berger, Ed.D.
The Lookstein Center for Jewish Education in the Diaspora
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Date: Thu, 19 Jan 2006 15:03:57 +0200
From: Marty Bluke <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Tefilas Haderech nowadays
R' Micha Berger wrote:
> Perhaps a more precise reference in NhR would help.
Unfortunately I don't have the sefer in front of me, but it is in the
Likutei Hanhagos section (which goes in the order of the shulchan aruch)
in hilchos tefilla.
> I do not say tefillas haderekh when traveling to/from suburbia, and
> do when traveling to the Borscht belt. That happens to roughly fit my
> version of ROY's pesaq.
Based on your previous reasoning I don't understand why you say it when
going to the Catskills. As you wrote "in a normal car trip (while b"H
healthy and not in a Corrections Dept vehicle), there are two different
reasons that may come into play: Am I crossing a wilderness? Is it a
Driving to the Catskills last I checked does not cross a wilderness
nor is it a makom sakana. Are you saying that any place more then 4 mil
outside the city is considered a wilderness and you are going with ROY's
pesak that it is distance? I would just point out that the Mishna Berura
(and almost all the Ashkenazi poskim) pasken that the 4 mil is distance
In any case, I don't understand why you would automatically consider
a place more then 4 mil from the city a makom sakana. Even if it is
distance as ROY holds, driving more then 72 minutes outside of the city
nowadays does not (in the overwhelming majority of cases in the US)
put you in a makon sakana.
R' Akiva Miller writes
> I remember it being said - even 30 years ago - that one could go
> from Boston to Washington DC without Tefilas Haderech, as there is no
> uninhabited gap of sufficient size. (I think a minimum of 4 mil is the
> defining criterion.)
It is not clear that that is the criterion. I heard from a Rav in Israel
that he holds a highway by definition is not part of the Yishuv as even
if there are houses nearby because the houses have nothing to do with
the highway. Therefore he makes Tefilas haderech whenever he goes on
a highway. RSZA on the other hand, says the reverse sevara, since so
many people travel on a highway a well traveled highway (especially if
patrolled by the police) may always be considered part of the Yishuv
even if there are uninhabited gaps of more then 4 mil.
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Date: Thu, 19 Jan 2006 09:21:22 EST
Subject: Re: Tefilas Haderech
> 3. There is little or no danger of robbers and wild animals....
There may not be highway robbers holding up the stagecoach but there are
certainly robbers in places like motels and rest stops. As for chayos
ra'os, I've heard that this can refer to criminals and terrorists.
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Date: Thu, 19 Jan 2006 09:44:20 -0600
From: Ken Bloom <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: Tefilas Haderech nowadays
Micha Berger wrote:
> My understanding is that ThD is said bimqom qorban todah, which in turn
> was brought in two situations: (1) primarily after living through one
> of the four yeshu'os listed in the description of yetzi'as mitzrayim in
> Tehillim 107; (2) secondarily after surviving significant risk.
You're confising Tefillat haDerech with Birkat HaGomel. According to the
literal reading of the Shulchan Arukh, you need to say Tefillat HaDerech
when going just a few miles out of town. City limits in this situation
is computed based on the density of houses, similar to what is used when
computing the techum on shabbat.
Hence, when I lived in Davis, CA (http://tinyurl.com/anz3l), a literal
reading of the S"A would have required that I say Tefillat HaDerech on
every trip in or out of town, as there were a few miles between Davis
and the nearest town in any direction.
Only for Sepharadim are the situations requiring Tefillat HaDerech
a subset of those requiring Birkat HaGomel. If you read the Ben Ish
Hai literally, both are based on this short distance, and if you read
according to ROY, both require a 72 minute trip outside of city limits.
Consequently, I ran into a she'elah when traveling from Sunnyvale, CA
to Davis, CA (by the route shown at http://tinyurl.com/7mupn). Between
leaving the city limits of the San Francisco Bay Area (between Fremont
and Pleasanton) and reaching Davis, CA there were more than 72 minutes
of travel, but I passed through several other geographically distinct
towns on the way. The question is: Assuming Sephardi minhag and ROY's
ruling on time, does this require ThD and Gomel? (I haven't asked my
Rav yet, since the question is merely academic when I'm in Chicago,
so I can't give you an answer, but b'li neder, I'll ask in a couple days.)
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Date: Thu, 19 Jan 2006 09:42:46 EST
Subject: Re: Timtum Halev - Tie in to "Shelo asani..."
In Avodah V16 #92 dated 1/19/2006 R' Samuel Svarc writes:
> And the fact that men have more mitzvos then women (thus "forces"
> that get in the way of sechar...) doesn't bother you? And if you answer
> that a women can reach the same level of sechar with her (fewer) mitzvos
> then what are men making a berocha about?
I am not sure whether women can or cannot achieve the same level of schar
as men, but for argument's sake, let's say men cannot get more schar
even though they have more mitzos. They might nevertheless be happy
to have more mitzvos, simply because they love the Torah so much. You
hear stories about the great rebbe who sold his olam habah for an esrog
or some such thing and was overjoyed at the opportunity to do a mitzva
purely lishma, without schar.
Also a man + a woman = one unit and the woman gets schar as an enabler.
In particular, she gets her husband's schar (and her son's schar too,
I suppose) if she encourages him and enables him to learn. [BTW I
am not saying that a woman working to keep her husband in kollel is
therefore an ideal -- it isn't necessarily so -- but a woman making
it comfortable and convenient for her husband to be koveia ittim even
when she would rather have his company and help -- she shares in the
schar he gets for his learning.]
> And why would Hashem make a neshoma that will be (as a woman)
> inherently unable to reach the level of sechar of another neshoma
Again, I don't know if women can or cannot get as much schar as men,
but this question is not a good one. Why would Hashem make neshamos
for goyim, or retarded children, or children who don't live to bar
mitzva age? Obviously He has a purpose for all these people He created
and they have value in His world. There are a million things He does
that seem to us "unfair" but we take it for granted that there are
limits to our human understanding.
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Date: Thu, 19 Jan 2006 11:01:28 -0500
From: Zev Sero <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Timtum Halev
Micha Berger <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>: Or the mikveh that was filled and maintained kedin...
>: Or the kohen who believed himself -- in good faith and as permitted by
>: the Torah -- to be physically fit for service, but who later turned out
>: to have a hidden blemish...
> Already discussed in vol 14, num 80 onward, no? We could just skip
> to RSZA on getting sechar for wearing pasul tefillin, asei vs lav,
> lechat-chilah vs bedi'eved, etc...
> But we'd still end up at the same place. Saying that someone who bedi'eved
> finds a rei'usa in a chazaqah he relied upon must redo it does not imply
> a metaphysical force associated with the cheftzah.
And I'm not claiming that there is one. On the contrary, my position
is that the metaphysical force is associated with the mitzvah, not with
the cheftza, but the mitzvah itself depends on the cheftza, not on the
That is, there is no magical protective power in a parchment with
certain words written on it, hung in a certain way on a door; but it
is a mitzvah to hang such a parchment, and that mitzvah carries the
sechar of protection, but if, despite the person's purest intentions
and meticulous adherence to the din, there happened to be a flaw in the
parchment, then there is no mitzvah, and hence no protection.
Similarly, the person who dipped in a mikveh that turned out to be pasul,
or whose korban was processed by a kohen who turned out to be a baal
moom, did not fulfil a mitzvah, and therefore does not get the benefits
of that mitzvah, despite both his actions and his intentions being just
as pure as one who did fulfil the mitzvah.
And the same applies to the person who gave money to a gabai tzedaka,
who gave it to aniyei akum instead of to aniyei yisrael. The donor's
actions and intentions are exactly the same regardless of what happens
to the money, but (as the gemara in Bava Batra explicitly says) because
the gabai diverted it the donor did not fulfil the mitzvah of tzedakah,
and therefore does not get the protection that that mitzvah brings.
Once again, the mitzvah depends on physical circumstances beyond the
person's control, and not, as I understand you to hold, entirely on what
goes on inside his head.
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Date: Thu, 19 Jan 2006 19:05:40 -0500
From: "L. E. Levine" <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Kashrus which became: Bal Tashchis and burning Chometz
>But throwing of edible food into the garbage would seem to be something
>of a different story.
All of what you have written ignores what I posted on Areivim (V16 #357)
about giving food away to gemachs and homeless people. A friend of mine
who works for an organization that collects left over food from caterers
and restaurants and then distributes it to the poor made it very clear
that there are real health dangers is taking food from private homes
and giving it to a Gemach or a poor or homeless person. His organization
has a very firm policy of not accepting food that is not prepared in a
commercial facility that is under the supervision of the Department of
Health in NYC.
If I was not going to eat it, and I could not give it away, then what was
I supposed to do with the food? Again, from a health standpoint, giving
the food away is problematic. Was I supposed to go against my own private
standards and eat the food? Should I have let it rot, and then throw it
away? Is this better than simply putting wrapped food into the garbage?
Furthermore, is putting wrapped food into the garbage really "the height
of b'zayon?" After all, I have been advised by more than one Rav to wrap
my Lulav up after Succos and put it in the garbage.
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Date: Thu, 19 Jan 2006 23:07:51 -0000
From: "Chana Luntz" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Kashrus which became: Bal tashchis and burning Chometz
Since this seems to have been transferred to Avodah, I quote from the
RYL wrote in response to a questioner on his post that as an avel he
threw out all of the food that was brought to him in his shiva house,
as he does not eat out at other people's houses as a general principle
(the first line is the questioner whose identity I seem to have lost):
> >3) Why isn't there an issue of Baal Tashchis?
> I admit that this is a problem, but I again have to ask, "Given that
> fact that we were sitting Shiva, and we were not going to eat it,
> what should I have done?"
> Also, have you never received a present of food of drink from someone
> that you will not use? For example, it is not uncommon for gentiles
> to give Jews a bottle of wine or liqueur around "holiday" time. More
> often than not, this stuff is not kosher. Haven't you ever had to
> throw something like this away?
> Now, before people get upset, I want to make it clear that I am NOT
> saying that the food that comes from the home of an Observant Jew is
> equivalent Kashrus-wise to a bottle of non-kosher wine. Nonetheless,
> there are times when one throws away edible food.
> What do people do with the left-overs a child will not eat? Have you
> never had your child eat 3/4 of a bagel and not want to eat the rest.
> The remaining 1/4 of the bagel is certainly edible, and I am sure
> that a hungry homeless person would eat it. Do you go for a 5-10
> minute drive to find such a person or do you toss the remaining part
> of the bagel in the garbage? If you do, then why isn't this also an
> issue of Baal Tashchis?
> Have you ever looked at the waste there is after a Simcha? How much
> perfectly good food that is left on people's plates is tossed in the
> garbage by the waiters? Isn't this an issue of Baal Tashchis?
> The mention of Baal Tashchis brings the following to mind. There are
> people who do not sell any real Chometz before Pesach. (For the
> record, I do.) This means that they end up throwing away and/or
> burning quantities of non-Pesach food before Pesach. Isn't
> this Baal Tashchis?
While people have raised Bal Tashchis, there are various other issues
in the sources that need to be considered and which are perhaps more
A) the issur of destroying bread specifically: see Shulchan Aruch,
Orech Chaim siman 181, si'if 4 "even though it is permitted to destroy
crumbs that don't contain within them a kezayis in any case it is
"kasher l'aniyus". The relevant gemoras to see how we get there are
Brochas 52b which discuss why one needs to have a shamas who is a talmid
chacham, because he knows that he must preserve all bread over a kezayis,
and can leave crumbs of less than kezayis and that this is a support for
the position of r' Yochanan who there is quoted as saying pririn she'ain
be'hen kezayis mutar l'avdan b'yad and Shabbas 143a where R' Yochanan is
quoted as stating "pririn she'ain be'hen kezayis assur l'avdan b'yad"
(see discussion of Tosphos on these gemoras). In any event Chullin
105b states that the reason we are careful with crumbs is because of
poverty - and brings the story of a man who was always careful with
crumbs and the poverty angel had no power over him - it is made clear
from the story there though that throwing crumbs into water is permitted
(as is brought by the Be'er Hetev on the Shulchan Aruch here).
B) This may or may not be related to the above, but the gemora in brochas
on 42b discusses whether or not one should wash mayim achronim first or
after one cleans the house, and the reason given for having to clean the
house first is because of "hefsed ochlin", ie you might spill the mayim
achronim and thereby cause hefsed ochlin. The reason the Shulchan Aruch
says that we don't do this (Orech Chaim siman 181 si'if 3) is because
today we wash mayim achronim away from the table in a place where there
aren't any crumbs.
This would seem to relate to the question of crumbs and treatment of bread
(especially given which siman it is in). And it is on the basis of this
that many people, including my husband, are noheg to gather up all pieces
of bread that are not eaten and instead of throwing them in the garbage,
keeping them until they can be thrown into a river (we often take them
to feed the ducks or fishes), or if water is not readily available,
I know others leave them out for the birds (although the use of water,
as in tashlich, would seem to have a better basis in the gemora).
C)Shulchan Aruch Orech Chaim siman 171 is entitled "shelo l'naheg
b'azayon l'ochlim" - and while it initially starts off by discussing
pas (and that you mustn't make it disgusting eg by resting raw meat or
a full cup over it) it then goes on to say similar things about wine,
and then prohibits generally in relation to throwing food if it will
make the food disgusting.
Note however the discussion, inter alia, in the Magen Avraham, who makes
it clear that if it is done for a persons needs (eg making the bread
disgusting so you can put it over your eye and effect a cure to the eye,
as is brought in the gemora) there is no bzayon to the food.
I was struggling to find the general source for this in the Shulchan
Aruch, but the Encylopedia Talmudit (under the heading Bzui Ochlin)
gives it as mesechet sofrim 83 and quotes the Kol Bo as saying "Klal
gadol amru rabbanu zichron l'vracha b'ochlin u'bmashkin dkol hefsed
ochlin u'mashkin derech b'zui assur".
However, it is clear from throughout shas that burning of food is
not derech b'zayaon (that is the way we treat trumah t'meah and other
foodstuffs we cannot use from the beis hamikdash), nor does there seem
to be any bal tashchis problem there. So even before one gets to the
concept of the performing of a mitzvah of bi'ur chametz, I struggle to
see how burning of food can be considered problematic.
But throwing of edible food into the garbage would seem to be something
of a different story. It is one thing if the food is already disgusting,
but food that is not, surely throwing into the garbage is the height
of b'zayon. I know that there are big issues specifically with shmita
foods and throwing into the garbage (I suspect that there are connections,
but I haven't had time in my quick canter through tonight to have a look
and see). The thing about shmita food is that it applies to every drop
and crumb, where it would seem there are heterim m'ikar hadin for less
than a kezayis that is not shmitta produce, even if their might be issues
regarding pas and crumbs and poverty.
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Date: Thu, 19 Jan 2006 18:14:30 +0000
From: Chana Luntz <Chana@kolsassoon.org.uk>
Subject: Re: Geneivas da'as
> Re the discussion about whether it is the intention to deceive that
> makes the sin, isn't there some story in the Gemara about a person who
> saw a chacham coming towards him and thought the chacham was coming to
> honor him but really the chacham was just on that road by chance? And
> the chacham said about that man, "He fooled himself, I didn't fool him."
> Maybe someone here remembers that case I'm talking about in more detail.
It is in the next bit of the gemora from the one we are discussing (at
the bottom daf 94b of chullin). The structure of the piece of gemora
there is that the Mishna states (at the bottom of 93b) that one may send
a thigh to a non Jew which has the gid hanashe in it, and the gemora there
deduces from the language of the Mishna that that is when it is whole, not
when it is cut or in pieces. It then commences to discuss why this might
be the case, and one of the reasons given is because of geneivas daas.
The gemora further brings a statement from Shmuel that geneivas daas
is forbidden vis a vis all briyos, including an akum - and goes on to
discuss the case in which Shmuel may have said this. Once we are on the
topic of geneivas daas, it further brings various other prohibitions on
geneivas daas (such as inviting somebody if the invitor know that the
invitee will not accept).
The gemora then goes back to discuss the question of sending thighs,
which leads onto a discussion of places where they announce in the
marketplace that there is treif meat on a given day (ie so everybody is
on the alert that they should not buy from non Jews on that day - this
is dealing with a case where all the butchers in the town are Jewish,
so it was generally safe to buy meat from non Jews, except when it was
found there was some problem with an animal on that day). That leads
to the discussion I brought in my earlier email regarding what is the
language used to announce that there is treif meat on a given day, and
the conclusion that the non Jews were fooling themselves if they did
not realise that the reason why there was an announcement that there
was meat specifically on sale for them was because there was nevaila or
treifa meat around on that day.
That then leads onto the piece of gemora you are remembering, where Mar
Zutra was going from Mesichra to Bnei Mechuza and he met Rava and Rav
Safra on the way and thinking that they had come out to meet him said "did
the rabbis trouble themselves that much" to which Rav Safra responded
"we did not know you were coming, if we had known you were coming we
would have troubled ourselves even more" and Rava said to him "why did
you say that to him it will disappoint him"? And Rav Safra responded
"otherwise we would have tricked him" "no he tricked himself".
That does it seems to me also goes to the objective/subjective nature of
the discussion, but very much in the same way as the previous case about
announcing in the marketplace. It is not necessarily logical to assume
that if you happen to meet somebody, they were coming to meet you, but
in fact that is what Mar Zutra did assume (and Rav Safra and Rava knew
that, because he told them). The question then becomes, did they have
an obligation to put him right once they knew this, and it would seem
that Rav Safra thought yes and Rava thought no (and this is not one of
the cases that is brought eg in the Shulchan Aruch, so it would seem
that we hold like Rava, who after all has the last word - and the case
is brought as a continuation of the permissibility of allowing somebody
to trick themselves).
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Date: Thu, 19 Jan 2006 21:25:43 -0500
From: Micha Berger <email@example.com>
Subject: Chaqiros and Dichotomies
Brisker chaqiros are an excercise in finding a dividing line about which
you can distinguish cases to explain why seeming similar situations
have different pesaqim, or between shitos to explain why they pasqen
However, that means that every question is being turned into a dichotomy.
Which in turn opens you up to two of the classical logical fallacies:
False Dichotomies and False Choices. (See definitions, below.)
Can anyone (1) identify examples of this pitfall actually being hit;
or (2) provide a better guideline for making chaqiros to avoid these
False Dichotomy: ... [A] situation in which two alternative points of
view are held to be the only options, when in reality there exist one
or more alternate options which have not been considered.
"Mark is late for work. Either his car has broken down, or he has
overslept. We called him and he isn't at home, so his car must have
This argument is a false dilemma, because there are many reasons why Mark
may have been late for work. If it were somehow proven that there were
no other possibilities, then the logic would be sound. But until then,
the argument is fallacious.
False Choice: ... [A] fallacy in which options are presented as being
exclusive when they may not be."
"The CIA director has misled the nation using false intelligence; he
must either be incompetent or lying."
There's nothing to prevent someone from being both incompetent and a liar,
or from being neither (there might be a good, competent reason for the
use of false intelligence, and the misleading of the nation might not
involve actual lying).
Micha Berger Despair is the worst of ailments. No worries
firstname.lastname@example.org are justified except: "Why am I so worried?"
http://www.aishdas.org - Rav Yisrael Salanter
Fax: (270) 514-1507
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