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Volume 16 : Number 134

Friday, February 17 2006

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Wed, 15 Feb 2006 19:15:16 -0500
From: "Shinnar, Meir" <Meir.Shinnar@rwjuh.edu>
Re: Calling A Spade A Spade: Rambam and Kollel

> The early ashkenazic position was clearly that paying for torah study
> was forbidden - only schar batala allowed - as in machzor vitry after
> saying that it is forbidden to take for teaching torah...

> This was actually in the shtar rabbanut given to most rabanim through
> at least the 16th century.

> RMS cites Machzor Vitry and the shtar rabbanus which quotes it. I don't
> know where the passage in Machzor Vitry is (publication information and
> page number would be appreciated), and although RMS says it states it is
> "forbidden," the only passage he actually quotes does not contain that
> word. Perhaps RMS can point to where the actual word is used. 

I am using the two volume edition of horowitz - vol 2, p 523-524 ( it
is the machzor vityr perush on pirke avot, perek daled, on the mishna
on kardol lachpor ba
    al ta'asem atara - shelo lilmod divre torah al menat lehitgadel
    ulehitgared ulehitater bahen;
    ela have melamda leshem borecha. vesof hakavod lavo. velo kardom.
    have melamed ota la'acherim velo titol sechar aleha. ve'al ta'as
    atzmecha kepoel haniskar. lachatov etzim bekardumo. vele'echol
    miyegia capav.
    veta'amo shel davar meforash binedarim perek eyn beyn. cidechtiv
    re'eh leimadti etchem hukkim umishpatim ka'asher tsivani hashem
    elokai. ma ani lamadti behinam af atem behinam tilmedu lamadnu
    she'asur aleha litol sechar. ve'od ctiv emet kneh al timcor:

and then the part cited above ve'et asher nahagu litol sechar

note that he views the mishna in avot and the gmara in nedarim as expressing a halachically binding position - which is why he has to explain the prevailing minhag.

WRT to sechar rabbanut - I didn't say that they cited machzor vitry,
but that they said that the payment was specifically sechar battala.

R Moredechai Breuer has a small book (mine disappeared, so can't cite
directly) on mekorot of the history of the rabbanut in ashkenaz - citing
both sifre rishonim as well as bringing down shtarim given different
rabbanim ( I remember the shtar for the shela hakadosh from frankfurt -
it explicitly said payment for schar batala - so he would be available
when needed. It also said that he didn't have to participate in any
bet din where the disputed amount was below a certain threshold...).
One thing that seems clear is that the early minhag was clearly not to
give direct support for rabbanim - which is why various alternatives
were proposed (eg, being invited to every seudat mitzva and given nice
portions, gifts in return for different errands). There was a time that
rabbanim had a monopoly on shidduchim - providing the major source of
income (I recall reading that there were sometimes major fights when
people got married without the rav arranging the shidduch - bypasing the!
 shidduch fee...)

These arrangements were problematic in the sense of not providing a
guaranteed steady income, as well as potentially compromising the kavod
of the recipient - but it was clear that direct payment was generally
not viewed as acceptable - and even when it became acceptable, it was
using the mechanism of expanding the notion of schar batala.

Meir Shinnar

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Date: Wed, 15 Feb 2006 19:26:39 -0500
From: "Zvi Lampel" <hlampel@thejnet.com>
Re: Shiras HaYam

Tue, 14 Feb 2006 kennethgmiller@juno.com posted;
> Perhaps, if the Yam Suf was actually a shallow Sea of Reeds (rather than
> the deep Red Sea) they made a rational, derech hateva, hishtadlus-oriented
> military decision that they had a better chance escaping across the
> reeds than trying to fight a major international superpower.

But it wasn't their decision. Hashem told Moshe to tell them to go into
the sea.

Zvi Lampel

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Date: Wed, 15 Feb 2006 20:42:20 -0500
From: "Stuart Feldhamer" <stuart.feldhamer@gmail.com>
Re: Shiras HaYam

From: "Zvi Lampel" <hlampel@thejnet.com>
> Has anyone noted that the flourishes with which we lein parts of Shiras
> HaYam (usually those pesukim that contain the shem Hashem) are identical
> in tune with the tune of Shir HaShirim?

I have certainly not noticed this...in fact, the tunes seem to be rather
different to me. Does anyone else have any comment on this?

Stuart Feldhamer

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Date: Thu, 16 Feb 2006 02:31:38 +0200
From: "reuven koss" <kmr5@zahav.net.il>
Re: Tevel

From: Chana Luntz <Chana@kolsassoon.org.uk>
> Have people traditionally been doing some poskening on the basis of
> safek d'rabbanan l'kula and sfeik sfeikos where the situation is unclear
> (eg maybe the produce was exported before it was chayav in trumos
> u'masros and maybe the Rabbanut took (although that you should be able
> to establish) and maybe the halacha is not like the Mishna L'melech and
> maybe if terumos and ma'asros in eretz yisroel are only d'rabbanan then
> the rabbis were not metaken such on produce exported to chutz l'aretz
> into the hands of a non Jew)?

there is no question that if the fruit/veg. were imported that they
are chayav long before then in terumos& maasros. the derabanan of
terumos&maasros is not the regular derabanan. terumos & maasros is a
deabanan based on a d'oraiso. but it doesn't make a difference who buys
it, rather where was the gmar melacha. and if the gmar melacha was by
a jew- it is chayav in terumos & maasros.


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Date: Thu, 16 Feb 2006 04:35:28 -0500
From: "S & R Coffer" <rivkyc@sympatico.ca>
RE: Shiras HaYam

On February 14, 2006 Zvi Lampel wrote:
>> Here's a mehalech. Tefila is chal on items that can be changed such
>> as banei chayey u'mizonee. Tefila is not chal, and is inappropriate,
>> as regards to things that are unchangeable. One does not pray that the
>> sun should rise the next day. One gives shvach v'hoda'ah for the sun,
>> not tefila.

>> Now, Chazal say that the splitting of the yam suf was one of the tinaaim
>> of Maaseh Bereishis (vayashav haYam liEisano...litna'o haRishon). That is,
>> Hashem decreed during the creative process of MB that the yam suf would
>> split when it "saw" klal yisrael trapped in the desert....

> But "Mah tita'ak ay-lai" sounds like a criticism. This would only seem
> appropriate if Moshe Rabbeynu was already aware of this "programming." Was
> he?

Either he was or he wasn't. What's the difference? If he was, the criticism
is obvious. If he wasn't then perhaps the criticism is that he should have

Alternatively, Hashem was communicating a fundamental principle to Moshe in
the form of a criticism. He didn't really mean to criticise him. I can
perceive several benefits of communicating in this fashion.

Simcha Coffer

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Date: Thu, 16 Feb 2006 00:13:19 -0500
From: "S & R Coffer" <rivkyc@sympatico.ca>
RE: Tal Umotor

On February 14, 2006 Joe Socher wrote:
> Here in CA it is very much relevant to pray for rain at this time of
> the year, since we have a climate similar to the Middle East.

> (It usually starts raining around Succos, and the last significant
> rainfall of the season is usually before Shavuos.)

> My only point is this, since Shemuel certainly knew that his calculation
> was a rough estimate of the solar year, doesn't it seem likely that he
> expected it to be corrected when it got out of whack?

What about Australia? Do you think Shmuel was expressing a universal
opinion? We follow Shmuel wherever possible i.e. wherever it doesn't
diverge too dramatically from the seasonal status of the geographical
location in question.

[Email #2. -mi]

On February 15, 2006 Dubin Avrohom (Abe) P wrote:
> We begin saying Tal Umotor on December 4, sometimes December 5.
> Halachically, the time for beginning is 60 days after the Tkufas
> Tishrei. It is generally understood that the Tkufos fall on the solstices
> and the equinoxes. Therefore, Tkufas Tishrei falls on the autumnal
> equinox, which is September 19 or 20. Has anyone ever seen a source
> for beginning on December 4 that ties to the 60-day rule? Although I
> don't see why it should be relevant, even if you factor in the 11 day
> gap between the Julian and Gregorian calendars, you will not get to
> December 4.

Sure you will. But first you have to adjust your definitions. The
autumnal equinox is not the 19th of September. It is more like the 22nd
(and possibly the 23rd and 24th). The Beis Yosef (written in 1522)
quotes the Avudraham that 60 days after tekufas Tishrei is November
22. Approximately 60 years later, in 1584, Gregory made his 10 day (not
11) adjustment and also adjusted for the future in the sense that every
centennial year other than one divisible by four, should not contain a
February 29th.

Now the cheshbon is simple. Add the ten days Gregory removed from the
Julian calendar and you have December 2 in 1585. Skip the years 1600
and 2000 because they are divisible by 4 and add a day for 1700, 1800
and 1900 and viola, you have 13 days which brings us to December 5.

Simcha Coffer 

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Date: Thu, 16 Feb 2006 04:50:13 -0500
From: "S & R Coffer" <rivkyc@sympatico.ca>
RE: Killing kinim on shabbat

On February 14, 2006, David Riceman wrote:
> From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
>> Second, because some approximation or another had to be used, all Shemu'el
>> is saying is that this estimate is close enough for pesaq. Which makes
>> sense for things like vtu"l or birkhas hachamah. However, for the
>> calendar itself, upon which deOraisos depend, we insist on the closer
>> approximation.
>> IOW, Shemu'el isn't asserting physical correctness, but setting a
>> mandatory precision in estimation.

> The error of the approximation increases linearly with time. What was
> "close enough" 1700 years ago may not be close enough today. If Shmuel
> had indeed been infallible he would have known that people would still
> be using his approximation so far into the future and set a sunset clause
> on its use.

I don't recall RMB predicating his postulation on Shmuel's infallibility
but whatever the case, we are discussing Shmuel the amora, not Shmuel
haNavi. He had no way of knowing what would happen 1700 years in
the future, particularly since the coming of Mashiach (and thus the
reinstatement of the beis din haGadol) is taluy on our bechira (im zachu,

BTY, and off the topic, infallibility as regards to Chazal means that
their halachic conclusions as recorded in the Talmud are always muchuvanim
kenged ha'emes; not that Chazal could tell the future.

[Email #2. -mi]

On February 14, 2006 Micha Berger wrote:
> Rav Kook would say it is assur. However, chazal were not wrong -- if
> there were bugs born abiogenetically, they would be mutar.

> Just like the babirusa discussions of our day -- conjecturing what the
> din would be given a scenario doesn't become "wrong" when the scenario
> turns out to be impossible.

Umm...but Chazal seem to indicate that the *reason* it is mutar to kill
lice on Shabbos is *because* they are born abiogenetically. This implies
that they did not think that abiogenesis was impossible. Thus, the problem
here is an apparent stira in metzius. Unless you are subscribing to the
idea of nishtanu hativ'im in which case Rav Kook is certainly not the
first person to advance this idea.

Simcha Coffer

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Date: Wed, 15 Feb 2006 20:41:37 -0500
From: MPoppers@kayescholer.com
FWD from BRIJNET Daf-haShavua: "SIDRA INSIGHTS" by RDrJMCohen

An interesting perspective on "kol asher dibair H' na'aseh"....

(BTW, I'm way behind on digest reading, so if you have any comments on
this d'var Torah, please cc: me. Thanks.)
by Rabbi Dr Jeffrey M Cohen

When Moses first approached the Israelites about accepting the Torah,
their response was almost too good to be true:

`"Whatever G-d says we will obey" (Shemot 19:8).

The Talmud (Shabbat 88a) records a critical assessment of Israel for its
rash acceptance of the Torah before even hearing its demands. Indeed,
knowing how Israel disobeyed so many of its laws so soon after, that
criticism would appear most valid.

We are all familiar with the Midrash that before G-d gave Israel the
Torah He offered it to the other main peoples of the East. They, in turn,
rejected it on the grounds that its prohibitions, either against murder,
theft or immorality, would make their lifestyle unbearable. When G-d
finally got around to offering it to Israel, without a moment's hesitation
they shouted, "Whatever G-d says we will obey".

Now, although 'we do not probe a Midrash,' we may wonder why the prescient
G-d bothered to offer the Torah to all the other nations first, knowing
full well their response! Why did He not approach Israel first, as a
just reward for heir loyalty and enthusiasm, as well as to avoid the
rebuffs of the other nations?

Perhaps the whole point of that Midrash was that it was precisely because
G-d does foresee the future that He was unhappy with Israel's rash
response, and did not, therefore, approach her first. Israel's promise -
soon enough broken - to observe all the laws before even listening to
their content was a childish response. It was even less than childish,
since children have a natural curiosity, which, according to this Midrash,
Israel did not display.

So two messages unfold from this Midrash: First, that G-d does not wish
to occupy the role of Spiritual dictator, coercing us to accept His
Torah. He would rather that we spend our life studying, plumbing the
depths of, and becoming inspired by it, so that we may reach the stage
when, with proper conviction and enthusiasm, we can affirm, 'Whatever
G-d says we will obey.' Secondly, that it is rash to imagine that we
can fully observe the entire Torah. Our ancestors couldn't do it, and
neither can we. It is important, therefore, for those who are considering
embracing the religious life not to be overwhelmed and deterred by the
number of mitzvot that confront us. Rather should they set themselves
realisable targets, and realistic challenges. The Torah was given on a
mountain. It takes time and preparation to climb a mountain. It is not
attained in one stride.

There is, however, another, apparently conflicting, Midrashic rider which
states that, following the rebuff of the other nations, G-d coercively
suspended Sinai over Israel's head, saying, 'If you accept the Torah,
fine; If not, here will be your grave!' This conflict can actually
be resolved chronologically, on the assumption that once Israel had
verbalised its voluntary agreement to accept the Torah, the covenant
was sealed. From then on, G-d was entitled to demand total national

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Date: Thu, 16 Feb 2006 11:15:41 -0000
From: "Countrywide" <countrywide@tiscali.co.uk>
Moshe Rabbenu & Yisro

Somebody asked me in Shul as follows.

Why does Yisro, when meeting Moshe, say "Ishtocho U'Shtay Bonehoh"
(Your wife and HER two children) ? Why not "Ishtocho U'Shnay Bonechoh"
(Your and YOUR two children ?)

The answer which occurred to me was that Yisro, as we see later, was
critical of how Moshe was splitting his life between his perceived needs
of the Jewish Nation and the requirements of his attention to family
and health.

Hence, the hint to his son-in-law. This may have been a cue to the
animadversions later expressed by Miriam..........

Elozor Reich

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Date: Thu, 16 Feb 2006 10:48:00 -0500
From: Shaya Potter <spotter@yucs.org>
Re: Tevel

On Wed, 2006-02-15 at 14:56 +0000, Chana Luntz wrote:
> [Note by the way that there is a Mishna L'melech (perek 7 of Hilchos
> Terumos halacha 17) who holds that when the rabbis enacted trumos and
> ma'asros, they enacted them like the di'orisa prohibition, and hence
> that trumos d'rabbanan ought to be treated like a d'orisa for matters
> such as going in a safek l'chumra. Arguably that gives another reason
> for going l'chachmir even if you indeed held it was d'rabanan. (ROY in
> Yabiat Omer chelek 6 Yoreh Deah siman 28 argues against holding like
> this Mishna L'melech for various reasons, and quotes "rov achronim"
> (including ashkenazi achronim) as rejecting this Mishna L'Melech)
> butthat is all by the by].

how does one understand this mishna l'melech in the context of baal
tosif?  if a d'rabbanan is to be viewed in the same context as a

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Date: Thu, 16 Feb 2006 22:58:24 +0200
From: "D&E-H Bannett" <dbnet@zahav.net.il>
Re: Tevel

During the 60's of the last century, Israel's main export was citrus
fruit and the Jaffa orange was famed in Europe. During that decade I
spent many hours working at various citrus packing houses (Industrial
electronics, not eating oranges).

At that time, every packing house had a worker assigned by the rabbanut
to take truma and ma'aser from "b'rara alef" (first culling of poor
quality fruit). They obviously picked a worker who was shomer mitzvot.

I do not know if there was back up in case the appointed worker was
absent or other details - just reporting what I saw.

What's b'rara alef? In the first inspection of fruit made at the beginning
of the packing process, the really bad oranges are removed. Some might
go for juice others for cow feed or just thrown out. After the washing
and waxing process there is a second inspection to remove b'rara bet. The
culled fruit goes to the local market. The fruit that passes the second
inspection is sorted by size and then packed for export.

That's the way it was done in the sixties. After that, North African
oranges gradually took over the market from Israel and Spain. Today,
citrus is a very minor export, the pardessim are uprooted and attempts
made to change the zoning to allow building.


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Date: Fri, 17 Feb 2006 01:43:27 -0500
From: "S & R Coffer" <rivkyc@sympatico.ca>
RE: Creation & allegory

On February 14, 2006, Daniel Eidensohn wrote:
> What I am getting at is that if one read Shem Tov's explanation
> without preconceived ideas as to what the right answer can be - it is
> more reasonable to understand that he is asserting that the Rambam is
> rejecting the temporal nature of the six days of creation. 

Just for the sake of argument (RZL already pointed out to you that Shem
Tov states openly that MB is to be taken kimashmao - pg 61 5th wide
line which, lichora, should be the deciding factor), let's say you are
correct. The same reasoning would then force you to reject Shem Tov's
interpretation because the Rambam is clearly not saying what Shem Tov says
he does. If we approach the text of the Moreh without any preconceived
notions, the Rambam clearly states that once we adopt his resolution that
the galgal and its tenua was automatically accompanied by the phenomenon
of time, we now can have a day one, day two and day three even before
the sun appears on day four. Nowhere does the Rambam even hint at the
idea that these days are allegorical in any sense whatsoever.

> The concept of the "correct" answer seems to break down when studying
> Bereishis. As is obvious from the literal meaning of the text - there were
> 6 historical days of creation. However if you insist that everyhing was
> created on the first day - then you have a problem as to how light was
> created on both the first and fourth days. If you accept the view that it
> was the same light - then you have to reject the original understanding
> that there were six days of creation.

Why? The Rambam deals with this problem by invoking the Gemara in Chagiga
12a which states "hen hen mioros she'nivri'u biyom rishon vilo tila'an
ad yom re'vee'ee". IOW, although we are discussing the very same light,
the creative term "vayomer elokim...vayehi kayn" is to be understood as
teleeya rather than yesh may'ayin. I'm sure you are aware that thee is a
machlokes Chazal regarding this issue. It would seem that most Rishonim,
including Rashi, go with the shitas Chazal that yeish may'ayin occurred
only at the first moment of creation.

> The Abarbanel is very bothered by
> this issue and insists that the language of the Torah does not allow for
> a non creation view of the six days. But that is what Rambam, Ramban and
> apparently Rashi do.

Where is this apparent?

> Once you disegard the literal meaning of the verses
> it is not obvious what the guidelines are for how far you can go.

Sure it is. The guidelines are the open statements of Chazal. There are
only two shittos here. Yesh may'ayin all six days or yeish may'ayin on
day one only. Neither one of these shittos holds that the six days are
anything but literal six days. (Notwithstanding the Abarbanel's myriad
kushyos on understanding Chazal to say that there wasn't yeish may'ayin
every day)

> One of
> the major problems is that it is in fact chazal that reject the literal
> meaning of the verses.

Never. Even R' Yehuda b' R' Simon, R' Abahu and R' Eliezer haGadol never
rejected the plain meaning of the pesukim. The entire problem the Rambam
has with these ba'aley memra is the fact that they seem to subscribe to
kadmut haOlam, a tenet that the Rambam finds entirely untenable.

> This in fact led the Rambam to specifically reject
> the understanding of Chazal is this chapter.

Take a look in Kapach's edition page 233 footnote #21. A close reading
of the Rambam yields the real pshat. He wasn't rejecting Chazal. He
was rejecting the apparent implication of their words. He (Rambam)
himself did not believe that they meant this. Kapach's interpretation
is actually supported by the Rambam himself who states, regarding R'
Eliezer, "would that I understood what this sage holds...(2:26).

> The question of the mesora is reflected in the following medrash. <snip>
> I am basically just paraphrasing the analysis of the Abarabanel.

As I mentioned to you above, nowhere in the Rambam does Shem Tov, or the
Ababanel's interpretation of the Rambam, read well (or even not well)
into the Rambam. The Abarbanel himself is dichotomous. In shi'aila tes
(page ten and on) he seems to understand the Rambam the way you present it
but thereafter he seems to back pedal. After he's done with question #42,
he seems to understand that the Rambam took the entire MB literally except
for the story of Gan Eden. (Begin reading on page 85 from the paragraph
"v'omar" until about ten lines down on page 86).

The bottom line is that anyone claiming that the Rambam understood
MB allegorically is introducing erroneous notions into the text and
misrepresenting the Rambam's true position on this matter.

[Email #2. -mi]

On February 14, 2006, Daniel Eidensohn wrote:
>> The Abarbanel is very bothered by
>> this issue and insists that the language of the Torah does not allow for
>> a non creation view of the six days. But that is what Rambam, Ramban and
>> apparently Rashi do.

On February 17, 2006, I wrote:
> Where is this apparent?

I would like to clarify something. RDE is obviously influenced by the
Abarbanel's shita that Chazal could not have meant to claim that yeish
mayayin did not occur on every day. Thus, he sees the Rambam, Rashi and the
Ramban to be understanding MB allegorically, at least to the extent that
there was no creation on days 2-6. My response to this is that the Rambam et
al is not forced to accept the Ababanel's problems as real issues. Like I
mentioned in my previous post, saying that there was a hotza'a lipoel on
days 2-6 as opposed to yeish may'ayin on day one does not then allow you to
jaunt randomly down the nebulous path of allegory. Chazal's words are the
ultimate barometer and nowhere do they say that MB is not to be taken
kipshuto other than this one factor.

Simcha Coffer 

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