Avodah Mailing List

Volume 16 : Number 154

Thursday, March 9 2006

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Wed, 08 Mar 2006 11:45:12 +0200
From: saul mashbaum <smash52@netvision.net.il>
Re: building the mishkan

R' Marty Bluke wrote:  
> The mitzvah ledoros is to build the Beis Hamikdash, if so why does
> the Torah go into all this detail about building the mishkan?
and then noted the repetition in Vayakhel-Pkudei

This is a good question.

As is well known, the Torah, starting from parshat Bo, intersperses
narrative and halachic passages. The above question is based on the
premise that the parshiot of the mishkan are strictly halachic. They
are in fact, particularly parshiot Vayakhel and Pkudei, narrative. The
Torah is describing in these parshiot an essential part of the desert
experience of the Jews.

Indeed, we are used to thinking that the Torah's description of
the Bnei Yisrael's travels through the desert, after Matan Torah,
as for the most part negative; the Torah records what went wrong in
the course of the travels. This is largely true, but the Torah also
records positive activities of the Jews, successes in establishing a
community of holiness. These narratives are indeed much less dramatic
than others which describe conflict and disaster, but are extremely
important nevertheless. The description of the dedication of the Mishkan
(Tzav-Shmini) is a *narrative* passage, not only the dramatic deaths
of Nadav and Avihu which we may be inclined to regard as one of the
only narrative passages in Sefer Vayikra. Similarly, parshat B'midbar,
which records no dramatic events, is a *narrative* which describes how
the Jews established a model community under difficult circumstances,
with the Torah at its center.

Thus, Vayahkel and Pkudei are not merely repetitions of information we
already know, but descriptions of the positive activities of the Jews
in the desert, and their success in creating a vehicle of holiness they
as they were commanded to do in previous parshiot.

Saul Mashbaum

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Date: Wed, 08 Mar 2006 10:42:08 +0000
From: joelirich@comcast.net
R' D Feldman

The Netziv (Resp. Meishiv Davar, I, 46) suggests a distinction within
different types of study. One who is absorbing existing Torah concepts,
even with ulterior motives, is at the very least aquiring Torah
knowledge. One who is attempting to create new ideas, and to rule in
halakhic matters, but is motivated impurely, is in much more dangerous
territory, as his bias will lead to a falsification of Torah. Similarly,
the Chatam Sofer (Resp. O.C. 208) notes that the permission to write down
chiddushei Torah, which was only reluctantly granted, is given only to
those with wholly noble motives.

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Date: Wed, 8 Mar 2006 22:58:06 -0500
From: "Mike Wiesenberg" <torahmike@gmail.com>
Re: women's Megilla reading Purim morning at Drisha

Another reason to not organize such a thing, besides berov am, is b/c
of the Magen Avraham, quoting a midrash, brought by the Mishna Brurah,
that a woman should not read megillah.

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Date: Thu, 9 Mar 2006 15:48:01 +1100
From: "SBA" <sba@sba2.com>
Aseres Benei Haman

The minhag - at least wherever I have ever heard the Megilla -
has been that theTzibbur says [loudly] the Aseres Bnei Haman followed
by the baal koreh.

I notice the the KSA 141:14 writes that it is 'eino minhag nachon'.
Similarly the MB 690:15 [as per Chayei Adam] writes: 'eino nachon'.

So are there places where it is NOT done?


And b'inyan Megilla, the CS has a pshat on "vayagidu leHaman liros
hayaamdu divrei Mordechai ki higgid lohem asher hu Yehudi..".

That Mordechai went showing the shtar mechireh that Haman had sold
himself as an Eved Kenaani to Mordechai, [thus having to be 'gemaleht'
and chayev bemitzvos [like a woman] - and sayin:
'asher hu Yehudi'. 'Hu' being Haman who was in fact a Jew...


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Date: Thu, 9 Mar 2006 11:58:46 +0200
From: "Moshe Feldman" <moshe.feldman@gmail.com>
Kashrus and Purim

On 3/9/06, Prof. Levine <llevine@stevens.edu> wrote [to Areivim]:
> The following is from this week's Hamodia Readers' Forum page A92.
> many of my friends and acquaintances allow their cleaning
> ladies to work in their kitchens unsupervised.
> A non-Jewish woman should never be trusted in regard to the kashrus of
> our homes, which is our achrayus.

http://www.kosherquest.org/bookhtml/SOME_GENERAL_LAWS_OF_KASHRUS.htm says:
<<13. There can be a problem when one has a non-Jewish maid in the
house. Meat, as well as other kosher items (utensils etc.) cannot be
left unattended where a mishap can occur. If the non-Jewish maid knows
that a Jew will be coming into the house, periodically, unannounced and
unscheduled, this would alleviate this problem. It is highly advisable
for one who has a non-Jewish maid to have locks on utensil and food
cabinets to avoid this problem. Another alternative is to arrange with
a Jewish neighbor to come in at irregular intervals during the day.>>

See also Igros Moshe YD I:61.

Kol tuv,

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Date: Thu, 9 Mar 2006 06:53:45 +0200
From: "Akiva Atwood" <akiva.atwood@gmail.com>
Re: Geocentrism and relativity (was RE: Chazal, science, and halacha)

> First, you do realize that Jung's theory isn't rationalist? It depends
> on his theory of a collective unconscious and is closely connected
> to his belief in synchronicity (an acausal connecting principle that
> causes coincidences). I get the sense you underestimate the size of the
> Jungian postulate. It's mystical, not scientific.

Having read the collected works of Jung, I don't think I'm underestimating
the size of the postulate.

1) I don't think there's any branch of analytic psychology which is
"scientific", certainly not in the "hard science" sense.

2) Jung's theories of the Archetype (as developed further by his students)
can also be a relection of how the psyche is "wired", both physically and
psychologically -- without requiring a mystical, transpersonal psychology
(My psych professor was a Transpersonal Psychologist who studied under
Grof, so I'm familiar with the mystical dimensions of Jungian theory.).

> Now, what best fits -- a novel theory explaining the Torah's data points
> combined with some mystical theory about human consciousness, or a novel
> theory explaining the scientific evidence that allows one to take the
> Torah at face value...

But the "scientific evidence" DOESN'T allow us to take the Torah at face
value. Once we have to rely on "nes" to accept the idea of a physical
flood we've gone beyond the scientific realm.

And the question was explaining the entire collection of data points
(non-Torah-based accounts, geological and historical records, etc) --
most of which are in disagreement with the Torah's data points (because
of time, who survived, etc).

> : Sure it is -- becaue *within the time period mandated by the Torah
> : Account* those cultures weren't connected.

> According to the Torah's account, they were -- until Avraham's day. They
> may not have been one culture as much as a set of cooperating cultures
> (devarim achadim is lashon rabim, after all).

Yet we know there were cultures in Australia and the Americas with no
connection to the world/culture of Avraham -- so at best your claim
would support a localized flood.

> Yes, once you start
> unravelling one part of the story, none of it holds.

As a relection of a physical event as presented. Which is why looking
at the Mabul from a Mythic perspective helps.

(Note: "Myth" used in it's intended form -- see


Most people act on their own account; they pursue personal ambitions
without seeking God's guidance and grace. By asserting the self they
will achieve nothing.

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Date: Thu, 09 Mar 2006 10:17:40 +0200
From: saul mashbaum <smash52@netvision.net.il>
Re: Chazal, science, and halacha

RMB wrote
> Who was more creative: Bach, who was able to evoke emotion while sticking
> to the strict rules expected of Baroque music, or Beethoven who rewrote
> musical norms (thereby launching the late classical period) by violating
> them? It would seem to me that -- all else being equal (and Beethoven
> fans would argue that they are not) -- the ability to create while
> working with in a set of rules is the greater accomplishment.

The Romantic poet Wiliam Wordsworth wrote a beautiful
sonnet about the value of constraints "the ability
to create while working within a set of rules" See:

Saul Mashbaum

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Date: Thu, 9 Mar 2006 08:03:59 +0200
From: "Simon Montagu" <simon.montagu@gmail.com>
Re: Room Service

RZSero wrote:
> Since people can't cook in their rooms, what are the odds that they will
> have treife food which is yad soledes bo, and will then order expensive
> room service and decant the treife takeaway onto the room service's
> dishes?

I have never ordered room service in any hotel so I don't know what I am
talking about here, but do kosher hotels have dairy-only or meat-only
room service? If not, what is to stop Reuven ordering meat and Shimon
ordering milk, and then the two of them sharing on each other's plates?

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Date: Thu, 9 Mar 2006 09:06:03 -0500
From: "Zvi Lampel" <hlampel@thejnet.com>
Re: Mabul

Wednesday, March 8 2006 (Avodah Volume 16 : Number 153) I posted:
> Without a mankind that obeys Hashem's Will, there is no reason for the
> continued existence of even the animals, even the birds, even the earth
> (a third of whose depth the floodwaters eroded), ...

Make that "three tefachim of," not "a third of."

Zvi Lampel

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Date: Thu, 9 Mar 2006 10:54:03 -0500 (EST)
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>

R David Guttmann wrote:
> You [RSC] are doing what you usually accuse scholars of doing, quoting a
> Rambam without putting him in context. Continue the chapter...

> I believe this speaks for itself and is consistent with my understanding
> that the reason Rambam does not accept Eternity because it would negate
> much of Torah and force us into difficult interpretations. As it is not
> provable (with certainty) he rejects it. However Plato is theologically
> acceptable, he therefore does not reject categorically, but again as there
> is no "certainty" he sticks with the Torah view without interpretation.

If you reach the conclusion of the chapter, you see that the Rambam's
objection isn't limited to those ideas which "negate MUCH of the
Torah". But rather, he rejects any interpretation which those steeped
in Torah ("hamaskil") know are false.

In the case of corporeality of G-d, much of the Torah is negated. But
the Rambam seems (to my and RZLampel's eyes, R' Meir Shinnar differs)
to say that no contradiction to "the teachings of our sages and prophets"
is acceptable.

>                                                     Unless you are
> scientifically trained, I am not, you have to accept what experts in
> the field tell us and work with that to ontologically interpret that
> information as taught by Torah and its interpreters over the generations
> especially Cahzal and the Rishonim....

Well, this principle is far too broad. The overwhelming number of experts
in the field believe they have conclusively disproven the possibility of
3 million people crossing the midbar and needing to fight, rather than
simply numerically overwhelm by an order of magnitude, the population
of Canaan at the time.

This is why I'm hammering at the epistomology involved. You can't simply
accept the claims of the experts and fit the mesorah around them. One
needs to define a concept of mesorah which includes ideas in which one
has total and absolute emunah to the extent that you know the scientist
who questions it must be mislead.

As per my ad absurdum of two paragraphs ago, the revelation at Sinai
must be in that core. I've defined here a number of times what I believe
is the definition of mesorah that better fits the Rambam, the Me'iri
and the Tosafos Yom Tov. RMShinnar seems to limit mesorah to halakhah,
and only touches the subject of belief that halakhah does. RnCL has a
third definition. But some non-zero set of immutable beliefs that you
hold more strongly than your faith in contempory scientific explanation
MUST be part of one's worldview if one is to be a ma'amin.


Micha Berger             The Maharal of Prague created a golem, and
micha@aishdas.org        this was a great wonder. But it is much more
http://www.aishdas.org   wonderful to transform a corporeal person into a
Fax: (270) 514-1507      "mensch"!     -Rabbi Israel Salanter

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Date: Thu, 9 Mar 2006 13:30:35 +0200
From: "Simon Montagu" <simon.montagu@gmail.com>
Re: Aseres Benei Haman

On 3/9/06, SBA <sba@sba2.com> wrote:
> The minhag - at least wherever I have ever heard the Megilla -
> has been that theTzibbur says [loudly] the Aseres Bnei Haman followed
> by the baal koreh.
> I notice the the KSA 141:14 writes that it is 'eino minhag nachon'.
> Similarly the MB 690:15 [as per Chayei Adam] writes: 'eino nachon'.
> So are there places where it is NOT done?

I have never seen this minhag. Does it arise from a hashash that if the
baal kore reads the names too quickly the tzibbur is not yotse?

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Date: Thu, 09 Mar 2006 12:28:02 -0500
From: Jacob Farkas <jfarkas@compufar.com>
RE: The Beginning of a Pshetl

> 2 manos, when we take the word "maneh" to refer to a weight of silver,
> would come to 200 zuz, which is the poverty line WRT tzedaqah recipients
> as described in the mishnah Pei'ah 8:8.

> So what does it mean to have a chiyuv to send two manos ish
> lerei'eihu? That we are somehow supporting him for the year? I don't
> know...

R' Micha,

The easy way out...
Een Hokhi Nammi, Monoh would have been enough, but we all know that Mee
She'yesh lo Monoh Rotze Mosayim, and Retzono shel Odom Kvodo....

Another possibility:
The Shiur of 200 Zuz is also the amount of money mentioned in Shas as
an amount needed for the study of Torah (or a profession) [See BB 144,2
When one of the brothers (partners in an estate) takes 200 zuz for Torah
study]. Purim being the holiday of Keemu V'Kiblu, without coercion,
and Kiyum haTorah is most effectively attained through Limud haTorah,
and tz'lernen Torah vet dokh kosten tzvei monos...

Jacob Farkas

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Date: Thu, 9 Mar 2006 13:11:26 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: The Beginning of a Pshetl

I wrote:
: 2 manos, when we take the word "maneh" to refer to a weight of silver,
: would come to 200 zuz, which is the poverty line WRT tzedaqah recipients
: as described in the mishnah Pei'ah 8:8.

REMT corrected me privately. It's unlikely there is much semantic
connection between "maneh" (the weight) and "manah" (the portion).
Any more than either of them are connected to "man" (the food that fell
from the sky).

I also noticed, "maneh" is Aramaic, "manah", Hebrew.

Speaking of manna... It was that which sparked the idea. Mahn came in
portions of one omer per person per day. Which connects the qorban omer
to the idea of it being that day's food.


Micha Berger             "'When Adar enters, we increase our joy'
micha@aishdas.org         'Joy is nothing but Torah.'
http://www.aishdas.org    'And whoever does more, he is praiseworthy.'"
Fax: (270) 514-1507                     - Rav Dovid Lifshitz zt"l

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Date: Thu, 9 Mar 2006 14:15:40 -0500 (EST)
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Chayav Adam Livsumei

We're overdue for our annual discsussion by us killjoys about how "ad
delo yada" doesn't "really mean" what it obviously does. I mentioned
the following as an aside on Areivim, but I was told it warrants more

The chiyuv is not to drink "ad delo yada bein Haman leMordekhai", but
"ad delo yada bein arur Haman levarukh Mordekhai". What is indicated is
actually a subtle distinction, that one can lose track of without very
much wine. Should one spend more time fighting evil or emulating good?

(I manually picked the signature quote for this one.)

In the same discussion of this mysterious 5th chiyuv of Purim, R' "Steg"
Belsky wrote of this minhag I bet few of us encountered:
> I had a teacher in high school who told us about a Yemenite (if i remember
> correctly) game where you randomly say "arur Haman" to someone and they
> have to respond "barukh Mordekhai"; "arura Zeresh" and the resopnse is
> "berukha Esteir"; "arurim kol ha'oyevim" vs. "berukhim kol hayehudim".
> You can pick any of them, going in any direction (i.e. say "berukha
> Esteir!" and they have to respond "arura Zeresh"), and ambush people with
> it either during the seuda itself or throughout Purim. When you've got
> a good game going with people accosting each other in all directions in
> every possible order and combination (especially while eating good food
> and drinking in moderation), you'll confuse 'arur Haman' and 'barukh
> Mordekhai' soon enough...


Micha Berger             The Maharal of Prague created a golem, and
micha@aishdas.org        this was a great wonder. But it is much more
http://www.aishdas.org   wonderful to transform a corporeal person into a
Fax: (270) 514-1507      "mensch"!     -Rabbi Israel Salanter

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Date: Thu, 9 Mar 2006 07:11:42 -0800 (PST)
From: Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
Re: Room Service

Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org> wrote:
> What if you simply put the returns away for a day. That plus the
> unlikelihood of yad soledes bo non-kosher food in the hotel room should
> be more than sufficient for mashgichim, no?

Kavush Harei Hu K'Mevushal. What if someone buys a spicy dish to add to
the meal he ate... like a good treif sour pikcle? A Shiur Mil (i8 minutes)
is all you need. It is then consdiered "cooked" into the plate.

The 24 hour waiting period is based on Nosen Tam L'Fgam. Since Nosen
Tam is the key to the rabbinic requirement of Bittul B'Shishim Chazal
added that to make it another step removed from The Issur Taruvos.
But Chazl still still require Kelim to undergo a Hechsher of at least
K'bola Kach Polto and since a Kli Cheres are not Polet like a Kle Matchis,
the Machil Issur remains B'En.


Want Emes and Emunah in your life? 
Try this: http://haemtza.blogspot.com/

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Date: Thu, 9 Mar 2006 19:28:04 +0200
From: "reuven koss" <kmr5@zahav.net.il>
Re: Room Service

From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
> What if you simply put the returns away for a day. That plus the
> unlikelihood of yad soledes bo non-kosher food in the hotel room should
> be more than sufficient for mashgichim, no?

There are hotels with kitchenettes i.e. lev yerushalayim, also one could
get take out food that is fleishig and use milchik keilim or get pizza
sent to the hotel...


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Date: Thu, 09 Mar 2006 13:55:07 -0500
From: Jacob Farkas <jfarkas@compufar.com>
Re: One woman make a berakha for another by a MASZ"G

On Thu, Mar 02, 2006 at 07:01:35AM +0200, Esther and Aryeh Frimer wrote:
: I wonder whether one woman can make a berakha for another where both are
: doing a Mitsvat aseh she-ha-zeman gramma (listening to Shofar blowing,
: sitting in a sukka, shaking lulav etc.)....

> Assuming you're speaking of Ashkenazic women of kehillos where berakhos
> are made on non-obligations for themselves....
> So, first explain the concept of why my wife makes these berakhos for
> herself, then perhaps we can see if the sevarah holds when making them
> for other women.

Women who recite Berakhos for MASZG are following the Rema who follows
Rabbeinu Tam that it is not considered a Bracha L'Vatallah (When reciting
a Berakha due to Minhag or self-obligation). Those who follow the Mehaber
do not accept RT reasoning, and may have issues of Levatallah, or Eina
Tzrikha. What is confusing is where it is recited for some MASZG and not
for others, as RMB mentioned is the custom in Baghdad, if they accept
RT why not say the Berakha for all MASZG or do they not accept RT and so
why is it not problematic for Lulav? Is it that RT reasoning is accepted,
but it was the custom NOT to recite for certain Mitzvos?

Jacob Farkas

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Date: Thu, 09 Mar 2006 10:05:54 -0500
From: David E Cohen <ddcohen@verizon.net>
RE: Rabbeinu Tam's shikiyah

R' Shalom Kohn wrote:
> My own view (too complex to elaborate fully here) is that R.
> Tam's first shikiya is 3-1/4 mil BEFORE sunset, as a theoretical
> entry of the sun into the window in the sky [...]
> This puts tosafot's views akin to that
> of the yiraim, but leads to the same conclusion that in contrast
> to past practice, bein hashmashot concerns for shabbat begin at
>  sunset, and not 54 (72-18) minutes later.

I once mentioned this view (which I believe R' Leo Levi's book quotes
in the name of the Benei Tzion) to someone, who replied, "Of course!
The Yere'im was a talmid of Rabbeinu Tam, after all..."

The way I understand it, though, they still wouldn't be saying exactly
the same thing. Assuming a 12-hour day and 24-minute mil for the sake
of mathematical simplicity, wouldn't the Yere'im's 3/4 mil be from 5:42
to 6:00, and Rabbeinu Tam's 3/4 mil (which would now be the same as that
of the ge'onim) be from 6:00 to 6:18? Or am I misunderstanding something?

> As for motzei shabbat, it provides a time far more lenient
> than even the Gra, based on depression of sun under the
> horizon measures

How is the question of whether we use a fixed number of minutes or the
depression of the sun under the horizon dependent on the machalokes
Rabbeinu Tam vs. the geonim and the Gra? Furthermore, unless you're
at a latitude that's closer to the equator than that of Eretz Yisrael
and Bavel, I would think that using the depression of the sun is always
going to lengthen the time of bein ha-shemashos, since the fixed length
of time is taken to mean the depression of the sun that amount of time
time after sunset, at the equinoxes at the latitude of E"Y and Bavel,
and the sun will take longer to get to that depression at any other time
of the year, or at a latitude that's further from the equator.


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