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Volume 16 : Number 162

Friday, March 17 2006

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2006 02:19:26 -0500
From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
Musafim Kehilchasam

Has anyone ever heard why, "kehilchasam"?  What's the hava amina?


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Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2006 02:17:45 -0500
From: "Zvi Lampel" <hlampel@thejnet.com>
RE: the Mabul

Sun, 12 "Chana Luntz" <chana@kolsassoon.org.uk> posted:
> ..."Kol haharim" "kol ha'aretz" etc. The most straightforward way to
> translate Kol is as "all", meaning 100%...I therefore brought two cases:
> A) the case of Og and Sichon: ...
> Once you acknowledge that there may have been even two who were not
> in that category, without Chazal blinking, then the assertion that Chazal
> clearly understood Kol to mean 100% disappears.

But the fact that they pointed out these as exceptions shows that they
considered them exceptions. You had posited that entire populations had
been unaffected. To this, Chazal would have started blinking. (It is
common for them not to blink when they inform us of exceptions to rules,
or unusual understanding of words, such as "40 lashes" meaning 39.)

At any rate, the rishonim did blink. Tosefos in Zevachim 113a for one:

[There is a talmudic opinion that] "The Mabul did not descend on Eretz
Yisrael"--Tayma! [That's Tosefos blinking--ZL.] Behold it's written,
"And all the high mountains that were under all the heavens"! [That's
Tosefos understanding a posuk to mean what it says--ZL.] And in Bereishis
Rabbah we say that Rebbi Yishmael B'R' Yosay and an animal-caretaker
were walking on the way when that Cuthite told them...the Flood did not
fall on Har Gerizim.

The animal caretaker said... "Is Har Gerizim under all the heavens?"

He said, 'Yes."

He said, "Behold, isn't it written, 'And they covered all the high
mountains that were under all the heavens"?!

The Midrash goes on to tell us that RYBRY complimented the caretaker
for this response, and Tosefos goes on to conform the Chazal with the
posuk. But the point is, Tosefos did blink. More on this next:

> B) the case of Eretz Yisroel: Once you say that you can have a debate
> about whether or not Eretz Yisroel is flooded without everybody jumping
> up and down and saying, but "Kol" means "all", then it seemed to me
> obvious that Chazal had no problem with kol not meaning all. But the
> implication that Eretz Yisroel is insignificant in Chazal's thought,
> so that one can hand wave and say well it does not matter flabbagasted me.

When you have one posuk that says that all the world was flooded,
and another (Yechezkiel 22:24) that says EY was not subjected to the
the rains of the great flood, a Sage concludes that Eretz Yisroel was
spared the downpour. Not because EY is insignificant in Chazal's thought,
or that it was unimportant for the posuk to explicate EY's exclusive
character during the Mabul; but because (through a posuk in Tanach)
Chazal and rishonim took it to be reasonable that the holy EY would be
a single exception to the rule:

Rabbeynu Bachayay (Br. 7:27, 8:11): "And this state of our rabbis that
the Mabul was not on EY, means that the rain did not fall upon it from
the heavens. And behold this is out of the kavod of the land and its
ma'alah, that the windows of the heavens did not open over it, and the
wells of the great deep did not break open beneath it, for the center
line of the [Earth] below parallels the center line of the [Heaven]
above."... "But cetrtainly the waters of the Mabul of the rest of the
lands antered into it, for behold the kasuv testifies here, 'And they
covered all the high mountains that were under all the heavens."

In fact, it is precisely because the Ramban and other rishonim took it
as obvious that the Mabul covered the entire earth, that they qualify
this talmudic opinion (based on another posuk) and explain that all he
meant was that the rain did not fall on EY directly, but of course it
too was flooded.

But even if EY had not been flooded at all, by concluding from this that
the majority of the earth's surface was not covered by the Mabul, you
would be utilizing a novel, falacious logic of "miut k'kulo," turning
an exception into a rule.

> ...to the Ramban...That sin brings on punishment and that good behaviour
> is rewarded is therefore the central message. But once you are given
> that message, there are many subsidiary messages to be learnt - because
> in describing sin, you learn much about what actions are sinful; and in
> describing good behaviour you learn much. ...And of course once Torah is
> written, it is of course Torah - with all that implies (including its
> nature of being made up of divine names, and all the aspects of nistar
> etc to be learnt). It is more a question of what is the ikar driving
> force behind it being frame in this way, not that there is not much to
> be learnt with many many different facets once this particular frame
> has been chosen.

Very well put, and a vast improvement on the original assertion that
>> All that is really needed
>> to be learnt from Breishis is that Hashem has the right to give Eretz 
>> Yisroel to the Jewish people."

Incidentally, however, in "Toras Hashem Temimah," the Ramban states
(Mosaad HaRav Kook, p. 170) that the purpose of the Mabul narrative
is to teach us the principle of Hashgacha and Hashem's knowledge of
the future, which teaches Hashem's mastery over Creation ("Chidush"),
and schar v'onesh. Apparently, Ramban himself did not necessarily hold
that Rav Yitzchak's lesson is the ikkar.

>> If you postulate a global flood, that "moral" message is actually not 
>> so clear. ...Because it is clear from the pshat of the Torah, that 
>> the numbers of people at the time of Noach were not really very many, 
>> compared with today's teeming billions. 

> You don't know that. ...

> Well, what we do know is what happens when a people are given a specific
> bracha to multiply, as happened to the bnei yisroel in Egypt.
> In the post flood environment, it is usual to allow 25 years a generation
> - meaning that for the duration of the period in Egypt you have around 8-9
> generations...
> There were ten generations before the mabul.

Ten generations of, as I originally said, individuals each of whom
lived for centuries. There were 1600 years since Adam of accumulating
population. That's seven times as many years as the b'nei Yisael in
Egypt. (Incidentally, the Rambam understands that the unnamed and
unnumbered "banim ubanos" lived normal lifespans.) So you have the
equivelant many more than ten child-bearing generations of normal
lifespans (taking your figures, 1600 divided by 25=64). We simply are
not told, and don't know, how many children Hashem granted them in that
era. But all this is irrelevant, as will follow.

> ...it seems rather more difficult to say that the generations before the
> mabul were multiplying at a vastly faster rate than the bnei yisroel,
> who had been given a specific divine blessing to multiply. Banim u'banos
> certainly is a rather trivial description in that case. But the numbers
> of the bnei yisroel were minute compared with the teeming billions of
> today, which is what you need to postulate for the kind of global spread
> you are demanding.

I am not demanding a global spread of population. For all I know or care
all mankind might have been centralized in Noach's neighborhood. But you,
in your attempt at proving that the flood was not global, are demanding
we accept that mankind was definitely not widespread, based upon "it
seems rather more difficult to say"s, built upon "I don't think it's
unreasonable"s. I'm saying you don't know.

> RCL: 
>> Nor were they very spread out (the spreading out, according to the 
>> explicit text of the Torah came after the mabul). 

> ...All 6:1 says is that "v'yehi ki hechel ha'adam l'rov al pnei
> hadama". It does not talk about disbursing and scattering, only
> multiplying.... Based on Shmos, you rather struggle to say that they
> spread anywhere near as far as the bnei yisroel did in Egypt.

Again, I am not struggling to posit a population spread, but to get
across to you that the Torah does not tell us the extent the population
spread before the Mabul which, again, is irrelevant. The Torah has a
point to make about the bnei Yisroel in Egypt, and therefore describes
in detail what the situation was. Regarding the pre-Mabul population, I
don't want (and don't need) to argue about the connotation of spreading
"al pnei ha-adama." The point is that, by building castles in an air
of unsubstantiated speculations and suppositions, you are revamping the
meaning of the Torah's words, whose plain meaning (that the Mabul's waters
covered the entire earth) is (because of a posuk in Tanach) qualified
by an opinion in Chazal only in a specific way (to exclude Eretz Yisroel
from having been subject to the rainfall) by Chazal and Rishonim.

> RCL: 
>> And they were a society ...
>> without mobile telephones, the internet, supersonic 
> aeroplanes or even 
>> writing,...

> You don't even know that. (And from where did you get the 
> idea that they couldn't write?) ...

> ...Rashi ...says in explaining Noach's name that that generation had
> no tools for plowing, and hence the land produced thorns and thistles,
> until Noach came along and invented them. That doesn't sound like an
> advanced state of technological development to me (and he was from the
> last generation). I think other meforshim take a different view, but they
> tend to take a more aggadic, midrashic view in general, whereas in this
> I have been trying to stick reasonably closely to the pshat and Rashi.

The difficulty they experienced with agriculture is attributed to the
special curse the land received upon Adam's sin, to be lifted upon the
birth of someone like Noach. Perhaps the one who maintains that no one
before Noach built a plow agrees with this. (And surely you can use your
creative abilities to come up with figurative explanations of "tools,"
"plowing," "thorns and thistles" to explain how over such a long period
of time, given all the advantages those generations had over ours
since the 18th century, they "most likely" advanced greatly, if not in
agriculture, then in other areas.) But I am not reversing roles with
you here. I am not maintaining the pre-Mabul generations necessarily
advanced technologically. I don't know. But you are insisting you do
know they they did not advance technologically in any area, to support
your conclusion that the Mabul was not global. But you don't know.

> Regarding the writing, I think it is a maklokus as to what "ze sefer 
> toldos Adam" means. Some hold is was a real sefer, and some (like 
> Rashi) that it just means an account of the descendents of Adam.

I did not cite this posuk. You made the assertion the generations from
Adam to Noach did not know how to write and I asked you from where you
got that idea. You didn't answer.

In fact, there are statements from Chazal that they did write: (Midrash
Rabbah on Bereishis 26:5): "The generation of the Mabul was not wiped
out of the world until the males wrote marriage contracts for [a male]
with a male and with a beast; and Yuchsin 1:1235 and Seder HaDoros (and
a Midrash I saw but forget where) tell us that Kenyan engraved in stone
his prediction of the Mabul if they continue to sin.

But why must I search for sources to dispute unsubstantiated claims?

> ...There are meforshim who say the trees 
> (miraculously) were not affected....

> ... I was thinking about the classic explanation of what that corruption
> meant, which is sex and violence (particularly inter species relations -
> see Rashi again) - neither of which is particularly applicable to trees.

I like that explanation. (Although maybe we shouldn't underestimate
the possible extent of degeneration; we already have people who /talk/
to plants...)

> Without the global event of the Mabul, one might think that the misdeeds
> of humans (regardless of their numbers or geographic spread) are not
> something the Creator of the entire Universe would be very obsessed over.
> So they misbehaved; is that the end of the world?
> Yes, it's the End of The World.

> But it wasn't. 
> If the story was that the world had returned to Tohu v'vohu, then 
> that would be something else - that would indeed convey your message. 

Aha! And if I can show you meforshim that did explicate the view of the
Mabul as a virtual return to tohu vavohu?

*Kli Yakkar (Breishis 1:2)--"And the Earth was tohu va'vohu." "...Hashem
foresaw that through the deeds of the wicked the world would return to
tohu va'vohu, as in the Dor HaMabul."

*Rabbeynu Bechayay (Br. 1:9)-- "May the waters gather
together"--Br. Rabbah 85,beginning: '...for what I am going to do with
them in the future,' and inundate the whole world in its entirety with
the Mabul (v'lishtof kol ha-olom kulo baMabul)`.

*Malbim (Amos 9:6)-- "After the world first being entirely water in water
(mayim b'mayim), [and] by Hashem's Will the dry land was revealed... the
world will return to being water in water, as He did in the Dor HaMabul,
when the rain fell from the heavens and the water covered the dry
land...to return the Beriah to tohu va-vohu."

And it would seem that the primary source for this understanding is
(not the influence of Christianity, as you have posited, but) an
explicit Zohar:

*Zohar 68a (in Hebrew translation p. 56/28b)--...Said HKBH: You
[evildoers] seek to undermine (l'hach'chish) the work of My hands? I
will fulfill your will! ... I will return the world to water as it was
at the Beginning--water in water! From hereon I will make other berios
in the olom who are fit to stay.

> I think in contrast to you, that Chazal were very aware of the mida kneged 
> mida aspect of the Mabul,

Of course this Mabul was mida kneged midda. But you were using the phrase
"mida kneged mida aspect" in conjunction with the "true proportionality"
of the Mabul.. You argued that accepting that the Mabul was global robs
it of its mida kneged mida lesson. I responded that Ramban himself,
whose payrush you are using to support your contention, assumes the
Mabul was global.

You point out that I have no proof from Ramban's assuming that the
Olymipian mountains were covered, because they are so close to Ararat. I
don't think that's his point, but I won't argue this now. However,
Ramban on Br. 8: 11 clearly shows he understood the Mabul to be global
(where he is blinking at the Chazal that apparently asserts that EY was
not subject to the Mabul):

"MiPshuto shel posuk zeh it is apparent that ... nis-mallay kol ha-olom
mayyim.... The water spread itself out b'chol ha-olom and covered all the
high mountains that were under all the heavens, k'mo shekasuv mefurash
(7:19). And there is no barrier around EY to prevent the waters from
entering. And so they said in Pirkei D'Rebbi Eliezer (23): the waters of
the Mabul did not descend upon EY from the heavens, but the waters from
the lands flowed and entered into it, as it says, "Ben Adam..." And so
in the opinion of Rebbi Levy, since the flood rain did not descend in
that land, and the windows of the heaven did not open, the trees there
remained, but b'chol ha-olom they were smashed and uprooted by the Mabul
and the showering of its strength."

If by his repeated phrase "kol Ha-olom" the Ramban meant only part of
the earth, don't you think he would have notified of this? I do. (And I'm
still waiting to hear from an expert what the result of a 40 day-and-night
rainstorm--even if only from clouds hovering over Noach's bathtub--would
be.) But at any rate, it is clear from the sources I brought above that
the Mabul was considered a virtual return of the earth to its state
of mayim b'mayim or tohu va-vohu. So again, to your claim that had the
Mabul been global, the moral lesson for which it was brought would be
diminished, I sarcastically repeat,
> Hmmm... too bad Chazal and rishonim (including the Ramban himself)
> missed out on the true proportionality and the mida kneged mida aspect
> of the Mabul (taught by the Ramban).

> ... I am arguing ...maintaining the sense of the Torah account as it
> has always been understood.

As I have shown, you are contradicitng the sense of the Torah as it has
always been understood. It was not understood your way. Not by the Malbim,
not by the Klay Yakkar, not by Rabbeynu Bechayay, not by the Ramban,
not by the Zohar. One would think that if despite the vastness of the
phrases "kol heharim ha-g'vohim asher tachas kol hashamayim" the Torah
had always been understood to convey only the part of the earth where
Noach was, we would find at least /one/ Tanna, Amora, Gaon, or Rishon
that would let us in on this fact. Can you name one who does?

Zvi Lampel

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Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2006 23:11:38 -0500
From: "S & R Coffer" <rivkyc@sympatico.ca>
RE: chazal and science

On March 16, 2006, Akiva Atwood wrote:
>> for certain. One thing I can tell you; their knowledge of science, such
>> as astronomy, was incredible and was far more advanced than the science
>> of astronomy allowed for in their day. I'll prove it to you...

> Check the archives -- we've discussed (and disproven) both the number
> of stars as an accurate count, and the calculation of the lunar month
> as more precise than the non-Jewish figures (it isn't).

> Specifically -- the number of stars is off by several orders of magnitude
> (at least 3 or 4, IIRC).

Well, actually, astronomers only claim to have an *approximate* count
of the quantity of stars in the universe. Perhaps it will someday be
revealed that Chazal were on the money regarding the count. In any case,
you missed my point. Until the invention of the telescope in the 17th
century, it was apparently impossible for anyone to know that there was
any more than a few thousand stars in the sky. Thus, it is exceptionally
noteworthy that Chazal referred to stars in terms of quantities that
were impossible to know at their time.

>> Now if that isn't amazing, I don't know what is. Even if you would
>> ta'anah that R' Yehoshua was not referring to Halley's comet, how could
>> he possibly be aware of the idea of the reappearance of comets hundreds
>> of years before this phenomenon was identified by scientists?

> Because both chinese and arab astronomers knew about it well before
> Halley -- probably as early or earlier tha chazal. Halley just applied
> Newton's work to explain it mathematically by plotting orbits.

Once again you missed my point. Astronomers knew about the existence of
comets but no one posited that the same comet reappeared over and over
before Halley.

Simcha Coffer

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Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2006 05:59:12
From: "Dr. Josh Backon" <backon@vms.huji.ac.il>
Re: AgriProcessors in the News - Kashrus question

R. Yitzchok Levine asked:
>According to one source associated with the slaughterhouse involved,
>"The kosher status of the meat never has been in question."
Is this really halachically true? Does the inhumane treatment of animals
>during the slaughtering process have no affect the kashrus of the meat?

Based on a passuk (Shemot 23:5), the gemara (Shabbat 128b; Bava Metzia
32b) prohibits tzaar baalei chayim and this prohibition was codified
by the Rambam (Hilchot Rotzeach 13:1) and the Shulchan Aruch (Choshen
Mishpat 272:9). However, the Rema (Even HaEzer 5:14) indicates that
if there is any human need, the prohibition is overturned (see also:
Biur haGRA there s"k 40, and the Noda B'Yehuda Mahadura Tinyana Yoreh
Deah 10 as brought in the Pitchei Tshuva YD 28 s"k 10). See also: Shvut
Yaakov III 71, Chelkat Yaakov I 30, Sridei Eish III 7, Chiddushei Chatam
Sofer on Messechet Shabbat 154b, Binyan Tzion 108, Tzitz Eliezer XIV 68,
and the Trumat haDeshen Psakim uKtavim 105.


It just so happens that force feeding geese may induce a state of
*neveila* rendering the animal not kosher (See Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah,
Hilchot Treifot 33:3 re: "turbez ha'veshet" [perforation of the pharynx]
and YD 33:8 in the Rema. HOWEVER: the Rema in the next paragraph 33:8
rules leniently re: geese that are force fed since "it has been the custom
in our city [Krakow] to be lenient in the case of geese that are being fed
by hand for the purpose of fattening them because there is an ordinance
in the city which requires that geese be examined for perforations of
the esophagus..". The TAZ there explains why it is permitted to force
feed the geese. HOWEVER: he requires that only finely ground food is
fed to the geese to prevent any perforations.

So there's no issur of tzaar baalei chayim. The only thing that would
come to mimd is shechting a cow IN VISUAL SIGHT OF another cow (which
is assur). Treatment prior to shechting would only be problematic vis a
vis inducing a treifa itself (e.g. very crowded quarters and one animal
hits another breaking the shok or tzomet ha'gidim or etzem ha'kulit,
or the animal falls down (nefulah) and ruptures an internal organ.


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Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2006 22:10:26 -0500
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Re: AgriProcessors in the News - Kashrus question

Yitzchok Levine <llevine@stevens.edu> wrote:
> According to one source associated with the slaughterhouse involved,
> "The kosher status of the meat never has been in question."
> Is this really halachically true? Does the inhumane treatment of animals
> during the slaughtering process have no affect the kashrus of the meat?

Why should it? Even if the issur of tzaar baalei chayim applied to this
(and it almost certainly doesn't), what's it got to do with kashrus?

In defending shechitah from the attacks on it, we often point out that it
is a relatively humane method of slaughter, and cite scientific studies to
back that up, and this is true. But some people seem to have somehow got
the impression that the *reason* for shechitah is that it's humane, or,
worse, that the *definition* of shechitah is "humane slaughter", so that
any slaughter which isn't painless is by definition not kosher, and if we
discover a new method which is even more painless then it is by definition
kosher. This is a fallacy. AFAIK, in all of hilchos shechitah there
is not a single mention of the humaneness of this method of slaughter.
We shecht because "kaasher tziviticha"; that it happens to result in
minimal suffering for the animal is a sign of Divine benevolence.

In any case, the complaint seems to be about things that happen *after*
the shechitah, when the animal is halachically dead, and scientifically
unable to feel pain. Thus neither kashrus nor humaneness are a problem,
the only problem is in how it looks to someone who is not used to it,
or who wants to make trouble.

Zev Sero

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Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2006 23:39:51 -0500
From: "S & R Coffer" <rivkyc@sympatico.ca>
RE: AgriProcessors in the News - Kashrus question

On March 16, 2006, Yitzchok Levine wrote:
> According to one source associated with the slaughterhouse involved,
> "The kosher status of the meat never has been in question."

Rabbi Menachem Genack of the OU.

> Is this really halachically true? Does the inhumane treatment of animals
> during the slaughtering process have no affect the kashrus of the meat?

Maybe it does and maybe it doesn't. But PETA is certainly not an
organization we have to 'rechen' with. If Rabbi Genack was satisfied,
what's the problem?

Simcha Coffer

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Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2006 21:44:46 -0500
From: "S & R Coffer" <rivkyc@sympatico.ca>
RE: Rabo muvhak

On March 16, 2006, Rich, Joel wrote:
> reuvein pays shimon to teach reuvein's son torah. Who gets the schar
> in olam haba? 

There are two concepts: Sachar and Sheleimus. Reuvein gets the sachar of
facilitating his son's learning (lifum tzara agra) but the sheleimus
engendered by limud haTorah can only be associated with those who
actually learn (R' Avigdor Miller). Apparently, according to this,
sheleimus is more intrinsic and thus more profound from the standpoint of
"nehenim me'ziv hashechina". This fits well with the Ramchal's approach
in Derech Hashem.

Simcha Coffer

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Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2006 09:05:09 -0500
From: bbfan33@aol.com
lifneihem v bifneihem

I was asked a question to which I was only able to offer a limited answer.
I was wondering if any of the avodah readers have any further insight
into this question

here was the question

Can you explain the variant manuscripts on Esther 9:2 , "bifnim" or
"lifnim"? When we read Monday night, the text read "bifnim". When we
read in the morning, the claf read "lifnim", which is what appears in
most of the Tikkunim.


here were my limited answers:
1. I found an answer in the minchat shay in the blue tikkun korim with
simanim- it seems that in some published and other hand written texts
bifneihem is found, but it seems in the majority of hand written texts
as well as early publications it is written as lifneihem, including the
machzor kadmon- do you know what this text is?

2. Joshua Jacobson in his book Chanting the Hebrew Bible quotes Jordan
Penkower in "Minhag Umassorah" that the correct text is lifneihem, and
that the minhag of reading first bifneihem and then returning to read it
as "lifneihem" is only approximately 200 years old. Penkower maintains
that the sentence should only be read as "lifneihem".

I wonder whether the bifneihem needs to be changed to lifneihem to make
that claf kosher?

Do you have any further insights?

kol tuv
shabbat shalom
aaron zuckerberg

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