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Volume 16 : Number 164

Monday, March 20 2006

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Wed, 15 Mar 2006 15:30:06 -0500
From: "Mike Wiesenberg" <torahmike@gmail.com>
re: kabbalah goes to yeshiva

Yasher Koach to RYL for those interesting mekoros against gilgulim.
Here's another: The Rashash to Bava Metzia 107a, on the gemora that
mentions that one enters the world without any sins, points out that
this is a rayah against gilgulim.

Also interesting,
A few years ago a sefer 'dvar yakov' came out on bava metzia, by a
rebbi in Kol Torah. On that Rashah, he is goes crazy about how could
the Rashash contradict raboseinu baalei kabbalah.


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Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2006 10:36:09 -0500
From: "Gil Student" <gil.student@gmail.com>

For mareh mekomos on gilgul, see R. Yitzchak Blau's article in the Torah
U-Madda Journal 10: <http://www.yutorah.org/showShiur.cfm?shiurID=703961>

Gil Student,          Yashar Books
Subscribe to "Sefer Ha-Hayim - Books for Life" Newsletter:
news, ideas, insights and special offers from Yashar Books

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Date: Sat, 18 Mar 2006 20:24:42 -0500
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Re: AgriProcessors in the News - Kashrus question

Yitzchok Levine <llevine@stevens.edu> wrote:
> At 12:59 AM 03/17/2006, Dr. Josh Backon wrote:
>> However, the Rema (Even HaEzer 5:14) indicates
>> that if there is any human need, the prohibition is overturned

> But there was no "human need" for what was formally being done at this
> slaughterhouse, because these procedures have now been stopped without
> interrupting operations. Therefore, these inhumane procedures were never
> "necessary."

They have been stopped at an economic cost. The animals that used to
have the "second cut" to increase the blood flow are now stunned and sold
as treif. There is no requirement that the "tzorech adam" be some dire
necessity that cannot be done without, merely that whatever it is that is
being done to the animal have some actual purpose, rather than merely to
torture it. The deliberately extreme example given to demonstrate this
rule is that one may pluck a feather from a living bird to make a pen.
Even though no normal person could bring himself to actually do something
so cruel, it is not a violation of tzaar baalei chayim, because what
matters here is the intention, not the actual effect on the animal.
The "pesik reisha" rule that applies on shabbat does not apply here.

And this is all assuming that an animal after a kosher shechitah is
actually capable of feeling pain, which is a highly dubious proposition.

In addition, even if there were pain, and the procedure were forbidden,
why would that affect the kashrut of the meat?

Zev Sero

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Date: Sat, 18 Mar 2006 21:16:44 -0500
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Re: Gilgulim

Yitzchok Levine <llevine@stevens.edu>
> At 11:00 AM 03/14/2006, [RCBK] wrote:
>>interesting side point:
>>R. Chaim Vital writes in Shaar HaGilgulim that he is a gilgul of the
>>Magid Mishneh, who in his life was not machshiv Toras Nistar...
>>R. Yehudah Fatayah ... says the same about himself being a gilgul of the
>>Nodah B'Yehudah who also was not interested in Toras Nistar.

> How are we supposed to "square" what you have written above with the
> following:
> R. Saadia Goan (882-942) in his Beliefs and Opinions (Emunos VeDeyos)
> writes  [that he does not believe in gilgulim]
> Others who followed R. Saadia Goan and did not subscribe to the doctrine
> of gilgul are R.Chisdai Crecas ( c.1310-c.1415) and R. Joseph Albo
> (c.1380-1444).

What's to square? If the Magid Mishna and the Noda Biyhuda were sent
back in a gilgul to complete what they had omitted the first time around,
it seems probable that the same thing happened to the RaSaG, the Baal
haIkkarim, etc. Or perhaps they were already gilgulim of baalei nistar
who hadn't learned enough nigleh...

Zev Sero

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Date: Sat, 18 Mar 2006 22:38:36 -0500 (EST)
From: "Samuel P Groner" <spg28@cornell.edu>
Nodeh b'Yehuda on Kabbalah

cbk quotes R. Yehudah Fatayah (talmid of Ben Ish Chai and author of
Minchas Yehuda on Aitz Chaim) as saying that he [R. Fetayah] was "a gilgul
of the Nodah B'Yehudah[,] who [] was not interested in Toras Nistar."

The Nodeh B'Yehudah's stance vis-a-vis Toras Nistar is pretty complicated,
or at least that's the impression I got from reading a recent dissertation
about the Nodeh B'Yehudah's life that was published by a Rav from
Baltimore, if I what I heard about the biographical information of the
author is correct. Titled "A Case Study in the Formation of a Super-Rabbi:
The Early Years of Rabbi Ezekiel Landau, 1713-1754" this dissertation by
[R.] David Katz has about 100 pages or so on the Nodeh B'Yehudah's stance
toward Kabbalah, and how it contrasted at least in part from the stance
of R. Yaakov Emden. If I had to sum up the Nodeh B'Yehudah's stance
in one sentence based on my reading of the dissertation, it would be
that the Nodah B'Yehudah, despite having a deep and thorough knowledge
of kabbalah, despite having given haskamot to kabbalah seforim, and
despite having used Kabbalistic ideas to explain some piskei halakha,
made a significant effort to prevent the masses from knowing about his
kabbalistic knowledge because he didn't want the masses to delve into
kabbalah at the expense of halakhah/gemara. The dissertation is available
for download, in full, at https://drum.umd.edu/dspace/handle/1903/245

Sammy Groner

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Date: Sat, 18 Mar 2006 21:12:41 -0500
From: "Samuel Svarc" <ssvarc@yeshivanet.com>
RE: AgriProcessors in the News - Kashrus question

From: Steg Belsky <draqonfayir@juno.com>
>I'd like to see some documentation on the animal being scientifically
>unable to feel pain.

I have a book called "Shechita in the Light of the Year 2000" by Prof.
I.M. Levinger. It is a "Critical Review of the Scientific Aspects of
Methods of Slaughter and Shechita". He gives the documentation that
you are looking for. It is a 200 page book and even the main body of
the book is 100 pages long. Too long to summarize. If you want to know
his conclusions they were basically (with some variations) the same as
what R" Sholom Kohn said over from his FIL (quoted below).

From: "Kohn, Shalom" <skohn@Sidley.com>
>My FIL, a shochet,
>asserts that inasmuch as shechita typically cuts the varidim (carotid
>artery and jugular vein), the brain is deprived of blood and does not
>experience pain. (Of course, that is not a requirement of shechita,
>but is in hilchot basar b'chalav in connection with livestock which is
>not cut into pieces before salting.) In any case, it is not clear to
>me that this blood loss is immediate; nor that a brain without blood
>does not experience pain.

Prof. Levinger documents this blood loss and that a brain starved of
blood doesn't experience pain.

>My FIL also says, which does ring true, that the shechita knives are
>so sharp that the incision is not really noticed, and as an example, he
>cites the times he cut himself (or someone cuts himself with a razor, that
>the cut itself is not noticed). Thus, at least the initial trauma and
>pain would seem to be less than if the animal is stunned (the nonkosher
>alternative) by either shooting a bolt into its brain or driving in an
>electrical probe.

Prof. L speaks about this (once again, without the exact same arguments)
and reaches the conclusion that shechita is more humane then those other
forms. Since shechita is a simple method with fewer preparations and
an extremely low failure rate (if not the lowest failure rate) it is
more humane.

>I do think we are on a slippery slope if we try to defend shechita as
>humane, because the pressure to ban shechita will increase if "scientists"
>decide otherwise. The defense for shechita is the religious obligation to
>do so (per halacha). [I know that now this post technically has reached
>the forbidden territory of talking about "halacha and science," but hope
>it still gets past our moderators. <grin>]

A perceptive comment, but this should be on Arievim, no?

If people have *specific* questions I'm more then willing to either post
or scan what Prof. L writes, but I simply can't scan or quote the entire
book (it's a 100 pages without the appendixes!).


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Date: Sun, 19 Mar 2006 05:08:37
From: "Dr. Josh Backon" <backon@vms.huji.ac.il>
Tzaar baalei chayim

I had mentioned in a prior post that it is assur to shecht an animal
in front of another animal as this may induce a treifot in the lung
(tzemaka). When asked in private email for a source, I gave the source as
Yoreh Deah 36:14. I just noticed in the Aruch haShulchan YD 36 #70 (who
categorically prohibits shechting an animal in front of another animal)
that the issur is also with regard to Tzaar baalei Chayim !! [he calls
this an issur gamur]


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Date: Sat, 18 Mar 2006 23:44:18 -0600
From: Lisa Liel <lisa@starways.net>
Re: Kabbala goes to yeshiva

On Tue, 14 Mar 2006 11:28:51 -0500, Yitzchok Levine 
<llevine@stevens.edu> wrote:
>At 11:00 AM 03/14/2006, [RCBK] wrote:
>>interesting side point:
>>R. Chaim Vital writes in Shaar HaGilgulim...

>How are we supposed to "square" what you have written above with the 

>R. Saadia Goan (882-942) in his Beliefs and Opinions (Emunos VeDeyos) writes,
>"Yet I must say that I have found certain people, who call 
>themselves Jews, professing the doctrine of metempsychosis..."
>(Treatise VI , Chapter VIII)

>Others who followed R. Saadia Goan and did not subscribe to the 
>doctrine of gilgul are R.Chisdai Crecas ( c.1310-c.1415) and R. 
>Joseph Albo (c.1380-1444).

>In the March 21, 2003 issue of the Jewish Press Rabbi M. M. Weiss 
>wrote that "Rabbi Avigdor Miller would not talk about it ...

I think part of the problem is an assumption that gilgul is the same
thing as reincarnation. I've seen the terms gilgul and tikkun being
used interchangably, and it seems that at least in some cases, the idea
is more one of a balance being created. That Rabbi Akiva, for example,
who is seen as a gilgul/tikkun of Zimri ben Salu (as quoted in Seder
HaDorot), was not seen as the actual neshama of Zimri in a new body, but
rather that each of them was a leader in Israel, each of them fell in
love with a women who was not Jewish, but while Zimri did what he did,
Rabbi Akiva chose differently and married the wife of Tinneaus Rufus
after she converted.

Thus, R' Saadya Gaon was criticizing precisely those people who, perhaps
based on a confusion between gilgul and reincarnation, had come to
believe in the latter.

It would be interesting to see the various sources you cite inside and
see whether any of the advocates of gilgul were using the term in a
way that was truly the same as the Eastern concept of reincarnation.
I suspect they weren't.


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Date: Sun, 19 Mar 2006 03:15:22 EST
From: Phyllostac@aol.com
the Noda B'Yehudah and Kabbalah

From: "cbk" <fallingstar613@hotmail.com>
> ..........R. Yehudah Fatayah (talmid of Ben Ish Chai and author of Minchas
> Yehuda on Aitz Chaim) says the same about himself being a gilgul of the
> Nodah B'Yehudah who also was not interested in Toras Nistar.>>

It's incorrect to say that The Noda BiYehudah was not interested in
Toras Hanistar. He was quite familiar with it. He did oppose unrestricted
involvement of the masses and unqualified people in it though. There is
discussion of this in Rabbi Dr. David Katz's thesis on him.


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Date: Sun, 19 Mar 2006 22:17:16 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: AgriProcessors in the News - Kashrus question

On Fri, Mar 17, 2006 at 12:58:14PM -0500, Steg Belsky wrote:
: I'd like to see some documentation on the animal being scientifically 
: unable to feel pain.

Others discussed this, that if the varidim were cut, the brain loses
consciousness before pain can reach it.

But I want to raise a more fundamental issue about tza'ar ba'alei
chaim. Animals lack the development of neocortex/neopalleum responsible
for metacognisance, IOW, being aware of being aware -- self-awareness.
It is therefore quite plausible that even when an animal feels pain, or
even emotions, there is no "I" to have a first-hand experience of pain.
(This is discussed in this quarter's Scientific American Mind.)

Tza'ar ba'alei chaim may therefore be akin to Moshe Rabeinu's need to
show haqaras hatov to the Nile or the Egyptian sand. Important for its
impact on Moshe Rabbeinu, the Nile obviously doesn't care. Similarly,
the more often given sevarah for covering challah for qiddush (that it
is a slight to the bread), or the custom that one should show kavod to
bread by refraining to throw it. Again, the bread doesn't care, it is
an excercise in middos for the actor.

This brings their lack of bekhirah chafshi into sharp focus. There is no
self, how can there be a will? As R' Sherr writes in his introduction
to Cheshbon haNefesh, a dog may be capable of long causal chains, but
it is all stimulous-response. Only people are capable of more than that.

Yes, I'm suggesting that even when an animal is in pain or emotional
distress, there is "no one there" to suffer. However, since the experience
to us is the same as if there were, we can not act cruelly based on this
theoretical knowledge. We would grow callous.


Micha Berger             "The worst thing that can happen to a
micha@aishdas.org        person is to remain asleep and untamed."
http://www.aishdas.org          - Rabbi Simcha Zissel Ziv, Alter of Kelm
Fax: (270) 514-1507      

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Date: Sun, 19 Mar 2006 17:03:09 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Rabo muvhak

On Thu, Mar 16, 2006 at 09:44:46PM -0500, S & R Coffer wrote:
: 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.

Except that according to the Ramchal, sechar is the effect of sheleimus.
So how can they ever be uncorrelated?


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Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2006 09:56:34 -0500
From: "Markowitz, Chaim" <cmarkowitz@scor.com>
Mordechai HaYehudi

Recently, a questioned was raised whether Haman knew Mordechai was a
Jew. The argument was that if Haman knew Mordechai was a Jew why was it
necessary to point out to Haman that Mordechai was Jewish.

I responded that this doesn't make sense and that I was sure there was
another pshat in the possuk.

I looked in the GRA over Shabbos and sure enough he says that when Haman
was told that Mordechai was a Jew, the kavannah was not to inform Haman
that Mordechai was Jewish but rather to inform Haman that Mordechai
wasn't bowing down due to religious reasons and not for some other reason.

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Date: Sun, 19 Mar 2006 17:07:19 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: mechiyat amalek

On Fri, Mar 17, 2006 at 09:47:17AM -0500, Jacob Farkas wrote:
: My understanding of the question was not whether Taf V'Noshim were
: included in the Tzivuy, but why. IOW, why is it necessary for the
: destruction of Amalekism to destroy newborns? Is Amalekism genetic,
: or nurtured? And why the animals? How did Amalek influence their cattle?

I'm suggesting that since the commandment is to destroy all zeicher
Amaleiq, any memorial to and reminder of Amaleiq, none of these
explanations are necessary. They can be included without being amongst
the guilty.

But in any case, one can eradicate Amaleiq by making them geirei toshav.


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: Mon, 20 Mar 2006 00:15:16 -0500
From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
Re: Musafim Kehilchasam

On Sun, 19 Mar 2006 01:58:28 +1100 "SBA" <sba@sba2.com> writes:
> The Dover Sholom in the SIddur Otzar Hatefilos brings a pshat from 
> the Yaaros Dvash. [Not that I understand it.]

My Otzar Hatefilos doesn't have that perush.  Can you post it or scan it?

> BTW, you could also ask about 'Korban Mussaf Shabbos >>KORO'UI>>

Not once you've asked it.  Please, as above, post what it says there.


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Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2006 11:33:29 +0200
From: "Eli Turkel" <eliturkel@gmail.com>
torah and morality

I went to a lecture last night on Torah and Morality. I asked the rabbi
about mechiyat Amalek and he had no answer. However, he said he had a
bigger more relevant problem.

His problem was with a wife of a Cohen who was raped. As is well known
today a woman who is raped undergoes a tremendous trauma and many places
have centers to psychologically treat the victims. According to halacha
when this woman comes home we tell her that she must get divorced. If
she has younger children after everything she went through she (or the
husband) must leave their neighborhood, and split up the children. The
chances of such a woman finding a new shidduch is slim. If the woman
is older we tell her to leave her husband of many years who are growing
old together. Given the trauma of the rape very few woman would survive
a divorce. They would either need severe psychiatric help or else would
abandon religion. This rabbi mentioned that if it happened to his wife
(he was a Cohen) he could not see divorcing her.

Eli Turkel

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Date: Sun, 19 Mar 2006 23:38:20 -0600
From: "CBK" <fallingstar613@hotmail.com>
kabbalah goes to yeshiva

> How are we supposed to "square" what you have written above with the
> following:...
> R. Saadia Goan (882-942) in his Beliefs and Opinions (Emunos VeDeyos)

This one point is brought up regularly when this topic comes up and often
despite the libraries upon libraries which discuss this and other topics
in this category and the fact that these teachings have been accepted
into the mainstream of Torah thought, people will still wave around the
"What about R. Saadia...He says it's ridiculous." Or one of my favorite
proofs is that since the Rambam doesn't mention it, it is proof that he
also didn't accept it. Often, in Torah, such a lopsided disagreement
is accepted as a daas yichid or a few yichidim against a giant klal but
it seems that people have so much at stake in regards to reincarnation
and gilgulim and will hold on to that one or two daas yichud against so
many others.

R. Saadiah Gaon and the few others that you listed lived before the
proliferation of the Ari and his teachings became part of the mainstream
of Torah thought. That simple. I don't know why these teachings were
hidden for centuries and not known to all of the leaders of those
times but there have been and still are large segments of Jews who's
view of Judaism must remain as one of logic and rationalism. In a way
many Jews have been sold the idea that Judaism is so supra-logical and
must conform to enlightened thought so that we no longer seem like the
supersticious and primitive people that makes so many people uncomfortable
and embarassed. This academic/rationalistic approach to Judaism tries to
deny or at least ignore these ideas brought to the surface by the Ari
and others. It is what many call the apologetics approach that seeks
to show to all that we are logical and enlightened.

No one will say that this is one of the fundamental hashkafos of Torah
nor that one must believe it. But the rest of Judaism, (ie. Sefardim,
Chassidim, Talmidei HaGra...) have all accepted these ideas in the
spectrum of Torah.


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Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2006 18:18:14 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: jewish identification

In v16n160, RETurkel writes:
: It certainly disagree with the mesdrashim (that I don't understand) that
: places the bet hamikdash in the center of the story of Purim. Without
: knowing anything about Esther, the king offers her everything except
: for rebuilding the bet hamikdash...

Although if Esther coming to the throne is what brought about a Persian
king who was sympathetic to the Jews (perhaps even halachically one of
us), it would provide a causal connection between Purim and Bayis Sheini.

A historical problem is that Persian records to not tell of a major
dispute over the Jewish people or interest in the Beis haMiqdash. It would
make sense from that perspective to wonder if our story wasn't viewed by
malkhei Paras uMadai as a side-story to a basic battle between polytheism
and early, monotheistic Zoroastranism (before it became dualist). Haman
would then be a priest of the old-time polytheism (which fits the problem
given with bowing down to him), who hated us because he was an equal
opportunity monoitheist hater. Achashveirosh, a commoner who married into
royalty, banked on religious support in order to secure his shakey throne.

I thought I came up with the above myself, but while googling
for references, I see that Lisa Leil carries an article on
her web site by Brad Aaronson explaining the idea besheim
Dr Chaim S Heifetz in more solid terms, as a battle between
Mithrism and Zoroastranism. As I could have seen the 1991 JA
in which it appeared, I may have remembered bits of that. See
<http://www.starways.net/lisa/essays/heifetzfix.html>, and letters in
response at <http://www.starways.net/lisa/essays/heifetzletters.html>.

And who were the leaders of the battle against Zoroastranism in Persia?
Ironically, it was the Arians!


Micha Berger             One who kills his inclination is as though he
micha@aishdas.org        brought an offering. But to bring an offering,
http://www.aishdas.org   you must know where to slaughter and what
Fax: (270) 514-1507      parts to offer.        - R' Simcha Zissel Ziv

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