Avodah Mailing List
Volume 17 : Number 026
Sunday, April 30 2006
Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2006 11:19:08 -0400
From: "David E Cohen" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2006 11:19:08 -0400
Lisa Liel wrote:
> A religion that's all about the "dialectic tension" would see a machloket
> between Abbaye and Rabba and say, "Well, maybe both of them are right."
I think that perhaps we do say that Abbaye and Rava were both right.
See the discussion of Beis Shammai and Beis Hillel on Eruvin 13b.
In fact, it's clear from there that the reason the halakhah is like Beis
Hillel has nothing to do with them being "more right." It seems that
the establishment of the halakhah according to one side of a machalokes
is a sort of "necessary evil" (I don't really mean evil, but rather
something not inherently positive) that is due to the need for uniformity
of practice, not due to one side being "right" and the other "wrong."
This is related, I believe, to the discussion in volumes 16-20 or so
of Avodah Volume 16 (most of it under the subject "only one opinion")
regarding whether or not we "pasken" one way or the other in a machalokes
without direct practical ramifications.
> The entirety of Shas could be contained in a single volume if that's what
> Judaism was about.
I would think the opposite. If it were only the "correct" opinion that
were important, than all you would need is the Mishneh Torah, which does
easily fit (at least in a miniature version) in 2 volumes. The Gemara is
much longer because much of it is devoted to attempting to address all
possible challenges to EACH side of a machalokes. More often than not,
if we didn't know the rules of pesak from elsewhere, you could finish
learning a sugya and have no idea whom the halakhah follows. I think
that's because while we do, of course, need to know this information
for practical reasons, it's not the main point.
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Date: Sat, 29 Apr 2006 08:30:48 +0200
From: Arie Folger <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Spilling out drops of wine at the Seder
> A medrash, which can be found in the Yalqut Shim'oni and Pesiqta deRav
> Kahanah (Mandelbaum Edition, siman 29, 189a, found by RnLL), explains CH
> on the 7th day of Pesach with the story about the mal'achim drowning.
You mean "the Mitzriim drowning", don't you?
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Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2006 12:57:13 -0400
From: "Lisa Liel" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
On Fri, 28 Apr 2006 11:19:08 -0400, email@example.com wrote:
>Lisa Liel wrote:
>> A religion that's all about the "dialectic tension" would see a
>> machloket between Abbaye and Rabba and say, "Well, maybe both of
>> them are right."
>I think that perhaps we do say that Abbaye and Rava were both right.
Perhaps I should have been more clear. I mean that it would say "maybe
both of them are right", and refrain from even mentioning that there
are competing claims.
That, after all, is what R' Micha is maintaining. By reading a view into
our mesorah that says we reduce our joy when those trying to destroy
us are defeated or destroyed themselves, he is effectively saying that
a view existed all along which stands in stark contrast to explicitly
stated views in Chazal, and that no one, ever, in all the centuries that
have elapsed since then, has discussed the contradiction. That they
merely allowed it to exist, so that anyone could choose the view he or
she felt more comfortable with.
That's my issue here. We don't find this in our mesorah. The smallest
potential conflict is dragged into the light of debate. True, we may
decide in the end that "eilu v'eilu"; that each view is an acceptable
one, but we never just ignore the fact that two disparate views exist.
If there were two contradictory views, they would have had a spotlight
shone on them at some time. That no such spotlight exists means that
no such contradictory views existed.
>This is related, I believe, to the discussion in volumes 16-20 or so
>of Avodah Volume 16 (most of it under the subject "only one opinion")
>regarding whether or not we "pasken" one way or the other in a
>machalokes without direct practical ramifications.
Though of course, there are direct, practical ramifications here.
Is it permissible, for instance, to rejoice publically over the death
of terrorists? Should we say, as Golda Meir did, that forcing us to
have to kill Arab enemies is more worthy of our grief than the loss of
our own at the hands of those enemies?
>> The entirety of Shas could be contained in a single volume if
>> that's what Judaism was about.
>I would think the opposite. If it were only the "correct" opinion
>that were important, than all you would need is the Mishneh Torah,
>which does easily fit (at least in a miniature version) in 2
I didn't mean to suggest that I was referring to only stating the view
that was the practical halakha. Certainly we note all legitimate views.
But what R' Micha seems to be suggesting is that we could have had a
Gemara in which we learned that Rabbi Yochanan and Reish Lakish disagreed
over whether chatzi shiur is assur min ha-Torah on Yom Kippur, but which
omitted any discussion of the reasons why they each held their views,
let alone any resolution.
When every single pasuk that is relevant to this issue says the same
thing, and every single sugya also says that same thing, it simply isn't
feasible to read later sources as meaning something that reflects a
diametrically opposed view. Regardless of whether that might seem to
be the simple way to read them in a vacuum, we don't read *anything*
in a vacuum.
>The Gemara is much longer because much of it is devoted to
>attempting to address all possible challenges to EACH side of a
I agree 100%. And if there were a Gemara that said, "This view says
we do rejoice fully over the downfall of our national enemies, and
that view says we don't, and here are reasons on both sides," then I'd
also say that both are valid Jewish views. But no such Gemara exists.
The closest there is, is the discussion in Tanna d'Bei Eliyahu about
the seeming conflict between "binfol oyivcha al tismach" and "ba'avod
reshaim rinah", and that is resolve by saying that "binfol oyivcha"
simply doesn't refer to the same thing as "ba'avod reshaim".
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Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2006 15:05:47 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Jonathan Baker" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Dialectic tension
> With all due respect to R' Micha, I think this may be one of the
> reasons why R' Josh compared this way of thinking to the thinking
> common in the Conservative movement. Judaism does not deal in
> "dialectic tension". When opposing views exist, we drag them out
> into the open and resolve them. It is not an exaggeration, I don't
> think, to say that resolving opposing views is the single most
> essential characteristic of Torah literature. Far from sitting
> happily with "dialectic tension", authentic Judaism is a constant
> battle against any such thing.
There are plenty of streams within authentic Judaism that revel in
dialectic tension, namely the Rav Soloveitchik and Chabad (and other
chassiduyot?). For the Rav, that tension even extends to halacha; see
the essay Kodesh v'Chol, and Halachic Man. Yes, there's a resolution,
but it's not necessarily a fixed resolution. Different cases call for
(C) R' Joel Roth would say that the tension breaks down after a while,
so that almost anything that can be justified, goes. But for the Rav,
the tension is the way of life for the contemporary Orthodox Jew.
And on an aggadic/hashkafic level, much of Chabad theology is based
on the unresolved dialectics of opposition: sovev umimalei, ruchniyus
vs. gashmius, the apparent solidity of the physical universe vs. the
real insubstantiality of "leit atar panui mineih". See Rachel Elior,
"The Paradoxical Ascent to God" - all of the paradoxical positions that
make up Chabad theology.
I would imagine that other theologies deal with dialectic tension,
it's just that those are the two with which I'm most familiar.
> A religion that's all about the "dialectic tension" would see a
> machloket between Abbaye and Rabba and say, "Well, maybe both of them
> are right." The entirety of Shas could be contained in a single
And maybe both of them are right, if circumstances change.
> volume if that's what Judaism was about.
No, it couldn't, because there are positions that are rejected outright
as textually impossible, or refuted based on corrected versions of
Besides, the Shas itself leaves a lot undecided. How often do you
encounter Teyku? In later times, pragmatic resolutions have been
found, but within the terms of the system (i.e. without direct Divine
intervention), it's impossible to determine which side is actually TRUE.
We can arbitrarily decide which one we DO, but not which one is TRUE.
> Furthermore, I don't believe that Judaism is skewed either overly
> towards din *or* overly towards rachamim. Not a single verse in the
Perhaps not. However, individuals can apparently choose which side they
lean towards. After all, the halacha is that we spill or drip wine.
It's the aggadic explanation that we're arguing about: is it simcha at
the salvation from our enemies, or is it binfol oyivcha al tisamach?
Halacha cries out for resolution; practice forces resolution (since we
can't both do and not-do something), but in the world of ideas, opposites
can be maintained. Kant had unresolved dialectical tension before Hegel
forced synthetic resolutions. The synthesis is not necessary, in ideas,
or even in the search for halachic truth.
- jon baker email@example.com <http://www.panix.com/~jjbaker> -
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Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2006 09:40:31 -0700 (PDT)
From: velvel gurkow <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Spilling out drops of wine at the Seder
on Friday 28th april Akiva Miller wrote:
> (uhhh, well, I was going to write about the significance of saying the
> bracha of geulah on this cup, which is *not* a kos malay but is missing
> sixteen drops. But I now see the Kaf Hachayim 473:165, who writes about
> refilling it.)
The Hebrew word for "cup," kos, is numerically equivalent to the
word hateva, "nature." Within nature, there are positive potentials
that can be used for holiness, and undesirable qualities, which must
be discarded. Differentiating between these two categories is not
easy. To accomplish this successfully, we must manifest control --
over ourselves, and then over our natural environment. In allusion to
this, rather than dipping our finger in the cup, we take the cup --
nature -- in hand, demonstrating our mastery.
Sefer HaSichos 5704, p. 92.
2) In the Haggada of the Ball Hatanya he writes the following:
Have in mind that the cup symbolizes the aspect of malchut, which
contains an aspect of "anger and indignation." By means of our
faculty of binah (understanding) we pour out [that aspect of "anger
and indignation" - by spilling from the wine in the cup into a broken
dish which represents kelipah, i.e., that which is called accursed
[the principle of evil]).
I figured some of you might be interested in another perspective.
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Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2006 12:08:21 +0200
From: "Eli Turkel" <email@example.com>
Subject: mishum eivah
Chana Luntz provides several interesting comments and links. I thank
her but would like to go through the list in more detail:
First a number of cases refer to not taking social actions that might
cause hatred like several chupot in one day. These are not relevant
to our discussion and will be ignored. The cases between husband and
wife and son and father are mainly monetary takanot to prevent eivah.
More to the point
1. Someone who served as temporary Cohen gadol cannot continue after
the original cohen gadol returns because of eivah
This does not allow anyone to do an averiah. This against is a restriction
on a person's actions to prevent fights
2. We trust an am haaretz who donates wine or oil to the bet hamikdash
we also accept testimony from an am haaretz we do do zimun today with
an am haaretz can eat first meal after a wedding with someone suspect
First they note that Rambam disagrees with much of this. Second it is
done for national unity so they set up separate courts or even another
Most important in all these cases involving an am haaretz there is only a
safek. Second in several of the cases the rabbis instituted other chumrot
to reduce the level of the safek.
In summary I still do not see a case where one can violate a rabbinic
prohibition (not a safek) to prevent eivah with another Jew.
Note that for a nochri one can violate rabbinic shabbat halachot,
one can help a nochri woman give birth even when the son will worship AZ,
one can save a nochri from a pit, one helps load/unload their animals
even without tzaar baalei chayim.
Note that the pri magadim allows transgressing a rabbinic prohibition
because of eivah of the Nochri only when that was part of the original
gezerah. It is not a blanket heter even in that case.
Further to my earlier post:
>> RET writes:
>>> Moshe brought down the concept of mishum eivah as applying to
>>> My question is whether there is such a concept with regard to other
> Note that the Encylopedia Talmudit lists under the heading eivah four
> a) between husband and wife;
> b) between father and son;
> c) between adam l'chavero;
> d) between yisroel and non Jew.
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Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2006 13:45:58 +0100
From: Chana Luntz <Chana@kolsassoon.org.uk>
Subject: Re: mishum eivah
Quoting Eli Turkel <firstname.lastname@example.org>:
> can eat first meal after a wedding with someone suspect on maaserot
While there is some suggestion that this is dafka the first meal after
a wedding, I think most of the meforshim regard it as lav dafka, ie any
important seudah (the question is on the repeatability the following
week). The Rambam certainly holds so.
> Most important in all these cases involving an am haaretz there is only a
In the case of demai certainly it is not only a question of safek.
The prohibition on eating demai is a rabbinical prohibition. The fact
that the rabbinical prohibition was instituted due to the fact that
there was a safek of a violation of a d'orisa (ie the produce may in
fact be tevel) does not make it any less a violation of a d'rabbanan.
It is this, IMHO, that is the reason why those later teshuvas that
allowed the eating of pas akum that I cited in my first post based
their reasoning on this case of demai - because in the opinion of the
overwhelming majority of meforshim that is the violation of a d'rabbanan
(which is why I brought the GRA and others on the Rema there). I agree
that the Sde Chemed cites one opinion, that of the Zachor L'Avraham
(which is why I brought it), that in fact it is only dealing with safek
- ie where you don't know whether or not the person is over on the
d'rabbanan (ie whether the bread is pas akum), just that you suspect
they are the type that might eat it but that does seem rather contrary
to the plain meaning of the teshuva brought by the Beis Yosef, the Rema,
and the understanding of the nosei kellim.
I don't therefore believe that, at least in this case, it is actually
talking about a case of safek.
What is less certain, I agree, is whether in order to avoid eiva one
can generally be doche d'rabbanans: - and in fact the Pri Megadim (as
quoted in the Sde Chemed (marechet aleph siman 116) which we have been
discussing) is mesupik on precisely this point -is eivah a general
provision that will override a d'rabbanan, or is it something only
applicable in specific cases.
Now the Sde Chemed himself learns from the Beis Yosef regarding eating the
bread of non Jews that this psak proves that there is a general principle
that eivah pushes away d'rabbanans (ie he tries to answer the doubt of
the Pri Megadim), on the grounds that this rule about non Jewish bread
is to be found nowhere in the gemora, and the Beis Yosef only learns
it out from the mishna in Demai which speaks only about the rabbinical
prohibition of Demai. So if in fact it were true that there was no
general principle then the Beis Yosef could not learn from the rabbinical
prohibition of demai to the rabbinical prohibition of non Jewish bread.
That is not to say that you might not agree with the Zachor L'Avraham,
but it would seem that there are two sides to this debate, and that
there are certainly opinions that eiva is docha d'rabbanans generally
between Jew and Jew.
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Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2006 16:08:17 +0200
From: "Eli Turkel" <email@example.com>
Subject: mishum eivah
A subject of much interest is whether one can offer food to a chiloni
knowing that he won't make a bracha and so the houseowner violates
RSZA has a major chiddush that because of eivah "lifne iver" does not
apply since the chiloni will not transgress hating another Jew instead of
eating without a beracha. RMF does not seem to accept this argument and
there is a whole discussion in the last chelek of iggerot Moshe on other
possible heterim. RSZA hints that CI might not accept his chiddush. In
fact that case of not lending utensils to an am haaretz that can be used
to violate shemitta implies that eivah is not a heter.
If eivah is a general heter that one can transgress rabbinic prohibitions
to prevent the chiloni from hating us why go to all this trouble? -
of course it is permitted (this assumes that lifnei iver on a rabbinic
prohibition is only rabbinic which is not clear)
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Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2006 08:26:03 -0400
From: "Rich, Joel" <JRich@Segalco.com>
Subject: RE: Aruch Hashulchan vs. Mishna Berura
> It took the CC more then TWO decades to write his peirush on JUST OC.
> "Less analytical and investigative"? I think not... IMVHO,
this is analogous to a Rishon whose words appear simple but open a R' Chaim,
a R' Shimon Shkop and see the diyukim they make.
Which of course is the subject of debate (see the Orthodox Forum's
recent publication on Lomdus (Brisker Torah approach) - did the Rishonim
(actually IIRC R' Chaim looked at only a few)/ Gemara really intend
these chilukim. Can we be sure the approach is getting the underlying
theory correct especially when it does so by downplaying the text? (BTW
I learn this way too but since reading lomdus am much more self-aware
of the issues)
> If these preferences are true it would seem to bear out what I
> wrote above. Namely, that the MB is a sefer that a RY is 'nodie' to,
> "analytical' etc, while the AhS is "less" analytical (of all the
> shittos) and written with psak in mind and therefore a Rav is 'nodie'.
I would say the Ahs is more openly analytical (and perhaps thus
less subject to diyukim , intended or not). AIUI He usually uses the
Rambam/Gemara as a starting point and takes you through the issues. The
M"B aiui is less likely to explain the thought process.
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Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2006 07:21:20 -0700 (PDT)
From: Tamar Weissman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Yom Tov Sheini l'bnei Galut
Would anyone know of any sources that might imply that bnei hagolah's
observance of two days of yom tov is due to the fact that they are not in
Eretz Yisrael and therefore are bereft of the opportunity to observe the
chag in its ideal form? In other words, Is "minhag avoteinu byadeinu"
(as the rationale for the continued observance of Yom Tov Sheni in Chu"l)
just a statement of "minhag bnei galut" differing from "minhag bnei E"Y"
without making any kind of qualitative judgement on the differences
between the minhagim?
Thanks in advance for any insight you might provide.
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Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2006 16:00:07 -0400
From: "Lisa Liel" <email@example.com>
Subject: RE: Dialectic tension
>Halacha cries out for resolution; practice forces resolution (since
>we can't both do and not-do something), but in the world of ideas,
>opposites can be maintained.
Maintained, perhaps. Ignored, never.
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Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2006 17:26:18 -0400
From: "R Davidovich" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Moshiach Ben Yosef sources
If anyone here has a list of Marei Mekomos about Moshiach Ben Yosef, would
you please e-mail it to me or tell me where such a list may be found?
Go to top.
Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2006 16:55:25 -0400
From: "Meir Shinnar" <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Spilling drops at the Seder
The discussion about the drops at the seder has been (unfortunately)
quite illuminating -- but perhaps not in the way intended. It shows
several trends that are quite problematic.
1) Morality and halacha. There is a large literature on potential
conflicts between morality and halacha and how to deal with them --
whether one argues that morality is defined by halacha or argues that
as finite beings halacha as divine law overrides our human morality.
However, most sources do emphasize in general that halacha is supposed
to inculcate a moral sensitivity.
What is curious here that in a purely aggadic context -- after all,
the discussion over spilling drops or hatzi hallel is not halachic --
where there clearly exists a literature within the mesora that emphasizes
what I think most would consider potential moral lessons -- even though
there are potentially other explanations, and those other explanations
may be the historically correct origin of the minhag at question --
there is this violent rejection (eg, this is Conservative or Reform
(I would note that there is a tendency in several different past cycles
to attribute some positions to Conservative and Reform -- and while I
think that those movements would be happy to claim to be the sole current
advocates of these positions, it is an avla to suggest that being moral
or rational is the sole prerogative of the Conservative and Reform),
it can't possibly be, etc.
Rav Blau from Gush had an article a few years ago in Tradition how some
more militant RZ positions have led to moral distortions -- especially
in relationship to the arabs -- but the discussion on areivim/avodah
suggests that this moral distortion is deeper and has different roots-
many of the current advocates are doing it for more haredi rationales. I
think it has to do with another discussion that we had -- the extent to
which we view nochrim as having tzelem elokim -- and (what is actually
quite shocking to me) -- many here would, on some level, deny their tzelem
(I suspect that this is the basis for distinguishing binfol oyvicha and
ba'avod reshaim rina on the basis of Jew and non Jew.)
The Meiri talks about today's nochrim as being more moral (I don't have
the precise quote) -- and it seems to me that some modern education
is turning us to be less moral than them -- and that ultimately means
that we are distorting our tzelem elokim. This is not my torah -- nor
the torah of my rabbanim, or their rabbanim, and I wish to publicly
disassociate myself from this viewpoint of nochrim as lacking tzelem --
or as ones whose fall is not worthy of lament.
2) Certainty. One of the hallmarks of some (not all) of today's RW
is the refusal to live with uncertainty. The breadth of positions in
traditional literature is quite broad and contradictory. What we have
seen is an attempt to eliminate this confusion and refusal to accept it.
One of the posts is quite revealing --
>I will repeat it again. The Torah doesn't give us conflicting values
>without discussing the conflict.
While much of the rabbinic literature tries to develop conflicts even
when none is apparent on a simple pshat level. Indeed, RYBS quotes
Rav Chaim that vechen shnei ktuvim hamachshism ze et ze means that we
require a third pasuk to reconcile the two -- and lacking this pasuk we
can't reconcile them -- and live with both sides (this is part of the
dialectic tension that RMB cites). The conflict isn't always spelled out.
The problem being discussed is a classic one of dialectic tension --
of both being happy at the destruction of reshaim and being sad at the
destruction of their tzelem elokim -- and this discussion shows how
uncomfortable this makes some people.
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