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Volume 17 : Number 045

Wednesday, May 17 2006

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Tue, 16 May 2006 20:39:32 -0400
From: "S & R Coffer" <rivkyc@sympatico.ca>
RE: Al Naharos Bavel: Authorship and Ibn Ezra's shitta

On May 16, 2006, T613K@aol.com wrote:
> Hakol tzafui vehareshus nesunah.

Tzafuy by Hashem, not by man.

> If Hashem can have that foreknowledge without destroying people's bechira,
> then He can also transmit it prophetically to nevi'im without destroying
> bechira.

How? If I know that something will happen (i.e. have actually seen it
happen), how can someone have bechira to choose? The Rambam's answer
only works for Hashem who is above the limitations of time and space,
not for us.

> There are numerous instances in Chumash of individuals crying or saying
> something -- eg in Yakov's brachos -- because they foresaw later events
> like churban -- events which would only happen if the Jews sinned.

True. But these nevuos were all said regarding the general state of
the nation without necessarily impacting the individual bechira of a
particular person. Ramban has a similar mehalech regarding the mitzriyim.

> Consider also that they kept the Torah before it was given

So? "Istakel bi'oraysa u'bara alma". The physical world is a reflection of
the spiritual one. The Avos were blessed with intellects great enough to
extract all of the principles of the blueprint from the edifice. The fact
that Avraham ate matzah on Pesach is not a reflection of his foreseeing
the chipazon of mitzrayim. He felt the hashpaos of cheirus which were
implanted in the very essence of time mi'shesjes yimey Bereishis and
understood that matzah was the appropriate food to consume at that time.

This is why we say "matzah zu she'anu ochlim, al shum mah? Al shum
shmeiraru ha'mitzryim etc." Although matzah has many kabbalistic
connotations which our father Avrahamn was able to feel, we don't eat
matzah on the Seder night for that reason alone. Rather, we are obligated
to remember the tova Hashem did with us by taking us out of Egypt before
we "spoiled" beyond repair, a scenario that Avraham surely did not see
in advance.

>                  and set aside
> the Tribe of Levi to be priests already in Egypt but Levi only became
> the shevet of kohanim when the first-borns sinned at the chet ha'egel.

Who says the shevet Levi was set aside as priests before the first born
sinned? The pasuk says "az hivdil Hashem", not in Egypt.

The reason the shevet Levi was isolated from the rest of klal Yisrael
is because their grandfather Levi, who incidentally lived the longest
of all the shevatim, had the good sense to instruct his progeny not to
join Pharaoh's campaign of rebuilding Egypt. They never volunteered to
be part of Pharaoh's construction crew and therefore they never became
enslaved. This explains how Moshe and Aharon were able to traverse freely
in mitzrayim without incident. They weren't an element of the slave class
which existed in Egypt because they came from the shevet Levi and lived
in Goshen without being harassed.

Simcha Coffer

Go to top.

Date: Tue, 16 May 2006 20:01:04 -0400
From: "S & R Coffer" <rivkyc@sympatico.ca>
RE: Spilling out drops of wine at the Seder

On May 9, 2006, T613K@aol.com wrote:
> R' Simcha Coffer wrote:
>> The people who went  through
>> the Holocaust *wanted* Hitler and their Nazi tormentors to die. They had
>> not one ounce of compassion on him just as the Jews in Mitzrayim had not
>> one ounce of rachmanus on the Mitzryim who drowned their babies, stole
>> their wives, tortured their husbands etc.etc. This is why they broke
>> out in the greatest form of shira ever invented upon their mapala.

> Yet in that Shira they DID distinguish between levels of reshaim...
>           by comparison with the worst Egyptians, these were kesherim,
> relatively decent people.

Operative word here being "by comparison". Like R' Yisrael Salanter was
famous for saying, Hashem's judgement is far more "ois gi'cheshbined"
than that of a bassar va'dam. Every possible nuance is taken into
consideration and in this case, since there were various shades of
rish'us, there was also corresponding levels of judgement meted out
by Hashem. This however has nothing to do with our subject. Even the
"kesheirim" were Reshaim deserving of death.

> RSC believes that the Torah has an absolutist, all-or-nothing attitude
> towards goyim, reshaim, and so on, but I respectfully disagree.

Well, when you put it that way, I would also disagree. I'm not sure what
you are referring to but generalizing someone else's position almost
always causes a misrepresentation of that person's view.

> The Torah "gives the devil his due." When there is a side of zechus
> in the goy, the Torah says so -- both the pasuk and the comments of
> Chazal. For example, when Esav weeps, "Abba, don't you have a bracha
> for me?" there is real pathos in his words.

So? No one claims that rishaim don't possess emotions. Like Chazal say,
"rishaim miley'im charatos". The problem is, their charata is never
internalized to the extent where it causes a fundamental change in

>                     And Chazal praise his
> high level of kibud av.

You are mistaken. Chazal never praise Eisav. Even the ma'amar Chazal
on the pasuk "es bigdey Eisav binah haChamudos" (Tanchuma in Devarim
somewhere I think) which implies that Eisav was michabed his father more
than R' Shimon ben Gamliel must be understood properly.

AFAIC, it is impossible to say that Eisav haRasha fulfilled the
*mitzvah* of kibud more then RSBG. The point of that Medrash was merely
to demonstrate to what lengths Eisav fulfilled the externalities of the
mitzvah of kibud but surely a big tzadik like RSBG fulfilled the essence
of the mitzvah far more than Eisav.

The Medrash doesn't say that Eisav fulfilled the mitzvah more than
RSBG. The Medrash quotes RSBG as saying that he was not able to be
michabed his father to the same extent as Eisav because when he served
his father he did not don royal clothing like Eisav did. I don't
remember where I saw this (probably R' Dessler) but pshat is that
Eisav was an "oibenoufecdica mentch" (superficial) who always tried
to mislead people into thinking that he was greater than he really was
and thus he consistently performed actions like wearing royal clothing
to serve his father or asking his father about hilchos ma'aser on salt
and straw, actions that reflected a far greater madrayga then he really
was on. OTOH, our sages were tocham ki'baram and thus RSBG "couldn't"
wear royal clothing because he felt it would be a misrepresentation of
his true madrayga.

> Since the Shira distinguishes between different levels of reshaim,
> it strongly implies that their death does bother us. It would have
> seemed cruel and disturbing to Bnai Yisrael if the relatively decent
> Egyptians --the ones who were only somewhat horrible -- had suffered as
> much as the Egyptians who were the most horrible.

I perceive no such implication. The whole episode of krias yam suf was
specifically designed to be a form of Divine revelation ("zeh keyli
v'anveyhu" - mar'im bi'etzba'osam). Accordingly, Hashem showed them many
nuances of revelation. The differences in punishment was one of them.

> You are correct that we do not mourn the deaths of the Egyptians, but
> our joy at their deaths is somewhat tempered by other feelings.

Supplemented, not tempered.

> Even the famous medrash about Hashem telling the malachim not to sing
> shira "because My creatures are drowning in the sea" conveys a certain
> lesson to HUMANS -- not just to malachim. Had the message been intended
> SOLELY for the malachim, as you have elsewhere implied, it would not
> have been recorded and told to us humans.

I never implied that the lesson was solely for malachim. In fact, it's
just the opposite. Anything we learn about the malachim is solely for
us! The lesson we learn is that despite their rish'us, the mitzryim
were still a tzelem Elokim (at least potentially) and therefore as long
as their rish'us does not affect one as with malachim, then there is a
certain bechina of chashivus for the life of a human being which precludes
one from saying shira upon the death of a human being. It's a lesson
in the chashivus of tzelem Elokim but this lesson does not supersede
the lesson of ba'avod rishaim rina because when biney Yisrael saw the
Egyptians, they didn't see a tzelem Elokim. They saw rishaim gemurim
who drowned their children in the Nile. Thus, they were not shayach to
the lesson of tzelem Elokim at that time and therefore it didn't apply
to them.

> Here is another example of that sensitivity and complexity of which
> I speak:
> Shmos 14:30 says "Va'yar Yisrael es Mitzrayim meis al sefas hayam."
> Rashi there says that the Egyptians didn't just disappear at sea, but
> their bodies were thrown up on shore so that the Jews could see with
> their own eyes that the Egyptians were dead....
> Rashi BTW doesn't say the Jews needed to see justice done, but that they
> needed to see they were safe.

You misunderstand this Rashi. Rashi doesn't mean to say that Hashem
was doing them an extra favour. He means to say that there were
some amongst the biney Yisrael that were katney emunah and implied
(or maybe just thought) that perhaps Hashem hadn't really destroyed
the Egyptians. To address this issue, Hashem commanded the Yam to spit
out the Egyptians. This Rashi is actually a criticism of klal Yisrael,
not a lesson in Hashem's kindliness. This is the meaning of the pasuk
in Tehilim (106) "vayamru al yam bi'yam suf". (See Pesachim 118:) Had
they not doubted Hashem, this measure would not have been necessary.

>               Anyway, Rashi /does/ say that they had a zechus -- that
> they merited burial because they had once said, "Hashem Hu hatzaddik."

I don't see the relevance of this to our discussion. Chazal are full of
ma'amarim regarding the fact that "ein haKadosh Baruch Hu mikapeach schar
kol berya". This just demonstrates to what extent Hashem's judgement is
fair, sai l'tov and sai l'mutav. It has nothing to do with our obligation
to hate rishaim and be happy at their downfall. Once again, I wish to
stress that I am only referring to certain types of rishaim as I have
outlined in previous emails.

> RSC:
>> Of course it is referring to the nation. But it is also
>> referring to the personalities. That's why the navi mentions that they
>> were brothers and yet Hashem loves one and despises the other.

> Please see Devarim 23:8 -- both parts of which are most germane to our
> present discussion.
> Yet see Rashi (I'm quoting the Artscroll translation): "You shall
> not abhor an Egyptian utterly, even though they cast your males into
> the river. What is the reason? For they were your host (achsanya)
> at a time of pressing need, i.e, the time of the famine."

Good kasha. Allow me to develop your question further. The halacha is
that a third generation mitzri can marry a Jew and yet an Amonite or
Moabite male can never marry a Jewess. This seems puzzling in view of
the fact that the mitryim were far crueller to the Jews than Amon or
Moav ever were.
Furthermore, there was a special tzivuy from Hashem "al tatzar is Moav
v'al tisgar bo milchama" because of the fact that they are our relatives.
Only after Sichon conducted a campaign against Cheshbon and its environs
was klal Yisrael permitted to occupy the lands that originally belonged to
Moav (see the story at the end of parshas Chukas and Rashi there). This
attitude seems to indicate the Torah's consideration towards the nation
of Moav and yet they are permanently excluded from the Jewish nation? How
does all this work?

The mystery is cleared up when we see the Medrash in parshas Bahar (MR
34:8). The Medrash there describes four levels of Chesed or lack thereof.

The first level is one who does Chesed with someone who does not require
it like Avraham to the malachim who visited him. Hashem repaid him with
the Man, the Bi'er, the Ananey haKavod etc. The kal va'chomer is obvious
to one who does Chesed with someone who does require the Chesed.

The second scenario is one who does not do Chesed with someone who
essentially does not require the Chesed. Who was this? Amon and Moav. The
Torah enjoins against ever marrying an Amoni or Moavi "al divar asher
lo kidmu eschem ba'lechem u'va'mayim..." Did we really need the lechem
u'mayim? The Manna fell for us for forty years and the Bi'er accompanied
us wherever we went. Ela mai? It is derech eretz. If someone comes from
a long journey, it is derech eretz to offer him food and drink regardless
of his monetary status. He could be the richest person in the world with
a whole retinue of attendants accompanying him but if one doesn't feel
the obligation of greeting and accommodating people with the appropriate
measure of derech eretz, such a person is lacking in the mida of Chesed
and Hashem does not want characteristics like this to mix with the am
haKodesh whose very identifying qualities are that they are bayshanim,
rachamanim and gomley chasadim.

There are another two classifications in the Medrash but what I've quoted
is enough to be mazbir the inyan. The Torah is attempting to teach us
that any ma'aseh of chesed preformed to us, regardless of circumstance,
needs to be acknowledged by us because if we don't, we are destroying
the mida of gemilas chesed in ourselves and if we do we are developing
it. This lesson was not addressed to the Jews at the time they were
leaving Mitzrayim because it didn't pertain to them at the time and in
their emotional state of mind. Like they say in Yiddish "mir darf vissin
vu ayin und vu ois". However, future generations are able to perceive
an aspect of chesed performed by the Mitzriyim to our forefathers and
as such we have an obligation to acknowledge their magnanimity in order
to develop the mida of chesed in ourselves. This does not in any way
detract from the natural response of our forefathers on the Yam Suf of
ba'Avod Rishaim Rina.

> RSC:
>> (R' Avigdor Miller is midayek that the goyim  are not even a drop in the
>> bucket...they are k'mar *M*idli", outside the  bucket!)

> R' Avigdor Miller's was distinctly a minority view even in that part
> of the charedi world which considers separation from the goyim to be an
> optimal Torah desiteratum.

This is an egregious misrepresentation of Rabbi Miller and his influence
on American Jewry. Rabbi Miller's levaya was attended by a veritable who's
who list of chareidi gedolim who were maspid him, not to mention Chassidim
and Sfardim too. With only one day's notice, ten's of thousands of people
attended the proceedings from the most far-flung locations on earth many
who considered themselves his talmidim despite never having met him. His
unflinching dedication to the truth of the Torah was an inspiration to
countless Jews faced with the temptations of the American lifestyle. His
lectures forged a path which cut across all of the empty dogmas promoted
by the 'new world' and provided American Jewry with a coherent response
to the tide of Western ideology which threatened to destroy them as
it did in Germany and subsequently the rest of Europe. I can't even
begin to imagine what the face of American Jewry would have looked like
without him. Rabbi Miller's influence is of inestimable benefit to us;
anyone marginalizing his efforts is merely demonstrating a total lack
of awareness regarding his prodigious impact on American Jewry.

>                      Certainly to those of us who believe in Torah
> Im Derech Eretz, this is not in consonance with the many, many pesukim and
> Chazal's that indicate that Hashem loves and cares for all His creatures.

I never said that Hashem doesn't care for all of his creatures. In fact,
in order to be 'yotzey' pesukey d'zimra, one must have kavana while saying
"posei'ach es ya'decha", a pasuk which is the ultimate demonstration of
Hashem's kindliness to *all* of his creatures. I am referring to what
we understand as Hashem's exclusive focus on the Am haNivchar within
the framework of 'tachlis', a fact which He reveals to us over and over
in the Torah. For a well considered presentation of 'tachlis', how it
works and its interface with hashgacha pratis, I suggest Rav Dessler's
ma'amar on Rosh Hashana in chelek beis pg. 74-77. It's a page turner.

> There are reshaim who are so utterly evil that they completely forfeit
> any sign of love or sympathy on our part or on the part of Hashem, but
> even among the most evil nations, there are degrees of evil and there
> are individuals who do evoke Divine compassion -- like the Egyptians
> who sank like lead, and merited burial.
> The Torah does not allow us to lose sight of the humanity even of
> our enemies....
> The preponderance of the Torah's statements on the subject, taken as a
> whole, do not support that view.

Much too general of a statement. Besides, Yeshaya haNavi obviously
disagrees with you as he states without qualification "*kol* haGoyim".
This does not mean that goyim are not the recipients of Hashem's
beneficence; the pasuk states "v'rachamav al kol ma'asav". However,
when comparing a Jew to a goy vis-a-vis the tachlis haBeriya, Hashem
says that all the goyim, in comparison to one frum Jew, are "ki'efess
va'tohu nechshivu li". R' Chaim Volozhin discusses the qualitative
difference between a Yid and a goy at length in the beginning of Nefesh
haChaim regarding why we are davka referred to as tzelem *Elokim* (as
opposed to other sheimos of Hashem) and it is a recurring theme in all
of Tanach. "Hein la'Shem Elokecha haShamayim u'shimey haShamayim...rak
(rak is a miyut) ba'avosecha chashak Hashem l'ahava osam..." Only in
your forefathers did Hashem express his desire and loved them. Only! No
desire was expressed for the Spaniards, no desire for the Poles or the
Swedes. Just the Jews.

So, the Jews who heard this statement from Moshe could have said "well,
maybe this just means our forefathers but what about us"? So the pasuk
adds "bachem". Perhaps future generations of Jews will say, "well, maybe
Hashem just loved the generation of the midbar; future generations...who
knows...perhaps we're merely on par with the goyim? Maybe G-d has lots
of love to go around? Why do we have to be so presumptuous and hog all
the love for ourselves"? Thus, the pasuk concludes, "kayom hazaeh"
which means, anytime you take a Chumash and read this pasuk, it is
telling you that Hashem is interested solely in you, not the goyim. This
concept requires much explanation and can't be done al regel achas. May
I recommend you listen to a couple of hundred R' Avigdor Miller tapes. He
explains it gloriously.

Simcha Coffer   

Go to top.

Date: Tue, 16 May 2006 21:58:11 -0400
From: "Yid Ste" <yidste@hotmail.com>
RE: Lecha Dodi niggen during Sefira

From: Phyllostac@aol.com
>>Where is there a reference to the Minhag of singing a special Sefira
>>melody for Lecha Dodi...

>It is also mentioned in the luach (luach minhogei beis livnei Ashkenaz) put
>out by Machon Moreshes Ashkenaz in Bnei Brak.

Its mentioned in the Luach Im Minhogai Beis Hakneses Kminhag Eretz Hager
put out by Kintzlicher in Bnei Brak as well.
I am intrested in any earlier sources.

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 17 May 2006 02:11:36 GMT
From: "kennethgmiller@juno.com" <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
Re: Shavuos - Matan Torah

R' Daniel Eidensohn wrote:
> I just came across Rivash (#96) which states that there was
> no link between Shavuos and Matan Torah until the calendar
> was fixed. Until that time there was no necessity that
> Shavuos would happen on the sixth of Sivan.

I have now seen that Rivash, and found it very interesting.

He points out that the Rabanan hold Matan Torah to have been on 6 Sivan,
that R' Yosi holds 7 Sivan. He does not seem to pasken one way or the
other. Rivash is bothered by the idea that if both Nisan and Iyar are
malay, then Shavuos would fall on 5 Sivan, which is not the anniversary
of Matan Torah by either shitah.

This bothered me, because it is *only* that case which seems to bother
Rivash. Why isn't the Rivash bothered by the years when Shavuos is 6
Sivan, which would be the wrong day by R' Yosi? And why isn't the Rivash
bothered by the years when Shavuos is 7 Sivan, which would be the wrong
day by the Rabanan?

I suggest that the answer is this: The above observations did not *bother*
Rivash. Rather, he used them to *demonstrate* that -- as RDE wrote --
there really is no link between Shavuos and Matan Torah (until the
calendar was fixed).

Rivash gives his conclusions in two places. I will both transliterate
and translate them. First, about 7 lines before the end of that teshuva:

"Ayn hechrech lihyos chamishim yom l'omer shetalah bo hakasuv chag
shavuos sheyihyeh b'yom shenitnah bo Torah." - "There is no neccessity
for the 50th day of the Omer (which the pasuk establishes as Chag Shavuos)
to be on the day when the Torah was given."

And in the last line of that teshuva:

"Lo hayu makpidim sheyavo shavuos l'zman shenitnah bo Torah." - "They were
not makpid that Shavuos should come on the day when the Torah was given."

Rivash COULD very easily have written "There's no need for Shavuos to
be on 6 Sivan." If he had written that, we would still understand that
there *IS* a link between Shavuos and Matan Torah, just that the link
is based on Pesach, and has nothing to do with Rosh Chodesh Sivan.

But he didn't write that. He wrote that there's no need for Shavuos to
be on the day when the Torah was given.

Amazing! Did the Rivash not recite "Zman Matan Toraseinu" in his
tefilos? He must have done so, and so there must be some kind of link. I
wonder what it is.

Akiva Miller

Go to top.

Date: Tue, 16 May 2006 22:59:39 EDT
From: T613K@aol.com
Re: Spilling out drops of wine at the Seder

Old TK:
> The Torah  "gives the devil his due." When there is a side of zechus
> in the goy,  the Torah says so -- both the pasuk and the comments of
> Chazal. For  example, when Esav weeps, "Abba, don't you have a bracha
> for me?"  there is real pathos in his words.

> So? No one claims that rishaim don't possess emotions. Like Chazal
> say, "rishaim miley'im charatos". The problem is, their charata is
> never internalized to the extent where it causes a fundamental change
> in personality.

The fact that there is real pathos in his words does not indicate just
that he had real emotion but that he had a real taina. This taina was
addressed in the bracha that he then received, a bracha which can be
paraphrased as, "When Yakov does not act properly -- when he does not
act in a manner worthy of the brachos which he received -- then you,
Esav, will be able to get out from under his yoke and you will be able
to enjoy the material bounty he will then have forfeited." i.e., you,
Esav, have something of a legitimate taina, but only when Yakov does
not behave properly -- it is then that you can say, "He stole from me
what was properly mine."

 -Toby  Katz

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 17 May 2006 01:38:36 -0400
From: "S & R Coffer" <rivkyc@sympatico.ca>
RE: Malachim (was Spilling drops of wine at the Seder)

On May 15, 2006, Micha Berger wrote:
> On Mon, May 15, 2006 at 06:26:57AM -0400, S & R Coffer wrote:
> : I'm going to play devil's advocate here (I'm not calling you a devil
> : R' Zvi)...

> I would have thought the idiom is therefore asur, in that Catholics
> seem to see the world poised as a battle between their god and the
> devil. Wouldn't this make the devil a demigod, an AZ? And yet, this
> attitude was more prevalent amongst Catholics in Tosafos's period than
> in ours, and Tosafos only considers the trinity as shituf -- and does not
> raise the issue of this kind of dualism.

Tosfos is discussing taking an oath which he concludes is not forbidden
for a goy. The implication is that it is assur for a Yid. Furthermore,
it might even be assur for a goy to do a maaseh avodah with shituf in
mind as Tosfos is only discussing taking an oath. As such, your above
remonstration certainly seems on target. (Rav Dessler claims that a
maaseh avodah utilizing an "intermediary" is mutar for a goy however
this is not as bad as shituf)

OTOH, your hisnatzlus of my usage by an appeal to "Tosafos... does not
raise the issue of this kind of dualism" also seems cogent. I always
believed that this devil thing in Catholicism was blown out of proportion
by Hollywood and did not have the level of significance attributed to
it in modern literature but perhaps I am wrong.

Also, I'm not entirely convinced that a colloquial usage which happens to
have its roots in questionable ideology is necessarily assur, particularly
if the user is not even aware of its source as is the case in 99.9%
of the time. Would it be assur, for instance, to say "that poor devil"
in a sentence? Or "give the devil his due" or "between the devil and
the deep blue sea"? yesh li'ayein...

>: BTY, since Hashem maintains a connection to this world, the same question
>: can be asked about Him but the famous kabbalistic answer is that there are
>: two distinct elements which manifest themselves in any discussion relating
>: to Hashem; one is referred to as 'Or' (Shechina) and one is referred to
>: as 'Ma'or' (Atzmus)...

> Except according to the Tanya, which described Hashem as both the Or
> and the Ma'or of the atzilus. Which is part of his shitah that Ein od
> milvado means that everything is of Him, tzimtzum is an illusion, what
> RJB called Lubavitch acosmism. See
> <http://thanbook.blogspot.com/2006/04/chabad-rebbe-and-god.html>
> (Don't let the URL fool you.)

I don't know what RJB has to say (don't have time to follow the
link...maybe later) and I don't know what acosmism means but the baal
haTanya clearly does not equate Or with Maor on levels higher than Atzilus
(see the hagaha in Likutei Amarim perek beis for the baal haTanya's
resolution of his great great grandfather's kasha (the Maharal in the
hakdama to Gevuras Hashem...he doesn't mention that he is referring to
the Maharal but he is...see Torah Or parshas vaYikra) on the Rambam of
"hu Hamada v'hu ha'Yodeya etc.)

As far as your reference to Tzimtzum, the baal haTanya (BH) did not
chs'v mean to imply that because Tzimtzum is eino kipshuto and only
in Or, that everything is "of Him" in the sense that eitzim va'avanim
are merely manifestations of Hashem's essence. Only plebeian Chassidim
(unfortunately a large number of the ones I have come into contact with
- perhaps this unfortunate state of affairs can be attributed to the
side affects of dabbling in kabbalistic concepts before attaining the
appropriate level of maturity) believe that. The aleph beis of Kabbala
is that when referring to 'Essence', nothing at all can be said and
the BH knew that. Even the bechina of mimaley kol almin, which seems to
apply to Atzmus, is misleading. See for instance Shaar Yichud ve'Emunah
perek zayin (my translation) "[the aspect of] mimaley kol almin is the
element of life-force which is clothed in the essence of a creature and
'mitzumtzam' (I can't think of a good English word for Tzimtzum) in it
(the creature's essence) a great Tzimtum etc." As you can see, the BH
had no illusions about equating Or and Maor; he is referring here to
the life-force (chi'yus) which animates creation, not Atzmus chs'v.

BTY, I can't resist being mitzayen Rav Hutner's ma'amar (PY Pesach 61
and other places) on yechuda i'la'a and yechuda ta'ta'a (which is the
topic of the above-mentioned perek in Tanya) as a resolution for the
apparent contradiction between the Maharal's approach to Sh'ma Yisrael
and R' Chaim Volozhiner's approach in Nefesh haChaim, vi'ein kan makon
l'ha'arich. (If anyone actually bothers to read the ma'amar, I just want
to say that, IMO, his resolution does not work as a 'kasuv ha'shelishi'
because the bottom line is that the Maharal understood Yaakov Avinu as
being on a higher level than R' Chaim did.)

Also, see perek gimmel (my translation) "if permission was granted for
the eye to see and perceive the life-force and spirituality which is
contained in every being which emanates from the 'word' and 'spirit'
of Hashem, the physical material and corporeal element of man would not
be perceived at all to us because it would be entirely nullified *in
relation* to the life-force and spirituality contained in him seeing
that without this life-force he would literally be nothing..."

Once again, it is obvious that the BH is referring to "emanations" from
Hashem rather than Hashem bi'Atzmusso. Especially salient is his lashon
"would not be *perceived* at all to us" as opposed to not actually being
bi'metzius, an obviously basic ontological nafka mina, reminiscent of
my disagreement with RMB regarding time and AH. It seems clear from
his presentation that the BH understood that an increased connection
to spirituality causes one to lose his *perception* of corporeality,
not that corporeality actually ceases to exist or is fundamentally
transformed in any way.

> Leshitas Einstein, in science which has become lemaaseh in the design of GPS,
> the difference between time and space depends on your velocity. The amount of
> separation between two events that's attributable to space vs that attributable
> to time is a function of your motion relative to the events. So, it would
> seem that we've experimentally proven that what we call time is inseparable
> from space, and can't alone.

First of all, if you are implying that the veracity of the Special theory
was only conclusively demonstrated with the advent of GPS tracking systems
you are incorrect. Special theory was established long before this (the
famous airplane experiment comes to mind) however, and despite this, you
still haven't brought a conclusive ra'aya that time is inextricably linked
to our universe (although from an existential perspective, it seems to
me that you are correct - to be honest, I'm a bit confused because later
in the post you claim that time *does* apply even to higher spiritual
worlds which do not possess any of the components of our universe).

You see, the way I am defining time (a phenomenon created to experience
events in a seder of zeh achar zeh), although it is no doubt affected
by velocity, this is because as a phenomenon manifested in our universe,
it naturally relates to all of the physical properties which define our
universe. OTOH, in olam haba or in higher worlds, perhaps time is still
capable of measuring 'events' in a linear fashion although those events
are entirely spiritual in nature. In one of his most profound ma'amarim
(which apparently took some of Kant's ideas further than Kant himself
did although, according to R' Aryeh Carmel, Rav Dessler was not familiar
with Kant; personally, I think Rav Dessler was more profound than Kant -
his brother in law, R' Daniel Movshovitz was similarly profound, perhaps
even more than Rav Dessler (chs'v :-), Rav Dessler claims that time is
a necessary component of experiencing the ta'anug of olam haba (MME 1 -
Havaya v'Hasaga). His conclusion there seems to be in direct contradiction
to the famous ma'amar RMB and I have been debating in chelek beis where
Rav Dessler seems to imply that a total connectedness to ruchnius has
the effect of entirely eliminating the perception of the flow of time
(or according to RMB, transforming the very essence of time). Much to
my chagrin, I have still not managed to reach an acceptable resolution
to this 'conundrum'.

> I've discussed in the past, on more than one occasion, the position
> of the Kotzker that there is no time in shamayim, that niftarim do not
> experience time. This is also presumed by the reason given in SA haRav for
> YT sheini shel goliyos, as recently discussed. Qedushas YT on YT shein
> shel galiyos is just as real as that of YT rishon. There is a supernal
> "Pesach" (lemashal) "up" in shamayim, but it is not associated with any
> point in shamayim, since it is lema'alah min hazeman. HQBH created a
> link between the 15th day after qidush hachodesh and Chazal created a
> link on the 16th. While the nature of the link is different, the thing
> they link to is identical.

Nice vort. At the same time, I would like to add that Hashem's link would
seem to me to be more powerful than Chazal's. Hashem's link is part of the
essence of creation (see Maharal Tiferes Yisrael 25 on the pasuk 'la'kol
z'man va'eis') as opposed to Chazal's which is manufactured. Concordantly,
if one is michalel Yom Tov on the first day of Pesach, his punishment is
not as great as being michalel Yom Tov on the second day of Pesach. In
fact, there are halachic kulos on Yom Tov sheini shel galuyos (shvus
d'shvus etc.) which indicates that the kedushas haYom of a Yom Tov
d'Rabbanon is inferior to that of a Yom Tov mi'de'oraysa.

> I asked about saying Qaddish for 11 months, and the whole notion of how
> long one is in gehennom. But as pointed out, this would only prove that
> in gehenom has time.

Do you mean as opposed to Gan Eden?

> According to the Rambam's proof, only HQBH would qualify as being
> lemaalah min hazeman. Since only he is Perfectly One, and therefore
> does not involve an interaction of parts. Mal'achim have tzuros,
> therefore they can change and thus experience time. Not that too many
> contemporaries accept much of the hashqafah in the Moreh, but the proof
> I think stands on its own. (Regardless of whether one speaks in terms
> of tzurah vechomer.) Just the fact that they didn't exist on day 1
> but do now should be sufficient. Whcih is how we get to the Ikkarim II:29
> (cited by RZL).

AFAIC, you are merely highlighting the problem here. The issue is whether
spiritual worlds and their occupants experience time. A part of this
problem is the fact that there is an obvious interaction between the
higher realms and our universe which makes it difficult to understand
how the olamos haElyonim are not governed by time. One of these issues
is the fact that malachim were only created on day two.

> Then there's the subject of mal'achim and bechirah. One can't have
> bechirah without a concept of time distinguishing before the choice
> from after, ratzon from ta'anug. The Rambam and Or Samei'ach prove that
> malachim have no bechirah the Rambam because they lack it bekoach,
> the OS because they have no opportunity to use it bepo'al. But there
> are plenty of aggados that presume they do.

We're getting off topic but any of the aggados which seem to indicate that
malachim have bechira are not meant literally. Any of the stories we hear
about malachim are merely vignettes acted out by them in order to teach
us a lesson in Avodas Hashem much like the story about not saying shira
al haYam. See Rabbeinu Chananel in Chagiga 15a regarding the story of
Acher and the "punishment" of the malach Matitron for an indiscretion
he apparently seemed to "choose". See also MME chelek gimmel pg. 260
and MME chelek beis pg. 213-214 for an exposition on this matter.

> RYGB once suggested that leshitas haOS, they lack bechirah because in
> Shamayim, good vs evil is obvious, not a choice. Which would mean that
> when sent down here, where tov is occluded, perhaps they do. This would
> answer the timing of mal'achim when down on earth, eg saying shirah at
> qeri'as Yam Suf. Since they obtain bechitah, time follows suit.

I don't agree with RYGB. Even when malachim visit our world, they merely
*appear* in the guise of physicality. In reality, they maintain all
of their native qualities as Rashi in vaYera quotes "ni'rin k'ochlin
v'shosin" and as is obvious from numerous stories in Tanach such as the
malach of Manoach and his wife who ascended to heaven in a labas eish.

> I still need to be meyasheiv all this to the physics. If there is time
> in even some levels of Shamayim, it can not be the stuff being studied
> in physics class.

Being meyashiv this is a feat of Biblical proportions. I've tried for
20 years now. If you hit upon a solution, please post it.

> I suggest to RSC he simply skip to the next post at this point.

You know I'm not going to do that...

> REED writes in his essay on olamos (cheileq I) that Adam qodem hacheit
> inhabited olam hayetzirah, whereas we are in olam ha'asiyah, and that the
> difference of which olam your in depends on the stature and perspective
> of the individual. A taylor ses everyone's suits, a shoemaker their shoes,
> and so each person sees the world they're atuned to see.
> And in the conclusion of REED's maamar (cheileq II) on time, we learn that
> this qodem hacheit existence is time experience min haqatzeh el haqatzeh.
> I would therefore conclude that in olam hayetzirah, time exists, but not
> as the flow we experience.

Why would you conclude that? You just finished quoting Rav Dessler in
chelek aleph that the difference in olamos is a result of the perspective
of the individual. Are you saying that if a person does not possess
the perspective of a tailor, the suit someone else is wearing actually
doesn't exist? Can a lack of awareness actually affect the ontological
integrity of an object and if so, what mechanism is employed to accomplish
this? What is forcing you to postulate such a radical innovation?

> This would mean that mal'achim have time, but in a way so alien to the
> way we do, it is still possible to speak of the difference between our
> immediacy at Yam Suf and theirs. For them, except perhaps when working
> in lower olamos, nothing receeds into the past.

As usual, your musings regarding the concept of time is beyond my ability to

Simcha Coffer 

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