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Volume 17 : Number 104

Monday, August 7 2006

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Wed, 02 Aug 2006 01:12:07 -0400
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Subject:
Re: Geirus while still beliving in Jesus as a prophet


Akiva Atwood <akiva@atwood.co.il>
> On the one hand, Geirus requires Kabbalat Mitzvot. He did so.
> OTOH, the people attacking him say it requires more than that --
> it requires *rejection* of the idea of other, later prophets.

How can it possibly do so? Haven't we been promised that before the
mashiach comes, nevuah will return to Israel? Must he reject all future
prophets, including Melech Hamashiach? In the case of a proven prophet,
that would contradict an explicit obligation in the passuk to accept
any prophet who can prove his credentials.

So any such obligation must apply only to alleged prophets who have not
yet provided proof of their authenticity; ordinary Jews may choose to
believe them or not, but, it seems to be claimed, a ger must promise
to reject all such claims. But such a peculiar and specific claim must
surely have a clear source, somewhere, mustn't it?

> He's asked me for help in clarifying the situation -- anyone have
> any leads?

It seems to me that hamotzi mechavero alav haraayah. If people want to
claim that such a requirement exists, surely it's up to them to prove it.

I have heard second-hand that many years ago there was a case of a
convert who believed not that Jesus was a prophet but that he was the
mashiach, and R JD Bleich ruled that there is no law against believing
such a foolish thing, and that she was a perfectly kosher Jew. (FWIW,
this was well before 5754, and so was not affected by the political
issue that arose in that year.)

Now one may argue that a prophet is a more serious thing than a mere
mashiach, because there is a mitzvah *NOT* to believe in a prophet who
has been proven false, whereas there is no such mitzvah not to believe
in a false mashiach. But where is the proof that Jesus was ever proven
not to be a prophet? Your correspondent may well believe that no such
thing happened, that his status was neither proven nor disproven; in
fact, he may even believe that Jesus *did* prove that he was a prophet,
and therefore that it is an obligation to believe in him, and even that
the rabbanan in his day *did* believe in him, contrary to the claims of
the NT -- go prove otherwise!

 -- 
Zev Sero
zev@sero.name


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Date: Wed, 2 Aug 2006 11:37:36 EDT
From: T613K@aol.com
Subject:
Re: Geirus while still beliving in Jesus as a prophet


R' Akiva Atwood wrote:
> He (foolishly) was open about his beliefs -- and has running into major
> opposition in his community, with people claiming his geirus was invalid.
> (with obvious consequences on his family).

[I asked my husband about this because I remember he knew a giyores like
that -- here's his answer. Posting to Areivim as well as Avodah in case
Avodah is still having technical problems. TK].

Rabbi J. David Bleich told me with reference to a similar case that a
belief in J as the Moshiach or as a Novi is a shtus not an issur and,
therefore, the geirus is not undone, even if, lechatchila, the Beis Din
would not have accepted the ger while he still entertained that belief.
If the ger believes that J is the Son of G'd, that would be more
problematic.

 -Michael  Katz
=============


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Date: Wed, 2 Aug 2006 07:59:59 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Jonathan Baker" <jjbaker@panix.com>
Subject:
Geirus while still believing in Jesus as a prophet


From: Akiva Atwood <akiva@atwood.co.il>
> A person converted a few years ago via a respected Orthodox Beis
> Din. He accepted the obligation of Mitzvah Observance.
> However, at no time was he asked about his beliefs regarding Jesus

Which seems to be a failure of due diligence.  Isn't the beis din 
supposed to ask if one has rejected his old religion or something?

> (whom he considers to be a Prophet sent to the non-Jewish community).

but not a god.

> He (foolishly) was open about his beliefs -- and has running into
> major opposition in his community, with people claiming his geirus
> was invalid.  (with obvious consequences on his family).

Well, what did he expect? There are those who claim, not without
justification, that only since Rashi has Isaiah 53 exclusively referred
to Bnei Yisrael, and before then, it was taken to refer to Moshiach by
some. One of the best-known Karaite works is a polemic against the NT
and Christological readings of Tanach. Conservative rabbis who perform
intermarriages are thrown out of the Rabbinical Assembly.

Clearly Judaism in all forms defines itself at least in part as
"not-Christianity".

And once the rumors fly about his geirus being invalid, they'll never
die down no matter how many psakim he gets validating it.

> He's asked me for help in clarifying the situation -- anyone have
> any leads?

I've run into similar cases. I knew a person on GEnie (early 1990s) who
was a convert, who believed that Jesus was mashiach, but not a deity.
Heesh claimed that heesh had held that belief "on the back burner"
even at the time of hir conversion. Heesh also claimed that heesh
had spoken to R' J. David Bleich about it, who told hir that it was a
foolish belief, but not forbidden. When some of us tried to contact R'
Bleich to confirm, he didn't want to talk about it - so he may actually
have said so, but was embarrassed about it.

I've heard that this person's spouse left them, also a convert - they
had converted together as adults - because of the Jesus business.

Shortly thereafter, still before 1994 (death of the L. Rebbe, when the
idea of a dead messiah entered Judaism), someone asked the Lubav rabbi
of our then-shul about a similar case, and he said "it's a stupid idea,
and wrong, but not forbidden".

Seems to me:
1) can you go back to the original beis din to clarify the issue?
1a) can you contact a posek who deals with conversion issues?

2) the convert has to accept halacha, not aggadeta. Is it halacha to
believe that prophecy ended after Bayis Rishon? There are certainly those
who have claimed prophetic revelations since then - the whole enterprise
of Kabbalah would not exist were it not for post-biblical revelations.

 --
        name: jon baker              web: http://www.panix.com/~jjbaker
     address: jjbaker@panix.com     blog: http://thanbook.blogspot.com


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Date: Wed, 2 Aug 2006 10:33:22 -0700 (PDT)
From: Mark Levin <mlevinmd@verizon.net>
Subject:
Geirus while still beliving in Jesus as a prophet


Rambam in Iggeres Hashmad does not consider admitting to a belief in
Mohammad as Avodah Zarah. This should apply in this case as well, as
long as there is no belief in J. divinity, IMO.

  Meir Levin


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Date: Thu, 03 Aug 2006 20:20:12 -0400
From: Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer <ygbechhofer@gmail.com>
Subject:
Rabbi Schorr Mentioned this Zohar Today =?UTF-8?B?IHRoaXMgWm9oYXIgVG9kYXkgLSBXaHkgaXMgaXQgTm90IEdldHRpbmcgTW9yZSA=?= =?UTF-8?B?UHVibGljaXR5P10=?=


See <http://tinyurl.com/ru7o5> from rygb.blogspot.com:
Rabbi Schorr Mentioned this Zohar Today - Why is it Not Getting More
Publicity?

[The post is a quote from the Zohar I 119a, with only highlighting
added. Here's just one line as a teaser, "Be66, yisgaleh malkah
meshichah be'ar'a deGalil..." -mi]


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Date: Wed, 2 Aug 2006 14:29:25 -0400
From: "David Riceman" <driceman@worldnet.att.net>
Subject:
Re: music


From: "CBK" <fallingstar613@hotmail.com>
> The GRA <snip> taught that even when a reason is given
> for a takanah, and that reason is no longer applicable, it should
> still be observed because the reasons given in the Gemara are only
> the chitzonius of the takanah and have much deeper reasons that are
> still applicable according to sod.

I heard that in my youth. Now that I'm older and more skeptical I'm
inclined to doubt it. Certainly if the Gaon held that way he was
disagreeing with normative Ashkenazic psak. For three examples see OH
181:10, OH 339:3, and YD 116:1. See the Biur HaGra in all three places,
especially the din in YD, where he says that a general prohibition exists
only on something that was ne'sar b'minyan. I'm not sure how one can
tell that about a particular gezeirah, but it's plausible to me that it
would apply only to gezeiroth which predate the exile of the Sanhedrin
from Lishkath HaGazith.

David Riceman 


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Date: Fri, 4 Aug 2006 11:49:50 -0400
From: "David Riceman" <driceman@worldnet.att.net>
Subject:
Re: music


From: "CBK" <fallingstar613@hotmail.com>
> I believe that this din is said regarding the prohibition of leaving
> uncovered water (negel vasser) over night because according to the
> halacha, snakes or scorpions may inject poison in them.

As far as I know no such halacha exists (see OH 4:1). You may be
referring to the prohibition of drinking water which has lain uncovered
all night, since it may have been poisoned by a snake. I cited that in
my previous post (YD 116:1) as a counterexample since the Shulhan Aruch
(following Tosafoth) rules that the prohibition no longer applies since
snakes don't behave that way in our neighborhoods.

> The GRA says that even though the
> reason no longer applies, there are deeper reasons for the takanah (which
> can be found if one looks).

See Biur HaGra ad. loc., which concurs with the ruling of the Shulhan Aruch.

I fear you were misinformed.

David Riceman 


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Date: Wed, 2 Aug 2006 10:00:20 +0300
From: "Marty Bluke" <marty.bluke@gmail.com>
Subject:
Re: Noshim daatan kalos


R' Chaim Manaster asked:
> Could you please provide mareh mekomos to the above Ran and Chinuch.

The Ran is in the Derashos Haran (I forgot which derasho, there aren't
that many so if you have a derashos haran you can find it by looking at
the table of contents). The Ran has a whole derasha devoted to the role
of the King and there he posits that the role of the king is to fill in
the gaps in the Torah system.


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Date: Wed, 2 Aug 2006 13:47:24 GMT
From: "kennethgmiller@juno.com" <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
Subject:
Re: Wheat Tortilla Bread


R' Moshe Feldman wrote:
> He doesn't mention tortillas in the table of contents - not
> surprising as he wrote the kuntrus in 5749, when wraps weren't
> that popular. He does discuss the gemara's case of tarisa,
> which involved spilling a blila raka on a pan, and the result
> did not have a tzuras ha'pas.

The above seems to presume that tortillas and wraps are made from a blila
raka. But I suspect that they are made from a blila avah, rolled out thin,
like pita and lafa breads are.

Does anyone have any firsthand knowledge of the sort of doughs used for
wraps and tortillas?

Alternatively: The Wikipedia article on tortillas suggests these
ingredients to make them at home: "450g wheat flour, 225ml warm water,
15ml sunflower oil, pinch of salt". Does anyone know how thick such a
dough would be?

Akiva Miller


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Date: Wed, 02 Aug 2006 10:51:54 -0400
From: Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer <rygb@aishdas.org>
Subject:
Re: The Power of a Beis Din to Create a Halachic Metzius


[R Chaim Manaster] hankman wrote:
> I do not understand R' Chaim's tzushtell. The question posed is
> about a condemned man who knows he is really innocent, whereas the
> case of Zimri is one who knows he is guilty. So the inference can
> only extend to one who is guilty but not extended to one who knows
> he is innocent.

Isn't it a kal va'chomer?

YGB


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Date: Wed, 2 Aug 2006 15:59:28 -0700
From: "Eli Turkel" <eliturkel@gmail.com>
Subject:
civilian casualities


Rabbi J. David Bleich writes (Contemporary Halakhic Problems, Volume 3,
Preemptive War in Jewish Law, p. 277):
   Not only does one search in vain for a ruling prohibiting military
   activity likely to result in the death of civilians, but, to this
   writer's knowledge, there exists no discussion in classical rabbinic
   sources that takes cognizance of the likelihood of causing civilian
   casualties in the course of hostilities legitimately undertaken as
   posing a halakhic or moral problem.>>

Whille agrreing with R. Bleich about the sources the problem is that the
world has changed. The Romans would destroy an entire town if Semichah
was performed there which led R. Yehudah ben Bava to go to the fields.
Certainly within EY all Romans were viewed as enemies and there was not
much of a differentiation between civilians and soldiers.

As discussed earlier in today's society most of us have trouble with the
destruction of the entire Amalek people or the 7 Cananite nations though
Chazal do not seem to have problems with it. In the days of Chazal there
was no Geneva convention.

Hence, in spite of R. Bleich's comments most of us would be squeamish
about random civilian deaths though not mentioned in Chazal. Of course
weighing Jewish soldier deaths versus the enemy civilian deaths is a
more serious problem.

I see that R. Schacter has a talk on the laws of war. If anyone attends
perhaps he will address the issue

 -- 
Eli Turkel


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Date: Thu, 03 Aug 2006 19:59:00 -0400
From: Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer <rygb@aishdas.org>
Subject:
Ahavas Chinam


Yesterday, Erev Tisha b'Av, I was rushing in late to shul, k'darki
ba'kodesh, and I noticed on the lawn of the neighbor next to the shul an
empty soda bottle, and a coffee cup lid. Then I noticed an empty potato
chip bag on the shul's lawn. The first thought that occurred to me was:
"B"H this is not my litter, I'm late enough!" and I went past them into
shul. But then it occurred to me: "Fool! What is the bigger mitzvah? To
daven, or to lift the trash off the lawn - with no one watching and
unbeknownst to the owner." What is the Ratzon Hashem? Gedolah Hachnosas
Orchim yoser me'Kabbolas Pnei Shechinah!

V'nizkeh liros b'nechomas Tziyon v'Yerushalayim...


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Date: Mon, 7 Aug 2006 07:58:22 +0300
From: "Simon Montagu" <simon.montagu@gmail.com>
Subject:
Re: Wheat Tortilla Bread


On 8/2/06, kennethgmiller@juno.com <kennethgmiller@juno.com> wrote:
> Alternatively: The Wikipedia article on tortillas suggests these
> ingredients to make them at home: "450g wheat flour, 225ml warm water,
> 15ml sunflower oil, pinch of salt". Does anyone know how thick such a
> dough would be?

Short answer: very thick.

Long answer: for a bread dough I use 10oz of liquid per lb of flour,
which is equivalent to 625ml per Kg, so for 450g of flour I would use
280ml liquid. For pancake batter, which I assume is similar to "belila
raka", I use 12oz of liquid for 4oz of flour, which is equivalent to 3
liters per kg or 1350ml for 450g of flour.


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Date: Mon, 07 Aug 2006 02:06:39 -0400
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Subject:
RE: Geirus while still beliving in Jesus as a prophet


"Moshe Yehuda Gluck" <mgluck@gmail.com> wroteL
> R' AA:
>> However, at no time was he asked about his beliefs regarding Jesus
>> (whom he considers to be a Prophet sent to the non-Jewish community).
>> He (foolishly) was open about his beliefs -- and has running into
>> major opposition in his community, with people claiming his geirus
>> was invalid.  (with obvious consequences on his family).
>> On the one hand, Geirus requires Kabbalat Mitzvot. He did so.
>> OTOH, the people attacking him say it requires more than that --
>> it requires *rejection* of the idea of other, later prophets.

> Well, does he believe that Oso Ha'Ish's "Nevuah" is included in the sixth
> Ani Ma'amin (She'kol Divrei Ne'vi'im Emes)? 

What if he does?

1) I'm not aware of anything Jesus is reported to have said, that a Jew
may not believe.

2) It's obvious that one need not believe *everything* a certified navi
says -- if he looks up at the sky and says "hmm, it looks like rain",
there is no issur to go out without an umbrella. Only if he says "ko amar
Hashem, it will rain today", as Elisha said to the king, must one believe
him, and therefore the minister who did not believe him was punished.
I'm not aware of anything Jesus is reported to have said in this way.

3) If there is anything that Jesus is reported to have said, that a Jew
may not believe, one can always suppose that that particular story was
garbled in transmission, or is a complete fabrication.

 -- 
Zev Sero
zev@sero.name


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Date: Mon, 07 Aug 2006 02:15:43 -0400
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Subject:
Re: Lo Tasur


"Rich, Joel" <JRich@Segalco.com> wrote:
> We're all familiar with Rashi's statement that even if they tell
> you that right is left you have to listen. AIUI the supercommentaries
> understand Rashi to mean this literally, i.e. that the psak of Bet
> Din establishes halachik reality for all.  Has anyone seen a
> reconciliation of this position with the mishneh in Horiyot which
> states that a member of bet din or talmid raui lhoraah can not rely
> on bet din and if he acts on bet din's psak, knowing it's wrong,
> he's chayav (according to rashi of misunderstanding the meaning of
> lshmoa dvrei chachamim)

I'm not sure I understand the problem. I don't think Rashi holds that
they actually change the underlying halacha; rather, there is a mitzvah
to obey them even when they're wrong. Seen this way, there are several
possibilities:
1) They say something is forbidden, when you know that it's really
permitted. You may not do it.
2) They say something is forbidden, when you know that it's really
compulsory. You may still not do it, because Lo Tasur overrides all
obligations.
3) They say something is compulsory, when you know that it's really
optional. You must do it.
4) They say something is compulsory, when you know that it's really
forbidden. You must still do it, because Ve'asita overrides all
prohibitions.
5) They say something is permitted, when you know that it's really
forbidden. You may not do it, because the original prohibition still
applies, and there is no Ve'asita to override it. However, if you do
not know that it's really forbidden, and you mistakenly do it, you do
not owe a korban, because the mistake was theirs, not yours.

-- 
Zev Sero
zev@sero.name


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Date: Mon, 07 Aug 2006 09:50:43 +0200
From: Minden <phminden@arcor.de>
Subject:
Re: Ahavas Chinam


R' YGB wrote:
> Yesterday, Erev Tisha b'Av, I was rushing in late to shul, k'darki
> ba'kodesh, and I noticed on the lawn of the neighbor next to the shul an
> empty soda bottle, and a coffee cup lid....
>     . But then it occurred to me: "Fool! What is the bigger mitzvah? To
> daven, or to lift the trash off the lawn - with no one watching and
> unbeknownst to the owner." What is the Ratzon Hashem? Gedolah Hachnosas
> Orchim yoser me'Kabbolas Pnei Shechinah!

I'm not sure I understood: Are you asking an open question, or a
rhetorical one, saying it *is* more important to pick up an empty bottle
and later publicise this as a good example than to ore in time and with
the tzibber?

Would you recommend skipping psuke dezimre ("onus") or not ("your fault")?

I'm afraid I also didn't understand inhowfar this is this Hachnoses
orchem.

ELPhM
http://lipmans.blogspot.com


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Date: Mon, 07 Aug 2006 13:46:19 +0200
From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
Subject:
Adapting Torah


Some one asked for sources that the Torah - as given at Sinai - sometimes
needs changes and adaptation.


*Derashos HaRan**(#11):* The judge is to provide Mishpat Tzedek. He is 
to be concerned with justice and the obeying the rules. The need for a
judicial system is true for all societies. In addition the Torah society
needs the enforcement of Torah laws which are not necessarily required
for societal functioning. The needs of the individual and the needs of
society also are tied to two additional factors. There is the need to
judge fairly according to the law but there are times when the needs
of society require going beyond what is prescribed by the law. Judges
can not go beyond the law, however. Therefore in order to complete the
system, G-d gave the commandment to have a king who has the ability to
go beyond the law. The inability to go beyond the law leads to anarchy.
Of importance to note that the purpose of the judge is enforcing Torah
laws which bring G-d's influence to the Jews. The king is more concerned
with secular issues of society per se. With the Torah's concern for
sanctity, the societal rules are sometimes less effective than that found
in other societies. This lack is compensated by the actions of the king.

*Abarbanel (Devarim 17)*  disagrees and  asserts that the ability to go 
beyond the law, is not the job of the king but rather the prerogative
of the Sanhedrin.

*Sefer HaIkkarim(3:23):* It is impossible that God's Torah should be 
complete in such a way as to suffice for all ages, since new par­ticulars
are always arising in human affairs, and the results of these actions are
too numerous all to be included in a single book. That is why these things
were given to Moses orally. General principles are implied in the Torah in
brief, so that using them the Sages of every generation would be able to
derive from them the new particulars. And these are the thirteen modes of
reasoning that are mentioned in the Baraita of Rabbi Ishmael in the Sifra

*Kuzari**(3:40-41): T*he prohibition (Devarim 4:2) of not adding or 
subtracting from the Torah only applies to the masses. It means that the 
masses should not innovate commandments on their own and attribute 
these  contrived commandments to the Torah as the Karaites do. In other 
words they were  commanded by the Torah not to add or subtract from the 
Torah on their own – but rather that they should accept new commandments 
from the prophets that came after Moshe  as well as the priests and the 
judges. The intent of the Torah is to prevent the addition to the 
commandments given by Moshe in the Torah or that which has been 
legitimately commanded by the prophets or to add on to that which we 
have been told by the priests and the judges of the Sanhedrin. The 
reason for obeying the additions of these authorities is that they have 
received Divine assistance in their judgments – which is not true for 
the masses. Additionally since these authorities are very large in 
number it is not likely that they would agree amongst themselves to 
something which is against the Torah. Furthermore it is very unlikely 
that they would err because of their great wisdom  which they have 
acquired – partly because of inherited tradition, partly because of 
their natural superior intelligence and partly because of their personal 
effort.  It is known through tradition that the Sanhedrin was required 
to have mastered all the branches of wisdom. In addition the Sanhedrin 
existed at the period where prophecy - or bas kol which took its  place 
- had just ended.


 Moreh Nevuchim](3:34): It is important for you to know that the Torah
does not concern itself with issues which rarely happen. All that it
wishes to teach concerning an idea or moral quality or meaningful act are
concerned with the majority. It does not attend to something that rarely
happens or the harm that comes to only a single individual because of a
particular way of evaluation or approach. That is because the Torah is
a Divine thing. You have the responsibility to anticipate those things
included in the Torah which according to the natural flow of events can
be expected to harm certain individuals.... From this perspective you
should not be surprise that the intent of the Torah is not fulfilled
perfectly for every person. In fact there are some individuals who are
not perfected by the Torah

*Moreh Nevuchim (3:41*):[[ concerning a rebellious elder. I shall say:
Inasmuch as God, may He be exalted, knew that the commandments of this
Law will need in every time and place " as far as some of them are
concerned " to be added to or subtracted from according to the diversity
of places, happenings and conjunctures of circumstances, He forbade adding
to them or subtracting from them, saying: Thou shalt not add thereto,
nor diminish from it.21 For this might have led to the corruption of
the rules of the Law and to the belief that the latter did not come
from.God. Withal He permitted the men of knowledge of every period,
I refer to the Great Court of Law to take precautions with a'view to
consolidating the ordinances of the Law by means of regulations in which
they innovate with a view to repairing fissures and to perpetuate these
precautionary.measures according to what has been said by [the Sages]:
Build a hedge for the Torah. 28 Similarly they were permitted in certain
circumstances or with a view to certain events to abolish certain actions
prescribed by the Law or to permit some of the things forbidden by it;
but these measures may not be perpetuated, as we have explained in the
Introduction to the Commentary on the Mishnah. In speaking of temporary
decisions. Through this kind of governance, the Law remains one, and
one is governed in every time and with a view to every happening in
accordance with that happening. If, however, every man of knowledge had
been permitted to engage in this speculation concernIng particulars,
the people would have perished because of the multiplicity of the
differences of opinion and the subdivisions of doctrines. Consequently
He, may He be exalted, has forbidden all the men of knowledge with the
single exception of the Great Court cif Law to undertake this, and has
those who disagree with [this Court] killed. For if it could be opposed
by everyone who engages in speculation, the intended purpose would be
annulled and the usefulness of these regulations abolished.

Daniel Eidensohn


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