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Volume 19: Number 5

Mon, 11 Sep 2006

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: "Rich, Joel" <JRich@Segalco.com>
Date: Wed, 6 Sep 2006 21:05:53 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Sukkah GT 20 amot high (yesterday's daf)

In Avodah Digest V2#3, RJIR asked:
> Any insights on how the 20 amot was arrived at. <
I guess R'Joel isn't satisfied by RaShY d'h' "sukkah d'Oraysa" on BT
Sukkah 2a (or RaShY d'h' "sukkah" and "tani 'P'sulah'" on BY Eiruvin 2a)
:-), but perhaps Rabbeinu Chananeil on BY Eiruvin 2a will help. 

All the best from
--Michael Poppers via RIM pager
Lmaan Yeidu is duraita measure of what the amoraim stated as reasons.
That was the reason for my question as to whether these are inherent in
the briah etc - does this "duraita" measure square with our "objective"
Joel Rich 
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Message: 2
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 7 Sep 2006 14:17:39 -0400 (EDT)
Re: [Avodah] Sukkah GT 20 amot high

On Wed, September 6, 2006 3:51 pm, kennethgmiller@juno.com wrote:
: R' Joel Rich asked about a sukkah higher than 20 amos:
:> (1) Rabah - Lo shalta bei eyna
:> (2) Rav Zeira - One is not sitting in the tzel of the Sukkah
:> (3) Rava - LT  20 is a temporary dwelling
:> Any insights on how the 20 amot was arrived at. Are 1 and 3
:> inherent in the briah or subject to change (or are they like
:> treifot-fixed in time). Is 2 geometrically defensible?  Is all
:> this really descriptive rather than prescriptive?

: First, I think it is very noteworthy that the same 20 amos limit
: applies to Chanuka lights, and for the same reason as #1 above.

That's what I noted in my first post. But now I'm not as sure, particularly
: Geometrically defensible? No way. Sitting in the sukkah's shade is
: dependent on the angle at which the sun is shining, combined with
: both the height of the s'chach and also its horizontal edges.

Nor is Rava's position easily explicable. This idea came to me while walking
to lunch, passing under scaffolding that was well higher than 30 ft. What
makes tall structures inherently more qavu'im?

I would like to suggest that all three actually hold the problem is "lo shalta
bei eina". And therefore, contrary to my earlier post, our pesaq WRT Chanukah
doesn't prove we hold like Raba -- although Raba is still the closest
parallel, it's not muchrach.

Raba opens the discussion by saying that the problem is LSBE, and therefore
there is no "lema'an yeid'u doroseikhem".

Then R' Zeira is choleiq, and proves a requirement to sit in tzeil. But
perhaps he isn't disagreeing about LSBE, but rather the significance of RSBE.
Because one doesn't see the sekhakh, the tzeil is disconnected from the
sekhakh. If the connection is psychological (need I revive the "ta'am and
taste" thread?) rather than physical, geometry is irrelevant.

After the shaqla vetarya between RZ and Abayei, Rava offers his answer. But
again, perhaps it's not "arai" because LSBE, and not because of a kelal about
people not building tall temporary dwellings.


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Message: 3
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 7 Sep 2006 14:36:30 -0400 (EDT)
Re: [Avodah] Nishtaneh Hateva in modern women

On Thu, September 7, 2006 6:10 am, R Chaim Manaster wrote:
: Upon thinking about this further, I am not sure if our collective thinking on
: this is correct. Does Nishtane Hateva mean that there was some fundamental
: change in the nature of things as opposed to some directly identifiable cause
: for the change?

I seem to recall RGS listing three shitos in what "nishtanah hateva" means.
However, I can not find it now. Did I mistake who wrote it?

In either case, here's what I recall:
1- The circumstances changed, perhaps due to environment or breeding (but this
won't work for issues like abiogenesis)
2- The laws of nature changed
3- The theory changed -- I recall seeing this besheim R' Avraham b' haRambam.
(This shitah is unpopular in circles that consider a scientific error in shas
to be kefirah. But there are whole swaths of this topics that we can't discuss
until after RH, due to a ban I imposed...)


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Message: 4
From: hankman <salman@videotron.ca>
Date: Thu, 07 Sep 2006 15:55:23 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Sukkah GT 20 amot high

RAM wrote:
Geometrically defensible? No way. Sitting in the sukkah's shade is 
dependent on the angle at which the sun is shining, combined with 
both the height of the s'chach and also its horizontal edges. The 
simplest example is that if one is anywhere north of the equator, 
sitting against the southern side of the sukkah is *never* in the 
sukkah's shade. (Similar arguments can be made by Chanuka: Height is 
irrelevant. The angle is significant, and maybe the distance too.)

CM responds:
Actually, the interesting and more revealing cases are in the far north. I assume there is no p'tur on the mitzvah of Sukkah in the far north (except maybe mitztaer :-). So let's take someone living at the Arctic Circle in Alaska and a converted Eskimo living at the North Pole. Since Sukkos comes out reasonably close to the equinox and the trig functions at the values we need vary reasonably slowly for our parameters near the equinox the error will be reasonably small for this simplifying assumption.

So we can consider our Jewish Eskimo first. He goes out and throws some sechach over a roofless igloo he made. At the equinox, what he sees is the sun on the horizon for the full 24 hour day (for the start of the 6 months  of night) or close to it depending on how many days Sukkos is removed from the equinox. So the sun will be near the horizon or slightly BELOW it, thus the angle is near 90 degrees to the wall or the sun has already set for six months. Thus the entire Sukkah, no matter how low the walls are, and no matter how large the LxW dimensions are, will never have tzel sechach AT ANY TIME and not just immediately south of the wall. Rav Zeira will not be able to move to the North Pole.

Our Jewish Alaskan on the Arctic Circle has it somewhat better. For him the sun is at an altitude of 23 1/2 degrees at noon (since the sun is then overhead at the equator) and he will have close to a 12 hour day or reasonably close to these numbers if Sukkos is a couple of weeks removed from the equinox. Thus,  if our Alaskan builds his Sukkah to the max kosher height of just under 20 amos, then at local noon his wall will cast a shadow of approx. y=20 x tan (66.5 deg.) = 20 x 2.3 = 46 amos. Tan function at these values for the parameter changes very slowly so that the approximation for a couple of weeks removed from the equinox will be pretty close. Thus our Alaskan friend will have to build his 20 amos high sukkah AT LEAST 46 amos long before he gets ANY shade from the sechach just at the far wall. Tough for Rav Zeira's shita.

Interestingly, if our Alaskan friend builds a minimum height sukkah of 10 tefachim, then the shadow cast at noon by the wall will be y=10 x tan (66.5 deg) = 10 x 2.3 = 23 tefachim, which is just short of 4 amos, which is the minimum dimensions for a sukkah according to Rebbi. I am not sure if this is just coincidence or something significant in Rebbi's shita.

But for RAM's post, I would not have thought to make these calculations. I hope I have not made any serious mistake. I think it is pretty straight forward.

Kol Tuv

Chaim Manaster

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Message: 5
From: "SBA" <sba@sba2.com>
Date: Fri, 8 Sep 2006 00:17:06 +1000
[Avodah] Rhyming

MessageFrom: "Moshe Yehuda Gluck"
Is rhyming ever used in Tanach?
From: Yossi Aron To: SBA

Not that I can think of but at least two places play with sounds:
1. re Nechash hanechoshet -- im noshach hanachash etc

2. My father alav hashalom always pointed out: grammatically we use mah with
a patach or kamatz except in front of a guttural letter (see eg Mah anu, Meh
chayeenu in Leolam yehei adam).
One exception: in the haftorah re Shaul and Amalek Shmuel hanavi says to
Shaul:   Meh Kol Hatzon?

Why Meh and not mah?
Think about it -- what noise do sheep make? Me'e'eh

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Message: 6
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 8 Sep 2006 10:56:25 -0400 (EDT)
Re: [Avodah] Sukkah GT 20 amot high

I wrote the following in private email, and the recipient suggested I clarify
on list.

I am suggesting there are three positions. All three hold that there is a
problem of a lack of shelitas ha'ayin. The machloqes is being portrayed as to
what shelitah is needed for:

1- Raba - pirsumei nisa
2- Rava - to define the tzeil of the sechakh, rather than it just being
3- R' Zeira - seeing the sekhakh rather than a roof is part of diras arai

This would make Raba's position the closest parallel to neir Chanukah.
However, with all three agreeing that 20 amos is the shiur for shelitas
haayin, the pesaq WRT Chanukah doesn't actually require holding like Raba.
Could be that both require shelitas ha'ayin, but for different reasons.

Also, by defining Rava and R' Zeira in visual terms, one gets away from the
geometry problem in Rava's position, and R' Zeira's permitting a 10 amah deep
pit with sekhakh on it, but not a 20 amah deep one. Rashi's explanation of
Rava doesn't fit well, but then it won't fit well with any attempt to
eliminate the geometry problem.

Not to mention fitting my "ta'am and taste" approach to ta'amei hamitzvos.
(See <http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/vol05/v05n055.shtml#04> and subsequent

(Contributing to the train speculation was a bit of history I'm not sure
enough to post without a disclaimer.
(I believe Rava was 10 years or so older than Raba, but Raba was RY when Rava
and Abayei had most of their famous debates. It would therefore fit to have
Rava, Abayei and Rav Zeira debate an aspect of Raba's words rather than reject
it outright. In an earlier formulation of the idea, I had two shitos, both
elaborating Raba's pirsumei nisa. I think this version fits the gemara


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Message: 7
From: "Jonathan Baker" <jjbaker@panix.com>
Date: Sat, 9 Sep 2006 21:08:36 -0400 (EDT)
[Avodah] AishDas Pre-Slichos Shabbaton: NEXT WEEK, in

Please respond soon.  We'd like AishDas to be more than just a bunch
of disconnected people in cyberspace.  Come meet fellow AishDasniks,
and get a bit of chizuk just before Slichos.  Participate in discussions
with Rabbi and Dr. Bechhofer, and R' Micha Berger, as well as our own
R' Moshe Sokol and R' Gil Student.

We have half a dozen people ready to host you.

At least come for the melave malka, or if you're already in the area,
the daytime programs.  Morning program after kiddush, about 11:15,
afternoon program before mincha, about 5:00, Melave Malka 9:30 after

Contact Jonathan Baker as soon as possible:
  718 376 5402.


     AishDas Society and Yavneh Minyan of Flatbush present a Shabbaton:

                         Teshuvah:  Returning Home

            September 15-16, 2006, at the Yavneh Minyan of Flatbush
            1277 East 14th St, Brooklyn, NY - in the Shulamith School

Featuring:            R' Moshe Sokol R' Micha Berger
     R' Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer R'n Shoshannah Bechhofer R' Gil Student 

  Friday night: how does the yahrzeit of 9/11 affect life changes?
    after kiddush: Hating one's peers vs. repenting and forgiving hir:
    before mincha: Keeping God before us in this world
    melave malka:  Teshuvah From Love: transforming sins into merits.

Prices: Full program $65; Melave Malka $25; children under 12/13 dinner $15.


For a printable response form, see http://www.panix.com/~jjbaker/ymfad66.pdf
Note: legal size paper.  You can print it reduced, and send it back.


     the strength to acknowledge wrongs......the wisdom to reqret the past
the honesty of true, full confession ....................... the will to change
          burning with a passion for Gd, His Torah, and all of Israel

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Message: 8
From: "Chana Luntz" <chana@kolsassoon.org.uk>
Date: Sun, 10 Sep 2006 19:11:23 +0100
Re: [Avodah] [Areivim] Bar and bat mitzvas

From Areivim but sent to Avodah because knowing my track record the
moderators will insist this is bounced there.

R' ElphM writes:

> R' AS wrote:
> > It is worth noting that there are sources that disagree with RHM 
> > (culled from the sefer Otzar Hayedios):
> >
> > 1)  R' Shimon Bar Yochai made a "seudah gedolah" on the day 
> that his 
> > son (R' Eliezer became a bar mitzvah.  RSBY's students 
> asked him why 
> > he made such a big seudah and his response was: this is the 
> day that 
> > my son received a (new) neshama kedosha [as it says in the 
> Zohar that 
> > on the day of one's bar mitzvah, he becomes "k'briah chadasha."
> >
> > 2) On the day of one's bar mitzvah, there is a "chovah" to make a 
> > "simchas lev" like the day of one's chasunah (Zohar).
> I don't like to open a can of worms, but what the seifer 
> hazohar calls a chouve isn't necessarily accepted din and 
> minneg for every Jew,

It would seem though that the Magen Avraham brings this in Siman 225
si'if katan 4 in the name of Yalkut Chadash that it is a mitzvah for a
man to make a seudah on the day that his son become bar mitzvah like on
the day that he enters the marriage canopy [K'yom shenichnas  beno
l'chuppah].  While I agree that what the Magen Avraham writes is not
necessarily minhag for every Jew, but he certainly carries a fair bit of
weight.  I am not sure one can dismiss what is done by those who appear
to be following the Magen Avraham as just an excuse for a party.

I would note in the interests of fair disclosure, that I did not find
this source myself, but it comes from a teshuva by Rav YH Henkin in Bnei
Banim (vol 2 siman 17) in which he discusses the question as to whether
or not a seudas bar mitzvah is a seudas mitzvah.

RYHH brings two sources from nigla (as opposed to the zohar) on which
the idea that it is a seudas mitzvah could be based.  The first is the
midrash in Breishis Raba that the feast that Avraham made for Yitzchak
was when he was 13, and the reference to weaning is a reference to being
weaned from the Yetzer Hara.  The second is from Kiddushin 31a where
reference is made to Rav Yosef who made a seudah when he heard the
halacha was not like Rabbi Yehuda (ie that a blind person is in fact
chayav in mitzvos) because he had heard in the name of Rav Chanina that
gadol hamitzave v'oseh - ie he made a seudah on discovering he was in
fact chayav in mitzvos.

RYHH notes several nafka minas between the two, and notes that both of
them really seem geared to having the seudah bo b'yom and brings various
sources to support this.


And RHM writes: 

> Let me clarify a bit. There are some circumstances where I 
> might agree that a non Shabbos affair might be acceptable. 
> But I think it should be the exception rather than the rule.

Well as RYHH writes there in Bnei Banim, there seem to be much stronger
justifications for calling it a seudas mitzvah if it is on the day of
the bar mitzvah itself, rather than shabbas or any other day (unless
shabbas is the actual day of the bar mitzvah). 

> It is kind of like the Bar Mitzvah Drasha 
> given by a BM boy. That too is optional even though it is 
> pretty standard fare at a BM.  As far as I am concerened if I 
> never hear another BM Drasha again, it will be too soon. :)

 Well again RYYH brings significant sources that would seem to disagree
with you.  He brings the Magen Avraham again (siman 225) who brings from
the Yam Shel Shlomo in Baba Kama that if the boy gives a drasha then it
is a seudas mitzvah even if it is not bo b'yom - interestingly, the
source for this Yam Shel Shlomo would seem to be that it should be no
less than a seudas chanukas habayis - where apparently the ikkar of the
mitzvah is to initiate the house with torah and mitzvos  (ie starting
off on the right footing).  There appear to be a number of poskim and
shutim that discuss the question further, see there.  

Of course, if you are going to rely on the drasha as being the reason
legitimising the seudah as a seudas mitzva, then it had better be good -
and R'YHH makes the point that if the party is in fact an excuse for
ka'alos rosh, rather than an antidote to it, then it worse that defeats
its purpose..

BTW while RYYH does not mention a Bas Mitzvah at all, none of the
reasons given, except perhaps learning to give a drasha b'rabbim, would
seem inapplicable to a woman.



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Message: 9
From: "SBA" <sba@sba2.com>
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 2006 23:58:39 +1000
[Avodah] Interesting CS - 'positive spin'/consolation re

I have been waiting for one of our rabbonim/gedolim to come up with 
something to help those shocked and traumatised Monsey Jews who were 
nichshal with nevelos to feel a tiny bit better about themselves.

Tonight someone showed me a piece in Droshos Chasam Sofer - for Shabbos 
Shuva, (apparantly mentioned on Shabbos by the Satmar Rebbe -Reb Aharon), 
about doing teshuva me'ahavah and zedonos naasu zechuyos.
The CS brings as an example that for such a Baal Teshuva, every piece of 
neveileh he previously consumed now becomes like a piece of Korban Pesach !

(Presumably in the Monsey case, where it was definitely not a case of 
zedonos, al achas kamo vekamo..)


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Message: 10
From: "Moshe Yehuda Gluck" <mgluck@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 2006 15:13:14 -0400
[Avodah] Phantom Chazal?

"One who prohibits the permitted will end up permitting the prohibited."


Any takers?




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