Avodah Mailing List

Volume 19: Number 13

Sat, 30 Sep 2006

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: saul mashbaum <smash52@netvision.net.il>
Date: Tue, 26 Sep 2006 22:14:33 +0200
Re: [Avodah] selichot at Neila

RRGoldmeir wrote:

>My shul skips the selichot and then goes back to them. Is
>there a source for saying the nusach hatefilla out of order like that? 

This is exactly what the Mishna Brura OH 623:5 ot 8 says to do if time is short (he refers to saying "piyuttim" after birkat kohanim, but I believe that this includes s'lichot). In the Shaar HAtziyun ot 12, the Magen Avraham in the name of the Hagahot Maimoniyot is cited.

Saul Mashbaum

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Message: 2
From: "kennethgmiller@juno.com" <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
Date: Wed, 27 Sep 2006 00:13:52 GMT
Re: [Avodah] washing towels on chol hamoed

R' Gershon Seif wrote:
> He also told me that he's spoken with Rav
> Zucker who wrote the Chol Hamoed sefer and
> he's pretty sure that's how Rav Zucker
> learned as well.

Apparently, that's NOT how Rav Neuwirth learned it:

The Shemirat Shabbat K'Hilchasa 66:66 (that's not a typo!) says 
that "magavot mitbach" may be laundered on chol hamoed when needed. I 
think it is safe to translate that as "kitchen towels". His source is 
Mechaber 534:1 and Mishna Brura 534:4.

Akiva Miller

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Message: 3
From: "Moshe Yehuda Gluck" <mgluck@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 27 Sep 2006 02:34:10 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Chazal are Infallible

For a very interesting Mar'eh Makom, see the Meshech Chochmah, Parshas
Shoftim, on the Posuk "Lo sasur..." Not only does he seem to say the Chazal
are fallible, but he even extends it to Shlomo HaMelech. Ayin Sham.


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Message: 4
From: Gershon Seif <gershonseif@yahoo.com>
Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2006 07:20:06 -0700 (PDT)
[Avodah] Rav Keller's JO article on evolution

[Note that I've been holding on to this post since Jun 26th until now,
the end of the hiatus on science and creation issues. So, the word
"recent" in the first sentence should be read accordingly. -mi]

On page 16 of the recent JO, Rav Keller brings proofs that when the Torah
says a day in Mayseh Beraishis, it is literal. In one of the footnotes
he quotes Rab Schwab, but it appeared as if it was longer.

Here's my understanding of what he wrote.

1. Ein mikra yotzai midai pshuto. Since the Torah has definite lines of
demarcation of time and evolution assumes one long continuum, it would
be against this basic rule of learning Torah to twist mayseh Bereishis
into an evolving creation.

2. The Ramban, Bereishis 1:3, and the Rashbam Bereishi 1:4 take this

3. The Gemara Chagiga 12a (and rashi there explains that to mean a
24 hour day) says that midas yom and layla were created on the first
day. Rashi says the gemara is based on the posuk of vayehi erev vayehi
voker yom echad.

4. The 4th of the aseres hadibros says to remember Shabbos and sanctify
it.. for in 6 days Hashem made the heavans and the earth and He rested
on the seventh. - Rav Keller writes about this "Can we seriously consider
this an allegory for a period of billions of years? Is this the lesson the
Torah is teaching us- the greatness of God that He took 6 long undefined
periods of time to crate the world?

5. The torah telling us that Hashem rested, is saying that creation came
to a halt. This flies in the face of evolution which states that this
is an ongoing process.

6. The Kuzari writes that the number of years from creation to his time
is universally accepted by all Jews without acception. Rav Keller adds,
even though this is nolonger the case, the mesorah is still the mesorah.

7. The gemara in Kesubos 5a instructs us to have weddings on Wednesday
because that was the day fish were created.

8. Shulchan Aruch (OC 229:2) is m'chayaiv us to recite birkas hachamo
once every 28 years, and it is on Wednesday, the day the sun ws created.

9. The Ran on the 1st perek of R"H explains that we are judged on R"H
because the world was created on 25th day of Elul and Adam was created
onthe 6th day which was R"H.

 - He also writes that the Rambam agrees with a 6 day creation. He
writes the Rambam has beenmisquoted. All the now famous Rambam in MN
meant was that there are sodos of Kaballah that are lying behind the
simple meaning of the words.

I'd like to hear thoughts and comments.

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Message: 5
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Wed, 27 Sep 2006 11:50:39 -0400 (EDT)
Re: [Avodah] Chazal are Infallible

On Tue, September 26, 2006 2:24 am, R Marty Bluke wrote:
: R' Micha Berger wrote:
:> In vol 13, RJSO quoted Tosafos haRosh, who makes the argument about the
:> shiur of pi rather than pi itself....

: I wonder how the Tosafos Harosh would read the Gemara in bava Basra 14a-14b
: which discusses the size of the aron and how the luchos and the sefer torah
: fit in. The Gemara seems pretty clear that the measurements are exact,
: otherwise the question doesn't even begin.

I do not think the ThR intended a general rule, that historical discussion of
sizes should be taken as really a discussion of shiurim. Rather, that in this
one case, it makes more sense to assume (even if somewhat bedochaq) that this
is about shiurim, not historical precision. That the alternative, that
Chazal's discussion presumes an inferior value for pi than was known for
nearly a millenium before the mishnah, is more dachuq.

Tir'eh beTov and GCT!

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Message: 6
From: "Rabbi Daniel Yolkut" <haleviy@aol.com>
Date: Wed, 27 Sep 2006 16:25:04 -0400
[Avodah] Yehoshua Kohen Gadol

As the topic arose....
Is anyone familiar with any mekoros that suggest that the conflict b/t
Satan and Yehoshua KG described in Zecharya took place on Yom Kippur?
Please contact me if you have.
Rabbi Daniel Yolkut
Cong. Keneseth Beth Israel
6300 Patterson Ave
Richmond, Va 23226
Office: 804-288-7953
www.kbi6300.org <http://www.kbi6300.org/> 
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Message: 7
From: menucha <menu@inter.net.il>
Date: Thu, 28 Sep 2006 05:31:51 +0200
[Avodah] bowing on RH

What are the sources for bowing/not bowing during Aleinu during chazarat
HaSaTZ on Musaf RH?

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Message: 8
From: "Esther and Aryeh Frimer" <frimera@zahav.net.il>
Date: Thu, 28 Sep 2006 08:42:44 +0200
[Avodah] Origin of Haftara

Wikipedia under "Haftarah" has the following:
  "No one knows for certain the origins of reading the haftarah, but several theories have been put forth. The most common explanation, accepted by some traditional Jewish authorities is that in 168 B.C.E., when the Jews were under the rule of the Seleucid king Antiochus IV Epiphanes, they were forbidden from reading the Pentateuch and made do with a substitute. When they were again able to read the Pentateuch, they kept reading the haftarah as well.

  An alternative explanation, offered by Rabbis Reuven Margolies and Samson Raphael Hirsch, is that the haftarah reading was instituted to fight the influence of those sects in Judaism that viewed the Jewish Bible as consisting only of the Pentateuch."

I know that the former rationale is given by the 15th century  R. Elijah Bahur, Sefer haTishbi, sec. ?Peter;? cited by R. Yom Tov Lipmann-Heller, Tosafot Yom Tov, Megilla, 3:4, s.v. ?li-keSidran.? See also Abudarham, Shaharit shel Shabbat, s.v. ?veAhar she-golelin? - who gives a similar idea without dating it to Antiochus.

The latter rationale is suggested by R. Judah Leib Fishman (Maimon), Hagim uMo?adim (Jerusalem: 5704), pp. 197-198. Does anyone know the source of the similar statements of Rabbis Reuven Margolies and Samson Raphael Hirsch cited by Wikipedia?

Gemar Hatima Tova


Dr. Aryeh A. Frimer
Chemistry Dept., Bar-Ilan University
Ramat Gan 52900, ISRAEL
E-mail: FrimeA@mail.biu.ac.il

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Message: 9
From: "David Riceman" <driceman@worldnet.att.net>
Date: Thu, 28 Sep 2006 08:50:40 -0400
[Avodah] yom kippur drasha

I got drafted to speak for Yom Kippur again this year at our minyan, and I 
wonder if anyone can suggest improvements/emendations for the following 
drasha.  There's a strict eight minute limit (extended from five on normal 

1.  We read about the throngs of people watching what happened on Yom Kippur 
in the Beis HaMikdah, yet Yom Kippur is not a regel.  Why come if there's no 
mitzva? Contrariwise, if there's a reason to come, why not a mitzva of 
aliyyah l'regel?

2.  King David applied the root "ksy" both to Rosh HaShana (bakeseh l'yom 
hageinu) and Yom Kippur (ashrei ... k'suy hata'ah).

3.  On RH this alludes to the paradox of the mitzvas hayom: acknowledging 
God's sovereignty.  OTOH God wants us to have free will, but OTOH the more 
we recognize God's sovereignty the less free will we have.  So RH is a 
hidden holiday (hence, for example, the Bible avoids any explicit 
description of what RH is really about).

4.  Hazal cite "ashrei nsuy pesha ksuy hata'ah" as precedence for not 
confessing sins publicly (the exceptions are a machlokes Rambam and 
Ra'abad).  Analogously the passuk says "v'khol adam lo yihyeh b'ohel moed 
b'vo'o lchaper bakodesh ad tzeiso".

5.  Mishnath R. Eliezer b'Rebbi Yosi explains this as a reward.  Because 
Aharon was oheiv shalom and rodef shalom God granted him yir'ah, so 
everyone, even malachim, were afraid to be around "b'vo'o ..."  This midrash 
seems weird.  We know that Aharon was popular, the antithises of yirah, 
precisely because he was oheiv shalom and rodef shalom (e.g. vayivku es 
aharon kol beis yisrael).

6.  The essence of tzidkus is not failing to make mistakes, but the capacity 
to correct them (ki ein tzadik ba'aretz asher ya'aseh hatov v'lo yeheta; 
sheva yipol tzaddik vakam; Orot HaTshuva 5:6).  Yet one of the ways we gain 
inspiration is by watching people we admire and emulating them; in this 
context watching them sin is not helpful even if we later see them repent. 
The yirah the midrash is talking about is precisely because everyone so 
admired Aharon; they didn't want to see him when he acknowledged his own 

7.  The paradox of YK is that we want to be around people we admire on YK, 
so we can be helped doing tshuva, but we don't want to see them doing 
tshuva; we want to see them as tzaddikim.  Hence the two faced nature of the 
crowds; we want to see the Kohen Gadol bichvodo, but not in his private 
moments, b'vo'o lifnay v'lifnim.

8.  The contemporary equivalent of lifnai v'lifnim is Shmonah Esraih, when 
we're surrounded by pious people but we're alone with God, so we can 
concentrate on our sins and and be inspired by their virtues ....

David Riceman 

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Message: 10
From: "Esther and Aryeh Frimer" <frimera@zahav.net.il>
Date: Fri, 29 Sep 2006 15:52:42 +0200
[Avodah] Chess Clock

Has anyone heard whether there is a problem with using a windup-spring operated chess clock on Shabbos and Yom Tov? 
In case you don't know, a chess clock is two timers in one case that are used to limit the time available for each player's moves. The case has a button atop each timer. When a player finishes his move, he presses his button; his timer stops and the other player's timer starts. Here is a picture: 

Aryeh Frimer

Dr. Aryeh A. Frimer
Chemistry Dept., Bar-Ilan University
Ramat Gan 52900, ISRAEL
E-mail: FrimeA@mail.biu.ac.il

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Message: 11
From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
Date: Sun, 01 Oct 2006 02:22:07 +0200
[Avodah] Rambam on corporality

There is an apparent contradiction in the position of the Rambam 
regarding belief in Gd's physicality.

Rambam (Hilchos Teshuva 3:7): Minim are those who say G?d doesn?t exist, 
or that the world has no ruler, or that it has a ruler but there are two 
or more divine entities, or that there is one divinity but that he has a 
body and physical attributes, or denies that G?d was the First Cause and 
Rock of the universe or worships the stars or anything other than G?d 
because he views it as an intermediately to G?d. Whoever belongs to one 
of these five categories is a Min.

Raavad(Hilchos Teshuva 3:7):*): *Contrary to the Rambam assertion, a 
person who believes in G?d but thinks that G?d has a physical body is 
not called a heretic. There are a number of sages who are greater and 
better than the Rambam who hold this mistaken view?because they take 
literally the misleading Biblical verses and esoteric medrashim

*Rav Elchonon Wasserman****(Explanations of Agados #2): *The view of the 
Rambam is that a person who believes G?d is physical is a heretic. The 
Raavad commented: ?There are greater and better people than the Rambam 
who erred in this issue because of mistakenly accepting the literal 
meaning of verses and agada.? I heard in the name of Rav Chaim Brisker 
that the Rambam views that there is no such thing as inadvertent heresy. 
Irrespective of how a person arrives at a mistaken belief, the fact is 
that he believes something which is heretical. Furthermore, it is 
impossible to be a member of the Jewish people without proper faith. Rav 
Chaim used to say that ?a nebach apikorus (mistaken heretic) is also a 
heretic.? It would appear that he must be correct since all heretic and 
idol worshippers are mistaken. Obviously there is no one more mistaken 
than one who sacrifices his son for idol worship and yet he is subject 
to capital punishment. However, this approach is problematic since a 
baby also doesn?t have proper faith and yet he is part of the Jewish 
people. Furthermore, a person who was denied proper education (tinok 
shenishbah) is allowed to bring a sacrifice to atone?without being 
labeled as a heretic (Shabbos 68b). Thus from these two cases it would 
seem that the Torah exempts an unwitting error also in the realm of 
beliefs? This can be answered by what we mentioned previously?the 
foundation principles of faith are obvious and no intelligent person 
could accept heretical beliefs. It is only because a person wants to 
reject his obligations to G?d that he rationalizes that religious 
beliefs are not correct. Therefore, there is no such thing as an 
inadvertent heretical belief. On the other hand, if a person doesn?t 
intend to rebel against religion but mistakenly thinks something sinful 
is permitted by the Torah?then this is truly inadvertent. Perhaps this 
is what the Raavad meant that the person erred ?because of 
misunderstanding verses and agada.? In other words, the person erred not 
because he wanted to reject religion but because he mistakenly accepted 
the literal meaning of religious texts. Thus, the Raavad would classify 
him as someone who mistakenly says a sin is permitted according to the 
Torah and therefore inadvertent heresy does exist? The Rambam on the 
other hand seems to feel that one could not err in thinking that G?d has 
a body and that if he was serious about his religion it would be obvious 
to him that the texts cannot be taken literally?

However the Rambam [trans. Shlomo Pines] in Moreh Nevuchim (1:26):* *You 
know their dictum that refers in inclusive fashion to all the kinds of 
interpretation connected with this subject, namely, their saying: The 
Torah speaketh in the language of the sons of man.The ?meaning of this 
is that everything that all men are capable of understanding and 
representing to themselves at first thought has been ascribed to Him as 
necessarily belonging to God, may He be exalted. Hence attributes 
indicating corporeality have been predicated of Him in order to indicate 
that He, may He be exalted, exists, inasmuch as the multitude cannot at 
fIrst conceive of any existence save that of a body alone; thus that 
which is neither a body nor existent in a body does not exist in their 

Rambam thus states that the Torah describes G-d in physical  terms 
because the masses can not accept the existence of a non-physical G-d. 
Thus the Torah itself has to teach the masses heresy - which according 
to the Rambam means that they will lose their Olam HaBah.!?

Prof. Marc Shapiro discusses this issue p 68-70. and asserts that Rambam 
held that for the masses this was the inevitable starting point from 
which they had to be educated to proper belief. This is the view of the 
standard commentaries to the Moreh Nevuchim of Abarbanel, Shem Tov and 

I would appreciate other sources that acknowledge the Rambam's apparent 
contradiction and how they reconcile it. It is clear that the Raavad, 
Rav Chaim, and Rav Elchonon did not understand the Rambam requiring a 
two step processes starting with heresy. Assuming that in fact the 
Rambam felt that inherently that heresy is the starting point of all - 
does this mean that the Rambam agreed with the Ramban - that proper 
service of Gd requires acts of "bribing Satan" e.g., the scapegoat on 
Yom Kippur? In other words how does this understanding of the Rambam 
manifest itself in other aspects of avodas haShem?

gmar chasima tova

Daniel Eidensohn


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