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Volume 20: Number 3

Thu, 05 Oct 2006

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: "SBA" <sba@sba2.com>
Date: Wed, 4 Oct 2006 10:39:05 +1000
[Avodah] Timtum Halev

A response from an outsider:

> From: "SBA" <sba@sba2.com>
>>> Some 'relief' maybe for those who were LA nichshal with Shevach's 
>>> neveilos... Betzeil Hachochmo (vol 5:173) to someone who had bought
>>> meat from a butcher who was under the hashgocho of a "rav charedi
>>> musmach umefursem".
>>> After consuming it, he was informed that treifos had been found in the
>>> behemeh from which that meat was taken. what should the consumer do
- as a kaporo - for the cheit of eating treif unknowingly?
>>> RB Stern zt'l paskens that under such circumstances (that the store had 
>>> a
>>> reliable hashgocho) 'lekula alma onus hu, v'ein tsorich kaporo".

From: "AAW
> This is for Teshuva, but not for Timtum Halev,
that is not associated with  the Isur.

> OTOH, the Woodridge Rav (RY Lebowitz) is quoting a Sdei Chemed that Timtum 
> only stems from Beheimos Temeios that are Tomei Be'etzem, not Tehoiros, 
> even when they're not kosherly slaughtered.

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Message: 2
From: "Sober Family" <sober@pathcom.com>
Date: Wed, 4 Oct 2006 00:01:28 -0400
[Avodah] Kiddush Levanah on Motzoei Yom Kippur

RYL: ... the wives of the men making Kiddush Levanah have to ... wait for
their husbands to return home and make Havdalah before they can eat.

RZS: Why can't they make their own havdalah?  ...

Me: There is a widespread practice for women not to make havdalah for
themselves (ReMA at the end of OC 296) and some single women davka go to a
family where a man can say havdalah for them. Certainly married women
generally wait to hear havdalah from their husbands. Note that it IS
permissible to drink water before hearing havdalah (OC 299:1).

RYL: some women stay in shul after Neilah and daven Maariv. This means a
delay in preparing the meal after the end of Yom Kippur. Again, is it really
proper to perform this mitzvah at the "expense" of others who may well be
feeling weak from fasting?

Me: Maybe someone else is home preparing the meal, or maybe they are going
to someone else's house? Maybe their car was left at shul over Yom Kippur so
they have to wait for their husband and drive home together? Or they live in
a neighbourhood where women don't walk alone at night? Anyway, providing
some basic food to break the fast does not have to take much time - enough
to open the refrigerator and take out whatever you are serving. An urn can
be left on from before Yom Kippur if people want hot drinks to break the
fast. Or you can flip on the switch of an electric kettle or throw something
into the microwave just before making havdalah. Once people have taken the
edge off their hunger, it is fine wait a little while before having a proper

- Ilana

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Message: 3
From: T613K@aol.com
Date: Wed, 4 Oct 2006 00:38:16 EDT
Re: [Avodah] Kiddush Levanah on Motzoei Yom Kippur


Yitzchok Levine wrote:
> Many have the custom of making Kiddush  Levanah on Motzoei Yom Kippur 
> right after Maariv. However, this means  that the wives of the men 
> making Kiddush Levanah have to wait longer  before they can break 
> their fast....

R' Zev Sero wrote:   >>Why can't they make their own havdalah?  Whether women 
are  obligated in havdalah or not, mimah nafshach they are yotze.  Or are  you
concerned about bracha levatalah, if it should turn out that they
are  not obligated?<<

Don't you know that if a woman makes havdalah, she will grow a  moustache?  
(BTW if anyone knows the source of that belief, please let me  know!)

--Toby  Katz

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Message: 4
From: "Sober Family" <sober@pathcom.com>
Date: Wed, 4 Oct 2006 14:38:15 -0400
[Avodah] Agag

I definitely recall hearing that Agag - in the brief interval after Shaul spared him and before Shmuel killed him - found a shifcha through whom he was able to continue his line of descent. But I can't find the source for this! Does anyone know the source?

Thank you!
- Ilana
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Message: 5
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Wed, 4 Oct 2006 15:39:22 -0400 (EDT)
[Avodah] 12 Step Programs

I was recently discussing 12 Step programs with someone, and I wasn't 100%
comfortable. Does anyone know of a specific pesaq about the permissability of
12 Step programs? Other than R' Avraham Twersky, who is obviously in favor, I
don't know of anyone discussing their halachic or basic hashkafic merits /

Here's a version anotated with my concerns:
> 1.   We admitted we were powerless over our addiction - that our lives had
become unmanageable
> 2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to
> 3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as
we understood God

So far a little ecumenical ("as we understood God"), but seems okay.

> 4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves
> 5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature
of our wrongs

And who would think I would complain about a cheshbon hanefesh or vidui?

> 6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character
> 7. Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings

And here's where things bother me.

It just smells Xian. Something about turning to a deity for salvation rather
than one redeeming oneself. Hakol biydei Shamayim chutz meyir'as Shamayim. We
could and should ask for Hashem's help, that our efforts succeed, that we face
situations that foster improvement and don't pose challenges we can not
surmount. But to ask Him to do it for us?

> 8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make
> amends to them all
> 9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so
> would injure them or others
> 10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly
> admitted it
> 11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact
> with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God's will for
> us and the power to carry that out

Another sore point. This focus on personal revelation rather than turning to
our mesorah smells a bit Xian Fundamentalist.

> 12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried
> to carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in
> all our affairs

Another seeming import, although more mild than the last -- this is a bit of
Xian missionizing culture.

Then my 2nd tier of concern. Much of this is overtly religious. Even if it
could be fused with Judaism, should we? I'm reminded of our "women as rabbis"
discussions. The conclusion they led me to is that even when something can be
fit to halakhah, the very question of should we allow such accretion of values
from other sources may be more fundamental to the nature of Yahadus. (Not to
discuss the basis of how I reached the conclusion, and whether you believe the
idea of ordaining women is the product of an "external value", just the
conclusion itself.)

Would a pesaq depend on what the person is addicted to? Some kind of sechar vs
hefseid analysis? Or is it more clearly back or white?

Tir'u beTov!

Micha Berger             One who kills his inclination is as though he
micha@aishdas.org        brought an offering. But to bring an offering,
http://www.aishdas.org   you must know where to slaughter and what Fax: (270)
514-1507      parts to offer.        - R' Simcha Zissel Ziv

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Message: 6
From: "Daniel Israel" <dmi1@hushmail.com>
Date: Wed, 4 Oct 2006 14:40:36 -0600
Re: [Avodah] 12 Step Programs

On Wed, 04 Oct 2006 13:39:22 -0600 Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org> 
>> 5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the 
>>exact nature of our wrongs
>And who would think I would complain about a cheshbon hanefesh or 

Although I would point out that confession to another person is not 
the core Torah concept of vidui.

Daniel M. Israel

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Message: 7
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Wed, 4 Oct 2006 21:15:01 -0400
Re: [Avodah] yom kippur drasha

On Thu, Sep 28, 2006 at 08:50:40AM -0400, David Riceman wrote:
: 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?

I assume many people came early for Sukkos in order to see the avodah.
Also, who wants to be on the road during YK?

Can't answer your contariwise that way, though.

: 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).

I used the Gra's distinction between melekh and mosheil to explain RH.
We accept Hashem as Melekh because:
> A Melech need not impose His will in the same way that a Mosheil does. A
> Melech, therefore, has the opportunity to act with kindness and mercy at
> times when a Mosheil could not. We therefore introduce High Holidays,
> the days of judgement, by declaring G-d's meluchah. By voluntarily
> accepting Him as king we obviate the need for G-d to direct us on the
> right path through trials and tribulations.
See <http://www.aishdas.org/asp/2005/09/coronating-g-d.shtml>.

: 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).

Not the antithesis of yir'ah as RAEK understand the concept. See
Be'iqvos haYir'ah <http://www.aishdas.org/raek/yirah.pdf>.
... Vayir'u ha'am es Hashem, vaya'aminu Bashem uvMosheh avdo. Az
Yashir ...

Tir'u beTov!

Micha Berger             Mussar is like oil put in water,
micha@aishdas.org        eventually it will rise to the top.
http://www.aishdas.org                    - Rabbi Israel Salanter
Fax: (270) 514-1507      

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Message: 8
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Wed, 4 Oct 2006 21:17:03 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Kiddush Levanah on Motzoei Yom Kippur

On Tue, Oct 03, 2006 at 10:29:24PM +0200, Daniel Wells wrote:
: >Many have the custom of making Kiddush Levanah on Motzoei Yom Kippur
: >right after Maariv.

: We make KL on Motzoei Shabbos Shuva. It's mentioned I think in the MB that
: the reason is to get an extra mitzva in before YK

Why bring up aggadic preferences? Mitzvah haba leyadkha al tachmitzenah
is invoked as a chiyuv. I do not understand why we aren't all zerizim

Tir'u beTov!

Micha Berger             In the days of our sages, man didn't sin unless
micha@aishdas.org        he was overcome with a spirit of foolishness.
http://www.aishdas.org   Today, we don't do a mitzvah unless we receive
Fax: (270) 514-1507      a spirit of purity.      - Rabbi Israel Salanter

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Message: 9
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Wed, 4 Oct 2006 21:27:29 -0400
[Avodah] Ushpizin and Sheva Berakhos

This may sound silly but...

Can one count the Ushpizin as panim chadashos for 7 berakhos?

Tir'u beTov!

Micha Berger             Man is a drop of intellect drowning in a sea
micha@aishdas.org        of instincts.
http://www.aishdas.org                         - Rav Yisrael Salanter
Fax: (270) 514-1507      

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Message: 10
From: ephraim.stulberg@utoronto.ca
Date: Wed, 04 Oct 2006 19:36:11 -0400
[Avodah] Mussaf during Mincha time

In shul this Yom Kippur, Mussaf did not begin until after the  
acceptable period for davening Mincha had commenced, i.e. after 2pm in  
Toronto. The Bavli (B'rachos 28a) rules that in such a case, Mincha  
comes first. TOsafos write that there are those who say that this is  
only if he will be davening the two one right after the other; if he  
intends to do Mincha much later, then he should do Mussaf first.
The Tur (OC268) writes that his father, the Rosh, used to say Mussaf  
alone in its proper time rather than wait for a dawdling congregation.
Does anyone have any experience with this halacha? Has anyone ever  
done Mincha first on YOm Kippur?

Ephraim Stulberg

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Message: 11
From: Shmuel Zajac <s.zajac@verizon.net>
Date: Wed, 04 Oct 2006 20:31:08 -0400
[Avodah] Kiddush Levanah on Motzoei Yom Kippur

 >>Surely she is just as hungry as he is, and her staying for maariv or
going home is a matter for mutual agreement.  And why must he have
warm food to break his fast?  Can't he (actually they) first have cold
drinks while the food is warming up?  In any case, why is his having
to wait a few minutes longer for hot food (though no longer than she
waits) more important than whatever hanaah she gets from staying for
maariv (and walking home with him instead of alone)?  What is she,
his maid?<<

You left out one question that fits right in - Why can't he put the food 
on the fire?  Unlike the case of Havdala, where it might be argued that 
there could be a halachik issue because of the possibility of Bracha 
Levatala, there can be no halachik issues with this.

-- Kayza

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Message: 12
From: "Moshe Yehuda Gluck" <mgluck@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 4 Oct 2006 21:32:36 -0400
Re: [Avodah] 12 Step Programs

R' MB:
> Here's a version anotated with my concerns:
> > 1.   We admitted we were powerless over our addiction - that our lives
> had
> become unmanageable

This one always bothered me. And, as a founder of aishdas.org, I'm not sure
why it doesn't bother you. Don't we believe that a person can master his
actions? And, if it's past our nekudas habechirah, then aren't we not

> > 5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact
> nature
> of our wrongs
> And who would think I would complain about a cheshbon hanefesh or vidui?

Vidui to Hashem and ourselves is A-OK. But vidui to another human being is
not - on an Avierah not publicly known - ayin OC 607:2 and the MB there.

> > 6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character
> > 7. Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings
> And here's where things bother me.
> It just smells Xian. Something about turning to a deity for salvation
> rather
> than one redeeming oneself. Hakol biydei Shamayim chutz meyir'as Shamayim.
> We
> could and should ask for Hashem's help, that our efforts succeed, that we
> face
> situations that foster improvement and don't pose challenges we can not
> surmount. But to ask Him to do it for us?

Ayin Maharsha Berachos 10a, s.v. Chatai'im K'siv, who seems to say that
asking Hashem to return one's self in teshuvah is part of Ha'rotzeh L'Taher
M'sayin Oso. Ayin sham.


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Message: 13
From: "Shoshana L. Boublil" <toramada@bezeqint.net>
Date: Thu, 5 Oct 2006 10:19:38 +0200
[Avodah] (long!) Find Yourself a Rabbi and Treat Every Rabbi

There has been much discussion over the years on Avodah/Areivim
surrounding the question of different views; different rabbis; many of
the discourses were not actually around a specific topic, but about the
validity of a different view.

I read the following article with great interest. It is indeed long. But
it is worthwhile. Personally, I would love this article to be part of
an introductory package every new member of Avodah/Areivim would receive.
I think it embodies the main point of Avodah/Areivim and gives guidelines
to respectful converse, which is at the basis of this wonderful group.

Shanna Tova.

Shoshana L. Boublil

Rabbi Shlomo Aviner - Chief Rabbi of Beit El 
"Find Yourself a Rabbi and Treat Every Rabbi With Respect" 

Question: I am confused. There are so many rabbis, with so many
worldviews. How shall I know who to listen to? Why don't they all unite
and form some sort of Sanhedrin? Why don't all the rabbis line up behind
the great luminaries of the generation?

Answer: You have asked a very painful question. First of all, as far as
the Sanhedrin, our master Rabbi Kook already wrote that for a Sanhedrin
you need world-class scholars on a level that does not exist today
(Igarot HaRe'iyah I:341). If it was such in his generation, all the more
so in our own impoverished generation. Even so, he worked devotedly
to found a preparation for the Sanhedrin (ibid., II:59-60), namely,
the Chief Rabbinate of Israel (Ma'amarei HaRe'iyah 455). So if it is
rabbinic unity you want, please strengthen the honor and stature of the
Israeli Chief Rabbinate. Just don't say that it isn't exactly your cup
of tea. If someone says, "I am in favor of rabbinic unity but only on
condition that it be similar to me," he does not understand what unity is
(see Rosh Hashanah 25b). Indeed, the Israeli Chief Rabbinate is the way
to rabbinic unity, yet we must dispel all illusions: The day the rabbis
will reach agreement will not be today or tomorrow.

Indeed, in the absence of a Sanhedrin, we have to follow the gedolim,
the great luminaries of the generation. As Sefer HaChinuch said, the
great rabbis of the generation take the place of the Sanhedrin (Mitzvah
455). Tosafot wrote the same thing about the status of the world's most
outstanding Torah scholar (Tosafot Bava Kamma 41b).

Yet who shall decide who is the most outstanding Torah scholar of the
generation? If you ask a chassid he will tell you that it is his rebbe. If
you ask a Litvak he will mention one great halachic authority. If you
ask a National Religious Jew, he will mention still another illustrious
figure. A Breslov chassid will mention Rabbi Nachman and a Chabad chasid
will mention the last Rebbe. And they are all right. All these rabbis
are gedolim. "All of them are beloved, all of them are pure, all of
them are mighty. They all perform with awe and reverence the will of
their Creator. They all open their mouth with holiness and purity"
(morning prayers), even if they do not agree amongst themselves. Yet
there is a corridor that leads to the banquet hall. We shall reach the
"banquet hall" when all the rabbis are in agreement, and the "corridor"
consists of each rabbi holding to his own view but showing respect for
others. Without the corridor, we shall never reach the banquet hall.

Therefore, as long as we are in the "corridor" period, and we do not know
how long that will last, each person must find himself a rabbi and follow
him. Yet one must also respect all rabbis, and respect everyone who has
found himself a different rabbi. One mustn't force his own outlook or
reject the alternatives. If one has a rabbi, one should follow him. One
shouldn't have any fear, even if he is one is an individual against many.

Consider what the Talmud tells us, that in the town of Rav Yehuda
HaGelili they would cook and eat milk and meat together, and that in
the town of Rabbi Eliezer they would chop down trees on the Sabbath to
prepare a knife for circumcision (Shabbat 130a). All of this occurred many
years after both sages passed away, but the people of their towns were
considered their disciples, for one's town rabbi has the same halachic
classification as one's "rav muvhak" [the rabbi one has learned the most
from] (see Chazon Ish Yoreh Deah 150:5). Rashba wrote that we follow
our town rabbi even if he is one against many (Responsa Rashba I:253;
Choshen Mishpat 25:2 in Rama). Rabbi Yitzchak Ze'ev Soloveitchik wrote
that in every generation there were always Torah greats who had different
outlooks and paths to serving G-d, such as Rav Gidel and Rabbi Yochanan
(Berachot 20a). Both had unique paths to serving G-d, and they stood
their ground (Divrei Hashkafah 235-240).

Rav Tzvi Shechter wrote that the Talmud explains (Yevamot 14) that
when a sage differs with his contemporaries, even when he is greatly
outnumbered, he and his disciples must continue rendering decisions
and conducting themselves in according with his view. The rule that we
follow the majority (Exodus 23:2) applies to the rest of the people who
are not his students. He also wrote that every Torah scholar who becomes
a halachic authority must always express his own view, however he has
come to understand the truth of the law (Nefesh HaRav 60-62).

Rav Shechter (Nefesh HaRav, page 62) quotes from the Vilna Gaon (as it
appeared in Rav Chaim Volozhin's sefer "Chut HaMeshulash" at the end
of Siman 9) that if a rabbi comes to a conclusion that goes against the
Shulchan Aruch, and rules according to the Shulchan Aruch, he violates,
"Do not give anyone special consideration when rendering judgment"
(Deuteronomy 1:17)

Even a disciple, if he does not think like his rabbi, is forbidden
to remain silent, in accordance with, "Keep away from anything false"
(Exodus 23:7) (Shavuot 31a). It is also in keeping with, "Fear no man"
(Deuteronomy 1:17); and with the words of Rabbi Chanin, who said, "Do
not repress yourself before any man" (Sanhedrin 1:6). For this reason,
when arguments are being presented in the Sanhedrin, they begin with
the least learned scholar (Sanhedrin 32a), lest that scholar not dare
to express himself after one greater than he has spoken, and thereby
violate "Fear no man" (Sanhedrin 36a; see the debate between Nimukei
Yosef and Tosafot). According to Torah law, no one may be shown special
consideration. A disciple must pursue truth, even if he is attacked as
a result.

The rule is this: Once a Torah scholar recognizes his lowliness and
unworthiness, all the same, if he follows a special path that derives
from his having delved into Torah sources, he is not allowed to nullify
his opinion. In fact, he is forbidden to. There are seventy approaches to
the Torah, and his own opinion is part of that, following a holy path. He
should therefore long to have everyone follow his way. That is his
obligation. Find yourself a rabbi, but let others follow their own rabbis.


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