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Volume 22: Number 17

Sun, 24 Dec 2006

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: "Shmuel Weidberg" <ezrawax@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 22 Dec 2006 13:36:31 -0500
[Avodah] undeserved punishment?

Kevan shenitan reshus lemashchis... So long as there is a significant
number of people who truly deserve punishment, then Hashem will allow
a blunt instrument to kill them even though it may kill undeserving
people as well.

I think according to the strictest sense of midas hadin and kol
yisroel arevim zeh lazeh, then we are all deserving of misah if anyone
in klal yisroel does an aveirah. Like we find with Achan and Ai.

So even though according to everyday standards of guilt we would not get
punished, once the decree of punishment has been pronounced, you have
to be absolutely spotless in order to escape punishment, and that is
impossible so long as anybody has done an aveirah, because there is
always some way with near super human effort that you could have
prevented it.


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Message: 2
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Date: Sat, 23 Dec 2006 18:09:49 -0500
Re: [Avodah] zman hadloko erev Shabbos and motzoei Shabbos

A & C Walters wrote:

>>> You are right. The Gr"o himself makes this point, that the zman daled
>>> mil is only in Bavel/EY. However he is a daas yochid in this point.

>> Daas Yochid?  What is the Baal Hatanya, chopped liver?

> The Baal HaTanya in Shulchan Oruch HaRav paskens like R"T. In Siddur he 
> (apparently) paskens like the Gr"o.

The Siddur is mishna acharona; what he wrote in his Sh"A is irrelevant.
And there's no "apparently" about it. He explicitly rejects RT's
opinion as "neged hachush", and says that the Mechaber also changed
his mind.

> Daas Yochid was meant as "minority 
> opinion" as opposed to its literal meaning of "only one and not two"

Rav tana hu upalig.  Two such "yechidim" count for a lot.

>> And any shita that ignores this fact cannot be taken into account, no
>> matter how many achronim, ignorant of astronomy, thought that way.

> It is forbidden to say such a thing. The Gedolei Achronim and Sh"Or
> knew far more astronomy than we. I am sure they know the facts, and
> never the less, they do not mention any reason to be mechalek (nor
> do the rishonim) .

Those who knew what they were talking about certainly must have
distinguished between different latitudes.  If they didn't say so
explicitly, it can only be because they thought it obvious.  But what
makes you say that all of them knew astronomy?  It's pretty obvious
that a lot of them did not.  And those who were led by this lack to
opinions which simply cannot be, must be ignored, just like those
late 19th and early 20th century poskim who wrote about electricity,
but whose words make it clear that they hadn't a clue how it worked.

> If you don't want to pasken like them, that's one thing, but to call
> them ignorant, and that one cannot take them into account, that 
> is forbidden to say.

Forbidden?  There were many chachamim gedolim who were utterly
ignorant of certain basic facts about the world, and were led by
that ignorance to pasken incorrectly.  That is a fact, which you
have to deal with.  You can't hide from it by closing your eyes
and shouting "ossur".

> Don't forget that a halocho can overrule a metzius (for example to
> make an iber yor, which means a girl turns 3 a month later, but
> the besulim grow back a month later)

Um, no, they don't.  They really don't.  Her halachic status changes,
because the 3-year cutoff is a completely arbitrary shiur, just like
all the shiurim the chachamim taught us; but her hymen remains exactly
the same.

Zev Sero               Something has gone seriously awry with this Court's
zev@sero.name          interpretation of the Constitution.
                       	                          - Clarence Thomas

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Message: 3
From: "Elazar M. Teitz" <remt@juno.com>
Date: Sun, 24 Dec 2006 00:39:09 GMT
Re: [Avodah] Al petach beito mibachutz

<The question is, why in E"Y to light outside. The reason is that 
many in E"Y follow minhogei HaGr"o, and Talmudei HaGr"o claimed to 
light outside. The Th"G were the first Ashkenaisim to come to E"Y, 
and a lot of their minhogim were mekubel, eg. not to say BHLA"A 
before She"Es Maariv (as far I know no kehila in E"Y says it, whereas 
in Ch"l, most do), also zman hashkia, also to say "kavei" after 
shacharis, which in Ch"l Ashkenaz doesn't say, also Morid HaTal, 
which again is not said in Ch"l by Mispaleli Askenaz, Boruchu after 
davening, duchening etc etc. These are all Minhogei HaGr"o, and have 
no shayches to E"Y beEtzem, only that minhog haGro is followed. Hu 
HaDin lighting outside. (agav, even in E"Y it is not mekubel by rov 

     The claim made about hadlakas haner have already been discussed 
at length.  There are also, however, some items mentioned 
incidentally which are inaccurate.

     Not all of the minhagim practiced by the Prushim in Eretz 
Yisrael stem from the Gr"a.  Many of them are the result of adopting 
minhagim from the S'faradim.  The Gr"a did _not_ say "Kavei" (a/k/a 
Ein Keilokeinu) after Shacharis.  He did _not_ repeat Borchu after 
davening.  Among other items mistakenly attributed to him which are 
actually of S'fardic origin is saying Sim Shalom rather than Shalom 
Rav at Mincha on Shabbos.  I believe that saying Hoshanos after 
Shacharis rather than Mussaf has the same provenance. Even Morid 
Hatal is from the S'fardim; what the G'ro said was "Mashiv haruach 
umorid hatal."   


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Message: 4
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Sat, 23 Dec 2006 21:57:24 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Why the woman is makneh herself

On Fri, Dec 22, 2006 at 03:15:57PM -0500, Shmuel Weidberg wrote:

[I assume this is a quote, even though it's not indicated in RSW's
original. Otherwise he would be contradicting himself.]

>: I think the reason that the Torah required that a woman give up her
>: right to exit a marriage of her own free will is because nashim daatan
>: kalos...

: The gemara gives this reason for the takana that the husband has to
: write a kesuba.

Even without this, the fiscal system is biased in her favor. Halakhah
prevents the dishonest woman from collecting her support and running.

Gut Voch!

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Message: 5
From: "Akiva Blum" <ydamyb@actcom.net.il>
Date: Sun, 24 Dec 2006 08:12:23 +0200
Re: [Avodah] zman hadloko erev Shabbos and motzoei Shabbos

I wrote: 
<<< If the biur halocho is also using 72 minutes, 
it appears that he is mixing "hours"; those from dawn to tzais for 
plag, and those from sunrise to sunset for 72 minutes. >>>

<<I think I see it differently. The Beur Halacha is saying that Plag is 
not 1 1/4 hours before shkia, but that it is 1 1/4 hours before 
tzeis. That, on its own, is not problematic. But then he calculates 
those 1 1/4 hours as 75 fixed clock minutes, or perhaps 1 1/4 
twelfths of the time from sunrise to sunset, instead of the 
calculation which I would have expected, namely 1 1/4 twelfths of the 
time from alos to tzeis. I do not know why the Beur Halacha chose to do the calculation in 
that manner, but it is undeniable that he did. >>

Exactly my question. Thank you.

However, the BH doesn't say here "72 minutes", only "hour and fifth hour", whatever type of hour that may be.

A & C Walters writes:

<<I really don't understand your chesbon. The Biur Halocho is going with the 
rishonim. (see Rashb"a brochos beis omud alef d"h ulinyan) who says clearly 
that plag hamincha is 1/6 of a mil before shkia (=3 mins if a mil is 18mins) 
Also see Ramba"n in sefer toras hoOdom, that between plag and shkia is 400 
amos, also Tos, Pesochim yud alef omud beis d"h echod, sanhedrin mem alef 
omud beis d"h echod.>>

These rishonim calculate the length of a mil based on from AhS to tzais (which is a 90/96 minute parsa). They call it "hour and fifth of an hour" but that's hours which are from alos to tzais. Their plag is also based on AhS to tzais. My problem is simultaniously using an AhS to tzais day with a plag as 1 1/4 "hours" of haneitz to shkiah.


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Message: 6
From: Minden <phminden@arcor.de>
Date: Sun, 24 Dec 2006 12:18:48 +0100
Re: [Avodah] Keil melech neeman

> I noted in the past that haKeil haGadol haGibbor vehaNorah could be read as a noun with three adjectives, or a list of four nouns. I argued that this showed an intentional lack of distinction between adjective and noun, to sound like the Moreh for a minute: between accident and essence.
> The same is true with Keil Melekh Ne'eman. I capitalized "Ne'eman" to reflect the possibility that we read it "the Reliable One" rather than that we are saying He is a reliable King. Not that I believe we should think of those as distinct options, but as an English speak I find it difficult to avoid.

Without entering a grammatical discussion if there's a difference between nouns and adjectives, or if it is probable that the phrase is a series of nouns, or if not, whether they still should be capitalised in your habit - isn't this whole capitalisation a decidedly Christian thing anyway? Are there any tshuves about it, other than those about writing God's name in non-Hebrew letters and the like? (I'd like to note that 'God' is capitalised and lacks an article in the preceding sentence because it's clearly used as a proper name.)

Concerning Keil melech ne'emon and the repetition of words at the and of krishme, prof. Ta-Shma's article was mentioned. I highly recommend R' Hamburger's extensive treatise in addition. In short, the minnek is always to say K"M"N (beyoched or betzibber, mispallel or sha"tz), and never to repeat H' eloukeichem after krishme.

Lipman Phillip Minden

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Message: 7
From: "Chana Luntz" <chana@kolsassoon.org.uk>
Date: Sun, 24 Dec 2006 12:25:50 -0000
Re: [Avodah] [Areivim] URL: article about halachic

> On Tue, December 19, 2006 10:33 am, Iwrote:
> :                                          .... "we generally seem to
> : hold" that in fact IVF etc is a fulfilment of the mitzvah
> of pru u'rvu - as can be seen by the responses on this list suggesting

> that with the  existence of IVF, artificial insemination etc, there is
> need to mess around with the shiva nekiim...
> I do not know if that claim was made on this list. The
> nearest I recall was my asking whether precedent set before 
> AIH was an option would still apply. I did not intend my "I 
> don't know if" to be taken as an assertion that the pesaqim 
> that permitted shaving down the 7 neqi'im definidently didn't 
> apply and that the heter could not be invoked in favor of AIH.
> Not did I notice anyone answering this question with a more
> recent (post AIH) teshuvah.
> So, as far as I know, the people hear are mesupaqim, not
> assuming anything of the sort.

The proof that people are accepting this position comes from the
acceptance that IVF is an acceptable option (something I don't think
anybody on the list questioned, and something that I don't think our
society questions anymore, given the numbers trying IVF).  If you hold
that IVF does not result in the fulfilment of the mitzvah of pru u'rvu
then you are on dubious halachic grounds for trying it in any
circumstance - it involves dangers to the wife, issurim for the husband
etc etc.  Certainly your post referring to IVF was not along the lines
of "well if you hold that IVF is permitted then ..." - it took the line
"given the existence of IVF..." ie assuming IVF's halachic validity and
then wondering if it was better or worse to utilise IVF than heterim vis
a vis the shiva nekiim.  Not that I think this is wrong - I think we as
a society have poskened this way - and certainly Rav Moshe clearly holds
this way.  But it is not as axiomatic as all that.

> Tir'u baTov!
> -mi



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Message: 8
From: "David E Cohen" <ddcohen@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, 23 Dec 2006 21:11:38 +0200
Re: [Avodah] Keil melech neeman

The old minhag Ashkenaz was to always say "keil melekh ne'eman," even
be-tzibbur. This was one of the minhagim that the talmidim of the Ramban
took issue with when the came to Provence, since they held that it was
a hefseik. The Me'iri defends it, in Magein Avos (a seifer written to
defend the classical minhagim of Provence against the attacks of the
talmidim of the Ramban), primarily by making the case that there was an
old mesorah for it. The Rokei'ach explains that the Ashkenazim didn't
consider it a hefseik, since "keil melekh ne'aman" is just an extended
"amein," and answering "amein" to one's own berakhah is permissible
at the conclusion of a series of berakhos, which they considered this
to be. The Sefaradim, at this point in time, didn't have the mesorah (*)
(first recorded in the Tanchuma) of having exactly 348 words, so they
simply weren't concerned with it.

The first mention of the chazzan's repeating "Hashem Elokeikhem Emes" is
in the Zohar Chadash (*). Prof. Ta-Shma surmises that this is an attempt
to reconcile the desire to reach 348 words (an idea that was imported
from Provence) with the concerns about hefseik that were expressed by
the talmidei ha-Ramban. The Zohar Chadash says explicitly that this
will only work be-tzibbur, and that one who says Keri'as Shema` on his
own will, in fact, miss out on the opportunity to have his entire body
protected by saying 348 words. In Shekel ha-Kodesh, R' Moshe de Leon
explains that just as a chazzan can repeat Shemoneh `Esreih without
concern for an appearance of praying to "shtei reshuyos," so, too,
there would be no problem for him to repeat "Hashem Elokeikhem Emes,"
since this also has a productive function, namely the protection of the
bodies of the congregants. The implication is that this is a special
license that is given to a shaliach tzibbur, and that if an individual
were to try this, there would be a problem of appearance of addressing
two reshuyos, similar to the problem in repeating "shema`" or "modim."

The current Ashkenazi "compromise" practice seems to originate with the
Rama (see Darkhei Mosheh on Orach Chayim 61). His implication seems
to be (**) that really, the concerns about hefseik have some validity,
and the Zohar's solution is the best, but in the event that one is saying
Keri'as Shema` alone, and does not have this option, he can always default
back to the classic minhag Ashkenaz of saying "keil melekh ne'eman."
Basically, the goal of reaching 348 words is important enough that if
there's no other way to do it, "yeish al mi lismokh" to disregard the
potential hefseik issue.

(*) Yes, the confluence of these two statements implies a certain
assumption that Prof. Ta-Shma z"l is making about the age of the Zohar --
not just its text, but the traditions contained therein.

(**) This reading of the Rama's logic is mine, not that of Prof. Ta-Shma.

Shavua` tov,

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Message: 9
From: "Marty Bluke" <marty.bluke@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 24 Dec 2006 13:46:05 +0200
Re: [Avodah] zman hadloko erev Shabbos and motzoei Shabbos

R' A & C Walters wrote:
<Royv hold that there is no difference in the oyfek.

I am not so sure that this is true. There are a number of important
acharonim who hold that ofek does count.

The truth is that it is an absolute peleh to say that ofek doesn't count.
The Gemara in shabbos gives a number of astronomical simanim of when tzeis
hakochavim is including visible stars, hichsif haleyon v'hichsif hatchton,
etc. From these simanim it is patently clear that tzeis hakochavim is based
on astronomical reality and therefore I don't see how you can ignore
differences in location and times of year when these do change the
astronomical reality.

The Briskers hold that tzeis is 1/8 of the day after shkia because a person
can walk 32 mil in a day and from shkia to tzeis is 4 mil so it is 1/8. This
also contradicts reality. In a place like Brisk in the summer the day is
about 16 hours long meaning 1/8 of the day is 2 hours. In the winter the day
is about 8 hours long meaning 1/8 of the day is only 1 hour. In reality, it
does not take twice as long for the sun to set and become dark in the summer
then in the winter. How do the Briskers figure out the 1/8 of a day?

R' Tam's shita has always really bothered me. The Gra's question of ????
????? is so powerful and obvious I don't understand how the Rishonim could
have said what they said. Did they never go outside an hour after sunset and
see that it was pitch black and you could see hundreds of stars?
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Message: 10
From: "Marty Bluke" <marty.bluke@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 24 Dec 2006 13:56:55 +0200
Re: [Avodah] zman hadloko erev Shabbos and motzoei Shabbos

Akiva Miller wrote:
<The Beur Halacha is saying that Plag is
not 1 1/4 hours before shkia, but that it is 1 1/4 hours before
tzeis. That, on its own, is not problematic. But then he calculates
those 1 1/4 hours as 75 fixed clock minutes, or perhaps 1 1/4
twelfths of the time from sunrise to sunset, instead of the
calculation which I would have expected, namely 1 1/4 twelfths of the
The Beur Halacha is saying that Plag is
not 1 1/4 hours before shkia, but that it is 1 1/4 hours before
tzeis. That, on its own, is not problematic. But then he calculates
those 1 1/4 hours as 75 fixed clock minutes, or perhaps 1 1/4
twelfths of the time from sunrise to sunset, instead of the
calculation which I would have expected, namely 1 1/4 twelfths of the
<time from alos to tzeis.time from alos to tzeis.

The point you made is one R' Willig's proofs that according to R' Tam a mil
is 22.5 minutes and that you calculate the times from alos until tzeis.

If you use those numbers plag actually works out to be 1/6 of a mil before
shkia as follows:

alos - 4:30 (4 mil of 22.5 minutes before sunrise)
sunrise - 6:00
plag - 5:56:15 (see calculation below)
sunset-  6:00
tzeis - 7:30 (4 mil of 22.5 minutes before sunrise)

from 4:30 - 7:30 is 15 hours, if you divide that by 12 (to get shaos
zemaniyos) each shaah zemanis is 75 minutes (1.25 hours). Counting back to
plag hamincha from tzeis (which is 7:30) you get 1.25 shaos zemaniyos =
93.75 minutes, meaning that plag hamincha is 5:56:15, 3.75 minutes before
shkia. 22.5 divided by 6 = 3.75 and therefore plag hamincha is 1/6 of a mil
before shkia as the rishonim said.
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Message: 11
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Date: Sun, 24 Dec 2006 12:00:42 -0500
Re: [Avodah] zman hadloko erev Shabbos and motzoei Shabbos

Marty Bluke wrote:

> R' Tam's shita has always really bothered me. The Gra's question of
> "hachush makchish" is so powerful and obvious I don't understand how
> the Rishonim  could have said what they said. Did they never go
> outside an hour after sunset and see that it was pitch black and
> you could see hundreds of stars?

They might have thought that perhaps all of those stars were "kochavim
gedolim", and not the three "kochavim beinunim" that are required.
The reason Chazal gave us the shiur in time (the time it takes to walk
X millin, the time it takes to climb down Mt Carmel, etc.) is that we
(i.e. the people of their time and place) are not expected to know
exactly what magnitude of star they considered to be "beinuni", whereas
we can observe how dark it is so long after sunset at the equinox, and
judge on any other date whether it's that dark.

The truth is that something approximating "Laila DeRT" does match a
real phenomenon -- when the sun is 18 degrees below the horizon none
of its light is still in the sky, and it's as dark as it's going to
get.  This is what the charts call "astronomical twilight".  Which
sounds very like what one might figuratively call the sun leaving
the "thickness of the sky", or the "second sunset".  But it's clear
from that description that the stars which become visible at that
time are not "beinunim" but "ketanim shebiktanim"; any star that
you can't see at astronomical twilight, you will never see at all
(given the same eyes, equipment, and light pollution, of course).

That is why Shu"T Bnei Tzion, in vol 2, tries to argue that RT never
held of "shitas RT", that he was misunderstood throughout the years,
and he meant that Bein Hashmashos was the *first* 3/4 mil, not the
last, exactly like everyone else; his only point, according to this
theory, is that while it's already "vadai layla" the sun is in fact
still in the "sky", i.e. its light is still being refracted into
the atmosphere, and it doesn't "leave the sky" until after 4 millin.
It is rather difficult, though, to actually read this into RT's words,
and impossible to do so with all the rishonim and achronim who followed
(what they believed to be) his shita.

Zev Sero               Something has gone seriously awry with this Court's
zev@sero.name          interpretation of the Constitution.
                       	                          - Clarence Thomas

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Message: 12
From: "David Riceman" <driceman@worldnet.att.net>
Date: Sun, 24 Dec 2006 12:02:25 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Prophet - mashgiach or godol hador?

From: "Daniel Eidensohn" <yadmoshe@012.net.il>

> I was simply noticing how the Rambam describes the prophet and his type 
> of perfection. He notes for example if a person has the imaginative 
> faculty stimulated he is a political leader. If the intellectual faculty 
> is stimulated he is a philosopher. Only if both are stimulated he is 
> prophet. This  implies that the prototypical political leader is not a 
> prophet and a prophet is not likely to be a politcal leader.

What the Rambam describes is the personality of someone who is on the path 
of becoming a prophet.  However,  your expressed interest was not in his 
personality but in his assigned role when he is not being prophetic.  I 
think the Rambam would maintain he doesn't have one.  I agree that the 
Rambam would doubt that a prophet would want a political role, but "b'makom 
she'ain anashim hadal lihyos ish " (which is presumably why the Rambam 
himself took such a role in Egypt).

> While you can point to the fact that Shmuel was apparently a king and 
> judge in addition to being a prophet - I don't know of any other prophet 
> aside from Moshe serving these multiple roles.

Read the Rambam's list of rashei sanhedrin in the introduction to the 
Mishneh Torah.   The prophets I see there include Yehoshua, Shmuel, Eliyahu, 
Elisha, Zechariah, Hoshea, Amos, Yeshayahu, Micha, Yoel, Nahum, Havakuk, 
Tzefania, Yirmiah.  You can disagree with the historicity of the account, as 
you do below, but if you're trying to understand the Rambam's opinion that 
disagreeement is irrelevant.

>  The possible sole exception is that the Anshei Knesses HaGedolah had 
> prophets as members. However we really don't know what this body was and 
> what role these prophets served. I am not aware of any sources which state 
> they served as judges or poskim. If you have such sources have I would 
> appreciate hearing about them.

See the source cited above.

>>><RDE> A specific example is that the Rambam does not allow the 
>>>involvement of ruach hakodesh in the Sanhedrin while the Ramban does.
>> <me>Where is this Ramban?
> <RDE>Ramban(Devarim 17:11): Left and Right.  <snip> That is because G?d?s
> spirit is
> on those who serve in His Temple and He does not desert His pious ones. 
> G?d always protects them from error and mistake.

I think you're conflating two concepts.  The Rambam prohibits someone from 
reasoning "I know that halacha is X because God told me so".  He does, 
however, list two lesser forms of ruah hakodesh (in MN II:45, which I cited 
previously) which are not strong enough to support such a claim.  I don't 
think the Rambam would prohibit the use of such ruah hakodesh in 
deliberation (indeed, how could he since it's involuntary?), nor do I see 
any evidence that the Ramban is asserting any more ruah hakodesh than that.

>> <me>Other than the SHAUBTMH I don't know of anyone who says this. Are 
>> there explicit sources?
> <RDE>The Minchas Chinuch cites Tosfos both in Sanhedrin and Yevamos.

Tosafos seem hesitant: they examne the possibility but they don't declare 
that one is necessarily so obliged.

David Riceman


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