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Volume 23: Number 68

Thu, 29 Mar 2007

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Wed, 28 Mar 2007 15:45:35 -0400 (EDT)
Re: [Avodah] Halachic who is right from "The Lost Scotch"

On Sun, March 25, 2007 4:33 pm, Yaakov Moser wrote:
: Can we assume that usually Halacha, at least in realms of Hoshen
: Mishpat, is close to what we feel is morally correct and it is only this
: case which is out of line, or are there plenty of other examples of such
: a dissonance? ....

I was asked a variant of this theme on scjm, so I started thinking about the
question already.

"Ve'asisa hatov vehayashar" implied that someone has a concept of tov and
yashar that is not spelled our in specific halakhos. Where else are we
supposed to get these notions from? It would seem to argue for an inherent
morality that is usable to define a chiyuv de'Oraisa.

Then there is Hillel's kol haTorah kulah al regel achas, "De'aleikh sani..."
Somehow, assuming infinite knowledge and intellect, all of halakhah can be
derived from this simple rule. Even Amaleiq. I would be forced to argue that
the only way de'aleikh sani, lechaverkha lo sa'avod could apply to Amaleiq is
if letting them live would somehow be more sani WRT someone else.

But still, de'aleikh sani is a pretty instinctive rule. Many other belief
systems came up with variants on the theme. And, regardless of the validity of
my speculation about Amaleiq, it is Hillel haZaqein's statement that says that
this morality underlies the entire Torah. So, the idea that underlies the
Torah is instinctive, it is just the complexity of the world to which we apply
it that hides that fact.

As a mashal: If physicists ever come up with a Grand Unified Theory of
Everything, all of nature will come down to a single formula. However, getting
from that formula about how subatomic things interact to biology and genetics
would still be beyond human ability, and require would take experiment to
figure out.

Thus, Hillel has to tell the prospective geir, "zil gemor".

Nu, when it comes to bein adam laMaqom, who can guess what Chaverkha would want?

But WRT bein adam lachaveiro, you would think that there are many more cases
where we could map from the underlying and intuitive rule to specific dinim.
Minus those BALC which depend on your impact to his spiritual state in some
way neither of you understand. But neziqin, choshein mishpat... I would think
that instinctive assessment of a well-thought-out understanding of the
metzi'us ought to be the same as din in the majority of cases.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Spirituality is like a bird: if you tighten
micha@aishdas.org        your grip on it, it chokes; slacken your grip,
http://www.aishdas.org   and it flies away.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                            - Rav Yisrael Salanter

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Message: 2
From: "Dr. Josh Backon" <backon@vms.huji.ac.il>
Date: Wed, 28 Mar 2007 22:20:50 +0200
Re: [Avodah] Driving Miss Daisy to Chameitz

>My neighbor gave me a lift home from the bus stop last night, and posed
>this dilemma.
>Every week she drives this 86 yr old lady to the supermarket to help
>with her grocery shopping. Friend is sure that the older woman will not
>change her very routine menu.
>Does he drive the woman, risking lifnei iveir or mesayei'ah?
>Or does she not drive, risking the woman having a food shortage?
>Should she bow out but find a non-Jewish driver -- is that any less
>lifnei iveir otherwise?

Obviously there's a nafka mina between BEFORE Pessach where the food
is heter vs. on Chol haMoed where it's issur. On Chol haMoed: Lefi aniyut
daati it would look like an issur mesaei'ah as per the Shach in Yoreh Deah
151. Taking the woman to the supermarket BEFORE Pessach looks like a
"melachto l'issur u'l'heter" (as per Mishna in Shviit 5:6) and thus OK. There's
no "l'hafrish m'issur" because the food before Pessach is heter.

Lifnei Iver: only if the one driving the elderly woman mentions (4 
days before Pessach)
that there's a terrific sale at the local supermarket on whole wheat 
pasta and frozen

My suggestion: the driver should take her to a kosher supermarket if 
one is available
and mention the wonderful products on sale.



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Message: 3
From: "Samuel Svarc" <ssvarc@yeshivanet.com>
Date: Wed, 28 Mar 2007 16:30:27 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Driving Miss Daisy to Chameitz

>From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
>Subject: [Avodah] Driving Miss Daisy to Chameitz
>My neighbor gave me a lift home from the bus stop last night, and posed
>this dilemma.
>Every week she drives this 86 yr old lady to the supermarket to help
>with her grocery shopping. Friend is sure that the older woman will not
>change her very routine menu.
>Does he drive the woman, risking lifnei iveir or mesayei'ah?
>Or does she not drive, risking the woman having a food shortage?
>Should she bow out but find a non-Jewish driver -- is that any less
>lifnei iveir otherwise?

Off the top of my head. I would ask a Rav, but I don't see a question of LI
or m'sayeiah. The woman has a choice of kosher for Passover food items in
the store. The only real question is if the assister physically assists in
moving the chometz; e.g. off the shelf into the cart, from the cart to
checkout counter, into car, or from the car to the house. But those actions
can be more easily explained to the elderly lady, "As an observant Jew I am
not allowed to touch chometz on Passover".


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Message: 4
From: "Daniel Israel" <dmi1@hushmail.com>
Date: Wed, 28 Mar 2007 13:56:39 -0600
Re: [Avodah] Halachic who is right from "The Lost Scotch"

On Wed, 28 Mar 2007 13:45:35 -0600 Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org> 
>Then there is Hillel's kol haTorah kulah al regel achas, 
>"De'aleikh sani..." Somehow, assuming infinite knowledge and 
>all of halakhah can be derived from this simple rule.

It's a beautiful vort, and a fascinating philosophical jumping of 
point, but I'm not convinced that you have to read the Gemara that 
way.  Is "kol HaTorah kulah" meant literally, or, given the fact 
that this was an answer to a perhaps unanswerable question, can't 
we say Hillel was giving a closest possible answer, but without the 
deeper ramification you are suggesing?

Daniel M. Israel

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Message: 5
From: saul mashbaum <smash52@netvision.net.il>
Date: Wed, 28 Mar 2007 23:24:01 +0200
Re: [Avodah] Retzei

RMB wrote:
I also wonder when Retzei was written. Was it during AKG, at a time when there
was a chanukas hamizbei'ach and ishei Yisrael, but no Devir built yet? In
which case, perhaps the tefillah was originally written to be read one way
(vehasheiv as ha'avodah lidvir beisekha. Ve'ishei Yisrael usfilasam...), but
period was moved rather than changing the nusach outright.

The problem with that idea is that there would have been no reason to keep the
line "vehasheiv es ha'avodah" all the time of Bayis Sheini. The two versions
make sense in their respective epochs, but what about the time in between?
It have found a source which addresses the question of the meaning and time of composition of Retzei. The following  is from the commentary found in Siddur Ashira LaShem, for Friday afternoon and evening prayers:
2. ?And the fire-offerings of Israel and their prayers, in Love may you receive them willingly...? The
Amidah was composed by the men of the Great Assembly to accompany the sacrifices in the Second
Temple. This phrase remains from that period, although now it has connotations of asking Hashem to
restore the Beis Hamikdash, so that the offerings could be brought and accepted.
The entire siddur can be viewed at http://www.aishdas.org/siddur_pg.pdf
I have often noted on this forum  the excellence of this siddur .
Saul Mashbaum
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Message: 6
From: "Michael Kopinsky" <mkopinsky@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 28 Mar 2007 15:27:14 -0600
Re: [Avodah] Minhag Avos and Minhag haMaqom

On 3/26/07, R' Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org> wrote:
> ...But I do not think the status quo is a good thing, or how minhag should
> work.
> While I might lament the death of a derekh hachaim that served my family
> so
> well for generations, not every minhag that I was raised with can and
> should
> emerge victorious. IMHO, it is better to see a singular minhag EY than a
> survival of minhag Litta or Aram Tzova. (And better to see a geulah than
> see a
> minhag America ever develop.)

To tie this in with a thread from a few months ago, we do see things like
"Havara Amerikait" developing organically.  And there are other locale-based
things today, though most are based on the particular mixtures of origins.
For example, much of the South African community waits 3 hours between meat
and milk, despite the overwhelming litvish majority.  (My hypothesis is that
since the yekkes were the "frummies" in a mostly not-so-observant community,
people said, "If three hours is good enough for them, it's good enough for
us too."  If anyone has actual info on this, please let me know.)
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Message: 7
From: "Dr. Josh Backon" <backon@vms.huji.ac.il>
Date: Wed, 28 Mar 2007 23:16:49 +0200
[Avodah] "Orez" may be millet!

Chevra, last year I had a post on AVODAH (enclosed below) on corn as
kitniyot. There was a problem in the old German used by the Maharil
on "orez" = "hirzen". I just asked on the Usenet group sci.language
(which is the place where linguists ask and answer questions) and
got back the answer that "hirzen" is millet!!

Here's the original post: look carefully at the 2nd paragraph.
Date: Mon, 10 Apr 2006 06:37:39
From: "Dr. Josh Backon" <backon@vms.huji.ac.il>
AS KITNIYOT>Corn as kitniyot

Now that the kitchen is off limits and has been cordoned off (electrified
barbed wire and machine gun emplacements like at the Berlin Wall) and
as a reminder of Yetziyat Mitzraim and Girush Sfarad, I've been evicted
to eat at a restaurant for 2 days :-) I had more time to check mareh
mekomot about corn and kitniyot.

Both the MAHARIL (Hilchot Afiyat haMatzot) and the Leket Yosher (I Orach
Chayim) translate SHIFON (rye) [one of the 5 species] as "korn". By
the way, the Maharil translates "orez" [a.k.a. "rice"] as "hirzen",
with "dochen" [millet] translated as RICE (resh yud yud zayin). So
what we think of rice (Uncle Ben's) may be the wrong item. The gemara
in Pesachim may have been talking about millet!! An expert in German
I consulted couldn't give any explanation for the meaning of "hirzen'
[except for "irzen" = confused].

After almost 58 years, I finally figured out why the American breakfast
cereal from corn is called KIX. The Chatam Sofer III Even HaEzer 52
translates (American) "corn" [tiras] as "kokritz"; the Yeshuot Malko I 17
"kakaritze" (likewise the Aruch haShulchan who uses the term "kikas')
whereas the Chelkat Yaakov (Hea'orot #453) and the Chayim She'al 47
translate (American) corn as 'Turkish wheat' [tirkishen veitz].

The very fact that these poskim thought it looked like wheat (as a
matter of fact, corn growing in the field takeh does look like wheat)
may have brought our American corn into the category of kitniyot.

Last but not least: the language of the Chelkat Yaakov Orach Chayim 195
#1) regarding "tiras" is strange. Lichora, he differentiates between
corn and kitniyot! "rak pat shel tiras u'kitniyot u'k'doma".



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Message: 8
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Wed, 28 Mar 2007 17:58:42 -0400 (EDT)
Re: [Avodah] More on Mitzvos and Iyun

On Sat, 24 Mar 2007 23:03:07 -0400, RYGB <ygbechhofer@gmail.com> wrote:
:> As my son is a case in point. He would have no problem following the
:> be'iyun, if he didn't have to deal with reading the texts....

: I am not addressing the very smart population, regardless of reading issues.

My point was:
:> In general: IQ is a fiction in that intelligence can't be reduced to a
:> single number. Different people can gain different things from be'iyun, they
:> needn't get everything out of it to get /something/.

IOW, unless the person is lacking every skill necessary to learn be'iyun your
argument doesn't begin. But those boys are not even in the lower shiurim of a
mainstream yeshiva. (You speak of "lower shiurim" in a school that also houses
P'TACH, never mind altogether special schools.) This topic is for Areivim, but
I only wrote this much because I know you don't read it.

But given that you agree that chuqim have a refining effect on the individual
in ways we can not understand, why can't you accept that your collegue
believes that be'iyun, the shelish bigemara leshitas haRambam, might have such
choq elements?

: The question is what is the point of diminishing returns. Would you not
: agree that there is some point at which learning Ein Yaakov would be
: more productive? (As I have noted elsewhere, the question is actually
: sharper when it comes to bekiyus.)

Actually, I agree fully WRT beqi'us. We have a beqi'us shortage, and perhaps
seeking "shallower" books would get us more beqi'us per buck. My grandfather
learned mishnayos, but nowadays that kind of time is consumed with daf yomi.
To take an extreme case, leining the daf with a "crutch" (and I don't only
mean the most cited example) may not be as efficient of a beqi'us as taking
the same time to finish Mishnayos with Bartenura (or Kehati). Or, for that
matter, just learning Meiri without the gemara.

Or someone might want to learn AhS Yomi....

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Spirituality is like a bird: if you tighten
micha@aishdas.org        your grip on it, it chokes; slacken your grip,
http://www.aishdas.org   and it flies away.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                            - Rav Yisrael Salanter

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Message: 9
From: "Chana Luntz" <chana@kolsassoon.org.uk>
Date: Wed, 28 Mar 2007 23:43:41 +0100
Re: [Avodah] Halachic who is right from "The Lost Scotch"

RMSS writes:

> What you term "act of G-d" or "act of man" are just synonyms 
> for "physically" or "practically".

I don't think I agree.  Let me use the case of oneis in nezikin because
it is easier to demonstrate the distinctions.

The act of G-d type oneis is dealt with in the general discussion about
nezikin by a person of somebody elses' money in Chosen Mishpat siman 375
si'if 1 - where it gives the example of somebody who is blown off a roof
and onto somebody else's kelim by a wind.  Within this example one can
see both the "physically" impossible and "practically" impossible
distinction.  A person might be blown off the roof with such force that
he has absolutely no choice but to land on the other person's kellim,
that is the physically impossible case, or he might theoretically be
able to turn himself in the air and avoid the kellim, but do himself a
physical injury in the process, that is the practically impossible case.

On the other hand, the act of man type oneis is not dealt with in that
siman, but in siman 388 si'if 2 which deals with the situation where
somebody forces a person to either hand over somebody else's property or
to show him where somebody else's property is so he can take it. Now in
such a case one does struggle to think of a "physically impossible"
scenario - a person can theoretically always let himself be killed
rather than submit, so if one is making a destinction between
"physically" impossible and "practically" impossible, act of man type
oneis is almost always going to fall within the practically impossible.
Similarly the act of G-d scenario is probably more commonly within the
physically impossible (and if it isn't, you then are likely to be
getting into grama versus garmi sorts of discussions).   But I don't
believe that means that the two distinctions are synonomous.

Whether that means that the din change between the two cases is less
clear.  In the case of an act of G-d a distinctions is drawn (in the
Rema there in siman 375:1)) between an oneis gamor and an oneis that is
not gamor (if it is an oneis gamor one is exempt, if it is not and the
oneis is directly by a person then one has to pay).  In the case of the
act of man situation, the Rema makes it clear that it is only considered
to be an oneis if it is by way of physical threat (hitting and issurin)
but not if the threat is by way of money.  If one does want to equate
the two, one would have to say that physical threat is the equivalent of
an oneis gamor, and that oneis mamon is not oneis gamor, but it is
certainly not pashut that they are equivalent.

 >Who poskened that the chosson does not have to pay?  (The 
> issue is not 
> >whether the chosson might not choose to ask him to sing, but whether 
> >the the lack of appreciation of the f-i-l and therefore the chosson 
> >choosing not to have him sing pater's paying).  This case in 
> fact seems 
> >even further from the river case than before).
> How so?

The reason why I said it was further from the river case is that in the
case in the book, Davidi really couldn't sing - as there was another
singer there to sing, who was always going to take preference given the
songs in question, and realistically there was only one slot for a
singer.  But at least it was like the river case in that there was just
nothing the worker could do as the possibility of doing his job had

In the case of an upset f-i-l, there was indeed still a slot for the
singer to sing, and a singer willing and able to sing, and no doubt the
rest of the guests would have enjoyed the singing very much, just it
would also have resulted in an upset f-i-l.  The singer could presumably
have defied the chosson and got up and sung, and the guests might well
not have been the wiser (the most they might see is the f-i-l storming
out).  At that point, the singer presumably, having performed his work
as originally agreed with the chosson, could ask for his money.

 If there is an oneis the BHB doesn't have to pay. 
> Since fighting with one's f-i-l (right at the chasunah!) is 
> not a practical option, the chosson is considered an oneis.

If you think about this though, if one follows through this line of
reasoning the result would be that contracts would never being binding.
You sign an agreement - any agreement, name whatever agreement you wish.
Then you go home and your wife decides she doesn't like it.  That means
you suddenly have shalom bayis problems, and according to this, you are
now an oneis and are no longer bound to keep your agreement.  And it is
not just your wife, but your father in law or your next door neighbour
(whom you don't want to offend) or your boss, or your co-worker in the
office with whom you have to get along, or, or or ..  Where do you draw
the line regarding your "not a practical option"?  It seems to me that
when it comes to somebody else putting pressure, the most obvious
practical line is where the Rema drew it - if another person is
physically threatening to hurt you if you do not act, that is oneis, but
emotional blackmail or monetary pressure do not cut it.

> >Let me give you a case closer to that of the Shulchan Aruch.  Let us 
> >say that the property that needs watering is originally that of the 
> >baal habayis's wife, not his, and because he has only 
> > recently married her and taken over the responsibilities for the
field, he 
> does not know that the river stops on a regular basis - but in fact
> wife and her family do, as they have had the property for generations
(and let us 
> >say for some reason the workers are workers who also do not 
> know - let us say they come from the husband's town not the wife's 
> town). Are you saying that because the knowledge resides in the wife
and not the 
> >husband who does the hiring, then the workers have to bear the loss?
> Yes. Why do you think otherwise? The halacha is explicit, the 
> BHB needs to have more knowledge then the poel in order to 
> have to pay him. How does his wife knowing something create 
> this knowledge by him? (In the case you gave BD might assume 
> that if his wife knew, then most probably he did as well. 
> However, if he can prove that he didn't have any knowledge 
> then he wouldn't need to pay.)

Ah, but who is the baal habayit?  Technically property that comes into a
marriage in this way is nichsei malug, and the wife remains the legal
owner of the keren, although he is entitled to eat from the peros, and
hence arranges for the working of the field for so long as he remains
married to her (on divorce the property would revert to her).  So the
siman cannot be applied as straightfowardly as you think.

Note that, in a similar vein, if Devorah is indeed the one paying for
Chaim ben Zundel, then, after the marriage has occurred, unless they
have stipulated differently from most couples, in fact she is likely to
end up paying Chaim ben Zundel with money that is legally Yehoshua's.
Now if he is not deemed to have consented, then arguably the money she
is using to pay Chaim ben Zundel can be considered stolen money (this is
why baalei tzedaka are supposed to be careful about only taking a small
amount from a married woman, because a man is deemed to consent to his
wife giving small amounts of tzedaka, but they cannot know about and may
not necessarily consent to larger amounts).  Of course a wife is
expected to enter into normal financial transactions - but if you are
going to say that this transaction is so abnormal that Yehoshua's
consent cannot be taken as a given, then there appear to be problems on
that score.  Surprising your husband does not give you permission to
steal from your husband.  But, in the case in question, it seems fairly
clear that indeed, as Devorah had guessed, Yehoshua was delighted by the
arrival of Chaim ben Zundel and this is what everybody expected.  

> Does he go to the mikvah on 
> the day she goes? Why not? What happened to Ishto k'gufo? 

Ishto k'gufo does not mean that the person physically does what the
other one does - so it would never mean that he goes to mikvah on the
day she goes. If anything the opposite.  If she is able to light
channukah candles on his behalf (or do smicha on his animals), then he
is not physically lighting channuka candles or doing smicha, and yet he
has fulfilled his obligation.  Mikvah however is the other way around,
as it is her obligation not his, and it is not (so clearly anyway) ishta
k'gufa.   A more interesting question is why she cannot lay tephilin on
his behalf.
> Obviously, this halachic concept is not the panacea you make 
> it out to be.

I never suggested it was a universal panacea, but given the extent to
which, in the normal case, the finances and property rights of wife and
husband are interwined (as illustrated to some degree above) it seems to
me that the concept is effectively being utilised extensively in dinei

> KT,



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Message: 10
From: "Moshe Yehuda Gluck" <mgluck@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 28 Mar 2007 22:19:36 -0400
Re: [Avodah] [Areivim] Rabbi Rapoport, Yased Neeman and YCT

R' MB on Areivim:
*I would hate to think that it's un-Torah-dik to speak up against (what one
*perceives to be) genocide in Darfur as opposed to what we accuse the world
*not doing when it was our heads on the chopping block.
*Expanding O in that direction would thrill me, as long as we do not forget
*"aniyei irekha qodemin" (even a metphoric 'irekha').

I only have one Makor for this idea, that we, as Jews, should concern
ourselves with the well-being of the world at large. It is from Ramchal, in
the Hakdamah to Mesillas Yesharim: "The general rule for this (Halichah
B'drachav - MYG) is that a person should act in all his ways based on
uprightness and forethought (Hayosher V'hamussar - MYG). Chazal generalized
it as, "Anything which is harmonious both to its performer and to the
observer." This means that one goes to the n-th degree of doing good, which
is that its result is the strengthening of Torah and _repairing
relationships between nations._"

Does anyone have any other Makoros for this concept?


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Message: 11
From: "Dr. Josh Backon" <backon@vms.huji.ac.il>
Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2007 11:05:15 +0200
[Avodah] More on "orez" as millet

In addition to what I posted (Maharil in Hilchot Afiyat Matzot 
translating OREZ as
"hirzen [millet]) I see that Rashi (Brachot 37a) also translates orez 
as millet ("mil")
while Tosfot there d"h RASHI PIRESH writes "v'yesh mefarshim rizzo" 
and then goes
on to state that DOCHEN (millet) is "mil" [millet].

In any case, it's now Rashi and the Maharil who both equate OREZ as 
millet and not
as rice. Even the lashon of the gemara in Pesachim 35a refers to OREZ 
as "min dagan
hu". Dagan is a crop like wheat. Rice (Uncle Ben's) is grown in 
water. Millet has no gluten
but looks like wheat. The Yerushalmi in Peah 8a refers to "Ktzir 
orez". But our rice isn't
cut like wheat!!  It's plucked from the water. The Mishna in Peah 8:3 
refers to "se'orah
shel orez" (what is threshed!!). But Uncle Ben's [tm] rice isn't 
threshed. It's plucked
from the water.

I seriously think that just like the mixup with corn = kitniyot, what 
we now call rice isn't
the orez of the gemara and Rishonim.




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