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Volume 23: Number 70

Thu, 29 Mar 2007

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Yaakov Moser <ymoser@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2007 18:02:09 +0200
Re: [Avodah] Concerning ourselves with the world at large

One more place to look (I don't possess the book unfortunately so I 
cannot give more details):

Orthodox Forum. Tikkun Olam: Social Responsibility in Jewish Thought and 
Law. Northvale, N.J: Jason Aronson, 1997.

Particularly, the second essay by R' J David Bleich is entitled - 
"Tikkun Olam: Jewish obligations to non-Jewish society"

Jason Moser

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Message: 2
From: Ken Bloom <kbloom@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2007 11:09:00 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Halachic who is right from "The Lost Scotch"

On Thursday 29 March 2007 10:48, Daniel Israel wrote:
> On Thu, 29 Mar 2007 08:32:23 -0600 Ken Bloom <kbloom@gmail.com>
> wrote:
> >On Wednesday 28 March 2007 14:56, Daniel Israel wrote:
> >> 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?
> >
> >You should have a look at Sefer Ahavat Yisrael by the Baba Sali,where
> >he explains how 127 different mitzvot are hinted at in the verse
> >v'ahavta l'reiecha kamocha.
> Thanks for adding another fascinating data point (seriously), but
> it still doesn't answer my question.

Certainly the Baba Sali took "kol HaTorah kulah" literally, and that's 
why he wrote this book.

Perhaps Micha's conclusion about the torah being instinctive goes beyond 
what the Baba Sali thought the implications of this were. On the other 
hand, I'd imagine that you're familiar with the idea that we're on a 
lower spiritual level today, with more hester panim than in the past, 
and so many mitzvot are harder.

> Going from a pasuk to 
> Hillel's klal added a remez to another 486 mitzvos!?

I don't think that going from a paseuk to Hillel's klal added the other 
486 mitzvot.

I'm unsure as to why the Baba Sali didn't complete the list to cover all 
613 mitzvot, but certainly there are many more mitzvot covered there 
than I could figure out how to connect on my own. (Consider especially 
that the Chofetz Chaim concluded that less than half of the 613 mitzvot 
were applicable today, and a good number of those are things like 
kashrut, avodah zarah, shabbat and moadim) I take the existance of a 
list of 127 to mean that he feels all 613 can be explained by remez 
from "v'ahavta l'reiacha kamocha" and other considerations prevented 
him from publishing a complete list.


Ken Bloom. PhD candidate. Linguistic Cognition Laboratory.
Department of Computer Science. Illinois Institute of Technology.
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Message: 3
From: saul mashbaum <smash52@netvision.net.il>
Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2007 21:17:20 +0200
Re: [Avodah] More on Mitzvos and Iyun

Regarding curriculum for high school students for whom the text-based iyun shiur is essentially a turn-off (discussed by RMB and RYGB):

I think that the recent spirited discussion of a the halachic implications of hiring a worker whose services are ultimately not needed very nicely illustrates an idea I have advanced before: a shiur based on a series of "court cases" can prove interesting to many otherwise unmotivated high school students. Ok, the learned Avodah participants are not bored 14 year old boys, but the principle is the same: court cases are inherently interesting, and almost everyone will be inclined to have an opinion on the matter at hand and be interested in its resolution. Material germane to the case at hand can be presented to the students (verbally or as texts), and the students can be guided to determine which side of the dispute each concept introduced tends to support. I think such a shiur would go far in involving the students in serious learning, according to their capacities, developing an appreciation for the concepts and procedures of the halachic process, and promote interest and 
motivation in the students. Even in a more standard text-based gemara shiur, some of the time (from one to several days a week) could be devoted to this type of study.

Such a shiur  would surely involve a relatively great amount of preparation, but of course once this was done the material  could be used many times.

Saul Mashbaum

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Message: 4
From: "A & C Walters" <acwalters@bluebottle.com>
Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2007 22:19:22 +0200
Re: [Avodah] Snuff (tobacco/shmek tabak) on Pesach

Most of what you write is about oral snuff, not nasal snuff; thus irrelevant
to this discussion. In England the cancer warning was removed from snuff, as
was not proven. Your other 'smokeless tobacco' sources are also oral snuff,
both chewing and smokeless. Also, your 'cancer' information is also only
relevant to oral snuff. As with gum disease oral leukopakia etc.


Your only relevant article is that from the BBC. However, all it mentions is
'preliminary results from a team of researchers examining native

American women who take snuff'

From: "A & C Walters" <>

Regarding the psak in MB 467:33 regarding if it?s mutar to use snuff on

Pesach, he concludes: one should inquire from the experts/manufacturers

 if they do this (i.e. add chometz to the snuff)



My question is, are you allowed to snort the stuff all year.






It has previously, however been associated with an increased risk of nasal

cancer.    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/737840.stm


The BBC article was written in the year 2000. Since then, all cancer
warnings have been removed from snuff, due to lack of evidence i.e. unproved
i.e. not true.


Therefore, you have presented NO evidence whatsoever for any harm caused by
nasal snuff.



Having many times seen some alteh Yid pass around his tabik pishkeh in

Shul on Shabbos, I always wonder what exactly is the great pleasure of

sticking this stuff up your nose - which usually culminates in an almighty

sneezy eruption?


And is it really such a great Mitzvah to be spreading all those germs

throughout the Shul?


[A & C Walters] Yes It is. It is chesed, and tzedoko, and was and still is a
minhag Yisroel, and as such is at least in the geder of shomer psoim Hashem

[A & C Walters] 

[A & C Walters] And any experienced snuff user doesn't sneeze 99% when using
snuff. I'd suggest introducing tissues into your shul if it bothers you

[A & C Walters] 

[A & C Walters] 

[A & C Walters] Kol Tuv

Click to make millions by owning your own franchise

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Message: 5
From: Arie Folger <afolger@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2007 23:27:51 +0200
Re: [Avodah] More on "orez" as millet

R'JB quoted Tosafot wrote:
> "v'yesh mefarshim rizzo"

Would rizzo of the Middle Ages likely be rice? I vaguely recall that it comes 
from Italian; what can your experts tell us about this?

Arie Folger

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Message: 6
From: saul mashbaum <smash52@netvision.net.il>
Date: Fri, 30 Mar 2007 00:00:52 +0200
Re: [Avodah] candles

RISober mentioned that she starts bdikat chametz with a candle, and then switches to a flashlight, a more effective implement.
My wife once went to a shiur for English speakers here in Israel on the halachot of bdikat chametz. One of the participants asked if one could use a torch for bdikat chametz. The rov was emphatic that it could not, and expressed some surprise one would want to use a torch instead of a candle. It took a while for everyone to realize that what the questioner, a British native, called a torch is what the American rov called a flashlight. Once this was cleared up, the rov answered the question in the affirmative.
Saul Mashbaum
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Message: 7
From: "Jonathan Baker" <jjbaker@panix.com>
Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2007 20:04:22 -0400 (EDT)
[Avodah] Yated Apparently Creates an Issur (UPDATED)

The Yated article cites Rashi to Bamidbar 19:2 (zot chukat hatorah) in
telling R' Linzer that he's wrong to express difficulty reconciling
certain mitzvot (e.g. killing Amalek, male-initiated divorce, and the
death-penalty for MZ) with what he considers moral.  Only problem is,
Rashi, and the Gemara he cites (Yoma 67b) as explained by Rashi, prohibit
second-guessing chukim, and chukim alone.  Mishpatim, such as the ones
R' Linzer has trouble with - that the Gemara does not rule on.

So the Yated appears to falsify the Torah (ziyuf haTorah), inventing a
prohibition from Chazal where the texts do not support it.  It's one
thing to invent a strawman by spinning the words of a YCT musmach, but
to invent an issur where there is none - well, clearly it's the same
mechanism at work, but in this case, it's well beyond the pale.

See http://tinyurl.com/33n6fz for a longer treatment.

        name: jon baker              web: http://www.panix.com/~jjbaker
     address: jjbaker@panix.com     blog: http://thanbook.blogspot.com

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Message: 8
From: "Michael Kopinsky" <mkopinsky@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2007 18:56:51 -0600
Re: [Avodah] candles

On 3/29/07, R' saul mashbaum <smash52@netvision.net.il> wrote:
>  RISober mentioned that she starts bdikat chametz with a candle, and then
> switches to a flashlight, a more effective implement.
> My wife once went to a shiur for English speakers here in Israel on the
> halachot of bdikat chametz. One of the participants asked if one could use a
> torch for bdikat chametz. The rov was emphatic that it could not, and
> expressed some surprise one would want to use a torch instead of a candle.
> It took a while for everyone to realize that what the questioner, a British
> native, called a torch is what the American rov called a flashlight. Once
> this was cleared up, the rov answered the question in the affirmative.
R. Chaim Twerski of Chicago (my 11th grade rebbe) paskens that you can use a
flashlight/torch for bedikas chametz, b/c it fits all four of the advantages
listed in the gemara of a candle over an avukah/torch - the light goes
forward and not backward (whatever that means in the case of candle vs.
torch), it is easy to shine into nooks and crannies, the light doesn't
flicker, and I seem to have forgotten the fourth one.

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Message: 9
From: Meir Shinnar <chidekel@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2007 22:41:52 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Ikkarim redux

> I was going to let this go, but there were a couple of points on  
> which I think
> RMS misunderstood me in a way that didn't let me let go.

I was also going to let it go...
> On Tue, March 27, 2007 8:58 pm, R Meir Shinnar wrote:
> : However, ikkarim per se - have rarely been used in a halachic  
> process - in :
> the sense that so far, you have not been able to cite a detailed  
> process.
> I explicitly listed what I saw as two objections from you on this  
> point:
> First, that no one really applied the process to decide on the  
> ikkarim,
> Second, that even those who used the words "13 ikkarim" used it  
> idiomatically
> to mean emunah, and not this particular list.
> IIRC, you gave me the 2nd response when I cited teshuvos about  
> meshichtsin and
> stam yeinam. (Both were lehaqeil, FWIW.)
> But to this I question whether teshuvos are written that ca
> : Remember, historically, until the 19th century, it was quite  
> simple - it was
> : quite easy to determine who were us and who were them - because  
> it was an :
> act of conscious identification or conscious rebellion.  All  
> discussions of :
> the ikkarim are tempered by this.
> Now you have me confused... The ikkarim you were saying weren't  
> discussed in a
> halachic context you are now saying were discussed with an  
> assumption of
> conscious rebellion? Are you referring to discussion in a different  
> context?
> If so, how does the assumption of rebellion impact our discussion?
  on occasion ikkarim are mentioned in a halachic context - but more  
in the context of an assumption that everyone agrees - as a  
statement .  eg, the ra'avad's tshuva about how intellectual error  
does not lead to kfira mentions that this even applies to the  
ikkarim.  They are used in a halachic context - but more as a  
shorthand, but without a specific discussion of the precise details  
of the ikkarim - and the radvaz's tshuva would imply that even  
thought the ikkarim are presumed as correct belief, not believing in  
them has no specific halachic status - it is the rationale for  
disbelief that is important - and therefore the ikkarim go back to  
the philosophic realm....

My point was that halachic statements that can be found about the  
ikkarim are in general statements about dividing "us" from "them" -  
and until quite recently, that division was fairly easy to make - and  
those who were part of "us" as generally understood, even if they  
were thought to violate an ikkar emunah - were still part of us.  The  
use of ikkarim was as a shorthand for ikkare emuna - but someone who  
was trying to be "us" was in general forgiven for errors in emunah  
far greater than someone of "them" would be allowed.

To give a more recent example.  RA Soloveichik's psak about  
meshichistin has been discussed.  Assume RD Berger's nightmare comes  
true, and a group of Jews for Jesus comes along and says that they  
don't believe in J as god - but that they believe in him in exactly  
the way that RAS's psak says it was ok for the meshichisten to  
believe.  Would we accept them?  One issue, of course, is sincerity -  
and there is tremendous hava amina that this is not their true  
belief.  But assuming that they are truly sincere, would we accept  
them?  And I think that the answer is quite clear - we wouldn't -  
because acceptance of J for a Jew is an act of rebellion that puts  
them out of the community - even though they may not technically  
violate the ikkarim - while chabad is still part of our community...

> : this is why, to choose an ikkar which is less controversial that  
> it is :
> frequently violated - the fifth ikkar, even though there were many  
> poskim :
> who worried about the fifth ikkar halacha lema'ase  - and insisted  
> on :
> changing or omitting piyuttim - I am not aware of any posek, even  
> those who :
> nominally accepts the ikkarim as defining a kofer or a mumar - who  
> views :
> anyone who says machnise rachamim as a kofer whose wine can't be  
> drunk.
> Because few (outside of the Darda'im and extreme Granikim) would  
> hold that
> narrow definition of the 5th ikkar. But we all agree that  
> worshipping Moshe
> Rabbeinu, the eigel (to replace him), the keruvim, the Chaldean  
> deity Kerub
> (an ox whose wagon carried messages between earth and heaven), the  
> two oxen
> outside Malkhus Yisrael's temples, or Yeishu, is not Jewish.

but on an intellectual level it is quite difficult to hold by  
anything other than a narrow definition - and it is quite clear that  
the rambam, as per his anthropology in hilchot avoda zara about dor  
enosh, holds that most of the justifications people use for prayers  
to malachim.  The main reason we don't use the narrow reason is  
because we are aware of everyone who has either just recited - but  
also of those who composed - these piyutim - and for most of us, they  
are part of the community - and therefore what they did has to be  
acceptable.  If rabbenu gershom me'or hagola wrote piyutim to  
malachim, then it must be within the range of acceptability - even if  
we may not personally understand or approve.   given that, one can  
either say that we do not believe the fifth ikkar - or we can  
radically reinterprete it - but, as you are well aware, and even  
bring examples, this is quite difficult to do.....

> But the same could be argued in the reverse: We ask people to say  
> tehillim for
> us, or a rav to give us a berakhah. Not considered violating the  
> 5th ikkar.
> What if the rav is deceased, is it so different to ask his neshamah  
> for the
> same berakhah? And is a niftar's neshamah so different than asking  
> a mal'akh?
> Don't you say "Borchuni leshalom mal'akhei hashalom"?
It is considered not to violate the fifth ikkar because it is  
commonly done, and therefore can't violate the fifth ikkar....

> So, the 5th ikkar's edges, like those of many dinim, are blurry. We  
> can all
> agree that violating the 5th ikkar in some fundamental way crosses  
> the line,
> but beyond that -- we all have our own lines.
> That's how this "loose sense" is typical halakhah. It's like  
> agreeing that
> someone who eats a kezayis bemeizid on YK is oveir, without being  
> able to
> agree whether the amount a particular person ate was a kezayis. The  
> CI would
> be meiqil on him.

again, you ignore my main point,  Points where the dinim are blurry  
are typically points where there is a large halachic literature that  
tries to define the edges - and while there are disagreements, poskim  
try to lay down a line.  This is not the case in ikkarim - where this  
shakla vetarya of what exactly are the precise bounds of the ikkarim  
does not exist - and whatever discussion occurs normally is that the  
boundary really isn't the ikkarim, or that this doesn't really  
violate the ikkarim - rather than a precise definition that this is  
kfira - and dealing with the implications of all the contrary  
opinions.  It is this lack of literature that is the proof that this  
was not viewed as a halachic concept - which would be subject to this  
shaqla vetarya.
> We accepted the ikkarim to the extent of incorporatingd it into the  
> siddur in
> two places. For that matter, to the extent that two poets thought  
> it central
> enough to warrant poetry. Well before the modern era in which  
> RMShapiro thinks
> we erred on this point. And even those who objected to limiting the  
> doxology
> just to the ikkarim (not looser restrictions, tighter!) only  
> managed to get
> rid of Ani Maamin -- Yigdal remains in every siddur from Frankfurt  
> to Teiman.
> A change in the siddur too requires halachic process.

the incorporation of piyutim into the siddur was never  a halachic  
process  - it was far more minhag..

However, you conflate two separate issues.  Do the 13 ikkarim  
summarize in some sense important Jewish ideas - yes.  Saying them in  
yigdal is a way of stating them.  Does that mean that they have  
halachic status, that not believing them  has halachic consequences?   
That is quite a leap - and would need much further proof.....

Do the ideas of any piyut incorporated into a standard siddur or  
machzor now have legal status that rejecting them is now problematic???
Meir Shinnar

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