Avodah Mailing List

Volume 23: Number 106

Sat, 12 May 2007

< Previous Next >
Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: "Meir Shinnar" <chidekel@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 11 May 2007 10:26:03 -0400
Re: [Avodah] fashion models and opera singers

> > Such a heter must exist however - as there are too many reports of
> > gedolim in Germany (not to mention Boston) going to the opera
> I wonder, is it indeed documented that RYBS went to opera in Boston, or did he
> only do that in Germany?
in avodah, v13 # 12 I wrote
1) There are few written sources about this - however, there are certain
oral traditions.
2) WRT to kol isha and opera, there are numerous heterim
	a) Issur applies only if one can have social connection with
	the singer
	b) Issur doesn't apply if it is a woman Plus (tre kolim enam
	c) Issur of kol isha only applies to the problem of saying davar
	shebikdusha in its presence (tshuva of Rav Unno, the Rav of
	Mannheim before the war, justifiying having choruses of girls
	sing - arguing that this was ikkar hadin

(end of quote - rav unno -  is a written source in shoalin vedorshin,
his sefer of shut)

In my father's community, the local day school had a tradition that
the eighth grade had a field trip to a broadway show.  A new principal
came, and objected that the eighth grade boys should not be exposed to
kol isha.  The community rabbanim (YU trained)  supported the
principal, even though the norm in that community was to go to
Broadway and the opera, and  they never before  raised it with  the
community.  Finally, an older rav in a neighboring community,
respected as a communal posek, and talmid of both Rav Hutner and and
RYBS, told them of the first two heterim - and that these heterim were
relied on halacha lema'ase and lecatchila by many distinguished
rabbanim and communities.

One of RYBS's talmidim told me he went to the opera (according to him,
he had a  problem with one opera because of a prominent cross on the
set..), and I have heard reliably that Rav Hutner went (although some
here have claimed he only listened to recordings.)

Meir Shinnar

Go to top.

Message: 2
From: Arie Folger <afolger@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 11 May 2007 17:06:38 +0200
Re: [Avodah] fashion models and opera singers - OT: is a

R'n CL wrote:
> Of course defining a woman to be a kadesha based on these types of
> actions would make it much more difficult for kohanim to ever marry, so
> I think that mostly poskim have shied away from such a position.

AFAIK, one needs to differentiate between the prohibition of qedeishah and 
zonah. The posqim point out that when the Torah states ishah zonah va'halalah 
lo yiqa'hu, it does not mean a woman who has had extramarital sex. Zonah is 
defined halakhically as kol sheniv'alah leassur lah, with some exceptions, as 
well as a woman who wasn't born Jewish (we rule - against Rabbi Shim'on - 
that even girls who converted before being 3 years old cannot marry kohanim 
and the prohibition has no connection to sexual relations the girl could have 

Furthermore, just because derivative prohibitions may flow forth from lo 
tihyeh qedeishah, does not mean that one who transgresses such a prohibition 
automatically becomes a full fledged qedeishah.

Arie Folger

Go to top.

Message: 3
From: Daniel Israel <dmi1@hushmail.com>
Date: Fri, 11 May 2007 09:12:38 -0600
Re: [Avodah] Question on Rashi

Gershon Dubin wrote:
> Rashi says in the beginning of Bechukosai, on the pasuk "venasati shalom
> ba'aretz"  that shalom is equal to everything, as it says "oseh shalom
> uvoreh es hakol" and the publisher (or whoever) marks the source as
> Yeshaya 45. Of course, there is no such pasuk.  Does Rashi mean to quote
> birchas kerias shema?

I'm not sure of the question.  It's referring to 45:7, which says 
"ovoreh rah."  This is the mekor for birchas krias shema.

Daniel M. Israel

Go to top.

Message: 4
From: Ken Bloom <kbloom@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 11 May 2007 10:52:42 -0500
Re: [Avodah] chumrot of sefardim

Gershon Dubin wrote:
> > The resultant Q is whether the guest should take a chance on
> > insulting rather than definitely follow the Halachah of his host,
> > and, again, I would think he should not take such a chance and only
> > follow his own Halachah if he knows the host will be OK with his
> > actions. 
> >?Perhaps the Chevra can pitch in with any SHuT, either from ROY or
> > from another poseiq who holds similar views re "sweet challot," that
> > deal with the bein
> > adam lachaveiro aspect of being an orach
> I don't understand why the Rama in Yoreh Deah 112:15 is not pertinent
> here. It would seem from there that with pas specifically one has an
> obligation to avoid ketata even at the cost of sacrificing his
> personal chumrah. 

Because the Rema isn't relevant to Sepharadi psak in the same way as he 
is to Ashkenazi psak. While Ashkenazim follow him as the basis for 
their halacha, Sepharadim follow the Maran. While we do look at the 
Rema, the focus is to better understand the parameters of what the 
Maran is saying, not to dictate the practice of the Sepharadim. (And 
ROY follows the Rema less than some other Sepharadi poskim do.)

On Friday 11 May 2007 02:09:29 am Minden wrote:
> RET wrote:
> > I assume that means that according to him a Sefardi who hears
> > kiddush friday night from an Ashkenazi is not yotzeh with most
> > wines and grape juices on the market.
> I don't understand this and other cases where minnek and heloche
> aren't distinguished. Often, the catch is one of focalisation (
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Focalization ), I suppose.
> Either (you assume) the din is this wine won't do. In that case, the
> Ashkenazzi isn't youtze either.
> Or (you assume) the din allows it, only a regional chumre or
> otherwise minnek says not to. In that case the Seforaddi/Mizrahi is
> youtze, too, at least bedieved. Even lechatchile, there are aspects
> like honouring another in general and a host in particular that might
> override menogem and chumres.
> Or you have a sofek what the din is, then it depends on the exact
> details and the Rules of the Art of Sfeikes, but there's certainly no
> difference in din for Jews whose ancestors happened to live in Spain
> and Iraq vs Germany, is there?

You assume that there's one law, but even with American law that's not 
the case.

Here in the USA, we have 9 circuit courts of appeals that each handle 
cases and set precedents for various regions of the country. Sometimes 
the precedents can be different (or even opposite) between different 
circuits. The circuits have to all agree when the Supreme Court has set 
a precedent, because otherwise the Supreme Court will overturn rulings 
from the lower courts, but where the Supreme Court hasn't set a 
precedent the judges in the circuit courts enforce their own precedents 
on the district courts through the same mechanism.

Halacha is similar. The halacha is not a theoretical law that we're 
trying to find through application of certain reasoning techniques, 
it's a real legal system decided by people, who have different spheres 
of influence. The Gemara is a single unified precedent, but even in the 
Shulchan Aruch, we have two different "circuits" with two legal 
precedents binding on two different constituencies.

--Ken Bloom

Ken Bloom. PhD candidate. Linguistic Cognition Laboratory.
Department of Computer Science. Illinois Institute of Technology.
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: not available
Type: application/pgp-signature
Size: 189 bytes
Desc: not available
Url : http://lists.aishdas.org/pipermail/avodah-aishdas.org/attachments/20070511/073d4cb9/attachment-0001.pgp 

Go to top.

Message: 5
From: "Doron Beckerman" <beck072@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 11 May 2007 09:06:55 -0700
Re: [Avodah] Torah Study vs. other contributions to society

Rn Luntz asks:

>>According to the RDB approach listed above, however, how did
he know that in fact that wasn't more amal batorah than the gadol, and
that his learning might not be more valuable to Hashem and of greater
protection to the world?

He didn't. But there are guidelines for Kavod HaTorah, and even Kedimah in
Hatzalas Nefashos, that have to do with accomplishment. Giving Eitzas also
correlates somewhat (there is no question that there is much more that goes
into it) to what the person knows, and less to how much he toils.

That has nothing to do with what any particular person should choose to do
with his time on earth. If we were talking about limited resources on who to
*teach*, then Rabbeinu Yonah says in fifth Perek of Avos that we should
teach the one who is Kashe L'Shmo'a and Kashe L'Abed over the one who is
Mahir L'Shmo'a and Mahir L'Abed - i.e. intellectual capacity does play a
role here (and it doesn't even seem like Chiddush need necessarily be the
determining factor if he forgets his Chiddushim). But if the question is on
any particular person - there is indeed no way of knowing how (in)valuable
his Torah is, and when the Gemara says Gadol Talmud Torah MeHatzalas
Nefashos, it makes no qualifications as to whether the Talmud Torah is one
which will bring about great Chiddushim.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lists.aishdas.org/pipermail/avodah-aishdas.org/attachments/20070511/e3d7eb53/attachment.html 

Go to top.

Message: 6
From: Arie Folger <afolger@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 11 May 2007 18:13:10 +0200
Re: [Avodah] Parshas Behar (Bahar?)

RZL wrote:
> Hypothesis: The names of the parshios Be'har, Sh'mos and B'midbar were
> always (and still are) pronounced in their possesive form. The spelling
> "Bamidbar" with an "a" is a recent American or English rendition, the
> origin of which should be researched. (Any texts available by which to
> check this ?)

Sure: I was instructed in Yiddish, both in elementary school and throughout my 
high school age (I didn't finish HS, as at 14 I went to what we Europeans 
call a yeshivoh, a beis midrosh). I never heard anyone say bemidbor. It was 
pronounced bamidbor.

Since during those years I was educated in Europe, and didn't even know 
English for much of that time, I conclude that the inaccurate pronounciation 
has nothing to do with either English or America.

Arie Folger

Go to top.

Message: 7
From: YBLAU@nyc.rr.com
Date: Fri, 11 May 2007 13:06:14 -0400
[Avodah] priorities in Talmud Torah

The following was told to me in the name of Rab Baruch Ber ZTL.  There 
is proof from the Talmud Kiddushin 29B that there is a priority given 
in talmud torah based on ability which does not exist in other 
mitzvos.  If a choice is to be made (Rashi there are insufficient funds 
to pay for both) a father should learn himself and not his child.  
However if the child is more capable then the father the child should 
be chosen .  Rashi adds that the father should work to sustain the 
son.  There are ramifications for the ongoing discussion about talmud 
Yosef Blau

Go to top.

Message: 8
From: Arie Folger <afolger@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 11 May 2007 19:06:11 +0200
Re: [Avodah] Yebamoth and Megilath Ruth

RZS wrote:
> Nor is there a requirement to name the yevama's oldest son after her
> late husband. ?Though it seems to me that since the peshat does seem
> to require it, it would be a nice gesture to do so. ?It also seems to
> me that this should be at least some evidence that there's nothing
> wrong with naming a child after someone who died childless.

See Ramban who answers many of our questions. He shows that yaqum 'al shem 
hamet is a matter of soul, not naming conventions. This matter of soul can 
even happen through more distant relatives, as in Megillat Rut. However, in 
the case of a brother of the deceased marrying the widow, the Torah saw fit 
to regulate the matter. The mitzvah of yibum thus limits yibum, rather than 
enacting it.

Arie Folger

Go to top.

Message: 9
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 11 May 2007 14:31:22 -0400 (EDT)
[Avodah] Mechallel Shemitah beFarhesia

A mechalel Shabbos befarhesia is equal to a mumar lekhol haTorah
kulah. However, I do not know of a parallel for a mechallel shemitah

Assuming this isn't just a gap in my knowledge, I was wondering why.
Is it simply that the money issue is so great that it's too high of a
threashold to set? Or is there something fundamentally different about
what shemiras Shabbos attests to compared to shemiras shemittah?

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

Go to top.

Message: 10
From: "Rich, Joel" <JRich@sibson.com>
Date: Fri, 11 May 2007 14:19:21 -0400
Re: [Avodah] priorities in Talmud Torah

If a choice is to be made (Rashi there are insufficient funds to pay for
both) a father should learn himself and not his child.  
However if the child is more capable then the father the child should be
chosen .  Rashi adds that the father should work to sustain the son.
There are ramifications for the ongoing discussion about talmud torah.
Yosef Blau

"more capable" = sinai or oker harim
               = diligence or intellect
               = tanach or mishna or gemara or halacha....

Why is this limited to father/son and not to community as a whole (e.g.
why shouldn't there be force ranking of the entire community on this

Joel Rich
distribution or copying of this message by anyone other than the addressee is 
strictly prohibited.  If you received this message in error, please notify us 
immediately by replying: "Received in error" and delete the message.  
Thank you.

Go to top.

Message: 11
From: "Yosef Blau" <yoblau@yu.edu>
Date: Fri, 11 May 2007 14:39:51 -0400 (EDT)
[Avodah] (no subject)

In the discussion about whether to apply "hating the wicked" in the
present society there has been little said about its implications.
Tosphos (Pesachim 113B) in resolving an apparent contradiction between two
statements in the Talmud (Pesachim 113 B and Bava Metzia 32B) draws a
surprising conclusion about applying "hating the wicked" in our behavior.
Paradoxically, it requires us to give priority to the wicked when helping
those in need.  Tosphos also points out that hatred breeds a response of
hatred which leads to an absolute hatred.  This indicates that one should
not publicly display this hatred and that the hatred has to be limited.
Yosef Blau

Go to top.

Message: 12
From: "Samuel Svarc" <ssvarc@yeshivanet.com>
Date: Fri, 11 May 2007 19:34:11 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Justifying hatred

>From: "Elazar M. Teitz" <remt@juno.com>
>Subject: Re: [Avodah] Justifying hatred
><<But one of the fundamental requirements [to be an apikores--EMT] is
>that HE KNOWS the Yesodot HaTorah.>>
><Everyone instinctively knows them. That is the clear halachic
>consensus throughout the ages. "Nebach an apikkoris blaibt an
>apikoris." A saying from R' Chaim Brisker.>
>     Assuming the 13 Ikkarim to be y'sodos haTorah, which of them --
>other than the first -- can be said to be instinctively known?

Basically all of them. There are classical machlokisim about some, but we
are referring, as do countless sifrei halacha, to the yesodos as a whole.
Like for example, the CC in Ahavas Chessed, Chelek 1, Perek 3, "...Kol shu
mamin b'shloshu asar ikrei hadas...".

>     As for R. Chaim's statement, it is circular reasoning to apply
>it to the curent thread.  Yes, nebach an apikores is an apikores; but
>what defines the apikores that he, nebach, is?

I fail to see the circular reasoning. An apikoris is defined as someone who
doesn't believe in certain things (see the above source for just one of the
hundreds of locations where an apikoris is so defined). R' Chaim is saying,
we are not concerned how you reached that state of disbelief, even if the
route would have us saying "Nebach" in pity, the fact that there is such a
state of disbelief defines the person as an apikoris. "Nebach an apikkoris
blaibt an apikoris."

So, to answer your question, as to what defines the apikoris that he,
nebach, is. Disbelief in Ikrei hadas.


Go to top.

Message: 13
From: "Samuel Svarc" <ssvarc@yeshivanet.com>
Date: Fri, 11 May 2007 19:34:11 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Torah study vs. other contributions to society

>From: "Chana Luntz" <chana@kolsassoon.org.uk>
>Subject: [Avodah] Torah study vs. other contributions to society
>For example, somebody I know was apparently standing in a queue to do
>something in connection with the Israeli beaurocracy (it being one of
>these things that one had to do in person, and could not send somebody)
>when somebody generally regarded as a gadol also showed up.  This person
>felt that the gadol's time was unquestionably more valuable than his
>time, and kovod hatorah and all that, and so gave the gadol his place in
>the queue.  According to the RDB approach listed above, however, how did
>he know that in fact that wasn't more amal batorah than the gadol, and
>that his learning might not be more valuable to Hashem and of greater
>protection to the world?

I think this apparent to anyone who has spent time with a major TC, that
their amal and avodah is both quantitatively and qualitatively that they are
holding on a higher level. This is what causes most people to respect them.

>Similarly, on what basis should one follow the advice of those generally
>recognised as gadolim, as opposed to one's neighbour who always has an
>eitza for everything - maybe the gadol has learnt with less amal batorah
>than one's neighbour?

Anything is possible, but as the Chazon Ish writes, Klal Yisroel recognizes
their Gedolim, so one can rest assured that if he goes to a person that TC
hold of that he has gotten the real deal. 

>We cannot know what it is that Hashem values, but we can and do
>recognise intellectual capacity and we can and do recognise the ability
>to be mechadesh on a high level.  Whether the key criteria for producing
>those who are mechadesh is intellectual capacity plus dilligence, or
>dilligence alone is, as I indicated, something of a machlokus.  But to
>deny that the ability to be mechadesh on a high level is the hallmark of
>a gadol seems to me rather difficult to maintain.

It was never the level of chiddush that makes someone a Gadol b'yisroel. R'
Ahron Leib Shteinman is not known to be a bigger m'chaddish then the dozens
of RY in EY that are his age. You are barking up the wrong tree with this

> In which case, you
>end up effectively saying that we have no way of judging whether gadolim
>are any better than the rest of us.

We do have; plain old Torah, Avodah, and Gemilas Chassodim. If one observes
them, he sees this. This is why people who observe them, hold of them. There
is a dayan in Lakewood that I'm close with. Being a cousin, when I was a
bochur here, I used to hang out in his house. From what I observed there, I
feel it a privilege to try to help him, so I've made numerous trips to Home
Depot to get the right hardware to hang a shelf for him, etc. Are there
people in Lakewood who are better then him? Might be, but I don't feel that
I'm one of them, so if I could give him my place on line (something that is
not always halachically proper) I would do it.

>And RZL writes:
>> I'm not involved in this discussion, but I would just like to
>> point out that it is not so poshut to go from the classical
>> cases of temporarily interrupting one's learning for doing an
>> immediately necessary deed that required no training, to the
>> kind of training and more permanent time commitment that
>> preparing for Zaka requires, and certainly to the time and
>> effort needed to become a medic in preparation for situations
>> not yet in existence (although of course predictably they
>> will be). In the first case, Talmud Torah remains the kevius,
>> as opposed to in the other two cases.
>Absolutely.  The one is at best a form of hecsher mitzvah (ie the
>training) as opposed to the mitzvah itself (the doing). That is why the
>fact the Gra's father might not have wanted the Gra to study practical
>medicine does not mean that there was a conflict between talmud torah
>and pikuach nefesh, as RMSS tries to argue, with talmud torah trumping
>pikuach nefesh.

I'm not sure what you're saying, as your syntax is not clear, but I suspect
you've misunderstood what I said. I've been explicit that PN comes before TT
in many posts now. I've equally been explicit that training for Zaka is not
PN and doesn't come before TT. I hope this clears it up.

>But there is also a different debate in our (ie halachic) society which
>is who, if anybody, does those jobs that do require training before any
>mitzvah can be performed (ie where it can become difficult to have the
>talmud torah dominate one's day if one is to do the training properly).
>I gave Zaka as a classic example precisely because it does require
>training, and training without ever knowing if it will be needed (please
>G-d there should be no further need of a Zaka).  In the classical
>sources there is no discussion of a Zaka, but there is of a chevra
>kaddisha. A chevra kaddisha is also an example of a situation where
>training and organisation is needed before there is actually a meis in
>front of one, triggering the mizvah.  And one is required to be set up.
>The question becomes, how is this done, who should participate?
>Now RMSS's response to this is:
>> I don't see where "society" comes into this. There are
>> explicit halacha's that deal with this, and one is supposed
>> to make burial society's etc. If the only people available to
>> do this are people learning (a far-fetched occurrence, which
>> even in Lakewood - the town that most probably has the
>> highest percentage of full time learners - this doesn't
>> occur...), then they are the ones who need to take care of
>> this, "Society" doesn't enter the picture.
>See this is a particular ideological viewpoint - ie that these things
>will sort of happen by themselves - somebody will presumably see a need,
>and somebody will do something about it and form a chevra kadisha or a
>Zaka or whoever (although it is not really clear whether it is mutar or
>not to do this if the participants would otherwise be in learning).
>There are in this piece also hints to the idea that those who fail to be
>able to maintain themselves as learners will fall into this role as a
>form of second best (ie that is how you get to it being mutar, but only
>for those who cannot manage to sit in yeshiva full time).

As I've pointed out, throughout history there have always been people who
were not learning full time who did these things. Given that this has been
true across many different situations (including, most probably, the town
that has the highest percentage of full time learners in Jewish history) I
fail to see the actual relevance of your question. But to address it as an
hypothetical, if there are only full time learners, and they can't get
anyone to do these things for them, some of them will have to do it. I would
imagine it would evolve as who heard about it first, he would do it that
day, or they might set a rotation. 

>However many people don't believe in this extreme atomised idea of
>decision making.  Certainly in the classical cases it was assumed that
>the beis din of the town or the tovei hair or somebody would be
>organising such things (ie, in other terms, society).

No, "halacha". And they wouldn't pick the couple of full time learners to be
the chevra kadisha either. I don't think they "picked", in that sense of the
word. They asked people to join, and yidden, being interested in doing the
right thing, looked at it as a privilege.

> But the deeper
>philosophical question is as to how such people (theoretically or
>actually) should make a decision that X should spend his time doing such
>things, including therefore any training necessary to do it properly,
>and Y should not.  Is it that in theory everybody should be learning and
>the failures to sit in yeshiva all day end up being fingered to do such
>things (and what if there are no failures?), or are there other criteria
>(eg ability in learning compared to others as determinable by other
>human beings eg the rigourous selection criteria of the great Lithuanian
>yeshivos in Lithuania, economics, etc).

You're comparing some "Utopia", by definition it doesn't exist, to real
life. Yeshiva's in Lithuania didn't make their rigorous entrance exam as a
matter of choice; they would have loved to be able to accept everybody,
reality however dictated that only a few could be accepted, so they choice
those that they thought would be for the greatest good. So I fail to see how
is relevant to our discussion, where we are referring to people who are
making the decision on their own, i.e. the yeshiva has accepted them, now
should they attend or should they join Zaka? They should attend, as that is
the preferred choice. 

Now you're asking: Who will run Zaka? Realistically, whoever has been
running it till now. They obviously, don't, can't, etc., learn full time and
they'll continue to run it while this person goes to learn full time. But
you asking a hypothetical case, Island Jewish Utopia, where all males have
both the desire and abilities to learn full time and the women as well want
them do. Money, food, and medicine is being supplied by the UN. Terrorists
as well... No? Zaka?? OK, just your standard chevra kadisha, because people
are still dying since Moshiach hasn't come yet. "You're sure Moshiach hasn't
come yet? This is how the Ramabam describes the days of Moshiach." "Nu, it's
an hypothetical case." OK, same answer as before, either each full time
learner will interrupt his learning as he becomes aware of a meis or they'll
set up a rotation (skipping the Cohanim of course...).

But as I hope this trip down imagination lane has made clear, this is not
something that can happen. There will always be people who don't learn full
time, and it's these people who take care of these things. This is how it
has always been throughout Jewish history.  



Avodah mailing list

End of Avodah Digest, Vol 23, Issue 106

Send Avodah mailing list submissions to

To subscribe or unsubscribe via the World Wide Web, visit
or, via email, send a message with subject or body 'help' to

You can reach the person managing the list at

When replying, please edit your Subject line so it is more specific
than "Re: Contents of Avodah digest..."

< Previous Next >