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Volume 23: Number 166

Wed, 08 Aug 2007

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: saul mashbaum <smash52@netvision.net.il>
Date: Mon, 06 Aug 2007 22:38:15 +0300
[Avodah] Fwd: Re: [Areivim] Humanistic Rabbis and humor about

I'm not so sure that the attitudes expressed in Tanach and Chazal 
towards whose who deny G-d are only meant for those who deny Him 
AND worship other gods as well.  Denying G-d and worshipping yourself 
would count, I believe, as  A'Z
To count halachically as AZ I think it would require actual self-
worship in the sense of bringing korbanos or doing other acts of 
avoda (or getting other to do so).  I don't think humanistic 
prayers celebrating the greatness of man would count.  Prayers 
claiming some sort of divine powers (a la Pharoh's claim to be the 
source of bounty in Egyptian agriculture) would be necessasy.  IMHO.

I believe that RDI is entirely correct in his halachic observations. An atheist who worships no divine power at all is not an oved AZ, as described in the gemara Sanhedrin 61 and the Rambam Hilchot Avodah Zara chapter 3. The gemara there delineates the actions of worshipping and serving a false god which constitute Avodah Zara. It seems clear to me  from the gemara's discussion that AZ always involves worshipping and serving  *something*; mere denial of the true God is *not* AZ in the strict halachic sense.
" Worshipping yourself "  when used referring to a humanist is clearly a literary phrase, not a literal one. In this way it is similar to "worshipping money" or "worshipping power" etc. In this context "worship" refers to placing something in the very center of one's value system, and dedicating all one's energies to that goal. These are examples of profoundly flawed value systems, but are not AZ in, again, the strict halachic sense.
I think that it is fair to say that humanism, as it arose in the time of the Renaissance, was to a large extent considered inimitable with the established religions of the time, and indeed served as a harbinger of the decline of the influence of said established religions in Europe and the New World that we have seen in the modern era. One may surely claim that this is a negative development, but neither atheism or humanism constitute in and of themselves AZ.
Saul Mashbaum
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Message: 2
From: "D&E-H Bannett" <dbnet@zahav.net.il>
Date: Mon, 6 Aug 2007 22:41:08 +0300
Re: [Avodah] Mesorah at End of Chumash/Parashah

The comments to which we were directed explain, b'kitzur 
nimratz, the different t'amim and breakdown into sentences. 
As mentioned, the Torat Hayyim edition was corrected by 
Harav Mordekhai Breuer.

For a more detailed explanation of the gradual development 
and introduction of errors into the 'aseret ha-dib'rot, the 
best source is R' Breuer's book "Keter Aram Tzova" where the 
mystery is unraveled.


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Message: 3
From: Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
Date: Mon, 6 Aug 2007 13:38:50 -0700 (PDT)
Kaparos? For PETA’s Sake!

I was asked to re-direct my post to Avodah because the moderators felt that this topic is sufficiently Torah related to warrant the extra attention and wider audience of Avodah. In that spirit, I will briefly summarize the context necessary for understanding the comment.  
  There has been a discussion on Areivim about a complaint registered by  the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals about Shluging Kaparos. Dr. Levie mentioned in this context that he recalled seeing something in Kashrus Magazine about a year or two ago
stating that a number of Rabbonim had "condemned" the way chickens used for
Kapporos are often mistreated. The chickens are kept in small cages, are not
fed, are left out in the rain, sun, etc. 
  That generated the following thought on my part. 
  What is the point of Shlugging Kaparos anyway? I admit I'm an Am Ha'aretz on this issue. I never understood this custom. We know for example  that the Minhag of using live chickens was frowned upon at one point because of Darkei Amori. How did it now seep back into practice?
  But as I said, the bigger issue for me is how exactly this Minhag got started in the first place? IIRC the Gemarah talks about it.  What was the point of it?  Isn't Kaparah for
  Aveiros all about doing Teshuva? ...and not about transferring Averios onto a  chicken? I doubt that this practice has it's origin in the Torah. The Torah speaks of Karbanos on the Mizbeach. Not chickens waved over the head 3 times and thrown on the floor.
  Frankly this custom disturbs me. Not so much because of  PETA says. I do not consider them a reliable source of information on the mistreatment of animals (although if what Dr. Levine said is true, then that needs to be rectified), but because it seems so ridiculous on the face of it. 

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Message: 4
From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
Date: Tue, 07 Aug 2007 00:30:32 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Sinas Chinam - Netziv's understanding

R' Marty Bluke wrote:
> R' Nosson Kamenetsky in Making of a Gadol writes that the Chafetz
> Chaim very much disagreed with this Netziv and this is one of the
> reasons why he didn't send his son to Volohzin.
Thanks for the reference - this is the actual text pages 408-409 in the 
original edition.

"This is evinced by the fact that the Chafetz-Chaim sent his oldest son, 
Aryeh-Laib, to study under R' Yosheh-Ber when he was the newly appointed 
Rav of Brisk, rather than to the long-established Volozhin Yeshiva under 
the Netziv....The Chafetz-Chaim did send his second son, Avrohm,  to 
study in Volozhin - but that was in 5646 (1886), when R' Yosheh-Ber's 
son R' Hayyim Soloveichik was already on the Volozhin Yeshiva staff, and 
R' Yosheh-Ber himself would probably have ordered the Chafetz-Chaim to 
send his Avrohm to study under his son (and perhaps he did!). .... 
Furthermore, R' Shlomo Lorincz repeated in the name of R' Simhah 
Wasserman (son of one of the Chafetz-Chaim's major disciples, R' 
Elchonon Wasserman) that the Chafetz-Chaim was somewhat critical of the 
Netziv. He disapproved of what the Netziv wrote in his commentary on 
Humash, HaEmek Davar, in the introduction to Sefer Bereishisz , viz., 
that the Second Temple was destroyed because "the tzaddiqim and hasidim 
and those who toiled in Torah study . were not straight
in their general conduct. Therefore, due to the baseless hatred  in 
their hearts, they suspected whomever they saw acting not according to 
their view in Fear of G-d to be a Sadducee and an epikoros.  It was 
understood that the Netziv intended with his words about the Second 
Temple to find fault with the bnei Torah of his own generation for 
delegitimizing the religious maskilim and the Lovers of Zion faithful 
whose outlook on the needs of the Jewish nation did not conform to their 
own. Despite his criticism, the Chafetz Chaim asked the Netziv for his 
haskamah on his sepher Ahavas Chesed which was published eight years 
later than HaEmek Davar. But the Chafetz-Chaim may have preferred not to 
put his son under the Netziv's direct influence by sending him to study 
in the latter's yeshiva before it became invested with the 
counterinfluence of R' Yosheh-Ber Soloveichik's son. "

chose and the Netziv's views is pure conjecture on the part of R' Nosson 
Kaminetsky. Furthermore it seems that the Chofetz Chaim did not object 
to the Netziv's concept of sinas chinom for the destruction of the 
Second Temple but simply objected to the claim that such a problem was 
also a contemporary problem.

Daniel Eidensohn

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Message: 5
From: MPoppers@kayescholer.com
Date: Mon, 6 Aug 2007 19:25:51 -0400
Re: [Avodah] standing

In Avodah Digest V23#163, RJR wrote:
> I think artscroll brings this down as the reason for standing by
Vayivarech david - the gabbai walked around for tzedaka!
? What happened prior to the Ari?
? Was the gabbai davening at the same time? <
(Forgive me if someone already noted this.)

At least some shuls I've been in have pushkes at the entrance (and, FWIW,
the gabbai in some shuls walks around during chazaras haSHaTZ rather than
disturb the mispal'lim during P'suqei d'Zimrah).

All the best from
--Michael Poppers via RIM pager
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Message: 6
From: Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
Date: Mon, 6 Aug 2007 16:51:59 -0700 (PDT)
Re: [Avodah] Public school or non-Orthodox day school?

R' Daniel Eidensohn asked:
> Is it was preferable to encourage a person to stay in a
> non-Orthodox day school or let them go to public school.  I have often pondered the same question. And this question is nore significant now than ever because of the proliferation of the Conservative Solomon Schechter schools system.

On the one hand they teach a view of Judaism that from an Orthodox viewpoint is considered to be heretical. The accept documentary hypothesis which denies that the events at Sinai ever took place. They say instead that it was written much later in various different periods in Jewish history. However they do, say that biblical narrative was divinely inspired. 

On the other hand, Solomon Schechter schools teach Mitzvah observance. While they dispute Orthodoxy?s interpretation of Halacha in some instances, they agree to their binding nature generally.

So a child who attends such a school has a mixed bag of information to deal with, a combination of heresy and Halacha observance. 
Most of those attending those schools will quite likely continue to assimilate into oblivion, but, a significant minority will be inspired to continue in the movement as committed Conservative Jews believing themselves to be a legitimate denomination. This is a dangerous proposition in that the Torah world will have to face yet another group of educated Jews with apostate beliefs who will be difficult to distinguish from Modern Orthodox Jews with a legitimate view of the events at Sinai. 
  They will think, act and look like Orthodox Jews, observing Mitzvos some attending Orthodox synagogues and participating in Jewish life in much the same way that the Modern Orthodox do. The only difference will be their views about the events at Sinai. They may, or may not believe in it. 

On the other hand, they will be learning elements of Judaism that are essentially true. And perhaps they will be motivated to seek truth by looking into Orthodox Judaism after seeing the hypocrisy of the Conservative movement. This has indeed happened. Many times. Without Solomon Schechter, these very sincere Baalei Teshuva would never have been exposed to Judaism at all. 

Until a few years ago many of the graduates of the Solomon Schechter elementary schools attended the Modern Orthodox High school here in Chicago. After four years at an Orthodox high school some of those graduates remain Orthodox. 

An additional argument in favor of those schools is that it is much easier to mainstream kids who have had an elementary education consisting of reading Hebrew, learning Chumash, Navi, Jewish history, and other Jewish subjects, than it is trying to educate Baalei Teshuva who have virtually no background. Without the Solomon Schechter Schools, most of these kids would have gone to public schools and would have almost certainly been lost to assimilation.
  I know of at least one very valuable member of the Torah world that attended Solomon Schecther. He has stated  that had he not done so, he would not be religious today.

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Message: 7
From: T613K@aol.com
Date: Mon, 6 Aug 2007 22:21:45 EDT
Re: [Avodah] Falk [was: R' Ovadiah Yosef re candle-lighting]

> Yup.  At least if you are related the the Falks of  Prisha U'Drisha fame,
> I would guess (dates anyone?).

>>Just  parachuting in to say that Falk was not the Drisha's family name, it 
his  Yiddish name.  Yehoshua-Falk is a paired name, just like Yehuda-Leib  or
Tzvi-Hirsh.  If his family had a name at all, I don't think we know  what it 

Zev  Sero

Leib is a lion, the symbol of the tribe of Yehuda.  Hirsch is a deer,  same 
as Tzvi.  What is "falk"?

--Toby  Katz

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Message: 8
From: T613K@aol.com
Date: Mon, 6 Aug 2007 23:03:33 EDT
Re: [Avodah] Public school or non-Orthodox day school?

RAM writes:
>> But the OP, 
as posted, seems to include  a hava mina that RYBS's psak might go so 
far as to suggest that I'd consider  sacrificing my child's -- or 
someone else's child's -- chinuch in order to  avoid supporting a non-
Orthodox day school. And I, for one, am not willing  to consider that 

Akiva Miller

You think that keeping the kid out of the non-O day school would  "sacrifice 
his chinuch"?  The opposite is true.  Keeping him /in/ the  non-O school would 
sacrifice his chinuch.  Do not think, "The non-O  school provides a good 
chinuch but we don't want to show support for  non-O."  Rather, as bad as the 
chinuch might be in public school, the  education in a non-O day school is /even 
worse/.  In public school he won't  learn anything about Judaism at all and 
will be left a tabula rasa, for his  parents or outside tutors to fill in later.  
In the non-O school he will  learn all kinds of sheker, which will be 
exceedingly difficult to eradicate from  his mind later on.   Much harder to write on 
a palimpsest than on a  tabula rasa.
In the "community" day school in Chattanooga where I taught, for example (I  
was the only Orthodox teacher they ever had, and I only lasted a year), the  
children were taught that Rivka loved Yakov because they were two of a kind --  
false, lying, scheming, conniving people, who plotted together to deceive  
Yitzchak and rob the innocent Esav of his birthright.  That was just an  example 
of a general rule that they were taught, namely, that the Avos and  Imahos 
were deeply flawed human beings, no better than you and me (thus, there  was no 
particular reason for G-d's having chosen them -- that was just  arbitrary).   
Paradoxically or inconsistently, they were  also taught (on alternate 
Tuesdays) that the Avos and Imahos never  actually existed, but the Torah was a 
wonderful work of literature, amazing for  the life-like characterization of its 
many colorful albeit fictional  personalities, whose lives taught us many 
wonderful lessons and who were  entirely allegorical.  Krias Yam Suf was 
allegorical, Ma'amad Har Sinai was  allegorical, and so on.
I used to joke around with a Jewish studies teacher named Chaim, who often  
told the children that Judaism teaches that all people are the same, we are all 
 the children of G-d and no one is any better or worse than anyone else and 
that  the lesson of Judaism is that we should love all mankind.  He used to  
ostentatiously high-five the black janitor to show how he loved all mankind and  
to prove what a tolerant and loveable humanitarian he was.  Paradoxically  he 
always used to tell the children that they should be very, very proud of  
being Jewish.  I used to say to him, "Chaim, what are you saying?  We  should be 
very, very proud of the fact that we are exactly the same as everyone  else?"
Now I have just summed up what is taught in non-Orthodox schools.  I  will 
add one more thing, which is that only ONE kid in my entire fifth grade  class 
in that school was halachically Jewish (a fact I did not know at first,  but 
found out one kid at a time).  Thus, if you think the kid in the Jewish  school 
will at least have Jewish friends -- think again.
Far, far better to send the kid to public school and supplement his Jewish  
education at home or in an after-school Talmud Torah or Sunday school.   Also 
be sure to send him away to an Orthodox summer camp.

--Toby  Katz

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Message: 9
From: "Zev Sero" <zev@sero.name>
Date: Mon, 6 Aug 2007 22:55:11 -0700
Re: [Avodah] Falk [was: R' Ovadiah Yosef re candle-lighting]

On 8/6/07, T613K@aol.com <T613K@aol.com> wrote:

>>> Yup.  At least if you are related the the Falks of Prisha U'Drisha fame,
>>> I would guess (dates anyone?).

>> Just parachuting in to say that Falk was not the Drisha's family name, it
>> was his Yiddish name.  Yehoshua-Falk is a paired name, just like Yehuda-
>> Leib or Tzvi-Hirsh.  If his family had a name at all, I don't think we know
>> what it was.

> Leib is a lion, the symbol of the tribe of Yehuda.  Hirsch is a deer, same
> as Tzvi.  What is "falk"?

A falcon.  Its connection to Yehoshua is a matter for speculation.

Zev Sero


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