Avodah Mailing List

Volume 23: Number 173

Wed, 22 Aug 2007

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: "Michael Kopinsky" <mkopinsky@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 19 Aug 2007 11:34:10 -0600
Re: [Avodah] Testing God

On 8/17/07, Jonathan Baker <jjbaker@panix.com> wrote:
> RMKopinsky:
> > I remembering seeing a Teshuva once (maybe Shu"t haRashb"a - I saw it on
> the
> > Bar Ilan CD, so I don't remember what it was) asking about a person who
> > said, "I will give tzedaka if my son gets well, and I won't give tzedaka
> if
> > my son doesn't get well."  The question was, can you force him to give
> the
> > tzedaka in any case, enforcing the Mishna in Pirkei Avos, "Al Tihyu
> > ka'avadim."  The answer was that no he doesn't have to give the tzedaka.
> So I've heard informally in other places: "tzedaka is the one thing you
> can
> do to test Hashem; anything else, e.g. 'if X doesn't happen, I'll eat a
> ham
> sandwich', is right out."

I've heard this before as well, related to "Aser t'aser - aser bishvil

Tangentially - I wonder if we point that mishnah correctly?  Maybe it should
> be "al tihyu k'OVDIM"?  The slave doesn't work to get a reward, he works
> to avoid punishment.  The employee works to get his wage.

Except that b'lashon Chazal, workers are poa'alim, not ovdim.  I don't have
an answer to your question about working for wages vs. working to avoid
punishment.  Perhaps if you translate avadim as servants rather than slaves,
it makes sense.  (Actually, perhaps this is a proof that eved doesn't mean
slave, but rather servant.)

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Message: 2
From: "Elazar M. Teitz" <remt@juno.com>
Date: Mon, 20 Aug 2007 09:33:50 GMT
Re: [Avodah] standing for chasan and kallah

     In response to my comment,

<<No, because the gathering is one of simcha shel mitzva, even if it
> has not yet taken place. The day is yom chasunaso v'yom simchas libo. In fact, minhag Yerushalayim is that if a wedding is taking place later in the day -- even after tzeis, IIANM -- the chasan's presence at a minyan results in tachanun not being said>>,

     RMYGluck wrote

<I don't recall _ever_ being at a Chasunah Minyan that said Tachanun, even when the Chasan was _not_ Davening then.>

     Apparently, I was not clear. The minhag Yerushalayim I cited, which required the chasan's presence for not saying tachanun, is not for a chasuna minyan; it is for a minyan in shul (usually Shacharis, since Mincha is generally davened at the wedding) on the day on which the wedding will subsequently take place.


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Message: 3
From: "kennethgmiller@juno.com" <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
Date: Mon, 20 Aug 2007 12:24:05 GMT
Re: [Avodah] standing for chasan and kallah

Rav Elazar M Teitz wrote:
> No, because the gathering is one of simcha shel mitzva, even
> if it has not yet taken place.

R' Moshe Y. Gluck commented:
> I don't recall _ever_ being at a Chasunah Minyan that said
> Tachanun, even when the Chasan was _not_ Davening then.

It seems to me that RMYG's observation actually *supports* REMT's suggestion: The gathering is one of simcha shel mitzva, even if the chasan is not with them.

Here's another sitation which might shed some light on this: Has anyone attended a Siyum at which Mincha was said? That's surely a simcha shel mitzva, no? Did they skip Tachanun?

(It did not attend it, but I happen to have a copy of the beautiful printed program from the 1997 Siyum HaShas at Madison Square Garden. It includes a text for the Mincha/Maariv which was said there, and it does NOT include Tachanun. However, I do not consider that to be valid evidence for our question, because the text was Nusach Sefard, which often [though not always] skips Tachanun entirely.)

Akiva Miller

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Message: 4
From: "Rich, Joel" <JRich@sibson.com>
Date: Mon, 20 Aug 2007 10:39:29 -0400
[Avodah] FW: [WestOrangeJewishCommunity] A Thought for Elul


	A Thought for Elul from the new R' Soloveitchik Rosh Hashana
	Man, created in His image, crowned with honor, was given the
imperative to walk in his ways - V' halachta bdrachav (Deuteronomy
28:9). Explaining this imperative, the Rambam (in his introduction to
Hilchot Deiot) uses the expression lhedamot bdrachav - to imitate his
ways. The Rav explained that the imitation of Hashem is not limited to
performing acts of compassion( See Masechet Semachot 6:1) but extends to
the imitation of the essential attribute of becoming a noseh(my
note-active). In keeping with this imperative, man must therefore strive
to become subject and not object (nisa), one who influences one's
surroundings (mashpia) rather than one who is influenced(mushpa), one
who creates and is not created, one who acts and is not acted upon, one
who controls his environment rather than being controlled by it.
	Kol Tuv
	Joel Rich


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Message: 5
From: "Moshe Feldman" <moshe.feldman@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 21 Aug 2007 00:22:32 +0300
[Avodah] Heter Mechira and Otzar Beis Din

On 8/19/07, Freedenberg Family <free@014.net.il> wrote on Areivim:
> I don't understand why there are some people who are fighting against what
> is a positive change for the better in shmittah observance.
>. . ..
> http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/123421
> an excerpt:
> "The Chief Rabbinate announced last year its plan to reduce its reliance on
> the controversial "land sale dispensation" for the upcoming Shemittah "to a
> minimum."  At the same time, religious-Zionist circles began to implement a
> solution heretofore observed on a minor scale in some hareidi circles, known
> as the Otzar Beit Din; in its new format, it also involves minimum reliance
> on the heter dispensation.
> With the heter mechirah appearing to lose validity, leading
> religious-Zionist rabbis have now begun to "fight back." They say the heter
> dispensation is not only still valid, but is as necessary as it was when it
> was first formulated."

The article actually states that these DL rabbanim are in favor of
Otzar Beis Din (OBD), but want to make sure that the public realizes
that when OBD produce is unavailable (for example, many vegetables
cannot be provided from OBD during much of the shmitta year), it is
preferable to purchase heter mechira produce from Jewish farmers than
to purchase produce from non-Jewish farmers (even not from
Palestinians).  The reason for this is that when consumers purchase
from non-Jewish farmers, the Jewish farmers are put out of business
because it is economically unfeasible to run a farm 6 years out of 7.
 Moreover, once non-Jewish farmers (e.g., from Jordan) win a share of
the market, they tend to retain it even during non-Shmitta years.

When Jewish farmers are put out business, the Jewish hold on outlying
areas of Eretz Yisrael is weakened--in some cases, Arabs grab lands
abandoned by Jewish farmers.  Thus the issue of lo techanem arises--if
the Chazon Ish was worried about a technical violation of this halacha
which does not lead to a real achiza in the land by Arabs, surely we
should worry about a violation which leads to a real achiza b'karka by
Arabs.  This view is adopted by many of the rabbanim, such as R.
Yaakov Ariel (one of the leading DL poskim), who are davka pushing
OBD.  R. Neria Guttal wrote about this at length and pointed out that
50,000 dunams of farms were established in Jordan last Shmitta to
supply produce, and those farms continued exporting to Israel during
the subsequent 6 years.  Rav Yaakov Ariel (in the Katif Shevi'it
volume distributed to all those who joined "Otzar Ha'Aretz," the OBD
of the DL points out that a consumer should not look just at whether
he individually keeps Shmitta, but how his actions impact the nation
as a whole.

A number of DL rabbanim (e.g., Rav Mordechai Eliyahu, R. Shaul
Yisraeli--in the Katif Shevi'it volume) believe that it is not clear
that OBD is preferable to Heter Mechira (HM).  OBD relies on many many
kulos (many of which have flimsy basis in gemara & rishonim) which the
Chazon Ish relied upon given that Shmitta is derabbanan.  Rav Shaul
Yisraeli pointed out that at the end of the day, the spirit of Shmitta
is not being observed--after all, the farmers are making a profit
based on their sale of produce for which they put in great efforts.
Technically, they are agents of Beis Din and they do melachos
derabbanan, etc. but this is a far cry from the Torah's call to desist
from working the land during Shemitta.  (Note that the Tosefta which
describes OBD merely refers to BD's efforts to harvest the crops, not
to organize the process of growing the crops.  Certainly, the farmers
were not the agents of the Beis Din to farm the land and did not
benefit economically from the farming.)

Essentially, OBD is a ha'arama, and the only difference between OBD
and HM is that OBD does the ha'arama on a piecemeal basis while HM
does it in one fell swoop.  Rav Shaul Yisrael commented that there is
halachic justification for the ha'arama: given that the promise that
the land will produce crops for three years applied only when Shmitta
was de'oraisa, had Chazal been around to create a takanah for Shmitta
today given modern realities, they would have made a zeicher
l'shmitta; and this is exactly what the ha'aramos do.  Note that Rav
Kook made sure that there would be a zeicher l'shmitta--he permitted
the HM only for commercially necessary purposes and otherwise required
farmers to not farm their land at all.  CI creates a zeicher l'shmitta
via the OBD as it gives us a taste of shmitta, albeit not the real

Kol tuv,
Moshe (who signed up for Otzar Ha'aretz)

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Message: 6
From: "Prof. Levine" <llevine@stevens.edu>
Date: Mon, 20 Aug 2007 06:08:40 -0400
[Avodah] The Custom of Reciting l'Dovid HaShem Ori

I posted earlier that 
discusses the custom of reciting l'Dovid HaShem Ori. The claim is 
that saying this is due to Noson of Gaza, Shabbatsai Tzvi's "prophet."

I do not have Rav Yaakov Emden's siddur. Will someone who does, 
please let me know what it says about this topic? (Rav Yaakov Emden's 
father, the Chacham Tzvi, lived during the time of ST, so his son 
might have had first hand knowledge about this matter.)


Yitzchok Levine 
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Message: 7
From: "kennethgmiller@juno.com" <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
Date: Mon, 20 Aug 2007 12:08:06 GMT
Re: [Avodah] Why is Milchemes Reshus allowed?

I wrote:
: Even in a case where, Rachmana Litzlan, our countrymen are dying
: of starvation, and that could be remedied by attacking another
: country, I can't see any justification in killing those foreigners
: unless they are actually responsible for our starvation. Pikuach
: nefesh can justify stealing their food, but not killing their
: people.

R' Micha Berger questioned:
> Is this so? Even an ubar can be a rodeif.

Yes, an ubar can be a rodef. In such a case, the ubar is responsible for the situation. Granted that the ubar has no daas, and it is not an intentional threat, but nevertheless, the ubar *is* attacking the mother, and the mother (doctors, etc.) have the right and obligation to protect and defend her from that attacker.

So too, if the foreign country is <<< actually responsible for our starvation >>>, then we can defend ourselves by attacking them, even if they are not *intentionally* causing our problem, and this would be a milchemes mitzva.

Here's an example which might be very comparable to the ubar: There is a river which flows through a neighboring country, and then into ours. It supplies plenty of water for both of us. The other country decides to divert the flow so that it stays in their area. They're not doing it to hurt us, but only for their own purposes. But the lack of a water source has become (or will become) a life-threatening emergency to us, and we attack them to restore the original flow of the river.

That would seem, to me, to be a justifiable military action, and a milchemes mitzva. Am I mistaken? Is this the sort of "economic" reason which other posters would consider to be a milchemes reshus?

Akiva Miller

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Message: 8
From: "Shimon Storage" <shimonstorage@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 22 Aug 2007 00:53:50 +1000
[Avodah] Shabbetai Zevi dayenu


Does anyone have a copy of the Dayenu written against Shabbetai Zevi?
Just remembered about it today. It has been many years since I have
seen it and don't really remember the words.

Thanks people.

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Message: 9
From: "Chana Luntz" <chana@kolsassoon.org.uk>
Date: Wed, 22 Aug 2007 11:01:23 +0100
[Avodah] Is it better to have one person do a vadai mitzvah

There is a fascinating (well to me, anyway) piece of gemora in the daf
yomi of a couple of weeks ago that I thought I would send in, as it
seemed to me that it has very interesting philosophical implications.

The Mishna there (Yevamos 98b) is discussing a case where five women
give birth to sons together in one place and the sons all get mixed up,
so nobody knows which son belongs to which mother (and hence to which
father) but where each of the mothers also have a vadai son of the same
father as the one that got mixed up.  And the five mixed up sons grow up
and marry and each die childless.  So what the Mishna prescribes if that
for the first woman, four of the vadai sons give her chalitza, and the
last of the sons marries her - on the basis that, if she is in fact his
brother's wife, he will be doing yibum, and if not, well her real yavam
gave her chalitza as one of the four, and she is free to marry.  And
then the same procedure is repeated for the second woman, with a
different one of the vadai sons taking her in marriage, and so for all

Now the gemora there comments on the fact that the Mishna makes it clear
that the man who takes the second woman in yibum is different from the
man who takes the first woman in yibum, and so too for the third, fourth
and fifth, so that each man ends up with one wife each.  And it states
that the Mishna teaches this so you should not think to say that one man
should do yibum with all of them but that each one should do yibum with
one because maybe he will each get his own [yevama].

Now a straight reading of the gemora provides us with a very interesting
conclusion.  Because if one man married all five (after all the others
had done chalitza of course, so there is no problem), then we know that
he will definitely have done the mitzvah of yibum once, ie a vadai
mitzva (but no more).  Whereas if each of the five takes one woman each,
there is the chance that all five will end up doing the mitzvah of
yibum, but there is equally a chance that none of them will end up doing
the mitzva.   And the gemora appears to be coming down on the side of
"let's gamble and go for the max" rather than go for certainty.

Now the Aruch L'Ner appears bothered by this and seems to suggest that
it is not true, and that in general it would be better to have the
certainty of one mitzvah, rather than the gamble of more.  However, he
says that the Mishna says this because of the fact that, following the
gemora on Yevamos 44a, a man is not permitted to take more than four
women in yibum (even if he has five vadai yevamas falling to him, eg he
has five different brothers who all die childless) because he is require
to give them a minimum of one onah a month, and there are not enough
weeks in a month to cater for five women.  And since, because one of
them would not be allowed to marry five of the women, and if one married
four and another married one, then you still would not have the
certainty that a definite yibum mitzvah would have been performed,
therefore it is better for each to marry one.  But that this is why the
Mishna davka brought the case of five intermixed sons, and not four,
because if it had brought the case of four, and hence one of the
brothers could have married all four, as per the gemora on 44a, then it
would have been preferable to do that.  That is, it is better to go for
the certainty of one mitzvah, rather than the gamble of more, and the
only reason that this is not applied here is because there are other
reasons why one man cannot marry all five.

Now even according to the Aruch L'Ner this is interesting.  Because,
while having one man marry four and one marry one does not give
certainty - presumably one would be able to make a determination as to
which of the men was the greatest tzaddik, and that would allow us to
give that man the greatest chance of performing the mitzvah (as per our
discussion regarding giving up a mitzvah to allow a gadol to do it on
this list previously) - by having him marry four of the women, and then
the second greatest tzaddik the one remaining woman, and the rest all
doing chalitza.  But it seems that even according to the Aruch L'Ner
that is not the case, and we do not weigh the situation in favour of the
greatest tzaddik, but give each of the men an equal chance of performing
the mitzvah (note this is even more pointed given that the reason that
yibum is not generally permitted today is because people are not
considered on the level to do it properly, so if there was any mitzvah
where one would have thought such a determination should have been made,
it would be this one).

But the Aruch L'Ner, while in some ways very satisfying, as he explains
why it is that the Mishna teaches davka about a case of five, and not
fewer, does seem a distinct divergence from the gemora text.  Because
the gemora clearly asks the question as to why we do not say that one
should marry all five women, and could so easily have said - because one
cannot give each of them the necessary onah, oh and why then do we not
say that one marries four etc ... But it chooses not to do so, and
rather seems to stress that the "dilma" of a number takes precedence
over the "vadai" of one.

And I did wonder whether you could not explain the number five in the
Mishna differently.  Because presumably at some point the chance of each
man getting his own yevama must go too low to be considered significant
- for five it is one fifth, but presumably if we were talking about a
hundred sons getting mixed up, we would not say that a 100th chance was
significant.  So maybe it is teaching that one fifth is still a
reasonable risk - but perhaps one sixth is not.  And I was wondering
whether a 20% chance versus a 16 2/3 % chances plays out anywhere else
in halacha - or maybe it is a 20% chance versus something like a less
than 10% chance (ie could you apply some of the statistics that are used
in things like bittel and miut that is or is not matzui)?

Anyhow, wondered what the chevra out in Avodah land thought and whether
they knew of anybody else who commented on this and the philosophical



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Message: 10
From: "Mike Miller" <avodah@mikeage.net>
Date: Wed, 22 Aug 2007 18:03:31 +0300
[Avodah] Wedding Meals / Hefsek [was: [Areivim] New Religion]

On 8/22/07, saul mashbaum <smash52@netvision.net.il> wrote [to Areivim]:
> RDov Kay wrote:
> In Australia, at the chasunos I attended, the kabbolas ponim was held before
> the chuppah, separately for men and ladies, followed by the chuppah, photos,
> and then the dinner later that evening.
> >>
> This arrangement is still in practice. I'm now looking at an wedding
> invitation from our very own RSBA, whose son Binyomin is getting married
> this Monday in Australia. "Kabbolas Ponim 2:15 pm, Chuppah 3:00 pm, Dinner
> 7:00 pm" . The dinner is at a different site from the chuppa.

Mazal Tov!

Is there a halachic difference between a seudas erusin/nesuin and a
regular sheva brachos seudah? If so, does a long hefsek, in both time
and place, matter?

-- Mike Miller
Ramat Bet Shemesh


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