Avodah Mailing List

Volume 23: Number 180

Thu, 30 Aug 2007

< Previous Next >
Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: "L Reich" <lreich@tiscali.co.uk>
Date: Thu, 30 Aug 2007 11:32:25 +0100
[Avodah] Is it better to have one person do a vadai mitzvah

Chans Luntz posted a learned message re. 

"...........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

Others have added to the discussion, prompting me to pull out some notes
which I compiled many, many years ago following my amateurish mathematical examination.

I stand to be corrected if I erred, but my findings were that if each man  performed
one Yibum there were 120 possible outcomes as follows:-

5     Yibumim      1     possibility
3     Yibumim    10     possiblities
2     Yibumim    19     possibilites
1      Yibum       46     possibilities
0     Yibumim     44     possibilities

We see that out of the 120 there are 76 cases (120-44), i.e a 63%+ possibility that will be at least one Yibum and 30 cases (1 + 10 +19), i.e. a 25% possibilty that there be more than one.

Elozor Reich, Manchester

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lists.aishdas.org/private.cgi/avodah-aishdas.org/attachments/20070830/8d306623/attachment.htm 

Go to top.

Message: 2
From: "Prof. Levine" <llevine@stevens.edu>
Date: Thu, 30 Aug 2007 11:13:31 -0400
[Avodah] Mi Sheberach for a Non-Jew

>Rabbi Yaakov Yosef, the Chief Rabbi of NY, made a Mi Sheberach for 
>Columbus on Shabbos, October 8, 1892 as part of the celebration of 
>the 400th anniversary of Columbus discoverint the New World.

The following is from page 36 of The New York Herald , Sunday, October 9, 1892.

The Chief Rabbi then read a special prayer in Hebrew composed by J. 
Buchhalter for this occasion.  "After the recitation of this prayer 
in Hebrew the chief rabbi offered up a short prayer for the souls of 
Columbus and his Jewish followers. He commended to divine grace the 
souls of George Washington and the 'Fathers of the Revolution,' and 
finally he prayed for the peace and prosperity of the United States 
and for divine blessings in behalf of the President, Vice President 
and the judiciary and executive authorities of the nation."

Yitzchok Levine 
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lists.aishdas.org/private.cgi/avodah-aishdas.org/attachments/20070830/587be913/attachment.html 

Go to top.

Message: 3
From: Elliott Shevin <eshevin@hotmail.com>
Date: Thu, 30 Aug 2007 11:52:43 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Standing for birchos hashachar

R. Dov Kay wrote:
> > I have never noticed people stand up especially for Shochen Ad, although I > believe that we stand for Yishtabach so as to be in a position to go > straight to kaddish without the slightest interruption.I learned that we stand for Yishtabach simply because it's the end of Pesukei 
D-zimra--just as we stand for Baruch Sheomar because it's the beginning of 
Also, not everyone stands for kaddish--so if it's a question of interruption, 
it would be one from Yishtabach to Borchu, where standing is universal.
Perhaps those who stand for Shochain Ad are just being proactive.  :-) Elly
See what you?re getting into?before you go there
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lists.aishdas.org/private.cgi/avodah-aishdas.org/attachments/20070830/586f2069/attachment.htm 

Go to top.

Message: 4
From: "Richard Wolpoe" <rabbirichwolpoe@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 30 Aug 2007 11:58:55 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Teshuva - postive or negative?

According to Dov Katz this is a machlokes between Slabodka and the older
schools of mussar.  See Dov Katz, Tenuas HaMussar III:121-126.  I suspect
that it's not so much a machlokes as an adaptation to different
circumstances.  Maybe these people are just studying in the wrong place.

David Riceman>>

Please permit me to elaborate on R. David Reisman's comments - indeed there
were 2 general trends in the Mussar Schools:

   1. The find fault school out to detect one's failings and to correct
   them in order to attain self-perfection.
   2. The "Be the best you can be school" which appeals to a human's
   potentila for loftiness; and therefore accentuated those positive aspects
   that could bring a person to a higher level of observance and
   self-perfection w/o necessarily addressing specific faults. I think that
   this was spear-headed by the Alter from Slobodka who mentored many Gedolim.

In the Elu 'velu mode and in the hanoch lan'ar al pi darko spirit, it is
certainly legitimate to see BOTh methods as valuable

To a person who is "full-of-himself" the first method is probably best. See
Rambam Shmoneh Perakim for why a pernson should balance his "dei'so/moddos"
by tilting to the other extreme...

However, an individual who is a bit "shefal ruach" could be devastated by
this method and might be better served by appealing to his highest nature.

A talmid at Yeshiva "Chofetz Chaim" told me beshaim his rav that middos are
like medicines or herbs. What cures one can be poison to another.  AIUI "Dr.
Rambam" would concur.

And no doubt, probably the average pefson would be best served by some
combination of both methodologies.

I have run into people who have exhibited a high degree  of self-centredness
yet are nevertheless highly sensiitve to even the mildest  forms of
criticisms.  Even though their apparent, superficial "self-confidence" might
lead one to believe to implement method #1, nevertheless their well-hidden
internal insecurities might in reality call for using method #2 .

Kesiva vaChasima Tova
Best Wishes for 5768,
Please Visit:

On 8/28/07, Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@012.net.il> wrote:
> I recently was asked by a number of  recent baalei teshuvos -  how to
> deal with what they perceived as the intense negative atmosphere of
> Elul  in their seminary classes. They said that they were attracted to
> Torah observance because it was such a positive, future oriented way of
> life. However they find that in the seminary programs, there is a focus
> on finding fault with oneself, looking at the negative, being self
> critical and skeptical about their motivation.  They felt guilty about
> being turned off by this approach. They had been given an exercise
> requiring them to list their ten worst sins and what they should do to
> repent.
> I asserted there is a direct comparison in this issue between
> psychotherapy and repentance. In both one chooses whether to focus on
> digging in the dirt or focusing on developing one's potential. In other
> words, one can do teshuva either by focusing on faults or by focusing on
> avodas HaShem as described by Rav Chaim Shmuelvitz. While the Rambam
> clearly requires acknowledging sin, the  affirmation of leaving it and
> confession - the issue is whether the main concern is repentance through
> repair of the bad or through improvement of the good? I understand the
> following two sources as going beyond the issue of repenting one's sins
> and focusing on the larger picture of what should be done with one's
> life. Any other sources which are relevant to this  issue?
> *Sichos Musar (#33): *Everyone is required to thoroughly examine his
> deeds especially before Rosh HaShanna - the Day of Judgment. This
> obligation is not just to discover transgressions and lapses in
> observance of the commands. It also includes the evaluation whether
> one's path in serving G?d is the correct one for him since everyone has
> a unique path. The issue  of Avodas HaShem is such that a person could
> keep all the mitzvos yet have a completely false approach to serving
> G?d. The problem is compounded by the fact that he might have
> incorrectly assumed that what he was doing would be pleasing to G?d.
> Nevertheless all his efforts would have been to accomplish a mistaken
> goal. Consequently if he has not carefully evaluated the correctness of
> his plan than all his efforts and sacrifices are wasted. Furthermore he
> is punished according to the degree of effort he made to accomplish this
> wrong plan? This can be seen from the fact that Rav Yochanon ben Zakkai
> who was not only the leading Torah scholar of his time but also had
> succeeded in saving Torah for all future generations was frightened
> before his death. He cried before his students and said "I see before me
> two paths ? one to Gan Eden and the other to Gehinom and I don't know
> where they are taking me. Shouldn't I cry?" His fear was not because of
> failing to keep the whole Torah. His fear was solely because he might
> have failed to properly have done his Avodas HaShem. There is the
> additional problem with Avodas HaShem ? that one simply can't repent for
> doing it incorrectly since it is easy to be mistaken and assume that you
> are doing the right thing.
> *Mishna Berura (Shaar HaTziyun 622:6): *A person many times despairs of
> correcting his faults and concludes that if G-d decrees that he dies
> because of his failure there is nothing he can do about it. However this
> is a mistaken attitude because in the end, G-d will get the correction
> of the soul that He wants. The soul will be reincarnated over and over
> again into this world until the correction is achieved. Consequently why
> should the soul repeatedly suffer death and the anguish of the grave and
> other things? Proof of this is from Yonah whom G-d wanted to prophesize
> for Nineveh and he tried to escape to the sea where prophesy does not
> occur. We see that he sunk into sea and was swallowed by the great fish
> and was in its belly many days where it seems that it was impossible to
> fulfill G-d's command. Nevertheless we see that at the end G-d's will
> was fulfilled and he went and prophesized. Thus it is with everyman
> according to his Divinely ordained task. Therefore as it says in Avos
> (4:22): Don't view the grave as a refuge?because you were born against
> your will, you live against your will, you die against your will and
> against your will you will have to justify all your actions to the
> Heavenly court.
> Daniel Eidensohn
> _______________________________________________
> Avodah mailing list
> Avodah@lists.aishdas.org
> http://lists.aishdas.org/listinfo.cgi/avodah-aishdas.org
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lists.aishdas.org/private.cgi/avodah-aishdas.org/attachments/20070830/826a0ceb/attachment.html 

Go to top.

Message: 5
From: Elliott Shevin <eshevin@hotmail.com>
Date: Thu, 30 Aug 2007 12:03:31 -0400
[Avodah] Turning Rosh Hashana on its Head

At this time of year, we're always reminded to examine our sins in order to 
repent them.
I propose a complementary cheshbon: examine your mitzvos and other 
merits as well--everything you've done *right*--and resolve to continue, 
increase, and improve on them.
Lashana tova,
Messenger Caf? ? open for fun 24/7. Hot games, cool activities served daily. Visit now.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lists.aishdas.org/private.cgi/avodah-aishdas.org/attachments/20070830/57e87af1/attachment.htm 

Go to top.

Message: 6
From: "Richard Wolpoe" <rabbirichwolpoe@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 30 Aug 2007 12:12:23 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Why is Milchemes Reshus allowed?

I am proposing a mildly radical paradigm shift  that  milchemes reshus with
a  non-hositle  nieghbor is in itself NOT KOSHER.

I am reading into the sources the concept that the Reshus is a matter of
timing that there is no imminent threat, but an inevitable one over time.

Let's use the USA, Aghanistan, Iraq, and Canada as meshholim

   1. Afghanistan:  Assuming that the Taliban were directly responsible
   for the 9/11 attacks then what Bush did was a milchmest mitzva in
   retaliating in Afghanistan.
   2. Iraq: Bush's attack in Iraq was against a hostile but "no imminest
   threat" enemy. That IMHO is the correct paradigm for a Milchmes Reshus.  And
   you can see even there this is a judgment call - consult Urim v'Tumim etc.
   There were many reason NOT to atack Iraq, but Bush perceived this an
   3. Canada:   An attack on Canada however, is NOT the kind of Reshus I
   consider Kosher! Rather, it would simply be for the sake of "manifest
   destiny" or expansion. Neither case should trigger a Milchmes Reshus.  The
   loss of life is not justifiable.

The sources in general may or may not support my read, but I do see hints at

   -  in the aforementioned Rashi on Humash [on what mihemes reshus is
   - and Tosafos on Arvis [on what the term Reshus can mean]

Kesiva vaChasima Tova
Best Wishes for 5768,
Please Visit:

On 8/29/07, kennethgmiller@juno.com <kennethgmiller@juno.com> wrote:
> R' Richard Wolpoe wrote:
> > Just re-interpret this to include the case that if you ignore
> > or refuse to confront a hostile nation then one day you will
> > need to fight them anyway. and this is still Reshus ...
> > Simlarly Milhemet Reshus may be construed as a preemptive war
> > against a hostile nation that sooner or later will attack.
> If you want to consider a preemptive war as being a Milchemes Reshus, I
> don't have a problem with that. My problem is that there are other types of
> Milchemes Reshus too, in which we seem to be attacking a nation which was
> *not* hostile to us. *Those* are the cases that bother me.
> Akiva Miller
> _______________________________________________
> Avodah mailing list
> Avodah@lists.aishdas.org
> http://lists.aishdas.org/listinfo.cgi/avodah-aishdas.org

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lists.aishdas.org/private.cgi/avodah-aishdas.org/attachments/20070830/91b7b754/attachment.html 

Go to top.

Message: 7
From: "Eli Turkel" <eliturkel@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 30 Aug 2007 10:15:46 -0700
[Avodah] heter for IDF

Saul Newman asked: is any one aware of a psak from charedi poskim, that
befeirush gives a hetter to either have an IDF, or to serve in it?  for
males, of course>>

I am confused as I dont know of any reason to oppose it. R. Elyashiv shlita
and RSZA zt"l deal with many problems of the IDF.
The Tzitz Eliezer has a sefer on medinat yisrael. I dont have it with me but
I would imagine he deals with many military questions.
In the shiur of R. Zilberstein in Bnei Brak he occasionally deals with with
IDF questions again with no hint of any problems.
Of course ROY has many such questions in his seforim.

I would be shocked if anyone except some extreme groups expects a modern
Israel to live without an army. Questions about
specific issues do not remove the evident need for the IDF

Eli Turkel
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lists.aishdas.org/private.cgi/avodah-aishdas.org/attachments/20070830/4c0ecb2f/attachment.htm 


Avodah mailing list

End of Avodah Digest, Vol 23, Issue 180

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 >