Avodah Mailing List

Volume 23: Number 182

Mon, 03 Sep 2007

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Sun, 2 Sep 2007 21:28:47 -0400
[Avodah] Hevel and bor

My father (CC-ed, kindly use "reply to all) asked me to ask the chevrah:

According to the gemara, eg BK 50b-51a, a bor that is 10 tefachim deep
or more contains hevel which is dangerous to breathe. And even if it's
less than 10 tefachim, the air is still injurious.

My father was surprised that he couldn't find any rishonim or acharonim
who compare this to the experimental data. Not whether to dismiss it or
explain how it works -- no one seems to think it's intriguing and worth

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             When memories exceed dreams,
micha@aishdas.org        The end is near.
http://www.aishdas.org                   - Rav Moshe Sherer
Fax: (270) 514-1507      

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Message: 2
From: "Richard Wolpoe" <rabbirichwolpoe@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 2 Sep 2007 20:31:46 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Why is Milchemes Reshus allowed?

On 8/24/07, Shoshana L. Boublil <toramada@bezeqint.net> wrote:
> >From: "kennethgmiller@juno.com" <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
> >
> Until WWII, economic reasons, and not piku'ach nefesh type
> ones, were sufficient to start a war.   Just look through
> the Torah and then general history and you'll see plenty of
> occasions where kings led their people to war for economic
> reasons that included the possibility of future needs.
> Shoshana L. Boublil
Let's get something straight.  Economic reasons do not preclude  pikuach
nefesh - Witness the US Civil War!

Japan attacked the USA at Pearl harbor as a pre-emptive attack because Japan
wa sexpanding for essentially economic reasons. Japanese imperialism in
China was mostly about natural resources but it did not prevent them from
engaging in war crimes that at times exceeded the Nazis viz. Biological

The criteria I gave was not about piku'ach nefesh. It was about hostility.
It was a slam-dunk that by 1941 Japan nad the USA wer HOSTILE to each other
but not belligerent.  The mild suprpise was that Germany and Italy  declared
war on the USA a day or 2 after Pearl Harbor.

The point is any nation that is CHRONICALLY hostile  - e.g. Phillistines -
would precipitate a Milchemes Reshus in my definition.  Shiva Amim & Amaleik
have their own  Torah based criteria.  And self-defense would precipitate a

Look at Avraham and Avimelech.  ECONOMIC hiostility over precious water in
the Negev was enough reason to go to war.  If Avraham Avinu had the military
prowess of David Hamelech it is quite possible he could have gone to war.
Aftger all he battled the 4 melachim for less provocation.

The Reshus that would be verbotten imho is something like the USA annexing
Canada just to get more resources when the 2 nations have had  peace for
over a century.

Japan attacked the USA on 12/07/19441 Primarily over oil.  This is nothing
new.  Just remember that relations were strained to begin with

Kesiva vaChasima Tova
Best Wishes for 5768,
Please Visit:
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Message: 3
From: "Richard Wolpoe" <rabbirichwolpoe@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 2 Sep 2007 20:36:02 -0400
[Avodah] Nishma Insight #36: Blind in the Dark

*INSIGHT 5767 - #36  Ki Tavo*

**NB:  Reprinted with permission of the Author!

*T.B. Megilla 24b* presents a problem that Rabbi Yossi had with *Devarim
28:29* which eventually, the *gemara* informs us, this *tanna* was
eventually able to solve. Part of the *Tochecha*, the presentation of curses
(*lo aleinu*), this verse states: "And thou shalt grope at noonday, as the
blind man gropes in darkness."1 Rabbi Yossi wondered: what difference is
there, for a blind man, between light and darkness? Through an encounter he
had with a blind man, walking at night and holding a torch, he found the
answer to his question. Rabbi Yossi asked the blind man why he was carrying
a torch; the torch would seem to have no use for him. The blind man answered
that as long as he had a torch in his hand, others, who can see, would still
be able to assist him. With the comparison to a blind man groping in
darkness, the verse adds the further dimension that one will not only not be
able to help himself/herself but that one will also not be able to assist
others in helping him/her. As *Rabbi J.H. Hertz, Devarim 28:29 *explains,
the effect of the curse will be that individuals are "without a ray of light
to exhibit their distress to the compassion of men." This is indeed a tragic

*Maharsha, Megilla 24b *still finds this answer somewhat lacking in its
explanation of the language of the verse. The concern for groping at night
is, still, similar for both a blind man and a sighted individual found in
thick darkness. While Rabbi Yossi's words explain the seemingly confusing
image of a blind man holding a torch, it still doesn't explain why this
image is worse than the case of any sighted person groping in the dark
without a torch. The Maharsha explains that a sighted person is still in a
better position than a blind person for the sighted person may have a memory
of his/her surroundings from seeing them in the day. The image of a blind
man without a torch thus has a further sad message in expanding the futility
of the state described by this verse. One will not solely be lacking the
immediate tools to help oneself but also one will be lacking past
experiences upon which to build for the future.

The words of Maharsha actually are helpful in understanding the
*halachic*argument that is the basis of this
*gemara* in Megilla. There is a disagreement between the Rabbis and Rabbi
Yehuda on whether a blind person can recite the blessing of *Yotzer
Hamei'orot*, the Creator of the Lights.2 The rabbis say that he can,
applying Rabbi Yossi's explanation, for a blind person also benefits from
the light via another's vision. Rabbi Yehuda, though, says that one who was
blind since birth cannot recite this blessing for the one reciting this
blessing has to have some minimal direct knowledge of the beneficial power
of light and sight. There are many dimensions to the talents, attributes and
abilities which God has bestowed upon us. While, as a community, we can
mutually benefit from the myriad of different qualities that exist within
the group ? and, indeed, are commanded to do so?nevertheless, there is still
a distinction between the one who experiences the ability directly and one
who does not. According to the Rabbis, this distinction is not enough to
preclude any blind person from saying this blessing, for the blind
individual can still benefit from the light through the sight of another,
through the interaction of community. According to Rabbi Yehudah, the
recitation of the blessing still demands some level of direct knowledge of
the ability and the benefit. As such, one who has never experienced light
cannot say this blessing although he indirectly continuously benefits from
the existence of this ability in others. We clearly benefit from the sharing
of our individual talents with others but the reality of our distinctions,
also, cannot be lost.

These few words, "as the blind man gropes in darkness", thus offers great
insight into the dynamics of human relationships, both on the personal and
communal level. In connecting with the other, we often lose sight of the
singular nature of each individual. Those blessed with an attribute often do
not recognize the full extent of the effect of that attribute. Those in need
often do not know the full extent of their lack. The distinctions in
characteristics and abilities often can form a bar to communication. We
often feel that it is relatively easy to deal with a problem yet differences
may yield difficulties beyond what is first perceived. One thinks he/she can
solve a problem by undertaking a certain action, not recognizing that the
perceived solution will only further the underlying mechanisms beneath the
apparent problem. One thinks he/she can describe a problem and thus
communicate a need, not recognizing that differences in language will
actually only create a further bar in moving towards a solution. A grouping
is not made of similar individuals with common understandings and thus able
to fully share a knowledge of the common need and able to define the common
solution. A grouping is made of distinct individuals all with their own
personal attributes and experiences that they, ultimately, cannot fully
share with the other. The challenge of bonding is the challenge in
responding to this reality.

The blind man groping in darkness describes two weaknesses that we must
overcome. There are our personal limitations. There are also the limitations
of reality including the inability of being seen, whether emerging from
ourselves or others. In effect we are all blind; there is a bar in our
ability to truly see the world and others in their full context. We are also
all groping in darkness for there is also a bar in our ability to let others
see us, be it in the way that we communicate, or a lack of full knowledge of
our place in existence. To create a better place, we must recognize these
challenges and directly confront them and conquer them. Otherwise we will be
left to the natural consequences of our being ? which may be the greatest
curse. As we read the *Tochecha*, we should also recognize the great lesson
that God is giving us in these verses. They are not simply punishments for
wrongdoings. They reflect the natural consequences of a thoughtless life. To
avoid the pain of the curses, we must confront the challenge inherent in our
very being and determine, with careful analysis, how to overcome them.

*Rabbi Benjamin Hecht*


1 Translation from the *Koren Tanach*.

2 This blessing is the first one in the set of blessings that precede the
morning recitation of *Shema Yisrael*. The actual discussion in the
*gemara*concerns an ancient custom known as
*poreis et haShema* that allowed, in certain circumstances, for individuals
who have prayed individually, to say some of the communal prayers if they
now have a *minyan.* In concert with other prayers, this custom included the
repetition of this blessing before the *Shema*. Further on this concept, see
*Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim, chapter 69* and, specifically the words of *Rema
69:1* which states that this practice is effectively not done today.

(c) Nishma, 2007
Nishma Website <http://www.nishma.org>

Kesiva vaChasima Tova
Best Wishes for 5768,
Please Visit:
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Message: 4
From: "Richard Wolpoe" <rabbirichwolpoe@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 2 Sep 2007 20:45:00 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Mi Sheberach for a Non-Jew

On 8/29/07, Moshe Y. Gluck <mgluck@gmail.com> wrote:
> R' ZS:
> > I don't understand the whole "baavur shemispelelim baadam".  I've heard
> > it in various shuls, but it makes no sense to me.  "Baavur" is meant to
> > give Hashem, kiveyachol, a reason to do as we ask; we ask that our
> > request be fulfilled in the merit of tzedaka that we've pledged, or
> > some other mitzvah that we've done or will do.  But what are we saying
> > here? "Please do this in the merit of the fact that we asked You"?
> If Tefillah is a Mitzvah, either D'oiraisa or D'rabbanan, then the Kahal
> fulfilled that Mitzvah specifically because of the Choleh, the Zechus
> which
> should accrue to the Choleh's (spiritual) bank account.
> KT,
I 2nd this idea:
Illsutration:  Bizhus Tefillas Rav comes to mind in some versions of Birchas
Hachoedsh.  IOW the merit evoked is due to saying the Tefillah of Rav.

However, R ZS has a point. the Original Nusach of both Mishebeirach and Keil
Mole was about giving to Tzedakkah.  This comes up in the German custom of
Matnas Yad which is the pre-cursor for Yizkor.

You can circumvent the nedarim problem by stating:
Ba'avur [shemispachto or Hakahal] Yiten litzdakkah bli neder ba'avuor ....

Somehow I see this as a classic nahara nahara upashtei and all nusachos have
yeish al mi lismoch

Kesiva vaChasima Tova
Best Wishes for 5768,
Please Visit:
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Message: 5
From: "Richard Wolpoe" <rabbirichwolpoe@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 2 Sep 2007 20:51:14 -0400
Re: [Avodah] tachanun at Bris

On 8/23/07, Eli Turkel <eliturkel@gmail.com> wrote:
> Yet in my current shul, every time the situation comes up, there is a
> "shouting match" (of the friendly sort, of course) about what to do.
> About half the time we end up saying tachanun, and about half the time
> not.
> I'm curious as to where this is coming from.  Is it minhag Eretz
> Yisra'el to omit tachanun in this case?  Is it the Sefaradi minhag?
> Does it make any difference if one of the "ba`alei bris" is present?>>
> In my shul in EY we do say Tachanun in Mincha in such a case.
> We only omit it in Shacharit for all the minyanim in the shul even those
> that have nothing to do with the brit
> --
> Eli Turkel

I believe the Rema and MB discuss this openly, and I would guess that other
nosei keilim on Orach Chaim chime in, too.

Kesiva vaChasima Tova
Best Wishes for 5768,
Please Visit:
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Message: 6
From: "Moshe Y. Gluck" <mgluck@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 2 Sep 2007 22:33:17 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Printing email to read on Shabbos

R' MB:
> Is one permitted to read discussion group email on Shabbos? Or, is it a
> problem of hakhanah, since one will plan replies to be typed after
> Shabbos?
> And would it make a difference if the group is Avodah or Areivim?

IIRC, I heard from a Posek that Hachanah doesn't apply unless it LOOKS like
Hachanah. So, putting the milk back in the Fridge after Shalos Seudos is OK,
while cleaning all the Seforim off the table would not be. Extrapolating to
A/A (or L'havdil, lesser groups), I would think that the act of reading
doesn't look like Hachanah, unless one announces (or otherwise makes very
obvious), "I'm reading these so I'll be able to reply after Shabbos!"


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Message: 7
From: "Moshe Y. Gluck" <mgluck@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 2 Sep 2007 22:37:34 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Hevel and bor

R' MB (B'sheim his father):
> According to the gemara, eg BK 50b-51a, a bor that is 10 tefachim deep
> or more contains hevel which is dangerous to breathe. And even if it's
> less than 10 tefachim, the air is still injurious.
> My father was surprised that he couldn't find any rishonim or acharonim
> who compare this to the experimental data. Not whether to dismiss it or
> explain how it works -- no one seems to think it's intriguing and worth
> discussion?!

I'm afraid I don't have a Mareh Makom, but one of my High School Rebbeim
told us that (IIRC) R' Elchanan Wasserman said, "I'm learning Bava Kama for
_____ years, and I still don't understand what Havla is!"


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Message: 8
From: "Richard Wolpoe" <rabbirichwolpoe@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 3 Sep 2007 00:12:52 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Intuition - sources

On 8/23/07, Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org> wrote:
> On Sat, August 18, 2007 11:50 pm, Daniel Eidensohn wrote:
> : Any source that  "G-d wants the heart" that one should do that which
> : seems intutively correct?
> The QTYH mitzvos (*Q*edoshim tihyu, ve'asisa ha*T*ov veha*Y*ashar,
> ve*H*alakhta biderachav) presume a definition of qedushah, tov, yashar
> and derakhav that is accessible without specific instruction. Okay,
> maybe one can split-off vehalakhta diderakhav from that list. I'll
> stick to QYH.
> And, as already discussed here in the past (reference to a 2nd
> thread), "man desani lakh" is theoretically intuitive.
> But the problem is that one needs the right intuitions. Different
> people's intutions will be correct in different situations. I have
> even argued that a more authentic definition of da'as Torah (as the
> term has been used since RYS's recoinage) would be "Torah shaped
> intution" (a third discussion). Which in yet another thread (#4) I
> argued was the real basis for banning electricity on Shabbos. There is
> more consensus that it simply doesn't intuitively fit the idea of
> Shabbos than figuring out the mechanics of the issur.
> Tir'u baTov!
> -mi
Perhaps correct intuition is a product [or is it a quotient?]  of how much
preparation one has.

Lemashal, R Neubort [sp?] of Shmiras Shabbos Kehilchassa can probably
"INTUIT" a p'sak or a new policy on Shabbos just by devoting his life to the
subject w/o any specific research.  His immersion has created the critical
mass in his mind sufficient enough to bypass analytical thinking.   Levadil
it's like riding a bike once you master it or even more analgous to Mozart
composing Music or to Picasso painting a canvas..

Back to Torah: I am doing  Sefer Mitavos hakatzar and the Rosh is quoted as
eqauting buying Sefraim on Shas and poskim to k'sivas Sefer Torah.  This
kind of intuition by a novice would probably have little to no value, but
given the mastery of Shas that the Rosh had, it carries a lot of weight even
when  he does not muster specific citations to support his thesis.  It is
like Tevius Ayin, i.e. a function of experience and mastery.

The ultimate master is perhaps a Navi that can  over-ride any specific
Halachah - in a hor'as sha'ah - so long as he does not cross boundaries into
A"Z, etc.  Perhaps no single message fro mHKBH is required.  Remember Moshe
was mosif yom echad mida'ato?!  A chutzpa for the average person perhaps but
OK for Moshe to have "intuited"!

Kesiva vaChasima Tova
Best Wishes for 5768,
Please Visit:
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