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Volume 23: Number 186

Thu, 06 Sep 2007

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Arie Folger <afolger@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 6 Sep 2007 10:57:12 +0200
Re: [Avodah] Intuition - sources

On Thursday, 6. September 2007 03.38:13 avodah-request@lists.aishdas.org 
> I don't see the contradiction. Rav Moshe apparently first reacted on an
> intuitive level which was based on his Torah learning. That intution was
> supported by marshaling texts and sevoras. But the starting point was
> the intution. This apparently was also the approach of the Chasam Sofer.
> On the other hand the Tzitz Eliezar is saying that he doesn't have an
> answer until he has examined the text and based on induction and
> deductions from the text he will discover what the answer is. The psak
> concerning artificial insemination was not text based since there is in
> fact very little text on the subject. He was simply objecting to a
> talmid chochom being concerned or even noting what the goyim say.

How would you describe the Satmare Rebbe's opposition to AI in this model?

Arie Folger

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Message: 2
From: T613K@aol.com
Date: Wed, 5 Sep 2007 22:48:13 EDT
Re: [Avodah] Lifnei Iver/Kanaus

RDB writes:
> On page 297, the following appears:
>  "Question: A Bachur has a radio in his room in Yeshiva, and 
> his friend  wants to break it and pay for it. Maran HaRav 
> Shach zt"l once said that  it is allowed for a child in his 
> home to take his parents' radio and  dispose of it.
> Answer: He can break it, and not pay. I don't  know if he is 
> obligated to do so but there is an Inyan to do this.  <<
I asked a friend/neighbor of mine about this, knowing that he was very  close 
to Rav Schach, and he told me that this couldn't possibly be the whole  story 
and R' Schach couldn't have made a blanket statement that EVERYONE should  
break any radio he comes across, even if it belongs to his own parents.  He  
thinks that most likely R' Schach was asked a particular question by one  
particular person, possibly someone whose parents were in the habit of listening  to 
something genuinely immoral (radio porn?  is there such a thing?) and  that 
his answer was tailored to that individual in his particular  circumstances.  
(If he ever gave this teshuva at all, which who  knows?)
R'n CL wrote:

>>I note that Rav Henkin in Benei Banim (chelek sheni siman 47)  has a teshuva
on whether a school is permitted to take away objects from  their talmidim
and only return them after a number of days or weeks or if  they improve
their ways and he comes out very strongly against the  practice, on the
grounds that it is a violation of lo signov.   ....
....  The prime example (which
brings into focus the essence  of his teshuva) is of a student who plays with
a ball and is late for  shiur, where he holds that while he can be required
to stay late or  punished in other ways, taking away the ball, which is not
an intrinsically  assur object, is not permitted, even for a few days.<<
It seems to me that if the student handbook of that particular school  
stipulates that balls or cellphones or whatever will be confiscated if used  under 
named circumstances, then the student who knowingly breaks the rules has  
forfeited the forbidden article and has no legitimate complaint if  caught.  

--Toby  Katz

************************************** Get a sneak peek of the all-new AOL at 
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Message: 3
From: "Eli Turkel" <eliturkel@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 6 Sep 2007 10:20:21 -0700
[Avodah] intuition in halacha

<<My guess is that electricity in general is still in flux. >>

as a scientist I assume that was a pun (electrical flux is important

<<Most Halachic principles are pretty much fixed. What is new must be
  analyzed and the usual method -  is by analogy. If an incandescent
  light behaves more or less like a kerosene lamp - then by analogy it gets
  the same Halahchic properties. What happens on the molecular level is not
  quite so relevant.>>

the problem is in turning on an electric fan on shabbat. There is no obvious
that is being done - intuition and analogy don't help. Everything is on the

<<. I am also convinced that electric convection oven is 100% bishul
  both for issur Shabbos and eqaully kosher for "broiling" liver. Would any
serious poesik
think that the issur of bishul basar echalav via electricity is not a true

microwave heating is much less intuitive

  <<Given: CI posits that closing a circuit is bone;  So, Is it so that
  putting a magnet back on the Refrgerator door also bone?  Is taking a
  off Stirah?>>
RSZA has a bunch of such questions using the analogy of water in pipes in
the house.
Is opening the faucet boneh?
I personal observation is that almost no one really holds like CI but accept
it as lechatchila.

My remark was that after the original disagreement between RSZA and CI there
has been little
discussion among poskim about more modern versions of technology eg LED,
wireless, etc.
part of the problem is that most poskin dont understand the technology.
There is some
work by R. Halperin and R. Rosen from the technological institutes.

Eli Turkel
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Message: 4
From: "Eli Turkel" <eliturkel@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 6 Sep 2007 10:33:30 -0700
[Avodah] halachic intuition

<<>> Similarly concerning artificial insemination, Satmar argued that even
>> the Catholic bishop knew that it was disgusting and therefore it was
>> obviously prohibited. In response Rav Moshe (E.H. 11 page 322): "I thank
>> G-d am not from them and not from the masses. All of my hashkofa is only
>> from my knowledge of Torah without any contamination from external
>> ideas. The Torah's judgments are true whether they are harsh or
>> lenient. The ideas from alien hashkofa or those which spontaneously
>> appear in a man's heart are all of no significance - even if they are to
>> be conservative and strict. It is simply a false illusion to view these
>> alien ideas as being more pure and holy...">>

RAL has an extensive article on the existence of basic morality outside of
the Torah. There is a story about RMF that he was joined by a talmid to
charity and insisted on paying the talmid's travel expenses. The talmid was
happy but told RMF that this must be based on SA. RMF answered that it is
not - it is based on what is the right thing to do.

On a more fundamental I disagree with the SR that there is such a concept
as "knowledge of Torah without any contamination from external ideas".
Different poskim take the same gemara and come to opposite conclusions
based on their own inner feelings or background.

One of my favorite examples is the question whether one can take a sefer
Torah outside of shul for dancing (this is common in EY for hakafot shniyot
on the night after simchat torah).
One posek allowed it because it is kavod haTorah for everyone to dance with
the Torah. Another posek prohibited because it was a chillul haTorah for
everyone without any control to dance with the sefer Torah.
Thus, both agree that one can take out the sefer Torah if it is for Kavod
What is kavod HaTorah is now a subjective decision.

On more serious issues it is impossible to define what is a Torah thought
and what
is an alien idea. Is a psak of Rambam alien because he learned Greek

Eli Turkel
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Message: 5
From: Yonatan Kaganoff <ykaganoff@yahoo.com>
Date: Thu, 6 Sep 2007 11:12:27 -0700 (PDT)
[Avodah] Davening for one's enemy

Other than the famous story in Gemara Brachos involving Rav Meir and Bruriah, does anyone know of any sources about davening for one's enemies?  Or davening for someone whom you resent, are angry against, or dislike?
  Thank you.
  Yonatan Kaganoff

Fussy? Opinionated? Impossible to please? Perfect.  Join Yahoo!'s user panel and lay it on us.
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Message: 6
From: "Mike Miller" <avodah@mikeage.net>
Date: Thu, 6 Sep 2007 17:37:08 +0300
Re: [Avodah] Lifnei Iver/Kanaus

On 9/6/07, T613K@aol.com <T613K@aol.com> wrote:
> It seems to me that if the student handbook of that particular school
> stipulates that balls or cellphones or whatever will be confiscated if used
> under named circumstances, then the student who knowingly breaks the rules
> has forfeited the forbidden article and has no legitimate complaint if
> caught.

What about "asmachta"?

Is it possible that the student (or possibly parent, depending on the
age and actual owner of the device (more likely for a cellphone than a
ball)) assumes that the handbook is not really relevent? After all,
many of these takanons often contain many statements that are
blatently ignored by both students and staff, suggesting a widespread
disregard for the formal rules.

Furthermore, many times, not all of these criteria are available at
the time the student joins the school. Similar to the "click-through"
EULAs; how can I be bound to something that I can't see? Can the
school really say "you agree to follow all the rules, even those which
you don't know about it"? What about language such as "we reserve the
right to change the terms at any time with no prior notice"?

My hunch would be that in such case, a student would have the right to
demand that his ball or phone remain his. Of course, it's possible
that the school could then expel him; but I'm not sure if there are
valid grounds for physical taking a student's possesion.

Of course, if the child is under bar (or bas, but somehow I assume
this affects boys more <g>) mitzva, then the question has to be asked
of the parents.

-- Mike Miller
Ramat Bet Shemesh

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Message: 7
From: "Doron Beckerman" <beck072@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 6 Sep 2007 08:29:34 -0700
[Avodah] lifnei iver/kanaus

RnCL writes:

>>Rav Henkin rejects this argument in the teshuva immediately following
(siman 48 of Chelek Sheni of Benei Banim) (clearly his correspondent had
responded to this effect) holding that in his view the one has nothing
to do with the other.  Starting from the language of the Torah (where
the one prohibition is phrased as lo signov stam, while the other is pen
yosif) and working through the various sources that discuss hitting a
talmid, he holds that while striking a talmid is mutar m'dina and its
justification, when done appropriately, can be found throughout the
sources, the taking of property has no source to permit (and he deems it
noteworthy that wherever the permission to strike a talmid is brought
down in the various sources, this is not anywhere coupled with a comment
that the halacha of lo signov can as a kal v'chomer be waived). <<

So if I were to ask R' Henkin, in a situation of a Rodef, where I have a
choice of either blinding him (Chavalah) or taking his money Al Menas
LeHachazir, to save the Nirdaf, that these are equally good options? Or,
based on the Pen Yosif/Lo Signov distinction, that it is better to blind
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Message: 8
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 6 Sep 2007 17:16:49 -0400 (EDT)
Re: [Avodah] Time and Emunah

On Sun, August 5, 2007 7:55 pm, Moshe Y. Gluck wrote:
:>From http://discovermagazine.com/2007/jun/in-no-time:
: "Efforts to understand time below the Planck scale have led to an
: exceedingly strange juncture in physics. The problem, in brief, is
: that time may not exist at the most fundamental level of physical
: reality....
: "The trouble with time started a century ago, when Einstein's special
: and general theories of relativity demolished the idea of time as a
: universal constant. One consequence is that the past, present, and
: future are not absolutes."

To my mind, time is a fundamental feature for machashavah. Without
time, there is no discussion of causality, and thus the meaning of
bechirah chafshi becomes suspect. How can we speak of the consequences
of our actions?

Taking a step back to explain the science as I understand it (given
that I haven't taken courses in this stuff in 2 decades, and have kept
up on a Scientific American level)....

In Quantum Mechanics we find that everything in the universe comes in
quanta, in tiny indivisible packets. Eg: Light comes in photons, and
there is no such thing as a half a photon of light. According to
relativity, matter-energy is a product of the geometry of space.
Curved space is what we call mass, and energy is just mass. Therefore,
if we're to combine the two, we would be forced to conclude that even
space and time come in quanta. There is a smallest length and a
smallest duration of time. The universe really comes in pixels.

Right now there are competing ideas of how to combine them. At face
value, they contradict. Both theories work extremely well in their own
domains -- relativity and QM have each stood up to more experimental
evidence without fail than any other theory in history. Relativity
explains the very big and very fast, QM has explained the very small.
But where they intersect, very small units of gravity, space and time,
we get different answers. And yet, we can use quantum effects in our
transistors, throw a bunch of them in a chip, and use them to compute
the relativistic effects of satellites in orbit and it all works to
produce a GPS receiver. The expectation is, therefore, that both are
fundamentally right, there is only a minor lack of understanding on
our part that creates an illusory contradiction in a corner case that
neither was designed for.

(Going off on a tangent: This is useful metaphor for questions of
science and Torah. Science explains how the world works, Torah, to
provide meaning, purpose and values. The expectation when dealing with
historical claims that they seem to contradict on is that that both
are fundamentally right, there is only a minor lack of understanding
on our part that creates an illusory contradiction in a corner case
that neither was designed for. If scientists can live with a
contradiction and engineers can use the data to design devices, why
can't we simply shelve our question without having a crisis of faith?)

But one result that seems to be necessary for any combination of the
two theories is the Wheeler - deWitt equation. It turns out that once
you get to time on the scale where QM says statistics dominate, which
would be the quanta of time and space in any combined theory, there is
no difference between the directions of space, and the direction we
call time. The equation describes the evolution of the state of the
universe as a 4D object, with no difference between time and space.

This is then the first question of time: Why is it, then, that time
actually is different once you get to larger scales? Some actually try
to show that it all just arbitrary that we plug t into all of our
formula as a parameter. That time isn't different in reality, we just
view the world that way. This really just shifts the question, since
we would still need to explain why the we view the direction we call
time differently than the other 3 directions if all are really

The second is that even with t as a parameter, IOW, we accept the
appearance -- processes really do unfold over time, why does time have
a particular arrow? The formula work whether we plug in t or negative
t. There is no reason why time has a universal past and future. How
does past differ from future? And to add a psychological component:
why do we perceive that as a flow?

Now, stepping back to the topic at hand...

It seems that time in our mesorah, though, is fundamentally
non-relativistic. Since Einstein, space-time is recognized to be one
thing. And in fact, the difference between space and time depends on
which direction in this four-dimensional space one faces in a manner
that "direction" changes depending upon one's speed.

However, we have a universal minhag to say qaddish for 11 months based
on the notion that the niftar, if he is not a rasha, spends a maximum
of that time in gehenom. Note that the niftar is outside of space, but
is assumed to still experience time, and not only that, but time
roughly the same as someone moving at usual speeds in relation to the
surface of planet earth.

However, the existence of time need not be as an external reality. The
notion that time is a product of human perception of that reality
would be sufficient to support bechirah. And WRT what I called the
second question of time, that of its flow from past to future, REED
says just that -- that it's a product of our perceptions as shaped by
the eitz hada'as. See MmE vol II pp 150-154, the discussion at v14n11-
n67, or just cheat and get my summary of the ma'amar as per the end of
the discussion, at <http://tinyurl.com/3bqnjs>.

IOW, it's not important whether our bodies experience time as we
perceive it. What the Torah discusses is the perception, time as part
of a soul's existence.

Besides that, I think causality is as an objective part of nature as
nature itself is. Just that it is hiding in something most physicists
take for granted -- the boundary conditions necessary for solving
their equations. Algebraic formula that can be solved are solved given
only the formula. But differential equations describe derivatives, how
one value changes when you change another. They require boundary
conditions in addition to the formula. You can't map change to reality
without knowing what it is that is changing.

When two systems interact for a short period of time, that interaction
defines the boundary condition for their evolution AFTER the
interaction, but not before.

The formula for waves work whether you go forward or backward in time
-- you can trace waves back to the beginning. However, they are
differential equations, which means that to know what the water looks
like, you need boundary conditions. The waves on a pond are identical
whether or not we later decide to skip a rock across it. The moment of
interaction, the rock hitting the water, is only a boundary condition
for the waves /after/ the collision.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Spirituality is like a bird: if you tighten
micha@aishdas.org        your grip on it, it chokes; slacken your
http://www.aishdas.org   and it flies away.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                            - Rav Yisrael Salanter

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Message: 9
From: "Richard Wolpoe" <rabbirichwolpoe@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 6 Sep 2007 15:31:14 -0400
Re: [Avodah] halachic intuition

On 9/6/07, Eli Turkel <eliturkel@gmail.com> wrote:
> . RMF answered that it is not - it is based on what is the right thing to
> do.
> --
> Eli Turkel

In support of this we were taught in Yeshiva that the 5th chelek of Shulchan
Aruch is Sechel.

Consider the story with [Beis haLevi or was it his son R.Chaim Brisker] and
the sh'eilah re: milk for 4 cossos.   By reading between the lines he saw
that meat was needed for that seder, too.  W/O such sechel, halacha could
be  compromised - naval birshus haTorah perhaps?

Lich'ora this is based upon a kind of intuition. I call it "GESTALT
intution" - i.e an intuition based upon an informed persona that is steeped
in the classic sources.

A total ignoramus may have intution. The question there is THAT intuition
trustworthy?  At best it is trustworthy for THAT individual.  Intuition hat
is trusted by others should be aisi a function of mastery of Torah

Kesiva vaChasima Tova
Best Wishes for 5768,
Please Visit:
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Message: 10
From: "Richard Wolpoe" <rabbirichwolpoe@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 6 Sep 2007 15:09:23 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Davening for one's enemy

On 9/6/07, Yonatan Kaganoff <ykaganoff@yahoo.com> wrote:
> Other than the famous story in *Gemara Brachos* involving Rav Meir and
> Bruriah, does anyone know of any sources about *davening *for one's
> enemies?  Or *davening *for someone whom you resent, are angry against, or
> dislike?
> Thank you.
> Yonatan Kaganoff

There are 2 cases in Tanach that are loosely similar tho' by no means a
perfect analogy:

   1. Moshe pleaded to HKBH on behalf of Am Yisrael after the Egel
   Masecha * then proceeded to give them strong mussar...
   2. Similarly, Shmuel pleaded to HKBH on behalf of Sha'ul Hamelech
   after Milchmes Amaleik all night long and then proceeded to give him strong

Kesiva vaChasima Tova
Best Wishes for 5768,
Please Visit:
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