Avodah Mailing List

Volume 24: Number 40

Fri, 02 Nov 2007

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 1 Nov 2007 19:02:10 -0400 (EDT)
Re: [Avodah] Did Someone Forget Eilu v'eilu?

On Wed, October 31, 2007 8:49 pm, Yitzhak Grossman wrote:
:> What would Ralbag do with the Mishna in Avos (5:8) that says the Pi
:> HaAson was created Erev Shabbos?

: That's exactly the point; he rejects that Mishnah!  Here is the
: beginning of his remarks (Bamidbar 22:21)...
: Note that this is not your typical peshat / derush dichotomy; Ralbag
: is not rejecting Hazal's opinion based on the written text, but is
: rather maintaining that it is philosophically untenable *on its own
: terms*.

There is a reason why the Maharal's introduction to Gevuros Hashem
takes the Ralbag to task with how tightly he embraces philosophy. In
that case, it was his rejection of the notion that nissim could defy

I would be unsurprised if conteporary O Jews take for granted things
that the Maharal did, and the chevrah respond to the Ralbag with
surprise. There are a number of baalei machashavah the RY of the 20th
century emphasized: the Kuzari, the Maharal, the Ramchal and REED seem
to top the list.

SheTir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             One who kills his inclination is as though he
micha@aishdas.org        brought an offering. But to bring an offering,
http://www.aishdas.org   you must know where to slaughter and what
Fax: (270) 514-1507      parts to offer.        - R' Simcha Zissel Ziv

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Message: 2
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 1 Nov 2007 19:07:40 -0400 (EDT)
Re: [Avodah] collective punishment

On Sat, October 27, 2007 5:58 pm, R Eli Turkel wrote:
: We have previously discussed the destruction of Amalek which implies
: collective punishment....

If the destruction is an onesh, yes.

RAL suggests that Sha'ul lost the melkhah not so much for saving Agag
directly. Rather, he was obligated to fully exterminate Amaleiq. By
killing everyone but Agag, Sha'ul haMelekh didn't fulfil the mitzvah
-- which then turns the killing into genocide rather than mitzvah.

This line of reasoning presumes that there is no advantage to killing
some of Amaleiq, which in turn does not seem consistent with the
notion of it being a punishment.

Timkheh es zeikher Amaleiq implies that the problem is having anything
that makes us think of them and their values. The focus on us, and how
having them around will affect us. I could see constructing from this
a taam hamitzvah that has nothing to do with what they deserve.

SheTir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             One who kills his inclination is as though he
micha@aishdas.org        brought an offering. But to bring an offering,
http://www.aishdas.org   you must know where to slaughter and what
Fax: (270) 514-1507      parts to offer.        - R' Simcha Zissel Ziv

Go to top.

Message: 3
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 1 Nov 2007 19:26:12 -0400 (EDT)
Re: [Avodah] Birkat Kohanim

On Sun, October 28, 2007 5:54 pm, Richard Wolberg wrote:
:> In both cases Hashem created something and let it obey rules that
:> allow harm to come to people.
: That certainly cannot be denied; however, there are miracles and
: exceptions, if and when HaShem wishes to employ them - many times far
: beyond our comprehension.

In bayis rishon, this miracle was daily. How is asking it to be defied
substansively different than asking the law of nature by which people
die from some poison to be defied.

My point was more that G-d inheres in nature no less than in the
supernatural. Lehefekh... getting the world to run according to a plan
is a far greater display of His Greatness. But we tend to ignore
those. So He is more "there", He is doing something greater to impact
that moment, but less visibly so.

Jumping ahead to another part of your email on this topic:
:> I disagree with your point. Poison /is/ equally "with Hashem."

: I cannot see how you can equate the two. HaShem made the poison
: available,
: just as HaShem created "evil" - Yotzer or uvoreh hara.  Chazal changed
: the
: word RA to HAKOL for the very reason that Hara is /NOT/ equally "with
: HaShem." Likewise Poison is /NOT/ equally with HaShem.

Hashem made the light available, and one can choose whether or not to
look at it.

Chazal changed ra to hakol because people can't have kavanah if they
are asked to praise Hashem for creating ra. But the navi didn't err...
the word should be "ra" -- this is just a euphamism, not disagreement.

Evil is a vacuum that wasn't yet filled with tov. By parallel (drawn
by the Ri ben Yaqar and Avudraham) to the first part of the pasuq --
"uvorei choshekh", beri'ah in this verse refers to making a hole to
fill. It's therefore hard to say G-d is with evil, what is "with

The poison and light are things, things that serve a purpose that
justify their hazards (or perhaps because H' specifically wants us to
avoid their hazards).

Skipping back and going to the other topic:
:> You err in your description of the tannaim. Hillel and Shammai rarely
:> disagreed. It was batei Hillel veShammai who had all the machloqesin.

: If you are saying that the machloqesin were initiated and generated by
: the batei Hillel and Shammai, it seems you are putting a negative take
: on it.

Not I, the gemara. The gemara says that machloqesin proliferated in
Israel when they weren't sufficiently meshamshin their respective

: What happened to eilu v'eilu....

As the Maharal models it (to stay consistent with other threads; I
have a more survey treatement based on earlier Avodah threads on my
blog), it means that both are modeling the same Supernal Truth, the
same Divrei E-lokim Chaim.

With the reduction of the generations, the models capture less and
less complete pictures.

With the loss of Hillel and Shammai, the students lost much of the art
of balancing or finding a synthesis from chessed and din, and that
therefore shows in the quality of their modeling. The pair of models
that each captures less will be more likely to contradict.

: Secondly, even if it were the batei who had
: them, they nevertheless reflected their respective Rebbie....

As I wrote, the Maharal says on Avos that this lack of shimush means
they captured their rebbe's *job*, and didn't get to his essence. And
so the students of the nasi, whose job was to order society, picked up
on his chessed, and the students of the av beis din picked up on the
din. But the teachers had a healthier balance of both, and therefore
were less prone to machloqes.

: Thirdly, I
: thought is was an accepted fact that Hillel treated people much more
: kindly than Shammai. Two cases in point: the goy who asked to learn
: the Torah al regel achas and the bride on her wedding day who Shammai
: said was ugly and Hillel said was beautiful.

This fits knowing their jobs.

BTW, Shammai says that one should praise a bride truthfully, and
Hillel says to praise her to the skies. The question lehalakhah,
beyond the wedding hall, that is discussed by rishonim is whether
Hillel is advocating tactful lying, or it he permitting one to
describe the kalah to the chasan the way the chasan sees her.

One would hope that to any chasan at his wedding, he looks in her eyes
and sees a kallah na'ah vechasudah.

: _______________________________________________
: Avodah mailing list
: Avodah@lists.aishdas.org
: http://lists.aishdas.org/listinfo.cgi/avodah-aishdas.org

SheTir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             One who kills his inclination is as though he
micha@aishdas.org        brought an offering. But to bring an offering,
http://www.aishdas.org   you must know where to slaughter and what
Fax: (270) 514-1507      parts to offer.        - R' Simcha Zissel Ziv

Go to top.

Message: 4
From: "Sholom Simon" <sholom@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 1 Nov 2007 20:48:31 -0400 (EDT)
[Avodah] V'sein Tal Umatar

> yonah sears wrote:
>> So, does anyone know why we wait to say V'sein Tal Umatar (which I
>> always
>> understood to be so that the olei regel could get home before the rain
>> starts), but we don't switch to V'sein Brocha until they've already been
>> oleh regel for Pesach? Shouldn't we back up the switch before the
>> travelers
>> set out?

I have a vague recollection (which is always dangerous, but as nobody else
has answered it yet...) that it goes something like this:

1.  After Sukkos in autumn, we wait (as you suggested) for the olei regel
to get home.

2.  But we do not do so in the spring, because it'd be inappropriate to
call for a halt (or, to do so by omission?) to the rain.

What's the difference?  To call for a delay in a rain that hasn't come
(autumn) isn't as bad as asking it to stop (prematurely) once it has
started (spring).

It ought to be in the beginning (1st 10 dafim) of Ta'anis, (and that's
where I thought I remembered it) but I took a look this evening and
couldn't find it.

Caveat lector.

-- Sholom

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Message: 5
From: "Richard Wolpoe" <rabbirichwolpoe@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 1 Nov 2007 22:53:50 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Subject: Re: Shabbas he mi lezok (added 4th

On 11/1/07, RallisW@aol.com <RallisW@aol.com> wrote:
>  I think this just shows how accommodating the rabbonim throughout the
> generations, have been to the k'lal.
> 2) The recitation of Yizkor on the last days of Yom Tov. How many people
> would attend davening if there were no Yizkor the eighth day of Pesach for
> example?

And my friend Rabbi ABC would say that O Rabbis are de facto practicing C or
RECON Judaism by ignoring Halachah and giving in to communal "necessities!

3) The recitation of kaddish after Oleinu, or the recitation of Oleinu
> itself, after Kiddush Levono [Bris Miloh]. The recital of tehillim just to
> follow them with a kaddish sometimes to access IMHO [Mizmor Shir Chanukas
> HaBayis L'Dovid?].

Kaddish after Aleinu [after shir Hakavod] could use its own thread.

The usual structure is
Kaddish Yehei Shlamah after Mikra
Kaddish Derabbnan after TSBP

Aleinu and Shir Hakavod do not fit into any of the above, but the 33
pesukkim beginning with al Tiroh might work instead of a chapter of Tehillim

Kol Tuv / Best Regards,
Please Visit:
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Message: 6
From: "Richard Wolpoe" <rabbirichwolpoe@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 1 Nov 2007 23:19:00 -0400
[Avodah] Societal Needs vs.Self-Perfectin was re: Religion

On 10/23/07, Richard Wolpoe <rabbirichwolpoe@gmail.com> wrote:
> On 10/23/07, David Riceman <driceman@att.net> wrote:
> >
> > Richard Wolpoe wrote:
> >
> > > The Torah is not about SELF-PERFECTION but creating SOCIETAL
> > > perfection, i.e a mamlehces kohanim
> > So would you find that hypothetical survey convincing? Incidentally, if
> > that's the function of the Torah, wouldn't we be better off dismissing
> > all failed Jews from the clan?
See Sanhedrin Mishna 9:5 [recnet Mishna yomis]
The only missas beis  din that warrents Kippa due to flawed testimony is
"horeg nefesh"

Kehatti Citing Talmud: Only horgei Nefesh get kippah that even though that
there are avieros hamuros than Shefichus damim, neverthless they do not
entail haschasa yishuvo shel olam"

[which avieros hamuros? maybe AZ in private. No kippah for that[

Thus we see that the singular point is to enforce Yishuvo shel olam and to
counter hash'chassas yishuva ehshel olam..  This dovetails with parshas
no'ach -  ki mol'ah ho'oretz hamas - is fatal.  Dor haflagah - challening
HKBH while having a co-operative society- is FLAWED but NOT fatally flawed.

The AZ of Ach'av did not prevent his military succes. Why? No lashon horin
during his reign! While OTOH Bayis shsheini was filled wtih Torah-True Jews
and the Bayis was destroyed becasue of Sin'as Hinam.

Anyone who reads the plain Peshat of Mikra in Yisro, Misphatim, kedoshim
will see that the Torah is primarily convcerned with a just society not
about self-perfection. Self-perfection is nice of course but is mainly for
y'chidei segulah not necessary for the society at large. The important thing
for a society are concepts like:

   - Shiftu Yassom,. rivu Almanah.
   - Tzedek Tzedek tirdof
   - Betzedek Tishpot Amisecha

Coarse/Crude people can still contribute to a society at large as long as
their behavior is not essentially anti-social

Hnistaros Lashem Elokeinu, v'haniglos lanu ulevaneinu...

Let individuals wrestle with HKBH self-perfection Torah as a Bris as a
covenatn is about the public welfare, both the spiritual and material.  Even
hillul Sahbbos is qualitatively different b'tzin'a vs. b'farhesyah, because
after all b'tzin'a  there is no public hashchassah.


Kol Tuv / Best Regards,
Please Visit:
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Message: 7
From: "Richard Wolpoe" <rabbirichwolpoe@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 1 Nov 2007 23:22:48 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Minhag Yisroel

On 11/1/07, Rich, Joel <JRich@sibson.com> wrote:
> The Ramban there says that we deduce from this pasuk that a king
> b'yisroel or sanhedrin gedola in the presence of all Israel who has the
> authority to institute judgments, if they declare something cherem, one
> who violates this is guilty of death. And, according to the Chatam Sofer
> in teshuva 208 of Orech Chaim, this is because the mechanism that gives
> this authority, which then operated to give the authority to the later
> statement by Yehoshua that anybody who transgresses his command shall be
> put to death (which can't be the primary source as it is from Nach) is
> found in this pasuk as follows:  All of Yisroel said to Yehoshua that
> whoever transgresses your command shall be put to death, thus creating a
> cherem from the Torah which, based on this pasuk, makes the transgressor
> liable from the Torah to be put to death.
> Chana
> _______________________________________________

So what is the status of Cherem de Rabbeinu Gershom?  Is it a PRIVATE Cherem
or a public Cherem albeit not as authoritative as it would have been in the
presence of a Sanhedrin?

Kol Tuv / Best Regards,
Please Visit:
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Message: 8
From: "Richard Wolpoe" <rabbirichwolpoe@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 2 Nov 2007 00:00:45 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Alleged story about the SM"A

On 10/31/07, Kelmar, Michael J. <MKelmar2@monlife.com> wrote:
> Rabbi Richard Wolpe wrote: "Since the Sma was dead 7 years before the
> Shach was born it would take someone from the extreme NON-HISTORICAL
> school to buy into the above story!"
> Clearly, the SM"A could have taken on the shita that later would become
> known as the Shach's shita, even before the Shach's birth.
> _______________________________________________

Absolutely possible.

Recently, I posted that Yehoshua's belligerence by saying "adoni Moshe
k'lo'eim showed us why Moshe Rabbeinu selectedhim to be the general against
Amaleik. Off-list, it was pointed out to me that this is after all
anachronistic I am giving a reason WHY after the event . What I meant to
post  was that Yeshosua's character traits as identified by the torah in a
later story were probably manifest earlier, hecce Moshe selected him.

Simimlarly, the Schachh's Shita could have been manifested earlier by
another poseik!  However, the story as it has been presented is indeed
anachronistic.  And if the story has been told about Shach and SMA it should
iether be fixed to say an earlier rabbiro  or the anachronism noted.
Otherwise people might flasely assumet he Shach was earlier or the SAM was
later. The SMA was from the VERY earlier commentaries on the SA and his MAIN
work d'risha/perisha [actually beis yisroel!] is fundamental to learning the
Tur. The Shach was a full generation or 2 later.

Kol Tuv / Best Regards,
Please Visit:
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Message: 9
From: "Richard Wolpoe" <rabbirichwolpoe@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 2 Nov 2007 00:29:57 -0400
[Avodah] More on The Proverbial "Fig Leaf" - Is This About

Recently I posted re: using the Torah as a Proverbial Fig Leaf:

> See: NismaBlog
> Post: The Proverbial "Fig Leaf" - Is This Torah Hi - v'Llilmod Ani
> Tzarich?
> Link:
> http://nishmablog.blogspot.com/2007/10/proverbial-fig-leaf-is-this-torah-hi.html
> <http://nishmablog.blogspot.com/2007/10/proverbial-fig-leaf-is-this-torah-hi.html>
The point of the above posting was to make what I thought was a patently
obvious point: , to whit people can use the Torah to cover-up their true
inner desire - in this case voyeurism.

But the article itself was a fig leaf. I was not out to pander by using a
titillating subject! Aderabba-  Au contraire!  I was trying to make a subtle
point by hammering everyone over the head with a blatant point.

The blatant point is that some take advantage of Torah texts for satisfying
their yetzer horo - in this case libido.

But what about OTHER uses of Torah as a fig leaf?

How about the following:

   1. Those who use Torah to gain POWER or AUTHORITY over others?
   2. Those  who use Torah to satisfy their drive to argue [I am guilty
   as charged your honour!]
   3. Those who use Torah as a  divisive toll to split communities.  [I
   pray I am not guilty of this one, too]
   4. And finally - perhaps the most egregious to me - Those who use
   Torah to engage in character assassination. [is in the spirit of 'hetz
   shachut leshonom"]  Their tongues [or keyboards] are used to engage in
   attacking people personally -all in the name of Torah! And they are REALLY
   using the Torah as a Fig Leaf to hide their nefarious designs!?

Without the use of my first posting these 4 points were difficult to make.
So I did a slight of hand and used a fig leaf posting to cover my true
intentions!  Are people [ab]using Torah to get AT people? And if so, what
can be done about it?
Kol Tuv / Best Regards,
Please Visit:
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Message: 10
From: T613K@aol.com
Date: Fri, 2 Nov 2007 00:47:44 EDT
Re: [Avodah] women learning Torah

You know how a malach comes when you're born and pinches your upper  lip to 
make you forget all the Torah you learned in the womb?
What I want to know is, do women also learn Torah in the womb? Do the  
malachim that teach boys Torah before they're born also teach girls, and do  they 
teach them the same things?  If girls don't learn Torah before they're  born, 
why do they have a pinch under their noses?  And if they /do/ learn  Torah 
before they're born -- /why/ do they?  Boys learn Torah before  they're born so 
that when they learn Torah again, it will be a review and thus  easier to learn.  
But girls?

--Toby  Katz

************************************** See what's new at http://www.aol.com
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