Avodah Mailing List

Volume 24: Number 68

Wed, 21 Nov 2007

< Previous Next >
Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: "Richard Wolberg" <cantorwolberg@cox.net>
Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2007 22:58:19 -0500
[Avodah] Proofs of God

Shkoiach to Eli Turkel who wrote:

Bottom line: I think Judaism, Torah, and religion in general would

be better off admitting that we really do not understand how God works

rather than parading around our speculations about God and claiming

them as Dogma.  There is a certain hubris from people that claim God

wants THIS or God wants THAT. How do they know? Did they receive a

prophecy?  I can quote Torah or Nevi'im and say that God has expressed

Himself in a given verse as demanding X but I cannot say for sure that

given the complexity of a particular situation that God wants any

specific action.


I totally concur and think that these are words of insight, sensitivity and
wisdom. Extremists in any group speak for God, have a direct line to Him and
parade around what they "KNOW" and claim as dogma, irrespective of anything
or anyone. Aside from some of our own, very good examples of this are the
Evangelicals and the radical Muslims. It's hard enough to interpret - let
alone, pontificate. 


Kol tuv/Best regards


-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lists.aishdas.org/private.cgi/avodah-aishdas.org/attachments/20071120/44e8a7a0/attachment.htm 

Go to top.

Message: 2
From: "Richard Wolpoe" <rabbirichwolpoe@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2007 23:00:54 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Torah Metaphors and Science - Kanfei Nesharim

On Nov 20, 2007 5:34 PM, Zev Sero <zev@sero.name> wrote:

> Richard Wolpoe wrote:
> > Given:  the Torah uses the image of "vo'eso eschem al kanfei
> nesharim..."
> > Translation: I will lift you up by the wings of eagles and bring you to
> > me...
> Vo'eso is past tense.  "I carried you on eagles' [or griffon vultures']
> wings, and brought you to Me."  It's about Yetzias Mitzrayim, not about
> the future redemption.

good catch

>  And Yetzias Mitzrayim did not involve air travel
> of any sort, avionic or avian, natural or miraculous.  Thus the "kanfei
> nesharim" *must* be understood metaphorically, as Rashi does

Indeed, we can see that a difficulty in taking a phrase literalyl can caus
us to look at it metaphoricall which is my point

My follow up question - do we punt to Metaphor allegory ONLY  when we MSUT
or even if it simply makes a lot more sense?  IOW, how far must we be pushed
to abandon a literal read?

> -
> > Questions:
> >    7. Are we actually progressing in seeing the Torah as more rational ?
> >       [think of Rav Sa'adyah Gaon!]
> Ironically, it's RSG who associates this passuk with kibbutz galiyot
> rather than the Mashiach himself (http://www.aharit.com/C-08.html)

> --
> Zev Sero

My point was that R. S. Gaon posits that progressively over time more
mitzvos will be unerstood rationaly [sichliyos] unil they all will be

The question: likewise - can parhsanus be improved over time with a greater
understanding of technology etc.?

Kol Tuv / Best Regards,
Please Visit:
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lists.aishdas.org/private.cgi/avodah-aishdas.org/attachments/20071120/ef05c1e9/attachment.html 

Go to top.

Message: 3
From: "Richard Wolpoe" <rabbirichwolpoe@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2007 23:06:11 -0500
[Avodah] Fwd: Vayeitze "Watch Whom You Marry"

On Nov 13, 2007 6:25 PM, Liron Kopinsky <liron.kopinsky@gmail.com> wrote:

> Lurker piping in here for a second.
> 2) It has always bothered me how Rashi could say that Ya'akov kept Taryag
> Mitzvot when we know explicitly that he didn't by marrying Rachel.
> Kol Tuv,
> ~Liron Kopinsky
> While I was in Yeshivas Ner Israel it was explained to me that the Avos
did not LITERALLY keep Taryag, but they DID keep the principles BEHIND the

This is congruent with the notion that the mitzvos as WE know them are not
THE intrinsic Torah and  could be suspended in Yemos Hamashiach.

But behind the revelaed "nigleh"  Torah there IS an intrinsic "nistar" Torah
that IS immutable
Kol Tuv / Best Regards,
Please Visit:
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lists.aishdas.org/private.cgi/avodah-aishdas.org/attachments/20071120/361e7044/attachment.htm 

Go to top.

Message: 4
From: "Richard Wolberg" <cantorwolberg@cox.net>
Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2007 23:08:34 -0500
[Avodah] Proofs of God

Daniel Eidensohn wrote:

When a person has a calamity happen to him he should not think that it was
just by chance.


So tell me: What should a rasha think when good things happen to him?  And
what should've Hitler (y'mak sh'mo) thought when he was saved from a bomb
attempt on his life?


It's amazing how people don't recognize the error and danger of gross
oversimplifications. Black and white is fine when it comes to math, but
we're dealing with something far more complex than math or science.


Kol tuv/Best regards,


-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lists.aishdas.org/private.cgi/avodah-aishdas.org/attachments/20071120/f487bb60/attachment.html 

Go to top.

Message: 5
From: "SBA" <sba@sba2.com>
Date: Wed, 21 Nov 2007 16:52:26 +1100
[Avodah] [Areivim] Fwd: Vayetze: *Vayishkav Ya'akov bamakom

From: "Richard Wolpoe" < >
The speak .. stated [as per Rashi who quotes the Midrash Rabbah] that
*Vayishkav Ya'akov bamakom hahu* meant Ya'akov had not slept his entire 14
years at Yeshivas Sheim vo'ever.  I corrected the speaker later on, in
private. I explained that Rashi/Midrash meant he had not "LIED DOWN to
sleep" not that in fact had never slept!  The implication is quite far
different.  Never sleeping for x number of days is an impossibility as per
the Gmara re: Nedarim.  OTOH, not lying down for a period of time merely
presents Ya'akov as an aesthetic not as a magician!

The CS writes exactly that (in the 5-vol CS al-hTorah p.138).
Yaakov slept but without stretching himself out ("meloy komosoy"). 
However here - being Har Hamoriah ".rotzoh lishkov meloy komas Yitzchok -
shene'ekad shom"


Go to top.

Message: 6
From: "kennethgmiller@juno.com" <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
Date: Wed, 21 Nov 2007 06:12:09 GMT
Re: [Avodah] Borchu UVoruch Shemo between Borchu and Shmono

Regarding the tefilos said by the gabbai before laining, R' Richard Wolberg commented:
> I don't recall anyone ever answering omein and never
> really gave it a second thought. It's almost as if
> it's the ba'al koreh's private omein.

R' RallisW objected:
> That would be true if the sentence didn't end with
> "V'Nomar Omein."

Please note that we have almost the same phrase - "V'Imru Amen" - at the end of Oseh Shalom in both the silent Shmoneh Esreh and in Birkas Hamazon.

It seems that a private amen can indeed follow a plural verb. In fact, one could argue that the gabbai's "v'nomar" is merely a case of the "royal We", whereas "v'imru" is more clearly directed to others.

Akiva Miller

Go to top.

Message: 7
From: "Moshe Y. Gluck" <mgluck@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 21 Nov 2007 01:21:48 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Torah Metaphors and Science - Kanfei Nesharim

R' Rich Wolpoe:
Given:? the Torah uses the image of "vo'eso eschem al kanfei nesharim..."
Translation: I will lift you up by the wings of eagles and bring you to
<Snipped for brevity>

Similar questions apply, IMHO, to Timros Ashan, which I have heard
translated as "palm-shaped smoke clouds" (mushroom clouds).


Go to top.

Message: 8
From: "Rich, Joel" <JRich@sibson.com>
Date: Wed, 21 Nov 2007 05:28:13 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Neglected Amens



In this case a Shatz should be  MINDFUL, take a relaxing breath
[creating a breif pause], be zahir to give a reasonable amount of time
for the tzibbur to respond Amein, and then calmly proceed to say MODIM!

While an anxious hazzan would not be mindful of the above!

some have the practice of saying modim anachnu lach with the tzibbur
very loudly (so as not to seem ungrateful but allowing the tzibbur to
hear) and then waiting for the tzibbur to finish so they can hear the
entire s"e from the chazzan
Joel Rich
distribution or copying of this message by anyone other than the addressee is 
strictly prohibited.  If you received this message in error, please notify us 
immediately by replying: "Received in error" and delete the message.  
Thank you.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lists.aishdas.org/private.cgi/avodah-aishdas.org/attachments/20071121/925eb059/attachment.htm 

Go to top.

Message: 9
From: "Marty Bluke" <marty.bluke@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 21 Nov 2007 12:38:13 +0200
Re: [Avodah] proofs of G-d

An interesting question that can be asked is how does bechira interact
with hashgocha pratis

Imagine 2 people Reuven and Shimon. Last Rosh Hashana Shimon was
granted life for the year. Now Reuven and Shimon get into an argument
and Reuven wants to kill Shimon. Can he kill him? On one hand we have
the idea of bechira chofshis on the other the idea of hashgocha
pratis. In parshas Vayeshev a number of mefarshim address this

When the brothers are planning on killing Yosef, Reuven saves him by
suggesting throwing him into the pit. The mefarshim ask what did
Reuven accomplish, the pit was very dangerous (full of snakes, etc.),
even life threatening. The Or Hachaim and the Alshich both answer as
follows. A person has bechira chofshis and therefore the brothers
could kill Yosef even if he was not supposed to die. However, animals
since they have no bechira chofshis they cannot kill someone if he is
not supposed to die. In other words, bechira trumps hashgocha pratis.
The Netziv gives this answer as well, however he qualifies it by
saying that this only applies to someone who is not a tzadik gamur,
but a tzadik gamur cannot be harmed even through bechira.

The truth is that this should not be surprising. Most (if not all) the
Rishonim limit Hashgacha Pratis. The Sefer HaChinuch, Mitzvah 169,

"There are sects among mankind who maintain that Divine providence
controls all the matters of this world? that when a leaf falls from a
tree, He decreed that it would fall?. This approach is far-removed
from the intellect."

Both the Rambam and the Ramban based hashgacha pratis on a person's
closeness to hashem.

Meshech Chochma( Shemos 13:9)writes:

"Divine Providence is manifest for each Jew according to his spiritual
level as the Rambam explains in Moreh Nevuchim (3:18): Divine
Providence is not equal for everyone but rather is proportional to
their spiritual level. Consequently the Divine Providence for the
prophets is extremely powerful each according to their level of
prophecy. The Divine Providence for the pious and saintly is according
to their level of perfection. In contrast the fools and the rebels
lacking spirituality are in essence in the same category as animals...
This concept that Divine Providence is proportional to spiritual level
is one of foundations of Judaism..."

Today, this idea (that the Chinuch explicitly rejects) of hashgacha
pratis on everything has taken hold. There is no question that it is a
very calming thought. You don't have to worry about chance occurrences
affecting you, everything is directly from Hashem. However, this was
not the view of the overwhelming majority of the Rishonim.

Go to top.

Message: 10
From: "Ari Z. Zivotofsky" <zivotoa@mail.biu.ac.il>
Date: Wed, 21 Nov 2007 14:36:10 +0200
Re: [Avodah] Shemitta Flowers in America

where do people get these statistics from? and why do the masses believe 
hayitachen that 30% of all flowers in the huge 300,000,000 people USA 
are from Israel??
I find that hard to believe.

I asked my agriculture consultant and this is what he wrote me:

"So far I spoke to the head of flowers of Shaham- he says we're lucky if 
we have 1/2% in the US! Other than the ignorance, the use of the term 
"sheviis-free" is offensive. It makes shmitta sound like a STD!"


kennethgmiller@juno.com wrote:

>The Erev Rosh Hashana issue of (the American edition of) Hamodia contained a whole special magazine section about Shemittah. Page 26 began a four-page article titled, "Q&A: Harav Belsky Responds -- Piskei Halachah that apply to the mitzvah of shemittah from Hagaon Harav Yisroel Belsky, shlita, Rosh Yeshivah of Yeshivah and Mesivta Torah Vodaath in Brooklyn, NY"
>The very first of these Questions and Answers is as follows:
>>Q: Since over 30 percent of the American supply of flowers
>>comes from Eretz Yisrael, is one mechuyav to verify the
>>source of flowers before buying them? Is a non-Jew believed
>>if he says that a fruit Is not from Eretz Yisrael? (This
>>question is applicable all year.)
>>A: When one buys from a vendor who carries no packaging
>>(boxes in which the flowers were shipped) he may assume that
>>the flowers are not sheviis, provided that a solid majority
>>(rov) of at least 60 percent of the kind of flower being
>>marketed is not from Eretz Yisrael. If the vendor has the
>>packaging, the customer should ask to be allowed to go to
>>the back to take a look. The country of origin will appear
>>on the box. Public-minded organizations should provide
>>regular information about the percentages and have them
>>posted properly. Stores that cooperate in allowing
>>observation by mashgichim should be publicized so that one
>>could shop at them (if they carry sheviis-free products only)
>>and avoid all problems. Non-Jews are not acceptable as
>>witnesses and their word is insufficient.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lists.aishdas.org/private.cgi/avodah-aishdas.org/attachments/20071121/a4438b6f/attachment.html 

Go to top.

Message: 11
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Wed, 21 Nov 2007 10:26:42 -0500 (EST)
Re: [Avodah] Torah Metaphors and Science - Kanfei Nesharim

"Kanfei nesharim" is an idiom, not a metaphor.

Let's not conflate this issue with that of asking whether entire
episodes occured (in this plane, in some prophetic-spiritual plane, at
all, etc...).

The argument over "charon af" or yad, zeroa, etzba, etc... is dead and
buried. (And didn't have much of a life to begin with.) And this is
similarly figurative, since yetzi'as Mitzrayim is the original "al
kanfei nesharim" and no raptors were used.

Whether or not it was fulfilled in a closer to literal way, I wouldn't
even call such literalness "peshat" in the pasuq. It is well within
His norm to make it obvious in retrospect that a prophecy meant more
than face value. (Having an aral sefasayim say the expected pass
phrase "paqod paqadti" despite the /p/ requiring his sefasayim is a
favorite of mine.) But understanding idiomatic usage is simply part of

SheTir'u baTov!


Avodah mailing list

End of Avodah Digest, Vol 24, Issue 68

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 >