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Volume 25: Number 3

Thu, 03 Jan 2008

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: "Moshe Feldman" <moshe.feldman@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 2 Jan 2008 12:23:34 +0200
Re: [Avodah] The Mitzvah of Aliyah

On Jan 2, 2008 12:01 AM, Binyomin Hirsch <regalkit@aol.com> wrote on Areivim:

> <<he quotes the "Avnei Nezer" that there is no chiyuv for an individual to make aliyah because of an issur on all of Klall Yisroel to settle in Israel together.
> I therefore fail to comprehend some writer's lack of understanding of CHU"L Jews' reluctance to make Aliyah!
> >>

I discussed the Avnei Nezer (tshuva may be found at
http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/vol23/v23n138.shtml#12) on Avodah at

I noted there that according to the Avnei Nezer, if the gov't (in this
case, the UN) gives permission, then this is not considered going
"b'choma" and then one is *mechuyav* (par. 56) to make aliyah.

Kol tuv,

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Message: 2
From: "Moshe Feldman" <moshe.feldman@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 2 Jan 2008 12:56:47 +0200
Re: [Avodah] The Mitzvah of Aliyah

Prof. Levine wrote on Areivim:

>  Many years ago I asked Rabbi Dovid Kronglass, ZT"L, who was the Mashgiach
> of Yeshivas Ner Yisroel for many years, about moving to Eretz Yisroel. After
> all, I said, Orthodox Jews are interested in doing mitzvahs, and one can
> certainly do more mitzvahs in Israel. He responded by pointing out that the
> additional mitzvahs that one can do in Israel are only of rabbinical origin
> at this time.

Many disagree with this.  First, many poskim believe that the halacha
is like the Ramban that there is a mitzvah of aliyah (it's not even
clear that the Rambam disagrees--he simply does not count this as one
of the 613 mitzvos, but there are many reasons why a mitzvah may not
count as one of the 613--such as mitzvah kolleles).

Second, both Rashi and Ramban quote the Midrash on the second parsha
of kriyas shema (Devarim 11:18) that *all* mitzvos are meant to
performed specifically in EY.  Those outside EY perform the mitzvos
just as "ha'tzivi lach tziyunim"--to remember how to perform the
mitzvos once they return to EY.  The Ramban references to what he
writes on Vayikra 18:25 where he explains that only EY is nachalas
Hashem and one cannot achieve true tahara through kiyum hamitzvos in
Chu"l.  Ramban writes that the ikkar of kiyum hamitzvos is in EY and
brings the smichus hapsukim (Devarim 11:31-32): v'rishtem osa
vi'shavtem bah, ushmartem la'asos es kol hachukim v'es ha'mishpatim.

Prof. Levine continued
> .... "You just don't go to Israel," he told me. "You have to be on
> the right spiritual level before you go."<<

On Jan 1, 2008 10:09 PM,  <T613K@aol.com> wrote on Areivim:
> I don't believe my father would have agreed with that advice.  It's a
> catch-22.  It's very, very difficult to achieve  a high spiritual level in
> chu'l.  Eretz Yisrael itself has a way of raising people's spiritual levels
> tremendously.  If you stay in chu'l it is far more likely that you will
> never reach a high enough spiritual level to live in E'Y.
> I don't think you have to be a tzaddik before you can consider aliyah.

The Avnei Nezer 454 s"k 27 - 39 agrees with RTK.  See what I wrote at
> He argues: (1) there is a mitzvah to live in E"Y, so one
> has no right to question whether he is ra'ui to live there-- b'hadei
> kavshei d'rachmana lama lach.

(discussed at greater length in that post).

Kol tuv,

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Message: 3
From: Richard Wolberg <cantorwolberg@cox.net>
Date: Wed, 2 Jan 2008 05:57:25 -0500
[Avodah] "Sometimes Chutzpah is Praiseworthy"

Toby Katz wrote:
It is completely impossible to put Miriam's behavior in the same  
category  as
calling parents by their first names.  Nor is Amram's acceding to her
superior wisdom/nevuah in this case -- and re-marrying Yocheved --  
remotely  similar
to the case of an indulgent father who gives in to his kids' whining and
spoils them with toys and presents.

I totally agree with your above statement, but you gave a different  
example in your original post. And that was what I was responding to.  
My response merely said that I did not see what Miriam said to her  
parents as "chutzpah" in the example you gave. I think we both agree  
and the misunderstanding is semantic (and none of us is anti-semantic).
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Message: 4
From: Richard Wolberg <cantorwolberg@cox.net>
Date: Wed, 2 Jan 2008 06:17:56 -0500
[Avodah] Fasting on YK

First, let me say, that as a klei kodesh also involved in Medical  
Research Ethics, I was quite impressed with Dr. Shinar's posting on  
this topic.

I recall a true story about an elderly gentleman who was told by his  
physician that due to medical complications, he was not to fast on  
Y.K.  The man told his wife that he wasn't listening to his doctor and  
would fast. The wife, quite concerned and upset, understandably so,  
contacted (through a third person) one of the g'dolei hador. The Rav  
called this man and explained to him that if his doctor informed him  
he was not to fast, then he must definitely not fast Y.K.  The man,  
quite stubborn, told the Rav that he had fasted for over 50 years and  
couldn't abide by his physician's order. The Rav gave one of the most  
brilliant responses I ever heard. He told the man: "You are an  
idolator." The man, stunned, asked the Rav: "What do you mean?" The  
Rav responded: "You're worshipping Y.K., not God."

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Message: 5
From: "Michael Makovi" <mikewinddale@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 2 Jan 2008 13:49:23 +0200
Re: [Avodah] New king

> > When there is a machlokes in Chazal that has halachic implications, we are
> > not entitled to personal opinions.  You can't follow Bais Shammai re Chanuka
> > lights, for example, just because that appeals to you.  You have to follow
> > halachic process and ask shailos etc.
> >
> > --Toby Katz
> > =============

> Kal Vachomer if hazal PASKEN one way does not mean I have to check my >brain at the door and say I like the other way beter, Hazla merely ask us to
> FOLLOW the psak not to "obsequiescently" agree to it.
> When I learned Gm'ara as a kid I don't recall any rebbe giving me a hard
> time because I preferred R.Me'ir's svra over his bar plugta even though we
> did NOT pasken like him!
> --
> Kol Tuv / Best Regards,
> RabbiRichWolpoe@Gmail.com

Rabbi Wolpoe's approach I would second if I may. I had a discussion
with Rabbi Yaakov Elman at YU on this topic, and he told me quite
simply that basically, Chazal were human and used their best judgment
to decide cases, but there's no guarantee that their judgment was
correct. There's also no guarantee that an Amora understood the Tanna
correctly. Certainly, we trust that Chazal were wise and competent,
but this is not infallibility; even the most respected and learned
posek can still be wrong. Rabbi Eliezer Berkovits following Rabbi
Moshe Shmuel Glasner (Dor Revi'i) both emphasize the subjective human
component of the development of the Oral Law.

See Drashot haRan number 5 and Sefer haChinuch on the mitzvah to do as
the judge in those days in Devarim - both say that the rabbis can err,
but we must follow their error.

The upshot is that while certainly have a chiyuv to do as Chazal say,
there's no obligation to side, in theory/belief, with a particular
psak, drash, or sevarah unless it is explicitly Sinaitic.

An interesting example that comes to mind is in Chullin: everyone
knows from the Chumash m'farshim (inc. Rashi) that Vayikra we were
commanded to eat all our meat as a shelamim, and then in Devarim we
are allowed chullin, nachon? But in Mesechet Chullin, this is a
machloket between Rabbi Yishmael (who holds the opinion just given)
and Rabbi Akiva (who holds that according to Vayikra, in the desert,
we could eat chullin that was stabbed, and in Devarim we are commanded
to shecht our chullin). Now, all the m'farshim follow Rabbi Yishmael,
even though they would follow Rabbi Akiva l'maaseh.

Mikha'el Makovi

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Message: 6
From: David Riceman <driceman@att.net>
Date: Wed, 02 Jan 2008 09:30:23 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Fasting on YK

Meir Shinnar wrote:
> Most obstetricians today would presumably (I am not an obstetrician)
> argue that fasting poses some risks for all women.  As above, there is
> statistical data on fasting increasing the delivery rate - as well as
> mechanistic information to make this plausible.
There are ways of testing whether the risk increases for everyone (e.g. 
can one measure something correlated with miscarriages which actually 
increases for everyone in a study) or for an unidentifiable 
subpopulation.  Has anyone actually done this? If what you say is true, 
of course, there would be ethical problems in performing such a study.

David Riceman

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Message: 7
From: "Akiva Blum" <ydamyb@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 2 Jan 2008 17:11:14 +0200
Re: [Avodah] charging ribis to a Jew / non-Jew

   Mikha'el Makovi:
>It would be interesting then, to do a heter iska with a gentile. The
   >Gemara offers that it is permissible to pay interest to a gentile,
   >just not charge, so perhaps no heter iska would be needed if he wanted
   >to charge you interest. That's fortunate, because it would certainly
   >be an interesting thing: go to a bank to take out a loan, and ask the
   >bank employee to sign an Aramaic document permitting you to pay him
   >Anyone more expert on this issue than me?

   > Now, on business matters, I see no problem -
   >and apparently Chazal didn't either, since they created the heter
   >iska. But notice that he heter iska is forbidden for personal
   >household type transactions - it seems to me that Chazal felt that
   >morally, it would be wrong to use a heter iska to permit interest for
   >necessary household goods. Only for non-necessary (i.e. business)
   >transactions did Chazal permit interest.

Heter Iska is not a heter of chazal for ribis. Firstly, chazal didn't create it. It was formed in the centuries following. For that reason, I don't recall ever having seen one written in aramaic. They are written in hebrew, though any other language is just as good.
The way it works, bekitzur, is by restructuring the transaction from a loan to an investment. This is not a religious document, but a legal one. For it to be effective, it must have legal force. Therefore, wheras there are no problems contructing such an agreement with your local american bank, having a clerk sign on some paper would be meaningless if he is unauthorized.
Anyone can do this for any purpose. It just needs to be legally binding.


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Message: 8
From: "Eli Turkel" <eliturkel@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 2 Jan 2008 16:33:10 +0100
[Avodah] pregnant women fasting on YK

In Israel there are 2 thoughts on the issue of pregnant women fasting on YK.

R. Nebenzahl is very mekil basically on the grounds given by
Meir Sheinar. Others (i have heard it from R. Zilberstein) are machmir
on the grounds that pregnant women have fasted on YK for many years
and we have no record in shutim of any problems.
Of course in individual cases he will be mekil. They also recommend
the use of bitter water to help swallow medicines. In Bnei Brak one
can buy prepared potions from the drugstore that make it into bitter
water permissible on YK for example for
caffeine headaches

Eli Turkel

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Message: 9
From: "Daniel Israel" <dmi1@hushmail.com>
Date: Wed, 02 Jan 2008 10:19:20 -0700
Re: [Avodah] Fasting on YK

On Tue, 01 Jan 2008 18:59:52 -0700 Meir Shinnar 
<chidekel@gmail.com> wrote:
>In a discussion on areivim about pregnant women fasting on yom  
>kippur, the issue was raised about the tension between classical 
>psak (SA- ubrot umeinkot mitanot umashlimot beyom hakipurrim), and 
>opinion of most obstetricians today (note: while I am a physician, 
>I am not an obstetrician), who believe that there is a risk in  

Without minimizing the importance of any of the issues you raise, I 
think there is another factor is strongly affecting the medical 
advice that is being given.  The medical community has become 
incredibly risk averse.  There are many reasons for that change.  
It is partly social (as a society we expect more), partly 
scientific (modern medical technology has led us to expect more), 
but mostly, IMHO, driven by malpractice costs.  If I were an 
obstetrician, I would tell my patients not to fast, regardless of 
the metzius, simply because if there is any evidence of any level 
of risk, and something bad happened during the fast, I might get 

Daniel M. Israel

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Message: 10
From: "Doron Beckerman" <beck072@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 2 Jan 2008 10:25:57 -0800
Re: [Avodah] Ribis to a non-Jew (was: Lashon Hara about a

Michael Makovi writes:

>>Charging interest being an okay thing, I would question. Given that
money in the time of the Torah's giving was primarily for emergency
situations and not for ordinary daily spending (and thus charging
interest would be to charge someone in davka the time of his financial
struggles), and given that it is prohibited (at least Rabbinically) to
pay interest to a gentile (though we follow Tosoafot in not keeping
this prohibition anymore), it seems difficult to say that charging
interest is morally fine. <,

There cannot be a Rabbinic prohibition charging interest to a non-Jew, as
the famous Taz says that Chachamim cannot prohibit something openly
permitted by the Torah.

See the Torah Temimah to Devarim 23:21 s.v. Omnam explaining why charging
interest is indeed perfectly morally fine.

>>As for finding lost objects: to find and keep is the ordinary moral
way? Can one honestly suggest that there is no intrinsic moral problem
with finding and keeping? Is this idea not davka what the Torah comes
to tell us is false?  <<

This may depend on the Machlokes Rashi and Rambam on how to explain the
prohibition of returning an Aveidah to a non-Jew, see Sanhedrin 76b and Tur
Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat 266:1
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Message: 11
From: "Elazar M. Teitz" <remt@juno.com>
Date: Wed, 2 Jan 2008 18:46:34 GMT
Re: [Avodah] About Lashon Hara about non-Jews

RMichael Makovi wrote:

<[A]ccording to Mesechet Gerim 3:2, Vayikra 19:33 (love the ger) applies to a ger toshav.>

To which, I wrote:

<My Shas must be defective. It doesn't appear there, nor anywhere else
in Maseches Geirim.>

RMM responded:

<I checked the Soncino Minor Tractates (translation) as well as an old
Vilna-type edition; it was in both. Actually, it only quotes Vayikra
19:33 and another pasuk earlier in Vayikra 19 and a pasuk from Devarim
(24?), to the effect of "don't abuse him" etc., but it does not cite
the sources of these pesukim (viz. Vayikra x:y, etc.), nor does it
quote the "love the ger" part of the pasuk, so you have to know that
it is quoting a "love the ger" pasuk.>

     What it says is that WRT a ger toshav, "v'ov'rin alav al bal toneh ubal ta'ashok ubal talin p'ulat sachir." The last two are both from Vayikra 19:13.  The first is _not_ from 19:33, where "va'ahavtem es hager" is mentioned.  In that pasuk, the wording is "lo sonu," in the plural.  Rather, the text refers to Sh'mos 22:20, which reads "v'ger lo soneh," in the singular, matching the wording of Maseches Geirim -- and there is no mention there about loving the ger.

     Even had RMM not been mistaken, and the source would have been as he had assumed, it is only an inference on his part that if 19:33 (lo sonu) applies, so to does 19:34 (v'ahavta lo kamocha).  To present that inference as though it was explicit in the text is a gross misrepresentation.

Boost your business with a small business loan. Click now!

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Message: 12
From: "Meir Rabi" <meirabi@optusnet.com.au>
Date: Thu, 3 Jan 2008 09:57:19 +1100
[Avodah] Sometimes Chutzpah is Necessary - & Evil Decrees by

May I summarise and hope to clarify:

The Medrash explains that Miryam was so named since she was MoFiah Panim.

The Matnos Kehuna explains this to mean Chutzpah. Chutzpah may indeed be a
relative value but Chazal are describing her behaviour as Chutzpah.

The reading of the Medrash indicates that it is a badge of honour.

Is it not reasonable to propose that Chazal wish to convey the importance of
sometimes needing to step over the boundaries of diplomacy in order to get a
message across?

There is a similar sharp rebuke that Chana directs at the Cohen Gadol, Eli,
when he mistakenly accuses her of being intoxicated. Again this is a
perspective that even a close reading of the text would not disclose.


On another point: the same Medrash reports that Miryam said to her father
Amrom, the Rosh Sanhedrin, that he is a tzaddik and as a such his decree
will certainly be fulfilled. Can anyone shed some light on this? What is the
power of a tzaddik that ensures his mistaken evil decree will be successful?


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Message: 13
From: "Doron Beckerman" <beck072@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 2 Jan 2008 22:25:05 -0800
[Avodah] Yishuv Eretz Yisrael

On Areivim, R' Moshe Feldman wrote:

>> Our gedolim have
taken the position, based on gemaras, that once we have returned from
the second galus, we have a promise from Hashem that klal yisrael in
EY will survive.  Therefore, we can be certain that there is no risk
at all of the Jewish people in EY surviving. <<

This is not clear cut. We have no guarantee that this is the true Kibbutz
Galuyos which is immune to destruction. RSRH writes in a number of places
that any human attempt at a mass return of Klal Yisrael to its Land was,
similar to the Bar Kokhba revolt, potentially disastrous. And he held that
even a mass return of Jews to EY was no guarantee against losing this

While on the general topic, I just wanted to point out a few things (feel
free to transfer to Avodah):
1) Kol Bo (127) quotes the Maharam Rottenburg: "... As long as he will
abstain from now on and be careful of all types of sin and fulfill all the
Mitzvos HaTeluyos BaAretz, because of he sins his punishment will be worse
than in Chu"l, because HaShem constantly seeks the Land... and one who
rebels in the palace is not the same as one who rebels outside of it, and it
is a Land which consumes its inhabitants.. for it ejects sinners."

(I think this may relate to the first point - if there is no concern about
the Land spitting us out again, there might be less concern for sinners
causing us to lose EY. And if there is concern, etc...)

2) RMF is not the first one to hold that Yishuv EY is a Mitzvah Kiyumis.
Others held this as well, namely:
Shu"t Maharitatz (1:85)
Shu"t HaElef L'cha Shlomo 118
Shu"t Rashbash (3) and Shlah (Shaar HaOsiyos 100, Kdushah) say "Raui
L'Hishtadel BaAliyatah"

Also basically agreeing with RMF are:
 Moadim Uzmanim (you don't have to leave your country to get a Lulav either)
Tzitz Eliezer (14:72:(7)) quoting R' Shmuel Salant and agreeing with him
Toras Zeraim (preface)

I again want to emphasize that I am NOT discouraging people from moving to
EY - it is the will of Hashem for those who can do so to do so - I am just
putting some Halachic perspective on it.
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