Avodah Mailing List

Volume 25: Number 39

Fri, 25 Jan 2008

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: "Michael Makovi" <mikewinddale@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2008 15:15:51 +0200
Re: [Avodah] What would a Torah government look like

> Lulei demistafina, I would say that midinei adam there is no chiyuv
> misah for certain crimes, when there is no Sanhedrin. Part of the
> point of hasroas eidim is that the person gives away his life. If
> there is no Sanhedrin there is no true giving of permission to be
> judged for death. It could be that even if Moshiach came tomorrow,
> such people could not be given misah. However, that might not apply to
> talmidei chachamim who don't require hasraah.

I've read in a few places that even after the churban, in Bavel and
Spain and other places, we kept doing executions in exceptional cases,
lest people brazenly sin, knowing that the law cannot do anything.

I see no reason why we can't apply this today. The only question is,
how often can one do this before he's obviously simply garbage-ing the
laws of edim, hatra'ah, etc., and everyone knows that the law's been
annulled in all but name.

Mikha'el Makovi

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Message: 2
From: "Rich, Joel" <JRich@sibson.com>
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2008 08:38:59 -0500
Re: [Avodah] What would a Torah government look like


To my mind one of the greatest challenges to a Torah government would be
modern day commerce

A simple example  one makes an electronic reservation by computer for a
hotel room or plane flight and holds it with a credit card. When one
arrives they refuse to honor their commitment.
Upon screaming they answer that according to halacha a promise to do
some action is not enforcable and no kinyan was done. Even if one paid
in advance money is not a kinyan.
7 tovei hair doesnt help since one cannot declare a sale without a
kinyan or with a money kinyan.

another issue) 7 tovei have power of hefker bet din.

Joel Rich
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Message: 3
From: Richard Wolberg <cantorwolberg@cox.net>
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2008 10:14:19 -0500
[Avodah] Why Kasha on Shabbos Shira?

On Thu, January 24, 2008 3:04am, Cantor Richard Wolberg wrote:
: 2) Hope you had your Buckwheat last Shabbos:
: There is a custom of eating black buckwheat (kasha) on Shabbos Shira.

Obvious "qasha" on this: why?

It is the custom of Chabad to eat kasha on Shabbat Shirah.

This custom is based on the pasuk: "Hasam gevuleich shalom cheilev  
chitim yasbi'eich" ? "He has made peace within your borders; He  
satiated you with the finest of wheat" (Psalms 147:14). Thus, on  
Shabbat Shirah, when we read that Hashem emancipated the Jewish people  
from Egyptian bondage and prepared them to be in their own  
geographical boundaries and also the boundaries of Torah, it is  
customary to eat wheat (buckwheat).
The word "beshalach" is an acronym for the words b'shabbat shira  
l'echol chitim ? "On Shabbat Shirah to eat wheat  
(buckwheat)."                           										          Also, some  
have the custom to feed wheat to the birds on Shabbat Shirah.  Here is  
the source and also the reason for the custom of putting out food for  
the birds on Erev Shabbos Shirah.  On Shabbat Shirah, when we read  
about the manna that Hashem provided for the Jewish people, it is  
customary to put out food for the birds on Erev Shabbat as a reward  
for the Kiddush Hashem they brought about.

Alternatively, the Maharal of Prague would instruct the teachers of  
young children to gather their students in the shul yard on Shabbat  
Shira and relate to them the story of Kriat Yam Suf ? the splitting of  
the sea. They were also to tell the children that at that time Hashem  
performed a miracle and trees with beautiful fruit grew in the sea  
(see Midrash Rabbah 22:1). When the Jews sang theShirah, the birds  
sang and danced. The Jewish children picked fruits from the trees and  
fed the birds. To commemorate this event, we put out food for the  
birds Erev Shabbat Shirah.

The teachers would give them kasha (buckwheat) to throw to the birds.  
And afterward the Maharal would bless the children and also the  
parents that they should merit to see their children embark on Torah,  
marriage and good deeds.

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Message: 4
From: "Doron Beckerman" <beck072@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2008 05:29:21 -0800
Re: [Avodah] Cave and desert island

>> If the job is to perfect oneself, one can't choose to avoid sin by
accomplishing less.

Binyamin, Amram, Yishai and Kilav were great people, recorded in
Tanakh for all time as tzadiqim. But none of them are as commemorated
as the ushpizin, who did sin. We bless our kids to be like Ephraim and
Menasheh, not their uncle. Moshe and David are recognized as
surpassing their fathers, and Kilav is barely known -- and didn't get
the melukhah over his brother. <<

But the Ushpizin did not knowingly put themselves in situations where the
risk of sinning was too high for comfort, except Dovid, who asked to be
tested and is chastised for it. The Rambam in Hilchos Deos, AIUI, is saying
that just as one cannot put himself in physical danger to do a Mitzvah, (and
indeed the Gemara in 6th Perek of Bava Kama tells us that Dovid would not
quote a Halachah in the name of soldiers who put themselves in danger for
the sake of a Halachic query), so too one cannot put himself in spiritual
danger to do a Mitzvah. The pull of a corrupt society is so powerful that it
can require secession from it, sometimes even physically moving oneself away
from it.

 Avraham had influence on many people, but it was on his own terms. He had
no plans of going to Sdom.
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Message: 5
From: "Michael Makovi" <mikewinddale@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2008 14:44:03 +0200
Re: [Avodah] Cave or desert island

> There's an interesting article on www.azure.co.il, by a rabbi at Bar
> Ilan. He shows that the covenant section of Shemot has striking
> similarities to a Hittite suzerainty treaty. The nafka mina, he says,
> is that the brit was not made with the nation as a collective, as it
> was with each individual unto himself.

 I just checked:
 The article is "G-d's Alliance with Man" by Joshua A. Berman.

 It turns out he's not a rav.
"Joshua A. Berman is an Associate Fellow at the Shalem Center and a lecturer
in the Bible department at Bar-Ilan University. This essay is adapted from
his forthcoming book Biblical Revolutions: The Transformation of Social and
Political Thought in the Ancient Near East."

 I might add that Berman's opposition to the nation as a collective is not
absolute. He says, "One is tempted to say that the role of the subordinate
king is played here by the corporate body of the people of Israel as a
whole. *And perhaps this is true to a certain extent.* [emphasis mine] Yet,
within the Sinai covenant itself we see that God in fact relates to
individual Israelites. ... We may conclude, therefore, that to *some
degree*[emphasis not mine] the subordinate king with whom God forms a
treaty is, in fact, each individual within the Israelite polity; that every
man in Israel is to view himself as accorded the status of a king?a servile,
subordinate king under the protection of and in gratitude to a divine

In the proceeding portion, it is clear that the notion he is arguing
against, is not that the nation is in fact a collective. Rather, his
argument is that were the covenant with the entire nation as a nation, then
the king and the priests could represent the whole nation, and the
individuals would have no religious duties, as was the case in Mesopotamia.
Rather, each individual is a priest with as many duties (save a few
exceptions) as a melech or a kohein. Thus, for example, the kohein is
forbidden to mark his body, and later, so is the layman.

So Berman's argument is only against the fact that the nation is one organic
whole that can be represented by one individual. He has nothing against the
idea that the nation is a collective composed of a mosaic of
equally-liable-and-important individuals.

Mikha'el Makovi
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Message: 6
From: "Michael Makovi" <mikewinddale@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2008 16:18:36 +0200
Re: [Avodah] Tu B'Shvat "Don't Cut Your Nose to Spite Your

> --- interesting the strategy in 2nd intifada, where war was made by jews
> davka on olive trees  and probably other roadside trees. as i understand,
> there were 2 rationales--  1] trees used by the enemy as cover to kill jews
> 2] land-revering enemy  esteems his olive trees almost as a demigod.
> the rationale of 1] is pikuch nefesh. the rationale of 2] is demoralization
> of the enemy; or revenge/spite of the enemy.
> the reading of the pasuk would seem to allow 1]; not  sure about 2].
> does anyone know if there were any Sh'ut  about  arbocide limitations in
> guerilla war/occupation ?

First things first, I forget, is the tree pasuk talking about a
milkhemet reshut or mitzvah? If the former, then we have no questions
about the Palestinians - chop the trees away.

If it is afilu b'milchemet mitzvah, then surely we can still say that
for pikuach nefesh, we can chop the trees. If chopping the trees -->
demoralization --> fewer terrorist attacks, then it is an absolutely
unnecessary to ask whether we can chop a tree to save a human life. We
are permitted to chop a tree when its wood is worth more than its
fruit. Here, its "wood" is worth whatever a human life is worth,
surely more than its fruit!

I think the Torah is talking more about a siege, where we are in
control, and we would chop the trees just to spite them. In other
words, it won't hurt the invader (us) to siege them *without* chopping
the trees. We are in control anyway.

But here, we are not in control. The Palestinians are in control (I'm
serious). And chopping their trees will help us defeat them.

Mikha'el Makovi

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Message: 7
From: "Rich, Joel" <JRich@sibson.com>
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2008 08:50:17 -0500
Re: [Avodah] assisted suicide


	A talmid chacham of my acquaintance told me (when I asked) that
the people who jumped out of the World Trade Center rather than be
burned to death were not committing suicide or doing anything wrong --
that at the point of death, if you have a choice, you're allowed to
choose.  Say a killer gave his victim a choice of death by gun or by bow
and arrow -- the victim would be allowed to choose. It may be that
Shimshon was that close to death and chose to die in a way that would
bring down the Plishtim with him. 
	ME-Interesting but where do we see this brought down lhalacha?
and how is the point of death defined (as actuaries say - we're all
terminal, it's just a question of when?
	In the case of a person suffering from a terminal illness, the
person who opts for suicide is not just choosing one of two alternative
deaths, he is actually hastening his death.   
	Me- Yet we know in certain circumstances one can pray for one or
another's death - why isn't this called hastening?
	Anyway, bottom line, there is a huge difference between a person
saying,  "Please release me from my suffering, take my soul now" to a
physician -- and saying that same thing to his Creator. 
	Me- why?In fact couldn't one argue that the prayer to the
creator is more effective and thus more of a life shortner?
	Joel Rich

	--Toby Katz


	Who's never won? Biggest Grammy Award surprises of all time on
AOL Music.

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Message: 8
From: Michael Poppers <MPoppers@kayescholer.com>
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2008 10:02:57 -0500
Re: [Avodah] assisted suicide

(I'm not sure this response qualifies for Avodah or should be posted to a
forum which can be seen by others, but the Areivim Moderators Committee
rejected it for Areivim.  It's slightly edited from the version originally
sent to Areivim that RGS, cc:ed on it, responded to.)

In Avodah Digest V25#36, RGS asked:
> My wife (who is a lobbyist for Agudah) was in Madison, WI yesterday to
join a long list of people/organizations who came to voice their objection
to a proposed bill to allow physician assisted suicide.
> Some of the people who spoke in favor of the bill tried to show how
Shimshon would have been in favor of assisted suicide.
> Can you all help me out here with some mareh m'komos about Shimshon and
suicide? I know it's discussed (maybe even a mefurishe Gemara) but I don't
recall where.
> What are the basic chilukim between Shimshon's situation and a person
suffering from a teminal illness, that would allow him to do what he did,
and yet forbid assisted suicide?
> My first hunch is that by Shimshon it was only a grama. And it might even
be a safek, whereas what the assisted suicide wants to allow would be a
vadai and quite direct. <
Shof'tim 16:30 does seem to indicate that he knew he would die through his
final act; it can be assumed that he thought he would die in any case and
wanted to carry out one last, mighty slaughter of P'lishtim (which
presumably would save Jewish lives in the future) while the opportunity
existed.  I'm reminded, l'havdil, of a "24" episode in which the director
of CTU, knowing he was dying of radiation sickness, piloted a plane
containing a nuclear bomb into a desolate valley surrounded by mountains so
as to save hundreds if not thousands of LA-area citizens from radiation
sickness and/or death when it exploded.  However an outsider/non-Jew wants
to view Shimshon, there seems to be a rational gulf between a
terminally-sick person ending his life w/out accomplishing any benefit for
others (much less doing so with someone else's assistance rather than on
his own) and a person saving a multitude of lives by causing his own death
when lives would not otherwise be saved.

A guten Shabbes and all the best from
--Michael Poppers via RIM pager
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