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Volume 25: Number 42

Sun, 27 Jan 2008

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: "Richard Wolpoe" <rabbirichwolpoe@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2008 15:21:18 -0500
[Avodah] Fwd: [NishmaBlog] Rambam: Neither a a Literalist Nor

Dear Readers:

"Yediah" quotes the Rambam re: aggedeta. Yet, this same principle may be
applied in all kinds of situations - Namely that at times being naively
literal makes the Torah read as silly and similarly being a mocker/scoffer
and taking the Torah to be also silly albeit by means of rejection also
demonstrates the lack of wisdom.

Only the wise realize that the Aggedita [and other Torah passages] are
neither meant to be overly literal nor downright absurd, but are actually
communicating profound truths that require reading between the lines.

Some Fundamentalists [mostly on the right but not necessarily so] are
K'sillim- fools. Some cynics [mostly on the left but not always] are
heretics [kof'rim] masquerading as morally superior somehow.
While those who are mattunim badin - who patiently judge the requisite
passages through the lens of intelligent analysis w/o naivite and also
without cynicsm will arrive at the underlying truth.

Read More:

Having introduced the literalist groups, the fundamentalists who shame the
Torah with their ignorance and the mockers who jump to conclusions and
accuse the rabbis of being ignoramuses,


Kol Tuv / Best Regards,


Posted By Rabbi Richard Wolpoe to
1/25/2008 03:09:00 PM

Kol Tuv / Best Regards,
see: http://nishmablog.blogspot.com/
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Message: 2
From: "Michael Makovi" <mikewinddale@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, 26 Jan 2008 19:23:23 +0200
Re: [Avodah] Diberah Torah

> "When the notion of non-literalism was attributed to
> Chazal's use of
> the phrase and R' Yishma'els side of the machloqes, I
> spoke up. That's
> anachronistic conflation of two uses of an idiom."
> (End of excerpt of MIcha Berger)
> But the Rambam, for instance, said that this is the
> meaning of what Chazal said. For example, Moreh
> Nevuchim (1:26):
> I therefore conclude that [the rishonim understood
> that] the essential meaning of the Chazal is a broad
> one that includes the one used by the rishonim. Rabbi
> Yishmael was just applying one of its implications.
> Zvi Lampel

Also, I recall somewhere in Shabbat perek seven that when one Rabbi
drashes a few pesukim, but the other side isn't asked to drash the
same pesukim to fit his shita, Tosafot does the job for the Gemara.

For one of the pesukim, Tosafot says we can simply say the Torah
speaks in the language of man, and the pasuk isn't there to be
drashed, but instead it is there for an ordinary literary purpose.

Evidently, then, Tosafot understands this dictum to mean that the
Torah sometimes includes a pasuk or parsha for the same reason as any
human would.

Mikha'el Makovi

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Message: 3
From: "Richard Wolpoe" <rabbirichwolpoe@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2008 15:41:19 -0500
Re: [Avodah] What would a Torah government look like

On Jan 24, 2008 2:34 PM, Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org> wrote:

> (I think this thread belongs here, not Areivim. Reposting accordingly.
> Feel free to do the same, add replies, etc...)
> The Torah describes a system of checks and balances between three
> branches of gov't.
> The judicial branch, comprised of Beis Din haGadol and the rabbinate.
> The kehunah, providing moral, educational and spiritual leadership.
> The executive branch which had its own internal checks and balances
> between the melekh and his court navi.
> The melukhah, nevu'ah and kehunah each had to be distinct people.
> Either could (and often did) serve on beis din. And so, we speak of
> Shlomo ubeis dino. And yet, David listened to Nasan, even though it's
> hard to believe that meant Nasan was the greater navi.
SheTir'u baTov!

I agree with your concept of separation of powers but who says David was a
Why would he be a GREATETR Navi than Nassan.
Writing Kessuvim is in no way a raya that he was a navi at all
And FWIWavid was rebuked by Gad as well as by  Nassam

In parahsa Shoftim the idea of a Naiv is not about people with nevu'ah it's
a specific civic office -sort of ombudsman.  So even if Moshe rabbeinu
somehow was Melech he STILL might have an official NAVI question his
behavior if it were out-of-line. And not justt Nassn but Gad too.

Kol Tuv / Best Regards,
see: http://nishmablog.blogspot.com/
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Message: 4
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Sat, 26 Jan 2008 18:52:30 -0500
Re: [Avodah] What would a Torah government look like

On Fri, Jan 25, 2008 at 03:41:19PM -0500, Richard Wolpoe wrote:
: In parahsa Shoftim the idea of a Naiv is not about people with nevu'ah it's
: a specific civic office -sort of ombudsman.  So even if Moshe rabbeinu
: somehow was Melech he STILL might have an official NAVI question his
: behavior if it were out-of-line. And not justt Nassn but Gad too.

You're sort of making my point.

The word "navi" is used for someone with nevu'ah when chazal discuss
how many nevi'im and benei nevi'im were alive in Eliyahu's day. It was
in that sense that I was talking about David being the greater navi.

Yes, a melekh couldn 't be a navi in the sense you took it -- that was
exactly what I was trying to say. Even though David was a more capable
prophet than Nasan, he couldn't be both.

Gut Voch!

Micha Berger             A person must be very patient
micha@aishdas.org        even with himself.
http://www.aishdas.org         - attributed to R' Nachman of Breslov
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Message: 5
From: "Mike Miller" <avodah@mikeage.net>
Date: Sat, 26 Jan 2008 21:10:46 +0200
Re: [Avodah] What would a Torah government look like

On Jan 25, 2008 7:37 PM, Shmuel Weidberg <ezrawax@gmail.com> wrote:
> But that is only in theory. For example somebody who commits himself
> to a transaction and doesn't go through with it, Is required to submit
> to the curse of Mi Shepara. And it is the rare person who would
> undergo so such an ordeal, both because of the embarrassment and
> because of his fear of the results of the curse.

Well, it depends on the transaction. If a kinyan kesef was made for
metaltalin, and then someone backs out, he has a din of mi shepara
[other avodah topic: is it an actual curse, or just a threat]. If no
kinyan was made, but there was a gemiras daas, then the reneging party
has a din of mechusar amanah, which is not as bad as mi shepara (but
he's still considered a Bad Guy, and can be denounced as such in shul,
for example...).

-- Mike Miller
Ramat Bet Shemesh

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Message: 6
From: "Eli Turkel" <eliturkel@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, 26 Jan 2008 22:13:57 +0200
[Avodah] Torah government

<< is that any different than if you go to a hotel in a secular state?
That fine print says that they arenot responsible if the room is not
available (although they can charge you if you do not show) and they
will still, in all likelihood, do their best to accommodate you so as
not to lose a customer. I see no reason why this would not apply in a
Halachicly based society.>>

I tried to give simple every day examples. One can extend the question
to more serious cases. Banks transfer billions of dollars everyday by
electronic transfer initiated by a computer. No reasonable bank will
rely on the good will and me shepara of the other bank in cases of

How about a company making a multimillion dollar deal involving
delivery of goods that do not currently exist.

On another plane there are many conflicts in secular law about what
can be patented, eg software. It is not clear what the status of
patents is in halacha. However whatever the status it has no details

Do be more theoretical there is a basic difference in outlook between
secular law and halacha. Halacha looks at the rules given in the
gemara and SA and fits cases into the given law. Secular starts with
what is necessary for a good economy. If current law does not properly
control some new process then congress or parliament will simply
change the law for the new circumstances. Thus, congress can decide if
patents cover software or not. In halacha one has no choice and the
outcome theoretically depends on some extension of some teshuva based
on a gemara. Whatever comes out is it whether good or bad for the
economy is irrelevant

kol tuv

Eli Turkel

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Message: 7
From: "Eli Turkel" <eliturkel@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, 26 Jan 2008 23:53:26 +0200
[Avodah] Torah government

<<Disagree- iiuc according to many (most?) authorities "true" (that's
another issue) 7 tovei have power of hefker bet din.>>

In individual cases. They have no right to make a takana that deals in
there town apply without a proper kinyan or that davar shelo ba leloma
is still valid etc.

Eli Turkel

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Message: 8
From: "Eli Turkel" <eliturkel@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 27 Jan 2008 00:23:47 +0200
[Avodah] Torah government - kim li

another major impediment to implementing halacha in commerce is the cocept
of "kim li"
This basically says that the one who holds the money can argue against any
posek or bet din by showing that at least one or two other poskim hold like him.
Hence, if all poskim of our generation agree to some principal it
cannot be enforced
since (lets say) 2 poskim from the previous generation disagreed.

As stated in a previous post this dramatically decreases the
opportunity for changes
in CM halacha to respond to changes in commerce

Eli Turkel

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Message: 9
From: Richard Wolberg <cantorwolberg@cox.net>
Date: Sat, 26 Jan 2008 18:48:03 -0500
[Avodah] Assisted Suicide

One question has come up in reading the copious amount of postings on  
the topic.
Do you think that if God wasn't planning to take you just yet, that  
praying to Him for death would change His mind?

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Message: 10
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Sat, 26 Jan 2008 19:01:00 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Assisted Suicide

On Sat, Jan 26, 2008 at 06:48:03PM -0500, Richard Wolberg wrote:
: Do you think that if God wasn't planning to take you just yet, that  
: praying to Him for death would change His mind?

That question is true of tefhillah in general. If He wanted to make
someone poor, or to bring the messiah at a given time, or... then how
would davening help?

By turning to the Borei one changes the factors that go into His
decision. For all we know, the person's job in life was completed by
this realization that we rely on Him.

Gut Voch!

Micha Berger             The Maharal of Prague created a golem, and
micha@aishdas.org        this was a great wonder. But it is much more
http://www.aishdas.org   wonderful to transform a corporeal person into a
Fax: (270) 514-1507      "mensch"!     -Rabbi Israel Salanter

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Message: 11
From: Richard Wolberg <cantorwolberg@cox.net>
Date: Sat, 26 Jan 2008 19:11:18 -0500
[Avodah] Standing for Aseret Hadibrot

What distinguishes the Ten Commandments from all the other 613 laws in  
the Torah, which were also accepted at Sinai, is that the Ten  
Commandments act as the "categories" under which all the other  
commandments are included (Rashi, Shemos 24:12).

Several rabbinic works group the mitzvos according to their  
association with the Ten Commandments highlighting them as the  
ideological basis for the 613 mitzvos in the Torah. This is  
beautifully alluded in how the text of the Ten Commandments contains  
620 letters (Bamidbar Rabbah 13:16) that correspond to the 613 mitzvos  
plus the 7 rabbinic precepts (or the 7 Noachide laws). Of parenthetic  
note, is how the number 613 itself reduces to (6+1+3=) 10. {Mine: "and  
1+0=1, the ONE God}.

The Ten Commandments powerfully evokes the significance of the number  

Perhaps the two, most prominent other usages of the number "10" are  
the Asarah Maamaros, Ten Utterances through which G-d created the  
universe and the Ten Plagues of the Exodus declaring Him the  
Supervisor of His creation.

Symbolically, 10 is the number where individual units are united in a  
collective whole. The human hands and feet were created with a total  
of 10 digits. 10 is also where individual personalities enter the  
categorization of a community, or a congregation into which the  
Shechinah, Divine Presence rests and the symbol of holiness. It is the  
presence of 10 that makes a Minyan. The symbol of kedusha, "sanctity"  
is repeatedly associated with the number 10: the recitation of Kaddish  
in prayer and that of Kedusha, in repetition of the Amidah warrants a  
minimum of 10 people. And the dimensions of the Holy of Holies, where  
the Ten Commandments were held, were 10 cubits long, 10 cubits wide  
and 10 cubits deep (Rashi, Shemos 26:31)

So "10" represents the completed "holy" vision of existence and the  
Ten Commandments go to the heart and soul of the 613 mitzvos.

Excerpted from Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene

Also, it should be pointed out that the Aseret Hadibrot is not part of  
daily davening so that it shouldn't be looked upon any more important  
than the rest of the mitzvot. However, in light of the above article,  
we can see why most have the minhag of standing.
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Message: 12
From: Richard Wolberg <cantorwolberg@cox.net>
Date: Sat, 26 Jan 2008 19:30:22 -0500
[Avodah] Mishpatim [adapted from "Malachim Kivnei Adam", R.

> Rav Kook was once asked by Azar: how can the Sages interpret the  
> verse "An eye for an eye" [Ex. 21:24] as referring to monetary  
> compensation? Does this explanation not contradict the simple  
> meaning of the verse?
> The Talmud [Baba Kamma 84a] brings a number of proofs that the  
> phrase "eye for an eye" cannot be taken literally. How, for example,  
> could justice be served if the person who poked out his neighbor's  
> eyes was blind? Or what if one of the parties had only one  
> functioning eye before the incident? Clearly, there are many cases  
> in which such a sentence would be neither equitable nor just.
> What bothered Azar was the wide discrepancy between a simple reading  
> of the verse and the Talmudic exegesis. If "eye for an eye" in fact  
> means monetary compensation, why doesn't the Torah say that  
> explicitly?
> Rav Kook responded by way of a parable. The Kabbalists, he  
> explained, compared the Written Torah to a father and the Oral Torah  
> to a mother. When parents discover their son has committed a very  
> grave offense, how do they react?
> The father immediately raises his hand to punish his son. But the  
> mother, full of compassion, rushes to stop his raised arm. "Please,  
> not in anger!" she pleads, and she convinces the father to mete out  
> a lighter punishment.
> An onlooker might feel that all this drama and conflict is  
> superfluous. In the end, the child did not receive corporal  
> punishment; why make a big show of it?
> In fact, the scene had great educational value for the errant son.  
> Even though he was only lightly disciplined, the son was made to  
> understand that his actions deserved a much more severe punishment.
> This idea also holds true for one who injures another. Such an  
> individual needs to realize the gravity of his actions. In practice,  
> we can only make him pay monetary restitution, as the Oral Law  
> rules. But he should not think that money alone can rectify what he  
> has done. As Maimonides wrote in his legal code, the Mishneh Torah,  
> the Torah's intention is not that we should actually injure him in  
> the same way that he injured his neighbor, but rather "that it is  
> fitting to amputate his limb or injure him, just as he did to the  
> other" [Laws of Personal Injuries 1:3].
> Maimonides more fully developed the idea that monetary restitution  
> alone cannot atone for physical damages in chapter 5:
> "Causing another bodily injury is not like causing monetary loss.  
> One who causes monetary loss is exonerated as soon as he repays the  
> damages. But if he injured his neighbor, even though he paid all  
> five categories of monetary restitution - even if he offered to God  
> all the rams of Nevayot [see Isaiah 60:7] - he is not exonerated  
> until he has asked the one injured for forgiveness and he agrees to  
> forgive him."  [ibid. 5:9]
> Azar noted: Only Rav Kook could have given such an explanation,  
> clarifying legal concepts in Jewish Law by way of Kabbalistic  
> metaphors. For I once heard him say that the boundaries between  
> Nigleh and Nistar - the revealed and the esoteric parts of Torah -  
> are not so rigid. For some people, Bible with Rashi's commentary is  
> an esoteric study; while for others, even a chapter in the  
> Kabbalistic work "Eitz Chayim" of the Ari z"l is considered  
> 'revealed.'

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