Avodah Mailing List

Volume 25: Number 124

Fri, 04 Apr 2008

< Previous Next >
Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 3 Apr 2008 18:34:15 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Tiqun Olam

On Wed, Apr 02, 2008 at 02:29:45PM +0300, Michael Makovi wrote:
: B'vadia "b'malchut ShDY"!! I said that Rav Hirsch was writing a perush
: to Aleynu, and therefore, whatever he said perforce applied to tikkun
: olam whether or not he himself quoted the explict words "tikkun olam"
: (or l'taken olam; oto davar).

Except that RSRH defines lesaqein olam bemalkhus Shakkai in very bein
adam laMaqom terms -- that we teach the world to be willing subjects.
(Perhaps from: ein melekh belo am?)

The problem with the Wikipedia entry is this: Tikun Olam as the sunnum
bonum of Judaism as platitudes about social justice (and concern for
the ecosystem) is a new age invention. By equating RSRH's notion of
actually acting like we are kohanim to the rest of the world, being its
moral voice, to this travesty of Judaism is lumping him in with the very
movement he spent so much effort fighting. It's unfair to the founder
of austritt.

He believed in Social Justice, but not qua tiqun olam in the new age sense
(nor write about anything in the real sense of the original idiom).

: So all's that left, question wise, is whether "l'taken olam" = "tikkun
: olam". I'd say, l'taken olam, hu la'asot tikkun olam. Oto davar.

That's like an Arab saying that he isn't be an antisemite because he
loves all but a fraction of a percent of the world's half-billion or
so semites.

Regardless of what people with odd notions of religion also did to the
idiom, the original idiomization of "tiqun olam" still goes beyond what
we know of Yehoshua's kavanos. He even might have understood the Torah
using a paradigm much like the Ari's, but he doesn't say so in Aleinu.

The idiom took on additional meaning in the Ari's theory (in the
scientific sense -- a unifying notion that explains many phenomena)
of Qabbalah. To Lurianic Qabbalah, tiqun olam refers to "veyei'asu
kulam agudah achas la'asos Retzonekha beleivav shaleim" in terms of the
nitzotzos trapped within qelipos of the shevurei keilim. The people who
aren't yet in that agudah achas and the elements of the world that are
their tools are trapped in the remains of the keilim...

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             A sick person never rejects a healing procedure
micha@aishdas.org        as "unbefitting." Why, then, do we care what
http://www.aishdas.org   other people think when dealing with spiritual
Fax: (270) 514-1507      matters?              - Rav Yisrael Salanter

Go to top.

Message: 2
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 3 Apr 2008 18:52:32 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Skipping Korbanos

On Wed, Apr 02, 2008 at 12:42:47PM +1100, SBA wrote:
: I suppose those of us who feel that they have no need to bring these
: korbanos are patur from saying these parshiyos.

Well, would that mean that it's assur for a non-kohein to say parashas
qetores? Let's not take things too far.

All fancy talking aside and getting down to frank admission, I think
the reason why not everyone feels a need to say every addition to the
basic set of tefillos is attention span. (Be it qorbanos or "Ani Maamin"
or the 7 Zichoronos, and how many minyanim skip Ani Maamin because of
its holiness rather than needing to move already. For that matter, the
majority of minyanim I have attended couldn't possibly have had the chazan
saying even half of what he's supposed to. Mouths can't move that fast.

For many of us products of the current fast-paced culture, too much
attention demanded of us on a daily schedule will backfire. Rather than
these hakhanos preparing us for the mitzvos of Shema, Tefillah (Shemoneh
Esrei) and Techinah (E-lokai Netzor and Tachanun), they can use up the
small measure of attention available, such that there isn't enough left
for the ikkar.

And this takes me back from Areivim-land to Avodah.

If you were to set up "the ideal" minyan, would you weigh every minhag
currently enshrined in the standard liturgy of your eidah? Or would you
set a slower pace and say less?

This is a decision most of us make. Personal example: I couldn't possibly
sit still through shul every Shabbos if I got there enough before minyan
to be up to Shema when they are. So, I choose to get there as on time as
my boys let me, and skip. I assume I'm not alone; that not everyone who
gets there later than me speed-davens. (But maybe I'm wrong; I speed-daven
most workdays just to be in the office by 8, why couldn't nearly everyone
speed-daven 22 times a week? But if I am wrong, don't disillusion me,
and just stick to the people who live up to my perception of them.)

In terms ofthe theory of pesaq I posted a few months back, this would
be a classical conflict of minhag avos (saying it because it's in the
siddur) vs aggadic value (saying the essential with qavanah). I would
also argue that avodah shebeleiv is a sevara/textualist issue as well.

As for that dieal minyan... Maybe they should meet 3 times a week aside
from tefillah to work on lengthening their attention spans and

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             When memories exceed dreams,
micha@aishdas.org        The end is near.
http://www.aishdas.org                   - Rav Moshe Sherer
Fax: (270) 514-1507

Go to top.

Message: 3
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 3 Apr 2008 19:46:14 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Mekor of TIDE, and a kashya

On Sun, Mar 30, 2008 at 02:46:39PM +0300, Michael Makovi wrote:
: In The Living Hirschian Legacy (Feldheim), Rabbi Shelomo Danziger has
: a wonderful essay, "Rav S. Hirsch - His Torah Im Derech Eretz [in Heb
: char] Ideology"
: Beautiful words that are worth being brought for their own sake, IMHO.
: But I have a kashya: Rav Hirsch on MANY MANY MANY occasions, emphasizes
: that Torah is the ikkar and derech eretz is the tofeil (his explicit
: words). But if Torah is the form and derech eretz the matter, is not
: Torah the tofeil and derech eretz the ikkar? And kol va-chomer if derech
: eretz kadmah et ha-torah!

I have written about the SE's explanation of TIDE as Aristotilian tzurah
vechomer a few times in the past.

Aristo identified form with function. After all, a knife has the shape
it does to serve as a knife. Similarly, the choice of other properies,
its hardness (by using metal), its weight, malleability, size, etc...

Tzurah without chomer is an idea. This is why the Rambam calls mal'akhim
"sikhliim nivdalim" in the MN I:49 and as "tzurah belo golem" in Yesodei
haTorah 2:5 (a/k/a 2:3). And why two identical tzuros that have no chomer
are actually the same tzurah, a question he addresses in YhT 2:6 (a/k/a
2:5) WRT how the mal'akhim are distinct.

So, the perfectly formulated idea of a knife is the tzurah of that knife.

Once they are physically implementented in chomer, then they become

The body vs the soul is tzurah vs chomer. (Which is why I suggested
that the relationship between mind and brain isn't causal, but different
levels of abstraction. The brain's structure/activity embodies part of
the form of the soul.) After all, the soul is the purpose for the body,
and the more idea / intellect part.

So to answer your question, saying that the Torah is the tzurah we are
supposed to impart on the chomer of olam hazeh does make it the function,
purpose, and soul of existence. Which is I think what you meant by

And in another way, makes neither the ikkar. An object is truly a
*synthesis* of tzurah vekhomer. You can view it as fully the tzurah, with
the chomer being meaningless as it has no adjectives without the tzurah
(short of the one attribute of mamashus). Or you can view it as fully
the chomer, with the tzurah a blueprint -- histakeil beOraisa uvara alma.
As with any real synthesis, you can see it as a completion of the thesis,
a completion of the antithesis, or something that is really neither --
depending on choice of perspective.

To RSRH, the ikkar is TIDE. Not one or the other.

-- Tangents --

And if we were switching to Plato, the capital-I Idea, also called the
Universal Form, of a knife is the pristine concept of knife that all
actual knives implement to various amounts. The Idea of Knife is the
real, knives that we have are shadows of it on the cave wall. Aristotle
believed that the notion of a knife was a human grouping of all things
that happen to have the same fearute. The set is a consequence of the
choice of members.

The Rambam then adds the notion of fuzzy sets, and therefore that someone
could be more or less in the set of human beings, and thus subject to
more or less hashgachah peratis (MN II:18).

The Form, the Idea, is the Tzelem E-lokim. The closer one's mind holds
that Tzurah, the closer one is to tzelem E-lokim, the more human one is.

-- end tangents --

... [skipping alot] ...
: Therefore, anything about Yafet is irrelevant. True, Rav Hirsch brings
: Yafet as the paradigmatic source of true noble derech eretz (see end
: of parshat Noach, on Yafet dwelling in the tent of Shem; see also his
: essays on Chanuka), but any derech eretz will do for TIDE; Yafet is simply
: the optimal and the paradigm. TIDE applied to ancient Semitic/Oriental
: culture as much as to Persian culture as to Greco-Roman culture as to
: Arabic culture, etc.
: I still stand by Rabbi Berkovits being TIDE for Israel, however. Much
: of what he says overlaps with Rav Kook's vision for how modern society
: and Torah will work together in Israel.

It doesn't work because in RSRH's worldview, we can and are even
supposed to get higher culture as part of being world citizens. The
kohanim of the world, yes, but members of a universal community, the
"agudah achas la'asos retzonekha". REB speaks of Jewish culture qua being
Jewish. It's a different thing altogether. They have different stances
on the relationship of univeralism and particularism, and RSRH's stance
is part of his concept of DE.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             The trick is learning to be passionate in one's
micha@aishdas.org        ideals, but compassionate to one's peers.
Fax: (270) 514-1507

Go to top.

Message: 4
From: "Meir Shinnar" <chidekel@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 3 Apr 2008 18:14:44 -0400
Re: [Avodah] R' Angel & Geirus Redux

>  RMS wrote:
>  > The rambam is actuallly quite explicit
>  > - while he requires a priori investigation of gerim, once converted,
>  > even by a bet din that did not tell them about mitzvot, they are gerim -
>  > and if they sin, they are a yisrael rasha rather than not being a ger.
>  While you claim that this is the simple reading of the Rambam, that doesn't
>  account for the Rambam statement of 'hosheshim lo 'ad sheyitbarer tzidquto.
>  Rather, the Rambam seems to say that his status is in doubt.

As I said, I was aware of other pshatim and interpretations, which are
based on the understanding of this passage.  IMHO, The simple pshat is
that while he is considered a yisrael and a ger - he does not get full
communal privileges because one worries about the fact that he might
not be observant - he does not have a hezkat kashrut.  (the rambam is
in general insistent on being marchik reshaim from the community).
However, if his tzidkuto is not mitbarer, and he is found to be a
rasha, his status is that of a yisrael rasha rather than  not being a
ger.  Yes, there are other pshatim, but I think that this is the
simple pshat.
Meir Shinnar

Go to top.

Message: 5
From: "Stadlan, Noam" <nstadlan@cinn.org>
Date: Thu, 3 Apr 2008 16:20:09 -0600
Re: [Avodah] WTG part II

Sorry, left this out of the first post. Second paragraph of RGS:

"The knowledgable reader will certainly be struck by two things when reading
this responsum: First, how expansive and overwhelming R. Schachter's mastery
of the whole range of halakhic literature is. Second, how he consistently
rules strictly on every issue. It is clear that R. Schachter is of the view
that Women's Prayer Groups are an improper and even dangerous innovation, as
he makes clear in his article, and therefore rules strictly on every related
issue. This is an entirely legitimate approach and, quite possibly, the
optimal handling of the matter. Let me be clear. He is not stating that
technical halakhah permits Women's Prayer Groups but other "public policy"
considerations prohibit them. Rather, he is using public policy
considerations in determining the direction in which to take his technical
halakhich considerations. What results is a strict ruling on the issue based
on technical halakhah. His conclusions can certainly be debated but only a
scholar with similar or greater authority can rule differently. Personally,
I would never pasken against R. Schachter and I know a number of rabbis,
even roshei yeshiva, who also humbly defer to his authority."

Go to top.

Message: 6
From: "Moshe Y. Gluck" <mgluck@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 3 Apr 2008 20:52:00 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Chazzan pacing the tzibur/long tachanun

Tur quqotes Rav Natronai [sp??] Gaon: "Tachanun is optional"
Thus anyone has ample Halachici precedent to be meikel.

There was once a dispute in a Shul about saying Tachanun, IIRC, in the days
between Sukkos and Rosh Chodesh. There was reason to go either way, and a
leading American Posek was approached for a Psak. He said that in America,
the Minhag is always to be Maikel when it comes to saying Tachanun (IOW, the
Psak was not to say it).


Go to top.

Message: 7
From: "Stadlan, Noam" <nstadlan@cinn.org>
Date: Thu, 3 Apr 2008 16:17:27 -0600
Re: [Avodah] WTG

If a posek decides that the motivation of a shoel is wrong, he can decide
all the halachic issues to the side of denying the shoel permission to do
the act.  The decision regarding the motivation can be a result of
historical circumstances, and those circumstances can change.  Motivations
can change.  If the motivation was thought to be acceptable, and perhaps
even admirable, the halachic balance can change.  Rav Gil Student, in his
review of Rav Herschel Schachter's view's on WTG basically admits that RHS
consistently rules l'chumra on all the issues precisely because RHS was
against the WTG.  The rulings on the halachic issues were a result of a
prior decision regarding the WTG, not the other way around.  To quote Rav
Gil, in his intro to RHS's position:

"When a question is posed before a posek, there are a whole host of
considerations for him to take into account. This is particularly true when
the underlying issues are subject to dispute and can go either way. The
posek, then, has the right to rule according to whichever opinions he
believes to be appropriate. If a posek believes that the contemporary
context requires stringency then he may certainly rule strictly on any
questionable matter. Furthermore, if he believes that there is a general
laxity in an area of practice he may even prohibit something that is
techincally permissible. For example, the Amora Rav found that people were
insufficiently careful regarding forbidden mixtures of meat and milk so he
went even further and prohibited the consumption of an animal's udder
(Hullin 110a). An overly strict approach does not not make a posek's ruling
illegitimate and, indeed, in many cases is the most responsible and
traditional halakhic approach."

In other words, RHS decided that WTG was wrong, and ruled accordingly on the
halachic issues in question.  The obvious flip side is that if one thought
that WTG was good, one could also rule accordingly on the halachic issues.

Noam Stadlan  

Go to top.

Message: 8
From: Saul.Z.Newman@kp.org
Date: Thu, 3 Apr 2008 21:10:48 -0700
[Avodah] rare pesach

i know hter are calendar mavens out there.  it there are 3  different 
simanim out of 14 possible year combinations  that  sunday pesach can fall 
on [ 1 meubar, 2 pshutim], why  is the frequency so rare?  what dchiah 
causes these combinations to be rare?

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lists.aishdas.org/pipermail/avodah-a

Go to top.

Message: 9
From: "Simon Montagu" <simon.montagu@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 4 Apr 2008 08:57:19 +0300
Re: [Avodah] rare pesach

On Fri, Apr 4, 2008 at 7:10 AM, <Saul.Z.Newman@kp.org> wrote:

> i know hter are calendar mavens out there.  it there are 3  different
>  simanim out of 14 possible year combinations  that  sunday pesach can fall
> on [ 1 meubar, 2 pshutim], why  is the frequency so rare?  what dchiah
> causes these combinations to be rare?

All other things being equal, you would expect Pesah to be on any day of the
week one year in 7, and it's on Sunday about 1 year in 9 on average, so it's
not really so rare, it just seems that way because other days are more

In short, there is no dehhiya which postpones Pesah from Shabbat to Sunday
(unless you count Molad Zaken which takes away as many as it adds), and
GaTaRaD postpones from Sunday to Monday in about 1 year in 30.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lists.aishdas.org/pipermail/avodah-ai

Go to top.

Message: 10
From: Sholom Simon <sholom@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 04 Apr 2008 00:59:55 -0400
[Avodah] Mutzkeh: Sticks, Stones, and Pets

>To understand the reason why stones are muktzeh, one must remember 
>the principle on which muktzeh was based: Everything handled on 
>Shabbos must be prepared for Shabbos in advance.

Well . . . except for the myriad of things which are considered 
automatically prepared, no?  S'forim (and, for that matter, just 
about anything one can read), food, keilim with which to eat food 
(plates, forks, napkins), chairs, clothes, games, toys, pillows and 
blankets, . . . . so much, in fact, that it almost renders your 
sentence useless.  If you want to say, however that "natural objects" 
fall in a different category, that may be useful.

-- Sholom

Go to top.

Message: 11
From: "Mandel, Seth" <mandels@ou.org>
Date: Fri, 4 Apr 2008 08:35:55 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Levayeh Minhagim

This was a matter of communal minhogim.  There is no remez in the g'moro
or rishonim that women are treated any different than men by the
k'vurah.  The Zohar was the source, and the Zohar's publication (and its
being quoted for certain things in the SA)  did not change the customs
of all communities immediately.  By Litvaks in Europe, women always went
to the levayes and the shura was done for them, as were all minhogim of
avelus (including having a minyan in the house of the deceased).  That
also was and is the custom of Teimanim.

On the other hand, most S'faradim, AFAIK, have conformed to the Zohar,
as did Hungarians and most Chasidim.

Nowadays, as is well known, in EY the chevra kadisha sets its own
customs and most people are obliged to follow them.



Seth Mandel



-----Original Message-----
From: SBA [mailto:sba@sba2.com] 
Sent: Friday, April 04, 2008 2:27 AM
To: areivim
Cc: avodah
Subject: Levayeh Minhagim


Last Sunday I attended a levayeh of a relative who wasn't too frum. She

has a daughter who seems to be even less religious.

As they do not belong to any shul, someone arranged for a young Chabad

(House) rabbi to 'do' the service.


He spoke well, said a few kapitlech Tehillim and a few psukim from

Chayil etc.


However, there was no keriyeh done. (We only realised this much later.) 

I am wondering, did the rabbi simply forget or is this common with other

irreligious aveilim?


After the burial, the rabbi announced a 'shurah' - asking men to stand

one side and women on the other.


I have never before seen a shurah made for a woman or by women. 


Is this because of my (and my community's) 'Amish' non-worldiness (as

recent newspaper reports) or rather>/

Furthermore, the SA (beshem Zohar) - see SA YD 359:2 and KSA 198:10 -

about the 'sakono' when men see women at funerals. 


Our minhag has been that (mostly) women do go out to the cemetery - but

remain in the forecourt until after the kevureh and the men have left



My late father told me that 'in der heim' (Weitzen - and presumably
other OB

kehilos) women did not attend the burial. I hear that this was also the

minhag in Germany. Presumably in keeping with the SA.


How is this followed in other O and MO communities?





-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lists.aishdas.org/pipermail/avodah-a


Avodah mailing list

End of Avodah Digest, Vol 25, Issue 124

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 >