Avodah Mailing List

Volume 25: Number 141

Tue, 22 Apr 2008

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: "Michael Makovi" <mikewinddale@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 18 Apr 2008 15:39:24 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Vihgadto Levincho

> I was wondering about this chiyuv, once your question pushed me to the
> gezeiras hakasuv idea. Why is there no haqpadah to go to your father's
> home for Pesach? Isn't it the only way he can fulfil his chiyuv?
> What's the matir for saying it's only if they are already at the table
> rather than obligating us to go to his table?
> SheTir'u baTov!
> -micha

Well, it would make a lot of sense, IMHO, if the chiyuv is only when
the son lives with the father. Assuming the ta'am of the mitzvah is
that the father is to relate it to the next generation, then once the
next generation is independent of the previous one, the chiyuv ends.
Or perhaps the chiyuv ends when the son reaches bar mitzvah - at that
point, the son is independent in terms of mitzvot, and presumably, the
stick's already been passed to him.

Or perhaps the chiyuv ends when the son moves out simply as a
practical matter - the mitzvah is on the father, not the son, so the
son has no chiyuv to go out of his way to his father's house, and if
the son doesn't come, the father patur because of oness.

Mikha'el Makovi

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Message: 2
From: "kennethgmiller@juno.com" <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
Date: Tue, 22 Apr 2008 01:13:50 GMT
Re: [Avodah] Vihgadto Levincho

R' SBA asked:
> what in the case of the father an haaretz and the son
> is a TC? It doesn't make much sense to do so. Comments?

It seems to me that Vihgadto Levincho is not an expression of intellectual
Talmud Torah. It is a tool for emotional connections between the past and
future (AKA the chain of Masorah).

For that perspective, it seems to me that the relative ages and educations of the parent and child are irrelevant.

Akiva Miller
Click for a credit repair consultation, raise your FICO score.

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Message: 3
From: "Michael Makovi" <mikewinddale@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 22 Apr 2008 04:08:41 -0400
[Avodah] Ta'am of eating matzah

We learn that we eat matzah because we didn't have time to bake
chametz, and all our dough became matzah. But all the same, we were
commanded to eat matzah before we left, and before we had any lack of

(We had an entire between-mincha-and-maariv shiur on this topic, and
this is what we spent the Monday lunch table discussing, to boot!)

All the rishonim see this contradiction - how could matzah be because
we lacked time to bake chametz, if we had already baked only matzah to
begin with, and didn't even try to bake any chametz in the first
place? There are two answers, but I forget which Rishonim said what:

1) Since we were commanded to eat matzah, it must be that we tried to
cook only matzah. However, we left so quickly that we didn't even have
time to bake matzah in our ovens, and it instead baked on our backs in
the sun.

2) We were commanded to eat matzah on davka the first night (of THE
Pesach in Mitzrayim), but for the rest of the time (i.e. for the
journey), we could have chametz, so we tried to bake regular bread for
the road. But we didn't have time, and it came out of our ovens as

I offered a third answer which the shiur-giver didn't recall seeing
anywhere, but he thought it made sense:

G-d told us to eat only matzah, and so we baked only matzah. But had
we tried to bake chametz (which, hypothetically, we did not try to do,
but, hypothetically, had we tried to do...), we wouldn't have had
time. In other words, G-d told us beforehand not to bake chametz,
because He already knew we wouldn't have had time. In retrospect, for
us, it made sense why He commanded us to bake only matzah: viz.,
that's all we had time for, in retrospect! Therefore, the command was
given with a certain ta'am already in G-d's Mind but NOT given to us,
and LATER, the ta'am became apparent to even us.

Mikha'el Makovi

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Message: 4
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Tue, 22 Apr 2008 07:46:31 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Ta'am of eating matzah

On Tue, Apr 22, 2008 at 04:08:41AM -0400, Michael Makovi wrote:
: We learn that we eat matzah because we didn't have time to bake
: chametz, and all our dough became matzah. But all the same, we were
: commanded to eat matzah before we left, and before we had any lack of
: time!

Actually, in <http://www.aishdas.org/asp/pesach62.shtml> identify four
matzos, which in turn I relate to the four sections of the seder as
divided by the kosos.

1- Ha lachma anya di achala avashana be'ara'a demitzrayim

2- Lechem oni - she'onim alav devarim harbei (Ki yisha'lkha binkha

3- Al matzos umorerim yochluhu (which was not normal life in Mitzrayim
   but yet commanded before any hasty departure).

4- Ki bechipazon

Or: (1) humility, (2) acting thoughtfully, (3) commitment, and (4)

(1) Poverty and suffering, transformed through (2) Torah study and (3)
mitzvah observance, becomes (4) redemption.


Micha Berger             Today is the 2nd day
micha@aishdas.org        in/toward the omer.
http://www.aishdas.org   Gevurah sheb'Chesed: What is constricted
Fax: (270) 514-1507                           Chesed?

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Message: 5
From: "Eli Turkel" <eliturkel@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 21 Apr 2008 21:53:35 +0200
[Avodah] newspapers and LH

> Is a newspaper exempt from loshon hara? ... if a prominent
> (or even average) Jewish person were charged with having
> been involved in an adulterous relationship (whether it
> was true or not) and it was put in the newspaper, is the
> newspaper guilty of loshon hara?

It is so obvious to me that there is NO exemption here, that I
hesitate to say so. Instead, I must ask: What is the basis of your
question? Why do you suspect that there might be an exemption here?
Lashon Hara exists not only through the spoken word, but through any
communication whatsoever, even by a simple moving of one's eyes, if it
can be interpreted as being a derogatory comment.>>

Based on shiurim of R. Zilberstein of Bnei Brak I completely agree. He
has many times complained about articles in the newspapers as being
LH. Even without halachot he feels that there is a certain minimum
decency that ven a chiloni newspaper should adhere to

Eli Turkel

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Message: 6
From: "SBA" <sba@sba2.com>
Date: Tue, 22 Apr 2008 13:21:35 +1000
[Avodah] Interesting descriptions of Am Yisroel

I suspect that not too many of the chevrah here say Maarovis/Yotzros, but
those who do, did anyone else notice how in the Maarovis of the 1st night
Pesach (in the long piece after 'Ve'emunah') - Am Yisroel are called
'Notzrim" and in Shachris the 2nd day (the 1st piece) described as


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Message: 7
From: "SBA" <sba@sba2.com>
Date: Tue, 22 Apr 2008 13:53:54 +1000
[Avodah] Austritt, TIDE, and Israel

From: Micha Berger < >
T613K@aol.com wrote:
: I am certain that RSRH would NOT permit Orthodox participation in a
: common body with R and C organizations, although he would permit
: Orthodox representatives to run for election to governmental bodies
: like the Knesset....

I am far from certain. Austritt included anti-Zionism. I could picture RSRH
deciding that the Keneset represents an Ism to which Austritt should apply.

In the biography of RSR Hirsch in 'Shemesh Marpeh' it cites a letter he
wrote to one of the early Mizrachist rabbis (I can't recall if it was R'
Kalisher or R Reines) who had been noodging him (and eventually becoming
quite nasty) because RSRH kept ignoring his letters and wasn't prepared to
use his influence on Baron Rothschild to support the 'great mitzvah' of his
idea of Yishuv EY (IIRC).

RSRH eventually replies to him saying "what in your eyes is a great Mitzvah
is in my eyes no small aveireh.."!

Thus I would suggest that the had RSRH lived in our - post establishment of
the Medinah - days, there is more than a probability that he would have
lined up with the EH/Satmar team rather than Agudah..


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Message: 8
From: "Michael Makovi" <mikewinddale@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 22 Apr 2008 02:03:45 -0400
[Avodah] Lying to protect the simple of faith

I've been having a debate on the Zohar at
and at one point, I brought up ibn Ezra saying that there could be
post-Moshe pesukim, and Dr. Marc Shapiro of course came up. I made the
following post, from which, for Avodah, I would like to discuss my
second point regarding a Torah authority lying to protect the simple
of faith (but I'll post my entire post).

I had previously there brought up an article by Dr. Shapiro that
mentions this opinion of ibn Ezra, but then...


Orthodox Theology, and I saw that it truly is a magnificent sefer -
basically, he collects classical Torah opinions that controvert
Rambam's 13.

I opened it up, and what do you know, but the page on ibn Ezra is what
it immediately opened to! In this chapter, he makes several points:

1) When Rambam says the Torah we have is the same as given by Moshe,
Rambam cannot possibly believe that this is literally true, for Rambam
was extensively involved in textual study of different texts, and even
advocated certain Masoretic texts (ben Asher I believe) over others.
Moreover, Rambam's son refused to pasken on which scroll is kosher,
because there are so many, and who are we to advocate one over the

1a) Rather, then, Rambam is saying that no deliberate additions were
made after Moshe. However, while Rambam is saying that this is the
case, he cannot possibly be saying it is heretical to say otherwise.
For ibn Ezra, as interpreted by a large list of authorities, held that
many verses are post-Moshe. Rabbi Yehuda heChasid went even further,
and said that entire narratives could be added to. According to one
authority, Ezra (not ibn Ezra) had the ability to add to narrative
(not mitzvot-ic) sections of the Torah. Most importantly, the Gemara
itself opines that Yehoshua wrote the end of the Torah - surely Rambam
cannot declare Chazal to be heretics! So while Rambam says no
post-Moshe additions were made, the contrary opinion is not heresy. As
one prominent rabbi, quoted by Marc Shapiro (I forget his name), says,
the basic principle is that "for all intents and purposes", the Torah
we have is what Moshe gave, but in certain details and pesukim, it
very well may differ. And the Gemara doesn't say that one must hold
the Torah is from Moshe, but rather only that it is from Heaven, and
this includes any divine source.

2) As an alternative to point 1 above: Rambam knew that there were
textual variants in our Torah scrolls, but he very well have lied
about this, and said that there were no variants, and that we today
have the exact same scroll as given by Moshe. In fact, in his Iggeret
Teiman, Rambam makes exactly such an explicit lie. Back then, the
Muslims were accusing us of falsifying the Torah, and any admission on
our part would have harmed the faith of the ignorant and led them to
heresy, for they would be unable to understand the complex picture as
shown in points 1 and 1a. Better then to lie to the ignorant and
simple of faith and tell them that we have the same scroll as Moshe
bli safek; those who are more learned, and can accept the complex
truth, will learn it.


Mikha'el Makovi

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Message: 9
From: "Michael Makovi" <mikewinddale@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 22 Apr 2008 02:11:09 -0400
[Avodah] Violate Shabbat to Save a Jentile

In the thread [Avodah] R' Berkovits = Conservative halacha??, Rabbi
Unterman's teshuva (Kol Torah, Nisan 5726) to violate Shabbat to save
a jentile (the j is to avoid showing up on antisemitic Google
searches), was raised. Here, the merits of Rabbi Unterman's own shitah
(irrespective of Rabbi Berkovits's) are worth discussing; also, of
course, saving a jentil on Shabbat in and of itself.

In short, Rabbi Unterman said that "mishum eiva" to justify saving a
jentile's life on Shabbat, does not mean avoiding their animosity by
pragmatic means, but rather, it is synonymous with "darkei shalom" a
positive moral goal in and of itself which can be used to modify would
what otherwise be the valid halacha, from a legal-logical standpoint,
were it not for this moral consideration. I made the other post
recently, pointing out the parallel to Rabbi Eliezer Berkovits's

The topic was discussed on Rabbi Student's Hirhurim.blogspot.com,
"Don't turn Your Back On Your Community VIII: Treating a Non-Gew"
(Jew; http://hirhurim.blogspot.com/search?q=unterman, second article)

Rabbi Student brings a letter of Rabbi Riskin who recalls Rabbi
Unterman speaking at YU on the topic. Rabbi Riskin says that Rav
Soloveitchik disagreed with Rabbi Unterman's approach, but it turns
out (in the comments section, according to Rabbi Lawrence Kaplan, and
in the URL above in the first article) that
Rabbi Riskin flipped the shitot of the two ravs.

It turns out that Rav Soloveitchik found mishum eiva to be morally
troubling, but that was what the authorities all say, and it cannot be
pidgeon-holed to be synonymous with darkei shalom, however pleasing
that would be morally. Rabbi Saul Lieberman was once asked by someone
about this, and he answered "darkei shalom" or something to that
effect. A student asked him, "But isn't the primary answer mishum
eiva?", and Rabbi Lieberman answered, "That's what my answer did".

Rabbi Riskin himself brought the RambaN to Sefer haMitzvot that one
can violate Shabbat to save a ger toshav ( = ben Noach according to
Rabbi Nachum Eliezer Rabinovitch and many of those who follow heter
mechira, so says Rabbi Student) (although RambaM does disagree with
RambaN on this). This would fit well with haMeiri's approach (to Yoma
84b-85a) that one can violate Shabbat for any jentile today, because
the Gemara was speaking of davka immoral heathens of yore. (Rabbi
Jakobovits's article about Rabbi Unterman's teshuva also brings this Meiri.)

One commenter opined that since the Gemara offers many opinions on how
to save a life on Shabbat, it appears to be an ancient undisputed
halacha whose rationale is irrelevant - sometimes we save him so that
he'll keep Shabbat in the future, and sometimes because Shabbat was
given to us not vice versa. He further said that since Ben Azzai says
descent from Adam and the resulting universal tzelem elokim
is a klal gadol, we cannot exclude jentiles from the obligation to
save a life. He brings the Meiri - his point seems to be that if the
person is moral (Meiri) then we can him, regardless of any rationale
we might bring that might or might not seem to exclude jentiles.

Personally, it seems to me that if we can say that Shabbat was given
to us and not us to Shabbat, kal vachomer jentiles were not given to
Shabbat (to lose their lives on its account).

Is there any more to be said on this machloket?

Mikha'el Makovi

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Message: 10
From: T613K@aol.com
Date: Tue, 22 Apr 2008 04:11:19 EDT
Re: [Avodah] Vihgadto Levincho

In a message dated 4/18/2008, sba@sba2.com writes:

>>Till what age (of the son)is this mitzvah? Eg, if the father is  70 and his
son 50, is he still mechuyev to tell him about Yetzias  Mitzrayim?

And what in the case of the father an haaretz and the son is  a TC?
It doesn't make much sense to do  so.



The father's chiyuv is until the son knows it.  It applies when the  son is 
still a child living at home.
If the father is an am ha'aretz he still has an obligation to provide his  
son with a Torah education. 

--Toby  Katz

**************Need a new ride? Check out the largest site for U.S. used car 
listings at AOL Autos.      
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Message: 11
From: "Prof. Levine" <llevine@stevens.edu>
Date: Tue, 22 Apr 2008 06:11:48 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Austritt, TIDE, and Israel

At 11:53 PM 4/21/2008, SBA wrote:
>Thus I would suggest that the had RSRH lived in our - post establishment of
>the Medinah - days, there is more than a probability that he would have
>lined up with the EH/Satmar team rather than Agudah..

Rav Shimon Schwab, ZT"L, took essentially this approach. Indeed, for 
many years he would not attend Agudah Conventions, because the Agudah 
had originally been part of the Israeli government at the time of the 
founding of the State.

However, after a number of years he was prevailed upon to attend. 
Some Baalei Batim said to him, "True, you do not agree with their 
philosophy regarding Zionism. However, is it appropriate to deprive 
them of your Torah." I cannot vouch for the preciseness of this 
recollection, since I no longer recall whom I heard it from.


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Message: 12
From: "Michael Makovi" <mikewinddale@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 22 Apr 2008 09:16:25 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Austritt, TIDE, and Israel

> (I can't recall if it was R' Kalisher or R Reines

Rabbi Kalischer and his Drishat Tzion - cf R' Meir Klugman's biography
of Rav Hirsch (Artscroll).

I wonder if any of the publisher's introductions to Drishat Tzion have
anything on this ;)

Mikha'el Makovi

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Message: 13
From: "kennethgmiller@juno.com" <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
Date: Tue, 22 Apr 2008 13:51:04 GMT
[Avodah] Avos uBanim

In the thread "Vihgadto Levincho", R' SBA asked about "the father ... and his son", while I responded regarding "the parent and child".

I will begin by conceding that that overwhelming majority of hagados and
seforim in English do use the words "father" and "son" in this context.
However, it has been my habit to choose gender-neutral words in this
context, and this is what I wish to discuss in this thread.

As far as I know, V'higadta Levincha applies equally to the father and the
mother, and in fact, it applies just as strongly to any Jew above the age
of bar/bas mitzvah, even if childless, and even if unmarried.

Further, the Hagada's audience would also seem to be gender-neutral. For
example, Rambam Chametz Umatzah 7:3 (and many others before him and after
him) writes: "If one has no 'ben', then his wife asks him; if he has no
wife, then they ask each other." It seems to me that if the proper
translation of 'ben' would have been 'son', then the halacha would probably
have specified and additional step: If he has no son, then his daughter
asks; if he has no daughter, then his wife asks. But because of this
omission, it seems to me that sons and daughters are equal in regards to
the Hagada.

(If anyone points out that the Rambam is very gender-specific as far as
'he' and 'his wife', I would answer that *someone* has to lead the seder,
and given the generally-assigned gender roles of Torah Judaism. it does not
bother me that this role is usually taken specifically by the father. If
this does bother others, I will not stand in their way. In any case, this
is only a practical consideration of who would lead the seder, and not a
halachic point of who is obligated in V'higadta Levincha, which applies to
both parents equally.)

It is not surprising that I have not found this issue discussed anywhere,
because it is a question which would only occur to people who speak a
language which has gender-neutral words like "parent" and "child". Someone
who speaks a language with ambiguous words like "av" and "ben" would not
think to ask such a question, because, I suppose that the bottom line is
that my question has nothing to do with halacha, but relates purely to
translation style.

Even so, I am curious if perhaps someone, somewhere, might have written an
article on this topic. Perhaps there are relevant sources that someone else
has seen. Any ideas? Thanks!

Akiva Miller
Click here for great custom garage plans!

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Message: 14
From: "Michael Makovi" <mikewinddale@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 22 Apr 2008 16:38:21 -0400
[Avodah] 5th seder cup

I recall hearing that Rabbi Menachem Kasher says that since we have
returned to the Land, we should drink the fifth cup for the fifth
expression of geula, viz. returning to the land. Does anyone know
where he says to do this? The Shulchan Aruch says that if you drink
the fifth, it is to be done in Hallel (but I forget where in Hallel -
??), but one person this Pesach
opined that ha-shana ha-ba'a b'yerushalayim ha-bnuya is a
particularly fitting place.

Mikha'el Makovi

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Message: 15
From: "Liron Kopinsky" <liron.kopinsky@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 22 Apr 2008 10:31:12 -0700
Re: [Avodah] newspapers and LH

The end of the 3rd perek of Megillah (25b) seems to say that if it is known
that someone is an adulterer that it is permissible to embarrass them in
public. When I learned this it was challenging to me for two reasons:
1) how do you find out in the first place, since presumably, it is lashon
harah to spread the news
2) even if you do hear the news, you are to assume it is not true anyway.

Unless I'm understanding the Gemarrah incorrectly, it seems that there are
some halachically permissible ways for spreading news about people in this
way. (Obviously if there is a case of other people being endangered by said
individual, it would be okay.) Maybe newspapers are not exempt from hilchot
lashon harah, but due to their larger readership can find it easier to
justify "benefit" of their words?
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