Avodah Mailing List

Volume 25: Number 163

Fri, 02 May 2008

< Previous Next >
Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Daniel Israel <dmi1@hushmail.com>
Date: Thu, 01 May 2008 23:42:53 -0600
Re: [Avodah] Ta'am of eating matzah

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!
> ...
> 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.

I am bothered by this pshat because it seems to rely on the theoretical 
issue of what would have happened if we had violated the tzivoy.  Also, 
then the pasuk should say that our bread "wouldn't have had time time 
rise."  (I'm not sure how this subjunctive would come out in the Hebrew, 
but still.)  It seems odd that we would be commemorating a hypothetical. 
   Rather I think it was necessary that there be an actual historical 
event of dough not rising so that the mitzvah of matzah would be 
connected to an actual historical event that was revealed in the 
physical world.

I am struck by a different question, however, related to this issue.  We 
are told that Avraham baked matzos on Pesach.  In the above inyan we see 
that matzah is connected to leil seder.  So who set the calendar before 
the mitzvah was given in Parshas Bo?

Daniel M. Israel

Go to top.

Message: 2
From: Daniel Israel <dmi1@hushmail.com>
Date: Thu, 01 May 2008 23:47:35 -0600
Re: [Avodah] newspapers and LH

Micha Berger wrote:
> On Tue, Apr 22, 2008 at 10:31:12AM -0700, Liron Kopinsky wrote:
> : 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....
> : Unless I'm understanding the Gemarrah incorrectly, it seems that there are
> : some halachically permissible ways for spreading news about people in this
> : way...
> It could be the pesaq is bedi'eved -- you shouldn't have been told,
> but if you were... Hil' geneivah have many laws about what to do with
> stolen objects; that doesn't imply that there is a case where theft
> is permissable.

Except that the CC seems to indicate that one who says LH is suspected 
of speaking sheker.  So in a bedi'eved case where you shouldn't have 
been told, it is LH, so you can't believe it, because a person who will 
say LH would also say sheker, and therefore the can be no heter to act 
on it.  So the gemara must be speaking of a case where it was muttar for 
the person to tell you, and moreover, you know it was muttar.

Daniel M. Israel

Go to top.

Message: 3
From: "SBA" <sba@sba2.com>
Date: Fri, 2 May 2008 16:34:47 +1000
Re: [Avodah] mixed swimming,

From: "Meir Shinnar" <chidekel@gmail.com>
me > but there is little basis for forbidding, for example, mixed 
> swimming, and  > allowing walking on the boardwalk next to the beach....

RSB> Which poskim are mattir walking on the boardwalk next to the beach?
>  > AISI it is clearly Assur. See Aruch Hashulchan EH 21: 1, 2 & 3.

RMM> I think R' Shinar was being rhetorical. To prove the point that it  
> isn't swimming per se, but rather the un-tziut-ness (for which mixed  
> swimming is paradigmnatic but lav davka), he pointed out that walking  
> on the boardwalk is as prohibited as the actual swimming.

I wasn't being rhetorical.  The question is, what is halacha lema'ase psak
of most poskim about tzniut and the need to be mafrish.
One could be machmir, as RSBA would want.

I want???
I cited what the Shulchan Aruch wants!

>>>... it was quite the norm for people - including prominent rashe yeshiva
- to walk on the boardwalk, either in Long Island or in Miami Beach... one
of our former chaverim confessed that he knew the rashe yeshiva who walked
on the boardwalk, ..

There is nothing wrong with walking along a boardwalk when there is no one
on the beach or the weather is too cold for sunbathing.

>>>This position was given to my father by a prominent (MO) rav, as they
were together in the swimming pool in a hotel at Miami Beach - the rav would
understand the basis for being machmir, but not the basis of those who
walked the boardwalk, where the level of zniut was far worse than in a hotel
swimming pool of elderly Jews...

The taaneh of this MO rav is 100% correct. But meanwhile, he personally is
being oyver a serious aveireh. 
Maybe your father should've heeded Chazal and told the rabbi of this.
"Bemokom sheyesh Chilul Hashem ein cholkin kavod larav".

>>>WRT to RMB's point about changes in swimming attire, while this may be
true of the garb of the 1890s, it was not true of the swimming attire of the
1920 and for sure 1930s - and people kept coming both to marienbad, as well
as the beaches at Trieste - the swimming attire of the 1930s was not very
different than that at a family friendly pool or beach today.

Very possible. And you can be sure that not a single recognized rav/RY/rebbe
in Marienbad EVER went to the mixed waters.


Go to top.

Message: 4
Date: Fri, 02 May 08 13:24:30 +0300
[Avodah] Passover and Circumcision in the Desert

After the Jews cross the Jordan, Joshua has them circumcised.  He
explains that the babies born in the desert, for forty years, had not
been circumcised.

My question is how the Passover a year after the Exodus was celebrated?
I thought that you could not have uncircumcised boys in the family and
still eat the Paschal sacrifice.  Or was there an exception because the
children could not be circumcised because of the constant possibility of

Go to top.

Message: 5
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 2 May 2008 09:40:02 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Passover and Circumcision in the Desert

On Fri, May 02, 2008 at 01:24:30PM +0300, Larry Israel wrote:
: My question is how the Passover a year after the Exodus was celebrated?
: I thought that you could not have uncircumcised boys in the family and
: still eat the Paschal sacrifice.  Or was there an exception because the
: children could not be circumcised because of the constant possibility of
: travel?

Tosafos (Qiddushin 37b "Ho'il") simply answers that they didn't. I
assume they mean after year 2 (Bamidbar 9:7 discusses the "qorban
Pesach Lashem", and much Torah is said about why this one was Lashem
and the original doesn't get that appelation).

The Ritva (not there, so I don't recall where -- Yevamos? Gitin?) says
that the older generation did, only those born in the desert weren't
gemalt and didn't.

I wondered about shitas haTosafos, since according to either opinion,
the women could form chaburos without any men in them. So why wouldn't
they have brought the qorban?


Micha Berger             Today is the 12th day, which is
micha@aishdas.org        1 week and 5 days in/toward the omer.
http://www.aishdas.org   Hod sheb'Gevurah: What aspect of judgment
Fax: (270) 514-1507                  forces the "judge" into submission?

Go to top.

Message: 6
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 2 May 2008 10:24:37 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Why bad things happen to good people

On Thu, May 01, 2008 at 03:50:07PM -0400, Michael Makovi wrote:
: (No, I am not using the title of Kushner's book; that was *When* Bad
: Things Happen to Good People)

Since my blog is a collection of chiddushei Torah on philosophical and
mussar themes, I obviously hit this one a number of times. See the
category <http://www.aishdas.org/asp/category/theodicy> (6 posts, some
machashavah, some mussar on issues like tragedies during simchas Adar).

I am most proud of the oldest entry "The Four Sons Confront Tragedy".

The chakham asks "mah ha'eidus vehachuqim...". RYBS style, he realizes the
primary Jewish question isn't "Why?" but "How am I supposed to respond?"
For him, the tragic is a nisayon to figure out how to overcome.

The rasha gets yissurim; a wake up call.

The tam is told "why?" at the seider. He's the one who would get
yissurim shel ahavah. He is called upon to turn to G-d in
his troubles.

The she'eino yodei'ah lish'ol isn't ready for the question. He is the
poor person who is poor because had he been rich, he would have been
enticed off the derekh.

Real people are blends of all four, and so are their tzaros.

We are told in the beginning of Iyov that his challenges were those
of the chakham and tam. He got yissurim because he got as far as he
could in avodas Hashem as an ashir, and needed to learn how to respond
in oppression.

At least, that's how I read the satan's words, given that his job is
lesatein, not simply to be evil.

But in truth, the real answer is that given at the end of Iyov -- how can
we be presumptuous enough to think you can understand the answer? Rather
(to return to Qol Dodi Dofeiq), we are called upon to struggle with the
question, lo aleinu ligmor, velo anu ben chorin libateil mimenah.

The question exists to be a question. Because by demanding an
explanation, we are relating our troubles to our relationship with
the Borei. (I also write about this in terms of getting angry at Him
over someone else's troubles, eg Avraham and Sodom or Moshe defending
BY, at <http://www.aishdas.org/asp/2007/10/angry-at-g-d.shtml>. A real
relationship will include arguments and anger; ask any married person. Kol
de'avad letav avad is only a noble attitude when it's my /own/ tzaros.)

As for your/RAK's solutions, I think there are fewer than 5:
: 1) We can only see Olam haZe, but not Olam haBa. When someone dies,
: perhaps he was needed more there than here, or perhaps he completed
: his mission on earth. Cf. the fifth answer below

: 3) Perhaps a certain innocent person isn't really innocent. Perhaps
: the mitzvah we crush under our heel is the most important of all. (I'd
: personally add that we say that the good suffer here and are rewarded
: later, and for the evil, it is vice versa.)

: 5) We cannot really know what is good and what is bad. He brings the
: story of Rabbi Akiva in the field (the inn had no room) where his
: donkey and rooster are eaten and his lamp goes out, and it turns out
: that because of this, the bandits didn't find him. Our perspective is
: lacking, and we cannot know the full story. Cf. the first answer
: above.

These are variants of the idea that you just can't know all the
facts. We don't know the don't know the person's sins, even if we did,
we wouldn't know their magnitude, and without knowing every possible
outcome nor can peer into olam haba, we don't really know the gemul.
"Then Hashem answered Iyov from the storm... Where were you when I
founded the earth? Tell me if you know understanding." (See peraqim
38-41, THE primary source on this subject.)

: 2) Man is part of a society, and part of the historical process. I
: will elaborate further on (this second point is what I really want to
: focus on in this email).

: 4) Often, we bring the evil upon ourselves, and have only ourselves to blame.

Both of these assume that HQBH won't always step in to insure the
outcome. (Assuming #4 is about my hurting myself, rather than sechar
ba'onesh -- that would seem not to require an answer.)

In #2, RAK is simply asserting that HP isn't total, sometimes (for some
people - usually, for others, less often) one's fate is subject to
hashgachah minis.

: This seems to tie into the fifth answer, that we can't really know
: what is truly good and what isn't. How could those in the Holocaust
: know that the state of Israel would be born from it? (Taking it for
: granted that this is a satisfactory answer to the Holocaust.)

Well, this is RBSO we're talking about. So even your question is
incredibly short of the mark. Of the infinitude of ways that He could
have given us a State, He chose this one. Why are you assuming that
the Shoah was a /necessary/ precondition for the Medinah? Perhaps His
reason was entirely something else.

: Rabbi Eliezer Berkovits, in his essay on Job, in Essential Essays,
: reprinted from one of his other books (I forget which), concludes that
: Sefer Iyov is teaching that sometimes, for the sake of God's
: "mishpat", which Rabbi Berkovits says is almost synonymous with
: "derech", He must do something that isn't strict justice (i.e. Job
: didn't deserve his suffering) for the sake of some overriding need of
: the world (G-d's derech, = mishpat).

I don't understand from this paragraph what REB's definition of "mishpat"
is, but his usage is at odds with the navi Mikhah's. After all, vehalakhta
bidrakhav (as in "derekh") isn't summarized as "la'asos mishpat". One
also needs "ahavas chessed vehatznei'ah lekhes im E-lokekha".

OTOH, in beis din, mishpat is pesharah first and only then does one try for
strict justice (din).

And I would acutally say the reverse -- strict justice is itself only
there when the need is. Olam chessed yibaneh. Din is only there when
it's the greater chessed. The parent who has to let their two yr old
fall a few times in order to learn how to walk independently.


Micha Berger             Today is the 12th day, which is
micha@aishdas.org        1 week and 5 days in/toward the omer.
http://www.aishdas.org   Hod sheb'Gevurah: What aspect of judgment
Fax: (270) 514-1507                  forces the "judge" into submission?

Go to top.

Message: 7
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 2 May 2008 10:34:18 -0400
Re: [Avodah] The Three Zechisim

On Wed, Apr 30, 2008 at 06:10:26PM -0400, T613K@aol.com wrote:
: The 49 levels of tumah they sank into had to do with avodah zara
: and kishuf -- not arayos....
:                   There was only one single individual woman who ever  had 
: relations with an Egyptian, Shlomis bas Divri. Every Jew other than her son
: (the megadef) was able to trace his yichus exactly ben achar ben back to one
: of the shvatim.

Nu, so they didn't intermarry. It doesn't mean everything was kosher
veyosher on other fronts.

The AZ is described as only being lehatir lahem es ha'arayos.
And isn't ma'aseh eretz Mitzrayim shorthand for a cheit in inyanei arayos?
It would seem that in Egyptian AZ (as many others), hainu hakh!

But I agree with the basic notion. A person can't be summed up in a single
number. "49th level" is to my mind shorthand for saying it would take
49 days to get to be ready for Sinai. Not that their entire spiritual
standing fit in a single number. A single IQ number doesn't tell much
of the story WRT intellect, qal vachomer a person's spiritual standing!


Micha Berger             Today is the 12th day, which is
micha@aishdas.org        1 week and 5 days in/toward the omer.
http://www.aishdas.org   Hod sheb'Gevurah: What aspect of judgment
Fax: (270) 514-1507                  forces the "judge" into submission?

Go to top.

Message: 8
From: "Rich, Joel" <JRich@sibson.com>
Date: Fri, 2 May 2008 09:32:47 -0400
[Avodah] Who is the father redux - from R' Aviner



A widow becoming impregnated by her deceased husband

Q: Is it permissible for a widow to become impregnated by the frozen
sperm of her deceased husband?

A: It is forbidden to perform such an act from a deceased man.  First of
all, a deceased man is not obligated in the mitzvah to be fruitful and
multiply.  A deceased man is not obligated in the mitzvot at all.  He is
free.  Secondly, it is forbidden to cause a child (or anyone for that
matter) sorrow.  The Torah says over and over: an orphan is unfortunate,
an orphan is unfortunate.  But sometimes there is an orphan and we have
mercy on him.  Here, however, we create a child orphaned from his father
with our own hands!  And he is even worse than an orphan, because an
orphan had a father and he died, but here the man died and only then did
he become an orphan.  We must explain to the child that he never had a
father.  We understand that the mother is suffering from loneliness and
she would be happy if she had a baby, but we do not save her from
loneliness by causing a child to suffer his entire life.   




Joel Rich

distribution or copying of this message by anyone other than the addressee is 
strictly prohibited.  If you received this message in error, please notify us 
immediately by replying: "Received in error" and delete the message.  
Thank you.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lists.aishdas.org/pipermail/avod

Go to top.

Message: 9
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 2 May 2008 12:22:23 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Shaos Eretz Yisroel (EY zeiger) - offlist

On Thu, May 01, 2008 at 02:42:34AM +1000, RSBA forwarded:
: L'koved yoshka pundera their mamzer god whom they claim was born at 12.00
: midnight. 

This is wrong in a number of ways.
- They don't have such a claim.
- Days started at midnight before Xianity.

Actually, they started counting hours during the day, when sundials are
usable. (The Mitzriyim were the first to have an hour of 1/12 of a day.)

On a sundial, there are three significant times: most easy are to
determine sunrise and sunset. But they vary a lot over the year.
Noon moves only due to the equation of time (the analemma, see
<http://www.analemma.com> which has both videos and math), and shifts
by the same amount regardless of where you are on the globe.

And so, sundials measured time in relation to noon. Thus creating
AM and PM, and when they went from having the day run from -6 (6 hours
AM), to -5.... 0, 1, 2... to having the hours go upward, they kept
noon at the origin.

In short, midnight is 12:00 because it's opposite noon. Nothing to do
with Yeishu.

Sort of.

There is a connection, I think.

I noticed the following correspondences between the start of the year,
and the start of the day.

The Jewish chol year starts in the fall, just as it starts getting
darker, and our day starts at sunset.

The sacred year starts in Nissan, and for avodas hamiqdash, the day
starts at sunrise.

The Gregorian year starts in the depth of winter (originally on the
solstice itself) and the day starts at midnight.

The Chinese year starts R"Ch Adar (and in shanos me'ubaros, usually
Adar II) give or take our dechuyos, and their day starts at dawn.

There se3ems to be a constant thread about the year and the day
starting at corresponding points in the day-night cycle.

The mythical date of Yeishu's birth is set to what was once the start
of their year, which I just related to the start of their day. So,
their use of midnight might not be a consequence of the time of day they
claim he was born, but perhaps it shares a common cause with the *date*
they claim he was born on.

:  RUBBISH When I was at Ponevez Yeshivah, a Yerushalmi Bochur, Yankl Seckbach
: (he is still around amve"sh), who still remembered its use, told me that the
: Etz Chaim Yeshiva switched to the European Zeiger in 1948.  The reason was
: that most of the homes had already changed and it was being used as an
: excuse for coming late.  The system (still used in Saudi Arabia!!!)...

You can find "arab time" on Google. It is still known, if not used as
the primary clock, in much of the Moslem world.


Micha Berger             Today is the 12th day, which is
micha@aishdas.org        1 week and 5 days in/toward the omer.
http://www.aishdas.org   Hod sheb'Gevurah: What aspect of judgment
Fax: (270) 514-1507                  forces the "judge" into submission?

Go to top.

Message: 10
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 2 May 2008 16:05:42 -0400
[Avodah] Fwd (torahweb@torahweb.org): Rabbi Michael

RMR takes a very Brisker view of the world. "Halchic Worldview".

Very different from recent discussions here of REB and R Rackoff (the
latter was just aposted link), and their need for values. IMHO,
incorrect because it veers too far from the other side of the shevil

To put it another way, one that will resonate with the sort of people
who may read this vort and nod, thinking "Halachic Man"... The "erev
Shabbes yid" isn't part of the halachic worldview. There is no din
requiring people live Fri feeling the anticipation of Shabbos in the

I also thinks he mischaracterizes the Ramban. The Ramban talks about
"religious personality" as RMR puts it. How is that "internalizing
halachic values"? It's internalizing the values that underly and GO
BEYOND "reshus haTorah".

I think this conflation is endemic to the Brisker error.


----- Forwarded message from TorahWeb <torahweb@torahweb.org> -----
Kedoshim Tihiyu:
The Obligation to Internalize Halachic Values and Adopt a Halachic World View
Rabbi Michael Rosensweig

Parshat Kedoshim begins in unusual fashion when Moshe is charged
to assemble and address the entire nation ("daber el kol adat Benei
Yisrael"). The midrash notes that this Torah section was directly conveyed
to Kelal Yisrael because it establishes critical Torah principles ("gufei
Torah teluyin bah"). The Ramban and Ibn Ezra develop another midrashic
idea that this parshah parallels the aseret ha-dibrot.

However, instead of an obviously profound communication that would
justify the need for a special convocation and that would account for
this parallel to the aseret ha-dibrot, we read simply of the obligation to
cultivate sanctity, "kedoshim tihiyu". How does this basic requirement to
seek holiness constitute a major tenet of Judaism that also reintroduces
a repetition of the aseret ha-dibrot?

To appreciate the significance of "kedoshim tihiyu" it is important to
realize that cultivating kedushah pervades the Jewish consciousness
on both a national and individual plane. "Ve-atem tihiyu mamlechet
kohanim ve-goy kadosh" succinctly encapsulates our national aspiration,
while striving for kedushah is a personal mission driven by the most
fundamental theme of imatatio dei (imitating Divine conduct) - "ki kadosh
ani Hashem Elokeichem."

While Rashi and the Rambam mostly focus on the need to be scrupulous in
resisting sin and temptation generally and specifically as it relates
to the issue of arayot, the Ramban projects the obligation to cultivate
kedushah as a fundamental approach to halachic life. He formulates
kedoshim tihiyu as the requirement to strive to internalize halachic
values, insuring their application beyond the obligatory norm. He seems
to extend this analysis to argue that kedushah relates to the cultivation
of a religious personality ("aval ha-perishut hi...she-baaleha nikraim
perushim"). Indeed, the Ramban strongly condemns individuals who abuse
and exploit the halachic system by scrupulously observing the letter
of halachic law, ever the while trampling on its fundamental values and
contravening its most sacred principles. Kidoshim tihiyu, as understood
by the Ramban, demands that we not only punctiliously observe halachic
law but that we embrace a broad halachic worldview.

In Vayikra, the Ramban (parshat Emor) explains Sabbath observance based
on this doctrine. In his commentary on Devarim, the Ramban applies his
perspective to the domain of civil law and the definition of justice and
righteousness ("ve-asita ha-yashar ve-hatov"), as well. He reiterates
that the Torah addresses man both in terms of specific obligations and
broader values that are rooted in these details. Each of these dimensions
constitutes a critical component in avodat Hashem. Specific halachic
obligations provide an objective structure and sanctify specific actions
while broader principles reflect a deeper sense of purpose, intensify
halachic commitment, and shape individual identity. Torah study is the
primary vehicle that enables the internalization of halachic values. In
this sense, too, Torah study is a supreme pursuit (keneged kulam),
as it is the linchpin for achieving the objective of kedoshim tihiyu.

We may now better comprehend the unusual introduction of parshat
Kedoshim. The communication of kedoshim tihiyu is simple yet enormously
profound and ambitious. It qualifies as "gufei Torah" and justifies both
a national convocation and a reiteration of the themes of the asseret
ha-dibrot. Parshat Kedoshim evokes the event and themes of mattan Torah
within the framework of a newly articulated motif that establishes
the Torah as a system of binding values that are reflected and rooted
in but not restricted to specific halachic norms. If we embrace this
aspiration both as individuals and a nation, we will merit the appellation
"mamlechet kohanim ve-goy kadosh" based on the inspiration of "ki kadosh
ani Hashem Elokeichem".

Copyright ? 2008 by The TorahWeb Foundation. All rights reserved.

TorahWeb.org Homepage <http://www.torahweb.org>
Dvar Torah Archive <http://www.torahweb.org/dtArchive.html>
Audio Shiurim <http://www.TorahWeb.org/audio>
Video Shiurim <http://www.TorahWeb.org/video>
Palm / Treo Downloads <http://www.torahweb.org/palmFrameset.html>
Shiurim of Rav Soloveitchik zt"l <http://www.torahweb.org/ravSet.html>

Go to top.

Message: 11
From: <cantorwolberg@cox.net>
Date: Fri, 2 May 2008 12:04:51 -0400
[Avodah] B'nai...The Rest is Up to You

What I find very interesting is that we are referred to as "rachmonim bnai
rachmonim" which literally means compassionate [ones], children of
compassionate [parents]."  I would think the opposite of that would be the
idiom "bnai bli lev," (cruel, heartless) and literally "Children without a
heart." What is fascinating is that in referring to the latter, it doesn't
refer to our parents as in rachmonim bnei rachmonim. It merely refers to
"children". The profound lesson, as I see it, is that our ancestors were
definitely "rachmonim" and sadly some of us have gone astray and have
become "bnai bli lev."	
Fortunately, I've come across some real menschen on Avodah and for that I am very grateful.
Shabbat shalom.
Kol tuv.


Avodah mailing list

End of Avodah Digest, Vol 25, Issue 163

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 >