Avodah Mailing List

Volume 25: Number 206

Sun, 01 Jun 2008

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: "" <zviLampel@theJnet.com>
Date: Sat, 31 May 2008 23:48:37 -0400
Re: [Avodah] omer - Rihal

Re: [Avodah] omer - Rihal

I wrote:
> It would seem that the mysterious character behind
this event is propounded
by the Talmud Yerushalmi on Pesachim (6:1) itself:
Said Rebbi Avoon, Isn't
it impossible for two cycles of seven years to pass
by without the 14th
falling out on a Shabbos? Why was the halacha hidden
from them?--To
attribute greatness to Hillel! Evidently, Erev-Pesach
did fall out on Shabbos several times in Hillel's
near past, yet Hashem somehow caused the practice
regarding the korbon to
be forgotten.--Unless one is willing to accept that
Rebbi Avoon was unaware
of the historical reality suggested above.

Rabbi Folger suggested:

... or that Rebbi Avoon asked "ought it not to be
impossible for such a long
time to pass without the 14th falling out of Shabbat?
And yet, how come this
hadn't happened in such a while?"

I would love to accept
this peshat, as it would defend the Ohr
Someach?s taking this episode as a source for the
Rambam?s principle regarding overturning previous
drashos. But the Gemara's wording would
be a very circuitous way of expressing the thought

Amar Rebbi Avoon: V?halo ee-efshar l?shnei sh?vee?ees
sheh-yachol yud-daled li?hiyos b?Shabbos? V?lamma
nis?almah halachah may-hen?--K?dei lee?tain gedulah

According to Rabbi Folger?s suggestion, Rebbi Avoon?s
query should be something to the effect of
?V?lamma lo karra kol kach shannim,?
and the fact that it did not occur for so long would
obviate the actual question: ?V?lamma nis?almah
halachah may-hen??. There's no reason to wonder why a
halacha in long disuse should be concealed/forgotten.

Zvi Lampel

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Message: 2
From: "Michael Makovi" <mikewinddale@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 1 Jun 2008 14:57:38 +0300
Re: [Avodah] Loving Israel while in Chutz

> But how do you know "aretz" here is physical?
> R' Micha

I'm taking it as p'shat - inheriting the land = just that; physically
living on it. Applied to Olam haBa, it means living on the land
forever, after techiat hameitim.

The Kehati mishna brings this interpretation, that "kol yisrael yesh
lahem chelek l'olam haba"
refers to after techiat hameitim; I believe it is b'shmo Bartenura.

> Because of the machloqes the Rambam and the Ikkarim vs the Ramban as to whether
> techiyas hameisim is temporary, with a return to the ultimate reward in shamayim or
> whether it is the eternal ultimate reward
> R' Micha

Yes, Rambam does say that techiat hameitim is only temporary, but this
is a very strange idea IMHO - why would it even occur to Rambam that
we'd be resurrected only to die again? The only explanation I've seen
that makes sense to me, is that Rambam was so convinced by the
Aristotelian(*) concept of the perfection of a bodiless intellect, that
he couldn't bear to imagine that we'd exist for all eternity in Olam
haZe on the physical earth with physical bodies - surely the Torah
could not violate reason and logic in this way! But of course, Rambam
couldn't just deny techiat hameitim, so he okimta-ed(**) it away.

(*) Lest anyone be astounded at my insinuation that Rambam based his
philosophy on Aristotle, Rav Hirsch already came before me in
declaring that Rambam interpreted
Judaism's philosophy according to alien standards. I am simply
applying what Rav Hirsch said, to Rambam's interpretation of techiat
ha-meitim. And according to Rabbi Joseph Elias's perush to 19 Letters,
Rav Hirsch's incredibly harsh criticisms about Rambam
accepting false philosophies from alien sources, were based on similar
statements by the Yaavetz. Also, the Vilna Gaon said the Rambam
rejected magic and astrology only due to Aristotle. So I have on whom
to rely, IMHO.

(**) It was pointed out to me that I am using "okimta" in a
Conservative sense. Granted, the traditional understanding will simply
be that Chazal were teaching the true original intent of the Mishna,
that was hidden simply due to its brevity. However, Rabbi Steinsaltz
in the Essential Talmud says that Chazal would bend the Tannaitic
opinions' lashon to the limit, so as to make
every opinion agree as much as possible. He explicitly says the
attempt by Chazal does NOT attempt at historicity; rather, it was a
speculative method of trying to fit as many pieces of "evidence" (in
the scientific sense) into as few different theories as possible, in a
twist on occam's razor. Rabbi Moshe Shmuel Glasner in the hakdama to
the Dor Revi'i says much of the same - that Chazal would bend the
lashon of the Mishna to its limit in order to make the mishna fit to
their (the Amoraim) logic and opinions. (He says this is exactly like
pilpul, except that the Amoraim are bending the words of the Tannaim
to fit the righteous and straight logic and reasoning of the Amoraim,
just as we might bend the words of the Amoraim to fit a Rishon.
However, Rabbi Glasner says, in objectionable pilpul, we are bending
the words of a Rishon to fit a nobody Acharon whose words we'd never
accept unless he just happened to print them in a book. But just
because he got his book printed, we all run to bend the words of the
rishonim to fit outrageous logic of a nobody Acharon. But the basic
method of pilpul, says Rabbi Glasner, is what the Amoraim did to the

Now then...

As far as I know, there is no hint in Chazal, whatsoever, for any idea
except that
techiat hameitim is resurrection to eternal life - Chazal say we'll be
resurrected, and Yishayahu says G-d will wipe away death - what's the
simplest way of taking all this without pilpul?

In fact, I believe that historically, the Hellenistic Jews had great
difficulty with the concept of techiat ha-meitim, because they
couldn't stand the idea that we'd be resurrected and live in the
physical world for eternity (horror of horrors! this would be a
punishment, not a reward!), and so they denied the principle - hence
Chazal's polemics to the contrary, their great stress on techiat
ha-meitim. But whereas the Hellenists denied the principle, Rambam was
obviously too pious and observant (I mean this as an honor/compliment,
NOT sarcasm, C"V) to do such a thing, and yet surely the Torah could not
violate reason and logic with such a distasteful "reward", and so he
okimta-ed techiat hameitim away.

So I believe Rambam and the Hellenists were faced with an identical
problem, but Rambam solved it in a totally different way. Wrong, IMHO,
but B"H not heretical.

This, I believe, is the general method of his Moreh Nevuchim - viz. to
re-explain Torah when it contradicts Aristotle, just as some today
will try to reexplain Torah concepts to fit with modern science.
Aristotle was proven and indisputable, so when Torah contradicts
Aristotle, we'll just have to reexplain Torah, for obviously we've
misunderstood Torah. I propose that Rambam saw a techiat hameitim
followed by eternal life, as something that contradicted "science" and
that had to be re-explained.

Mikha'el Makovi

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Message: 3
From: Yitzchok Levine <Larry.Levine@stevens.edu>
Date: Sun, 01 Jun 2008 08:51:05 -0400
[Avodah] Black Sabbath (Shvartz Shabbos)

I mentioned to a few people that this coming Shabbos is Shvartz 
Shabbos, and, most surprisingly, they did not seem to know what I was 
talking about! >:-}

For those who do not know what "Black Sabbath" is, please see 

This selection is from the Luach prepared by Moreshes Ashkenaz.

I have placed the Luach at http://tinyurl.com/3szdgm. Those 
interested in old Ashkenzic minhagim should find this luach very interesting.

Yitzchok Levine 
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Message: 4
From: "Marty Bluke" <marty.bluke@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 1 Jun 2008 16:02:32 +0300
Re: [Avodah] D'rabanan vs. D'oraita

R' Michael Makovi wrote:
<I don't really like the model of mitzvot having intrinsic effects on
the universe. For example, when I eat treif, or when I put on
tefillin, I don't really <think anything spiritual is happening in the

Eating non-kosher it would seem is intrinsically harmful for a
person's soul even if they eat it b'heter.

The Shulchan Aruch in Yoreh Deah Siman 81 paskens that a Jewish baby
is allowed to have a non-Jewish wet nurse, however the Shulchan Aruch
says that you shouldn't do it because the non-kosher food will harm
the baby spiritually. Likewise the Rama there states that a Jewish
woman who needs to eat non-kosher food for health reasons should not
nurse her baby because the non-kosher food will harm him. The Gra
comments that 1 of the sources of this din is the Medrash in Parshas
Shemos. The pasuk says they brought a nursing woman from the Jews, the
Medrash brought down by Rashi comments that Moshe refused to nurse
from an Egyptian woman because he was going to grow up and be a Navi
so how could he eat non-kosher food. In other words, the non-kosher
food would have affected his soul and made it impossible for him to be
the Navi that he became.

The Ran in his Drashos says this explicitly. In the 11th drasha he
discusses why Halacha is decided by Chachamim and not Neviim. He asks
the following question. He says that if a Chacham makes a mistake and
permits a forbidden food it is like a doctor who makes a mistake and
gives a patient poison instead of medicine. In both cases the person
is harmed. If so, why don't we have Neviim decide halacha with nevua
and there would be no mistakes? He answers that nevua is not always
available (see the drasha for more details). He then explains that
even though eating non-kosher food is harmful the mitzva of listening
to Chachamim may counterbalance the harmful effects. In any case, we
see clearly from the Ran that non-kosher is objectively poison and
harmful even if you eat it b'heter.

R' Moshe (Orach Chaim 2:88) quotes a teshuva of the Chasam Sofer where
he discusses a handicapped girl in the following situation. If she
stayed at home she would never develop and remain an ayno bar daas.
However, if the parents sent her to a special school they claimed that
she would reach the potential of a 13-14 year old. However, the school
was in a non-Jewish area and there was no possibility of providing
kosher food. The Chassam Sofer said that al pi din it is muttar,
however he recommends against sending her for the following reason. If
they send her she will become a bar daas and be chayav in mitzvos.
However, the non-kosher food will affect her lev and she will probably
violate torah and mitzvos and therefore it is better for her to remain
an ayno bar daas.

We see clearly that this idea that any non-kosher food is metamtem
halev, meaning it has intrinsic effects, even if eaten b'heter (the
girl was a ketana and an ayno bar daas so there was no issur).

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Message: 5
From: Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
Date: Sun, 1 Jun 2008 15:37:48 -0700 (PDT)
Re: [Avodah] [Areivim] "Hostu nachgeshaut?"

SBA <sba@sba2.com> wrote:
Wasn't that the time when they had their peyos removed.?  --------------------------------
  This	question was asked by RSBA in the context of a discussion about the
  period early in the State of Israel's history where Yeminite children
  were brought to Israel in large numbers.That reminded me of a question I
  have that - to me - has never been satisfactorily been answered.
  I could never understand the way the Lav of Lo Sakifu Payos Roshcha is observed by those who grow hem out and then trim them in any way. 
  I can understand long Peyos for Chasidim who interpret this Lav as not
  beling allowed to cut them at all. It is understanable why they have
  them. But to those who trim them and interpret the Lav as not being
  permiyyed to shave them off - what is the point of leaving Peyos longer
  then the rest of he hair? Why should there be a lock of hair in that area
  of the head that is longer than the rest of the hair? 
  Who Paskins that we need to do that - and why? Once one is allowed to
  trim them - just not to shave them off, what difference is there if it is
  the same length as the rest of your hair or not?  
  I realize that some Poskim say that he Peyos are  actually a lower
  portion of what we think of as Peyos - the so called Chazan Ish 'Elvis'
  style Peyos. But  for the most part that is not how it is observed. The
  Peyos are considered to be in the upper portion of he head and they are
  grown out. Why?
  When I was in elementary school and throughout my years in high school -
  only Chasidim had peyos. But over the last few decades, it has
  increasingly become the custom for non Chasidic Charedi Bachurim to grow
  out their peyos, trim them, and put them behind their ears.
  Is there a halachic basis for that? 

Want Emes and Emunah in your life? 

Try this: http://haemtza.blogspot.com/
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Message: 6
From: Henry Topas <htopas@canpro.ca>
Date: Sun, 01 Jun 2008 00:14:02 -0400
[Avodah] Ratio of B'chorim

Parshat Bamidbar (3: 40-43) reviews the number of B'chorim among Bnai
Yisroel as 22,273 who were males one month old or older. This was out of
a non-levite population of 603,550 or a ratio of 3.83%. In other words,
for each b'chor, there were over 25 other male offspring.

Chazal tell us that there were 300 b'chorim among the levi'im. This is
a ratio of 1.38% or, for each levi b'chor, there were over 50 other
male offspring.

Chazal also tell us that since Shevet Levi wasn't subjected to the same
inuyim by Pharoh, they did not multiply to the same extent and thus
remained the smallest of the Shevatim. However, by my calculations,
the families in shevet levi had to be larger if the ratio of offspring
to B'chorim was nearly double that of the non-levi population.

1. Am I miscalculating?
2. Can anyone direct me to the proper m'komos where this might be

Shavua Tov,
Cantor Henry Topas

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Message: 7
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Date: Sun, 01 Jun 2008 00:00:20 -0400
[Avodah] Fish and milk

Richard Wolpoe wrote:

> For example, just because BY states that fish and milk are not permitted 
> together does not make it normative. We analyze this BY and E.g. the 
> Rema in Darchei Moshe posits 'ta'us Soferim.

Actually he doesn't say it's a copyist's error, because the context
doesn't allow for that.  It's quite clear that the BY himself wrote
milk, and meant milk.   When the DM says "nitchalef lo basar bechalav",
he means that the BY himself confused milk and meat.   Needless to say
that's a very bedochak explanation, but since there's no other mention
of such a sakana the DM evidently feels forced to it.

Zev Sero               Something has gone seriously awry with this Court's
zev@sero.name          interpretation of the Constitution.
                                                  - Clarence Thomas

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Message: 8
From: "Moshe Y. Gluck" <mgluck@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 1 Jun 2008 02:41:19 -0400
[Avodah] Geirus in Israel

There has been a protracted discussion on Areivim regarding the Geirus
controversy in Israel, and it seems pretty clear that the Israeli Batei Din
do not follow (only) the Shulchan Aruch in deciding who is a Jew, but also
consider various legal and political considerations. The question that
bothers me is that shouldn't that be contrary to the mitzvah of loving the
Geir? (Because the Jewish status of a Geir doesn't change based on political
considerations or Israeli secular law.) And if it is, then what do the
Israeli Rabbanim do when the law requires them to be M'vatel a Mitzvas Asei?
I seem to remember that this was discussed in the context of the
disengagement, and I wonder if anyone had any insight - from a Halachic
point of view - in these two questions.




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Message: 9
From: Arie Folger <afolger@aishdas.org>
Date: Sun, 1 Jun 2008 09:12:45 +0200
Re: [Avodah] omer - Rihal

Reb zviLampel@thejnet.com wrote:
> I would love to accept
> this peshat, as it would defend the Ohr
> Someach?s taking this episode as a source for the
> Rambam?s principle regarding overturning previous
> drashos. But the Gemara's wording would
> be a very circuitous way of expressing the thought
> proposed

Not necessarily. Rabbi Avun remarked a difficulty, without telling us what was 
fact and what logic, without even telling us if he knew the details or if it 
was supplied in the  beit hamidrash, and then proceeded with a  very brief 
answer. The wording you suggest is just not common in the talmudim.

But, admittedly, it ain't obvious.
Arie Folger

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Message: 10
From: T613K@aol.com
Date: Sun, 1 Jun 2008 03:29:12 EDT
Re: [Avodah] Women in Torah

From: "Michael Makovi" _mikewinddale@gmail.com_ 

>> Likely the "good" wife was demure and docile, while
the  bright and alert and vital woman would have rebelled and been the
"bad"  wife.<<

I don't know how anyone who says Eishes Chayil every week can  possibly say 

--Toby  Katz

**************Get trade secrets for amazing burgers. Watch "Cooking with 
Tyler Florence" on AOL Food.      
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Message: 11
From: Arie Folger <afolger@aishdas.org>
Date: Sun, 1 Jun 2008 09:35:34 +0200
Re: [Avodah] Rosh Hashanah 32b "There's Hope for Everyone"

R. Yaakov Elman wrote an article on this in one of the early Torah uMadda 
Journals, entitled IIRC In Search of Omnisignificance, Torah U-Madda Journal, 
4 (1993), pp. 1-83, where he analyzes Ramban in this regard.

On Sunday, 1. June 2008 05.37:23 avodah-request@lists.aishdas.org wrote:
> I might add taht other p'sukkim DO back up Rashi's read [e.g. in Mikketz
> yosef accuses his brothers of selling him.] so in now way do I mean to say
> Rashi is WRONG, only that he is forcing the simple read of Vaeyshev because
> of external problems. I call forcing a local read to match an external read
> the simplest form of PILPUL viz. ?Ignore what it says here and over-ride it
> in favor of more "global" harmony.

Arie Folger


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