# Avodah Mailing List

## Volume 25: Number 309

### Sun, 31 Aug 2008

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: "Eli Turkel" <eliturkel@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 29 Aug 2008 12:08:17 -0700
Subject:
[Avodah] birchas hachama

```
2- Tequfas Shemu'el is simply an approximation to the nearest 5 digits
for computing the March Equinox. And birkhas hachamah IS when that
approximate date is on Wed. I'm missing why you insist that we either
figure out when it was to more digits precision, or there is no point
to the berakahah at all.>>

For a measurement there is the error in the small and the accumulation of
error. Using 3 for pi is reasonable for small objects. When giving the
circumference of yam shel shelmoa the difference between 30 amot and 31+
amot is quite measurable.

Similarly five digit accuracy can be reasonable for small periods of time.
Over the years and centuries the accumulated error is large. Thus the
starting date for saying tal umatar is noticeably off.
Similarly as we have discussed the dates for Pesach are occasionally
getting very late because of error accumulation

As an aside in the courses I teach we make a big deal of the difference between
local computer errors and error accumulation. If a problem is ill-conditioned
then a small round off error can lead to catastrophic global errors

--
Eli Turkel

```

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Message: 2
From: "Eli Turkel" <eliturkel@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 29 Aug 2008 12:16:10 -0700
Subject:
[Avodah] rov and karov

```
See my earlier comments on halachik reality - it does not seem to be an
attempt to take in all possible information to create a "most likely"
result (e.g. topographical differences in distance etc.) but "rough
justice" (e.g. why not require dna sampling to determine source of meat)>>

we dont requite DNA sampling because we dont need more accuracy than
Moshe Rabbenu did.

BTW there is a discussion of how accurately square our tefillin need to be.
RMF allows an error based on the approximation of the diagonal of a square
squareroot(2) =  1.4.
Others seem to require we use the best know instruments of the day

Having a Brisker background I am looking for something more than
"most likely". For example it is clear that having a safek sefeka
does not necessarily give you better odds than a single safek.
It depends on the individual probabilities. There have been attempts
(see Prof. Koppel) to show that 2 safeks is intrinsically different than
one safek and not because it is more likely

--
Eli Turkel

```

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Message: 3
From: "kennethgmiller@juno.com" <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
Date: Fri, 29 Aug 2008 19:18:43 GMT
Subject:
Re: [Avodah] Birkas haChama

```
R' Micha Berger wrote:
> There is no perfect answer, and thus the question is simply
> how precise need we be. RAM's presentation makes Shmuel's
> tequfah inferior in kind. I'm trying to show that it's
> necessary to approximate -- one differs from the other only
> in degree.

> I /would/, if the mitzvah is derabbanon, or if someone can
> show me a ra'ayah that these things are or aren't halakhah
> lemosheh misinai like other shiurim.

IOW, if the sechach is 21 amos from the bottom, is the sukkah pasul or kosher on a d'Oraisa level?

Gemara Sukka 2a gives a whole bunch of examples to show that people see
what is lower than 20 amos, but not what is higher than 20 amos. And my
point was that this is a gross oversimplification, because in a narrow
sukkah even 19 amos is hard to see, and in a wide sukkah even 21 amos is
visible.

But it seems that those illustrations are merely illustrations, not
explanations or derivations. See Rashi there, "Sukkah Mid'Oraisa": "Its
twenty amos are derived from the Torah. Before the Mishna had been learned,
the shiur was said at Sinai."

So (according to Rashi), a 21 amah tall sukkah is passul d'Oraisa. That
pretty much eliminates it as an example for my proposal that Chazal tried
to keep the things simple. And if the 20-amah limit for Ner Chanuka was
modeled after sukkah, then it too cannot be an example for this (even
though Chanuka is clearly d'rabanan). However, if the 20 amah limit of
Chanuka was based on visibility *without* referring back to sukkah, then my
point might still be valid.

Akiva Miller

____________________________________________________________
Find a buyer for your car the fast and easy way! Click now!
http://thirdpartyoffers.juno.com/TGL2141/fc
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```

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Message: 4
From: "Meir Rabi" <meirabi@optusnet.com.au>
Date: Sat, 30 Aug 2008 23:07:25 +1000
Subject:
[Avodah] What is special about the blood of a redeemed

```
Subsequent to R Micha's query:
Rashi's first comment [Devarim 12:16] - even though zeriqas hadam is no
longer applicable it is nevertheless prohibited from consumption.
This clearly implies that we would, without the passuk telling us otherwise,
argue that the blood is Muttar for consumption.

R' Micha makes a great observation: that entertaining such a thought
suggests that Dam of regular beasts, Chullin, is prohibited because it is
too sacred for people.

meir

```

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Message: 5
From: "Meir Rabi" <meirabi@optusnet.com.au>
Date: Sat, 30 Aug 2008 22:17:15 +1000
Subject:
[Avodah] More - What is special about the blood of a redeemed

```
Furthermore, Rashi suggests that since as we are permitted once in EY, to
eat regular meat [Bassar Chulin] we would have thought that we are also
permitted to slaughter and eat Kodashim in our own home.
Why is this so?
And is this connected to our earlier query, the consideration that we may be
permitted to eat blood of a redeemed blemished sacrifice?

```

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Message: 6
From: "Chana Luntz" <Chana@kolsassoon.org.uk>
Date: Sun, 31 Aug 2008 00:47:19 +0100
Subject:
[Avodah] Geirus

```
I wrote:

> : On the other hand, if you do hold KOM is a requirement, does that mean
> : that you hold that the ger is *not* bound by the shavuah made on Har
> : Sinai (which makes a certain degree of sense, because as a goy he was
> : clearly not), and hence he had to enter into his own shavuah? ...

And RMB wrote:

> I'm missing why you have a need to cast KOM into another halachic
> category. The gemara discusses nedarim, it mentions KOM. Why can't KOM
> stand as its own beryah?

Start from the other end.  A shavuah is X. If KOM fulfils the requirements
of X, then how can you say KOM is *not* a shavuah?  If it walks like a duck
and quacks like a duck?  That is what is odd about it.

In addition, let us look at the gemora reference to KOM. It is a bit of an
off hand reference in the gemora - ie it goes like this: - the gemora (in
Yevamos 47b) is discussing a Braisa which says "echad ger vechad eved
meshachrer" [ie the same is for a ger and a freed eved]- and the gemora goes
one to say k'salka datech l'kabel mitzvos, [do you think this is in relation
to the acceptance of mitzvos] v'riminhu  [set against it another braise]
bema devarim omrim b'ger, u'beved shichrur ain tzarich l'kabel [in relation
to what is this said, a ger, but in relation to a freed eved, there is no
need to accept].  [Note for those discussing the whether an eved needs to
accept mitzvos thread, this is the starting point, see the rest of the
gemora there and the rishonim].

Now the understanding of KOM as we know it comes primarily from Tosphos and
the Rosh.  Tosphos, inter alia, is dealing with a particular problem in that
gemora, which says a) conversion is a form of mishpat, and needs three
dayanim (which also means it needs to happen during the day) - but the
gemora then seems to go on to say that if bideved a woman toyvelled from
tumas nida then that tevila counts as a tevila (note the Rif and probably
the Rambam has a different understanding of what this whole gemora is
saying).  But women who toyvel for nida a) do it at night; and b) don't do
it in front of three dayanim, and even if you hold that one dayan is
sufficient, as is according to an opinion in Sanhedrin, well that is one
male dayan, not the mikva lady).  Tosphos says to deal with the problem-
well the ikar part of the whole procedure is kabalas ol mitzvos, and so that
is the bit that has to occur in front of three dayanim, and during the day
etc.  ie When the Torah is talking about a "mishpat", it is talking about
KOM.

Now the Shulchan Aruch brings this position of Tosphos and the Rosh (pretty
much in toto - ie that you need KOM for an adult, in front of 3 judges,
during the day, but that then if you have mila and/or tevila at night or not
in front of three it is not me'akeves). Then he notes that this is not true
according to the Rambam and the Rif, where tevila and mila not in front of
three and/or at night are me'akeves.  [The Aruch Hashulchan I note is not
convinced that the Shulchan Aruch is right about the Rambam, as he believes
that the Rambam hold that only tevila not before three is me'akeves, not
mila (that is what the Rambam says, the Shulchan Aruch would seem to be
understanding the Rambam as learning mila from tevila, whereas the Aruch
Hashulchan does not think one can do that - no one seems to suggest though
that the Rambam and the Rif learn KOM from either mila or tevila, as falling
into the category of mishpat].  What seems to be happening here is that,
contrary to his usual position, the Shulchan Aruch is poskening in favour of
Tosphos and the Rosh, against Rambam and the Rif.

> But in any case, maamud har Sinai was a beris.

The thing is, the fundamental basis for conversion is not based on this
gemora, but on a gemora in Krisus 9a "k'chem" [like you] k'avosaichem, ma
avoseichem lo nichnasu l'bris ele b'mila, u'tevila v'harotza'as hadam af hem
lo yichnasu l'bris ela mila v'tevila u'ratza'as hadam.  This is where the
Rambam gets his din from.  The bris of a convert imitates that of our
forefathers at har Sinai.  This is echoed in the gemora in Yavamos
immediately prior to that I cited above, as there is a discussion there
about whether any of these elements is me'akev (given that, for example, our
foremothers could not do mila etc etc) with the conclusion that both mila
and tevila are meakav when mila can be done (but obviously mila is not
me'akev when it cannot be done, as otherwise we would not have any female
converts).

> Is entering a beris the same as making a shavu'ah?

No idea.  But we know that we are deemed to have made a shavuah on Har Sinai
from the separate gemora in Nedarim that I quoted to you.  [The reason this
gemora is quoted is in connection with the halacha that one cannot (except
to motivate oneself) actually make a shavuah to fulfil a mitzvah, because
ain shavuah chal on shavuah.]  Those who hold that KOM is a requirement in
gerus also cannot learn it from the definition of bris, since otherwise it
would be brought in that gemora in Krisus - which discusses bris
specifically.  Ie, neither the shavuah we are deemed to have made on Har
Sinai, nor the mishpat that a ger is deemed to have in front of three
dayanim constituting KOM are considered by the gemora to constituent
elements of "bris".  But they do seem to parallel one another.

> And if so, can two distinct shavu'os bring two different people into the
>same beris? Because that's what it would take to cast KOM into something
>from mesechtes Nedarim.

Err, I think it is rather the other way around.  Somehow the bris on Har
Sinai also constituted or enabled or gave rise to a shavuah.  KOM certainly
seems to behave like a shavuah in terms of its elements - are their

> Maybe a better model is a qinyan. Not in the sense of acquiring an
> object, but like the qinyan sudar used to appoint a shaliach.

Qinyan is a private contractual relationship - so I can't see it falling
within the definition of mishpat.  Certain types of Shavuah do. I had a go
at tnai also - which again seems to explain how the thing works to uproot
the "transaction" and is suspended, but doesn't work brilliantly with
mishpat.  On the other hand, the whole idea is that KOM is the beginning of
the mishpat (that is why it has to be during the day) with the mila and the
tevila being the gemar din, which then can be at night (this is all
Tosphos).

> But again, I'm only playing the game of fitting KOM into a bigger kellal
> because I am expecting that in a future email you will show me why there
> is a need to.

There are two questions at work when we are dealing with our modern
scenarios (I am talking adults here - I hope I have shown that, in the words
of the various nosei kelim on the Shuchan Aruch, KOM is not shayach to
katanim - go look there).  The first is, while the Shulchan Aruch, following
Tosphos and the Rosh, requires KOM - is there scope in follow other opinions
(arguably inter alia, the Rambam and the Rif - ie the alternatives brought
in the Shulchan Aruch itself) in non ideal situations such as modern day
Israel and dispense with KOM (that is argued to be Rav Uzziel's position.  I
note that RAF claims to have sources that show differently, but certainly
the source that RDE posted from Piskei Uzziel does not seem to bear out that
assertion).

The second is, what happens if somebody purports to accept the mitzvos. Ie
this is not the case discussed in the gemora in Bechoros where somebody
*says to beis din* they accept all mitzvos accept one, nor is it the case of
the gemora in Yevamos, where the contrast is conversion against the person's
will versus KOM.  But it is often the modern day case.  The Shulchan Aruch
does not speak to that.  Nowhere does it say that KOM involves devarim
shebelev - the most it says, at least implicitly, is that KOM is a "mishpat"
given that it poskens like Tosphos.  RMF etc may explain it as devarim
shebelev, but this is in and of itself a novel explanation - ie an attempt
to explain what KOM is.  Because in order to work out how to hold in a case
where there seems to have been a valid mishpat, but that mishpat is now
argued to be being overturned, years afterwards, by a form of anan sadi, we
have to understand what that "mishpat" really is.  And if you say KOM is a
berya l'fi atzmo, then - while RMF can go one way, Rav Goren can go another,
Rav Druckman can go another, and there is no way of commenting on any
position.  So long as the person told beis din they were mekabel ol mitzvos
and the beis din accepted it on face value - we are then at sea.

> ...
> : Dunno, but this is why I find the whole concept of KOM, that you seem to
> : swim through so easily, so messy and complicated.  Can somebody give me
> : another paradigm for KOM that is not a shavuah and not devarim shebelev?
>
> How can we? RMF and RCOG already felt compelled to give their teirutz
> as to how it's an exceptional davar shebeleiv. I would think therefore
> it can't be done in simpler terms.

Yeah but I confess I see RMF and RCOG's answers as being very difficult.
Anan sadi in mishpat - particularly in a mishpat that has formally
concluded?  That involves us usurping the position of the dayanim many years
later and seems a very dangerous principle to adopt - how many cases can we
open in that way?  While I can understand what is driving them to this
position, it certainly leaves open alternative positions that would seem to
do less damage to our judicial institutions.

> Tir'u baTov!
> -Micha

Regards

Chana

```

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Message: 7
From: Cantor Wolberg <cantorwolberg@cox.net>
Date: Sat, 30 Aug 2008 20:29:36 -0400
Subject:
[Avodah] Shoftim "That Prophet Shall Die"

```
> Chapter 18, vs. 20, commands death for a false prophet.  The court
> imposed death penalty of this verse applies to three sins: (a) One
> who prophesies what he did not hear from God;
> (b) one who proclaims as his own a prophecy that had been given to
> another prophet (this would parallel the crime of plagiarism); and
> (c) one who prophesies in the name of another god (Rashi).
>
> Ramban teaches the so-called prophet is liable even if he invokes
> his god to declare that Jews should obey this or that mitzvah in the
> Torah. However, to be chayav misa,
> he must declare that the idol is the true god; for example, if he
> says, "Peor, who is god, has commanded that Jews should take a lulav."
>
> ri
>
>

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Message: 8
From: "kennethgmiller@juno.com" <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
Date: Fri, 29 Aug 2008 19:48:07 GMT
Subject:
Re: [Avodah] Birkas haChama

```
> So why not do it every year at the March Equinox, when the
> sun returns to its initial position?  There's nothing
> objective to distinguish next year's March Equinox from
> any other year's.

We need to define our terms. It seems that you are defining "March Equinox" and/or "returns to its initial position" differently than Chazal did.

You seem to think that "March Equinox" is period of time 24 hours long,
being the calendar day during which the day and night are of equal length.
Since every year does have such a day, we should say the bracha every year.

I think that Chazal defined it differently, in at least two aspects, both
based on the idea that this bracha is not merely said on the Equinox, but
it is said on the anniversary of the sun's creation. First, just as the sun
was created on Yom Revii, so too it is not truly an anniverary except when
it falls on Yom Revii. That knocks out 6 years of each 7.

> Or if once a year is too frequent, why not do it whenever
> the March Equinox falls on a Wednesday?

Because the equinox is not 24 hours long. It is a specific point in time.
[The rest of this post is based on my recollection that that the bracha
must be said in the morning, and not the afternoon. If I'm wrong on that,
I'll have to retract the rest of this post.]

Let's do some math. Each year is 52 weeks and 1.25 days in length. If an
event occurs on a Monday morning, its first anniversary will be a year
later, on Tuesday afternoon. Then Wednesday evening, very early Friday
morning, Saturday late-morning, Sunday afternoon, Monday evening, and so
on. Keep going, and you'll find that it wont be until 28 years have passed,
that both the day of the week, and time of the day, match up.

In other words, if the anniversary of the sun's creation is celebrated only
when it occurs both on that same day and the same time as when it was
created, it will be only once every 28 years.

This entire post is based on what I remember from reading ArtScroll's "Bircas Hachamah". To those who have not read it, I heartily recommend it.

Akiva Miller

____________________________________________________________
http://thirdpartyoffers.juno.com/TGL2141/fc
/Ioyw6i3oHgMYSGtYuyaxtAj8XrVhl5fKO7TxrQVstaqvHcM3QHS8EC/

```

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Message: 9
From: "kennethgmiller@juno.com" <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
Date: Fri, 29 Aug 2008 19:55:47 GMT
Subject:
Re: [Avodah] Birkas haChama

```
R' Micha Berger wrote:
> Rather, Shemu'el happened to use the same 365-1/4 estimate
> that the Romans did. It's a logical enough estimate. Common
> cause with the Julian calendar, not ancestry from it.

R' Zev Sero responded:
> The advantage of cheshbon Shmuel is that you don't need to
> calculate it, you just need to look at a goyishe calendar,
> or ask a goy what date it is.

Not exactly. If one chooses to "just look at a goyishe calendar", he has to
be aware of how goyishe leap years work. It is far too easy for us (who
lived in the 1900s and 2000s) to forget this, but the year 1900 was NOT a
leap year.

I'm sure there were many people in the very early 1900s, who relied on what
was printed in their late-1800s siddur, and ended up messing up Tal Umatar
by one day.

Akiva Miller

____________________________________________________________
Get the shot you need with a discreet new spy camera. Click now!
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```

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Message: 10
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Date: Fri, 29 Aug 2008 15:38:44 -0400
Subject:
Re: [Avodah] birchas hachama

```
Eli Turkel wrote:

> For a measurement there is the error in the small and the accumulation of
> error. Using 3 for pi is reasonable for small objects. When giving the
> circumference of yam shel shelmoa the difference between 30 amot and 31+
> amot is quite measurable.

You're assuming the diameter was exactly 10, and therefore that the
circumference must have been 31.14, and not roundable to 30.  But who
tells you that?  It seems obvious to me that the circumference was
between 29.85 and 30.5, which rounds to 30, and the diameter was
between 9.5 and 9.7, which rounds to 10.

--
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: 11
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Date: Sat, 30 Aug 2008 23:38:43 -0400
Subject:
Re: [Avodah] Birkas haChama

```
kennethgmiller@juno.com wrote:

> You seem to think that "March Equinox" is period of time 24 hours long

Actually I'm referring to the moment when it crosses the equator
travelling north.

--
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: 12
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Date: Sat, 30 Aug 2008 23:41:07 -0400
Subject:
Re: [Avodah] Birkas haChama

```
kennethgmiller@juno.com wrote:
> R' Micha Berger wrote:
>> Rather, Shemu'el happened to use the same 365-1/4 estimate
>> that the Romans did. It's a logical enough estimate. Common
>> cause with the Julian calendar, not ancestry from it.
>
> R' Zev Sero responded:
>> The advantage of cheshbon Shmuel is that you don't need to
>> calculate it, you just need to look at a goyishe calendar,
>> or ask a goy what date it is.
>
> Not exactly. If one chooses to "just look at a goyishe calendar", he
> has to be aware of how goyishe leap years work. It is far too easy for
> us (who lived in the 1900s and 2000s) to forget this, but the year
> 1900 was NOT a leap year.

In the Julian calendar it was.  The minhag developed when the goyim used
the Julian calendar, and so relying on cheshbon Shmuel made things easy.
Nobody predicted that the goyim would change their calendar.

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

------------------------------

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