Avodah Mailing List

Volume 25: Number 310

Sun, 31 Aug 2008

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Sun, 31 Aug 2008 07:52:37 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Birkas haChama

On Sat, Aug 30, 2008 at 11:41:07PM -0400, Zev Sero wrote:
: 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.

But it's not a minhag. It's a din derabbanan described by the beraisia on
RH 11b, as explained by Abayei (with no choleqim).

I don't know what calendar was in use in EY when the beraisa was written,
but Abayei's 4th cent CE Bavel was not using the Julian calendar. OTOH,
Shemu'el wasn't born yet when the din was already recorded. So, making
the argument that the beraisa was using his tequfah because it was
his (IOW, one of Jewish use) is non-trivial. One would have to argue
that the computation based on the 365-1/4 estimate predated the rav
who expounded/advocated it and got his name associated with it. (Like
"Rashi" and "Rabbeinu Tam" tefillin.) Admittedly, a dochaq.

But if Abayei was defining a way to fulfill the beraisa, it's far more
likely his Talmidim were aware of tequfas Shemu'el than kept track of
the Julian calendar.

Aside from the fact that assuming they thought it was okay to use the
Julian calendar makes much of subsequent halachic discussion about whether
or not one may celebrate a secular date is permissable (to be revisited
here in November, it's part of the annual pre-Thanksgiving disscussion)
somewhat difficult to fathom.

The Zorastrians and Parsis had their own calendar, established by Ardashir
I (who was establishing a new dynasty, the Sassanid; early 3rd cent CE),
which was 365 days exactly, with seasons drifting by 1/4 day per year. In
the 12th cent CE they added the lost month as a one-time effort, and in
1745 there was a split over the innovation by the Qadmi of a calendar
with Julian-style leap days. (Culling from wikipedia.)

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             "Man wants to achieve greatness overnight,
micha@aishdas.org        and he wants to sleep well that night too."
http://www.aishdas.org         - Rav Yosef Yozel Horwitz, Alter of Novarodok
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Message: 2
From: "Eli Turkel" <eliturkel@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 31 Aug 2008 09:59:28 +0300
[Avodah] damage by children

what is the halachik responsibility of parents who are visiting
someone and the smaller children
cause damage in the house?
We know of several such cases where the parents don't watch their
children who then cause
damage and the parents ignore the whole story.
In real life one doesnt want to sue to friends or relatives who visit

Eli Turkel

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Message: 3
From: "Richard Wolpoe" <rabbirichwolpoe@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 31 Aug 2008 00:24:06 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Question about the Six Constant Mitzvos

On Wed, Aug 27, 2008 at 6:30 AM, Cantor Wolberg <cantorwolberg@cox.net>wrote:

> Of the 613 Mitzvos, there are Six Constant Mitzvos.
> Rather than requiring the performance of a certain action,
> these mitzvos are a state of being, of living with the reality
> of God's existence. The Six Constant Mitzvos are:
> * Know there is a God.
> * Don't believe in other gods.
> * God is one.
> * Love God.
> * Fear God.
> * Don't be misled by your heart and eyes.
> Here's my question: The first, third, fourth and fifth of the above
> constant mitzvos obviously all deal with God.  I know people who
> are decent, philanthropic, kind, considerate, and observe every law
> of the state, who are "convinced" there is no God. And I'm not speaking
> about a MLT.
> Though many will consider it an oxymoron, there are very ethical atheists
> with impeccable integrity.
> Can they be punished for not believing in God or what we perceive as an
> apikorus?
> As Spiritual Leader, I've been asked this question. I'm not happy with any
> of my responses, but I've answered some using the "tinuk shenishba"
> defense.
> Also, Avos 2:14 was not helpful.
> Any insights?
> ri

I don't believe that these people really do not accept God.  I have listened
to well-known Atheist Ron Kuby wax positively mystical and rhpasodic in
describing Yankee Stadium and its history and tradition.

My karate instructor Chaim Sober claimed HIS teacher denied the denial of
God. to paraphrase "not deny God but ANGRY at God"  So Atheists are Angry at
God is HIS way of phrasing it.

IMHO most contemporary Atheists don't really deny God. They deny religion,
any religion and any religiously based dcefinition of God.  But deep down,
I'll bet that 99% of them are more akin to the 18th Century Deists than they
are really positive atheists.

Anyone who listens to thei "consience" is in asense listening to God

Yet still there whispers the small voice within, Heard through Gain's
> silence, and o'er Glory's din; Whatever creed be taught or land be trod,
> Man's conscience is the oracle of God.
> Author: Lord Byron (George Gordon Noel Byron)<http://www.worldofquotes.com/author/Lord-B
> yron-%28George-Gordon-Noel-Byron%29/1/index.html>
> Source: *The Island (canto I, st. 6)*


Of course Atheists might DENY that their consience is from God, but some
people are in Denial of their obesity, aclohlism, gambling problems etc.  So
I would venture to say that anyone  who does the "right thing" becuase they
have an active consience are realyl Listening to the  voice of God within in
even if their conscience is unconsious of the connexion.

Only a psychopath could deny God and REALLY mean it.

That said, I don't deny that denying God is undeniably heresy!  I jsut deny
that the deniars are denying God so much as that the yare in denial of their
"goodness" of their "Godness"

In New Age Terms, those Atheists who are moral/ethical and listening to
thier inner voice are in touch with thier HIGHER SELF.  This is AIUI a
manifestation of HKBH within us, perhaps part of our soul structure, akin to
he Super-Ego or simply the yetzer tov but it is more than JUST a yetzer tov
it is something spiritual rather than merely an advisor..

Kol Tuv / Best Regards,
see: http://nishmablog.blogspot.com/
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Message: 4
From: "Richard Wolpoe" <rabbirichwolpoe@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, 30 Aug 2008 23:38:10 -0400
Re: [Avodah] KSA, MB, AhS, Chayei Adam and other codes

On Fri, Aug 29, 2008 at 1:45 PM, Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org> wrote:

> Ediyos 1:4-5 all that stuff about gadol mimenu bechokhmah uveminyan.
> Where does it make an exception for she'as hadechaq?

I do not have the time to respond to each of our esteemed moderator's points
one at a time.

I will give a summary now, and BEH someday fill in the gaps, perhaps with an


Ask yourself the following questions and contemplate their implications:

   1. Based upon Torah Principles:
      1. Do we want a subjetvie or objective ps'aq?
      2. Avos: Ein Dan yechid ela Echad.
      3. Does not the Halcha in Tur/SA 25 repfelct the need for the
      possibility of a To'eh bidvar Mishnah?
      4. Given circular approval of Posqim [i.e. since the poseiq says it it
      MUST be OK!] then how can we have a to'eh bidvar Mishnah? A
poseiq is ALWAYS
      right because he combines sniffim to make himself correct regardless of
      5. The Torah and Maseches Horyos demans the possibility of a Sanhedrin
      that is mistaken. How can that EVER be with Posqim whose sniffim and
      Heruistics automatical make them right?
   2. From a s'vara point of view:
      1. Do you prefer a Poseiq to subscribe to principles
      2. Do you prefer submitting to a poseiq who makes subjective decisions
      based upon his feelings w/o regard to objective criteria or cherished
      3. Do you prefer a Poseiq who lords himself OVER the Halachah and goes
      where he feels his Predetermined heuristics bring him?
      4. Do you prefer a poseiq to say with the modesty of a Rema to say:
      "Well, my conclusion is really X but I defer to Y because it has been
      established or he is greater etc"
      OR IOW:
      5. Do we want a system of LAWS?
      6.  OR a system of men?  Certainly RMF welcomed people to dispute his
      conclusions. Why are "ketannim"  - instead of "gedolim"  opposed to
   3. Re: Rackman and Agunos
      1. See YD 98.  What is the ONE CASE in SHAS and POSQIM that Meisi'ach
      Lefi Sumo is believed on a D'orraiso level?.  [note, it sure ain't
      issur v'heter!]
      2. Given Hazal's disregard to rules of Kosher eidus, does this set a
      precedent for disregarding OTHER principles in the same sugya?
      3. Have I ever Personally endorsed R. E. Rackman's P'sak?
      4. HOW IS it specifically that RER"s shita is  mor eradical than what
      is often found in Teshuvos nowadays?
   4. Re: Algorithimics
      1. In which post did  I ever propose an algorithmic solution to p'sak/
      2. Is this not a simple straw man to make me "wrong" or IOW accuse
      Wolpoe of subscriping Alogithimics then attack that position and totally
      ignore Wolpoe's actually stated points?
      3. If Algorithmics is off-limits please describe the techniques
      ascribed to:

                                                              i.      Rif
[yes the Rif followed VERY strict rules of p'sak]

                                                            ii.      SA [BD
of Rif/Rambam/Rosh]

                                                          iii.      Rema
[What's accept by consensus in Asheknaz based upon a finited list of posqim]

                                                          iv.      SMA [viz.
see Choshen Mishpat 25, we always follow RIF except when Tsoafos Argues]

                                                            v.      Kitzur
SA [BD of Chayei Adam, SA harav and Derch hachai'm,]

   1. Search or scan the Major Posqim ? Tur, BY, SA, Rema, MB Ahs Etc,.

                                                              i.      Do
they frequently  use terms as sniffim to build a case?

                                                            ii.      Do they
use terms like Rov Posqim, Rov Acahronim , Maskanas Haposqim etc.[e.g. see
Maggid Mishneh Rambam Hilchos Shabbas 5:1]

   1. Re: eilu v'eilu
      1. Since both BS and BH are Ielu V'eilu then can we apsken EITHER way
      2. Does it simpley man that both are valid Torah in a limud sense but
      p'saq is only ONE way
      3. Can RE Racman therefore be a valid opinion EVEN if rejected
      lema'aseh or is ho objectivlye worse then Beis Shammai. And if so, do we
      have a bas Kol to Says so
   2. Re: Acceptablity
      1. IF posqim are right simply because they are popular than how is
      that ANY different than schectherian Cahtolic Israel?
      2. And if Accepted Psaq is ALWAYS right how could the GRA ever oppose
      it? Or the Rav? Etc.
      3. Does the majoprity of Posqim trump the majority of amcha?
      4.  Vice versa
   3. Re: Attacking certain O Teshuvos
      1. Do you think that cricisizing O teshuvos that lack Obejctivity a
      DEFENSE of C teshbuvos
      2. Do you think that given that C teshuvos are Flawed, nevertheless
      some O teshuvos are equally flawed and so thy should ALSO be criticized.

Do you think all C teshuovs are ipso facto flawed and all O TEshuvos are
ipso facto wonderful! And that therefore we should attack a C teshuvo even
if it calls for decorum in Shul and defend an O teshuva even if it leads to
"krum "halachic priniciples, just because WHO says it?


Kol Tuv / Best Regards,
see: http://nishmablog.blogspot.com/
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Message: 5
From: "Richard Wolpoe" <rabbirichwolpoe@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 31 Aug 2008 00:41:26 -0400
Re: [Avodah] bracha on megilla

On Sun, Aug 17, 2008 at 3:09 AM, Eli Turkel <eliturkel@gmail.com> wrote:

> AFAIK there is no obligation to read any of the other megilot.
> Shir Hashirim, Ruth, and Kohelet are just a minhag Ashkenaz.
> Eicha is a universal minhag, but still just a minhag.  If you don't
> read it, it's no big deal.  So how can you say "asher kidshanu
> bemitzvotav vetzivanu"?  Who commanded you?  Not the Torah and not
> Chazal.>>
> it is a makhloket rishonim if we say a beracha on a minhag
> for example on hallel on rosh chodesh. However, to my limited
> knowledge this applies only on to minhagim mentioned in the gemara.
> I don't think we ever say a beracha on a minhag that is not mentioned
> in the gemara.
> So I think that Zev is correct.
> My question is the opposite. If one does read from a klaf why does
> the Gra say one should say a beracha.

The answe is AIUI is that the GRA does NOT base himslef on MINHAG but on the
authority of Maseches Soferim to which the GRA subscribes as obligatory -
just like Bavli

Kol Tuv / Best Regards,
see: http://nishmablog.blogspot.com

> In other words what is the basis of the makhloket of whether to say
> a beracha when it is read from a klaf and why is a klaf important?
> --
> Eli Turkel

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