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Volume 25: Number 316

Fri, 05 Sep 2008

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Date: Thu, 04 Sep 2008 18:29:59 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Qumram

Micha Berger wrote:

> I am not sure I agree with RZS's speculation. For "min" to refer to the
> early Xians in particular, one would have to explain why their attitude
> toward sheimos or the One to Whom they refer are unique among the sects.
> Trinitarianism wasn't an issue yet. In fact, there is no indication
> that anyone in the original Jewish churches (Notzerim, Evyonim, James'
> friends in J-m) were trinitarian.

How old is "ST shektavo min yisaref"?  My speculation depends on that
being late, from a time after Paul transformed Xianity from a slightly
odd group within orthodox Judaism into a new religion of ovdei AZ.

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: 2
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 4 Sep 2008 18:59:47 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Qumram

On Thu, Sep 04, 2008 at 06:29:59PM -0400, Zev Sero wrote:
: How old is "ST shektavo min yisaref"?  My speculation depends on that
: being late, from a time after Paul transformed Xianity from a slightly
: odd group within orthodox Judaism into a new religion of ovdei AZ.

Shabbos 116a has it as a machloqes R' Yosi and R' Tarfon in a beraisa:
R' Yosi: on a weekday, cut out the azkaros and burn it, and on Shabbos
    let the whole thing burn
R' Tarfon: burn the whole thing

R' Taphon served in the BHMQ, but also was around to argue with R' Aqiva
after R' Aqiva got to be a bar pelugta.

BTW, back to the discussion of reburying bones, they found an ossuary
labeled "Elisheva eishes Tarfon". It's in the Israel Museum.

What I enjoy about R' Tarfon is that he drives the contemporary minim
nuts. He is both a Shammuti and a frequent meiqil! Totally turns Graetz's
theory about the tannaim and portraying Hillel as a proto-C innovator
on its head.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Spirituality is like a bird: if you tighten
micha@aishdas.org        your grip on it, it chokes; slacken your grip,
http://www.aishdas.org   and it flies away.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                            - Rav Yisrael Salanter

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Message: 3
From: "kennethgmiller@juno.com" <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
Date: Thu, 4 Sep 2008 22:34:22 GMT
Re: [Avodah] Appearance vs. Reality

R' Micha Berger wrote:
> Kibud (perhaps as opposed to kavod) is all about pomp
> and circumstance. One can argue that WRT being mekhabeid
> the Borei, appearance IS substance in a way that isn't
> true in general.

I have no idea what you mean. Can you elaborate?

I'd say the opposite. Given that the prerequisite that there's no odor in
the case I gave, one could easily fool a Melech Basar V'dam that I was
dressed appropriately. Not only can HaShem easily see through my outer
garments, but the best way to impress him is not with proper clothes, but
with proper thoughts. And if your point is that we focus on clothing
because that's how our puny brains work, then *all* the clothing should be
respectable, not just the outer layer.

Akiva Miller

Click for free quote on refinancing your mortgage.

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Message: 4
From: "Moshe Y. Gluck" <mgluck@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 4 Sep 2008 19:40:30 -0400
Re: [Avodah] "Hashem" as God's name

R' Yonatan Kaganoff:
At this point the use of "Hashem" to refer to God is fairly ubiquitous in
English speaking Orthodox circles.
Does anyone know when this began?? And when it became the de facto way of
referring to God?

speakers, but Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (6:3) already says to say Hashem.


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Message: 5
From: David Riceman <driceman@att.net>
Date: Thu, 04 Sep 2008 19:56:24 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Qumram

Micha Berger wrote:
> On Thu, Sep 04, 2008 at 12:19:32PM -0700, Eli Turkel wrote:
> :> I would think the Qumranim would fall under "seifer Torah shekasvo min",
> :> even if the whole thing were in Ashuris.>>
> : It is still debated who lived in Qumram and wrote the dead sea scrolls.
> : They were defintely not Saducees. perhaps Essenes perhaps some other group.
> But they were certainly minim of some sort. In the MMT is presented
> the position attributed in the gemara to the Tzeduqim, that tum'ah can
> not travel from the keli sheini up the irui to be metamei the liquid in
> the keli rishon. It is recorded as an argument and a discussion in both
> sources, allowing us to see the dispute from both sides.
> They also had a calendar that required all years have an even number of
> weeks, as did the Tzeduqim of Rabban Gamliel's day.
In several discussions on this list people have claimed that the 
definition of "min" changes with time.  If so (though I personally doubt 
it) the examples you give are relevant only if you assign an 
unreasonably late date to the Dead Sea Scrolls.

David Riceman

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Message: 6
From: "Moshe Y. Gluck" <mgluck@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 4 Sep 2008 20:05:47 -0400
Re: [Avodah] NASA, Dead-Sea Scrolls and G-D's holy name

R' Akiva Milelr:
> "No Kedushah until someone reads it" -- This sounds like a relevant factor
> we're talking about Davar Mitzva; "hazmana lav milsa" and all that.
> But we're talking about a level up from there: A written/printed word is a
> question of Davar *Kedusha*. The kavana and actions of the one *making*
> object is critical. <SNIP>

All true. The question, I suppose, would be in a situation like this where
there is no Kavanah, but it is afterwards used for Kedushah, IOW, does it
get Kedushah when someone reads it with Kavanah of, let's say, Limud Torah.
(There's no question that this wouldn't make a Sheim written without Kavanah
in a Sefer Torah Kosher; we're talking about whether one has to be careful
of this paper, say the Yated or a printout of Avodah, that it not become
Mutal B'bizayon.

Frankly, I don't hear this Sevarah so much either nor do I have a Mareh
Makom; all I can say is that the person who repeated it to me is a TC.


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Message: 7
From: Meir Shinnar <chidekel@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 4 Sep 2008 23:58:21 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Geirut


>  The problem with your pshat is the end of the rambam - and the  
> problem
> : he is dealing with:
> : he concludes that at the end; it was clear to everyone that the
> : conversions of neshe shlomo and shimshon were insincere -they were
> : only megayer to get married and they never had any intention of
> : keeping the mitzvot, and they  didn't keep the mitzvot  as he  
> says, -
> : af al pi shenigla sodan.

> I find the Rambam quite clear the reverse, that we conclude  
> "ube'isuran
> omedin" (IB 13:16, a/k/a 13). Rather, Shimshon and Shelomo erred  
> thinking
> that they were geirim kesheirim who later returned to their  
> previous AZ
> (halakhah 17/14). The only way I see avoiding a setirah in the  
> Rambam is
> if you take the first halakhah as describing the status of the  
> women, and
> the second as describing why the husbands did what they did -- in  
> error
> : Why could they keep them? because once converted, even though
> : dishonestly (nigla sodan), - meachar shetaval hare ze yisrael...
> But 17 (or 14) is about a geir shechazar. One we believe never left  
> is 16
> (13). How we know when to invoke 16's "shehokhiach sofan al  
> techilasan"
> and when we invoke 17's "afilu chazar ve'oveid AZ" is a difficult  
> metzi'us
> all. So difficult, even Shelomo's chokhmah erred in it.

I think we all come with our preconceptions.  I think that RMB comes  
with preconceptions that kabbalat ol mitzvot must be in the rambam -  
and I am sure that I have my own preconceptions.  However, on a  
simple pshat level, I think that his reading is untenable - because  
it ignores the basic problem of the rambam - which isn't solved by  
his solution.  One more iteration.
References are to the mechon mamre edition - everything in issure  
biah ch 13.

The problem that the rambam starts this section with is (hal 10) -  
that it is impossible that  shlomo and shimshon marry goyot - which  
is an avera.  Therefore, the read of the rambam must end up that  
those women were not goyot - and any pshat that concludes otherwise  
contradicts  this explicit statement in the rambam - which is the  
motivational thread for this entire set of halachot.

One could have solved this problem by arguing the metziut - which to  
some extent is what RMB and RTK do - that the women were actually (or  
seemed to be) shomre mitzvot, at least initially, and therefore had  
the status of ger shechazar.   One could try to reconcile tanach with  
this - eg, a la RTK, that even though tanach does not mention it -  
the women were initially shomre mitzvot

The rambam (by my read) deliberately and specifically rejects this  
option - (hal 13) - vehadavar yadua she chazru ela bishvil davar  
(not, as RTK .  Furthermore, (still hal 13)  veod hochiach sofan al  
techilatan - any doubt we might have had is erased by their later  
acts - that they seemed sincere.

   - and this is also clear at the end of 14 - ve'af al pi pi  
shenigla sodan - the sod revealed can't be that they worshipped avoda  
zara later in life - because that wasn't secret - but instead  
reflects that we now can be sure about their reasons for conversion  
and lack of sincerity.

(BTW, as RMB notices, hochiach sofan et techilatan  - if it means  
that by knowing later improper actions tells us about earlier actions  
- and that therefore the gerut is invalid - is directly contradicted  
by the notion of (hal 14) that chazar ve'avad avoda zara hare hu  
keyisrael meshumad -  but there is no contradiction if hochiach sofan  
allows us to evaluate the individual - but it does not invalidate the  
gerut (as in my pshat))

The rambam, therefore, tries to be crystal clear to make sure that we  
understand that the issue is not that they might have been sincere.   
He goes even further, and here is where I think RMB misunderstands  
the purpose and thrust of the statement.  This is in hal 13
hishvan hacatuv keilu hen goyot uveisuran omdot
RMB reads this to mean that the rambam states that they were goyot,  
uveisuran omdot.  This reading, if correct, would mean that the  
rambam is saying that the women were  assur - and this would directly  
contradict hal 10 - that they were not assur.  This by itself  
suggests that this pshat is problematic and  probably wrong.

However, the rambam doesn't say that they were goyot uveisuran omdot-  
this phrase is part of subordinate clause - hishvan hacatuv keilu hen  
goyot uveisuran omdot -
tanach treats them as if they were goyot uveisuran omdot = but he  
does not say hishvan hacatuv shehen goyot - tanach treats them as  
goyot - a a crucial distinction. The rambam is again emphasizing the  
opposite of what RMB thinks - - that by reading simple pshat in  
tanach one has no sense at all that these women had any portion in  
yahadut - they seem goyot who remain goyot, and the actions of shlomo  
and shimshon become problematic - but the conclusion at the end is,  
in spite of the fact that we know (as above) that their conversion is  
insincere - they were not goyot, and they were not assur - and  
therefore shlomo and shimshon could keep their wives - even when it  
was crystal clear that their conversion was insincere.

Lastly, again, simple pshat of hal 14 is as follows:
1) ger shelo badku acharav o shelo hodiu - first cases of inadequate  
examination before conversion - hare ze ger.

2) vefafilu noda shebishvil davar - the afilu tells us that this is a  
worse case - not merely inadequate examination, but the examination  
reveals improper motivation - ho'il umal vetaval yatza miklal hagoyim  
- but then hoshehsim lo ad sheyitbaer zidkuto.

The question is what it means hosheshim lo ad sheyitbaer zidkuto -  
whether this reflects our relationship to him (eg, lack of hezkat  
kashrut) or whether it means that if we find a problem, and we know  
that he is not a tzadik, the conversion is invalid -  and the rambam  
answers that by

3) afilu chazar ve'avad avoda zara - hare hu keyisrael meshumad -  
shekidushav kidushin.  Even if he not even not a tzadik, but a  
complete rasha who goes from the converion and goes back to  avoda  
zara - he remains a ger - and his kiddushin remain kiddushin.  The  
hashash does not translate into invalidating the gerut. There is  
also  a reason why, of all the issues defining what a jew is and  
remains, he specifically mentions kiddushin, and that is

4)  ulefichac kiyam shimshon ushelomo neshotehen - therefore - and  
this seems to go back specifically to afilu chazar ve'avad -
  as with even an insincere conversion, where the convert shows he  
never meant it and goes back to worshipping idols, they remain jews  
and able to marry -  shlomo and shimson could keep

RMB suggests that statement 3 does not apply to gerim of statements 1  
and 2 - but apply to a regular ger, who was fully examined, sincere,  
and then backslid.  I don't think that there is any reason to  
separate this halacha.  Textually, it would be out of order - The  
only textual issue is the use of the term chazar - but it is clear  
that in general the ger isnt continuously doing avoda zara throughout  
the gerut process - regardless of his true intentions - and therefore  
the right term is chazar.  14 explains why, in spite of the fact  
that, as hal 13 deliberately states, the wives of shlomo and shimshon  
were clearly insincere converts who were never sincere and went back  
to worshipping idols, and are described by tanach as if they were  
goyot, they remain Jews - and therefore marriageable.

Meir Shinnar

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Message: 8
From: T613K@aol.com
Date: Fri, 5 Sep 2008 00:06:11 EDT
Re: [Avodah] Geirut

In Avodah Digest, Vol 25, Issue 304 dated 8/24/2008 "Chana Luntz"  

>  When the would-be ger agrees verbally that he will keep the mitzvos,  the
> Bais Din believes him and accepts him for gerus (unless of course  they
> have some good reason to suspect that he is not sincere).   But if, after
> the conversion ceremony, he does not in fact /ever/ keep  any mitzvos, then
> his gerus is invalidated and his own actions prove  that his KOM was not
> real -- that there never was any actual KOM on  his part. [--TK]

RCL:  >>Yes, I know that is the way it is  generally understood. 

The thing is, you are not thinking like a  halachist.  What you appear to be
creating here is a new paradigm  within halacha, without reference to the
traditional discussions.  You  see, verbal statements, including agreements
to something or promises to do  something is discussed extensively throughout
shas, under the rubric of  nedarim and shavuos (vows and oaths).  There is a
lot of discussion  about what happens when somebody has one thing in his
heart and another  thing in his mouth....  

What you  are saying here is there occurs a case - that of KOM, where a
person can  stand up in front of beis din and say something.  They can fully
mean  to say exactly what they said.  They understand (as it has  been
explained to them) the consequences of what they have said.  They  are in
fact lying through teeth - as they never intended to do what they  have
promised to do - and the consequence is, not that they are considered  a
violator of their shavuah (bemazid or beshoggeg) and chayav the  consequences
of that, which is what you might deduce from every other case  in which a
person stands in front of beis din and says something untrue -  but that the
statement never was, and the whole thing is undone.

Now  there is a mechanism for undoing a shavuah or a neder, a procedure  for
being matir neder or shavuah, and that is detailed extensively in  the
I'm sorry it took me so long to get back to this, but I did mean to  comment. 
 The thing is, a person who goes through a conversion process and  then never 
keeps the mitzvos -- his conversion is not valid.  RCL thinks of  this as a 
case where somebody makes a vow, violates his vow and then gets off  scot-free, 
released from his vow with no consequences.  To my mind, this  person faces 
heavy consequences, since his intention was to be considered a Jew  and he 
simply cannot achieve that.  He just can't get what he wants, as  long as he 
refuses to do the main thing a convert must do -- keep the  Torah.  His attempt to 
achieve Jewish status just won't work.
His statement or his thought, "I want to become a Jew but I want to  become a 
sinning Jew, I want to be accepted lechatchila as a non-frum secular  Jew" is 
like the statement of an international gangster, "I know that there are  many 
American citizens who are criminals, and that's what I want to be too -- an  
American criminal.  I want to immigrate to America and become an American  
citizen so that I can be an American criminal."  Then he takes an oath to  uphold 
the Constitution, all the while planning his glorious criminal  career.  If 
the government finds out he's a career criminal, he will not  get his 
citizenship.  He just can't get what he wants.
You want to say  that "agreements to do something or promises to do  
something are discussed extensively throughout Shas, under the rubric of  nedarim and 
shavuos (vows and oaths)" so if he doesn't end up being frum,  he is like 
somebody who made a shevuah and now wants to be released from his  vow.  
But he doesn't want to be released from it!  When he made it in the  front 
place, he was lying, he never intended to keep it, but he wants  people to think 
that he /is/ still keeping his vow or intends to keep it.   He wants the 
status that his false promise brings -- the status of being a Jew  -- and that is 
the one thing he can't have.   
I don't know what the halachic status is of a vow that a person makes,  with 
no intention of ever keeping it, but I can't help thinking that a  false oath 
is different from an oath that one wants to be released  from.   He doesn't 
want to go back to being a goy, like a person who  first thought he wanted to be 
a Jew and now has charata and wants to be  released.  He wanted to be a Jew 
and he still wants to be a Jew, he just  doesn't want to fulfill the necessary 
It is true that I am "not thinking like a halachist" so I would like to  have 
this halachic point clarified:  What is the status of a vow that the  person 
never intended to keep?  What is the status of a false vow?

--Toby  Katz

**************It's only a deal if it's where you want to go. Find your travel 
deal here.      
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