Avodah Mailing List

Volume 25: Number 341

Thu, 25 Sep 2008

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: T6...@aol.com
Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2008 11:35:16 EDT
Re: [Avodah] Praying to angels

From: Dov Kay _dov_...@hotmail.co.uk_ (mailto:dov_...@hotmail.co.uk) 

>>As  we get stuck into our Selichos, I was wondering what listmembers do 
about the  selichos which involve petitioning things/entities other than G-d, eg 
machnisei  rachamim, the pizmon of the 13 middos, in which we petition the 
middas  horachamim of HKBH....  I, on the one hand, have R. Toby Katz's 
accusation  of arrogance ringing in my ears.  On the other hand, I have my Goldschmidt  
edition of the selichos, which quotes both the Rambam and Ramban decrying the 
 practice of davening to angels.... 
To avoid any problem of "arrogance" or of being  disrespectful to prominent 
rabbanim and poskim who do say these  Selichos, aseh lecha rav -- ask a shaila 
of an actual rav whom you respect and  whose psak you are prepared to abide by.


As for the question of praying to angels, I know that this has been  
extensively discussed on Avodah but I will reiterate my own opinion  anyway:  when you 
ask an angel to do you a favor or to please carry  out the mission he is 
anyway contracted to do, that is not "praying" to the  angel any more than saying 
to a friend "Please put a kvitel in the kosel for me"  is praying to your 
I said it in the context of singing Sholom Aleichem on Friday night.   The 
Gemara says that if the house is Shabbosdig when the men come home, the  angels 
who accompany them bless the home.  When you say to the malachim  "Borchuni 
lesholom" you are just validating in song form that you have made your  home 
Shabbosdig and would now like them to carry out their mission as they said  they 
would do (and they will do it even if you don't sing Sholom Aleichem, but  
it's friendly and polite to welcome and acknowledge the angels who came to  visit 
you anyway).
I understand all references to malachim in Tanach and in the liturgy in a  
similar way.  You are only asking them to do what they would do anyway (or  
maybe wouldn't and won't do, if you are not deserving).  Think of  this:  every 
mitzva you do, and every word of tefillah or of Torah that you  utter, creates 
its own malach who flies Upstairs and becomes another sanegor for  you.  (And 
you create the other kind of angels, too, who become your  mekatragim, but we 
prefer not to think about those.)   
Like witnesses in a human court, these angels, these spiritual beings or  
agents, can influence the outcome of the case but they do not have the authority  
to pass sentence on you or to carry out the sentence.  Only the Judge has  
that authority.  Unlike human witnesses, these angels cannot perjure  themselves 
-- they do not have free will and ultimately can only do what Hashem  tells 
them to do.  Your prior knowledge that you are /going/ to be saying  to the 
angels, "Please go up and put in a good word for me" ideally will  influence your 
actions all year long, because you know that those  angels can only do you 
any good if you yourself have so behaved as to earn their  aid.

--Toby  Katz

**************Looking for simple solutions to your real-life financial 
challenges?  Check out WalletPop for the latest news and information, tips and 
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Message: 2
From: "Ira Tick" <itick1...@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2008 14:40:10 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Praying to angels

Certainly, petitioning the thirteen attributes of G-d can be viewed as a
metaphor, for those of us who do not beleive in the thirteen attributes as
independent spiritual 'beings.'  It's like saying, "for goodness' sake" or
"in the name of love," etc.  As for angels, that too could be a metaphor,
and expression of our desire to reach G-d by appealing to the "troops of
angels that carry our prayters before the Throne of Glory," etc.  If angels
exist as more than metaphor, and further, they actually are involved in our
prayers, and futher still, we actually mean to contact and appease them by
mentioning them in our prayers (all this is a pretty big 'if' for me, but
whatever) than we do need to ask ourselves what it is that we are doing and
why.  Perhaps its no different than asking a rebbe for a bracha or asking
other people to pray for us.  Certainly, the angels in the context of
selichos are being made subserviant to G-d (in "machnisei rachamim" we
conclude each stanza with the hope that the angels send our prayers before
"the One Who...Desires Tears, is the Master of Mercy", etc) and we are
clearly not worshipping them or attributing to them powers above G-d's or
outside of those granted them by tradition.
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Message: 3
From: Zev Sero <z...@sero.name>
Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2008 11:40:26 -0400
Re: [Avodah] HaShem as God's Name

Richard Wolpoe wrote:

> FWIW The Geramn Roedelheim Siddurim translate YKVK as EWIGE [Eibishter 
> more or less in Yiddish] which means ETERNAL.  

Sorry, these two words are not at all related.  "Ewiger" in German, or
"eibiker" in Yiddish, means "Eternal"; "oibershter" in Yiddish
("eibershter" in Litvish) is "oberster" in German, and means "Highest".

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

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Message: 4
From: Zev Sero <z...@sero.name>
Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2008 11:44:39 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Free Will vs. Physics

T6...@aol.com wrote:

> If you meant to do a mitzva and through no fault of your own you were 
> unable to complete the action, you still get schar

But not as if you had actually done it.  The mitzvah didn't actually get
done, so its results didn't happen.  The friend who was to get the kugel
surely appreciated and was comforted by the thought, but she still had
to eat something else.  That's physics too.

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

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Message: 5
From: "Menachem Posner" <menach...@juno.com>
Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2008 17:00:43 GMT
[Avodah] induction cooking

Does anyone know of any information concerning this increasingly popular
form of cooking where electromagnetism causes the food to heat up without
heating the pot or range?
<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /> 
Some questions which may come up are:
How does cooking on such a range work on Shabbos and Yomtov?
Is *removing* a pot a problem since it effectively stops the heating process?
Can there be a blech where the source of heat is the food itself?
Click here to find the right business program for you and take your career to the next level. 
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Message: 6
From: "Rich, Joel" <JR...@sibson.com>
Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2008 15:11:51 -0400
[Avodah] Outside societies' standards

While iiuc it's generally assumed that minhag hasochrim includes the
sochrim of the broader society, I suppose it's obvious that generally
accepted business principles would have a halachik impact where we are
trying to understand the meeting of the minds.
I found of interest the Prisha on the TUR Y"D 182 re haavarat sear.  The
Tur says that in a place where men generally do it "ein makkin
oto"(me-strange language which sounds like assur but...but maybe that's
his derech-I'm certainly no expert)  In any event the Prisha says he
means Non-Jews and we learn from them. Then he says "gam yesh lomar d'al
yisrael kaamar".
Several questions - other than R'OY in his pants tshuva does anyone know
of sources in non- monetary cases which specifically mention outer
society as measure?  was the prisha saying either/or?  If it's not from
the outside, how did malbush yisrtael get defined over the years?

Joel Rich
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Message: 7
From: Yitzhak Grossman <cele...@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2008 16:33:12 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Free Will vs. Physics

On Tue, 23 Sep 2008 22:20:10 EDT
T6...@aol.com wrote:


> I believe that most of the decisions we make are  actually forced decisions 
> and not the product of free will.  Hakol b'yedei  Shomayim chutz miyiras 
> Shomayim.  

Rambam (Shemonah Perakim 8) explains that statemont to mean that *all*
human actions are within the scope of man's will, and what Hazal meant
by hakol bidei shamayim are those things that are not within man's
control, such as his physical stature and the climate.

> --Toby  Katz

Bein Din Ledin - bdl.freehostia.com
An advanced discussion of Hoshen Mishpat

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Message: 8
From: "Eli Turkel" <elitur...@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2008 13:42:00 -0700
[Avodah] praying to angels

<<Right now I say it but have in mind I'm really asking hashem to have
them to do their jobs  even while I don't really understand celestial
mechanics >>

I believe RSZA justifies the minhag exactly on these grounds that this
is what is meant. As to minhag trumping theology it depends strongly
on who one asks. Obviously the Gra and in his wake Briskers
(especially RYBS) count theology more than minhag. RYBS made many
changes in the Rosh Hashana/YK davening based on his own reasoning.

Other poskim stress more minhag and try and justify it.
I doubt anyone would say it if there were absolutely no justification

Reminds me of our discussion of saying leDovid. Most places rely on
minhag but some reject it for possible Sabatean influences.

Eli Turkel

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Message: 9
From: "kennethgmil...@juno.com" <kennethgmil...@juno.com>
Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2008 21:02:49 GMT
Re: [Avodah] HaShem as God's Name

In Avodah 25:326, R' Moshe Y. Gluck wrote:
> ... see the example on Bava Metziah 16b, because Rashi over
> there explains that it is a Lashon of Shevuah. Like, "By God!"
> or "I swear to God!" These also should be OK (though the
> person saying them should really be very, very sure that
> they're swearing the truth).

Indeed? Is it really sufficient that one is very, very sure that he is
swearing the truth? Aren't we taught to avoid swearing even in such cases?
Are we being more machmir than they were?

In that same post, he continued:
> The "Shadai!" that I mentioned in my previous post, I
> understood to be used in the context of performing some
> mighty act. Like that would be the interjection used while
> trying to benchpress some phenomenal amount. Not OK.

That sounds very similar to what R' David Roth wrote in 25:327:
> It seems that this exclamation was part of the vocabulary of
> certain Amoraim, though perhaps it's more acceptable when
> they're engaged in and surprised about a matter of Torah.
> I tend to translate it as "(and) by God..." (He then gave a "quick list" of about 18 such places in the gemara.)

Okay, so it's not literally swearing, but it is still l'vatala, isn't it? Why would this be acceptable?

Maybe I'm grasping at straws, but the only guess I can come up with is
this: Perhaps the Name "Elohim" has kedusha, but with the Heh as a prefix,
"haelohim" becomes a mere non-kadosh word, the equivalent of spelling "god"
with a lower-case "g". I still don't like the idea of referring to non-real
gods in such a context (do any of us exclaim "jesus!" when we get
surprised?) but it's the only guess I can come up with.

Akiva Miller

Embrace e-commerce and sell your products or services online. Click now!

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Message: 10
From: "Liron Kopinsky" <liron.kopin...@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2008 14:16:14 -0700
Re: [Avodah] Praying to angels

I heard recently that R' Moshe Feinstein would not say this, but would not
stop his shul from saying them either, believing that his being chosheish
for the Rambam did not trump community minhag.

Kol Tuv,
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Message: 11
From: David Riceman <drice...@att.net>
Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2008 17:50:49 -0400
Re: [Avodah] mi yamut

Rich, Joel wrote:
>  IIRC I  heard from a bar hachi that Sanhedrin will not necessarily 
> feel the need to unify all psak (it knocked my socks off).
How else would you justify having Sanhedrins for each shevet?

David Riceman


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