Avodah Mailing List

Volume 25: Number 398

Fri, 28 Nov 2008

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Ben Waxman <ben1...@zahav.net.il>
Date: Thu, 27 Nov 2008 17:10:00 +0200
Re: [Avodah] Lesheim Yichud Source Please and explanation

One other point which is relevant: the Noda b'Yehuda wrote that the 
appearance of this phrase in siddurim was a new phenomena in his day. So 
while the source may be much older, according to this source it was never 
said until fairly recently.


> From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
> >
> BTW, the Noda biYhudah was vociferously against saying "Lesheim Yichud"
> (YD 93). 

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Message: 2
From: T6...@aol.com
Date: Thu, 27 Nov 2008 13:00:15 EST
Re: [Avodah] Rivkah's Intention

From: "Richard Wolpoe" _rabbirichwolpoe@gmail.com_ 

>>    1. Who gave Yaakov permission to "lie"
2. Who gave Eliezer  permission to use Nichush to find a wife for

The common answer is the hora'as hsa'ah of a navi...   <<

The common answer is correct, as RRW went on to  explain (how both Rivka's 
and Eliezer's actions were based on nevuah) but  it should also be added:
!. Yakov didn't technically lie -- even when deceiving his father for a  
halachically correct reason, he was careful not to technically utter a falsehood  
-- and so he said, "Anochi...(slight pause)...Esav bechorecha."  I am I,  and 
Esav is your firstborn.
2.  The sign Eliezer chose wasn't really nichush because it was a sign  that 
would reveal the midos of the girl and was directly relevant to his search.  
Had he said, "If a girl comes out wearing a blue dress, that will be the  
sign," the question would have greater force.  As it stands, it isn't that  much of 
a question.

--Toby Katz
"If you don't read the  newspaper you are uninformed; 
if you do read the newspaper you are  misinformed."
--Mark Twain
Read *Jewish World Review* at _http://jewishworldreview.com/_ 
**************Life should be easier. So should your homepage. Try the NEW 
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Message: 3
From: "kennethgmil...@juno.com" <kennethgmil...@juno.com>
Date: Thu, 27 Nov 2008 18:41:49 GMT
Re: [Avodah] a troubling halacha

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote:
> Okay, here's my guess: Could it be that this halacha is
> based on the presumption that people would prefer to observe
> the relatively easy halachos of delayed information, and that
> they did not want to observe the relatively difficult halachos
> of timely information?
> If so, then the next question is: What changed? Why do we
> prefer the full burden of the timely-information halachos? It
> can't be because of the general trend towards stricter
> halachos, can it?

I discussed this with a friend, who offered an interesting idea. I'm not
sure if (or to what degree) I agree with him, but it provides some
interesting food for thought:

He suggested that in times past, people's emotions were much stronger than
today. (I know that we are weaker in many ways; that's yeridas hadoros. But
I had not considered applying that principle here.) He gave examples of the
extreme reactions people would have upon hearing of a relative's passing.
Kefiyas hamitah (whatever that is) is one example of something we no longer
bother with. He also focused on people who would literally tear themselves
apart, so much that the Torah had to forbid it -- Who among us would even
think of such a thing, even if the Torah did *not* forbid it?

So, he suggested, perhaps it was a genuine chesed to withhold the news from
someone. Let the news go stale. NOT so that the avel would have easier
halachos, but so that the stale news would have a milder effect. In
contrast, we, nowadays, even someone who takes a death particularly hard,
*generally* does not go totally out of control, at least not as much as in
ages past. We can deal with the relatively harsh halachos of Timely News,
and they do have a beneficial effect on the avel.

Looking to hear from those who knows history better than I, and who can offer some ideas on how accurate his observations were.

Akiva Miller

Can't pay your bills?  Click here to learn about filing for bankruptcy.

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Message: 4
From: "Eli Turkel" <elitur...@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 27 Nov 2008 21:47:47 +0200
[Avodah] another sin of Avraham

In a shiur from last week the rabbi said that another sin of Avraham
was making the
brit with the Phlishtim and so giving them rights to the land that
prevented Joshua
from conquering everything (based on the Rashbam who quotes a medrash Shmuel).

The "fix" for this mistake was the last test of Avraham (according to
some rishonim)
in the burial of Sarah. Looking closely at the pesukim the Hittites
were willing to
give Sarah a burial place among their graves for free. However, Avraham had to
argue that he didn't want presents in their cemetery but rather he
wanted to own the
land. Buying the land was in fact more important than the immediate
burial and was
the teshuva on the original sin. Thus after Efron agreed it had to go
back to the
Hittite council to get permission to sell land to an outsider.
Thus the sequence was Avraham spoke to the Hittites then to Efrom and then to
the Hittites because the deal had changed in the middle,

Eli Turkel

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Message: 5
From: "Eli Turkel" <elitur...@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 27 Nov 2008 23:09:01 +0200
[Avodah] reading of ketuva

Just attended a wedding where the rabbi read a summary of the ketuba
in Hebrew

Since reading the ketuba is only to separate the kiddushim from the nisuim why
isnt this the norm? What purpose is there in reading a lengthy ketuba
in Aramaic where few understand and fewer listen?

Eli Turkel

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Message: 6
From: "Rich, Joel" <JR...@sibson.com>
Date: Thu, 27 Nov 2008 21:12:29 -0500
Re: [Avodah] reading of ketuva


Just attended a wedding where the rabbi read a summary of the ketuba in

Since reading the ketuba is only to separate the kiddushim from the
nisuim why isnt this the norm? What purpose is there in reading a
lengthy ketuba in Aramaic where few understand and fewer listen?

Eli Turkel
What better hesech hadaat than to stare off into space or shmooze while
someone reads something no one understands?
Joel Rich
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Message: 7
From: "Eli Turkel" <elitur...@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 28 Nov 2008 11:19:00 +0200
[Avodah] on not telling the truth

Looking at parshat Toldot Yaakov does not tell his blind father
the real truth that he is Yaakov and not Esau. This is followed
in coming parshiot with Leah not revealing that she is Leah and not
Rachel to Yaakov, with Yaakov's game with the sheep,
with Rachel deceiving her father about the idols she stole and most
famously with the brothers not telling the truth to Yaakov about Yosef.

Though each case can be justified there seems to be a trend of one
leading to the other.

The medrash states that even though they held no personal culpability
ultimately G-d displays justice (eno vatran) when Mordecai cries
over the actions of Haman (a descendent of Esau)

Eli Turkel

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Message: 8
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 28 Nov 2008 12:29:01 -0500
[Avodah] Like one person, with one heart

From my blog
I had to write /something/.


Like one person, with one heart

For the past day and a half, all Jewish eyes were on Mumbai, formally
known as Bombay, named for two Hindu godesses. Nine popular tourist
sites were attacked, locations that attracted many American and British
citizens. Nine tourist sites... and one Chabad House.

Jews around the world suddenly took an interest in IBN, CNN's partner
in India. Streaming audio or video available live, listening to the
reporter telling the story from outside. Occasionally interupting her
reporting to duck down or tell her cameraman to shut off his lights as
shots fire out.

Why the Jews?

Why *again* the Jews?

Once upon a time, all of humanity got along. We used that beautiful
unity improperly, "Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with
its top in heaven, and we will make ourselves famous; lest we get
scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth." And Hashem
responds, "Yes, they are one nation and they have one language, and
this is what they begin to do..." (Bereishis 11:4,6)

There were few families who did not participate. One of them was that of
Avraham. (Others include Malkhitzedeq / Sheim, Eiver, and Ashur the
forefather of Assyria, who thereby merited the Torah script, Ashuris.)
Avraham refused a unity committed to evil.

And 502 years later his children stood at Mount Sinai. "and Israel
vayichan, camped there, under the mountain." (Shemos 19:2) The Mekhilta
(quoted by Rashi) notes the use of the singular for the verb, as though
Israel were an individual, and writes, "ke'ish echad beleiv echad -- Like one
person, with one heart." And with that moment of unity, we merited to
be the recipients of the Torah.

Unlike the unity of the Egyptians six weeks earlier, at the Red Sea.
"and here, Egypt is noseia', chasing after them." Also with a singular
verb. And one of Rashi's explanations is "beleiv echad ke'ish echad --
with one heart, like one person." In opposite order, first the heart,
than the unity like a single person.

The Egyptians had no inherent unity. They had a single heart, a single
desire and goal, and they unified behind that goal. Had they lived
long enough for that goal to evaporate they would have once again
been divided. The giving of the Torah, however, required unity as
a precondition, not a consequence. As we say in the Hagaddah about
the evil son's use of the word you when asking "What is this work for
you?" "Since he took himself out of the community, he denied the essence
[of Judaism]." Our doxology is not "Hashem is our G-d, Hashem is One",
it first begins "Hear Israel".

The "ish echad", the unity of the people, precedes the "leiv echad", the
common mission. Perhaps this is why Rabbi Aqiva's students passed away
in the period of Omer in particular, in the period of transition between
conditional unity and love based on a common goal, and the inherent
unity as a precondition to Sinai. A utilitarian unity is not the basis
of respect, it's unity so as to use the other. (In this case, as a tool
for one's own learning.) And so the students who died "because they did
not show respect one for the other" were sentenced during that time in
our calendar; they didn't survive the transition from Pesach to Shavu'os.

    It is not because you are more plentiful than other nations that
    Hashem holds you dear and chose you; for you are few from among the
    nations. Rather, from the love of G-d of you, and from His keeping
    the promise...
                                            -Devarim 7:7-8

Cheisheq, holding someone dear, is described as something that can be
conditional (in this case, on our size). Ahavah, true love, is inherent,
without reason or cause. Ahavah without an adjective is ahavas chinam.

Terrorism is an echoing the generation of the Tower of Babel's call, "let
us make ourselves a reputation". When they rise up they are unified like
the Eqyptians. Not inherently, but functionally, behind a common cause. In
Babel, this expressed itself as the first totalitarian government, as
Pirqei deR' Eliezer describes it, if a person fell off the tower, worked
proceded. If a brick fell, they mourned. R' Hirsch describes this as the
first Totalitarian government -- humanity was subdued to the cause. In
terrorism, this is expressed in a willingness to kill innocents, to die,
even to raise one's own children with dreams of becoming "shuhada",
martyrs for the cause.

Why again the Jews?

Because in Judaism, unity is inherent, love is to be unconditional,
and the value of a cause defined by the value it brings to humanity.

Why again the Jews?

Because when there is a terror attack in some exotic city, and the fate
of two people I never meet hangs in the balance, everything stops. Jews
in every time zone track the news obsessively. We are Benei Yisrael,
the Children of Israel, siblings. All our petty (and perhaps not so
petty) squabbles forgotten. Little Moishe is out safely?! Thank G-d. His
parents? "About these I cry; my eyes, my eyes, spill water."

This Shabbos (which began already in Mumbai), Moishe turned two and
became an orphan. May the Omnipresent comfort the family amongst all of
us mourners of Tziyon and Yerushalayim.

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Message: 9
From: Yitzchok Levine <Larry.Lev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Fri, 28 Nov 2008 10:43:14 -0500
[Avodah] The principal place of the Shechinah is on earth.

The following is from the new translation of 
RSRH's commentary on the Chumash, Bereishis 28:10

10 Ya?akov left Be?er Sheva and set out for Charan.

Ya?akov goes forth in order to establish a Jewish home, and to achieve
this he needs only the resources inherent in his own personality. Thus
begins the story of Ya?akov, for everything that follows revolves around
the establishment of that home. Ya?akov was the first to give expression
to the idea that God is to be sought within the home. He was the first
to articulate the profound idea of beis elokim (below, v. 17), Beis El (below,
v. 19 and 35:15), ?the house of God,? which essentially means: The
sphere in which man blossoms and thrives, the place to which he brings
all that he acquires and in which he acts and builds his life ? that sphere
is the greatest and nearest place for the revelation of God.

Ya?akov fulfilled in his life what Noach had envisioned at the new
beginning of human history: Whereas the culture of Yefes ennobles
men?s souls through the sense of beauty, the mission of Shem is ?to
pitch tents in which the Shechinah may dwell.?

The Sages of Israel have expressed an idea that contains within it a
complete worldview: Ikir Shechinah b'tachtonim, 
?the principal place of the Shechinah
is on earth? (Bereshis Rabbah 19:7); or: ?The angels laugh at
those who raise their eyes toward heaven, imagining they have to seek
God up above? (Sefer Chassidim, 18, end); or: ?He who is walking out of
doors while studying, and interrupts his study and says: ?How beautiful
is that tree!? or ?How beautiful is that field!? (thus revealing that, for
him, the study of human life and its beauty when lived in accordance
with God?s Will does not overshadow the beauty of nature) is regarded
as though he has forfeited his own soul? (Avos 3:9).

These and similar statements are a legacy to us from the spirit of
Ya?akov. Under the influence of the culture of Yefes, man flees from
ordinary, ?prosaic? life and takes refuge in the beautiful ?poetry? of
nature. The heirs of Ya?akov find God and His Shechinah first and
foremost in the home. Herein lies the difference between the spirit of
Judaism and non-Jewish culture. 
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Message: 10
From: Saul.Z.New...@kp.org
Date: Fri, 28 Nov 2008 09:29:20 -0800
[Avodah] on paskening

lecture series http://www.thejerusalemkollel.com/online_classes.php

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Message: 11
From: Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer <r...@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 28 Nov 2008 14:19:09 -0500
[Avodah] R' Yaakov Emden

In the Hagahos R' Yaakov Emden to Gittin 57a (the Agadata on Bilam and 
Posh'ei Yisroel that Onkelos summoned), the new Vagshal Gemaros have two 
passages that do not appear in any of the earlier editions such as the 
Vilna, and even not in the more contemporary editions such as the Oz 
v'Hadar. Even in the Vagshal edition, the second one of those he'aros 
has clearly been censored by whoever added it, as there are two ellipses 
in it - something that you do not find in other he'aros in the "Hagahos 
v'Chiddushim" section. Both passages deal with Shabbetai Zvi. The 
Vagshal "Devarim Achadim" says they added stuff to Hagahos R' Yaakov 
Emden from manuscript. Does anyone know where this manuscript is, 
whether these passages have been previously published, or what was even 
now deemed too sensitive to print? Of course, the juiciest find would be 
that the second passage mentioned R' Yonoson Eyebeschutz or some other 



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