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Volume 25: Number 405

Fri, 05 Dec 2008

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 4 Dec 2008 15:11:34 -0500
Re: [Avodah] R' Aviner on gadol hador status

On Thu, Dec 04, 2008 at 12:38:50AM -0500, T6...@aol.com wrote:
:                                     The Ba'al Shem Tov died in 1760,  the 
: Vilna Gaon in 1797. A person doesn't become a godol hador until he
: is at least in his fifties and more often not until he's 70, so the
: Vilna Gaon (who was 40 when the Baal Shem Tov died) would not yet have been
: the godol hador when the Besht was still alive...

The Besht was known as a Baal Shem. The Gra, for his learning in
halakhah. Apples and oranges.

If "Gadol haDor" relates to halachic leadership, the Besht wouldn't
have been considered in the running even by Chassidim. His leadership
centered an aggadita, kindling hislahavus. There is no Pisqei haBesht,
the Besht's notes on SA, Shu"t, etc...

But I don't think we're going to find a source for the reality of the
concept. Gedulah is inherently a relative term. You can't simply line up
people and rank them. (Which is why IQ scores have very limited meaning.
Different people can be bright in different areas, in different ways.)

However, RnTK's point here is inaccurate.

First, the Ramchal died 14 years before the Besh"t. He was recognized,
despite dying at 39. He, like the Besh"t, didn't become famous on the
weight of his pesaqim. But you can't conclude anything from the fact
that today we don't turn to people for leadership, to even look to see
who is great, until they reach their 50s.

BTW, is fame, in the form of being known and actually providing
leadership, part of your definitiohn of a gadol? What if the greatest
mind of the generation is sitting in the back of a tiny beis medrash
somewhere going totally unnoticed?

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Rescue me from the desire to win every
mi...@aishdas.org        argument and to always be right.
http://www.aishdas.org              - Rav Nassan of Breslav
Fax: (270) 514-1507                   Likutei Tefilos 94:964

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Message: 2
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 4 Dec 2008 15:42:51 -0500
Re: [Avodah] effects of religous worship on health

On Thu, Dec 04, 2008 at 07:40:37AM -0600, Steven J Scher wrote:
: R' Daniel Israel
:>Another possibility is that He would arrange so that the supposedly
:>random groups are not random.  The scientists can pick any random
:>number generator they like, HKB"H can always "game" the system so
:>that the prayed-for group contains the people he wishes to give a
:>better outcome to.

: Yes.  I think this is the right answer... although I hadn't thought of it 
: until recently (as part of thinking about this discussion on A/A).  What's 
: random from our perspective is never random from HaShem's perspective, no?

Randomness has no meaning without time.

I'm about to flip a coin, the odds that it lands heads is 50:50.

I just flipped a coin, I see it laying on its side, it's heads. The odds
it landed heads, 100%.

(For purists upset with the colloquialisms: The probability is .5 or 1,
respectively. And those are approximates -- this coin could be the one
in a billion lopsided coin, my eyes could be playing tricks on me, etc...)

If I already flipped the coin but didn't yet look? Well, that involves
a number of deep debates. Topics range from different schools of thought
about what probability means, theories about the role of observation in
Quantum Mechanics and "

I'm proposing the Basian interpretation of probability. This boils down
to defining probability as the "subjective degree of belief in a
proposition". (Frequentists and Classicists can argue, but be prepared
to bore the masses.)

According to this interpretation of statistics, even if He does not
intervene in every instance (eg the majority of rishonim who would say
there isn't HP about which way a leaf falls in the middle of a forest
with no one around), there is no room for statistics. There are no
varying degrees of unknowns.

Related to all this is the concept that counting prevents berakhah.
After all, with counting, we shift many avenues of berakhah into means of
affirming faith in addition to the item itself. It may be we merit the
item, but not the additional aid to emunah.

Although the gemara in Yuma (22b) says this concept limited to not
counting Benei Yisrael, who are supposed to be uncountable like sand or
stars, I recall R' Freifeld (among a general sense of "everyone says")
citing a maamar chazal that makes a general statement: Ein haberakhah
shurah bedavar shesamui min ha'ayin.

The idea is real, but I'm not sure where the quote originates. The nearest
I found was a Beraisa "Tana devei R' Yishmael: Ein haberakhah metzuyah ela
bedavar she'ein ha'ayin sholetes bo." (Taanis 8b, also R' Yitchaq there.)

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Despair is the worst of ailments. No worries
mi...@aishdas.org        are justified except: "Why am I so worried?"
http://www.aishdas.org                         - Rav Yisrael Salanter
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Message: 3
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 4 Dec 2008 17:56:55 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Sephardi-ism: some food for thought

On Tue, Nov 25, 2008 at 11:16pm EST, R Richard Wolpoe wrote:
: Bet Yosef, Kar hachaim and ROY all list as many opionions as they can.  It
: is one of my criticisms of MB that at times he cherry picks an opinion.

This is only a gripe with the MB because usually he doesn't. And in fact
both his title page and his haqdamah say that this survey of shitos is
the whole point (or at least a primary point, to avoid some long-stanging
debates) of the book.

: This is why many Saphardic chachamim seem to feel ashkenaziim are not
: playing straight because they list sources suporting their theses and often
: omit those that do not fit the paradigm.

: Now that does not mean all Seaphrdic methods are better.  Ashkenazim excell
: in getting to the underlying sevara and tend to be more analytical than
: encyclopedic...

IOW, the Sepharadim are complaining that the typical Ashk methodology is
different than theirs. More development of one idea and its justifications
than of the list of shitos.

Of course Seph methodology will rank better by Seph criteria, and
similarly most East European rabbanim would view the more lomdus-based
approach as superior. Yekkish style is its own beryah.

: Micha and I have endless debatges on Halchicc metholody. Regardles of what
: system one uses, it is nice to have a more obejctive system than a
: subjective system...

I even disagree with that. It's nice to think that humans have a more
creative role than that. I would agree that the better defined the limits
of the system are, the more useful it is. But I would hate to think that
the ideal halachic system is one with less autonomy. Subjective within
an objectively defined range of possibilities would to my mind better
balance the notion that both Hashem and the chakham participate in the
creation of pesaq.

RRW seems to be descriing a world in which someday a good peice of
software running atop the Bar Ilan CD might be a better poseiq than
any human.

: Many posqkim are imho all over the place.  One modern poseiq seemed to have
: been a devote of the Rambam in gneral, but when it came to women reading tge
: megillah he apparently advocated a Humra based upon the Magen
" Avraham...

That needn't be an indication of his being all over the place.

Perhaps he gives a lot of authority to the Rambam, but not total. IN
which case:
:                                  It is POSSIBLE that he felt it was the
: logical or correct read in this case, but it has led a lot of people to see
: this as putting subjective concerns over obejctive ones.

It's not only possible, it would be a plausible reason why in this one
case some other consideration actually got to the point of outweighing
the Rambam, even though to his system, such cases are very rare.

He could be unconsciously following very consistent guidelines, and that
"lot of people" simply are misjudging him. (I through in "unconsciously"
because I don't think any poseiq actually sits down and maps a system
and follows it.)

On Tue, Dec 02, 2008 at 10:35:44AM GMT, Chana Luntz wrote:
:> At most, what you have is not a safek but a sfek sfeka.

: Not quite sure how you get to a sfek sfeka, but that usually leads to
: greater leniency, not greater strictness.

I also await RSZ's explanation, he went faster than I followed.

However, the second part of your sentence isn't necessarily true.

Say you have a din derabbanan. Safeiq derabbanan lehaqeil. If you have
a second safeiq breaking the tzad heter on the first one, you would have
a sefeiq sefeiqa lechumera.

Until RSZ fills me in, I don't know if my example applies to what he's

:                                     If faced with a machmir psak *from
: any gadol whom I would not regard as my Rav or automatically follow*,
: surely I am obligated to seek out and determine whether indeed there are
: any comparable gedolim who have ruled l'heter.  Because I don't know
: that the Rav in question really held l'chumra, maybe he was only holding
: so l'safek....
:                   However, this is not usually included as one of the
: rule of ho'raah, which is one of the reasons I don't believe this is
: indeed what Rashi is saying.

Actually, in the case of a shu"t, or a seifer like the MB/BH or AhS, you
usually /do/ know whether the chumrah is mitoras safeiq, or because the
poseiq feels he identified amito shel davar.

One thing about the MB, he tends to jump to laws of safeiq rather than
trying to be mevareir the din far faster than most other sefarim.

On Tue, Dec 02, 2008 at 10:49:35PM GMT, Chana Luntz wrote:
: I am not sure that is fully true.  While shalom bayis may indeed have a
: halachic mandate, it is also (often) the matzav of the shoel that is at
: stake, ie their relationship with their spouse.   Pikuach nefesh can
: also be about the matzav of the shoel (although less often).  B'shas
: hadchak is even more likely to be so and even closer to your hefsed
: meruba example.  Think for example of the halacha that you can rely on a
: minority opinion in such a circumstance.  Horaas sha'ah is one a case
: that has generated has a certain amount of discussion on this list of
: late, in the context of women an serarah (as in, preferring an observant
: woman over a non observant man in a position of serarah).  That example
: too shows how the matzav determines the psak.

: Given the wider context, I would not describe hefsed merubah as "a
: chessed concern for the posek", but rather that the posek is, in
: formulating his psak, looking what one might call "situationally", ie at
: the shoel within his context.  But I think that all psak is really like
: that...

To me, this second paragraph sounds like you're stepping back and
blurrying important distinctions. Yes, of course the poseiq taking into
account the needs of the sho'el is situational, as is the poseiq taking
into acount the BALC requirements of the sho'el.

I would prefer keeping three things very distinct, because while they
are all situational, they are different enough to warrant different
treatment -- or to explain why they don't. "Situational" covers so much
terretory, I think it doesn't say anything.

1- A pesaq relates to a given metzi'us. In this sense, every shu"t is
a situational pesaq. It's halakhah applied to a particular metzi'us.
Whether winding is makeh bepatish relies on whether you expect to
let your baby swing unwind or not expect to let your watch unwind.
Or a pesaq about saying shema in the presence of a woman who doesn't
cover her hair could change based on whether such things are common in
your mileau or not. The issur involves violations of das yehudis, and
therefore the two cases are different in metzi'us because the culture
is part of the metzi'us.

Where there is a straight BALC concern, and the situationalism is the
metzi'us. Same thing.

2- The mitzvah that is getting the majority attention conflicts with
a BALC. This too will create situational kulos. But that's not even
really a qulah -- it's the flipside of a chumrah in a more serious din
(that happens to be BALC).

Shalom bayis doesn't motivate qulos. It's a chiyuv BALC whose chumros
happen to often outweigh kulos in the din you thought we were discussing.
Relying on kasrus heter XYZ so as not to offend the inlaws isn't motivated
by human oncerns over choices in din, but rather a chumrah in the BALC
of shalom bayis outweighing the kashrus issue.

3- What I really thought we were discussing is this third category:

The rav chooses a pesaq based on what challenges the person is willing
to face (not asking him to throw out grandma's heirloom fleishig pot
after he got milchig on it), and what xchallenges it would actually be
in his best interest to face (baal nefesh yachmir).

And within 3, I would make a chiluq between:

3a- dinim where the rav happened not to be so firmly convinced of the
chumrah (or qulah) as to apply it objectively.

3b- dinim where the rav is supposed to seek out qulah.

All this tangent started when I wrote about agunah and eiruv as cases
where chazal explicitly tell the rav to try to be meiqil.

Agunah isn't a case where the rav is necessarily choosing between the
woman's conflicting duties. Rather, hataras agunos is a case where keeping
the halakhah is a huge burden, one the rav should be trying not to impose.

I then tried overreaching twice.

First case was because I couldn't, and still can't, understand how a
rav could be asked to seek out qulah when dealing with a deOraisa. The
kulah seeking teshuvos on agunah that I've seen (that RARR led me through,
usually with the aid of a Bar Ilan CD to see it inside) seem to all be of
the form of proving it's a case of derabbanan (typicall mei'eiver layam)
and then piling up the senifim lehaqeil.

And if you believe that only deOraisos refer to ontological realities,
and deRabbanans are about pragmatic advice, then there is no problem
understanding how the rabban don't want the pragmatics to outweigh a
woman's happiness or a community's unity.

Whereas if you believe that a deRabbanan does create a spiritual "thing",
e.g. that eating of vechalav is both deRabbanan and is metamteim es haleiv,
then you can still say the original taqanah was limited to only creating
the chalos in certain cases.

I'm referring to an earlier conversation of ours of yet another RARR recording
that led to my blog post at

But that claim is guesswork, and I couldn't defend it against questions.
I don't know enough to know if I guessed correctly.

My second overreach was when I tried adding hefseid merubbah to the (3b)
hunt for a qulah list. I don't even know why I tried that --

(i) Do we look to save people from large hefseid, or is it limited to
cases where the poseiq did the usual thing, and then simply isn't
convinced? Why did I think the former?

(ii) You can have a she'eilah in agunah or eiruv, but you can't have a
she'eilah in hefseid merubah. It's not a chiyuv or issur, it's an
attribute of a situation. Lumping them together is apples and oranges.

I would now put hefseid merubah in 3a, and now, after all this, would
re-ask which items on your list would be put there too.

Piqu'ach nefesh is more of my class 2 -- it's a second chiyuv whose
chumros outweigh the first.
I already put shalom bayis in that category in my example above.

Yes, they're situational, but only because din relates to a particular

Beshe'as hadechaq is tough because it's so wide... At times it's
synonymous with "ein danin es ha'efshar mishe'i efshar" -- your least
of evils where the right thing is entirely impoa ssible.

Horaas sha'ah also requires an "eis la'asos Lashem" -- having a fine
tuned instinct for which path will cause the fewest aveiros. Again a
least of evils.

I don't think serarah for women is claimed to be a hora'as sha'ah
issue. Rather, it is potrayed as a change in culture causing a relevent
change in metzi'us. Much like Beis Yaakov. Yes, the CC used the words
"eis laasos". However, his sevara was that the original heter applied to
teaching anything necessary for her to grow up to be an observant Jew,
and that with universal secular education, that definition now includes
far more Torah than before. Same criterion, new situation, new pesaq.

SheTir'u baTov,

Micha Berger             A cheerful disposition is an inestimable treasure.
mi...@aishdas.org        It preserves health, promotes convalescence,
http://www.aishdas.org   and helps us cope with adversity.
Fax: (270) 514-1507         - R' SR Hirsch, "From the Wisdom of Mishlei"

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Message: 4
From: "Rich, Joel" <JR...@sibson.com>
Date: Thu, 4 Dec 2008 11:38:53 -0500
Re: [Avodah] effects of religous worship on health

  What's random from our perspective is never random from HaShem's
perspective, no?

Depends, iiuc there are those that say hashgacha klallit can also apply
to humans.
Joel Rich
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Message: 5
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 4 Dec 2008 18:12:23 -0500
Re: [Avodah] effects of religous worship on health

On Thu, Dec 04, 2008 at 11:38:53AM -0500, Rich, Joel wrote:
:> What's random from our perspective is never random from HaShem's
:> perspective, no?

: Depends, iiuc there are those that say hashgacha klallit can also apply
: to humans.

To some people, to a greater or lesser degree. Many rishonim, including
the Moreh 3:18. Others limit HP to all people, which the Moreh even
says is Chazal's position -- before saying that "people" is a set with
fuzzy edges. IOW, the Rambam holds HP applies to all people, which some
homo sapiens only partially qualify as.

I'm not sure a proof of His Presence would necessarily be hashgachah
peratis. Something like that has the potential to spread to someone who
gets HP.

And last, as is my wont when the rishonim are raised in this context,
I feel a need to point out that RJR is shifting the topic of the
conversation. Until now, it was "how do we assess such data?" I'm
convinced nearly all of the "we" buy into the universal HP idea, and
certainly at least the universal-for-people variant. So, by raising
the opinion of those rishonim who limit HP to only some/most people,
RJR is shifting the topic from how do we respond to how in theory would
they have responded. It's less useful in a "developing my own worldview"
sort of way.

I tend to view hashkafic discussions on those two levels: building my
own worldview vs talmud Torah.

(A very loose parallel to RRW's observation of those who pasqen based
on which sevara they find compelling and those who review the breadth
of the literature.)

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             You will never "find" time for anything.
mi...@aishdas.org        If you want time, you must make it.
http://www.aishdas.org                     - Charles Buxton
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Message: 6
From: Yitzhak Grossman <cele...@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 4 Dec 2008 19:49:37 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Sephardi-ism: some food for thought

On Thu, 4 Dec 2008 17:56:55 -0500
Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org> wrote:


> RRW seems to be descriing a world in which someday a good peice of
> software running atop the Bar Ilan CD might be a better poseiq than
> any human.

This could be true independent of any model of Halachah and Pesak, if
one assumes the possibility of the development of serious AI.

Bein Din Ledin - http://bdl.freehostia.com
A discussion of Hoshen Mishpat, Even Ha'Ezer and other matters

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Message: 7
From: Yitzhak Grossman <cele...@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 4 Dec 2008 19:56:41 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Dying al Kiddush Hashem

On Wed, 3 Dec 2008 16:01:51 -0500
Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org> wrote:


> So, is there a classical source?
> The Crusades might qualify as a borderline case. When the Crusaders
> killed the Jews of Mainz, R' Eliezer ben Nasan described it as "cruel
> foreigners, fierce and swift, Frenchmen and Germans...[who] put crosses
> on their clothing and were more plentiful than locusts on the face of
> the earth." (quoting Norman Gold "The Jews in Medieval Normandy", via
> wikipedia; the quote is a paraphrase of Chavaquq 1:6). "...Taf venashim
> beyom echad, ushelalam lavoz."


> And so, I would argue (and have before, but at less length) that the
> majority of the people we describe most Shabbasos as "qehillos haqodesh
> shemaseru nafsham al qiddushas hasheim" didn't actually choose Yahadus
> over death.

I have rebutted this argument during the previous iteration of this
discussion.  From my email:

> The Crusades, and particularly the First Crusade of 1096 ('G'zeiras
> Tatn"u'), were actually my paradigmatic example of the classic idea of
> "Kiddush Hashem"; the Jewish martyrs were legendary for their
> magnificent defiance of the Christians and their solicitations for
> Shmad.  By defiance, I mean verbal and moral, not military; besieged
> Jews, in imminent danger of death, taunted their besiegers with insults
> like: "Worshippers of an executed, bastard god!"
> I believe that the very lines you cite indicate this.  "Al Yichud Sheim
> Hameyuchad Yichadu Sheim B'gvurah" means that they valiantly gave up
> their lives for their belief in God's unity, as does the other line you
> quote.  [I don't have many commentaries on the Kinnos handy, but see
> the Kinnos Ha'Meforush, who explains as I do.]
> In general, the language here and elsewhere is always active, e.g.
> "Yihadu" and "Kidshu ... B'Morah" here, and "She'masru Nafsham al
> Keddushas Ha'Shem" in Av Ha'Rahamim.  The implication is that we are
> referring to an active decision to be Mekadeish Shem Shamayim, not a
> passive state of victimization.  The active component may be merely an
> attitude of Mesiras Nefesh, rather than any practical decision, but I
> stand by my contention that there is absolutely no early source for the
> idea that mere victim-hood is a sufficient condition for death Al
> Kiddush Ha'Shem. 
> See the hair raising and heartbreaking description in the Kinnah
> "Haharishi Mi'Meni Va'Adaberah" of the unknown martyrs' decision to
> implement a communal murder / suicide pact:
> <Quote>
> And they gathered B'Prishus and in purity
> to sanctify God's great and awesome name
> and each man strengthened his brother with support
> to cling [to him] with pure awe
> to refrain from bowing to Avodah Zarah
> ...
> and they spoke to them saying:
> "we have not merited to raise you to Torah
> we will offer you as an Olah and Haktarah
> and we will merit with you to the light
> that is hidden from all and obscured"
> </Quote>
> For more background on this, see Avraham Grossman, "The Roots of
> Kiddush Ha'Shem in Early Ashkenaz" (Heb.) in "K'dushas Ha'Haim V'Hiruf
> Ha'Nefesh", Y. Gafni and A. Ravitzky eds.
> While Googling the subject, I turned up a rather provocative
> revisionist article (David Malkiel, "Destruction or Conversion,
> Intention and Reaction, Crusaders and Jews in 1096", Jewish History,
> Volume 15 Issue 3 October 2001) which claims that, contrary to the
> accepted narrative that the victims of the First Crusade were always
> offered the choice of baptism, in actuality the primary intention of
> salvation through conversion were only occasional and sporadic.  From
> the article:
> <Quote>
> H.H. Ben-Sasson expresses this notion as follows: ?Because every Jew
> was offered the choice of converting to Christianity, and there were
> those who apostatized and hoped to return to Judaism, the voluntary
> sacrifice of the martyrs appears in bold relief.? For Ben-Sasson it is
> clearly important that the martyrs of 1096 acted voluntarily; he
> implies that the presence or absence of choice is crucial for the
> proper evaluation of their behavior. Almost all other historical
> accounts of the 1096 massacres present the same picture, though the
> ideological significance of the option to convert is nowhere as obvious
> as it is in Ben-Sasson?s formulation. Jacob Katz and Salo Baron agree
> that the martyrs faced the alternatives of death or conversion.10
> Norman Cohn feels that there was ?no doubt? that ?a Jew could always
> save both life and property by accepting baptism.? Avraham Grossman
> states that the martyrs took their lives and those of their wives and
> children ?primarily because of the concern that the Gentiles would
> baptize them against their will.? Haym Soloveitchik asserts that the
> Jews of Ashkenaz ?committed suicide rather than have baptism forced
> upon them, rather than be dipped in what they called ?contaminated
> waters.? ? Robert Chazan writes that the purpose of the attacks on the
> Jews of Worms, Mainz and Cologne ?was to eliminate entirely the Jews ?
> preferably by conversion, or, failing that, by slaughter.? Jeremy Cohen
> agrees that the Jews of Ashkenaz were ?compelled by their attackers to
> choose between conversion to Christianity and death.? Anna Sapir
> Abulafia declares that the ?hordes? approached the cities with Jewish
> populations ?voicing their intention of killing any Jew who would
> refuse to be baptized.? Jonathan Riley-Smith claims that ?every- where
> attempts were made to force Christianity on the Jews, who had heard
> that the crusaders intended to offer them the choice of conversion or
> death.? Gavin Langmuir, too, states categorically that ?Jews were not
> killed if they would accept baptism.? Citing Hebrew and Latin sources
> alike, Jean Flori asserts that the crusaders ?did not seek to kill the
> Jews, but rather forcibly to convert them.?
> </Quote>
> Malkiel disagrees that this is what actually occurred, although he does
> concede that this was the medieval Jewish understanding of the events:
> <Quote>
> The notion that the martyrs spurned conversion ? had the
> opportunity of spurning it, to be more precise ? has resonance only in
> the medieval Hebrew chronicles of the events, which were mostly
> written, and clearly edited, well after the events. The chronicles
> describe the large-scale slaughter of the Jewries of Worms and Mainz
> (and elsewhere), but also contain personal anec- dotes in which the
> option of converting is heroically, and tragically, rejected. One
> might be tempted to accept that at least these particular martyrs
> really did choose. Yet the chronicled accounts are too problematic and
> clearly directed toward other aims than those of the modern historical
> scholar restricted by modern historiographical limits to permit reading
> them at face value, certainly not as a simple historical record.
> </Quote>
> From his conclusion:
> <Quote>
> For reconsidering the textual evidence, what, we ask, are we to do with
> the old hypothesis, the one which Baer and so many others have argued?
> Perhaps their case, with respect to what really happened is valid. But
> the texts, as we have seen them, will not vouch for this. At the same
> time, are we entitled to rewrite the story on the basis of the
> chronicles, to suggest that murder was in fact the prime goal and
> conversion was of survivors alone, or if conversion and murder were
> simultaneous, was conversion a product of force or, again to cite
> Baron, ?the weak-kneed? alone? The answer is no. For this would be to
> treat our sources unfairly as composites, as material of a single and
> whole cloth. Were not the chronicles put together from preexisting and
> not necessarily interdependent strands? If, too, we question the
> historicity of the chronicles, Latin or Hebrew, or refuse to impute to
> their authors modern historiographical procedures, then how may we
> privilege one hypothesis, one version of the chronicles, as true
> historically as opposed to another?
> </Quote>

Bein Din Ledin - http://bdl.freehostia.com
A discussion of Hoshen Mishpat, Even Ha'Ezer and other matters

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Message: 8
From: Michael Poppers <MPopp...@kayescholer.com>
Date: Thu, 4 Dec 2008 20:43:16 -0500
Re: [Avodah] nefilat apayim

In Avodah Digest V25#404, R'Micha noted:
> There is a bi-lingual copy at
Slight correction to URL:

A guten Shabbes/Shabbas Shalom and all the best from
--Michael Poppers via RIM pager
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Message: 9
From: "Simon Krysl" <skr...@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 5 Dec 2008 09:50:46 +0100
[Avodah] nefilat apayim without minyan

Dear R. Berger,
many thanks, especially for the footnotes. (A previous discussion on aishdas
mentions the custom of Rav Soloveitchik of doing nefilat apayim without a
Torah scroll, as well as further machlokot on the question.) Have been doing
KSA Yomi too- R. Ganzfried is clear on not doing nefilat apayim in the
absence of a Torah scroll, while there are other opinions.
My main question, however, concerned the necessity of a minyan for actually
falling on one s face (rather than sitting straight and reciting the psalm):
I was told, the last time there was no minyan in the shul I pray, that
without a minyan this is not done, and was looking for sources (viz.
disputes, viz. minhagim in other places) for this.
Thank you again.
Simon Krysl
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Message: 10
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 5 Dec 2008 05:36:36 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Dying al Kiddush Hashem

On Thu, Dec 04, 2008 at 07:56:41PM -0500, Yitzhak Grossman wrote:
: > See the hair raising and heartbreaking description in the Kinnah
: > "Haharishi Mi'Meni Va'Adaberah" of the unknown martyrs' decision to
: > implement a communal murder / suicide pact:
: > <Quote>
: > And they gathered B'Prishus and in purity
: > to sanctify God's great and awesome name
: > and each man strengthened his brother with support
: > to cling [to him] with pure awe
: > to refrain from bowing to Avodah Zarah

This was about choosing suicide over forced shemad. Not about being
given a choice to convert and avoid attack.

: > While Googling the subject, I turned up a rather provocative
: > revisionist article (David Malkiel, "Destruction or Conversion,
: > Intention and Reaction, Crusaders and Jews in 1096", Jewish History,
: > Volume 15 Issue 3 October 2001) which claims that, contrary to the
: > accepted narrative that the victims of the First Crusade were always
: > offered the choice of baptism, in actuality the primary intention of
: > salvation through conversion were only occasional and
:> sporadic.......

This makes more sense to me, just thinking of the psychology of the
situtation. Half the time the killing was sparked by a local nobleman
who found himself too far in the red. He needed his creditor eliminated,
not just converted. Nearly every city was attacked by a mob capable of
killing the entire population in a day, not disciplined soldiers coming
in slowly enough to ask questions.

I just don't see how the usual narrative is possible. How can the
majority of the Jews of Worms actually individually refuse to convert
and get killed all in one day? Why would a mob that proved itself
capable of pillaging, rape, and indescriminate distruction slow down to
ask questions?

To further extend RMP's idea, I think the typical version of events,
emphasizing the choice of avodas Hashem and death over shmad, is a
confusion of national choice and individual choice. The community, en
masse, refused. The silent majority were never given a voice. I'm not
saying they would have chosen otherwise, ch"v to even suggest that!
I'm saying tht their opinion didn't matter to the course of events.


Micha Berger             I slept and dreamt that life was joy.
mi...@aishdas.org        I awoke and found that life was duty.
http://www.aishdas.org   I worked and, behold -- duty is joy.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                        - Rabindranath Tagore


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