Avodah Mailing List

Volume 25: Number 434

Fri, 26 Dec 2008

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: "kennethgmil...@juno.com" <kennethgmil...@juno.com>
Date: Thu, 25 Dec 2008 01:55:25 GMT
[Avodah] yesh lo maneh rotzeh matayim

R' Arie Folger mentioned the phrase:
> yesh lo maneh rotzeh matayim

R' Micha Berger remarked:
> The maamar "ein adam meis vechatzi ta'avaso beyado" seems
> to be almost identical in meaning.

This is a great opportunity to mention a great comment I once heard about these two lines. I think it is from the Kotzker, but I'm not sure.

Note that RMB remarked that these two lines are *almost* identical. Whoever
my source was, he noted that these two lines are actually contradictory.
According to the first line, if a person has 100, then he wants 200.
According to the second, if a person wants 200, then he will never have
100. He might have 99.99, but he will never actually have a full half of
his goal.

How to resolve the contradiction? He (whoever) said that it *is* possible
for a person to reach the halfway mark. It *is* possible that a person who
wants 200 might get half of that goal. But the half he doesn't have looks
bigger (or more desirable) than the half that he does have.

Akiva Miller

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Message: 2
From: "kennethgmil...@juno.com" <kennethgmil...@juno.com>
Date: Thu, 25 Dec 2008 01:44:17 GMT
Re: [Avodah] Security Cameras & Sattelites on Shabbas

R' Harvey Benton (welcome to Avodah!) asked:
> Are we allowed to go outside on Shabbas if a Sattelite is
> overhead (or even may be overhead)... it records our
> movements ... If it is allowed, then would being on a
> conference-call on Shabbas be permitted? (if the call was
> initiated before Shabbas, and all one did was talk on it??)

A telephone is VERY different than a camera.

When one speaks, and his voice is carried by the phone, his voice affects
the electric current. We can debate the degree of directness or
indirectness, and we can debate what melacha occurs when the electric
current is affected by the voice, but I don't think anyone can claim that
he is not doing anything. Rather, he *is* doing something, and there is a
real problem that needs to be considered when one's voice is picked up on
Shabbos by a telephone or any sort of voice recorder or amplifier.

In sharp contrast, I can't figure out what melacha a person might even be
accused of when a security camera takes pictures of him (regardless of
whether it is film or electronic photography).

I'm not talking about a friend, relative, or newspaper photographer who
takes a picture of me on Shabbos. In such a case, *he* is operating the
camera, and *he* might be accused of mav'ir/burning or boneh/building or
some other melacha for an electronic camera (or other melachos for a film
camera); and *I* could be accused of helping him to do that aveira
(michshol and/or mesayea).

But when an automatic security camera takes these pictures, I don't see any
melacha or other issur which the subject is actually doing. The most one
can say is that "If I was not standing there when the pre-set camera took
the picture, a given portion of the picture would have been this color, but
because I *was* standing there, a different color (or picture) is there."

But I did not *put* my image onto the picture. I was totally passive, and
the camera automatically took a picture that I happened to be in. This is
not a direct act; this is not an indirect act; this is not even mis'asek; I
don't see how it is an action at all.

Akiva Miller

Aching back? Sore neck? Cick to learn how to manage your pain.

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Message: 3
From: "Meir Rabi" <meir...@optusnet.com.au>
Date: Thu, 25 Dec 2008 13:13:38 +1100
[Avodah] When NOT to Lie for Peace

Rbtzn Toby said,


They believed Yosef was a major sinner (mored bemalchus -- if Yakov is a
melech -- plotting to usurp his father's and brothers' place -- re his dream
of his father and brothers bowing to him -- OR -- eating ever min hachai --
OR -- other?).  To smile at a sinner and pretend everything's fine is not
darkei sholom but hypocrisy.  (Maybe we should learn from the brothers that
chanifa to non-O rabbis is not the right thing to do.)



This is probably correct.


However, accordingly it means that Y and his bros had discussed and debated
this and weighed the options, otherwise it is just the musings of a group of
well meaning but misdirected individuals who have not consulted but only
assume the position of the one they are accusing and indicting.

They were making decisions of such weight defending YaAkov when Y haad nt
even been consulted or informed?


Even if this is true, who was the impartial third party to assist them in
their deliberations and assessments?

Can a group of people be the prosecutors, Judge and jury?

Was YaAkov part of those deliberations?

Was YaAkov concerned about Yosef's takeover or was he grooming him for the


BTW I do not know why you restrict the issues of Chunfa to nonO rabbis. It
applies to anyone who refuses to repent and mollify those s/he has wronged.
See R Yona 170 something I think. I presume that BALaMakom is also included
but we are to assume the sinner has repented. In fact I think we have more
severe problems than nonO rabbis in our own O congregations. Am I permitted
to greet someone who has insulted a fellow J and has refused to gain the
victim's forgiveness? Am I permitted to attend a testimonial dinner to
honour someone who has not dealt honestly with business associates or
rivals? nonOs are soft targets [and I mean it both ways]




Meir Rabi

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Message: 4
From: "Meir Rabi" <meir...@optusnet.com.au>
Date: Thu, 25 Dec 2008 13:25:24 +1100
[Avodah] And Another Problem with When NOT to Lie for Peace

The Gemara brings proof from the bros of Yosef lying to Yosef that one is
permitted to lie for peace. They invented a fictitious command issued from
YaAkov before his demise, that the bros should be forgiven by Yosef.


Can it be that in circumstances where they should be asking for Mechila and
doing their utmost to mollify him, they are permitted to lie in order to
make peace?

And we can't propose that they already did the max to gain his forgiveness
but Yosef had stubbornly refused to forgive, because had that been the case,
there would have been no consequences later with the martyrs. When an
aggressor has been through all the steps and brought the Shura of friends he
need do no more.

Would you accept the possibility that there was a misunderstanding and that
Yosef thought he had let them know that he had not forgiven them and that
they at the same time thought that their attempts to appease Yosef had been



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Message: 5
From: Harvey Benton <harveyben...@yahoo.com>
Date: Wed, 24 Dec 2008 20:26:41 -0800 (PST)
Re: [Avodah] Madoff&#39;s Sons

If someone has a chazaka of being a child molester, ganef or a murderer
C&quot;V, why would we wait for a victim &quot;lefanenu&quot;??
 What about our obligations (Al Taamod Al Dam Reecha) to potential victims?
Should Maddoff&#39;s sons have waited till Madoff met/phoned his next
victim (=lefaneinu?) and then turned him in?	Or should someone wait for
a child molester to be in seclusion with his next victim -- and only then
turn him in (if it is his parent)?    What exactly defines
&quot;lefaneinu&quot; and when would it apply?	Also if his sons
didn&#39;t turn him in for any substantial length of time, and people
found out about it, it could cause a CH.

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Message: 6
From: "Moshe Y. Gluck" <mgl...@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 25 Dec 2008 01:08:49 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Phantom Maamar Chazal?

R' MB:
> The maamar "ein adam meis vechatzi ta'avaso beyado" seems to be almost
> identical in meaning. And that one *IS* in Q"R 1:13.

As is the Pasuk (Koheles 5:9) Ohev Kesef Lo Yisba Kesef...


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Message: 7
From: "Eli Turkel" <elitur...@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 25 Dec 2008 08:22:07 +0200
[Avodah] pach hashemen

I recently saw the Or Zarua (2:321) quoting his rebbe Ri Sir-Lion

He explains that that the light of the menorah lasted for 8 days because
they were occupied for 7 days building a new mizbeach and other kli sharet.
He quotes megillat taanit that they lit candles in purity because
the Greeks made the all the vessels taameh and they had no way of lighting
the oil (lo hayah lahem ba-mah le-hadlik hashemen)
until the Hashnoneans won and brought seven spears (shipudei barzel)
and covered them with ba-atz (what is this?) and lit them.
So Chanukah is 8 days for the building of the mizbeach and 7 days for
fixing the kli sharet. (end of megilat taanait)
i.e. they could have made new oil right away but they were busy fixing the
mizbeach and therefore there was a miracle that the oil lasted for 8 days
and so Chanukah is called after the chaukat hamizbeach
(not clear if this explanation is from Ri Sir-Lion or Or Zaruah)

Hence, this quoted verison of megillat taanait does not mention the miracle of
the oil.
Note that megillat taanait was composed towards the end of bayit sheni and
so is the first written word since Tanach and precedes the writing of
the Mishna by
some 150-200 years

In the manuscripts that we have there are various verisons of megillat
taanait (or rather the Scolion  which is like a gemara on the Mishna). Even the
one that quotes the lighting of the menorah only mentions that they found
tahor oil and lit it for 8 days. The version we all know appears for
the first time
in Masechet Shabbat and is not based on megillat taanait or pesikta rabati
which are the earlier versions that discuss chanukah
(not including non-chazal sources like sefer makabim)

Eli Turkel

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Message: 8
From: Zev Sero <z...@sero.name>
Date: Thu, 25 Dec 2008 00:39:15 -0500
[Avodah] Shamash as ner shabbat?

Question: can one use the shamash of the menorah -- whose purpose, after
all, is to shed light that can be used -- as the ner shabbat?

Zev Sero                                Have a brilliant Chanukah

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Message: 9
From: "Joshua Meisner" <jmeis...@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 25 Dec 2008 00:59:44 -0500
Re: [Avodah] [Areivim] How small is a Kad Katan?

A poster on Areivim asked why the flask of oil of the neis of chanukah is
referred to as a kad katan, being that the volume of 3.5 log that was
necessary to fill the 7 lamps of the menorah each night is approximately
equal to 1.5 L, hardly a small k'li.

I don't understand the basis for this question, as Shabbos 21b (as well as
Meg. Ta'anis) merely refers to it as a "pach", with no adjective attached to

Is there an alternative source on the matter?

Joshua Meisner
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Message: 10
From: "Danny Schoemann" <doni...@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 25 Dec 2008 08:18:35 +0200
Re: [Avodah] priorities in halacha

Q: Is it an obligation to have a silver chanukiyah?

Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:5 - If one can afford it, one should buy a
silver Menorah to beautify the Mitzva.

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Message: 11
From: "Elazar M. Teitz" <r...@juno.com>
Date: Thu, 25 Dec 2008 08:08:07 GMT
Re: [Avodah] al Hanissim

<< Baer notes that almost all old siddurim, both Ashkenazic and
Sphardic, don't use V'al, but Al.  He notes that even those few
commentators (Mateh Moshe and a couple of others) who add the Vav only do
so in Benching, where there is a string of V'als.  In Shmoneh Esreh,
though, the string of V'als is broken by Hatov ki lo calu rachamecha
vehamerachem ki lo tamu chasadecha.>>

<Then whence the continuation "ve'al kulam"?>

     Probably because unlike Al Hanissim, "v'al kullam" refers explicitly to the string of v'als in Modim, and is thus a continuation thereof.


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Message: 12
From: Harvey Benton <harveyben...@yahoo.com>
Date: Thu, 25 Dec 2008 00:44:42 -0800 (PST)
[Avodah] Reiecha Mitzvah Definitions

When a Mitzvah is associated in the Torah with &quot;Reiecha&quot;
do we always apply and define Reiecha in the same way?	Eg. 
V&#39;ahafta L&#39;Reiecha Kamocha.  Lo TaaMod Al Dam Reiecha.	Lo
Tachmod Et Beit Reiecha... etc.

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Message: 13
From: Zev Sero <z...@sero.name>
Date: Thu, 25 Dec 2008 10:52:30 -0500
Re: [Avodah] priorities in halacha

Danny Schoemann wrote:
> Q: Is it an obligation to have a silver chanukiyah?
> Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:5 - If one can afford it, one should buy a
> silver Menorah to beautify the Mitzva.

Isn't it a little strange for a sefer halacha to impose a particular
aesthetic as if the author's tastes were universal?

Zev Sero                                Have a brilliant Chanukah

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Message: 14
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 25 Dec 2008 11:06:43 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Phantom Maamar Chazal?

On Thu, Dec 25, 2008 at 01:08:49AM -0500, Moshe Y. Gluck wrote:
: R' MB:
:> The maamar "ein adam meis vechatzi ta'avaso beyado" seems to be almost
:> identical in meaning. And that one *IS* in Q"R 1:13.

: As is the Pasuk (Koheles 5:9) Ohev Kesef Lo Yisba Kesef...

Although I have seen rishonim use the medrash in non-financial contexts.
Laudibly -- the more you learn, the more you want to know. I guess the
pasuq you quote could also be used that way, but using it positively
rather than as a warning would be a stretch.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             It is a glorious thing to be indifferent to
mi...@aishdas.org        suffering, but only to one's own suffering.
http://www.aishdas.org                 -Robert Lynd, writer (1879-1949)
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Message: 15
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 25 Dec 2008 11:17:48 -0500
Re: [Avodah] priorities in halacha

On Thu, Dec 25, 2008 at 10:52:30AM -0500, Zev Sero wrote:
: Danny Schoemann wrote:
:> Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:5 - If one can afford it, one should buy a
:> silver Menorah to beautify the Mitzva.

: Isn't it a little strange for a sefer halacha to impose a particular
: aesthetic as if the author's tastes were universal?

Assuming that's what he meant. The KSA starts with suggesting one try to
use a metal menorah to give the mitzvah some respectability. Then if you
could afford it, better silver. I read him as taking it for granted that
people would value a silver menorah more than a tin one. But if you had a
beautiful piece that was acrylic artwork, I don't think RSG was saying,
no -- pick the silver.

Frankly, my most valued menorah was (it didn't survive since last year)
made from a cigar box, small tiles, some bolts, etc... I proudly used the
menoraah my son gave me, and never would have traded it for a silver one.
(Since he made it in school, it was probably moet expensive, anyway.)

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             "I hear, then I forget; I see, then I remember;
mi...@aishdas.org        I do, then I understand." - Confucius
http://www.aishdas.org   "Hearing doesn't compare to seeing." - Mechilta
Fax: (270) 514-1507      "We will do and we will listen." - Israelites

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Message: 16
From: Yitzchok Levine <Larry.Lev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Thu, 25 Dec 2008 17:24:41 -0500
[Avodah] Kislev_VI Chanukah: Consecration and Inspiration in

I have posted the above essay by RSRH that comes from the Collected 
Writings of RSRH II at


Yitzchok Levine 

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Message: 17
From: Yitzchok Levine <Larry.Lev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Thu, 25 Dec 2008 12:45:16 -0500
[Avodah] A Heathen Expression

The following is from RSRH's commentary to Bereshis 42: 4. I found it 
a striking insight. YL

4 But Binyamin, Yosef 's brother, Ya'akov did not send with his 
brothers, for he said: An accident might befall him.

The common expression that something "happens" is a heathen 
expression. Nothing happens by itself; everything is designed by the 
Designer of all things.
Only man, by exercising his free and moral will, shapes his own destiny.
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Message: 18
From: Yitzchok Levine <Larry.Lev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Fri, 26 Dec 2008 04:43:02 -0500
[Avodah] Yosef's Behavior

RSRH offers the following insights into Yosef's behavior towards his brothers.

42: 9 Yosef remembered the dreams he had dreamt 
about them, and he said to them: You are spies! 
You have come to see the nakedness of the land.

We must attempt to explain Yosef ?s behavior, on the basis of what is
written in Scripture.

We would have thought that, if only for his father?s sake, he would
make himself known to his brothers at once, especially since he had
already recognized the hand of God in all that had befallen him and
had learned to appreciate all his misfortunes ? including his brothers?
transgression against him ? as Divine instruments for shaping his ultimate

Also, a man of Yosef ?s intelligence could not have believed that he
was obliged to put himself at the service of his dreams. If a dream has
import, one can leave its realization to the One Who sent it.
Only considerations of absolute necessity could have brought Yosef
to follow a course of action that otherwise would appear to be senseless
harassment, of which one cannot suspect Yosef, not only because of his
moral character but also because of his intelligence, which no one can
deny. If we place ourselves in his position, we arrive at the following

If Yosef had wanted to remain a prince and nothing but a prince
in the eyes of his father and brothers; if he had not cared to return to
his family as a son and brother, he would not have needed to resort to
all these contrivances. However, Yosef who, even as an Egyptian prince,
raised his children in the spirit of the house of Ya?akov; Yosef who,
projecting even beyond his death, insisted that his bones should be laid
to rest in the land of his fathers ? this same Yosef felt that he would
have to bring about two changes before he could make himself known
to his brothers:

(a) He should be able to change his own opinion of his brothers;
but above all, (b) his brothers should change their opinion of him.
Their feelings toward one another would have to change completely, in
order for a warm and close relationship to prevail between them. Otherwise,
even if Yosef were physically restored to his family, his family
would be lost to him, and he to them.
It was only natural that Yosef bore resentment toward his brothers,
and that he remembered the callousness in which they had ignored his
entreaties from the pit and disregarded the pain they would be bringing
their father. These feelings could be erased only by proof that his brothers
had undergone a complete change of heart.

It was therefore necessary to test his brothers, to see whether they
would again be capable of depriving their father of a son ? and this
time for real and compelling reasons. The real possibility of life imprisonment
and the specter of their families starving at home would perhaps
weigh more heavily upon them than any imagined threat from Yosef ?s
supposed thirst for power (see Commentary above, chap. 37). This test
was of vital import for Yosef ?s own feelings. Only if his brothers passed
this test would he be able to banish from his heart the bitterness that

But the second, and perhaps even more important, consideration
was this: Yosef remembered his dreams, how they had caused his brothers
to suspect him of lust for power ? to the point that they felt
threatened by him and considered themselves entitled to commit even
the gravest of all crimes, in supposed self-defense. If this was the case
when he went about among them in his embroidered coat, how much
more would they now have to fear him when he was not only a ?king?
in fact but also had cause to hate them and, in the manner of ignoble
souls, to take his revenge on them!

It was therefore imperative that the brothers should come to know
Yosef ?s true character, and toward this end it was necessary ? first of
all ? to appear before them in his actual position of power. Until now
they had known him merely as a masbeir, a retail seller; perhaps they had
taken him for a lowly clerk of some petty official. Now he must present
himself to them as the shalit, the governor. They must be made to realize
that he could do with them as he pleased. If, nevertheless, he would deal
kindly with them and repay evil with good, he would have reason to
hope that this would cure them of their erroneous notions about him.
In short, at the moment when he would identify himself to them
as their brother Yosef, the blindfold would drop from their eyes, and
it would be possible for both Yosef and his brothers to completely erase
the past. Only thus could Yosef hope to be truly restored as a son to
his father and as a brother to his father?s children.

If we are not mistaken, these same considerations were also the ones
that kept Yosef from establishing contact with his father during the
years of prosperity. What good would it have done his father to regain
one son and lose ten others, and to see tension and enmity prevailing
between his sons?!

To attain this end, all of Yosef ?s contrivances were essential and ?
in our view ? entirely worthy of Yosef ?s wisdom.
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