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Volume 26: Number 96

Mon, 25 May 2009

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: "Chana Luntz" <ch...@kolsassoon.org.uk>
Date: Sun, 24 May 2009 12:19:37 +0100
[Avodah] forums for pesak

RSP writes:

> When one calls for changes in orthodox practices beause of za'ar and
> related issues in a public forum, you eventually get aliyot for women,
> maharit's for men and women, you get Conservative hechsherim who are
> more interested in public ethics than kashrus, you get other great things.

Well I think that Rav Ovadiah Yosef would be slightly horrified (or should I
say unimpressed) to discover that he was being told he was about to head
down this slippery slope - despite the fact that "u'beni habayit mtzaraim
l'shevet ul'matin ad halayla" is one of the reasons he gives, and indeed the
first reason he gives (In Yachave Daat, chelek 6, siman 30 and as his son
repeats in Yalkut Yosef chelek 5 halachot chag hashavuot oit 2) for not
waiting in Europe and places like that and for making Kiddush even mbeod yom
on Shavuos night.  Note though he does say that locally (ie in Israel) it is
a good thing to be choshesh for the achronim who are concerned and to wait,
since it should not cause other problems.

The other main reason he is against waiting in Europe, btw, is for precisely
the issue raised by RZS - that if one waits, in a place where the night is
very short, one may well not have time to do the proper tikun leil as per
the Zohar and the Ari and hence in being choshesh for the divrei achronim,
one is being mevatel a much stronger minhag/halacha/kabbalistic practice.
He does suggest, however, that if one can, one should try and wait until
shkia - which actually, presumably, at least according to the basic position
of the Sephardim, gives you your temimos anyway (this last is my surmise, it
is not explicit in the Yalkut Yosef but it would seem to follow - because,
while the Shulchan Aruch rules that the medakidim wait until tzeis, the
Sephardim certainly take that to mean that m'ikar hadin one can count the
omer from Shkia - and they do, with a brocha, at least when davening with a
minyan - because of the concern that people might then forget, so if
davening after shkia they all count and are yotzei their obligation -  the
Yalkut Yosef discusses this in Hilchot Sfirat Haomer oit 14 - and in the
footnotes there - it all being dependent on the machklos rishonim as to
whether sfirat haomer today is d'orita or d'rabbanan.  Since he and they
hold that it is d'rabbanan today, and shkia is considered night at least
according to some opinions, then you go l'kula and consider it a valid time
to count, even with a brocha.  Now following through on this logic, if one
could have counted (and in fact may well have often counted) from shkia each
night, then once you hit shkia on Shavuos, then if it had been a regular
omer night, you could have then counted with a brocha, so why is that not
temimos?  But this may well not work for Ashkenazim, who seem to be much
more concerned about waiting until nacht proper, and, aside from those who
follow nusach Sepharad may not follow the Zohar and the Ari regarding tikun
leil anyway).

> Rav Moshe zt"l was opposed to teshuvot in journals because they are not
> for the public forums.

This may be a philosophical difference between ROY and RMF.  Yachave Daat
are the teshuvos for the man in the street (as opposed to the Yabiat Omer),
and in fact I believe started out as radio programmes.  You can hardly get
more pulic forum than that.  And the Yalkut Yosef is also certainly aimed at
the man in the street.

> shlomo pick



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Message: 2
From: Shlomo Pick <pic...@mail.biu.ac.il>
Date: Sun, 24 May 2009 15:19:39 +0300
[Avodah] rav ovadya yosef and leil shauvot

RCL was kind to call my attention to R. O. Yosef's response (which also
appeared in weekly newspaper). He certainly does mention the issue of za'ar,
and I can't argue with that nor with some of her other significant points,
and yet.
Since RCL is from UK, then she probably knows that in certain communities
the practice is like the MB. I refer to Gateshead where 3 of my daughters
studied and had the pleasure to be there on shavu'ot. As far as I know all
the shuls wait until after zeit, have a late meal. Those who stay up have a
quite early vatikin minyan. Those who don't, daven as usual. I presume that
the yeshivesh ashkenazic communities in London and Manchester for the most
part do the same.
As usual he provides many of the sources, however, I find it fascinating
that he ignored the kaf hachayim who is quite machmir lechatchilah, a book
that R. O. Yosef himself completed, veZarich Iyyun.  Likewise, he ignores
the MB an OH, books written with northern Europe in mind, and yet they wrote
what they wrote.
Now I wonder why R. Yosef would answer questions for Europe where most
countries have local rabbinates, rabbonim, posekim, dayanim, roshei
yeshivot. Could it be that the local ashkenazic custom was influencing some
of the Sephardic kehilot, and they appealed to him for redress?  Otherwise,
I find it strange that he would interfere in local communal affairs.  It
would be like an Israeli rav permitting one to daven in a shul with mixed
seating and ignoring all that has gone in the states since the fifties (I
know because I encountered one and to this day am still astonished by this.
The person to whom he gave the psak was also so astonished, so much that in
this specific case, did not abide by it).
Hence, I don't think R. O. Yosef is referring to areas in Europe where there
are established customs to wait. He would be referring to those
congregations, probably sefardic, perhaps relatively new, who were being
influence by the perhaps stronger yeshivesh customs and wanted to retain an
older one. Sort of like a yeshiva boy coming home from Lakewood to Breur's
and trying to change the world (or ponevich and where they did really change
the world).
Re: tikkun.  Most Sephardic and Chassidic Jews indeed do the tikkun.
However, must yeshiveshe personalities learn what they usually learn the
whole year or zman.  That's what we did in YU, and that's what almost all
the yeshiveshe do in bnei brak and in Jerusalem. So for most of these
communities, the tikkun is a non-starter of an argument.  Even the ba'al
habatim of all the non-chassidic shuls, whether mizrachi or chareidi, have
shiurim throughout the nite, non do the tikkun, all spend the nite to their
best ability to limud be'iyyun, in depth learning.
Since Sephardim many a time daven from plag hamincha (just go to the kotel
and you can see it in action), they are not so worried about kriyat shma
after shkiya or zeit (especially the latter).  However the olam hayeshivot
is certainly choshesh for that all year round, so on this nite of shau'ot
where there is temimut, and most olam hayeshivot say ba'omer, implying it's
d'oraita as you have aptly summarized, should we change the custom?
There's no greater popular halacha manual than the kitzur shulchan aruch,
and it was written with Europe in mind for Europeans. See 120:11 where he is
machmir to wait with arvit until after zeit.  And his zeit was probably not
the gra's but probably the full one of 45-50 minutes.
Chag sameiach

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Message: 3
From: Danny Schoemann <doni...@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 24 May 2009 15:43:04 +0300
Re: [Avodah] Ruth on Shavuot

> Where is the primary source stating that a reason that Ruth is read
> on Shavuot is because of her giyur, and Matan Torah like giyur (or
> something like that?)

I would try the Yalkut-Ruth, which the Mishna Brura 490:9:(17) quotes
as saying: "The connection between Ruth and Azeres and Matan Torah is
to teach us that the Torah is given through suffering, poverty, etc."

You could also try the Avudraham which the Rema (ibid) mentions as the
source for reading Ruth on Shavuot.

- Danny, 45th day of the Omer
==> Don't forget Eruv Tavshilin this Thursday, Erev Shavuot. <==

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Message: 4
From: martin brody <martinlbr...@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 24 May 2009 11:12:40 -0700
[Avodah] Ruth on Shavuos

"Where is the primary source stating that a reason that Ruth is read on
Shavuot is because of her giyur, and Matan Torah like giyur (or
something like that?)
There are several reasons given for reading Ruth on Shavuos, however it's
only a custom that many do not share,and I'm not sure there are primary
sources for any of them.
My own favourite is that the Torah is the Book of Loving Kindness, therefore
we read Ruth because of the kindness she showed to Naomi and Boaz etc.,
which is reflected in her name, not used often, but means kind. We are more
used to its antonym, ruthless!

Martin Brody
310 474 1856
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Message: 5
From: Saul Mashbaum <saul.mashb...@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 24 May 2009 21:23:19 +0300
Re: [Avodah] Ruth on Shavuot

Rmenucha asked
Where is the primary source stating that a reason that Ruth is read on
Shavuot is because of her giyur, and Matan Torah like giyur (or
something like that?)

Sefer HaTodaah Vol II p 78 cites the Abudraham p 240 . "[We read Ruth
on Shavuot] because our fathers received the Torah and entered the
covenant through milah and t'villa, as is the law by converts.  [We
read Ruth on Shavuot] in honor of Ruth who was a convert and became
the mother of royalty; we say to her, as it were, "we all were
converts then" "

Saul Mashbaum

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Message: 6
From: menucha <m...@inter.net.il>
Date: Sun, 24 May 2009 23:59:21 +0300
Re: [Avodah] Ruth on Shavuot

Thank you everyone for your suggestions.  I found it in the Machzor Vitri.

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Message: 7
From: Shlomo Pick <pic...@mail.biu.ac.il>
Date: Sun, 24 May 2009 15:26:38 +0300
[Avodah] bracha hallel

I don't stop those saying a bracha on hallel on layl seder in shul although
imho it would be levattala!


Probably less of a brach levatala then what you said this morning. You (and
I) have been socially conditioned to the tosophot's view. Objectively from
the sources, it's the other way around. Complete hallel -> bracha [and a
whole hallel is mandated on seder nite - not just at the seder table].  Half
hallel = minhag -> no bracha.  All this in spite of the justification of the
brisker rav,  the sources at their simplest readings say just the opposite

Chodesh tov





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Message: 8
From: rabbirichwol...@gmail.com
Date: Sun, 24 May 2009 15:20:35 +0000
[Avodah] Barach Hallel


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Message: 9
From: Shlomo Pick <pic...@mail.biu.ac.il>
Date: Sun, 24 May 2009 19:18:11 +0300
[Avodah] ?????: bracha hallel

I followed rabbi wolpoe's remarks here (sourcing tosefta pasch 10), and it
the previous posting (cryptic as usual), and started with the sources.  I
went to pasch 10 and checked tosefta kepshuta who immediately reffered me to
Sukka 3:2 in Lieberman edition (also found in responsa project). There the
tosefta states (and is the source of the yerushalmi) that 18 days a year and
one night we read the hallel.  There is no need for Sephardic logic, it's
mandated by tosefta (and I presume there is no makhlokes between the
toseftot), yerushalmi and massechet soferim which even obligates both nites
of the diaspora.
And that's objectively from the sources. Usually tosophot have this
objective reading in his questions, especially about minhag. their answers
become subjective in order to preserve the minhag.
As far as a bracha bezibbur, that's dependent on the story of rav in bavel
and when he walked into the shul where they were saying the hallel already
(kesef mishna) or he was there from the beginning and they made a bracha as
tosophost says in taanit 28b s.v. amar.  For a summary of the rishonim,
including rashi who did not say a bracha on hallel of rosh chodesh because
it's a minhag and one doesn't make a bracha on minhag, also for alternative
readings in the gemorah ta'anit, such as Rach, see tosophost r. Yehuda
meParis, brachot 14a, mahadurat  harav nissim zachs, vol.1, pp. 171 ff. 
And no slam dunk, already the behag says in the sugya that even a zibbur is
a yachid since there was no takanna. 
No matter what, from the tosophot, you see they were bothered by both the
concept of yachid and also the problem of bracha on minhag.  whether their
pshat is the best, there are alternative readings of the texts and certainly
differing explications of those texts, like how to understand yachid as well
as how to understand the totality of the texts (like no bracha on minhag as
per sukka 44b, and hallel on rosh chodesh is minhag -> no bracha on hallel
of rosh chodesh at all, per rambam and per rashi)
Chodesh tov

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Message: 10
From: Yitzhak Grossman <cele...@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 24 May 2009 09:10:12 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Waiting to Daven Maariv on Shavuous

On Sun, 24 May 2009 11:42:38 +0100
"Chana Luntz" <ch...@kolsassoon.org.uk> wrote:


> I once had somebody tell me this was a male and female thing - this was
> after I told him that I was stuck in meetings at work until nearly midnight,
> and hence unable to have dinner, and then I was just too tired to eat, so
> instead I went to bed. And he said to me, only a woman would have done that,
> a man would have prioritised eating over sleeping.  I don't know if this is
> true or not, not having done anything approaching a scientific study, but
> certainly I, and others I know, will find that if it gets too late to eat,
> we pretty much can't.  Eating before Yom Tov (eg chocolate) actually helps,

Thanks for clearing this up!  But I note that in your original message,
you implied that you stay up all night learning, and that in Australia
you'd have a fairly productive nine hours of learning (between speeches
and "real" learning), so I infer that this exhaustion that inhibits
your appetite occurs even when your brain knows that it has "miles to go
before it sleeps?"

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

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Message: 11
From: Arie Folger <arie.fol...@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 24 May 2009 15:00:55 +0200
[Avodah] How did the Neviim Write their Sefarim?

The Abarbanel remarks in his introductions to Yehishu'ah and to
Shemuel, how - in his opinion - the neviim wrote Sifrei Neviim:
"And I already mentioned in my introduction to the Book of Joshua,
folio 20, 3, end of second column (side? What did teh first printing
of his commentary look like?) how the prophets composed these books,
====>>>> and that they found things and stories written  in those
[earlier] times at the hands of the Shofetim or kings, or other pious
ones of those generations and their authors, in the books of histories
of the monarchies of Israel and Judah, which are mentioned in the Book
of Kings.

"And I said that that the Spirit of G"d came to the prophets and
commanded them to compose and write  in a book those stories,
faithfully and truthfully (bishleimut uve-emet) and they [the
prophets] took from them [the earlier sources] and left out [other]
things, according to how the Divine Wisdom, which guided them, showed
them [the selected stories] to be of importance and necessary
according to the point/reason/thesis of the book."

Thus, according to Abarbanel, we could say that one major difference
between the Pentateuch and Nakh is that the former was not based on
earlier sources, but on a direct and complete prophecy from HQBH to
Moshe, while the latter is the product of a prophecy to include a
selection of preexisting stories coming from several disparate sources
(at least twO. the annals of Israel and those of Judah).

When I first saw this, I gasped.

Having digested what Rabbenu Yitz'haq Abarbanel writes, I wonder
whether we know of other commentators from premodern times, who
addressed this issue and either stated that the text of Neviim is word
for word from prophecy, is from the prophet's own inspired expansion
upon his prophecy, or is based on preexisting sources, selected and
elaborated upon through prophecy (the latter being Abarbanel's idea).

IOW, do we have either a tanna demesaye'a lei, or one who refutes? Or
is Abarbanel alone in even approaching this issue altogether?
Arie Folger

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Message: 12
From: rabbirichwol...@gmail.com
Date: Fri, 22 May 2009 22:28:18 +0000
Re: [Avodah] Targumim from Sinai

David R
> It's a mishna.  See Yadayim 4:3, Bartenura and Tosafos Yom Tov ad. loc.

Blackman ad loc
    A Traditonal Law compare qiddushin 38b eduyos 8:7 Avos 1:1
    Such traditons were accepted without question or argument

Or similarly an Old Tradition that is axiomatic.

Albeck quoting Rash - viz. R Shimshon miSens - ad. Loc

HLMM: lav davka she'ein zo min haTorah ela k'ilu hu HLMM.

Thus Maharil's use of "misinai meoldies" probably means;
"Ancient and not to be altered anymore."
IOW a done deal.

Ad kan sources.


For early Tannaim anything establsihed by anshe knesses hagdoloah

For later Tannaim:
Anything ruled by Beis Din Hagadol and was settled by formal vote.

See Rambam Mamrim 1 whch shows that in the "good old days matters were
settled by BDhG." And once voted upon are axiomatic because Yavneh
could no longer challenge it. And opinions went public outside the
realm of BDhG

Also see Iggeres der. Sherira Gaon on how machlokes in the mishna is 99.9%
post Churban Bayis


Targum Onkelos and Targum Yonassan on Nach have been canonized.

If you look at old mikraos gedolos in the old Gmara Column format with
Rashi in the inner column, etc.
The Text of Tanach has its Targum in the center with a parallel column.
IOW every peurush from Rashi onwards was qualitatively on a different
madreiga. The Targumim were kim'at Mikra. This is codified in Tur
et. al. Re: shnayim Mikra v'echad Targum.


English translation.

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

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Message: 13
From: Yitzchok Levine <Larry.Lev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Sun, 24 May 2009 10:27:28 -0400
[Avodah] The MB, Minhagei Lita, and Temimos

Rabbi Menachem Mendel (Manual) Poliakoff is the dean of Baltimore 
rabbis. He is a grandson of the Rabbi Avraham Nachman Schwartz, who 
founded the Talmudical Academy of Baltimore in 1917. (See 
Torah Education to Baltimore" The Jewish Press, October 3, 2008, 
pages 57 & 75. ) After attending TA for elementary school (there was 
no high for him to attend in the twenties) in 1930 Rabbi Poliakoff 
went to study at the Telshe Yeshiva in Lithuania, his grandfather's 
alma mater.  He studied there for 9 years and received smicha from 
the Trisker Rav, the Vilkomir Rav, and the Telshe Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi 
Avraham Yitzchok Bloch. He was a contemporary of Rabbi Mordechai 
Gifter and Rabbi Aaron Paperman, two other bochrim who went from 
Baltimore to study in Telshe.

Rabbi Poliakoff served with distinction as a chaplain in WW II and 
was decorated with a Bronze Star for his distinguished 
service.  After the war he became the rabbi of Beth Isaac Adath 
Israel Synagogue. He served in the position for 42 years.

In 2008 Rabbi Poliakoff published his book Minhagei Lita, Customs of 
Lithuanian Jewry. In this book he writes about how the Yiddishkeit we 
see today differs in  a number of ways from Yiddishkeit as it was 
practiced in Eastern Europe before WW II. In particular, he focuses 
on changes in Minhagim.

He gives a number of reasons for this. He writes, "Ironically, one 
cause of confusion about Minhagei Lita was the Gaon of Vilna zt"l." 
and "Another cause of deviations from Lithuanian custom was the 
Chafetz Chaim zt"l, who included a number of decisions and 
recommendations in his Mishnah Berurah that were contrary to the 
prevailing custom, often without explicitly stating so."  "During the 
fifty years after publication of the Mishnah Berurah until the 
destruction of Lithuanian Jewry communities did not adopt those 
decisions and recommendations of the Mishnah Berurah that ran counter 
to the traditionally accepted minhagim. Not even in Radin, where the 
Chafetz Chaim had his Yeshivah, did the community change the 
traditional customs in favor of those urged by the Chafetz Chaim. 
Hence, many people today mistakenly assume that whatever the Mishnah 
Berurah recommended must have been the accepted custom in Lithuania. 
Again, I will point out some of these anomalies as we come upon 
them."  For more please see below 
and  http://www.stevens.edu/golem/llevine/rsrh/mb_lita.pdf

For those interested, one can purchase Minhagei Lita, Customs of 
Lithuanian Jewry from Rabbi Poliakoff by calling (410) 358-5557

The statement by Rabbi Poliakoff that before WW II Lithuanian 
communities did not change their customs to conform to the MB raises 
the following question in my mind related to the issue of waiting to 
daven Maariv on the first night of Shavuous so that one has Temimos. 
True, the MB says that one should wait. But, was this actually done 
by the shuls in Lithuania. In other words, was the MB's psak about 
waiting the accepted practice in Lithuania or not?

I certainly do not know the answer, but I would very much like to find out.

Yitzchok Levine


A commonly-held fallacy is that only within the geographical borders 
of today's Lithuania did the various Jewish communities observe the 
Lithuanian customs. The
truth is Minhag Lita prevailed throughout most of Eastern Europe, 
from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea, including Belarusia (White 
Russia) and substantial sections of Poland.

Later, Chassidic groups living in Poland adopted Minhag Sfarad to 
differentiate between themselves and the general body of East 
European Jewry who were not Chassidim and
who maintained the minhag and nusach of Lita. It is plainly obvious 
that Minhag Lita was one of the most widespread minhagim upheld by 
European Jewry. Since the end of the Second World War, there have 
been numerous deviations from many of the authentic Lithuanian 
customs. This is largely because most of Lithuanian Jewry was 
annihilated or displaced during the war. Communities were disbanded, 
and there was no longer any continuity in practicing the traditions 
and customs constituting Minhag Lita.

Today, most people rely upon books to try to reconstruct the 
Lithuanian customs, because the living mesorah was unfortunately 
lost. As a result, what is now perceived as
Minhag Lita contains many deviations from what Lithuanian Jewry had 
truly followed.

Ironically, one cause of confusion about Minhagei Lita was the Gaon 
of Vilna zt"l. His erudition was way beyond anyone else's in his 
generation, and his prestige was overwhelming. Yet when his decisions 
and recommendations ran counter to the traditionally accepted 
minhagim, no one adopted them - not even in his home town, Vilna. I 
will note some of these variances as we come across them.

Another cause of deviations from Lithuanian custom was the Chafetz 
Chaim zt"l, who included a number of decisions and recommendations in 
his Mishnah Berurah that were
contrary to the prevailing custom, often without explicitly stating 
so. As long as there were Jews in Lithuania to provide a living 
example, this was not a problem. Today however,
when these communities unfortunately no longer exist, people are 
unable to determine the original custom. During the fifty years after 
publication of the Mishnah Berurah until the destruction of 
Lithuanian Jewry communities did not adopt those decisions and 
recommendations of the Mishnah Berurah that ran counter to the 
traditionally accepted
minhagim. Not even in Radin, where the Chafetz Chaim had his 
Yeshivah, did the community change the traditional customs in favor 
of those urged by the Chafetz Chaim. Hence, many people today 
mistakenly assume that whatever the Mishnah Berurah recommended must 
have been the accepted custom in Lithuania. Again, I will point out 
some of these anomalies as we come upon them.

This teaches us how careful we must be in preserving Jewish customs. 
The Torah requires us to respect and maintain minhagim just as the 
earlier generations loved and
cherished them. The fundamental principle of Al titosh toras imecha - 
Do not forsake the teachings of your mother (Mishlei 1:8)  was
zealously upheld throughout the Jewish world.

Today's generation is confused, searching to find the real Minhag 
Lita from among the many existing customs. I hope I will be able to 
dispel some of this confusion by delineating the authentic Lithuanian 
customs regarding a number of select areas, the first of which will 
be tefillah. 
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Message: 14
From: Eli Turkel <elitur...@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 24 May 2009 21:18:59 +0300
[Avodah] public policy

<<I reiterate every posek takes into
consideration meta-halakhic issues such as za'ar, hefsed merubah, etc.  In
any individual case this is there. However, in a public shiur or in public
policy this may be downplayed to set the ground rules of what the pure
halakha demands.>>

My experience is the opposite. Public policy is definitely not what
pure halakha demands.
Perhaps a famous case is the CI insistence not to use Israeli (Jewish)
electricity on shabbat. He admits the problem is not one of halakha
but of public policy and chillul hashem.

Similarly the attack of several gedolim against Tzomet and its use of
modern technology to avoid halachic problems especially for hospitals,
military and incapacitated. They made quite clear that there objections
were not so much pure halakha but rather public policy.

Similarly much of the objections to autopsies is based on public policy
rather than halakha which is more flexible

kol tuv

Eli Turkel

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Message: 15
From: Eli Turkel <elitur...@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 24 May 2009 21:26:34 +0300
[Avodah] forums for Psak

There are two teshuvos where he  (RMF) mentions that the masses read journals
and thus sensitive or subtle issues should be kept out of them >>

With all dues respect I find this attitude naive. Joiurnals like the Journal
of Halacha and Contemporary Society, R. Bleich's halacha articles in
Tradition etc and volumes in Hebrew like Techumim quickly bring sensitive
issues in shutim to the greater public. To assume that something written in
a teshuva will remain in a small circle in the internet and Artscroll era is not

Similarly responsible rabbis realize that something said to
individuals or a small
group can easily spread if it controversial enough. As the gemara says even
the birds can bring the stories. Similarly in the story with Buba bar Butra
and Herod Buba refuses to say anything damaging even when assured that
no one else is around
(as an aside I never understood that story - since Buba bar Butra was blind why
should he have even thought that the other person was someone innocent and
not a spy)

Eli Turkel


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