Avodah Mailing List

Volume 26: Number 200

Mon, 12 Oct 2009

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: David Riceman <drice...@att.net>
Date: Thu, 08 Oct 2009 10:36:18 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Gil'ad Shalit and the Maharam miRutenberg

Micha Berger wrote:
> If anyone knows more about the MmR's decision as halachic precedent, I
> would be happy to read it.
See Yam shel Shlomoh Gittin chapter 4 siman 66, near the end (the entire 
siman is relevant, but he devotes the final paragraph to a detailed 
discussion of the Maharam).

David Riceman

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Message: 2
From: Zev Sero <z...@sero.name>
Date: Thu, 08 Oct 2009 10:44:20 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Gil'ad Shalit and the Maharam miRutenberg

Micha Berger wrote:
> RHM's comment on Areivim made me wonder...
> When the Maharam miRutenberg got word to the Rosh not to pay the ransom
> (the money was already raised), was it a personal sacrifice or a pesaq?

First of all, did it even happen?   AIUI there is very little evidence
for it, and that those who know about such matters believe it more
likely that the money was never raised, and thus the question was never
a practical one.

> I was taught the latter, and that in fact the MmR's decision was invoked
> in later teshuvos. My Bar Ilan skills are either lacking, or I was under
> a misimpression.
> If anyone knows more about the MmR's decision as halachic precedent, I
> would be happy to read it.

This includes the sub-question of whether the fact that lo dubim velo
yaar -- if indeed it is a fact -- should affect our view of those
teshuvos that treat it as fact.  In other words, if the "psak" was
accepted by later authorities as halacha, does it matter how it arose?
Would those who rely on it not have done so, had they known (assuming
again, for the purpose of discussion, that the story is indeed untrue)?

Zev Sero                      The trouble with socialism is that you
z...@sero.name                 eventually run out of other people?s money
                                                     - Margaret Thatcher

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Message: 3
From: David Riceman <drice...@att.net>
Date: Thu, 08 Oct 2009 10:15:04 -0400
[Avodah] Classifying Mitvzos was: Sukkah on Shabbos

Micha Berger wrote:
> The se'udos are deOraisa, based on "ikhluhu hayom ki
> Shabbos hayom..." (Shemos 16, quoted at the bottom of Shabbos 117b).
The Rambam classifies them as "midivrei sofrim v'hem mforashim al ydei 
han'vi'im" (H. Shabbos 30:1,9).  That's one of many examples where the 
Rambam's classification of mitzvos seems less complex than what Hazal 
had in mind.  Ibn Ezra wrote a monograph on this subject (Yesod Mora), 
but I've never seen a serious attempt to analyze the opinions of Hazal 
on this.  Has anyone seen anything about this?

David Riceman

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Message: 4
From: Arie Folger <afol...@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 8 Oct 2009 16:16:54 +0100
Re: [Avodah] a community taking seriously the text of piyutim

RMPoppers has asked about whether, in line with piyutim he quotes, we
dress in white on RH and blow exactly 10 qolot during the 'hazoras

While some/many 'Ovedim may not know this, he probably does know that
some communities indeed maintain both practices (may be even his own
community). In  fact, Basel, which has been in continuous operation
for over 200 years, sticks to both practices: we wear kitlach on RH,
too, and only blow 10 during the repetition (and only 70 total).


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Message: 5
From: "kennethgmil...@juno.com" <kennethgmil...@juno.com>
Date: Thu, 8 Oct 2009 15:50:43 GMT
Re: [Avodah] Hashkafa Question on Sukkah Eating,

R' Rich Wolpoe asked:

> Avraham spends the entire Chol haMoed avoiding the CHIYYUV
> of eating in the Sukkah. Instead of needing to find a
> sukkah, he adjusts his diet to eat foods that do not
> trigger an obligation. He has water, fruit juice, a hard
> boiled egg, but nothing to kovei'a any s'uda
> Yitzchak religiously washes twice a day and makes hammotzi
> and benches. He aims to get in 14 s'udos mamash over the
> course of sukkos over the course of the Chag. But Yitzchak
> also eats several signifcant portions of food outside the
> sukkah in addition to these 14 times. Some of them would
> be mamash k'vias s'uda, but maybe he has a heter when
> traveling or at the office.
> Haskafically Avraham has srcupulously avoided a bittul
> aseh, but makes no brachah on hol Hamoed. Yitzchak makes
> 2 brachos a day with a definite chiyyuv, but at least
> flirts with being mevateil the aseh once or twice a day
> because he has non-sukkah refreshments.
> Which approach is hashkafically superior?

As RRW presents it -- "*maybe* he has a heter" -- it is not clear whether
or not he actually violated any halacha. If Yitzchak only had juice and
eggs outside the sukkah, he wouldn't *need* a heter of Holchei Drachim. So
for the remainder of this post, I will presume that he DID eat more than a
k'beitzah of dagan outside the sukkah, but he did so without knowing for
sure that the heter of Holchei Drachim applied to him.

Which approach is hashkafically superior? Avraham knows what the strict
halacha is, and he is following it scrupulously. Yitzchak on the other
hand, goes out of his way to do some non-chiyuv mitzvos, and he thinks that
has earned him the privilege of cutting some corners (or safek corners)
here or there.

Which approach is hashkafically superior? I'll take modest but straight over high and crooked any day.

Akiva Miller

Best Weight Loss Program - Click Here!

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Message: 6
From: Joshua Meisner <jmeis...@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 8 Oct 2009 12:11:51 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Hashkafa Question on Sukkah Eating,

On Mon, Oct 5, 2009 at 4:18 PM, <rabbirichwol...@gmail.com> wrote:

> Avraham spends the entire Chol haMoed avoiding the CHIYYUV of eating in
> the Sukkah. Instead of needing to find a sukkah, he adjusts his diet to
> eat foods that do not trigger an obligation. He has water, fruit juice,
> a hard boiled egg, but nothing to kovei'a any s'uda
> Yitzchak religiously washes twice a day and makes hammotzi and benches.
> He aims to get in 14 s'udos mamash over the course of sukkos over the
> course of the Chag
> But Yitzchak also eats several signifcant portions of food outside the
> sukkah in addition to these 14 times. Some of them would be mamash
> k'vias s'uda, but maybe he has a heter when traveling or at the office.
> Haskafically Avraham has srcupulously avoided a bittul aseh, but makes
> no brachah on hol Hamoed
> Yitzchak makes 2 brachos a day with a definite chiyyuv, but at least
> flirts with being mevateil the aseh once or twice a day because he has
> non-sukkah refreshments.
> Which approach is hashkafically superior?
> [One might equate this question with Sur Meira vs. Asei Tov]

Or, perhaps, the differences between Yaakov Avinu and Binyamin, Amram and
Moshe Rabbeinu, and Yishai/Kil'av and David HaMelech.  Keeping one's
garments clean makes one into an answer to an interesting trivia question,
but doesn't qualify one as being one of the all-time leaders of k'lal

Joshua Meisner
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Message: 7
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 8 Oct 2009 13:23:52 -0400
Re: [Avodah] psak and rationality

On Thu, Oct 01, 2009 at 12:27:42PM +0200, Eli Turkel wrote:
:> The CI held that the Torah was determined during the middle 2
:> millenia, and any errors in science were siyata diShmaya in producing
:> the Torah we have. In which case, the poseiq would be correct in
:> working as if the statement is true even if he knows it isn't.

: Sounds way too strong to me.

Maybe, and perhaps the CI had exceptions. But he stated that rule, I
(or whomever on Avodah taught me the notion) didn't extrapolate it from
his words. See Yevamoes 57:3.

I want to point out the problem the counter-examples of tereifos among
people and the 8th month birth. It is possible that piquach nefesh
overrides the general rule as part of dechiyas haTorah, not because we
change halakhah to reflect changes in teva.

Last, I presume that the CI understands "nishtaneh hateva" kepeshuto.
But I want to throw into the confusion R' Avraham ben haRambam's
definition of "teva" in this context as "scientific theory. Not that
reality changed, but that our understanding of it did.

But that whole matter is a non-issue for our discussion. Because whether
we say Chazal relied on the best science the world has to offer, or that
they relied on good science which is no longer true, his notion that the
authority of halakhah comes from the era the tannaim lived in would stand.
It's just a matter of what HQBH led the rabbanim of the period 2000-4000
AM to believe and used to make their decisions. It goes by authority,
not solidity of postulates, since by today's standards, the givens don't
hold either way.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Man is a drop of intellect drowning in a sea
mi...@aishdas.org        of instincts.
http://www.aishdas.org                         - Rav Yisrael Salanter
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Message: 8
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 8 Oct 2009 14:20:57 -0400
Re: [Avodah] berachos 7a; schena and nevuah???

On Mon, Oct 05, 2009 at 2:42am EDT (really, at close to 3am?), R' Yosef
Skolnick wrote:
: I would highly recommend that we establish a good definition of both of
: those terms before speculating.  The term shechina is often used to refer to
: times when you can see what hashem wants through the actions of people.  The
: term nevua is used when there is a direct speaking between G-D and man.
: I am not quite sure those definitions are accurate but they may be a good
: starting point in a discussion of the matter.  Looking forward to seeing how
: this conversation develops.

I discussed "Shechinah" in a Mesukim miDevash column for Mishpatim
<http://www.aishdas.org/mesukim/5764/mishpatim.pdf>. I try to address
the question of how various rishonim define nevu'ah, and thus how they
understand the "Man" in the throne the zeqeinim see at Har Sinai.

R' Saadia Gaon (EvD 2:10) defines shechinah as any miraculous thing that
reminds the viewer that Hashem is shochein beqibrbo. Including the amud
ha'eish and amud ha'anan, the vision at Har Sinai, the vision of the
Merkavah, etc...

R' Saadia Gaon says the zeqeinim saw the kavod nivra, and that the kavod
nivra can be physical.

The Rambam's position is similar, but
(1) He warns you that the phrase "kevod H'" could be either the kavod
nivra or HQBH Himself, and
(2) The Rambam holds that kavod nivra is not physical, and can only be
seen bederekh nevu'ah. Thus ruling out the amud ha'eish and amud
And more importantly to our conversaition
(3) his discussion here is about kavod nivra exclusively, not mentioning
the shechinah.

According to the Ramban (Bereishis 46:1), "Sh-echinah" is a sheim Hashem.
(Which is why in this paragraph I capitalized and hyphenated it.) The
Ramban explains that nevu'ah is reception of a message by parable, and
therefore seeing G-d in nevu'ah isn't a philosophical problem -- it's
seeing a mashal that represents HQBH in the message being given.

The Rambam holds that nevu'ah is the sight of a metaphysical reality,
which is
(1) The Abarbanel on the Moreh's answer to the Ramban's question about
how could the bulk of parashas Vayeira be nevu'ah. The Ramban assumes
that nevu'ah means something that didn't really happen, but the Rambam
disagrees -- it did really happen, even if what is seen in the vision is
the non-physical side of the events.
(2) Why he has to say the "Man" in the throne at har Sinai, or in the
Merkavah, is a created entity.

Thus to answer Harvey's 2nd question:
:>                                                    . does this request
:> include prophecy? E.g are the scheina and nevua related?

They aren't necessarily related. HOWEVER,

According to both the Rambam and the Kuzari, in order to be capable
of experiencing a neis, one must already be capable of experiencing

The Kuzari directly addresses your question. Quoting Hartwig's
translation of 5:23 from
    The Rabbi answered: The visible Shekhin.h has, indeed, disappeared,
    because it does not reveal itself except to a prophet or a favoured
    community, and in a distinguished place. This is what we look for in
    the passage: 'Let our eyes behold when Thou returnest to Zion.' As
    regards the invisible and spiritual Shekhin.h, it is with every born
    Israelite of virtuous life, pure heart, and upright mind before the
    Lord of Israel. Palestine is especially distinguished by the Lord of
    Israel, and no function can be perfect except there. ...
[Rest of the Chakham's argument as to why he was leaving Kazaria for
Israel, deleted.]

As for the Rambam, it's less straightforward. The Rambam says that not
everyone capable of nevu'ah is granted one -- Hashem may defy the causal
order and hold back the navi from getting nevu'ah. Leshitaso, a navi
NOT getting nevu'ah is a neis. So it seems the Rambam would admit the
possibility that someone may have turned himself into someone capable
of nevu'ah and even of getting nissim, but never actually gets nevu'ah.
And, the shechinah and neis are different concepts. It's R' Saadia whose
definitions connect them by saying the kavod nivra could be physical
and also by explicitly saying it is the shechinah.

Related to this notion linking nevu'ah and neis is the Maharal's notions
(as explained by REED), that neis is a function of lifting one's
perceptions to the plane where the laws of olam hayetzirah (morality and
justice) are more absolute that those of olam ha'asiyah (the laws of
physics). Thus making neis, like nevu'ah, a matter of developing oneself
and consequently one's perception of the universe.

:> Does one need one for the other??
:>  3. Can we learn out kal v'chomer that if the shechina resides only with
:> israel, then for sure nevuah does??? HB

According to the Kuzari (1:115), what makes ezrachei (not geirim!) Benei
Yisrael special is a metaphysical something that also gives us the
capability of becoming nevi'im. This is a difference in kind between
the ezrach on one hand, and the geir and nachri on the other. (I can't
claim to be reconciled with this notion by a long shot.)

The questions are Ovadiah, who the gemara tells us was a geir from Edom
(Sanhedrin 29b), and of course Bil'am. The Otzar Nechmad (al haKuzari,
sham) writes that Ovadiah was an intentional exception because the only
one there would be any chance of Edom listening to would be one of their
own. I don't know about Bil'am.

With berakhos to RYSkolnik that he manage more sleep...

Micha Berger             One doesn't learn mussar to be a tzaddik,
mi...@aishdas.org        but to become a tzaddik.
http://www.aishdas.org                         - Rav Yisrael Salanter
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Message: 9
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 8 Oct 2009 17:00:39 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Gil'ad Shalit and the Maharam miRutenberg

On Thu, Oct 08, 2009 at 10:36:18AM -0400, David Riceman wrote:
: See Yam shel Shlomoh Gittin chapter 4 siman 66, near the end (the entire 
: siman is relevant, but he devotes the final paragraph to a detailed 
: discussion of the Maharam).

Where I saw that although the YSS does site the story he heard about the
MmR as a source, we don't need the Maharam miRutenburg, it's a mishnah.

"Ein mavrichin es hashevuyim". Tana qama gives "tiqun olam" as the
reason, which the gemara says is about the risk of future shevuyin.
R' Shimon b Gamliel says it's because of "taqanas hashevuyin" which is
explained as only applying when there is other shevuyim right now with

R' Tam, the Ri, and the Rosh hold like RSBG. (Which shows that the
    Rosh's actual shitah fits his role in the story.)
The Rif, Ran and Rambam hold like the tana qama. As does the YSS.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Live as if you were living already for the
mi...@aishdas.org        second time and as if you had acted the first
http://www.aishdas.org   time as wrongly as you are about to act now!
Fax: (270) 514-1507            - Victor Frankl, Man's search for Meaning

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Message: 10
From: "Chana Luntz" <ch...@kolsassoon.org.uk>
Date: Thu, 8 Oct 2009 22:47:31 +0100
Re: [Avodah] Sukkah on Shabbos

RMB writes:

> I was thinking more technically, that since it's framed as a lav, beis
> din simply lacked the legislative power to override it.

But from where are you deriving that it is *framed as a lav*?

In an earlier post you wrote:

> Correct what I said from the formal asei vs lav to chiyuv vs
> issur. That is the whole gezeirah shavah tes-vav tes-vav --
> the first night parallels a chiyuv of akhilas matzah, the
> rest of Sukkos it parallels not eating chameit. The mitzvah
> is not to eat outside the Sukkah, rather than a mitzvah to
> eat within it.

But while there is indeed a gezera shava chamesh aser, to chamesh aser,
which is used in in Sukkos 27a to establish the obligation to eat a meal on
the first night of sukkos, as opposed to the other nights, I don't think you
can get from there to a lav.

The reason I say this is because of the gemora on Sukkos 28a.  The gemora is
discussing the Mishna which states that, inter alia, women are exempt from
the mitzvah of Sukkah.  The gemora states that this is based on "hilchasa" -
ie a halacha Moshe m'Sinai.  The gemora then questions - why do we need this
halacha Moshe m'Sinai at all "Sukkah mitzvas aseh she hazman grama"?

Now if you were right, the gemora could not have asked this question -
because obviously if it was really a form of lav, or framed as a lav, you
can't call it a *mitzvas aseh* shehazman grama - and the reason for the need
for a halacha Moshe m'Sinai, or a derivation from a pasuk, would be obvious.

Now it is true, the gemora gives a *second* reason why you need a halacha
Moshe m'Sinai which relates to the gezera shava - but first of all, the
first reason it gives, has nothing to do with that - it says that since the
mitzva is tashivu k'ein tadiru then just as a man lives with his wife, af
sukkah ish v'ishto, and hence you might have thought women were obligated

OK, then it moves onto a second reason, which relates to the gezera shava -
on the basis that just as women are obligated to eat matza on first night
Pesach, so too they should be obligated in sukkah, so hence you need the
halacha Moshe m'Sinai to counteract this.

BUT, the reason that women are obligated in the mitzvah of matza is derived
(see  Pesachim 43b) from the connection between eating matza on the first
night and not eating chametz, ie precisely this nexus that you are trying to
make with Sukkah is indeed made with pesach, and the lav aspect then drags
in the aseh aspect vis a vis women, making them obligated.

If you were correct, the gemora does not need to make any real reference to
the gezera shava - all it would need to do is make exactly the same kind of
linkage that is made over there by Pesach - ie just as eating matza on first
night is linked to the lav of eating chametz, and hence women are obligated,
so too, the eating in the sukkah is linked to the lav of not eating outside
the sukkah, and so women should also be obligated - hence we need a halacha
Moshe miSinai.

But the gemora does not say that.  It's assumption appear to be squarely
that we are dealing with an aseh only, and at most we have an aseh linked to
another aseh where women are obligated.

So where are you getting this "lav/issur" idea as a d'orisa concept from?
Would it not, from all this, seem more logical to say that because of the
nature of the aseh, a rabbinical ban was placed on eating outside the sukkah
(for men, obviously), to prevent them being mevatel the aseh?  

Of course, if one is dealing with an aseh, then RAM's question comes back
into force as a real question. Although maybe you could say that, given
that, if indeed not eating outside the sukkah is d'rabbanan, as I am
hypthosising (without having looked into it, any further than these gemoras,
I add) then maybe they did not want to undermine one takana by another,
something which did not come into play vis a vis lulav or shofar.

> Tir'u baTov!
> -Micha

Gut Moed


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Message: 11
From: T6...@aol.com
Date: Fri, 9 Oct 2009 03:14:47 EDT
Re: [Avodah] Sukkah on Shabbos

I kept waiting for someone to say what I thought was obvious, but no one  
did, so I will.
You build the sukka /before/ Shabbos, and when you build it, you obviously  
make an eruv between your house and your sukka -- which are either adjacent 
or  very close to each other.  People always had an eruv around their yard 
or  between neighbors' houses.  Indeed, in olden times and even fairly 
recently  in the shtetel, several families used to share one oven and one 
courtyard  and had an eruv to allow them to go get their cholent pot from the 
common  oven.  The sukka was close and the eruv was common, that's my only  
point.  It's not so much halachic as it is sociological.
In contrast, the esrog and lulav, if carried on Shabbos, might be carried  
quite far, to shul or to the rabbi's house -- well outside the eruv you 
might  have made between your house and your sukka or between your house and 
your  neighbor's house.  

I think it very likely that Chazal worried about the lulav and esrog, and  
not about the sukka, simply because of the way people lived -- they 
responded to  the facts on the ground, you might say.
I will now ask this question:  what if you had an eruv between your  house 
and your sukka, and the eruv broke on Shabbos, say, because of a  storm?  In 
that case, I think the halacha /would/ be like the halacha of  lulav and 
esrog on Shabbos, namely, Shabbos would override Sukka.   (And you would not 
be required to forego your Shabbos meals.)   Correct me if I'm wrong.
--Toby Katz


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Message: 12
From: Liron Kopinsky <liron.kopin...@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 9 Oct 2009 11:28:46 -0700
[Avodah] 3 days a year

Hi All,
I had a thought this morning about Hoshana Rabba, Erev YK and Erev
Pesach being the 3 days a year that are semi-Yom Tov.

HR: Yom Tov Davening (for the most part)
Erev YK: Seudat Yom Tov
Erev Pesach: Issur Melacha (to some)

It seems to me that these 3 days combined make up one full Yom Tov day.

Has anyone heard anything to this effect before?

I heard an idea tying Erev YK, HR and Purim together where there is a
minhag to eat Kreplach since it is a day of simcha but not an actual
Yom Tov, so we hide the meat but this is obviously not possible on
Erev Pesach.


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Message: 13
From: David Cohen <bdcohen...@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 9 Oct 2009 15:44:07 -0400
[Avodah] Birkat Cohanim on Hoshana Rabbah

The davening on Hoshana Rabbah takes on some but not all the charcteristics
of Yom Tov. Were any specific criteria used to determine which parts were
changed to YT and which were left like a chol day? Specifically, in nussach
askenas, we add the extra tehillim in p'sukei d'zimra, but don't say
Nishmat. We use the weekday kedusha for Shacharit but Yom Yov kedusha for
And since it is questionable that we don't duchen in chutz l'aretz except on
YT, why don't we do so on HR?

Shabbat shalom and chag sameach,

David I. Cohen
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Message: 14
From: T6...@aol.com
Date: Mon, 12 Oct 2009 03:38:08 EDT
[Avodah] Where did Moshe die?

In Vezos Habracha, it says that Moshe Rabbeinu went "from the plains of  
Moav to Har Nevo" (Devarim 34:1), where Hashem showed him the whole of Eretz  
Yisrael.  Then it says "Moshe died there...in the land of Moav." (34:5) and  
then it says "He buried him in the gorge (valley? Vayikbor oso baGay), in  
the land of Moav." (34:6)
A straightforward reading of the pesukim would indicate that Moshe died on  
Mount Nevo but was buried in the valley.  However, when it says "he died  
there" does "there" in fact mean "on Har Nevo" or does it just mean 
"[somewhere]  in Moav"?
On the words "He buried him," Rashi indicates two possibilities.  One  
possibility, Hashem buried Moshe.  If so, did He transport Moshe's body  from 
the mountain to the valley?  No miracle is beyond Him, of course, but  if 
that's what He did, why don't we hear more about this miraculous  burial?  Did 
Moshe's body fly through the air or did it dematerialize in  one spot and 
miraculously rematerialize in another?  ("Beam me up,  Scotty.")
The second possibility:  Moshe buried himself.  Rashi says  nothing more 
about /how/  he did it, but think about it.  He  could have dug his grave and 
lain down in his grave, the way the men did in the  midbar.  If he died in 
the grave he dug for himself, then you could say "he  buried himself."   But 
if he died on the mountain and was buried in  the valley, how could he have 
buried himself?  

If Moshe went down from the mountain after seeing all of Eretz Yisrael, and 
 died in the valley, then he could have buried himself easily.  If Hashem  
buried him where he died, that would also make more sense than having him 
die in  one place and be buried in another.  Does "he died there" mean "he 
died in  Moav" -- not necessarily on Mt Nevo?
--Toby  Katz


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Message: 15
From: T6...@aol.com
Date: Mon, 12 Oct 2009 04:22:56 EDT
[Avodah] La'az or Lo'ez in Rashi?

At the beginning of the ArtScroll Chumash with Rashi, there is  a 
Publisher's Preface which contains one paragraph about Rashi's  French:
Another often neglected area is the "lo'ez" in which Rashi uses an Old  
French word or phrase to translate the Torah text.  A dearth of knowledge  of 
Old French has led many educators to dismiss these comments with, "Well,  
Rashi is just giving the French translation," as a result of which Rashi's  
intended nuance is often lost....For this edition, every foreign word used by  
Rashi has been thoroughly researched.  To assist the reader, the modern  
French and English equivalents are given....
--end quote--
First of all, I would like to say that I appreciate (and am amazed by!)  
the  astounding scholarship and research that had to have gone into this  
endeavor.   I wonder how on earth R' Yisrael Isser Zvi Herczeg (the  main 
translator) and his collaborators went about doing this?!
Second of all, it has long struck me that Jews are expected to know other  
languages and that the knowledge of other languages besides Hebrew enriches  
one's understanding of Loshon Hakodesh and of Torah.  This goes  all the 
way back to Yosef, who knew many languages, and to Moshe, likewise, and  to 
the pillars that were erected (on the banks of the Jordan River?) which  were 
engraved or painted with the text of the Torah in 70 languages, and to  
Targum Onkelos and Targum Yonasan and so on and on.  I note this as an  
interesting fact, without comment.
Third of all, what is this "lo'ez"?  I typed the word exactly as it  
appears in the preface to the A/S Chumash.  However, in the actual text of  Rashi, 
the Hebrew word is vowelized "la'az" -- not "lo'ez."  It is spelled  lamed, 
ayin, zayin, with a shmitchik between the last two letters -- indicating  
that the word is not a word, but an abbreviation.
OK, now look at the Silbermann Chumash with Rashi for a moment.   In his 
appendix, R' A. M. Silbermann has a note on the word "la'az":
By this Rashi means French.  This differed from modern French as the  
English of the present day differs from that of the 11th Century.  The  root 
[lamed-ayin-zayin] [written in Hebrew there] is found in Psalm CXIV.1  as 
describing a foreign language. The word is not formed of the initial letters  of 
the phrases loshon am zu or loshon am zar; this is a popular etymology, but  
is incorrect.
--end quote--
Since he holds that the word is not an abbreviation, you would expect the  
Silbermann Chumash to print the word "la'az" without the shmitchik, but in 
fact,  the word is spelled /with/ the shmitchik between the ayin and the 
zayin, just as  if he'd never written that note.
The pasuk in Tehillim cited by R' Silbermann is the famous "Betzeis Yisrael 
 miMitzrayim, Bais Yakov me'am LO'EZ" where the ArtScroll translates 
"lo'ez" as  "of alien tongue."
It would appear that the author of the [unsigned] Publisher's Preface  of 
the ArtScroll Chumash, like R' Silbermann, regards the word  Lamed-Ayin-Zayin 
as a word and not an abbreviation, since he transliterates  it "lo'ez" and 
not "la'az."
But both Chumashim consistently vowelize the word as "la'az" and keep  the 
What do you make of this?  

--Toby  Katz


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Message: 16
From: Yitzchok Levine <Larry.Lev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Mon, 12 Oct 2009 06:24:28 -0400
[Avodah] RSRH on the First Pasuk in Bereishis

IMO Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch's commentary on the 
first pasuk in Bereishis gives fundamental 
insight into the was Yahadus views the world as 
opposed to the way the gentile world views the 
world . Below are some selections from this 
commentary. I have posted his entire commentary 
on this pasuk at http://www.stevens.edu/golem/llevine/rsrh/Bereshis_1_1.pdf

Our verse, then, means: ?In the beginning of all existence, it was
God Who created?; or, if we add to the predicate the two objects that
follow: ?From the very beginning God created the heaven and the earth.?
In any event, ?Bereishis? proclaims that nothing existed prior to God?s
act of creation, and that heaven and earth were created only through
God?s Word. Scripture thus teaches us that the world was brought into
existence from nonexistence, Yeish Ma ayin. This constitutes the basis of the
conviction that the Torah seeks to instill within us.

The opposite notion is the belief in the eternity of the world, which
is the cornerstone of pagan belief until this very day. This belief is not
only a metaphysical falsehood, a misrepresentation of the origin of the
universe, but even worse: it undermines all morality, and denies all
freedom in both God and man. If matter had antedated Creation, then
the Creator of the universe would have been able to fashion from the
material given Him not a world that was absolutely good, but only the
best world possible within the limitations of the material. In that case,
all evil ? natural and moral ? would be due to the inherent faultiness
of the material, and not even God would be able to save the world from
evil, natural or moral. God would not be master over the material of
the world, and man would not be master over his body. Freedom would
vanish, and the whole world, including its God and the men who live
in it, would be propelled by a blind, immutable fate.

And just as God rules freely over His world, so has He made man
master over his small world. God breathed into man a spark of His
Own free essence, so that man should freely master his body and its
forces. Thus, He created man in His image, in the free image of the
free God; He placed man as an image of God in a world governed by
His omnipotence.

The world that was created Bereishis is not the best one that can be
fashioned with the given material; rather, it is the only good world.
This world ? with all its seeming flaws ? corresponds with the wise
plan of the Creator; He could have created a different world, had such
a world corresponded with His Will. Man who was created Bereishis ?
with all his moral shortcomings ? has the ability to attain the moral
perfection set before him by the Creator. The possibility of sinning is
part of his moral perfection; it is a basic condition for his moral freedom.
Both, the world and man, will reach the highest ideal of the good,
for which both were created. They will achieve this level of good because
God, Who has placed this goal before them, has created them both for
this goal, in accordance with His free and unlimited Will. He could
have created a different creation, a different world and a different man,
had this served the purpose that He set before them in freedom.
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