Avodah Mailing List

Volume 27: Number 216

Thu, 09 Dec 2010

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Zev Sero <z...@sero.name>
Date: Tue, 07 Dec 2010 13:41:46 -0500
Re: [Avodah] kiddushin and bigamy

On 7/12/2010 12:45 PM, Simon Montagu wrote:

> I always understood that the reason that the wife doesn't get the original get was davka to prevent this kind of situation arising.

Yes, but she still has to prove that she got a get, and for that purpose
she gets a receipt which lists the names and where and when, etc.  Since
the get itself isn't around, it can't be challenged for a lot of things
that might come up, but here the problem was in the name on the receipt,
which is copied from the name on the get.

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: 2
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Tue, 7 Dec 2010 14:12:53 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Kiddushin and Bigamy

On Tue, Dec 07, 2010 at 10:39:58AM -0500, Zev Sero wrote:
> Your position, on the other hand, seems to be that any kiddushin that
> violates a rabbinic law is automatically invalid, without the need for
> a specific rabbinic takanah to that effect...

Actually, I was thinking more about the das Yisrael. Not that one is
violating halakhah, but one is violating halakhah as BY actually observes
it. Which is more true for polygamy than not marrying kohanim.

R' Avigdor Nebenzahl makes RZS's point in
    ... A union that does not have the approval of the chachamim is
    viewed as if it never took place - it was not done kedat Moshe
    veYisrael. Despite the power to do so, Chazal were very hesitant
    to declare a marriage as retroactively null and void - its use was
    limited to specific cases. Even in situations of forbidden unions,
    such as those prohibited due to a lav or asei in which case according
    to the Gemara's conclusion the marriage does take effect, Chazal
    did not annul the marriage.
    Afkinu Rabbanan leKiddushim minei was not an innovation designed
    to uproot the Torah, it was rather reserved for specific cases and
    served to strengthen observance of the Torah.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Never must we think that the Jewish element
mi...@aishdas.org        in us could exist without the human element
http://www.aishdas.org   or vice versa.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                     - Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch

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Message: 3
From: Doron Beckerman <beck...@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 7 Dec 2010 21:13:38 +0200
Re: [Avodah] Ishto Kegufo on Chanukah

Perhaps  the explanation is as follows - Chazal clearly have gradations in
terms of the requisite and/or permitted level of participation of people in
the Hadlakah of the Bayis.
1) One who is just eating a meal at another's home cannot be considered
living there at all, and must go to his own home to light.
2) One who is an Achsenai - a guest who will be staying there for the night,
but not a bona fide Ben Bayis, cannot be yotzei with the baal habayis
directly, but must be mishtatef (how this works is a matter of discussion).
3) One who is a bona fide Ben Bayis can be yotzei with the Hadlakah of the
Baal Habayis. However, he has the option of considering himself as 'less
than a full' ben Bayis and lighting his own Menorah. Even kids will
eventually be building their own homes, and in a sense, albeit remote, they
are "transients" in the home.
4) The husband and wife are defined as the Bayis itself ("Bayso Zo Ishto").
The woman cannot separate and define herself as less than a full bas Bayis.
Ishto Kegufo.
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Message: 4
From: Eli Turkel <elitur...@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 7 Dec 2010 21:28:23 +0200
[Avodah] washing hands

<<While I agree with Micha I wonder why even consider the shiur of CI.
Many pasken that for a derabbanan we go le-kula with the smaller shiur. Here
we are not talking about even a derabbanan which is a bare reviit. So IMHO
should use the smaller shiur of 86cc. In any case the basic reasoning is
the same as Micha

The maaseh was in Bnei Brak.>>

I wasn''t sure if Akiva was jesting or serious, but my impression is that
even in
Bnei Brak e.g. by the Steipler and RCK the adopt shiur of CI only for

Eli Turkel
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Message: 5
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Tue, 7 Dec 2010 14:46:16 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Ishto Kegufo on Chanukah

On Tue, Dec 07, 2010 at 09:13:38PM +0200, Doron Beckerman wrote:
: Perhaps  the explanation is as follows - Chazal clearly have gradations in
: terms of the requisite and/or permitted level of participation of people in
: the Hadlakah of the Bayis.

In addition to the shitos RDB mentions in the "Women and Nerot Chanukah"
and "Women and Mehadrin" sections, note that in "Ner Ish U-Veito --
How Many Lights?" he notes that the Rambam's language (Chanukah 4:1)
implies that "ner ish ubeiso" is a chiyuv cheftza on the house, even if
one happens to go mehadrin and light one per inhabitant of that house.
That is an issue of number, not who is chayav.

Tir'u baTov!

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Message: 6
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Tue, 7 Dec 2010 14:48:41 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Ishto Kegufo on Chanukah

About the contrast to Shabbos... there is another contreast. Ner shel
Shabbos is about a light to have hanaah from to increase oneg Shabbos.
Ner Chanukah has an issur hanaah. One is functional, and the purpose
logically falls to the balebasta. The other is pirsumei nisah.

Tir'u baTov!

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Message: 7
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Tue, 7 Dec 2010 15:11:00 -0500
Re: [Avodah] self esteem

On Sun, Dec 05, 2010 at 11:58:57AM -0500, Yosef Skolnick wrote:
: Just because learning comes easily to someone doesn't mean they are
: interested in learning... What often impresses is me are the illuyim that
: decide to spend their lives learning.  There are plenty of other professions
: or lines of research that they could have chosen but they chose to be in
: klei kodesh, that is a massive feat.

Self esteem is a spiritually dangerous topic. Let me explain...

Something that very often comes up when introducing non-frum people to
the idea of Mussar is that they ask what makes Mussar religious rather
than a self-help program. Often enough that I've gotten it down to
a sound-bite:
    Self-help is the art of actualizing the person you want to be.
    Mussar is becoming the person the Torah tells us Hashem wants you
    to be.

I should point out that there is an entire genre of books (not /your/
favorite author of course, those other ones) that turn mussar (in the
broad sense, not Tenu'as haMussar's approach in particular) into a
qordom lachapor bo (or, since I was discussing self-esteem, an atarah
lehisgadel ba). Just as you could take self-help techniques and use them
to become a better oveid Hashem, someone can take the rich literature
we have middos and battling the yh"r and make it all about the reader
finding self-esteem, fulfillment, happiness, etc... rather than the
pursuit of qedushah.

Now we get to self esteem in particular. Esteem in the hands of the
Alter of Slabodka is empowering a person to reach for more qedushah,
for greater life goals, as well as realizing the esteem of the people
around you -- thus motivating mitzvos bein adam lachaveiro (BALC).

However, discussions of self esteem VERY readily crosses that line.
Such as someone losing sight of the value of learning as an avodah
and making it about learning as a way to prove one's own value.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             When you come to a place of darkness,
mi...@aishdas.org        you don't chase out the darkness with a broom.
http://www.aishdas.org   You light a candle.
Fax: (270) 514-1507        - R' Yekusiel Halberstam of Klausenberg zt"l

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Message: 8
From: "Akiva Blum" <yda...@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 7 Dec 2010 22:18:30 +0200
Re: [Avodah] washing hands



From: Eli Turkel [mailto:elitur...@gmail.com] 
Sent: Tuesday 07 December 2010 9:28 PM

The maaseh was in Bnei Brak.>>

I wasn''t sure if Akiva was jesting or serious, but my impression is that even in
Bnei Brak e.g. by the Steipler and RCK the adopt shiur of CI only for de-oroisa

 Seriously. They may certainly have said that, and even acted that way, but
 people from Bnei Brak do take any psak or hanhoga of the CI very
 seriously, and will treat shiur CI as if it is ikar hadin WRT to all
 dinim, at least lechumra.

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Message: 9
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Wed, 8 Dec 2010 09:38:50 -0500
[Avodah] Brain Death

Hirhurim has a guest entry by our chaver R' Noam Stadlan, who has 22
years experience as a resident and neurosurgeon, on the topic of brain
death and the RCA's "Halachic Issues in the Determination of Death and
in Organ Transplantation, Including an Evaluation of the Neurological
"Brain Death' Standard".

The RCA paper:
(mentioned by RSMahsbaum less than a month ago

RNStadlan's essay, Death by Neurological Criteria: A Critique of the
RCA Paper and the Circulation Criteria"

Tir'u baTov!

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Message: 10
From: "Joel C. Salomon" <joelcsalo...@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 8 Dec 2010 20:59:09 +0000
Re: [Avodah] Just one Hashem in Heaven

On Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 1:49 PM, Akiva Miller <kennethgmil...@juno.com> wrote:
> R' Shmuel Weidberg wrote on Areivim:
> : It has always bothered me when we say that Hashem is in heaven,
> : because as far as science is concerned up contains outer space. And it
> : seems that it is meant literally when we say that Hashem is up,
> : because we say that the Shechina does not come below ten tefachim.
> And it never bothered me to say that HaShem is in heaven, because
> "heaven" is not the same thing as "sky". Outer space is part of the sky,
> but I understand heaven and shamayim to be the metaphysical world,
> which has nothing to do with science.

A slight tangent to this discussion:

The linguist & author J.R.R. Tolkien "translated" the (Christian)
"Lord's Prayer" into one of his invented languages.  The prayer begins
with "Our Father, who Art in Heaven," but in the fictional culture in
which the language is based there is no conception of the "sky" (or
some generalization thereof) as the abode of God.

So he cheated.  His translation starts, "Ataremma i ea han ea," which
translates as, "Our Father, who Exists (ea) beyond the universe (ea =
"all existence")."

This is at least broadly similar to AM's response to SW.


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Message: 11
From: "Shoshana L. Boublil" <toram...@bezeqint.net>
Date: Wed, 8 Dec 2010 22:51:25 +0200
[Avodah] R' Michal Tobiano, Chanuka Lecture:

I have been going to R' Tobiano's lessons every week this year.  He is a
fascinating speaker, and his Chanuka shi'ur has been placed on line at the
Midreshet Aviv website:



Ma'oz Tzur YeShu'ati - Galut of Edom & Yishma'el (video)







Shoshana L. Boublil



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Message: 12
From: "Moshe Y. Gluck" <mgl...@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 9 Dec 2010 02:58:44 -0500
Re: [Avodah] wife lighting menora

R' Rafi Goldmeier asked:

> Where else do we find a wife being excluded from a mitzva because of the
> exception of eeshto k'gufo? I could not think of any other mitzva where
> we exclude her like this. If this is the only one, what is different
> about Chanukah candles that we exclude her

Of interest:




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Message: 13
From: "Prof. Levine" <Larry.Lev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Thu, 09 Dec 2010 08:35:13 -0500
[Avodah] Are "Gedolim Stories" Good for Chinuch?

The following is one small selection from the article at 
http://tinyurl.com/29y7utt by Rabbi Simcha Feuerman.

This article is not the first about some the negative aspects of 
Gedolim books. Rabbi Aharon Feldman wrote about this topic in an 
article that appeared in the Jewish Observer in 1994.  Please see the 
article at http://www.yutorah.org/showShiur.cfm?shiurID=704426 pages 
213 - 214 for what Rabbi Dr. J. J. Schacter wrote about Rabbi 
Feldman's comments.

The following comments by Rabbi Feuerman were for me particularly 
striking, because they relate to a famous story about one of my "heroes."

Another one of the chinuch dangers of disconnection from feelings is 
an estrangement from our gut instincts in favor of strict adherence 
to technical ethical principles.  This is an abandonment of what is 
sometimes referred to as "the fifth volume of Shulhan Arukh".  No 
system can function without using common sense to mediate and 
moderate between the dictates and principles of the system and how to 
apply them.

Related to this point, I have noticed a strange phenomenon in regard 
to certain inspirational stories. Typically, the story will go 
something like this: So and so, a great sage, despite his high 
stature did an amazing kindness for someone of lower perceived social 
status.  For example, we have the famous story about Rav Yisrael 
Salanter who went to hold a crying baby on Yom Kippur eve during Kol 
Nidre, or the story of how Rav Moshe Feinstein ran after a gentile 
delivery boy to make sure he received his dollar tip.

Of course these stories model acts of compassion and decency, and 
deserve recognition.  Sadly though, I fear there is a hidden and 
subtle message of surprise being conveyed along with these stories, 
as they suggest that basic human compassion and decency is an 
astounding ethical feat.  After all, who would not show the basic 
decency of giving an expected tip, or who could be cold-hearted 
enough to ignore the cries of a baby on Kol Nidre night -- or any 
night for that matter?  So what is the real message here?  Either we 
are surprised to see great people behave in a human and kindhearted 
manner, or we consider it to be an act that only a true tzaddik can 
achieve. [5] Whichever message you choose, I submit for your 
consideration that this kind of thinking is a product of a culture 
that has difficulty embracing the full passion of its emotions when 
seen through the lens of Torah thought.  Because, in the light of 
stone-cold Torah analysis without being informed by a sense of 
compassion, one might erroneously decide that praying is more 
important than responding to the cries of an infant, or that being 
sensitive to the needs of a poor delivery boy is irrelevant.  And 
indeed, halakha must trump emotions.  However no proper conclusion 
can be reached without consulting with all "five" volumes of  Shulhan 
Arukh.  Our chinuch messages must take that into account.

[5] Echoes of this sentiment can be found in R. Kook's words in 
Shemonah Kevatzim 1:463, (translation mine):

"The folk who live according to their instincts, and are not learned, 
are actually superior in many respects to the learned folk.  In 
particular, their instinctive common sense decency and morality was 
not corrupted by the intricate, wearying and too-clever burdens of 
scholarship." (I thank Marc B. Shapiro and the Seforim Blog for this 

There is much food for thought, at least for me, here.  YL

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Message: 14
From: Saul.Z.New...@kp.org
Date: Thu, 9 Dec 2010 08:53:25 -0800
[Avodah] the rmbm's menorah

why is different  from all the  artists  of  ancient times?

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Message: 15
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 9 Dec 2010 12:31:55 -0500
Re: [Avodah] the rmbm's menorah

On Thu, Dec 09, 2010 at 08:53:25AM -0800, Saul.Z.New...@kp.org wrote:
: http://dovbear.blogspot.com/2010/12/shaky-chabad-menorah-history
: .html#more 
: why is different  from all the  artists  of  ancient times?

This has been discussed at length in the past. Hit the archive.
a/k/a http://bit.ly/gSsCYc

(1998) RJM points to an essay by "one Jennifer Reiss" at


Tir'u baTov!

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Message: 16
From: Rafi Hecht <rhe...@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 9 Dec 2010 16:50:01 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Babylonian Jewry and Chanukah

Same reason why many of us American Jews aren't rushing to fight in Israeli
wars today? Just my guess, but historical events rarely change.

Best Regards,

Rafi Hecht
Never Trust a Computer You Can't Throw Out a Window - Steve Wozniak

On Thu, Dec 2, 2010 at 11:05 AM, Prof. Levine <Larry.Lev...@stevens.edu>wrote:

> For many years I have been bothered by the following.
> There was a large Jewish population living in Babylonia during the time
> that the events of Chanukah played out. Yet, I have never seen any mention
> of the Jews living in Bavel coming to the assistance of the Jews in EY
> during their struggle with the Syrian-Greeks. Why is this? Surely at least
> some of the news of what was transpiring in EY must have reached the Jews in
> Bavel.  Why didn't they either come to help or at least send assistance?
> Perhaps I am simply ignorant of history, and there are sources that tell of
> such assistance. If so, then please enlighten me.
> YL
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