Avodah: Volume 28, Number 33

Mon, 07 Mar 2011

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
  1. Re: yaroq (Micha Berger)
  2. Re: Feeding Your Baby In A Bathroom? (Micha Berger)
  3. Re: Feeding Your Baby In A Bathroom? (Micha Berger)
  4. Molad Alert: Friday night (Prof. Levine)
  5. Re: How long did Nevuchadnetzar reign? (kennethgmil...@juno.com)
  6. Re: How long did Nevuchadnetzar reign? (Akiva Blum)
  7. Re: Molad Alert: Friday night (Zev Sero)
  8. Re: Molad Alert: Friday night (Micha Berger)
  9. Re: Molad Alert: Friday night (Zev Sero)
  10. Re: Molad Alert: Friday night (Micha Berger)
  11. Moshe Rabeinu and his family (Harvey Benton)
  12. Boreh Minei Bessamim: Stop And Smell The Flowers -- The Scent Really Can Soothe Stress (Shoshana L. Boublil)
  13. Re: Boreh Minei Bessamim: Stop And Smell The Flowers -- The Scent Really Can Soothe Stress (Micha Berger)
  14. Re: Moshe Rabeinu and his family (Zev Sero)
  15. BCI and Melacha on Shabbos and Other Issurim (eliez...@aol.com)
  16. "she-asani kirtzono" (Eli Turkel)
  17. Re: NishmaBlog: Pardon my French! "Bon Matin" and "Franglais" (Micha Berger)
  18. Re: Torah UMadda (Micha Berger)

Message: 1
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 3 Mar 2011 18:45:46 -0500
Subject:
Re: [Avodah] yaroq


On Thu, Mar 03, 2011 at 08:36:53AM +0200, Eli Turkel wrote:
:> I know Rashi says Techeilet is Yarok, which is similar to Carti. (Brachot
:> 9A on the mishna)

: Doesnt help since we are trying to find out the color of techelet.
: So this is circular reasoning

Yaroq kekarti means the color of a leek. See
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Leeks_produce-1.jpg ,
it's green, the part above ground is a pretty dark green.

We also know yaroq kekarti is a different color than tekheiles, from the
definition of misheyaqir that says that it's when you can distinguish
those two colors.

-Micha

-- 
Micha Berger             "'When Adar enters, we increase our joy'
mi...@aishdas.org         'Joy is nothing but Torah.'
http://www.aishdas.org    'And whoever does more, he is praiseworthy.'"
Fax: (270) 514-1507                     - Rav Dovid Lifshitz zt"l




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Message: 2
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 3 Mar 2011 18:56:47 -0500
Subject:
Re: [Avodah] Feeding Your Baby In A Bathroom?


On Wed, Mar 02, 2011 at 08:04:06AM -0500, Prof. Levine wrote:
> Rav Aharon Yehuda HaLevi Grossman was asked (V'Darashta VChakarta  
> 4:42:7)...
> First, the infant is too young for chinuch to apply.  Second, the food 
> does not go through the bathroom, as it goes straight from the mother to 
> the baby. Third, our bathrooms our not like the bathrooms discussed in 
> halacha, since the system we use keeps them clean from unclean things.  
> Last, because of the need for tznius there is reason to be lenient.

We discussed our bathrooms before. There is a machloqes at to whether
today's bathrooms are a beis hakisei or no better than the persian
bathrooms of their times. The other tzad also notes that there are
restrictions on what one does in the outer rooms of a bathhouse. We
aren't just concerned about smell, we also take into account the concept
of what the room is used for.

See R' Ari Z. Zivotofsky's RJJ Journal article at
<http://www.stevens.edu/golem/llevine/areivim/halacha_modern_plumbing.p
df>

-Micha

-- 
Micha Berger             "'When Adar enters, we increase our joy'
mi...@aishdas.org         'Joy is nothing but Torah.'
http://www.aishdas.org    'And whoever does more, he is praiseworthy.'"
Fax: (270) 514-1507                     - Rav Dovid Lifshitz zt"l




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Message: 3
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 3 Mar 2011 18:56:47 -0500
Subject:
Re: [Avodah] Feeding Your Baby In A Bathroom?


On Wed, Mar 02, 2011 at 08:04:06AM -0500, Prof. Levine wrote:
> Rav Aharon Yehuda HaLevi Grossman was asked (V'Darashta VChakarta  
> 4:42:7)...
> First, the infant is too young for chinuch to apply.  Second, the food 
> does not go through the bathroom, as it goes straight from the mother to 
> the baby. Third, our bathrooms our not like the bathrooms discussed in 
> halacha, since the system we use keeps them clean from unclean things.  
> Last, because of the need for tznius there is reason to be lenient.

We discussed our bathrooms before. There is a machloqes at to whether
today's bathrooms are a beis hakisei or no better than the persian
bathrooms of their times. The other tzad also notes that there are
restrictions on what one does in the outer rooms of a bathhouse. We
aren't just concerned about smell, we also take into account the concept
of what the room is used for.

See R' Ari Z. Zivotofsky's RJJ Journal article at
<http://www.stevens.edu/golem/llevine/areivim/halacha_modern_plumbing.p
df>

-Micha

-- 
Micha Berger             "'When Adar enters, we increase our joy'
mi...@aishdas.org         'Joy is nothing but Torah.'
http://www.aishdas.org    'And whoever does more, he is praiseworthy.'"
Fax: (270) 514-1507                     - Rav Dovid Lifshitz zt"l




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Message: 4
From: "Prof. Levine" <llev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Thu, 03 Mar 2011 19:07:39 -0500
Subject:
[Avodah] Molad Alert: Friday night


At 06:55 PM 3/3/2011, you wrote:
>Message: 7
>Date: Thu, 3 Mar 2011 10:58:10 +0200
>From: Danny Schoemann <doni...@gmail.com>
>To: avodah <avo...@aishdas.org>
>Subject: [Avodah] Molad Alert: Friday night
>Message-ID:
>         <AANLkTikdOzvVvCbeer7iMUtbZ=[email protected]>
>Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
>
>For those who announce it in shul:
>
>"The was WAS on Friday night at 7 Hours and 12 parts."
>
>Chodesh tov and Gut Shabbos,
>
>- Danny
>

A fellow gave me a card with the times of the Molad on it according 
to different opinions.  IIRC, the real Molad is a good deal different 
from the one we announce.  There is also the Molad according to the 
RAMBAM and at least one other person.

Most people do not know that when the Molad is announced it is 
Jerusalem Solar time. And, of course, the traditionalists announce it 
in Yiddish which some do not understand.

I have come to the conclusion that the announcement of the time of 
the Molad really does not mean much to most people.

YL
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Message: 5
From: "kennethgmil...@juno.com" <kennethgmil...@juno.com>
Date: Fri, 4 Mar 2011 01:35:11 GMT
Subject:
Re: [Avodah] How long did Nevuchadnetzar reign?


R' Akiva Blum suggested:

> Perhaps it's because kings reigns can overlap, but years of exile
> don't necessarily overlap. Therefore, the the first year of Evil
> Merodach can be the same year as the last of Nevuchadnetzar,
> because  Evil Merodach will count the first part of his reign as
> a whole year. However, the posuk won't count a year of exile for
> Yehoyochin until a full year has elapsed.

I think that what he is saying is this:

Yehoyachin's exile began during the eighth year of Nevuchadnetzar, and the first year was completed during the 9th year of Nevuchadnetzar's reign.

The 2nd year of Y's exile was completed during the 10th year of N.
The 3nd year of Y's exile was completed during the 11th year of N.
The 4th year of Y's exile was completed during the 12th year of N.
[add about 30 years here]
The 34th year of Y's exile was completed during the 42nd year of N.
The 35th year of Y's exile was completed during the 43rd year of N.
The 36th year of Y's exile was completed during the 44th year of N.

The 37th year of Y's exile would have been completed during the 45th year
of Nevuchadnetzar's reign, but as it turned out, Evil Merodach succeeded
Nevuchadnetzar just before the end of that 37th year; specifically in the
12th month, on the 25th of the month.

Thus, it was during N's 45th year that Evil Merodach succeeded him, and so according to their way of counting, it can be said that he reigned for 45 years.

I checked my notes, and my chavrusa and I did consider this possibility.
But consider this: When Achashverosh made his calculation of when the 70
years would end, he dropped the first eight years of Nevuchadnetzar's
45-year reign, and looked only at the last 37. But since Yehoyachin got
exiled DURING Nevuchadnetzar's 8th year, and he figured that the 70 years
began with Yehoyachin's exile, then he should have counted the remained of
that 8th year towards the 70 years. Thus, he should have deducted only
seven years, and the remainder of Nevuchadnetzar's reign should have
counted as the first 38 according to Achashverosh.

A possible answer could be that Achashverosh's advisors couldn't (or wouldn't) correct his arithmetic, but my chavrusa and I are hoping for something better.

Akiva Miller

____________________________________________________________
Gov&#39;t Urges Homeowners to Refinance
If you owe under $729k you probably qualify for Gov&#39;t Refi Programs
http://thirdpartyoffers.juno.com/TGL3131/4d7041fae951958236ast03vuc




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Message: 6
From: "Akiva Blum" <yda...@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 4 Mar 2011 11:56:42 +0200
Subject:
Re: [Avodah] How long did Nevuchadnetzar reign?


> I think that what he is saying is this:
> I checked my notes, and my chavrusa and I did consider this 
> possibility. But consider this: When Achashverosh made his 
> calculation of when the 70 years would end, he dropped the 
> first eight years of Nevuchadnetzar's 45-year reign, and 
> looked only at the last 37. But since Yehoyachin got exiled 
> DURING Nevuchadnetzar's 8th year, and he figured that the 70 
> years began with Yehoyachin's exile, then he should have 
> counted the remained of that 8th year towards the 70 years. 
> Thus, he should have deducted only seven years, and the 
> remainder of Nevuchadnetzar's reign should have counted as 
> the first 38 according to Achashverosh.

Even though the gemora says that Achashverosh used Belshatzar calculation,
and knocked off the first years of Nevuchadnetzars reign, in truth he didn't
need Nevuchadnetzar at all. He could use the 37 years directly, as mentioned
in the possuk, as whole years.

Akiva




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Message: 7
From: Zev Sero <z...@sero.name>
Date: Fri, 04 Mar 2011 10:14:23 -0500
Subject:
Re: [Avodah] Molad Alert: Friday night


On 3/03/2011 7:07 PM, Prof. Levine wrote:

> A fellow gave me a card with the times of the Molad on it according to
> different opinions.

Huh?  There are no different opinions.

> IIRC, the real Molad is a good deal different from the one we announce.

Of course it is.  The real length of a month is different every time.
What we use is the average length, rounded to the nearest chelek.

> There is also the Molad according to the RAMBAM and at least one
> other person.

This is definitely not true.  The Rambam has the same molad as everyone
else.  If there's someone who has a different one, I'd like to know
who it is, and what possible basis they might have.

  
> Most people do not know that when the Molad is announced it is Jerusalem
> Solar time.

As opposed to what?  Standard time (AKA railroad time)?


> I have come to the conclusion that the announcement of the time of
> the  Molad really does not mean much to most people.

It's simply something the siddur says one ought to know.  So it's
announced, and we know it.  It's not meant to be of any practical
use.


-- 
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: 8
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 4 Mar 2011 10:52:06 -0500
Subject:
Re: [Avodah] Molad Alert: Friday night


On Fri, Mar 04, 2011 at 10:14:23AM -0500, Zev Sero wrote:
>> IIRC, the real Molad is a good deal different from the one we announce.

> Of course it is.  The real length of a month is different every time.
> What we use is the average length, rounded to the nearest chelek.

Actually, today's average is longer than the molad. The molad was
known since at least Galus Bavel, although I believe it dates back to
Maamad Har Sinai. But at that time it was longer than the average lunar
month. Then the tides pull back on the moon, the moon slows down, its
orbit shrinks and the month is getting shorter at a rate of something
like 3 sec each century. More precisely, the usual formula (a 2nd order
approximation) is given by LE Doggett as:
    S = 29.5305888531 + 0.00000021621 * T - 3.64E-10 * T^2
where all time is given in days, and T is days since 1/1/2000. (I pulled
it from the web, obviously.)

Hipparchus found the average over 345 years. Given that the first year
had an "astronomical molad) of a little over 3 seconds longer than the
year he took that measurement, his average should have been off by 1-1/2
sec. But it wasn't. Instead of getting 3024169 hours in 4267 lunations,
he should have gotten around 3024189 hours (4267 months * 16.5 sec/month
+ 3024169). How was he 19-1/2 hours off, which shifts the average by
16.8 second (15.3 from the erroneous number he should have gotten)?

Meanwhile, the month is still shrinking, so that when we get to the 4th
or 5th cent CE the molad was within a cheileq of a lunar month. Just
around when we finalized the calendar algorithm currently in use -- give
or take a single issue of dechiyah that waited for R' Saadia Gaon's day.

In the mid-4th century, the currently announced molad would have been
accurate for mid-way between the Nile and the Euphrates. (Not Alexandria,
the leading edge, as I wrote before, but the mid-point.)

But the tides are still there and the month is still getting shorter
-- and we're still using the same molad. At this point, the molad is
something like 108 chalaqim off. Alternatively, we could keep the molad
correct and say the "timezone" is sliding east. Not sure why we would
want to, but enough web sites and books do this excercise. So, we could
say that we now compute the molad accurately for Kandahar, Afghanistan.

>> There is also the Molad according to the RAMBAM and at least one
>> other person.

> This is definitely not true.  The Rambam has the same molad as everyone
> else.  If there's someone who has a different one, I'd like to know
> who it is, and what possible basis they might have.

I think RYL was remembering a machloqes about notation. The Rambam used a
Moslem-style clock, where the day starts at 6pm. Therefore, he would have
us announce the molad using numbers that start 6 hours earlier than we do.
Some molad, as RZS notes there is only the one, but different way of
describing it.

:-)BBii!
-Micha

-- 
Micha Berger                 Life is complex.
mi...@aishdas.org                Decisions are complex.
http://www.aishdas.org               The Torah is complex.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                                - R' Binyamin Hecht




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Message: 9
From: Zev Sero <z...@sero.name>
Date: Fri, 04 Mar 2011 11:08:20 -0500
Subject:
Re: [Avodah] Molad Alert: Friday night


On 4/03/2011 10:52 AM, Micha Berger wrote:
> the month is getting shorter at a rate of something
> like 3 sec each century.

3 seconds per century?!  That can't be right.  Right now the received
value is only 1/3 of a second too long.  You can't tell me that 1500
years ago the received value was 45 seconds too short, and nobody noticed!

-- 
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: 10
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 4 Mar 2011 12:07:00 -0500
Subject:
Re: [Avodah] Molad Alert: Friday night


On Fri, Mar 04, 2011 at 11:08:20AM -0500, Zev Sero wrote:
> On 4/03/2011 10:52 AM, Micha Berger wrote:
>> the month is getting shorter at a rate of something
>> like 3 sec each century.
>
> 3 seconds per century?!  That can't be right.  Right now the received
> value is only 1/3 of a second too long.  You can't tell me that 1500
> years ago the received value was 45 seconds too short, and nobody noticed!

You forget that it requires averaging over many months, as the range is
-12 hr to +16 hr. (Which means there is a skew, since the mean isn't in
the middle of the range.) So, while I was wrong, it's not for this reason.



I posted a formula that gives a 2nd order approximation for current
months:
>     S = 29.5305888531 + 0.00000021621 * T - 3.64E-10 * T^2
> where all time is given in days, and T is days since 1/1/2000. 

Another problem is defining the units of measure in the molad. Because
days are also changing in length, 2ms/century. And the molad requires
relative position of the sun. Not the moon returning to the same spot.
In the above, it's measuring orbits, not lunations. So, ignore it.


So, the phenomenon I'm talking about is real, but I have the numbers off.
Instead of trying to get it right, let me just point you to
http://daattorah.blogspot.com/2008/11/molad-moons-race-against-earth.
html
by R Avraham Broide.

The current error is only 0.6 per month -- not 45 sec, but that
accumulated to 2 hrs so far.

:-)BBii!
-Micha

-- 
Micha Berger             Like a bird, man can reach undreamed-of
mi...@aishdas.org        heights as long as he works his wings.
http://www.aishdas.org   But if he relaxes them for but one minute,
Fax: (270) 514-1507      he plummets downward.   - Rav Yisrael Salanter




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Message: 11
From: Harvey Benton <harvw...@yahoo.com>
Date: Sat, 5 Mar 2011 22:07:47 -0800 (PST)
Subject:
[Avodah] Moshe Rabeinu and his family


After he was an infant, how did Moshe Rabeinu know who his family was? We know 
his sister watched our for him, and was picked up by Bat Pharoa, but did Bat 
Pharoa know that the one who nursed Moshe was his Mother? Did she relay this 
information and/or keep Moshe in touch with his family after Moshe grew up in 
the KIing's Palace?  Or did Moshe find out some other way who his family was? 
 and if so, how???
thanks much, hb


      
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Message: 12
From: "Shoshana L. Boublil" <toram...@bezeqint.net>
Date: Sun, 6 Mar 2011 10:53:12 +0200
Subject:
[Avodah] Boreh Minei Bessamim: Stop And Smell The Flowers --


When discussing the blessing Hashem gave us, we usually include Boreh Minei
Bessamim (and it's variants).  But are flowers just esthetically pleasing?
Is the scent just "nice"?

Apparently, Hashem gave us flowers for additional reasons. The scent of
flowers reduces stress.

So, when you purchase flowers for Shabbat, make sure that they have a nice
scent. Apparently, the scent of flowers influences brain chemistry, reducing
stress.  IMHO, many of us could benefit from being at a lower stress levels
when Shabbat enters.

(P.S. I recall seeing a Dr. Phil chapter where he commented that apparently
there is a good reason for bringing the wife flowers when you arrive late...
<g>).

Here is a source for additional information:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090722110901.htm

Shoshana L. Boublil






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Message: 13
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Sun, 6 Mar 2011 15:50:21 -0500
Subject:
Re: [Avodah] Boreh Minei Bessamim: Stop And Smell The Flowers


This raises a question for me...

Do we shift all the questions of okhel vs refu'ah to scents as well?
If someone smells something only for refgu'ah, does he make a
berakhah?

As for giving flowers before Shabbos, I always thought the iqqar
was the pe'ulah, not the chetzah. To relate to this week's parashah
(archive readers: it's Vayiqra), Rachmanah liba ba'i. The essence
of a qorban is the emotion expressed in and reinforced by giving it,
not the animal.

Tir'u baTov!
-Micha

-- 
Micha Berger             "I think, therefore I am." - Renne Descartes
mi...@aishdas.org        "I am thought about, therefore I am -
http://www.aishdas.org   my existence depends upon the thought of a
Fax: (270) 514-1507      Supreme Being Who thinks me." - R' SR Hirsch




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Message: 14
From: Zev Sero <z...@sero.name>
Date: Sun, 06 Mar 2011 09:54:10 -0500
Subject:
Re: [Avodah] Moshe Rabeinu and his family


On 6/03/2011 1:07 AM, Harvey Benton wrote:
> After he was an infant, how did Moshe Rabeinu know who his family was?
> We know his sister watched our for him, and was picked up by Bat
> Pharoa, but did Bat Pharoa know that the one who nursed Moshe was his
> Mother? Did she relay this information and/or keep Moshe in touch with
> his family after Moshe grew up in the KIing's Palace? Or did Moshe
> find out some other way who his family was? and if so, how???

He grew up in his parents' house for two years; by the time he went back
to Bat Par`o he was old enough to have started forming memories, and
would remember them.


-- 
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: 15
From: eliez...@aol.com
Date: Sun, 6 Mar 2011 16:31:48 -0500 (EST)
Subject:
[Avodah] BCI and Melacha on Shabbos and Other Issurim



I have been wondering about using a brain/computer interface mechanism to do 
melacha on Shabbos.
 
Obviously, no physical movement takes place on the human's part, so it could be 
argued that no melacha has been done by the person.  On the other hand, the 
melacha has to be attributed to someone, and that someone is most likely the 
initiator of the event.  While this is not intended as a pun on M'leches 
Machseves in the sense of m'leches m'chasheiv, it might turn out to be a perfect 
application of M'leches Machesheves, in which case it would be specific to 
Shabbos and not other issurim/mitzvos.

I write about this on my website, www.havolim.blogspot.com, and welcome feedback 
here or there.

Barzilai
 

 


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Message: 16
From: Eli Turkel <elitur...@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 7 Mar 2011 09:58:59 +0200
Subject:
[Avodah] "she-asani kirtzono"


heard recently an interesting explanation of the bracha a woman makes
""she-asani kitrzono""

When man was created it is stated in the plural "na-aseh": G-0d "needed" to
consult
with the angels. When woman is created G-d no longer needs to "second
opinion" as
it is now obvious.
The woman blesses that her creation was by G-d himself without consultation.

-- 
Eli Turkel
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Message: 17
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Mon, 7 Mar 2011 16:15:44 -0500
Subject:
Re: [Avodah] NishmaBlog: Pardon my French! "Bon Matin" and


On Wed, Feb 09, 2011 at 11:08:51AM -0500, Rich, Joel replied to my summary
of R' Dr Moshe Koppel's thesis:
:> There are two ways to learn a language: The native speaker doesn't
:> learn rules of grammar before using them, he just knows what "sounds
:> right". In contrast, an immigrant builds his sentences by using formalized
:> rules...

:> He argues that halakhah is similarly best transmitted by creating
:> "native speakers". It is only due to loss of our progressive loss of the
:> Sinai culture with each generation that we need to rely on transmitting
:> codified rules....

: Does such a system in theory eventually converge to total codified
: rules as a basis for decisions?

Only if new situations never arose.

:                                 IMHO part of the issue today is we
: have a system with detailed analytic rules and analysis which every so
: often gets a wild card "poetic" response...

So you answered your own question -- we haven't reached convergence yet.

Personally, I think of the issur of electricity (aside from filaments,
sparking motors and other cases where what the electricity is doing
on Shabbos) was such a case of "poetry". Which is why those who had a
feel for how halakhah works overwhelmingly prohibited it, even though
we still lack any consensus on a clear formal rule that it falls under.

I also think you are writing more about questions over when it's
appropriate, when the gut-feel pesaq is "wild card" and causing "head
shaking" than questions about whether the basic concept is valid.

Last, I think that the Rambamists of this world, the Andalusian
revivalists, the talmidim of R' Moshe Chait, etc... with the exclusion
of the Darva'im, since I don't know enough about the history of pesaq
in Teiman to comment, are primarily people who are seeking the safety
of well-defined rules. IOW, it's not really about a preference for the
Rambam and the claim that he was more connected to the ge'onim than other
rishonim were. If it were, they would be following the Beha"g. It's
because the Mishneh Torah is so clear-cut and organized in comparison
to more mainstream ways of pasqening. They want an algorithmic halakhah
rather than a messier set of rules of thumb and weighing pros and cons. It
allows for more certainty and gives less room for abuse.

The problem is that the world is too complex, and the human condition
is frought with shades of gray, and halakhah has to accomodate that.

Tir'u baTov!
-Micha

-- 
Micha Berger             Man can aspire to spiritual-moral greatness
mi...@aishdas.org        which is seldom fully achieved and easily lost
http://www.aishdas.org   again. Fulfillment lies not in a final goal,
Fax: (270) 514-1507      but in an eternal striving for perfection. -RSRH




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Message: 18
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Mon, 7 Mar 2011 16:23:04 -0500
Subject:
Re: [Avodah] Torah UMadda


On Wed, Mar 02, 2011 at 02:01:44PM -0500, David Riceman wrote:
: Consider an analogy with psak. If you ask a shailah, and the rav you
: ask lists ten answers given by rishonim and aharonim, but gives you
: no sense of how they came to their conclusions, how useful is that
: response? Surely you shouldn't just pick the answer you like best;
: that's not how psak works. Why should this case be any different?

Because machashavah does work that way. (As long as we are dealing
with issues like how Torah and mada relate, and not issues of kefirah,
apiqursus or meenus.

We preconsciously pick the answer we find compelling. Emphasis on the word
"preconsciously" -- you hear an idea and before bechirah even steps in
you found it compelling. The only control we have is in what we choose
to study, where we choose to focus our attention.

Which is why someone who believes in kefirah isn't necessarily a kofeir;
the bechirah element is too weak for anything universal. It depends
/how/ he became a kofeir. Was their path to heresy something they are
accountable for?

On a machashavah issue that has no halachic import, no rav can tell
someone he must believe X rather than Y. I mean he can actually make
such an announcement, but the talmid's own emunah is not necessarily
going to flip on a dime because of it. Perhaps it's better to give that
talmid a list of choices, for him to develop his own response.

Perhaps sometimes chinukh al pi darko requires giving them room to find
that derekh for themselves.

Tir'u baTov!
-Micha

-- 
Micha Berger             "And you shall love H' your G-d with your whole
mi...@aishdas.org        heart, your entire soul, and all you own."
http://www.aishdas.org   Love is not two who look at each other,
Fax: (270) 514-1507      It is two who look in the same direction.


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