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Volume 29: Number 3

Thu, 05 Jan 2012

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Wed, 4 Jan 2012 12:49:19 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Amein and Amein Yesomah

On Fri, Dec 30, 2011 at 01:57:12AM +0000, kennethgmil...@juno.com wrote:
: For many decades, I wrestled with a problem which seems similar. Namely,
: what is so terrible about a beracha l'vatala? For example, if I would
: thank Hashem for giving us the mitzva of eating matza, and I would use
: the full and proper text of Al Achilas Matza to do so, what would be
: so terrible?
: It is only in the past year or so that I've come to understand that a
: bracha is not just another sort of tefilah, like a bakasha or hodaah. For
: reasons which I don't really understand (but I do accept), a bracha is
: considered to be a sort of oath.

In http://www.aishdas.org/asp/2005/12/what-is-berakhah.shtml I explored
the question of what is a berakhah. About half the post revolves around
the problem that /b-r-kh/ is a root meaning increase, Chazal say so,
so what could "Berukh Atah H'" possibly mean?

Here's snippets of the answers (taxonomy mine, shitos presented with
ellided sources):

> 1- A Statement of Fact

> 1a- A statement of fact. "You are maximally increased"....

> 1b- There are two versions of the text of the Avudraham. In one, he
> translates "barukh" as "You are the Source of increase." The role of
> making a blessing is to acknowledge and thereby thank and appreciate
> (the Hebrew word is "hakaras hatov", recognizing the good of...) Him.

> 2- A Request

> 2a- Rabbeinu Bachya ... understands barukh as a request, give us increase;
> Atah Hashem -- for You are the Source of increase.

> 2b- The Rashba ... and the other version of the Avudraham hold that
> "barukh" is a request for an increase of the revelation of Hashem's
> Presence. So we are asking for an increase, but of G-dliness in the world,
> not G-d Himself.


> 3- A Declaration of Intent

> 3a- "May Your presence in this world be increased" -- through my efforts
> (R' SR Hirsch). A declaration of commitment. Since HQBH restrains Himself
> (so-to-speak) to allow for free will, by choosing to act according to
> His Will, we can increase His influence.

> 3b- Nefesh haChaim (sec II) gives a synthesis of the last two of the
> above approaches. "May Your presence in this world be increased through
> my very realization that You are the Source of increase."

Notice that according to RSRH (3a), a berakhah takes on an oath-like

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Life isn't about finding yourself
mi...@aishdas.org        Life is about creating yourself.
http://www.aishdas.org                - Bernard Shaw
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Message: 2
From: cantorwolb...@cox.net
Date: Wed, 4 Jan 2012 13:21:31 -0500
[Avodah] Yosef's Dreams

H.B. wrote: : if the interpretations) are to Hashem, then why does he 
give his own interpretations??

Answer: You are not connecting the dots. By his saying that the interpretations are from HaShem,
then it obviously follows that his interpretations are also from HaShem and he is merely the conduit. 
The k'lal is that it is from HaShem and the p'rat are the interpretations that emanate from it. From a
human perception you might say he gives his "own" interpretations but the one Who "owns" him is 
where it is derived from. Would you say that Moshe Rabbeinu wrote the Torah? Semantically, that 
may be correct but where did it come from?

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Message: 3
From: Zvi Lampel <zvilam...@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 04 Jan 2012 13:41:20 -0500
Re: [Avodah] my mistake: re: yosef's dreams

I think RHB means that "interpretations of dreams are to Hashem" sounds 
like saying that only Hashem can interpret dreams, and no one else can. 
--Such as if someone would say, "Only Hashem can create a tree"--and 
then that person goes ahead and creates a tree. After his declaration, 
Yosef went ahead and gave an interpretation.

On 1/4/2012 12:39 PM, avodah-requ...@lists.aishdas.org wrote:
> On Sun, Jan 01, 2012 at 03:03:26PM -0800, Harvey Benton wrote:
> : if the interpretations) are to Hashem, then why does he
> : give his own interpretations?? ...
> Yosef himself says to Par'oh that he can't interpret dreams,
> G-d does. So I have no idea what you're asking.
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Message: 4
From: "kennethgmil...@juno.com" <kennethgmil...@juno.com>
Date: Wed, 4 Jan 2012 19:14:05 GMT
Re: [Avodah] my mistake: re: yosef's dreams

R' Harvey Benton asked:

> if the interpretations) are to Hashem, then why does he 
> give his own interpretations?? did he Have Ruach Hakodesh
> and/or why did he not say" Hashem explained this?

It is clear to me from context that he did NOT give his own
interpretations. He got the interpretations from HaShem, either by Ruach
Hakodesh, or by Nevuah, or by some other method. And he did not explain
this to Paro, because Paro understood it, and there simply wasn't any need
to be more explicit.

Paro said, "I've heard you can interpret dreams." Paro was clearly
referring to the interpretations which Yosef gave to the butcher and baker.
Yosef answered, "It's not me. But G-d can answer you." Yosef is not denying
that he gave those interpretations. But then what *is* Yosef saying? Yosef
must be saying that he gave the interpretations, but merely as G-d's
mouthpiece. Paro presumes that Yosef can do the same thing again, and
that's why, with no further ado, he tells his dreams to Yosef.

Akiva Miller

53 Year Old Mom Looks 33
The Stunning Results of Her Wrinkle Trick Has Botox Doctors Worried

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Message: 5
From: Zev Sero <z...@sero.name>
Date: Wed, 04 Jan 2012 13:45:44 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Yosef's Dreams

Malbim translates "bil`adai haElokim ya`aneh et sh'lom Par`oh" as
"even without me Hashem will answer you", because He clearly wants
you to get the message, so you don't need me or any special skills
I might have; if I don't deliver it someone else will do so.

Zev Sero        "Natural resources are not finite in any meaningful
z...@sero.name    economic sense, mind-boggling though this assertion
                  may be. The stocks of them are not fixed but rather
                 are expanding through human ingenuity."
                                            - Julian Simon

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Message: 6
From: Zev Sero <z...@sero.name>
Date: Wed, 04 Jan 2012 14:01:52 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Amein and Amein Yesomah

In light of this discussion, how should we regard the piyyut "Amen,
amen, amen", which repeats the word "amen" many times?  Is there
something wrong with singing it?  Was its author ignorant of the
issue, or did he have a different opinion about it?


Zev Sero        "Natural resources are not finite in any meaningful
z...@sero.name    economic sense, mind-boggling though this assertion
                  may be. The stocks of them are not fixed but rather
                 are expanding through human ingenuity."
                                            - Julian Simon

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Message: 7
From: David Riceman <drice...@optimum.net>
Date: Wed, 04 Jan 2012 14:36:33 -0500
[Avodah] unsolicited testimonial [was: Forms of Bittul]


<<So how about the really classic safek - the timtum, or the koi? As I 
understand the debate, some hold that the tumtum is a beriah in and of 
itself, and some hold it is a safek, but those who hold such a person is 
a safek hold that "really" such a person is a man or a woman, we just 
don't know which, it is not as though essentially and to the Torah such 
a half man half woman exists. Ditto a koi - we practice the halacha 
giving it the chumras of behama and chaya, but the options appear to be 
that it is an independent creation of its own, or it is *really* in the 
eyes of the Torah one or the other, but we don't know which.>>

See Rabbi Bensimon's commentary on Rabbi Rosen's commentary on the 
Rambam's H. Shabbos (details below) pp. 23-29, where he argues that 
there are two distinct types of sfeikos, with different rules.  One type 
is a "safek b'etzem", which includes both of these examples.  A safek 
b'etzem is something about which we know all of the relevant facts but 
still can't decide how to categorize it halachically.  The other type is 
a "safek b'geder siba", for which if we knew all of the relevant facts 
(what is the source of each piece of meat?) we would be able to 
categorize it halachically.  So while I agree with your basic point that 
RMB is confusing two distinct categories, I think these examples are red 

> I just got back from a trip.  I took Rabbi Bensimon's commentary on 
> Rabbi Rosen's commentary on the Rambam's H. Shabbos with me (Tzafnas 
> Paneah al  H. Shabbos published by Mossad HaRav Kook).  It's a 
> wonderful book for travel because it has a lot of short self contained 
> snippets, and I rarely felt the need to consult any sefarim (I wasn't 
> near a Beis Midrash).

<<You could sneak this onto Avodah by mentioning one thought and then 
tagging on a plug for the sefer in which you found it.>>

David Riceman

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Message: 8
From: Harvey Benton <harvw...@yahoo.com>
Date: Wed, 4 Jan 2012 12:07:20 -0800 (PST)
[Avodah] gibeonites.........

was it for sure that? the gibeonites 

tricked bnei yisrael/into signing a 


why was were we bound by? a 

false treaty / pretense??? or was 

it to avoid a chilul Hashem? that
Yehoshua kept his word???

?from wikipedia:

Joshua's treaty with the Hivites
After the destruction of Jericho and Ai, the people of Gibeon (Hivites)
sent ambassadors to trick Joshua and the Israelites into making a treaty
with them. According to the 
Bible, the Israelites were commanded to destroy all inhabitants of 
Canaan. The Gibeonites presented themselves as ambassadors from a 
distant, powerful land. Without consulting the high priests, Israel 
entered into a mutual pact with the Gibeonites. Joshua realized he had 
been deceived, but he kept the letter 

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Message: 9
From: Harvey Benton <harvw...@yahoo.com>
Date: Wed, 4 Jan 2012 11:58:53 -0800 (PST)
[Avodah] hanging?? how to deal w/traitors??

traitors in the old days? were dealt with 

how?? did the king [melech] handle 

them on his (her in the case of a novi
eg, devorah- was there a king??)
or did it have to go to the sanhedrin??
//what was teh definition of a traitor??

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Message: 10
From: "Moshe Y. Gluck" <mgl...@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 4 Jan 2012 22:52:53 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Balancing needs

R'n CL:
It reminds me of the famous Teshuva of the Node B'Yehuda. The case was
that a certain woman committed adultery with her son-in-law. Many years
later, the son-in-law did teshuva, and asked the Node B'Yehuda whether
Now the Node B'Yehuda held that indeed the son-in-law was required to
tell the husband. But that given the age of the husband, it was not
then necessary for the husband to then divorce his wife, moving into
separate rooms and attempting to avoid yichud was enough. And this way
the scandal could be hushed up and not impact the reputations of the
children, although the hurt to the husband remained.

Mahadurah Kamah, OC, 35. You can find it on Hebrewbooks at

It's well worth reading for another reason. R'n CL gave a very brief
synopsis of the first half of the teshuvah, but in the second half of the
teshuvah (responsum) he discusses teshuvah (repentance), and you won't be
sorry for having spent the time reading the entire thing.


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Message: 11
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 5 Jan 2012 09:11:47 -0500
[Avodah] Vayechi - Judge every person favorably

From Yeshivat Har Etzion's (Gush's) "Sichot" email list. This weeks mailing
is a sichah by RAL, translated by Kaeren Fish.


        When Yosef's brothers saw that their father was dead, they said,
        "Perhaps Yosef will hate us, and pay us back all the evil which
        we did to him." So they sent word to Yosef... "Forgive, I pray
        you, the transgression of your brother"... and Yosef wept as
        they spoke to him. (Bereishit 50:15-17)

    Rashi (ad loc.) comments that the cause of the brothers' anxiety
    was that Yosef stopped inviting them to dine with him. The source
    ... Bereishit Rabba (100:8). Rabbi Levi maintains that so long as
    Yaakov was alive, Yosef would invite his brothers to dine with him,
    and Yaakov would place him at the head of the table, rather than
    Reuven (the eldest of the brothers) or Yehuda (the future king). Now
    that Yaakov had died, Yosef felt it would no longer be proper for
    him to sit alone at the head of the table, and he therefore stopped
    inviting them. Rabbi Yitzchak teaches that what prompted their
    anxiety was that during the journey the brothers undertook to bury
    Yaakov in Canaan, Yosef took himself off to look at the pit into
    which his brothers had cast him so many years previously....
    All of this upheaval in the relations between the brothers comes
    about as the result of a mutual lack of understanding, a lack of
    respect for each other, and -- most of all -- a lack of trust in
    each other. Had Yosef really believed in his close relations with
    his brothers, he would have summoned them and discussed the problem...
    Failure to judge one's fellow favorably creates a problem on two
    levels: there is the narrow view, which concerns the personal offense
    experienced by the individual involved; and there is the broader view
    of the social ramifications. A society built in such a way that no
    one can rely on anyone else, and everyone is always regarded with
    suspicion, is a defective society. A society in which doors are
    always locked is quite unlike a society in which no one ever locks
    his door. ...

    This idea has ramifications for our relations with secular Jews, as
    well as Reform and Conservative groups. Along with the justified and
    necessary opposition to their views, is it not proper that we refrain
    from rejecting outright the possibility that they are truly motivated
    "for the sake of Heaven"? Must we always insist on accusing all of
    them of acting out of personal interests, and viewing only ourselves
    as acting "for the sake of Heaven"? This approach is neither true
    nor healthy. "Judge every person favorably" (Avot 1:6).

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             A pious Jew is not one who worries about his fellow
mi...@aishdas.org        man's soul and his own stomach; a pious Jew worries
http://www.aishdas.org   about his own soul and his fellow man's stomach.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                       - Rav Yisrael Salanter

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Message: 12
From: Saul.Z.New...@kp.org
Date: Wed, 4 Jan 2012 15:12:26 -0800
[Avodah] who avoids whom?

http://choppingwood.blogspot.com/2012/01/healthy-man.html  on women's job 
in preventing men from sinning 

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Message: 13
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 5 Jan 2012 11:48:57 -0500
Re: [Avodah] who avoids whom?

On Wed, Jan 04, 2012 at 03:12:26PM -0800, Saul.Z.New...@kp.org wrote:
: http://choppingwood.blogspot.com/2012/01/healthy-man.html  on women's job 
: in preventing men from sinning 

Kol Yisrael areivim plus ein apitropos la'arayos places a large obligation
on all of us to avoid lifnei iveir and mesayeiah lidevar aveirah in
these areas.

But it's still a problem "owned" by the potential avaryan, first and

That said, tzeni'us is a middah to be developed, and not entirely (and
perhaps even not primarily) about preventing hirhurim. Otherwise,
why was Kimchis rewarded by having all 7 sons merit becoming kohanim
gedolim for ensuring that "the rafters of my home have never 'seen'
the plaits of my hair" (Yuma 47a)?

On a tangent, I don't understand one element of that story... He son R'
Yishmael was metamei through the roq of a nakhri, and so the backup
had to serve on YK. (Although R' Yishmael did serve in the past, the
gemara says he held 4 qav of qetores.) This is how his brother Yeshvav
served as KG. I find it odd, because this seems like an odd part of a
reward -- one of her sons got to be KG through the other's mishap?

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Between stimulus & response, there is a space.
mi...@aishdas.org        In that space is our power to choose our
http://www.aishdas.org   response. In our response lies our growth
Fax: (270) 514-1507      and our freedom. - Victor Frankl, (MSfM)

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Message: 14
From: Eli Turkel <elitur...@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 5 Jan 2012 18:54:44 +0200
[Avodah] international dateline

From an article by R Pahmer in the Journal of  Halacha and
Contemporary Society vol 21 (1991).

The various shitot of where the halachic dateline are:

1. Brisker Rav = 90 degrees east of Jerusalem.  Accordingly Japan, Korea
and most of Australia keep shabbat on sunday
(those of our chevra in Australia looking for chumrot should keep this in

2. CI = 90 degrees east of Jerusalem but stretched to the end of the
continental mass. Since a small portion of Australia is on the EY side
therefore all of Australia keeps shabbat on Saturday. However, immediately
off the coast shabbat is on sunday. According to both these shitot in Japan
and New Zealand shabbat is on sunday.

Rav Herschel Schacter explains that this applies on on land. However, in
the air there is no end of land masses and so the line is a straight 90
Hence, if one flies motzei shabbat from Melbourne one immediately enters

3. Rav Tukishinsky = 180 degrees from EY so Japan and Australia keep
shabbat on the local Saturday but now Hawaii has shabbat on friday.

4. Rav Kasher = there is no Torah definition of the dateline and so the
rabbis can set it at their convenience which is taken to be the
international dateline. Hence, all communities would keep shabbat on the
local Saturday (dont know what he would say about Samoa). Rav Kasher's
opinion is in HaPardes 28th year, vol5, p3 for anyone who wants to read the

As I previously wrote in actual fact all communities that I know
essentially follow Rav Kasher, ie the communities of Melbourne, Tokyo, New
Zealand, Honolulu all observe shabbat on the local Saturday even though the
first three shitot would have it observed on a different day for some (not
all) of the communities. SBA has mentioned that some in Australia are
machmir to keep a second day of shabbat (for Torah laws) if they visit an
island off the coast. I assume the same would hold if they visited Japan or
New Zealand even though they have (small) Jewish communities.

Eli Turkel
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Message: 15
From: Marty Bluke <marty.bl...@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 5 Jan 2012 19:44:52 +0200
[Avodah] R' Aharon Lichtenstein on Daas Torah

R' Lichtenstein spoke on Chanuka about Daas Torah and his talk has been
transcribed and published here:

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