Avodah Mailing List

Volume 30: Number 79

Sun, 01 Jul 2012

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: cantorwolb...@cox.net
Date: Fri, 29 Jun 2012 19:50:51 -0400
[Avodah] Moshe and the Rock

I've seen a commentary that says Moshe was commanded to
speak to the rock but was never told what to say. Now certainly,
he wouldn't ask the rock "How ya doin?" So if he wasn't told what
exactly to say to the rock, was he supposed to just say "Hey rock,
give us some water!" Also, how would he know which rock to speak

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Message: 2
From: Meir Rabi <meir...@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, 30 Jun 2012 18:27:52 +1000
[Avodah] didn't rivka initiate the hate between eisav and

was it not the comments of Tziporah,
it makes no difference how I dress, or, I pity the wives of those prophets,
that prompted the LH of Miryam and Aharon?

and she was not punished in any way, nor is she criticised for what she said



Meir G. Rabi
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Message: 3
From: Meir Rabi <meir...@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, 30 Jun 2012 18:40:26 +1000
[Avodah] Chatzi Hallel on Shevi'i Shel Pesach and Drops of

Perhaps the symbolism in spilling 10 drops is that Gd was actually the
loser in this exchange.
Gd's preference was that Paroh should repent, accept the truth and embrace

But in spite of Gd's best efforts Paroh remained obstinate, defiant,
unrepentant and insistent that he will not admit defeat. So he won and Gd

How can we lift a cup in celebration and praise Gd when Gd lost the battle?
How can we sing Gd's praises?

My handiwork is being destroyed means; what I created with the potential
and purpose of recognising and praising Me has failed to actualise that
potential, has used the free will I gave it to choose in spite of My best
efforts at persuasion and clarification, to choose a course that requires
their destruction.

It is truly a VERY sad event in history.



Meir G. Rabi
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Message: 4
From: Zev Sero <z...@sero.name>
Date: Sat, 30 Jun 2012 22:15:03 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Chatzi Hallel on Shevi'i Shel Pesach and Drops

On 30/06/2012 4:40 AM, Meir Rabi wrote:
> How can we lift a cup in celebration and praise Gd when Gd lost the battle?
> How can we sing Gd's praises?

How many times do I have to repeat: Hu eino sas aval acherim mesis.  This
is an explicit gemara, you can't argue with 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: 5
From: "Akiva Miller" <kennethgmil...@juno.com>
Date: Sun, 1 Jul 2012 02:52:12 GMT
Re: [Avodah] Drops of wine

R' Zev Sero wrote:

> The Maharil says that one should think while pouring that
> Hashem should save us from all these plagues and they should
> come to Hashem's enemies. In other words it's as much about
> calling down punishment on our enemies as it is about
> diverting it from us.  We're not just getting rid of these
> drops and what they symbolise, we're specifically sending
> them to the other side.
> ...
> The Alter Rebbe explains that "the cup is the symbol of
> malchus, and one is using the power of binah to pour out,
> from the wine that it contains, the symbol of anger that is
> in it, into a broken vessel which symbolises the klipah, which
> is called "cursed".  What is left symbolises "the wine that
> gladdens", so one should not pour it out but add to it.

I am fascinated by all this, and would like to learn more. Please tell me
where I can find this thought of the Maharil, and this quote from the Alter
Rebbe. Please tell not just the name of the sefer, but some reference
within that sefer -- neither my library nor my skills are as extensive as
yours. Thanks!

Akiva Miller

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

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Message: 6
From: Zev Sero <z...@sero.name>
Date: Sun, 01 Jul 2012 01:35:50 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Drops of wine

On 30/06/2012 10:52 PM, Akiva Miller wrote:

> I am fascinated by all this, and would like to learn more. Please
> tell me where I can find this thought of the Maharil,


> and this quote from the Alter Rebbe.


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: cantorwolb...@cox.net
Date: Sun, 1 Jul 2012 02:23:41 -0400
[Avodah] Spontaneous Generation

MBY 316:1-12 Forbidden and Permissible Trapping (abridged)
[Based heavily upon Kitzur Shulchan Aruch: 80:52-53 and 87:20-21, ?Metsudah? edition, with notes, 
translated and annotated by Rabbi Avrohom Davis] 
80:52) It is forbidden even to catch a flea on Shabbos.  But if it is on your body and it is biting you, 
since it causes you physical discomfort, it may be removed and thrown away.  It is forbidden to kill it, 
because it is forbidden to kill any living creature on Shabbos.  (Footnote #162: In a place where many ants 
are found, one must be careful not to step on them - Shulchan Aruch Harav 316:21.)  Lice, however, since 
they are created only by perspiration, are permitted to be killed.  Nevertheless, those found in clothing must 
not be killed; rather, they should be removed and thrown away.  (Footnote #163: Because fleas are found 
there too and you may come to kill a flea - Magen Avraham)  Only lice found in the head may be killed.
80:53) You must take care when closing a box or vessel in which there are flies, to let them fly out first, 
because when you close it they will be trapped there.  However, it is not necessary to examine the box 
to see that none are left; it is sufficient to chase away those you see.

The above statement regarding lice created only by perspiration has been disproven and is no longer controversial. 
Would the above halacha permitting lice to be killed therefore be invalid? Or does any halacha which has been proven
to be based on faulty information still have to remain? (lo plug)   
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Message: 8
From: "Chana Luntz" <Ch...@kolsassoon.org.uk>
Date: Sun, 1 Jul 2012 15:58:15 +0100
Re: [Avodah] Who is a Talmid Chacham

RZS writes:

>The definition of Torah lishmah is that there is no "output".  If you're
digging holes for a purpose then the value of your work is measured by how
many >holes you produce; but if you're just doing it for exercise then you
can just dig the same hole and fill it in again, over and over, and you've
achieved >every bit as much as if you'd dug up a whole field. 

Well I would argue that the classic definition of torah lishma is to
contrast torah lishma with learning in order to know what to do.  If you
learn eg lulav hagozel right before sukkos in order to know how to pick your
lulav, and what lulav is and isn't possul - that is a classic example of
learning torah in order to know what to do.  If you learn lulav hagozel in
order to understand the various chakiros and understand the depth and
breadth of the Torah better, that is torah lishma.

But that definition certainly believes there is "output".  It is, l'havdil,
more like learning about art or about culture - more like, if you like, a
liberal arts education versus an education purely in order to increase
earning power.  In that case there is clearly more value in those who learn
it well, and to greater depth, than those who don't.  Similarly for Torah
lishma, it is not that there is no more value to those who comprehend the
Torah at greater depth, but a value is placed on them doing it in order to
know the Torah, not in order to know what to do.

But your definition appears to be that there is no intrinsic value in the
Torah itself, except that G-d commanded (some of) us to spend time in it.
If Hashem had decided that instead of spending time in Torah, we should all
spend time digging holes and filling them up, or pushing rocks up hills and
then having them roll down again, then that would be equally good.  It just
so happened that he commanded Torah.  I'm afraid I don't believe that, and I
don't believe most Torah believing Jews do.

> Of course if you do dig up a field then you've also benefited the farmer;
if you come up with moreh'dike chidushim then you benefit klal yisroel for
>generations to come.  But that isn't the point of the learning, it's only a
side benefit.  Hence "echad hamarbeh ve'echad hamam'it", because the zechus
>of limud hatorah is the same.  For that matter, not to get personal, but a
woman who is mechadesh chidushim and is mezakeh the whole world is still an
>einah metzuvah, and has less zechus *for her limud itself* than a poshuter
yid who learns chumash.

Well the classic explanation for the reason for somebody who is ano meztave
v'oseh getting less reward, as per Tosphos and others, is that when one is
commanded, the yetzer hora is much more likely to get in the way and try and
prevent one from doing what one is commanded to do, and one then has to
spend the time and effort worrying about whether one will get it done.  So
that, one who is commanded and then does gets a greater reward than one who
is not commanded and does, for overcoming greater obstacles.  That would
mean that a woman who learns Chumash at the same level as a man would get
less reward for the same level of learning, not that a low level of learning
trumps a high level.

> Echad hamarbeh ve'echad hamam'it is learnt from the poor person's 
> korban versus the rich person's (see Menachos 110a).
> Note however that this concept actually contradicts the idea that what 
> counts is the time spent in hard work - ie the amount of ameilus a 
> person puts in, because what it appears to say is that if one gets to 
> the same point, it doesn't matter whether one takes a long time or 
> short time, it is the result that counts

>I don't understand what you're saying.  Echad hamarbeh ve'echad hamam'it
doesn't mean one who puts in more or less effort.  It's one who brings more
or >less.  The whole point is that Hashem values what it cost you, the
effort and sacrifice, not the value of what you brought.  If a few greens
are a more >meaningful sacrifice for you than a fat bull is for the rich
man, then your greens outweigh his bull on the Heavenly scale.

Well there are several ways one could understand this, and indeed you bring
two different ones in the piece above.  

a) One is that HaShem doesn't care about the *value* of the sacrifice only
the *effort* it cost you -if you are poor the effort and sacrifice might be
greater to bring flour than if you are rich and bring an animal. (That is
your second way - starting with "The whole point").

b) A second is that it doesn't matter to HaShem whether a person brings more
or less - so long as he brings what HaShem has told him to bring it is OK,
there are no comparisons being made here (that appears to be your first
explanation - "doesn't mean one who puts in more or less effort, it is one
who brings more or less").

c) A third is that it doesn't matter how much time or effort you put in, so
long as your do it devotedly.

d) A fourth is that it doesn't matter how much time or effort you put into
it, the key thing is that you get to the ultimate result (kaparah from
HaShem) and there are a number of different ways of achieving this.

Tosphos (and the Ritva and Rashba) seems to understand it as (b) - which is
why they have a problem with the fact that in other places it says that you
do have to choose the finest of your flock etc.  If it really doesn't matter
what is brought, why bother with choosing the finest of your flock.  Answer:
You are required to choose the finest of your flock, but you shouldn't be
puffed up with pride because you brought such a nice animal.  Or, the
requirements for choosing the finest of your flock are because
psychologically you might come to disdain the mitzvah if you are told you
could bring any old animal, but these requirements are not really important
in the grand scheme of korbanos.

However the Taz seems to understand it as (c) and also applies it not just
to korbanos, but to tephilla - this is jumping off the Shulchan Aruch, who
says that it is better for one to say little in tachanunim with kavana than
to say much without kavana.  But what the Shulchan Aruch does *not* say is
that it is better (or as good) for one who says little with kavana than one
who says much with kavana.  But the Taz feels there is a connection with
echad hamarbeh ve'echad hamemit, and therefore queries why one who says more
with kavana (ie one who puts in more time and effort) should be equated with
one who says less even with kavana.  And concludes that this is only in
circumstances where the saying of less means that more Torah is being learnt
(and it depends on the machlokus as to whether zman torah l'chud).

And the Sfas Emes understands it as d) - the key thing is that you reach
either dvekus to HaShem or kaparah from HaShem, not how long it took your or
how much of a struggle it was - He tells a parable about two men who both
need to get from one town to another, and one gets there quickly, and the
other does not.  When the second one gets there, he doesn't want to discuss
how he got there, it is enough that he got there in the end, just as the
first one did.

Now it is indeed fascinating that none of these commentators appear to
understand it as (a) - which does seem to be the most straightforward way of
seeing it.  Why don't they say - well a bull to a rich man is as big a
portion of his income as flour to a very poor man, so it is as much a
sacrifice to the one as the other, hence the equivalence?  I don't know.  

It is also noteworthy that the Taz specifically does not apply this saying
to Torah learning, and it would seem from the thrust of Tosphos, the Ritva
and the Rashba that they would not either.

The Sfas Emes might well- although he did not appear to actually discuss it
(and note that if applied to something like Torah learning, his approach
would seem to contradict the idea that one gets a greater reward if one
overcomes the obstacles of one's yetzer hara thrown up by being commanded).

But in order to argue that echad hamemit v'echad hamarbeh is of relevance to
our discussion, you have to say that:

a) the commentators I cited are misunderstanding the mishna - and in fact
your understanding of the mishna is the dominant one, despite all these
commentators who seem somehow to have so missed the point (and I am failing
so far to turn up somebody who does understand it this way, although I do
find it surprising that I haven't as yet, given that it certainly seems
plausible and logical - maybe it is because of the kavana reference - bilvad
shekaven es libo, if the issue is devotion to HaShem, then the level of
effort and sacrifice might be assumed to be also irrelevant); and

b) even if your understanding of the mishna is the correct one (and I can
understand the logic of it as I have said), it can and should be applied to
Torah learning as well as korbanos.

Now there are various reason why I do not think that even were (a) true,
that (b) would be true.  Part of the whole thrust of the discussion
regarding korbanos in the mishna and gemora is that HaShem really doesn't
need our korbanos, and a big one, a small one, what difference does it make,
does he eat them?  Rather the only people who benefit from a bigger rather
than smaller korban are the kohanim, not either HaShem or the baalim
themselves.  Somehow I doubt that many people would say that about Torah
learning.  The mystics, I believe, do see Torah learning as somehow
intrinsically affecting the universe, and for those non mystics, there is
definitely an idea that Torah learning works on a person.  It is a huge step
to say that it is merely the hard work equivalent to digging the holes that
is of value, not the level of understanding attained.  It reduces Torah
learning itself to a form of chok, and even more than that.  Because all the
classic chukim, such as parah adumah, the why may not be comprehensible, but
at least the what is very specifically described.  Here there is no reason
why one should do this rather than anything else except the command of
HaShem (since there is no value in any particular level of achievement), but
there is no actual level of performance prescribed either (ie you are not
even required to meet the minimum level of performance such as sprinkling
the ashes), merely endless time on time spent.

Zev Sero        "Natural resources are not finite in any meaningful



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Message: 9
From: "Prof. Levine" <llev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Sun, 01 Jul 2012 11:52:27 -0400
[Avodah] What is TIDE

The following is from page 61 of the sixth volume of Yerushaseinu.

Thus, only the most superficial understanding of Rav Hirsch's 
ideology would presume that
Torah im Derech Eretz implies a blanket sanction of secular studies 
and activities.
Obviously, Rav Breuer's approach - based on Rav Hirsch - demanded the absolute
supremacy of Torah.

The Torah im Derech Eretz perspective has been subject to various 
since Rav Hirsch's time, and Rav Breuer was committed to defending 
his grandfather's
ideology against misinformed accusations. Even his own talmidim 
occasionally sought
clarification regarding how to precisely define Torah im Derech 
Eretz. Rav Shlomo Wolbe,
the Mashgiach of Yeshivas Be'er Yaakov and former talmid of Rav 
Breuer in the Frankfurt
Yeshiva, recalled:

I was always perplexed by the exact definition of Torah im Derech 
Eretz, until I was
privileged to visit Mori v 'Rebbi the Rosh Yeshivah [Rav Breuer] in 
New York. In the
midst of the conversation I got up the courage and asked him [the 
true meaning of
Torah im Derech Eretz]. I heard from him something that was novel to me in its
clarity. I hope I understood him properly. There is a way of life to 
close oneself up
from any influence outside the world of Torah. And there is a way of 
life to see the
world that is outside the daled amos of Torah as a challenge: to find 
oneself in the
world and at the same time to keep Torah and halachah without any compromises.
This is the way of Torah im Derech Eretz!

Rav Breuer firmly believed that the Torah im Derech Eretz philosophy 
was just as relevant
to contemporary society as it had ever been, and he fiercely rejected 
the claim that Torah im
Derech Eretz was a temporary measure. As he put it, "Anyone who has 
but a fleeting
insight into the life and work of Rav Hirsch will realize that his 
Torah im Derech Eretz
formula was never intended by him as a Horaas Shaah."
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Message: 10
From: Ezra Chwat <Ezra.Ch...@nli.org.il>
Date: Sun, 1 Jul 2012 16:34:32 +0300
Re: [Avodah] . paskening from old/new infformation

To: Harvey Benton harvw...@yahoo.com<mailto:harvw...@yahoo.com> Fri, 29 Jun 2012 11:58:28 -0700 (PDT)

"do we ever pasken from a beraita not in the mishna gemmarra (eg,


why would the authority of the Tosefta be any less than that of the Talmud Yerushalmi?

Similar to the usage of Yerushalmi, The Rif will often cite Tosefta as a
supplement, providing a Halakha not dealt with explicitly in the Gmara (I
counted 19 such cases), or at least as a source to clarify ambiguity in the
Gmara (9 of these).

The Rishonim often use the Tosefta as a backup for a new pshat in gmara.
This could happen even if the trend of the sugya is leaning otherwise (E.G
Ramban Ktuvot 51b).

An extreme example of the relying on an extra-Talmudic source, even an
obscure one, is the usage of Masekhet Soferim for numerous European
minhagim, sometimes even against the Talmudic or Gaonic Halakha. See Tosfot
Brakhot 18a; Sefer Hayashar, Tshuvot p. 81; Ramban in Hidushe R. David and
RM Hlawa Psahim 117b; Hamahkim (Krakow 1909) p. 7; many more examples
collect by Higger , intro to Soferim , 1937, p. 70

      "which would open up the door to findinng a set of dead sea set of
      scrolls/egypt geniza set of sefarim, which would contain heretofore,
      unknown sets of literature/commentary??"

The door is wide open: On revision of  psak based on newly-found sources,
unavailable to previous poskim: RMA, HM 25:2, (no reason to believe Maran
Hamhaber disagrees).

On revision based on newly found nusach of known sources: RMM Kasher, Noam 16 (1973) p. 165-.

Dr. Ezra Chwat
The Department of Manuscripts/
National Library of Israel
blog: Giluy Milta B'Alma: http://imhm.blogspot.com

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Message: 11
From: "Prof. Levine" <llev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Sun, 01 Jul 2012 17:41:38 -0400
[Avodah] Halachic Discussion of Tow Truck Baby

At http://tinyurl.com/6tawbv7 R. Gil Student concludes

I suggest, albeit tentatively, that the husband 
who flagged down someone to help was doing the 
right thing in trying to secure either a woman or 
gentile to assist. He must even hire someone to 
help if necessary; certainly he must try to ask 
someone to help. If no help was forthcoming, then 
he should delivery the baby himself.

An additional consideration is that almost anyone 
is more qualified to deliver a baby than the 
father, who is usually so nervous that he cannot 
properly function. Add in the unusual roadside 
circumstances and you have a very jittery man. A 
stranger is probably better for the wife. Of 
course, the wife is probably uncomfortable with a 
strange man delivering her baby. The exact 
calculus of which is greater?the physical benefit 
of a clear-thinking man or the psychological 
detriment of a strange man?seems impossible to 
resolve on any general basis. Every case is different.

Of course, this all assumes that he had 
sufficient time to find someone. If not, he would 
be endangering his wife?s and his baby?s lives. 
 From the fact that he was successful, we can 
deduce that either he had enough time to ask for 
help or he was lucky. My two youngest children 
were extremely quick deliveries but I seem to 
recall time for brief discussion (by the doctor, 
not me) during the final moments.

In the end, I can?t condemn the man. He may have 
done the halakhically proper thing. It all 
depends on so many factors that we cannot 
evaluate from a brief news report. Most important 
to note is that he did not abandon his wife; he 
sought help. If no one was available to assist, 
he would certainly have delivered the baby 
himself rather than abandon his wife and newborn to child to an uncertain fate.

See the above URL for the entire article.  YL

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Message: 12
From: Harvey Benton <harvw...@yahoo.com>
Date: Sun, 1 Jul 2012 14:43:17 -0700 (PDT)
Re: [Avodah] Four

pardes also has four letters 

to it, and four? went into 

it? (at leastt as? we know......


 From: "cantorwolb...@cox.net" <cantorwolb...@cox.net>
To: harvw...@yahoo.com 
Sent: Saturday, June 30, 2012 11:04 PM
Subject: Four
> The word four has four 
> letters in it.? So does arba.? And vier.

"And vier" Does that refer to the yiddish Fier?
If so, wouldn't that be spelled fay, yud, reish (which is three letters, not four)?
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