Avodah: Volume 31, Number 5

Fri, 04 Jan 2013

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
  1. Re: What date was the Torah given? (Akiva Miller)
  2. Re: What date was the Torah given? (Micha Berger)
  3. Re: Is Panentheism Heresy? (Micha Berger)
  4. Re: Chassidim on Horseback? (Prof. Levine)
  5. Re: Chassidim on Horseback? (Micha Berger)
  6. Re: What date was the Torah given? (Rich, Joel)
  7. Re: Chassidim on Horseback? (Zev Sero)
  8. Re: Chassidim on Horseback? (Micha Berger)
  9. Re: Chassidim on Horseback? (Zev Sero)
  10. Mechiras Yosef and who knew (Sarah Green)
  11. Hair Covering and Jewish Law (Lisa Liel)
  12. Re: Hair Covering and Jewish Law (Micha Berger)
  13. Psak in Machshava (joelir...@xcomcast.net)
  14. Seen on Facebook... (Moshe Y. Gluck)
  15. Re: Seen on Facebook... (Micha Berger)

Message: 1
From: "Akiva Miller" <kennethgmil...@juno.com>
Date: Thu, 3 Jan 2013 13:05:43 GMT
Subject:
Re: [Avodah] What date was the Torah given?


I wrote:
> In fact, listmember Rabbi Zvi Lampel DID write a book about
> it, which I recommend to anyone interested: "The Dynamics of
> Dispute: The Makings of Machlokess in Talmudic Times"

R' Micha Berger commented:
> RZL's "The Dynamics of Dispute" focuses on machloqesin in
> halakhah, not in history. So I'm not sure he fully addresses
> RMBluke's question.

I don't see any difference. Every machlokes of halachah is ultimately a
machlokes of history as well. If it doesn't boil down to "What did they
do?", then it is at least "What would they have done?" or "What could they
have done?"

RZL's chapter 4, from pages 65-82, is titled "The Rambam's Attack on
Attributing Machlokess to Forgetfulness", and later, on 116-118, he
discusses the question of "...it is not at all rare for Passover eve to
occur on Shabbos. How could a question about the practice have arisen?"

Even if he does not fully *answer* RMBluke's question, it is certainly a source for ideas which may help one to live with the question.

Akiva Miller
____________________________________________________________
New Diet Pill Sales Soar
New &#39fast acting&#39 diet pill flying off shelves admist consumer frenzy
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Message: 2
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 3 Jan 2013 10:40:47 -0500
Subject:
Re: [Avodah] What date was the Torah given?


On Thu, Jan 03, 2013 at 01:05:43PM +0000, Akiva Miller wrote:
: I don't see any difference. Every machlokes of halachah is ultimately
: a machlokes of history as well. If it doesn't boil down to "What did
: they do?", then it is at least "What would they have done?" or "What
: could they have done?"

: RZL's chapter 4, from pages 65-82, is titled "The Rambam's Attack
: on Attributing Machlokess to Forgetfulness", and later, on 116-118...

The Rambam says that machloqes comes from using the halachic process to
build new din from existing dinim and pesuqim. In contrast, there is no
building of the past; it's discovered, not legislated.

But yes, it's related. Which is why I used wiggle-words, "not sure [RZL]
FULLY [emph added] addresses".

By the Rambam's shitah, any machloqes about the past means that people
are trying to deduce something never transmitted mesoretically. Since
nothing transmitted mesoretically is ever forgotten, leshitaso.


That said, RMBluke's question AIUI isn't about the date or even the
nature of the machloqes over the date. It's about explaining how we
could ever have gotten to the point of not just having one well known
date. Given that we're talking about the most momentous event in history,
how could we not have it burned into our communal memory?

Tir'u baTov!
-Micha

-- 
Micha Berger             It is a glorious thing to be indifferent to
mi...@aishdas.org        suffering, but only to one's own suffering.
http://www.aishdas.org                 -Robert Lynd, writer (1879-1949)
Fax: (270) 514-1507




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Message: 3
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Wed, 2 Jan 2013 21:35:32 -0500
Subject:
Re: [Avodah] Is Panentheism Heresy?


I intend to put in my own 2 cents, but before this conversation goes
anywhere, I need to interject R' Jon Baker's definition of terms
from <http://torahmusings.com/2013/01/is-chabad-heresy>:

    Pantheism: God is identical with the physical (finite) universe.

    Panentheism: The physical universe is entirely contained within
    the infinite God, and nullified beside It as any finite number is
    nullified in comparison with inifinity. We as created beings have
    a soul which is chelek Eloak mimaal, a part of God Above, but we
    cannot perceive it.

    Acosmism: There is no physical universe, it is all God-stuff, just
    that because of the (spiritual) tzimtzum, we are effectively screened
    from perceiving the God-nature of ourselves and everything around us.

    The first is clearly incompatible with pretty much any form of Judaism
    that hews to tradition -- it's essentially the god of Spinoza or R'
    Mordechai Kaplan.

    The second and third are simultaneously and "paradoxically" (Rachel
    Elior's characterization in "the Paradoxical Ascent to God") held by
    Chabad. Elliot Wolfson ("Open Secret") uses the terms to translate
    Chabad's concepts of "lower unity" and "upper unity" (yichuda tataah,
    yichuda ilaah).

    Elijah J. Schochet, a Gra einikl, reads the letters about "the Chabad
    will worship the trees and stones" literally to say that the Gra
    disagrees with Chabad acosmism.

    Allan Nadler ("The Faith of the Mithnagdim") claims instead that the
    Gra and the Baal haTanya agreed on acosmism, but the chasidim held
    that the godliness was perceivable by the non-initiate, while the
    Gra held that one needed to be a kabbalistic initiate to perceive
    our God-nature. The letter would thus be interpreted to say that
    the non-initiates, who cannot perceive the God-nature in the trees
    and stones, will worship the trees and stones as trees and stones,
    not as parts of the One God Unchanging.

    This is further complicated by the inter-group brangling ...

Tir'u baTov!
-Micha

-- 
Micha Berger             When we are no longer able to change a situation
mi...@aishdas.org        -- just think of an incurable disease such as
http://www.aishdas.org   inoperable cancer -- we are challenged to change
Fax: (270) 514-1507      ourselves.      - Victor Frankl (MSfM)




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Message: 4
From: "Prof. Levine" <llev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Thu, 03 Jan 2013 11:04:07 -0500
Subject:
Re: [Avodah] Chassidim on Horseback?


I am moving this to Avodah.

At 10:49 AM 1/3/2013, Micha Berger wrote on Areivim:
>On Thu, Jan 03, 2013 at 10:45:48AM -0500, Prof. Levine wrote:
> > First of all,  given that I have never heard of Jewish nobility in old
> > Europe (certainly not within the past 500 years),  is this not the
> > adoption of a gentile practice? ....
>
>No more than ties are. Derekh emori is only if the practice is religiously
>motivated or (non-Jewish?) superstition.

You seem to be equating something that is non-Jewish with Darchei 
Emori.  From http://tinyurl.com/avmsbjq

The Tosefta in Shabbos (Chapters 7 & 8) lists various practices which 
are prohibited due to the fact that they are darchei haemori. For 
example, putting thorns in a window to protect a pregnant woman or 
tying an iron to one's bed. These things all have one basic common 
feature. They are irrational - meaning they are not scientifically or 
observably proven remedies.

It seems to me that there are non-Jewish practices that do not fall 
within the category of darchei haemori.  This is presumably related 
to the distinction that RSRH makes between un-Jewish and non-Jewish 
practices.   See 
"<http://personal.stevens.edu
/%7Ellevine/jp/The%20Difference%20Between%20%27Non-Jewish%27%20And%20%27Un-
Jewish%27.pdf>The 
Difference Between 'Non-Jewish' and 'Un-Jewish'" The Jewish Press, 
July 25, 2007, page 1

My point was that riding on horseback to this wedding by these 
prominent guests is something that is adopted from gentile 
culture.  I did not intend to imply that it is assur.

What I find ironic is that those doing this,  whom I am sure would 
speak strongly against the adoption of any non-Jewish practice,  are 
indeed involved in a non-Jewish practice!

Yitzchok Levine 
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Message: 5
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 3 Jan 2013 12:48:04 -0500
Subject:
Re: [Avodah] Chassidim on Horseback?


On Thu, Jan 03, 2013 at 11:04:07AM -0500, Prof. Levine wrote:
>>> First of all,  given that I have never heard of Jewish nobility in old
>>> Europe (certainly not within the past 500 years),  is this not the
>>> adoption of a gentile practice? ....

>> No more than ties are. Derekh emori is only if the practice is religiously
>> motivated or (non-Jewish?) superstition.
>
> You seem to be equating something that is non-Jewish with Darchei Emori.  

I repeat: No more than ties are.

I am saying that "derekh emori" are religious and superstitious practices
picked up from the non-Jews.

> From http://tinyurl.com/avmsbjq
> The Tosefta in Shabbos (Chapters 7 & 8) lists various practices which  
> are prohibited due to the fact that they are darchei haemori. For  
> example, putting thorns in a window to protect a pregnant woman or tying 
> an iron to one's bed. These things all have one basic common feature. 
> They are irrational - meaning they are not scientifically or observably 
> proven remedies.

There is a second common feature -- the local non-Jews did it. Which is
why the name of the issur invokes a local group of non-Jews, the Emori.
There is no indication that I know of that says that superstitions unique
to the Jewish community qualify.

...
> What I find ironic is that those doing this,  whom I am sure would speak 
> strongly against the adoption of any non-Jewish practice,  are indeed 
> involved in a non-Jewish practice!

Why? It's a practice being copied from from the same class of people
as those who originally wore fur hats and silk long frocks. (Albeit not
necessarily in black-and-white.)

I think their concern is assimilation of values that would come along
with assimilation of other cultural elements. Not an issue when imitating
a society long gone.

Tir'u baTov!
-Micha

-- 
Micha Berger             For a mitzvah is a lamp,
mi...@aishdas.org        And the Torah, its light.
http://www.aishdas.org                   - based on Mishlei 6:2
Fax: (270) 514-1507




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Message: 6
From: "Rich, Joel" <JR...@sibson.com>
Date: Thu, 3 Jan 2013 11:01:14 -0500
Subject:
Re: [Avodah] What date was the Torah given?


[Micha:]
> On Thu, Jan 03, 2013 at 01:05:43PM +0000, Akiva Miller wrote:
>: I don't see any difference. Every machlokes of halachah is ultimately
>: a machlokes of history as well. If it doesn't boil down to "What did
>: they do?", then it is at least "What would they have done?" or "What
>: could they have done?"

>: RZL's chapter 4, from pages 65-82, is titled "The Rambam's Attack
>: on Attributing Machlokess to Forgetfulness", and later, on 116-118...

> The Rambam says that machloqes comes from using the halachic process to
> build new din from existing dinim and pesuqim. In contrast, there is no
> building of the past; it's discovered, not legislated.

> But yes, it's related. Which is why I used wiggle-words, "not sure [RZL]
> FULLY [emph added] addresses".

> By the Rambam's shitah, any machloqes about the past means that people
> are trying to deduce something never transmitted mesoretically. Since
> nothing transmitted mesoretically is ever forgotten, leshitaso.

For a nice summary for those who are oral learners:

Rabbi Jeremy Wieder -- The Origin of Torah Sheba'al Peh and the Mesorah
of Machlokes
http://www.yutorah.org/lectures/lecture.cfm/787776

KT
Joel Rich





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Message: 7
From: Zev Sero <z...@sero.name>
Date: Thu, 03 Jan 2013 12:52:15 -0500
Subject:
Re: [Avodah] Chassidim on Horseback?


On 3/01/2013 11:04 AM, Prof. Levine wrote:
> You seem to be equating something that is non-Jewish with Darchei Emori.  From http://tinyurl.com/avmsbjq

Indeed, a more likely avenue of attack is Chukos Hagoy.  Nevertheless,
I don't believe there are real grounds there either.  There's nothing
inherently goyish about riding a horse, any more than there is in owning
a dog, another thing that in the Old Country was associated with the Poretz.
Hashem made horses and dogs, after all.   And there *is* something noble
about a man riding a horse -- a proper horse, that is, not a pony!

It's true that 200 years ago if a young man were seen riding a horse it
was a sign that he was OTD.  There's a famous story of a conversation between
the Alter Rebbe and such a young man.  The AR asked him what was so great
about riding horses, and he said it's simply a fast and convenient way to
get from A to B.  The AR replied that yes, a horse is indeed a wonderful
way to get where you are going, better than walking, provided you're on the
right road, but what if you get on the wrong road?  Then all it does is take
you farther away from your destination, faster than you would go if you were
walking.  Then he thought for a bit and added, however once you realise that
you are on the wrong road, then the horse will also get you back to the right
road faster.

-- 
Zev Sero               A citizen may not be required to offer a 'good and
z...@sero.name          substantial reason' why he should be permitted to
                        exercise his rights. The right's existence is all
                        the reason he needs.
                            - Judge Benson E. Legg, Woollard v. Sheridan




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Message: 8
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 3 Jan 2013 13:09:18 -0500
Subject:
Re: [Avodah] Chassidim on Horseback?


On Thu, Jan 03, 2013 at 12:52:15PM -0500, Zev Sero wrote:
> Indeed, a more likely avenue of attack is Chukos Hagoy...

AIUI, the difference between the two issurim is that darkhei ha'emori are
acts one is copying for their superstitious benefit or that originated
in AZ -- although the AZ aspect was lost. (Like questions of Holloween.)
Whereas chuqos hagoy are practices one is imitating in order to conform.

And since it is no longer a common practice among non-Jews to ride
into a wedding bedavqa on horseback, I thought derkhei ha'emori was the
closer fit.

But in any case, neither really seem applicable, as it's just imitation
of an out-of-date (and thus not assimilationist) fashion (and thus not
religious or superstitious).

Tir'u baTov!
-Micha

-- 
Micha Berger             You want to know how to paint a perfect
mi...@aishdas.org        painting?  It's easy.
http://www.aishdas.org   Make yourself perfect and then just paint
Fax: (270) 514-1507      naturally.              -Robert Pirsig




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Message: 9
From: Zev Sero <z...@sero.name>
Date: Thu, 03 Jan 2013 13:16:22 -0500
Subject:
Re: [Avodah] Chassidim on Horseback?


On 3/01/2013 1:09 PM, Micha Berger wrote:
> And since it is no longer a common practice among non-Jews to ride
> into a wedding bedavqa on horseback, I thought derkhei ha'emori was the
> closer fit.
>
> But in any case, neither really seem applicable, as it's just imitation
> of an out-of-date (and thus not assimilationist) fashion (and thus not
> religious or superstitious).

But it *was* current fashion at the time that these chassidim adopted it.
At the time it could potentially be attacked as Chukos Hagoy (though I
don't think such an attack would be successful, for the reasons I touched
on earlier).  Now, of course, it's "minhag avoseinu", which is why it's
morphed in such a way that it appears silly and sad to our eyes, precisely
because we're closer to the culture they're copying than they are!

It would be really nice if they were conscious of this, and were in fact
making a clever and ironic commentary on the goyishe practise, i.e. if
rather than imperfectly attempting to emulate it they were actually
parodying it.  I wish I could believe that this was the case.

-- 
Zev Sero               A citizen may not be required to offer a 'good and
z...@sero.name          substantial reason' why he should be permitted to
                        exercise his rights. The right's existence is all
                        the reason he needs.
                            - Judge Benson E. Legg, Woollard v. Sheridan




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Message: 10
From: Sarah Green <sarahya...@yahoo.com>
Date: Thu, 3 Jan 2013 13:25:11 -0800 (PST)
Subject:
[Avodah] Mechiras Yosef and who knew


Evidently Yosef sent everyone out of the room so they would not hear him
tell his brothers that they had sold him.? Someone says that he spoke
quietly so that even Binyomin would not hear.

Anyone have anything that show whether Binyomin knew?? Or can you picture
all the brothers standing around and somehow Yosef speaks to everyone
except Binyomin?? I am finding the idea difficult to grasp.
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Message: 11
From: Lisa Liel <l...@starways.net>
Date: Thu, 03 Jan 2013 17:54:01 -0600
Subject:
[Avodah] Hair Covering and Jewish Law


Hair Covering and Jewish Law: Biblical and Objective (Dat Moshe) or 
Rabbinic and Subjective (Dat Yehudit)?
Rabbi Michael J. Broyde
http://traditiononline.org/news/_pdfs/0095-0180.pdf

Spoilers:
Everything that I have written is meant only to justify the halakhic 
practice of modest Jewish women. As a rabbi of little stature, I have no 
intention of deciding halakhic practice for the entire community in 
opposition to the rulings of the great decisors of our generation. I 
only wish to point out that there are many Rishonim who rule that the 
prohibition for married women to go with uncovered hair is a subjective 
rabbinic violation dependent on societal norms of modesty(and dat 
yehudit), not a biblical prohibition (and dat moshe). Women and families 
who have a clear custom not to cover their hair should know that there 
is a firm foundation for such a practice in the Rishonim and Shulhan 
Arukh, even if such a view is rejected by the great Ahronim of our day.
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Message: 12
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 3 Jan 2013 19:19:55 -0500
Subject:
Re: [Avodah] Hair Covering and Jewish Law


On Thu, Jan 03, 2013 at 05:54:01PM -0600, Lisa Liel wrote:
> Hair Covering and Jewish Law: Biblical and Objective (Dat Moshe) or  
> Rabbinic and Subjective (Dat Yehudit)?
> Rabbi Michael J. Broyde
> http://traditiononline.org/news/_pdfs/0095-0180.pdf

See also RMJB's posts at
http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/vol06/v06n077.shtml#17
http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/vol06/v06n083.shtml#02
http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/vol06/v06n086.shtml#05 (two consecutive posts)

(That range of the digest has a whole exchange between him and RYGB on
the subject. Click on the subject lines to the various posts to go to
the per-subject index.)

More recently, Hirhurim tackled the discussion:
http://torahmusings.com/2010/09/hair-wars/ - pointer to a dialog betweeen
    RMJBroyde and R' Eli Shuilman

http://hirhurim.blogspot.com/2009/12/married-women-and-hair-c
overing-request.html
    - guest post by RMJB

http://torahmusings.com/2010/09/hair-wars-ii/ - R' David Keter and R' YH
    Henkin write in on the subject

http://torahmusings.com/2011/08/is-this-really-dialogue/ - RMJB's reply to
    the attack (his term) on his article in the opening issue of "Dialogue
    For Torah Issues and Ideas". As RMJB put it, "notwithstanding its
    tone, the article made enough substantive points of halacha to
    warrant a response."

Tir'u baTov!
-Micha

-- 
Micha Berger             It's never too late
mi...@aishdas.org        to become the person
http://www.aishdas.org   you might have been.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                      - George Elliot




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Message: 13
From: joelir...@xcomcast.net
Date: Fri, 4 Jan 2013 01:49:19 +0000 (UTC)
Subject:
[Avodah] Psak in Machshava




I think we've discussed the general issue of psak in machshava (or at
least in the ikkarim). For some reason (and I apologize if we've covered
this already) it just hit me that the gemara in Eruvin 13b specifically
uses what IIUC is the language of psak in a case of machshava (unless
there is a halachic implication to whether we would have been better
off created or not)

????? ???? ???? ??????? ?? ?? ???? ? 

??? ????: ??? ???? ????? ????? ??? ???? ???? ???, ???? ??????: ??? ??
???? ??? ???? ???? ??????, ????? ??????: ??? ?? ???? ????? ???? ????
????. ???? ?????: ??? ?? ???? ??? ???? ???? ??????, ????? ????? - ?????
??????. ????? ??: ????? ??????.

[For two and a half years Beith Shammai and Beith Hillel argued. These
[Beith Shammai] said "It is better for man not to have been created than
to have been created." And those [Beith Hillel] said "It is better for
man to have been created." Together, they [reviewed the opinions and]
reached a consensus: It is better for man to have not been created than
to have been created.

tr. R Shaya Karlinsky
-micha]

Any thoughts? 
KT 
Joel RIch



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Message: 14
From: "Moshe Y. Gluck" <mgl...@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 3 Jan 2013 22:51:49 -0500
Subject:
[Avodah] Seen on Facebook...


"I've managed to piece together a baptism ritual using bits of the RCA
madrikh (and having the parents do the actual baptism) and modify vidui for
sacrament of the sick (aka last rites), but I'm stuck on annointing and
communion rituals for my Catholic patients (majority of patients). I try my
best to farm out those rituals to other Christian chaplains when possible,
but on-call, the hospital holds that it's my responsibility. I haven't found
a way to change the liturgy that honors the patient's tradition AND feels OK
for me to do halachically (i.e. doesn't feel like avodah zera). Thoughts?
Experiences? This whole interfaith chaplain residency is...a growing
experience."

 

Interesting question, no?

 

KT,

MYG

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Message: 15
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 4 Jan 2013 05:42:31 -0500
Subject:
Re: [Avodah] Seen on Facebook...


On Thu, Jan 03, 2013 at 10:51:49PM -0500, Moshe Y. Gluck wrote:
: Interesting question, no?

I have to say I don't see the question. What is the tzad heter for doing
a baptism, even if he bases his own role on the RCA madrikh? Or annointing?
Catholic communion?

:-)BBii!
-Micha


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