Avodah Mailing List

Volume 31: Number 9

Wed, 09 Jan 2013

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Rafi and Shifra Goldmeier <goldmeier.fam...@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 08 Jan 2013 13:15:10 +0200
Re: [Avodah] Onaas Devarim and the Pushy Shnorrer

on the one hand I would say that what you did might fall under the 
category of gneivas daas. On the other hand, he forced your hand, so to 
speak, by hounding you and leaving you no other choice. he was not 
taking the truth for an answer.

kol tuv
Rafi Goldmeier


Advertise on Life in Israel blog!! See 
http://lifeinisrael.blogspot.com/p/advertise-on-life-in-israel.html for
more information!


On 08-Jan-13 1:06 PM, Micha Berger wrote:
> Yesterday I was hounded by a collector for a tzedaqah who aparently
> couldn't believe that an American Jew would only have $1 in his
> pocket. Eventually, to get him off my case, I told him to give me a copy
> of his literature, in a wa that intimated that I would give more when
> I could.
> As soon as he walked away, I left the material on the table in the shul
> lobby used by everyone putting on tefillin. So, at least his literature
> was probably read by others.
> But I'm wondering if there is any tzad heter to what I did. I'm not
> asking simply to beat myself up; I think this is a situation most of us
> encounter frequently.
> Tir'u baTov!
> -Micha

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Message: 2
From: Saul Guberman <saulguber...@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 8 Jan 2013 10:06:42 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Onaas Devarim and the Pushy Shnorrer

On Tue, Jan 8, 2013 at 6:06 AM, Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org> wrote:

> Yesterday I was hounded by a collector for a tzedaqah who aparently
> couldn't believe that an American Jew would only have $1 in his
> pocket. Eventually, to get him off my case, I told him to give me a copy
> of his literature, in a wa that intimated that I would give more when
> I could.
> As soon as he walked away, I left the material on the table in the shul
> lobby used by everyone putting on tefillin. So, at least his literature
> was probably read by others.
> But I'm wondering if there is any tzad heter to what I did. I'm not
> asking simply to beat myself up; I think this is a situation most of us
> encounter frequently.

Once you have given the person some amount you have taken care of your
obligation to give tzedaqah.  Unless you explicitly tell the person you
will give more or  promise yourself/pledge that you will give more, taking
literature and deciding not to give more should be a valid option.

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Message: 3
From: T6...@aol.com
Date: Tue, 8 Jan 2013 09:35:30 -0500 (EST)
Re: [Avodah] Hasagat Gevul of a bus company


From: Arie Folger <afol...@aishdas.org>

>> Dear  Ovedim,

Pitchei Choshen Geneiva veOnaah pg. 269 wonders whether a cabbie  may
solicit customers from a bus stop. Is it like recruiting customers from  a
competitor's store, which is prohibited? One argument in favor of  allowing
it - which, in my opinion, is unconvincing - is that bus stops are  not like
store, but merely convenient place markers for customers to know  where they
can flag a bus.

However, I can two other possible  distinctions that might make the practice
permissible, though I am  unsure.
1) the product taxi ride and the product bus ride are  fundamentally
different services....<<

Kol tuv,
Arie Folger,

This reminds me of an old joke which may be relevant.  A man  comes home 
from work all red-faced and out of breath and his wife says, "What  
happened?!"  He says, "I decided to save two dollars so instead of  taking the bus, I 
ran home behind the bus."  "You idiot!" she  replies.  "You should have run 
home behind a taxi, you could have  saved TEN dollars!"
If someone came into a store and offered customers similar products for  
much less money, he could be said to be undercutting the shopkeeper.  But  if 
he offered a different product, and much more expensive at that, how is that 
 undercutting his competitor?
Related to this question of why taxis are so much more expensive than  
buses, well, I don't know if buses in Israel are privately owned and operated  
for profit, but here in Miami buses are run by the government and the fare  
doesn't come close to paying for the cost of the transportation, which is  
heavily subsidized by the taxpayers.  Taxis, in contrast, are private  
businesses.  Perhaps someone here can tell me if hasagas gevul applies to  
providing a for-profit alternative to a government service?
I remember the famous story of the Chofetz Chaim, who supposedly tore up a  
postage stamp when he gave a letter to someone to deliver personally -- so 
that  the government wouldn't lose the money it was "owed."  I never 
understood  that story because if you didn't use the government's service, why 
should you  have to pay the government anyway?  Is sending a letter with a 
friend some  kind of hasagas gevul issue vis-a-vis the United States postal 
service?  I  don't see it. 
OK but then you will say the issue isn't using a taxi instead of a bus,  
it's the taxi driver using the bus stop -- built and operated by the  
government -- for his own private use.  Well OK suppose I told my friend,  "I have a 
letter for you to take to Israel, meet me at the post office and I'll  give 
it to you."  Hasagas gevul?  Or suppose I went up and down the  line of 
people waiting at the post office and said to them, "I can deliver that  letter 
for you at five times the price the post office is charging, but it  will 
get there quicker."  Hm I think I see...yes, it might be a  problem.
But the question was framed as "whether a cabbie may solicit customers from 
 a bus stop. Is it like recruiting customers from a competitor's store, 
which is  prohibited?"  Which implies that a private business (a taxi vs a bus 
or UPS  vs the post office) can in any sense be considered competition to a 
public  taxpayer-paid service.  But can it?
If I am out walking and get tired, I can't trespass on someone else's  
property and go sit on their lawn chair.  But I can sit and rest at a bus  stop. 
 Isn't the bus stop public property to be used however the public  wants to 
use it?

--Toby  Katz


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Message: 4
From: Eli Turkel <elitur...@xgmail.com>
Date: Tue, 8 Jan 2013 14:52:50 +0200
[Avodah] shituf

> Lemaaseh, an informal survey on 47th Street led me to conclude that most
> of the Jews who sell necklace pendants in NY's Diamond Exchange rely on
> Tosafos to sell crosses.

I once heard in public from R/D David Berger that at one time most of
the peddlers selling tourist items in front of the Vatican were observant

[After getting my CC in email, I recalled hearing similarly from RD DB
in shul. -micha]

Eli Turkel

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Message: 5
From: "Prof. Levine" <llev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Tue, 08 Jan 2013 06:17:12 -0500
[Avodah] non-existent midrashim

At 06:07 AM 1/8/2013, you wrote:

>On Mon, Jan 7, 2013 at 12:45 PM, Daniel Eidensohn <yadmo...@gmail.com>wrote:
> >> the general psak today is that one can indeed wear clothing from the
> >> goyim as long as it has a purpose

The following is from RSRH's commentary on Bereishis 21:21 And God 
made Adam and his wife
garments of skins, and clothed them.

In dual fashion, clothing educates man to return to his original stature:
(a) Clothing covers the body's nakedness, thus warning man to rule over
his body.


(b) Clothing affords protection against the elements of nature,
thus reminding man that he has fallen from his former stature, to which
he has not yet returned. Man was created without a garment; the
peacefulness of Paradise prevailed between him and nature all around
him. Now, however, he needs a garment, and this garment reminds him
that, as long as he must be ashamed of his body, he has not yet returned
to Paradise.

Thus it seems to me that all clothing has a purpose. YL

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Message: 6
From: Arie Folger <afol...@aishdas.org>
Date: Tue, 8 Jan 2013 12:57:59 +0100
Re: [Avodah] non-existent midrashim

I wonder whether there is some confusion because we expect a work that has
the name midrash to be from Tannaim and Amoraim.

However, that is not true. Midrash were written for over a millenium, and
that means it spans the time from the Tannaim until the Rishonim. Just
because a work has the name Midrash and cites maamarei Chazal does not mean
that it is an Amoraic or immediately post-Amoraic work. (think Mekhilta vs.
Midrash Shemuelby Rabbi Shmuel d'Ouzida of Venice, as an extreme example)

Thus, it is entirely permissible for someone living six, seven or eight
hundred years ago, to offer his analysis, including what we collect as
phantom maamarei Chazal, and call it a (mi)drash.

In other word, there is no reason a priori, lacking an explicit source for
shelo shinu et malbusham, to assume that it must come from an early source.
The early source we have found so far subsitutes shelo dibru lashon hara'
and shehayu gedurim be'arayot for shelo shinu et malbusham, so the latter
may be a modified observation or chiddush based on the original midrashic

Arie Folger,
Visit my blog on http://ariefolger.wordpress.com/
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Message: 7
From: Eli Turkel <elitur...@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 8 Jan 2013 14:49:25 +0200
[Avodah] non-existent midrashim

<<The fact that the Alsheich does not quote his source does not mean that
he did not see one.  I doubt he found this midrash on the
I still maintain that we should call this thread "midrashim for which we
do not know the original source"

No one claims that the Alsheich made it up My claim was merely that it is a
late medieval
relatively unknown set of midrashim. In this case the source is known (I am
trying to locate it again
I once had it).

My only statement was that for a relatively unknown (or one whose source we
dont know) midrash
it has become very popular with many learning it in grade school and
frequently quoted on the internet.
Hence, my claim that there is no connection between the popularity of a
midrash and the importance of the original.

As an aside in line with the comment of Menucha many of the sources of the
Rambam are no longer known.
This of course does not imply that he didnt have a source.

Eli Turkel
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Message: 8
From: "Simi Peters" <famil...@actcom.net.il>
Date: Tue, 8 Jan 2013 19:05:56 +0200
[Avodah] phantom hazals

I believe the one about them not changing their clothes is in Shir haShirim Rabba.  If you like, I can check.

Sometimes a seemingly obscure/non-existent midrash is just a different
girsa found in a different source.  Sometimes it is a slight misquote that
throws people off, and sometimes it is the ganenet's version of a well
known source in Hazal.	Very occasionally, you can find a midrash quoted in
the rishonim that *we* have no source for, but that they did.

Kol tuv,
Simi Peters 
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Message: 9
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Tue, 8 Jan 2013 13:10:35 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Hasagat Gevul of a bus company

On Tue, Jan 08, 2013 at 09:35:30AM -0500, T6...@aol.com wrote:
: I remember the famous story of the Chofetz Chaim, who supposedly tore up a  
: postage stamp when he gave a letter to someone to deliver personally -- so 
: that  the government wouldn't lose the money it was "owed."  I never 
: understood  that story because if you didn't use the government's service, why
: should you  have to pay the government anyway?  Is sending a letter with a 
: friend some  kind of hasagas gevul issue vis-a-vis the United States postal 
: service?  I  don't see it. 

R' Menashe Klein (Mishnah Halakhos 6:288) holds that

1- When you get a letter where the stamp was not canceled, two
dinim are involved:
a- hashavas aveidas nachri, which is only mutar when it's a qiddush
   hasheim, and only mandatory to avoid a chilul hasheim.

   (Whether hashavas aveidas nachri without any element of qiddush
   hasheim is actually assur WRT people who keep the 7 mitzvos is a
   different topic. RMK isn't known for his universalist / humanist
   leanings WRT pesaq.)

b- Because the post office is part of the gov't, dina demalkhus applies.
   So in RMK's case, one is porhibited from reusing the stamp.

2- In that teshuvah, RMK opines that tearing up the stamp isn't iqar hadin,
   and the CC must have been acting specifically in order to create a
   qiddush Hashem rather than anything related to Choshein Mishpat.

BTW, R' Dr A J Twerski tells the story with a different protagonist in
Growing Each Day (relevant excerpt at
    I once brought a letter to my grandfather which my father had
    intended t mail to him. My grandfather opened up his desk drawer
    and tore up a postage stamp saying, "We have no right to withhold
    revenue from the postal service that is due to them." To a person for
    whom pennies (and postage was three cents back then) are negligible,
    misappropriation of thousands of dollars may also be feasible.

So R/D AJT's grandather thought the CC's example was one worth emulating.
But notice the difference in rationale that he attributes to it compared
to RMK. RMK made it about qiddush hasheim, R' Twerski made the issue one
of practicing proper middos.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Man is capable of changing the world for the
mi...@aishdas.org        better if possible, and of changing himself for
http://www.aishdas.org   the better if necessary.
Fax: (270) 514-1507            - Victor Frankl, Man's search for Meaning

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Message: 10
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Tue, 8 Jan 2013 13:27:28 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Mesorah

On Fri, Dec 28, 2012 at 10:14:59AM -0500, David Riceman wrote:
> What's extraordinary is your second clause:
>> I argue with the belief that the Rambam realized he was doing so, and
>> thought it was okay to do so.

But the notion that the Rambam's unification of Mesorah with his
Aristo-Neo-Platonism ended up distorting the mesorah to the point
of breaking it is far from my chiddush.

Unlike most machloqesin, this is a case where the debate isn't
whether A or B is correct. Invoking eilu va'eilu becomes non-trivial
when the machloqes is wheere one side says A is true, and the other
side says it's not only untrue, it's not divrei E-lokim chaim.

In 2009 I quoted RSRH on the subject, from the 18th of his 19 Letters
    The age gave birth to a man [R' Drachman's footnote: Maimonides], a
    mind, who, the product of uncomprehended Judaism and Arabic science,
    was obliged to reconcile the strife which raged in his own breast
    in his own manner, and who, by proclaiming it to the world, became
    the guide of all in whom the same conflict existed.

    This great man to whom, and to whom alone, we owe the preservation
    of practical Judaism to our time, is responsible because he sought
    to reconcile Judaism with the difficulties which confronted it
    from without instead of developing it creatively from within, for
    all the good and the evil which bless and afflict the heritage of
    the father. His peculiar mental tendency was Arabic-Greek, and his
    conception of the purpose of life the same. He entered into Judaism
    from without, bringing with him opinions of whose truth he had
    convinced himself from extraneous sources and he reconciled. For him,
    too, self-perfecting through the knowledge of truth was the highest
    aim, the practical he deemed subordinate. For him knowledge of God was
    the end, not the means; hence he devoted his intellectual powers to
    speculations upon the essence of Deity, and sought to bind Judaism
    to the results of his speculative investigations as to postulates
    of science or faith. The Mizvoth became for him merely ladders,
    necessary only to conduct to knowledge or to protect against
    error, this latter often only the temporary and limited error of
    polytheism. Mishpatim became only rules of prudence, Mitzvoth as well;
    Chukkim rules of health, teaching right feeling, defending against the
    transitory errors of the time; Edoth ordinances, designed to promote
    philosophical concepts; all this having no foundation in the eternal
    essence of things, not resulting from their eternal demand on me,
    or from my eternal purpose and task, no eternal symbolizing of an
    unchangeable idea, and not inclusive enough to form a basis for the
    totality of the commandments.

    He, the great systematic orderer of the practical results of the
    Talmud, gives expression in the last part of his philosophic work
    to opinions concerning the meaning and purpose of the commandments
    which, taking the very practical results codified by himself as the
    contents of the commandments, are utterly untenable cast no real
    light upon them and cannot go hand in hand with them in practice,
    in life, and in science...

And I summarized then:
> What then is RSRH's complaint? That the Rambam was too Aristotelian,
> and it led him to study Judaism from the outside, casting upon it the
> Hellenic philosopher's priority of knowledge rather than morality.

According to RSRH, the Rambam stood on the hashkafic outside looking in,
and distorted Chazal into saying things in concert with Greek thought
that are in truth dissonant to all versions of the Torah worldview.

(I am particularly bothered by this placing of intellect front and
center -- the point so central to the Rambam it's in both the opening
and closing peraqim of the Moreh. Reducing "vehalakhta bidrakhav" and
"his'haleikh lefanai" to handmaidens of abstract philosophical knowledge
is quite alien to me and to the way anyone else reads Chazal.)

I am voicing my agreement with the belief of many rishonim and acharonim
that the Rambam's reinterpretation of many pieces of aggadita are
distortions of the original. I just added that there is every indication
that the Rambam himself would be against such distortion; that he
explained Chazal as he was sure they must have meant.

The Rambam didn't take license to invent new peshatim in the Torah that
argue against Chazal, even according to those who say that de facto he
did do such inventing. Therefore (to go back to the top of the thread)
I objected to R/D Shinnar invoking the Rambam as telling us this is the
correct approach when science and mesorah point to different answers.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Good decisions come from experience;
mi...@aishdas.org        Experience comes from bad decisions.
http://www.aishdas.org                - Djoha, from a Sepharadi fable
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Message: 11
From: "Chana Luntz" <Ch...@kolsassoon.org.uk>
Date: Tue, 8 Jan 2013 22:17:26 -0000
Re: [Avodah] Halachic basis for child support

RMB wrote:

>This is something I know little about, so I had some questions.
: There is disagreement amongst the rishonim whether the obligation to
: children is from the Torah up until the age of six, and then rabbinic
: six until they are no longer katanim (shte sieros) - the latter enactment
: being that of the takana of Usha (as set out in Kesubos 49b), or whether
: is all rabbinic...

>Either way, the end date of adult-hood would be derabbanan.

>So I was wondering about shetei sa'aros. Isn't that only for deOraisos, and
miderabbanan we rely on age? Why >wouldn't the taqanah made in Usha
"kesheheim qetanim" run until 12/13 years?

It's a good question, and one I can't answer more than to say that while the
Shulchan Aruch and the Tur just say until gadlus, as does the gemora,  Rashi
there on Kesubos 49b bring shtei sa'aros, and so quotes the Beis Yosef in
his name, without any comment. And so too brings the Prisha, referring to
the Gemora in Kiddushin as establishing gadlus as shte sa'aros.  And in my
cursory review, I can't see anybody who comments on this, and makes your
point - but basically it seems to be a kasha on Rashi, and on the Beis Yosef
who brings Rashi without comment and on the Prisha.

: The modern rabbanut, by takana, extended this obligation to support to
: fifteen or sixteen, but it is only an extension of something that already
: existed up until 12 or 13.

>If one is separately obligated to support minor children, I presume that
couldn't come out of ma'aser kesafim. >(To whatever extent maaser kesafim is
obligatory -- it's the only case I know there opinions range from >deOraisa
to minhag chassidus and every possibility in between.)

>What about one's older dependent child? And if that can come out of
tzedaqah money, could a modern rabbinic >
>"taqanah" be sufficient to render this a debt that can no longer come from

I suggest in pursuing this you start with the comment of the Beis Shmuel
there on Even HaEzer siman 71 si'if katan 3.  He is clearly bothered by the
fact that even after gadlus, the father would be obligated to support his
children due to toras tzedaka as a close relative (and quotes Yoreh Deah
siman 221), so what difference does this takanas chachamim make.  He
suggests several answers:  One that it really is the same, but that prior to
gadlus for sure the children will not have the means to support themselves,
but after they might, so the obligation might no longer be there; and two
(which he brings from the Bach and the Drisha) is that after gadlus he is
required to support them the same as any other close relative, but prior to
gadlus there is some greater obligation (which might suggest that indeed you
can't count this as part of your tzedaka money).  

On the other hand, if you look at the language of the Shulchan Aruch it
states that he is denounced publically for not supporting his children even
if he does not have money to give to tzedaka - (ie there is a expectation
that he will go out and work to earn money for this obligation, and he is
publically shamed if he does not, whereas for other relatives the other
obligation is just out of tzedaka money).  But then in the  final portion of
this siman the Shulchan Aruch states that if they assess that he has money
which is suitable to be given to tzedaka, they can go and take that money to
support his children, which might suggest that perhaps it could be deemed
part of ma'aser, and they are just ensuring the ma'aser is going where it
ought to go.

So I don't know that it is that straightforward to say it is not tzedaka
even with regard to the amounts obligated by the takana of Usha, and so it
seems to me there could definitely be an argument that the money obligated
by the rabbanut should come out of ma'aser - but similarly there is an
argument to the contrary, that it is not longer toras tzedaka, but from the
torah of listening to the rabbis, and so does not count. I guess one would
consult your LOR for a practical ruling, but it would seem from my reading
of the sources to be able to go both ways.

>Tir'u baTov!



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Message: 12
From: "Poppers, Michael" <Michael.Popp...@kayescholer.com>
Date: Tue, 8 Jan 2013 21:14:18 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Uvnucho Yomar

In Avodah V31n8, RAE replied to RAM:
>> In every siddur I've looked at (Edot Hamizrach excepted), the
>> printed instructions clearly state that Uv'nucho Yomar is to be
>> said while placing the Sefer Torah back into the Aron. <<
> Uv'nucho Yomar should be said when the ST is at rest. For the same reason, Vayehi Binso'a should be said when it's moving <
Agreed (for those who say these p'suqim) that "Vayhi binso'a" should be
said when taking a seifer/sifrei Torah out of the Aron (Baer quotes Seifer
Kal-Bo: "motzi'in seifer Torah v'omrim 'Vayhi binso'a ha'Aron'"), just as
"Uvnucho" should be said when placing a seifer/sifrei Torah back into the
Aron, and that RAM's question re "Uvnucho" being said before the actual
hachnasah (which Baer describes as hachzarah) can also apply to saying
"Vayhi binso'a" prior to the actual hotza'ah. 

All the best from 
-- Michael Poppers via BB pager

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Message: 13
From: Ben Waxman <ben1...@zahav.net.il>
Date: Wed, 09 Jan 2013 07:34:55 +0200
Re: [Avodah] non-existent midrashim

Professor Wikipedia notes the following in an article on the 
authenticity of the Zohar:

R' Menachem Mendel Kasher in an article in the periodical Sinai refutes 
many of Scholem's points. He writes:

Many statements in the works of the Rishonim (medieval commentators who 
preceded De Leon) refer to Medrashim that we are not aware of. He writes 
that these are in fact references to the Zohar.


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Message: 14
From: "Daniel M. Israel" <d...@cornell.edu>
Date: Tue, 8 Jan 2013 23:19:37 -0700
Re: [Avodah] Psak in Machshava

On Jan 7, 2013, at 4:28 AM, Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org> wrote:
> On Mon, Jan 07, 2013 at 01:02:47PM +0200, Daniel Eidensohn wrote:
>> *Chasam Sofer (Y.D. 2:356)* R' Hillel who is quoted in Sanhedrin (99a)  
>> as rejecting salvation through Moshiach but asserted [according to  
>> Rashi] that G-d Himself would directly save the Jews...
> I believe it was this kind of thing that motivated R' Joel Rich
> to include the parenthetic comments in his original question:
> : I think we've discussed the general issue of psak in machshava (or at
> : least in the ikkarim)...                      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)
> There is a halachic implications inherent in accepting the concept
> of iqarim: They define the limits of rebellion for which one could be
> labeled a kofeir, apiqoreis or min. They impact who we can count toward
> a minyan, whose wine we may drink, the chovos halvavos side of qabbalas
> ol mitzvos before geirus, etc?

My first reaction here was to distinguish between something that there may
be a majority opinion on, but there are still dissenting voices, versus
something like the case from Sanhedrin mentioned above, where the virtually
universal consensus for 1500 years has been on one side.

But then a completely unrelated take on this issue occurred to me.

In halacha we say that even if the Sanhedrin rules one way, it is mutar for
a chacham to continue to teach as his own opinion a contrary position,
provided that in practice he abides (and teaches others to abide) by the
Sanhedrin's ruling.  Given that, what does it even mean to have a psak in
machshava?  That is, in halacha there can be a distinction between what
position one personally finds compelling, and what one does in practice. 
But in machshava there is no such distinction.	So even if the Sanhedrin
would pasken, "we believe such-and-such," since an individual Rav still may
say, "I personally think the Sanhedrin made an incorrect conclusion,"  what
does it mean for them to pasken altogether?

Daniel M. Israel

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End of Avodah Digest, Vol 31, Issue 9

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