Avodah Mailing List

Volume 31: Number 31

Mon, 25 Feb 2013

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Lisa Liel <l...@starways.net>
Date: Sun, 24 Feb 2013 07:53:11 -0600
Re: [Avodah] question on megillah

Midrash is midrash.

On 2/24/2013 4:18 AM, Eli Turkel wrote:
> We are all familar with the gemara that Mordecai was really Eshther's 
> husband

Maybe she wasn't.  The midrash also says that a malach came down and 
took Esther's place in bed with Achashveirosh, and it also says that 
Darius was their son.  Midrash is midrash.

> Second chazal and later meforshim describe the central event of 
> acheshveosh as the rebiluding of the Temple. eg in a conversation with 
> a woman of unknown background Achashverosh is willing to give anything 
> except for rebulding the bet Hamikdash. Why would this even come up.
> Also many other comments are reinterpretd to be about the bet hamikdash.

Ditto.  I doubt the "ad chatzi hamalchut" had anything to do with the 


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Message: 2
From: Lisa Liel <l...@starways.net>
Date: Sun, 24 Feb 2013 07:57:05 -0600
Re: [Avodah] Haman and Amaleik

On 2/24/2013 6:38 AM, Micha Berger wrote:
> On Sun, Feb 24, 2013 at 12:00:39AM -0600, Lisa Liel wrote:
> ...
>> The fire priests, who started out as worshippers of Mithra and Anahita
>> and later brought their worship into Zoroastrianism (which had started
>> out monotheistic) might have been descendants of Amalek...
> Zoroastranism was focused on the two demiurges by Koreish's day. Which
> is why Hashem tells him (Yeshaiah 47:1) that He (v. 7) is "yotzeir or
> uVorei choshekh, oseh shalom uvorei ra" -- that light and darkness,
> good and bad all come from one Source.
> In any case, it would be a far distance from Chazal's story if Haman
> was a monotheist. I am not sure how to explain the permissability and
> laidability of Mordechai's refusal to bow.

The Magian priests were still worshipping Mithra and Anahita even after 
the time of Koresh.  And if Mordechai realized that Haman, as a Magian, 
was pushing to destroy monotheism, including Judaism, that would explain 
the midrash that Haman was "wearing an avodah zarah on his chest".

Btw... "laidability"?


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Message: 3
From: "Kenneth Miller" <kennethgmil...@juno.com>
Date: Sun, 24 Feb 2013 15:35:40 GMT
Re: [Avodah] Haman and Amaleik

R' Micha Berger asked:

> Sancheirev was defeated at Y-m in 3213. His dispersal of
> Amaleiq had to be before this.
> Purim was in 3404. 191 years later. More so if one questions
> the literalness of Chazal's history.
> Okay, we could identify beruach haqodesh that Haman was from
> Amaleiq. But there was no Amaleiqi culture anymore to have
> been the cause of his hatred of Jews.

I have heard from several sources, and it has been mentioned on this list,
that nowadays the mitzvah of mechiyas Amalek refers not to Amalek's
biological decendants, but to his ideological heirs. And that this is not
merely a mussar drash, but practical halacha l'maaseh.

I have long wondered the source for such a radical shift in a mitzvah
d'Oraisa. Could this be it? Could it be that although the Megillah
identifies Haman as an "Agagi" several times, this is meant only

Akiva Miller

Fast, Secure, NetZero 4G Mobile Broadband. Try it.

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Message: 4
From: Ken Bloom <kbl...@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 24 Feb 2013 10:17:56 -0500
Re: [Avodah] partnership minyanim

R"t Chana Luntz wrote:

> But given that the Beit Yosef brings as his own reason, on top of that of
> the Ra'avid/ Rashba, why one might allow a katan to take Arvit, even if
> only b'dieved, is because it is a lower level of obligation than Shachrit
> and Mincha (reshut versus chova), it is far more logical to deduce that he
> would hold that psukei d'zimra was mutar l'chatchila - and indeed that is
> the way the Sephardi poskim assume - I quoted Rav Uzziel who said it
> explicitly.  I am yet to find a Rav Ovadiah who says this - but the point
> is, given how widespread the minhag is, the chances that Rav Ovadiah
> himself did not say psukei d'zimra as a katan is to my mind pretty small.
>  If this was something that was in any way objectionable, or bideved, it
> would need to be all over the Sephardi poskim.  It is not.  Therefore, it
> is pretty clear that they all understand the Shulchan Aruch as saying -
> Arvit on Motzei Shabbas, perhaps a bit iffy, psukei d'zimra - absolutely
> fine.

I don't know what Rav Ovadia did as a child, nor have I tried to find a
source that he's written to justify the practice, but ma'aseh rav, I do
know that if you go and daven at Rav Ovadia's minyan at his home in Har
Nof, pesukei d'zimrah on shabbat is done entirely by ketanim.
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Message: 5
From: Meir Shinnar <chide...@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 24 Feb 2013 10:45:32 -0500
Re: [Avodah] partnership minyanim

On Feb 24, 2013, at 7:38 AM, avodah-requ...@lists.aishdas.org wrote:

> <<purported legal critiques based on certain moral positions may in fact 
> require legal responses for the moral reason of protecting the forest.>>
> I'm not sure I disagree with you, but agreement is hardly productive 
> (and it's no fun), so I'll write as if I do.
> Long long ago, when dinosaurs roamed the earth and I was in college, one 
> of the feminist critiques of orthodoxy ran as follows:
> A1. God does not advocate what is unjust.
> A2. It is unjust to deny a woman the opportunity to do what she is 
> capable of doing.
> A3. Orthodox Judaism advocates what is unjust.
> Hence many feminists abandoned orthodoxy.
> The advocates of partnership minyanim, I think, find themselves in an 
> emotional quandary, to wit, they accept axiom 2 but also accept axiom

It is here that I would disagree with rDR.  While some members of
partnership minyanim may indeed hold of axiom 2, I don't think most of them
have an intrinsic objection to some aspect of gender roles - they are not
radically egalitarian.
It is different axiom that is of concern - one related more to the discussion of borer as the penultimate mitzva. To wit - 

1.  Halacha, reflecting the ratzon of the  habore as reflected in the real
world , is not a mere set of meaningless rules- but should have spiriitual
meaning and relationship to the individual in the world that he actually
lives in.

One of the major changes that most of us live in is that women's roles are
very much no longer confined to the private sphere - and have a very public
role in every part of their lives except the religious one.  Furthermore,
very few (and none in the MO world) view the changes as ones that need to
be fought in any sphere, except the religious.

Given this reality, the consequence of this axiom is therefore a religious,
moral  and halachic imperative to find appropriate public religious roles
for women  (as changes in women's general education made it a religious and
moral imperative to find the appropriate Jewish educaiton for women)

What those roles are is a different issue - but otherwise we become a religion for whom borer is the ultimate mitzva..

One could devise specific public roles for women as distinct from men, but
the most natural (and conservative>>) one is to adopt those public
roles for men for which there is no halachic impediment - and that is what
Partnership minyanim aim to do. Whether or not there actually is a halachic
impediment may be argued (the kriat hatora has legitimate  issues - whether
they can be overcome can be debated)), but the need that drives it is not a
rejection of gender roles per se - but a commitment to halacha as something
more than meaningless rules ...

therefore, while halachic criticism and debate is always appropriate, one
has to understand what the moral critique actually is.	Furthermore, shem
sheassur lehatir et haissur, cach assur le'essor et hamuttar.  I think Rav
Freundel's halachic arguments would not be taken seriously in any other
context, as it creates an issur out of arguments that have nothing to do
with his issue.
(I was planning a long response to his article, but don't have the time. 
rCL did a great job (as usual) in pointing out some of the issues. One
small additional example. 

One of his main arguments is that, to quote
 tefilla betzibbur is anything said by a tzibbur, rather than a specific
 prayer (tefilla).  This way, all the sources about the requriements for a
 shliach tzibbur carry over.  He cites a tshuva of rav Moshe Feinstein that
 if there are ten people of whom six haven't davened yet, one may say
 hazarat hashatz - but is not yotza tefilla betzibbur.	He argues that this
 shows that tefilla betzibbur is not defined by the text said - but that  a
 tzibbur is saying it.
I think, if said not int he context of trying to assur partnership
minyanim, but in a serious discussion, this would not be taken seriously. 
the gmara talks about the improtance of tefilla betzibbur.  Rav Moshe
argues that tefilla betzibbur is not the same as hazarat hashatz- that if
there isn't a tzibbur 910 men)	that is actually davening - requires both a
minyan davenign and that it be tefilla. , hazarat hashatz doesn;t have the
quality of tefilla betzibbur if 10 people aren;t davening - even if one can
say davar shebikdusha - there is nothing to suggest that tehrefore anything
said by 10 men becomes tefilla betzibbur.

Most of his other arguments are similarly flawed (eg, selihot - there is
halachic discussion about how to fit it into tefilla betzibbur - rav
soloveitchik puts it in the category of za'aka (a form of tefilla) - no one
suggests that just because people say it betzibbur regularly it is tefila
betzibur, magen avot - the problem is how one is permitted to say this
extra bracha which is said (and said in the gmara) only by a minyan).

This is not to say that a case could not be made  - but making a flawed case in this setting is problematic..
Meir Shinnar

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Message: 6
From: Allan Engel <allan.en...@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 24 Feb 2013 19:18:33 +0000
Re: [Avodah] partnership minyanim

Pesukei D'zimrah is not part of Tefilla BeTzibur. That starts either at
Yishtabach, or just after.

On 24 February 2013 15:17, Ken Bloom <kbl...@gmail.com> wrote:
> I don't know what Rav Ovadia did as a child, nor have I tried to find a
> source that he's written to justify the practice, but ma'aseh rav, I do
> know that if you go and daven at Rav Ovadia's minyan at his home in Har
> Nof, pesukei d'zimrah on shabbat is done entirely by ketanim.
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Message: 7
From: "Jay F Shachter" <j...@m5.chicago.il.us>
Date: Sun, 24 Feb 2013 13:07:17 -0600 (CST)
Re: [Avodah] Haman and Amaleik

> AMD, if it is possible to pick out Amaleiqim beruach haqodesh, does
> this mean that if Eliyahu haNavi were to see a baby that happened to
> be from Amaleiq, he would be mechayev to kill her?

The mitzva is to destroy the entire nation.  He would not be obliged
(assuming, arguendo, that he is alive, and thus obligated in mitzvoth)
to kill him/her, unless, in so doing, he would be completing the
destruction of the entire nation.

                        Jay F. ("Yaakov") Shachter
                        6424 N Whipple St
                        Chicago IL  60645-4111
                                (1-773)7613784   landline
                                (1-410)9964737   GoogleVoice

                        "Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum videtur"

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Message: 8
From: David Wacholder <dwachol...@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 25 Feb 2013 00:18:23 -0500
[Avodah] Fwd: GR"A on ;Neis Purim

1.    Theme of GRA on Esther (page 3)

2.    Hashem does not act openly on "foreign territory" where he gives
direct controlled by other mal'achim. No open miracles were within the

3.    Even Yechezkel had to show proofs that Hashem could appear to him in
Bavel. So in Bavel BY felt abandoned and not being watched by Hashem,
because the open miracles and open praises were absent.

4.    I add - instead there was a self-enforcing alienation. BY felt
rebellious and looked for other saviors.

5.    At the end of the Megilla they saw that all the various "candidates"
for Savior of the Jews were only empty shells - hollow noise makers.

6.    At the end they saw that each piece was organized to begin with to
create the illusion of Hashem's absence. No "Over-The-Top" miracles could
accomplish that, but the fall of the ten sons of Haman in one breath ? was
a window to the miracle.

7.    Haster Astir - companionship with hashem without open miraculous
fireworks.  Only the consistency of Hashem over many repititions forms a
stunning pattern that proves Hashem is behind the whole thing.

8.    Istahar - Persian - for moon - really Hashem is still there
reflected. Taht is the Simcha, the new acceptance which is more
comprehensive and durable [if less spectacular.

9.    Thus Yetzias Mitzrayim spectacular miracles are akin to  shhidduchim,
 and at marriage there is a public gathering - Kala naah vachasudah, open

10. After Sheva Brachos ? the seed ? there is a growth and unfolding which
is long term and so gradual that it is harder to detect.

11. Relative to the more open spectacular miracles of Yetzias Mitzrayim,
life in the Exile, to an extent even the miracles of Purim resemble
established married life which progresses in slow progressions in which
only occasionally can Hashem?s hidden interventions be detected.


Email: dwachol...@gmail.com

David Wacholder
Cell: 917-742-7838
Email: dwachol...@gmail.com
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Message: 9
From: "Rich, Joel" <JR...@sibson.com>
Date: Sun, 24 Feb 2013 20:29:24 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Amen of Krias Shema

A number of times we've had repeats on list of the answering 
or not answering Amen after ga'al Yisrael and before kri'at 
Might like this brief audio summary

Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz -Ten Minute Non-Halacha - Whispering Ga'al Yisrael Before Shemona Esrei 

Joel Rich
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Message: 10
From: saul newman <newman...@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 25 Feb 2013 08:25:50 -0800
[Avodah] hilchot firecrackers


i think every school across all denominational lines  sends out warnings
 that  kids  will be  expelled  for  use  of  products near/on  school
 grounds  etc.  i don't  recall them  emphasizing  that an issur  tora  is
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Message: 11
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Mon, 25 Feb 2013 12:04:15 -0500
Re: [Avodah] partnership minyanim

On Sun, Feb 24, 2013 at 07:18:33PM +0000, Allan Engel wrote:
:> I don't know what Rav Ovadia did as a child, nor have I tried to find a
:> source that he's written to justify the practice, but ma'aseh rav, I do
:> know that if you go and daven at Rav Ovadia's minyan at his home in Har
:> Nof, pesukei d'zimrah on shabbat is done entirely by ketanim.

: Pesukei D'zimrah is not part of Tefilla BeTzibur. That starts either at
: Yishtabach, or just after.

I am not sure I get this "either"... The berakhah after Pesuqei deZimra
can't be more part of Tefillah beTzibbur than PdZ itself. PdZ is from the
geonic period. RSG is the first source of opening it with Barukh sheAmar,
but his siddur has it specifically for Shabbos and YT. Yishtabach can't
be any earlier than this custom of saying BsA; it was written to be
semuchah to it -- which is why it doesn't open with "Barukh".

(Carefully worded to avoid claims about the age of BsA itself, just
when we started saying it daily as a berakhah before PdZ.)

Getting back to the original conversation... I assume those supporting
Partnership Minyanim would fully agree. They aren't talking about trying
to change halakhah, but to put women at the amud for those parts of
the siddur that don't need a real chazan. In that sense, PdZ is less
problematic than Maariv -- Maariv was minhag Yisrael and thus effectively
not really a reshus even before chasimas haShas.

Which then makes me wonder if and why this structure really satisfies
anyone's religious needs. To be told: Yes, you can participate, but only
if we can prove your participation is in something that doesn't count?

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             You cannot propel yourself forward
mi...@aishdas.org        by patting yourself on the back.
http://www.aishdas.org                   -Anonymous
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Message: 12
From: David Wacholder <dwachol...@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 25 Feb 2013 16:28:03 -0500
[Avodah] How do Chabad deal with the Amen of Krias Shema

Both lines of thought were deeply rooted 800 years ago in Sfarad and
Provence. .

Ramban explains at great length, was to say Keil Melech Ne'eman and Amen,
relying on the idea that Ahavat Olam does not contain the usual nusach. He
is defending the very Honor of Sfardic Jewry.

Taking up the debate in honor of Provence custom, Me'iri  maintains the
other side that it is a Birkat Hamitzvah. The Poskim - even Abudarham - did
not have the original Magein Avot of the Meiri. It puts the long line of
Gedolim of Provence on an equal level with great Gedolim of Sfarad and

Tzur Yisrael and Ga'al Yisrael

There is ample support  for both sides regarding current practice. The
sources are as clear as if you had attended a public lecture yesterday
afternoon. The Me'iri here - defending the pride of his Provence - is
extremely clear. He uses real names, as fitting in a debate, rather than
his usual nicknames - Greatest Mefaresh, Greatest Halachist etc.

Originally the Chazan made all blessings out loud for the Kahal, including
Ga'al Yisrael. When the Tzibur began saying it, the correct approach should
have been - the Chazan should continue to say it out loud.  It is the
culmination of the series, the climax, and should ring out loud.

Furthermore, the most strongly worded attack of Rabi Yehudah Chasid was
against our nusach.  He said that the original and proper words were 12
words. the Tzarfatim added more phrases to repeat the word Yisra'el 5
times. The most important one is the last - Baruch atah Hashem Ga'al
Yisra'el.  It should be said out loud! In unison!


That also allows a strong signal to begin Shmoneh Esreh at the exact same
time, as in Kelem Yeshivah.

What is the moment all must be together? I am guessing - the moment of
bowing on the second word jAtah - not the moment of Baruch, and not the
prelude plead for Guidance.
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Message: 13
From: "Jay F Shachter" <j...@m5.chicago.il.us>
Date: Mon, 25 Feb 2013 21:16:39 -0600 (CST)
[Avodah] How do Chabad deal with the Amen of Krias Shema

> Can someone clue me in on exactly what the problem is here? I
> understand that some (I think it was the MB citing the Gra) say that
> the bracha before Shema is a Birkas Hamitzvah, but I have never
> heard an explanation of WHY that might be so. In fact, I have four
> questions, all of which suggest that it is NOT so.
> 1) Is it a Birkas Hamitzva when one davens Maariv after Plag
> Hamincha for whatever reason? Does *anyone* object to answering Amen
> to the Chazan under such circumstances?
> 2) Is it a Birkas Hamitzva when one davens Shacharis during the
> fourth hour for whatever reason? Does *anyone* object to answering
> Amen to the Chazan under such circumstances?
> 3) Is it a hefsek - according to *anyone* - to say "E- Melech
> Neeman" if one is saying Shma without a minyan for whatever reason?
> 4) Do we have any other examples where the Matbea Shetib'u Chachamim
> of a Birkas Hamitzvah does not begin with "Asher Kid'shanu"?
> Rather, it seems to me that there simply isn't any Birkas Hamitzvah
> on saying Shma. WHY there isn't a Birkas Hamitzva is an interesting
> question, but it is not what is being asked right now.
> I do concede that Ahavah Rabba CAN BE used as a substitute Birkas
> Hamitzvah for the morning's Birkas Hatorah.  But that's a b'di[avad]
> solution to a real problem, if one did not say Birkas Hatorah
> earlier.  Given that Aha[vah] Raba IS a bracha, and it DOES mention
> learning, I'm not arguing against those who say that it can be used
> for this purpose b'di[avad]. I'm just trying to understand those who
> say that Chazal established a Birkas Hamitzvah for Mitzvas Krias
> Shema, and that this bracha is known as Ahava Rabba (and Ahavas
> Olam).

The author of the above-quoted passage is probably not aware that
Ovadia Yosef pasqns that women should not recite the full text of the
benedictions preceding and following the Shma` (i.e., with God's
name).  This implies that those benedictions are -- at least,
according to Ovadia Yosef -- similar in nature to the benedictions
attendant upon performing a mitzva (which, as we know, Sfardiyoth do
not recite, when they perform mitzvoth -- like, e.g., reading the
shma` -- that they are not obliged to perform).

                        Jay F. ("Yaakov") Shachter
                        6424 N Whipple St
                        Chicago IL  60645-4111
                                (1-773)7613784   landline
                                (1-410)9964737   GoogleVoice

                        "Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum videtur"

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Message: 14
From: Ben Samson <crcl...@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 25 Feb 2013 21:33:15 -0500
[Avodah] Costumes on Purim

My granddaughter asked me yesterday where the use of costumes came to
be a MInhag on Purim. I  did not know the basis of the Purim custom.
Any suggestions?


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