Avodah Mailing List

Volume 31: Number 121

Mon, 01 Jul 2013

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Meir Shinnar <chide...@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 27 Jun 2013 22:44:58 -0400
[Avodah] Women & Kaddish

Two more data points from personal experience
1). In 1973-4, at Barnard, there was a student who had a letter from RMF
saying she should be allowed to say Kaddish.  When she would go to a new
shul, she would meet with the rabbi ahead of time to show the letter so
there would not be any questions.  It's been a while, & I don't recall
the details of the heter ( back then I didn't realize its importance ).  
I lost contact with her - last I heard she was at bet hadassah in Hevron.

2) as gabbai at Princeton u 1975-6, we got a psak from rav Pinchas teitz
zt"l ( Posek for Princeton yavneh) allowing a woman to say Kaddish if a man
says it, with the caveat that if no male in the shul was saying Kaddish, a
male could say it so she could.  However, if no male present was a yatom (
eg had once said Kaddish, even if not actively),  one had to obtain
permission from both living parents - & he would advise against giving
Meir Shinnar
Sent from my iPhone

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Message: 2
From: Adaruth <adarq00...@phoenixcollege.edu>
Date: Fri, 28 Jun 2013 00:37:56 -0700
[Avodah] Women saying Kaddish

My grandmother, Esther Rachel Auerbach, came to the States about 120
years ago from Kovno. When her husband died she said Kaddish for him
even though there was a son who also said Kaddish. I was surprised.
She said mageea lo and in Kovno many women said Kaddish.

Ada Jacobowitz

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Message: 3
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 28 Jun 2013 06:05:40 -0400
Re: [Avodah] 9th of Tammuz

On Wed, Jun 26, 2013 at 09:58:16AM +0300, Eli Turkel wrote:
: The pasuk in Zecharya only lists months. Hence, moving within Tamuz is
: still within the original takanah

It would fit the pasuq. But it seems compelling to assume the fast the
navi refers to was actually established for a particular day. Because
what's the alternative? That Anshei Keneses haGedolah or some beis din
before them legislated, "One must fast one day in Tamuz to do teshuvah
for the sins that cost us Y-m, but we don't care which"?


Micha Berger             It is our choices...that show what we truly are,
mi...@aishdas.org        far more than our abilities.
http://www.aishdas.org                           - J. K. Rowling
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Message: 4
From: Eli Turkel <elitur...@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 28 Jun 2013 14:51:20 +0300
[Avodah] current events

> Hast du nachtgeschaut*? I have also heard this repeated, but I would like
> to see the psakim for myself inside. Does anyone have references?

See the teshuva of Rav Asher Weiss we have discussed about electricity. He
provides various examples.
Some poskim prohibited electricity because it is fire.

Eli Turkel
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Message: 5
From: "Chana Luntz" <Ch...@kolsassoon.org.uk>
Date: Fri, 28 Jun 2013 13:53:05 +0100
Re: [Avodah] Psik resha (was hotel doors)

R Micha Berger wrote previously summarising the position on Psik Resha based
on a paper by R' Josh Flug's "Motion Sensors and  the Concept of P'sik
Reishei", which R' Micha has placed at

>> Summarizing shitos from qula to chumera:
>> The Arukh (as cited by Tosafos) permits PRDLNL for deOraisos.
>> The Terumas haDeshen, R YE Spektor, ROY permit when the issur is 
>> derabbanan.
>> The MB explains the Rama as permitting only in a case of combined 
>> derabbanan, and concludes that way himself. (The MB gives two cases, 
>> the more common >one is eating a cake with lettering on it. Derabbanan
>> #1- the mechiqah is not al menas likhtov, #2- it's derekh akhilah.) 
>> Tosafos and the SA hold PRDLNL is assur derabbanan.

And I replied:

>Yes, that is the classic analysis of Psik Resha -- and to rely solely on
the Aruch is really difficult in this context.

However I did want to add some of the other aspects of Psik Resha (most of
which I notice is very nicely summarised in RJF's paper):

a) Rav Chaim Soleveitchik's opinion which RJF brings as:

"An interesting note on this: In 1934, there was a discussion in America
regarding the use of refrigerators on Shabbos.  R. Moshe Soloveitchik
(1879-1941) sent a letter to R. Simcha Zelig Riger (1864-1942) for his
opinion.  R. Simcha Zelig wrote back that his father, R. Chaim Soloveitchik
was of the opinion that Rambam is also of the same opinion as the Aruch
(this idea appears in R. Chaim's sefer in Hilchos Shegagos).  Therefore, one
may rely on the opinion of the Aruch."

Note also that this opinion can also be found in Chiddushei Rabbanu Chaim
HaLevi al HaRambam perek 10.  ROY has various arguments against this
position in Yabiat Omer chelek 1 Orech Chaim siman 21 and further in Chelek
4 siman 25 and 26, but does note it as a potential snif l'hakel (despite
what seem to me to be very strong critiques of it).  

b) The Rashba which RJF summarises as:

"d.     Rashba's leniency
i.      The Yerushalmi states that if a deer walked into a house and someone
closes the door for the normal purpose of closing the door, it is
permissible even though he traps the deer. {?26}
ii.     Rashba (1235-1310) understands the Yerushalmi to mean that it is
muttar l'chatchilah to do this. {?27}
iii.    Ran (1320-1380) disagrees vehemently with Rashba because this is a
classic case of p'sik reishei.  The Yerushalmi doesn't mean that you can do
this l'chatchilah, rather that b'dieved, if it was done, there is no need to
open the door to allow the deer to leave. {?28}

He then quotes:

"iv.    R. Avraham Borenstein (1838-1910) defends Rashba's position: {?29}
1.      Trapping an animal by closing the door of a room that the animal
voluntarily entered should be considered gerama even if the door was closed
with the intent of trapping the deer.
2.      The only reason why this is considered tzad is that meleches
machsheves can sometimes transform something which is considered gerama into
a melacha.  (i.e. the melacha of tzad has a built in clause that one can
accomplish the melacha even without touching the animal).
3.      The concept of meleches machsheves is only employed because one's
intent if fulfilled.
4.      In the case of closing the door for some other reason, the primary
intent is not to trap the animal and therefore, one cannot employ meleches
5.      Rashba's leniency is not a leniency in the area of p'sik reishei but
rather in the melacha of tzad.  You cannot violate tzad without touching the
animal unless your primary intent is to trap the animal."

However RJF mysteriously does not quote the Aruch HaShulchan, who states
regarding the opinion of the Ran referred to above:

"And I do not understand [the position of the Ran on the Yerushalmi] since
if so, what is the chiddush in the Yerushalmi on the Mishna since behold the
Mishna says also: "to what is this similar, to locking his house to guard it
and he finds a deer guarded inside it", and according to me it is that he is
busy locking his house and he is ready to finish the locking and in the
midst of this the deer enters, that he is not obligated to remove himself
from the locking and this is not a matter of psik resha since he is not busy
at all with its trapping [and perhaps this is the kavanah of the Rashba that
the Ran brings there and the Magen Avraham si?if katan 11]"

This position of the Aruch HaShulchan explaining the Rashba does not rely on
questions of grama, and hence seems more applicable to the situation of
motion sensors than relying on R' Avraham Borenstein's position.

c) the Shiltei Giborim which RJF summarises as:

"e.     Shiltei Gibborim's Leniency
i.      R. Yehoshua Boaz ben Shimon Baruch (d. 1557) presents another
leniency that's very important in contemporary times: {?30}
ii.     He writes that if there is an action that can be performed without
the prohibited result, one can perform that action, even if the action in
this specific instance will certainly produce the prohibited result.
iii.    This idea seems to be rooted in a comment of Rashi.  Rashi writes
that pouring wine on the mizbei'ach is considered a davar she'aino miskavein
(in light of the prohibition against extinguishing the flame of the
mizbei'ach) because one can pour the wine in very small quantities and avoid
extinguishing any flames.  Therefore, even if one pours in large quantities,
it is not considered a p'sik reisha. {?31}  [See Rashi Kesubos 5b, who
presents a similar idea regarding dam besulim.]
iv.     R. Tzvi Kushelevski explains that Rashi and Shiltei HaGibborim are
of the opinion that p'sik reishei is only prohibited because when there is a
prohibited result, one can define the entire action as a prohibited action.
Therefore, if the result is not a natural result of that action, one cannot
define the action as a prohibited action, even if the specific action will
certainly produce a prohibition this time. {?32}"

The Or Sameach Hilchot Shofar v?Sukkah v?lulav perek 8 halacha 5 similarly
attributes this position to Rashi (as found in Menachos regarding the
pouring of wine on the mitzbeach), but also understands the Rambam this way.
One case he brings is that of taking berries off a hadas in order to eat
them, where one ends up fixing one's hadas for lulav purposes.  The gemora
says that this is mutar only if one has another hadas, while the Or Sameach,
noting that the Rambam does not bring this qualification, suggests that this
because since one could have another hadas, then even without one, there is
no psik resha.  Similarly with flaying the korban pesach on shabbas, since
one could do it in little strips, as the gemora suggests, there is no psik
resha even if not done that way.

As the Shiltei Giborim himself notes, his position is not as extreme as that
of the Rashba, so I guess we could say that the Or Sameach's position
regarding the Rambam is therefore not as extreme as that of R' Chaim

With this in mind I return to my previous posting in which I said as

>Now mesasek clearly seems to help you when walking in front of a motion
sensor you don't know about -- because all you are doing is intending to do
your >completely mutar act of walking, and bang, on goes the motion sensor
light -- so you would seem to be completely patur in that case based on
mesasek. >But, what about your (non Jewish neighbour's) motion sensor light
that you do know about, but can't avoid if you want to go in and out of your
house. >You know that if you walk outside your house, you will trigger it.
This is where I wondered if we could logically extend the idea of mesasek,
or limit >psik resha, in that -- it is one thing for an act of G-d to be a
psik resha -- ie if you cut off the head of the chicken, it will certainly
die, which >is how HaShem ordered the creation, it is another to say psik
resha when the psik resha was created by somebody else (eg the non Jew)
linking one action >to another action-- ie walking to a light going on.
HaShem didn't create this link, even you didn't create this link -- the link
was created by the non >Jew next door. In theory he could delink the two (by
leaving his motion sensor light off, something over which he has control but
you do not).
>Can we argue that in that case it is NOT psik resha -- ie all the cases of
psik resha involve HaShem controlling the world determined links (and/or
>possibly you determined links), but not other people determined links, in
which case all YOU are doing is being mesasek -- you are trying to walk, the
>fact that lights are going on and off left, right and centre around you is
irrelevant, even if you do get benefit from them, in the same way as when
you >lift up the thing that you thought was detached, and it turns out it
had been attached, you might get a benefit from now having a detached item.

What I was inching towards was two different possible qualifications in psik
resha, one more radical than the other.

The first and less radical suggestion (but it may be all you need for most
of these cases) goes like this: Regarding one's neighbour's motion sensor,
which is one's neighbour's property, and which is solely under his control,
this is just not a case of psik resha.  It is an inherent quality of
humankind (and not just of women) that not only is one able to never give
up, and never give in, but also one may at any time change one's mind, at
least regarding one's own property.  The fact that my neighbour might have
set his motion sensor every night for the last 10-15 years doesn't mean that
this night, and indeed even this minute, he could not decide to switch it
off, in which case my walking on the public path in front of his house would
trigger nothing.  This is not like the case of cutting off a chicken's head
- where only HaShem has the power to make it not die.  My neighbour could,
theoretically, delink my walking and the light going on at any time, hence
it is not actually a psik resha.  And that being the case, so long as I was
not miskaven to have the light go on when I walked, it would be mutar
according to Rabbi Shimon, whom we follow, even if it was in fact nichei

The second, and perhaps more radical qualification - but in my view, well
inside the Shiltei Giborim, who is, as he notes, well inside the Rashba, is
that even if the daas and the property were mine, ie I could not say that
somebody else's daas (like my neighbour's) intervenes, it might still not be
a psik reisha.  Of course, if I intended for the motion sensor to go on,
then we have a bone fide melacha.  But let's take the case that RTK
suggested:  I have motion sensors on my property, but not in order to light
my path, but to scare away bad people.  Let's say that in fact I have no
particular benefit from them being triggered when I walk by (and in fact I
would rather they didn't as it costs me money in spent electricity, I would
rather they, like a guard dog, could distinguish between me and strangers,
but the technology is not so sophisticated).  Can we say this is not a psik
resha?  The Shiltei Giborim says that if one could have had the desired
result, without triggering the unintended result (eg one could have put
little drops of wine on the mizbeach and not caused the fire to extinguish,
so even if did use big drops) that is not a psik resha.  In our case, the
desired result is walking to and from one's house, one could do without
triggering motion sensors if they were off.  Therefore even if one triggers
them in fact, so long as one did not intend to do so, it is mutar.  In our
case there is, over and above the situation described by the Shiltei
Giborim, an additional factor.  In the case of using big drops, there is no
human way to stop the unintended consequence, big drops and extinguishing
are a part of nature, the only option is to change the way we do things, by
using little drops, ie a change in the very act that we are doing and even
so, using big drops is not considered a psik resha.  Here we could turn off
the motion sensor (whether before Shabbas b'heter, or on Shabbas b'issur)
some time before, and then it is precisely the same action of walking that
would occur, there is not even the deviation of big to little drops, or
flaying in small strips rather than large.  So in fact the Shiltei Giborim
position is a kal v'chomer on my suggestion, and, as he notes, the Rashba is
a kal v'chomer on the Shiltei Giborim.

But so far I haven't seen anybody say this.  RJF argues that: "If this is
something that one cannot determine, it is not a p'sik reishei, but rather a
davar she'aino miskavein.  If it is determinable, but not by the person that
is walking by right now, it might be considered a safek p'sik reishei."  But
why is it a psik resha at all, if it is something that a human being can
decide to change at the flick of a switch?  

This seems to me to be different from the refrigerator cases - where one
generally does want the motor to do what it does, namely turn on and off to
keep the refrigerator cool, and that is the reason one plugged in the
refrigerator originally and allowed it to keep working.  Ie the refrigerator
is your property, and you wanted it to have a motor that goes on when the
temperature in the fridge gets too warm and off again when it drops.  It
seems to me therefore that this is something one is miskaven to, and you
need RSZA's grama to matir the opening of the refrigerator door.  But one
has no control over one's neighbour's motion sensors, and even in the case
of one's own motion sensors, if one really only wanted them to go on when
bad people came by, then you are not really miskaven, when you plugged the
thing in, for the accidental turning on that you might trigger, it is just a
necessary evil in order to scare the burglars away. 




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Message: 6
From: Zev Sero <z...@sero.name>
Date: Fri, 28 Jun 2013 11:05:39 -0400
[Avodah] Bracha on Pidyon Peter Chamor

In mishneh in Bechoros 1:6 and Ediyos 7:1, and the Rambam Bikurim 12:5
we find a basic difference between pidyon haben and pidyon peter chamor.
With a son, the pidyon happens when you hand the money over to the kohen.
Until that time the son is unredeemed, so if you set some money aside for
the pidyon and then lost it you have to come up with different money, and
if the boy died LA before the pidyon could happen you keep the money.
Whereas with a peter chamor, the pidyon happens when you set the sheep aside.
 From that moment the donkey is yours and the sheep is its pidyon: if the
sheep dies you give its carcass to a kohen; if the donkey dies you still
have to give the sheep to a kohen.

My question is, in that case when do you make the bracha?  It would seem
from this that the bracha should be made before choosing the sheep and
designating it for the pidyon, *not* before giving it to the kohen.
Giving it to the kohen is not the mitzvah of pidyon peter chamor, it's
just returning property to its owner.

In recent years there have been at least two public ceremonies that were
well-pubicised; one in Melbourne, and one in, IIRC, Hawaii.  I'm pretty
sure in both the bracha was said on giving the sheep to the kohen.  Was
this incorrect?

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: 7
From: Zev Sero <z...@sero.name>
Date: Fri, 28 Jun 2013 06:19:46 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Women saying Kaddish

On thinking about the Chavos Yair's teshuvah, it occurs to me that perhaps
his objection to what had happened in Amsterdam was davka *because* it was
a private minyan, done on an individual's initiative, and while the local
rabbanim did not object, they weren't actively involved.   He writes that
we can't have people changing minhagim for themselves as they think fit, so
I think what he may be saying is that if you want to institute women saying
kaddish you can't just make a minyan at home, you have to go through the
channels for changing a minhag.  In other words take it to the rabbanim and
community leaders, and if they see fit let them make it an official community
minhag that women can say kaddish.   Or however it is that minhagim are
established among Jews in the first place, including the minhag that women
don't say kaddish.

Does this make sense as the most likely reading of the CY's intent?

The CY is at http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=857&;pgnum=247

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: "Rich, Joel" <JR...@sibson.com>
Date: Fri, 28 Jun 2013 08:18:13 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Women & Kaddish

2) as gabbai at Princeton u 1975-6, we got a psak from rav Pinchas teitz
zt"l ( Posek for Princeton yavneh) allowing a woman to say Kaddish if a man
says it, with the caveat that if no male in the shul was saying Kaddish, a
male could say it so she could.  However, if no male present was a yatom (
eg had once said Kaddish, even if not actively),  one had to obtain
permission from both living parents - & he would advise against giving
Meir Shinnar
Did he give a reason for advising against?

She-nir'eh et nehamat Yerushalayim u-binyanah bi-mherah ve-yamenu,
Joel Rich
distribution or copying of this message by anyone other than the addressee is 
strictly prohibited.  If you received this message in error, please notify us 
immediately by replying: "Received in error" and delete the message.  
Thank you.

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Message: 9
From: Lisa Liel <l...@starways.net>
Date: Fri, 28 Jun 2013 10:47:51 -0500
[Avodah] Judaism or witchcraft?

I'm on this tehillim list, and I got the following today:

"We are trying to get 40 women to say my father's name, ------ ben 
-----  -----,  when they bake challa today.  If you are baking challah 
today and would like to participate, please let us know by calling me at 

This kind of thing really bothers me.  They also do "amen parties", in 
which they pretty much toss the idea of bracha l'lo tzorech out the 
window.  The local joke about it is "every time you say amen, an angel 
gets its wings."

But joking or not, it's kind of scary.  It seems to be part and parcel 
of a de-intellectualization in the frum community that's blurring the 
line between serious frumkeit and magic.

Is there any basis for this sort of stuff?


Areivim mailing list

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Message: 10
From: Sholom Simon <sho...@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 28 Jun 2013 18:29:00 -0400
[Avodah] place of kanaus

>On 6/28/2013 9:52 AM, saul newman wrote:
> > the message of the parsha---  Moshe asks and RBSo agrees that
> > leadership of klal yisroel is to be  not  a konoi, but  rather one who
> > will be able to deal with each in klal yisrael without anger and
> > rejection....
>Please elaborate.  I don't see that in the text.

 From R Sacks this week:

"The zealot who takes the law into his own hands is embarking on a 
course of action fraught with moral danger. Only the most holy may do 
so, only once in a lifetime, and only in the most dire circumstance 
when the nation is at risk, when there is nothing else to be done, 
and no one else to do it. Even then, were the zealot to ask 
permission from a court, he would be denied it.

"Pinchas gave his name to the parsha in which Moses asks God to 
appoint a successor. R. Menahem Mendel, the Rebbe of Kotzk, asked why 
Pinchas, hero of the hour, was not appointed instead of Joshua. His 
answer was that a zealot cannot be a leader. That requires patience, 
forbearance and respect for due process. The zealots within besieged 
Jerusalem in the last days of the Second Temple played a significant 
part in the city's destruction. They were more intent on fighting one 
another than the Romans outside the city walls.

"Nothing in the religious life is more risk-laden than zeal, and 
nothing more compelling than the truth God taught Elijah, that God is 
not to be found in the use of force but in the still, small voice 
that turns the sinner from sin. As for vengeance, that belongs to God alone."

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Message: 11
From: "Moshe Y. Gluck" <mgl...@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, 29 Jun 2013 23:55:16 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Women saying Kaddish

Just as a data point, my grandmother remembers her irreligious teacher - an
only daughter - coming to shul every day to say Kaddish for her father in
preWWII Czechoslovakia. 



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