Avodah Mailing List

Volume 31: Number 185

Fri, 01 Nov 2013

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Ben Waxman <ben1...@zahav.net.il>
Date: Thu, 31 Oct 2013 20:11:36 +0200
Re: [Avodah] barriers come down

Do Sefardim dance with the Sefer Torah at night? Do they read at night?


On 10/31/2013 12:40 AM, Micha Berger wrote:
> And reading the Torah at night with berakhos is harder to justify 
> halachically than letting women dance with the Torah. There is no 
> mitzvah of leining at night, why aren't they berakhos levatalos? And 
> if it isn't leining, isn't it lesse majeste to take the sefarim out 
> for dancing? Tir'u baTov! -Micha 

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Message: 2
From: "Chana Luntz" <Ch...@kolsassoon.org.uk>
Date: Thu, 31 Oct 2013 22:35:34 -0000
[Avodah] re Avodah Kofin Oso

RZS writes:


> Si'if 1. [...]and if he pimps prostitutes if there are witnesses,
> or he acknowledges there are those who say that we force him.

While that would seem to be the logical translation of "ro'eh zonos",
if you look closer I think you will find that it actually means one who
*frequents* prostitutes, i.e. a customer, not an employer.


I actually originally wrote that, and then thought somebody would insist
that as the roeh is with an ayin, not an aleph, that was not what was meant.
My best guess is that there are alternative girsos.


>  From the Rosh: - 43:6
> ??? ????? ????? ??, ???? ?????? ??????.
> and all the work in this claim, multiplies mamzerim in Israel

You've mistranslated this line.  He says that anyone who forces a get over
such a claim is increasing mamzerim in Israel. 


Not sure how this is a mistranslation, since the meaning is the same,
although my translation is clumsier.  In any event I agree that the Rosh is
concerned that there is a risk of increasing mamzerim in Israel if gets are


> In other words, at least some
>gittin that were forced according to the Rambam are passul bediavad, and
>children are mamzerim.  The only question is which ones.  When he says that
>bediavad what's done is done, he means that although we can be sure that
>all the cases there *are* pasul ones, in any specific case we can't assume
>this is one of them.


No.  Were that to be the case, then he would have to invalidate any get
based on the Rambam, in case it was one of the ones that is invalid -  since
any such get would involve a safek of producing mamzerim- and safek d'orisa


And he does not even say - well if they forced a get according to the Rambam
and then a woman married on this basis, lo tezeh, or if you find a child
that was the product of a second marriage based on this get, you deem that
child not a mamzer (which is the real bideved)- but rather "that which is
done is done" - ie you can then, l'chatchila, allow the woman to marry based
on this get.  


The only conclusion therefore, it seems to me, is that while he does not
want any Rav under his authority forcing, because they should keep far away
from any chashash of producing mamzerim, he acknowledges that there are
others of stature (ie the Rambam) who hold differently, and he is not
prepared to invalidate that which the Rambam has authorised (maybe like not
declaring treif any chicken a Rav of stature has declared kosher) - He even
appears to be allowing re-marriage, which is in itself a form of
l'chatchila.  Nor does he even invoke the principle of safek in this case.


 From what you've  written here and in the past, I think you're missing the
fundamental point in the "ma'us alai" debate, which is that (at least AIUI)
everyone agrees that a genuine claim of "ma'us alai" is grounds for kefiyas
get, and that everyone also agrees that a *false* claim is *not* grounds.
The only problem is how we know which claims are false and which are true.
The only difference (AIUI) between the Rambam and RT is that the Rambam
assumes any woman who makes such a claim is telling the truth, while RT and
the Rosh worry that she's lying, in which case the get will be pasul
*even according to the Rambam*.


I think you are wrong on three counts here.  Firstly the Rosh appears to
state very clearly that ma'us alei is not a grounds for forcing a divorce -
after all, she can live as a living widow, since she doesn't need pru u'rvu.
Ie the key point seems to be that there is no counter pressure that would
lead one to force, because there is no necessity for her to have relations.


 And secondly I believe you are wrong about the Rambam.  The language of the
Rambam is (from Hilchos Ishus perek 14 halacha 8): 


???? ????? ???? ? ?????? ???? ??? ?????? ?????, ??????? ???? ???? ?? ????,
?? ???? ??????? ????? ????? ????? ?? ????? ? ????? ???? ?????? ????? ???
????? ?????? ????? ????? ??, ???? ??? ????? ??? ...


A woman who refuses her husband relations she is called a moredet
[rebellious].  And they ask her why are you rebelling, and if she says that
he is repulsive and I am not able to have relations with him willingly, they
force him to send her out immediately because she is not like a captive that
she is forced to have relations and she goes out without her ketuba ...


The alternative that the Rambam moots is not that she is lying and really
she wants out of the marriage for other reasons but that she is doing it to
get back at him within the context of a power struggle within the marriage.
So in halacha 9 he discusses: 


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


If she rebelled while under her husband in order to cause him pain, and she
says behold I am causing pain to him in this because he did this and this to
me, or because he cursed me or because he quarrel with me or similar things


Ie if she is using a refusal to have relations as a weapon within the
marriage there is one set of rules (which also ultimately end in divorce,
but only after 12 months of her not being supported) and if she refusing to
have relations because she feels a prisoner in the marriage, the rule is to
force him immediately.  Those are the two choices that the Rambam sees.  If
she feels sufficiently imprisoned in the relationship that she is not
prepared to have relations, for whatever reason, she needs to be released,
and if she is playing games within the relationship, that needs to be
stopped, by other methods that keeps the marriage on foot if possible, but
by divorce if not.  


And the third place where I believe you are wrong is in your underlying
psychological assumption about women, which I think neither the Rosh, nor
Rabbanu Tam, and certainly not the Rambam buy into:

>In other words, "ma'us alai" is not synonymous with "I want out of this
>marriage".  It is a specific claim about the woman's subjective but
i>nvoluntary feelings, that may or may not be true. 


But those feelings can be generated very easily by being made to feel a
prisoner.  I agree that somebody can easily want out of a marriage for many
other reasons, but once the other person refuses, and makes the original
party feel trapped,  and highly negative feelings towards that person are
generated, the inevitable result is sexual repulsion.  The idea that one can
intensely dislike or come to intensely dislike someone (and see them as
their prison guard from whom they desperately need to escape) and yet still
be able to bear to sleep with them is not in my view a realistic picture of
female psychology (I am not sure how often it is of male psychology either,
although I have heard it suggested that men are more able to separate the
emotional from the sexual).  And note that the very act of coming to court
and stating maus alai means that she is telling him, basically to his face
and in front of witnesses, that he is sexually repulsive.   That in itself
is a pretty humiliating  statement.    It is not the sort of thing that
allows for normal relations afterwards.  


> And wanting to marry
>someone else is just one reason why a woman might lie about it.  So even
>according to the Rambam one can't simply use this as a weapon in every
>and if there are malicious lawyers and "rabbis" who teach women to say
>"ma'us alai" as if it were a magical incantation then it should be obvious
>that the Rambam would agree that one can't rely on it any more.


Again only if you assume that it is likely that a woman:


(a) still *really* likes and fancies her husband despite the fact that she
has asked for a get and he is refusing and she has been so infuriated that
she has escalated that refusal to "malicious lawyers and rabbis"; or 


(b) sexually desires somebody she loathes.


I don?t believe either of these are true.  And I don't see any sign that the
poskim suggest that either of these are true.  That is, they are not worried
about her lying.  Those who are concerned are worried about the *reason* she
has got herself into this position - ie where the fact that the grass looked
greener to her on the other side of the fence is what caused her despise and
dislike what she had got, which might otherwise have been perfectly
adequate, and now subjectively does not feel so - that this looking
elsewhere should not be rewarded by letting her go off to the supposedly
greener pastures (at least when the husband doesn't want to let her go).  In
some cases there may also be an underlying belief that if she is told often
enough she can?t have what she desires, maybe she will learn or relearn to
settle, and to accept what is on offer.  This appears to be the case with
people who loathe certain foods.  It seems to be accepted that they will end
up prepared to eat such a food in situations of genuine starvation, and may
then decide that actually this food is not so unbearable after all.  So why
should it not be the case for a marriage?  But that doesn?t mean that
anybody is suggesting she is not telling the truth when she says that she
finds her husband repulsive, in the same way as  others may say, prior to
being put in a situation of starvation, that they find [insert the food you
hate worst here] repulsive. 

>A third possibility is that he's not concerned to prevent deliberate
>sin.  If she wants to commit adultery, "hal'iteihu larasha veyamos",
>let her do as she wishes, and she will suffer for it.  Any mamzerim
>that result are her fault, not ours.   Whereas if we give her an invalid
>get, then the mamzerim that result will be our fault.

Well according to you it is still deliberate sin, since the only reason it
is problematic is because she is lying to the beis din, and hence she is
still the one causing the mamzerim.  If she didn't lie to the court then
there wouldn't be a problem according to you.  If you hold that maus alai is
a grounds for forcing if true, then the court is doing what it is supposed
to do based on what it is told, in the same way the court is doing what it
is supposed to do when it accepts witnesses who are actually false (but
undetectable by it, despite whatever suspicions it may have) and metes out
punishments based on that.  So I don't think this solution helps you.  


But also clearly "if she wants to commit adultery" - isn't what is happening
here.  If she just wanted to commit adultery, she would never go anywhere
near a court to try and get a get - she would just go ahead and commit
adultery with her lover.  The fact that she is appealing to a court
demonstrates that she does not in fact want to commit adultery.  But so long
as you accept that ta'avos in this area are exceptionally strong, then the
likelihood of somebody stumbling when tempted in the kind of environments we
live in is going to be very high.  Haliteihu larasha veyamos thus becomes an
argument against the concept of lifnei iver.  After all, it is the nazir's
problem that he touched the wine (and indeed, he didn't have to take his vow
of nazirus in the first place) so why is there any problem for me getting a
cup to him - even if it was on the other side of the river where he couldn't
reach it?  Why don't we say haliteihu larasha veyamos?  But the halacha
doesn't hold that way. Even though he got into this pickle himself by taking
a vow of nezirus, and I am just assisting him in sinning, with him doing the
primary sin, we still say that if he would otherwise never have been able to
touch this wine without my help, and so my actions mean that I have created
an environment of easy temptation, then halachically I am regarded as having


Zev Sero               A citizen may not be required to offer a 'good and





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Message: 3
From: David Cohen <ddco...@mail.gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 31 Oct 2013 22:16:36 +0200
Re: [Avodah] rav benyamin lau proposes

I realize that I am changing the subject, but upon seeing the original
Facebook post that R' Micha linked to, I found the most interesting line
to be:

"This law, that the man 'acquires' the woman and the man is "mekadesh"
the woman, but a woman does not acquire and a woman is not mekadeshet,
is one of the laws that arouses great anger in the hearts of young men
and women who have been raised with a framework of equality and mutuality
in life."
 (rough translation is mine)

At whom is this great anger directed?

Is it directed at Hashem? Knowing that such an emotion is sometimes
expressed by those who have suffered far more than I, it is not my place
to categorically criticize such an feeling. But if these young people
are angry at HKBH for not having legislated in a way that reflects our
modern moral sensibilities, I find it hard to identify with such anger.

HKBH could have decided to openly reveal Himself and give a new Torah
every hundred years or so, tailor-made for the zeitgeist of that era.
But instead, He chose to give the Torah through Moshe in a specific
 This presented Him with the "challenge" of making the Torah relevant for
all times. One option would have been to make the basic framework of
halacha based on the norms of the 21st century (or later!), but I find it
completely understandable that matan Torah was not intended to suddenly
bring Dor haMidbar in line with 21st-century understandings of morality
(or science or history, for that matter). Instead HKBH established the
basic framework in a way that made sense in the cultural context of Dor
haMidbar, but gave the chachamim a toolbox with which to accommodate
future social changes, so long as the basic framework is adhered to.

Or perhaps the young people angry with "the rabbinic establishment" for
not having changed the framework. I believe that this anger, as well,
is misguided, but that's another topic that is best left for another post.

R' Benny Lau's Facebok post referred to the "young men and women who
have been raised with a framework of equality and mutuality in life."

This may be the crux of why I fail to identify with the sentiment behind
the proposal. I don't believe that equality is, in its own right,
a supreme value.

Let us assume that being "higher" on a scale represents having more
wealth, freedom of action, etc, and that we are talking about a
situation that is not a zero-sum game, and each person's place on the
scale is completely unaffected by anybody else's. I would say that
social policy should be designed so that each person can be as high
on the scale as possible. If equality is the ultimate value, though,
then we should seek to lower the position of those who are "too high"
on the scale, so as to keep them equal with those who do not have the
option of climbing higher. I do not think this is moral.

Even if we assume that we have the power to create new categories of
chiyuvei kareis and mamzerim, it seems absurd to me to think that the
conceptual equality that would be gained from such an enactment outweighs
the very real damage that would be done to real people who would now be
unable to marry into kehal Hashem because of the sins of their fathers.

I have the same reaction to suggestions that the heter meah rabbanim
should never be used, so long as there are women who are mesuravot get.
How is the poor man whose wife refuses to (or cannot) accept a get to
blame for the tragic plight of those women whose husbands refuse to give
them gittin?
Given that it has no impact on these women either way, should he really
be expected to abstain from using the tool that is available to him --
a decision that would have major life-altering consequences -- in the
name of the abstract value of equality?

Obviously, there are those who see things differently than I, as can
be seen in the economic sphere, where there are those who feel that
figures on wealth disparity are more important than questions such as
the percentage of the population living under the poverty line.

To steer things back into Avodah territory, I will say that my approach
to this issue is based on what seems intuitively moral to me, but I can't
bring a concrete source for it. I am trying to think of examples of
where the Torah supports either my approach or the other approach (that
does view equality as a supreme value that justifies bringing "down"
those who are "up"), but I am drawing a blank. I'd be curious to hear
of any examples that the chevra can bring to support either position.

-- D.C.

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Message: 4
From: "Rabbi Meir G. Rabi, its Kosher!" <ra...@itskosher.com.au>
Date: Fri, 1 Nov 2013 11:52:21 +1100
[Avodah] Yakov and Esav

According to the BaAl HaTurim the babies were agitated in her womb due to
YaAkov bring tickled or"spiked" by the hair of his brother. Presumably they
were in the same embryonic sac.
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Message: 5
From: Ben Waxman <ben1...@zahav.net.il>
Date: Fri, 01 Nov 2013 09:37:32 +0200
Re: [Avodah] Eating Meat After Fish

Looking the AhS YD 117, I doubt that he kept most of these practices.


On 10/30/2013 4:15 PM, Prof. Levine wrote:
> Summary: After one eats fish, he should not eat meat until he does the 
> following: washes his hands, washes the outside and inside of his 
> mouth, eats something and drinks something.
> Compare this with the article Eating Fish and Meat at 
> http://www.kof-k.org/articles/040208110455W-32%20Eati
> ng%20Fish%20and%20Meat.pdf 

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Message: 6
From: Lisa Liel <l...@starways.net>
Date: Thu, 31 Oct 2013 21:15:38 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Who is Eliezer?

On 10/31/2013 1:42 PM, Kenneth Miller wrote:
> Please allow me to reformulate the question: Why is the first 
> described in terms of mental abilities, while the second is described 
> in terms of evil accomplishments?

I don't think Chacham refers to mental abilities.  I think it refers to 
commitment to Torah.  The Rasha is the one who is not.  Torah is 
Hashem's Chochma, so it stands to reason that we call someone well 
versed in and committed to Torah a Chacham.


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Message: 7
From: "Kenneth Miller" <kennethgmil...@juno.com>
Date: Fri, 1 Nov 2013 14:22:29 GMT
Re: [Avodah] Who is Eliezer?

I wrote:
> Please allow me to reformulate the question: Why is the first
> described in terms of mental abilities, while the second is
> described in terms of evil accomplishments?

Here is yet another reformulation: Until this thread got started, I had
presumed (without really pondering it in depth) that these four categories
are mutually exclusive. The four children are of essentially different
natures (although it might be hard to clearly define the line between one
and the next). But are they *really* that exclusive?

L'tzaareinu, no they are not. It is quite possible for someone to be both a chacham and a rasha, and the reality is that far too many such people exist.

But that is only if we use the "evil criminal" sense of "rasha". If we take
"rasha" in this context to mean "kofer" (which, as I wrote, fits the Hagada
very well) then there is a clear contrast to the chacham: Where the chacham
has chochmah in a very positive sense, the rasha has a distorted chochmah,
or an incomplete chochmah, or an immature chochmah, or something along
those lines.

Akiva Miller
Do THIS before eating carbs &#40;every time&#41;
1 EASY tip to increase fat-burning, lower blood sugar & decrease fat storage

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Message: 8
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 1 Nov 2013 13:48:52 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Who is Eliezer?

On Fri, Nov 01, 2013 at 02:22:29PM +0000, Kenneth Miller wrote:
: I wrote:
:> Please allow me to reformulate the question: Why is the first
:> described in terms of mental abilities, while the second is
:> described in terms of evil accomplishments?

: Here is yet another reformulation: Until this thread got started,
: I had presumed (without really pondering it in depth) that these four
: categories are mutually exclusive. The four children are of essentially
: different natures (although it might be hard to clearly define the line
: between one and the next). But are they *really* that exclusive?

I didn't reply because Lisa said pretty much what I would. The Chakhamim
in Shas, the Sepharadi "Chakham" etc... all connote not just someone
who has whatever mental ability is referred by by the word chokhmah
(as opposed to dei'ah, yedi'ah, binah, tevunah, haskeil, etc...) but
someone who successfuly applied it to Torah.

Since Athens also have chakhamim (who Rebbe acknowledged knew their
astronomy), it can be used in more literal senses. But in the hagadah,
I had assumed knot.

Here I took the opposite approach you did -- I assumed the haggadah
lists four archetypes and ALL people embody all of them in varying
degrees and as various situation ellicit from them.


Micha Berger             Strength does not come from winning. Your
mi...@aishdas.org        struggles develop your strength When you go
http://www.aishdas.org   through hardship and decide not to surrender,
Fax: (270) 514-1507      that is strength.        - Arnold Schwarzenegger

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Message: 9
From: saul newman <newman...@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 31 Oct 2013 22:37:24 -0700
[Avodah] a failure to communicate

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Message: 10
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 1 Nov 2013 14:41:28 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Mesorah

On Thu, Oct 31, 2013 at 01:53:07PM -0400, Zvi Lampel wrote:
>> Wed, 30 Oct 2013 From: Micha Berger ...But because he says they lack  
>> even the theoretical capacity for bechirah, I have a hard time  
>> understanding how the Rambam could say your seifa about having choice  
>> about the details in their mission. Could you provide a mar'eh maqom?  
>> ... Tir'u baTov! -Micha
> MN 2:7

Which focuses on the galalim. As per R Yosef el-Qafeh's title for
the chapter "HaGalgalim Meivinim es Pe'ulosam, veHeim Gam Baalei

See http://www.daat.ac.il/daat/mahshevt/more/b4-2.htm#1 for an HTML copy
which uses interpretive layout (rendering lists as lists, for example)
and colorization to ease comprehension. Going to Fraedlander due to
the limitations of the digest software (no Hebrew), he titles the chapter
"The Homonymity of the term 'Angel'".

It opens the question whether the Galgalim and Sikhlim being discussed
here include mal'akhim of the sort we usually think of. In any case,
RYQ's fn 9 (at above link) tells us that when the Ramam promises to
later discuss why they only do good, he means ch 10 and 11. Which are
about the galgalim and physical existences.


Micha Berger             A person lives with himself for seventy years,
mi...@aishdas.org        and after it is all over, he still does not
http://www.aishdas.org   know himself.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                            - Rav Yisrael Salanter


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