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Volume 32: Number 18

Sun, 02 Feb 2014

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: cantorwolb...@cox.net
Date: Fri, 31 Jan 2014 13:36:16 -0500
[Avodah] A Vort for Rosh Chodesh

                                                                RUSH TO JUDGMENT

Pirkei Avot urges us ?Hevei dan et kol ha-adam l?chaf z?chut??Judge every person in the scale of merit. 
This is the usual translation. Yet, without distorting the Hebrew translation of ?kol adam? (every person),
this can also mean ?the WHOLE person.?  What a beautiful thought! In other words, we should not judge
just one slice of behavior and the motivations we think we see behind that behavior. Instead we should 
consider the WHOLE person. Context is more important than impulse and judging the WHOLE of the
person includes the SOUL of the person.
There is a beautifully poignant story about a beggar who once approached Rabbi Moshe Leib of Sassov 
for charity. Although this beggar had a bad reputation, Rabbi Moshe?himself a poor man?gave the beggar
his last coin. Several of his students having witnessed this asked the rabbi why he gave his last coin to
to a man with such a questionable reputation. Rabbi Moshe Leib, in his great humility, replied: ?The Almighty
wasn?t selective when He gave the coin to me, so why should I be any more judgmental and selective
than God??

(Many times my mother, of blessed memory, used to say in Yiddish: ?zee vays nisht vos teet vay mit yenem.?
Loosely translated ?You don?t know the troubles other people have and what motivates their behavior.?) 

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Message: 2
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 31 Jan 2014 14:12:09 -0500
Re: [Avodah] talmudic treatments

On Thu, Jan 30, 2014 at 11:32:25PM -0500, Zev Sero wrote:
> On 30/01/2014 10:35 PM, Micha Berger wrote:
>> I would have said, and indeed have said, that the mesorah the Shitah
>> Mequbetzes (on Kesuvos 13b) had of Rabbeinu Tam's position is a das
>> yachid among rishonim who says Rebbi's words can't be taken at face
>> value.

> Maybe so, but RMM still doesn't have to think of an answer; he can give
> RT's answer.

The problem is that RMM published an explicit rebuttle to RNS's work.
He isn't so much trying to prove that R' Tam's position is viable as
much as asserting that no other position is.

>> Pashut peshat of "Venir'in divreihen midivreinu", even when
>> followed with a proof to their devarim ("shebayom..."), would be that it
>> seems to him their conclusion is right, not that it wrongly would seem
>> from their proofs that it is. Look at other uses of "nir'eh" in Chazal.

> One needn't take a strong position and say Rebbi is positively saying that
> he's still right and they're wrong.  That seems a stretch.  But it seems
> obvious to me that "venir'in", not just here but everywhere, *never* means
> a judgment about who is right.  It *always* means simply that one side is
> more plausible than the other....

Yes, so Rebbe is saying "their position is more plausible". I put it last
time as "it seems to him their conclusion is right", but I'm okay with
this formulation.

R' Tam is reported as saying that Rebbe was saying "their position looks
more pluasible to a third party [but I know they're wrong]." That's what
I'm calling something other than pashut peshat.

>> Also, I don't know the relevance, but Rebbe's proof isn't one Greeks
>> would actually give. He points out that spring water is cool during the
>> day but hot at night. Implied is that Rebbe thought the earth was
>> flat, and therefore the sun was closer to the wellspring at night,
>> when it was under the earth and heading it from behind. Not the
>> sun going around a spherical earth

> Indeed, the Greeks would not have made such an argument.  But who says
> the "chachmei ha'umos" in this dispute are the Greeks of his day?  Maybe
> they're some other, less advanced, nation that did believe that the earth
> is a flat disc, and the sun travels under it at night.  That was, after
> all, a popular theory at one point.

The two popular theories in Rebbe's day were (1) the one Rebbe and his
cadre had believed at the start of the maaseh, Persian astronomy, and
(2) the Greek theory. And Rebbe was living in the Eastern side of the
Roman empire, where the soldiers spoke Greek -- Greco-Roman thought was
the culture that surrounded the tannaim. It's really hard to believe
that the "chochmei ha'umos" were some less popular third group. I would
faster believe that the person who explained Greek astronomy to Rebbe
didn't know it all that well.

> Another problem is that lich'orah Rebbi's proof is contrary to the easily
> established reality.  I haven't actually measured it myself, but to the
> best of my knowledge and belief springs are colder at night than by day,
> and it makes no sense that they should be warmer.

It depends. If Rebbe was living in Shefar'am or Tziporei at the time, he
had altitude and *everything* was colder at night. I think Tziporei was
the majority of his life, stories about his Sanhedrin happened there.
But in between he lived in Beis She'arim, in a valley. And in fact,
it was his doctor who told him to move to Tzipori on a mountain-top.
So I think his Beis She'arim was hot and muggy 24x7, and how knows what
the local spring felt like?


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: 3
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 31 Jan 2014 14:44:05 -0500
Re: [Avodah] How We Should View Money

On Sun, Jan 26, 2014 at 09:08:47AM -0500, Prof. Levine wrote:
> following is part of RSRH's commentary on Shemos 22:24....

> Were the Jewish lender allowed to regard himself as merely a nosheh
> as one who, out of complete generosity, places the use of his own money
> at the disposal of another individual for a certain amount of time, he
> would then be entitled to receive compensation for temporarily relinquishing
> his money, or for the use the borrower makes of his money.
> But that is precisely what the Torah denies him. The money he loans is
> not entirely his own, and the decision to loan the money is not merely
> a matter of his own goodwill. His money belongs also to God, to lend
> it is a duty, and the borrower is not simply an individual, he is Ami, one
> of the members of God?s community, which by His Will must be built
> on the basis of the wondrous power of duty.

RSShkop, intro to Shaarei Yosher:

    In my opinion, this idea is hinted at in Hillel's words, as he used
    to say, "If I am [not] for me, who will be for me? And when I am
    for myself, what am I?" (Avos 1:14) It is fitting for each person
    to strive to be concerned for himself. But with this, he must also
    strive to understand that "I for myself, what am I?" If he constricts
    his "I" to a narrow domain, limited to what the eye can see [is him],
    then his "I" -- what is it? Vanity and ignorable. But if his feelings
    are broader and include [all of] creation, that he is a great person
    and also like a small limb in this great body, then he is lofty
    and of great worth. In a great engine even the smallest screw is
    important if it even serves the smallest role in the engine. For
    the whole is made of parts, and no more than the sum of its parts.

    Similarly it is appropriate to think about all the gifts of heaven
    "from the dew of the heavens and the fat of the land" (Bereishis
    27:28) that they are given to the Jewish people as a whole. Their
    allotment to individuals is only in their role as caretakers until
    they divide it to those who need it, to each according to what is
    worthy for him, and to take for himself what is worthy for himself.

    With this idea one can understand how charity has the effect of
    enriching the one who performs it, as the sages say on the verse
    "'aseir ta'aseir -- you shall surely tithe' -- tithe, so that you
    shall become rich -- shetis'asheir" (Ta'anis 9a). Someone who is
    appointed over a small part of the national treasury who does a good
    job guarding at his appointment as appropriate will be next appointed
    to oversee a sum greater than that, if he is not promoted in some
    other way. If they find a flaw in his guard duty, no fine qualities
    to be found in him will help, and they will demote him to a smaller
    task. Similarly in the treasuries of heaven which are given to man. If
    he tithes appropriately, he satisfies his job of disbursement as he is
    supposed to conduct himself according to the Torah, giving to each as
    is appropriate according to the teachings of the Torah, then he will
    become wealthy and be appointed to disburse a greater treasure. And
    so on, upward and upward so that he can fulfill his lofty desire to
    do good for the masses through his stewardship of the treasury. In
    this way a man of reliable spirit does the will of his Maker.

So, when "I" get money, it starts with me myself, but if I truly
understand who I am, I would naturally be sharing with those next to me,
those next to them, etc...

RSS presents an odd synthesis of Communism and Objectivism, by having
a graded sense of being a part of broader and broader communities but
with less and less intensity. Therefore my money is humanity's money,
but moreso the Jewish People's money, ... and even most so, it's my own.
I could give more justification to this claim, but it would require
quoting and discussing a number of sections of the haqdamah.


Micha Berger             Despair is the worst of ailments. No worries
mi...@aishdas.org        are justified except: "Why am I so worried?"
http://www.aishdas.org                         - Rav Yisrael Salanter
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Message: 4
From: "Kenneth Miller" <kennethgmil...@juno.com>
Date: Sun, 2 Feb 2014 03:37:51 GMT
[Avodah] You can't take it with you?

I had always thought that a Jew is buried with nothing other than a very
limited number of objects prescribed specifically by halacha and minhag:
tachrichim, a pasul talis for a man, soil from Eretz Yisrael, and perhaps
others that I'm not aware of. But personal possessions are not included.
"Tou can't take it with you," they say - nothing accompanies the niftar but
his/her mitzvos, maasim tovim, Torah learning, and similar "things".

This idea has been emphasized in recent years by a story of the
philanthopist Edward Reichman, who instructed his children that he be
buried with a certain pair of socks. The Chevra Kadisha refused to allow
this, and if the story isn't familiar, you can read it at http://www.t

But this Shabbos I read two different articles which suggest otherwise.

The Inyan Magazine (of the Hamodia newspaper USA edition) has a story on page 10 about a frum restaurant owner in early 1900s New York:

   The business was first and foremost a chessed opportunity, and
   second, a livelihood. Newly arrived Yidden were never charged until
   they became somewhat established. He maintained an accurate record
   of the thousands of unpaid bills, telling his children that he
   wanted to be buried with that list. "Dus iz mahn shlissel tsu
   Ganeid'n - This is my key to Gan Eden."

Similarly, Rav Frand (http://www.torah.org/learning/ravfrand/5763/terumah.html) wrote:

   Rabbeinu Bechaye adds that it was the custom of pious people in
   France to use the wood of their dining room table as building
   materials for their own coffins. Imagine -- being buried in one's
   dining room table! Why? The purpose was to teach them that they
   would not take a dime with them. Nothing will escort us to the next
   world except the charity that we gave during our life and the
   kindness that we showed towards others around our table.

   This seems to have been an accepted custom in Europe. People wanted
   to take an item with them which would argue on their behalf as they
   approached the Heavenly Court. I once heard from Rav Pam, that the
   honest tailors in Europe used to request that they be buried with
   the yardstick by which they measured material. The way to 'cheat'
   in the tailoring business 200 years ago in Europe was for the
   tailor to take as much material for himself as he could get away
   with (from the material that their customers would bring to them to
   make clothing). The honest tailors, who never used the yardstick to
   cheat customers, asked that the yardstick be included in the coffin
   with them -- as a critical defense attorney on their behalf, when
   they faced their final Judgment.

So... Would it really have been wrong to let Mr. Reichman bring along his socks? Or some other piece of evidence to show to the Beis Din Shel Maalah?

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: 5
From: Lisa Liel <l...@starways.net>
Date: Fri, 31 Jan 2014 12:31:16 -0600
Re: [Avodah] Women Wearing Tefillen

On 1/31/2014 9:36 AM, Prof. Levine wrote:
> If the mothers of these girls do not cover their hair in public,
> then to me this says something about their commitment to halacha.
> Why put on Tefillen which women are not required to do and yet not
> cover one's hair which a married woman is required to do?

I would be *very* surprised to learn that these mothers cover their


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Message: 6
From: Lisa Liel <l...@starways.net>
Date: Fri, 31 Jan 2014 14:23:35 -0600
Re: [Avodah] A Vort for Rosh Chodesh

On 1/31/2014 12:36 PM, cantorwolb...@cox.net wrote:

Pirkei Avot urges us "Hevei dan et kol ha-adam l'chaf z'chut--"Judge
every person in the scale of merit. This is the usual translation. Yet,
without distorting the Hebrew translation of "kol adam" (every person),
this can also mean "the WHOLE person."

This actually fits the Hebrew better.

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Message: 7
From: Zev Sero <z...@sero.name>
Date: Sat, 01 Feb 2014 23:27:49 -0500
Re: [Avodah] You can't take it with you?

On 1/02/2014 10:37 PM, Kenneth Miller wrote:
> This idea has been emphasized in recent years by a story of the
> philanthopist Edward Reichman, who instructed his children that he be
> buried with a certain pair of socks. The Chevra Kadisha refused to
> allow this, and if the story isn't familiar, you can read it athttp://
> www.torah.org/learning/dvartorah/5771/behar.html

The story (whether true or false) wavers between claiming that he wanted
to be buried *with* the socks or *in* them.  This alone should be enough to
dismiss the entire story, and anything else by that writer.  If he can't
make up his mind over such a key point, how can he be trusted to have got
the rest of the story right.  The story also does not specify which halacha
the request allegedly violated.

However, if the second version the story gives of the request is true, that
he asked to be buried in these socks, and they were not the standard white
linen ones, then perhaps that was the objection.  Especially if they were
noticeably expensive.   Otherwise the story makes no sense.

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: "Prof. Levine" <llev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Sun, 02 Feb 2014 05:49:57 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Women Wearing Tefillen

At 01:57 AM 2/2/2014, Rafael Jason Hecht wrote:
>One simple answer: what are the chances that these girls when they 
>IY"H get married will even cover their hair? My guess is that they 
>won't, thereby making the entire discussion moot.

My understanding is that these SAR girls who are putting on Tefillen 
claim they are following what their mothers do.

There is another possibility that I did not mention.  Their mothers 
may shave their heads and wear a cloth on top of their bald 
heads.  This may not be considered a Chatzitzah for Tefillen,  I do 
not know!  >:-}

Is there a difference between a human hair sheitel and a synthetic 
one when it comes to this issue of the sheitel being or not being a 

Someone told me that the Mishna Breuer says that a man who wears a 
toupee should remove it when he puts on Tefillen.  Another person 
told that he knew of a man who had

Alopecia Areata

(See http://tinyurl.com/2r5byf)  who was told he could wear his 
toupee while wearing Tefillen.

Of course, a toupee is often shorter than a sheitel.  YL

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Message: 9
From: Rafael Jason Hecht <rhe...@mail.gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 2 Feb 2014 01:57:15 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Women Wearing Tefillen

On Fri, Jan 31, 2014 at 10:36 AM, Prof. Levine <llev...@stevens.edu> wrote:
>> The Rosh (Hilchot Tefillin 18) derives from this sugyah that there must
>> not be a chatzitzah (a partition or separation) between one?s head and
>> one?s tefillin shel rosh....

>> The Machatzit HaShekel is stringent in this regard. According to him,
>> tefillin may not be placed atop the long hair...

>> The Aruch HaShulchan distinguishes between the hair that normally grows on
>> one's head and the forelock...

> Women often have longer hair than men.  Does this mean that women do not
> "fulfill"  the mitzvah of wearing Tefillen if their hair is long?...

> Furthermore,  how can a married woman who is supposed to cover her hair
> properly wear Tefillen in public.   Wouldn't the sheitel constitute a
> Chatzitzah?   Wouldn't a hat also? ...

One simple answer: what are the chances that these girls when they IY"H get
married will even cover their hair? My guess is that they won't, thereby
making the entire discussion moot.

Best Regards,
Rafi Hecht
LinkedIN: http://ca.linkedin.com/in/rafihecht
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/rhecht
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/#!/rafihecht
Personal Site: www.rafihecht.com

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Message: 10
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Sun, 2 Feb 2014 10:10:53 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Women Wearing Tefillen

On Sun, Feb 02, 2014 at 01:57:15AM -0500, Rafael Jason Hecht wrote:
: > Women often have longer hair than men.  Does this mean that women do not
: > "fulfill"  the mitzvah of wearing Tefillen if their hair is long?...
: > Furthermore,  how can a married woman who is supposed to cover her hair
: > properly wear Tefillen in public.   Wouldn't the sheitel constitute a
: > Chatzitzah?   Wouldn't a hat also? ...

: One simple answer: what are the chances that these girls when they IY"H get
: married will even cover their hair? My guess is that they won't, thereby
: making the entire discussion moot.

I'm not sure long hair is a problem according to the aforemention AhS, as
long as one isn't piling it up where the tefillin goes like a pompodour.

Second, the question of married women: a tefach of uncovered hair is
generally considered mutar, if many consider it suboptimal. So one could
potentially work out tefillin and hair covering.

But speakng lemaaseh, I would be more optimistic than RRH, and instead
posit a mima nafshach: Either these girls continue in their mothers'
ways, in which case hair covering is unlikely (as RRH wrote), or they
became BTs in which case the girl's continuing to put on tefillin is
unlikely. Because right-or-wrong on the theoretical plane, it would have
become associated with the C roots they're leaving.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Here is the test to find whether your mission
mi...@aishdas.org        on Earth is finished:
http://www.aishdas.org   if you're alive, it isn't.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                        - Richard Bach

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Message: 11
From: "Prof. Levine" <llev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Sun, 02 Feb 2014 10:08:49 -0500
[Avodah] MISCONCEPTION: Rashi?s daughters wore tefillin.

In light of the recent discussion about girls putting on Tefillen 
some have claimed that RASHI's daughters put on Tefillen.  They also 
point to the statement in the Talmud that Michal Bas Shaul put on 
Teffilin.   The article at  http://tinyurl.com/bwyzguj  by Rabbi Dr. 
deals with this issue.  In part it says

The Talmud (Eruvin 96a-b; Yerushalmi, Berachot 2:3 and Eruvin 10:1; 
see Tosafot, Rosh Hashanah 33a, s.v. haRebbi.)  reports that Michal 
bat King Saul, wife of King David, wore tefillin, though there are 
conflicting reports in the Talmud Bavli and Yerushalmi about how her 
contemporaries viewed this. There is documentation indicating that 
Hannah Rachel Webermacher, the famed "Maiden of Ludmir," who was a 
nineteenth-century Polish Chassidic leader, wore tefillin.

If women are indeed forbidden to wear tefillin, how could Michal bat 
Saul wear tefillin? The Kaf HaChaim (OC 38:9) quotes a creative 
suggestion by the Yafe l'lev. He suggests that Michal knew that she 
possessed a reincarnated "male soul." He proposes that this also 
explains her barrenness.

Regarding Rashi's daughters, one can argue that absence of evidence 
is not evidence of absence. However because the notion of Rashi's 
daughters wearing tefillin appears only in late twentieth-century 
writings, and does not seem to appear anywhere before that, this 
would indicate that it is, in fact, a myth.

See the above URL for more.

Furthermore,  have a look at the picture at 
http://tinyurl.com/lyd8w2v of girls wearing Tefillen at Camp 
Ramah.   These girls do not seem to know how to properly place 
Tefillen on their heads.  If so,  that what are they in realty accomplishing?


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Message: 12
From: "Prof. Levine" <llev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Sun, 02 Feb 2014 14:23:13 -0500
[Avodah] Contrasting Dimensions of Greatness - Israel's

The following is from RSRH's essay Adar II that appears in Volume II 
of his Collected Writings.

They [the sun and the moon] are to be symbols, signs. As signs, man utilizes
them to gauge the perimeter, extent and duration of his activities. As
symbols, man uses them to evaluate the value of his strivings and his

Heaven reveals two great heavenly bodies to man. One, the sun,
assumes its position with strength and might, with radiating power
and effectiveness, as it reveals to the light of day all forms of physical
development. But its dominion pertains to only half of earthly life; it
retreats completely as soon as the rule of the other heavenly body

The moon rarely projects a powerful beam. It is involved in constant
change and is always struggling for light. It fulfills its mission
with modesty and mildness and remains in the background until the
mighty rays of its great counterpart recede. Then it gently brightens
the nights of earthly existence.

Our Sages derive a lesson from these heavenly bodies. Man may
strive to reach two kinds of greatness. He can aim for material wealth
and power and strive for authority and sovereignty. Alas, these are
transitory attributes which, more often than not, tend to dissipate in
the course of a person's lifetime. On the other hand, man can aspire to
spiritual-moral greatness which is seldom fully achieved and can easily
be lost again. Its fulfillment lies not in a final goal, but in an eternal
striving towards self-perfection. In pursuit of such greatness man
remains conscious of his imperfections and must often defer to the
onslaught of materialistic power and glory. In the end, however, it is
the spiritual-moral quality which outlasts and survives human frailty
and weakness.

A nation also has the opportunity to strive for two kinds of greatnesses.
It can carry into the family of nations the sword of conquest
and the scepter of violence. It can overwhelm others with the power of
its might and firmly establish the throne of its kingdom and fame. Men
will bow and tremble before its greatness and might until the day of its
downfall. When the sword drops, the scepter breaks, the throne
collapses, fame fades, the kingdom vanishes, and it is recorded in the
book of time as "having been."

Or, a nation can aspire to acknowledge truth and ennoble man. It
can strive for might and fame solely in the pursuit of spiritual-moral
self-perfection. Then it will not establish new kingdoms and will not
conquer worlds. It will not build the throne of its glory upon broken
hearts and shattered homes. It will not be feared as it walks the earth.
Its fortunes will rise and fall and fall and rise, depending on whether it
attains its spiritual-moral ideal. This nation will be ostracized, the
material fragility of its "greatness" will be scorned-but it will outlast
all its powerful mocking enemies. Its demise never takes place; history
calls it the eternal people.

Our Sages comment by relating the following dialogue between
God and the moon (Chulin): The moon appeared before the
Creator's throne with a complaint "You have called me 'great' as You
have called the sun. How can we both rule at once?" "I accept your
complaint; withdraw quietly and you will rule by day and by night."
"But no one will notice the light of a torch in broad daylight." "Israel
will count its days and years with you." "They could also base their
calculations on the sun." "All the pious ones will use you as a model.
You will be fully satisfied when Israel, with its sacrifice of atonement
on every new moon, prepares to struggle for light that is akin to the
moon." In this struggle for the eternal light, Israel recognizes its
destiny and joyfully accepts it before God.

Since then Esau who was told "you shall live by the sword," counts
his years by the great light of the sun; Jacob the younger, counts his
years and his fate by the smaller light of the moon (Bereishis Rabah, 
Perek Vav) .
Esau's sun rules only during the day; his sword glitters only in this
world, not in the world to come. Jacob's smaller light attends to its
duties by day and night; his spirit enlightens this world and the one to
come. The greater light outshines the smaller one but as it slowly dims,
the smaller light grows in power. As long as Esau's blinding light fills
the world, Jacob's light remains unrecognized. When Esau's light
diminishes and fades, Jacob's luminous presence permeates the earth:


Then the controversy between material and spiritual aspirations
will be reconciled and the eternal greatness of the struggling spiritual- moral
light will be acknowledged with this recognition of the greatness
of the spiritual-moral light. The light representing material values will
then also receive its full true share and thereby will then achieve its
own Godly eternal purpose:


Thus, Israel counts according to the lunar years. However, it must
also pay attention to the sun in order to finally reconcile the light of its
spiritual-moral mission with the material life that is developing under
the-sun. Due to the shorter lunar year, it remains temporarily behind
in its count of years of the earthly sun's orbits. But Israel ultimately
reverses this trend and ultimately its spring joins with the spring of the
sun-world. Therefore, from time to time, it intercalates the month of
Adar II in a leap-year.
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