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Volume 32: Number 60

Wed, 09 Apr 2014

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: "Prof. Levine" <llev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Sun, 06 Apr 2014 17:13:52 -0400
[Avodah] There is no surrogate for the home.

We live in a world which seems to be spiralling into spiritual and 
moral chaos.  Even in the Orthodox community we increasingly see problems. Why?

Could the answer be in the following which is from pages 107 - 111 of 
RSRH's essay Nissan VI in Volume I of the Collected Writings of RSRH?  YL

Subjected to terror and persecution, Israel did not lose the 
consciousness of its
special mission. Could this have been achieved through any other
virtue than the chaste purity of the generations? No Jewish child was
exposed to a casual education or entrusted to the care of chance. Was
this not achieved because both father and mother were present and
available for every Jewish child from birth onwards! Upbringing is the
spiritual and moral completion of the physical process begun with
conception and birth. All of Judaism is built upon the fact that every
Jew is born for one specific life vocation and task; that every Jew must
be educated for this life task, and that this spiritual bequeathal of a
Divinely revealed vocation is transmitted from generation to generation.
Can this Judaism then be truly realized if the child, who is the key
to the coming generation, has no father who transmits the Jewish spiritual
legacy to him; if the child has no home in which he thrives in the
formative atmosphere of the pure Jewish life required for this spiritual

To be descended from a proper home and to build another such
home comprises, therefore, all the good fortune, all
the earthly blessings, and all the ethical Calling of the Jew. - And is
this not actually basic to all men? Is this not likewise the basic condition
for the well-being and ethical perfection of the nations? Is it not
also the precondition for all the hopes of mankind?

O that wherever people deliberate about the fortunes of nations
and national welfare, about the morals and the culture of nations,
about the well-being and tranquility of people and of mankind; O that
they would look at this first page of the Magna Charta of the People of
God which was bestowed upon them by God! Not at the council tables
of princes, not on the fields of battle, not in the factories of the
industrialists, not in the halls of business establishments, not even in
the lecture halls and educational institutions of the arts and sciences,
and also not in the temples where God is glorified-not there, but in
the homes is decided the fortune or misfortune, the prosperity or
misery of nations and men. Do you desire good fortune and prosperity?
Procreate in' purity, take care that in palaces and ordinary homes
every new child that is born is looked after, reared, and educated with
the love of his mother and father.

Facilitate, encourage, and support this ethical building of human
households. "Create homes!" - and you will have provided for the
well-being of your families, peoples and states; you will have
ensured-whether in palaces or in ordinary homes-that human
affairs, from the sublime to the most ordinary, are entrusted to clean
hands, pure minds and unsullied spirits. The spirit of morality, the
spirit of love which can flourish and be practiced only in homes, that
spirit will permeate and govern ruler and subject, industry and trade,
science and art, religions and temples. That spirit-and no other-will
bring about well-being and peace.

There is no surrogate for the home. Let immorality increasingly
make a mockery of ethical family life and let children without fathers
proliferate in the streets, then all of your politics and diplomacy, all
your institutions of culture and learning will not save you from ruin.
Truly, the sages of old probed deeply into the problem of the wellbeing
of nations. They noted that in the Divine Scriptures there is a repeated
counting of the people by families and houses. The sages then
comment as follows: "When Israel received the Law, the nations of the
world were envious, saying: Why are these people deemed worthy to
stand nearer to God than others? The All-Holy One silenced them
with the words: Bring Me the records of your ancestry. You cannot!
Only my sons are able to furnish evidence of their birth according to
their families! Therefore, He counted Israel-at the beginning of the
fourth Book-after the conclusion of the Giving of the Law in the
third Book: Count the members of the entire congregation of the sons
of Israel according to their families, according to the houses of their
parents! Thus begins the fourth book; because Israel became worthy
to receive the Law only through the purity of the lineage of their families.

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Message: 2
From: David Wacholder <dwachol...@mail.gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 6 Apr 2014 14:13:41 -0400
[Avodah] Geulah


If I understood him correctly, R' Zev Sero said that there can be an
end of suffering without the positive finalizing of redemption.

Here is a source for RZS - that Mashiach means end of suffering - which
may be much earlier than the actual Ingathering of Exiles.

Mishnah in Eidiyot says - Tala Galut beshanim [be oppressed by them 400
years - but - TALA Geulah bedorot - Dor Revi'i Yashuvu Heina -

Raabad explains - Hashem sees that the current generation cannot handle
the pressures of Geulah - so he leaves them temporarily in Galut limbo -
such as the Dor Hamidbar for 40 years - though their "suffering" is over -
it timed out.

Until a generation rises that Hashem sees that they can "handle the
Geulah" - such as the generation of Yehoshua. See also the Tosefta there.

Let me give my approach. Punishment - exile and suffering - can be
either personal or "stand-offish" neutral. Punishment can be "natural
consequences" or administered by "letter of the law". The punishment's
purpose may have run its course. It timed out.


Geulah includes reconciliation and reestablishing the Domicile on a proper
- mutually pleasing basis. Within individuals, that means building
"Dwelling Place" in a person's heart. Within the Nation, the Divine
Presence feels that it is not being rejected. Some aspects of Divine
Presence are not returnable, they are permanent states of Kedusha.

The more intense the relationship becomes, the more the demands on the
Klal. The Klal must trust Hashem - attribute the gifts and goodness to
Him only. The Klal must praise Hashem only and thank Hashem only. Bowing
to other "rival" Heavenly Powers - shows lack of proper full trust. That
trust must be rebuilt.

Such is the content of Mim'kom'cha in the Kedusha - the Throne is ready
for his triumphant return. The king's absence is overly long. When will
it be?
 We look at our watches impatiently.

We wish a face to face - eye to eye - meeting with our King.

Retzeih Be'amcha Yisrael - Be Pleased with the Chosen Nation Israel!
Be pleased with their leadership, with their prayers for return of
the relationship, for return of the daily interactions in the Mikdash.
Return the Avodah to your most sanctified Temple! Return the Heavenly
Fire to the Mizbeiach! Be pleased with their performance of the Korbanot
- and with the Worship and voluntary servitude offered by Your Chosen
Nation! All these are a token of your rekindled love for your chosen
nation. Be pleased with their worship of You!

Ve'ata Brachamecha Harabim Tachpotz Banu Vetirtzeinu!

We are ashamed to admit that your rejection may have some merit. Rather
than reject the part of the relationship which is still intact, look at
the immense potential potential of the connection that is still there! Use
the Compassion of a Parent for Her Children - choose to reaffirm and
bring back home Your children! Assert your parenthood! Proclaim it to
the ears of All! Show by Your actions how devoted You are to Your People!

[Shamefacedly, these words are currently skipped in many or all Ashkenaz
Siddurim. Under the unremitting tortures of Medieval times, the chazanim
allowed the words of "Active Affirmation" to be forgotten and fall into
disuse. They were unable to express the words - it was too too painful.
Such was the pain of rejection that they felt.

Perhaps Outsiders felt jealous and resentful of the affection that the
King bestowed upon his Nation, to the Heir Apparent?

Must our embarassment continue? Must our self-censorship continue to
remove any "too openly displayed" manifestations of the security of
Hashem's love ? In current times, do we have permission to assert
to Hashem:
You - second person singular - we are facing your gaze -
Tachpotz - we will risk coming up to Your Throne - risking the pain and
penalties of rejection - and yet You will choose to bring us back close
to You!
Banu - in us despite our prior shortcomings and earlier missed
opportunities berachamecha harabim - like a parent feels for a long
awaited only child - and never loses that goal of true closeness -
permanent caring - reflecting a permanent bond.
vETIRTZEINU - (may) you always be pleased with us

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Message: 3
From: Eli Turkel <elitur...@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 8 Apr 2014 09:35:11 +0300
[Avodah] Tefillen - Kesav Arizal or Kesav Beis Yosef?

<<His request for BY ksav was an afterthought.  If that were the only issue
he would have been wearing RT for decades.  The reason he had not been
them was not because of the ksav, but because of the practise of chassidishe
sofrim to leave space at the end of parshas Vehaya Ki Yeviacha.  Now that
LR had arranged for REZ to write for him special RT's tefillin without this
space, he requested that while he was about it he should also use BY ksav.>>

I am reminded of the opinion of the GRA that idf one ones to to yotzeh
according to all the fitot ones needs dozens or perhaps even 100 of
tefillin to account for every permutation.

Eli Turkel
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Message: 4
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Tue, 8 Apr 2014 06:01:08 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Tefillen - Kesav Arizal or Kesav Beis Yosef?

On Fri, Apr 04, 2014 at 04:52:13PM -0400, Micha Berger wrote:
: I think you might wish to reassure users that neither opinion actually
: says the other is pasul. It's a question of ideal letter shape, but
: Ari letters are close enough to Beis Yoseif that each would consider
: the other kosher. Igeros Moshe (OC 4:9 nr end, vol 6 pg 17) says that
: all the scripts are mutually kosher. But while I seem to recall that all
: Sepharadim will use Ashkenazi scripts, not all Ashkernazim hold like Rav
: Moshe that Sepharadi Vellish kesav is sufficient for the mitzvah.)...

The sofer who authored the piece in Hakhel nearly confirmed the above,
with the one correction that Sepharadim won't make a berakhah on
Ashkenazi tefillin.

In any case, I am reminded of the dispute over the shape of the arms
of the menorah. Whether in the past they were semi-circular, parabolic,
or straight (despite the metalurgical issues with the latter), any would
actually be kosher. In a pinch, 7 spears was kosher. And remember from
the oil, these were not

I have no reason to believe that a menorah with kaftor vaferach etc... but
differently shaped arms than Moshe's/Betzlel's menorah would even be a
lekhat-chilah vs bedi'eved issue.

Similarly, I have no reason to believe the issues that diffrentiate Beis
Yoseif vs Ari kesavim goes beyond the level of custom, rather than being
a machloqes about the mitzvah itself. (A homonym problem, as the word
"minhag" is used for both custom beyond the halakhah and for siding with
one side of a machloqes over another.)

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             "Man wants to achieve greatness overnight,
mi...@aishdas.org        and he wants to sleep well that night too."
http://www.aishdas.org         - Rav Yosef Yozel Horwitz, Alter of Novarodok
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Message: 5
From: Eli Turkel <elitur...@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 8 Apr 2014 09:44:05 +0300
[Avodah] second day of Yom Tov

from the Torah in motion site on the recent daf yomi Beitzah 4

 It is worth noting that in the Diaspora--and only in the Diaspora--on each
of the holidays of Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot, we read "*kol habechor*"
(Devarim 15:19 - 16:17), which discusses the three pilgrim festivals and
the mitzvah of *aliyah leregel*, coming to Jerusalem for Yom Tov. Our
Rabbis of old could chastise in the most subtle and beautiful of ways. (I
thank Rabbi Menachem Leibtag for this insight.)

Eli Turkel
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Message: 6
From: T6...@aol.com
Date: Tue, 8 Apr 2014 14:31:50 -0400 (EDT)
[Avodah] A goat got in among the sheep

Offspring of a goat and a sheep:
I didn't know this was even possible.
My question:  is this kosher?  Any reason why it wouldn't  be?

--Toby Katz


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Message: 7
From: Zev Sero <z...@sero.name>
Date: Tue, 08 Apr 2014 15:51:15 -0400
Re: [Avodah] A goat got in among the sheep

On 8/04/2014 2:31 PM, T6...@aol.com wrote:
> Offspring of a goat and a sheep:
> http://www.farmersjournal.ie/what-do-you-get-w
> hen-you-cross-a-goat-and-a-sheep-156405/
> I didn't know this was even possible.

It's *nearly* impossible, but not quite.

> My question:  is this kosher?  Any reason why it wouldn't be?

Definitely kosher, and definitely a beheima, since both parents were kosher
beheimos.    A "koi" is a hybrid between a chaya and a beheima, so it's kosher
but its chaya/beheima status is in doubt.

Zev Sero             Sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable
z...@sero.name        from malice.
                                                          - Eric Raymond

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Message: 8
From: "Kenneth Miller" <kennethgmil...@juno.com>
Date: Wed, 9 Apr 2014 00:03:00 GMT
Re: [Avodah] forgot to separate challah

R' Ben Waxman wrote: 
> Rav Aviner was asked if a woman forgot to separate challah before she 
> lit Shabbat candles, if she can take challah afterwards. He answered, 
> yes she can because she lit mistakenly. Had she known that she hadn't 
> taken challah, she wouldn't have accepted Shabbat.

R' Micha Berger cited MB 261:28 as the source.

I'm not disputing the halacha here, only suggesting that this MB is NOT the
source for it. The MB there is talking about various cases of shvvus
b'makom mitzva that might be allowed during bein hashmashos, but ONLY if
the person was not yet m'kabel Shabbos, such as by answering to Bor'chu or
where the tzibur was m'kabel Shabbos. But I would imagine that a woman's
candle lighting is in the same category.

Furthermore,  I did not notice anything in that MB about undoing a Kabalas
Shabbos on account of it having been in error. I *have* seen this situation
discussed in the Shmirat Shabbat K'hilchata (probably in the first chapter
of vol 2), but if he cites the MB, it's gotta be somewhere else. 

Akiva Miller
Old School Yearbook Pics
View Class Yearbooks Online Free. Search by School & Year. Look Now!

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Message: 9
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Wed, 9 Apr 2014 05:35:12 -0400
Re: [Avodah] forgot to separate challah

On Wed, Apr 09, 2014 at 12:03:00AM +0000, Kenneth Miller wrote:
: > Rav Aviner was asked if a woman forgot to separate challah before she 
: > lit Shabbat candles, if she can take challah afterwards. He answered, 
: > yes she can because she lit mistakenly. Had she known that she hadn't 
: > taken challah, she wouldn't have accepted Shabbat.
: R' Micha Berger cited MB 261:28 as the source.

Actually, as I tried to make clear, MB 216:1 and s"q 28 provide a source
for the conclusion, not the reasoning.

: I'm not disputing the halacha here, only suggesting that this MB
: is NOT the source for it. The MB there is talking about various cases
: of shvvus b'makom mitzva that might be allowed during bein hashmashos,
: but ONLY if the person was not yet m'kabel Shabbos, such as by answering
: to Bor'chu or where the tzibur was m'kabel Shabbos. But I would imagine
: that a woman's candle lighting is in the same category.

That's why I cited s"q 4 as well. By saying this is only the din in EY,
and only if her husband or the community were not already meqabel Shabbos,
I believe the MB is putting hafrashas challah in the same category --
despite candle-lighting.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             None of us will leave this place alive.
mi...@aishdas.org        All that is left to us is
http://www.aishdas.org   to be as human as possible while we are here.
Fax: (270) 514-1507            - Anonymous MD, while a Nazi prisoner

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Message: 10
From: "Kenneth Miller" <kennethgmil...@juno.com>
Date: Wed, 9 Apr 2014 05:22:18 GMT
Re: [Avodah] forgot to separate challah

> R' Micha Berger cited MB 261:28 as the source.

I wrote:

> ... this MB is NOT the source for it. The MB there is talking
> about various cases of shvvus b'makom mitzva that might be
> allowed during bein hashmashos, but ONLY if the person was not
> yet m'kabel Shabbos, ... 

I was wrong. RMB was correct.

This case appears explicitly in Shmirat Shabbat K'hilchata 43:19, and he explicitly cites this MB.

My error was that I did not notice the very last line of that MB, where he
makes a distinction: When the tzibur accepts Shabbos, then Shabbos is in
full force, period. But if it was merely an individual who accepted
Shabbos, but the tzibur did not yet do so, then one can follow the kulos of
Bein Hashmashos even though he did personally accept Shabbos.

In footnote 114 there, the SSK quotes the Shoel Umeishiv: "If she lit the
neros and remembers that she forgot to take challah, then her Kabala[s
Shabbos] was a mistake, because if she would have remembered, then she
would not have lit." This logic caused me to wonder about the following
question: If we are retroactively cancelling her lighting, then doesn't she
need to relight the neros after she is done taking the challah?

But that question may be answered by something he wrote in footnote 113. If
I'm reading it correctly, he says as follows: If Hadlakas Neros is
considered like an individual's Kabalas Shabbos, then she can take challah
after having lit by mistake. But if Hadlakas Neros is like a tzibur's
Kabalas Shabbos, then it is too late, as RMB properly explained the Mishne
Brurah. So which is it? Is Hadlakas Neros like an individual's or a
tzibur's Kabalas Shabbos? Answer: That will depend on the machlokes of
whether or not one can make a tenai to light the neros *without* accepting
Shabbos. If one *can* make such a tenai, then the acceptance of Shabbos is
that of an individual. But if one cannot make such a tenai, then the
Kabbala is like that of a tzibur.

If I understood that correctly, then we can say the following: If we allow
this woman to take challah even after lighting the neros, then we must be
siding with the opinion that she *is* allowed to make a tenai when lighting
the neros. Clearly, she did not in reality make such a tenai in this
particular case -- but she could have made the tenai, and she *should* have
made the tenai. The only reason she didn't is because she forgot that she
still needs to take challah. And THAT is the only thing that we're undoing
retroactively: We're making it AS IF she had lit with a tenai. So the
actual Hadlakas Neros is fine, and she does not need to relight after she's
done taking challah.

In other words, when we said "she lit by mistake", we merely mean, "when
she lit, she accepted Shabbos by mistake." And if you look again at the
words of the Shoel Umeishiv, that's pretty close to what he did say.

Akiva Miller

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

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Message: 11
From: "Prof. Levine" <llev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Wed, 09 Apr 2014 12:41:19 -0400
[Avodah] Luach for Pesach by Rabbi Geller

See http://web.stevens.edu/golem/llevine/pesach/luach_5774_%20pesach_ge

This is geared to Brooklyn, NY,  but does contain information that is 
useful to those who live in other places as well.


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Message: 12
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Wed, 9 Apr 2014 16:50:33 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Time for the Deceased

On Sun, Mar 30, 2014 at 03:30:01PM +0000, Kenneth Miller wrote:
: On the one hand, you (or the Rambam) are putting mal'achim in the same
: category as the tzurah-table. But it seems to me that the tzurah-table is
: not capable of doing anything, not even something as passive as supporting
: an object above the floor. But mal'achim *are* capable of doing things,
: aren't they?

: We can argue about their level of bechira, and other such questions, but
: surely we agree that they can do things, right? By some sort of method,
: they can affect stuff in the physical world and/or the metaphysical
: world. If so, then anything you might say about the tzurah-table being
: "outside of physics" or "outside of time" does not necessarily apply
: to mal'achim.

(Everything you said is equally true of neshamos.)

But saying their effects are inside of time doesn't mean that they
themselves are. Just as -- I would say "as part of" -- saying that their
effects include events in olam hazeh even when they are in shamayim
doesn't mean their shamayim is within this universe.

Reducio ad absurdum... Hashem is lemaaleh min hazman and He is quite
capable of doing things in the physical world. So even if you don't
accept the above response, there has to be a flaw somewhere, since the
same argument would say impossible things about HQBH.

:> The above argument is more Aristotilian than I think either of
:> us are.

: Which is a big part of why I don't have much reluctance about parting
: ways with Aristotle.

The problem is that the concepts of chomer and tzurah aren't limited
to the Rambam. It's the language used by the vast majority of rishonim
and mequbalim.

Yes, we may need to strip their ideas of this language. But we still
have to translate the mesoretic ideas they are using Greek thought
to explain.

Although, while I said such translation is necessary, RYBS didn't. He
instead spoke often of establishing a hashkafah built upon halakhah,
rather than dealing with this entire problem.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             If a person does not recognize one's own worth,
mi...@aishdas.org        how can he appreciate the worth of another?
http://www.aishdas.org             - Rabbi Yaakov Yosef of Polnoye,
Fax: (270) 514-1507                  author of Toldos Yaakov Yosef

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Message: 13
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Wed, 9 Apr 2014 17:26:52 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Rav Elya Lopian: tefillin and radio

On Sun, Mar 30, 2014 at 11:14:05PM +0000, Kenneth Miller wrote:
: I have been presenting my idea that when we do a mitzvah or an aveirah,
: it causes certain reactions, and that these result from a direct
: cause-and-effect relationship, despite the fact that the mechanics happen
: on a metaphysical level that we are unable to see or measure. Because
: this touches on the very definition of what mal'achim are and how they
: function - not to mention the entire concept of s'char v'onesh...

My counterargument was not that such causality does NOT exist, but that is
conforms to -- indeed it is -- sekhar va'onesh and hatavah. Much the way
"teva" can be taken as shorthand for "patterns in Hashem's actions". (And
aren't both mediated by mal'akhim?)

And I brought a list of baalei mesorah who give causal explanations to
sekhar va'onesh. I also argues that framing SvO in terms of a system
of causality He set up during maaseh bereishis or in terms of Hashem
responding to each action is really one of modeling an incomprehensible
theological truth to human scale. Since HQBH is lemaalah min hazman,
the two descriptions really only differ on what imaginary "when" we tie
to His Action.

The part we disagree about is whether metaphysical causality is possible
without using the human soul to connect the olamos. Nefesh haChaim part
I gives this mechanism, and yet in 1:1-2 he argues that this unification
of the kochos of all the olamos is whjat makes us betzelem E-lokim. So
while he doesn't say that the power is uniquely human, describes the
impact actions in olam hazeh can have in higher olamos in terms he
already said are unique to people.

: Offlist, someone offered me the following:
:> In Chapter 26 of the Moreh Rambam discusses Shehita as an
:> illustration of "Litzareif Bahem Habriyos"- That Hashem Himself
:> has no interest in how we slaughter an animal, but we need to do
:> it that way as a purification of our imperfect selves.

But (to paraphrase what RAM responds later) Hashem has an interest in
our purifying our imperfect selves. So he does care about shechitah,
but only because of His Love for the shocheit and the meat consumer.

:> If Hashem was so concerned about cruelty to animals He would not
:> have made nature so cruel or He would not have permitted us to
:> eat animals. By making it necessary for us to participate in this
:> cruel food chain, but in the most humane way possible, we are
:> purified.

Quoting my blog post at <http://www.aishdas.org/asp/divine-command-theory>:

   I think there are three relevant statements by Chazal:

   1- The Chazan who praises G-d with the phrase "Your Mercy extends
   to the bird's nest", referring to the mitzvah of shiluach haqen,
   sending away the mother bird before taking her hatchlings or eggs,
   is to be deposed from leading the service. The mishnah (Megillah 25a)
   presents this law, and the gemara gives two explanations:
       a- "It arouses jealousy of other animals".
       b- "Mitzvos are nothing but decrees."

   Rashi explains this second answer to mean that shiluach haqen is simply
   a gezeiras hakasuv, a decree from a verse. This would appear to be DCT.
   However, that is not consistent with Rashi's position in other places.
   As we will see from other rishonim, this statement isn't as clear
   cut as it initially appears.

   The Maharal's discussion in Tif'eres Yisrael ch. 6 is in three stages.
   (First a caveat: The Maharal is often hard to comprehend. My mind
   therefore sometimes fills in in my comprehension Rorschach Inkblot
   Test Style.) First he addresses the two answers in the gemara,
   and explains what the Chazan said that was so terrible according to
   each. Then he explains the debate between the Rambam and the Ramban
   we will discuss below, before giving his own position on the subject.

   The mishnah lists things that a Chazan might say that would imply
   something heretical. Another case in the mishnah is one who says "Modim
   Modim", saying "Thanks" twice. Which sounds like someone who believes
   in two gods. (Perhaps out of fear that he picked up some Zoroastrian
   thought about a demiurge of good and one of evil, as Zoroastianism
   was more common among the local non-Jews of the area before the birth
   of Islam.) The Maharal explains this case in a similar light.

   a- According to the first opinion in the gemara, it is because "it
   arouses jealousy of other animals". The implication is that G-d doesn't
   run all of the world equally, and thus some species have a reason to be
   jealous of others. It opens room for polytheism or incomplete theism.

   b- The second opinion states that "mitzvos are nothing but decrees." We
   can not assign attributes to G0d. Hashem chose these mitzvos because
   of pure Will, not because of this middah or that.

   It seems that to the Maharal, din (law) is more than a middah in
   contrast to chessed (compassion), since it means our following His
   Will. It doesn't imply a trait of Divine Providence, but rather is
   closer to G-dhood Itself as pure Will. Also, it would seem that the
   Maharal agrees with the Moreh that speaking of Hashem's Will doesn't
   violate Negative Theology (the idea that the only thing we can assert
   about Hashem Himself is what He isn't).

   I don't know why the usual answer, that we mean Hashem acts in a
   manner from which we would emulate Rachamim (Mercy), doesn't work. Like
   "Avinu, Av haRachaman, racheim aleinu... -- Our Father, the Merciful
   Father, have Mercy upon us..." Perhaps, as per the Rambam's Guide and
   the Gra, we could distinguish between anthropomorphications made by
   prophets and crafting one's own. More likely in my eyes is that the
   Maharal feels the gemara is objecting because the chazan in question
   phrased the Middah as a motivator, not the something we read into
   action itself.

   An interesting tangent would be what the above says about the Maharal's
   understanding of the 10 sefiros. But I am not capable of even guessing
   at that one.

   2- In Bereishis Rabba (44:1) is asks whether it matters to G-d
   whether we slaughter an animal from the front of the neck or the
   back. (This question is even more difficult when you realize that
   in usual shechitah a bird is slaughtered from the front of the
   neck, but meliqah, a sort of slaughtering done for qorbanos with the
   kohein`s nail was done from the back!) Rav concludes that mitzvos only
   "letzareif bah es habereios -- to cleans people with it."

   Again, this could be taken to be grounds for asserting DCT, that
   there is no objective reason for why shechitah is the way it is,
   and that "proper slaughter" is simply defined by Hashem commanding
   us to have the discipline do it one particular way. Or, it could be
   that the substance of the mitzvos are refining; that Hashem gave us
   a list of acts that He Knows refines souls.

   Interestingly, both quotes divorce the reason of the mitzvah from an
   obvious guess that it's about tzaar baalei chaim (needless cruelty
   to animals) -- whether compassion on the mother bird or to try to
   minimize the pain of slaughter. This might be significant.

   The Rambam (Guide III) uses these two quotes to show that while mitzvos
   in the large have reasons, the details are often arbitrary. We needed
   a rite to elevate how we kill animals, that's more significant than
   what the rite is. If Hashem said that we should shecht from the back
   of the neck we could ask why not the front? Or had he told us to take
   a pepper on Sukkos, we could ask why not an esrog?

   I think there is a leshitaso (an overall unity of position) there
   with the Rambam's position on providence. He understands nature is
   providence over the entire species, not on each individual. The species
   of lions may be protected, but the fate of one particular lion is a
   not providencial. Halakhah too is a set of rules, and therefore it
   is unsurprising that the Rambam too see it also addressing the big
   picture and not every detail.

   The Ramban argues that it's a dercree on us because shiluach haqen is
   about developing our compassion, not an expression of Hashem's. This
   is reading the Bereishis Rabba, which explicitly says the difference in
   how one slaughters for the sake of our middos, back into the gemara in
   Megillah. I would say the Ramban is also leshitaso. His whole concept
   of "qadeish es atzmekha bema shemutar lakh -- sanctify yourself with
   that which is [halachically] permitted to you" means that there is a
   definition of sanctity that goes beyond that which was specifically
   commanded. That there is an underlying set of values behind halakhah
   that we are supposed to be developing in ourselves.

   3- The relevance of this third quote is less obvious. The Zohar
   (Bereishis 134a) famously says that Hashem, "histaqeil be'oraisa uvarei
   alma - looked into the Torah and created the world". The Torah is the
   blueprint to the world, and logically prior to it.

   After explaining the Rambam and Ramban, the Maharal (ibid.) then
   defends the Ramban's position from this critique, since he assigns
   desired attributes for people. It could be pure Divine Will that we be
   rachmanim (merciful people). But this he objects to as well, even while
   saving the Ramban from being branded by the same "heretic" label as the
   hypothetical chazan. He objects to the Ramban's placement of cart and
   horse, cause and effect.

   According to the Maharal, mitzvos are decrees, causeless. Hashem then
   created a universe and people such that "derakheha darkhei no'am - its
   ways are ways of pleasantness". It's not that Hashem wishes us to be
   rachanim that He told us to send away the mother bird, but rather
   because He commanded us to send her away, Hashem made it so such
   behavior would have results that are ne'imos (pleasant). Without
   explicitly invoking the Zohar, the Maharal presumes it in his answer.

   In terms of the Euthyphro Dilemma (as reformulated for monotheists)...

(The post is a followup to
<http://www.aishdas.org/asp/2007/05/hashem-and-morality.shtml> and
<http://www.aishdas.org/asp/2007/05/hashem-and-morality.shtml>, and deals
with the question of whether "good" is just another word for "following
G-d's command". The monotheistic version of the Eythyphro asks how that
definition would work, wouldn't it mean that "good" is just arbitrary,
and has no real meaning? OTOH, does denying it mean that there is a
pre-existing definition of "good" that even HQBH is subject to? This
post adds the above discussion to my general thesis.)

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             None of us will leave this place alive.
mi...@aishdas.org        All that is left to us is
http://www.aishdas.org   to be as human as possible while we are here.
Fax: (270) 514-1507            - Anonymous MD, while a Nazi prisoner


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