Avodah Mailing List

Volume 32: Number 128

Thu, 28 Aug 2014

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Zev Sero
Date: Tue, 26 Aug 2014 14:55:54 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Mekah ta'ut

On 26/08/2014 10:44 AM, Meir Shinnar via Avodah wrote:
> The metziut question which underlies possible expansion of Mekah ta'ut
> in the direction of RER -- is a two step argument
> 1) that the future defect WAS present at the time -- just not yet manifest
> -- (not a case of nistapacha sadehu) &
> 2) that future defect WAS not only present, but detectable at the time
> of the wedding -- IF detailed psych & medical testing at the time would
> have been done.

Both of these are pure guesswork.  There is no evidence, in most cases,
that either of these propositions is true.  If, in a specific case, there
is such evidence, that would of course be different.  But to state it as a
truism, of all cases, is just dishonest.

Further, even if, in a specific case, the person knew that they had a symptom
which *might* develop into a serious problem later on, any duty to disclose
it would surely depend on how likely this outcome was.  It obviously matters
whether, of 100 people with this symptom at 20, 99 develop a serious problem
by 60, or only 1 does.  At some level it becomes indistinguishable from the
general risk that anyone marrying another assumes, that something will one day
go wrong.

And if the symptom was not known to the party who had it, does the theoretical
possibility that she *might* have known if she'd had the right test make any
difference?  She didn't know, she had no reason to suspect it or be tested for
it, any more than the other party had reason to suspect it and ask for her to
be tested for it.  If there was good faith, I'm not sure to what extent mekach
ta'us applies even in a commercial transaction, let alone in something so risk-
fraught as a marriage.

Let's take the most obvious example: a woman turns out to be barren, and her
husband wants to break up and try again with a different wife.  Do we say mekach
ta'us, and she should not require a get?!  Surely she was always barren, whether
she knew it or not.   Or do we require a get only misafek, since she might not
be barren after all?!  In such a case, if she were to marry a cohen he'd only be
a safek chalal, and if he seized matnot kehuna he should not have to give them up.
Further, if the get is only misafek she should not be entitled to the ketubah.
Since I've never heard either of these things suggested, I conclude that the
the get is vadai, and therefore that the marriage was definitely valid, despite
the probable pre-exising defect having been discovered.

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

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Message: 2
From: Micha Berger
Date: Tue, 26 Aug 2014 17:50:44 -0400
Re: [Avodah] the International Dateline and the shape of the

The earliest source I can find for the nusach "goleil or mipenei choshekh"
is Abayei, Berakhos 10a. Or maybe Buber's edition of Medrash Tehillim
96:4. In any case, this was in the body of the berakhah since at least
part of Chazal's day.

As the AhS points out (OC 236:2), "goleil or mipenei choshech" works
well for the geocentric or heliocentric universe. But what "rolling"
would "goleil" refer to in the Persian (or a flat-earth) universe?

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: 3
From: Chana Luntz
Date: Wed, 27 Aug 2014 00:14:59 +0100
Re: [Avodah] Mekah ta'ut

> R' Zev Sero wrote:
> <<< If cars were difficult to find, so that if I hadn't bought this 
> car I stood a small but significant risk of being carless, *and* 
> having found out about the defect I reconciled myself to keeping it 
> rather than risk going carless, then I have accepted it with its 
> defects.>>>

And in a later post:

<<Who has been taught that there is no option but staying?  Surely everyone
knows that it is possible to leave.  She doesn't need to know about the
possibility of annulling the marriage; all she needs to know about is the
possibility of leaving, and living without a husband, just as in the mashal
I know about the possibility of returning the car and doing without one.
What makes actual cars different from husbands is that there is a plentiful
and *reliable* supply of them, which there isn't of husbands.>>

As a matter of pure logic this analogy is flawed.

Leaving aside mekach taus and the ability to undo the deal with the seller,
the owner of the car with serious defects has a number of other options
should he choose to be car less:

a) he can smash the car to pieces with impunity, - after all it is his
property -  to the point where it loses it name of "car";
b) he can abandon the car - ie make it hefker - at which point halachically
it is no longer his car (dina d'malchusa dina might, in this age of
responsibility, not be so clear);
c) he can sell it to somebody else.  Sure halachically he has to disclose
the defect, meaning he will likely get a lower price than he paid for it,
but there is a pretty good chance that he will find a buyer at some price
who will take it off his hands even with full disclosure.

However this is not at all the same for a woman:

a) Yes she is (probably) able to smash her husband to pieces - but it is
called murder, and is illegal both halachically and under dina d'malchusa
dina.  The consequences are therefore very different to the smashing of the
car.  It is however truly the one and only way she can actually free herself
from him assuming the "sale" as valid in the first place.
b) abandoning her husband she cannot do - and this is where I think RZS's
logic goes most awry.  He seems to suggest that if she "walks out the door"
she is then husbandless, just as if the person abandons the car and declares
it hefker he is car less.  But whether still living with him or not, she is
not, halachically, husbandless.  She is just not fulfilling her obligations
to said husband - but unless you can invoke mekach taus  - husband he is
whatever she does, and however she attempts to try and abandon him.  The
halacha may take the view that if she finds him repulsive she cannot be
forced to perform her obligations vis a vis him, and even that she is not
required to perform them if she is revolted by them, but these obligations
technically remain in place, as does her status as wife.  She thus is not
and cannot be husbandless whether she stays or walks out the door.  There is
nothing at all that she can do that is in any way analogous to rendering a
car ownerless and hefker.
c) She is not at liberty to "sell-on" her flawed husband to some other
buyer.  Our Imahos may have been able to give their maidservants as a
pilegesh, but that does not render any change in the relationship between
them and their husbands they are no less "wives".  

>It's accepting the least bad choice available.  That's acceptance.  But in
this case she her choice isn't marriage to this man or death, it's marriage
to this man or no marriage at all.  And >she has shown that she prefers him
with all his faults to nobody.

No, her choice (if mekach ta'us cannot be invoked) is between marriage to
this man, murder, or death.  If neither murder not death is an option (and
halachically both are forbidden) and mechach taus cannot be invoked, then
the only option is marriage - not "no marriage at all".  Sure she can leave
the house, she can (presumably) choose not to sleep with him - but even if
she chooses both of those options, there *is* halachically a marriage on
foot until he gives her a get, and she has absolutely no control over that.
So it makes no halachic difference if she comes or goes, has relations with
him or not - she is still married to him.  

Because of this, the only time it seems reasonable to say that she is
reaffirming the marriage is if she *knows* she has the option of mekach taus
- ie she knows that the initial marriage was invalid and is then choosing to
re-enter into a new sale, this time on the new terms.  Without that the only
reasonable assumption is that she is not husbandless, whether she lives with
him or not, or sleeps with him or not, so how can she possibly be said to
place any significance on doing either of those things?

BTW re RMB's comments, it seems pretty self evident that the chazaka of ein
adam oseh be'ilaso be'ilas zenus is talking about an adam in terms of the
male gender- it seems somewhat more difficult to say that it is generally
applied to women- especially given what is is often taken as the maskana to
the Mishna in Sotah (ie Rabban Yehoshua on 20a) about women preferring
tiflus.  Do we need to say that to apply ein adam in the way Rav Henkin did
one is by definition rejecting the Mishna in Sotah - or else you only have
one side of the equation?   In practice of course, we have gone so far down
the track of relying on Rav Moshe (there are so many thousands upon
thousands of ba'alei teshuva who have married in with pedigrees that would
lead Rav Henkin to consider them and all their descendents mazerim) that I
don't think Rav Henkin's position can be, today, regarded as anything more
than a way not taken - like we view various positions of the rishonim where
the psak of history has gone against them.

>Zev Sero             Sufficiently advanced incompetence is



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Message: 4
From: Prof. Levine
Date: Wed, 27 Aug 2014 10:25:04 -0400
[Avodah] Parashas Shoftim 5774 -- Wanted: A New Mussar


WHAT IS NEEDED TODAY, it seems to me, is a new mussar movement. In a 
little more than a hundred year period between the mid-18thcentury 
and the mid-19th century, Chassidus, the Mussar movement, and Rabbi 
Shamshon Raphael Hirsch's Torah Im Derech Eretz flowered. Though very 
different from one another, all three movements were responses to 
external challenges and a sense of internal decline. On the external 
front, the ghetto walls fell in Western Europe and the ideas of the 
Enlightenment began to spread eastward.


Today, as well, we face the challenges of a fast-moving, ever new 
world, in which it is increasingly difficult to maintain barriers to 
the outside. Yet as the challenges grow so has the difficulty of 
developing the inner resources to confront those challenges increased.

Ever more intense Gemara learning, as beneficial as it may be, will 
not by itself solve all the problems or develop those internal 
resources. The shocking number of first-year divorces in the very 
citadels of Torah establishes that. Those numbers attest to either a 
lack of sufficient self-knowledge on the part of many of our young 
people to choose a well-suited marriage partner or to a 
insufficiently developed middos or both. (Obviously, I'm speaking in 
general and not about any particular case, in which many other 
factors might be at play.)

See the above URL for more.  YL
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Message: 5
From: via Avodah
Date: Thu, 28 Aug 2014 09:27:41 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Parashas Shoftim 5774 -- Wanted: A New Mussar

On 2014-08-27 10:25, Prof. Levine via Avodah wrote:
> From
> http://www.jewishmediaresources.com/1712/parashas-
> shoftim-5774-wanted-a-new-mussar


We here at AishDas have been saying this for years. Talk is cheap. 
Action is scarce and difficult.

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Message: 6
From: Rich, Joel
Date: Thu, 28 Aug 2014 09:24:53 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Parashas Shoftim 5774 -- Wanted: A New Mussar

> Ever more intense Gemara learning, as beneficial as it may be, will not
> by itself solve all the problems or develop those internal resources.

Would a true Brisker agree with this statement? Would an outside observer
believe that more intense Gemara learning would have any material impact
on the problem in question?

Joel Rich

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Message: 7
From: Kenneth Miller
Date: Thu, 28 Aug 2014 17:23:20 GMT
Re: [Avodah] Parashas Shoftim 5774 -- Wanted: A New Mussar

R' Joel Rich wrote:
>Would a true Brisker agree with this statement? Would an outside observer
>believe that more intense Gemara learning would have any material impact
>on the problem in question?

I suspect it will depend on what is meant by "intense". If it means simply
putting additional hours into the same meforshim, then I doubt it will
accomplish anything new. But if new approaches are taken, who knows what
might develop.

Akiva Miller
The #1 Worst Carb Ever?
Click to Learn #1 Carb that Kills Your Blood Sugar &#40;Don&#39;t Eat This!&#41;

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Message: 8
From: Rich, Joel
Date: Thu, 28 Aug 2014 13:17:29 -0400
[Avodah] Golem

But before our readers decry the supernatural turn this article has taken,
they should realize that Golems actually do have a place in the halachic
realm as well. The issue that these Gedolim were debating was whether a
Golem can count for a minyan! Although the Chacham Tzvi (Shu"t Chacham Tzvi
93) at first remained undecided, his son, Rav Yaakov Emden (Shu"t Sheilas
Ya'avetz vol. 2, 82) ruled unequivocally that a Golem cannot count for a
minyan! Apparently not just a theoretical topic, it is even cited and
debated by such contemporary authorities as the Mishna Berura (55, 4)[12]
and the Chazon Ish (Yoreh Deah 116, 1)!

Unless you understand it much like I understand the half flesh/half dirt 
mouse "halachot" - Chazal relying on reports/science of the time positing
what the halacha would be for such a creature if it existed.

BTW while I have posited that a soulmeter would be helpful for determining
moment of death, it may be more necessary as AI and biomedical engineering
get us closer to Blade Runner which to old time Sci-Fiers (halevai I had
had time to keep reading after high school ) like me was  clearly an
adaptation of  Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Joel Rich

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Message: 9
From: Zev Sero
Date: Thu, 28 Aug 2014 14:56:25 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Golem

On 28/08/2014 1:17 PM, Rich, Joel via Avodah wrote:
> Unless you understand it much like I understand the half flesh/half
> dirt  mouse ?halachot? ? Chazal relying on reports/science of the time
> positing what the halacha would be for such a creature if it existed.

The Chacham Tzvi certainly did not intend it that way.  He specifically noted
at the beginning of his teshuvah that his great-grandfather had made a golem.
And of course the gemara says explicitly that Rava made one; not that he could
have, but that he did.

The writer also misquotes the Chacham Tzvi.  He was not at all undecided about
whether a golem counts in a minyan.  He definitely concludes that it does not.

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

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Message: 10
From: Prof. Levine
Date: Thu, 28 Aug 2014 15:14:14 -0400
[Avodah] Of Elul, L'David, and Golems

 From http://ohr.edu/this_week/insights_into_halacha/4886

There is near universal Ashkenazic custom during the month of Elul to 
recite the Chapter of Tehillim (27) "L'Dovid Hashem Ori" during 
davening, both every morning and evening, and all the way up to 
Shmini Atzeres[1], as preparation for the Yomim Noraim. This custom 
is based on the Midrash Shochar Tov[2] that elucidates that various 
phrases of this chapter contain allusions to the holidays of the 
repentance period - Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, and Sukkos, as well as 
to the month of Elul itself.

Please see the above URL for more.

See also 

For the record,  Minhag Frankfurt and,  IIRC,  Sanzer Chassidim, and 
others do not say L'Dovid at all.

BTW,  Minhag  Frankfurt blows Shofer both at the end of Shachris and 
at the conclusion of Mincha.

See http://www.kayj.net/en/forum/nusach/1326-shofar-during-elul

See http://tinyurl.com/pya75fb  L'Dovid Hashem Ori - The Vilna Gaon 
And Many Chasidim Didn't Say It

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Message: 11
From: Micha Berger
Date: Thu, 28 Aug 2014 16:58:37 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Parashas Shoftim 5774 -- Wanted: A New Mussar

On Wed, Aug 27, 2014 at 10:25:04AM -0400, Prof. Levine via Avodah wrote:
: Parashas Shoftim 5774
: Wanted: A New Mussar Movement; Nothing Like a Compliment
: by Jonathan Rosenblum
: Mishpacha Magazine
: August 27, 2014
: http://www.jewishmediaresources.com/1712
: Wanted: A New Mussar Movement

Also posted at CC

Here are my two comments (after which are replies to posts here, so
if you're on this thread, kindly have patience or skip ahead):

But RDF, mussar isn't a new creation. A movement within the current
Orthodox world to following its refrains would be.

Although some of us have been working on that particular goal for
years. The problem isn't where the pendulum should be, it's changing the
momentum of the community so that we start getting there. And that pretty
much definitionally requires mussar, if not the capital-M Mussar, the
ideology of the movement Rav Yisrael started, at least the lower-case-m
mussar, the aspect of Torah Mishlei speaks of.

Articles like this one are of use as consciousness raising, but until
we actually start providing programming that focuses on ehrlachkeit,
on self-awareness and consciously working to become the person Hashem
made me to be, and until we actually start attending that programming,
nothing will change.

I said something very generic, "programming". Does this mean programming
for adults, perhaps by shuls? Is this an educational issue? And if the
solution begins with how we educate our children, we need to look at
the various middos programs most schools have in the younger grades
and how "mussar seder" is enacted in those yeshivos that have one, and
ask why they haven't prevented our needing to have this conversation to
begin with.

I wrote a related post on Torah Musings last January, titled "Tools and
Goals" <http://www.torahmusings.com/2014/01/tools-and-goals>. An overview:
sections 1 and 2 establish hashkafically, from gemaros, rishonim and
acharonim, the idea that observance of black-letter halakhah, the things
the Shulchan Arukh can spell out, is not the entirety of following the
Torah. Section 3 deals with how the issue raised would produce symptoms
just like the ones our communities show today, given the other elements
in each of those communities. Finally, to get back to what do we do about
it: section 4 has some suggestions, and section 5 deals with theory that
I think would be useful in formulating new ideas.

Some teasers from the last two sections of my post:

"We will most naturally think of a solution in educational terms. But we
are speaking of correcting basic attitudes and values. We repeatedly
produce middos curricula for our schools but without a culture of
refinement already in place, the knowledge will continue to have minimal
impact on the students' responses and decisions.... So while school
does have a role, camp and youth groups can do more, and peers, home
and role models are indispensable. But providing an atmosphere from the
parents' generation downward presents us with a logical dilemma... If we
cannot provide our children with examples of Jews who use the Torah in
a conscious pursuit of holiness (whichever description of it best fits
their inclinations, interests and abilities), we can at least provide them
with adults who are taking conscious efforts to do so. So as I see it,
the way out of this hole is going to involve both school and synagogue
programming in parallel."

"Every other Sunday evening a half-dozen friends and I get together on a
video chat and learn some Alei Shur, by Rav Shelomo Wolbe. The sections
in question are divided into middos (both interpersonal and those
that comprise our relationship with the Creator), and each middah into
sections. A section is around a page, and at the end Rav Wolbe suggests
an exercise. A small exercise, incrementing beyond the last one, slowly
stretching our capability. The central feature is the exercise, not
the learning. We discuss how we did at the opening of the next session,
and perhaps if the problems outweigh the advance, we'll decide to simply
discuss the issues and not move forward.

"Between meetings, chavrusah-partners check in with each other daily (or
more) to see how it's going. On the skipped Sunday, give or take a day,
they review the material together. This way, you don't lose momentum
between meetings."

The usual assumption about such "programming" is to think of learning.
Shiurim on mussar. But I think Mussar inherently needs something more
hands-on. Better than the eVaad I describe in that last quote would be
if we could establish a norm for shuls to provide actual ve'adim. They
needn't be large to work, and expecting a large turnout at this point
in the pendulum swing may be unrealistic. The point is more to establish
the cultural background, so that those who aren't actively participating
are still living in a community where more than lip service is paid to
the idea of walking before HQBH and being whole (c.f. Bereishis 17:1).

-- AC"L --

And then, added as a PS:

Related to this conversation, Rabbi Michoel Green recently (Aug 17th)
blogged on Ne'er LeElef's NLE Resources a post titled "FREE New eBook &
Important Charts: How All Mitzvos Help Improve Our Middos & Come Close
to Hashem"

-- AC"L --

At 9:24am EDT today, R Joel Rich wrote:
> Ever more intense Gemara learning, as beneficial as it may be, will not
> by itself solve all the problems or develop those internal resources.

At 1:23pm EDT, R Akiva Miller replied:
> Would a true Brisker agree with this statement? Would an outside observer
> believe that more intense Gemara learning would have any material impact
> on the problem in question?

I think RJR's point has been proven experimentally. All hashkafic
questions aside, many learned people end up in the newspaper doing things
they knew were wrong but didn't have the internal resources to actually
refrain from doing.

RAM talks about the true Brisker, but in truth he is just the most
vehement case. In my blog post Torah Lishmah and Nefesh haChaim
I discuss the topic at length.

AISI, the question is what RCV meant by Torah lishmah. The Yeshivah
Movement sees him as saying that by internalizing G-d's Thought, which is
primarily halakhah, we naturally become more like Him. By a metaphysical
mechanics, the person ends up holier; one doesn't have to consciously
work at it. (And that's not specific to Briskers.)

Whereas the Mussar movement understood Torah lishmah as learning for the
sake of changing the self. And the contrast he makes to the lihsmah of
other mitzvos is like that between taking care of the goose and gathering
the golden eggs.

The post is long, I'll just leave you with the link to where I explain
at more length.

(Unsurprisingly, I feel the read I'm attributing to the Mussar Movement,
is more loyal both to the full text -- rather than the focus in the
yeshivos of only looking at shaar 4 -- and to R' Yitzchaq Volozhiner's
intro to his compilation of his father's qunterusin into the NhC.)

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             It is harder to eat the day before Yom Kippur
mi...@aishdas.org        with the proper intent than to fast on Yom
http://www.aishdas.org   Kippur with that intent.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                       - Rav Yisrael Salanter


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