Avodah Mailing List

Volume 32: Number 155

Mon, 24 Nov 2014

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Saul Guberman
Date: Thu, 20 Nov 2014 16:36:45 -0500
[Avodah] Av Harachmim this Shabbat

Here is an idea to pass along to your congregational Rabbi.

Possible avodah discussion of when is it appropriate for bakashot on

This Shabbat at ????? ???? - ???????
the hebrew says Kehilat Renana of Modiin) we will recite the prayer "Av
Ha-rachamim" even though it is generally skipped on Shabbat before Rosh
Chodesh. Some of us, many of us, feel the need to express the words and
ideas contained in this gut-wrenching prayer.
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Message: 2
From: Kenneth Miller
Date: Fri, 21 Nov 2014 17:01:50 GMT
Re: [Avodah] Talking to Angels

I had asked:

> If [Yaakov's] opponent was a mal'ach, then it seems to be clear
> evidence that we *can* ask a mal'ach for a bracha, so what was
> the opposition to Shalom Aleichem about? Is it possible that the
> opposition to Shalom Aleichem came only from the minority view,
> that Yaakov's fight was with a mere human, and although we can
> ask humans for a bracha, it remains assur to ask a mal'ach?

I have found the Siddur Beis Yaakov of Rav Yaakov Emden on-line (at http://www.he
brewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=42978&;st=&pgnum=306) and before
I comment, I'd like to quote exactly what he writes (about Shalom Aleichem)
in the last lines of the paragraph on the top of page 306. Note that the
parentheses are his, not mine:

> V'gozer al hamal'achim (v'aino bakasha mayhem she'assur) l'varcho

My translation: "He decrees on the angels (and it is not a request of them, which would be forbidden) to bless him"

This seems to put a whole new coloring to his attitude to Shalom Aleichem:
The piyut is not forbidden, but it must be understood as a directive and
command *towards* the angels, and not a request *of* them.

Looking back at the examples I cited from Chumash, it seems to fit this
pattern: Esav was in no position to demand a bracha from his father. And
despite his role as king of Egypt, by the time Makas Bechoros occurred
(Shemos 12:32), Par'oh was also in no position to demand a bracha from
Moshe. These were both desperate requests, and both from non-Jews, and
perhaps a non-Jew is allowed to ask a human for a bracha. (One might say
that a heter cannot be learned from an action done by a non-Jewish rasha,
and I'd agree; but please note that Chazal never point to these requests as
being improper.)

In contrast, Yaakov fought with a man/angel, and when the opponent conceded
defeat, Yaakov said (32:27), "I will not let you go until you bless me." It
is clear to me that (unlike Esav and Par'oh) Yaakov WAS in a position to
demand a bracha, as Rav Yaakov Emden allows.

If all the above is accurate, that it is assur (at least according to some
poskim) to request a bracha from a human or from a mal'ach, then my next
question will be to define (according to those poskim) exactly what
requests are mutar and what requests are assur.

Perhaps there is something special about a bracha; but if it is mutar to
make *other* requests, then what is that distinctive factor? But if there
is nothing distinctive about a bracha, and *all* requests are assur, does
that mean we cannot make any requests from our fellow human beings?

Akiva Miller
What's your flood risk?
Find flood maps, interactive tools, FAQs, and agents in your area.

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Message: 3
From: Micha Berger
Date: Fri, 21 Nov 2014 13:47:32 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Av Harachmim this Shabbat

This is a good example case to test the limits of how nomian our attitudes
are supposed to be.

Quoting RYBS <http://www.aishdas.org/rygb/eilu.htm>:
    Implicit in the discussion of eilu va'eilu is, obviously, a plug
    for Ahavas Yisroel. When HaGaon HaRav Isser Zalman Meltzer zt"l
    first became Rov in Slutzk, an argument broke out in shul whether
    to say Av HaRachamim on Shabbos Mevarchim Av. The arguing parties
    asked Reb Isser Zalman to clarify the proper minhag. He said: "This
    is the minhag: some say Av HaRachamim, some do not, and both sides
    quarrel about it!"

On the side of nomianism is "only" a minhag not to say Av haRachamim
on Shabbas Mevorkhim. It is also Erev Rosh Chodesh, but since we say
Tachanun on Erev RC, I don't think that's relevant.

We already have exceptions to the rule during the omer, and some say it
the Shabbos before RC Av. So there is a precedent for saying that the
appropriatness of Av haRachamim over the celebratory nature of Mevorkhim

And of course Yekkes who only say Av haRachamim during the omer have
an entirely different equation.

On the other side is an opportunity to take the pain we are already
feeling (Shabbos Mevorkhim or not) and the general spirit of achdus
and elevate it be'avodah shebaleiv as qorban lifnei haMaqom.


Micha Berger             It is a glorious thing to be indifferent to
mi...@aishdas.org        suffering, but only to one's own suffering.
http://www.aishdas.org                 -Robert Lynd, writer (1879-1949)
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Message: 4
From: Kenneth Miller
Date: Fri, 21 Nov 2014 19:32:32 GMT
Re: [Avodah] Av Harachmim this Shabbat

R' Micha Berger wrote:

> On the side of nomianism is "only" a minhag not to say Av
> haRachamim on Shabbas Mevorkhim. It is also Erev Rosh Chodesh,
> but since we say Tachanun on Erev RC, I don't think that's
> relevant.

On the other hand, I think it is *very* relevant. Note that any time Erev
Rosh Chodesh falls on Shabbos, that Shabbos *will* be Shabbos Mevorchim. So
we have an interesting case that we do say Tachanun on Erev Rosh Chodesh,
but we *don't* say Av Harachamim on Erev Rosh Chodesh.

I think this is an appropriate time to raise a question that I've had for a
long time. I'd like to understand the history and development of how we
came to skip these prayers on certain days.

For example: It is my guess (and I stress that this is no more than a
guess) that when Tachanun began to become customary, it was seen as an
extremely sad prayer, and that is why people would omit it on any holiday,
even one as minor as Tu B'Shvat. In contrast, Lamnatze'ach was also seen as
a sad prayer, and was seen as too sad to be said even on Shushan Purim
Katan, but *not* so sad that it needed to be skipped on Tu B'Shvat. (If
anyone feels that "sad" was the wrong word to use, I welcome alternatives.)

Of course, I'm sure that it took a very long time to reach a consensus on
which prayers were too sad for which occasions, and in fact, it is still up
for grabs in some cases. Yet, it seems to me that the "sadness" lies in the
structure of the prayer service, and not in the actual words of the prayer.
My basis for that is that if a person or group has the practice of going
through Sefer Tehillim on a regular basis, he would not skip #6 or #20 on
Shabbos or Yom Tov, even though they *are* inappropriate for Shacharis on
those days.

Akiva Miller
Heavy rains mean flooding
Anywhere it rains it can flood. Learn your risk. Get flood insurance.

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Message: 5
From: Micha Berger
Date: Sat, 22 Nov 2014 18:50:46 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Av Harachmim this Shabbat

On Fri, Nov 21, 2014 at 07:32:32PM +0000, Kenneth Miller via Avodah wrote:
:> On the side of nomianism is "only" a minhag not to say Av
:> haRachamim on Shabbas Mevorkhim. It is also Erev Rosh Chodesh,
:> but since we say Tachanun on Erev RC, I don't think that's
:> relevant.

: On the other hand, I think it is *very* relevant. Note that any time
: Erev Rosh Chodesh falls on Shabbos, that Shabbos *will* be Shabbos
: Mevorchim. So we have an interesting case that we do say Tachanun on
: Erev Rosh Chodesh, but we *don't* say Av Harachamim on Erev Rosh Chodesh.

Well, if you are saying we skip saying Av haRachamim because ERC is
perforce also Shabbos Mevorkhim, then you are not arguing that it *also*
being erev RC is additional reason not to say AhR. IOW, an argument
to say AhR on RM would be no less compelling because it's ERC.

On the flip-side to my original post, while I do not understand adherance
to a minhag that was not nispasheit uniformly over marrying tefillah to
kavanah, it is only because we are discussing
1- something relatively legalistically weak -- a minhag that has numerous
   variants, and
2- tefillah, where the import of kavnah and the "kol ha'oseh tefilaso keva"
   on a legal level give the "feels right" side halachic import.

As a general rule, I would be uncomfortable with choosing the spiritually
satisfying pesaq over the accepted one. For example, I squirmed reading
R/Dr Nathan Lopez Cardozo's article in Conversations, a journal put
out by R' Marc Angel's institute. Quoting from <http://j.mp/1t9oBxs>
on the Cardozo Academy web site:
    [pg 6] As mentioned earlier, several outstanding Talmudists have
    argued that Maimonides Mishneh Torah and Rabbi Joseph Karos Shulhan
    Arukh starved Jewish law of this very spirit.... It is true that
    he first authored the Beit Joseph in which he brings many opinions
    and citations, so one might argue that he did not want his Shulhan
    Arukh to become a distinct and self contained work. However, the fact
    is that once he a uthored this work, it quickly assumed this very
    status. It would be hard to argue that the author did not foresee
    this possibility.

    Three early authorities were deeply concerned about this development:
    Rabbi Shlomo Luria, known as Maharshal (1510 - 1573); Rabbi Yehudah
    Low ben Betzalel, known as the Maharal of Prague (1520 - 1609);
    and Rabbi Haim Ben Betzalel (1530 - 1588), brother of the Maharal....

    [pg 9] In light of the abovementioned observations, I wonder whether
    we can re-introduce the great Talmudic debates in a way which will
    reshape Judaism into its original multifaceted and colorful self,
    so that the young searching Jews of today will fall in love with
    it. Should we perhaps permit and even encourage people or communities
    to decide themselves which of the many opinions in the Talmud they
    would like to follow?

    To answer this question we surely must move beyond the conventional
    way in which halakha has been applied throughout later gene rations...

The man advocates people today pasqening for themselves and from shas.
I find that more than a little dangerous. and likely non-Orthodox.

Gut Voch!

Micha Berger             Brains to the lazy
mi...@aishdas.org        are like a torch to the blind --
http://www.aishdas.org   a useless burden.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                 - Bechinas haOlam

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Message: 6
From: Michael Poppers
Date: Sun, 23 Nov 2014 15:48:09 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Tzarich Iyun: Mayim Achronim

In Avodah V32n154, R'Micha replied to RAM:
: And not [i]ncumbent on men either, right?
> That is what "is indeed a chumerah" means, yes. <
Let us say we're talking about S'udah Shlishis on a regular Shabbos.
Having defended why many wash *mayim acharonim* with a fingertip's worth of
water prior to Bircas haMazon, can we defend why many do not wash after
S'udah Shlishis and before davening Ma'ariv (see MB 233:19

All the best from
*Michael Poppers* * Elizabeth, NJ, USA
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Message: 7
From: Micha Berger
Date: Sun, 23 Nov 2014 21:10:20 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Tzarich Iyun: Mayim Achronim

On Sun, Nov 23, 2014 at 03:48:09PM -0500, Michael Poppers via Avodah wrote:
: In Avodah V32n154, R'Micha replied to RAM:
:> And not [i]ncumbent on men either, right?
:> That is what "is indeed a chumerah" means, yes.

: Let us say we're talking about S'udah Shlishis on a regular Shabbos.
: Having defended why many wash *mayim acharonim* with a fingertip's worth of
: water prior to Bircas haMazon...

But we were dicussing the AhS's understanding, which this isn't.

The fingertip thing implies your primary concern is ru'ach ra'ah. The
AhS says that mayim acharonim is about not bentching with dirty hands,
a din in avodas Hashem. I then backed up the AhS's shitah with a qoute
from the Bavli and historical theories about the relationship between
ancient minhag EY and early minhag Ashkenaz.

I do not understand how the MB's position flows from pre-Besh"t

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             "Someday I will do it." - is self-deceptive. 
mi...@aishdas.org        "I want to do it." - is weak. 
http://www.aishdas.org   "I am doing it." - that is the right way.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                   - Reb Menachem Mendel of Kotzk

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Message: 8
From: Michael Poppers
Date: Sun, 23 Nov 2014 16:04:31 -0500
Re: [Avodah] two consecutive shva nachs

In Avodah V32n153, RAM noted:
> 3) Where the final letter has a dagesh, and it has a sh'va, the sh'va
must be explicit. (Example: the common "aht", meaning single feminine
"you"; also "vayichad" in Shemos 18:9) <
I think one can generalize (but would appreciate correction) that the *shva
nach* is explicit in this case when the consonant is one that is pronounced
differently when it has a *dageish* than when it doesn't (and *tav* and
*daled* are two consonants which should [he said as he ducked :)] be
pronounced differently when they do not have a dageish [re the latter,
think of the last word in the "Shma" verse]).  When a word ends with a
consonant that does not have *dageish*/non-*dageish* forms, I'm thinking
you won't see a *shva nach*, and if the consonant is an *eim haq'riyah*, it
won't be pronounced unless it's *mappiq*.

> Please note that
in a post to Mesorah on 19 Oct 2008, R' Seth Mandel wrote:
> The absence of a vowel (including the shva sign) would indicate
>> that the consonantal letter is not pronounced. ... <
I don't think RSM was referring to a non-*eim haq'riyah* consonant at the
end of a word.

All the best from
*Michael Poppers* * Elizabeth, NJ, USA
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Message: 9
From: Zev Sero
Date: Sun, 23 Nov 2014 20:39:25 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Oldest Sefer Torah

On 11/06/2014 04:10 PM, Eli Turkel via Avodah wrote:
> I noticed that the holders for the sefer Torah seemed to be the same as
> modern Ashkenazi sifrei Torah. Also when I davened in the Portugese shul
> in Amsterdam they also had the same kind of holders for the klaf. They
> claim that these sifrei Torah are original from Portugal.
> Does anyone know the origin of the modern Sefardi sifrei Torah which have
> an entirely different casing?

The wooden case is the minhag of Eastern Sefardim.   Western Sefardim
(Spanish/Portuguese, Moroccans, Gibraltarians, etc.) and also Italians
have Ashkenazi-style sifrei torah, but with a silk backing on the parchment,
i.e. behind the layer of parchment runs a layer of silk, so if you could
look at the sefer end-on it would look like a swiss roll.

R Micha wrote:
> The pen was held at a diagonal, making lines that diagonal down from right
> to left thinnest. In Beis Yoseif [Ask] and Ari [Chassidish] kesavim, the
> pen is held so that downstrokes are thinnest and strokes from side-to-side
> are thickest. So, Ashk beis has a very thin line connacting the roof to
> the floor (bayis wordplay intentional), whereas in Sepharadi -- and the
> Rhodes -- kesav, it is thicker.
>  [...]
> IOW, much of the rest of the kesav, as well as its basic look, is
> dictated by pen angle. And in that, Rhodes is Sepharadi.

This difference is in turn dictated by the type of pen used.  Ashenazi
sofrim use quill pens, while Sefardi sofrim use reeds.  A quill is capable
of a finer nib than can be got from a reed, thus the difference in the
angle, and thus the difference in style.

By the way, while it's commonly claimed that the Rambam endorsed the Keter
Aram Tzovah, this isn't exactly so.  The only aspect of the Keter that the
Rambam specifically endorsed was the petuchot and setumot.   From the fact
that he says everyone corrects their sefarim from this manuscript one can
deduce that it was generally believed to be accurate in all aspects, and
from the fact that he doesn't express disagreement one can deduce that he
concurred with the general opinion, but he doesn't expressly say so.

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Message: 10
From: Prof. Levine
Date: Sun, 23 Nov 2014 12:13:17 -0500
[Avodah] Is Thanksgiving Kosher

Please see http://tinyurl.com/lulaq2o
and  http://www.tfdixie.com/special/thanksg.htm

The following is from this last source.

    D. Summation of the Approaches

    In sum, three premier authorities of the previous generation have
    taken three conflicting views. Rabbi Hutner perceived Thanksgiving
    as a Gentile holiday, and thus prohibited any involvement in
    the holiday. Rabbi Soloveitchik permitted the celebration of
    Thanksgiving and permitted eating turkey on that day. He ruled
    that Thanksgiving was not a religious holiday, and saw no problem
    with its celebration. Rabbi Feinstein adopted a middle ground. He
    maintained that Thanksgiving was not a religious holiday; but
    nonetheless thought that there were problems associated with
    "celebrating" any secular holiday. Thus, while he appears to have
    permitted eating turkey on that day, he would discourage any annual
    "celebration" <http://www.tfdixie.com/special/thanksg.htm#N_50_>(50)
    that would be festival-like.


    Three conclusions to this article are worth noting:

    Three basic approaches are taken by contemporary decisors (poskim) on
    the question of celebrating Thanksgiving. Some rule that Thanksgiving
    is not a Gentile holiday, but yet limit "celebration." They would,
    apparently, permit eating a turkey meal. Others prohibit any form of
    involvement in Thanksgiving, as they rule it a Gentile holiday. Yet
    others view the day no different from Independence Day and allow
    any celebration appropriate for a secular observance.

    Indeed, there remains a basic dispute that permeates this review
    and divide contemporary American halachic authorities of the last
    seventy five years. The relevant issue is whether it is appropriate
    to distinguish between "secular society", "Gentile society" and
    "idol-worshiping society" in modern American culture. The validity
    of this distinction -- which was not generally made by the decisors
    of Eastern Europe two hundred years ago for the society of that time
    and place -- is extremely relevant to a broad variety of halachic
    issues related to contemporary American society.

    Like many areas of Jewish law where there is a diversity of
    legitimate approaches, individuals should follow the practices
    of their community, family or rabbi, all-the-while respecting and
    accepting as halachicly permissible other community's practices. It
    is for the ability to respect and accept as legitimate the conduct
    of fellow observant Jews -- sanctioned by rabbinic authority --
    that true thanksgiving to the Almighty is needed.

    This article has so far avoided any discussion of normative halacha.
    Such cannot, however, be avoided, at least in a conclusion. It is my
    opinion that this article clearly establishes that: (1) Thanksgiving
    is a secular holiday with secular origins; (2) while some people
    celebrate Thanksgiving with religious rituals, the vast majority
    of Americans do not; (3) halacha permits one to celebrate secular
    holidays, so long as one avoids doing so with people who celebrate
    them through religious worship and (4) so long as one avoids giving
    the celebration of Thanksgiving the appearance of a religious rite
    (either by occasionally missing a year or in some other manner making
    it clear that this is not a religious duty) the technical problems
    raised by Rabbi Feinstein and others are inapplicable.

    Thus, halacha law permits one to have a private Thanksgiving
    celebration with one's Jewish or secular friends and family. For
    reasons related to citizenship and the gratitude we feel towards the
    United States government, I would even suggest that such conduct is
    wise and proper.

    It has been recounted that some marking of Thanksgiving day was the
    practice of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, thus adding force to our
    custom of noting the day in some manner.

See the above URL for more.  YL

[Email #2.]


    I. Thanksgiving Is Not Kosher:

        "In truth, one must distance oneself from these types of customs
        and even from those events that are similar to these types of
        customs... The truth is simple and obvious. "
                            -Rabbi Hutner

    The celebrating of Thanksgiving is something that has been disputed by
    many rabbis -- some prohibited and maintain that it is a derivative
    prohibition of idol worship and there are others who completely
    permit [its celebration]. In my opinion, to eat turkey for the sake
    of a holiday is prohibited by the rule of Tosafot, Avodah Zara 11a,
    since this is an irrational rule of theirs and following it is
    improper. Nonetheless, there is no prohibition for a family to get
    together on a day when people do not go to work and to eat together;
    if it is their wish to eat turkey not for the sake of thanks but
    because they like turkey, that is not prohibited, but the spirit of
    the Sages does not approve of such conduct, as they are functioning
    as if they follow the practice of Gentiles. -- Rabbi David Cohen
    (of Gvul Yavetz),

    On the question of celebrating any event on a holiday of Gentiles,
    if the holiday is based on religious beliefs [by the Gentiles],
    such celebrations are prohibited if deliberately scheduled on
    that day; even without intent, it is prohibited because of marit
    ayin... The first day of year for them [January 1]and Thanksgiving
    is not prohibited according to law, but pious people [balai nephesh]
    should be strict. -- Iggerot Moshe, Even Haezer 2:13

See the above URL for more. YL

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Message: 11
From: Micha Berger
Date: Sun, 23 Nov 2014 22:51:09 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Philosophical and theological challenges of,

On Sun, Aug 31, 2014 at 03:03:37PM -0400, H Lampel via Avodah wrote:
:> IOW, I recall him anchoring the mode of communication in Tanakh and
:> medrash, not his particular symbols.

: Also no RSRH expert, my impression, in retrospect, was formed by
: passages in his writings such as this one from his Chumash
: commentary on Shmos 25:8:

: In our discussion in Jeshurun V. p. 232 et seq., we have proved that
: in the Tanach, metals in general, in accordance with their physical
: property of hardness, are used as a metaphor for firmness and strength...

: Rav Hirsch himself maintains (Collected Writings III pp. 14-16) that

:     The recipient of the symbol must work on his own to ascertain
:     its message, and for this reason he can search for its meaning
:     nowhere else but within the range of ideas with which he is already
:     familiar.

Which is pretty much the same quote I took as saying that the symbol
system has to be figured out, and is not innate.

: And that
:     The person to whom the symbol is addressed must already have
:     some knowledge of the symbolic object and the idea it is
:     intended to symbolize, [although] it has not yet occurred to him
:     that there may be a connection between the two.

I currently keep a small stone in my pocket. (Even on Shabbos; since
the stone was selected out for this function before Shabbos, it's not
muqtzah.) It is a river-stone, polished by the water, and is there to
remind me of savlanus. Note that one could know about the symbolic object
-- the stone, and the idea being symbolized -- patience, and not occur
to someone that there is a connection between the two -- the story of
Rabbi Aqiva.

My original statement was that Hirschian symbology doesn't speak to be
as a way to explain taamei hamitzvos because they live mitzvos without
a taam for people who are not taught that connection.

: From passages of the Chumash commentary such as the one cited above,
: I concluded that the connection the recipient was expected to
: recognize was based on his knowledge of biblical usage, and that it
: is in this sense that RSRH preceded the abive comments with the
: words,

:     Foremost among the conditions we have set down for the analysis
:     of a symbol is the requirement that the symbol must be
:     considered in association with both the person who instituted it and
:     the person to  whom it is addressed. ... [T]he purpose     of
:     communication by means of symbols is not to reveal previously
:     unknown truths but only to impress upon the recipient, in a
:     manner more profound and enduring than mere words, truths that have
:     already been made known to him earlier.

Yes, the stone helps internalize savlanus. And the symbol and its meaning
are known before the symbol is invoked. The stone doesn't teach savlanut,
it impresses the message (I hope) on its recipient at a deeper level
than speech does. But that doesn't mean the connection between them is
something innate that the message's recipient is known on its own.

Similarly, a person can know in advance the difference between human and
animal creativity without learning it from basar vechalav. If he were
looking for a meaning, it has to be among ideas the mesorah otherwise
taught; or at least that it (plus first principles) imply. However,
most observant Jews across history do not see a connection between
the particular idea of chalav as procreation in contrast to human
creativity and how they relate to the essence of the guf (the basar)
nor had a teacher of such ideas available. Does that mean they gained
little from their observance? Or would we have to conclude that even if
we accept Hirschian symbolism, for most people performing the mitzvos
their various values come from elsewhere?

A mussaresque approach to taamei hamitzvos would also be about
internalizing messages that are otherwise taught in the abstract. Either
through excercise or through subconscious reinforcement. One might
even say that there is an implied symbology; but that it is inherent to
the human -- or perhaps uniquely Jewish -- experience. And WRT chuqim,
it shapes character in ways only the RBSO understands. (RSRH's take on
chuqim is more complicated. Horeb's translation is non-traditional, but in
parshanut, his chuqim vs mishpatim does declare chuqim as metarational.)

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             The true measure of a man
mi...@aishdas.org        is how he treats someone
http://www.aishdas.org   who can do him absolutely no good.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                   - Samuel Johnson

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Message: 12
From: Kenneth Miller
Date: Mon, 24 Nov 2014 11:03:20 GMT
Re: [Avodah] Tzarich Iyun: Mayim Achronim

R' Michael Poppers wrote:

> Having defended why many wash *mayim acharonim* with a fingertip's
> worth of water prior to Bircas haMazon...

R' Micha Berger responded:

> The fingertip thing implies your primary concern is ru'ach ra'ah.
> The AhS says that mayim acharonim is about not bentching with
> dirty hands, a din in avodas Hashem.

I am not sure what RMB means by "the fingertip thing". Are you referring to
those who defend the practice of washing only the fingertips, or are you
referring to those who insist on washing more than that?

It seems to me that if one does wash only the fingertips, this demonstrates
that his concern is - like the AhS - simple cleanliness for the bracha,
because he is cleaning only the parts of his hand which are likely to be

Those who are concerned with ruach raah / tumah / kedushah (if those don't
refer to the same thing in this context, then please correct me) would be
sure to use a proper keli, to use a reviis of water, and to cover the
entire hand (or at least the entire fingers), wouldn't they?

Akiva Miller

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Message: 13
From: Micha Berger
Date: Mon, 24 Nov 2014 09:39:21 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Tzarich Iyun: Mayim Achronim

On Mon, Nov 24, 2014 at 11:03:20AM +0000, Kenneth Miller via Avodah wrote:
: It seems to me that if one does wash only the fingertips, this
: demonstrates that his concern is - like the AhS - simple cleanliness for
: the bracha, because he is cleaning only the parts of his hand which are
: likely to be dirty.

From RAZZ's article that started this discussion
"Interestingly, the concept of the sitra achra also serves as the basis
for people washing only the tips of their fingers...."

This is actually one of the nafqos mina between sitera achra, ru'ach
ra'ah and tum'ah versions of the discussion.

If, however, the issue is physically clean hands for bentching, then
whatever part of the hand got dirty, if any, should ber washed. Yes,
statistically that's most likely to be one's fingertips, but it wouldn't
justify making it an exclusive rule.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Man can aspire to spiritual-moral greatness
mi...@aishdas.org        which is seldom fully achieved and easily lost
http://www.aishdas.org   again. Fulfillment lies not in a final goal,
Fax: (270) 514-1507      but in an eternal striving for perfection. -RSRH


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