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Volume 33: Number 15

Mon, 26 Jan 2015

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Prof. Levine
Date: Sun, 25 Jan 2015 09:38:50 -0500
[Avodah] Mo-deh Ani and Mo-duh-ani

 From today's Ben Olam Haba 9http://halachafortodaycom.blogspot.com/)

Every Jewish man, woman and child should recite "Modeh Ani" 
immediately upon waking up each morning.

Modeh Ani may be recited before the morning washing of the hands 
(Negel Vasser).

Children should be taught the importance of reciting Modeh Ani, as 
soon as they are able, as it teaches them the all important aspect of 
thanking Hashem each morning for everything that he gives us in his 
abundant kindness.

According to Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach Zatzal and others, the proper 
enunciation for women is "Mo-duh Ani", while for men it is "Mo-deh 
Ani". (See Halichos Shlomo, Perek 2; Dvar Halacha Os 5)

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Message: 2
From: Micha Berger
Date: Sun, 25 Jan 2015 13:47:08 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Mo-deh Ani and Mo-duh-ani

On Sun, Jan 25, 2015 at 09:38:50AM -0500, Prof. Levine via Avodah wrote:
: From today's Ben Olam Haba <http://halachafortodaycom.blogspot.com/>
: According to Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach Zatzal and others, the
: proper enunciation for women is "Mo-duh Ani", while for men it is
: "Mo-deh Ani". (See Halichos Shlomo, Perek 2; Dvar Halacha Os 5)

And according to the Gra, it's "shelo asani nakhri" or "nakhriah" and
"shelo asani shifkhah" for women.

(The preference for "nakhri" over "goy" is a side-issue. See below.)

Just noting the gender correct diqduq. And if that's true for Chazal's
language, than certainly for "Modeh Ani" which only dates back to around
17th cent.

Modeh Ani was abbreviated out of "E-lokai, Neshamah" so that we could
thank G-d in a wording that doesn't involve sheim Hashem immediately upon
waking up, before washing. Which I guess all this means women should be
saying "Kol zeman shehaneshamah beqirbi modah ani lefanekha" rather than

As for saying "nakhri" rather than "goy"...

Since we are a "goy qadosh", "shelo asani goy" is only true in
a post-biblical sense of the word. And it's really hard to pin down
Chazal's nusach, given that the berakhah had multiple versions to begin
with and we're talking about a word censors would often tamper.

The beraisa (Menachos 43b) has "she'asani Yisreal" (while the other two
are in the negative). The Tur (OC 36) has "goy", the SA (s' 4) reads
"oveid kokhavim", while the Rama raising the question of whether geirim
should say it (yes) uses "goy". (That's current editions, I don't know
anything about censorship changes.)

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Worrying is like a rocking chair:
mi...@aishdas.org        it gives you something to do for a while,
http://www.aishdas.org   but in the end it gets you nowhere.
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Message: 3
From: via Avodah
Date: Sun, 25 Jan 2015 14:05:50 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Learning Tanach At Night

From: "Prof. Levine via Avodah"  <avo...@lists.aishdas.org>

From  http://tinyurl.com/pcyukjr

(This should not be relied upon for practical  halacha. When a 
question arises a Rabbi should be consulted.)

The  Source-

1. Harav Chaim Vital zt"l cites the Arizal that, based upon  
kabbalistic reasons, one should not read the written Torah (Tanach) 
at  night. (Shaar Hamitzvos Veschanan page 35b)

There is also some kabbalistic thing about not saying Tehillim at night. My 
 father told me not to worry about it. 
I think of it this way. This is not for our dor.  Imagine someone  writing: 
"Harav Chaim Vital zt"l cites the Arizal that, based upon  kabbalistic 
reasons, one should not read the written Torah (Tanach) at night.  Nor should 
one surf the 'net, watch TV, read email or send text messages at  night.  But 
if someone has a big yetzer hara to learn Chumash at night or  to say 
Tehillim, then he should turn on his computer and distract himself until  the urge 
to learn Chumash passes...."
We should all be on the madreiga where our biggest yetzer hara at night is  
to learn Chumash or say Tehillim!  

--Toby Katz


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Message: 4
From: Micha Berger
Date: Sun, 25 Jan 2015 17:29:15 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Subject: Re: cutting tephillin retzuos

Zev said that the Rambam used "barzel" in describing the issur of how to
build the mizbeiach, and since the Rambam also uses the word mateches,
barzel can't mean all metal.

I looked at his peirush on Midos 3:4, lav #79 and Hil' Beis haBechirah
1:15-15. R' Kapach translates Sefer haMitzvos with the word "barzel", but
(as I said in less detail before) to me it looks like he's translating
back a paraphrase of the pasuq into modern Ivrit. Peirush haMishnayos does
speak specifically of barzel, but again, it's the mishnah's word choice.

In terms of pesaq, though, looking at the Yad, he clearly is using
barzel as his own word choice. But the pasuq he quotes is "lo sivneh
es-hen gazis" -- the statement in Shemos, not Devarim. Is a stone cut by
bronze not "gazis"? (OTOH, is a stone cut with other stones not "gazis"?)
For that matter, the Raavad (h' 16) says on this that the sid was laid
with wood.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             How wonderful it is that
mi...@aishdas.org        nobody need wait a single moment
http://www.aishdas.org   before starting to improve the world.
Fax: (270) 514-1507              - Anne Frank Hy"d

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Message: 5
From: Kenneth Miller
Date: Sun, 25 Jan 2015 20:56:57 GMT
Re: [Avodah] Mo-deh Ani and Mo-duh-ani

R' Micha Berger wrote:

> ... Which I guess all this means women should be saying "Kol zeman
> shehaneshamah beqirbi modah ani lefanekha" rather than "modeh".

And that's exactly how it appears in both the Siddur Rinat Yisrael and the
OU-Sacks edition of the Koren Siddur (possibly other Korens too; I don't
have copies of them).

Akiva Miller

The #1 Worst Carb Ever?
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Message: 6
From: Kenneth Miller
Date: Sun, 25 Jan 2015 21:17:38 GMT
Re: [Avodah] cutting tephillin retzuos

R' David Wacholder wrote:
> Although Yehoshua received an "entire united" Torah,  that is
> measured, exact, and self checking. Without Moshe's light and
> clarity - 3000 laws (a symbolic number) became uncertain or
> misplaced, until Osniel Ben Knaz returns them. 

> Did Osniel manage perfection - returning the exact Halacha every
> time - like an engineer making a Six sigma perfection? That is
> the simplest approach.

> Or does he take imperfection and modify it toward a limit of
> "Zero distance from Moshe Rabeinu receiving it at Sinai? Is
> Osniel's "model" or "copy" identical? Or are we idealizing and
> visualizing Moshe Rabeinu at Sinai, but lacking sundry elements
> of Sinai end up with weaknesses in the Presence of Shchina
> (compared to Har Sinai) - which means that we are emulating but
> likely falling short of absolute truth.

To me, the second and third possibilities are the most likely.

I begin with two presumptions: (1) that The Torah which HaShem gave
to Moshe is the same as The Torah which Moshe had prior to forgetting
anything, and (2) that Torah was a perfect one, lacking nothing, and
containing nothing superfluous.

Now consider the first scenario suggested by RDW: That those halachos
were forgotten, but were somehow reconstructed from the parts of Torah
that were *not* forgotten. If this is literally and completely accurate,
then it must be that those halachos were actually superfluous in The
Original Torah, as proven by the ability to manage without them.

Therefore, it seems to me that if we accept the idea that there was *not*
any superfluousness in The Original Torah, then we are forced to say that
the reconstruction was *not* total and complete, and that we are forever
lacking *something* from Moshe's Torah. The only question remaining is the
degree to which our Torah differs from Moshe's. It might be significantly
different (RDW's third scenario) or it might be different to a very
tiny degree, similar to what mathematicians call "approaching zero"
(which is how I understand RDW's description of his second scenario).

Akiva Miller

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Message: 7
From: Micha Berger
Date: Sun, 25 Jan 2015 20:31:26 -0500
Re: [Avodah] cutting tephillin retzuos

On Sun, Jan 25, 2015 at 09:17:38PM +0000, Kenneth Miller via Avodah wrote:
: I begin with two presumptions: (1) that The Torah which HaShem gave
: to Moshe is the same as The Torah which Moshe had prior to forgetting
: anything, and (2) that Torah was a perfect one, lacking nothing, and
: containing nothing superfluous.

MRAH received more than pesaqim, he received the full eilu va'eilu. When
we talk about Torah being lost... I would take it as a given that Osniel
ben Kenaz's reconstruction was within the eilu va'eilu. The question is
whether his "vehalakhah keObK" would produce the same results as MRAH

For that, I would suggest an entirely different scenerio, based on R/Dr
Moshe Koppel's "Judaism as a First Language"

R/Dr Moshe Koppel explains the halachic process comparison to a native
speaker vs someone who learns a second language. The former just knows
what sounds right, the latter learns rules. And each time there is a
loss of (Which in turn is related
to Rupture and Reconstruction.)

This is similar to my calling pesaq an art or heuristic, as opposed
to an algorithm. There is a reason why someone who didn't serve
talmidei chakhamim, even if he mastered Tanakh and halakhah, is an
ignoramus. (Berakhos 47b) You need exposure on a personal level to get
a sense of the feel of the subject in a way that cerebral knowledge
won't help.

Applying that back to Osniel ben Kenaz.... Moshe Rabbeinu's petirah
was the first "rupture". What MRAH knew in a manner so instinctive as
to be ineffable, knowing what "sounds right", Osniel reconstructed via
formal derashos.

Was the result the same? It couldn't be fully the same, as the formal
rules give courser grained answers. Some "poetic license" was lost.
And I wouldn't insist that ObK's reconstruction was that close to the
original. since we're now discussing which of the divrei E-lokim Chaim
we will observe lemaaseh, it's not really a distortion or abandonment
of the original beris.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             It's never too late
mi...@aishdas.org        to become the person
http://www.aishdas.org   you might have been.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                      - George Eliot

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Message: 8
From: Ben Waxman
Date: Mon, 26 Jan 2015 04:32:22 +0200
Re: [Avodah] Learning Tanach At Night (Part 1)

One could write a very long book on Practical Kabbala. Some are into 
this field, others aren't. On Shabbat when I went to do netilat yadayim 
for a cohen, he reminded to stand on his right. It was important to him 
so I did it.


On 1/25/2015 6:29 PM, Prof. Levine via Avodah wrote:
> 1. Harav Chaim Vital zt?l cites the Arizal that, based upon 
> kabbalistic reasons, one should not read the written Torah (Tanach) at 
> night. (Shaar Hamitzvos Veschanan page 35b) 

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Message: 9
From: Eitan Levy
Date: Mon, 26 Jan 2015 06:34:16 +0200
Re: [Avodah] Learning Tanach At Night (Part 1)

Ben Waxman wrote: "It was important to him so I did it."

B"H that you acted with derech eretz. A little bit of accommodating each
other's peculiarities (hashkafot, chumrot, kulot, etc.) can go a long way.
Peace and Blessings,
-Eitan Levy

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Message: 10
From: elazar teitz
Date: Mon, 26 Jan 2015 15:17:37 +0200
[Avodah] re; Learning Tanach at night

"This teaching is also cited by the Chida in numerous places (Birkei
Yosef 1:13, 238:2, Chaim Shaul 2:25, Yosef Ometz 54). He writes that
there is basis for this custom from the Medrash. The Medrash states
that when Moshe Rabbeinu ascended to Heaven to receive the Torah,
Hashem taught him the Written Torah during the day and the Oral Torah
at night. Therefore, we do not learn the Written Torah at night just
as Moshe Rabbeinu did not learn it at night."

     Logically, then, one should equally refrain from learning TSBP by day.
And since obviously such is not the practice, why should Torah shebiksav be
prohibited at night?

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Message: 11
From: Prof. Levine
Date: Mon, 26 Jan 2015 08:41:42 -0500
[Avodah] Problems with Orthodoxy

The following are some selections from the recently published book 
Perfection: The Torah Ideal.  (See http://tinyurl.com/k4m9a23) This 
book consists of a translation of Rav Dov Katz's introduction the his 
5 volume Tanuas Hamussar.  The first volume was translated as The 
Mussar Movement and published in 1975.

IMO the thoughts expressed below raise important questions about the 
focus of Orthodoxy today and Torah learning  YL

It is evident, however, that with the passing of time Jewish sacred 
literature became progressively more restricted in scope and was 
confined, for the most part, to the field of law and commandment. The 
element of human perfection was increasingly disregarded. All effort 
was concentrated upon understanding Talmudic discussions. The entire 
curriculum of study in Yeshiva and Beit Midrash was geared to 
sharpening the mind in the study of Talmudic dialectic. To clarify 
the halachah and its practical applications became the goal of all 
Torah deliberation. Every page, every topic called for elucidation; 
new lines of approach and new differences of opinion were discovered, 
and the field of halachah broadened with every succeeding generation. 
As a result, we became the beneficiaries of an exceedingly rich 
literature in this field, of thousands of works, diverse in nature, 
produced in different times, which are preoccupied with explanations 
and comments, analytical and synthetic approaches, novella, and 
sharp-witted invention  all of which refine and clarify all the 
details of every individual halachah to the extent that not a single 
law remains which has not elicited written inquiries and responsa, 
nor a single halachah concerning which chapters and paragraphs have 
not been compiled.

Yet, in most localities, by contrast, only scant attention or study 
was reserved for the most crucial aspects of the Torah, those dealing 
with beliefs and character refinement and all matters pertaining to 
spiritual and ethical perfection.1 The various Midrashic writings, 
which serve as the primary source for the Torah outlook on life and 
the world, were neither accorded exposition nor elaboration. Many 
books were lost or forgotten, abandoned in ancient museums and 
Genizahs. In like manner, the Aggadic portion of the Talmud, in which 
the essence of Judaism is given expression, was denied any 
authoritative clarification. Most students of the Talmud rush through 
these sections, reading them only cursorily, allowing most passages 
to remain obscure and unintelligible, with the result that the masses 
came to regard them as mere entertaining stories.

So the decline continued from generation to generation until, in 
recent times, the stage was reached where even the Written Torah was 
relegated to the status of  a children's and beginners' text. Mature 
men, and, more so, men of knowledge, rested content with their 
rudimentary knowledge of the Pentateuch and evinced no interest in 
devoting the same close and penetrating study to its contents that 
they had been accustomed to in respect to the Talmud and its 
commentaries and works of a similar nature.

In consequence of the neglect of this basic portion of the Torah, the 
halachah requiring character refinement almost disappeared entirely 
from Jewish study-halls. All pertinent questions remained without 
elucidation. Many divisions of the Shulchan Aruch and manifold books 
of legal decisions enumerate all the details of the practical laws, 
whether of Torah or Rabbinic origin, as well as the diverse customs 
that have arisen in each generation. Yet, there is no explicit and 
detailed code whatsoever dealing with the rules governing human 
perfection, man's conscience, ideas and outlooks, character 
refinement, correct behavior, good manners, etc. even though  as has 
been said  these constitute fundamental principles of the Torah and 
govern all action.

The neglect of this area of Torah study struck root among the masses 
to the extent that, with the passage of time, Judaism had become 
transformed, to all intents and purposes, into a Torah of action 
alone. No longer was the Torah regarded as holding a specific view of 
the world and of life; people now saw in it only the obligation to 
perform mitzvot and avoid violating prohibitions.

Vestiges of such views are still evident in our days. Many who count 
themselves among the observant harbor erroneous and perverted 
notions. Minds are confused to the extent that it is difficult to 
find a completely integrated personality whose outlook corresponds 
with that of the true and authentic sources of Judaism. In matters of 
faith some hold primitive views, diametrically opposed to the Jewish 
conception of G-d. Nevertheless, they are oblivious to any 
contradiction between their beliefs and their  punctilious observance 
in practice.

This narrowness of outlook led to the contraction of Judaism in 
general. As regarded by the masses, Judaism became further reduced 
from generation to generation, and its concepts more limited in 
scope. Character refinement and virtue were all but erased from the 
totality of the commandments of the Torah. Man's relationship to man 
and to himself seemed to have been banished entirely from the sphere 
of religion. Even many of man's duties to G-d seemed to have been 
forgotten or neglected. The entire Torah was held to be comprised of 
a specific number of commonly known mitzvot and prohibitions. 
Individuals who observed various laws and customs with meticulous 
care and stringency could still remain hard-hearted in their dealings 
with their fellow men and tainted in their character.

Moreover the term "Shomer Torah" (Torah observant)  in the popular 
conception  does not denote possessing the correct outlook and proper 
character, being honest in business, helping one's fellow man, being 
careful in conversation, etc.  ... Where extraordinary piety is 
mentioned, it is not considered to refer to refinement of one's 
outlook or an abundance of virtues. Some even think of piety as 
excessive withdrawal from active life, fasting and 
self-mortification, frequent ablutions in ritual pools, prolonged 
praying, and the recitation of Psalms and supplications. Some place 
the emphasis on Rabbinic ordinances and customs, or even on external 
manifestations, such as: distinctive clothing, a particular demeanor, 
following local custom or paternal tradition  external behavior 
patterns which, with all their value, are merely pious customs or 
additional preventive practices.

The ultimate in narrowing down the scope of Judaism was reached in 
our times. As Jewry became partitioned into opposing camps and 
differing ideological divisions arose, historic Judaism itself 
became, as it were, one of the individual divisions.

It is noticeable that all contemporary dealings with religious 
problems and all the struggles against and vigorous denunciations of 
transgressors for their backslidings and shortcomings relate only to 
the commonly known mitzvot and transgressions, such as: Shabbat, 
kashrut, synagogues worship, etc.  as if the entire Torah consists 
only of these few principles and in them alone lies the salvation of 
Judaism in its entirety. No one protests against heretical views and 
false conceptions disseminated amongst the masses both orally and in 
writing, in public assemblies and educational institutions, among 
adults and children. No one takes the trouble to clarify and refute 
these ideas. No one cries out against the breakdown of modesty and 
purity, both abroad and at home, against the desecration of the 
sanctity of Jewish family life, against the permissiveness that has 
become rife and that has exceeded all limits. No protests are raised 
against falsifying weight and measures, lying, cheating, deceit and 
forgery prevalent in business, against robbery and violence, usury, 
the withholding of wages and exploitation that fill every corner of 
the land. No one decries the hatred towards man, the widespread 
corruption of virtuous conduct, the stupidity and ignorance. No one 
deplores the disappearance of every vestige of the image of G-d from 
the human personality.

Yet no one bestirs himself to compile Torah works dealing with the 
pure and proper knowledge of G-d, with the broad and rich content of 
the Jewish view of the world, with Jewish ideas and ethics, 
immeasurable in their profundity  not merely as academic studies but 
in order to expatiate on them, to propagate them far and wide, and to 
inculcate them among the broad masses. As for the established 
institutes of scientific Jewish study and all the publishing 
houses  their activities revolve around Torah knowledge but do not 
center on the Torah itself, while the true science of the Torah, the 
science of Torah  wisdom and human perfection, is cast aside and 
abandoned. It has been consigned to the limbo and no one cares to retrieve it.

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Message: 12
From: Prof. Levine
Date: Mon, 26 Jan 2015 17:30:27 -0500
[Avodah] Select Halachos Relevant To The Workplace Part 1

Halachically Speaking

Click here to download "Select Halachos Relevant To The Workplace Part 1".

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Message: 13
From: Kenneth Miller
Date: Tue, 27 Jan 2015 03:32:02 GMT
Re: [Avodah] Select Halachos Relevant To The Workplace Part 1

R' Yitzchok Levine posted a link to "Halachically Speaking - Select Halachos Relevant To The Workplace Part 1" at

On page 4 there, the author writes:

> One who needs to travel may daven before neitz hachama (even
> l?chatchilah). People who go to work early and have to daven
> between alos and netz hachama are included in this category.
> However, krias shema and the berachos of krias shema must be
> delayed until later (see below).

This surprised me. I am not aware of anyone who would split shacharis in
this manner, to say Shmoneh Esreh at home before netz, and then to say Shma
and this brachos afterwards. His source for this is Mechaber 89:8, but the
options there are not the ones I expected.

The Mechaber explains: "Even though he is not connecting Geulah to Tefilah,
it's still better to daven at home standing [even before netz - A.M.], than
to daven at the proper time while traveling, even with connecting Geulah to
Tefilah." I am very surprised that the idea of saying ALL of Shacharis, at
home before netz, in order to connect Geulah and Tefilah, is not even

Now please hear the words of the Mishneh Brurah 89:42, who notes that the
procedure of the Mechaber is generally not followed: "Most people aren't
careful about this, possibly because they follow the other poskim, who hold
that connecting Geulah to Tefilah is more important. Therefore, they daven
on the road, *with* connecting Geulah to Tefila." -- Again, the possibility
of saying all of Shacharis in the proper sequence prior to Netz does not
seem to be even considered.

The Aruch Hashulchan makes an important clarification. In 89:29, he says
that the Mechaber's procedure of saying Shmoneh Esreh at home and the the
Shma and brachos on the road, was only in the case of where he needs to
leave home between Alos and Misheyakir. Only then would the Mechaber object
so strongly to saying Shma and brachos at home. And he rephrases this same
idea in 89:31, saying this it is "pashut" that if he can still be home at
Misheyakir, then he can daven Shma and the brachos and connect them to

Upon review, I now see MB 89:40 making the same point about Misheyakir.
Clearly, no one has a problem with (people who are rushing to work) saying
all of Shacharis prior to *Netz*. The problem is when such people say Shma
and its brachos prior to *Misheyakir*.

My guess is that the author had intended to clarify this point, and that's
why he wrote (as I quoted above) "(see below)". But I cannot find the
section below that he's referring to. If I missed it, I hope someone will
point it out to me.

By the way, on pages 9-13, it discusses many halachos about bowing and "the
three steps" of Shmoneh Esreh, which are often difficult at workplace
minyanim which tend to be crowded. I just want to point out that *many*
minyanim are crowded, and those pages are useful even for people who do not
have a minyan where they work.

Akiva Miller
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