Avodah Mailing List

Volume 33: Number 85

Sat, 30 May 2015

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Micha Berger
Date: Thu, 28 May 2015 10:45:29 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Rav Elchanan Wasserman & Why People Sin

On Thu, May 28, 2015 at 12:33:43PM +0300, Eli Turkel via Avodah wrote:
: Well Micha and I agree on several points but still disagree on others.
: Agreed that people in real life don't use formal mathematical proofs...

I would go further and say that far too many things /can't/ use formal

And even further: even when you do have a formal proof, it is built
from givens -- call them postulates or first principles. So, barring an
infinite regress, even a formal proof is a structure atop things accepted
without formal proof.

I should point out that this a major subset of the field of epistomology.

: It doesnt work when trying to convince others.

True, but not relevant. We -- and more importantly to the origianl point,
REW -- are talking about whether it's more natural to believe in G-d
or not. Not whether a believer could then convince someone else.

: We have already argued about REW and I still can't accept it. The argument
: is that if someone else tells you why he doesn't accept G-d or that G-d
: rules the world whether for rational or emotional reasons the answer is
: that we don't believe him and say he is making up reasons.

REW doesn't say that. I even cut-n-pasted a translation to support that
point. REW says that he really doesn't believe, but he had to work against
the natural state of seeing a world that shows obvious signs of a Designer.
Someone can truly and honestly convince himself, or be convinced by
others (including upbringing) that a poem really could emerge by
someone spilling ink. But that's not what people would conclude if we
lacked a strong desire to conclude that way -- the "shochad" of freedom
if ein din ve'ein Dayan.

There is nothing in that quote from Qovetz Maamarim about anyone not
really believing what they think they believe. Rather, he ascribes a

: Of course he will say the same about your acceptance of Torah and mitzvot.

Again, REW isn't speaking about the context of debate. Nor was I. By
bringing it in, you complicate matters without addressing the original

REW is really just saying that the reason why believe is a fair topic of
bechirah because on one side design is self-evident but on the other the
desire to live without having to follow the Designer counterbalances it.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             People were created to be loved.
mi...@aishdas.org        Things were created to be used.
http://www.aishdas.org   The reason why the world is in chaos is that
Fax: (270) 514-1507      things are being loved, people are being used.

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Message: 2
From: Eli Turkel
Date: Thu, 28 May 2015 14:22:41 +0000
Re: [Avodah] More on Who Wrote the Mishna Brura

On Thu, May 28, 2015, 5:19 PM Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org> wrote:
>                                        Here we have the author of Shemiras
> haLashon -- someone known for thinking about what he said -- calling
> the MB "beiuri", "od tzarafti" "ki bo biarti", "upo hir'eisi", and "kol
> eileh chbarti..." on the title page. How can one argue he didn't oversee
> the entire work and checked the content? Nothing about parts being by

I agree he must have looked it over
That leaves the question of contradictions
And stories about minhagim of cc that are different than what is in mb

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Message: 3
From: Micha Berger
Date: Thu, 28 May 2015 11:23:01 -0400
Re: [Avodah] More on Who Wrote the Mishna Brura

On Thu, May 28, 2015 at 02:22:41PM +0000, Eli Turkel wrote:
: I agree he must have looked it over

Which is why I think R/Dr MS is making too much ado over the actual

: That leaves the question of contradictions

Well, not every sheverer Rambam is a printing error either. Another case
where the academic norm is to run far further with some fun concept
than I'm comfortable with.

Perhaps we should be looking for how the contradictions are only apparent.
Or perhaps the CC felt than ruling al pi rov or safeiq lechumerah/lequlah
in two different cases needn't results in consistencies between pesaqim.

Before you spend too much time on that bothering you, recall when we
daven minchah and maariv. If the tefillos are on two different days, you
can end up following different definitions of evening on different days.

: And stories about minhagim of cc that are different than what is in mb

I thought R/Dr Seth Mandel's position is compelling. Look at the title page
and the haqdamah. The CC never claims that the MB is a seifer of pesaq.
Rather, he describes the work as a survey.  From the title page, defining
the MB (as opposed to the left column about the BH):
    I called my biur by the name MB since within it is explained
    (misbareir; c.f. "berurah") the words of the SA, every law by its
    reasoning and origins in the gemara and posqim that it not be like
    a sealed book.
    Also I will collect in it all the dinim, halakhos and biurim scattered
    amog the books of the acharonim, meforshim of the SA who are known
    (like MA, PMG, Birkhei Yoseif, Maamar Mordekhai and many such.) There
    are many of them after the Be'er Heitiv and they are not brought in
    shu"t because they are somwhat scattered in various places. All of
    these are compiled here, and all is in a straightforward and easy
    language and in proper order, with Hashem's help.

And the BH:
    Also, I appended on its side some necessary inyanim titled under
    the name Biur Halakhah -- and as the name, so it is. For in it I
    sometimes explained the words of halakhah which are brought in
    summary in the MB without proof, and here I show (be"h) its source
    looking inall of gemara and the posqim. Also in it are sometimes
    explains the words of the SA at length in places which need

(Sorry, just always wanted to bother translating that -- this thread
was just my excuse.)

So, the MB is a survey, and thus the halachic conclusions found in it
(and explained in the BH) are purely what in theory the sources surveyed
would indicate.

It's not that the CC didn't believe in mimeticism, it's that the MB
is a book of theory and therefore ignores mimeticism. The MB was written
lehalakhah velo lemaaseh.

Which makes it ironic that so many RYs of the mid- and late 20th cent
worked so hard to make the work a "poseiq acharon" lemaaseh.

Whereas he CC's own practice did reflect weighing shitos based on their
acceptance. And so, unsurprisingly, in all the places I know of where
his own practice didn't fit the MB (such as supporting a community eiruv,
despite BH 364 "ve'achar") his practice does follow the AhS.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             "The most prevalent illness of our generation is
mi...@aishdas.org        excessive anxiety....  Emunah decreases anxiety:
http://www.aishdas.org   'The Almighty is my source of salvation;  I will
Fax: (270) 514-1507      trust and not be afraid.'" (Isa 12) -Shalhevesya

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Message: 4
From: Prof. Levine
Date: Thu, 28 May 2015 11:11:28 -0400
[Avodah] More on Who Wrote the Mishna Brura

At 10:33 AM 5/28/2015, R. Micha Berger wrote:

>And if so, lo kol shekein in our case! Here we have the author of Shemiras
>haLashon -- someone known for thinking about what he said -- calling
>the MB "beiuri", "od tzarafti" "ki bo biarti", "upo hir'eisi", and "kol
>eileh chbarti..." on the title page. How can one argue he didn't oversee
>the entire work and checked the content? Nothing about parts being by
  I wonder if these words were on the title page of the first 
publication of each volume of the MB.  After all,  publishers do add 
things.  One title page I found online for the second volume of the 
MB refers to the author as HaGaon.  I doubt that the CC would have 
had this on the title page of the first printing.


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Message: 5
From: Micha Berger
Date: Thu, 28 May 2015 11:39:11 -0400
Re: [Avodah] More on Who Wrote the Mishna Brura

On Thu, May 28, 2015 at 11:11:28AM -0400, Prof. Levine via Avodah wrote:
:  I wonder if these words were on the title page of the first
: publication of each volume of the MB...

Why wonder?

Each volume:
1. http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=49623&;pgnum=1 - Warsaw 1884
2. http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=49624&;pgnum=1 - Warsaw 1895
3. http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=49625&;pgnum=1 - Warsaw 1891
4. http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=49626&;pgnum=1 - Warsaw 1898
5. http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=49627&;pgnum=1 - Warsaw 1902
6. http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=49628&;pgnum=1 - Pietrekov 1907

(None call him ga'on, all have pretty much the same self description.)

These fit the years of the first editions that wikipedia gives, based
on "The Chafetz Chaim" by R MM Yoshor, pg 603.

(But even if wiki has it wrong, they are editions published by the author.)

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Rescue me from the desire to win every
mi...@aishdas.org        argument and to always be right.
http://www.aishdas.org              - Rav Nassan of Breslav
Fax: (270) 514-1507                   Likutei Tefilos 94:964

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Message: 6
From: saul newman
Date: Thu, 28 May 2015 08:10:56 -0700
[Avodah] MB vs AH


see there also the r henkin review .  he points out that the Oz Vhadar
edition inherently has a difficulty in attributing notes to the [non-satmar
oriented]  relatives of the Aruch Hashulchan
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Message: 7
From: Sholom Simon
Date: Thu, 28 May 2015 12:00:22 -0400
[Avodah] zilzul shabbat


I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around the suggestion that a
kosher lamp is zilzul shabbas. 

Isn't just a nice (and -- significantly
-- *safer*) way of covering a lamp? 

If one were to make the argument
that its convenience might make it zilzul shabbas, might one respond
with "but safety"? 

Why do the rabbis deem the following to not be a
case of zilzul yom tov: cooking a large pot of food on the afternoon of
yom tov rishon, "in case people might stop by", and "I'll eat some of
it" knowing there will be leftovers? 

-- Sholom 
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Message: 8
From: Michael Poppers
Date: Thu, 28 May 2015 17:15:11 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Re various shofar-blowing minhagim (was "Another

R'Micha asked:
> How does that work? You have three points in Chazaras HaShatz in which to
blow. How do you do less than 10 *each*? <
3 during Malch., 3 during Zichronos, and 4 during Shof'ros.

On Wed, May 27, 2015 at 6:47 AM, Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org> wrote:

> On Tue, May 26, 2015 at 07:14:36PM -0400, Michael Poppers via Avodah wrote:
> : When I davened in KAJ/"Breuer's", the minhag was:
> : -- 30 *dim'yushav*
> : -- 10 *dim'umad*
> : -- 60 sandwiched around post-Musaf "Aleinu" (30 just before, 30 after the
> How does that work? You have three points in Chazaras HaShatz in which to
> blow. How do you do less than 10 *each*?
> Tir'u baTov!
> -Micha
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Message: 9
From: Micha Berger
Date: Thu, 28 May 2015 18:45:29 -0400
Re: [Avodah] zilzul shabbat

On Thu, May 28, 2015 at 12:00:22PM -0400, Sholom Simon via Avodah wrote:
: I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around the suggestion that a
: kosher lamp is zilzul shabbas. 

That's okay, it's just a hava amina we raised here. No one AFAIK actually
banned kosher lamps over zilzul Shabbos. The question was why a Kosher
Switch (that claims to not even be grama) would be zilzul and not the
Kosher Lamp.

And then, many (most? the vast majority of posqim?) do not believe
it actually avoids gerama, including the author of Shemiras Shabbos

: Isn't just a nice (and -- significantly
: -- *safer*) way of covering a lamp? 

Well, every case where one would discuss zilzul Shabbos would be one
where there wasn't a more easily defined problem. So every discussion
could be "isn't it just".

I think the difference is that a kosher switch would mean being able to
turn or off anything, whereas the Kosher Lamp is more limited, being a
specific appliance.

: Why do the rabbis deem the following to not be a
: case of zilzul yom tov: cooking a large pot of food on the afternoon of
: yom tov rishon, "in case people might stop by", and "I'll eat some of
: it" knowing there will be leftovers? 

I would guess that similarly, because it's of limited utility. It doesn't
totally destroy the concept of an issur of cooking on Yom Tov.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             The fittingness of your matzos [for the seder]
mi...@aishdas.org        isn't complete with being careful in the laws
http://www.aishdas.org   of Passover. One must also be very careful in
Fax: (270) 514-1507      the laws of business.    - Rav Yisrael Salanter

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Message: 10
From: Eli Turkel
Date: Fri, 29 May 2015 15:52:06 +0300
Re: [Avodah] MB vs AH

Indeed in Europe before WWII the MB was not the "final" arbiter of
halacha. Much changed when CI wrote in a letter that the MB has the
halacha of a sanhedrin and one can't disagree with its conclusions.

Of course CI himself disagreed with the MB and in fact there are published
versions of the MB which include the disagreements of the CI.

All to show that what is written in letters is not to be taken very
literally. In any case that paid a large part of the change in attitude
towards the MB. Certainly poskim of the previous generation who grew up
before the war also did not take the MB as a final posek. As an example
is RMF though I heard similar things from RYBS.

Eli Turkel

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Message: 11
From: Micha Berger
Date: Fri, 29 May 2015 11:24:55 -0400
Re: [Avodah] MB vs AH

R/Dr Haym Soloveitchik focused on the MB's more textualist slant vs
the AhS giving weight to shitos that were common practice. Which fits
R/DHS's thesis for that particular paper, the idea he was using that
particular comparison to illustrate. But I do not believe it's the
primary difference between them.

I already gave what I saw was the primary difference. The AhS was written
by a moreh de'asra to reflect halakhah lemaaseh. The MB was written by
a tzasiq and a gaon as a survey of later shitos that weren't available
to most people trying to learn halakhah. No focus (by the author, see
below about others) on lemaaseh.

I see this as the cause for the MB's lack of attention to halakhah as
practiced. It wasn't so much that the CC was a textualist when it comes
to pesaq, but that he wrote a book for discussing texts.

A second difference is that the AhS's idea of understanding the halakhah
is looking to see how the pesaq evolved from gemara (and Y-mi) to Rif,
Rambam, Rosh to the Tur, BY, SA, and finally to the acharonim since. The
MB is more focused on the halakhah in the acharonic period, and how
to decide amongst them.

Third, the AhS is willing to leave the halakhah fuzzy, and often comes
to a range of conclusions rather than one clear-cut pesaq. Or, he will
pasqen one way in one se'if, but in a slightly different case in a different
se'if reopen the question: ... but if you hold like...

The MB offers more clarity. An AhS fan might say that clarity is
artificial, because the reality of halakhah isn't cut and dry with
only one best pesaq for all people. But it does make it easier to
open a MB than to try to decide what to do when you reach one of
the fuzzier stretches of the AhS.

Perhaps the clarity is really is artifice, and that's why we need LORs
rather than thinking a book is our poseiq.

On Fri, May 29, 2015 at 03:52:06PM +0300, Eli Turkel via Avodah wrote:
: Indeed in Europe before WWII the MB was not the "final" arbiter of
: halacha. Much changed when CI wrote in a letter that the MB has the
: halacha of a sanhedrin and one can't disagree with its conclusions.
: Of course CI himself disagreed with the MB...
: All to show that what is written in letters is not to be taken very
: literally...

Although it wasn't only the CI, so it's not all about taking his letter
overly literally. Rav Yaakov Kamenecki and R' Aharon Kotler called him
the "poseiq acharon", and RAK went as far as making sure the MB would
appear in photos of him.

See also our 2006 discussion <http://j.mp/1dBLsSF> Aruch Hashulchan vs.
Mishna berura

OTOH, R YH Henkin testified about his famous grandfather
(<http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/vol17/v17n028.shtml#01> quoting his
own Bnei Banim vol. 2 page 31):
    AH saw the MB; see 11:22; 12:4; 28:23; 62:4; 268:6; and other places
    where he mentions Mishnah Berurah by name. In 79:11 and 319:22 and
    elsewhere he disagrees with him by name and in innumerable places
    he disagrees with him without mentioning his name: for instance,
    in 55:20 he is writing against the Mishnah Berurah and similarly
    in 370:13 -- this is obvious anyone who looks carefully. So it is a
    mitzvah to let people know that AH is not only a Sefer Halacha but
    also a response to the Mishnah Brerurah.

OTOH, similarly R [Shmuel] Yaakov Weinberg (Ner Israel) considered the
AhS the more authoritative. And minutes before my chupah (while waiting
for the paper to burn to have ashes for my head), R' Dovid Lifshitz
asked if I had one for my new home, because it was closer to halakhah
as my ancestors held. (RDL knew my family back in Suvalk.)

As for RMF, RDF and RRF both agreed that RMF gave priority to the AhS
because R' Yechiel Michl Epstein had a qehillah, and therefore the more
practiced poseiq of the two.


Micha Berger             People were created to be loved.
mi...@aishdas.org        Things were created to be used.
http://www.aishdas.org   The reason why the world is in chaos is that
Fax: (270) 514-1507      things are being loved, people are being used.

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Message: 12
From: Chana Luntz
Date: Sun, 31 May 2015 00:03:21 +0100
[Avodah] : Another Chumera ends up Involving a Kula

I wrote:

>> But aren't they then denying those Jews who have not yet heard shofar at
>> the chance to hear shofar according to the majority opinions by only
>> for them according to the minority opinions?

And RZS replied:

>AFAIK everyone agrees that all these methods are kosher, so those Jews
>are definitely yotzei the mitzvah.


>They're not foisting anything. The people they're blowing for would
>otherwise not hear shofar at all, so they're clearly better off hearing
>even some obscure form of it, so long as they're yotzei.

But if these people who want to hear the shofar blown according to minority
shitos are capable of finding people who would otherwise not hear shofar at
all and blowing for them, they are *also* capable of finding such people in
circumstances where they then blow for them according to the majority
shitos. For it to be true that "they're clearly better off hearing some
obscure form of it, so long as they are yotzei" - you have to be assuming
that the people doing the blowing would only be prepared to go to the
trouble of blowing to fulfil their desire to fulfil minority shitos but NOT
where the result is only to ensure that fellow Jews perform a mitzvah.  You
may be correct that indeed people are more concerned with making sure they
themselves have fulfilled the mitzvah of shofar in every possible
permutation than in making sure another Jew performs the mitzvah at all, but
could anybody honestly regard that as praiseworthy?

As a consequence, I then raised a halachic query:

> The principle on which
> somebody who has fulfilled their obligation can then fulfil the obligation
> of another is based on kol yisrael areivim zeh b'zeh.  But to what extent
> that applicable in a situation in which that person would never, had the
> situation been reversed, have accepted the form of fulfilment they are
> offering the other.  Ie since the person who is blowing the shofar refused
> to have these alternative ways of blowing as the fundamental method of
> fulfilling their own mitzvah, is it really areivus to then foist that form
> of fulfilment on others?

RZS's assumption is that, so long as everybody agrees that a form of blowing
is kosher bidieved, then areivus works, but I wonder whether this is
necessarily true.  Areivus is a fascinating halachic concept - it allows
somebody who has already fulfilled a mitzvah to do it again, including
(importantly) making brachos again (which they would otherwise not be
permitted to do) on behalf of another.  I went for a bit of a hunt over Yom
Tov to see what I could find regarding areivus, but did not turn up much.
First of all, the pasuk from the Torah regarding Areivus is brought in
Shevuos 39a as being based on the Vayikra 26:37 [vchashlu ish b'achiv] -
which is then explained as meaning that a man in *the sin* of his brother so
as to teach that kol yisrael areivim ze l'zeh.  But while that seems a valid
source for what might be considered "negative" areivus or areivus in
relation to lo ta'asehs (and the obligation to protest), it led me to wonder
how straightforwardly that gets you to what might be called "positive"
areivus - ie doing something, such as performing the mitzvah of shofar on
behalf of another [not that I have seen this distinction between "negative"
and "positive" areivus anywhere].  Ie while you can see that if is permitted
to blow shofar for somebody who was otherwise unable to fulfil the mitzvah,
and one failed to do so, one might then be considered to have stumbled into
the sin of that person's omission - ie failure to perform an aseh - it seems
a leap to therefore derive from this particular pasuk that one has the power
to fulfil and make brachos on behalf of that person.  If anything I would
have thought perhaps v'ahavta re'echa k'mocha seemed more likely, but I
couldn't find any reference.  Note that areivus would seem not to be
shlichus, as one can make a shaliach out of somebody who is themselves not
commanded in a particular thing - whereas that is not applicable for areivus
where the original level of obligation must be at least equal on the part of
the arev.

[This is all leaving aside the famous Rosh Brachos perek 3 siman 13 which
states that areivus does not apply to women, which is clearly discussing
what might be termed positive areivus ie making brachos on behalf of one
another, and which the achronim generally limit to cases where there is no
equal obligation, despite what may seem to be the simple pshat, or the
Tosphos in Kidushin 70b that areivus does not apply to gerim - which must
surely at most [and here it seems to me you need the definition of negative
and positive areivus] to be only a reference to negative areivus - otherwise
this would be raised as a problem of a ger making brachos on behalf of
others - although given the source of the Tosphos in Sotah 37b, this would
also seem to apply to women for the same reasons  - ie the number count
being made by reference to the 603,550 in the midbar not including the eruv
rav, and not including women either].

The most I was able to find in my brief search over Yom Tov was a Birchei
Yosef Orech Chaim siman 124 discussing the question as to whether a Ben
Chutz L'Aretz who found himself in a village in Israel over Yom Tov (in the
case quoted by the Birchei Yosef he had gone to Israel to bury his dead)
where nobody besides him had the knowledge to be Shatz, and who had already
davened at home on second day yom tov the second day yom tov davening, could
be shatz for the community by saying the birchei chol amidah.  But there
seem to be lots of other reasons to permit (as the Birchei Yosef does) in
this particular case.

In particular it seems to me, besides all of the Birchei Yosef's arguments,
if you were to say that areivus was linked to v'ahavta re'echa kamocha, you
can see why, if circumstances were reversed, the ben chutz l'aretz would
want the same as he is providing to the benei aretz (ie the mutuality of
areivus).  But in the case that RZS has outlined, where the people hearing
only the minority shitos form of shofar blowing would surely want the
majority position shofar blowing if they could get it, can the blower
unilaterally choose to force them to fulfil their obligation via a set of
minority shitos via areivus, or does the principle of areivus not stretch
that far?  More generally, if somebody holds a particular position as being
the ikar, can they under the principle of areivus perform a mitzvah on
behalf of somebody who holds by a contradictory position, so that what the
arev is doing is, according to him, possul?  How about the reverse
situation?  And that gets us to RZS's case, where it might be agreed that a
particular form is kosher  bidieved, but if the arev could provide a
l'chatchila version and chooses not to, can he be genuinely be said to be a
real arev? How good a guarantor must a guarantor be to be considered a
guarantor at all? I am sure some achron has written a treatise on areivus
which must cover these kinds of topics, but so far I haven't found it.

Zev Sero

Shavuah tov


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Message: 13
From: Prof. Levine
Date: Fri, 29 May 2015 15:25:46 -0400

 From http://tinyurl.com/nqnquzc

The media has widely reported that a Belz Yeshiva 
in England has forbidden women from driving their 
children to Yeshiva. It was further reported that 
if the mothers do not comply, the children will be thrown out of Yeshiva.

In a letter sent to parents last week, seen by 
the Jewish Chronicle, they say there has been an 
increase in the number of mothers driving their 
children to school and add that this has led to 
?great resentment among parents of pupils of our [Hasidic] institutions?.
The letter says the ban, to come into force in 
the summer, is based on the recommendations of 
Rabbi Yissachar Dov Rokeach, the Belzer spiritual leader in Israel.
It says that if a mother has no other choice but 
to drive her child to school ? for medical 
reasons, for example ? she should ?submit a 
request to the special committee to this effect 
and the committee shall consider her request.?

The question is what does halacha have to say about this?

See the above URL for more. YL

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Message: 14
From: H Lampel
Date: Fri, 29 May 2015 17:04:31 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Rav Elchanan Wasserman & Why People Sin

R. Micha Berger maintained that R. E. Wasserman was not positing a 
formal proof for G-d's existence, formal proofs not being the only way, 
or even the superior way, to establish truths. I cited a passage in the 
Moreh Nevuchim to support this concept. But as is occasionally the case, 
R. MB disagrees with me, even when I attempt to defend him:

ZL: Indeed, the Rambam himself in the Moreh Nevuchim recognizes this

: distinction and supports the superior validity of the non-formal

: approach. Chapters after he devotes chapters to formal philosophic

: proofs for Creation ex nihilo, he describes how a healthy (and

: unbiased) mind thinks:


:And know that one of the strongest proofs for Creation ex nihilo, //for 
//one who ismodeh al ha-ememmes// (RMB substituted an ellipsis for this 
:crucial clause)

:is his confirming the fact that every one of all natural entities

:serves a specific purpose, with each one benefiting still another;

:and that this fact is a proof for the purposeful intent of an

:intender, and that such purposeful intent necessarily implies the

:production of something new [and not something that always existed

:along with the one who bears the purposeful intention for its

:existence]. (MN 3:13)

RMB: There is here an actually a reference to a formal proof. The Rambam 
recaps a point made in 2:19-20.

In 2:19-20 Rambam makes no reference to each component or entity in 
nature providing a benefit for another, and certainly does not use that 
there as a proof for Creation ex nihilo. *(Section II is devoted to 
developing the argument against a naturally necessary eternal world 
based on ''particularization,'' the differing formations and behaviors 
of things despite their being made of the same materials.) *


*Perhaps you are referring to the fact that in both the argument there 
and here the crucial concluding step invokes the mindset that purposeful 
intention on G-d's part (which Aristotle as well attributes to G-d) 
indicates *a changeable will on His part (which indication Aristotle 
denies) that allows for and indicates Creation ex nihilo. But just as in 
3:13 the Rambam describes that crucial mindset as something that is 
possessed by those who are modeh al ha-emmess, so too in 2:19-20 the 
Rambam first describes it as something that is ''pashut'' (KPCH) or 
''mevuar" (Ibn Tibbon), which he will then proceed to demonstrate 
through more formal proof:

It has already been shown that according to Aristotle... the Universe is 
not the result of intent of choice and desire; for if this were the 
case, they would have been non-existing before the intent had been 
conceived. We [proponents of Judaism?ZL], however, hold that it is 
/pashut\mevuar/ that all things in the Universe are the result of 
intent-not-of necessity; and it is possible for that Intender to change 
them and have a different intent.

But in this chapter, my intent is to show by arguments almost as 
forceful as real proofs, that the Universe gives compelling evidence of 
being [freely] intended by an Intender:

RMB: And for that matter, if the Rambam was talking about not really needing

formal proof, despite spending much of sec. II on just that, why would it

be buried in a chapter that focuses on something else?

I did not posit that the Rambam's intent was to make the point that 
formal proof is unnecessary. That indeed is not his purpose. After all, 
the explicitly stated primary purpose of the Moreh is for those (himself 
included) who yearned to defend and support the mesorah through 
philosophical approach of his day. He is not interested in dismissing 
the project.

He explicitly describes this /modeh al ha-emmess/ statement /as a 
tangential interruption/: After that statement, he says, ''I will now 
return to the subject of this chapter, viz., the ultimate cause [i.e. 
the purpose behind the universe being as it is--ZL].''

My point was that we nevertheless see that the Rambam recognizes that 
there is another approach to verifying truth, namely that which follows 
the non-formal mindset of those who are /modeh al ha-emmess/. It is a 
reference to those who do not restrict their acceptance of truth to 
things provable through formal logic, settling for healthy, unbiased 
reasoning (and who thereby see the truth of Creation ex-nihilo as a 
simple conclusion from the fact of the purposeful hierarchy of nature).

RMB: 3:13 is about how the universe has its own purpose. It is not just 
an arena designed for the purpose of humans. He argues here with Aristo 
who says that plants exist for the purpose of animals, and in general, 
that things exist for the purpose of other things.

He does not argue with Aristotle on this point, as is clear in the 
passage from 3:13 that I originally quoted, and as he elaborates in the 
introduction to his Mishnah commentary.

The disagreement (outside of the parenthetically mentioned one) revolves 
around the /ultimate/ purpose behind the existence of everything, and 
the question of why the intermediate steps in this world that lead to 
its finale of the hierarchy must exist, rather than the finale existing 

(According to Aristotle, every component of nature is simply a necessity 
whose non-existence is absolutely impossible. It is impossible for G-d 
to maintain anything but the universe and its entities as they are. 
According to the Rambam, although every sub lunar being contributes to 
the existence of another such being, until we get to Man (and then the 
Ish Shalem), G-d could nevertheless have created that final being 
directly, without creating the intermediary plants and animals. Why He 
in His wisdom decided to do it as He did, and why he decided to create 
the heavens as He did, we cannot know.)

RMB: Besides, the Rambam writes in 3:51 in the mashal of the palace, that

people who believe because of tradition without having proof are like

those who wander around the chatzer, whereas someone with a proof is

like one who entered the prozdor.

The ''modeh al ha-emmess'' proof, building upon careful observation of 
the world and and its components and creatures and theorizing as to how 
it all works, is also a proof. The inferior knowledge that does not lead 
to optimum closeness to Hashem is pure tradition without proof.

Not[e] Aristo's epistomology didn't analyze issues of proof vs other

justification. But clearly Reliabilism, trusting an idea found in a

source that has already been found to be reliable (hama'aminim ... derekh

qabalah), is not being considered good enough justification to fully

accomplish life's goal.

I did not refer to emunah b'derech kaballah. That's not what I meant by 
''ha-modeh al ha-emmess.'' I meant what I said: the healthy thinking of 
an unbiased mind, meaning the thinking of such a mind informed by 
knowledge of the things that exist in the world and their behaviors, and 
explanations of how they operate.

Zvi Lampel

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