Avodah Mailing List

Volume 33: Number 111

Fri, 07 Aug 2015

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: M Cohen
Date: Tue, 4 Aug 2015 13:43:39 -0400
[Avodah] De-Chokifying Arayos

> But that's not what's happening here. This is a case where the Shulchan
> Aruch paskened very clearly in one direction, and this approach went
> uncontested through centuries of acharonim. Then something changed.... Why
> aren't we rejecting these revisionist poskim out of hand?

Good question.

I can't help but thinking that this is one of those (many) halachic issues
where the hanhaga of Klal yisroel in certain halachic (or hashkafic) areas
has developed to be inline with yechidim than with the majority of

Why this happens is certainly a discussion - is it societal / siata shimaya
guiding Klal yisroel / etc

We have many others similar to this (some d'oriasa, some d'rabbanan) - human
hair sheitals, chadash, live music after the churban, etc.

When this should happen (and when it should be fought), I will leave to the
einei haeida.

Mordechai Cohen

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Message: 2
From: Baruch Cohen
Date: Tue, 4 Aug 2015 10:49:07 -0700
[Avodah] Halachic Requirement for Dayanim Evaluating

List Mates:

In an AMI issue that was reported in VosIzNais, Rabbi Hershel Schachter was
quoted as saying: ""*There is a Mishna in Pirkei Avos that the oilam says a
vort on. It says, "K'sheyihiyu habaalei dinim lifanecha, yihiyu b'einecha
k'resha'im. K'she'yaamdu m'lifanecha yihiyub'einecha k'tzaddikim, shekiblu
aleihem es hadin." ["When the litigants stand before you (the judges), they
should be in your eyes like wicked people. When they stand up from being in
front of you, they should be in your eyes like righteous people, because
they have accepted the judgment."] They say from a few different dayanim
that they would put a tallis over their face, to not see the face of a
rasha. But that is wrong; part of the din Torah is to look at the person
and see from his facial expression and how he talks...whether or not he is
saying the truth. You have to be able to detect whether he is telling the
truth*.'"  (

Is there a Halacha that you can direct me to that mandates in-person and
face-to-face participation by the parties to a Bais Din for the reasons
given by Rabbi Schechter?

I found this...

The seating configuration of the Sanhedrin ??????? ???? ???? ???? ????? ???
???? ????? ?? ?? ?? The Mishnah describes how the members of the Sanhedrin
sat in a row in the shape of a half-circle in order *for each person to be
able to see everyone else*. Why was it necessary for everyone to be able to
have direct eye contact with everyone else? Rashi explains that it is only
when people have direct sight of each other that they can listen and then
argue and debate with each other. ?"????? elaborates and says that when
people argue and express their views, they often rise from their seats. If
they did not sit facing each other, it is quite possible that they would
not be able to hear when a person turns as he speaks from a standing
position. Rambam (Hilchos Sanhedrin 1:3) explains that this arrangement was
used in order for the President (????) and the Av Beis Din to be able to
see everyone. Lechem Mishneh notes that this was a sign of respect for
these leaders to sit in the middle and for everyone to easily be able to
listen to them. Rashi also addresses why the Sanhedrin sat in a half-circle
rather than in a full circle. From a technical standpoint, the witnesses
and litigants would have to have a way to enter the circle to present
themselves in front of the judges (see Rashi, Chullin 5a). Furthermore, if
the judges sat in a full circle, while the witnesses would be facing some
of the judges, their backs would be turned toward the others. *The judges
might have a hard time hearing the witnesses and litigants, or they would
not be able to see them as they spoke. Facial expressions and other
subtleties are essential in communication, and the judges must be able to
pick up on any and all such nuances during the deliberations*. The Tosefta
(8:1) cites differing opinions regarding the seating position of the
President of the Sanhedrin. Tanna Kamma holds that the President sat in the
center of the semi-circle, with thirty-five of the members of the Sanhedrin
seated on each side of him. R' Elazar b. Tzadok says that when Rabban
Gamliel sat in the Sanhedrin in Yavne, one of the sages sat to his right,
and all the others sat to his left. Rambam (ibid.) writes that the ???? sat
with the Av Beis Din to his right, and the rest of the sages to his left,
seated according to their ages and their wisdom, with the wisest among them
to his immediate left, and the rest seated closer according to their level.
Radva"z and Kesef Mishneh ask why Rambam does not rule according to Tanna
Kamma, and, as he rules according to R' Elazar b. Tzadok, why the row
begins with the Av Beis Din, and not with the ???? himself. Radva"z
explains that it was not only the Av Beis Din who sat to the right of the
????, but the ???? sat in the middle, as Tanna Kamma explains, with the Av
Beis Din to his immediate right. ??? ???? explains that Rambam rules
according to R' Elazar b. Tzadok because he cites the actual case of Rabban


Baruch C. Cohen, Esq.
Law Office of Baruch C. Cohen, APLC
Los Angeles, CA 90010
e-mail: BCC4...@gmail.com

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Message: 3
From: via Avodah
Date: Tue, 4 Aug 2015 14:24:43 -0400
Re: [Avodah] De-Chokifying Arayos (including MZ)


From: Kenneth Miller via Avodah  <avo...@lists.aishdas.org>

>> In RMB's second point, he  contrasts survival without sex and survival
without food. While it is true  that sex is not required for physical life,
psychologically it's a whole  different story, and that's the approach
the Torah uses for  Onah.

It seems to me that Onah may have the effect of  objectifying males. <<

Akiva Miller

To clarify what to some may seem a minor point:  sex  absolutely IS 
required for survival.  An individual can survive  without it, but the human 
species in general and Klal Yisrael in  particular cannot survive without 
reproduction.  Our nitzchius is  absolutely dependent on this particular activity, 
which is why "peru urevu"  is actually a mitzva and not "mutar if you wish."
It is Hashem's chessed that He made this activity intrinsically  
pleasurable. If you were a robot or an alien without human emotions  and you witnessed 
this human activity, you would wonder, "What the heck are  these humans 
doing?  And why?!"  I am not an expert on male physiology  but I am under the 
impression that for men, this activity is actually physically  impossible 
without pleasure. A woman can be "kekarka" as Esther Hamalka was  but a man 
cannot.  And for this reason, among others, the idea of  "objectifying men" is 
just ridiculous.
This reminds me of something else I wanted to say in response to some of  
RMB's posts.  He seems to be saying that if a man derives pleasure from  
being with his wife, he is ipso facto "objectifying" her.  But human beings  
derive pleasure from each other all the time, whether the pleasure is a  
stimulating conversation, "please scratch my back," playing with a delightful,  
cuddly baby -- I could go on and on -- and it is just absurd to think that if  
another person gives me some kind of pleasure, I have "objectified" that  
Not to forget the main point I wanted to make:  sex /is/ necessary for  
survival, and therefore some comparison to eating food /is/ valid.

--Toby  Katz


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Message: 4
From: Micha Berger
Date: Tue, 4 Aug 2015 14:57:30 -0400
Re: [Avodah] De-Chokifying Arayos (including MZ)

On Tue, Aug 04, 2015 at 02:24:43PM -0400, RnTK wrote:
: To clarify what to some may seem a minor point:  sex  absolutely IS 
: required for survival.  An individual can survive  without it, but the human 
: species in general and Klal Yisrael in  particular cannot survive without 
: reproduction...

The question is the difference in relationship a person to their hunger
compared to their sex drive. You appear to only be objecting to an
overly broad use of "required for survival" by not saying "individual's
survival", without touching the point that people relate to each desire
very differently.

(You also seem to ignore non-reproductive sex -- an infertile couple,
post-menapouse, etc...)

: This reminds me of something else I wanted to say in response to some of  
: RMB's posts.  He seems to be saying that if a man derives pleasure from  
: being with his wife, he is ipso facto "objectifying" her...

Pleasure is a positive thing, as long as it's not the only thing.
It's turning a wife into a cheftzah by which he obtains his pleasure
that is literally objectifying. If the husband is forced to think about
her perspective, his wife as a person, during relations, the risk of
the pursuit of pleasure taking over to that point, the mutual search
for pleasure is humanizing and bonding, quite the reverse.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             If you're going through hell
mi...@aishdas.org        keep going.
http://www.aishdas.org                   - Winston Churchill
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Message: 5
From: Prof. Levine
Date: Tue, 04 Aug 2015 14:10:14 -0400
[Avodah] sources for not covering hair

At 01:51 PM 8/4/2015, Noam Stadlan wrote:
>If the women in the general society do not cover their hair, then uncovered
>hair is not immodest, and therefore routine hair covering is not mandated.

Is it really true that what women in the general society do is some
standard for tznius for Jewish women. If so, then the practices of
"well undressed" gentile women (as R. A Miller used to call them) of
today have eliminated all tznius standards. One sees women in public
today dressed in almost nothing.

[Email #2]

At 01:51 PM 8/4/2015, Noam Stadlan wrote:
>Obviously, not covering hair in public for women was at least somewhat

Just because something is or was commonly done does not make is correct
according to halacha.

Many, many people talk loshon hara, yet it is not proper according
to halacha.

[Email #3]

Please see Covering the Hair by Rav Dr. Joseph Breuer


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Message: 6
From: Eli Turkel
Date: Tue, 4 Aug 2015 23:07:57 +0300
[Avodah] trivia questions

>> Name 2 psukim in the Torah and 5 in Tanach that contain all the letters
>> of the alph-bet (I only know one) <

[R' Michael Poppers:]
> In the Torah, a *pasuq* in P'Va'eschanan (4:34
> <http://www.mechon-mamre.org/i/t/t0504.htm>) is usually noted, but it
> (containing letter *sin* but no *shin*) works only when the *shin* and the
> *sin* are considered the same letter (they are, so long as we're
> considering the written form).  The other *pasuq* in the Torah of which I'm
> aware is Shmos 16 <http://www.mechon-mamre.org/i/t/t0216.htm>:16 (in it,
> the *shin* is extant but there's no *sin*).

We still need another 3 pesukim in the rest of Nach including one that has
not only the 22 letters of the alphabet but also all the end letters

Eli Turkel

[Well in <http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/vol33/v33n109.shtml#09> I already
> Soferim use Tzefania 3:8 to show their penmanship, because it not
> only includes all 22 letters, it also includes all the sofios. Is
> that a way to denote total ultimate justice (the meaning of the words
> <http://j.mp/1IKFV9Z>) or what?

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Message: 7
From: Simon Montagu
Date: Tue, 4 Aug 2015 15:31:53 -0700
Re: [Avodah] trivia questions

I see your pesukim and raise you a medieval Hebrew poem of four lines,
where each line contains every letter of the alef-beit including sofiot
exactly once with no repetition:

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Message: 8
From: Micha Berger
Date: Wed, 5 Aug 2015 05:53:57 -0400
[Avodah] "The Fall and Hypertime"

I think a philosophy book just came out detending a variant of RSSchwab's
"two clocks" explanation of ma'aseh bereishis.

RSS's shitah appeared in AOJS's Challenge (ed. R Aryeh Carmel, R/Prof
Cyril Domb pg 164 onward.

<http://www.simpletoremember.com/faqs/Science_and_Judaism.htm> surveys
the area and summarized RSS as follows:

    Similarly, Rav Shimon Schwab talks of two types of time, cosmic
    time and earthly time. The 6 days of creation are counted according
    to cosmic time, during which period millions of years may have
    passed according to our measure of time.

(Althugh I disagree with their next sentence on REED's position.)

Now for the book. I just got this review

> he Fall and Hypertime
> Hud Hudson, Oxford University Press, 2014, 211pp., $65.00 (hbk),
> ISBN 0198712693.
> Reviewed by Trent Dougherty, Baylor University

> Hud Hudson's book is a brilliant and creative defense of the following
> proposition.

>     There is a conflict between a literal reading of the book of
>     Genesis and science only if one assumes that the hypertime hypothesis
>     is false.

> The import of Hudson's thesis is that those who allege a conflict between
> science and a literal reading of Genesis are not basing that claim merely
> on science but on controversial metaphysics as well.,,,

> To understand the hypertime hypothesis (hereafter "HH"), begin
> with the "growing block" theory of time, one of the standard set of
> options. According to this theory, the past is real and "still exists"
> as a "block" as spacetime and the future is "open," i.e. the future
> does not exist. The block grows as the quantity of either space or
> time increases. Hudson notes that there is nothing more intrinsically
> mysterious about the block losing parts than its gaining parts. He
> then points out that it is also not more intrinsically mysterious that
> a "morphing block" shrink or grow not just in units of hyperplanes
> ("slices" of the block) but also in sub-regions of hyperplanes. As a
> result, there are no in principle limits to the ways in which a block can
> morph, to the "shape" it can take. Furthermore, there is no good reason
> why the hyperplanes (or sub-regions thereof) might not be "reshuffled"
> in a different order.

> Because the universe is here modeled as a spacetime block, the temporal
> dimension only measures changes within the block. Hypertime measures,
> as we may think of it, changes to the block (though technically blocks
> at different hypertimes are numerically distinct,and there remains a
> question concerning the status of various essentialisms about blocks
> with respect to their parts). That means that at any given moment on
> the hypertimeline, there can be a complete spacetime block, a complete
> physical universe distinct from blocks at different hypertimes. Given
> infinite hypertime, this generates a plurality of worlds not unlike that
> of David Lewis. Hudson applies the possibility of this plurality in three
> ways: to an understanding of omnipresence (which I will not discuss), to
> (three versions of) the problem of evil (one of which I'll discuss below),
> and in defense of his main thesis. The way HH helps with an understanding
> of omniscience and the problem of evil gives it credit and motivates
> it as a viable option so that its application to the main thesis is
> not ad hoc (though it's being ad hoc would not prevent its success for
> its purpose). I will describe the application to the problem of evil,
> offer a criticism, then describe its application to the main thesis.

> If there is a plenitude of spatiotemporally discrete universes, then it is
> difficult to infer from any empirical observation that the actual world
> is not the best possible world. It is important to remember that on the
> hypertime hypothesis the spacetime blocks at different hypermoments are
> only one portion of total reality. Our observable universe is a drop
> in the bucket. So an argument from evil against the existence of God
> from ours not being the best possible world would have to argue that
> the observable universe could not even be a part of the best possible
> world. That is not clearly an easy argument to make.

> This move takes the form of what is traditionally called a "defense"
> rather than a "theodicy"...

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             When we are no longer able to change a situation
mi...@aishdas.org        -- just think of an incurable disease such as
http://www.aishdas.org   inoperable cancer -- we are challenged to change
Fax: (270) 514-1507      ourselves.      - Victor Frankl (MSfM)

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Message: 9
From: Micha Berger
Date: Wed, 5 Aug 2015 18:22:42 -0400
[Avodah] Pesak and Safeik

Anyone know a source (or at least a theory) that discusses when we treat
a machloqes as a safeiq, rather than applying the rules of peaq?

The issue comes up in AhS YD 24:42. (Mazal tovs on completing OC will
be graciously accepted.) Siman 24 discusses 4 of the 5 halakhos leMoshe
miSinai of shechitah. (Shehiyah got its own siman.)

There is a machloqes between the Behag and Rashi about the line between
aqirah and tereifos. Rashi says that aqira is the displacement of the
qaneh or veshet caused by using a nicked knife. Most rishonim hold
like the Behag, and then there is a submachloqes about what kind of
dislocated simanim are aqirah, ad what are tereifos. Leshitas Rashi,
they would all be tereifos.

Anyway, here the AhS says that Rama holds that midinei shechitah,
we are machmir for every definition of aqirah. But midinei tereifah,
which differ in that it would also prohibit the milk or eggs from such
an animal, we recognize that the iqar hedin if the Behag, and are meiqil.

So okay, one tiny bit of my question is answered -- we have a special
rule by shechitah that machloqesin are resolved by safeiq deOraisa

But WRT tereifos.... The AhS says that despite the Rama, we are nohagim
lehachmir. So, while the Rama thinks this is a case where the rules of
pesaq apply, the AhS says "we" disagree and treat it like a safeiq.


I also realize the line isn't all-or-nothing. I presume that not
every shitah rises to the level of creating a safeiq, so there is
some kind of pesaq-like reasoning necessary to assess which do
and which don't. So it's more an issue of how balanced do shitos
have to be for us to be unwilling to pasqen and just assume it's
a safeiq.

But still, these two acharonim are setting te line at a different
place. So, does anyoe discuss the kelalim of when to bail out from
the (other) kelalei pesaq?

Tir'u baTov!

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

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Message: 10
From: Micha Berger
Date: Thu, 6 Aug 2015 10:47:10 -0400
[Avodah] They Found Gat

As you may have heard, a team found the gates of Gat, Golias's home town.

And, as I've noticed in the past, the question of whether they find
evidence of the events as found in Tanakh or evidence against can be
predicted in advance by checking the religious stance of who is running
the dig.

So you get this story from Haaretz
    Philistine City of Gath a Lot More Powerful Than Thought,
    Archaeologists Suggest
    Powerful fortifications newly uncovered by Israeli archaeologists
    suggest the kingdoms of Saul, David may not have been quite as
    powerful as thought.
    Nir Hasson Aug 04, 2015 3:08 AM [IDT]
    According to Maeir, the discovery of Gath as a huge, fortified
    city on the border of Judea during an extended period, without
    any signs of destruction as a result of a war with Judea, proves
    the Philistines controlled the Judean plain. Because Khirbet Kaifa
    existed for a relatively short period -- about 30 years -- it is
    likely the remnant of a failure of the Israelite kingdom to spread
    westward and not a sign of its power.
    "The Judean kingdom is supposed to be big, important and strong,"
    says Maeir. "But it turns out there is a very big city on its
    western border. For years, I claimed Gath was a big city, but they
    countered that it has no lower city, and if it has one it is not
    fortified. After finding a huge fortification, its clearly the most
    important city of the 10th and ninth centuries."

Now, to get a hint of how we would have heard about Gat had the dig been
run by a bilical maximalist, here's an element mentioned in

    Near the gate, Maeirs team also unearthed the remains of the citys
    extensive fortification wall, a Philistine temple, ironwork and
    While the pottery bears hallmarks of the distinctive Philistine style,
    elements of Israelite techniques can be seen on the fragments as well,
    indicating there was more interaction between the two cultures than
    previously thought.

Since Pelishti culture was importing Jewish culture, doesn't that lend
MORE credibity to the idea that David haMelekh's kingdom was at east on
the same scale if not overshadowing theirs?

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger                 Life is complex.
mi...@aishdas.org                Decisions are complex.
http://www.aishdas.org               The Torah is complex.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                                - R' Binyamin Hecht

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Message: 11
From: Chana Luntz
Date: Thu, 6 Aug 2015 23:28:31 +0100
[Avodah] : Re: De-Chokifying Arayos (including MZ)

RAM writes:

>And yet, Orach Chayim 240 *IS* "black-letter halakhah and objective rules",
is it not?

In order to have an informed discussion, don't you need to read Orech Chaim
240 in light of Even HaEzer 25 and particularly the Rema in si'if 2 there?
And further read the Tur (and the meforshim on the Tur) in Even HaEzer simin
25 to get a fuller picture of the sources (and the original gemora sources)
- so you can see the history of the machlokus on how to deal with this issue
all the way back.  As Rav Lichtenstein articulated it, the question is not
so much that we differ from the position of Chazal, as our position (and the
one quoted by the Rema) is much more in line with the majority position in
Chazal, but why did the major rishonim - Rambam, Ra'avid etc differ so
markedly from what appears to be the majority position in Chazal and posken
- well like Rabbi Eliezer (shmuti hu?), as then did the Achronim.

I confess there seems to me to be a pretty straightforward explanation - the
influence of the outside world. The same sort of influence that reputedly
led to the cherem of Rabbi Gershom (Jews who are supposed to be the
upholders of morality cannot be seen to have more than one wife in a world
where that is seen as immoral).  In a world which identified relations with
sin and death (standard Xtian theology of the time, and the Muslim theology
in many circles was not that different) - it would have been inappropriate,
and led to general looseness if the general non Jewish world view had been
repudiated to the extent consonant with the positive positions found in
Chazal.  Hence Orech Chaim, the book most accessible to the masses, contains
not a word of the Rema's position, that is buried in Even HaEzer, where it
is more likely only the scholarly will look (or from the point of view of
Maran, go look in the Tur).  But to talk about relations positively in an
open way in Xtian Europe would have created temptations for the non Jewish
world that would have unleashed a level of vengeance (eg from the
priesthood) that could likely not be endured.  There was a lot of censoring
and self censoring that went on in all sorts of areas, it seems to me also
here, especially as there are the minority positions to bring and rely on.

Only in the modern day world which has swung so far the other way is it
possible to honestly and openly evaluate the position of Chazal, and that is
what in effect has been done, by Rav Lichtenstein and others.

>Akiva Miller



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Message: 12
From: Rich, Joel
Date: Fri, 7 Aug 2015 00:28:27 +0000
[Avodah] Who Does Halacha View as the therapists concern?

Apparently, In the U.S., the therapist's duties are owed to the client,
subject to statutory obligations such as the mandatory-reporting
requirement. There is no exception for the therapist's religious custom or
belief, unless, in limited circumstances, the client consents to it.

Question-from a torah point of view should it make a difference who shows
up at the therapist's (or Rabbi's)door (for any therapy or advice)? How
does Halacha  balance the needs of the individual, the family, the
community, Jewish society and/or society in general?

Joel Rich

distribution or copying of this message by anyone other than the addressee is 
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Message: 13
From: Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer
Date: Fri, 07 Aug 2015 15:56:56 -0400
Re: [Avodah] "The Fall and Hypertime"

What's the difference between this and Gerald Schroeder?


On 08/05/2015 05:53 AM, Micha Berger wrote:
> I think a philosophy book just came out detending a variant of RSSchwab's
> "two clocks" explanation of ma'aseh bereishis.
> RSS's shitah appeared in AOJS's Challenge (ed. R Aryeh Carmel, R/Prof
> Cyril Domb pg 164 onward.
> <https://book
> s.google.com/books?id=5fMBnHUiwukC&;lpg=PA164&pg=PA164#v=on
> epage>
> <http://www.simpletoremember.com/faqs/Science_and_Judaism.htm> surveys
> the area and summarized RSS as follows:
>      Similarly, Rav Shimon Schwab talks of two types of time, cosmic
>      time and earthly time. The 6 days of creation are counted according
>      to cosmic time, during which period millions of years may have
>      passed according to our measure of time.
> (Althugh I disagree with their next sentence on REED's position.)
> Now for the book. I just got this review
> <http://ndpr.nd.edu/news/59752-the-fall-and-hypertime>:
>> he Fall and Hypertime
>> Hud Hudson, Oxford University Press, 2014, 211pp., $65.00 (hbk),
>> ISBN 0198712693.
>> Reviewed by Trent Dougherty, Baylor University


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