Avodah Mailing List

Volume 34: Number 8

Tue, 26 Jan 2016

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: M Cohen
Date: Fri, 22 Jan 2016 12:15:37 -0500
[Avodah] Really the only news this week in Israel (Dafna Meir

..dealing with the Dafna Meir tragedy
A Flower Returned to Gan Eden - Rabbi Shlomo Katz by Shlomo Katz
Discussing torah from the Piacezner on how we can handle the darkness and
how to feel our way to real Emunah


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Message: 2
From: Mordechai Torczyner
Date: Fri, 22 Jan 2016 12:58:58 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Inifinite Value of Human Life

[Transliterations mine. -micha]

Shalom aleichem R' Micha,

Writing briefly, for issues which defy brevity:

On Fri, Jan 15, 2016 at 6:17 AM, Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org> wrote:
> RMT, I was listening to some year-old *shiurim* of yours on medical
> ethics. I do not recall which ones, but to more than one audience, when you
> discussed saving *chayei sha'ah* on Shabbos, I believe it was *besheim*
> R' Henkin that you said that human life has infinite value. And therefore
> there is no less reason for *chilul Shabbos* for *chayei sha'ah* than for
> *chayei olam*.

1. I probably cited the statement that human life is of infinite value from
Lord Rabbi Immanuel Jakobovits (HaRefuah v'haYahadut pg. 152). Rav Shlomo
Zalman Auerbach says something similar but meaningfully different in
Minchat Shlomo 1:91:24, when he says we have no ability to measure the
value of life, however brief.

> So there's the more classical question: But *piquach nefesh docheh
> Shabbos* is not framed in terms of the value of life being greater than
> that of Shabbos, but because *chalal alav Shabbos achas*... Which is why
> we then get into discussing *mishum eivah* for a non-Jew or a *machalel
> Shabbos*.

> In terms of implied values, it would seem shemiras Shabbos and bringing
> harmony to the world (to phrase *mishum eivah* in positive terms) would
> each be of higher value than life.

2. While [chalal Shabbos achas] is quoted as a halachic principle in certain
situations, I believe it is not the argument accepted in Yoma 85a-b as
justification for breaking Shabbos. Rather, the argument of [vechai bahem
- velo shayamus bahem] is the winning argument.

> Now for the less classical question: You then go on to discuss triage
> considerations, and *chayei olam* get precedence over *chayei sha'ah*.
> But that would require finding one infinity of greater value than another!
> Is is that the value of human life is renormalizable?
> Or do we mean *lav davqa *infinity, just "very very large"?

3. Re: The apparent contradiction between the infinite value of Lord Rabbi
Jakobovits, and the halachic principle of prioritizing longer life (as seen
in Mishneh Berurah 334:68), it seems to me that "infinite" is homiletic,
intended to convey the message that each unit of life is of immeasurable
value. As a halachic formulation, I prefer the statement of Rav Shlomo
Zalman, cited above.

Kol tuv,

Mordechai Torczyner
YU Torah MiTzion Beit Midrash Zichron Dov (www.torontotorah.com)
The Rebbetzin's Husband (rechovot.blogspot.com)
WebShas Index to the Talmud (www.webshas.org)
HaMakor (http://www.hamakor.org)

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Message: 3
From: Rich, Joel
Date: Sun, 24 Jan 2016 16:02:11 +0000
[Avodah] 2 maariv minyans due to the snowstorm

Our local shul had 2 maariv minyans due to the snowstorm.  The regular
motzai Shabbat minyan and one right after shkiah so people could walk home
on a major artery before it was pitch black.  Would you have said atah
chonantanu at the shkia minyan? Why? Would you have stayed home to daven at
the normal time rather than btzibbur earlier
Joel Rich

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Message: 4
From: Micha Berger
Date: Tue, 26 Jan 2016 12:15:37 -0500
Re: [Avodah] free will

On Fri, Jan 22, 2016 at 10:49:34AM +0200, Eli Turkel via Avodah wrote:
:> You sure about that? They might not agree with Freud -- or R Yisrael
:> Salanter, who spoke about der dunkl decades before Freud -- about
:> what it's like...

: Out of my field of expertise. However, I understood the argument of Shnerb
: was that
: if there is no way to know the subconscious then it is meaningless to it
: being a factor in our decisions...

Unless you argue by process of elimination: Since our behavior isn't
fully explained by what goes on in our heads that we are conscious of,

: i.e. a theory that cannot be checked is a worthless theory.

That smacks of scientism. Yes, such a theory would not be a scientific
theory. That same line of reasoning led to Radical Behaviorism (BF
Skinner) and the idea that the only content of mental states is their
impact on increasing or decreasing some behavior.

Dawkins also denies qualia, a smaller claim but equally absurd. You
/think/ you picture a red rose in your head when you see one or imagine
one? Hah! you're wrong. There are no internal mental experiences.

And yes, if you bought into scientism, that's the only possible
conclusion. Only things you can experimentally show others on demand
are real.

BH there are questions in this world that lie beyond the domain of
science, and thus of its methodology for finding answers.

BTW, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which is quite poular among practicing
O therapists -- at least here in the States -- assumes there is an

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Despair is the worst of ailments. No worries
mi...@aishdas.org        are justified except: "Why am I so worried?"
http://www.aishdas.org                         - Rav Yisrael Salanter
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Message: 5
From: Micha Berger
Date: Tue, 26 Jan 2016 12:45:53 -0500
Re: [Avodah] 2 maariv minyans due to the snowstorm

On Sun, Jan 24, 2016 at 04:02:11PM +0000, Rich, Joel via Avodah wrote:
:                                                   Would you have said
: atah chonantanu at the shkia minyan? Why? Would you have stayed home to
: daven at the normal time rather than btzibbur earlier

See Berakhos 27b. There is no indication that there is any problem
whatsoever saying Atah Chonantanu and even Havdalah al hakos while
it's still Shabbos. Lots of amoraim cited doing so are pasqening
it's okay, no dissenters.

However the SA OC 293:2 limits this to someone who is anoos, such as he
needs to end Shabbos at the edge of techum to do some mitzvah. And the SA
is clear, this is even "kesha'ah vereva LIFNEI sheqi'as hachamah"!

Then we get to the AhS who quotes the BY lehalakhah, but then adds "amnam
miyameinu lo ra'inu velo shamanu la'asos kezeh, ve'ein la'asos kein".
Citing Rashal, the Bach and the MA.

So, I would think that if the shul's LOR said that minyan and safety
justify this minyan, he did not err to hold like the BY and Rama, and
except for the fact that this is Avodah, where we bat around ideas for
fun, it would have been wrong to 2nd-guess him.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Take time,
mi...@aishdas.org        be exact,
http://www.aishdas.org   unclutter the mind.
Fax: (270) 514-1507            - Rabbi Simcha Zissel Ziv, Alter of Kelm


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