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Volume 34: Number 16

Wed, 10 Feb 2016

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Rabbi Meir G. Rabi
Date: Wed, 10 Feb 2016 01:08:10 +1100
[Avodah] Torah LiShmah

Someone posted in the course of discussing R Schwab's position on women
learning Torah  - R Schwab's means that learning Torah Lishmah, is not for
the purpose of knowing what it says ...

I do not understand this - I understand that learning Torah Lishmah is only
about knowing what it says and nothing else
is this part or the core of the Litvish Chassidish argument?


Meir G. Rabi
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Message: 2
From: Marty Bluke
Date: Tue, 9 Feb 2016 15:29:49 +0200
[Avodah] How should we relate to numbers in Chazal?

Daf Yomi is now learning the Gemara in Gittin (55-58) which deals with the
destruction of the second beis hamikdash. The Gemara uses numbers to
express the enormity of the churban, some of the numbers are completely out
of the scope of reality and others are just very large. How should we
relate to these numbers? Here are some examples.

Gittin 47 - The Gemara describes how populous the area of Har Bracha was as
follows. There were 600,000 cities, each city containing 600,000 people.
That adds up to 360 billion people, considering that the total world
population today is only about 8 billion the number cannot be taken
literally. However, the Gemara says that a Tzeduki questioned the number
and was told that the land of Israel is like a deer that it expands to meet
the population. From the Gemaras answer it seems that the 360 billion
number is to be taken at least somewhat literally and yet we all understand
that it can't be.

Gittin 47b - Nevuzarden killed 2.1 million people in a valley near
Yerushalayim and he killed 940,000 people on a rock in the Beis Hamikdash
near where Zecharia's blood was boiling. These numbers too must be
exaggerations, there is no way that Nevuzarden killed 3 million at one
time. Just remember,it took the Nazis using modern technology years to kill
6 million Jews.

Gittin 47b The Gemara has 2 opinions as to how many people were killed in
Beitar either 4 million or 40 million. The 40 million number is clearly an
exaggeration as there were nowhere near that many Jews in existence at the
time. Even the 4 million number is not realistic given population numbers
and how war was waged at that time.

So how do we relate to these numbers? Why would Chazal exaggerate the
numbers so? How do we know when Chazal are exaggerating and when they
aren't? Do any Rishonim/Acharonim take all of these numbers literally?
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Message: 3
From: Rabbi Meir G. Rabi
Date: Wed, 10 Feb 2016 01:16:30 +1100
[Avodah] Un-supervised Events could be Un-Kosher Events

Un-supervised Events could be Un-Kosher Events
may as well say that any Glatt Kosher brisket, steak or rib might be from a
Tereifa, after all we do not check for every single possible blemish that
may render an animal a Tereifa.

The question really is does Halacha require a Mashgiach a supervisor to
ensure prevention of all those things that COR warn about in that article?


Meir G. Rabi
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Message: 4
From: Seth \(Avi\) Kadish
Date: Tue, 9 Feb 2016 06:06:02 +0200
Re: [Avodah] Bira Doleqes

Personal exchange forwarded at RAK's request. Transliteration mine.


On Tue, Feb 9, 2016 at 3:37 AM, Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org> wrote:
> I had a chance to glance at Rn Simi Peter's treatment of that medrash. She
> is a list member, so any discussion of a medrash should lead me to her
> work; and if not, she'll eventually remind me to take a peak.

> Have you seen her take on the birah doleqes? There is a large overlap in
> how each of you parse the medrash itself.

Wow, this goes back many years and I think you are right. I haven't
thought about it at all for a very long time. Perhaps 10-12 years ago
(?) I was looking for good material for a course on midrash and for
Nativ. For this particular midrash, I think, I found a good literary
breakdown in her book at the library. Sometime later I added the
philosophical analysis as a major expansion and reworking of a a brief
comment in a book by Zev Harvey. I taught it that way for years from
the plain source sheet (with the midrash plus citations from Rambam and
Crescas), and then expanded it into the article.

You now have the zekhut to bring back to mind where it all evolved from
in the first place. When I have a chance (perhaps later today) I will add
this in a comment to the article. You can also forward this to her (with
my thanks) and/or the mailing list in the spirit of [hameivi davar besheim


Seth (Avi) Kadish
Karmiel, Israel
Webpage <http://sites.google.com/site/kadish67/en>

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Message: 5
From: Micha Berger
Date: Tue, 9 Feb 2016 12:51:04 -0500
[Avodah] Keilim and Bitul beShishim

Halakhah works with the assumption that a keli doesn't hold 60 times its own
volume, so that if the keli itself is treif, any food you cooked in it
was "treifed up".

Does this assumption with today's cookware made by drawing metal sheets
onto a forming die or spinning it onto a mandrel?

According to
most pots are between 22 and 10 gauge, or at most (10 gauge galvanized
steel) .14" thick (see chart at

This is much much thinner than when pots were made by hand by a blacksmith.

Eg, this 1-1/2 quart pot (including handle and lid, rounded up for
shippng) weighs 1 lb <http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00008CM69>. Meaning,
it is made of .3 cu in or so of metal (based on weights at
or 1/192 or a quart. Bitul beshishim?

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             When faced with a decision ask yourself,
mi...@aishdas.org        "How would I decide if it were Ne'ilah now,
http://www.aishdas.org   at the closing moments of Yom Kippur?"
Fax: (270) 514-1507                            - Rav Yisrael Salanter

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Message: 6
From: Micha Berger
Date: Tue, 9 Feb 2016 13:31:10 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Torah LiShmah

On Wed, Feb 10, 2016 at 01:08:10AM +1100, Rabbi Meir G. Rabi via Avodah wrote:
: I do not understand this - I understand that learning Torah Lishmah is only
: about knowing what it says and nothing else

To quote the Mesekh Chokhmah on Devarim 28:16:

    It was explained in the beginning that a person exists in his
    intellectual soul, like all the lofty people and like the heavenly
    causes. Before he was created, a person was also a seikhel nivdal
    [separated intellect; i.e. a pure intellect with no body, like
    angels; metaphysical] which grasped its Creator. As it says in
    Niddah pg. 30. [The soul] had personal existence and descended into
    the lower world in order to do mitzvos maasios [mitzvos that are
    actions] which require material substance. Like Moshe's answer to
    the angels [when they asked that Hashem leave the Torah with them
    rather than give it to us at Sinai], "Do theft etc... have meaning
    for you?" Therefore they said, "One who learns but not in order to
    do, would have been pleasanter that his umbilical cord would have
    prolapsed in front of his face [and he never came into the world."
    (Yerushalmi ch. "Hayah Qorei" [I found it elsewhere -- Shabbos 1:2,
    vilna 7b -micha]) Because then [before birth] too he was a seikhel
    nivdal who grasped his Creator, may He be blessed. (Qorban Aharon,
    introduction) Similarly if he teaches others then his learning has
    a purpose, which is to preserve the species on a spiritual level.
    Therefore also, the one who learns but not for the sake of teaching
    they thus said, "it would have been pleasanter for him not to have
    been created."

    Even his creation on the physical level, we find in the Torah that
    it is for the intent of his preserving the species on a spiritual
    level. As Hashem (blessed be He) said [of His selection of Abraham],
    "For I know him, that he will teach his children after him..."
    (Bereishis 18:19) Similarly, it says in "Yeish Nochalin" [Bava
    Basra 116a, quoting Yirmiyahu 22:10] "'Weep for the one who
    goes...' Rav Yehudah said that Rav said: the one who goes with no
    male children. Rav Yehoshua ben Levi said: it is one who goes without
    a student." Both preserve the species and to the same effect.

    As it says in chapter "Cheileq" [Sanhedrin 99b, on Iyov 5:7] "Man
    was born to toil" that is the toil of learning in order to teach,
    learning in order to do. For it is only for this that he was born,
    as we explained.

And he uses this idea to justify a nafqa mina lema'aseh:

    With this what I wrote in my novellae on [tractate] Kesuvos can
    be understood that which we find in the Yerushalmi Berakhos [1:2,
    vilna 8a]: Does not Rabbi Shimon bar Yochaiagree that we would stop
    [learning Torah] to make a sukkah or to set up a lulav? [Does not
    Rashbi agree that one must study in order to do, and not to study
    not in order to do, for someone who studies not in order to do is
    better off not having been born?] In [tractate] Sukkah [25a], Rashi
    ["sheluchei mitzvah"] explains that those who are going someplace to
    learn Torah are exempt from sukkah and lulav. I explained there that
    the gemara is speaking of [travelling to] serve a talmid chakham.
    (see there)

    According to this, the reasoning is astounding: If it were about
    learning Torah, isn't that something he could do before being born?
    Thus it is only to do. Therefore for the preparation for a mitzvah,
    such as the building of a sukkah, we also interrupt word of Torah.
    But to teach, even the preparation for [teaching], is dearer than
    fulfilling a mitzvah. For the mitzvah of teaching Torah is greater
    because one can only do the mitzvah via someone else.

    As [Rav Zei'rah] the Jerusalemite is quoted in Peiah [22a; a guess
    since I found this citation, but couldn't find on in the Y-mi Pei'ah],
    this is the apprenticeship-service of a sage to understand the
    halakhah as it was established [i.e. with its underlying reasoning],
    for then one can teach others and without apprenticeship-service of
    a sage one is not able to teach others. Like they say in [tractate]
    Sotah [22a], "Swallowers of the world' ... -- these are the sages
    who teach halakhah from their study of mishnah [i.e. decided law
    in without also the mastery principles and having a feel for the
    mechanics gained through apprenticeship]." For this reason they said
    in Berakhos [47a] that an am haaretz [ignorant peasant] is someone
    who learned scripture and mishnah but didn't apprentice to a sage,
    because [such a person] can't help others.

    Therefore [summing up the "astounding reasoning], to fulfill a
    mitzvah we interrupt from learning Torah. For this [the mitzvah] was
    why he was created, and that he could do even before he was created.
    And this is That Rav said "eulogize me", for Rav taught others and
    many schools. As Rashi explained in the beginning of [tractate]
    Gittin, "when Rav went to Bavel", and in Bava Qama he explains.
    Therefore he wanted that his yeshivos [that he founded in Bavel]
    and the Torah study he established in his life would persist so that
    there would be preservation of the species also on the spiritual
    level. That is over there (in the physical world) persists on the
    spiritual level also. And understand this.

Rav Meir Simchah haKohein prioritizes mitzvos as followest:
Lowest priority is learning, since we could do that even without being
born. Learning derives its value from its being necessary in order
to be able to do anything else. Then come other mitzvos. Then comes
teaching. And not just the teaching of facts, but the internalization
of modes of thought that can come only through shimush, apprenticeship.
This is the spiritual development of the next generation, our entire
purpose in having been born. In contrast to Rav Shimon Shkop's notion of
imitating Hashem by bestowing chesed on others, where becomes unified
with all other people primarily in the now. Rav Meir Simcha haKohein
sees a person's value as being unified with the chain of mesorah and
the spiritual progress of the human species.

This whole thought is beautifully folded into a comment about "which is
not written in this Seifer Torah", or really "which are no written in
the book, this Torah". Jumping back to the beginning.

    Look into Rashi on Parashas Nitzavim. For the tipechah [a pausal trope
    mark] is under "beseifer" [the book], and the "hazos" [this] is on
    "haTorah" [the Torah]. That is why it [zos] is in the feminine. (And
    see there.) Therefore it says "And Yehoshua wrote these things the
    the seifer Toras E-lokim" on the last eight verses, from "Vayamas
    Moshe." It is so that [we can learn that] the death of the righteous
    is to protect the generation, like Moshe, it is written in the
    seifer Torah. But it is not Torah itself. After Moshe died there
    is no more Torah, like it says , "Remember the Torah of Moshe",
    and it is an article of faith among the 13 articles.

The Torah is that which Hashem gave us via Moshe. We can only get Torah
through Moshe, as per the Rambam's article of faith. However, there is
an opinion that the last eight verses of Devarim, which discuss Moshe's
death, couldn't possibly be written by Moshe -- that would be too similar
to having Moshe lie. Instead they were transmitted via Yehoshua. We are
obligated to include in the scroll, in the seifer Torah, not only the
Torah but those eight verses as well, to teach us a lesson about how to
relate to the death of a tzadiq.

A kosher seifer Torah must include 8 verses that the MC holds are not
part of the Torah itself, just like it must include stitching and other
things other than the words of the Torah. The requirement for the closing
verses is to teach us that the purpose of learning Torah it to continue
the chain of mesorah to future generations.

The question is the Torah lishmah of the Nefesh haChaim.

In sec 4 ch. 3, Rav Chaim Volozhiner explains that the "lishmah", the
"it's own sake", of Torah study is unique. (He has a longer description in
Ruach haChahim on Avos 6:1,) Rav Elazar beRav Tzadoq says, "do things for
the sake of the One Who caused them [lesheim Paalan], and speak about
them for their own sake [lishman]." (Nedarim 51a) Rav Chaim cites the
Rosh, who notes the difference in language: when it comes to mitzvos of
action, we do them lesheim Pa'alan -- for the sake of G-d; but when it
comes to learning, we learn leshman -- for their own sake."

And Rav Chaim points the reader back to something he wrote at the end
of sha'ar 1, that the primary effect of the mitzvah is in the action
itself, which is why kavanah (intent) is not an obligatory component of
the mitzvah, but one that allows it to effect repairs in higher worlds
than otherwise.

But as he explained previously in ch. 2, the role of lishmah is
different in kind for Torah, for immersion in and internalization of
Torah is identification with Hashem's Thought. One is not relating to
Hashem-as-Maker of a world we're trying to refine, but directly with
Him. For the Torah's sake is for the sake of becoming shaped by His
Will. It is this that Rav Chaim identifies with communion with the
A-limighty, rather than deveiqus, cleaving to Him.

Chapters 4 - 7 discuss the relationship between yir'ah and Torah. To Rav
Chaim, yir'ah is something you work on for a few minutes in preparation
for learning. It is the silo that enables one to retain Torah. But the
focus is on the Torah.

This is unlike the Chassidus, where deveiqus is seen as a personal
relationship with G-d. And in the Tanya, yir'ah is the purpose of
learning, rather than a prerequisite, and he recommends that one should
pause occasionally during learning to remember G-d and insuring that
the study is leading to yir'ah

Rav Chaim seems to be asserting that "Torah lishmah" means that that
learning is supposed to be an end in itself. But before R' Chaim, this
was FAR from consensus. A simple reading of either Talmud (TY Shabbos
1:2, vilna 7b, TB Sanhedrin 99b) would conclude that Torah lishmah
is learning in order to know how to observe, how to decide future
questions, or to teach. And assuming the amoraim aren't really arguing,
any of these three motives is "lishmah". We saw the MC discuss the Y-mi.

And a bigger problem with thinking that he means that Torah lishmah is
an end to itself is that the introduction to the book tells us that Rav
Chaim made a point of teaching his son that people were created for the
sake of others. R Yitzchoq writes:

    He would routinely rebuke me because he was that I do not share
    in the pain of others. This is what he would constantly tell me:
    that the entire person was not created for himself, but to be of
    assistance to others, whatever he finds to be in his ability to do.

Refining my own knowledge doesn't fit that worldview, unless it's not
actually the end in itself.

Also the self-description on the original title page reads, "Yir'as
Hashem -- for Life! Notebooks of holy writings of the true genius who
was famous for his Torah and righteousness, and whose deeds proclaim
before him."

So, had RCV meant this as a definition of Torah lishmah as opposed to
a contrast in kinds of lishmah, 4:3 would not fit the author's general
worldview, not to mention the gemaros that more explicitly discuss
the tachlis of learning Torah.

(I think much is lost because some communities only learn sha'ar 4,
and do not see what the big picture is that talmud Torah is being made
only one part of, even if the heart of the matter.)

Seems to me RCV is simply saying that the point of a mitzvah
comes about through its impact on the olamos, and therefore 
lishmah is for the sake of their Creator. However, the point of
Torah comes out from knowing Hashem's Thought, and therefore is one's
focus should be on that thought, Torah itself.

But the focus while learning and the tachlis of learning needn't be
the same thing.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Weeds are flowers too
mi...@aishdas.org        once you get to know them.
http://www.aishdas.org          - Eeyore ("Winnie-the-Pooh" by AA Milne)
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Message: 7
From: Micha Berger
Date: Tue, 9 Feb 2016 13:33:25 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Un-supervised Events could be Un-Kosher Events

On Wed, Feb 10, 2016 at 01:16:30AM +1100, Rabbi Meir G. Rabi via Avodah wrote:
: The question really is does Halacha require a Mashgiach a supervisor to
: ensure prevention of all those things that COR warn about in that article?

True, we are not obligated to protect gainst minor risks.

That said, the establishment of hekhsheirim did create something of a
Catch 22 -- by their very existence far more things are efshar levareir
and therefore require birur, thus demanding we use said hekhsheirim.

The Catch 22: we need them primarily because they exist already.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             A person must be very patient
mi...@aishdas.org        even with himself.
http://www.aishdas.org         - attributed to R' Nachman of Breslov
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Message: 8
From: Akiva Miller
Date: Tue, 9 Feb 2016 21:51:42 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Un-supervised Events could be Un-Kosher Events

R' Yitzchok Levine wrote:

> Please see the article at http://tinyurl.com/hj6cy9l  While
> the article is written by COR much of it may apply anywhere.

Which part of that article did you think would be news to this chevreh?

Akiva Miller
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Message: 9
From: Akiva Miller
Date: Tue, 9 Feb 2016 19:22:26 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Rav Shimon Schwab on Women Learning Torah

R"n Toby Katz wrote:

> the rule still is that learning Torah Shebe'al Peh in
> depth does little or nothing for the vast majority of
> women from a spiritual point of view.

As far as I can tell, learning Torah Shebe'al Peh in depth IN AND OF ITSELF
does little or nothing for the vast majority of MEN too from a spiritual
point of view.

As far as I can tell, whatever spiritual growth one might get doesn't come
from the learning per se, but from the atmosphere in which it is learned.

Studying the legal ramifications of an ox that falls into a pit, for
example, or whether a certain act is a melacha, can enhance one's
spirituality if and only if he sees lessons in that learning, and takes
them to heart. This can also be done with Chumash.

R"n Lisa Liel wrote:

> For the record, while I enjoy learning Gemara, I don't
> think it's ever done anything for me spiritually.  I
> didn't even know that was a thing. It's informative and
> intellectually stimulating, but that's about it.

Ditto, mostly.

I remember one exception. I think it was in Gemara Sukka, and the gemara
saw three pesukim that seemed to be mutually contradictory. (It was about
fruit becoming able to be tamei, and one of the pesukim used the words "ki
yutan".) The gemara worked and worked and worked and finally figured out a
way to resolve the three pesukim. That piece of learning helped me to
appreciate the divinity of the Torah's Author.

But if the same words had appeared in the Kli Yakar, it would have
impressed me no less. Maybe I don't understand what is meant by
"spirituality" in this context. If we simply mean Mitzvah Points, then of
course the Aino Metzuveh gets less. But even then, it's not zero.

Akiva Miller
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Message: 10
From: Marty Bluke
Date: Wed, 10 Feb 2016 11:40:06 +0200
Re: [Avodah] How should we relate to numbers in Chazal?

One more example:
Gittin 48a - The Gemara states that in Beitar there were 400 shuls, in each
shul there were 400 teachers of Torah and each teacher had 400 students.
That means there 400x400x400 = 64 million students learning Torah in Beitar
clearly a gross exaggeration.
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Message: 11
From: Micha Berger
Date: Wed, 10 Feb 2016 11:45:57 -0500
Re: [Avodah] on tzimtzum

On Thu, Feb 04, 2016 at 12:21:39PM -0800, saul newman via Avodah wrote:
: http://orot.com/book-review-nefesh-hatzimtzum-by-avinoam-fraenkel/

I find myself in basic agreement with RBN on this.

As we discussed in the past, REED tried a different resolution of the
machloqes about tzimtzum, a different single agreed-upon position that
differing presentations either kept them from noticing or and/changed
the implications on day-to-day life.

(To REED, this is of a piece with his belief that the 20th cent Jew
should be pursuing an exlective mix of Torah positions, using whatever
works for him. REED had a vested interest in putting this chiluq, and
the resulting infighting, to rest.)

Word eventually reached the LR, who wrote
or in translation (R' Eli Tauger)

Not that my opinion matters much in comparison to their knowledge of
the subject, but my own take is similar to the LR's:

The Besht believed that tzimtzum was the figurative constriction of the
Essence of G-d.

The Lub Rebbe speaks of Ein Sof vs Or Ein Sof, but the Gra doesn't
actually discuss "Or", he discusses the Glory and Will. This is why
I said my understanding is "*similar* to the LR's"; I think the LR,
by casting the Gra's position into the Tanya's framework, isn't quite
describing the Gra as he seems to me from his 10 Kelalim. A wording that
chose ease of comparison over precision.

Now on to my own idyncratic understanding of RCV, the NhC decribes
two steps: the literal tzimtzum of Kevod Hashem (3:5 et al) led to
the illusion of the constriction of His Essence (3:2-3). A synthesis
position that is thus both and neither. And corresponding to each kind
of tzimtzum he has a different kind of lishmah (4:3), as the tafqid
becomes bridging both.

But regardless of the details, none of the actual baalei pelugta thought
that they were in basic agreement, nor anyone REED approached to sign
his peace treaty.

Nefesh haTzimtzum basing itself on an understanding of tzimtzum that
is at odds with how everyone from the Leshem to the LR understood NhC
implies to me a negligable likelihood that it's on target.

My second problem with the work is that I feel it loses sight of the
work's basically Litvisher nature. It's not a book of theology, it's a
text about our job in this world. Which is why I think that sha'ar 3's
discussion of tzimtzum is really about the difference between how to
approach mitzvos maasios (sha'ar 1) and tefillah (sha'ar 2) and talmud
Torah (sha'ar 4).

But again, walking back my own opinion of the details, notice that three
of the she'arim as well as the chapters focus on what people do. The
book can only be focused on tzimtzum in terms of what that implies about
how we are to bridge that gap. It simply doesn't match the textual real
estate to see the book as being about sefiros, tzimtzum, the Aibishter.

That said, I skimmed NhZ (SOY sefarim sale, last night) and it's
beautiful, providing background and context without which much of NhC
is a closed book. I would just be quite critical in what of R Avinoam
Fraenkel's own constructions I accept as RCV's original intent.


Micha Berger             "'When Adar enters, we increase our joy'
mi...@aishdas.org         'Joy is nothing but Torah.'
http://www.aishdas.org    'And whoever does more, he is praiseworthy.'"
Fax: (270) 514-1507                     - Rav Dovid Lifshitz zt"l

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Message: 12
From: Micha Berger
Date: Wed, 10 Feb 2016 12:37:53 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Vayichad Yisro - Disparaging Non-Jews

On Fri, Feb 05, 2016 at 10:34:59AM -0500, via Avodah wrote:
: but those who say [Yael] and her husband [Chever haQeini] were gerim are using
: the word  "gerim" to include all the descendants of Yisro for generations, 
: as long as they  were a separate recognizable group from the rest of Klal 
: Yisrael -- even though  they were Jews.

To spell things out, Qeini is one of Yisro's 7 names, at listed in
the Mekhilta (quoted by Rashi on Shemos 18:1; the Mekhilta is at
<http://j.mp/1Sgo9zf> on he.wikisource.org, 2nd paragraph "vayishma
Yisro"). He earned the name "sheqana lashamayim veqanah lo Torah --
he was an activist [qana with an alef] for the [One in] heaven, and
aquired Torah for himself."

Also from the Mekhilta:
Shofetim 1:16 refers to "uvenei Qeini chosein Moshe" who joined Benei
Yehudah coming from from Ir haTamarim (a nickname for Yericho), in Negev
Arad, to help them conquer Midbar Yehudah. In DhY I 2:55 we learn of
the Qinim (w/ a chiriq, not a typo) who came meichammas (because of?) /
from Chammas, the father of the house of Reikhav. And from this the
Mekhila concludes that Yonadav ben Rakhav was a descendent of Yisro.

When Rachav's family is saved, it is called "beit aviha" (Yehoshua 6:25),
it would seem this is Chamas's clan.

The gemara (Zevachim 116a) asks what motivated Yisro to come and be
nisgayeir. The first answer is matan Torah. But then the gemara asks
but what about the man de'amar who says Yisro came before matan Torah?
Milkhemes Amaleeiq.

But notice that accoridn this second opinion, their was no beris Sinai
for Yisro to be megayeir to, and yet still the gemara tries to understand
"ba venisgayeir". It seems to me the gemara is assuming Yisro became
something more like a geir toshav.

And in fact, the gemara (Megillah 14b) says that Rakhav converted before
marrying Yehoshua. So we have indication that the Qeini as a whole did
not (at least, not yet) convert.

Which would justify calling Chever and Ya'el geirim even if they were
n-th generation geirei toshav.

BTW, the Yalqut Shim'oni on Yehoshua (remez 9) lists nashim chasidos
giryoros: Hagar, Asnas, Tziporah, Shifrah (!), Pu'ah (!), Bas Par'oh,
Rachav, Rus, and Yael eishes Cheiver haQeini. Implying she herself
converted. But with the inclusion of Shirah and Pu'ah, we know that
Rashi et al did not buy into at least this part of the medrash.


Micha Berger             "'When Adar enters, we increase our joy'
mi...@aishdas.org         'Joy is nothing but Torah.'
http://www.aishdas.org    'And whoever does more, he is praiseworthy.'"
Fax: (270) 514-1507                     - Rav Dovid Lifshitz zt"l


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