Avodah Mailing List

Volume 34: Number 82

Thu, 21 Jul 2016

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: via Avodah
Date: Wed, 20 Jul 2016 15:01:03 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Tevilas Keilim from OU kosher halacha yomis


In a message dated 7/20/2016, avo...@lists.aishdas.org writes:

Here's  my question: Why would recent rain disqualify a mikveh? Given that a
mikveh  is a collection of rainwater, I would imagine that rain is a *good*
thing  for a mikveh.

(My apologies if this is a very basic halacha. Mikveh is  one of the many
areas that I know very little about.)

Akiva  Miller

That is exactly my question.

--Toby  Katz


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Message: 2
From: Zev Sero
Date: Wed, 20 Jul 2016 14:55:53 -0400
Re: [Avodah] incorrect learning of Torah

On 07/20/2016 02:48 PM, Micha Berger via Avodah wrote:
> Tosafos is talking about a case where the student is being presented
> false ideas by an incompitent melamed. Isn't that more similar to my
> first scenario than my second -- albeit much less extreme quantitatively?

Exactly.  He is not talking about learning one of the shiv'im panim
latorah that isn't currently the accepted halacha, he's talking about
learning a mistranslation of chumash.   "Es zechar `Amalek" is not Torah
at all, and one gets no reward for learning it even if one sincerely
thought it was Torah.   As my father puts it, the Torah also has "shiv'im
achor", and this is one of them.  And when one has been taught such a
false translation of chumash one can't progress in Torah, because one
is starting from a false foundation and it never even occurs to one to
question it.

Zev Sero               Meaningless combinations of words do not acquire
z...@sero.name          meaning merely by appending them to the two other
                        words `God can'.  Nonsense remains nonsense, even
                        when we talk it about God.   -- C S Lewis

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Message: 3
From: saul newman
Date: Wed, 20 Jul 2016 14:53:24 -0700
[Avodah] Tevilas Keilim from OU kosher halacha yomis

does a river work for tevilas keilim?
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Message: 4
From: H Lampel
Date: Wed, 20 Jul 2016 21:53:02 -0400
[Avodah] Rambam omitting sources and Rambam regarding

Wed, 20 Jul 2016 Zev Sero, in reposne to  wrote:
> To: <cantorwolb...@cox.net>, The Avodah Torah Discussion Group 
> <avo...@lists.aishdas.org> Subject: Re: [Avodah] Prophecy Message-ID: 
> <578FC6D6.6050...@sero.name> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8; 
> format=flowed On 07/20/2016 10:19 AM, Cantor Wolberg via Avodah wrote:
>> >I find it odd that a gadol like Rambam would omit sources to back his
>> >decisions, etc.
> He saw no need for it.  His goal was to write one simple, easy-to-read
> work that anybody with sufficient intelligence could study and know the
> whole Torah, without having to plow through the mishneh and gemara.
> He had done all the work for the reader, and all the reader had to do was
> trust him.  If you didn't trust him then why were you bothering to read
> it in the first place?  It didn't occur to him at that point that he would
> have to deal with challenges from other rabbis.

The Rambam, in his response to the criticisms of R' Pinchas HaDayan, 
addressed this issue explicitly, citing Rebbi Yehuda HaNassi as his role 
model, and the Mishna itself as declaring it *improper,* in a halachic 
guidebook, to assign names to finalized halacha (as R' Zev explained). 
In this fascinating letter, he also adds some other considerations:

Have I not explicitly said at the beginning of my work that I only 
composed it because there are those who, due to the lack of ability, are 
unable to plumb the depths of the Talmud, and who cannot decipher from 
it that which is prohibited and permitted? And I elaborated upon this 

As to what you said about the naming the sages?I actually did list the 
many names of the sages, Tannaim and Amoraim, at the beginning of the 
work. But in any case...Geonim and other greats who have already 
preceded me, have composed works and decided halachos in individual 
areas both in Hebrew and Arabic [without attaching names to the 

And you should also be aware that I clearly stated, at the beginning of 
my work, that I decided to utilize the form of presentation and the 
language-style of the Mishnah. ....* I have merely embraced the approach 
of Rabbeynu Hakadosh.* He too had done this, prior to me. For every 
decision that he presented without attaching an author's name originated 
[not with him, but] with other sages. And those other sages as well were 
not the originators of those decisions, but [merely stated how they 
understood what they] obtained from the mouths of others, and the others 
from still others, back to Moshe Rabbeynu. And just as the Tannaim and 
Amoraim did not bother with endlessly attaching the names of all the 
sages from the days of Moshe Rabbeynu to their own, so too we have not 
been particular about whether we mention their names or not. What would 
be the purpose of that? Have they not explicitly stated in so many 
places, ?Rebbi endorsed the words of So-and-so regarding issue A, and 
presented them anonymously; but he endorsed the words of So-and-so 
regarding issue B, and presented them anonymously"? This openly states 
that whatever Rebbi endorsed as final halacha, and considered the proper 
practice to follow, he stated without associating anyone?s name with it! 
And in so many places the Gemora says, ?This anonymously-stated halachah 
is an individual?s opinion [and not the majority?s]??Rabbeynu did not 
mentioned the names of any of them [--neither that of the individual 
whom the halacha followed, nor that of the majority].

*[Only] when it came to matters that Rebbi did not consider settled, but 
still debatable, and about which he did not lean one way or the other,* 
did he state both opinions in the names of their proponents (?R. 
So-and-so says this, and R. So-and-so says that?) mentioning the names 
of those sages, or of recently living ones, from whom he heard those 
opinions--but [still] not of their mentors or mentors?-mentors' names. 
For at the time, many people still followed one opinion, and many still 
followed the opposing one. Suffice it to say that he [himself] told us 
explicitly why, in some of the mishnas, he attached names:

And why do we mention the words of Shammai and Hillel only to negate 
them [by adding that the majority of sages disagreed with both and 
decided differently]??to teach the following generations [that a person 
should not stand on his words, for the avos of the world did not stand 
on their words]. And why do we mention the dissenting words of 
individuals along with those of the majority...???So that if a Beis Din 
will agree with the individual?s opinion and rely upon it....[R' Yehuda 
(ben El'ai) added:] And why do we mention the words of the individual 
together with those of the majority only to negate them??So that if a 
person reports receiving a teaching other than that which was accepted 
by the majority....?

See how explicit it is!?that it is /*improper*/ to mention anything but 
the finally decided-upon halacha alone, and it was only necessary to 
mention opposing opinions during those times that some practiced one 
way, and others practiced a different way, when some obtained the law 
according to one sage?s opinion, and some according to another sage?s 
opinion. And since I composed my work following the Mishna?s style, and 
the Talmud already indicated the final halacha in each case either 
expressly or implicitly through the general rules of p?sak, so that two 
valid practices no longer exist, why should I mention the name of 
someone whom the halacha does not follow, or even the name of the one 
whom the halacha does follow? That halacha is not just a made-up idea 
expressed by the individual mentioned in the Mishna, such as Abbaya or 
Rava, but [an interpretation of] the words of legions from the mouths of 
legions. And for this reason I chose not to facilitate the rebellion of 
the /Minnim/, who accuse us of basing ourselves upon the devised 
opinions of individuals. No, it is [a matter of what was obtained by] 
thousands and tens of thousands from the mouths of thousands and tens of 

It was in this vein that at the beginning of my work I said, ?So-and-so 
and his Beis Din obtained [the oral laws] from So-and-so and his Bes 
Din"?to make it known that the transmission was from a large number of 
people to a large number of people, and not from an individual to an 
individual. For this reason my plan and purpose was to state each 
halacha without any names attached, to indicate that it is the unanimous 
law, and to shun accommodating the wreckage committed by the /Minnim/ of 
today who deny the entire Oral Law on the basis of seeing ideas stated 
in the name of this or that authority, and who then imagine that he was 
the only one who said it, and that it was his own contrivance.

>> >So if God will forgive those who have committed various sins thus
>> >annulling a negative prophecy, why couldn?t the converse be possible
>> >? namely, God condemning those who had been good and then turned to
>> >sin, thus annulling positive prophecy?
> Because He gave us this test.
I.e.  otherwise, the Rambam writes, there would be no way to determine 
whether one is a prophet whose commandments must be followed.
>    He said if a navi says something will
> happen and it doesn't, "That is a thing that Hashem didn't say, the
> navi said it wickedly, do not fear him".   And, through Bil`am, He
> said "God is not a man that He should disappoint, or a human that He
> should change His mind".   However we know that He*does*  change His
> mind about bad decrees, both because we have numerous examples of Him
> doing just that, and because two authentic nevi'im described Him as
> one "Who*changes His mind*  about bad things".   Therefore His claim
> that He doesn't must apply only to good prophecies.

Zvi Lampel

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Message: 5
From: Zev Sero
Date: Wed, 20 Jul 2016 23:56:57 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Tevilas Keilim from OU kosher halacha yomis

On 07/20/2016 05:53 PM, saul newman via Avodah wrote:
> does a river work for tevilas keilim?

It depends what kind of river it is.  If it's fed by springs then
it's kosher, but if it's fed by rainwater or snow melt then it isn't.
Or it might be seasonal; kosher when it's made up of spring water,
but passul when it's swollen by rainwater and snow melt.

In the gemara there's a machlokes Rav and Shmuel about the Euphrates;
Rav says it can't be used in the spring when it's swollen with rainwater
but only when it's down to a low ebb, Shmuel says it can be used all year
round.  Then there's a machlokes rishonim as to whom we follow; Rabbenu
Chananel and the Rif say we follow Rav, Rabbenu Tam says we follow Shmuel.
The Rama says that bish'as had'chak one can rely on Rabbenu Tam so long
as the river doesn't dry up in the summer.

Zev Sero               Meaningless combinations of words do not acquire
z...@sero.name          meaning merely by appending them to the two other
                        words `God can'.  Nonsense remains nonsense, even
                        when we talk it about God.   -- C S Lewis

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Message: 6
From: Eli Turkel
Date: Thu, 21 Jul 2016 10:19:20 +0300
[Avodah] incorrect learning of Torah

Just to be clearer I will give more details of the gemara BM 109a-b

The gemara lists several professions that one can fire the employee
immediately (see however CM 306:8) because the damage they do is
irreparable. One of them is a teacher to children .

Rashi explains that what one learns in one's youth can never be completely
unlearned. Tosafot disagrees and instead explains that at the time the
student is learning wrong material (shibushim) the student is not learning
true Torah (limud shel emet). To quote Artscroll
"the time learning the wrong information is lost forever"

My only point was that Tosafot does not account for the effort of the
student, i.e. working hard at learning the wrong material thinking he is
learning Torah. Instead Tosafot seems to be saying that at least for
children the important thing is information.

Eli Turkel
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Message: 7
From: Akiva Miller
Date: Thu, 21 Jul 2016 06:01:55 -0400
Re: [Avodah] incorrect learning of Torah

R' Eli Turkel wrote:

> The gemara BM 109 says that a torah teacher can be fired
> without warning if he makes mistakes because it cannot be
> corrected. Tosafot (top of 109b) explain that the time wasted
> learning incorrect pshat can never be recovered.
> The inference from Tosafot is that if one labors learning
> Torah but reaches an incorrect conclusion that it is not
> considered learning Torah

There must be some sort of mistake here. Maybe Tosfos is being
misunderstood, or maybe "we" don't hold like this Tosfos. What I *AM* sure
of is that at the great majority of siyumim that I've attended, we explain
the phrase "anu m'kablim s'char" to mean that we in fact DO accomplish
Talmud Torah even when we come up with a mistaken understanding. Sincere
effort is the only requirement.

in a second post, RET wrote:

> The only point I was making was that according to tosafot
> earnest trying by an am haaretz is not learning Torah

What has being an am haaretz got to do with anything here?

Are you suggesting that according to Tosafot, earnest trying by a talmid
chacham *is* learning Torah, even if wrong? Why?

Akiva Miller
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Message: 8
From: Zev Sero
Date: Thu, 21 Jul 2016 06:10:25 -0400
Re: [Avodah] incorrect learning of Torah

On 07/21/2016 03:19 AM, Eli Turkel via Avodah wrote:
> My only point was that Tosafot does not account for the effort of the
> student, i.e. working hard at learning the wrong material thinking he
> is learning Torah.  Instead Tosafot seems to be saying that at least
> for children the important thing is information.

I think you're missing the central point, which is what does a makre
dardeke teach?   Pesukim, nothing more.  He's not even explaining them,
he's just teaching the text.   If he teaches a pasuk that doesn't exist
how could it possibly be Torah?   How is "es zechar Amalek" more Torah
than "Mary had a little lamb"?  Of what value is a student's effort at
memorising either one, even if, as Tosfos says, the error will eventually
be unlearned?

This can't be compared to teaching incorrect pshat in mishna or gemara,
where the pshat he teaches may be one of the 70 panim, and in any case
the student is learning the mishna and thinking about it, which is Torah,
and will eventually arrive at the correct pshat, a process which is also

Zev Sero               Meaningless combinations of words do not acquire
z...@sero.name          meaning merely by appending them to the two other
                        words `God can'.  Nonsense remains nonsense, even
                        when we talk it about God.   -- C S Lewis

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Message: 9
From: Eli Turkel
Date: Thu, 21 Jul 2016 13:16:19 +0300
[Avodah] lo yilbash

How is the prohibition of "lo yilbash" affected by gener neutral clothing


I am assuming there is no direct tzniut problems.

A story I am told is that R Chaim Kanvesky objects to a man wearing a watch
on the grounds of "lo yilbash". This in spite of the fact that he received
a watch from his father-in-law (Rav Elyashiv) upon his engagement.

Eli Turkel
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Message: 10
From: jay
Date: Thu, 21 Jul 2016 16:08:57 -0600 (CDT)
[Avodah] obsolete and meaningless

> In the introduction, list of mitzvoth, and books Mada' and Ahavah,
> the authorized version bears the signature of the Rambam, which
> renders every other text witness, obsolete and meaningless. (so you
> can put your Frankel in genizah).

This is strong language.  The manuscript was copied in Rambam's
lifetime, by a copyist whom Rambam knew, but didn't Rambam himself
write that he had not personally examined the copy that he was
signing, words to that effect?

                        Jay F. ("Yaakov") Shachter
                        6424 N Whipple St
                        Chicago IL  60645-4111
                                (1-773)7613784   landline
                                (1-410)9964737   GoogleVoice

                        "Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum videtur"


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