Avodah Mailing List

Volume 34: Number 127

Mon, 10 Oct 2016

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Lisa Liel
Date: Sun, 9 Oct 2016 19:10:20 +0300
Re: [Avodah] teshuva

On 10/9/2016 6:08 PM, Eli Turkel via Avodah wrote:
> I recently a quote from ROY that is based on the comparison of teshuva 
> to a mikvah. He argues that just like a mikvah if part of the body is 
> outside the water then nothing is purified so too with teshuva if a 
> person isn't willing to ask for forgiveness for one sin then G-d 
> doesn't grant forgiveness for all the other sins....

> This goes against everything I have learned. I was always taught that 
> the ordinary person should work on improving himself in one area. Sure 
> the greatest level is when a person completely changes his 
> personality...

I haven't heard what ROY said exactly, but just as a thought exercise,
I'd assume he means that if someone says "I reject this mitzvah", he
can't get forgiveness for other sins. As opposed to someone who says
"I accept all the mitzvot, and I just haven't been able to get myself
to do this mitzvah."

If you say you reject a mitzvah, you're either in rebellion against God,
or you don't believe God gave the mitzvot. If you say you aren't perfect,
that's a whole other thing.


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Message: 2
From: Eli Turkel
Date: Sun, 9 Oct 2016 21:15:57 +0300
Re: [Avodah] teshuva

On Sun, Oct 9, 2016 at 7:10 PM, Lisa Liel <l...@starways.net> wrote:
> I haven't heard what ROY said exactly, but just as a thought exercise, I'd
> assume he means that if someone says "I reject this mitzvah", he can't get
> forgiveness for other sins.  As opposed to someone who says "I accept all
> the mitzvot, and I just haven't been able to get myself to do this mitzvah."

> If you say you reject a mitzvah, you're either in rebellion against God,
> or you don't believe God gave the mitzvot.  If you say you aren't perfect,
> that's a whole other thing.

The language the article uses is "kasheh lo levater" which I assume
means that it is too difficult to give up shaving with a razor.
My interpretation i a aveirah betavayon and not rebellion.

If someone wants to see the original Hebrew I can forward that email from
the site that sends out a daily halacha in the name of ROY (I think from
a grandson)

gmar tov

Eli Turkel

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Message: 3
From: Lisa Liel
Date: Sun, 9 Oct 2016 22:44:47 +0300
Re: [Avodah] teshuva

On 10/9/2016 9:15 PM, Eli Turkel wrote:
> The language the article uses is "kasheh lo levater" which I assume 
> means that it is too difficult to give up shaving with a razor.
> My interpretation i a aveirah betavayon and not rebellion.
> If someone wants to see the original Hebrew I can forward that email ...

Thank you to RET for sending me a copy of the text he's dealing with.  
It's pretty much the way I guessed.  The case ROY is talking about is 
someone who is mekabel ol on all but one mitzvah.  It's not that he 
doesn't do the mitzvah; it's that he refuses to view it as binding on 
him at all.  And so when he does it, there's no possibility of shame, 
which could otherwise lead him to do teshuva.

In the modern world, hypocrisy has become the cardinal sin of all sins.  
And by that perspective, if you're going to violate the mitzvah, it's 
better to say it's not a mitzvah at all.  Because if you say it is and 
you violate it anyway, then you're a hypocrite. But the Torah has a 
different outlook, because we hold that the Torah is Truth.  So it's far 
better to acknowledge that you're falling short of what you know you 
should be doing than to rebel against God and simply refuse to accept 
something because you don't want to do it.


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Message: 4
From: Micha Berger
Date: Sun, 9 Oct 2016 21:25:27 -0400
Re: [Avodah] teshuva

While I can't speak to ROY takes it, R' Yisrael Salanter understands
the Rambam as requiring teshuvah sheleimah on any one mitzvah.

Shir haShirim Rabba 5:3 famously has Hashem saying that if we were
to make an opening of teshuvah the size of the head of a pin, He will
open a door for us that wagons and chariots could drive through.

And yet the Rambam (Teshuvah 2:2-3) requires doing full teshuvah, all
four steps, to remove sin.

RYS (Or Yisrael, letter #6) says that the medrash refers to doing full
teshuvah for one small aveirah, something that is small in lefum tza'ara
agra says -- something easy for me to fix.

One becomes a baal teshuvah gamur, of that one cheit.

He says that when working incrementally, one must fully do teshuvah for
some one thing, then some any one thing. Rather than do a broadspread
half-teshuvah for many things at once.


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: 5
From: Rabbi Meir G. Rabi
Date: Mon, 10 Oct 2016 12:07:04 +1100
[Avodah] NeKom LeAynaynu

if we think of revenge as a blood sport, yes it is demeaning.
but that is not the meaning.
HKBHs standard bearers are revenge. Revenge heralds His arrival and His
departure - Keil NeKomos HaShem Gem Berachos

Picture this
as the monstrosity on Har HaBayis is about to be demolished, either by some
gigantic bulldozer or controlled explosion, we do what we always do - we
hold an auction.

Who buys the rights to this great event?
The wealthiest oil sheik in the world
And who is he MeChabed?
The most hateful preacher who has incited violence and been responsible for
the demise and injury of countless Yidden.

And as this person is about to depress the plunger, or activate the
bulldozer, he makes a declaration, I was wrong, I sinned

That is true revenge
That is HKBHs revenge


Meir G. Rabi
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Message: 6
From: Rabbi Meir G. Rabi
Date: Mon, 10 Oct 2016 12:09:29 +1100
[Avodah] unless others sin

the person who insists others eat on Yom Kippur otherwise he will not eat

is given Petch until he agrees to eat - Kofin Osso


Meir G. Rabi
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Message: 7
From: Akiva Miller
Date: Sun, 9 Oct 2016 21:45:59 -0400
Re: [Avodah] 2 days RH

R' Eli Turkel wrote:

> Rav Dessler asks that if so the 2nd day of RH is not the "real" RH.
> If so how we can say in our prayers that today we are being judged,
> today is the day the world conceived (hayom haras olam), today the
> books of life are opened etc.

I liked all of R' Micha Berger's responses, but I would say this: It's no
different than how the second day of Shavuos is not the "real" Shavuos, yet
we say in our prayers that today is when the Torah was given. Ditto for the
second Seder, etc etc. Please note that I am not suggesting a particular
answer here; I'm only pointing out that if you find an answer you like for
one of these questions, it will probably be a good answer for the others

Akiva Miller
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Message: 8
From: Micha Berger
Date: Sun, 9 Oct 2016 21:52:50 -0400
Re: [Avodah] 2 days RH

On Sun, Oct 09, 2016 at 09:45:59PM -0400, Akiva Miller via Avodah wrote:
:                                                                   It's no
: different than how the second day of Shavuos is not the "real" Shavuos, yet
: we say in our prayers that today is when the Torah was given. Ditto for the
: second Seder, etc etc....

The second day of Shavous is quite different than the second seder. The
second day of Shavuos is the actual anniversary of matan Torah. Shavuos
is Zeman Matan Toraseinu only in the sense that the zeman is defined by
the omer, not the date.

And whe seder is also different than saying there is special RH kaparah,
as one is talking about chiyuvim, and the other is talking about things
HQBH grants. (Unless it's our chiyuv that triggers His response...)


Micha Berger             The meaning of life is to find your gift.
mi...@aishdas.org        The purpose of life
http://www.aishdas.org   is to give it away.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                     - Pablo Picasso

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Message: 9
From: Richie
Date: Mon, 10 Oct 2016 04:10:45 -0400
[Avodah] Workers' Right

In reading the posting on ahavas chesed and the comment regarding the
popularity of groups studying shmiras lashon, it immediately occurred to me
that with ahavas chesed, shmiras lashon would naturally follow. I know I've
mentioned this to R' Micha before, but it bears repeating. IMHO, the
quintessential individual who emulated ahavas chesed and was truly a humble
and holy man was the Kapischnitzer Rebbe, Rabbi Abraham Yehosha Heschel,
zt"l. At age 14, I was at his house on Henry St. and my memory of his
kindness is seared into my brain forever. 

Sent from my iPhone

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Message: 10
From: Micha Berger
Date: Mon, 10 Oct 2016 05:55:25 -0400
[Avodah] Se'ir HaMishtalei'ach,

----- Forwarded message from Eli Turkel <elitur...@gmail.com> -----

The Se'ir HaMishtalei'ach, Rav Soloveitchik and The Other Wes Moore
""" """"" """""""""""""""" """ """""""""""" """ """ """"" """ """""
by Rabbi Chaim Jachter

It is amongst the most difficult laws in the Torah to understand. The
Se'ir HaMishtalei'ach ceremony that is performed as part of the Yom Kippur
Beit HaMikdash ritual appears primitive and brutal and even seems to run
counter to basicTorah values. The notion of taking a goat and hurling it
down a cliff, thereby achieving forgiveness for our sins, is difficult for
us to accept. Indeed, Meforashim throughout the generations have struggled
to understand the meaning behind what appears to be a peculiar ritual.
However, Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik offers an eye opening explanation
that reveals the profound message of this mysterious Mitzvah. Moreover,
the eye opening book The Other Wes Moore brings Rav Soloveitchik's
interpretation to life and helps us grasp the elusive meaning of the
Se'ir HaMishtalei'ach.

The Se'ir HaMishtalei'ach Ritual
""" """"" """"""""""""""" """"""

The Torah (VaYikra 16:5-10) describes the Se'ir HaMishtalei'ach ritual
as follows (translation from Mechon Mamre):

    And he shall take of the congregation of the children of Israel two
    he-goats for a sin-offering, and one ram for a burnt-offering. And
    Aaron shall present the bullock of the sin-offering, which is for
    himself, and make atonement for himself, and for his house. And he
    shall take the two goats, and set them before the Lord at the door of
    the tent of meeting. And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats:
    one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for Azazel. And Aaron shall
    present the goat upon which the lot fell for the Lord, and offer him
    for a sin-offering. But the goat, on which the lot fell for Azazel,
    shall be set alive before the Lord, to make atonement over him,
    to send him away for Azazel into the wilderness.

The Torah (ad loc. 21-22) continues:

    And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat,
    and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel,
    and all their transgressions, even all their sins; and he shall
    put them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the
    hand of an appointed man into the wilderness. And the goat shall
    bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land which is cut off;
    and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness.

The Mishnah (Yoma 6:6) describes the scene at the mountain:

    "The Kohein who brought the goat to the desert tied a strip of crimson
    between the horns of the goat and then pushed the goat backwards down
    the cliff. The goat would roll down the mountain and be dismembered
    by the time it reached halfway down the mountain".

Rav Shmuel Goldin, in his Unlocking the Torah Text: Vayikra (page 114),
eloquently articulates three questions that will help us unlock the
meaning of this mysterious ritual:

    What is the significance of the simultaneous selection of two
    goats? This question becomes even more intriguing in light of the
    Mishnaic dictate (Yoma 6:1) that the goats chosen should be as
    similar as possible in stature, appearance and in cost.

Why are lots drawn to determine the fate of each goat? Why not simply
designate without resorting to a ceremony of chance?

Are the sins of the people truly transferred to the "head of the goat,"
as the text seems to indicate? Does the animal really become a scapegoat
for our sins? Such an idea seems completely antithetical to Jewish Law
and its prohibition of superstitious practice... To suggest that the
Teshuva process can somehow be short-circuited through a magical act of
transference of sins seems to fly in the face of all we believe.

Four Classic Approaches to the Se'ir HaMishtalei'ach -- Chazal, Abarbanel,
"""" """"""" """""""""" "" """ """"" """"""""""""""" "" """"""" """"""""""
Rav Hirsch and Ramban
""" """""" """ """"""

The Gemara (Yoma 67b) lists the Se'ir HaMishtalei'ach among five other
examples of a Chok, a Mitzvah for which we do not have a rational
explanation. Included in this list are other puzzling rituals such as
Chalitzah and the Sha'atneiz prohibition. This passage in the Gemara
concludes that one should not regard these Mitzvot as an exercise
in nonsense, since they were commanded by Hashem in His infinite
wisdom. Thus, one can simply opt out of trying to discover meaning to
the Se'ir HaMishtalei'ach since it is a Chok.

Nonetheless, Meforashim endeavor to discover a reason for this Mitzvah.
Abarbanel (VaYikra 16:1-22) argues that the two goats whose appearance is
very similar represent the twin brothers Ya'akov and Eisav, one of whom
is chosen to serve as the ancestor of God's nation and the other destined
to live a turbulent and violent existence. This ritual is conducted on Yom
Kippur to remind us of our special role as descendants of Ya'akov Avinu.

Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch (VaYikra 16:10) notes that on the one hand, one
goat's blood reaches a more holy spot than the blood of any other Korban.
On the other hand, the Se'ir HaMishtalei'ach is sent much further outside
the Beit HaMikdash than any other rejected Korban. The Torah is teaching
that Hashem creates a level spiritual field in which we function. Whenever
there is greater spiritual opportunity there is also a parallel greater
potential for falling into a spiritual abyss. The opposite destinations
of the two goats express the choice and free will that Hashem has bestowed
upon us -- a core lesson of spiritual improvement central to Yom Kippur.

Ramban (VaYikra 16:8) offers an incredibly bold suggestion to explain
the Se'ir HaMishtalei'ach:

    On Yom Kippur, however, Hashem commanded us that we send a goat to the
    wilderness, to the "force" that rules in desolate places... and under
    whose authority are the demons referred to by Chazal as "Mazikim"
    (destroyers) and in the Chumash as "Se'irim," male goats.

Ramban clarifies that the Se'ir HaMishtalei'ach is not an independent
offering to the "force" of the wilderness. The gift to the wilderness,
rather, is a fulfillment of God's will, comparable to a food provided
by the caterer of a banquet to a servant at the host's request.

Rav Goldin (op. cit. p. 122) offers a compelling explanation of Ramban. He
writes the following:

    "[The gift constitutes] A healthy respect for the potentially
    destructive forces that inhabit our inner world. We must recognize the
    strength of our Yeitzer Hara (base instincts) and its unerring ability
    to undermine all valiant attempts at self-betterment. Attempted
    sublimation of the Yeitzer Hara is the surest way to grant it power
    over our actions. Instead we must acknowledge our "adversary";
    respect its strength; and then turn that strength to our benefit.

Rav Soloveitchik's Approach to the Se'ir HaMishtalei'ach
""" """""""""""""" """""""" "" """ """"" """""""""""""""

While these and other classic explanations of the Se'ir HaMishtalei'ach
shed significant light and represent significant contributions to
the age-old endeavor to explain this mysterious ritual, Rav Yosef Dov
Soloveitchik's approach (presented in Reflections of the Rav, volume 1
chapter 4, especially page 46) appears the most satisfying and compelling.

Rav Soloveitchik explains that the two male goats were identical but
their fates lead them in opposite directions, as determined by chance
("Goral," the lottery) decisions entirely beyond their control. The
casting of lots decreed which was to go "LaShem," to be sacrificed
within the Temple, and which to "Azazeil," to be cast out of the camp of
Israel, ignominiously to be destroyed. The secret of atonement is thus
indicated in the ceremonious casting of the lots. It reflects the basis
for the penitent's claim to forgiveness, that his moral directions were
similarly influenced by forces beyond his control, that his sinning
was not entirely a free and voluntary choice. Only the Almighty can
evaluate the extent of human culpability in situations which are not
entirely of man's making. Only God knows to what extent a man was a
free agent in making his decisions. The Se'ir HaMishtalei'ach is thus
a psychodramatic representation of the penitent's state of mind and
his emotional need. Only by entering such a plea can man be declared
"not guilty."

Rav Soloveitchik builds on Abarbanel's and Rav Hirsch's approaches of the
Se'ir HaMishtalei'ach representing the two paths from which we choose in
life, taking it to the next level by showing how the Se'ir HaMishtalei'ach
expresses our plea for forgiveness to Hashem on Yom Kippur. While the
Rav's approach does not excuse a sinner from his actions, it does offer
hope and opportunity for understanding and forgiveness on the one hand,
and the opportunity to improve on the other. Rav Soloveitchik's approach
also fits with Ramban's idea of respecting the power of the Yeitzer
HaRa, which also constitutes a basis for forgiveness on the one hand,
and a basis for opportunities to improve on the other.

The Other Wes Moore
""" """"" """ """""

Rav Soloveitchik's approach to the Se'ir HaMishtalei'ach is brought to
life by the highly regarded work published (by Random House) in 2010,
The Other Wes Moore -- One Name, Two Fates. The author summarizes the
message of his book as follows:

    Two kids with the same name, living in the same city. One grew up to
    be a Rhodes Scholar, decorated combat veteran, White House Fellow,
    and business leader. The other is serving a life sentence in prison
    for felony murder. Here is the story of two boys and the journey
    of a generation.

In December 2000, the Baltimore Sun ran a small piece about Wes Moore, a
local student who had just received a Rhodes Scholarship. The same paper
also ran a series of articles about four young men who had allegedly
killed a police officer in a spectacularly botched armed robbery. The
police were still hunting for two of the suspects who had gone on the lam,
a pair of brothers. One was named Wes Moore.

Wes just couldn't shake off the unsettling coincidence, or the inkling
that the two shared much more than space in the same newspaper. After
following the story of the robbery, the manhunt, and the trial to its
conclusion, he wrote a letter to the other Wes, now a convicted murderer
serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole. His letter
tentatively asked the questions that had been haunting him: Who are
you? How did this happen?

That letter led to a correspondence and relationship that has lasted for
several years. Over dozens of letters and prison visits, Wes discovered
that the other Wes had a life not unlike his own: Both had grown up in
similar neighborhoods and had difficult childhoods, both were fatherless;
they'd hung out on similar corners with similar crews, and both had run
into trouble with the police. At each stage of their young lives they had
come across similar moments of decision, yet their choices and the people
in their lives would lead them to astonishingly different destinies.

Told in alternating dramatic narratives that take readers from
heart-wrenching losses to moments of surprising redemption, The Other
Wes Moore tells the story of a generation of boys trying to find their
way in a challenging and at times, hostile world.

Quality books allow one to vicariously enter and experience environments
in which one would otherwise not have the opportunity to access. The
intended power of The Other Wes Moore is to allow us to vicariously
experience the challenges faced by those who struggle with being raised
in inner city environments. From a Torah perspective, The Other Wes
Moore provides a rare window of opportunity to vicariously experience
the central theme and profoundly poignant power of message communicated
by the Se'ir HaMishtalei'ach -- two people come from nearly the same
background and environment, yet one merges as a spectacular success
and one as a resounding failure. While one can never excuse The Other
Wes Moore for the choices he made, experiencing and understanding his
background helps us at least have some compassion for his predicament. It
also helps us grasp the essence of our plea on Yom Kippur for forgiveness
and the opportunity for improvement and redemption.


Far from being primitive and brutal, the Se'ir HaMishtalei'ach expresses
a highly sophisticated and poignant message, which touches the heart of
the human condition and the fundamental moral-spiritual tension between
justice and mercy. Our careful search for meaning in what at a superficial
glance appears to be foolish has yielded rich and abundant fruit. The
same applies for every Mitzvah. Any and every aspect of Torah and Chazal
is rich with meaning and significance. Never dismiss any part of our holy
Torah. If we do not grasp the full meaning of part of the Torah, we are
confident that others in either the current or future generations will
unravel the mystery. Our successful search to discover the meaning of
the Se'ir HaMishtalei'ach helps us accept Chazal's teaching (Yoma 67b)
regarding such Chukim, "Lest one argue that these Chukim are a foolish
waste, therefore the Torah states [in regard to Chukim] 'Ani Hashem'
(I am God); you enjoy no right to dismiss His commands."

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Message: 11
From: Micha Berger
Date: Mon, 10 Oct 2016 05:53:08 -0400
[Avodah] [YULamdan] The unforgivable sin I committed Yom

I assume YULamdan included this less-lomdish-than-usual piece for
the same reason I am. Regardless of where you daven this Yom Kippur,
there is some chance an unfamiliar face will show up on Yom Kippur.

And their entire lives could be changed by whether or not we are too
embarassed / lazy / busy with our own davening to say "Hello!"

One of the Mussar Movements foundation stories tells of when Rav Yisrael
realized he needed to start a movement, rather than continue to follow
Rav Zundel's example and quietly work only on himself.

Rav Yisrael was away from home and didn't have a machzor, a Yom Kippur
prayer book. At one point he lost his place and needed to peer over
another person's shoulder. He got shoved in response to his efforts.
How dare you interrupt my concentration! At that point Rav Yisrael
realized that he couldn't keep Mussar to himself and had to share it
with the world. Rav Yisrael realized that when people value their own
prayer more than helping someone else -- and think that's what is going
to get them forgiven on Yom Kippur -- Judaism got derailed somewhere.


The unforgivable sin I committed Yom Kippur morning
October 10, 2016 / theyulamdan

With my mind racing with what I would be saying in synagogue, how I
will be praying, and the powerful meaning of this day, I barely noticed
what was going on in the street. I rushed into synagogue thinking of ten
different things at the same time. As I walked in, right when the service
was about to begin, I looked around at the empty seats which would all
be full once we got started, my eyes caught two young ladies sitting
down, looking around with hesitation. They seemed like real outsiders;
they did not know that most people don't show up at the time the morning
service is called for. They seemed unsure as to whether they were in the
right seat or not, why the place was not full yet, and what prayer they
should be saying right now. They projected uncertainty and insecurity.

My instinct pushed me to walk over to them, ask them where they are
from, or if anything I can do for them. I didn't. I had hundreds of
people coming to the service, sermons and comments to deliver, and my
own praying to do. I can speak to them when the service is over, I told
myself. They will be fine, I thought-they werenat.

Twenty minutes later I looked around again, they were gone. Realizing
what had happened, I started to panic. I looked again. And again. And
again. But they were gone. They had left the synagogue and I never saw
them again.

These two young ladies, are just some of the thousands of Jews who step
through our synagogues during the High Holiday season, and I was just
one of the many who failed to engage them and make sure they felt welcome
and at home in synagogue.

This was yet another validation of the statistics showing one of four
Jews leaving religion, a growing number of Jews without an affiliation,
and many Jews no longer identifying as Jewish, which have been the gloomy
talking points in Jewish circles ever since the Pew study of American-Jews
was released in 2013.

Mistakes can serve as obstacles that disparage and devitalize us; they
can also serve as powerful, invigorating, and eye-opening experiences.
So I decided to make the most of this horrible mistake.

I spent many hours looking into the subject of inclusion and the
power of greeting and had since learned that the power of inclusion,
welcoming, and increased connectivity are not only socially appreciated
but scientifically necessary.

In study published in Psychological Science,
lead author Dr. Eric Wesselman, a psychology professor at Purdue
University, points out that:" simple eye contact is sufficient to
convey inclusion. In contrast, withholding eye contact can signal
exclusiona?Diary data suggest that people feel ostracized even when
strangers fail to give them eye contact. Experimental data confirm that
eye contact signals social inclusion, and lack of eye contact signals
ostracism. Wesselman went on to [20]experiment the matter and found that
people who were "looked through" as if they were thin air-even in busy
and crowded areas- felt more disconnected than those who were looked at.

It is safe to say though, that we all know that others appreciate being
acknowledged, smiled at, and welcomed. So why don't we do it as often
as we should? A 2005 study published in the Journal of Personality
and Social Psychology shows that the main reason we fail to engage with
others as often as we would like to is because of our fear of rejection
and that others will not be interested in engaging with us.
We believe that others lack interest and for that reason fail to engage
them. True, some people probably do lack interest and want to be left
alone --- most people don't.

I went on to experiment on this in my own armature way. I started saying
hello to people I had never met, inviting them for a Shabbat meal, or
just having a small chat. No surprises here. Most people were really
moved, appreciative, and receptive to those gestures.

Amy Rees Anderson, points out in her Forbes article "Make Eye Contact,
Smile and Say Hello," how we have all been in a situation social situation
where nobody knew us. "Then some superhero a a stranger acomes up and
smiles, puts out their hand and says ahello." A And just like that,
the awkwardness is over."

This year, let's make an effort to be another person's superhero.

As Jews, we have now been "traveling" together for more than three
thousand years. We have faced our spiritual and physical utter
obliteration time and again, and yet we survived. At times of distress
and persecution we stand united and the strength we find in turning to
each other helped us survive. However, this cannot be what brings us
together. As Lord Jonathan Sacks, former Chief Rabbi of the United
Kingdom points out "If unity is to be a value it cannot be one that is
sustained by the hostility of others alone." 

Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur are great opportunities to stand up to our
shared historical experience, the undeniable bond of the present, and
create a bright destiny for Jewish future. Let us reach out to each
other with love, friendship, and kindness. We owe it to ourselves,
we owe it to each other, we owe it to our history. Most importantly,
we owe it to our future.

Shana Tova.
Published in the Jewish Journal, October 5th, 2016

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Message: 12
From: Akiva Miller
Date: Mon, 10 Oct 2016 07:56:35 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Rav Melamed on Metal Pots

Okay, I'm started to understand R' Micha Berger's position, from his post
in 34:126, that bli'ah is not exactly the same thing as chemical or
culinary flavor getting absorbed into a keli. But then, what IS it?

In Avodah 34:112, he suggested that "it could be about the expectation of a
taste rather than the taste itself." To me, this was such a creative
chidush that I dismissed it at first, but now I can see how it fits his
analysis of k'feilah:

> 1- BY, based on the Ramban: There is no bitul beshishim if the kefeilah
> can taste it. So, you need both ratio and taste.

In other words, it is batel only if there is an expectation of no taste and
also an  experience of no taste.

> 2- Rashi: Bitul beshishim is only if the kefeilah can taste it or if
> there are none available. You need ratio, confirm with taste when you can.

In other words, it is preferably as above, but the expectation of no taste
is sufficient alone.

> 3- Ri, Rambam: There is bitul even if the proportion is greater than 1:60
> if the kefeilah cannot taste it. So you need either ratio or taste. (The
> AhS explains that what a chef might taste of a 1:60 minority is so
> weakened, it's not real ta'am.)

In other words, it is batel *either* if there is an expectation of no taste
*or* an experience of no taste.

> So the idea of kefeilah, lekhol hadei'os, is not that ta'am means
> biological taste. Every shitah has a role for bitul beshishim. And since
> biological taste is part of psychological ta'am, this combination of
> ratio and experiment fits psychology more than biology.

No, not really. Given that the kefeilah is a human who puts the food in his
mouth and comments on that experience, ta'am certainly does mean biological
taste. I think what you meant to write is that bli'ah and bitul are not
tied exclusively to biological taste, because indeed, every shita has a
role for shishim, a/k/a expectation of no taste.

Do I agree? Well, I'm certainly persuaded that shishim can refer to
"expectation". I had always understood shishim to be a "presumption", that
biological taste will be detectable at higher concentrations, but not when
more diluted. It is a small jump from presumption to expectation, and I'm
okay with it. I'm also persuaded that shishim plays a more important role
than I had realized, that some shitos allow the bitul even when the kefeila
*can* taste the issur.

But let's go back to the subject line, and recall that this thread is not
about taaroves; it's about hechsher keilim.

And this is where the idea of "expectation" has big problems. Given how
porous pottery is, I certainly sympathize with a view that "expects"
pottery to absorb ta'am but never fully release it. But why do they expect
this even when the pottery has been glazed?

My feeling is to "expect" bli'ah of glazed pottery to be similar to the
bli'ah of glass. But the poskim (at least the Ashkenazi ones) has been the
exact opposite: They view glass as earthenware (it's just sand, right?) and
therefore unkasherable.

This thread began with Rav Melamed's suggestion that modern stainless steel
might be non-absorbent and thus not needing hag'alah. My question, as I
posted in the beginning (and as R' Eli Turkel referenced Rav Eitam Henkin
Hy"d in Avodah 34:113), was how can we assert such things, unless we
compare out pots to the ancient ones? How can we claim that stainless steel
is like glass, and on the other side of our mouth, claim that glaze is
*not* like glass?

POSTSCRIPT: In my learning on this topic, I was surprised to find that some
important data points are not logical or philosophical) svaros, but come
from the world of Gezeras Hakasuv. I had long known that in the story of
Klei Midian (B'midbar 31:22-23), HaShem explicitly tells us that metal can
be kashed via libun or hag'alah. What I learned only recently is that there
is a pasuk (Vayikra 6:21) that teaches us that pottery can*not* be
kashered. I saw this in Rabbi Binyamin Forst's "The Kosher Kitchen"
(ArtScroll) pg 339, based on Pesachim 30b. These Gezeros Hakasuv suggest
several things to me. (1) Klei Midyan explicitly name iron as one of the
metals that need to be kashered, and stainless steel is mostly iron; I
wonder how absorbency experiments can override a d'Oraisa. (2) Similarly,
glass *is* made of sand; to say that it is a new material, unrelated to the
earthenware the the Torah says is unkasherable, seems quite innovative.

Akiva Miler
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