Avodah Mailing List

Volume 34: Number 149

Tue, 15 Nov 2016

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Professor L. Levine
Date: Sun, 13 Nov 2016 19:55:37 +0000
[Avodah] How a Jew Should Conduct Himself in Golus

The following is from RSRH's commentary on Bereishis 14:13

13 And the escapee came and brought the news to Avram the Ivri. [Avram]
was then dwelling in the groves of Mamre the Emori,brother of Eshkol and of Aner; they
were the masters in a covenant with Avram.

There are two types of bris: (a) a covenant between equals; (b) a
covenant between two unequal parties, where one accepts the other in
a bond of friendship, adding him to his faction, so that the other is
subordinate to him.

Our verse speaks of a covenant of the second type. Avraham did
not seek an alliance with Mamre and his kinsmen; rather, Aner, Eshkol
and Mamre, the natives, took the initiative and made a covenant with
Avraham, the stranger. They were the ba'alim of the bris. Not only Mamre,
in whose territory Avraham lived, but his kinsmen, too, recognized
Avraham's imposing personality and enlisted him as their ally.

Avraham's conduct should serve as a model for his descendants
throughout the generations, as long as they live as zerah Avraham in a land
not theirs, b'eretz lo lahem. A Jew should conduct himself as a Jew, loving
peace, and should not interfere with affairs that are not his. He should
develop and shape his own affairs, and attend to Israel's needs. The
result will be that the other peoples will seek to enlist him as an ally
- not vice versa. Every person of purity will recognize that true, complete
Judaism is the most perfect conception of humanity - not vice
versa. For the concept "Jew" is broader than the concept "man." A Jew
need only be a Jew, in the full and complete sense of the word. If he
behaves in this manner, then, although he will be only a shochan, he will

win the esteem of the other peoples, and they will enlist him in their
bris. Avraham did not purchase this alliance relationship at the cost of
abandoning his own calling.

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Message: 2
From: Akiva Miller
Date: Sun, 13 Nov 2016 15:10:18 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Shatz's personal Prayer

R' Joel Rich wrote:

> There?s debate what nusach the shatz should use in his
> private amida if his nusach differs from that of the Kahal.
> One opinion holds he uses the same as the Kahal because
> he?s just practicing for tfilat hatzibbur. If this is the
> case, does he not get to make his own personal requests as
> part of tfila b?tzibbur?

Your point is very logical. But if logic would rule here, then the shatz
would also do other things that I don't see done:

- If it were a taanis, he'd say the full Aneinu between Geulah and Refuah
even in his "practice tefilah".

- If it were Nusach Ashkenaz, he'd say L'dor Vador as the third bracha, not
Atah Kadosh.

- Logically, he would even say the full Kedusha, because he is practicing,

- If it is Shacharis or Musaf, maybe he should even practice whatever he'll
be saying later as Birkas Kohanim!

But none of those things are done in the real world, so I think this "use
the same words as rehearsing" idea is more of a "rule of thumb", and not as
hard and fast as we might think it is.

By the way, the examples I gave also illustrate the flip side of RJR's
question: If the idea of Chazaras Hashatz is to say it for people who
couldn't say their own, then shouldn't it be a carbon copy? Why do we say
things in Chazaras Hashatz (Kedusha being the best example) that don't
appear in the personal tefila? If Kedushah needs to be said, they could
have devised a way to say it without interrupting the Shmoneh Esreh.

Akiva Miller
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Message: 3
From: Micha Berger
Date: Sun, 13 Nov 2016 16:57:19 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Geonim, Rambam and Other Rishonim on Mesorah and

Before getting into the core topic itself, I want to clarify something
about the playing field.

We grow up in a culture where Aristotle's Logic is well embedded. The 3
Classical Laws of Thought appear self-evident. But to show that we should
neither accept 2 of them uncritically or even assume that Chazal agreed.

After all, I am asserting that the majority position among rishonim,
and the way of of us do halakhah today is in defiance of at least one of
these laws. Until I can establish that chazal didn't hold of such things,
I won't get very far.

More than that, I want to argue that our default position should be that
both opinions were given at Sinai, that neither side of a machloqes
is "wrong", despite the fact that they disagree. That machloqes is
about which correct answer is being made law. And that in fact, the
burden of proof is on the position RMHalbertal ascribes to the Rambam,
that machloqes is about which extrapolation from established halakhah
is correct.

Anyway, the three laws:

1- The Law of Identity:
    Whatever is, is.
    A = A.

2- Law of Non-Contradition
   2 or more contradictory statements cannot both be true in the same
   sense at the same time
   not (A and not-A)

But in the real world, we often get propositions about the human
condition that is subject to antinomies. As just one of the examples
RYBS pointed out (Community), society exists to further the wlefare of
its members AND a person's highest calling is to serve his society.

Similarly, we take the ambivalence of someone who became suddenly rich
by inheritence for granted -- he says both dayan ha'emes and hatov

3- The Law of Excluded Middle
   Everything must either be or not be
   A or not-A

But most categories have a huge gray area between them. Is indigo a
shade of blue, or of purple. Is an American man who is 5'1" "tall"?
In Yiddish, we have the idiom of complementing someone in the negative,
"He's not ugly." Or, "She's not dumb." Attempting to avoid giving an
ayin hara by only implying handsomeness or brilliance; after all, plain
looking people are also "not ugly", and people of normal intelligence
are also "not dumb".

(This is also part of understanding the machloqes over mikelal lav,
atah shomeia' hein. The other part being whether someone would bother
saying "If A then B" if they didn't mean "If and only if A, then B."
And if not, not. A question of rhetoric, not logic.)

If this is true of questions about the human condition, all the more
so theological questions or trying to second-guess the Mind of G-d.
We can't fully capture the Truth, never mind assign it a boolean
white-or-black answer. The Maharal explains machloqes in these terms.
We have conflicting models of a Truth that can't fit in this world;
not a real contradiction.

I hope that was enough to raise questions about classical two-valued
(true-vs-false) logic. Or even whether it's necessarily the better system.
Now to draw a wedge between Western and Rabbinic logic.

Rashi says "'Issah' - lashon safeiq" (Kesuvos 14a) An almanah whose
family's status is unknown is a "dough", a mixture.

Similarly, RYBS proved from hilkhos esrog that the safeiq associated
with bein hashemashos is an irbuvia, an "erev" of the two days. An
esrog that is set aside for one day's use is assur behanaah that day,
and since it's qadosh bein hashemashos, it's assue the next day too.
Notice it's only qadosh during BhS because BhS is part of the prior
day, and the qedushah is only extended to the next day because it's
simultaneously the next day too. Issah - lashon safeiq.

So much for the Law of Contradiction. Or maybe you consider Issah / Erev /
Safieq a middle term, a third option, denying the Law of Excluded Middle.

Pashut peshat in Chazal is that machloqes is understood in these terms
as well.

"Eilu va'eilu divrei E-lokim, vehalakhah keBH."

Yerushalmi Sanhedrin 4:2 (a similar passage in Tractate Sofrim 16:5):
    R' Yanai said: Had the Torah been given decided, we wouldn't
    have a leg to stand on. Where? "And Hashem spoke to Moshe." He said
    before Him: Master of the World, tell me what is the halakhah. He
    responded "Decide according to the majority...." So that the Torah
    be interpretable 49 ways tamei and 49 ways tahor.

And then there's the problem of explaining the Tanur shel Akhnai story
if we're seeking the One True Pesaq. We got the siyata diShmaya; if it
was telling us the One True Pesaq, how could we possibly choose rabbim
over siyata diShmaya?

Notice RMH quotes the Ritva's citation of Yerushalmi.

The Ran's justification of acharei rabim lehatos is similar. RMH's
    It is a known fact that the entire Torah, written and oral, was
    transmitted to Moses, as it says in the tract ate Meggilah, R. Hiyya
    bar Abba said in the Name of R. Yohanan: The verse:...and on them
    was written according to all the words.." teaches that the Holy One
    blessed be He showed Moses the details prescribed by the Torah and
    by the Sages, including the innovations they would later enact. And
    what are those? the reading of Meggila. The 'details' provided by the
    rabbis are halakhic disputes and conflicting views held by the sages
    of Israel. Moses learned them all by divine word with no resolution
    every controversy in detail. Yet [God] also gave him a rule whose
    truth is manifest, i.e., 'Favor the majority opinion'....as the
    sages of that generation saw fit, for the decision had already been
    delegated to them...

Again, the Divrei Elokim Chaim is described as going beyond the Law of
Contradiction. Majority opinion isn't advocated as a way of maximizing
the chance of getting the One Right Answer, but the given methodology
for picking /a/ right answer. And Moshe was given all the Torah, even
derabbanans -- or at least divrei soferim (megillah is which?) -- and
we choose which version is halakhah.

I think in light of these three sources (four, if you want to count
Soferim separately)the burden of proof is on someone who says that pesaq
creates laws through extrapolation or interpolation from existing Torah,
rather than selecting among pre-existing options.

One last note, as part of this laying-the-groundwork email:

I drew a distinction between finding Truth and finding Law. Realized that
in rabbinic idiom, this could be referred to as Emes vs Din. But it is
also -- perhaps more often -- phrased as Emes leAmito vs Emes leHoraah.

One needs to see what kind of emes a rishon is describing, and not just
rely on the use of the word emes.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Never must we think that the Jewish element
mi...@aishdas.org        in us could exist without the human element
http://www.aishdas.org   or vice versa.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                     - Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch

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Message: 4
From: Eli Turkel
Date: Sun, 13 Nov 2016 22:34:25 +0200
[Avodah] minhag

<<But not every communal practice is a minhag. So yes, minhagim are
inherently dynamic. But there are limits on valid ways for them to
change. Just as there is a minhag shtus when it comes to the creation of
a new minhag, there is when it comes to repealing it. >>

What is the difference between a community practice and minhag?
Is a public fast on Sivan 20 a community practice or a minhag?

Talking with a friend recently he noted that in the askenazi kDL in EY
kitniyot is
slowly being eliminated. A number of major rabbis now pasken that
kitniyot is batel be-rov.
Others allow various new kitniyot oils like canola oil
see for example http://www.yeshiva.co/ask/?id=1400 .

Most Israeli Ashkenazi shuls say ein kelokenu every day. A number of these
shuls say hoshana immediately after Hallel during chol hamoed succot.

<<But the nature of the modern world is such that rarely move to places
that have a single minhag hamaqom. And so minhag avos plays a greater
role in practice that at other times in history. >>

I would guess that the minhag of the shul and especially the yeshiva has an
equal impact to family customs. Many (Most?) ashkenazim (at least in EY)
hold the first 33 days of the Omer for not having weddings. A running
battle with the chief rabbi of my town (a sefardi) who refuses to allow
ashkenazim to hold a wedding after lag ba-omer because its against the
Rama. Explaining that it is not my mionhag gets you nowhere - he decides
what your minhag should be.

Eli Turkel
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Message: 5
From: Eli Turkel
Date: Sun, 13 Nov 2016 22:43:08 +0200
Re: [Avodah] bracha on matza

<<Yes, as implied by my question is that it would make more sense if the
Sepharadi practice distinguished by kind of matzah.

But the fact underlying the question is that in reality, it doesn't.
Lemaaseh Sefaradim switch berakhos by date, not by kind of matzah. >>

R. Gigo of Har Etzion paskens that a sefardi can say hamotzi on a sweet
challah even though
it has a distinct sweet taste because it is considered bread bt the general
public. I know other
sefardi rabbis disagree basically because if the Mechaber paskens we cant
change the
halacha because people's definition of bread changes

Eli Turkel
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Message: 6
From: Eli Turkel
Date: Sun, 13 Nov 2016 22:49:06 +0200
[Avodah] how to pasken

<<Well, CM is defined mostly by what the two parties agree upon. So social
norms have FAR more room to influence outcome.

One of the two meanings of "minhag mevatel halakhah" is the CM usage,
that if both parties expect a qinyan to occur, or do not expect one,
(or one party to have acharyus, or...) that could mean more than whether
by default halakhah, it would. >>

Nevertheless there are arguments between the Mechaber and Ramah in CM.
A lot has to do that you can't run a bet din where for every monetary
argument you
begin- by asking if the claimants are ashkenazi or sefardi.  I note that in
discussions of R Zilberstein he treats a disagreement between the Mechaber
and Ramah
in monetary laws as any other machloket and applies the usual halachot of
"ha motzi mechavero alav haraaya" etc. I would assume that is the general
way batei dinim hold

Eli Turkel
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Message: 7
From: Eli Turkel
Date: Sun, 13 Nov 2016 23:25:00 +0200
[Avodah] minhag shtut

I am not sure what a minhag shtus is - many are controversial

1) Is believing in segulot a minhag shtut? Some on this list think so but
many Jews beleive in them
BTW tonight there is a super-moon (
http://earthsky.org/tonight/most-super-supermoon) and there is a special
prayer for refuah of the family

2) not eating in the succa on shemini atzeret (outside EY) is this wrong or
an accepted minhag - depends who you ask

3) RYBS was against the minhag to have the tefillin with a square knot. A
square knot is not a double daled. OTPH many people do wear the square knot


Eli Turkel
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Message: 8
From: Prof. Levine
Date: Mon, 14 Nov 2016 06:02:16 -0500
[Avodah] Torah She-be-al Peh

I think that the following regarding the Oral Torah is important to know.

The following is 
beginning on page 6.

Rambam, Introduction to Sanhedrin, Chapter 10 ? 
There has always been an Oral Torah

The eighth Fundamental Principle of Judaism is
that the Torah is from Heaven. This means that
we must believe that this entire Torah, which
was given to us from Moshe Our Teacher, may
he rest in peace, is entirely from the mouth of the
All this is also true for the explanation of the
Torah [the Oral Torah], which was also received
from the mouth of the Almighty. The manner in
which we today perform the mitzvot of Sukkah,
Lulav, Shofar, Tzitzit, Tefillin, and other items
is precisely the way that God, blessed be He,
told Moshe, who then informed us. And the one
whom God appointed as an agent is surely to be
relied upon.

There are hints in the written text to the fact 
that the Written Torah was given together with the Oral Torah.

Vayikra (Leviticus) 26:46 with Commentary of 
Rashi ? There are two Torahs, both given to
Moshe by God.

These are the statutes, the ordinances, and the
Torahs that the Lord gave between Himself and
the children of Israel on Mount Sinai, through

Rashi ?
and the Torahs [Why the plural form,
?Torahs? ? This denotes two Torahs]: One Written
Torah and one Oral Torah. It teaches us that all
was given to Moshe on [Mount] Sinai. [Torat
Kohanim 26:54
Moshe was taught both on Mount Sinai.

Devarim 9:10 and Talmud Yerushalmi, Megillah 28a 
? Moshe was taught all of the Oral Torah.

God gave me the two stone tablets inscribed
with the finger of God. And upon them was [it
written] according to all the words that God
declared to you on the mountain out of the fire,
on the Day of Assembly.

Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: The text does
not say, ?upon them? rather ?and upon them?;
not ?words? rather ?the words?; not ?all? rather
?according to all.? These extra words allude to
Scripture, Mishnah, Talmud and Aggadah. Even
what an experienced student was destined to
rule before his teacher was already said to Moshe
at Sinai. And so it is written, ?Is there a matter
about which one can say ?Look, this is new!?? To
which his fellow will reply, ?It has already been in
the times that came before us?? (Kohelet 1:10).

Moshe then transmitted all that he was taught by 
God, both the Written and the Oral Torah

Talmud Bavli, Eruvin 54b ? The Oral Torah was 
taught to Moshe and transmitted by him to
the entire nation.

Our Rabbis taught: What was the procedure of
the instruction in the Oral Torah? Moshe learned
directly from God. Then Aharon entered and
Moshe taught him his lesson. Aharon then moved
aside and sat down on Moshe? left. Thereupon,
Aharon?s sons entered and Moshe taught them
this lesson. His sons then moved aside, Eleazar
taking his seat on Moshe? right and Ithamar on
Aharon?s left.

Rabbi Judah stated: Aharon was always on
Moshe?s right. Thereupon, the elders entered, and
Moshe taught them the lesson. When the elders
moved aside, all the people entered, and Moshe
taught them the same lesson. It thus followed
that Aharon heard the lesson four times, his
sons heard it three times, the elders twice and all
the people once. At this stage Moshe departed,
and Aharon taught them the same lesson. Then
Aharon departed, and his sons taught them the
lesson. His sons then departed, and the elders
taught them the lesson. It thus followed that
everyone heard the same lesson four times

 From all of this it seems to me that Torah 
she-be-al peh was given with precision and 
definiteness to Moshe and transmitted by him to 
the nation of Israel and on and on for generations.

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Message: 9
From: Michael Poppers
Date: Tue, 15 Nov 2016 15:43:43 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Brewing coffee on Shabbos

In Avodah V34n147, RAMiller laid out a case for legally brewing coffee on

> I will now describe the halachos as I heard them on Shabbos Bereshis,
from Rabbi Avrohom Herman, rav of the JEC Elmora Shul in Elizabeth, at his
short Hilchos Shabbos shiur during Kabalas Shabbos. I am also including a
great deal of my own research that I did based on the sources that he
cited, and elsewhere. <
Having been at that same *shiur* (and the one, last Friday night, which
followed), two brief comments....

-1- R'Akiva mentions *ohel* (which, AFAIK, Rabbi Herman [RAH] did not
mention) as well as *bishul* and *boreir*.  Neither he nor RAH
mentioned *tzoveya
<http://halachipedia.com/index.php?title=Tzoveya#Liquids>*.  I brought that
up to RAH after Ma'ariv of that night, and he noted that Rav Teitz [REMT]
was *machmir* on [at least, IIUC] culinary-liquids *tzoveya*.

> As it turns out, this exact question was raised on these very pages eight
years ago, by R' Stephen Scher, in Avodah 25:425. That thread got only a
few responses, mostly about the bishul issues. One point was about borer,
from R' Micha Berger, who wrote:

> Also, to get around the boreir problem.... Instead of using
> a regular filter, use a french press. They push the grounds
> down to the bottom, allowing you to pour okhel mitokh pesoles.

(For those who want to see how a French Press works, there's a very simple
video on the Wikipedia page. It's only 66 seconds long, and the first half
of that shows him grinding the coffee beans.)

> I disagree. There is a two-step process here. I concede that in the
second step, you "pour okhel mitokh pesoles", just as if you had waited for
the grounds to settle to the bottom. But the first step, when you "push the
grounds down to the bottom", that is (at least to me) a clear act of
removing the pesoles from the ochel. <
-2- IINM, RAH definitely forbade use of a French press on Shabbos at last
Friday night's *shiur*.

All the best from
*Michael Poppers* * Elizabeth, NJ, USA
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