Avodah Mailing List

Volume 35: Number 28

Sun, 05 Mar 2017

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Akiva Miller
Date: Fri, 3 Mar 2017 07:51:16 -0500
Re: [Avodah] kavua/Rov

R' Joel Rich asked:

> I?ve always wondered about the underlying seeming discontinuity
> in treating a safeik in a kavua (doubt generated in its original
> location) as 50/50, whereas any other safeik gets adjudicated
> based on statistical majority (the whole 10 stores thing). I?m
> wondering if this might have anything to do with behavioral
> economics heuristics (Kahnemann/Tversky, et al). I have some
> thoughts on the matter and would be interested in hearing from
> others.

I know zero about behavioral economics heuristics, but I have noticed
something about people over the years. Most people understand the idea of
probability, such as the likelihood of arriving on time at one's
destination. But there are at least two situations where the vast majority
of people will treat something as much closer to 50/50 than the actual
probability: lottery tickets, and bad news from the doctor.

If the doctor tells someone that with these symptoms there's a
one-in-a-thousand chance of it being worse, or if the lottery salesman says
that this ticket has a one-in-a-hundred-million chance of winning, all the
math goes straight out the window, and people just think, "Either I'll get
it or I won't" - mechtza al mechtza. The actual likelihood is ignored.

Yes, I'm exaggerating. But not by much.

So too, perhaps, with "the whole 10 stores thing". In some cases, Chazal
understood the actual probability, and in others, they were concerned that
"either it happened bad or it didn't".

Akiva Miller
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Message: 2
From: saul newman
Date: Fri, 3 Mar 2017 07:45:52 -0800
[Avodah] rabbi wilner

>>>A religious woman was just nominated to the Israel supreme court - even
greater serara plus arkaot.

---  the fact that women refuse to follow daas tora doesnt change the daas
tora , in the same way that those who don't cover their hair doesnt
suddenly make it muttar to do so.  i assume this is like 'tav lemeitav' ,
where no matter how many exceptions you try and bring , we would say the
problem is them not the principle...

same with the rabbi's second wife.  she is driving against daas tora , and
he somehow for sholom bayis doesn't break up over it
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Message: 3
From: Professor L. Levine
Date: Fri, 3 Mar 2017 17:42:19 +0000
[Avodah] Women working to break Rabbinate?s monopoly over

It seems that much is going on in Israel regarding kashrus supervision.  From


Hemdah Shalom and Avivit Ravia are the two only female kashrut supervisors
in Jerusalem, working on behalf of the Hashgacha Pratit organization, which
offers businesses an alternative kashrut model. We joined them on a tour of
restaurants which are already using their services in order to learn how
things can be done differently.

See the above URL for more.

I personally know nothing about this kashrus organization.  However,  I do
know that some years ago the Star-K used women as female kashrus
supervisors in certain situations,  and it still may be doing this.

Cleveland has one. See


Also see the article

Women Mashgichos: Halacha and History



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Message: 4
From: Ben Waxman
Date: Sat, 04 Mar 2017 19:54:20 +0200
Re: [Avodah] rabbi wilner

If the argument against women rabbis was Daas Torah*, there wouldn't be 
any argument between the Open Orthodox and Centerist Orthodox over the 
issue. Neither believe in DT. Ignoring a Daat Torah position has never 
been cause to expel anyone from the DL/MO world, it is only a criteria 
for the Chareidi world.

*DT isn't the issue, I know.


On 3/3/2017 5:45 PM, saul newman via Avodah wrote:
 > >>>A religious woman was just nominated to the Israel supreme court - 
 > greater serara plus arkaot.
 > ---  the fact that women refuse to follow daas tora doesnt change the 
daas tora , in the same way that those who don't cover their hair doesnt 
suddenly make it muttar to do so.  i assume this is like 'tav lemeitav' 
, where no matter how many exceptions you try and bring , we would say 
the problem is them not the principle..

Go to top.

Message: 5
From: Ben Waxman
Date: Sun, 05 Mar 2017 07:07:46 +0200
Re: [Avodah] Women working to break Rabbinate?s monopoly over

Here is their web site:



On 3/3/2017 7:42 PM, Professor L. Levine via Avodah wrote:
 > I personally know nothing about this kashrus organization.

Go to top.

Message: 6
From: Akiva Miller
Date: Sun, 5 Mar 2017 05:34:44 -0500
[Avodah] How to become a Kohen

When Pinchas was born, his father was not yet a kohen, so - obviously -
Pinchas did not become one automatically at birth. However, he was able to
acquire this privilege and status as a result of certain actions that he
took in a story which the Chumash tells us.

I often forget that he is not the only person to become a kohen without
being born one. The case of Aharon himself is obvious,  but let's set that
aside.  I'd like to ask specifically about Nadav, Avihu, Elazar and Itamar.
How did they get this zechus? Perhaps it was purely for practical reasons
(such as to distinguish between the Kohen Gadol and the hedyotos), or was
there something that made them more special than the other Leviim?

And a somewhat related question:  I don't know how old Elazar and Itamar
were at this point, but they probably were not too young, given that Aharon
was already past 80. So, was Pinchas the only grandson? In other words,
once Pinchas became a kohen, did the kehuna now include all of Aharon's
male descendants, or were some left out?

Akiva Miller
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Message: 7
From: Cantor Wolberg
Date: Sat, 4 Mar 2017 20:42:57 -0500
[Avodah] Shabbos Zachor

The word Zachor appears 4 times in the Torah.
The first is Sh?mos (13:3) which tells us to remember
the Exodus from Egypt constantly, every day.
The second is Sh?mos (20:8) commanding us to remember
the Sabbath day.
The third is D?vorim (24:9) reminding what God did to Miriam
for slandering her brother, Moshe.
And the fourth is D?vorim (25:17) commanding us to remember
what Amalek did to you.

A strange coincidence that Zachor is used for seemingly disparate
situations. Remember Amalek; remember the Sabbath; remember
the departure from Egypt and remember what happens when you 
slander and speak lashon hara. 

What connection is there between the four? I submit that the zachors
used are not only an indication of what is wrong with Jewish life today
but means of correcting the situation. Unfortunately, there are too many
Jews who are Jews by suffering. Their only relationship with the Jewish
people and Jewish life is: Zachor es asher oso l?cho Amalek, remembering
what Amalek did and the bad things done to the Jewish people.  As Heinrich Heine 
put it:  For some Jews, Judaism is not a religion ? it is a misfortune. 

If we intend to survive and grow as a people, we need the other zachors ? 
Zachor es yom hashabbos; Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. 

We must also always recall our history and humble beginnings: 
Zachor es hayom hazeh asher y?tzasem miMitzrayim;
Remember this day on which you departed from Egypt. 

And finally, without menschlechkeit, all of our observances,
learning, rituals, etc. are empty, like bodies without souls. 
Hence ? Zachor es asher asa Adonoy Elohecha l?Miryam;
Remember what the Lord, your God did to Miriam (on the way,
when you were leaving Egypt). Slander, gossip, lashon hara, etc.
cause spiritual tzaraas. This 'Zachor' reminds every generation
that life and death are in the power of the tongue.

Blessed are those who can give without remembering and take without
				   Elizabeth Elizabeth Bibesco (1897-1945) 
English Writer

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Message: 8
From: Professor L. Levine
Date: Sun, 5 Mar 2017 13:51:10 +0000
[Avodah] Drinking Wine Ad D'lo Yoda

The following is from today's Daf Yomi B'Halacha

Drinking Wine Ad D'lo Yoda
Important in the Purim saga were the many wine feasts, Achashveirosh's
notorious party, the party hosted when Esther was chosen, and the two
parties Esther hosted for Achashveirosh and Hamon. Chazal commemorated
these parties with a mandate to drink wine on Purim. Chazal speak of
drinking "ad d'lo yoda bein arur Hamon l'baruch Mordechai".  One
explanation of the difference between arur Hamon and baruch Mordechai is
that arur refers to Hamon's downfall and baruch refers to Mordechai's
ascension to greatness, the latter being greater. The mandate is to drink
until the point when one does not know for which of the two it is more
important to praise Hashem for. Another explanation is that both share the
same mathematical equivalent (502). The halacha requires drinking to the
point where one can no longer perform a mathematical calculation. [emphasis


In light of the criteria of  no longer being able to perform  a
mathematical calculation I must say that in my many years of teaching
mathematics I have apparently encountered hundreds of people who are in the
state of Ad D' lo Yoda not just on  Purim but all year round!!!  >:-}


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Message: 9
From: Prof. Levine
Date: Sun, 05 Mar 2017 12:47:45 -0500
[Avodah] Holy Temple Appears on Temple Mount - See For

Please see


I wonder how accurate and realistic this is.  Can anyone comment?

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Message: 10
From: Prof. Levine
Date: Sun, 05 Mar 2017 09:36:04 -0500
[Avodah] Hashgacha Pratit Web Site

At 12:07 AM 3/5/2017, Ben Waxman wrote:
>Here is their web site:
I am really surprised that anyone could be so naive as to rely on a 
"covenant of trust"  as the basis for giving hashgacha.  While it is 
certainly true that if a proprietor wants to cheat on kashrus 
standards, then even with a mashgiach temidi kashrus standards can be 
violated,  to take away the fear that a mashgiach will check and find 
something wrong is not at all wise.

The standards of this organization are very low IMO, and I fail to 
see how anyone who is really concerned about kashrus would rely on it.

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Message: 11
From: Akiva Miller
Date: Sun, 5 Mar 2017 06:18:33 -0500
[Avodah] Chometz: Less than a kezayis

I wrote:

> We are told many times how very thorough the bedikah must be:
> Cracks and crevices. Holes in a wall. And so on. These places
> have always led me to believe that we must search for all
> chometz - even if it is small and even if it is dirty....

R' Micha Berger wrote:

> This is in line with the posts we used to get annually about
> how keeping Pesach doesn't require driving ourselves crazy
> with Spring Cleaning. And therefore driving yourself crazy to
> the point of dreading the approach of Pesach is assur as
> violating simchas YT.

and in another post:

> In the past, I "blamed" the havtachah of the Ari zal that
> someone who totally purges their chameitz will not sin in the
> coming year. A minhag based on Qabbalah, not din.

I would like to explain why I have been so surprised by this attitude that
certain small bits of chometz can be ignored.

One is that I suppose I've never really seen the types of "cracks and
crevices" that Chazal speak about. In my mind, even the smallest shiur of
kezayis is much larger than what might fit into the floorboards of a
unfinished wooden floor. I suppose that if someone was making a bread at
some point during the year, dropped it on the floor, and let the entire
thing sit there and get trampled on - yes, in such a case you'd have a
kezayis in those cracks and crevices. But such a case would deserve mention
in the "don't forget these things" category. It would not have become the
standard description of how carefully the bedikah must be done. Cracks and
crevices of one's unfinished wooden walls - seriously, what is the chance
of a kezayis of chometz being there? And that's why I always believed that
we must search even for the tiniest crumb.

I suspect that the above paragraph will be difficult to answer, because it
is based more on architecture and life experiences, and I don't know how to
gain the sort of practical knowledge of chometz in the homes of Chazal. So
instead I will cite modern poskim about a modern problem: checking seforim
for chometz.

Rav Shimon Eider (Halachos of Pesach, page 72) quotes Rav Moshe Feinstein
as saying the we do NOT have to do bedikah on seforim (although "a volume
which may have been used around chometz" should not be brought to the
table). This seems very consistent with what has been said about tiny
pieces of chometz being "automatically batel".

But this is only one side of a machlokes! If you want to follow that view,
fine, but let's not pretend that it is universally held!

In that same paragraph, Rav Eider quotes the Chazon Ish as writing, "There
is no difference between crumbs and a gluska yafeh, and therefore one is
obligated to inspect seforim for fear of crumbs, even though they would not
be a kezayis."

Is there any way to reconcile this with the recently popular instructions
that I and some other posters have referred to?

Pesach cleaning will drive anyone "crazy" (to use RMB's word above) if he
doesn't plan for it well, allowing sufficient time to do a proper job. If
one chooses (or his rav instructs him) to follow the Chazon Ish, this will
include every single sefer that might have chometz in it, and many other
parts of the house where other poskim would say, "There's no kezayis here."
Don't blame the halacha when the fault really lies with poor planning.

Akiva Miller
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