Avodah Mailing List

Volume 35: Number 85

Wed, 21 Jun 2017

< Previous Next >
Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: saul newman
Date: Sun, 18 Jun 2017 17:07:22 -0700
[Avodah] Support for Maaseh Satan

the aguda made a very practical decision-- to not make a halachic decision,
but rather to seek support economically and non-military . the only
halachic issue was to determine that the State's money is muttar.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.aishdas.org/pipermail/avod

Go to top.

Message: 2
From: Shalom Berger
Date: Mon, 19 Jun 2017 11:17:30 +0300
[Avodah] Shoah

Cantor Wolberg's reference to the Orthodox Rabbi who wrote about who has
the right to disbelieve after the Holocaust is most likely Eliezer
Berkovits in his Faith After the Holocaust.


Rabbi Shalom Z. Berger, Ed.D.
The Lookstein Center for Jewish Education
Bar-Ilan University
Follow me on Twitter: @szberger

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.aishdas.org/pipermail/avod

Go to top.

Message: 3
From: Professor L. Levine
Date: Mon, 19 Jun 2017 16:40:00 +0000
[Avodah] Q. I am required to attend a business meeting at a

From today's OU Halacha Yomis.

Q. I am required to attend a business meeting at a non-kosher restaurant. How do I avoid the issue of maris ayin?

A. The general rule regarding maris ayin is that one can avoid the
prohibition of maris ayin if there is a heker (sign) that indicates that
the action is permitted. For example, Rama (YD 87:3) writes that one may
not cook meat with almond milk, since this gives the impression that one is
violating the prohibition of cooking milk and meat together. This would
constitute maris ayin. However, this situation is permitted if one places
almonds near the pot, since the almonds will alert a bystander that the
milk comes from almonds and not from an animal. Therefore, if one must
enter a non-kosher restaurant, one should do so in a manner that makes it
clear that one is entering for business and not for pleasure. For example,
one should enter carrying a briefcase or a stack of papers. Rav Schachter,
shlita said that in such an instance it would be preferable to wear a cap
instead of a yarmulke. Rav Schachter also said that once seated, one may
order a drink

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.aishdas.org/pipermail/avod

Go to top.

Message: 4
From: Micha Berger
Date: Mon, 19 Jun 2017 15:56:47 -0400
[Avodah] Hashkafah and the Siddur

This is a comment on R Yaakov Jaffe's article at

Since the Lehrhaus doesn't take comments, I thought we could discuss it here.
(CC-ing RYJ.)

He writes:
   Get Your Hashkafa Out of My Chumash!
   [R] Yaakov Jaffe

   It has become commonplace in Modern Orthodox circles to lament the lack
   of alignment between the beliefs of the movement and some of the
   editions, translations, and versions of ritual texts that members of
   the movement use. These critiques are often welcome, such as Deborah
   Klapper's[13] recent excellent essay about the Haggadah for Pesach, and
   tend to frame ArtScroll Publishers as the almost villain who has taken
   the ideologically open, natural, innocent, uncorrupted foundational
   texts of Judaism and colored them with an Ultra-Orthodox translation,
   skew, or commentary....

Okay, that's the general topic. Here's the point I wanted to discuss:

   For me, there is a more grave concern when Modern Orthodox Jews flock
   to a different ritual text because it aligns more purely with their
   own ideology, and that is that the ritual text ceases to be important
   for its own sake (as a Siddur, Humash, or Hagaddah), a vehicle for
   transmitting sacred texts and values through the generations, but
   instead becomes a mere bit player in a larger drama about movements
   and self-identification. ("I use this Siddur because in many ways it
   demonstrates that I am a proud Modern Orthodox Jew.") This carries the
   risk that readers will stop reading the text of the Humash or being
   taken by the poetry of the Siddur and instead become hyper-focused on
   ideological markers that appear in those ritual texts. And for reasons
   that we will demonstrate below, the subordination of prayer within
   the mind of the person at prayer, beneath the selection of outward
   identifiers of ideology undermines the very purpose and notion of
   prayer itself.

   In 1978, Rabbi Soloveitchik authored a[15] short essay entitled
   "Majesty and Humility" in Tradition, in which he poses a dichotomy
   critical for Jewish religious experience and prayer. He describes
   one pole as majestic humanity, striving for victory and sovereignty,
   as "Man sets himself up as king and tries to triumph over opposition
   and hostility." The other pole is humble humanity, full of "withdrawal
   and retreat," which appreciates the smallness of human beings in the
   scope of the cosmic order. In the essay, prayer is an example of man
   in the mood of humility, of withdrawal, who finds the Almighty not
   when humanity triumphs over the forces of nature, or in the scope of
   the galaxies, but when humanity recognizes its own limitations, and,
   as a result, causes that "God does descend from infinity to finitude,
   from boundlessness into the narrowness of the Sanctuary," or:

   All I could do was to pray. However, I could not pray in the
   hospital... the moment I returned home I would rush to my room, fall
   on my knees and pray fervently. God in those moments appeared not as
   the exalted majestic King, but rather as a humble, close friend.

   While at prayer, the individual is constantly focused on his or
   her own inadequacy compared to the Divine Creator and his or her
   own limitations. The individual cannot be engaged in the battles of
   denomination supremacy, as he or she is paralyzed by his or her own
   smallness while attempting to pray.

   Moreover, prayer is generally a uniquely unsuited vehicle for
   conveying specific, unique, or modern ideologies and beliefs. It
   focuses on requests and aspirations, not on statements of creed. The
   text of the Siddur also serves as a unifying tool for the Jewish people
   (given the enormous general similarity despite centuries of division
   and dispersal) and highlights what we have in common and not what we
   have apart.

  13. http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/a-haggadah-without-women-2/
  15. http://traditionarchive.org/news/originals/Volu
  16. http://www.thelehrhaus.com/scholarship/?author=5886cfaabebafbcb2d43

My problem is that tefillah is all about ideology, and the siddur
runs from statement of creed to statement of creed -- Yigdal to Ani
Maamin. (Not saying AM is mandatory, but it's there...)

For example, RYBS's is one approach to prayer. It's different than that
of Nefesh haChaim, where the focus of baqashos are what the world needs
for G-d's sake, not our own needs for our sake. Curing the sick because
His Presence is enhanced when people are healthy. Etc...

It's different than RSRH's approach to berakhos, where they are
declarations of personal commitment. So that we ask for health so that
we can contribute to His Say in the world -- "berakhah" lashon ribui,
after all. Etc... (I think I dug up 7 different theological resolutions
to how to undertand "barukh Atah H'" given that ribui and HQBH don't mix.)

This is taking a specific hashkafah's side in order to argue that tefillah
shouldn't be taking a specific hashkafah's side.

As for Tanakh... It is true that in one community, maximalist positions
that magnify G-d's Greatness -- whether it's a description of qeri'as
Yam Suf or Rivqa's age at meeting Yitzchaq -- have a near-exclusive
currency. Saying that the sea simply split vehamayim lahem chimah miyminam
umismolam is seen as the product if ignorance; of course it split into
13 tunnels, each providing all of our needs, ready to be grabbed out of
the walls.

Whereas the other prefers more rationalist positions, and in any case
there is a broader array of Chazal's statements taken as possibly true.

Or, does an MO Jew relate to a chumash in which the only topic of
footnotes on the berakhos of Yissachar & Zevulun is their possible
precedent for kollel life? (Despite there never having been an entire
community where kollel was the norm until the past century.) In a
community where wearing hexaplex (the snail formerly known as murex)
dyed strings is a significant minority, isn't there more interest in
sefunei temunei chol than in a community where it's unheard of?

Then there is just different communities having different tastes in
what kind of Torah thought they find more appealing / satisfying /
moving. People who gravitate to the words of the Rav like the ideas
in Mesores haRav for that reason. Just as Chabadnikim are more
likely to find things to their taste in the Guttenstein Chumash than
in the Stone Edition. Shouldn't, then, all these options exist?

And is that any less true when thinking of how to relate to some
complex poseq in Tehillim or a line composed by Anshei Keneses haGdolah
(or the typical Ashkenazi paytan) to be a palimpsest of meanings?


Micha Berger             What you get by achieving your goals
mi...@aishdas.org        is not as important as
http://www.aishdas.org   what you become by achieving your goals.
Fax: (270) 514-1507              - Henry David Thoreau

Go to top.

Message: 5
From: Eli Turkel
Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2017 13:25:08 +0300
[Avodah] Support for Maaseh Satan

<<The Agudist (at least classically, there were exceptions
in the early years of the state, and things seem to be wearing down now)
believe that Jews can regain sovereignty over EY for the first time in
2 millenia without it being religiously significant.>>

R Yoel bin Nun has given this argument for many years. He understands DL
and Satmar
but claims that the Agudah poisition basically denies that G-d affects
history. We now have a state
for some 70 years that appears to be very successful but is against the
wishes of G-d.

Eli Turkel
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.aishdas.org/pipermail/avod

Go to top.

Message: 6
From: Yaakov Jaffe
Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2017 09:19:46 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Hashkafah and the Siddur


Regarding the first point that "This is taking a specific hashkafah's side
in order to argue that tefillah
shouldn't be taking a specific hashkafah's side." I confess that I am
guilty as charged.

But one approach to tefilah (let's call it the one that resonates with me)
is that it is purely a communication between the speaker and his or her
Creator, and that consequently, it is not the time and place to be focused
on proclaiming our ideologies.  Obviously others may argue, and there are
numerous siddur options for them.  But we shouldn't pretend that this is
the only approach to prayer, or that every Jew must use ideology in chosing
a siddur.

Regarding the second point, which I understand to be saying "each occasion
of Torah study involves someone chosing an approach they prefer to
understand the text, so they should chose a Chumash that furthers the
approach that they prefer" I also tend to agree as well, but here my post
focuses on the reductio ad absurdum problem of splitting hairs and
hyper-focus on details hashkafa.
I did not conduct a comprehensive study of the stone Chumash, but wonder
whether the troubling explanations are ubiquitous, occasional, or somewhere
in between.  The problem with a "Modern" chumash, is that there are many
"modern" explanations that could be equally troubling, depending on how
modern the chumash and conservative the reader.  Did Bilaam's donkey talk
or was it a dream (Ramban versus Rambam)?  If Artscroll said he spoke, and
for example a new chumash says that he did not - then which one most
accurately reflects my hashkafa?  And if you imagine 100 different texts
that can be each read multiple ways, how do we find the chumash that on all
100 provides the perfect match?

Hope this makes sense, happy to continue the conversation further,

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.aishdas.org/pipermail/avod

Go to top.

Message: 7
From: saul newman
Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2017 08:07:45 -0700
[Avodah] Shmitta fund

.html?m=1. Is that the general psak, that heter mechira is no better
than nothing?
Sent from my iPhone
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.aishdas.org/pipermail/avod

Go to top.

Message: 8
From: Micha Berger
Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2017 18:02:30 -0400
Re: [Avodah] restaurants

On Tue, Jun 13, 2017 at 01:44:00PM +0000, Rich, Joel via Avodah wrote:
: From the OU:
:     Igros Moshe (OC II:40) was asked whether one may enter a non-kosher
:     restaurant to purchase something kosher. He writes that this would
:     be a violation of both maris ayin (possibly causing those who witness
:     the action to become more lax in their Torah observance) and chashad
:     (giving the appearance of impropriety)...

A question about that "and"...

I agree with their parenthetic definition, but I will rephrase to show
why I think it's rare-to-impossible for something to simultaneously be
both mar'is ayin and cheshad.

Mar'is ayin is where someone who sees the action will assume it's mutar,
or at least informally "not so bad".

Cheshad is where someone who sees the action is sure it's assur, and
therefore think less of the person doing it.

How many actions involve two conflicting default umdenos?

So, being confused, I looked up the Igeros Moshe. The teshuvah is
primarily about a frum minyan in a room in a non-O synagogue. The last
paragraph begins "Ubedavar im mutar le'ekhol berestarant..." ("Restaurant"
transliterated in Yiddish or hil' gittin style.)

The line is "yeis le'esor mishum mar'is ayin vecheshad". But if someone
is mitzta'er tuva, so that these gezeiros do not apply, they could eat
betzin'ah something that has no actual kashrus problem.

Does "ve-" here have to mean both? Or could it mean that between the two,
it is assur in all circumstances? Like "lulav hagazul vehayaveish pasul"
doesn't refer only to a lulav that is both stolen and dried out. Chazal's
"ve-" is more complex than "and". (I am tempted to discuss de Morgan's
laws and ve-, but I will just leave in this hint rather than detour into
a class in symbolic logic.)

If it does have to mean both mar'ish ayin and cheshad, can someone

: Question - Are marit atin and chashad social construct based?

I am not clear how they could NOT be.

: For example, in our society if you see a man in a suit and kippah in
: a treif restaurant, what is the general reaction? Is there a certain %
: threshold for concern?

In NYC, if you see two people, only one of which in O uniform, entering
a restaurant, it's common to just assume this is a business meeting and
accomodations were made. Restaurants in Manhattan routinely take delivery
for a kosher meal when catering a group; it's a matter of the minimum
size of the group they'll make such accomodation for. (I have been one
of three, and got Abigails delivered double-sealed.) In such a climate,
I don't think people would assume you're there to eat treif even if it's
just two people meeting and no kosher could possibly be brought in from
the outside. It's just a known thing.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             The purely righteous do not complain about evil,
mi...@aishdas.org        but add justice, don't complain about heresy,
http://www.aishdas.org   but add faith, don't complain about ignorance,
Fax: (270) 514-1507      but add wisdom.     - R AY Kook, Arpelei Tohar

Go to top.

Message: 9
From: Micha Berger
Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2017 19:11:32 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Redemption

On Tue, Jun 13, 2017 at 09:33:00PM -0400, Akiva Miller via Avodah wrote:
:> Ribis.  Lanochri tashich is a mitzvat asei.
: True. I have always thought of ribis in a class of its own, for the
: simple reason that the entire world considers it to be a generally
: acceptable business practice...

According to the Rambam, it's a mitzvas asei. The SA (YD 159:1) holds
like the Tur, it's mutar de'oraisa, and usually prohibited derabbanan
"shema yilmod mima'asav". Bikhdei chayav, tzurba derabbanan and if
the profit is only defined derabbanan as ribbis are three exceptions.

(Charging ribis from a mumar shekafar be'iqar is also mutar, because we
are not obligated lehachayaso; but paying ribis to him is not.)

The Levush says "shema yilmod mima'asev" doesn't apply in the current
economy. Chazal assumed a primarily Jewish economy where we have a
few exceptional deals with non-Jews. So for us, ribis is always mutar

I wonder whether this heter of the Levush would apply to Jews in Israel

In any case, halakhah pesukah (assuming the reader isn't Teimani)
doesn't mention any mitzvah asei.

In terms of the taam being because their own economy is based on
interest... Would you argue that it's wrong to lend a Muslim or an
Amish person money with interest? (Even in the Levush's opinion?)

Particularly in a Moslem country. where they have their own parallels to
heter isqa <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_banking_and_finance>,
and the person's whole culture (I presume) reviles interest.

So is it whether or not ribis is considered immoral by the person being
charged, or whether or not kelapei Shemaya galya ribis is moral? I
argued the latter, but your wording left me wanting to articulate the

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             When memories exceed dreams,
mi...@aishdas.org        The end is near.
http://www.aishdas.org                   - Rav Moshe Sherer
Fax: (270) 514-1507

Go to top.

Message: 10
From: Rich, Joel
Date: Wed, 21 Jun 2017 20:49:51 +0000
[Avodah] first greeting

What would you like the first thing that HKB"H says to you at 120 when you report to the beit din shel maaleh(heavenly study hall)?
Joel Rich

distribution or copying of this message by anyone other than the addressee is 
strictly prohibited.  If you received this message in error, please notify us 
immediately by replying: "Received in error" and delete the message.  
Thank you.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.aishdas.org/pipermail/avod

Go to top.

Message: 11
From: Rich, Joel
Date: Wed, 21 Jun 2017 20:50:41 +0000
[Avodah] well-known Ramban

What would your vote be for the most well-known Ramban on Chumash?
Joel Rich

distribution or copying of this message by anyone other than the addressee is 
strictly prohibited.  If you received this message in error, please notify us 
immediately by replying: "Received in error" and delete the message.  
Thank you.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.aishdas.org/pipermail/avod

Go to top.

Message: 12
From: Micha Berger
Date: Wed, 21 Jun 2017 18:53:48 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Explanation of the Tur?

On Wed, Jun 07, 2017 at 11:21:05PM +0100, Chana Luntz via Avodah wrote:
: > I think the word "source" in your translation is misleading "Al pi
: > haqabalah hasherashim vehakelalos" doesn't really mean mean textual sources,
: > like the mishnah or QSA. This teshuvah could well mean "qabalah"
: > in the same sense as a mohel or a shocheit, knowledge of practice rather
: > than knowledge of abstract ideas.

: No problem with that, as I was trying to get across the idea that these
: were not "textual" sources - how would you translate [sheyilmedu al pi
: haqabalah hashorashim vehakelalios] better though, to keep the flow and
: that something is being taught "al pi hakabalah"?

"They learned by osmosis the root principles and the general rules..."

:> However, the Maharil also touches on the topic in Shu"t Maharil haChadashos
:> 45, #2, in a discussion of women saying Birkhas haTorah. 

: These two Maharil's are such chalk and cheese, that it does seem difficult
: to understand them as having been written by the same person...

Meaning, he isn't useful as a source either way, as a harmonization
of the quotes (or a rejection of them) would itself require proof, and
can't be used to make the Majaril a source of a position.

:: And then the Chofetz Chaim in his defence of Beit Ya'akov type schooling in
:: Lekutei Halachot Sotah 21...

::> But it seems that all this was dafka in the times that were prior to us
::> when each on lived in the place of his fathers and the tradition of the
::> fathers was very strong by each one to go in the way that our fathers
::> went and like it says "ask your father and he shall tell you" and in this
::> it was possible to say that one should not teach Torah and rely in their
::> practice on their upright fathers.

:> Notice the CC is talking about mimetic chinukh, cultural absorbtion.

: Yes and no.  "ask your father and he shall tell you" [Devarim 32:7] is the
: pasuk used to justify saying "vitzivanu" on Chanukah candles [Shabbat 23a]
: and other rabbinic mitzvot.  It is not exactly a mimetic pasuk...

But that doesn't mean that's the CC's intent. As you write:
:                                   Yes the CC is clearly talking about in the
: context of the family (as boys were originally taught prior to the setting
: up of schools)...

Using the word "avikha" to refer to morei hora'ah is not peshat in the
pasuq. The CC appears to be using the peshat, and ignoring the gemara's

I am uncomfortable with your reading something into the CC which isn't
quite what he said on the basis of his choice of prooftext. (Especially
anyone living after the normalization of out-of-context quote as slogan
with "chadash assur min haTorah".)

:> Even oral, the "textual" TSBP was formal, rules and ideas, existing
:> rulings. An intellectual excercise, rather than an experiential one.

: Agreed that there were some aspects of TSBP that was formal, rules and ideas
: etc - but that is not the question.  The question is, can or does anybody
: define TSBP as *only* those formal rules and ideas *without* including at
: all the experiential aspect...

Isn't the question: Does anyone force the CC to define the set of
TSBP that classically one was prohibited from teaching girls as being
more than those formal rules and ideas and as including at all the
experiential aspect?

:> I don't think he is talking about Oral Transmission in general, only when
:> you don't know what they did or would do in a given situation to have an
:> example to imitate.

: The Rambam says if you recall - "Anyone who teaches his daughter Torah it is
: as if he teaches her tiflut.  With regard to what are we speaking, with
: Torah she baal peh but Torah she bichtav even though he should not teach her
: ab initio, if he taught her it is not as though he taught her tiflut."

: The Rambam does not say - "with regard to what are we speaking, with regard
: to that portion of torah she ba'al peh that is formal rules and ideas,
: excluding those aspects that can be taught mimetically, but that portion of
: Torah she ba'al peh that can be or is taught mimetically or not necessarily
: in a formal educational setting is actually absolutely fine".  

I think the Rambam is using the word "lelameid" to mean formal education.
After all, does the father set out to actively teach informally? Hineni
muchan umezuman to teach by demonstrating behavior?

In which case, that would be exactly what the Rambam is saying. Watching
mom and asking questions as gaps arise is how Teimani girls were expected
to grow up up until Al Kanfei Nesharim in '49.

: And nobody seems to understand him as saying this (because otherwise, they
: could use this kind of TSBP as the subject of the brachot, or for her reward
: etc), seems to suggest that nobody is differentiating between these two
: types of TSBP...

Lehefech, the fact that formal reducation requires a berakhah and learning
informally / culturally does not strengthens the possiblity that it is
not equally that lelameid, just like it is not equally talmud Torah.

:                                          Is not the gemora etc filled with
: this kind of teaching?  I can't see us suggesting this is not TSBP.

The gemara isn't filled with cultural instruction; no text (written
or memorized) can be. Pehrpas a story or two describing a case of
it occuring...

So I am toally lost here. Maybe the "this" has been stretched further
than I can follow.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             If you won't be better tomorrow
mi...@aishdas.org        than you were today,
http://www.aishdas.org   then what need do you have for tomorrow?
Fax: (270) 514-1507              - Rebbe Nachman of Breslov

Go to top.

Message: 13
From: Cantor Wolberg
Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2017 22:00:33 -0400
[Avodah] Shabbos Rosh Chodesh

The gematria for Rosh Chodesh is 813.

In the whole of tanach there is only one verse with the gematria of 813.                                        
It is B?reishis, Chapter 1, verse 3.  
?Vayomer Elohim ohr, vay?hi ohr?  ?And God said: Let there be light and there was light.?

Music is moonlight in the gloomy night of life.
Jean Paul, Author


Avodah mailing list



Send Avodah mailing list submissions to

To subscribe or unsubscribe via the World Wide Web, visit
or, via email, send a message with subject or body 'help' to

You can reach the person managing the list at

When replying, please edit your Subject line so it is more specific
than "Re: Contents of Avodah digest..."

A list of common acronyms is available at
(They are also visible in the web archive copy of each digest.)

< Previous Next >