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Volume 35: Number 137

Wed, 06 Dec 2017

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Akiva Miller
Date: Tue, 5 Dec 2017 06:22:57 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Gid ha'nasheh

R' Chaim Tatel wrote:

> At any rate, it makes sense that Yaakov would be hit there,
> as a reminder that his marriage to Rachel after his marriage
> to her sister Leah would not hold up when he entered Eretz
> Yisrael. (not long after this episode, Rachel died in childbirth
> of Binyamin).
> Aside from feeling the psychological pain of Rachel?s death,
> perhaps Yaakov also had to feel physical pain.

I draw a distinction between "consequences" and "punishments". I have
heard in the past that Eretz Yisrael was unable to tolerate Yaakov's
being married to two sisters, and that Rachel's death was a
consequence of that.

But RCT writes that Yaakov was given a reminder of that consequence,
and that he had to feel pain as well. Now it sounds like Yaakov was
being punished.

If he was punished, it must be that he was punished for some choice
that he made. What choice was that? What did he do wrong? If he could
do it all over again, what ought he do differently? Specifically:
After having married Leah, should he have not married Rachel?
Alternatively, (according to those who say that he was not fooled but
knew that Leah had the simanim,) should he have not married Leah? Or
should he have protested and annuled the marriage to Leah?

If he was punished, what did he do wrong?

Akiva Miller

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Message: 2
From: Akiva Miller
Date: Tue, 5 Dec 2017 06:33:20 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Davening on Airplanes


R' Michael Mirsky asked:

> In all the discussions of this topic that I have seen, I
> haven't seen anyone address the issue of someone who is in
> his year of aveilut and needs a minyan to say kaddish. Do the
> objections to the possible disturbance a minyan might cause
> override this need?

RMM seems to be suggesting that this individual's need to say kaddish
is greater than the usual need to daven Tefila B'Tzibur. I have heard
other people express this feeling, but I've never seen any evidence
for it in seforim or elsewhere.

I'll express it another way: I am well aware that there are many many
people who are somewhat lax in their minyan attendance in general, but
for yahrzeit or aveilus they are much more meticulous. This is not a
bad thing; whatever will help get people into shul is good. But I do
think that their values might be misplaced.

Akiva Miller

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Message: 3
From: Prof. Levine
Date: Tue, 05 Dec 2017 08:12:22 -0500
[Avodah] How often to day kaddish

Saul Guberman wrote:

My understanding is that kaddish needs to be said once a day.  It is said
multi times a day as a hiddur.  So, missing one davening should be OK and
the zchus of not disturbing other passengers and crew and not creating a
chillul hashem should make up for the missed kaddish.

According to the original din only, only one person said kaddish at a 
time.  (This is still what is done in some places like KAJ and  Bais 
Hatalmud).  Thus, if there are many people saying kaddish in a shul 
that keeps the original din,  it is conceivable that one might not 
get to say kaddish every day or even longer.

Hence I do not think that one needs to say kaddish once a day.


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Message: 4
From: Akiva Miller
Date: Tue, 5 Dec 2017 07:53:47 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Letzareif


R' Micha Berger wrote:

>     Lo nitenu hamitzvos ela letzarei bahen es haberios
> ...
> Letzareif is a metaphor of melting. The problem is, whether
> we mean smelting / refining, or to meld to thing together (as
> in "mitzrareif")?
> Are we being told that mitzvos were given to refine people,
> or to connect them? Or is the word chosen in order to
> intentionally carry both meanings?

"Ratzah HKBH l'zakos es Yisrael..."
Does "zakos" mean to purify, or to give zechus?

I perceive a similar poetry in both l'tzaref and l'zakos, but I'm not
much of a poet, so I'll leave this thought for the rest of y'all to
ponder and expand uon.

Akiva Miller

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Message: 5
From: Marty Bluke
Date: Tue, 5 Dec 2017 11:10:14 +0200
Re: [Avodah] What are the main mitzvos to focus on?

On Mon, Dec 4, 2017 at 9:53 PM, Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org> wrote:

> On Thu, Nov 30, 2017 at 12:11:31PM +0200, Marty Bluke via Avodah wrote:
> : The last daf in Makos (24a) states that the Neviim took the 613 mitzvos
> and
> : reduced them to a smaller set for people to focus on.
> : ...
> : The mitzva of learning Torah which we understand to be the most important
> : and fundamental mitzva does not appear in these lists....
> I think the "we" in your sentence are simply following a hashkafah which
> isn't majority opinion.
> ...
> So, who amongst Chazal really does make learning the central goal of a
> Jewish man's life?
> ...
> This notion that learning is the ends rather than a central part of
> the means is arguably idiosyncratic. It is far easier to argue that the
> central mitzvah is to emulate the Meitiv and bring His Tov to others.
> Tir'u baTov!
> -Micha

So basically you are saying that the current Charedi hashkafa/lifestyle of
Torah only and Torah learning being the ultimate purpose of life is not a
majority opinion in Chazal and in fact you can't find anyone among Chazal
who says this.
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Message: 6
From: Micha Berger
Date: Tue, 5 Dec 2017 12:02:00 -0500
Re: [Avodah] What are the main mitzvos to focus on?

On Tue, Dec 05, 2017 at 11:10:14AM +0200, Marty Bluke wrote:
: So basically you are saying that the current Charedi hashkafa/lifestyle of
: Torah only and Torah learning being the ultimate purpose of life is not a
: majority opinion in Chazal and in fact you can't find anyone among Chazal
: who says this.

I intentionally avoided stating it that confrontationally, but yes.

Although not "chareidi", "yeshivish". Excluding most chassidim but including
the large population of MO who are taking yeshivish hashkafah and harmonizing
it with modernity. (Eg RYBS as understood by many of his students.)

See, for example, R Tzevi Sinsky's currently running series
out of YHE ("Gush") "Talmud Torah: The Mitzva of Torah Study".
<http://etzion.org.il/en/topics/talmud-torah-mitzva-torah-study> He
draws heavily from R' Yehudah Amital and R' N Lamm (whom RZS calls
"mori uzeqeini"); his perspective is that of DL and MO, not "chareidim".

Here's the web abstract for the opening shiur:
   In this introductory shiur, we explore the centrality of Torah study in
   the thought of the Rabbis. From Noach to Ezra, prominent Jewish leaders
   throughout the biblical period are portrayed as Torah scholars, and
   this mitzva is ascribed paramount importance in every aspect of life.

In particular, shiur 3 discusses the purpose of talmud Torah, discussing
various approached. The section "Approach #1 -- Instrumentalism" quotes
pesuqim, mishayos, Toseftra, gemaros, before getting to rishonim (Rashi,
Rambam, Ramban, Chinukh, Me'iri, Or H'. See also RNSlifkin's long list
of quotes from rishonim at

In contrast, "Approach #2 -- Cultivating a Halakhic Ethos" opens with
the Chazon Ish then mentions R' Chaim Brisker as desribed in Halakhic Man.

"Approach #3 -- Variations on Deveikut" starts with the Rambam leveraging
a Sifrei (who I do not see as giving their description of /the/ purpose
of learning), but focuses on Chassidus, R' Kook and R' Amital.

Notice that learning being primarily valuable instrumentally is the shitah
for which RZS can find overwhelming evidence in chazal and rishonim,
the others being johnny-come-latelies of the last centuries.

As for my own opinion, I wouldn't call approach #2 the cultivation of a
"halachic ethos". I think this reflects Brisk's tendency to conflate
halakhah with kol haTorah kulah, downplaying the import of aggadita.
And yet, this wording does emphasize how approach 1 includes approach 2.
If we are obligated in hilkhos dei'os / chovos halvavos / ve'asisa
hayashar vehatov / to develop a *Torah* ethos, then #2 is also

We learn Mes' Sukkah to know how to fulfill the mitzvah of sukkah, and
we learn Mes' Pirqei Avos to know to to fulfill the mitzvah of vehalakhta
bidrakhav. See, it's instrumental!

The difference boils down to what I believe was the central chiluq behind
the pulmus haMussar:

In the Brisker worldview, when RCVolozhiner compares talmud Torah to immersion
in a miqvah, he means it descriptively. Learn halakhah as an end in itself,
an it will leave a roshem of taharah. Even if the causality involved is
mystical and non-obvious.

Whereas R Yisrael Salanter looked at the actual metzi'us of the society he
was in -- and all the moreso ours -- and concluded that this couldn't have
been RCV's intent. Rather, RCV was speaking descriptively; when one learns
correctly, one is learning in a way that leaves a roshem of taharah,
even if the material itself is never understood or gets forgotten.
And RYS had the lifestyle of RCV's talmid, R' Zundel Salanter, as
indication of what Nefesh haChaim was intending to describe.

Thus, to a mussarist, RCV was describing how to learn. Don't just learn
nega'im to find chiluqim with which to explain machloqesin and non-obvious
dinim. Rather, in addition one must spend the time driving home the roshem
of how bad LH and ga'avah are, that HQBH felt it worth aiding teshuvah
in these areas.

And those two topics are far more connected in Telzher derekh than Brisker,
but I think I've ranged far enough.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Spirituality is like a bird: if you tighten
mi...@aishdas.org        your grip on it, it chokes; slacken your grip,
http://www.aishdas.org   and it flies away.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                            - Rav Yisrael Salanter

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Message: 7
From: Micha Berger
Date: Tue, 5 Dec 2017 13:39:48 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Davening on Airplanes

On Tue, Dec 05, 2017 at 06:13:31AM +0000, Rich, Joel wrote:
:> Especially since it's the avoidance of an actual issur vs a medieval or
:> post-medieval 

: All very true, yet the Hamon am has invested Kaddish with great
: importance. Does that investiture have a halachic chalot? It seems it
: does at least in terms of kavod

Reading the kesuvah under the chuppah is just a stall while we wait
some gap of time to separate qiddushin and nissuin. A maaseh kof. And
yet because it is time in the spot-light, common practice is to treat
it as the second greatest kibud, often what you give the other rav you
might have made mesader qiddushin.

When it comes to kibud, public treatment does indeed matter. And logically
enough; after all, being mekhubad is an issue of seeing others display
feelings of kavod. How we display it /should/ be secondary. All logical.

However, here we are talking about someone in the olam ha'emes. So they
know that while on the plane you have that actual issur keeping you from
fulfilling the minhag of saying qaddish. For that matter, hopefully and
typically said parent worked really hard at trying to get the avel to
respect others. And if not, again, at this point the soul of even the
worst parent would know better.

So I do not think it's likely the neshamah would mind the lack of kibud
as much as they would mind the misplacement of values. I would therefore
not draw any conclusions from the logical linkage of kibud with intent
and norms.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Between stimulus & response, there is a space.
mi...@aishdas.org        In that space is our power to choose our
http://www.aishdas.org   response. In our response lies our growth
Fax: (270) 514-1507      and our freedom. - Victor Frankl, (MSfM)

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Message: 8
From: Professor L. Levine
Date: Wed, 6 Dec 2017 09:39:18 +0000
[Avodah] Gambling in Halachah

Click here to download "Gambling in Halachah"

[That's the Kof-K's Halachically Speaking vol 13, issue 18, dedicated
to this topic. -micha]

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Message: 9
From: Micha Berger
Date: Wed, 6 Dec 2017 14:36:19 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Gid ha'nasheh

On Tue, Dec 05, 2017 at 06:22:57AM -0500, Akiva Miller via Avodah wrote:
:> Aside from feeling the psychological pain of Rachel?s death,
:> perhaps Yaakov also had to feel physical pain.
: I draw a distinction between "consequences" and "punishments"...

For those who don't remember from prior iterations, I don't.

I think the difference between callins an onesh a consequence and calling
it a punishment (or even "corrective") is whether one views sekhar
va'onesh as a system that HQBH set up when He set up the universe or as
a set of responses He has to our actions.

"Chai gever al chata'av" implies one, our tefillos on yamim nora'im
frequently imply the other.

But both are simply simplified models of the incomprehensible Truth
of how Hashem runs the universe. Since He is lemaalah min hazeman, we
can't talk about whether the decision was made in maaseh bereishis or in
response to our action -- both are ascribing times to a timeless Action
(for want of a better word). We can only speak of a when for the effects
of Divine Action, as they enter our timefull experience.

:                                                                I have
: heard in the past that Eretz Yisrael was unable to tolerate Yaakov's
: being married to two sisters, and that Rachel's death was a
: consequence of that.

... which is typical of an onesh -- a sin causes its own punishment. The
two explanations are not mutually exclusive.

To say that it was the land's qedushah causing something that wasn't
in line with justice, one has to explain why there are rules that hide
Hashem's Justice that aren't part of the hesteir panim necessary for
free will. We need laws of nature to plan how to execute a decision,
but laws of metaphysics?

: If he was punished, it must be that he was punished for some choice
: that he made. What choice was that? What did he do wrong? If he could
: do it all over again, what ought he do differently? Specifically:
: After having married Leah, should he have not married Rachel?

Well, isn't that the halakhah?

Or maybe the issur was in whatever it was that had him marrying a woman
without noticing that her eyes were rakos (whatever that means). Perhaps
the mistake was due to a criminal level of negligence.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Man is equipped with such far-reaching vision,
mi...@aishdas.org        yet the smallest coin can obstruct his view.
http://www.aishdas.org                         - Rav Yisrael Salanter
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Message: 10
From: Micha Berger
Date: Wed, 6 Dec 2017 14:23:17 -0500
Re: [Avodah] The 13 middos

On Tue, Dec 05, 2017 at 07:15:42AM +0200, Marty Bluke via Avodah wrote:
: See the Mishne Lamelech avadim 3:9 where he states that it is either or and
: the 2 styles cannot be mixed, and his main proof is from the Gemara Shavuos
: 4b where the Gemara asks on Rebbe how can he darshen a ribui umiut like R
: Akiva if in general he darshens Klal Uprat...

And yet the conclution on 5a is that he holds like R' Yishma'el's beis
medrash who holds the derashah is not kelal uperat but ribui umi'ut
("ribah umi'at"). R Yisma'el, the one who codified the rules of kelal
uperat is the one who here uses ribui umi'ut!?

So is the gemara really saying that Rebbe is not crossing the line,
as it seems to be saying. Or is it intentionally also implying there
is no line to cross? Tosafos there ("detana Devei R' Yishma'el") might
be saying the latter; it is too terse for me to be sure of intent. And
yet further down on 5a, we have "Hashta de'amres... -- Now that you say
that Rebbe darshans kelal uperat, you are forced into a question about
shavu'os...?" IOW, reassuming the line.

In any case, I am totally lost. In a discussion of how no one uses both
sets of rules, it cites the school that created one set using the other
set, and not saying anything about it. There is more going on here than
I comprehend so far.

As RSRH said (Collected Writings vol V pg 170), there are many such
cases of R' Yishmael and R' Aqiva uses the other's rules. RSRH treats
the rule as a tendency, rather than a line one may not cross. I wish I
knew his interpretation of the gemara in Shavuos. But it's not like the
MlM, nor the ba'al Atzmos Yoseif (whom the MlM is discussing), and does
acknowledge the actual positions taken across both shasin.

Just thinking out loud... Maybe the gemaros we're looking at are bothered
because these are all cases where both kelalim apply and in each case they
imply different dinim. IOW, it is not a question of Rebbe (or devei R
Yismael) using ribui umi'ut, but of favoring the derashah that he tends
not to OVER the derashah that is his norm.

And to handle RSRH's observation, in a case where it is not a choice
between conflicting kinds of derashos, no one would be asking why Rebbe
used a kelal uperat, as such line-crossing is normal.

: See also tosafos nidda 30a s.v. Ushma mina where tosafos says that we
: pasken that we darshen Klal uprat and not ribui umiut...

Nidda 30a "ushma minah tevilah bizmanah mitzvah" is about holding
like Beis Shammai, and doesn't mention derashos. The previous d"h,
"shema minah telas" (a near match) also isn't on topic. Could you
please fix the citation for me?

: Regarding the Gemara in bechoros 51a it is actually a proof the other way.
: The Gemara says that this case is an exception because it is not written in
: the normal way of a Klal uprat and therefore in this case only...

This is a 2nd variant of the same sugya as Shavu'os. (To clarify
for those moderately interested, but not sufficiently so to look for

Rashi ("hakha"), who says it's a general rule: kelal uperat ukelal isn't
judged as a kelal uperat but as a ribui umi'ut. IIUC, Rashi is saying
that Rebbe is staying within his usual rule set, but this is a case where
both rule sets include the same derashah, just under different names.

Thanks to RMTorczyner (CCed) <http://www.webshas.org/torah/alpeh/midos.htm>:
> Choosing between using "Kelal/Perat" and "Ribuy/Miut": Eruvin 27b-28a;
> Succah 50b; Kiddushin 21b

The first two don't really deal with tannaim using only one rule set, but
Qiddush 21b is a third version of our sugya. I didn't see anything to add
to the discussion beyond a way to rope RMT in, and perhaps he'll talk to
R' Jonathan Ziring about the question.

(RMT is the Rosh Beit Midrash of the YU-Torah Mitzion Zichron Dov Beit
Midrash of Toronto, RJZ is the segan. Back when RJZ was in the kollel
at YHE ["Gush"], he gave a series of shiurim on meta-halakhah. I thought
I had RJZ's address, as we had a short correspondance, but since I didn't
find it, I figured that once I was bothering RMT for his opinion...)

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             I always give much away,
mi...@aishdas.org        and so gather happiness instead of pleasure.
http://www.aishdas.org           -  Rachel Levin Varnhagen
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Message: 11
From: Micha Berger
Date: Wed, 6 Dec 2017 15:06:08 -0500

On Thu, Nov 02, 2017 at 12:12:05PM +0000, Rich, Joel via Avodah wrote:
: http://etzion.org.il/en/siman-114-prayers-wind-rain-and-dew
:> In his introduction to the Beit Yosef...

I think there are two things we need to keep in mind, that R' Asher Meir
does not touch upon:

1- The question isn't whether the BY or some other poseiq does or doesn't
consider the extent to which a particular pesaq was nispasheit. But rather
something less boolean: how much weight does any given poseiq give mimeticism,
and in comparison to which other factors.

A number of years ago I proposed a model (then modified it in a later
iteration) of 4 classes of factors a poseiq needs to weigh. And that one
of the leading reasons why pesaq is an art rather than an algorithm is
that their can't be formal rules for comparing the magnitudes of apples
and oranges -- and bananas and parsimons?

Here's what I came up with:
- textual logic: which sevara do you find most compelling? Litvaks
  typically put most of the emphasis

- textual authority: rules like azlinan basar ruba, or giving more
  weight to the Rambam's or Rosh's pinion than to some Baal Tosafos we
  rarely hear of. This seems to be ROY's favorite territory.

- minhag avos / mimeticism

- hashkafic concerns (including philosophy, qaballah): like when chassidim
  and talmidei haGra stopped putting on tefillin on ch"m because it is
  qotzeitz binti'os.
  No one would place hashkafic concerns high on the list. Ein dorshin
  taamei hamizvos. A poseiq only leaves formal halachic analysis when
  multiple opinions are defensible, which "right answer" does one choose?
  But different posqim still give it different weight; requiring more
  or less equity between the halachic analysis of the different possible
  pesaqim before being willing to let the hashkafah tip the scales.

2- The BY is a text. To really talk about mimeticism, we're talking
about what people do naturally. A poseiq may need to factor in which
pesaq was nispasheit, but by doing so he is not being a mimetic. The AhS
is more likely to find justifications for mimetic practice while the MB
is more likely to recommend changing practice. But deciding to follow
either is choosing textuallism over mimeticism. Mimeticism is following
the same pesaq the AhS just defended because that's what everone does,
it's the example your parents and/or your peers set, not because it's
a pesaq with a sevara and sources.

Still, it's interesting to find an example of the BY overriding his
triumverate and clearly stating a reason that is at odds with his

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Take time,
mi...@aishdas.org        be exact,
http://www.aishdas.org   unclutter the mind.
Fax: (270) 514-1507            - Rabbi Simcha Zissel Ziv, Alter of Kelm

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Message: 12
From: Micha Berger
Date: Wed, 6 Dec 2017 16:40:04 -0500
Re: [Avodah] More on Yaakov, sheep and the rods

On Thu, Nov 30, 2017 at 12:20:44PM -0500, Alexander Seinfeld via Avodah wrote:
: Why not just interpret this as an example of phenotypic plasticity,
: meaning the genetic potential is there in every generation, and the
: environmental factors stimulate its expression?
: As everyone who had genetics 101 will realize, if you eliminate 100%
: of the phenotype, and breed the remainder you will still get some of
: that phenotype in the next generation with recessive genes. So it always
: bothered me why was all the hokus pokus by Yaakov necessary....

I would learn from this incident in Bereishis that one is obligated to
do whatever hishtadlus is possible by the best understanding of teva
available to you. And not to worry about what the current theory may
get replaced by.

Along similar lines:

R Avigdor Miller taught that since HQBH is Rofei kol basar, medicine
doesn't actually heal. The role of doctors and medicine is to prevent
Hashem's cure from requiring a neis nigleh. And, he explains, this is
why people actually survived despite medical theories involving 4 humours
and bloodletting, or whatnot. Any accepted theory is equally usable.

I don't buy into this, because if true, medicine would never need to
advance, in fact, accepted medical theory would never be disproved.
Still, I find the idea intriguing.

It fits the notion, which might be the Ramban's (depending on how you
fit multiple comments together) and is definitely REED's that teva
is not a real "thing", but the patterns Hashem uses to hide His Action
behind. It's all neis nistar, really

Now, if one were to apply the same idea to parnasah, one could explain
the purpose of Yaakov's efforts. And even if RAvigdorM's theory is hard to
see as how teva works for the rest of us, it's easier to apply to someone
who is as neis-worthy, including neis-nistar-worthy, as Yaaqov avinu.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             You want to know how to paint a perfect
mi...@aishdas.org        painting?  It's easy.
http://www.aishdas.org   Make yourself perfect and then just paint
Fax: (270) 514-1507      naturally.              -Robert Pirsig

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Message: 13
From: Akiva Miller
Date: Wed, 6 Dec 2017 18:10:18 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Gid ha'nasheh

I asked:

: If he was punished, it must be that he was punished for some choice
: that he made. What choice was that? What did he do wrong? If he could
: do it all over again, what ought he do differently? Specifically:
: After having married Leah, should he have not married Rachel?

and R' Micha Berger responded:

> Well, isn't that the halakhah?

I want to publicly thank RMB for a beautiful post, and for reminding
me of some very important concepts.

We learn so much of the machinations of what went on in this incident,
how each step was important and necessary in various ways, that I was
a bit shocked to hear it suggested that Yaakov Avinu was being
punished for his choices here. But truth be told, the line between
punishment and consequence can be arbitrary, subjective .... or even

We DO accept the reality of a "necessary evil", or a "greater good".
It's not all black and white. "Well, isn't that the halakhah?" Indeed,
the halacha prescribes The Way To Go, but that is no guarantee that
there won't be unpleasant side effects. If the Kohen Gadol happens
upon a Mes Mitzvah on Yom Kippur morning, the halacha is clear that he
must get involved, even if that means that the day's avodah won't go
as planned. So too, Yaakov Avinu and Rachel Imenu married each other
because Klal Yisrael needed it, and if such a releationship was
incompatible with Kedushas Haaretz, well, unfortunately, they'll have
to endure the consequences.

Akiva Miller


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