Avodah Mailing List

Volume 36: Number 122

Wed, 24 Oct 2018

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Rich, Joel
Date: Fri, 19 Oct 2018 12:31:34 +0000
[Avodah] hirhurei tshuva

The Artscroll Yom Kippur machzor has the following comment (I could not
find the GRA's statement in Aderet Eliyahu). "David replies with just two
words: "I have sinned to HASHEM." Nathan answers, "[If so] God has removed
your sin and you will not die. "The Vilna Gaon notes that according to the
Masoretic text there is a space after David's brief confession, even though
it is in the middle of a sentence. This implies that David wanted to say
more - he felt that he should go into more detail about his sin and the
sincerity of his remorse - but was so overcome by remorse that he could not
speak. He didn't have to. Nathan broke in to tell him that he had been
forgiven - because his confession, brief and incomplete though he thought
it to be - was utterly sincere."

Me-Do you think this thought coheres with the following insight from R'YBS:

"In response to this Divine verdict, R'Yehudah HaNasi cried, marveling at
how some individuals merit the World to Come only after a lifetime of
effort, while others acquire such reward after only brief effort. The Rav
emphasized that the executioner not only earned a share in the World to
Come, but achieved the same level as did R'Chananya in this regard.

"Why did R'Yehudah HaNasi have such an emotional reaction to the afterlife
destiny of the executioner? The answer is that although prior to this
incident R'Yehudah HaNasi had certainly understood the redemptive power of
teshuvah, he had not previously appreciated the redemptive power of hirhur
Tshuva, "awakening" of teshuvah. If teshuvah is indeed a multistep process,
involving sin recognition, remorse, and resolve, how can an individual
possibly be considered righteous after only a moment's thought? Only
through hirhur Tshuva, which is spontaneous, instinctive, and sudden. In
one second, an individual can live the jarring experience of awakening from
spiritual slumber."

Joel rich

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Message: 2
From: Professor L. Levine
Date: Fri, 19 Oct 2018 14:03:22 +0000
[Avodah] The Most Profound and Far-Reaching Vision of the

In his commentary on Bereishis 9:25-27

25 He said: Cursed be Canaan; he shall be a servant of servants to his brothers.

26 And he said: Blessed be God, the God of Shem; may Canaan become their servant.

27 God will open [people?s] emotions to Yefes, but He will dwell in the
tents of Shem, and may Canaan be a servant to them.

RSRH provides deep insights into a number of important topics.  He writes

25?27 We have here what may be the most profound and far-reaching vision
of the future that God ever permitted a mortal to behold or to utter.
The entire history of mankind ? past, present, and future ? is contained
in these three verses.

and then later on

The spirit of Israel does not produce ecstatics who lose their grip on
reality and go mad. Judaism yearns for God?s closeness, but requires of
man clarity of thought, a composed and sober mind. Ecstatics who
?merge with the divine? lack freedom of choice; they imagine that they
themselves do nothing, but that God acts through them. This is not the
way to serve God. Our task is to make use of the intellect and the freedom
God has given us, in the earthly sphere which He has assigned to us; to
serve God faithfully, conscientiously, and with a clear mind. Only thus
will we attain the highest perfection a person can reach; only thus will our
actions be sanctified, and will we be worthy of God?s closeness.

IMO there is so much of import in his commentary on these verses that I have taken the trouble to post it at


If you take the time to read this,  you may well find insight into what we
see going on in the world today as well as what has happened in the past
and will happen in the future.


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Message: 3
From: Professor L. Levine
Date: Fri, 19 Oct 2018 10:15:51 +0000
[Avodah] ?Honor your father and your mother, lest you be

The following is from RSRH's commentary on Bereishis 9:24

24 When Noach awoke from his wine, he learned what his youngest
son had done to him.

Nevertheless, it is shocking that Noach curses Cham through his

child. This constitutes a serious warning: ?Honor your father and your
mother, lest you be punished through your children!? Cham must not
sin against Noach, lest he be punished through Canaan! Sins that children
commit against their parents will be punished by the manner in
which their own children, in turn, will deal with them!

The same rule applies in the development of the generations. The
younger generation must stand reverently at the grave of the generation
that preceded it. It must take a garment and cover the nakedness, the
weakness, of its forebears, and at the same time receive from them their
spiritual legacy, so as to build its own future. Only then will the generations
develop like a flourishing tree. But if the new generation gloats,
like Cham, over the ?nakedness? of its ancestors; if it sees only their
human frailties and derides their spiritual tradition; if the sons scornfully
sever the bond with the generation of the fathers ? then their
own future, too, is only a dream: Just as they sneered at the memory
of their forefathers, so will their own descendants sneer at them. Cham
is always the father of Canaan!

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Message: 4
From: Cantor Wolberg
Date: Sun, 21 Oct 2018 10:14:12 -0400
[Avodah] Vayera "We have to teach empathy as we do literacy."

1) The following is a beautiful reflection of Jewish sensitivity. The
original source of the story is not known. See Bamberger, Proselytism in
the Talmudic Period (Cincinnati, Ohio: Hebrew Union College Press, 1939),
p. 209, note 17/
"Once, Abraham's love of strangers clashed with his zeal for God. He
invited a wayfarer to his home and, finding the wayfarer praying to his
idol, chased him away.	God reprimanded Abraham severely: 'I have borne
with him these many years although he rebelled against Me, and you cannot
bear with him one night?!' Abraham had realized his sin and did not rest
until he had brought the stranger back.?
(Benjamin Franklin composed his "Parable against Persecution" on this very theme).
2) The Sidrah opens by saying that God appeared to Abraham [Gen. 18:1], but
when Abraham applies the vision to his own world he suddenly sees three men
standing before him [Gen. 18:2].  Abraham is the religious man par
for he sees God in the human situation.  
Franz Rosenzweig  Based on the puotation in On Jewish Learning, ed. Nahum Glatzer (New York: Schocken, 1955), p. 124
3) 18:2 "And he lifted up his eyes and he saw, and, behold, three people....."
Who were these three people? Michael, Gabriel, and Rafael.  Michael came to
inform Sarah that she would bear a child;  Rafael, to heal Abraham; and
Gabriel, to overturn Sodom.  
(Bava Metzia 86b)
4) The sin of Sodom consisted not only in what the people did but in what
they failed to do.  Thus, no one raised a voice in protest when the crowd
molested Lot's guests. 
Failure to protest is to participate in the sins of a community.  
(Gen. R. 50:9) 
This is reminiscent many years ago of Kitty Genovese, a woman in Queens,
N.Y., who was screaming for help at the top of her lungs in a major
apartment complex, and not one person lifted a finger or even phoned the
police.  This woman was killed due to the negligence of every person aware
of her screams.  Are we raising our voice in protest when we witness people
being hurt?

"The dew of compassion is a tear."
Lord Byron (1788-1824) One of the greatest British poets
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Message: 5
From: Micha Berger
Date: Sun, 21 Oct 2018 19:38:17 -0400
[Avodah] Baptized Jews and the Law Of Return

On Fri, Oct 19, 2018 at 11:18:17AM -0400, Zev Sero via Areivim wrote:
:                   I don't understand why it would need such long
: deliberation or a long teshuvah to demonstrate what every school
: child knows, that a mumar remains a Jew.

You should see R' Aharon Lichtenstein's "Brother Daniel and the
Jewish Fraternity". (Reprinted in Leaves of Faith. ch 3 pp 57-84)
(When I hit that URL, the article was available on Google Books in
its entirety.)

It isn't as open-and-shut that "Yisrael, af al pi shechat'ah, Yisra'el
hu" is as universal or as much as a given as most of us were taught
in school.

We think in terms of Yevamos 47b, that a geir who *later* reverts to
practicing his old religion is stil a Jew, and if he gets married the
qiddushin are chal.

But in Yevamos 16b, after R Asi is chosheish that a marriage to a
non-Jew might be a marriage to someone from one of the 10 shevatim,
Shemu'el responds that the 10 shevatim aren't Yisrael anymore. Invoking
Hoacheia 17a.

Chullin 6a invokes parallel reasoning to excluding the Kusim even though
their conversation had been accepted for generations before then.

RAL offers three different approaches to resolution. He ends up siding with
#3, that the convert in Yevamos is someone who reverts to the rituals of
his old religion. But someone who goes beyond that to give up their
Jewish identity would indeed not be Jews.

Including, RAL writes, Brother Daniel or any other meshumad applying for
citizenship under the Law of Return.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             When one truly looks at everyone's good side,
mi...@aishdas.org        others come to love him very naturally, and
http://www.aishdas.org   he does not need even a speck of flattery.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                        - Rabbi AY Kook

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Message: 6
From: Rabbi
Date: Mon, 22 Oct 2018 02:45:07 -0700
Re: [Avodah] Baptized Jews and the Law Of Return

On October 21, 2018 4:38:17 PM PDT, Micha Berger wrote:
> You should see R' Aharon Lichtenstein...
> http://books.google.com/books?id=_QshqTu9nGIC&;lpg=PA363&pg=PA57#v=onepage
> We think in terms of Yevamos 47b, that a geir who *later* reverts to
> practicing his old religion is stil a Jew, and if he gets married the
> qiddushin are chal.

> But in Yevamos 16b, after R Asi is chosheish that a marriage to a
> non-Jew might be a marriage to someone from one of the 10 shevatim,
> Shemu'el responds that the 10 shevatim aren't Yisrael anymore. Invoking
> Hoacheia 17a.

> Chullin 6a invokes parallel reasoning to excluding the Kusim ...

I didn't learn that sugya in a while, but I was under the impression
that it's a machlokes Rishonim how to learn the Aseres Hashevatim (I
think it's the Meiri there).

Some learn that they were a horaas shaah. Others learn like you wrote,
that one who is a min is considered completely not a Jew. The thing is
that the Halacha doesn't follow those Rishonim, as we're still Choshesh
for the Kiddushin of a Min (who does give up their Jewish identity).

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Message: 7
From: Ben Waxman
Date: Wed, 24 Oct 2018 08:02:52 +0200
[Avodah] Non Jewish harvesters

Rambam, Matanot L'anayiim B:10: Do not hire non-Jewish workers to 
harvest because? they are not experts in leket and pe'ah.

The Radbaz explains that since the workers aren't experts, they will 
either give too much pe'ah or too little.? Meaning, the issue is 
technical, not that they aren't chayav to give and therefore they can't 
do it.

What is the issue then? The farm owner tells them "Harvest up to here 
and leave areas A, B, & C alone". If needed, the owner does it once or 
twice with them.



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