Avodah Mailing List

Volume 38: Number 18

Wed, 11 Mar 2020

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Michael Poppers
Date: Sun, 8 Mar 2020 21:23:48 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Hilchot Corona

> One should therefore refrain from touching or kissing Mezuzot. <
My practice for some time has been to "point to" (essentially, reach
towards but not touch) the m'zuzah as I pass (and when I leave my house, to
say, "Baruch ata b'vo'echa, uvaruch ata b'tzeisecha"). However, having
trouble getting used to a clenched-fist (and hate the dangerous elbow)
greeting... :).

--Michael via phone
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Message: 2
From: Akiva Miller
Date: Mon, 9 Mar 2020 06:53:00 -0400
Re: [Avodah] [TM] Parashat Zachor with Different

R' Micha Berger wrote:

> At this point, Brisker chumeros seem to me more a lack of
> confidence in the halachic process.

Very well phrased! I have often felt this way, but was unable to find the
words to express it. Thank you.

For example, I often find popular articles about halacha which will say
something like, "It is questionable whether the halacha is this or that, so
one should ..." I find myself yelling at the page: "It's questionable? So
answer the question!"

And yet, it is common to find this same idea offered by the Mishne Brurah
and others, not to mention the eponymous Briskers.

So when is it appropriate and when not? This is too subjective for me to
answer. The individual must ask himself honestly whether it is truly too
difficult to decide which view to pasken like, or whether the "Brisker
chumra" is just a lazy cop-out.

A second question he should ask himself is whether the question even
*needs* an answer. If it is not a d'Oraisa or even d'Rabbanan issue, then
perhaps there's no real halachic difference between the two possible
answers, and each person should choose for himself which he prefers.

Akiva Miller
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Message: 3
From: Rich, Joel
Date: Mon, 9 Mar 2020 14:09:31 +0000
Re: [Avodah] [TM] Parashat Zachor with Different

Micha Berger wrote:

> At this point, Brisker chumeros seem to me more a lack of
> confidence in the halachic process.

Or a lack of confidence in oneself (or their ability/worthiness to decide)?
 I often think of R? Schachter comparing the personalities of R? Chaim and
the Netziv and wonder if this could be explained on that basis.  Enough
Joel Rich
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Message: 4
From: Rich, Joel
Date: Wed, 11 Mar 2020 18:47:14 +0000
[Avodah] NYT Ethicist

NYT Ethicist - What would halacha be?

Q.I have been struck by a fatal disease, inherited from my father. I have
children, who know they have a 50-50 chance of inheriting the disease
from me.

I have several siblings. One has children of her own. She has so
far refused to be tested on the off chance that she, too, has the
gene. This means that her children don't know anything about the cause
of my disease. There are interventions that could protect any future
grandchildren, but her children don't know they are in danger of passing
the disease along.

I have been tempted to tell my sister's children myself, but I know
this would result in a major breach in our relationship (a real loss to
me). What is my ethical responsibility here? Name Withheld

A. ... The trouble isn't that your sister refuses to be tested. That's
her choice. ... The trouble is that she wants to prevent her children from
knowing what she already knows. By keeping them in the dark, she's robbing
them of the ability to make their own choices. And here's a critical
point. Even if they declined to be tested themselves, simply knowing
that they're at risk would enable them to protect any children they might
have in the future, through "nondisclosure testing." Clinics can conduct
pre?implantation embryo screening without sharing the results with the
at-risk parent... Preserving your own uncertainty is defensible; putting
others in jeopardy is not... As painful as a breach in your relationship
with your sister would be, it's clear that your sister's misguided plan is
itself weighing heavily on you. Urge her to level with her children about
the facts. (She could implore them not to tell her if they are tested
and get a positive result.) Were she still to refuse, tell them yourself.

Joel Rich

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Message: 5
From: Micha Berger
Date: Wed, 11 Mar 2020 16:02:48 -0400
Re: [Avodah] S"A 167:4 - ten fingers on your challah

On Tue, Feb 11, 2020 at 11:45:42AM -0500, Sholom Simon via Avodah wrote:
> The Mechaber, at 167:4, notes that when we say hamotzie, we should be
> holding the challah with 10 fingers, and he then proceeds to give six
> different reasons.  (I'll add the the Tur also gives a number of reasons).
> This seems kind of rare for the S"A to do that.  Does anybody know why he
> does so here?

Never found an answer, and a month later, I'm giving up.

BUT, I liked the Y-mi's explanation at the end of Challah pereq 1 (vilna
daf 9b) <https://www.sefaria.org/Jerusalem_Talmud_Hallah.9b.2> cited
at the SA ad loc by the Gra -- OC 167 s"q 4

The ten fingers are a reminder of the 10 mitzvos it took to get the
    1-  Lo sacharosh - Not plowing with a kelaim of animals
    2-  Bal tizra - Not planting kelaim
    3-  Bal tachsom - Not muzzling the animals to keep them from eating
    4-  Leqet
    5-  Shikhechah
    6-  Pei'ah
    7-  Terumah
    8-  Maaser Rishon
    9-  Maaser Sheini (or Maaser Ani, depending on the year, though not
        mentioned in the Y-mi)
    10- Challah

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger                 The cost of a thing is the amount of what I call
http://www.aishdas.org/asp   life which is required to be exchanged for it,
Author: Widen Your Tent      immediately or in the long run.
- https://amzn.to/2JRxnDF                 - Henry David Thoreau


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