Avodah Mailing List

Volume 38: Number 56

Fri, 10 Jul 2020

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Arie Folger
Date: Tue, 7 Jul 2020 10:31:54 +0200
Re: [Avodah] Realities of Times Past (Was: Latecomers to shul

Fellow Ovedim have (IIRC at the behest of RAM who asked the question) been
wondering why Tefillat Me'eyn Sheva' is said on Friday evenings.

RJK particularly cited RAM:
> "The reasoning and realities are difficult to understand," he notes, "
> and so," he asks: "There's something that I'm missing about the
> realities of how those minyanim were organized, the speed they
> davened at, and/or the dangers lurking about. Can anyone explain
> the story better?"

There may be a clue in an article by Jacob Mann. Jacob Mann was, as far as
I can reconstruct, a Pzsworsker Chassid who loved Judaism and learning, but
upon landing the USA possibly tragically aligned himself with the wrong
crowd. But this is just a reconstruction. For all I know, him publishing a
bunch of articles in the Reform"Hebrew Union College Annual" may have been
because it was in his eyes the most widespread scholarly publication, one
that would afford him the most exposure. Interestingly, he insisted on
transliterating Hebrew into Ashkenazi pronunciation, and HUCA agreed. At
any rate, he was a pretty interesting historian of liturgy and may have
been on to certain things correctly.

In an article entitled Changes in the Divine Service of the Synagogue due
to Persecution, he brings evidence for several periods of anti Jewish
persecutions in which certain prayers or practices were prohibited, giving
rise to creative solutions. Though he does not deal with Me'eyn Sheva' (as
far as I remember), the setting seems to work well. Perhaps Me'eyn Sheva
came from a time when Jews had to pray outside the settlements, because
they were praying in hiding, and thus had to watch out for each other's
Mit freundlichen Gr??en,
Yours sincerely,

Arie Folger,
Visit my blog at http://rabbifolger.net/
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Message: 2
From: Marty Bluke
Date: Tue, 7 Jul 2020 13:59:50 +0300
Re: [Avodah] Induction stovetop halachic status

Rav Hershel Schachter has a fascinating essay in his Sefer about when we
say lo plug by gezeros and when not. It has been a while but I believe he
says that gezeros are all lo plug except if the reason was written into the
nusach of the gezera.
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Message: 3
From: Micha Berger
Date: Tue, 7 Jul 2020 16:16:24 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Induction stovetop halachic status

On Tue, Jul 07, 2020 at 01:59:50PM +0300, Marty Bluke via Avodah wrote:
> Rav Hershel Schachter has a fascinating essay in his Sefer about when we
> say lo plug by gezeros and when not. It has been a while but I believe he
> says that gezeros are all lo plug except if the reason was written into the
> nusach of the gezera.

The problem is, that determination is often non-trivial to make. Where
is the end-quote -- is the explanation part of the quote of the wording
of the gezeira, or the gemara's explanation of its purpose stated and
stated after the quote?

We discussed this idea many years ago, when I proposed this was the root
of the machloqes about basar kafui.

Very related is that it is also sometimes unclear when something is
a pesaq in existing law, and when a gezeira. If it's a pesaq, then
applicability is built in whether or not it's stated. Pesaqim only hold
if the situation is materially the same. What the gemara says about
putting out a burning house on Shabbos wouldn't apply to a wood-frame
house in an urban or most suburban settings because the risk to life is
simply different. Like the Peri Chadash vs the Chasam Sofer about chalav
yisrael; the PC says CY is a pesaq, so he has little problem saying that
CY is moot when there is other disincentive to adulterating the milk.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger                 Man can aspire to spiritual-moral greatness
http://www.aishdas.org/asp   which is seldom fully achieved and easily lost
Author: Widen Your Tent      again. Fulfillment lies not in a final goal,
- https://amzn.to/2JRxnDF    but in an eternal striving for perfection. -RSRH

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Message: 4
From: Rich, Joel
Date: Tue, 7 Jul 2020 21:44:42 +0000
[Avodah] Risk Reward

A note I wrote To a pulpit rabbi:

I strongly support a recent discussion concerning return to synagogue. I
do have to say that there's one point that I deeply disagree on. Maybe
it's a matter of nuance that cannot be communicated in trying times to
the general public.

I don't believe that flattening the curve has no halachic import. In fact
as a community we are always making this kind of trade off. If not why
wouldn't we spend every dollar we have on improving public health. The
answer per R' Schachter and R' Weiss is that's the way the world operates.

Bottom line risk reward tradeoffs are often very difficult. Personally I'd
prefer we be more open and honest about them and have public discussion
but realize that may not be practical

So what is the halachic philosophy of risk/reward? perhaps a starting
point The cohain gadol and the alternates for himself or wife on Yom

Kt Joel Rich

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Message: 5
From: Micha Berger
Date: Tue, 7 Jul 2020 22:15:59 -0400
[Avodah] Dr. Francis Collins on Science and Religion

An interview with Dr. Francis Collins (an Obama appointee now most famous for being Dr. Anthony Fauci's boss).

Three snippets that are on topic for our group, but there is more discussion of G-d there than this:

    "I was an atheist when I entered medical school. I was a Christian
    when I left and it was much driven by this experience of trying
    to integrate the reductionist aspects of science into the much more
    fundamental issues I saw my patients wrestling with, like is there
    a God and does God care about me and what happens after I die?

    "Those are uncomfortable questions for an atheist 23-year-old,
    but ultimately they became totally compelling and required some
    investigation and some answers. Ultimately, out of that, it came
    to me that it makes a lot more sense to believe in God than to deny
    God's existence. A scientist isn't supposed to make assertions that
    you would call universal negatives, because you can never have enough
    evidence to do that, and yet that's what atheism calls you to do.
    "Similarly, the way that some people have caricatured science as a
    threat to God, that doesn't resemble the science that I'm doing. It's
    been a terrible, I think, consequence of our last century or so
    that this polarization has been accepted as inevitable when I see
    it not at all in that light. There are many interesting scientific
    questions that tap into the kind of area that you're asking about,
    like what is the neuroscientific basis of consciousness? What is the
    neuroscientific basis of a spiritual experience? If there is such
    a neuroscientific basis, does that make this spiritual experience
    less meaningful or more so? Those are fun conversations to have."

    "... What is our future? I don't want to see a future where this
    science-versus-faith conflict leads to a winner and a loser. If
    science wins and faith loses, we end up with a purely technological
    society that has lost its moorings and foundation for morality. I
    think that could be a very harsh and potentially violent outcome. But
    I don't want to see a society either where the argument that science
    is not to be trusted because it doesn't agree with somebody's
    interpretation of a Bible verse wins out. That forces us back into
    a circumstance where many of the gifts that God has given us through
    intellectual curiosity and the tools of science have to be put away.

    "So I want to see a society that flourishes by bringing these
    worldviews together by being careful about which worldview is most
    likely to give you the truth, depending on the question you're

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger                 "And you shall love H' your G-d with your whole
http://www.aishdas.org/asp   heart, your entire soul, and all you own."
Author: Widen Your Tent      Love is not two who look at each other,
- https://amzn.to/2JRxnDF    It is two who look in the same direction.


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