Avodah Mailing List

Volume 38: Number 86

Wed, 21 Oct 2020

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Micha Berger
Date: Mon, 19 Oct 2020 15:47:15 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Shemini Atzeres as a time for Hislamdus

On Mon, Oct 19, 2020 at 07:41:26AM -0400, Akiva Miller via Avodah wrote:
> First and foremost, I believe it is an utter mistake to think that the goal
> of Talmud Torah is the yedios that one acquires in the course of learning.
> Rather, proper Talmud Torah affects one's neshama in some sort of other,
> much more fundamental way. RMB calls it "hislamdus" and "internalization".
> Whatever you want to call it, it is nutritious to certain neshamos, and
> tiflus to others, and woe to the person who ignores the Physician's
> prescription.

In the beginning of Nefesh haChaim sha'ar 4, RCV compares learning Torah
to dipping in a miqvah. And a person stays tahor even after they're dry.
Simiarly Talmud Torah refines the soul, and the value is there even if
the the material is forgotten.

But I think a core issue in the subsequent split among his talmidim into
Yeshivish and Mussar was at least in part -- if not mostly -- over how
to undertand this mashal.

To the yeshivish, it meant that this happens of its own. Learn gemara
and rishonim (eventually: lomdus) and one's neshamah is refined. You
don't need to work at self-refinment, this is the power of Torah.

In Mussar, these words define what Talmud Torah is. RCV is saying that
one doesn't just learn to know, one learns in a way to refine the soul.
And thus the whole invention of Tenu'as haMussar.

Hislamdus is a a reflective contruction of lamad / limeid. It's an active
effort to make Torah "nutritious" to one's neshamah. And RSWolbe sees
this idea in the Rambam, not that women's souls inherently can't gain from
learning but that the Rambam believed they couldn't engaged in hislamdus,
so they simply didn't know how to make a nutritious "dish" out of it.

I think your framing is more in the yeshivish model of my little dichotomy,
but I am not sure if you intended it to be.

Chodesh Tov!
Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger                 Life isn't about finding yourself.
http://www.aishdas.org/asp   Life is about creating yourself.
Author: Widen Your Tent               - George Bernard Shaw
- https://amzn.to/2JRxnDF

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Message: 2
From: Micha Berger
Date: Mon, 19 Oct 2020 15:49:31 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Vayechulu in Fri night Maariv

On Sun, Oct 11, 2020 at 09:55:37PM -0400, Akiva Miller via Avodah wrote:
> This procedure does accomplish the stated goal, but it seems
> unnecessarily complicated to me. It would have been simpler to just add
> Vayechulu to the Amidah in such cases. Is this idea suggested by anyone? Is
> it done by anyone?

That only adds seconds to the process.

Whereas making a shortened Chazaras haShatz makes a checkpoint, so that
nearly everyone is caught up before the group starts VaYekhulu, and the
odds of anyone being left behind or others needing to wait to walk home
with them is far less.

Chodesh Tov!
Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger                 You are where your thoughts are.
http://www.aishdas.org/asp           - Ramban, Igeres haQodesh, Ch. 5
Author: Widen Your Tent
- https://amzn.to/2JRxnDF

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Message: 3
From: Micha Berger
Date: Mon, 19 Oct 2020 15:59:41 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Analogies

On Fri, Oct 16, 2020 at 07:43:49AM -0400, Akiva Miller via Avodah wrote:
> The analogy certainly resonates with me. Whenever I talk about the benefits
> I experienced in the spring while the shuls were closed, I make sure to
> point out that it is merely a silver lining in the cloud, and it is *not*
> the way we are meant to be...

I agree intellectually, but in practice, it feels like I am getting more
out of my davening at home, at my own pace, saying the things loud that I
want to say loud, picking my tunes, etc...

> But if you are trying to quantify a specific prioritization level for
> thinking about this, I believe the search to be fultile. Suffice it to say
> that it is important; to ask *how* important is like trying to prioritize a
> tzedaka that you identify with very closely even though it is
> geographically distant versus one that merely happens to be very local. The
> question does have an answer, but you won't find it with mathematics.

There is also another issue with prioritizing tzedaqah... You can somehow
find more money to give when you are more moved by the cause. After all,
there is a good deal of elasticity to the question of how much money we
need to live. So, telling everyone to strictly follow rules like aniyei
irekha qodmin will end up reducing total giving.

To some extent these are rules one needs to learn to make one's emotional
priorities, and not necessarily always to implement before reaching that

Thus brining me back to my first comment... Except in the case of minyan,
there is a hard halachic call to choose minyan over not. Maybe one could
use davening kevasiqin to halachically justify "not" if there is enough
of an emotional difference.

Chodesh Tov!
Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger                 The first step towards getting somewhere is
http://www.aishdas.org/asp   to decide that you are not going
Author: Widen Your Tent      to stay where you are.
- https://amzn.to/2JRxnDF                 - JP Morgan

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Message: 4
From: Brent Kaufman
Date: Mon, 19 Oct 2020 16:04:52 -0500
[Avodah] The Tahom

This is something that Jews don?t know (at least no one that I?ve asked)
and don?t realize that they don?t know and don?t care. The Torah speaks of
many geological structures that we are familiar with, e.g. har/mountains,
yam/sea, major/river.... but the Torah, in many places mentions The Tahom
as if everyone is familiar with it but no one can define it precisely like
we can a mountain, river, or seas which we can point at.

If it?s just deep oceans, then how do we explain the 2nd pasuk in the
Torah? Hashem hovered over the ocean surface but about 100 meters down it
gets dark so we start to call it The Tahom? Is it every underground water
system that opens into a spring? But we are told that one of the four
rivers flows underground until it comes out in Africa. That isn?t called
The Tahom. It?s just an underground river.

Why is this thing so common in Tanach and Chanala as there was one in every
town, and we don?t know what it is, nor even give a second thought?

Regardless of its metaphorical meaning regarding the depth of our soul.

Chaimbaruch Kaufman

*- "When life gives you lemons, shut up and eat your lemons."*
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Message: 5
From: Prof. L. Levine
Date: Tue, 20 Oct 2020 12:53:24 +0000
[Avodah] Sugar can be processed with animal bones

From today's OU Kosher Halacha Yomis

Q. I have heard that sugar can be processed with animal bones. Is this true? Is this a Kashrus concern?

A. Incinerated animal bones (known as bone char) are used as a filtering
aid for sugar to remove unwanted color. Since the bones are completely
burned, they are not edible even for a dog (aino ro?ui liachilas kelev),
and no longer have a non-kosher status. In truth, non-kosher animal bones
can be used for filtering even if they have not been burnt. Although the
Rambam (Hilchos Maachalos Assuros 4:18) writes that one may not eat bones
from a non-kosher animal, Shulchan Aruch (YD 99:1) writes that if kosher
food was cooked together with non-kosher bones (that have no marrow), the
food remains kosher. This is because bones have no taste which would be
imparted to the food. Although one might assume that this is only permitted
bidieved (after the fact) but would not be allowed lichatchila, that is not
correct. Sefer Panim Me?iros (3:33) writes that one may make utensils (e.g.
spoons, ladles) from the bones of non-kosher animals and there is no
concern, since bones do not impart taste. In
  our situation, the bones are filters and do not become part of the sugar, and there is no kashrus concern for the two reasons cited above.

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Message: 6
From: Joseph Kaplan
Date: Tue, 20 Oct 2020 10:27:27 -0400
[Avodah] Shemini Atzeres as a time for Hislamdus

Micha, responding to my comment on referring to the Rambam?s discussion of not teaching Torah to women in a post about hislamdus, wrote:
? You cannot just edit the Yad. Once you edit primary texts, they aren't
primary anymore. You are no longer an evolution of the tradition, but
a revolution.?

I agree, of course. But nowhere did I suggest or imply that any text should
be edited. Indeed, in my analogy to the difficult Twain text I said that a
good  teacher would at the very least acknowledge the difficulty even if
they don?t deal
with it in that particular discussion. That?s all I wanted Micha to do. Not
?edit? (a word I never used or, quite frankly, thought about in this
discussion) but at least acknowledge (if not discuss). I never mind anyone 
disagreement with anything I say or write. But please don?t disagree with
me about things I didn?t say. 

Sent from my iPhone

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Message: 7
From: Micha Berger
Date: Tue, 20 Oct 2020 17:33:17 -0400
Re: [Avodah] The Tahom

On Mon, Oct 19, 2020 at 04:04:52PM -0500, Brent Kaufman via Avodah wrote:
> This is something that Jews don't know (at least no one that I've asked)
> and don't realize that they don't know and don't care. The Torah speaks of
> many geological structures that we are familiar with, e.g. har/mountains,
> yam/sea, major/river.... but the Torah, in many places mentions The Tahom
> as if everyone is familiar with it but no one can define it precisely like
> we can a mountain, river, or seas which we can point at.

In Sumaerian and early Babylonian religion, Tiamet, sometimes Tihamat,
is the goddess of the primeval ocean. The name is generally considered
a cognate of the Hebrew "tehom". /THM/ is also the Ugaritic word for
the Great Deep. And in Akkadian, "tamtu" -- which is where "Tiamet",
without the "h" is coming from.

We also have the word "tehomos", which implies that the tehom does not
remain a unique singular thing. "Qaf'u tehomos beleiv yam".

Seems to me The Tehom was the single body of water before HQBH introduced
yabashah, and was split into miqvei mayim called yamim.

Also notable: it's the miqvah mayim which is called yam. Not the mayim.
The most exact translation of "yam" is "seabed", not "sea". As in
"mayim bayamim".

Which frees up a possible meaning to be applied to "tehom". After day 2,
the "depths" (as per the cognates) of a sea or ocean.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger                 "I hear, then I forget; I see, then I remember;
http://www.aishdas.org/asp   I do, then I understand." - Confucius
Author: Widen Your Tent      "Hearing doesn't compare to seeing." - Mechilta
- https://amzn.to/2JRxnDF    "We will do and we will listen." - Israelites

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Message: 8
From: Brent Kaufman
Date: Tue, 20 Oct 2020 20:08:57 -0500
Re: [Avodah] The Tahom

(It?s a good thing I proofread what I write, otherwise spell check would
have addressed this to Mocha)

Thank you for that fascinating information. I never saw that connection to
Bavel; and I?ve looked.
(The 12th Planet?)

>>Seems to me The Tehom was the single body of water before HQBH introduced
> yabashah, and was split into miqvei mayim called yamim.
> Then what is called Tahom after mikvei mayim?

> >>The most exact translation of "yam" is "seabed", not "sea". As in
> "mayim bayamim".

Do you have a source to translate it like that? In English we say ?...all
of the water in the sea.? and still sea doesn?t mean seabed.

However, a friend of mine says that Rashi says (on Tahom in that 2nd pasuk
in Bereishis) that it the water just above the seabed ?mayim al hayabasha?.
First, I believe that is incorrect; and rather means lakes and such that
 But also, what would that even mean? ?Darkness was on the seabed??
Technically speaking it is dark down there, but what is the Torah telling
us with that?

And the Tahom is also accessible inland, eg. the Tahom under the Even
HaShisiyah that threatened to drown the world until Dovid HaMelech threw
the Shem Hashem into it.

This leads to a broader aspect of Tahom. The yesodos of the world are
mayim, aish, ruach, and earth. Does mayim refer to all liquids? If so, then
the idea of earth Rokah on the mayim makes sense, in that land does float
on liquid rock. Otherwise, where is land floating on water, and moreover,
what are we making bracha on, every morning?

Can the Tahom be, or even just include, the Earth?s molten core?

Which frees up a possibles meaning to be applied to "tehom". After day 2,
> the "depths" (as per the cognates) of a sea or ocean.
> But again, is the pasuk saying that the Ruach H? is above the water and a
little ways under that water it gets dark?

> Chaimbaruch

*- "When life gives you lemons, shut up and eat your lemons."*
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Message: 9
From: Danny Schoemann
Date: Wed, 21 Oct 2020 14:26:50 +0300
Re: [Avodah] Toho VaVohu

R' Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer asked:

> I heard somewhere this week that Null and Void is a translation of
> Tohu and Vohu. Has anyone else ever seen or heard this? Wish I
> could remember from whom I heard it!

That's how we learnt it in Kita Alef (or in the Adas Yeshurun Cheder -
or both) in Johannesburg 50 years ago.

The closest I could find in my bookshelf is in the Silberman Chumash
that has it as Desolate and Void.

Never occurred to me until now that Null and Void isn't The
translation of Tohu vaVohu.

Oh well, live & learn.

- Danny

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Message: 10
From: Rich, Joel
Date: Tue, 20 Oct 2020 23:02:20 +0000
[Avodah] chochma on hold:

From a book review:
You will not find here comparative analyses of the various approaches:
"Torah Only" versus "Torah im Derech Eretz" versus "Torah Umadda." This
enhances the book because those arcane discussions have always been more
the province of scholars in their ivory towers than that of actual wage
earners out in the workforce.
Rabbi Lopiansky instead sets out a model elegant in its simplicity: The
time spent in yeshivah is a period in which a young man takes on the role
of Shevet Levi-"a stratum of undiluted and uncompromised spirituality with
a minimum of interaction with the material world." These years are "the
stratum [that] becomes the core of our being." The subsequent years in the
work world are years in which one must find his role as one of the other
shevatim-"to know our mission in life and to realize it." Such missions
must be solidly within the framework of osek b'yishuvo shel olam-"the
constructive building and enhancement of the world."

From me:
Certainly one model-One might argue that looking ahead while one is in
Yeshiva would allow a stronger foundation for the subsequent years (e.g.
understanding real world trade-offs while studying theoretical paradigms,
learning skills which will make one more effective in their ultimate
mission, gathering lenses and facts which can force multipliers in one's
learning). This differentiation has some very practical implications.
(Besides the psychological considerations of possible feelings about having
to leave the Yeshiva)

Joel Rich

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