Avodah Mailing List

Volume 38: Number 113

Tue, 22 Dec 2020

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Micha Berger
Date: Tue, 22 Dec 2020 13:39:22 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Le'ilui Nishmas an Infant

On Tue, Dec 22, 2020 at 01:08:40PM -0500, Zvi Lampel wrote:
> But your original problem,
>> I really don't know what le'ilui nishmas means when speaking of a nifteres
>> who only lived 11 weeks,...
>> will still remain unsolved, no?

Yes. But we're talking about how the RBSO could be Just. I would prefer
getting to a point of "I really don't know" than embracing theories
that don't seem fair. It's theology. "I don't know" is a perfectly fine
answer; we shouldn't insist we /can/ understand it all and settle for

Maaseh Bereishis vs science as well. I've grown to be happier with an
"I don't know", or maybe even the Moreh's "we can't know" than a lot of
the suggestions that get published.

It is gaavah on the part of our era to think that we've finally gotten
to the emes of how the world works, and the time has come for humanity
to answer all the open questions.

Tir'u baTov!

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Message: 2
From: Mendel Singer
Date: Sun, 20 Dec 2020 22:25:50 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Orthodox Union Guidance Regarding Coronavirus

On 12/18/2020 1:17 PM, Prof. Levine via Avodah wrote:
> From
> https://together.ou.org/page/guidance
> Guidance Regarding COVID-19 
> Guidance Statements & Policies. December 15, 2020 11:45 AM EST. OU/RCA 
> COVID-19 Vaccine Guidance. The following is shared based on the 
> guidance of our poskim, Harav Hershel Schachter " and Harav 
> Mordechai Willig ", with the support of Harav Dovid Cohen ".

I just heard Rav Willig tonight say that he asked for the language to 
say "requires us" instead of merely "strongly encouraging" but I was sure
he said he was disappointed that they didn't go with that language. I
see in the link there are 2 paragraphs, one with each language. Reading
this carefully, the 3 poskim all said "requires", but the OU only said
"strongly encourage". Here are the 2 paragraphs:

The poskim:

Notwithstanding these factors, the conclusion of our poskim is that,
pursuant to the advice of your personal health care provider, the Torah
obligation to preserve our lives and the lives of others requires us to
vaccinate for COVID-19 as soon as a vaccine becomes available.


In consideration of the guidance of our poskim, we strongly encourage
all those eligible to access the COVID-19 vaccination to do so. We hope
and pray that such steps will help bring to an end the tragic toll that
the pandemic has taken on our community and beyond.


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Message: 3
From: Rich, Joel
Date: Tue, 22 Dec 2020 05:10:41 +0000
Re: [Avodah] Fw: COVID vaccine

I think the general thrust was to consult with your doctor but for the vast Majority there is a chiyuv to take it
Joel rich

Sent from my iPhone

On Dec 22, 2020, at 2:49 AM, gil.student--- via Avodah <avo...@lists.aishdas.org> wrote:

CAUTION: External Sender
Here is the shiur:

Gil Student

On Mon, Dec 21, 2020 at 10:06 AM Prof. L. Levine <llev...@stevens.edu<mailto:llev...@stevens.edu>> wrote:
From Steven cooper, MD
?Dr Aaron Glatt says EVERYONE should get the vaccine, even elderly, even immune compromised

And, says ??? ????? Willig, ??????, based on the ???? ?????, the ????, the ????? and other ?????, that we have a ???? ????????? to get this vaccine!!
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Message: 4
From: Micha Berger
Date: Mon, 21 Dec 2020 18:58:03 -0500
[Avodah] Rav Saadia Gaon, Kabbalah, Gilgul, Eilu vaEilu

Branching from the discussion: Le'ilui Nishmas an Infant

On Sun, Dec 20, 2020 at 11:08:02PM -0600, Brent Kaufman via Avodah wrote:
> Some time after that, R. Saadia, might take you aside and tell you one of
> two things.
> Either he would say:
> "Yes, I said that because there was reason to be careful of that kind of
> spiritual Zeitgeist, at the time I wrote it...
> Or he would say:
> "Yes, I did write that, and I was incorrect..."

Or, gilgul isn't a thing. It's a bit presumptuous to assume that one of
the last people who actually came quite close to being rabban shel kol
Yisrael didn't mean what he said or didn't know the topic thoroughly.

I think the machloqes needs be left open.

> "The time wouldn't come for another 600 years, that it
> would be the Ratzon HaBorei to reveal these things to a wider public. He
> did so by sending..."*

There are deep problems with the progressive revelation approach to the
origins of Qabbalah. Because once you believe that we needed further
revelations after Sinai, you are opening up a Pandora's Box.

I would faster believe it's all in the original revelation, if only
latently and requiring an accumulation of learning until it is all dug up.
Like the take on the gemara about Moshe sitting in the 8th row in Rabbi
Aqiva's halakhah shiur that says that Moshe didn't recognize what R Aqiva
taught and yet R Aqiva attributed those teaching to Moshe because Moshe
got the pieces, and it took Rabbi Aqiva and the generations of work he
built on until the conclusion was put together.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger                 The same boiling water
http://www.aishdas.org/asp   that softens the potato, hardens the egg.
Author: Widen Your Tent      It's not about the circumstance,
- https://amzn.to/2JRxnDF    but rather what you are made of.

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Message: 5
From: Zvi Lampel
Date: Mon, 21 Dec 2020 17:22:09 -0500
Re: [Avodah] min hatorah

Maharatz Chiyos deals with this in his Mevo HaTalmud (Chap. 5), and more
extensively in his Toras Neviim, Maamar Divrei Neviim Divrei Kabalah (Chap.

 He references the Rambam's Shoresh Sheyni Sefer HaMitzvos, which in turn
cites (San. 22b and M.K. 5a), ''Before Ezekiel came and told us this, who
had stated it?" Maharatz Chiyos explains (translation by R. Jacob Schecter,
''The Students Guide Through The Talmud, Feldheim Publishers, NY 1960),

What they meant was that it was not the prophet who initiated the ruling,
because he indeed has no authority to do so, but he must have been in
possession of a traditional law to which he only gave textual support. In
other words, prophets only recorded halachoth which had already been
received orally as Sinaitic laws, and so revealed nothing new, since those
rulings had been in existence already as oral law.
I have already dealt at length with this category of halachoth in my
Treatise, Torath Nebiim, quoted above. I would only refer the conclusions
reached there, namely, that these rulings which may appear, at first sight,
to have been laid down by the Prophets, were none other than halachoth
transmitted orally from Sinai, for the writing down of which they had
received the necessary divine permission.

*He begins his chapter on Mevo HaTalmud by saying that most matters learned
from Nach have the same status as anything learned from Chumash, based upon
the references you and I have cited, as well as several others. So, it
comes out that Chazal had a kabalah that these matters were in Torah
Shebe-al Peh MiSinai, but knew that they were not indicated in Toras Moshe,
or could not find any such indication. But they pointed out that they found
that they were eventually committed to either explicit or drash-indicated
writing in Nach.*

Zvi Lampel

> From: "Rich, Joel"
> The Gemara chulin 17b asks "Minayin lbdikat sakin min hatorah" (from where
> do we know that a shechita knife must be checked) and answers with a pasuk
> from navi. I couldn't find another gemara that asks this question and
> answers with a pasuk not from the Torah. Thoughts?
> -------------------------------------------------
> Through a data search I found two more:
> Sanhedrin 91b... minayin l-tchias mesim min haTorah...Shir HaShirim 52:8
> Bechoros 50a...Bikshu lignoz dinarei Hadriana, Tiryna, Shiappa mipnei
> tabah shel Yerushalayim, ad shamatsu lah mikrah min haTorah she-hu
> mutar...Yechezkel 7:22
> And then ''remez min haTorah minayin:
> Moed Kattan 5a...remez letsion kevaros min hatorah minayin...Yechezkel
> 39:15
> Zvi Lampel
> ------------------------------
> And any thoughts on why Chazal would broadly define Torah in this way in
> such limited circumstances?
> KT
> Joel RIch
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Message: 6
From: Zev Sero
Date: Tue, 22 Dec 2020 10:51:16 -0500
[Avodah] "Ha'od Avi Chai?"

Why didn't Yosef also ask about his grandfather?  After all, Yitzchak 
had only passed away ten years earlier.  How would Yosef have heard 
about it?  To the best of his knowledge Yitzchak might well still be 
alive, so why no mention of him?  (We may presume he also inquired about 
Bilhah and the pasuk just doesn't bother telling us, but it seems 
strange that it would omit an inquiry about Yitzchak.)

Zev Sero            Wishing everyone a *healthy* and happy 5781
z...@sero.name       "May this year and its curses end
                      May a new year and its blessings begin"

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Message: 7
From: Prof. L. Levine
Date: Mon, 21 Dec 2020 21:01:47 +0000
[Avodah] If all the nations of the world

The following is from an address Rav Shimon Schwab gave at the 1987 Aguda Convention titled

The Jew in Golus: How High a Profile.  The entire essay is available at


es. - Agudath Israel of America<https://agudah.org/wp-content/uploads/1988/02/JO1988-V21-N01.pdf>
THE JEW IN GoLUS The Struggles of the JEWINGOLUS -I? LL &Q&J based
on an address by Rabbi Mordechai Gifter N"IJ'J~. Rosh Ha yeshiva qf Telshe
Wickl!ff e, Ohio, and a member qf the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah (Council of
Torah Sages} qf Agudath Israel of America delivered at the recent national
convention qf Agudath Israel of America THE ROLE OF THE JEW

From Rav Schwab's talk

If all the nations of the world and
it's a tendency today to think
this way-are depraved, foolish and
wicked, it is no distinction to be
better than those who are depraved,
foolish and wicked. That is no basis
for praise to the Ribbono Shel Olam.
By the same token, gratitude for
being given the Torah cannot be
meaningful if all non-Torah science
is nonsense. if all secular knowledge
is without value. What glory is
ascribed to Torah knowledge if its
distinction is simply that it is
superior to nonsense? To the contrary.
Chazal have told us that there
is indeed chachma (wisdom)
amongst the nations. As a matter
of fact. upon seeing a wise non.Jew,
one pronounces a blessing, praising
G-d "for having given of His knowledge
to [a creature of] flesh-andblood."
But all their knowledge-all
their sciences and all their wisdom-
sh rinks into absolute nothingness
before the majesty of one
kutzo shel Yud (small stroke in the
sacred Torah.

Yet an attitude of disdain for the
other nations Is to be expected. as
a natural outgrowth of having suffered
the recent decimating churban
in Europe-and I am a witness
to it. After such barbaric behavior
by one of the world's most civilized
nations, and silent indifference on
the part of so much of the rest of
the world, many of us have lost basic
respect for the opinions of mankind.
Because of our anger and our deep
pain, we have developed an attitude
of "Who cares what other nations
say?" We have seen their civilization
and culture collapse in a major
catastrophe. We have been deafened
by the silence of the so-called moral
majority of decent people. We no
longer care. Let them say what they
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