Avodah Mailing List

Volume 39: Number 44

Tue, 11 May 2021

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Prof. L. Levine
Date: Mon, 10 May 2021 17:49:29 +0000
[Avodah] Can One Take In Shavuot Early?


Can One Take In Shavuot Early? | The Jewish Press - JewishPress.com | Rabbi
Yaakov Hoffman | 4 Sivan 5780 ? May 27, 2020 | JewishPress.com<https://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/can-one-take-in-shavuot-early/2020/05/27/#:~:text=In%20fact%2C%20one%20could%20argue%20that%20one%20should,and%20allow%20for%20less%20time%20for%20continuous%20learning.>
The practice to wait until tzeit ha'kochavim has no basis in Chazal or Rishonim.

In the summer, people commonly avoid eating a very late Friday evening meal
by accepting Shabbat early and beginning the repast well before dark. But
on Shavuot ? which falls near the height of the summer ? many refuse to
avail themselves of this option and insist on davening Maariv and making
Kiddush after nightfall.

Eating so late, however, is difficult for many people ? and becomes even
more difficult the farther north one resides. It is astonishing, then, that
this practice is so entrenched, especially since it has no basis in Chazal
or the Rishonim. According to strict Talmudic law, it seems one may daven
Maariv and make Kiddush after plag ha?mincha on Erev Shavuot just as one
may do so on Erev Shabbat (Berachot 27b; cf. Tosafot, Pesachim 99b s.v.

See the above URL for more.

Also see the selections at http://personal.stevens.edu/~llevine/maariv_on_shavuous.pdf
that are taken from the sefer Sheirushei Minhag Ashkenaz, volume 4, by
Rabbi Benyamin Shlomo Hamburger.

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Message: 2
From: Zev Sero
Date: Mon, 10 May 2021 17:10:09 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Shir HaShirim 4:5

On 10/5/21 9:51 am, Jay F. Shachter via Avodah wrote:
>   I have been trying for 25 days to figure it out myself. 

No, you haven't. If you had been, you wouldn't have gone on at such 
length about the obvious explanation; you'd merely have briefly said why 
you couldn't believe that was it, and therefore why you remained puzzled.

> The only explanation I can come up with (God Almighty please tell me
> that I am wrong) is that this man is saying "cover your udders", and
> mispronouncing it.

Not mispronouncing, just misspelling.  And it's the Areivim poster doing 
that, not the original speaker.

I have no idea whether this story is true, but knowing whom it's about I 
have little trouble believing it.  And no, this isn't a flattering story 
about him.  But balanced against that is all the Torah he taught and the 
Torah edifice he built afterwards.  He did what many politicians wish 
they could do: he fired his public and got a new public who appreciated 
and adored both the content he delivered and the style in which he 
delivered it.

He`emid talmidim harbeh, and even now, more than two decades after his 
passing, people are still learning his Torah and hopefully are improving 
themselves at least a little from it.   I include myself among that 
number; I regularly read his words of wisdom, as interpreted and 
published by his talmidim, and I have gained what seem to me to be 
several useful insights from him.  But sometimes something grates a bit; 
once in a while there's a sentiment I can't agree with, or one I wish 
he'd phrased differently.  Nu, nu. Maybe he was wrong in those 
instances; or maybe I'm wrong.

Zev Sero            Wishing everyone a healthy summer

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Message: 3
From: Prof. L. Levine
Date: Wed, 12 May 2021 00:18:22 +0000
[Avodah] The Chasam Sofer on the Zohar


Rationalist Judaism: Five Things You Should Know About Lag B'Omer<http://www.rationalistjudaism.com/2014/05/five-things-you-should-know-about-lag.html>
1. It is popularly believed that Lag ba-Omer is the day on which Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai died. This is based on a printing mistake found ...
4. It is widely accepted in the Orthodox world that the Zohar, which Moses
de Leon published in the 13th century, was written by Rabbi Shimon bar
Yochai. It is further widely held that to question the authenticity of the
Zohar is heresy. You Don't Mess With The Zohar.<http://www.rationalistjudaism.com/2010/10/you-dont-mess-with-zohar.html>

5. Nevertheless, Chasam Sofer was of the view that the vast majority of the
Zohar was not written by Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, but was instead written
much later. The standard view amongst frum people with academic training
and/or non-dogmatic attitudes who are knowledgeable about this topic is
that the Zohar was largely written by Moses de Leon, albeit incorporating
older traditions to a lesser or greater extent. See this lengthy
by an anonymous charedi rabbi discussing many problems with the Zohar. Rav
Ovadiah Yosef said<http://www.rationalistjudaism.com/2010/10/rav-ovadiah-yosef-on-zohar.html>
that because of the serious questions that arise with attributing the Zohar
to Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, one cannot call someone a heretic for rejecting
his authorship of it. See too this article<http://seforim.blogspot.co.il/2012/08/concerning-zohar-and-other-matters.html>
by Dr. Marc Shapiro mentioning other authorities that rejec
 ted the antiquity of the Zohar.

The Chasam Sofer is in Yoreh Deah siman 233.

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Message: 4
From: Alexander Seinfeld
Date: Tue, 11 May 2021 18:43:14 -0400
[Avodah] Which are the 10 Commandments?

I have no source for any of these thoughts, happy to hear your feedback:
How do we know there are 10 Dibros (?Statements/Commandments?)? From 3
verses ? ?Aseres hadevarim? (Shemos/Ex 34:28, Devarim/Deut 4:13 and 10:4).
So how do we know what the 10 statements are?

There are 14 verses in total. The 14 are divided by 9 breaks into 10
distinct units (but not according to our custom):
> 1. I am Hashem; don?t do idolatry.
> 2. No vain oaths.
> 3. Shabbos.
> 4. Parents.
> 5. Murder.
> 6. Adultery.
> 7. Theft.
> 8. False witness.
> 9. Covet neighbor?s house.
> 10. Covet neighbor?s wife and other stuff.

Our minhag (custom) ? to split #1 and combine 9+10 ? appears ancient,
recorded in Josephus. But does not appear in Chazal exactly. Maybe it is
logical that 9+10 should be together, despite the break. But the public
leining of the 10 in parshah Yisro sustains the above breaks.
> Proof from Chazal: Talmud Kiddushin 31a:
> Darash Ulla Raba ? Ulla the Great expounded at the entrance to the house of
> the Nasi: ?What is the meaning of the verse, All the kings of the world will
> acknowledge you, Hashem because they heard the statements of Your mouth
> (Psalms 138:4)? It does not say the statement of your mouth rather the
> statements of your mouth. I.e., when God said ?I am Hashem? and ?don?t do
> idolatry?, the nations of the world said, ?He is saying this for his own
> honor?. But when he said ?Honor your parents?, they retracted and acknowledged
> the first statements.

It sounds as though the plural ?statements? comes to include ?Honor? ? i.e.,
the first two statements are not plural, rather they are one statement. Yet
at the end, the first two are called ?statements? in the plural. Which is
it? Perhaps the Gemara (Ulla Raba) is intentionally vague because it is not
clear whether or not the first two count as one or two? Or perhaps there is
a scribal error and the last line should read, ?acknowledged the first

* Makkos 24a: Clear that ?I am? and ?Don?t do? are separate ?mitzvoth?.
* Shabbos 88b-89a ? Gemara lists ?I am Hashem? and ?don?t do? separately,
but not a proof because doesn?t list all 10, and not even in right order.
Maybe these are just two aspects of one dibur.
* Shavuos 13a (Rashi)
* Horyos 8a (Rashi)
* Horyos 8b (Rashi) ? ?I am Hashem? and ?don?t do idolatry? are a single
* Sanhedrin 99
* Tosefos Taanis 3a ?
* Rashi Sanhedrin 86a

It would appear that there is a basis for differentiating between the ?10
Commandments? of logic and learning, and the ?10 Dibros? that the Sefer
Torah tells us were spoken at Sinai. The utterance of the 10 Dibros was not
according to the mitzvoth therein, rather according to a separate logic of
enumeration and paralleling, a true ?horah sha?ah?.


If we look at the breakdown according to the text of the Torah,
conceptually, a new logic is implied.


?I am Hashem? and ?Don?t do idolatry? make sense combined. Similarly, ?Don?t
murder? fits the understanding of the first five being bein adam l?Makom,
for murder violates the principle of tzelem Elokim. But how could the two
types of coveting be conceptually differentiated? The only difference I can
see is that a house is less personal than wife/stuff: a house is very often
inherited ? your neighbor maybe grew up there. But he acquired his wife and
his stuff, much more personal. (Also, you can pass by a house and not even
know whose it is. This is also true, but less likely with a wife or other
stuff.) Based on this logic, the latter five now parallel the first five:
> I am Hashem (be faithful to Me)=Don?t commit adultery (be faithful to fellow
> man)
> No vain (???) oaths (misappropriating God?s name)=Don?t steal
> (misappropriating property)
> Remember Shabbos (bear witness to Creation)=Don?t bear false (???) witness
> Honor parents (basic respect, boundaries)=Don?t covet his house (basic
> respect, boundaries)
> Don?t murder (tselem Elokim, God?s most personal relationship)=Don?t covet his
> wife (ishto k?gufo, a man?s most personal relationship) etc.
> This enumeration and juxtaposition teaches us: The basic idea of monotheism is
> faithfulness and loyalty (indeed, this point reverberates throughout the Torah
> and Prophets: see Ex 20:5, Ex 30:14, Deut 4:24, Deut 5:9, Deut 6:15, Josh
> 24:19, Jud 8:27 + 33, Jer 2:20, 3:1, 3:6, 3:8, 30:14, Ezek 16:15-41, Ezek 23,
> Hos 2:4-7, 3:1-3, 4:12-15, 9:1); false oaths are bad because God?s name
> doesn?t belong to us and using it vainly is like stealing; the basic idea of
> Shabbos is bearing witness; honoring parents is about respecting God and the
> concept of boundaries; murder is wrong because it violates God?s most personal
> intimate relationship with this other human being. The latter is the big
> chiddush here, because minhag and ?common sense? place murder in the side of
> bein adam l?chaveiro and the ethic is therefore one of violating the victim?s
> basic rights as a person. By putting it on thebein adam l?Makom side and
> paring it with coveting the neighbor?s wife, the ethic becomes completely
> different. God created each person b?tselem Elokim; each person has a very
> personal purpose to God, and God decides when the person will live and die.
> When another person plays God and takes that life, he violates that intimate
> relationship between God and that person, like a man coveting another man?s
> wife. It?s not like outright adultery, which is the equivalent to idolatry.
> But it disrespects God?s boundaries.
>> In the Mishneh Torah (Deuteronomy), the last two are reversed, rendering a
>> different logic and ethic:
>> I am Hashem (be faithful to Me)=Don?t commit adultery (be faithful to fellow
>> man)
>> No vain (???) oaths (misappropriating God?s name)=Don?t steal
>> (misappropriating property)
>> Keep Shabbos (remember the purpose of the Exodus, i.e., that it not be in
>> vain)*=Don?t bear vain (???) witness
>> Honor parents (basic respect: they represent God)=Don?t covet his wife (basic
>> respect: she represents him)
>> Don?t murder (respect God?s property)=Don?t desire his house etc. (respect
>> his property)
>> * see Parshas VaEschanan
>> +++
>> Anochi Hashem Elokecha appears only in the Asaras HaDibros, two times: as the
>> One who took you out of Mitzrayim and as the Keil Kana. This is another proof
>> for the suggestion above that Anochi and Lo yiyeh l?cha are a single dibbur.
>> In Sefiras HaOmer we count 32 days of din (judgment) followed by 18 days of
>> rachamim (mercy). This appears to parallel Parshas B?Shalach through the
>> Asaras HaDibros (10 Commandments): ?Elokim? 32 times; and Parshas Yisro YHVH
>> 18 times prior to the Asaras HaDibros. .

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