Avodah Mailing List

Volume 39: Number 67

Tue, 03 Aug 2021

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Micha Berger
Date: Fri, 30 Jul 2021 13:20:56 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Escorting the Queen

On Tue, Jul 06, 2021 at 07:34:53PM -0400, Akiva Miller via Avodah wrote:
> I would like to suggest that the essence of Motzaei Shabbos' identity is
> *not* its relation to the Shabbos that just ended, but its relation to the
> week that is now beginning. More specifically, Motzaei Shabbos is the
> anniversary of the creation of light, the anniversary of Creation
> altogether.

May I suggest a variant, and one that links it to my comment of 2014:
>> "Sheishes yamim ta'avod ve'asisa kol melkhatekha,
>> veyom hashevi'i Shabbos Lashem E-lokekha."
>> Working during the rest of the week is part of what
>> Shabbos is about.

Rabbi Yosi (Pesachim 43a):
    ... On Motza'ei Shabbos HQBH gave dei'ah into Adam haRishan, me'ein
    dugma of the [dei'ah] from above, and [Adam] brought two stones and
    rubbed them one on the other, and fire came out of them...

And this is given as an answer to the discussion that starts with the
assertion that only Havdalah after Shabbos should include a berakhah
on aish.

So, perhaps Melaveh Malka is about Motza"Sh as the anniversary of the
invention of fire, and thus of technology, and of "sheieshes yamim ta'avod
ve'asiso kol melakhtekha". Especially since "melakhtekha" is specifically
being used for its connotation of creative work, as per melakhos Shabbos
(at least, deOraisa).

And thus, both about the start of the world, as you wish, without
canceling the connection to "sheishes yamim ta'avod" as I apparently
wanted to 7 years ago.


Micha Berger                 Our greatest fear is not that we're inadequate,
http://www.aishdas.org/asp   Our greatest fear is that we're powerful
Author: Widen Your Tent      beyond measure
- https://amzn.to/2JRxnDF                      - Anonymous

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Message: 2
From: Micha Berger
Date: Fri, 30 Jul 2021 13:44:58 -0400
Re: [Avodah] changes in circumstances

On Mon, Jul 05, 2021 at 09:01:30PM -0400, Akiva Miller via Avodah wrote:
> R' Joel Rich wrote about pig milk and asked:
>> so how can we ever take into account changes in
>> circumstances (e.g. Rabbeinu Tam on klei shir or how
>> we skirt medicine on shabbat rules)

> To me, this sounds very similar to "Why are we allowed to kill lice on
> Shabbos?", just applied to a different situation.

I don't see the parallel.

The question about lice on Shabbos is not that the circumstances changed.
Then we get into the question of the limits of precedent, and when do
you say the situation is new enough for precedent not to matter. Or,
as in RJR's examples, how broad was a gezeira and does the new situation
stand outside it? Did this gezeira get phrased in terms of its rationale,
so that by definition if the rationale doesn't fit the situation, the
gezeira doesn't.

Then there are cases of halachic engineering, where the situation changed
such that the old din is not only pointless, but a net minus. The poor
couldn't get loans, shemittah is derabbanan, so Hillel engineered
pruzbul (or maybe mass-implemented something until then only done
retail). Or selling chameitz. The old din applies, but we don't feel
moral problems with avoiding it because there is a worse outcome if
we obey.

Killing lice is different in that it's an issue where someone today would
be in the same situation, but having a different understanding of what is
happening in it. And the question becomes whether the precedent of a pesaq
or the coining of a taqanah are even valid if they are based on a mistaken
idea in Natural Philosophy. Was the explanation the cause, a post-facto
rationale by a later generation, the only stated reason coexisting among
many unstated ones...? Was the explanation even wrong, in the sense that
the world really does look that way, and how the situation is experienced
matters more than the science we cannot directly experience?

What I do see similar is the discusion on the thread about Tefillas
haDerekh from Lakewood to Monsey. Maybe today's urban sprawl means there
are far fewer opportunities to say tefillas haderekh.

In that thread, on Tue, Jul 27, 2021 at 10:53pm GMT, R Joseph Kaplan wrote:
> Or perhaps, when tefillat haderech was written, no one could contemplate
> or imagine a built up urban area like the one existing between Lakewood
> and Monsey.

Why would that be a problem? If the situation doesn't arise, then the
chiyuv is not chal.

I am reminded of the AhS saying that there were few reshuyos harabbim
deOraisa anymore since we don't build our cities around a central
market square that side on the main road. And by central he means
that streets converge on the square, lanes (mevo'os) on the street,
chateiros on the mevo'os.... He holds the lack of stratya upelatya in
modern city planning would allow community eiruvin even if there were
60 ribo. (Although I could picture a handful of counter-examples, like
Moscow with the Red Square.)

If the AhS could declare reshus harabbim deOraisa as not applying in
any of "our cities", what would be the difficulty with thinking it's
very hard to be chayav Tefillas haDerekh because of car travel?

So, whether or not the parsah needs to be empty, or maybe there is a
migrash beyond the last house (and I agree with Zev that "last house"
could well be the last one 70 amost and change from the previous),
maybe there is a ribu'a, maybe the ribu'a is aligned with the compass

Truth is, if you look at hilkhos techum shabbos with all the clauses I
added in the previous paragraph, I may be living in a "city" that includes
the a rectangle that goes beyond Boston in the NE and Washington DC in
the SW! Techum under these changed circumstances...


Micha Berger                 We are great, and our foibles are great,
http://www.aishdas.org/asp   and therefore our troubles are great --
Author: Widen Your Tent      but our consolations will also be great.
- https://amzn.to/2JRxnDF                      - Rabbi AY Kook

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Message: 3
From: Joseph Kaplan
Date: Fri, 30 Jul 2021 19:22:14 +0000
Re: [Avodah] changes in circumstances


> On Jul 30, 2021, at 1:45 PM, Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org> wrote:
> If the AhS could declare reshus harabbim deOraisa as not applying in
> any of "our cities", what would be the difficulty with thinking it's
> very hard to be chayav Tefillas haDerekh because of car travel?

I don?t know the answer to the question but I can posit a possibility. If
the purpose of tefillat haderech was to institute a bracha on long trips,
it could have been defined in what was considered a long trip in those
times. That is, most long trips met the parameters set forth. But if they
could have imagined many many long trips that still were not cibetdered
long because of a changed urban/suburban landscape, then, perhaps, they
might have used different parameters. The reasoning for rishut hayachid
deoraita might be different so changed circumstances and landscapes might
not impact on stub decisions. 

I acknowledge that I don?t know if that?s the case, which is why I used ?perhaps? in both my original comment and this one. 


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Message: 4
From: Prof. L. Levine
Date: Sun, 1 Aug 2021 14:43:15 +0000
[Avodah] Should Artscroll Be Worried?

The following is from Rav Schwab on Prayer pages 358 - 359:

Talmud Torah: The way we learn Torah Shebe'al Peh today is not the optimal
way of doing so. Nowadays even the most outstanding gaon who learns
Torah uses sefarim. He has access to printed Shas Bavli and Yerushalmi, and
Beis Yosef, Tur, Rambam, and thousands of other sefarim. However, ideally.
Torah Shebe'al Peh is intended to be transmitted orally, from teacher to
student, and then studied orally by the students:
????? ???? ?? ?? ??? ???? ?????? ????
( Gittin 60b ). The use of sefarim as a means of learning Torah was
instituted as an emergency measure by Rabbeinu HaKadosh when he compiled
the Mishnah, so that the Torah would not be forgotten. He based his
ruling on the pasuk:  When it was time to act in
Hashem's Name, they voided Your Torah (Tehillim 119:126). Following the
lead of Rabbeinu HaKadosh, eventually all of Torah Shebe'al Peh was reduced
to writing.

However, when Mashiach comes, the Shas and other printed sefarim will
be relegated to the museums, and the original - and ideal - system of
learning Torah Shebe'al Peh orally will be reinstituted. For now, Torah
learning from written sefarim is only a temporary measure, a "marker," to
stay the course, and keep us familiar with the Torah, until bi'as HaMashiach,
when the ideal way of learning be'al peh, orally, will be reinstituted.

Interestingly, the printing press, on which the propagation of Torah
among the Jewish people has depended so heavily for the past 500 years,
was invented by a non-Jew named Gutenberg, from the City of Mainz in
Germany. This invention was really a very simple idea, and was in no way
comparable to the great inventions and discoveries of history as, for
instance, the harnessing of electric power. In fact, the Chinese had already
invented printing 1,000 years earlier, but it never reached Europe. Nevertheless,
this simple invention impacted on Jewish life so greatly that without it
Judaism would have come to a standstill. The availability of printing was
immediately seized upon by our people, and some of the earliest printed
books were Chumash with Rashi and Talmud Bavli. Imagine not having
printed Gemaras, and having to refer to a few handwritten copies, with Rashi
in a separate "Kuntreis, " or notebook. If a person had ten children, he would
have to write ten copies of the Shas by hand to enable his children to learn.

Why did HaKadosh Baruch Hu not give the zechus of inventing this means
of propagating the Torah among our people to a Jew, rather than to Gutenberg?
The reason is because learning Torah Sheb'al Peh from a written book
is not the ideal way of doing so. It is only an emergency measure, which was
necessitated in galus, to insure that Torah would not be forgotten. For
now, our method of learning mitoch hak'sav is only a "road marker" until
Mashiach comes, when the ideal method of learning Torah Sheb'al Peh
orally will be reinstituted.


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