Avodah Mailing List

Volume 02 : Number 019

Tuesday, October 13 1998

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Mon, 12 Oct 1998 23:09:41 +0200
From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@netmedia.net.il>
Shulchan Aruch:Consistency

Rav Yosef Karo (Introduction to the Beis Yosef on the Tur) explains that
there are many strong questions that have been raised by Tosfos and
others concerning the various halachic alternatives. It is an impossible
task to answer them properly and show why one position is the correct
one. He solved the problem by ignoring the traditional approach of
trying to find Truth and took the pragmatic approach of following the
majority of Rosh, Rif and Rambam.  The Mishna Berura seems to have taken
a similar pragmatic approach. The result is halacha that works (though
is not conceptually consistent) and is acceptable to a broader base than
one based upon one posek's view of Truth.

                               Daniel Eidensohn

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Date: Tue, 13 Oct 1998 12:29:51 +0200 (GMT+0200)
From: Eli Turkel <turkel@math.tau.ac.il>

subject: techeles

Some remarks about techeles.
I too wear the techeles from Tosafot as suggested by Rav Schacter.
However, I have some reservations.

Basically did the Rama usually pasken like tosafot because ashkenazim
are descendants from that population or (what I believe) he paskened
like the custom in Cracow. Usually that followed tosafot but not always.
In fact there were complaints that Rama followed the customs of Cracow
to the exclusion of other cities in Poland and Italy.

If he basically followed the local custom it would have no relevance
to situations that didn't have a local custom. In fact we know
of cases where he paskened like the local custom against tosafot -
a famous case being the candles on chanukah.

In Rav Schacter's article in the book on Techelet he further states
that the order of the windings should be like Shmuel be Hofni gaon
because he is the earliest source.
I have several problems with this.
First Rav Natroni Gaon has a different shita and he was earlier.
More to the point swince when do we follow the earliest psak
(see discussion on following the latest psak).
Hence, I follow the opinion of the Gra.

I have the written version of Ran Eliyashiv responsa in halchot sadeh.
In this teshuva he basically brings down the old teshivot of
the bet haleci and yeshout malka and so decides against the new
techelet. I found this teshuva rather disturbing. In fact many people
bring the teshuva of the bet halevi in favor of the new techelet
since one of his main points is how to explain the loss of tradition
which the new theories explain. The Yeshuot malka objects that the
method of boiling the dye is a diasgreement between rashi and rambam.

In summary Rav Eliashiv adds absolutely nothing to quoting these opinions.
One gets the strong impression that he never read any of the literature
in support of the new theories. Basically it is close to impossible
to speak directly with Rav Eliashiv. Everything goes through his
gaboim and one has no way of knowing how the question was presented to
him and what facts he was shown.

Eli Turkel

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Date: Tue, 13 Oct 1998 13:09:57 +0200 (GMT+0200)
From: Eli Turkel <turkel@math.tau.ac.il>

Catching up over yomtov I have several miscellanous comments.

>> As an aside, this is why I have always assumed that the idea of eating
>> all your chullin as if it was kodesh was a feminist plot to make sure
>> that men did all the cooking.

This problem existed all the more so for cohanim in the days of the Temple.
If one takes a tour of the Wohl Museum it contains artifacts found in the
houses of priests a short distance from the Temple. One of the unusual facts
is that many of the dishes are from stone which no neighboring community used.
Any good guide will tell you the reason is because of tumah. Stone does not
become tumah and so was used in all cooking, eating etc.
Hence, ways were found for women to participate in normal life even while being
nidah. True some restrictions applied like eating terumah but I doubt that they
were in isolation.

2. On the authority of the mishna , I recall a Rashi that says the mishna
   is authoritative because it was done by all the gedolim of that generation
   and so is a psak of the sanhedrin.

   Of course this applies only to the mishna and not other tannaitic material.
I note that most of the material quoted of amoraim disagreeing with tannaim
occur with Shmuel and Rav Yochanan who were very early amoraim. Most historians
assume that that it was a gradual process that accepted the mishna and other
tannaitic material. I also recall a relatively recent daf yomi where Rav Yochanan
disagrred with a Beraita and the rishonim comment that "he must have had" another
source which the Gemara doesn't quote.

3. In terms of the authority of the geonim and the 4 captives and Artscroll.
The story of the 4 captives appears in Sefer hakabbalh of Raavad I. As far as
I know there are letters found in the Cairo genizah that disprove this story
and historians today do not believe it. Rather the 4 "captives" were local
chachamim and did not originate in Bavel.

4. In terms of chumrot
   It was mentioned that one needs more than 100 kolot of the shofar.
   There have been stories of gedolim buying numerous esrogim.
   I recently read of a gadol who is careful about all uncovered liquids.

Is there any limit to taking chumrot that were not observed in previous generations?

I even heard of one gadol who would eat in the succah when it rained.
When someone complained that the gemara refers to this as chasid shoteh his response
was that he doesn't mind being called a shoteh because of his love for the mitzvah.

> On the issue of the decline in Geonic authority, non-Artscroll
> historians have attributed it to many factors, including the political
> disorder in Bavel and a spate of mediocre roshei yeshiva leading the
> yeshivot in Bavel.

It is interesting though that the greatest fall of the gaonim happened immediately
after the death of one of the greatest of the gaonim - Rav Hai Gaon.
Many consider him the last gaon although in fact the office continued much longer.

6.  Techelet
In the Journal of Halacha & Contemporary Society there was a debate about techelet.
On of the few points brought out against the new custom is that the one should
wear tzizit that are the color of the clothing (sefard) or white (ashkenaz).
The answer given was that these apply only to the "white" tzizit not the techelet
tzizit. Of course for one who wears 4 non-techelet strings than the above applies
to all 4 strings.

In a world of thousands of chumrot I don't understand why lo tisgodedu applies
only to techelet

kol tuv,
Eli Turkel

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Date: Tue, 13 Oct 1998 20:34:44 -0500 (CDT)
From: micha@aishdas.org (Micha Berger)
Re: Or Lagoyim, negetive masorah, eidah/am

In v2n16, Chaim Brown asked about a number of my comments.

1- I mentioned the Rambam in Hil. Milachim because I thought it was
   interesting. I appreciate Chaim's assumption that I do not support a
   general convert-or-die approach toward all non b'nei noach.

   The Rambam's comments are in a perek about eishes yifas to'ar and how to
   treat the enemy after he is captured. I assume the Rambam's intent was
   limited to people's whose land we're absorbing into Israel, and therefore
   will be living amongst us. The context also presumes the existance of a
   Jewish king, the person in question is a foe, etc...

2- The Bais HaLevi doesn't talk about "negative mesorah" as a phrase. He does,
   however, talk about the effective presence of a mesorah that the cuttlefish
   is not the chilazon. (In that cuttlefish were known of throughout our
   history, and yet were not associated with the chilazon.) The Radziner was
   therefore not combatting the absence of the mesorah, but the presence of a
   contradictory mesorah. "Negative mesorah" was /our/ term for the idea of
   a masorah in support of the opposite conclusion.


Micha Berger (973) 916-0287    Help free Yehuda Katz, held by Syria 5949 days!
micha@aishdas.org                         (11-Jun-82 - 13-Oct-98)
For a mitzvah is a candle, and the Torah its light.
http://www.aishdas.org -- Orthodox Judaism: Torah, Avodah, Chessed

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