Avodah Mailing List

Volume 03 : Number 025

Monday, April 19 1999

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Sat, 17 Apr 1999 22:36:04 EDT
From: TROMBAEDU@aol.com
Re: Dina d'malchusa & speeding

In a message dated 4/15/99 11:00:43 PM Eastern Daylight Time, 
nwitty@ix.netcom.com writes:

<< Second, at least according to Ramban on kedoshim, I would suggest that
 "kedoshim tihiyu" refers to limiting physical pleasures that if indulged in
 are permissible yet hedonistic.  There is not necessarily hedonism in
 driving 70 mph in a 55 mph zone.  Please do not  prohibit what the Torah
 does not for the wrong reason.  Concededly, increasing risk of danger to
 health, safety and welfare of self and others may indeed be a bittul of
 "venishmartem me-od le-nafshosaichem." >>

Your point is true, but a little off the mark. There is no attempt on Mr. 
Maryles' part to create an issur where one doesn't exist, but rather to 
extend dina d'malchusa dina to infractions of the traffic code. My question 
would be a little different, and perhaps the lawyers on this list could help 
enlighten us. Would Dina D'malchusa dina apply  equally to laws which are not 
criminal in nature, but more like codes or regulations like traffic laws, or 
zoning laws, et al. as they would to misdemeanors and felonies. 
Perhaps that is a distinction one could make with regard to speeding and dina 
D'malchusa dina.


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Date: Sun, 18 Apr 1999 01:05:21 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Jonathan J. Baker" <jjbaker@panix.com>
Changing nosach of a shul

This is a new enquiry, although it hangs loosely from some older posts,
e.g. that of Harry Maryles in v2n146 and that of Chaim Brown in v2n192.

I will look into R' Brown's mareh mekomot in the near future, but I 
have recently been wondering, what are the parameters and sources of
the permissibility or impermissibility of changing nusach?  I would
break my question into several parts:

1) changing one's own nusach for private prayer (seemingly what has
already been cited by the above posters?)

2) if one davens nusach A, and the shul in which one happens to be 
daven's nusach B, which nusach should one use:
  a) privately
  b) publicly as a participant (e.g. during kedushah)
  c) publicly as a leader

3) changing the nusach of a shul, e.g., under the influence of a Chabad
rabbi who is employed as the rav of a "modern-orthodox", or a Sephardic,
  a) to what extent is the shul a corporate entity with a minhag that would
somehow have to be changed by, perhaps, hatarat nedarim (is there such a
concept for a tzibur qua corporate entity?)?
  b) to what extent is the shul a ship commanded by a rav qua mara d'atra?

P.S. I specified Chabad because of their idea that nusach Ari is "good for
all Jews" (see Kadish, KAVVANA, p.292), and their willingness to lead
synagogues that do not lechatchilah pledge allegiance to their school of

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Date: Sun, 18 Apr 1999 16:55 +0200
From: BACKON@vms.huji.ac.il
Chilul Hashem

See the Shita Mekubetzet on Bava Kama 113b: "Nimtza she'af oved elilim
ush'eynam gedurim b'divrei hadatot, asur legazlan .. vechen assur lehavkiya
et halva'ato".

A few lines below he writes: Ve'chen af be'aveyda - kol tzad sh'yi'yeh
CHILUL HASHEM (emphasis mine) b'iykuva machzira .... harei heyn k'yisrael


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Date: Sun, 18 Apr 1999 21:48:06 +0300 (GMT+0300)
From: Eli Turkel <turkel@math.tau.ac.il>

> > 
> > Since I bet (if that be permitted) that we are a self-selected group that
> > does adhere to the tax code more or less properly, why don't we move on to
I agree.
Just a point that some Israeli papers have made a point of mentioning
that some members of yeshivot in NY have been found guilty of laudering
money or illegally taking money for the yeshivot for programs that
they are not entitled too. Besides any problems of theft there is
also obviously a problem of chillul hashem.

Kol Tuv,
Eli Turkel

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Date: Sun, 18 Apr 1999 16:50:10 -0400
From: "JEFFREY ZUCKERMAN" <jzuckerman@cm-p.com>
Sales Tax

	There seems to be a consensus on the Avodah list that there is a 
halachic problem in patronizing stores that do not pay sales tax to the 
government tax authorities (or at least no one has expressed an opposing 
position).  Is anyone suggesting, however, that a customer has an 
affirmative obligation to determine whether the store pays the appropriate 
sales taxes?  The fact that a store lists "sales tax" on a receipt, does 
not necessarily mean that it pays the tax to the government authorities.  
More importantly, perhaps, the fact that a store does not list "sales tax" 
on its receipts does not necessarily mean that it does not pay sales tax to 
the government authorities.  

	It is permissible for a retailer simply to report its gross sales 
revenues to the tax authorities, and to pay the appropriate percentage of 
those revenues to cover its sales tax obligation, without having specified 
the sales tax in connection with each individual sale.  Back when state 
sales taxes were deductible for federal income tax purposes, it was useful 
for a purchaser to obtain a receipt showing the sales tax paid.  Today, 
however, when this deduction no longer exists, there would not seem to be 
any particular reason why a purchaser needs to have the amount of sales tax 
indicated separately on a receipt.  

	As for why some small retailers may prefer not to list "sales tax" on 
their receipts, even though they pay the tax to the authorities:  (1) some 
find it extremely burdensome; and (2) others believe that this contributes 
to their reputations as discounters.  (Is the latter gneivas daas?)

	Thus, I return to my original question:  do shoppers have an 
obligation to determine whether the stores they patronize remit sales tax 
to the government authorities, assuming I am correct that one cannot 
determine this just by seeing whether the stores list "sales tax" on their 
receipts?  And if they have such an obligation, to what lengths must they 
go in order to fulfill it?

Jeffrey I. Zuckerman

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Date: Mon, 19 Apr 1999 10:22:22 +0300 (IDT)
From: Eli Turkel <turkel@math.tau.ac.il>

Subject: Manuscripts

Yisrael Herczeg writes

>> On the basis of what the Chazon Ish writes in Orach Chaim 67:12, his
>> reservations about unknown manuscripts rest on their being of questionable
>> provenance. 

There is an nice article by R. Mishe Bleich in the Journal of Halacha and
Contemporary Society , vol 23, 1993. I will attempt a summary of the article
but suggest reading the full article.
CI = Chazon Ish    ;  KI = Kovetz iggerot of Chazon Ish
SA = Shulchan Arukh

CI gives several reasons why not to do rely on manuscripts.

I. CI YD 150:8, KI 3:48
   SA is not based on a simple majority vote, hence finding some more
   opinions doesn't change the halacha.
   Urim VeTumim, Kitzur Tokpo Cohen 123, stresses that the SA was written
   with "divine inspiration", Shem gedolim that it was accepted by all
   gedolim of that generation.
   Hence, "kim-li" does not work against SA.

   See however, Miskenot Yaakov (OH 120) who rules against Remah and says
   that one does not need 600,000 people for reshut harabim based on new
   rishonim not known to the Remah. Hence, remah would have changed his mind.
   Also SA Harav OH 448:12 disagrees about some Chametz issue based on
   manuscripts. Note: both of these disagree le-chumra.

This reasoning seems to apply only to disagreements with SA not other
uses of manuscripts (see however, Moadim Uzemanin 4:274).

II. CI Eruvin 67:12
    Rabbenu Chananel can not always be relied le-halacha becuase of possible
    scribal errors.

    Binyan LeTzion (Aruch Le-ner) #69, disagrees with Raavad's understanding
    of R. hai gaon based on recent Teshuvat Hagaonim.

    Seridei Eish 3"33,5 3:122,18, 3:408, discusses the difficulties in
    relying on manuscripts because of the many mistakes in them.

    Iggerot Moshe EH 1:63,6 , says that parts of tosaphot haRosh were
    recent by "talmid toeh" based on his showing that it contradicted
    other statements by Rosh.
    See also YD 2:7 (on goyim not receiving reward for mitzvot !).

    Shevet HaLevi 5:103,5,7 gives haskama to new edition of Baale HaNefesh
    (Raavad) which clears up previously controversial girsaot.

    R. Y. Kanievsky in his letters gives haskama to bring out "new"
    rishonim on the gemara.

This reasoning seems to apply only to specific wording not to the general
import of an idea which would not be a scribal error. Rav Moshe seems
to extend it to cases where we can "prove" that there is a problem with
the current text.
It was also seem to depend on the people and manuscripts used to reconstruct
the rishon. It is a difficult task and some are more reliable than others.

Note that the CI himself relies on Teshuvot Maharshal and Yam shel Shlomo
(which were unknown to R. Yosef Karo) to disagree with SA.

III. KI 3:2
     There is a divine plan that decided which manuscripts were handed
     down through the generations.
     (why doesn't the same plan say we now discovered them for a reason?)

Note: KI I:32 uses manuscripts to change girsa in a Gemara so that it
conforms with SA.

IV. Numerous gedolim have noted that on the contrary much of what has been
    accepted for generations is not true. For example. Rashi on nazir and 
    Taanit id not by rashi. Rabbenu Gershon in some places is not by
    "the" rabbenu Gershon. Chiddushom of Ramban, rashba, Ritva etc. have been
    confused (see Kovetz Iggerot R. Wasserman 2:p37)
    see also CI - OH 39:6 where he accepts the opinion of a Gaon becuase
    it is obvious that it was written by a Gaon.

My personal conclusion:
1. Manuscripts are almost never used to overule SA
2. Not all manuscripts are equal. Depends on original author, and work
   involved in reconstructing manuscript. Much of the recent work is
   superior to that of a 100 years ago.
3. Over time many manuscripts have become accepted. I would be suprised if
   most younger poskim do not rely on Rabbenu Chananel. Each new manuscript
   takes it time until it is accepted or not by the yeshiva world.
4. Hence, manuscripts add a lot to out knowldege but must be used with
   caution. Work by R. Kapach and others on improving the editions of
   Rambam based on old manuscripts is invaluable. Similarly other recent
   editions of Tur and SA based on earlier manuscripts or printings can
   hardly be argued with.

Given, these factors I don't understand the yeshiva world opposition to
the Cairo Genizah.

kol tuv,
Eli Turkel

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