Avodah Mailing List

Volume 03 : Number 041

Monday, May 3 1999

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Sat, 1 May 1999 22:29:55 +0300 (GMT+0300)
From: Eli Turkel <turkel@math.tau.ac.il>

Subject: gedolim

    While I have no intention of getting involved in the mud slinging
I would just point out that if one reads the published letters of
some gedolim one finds strong statements to the effect that those
that disagree with their stands are not only not gedolim but have no
integrity and only their side is honest and Torah true.

Eli Turkel

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Date: Sun, 2 May 1999 00:27:13 +0100
From: Chana/Heather Luntz <Chana/Heather@luntz.demon.co.uk>
Re: Kollel Stipends

In message , richard_wolpoe@ibi.com writes
>2) Would there have been a difference in approach between the Ashkenazi shitos 
>re: remuneration for Torah and the Sefardi shitos?

One thing to note in this discussion is that the person who is most
frequently quoted as the standardbearer against the concept of Kollel
and being supported by others in order to learn, namely the Rambam,
himself had a Y/Z arrangement with his brother David, until his brother
drowned while on a business voyage, forcing the Rambam to then support
himself by way of a medicial practice.  The Rambam was incredibly close
to this brother, a letter between them is on display at the Israel
Museum and it is literally heartbreaking, as it was the last
communcation between them before the brother drowned, and it is full of
such affection.

Getting back to the question at hand, there appear to be two possible
alternatives to explain the Rambam's position either:

a) a Y/Z relationship was regarded by the Rambam as entirely different
to kollel; or

b) the Rambam latter regretted having been supported by his brother,
and felt the arrangement had been wrong, and the words were written
after he had charata.

IMHO, without any evidence to the latter, we should assume the former,
especially as one would have thought that, given that his scholarship
was already established at the time of his brother's death, the Rambam
surely would have had no difficulty in obtaining community financing had
he sought it. However it would be interesting to know at what point in
his life the Rambam wrote his famous words condemning the kollel
lifestyle, whether before or after it became a halacha l'ma'ase question
for him personally.

>Rich Wolpoe 

Shavuah tov


Chana/Heather Luntz

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Date: Sat, 1 May 1999 21:51:57 -0400 (EDT)
From: Freda B Birnbaum <fbb6@columbia.edu>
OBM, OH, ZTL, ZL, etc.

R. Wolpoe raised the question of

> >>For example, was Rav J.B. Soloveitchik zt"l (z"l
> according to the Jewish Observer obituary) <<
> do any sources discuss the crieteria that gives 
> Moshe Rabeinu an OH
> Elioyaho Hanovi a Zachur Latov
> others a ZTL (which is half a possuk in Mishlei) etc.
> Or IOW why don't we say Moshe Rabbeinu ZTL, etc.?
> Rich Wolpoe

Putting aside the question of how to decide whether to use z"l, zt"l, a"h,
etc. (I honestly don't know!), in my observation one uses any of these
phrases in connection only with persons whose death is recent enough that
we knew them personally; hence one wouldn't use them in connection with
Moshe Rabbenu or the Rambam or the first Lubavitcher Rebbe. (Although I
suppose one might refer to "my grandmother, a"h", even if one hadn't known

I welcome any additional information on this (I could very well be
mistaken); I've wondered why this is so.

Freda Birnbaum, fbb6@columbia.edu
"Call on God, but row away from the rocks"

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Date: Sun, 2 May 1999 09:48:33 -0500 (CDT)
From: "Shoshanah M. & Yosef G. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Request for luach info (via R.Feivel Schuster) (fwd)


Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer
Cong. Bais Tefila, 3555 W. Peterson Ave., Chicago, IL, 60659
ygb@aishdas.org, http://www.aishdas.org/baistefila

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 02 May 1999 11:14:31 +0300
From: Leo Levi <levileo@avoda.jct.ac.il>
To: sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu
Subject: Request for luach info (via R.Feivel Schuster)

Dear Reb Yosef, loy"t

 Reb Feivel passed your inquiry on to me & I'll try to help.

1. Concerning possible limits to the validity of our present luach, see
"'Al HaShminith" by Ya'akov Loewinger (Tel Aviv, 5746).  This is
out-of-print, but YU library has copy & it should be available from them
via inter-library loan.

2.  Re dispute of Ben Meir & Rav Sa'adya Gaon, see at length: Torah
Sheleimah (R. M.M.Kasher) Vol. 13, espec. chapter 9.

3.  Details for computing the luach, see RaMBaM, Kidush HaChodesh and/or
Tifereth Yisrael, Introd. to Mo'ed: "Shevilei HaRaki'a".

BeVikath Kol Tuv
Yehudah (Leo) Levi

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Date: Sun, 2 May 1999 09:48:57 -0500 (CDT)
From: "Shoshanah M. & Yosef G. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Re: Calendar (fwd)


Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer
Cong. Bais Tefila, 3555 W. Peterson Ave., Chicago, IL, 60659
ygb@aishdas.org, http://www.aishdas.org/baistefila

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 2 May 1999 09:34:07 -0400 (EDT)
From: Remy Landau <rlandau@freenet.toronto.on.ca>
To: "Shoshanah M. & Yosef G. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Subject: Re: Calendar (fwd)

On Sat, 1 May 1999, Shoshanah M. & Yosef G. Bechhofer wrote:
> From: Eli Turkel <turkel@math.tau.ac.il>

> It would seem that the use of a set calendar was a gradual process
> over many generations (see Rav Kasher). Nevertheless, the Takanah of
> Hillel II should have caused major impact on Babylonian Jewry.
> Nevertheless there is almost no reference to this major event in the
> Gemara even though it took place in the days of Rava and Abaye, well
> before the Gemara was completed by Rav Ashi.
> One gets the impression that there was an effort to downplay this event.

Mr. Turkel raises an interesting number of historical puzzles related to 
the Luach. And probably the most significant question is when was the 
fixed calendar really, really, really known?

However, I'm not certain that, with regards to his hypothetical question 
of "an effort to downplay" the publication of the Luach's rules, any kind 
of positive answer can be given reasonably within some of the apparently 
known historical events.

It appears from a number of Talmudic sources that attempts were made to 
publish calendars for various periods of time. The stories of R. Haninah
(Ber. 63a) and that of R. Shmuel (Hullin 95b). 

The source most often quoted relating to the Hillel II decision appears 
to be Hai Gaon, who lived sometimes in the 10-11th centuries ce. (See 
page 48 of the Enc Judaica under the article *Calendar*). 

By Hillel II's the concept of fixed calendars was very much in vogue in that 
part of the world. The western world, because of the ancient Roman influence,
was now very much accustomed to the use of the Julian calendar which had been 
introduced by Julius Caesar around 45 bce. 

In 325 ce, the western churches held a conference in Nicea, whose agenda 
included the "de-Judaization" of all church matters. This included the 
setting of the date for the observance of Easter which  would no longer be 
tied to the Hebrew calendar and the arrival date of Pesach.  The Council 
established their date for Easter as the first Sunday on or after the first 
full moon on or after the vernal equinox.

I'm not at all certain if they then set up some tables  to ensure that 
this Sunday never again would coincide with the first day of Pesach.
However, if that council did so, then that probably could have only been 
done with the aid of a known and existing fixed Hebrew calendar.

The point of all this is that somewhere in the fray there must have 
already existed a permanently fixed Luach whose computational details 
would not be released until some point in Jewish history. Whether or not 
it was as stated by the Hai Gaon, or a bit earlier, or a bit later, is 
unclear. And by the time such publication was allowed there would not 
have been many eyebrows raised because of the existing calendar usages of 
the time.

I realize that I have indulged in a massive amount of speculation on the 
Mr. Turkel's question. Unfortunately, there is a significant loss of real 
information surrounding the Luach and its history, and so, that opens up the 
door to endless and inconclusive speculative matter.

|/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\ Regards From  Remy  Landau /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/|
|\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/ Downsview, Ontario, Canada \/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\|


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Date: Sun, 02 May 1999 12:03:42 -0400
From: Harry Maryles <C-Maryles@neiu.edu>
Re: Gadlus--definitions

Newman,Saul Z wrote:

> I guess I'm not sure of the entry criteria of Gadlus.   Unless it's lik e
> that Supreme Court adage ' i know it when i see it"

I don't think you're so far off.  After reading much of the responses to 
the subject on the list,  Your definition is about as good as anyone's.

That being said, I have in the past posted what I consider to be a 
more or less "consensus" view of what is required for someone to acheive 

A) a Gadol and

B) THE Gadol Hador. 

If you like I can send you a copy of this list of requirements off list. 
If you want to read it please indicate so off list and I will search my 
archives and sent it to you.


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Date: Sun, 02 May 1999 12:12:13 -0400
From: Harry Maryles <C-Maryles@neiu.edu>
Re: Gedolim--the Rav

Moshe Feldman wrote:

Maybe the
> Rav will be another Rambam--his philosophy will be ignored but his
> Torah will be learned.
> Shabbat Shalom.
> Moshe

This is already being done.  The sefer of his shiurim written by one of 
his talmidim on various Mesechtos of Shas (I forget the name of the 
sefer offhand) are being gobbled up by many charedei tamidim in  
Yeshivos (such as Mir, and Brisk) in Israel.


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Date: Mon, 3 May 1999 11:24:55 -0400
From: richard_wolpoe@ibi.com
YT Sheini as Minhog

>>3. The Rambam seems to refer to keeping 2 days YomTov in galut today as
   a minhag rather than a takkanat chazal. I would have called it a
   takkanah of the Sanhedrin under Hillel II.<<

Is there a source to Hillel II acutally legislating this?

W/O being too Brisker, there are minhoggim and there are minhoggim.  Lich'ora, 
YT Shieini is binding in way similar to Tefillas Maariv.  

Some quick parallels:
1) When we accpeted to daven Maariv, we did not accpet upon ourselves the chiyuv
of Chazoras haShatz.
2) When we accept YT Sheini, we exempted halvoyos hameis due to kovod hameis.

As noted before, even in the case of sepcfic Takkonos, Their "chalos" was oft 
depedent upon Nishpashet/Minhog. And HOW YT Sheini is implemented proably was a 
function of HOW it became accepted (like maariv is accpet w/o CH).

Rich Wolpoe 

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