Avodah Mailing List

Volume 03 : Number 060

Sunday, May 23 1999

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Thu, 20 May 1999 09:54:00 -0400
From: "Clark, Eli" <clarke@HUGHESHUBBARD.COM>
Voting for a Non-Religious Candidate

RYGB writes:

>Witholding any personal perspective for the moment, I remember as
>yesterday the comment made by Rav Dzimitrovski at the end of Shiur Klali
>one fine evening in Sha'alvim, just before the first election in which the
>now defunct "Techiya" vied for Orthodox votes:

>The very act of putting a ballot for a non-Orthodox party in the ballot
>box is a ma'aseh issur.

>This, because of the prohibition of minui melech and other mesimos that
>are not from achicha - b'mitzvos.

This reminds me of a quip quoted in the name of R. Soloveitchik.  After
the election of Golda Meir as Prime Minister, some talmidim asked the
Rav if this was assur to vote for her, on the basis of the halakahah of
melekh, ve-lo malkah.  The Rav replied, "And it was muttar to vote for
Ben Gurion?"

But caustic humor, I am slightly troubled by R. Dzimitrovski's comment,
which I assume he meant seriously.  It is by no means clear that the
halakhot which govern minui melekh apply to democratic elections.  This
issue has been analyzed by anumber of posekim, primarily regarding
whether it is muttar for a woman to hold elected office or other
positions of authority.  On the issue of melekh ve-lo malkah, Tosafot
ask their famous question regarding Devorah.  One answer is that the
people willingly accepted her as a shofetet, and therefore she was not
imposing herself upon them as a melekh does.  This distinction may be
especially relevant in a democracy -- where a leader's power derives
from the consent of the governed.  Moreover, even if one assumes that a
chief executive (president or prime minister) has coercive powers over
the electorate, that is manifestly not the case with respect to
legislators (Senators, Comgressmen, Hevrei Keneset).  Hence, I believe a
strong argument can be made that the rule of ahikha be-mitzvot does not
govern voting choices in a democratic election.

Kol tuv and hag same'ah,

Eli Clark,

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Date: Thu, 20 May 1999 11:01:55 EDT
From: Joelirich@aol.com
Re: Voting for a Non-Religious Candidate

In a message dated 5/20/99 9:52:42 AM Eastern Daylight Time, 
clarke@HUGHESHUBBARD.COM writes:

<<   Hence, I believe a
 strong argument can be made that the rule of ahikha be-mitzvot does not
 govern voting choices in a democratic election.
 Kol tuv and hag same'ah,
 Eli Clark, >>
Assuming for a moment that the rule did apply, would this just be a 
qualifying condition(ie I can vote for anyone who meets this requirement) or 
must I vote for the candidate who is "most" achicha (to be defined) .

Kol tuv and chag sameach
Joel Rich

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Date: Thu, 20 May 1999 11:19:37 -0400
From: "Noah Witty" <nwitty@ix.netcom.com>
Eiruv Tavshilin

From: micha@aishdas.org (Micha Berger) wrote:

"I thought I was pretty clear that although we make a point of doing exactly
what we do when I'm motzi my wife for kiddush I did /not/ consider eiruv
tavshilin a similar case. For example, my kids who make their own eggs and
such are not necessarily gathered."

There may be no chinuch for drabbanan; if hachana is d'oraissa, they are, as
RW points out, somaich al shulchancha and covered anyway.--NW

"I did mention that relying on another's E"T is only bidi'eved."

Not true so long as there is zchiya.

 "However, it does serve to show that one needn't have in mind to be yotzei
in order to be
included in another's eiruv. (BTW, what about people who exclude themselves
from the community. I'm under the impression they aren't included in
eiruvei chatzeiros. Would something similar be true here?)"

If they opt out--e.g. as evidenced if one generally makes his own eiruv and
does not rely on LOR, as in the gemara's case, acc. to Rashi.--NW

"I too heard (although I'd love a source) that one can only rely on a
neighbor's E"T more than once or twice."

It's not neighbor; it's the LOR, see above.--NW

"I doubt, though, that someone who
does so a third time is oveir on hachanah. If the mechanism works, why would
the person's history be at issue? Rather, it's a gezeirah so as to ensure
that people would make their own techum, and he's in violation of that

The gezeirah could operate to exclude him from the other's Eiruv

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Date: Thu, 20 May 1999 12:57:09 -0700 (PDT)
From: Moshe Feldman <moshe_feldman@yahoo.com>
Hallel on Yom Ha'atzma'ut--historical parallels to Chanukah

See Yabia Omer 6 OC: 41 explaining why a bracha should not be made on
the Hallel.  He makes certain comparisons to Chanukah,
differentiating that miracle from Yom Ha'atma'ut.

The following is a possible response to Rav Ovadia Yosef based on
historical information provided by my father, Dr. Louis Feldman:

a) The miracle occurred in 164 B.C.E. while the wars continued until
142 B.C.E.  Only then did the Syrian Greeks agree not to tax the
Jews; that was not complete political independence (which may be said
to have occurred in the time of Yochanan Hyrachanus in 129 B.C.E.).

b) Immediately after the rededication of the Temple there were
defeats.  Eg., in 162 Demetrius sought to put an end to Hasmonean
rule.  Yehuda HaMaccabee died in 160 and the Hasmoneans lost
Jerusalem; they had to resort to guerrilla warfare for a number of

c) Ovadia Yosef claims that Yom Haatzmaut isn't worthy of Hallel
because: (1) it was the beginning, not the end, of redemption, (2)
many soldiers died in battle, and (3) it had nothing to do with
spiritual revival, just political independence.  In fact, Yom
Haaztmaut did not bring about a physical saving of lives (if
anything, Rabbi Elazar M. Teitz points out that if the Jews had not
declared a state, the Arabs would not have attacked).  Interestingly,
although the Talmud's account of Chanuka would support such an
assertion, a historical perspective of Chanuka derived from
historical sources nearly contemporaneous with the events (the two
books of the Macabees and Josephus) shows Chanuka to be quite similar
to Yom Haatzmaut:

i) Chanuka is not a celebration of the end of the war.  It was merely
a battle--to take Jerusalem, which was subsequently recaptured by the

ii) In the case of Chanuka too, many Jews (including Yehuda
HaMacabee) died in battle.

iii) In the initial part of the war, the Hasmoneans were allied with
the Chasidim (who merely desired religious autonomy).  Shortly after
164, the Greeks offered the Jews religious autonomy w/o political
independence, and the Hasmoneans refused.  Thus, Chanuka really
represents the desire for political sovereignty rather than religious
autonomy, and is quite parallel to Yom Haatzmaut.  In fact, it was
Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakkai who shifted Jewish aspirations away from
political independence ("tain lee yavneh v'chachameha") to mere
religiosity; this is a "golus mentality" and does not reflect the
history of Am Yisrael during Bayit Rishon and Bayit Sheni (see Rav
Kook in Orot).

d) Rav Ovadia Yosef considers Chanuka to be a celebration of a
supernatural miracle (rather than a nes nistar)--the flask of oil
burning for 8 days.  In fact, [the first mention we have of this
miracle is the Talmud Shabbat and] the books of the Macabbees do not
mention this miracle; instead they assert that the 8 days of Chanuka
correspond to the 8 days of Succot which were missed as a result of
the Greek occupation of Jerusalem.

i) In addition, Rav Ovadia Yosef's argument that Purim was not a nes
nistar is unappealing and seems to be against both Chazal and common
sense.  (Also, his definition of nes nigleh is questionable.)

Do You Yahoo!?
Free instant messaging and more at http://messenger.yahoo.com

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Date: Mon, 27 Aug 1956 21:17:16 +0000
From: David Riceman <driceman@WORLDNET.ATT.NET>
catch up time

Once again, I'm trying to catch up on a backlog of issues.

Several people commented on a lack of chumros in bein adam l'makom.  I
vaguely recall that R. Dov Katz, in his book Tenuath HaMussar, mentions
that it would be desireable to have a series of texts like Shemirath
HaLashon about all aspects of bein adam l'chaveiro.  Given Ramchal's
comment in the beginning of Messilath Yesharim that people don't study
mussar because it's not interesting enough (see R. Soloveichik's remark
on the history of the mussar movement in Ish HaHalacha) that might
remedy the situation somewhat.  Does anyone have a few years to spare to
write a sefer?

R. Wolpoe wrote:

Hypothetical question:  If we could PROVE based upon uncovered texts
that RT was
correct (and Rashi/Rambam incorrect) legabei Tefillin, would we change
or not?

It's not entirely hypothetical.  The Rambam changed his opinion based on
ancient tefillin he saw in Eretz Yisrael (I believe it's in the tshuva
to Chachmei Lunel).

David Riceman


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Date: Sun, 23 May 1999 10:20:58 +0300 (IDT)
From: Eli Turkel <turkel@math.tau.ac.il>

Arnie Lustiger writes
> There is an aspect to the Israeli election that is nothing short of
> astounding, and leads to an interesting hashkafa question...
> In the first Knesset 50 years ago, Agudah had ~6 seats, today Degel Hatorah
> has ~5. Mizrachi had ~12 seats, today's NRP ~5. 
> Shas on the other hand, which was not established until 1985, grew from 0 to
> 17 seats. It is by far the fastest growing party in Israeli political
> history, and now has almost as many seats as the Likud.
> A large number, perhaps a majority, of the Shas voters are chozrim
> biteshuvah, influenced primarily by one of the many educational or social
> institutions set up by the party just for this purpose. 

I disagree with the conclusions of this statement.
1. Degel haTorah went up from 4 to 5 seats. There one representatives
   agree that this is because of outsiders that voted for the party for
   various political reasons not because they became charedim.

2. Mizrachi (mafdal) went down dramatically not because their potential
   voters disappeared but because they voted for other parties be it
   Likud, Shas, Labor or Begin.

3. It is no secret that the vast majority of shas voters are not charedim
   and not chozrim biteshuvah. For example they got a large vote in
   kiryat shemonah which has a small charedi population.
   Shas has become the chapion of the downtrodden poor especially among
   the sefardi population. This is the backbone of their meteorite rise,
   Pollsters estimate that about 6 of their 17 seats are due to hard
   core supporters to go to the Shas schools.

Kol Tuv,
Eli Turkel

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