Avodah Mailing List

Volume 04 : Number 264

Saturday, January 8 2000

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Fri, 7 Jan 2000 12:58:07 -0800 (PST)
From: Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
Re: Fwd (micha@aishdas.org): Re: Wearing a tallis gadol in public on Shabbos

--- Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org> wrote:
> On Fri, Jan 07, 2000 at 11:24:19AM -0800, Harry
> Maryles wrote:
> :                                            Being a
> : Talmid of R. Aaron, I follow his (and I assume all
> : Brisker's) logic on the issue.  Since they hold
> that a
> : lack of T'cheles is MeAkev the Mitzvah of Tzitzis,
> : then wearing those fringes sown to the beged sans
> : T'cheles serve no purpose and it amounts to
> Hotzo'oh.
> I'm a bit surprised. There's a stam mishnah
> "techeiles eino me'akaves es
> halavan" (and visa versa, if that's ever lima'aseh).
> There is much Torah
> on the Rambam who says that even so, they are
> considered only one mitzvah
> of the 613; yet on the same mishnah he uses the fact
> that shel rosh isn't
> me'akev the shel yad (and visa versa) to prove they
> are different mitzvos.
> After all, can you be yotzei part of any one chiyuv?
> Lulav without esrog?

To be honest with you I don't remember that mishna,
but I do know that it is not so pashut and I think
there is a Machlokes in the Gemorrah about it.  The
Rishonim discuss (I think the Rambam  Tosephos and the
Rif??) as to whether Techeles is MeAkev or whether
Techeles and Lavan are separate mitzvos, and the
implications thereof. 

Can anyone help us out here? Does it have something to
do with being Meakeves only l"gabey Shabbos?

Never the less I can assure you that R. Aaron does not
wear Tzitzis in Reshus HaRabim on Shabbos. 
> In addition, if it were me'akeves, how would it be
> mutar to wear four
> cornered garments bizman hazeh? (Except for those
> who feel that techeiles
> has been identified bivadai.)

Again, I think that is part of the discussion by the

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Date: Sat, 8 Jan 2000 18:58:47 +0000
From: Chana/Heather Luntz <Chana/Heather@luntz.demon.co.uk>
Re: Registry of who is a Jew

Without getting into the question of whether or not we should have such
a registry, has anybody considered what seems to me to be a fundamental
problem - namely Money!

While compiling such a registry would certainly be possible, the time
and effort involved in checking out every individual on it would be
enormous, and so would the expense.  My hobby of geneology is not cheap,
and I am only interested in a limited number of families, and am not
working in an environment where there is the distinct possibility that
people have something to hide. (NB a number of years ago, when geneology
was a lot less popular than it is now, I was seriously asked the
question by somebody within the frum community as to whether researching
my family was a good idea, on the grounds that what would one do if one
discovered something problematic. ) 

In an environment in which the reason for setting up the registry is the
concern at the number of yichus problems - and with people clearly
having a vested interest in getting themselves onto such a registry,
despite whatever skeletons there may be in their closet, the individuals
working in the registry would need to have the highest level of
integrity, and the checking would have to be a) thorough and b)
documented as such.  After all, we know that people are quite willing to
stoop to fraud in this area (in Russia, among other places).  Can you
imagine what just one person "on the take" would do to the
trustworthyness of the proposed register?

And while proving that people are posul is often reasonably easy,
proving that they are kosher is far more difficult.  Clearly certain
standards would need to be set (eg Jewish as far back as the mid 1800s
or some such) which may be realistic target (at least in the areas of
the world with which I am familiar) - but would take serious time and
effort.  But, if you are having to deal with establishing
Jewishness/kashrus over that time scale, the two witnesses approach is
not sufficient,and most documentary sources available within Europe are
non Jewish ones (eg Czarist revision lists of Jews).  On the other hand,
if you make the date of kashrus more recent (eg 1940s-50s) you will have
to exclude most of Russian Jewry and American Jewry, or rely on even
more dubious sources.

To illustrate the problem, a case story:  A woman, her mother is Jewish,
her father is not.  There had been a previous marriage of her mother to
a Jew, but it was not an Orthodox marriage. Her grandparents were
married Conservative in the USA in the 1940s.  She managed to find some
Jewish records (my connection involved helping her get in touch with
some US genealogical experts about how to do this sort of thing) about
her maternal grandmother from the late 1890s which gave her
grandmother's hebrew name and referred to her great-grandfather as
halevi.  But this effort took her a good year, I would say.

There are lots of these cases.  Of people who are almost certainly
Jewish, but where proving that fact takes a lot of time and effort. Of
people who are children of second marriages where the first marriage is
not Orthodox (is the registry going to say - mamzerim according to some
opinions but not others?) (BTW for some reason the fact that her father
was not Jewish seemed to help the mamzer question, in addition to the
non Orthodox marriage).  Not that status cannot be determined, assuming
documentary evidence is accepted, but the time, effort and expense
involved can be significant.  How high are you going to set the fees for
registration at such a registry?  Too high, and many people with the
best yichus will not be able to afford to register.  If significant fees
are not charged, which day school/yeshiva/sem/gemach are you not going
to fund in order to fund this register (assuming that this will be an
entirely Orthodox funded project, I can hardly see secular Jews or the
Israeli government forking out for it)?

Just some practical problems, divorced from the question of whether it
ought or ought not to be done.

Shavuah tov


Chana/Heather Luntz

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Date: Sat, 8 Jan 2000 19:33:00 +0000
From: Chana/Heather Luntz <Chana/Heather@luntz.demon.co.uk>
Re: Derech Halimud

In message , Isaac A Zlochower <zlochoia@bellatlantic.net> writes
> Second, the daf yomi approach appears to be of value
>only for the discipline that it imposes on the participants, and the
>good feeling engendered by finishing so many volumes of shas in
>expeditious fashion.  I haven't really seen people come away with a good
>or lasting knowledge of the material covered.  Nor does one fulfill the
>iyun part of the study requirement.  But someone who has gone through
>shas in this way may be in a better position than I to evaluate its
>yediot benefit.

I would like to say a word for the daf yomi.

I agree that one forgets an incredible amount.  I can look back at dafim
I learnt years ago with the daf yomi and find it hard to believe that I
have ever seen the page before.   But I query how much is genuinely
retained when learning in other ways as well. 

My experience of typical yeshivishe l'iyun learning is limited. My only
exposure to what might be called typical yeshivishe b'iyun learning was
during my year at Drisha.  But there I had the experience with both my
morning and afternoon chevrusas that, if for example we had a seder on
Thursday, and then not again till Monday, by Monday both of them had
forgotten the structure of the argument and the various positions, and
needed me to effectively run through what we had learnt last time before
we could move on.  Why I did/do not have this problem I cannot explain -
although I see this at my work as well - where, if it is not written
down,  the other people involved invariably seem to forget the detail of
who said what last week or last month, and what was agreed.   Whereas I,
while I will forget in a number of months, in that short time span
everything pretty much remains in place.

So I genuinely question whether it is true that people forget more when
learning daf yomi than they do when learning b'iyun and therefore take
less away.  Rather I wonder whether it is not that some people have,
for whatever reason, been given better retention skills than others, and
that while one form of learning or another may aid whatever retention
skills one has, it is necessarily true that the one form is superior to
the other.

While my exposure to b'iyun learning is limited, my exposure to daf yomi
now is around five and a half years.  And I certainly feel that what I
have gained from the daf yomi is invaluable. Yes, I can often not
remember where I saw something, and I forget a tremendous amount, but as
the cycle continues, you see concepts return again and again, and I find
it difficult to believe that anybody following through does not pick up
a breadth of basic principles. For example, - the structure of tumah and
tahara such as the concept of a rishon l'tumah and a sheni l'tumah and
the place of water in the structure, - the structure of korbanos, the
structure of niddos and zivos d'orisa, the concept of zika.

I have deliberately picked examples where the basic principles are not a
part of our everyday life, as the equivalent shabbas principles,
everybody on this list lives and probably learnt at their mother's knee
- eg muktsa, sheheya, chazara.  Sure, all these basic principles have
complications on complications, so that learning basic principles does
not tell you how to posken, but, on the other hand, learning them does,
IMHO sensitise you to the range of associated issues.  In that sense,
what is being taught are the building blocks upon which the edifice of
halacha is constructed.

And not just halacha, my experience has been that the greater the
exposure to this principles, the easier it is to learn rishonim, who,
after all, utilise these building blocks to construct and weave
arguments.  It is much harder to learn a Tosphos, when first you have to
go and master all the concepts (and associated machlokusim) which
Tosphos marshalls to query or support their argument.  If the concepts
are already there (even if you have to review the critical machlokos),
then you can focus on the argument (and at least Tosphos mostly tells
you to what tbey refer, my experience with the Ramban is that he assumes
you know the basics and you cannot get started unless you already know
to what he refers).

Now, maybe if more general forms of learning were accessible to me,
I might feel differently.  Clearly if you have a maggid shiur
who knows the basics, he can assign the necessary sources to you,
and make sure you understand them, so that by the time you get to the
particular Ramban (or whoever), you have built up the necessary
expertise (at least for this Ramban, if not the next).  But even then,
you are limited by the reading of the maggid shiur, and what he sees as
underlying the particular rishonic comment.  To the extent that you can
do it yourself, you will be limited only by your own limitations, and
not his as well.

In any event,  I have not had regular access to a maggid shiur of a
bi'iyun shiur with that level of knowledge.  What I have had, - and this
is due, not only to the daf yomi, but to that wonderful institution
called dial-a-daf and their associated tapes, is access to daf yomi
shiurim from Roshei Yeshiva around the world.  Basically, I have a daily
shiur with the likes of Roshei Yeshiva from Torah v'Das!     And in any
such shiur, there is not only a transmission of content, but of method
and ways of approaching the material as well, both via  the text of the
gemorra itself, and in relation to the commentaries they bring "outside"
(and because there is notjust one maggid shiur, but every couple of
weeks they change over, you are exposed to quite a range of different
approaches and styles).  People often comment on the breadth of my
knowledge (admittedly, this is partly the "dog on hind legs" scenario -
when asked about women preachers some time last century, a famous wit
whose name escapes me is reputed to have said, "a woman preacher is a
like a dog on hind legs, the remarkable fact is not that they do it
well, but that they can do it at all").

So, while I do not know whether this would have been my chosen
learning method if it were not for my particular limitations of access,
in consequence of my experience, I am quite a fan of the daf yomi and
the learning it enables.  And would dispute your description of its
inevitable results.

>Yitzchok Zlochower

Shavuah tov


Chana/Heather Luntz

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Date: Sat, 8 Jan 2000 19:06:53 +0200
From: "Shoshana L. Boublil" <toramada@zahav.net.il>
Re: Avodah V4 #261

----- Original Message -----
> Date: Thu, 6 Jan 2000 10:35:15 EST
> From: Tobrr111@aol.com
> Subject: Re: Avodah V4 #260
> In a message dated 1/6/00 10:18:22 AM Eastern Standard
Time, "Shoshana L.
> Boublil" writes:
> << While the learned rabbi apears to be correct in his
>  characterization of the kids as mamzerim, he is obviously
>  not a Dayan for he would then know that _A person is NOT
>  mamzer until a Beit Din declares him/her to be one_!!!!
>  So his stating categorically that the kids are mamzerim
>  actually be considered as coming under the header of
>  HaRa.   What he should do (and I think he did) was to go
>  a Beit Din and give Eidut that this is the situation (you
>  need 2 eidim!) and if he has documentation he should
>  it. >>
>  I believe that this post is entirely halachicaly
incorrect. If I am not
> mistaken, if you know somebody is a mamzer even without a
pesak beis din it
> is a MITZVAH to publicize this fact (see hilchos milah).
If there are clear
> halachic sources that state that a mamzer is not a mamzer
without a pesak of
> a beis din of 3, I would appreciate if the author of this
post would
> enlighten us with this source.

It's like people saying that someone is a "Mechalel Shabbat
BeFrehesya" and yet halachically, this is true only if
someone was warned by Eidim and the court found that he did
so 7 Shabbatot (I don't have the exact source so the details
are from memory, and a bit fuzzy).

In any case, _my_ source is my husband who recieved the
instructions from many Dayanim incl. Rav Goren ZT"L.

As to the two cases mentioned in the article, I did a search
in the BIU Shu"t project and found both cases, or at least
similar ones:

a) A woman's husband died and later she had a son who the
community wasn't willing to perform the Brit Milah on,
claiming him a mamzer as the Almana (widown, who had
children with her husband) had sued her BIL, as the child's
father, for support.

b) A case from the 1800's where a young child was married
off by her guardians who then threw the prospective Chatan
out and claimed that she could wed another.

About case (a) it was determined by the court that the lady
in question had actually had a relationship with a
non-jewish neighbour and there was overwhelming evidence
(including Shevua of the woman) that the child in question
was not actually the son of the BIL, but of the Goy -- and
therefore _not_ a mamzer.

Case (b) is too complicated to go through in an e-mail but
among the problems was the question if the guardians
actually had the ability to wed the underage child, as her
father was alive and it wasn't clear that he made them a
Shaliach to wed her when underage.  The issues included the
fact that the child declared herself unwilling (Mei'ana) in
court and other issues.

One of the major issues is that Ein Marbim Mamzerim.
Usually, this is used when it comes to discussing Agunot and
other problems (Kara'im etc.) but it is used as a guideline
by Dayanim in cases of suspect Mamzerim as well.

So, if  a person has evidence that someone is a mamzer -- it
is his duty to go to HaShoftim Asher Yi'hiyu Bayamim Ha'Hem
and give the information to them, and it is their duty to
pursue the matter and render a decision.  I wouldn't be
surprised if even after the child is judged not a mamzer (if
this is the case) the person who gave the evidence

I think this is a good place to remind us of what Rav
Yochanan Ben Zakai said in agreement with his student that
a Lev Tov (good heart) is the most important as it includes
all the rest.  It should also include a willingness LaDune
LeKaf Zechut and not look for evil everywhere.

Shavu'a Tov and Chodesh Tov

Shoshana L. Boublil

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