Avodah Mailing List

Volume 04 : Number 360

Friday, February 11 2000

< Previous Next >
Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2000 07:45:21 +0200
From: "Carl and Adina Sherer" <sherer@actcom.co.il>
Re: Cherem D'Rabenu Gershom

On 10 Feb 00, at 19:49, Kenneth G Miller wrote:

> On behalf of myself and any other less-learned people out there, I have a
> request: Does anyone know offhand where Cherem D'Rabenu Gershom (Yay! I
> figured out what CDRG stands for! I was going nuts thinking of names of
> listmembers, and names of seforim!) can be found in Shulchan Aruch,
> Rambam, and/or any other standard texts? With all the discussions that
> are going on, I'd like to have a clearer handle on the parameters of this
> halacha. Thanks.

The Be'er HaGolah appears in the standard text of the Shulchan 
Aruch (in small print on the side of the amud). The Leket 
HaKemach that someone cited last night (which threw me for a 
loop as well) also appears in the standard text Shulchan Aruch at 
the end of certain simanim (including 334, which was the one that 
was cited).

-- Carl

Please daven and learn for a Refuah Shleima for our son,
Baruch Yosef ben Adina Batya among the sick of Israel.  
Thank you very much.

Carl and Adina Sherer

Go to top.

Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2000 01:09:44 -0500
From: Isaac A Zlochower <zlochoia@bellatlantic.net>
science and halacha

The issue of conflicts that arise when modern scientific and medical
knowledge opposes certain statements made by Chazal has been raised in
this forum.  It is, in fact, an old problem which does not admit a
single solution.  Instead, each situation needs to be examined on a case
by case basis.  Non-halachic pronouncements found in the Talmud are not
much of a problem in this regard since they need not be considered
authoritative.  Even halachic pronouncements that seem to be based on a
physical rationale that is no longer accepted need not be problematic.
A distinction between the observation that occasioned the pronouncement
or takanah, and the offered explanation of that observation can be
made.  If the observation is correct then the incorrectness of the
explanation does not diminish the authority of the halacha.

For example,  the requirement that water used to make matzot be drawn
after sundown and stored in an unheated room overnight (mayim shelanu -
Peshachim 42a) is based on the consideration that such stored water is
colder than freshly drawn water, which slows the dough fermentation
process.  The explanation for the observation that is offered by R'
Yehudah Hanasi (Pesachim 94b) is of interest.  He mentions a dispute
between the Jewish sages (R' Yehoshua and R' Eliezer) and the Gentile
sages on the path of the sun at night.  The Jewish sages believe that
the sun passes through the rakiah at dusk and travels west to east along
the "backside" of the rakiah at night.  At dawn, the sun passes through
the rakiah to become visible, and then continues its westward journey
under the rakia during the day.  The Gentile sages, in contrast,
maintain that the sun continues it westward journey under the earth at
night to arrive back at its eastern station at the beginning of the next
day.  R' Yehudah Hanasi agrees with the Gentile sages, since water drawn
from wells at night appears to be warmer than water drawn during the
day.  Now, the offered explanation is not credible since the earth is
not flat, and the sun shining elsewhere will not warm the ground where
it is night.  Even the language of the observation is problematic since
freshly drawn well water should be at a relatively constant temperature
due to the enormous heat capacity of the earth, regardless of the time
of day or year.  Surface water, in contrast will be warmed by the sun
and warm breezes and tend to follow the ambient temperature.  If the
observation is to have validity, it should be understood as referring to
the difference in temperature between freshly drawn well water and water
that has been stored above ground.  The stored water will tend to follow
the ambient temperature.  This will be colder than the freshly drawn
water at night, but warmer than the drawn water in the day.  Relative to
the stored water temperature,  the drawn water will then be warmer at
night and colder during the day.  Thus the observation is correct, but
the offered explanation is not.  The halacha of mayim shelanu is based
on the observation rather than the offered explanation, and neeed not be
modified.  We note also that R' Yehudah Hanasi has no problem with
rejecting the views of the leading sages of an earlier generation on a
matter of fact, if the opposing view appears to him to be more credible
- regardless of its source.

A similar type of reasoning should be applicable to the Rabbinic
prohibition against certain liquids and foodstuffs obtained from
Gentiles since it was assumed that they may not have taken precautions
to protect those products from contamination by snake venom due to
open-air storage (gelui).  Now the ostensible reason, concern about
poisoning from snake venom, is not reasonable since poisonous snakes
inject their venom only into intended live victims.  Nor is snake venom
poisonous when injested (if there are no mouth sores or bleeding gums)
since the venom is denatured in the stomach.  However, food spoilage due
to bacteria and fungi are certainly a concern.  It would appear that the
snake is being used as a (then) more understandable surrogate for the
real reason for food spoilage.  If so, then it should make no difference
whether or not a given region has poisonous snakes (climate, however,
can make a difference in that food spoils more readily in hotter
climes).  However, the Rabbenu Tam took the Talmudic explanation
literally and ruled that his part of Europe was not infested with such
snakes and therefore permitted obtaining those foodstuffs from
Gentiles.  European Jewry has adopted Rabbenu Tam's position.  I am not
advocating a change in established practice, particularly since food
laws and governmental bodies provide protection against invisible food
spoilage.  I only wish to highlight the distinction that I believe
should be made between the observations of the Sages and their
explanations of those observations.

Sometimes it is not clear if the halacha was based on the offered
explanation, or if the explanation is an ad-hoc rationalization of the
halacha that was formulated due to other considerations.  For example,
the Sages treat certain organisms as not truly alive in that they are
presumed to be generated from non-living entities.  Thus, lice are
presumed to originate in perspiration and may be squashed on shabbat
since that is not considered to fall under the prohibition of killing.
Now, it is known that lice, in common with all other living,
multicellular organisms, do originate from the sexual reproduction of
male and female parents.  Nonetheless, the extension of the biblical
prohibition against killing on shabbat to all kinds of organisms that
had no function in the Mishkan, may be basically Rabbinic in nature.  If
so, then the Rabbis could decide what organisms to include and what to
exclude.  A lice infestation is very bothersome to the victim, and a
certain leeway could be given to allow the sufferer to rid himself of
his unwanted "guests".

A different situation exists when the Talmudic observation is no longer
seen as correct.  A graphic illustration is the conclusion of the Sages
that a newborn baby who is demonstrably 8 months from conception can not
live, and should be treated as "muktza" on shabbat.  We are now able to
overcome the lung congestion problem common in such premature babies,
and they should have the full status of live babies who must be tended
to on shabbat even if it involves biblical work.  The talmudic law has
thus been nullified based on our current capabilities.

None of the above statements and considerations should be treated as a
halachic ruling since I am not qualified to render such rulings.
However, they do represent  what I believe to be a valid point of view
for discussion purposes.

Yitzchok Zlochower

Go to top.

Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2000 07:49:35 +0100
From: David.Kaye@ramstein.af.mil
Bechira and propensity to do evil

<I don't understand why you need to reach this conclusion.>
I don't understand what you trying to say. In any case see comments of Meiri
Shabbos 156

Go to top.

Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2000 01:41:42 -0500
From: "M. Press" <mpress@ix.netcom.com>
Re: Avodah V4 #358

Eli Clark writes

>I think a complete
>portrait can be found in M. Shapiro's recently published biography of
>the Seridei Esh.  (For those in the NY area, it can be purchased at a
>substantial discount at the YU sefarim sale.)  For a previous attempt
>a complete portrait, I recommend the piece by Dr. Judith Bleich
>published in M. Sokol, ed., Engaging Modernity

One is hard pressed to believe that Dr. Shapiro's picture is or was
intended to be a "complete portrait."  He writes in his book "It is true
that I have not had access to some important collections of letters
written to leaders of the yeshiva world, which might have led me to
re-evaluate some of my conclusions, but on the whole I believe that the
picture presented here will not be substantially altered by any future
revelations."  This appears to imply substantial intellectual
dishonesty - how can one entertain "beliefs" about what important
evidence might contain and how much it might or might not alter one's
conclusions?  This is an especially important issue in view of the
letters referred to being likely to contain material contradicting Dr.
Shapiro's primary theses as to the SE's essential identifications.


M. Press, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology, Touro College
mpress@ix.netcom.com or melechp@touro.edu

Go to top.

Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2000 12:53 +0200
From: BACKON@vms.huji.ac.il
Re: Cherem D'Rabeinu Gershom

If you're thinking about CDRG dealing with opening up and reading letters
without permission, forget about it. The only CDRG mentioned in rishonim
(e.g. Ritva in Yevamot 64a which we studied last week) is the cherem against
marrying a second wife. It's possible that the Sefer HaManhig deals with
this but I'm not sure.


Go to top.

Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2000 13:04 +0200
From: BACKON@vms.huji.ac.il
Re: Cherem D'Rabeinu Gershom

Just after I posted, I noticed the message by R. Yitzchak Zirkind quoting
the Beer Hagola in YD Hilchot Nidui vCherem. What's interesting is the lashon
used: "cherem sheo lir'ot bichtav chaveiro shelo birshuto ELA IM KEIN ZARKO"
(caps mine). Does this mean *hefker* ? Throwing it away in the trash (and
thus anyone who notices it can read it)??


Go to top.

Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2000 05:43:26 -0600
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Re: Cherem D'Rabeinu Gershom


Why are we so categorical?

It is in the Teshuvos Maharam Bar Baruch (me'Rutenberg), the Kolbo and
elsewhere. See the ET entry, vol 17 p 452 fn 875.

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

----- Original Message -----
From: <BACKON@vms.huji.ac.il>
To: <avodah@aishdas.org>
Sent: Friday, February 11, 2000 4:53 AM
Subject: Re: Cherem D'Rabeinu Gershom

> If you're thinking about CDRG dealing with opening up and reading letters
> without permission, forget about it. The only CDRG mentioned in rishonim
> (e.g. Ritva in Yevamot 64a which we studied last week) is the cherem
> marrying a second wife. It's possible that the Sefer HaManhig deals with
> this but I'm not sure.
> Josh

Go to top.

Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2000 14:14:17 +0200
From: "Carl and Adina Sherer" <sherer@actcom.co.il>
Re: Cherem D'Rabeinu Gershom

On 11 Feb 00, at 13:04, BACKON@vms.huji.ac.il wrote:

> Just after I posted, I noticed the message by R. Yitzchak Zirkind quoting
> the Beer Hagola in YD Hilchot Nidui vCherem. What's interesting is the lashon
> used: "cherem sheo lir'ot bichtav chaveiro shelo birshuto ELA IM KEIN ZARKO"
> (caps mine). Does this mean *hefker* ? Throwing it away in the trash (and
> thus anyone who notices it can read it)??

It sounds like it. Note that the cherem is against *reading* the 
letter. I think that even if you are allowed to read it, pirsum may be 
assur under Hilchos Lashon Hara.

-- Carl

Please daven and learn for a Refuah Shleima for our son,
Baruch Yosef ben Adina Batya among the sick of Israel.  
Thank you very much.

Carl and Adina Sherer

Go to top.

Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2000 06:54:46 -0600
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Mitzva HaBaa b'Aveira

On Fri, Feb 11, 2000 at 12:08:34AM +0200, Carl M. Sherer wrote:
:> Actually, I didn't assume the two happened at the same moment. The person
:> picks up the lulav thereby stealing it, makes the berachah, and only then
:> tries to be yotzei the mitzvah.

: He doesn't need the bracha to be yotzei. If anything, we play a 
: trick to make sure he is NOT yotzei before making the bracha (e.g. 
: holding the esrog upside down). But in the case posited in the 
: Gemara, he picks up the lulav and is yotzei at the same time.

I agree with everything but the last sentence. When I learnt lulav hagazul,
I assumed that he picks up the lulav and then is yotzei -- using some trick
similar to ours and for similar reasons. The gemara is saying that the two
are in one incident, not necessarily one ma'aseh. It appears I misunderstood.

:> And my question was, why not? 

: Because an asei...


: But I can be mekayem the mitzva of lulav without being oiver on the 
: aveira of gezel. I just take a different lulav.

If there is one available.


Micha Berger (973) 916-0287          MMG"H for 10-Feb-00: Chamishi, Terumah
micha@aishdas.org                                         A"H 
http://www.aishdas.org                                    Pisachim 112b
For a mitzvah is a lamp, and the Torah its light.         

Go to top.

Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2000 07:40:24 -0600
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Science and halakha

On Thu, Feb 10, 2000 at 06:16:43AM -0600, Avodah wrote:
: Avodah           Thursday, February 10 2000           Volume 04 : Number 354
In v4n354, David Glasner <DGLASNER@SIRIUS.FTC.GOV> writes:
:                      The treifot that are subsumed under the heading 
: of halakhot l'moshe mi-sinai are not derived from the verse in the Torah 

By definition, no?

: These treifot therefore constitute a chumra over and above the explicit 
: Biblical law of treifa.  As chumrot, it is irrelevant whether in any specific
: case, the particular treifa would in fact have resulted in death within a
: 12 month period.

I have another language quibble, as you seem to imply that the halachah l'Moshe
miSinai (HlMmS) post-dated the issur in the pasuk.

I would like to rephrase your statement in a way that also avoids the question
of the presence in machlokes in this HlMmS.

An animal that is about to die is a treifa. (This eliminates my "homonymity"
idea.) However, it is HlMmS that in cases where we can only ask treifa haya
o eina haya we rely on rules (chazkos?) and presume yes only if it has one
of a known list of conditions -- and not on medical knowledge and rov.

This eliminates the "homonymity" idea.

The substance of the rules may not have been in the HlMmS. While this sounds
strange, I don't think it's any odder than shevisa on chol hamo'ed being
d'Oraisa, but the definition of what not to do is diRabbanan.


Micha Berger (973) 916-0287          MMG"H for 10-Feb-00: Chamishi, Terumah
micha@aishdas.org                                         A"H 
http://www.aishdas.org                                    Pisachim 112b
For a mitzvah is a lamp, and the Torah its light.         

Go to top.

Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2000 07:54:33 -0600
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Video cameras

In v4n356, Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@juno.com> quotes Aish's "Ask the
Rabbi" <http://aish.com/rabbi/ATR_browse.asp?s=kam&f=tqak&offset=1>:
: That is also no problem. A person's movement activates nothing; the camera
: merely takes still shots - receiving the rays of light reflected off the
: person every fraction of a second.

I don't see how that helps. My movement changes which light hits the camera.
Just as much as my movement changes the amount of heat that reaches the
detector on my neighbor's automatic porch-light.

: By the way, this does not apply to sound recordings. In that case, a
: person's speech (an action done by ME) hits the microphone and causes
: microscopic sparks to be formed as it is transformed into electronic
: signals. As such it is prohibited to make a sound recording on Shabbos.

This isn't true. Microphones don't make sparks. Most do generate electricity,
because the sound is used to vibrate a magnet that is near a coil. Passive
microphones, which have poorer sound quality and are therefore less often
used, use the sound to change the compression of some resistive substance,
thereby changing its resistance. R' Ovadia permitted the use of the latter,
assuming that one uses a blech-like heker to avoid issues of tuning the

In either case, as I said earlier digitally recorded sound would raise the
same issues as the kotel kam. Notice also that their rav confirms my assumption
that changing the state of a transistor could qualify as boneh. However, after
his comment about microphones, I'm not sure his decision is based on accurate
technical knowledge.

Either way, as the article points out, it isn't a meleches machsheves, and
there's precedent in permitting speaking to others in the presence of an
undesired tape recorder. 


Micha Berger (973) 916-0287          MMG"H for 10-Feb-00: Chamishi, Terumah
micha@aishdas.org                                         A"H 
http://www.aishdas.org                                    Pisachim 112b
For a mitzvah is a lamp, and the Torah its light.         

Go to top.

Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2000 09:07:47 -0500
From: meir shinnar <shinname@UMDNJ.EDU>
the SE and TuM

Rav Bechhofer pointed out some early essay by the SE in opposition to
mizug of torah and haskala, and asked whether this is addressed by Marc
Shapiro.  His book shows the intellectual evolution of the Seride Esh
from an initial opposition to mizug, and indeed the entire German
approach of TIDE, to a gradual acceptance and eventual championing of
the approach.  When reading these essays, one has to note the date of
composition and the intended audience.

Meir Shinnar

Go to top.

Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2000 08:11:11 -0600
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: "onu v'o'm'ru" in TaNaCh

I can understand wanting to group "anu vi'amru" since that's a common idiom
in Tanach. However, I can't see how to translate the lines in question
that way. I'd appreciate R' M Poppers explaining whether he means that we
should break with indicating grammar in our phrasing in order to make the
reference. Or, is it that the fact that chazal probably lifted the quote
to coin the nusach imply that they meant the phrase as a phrase, and I
misunderstood what they intended the sentence to say.

I couldn't translate either quote (Shacharis, Yotzeir Or, given the nusach
that says the noun "kedushah" after "besafah berurah uvin'imah"; and Ma'ariv,
Ge'ulah, "ze Keili amru viamru") if I assumed "anu vi'amru" is a single idiom.


Micha Berger (973) 916-0287          MMG"H for 10-Feb-00: Chamishi, Terumah
micha@aishdas.org                                         A"H 
http://www.aishdas.org                                    Pisachim 112b
For a mitzvah is a lamp, and the Torah its light.         

Go to top.

Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2000 09:10:21 -0500
From: richard_wolpoe@ibi.com
Re: The SE and TuM

re: Shapiro - not so far.  I have a few chapters to go.

I think that TuM is being misconstrued.  TuM (at leeast at YU) is NOT about 
teaching Wissenshaft during a Gemoro Shiur.  Wissenshaft was taught as a 
spearate course, Gemoro was taught traditionally, generally in a highly 
ananlytical Litvisher syle, often using Brisker derech.  Wissenshaft was taught 
in Grad School and somewhat in TI/EMC/IBC, but not as "Torah" per se.

IOW YU had some fairly strong boundaries on this matter too.  There might be 
nuances of difference between YU and SE, but I think this post magnifies it.

Richard_Wolpoe@ibi,com beyon

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: The SE and TuM 
Author:  "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" 
<sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu> at tcpgate
Date:    2/11/2000 12:38 AM

I checked "L'Prakim" for any essays on Wissenschaft. Although I still fail 
to see what Wissenschaft has to do with TuM, while leafing through the 
interesting work, I found that in th last essay, a highly ambivalent 
"hesped" on RYY Reines, the SE comes out explicitly and strenuously against 
"Mizug [Synthesis] Torah v'Haskala Kelalis" as practiced in RYY Reines' 
prototypical TuM yeshiva (called "Torah Vo'Da'as" for that reason - the TvD 
in Brooklyn was founded by a talmid of RYY Reines, R' Zev Gold, who named it 
after his Rebbe's yeshiva) in Lida. So much for placing the SE in the TuM 

RRW, does Marc Shapiro note this opposition in his new biography?

Go to top.

Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2000 09:24:24 -0500
From: gil.student@citicorp.com

[In the following I use gentile to refer to a non-Jew who is not oveid avodah 
zarah and akum or idolator to refer to a non-Jew who is oveid avodah zarah.]

The Yam Shel Shlomo (Bava Kama 4:9) writes that lying about the Torah is yehareg
ve'al ya'avor.  However, the Da'as Torah (O"C 334:12) quotes the Yad Eliyahu 
that it isn't.  Evidently, those printers who changed the nuscha'os in the 
gemara and those authors who changed their works were assuming like the Yad 
Eliyahu and not the YSh"Sh.

The Rashbatz in Magen Avos (2:3) writes that Rabbeinu Yonah intentionally 
misinterpreted the mishnah out of fear of the government.  The Tur (C"M 266) 
writes that lost objects of ovdei avodah zarah are permissible to be used.  The 
Beis Yosef (in uncensored editions) suggests that he intentionally changed it 
from all gentiles to akum in order to answer the charges of "minim".

The R"Y from Lunel (B"K 37b) specifically offers a peirush that he says is only 
"litshuvas haminim."  See also Rabbeinu Manoach to Hilchos Brachos 10:19 (ed. 
Hurvitz pp. 349-350 n. 205, 207).

In HaTzefunos vol. 1 (5749), R. David Tzvi Hillman suggests that the Meiri 
systematically wrote peirushim that were only "litshuvas haminim."  He quotes 
the Chasam Sofer (in Kovetz Shu"t Chasam Sofer 5733 #90) who also says this.  It
is important to remember that the Meiri lived from appr. 1250-1315.  Here are 
some highlights from those glory days to keep things in context.  1242 - Talmud 
burned in France.  1252 - Inquisition began to use torture to extract 
confessions from alleged heretics.  1254 - A Jew in a religious debate in Cluny 
(France) was killed by a knight.  1263 - Ramban expelled from Spain after his 
famous disputation.  1268 - Jews in Spain had to wear special capes.  1275 - 
Jews expelled from Worcester and 15 years later from all of England.  1277 - 
Anti-Jewish riot in Pamplona.  1278 - Pope Nicholas III ordered that Jews attend
conversion sermons.  1281 - Blood libel in Mainz (Germany).  1283 - Blood libel 
in Mainz and in Bachrach (Germany).  1285 - Blood libel in Munich.  1286 - 
Maharam MeRothenberg was imprisoned.  I could keep going but I think you get the
point.  These were dangerous times for Jews all over Europe.

While to me the accuracy of R. Hillman's claim is purely academic because I 
consider the Meiri to be a da'as yachid, those who rely on the Meiri should take
this claim very seriously.  He presents a number of "proofs" and I'll share some
highlights.  The "proofs" are basically places where the Meiri changed the 
gemara's usage of gentile into akum where it seems totally unacceptable 
halachically.  [The Gottesman Library at YU has HaTzefunos for those who want to
see it inside (thanks to R. Moshe Schapiro for getting me a copy)]

1. In his peirush to Horios 11a (p. 275) the Meiri writes that the din of 
moridin velo ma'alin to a min only applies to a Jew who is an heretical or 
atheist Jew.  However, a Jew who leaves Judaism for another religion is not 
within this halachah.  In his peirush to Avodah Zarah 26b he says that a Jew who
becomes a Christian is considered a gentile (and by this a righteous Ben Noach) 
except regarding kiddushin, gittin, and yibbum.  That is a hard stance to 

2. In his peirush to Sanhedrin 82a the Meiri writes that the din of "kana'in 
pog'in bi" only applies to a man having relations with an idolatrous woman but 
not simply a gentile woman.  That is quite a surprise.

3. In his peirush to A"Z 64b (p. 225) he writes that in order to be a ger toshav
with regards to the mitzvah of lehachayoso a gentile must accept the 7 mitzvos 
in front of a beis din which is not shocking on its own but will come up later.

4. In his peirush to B"K 111a-b he first writes that the mitzvah of bayomo 
titein secharo applies to a ger toshav and then says that it does not apply to 
akum.  That is not surprising if he really meant that it does not apply to a 
gentile but changed it to akum out of fear etc.

5. In his peirush to Makos 9a he talks about an ir miklat only applying to Jews 
and gerrei toshav but not to akum (see #3 above).  It seems like he really 
wanted to say that it does not apply to gentiles but felt forced to change it.

6. In his peirush to Shabbos 93b (p. 349) he writes that Jews are not obligated 
to bury an akum. If taken at face value, the implication is that there is an 
obligation to bury a gentile.

7. In his peirush to Yevamos 98a (p. 354) he says that the halachah that 
gentiles have no paternal relationships only applies to akum and not stam 
gentiles.  In other words, if two Christian brothers convert to Judaism and one 
dies while married without children then we would be choshesh for yibbum.

8. In his peirush to A"Z 26a (p. 53) he writes that the din of lo ma'alin velo 
moridin only applies to akum and atheists.

However, in his peirush to Avodah Zarah 26b (p. 62) the Meiri writes that it is 
only permissible to circumsize a gentile for geirus but because of illness it is
forbidden because that is considered "ha'alah vehatzalah."

9. In his peirush to Yoma 84b (p. 212) he writes that we are not OBLIGATED to 
violate Shabbos for akum, and that is specifically akum and not just gentiles.

10. In his peirush to Chullin 114b (p. 434) he writes that only an akum is not 
under the mitzvah of lehachayaso.  He repeats that in his peirush to Pesachim 
21b (p. 67).  This is certainly surprising because above in #3 he said that 
gentiles are not gerrei toshav.

It is also very telling that the Meiri's style was to bring many different 
opinions, particularly that of the Rambam (see Shu"t Radbaz, leshonos haRambam, 
579) yet in all of the above cases (and many more regarding gentiles) he only 
brings his own unique opinion.  Rabbi Hillman has over 40 examples.  I just 
brought some which I found convincing.  They seem to confirm what a lot of 
people have been mumbling under their breath for a long time.

I'm now ducking for cover.

Gil Student

Go to top.

Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2000 09:27:04 -0500
From: "Frenkel, Garry J." <garry.j.frenkel@ssa.gov>
Kumatz Cuff Lamed vs.Cuff Cholom Lamed

Does anyone know what the difference is between Kumatz Cuff Lamed and Cuff
Cholom Lamed?


Gad Frenkel

Go to top.

Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2000 08:31:57 -0600
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Ruba Vichazaka

Two people invoked the idea of overrulling a chazakah based on a change in
scientific knowledge not by overturning the chazakah, but by using the new
science to establish a rov, and "ruba vichazaka, ruba adif".

Rov is possibly a homonym: rov di'isa likaman, and dileisa likaman. I don't
think there's a difference lihalachah on this issue, I am just raising the

What is relevent is the difference between a chazakah dimei'ikarah (the
assumption that the halachic state of an object didn't change) and a
chazakah disvara (a rule of thumb based on laws of nature, human nature,
and metanature).

I think the border between ruba dileika likaman and chazaka disvara is
pretty blurry. RYBS, in the quote offered a couple of days ago, suggests
a resolution, as his words imply that chazakos are based on mesorah, not
studies about probabilities.

When I wrote <http://www.aishdas.org/book/bookA.pdf> (notes on the nature of
various methods of doubt resolution and their implications in machshavah) I
could only find use of "ruba vichazaka, ruba adif" WRT chazakah dimei'ikara.
Often questioning the border between this and chazakah where there's ika

We also find (Sheiv Shma'atsa 6:22) that chazakah dimei'ikara carries weight
where we have trei [eidim] utrei [eidim]. However, chazakah disvara and
rov don't (ibid) because they're no better than t'rei kimei'ah.

So there's no basis for assuming the two flavors of chazakah have the same
halachah here. Particularly since pragmatically speaking, a chazaka disvara
is a *more* intense version of rov -- it speaks of a rov dileis likaman that
is so innate it's to be treated like a vadai (for reasons I touched on,

(Note that trei vs. mei'a is yet another situation similar to rov. I believe
that the Sh"Sh is likenening all of these to say that there's no rov bimakom
eidus. Why? Because eidus is kovei'ah something, and kol kevu'ah kimechtza
al mechtza dami.)


Micha Berger (973) 916-0287          MMG"H for 10-Feb-00: Chamishi, Terumah
micha@aishdas.org                                         A"H 
http://www.aishdas.org                                    Pisachim 112b
For a mitzvah is a lamp, and the Torah its light.         

Go to top.

Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2000 08:35:48 -0600
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: calendar

Daniel M Wells <wells@mail.biu.ac.il> writes in v4n346:
:       In addition, the Gregorian calendar is zipping past the Hebrew
: calendar at a rate of about 1 day every 230 years.

What's the range of starting dates for Nissan to preserve the notion of
it being Chodesh ha'Aviv? I remember seeing on line someone arguing that
our calendar already failed in this regard, I think in the 1980s?


Micha Berger (973) 916-0287          MMG"H for 10-Feb-00: Chamishi, Terumah
micha@aishdas.org                                         A"H 
http://www.aishdas.org                                    Pisachim 112b
For a mitzvah is a lamp, and the Torah its light.         

Go to top.

Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2000 09:38:23 -0500
From: meir shinnar <shinname@UMDNJ.EDU>
Posthumous letters

RYGB wrote, in response to my post:
>I am not aware of the logic behind publication of Igros CI or RCOG.
>Certainly open letters can be published, and letters which the author
>expressly granted permission to publish fall into that category as
>Perhaps, in these cases, the CI or RCOG expressed, in their >lifetimes,
some hope that letters be collected an published, and this >was then
>Letters, however, of the type we are discussing, simply do not appear
>in those works. Which makes your next paragraph moot. Letters that >put
people down, by name, or by clearcut affiliation, are not the tpye
>found in common Igros collections. The letters found in them are
>usually general hadrochoand Chiddushei Torah. V'yesh l'chalek >tuva.

Here is, bimhilat kvot torato, where I remain puzzled.  Herem derabbenu
Gershom is, to my understanding, a procedural issur, unrelated to the
content of the letter.  I can not publicize or read the letter,
regardless whether it is a tirade against someone, a beautiful hesped or
hakkarat hatov, hiddushe torah, or a grocery bill.  Therefore, the fact
that posthumous letters get published by many without an explicit (or
even implicit) haskama means that the people who publish them feel that
CDRG does not apply in this situation, and no  issur of gezel after

You are saying that the content of the letters make them unsuitable for
publication.  This is a judgement call.  However, if CDRG does not ban
publication of posthumous letters, then what is the issur?  Is there a
particular issur for letters which are tirades versus letters that are
more civil?  If it is a judgment call whether to publish them or not,
who better to make that call than the wife or  talmid muvhak?

Furthermore, there are hiddushe torah to be learned from the letters.
For example, where else in the SE do we have an explicit psak according
to the Meiri in avoda zara?  On what basis are these hiddushe torah to
be discarded, while the hiddushe torah in other posthumously published
letters are not?

With regard to my second point (publication of things that are already
in the public domain), your argument applies if the initial placement in
the public domain was illegal.    Does that mean that you would agree
that if the initial placement was halachic, that there is no problem?

my understanding in hilchot lashon hara is that once something (true)is
known to a certain number, it is no longer lashon hara to tell it.  Is
this different?

Meir Shinnar

Go to top.


[ Distributed to the Avodah mailing list, digested version.                   ]
[ To post: mail to avodah@aishdas.org                                         ]
[ For back issues: mail "get avodah-digest vXX.nYYY" to majordomo@aishdas.org ]
[ or, the archive can be found at http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/              ]
[ For general requests: mail the word "help" to majordomo@aishdas.org         ]

< Previous Next >