Avodah Mailing List

Volume 04 : Number 395

Friday, February 25 2000

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2000 21:02:45 -0500
From: raffyd@juno.com
Hallel in Shul on Pesach Night

I thank Mr. Maryles for his informative posting.  Postings and
discussions of this nature, such as the recent discussions on Nusach,
particularly R. Bannett's wonderful essay on Kaddish, are the main reason
I subscribed.  Yasher Kochachem!

Some points:

1- Nefesh HaRav points out that RYBS felt that an effort should be made
to institute Hallel with a bracha in shul on Seder nights as long as no
machlokes is thereby caused.

2- The fact that that a practice was initiated for the benefit of
amaratzim or other unfortunate groups does not disqualify the custom. 
Cf. Chazoras HaShatz,  Tikkun Leil Shavuos, Kiddush in Shul Friday night
for Orchim.  To the contrary in fact!  It seems to be the hanhaga of
Mekubalim to see added significance in these types of rituals. As RHM put
it, they interpreted these minhagim al pi nistar.  Cf. Caf HaChaim in
Hilchos Chazaoras HaShatz.    Sh"lah on "Maseches" Shavuos.  

As such, it's no surprise at all that those who claim to be followers of
Minhag Arizal (Sephardim, Chasidim) follow this custom, despite its
amaratz-ish origins.  As to what gave the Arizal or others the authority,
we've covered that issue before...

Keep up the good work

Raffy (who does not say Hallel in shul on Pesach night [yet] ).
Juno now offers FREE Internet Access!
Try it today - there's no risk!  For your FREE software, visit:

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Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2000 21:30:03 -0500
From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
Chilonim/Charedim, Problems and Solutions

On Thu, 24 Feb 2000 17:56:49 -0500 <richard_wolpoe@ibi.com> writes:

<<The basic premise was thatthere was a status quo. So long as YU  filled
the void, nothing needed to be done to scrutinize further.
The real fear would have been had YU balked and not "played ball".>>

	As I pointed out privately,  there is no proof that the SSA had any clue
of a distinction between limud Torah and preparing for the ministry.  The
two questions I posed in this connection remain unanswered:

	a.  Did the SSA know or suspect any difference?
	b.  Were the yeshivos and roshei yeshivos guilty of genevas da'as in
purporting that they were training rabbis rather than teaching Torah?

<<What I would have like to see was a certain mutual "admiration" or 
YU: we'll take care of providing Rabbonim for pulpits and chaplains
Other Yeshivos: and we'll take care of learning lishma>>

	I will grant you that there was less than full respect,  but as was
posted by RHM's anonymous friend in another context,  it was mutual.  

	Did you ever hear the thought at YU that "gee,  it's great that Lakewood
has all those guys in kollel so we can become doctors or lawyers and not
worry where Torah will come from in the future?"   

	It was wrong IMHO that Rav Svei called Dr. Lamm a sonei Hashem;  but was
it right for Dr. Lamm to characterize the RW yeshivos as cavemen?  Plenty
of blame to go around.

<<IF there was such a relationship in Israel I think there would be
greater mutual respect, somethign R. Kook might have advocated:>>

	Too many confounding factors there for this ever to happen.  Neither
side listens to the other,  and therefore granting legitimacy in any form
to the other camp is seen internally as weakness.  It's a fact of life, 
going on for hundreds of years,   and it will take Eliyahu Hanovi's best
efforts to solve.

Gershon Dubin

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Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2000 22:09:53 -0500
From: Chaim G Steinmetz <cgsteinmetz@juno.com>
Hallel in Shul on Pesach Nigh

See Ishim V'Shitos (by Horav Zevin) p145-146 who brings a teshuva from
the Rogatshover goan about this.

> Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2000 15:50:55 -0800 (PST)
> From: Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
> Subject: Hallel in Shul on Pesach Night
> The question is why do the Chasidim still say it?
> HM

Chaim G. Steinmetz

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Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2000 07:43:48 +0200
From: "Shoshana L. Boublil" <toramada@zahav.net.il>
Fw: What Really Happened with the MIA Bill Yesterday

I try not to forward articles from other sources, but I think this is
important enough to warrant further attention.

Shoshana L. Boublil

----- Original Message -----
From: Yeshivat Har Etzion Office <office@etzion.org.il>
To: <yhe-test@etzion.org.il>
Sent: Monday, January 01, 1996 3:44 AM
Subject: What Really Happened with the MIA Bill Yesterday

> As we used this list to publicize the knesset deliberation, we felt
> responsibility to all who responded to our call and came to the
> to hear what really happened.  Here is the release from the MIA
> ICMIS MIA Bill – What Happened Today  in the Knesset?
> On behalf of the MIAS families, we at the International Coalition
> Missing Israeli Soldiers wish to express our gratitude to all those
> took the time to join us today at the Knesset.  We had asked for
> presence today at the behest of the bill’s sponsor, Likud MK Danny
> Naveh.  This was to be a preliminary reading of the bill which would
> then go to committee, and then be brought back to the Knesset for
> several more readings. The reaction of both the press and MKs to
> presence has clearly changed the dynamics of this Knesset struggle.
> presence was critical in the opening volley of what is going to be a
> protracted battle in the Knesset. We would like to take a moment,
> clarify what did and did not happen today, and why.
> What happened before the vote? -- Upon our arrival at the Knesset
> morning we were informed that the scheduled time for the vote had
> delayed.  There were several MKs who wanted to participate but could
> do so at an earlier time. We were also told that PM Barak himself
> planning to attend the vote after a cabinet meeting. The government
> not want this bill to be brought up without full government
> representation(We are sorry for the unexpected delay.)
> Prior to the vote itself there were several hours of efforts by the
> government to convince MK Naveh to accept a compromise – they wanted
> amend the language to an unacceptably weak alternative and present
it as
> a "resolution" which would not have the same force as "law".  The
> families and Danny Naveh refused.  In the meantime we were informed
> Barak had called in Shas leader Eli Yishai, Mafdal head Yitzchak
> and Yisrael B’Aliyah  leader Natan Sharansky demanding that they
> draw their support for the bill.  Please note that almost every MK
> these parties had signed on earlier as a sponsor of the bill, and
> these Ministers had also pledged their support.
> The issue is clearly problematic for Barak, who went to significant
> lengths to scuttle the legislation.  As you all noticed the
> side was out in full force.  Naveh pointed out, that over the last
> months he cannot recall Barak ever bringing out the entire
> for this type of vote.  They were clearly threatened by it.
> The wrangling over a possible compromise continued until the last
> moment.  At that point, as no compromise had been reached, Danny
> was faced with two options -- allow the vote to happen and risk a
> possible defeat or to withdrawn the measure.  Naveh opted for the
> route for several reasons:
>   1 .  If the bill were to be defeated it could not be brought up
> for a vote for another six months.  If the bill is withdrawn it can
> scheduled for another vote in six weeks.
>   2 .  The international impact of a defeat could compromise other
> efforts abroad, and would compromise other possible channels.
> After the vote – Shortly after the resolution was passed Yona
> who was just released from the hospital, confronted the Prime
> in the hall coming to within an inch of Barak’s face.  He angrily
> berated Barak’s efforts as a "targeel masri’ach" and told the PM
that he
> will be hearing a great deal from the MIA camp in the next little
> -- all in front the TV cameras.  The PM was clearly taken off guard.
> In a meeting with Danny Naveh it was decided that the bill will be
> introduced again in six weeks.
> We will be formulating a very hard hitting strategy to convince the
> above mentioned party heads to support the bill in the next vote
> regardless of outside pressure not to do so.
> Accomplishments: the following benefits were gained from today’s
>   1 .  A resolution was passed in the Knesset regarding the MIAs,
> the government’s tactics have been clearly exposed.
>   2 .  The stage has now been set for a more aggressive effort to
> the original bill to passage.
>   3 .   The issue has been given considerable press coverage and the
> government is clearly on the defensive.
> This cause has been successfully fought piece by piece and we have
> intention of seeing this through, until such time that the families
> Israel’s MIAs no longer have to confront their leaders for answers
> the most basic of questions. We will be informing you of our plans
> the next round.  We hope we will continue to have your support.
> _______________
> The International Coalition For Missing Israeli Soldiers
> p.o. box 32380, Jerusalem, 91322 ISRAEL www.mia.org.il
> to subscribe send us an email with the subject of: "subscribe"

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Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2000 13:24:02 +0200
From: "Carl and Adina Sherer" <sherer@actcom.co.il>
(Fwd) Off Topic: Shabbat Zemirot

This was posted on tachlis this afternoon. If anyone has any ideas, 
please send them to me and I will forward it onwards.

-- Carl

I know this probably doesn't belong on Tachlis, but I'm running out of
ideas so here goes:

Does anyone else on the list have the minhag of singing the zemira R'
Yehuda Halevi's 'Al Ahavatekha' on Friday night? 

Does anyone know of a still in print siddur, birkon or zemirot book that
contains this zemira?  If so, please could they pass on details of the
publisher, edition etc.

It is one of my family's favourite zmirot, but no one else seems to have
heard of it. My family has old siddurim and some decades old JNF issue
zemirot books with it in, but I've been searching for new birkonim or
siddurim which contain this zemira and I've drawn a complete blank, in fact
in all the sforim stores that I looked in none of the salesmen had heard of
the zemira, (Jason hadn't heard of it before he met me either). 

Shabbat shalom,


------------------------ tachlis@shamash.org -----------------------+
Hosted by Shamash: The Jewish Internet Consortium  http://shamash.org
------------------------ tachlis@shamash.org -----------------------=

------- End of forwarded message -------

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

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Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2000 03:54:22 -0800 (PST)
From: Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
Re: Chilonim/Charedim, Problems and Solutions

--- Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com> wrote:  
> 	It was wrong IMHO that Rav Svei called Dr. Lamm a
> sonei Hashem;  but was
> it right for Dr. Lamm to characterize the RW
> yeshivos as cavemen?  Plenty
> of blame to go around.

I believe the "Caveman" comment was taken out of
context by R. Svei. Dr. Lamm never meant to imply a
perjorative to those who learn Torah full time. If I
am not mistaken, Dr. Lamm was simply talking about the
famous Gemorrah im Brachos, and comparing them to R.
Shimon Bar Yochai(RSBY) (I think that's who it was)
who, after emerging from a cave where he learned Torah
L'Shma for many years was so indignant about the lay,
non-learning world of the farmer he saw, that his gaze
at the farmer consumed the farmer in flame.  G-d told
him to go back into the cave and mellow out. (or
something like that).

Comparing Yeshivalite to RSBY is a far cry from
calling them "Cavemen" in the perjorative sense.

Do You Yahoo!?
Talk to your friends online with Yahoo! Messenger.

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Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2000 08:03:07 EST
From: Joelirich@aol.com
Re: Chilonim/Charedim, Problems and Solutions

In a message dated 2/25/00 6:54:38 AM Eastern Standard Time, 
hmaryles@yahoo.com writes:

 Dr. Lamm never meant to imply a
 perjorative to those who learn Torah full time. >>

You are correct - I believe that the text of the speech is available from YU 
and it's very clear that the context was not pejorative.

Shabbat Shalom,
Joel Rich

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Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2000 07:11:28 -0600
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
TIDE and TuM (was: Halachah and ...)

On Thu, 24 Feb 2000 12:57:14 -0500 <richard_wolpoe@ibi.com> writes:
> This is as opposed to R. Breuer who felt that TuM is NOT OK.

On Thu, Feb 24, 2000 at 01:29:24PM -0500, Gershon Dubin wrote:
: 	Would you say that R.Breuer was an authority on TIDE?

On my way /from/ the train this morning, I was trying to list the families
of variants of this idea.

TIDE: DE has kedusha, but the kedushah is derivative. The only source of
kedushah is Torah. However, proper Torah observance includes full and proper
use of DE.

TuM: Madda is inherently kadosh. (I need more on this, if someone could help.)

R' Kook: The secular has a /hidden/ kedushah ila'a. This is a stance somewhere
between the first two in that it gives an inherent kedushah to madda (as part
of chol), and yet still demands the revelation of that kedushah to realize
that inherent good.


Micha Berger (973) 916-0287          MMG"H for 22-Feb-00: Shelishi, Sisa
micha@aishdas.org                                         A"H 
http://www.aishdas.org                                    Pisachim 118b
For a mitzvah is a lamp, and the Torah its light.         

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Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2000 07:45:06 -0600
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Halachah and ...

On Thu, Feb 24, 2000 at 05:04:03PM -0500, Gershon Dubin wrote:
: 	I didn't actually request the web page;  I looked at it when you
: referred to it.  I was hoping, as was RMP,  for further clarification of
: how it applies to the three philosophies mentioned.

I misunderstood both of you. (RMP made a similar comment in private email.)

Here's a second attempt. (Actually a third, the following is an expanded
version of the email I accidentally sent only to Gershon last night.)

Derech Eretz (as I concluded in v04n036) has three meanings that share the
basic notion of knowing how to live in Olam haZeh ("eretz"). Avraham Avinu
discovers HKBH by noticing the wonders of eretz, is mekareiv people, willing
to associate with what he thought were three sand-worshipping idolaters. This
is TIDE. He is mekareiv them how? By performing chessed -- DE in the sense of
DE kadma laTorah. And he is given the b'ris milah -- DE as in the "perishus
DE" of the haggadah.

TIDE is about using DE -- the proper involvement with this world -- as a
means to kedushah, the substance that one is makdish and through which one
is makdish his own life. One has soil, and tries to lift it into a mountain.
TuM extends this to the people who share the aretz with you, while the
Austritt approach does not. (I'm not convinced that the Austritt is part of
TIDE, and not a second issue.)

TIDE and TuM are also dangerous. Choosing to embrace new madda/DE for the
sake of having more tools for serving HKBH means occasionally hugging
porcupines. And once the new item is part of the culture, it is very hard
to eliminate. (Prime time TV seems to me to be a good example. There is
next-to-nothing on TV today that wouldn't have been censored a mere decade
ago.) One has to climb a mountain, repeated nisyonos, encounters with
the yeitzer hara.

Chassidus is very much Yitzchak's field. I refer you to my post in v04n283
which paraphrases a footnote in Ashira Lashem. The whole notion of ecstatic
prayer, the focus on the Shechina and on flirting (!) with the Ribbono
shel olam (Yitzchak ... metzachek es Rivka ishto), of cleaving to G-d, of raw,
field-like, religious ferver -- that's the avodah of Yitzchak Avinu.

Yaakov ish tam yosheiv ohalim. The Yeshiva movement, developing da'as Torah
(da'as = Ya'akov). Titein emes liYa'akov. The house is a place of study.
However, the house also describes Litta's other movement -- Mussar. It's
personal space, a place that is neither exposed to other people, nor G-d's
creation in the raw. It's man-made for man's further growth. Self-improvement.

While TIDE looks at an external DE, including mentchlach because of its
impact on others, mussar looks at DE as a means of improving the self.
It therefore only centers about the chessed/mentchlachkeit aspect of DE.
Mussar included an asceticism that doesn't jibe with the other uses of the
expression "DE". Mussar is a guide to building homes.

We discussed on Avodah the overlap between TuM and Chassidus, in the sense
that Chassidus too utilizes the gashmi -- in some contexts. The tisch and
the use of alcohol come to mind immediately. What they really share is
an outsideness. The mountain and the field are very different -- one lifts
the earth, the other glories in its raw G-dliness, but they are both ways to
be outside the home.


Micha Berger (973) 916-0287          MMG"H for 22-Feb-00: Shelishi, Sisa
micha@aishdas.org                                         A"H 
http://www.aishdas.org                                    Pisachim 118b
For a mitzvah is a lamp, and the Torah its light.         

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Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2000 08:19:42 -0600
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Rights in Halachah

The following quote from Project Genesis' "DvarTorah" list by R' Chaim
Dovid Green reminded me of a perennial scj debate. I'm curious to hear
the chevra's take on the subject.

> In today's world, we are rightfully very preoccupied with procuring our rights
> and freedoms. We want to be free to pursue our priorities, live according
> to our convictions, and pursue what makes us happy. ...          Our
> sages (Chapters of the fathers 6:2) comment on this "do not read 'chorus'
> 'engraved,' but rather 'chairus,' 'freedom,' for no one else is free but he
> who occupies himself in Torah learning." ...

> Rabbi Sampson Raphael Hirsch explains the words of the sages as follows.
> "Even as the Torah ennobles us, so a truly devoted study of it also makes
> us free, free from error, free from the temptations of physical lusts and
> desires, and free from the crushing and degrading power of the multitude of
> worries and troubles of daily living."

The question is, what role does "rights" play in halachah?

Here's some of my own comments from scj:

Item 1:
:                      Judaism may have rights, but it doesn't center its
: perspective on human interaction based on the protection of rights. Things
: are phrased in terms of duties. Even the concept of ownership is seen mostly
: in terms of duties of a non-owner, somewhat in terms of duties of the owner,
: and only then are there a few reserved rights that an owner has over his
: object. (The example [XYZ] showed me last time we went around this bend was
: the right to choose which kohein gets your terumah donation.)

Item 2:
:         But Judaism's ethical philosophy is to get me to focus on my duties.
: Rights just happen to exist because, as you say, you can't have one without
: the other. They are a logical conclusion, not the thrust of the ethic.

: I'm to pay attention to *my* duties, AKA *his* rights. If the law were phrased
: in terms of rights, "Man has a right to property" instead of "Thou shalt not
: steal", it would be teaching the individual to look out for other's crossing
: into his own "space", not to be on guard against encroaching others'.

: Jewish courts don't meet protect the victim's rights, they correct the
: accused.

: To summate: While duty implies right (and visa versa), there's a significant
: difference in consequent attitude of the population that follows a legal
: system based on one or the other.

Item 3:
:>} But in Rabbinic Hebrew the notion of "zekhuth" "zekhuyoth" etc. is well
:>} established.

:> But does not "literally mean" the word "rights". It is usually translated as
:> "merit".

: In Rabbinic Hebrew/Aramaic it is broader than just merit. For example, "Zochin
: la'adam shelo bifanav". ...

: I'm not sure it goes as far as "right", so I refrain from further comment
:  until I am more sure.

:> Of course, your response may be to ask why Ahab has this obligation not to
:> take Naboth's vineyard. But, this has more to do with the fact that it is in
:> his "reshus", or "domain".

: Reshus also means "permission". Domain + permision -- this is already close
: to the notion of "right".

: I took a weaker stance than [the person who wrote ":>}", above]. I believe
:  rights exist, however, the philosophy behind Jewish law isn't right-centric.

To add to these thoughts, halachah's concept of ownership is ba'alus which has
more to do with control than posession. For example, a rentor can have
sufficient ba'alus to require a mezuzah. Even a malveh has some measure of

Last term to throw into the mix, since I've veered into the direction of
"control" is "yad" -- in the non-literal sense. Yad is used for possession
(e.g. a get entering her yad is in her "yad"). It's also used for having
permission or ability (yeish biyado) to do something. This too might be

(I don't know what this means in light of the rule that stam "yad" in Chumash
means the left hand, not the right. <duck>)


Micha Berger (973) 916-0287          MMG"H for 22-Feb-00: Shelishi, Sisa
micha@aishdas.org                                         A"H
http://www.aishdas.org                                    Pisachim 118b
For a mitzvah is a lamp, and the Torah its light.

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Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2000 08:42:19 -0600
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Egyptian mythology

In v4n392, Yitzchok Zirkind <Yzkd@aol.com> commented on my email:
:> I just noticed that both in the case of the eigel and the korban there's a
:>  shift from adult to child (ox -- > calf; ram -- > lamb)

: And see Rashi Bamidbar 19:2 (second time around after Possuk 22).

I miss your point. That (well known) Rashi relates the Parah Adumah to being
the parent of the eigel. IOW, because Binei Yisrael (BY) chose a child,
an eigel, for their avodah zara, HKBH uses the mother of an eigel to clean up
the effects of that cheit.

It does not explain why BY chose an eigel to begin with. If they lifted the
idea from the cult of Apis, they should have chosen a bull.

Akiva Atwood <atwood@netvision.net.il> comments:
: Well, on one foot: Childen have a more tamimus approach to things. (See R'
: Nachman's Simpleton and the Sophisticate). The Ruach Stus that causes us to
: do averos is at least partially a result of our adult (sophisticated) mind.

Which is all well and fine for followers of the Breslover derech. Most of
us, though, choose a derech that involves gadlus hamochin (philosophical
contemplation) as well as katnus hamochin (pure childlike faith). In particular,
see the Rambam's definition of the mizvah of Ahavas Hashem (Yesodei haTorah

Why then were these two things, the eigel and the korban Pesach, more about

Someone I commute with (this time I was actually _on_ the train) loosely
suggested the idea that the events in question are about the birth of BY.
They didn't yet get the Torah. The entire relationship with HKBH therefore
revolved around pure faith and sensory evidence, not deep studies.


Micha Berger (973) 916-0287          MMG"H for 22-Feb-00: Shelishi, Sisa
micha@aishdas.org                                         A"H 
http://www.aishdas.org                                    Pisachim 118b
For a mitzvah is a lamp, and the Torah its light.         

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Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2000 09:55:22 -0500
From: "Allen Baruch" <Abaruch@SINAI-BALT.COM>
Re[2]: Frum Sociopaths

RWalpoe wrote (V4#393)
"Irmember that drug dealer who would not trim a beard?  For 
those of you who thought his frumkeit re: the beard was sincere, 
I would suggest that this is the kind of "con" a sociopath uses to 
take in the naive and the unsuspecting. IOW it's frumkeit for show.
and in the back alleys this same guy is dealing drugs."

I would think that this behavior is l'tei'avon (money).

kol tuv
Sender Baruch

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Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2000 10:01:48 -0500
From: MPoppers@kayescholer.com
Re: Halacha and...

In Avodah 4#394, CSherer replied to EClark....
>> In either case, Hirsch himself did not believe
TIDE was be-diavad or a hora'at shaah.
But many people today, including some who claim
his mantle, have taken that position. <<
> One of the things I frankly find difficult
in understanding Hirsch is that his writings
are not available in Hebrew or English (AFAIK)
except in translation. Which introduces
a translator's bias....(I still recall a
scathing review a few years ago of an English
translation of one of Hirsch's writings that
appeared in a popular Jewish magazine). <
If I'm thinking about the same review that Carl is
(BTW, if I am and if Carl deliberately did not list the
names of the author, reviewer, and magazine, I'd appreciate
hearing the reason for the reticence...), I recall that
the reviewer, my Rebbi, was far more concerned about
the editorial comments of the author than about his translation.
That said, your alternatives in reading Rav SRHirsch's writings
are (a) in the original High German (best of luck, even if
you do find an out-of-print copy) or (b) in translation...and
my $0.02, given the lack of controversy re almost every word
of such translations, is that you can trust the various translators
to have done a wonderful job in transmitting as much of
Rav Hirsch's intent as is possible in a translation.  Personally,
I would worry more about finding the time to peruse
these translations and commentaries in an attempt to
understand what Rav Hirsch was trying to say than about
questioning the accuracy of the translation.

All the best (including wishes for a wonderful Shabbos!) from
Michael Poppers * Elizabeth, NJ
P.S. P' Ki Sisa is my BM sedra -- wish me luck in its k'riyah!

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Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2000 10:28:20 -0500
From: meir shinnar <shinname@UMDNJ.EDU>
miracles and flood (redux)

R Berger has framed the contradiction as between science, which
inherently discounts the possibility of miracles, and the mesorah.  This
is far too simplistic, and misunderstands the core issue, which is not
the reliability of science.

IMHO, the real issue is the role of miracles within our understanding of
hashem's creation.  Do we understand that the ultimate  miracle and
manifestation of hashem;s hesed is the creation of a natural order,
which man can understand (at least partially), and is indeed commanded
to understand, and that violations of natural order, while possible to
hashem, are few, and serve specific puroposes? Furthermore, these
miracles do not challenge our ability to understand the world, although
they point to the existence of forces beyond it.   Or, do we believe
that the entire notion of natural order and law is an illusion, and that
everything is governed by direct, ongoing intervention?  Both poles, as
well as intermediate positions, find legitimate expression in the
mesora.  A related debate is the debate between Ibn Ezra and the ramban
on nissim nistarim.

Accepting the flood as pshat is (IMHO) incompatible with the first
position, as it mocks our ability to derive conclusions from the natural
order.  Miracles (not described in the torah, and of a far greater
magnitude than the flood itself) are posited in order to eliminate all
traces of the flood, and therefore all the educational values of the
flood which the torah itself describes. It is quite compatible with the
second pole described, which I think is far closer to current RW

However, the first pole is still firmly within the mesora, and attempts
to preserve it are attempts to preserve the mesora rather than denigrate
it.  After all, disparate rishonim from rav yehuda halevy to the rambam
believed that the torah does not require us to believe anything against
our reason.  Emunah might be required in suprarational, which can
neither be proven or disproved, but not irrational beliefs.  Again, I
think current norms of what emuna means are far different, and for many,
require belief even against reason.  Others (including some on the
list), while not formally discounting reason, have made the standard of
proof by reason so high as to practically dismiss it.

We should not be so quick to dismiss or attack those who try to preserve
and defend major elements of our mesora.  The issue is not defending the
mesorah, but which parts of the mesorah one wants to defend.  (I know
for many the Moreh nevuchim is far less of their mesorah, but still..)

Lastly, RYGB and R Berger have posited in the past that the Rambam's use
of allegory has to be limited to ma'ase breshit.  I think that this is a
breathtaking hiddush that requires proof (just as they think that proof
is required to extend it beyond), and goes against simple pshat in the
More Nevuchim, even if it not explicitly stated.    A nice discussion of
the fundamentall role of allegory for the Rambam (without discussion of
the flood) in reconciling reason with Torah is in R Hartman's book,
Maimonides: Torah and Philosophic Quest.  I have yet to see a serious
Rambam scholar (of the Moreh) who argues as RYGB and R Berger. To bring
a recent gadol, Rav Kook's letter about extending allegory to gan eden
assumes as muchl(although we have been down this road).  The SE
stricture in his letter to Atlas against forcing interpretations against
the pshat comes to mind, although I doubt that we can convince each

The issue that they raise of the limits of allegorization - why not
allegorize matan torah - is addressed (indirectly), in the Rambam's
famous discussion about creation.  There, he argues that the
Aristotelian position is against basic Torah principles, and must be
rejected, while the Platonic position is not, and so one could
allegorize creation if necessary.  I think this clearly states the
limits - allegorization is permissible if it does not attack fundamental
Torah principles.  To the extent that it defends core principles (the
rational order of the universe) without attacking other fundamental
principles, it becomes not only permissible, but laudatory.

Which pole of the mesora is closer to the actual truth is something that
only hashem knows.  However, discussions of historicity are, at least to
me, quite peripheral to our avodat hashem.

Meir Shinnar

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