Avodah Mailing List

Volume 05 : Number 028

Friday, April 28 2000

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2000 10:59:54 -0400
From: "Stein, Aryeh E." <aes@ll-f.com>
Re: birkhat hagomeil

While the "ge'ulah connection" between the 4 cups and the four things for
which one  benches gomel for is interesting, I can't imagine that this is a
halachic basis to bench gomel after traveling on a plane.  (If so, perhaps
one should only bench gomel when arriving in Eretz Yisroel, and not after
leaving it <g>).

FWIW, R' Ruderman held that one should_not_bench gomel after taking a
trans-oceanic airline trip.  I assume that the reason was because of the
relative safety of airtravel nowadays.



Date: Mon, 24 Apr 2000 16:19:16 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Subject: Re: birkhat hagomeil

Back in v4n424 David Glasner asked:
: Query:  Why is it that people nowadays seem to automatically recite the 
: birkhat ha-gomeil after a trans-oceanic airline trip even though such
: trips are statistically safer than driving on the Washington Beltway?

The assumption was that gomeil is directly related to being at risk. A
tried to answer this question by negating that assumption.
So it would seem that the list of things for which you bench gomel has to do
with the nature of ge'ulah, not with quantity of risk.

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Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2000 00:15:17 +0200
From: "Carl and Adina Sherer" <sherer@actcom.co.il>
Re: RW Revisionism

On 24 Apr 00, at 7:25, Gershon Dubin wrote:
> Date: Sun, 23 Apr 2000 00:44:54 +0200
> From: "Carl and Adina Sherer" <sherer@actcom.co.il>
> Subject: RE: RW Revisionism

> <<I already own it. I also have a copy of the letter "retracting" it if
> anyone wants to see it. Yes, I was part of the original distribution and
> never sent the book back.>>

> 	I'd like to see that;  but more so I'd like to read the book.  Can
> anyone lend it?

If you (or anyone else) give me a fax number, I can fax it on 
Thursday (no longer Yom Tov here :-). Unfortunately, you're a little 
far away to borrow the book....

-- 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

Addendum from Micha (joys of moderating... <grin>):
If someone in E"Y faxes me something on Y"T sheini shel goliyos, isn't the
fax nolad? (Assuming that we hold that a fax on Shabbos is nolad because of
the shinui sheim from "paper" to "fax", or for another reason.)


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Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2000 16:23:22 -0400 (EDT)
From: Shalom Carmy <carmy@ymail.yu.edu>
Re: the baseball story

[MB: I forwarded my comments on the story to RSC. Here is his reply. In a
PS RSC gives me reshus to forward it to the list. -mi]

> You should be getting a second copy coming in from Avodah any moment now.

Yes, I did see it. It *is* horrible (& against the Rambam in the Moreh) to
view one individual as nothing but a means to the perfection of others.
This is reflected in the Halakhot that frown upon saving the group by
sacrificing the individual (Tosefta in Terumot etc.). There is nothing
wrong, however, in recognizing that much of the value of what we strive to
do involves bringing out the best in others. Moreover, it is humbling to
recognize that we often bring out the best in others when we are not
really aware of what we are doing. The child Shaya was, according to the
story, thoroughly enjoying himself and in doing so he was bringing joy to
others, and a different, deeper joy than they would otherwise have

There are indeed people who look upon others as so many occasions to
perform mitzvot. For people with this mentality such a story is dangerous.
If you change the facts, and have a child undergo painful surgery that
gives meaning and excitement to the medical team, the flavor goes sour. In
this case, however, we have an important insight into the nature of joy.

The above is concerned with what the story can do for our religious-moral
consciousness. If it is deployed as an argument in theodicy-- offering a
metaphysical support for the justice of G-d's governance, the situation
gets more complicated. That is because the question you raise becomes
sharper: can we really, as a rule, treat others as occasions of our
education and use this benefit *to dismiss their misery?*

At the same time, I can defend the use of the story even in theodicy, in
the following way: the defender of G-d is not required to explain how
G-d's ways are all good. His aim is often to establish that belief in
divine goodness and power is not *incompatible* with the evidence we see.
Hence, by showing the profound value of Shayah's impact on the world, one
is strengthening belief in G-d's justice, even if one is maintaining
silence about Shayah's own life.

Hag sameah,


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Date: Thu, 27 Apr 2000 07:23:05 +0200
From: "Carl and Adina Sherer" <sherer@actcom.co.il>
Lo S'Choneim (was Re: aniyei ircha)

On 25 Apr 00, at 8:29, Chana/Heather Luntz wrote:

> In message <200004242210.BAA08234@lmail.actcom.co.il>, Carl and Adina
> Sherer <sherer@actcom.co.il> writes
> >On 24 Apr 00, at 21:54, Chana/Heather Luntz wrote:
> >
> >> I must say, at the risk of sounding political, that the above would seem
> >> to suggest that, at least on this, the Supreme Court may have been
> >> right, and that, rather than the debate being religion versus democracy
> >> (as the Financial Times recently portrayed it), it may even be the
> >> Jewish Agency versus the halacha.
> >
> >The issue before the court was not whether or not it was permitted 
> >to sell land in Eretz Yisrael to non-Jews. The issue was whether or 
> >not it is permitted to reserve a certain piece of land (in this case a 
> >village), specifically for Jews. I know of no halacha that would forbid 
> >reserving land (particularly in Eretz Yisrael) strictly for Jews. Even if 
> >I am allowed to sell land in Eretz Yisrael to a non-Jew (because 
> >s/he keeps Sheva Mitzvos or is in the "intermediate category" you 
> >mention), there is AFAIK no requirement that I do so.
> If we are talking about a ger toshav I believe there is.
> Part of the obligation to sustain him (Vayikra 25:35) includes the
> discussion in Devarim 23:17 - as the rationale that the Sifri there
> gives for "imcha yeshev b'kirbecha b'makom asher yivchar" is b'makom
> sheparnaso yetzei (The context of the pasuk in D'varim is, according to
> the Targum and Rashi's first pshat,  a slave of the goyim, so there the
> connection to a ger toshav is explicit).
> If we are talking about some half way house between ger toshav and oved
> cochavim, in which one may sell land, but do not have an obligation of
> sustaining him, then perhaps there would be no obligation to allow him
> to live wherever he chooses and where his parnasa is best.  It would
> really depend on how you understood this half way house (ie do you not
> have an active obligation to sustain him, but are not allowed to prevent
> him from sustaining himself, in which case presumably one could not
> reserve villages just for Jews, or do you understand all these
> obligations, being the Torah mandated obligations for a ger toshav not
> to apply at all, actively or passively, and the permission to sell land
> is out of a separate parsha).

The Rambam apparently does not hold from any sort of "halfway" 
category as you had posited in your earlier post. The Rambam in 
Avodah Zara 10:6 writes: "Assur lanu le'haniach oved cochavim 
beineinu, afilu yoshev yeshivas arai oi oiver mi'makom le'makom 
b'schora, v'lo yaavor b'artzeinu ad she'yekabel alav sheva mitzvos 
bnei Noach she'neemar 'lo yeishvu b'artzecha' v'afilu l'fi shaa. V'im 
kibel alav sheva mitzvos harei zeh ger toshav; v'ein m'kablim ger 
toshav ela b'zman she'hayovel noheg aval shelo b'zman ha'yovel ain 
mekablim ela ger tzedek bilvad." 

You had also argued that Rav Kook must have held from a 
"halfway" category because he would have needed it for the heter 
mechira. But Rav Kook did not hold that way either. Leaving aside 
the question of the heter's general acceptability (as you know, 
most of the Gdolim in Europe rejected the heter altogether), Rav 
Kook himself held that to get around the problem of "lo s'choneim" 
one had to sell the land to a non-Jew who *already* owned land in 
Eretz Yisrael so that by selling him land you are not giving him 
"chania" ba'karka. See Chapter 12 of the introduction to Shabbat 

In fact, Rav Kook himself writes regarding the Rambam's shita in lo 
s'choneim, "nireh d'svira lei d'af al gav d'bitla kdushas ha'aretz 
l'trumos u'maaseros u'shmita v'yovlos, mikol makom le'din yeshivas 
nochrim lo botlo v'yesh lomar d'hoo hadin le'inyan issur chaniya 

In conclusion, the Rambam apparently does not hold from any sort 
of intermediate category when it comes to lo s'choneim, and Rav 
Kook did not hold from and did not need an intermediate category 
in order to craft his heter mechira. I have not yet reached the 
question of whether making a Jewish-only city which excludes a 
ger toshav would be prohibited al pi haRambam, because given that 
the Rambam holds out no possibility for a ger toshav or any sort of 
intermediate category today that would allow giving chania ba'karka 
to a non-Jew today, I don't need to reach that question. It is not 
nogea until bias Mashiach (BBY"A). 

The Supreme Court decision has no basis in current halacha.

-- 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

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