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Volume 05 : Number 065

Sunday, June 11 2000

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Thu, 8 Jun 2000 08:30:35 +0000
From: sadya n targum <targum1@juno.com>
Re: Avodah V5 #64

Yitzchok Zirkind writes
> Torah was Kadma Alpayim Shana Lolom, in it already said Vloi Yeiroeh 
> Bicha Ervas Davar

	Where is this posuk which says "vlo yeiroeh"? 

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Date: Thu, 8 Jun 2000 08:39:42 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Telzer Derech

> This was new to me when I first read RYGB's article. It's different than
> the Ba'al haTanya's definition of ChaBa"D, which happens to be identical
> to RSRH's.

On Wed, Jun 07, 2000 at 11:00:58PM -0500, Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer wrote:
: What are the differences?

    Chochmah = cho-ach mah: the initial insight, like the point of a yud, an
	undeveloped thought as it enters the mind.
    Binah: reasoning, the thought broadened and deepened, extending the point
	to a hei.
    Da'as: knowledge, the internalization of the results of chochmah and binah,
	so that it shapes how one thinks and acts.

Telzh (according to your summary of RYLB's shitah):
    Chochmah: knowledge, the accumulated facts -- part of the Ba'al haTanya's
	concept of "da'as"
    Binah: understanding, cateforization and extrapolation -- similar to the
    Da'as: the internalization of chochmah and binah to the extent of having
The BhT's notion of chochmah as insight, an epiphany with no basis in anything
that went on before, a gift from HKBH, is not in RYLB's model. Instead, RYLB
splits what the BhT calls "da'as" into the knowledge -- chochmah, and the
internalization of that knowledge -- da'as.

Second, the focus of da'as is different. The BhT was concerned with how the
da'as is changing the self. Which justified my earlier comments about "da'as
Torah" being "thinking in a way that was shaped by the Torah". IOW, da'as not
only flows from chochmah and binah, they shape further chochmah and binah, as
well as future ma'asios. It's not only knowing the idea, but allowing it to
impact how one relates to other ideas and how one reasons. In your description
of RYLB's shitah, da'as is less expansive, it acts only on one's relationship
to that particular fact, so that one is convinced of its certitude.

In that existentialism discussion on scj that I mentioned earlier I ended
up developing a similar notion.

People reject ideas because of cognitive dissonance: the conflict or
anxiety caused by an inconsistency between one's belief and one's actions
and experiences.

I proposed an antonym: cognitive consonnance. This is when we gain trust,
emunah, in an idea because it is consistant with later experience. One such
experience isn't a proof, but it does, in a Bayesian or similar way, increase
the probability that it is true. With enough such experiences, one gets
convinced of its truth.

One example is how a theory that successfully predicts the results of many
experiments is considered proven; it gets promoted from hypothesis to theory,
from theory to law. In truth, though, one has only repeated failed to disprove
the theory. A single failed experiment means the theory requires modification.
A million successful ones doesn't rule out a second theory that happens to
predict the same result in those 1 million cases.

Another example was something a chaveir ba'Avodah mentioned to me in private
email yesterday. That experience you get as you learn when you realize it's
all a big puzzle, and all those seemingly unrelated peices actually fit.

That noumenon, the realization that the system works despite the number of
predictions that it makes, supports an existential approach to emunah.

It also seems to be akin to RYLB's notion of "da'as". One gains da'as by
seeing how the peice fits in the puzzle, that all the details of the idea
fit the others you are aware of, and get a sense of certainty about it.


Micha Berger (973) 916-0287          MMG"H for  6-Jun-00: Shelishi
micha@aishdas.org                                         A"H 
http://www.aishdas.org                                    Yuma 17b
For a mitzvah is a lamp, and the Torah its light.         

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Date: Thu, 8 Jun 2000 09:30:42 -0400
From: "Markowitz, Chaim" <CMarkowitz@scor.com>
: Adam Before And After The Chet

Micha wrote: 
> R' EE Dessler writes that the difference between before and after man's sin
> was the internalization of the Evil Inclination. Before eating from the tree,
> Chava had to be convinced by a snake to disobey G-d, and Adam in turn had
> to be convinced by Chava, neither would have sinned on their own. The snake,
> identified with the Satan, was instead of their evil inclination.

	I don't remember the details (and if you discussed this in your
pshetl my apologies for writing this without reading it first) but I seem to
recall that the Nefesh Hachaim and R' Dessler disagree on how to understand
the Rambam.

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Date: Thu, 8 Jun 2000 11:19:23 EDT
From: Joelirich@aol.com
Re: occupy yourself with Torah

In a message dated 6/8/00 5:08:50 AM Eastern Daylight Time, raffyd@juno.com 
: He called Chapter 3 of Hilchos T"T the perek of Kesser Torah and how to
: attain it.... So the standards and attitudes to Torah he mentions in
: Ch.3, ...                      are not chiuvim in the mitzva of T"T, but
: necessary to attain Kesser Torah.   This would also apply to Miyut
: S'Chora and the like.  

Thank you - interesting is that it is in the 3rd perek that he talks about
learning and living off tzedaka as chilul hashem(yes I'm aware of the
commentaries on the point)

Kol Tuv,
Joel Rich

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Date: Thu, 8 Jun 2000 12:04:59 EDT
From: DFinchPC@aol.com
Re: Kesuvos 62 Father leaving home to learn Torah

In a message dated 6/8/00 4:37:40 AM US Central Standard Time, 
micha@aishdas.org writes:
: While it could be read to mean one needs to learn halachah in order to know
: what to do, it's pretty clear from 494 that RSRH considers all of learning
: to be important motivationally. Learning a way of life includes more than
: a how-to.
: The only thing I deduce from that WRT the question of "when in life should
: one learn" it would be that the earlier, the less likely you are to spend 
: years living incorrectly.
: I'd like to share the part of 494 where RSRH addresses the division of 
: learning by topic. It's not what is said, but the way it is said, that I
: enjoyed.

The way RSRH said it goes to the heart of what he said. Like Rambam he divided
Torah into thirds, i.e., the written law; explanations of the written law,
including code; and Gemorrah. RSRH's explanation, however, was nuanced
and poetic. As, I'd argue, was the way he progressed from written law to
Gemorrah. Note that RSRH's reasons for learning the written law addresses the
needs and capacities of intelligent children, i.e., learning "to contemplate"
and to appreciate Judaism's "grandeur in its degradation." His reasons for
learning the codes addresses the circumstances young adults who must learn to
shoulder the "duties" of living independently within the community. Finally,
when RSRH gets to Gemorrah, he says we should study it for "reflection" and
"deeper penetration" in the the meaning of the laws. This type of reflection
requires life experience and intellectual maturity.

I see RSRH's vision of Torah learning into thirds as a progression, not a
division. The progression reflects the student's passages through different
stages of life. Gemorrah is saved to the end, when the student has enough grey
hairs to understand it. That's why I see in RSRH's point of view as support
for the notion that we should calculate the time for learning the advanced
stages of Torah knowledge to the student's actual stage in the life cycle.

: Actually, he's saying that the Talmud is not a code, but a tool to a kind of
: study called "gemara". It is different in kind, not just quality, than
: studying codes, which is part of "mishnah". RSRH is paralleling the Rambam
: (Hil Talmud Torah 1:11) on understanding the Mishnah's guidelines about how
: to divide one's learning time: 1/3 mikra, 1/3 mishnah and 1/3 gemara. (Which
: was first said before there existed books called "Mishnah" and "Gemara")

RSRH parallels Rambam, but his explanation suggests a progression over time 
instead of a simple division of labor. He opens up the question of whether it 
makes sense to try to teach Gemmorah to young men who do not have the 
capacity or experience to reflect productively on Gemmorah's logic or  

:>                                          Strauss stresses the high level 
:> of sophistication necessary to understand the Rambam's theoretical works, as 
:> opposed to Mishneh Torah. His views are nearly identical to those of RSRH, 
:> who, in his religiosity, went further and implied that such sophistication
:> is therefore a component of understanding Torah itself.

: I don't see how you get that from RSRH, who had little positive to say about
: the Guide as an example of Jewish thought.

You caught me dangling again. My seventh-grade English teacher, Mrs.
Patterson, would tell me again that I have no hope of going to a decent
college, and that I shall spend my adult life "repairing motorcycles and
cars and such things" (I wish, I wish) where grammar isn't needed.

I meant the "his" in "his views" to refer to Leo Strauss, not Rambam. I was
comparing Strauss to RSRH.

Strauss saw two Rambams. The first, who wrote Mishneh Torah, was a practical,
self-confident didact who wanted to prepare a sort of field manual for
day-to-day Torah observance. No footnote-like theoretical digressions, no
discussion (or even recognition) of sources, no agonizing over ambiguities.
The second Rambam, who marched bravely into intellectual territory that
few Jews would tread, carefully defended Judaism against the astrologers
(idolators) and the Greek philosophers whose view of causality reflected an
astrological acceptance of creation out of chaos. Here Rambam's stock-in-trade
was his ability to work with ambiguity, particularly his tracing of existence
to its remote, instead of its proximate, cause. (The Rambam didn't believe
in accidents. That's why Strauss found in Rambam's attack on astrology
"a beautiful commentary on the grand conclusion of the Mishneh Torah: the
restoration of Jewish freedom in the Messianic age is not to be understood
as a miracle.")

Jews should learn both Rambams. The second Rambam, however, can be understood
only if one takes the time to read the philosophers whom Rambam refutes. I
don't know how one can be expected to take on such a task as a young and
inexperienced bucher.

David Finch

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Date: Thu, 8 Jun 2000 12:24:11 EDT
From: DFinchPC@aol.com
Re: Adam Before And After The Chet

In a message dated 6/8/00 4:55:06 AM US Central Standard Time, 
micha@aishdas.org writes:
>: It's absurd to think of pre-sin Adam as a "pure" truthseeker or an
>: "intellectual."
> You seem to be confusing quantity with purity. He had no ulterior motive to
> seek evil (according to the Rambam) therefore his search for G-d's will was
> purely one of seeking truth. This idea doesn't require claiming anything
> about his ability to effectively complete that search. (Although, as I
> said above, I have no reason to say he was poorly equipped.)

The pre-sin Adam had no emotional context within which to recognize truth, and
no emotional compulsion or rational ability to seek out the truth beyond the
"evidence" of his eyes and his unformed conciousness. The so-called "purity"
of the pre-sin Adam implies his lack of existential pain. Without that pain,
he could simply exist, like the animals. With that pain, he could develop
a reflective intellect. That's the sense in which the pre-sin Adam could be
described as stupid.

>: Without the experience of sin, there can be no emotional component to
>: cognitive knowledge...

> Are good and evil the only emotional axis? Clearly Rambam thought that
> Adam was driven by a love of G-d and of His Truth. Which is what motivated
> Adam in his search for

> That is to say nothing of those emotions that have no inherent axiological
> content; it's how you use them, not what they are, that make them right or
> wrong. A powerful example is love.

Love in what sense? The "love" the pre-sin Adam had toward G-d and His Truth
reflects an idealized state that can exist only in an utterly uncorrupted
world. "Love" as everyone else understands the term involves fear of loss and
the need for sustenance in the face of threat. The latter "love" requires
that sin exist. *We* need sin to exist, in order to be able to surpass the
pre-sin Adam in our search for G-d's Truth.

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Date: Thu, 8 Jun 2000 13:17:15 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Eiruv Tavshilin

Today's eiruv tavshilin is/was different in kind than the usual. Because of
"lo BD"U Pesach" and "lo AD"U Rosh" it's impossible for Pesach, Rosh Hashanah
or Succos to start on a Friday. Shavuos obviously can, since it will/did
this year.

Which means that my usual eiruv tavshilin is to permit a diRabannan.

Today, however, I will be making an eiruv to allow me to cook on Yom Tov
*di'Oraisa* for Shabbos. Hachanah is either a sh'vus or a din di'Oraisa. If
you say that it's di'Oraisa, since the day is also di'Oraisa, we're making
the eiruv to mitigate a di'Oraisa.

So, by what sivara does the eiruv work?

(I'm not asking for a p'sak. I'm asking for a s'varah. Not "what" but "why".)


Micha Berger (973) 916-0287          MMG"H for  6-Jun-00: Shelishi
micha@aishdas.org                                         A"H 
http://www.aishdas.org                                    Yuma 17b
For a mitzvah is a lamp, and the Torah its light.         

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Date: Thu, 8 Jun 2000 15:52:02 EDT
From: C1A1Brown@aol.com
Re: Eiruv Tavshilin

>>>So, by what sivara does the eiruv work?<<<

See Pesachim 47. The gemara has a machlokes Rabbah and R' Chisda why it
is permitted to cook from Y"T to Shabbos - either because of ho'il that if
orchim show up at the end of the day the food is usable for them the cooking
is considered oichel nefesh, or because 'tzorchei Shabbos na'asin b'Y"Y'
there is no issur hachana from Y"T to Shabbos. Even though there is no
issur minhaTorah, the chachamim formulated an issur unless an eiruv is created.

see my posting in vol5 #27 also

Good Y"T

-Chaim B.

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Date: Thu, 8 Jun 2000 14:25:50 -0400
From: Gil.Student@citicorp.com
Re: Eiruv Tavshilin

RM Berger wrote:
> Today, however, I will be making an eiruv to allow me to cook on Yom Tov 
> *di'Oraisa* for Shabbos. Hachanah is either a sh'vus or a din di'Oraisa. If 
> you say that it's di'Oraisa, since the day is also di'Oraisa, we're making the
> eiruv to mitigate a di'Oraisa.

*IIRC* depending on the shitah cooking on Yom Tov for Shabbos is either always 
mutar (chada kedushah) or mutar when there is time on Yom tov for guests to 
arrive and eat.  Either way it is mutar de'oraisa but assur miderabanan.  The 
eiruv is matir that issur derabanan.

Gil Student

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Date: Thu, 8 Jun 2000 17:48:23 EDT
From: DFinchPC@aol.com
Re: Kesuvos 62 Father leaving home to learn Torah

In a message dated 6/8/00 4:37:40 AM US Central Standard Time, 
micha@aishdas.org writes:

<< Gemara is limited to the
 mechanics of deriving halachos -- not to gleaning their meaning. >>

I puzzled by this statement, by which you summarized a point made by RSRH in 
Horeb. What's the difference between the mechanics of deriving halachos and 
"gleaning" (divining?) their meaning? As that great posek Marshall McLuhan 
wrote, the medium *is* the message. That's certainly true with Gemorrah, 
particularly as expanded by Tosafos and later commentary.

RYBS might've argued that there's no point in trying to separate or derive 
from halachos any distinct "meaning" from them. RSRH would argue that 
halachos are pure meaning in the first place, i.e., that they exist purely as 
elements in the symbolic logic that gives us our only glimpse into Divine 
reality. Neither, I think, would draw the distinction you attribute to RSRH.

David Finch

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