Avodah Mailing List

Volume 05 : Number 092

Monday, July 24 2000

< Previous Next >
Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Sat, 22 Jul 2000 21:58:26 -0500 (CDT)
From: "Shoshanah M. & Yosef G. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Re: The Holocaust: Divine Retribution?

On Fri, 21 Jul 2000 Gil.Student@citicorp.com wrote:
> Are you saying that all miracles are WITHIN the laws of nature?  Was
> kerias yam suf really just a low tide?  Makas dam just bacteria in the
> water? 

Once a nes occurs, 'twould seem, it is inherently part of nature, and thus
must, retroactively, bear some explanation as such. I think that the Rambam
learns fakehrt, but similarly: All miracles needed to have been set in place
from sheishes yemei Bereishis.


Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer
ygb@aishdas.org, http://www.aishdas.org/baistefila

Go to top.

Date: Sun, 23 Jul 2000 01:38:15 +0200
From: "Carl and Adina Sherer" <sherer@actcom.co.il>
Re: schar miztva b'hai alma leika, R' Cardozo's point

On 21 Jul 00, at 15:31, C1A1Brown@aol.com wrote:
> The oft-cited 'schar miztva b'hai alma leika' is presented in the gemara as
> the shitas yachid of R' Ya'akov which goes againt a stam mishna (Kid. 39).
> It is not the only opinion, and also does not absolve one from 'yemashmesh
> b'ma'asav' (Berachos 5).

No, it doesn't. However, when we are mispalel, we are always mispalel that
Hashem will do things through Rachamim and not because we deserve them. Even
things like yefashpesh b'maasov are done to make sure that our deeds are not
preventing His shefa from coming down on us - i.e. blocking the rachmim. But
as I understand it, there is no true schar va'onesh in this world, because
we could not handle it.

-- 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: Mon, 24 Jul 2000 00:47:19 +1000
From: SBA <sba@blaze.net.au>
Rashi Question: Balak

From: raffyd
> Rabbi Heinemann ... explained Rashi's ... ... a bochur who arrived early in
> the morning from a chasuna in New York,...exhausted that he plans on sleeping
> through the next evening. He sleeps in, only to be woken up by his roomate
> at 9:28. Sof zman Kriah is 9:31. He wakes up like a lion, throws on his talis
> katan and says krias shema. It is this midda that is praised by the medrash.

Interestingly - Rav Dushinsky zt'l in Toras Maharitz explains Rashi's use
here of "*Lachtof* es Hamitzvos" - they *snatch* Mitzvos - which, he says,
could not mean that people come late to Shul and 'snatch and run' with the
Mitzvos of Tallis, Tefillin and Tefillah.

He explains - according to the Yaaros D'Vash - who writes that the Baal Dovor
is always waiting to grab our Mitzvos for the Sitra Achra. But - says RD -
by saying our Tefilos and Krias Shma - "'k'tikuno bli shum pniyos" we *snatch*
the Mitzvos for ourselves...


Go to top.

Date: Sun, 23 Jul 2000 00:19:47 -0400
From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
when a mitzvo is "counted" as such (was "Rashi in Balak")

On Fri, 21 Jul 2000 15:33:21 -0400 MPoppers@kayescholer.com writes:
> gathered all that from your dialogue, but I didn't remember the RaShY and
> couldn't find it looking quickly through the sedra -- can you give me the
> cite? Thanks.

	Sorry;  the Rashi is not in Noach but at the end of Bereishis,  on the
posuk that Noach was 500 years old when he had children.

	On your suggestion for the Rashi in Balak, why would Rashi give the
mitzvos in the order in which they appear in the Torah rather than the
order in which they are done,  since this is the whole point of Bilaam's


Go to top.

Date: Sun, 23 Jul 2000 14:06:51 EDT
From: Yzkd@aol.com
Count delay in Mitzvahs (was Rashi in Balak)

In a message dated 7/21/00 4:36:58 PM Eastern Daylight Time, 
MPoppers@kayescholer.com writes:
> A side point: this mitzva, my instinct tells me, is not the only one whose
> count is "delayed," but I wouldn't know how many others are like t'filin
> in that regard. (Privately, RWolpoe suggested milah iff we "ignore"
> pre-matan-Torah p'sukim, which I propose we not do...

WRT Tephilin, there is a Sicha from the L. Rebbe that according to some the
Tephilin before Matan Torah were not the same as afterwards (as there were
2 Parshiyos only).

WRT Milah the Nafka Mina in bringing the Possuk before Matan Torah is WRT
Bnei Ktura, see Minchas Chinuch.

Kol Tuv
Yitzchok Zirkind

Go to top.

Date: Sun, 23 Jul 2000 14:06:50 EDT
From: Yzkd@aol.com
Re: Rashi in Balak

In a message dated 7/21/00 10:21:33 AM Eastern Daylight Time, 
MPoppers@kayescholer.com writes:
> This morning, it hit me that these three mitzvos d'Oraysa are listed in the
> Chumash in the order RaShY uses, i.e. mitzvas tallis is found in Parshas
> Sh'lach L'cho [#386 in Saifer Hachinuch], while mitzvos k'rias Sh'ma and
> hanochas t'filin are found in P' Vo'es'chanan [#s 420 and 421-22]. As RYGB
> might say, v'DUK :-).

gershon.dubin@juno.com responded:
>        Someone suggested that to me offline,  but the problem is, that 
> mitzvas tefilin is first mentioned in parashas Bo.

MPoppers@kayescholer.com responded:
> RaShY's "lachatof es hamitzvos" (the action, devotion, etc. which is part and
> parcel of a mitzvas asai) implied to me that we should look at where these
> mitzvos are "officially" counted as such. Re t'filin, perhaps it's the
> "u'k'shartem" verb (which emphasizes the mitzvas-asai aspect) that causes
> that posuk to be the "official" source.

The L. Rebbe in his Sicha on this Rashi (printed in Vol. 28 of Likutei 
Sichos) where it is a greater lentgh then in the Biurim Lpirush Rashi, 
actually begins the question on the sequence in Rashi, by asking that it is 
not in the order that it says in the Torah, Boi, Shlach, Voeschanan, in 
footnote # 24 he adds, that it is a big Dochak to say that he didn't mention 
the Tephilin frim Koidem Hadibur only the one from after the Dibur.  He then 
continues to ask that it is neither in the order of their Kiyum, and he adds 
in footnote # 25 that it is also not according to their K'dusha where 
Tephilin is Tashmishei Kdusha vs. Tzitzis that is Tashmishei Mitzva with the 
famous Shagas Aryei regarding this issue. In footnote # 28 he brings the Beis 
Yitzchok who answers that since Tephilin is not worn on Shabbos Rashi brings 
first those that are Tadir.

Kol Tuv
Yitzchok Zirkind

Go to top.

Date: Sun, 23 Jul 2000 14:06:58 EDT
From: Yzkd@aol.com
Re: Rashi

In a message dated 7/21/00 1:36:36 PM Eastern Daylight Time, 
C1A1Brown@aol.com writes:
> 1. Rashi cites contradictory Midrashim - Rashi on 26:13 writes that Evtzon
> was one of the mishpachos killed in rebellion, yet in 26:16 he writes that
> the family was renamed Ozni (see Mizrachi, Sifsei Chachamim).

See the Gur Aryei that it is no contradiction who is Miyasheiv Ozni was from 
the family Evtzon (as Rashi learns WRT Yitzhar) just to add to use the term 
Medroshois Chalukois needs to be reconciled with Loshon Rashi "Omer *Ani*".

> 2. Rashi explains smichus haparshiyos without necessarily spelling out
> what his question is - Rashi 28:2 does just that without the preface of
> 'lamah nismecha' that he uses in other places. It is implicit that Rashi
> does not subscribe the the Ramban's notion of 'ain mukdam u'meuchar baTorah'
> (see Ramban/Ibn Ezra in beg. of Korach & Yisro).

The Gilyon Hashas Pssochim 6b seems to indicate that according to Rashi even 
in one Inyan holds we can say Ein Mukdam Umeuchar Batorah, however the L. 
Rebbe answers his proofs, OTOH there are many cases in which Rashi does apply 
this, see Breishis 6:3 (Vayeira 18:3) Vayishlach 35:29, Shmos 4:20, Yisroi 
19:11, Sisa 31:18, Tzav 8:2, Bha'aloisicha 9:1, there are many places that 
Rashi doesn't use the words EMU"B but applies the ruls (i.e. Breishis 3:20, 
4:1, 11:32), there is much from the Rebbe on this.

Kol Tuv
Yitzchok Zirkind

Go to top.

Date: Sun, 23 Jul 2000 14:06:56 EDT
From: Yzkd@aol.com
Rashi Chayei Sara

In an off line discussion the following points and counter points were made 
regarding Rashi Breishis 23:1
> 2) Rasho on Sar's death she was as beautiful at 20 as at 7 and as free fom
> chiet at 100 as at 20 seems to be a simple taus sofrim. If you say as free of
> cheit at 20 as at 7 and as beautiful at 100 as 20 NOW you are saying real
> shevach.

>  indeed ther are those wh ocahgne the girsa.  

To which the following response was given:
> .. There are meforshim who explain that the beauty of a 7 year old is
> pure and innocent, as opposed to that of a 20 year old which contains
> possibilities of hirhur chet. Free of chet at 20 is in the beis din shel
> ma'alah that does not punish until then.

And as the Mizrachi writes that all though at 20 the body is more developed 
with regards to skin softness and clearity 7 is nicer then 20

Another respondent responds:
> As per the text I have: "mah bas 20 lo chot'oh sheharai ainah bas ohn'shin..."
> (name deleted)..., are you saying that the to'us would extend to also changing
> this # from "20" to "7"?! How do you then understand that phrase...or
> wouldn't you then be forced into eliminating it (which is, as per (name
> deleted), a Midrashic _quote_)?!

The original poster adds the following:
> Question: why did Noach wait until after age 500 to have children?
> Question why didn't Noach wait until 580 to have his kids?

Which becomes a Stira in Rashi, how could Rashi say 20 is the age at which
one becomes Bar Onshin if he himself wrote in the end of Parshas Breishis
5:32 that before Matan Torah Onshin began at 100.

From that went into a Shakla Vetarya on the Rashi end of Breishis where the 
following question was posed:
>         Now I ask you:  if the life span after the mabul was so drastically 
> reduced to about what it is today,  then if the age of onshim remained at 100 
> nobody was ever chayav bedinei shamayim until matan Torah?  How was anybody 
> punished,  including but not limited to (as the lawyers say) Par'oh?

The original poster then writes:

> sounds logical.

> So nu isnt' 20-7 cheit and 100-20 beauty sound logical too, rather than vice 
> versa?

These 2 questions, the seeming Stira in Rashi when Onshin begins, and how can
we say that up to Matan Torah Onshin began at 100 are asked by many Mforshei
Rashi i.e. the Sifsei Chachomim who adds that Yaakov and his children did not
reach the age 150 so how can they be exempt from Onshin for more then 2/3 of
their life, (and I would add the Loshon Hakosuv Rashi quote is HANAR ben Meoih,
meaning because they will live long hence at 100 they will still be Na'ar,
Sara at 89 and Avrohom at 99 are allready called ZKEINIM (Breishis 18:11)).

One of the answers brought is from the Nachlas Yaakov (who says that he found 
no source in Medrosh that the cut off point was Matan Torah) that in the days 
of Peleg was when peoples life expectancy was cut (Peleg meaning halved), he 
further explains that "Matan Torah" rfers to the time of Hanefesh Asher Osu 
Vichoron (based on the Gemara that Shnei Alofim Torah begins in the year 
2000). this answers both questions.

Kol Tuv
Yitzchok Zirkind

Go to top.

Date: Mon, 24 Jul 2000 07:33:18 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
What is Neis? (was Re: The Holocaust: Divine Retribution?)

David Finch <DFinchPC@aol.com> wrote:
> Whether a phenomenon is or is not within the laws of nature is sort of beside
> the point. Anything we think we can explain is "natural"; anything we can't
> explain is either "paranormal" or didn't happen in the first place.

Actually, anything we can PREDICT is natural, IOW, if you set up the same
conditions, the same will occur again. At least, in the statistical sense.
"Neis" not only means "miracle", it also means "flag". It's those events that
call attention to His existance by being out of the routine. Nature is
therefore merely that which is predictable and taken for granted.

FWIW, we can't explain much of physics, while we can explain most nissim. Said
explanation might include G-d. But you can't define nature by saying that we
can't use supernatural explanations -- that's appealing to the concept in its
own definition.

Gravity is part of teva not because we can explain it -- because we can't.
(The explanations provided by QM and by relativity are soseir each other.)
It's teva because given two masses I can PREDICT the force between them and
the rate of acceleration caused by that force.

RYGB <ygb@aishdas.org> replied to RDF:
: Once a nes occurs, 'twould seem, it is inherently part of nature, and thus
: must, retroactively, bear some explanation as such. I think that the Rambam
: learns fakehrt, but similarly: All miracles needed to have been set in place
: from sheishes yemei Bereishis.

That's the Ramban's position IIRC. The Rambam is pretty clear in the Moreh
(3rd cheilek, perek 17 and continuing) that he believed teva to be a beriah,
something that man can be abandoned to -- as opposed to hashgachah p'ratis.
I can't see neis going on the teva side of things, it's a form of hashgachah,
no? Therefore, the Rambam would NOT try to weave nissim into teva.

The Ramban was dealing with the question of why nissim do not imply an
imperfection in the beri'ah. After all, HKBH is perfect, He shouldn't have
needed to set up a system that later needs tweaking and intervention. So,
why nissim? The Ramban's answer is to make the beri'ah of nissim comtemporary
with that of teva. Nissim therefore do not represent later intervention on
Hashem's part, as they are part of the original plan.

I might add that the Ramban was speaking belashon b'nei adam. Hashem Yisbarach
is lima'alah min hazman. This means that while we can assign points in time to
the effects of a ma'aseh of HKBH, we can't assign one to the ma'aseh itself.
Which is exactly what the Ramban seems to be doing here: no matter when
the neis is felt in olam hazeh, HKBH's ma'aseh was during sheishes yimei
bereishis. I would therefore take the Ramban less literally, and assume that
this is exactly the point he is trying to make -- that nissim, like teva,
are acts of One who is lima'aleh min hazman and therefore His decision to
make them can't be localized in time. They are both, therefore "simultaneous"
-- but only because we lack a better word for describing timelessness.

It is more accurate, therefore, to translate ma'aseh WRT H' as a relationship
rather than an act -- acts are localized in time and space.

In this sense, Ma'aseh Bereishis refers to Hashem's entire relationship to
the beri'ah, from day one li'olam va'ed -- not just how the world came to be.
Including both those things that we can predict (teva), and those we can't
(neis). Which is the usage we find, for example, in the Rambam's Hil Yesodei
haTorah and elsewhere.


Micha Berger (973) 916-0287          MMG"H for 19-Jul-00: Revi'i, Pinchas
micha@aishdas.org                                         A"H 
http://www.aishdas.org                                    Yuma 39a
For a mitzvah is a lamp, and the Torah its light.         Yeshaiah 14

Go to top.

Date: Mon, 24 Jul 2000 08:10:16 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Dominant cultural values

I wrote:
:> Dinim diRabbanan and gezeiros are the product of Sanhedrin ONLY.
:> They are the legislative power of the Sanhedrin -- dinim to preserve the
:> spirit of the law (e.g. megillah reading to proclaim a miracle) and gezeiros
:> to preserve the letter from accidental or habitual violation.

On Wed, Jul 19, 2000 at 07:28:46PM -0400, DFinchPC@aol.com replied:
: I take it you don't literally mean what you are saying. ...             In 
: this article, you point to a modern range-top blech as an example of a 
: gezeira dirabbanan. But the Sanhedrin obviously didn't know from Kenmores and 
: White-Westinghouses. The rules of the usage of modern blechs can't be 
: products of the Sanhedrin only.

I do mean what I said quite literally.

There was a din diRabbanan which said that you can't leave food on a fire
from before Shabbos to stay on Shabbos unless there is something covering
the fire. This is a din diRabbanan called shehiyah. It could only have been
created by a Sanhedrin.

With the invention of new types of ovens, rabbanim had to pasken how to
apply this idea to the that oven. IOW, a metal sheet on a gas stove is the
product of p'sak on top of the original din. As I said, the role of p'sak
is different in kind than that of takkanah -- making a din or gezeirah.
This additional rulings and interpretations don't require Sanhedrin.


Micha Berger (973) 916-0287          MMG"H for 19-Jul-00: Revi'i, Pinchas
micha@aishdas.org                                         A"H 
http://www.aishdas.org                                    Yuma 39a
For a mitzvah is a lamp, and the Torah its light.         Yeshaiah 14

Go to top.

Date: Mon, 24 Jul 2000 09:29:06 -0400
From: Gil.Student@citicorp.com
Re: Fwd: The Holocaust: Divine Retribution?

I wrote:

: RM Berger wrote:
: The Gra (Hagahos to Sifrei Bahar parshasa 2) writes that the tochachah 
: in Vayikra 26 is belashon rabim (as compared to Devarim 28) because the
: toachachah in Vayikra applies to each individual. The tochachah in Devarim 
: applies to the nation as a whole.
RM Berger wrote:

>I sit corrected. How does the Gaon explain the contents of Vayikra 26? 
>"Viyishavtem lavetech bi'artzechem" (5), "Vinasati shalom bi'artzechem, ... 
>vihishbati chayah ra'ah min ha'aretz, vicherev lo ya'avor..." (6), "urdaftem 
>es oyveichem..." (7), "umei'ah mikem rivavah yirofu" (8), vechulu.
I looked for the Gra but could not find it.  Obviously, there is no Sifrei on 
Bahar and it should be Bechukosai anyway.  I checked the Gra's hagahos to the 
Sifra on both Bahar and Bechukosai and the Sifrei on Nitzavim.  I also checked 
the Aderes Eliyahu, Kol Eliyahu, and Divrei Eliyahu.  Lo matzasi.

I saw this Gra quoted by R. Yonason Sacks in the second volume of the Torah 
uMadda Journal.  Perhaps one of our listmembers who sees R. Sacks regularly 
could ask him about the Gra.

RM Berger wrote:

>It also reopens the question that motivated my mis-understanding. How do we 
>resolve the tochachos with "s'char mitzvos behai alma leika"? (I had it that on
>the national level, one held, but on the personal one, the other.)

I've definitely seen this in the rishonim.  I think this is one of the 
Abarbanel's many explanations in Bechukosai.  Others, however, disagre.

RC Brown wrote:

>The oft-cited 'schar miztva b'hai alma leika' is presented in the gemara as the
>shitas yachid of R' Ya'akov which goes againt a stam mishna (Kid. 39). It is 
>not the only opinion, and also does not absolve one from 'yemashmesh b'ma'asav'
>(Berachos 5).

So says the Sefer HaIkkarim (4:29).  He further (4:42) brings proof from R. 
Ya'akov that one would not be an apikores for denying sechar mitzvah in olam 
hazeh.  I think this explains R. Yosef's lament (Kiddushin 39b) that if only 
Acher had learned like R. Ya'akov he would not have become an apikores.  Better 
a minority view than an apikores. [Interestingly, the Sefer Yuchasin says that 
R. Ya'akov was Acher's grandson.]

HOWEVER, the Rambam (Hilchos Teshuvah 8:1, chap. 9) seems to follow R. Ya'akov. 
According to the Rambam, even the tochachos are not sechar ve'onesh but more of 
a mitzvah goreres mitzvah, aveirah goreres aveirah.

So how does the Rambam learn like R. Ya'akov, a da'as yachid?  According to 
Rashi, Abaye learns that the Mishnah is according to R. Ya'akov and according to
Tosafos, Abaye learns that R. Ya'akov contradicts the Mishnah.  However, both 
Rashi and Tosafos learn that Rava holds that R. Ya'akov contradicts the Mishnah.
The Rambam must follow Abaye according to Rashi.

The Sefer Hamiknah (sv Rava) asks a great kashya.  R. Ya'akov clearly contradict
the Mishnah in Peah that we say every morning "Eilu devarim she'adam ochel 
peiroseihem ba'olam hazeh vehakeren kayemes lo le'olam haba..."  There are 
certain mitzvos for which we receive reward in this world!  The answer, which 
eluded the Sefer HaMiknah, is in the Rambam's commentary to that Mishnah in 
Peah.  The Rambam explains that the Mishnah is not talking about sechar for 
mitzvos but the natural result of fulfilling mitzvos bein adam lachaveiro.  The 
peiros of gemilus chesed is that people will be thankful and will like you.  I 
think that is a brilliant understanding of the word "peiros" in this context.

Gil Student

Go to top.

Date: Mon, 24 Jul 2000 09:42:19 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: The Holocaust: Divine Retribution?

From: Gil.Student@citicorp.com
} R. Ya'akov Kaminetsky in his sefer al haTorah (Shemos 7:22) write that we
} always had zeh le'umas zeh so that we could not be forced to believe in
} Hashem. During biblical times when we saw revealed miracles we also saw
} magicians and witches who could do similarly dazzling miracles. ...

I noted in the past that RAK invokes this idea to explain why the people who
captured the yeitzer hara for avodah zara (YHAZ) were the last of the nevi'im.
Which is why the YHAZ emerged as a lion of fire from the kodesh hakdashim.

I also sent the list the d'var Torah from my shalach manos, in which I argue
that the end of nissim giluim was the putting down of the mountain after
"kafah aleihem hahar kigigis". Which is why "kiymu vikiblu" didn't happen
until the nissim nistarim of Purim, as opposed to the acceptant

} What about the times of the rishonim?  The rishonim talk about mumarim and
} tinokos shenishbu (without the CI's chidush) yet they did not have revealed
} miracles in their time?  Is the CI disagreeing with the rishonim.

I'm not sure the CI would assume that the rishonim in question are discussing
halachah lima'aseh. For example, they discuss korbanos as well. Next time
we do those, even the CI would agree that true mumarim will be possible.

From: Joelirich@aol.com
:> It also reopens the question that motivated my mis-understanding. How do we
:> resolve the tochachos with "s'char mitzvos behai alma leika"? (I had it that
:> on the national level, one held, but on the personal one, the other.)

: Is it possible to say that the various statements on this subject
: represent differing streams of philosophy held under the "big tent"
: of hashkafa? Alternatively perhaps behai alma leka means not clearly or
: directly or of equal magnitude. On a practical level, as individuals,I think

Not when one set (the tochachos) are pesukim. A tanna wasn't choleik with
the chumash.

The deeper problem, though, is not that the tanna couldn't have taken the
tochachos and havtachos at face value, but that reality doesn't. Tzaddik
vira lo is a reality the chumash doesn't address.

One approach, as I mentioned before, is RYBS's -- don't try to resolve it.
Perhaps the cleanest address of the problem, to just deny man's ability to
deal with it. Evil exists as a context to live in, not an intellectual
challenge we can master.

However, most of us still say "yeah but..."

In fact, implied in this non-answer is the glimmerings of an answer -- evil
exists as a necessary experience. In that section of Kol Dodi Dofeik, RYBS
illustrates his point from "kisheim shemivarchim al hatov, kach mivorchim
al hara". He takes this obligation to mean as you commit yourself to G-d
when things go well, so too you must commit to Him when face with adversity.

RSRH also takes the berachah to be a formula by which man commits himself.
"Baruch ata Hashem", berachah is a lashon ribui, so how does it apply to
Hashem? Hashem chose to reduce His influence on the world by allowing bechirah.
Therefore I can commit myself to act according to His Will, thereby causing
a ribui of His influence upon it.

We could consider all evil to be illusory. After all, R' Nachum ish Gamzu's
"gam zu litovah" as well as R' Akiva's "kol man di'avad Rachamanah litav avad"
would imply that man only recieves good. Evil would therefore be good that's
harder to recognize.

Similarly, I've heard the Bostoner Rebbe comment on "shanah tovah umsukah":
Everything is tov, the key is to be able to taste the tov. The shanah tovah is
therefore guaranteed by HKBH, a shanah mesukah, however, requires a b'rachah.

In this context, therefore, the illusory evil is that people don't enjoy
the struggle, the challenge. While living through ra is an opportunity for
growth, it's not matok.

Also, we can define evil as the absence of good as opposed to a beryah bifnei
atzmah. As Yeshaiah wrote: "yotzeir or uvorei choshech, oseh shalom uvorei es
hara". This suggests that shalom is to ra as or is to choshech. And regular
choshech is a vacuum, the absence of or. (I know there is a choshech which
is a beryah, but that's not the normal kind of darkness.)

This shifts the question of tzaddik vira lo into asking why he isn't getting
tov, not why he is getting ra. In itself it's not much change, however
it dovetails well into the assertion that ra is that in which we can't
percieve the tov -- a lack of perception is also a darkness. IOW, not only
isn't evil a beryeh, it is only the APPARANT absence of a beryah.

We live in a world of "eitz oseh p'ri" -- the means lack the taste of the
ends. In the ideal of "eitz p'ri" we'd be able to see the tov even in the

All of which goes back to sechar mitzvos behai alma leika -- because what
one gets in this world is the situation necessary to maximize his growth
in temimus and deveikius -- i.e. tov.

Some yissurim are onshim, the means to reconsider and break out of a
destructive rut, a catalyst for teshuvah. However there are also yissurim
shel ahavah -- challenges that exist to cause greater deveikus even 
though the current situation isn't one of cheit.

It's interesting to note that the opposite of ra in the pasuk in Yeshaiah
is shalom, not tov. Fits well with the definitions I repeated in the past
besheim RSRH. Ra is from /reish-ayin-ayin/, to shatter. Tov is to prepare,
as in hatavas haneiros. The result of that preparation is a unified
unshattered wholeness, ie sheleimus and shalom.

All this wraps up pretty neatly, IMHO. Except for one big loose end -- the
chumash's promises of sechar or onesh in this world. I thought my yachid
vs tzibbur piece tied that up as well. I'm back to searching as to how
the Gra resolves it.


Micha Berger (973) 916-0287          MMG"H for 19-Jul-00: Revi'i, Pinchas
micha@aishdas.org                                         A"H 
http://www.aishdas.org                                    Yuma 39a
For a mitzvah is a lamp, and the Torah its light.         Yeshaiah 14

Go to top.

Date: Mon, 24 Jul 2000 10:53:57 +0000
From: yidubitsky@JTSA.EDU
hokhmah ba-goyim

With the onset of the three weeks, may I (re?)introduce a timely yet timeless
(or is it?) subject for discussion, an issue which I believe is of great
import for avodat Hashem. Namely,

Megilat Eikhah (2:9) says "...malkah ve-sarehah va-goyim ein torah...", upon
which Eikhah Rabbah comments "... yesh .hokhmah ba-goyim ta'amen...yesh
Torah ba-goyim al ta'amen" and Devarim Rabbah (Nitzavim) says likewise
"...she-yesh giborim ba-umot ha-`olam ha'aminu, she- yesh `ashirim ba-umot
ha-`olam ha'aminu, she-yesh Torah ba-goyim al ta'aminu."

To what extent is this midrash understood normatively? In other words,
halakhah le-ma`aseh, what are the parameters (and halakhot involved) of
understanding Torah (text) and Torah- concepts (mesorah?) from a .hakham
me-`umot ha-`olam? I am, of course, referring to one whose .hokhmah, that is,
training, education and "specialty" *is* in Torah (read, if you wish: academic
Jewish studies). Obviously, not just anybody's opinion need be considered
but if, indeed, .hokhmah va-goyim ta'amen, why *not* accept the .hakham's
".hidushim"? There are, after all, many cases (I can think of a few) where
gedole Yisrael *have* accepted Torah explanations from goyim. Off the bat,
for example, I know that there was a gaon (I apologize for not remembering
his name but for those interested I can look it up) who was learning with
his shammash and when he came to a pasuk in Tehilim (I believe) that he didnt
understand, he asked the shammash to ask his Syriac Christian minister friend
for the Syriac understanding of the pasuk. (And, yes, I am aware of the fact
that R. Chaim Heller zzl believed the Peshitta to have issued from Jewish
hands, but scholarship has shown this is not true.)

Is the midrash an out and out issur, or merely a suggestion? How/Does
"nishtaneh ha-teva`" come into play? Is the "issur" (if that's what it is)
at all related to the issur of *teaching* Torah to goyim? Is the "issur"
transferrable to halakhic Jews, but those whose observance is not "up to par"?

For immediate relevance, let's say - hypothetically - a .hakham me-`umot
ha-`olam suggests a novel intrepretation, one that is not implausible and
that retains some semblance of Torat Yisrael sabah, to RES' recent question
re. Niddah 31, do we immediately throw it out since it issues from one
who is detached from "mesorat Yisrael," whose hokhmat ha-Torah may not be
considered Torah?

I hope I have not offended anyone by these questions, but Torah hi (I believe
it) u-le-lomdah ani tsarikh.

Yahafokh Hashem yeme evel le-yom tov,
Yisrael Dubitsky

Go to top.

Date: Mon, 24 Jul 2000 13:46:11 -0400
From: Gil.Student@citicorp.com
Re: hokhmah ba-goyim

RY Dubitsky wrote:

>Megilat Eikhah (2:9) says "...malkah ve-sarehah va-goyim ein torah...", upon 
>which Eikhah Rabbah comments "... yesh .hokhmah ba-goyim ta'amen...yesh Torah 
>ba-goyim al ta'amen" and Devarim Rabbah (Nitzavim) says likewise "...she-yesh 
>giborim ba-umot ha-`olam ha'aminu, she- yesh `ashirim ba-umot ha-`olam 
>ha'aminu, she-yesh Torah ba-goyim al ta'aminu."
PERHAPS, Torah here refers to hora'ah - pesak halachah.

Just a thought.

Gil Student

Go to top.

Date: Mon, 24 Jul 2000 19:08:51 +0100
From: Chana/Heather Luntz <Chana/Heather@luntz.demon.co.uk>
Re: Nissuin Derabonon

In message <200007211947.PAA20607@clmail.erenj.com>, Arnold Lustiger
<alustig@erenj.com> writes
>If eirusin is de'oraiso and nissuin is derabbonon, what would be the hava
>amina of Rav Huna (5a) that chuppa does eirusin mikal vachomer? The pircha
>would seem to be simple - you can't learn a din deorayso from a din derabonon! 

Remember that some methods of effecting kiddushin (eg by way of kesef) are
argued also to be d'rabanan (ie the Rabbis were given the power to determine
how a d'orisa transition could take place), Rav Huna can also be understood
to be asking that should not chuppa since it completes the whole thing be
as effective as if there was kiddushin before it (ie if the Rabbis can make
kiddushin by way of kesef, why can't they roll it into one and make kiddushin
part of the chupa). That makes the pircha not so simple.

>In addition, earlier in the Gemara where the Kal Vachomer was regarding
>kesef she'aino ma'acheles biterumah - if eirusin were only derabbonon, then
>on a de'oraiso level an arusa could indeed eat terumah.

This is precisely one of the sugyas which appears to make it clear that
kiddushin is d'orisa. M'diorisa an erusa can eat teruma, the rabbanan made a
gezera that she should not - although there are two different reasons given
a) that she should not because they were afraid that, since she remains in
her father's house she would give her brothers and sisters to eat. However,
that is why, once twelve months comes, she can eat teruma (that is the first
position in the Mishna on 57a of Yevamos) or alternatively because b) the
kohen may find some defect in her which would render the kiddushin a kiddushei
taus, and hence they do not want to run the risk of her eating teruma until
she is fully married (second position in the Mishna on Yevamos now on 57b).

However, what appears clear from this Mishna and following gemorra is in
fact that a woman can indeed eat teruma on a d'orisa level from erusin.

In fact, right after the Gemorra in Kiddushin 5a cites the initial question
of Rav Huna that you brought, it immedately corrects and points out that
a woman does indeed eat teruma on a d'orisa level, and that it is merely
a gezera, so it needs to further ask what Rav Huna's question is as above
(note that it gives reason a) meaning that it assumes that after 12 months,
even without chuppa, she wil eat teruma).

> In fact, all the
>dinim deorayso that differentiate a nesua from an arusa (hataras nedarim,
>etc.) all these are only derabonon?

Yerusha is a maklokos. Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel holds that it is d'orisa
(Mishna Ketubos 83a). However the conclusion of the gemorra there is that it
is a d'rabbanan obligations which was instituted in exchange for the husband's
responsibility to bury his wife (although the notwithstanding this, the law is
in accordance with Rashbag that he cannot relinquish this right of inheritance
as the chachamin strengthened their laws as if they were actual Torah laws.)

Since, however, it is in exchange for her being buried by him, and that
obligation is only imposed by the chachamim on the husband from nissuin,
so to is the right of yerusha.

With regard to Nedarim, have a look at the tenth perek of Nedarim, I think
you will find it is more complex than that the husband has no right to do
hetaras nedarim from nissuin, there are definite powers of hataras nedarim
given to the husband even from erusin - see eg the first Mishna in that perek.

>As a matter of fact, there is a strong hava amina that kiddushei kesef is in
>fact derabonon, and only Kiddushei bi'ah is deorayso (based on a famous
>Rambam that kesef is "midivraihem" and the Gemara in Kesubos regarding
>afkainhu rabanan kiddushin minei.)

Yes. But the question is, how do you understand this hava amina. Do you
understand that in fact you have not accomplished kiddushin d'orisa by
means of kesef, and you only have a form of kiddushin d'rabbanan. Or do you
understand that the Rabbis were given the power to effect kiddushin d'orisa
by means other than bi'ah, and one of the ways they instituted it was by kesef.

On the other hand, I do have problems with the idea, despite it seeming to work
with a whole bunch of gemorras - and those problmes stem from the Torah itself.
The Torah has a concept of a na'arah m'orosa - ie a girl between 12 and 12
and a half who is an eirusa, ie lives in her father's house. Also there is
a different punishment d'orisa for a kohenes who is an erusa than one that
is nisua.

That, it would seem to me, indicates that there must be *some* concept of
nissuin min haTorah. I just don't know that it matches very closely what
we know as nissuin as set down by the chachamim.


Chana/Heather Luntz

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 >