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Volume 06 : Number 135

Friday, February 23 2001

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Thu, 22 Feb 2001 20:40:04 -0500
From: Moshe Shulman <mshulman@ix.netcom.com>
Re: 72 min. MS- Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain...

I have read many of the arguments about RT and his shitah, and quite 
frankly I have found it amusing.

The FACT is as follows: The machaber, The Ramah, the Mogan Avraham and the 
Taz ALL rule according to RT. The minhag in Europe (excluding the Litah) 
was according to RT (L'hachmer and L'kilah. This is explic in the Chasan 
Sofer on SO) This is not a 'Hungarian' thing. (I belong to a non-Hungarian 
chasidic group that follows RT 100%) Even Russian chasidim like Sqvere 
follow RT. The custom in Israel is based on the historical conditions 
there, which were different then in other places. (The Gra's talmidim had a 
large influence there, much larger then the population in Europe they 

A cute story on this subject I heard from a friend of mine, whose father 
had learned in a Litvisha yeshiva in Europe. His father said that in the 
Yeshiva the boys all followed the shitah of the Gra, but at home they 
followed the minhag hayoshon like RT.

In all matters of these kinds the talmud says clear: zeh v'zeh divrei 
elokim chaim, naharah vnahara upashtah.

moshe shulman mshulman@NOSPAMix.netcom.com    718-436-7705
CHASSIDUS.NET - Yoshav Rosh       http://www.chassidus.net
Chassidus shiur:                  chassidus-subscribe@chassidus.net
Chassidus discussion list:        chassidus-subscribe@egroups.com
Outreach Judaism                  http://www.outreachjudaism.org/
ICQ# 52009254    Yahoo/MSN Messaging: mosheshulman

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Date: Thu, 22 Feb 2001 19:48:08 -0800 (PST)
From: Gil Student <gil_student@yahoo.com>
Re: 72 min. MS- Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain...

The following is a summary of R. Mordechai Willig's Am Mordechai ch. 2.
I take full responsibility for any errors that may in the following.

According to Rabbeinu Tam (RT), from the beginning of shekia for 3
1/4 mil until the end of shekia it is definitely day. From the end of
shekia for 3/4 of a mil until tzeis hakochavim it is bein hashemashos.
After tzeis hakochavim it is definitely night. The Gra (OC 261:12) notes
that this contradicts what we see. Therefore, the Gra holds that from
(the beginning of) shekia for 3/4 of a mil until tzeis hakochavim it is
bein hashemashos. After tzeis hakochavim it is definitely night. He also
adds that the timing from the gemara relates to Israel and Babylonia.
Farther north, the timing is longer.

R. Yechiel Michel Tukachinsky (RYMT), in his book Bein HaShemashos,
notes that in Jerusalem one cannot see 3 stars until 22 minutes after
shekia, which is certainly longer that 3/4 of a mil. Because of this,
RYMT deviates slightly from the Gra's position and claims that the entire
concept that night begins with tzeis hakochavim is only according to
R. Yosi. According to R. Yehudah, night begins 3/4 of a mil after shekia
regardless of the stars. Lehalachah, RYMT is machmir for both R. Yehudah
and R. Yosi and therefore considers it to be night 22 minutes after
shekia. He adds that the 22 minutes is during Nissan.

During the winter it can be up to 26 minutes and during the summer 28
minutes. Calculating based on the angles of the sun and then adjusting
to NYC, that corresponds to 26 minutes in Nissan, 32 in the winter,
and 34 in the summer.

R. Yehudah Levi (RYL), in his Zemanei HaYom BeHalachah, says that an
expert can see 3 stars in Jerusalem 15 minutes after shekia. 15 minutes
is approximately 3/4 of 18 minutes (a mil). Therefore, night begins with
tzeis hakochavim which in Jerusalem is 15 minutes after shekia in Nissan,
18 minutes in the winter, and 21 in the summer. Adjusting to NYC, it is
18, 21, and 25 minutes after shekia respectively.

The Minchas Cohen (MC) explains that RT agrees that when 3 stars can be
seen in the sky, regardless of how long it is after shekia, it is night.
However, RT gives the time of 4 mil (72 or 90 minutes) after shekia which,
as the Gra pointed out, is long after stars can be seen. The MC answers
this by saying that in Jerusalem the stars come out later than in Europe.
We know this to be incorrect.

RC Druck (?), in his Oros Chaim, explains that RT considers it to be
night when 3 stars can be seen in the far western portion of the sky,
which is long after shekia.

The poskim disagree whether the day is measured from hanetz hachamah to
shekia or from alos hashachar to tzeis hakochavim. The Gra (OC 459:5)
definitely holds the former while RT would probably hold the latter.

The poskim also disagree whether a mil is 18 minutes long or 22 1/2
minutes long. Since 12 hours are 40 mil (Pesachim 94a), if a mil is 18
minutes then a day is 720 minutes long and an hour is 60 minutes long.
If a mil is 22 1/2 minutes then a day is 900 minutes long and an hour
is 75 minutes long.

The Oros Chaim claims that RT holds that a mil is 18 minutes long.
However, the Ramban, Rashba, Re'ah, and Ritva all say that, according
to RT, pelag hamincha is 1/6 of a mil before shekia. Pelag hamincha
must also be 1 1/4 of an hour before tzeis and mincha ketanah must be
1 1/4 of an hour before pelag hamincha. If that is the case, and a mil
is 18 minutes long, then on a perfect day, tzeis hakochavim is at 7:12
[6:00+(18*4=72)], pelag hamincha is at 5:57 [6:00-(18/6=3)=7:12-(60*1
1/4)], mincha ketanah is at 4:42 [5:57-(60*1 1/4)]. However, mincha
gedolah is at 12:30 [12:00+(60/2=30)] which is 4:12 before mincha
ketanah and not the 3 hours it is supposed to be according to the gemara
(Berachos 26b).

If, however, RT holds that an hour is 75 minutes long and a mil
is 22 1/2 minutes long it all adds up. Tzeis hakochavim is at 7:30
[6:00+(22 1/2*4=90)], pelag hamincha is at 5:56 1/4 [6:00-(22 1/2
/6=3 3/4)=7:30-(75*1 1/4)], mincha ketanah is at 4:22 1/2 [5:56 1/4
-(75*1 1/4)], and mincha gedolah is at 12:37 1/2 [12:00+(75/2=37 1/2)].
The difference between mincha gedolah and mincha ketanah is 3:45 which
is exactly 3 hours (3*75=225=3:45).

Therefore, it seems that RT must hold that a mil is 22 1/2 minutes long
and an hour is 75 minutes long. If so, tzeis hakochavim according to
RT is not 72 minutes (18*4) after shekia, but 90 minutes (22 1/2*4)
after shekia. Adjusting to NYC, that would be 100 minutes in Nissan,
110 in the winter, and 144 in the summer.

R. Willig continues that since people are generally not that strict,
the minhag must be like the Gra. I know at least two people, both of
them related to RYBS, who are machmir for up to 144 minutes after shekia.

Gil Student

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Date: Fri, 23 Feb 2001 03:18:58 -0500
From: "Noah S. Rothstein" <noahrothstein@mindspring.com>
Problems w/ Z'man Hadlokos Neiros al pi RT and Magen Avrohom

RRW wrote:
>the Magen
>Avraham's Plag Hamincha almost always occurs after the published Hadlakas
>Neros times, usually very close to sunset, and sometimes (depending on
>how you calculate it) even *after* sunset.

[short excerpt]

You have raised fascinating questions and I hope people will elaborate
and elucidate.

I know that many, if not most, chassidim in the NYC area have a z'man
hadlokos neiros that is _15_ minutes before sunset [1] and I believe
that one of the reasons for it has to do with one of the issues you

It is said that when the Satmarar Rov, z'l, first came to America he
wanted hadlokos neiros to be just a few minutes before sunset but he
was machnia to the rabbonim who were already here and who objected.

Furthermore, I have heard that in many parts of Europe they held like
RT l'kula completely, even for doing melacha.

Someone told me that since they didn't have luchos, in many places
they would tzind licht when they saw that the sun was going down.

[1] In Borough Park there are two Shabbos sirens: the first is 30 min.
before shkia and the second is 15 mins. before. I know that Vizhnitz
tzinds licht 30 mins. before but they also are extremely mapkid on
davening mincha before the first shkia. I would like to note that
there were times when it seemed to me that the at least the 2nd siren
was somewhat late and therefore I caution people not to rely on the
sirens but rather to know and keep track of the actual z'manim.

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Date: Fri, 23 Feb 2001 09:57:28 +0200
From: "Carl and Adina Sherer" <sherer@actcom.co.il>
Re: Mi-sheyakir (was Erev Pesach sheHal beShabbat0

On 22 Feb 01, at 15:53, Stein, Aryeh E. wrote:
> This reminds me of something that I've been trying to clarify for some time.
> What are the various shitos regarding mi'sheyakir (the earliest time to put
> on tallis/tefillin)?  According to Baltimore's Eruv List (a community phone
> directory with a lot more than just phone numbers),  R' Henkin held 60 fixed
> minutes and R' Moshe Heinemann holds 36 fixed minutes.

I have a calendar called "Itim l'Bina" which has a section in the back
which explains all the zmanim. Here's a translation of what they say about

"In SA OH (18:3, 30:1, and 58:1) it is paskened that from the time when
a person can see his friend (whom he is somewhat accustomed to seeing)
four amos away and recognize him, or that he can distinguish between
azure and white, he is allowed to put on tfillin and wrap himself in a
tallis with a bracha, and to say Kriyas Shma of Shachris.

We have no source for measuring this time in minutes or hours, such
that its exact determination is dependent solely upon experience and
the metzius that we see ourselves, or on fixed customs.

And in the Sefer Kaf HaChayim (18:18) and in Sefer Eretz Yisrael if R. YM
Tukichinsky, they wrote that the custom of the people of Yerushalayim
is to estimate this zman approximately one hour before hanetz ha'chama
throughout the year, and in our luach the zman is close to this minhag
and fluctuates between 50 and 60 minutes (based upon the time at which
the sun is located 11.5 degrees under the horizon). This time agrees with
the trials and metzius according to which it is possible to recognize his
friend and to distinguish between azure and white [and Rav N. Kadouri
is ignoring Minhag Yerushalayim, and makes the time even earlier,
and so too in the time of Plag HaMincha, and see what he wrote there],
Rav A.I. Zilber in the luach in Yated Neeman writes a Sh'as HaDchak time
for this which is 7-8 minutes earlier than the time in this luach, and a
le'chatchila time which is 7-8 minutes later than the time in this luach.

But there are poskim who are choshesh and who are machmir to make the
time a little later, but to be more lenient than this [i.e. make it
earlier. C.S.] has no source [and see the Biur Halacha 58:1 s"v k'mo
shiur, who writes not like the Pri Megadim who was meikel to six minutes
after Alos HaShachar (and in the summer this comes out approximately a
quarter of an hour before the zman that we wrote), and many Achronim
hold not like the Pri Megadim and the Pri Megadim himself wrote that
the matter is Tzarich Iyun.

By the way, the luach has an explanation for all of its zmanim (and there
are a lot of them). This is one of the shorter explanations (which is why
I decided to translate it :-). If anyone is interested, drop me an email
and I can try to make you a copy of that part (faxes would be easiest).

-- 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.


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Date: Fri, 23 Feb 2001 09:57:29 +0200
From: "Carl and Adina Sherer" <sherer@actcom.co.il>
Re: minor fasts

On 22 Feb 01, at 16:07, David Glasner wrote:
> As there has been a discussion about how long it is appropriate to
> wait before declaring Shabbat to be halakhically concluded, with one
> factor weighing in favor of prolonging Shabbat, its d'oraita status,
> the question arises what is the appropriate time to wait after sunset for
> breaking a minor fast. It seems that most people wait at leat 42 minutes
> and in many cases as long as they wait after sunset on Shabbat. Why is
> there not greater leniency practiced concerning a rabbinic enactment?

The luach "itim l'binah" is meikel, and gives two times for the end of
the fasts. One is when the sun is 6.45 degrees under the horizon (about
25-30 minutes after shkiya). The other is the zman of three small stars
on Motzei Shabbos (typically about ten minutes later). He notes that
Yom Kippur has a separate din of tosefes.

For example, for Taanis Esther, shkiya is given as 5:46:45, he gives the
zman of the fast ending as 6:09, says "v'yesh nohagin" 6:18 (Shabbos ends
that week at 6:19) and he gives Rabbeinu Tam as 6:54 (note - it's less
than 72 minutes. One of these days, bli neder, I will try to look up why).

None of this helps us this year, as we have to read Megillah after the
fast just like the rest of you :-( But we make up for it with Purim
Meshulash :-)

-- 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.


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Date: Thu, 22 Feb 2001 19:47:23 -0500
From: "Noah S. Rothstein" <noahrothstein@mindspring.com>
Some Issues Regarding Tefillin on Shabbos and Sfaika D'Yoma

>based on the
> assumption that one is following a psak to observe Saturday as the
> full Shabbos and to avoid melacha on Friday but nonetheless put on
> tefillin and daven the weekday davening.

Another thing: Wouldn't it make sense (in the above situation)  to put
on tefillin on Saturday w/ out a brocho? Is there actually an _issur_
of wearing tefillin on Shabbos? I recall learning that the halocho is
that if one finds tefillin on Shabbos, in a place where they are in
danger of becoming damaged or stolen, one can put them on and then
walk with them to a safe place, because they are considered a malbish
and therefore it would not be hotsah.

- Noach

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Date: Thu, 22 Feb 2001 18:23:57 -0500
From: Kenneth G Miller <kennethgmiller@juno.com>

R' Eli Turkel wrote <<< It seems to be accepted Halacha based on this
that one can pray for someone's death when they are in pain. That is far
a far step from taking an active role of stepping out of the city knowing
full well that would cause death. >>>

When a piece of salt is removed from the tongue of a goses, thus allowing
him to die, is that an active act, or a passive one? The halacha is clear
that removing the salt is a passive act, and is therefore muttar, because
it does not *cause* his death, but merely removes an impediment.

So too, *perhaps*, being in Luz prevents one from dying, but leaving the
city merely removes the impediment and is allowed.

Akiva Miller

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Date: Fri, 23 Feb 2001 07:50:02 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Luzicide

I'm going to follow the Rambam's warning, and not worry about the
historicity of the medrash about Luz. This doesn't rob it of value WRT
halachic analysis, since chazal wouldn't coin a mashal that was kineged
halachah except as a cautionary tale clearly labeled as such.

Instead, I would like to note the Luz Connection. From Bereishis 28:19,
we know that this is the place that Yaakov Avinu renamed Beis-El. This
begs the question why it's being called "Luz" and not "Beis-El". It
could simply be because the pasuk notes that Luz was in Canaan, and the
people in question are Kinaanim.

"Luz" is also the name of the bone associated with techiyas hameisim.
Oddly, two medrashim associate it with Hadrian y"sh: Bereishis Rabba has
him trying to grind a luz and failing, and Koheles Rabba has him asking
R' Yehoshua' ben Chananyah about techi'as hameisim, and RYbC explains
that HKBH starts by softening the luz with tal.

(Which is a connection between "morid hatal" and birchas mechayeh
hameisim. It also explains why many are noheig to say "morid hatul", with
a kamatz, making it the end of the sentence with "mechayei hameisim",
while "umorid hageshem" is with two segol's, connected to "mechalkeil
chaim" -- this chayim -- "bichesed"...)

The luz is at the top of the spine, IOW, where the seichel and gashmiyus

Other attributes of the city of Luz, according Bereishis Rabba 69:8:
    - It's where they made techeiles.
    - Sancheirev didn't conquer it, and Nevuchadnezer didn't destroy it --
      though both invaded Luz. Note the similarity to Hadrian's experience
      with the luz bone.
    - Also, as we noted, the mal'ach hamaves couldn't enter.

In short, I believe the medrash is speaking about the interface between
seichel and gashmiyus. The residents of Luz were anshei emes, and therefore
knew the proper interface between the two. I could add that the guf is a
bayis for the seichel's tzelem E-lokim, so Luz really is Beis-El.

On Thu, Feb 22, 2001 at 12:05:10PM -0500, Yzkd@aol.com wrote:
: - what needs Biuyr is (a) that the Gemara (Sanhedrin 59a) says that the only 
: Mitzvah that Is Lo Nishneh is Gid Hanosheh (according to the M"C suicide is 
: also), (b) furthermore according to the opinions that those things that were
: not repeated after Matan Torah were Ossur to B"N untill Matan Torah (for
: summary of Shitos see E"T Erech Ben Noach), the prohibition of suicide
: should have been counted as an 8th Mitzvah, (c) in addition the Rambam in
: Hil. Rotzeiach (2:2) combines suicide with other forms and considers it
: murder...

I would think that (c) answers (a) and (b). Suicide is a form of retzichah,
so it isn't an eighth mitzvah for b'nei Noach. Also, there would be no
need to repeat the p'rat is the k'lal is repeated. IOW, the Torah doesn't
repeat 66 dinim and all their p'ratim, only the 7 mitzvos (rashei p'rakim).


Micha Berger                 When you come to a place of darkness,
micha@aishdas.org            you do not chase out the darkness with a broom.
http://www.aishdas.org       You light a candle.
(973) 916-0287                  - R' Yekusiel Halberstam of Klausenberg zt"l

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Date: Fri, 23 Feb 2001 09:57:32 +0200
From: "Carl and Adina Sherer" <sherer@actcom.co.il>
Re: minimising the sakono

On 22 Feb 01, at 17:00, Gil.Student@citicorp.com wrote:
>                                      There is a machlokes between Tosafos in 
> Kesuvos 30b and the Chovos HaLevavos whether it is possible to commit suicide
> if it was not decreed on Rosh HaShanah that one would die that year.  R.
> Elchanan Wasserman discusses this in a short essay in Kovetz Ma'amarim.

R. Gil's mention of Rav Elchonon HY"D reminds me of something else. Rav
Elchonon was in the States raising money shortly before the war broke
out, and he went back to Europe knowing full well what his likely fate
would be there (I think there is even a comment attributed to him about
teaching people how to die R"L al Kiddush Hashem). (Without getting into
the whole maaseh of YU's offer for Rav Elchonon to move his Yeshiva to YU)
How was Reb Elchonon permitted to go back to Europe if R. Moshe Feldman
is correct?

-- 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.


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Date: Thu, 22 Feb 2001 20:34:40 EST
From: Joelirich@aol.com
parshat zachor

I've been doing some research into the nature of the chiyuv of zachor and ma 
nishtana hazachor hazeh which requires a special kria.  It appears to me that 
those who say that the chiyuv of kriat parshat zachor(vs just talking about 
it) is duraita base it on the gemora in megila 18b which uses a gezera shava 
(zchira,zchira)between the megila and the tora.  Any ideas how a limud based 
on such a gzera shava would be considered duraita?


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Date: Thu, 22 Feb 2001 20:44:37 EST
From: Joelirich@aol.com
lashon hara

We've had this as a discussion topic again recently. The mishna in sota 31a 
gives cases in which a man who was mikaneh his wife must divorce 
her(according to R' Yehoshua) if women gossip about her.

It struck me as odd that other peoples averot would cause the husband to have 
to divorce her (or that the necessity or lack thereof of a divorce would not 
be a function of her actions but of how people react and that in a 
"righteous" town they would stay married)



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Date: Fri, 23 Feb 2001 08:15:10 -0600
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Re: RYBS's derech

At 07:16 AM 2/23/01 -0500, Micha Berger wrote:
>On Thu, Feb 22, 2001 at 06:24:01PM -0600, RYGB wrote:
>: [RYBS] can identify K[irkegaard] as a similarly moved person. That does
>: not mean he built his derech on K. I am tempted to add a C"V to that!

>Would you be similarly tempted WRT statements about the Rambam's connection
>to Aristotle?


ygb@aishdas.org      http://www.aishdas.org/rygb

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Date: Fri, 23 Feb 2001 09:43:50 -0500
From: "Feldman, Mark" <MFeldman@CM-P.COM>
RE: minimising the sakono

From: Carl and Adina Sherer [mailto:sherer@actcom.co.il]
> How was Reb Elchonon permitted to go back to Europe if R. Moshe Feldman
> is correct?

Maybe he was machnis atzo into a safek sakanah in order to be matzil
acheirim (by giving them hope)?

Kol tuv,

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Date: Fri, 23 Feb 2001 16:32:05 +0200
From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@bezeqint.net>
Re: Luzicide

Regarding the issue of suicide - there is a bizarre statement of Rav Yaakov
Emden (I #43)that a person who has committed a crime deserving the death
punishment does a praiseworthy thing by committing suicide. Reb Moshe (Igros
Moshe C. M. II #69.4 page 300) rejects the statement as absurd. "And also
what he writes that 'one who has sinned intentionally concerning a
transgression that warrants the death penalty - and he commits suicide - he
is not punished and furthermore it is meritorious' this is definitely
prohibited even if there was proper warning and the Ya'avetz is totally
wrong and this tshuva should be ignored."

The same tshuva of the Ya'avetz contains permission for aborting a mamzer
based upon the fact that in the time of Sanhedrin such a mother would have
received the death penalty without concern that she was pregnant and today
even without Sanhedrin etc the death punishment has not been abolished. Reb
Moshe comments, "I saw things [in this tshuva] which should never have been
expressed...these things are devarim betailim even though they were said by
such a great man as the Yaavetz".  This is also discussed by Rabbi Bleich
(vol 1 page 364)

Daniel Eidensohn

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Date: Fri, 23 Feb 2001 09:42:10 -0500
From: Gil.Student@citicorp.com
Re: minimising the sakono

I wrote:
> There is a machlokes between Tosafos in Kesuvos 30b and the Chovos HaLevavos 
> whether it is possible to commit suicide if it was not decreed on Rosh 
> HaShanah that one would die that year.  R. Elchanan Wasserman discusses this 
> in a short essay in Kovetz Ma'amarim.
Just to add, the Kuzari (5:20; ed. Even Shoshan p. 225) says that suicide is 
possible but no "ba'al seichel" would do it.  That could be an early makor for 
the halachic assumption that anyone who commits suicide is mentally ill.  More 
on this Kuzari in a subsequent post.

Gil Student

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Date: Fri, 23 Feb 2001 09:59:29 -0500
From: "Markowitz, Chaim" <CMarkowitz@scor.com>
minimising the sakono

On Thu, Feb 22, 2001 at 05:14:49PM -0500, Feldman, Mark wrote:
:                                    after all, Hashem takes away your
: neshama only when the proper time has come. I argued in response that
: many Jewish philosophers believe that there is an interplay between a
: person's zechuyos and nature...

In regards to the whole question of nature vs hashgacho, the Ramban at the
end of parshas BO and in B'chukosai somewhat touches on this topic. I am
still not clear how to understand the Ramban since he seems to attribute
every day events to nissim nistarim but he also seems to hold there is a
concept called teva. 

Micha-is this in the archives?

[Yes. Just do a search. The number of references got too large for
me to report. -mi]

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Date: Fri, 23 Feb 2001 10:01:01 -0500
From: Gil.Student@citicorp.com
Re: RYBS's derech

Micha Berger wrote:
> One of the first footnotes to Ish haHalachah raises the subject of 
> dialectic, and RYBS names Kirkegaard when he places himself in the
> "unresolved dialectic" camp. Unless you are saying that doing so is so 
> far litzad chov that ein adam meisim atzmo rasha applies, I stand by
> that bit of characterization. 
RYGB wrote:
> He can identify K as a similarly moved person. That soes not mean he 
> built his derech on K. I am tempted to add a C"V to that!

Isn't there a footnote in Ish haHalachah where RYBS explicitly rejects K's 
philosophy of a "leap in faith"?  I think that was RYBS profoundly rejecting an 
important component of K's philosophy.

Gil Student

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Date: Fri, 23 Feb 2001 12:31:53 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: RYBS's derech

On Fri, Feb 23, 2001 at 10:01:01AM -0500, Gil.Student@citicorp.com wrote:
: Isn't there a footnote in Ish haHalachah where RYBS explicitly rejects K's 
: philosophy of a "leap in faith"? I think that was RYBS profoundly rejecting
: an important component of K's philosophy.

To go back to the original statement, I was attributing the concept of
living in tension between unresolvable dialectics to Kierkegaard. I
argued that RYBS took this one Kierkegaardian idea (from K, albeit RYGB
thinks that the suggestion may merit a ch"v) and used it to give
"why?"s to many of his chakiros and tz'vei dinim.

The way I understand RYBS's TuM, it would include using an idea from K
to explain Torah. However, it would not include restructuting Torah to
fit that idea.


Micha Berger                 When you come to a place of darkness,
micha@aishdas.org            you do not chase out the darkness with a broom.
http://www.aishdas.org       You light a candle.
(973) 916-0287                  - R' Yekusiel Halberstam of Klausenberg zt"l

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Date: Fri, 23 Feb 2001 09:57:21 -0500
From: Gil.Student@citicorp.com
Kuzari and Hashgachah

Normally when discussing hashgachah, we tend to focus on the Rambam and Ramban. 
Let's move on.  I'm a little puzzled about the Kuzari's shitah, as stated in 
ma'amar 5 ch. 20 [all page numbers are from the Devir/Even Shoshan edition].

On p. 225 (sv David A"H), he quotes the passuk in Shmuel 1 26:10 and explains 
that the passuk is talking about three types of death -- Divine death, natural 
death, and death through mikreh (suicide is not mentioned because no "ba'al 
seichel" would commit suicide).  This, of course, implies that hashgachah is not
absolute because one can die through mikreh.

He defines mikreh on p. 222 (sv Ve'im tirtzeh) and adds that it is dependent 
on/related to Divine, natural, and bechirah actions.  This might imply that 
mikreh is really an intercombination of hashgachah and bechirah.

On p. 227 (sv Ach hadavar - starting on p. 226) he adds that spiritual 
preparation, i.e. knowledge and understanding of the secrets of the Torah causes
good and repels bad.

In the next paragraph (sv Im yochaz) he says that someone who does hishtadlus 
and has bitachon will see good and will not lose.  However, one who enters a 
dangerous situation violates the prohibition against testing Hashem (Devarim 

Putting all this together, I might say that there is mikreh, however, one's 
zechuyos can add protection and one's aveiros can add punishment.  How 
hishtadlus and bitachon fit into this, I'm not sure.

The Rashbatz in his Magen Avos (5:25 sv Ben shemonim ligvurah) quotes the Kuzari
on the three types of deaths.  His son, the Rashbash, in a teshuvah (195) 
explains it this way.  Everyone has a set lifespan which can be lengthened due 
to zechuyos and shortened due to aveiros.  On Rosh HaShanah, someone who is 
judged to have his lifespan lengthened or shortened is written in the books of 
chayim or the opposite.  However, someone who is not having his lifespan 
lengthened or shortened is not written in any book and is subject to mikreh.

I haven't seen any consistent studies of this shitah (or shitos).  Can anyone 
help me put the pieces together?

Gil Student

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Date: Fri, 23 Feb 2001 15:24:46 -0000
From: "Seth Mandel" <sethm37@hotmail.com>
Derivatives of Avodo Zoro and linguistic kvetchin

Now that everyone knows that I am a curmudgeon who likes to complain
about things linguistic, I would like to bring to the attention of the
hevra the following:

<Geez, I grew up in the community... where they had never seen a Gemara
-- believe me, I've been exposed to all this tuma and rejected it...
<Sheesh. Perhaps it's better than I am in "the sticks" rather than some
of the communities I read about here.>

Now understand right off the bat that what I am going to discuss is a
grey area. If I knew of a single rishon that discussed it I would bring
it. But since I don't, let me raise the issue:

Jews operate, or should operate, according to the laws of the Torah. The
Rambam's Lo ta'ase #4: mora haShem, includes bringing G-d's name into a
conversation for nothing. According to the Rambam, saying "Oh my G-d"
to express shock is forbidden by the lav, whereas saying "Thank G-d"
is permitted, even encouraged.

Goyim and devout christians have similar practices, but based in
superstition. Devout Christians also avoid using their god's name in daily
speech, but this is part of a constellation of language practices whereby
they avoid using terms which are considered off-limits by their religion.
This contrasts the "frum" Christians (i.e. the ones that are REALLY
'ovdei 'avodo zoro) from those who are not frum; the latter will say
"j s s" or "damn" all the time in their speech as an oath. So the "frum"
ones, being linguistically deprived of all the oaths that the non-frum
ones use, have developed conscious "distortions" of the oaths that they
use. Thus the first syllable of the name jesus, pronounced jeez, was
used, and as that was felt by some to be too close to the "holy name"
of their god, it was altered to jeesh and sheesh, or gee, or gee whiz
(jewus instead of the name jesus). "oh my god" was distorted to "oh my
gosh." "Hell was distorted to "heck." And "damn" (meaning to sentence to
hell) was distorted to "darn" (and so in combination: gosh darn, for god
damn). (Zounds, an ever-popular interjection, that for some inexplicable
reason I have not seen used on these lists, is even weirder: it is an
abbreviation of "god's wounds," because to the Christians the fact that
their god was killed and died is perhaps the most central part of their
religion. Leave it to goyim to make bloodshed a central tenet of serving
their god.)

Over the course of generations, these oaths have lost their "shock" value
and become just interjections. Most people, including the overwhelming
majority of christians, do not connect the interjections gee, gosh, or
sheesh, to the religious oaths they originally were meant to represent.
There was a discussion (started by R. Micha, IIRC) a while back whether
one can use Christian phrases like "a cross to bear." I stayed out of
that one.

But now, in the interests of truth, justice, and linguistic quibbling,
I would like to point out that for those who would avoid such things,
phrases like geez and gee and sheesh, and, of course, zounds, would
present a problem.

From the point of view of halokho, it appears that the issurim are:
1) mentioning the name of an Avodo Zoro not mentioned in the T'NaKh
(apparently a d'rabbonon under Ramb Lavin #14, see the end of Hil. AZ
Chapter 5, where he says no malqos); 2) being m'qabbel Avodo Zoro; 3)
turning after AZ (Rambam Lavin #10), which includes discussions which
might lead to following it; and 4) the d'rabbonon of doing things to
show it honor and respect (e.g. not to put one's mouth on a gargoyle
water fountain, since it looks like kissing, or not to bend down in
front of an idol or an 'oved Avodo Zoro wearing symbols of Avodo Zoro
to pick up coins.

Looking at the issue from this perspective, it is clear that there is
no issur in using expressions like "cross to bear," even though they
transparently come from christianity. The phrases neither convey respect
to Avodo Zoro nor are likely to draw one closer to AZ. I would also point
out that the word christ, in itself, just means moshiah in Greek, no more
and no less, and that is what it connotes in English. Thus "J. christ"
means J. the moshiah. The word "christian" just means meshichist (the
Arabic equivalent of which is what they are called in Arabic and by the
Rambam in some places). Christmas means the mass (religious service)
celebrating the moshiah. It certainly is more innocuous that Saturnalia,
used in the Mishna, which is not deformed or distorted by Hazal, unlike
the custom to distort christmans into Kratzmich or whatever.

Accordingly, it would seem that avoiding all of these terms is
not a halakhic issue at all, but just harhoqo y'sero from the Avodo
Zoro. Perhaps similar to writing G-d instead of G-d: not a halakhic issue,
but more of an emotive one. Certainly there is nothing wrong with such
practices; adrabbo, it is a hiddur to stay as far away from AZ as you
can. But part of learning Torah is to differentiate between what is osur
d'orayso, osur d'rabbonon, mutar but should be avoided, and so on.

The only things in this regard that would be osur halakhically
would be doing anything that would imply that we honor or respect the
Avodo Zoro. So giving presents to secretaries on christmas, or wishing
christians "a happy christmas" would be osur (as R. Aharon Kotler said,
and has been pointed out on these lists, I believe, you can just say
"happy New Year" or something other innocuous).

As far as the name of their god goes, it is a little less clear. Yes,
it is osur to use the names of Avodo Zoro, but it would be clearly mutar
to use a given name or noun that also refers to the Avodo Zoro. Ba'al in
Hebrew is a perfectly good common noun, outside of being the name of an
Avodo Zoro. The name Yeshua' appears 28 times in the T'NaKh, including
as an alternate form of Y'hoshua' as in Yeshua' bin Nun. Yesus was the
Greek version of that name (the -- s is only in the nominative, for those
afficianados of declensions; it would be Yesoi in the dative). That came
into English as Jesus (as Yarden became Jordan). So the name jesus is
just an English version of Y'hoshua', and accordingly is muttar to use
for people who bear that name. However, it is also the name of an Avodo
Zoro. So I, at least, do not have a definitive proof for whether oso
ho'ish can be called by his name; it may be muttar only when it does
not refer to the AZ.

Most of the issues I addressed in the last couple of paragraphs are clear
in the g'moro, the rishonim, and the SA. But what I said at the beginning
was not clear was the issue of "gee." It would seem that since it is a
deliberately deformed version of the name of their god, it would be muttar
to use; is it any different than a deformation like kratzmich? But for
people who avoid any overt reference to Christianity because of harhoqo,
it would appear to me that these interjections should also be avoided.

Which leaves us with Great Caesar's ghost! (now wait, does that refer
to a presumably holy spirit of Caesar, and should be osur?). Or "holy
cow"! (Now wait, does that refer to Hinduism, where the cows are
semi-holy, and should be osur?)

My goodness, it seems the only thing we will have left is the two words
at the beginning of this sentence, or Great Jumping Jehosaphat (I can't
figure out what that means, so I can't find an issur... yet! Just wait...)

Maybe I should just go back to my corner and sulk (po polsku, of course;
whining is so much nicer po polsku).

A gutten shabbos,
Seth Mandel

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