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Volume 06 : Number 139

Tuesday, February 27 2001

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Mon, 26 Feb 2001 22:05:06 +0200
From: "Carl M. Sherer" <cmsherer@ssgslaw.co.il>
RE: minimising the sakono

On 26 Feb 2001, at 14:29, Feldman, Mark wrote:
> Just to make it clear, I was trying to be melamed z'chus on Rav Elchanan
> Wasserman.  My guess is that it is rare that giving hope to people will
> actually lead to their lives being prolonged.  It probably happens more with
> people weakened & even emaciated by the Holocaust than in a normal war
> situation.

Except that Rav Elchonon was killed relatively early in the war and 
never spent a day in the Camps. He was killed by Lithuanian 
collaborators, who overran the Kovno ghetto. I don't know if they 
were weakened and emaciated, but that was likely not the case in 
1939 when he returned to Europe. 

The bottom line - IMHO - is that there is some "wiggle room" (to 
borrow a phrase from another discussion) that would allow you to 
put your life in non-immediate danger where it will help others - 
including Klal Yisrael generally. I think that going to settle in Azza 
under the present circumstances rates a she'ailas chacham, but it 
is not open and shut that you cannot the way you presented it.

Similarly, I think Rav Elchonon knew what was coming (as did his 
Rebbe, the Chafetz Chaim, who was niftar a few years before), but 
he felt that the danger was not yet immediate in 1939 when he 
returrned to Europe, and that his own potential toeles to the Klal 
outweighed any personal danger to himself, as real as that danger 

As one of the Gdolei HaDor, it was clearly his prerogative to make 
that decision for himself. KNLA"D.

-- Carl


Please daven and learn for a Refuah Shleima for my son,
Baruch Yosef ben Adina Batya among the sick of Israel.
Thank you very much.

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Date: Mon, 26 Feb 2001 15:57:58 EST
From: C1A1Brown@aol.com
RE: minimising the sakono

> is that there is some "wiggle room" that would allow you to put your
> life in non-immediate danger where it will help others

See Makkos 2:7 that even if klal yisrael has a need for the goleh, and
even if he is a great general like Yoav ben Tzruya, nonetheless he may
not leave the arei miklat, which would involve a potential danger of
being killed by the goel hadam. (This is discussed by the T"Y al asar
and others as it applies to safek sakanah).

M'inyana d'yoma of Purim, the Meiri (and others perhaps) learn that Esther
was permitted Achashveirosh because although pikuach nefesh of a yachid
is not doche arayos, pikuach nefesh of klal yisrael is. L'chorah lo gara
entering a safek sakanah for the tzorech of klal yisrael from doing a
vaday arayos (or retzicha) - if so, tzarich iyun how to learn the mishna.


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Date: Mon, 26 Feb 2001 23:23 +0200
Re: Ever Min Hachai

Sources: Chullin 101b, 102a; Rambam Hilchot Maachalot Assurot 5; Minchat
Chinuch 452; Yoreh Deah Siman 62.

A Ben Noach is *not* muzhar on sheratzim (see: Minchat Chinuch 452). Whereas
a Jew is forbidden to eat ever min hachai forom any beheima/chaya/ohf
TAHOR (Maachalot Assurot 5:1) a Ben Noach is forbidden to eat even from
a beheima/chaya t'meia (Rambam, Hilchot Melachim 9:13). So a lobster isn't
a problem for a Ben Noach (nor is a bird) [Rambam Hilchot Melachim 9:11].


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Date: Mon, 26 Feb 2001 23:52:28 +0200
From: "S. Goldstein" <goldstin@netvision.net.il>
late mincha

I agree with RSM quotes of the Rema against late mincha.  However, shitas RT
I'm not so sure.  See the 1st Tos in Brachos.  "How do we daven mincha
'samuch lachaseicha'(close to nighttime) after plag ha-mincha."  There's a
late mincha in Tosafos, preceding the Chozeh of Lublin by centuries!  Note
RT is quoted there earlier and later in that Tos.  Presumably, RT agrees
with this line of Tos.  See also Rosh there.

Shlomo Goldstein

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Date: Mon, 26 Feb 2001 22:12:32 EST
From: Phyllostac@aol.com
'chelek Elokah mimaal' (piece of G-d above)


One sometimes hears it said by some that every Jew is a 'chelek Elokah 
mimaal' (a piece / portion of G-d ['Hashem'] above). I am not totally sure 
where this is from, but I suspect that it may be chassidic / kabbalistic in 
origin, as it seems that it is mostly mentioned by chassidic people.

My question is - How can such a teaching be reconciled with standard Jewish 
teaching that G-d and man are separate and that Hashem is not incarnated in 
humans (as opposed to the belief of many christians, e.g. that j.c. and G-d 
are one, lihavdil elef havdolos!) ? How can we say that every Jew or person 
is a 'piece of G-d' and then, at the same time take issue with christian 
belief that the Deity was / is incarnated in a human? I assume that for the 
above reason, the teaching is not heard from all Jews.

Can anyone shed some light on the matter? Comments?


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Date: Mon, 26 Feb 2001 22:34:15 EST
From: Phyllostac@aol.com
intentions with regard to loshon hora


As the way of Torah is to question and debate, I would like to bring up an 
inyan in hilchos LH for discussion. Perhaps some light can be shed.

re the recent conversation about hilchos loshon hora and the Chofetz Chaim, 
R. Moshe Feldman's posts, etc.- 

As I recall, one of the conditions given by the CC for stating certain 
negative information for a toeles, when it is allowed, is that the intention 
of the sayer must be solely to help the person receiving the info without any 
animus against the subject of the talk. As I recall, (whether stated 
explicitly in the CC or stated by others), the practical outcome of this was 
presented in a matter like 'being that who today is on the level that their 
intention is totally pure and free of even a minute portion of animus', 
practically speaking, most, if not all people would be precluded from saying 
any loshon hora litoeles. 

Laaniyus daati, perhaps this is something that can be questioned. We know 
that 'lo nitna Torah limalachei hashoreis' (the Torah was not given to 
ministering angels). Usually, when we are supposed to have certain 
intentions, we are not obligated to probe endlessly deep in our psyche as to 
what intentions may lay very deep down - rather, just like WRT 'bugs', where 
we are allowed to consume organisms not visible to the (healthy) naked eye - 
similarly licheora WRT intention, as long as we try to have the proper 
intention, that should suffice, without overly questioning our motivations 
and endless probing. Perhaps the setting of the barrier of proper intention 
so (perhaps unnecessarily and unreasonably) high, is, as R. MF said WRT 
another inyan in hilchos LH, causing many to conclude that following hilchos 
LH is 'impossible' and is unnecessarily turning them off from the inyan.


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Date: Mon, 26 Feb 2001 22:14:35 -0500
From: Isaac A Zlochower <zlochoia@bellatlantic.net>
72 minutes (Rabbenu Tam's twilight)

Of the various statements that I have read attempting to justify the
minhag of following Rabbenu Tam's shita with regard to bain hashemoshot
on erev shabbat, none is as troubling as the views of someone on this
list who has a chassidic website.   He, apparently, finds the entire
sichsuch "amusing and cute".  Only the Litvaks and Litvish yeshivot,
apparently - according to his little tale,  insisted on following the
views of the Vilna Gaon and rejecting the shita of Rabbenu Tam.  He
further opines that in such matters the talmud says, "zeh v'zeh divrei
elokim chaim..".  In fact, the relevant Gemara (T.B. Shabbat 35a)
decides that we apply the more stringent view in the dispute on bain
hashemoshot between the Tana'im, Rabbi Yehuda and Rabbi Yosi (following
R' Yehuda in forbidding work from sunset on Friday, and R' Yosi in
ending Shabbat with the appearance of 3 smaller stars).

Perhaps he might be interested in a relevant translation of a chassidic
source on this subject.   In a two page essay on the order of bringing
in the shabbat, this chassidic author writes, among others, "In winter
when the days are short and the harmful practice of women lighting
shabbat candles after sunset has become widespread, and also with other
work done by ignorant, empty-headed men - it is required to inform them
that this is totally prohibited by the Torah, and to admonish them
softly or harshly - perhaps they will listen to him.  But if he knows
that they will not listen, then he shouldn't admonish or notify them at
all for it is better that they sin unintentionally rather than
intentionally... This applies to the time period from sunset to nearly
half an hour afterwards, for when this time period is up in the winter,
then it becomes a Torah obligation to forcibly stop them using
punishments and excommunications if they will not listen."

The entire essay can be found near the end of the Tehillot Hashem siddur
(Nusach Ari) that was written by that Chassidic master and halachist,
Harav Shneur Zalman of Liady (also known as the Ba'al Ha'Tanya and
founder of Lubavitch chassidut).  His shita on bain hashemoshot is
ostensibly identical to the views of that great opponent of chassidism,
the Gaon.   The shared and emphatically stated views of these two
masters of halacha overthrew the prior practice of relying on Rabbenu
Tam and the Shulchan Aruch on this matter for both the Litvish yeshiva
world and of many chassidic groups in addition to Lubavitch.  In
addition to making the halacha follow the reality of a sky filled with
stars (in the absence of light pollution in the cities) less than an
hour after sunset, when it is still day according to Rabbenu Tam, they
succeeded in understanding the basic sugya on bain hashemoshot (T.B.
Shabbat 34b) according to its evident meaning (no "artificial" sof
shkiah) while resolving an apparent conflict with T.B. Pesachim 94a.
Moreover, they followed the sugya on bain hashemoshot that appears near
the beginning of the Yerushalmi Berachot, the views cited from the
Gaonim, Sherira and Hai, as well as the Rishonim prior to Rabbenu Tam,
and some subsequent Rishonim and early Achronim, as well.  To cavalierly
dismiss such considerations as "amusing" when we're talking about
transgressing Torah prohibitions against chilul shabbat seems to me to
be the height of irresponsibility.

Yitzchok Zlochower

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Date: Tue, 27 Feb 2001 12:15:13 +0100
From: Eli Turkel <Eli.Turkel@kvab.be>

> 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....
>            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 
> represented.)

In fact the closer the community lived to Israel the more likely they
were to hold the opinion of the Geonim/Gra/Baal hatanya
because RT contradicts what we see.  

Gil quotes R. Willig
(I wish to thank him for his very nice summary)
> 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.

Nevertheless it was this shita of MC rather than RT which was kept in
many communities.

> 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. 

Hence, according to these shitot there is basicaaly no time between
plag hamincha and sunset (about 3 minutes).
Nevertheless it seems to be a widespread minhag to observe plag hamincha
much earlier according to all communties. Thus, even those who claim to
strictly follow RT really don't !!
For example, one cannot light candles friday night before plag.
Hence, according to this (which is SA!!!) one cannot light candles
erev shabbat earlier than 3 minutes before sunset. Hence, those who light
candles early are really the makelim.
> 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.

I dont understand this at all. The times given here are for NY. I
assume that the times for much of Europe (which is north of NYC) is much
longer. In particular for northern France (where RT lived) and especially
for Vilna (Brisk). In fact in Vilna/Brisk it is probably never motzei
shabbat during the summer.

Eli Turkel

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Date: Tue, 27 Feb 2001 06:19:09 -0500
From: "Noah S. Rothstein" <noahrothstein@mindspring.com>
Mincha and Tosfos Shabbos in Emunas Yisroel

From: "Seth Mandel" <sethm37@hotmail.com>

[Extensive halachic discussion on RT, 72 min., late mincha, deleted]

I found your post fascinating and I hope others will reply and
continue this discussion.

>One last point. R. Noah says: <R' Moshe Wolfson, shlita, has said that
>if people could see the tremendous brocho they get from tosfos Shabbos,
>they would add hours to Shabbos.> That is true, but one might ask why
>R. Wolfson does not give the same musar to people in regard to davening
>minha and being m'qabbel shabbos well before sh'qi'a...
>       My answer is that I am sure R. Wolfson would prefer that people
>daven minha on Friday afternoon early, but he cannot change the custom
>of all his congregants so simply....

Actually, R' Wolfson founded Emunas Yisroel. R' Wolfson was the Mashgiach
of Torah VoDaas and Emunas Yisroel started with his talmidim.

Mincha on Erev Shabbos in Emunas Yisroel starts just around the shkia but
they say Hodu very slowly and then korbanos, so shmoneh esrai doesn't
begin until 10-15 minutes after the shkia, which is still much earlier
than many other Chassidishe minyanim. As I posted before, I heard from
someone that R' Wolfson felt that since there were many great poskim and
tsadikim who were maikul, it was worth doing so in order to give people
more of a chance to get to shul.

Most often, erev Shabbos is extremely hectic, busy and pressured right
up until the last minute. Davening mincha a little later allows the men
to help out at home right up until licht bentching and then have enough
time to get to shul for mincha.

I know a talmid of R' Wolfson who would have preffered that they daven
before shkia, he told me that he argued "You _have_ to daven after
shkia?" but he accepted R' Wolfson's decision and davens w/ the kehila.

Regarding tosfos Shabbos at the end of Shabbos, let me repeat something
I posted a while back:

>I heard from R' Shlomo Lezer, the baal koreh at Emunas Yisroel, that
>the Satmarar rov, z'l, said that it is the time added to Shabbos at
>the _end of it_ that shows whether or not it was lishmoh, as one who
>is mekabal Shabbos early on Fri. may be doing so just in order to eat
>or go to sleep earlier.

If I recall correctly, this was a vort on the verse in the zemer Kol
Medadesh, "Um' acharim L'tsays min Ha Shabbos, Um'maharim Lavo"

The Satmarar rov, z'l, asked why the order seems to be reversed and
answered as above.

Please note that during the summer Emunas Yisroel davens mincha at
7:15 on Erev Shabbos.

- Noach

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Date: Tue, 27 Feb 2001 12:26:11 +0100
From: Eli Turkel <Eli.Turkel@kvab.be>

> This past Shabbos, I had the opportunity to hear R Tzvi Hersch Weinreb...
>          Torah without being set in context of daily life is
> like A diamond wothout a setting....
> spoke about how poskim evaluate a shailas chacham based upon who
> the shoeil , their knowledge and their empathy to particular issues.
> ... In addition, the position of R JDBleich with respect to positions such as
> adoption, etc was contrasted with that of the Luvavitcher Rebbe and RSZA ,
> zicronam livracha on this issue. A fascinating shiur into the psychology of
> psak.

Can you please expand on this. I thought the Lubavitcher rebbe
was completely opposed under all conditions to adoption.

Eli Turkel

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Date: Tue, 27 Feb 2001 12:40:38 +0100
From: Eli Turkel <Eli.Turkel@kvab.be>

> Just to make it clear, I was trying to be melamed z'chus on Rav Elchanan
> Wasserman. My guess is that it is rare that giving hope to people will
> actually lead to their lives being prolonged. It probably happens more
> with people weakened & even emaciated by the Holocaust than
> in a normal war situation.

To make clear REW does not need a limud zechus. Whatever his reasons
it is clear from his biography that he thought long and hard about this
decision. He was begged by many people to remain in America and returned
to Europe to be with kehilla knowing the dangers he took. Given his level
of learning I have no doubt he carefully weighted all the remarks being
made here.

Eli Turkel

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Date: Mon, 26 Feb 2001 20:39:22 EST
From: Zeliglaw@aol.com
Fwd: RAV -10: The Need for Inwardness

another excerpt of this series.
                    Steve Brizel

			     by Rav Ronnie Ziegler

		      LECTURE #10: The Need for Inwardness

For Rav Soloveitchik, the Jew's main arena of religious struggle is
the internal, emotional realm. This explains his intensive focus on
mitzvot such as prayer and repentance (to which we will devote several
shiurim). It also accounts for the deeply passionate and personal tone
of his writings. Even regarding Torah study, which would seem to be a
purely intellectual pursuit, Rav Soloveitchik invariably emphasizes
the experiential element. [Actually, the experience of talmud Torah
is multifaceted; we will explore its different expressions in lecture
#12.] When we recall that the Rav was a paragon of the abstract and
highly intellectual Brisker approach to Torah study, his emphasis on
the experience of "learning" becomes even more striking.

The reason for the Rav's emphasis on inwardness in religious life is
twofold: it is central to Judaism, and it is so lacking in modern man. Rav
Soloveitchik highlights this problem especially in his sermons. For
example, in one of his discourses on repentance, he laments the
disappearance of the "Erev Shabbos Jew" in America:

    "Even in those neighborhoods made up predominantly of religious
    Jews, one can no longer talk of the 'sanctity of Shabbat.' True,
    there are Jews in America who observe Shabbat... But it is not for
    Shabbat that my heart aches; it is for the forgotten 'erev Shabbat'
    (eve of the Sabbath). There are Shabbat-observing Jews in America,
    but there are no 'erev Shabbat' Jews who go out to greet Shabbat
    with beating hearts and pulsating souls. There are many who observe
    the precepts with their hands, with their feet, and/or with their
    mouths - but there are few indeed who truly know the meaning of the
    service of the heart!" (On Repentance, pp. 97-98)

The emotional poverty of the religious life of most contemporary Jews
greatly disturbed Rav Soloveitchik. Although he had no easy solutions to
this fundamental problem, he did offer some speculations as to its cause:

    "Much of this is due to the current religious atmosphere, suffused
    with shallow pragmatism; much is caused by the tendency towards
    the ceremonialization - and, at times, the vulgarization - of
    religion; and much is brought about by the lack of a serious
    ability to introspect and to assess the world and the spirit."
    ("Al Ahavat Ha-Torah U-ge'ulat Nefesh Ha-dor," p. 419; see "For
    Further Reference" below)

The problem, according to the Rav, is not confined to the uneducated or
to those whose religious commitment is weak. It affects even the young
generation of talmidei chakhamim (Torah scholars), and its consequences
are dire. Although they know the Torah intellectually, they have not
experienced it by means of "living tangible sensation, which causes the
heart to tremble and to rejoice" (ibid., p. 408). (He wrote this in 1960;
we must judge whether it is still applicable today.)

In a resonant kabbalistic metaphor to which he returns in later writings
(see "For Further Reference"), Rav Soloveitchik describes this as the
dialectic of "gadlut ha-mochin" and "katnut ha-mochin." Rav Lichtenstein
has paraphrased the former as: "the depth and force of a powerful mind
mastering its environment and impacting upon it," and the latter as "the
simplicity of the child ... the archetype of a helpless humble spirit
groping towards his Father and finding solace in Him and through Him"
("The Rav at Jubilee: An Appreciation," Tradition 30:4 [Summer 1996],
p. 50). Although "gadlut ha- mochin" is the necessary starting point
for a scholar, those who lack the "naive curiosity, natural enthusiasm,
eagerness and spiritual restlessness" of the child, as well as his sense
of dependence and unlimited trust, cannot truly pray or have faith. In
effect, they cannot approach God.

    "The adult is too clever. Utility is his guiding light.
    The experience of God is not a businesslike affair. Only the
    child can breach the boundaries that segregate the finite from the
    infinite. Only the child with his simple faith and fiery enthusiasm
    can make the miraculous leap into the bosom of God... The giants
    of Torah - when it came to faith, became little children, with all
    their ingenuousness, gracefulness, simplicity, their tremors of fear,
    the vivid sense of experience to which they are devoted." ("A Eulogy
    for R. Hayyim Heller," p. 63; see "For Further Reference")

Returning to the young generation of talmidei chakhamim who are
intellectually proficient but experientially lacking, the Rav writes that,
aside from missing a fundamental dimension of Judaism, they are also
generally unable to formulate a balanced and authentic approach to Torah:

    "On the one hand, the young [talmidei chakhamim] of America
    occasionally tend to exaggerated extremism, which is frightening in
    its arrogance; frequently, they move in the opposite direction and
    agree to concessions and the path of least resistance. In a word,
    they are perplexed in the pathways of Judaism, and this perplexity is
    the product of an imperfect grasp and experience of the world." ("Al
    Ahavat Ha- Torah," p. 408)

[We will pursue this point in lecture #14, regarding the catharsis of
the religious experience.]


Having posited the need for internal fulfillment of mitzvot, the Rav
proceeds to fill his writings and discourses with memorable descriptions
of those experiences. [For example, see the essays "Jews at Prayer,"
"The Unique Experience of Judaism," and "The Seder Meal" in Shiurei
Harav.] However, aside from direct sermonizing and personal example,
one of the Rav's main and most potent vehicles for promoting inwardness
among his students was his halakhic scholarship. As we discussed in the
last lecture, he more or less innovated the category of mitzvot whose
fulfillment (kiyyum) is internal but which require external action
(ma'aseh) as well. It is evident from the sources listed at the end
of the last shiur that the Rav devoted considerable attention to this
category of mitzvot, especially in his public lectures. To recall, some
of the mitzvot which fall under this category are mourning, rejoicing on
holidays, Keriat Shema, fasting, prayer and shofar. What is important
to note regarding this category is that the feelings are not merely
"aggadic" or pietistic accessories to a formal halakhic act. Rather,
the emotions are part of the formal halakhic requirement itself; indeed,
they are the main component of the mitzva.

This distinction between outer action and inner fulfillment is a powerful
tool in solving many halakhic conundrums. Last week, for example, we
saw how it answered the question of why holidays interrupt mourning,
while Shabbat does not. Another famous question which this distinction
answers relates to the opening of Rambam's Laws of Repentance (1:1):
"...When a person repents and returns from his sin, he must confess
before God." Many have asked: isn't repentance itself a mitzva? >From the
Rambam's formulation, it would seem that one is not commanded to repent,
but if he wishes to do so, he must offer a verbal confession to God.

Rav Soloveitchik answers that here the Rambam is interested in detailing
the performance of the law; however, in the heading to Hilkhot Teshuva,
he sets out to define the law, to expose its essence, and therefore he
writes, "The Laws of Repentance contain one commandment, namely, that
the sinner should repent of his sin before God and confess." In other
words, the kiyyum of the mitzva is the long process of inner repentance,
while the external ma'aseh is confession. Without the inner component,
the outer action is meaningless. Similarly, the Rambam begins the Laws
of Prayer by relating to an action: "It is a positive commandment to
pray daily." However, in the heading to this section, he defines the
law in terms of its essence: "to serve God daily by means of prayer."
The kiyyum of the mitzva is the service of the heart; this must be
manifested in the act of praying.

Aside from shedding light on individual halakhot, the Rav occasionally
employs this "chakira" and others to draw broader conclusions about
the nature of Judaism and of man's relationship to God. This is
especially evident in his treatment of prayer, which we shall deal with
separately. But to return to our familiar example of a holiday canceling
mourning, the Rav notes that a similar phenomenon applies to the kohen
gadol (high priest): like a Jew during a holiday, he is exempted from
mourning, but his exemption applies all year round. On the other hand,
a metzora (leper) and menudeh (excommunicate), who are required because
of their status to observe mourning rituals, must do so even during
holidays. The Rav connects these phenomena to form an overarching theory.

What is common to the Jew during a holiday and a kohen gadol year round is
that they are standing in the presence of God. (According to the Rambam
[Hilkhot Bi'at Mikdash 1:10], the kohen gadol has the status of "being
perpetually in the Temple.") Nearness to God is man's main source of joy,
and therefore it is incompatible with the sadness of mourning. In fact,
the mourner, leper and excommunicate all experience a sense of distance
from God, and therefore must perform mourning rituals. The mourner,
though he feels distant from God, is still part of the community,
and therefore must join them in rejoicing in God's presence during
the holiday. The leper and excommunicate, on the other hand, have been
excluded from the community, and therefore do not fully experience the
joy of God's presence.

This discussion is actually much more complex and nuanced than presented
here. [See the sources cited last week, particularly Shiurim Le-zekher
Abba Mari z"l, vol. 2, pp. 182-196, and U-vikkashtem Mi-sham, footnote
19.] It is a classic instance justifying Rav Soloveitchik's claim that
a philosophy of Judaism can and must be drawn from the sources of Halakha.


Despite all of his efforts to enrich the religious and emotional lives
of his students, the Rav lamented what he saw as his failure to convey
adequately the experiential side of Judaism:

    "Therefore, I hereby announce that I am able to identify one of
    those responsible for the present situation - and that is I myself. I
    have not fulfilled my obligation as a guide and teacher in Israel. I
    lacked the spiritual energies which a teacher and a rabbi needs, or
    I lacked the necessary will, and did not dedicate everything I had
    to my goal. While I have succeeded, to a great or small degree, as a
    teacher and guide in the area of 'gadlut ha-mochin' - my students have
    received much Torah from me, and their intellectual stature has been
    strengthened and increased during the years they have spent around
    me - I have not seen much success in my efforts in the experiential
    area. I was not able to live together with them, to cleave to them
    and to transfer to them from the warmth of my soul. My words, it
    seems, have not kindled the divine flame in sensitive hearts. I have
    sinned as a disseminator of the Torah of the heart... Blame me for
    the mistake." ("Al Ahavat Ha-Torah," p. 420; translation based on
    that of Rav Lichtenstein, "The Rav at Jubilee," p. 55)

With regard to this quote, Rav Lichtenstein poignantly comments:

    "That, too, is part of the Rav's legacy. Not just spellbinding
    shiurim, magnificent derashot, electrifying chiddushim, but the
    candid recognition of failure - failure which is transcended by its
    very acknowledgement. In his own personal vein, so aristocratic
    and yet so democratic, he has imbued us with a sense of both the
    frailty of majesty and the majesty of frailty. He has transmitted
    to us not only Torat Moshe Avdi, but the midrashic image of Moshe
    Rabbenu constructing and then dismantling the mishkan during shivat
    yemei ha-milu'im - whose import the Rav interpreted as the fusion of
    radical, almost Sisyphean frustration with ultimate hope." (ibid.,
    pp. 55-56)

The above confession by the Rav can help us solve a riddle which has
puzzled many. Given the esteem in which the Rav held the Lithuanian
tradition of emotional reticence, why did he discuss his feelings so
openly in his public teaching? The Rav writes in numerous places of the
need to maintain one's reserve, to shield one's deepest feelings from
the prying eyes of the public. This is clearly imbibed from the scholarly
Lithuanian milieu in which he was raised. In fact, as is his wont, the
Rav raises a personality he esteems into a general model, an ideal type.

In his eulogy for the Mizrachi leader Rav Ze'ev Gold, entitled "Be-seter
U-vegalui" (Divrei Hagut Ve-ha'arakha, pp. 163-186), the Rav develops
the character of the Ish Rosh Chodesh, the "New Month Man." He is
so called because Rosh Chodesh, the beginning of the month, is a day
whose inner sanctity is almost completely shielded from public view.
Although on Rosh Chodesh one goes about his daily routine, merely
adding some additional prayers, the Torah groups it along with the
major holidays, and its inner sanctity is fully revealed only within
the precincts of the Temple. Similarly, there are some personalities
whose inner passion and sanctity are concealed beneath a solemn exterior
(such as the Rav's father) or beneath a sparkling exterior (such as Rav
Gold). Rav Soloveitchik confesses that he has always been attracted to
such personalities, partially due to his upbringing:

    "From childhood, I was taught to control my feelings and not to
    display what was taking place in my emotional world. Father z"l used
    to say: 'The holier the feeling, the more intimate it is, the more it
    needs to be buried in the depths...' What is the holiest of places
    if not the Holy of Holies of the emotional life? If man is full of
    joy and happiness, let him reveal his feelings to God ... but let him
    not exhibit them to others, lest a stranger's look desecrate his Holy
    of Holies. If, on the contrary ... man is given over to suffering and
    torment ... let him confess before the Master of the Universe ... but
    let no stranger approach the Holy of Holies, for he might desecrate
    with indifference the sanctity of mute suffering oppressing man."
    ("Be-seter U- vegalui," p. 174)

Why, then, did the Rav take the uncharacteristic step of revealing
his emotions so passionately in his lectures and his writings, sharing
his innermost feelings with an audience? I believe several factors can
account for this.

1. He was so passionate and so poetic that he could not contain himself;
his emotions simply burst out. Additionally, as he states in "The Lonely
Man of Faith" (p. 6), revelation of one's stormy inner feelings has a
cathartic effect:

    "All I want is to follow the advice given by Elihu the son of Berachel
    of old, who said, 'I will speak that I may find relief;' for there
    is a redemptive quality for an agitated mind in the spoken word and
    a tormented soul finds peace in confessing."

2. It was a pedagogical necessity. As we saw above, the lack of religious
feeling among many observant Jews greatly distressed the Rav, and he
consciously set out to rectify the situation. Rav Shalom Carmy reports:
"The Rav once remarked in my hearing that old-time Gedolim refrained
from talking about themselves, but that the disconnection of modern man
from living exemplars of religious existence has made self-revelation an
educational necessity" ("Of Eagle's Flight and Snail's Pace," Tradition
29:1 (1994), p. 31 note 22). This applied to more than just the need to
communicate his experience of halakhic living. The centrality of crisis
in his thought, and of failure and insecurity which lead to humility,
necessitated that he share his sense of personal vulnerability with us.

3. At all times, even when religious emotion runs strong within the
community, it is the role of the teacher to share his existential
experience with his student. According to Rav Soloveitchik, the teacher
must mold not only the student's mind but his soul as well. This goes
far beyond the ancient tradition (to which Rav Carmy alluded above)
of students learning a way of acting and feeling by observing the
behavior of their teacher. Rath it is accomplished by self-revelation,
a spontaneous, almost involuntary overflow of the teacher's inner self
towards the student.

In a way, we have returned to the first answer, but in a far deeper
sense. This colloquium of souls between teacher and student, and indeed
between generations, is the essence of the Massora (passing on of the
tradition). It is also the basis of the Rav's understanding of the nature
of Torah She-be'al Peh (Oral Law) and of prophecy. The Rav ends his magnum
opus on the religious experience, U-vikkashtem Mi-sham, by discussing this
very theme - the teacher's overflow towards and merging with his student -
and its manifold ramifications. Since we discussed this topic in lecture
#4, regarding the teaching community, we will not elaborate here too
much. [Interested readers are referred back to lecture #4 and to chapter
19 of U-vikkashtem Mi-sham for development of this concept.] However,
in light of the Rav's espousal of this idea, it becomes clear that,
in his writing and teaching, he himself was engaged in such a process
of sharing himself with others. And we are all the richer for it.


1. Katnut Ha-mochin:

    A. "Al Ahavat Ha-Torah U-ge'ulat Nefesh Ha-dor," in Be-sod Ha-yachid
    Ve-hayachad, ed. P. Peli (Jerusalem: Orot, 1976), pp. 403-432;
    reprinted in abridged form in Divrei Hashkafa (Jerusalem: WZO,
    1992), pp. 241-258. Quotations here are my translation, based on
    the former edition.

    B. "Peleitat Sofreihem," in Divrei Hagut Ve- ha'arakha, pp. 137-162;
    slightly abridged translation by Rav S. Carmy, "A Eulogy for R. Hayyim
    Heller," in Shiurei Harav, ed. J. Epstein (Hoboken: Ktav, 1994),
    pp. 46-65.

    C. "The Covenantal Community," in Shiurei Harav, pp. 120-125.

2. On the inner fulfillment of mitzvot: see the sources quoted at the end
of last week's shiur. Regarding avelut, see especially the discussion
of aninut at the beginning of "A Eulogy for the Talner Rebbe" and in
the essay in vol. 2 of Shiurim Le-zekher Abba Mari z"l.

3. Rosh Chodesh man: Rav Shalom Carmy, "Anatomy of a Hesped: Reading
an Essay by the Rav," in Bein Kotlei Ha- yeshiva (published by SOY,
Yeshiva University), vol. 6 (5748), pp. 8-20. Translations of passages
from "Be-seter U-vegalui" are taken from this essay.

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