Avodah Mailing List

Volume 06 : Number 147

Monday, March 5 2001

< Previous Next >
Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Sat, 3 Mar 2001 23:20:28 -0500
From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
Re: "cookies"

On Fri, 2 Mar 2001 15:19:26 -0500 "Feldman, Mark" <MFeldman@CM-P.COM> writes:
> Of course, if everyone used that severah, the web site owner would 
> lose money.  Also, I doubt it's just "curiosity"--I imagine he'll use 
> the information in some way to benefit financially (e.g., in figuring 
> out what his target audience is, etc.)

        With the assumption that there is a commercial interest here, 
you are correct. I have not asked him and therefore cannot be sure, but
there does not appear to me to be a commercial interest (as radical as
that may sound). With that as a given, would your opinion change?


Go to top.

Date: Sun, 4 Mar 2001 15:48:00 +0200 (IST)
From: Daniel M Wells <wells@mail.biu.ac.il>
Re: "cookies"

On Fri, 2 Mar 2001, Gershon Dubin wrote:
> My example was that if I say I'll give you $1000 if you run around the
> block,and you take the money and don't run (sorry!!) you're over
> geneiva.

> He answered that he accepts this only if the tenai is related to the
> money;

And because there isn't any 'Hanaah' there is apparently no inyan of

>I answered that kol tenai shebemamon kayam.

We see in Kiddushin it doesn't always hold.

> It occurred to me while listening to a tape of a recent shiur by Rav
> Yisrael Reisman on midas sedom (very highly recommended;R' Joel,  it's
> 44) that this might apply.Since it costs me nothing to provide the site
> to one more person one it's up,and I derive no benefit from the
> information (the site in question says that they use it only for
> statistical tracking meaning,AIUI,  the site owner's curiosity),
> perhaps kegon zeh kofin al midas sedom.

Unless a particular practice is definitely stated in SA as being Midas
Sodom, I would suggest we first discuss the halachic implications and then
if it appears to border on Midas Sodom to bring it as a reason for not
implementing the halacha.

It would appear that mechira al tenai does have a certain validity
although there is discussion as to how much baalus the original owner
retains. Thus if a person fails to fulfill the condition or resells it, can
the original owner reclaim ownership?

But the question in our case where there is no monetary gain, how valid is
the request for personal information especially where the owner of the
information does not actually know or care who I am or whether I am some
(literate) tribesman from the middle of the Saharan Desert and not only
that but could forseeably damage me by acquistion of such data.

Does insistence on filling out a form before release of information, imply
a tnai? And if so does the tnai imply filling ONLY one's own details or
could it imply any other valid person's details (eg my brother) or perhaps
any details even if invalid?

On the site involved (http://www.e-daf.com) the form is headed with:

"To access the Daf, we ask that you register with us"

The form requests besides one's name also street address and telephone

Does non compliance imply gnava or gnavas-daas and how does one square
with midavar sheker tirchak?


Go to top.

Date: Sun, 4 Mar 2001 16:32:47 -0500
From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
Re: "cookies"

On Sun, 4 Mar 2001 15:48:00 +0200 (IST) Daniel M Wells <wells@mail.biu.ac.il>
> I answered that kol tenai shebemamon kayam. We see in Kiddushin it doesn't
> always hold.

        Please 'splain.  I refer only to tenaim in monetary transactions

> But the question in our case where there is no monetary gain, how 
> valid is the request for personal information

        As valid as the person's ownership of the item or service you
wish to use. You want it, fulfill my conditions. of course, midas sedom
applies, in which case my ownership of a commercially valueless property
requires me to share it.


Go to top.

Date: Mon, 5 Mar 2001 00:53:05 EST
From: Phyllostac@aol.com
shitas Chasam Sofer re nightfall

I heard an address a while ago by the renowned Rabbi Dr. Shneur Z. Leiman.

In the course of the address he mentioned that some years back (the 1950's as 
I recall), when the teshuvos (or another sefer) of the Chasam Sofer were 
reprinted here in the USA (perhaps the first time after WWII?) the text was 
tampered with. The sefer included a sheet that the Chasam Sofer had written 
recording certain minhogim / hanhogos from his time in Pressburg. It stated 
that they davened maariv 20 something minutes after the shkia and perhaps ten 
minutes later on (motzei)  Shabbos (I don't recall all the details - but it 
was something like that - nowhere near 60 or 72 minutes). 

Someone didn't like those numbers evidently - so he changed them to be more 
in line with the Rabbeinu Tam shita.

It created a scandal of sorts. People were quite upset about the blatant 
falsification. He discussed it on one of his tapes (I think the topic is 
'censhorship in Jewish history' or similar). I believe it was corrected in a 
subsequent printing. 

The point is, that one must be be careful to make sure that all the shitos 
are accurately represented. 


Go to top.

Date: Mon, 5 Mar 2001 17:02:06 +0200
From: "Carl M. Sherer" <cmsherer@ssgslaw.co.il>
Re: hagohos needed on Chofetz Chaim like Ram"a on SA and Raava"d on Ramba"m?

On 3 Mar 2001, at 23:30, Gil Student wrote:
> IIRC, R. Yisrael Salanter refused to give the sefer Chafetz Chaim a haskamah 
> because he disagreed with an important halachah.  I think it was regarding 
> asking mechilah from someone who does not know that you spoke lashon harah 
> about him.  The CC required it while RYS forbid it because it causes greater 
> strife.

Doesn't the CC say NOT to ask mechila IF it will cause greater strife? I
think it's just that the CC didn't start with an assumption that it
WOULD cause greater strife.

-- Carl

Carl M. Sherer, Adv.

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.

Go to top.

Date: Fri, 2 Mar 2001 09:46:52 +0200
From: "S. Goldstein" <goldstin@netvision.net.il>

Akiva Miller
> If a psak is given by one who has real semicha, then violating
> that psak will violate the d'Oraisa of Lo Sasur Yemin O'Smol. This
> would apply to both an individual

I don't think so.  Just like horaa is not required to come from a samukh, so
too his psak is not mandating.  Only by beis-din is there this mitzva.  See
Chinukh 695-6.

Shlomo Goldstein

Go to top.

Date: Sun, 4 Mar 2001 10:06:27 EST
From: C1A1Brown@aol.com
Re: Voss Iz Der Chilluk #3, MC vol. 1 p. 74

Hana'ah is sufficient by kiddushin where the shiur is a shava pertuta.  
However, it does not meet the shiur for mishloach manos, which must be a 
matanah chashuvah (Ritva Meg. 7).

Go to top.

Date: Sun, 04 Mar 2001 23:17:47 -0000
From: "Sholem Berger" <sholemberger@hotmail.com>
Re: Voss Iz Der Chilluk #3, MC vol. 1 p. 74

Lefi extreme aniyus dati:

Brisker Derekh: There are tsvey dinim in hanoe -- transfer of a kheftzah 
which generates hanoe, and the effect on an individual, i.e.,  hanoe shel 
gavra. In kiddushin the hanoe shel kheftzah (the tabaas) and the hanoe shel 
gavra both exist; however, in mishloach manos there is no hanoe generated in 
the individual by the one-sided m"m (perhaps because there need to be two 
sides to the matter?). [After writing this down I saw RYGB's note about the 
Brisker antipathy to hanoe...oh well.]

Poylisher derekh: MM is done "ish lere'eyhu", i.e., in a relatively 
egalitarian fashion between fellow Jews. According to this, the concept of 
odom khoshuv would not apply, since such khshives would place the individual 
above the plane of reyus on which MM is conducted. This is not to say that 
an odem khoshuv would not be able to give or receive MM, merely that 
khshives is not a characteristic which is powerful enough (in this context) 
to replace the reyus necessary for MM.

Rogatshover: The poyel (i.e., the giver of MM or the giver of the gift by 
kiddushin) and the nifal (i.e., the MM that is sent or the gift that is 
given by kiddushin) are similar in the two cases, but the peulo is 
different: in the case of MM there is a hanoe (even if the Piskey Teshuvo is 
correct) contingent on a nifal, i.e., on the exact composition of the MM, 
but in the case of the gift given by kiddushin the components are not 
specified, and the peulo is dependent only on the worth of the gift.

Sholem Berger

Go to top.

Date: Fri, 2 Mar 2001 10:00:46 +0200
From: "S. Goldstein" <goldstin@netvision.net.il>
Brisker diyyuk

The Rambam Megilla 2:15.  He starts 'how do we fulfill the obligation of the
meal..' and includes mishloach manos.  This is unlike matanos l'evyonim
which is a separate halacha.  Also, at the end, the Rambam says that by
swapping an entire seudah with a friend, for one who does not have extra to
send mishloach manos, fulfills this requirement.  This means that one must
give from his seuda.  The kiyum comes from giving away his entire, small,
seudah.  The receiving of a seudah allows him to eat and celebrate as well.

Therefore, the adam chashuv who consents to accept a gift has given a
benefit to the giver but has not given from what he prepared as his own

It would seem, not like the PT, that the hanaah of accepting is not food.
But even if it is somehow considered food, it seems to me that this gift of
food to the sender by accepting the gift cannot be considered as from the
seudah of the recipient.

Shlomo Goldstein

Go to top.

Date: Mon, 05 Mar 2001 09:53:11 EST
From: C1A1Brown@aol.com
re: Amaleik

> This question [of why we need a limud for nin v'neched of Amamlek]
> only makes sense (to me) if Amalek is defined only by birth.... But it
> would not be a kasha on the Rambam as understood by R' Chaim Brisker,
> Ancestry is not the sole criterion for Mechiyas Amalek. You can't merely
> ask if this person's father was Amalek, you have to see what *his*
> ideology is.

No. The 'ideology' din as an additional din on top of the din of
eradicating the offspring of Amalek - see RYBS quoting his father (not
GR"CH) in Divrei Hagot V'Ha'aracha p.49.

Go to top.

Date: Mon, 5 Mar 2001 10:46:23 -0500
From: "Feldman, Mark" <MFeldman@CM-P.COM>
Re: Purim seudah on Friday

From: Gil Student <gil_student@hotmail.com>
>> How do you understand this. Does this mean one should start before chatzos
>> or does it mean most of the seudah should be before chatzos.

> There is a sign in the Agudah of Ave. L (Agudas Yisroel Bais Binyomin) that 
> says to START the seudah by 12:07 pm.

I agree with RGS.  I learned this MB in tandem with the MB dealing with erev
shabbos meals in general (in hilchos shabbos) and think that the language
supports this view.

Kol tuv,

Go to top.

Date: Mon, 5 Mar 2001 10:58:14 EST
From: Joelirich@aol.com
Re: RTam and Astronomical Tables-Not

In a message dated 03/05/2001 10:09:20am EST, mechyfrankel@zdnetonebox.com
> When I was a kid, we used to just eyeball the sky and decide that three
> medium stars were visible to decide when to end shabbos (a "geonic" shittoh
> to be sure). I am not sure that such subjective? judgements that we used
> to make were not as least as accurate as the generally false precision
> which one infers by the current total reliance on published tables and
> clocks which do not adjust for a whole host of relevant issues (including
> e.g. distances within extended cities) which may cumulatively add up
> to many minutes of difference.

I agree with Mechy' analysis but it goes beyond the tzet question, I think 
the question would be- even if we had tables that adjusted for the issues 
mechy raised, would/should they be relied on as compared to the age old 
standard. We had an interesting shaila motzai shabbat - in shul the Rabbi 
announced that no moon was visible and explained what to do during the week 
for kiddush levana.  When a few of us left shul we were able to see the moon 
very clearly as a break in the clouds blew by - Did we see the halachik moon 
or did the Rabbi's pronouncement mean that what we had seen was not 
halachikally the moon ???


Go to top.

Date: Mon, 5 Mar 2001 11:12:14 -0500
From: "Wolpoe, Richard" <Richard_Wolpoe@ibi.com>
RE: RTam and Astronomical Tables-Not

Michael Frankel:
> 3. The astronomical tables provide sea level values. This will produce
> a wide variety of halachic differences depending on which of the quite
> many conflicting shittos one follows to adjust for the fact of elevation
> of the observer.

A recent poster mentioned being in the mountains during the summer and
having observed that day light extended far beyond 72 minutes.... It
should be noted that the altitutde is a factor as pointed out by Mechy

Good Purim
Rich Wolpoe

Go to top.

Date: Mon, 5 Mar 2001 20:30 +0200
Dogs as pets

Although one may *own* a dog [to protect property but see: Choshen Mishpat
409:3 on details] the She'elat Yaavetz Chelek Alef #17 says that having
a dog as a pet is a "ma'aseh akum".


Go to top.

Date: Sun, 11 Nov 1956 15:45:44 +0000
From: David Riceman <driceman@worldnet.att.net>
singing psukim

I had a chance to look at R. Feinstein's responsum today (Igroth Moshe
Y.D. II #142).  He understands the Rashi on Sanhedrin 101a as I do,
though he concedes that the gemara (in the absence of Rashi) could be
understood as R. Feldman understands it.

David Riceman

Go to top.

Date: Mon, 5 Mar 2001 14:15:03 -0500
From: Gil.Student@citicorp.com
Re: hagahos needed on Chofetz Chaim

[Forwarded with permission from R. Yisrael Dubitsky]

> IIRC, R. Yisrael Salanter refused to give the sefer Chafetz Chaim a >
haskamah because he disagreed with an important halachah. I think it was >
regarding asking mechilah from someone who does not know that you spoke >
lashon harah about him. The CC required it while RYS forbid it because

The way i heard it was that the CC took his new book to *the* baal musar
of the time to see what he thought about it. Not that RYS refused to give
a haskamah [he may not have been asked re that?] just that he disagreed
with that point. The CC countered "but i base that on a mefureshe Rabenu
Yonah..[as is much of the CC]." RYS still wouldnt budge. Fast forward
50-60 years: This disagreement was mentioned to R. A. Kotler and he
was asked, "nu, so what is the halakhah? who was right?" To which RAK
answered, "nu, R. Yisrael tanna hu u-palgei..." [meaning with a rishon
like Rabbenu Yonah].

A few years ago when R. H. Schachter gave a talk on LH at YU, I approached
him after the talk, mentioned this story and asked him, RAK didnt really
pasken: what do you think? To which RHS gave me his trademark palm-up,
beats-me kind of face.

So I'm still not sure...
KT and Purim Sameah,

Go to top.

Date: Mon, 05 Mar 2001 11:41:03 -0800
From: "Michael Frankel" <mechyfrankel@zdnetonebox.com>
RE: "Mesoras Siyag Latorah" by R:T: a really bad review-erratum

As was pointed out to me in an offline message by RYD, when I referred
to yosef b. chaim as the editor of the miqro'os g'dolos, I should have
written yaacov b. chaim. Which is the sort of thing that happens when
my brain disengages and my fingers go on autopilot.

Mechy Frankel                  W: (703) 588-7424
mechyfrankel@zdnetonebox.com   H: (301) 593-3949

Go to top.

Date: Mon, 5 Mar 2001 14:39:57 -0500
From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>

I'd like to throw the following food (OK, OK) for thought into the
discussion of hana'ah for mishloach manos.  The Mishna says ein bein
hamudar hana'ah meichavero lamudar mimenu ma'achol elah kelim she'en osim
bahem ochel nefesh.  The mishna (see meforshim there) apparently relates
all hana'ah back to whether or not that hana'ah can be used for food.  If
not,  the mishna appears hard pressed to even consider it hana'ah.


Go to top.

Date: Fri, 2 Mar 2001 16:01:16 -0500
From: Rabbi Yaakov Feldman <feldman@torah.org>
Ramchal - "The Way of G-d" 1:1:1

Part 1: "The Fundamental Principles of Reality"

Ch. 1: "The Creator"

Paragraph 1

Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto offers that there are a certain number of things
about G-d Almighty each one of us needs to both *know* and *believe*.

He apparently combines the two, because Rambam (Maimonides) said in one
context that we're to *know* certain fundamentals of the faith, and in
another he said we're to *believe* them. Ramchal apparently contends we'd
need to do both at the same time.

So much for the more academic answer to the question of why both are listed.
We'd like to approach it differently now, and ask a couple of questions based
on the combination. First, what's the difference between believing and
knowing? And why, for our purposes, did Ramchal combine them?

The best way I know to define the difference between knowing and believing is
to imagine being without either. It seems to me that not believing is more
personally and existentially threatening, and more darkly dire than not
knowing. Because I'm convinced that if I don't know something, I can always
learn it; while if I don't believe it, I'm left somehow "stranded". And in
fact, many of our Sages have taught that belief is higher than knowledge.

But not knowing threatens, also. Knowing for example why something bad
happened to me seems to dampen the pain and lend solace. While not knowing
seems to gnaw at my being and oppress me.

Apparently Ramchal's point is that we're to somehow or another so internalize
the truth of G-d's existence, so convince ourselves of His living presence
that both the dark, dread lack of faith in Him, and the bleak, dulling lack
of knowledge of G-d's ways in the world simply disappear.

But how do we ever do *that*?

This may help. Notice how Ramchal titled this work "The *Way* of G-d" in the
singular, rather than the *ways*, as we put it a couple of paragraphs back
when we spoke of "G-d's ways in the world"?

I believe Ramchal put it in the singular because a major point of his
throughout his writings is that all-in-all G-d has one broad way or *agenda*
if you will; with many, many narrow paths or side-agendas so to speak along
the way, that all lead to the realization of the main one.

Eventually grasping that-- learning that, and fully believing it heart and
soul-- will have us both *know* and *believe*. And in fact a great part of
the gift of this book will be underscoring the fact of G-d's ultimate agenda
in light of His many side-agendas.

That having been said, what are we to believe and know after all? (There'll
prove to be many things, and you and I will have to be patient, in light of
the fact that "The Way of G-d" will prove to work in stages).

The first thing is that G-d's the *first being*; and that He existed *before*
anything or anyone else, and will continue to exist *after* everything and
everyone is gone.

But that's curious. If He's the *first being*, of course He existed *before*
anything or anyone else. What's Ramchal's point? What's the difference?
(We'll get to G-d's continuing to exist *after* everything else soon.)

Perhaps we can explain G-d's being called the *first being* this way.

Were we to somehow or another appear out of nowhere and come upon reality for
the first time, the first being we'd *notice*-- the most obvious and
preeminent Being-- would be G-d. Simply because we hadn't yet had a chance to
take His presence for granted, and hadn't yet been waylaid by all the other
things that have us overlook Him.

G-d will eventually prove to have existed *before* everything else, too. But
knowing that would come later, after we'd have withstood the shock and stun
of catching sight of His presence in the first place.

Again, we're also told that He will continue to exist *after* everything and
everyone is gone. Why would we need to know that, too?

This seems to be the best way to illustrate and explain G-d's proceeding and
succeeding everything and everyone. Imagine a grand concert full of roil and
thunder, high pitches, low pitches, gravitas and piccolo. And imagine it
beginning with a single note which somehow or another threads its way
throughout the concert, and appears again at the concert's end.

Wouldn't that single note prove to have *defined* the concert, in retrospect,
and to have given it it's heft?

That's exactly Ramchal's point. G-d's ineffable presence defines reality and
gives it it's heft. And that by being the first and last, He is the better
part of the whole.

His final point here is that G-d-- and G-d alone-- both *created* and
*maintains* everything.

Simply put, that comes to deny the power of anything or anyone else to truly
and utterly *create* out of the blue (despite our own personal fantasies and
vainglory). And it comes to underscore the fact that G-d not only created us,
he also *maintains* our beings moment by moment.

Returning to our musical analogy, G-d not only pressed His lips (if you will)
to the mouth of our beings to start "playing" us (i.e., to animate us), He
continues to, throughout the concert.

Ramchal, Copyright  2001 by Rabbi Yaakov Feldman and Torah.org.
Rabbi Yaakov Feldman has translated and commented upon "The Gates of
Repentance", "The Path of the Just", and "The Duties of the Heart" (Jason
Aronson Publishers). His works are available in bookstores and in various
locations on the Web.

This series is dedicated to the memory of Yitzchak Hehrsh ben Daniel z"l,
and Sara Rivka bas Yaakov Dovid, z"l.

This list is part of Torah.org: The Judaism Site (Project Genesis, Inc.).
Permission is granted to redistribute, but please give proper attribution
and copyright to the author and Torah.org. Both the author and Torah.org
reserve certain rights. For full information on copyrights, send email to
copyrights@torah.org .

To begin or cancel your subscription to this class, please write to
ramchal-subscribe@torah.org or ramchal-unsubscribe@torah.org as

For further help, and for information on archives and subscriptions
to other classes, please ask the Torah.org Robot Gabbai, gabbai@torah.org .

Torah.org depends upon your support. Please visit http://torah.org/support/
or write to dedications@torah.org or donations@torah.org . Thank you!
Torah.org: The Judaism Site                        http://www.torah.org/
17 Warren Road, Suite 2B                                 learn@torah.org
Baltimore, MD 21208                         (410) 602-1350 FAX: 510-1053

Go to top.

Date: Mon, 5 Mar 2001 14:52:41 -0500
From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
Dog Torah

From Rav Aharon Rapp's devar Torah in this week's Yated:
> Chazal compare Esauv to yet an additional animal, the Celev. The
> Celev-dog-represents a certain personality, and it is here too where
> the distorted quality of Esauv is revealed. Seforim explain that the
> unique aspect of a dog is its Chutzpah-gall. As it says "Honi Colbin De'
> chatzifin"-the brazen dogs.

> Rav Yitzchok Hutner Zt'l during a Seudas Purim explained where the
> Chutzpah of a Celev lies.

> There is an expression that states that a dog is man's best friend. It
> is here where the chutzpah lies. The Celev considers himself an equal to
> Man, and that is the key to his chutzpah. It is here where the shoresh
> of Esauv can be perceived. All the other nations of the world realize
> that they are on the second rung. There's the true Adam of the world,
> which is Klal Yisroel, and then there is the rest of the nations.
> Esauv claims that they are the Adam of the world, and at least equal to
> if not actually better than, Klal Yisroel.


Go to top.

Date: Mon, 5 Mar 2001 14:48:01 -0500
From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
Question on parashas zachor

This may sound a little naive (my 12 year old asked me and I must admit
I couldn't give him a good answer), but if we are commanded to erase
Amalek, what will there be to remember? IOW can we separate the ma'aseh
Amalek which we remember from the memory of Amalek which we must forget?


Go to top.

Date: Mon, 5 Mar 2001 15:10:34 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Question on parashas zachor

On Mon, Mar 05, 2001 at 02:48:01PM -0500, Gershon Dubin wrote:
: This may sound a little naive (my 12 year old asked me and I must admit
: I couldn't give him a good answer), but if we are commanded to erase
: Amalek, what will there be to remember? IOW can we separate the ma'aseh
: Amalek which we remember from the memory of Amalek which we must forget?

Two possible approaches.

The first is to note (as I did in
<http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/vol06/v06n142.shtml#01>) that the Gra
makes this mitzvah to be about wiper out all memorials of Amaleik,
not all memory. He sites your son's she'eilah as a ra'ayah.

The second is offered by R' Binyamin Hecht in last week's "Insights".
(BTW, RBH's cite and organization may be of interest to the Aishdas
chevrah. See <http://www.nishma.org>)


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

: 5761 - #21


: 	We are commanded to remember what the nation of Amalek did to 
: us upon our departure from Egypt.1 We are also commanded to totally 
: wipe out the memory of Amalek from underneath the heavens.2 Together, 
: these commands create an obligation to remember in order to 
: eradicate. While this is not necessarily inherently paradoxical or 
: contradictory, this idea demands further contemplation. One may think 
: that the best way to create a more positive environment is through 
: the display of only the positive, through the presentation of solely 
: the ideal. This is the path of innocence. If one does not know of 
: evil, how could one learn about and/or adopt evil? The obligation to 
: remember in order to eradicate seems to challenge such perspective. 
: It declares that the only way to destroy evil is by first recognizing 
: and remembering evil - and then to destroy this memory. But still how 
: does one remember in order to destroy a memory?
: 	Rashi, Devarim 25:19 states that the command to destroy the 
: memory of Amalek means to ensure that the name of Amalek is not 
: remembered even in regard to animals; that is to say that even the 
: ability to identify an animal as once belonging to Amalek should be 
: thwarted.3 Beit Yosef, Tur, Orach Chaim 690, d.h. B'kamma quotes a 
: view that, at least conceptually,4 extends this idea to inanimate 
: objects; the name of Amalek should be removed even from inanimate 
: objects. In this light, it would seem that the goal
: of these commands is to remember what Amalek did to us in order to 
: remove any physical connection to Amalek in this world. We remember 
: in order to remove any tangible, physical object of memory. The 
: significance of the concrete realm is reccognized. The battle with 
: evil must be fought in the details of the physical world.5 To fight 
: evil demands that we must recognize the reality of evil, thus we 
: remember the actions of Amalek. To defeat evil means that we must 
: extend our fight even to eradicate any manifestation of evil within 
: tangible existence.
: 	Interestingly, this idea of removing Amalek's tangible 
: presence even from inanimate objects is deemed to have led to a 
: custom for children to draw a picture of Haman or write Haman's name 
: on stones or pieces of wood, then to bang these objects together in 
: order to remove Haman's name from this physical entity.6 In a certain 
: way, it seems strange to create a physical manifestation of Amalek - 
: in drawing or writing Haman on the wood or stones - in order to 
: remove this manifestation. In a certain way, it would seem that it is 
: not just in the result, in the removal of any physical connection to 
: Amalek, that we are to find value. It is in the very process, in the 
: act of removing the physical connection to evil, that we are to find 
: value. Thus it seems, we remember in order to remove the memory; we 
: remember in order to fight again.
: 	Shemot 17:16 declares that God's battle with Amalek is to 
: last from generation to generation. Again, it is strange to declare a 
: goal to eradicate evil when, at the same time, we also declare a 
: continuing battle with evil. If Amalek is destroyed, how could there 
: be a continuing battle, from generation to generation, with Amalek? 
: The answer is not simply found in declaring that, until the coming of 
: the Mashiach, the battle will never fully be won. In remembering 
: Amalek, we are also perpetuating the battle. In the battle itself, we 
: are also to find value. Yet the battle's goal is to remove the 
: memory, to ensure that there be no more battles. We are called upon 
: to battle in order for there to be no more battles yet we are called 
: upon to remember in order for there to be continuous battles. There 
: is deemed to be value in the result and value in the process but how 
: do result and process co-exist?
: 	Memory is not unidimensional. There are different ways of 
: remembering, many different perceptions within memory. We do not just 
: remember events; we also attempt to understand them and place them 
: within the greater context. There are times we can describe the 
: events of history but still not comprehend what occurred because the 
: frame of reference of the past cannot be grasped. For example, I have 
: always had a fascination with the American Civil War because I do not 
: understand how individuals, who were generally moral, could maintain 
: slavery. I know the facts. I remember the events. But the memory is 
: also faded because I am so removed from the values of this 
: perception. It may be similar with Amalek. In the battle with evil, 
: we are to constantly recognize the actions of evil so that we may be 
: able to continue the battle and the dynamic towards good. But at the 
: same time we eradicate the memory of the evil as we seperate 
: ourselves from understanding evil. As the evil of Amalek becomes more 
: and more incomprehensible, we forget as we remember.

: Rabbi Benjamin Hecht

: Footnotes

: 1)  Devarim 25:17. See further Sefer HaChinuch, mitzvah 603. There is 
: also a command not to forget what Amalek did. See, in this regard, 
: Devarim 25:19 and Sefer HaChinuch, mitzvah 605. On the episode of 
: Amalek, see also Shemot 17:8-15.
: 2)  Devarim 25:19. See further Sefer HaChinuch, mitzvah 604.
: 3)  Thus, according to this understanding, animals belonging to 
: Amalek should also be killed lest they be identified as once 
: belonging to Amalek thereby causing Amalek to be remembered. Whether 
: the Torah command to destroy Amalek actually includes a command to 
: destroy the animals of Amalek is a matter that demands further 
: investigation. The fact that Shaul HaMelech was commanded, in his war 
: with Amalek, to kill the animals (see Shmuel I 15:3) is not 
: necessarily a proof for the command in this case, as presented by the 
: prophet Shmuel, may have been unique for this particular occassion. 
: See further Minchat Chinuch 603:1.
: 4)  This view would seem to be more an aggadic drasha, derivation, 
: than a true halachic drasha. See, however, Torah Temima, Devarim 
: 25:19, note 207.
: 5)  This reinforces the connection between the battle with Amalek and 
: theholiday of Purim, the holiday that most connects to the physical 
: realm.
: 6)  See Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 690:17. This idea is also deemed 
: to be the source for the prevalent custom of making noise when 
: Haman's name is mentioned during the reading of the Megilla.

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 >