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Volume 07 : Number 041

Thursday, May 17 2001

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Tue, 15 May 2001 17:12:03 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Behar Sinai

"Behar Sinai" fits what we said earlier. "Har XYZ", such as "Har Hashem
Yeira'eh" is a geographic place name, not the name of the mountain as
an object. Therefore someone is "behar", in the place, even if he isn't
spelunking within the mountain.

I'd like to suggest that the other meaning of "be-" may be more
appropriate, though. Not "be-" as "in", but as "via" or "through the
aegis of". After all "Moshe kibeil Torah miSinia", and there are halachos
liMosheh miSinai. Apparantly Hashem gave Moshe the Torah throught Sinai
as a tool or "middleman", from which Moshe recieved the Torah.

This is particularly fitting in light of the medrash's (found in the
most preschool syllabii) association of Har Sinai with anivus and
Moshe Rabbeinu being anav mikol adam.


Micha Berger                 Today is the 37th day, which is
micha@aishdas.org            5 weeks and 2 days in/toward the omer.
http://www.aishdas.org       Gevurah sheb'Yesod: When does reliability
(973) 916-0287                        require one to be strict with another?

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Date: Tue, 15 May 2001 17:53:41 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Shemitta's lesson on the role of hishtadlus

I got the following from Project Genesis's Haftorah list:
: Haftorah
: Rabbi Dovid Siegel <rsiegel@torah.org>
: Kollel Toras Chesed
: We can shed light on this entire subject through the Malbim's classic
: commentary on this week's haftorah. He explains that the prophet discusses
: three approach to one's faith in Hashem. Yirmiyahu showers praise and
: blessing upon one who places his total trust in Hashem. Although this person
: undoubtedly involves himself in securing his sustenance he realizes that
: Hashem is ultimately his true provider. A second prevalent attitude comes
: from those of dual allegiance, who place their trust in Hashem and in their
: personal efforts. Although this is certainly not a supreme form of service
: and doesn't receive words of praise it is nonetheless acceptable. There
: exists yet a third attitude amongst some, one that is totally unacceptable
: and condemned by the prophet. Yirmiyahu curses one who places total trust in
: his personal involvement without even including Hashem as a factor in the
: equation. This person totally disregards Hashem's involvement and believes
: that he obtains success and fortune exclusively through personal efforts.

: These insightful words place the mitzvah of Shmita in its proper
: perspective. Every seventh year Hashem reminds us that He is constantly
: involved in our lives and sustenance....

My question:

Does the Malbim mean that the second class of people are wrong for trying
hishtadlus, or wrong for placing trust in it? If the latter, why put effort
into something you're told not to believe makes any difference?


Micha Berger                 Today is the 37th day, which is
micha@aishdas.org            5 weeks and 2 days in/toward the omer.
http://www.aishdas.org       Gevurah sheb'Yesod: When does reliability
(973) 916-0287                        require one to be strict with another?

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Date: Tue, 15 May 2001 17:52:55 -0400 (EDT)
From: jjbaker@panix.com

From: "Shlomo Godick" <shlomog@mehish.co.il>
> J. Baker wrote: 
> > Without regard to the rest of the post, that's an  interesting word,
> > mekatreig.  It comes from the word kategor, Gr. ...        But
> > to become more pronounceable as a reflexive verb, it becomes mekatreig.  >>
> Interestingly, there are lots of examples of that phenomenon in modern 
> Hebrew as well.  One that comes to mind at the moment is 
> l'khatleig - to catalog.  Also, l'talpen - to phone.
Yes, of course.  But what I was intrigued by was the letter-shift.
In the examples you give, the word is clearly the same set of 
consonants as the original non-Hebrew word:
c-t-l-g,   t-l-ph-n.

In this case, however, the letters switch around to make it more 
pronounceable in the verb form:

k-t-g-r  becomes m-k-t-r-g, not m-k-t-g-r.

Do we see this kind of letter-shifting elsewhere?  I know there 
are places where letters are inserted, like tzarich-itztrich inserts
a tet.

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Date: Wed, 16 May 2001 09:21:45 -0400 (EDT)
From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
VIDC #10

Chamor velo kelim?  (Sefaradi derech here <g>)


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Date: Wed, 16 May 2001 10:14:37 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: VIDC #10: MC vol. 1p. 116

On Fri, May 11, 2001 at 03:04:23AM -0500, R' Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer wrote:
:    the Gemoro there 26b that states that if "Reuven" threw keilim off the 
: roof, but there were, at the time, pillows and cushions underneath; then 
: "Shimon" comes and removes those pillows and cushions, that Shimon is pattur.

: Asks the Steipler, why is Shimon not liable like anyone who creates or 
: opens a Bor in reshus ho'rabbim...

Shim'on is moseir hamonei'ah that would otherwise prevent damage. He is
not a sibah for the damage. The sibah is Re'uvein's throwing it.

Perhaps we can use R' Ami'el's distinction, as summarized by R' Ralph
Frankel in <http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/vol06/v06n121.shtml#07>. There
R' Amiel argued that being married was a monei'ah to kinyan, therefore
getting a get is hasoras hamonei'ah, which is different in kind than a
sibah. Since it's not a sibah for the mesoveiv of minyan, it needn't come
earlier in time. Which is why gito viyado ba'im ki'echad. (You probably
need to see the original post; I realize I was being very terse.)

I'm still not to clear on the line between hasaras hamonei'ah and
sibbah (as I asked in the next email after RRF's in v6n121), however,
given that the two are different legabei sequencing, why not say
it's the same chiluk here.


Micha Berger                 Today is the 38th day, which is
micha@aishdas.org            5 weeks and 3 days in/toward the omer.
http://www.aishdas.org       Tifferes sheb'Yesod: How does reliability
(973) 916-0287                    promote harmony in life and relationships?

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Date: Wed, 16 May 2001 12:18:06 -0400
From: Richard_Wolpoe@ibi.com
mothers day- assur?

From: "Stein, Aryeh E." <aes@ll-f.com>
> FWIW, here is R' SY Weinberg's opinion regarding Mothers Day:
> The Rosh Yeshiva ZTL felt that for goyim it is a nice idea because the
> honor for parents in society is at a low point so at least for one day
> they have kavod. For Yidden, the Rosh Yeshiva ZTL felt (although he said
> he wasn't sure) that it may have a detrimental effect in lessening kavod
> the rest of year.

Does twice daily Zechiras Yetzias Mitzrayim reduce our observance of Sippur
Yetzias Mitzrayim on the Seder night?

Does Yom Kippur reduce our efforts at vidduy and teshuva on a daily basis? 

When a survivor recently gave a kiddush for the anniversary of his
liberation from Mauthausen, was he thereby reducing his daily hakaras hatov
for being alive?

Given daily kibbud eim needs not conflict with setting aside a once a year
special day for flowers, cards, etc. that are not expected on a daily basis.

Special occasions are not designed nor intended for neglecting the
day-to-day responsibilities.  Of course those looking for excuses can abuse
such things, so what?


How about after making a Mohter's Day breakfast for Mom, proceed to make the
rest of Mother's Day into a yom iyyun on mitzvas kibbud eim?  have shiurim
on YD Hilchos Kibbud av vo'eim, study the relevant aggeditta in En Yaakov,
have mussar and hashkafah shmussen on hakaras hatov, etc.!? 

Shalom and Best Regards,
Richard Wolpoe

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Date: Tue, 15 May 2001 19:03:16 -0400 (EDT)
From: Harry Weiss <hjweiss@panix.com>
Sherut Leumi

From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
> To my mind, this is very similar to the Chazon Ish's chiddush that
> completing an electric circuit is a form of Boneh...
> The difference is that in the area of Electricity, there was a gadol
> b'Torah gavoha me'shichmo vo'ma'alah whose ko'ach ha'sevor...
> There is no such posek - at least in the Charedi camp - who has disputed
> the CI on this matter....
> In this respect, it cannot be said that anything has changed: The CI was
> not promulgating a socio-economically based prohibition that may change;
> he was stating his eternal and unchanging interpretation of the extent
> of the prohibition of women being part of an army.
> Thus, while there are poskim in the DL camp that disagree, the
> conversation may thus center on the locus of that disagreement.

There could be a more basic question that needs to be asked. If someone's
Rav (either Dati Leumi camp or not) says Sherut Leumi is fine and you
child should go, do you have the right to disagree and the same is true
in the reverse if your Rav says no can you disagree.

Since SL was instituted, it was not by the Chilonim, but by the Datiim
that wanted pay somehting back to country while not violating what is
considered an issur by (probably) every posek - actual military service.

From day one there were Rabbonim behind SL. People have followed the Rav
of their kehilla. Since when is it correct to say this gadol is bigger,
so my Rav's psak does not count. Look at the girls who are serving in
SL and their families. It is obvious they would not be doing any such
thing without the concurrance of their Rav.

Harry J. Weiss
Remember to Count the Omer

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Date: Wed, 16 May 2001 10:17:51 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Does the Torah include all of Maddah?

On Sun, May 13, 2001 at 07:19:00PM -0400, Phyllostac@aol.com wrote:
: Another case mentioned in our literature where one of the Chaza"l
: surprised people by being able to solve a problem by calculating 'iburo
: shel nochosh' (gestation period of a snake) - despite the fact that he
: was not a herpetologist - is also instructive in this regard. The gemoro
: explains that he was able to make the calculation based on a simple,
: typical Talmudic type analysis of the posuk that relates the cursing of
: the nochosh. No resort to any mystical explanation.

IOW, you're okay if the knowledge is available al pi peshat or derash,
but not if it's a process that can't be explained to people on our

I would see the Gra and Maharal on this inyan, who understand it as
being about something unrelated. As to whether the nimshal is also
technically accurate, it isn't true for contemporary snames.


Micha Berger                 Today is the 38th day, which is
micha@aishdas.org            5 weeks and 3 days in/toward the omer.
http://www.aishdas.org       Tifferes sheb'Yesod: How does reliability
(973) 916-0287                    promote harmony in life and relationships?

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 16 May 2001 09:24:13 -0400
From: gil.student@citicorp.com
Re: Shemitta's lesson on the role of hishtadlus

Micha wrote:
> Does the Malbim mean that the second class of people are wrong for trying 
> hishtadlus, or wrong for placing trust in it? If the latter, why put effort 
> into something you're told not to believe makes any difference?

My impression is that both the first and second class do hishtadlus.  However, 
someone in the second class believes that he has to both daven and impress his 
boss to get a raise while someone in the first class knows that he only has to 
impress Hashem.

Gil Student

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Date: Tue, 15 May 2001 13:35:03 -0400
From: "Stuart Goldstein" <stugolden@hotmail.com>
Mesdaer Kidushin

From: Eli Turkel <Eli.Turkel@kvab.be> (on Areivim)
>>Does that mean that roshey yeshiva who aren't rabbonim of kehilos are
>>violating this takana?
> Does one have to choose the rabbi of his kehilla or his rosh yeshiva?
> Can one choose some gadol who is neither a local rabbi or even a RY?
> Can one choose a relative who has semicha (is that necessary)
> but is neither a practicing rabbi or a RY?

FWIW, Rav Sternbuch (Teshuvos V'Hanhagos 2:637) says that the Mesader 
Kidushin is there to be Motzi the Chasan with the Birchos Eirusin (which the 
Chasan should be saying) and as such, the Chasan should choose whom he 
wishes to fulfill that Shelichus. However, if the Kallah is paying for the 
whole Chasunah, then she (i.e. her father) should be given the choice.

Stuart Goldstein

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Date: Wed, 16 May 2001 13:18:06 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Shemitta's lesson on the role of hishtadlus

On Wed, May 16, 2001 at 09:24:13AM -0400, gil.student@citicorp.com wrote:
> My impression is that both the first and second class do hishtadlus.
> However, someone in the second class believes that he has to both daven
> and impress his boss to get a raise while someone in the first class
> knows that he only has to impress Hashem.

In the textbook case of hishtadlus w/ bitachon, Yaakov tries to appease
Eisav. How is that any different?


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Date: Wed, 16 May 2001 13:18:06 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Shemitta's lesson on the role of hishtadlus

On Wed, May 16, 2001 at 09:24:13AM -0400, gil.student@citicorp.com wrote:
> My impression is that both the first and second class do hishtadlus.
> However, someone in the second class believes that he has to both daven
> and impress his boss to get a raise while someone in the first class
> knows that he only has to impress Hashem.

In the textbook case of hishtadlus w/ bitachon, Yaakov tries to appease
Eisav. How is that any different?


Go to top.

Date: Wed, 16 May 2001 13:25:08 -0400
From: gil.student@citicorp.com
Re: Mesdaer Kidushin

Stuart Goldstein wrote:
> FWIW, Rav Sternbuch (Teshuvos V'Hanhagos 2:637) says that the Mesader Kidushin
> is there to be Motzi the Chasan with the Birchos Eirusin (which the Chasan 
> should be saying) and as such, the Chasan should choose whom he wishes to 
> fulfill that Shelichus. However, if the Kallah is paying for the whole 
> Chasunah, then she (i.e. her father) should be given the choice.

I heard from R. Hershel Schachter, and I think it is in a 1985 Beis Yitzchak 
article, that the birkas eirusin might be a chiyuv on everyone attending the 
chasunah and therefore (I'm pretty sure this was left out of the article) 
everyone attending should take a vote on whom they want to say the beracha.

Gil Student

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Date: Wed, 16 May 2001 19:16:22 -0400
From: Richard_Wolpoe@ibi.com
FW: The Mah Nishtanah Throughout The Ages

The Mah Nishtanah Throughout The Ages
(c) 2001 by Mitchell First
Forwarded with permission

See: http://www.tzemachdovid.org/Vsamachta/ages.shtml

I. How many questions were there in the Mah Nishtanah at the time of
the Mishnah?

It is well known that the Mah Nishtanah questions are listed in the
Mishnah in the tenth chapter of Pesachim. Presumably, this Mishnah
reflects the way the questions were recited at that time.

But what is the correct text of this Mishnah? If one opens a standard
printed Talmud Bavli (116a), one sees four questions: Matzah, Maror,
Zli, and Tibul. If one opens a standard printed Talmud Yerushalmi,
(70a), one sees only three questions: Tibul, Matzah, and Zli.

To determine the correct text in such a case, one must refer to
manuscripts. Manuscripts are texts written by hand, before the advent
of printing in the 15th century. In this case, we have available to us:
manuscripts of the Mishnah Pesachim , manuscripts of the Talumud Bavli,
to Pesachim which include a text of the Mishnah, and manuscripts of the
Talumud Yerushalmi to Pesachim which include a text of the Mishnah.

The manuscript evidence indicates overwhelmingly that the original text of
the Mishnah had only three questions, as it is preserved in the printed
Talmud Yerushalmi, (Tibul, Matzah, and Zli). For example, R. Menachem
Kasher, in his Hagadah Shleima, p. 205, refers to nine manuscripts of
the Talumud Bavli, to Pesachim. In eight of these, the Mishnah includes
only three questions (the seven manuscripts he lists at p. 113, n.6,
and the Munich manuscript). Also, the important Kaufmann and Parma
manuscripts of the Mishnah also contain only these three questions.

Also, if one looks at the text of the Mishnah as brought down in the Rif
and the Rosh in their commentaries (printed in the back of the standard
Talumud Bavli), one sees that they too record a Mishnah which had only
these three questions. This was also the text of the Mishnah in front
of Rambam (see the text included with his commentary on the Mishnah,
Kafah edition, p. 130).

Thus far we have argued that the evidence is compelling that, at the
time of the Mishnah, the Mah Nishtanah had only three questions: Tibul,
Matzah, and Zli. This view is becoming more and more known and accepted
in Orthodoxy. It is adopted by M. Nulman, in his The Encyclopedia of
Jewish Prayer (p. 233) and by Y. Tabori, in his Moadei Yisrael B'Tekufat
HaMishnah V'HaTalmud (p. 121).

The lack of a Maror question in this early stage is somewhat
surprising. Since the three main components of the meal were Zli, Matzah,
and Maror, one might expect a question for each. But it has been suggested
that the Tibul question was the Maror question of the time. (The Maror
was dipped, and the dipping, and not the Maror, is what the children
would have focused their question upon. See Y. Tabori, Pesach Dorot, 261.)

It must be pointed out that the Rambam (12th century, Hilchot Chometz
U'Matzah 8:2-3) writes that there were originally five questions (before
the "roast" question was dropped). The Vilna Gaon (18th century) writes
that there were always four questions. The Haseiva question substituted
for the Zli question after the destruction of the Temple.

II. What really happened after the Churban?

Many authorities write that the recital of the Zli question ceased
after the destruction of the Second Temple. Was this really the
case? R. Menachem Kasher, in his Hagadah Shleima, p. 113 (nn. 7, 9,and
II), refers to 17 Hagadah manuscripts (fragments) from the end of the
Geonic period or period of the early Rishonim. Of these:

11 have 4 questions like our present Hagadah 1 has 5 questions (with the
Zli question phrased as: "on this night we used to eat in the Temple only
Zli") (for a photo of this fragment, see Hagadah Shleima, p. 93) 3 have 3
questions like the original text of the Mishnah (Tibul, Matzah, and Zli)
1 has 2 questions (Tibul and Matzah) (this may have been the practice of
the Rif; see his comments on the Mishnah in Pesachim) 1 has the following
set of 3: Tibul, Matzah, and Haseiva Thus, the Zli question is found in
4 of the above 17 Hagadah fragments. (There is at least one other Hagadah
fragment from this time period which also contains the Zli question. See
Hagadah Shleima, pp. 216-17, number 150-4. See further Hagadah Shleima,
p. 115.)

All of this indicates that the recitation of the Zli question persisted,
at least in some communities, for approximately 1000 years after the
destruction of the Second Temple. We also see that in this period
the number of questions was not fixed, and that the acceptance by all
communities of the number of four questions was a later development. (It
seems fairly clear that this number of questions eventually gained
universal acceptance due to the parallel it created with the four cups
of wine and four sons.)

One question remains. How could the Zli question continue to have been
asked in the Mah Nishtanah long after the destruction of the Temple and
the cessation of the Pesach sacrifice?

This question is easily answered. We see from Mishnah Pesachim 4:4 that,
even after the destruction of the Temple and the cessation of the Pesach
sacrifice, some communities continued to eat roast meat at the Pesach
evening meal. Rambam (12th century, Hilchot Chometz U'Matzah 8:11)
records this practice, as does R. Yosef Karo (16th century, OH 476). We
also noted above that in one Hagadah text, the Zli question was rephrased
("on this night we used to eat in the Temple only Zli").

Finally, we now realize that we should not assume that the Mah Nishtanah
questions recorded in the Mishnah are a reflection of the ritual of the
Temple period. The alternative assumption, that the Mishnah reflects
the ritual of a post-destruction period, may also be correct.

The Mah Nishtanah questions were designed to encourage inquiry. Let us
hope that, B'Ezrat HaShem, we and our children continue on this path of
inquiry throughout Pesach and the entire year.

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Date: Wed, 16 May 2001 20:32:28 EDT
From: Zeliglaw@aol.com
Fwd: RAV -17: "The Lonely Man of Faith" Part 3

Another segment in this series.
    Steve Brizel

			 by Rav Ronnie Ziegler

	 LECTURE #17: "The Lonely Man of Faith" (Continuation)
		    Part 3 - Two Types of Community

According to Rav Soloveitchik, one cannot understand man exclusively
as a solitary being; he must also be viewed as part of a community.
This stems from the fact that existence in community is one of man's
basic needs. Therefore, after delineating the features of Adam I and
Adam II as individuals (see lecture #16), the Rav proceeds to examine
the type of community each one creates.


To further his quest for dignity, Adam I enters into a pragmatic
partnership with others, creating a "natural work community."
Existentially, Adam I sees himself as a complete, self-sufficient being.
Although he does not suffer from loneliness and feels no yearning
for soul-to- soul communication with others, he does require their
cooperation in order to promote mutually beneficial action. Thus,
he creates a community of shared labor, not of shared existence.
Since he does not consider himself in need of catharsis or redemption,
the community he forms does not elevate his inner self.

This kind of approach to the human need for community dominated political
theory for centuries:

   "The whole theory of the social contract brought to perfection
   by the philosophers of the Age of Reason reflects the thinking of
   Adam the first, identifying man with his intellectual nature and
   creative technological will and finding in human existence coherence,
   legitimacy and reasonableness exclusively. To the thinkers of the Age
   of Reason, man posed no problem. He was for them an understandable,
   simple affair... They saw man in his glory but failed to see him in
   his tragic plight." (p.30)

Adam II, on the other hand, is sharply aware of "his tragic plight."
Having been created alone, and subsequently becoming aware of his
distinctness from the rest of nature (see Reference #1), he realizes that

   "'To be' means to be the only one, singular and different, and
   consequently lonely. For what causes man to be lonely and feel insecure
   if not the awareness of his uniqueness and exclusiveness?" (pp.40-41)

Adam II therefore seeks to create a "covenantal faith community," in which
he will be able to overcome his sense of ontological incompleteness and
loneliness by learning to communicate with others and to form a depth-
connection with them. The recognition and validation of another person
as unique as oneself entails relinquishing one's self-preoccupation and
sense of all-inclusiveness. Therefore, for Adam II, forming a community
is a sacrificial act, or what we have previously encountered in the
Rav's writings as the act of tzimtzum (self- contraction or recoil -
see lecture #4).


The covenantal faith community centers around shared commitments,
not merely shared interests. Its members work together to "cleanse,
redeem and hallow" their existences (p.33). The I and the Thou connect
to each other by means of their mutual connection to the divine He
(see Reference #2). This connection to God takes the form of an absolute
commitment encompassing the totality of man's being: emotion, intellect,
will and action. When two different people share this absolute and all-
encompassing commitment to God, it allows them to overcome the barriers
separating them from one another. Opening himself totally to God, man
can open himself to other people as well, with shared values and goals
serving as the basis for communication. Mutual commitment thus becomes
the foundation of the existential community.

The overcoming of barriers which separate individuals takes place, as I
termed it when discussing "The Community" (lecture #4), along both the
horizontal and the vertical axes. Members of a covenantal community
join their contemporaries (the horizontal plane) through sympathy,
love and common action. They express concern for each other's welfare
via, for example, prayer and charity. This sense of fellowship and
friendship redeems man by relieving him of his feeling of isolation and
incompatability with others. The "other" is no longer a stranger, an
"It," who concerns me only to the extent that he can bring me benefit
or harm. Instead, he becomes a "Thou," a person of equal and independent
worth to whom I am committed and whom I engage in true dialogue.

The gesture of friendship, however, does not characterize the community
of Adam I.
   "In the majestic community, in which surface- personalities meet
   and commitment never exceeds the bounds of the utilitarian, we
   may find collegiality, neighborliness, civility, or courtesy -
   but not friendship, which is the exclusive experience awarded
   by God to covenantal man who is thus redeemed from his agonizing
   solitude." (p.69)

Within the covenantal community, moreover, Adam II overcomes his
insecurity as a temporal being by infusing all his actions with meaning,
linking them to the past in which the covenant originated and to the
future in which it will ultimately be fulfilled. He joins the covenantal
community of past and future generations (the vertical plane) through
conveying the covenantal tradition.

   "Within the covenantal community not only contemporary individuals
   but generations are engaged in a colloquy and each single experience
   of time is three-dimensional, manifesting itself in memory, actuality
   and anticipatory tension. This experiential triad, translated into
   moral categories, results in an awesome awareness of responsibility to
   a great past which handed down the divine imperative to the present
   generation in trust and confidence and to a mute future expecting
   this generation to discharge its covenantal duty conscientiously and
   honorably." (p.71 - see Ref. #3)


When the Rav writes (at the end of Chapter 7) that friendship or
the three-dimensional time experience are categories of covenantal
life, we should not mistakenly assume that he means that these can be
found only among "religious" individuals. Rav Soloveitchik repeatedly
stresses that his discussion here is typological - it deals with simple,
ideal personalities, not with real, complex people. The two Adams are
theoretical constructs representing different aspects of life. Adam I,
at this stage of our discussion, represents a life oriented purely to
external accomplishment and success. Therefore, he lives in the moment
and is capable only of shallow working relationships with others. Adam
II, on the other hand, experiences the depth-dimension of existence
and is inwardly oriented. This is why the Rav says that "Friendship -
not as a social surface-relation but as an existential in-depth-relation
between two individuals - is realizable only within the framework of the
covenantal community" (p.68). In addition, since he continually searches
for meaning beyond the here-and-now, only Adam II can regard the past
and the future as "experiential realities."

Real people, of course, experience both the surface and depth-dimensions
of life. The Rav's reason for separating these elements is to highlight
the paradoxes implicit in our existence, stemming from the seeming
incommensurability between these two dimensions of living. Furthermore,
not only are real people complex, but the Rav acknowledges (in Chapters
8-10, primarily in Chapter 9) that even according to his theoretical
model, there must be interaction between the two communities, resulting in
mutual influence and the borrowing of ideas from each other. For example,
he writes:

   "In reality there are no pure typological structures and hence the
   covenantal and majestic communities overlap. Therefore, it is not
   surprising that we come across the three-dimensional time experience,
   which we have presented as typically covenantal, in the majestic
   community as well... However, this time awareness was borrowed by
   majestic history from covenantal history." (pp.72-73)

   "Certain aspects of the doctrinal and normative covenantal ke[=message]
   of faith are of utmost importance to majestic man and are, in a
   paradoxical way, translatable into the latter's vernacular." (p.93)

   "Since majestic man is in need of a transcendental experience in
   order to strengthen his cultural edifice, it is the duty of the
   man of faith to provide him with some component parts of this
   experience." (pp.97-98)

We will deal with this subject more fully when addressing the last three
chapters of the book.


The covenantal community is composed not just of Adam and Eve, but also
of God Himself, since both God and man are parties to the covenant.

   "Of course, even within the framework of this community, God appears
   as the leader, teacher, and shepherd. Yet the leader is an integral
   part of the community, the teacher is inseparable from his pupils,
   and the shepherd never leaves his flock." (p.45)

The section discussing God as a member of the covenantal community
(Chapter 5) presents several difficulties. Firstly, as I pointed out in
lecture #4, although the leader is connected to his community, he is not
always PART of the community. Moshe Rabbeinu, the leader of the Jewish
People who lived in an isolated tent and covered his face with a veil,
was quite remote from his compatriots; how much more so is this true
regarding God! Secondly, while the Rav emphasizes freedom and mutuality in
the assumption of the covenant on the part of both God and man, we cannot
ignore the fact that it is God who sets the terms of the covenant. Also,
man's "inalienable rights" to which the Rav refers were in fact granted
to man by God!

Finally, although it would seem that there exists a basic dialectic
in Jewish thought regarding freedom vs. coercion in divine service
("Na'aseh ve-nishma" vs. "Kafa aleihem har ke-gigit" - "We shall do
and we shall hear" vs. "God held the mountain over them like a cask"),
the Rav here downplays coercion to the extent that he removes it almost
entirely from the picture. (See the extended footnote on pp.45-46, where
Rav Soloveitchik radically reinterprets the celebrated gemara [Shabbat
88a] depicting the Jews accepting the Torah under divine threat. It
is important to note, however, that the Rav is not the only person who
grapples with this gemara's conclusion ["mi-kan moda'a raba le-Oraita"]
- it has troubled commentators for generations.)

While it is not easy to defend the Rav's one-sided approach here,
we can attempt to offer two possible justifications for it. First, in
"U-vikkashtem Mi-sham" the Rav depicts a complex process whereby man can
ultimately overcome the dialectic of coercion and freedom. While the
details of this development lie beyond the scope of this lecture (we
shall address them in the final installments of this series), perhaps
it is possible to read "The Lonely Man of Faith" in light of the final
reconciliation in "U-vikkashtem Mi-sham." (There are, in fact, many
connections between these two works, which I hope to address in a future
lecture.) Alternatively, perhaps we can suggest that Adam II experiences
no coercion when confronted by the covenant, but Adam I does. In other
words, each of us is composed of both Adams; the dialectic of freedom and
compulsion results from the responses of different parts of our psyche to
the covenantal experience. To be honest, however, we must admit that while
Rav Soloveitchik offers two interpretations of the sense of compulsion
which Chazal discuss, neither of them matches the suggestions above.


In the covenantal community, God and man communicate by means of prophecy
and prayer - the first is communication initiated by God, and the second
is communication initiated by man. Both the prophetic and the prayer
communities are covenantal for three reasons.

1. In both, a confrontation between God and man takes place.

2. The covenant is a threefold structure, linking I, Thou, and God. Thus,
in their covenantal capacities, the prophetic and prayer communities
link man both to God and to his fellow man. The prophet who receives
the divine message must convey it to the community; he serves as their
representative before God. Likewise, prayer must include others: one
should pray WITH others and FOR others. Indicative of this is the fact
that Jewish prayer is formulated in the plural.

   "The foundation of efficacious and noble prayer is human solidarity
   and sympathy or the covenantal awareness of existential togetherness,
   of sharing and experiencing the travail and suffering of those for
   whom majestic Adam the first has no concern." (pp.59- 60)

3. Both encounters, which aim to redeem man, are "crystallized and
objectified in a normative ethico-moral message" (p.61). Biblical
prophecy is not merely a mystical vision; rather, God revealed Himself
to Moshe in order to give the Law, and to the other prophets in order
to enforce it. The normative element of prophecy allows all members of
the community to participate in the God- man encounter by taking part in
the realization of the covenant. In other words, prophecy is relevant
to everyone, not just to the select few (see Reference #4). Similarly,
prayer entails committing oneself to God - it is only effective if a
person is ready to cleanse himself in order to encounter God. In this
manner, prayer becomes part of a total pattern of life. Since it is
"the sublime prologue to halakhic action," prayer "does not occupy as
prominent a place in the halakhic community as it does in other faith
communities" (pp.65-66). Judaism centers on the entirety of one's daily
life, not just on the synagogue.


Although lectures #16 and #17 have not done justice to the wealth of
ideas contained in chapters 1-7 of "The Lonely Man of Faith," they
have hopefully highlighted the main themes and will enable you to read
the Rav's essay more easily. [There remains much of value to be mined
from these chapters, particularly from the rich footnotes. Chapter 7,
especially, contains many substantive comments of great interest regarding
prayer. I intend to return to this chapter in future lectures on prayer
in this series.] Having set forth the conceptual framework of the essay
- the dichotomy of Adam I and Adam II - we are now in a position to
directly address the problems posed at the essay's beginning (elaborated
previously in lecture #15). Therefore, in the upcoming lectures, we will
return to the ontological and historical loneliness of the man of faith,
and will try to draw out the Rav's responses to these challenges.

Before closing, I would like to return to the Rav's beautiful dedication
of the essay to his wife:

   "To Tonya: A woman of great courage, sublime dignity, total commitment,
   and uncompromising truthfulness."

Why does he single out these four attributes? Now we should be able
to grasp the deeper significance of this tribute. "Sublime dignity"
and "total commitment" are the characteristics of Adam I and Adam II
respectively. Here the Rav indicates that his wife both understands and
embodies the dialectic of majesty and redemption. Consequently, "great
courage" and "uncompromising truthfulness" are necessary in facing up
to the dilemmas posed by this form of existence.

What makes these dilemmas "particularly difficult and agonizing" for
the contemporary man of faith is the fact that he is not understood
by modern society. By sharing the Rav's multiple and complex goals,
Mrs. Soloveitchik helps mitigate and perhaps occasionally overcome
the overwhelming sense of loneliness of "The Lonely Man of Faith."
(This brings out the uniquely close nature of their relationship - she
was perhaps the only person who truly understood him and to whom he could
bare his soul.) Together they form an ideal community, united in both
worldly endeavor and religious ideals. In truth, every marriage union
should strive to embody both Adam I and Adam II elements, constituting
both a pragmatic partnership and a covenantal relationship. Thus,
although the essay's title highlights the author's loneliness, the
dedication appearing beneath it shows that this loneliness is not as
extreme as it could have been and offers hofor overcoming it.


1. Rav Soloveitchik describes the unfolding of the I- awareness and
man's alienation from nature in his essay "Confrontation" (which was
his first published work in English). Although both "Confrontation"
and "The Lonely Man of Faith" examine the same story, namely the
creation of man as described in the first two chapters of Bereishit,
they treat it very differently. While the former describes a PROGRESSION
of three existential positions, the latter depicts a DIALECTIC of two
approaches. What makes this particularly interesting is the fact that
"Confrontation" was published in 1964 and "The Lonely Man of Faith"
soon after in 1965! Despite the many differences between the two
essays, it is important to note that they share a common theme:
the autonomy of the faith commitment and the consequent difficulty
in communicating it. However, they discuss this issue in different
contexts. "Confrontation" deals with the problem of communication between
different faith communities (in reply to the call for interfaith dialogue
issued by the Second Vatican Council), and "The Lonely Man of Faith" deals
with the problem of communication between religious man and secularized
man. (Note that I say "secularized" and not "secular," because even a
person who adheres to a religion can practice a secularized form of it.)
The latter topic will be a major theme in lectures #18-20.

2. The structure of A connecting to B through mutual connection to C
figures prominently also in "U-vikkashtem Mi-sham," where God and man
connect to each other through their mutual cognition of the world and
of Halakha.

3. Vertical and horizontal community; quantitative and qualitative time:
see "Sacred and Profane," "U-vikkashtem Mi-sham," "The Community,"
and On Repentance ("Between the Individual and the Community").

4. The importance of action in the halakhic system was the subject of
lecture #13; see especially the section on esoteric and undemocratic

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