Avodah Mailing List

Volume 08 : Number 001

Thursday, September 20 2001

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Mon, 17 Sep 2001 01:09:19 EDT
From: DFinchPC@aol.com
Re: Avodah V7 #100

> Part II-Novominsker Rebbe's talk at the kinus Thursday night:
> NB: he was very emotional during his talk; the notes here do not do
> justice to that at all.

Your notes are nevertheless very revealing. I've heard that the Novominsker 
Rebbe is an especially wise and learned man. Your notes certainly suggest 
this is true. Thank you for sharing them. I am not a great fan of Da'as 
Torah, but we can always use leaders of his caliber. 

David Finch

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Date: Mon, 17 Sep 2001 01:13:08 EDT
From: Phyllostac@aol.com
additions to Agudath Israel chizuk Kinnus report and dvar Torah

Firstly, thanks to chaveir R. Gershon for his fine, extensive and
detailed reports on the AI Kinnus this past Thursday night at Le Chateau
in Brooklyn, NY.

Being that I was there too for part of the event, I would like to add a
bit to what R. Gershon wrote (e.g. some of what I recall from R. Pinchos
Breuer before R. Gershon arrived). I didn't take notes, so the following
is just from memory. I presume the event will be ' written up' in some
of the 'old fashioned' frum media shortly.....

When I arrived, Rav Pinchos Breuer, Rav of Agudath Israel of Avenue L,
Brooklyn, NY, was addressing the assemblage.

As I recall, he stated that the younger generation was not exposed to an
event of such nature before, unlike the older generation who went through
World War II, etc. (so presumably the younger generation was more shocked
at the turn of events). He stressed the importance of hakoras hatov
and how fortunate we are to have the USA favorably disposed toward us.

He mentioned a Meshech Chochmah to the effect that even though Klal
Yisroel is compared to kavsa echos bein shivim ze'eivim (one sheep among
seventy wolves), still, there is always at least one of the shivim ze'evim
that support us (does anyone know where this Meshach Chochma is btw?)(and
presumably the USA is in that category at present).

He also remarked that we are now - as stated in a recent selicha -
united by tzoro (agudim batzoro).

Rav Mattisyohu Solomon, IIRC, said that we have to thank Hashem for giving
us this pachad - soon we will be mispaleil 'uvichein tein pachdicha......'
(pachad - al hakerovim whereas morah is al harechokim) which can help
us overcome influence of hevlei hazman....(Rabbeinu Yonah?).

For people who say that they are worried about the agunas and yesomim
from the WTC bombing - did they have similar concern for other agunas
and their children?

Do people have debts to someone else? Such things are miakeiv tefila.....

Derech agav, talking about people who have debts, who borrowed money
and didn't repay, I think it is kidai to mention a vort I heard from Rav
Yochanan Zweig shlit"a, this past tisha be'Av, at the same location where
the kinnus was held, at a tisha be'Av program. He was giving mussar. He
mentioned the loshon of the posuk of 'loveh rosho voli yishaleim'. He
explained that if someone does not have money to pay back, he would
not be called a rosho. He would be an anus or something of that nature,
if he mamash had no money to pay...Rather, he explained, the posuk is
talking about when the loveh DOES has money to pay....However, he just
doesn't, or puts other things ahead of that obligation....he figures
'the malveh can wait' (indefinitely?).....He purchases luxuries /
non-necessities for himself instead of rightfully paying off his debt /
loan right away and making it top priority. Such a person is mishaleim
ro'oh tachas tovah - someone went out of their way to help him and he
stiffs them, by not paying, even when he has the money to do so! That's
why he is called a rosho! He essentially is saying to the other person -
your pain, your agmas nefesh, etc., means nothing to me.....an attitude
of contempt .....kineged the derech haTorah....

The Novominsker rebbe observed that in many cases vorts have become like
chassunas - something which is not proper, wasn't done in the past, and
can bring many problems.....- chessed is very important....people have
to be michazeik one another....you know how much chizuk is needed? How
many opportunities and needs there are for among us?

The crowd was large and overflowed (as the evening went on) onto the
sidewalk outside....I had learned of the event via the 'JM in the AM'
radio program. Only later, a short while before it started, did I see
a poster for it in a place where I davened mincha.

Ksiva vachasima tova and thanks to all those who contribute litovas haKlal
- bifrat miyasdei hachevra, mishtatfim and other parts of this tzibbur.


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Date: Sun, 16 Sep 2001 21:29:33 -0400
From: Moshe Shulman <mshulman@ix.netcom.com>
Re: Lubavitch Philosophy

>From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" 
>RMS's comment:
>>> This idea of 'bittul' to a Tzaddik is NOT a yesod of chassidus, but
>>> something that is common in Russian chasidim. Many other chassidim (and
>>> Rebbes) would dismiss this idea. (It is also hard to support from the
>>> writings and letters of the Alter Rebbe especially in light of the
>>> Tekunos Liozna.)
> My source's comments:
> >Your correspondent is obviously unaware of original Chassidic texts
> >like Noam Elimelech, Kedushas Levi and Tiferes Shelomoh (to pick just 3

I am familiar with all three. (I would like to challenge the source
to give me 5 places in Kedushas Levi where he discusses anything like
this issue.) As to the other sources (Both of which I have learned
extensively) they discuss the medregos of the Tzaddik, but in no way do
they have any relationship to this idea expounded.

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

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Date: Mon, 17 Sep 2001 12:49:25 EDT
From: RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com
Re: Sechar v'Onesh

In a message dated 9/12/2001 8:02:44pm EDT, David Hojda dhojda1@juno.com writes:
> Rabbeinu Bachya seems to parallel the Ramban to some extent, but leaves
> off belief in sechar v'onesh.

> 1) Why does the Ramban think belief in reward and punishment is essential?

The Rambam's 13 articles are AIUI each against a specifc brand of heresy.
In this case, it is the Sadduccean heresy. Schar vo'onesh was rejected by 
"Tzadok and Baisus" as per their mis-understanding of Antigonos Ish Socho. 
{IIRC this is in Avos Derabeinu Nosson.)  Bepashtus, the Rambam was warning 
against going down the same path.

Shana Tovah
Rich Wolpoe
Moderator - TorahInsight@yahoogroups.com
"Knowledge without Insight is like a horse in a library" - Vernon Howard    

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Date: Mon, 17 Sep 2001 14:44:12 EDT
From: RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com
Re: What is Emunah

In a message dated 9/12/2001 8:02:56pm EDT, hmaryles@yahoo.com writes:
> ? Is
> it perhaps as R. Uziel Milevsky z"l says that it is not about pure
> belief... that it is about "complete commitment" to belief?

> Can one be an Agnostic and be a Jew in good standing with G-d, if he
> srupulously practices all of the Mitzvos in the Torah? If the answer is
> yes, then what is the meaning of L'Shma for such an individual?

I was told that one of the newer translatoins of the Rambam (Kapach
IIRC) syas that the Rambam actually meant - Leida sheyeish Eloka and
not leha'amin sheyeish Eloka...

AIUI, understanding that there is a G-0d or Knowing - as in experiencing
G-d is required. Blind Faith is not really required.

This would be consistent with the Rambam's general tendencies towards
a kind of rationalism that is modifed by a knowledge of G-d (a type of
Gnosis if you will).

Not necessarily Maimonidean, you can also use Mesorah. We can accept
as simple truth that our ancestors experienced the Living G-d at Ytzias
Mitzrayim and at Sinai. Then knowing G-d is not a personal experience
per se, but a trust in the process of Mesorah - after all we are still
here somehow after all these years!

To this the Rambam might add a mitvah to "KNOW" G-d as in to deeply
experience or to realize G-d on a personal level is another mitzva,
similar to Ahavas Hashem.

Then believing in G-d becomes almost moot. The Mitzva evolves to

Shana Tovah
Rich Wolpoe
Moderator - TorahInsight@yahoogroups.com
"Knowledge without Insight is like a horse in a library" - Vernon Howard    

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Date: Wed, 19 Sep 2001 21:26:22 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Dimmer switches on Y"T

Speaking with RYGB before R"H, we realized the physics of dimmers wasn't
well clarified here.

Dimmers do NOT vary the amount of electricity that runs through the
wire. That would require redirecting too much current through a
resistor within the dimmer instead of the bulb. The design actually
used saves total power consumption when the lights are dimmed.

What is done is the dimmer varies what percentage of time the light
is on. It is cycled on and off with the frequency of the AC power
line (60Hz in the US; 50Hz in Israel). The percentage of that 1/60th
or 1/50th of a second for which the power is on is controlled by
the dimmer knob.

I therefore do not see grounds for permitting adjusting it on Y"T.


Micha Berger                 "The most prevalent illness of our generation is
micha@aishdas.org            excessive anxiety....  Emunah decreases anxiety:
http://www.aishdas.org       'The Almighty is my source of salvation;  I will
Fax: (413) 403-9905          trust and not be afraid.'" (Isa 12) -Shalhevesya

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Date: Wed, 19 Sep 2001 21:33:00 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Yissurim for non-ma'aminim

I argued in the past that yissurim could be a meaningful concept even
when the person is a kofeir. Others argued against.

Current events provide an example of what I'm speaking. The American
people didn't -- on the whole -- look at the WTC tragedy, didn't ask
why HKBH would allow it to occur, and thereby get spurred to teshuvah.

And yet, the tragedy has had a signficant positive hashpa'ah. There is
more of sense of unity. More random acts of kindness. Both Mayor
Guilliani and former Gov. Cuomo noted that the challenge now facing
society here is to maintain that culture even when not in times of

This is exactly what I was referring to. Nisyonos can shake people out
of bad ruts even if they don't consciously choose to, even even they
don't believe in the One Who shook them.


Micha Berger                 "The most prevalent illness of our generation is
micha@aishdas.org            excessive anxiety....  Emunah decreases anxiety:
http://www.aishdas.org       'The Almighty is my source of salvation;  I will
Fax: (413) 403-9905          trust and not be afraid.'" (Isa 12) -Shalhevesya

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Date: Thu, 20 Sep 2001 08:59:48 -0400 (EDT)
From: Eli Turkel <turkel@icase.edu>
Hashem judging on RH

I heard a derasha on the second day of RH in which the rabbi stated
repeatedly that right now we are being judged by hashem on RH.

It occured to me that since the second day of RH is only rabbinical it is
not clear that it affects G-d's modem of judgement. Assuming that there
are differences between RH and aseret yemei hateshuva is it clear that
a rabbinical decree of 2 days RH (whether 2 days or one long day seems
to be immaterial) would affect G-d's judgment?

I am asking this on the philosophical/haskafa level and not on the
halakhic level of what are our prayers on RH.

Gmar Chatima tova,
Eli Turkel

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Date: Thu, 20 Sep 2001 09:17:02 -0400
From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>

We say  zachrenu lechayim
                zocher yetzurav lechayim
but          Uchesov lechayim tovim

and then combine them,
                  Besefer chayim..........lechayim tovim.

What is the distinction between chayim and chayim tovim,  and when do we
ask for one and when the other.


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Date: Thu, 20 Sep 2001 09:55:09 -0400
From: Stuart Klagsbrun <SKlagsbrun@agtnet.com>
RE: Hashem judging on RH

On Thursday, September 20, 2001 9:00 AM, Eli Turkel <turkel@icase.edu>
>                                                     Assuming that there
> are differences between RH and aseret yemei hateshuva is it clear that
> a rabbinical decree of 2 days RH (whether 2 days or one long day seems
> to be immaterial) would affect G-d's judgment?

Perhaps we should just think of it as the Rabbonon having called the bais 
din shel mai'loh back into session for an extra appeal of our case.


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