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Volume 08 : Number 079

Wednesday, December 26 2001

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Wed, 26 Dec 2001 14:46:26 EST
From: RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com
Re: Halachic Methodology

In a message dated 12/26/01 10:39:05am EST, acgerstl@hotmail.com writes:
> "Amar Rebbi Lezar Ke-shem She-assur Letaheir et ha-tamei kach assur
> letamei et ha-tahor".

> He indicates that this TY is cited in SEMAG Assiin 111 and in the Hagaot
> Maimoniot, Hilchot Mamrim, 1:5. Similarly as to Issur Ve-Heter he cites
> TY AZ end of c.2: "Ke-shem she assur lehatir et ha-assur kach assur
> leasor et ha-mutar".

I agre that Ideally psak is neutral towards chumra and kullah. I am
reading the Bio of R. Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz. There is a footnote
ther that troubles me a lot..
It says a doctor has rachmanus on rich people more than on poor because
they help him make a better living - while - a Rav takes more time to
pasken the she;eilah of a poor man's chicken implying it is no big deal
to treif up a rich man's chicken becuase after all he can afford it! and
the poor man cannot!

This has me seething. In my hahskfah both doctors and poskim should be
objective and honest enough to find the truth of the situation and not
be distracted by the WHO of the situatoin. Such Subjectivity as to
who is the patient and who is getting their chiken paskened betrays a
hashkafah I do not like.

Kakaton kagadol tishma'un implies finding the emes and not being concerned
with WHO the audience is.

[Email #2. -mi]

In a message dated 12/26/01 10:38:39am EST, acgerstl@hotmail.com writes:
> 1. As to the SA/REMA in CM25 applying outside of the area of CM and thus to 

> Issur Ve-Heter: the SA/REMA make several references to Issur Ve-Heter 
> situations.

Indeed you are correct.  AFAIK though in the Tur and the nos'ei Keilim {ayein 
sham} the issue of isur v'heter ONLY comes up re: loss or property. - eg. if 
I treif up your chicken by being toeh bidvar mishan OR beshikkul hada'as by 
psak cause you a loss.  The Tur etc. does NOT address the case of - If I 
publish a sefer suggesting that all chickens SHOULD be treifed based upon my 
svara whilst ingoring all of the subsequent poskim.  

This is critical to understanding the difference in dayan she'ta'a and
the case of simply ignoring precedent in the more academic side of psak

> 2. As to the general concept of deferrng to earlier generations, especially 
> Amoraim deferring to Tannaim:
> See the article 'Ha-Chatimah Ha-Sifrutit' Ke-Yesod Be-Chalukah Le-Tekufot 
> Be-Halachah in Mechkarim Be-Sifrut Ha-Talmudit..., Ha-Academia Ha-Leumit 
>          ... 3. A wide-spread acceptance among Chachmei Yisrael (which
> may take place over an extended period) of a Halachic work.
> IIUI, he favours the third explanation.

There is no doubt the Talmud Bavli - and the Mishan before it - were
accorded a special status

There is also no doubt that the Mishan - while auhotirative - was NOT
exhaustive and the the Talmud felt OK about digging into Braisos and
Toseftos in order to modify simple pshat in a mishna or to override it
entirely. (see Arvei Pshachim re: Mishnas R. Meir about 101) Nevertheless,
even when over-ridding a Mishan it was not ignored NOR its original text
emended to conform with psak.

Simlarly, Tosafos is not afraid to step outside the TB box and cite
Yerushalmi, Psikta and Tosefta - at LEAST to be melamed zchus for
a minhag. I nthose casess he does not Overlook the TB, but he does
over-ride its conclusion based upon other contemporary sources. No matter
how enshrined TB is, it was never - or at least rarely considered the
ONLY authoritative sourcde - jsut the PRIMARY source. just as Mishna is
the Pirmary source of Tannaitic literarute but NOT the excluxive source.

Mishna and TB are in a sense "first among equals" - more like a Prime
Minister than a President - or is that Precedent?
> He also adds that the fact that Chachamim of a later era will not override
> those of an earlier era is a generalized gross phenonmenon i.e. those of
> a later era as a general group do not override those of an earlier era,
> but in specific cases a Chacham may override a decision of a Chacham of
> an earlier era after much research and consideration (see especially at
> p. 182: ...rak achar eyun u-bedikah mefuleshet...)

In my preliminary research I am seeing this also. I.E. A great poseik
CAN overturn traditional psak and precdent by going back to the Talmud
BUT he must DEAL with the mainstream psak first. IOW, he may OVERRIDE
but he may NOT OVERLOOK.
Anyone who goes back to the Talmud and paskens an original psak and
overlooks the poskim's take on the sugya is at least to'eh beshikul hada's
and arguably to'eh bidvar mishnah. OTOH if he sees the sources and then
explains them as having been predicated on a faulty pre-suppositoin,
one MAY override them.

{IMHO the notion of Aveilus of Sphira as being a "takkanah" or "gzeria"
and therefore MUST conform to traditional models of aveilus is a fajulty
assumption. It is clear that Mizktzs aveilus evolved as a minhag.
Why this subset and not others is IMHO related specfically to those
things omitted on chol Hamoed i.e. Cuttring hairi, Weddins and reducing
Melachah. The historical context may reveal that the origin of Sfirah's
minhaggim have to do with it being like a reduced chol Hamoed that
evolved into aveilus. At any rate, there is no evidence of A Talmudic
Takkanah and to superimpose Talmudic norms of Aveilus is a form of ex
post facto pilpulistic revision which happens when you approach Halachah
as A-Historical)

Similarly: when Briskers ask a kushiya on the Rambam, are they required
to check out the {lemahsal} Kessef Mishneh's teirutz fist or can they
indepndenlty reaearch w/o regard to the KM?

In my hashkafah they may do so in Lamdus but NOT in psak!    
> There is a general deference to the Chachamim of an earlier era but a
> discretion left to those of a later era to differ but only after much
> research and in a situation of Tzorech Gadol.

It is possible that precedent CAN be overrdden even w/o a tzorech gadol
IF/WHEN the poseik can demonstrating convincingly an error triggered the
psak of the Rishonim. But I agree, in lamdus this is OK and in practice
it is better avoied unless we have a real tzorech. {now we really need
a thread on 
    Hora'as Sha'ah
    Eis La'asos}

IMHO this explains the GRA's trigger for reformulating the zmanim against
Rabbeinu Tam's psak - which was after all nispahset - was davka becasue
Vilna was an extreme lattitude! That explains why Southern Germans
and others kept more like the Magen Avraham's shita of Alos to Tzeis -
becasue after all the lattitude in Frankfort was not so extreme.

Another EG:
Omitting Piyyutim letzorech tirchah detzibbura is IMHO ok. Eliminating it
because of hefsek is IMHO going against what had already been nispashet
in Ashkenaz.

In my own shul we trimmed down many piyyuttim on Yamim Tovim because
so few could follow them anyway and it extended the davening. But I
always did so folloowing precedents that the sul itself used. We had a
pattern of saying some yotzros and omitting others on the 4 parshiyyos.
I then followed that same patterh for YT. So even when making changes,
I was sensitive enough to follow an existing precedent. {See my other
post re: Adding back slichos to YK. When doing so, one sould be aware
and conscous of what Tradition and precdent has already said.})

[Email #3. -mi]

In a message dated 12/26/01 10:39:08am EST, kennethgmiller@juno.com writes:
> Rabbi Wolpoe also posted <<< To me, a minhag is essentially a reflection
> of a psak that never made it into a text. >>>

> I always thought the exact opposite: A d'rabanan is something which
> the rabbis thought up, and became binding when the people ratified
> it by majority action.                  ... In contrast, a minhagim
> generally start with the people, and become binding when all (most?) of
> the community accepts it, unless the rabbis knock it as a Minhag Shtuss
> or some such other protest.

Drabbanan is tricky. Most derabanans are not simple takkanos or gzerios.
They are extensoins of d'raissos based upon certain drashos and asmachtos.
People approval is not so pahsut a requirement, only a GZEIRA is subject
to that kind of ratification.

with Minhag it is possible that it was first triggered by the masses
and then ratified by Poskim
BUT I would suspect that is ONLY the case were these minhaggim do NOT
conflict with basic Shas and poskim
The only way - AISI - that poskim would stand for a minhag that was
in conflict is giving it a chazakah that there IS a vlaid underlying

A) Aruch hashulchan re: Sukkah and Shmini Atzeres. There MUST have been
a psak due to climate etc.
B) Tosafos re: Mayyim acharonim. There must have been a decisoin due to
the lack of Melach Sdomis
C) Tosafos re: Tefillin on Women. Pshat in the Gmara seesm to allow
it. So he brings a psikta with another Girsa.
D) Insertions of acharienu and Mi Chamocha. The gmara allows no additoins
in the first 3 and last 3. Tzorchei Rabbim is different

If a minhag evolved against Shas and poskim AND it was not seen as predicated 
upon a valid psak along the way, it would IMHO constitute Minhag Shtus.

I used to think that not sitting in the Sukkah on Sh. Atz. as shtus
becasuse it is an open and shut Gmara plus SA. Only in a thread on this
in Avodah did I learn of SOME dissenting Rishonim. Then I learned the
Yerushalmi. The Aruch HaShulchan makes it a plausible situation relying
upon a presumed pska with a good svara. Im kein the minhag is limited to
the case wher the climate makes optional sukkah sitting highly irregular -
causing a defacto ba'al tosif in a way

OTOH, if this wre triggered ONLY by careless observance on the part of
the people, I see no reason to perpetuate it. My entire shita is based
upon a pre-supposiont that there was a lost psak.

>>At least one item on that list (women avoiding tefillin) is post-gemara
>>and can be an example for this thread about what psakim are binding.

There is a sugya in Shas on women and Tefilin and Tosafos prohbits based
upon the same ma'aseh in a Psikta

>>But most or all of the others -- and at the very least Yom Tov Sheni
-- are from BEFORE the gemara. They were enactments of the Sanhedrin,
which has an entirely different set of rules. This thread is a very
interesting exercise, so long as we keep to discussing the authority
of the Gemara and post-Gemara poskim. But discussing the authority of
the Sanhedrin is a whole 'nother ball game. I can't imagine post-Gemara
individual with the pleitzes to dare such a thing.<<

I'm not aware of the sugay re: YT sheini being from a Sanhedrin.
Source please.

In my POV, the BIG break came between the pre-Churban Sanhedrin and the
world of NO SANHEDRIN. The Sanhedrin in Yavneh, Usha Zippori, etc. are
kind of a gray area.

I see Mishna and TB as dreviing their authority indirectly from the last
Sanhedrin. But IMHO it is arguable that so do Braissos, Tosefta's and
Yershalmi and Psikta's and Pireki R. Eliezer etc. - Maybe Zohar too

RRW:< If there is a real hardship on the klal, then it may be a time
for action. >>>

Akiva Ken Miller <<When there is a "real hardship on the klal", then
the built-in rules of Shaas Hadchak kick in, and there is often NO NEED
to take any special action. In fact, medicine on Shabbos is my favorite
example of this!>>

Two angles
1) there is no need to change the basic Halachah in this case because -
AISI - a poseik can be meikel on a case by case basis. The mihsna re:
Rabban Gamleil and bathing during shiv'a is a case in point. We need NOT
alter the letter of the law in the Halachah in order to make exceptoins
for an istenis!

{FWIW Rabban Gamleit's shita in general seesms to be, keep the Halachah
as is, but apply it in a liberal fashion. He was liberal in accepting
wintesses for Kiddush Hashcoes alibet they obivously lied in an other
part of their testimony. R Yehoshua dissented, but Rabban Gamliel's
point was kind of the needs justify the means. This is the correct time,
so who cares if the eidim were flawed.}

2) I was referring to serious distress such as caused by the Aguna
situation. Staying within the Halachic Box has IMHO failed to yield a
satisfying resolution so far.

Regards and Kol Tuv,

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 26 Dec 2001 16:27:29 -0500
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Re: Rambam

At 09:09 PM 12/18/01 +0000, Micha Berger wrote:
>To put it even more firmly, I think asserting that one is /not/ a
>reflection of the other would require explanation. Why offer sechar for
>anything other than accomplishing one's tafqid?

It is clear to methat the Rambam sees Olam ha'Bo as a reflection of your 
spiritual stature in this world to a far greater extent than everyone else 
who see OH as a physical place, but it would also seem that since souls are 
eternal, some measure of the eternal soul is by definition in that OH.

Is that at all clear?

Kol Tuv,
ygb@aishdas.org      http://www.aishdas.org/rygb

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 26 Dec 2001 16:16:31 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Out of context

On Wed, Dec 19, 2001 at 11:40:25PM -0500, RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com wrote:
: Q: is the Rambam's dei'a = Gnosis?

My guess it is closer to Aristotle's notion of redemption through
knowledge. In the mashal I cited earlier, in Morah Nevuchim 3:51,
the philosopher -- not the mystic -- approaches the palace. The Rambam
describes Aristotle as a step below a navi. Third, he also seems to share
A's notion that a refined person ethical as an expression of that wisdom;
the essential goal is wisdom, ethics are an effect thereof. Although the
Rambam also speaks much of mitzvos as a cause of da'as, not only an
effect, I would think it likely he agreed with A's prioritization.


Micha Berger                 A cheerful disposition is an inestimable treasure.
micha@aishdas.org            It preserves health, promotes convalescence,
http://www.aishdas.org       and helps us cope with adversity.
Fax: (413) 403-9905                - R' SR Hirsch, "From the Wisdom of Mishlei"

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 26 Dec 2001 16:18:39 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Hashem 'Imakhem

In a message dated 12/20/01 9:13:59pm EST, dbnet@barak-online.net writes:
:> Also in Bnei Akiva circles the terms are sometimes used a a greeting.

On Fri, Dec 21, 2001 at 10:42:31AM -0500, RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com wrote:
: I'm guessing this is  probably NOT as a minhag - rather a new revival of 
: Tanachy style.

Vehara'ayah -- if it were a minhag, they wouldn't shirk from using sheim
Adnus rather than "Hashem".


Micha Berger                 A cheerful disposition is an inestimable treasure.
micha@aishdas.org            It preserves health, promotes convalescence,
http://www.aishdas.org       and helps us cope with adversity.
Fax: (413) 403-9905                - R' SR Hirsch, "From the Wisdom of Mishlei"

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 26 Dec 2001 16:22:15 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Rav Berkowitz

On Fri, Dec 21, 2001 at 12:41:00AM -0500, kennethgmiller@juno.com wrote:
: <<I have argued here that the writing of TSBP is 'merely' "eino reshai",
: not assur. Which would mean that need created a shift in lifnim mishuras
: hadin priority to record it. >>>

: I agree that "not recommended" is different than "forbidden". But I would
: translate "eino reshai" as "not allowed", and "assur" as "forbidden";
: how are they different?

I would reverse the question: if they are not different, then why isn't
the more usual "assur" used?

But my stronger argument is the other half of the ma'amar. I think you
would agree that E"R there does not mean that it is assur to quote three
or more words of a pasuq without a written text in front of you.

Third, what's the issur? If de'Oraisa, which of the Taryag does it from
from? If deRabbanan, which does it protect or enhance?


Micha Berger                 A cheerful disposition is an inestimable treasure.
micha@aishdas.org            It preserves health, promotes convalescence,
http://www.aishdas.org       and helps us cope with adversity.
Fax: (413) 403-9905                - R' SR Hirsch, "From the Wisdom of Mishlei"

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 26 Dec 2001 16:30:36 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Sarah w/o womb

On Thu, Dec 20, 2001 at 10:14:49PM -0500, Saraneddie@aol.com wrote:
: 1) The Torah itself makes no direct (peshat) mention of Sarah's cause
: of infertility. The meforshim address the extraneous phrase of "ein la
: velad." ...

What about the other half of the dilemma we are trying to resolve? "...
[C]hadal lihyos liSarah orach kanashim" (Ber 18:11)? Doesn't
this imply someone who 1- once has such "orchos"; and 2- is now post-

#1 was our question on your understanding of the medrash under discussion.
It seems to be soseir a simple pasuq. Since the pasuq implies that she once
had orchos kanashim then the medrash can NOT mean she lacked a uterus. (Or,
it is just plain wrong. Or nishtanah hateva, in which case dam niddah is
/not/ what is experienced today, allowing for many absurd heterim in 
taharas hamishpachah.)

"Beis velad" therefore must mean something else, which is why we were
looking for "wiggle room" to allow for other translations.


Micha Berger                 A cheerful disposition is an inestimable treasure.
micha@aishdas.org            It preserves health, promotes convalescence,
http://www.aishdas.org       and helps us cope with adversity.
Fax: (413) 403-9905                - R' SR Hirsch, "From the Wisdom of Mishlei"

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 26 Dec 2001 16:38:26 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: flax and sheep / wool in ancient Mitzrayim

On Sat, Dec 22, 2001 at 11:02:35PM -0500, Phyllostac@aol.com wrote:
: I recalled that pishtim (flax) was a signature crop of Mitzrayim back in the 
: old days...

: Being that wool and flax were the main (?) textile 'crops' of the ancient 
: world, what relationship, if any, did the fact that sheep were 'toeivah' to 
: the Mitzriyim have to the fact that they were famous for growing pishtim ?

Perhaps, and I realize I'm stretching here, it was because the Mitzriyim
wanted to emulate Kayin rather than Hevel. They therefore looked to
build cities and monuments, as per benei Kayin. And also looked to
growing pishtan rather than tzon.

On the pragmatic side, shepherding is not as condusive to settling in one
place and building a city. And if your water supply is a single river,
grazing could be considered a bad thing.

This "balebatishe" teiretz is not /instead/ of the Kayin vs Hevel
idea, but another aspect thereof. The first farmer is the father of
"civilization" for a reason.


Micha Berger                 A cheerful disposition is an inestimable treasure.
micha@aishdas.org            It preserves health, promotes convalescence,
http://www.aishdas.org       and helps us cope with adversity.
Fax: (413) 403-9905                - R' SR Hirsch, "From the Wisdom of Mishlei"

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 26 Dec 2001 09:20:43 -0800 (PST)
From: Lawrence Teitelman <lteitelman@yahoo.com>
Re: Torah Temimah

R. Yitzchok Zlochower wrote:
> I wonder if this sefer [TT] would arouse the same
> criticism if it were written by a Rabbinic figure
> rather than a banker (R' Epstein's profession).

While I cannot answer this question in general, it is noteworthy that in
Rabbi Kasher's critique of the TT (discussed briefly by R. Gil Student),
he concludes by 'redeeming' the TT precisely because he was a full-time
banker and the Rabbinate and Torah were *not* his primary pre-occupation.

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 26 Dec 2001 13:44:01 EST
From: RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com
Re: Torah Temimah

In a message dated 12/26/01 10:38:34am EST, Yitzchok Zlochower
zlochoia@bellatlantic.net writes:
> I wonder if this sefer would arouse the same criticism if it were written
> by a Rabbinic figure rather than a banker (R' Epstein's profession).

Wasn't Pinchas Kahati a banker, too?

Regards and Kol Tuv,

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 26 Dec 2001 14:29:10 EST
From: RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com
Re: Torah Temimah

In a message dated 12/26/01 10:38:31am EST, gil_student@hotmail.com writes:
> Rich Wolpoe wrote:
>> 1) FWIW ONE of my hypotheses re: Rashi's TSBP oriented peirsuh on
>> the Torah was to show how the text of Chumash sugested various
>> Midrashim as a counter Karaite technique.

> Did the Karaites have a stronghold in France that caused Rashi to have
> to counter them?

It's just a hypothesis that Rashi felt compelled to tie the TSBK and
the TSBP together. The idea occured to me that Karai'ism was a likely
suspect to trigger this. Maybe there was other anti-Talmuic agigtation -
I do no know for sure.

I do know that if I were an apologist for Midrashim and I had to show
their connection to the subtleties of the text, Rashi is my first choice

OTOH, if I wanted to know pure pshat w/o drash, Rashi;s questions would be
helpful but his tierutzim would not be. While legened has it that Rashi
liked his grandson's Rashabam's Sefer for this purpose - and so do I -
I strongly feel that Rashi presumed that Targum had the pshat and that
everyone who learned his Sefer had a Targum handy. And since Targum had
already covered pshat, Rashi was liberated to go beyond that.

I suspect the value of Torah Temima is in countering Reform

Regards and Kol Tuv,

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 26 Dec 2001 13:29:03 EST
From: RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com
Re: Pelishtim & R. Soloveitchik as academic

In a message dated 12/26/01 10:39:53am EST, remt@juno.com writes:
>  I recall reading that old
> machzorim, right before Zchor rachamecha, would have the instruction
> "Omrim kan s'lichos kanahug." With the passage of time, that line, and
> with it the saying of s'lichos, was eliminated--not because of s'vara.
> RYBS was machazir atarah l'yoshnah....

Perhaps you are correct.

here is MY take
The eliminatoin of Slichos appears to me to be related to the elminatoin
of piyyutim bichlal. Much of which was done w/o regard to Masorah.
See Tur Orach Chaim 68 and the nos'ei Keilim sham

To me the Key phrase above was "kenahug"
To me Kenahug is to look into traditions and texts and to see what was
said by whom etc. This is the methodology of Baer, Avudaraham etc.

I cannot say for sure how RYBS viewed it. I CAN say this, the talmiddim
of his AFIAK did NOT research traditional texts such as the Vilna Kol Bo -
but rather came up with a list based upon svara.

This is a machlokes in Metzius. I know in 1973-1974 two RIETS chaveirim
and I did a basement Yamim Noraim service on Long Island for a community
that had no kosher Beis Knesses. Al Pi RYBS's shita we said Keil Melech's
on the various piyyutim in the Avoday in lieu of saying separate slichos
piyyutim. I happened to have JUST bought my first Vilna Kol Bo machzoer
and noticed that there were gazillions of slichos there already!

FWIW: The Roedleheim has a rich source, too much of it overlapping
the Vilna Kol Bo. Now to be intellectually honest neither my shul nor
Breuer's says more than a subset thereof.

But the Bottom line is this:
Unlike REMT I don't think it is enough lhachizer davar leyoshno to start
saying slichos. I think it takes honest research into what our legacy
has already given us.
Would anyone serisouly consider inventing new Slichos for the 2 weeks
before Yom Kippur? It would be outrageous for most of us. So what makes
it OK to me machizer davar leyoshno and to formulate a brand new set
when we have an existing one?

OK we CAN compose new piyyutim, EG R. Schwab composed a new kina for
the sho'ah. But that was not to supplant the existing Kinnos rather to
supllement it.

I grew up skipping Kinos too. I know of no kehillah that says the book cover 
to cover - and even Breuer's omits several.  But I have not yet seen any 
khillah publish their own subset as a new formula! {althou I have heard this 
done!}  My kehillah has alist of kinnos we DO say. But no one I know would 
seriously suggest republishing the Roedelheim kinnos! 

OTOH I HAVE seen shuls publish their own brand new YK slichos. Why? Why
not do what has always bene done, take the full set and select a subset?
{I know there is at least ONE Math PhD reading this! --smile--}

The answer to me is obvious. To some history and Tradition dictate how
we should behave a s a community and to others, it is OK to re-formulate
based upon new concepts or insights withou regard to see how they have
been preserved all along.

Now I would concede this case: If a Talmid Chacham reseraches a case and
fels the existing formulae are problematic - such as Miachnisie Rahcahmim
- then by all means omit it! I am very pleased that Artscroll published
Machnisei Rachamim with an exapnsion of the controversy over it.

Simiarly, my Tur at home has the full machlokes Tur/BY on one side and
the Darchei Moshe, Prishah and Bach on the other side.

I guess I am disappointed that we do not have a more holistic view of
Tradition. We would be aghast if someone formulated new Halachos w/o
consulting at least the Gmara. But how come we formulate new liturgy
without consulting ITS classical texts? E.g. Siddur R. Saadya Gaon ,
R. Amram Gaon, machozer Vitre, Siddur Rashi, Avudarham, Baer, Yaavetz,
.Shlah, Ba'al hatanay et. al.

Lehavdil imagine composing a symphony wihtout ever hearing Mozart of
Betthoven first? I cannot fathom creating new formulae without begin
steepd into the current ones.

As far as RYBS goes, I never head this from him directly. IF what I read
re: The Baer Siddur at Maimonides is indeed true then let me say this:
RYBS is to be lauedd for encouraging his talmiddim in Boston to master the
classics of liturgy and OTOH RYBS's talmidim at RIETS are to be scolded
for lo shimshu kol tazarchan. Why? Because I rarely see Talmdidim of
the Rav consulting Baer et. al priot to making liturgical changes.

BTW, I just chanced upon Cantor Noah Shall at a recent Bar-Mitzvah I
blamed him for this mess! I told him that it was he that introduced me to
the Baer Siddur about 1973 whilst I attend the then Cantorial Institute
for several courses. It is clear to me that Canotrs Shall, Nulman ,
Beer, Maolvany et. al. are steeped in Seraim like Baer and perhaps others
(e.g Avudarahm) and can speak authoritatively re: the liturgy.

I'm afraid that most rabbanim do not consult these texts first. This is
too bad. The Bes Yoseph relies upon the Avudarham a lot. And the Rema
relied upon the Maharil a lot. THIS is the issue. Our classic Ba'alei
Shulcahn Aruch went outside the Talmudic box and consulted "Experts"
on liturgy when it counted. Most of todays' poskim do not.

And AISI the problem is not that we ignore the Beis Yoseph's and REma's
psak today, it is that we ignore their methodology! Both were steepped
in earlier sources. The BY was careful to follow the Rambam et. al. and
his sefer surveys the Talmud and Poskim chronologically. The Rema is
steeped in the Maharil, Kol Bo etc and is very senstiive to the nature
of Minhagei Ahskenaz.

One of the very few Modern Poskim that perserves this approach is
the Aruch haShulchan. He virtually always researches precdent first -
even when he draws an innovative conlusion. also he is meyashev many
problematic minhaggim and nuschaos in our litrugy. He cared about seeing
classical texts in their proper light and not to preclude them as having
been formulated w/o regard to psak...

Rav Schwab as another who was steeped in liturgy. He is obviously a big
influence - labeit it indirectly - upon my hashkafa. He understood how
each piyyut fit in to the whole picture

Lemashal in dealing with the problem of machnisei Rachamim addressing
"mal'achim" he noted that: following this we davka say: "maran divishmaya
LACH mischanenan!" IOW a disclaimer is made following machnisei so that
the suppllicators realize that after all we ONLY are mischanein to maran
divishmaya {Davka}.

This kind of analysis requires both senstiivity to the text as is and a
holistic view of the text as a Mosaic {pun intented} texture and that
we cannot simply nitpick or snipe at indiviudal lines w/o seeing how
they impact the whole.

Imagine 2nd guessing a chess master when he sacrifices a valuable piece
in a gambit! Only someone unfamiliar with the chess strategy as a whole
would label this as an error! An expert observer familiar with the whole
would see how this fits into the master's strategy.

Similarly, we have poslkim today that choose to overlook the structure
and who reformulate piecemeal! This is because they see a line in the
davening, then they see the Gmara and they note a problem. But they
overlook the context. lefi Rav Schwab the context of Maran Dvisihmaya
IS addressing the problem of Machnisei Rachamim.

BTW, it is clear to me that RYBS was an expert in kinnos, I attended his
Tisha' B'av Kinnos in Boston 3-4 times. I have no doubt that he personally
was aware of the context of many of these Tfillos and Piyyutim. I am
not convinced that most of his talmiddim got this - at least from him.

I did hear R. Yosef Adler in Teaneck lecture on Kol Nidre. it is clear
that he is one Talmid of the Rav who has a sensitity to the liturgy and
nusach. I wish I had his email address --smile---
Regards and Kol Tuv,

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 26 Dec 2001 13:37:24 EST
From: RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com
Re: Rav Ashi's S'michoh

In a message dated 12/26/01 10:40:01am EST, michaeljfrankel@hotmail.com writes:
> nope. the presumption that rav ashi/ravinoh/bavli amoroim lacked a
> s'michoh ... is essentially incorrect- though the impression surely stems
> from the g'moroh's seemingly poshut assertion that there is no s'michoh
> in chutz lo'oretz (B.sanhedrin 14). But the poshut understanding is
> contradicted, and the reality

That is the point in general. Our pashut understandings of how things
happened are often contradicted by reality!

Several EG:s

BY says he follows his BD of 3 - Rambam Rif and Rosh. But in reality he
often does not.

TB says Ravina Rav Ashi so hora'ah but Tosafos and others continue using
Talmudic methodology as if nothing was finalized.

> breuer advanced the suggestion - backed by source texts - that "rav"
> and "rabbi" were precisely the same word, but in bovel - influenced by
> the eastern aramaic habit of dropping final vowels - rabbi morphs into
> rav....

please calrify the title Rav had - i.e. the Talmid of Rebbe - and his lack of
Yatir Bechor etc.

>                                               To deal with the maimroh of
> "godole me'rav rabbi" as i recall, breuer advanced the notion that it was
> simply a temporal description, not an ordering of titles. as a matter of
> precedence, the tannoim (all of whom are israeli and thus called rabbi)
> were perceived as greater than succeeding generations

This is my understanding too

the lack of title is greater becaue it applies to those prior to
Rabban Yochanan BZ who invented the titles Rabban and Rabbi (source
Prof. I. Agus)

I see your point but I am not 100% convinced that Rav=Rabbi.

Regards and Kol Tuv,

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 26 Dec 2001 14:42:19 -0500
From: "Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer" <ygb@aishdas.org>
Fwd: Re: Moshiach

 From my uncle. As I noted earlier, I am not participating any longer
in this conversation.


-----Original Message-----
1. Your corresp. is obviously unaware of the meaning of Divine
omnipotence, i.e., that it does not relate to logical absurdities (see
Emunos Vedeos, Moreh, Ikkorim etc.)
2. Just what is wrong with possibility of immaculate conception??? Is
that our beef with Chr.? Do we object to that in principle?
3. Resurrected Moshiach is no shtus at all (or are you accusing Chazal
etc. of shtuyos when they are the ones who suggest this re Mosheh, Dovid,
Doniel etc.?!). Limiting it to one individual exclusively, and saying
that Gd is restricted to the appointment of one individual, THAT is shtus.
4. He falls into Berger's (and certain roshei yeshivos') trap by feeling
constrained to distance himself from Chr. beliefs. What about their belief
in G-d, the Bible, the concept of Moshiach, the prophetic values etc. -
will we now have to distance ourselves from these as well? We are defined
by our truth and not by the differences between us and them.
5. His suggestion that from an intellectual point of objectivity
we should also have to defend the possibility of "truth" in Islam or
Chr. demonstrates his unbelievable ignorance of his own roots. It is like
suggesting a defense for the possibility of a square circle. Even a ben
chomesh lemikro knows the possuk of atoh horeisso loda'as etc. which ipso
facto disproves the possibility of any other religion. Toroh bagoyim al
ta'amin etc.
6. His definition for "belief" relates exclusively to credulity or
blind faith, not to emunoh. In Judaism there is no such thing: atoh
horeisso LODA'AS!
7. Is Moshiach just a title? Let him learn the defin. of Moshiach in
Hilchos Teshuvoh. Just because Moshe Rabeinu and Moshiach are the greatest
prophets etc. does not mean that I have to go to them. My direct tzinor
is a different one. Let him reread (and this time not just with his eyes
but also try to understand) what I wrote: "my Rebbe will go to his Rebbe"
(and so likewise his Rebbe to his etc.) which suggests that I buy retail
while my Rebbe gets it wholesale etc., but that doesn't mean that I can
get it from the same source as he does. See the halochoch pessukoh in
Avodoh Zoroh 13a, and then see Eiruvin 13a for an example.
8. "We all know about techiyas hameissim." From the way he writes -
obviously not. Just what is his problem or difficulty with what I
wrote? He offers a typical example of mixing chitim and se'orim (in his
vernacular: apples and oranges).
9. "so-called gedolim" - all those who think like he does because they
do not know, or do not study, the sources, which in halochoh is regarded
korov lemeizid.

Go to top.


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