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Volume 09 : Number 031

Thursday, May 16 2002

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Wed, 15 May 2002 17:40:28 GMT
From: kennethgmiller@juno.com
Rosh Chodesh Iyar and Sivan, 2448

I recently started a thread called "Night before day, or after day?",
which ran in Avodah vol 9, nos. 24-29. In that thread I asked if for
sources to an idea I heard that although nowadays our calendar switches
dates in the evening, until Matan Torah, our calendar counted days as
changing in the morning.

R' Gershon Dubin said that Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky held this way
R' Yitzchok Zirkind said that the Hafla'ah discusses it, and gave
references to Encyclopedia Taalmudis Vol. 22 Erech Yom Os 3. (I'll try
to look at it over Yom Tov.)
R' Yitzchok Zlochower said that according to the Rashbam, the day changes
in the morning even nowadays.
R' David Riceman refers to a machlokes between Rashbam and Ibn Ezra.
R' Shalom Simon and R' Gil Student say that even since creation, the
day starts at night.

I had hoped for a more unified consensus, but c'est la vie. I will
now explain why I asked this question, and perhaps some of the above
responses will be more relevant than others.

*After* Matan Torah, it is a very straightforward procedure to see the
New Moon at night and then the next day Beis Din would declare it to be
Rosh Chodesh. Both of those events occur on the same calendar day.

We know that the mitzvah of Kiddush HaChodesh was given before Yetzias
Mitzrayim. *IF* our calendar was on a "night followed the day" schedule
prior to Matan Torah, then I am very puzzled by how that mitzvah would
have been done.

Let's review what we mean when we say that "the night followed the
day". It means, for example, that the first Korban Pesach was shechted on
the afternoon of 14 Nisan, eaten that night, still the *14th* of Nisan,
and Yetzias Mitzrayim was on the following morning, 15 Nisan.

[Note: I will be using the word "Shabbos" here as a reference to the
calendar, in the same sense that we say "They took their sheep on 10
Nisan, which was a Shabbos", and is not necessarily indicative of whether
or not the mitzvos of Shabbos applied yet.]

Okay, a week later we crossed the Yam Suf, and now it is a week later
still, reaching the end if Nisan. Everyone is watching the sky, looking
for the New Moon. I'm not sure what day of the week it was, but for
argument's sake, let's say they saw the molad on Friday night (which,
let me remind you, was not yet Shabbos). The next morning (now it *is*
Shabbos) the Beis Din accepts their testimony and declares Rosh Chodesh
Iyar. (Or, better, Beis Din *might* accept their testimony; if they don't,
then the following day will become Rosh Chodesh Iyar by default.)

Here's my question: Is Shabbos the first day of Iyar, or is it the second?

On the one hand, it sounds odd that the Beis Din might say, "Last night
-- which was yesterday -- they saw the New Moon, and therefore today,
Shabbos, is the New Month!" (Sure, Beis Din *could* deliberately delay
Rosh Chodesh if they wanted to, but they do that by *rejecting* the
day's testimony, not by *accepting* it!)

But, perhaps, it would have been even more bizarre if they said,
"Yesterday they saw the New Moon, and therefore we hereby declare
*yesterday* to have been Rosh Chodesh!"

I am wondering if anyone ever saw or heard anything which addresses this
situation. Given the two weird alternatives above, a third possibility
comes to mind: Could it be that Beis Din might convene at night in such
a case?

I once heard that there are times when Beis Din might convene at night
for a Get; maybe this situation is comparable? If so, then the molad
could have been seen on Friday night, and then sometime later that night,
Beis Din would declare the *current* day (which began on Friday morning
and will end on Saturday morning) to be Rosh Chodesh. Clean and simple,
provided that our only concern is the calendar; it's too late to be makriv
the Korban Musaf, but I don't think we had received that mitzvah yet.

Any thoughts? Or, even better, any sources?

P.S.: In case anyone is wondering what led me to these questions, it
is because I think that this information is critical for answering a
question posed by Rabbi Bechhofer in Areivim on April 6, under the subject
"Yeshurun Journal, Further Luach Query": <<< The Shem mi'Shmuel says the
molad of the first Nisan, that of Parashas Bo, was at midnight Mitzrayim
time, and therefore would not have been seen until sheki'ah the next day,
if not b'derech nes. Anyone know any way to confirm or deny that? >>>

If Nisan 10 (mentioned in Parshas HaChodesh) was Shabbos HaGadol, then
Nisan 1 (Rosh Chodesh) must have been a Thursday. R' Sholom Simon already
did the math concerning what time of day that molad appeared. I am going
a step further and asking whether we are looking for that molad to be
on Wednesday night or on Thursday night.

Akiva Miller

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Date: Wed, 15 May 2002 14:01:40 -0400
From: "David Glasner" <dglasner@ftc.gov>
Re: Hallel on Rosh Chodesh

Our esteemed chaveir RSBA wants to know why we say Hallel on Rosh Chodesh.
All I can say, Reb Shlomo, is that I am shocked (shocked!) to see that
you have not studied carefully the responsum of my grandfather, R. Akiva
ben R. Moshe Shmuel, on the observance of Yom ha-Atzmaut in the state of
Israel and in the Diaspora which can be found on the Dor Revi'i website.
For if you had studied the responsum you would have read the following
excerpt which fully answers your query.

Now the recitation of Hallel on Rosh Hodesh, in particular with a
blessing, and in public is a settled halakhah. Yet from a simple
reading of the sugya in the Talmud it appears that we do not say
Hallel at all. See Erakhin 10a and Ta'anit 28 and the Tosafot and
the Rosh there. And the Mehaber himself in Orah Hayim 122 brings the
opinion of the Rambam and the custom of Eretz Yisrael not to recite a
blessing either before or after Hallel. I will not explain at length
the differing opinions because there is not the place to do so. But
go out and see whether anyone in all the communities of the Diaspora
has ever questioned saying Hallel with a blessing on Rosh Hodesh, a
practice with no basis in the Talmud, and, on the contrary, one that
appears to be contrary to the conclusion of the Talmud. The recitation
of Hallel on Rosh Hodesh, as is the universal custom, was instituted
because the renewal of the moon symbolizes the renewal of the kingdom
of the House of David which should be fulfilled speedily in our days
amen. The renewal of the kingdom is symbolized in the Hallel in the verse
(Psalms 118:22): "the stone that the builders despised has become the
cornerstone." This refers to the coming of the Messiah, the son of David,
King of Israel, which is why we say in the blessing for the new moon "that
they are destined to be renewed like it" (she-heim atidin l'hithadeish
k'motah). And we recite Hallel and praise in anticipation of the future
(see my essay on Shabbat Shirah in Ikvei ha-Tzon). Can there then be any
further doubt that there is an obligation to say Hallel (with or without
a blessing) on the fifth of Iyar on which the founding of the state was
declared? There is no judge, in my humble opinion, who need be ashamed
to say so. ad kan l'shono ha-tahor v'ha-zahav

David Glasner

P.S. By the way, Reb Shlomo, I noticed that volume 6 of that favorite of
mine, Moshion shel Yisroel, has just hit the stands of my local bookstore.
I'm sure you'll understand that I wasn't able to read it from cover to
cover while standing in the bookstore, so I was just wondering if you know
whether it contains any juicy l'shon ha-ra about any members of my family.

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Date: Wed, 15 May 2002 19:54:58 +0200
From: S Goldstein <goldstin@netvision.net.il>
Re: RT vs science

From: "Harry Maryles" <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
> The Gemmarah itself is
> replete with statements about reality which have now been
> unequivically disproven in some cases those beleifs
> actually effect Halacha. So the question stands. Does
> beleif preceed rationality or does rationality preceed
> beleif?

I think there are very few such statements in the very broad Gemara.
I think the halacha can be answered in ways that do NOT contradict
rationality. I'd be happy to explore these questions together.

Shlomo Goldstein

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Date: Wed, 15 May 2002 14:06:44 -0400
From: "Gil Student" <gil_student@hotmail.com>
Re: RT vs science

Shlomo Goldstein wrote:
>Perhaps it is possible to say that Chazal merely spoke in a metaphor of the 
>sun circling the Earth. Perhaps the Gemara in Pesachim is not to be 
>understood literally.

The Radal says this at the end of his introduction to Pirkei DeRabbi 

Micha wrote:
>Chazal had a mesorah for the din, and were looking for justification. Even 
>if their sevarah was off, it's a post facto explanation rather than a cause 
>for the din.

The Minchas Cohen 1:10 suggests this.

Harry Maryles wrote:
>Perhaps. I don't know if we can ever know exactly what RT beleived about 
>the facts of nature but it is reasonable to assume that he believed in what 
>was the best
>available scientific knowledge of that time. The Gemmarah itself is replete 
>with statements about reality which have now been unequivically disproven 
>in some cases
>those beleifs actually effect Halacha. So the question stands. Does beleif 
>preceed rationality or does rationality preceed beleif?

Regarding science it's a machlokes.

Gil Student

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Date: Wed, 15 May 2002 14:14:10 -0400
From: "David Glasner" <dglasner@ftc.gov>
Dor Revi'i's Essay on Zionism (part II)


II. Faith or Nation

Whoever says that the Torah prescribes only a religious law or a faith
makes a fundamental error. The Torah is a civil law, and, at bottom, it
is the condition for the national existence and its state. The purpose
of the first commandment that our father Abraham was commanded, the
commandment of circumcision, was to mark a distinguishing mark between
the descendants of Abraham and all other people. The Sabbath, which is
"a sign between Me and between the children of Israel" (Exodus 31:13) is
the national property of the Jewish people. That is why our Sages said:
"A Gentile that observes the Sabbath is liable to the death penalty"
(Sanhedrin 58a). The Gentile, who is not from the children of Israel,
commits a capital offense by observing the Sabbath. Almost all the
other commandments are tied to historical events, for example: hameitz
and matzah, the pascal sacrifice, tephilin, redemption of the first born,
gid ha-nasheh and the like. Many of them are tied to living on the land,
for example Sukkot (Deuteronomy 16:13: "when you make your ingathering
from your granary and winepress"), the four species from the vegetation
of the land, Shavuot at the time of the wheat harvest, the Omer on Pesach
to permit consumption of the newly harvested grain within the boundaries
of the land, the twin loaves on Shavuot and all the commandments that are
dependent on the land of Israel, orlah, klai ha-kerem, shemitah, yoveil,
t'rumot and ma'aserot, the appointment of judges and officers (See Ramban,
poroshat Shoftim) and other similar commandments. Similarly the various
commandments concerning the bringing of sacrifices are all based on the
assumption of the existence of a land of our own, the land of Israel.

The Ramban writes in poroshat Va-ethanan and in poroshat Toldot on
the verse (Genesis 26:5) "and he kept my charge" that the commandments
principally apply on the land, as is implied by the plain meaning of
numerous verses (Deuteronomy 4:5 "Behold, I have taught you statutes and
ordinances, as the L-rd my G-d has commanded me, that you should do them
in the land which you are entering to take possession of it"; Deuteronomy
4:14 "and the L-rd commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and
ordinances, that you might do them in the land that you are going over
to possess"; Deuteronomy 5:31 "But you, stand here by Me, and I will tell
you all the commandment and statutes and ordinances that you shall teach
them, that they may do them in the land which I give them to possess.")

Also the Sifri, brought by Rashi in poroshat Eiqev, says on the verse
"and you shall put my words on your heart" (Deuteronomy 11:18)

Even if after you are exiled from land be distinguished by the
commandments, wear tephilin, make mezuzot, so that the laws should not
seem new to you when you return. And so does Jeremiah say (Jeremiah
31:20) "make signs for yourselves."

See also the responsum of my holy ancestor the Hatam Sofer z.l., at the
end of Yoreh Dei'ah who wondered how the Rambam established belief in
the coming of the Messiah as a fundamental tenet of faith, so that if the
foundation falls, so does the entire structure. For are we not enjoined
to observe the commandments even if we should we never return to our land.
(See Hatam Sofer, Yoreh Dei'ah, 356) Now, though I am dust beneath the
feet of my holy ancestor, of blessed memory, I have written at length
in a responsum, that with apologies to the honor of his learning, he was
carried away and forgot the words of the Ramban mentioned above which he
himself cited in his commentary on Gittin concerning one who sold his
slave to a master outside the land of Israel in which case the slave
goes free because the fulfillment of the commandments outside the land
of Israel are considered a nullity inasmuch as one who dwells outside
the land of Israel resembles one who has no G-d, as the Ramban wrote,
the principal application of the commandments is in the land of Israel.
(Hidushei Hatam Sofer, Gittin 8a) This is the upshot of his explanation.
Therefore it is certainly a great and awesome tenet of faith to believe
that we will return to the land of our fathers, for only there in the
capacity of a free nation (am hophshi) inhabitants of the land shall
we be able to develop and to become a wise and understanding people and
a kingdom of priests and holy nation. And his question concerning the
ten tribes is not difficult at all, as I have explained there.

It is clear, then, that anyone who does not believe in the future of
the Jewish people in its historical homeland twists the Torah from its
plain meaning. That is why when a Gentile comes to convert to Judaism
he must first pledge solidarity (?) with the Jewish people, as in the
words of Ruth the Moabite: "Your people shall be my people, and your
G-d my G-d" (Ruth 1:16). My opinion, then, is that the proclamation
that it is possible to belong to the Jewish faith while also belonging
to the Hungarian, German or Slavic nationalities is absolute heresy
and the prohibition against such heresy is of such severity that one
is obligated to be killed rather than to transgress it (yei'hareig v'al
ya'avor). I therefore cannot understand how our rabbis, the leaders of
the Hungarian Orthodox Jewish community could have officially announced
that the Orthodox Jews uphold Judaism as a religious community, but
that they have nothing to do with the Judaism as a nationality, that
they see themselves as Hungarians of the first rank and don't perceive
any distinction between themselves and the ethnic Hungarians except
their religion. This proclamation will remain in the annals of the
Jewish people as a disgraceful, indelible stain on Hungarian Orthodoxy.

It is wrong to see the Torah as a simple religious law for the following
reason: all obligatory religions stand on the foundation that they
alone entitle a person to reward and they therefore aspire to gather
to themselves the hearts of all mankind, whereas the Torah of Israel,
the law of a national state, excludes members of other nationalities
from the group that must fulfill its religious laws while also admitting
that not only the Jewish religion grants reward but that everyone who
believes in the Master of the Universe and fulfills the Seven Noahide
Laws can be rewarded.

It seems to me that I have said enough about the question whether we are
a nation or a religious community. The discussion can be summarized in
a short sentence: We are a people with national aspirations, to a land
of our own and a language of our own, and if we ceased to be so or if we
relinquished our nationality, we should cease to be a religious community.

The highest criterion of an authentic religion is a supreme religious
authority, which in Judaism is found only in the land of Israel and by
virtue of the semiha (ordination). Whatever has been established in
this area in the Diaspora is only a temporary expedient.

David Glasner

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Date: Wed, 15 May 2002 12:58:32 -0400
From: "Stein, Aryeh" <AStein@wtplaw.com>
RE: Shaimos

> ...After all, they probably pop out of the plastic bags when they are
> compressed in sanitation trucks.

> Chakira: do we just have to be respectful towards these papers when we
> throw them away, or must we ensure that they come to a respectful end?

To answer your chakira, I believe we only have to be respectful towards
these papers when we throw them away. We do not have to make sure
that they come to a respectful end. R' Reisman mentioned that one of
the factors was that the yid should treat them respectfully, and, if a
non-jewish garbage man comes along and throws the bag into the back of
the garbage truck, this was OK.

(That being said, I suppose it is still better to place them in a
recycling bin, where they would not come into contact with "real


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Date: Wed, 15 May 2002 13:24:18 -0400
From: "David Glasner" <dglasner@ftc.gov>
Re: pesaq doesn't come from sevarah? atm'ha

Micha wrote (9:30):
> Now, while pesaq doesn't come from sevarah,

Excuse me, how do you know that you are halakhically obligated to give
up your own life rather than take the life of another innocent person?
Without which by the way, you wouldn't know that you are halakhically
obligated to give up your own life rather than engage in an adulterous
or other proscribed relationship

Please also explain to me the meaning of the well known Talmudic query:
qra lama li, s'vara hi

David Glasner

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Date: Wed, 15 May 2002 19:55:38 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: pesaq doesn't come from sevarah? atm'ha

On Wed, May 15, 2002 at 01:24:18PM -0400, David Glasner wrote:
:> Now, while pesaq doesn't come from sevarah,
: Excuse me, how do you know that you are halakhically obligated to give
: up your own life rather than take the life of another innocent person? ...

: Please also explain to me the meaning of the well known Talmudic query:
: qra lama li, s'vara hi

You're right, I misspoke. I meant that pesaq doesn't come from sevaros
about ta'amei hamitzvah.

In 19 Letters, RSRH refers to Geiger's W-t and says that kind of
thought if better labeled alchemy. After all it's alchemy that starts
with a theory and ignores the data that doesn't fit. "Jewish alchemy"
similarly starts with a theory about what's moral or what's Hashem's
intent, and ignores the halachos that don't fit.

I meant it as basically a restatement of my opening words:
> We don't build pesaq from hashkafah. If it seems mistabeir from the
> ta'am hamitzvah but isn't a chiyuv, you have to rethink the ta'am
> hamitzvah....

And after addressing that, I said the phrase you quote to limit my
early statement to pesaq in existing din. New dinim and minhagim are
often created as means to further reinforce a ta'am hamitvah derived
from existing ones.


Micha Berger                 Today is the 48th day, which is
micha@aishdas.org            6 weeks and 6 days in/toward the omer.
http://www.aishdas.org       Yesod sheb'Malchus: What binds different
Fax: (413) 403-9905                 people together into one cohesive whole?

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Date: Wed, 15 May 2002 16:33:45 -0400
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Re: Hallel on Rosh Chodesh

At 01:26 PM 5/15/02 -0400, Sholom Simon wrote:
>>> This week, whilst saying Hallel, I began thinking about something
>>> which maybe I should have asked decades ago...Why do we say Hallel on
>>> Rosh Chodesh?

>> See Reb Tzadok Resisei Lyla siman 8.

>Might you consider telling us a short synopsis of what is there?

That Rosh Chodesh is observed in anticipation of the aliyah la'regel it 
will eventually possess.

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

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Date: Thu, 16 May 2002 01:42:37 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Belief

On Fri, May 10, 2002 at 03:11:51PM -0700, Harry Maryles wrote:
: That's fascinating. R. Wasserman then belives that belief must be
: rational and that and that any previously held beleif must be discarded
: if rationality disproves it. It also seems obvious that his own belief
: was based on rationality....

: This does not seem to me to be the nature of rational thinking. To me,
: rational thinking is a mathematical enterprise impervious to the bias
: of being spiritually "impure".

RHM raises a philosophical issue that we then kicked around for a while.
I think we need a background in the issue in order to successfully resolve
this debate. So, as usual, I'll post my view, and that will goad R'
Shalom Carmy to post an accurate summary.

Aristotle had a problem of "regress of reasons". IOW, you can use logic
to explain Z in terms of X and Y, and X in terms of W, and so on...
but what do you do when you get to the start of the chain?

The idea that rational = logical ignores this problem. It would simply
say that a rational person is one who gets from his premises to his
conclusions logically -- regardless of his system of postulates.

However, I don't think that's common usage. How many of us would consider
a worldview based on the postulate that murder is good to be a "rational"

Aristotle said that first principles are self-evident, the mind can
intuitively know they're true by understanding them.

Karl Popper's shitah is that we can only end this infinite regress by
getting back to a point where the premise in question can't be denied
without contradiction. This is a common approach to understanding
scientific method: A theory is never proven to be true; only fails to
be proven untrue. (This lead Popper's to relativism, but we needn't
go there.)

Poppers would say that emunah is only rational if you can prove that
denying any of the ikkarim would lead to contradiction. While this
might be doable in theory, I don't think it's ever been done or even
necessarily doable by man. So, no ma'amin was rational.

Alternatively, you can say that first principles are built by induction.
If you repeatedly see bird fly, you can take it as a first principle
that birds do fly. Until you meet your first penguin. Which is exactly
Popper's complaint; and so he rejects induction as a method of proof.

This is particularly relevent to religion, which makes many claims of
unique events. Ma'amud Har Sinai is far more rare than a penguin.

Hume concluded that the problem is insoluable, we just have to live with
what we think is true. IOW, no person is rational in this sense. All
his thoughts are based on unprovable assumptions.

So emunah isn't rational -- but neither is kefirah.

Kant, OTOH, believed in the excistance of "synthetic a priori" principles.
To translate: principles that can be deined without causing contradiction
(synthetic) and they are known to be true without experience (a priori).
Nisht azoi klur what he meant.

Fries and Nelson take him to mean that they can be justified without
using any methods of inference via anschuung. Aschauung is roughly
intuition, except that Kant seems to associate it with knowledge through
perception. However, Kant also (in a footnote that only appears in the
first edition of the Critique of Pure Reason) says that there is no
perception without the mental activity of synthesis. We should also be
clear that Kant didn't identify perception with physical objects.

Li nir'eh he's driving at much the same idea as chochmah as understood
by the Ba'al haTanyah and RSRH -- that immediate point of insight before
one analyzes and develops the idea with binah. In which case of course
he's stymied on the details: chochmah involves one's connection to the
Borei and the Olam ha'Emes, ideas not in Kant's worldview.

I think that Kant would say that since we can experience HKBH's presence,
our emunah can be rational. The reason for doubt is that we then doubt
the reality of the experience.

On Mon, May 13, 2002 at 05:21:32PM +0200, Daniel Eidensohn wrote:
: Modern psychology and philosophy would indicate that rational thinking
: is not a mathematical enterprise. On the one hand Descartes claimed that
: only in the absence of emotional involvement could one think rationally
: (assuming you were properly educated). On the other hand many researchers
: such as Dr. Demasio ("Descartes Error) argue that human thought has an
: emotional basis. Thus something seems reasonable because of a feeling....

Much like one of my (non-omer) signature lines:
    The mind is a wonderful organ
    for justifying conclusions the heart already reached.

I would say that the role of emotion is that it colors our perceptions
and our sense of which ought be considered "real" and a basis for reason.

A hedonist hears his ta'avos to the point that he has no attention
left to hear the qol demamah daqah. His heart causes him to reject
the reality of the calling of that voice. And to ignore the sense of
innui, of purposelessness, caused by that rejection -- which is
itself an ignored perception.

On Mon, May 13, 2002 at 12:02:09PM -0400, Gil Student wrote:
: As an aside, Menachem Kellner has a footnote in one of his books in
: which he argues on REW because Martin Heidigger was brillian and was
: also a Nazi....

The Rambam would argue that da'as leads to HKBH and tov. What would
therefore say about Heidigger y"sh? That he seems to be a bar
da'as but actually only developed flashy pockets thereof?

Or, as RGS puts it:
:                                                   According to REW,
: even someone brilliant will be mistaken IN CERTAIN AREAS if he does
: not control his ta'avos. However, a ba'al ta'avah will not be wrong
: in EVERYTHING. He will not be unable to add 2 and 2 and arrive at 4.
: Rather, some of his conclusions will be incorrect.


Micha Berger                 Today is the 48th day, which is
micha@aishdas.org            6 weeks and 6 days in/toward the omer.
http://www.aishdas.org       Yesod sheb'Malchus: What binds different
Fax: (413) 403-9905                 people together into one cohesive whole?

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Date: Thu, 16 May 2002 01:49:55 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Wearing tzitzis outside one's clothes

On Mon, May 13, 2002 at 05:30:04PM +0300, Carl M. Sherer wrote:
:>: According to these Rishonim, how would someone who is not yet married 
:>: be yotzei mitzvas tzitzis? Did everyone wear taleisim then?  

:> It's a mitzvah machsheres, not chiyuv (to use R' Dovid Lifshitz's
:> terminology). So, unless a single man happens to buy a four cornered
:> garment, why would he have to be yotzei?

: There's a difference between saying you're not chayav and saying you 
: cannot peform the mitzva...

Who said he can't do the mitzvah?

The mitzvah is that if he buys a 4 cornered garment, he needs to put
tzitzis on it before wearing it. He can do that if it ever comes up.

What those rishonim are saying is that the minhag of tallis katan is
not a kiyum hamitzvah, it's a "string around the finger" to remember
"lo sosuru". So, there is noone who is even trying to do the mitzvah
all day every day.

Second, there are no mitzuvim in a chiyuv. Unlike esrog.


Micha Berger                 Today is the 48th day, which is
micha@aishdas.org            6 weeks and 6 days in/toward the omer.
http://www.aishdas.org       Yesod sheb'Malchus: What binds different
Fax: (413) 403-9905                 people together into one cohesive whole?

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Date: Thu, 16 May 2002 01:55:10 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Tagim

On Mon, May 13, 2002 at 12:28:09PM +0300, Danny Schoemann wrote:
: We assume the following to be true:
: - We learnt that Rabbi Akiva learnt (mountains of) halochos from the
:   tagim on each letter.
: - Each letter has a predefined amount of tagim.

: What could Rabbi Akiva learn from the tagim that was not in the
: letter-sequence, as the tagim are merely a function of the letter
: combination.

Perhaps he learnt the significance of the letter sequence from the
sequence of tagim that ensued.

Or perhaps (following RMF already quoted) that it's guzmah. R'
Akiva's shitah is that derashah is syntactic. The tagim on the osios
is the ultimate at looking at the syntax rather than the meaning of
the text. E.g. "ach" and "raq" are mi'utim; "es" is a ribui. Even if
the context is negative, so that "ach" semantically leads to greater

Unlike his younger peer, R' Yishma'el. Kelal uperat are semantic


Micha Berger                 Today is the 48th day, which is
micha@aishdas.org            6 weeks and 6 days in/toward the omer.
http://www.aishdas.org       Yesod sheb'Malchus: What binds different
Fax: (413) 403-9905                 people together into one cohesive whole?

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Date: Wed, 15 May 2002 21:56:50 -0400
From: Isaac A Zlochower <zlochoia@bellatlantic.net>
chag haBikurim

Micah connected bechirah, bechorah, and bikurim in his vort for Shavuot.
He included the following sentiment:
> And therefore it's precisely at Chag haBikurim, when the farmer expresses
> his joy with the first of the crop. That joy of bikurim is the joy of
> bechorah. The qedushah of the grain being brought is the qedushah of the
> "goy qadosh".

He could have brought the following verse in Jeremiah (2: 3)in strong
"Israel is holy for Hashem - the first of His crop; all who consume him
shall be found guilty - evil shall come upon them, says Hashem."

The first part of the above verse is cited by Chazal in their drash,
"bereishit - because of Israel who is called reishit (tevu'ato) was the
world created. That sentiment might lead one to conlude that no one
else matters but the Jewish people. However, the full citation of the
verse leads to a different concept. Israel, indeed, occupies a special
place in G-D's scheme; they are a harbinger - nay, a vehicle, for the
gathering of the entire crop of humanity to G-D's service. Those who
would seek to misuse, supplant, or destroy G-D's first fruit will suffer
the bitter consequences of their folly. But make no mistake, the farmer
rejoices in the select bikurim because he anticipates the subsequent
large harvest. If the bikurim are marvelous but the crop is destroyed -
that is a disaster, not a "gedulah". Am I arguing with Chazal? No! their
statement is only part of the story, along the lines of " the universe was
created for my sake". It is a reminder of our critical role in history.
From a more universal perspective, however, the destiny of humanity is
the key issue, and we must rededicate our efforts this Shavu'ot to be
deemed worthy of being Hashem's "light unto the nations".


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Date: Wed, 15 May 2002 21:25:04 -0400
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Fwd: Arev times Four

Why is the word for sweetness or pleasantness the same as for
guarantor and the same as for mixture and the same as for evening?
(Ayin-Reish-Veis). There are partial connections that swirl through my
mind, but I feel there is something very significant going on here...

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

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Date: Wed, 15 May 2002 21:23:43 -0400
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Avrohom Avinu and the Malachim, from one of my Correspondents

probably don't have time for your inyoneio deyoimo before shovuos. bkitzur 
3 possibilities of lechem: (a) Sara's lechem was served. (b) Sara's lechem 
wasn't served. (c) Sara's lechem wasn't served but other lechem was. See 
shitas Rabonon (which argue on R. Meir) in Bereishis Rabbo 48:15. Besides 
your shvogers diyuk of lechem in BM there is also the diyuk of kos shel 
brocho. This diyuk, however doesn't necessarily force us to say that the 
malochim actually ate lechem & actually bentshed as there is a shaylo if 
avrohom himself ate. Re the connection btw the seudo and taanas hamolochim 
see Daas Zakainim bshem the midroshois chalukois in P. Vayairo. I don't 
believe we will find anywhere that the malochim ate in honour of "the 
person" of Avrohom (v'al achas kamo vchamo not for the purpose to enable 
Avrohom to do the mitzvo) but rather b/c of the "karto" notwithstanding 
who it was that occupied the karto. It is very kdai to look up the sicho 
re the different shitois of azalte lkarto, as well as the geder of AA's 
hachnosas orchim to which I was mitzayon many many months ago on this 
site. It is also very kdai to look up the deep biur al pi halocho which 
the Rebbe gives for the taam of maacholei cholov brought down in the 
Mishne Beruro.

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Date: Thu, 16 May 2002 09:06:05 -0400
From: MPoppers@kayescholer.com
a z'man matan Torosainu thought

Micha's request for timely divrai Torah had me thinking along these
lines (any implied criticism is directed internally and not at y'all):
based on a famous Talmudic dispute re the actual day of Matan Torah,
and considering its not being associated with the Chag in the Torah,
it's reasonable to suggest that we're actually counting up to, and then
celebrating, _kabolas_ haTorah (IIRC, Rav SRHirsch weighs in on this)
after a "temimos"-dike period. I'm reminded (given that my BM parsha
was Ki Sisa, it isn't hard to remember :-)) of how we couldn't handle a
subsequent "complete" period of time (40 days) w/out lapsing. If we aim
to rectify the lack of z'rizus on the morning of Revelation (e.g. by
learning all night and being "up," in all respects, for the morning
services), we should also aim to rectify the other negatives implied
in what occurred after Revelation (from a general drop in the level of
k'dushah to a lack of patience). In the z'chus of integrating these
lessons into our post-Chag lives, may we merit the coming of Moshiach
(for which, I dare say, we impatiently await) b'b'o'.

All the best from
Michael Poppers

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