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Volume 09 : Number 035

Tuesday, May 21 2002

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Tue, 21 May 2002 17:16:18 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: a z'man matan Torosainu thought

On Thu, May 16, 2002 at 11:17:06AM -0400, Sholom Simon wrote:
: Another quick thought (heard from R Dov Lipman) -- if one accepts that
: Matan Torah, al pi Chazal (al pi Shulchan Arukh), was on Sivan 7, then what
: are we celebrating Sivan 6 for?

Actually, the Torah sheBichsav never attaches any historical claim to
Sivan 6. And before people post answers why (since I know a few too),
the answer needs to also explain why Torah sheBe'al Peh does which
follows through into our tefillah and minhaggim for the day. So there
doesn't seem to be anything wrong with identifying the date of ma'amad
har Sinai, but rather with it being identified in that particular venue.

As for RSS's question, I saw another answer -- not that I didn't enjoy
RDL's teirutz.

The seifer Oneg Y"T understands the pasuq "mei'erev ad erev tisperu
chamishim yom" to include YT rishon of Pesach through erev Shavu'os.
The pasuq is telling us that qabbalas haTorah takes 50 days of preparation
-- "mei'erev ad erev".

Bizman hazeh, that ends up being the 6th of Sivan.

However, the first Pesach saw them in the 49th sha'ar hatum'ah
at midnight. Therefore, their "erev ad erev tisperu chamishim yom"
couldn't start on the 15th of Nissan, and was postponed a day.

"Zeman matan Toraseinu" is /defined/ as being after 50 complete days of
preparation. Therefore it fell out a day later for them.

R' Chaim Davis, who showed me this vort, explained that this is consistant
with calling it a zeman rather than an eis. An eis is a fixed calendar
date, a seasonal thing. A zeman is when you're ready, at the moment that
circumstance makes most appropriate.

This was R' Aharon Kotler's thought on wishing the new parents that a
beris should be "be'itto ubizmano". "Be'itto" -- on the 8th day. "Bizmano"
-- when this particular baby is ready for it.


PS: If you look back in the archives for positions about time zones and
sefirah, you find a situation when Shavuos could be on the 5th (leshitas
RMMS) and Y"T sheini on the 7th!

Micha Berger                 For a mitzvah is a lamp,
micha@aishdas.org            And the Torah, its light.
http://www.aishdas.org                       - based on Mishlei 6:2
Fax: (413) 403-9905          

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Date: Tue, 21 May 2002 17:38:18 GMT
From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
Leftovers from Shavuos

From: "SBA" <sba@iprimus.com.au>
: I was speaking to a Rav about these things yesterday. According to him,
: the answer to my original question - whether one must eat meat at every
: meal is no. Therefore there is no problem with our minhag of eating a
: milchig meal (only) the first night Shvuos.

I spoke to Rav Shlomo Pearl (world famous in Flatbush <g>) and he said
that bosor is a chiyuv of Yom Tov, not related to seudas Y"T. I asked
if one could eat a dairy meal (pet peeve: fish is not ma'achalei
chalav!) and then snack on meat. He told me that's what Rav Moshe
Feinstein used to do.

I also asked him about women lighting candles the first night of Shavuos,
from a temimos perspective.

His answer was that there are two ways to look at it: Shavuos follows
sefira, and therefore requires temimos mitzad mitzvas aseh shehazeman
gerama, and therefore not an issue for women, or temimos is unrelated
to sefira and they're therefore chayavos.

He said they could either light before the seudah or at least leave the
shehecheyanu for kiddush. To my remark that my wife refuses to light
without shehecheyanu, he said it took him many years to convince his
wife also.

 From R' Gil:
:Aderaba, according to the Torah Lodaas parsha sheet this year there
:was an inyan of davening EARLY on the second night.

I didn't see said parasha sheet, but I know that Rav Dovid Cohen's shul
(world famous bli shem livui) had two minyanim for mincha, kabolas Shabbos
& maariv, one just before plag/just after plag, and one the regular time.

I was at the first minyan, and it was packed to the rafters (seems like
the only shul in town with early m/ks/m). RDC was not there, though.


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Date: Tue, 21 May 2002 17:40:18 GMT
From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
Rosh Chodesh Iyar and Sivan, 2448

From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
: Say a Sanhedrin during bayis 2 closed in order to force the month to
: be malei. What do they do on day 2, when the same eidim arive? "These
: people saw the moon yesterday, so today is the Rosh Chodesh." No?

No, they say, go home, kevar kidshuhu baShamayim.


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Date: Tue, 21 May 2002 20:02:30 GMT
From: kennethgmiller@juno.com
Re: Rosh Chodesh Iyar and Sivan, 2448

R' Yitzchok Zlochower wrote <<< The previous night, according to this
understanding, was merely the end of the previous month. Of course, with
respect to Shabbat and the mo'adim, the cessation of melacha started
with the previous night as per the verse, "mei'erev ad erev tishbetu
shabatchem". … In the course of time, however - particularly after the
abrogation of korbonot with the destruction of the bet ha'mikdash - it
became useful to consider the day as always starting with the previous
night in order to avoid possible confusion and chillul yom tov. >>>

Are you suggesting that the days began in the morning even after Har
Sinai, except where issur melacha was involved? If an event occurred
which involved a shtar - such as a loan or wedding - and that event
occurred at night, would the shtar have the date of the previous day
or the following day? I have presumed that calendar days begin in the
evening, at least since Har Sinai. Am I mistaken, in your view?

R' Micha Berger wrote <<< Say a Sanhedrin during bayis 2 closed in
order to force the month to be malei. What do they do on day 2, when the
same eidim arive? "These people saw the moon yesterday, so today is the
Rosh Chodesh." No? I thought the whole point was that it's beis din's
declaration, and not astronomy that defines Rosh Chodesh. >>>

Yes, I agree that the Beis Din is more critical than the eidim, which
is why I have thought that in a situation such as you describe, the Beis
Din does not even bother taking any testimony on the second day. If the
first day was not not declared to be Rosh Chodesh (for *any* reason)
then the second day becomes RC by default. (Or maybe even automatically;
do they even bother to say "Mekudash"?)

Akiva Miller

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Date: Tue, 21 May 2002 14:20:42 -0400
From: "David Glasner" <dglasner@ftc.gov>
Dor Revii on Zionism (part V)


V. 	The Grosswardein Convention and the Open Letter of its Chief Rabbi

Since completing this small essay while on vacation, an invitation has
reached me from the Orthodox community of Grosswardein to a national
convention of Orthodox communities, whose purpose is to establish an
Orthodox organization, on the model of the old Hungarian Irgun. To the
invitation is attached an open letter of the chief rabbi of Grosswardein
(Rabbi Binyamin Fox) in which those loyal to the Torah are called to
join the Agudat Yisrael, which has become the union of Orthodox Judaism,
independent of the Zionist organization. For only by absolute separation,
they maintain, can loyal Judaism ensure its survival.

I cannot conclude this essay without commenting on this open letter.
My most honored colleague! He invokes the term "people of the Torah"
and believes that he thereby justifies the policy of separation. Let us
now attend to the fact that the Jewish people are indeed the people of
the Torah, because the spirit of the Torah beats in the least of them,
which is why our Sages say (Sanhedrin 44a):

Even though one has sinned, he is still a Jew. Even in a sinful Jew it
possible to find a treasure of the tradition of the Torah, as our Sages
say (Sanhedrin 36a; Genesis Rabbah 32):

    "Your cheeks are like the halves of a pomegranate" (Song of Songs
    4:3) even those who are empty among you are as full of good deeds
    as a pomegranate.

    And so they say: "The wicked are full of remorse," and, "Ephraim is
    joined to idols, let him alone" (Hosea 4:17). Even if they worship
    idols, as long as they remain joined together and are united, let
    them alone.

Even if the entire people, G-d forbid, forgets itself to such an extent
that it worships idols, as long as it maintains its unity, it is certain
that it will come back to itself.

The Jewish people are the people of the Torah because they have been
nourished by the lessons of the Torah, transmitted to them by their holy
ancestors along with their mothers' milk. That is why Moses our teacher
rejected the suggestion (Exodus 32:10): "now therefore let me alone,
that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them; but of
you I will make a great nation." Hosea the prophet was punished because
he suggested exchanging them for another nation and the Blessed Eternal
One replied to him: "Israel who are my children, my beloved children,
the children of Avraham, Yitzhaq and Ya'aqov. I cannot exchange them
for another nation." (Pesahim 66a) Isaiah the prophet was also punished
and died a difficult death because he detracted from the dignity of
the Jewish nation by calling it (Isaiah 6:5) "a people of unclean
lips." (Yevamot 49b)

And my master, my colleague, the chief rabbi, and those who share his
opinion want, in the name of the Torah, to come before the people of
the Torah, at the moment when it is seeking to restore its glory and
to divide it into sects and to interfere with its renaissance? You
want to divide the people into two nations in opposition to the verse
(1 Chronicles 17:21): "Who is like Thy people Israel, one nation in
the world?" And in opposition to the holy Zohar: "The Holy One Blessed
Be He, the Torah and Israel are one."

Or perhaps they mean to say, in the slogan of Hirsch "the people of the
Torah," that your Orthodox organization, the Agudat Yisrael, even though
it encompasses within it only a minority, has itself become the Jewish
people, because the others do not belong to the nation? I do not want
to ascribe such a foolish idea to your honor, because the doctrine of
separation, as it has been understood and explained in a country in which
there is both Orthodoxy and Neologism, cannot be compared to a doctrine
of separation within the entire Jewish people. For that you and those
who share your opinion, including the leading scholars of Czechoslovakia,
are too weak.

The nation cannot be separated and divided, for even those who are not
believers and are not pious are the children of Abraham, Isaac, and
Jacob. They will not be excluded from it. It is possible and necessary
to sacrifice everything for the sake of the survival of the Torah,
but not Israel itself. See Midrash Qohelet 1

    R. Shimon ben Yohai said: "It is written (Isaiah 65:22): ˇfor like
    the days of a tree shall the days of my people be" and a tree refers
    only to the Torah. And who was created for whom? The Torah for Israel
    or Israel for the Torah? No, the Torah for Israel. See also Tanna
    d'vei Eliyahu 14:

    And he said to me: "My master, there are two things in this world
    that I love unconditionally, Torah and Israel. But I don't know
    which one takes precedence."

    I said to him: "My son, people are wont to say that the Torah takes
    precedence, as it says (Proverbs 8:22) ˇThe L-rd created me at the
    beginning of His work.' But I say that Israel takes precedence, as
    it says (Jeremiah 2:3) ˇIsrael is holy to the L-rd, the first fruits
    of his harvest.' It may be compared to a king who had a wife and
    children in his home and he wrote a letter to the place where his
    wife and children were residing. Thus, if it were not for Israel,
    the world would not have been created and the world would have been
    destroyed. It therefore says, ˇIsrael is holy to the L-rd, the first
    fruits of his harvest.'"

So therefore the Torah was given for Israel and not Israel for the Torah.

I should have liked to recommend to his honor and to his colleagues to
read a small composition of rich content. I have in mind Tomer D'vorah
written by R. Moshe Cordovero, z.l., one of the great masters of the
qabbalah. This book happens now to be in my possession and it would have
been desirable that you all would have learned from it how to think about
Israel and those of its children who are not devout. Here is an excerpt:

    So should a man be. Even should he encounter the wicked, let him not
    be cruel but he should have mercy upon them and say they are after
    all the children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. If they are unworthy,
    their ancestors were worthy, and one who disgraces them disgraces
    the ancestors. I don't wish that their ancestors should be disgraced
    because of me. And he covers up their shame and corrects it to the
    best of his ability. (Chap. 1)

    So should a person be benevolent to everyone and no man should
    be disgraced in his presence, but even the most insignificant of
    creatures should be very important in his eyes and he should focus on
    it and should provide for everyone who requires his benevolence. And
    this will follow from his always being peaceful toward all people,
    for if his conduct is harsh toward people, they will not be reconciled
    to him. And this is the meaning of the Mishnah (Avot 2:23): "Whoever
    is pleasing to mankind is pleasing to the Omnipresent One." That
    his ears should always be directed toward hearing good, but if he
    hears falsehood or unpleasantness, he should not go into it at all.
    And he should never be angry, but he should only exhibit vitality
    and goowill to fulfill every request and to support the downtrodden,
    to always forgive sins and never to be angry with those who do
    wrong to him. He should always be conciliatory and seek kindness to
    provide satisfaction to all. He should train himself to bring the
    love of mankind into his heart, even the wicked, as if they were his
    brothers until he fixes in his heart the love of all mankind and he
    should love even the wicked in his heart. (Chap. 2)

If our leaders took these holy words of gold to heart, they would know
how to save true Judaism in a different fashion from that of isolation,
for then, by actions intended to advance the physical well-being of the
nation, they would be able to subdue the hearts of the unbelievers.
And through the power of that love they could turn the ears of the
children of their nation to their words, just as we know that Aaron the
Priest, a lover and pursuer of peace, and a lover of mankind, brought
them closer to Torah.

However, if the rabbis are concerned only with the soul, and have no
interest in the physical well-being or the pain of the people, then it may
be inferred that they see the salvation of the people and the deliverance
of the Torah that has been entrusted to their hands as consisting entirely
and solely in separation and division, for the prosperity of the people
would cause them to lose their status. See the Talmud in Berakhot (28a)
where R. Joshua said to R. Gamliel: "Woe unto the generation for which
you are the benefactor, for you do not know of the distress of the Torah
scholars." And see the Rambam who says that a Torah scholar must always
be distressed and worried about the troubles of Israel and must join
in their distress. Similarly, instead of taking responsibility upon
themselves for the religious condition of the people, as it is written
(Deuteronomy 1:13), "and I will appoint them as your heads," from which
our Sages deduced that the guilt of a generation hangs over the heads
of the leaders (Deuteronomy Rabbah 1), and as the Holy One Blessed Be
He said to Moses (Exodus 32:7): "go down for your people have corrupted
themselves" which meant "go down from your greatness, I did not give you
any greatness except for Israel" * instead of this, they compound the
transgression and encourage intolerance and stir up the rage of division.

I am not a prophet or the son of a prophet. But my feeling is that your
deeds which are intended to betray your people will fail with the help
of the Blessed Eternal. For after two thousand years of exile, they are
proclaiming with enthusiasm their connection to the holy Jewish nation.
And those who are toiling to realize the sublime idea of the return of the
land of Israel to the people of Israel * they will return on their own
to the source of the Torah. And when it shall be in the land of Israel,
the spirit of the Torah will succeed in being widened and deepened,
as the prophet Ezekiel was promised (Ezekiel 36:24-31)

    24. For I will take you from the nations, and gather you from all
    the countries, and bring you into your own land.

    25. I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from
    all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you.

    26. A new heart I will give you., and a new spirit I will put within
    you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give
    you a heart of flesh.

    27. And I will put my spirit within you; and cause you to walk in
    my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances.

    28. You shall dwell in the land which I gave to your fathers; and
    you shall be my people and I will be your G-d.

    29. And I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses; and I will
    summon the grain and make it abundant and lay no famine upon you.

    30. I will make the fruit of the tree and the increase of the field
    abundant, that you may never again suffer the disgrace of famine
    among the nations

    31. Then you will remember your evil ways, and your deeds that were
    not good; and you will loathe yourselves for your iniquities and
    your abominable deeds.

The prophet Ezekiel was doubtful about the return to the land of Israel
of a people full of iniquity and abomination, yet he promised a religious
and moral repentance on the Holy Land. And yet, my master, a descendant
of that great prophet, holds back the people and disturbs its unity
in the era in which it takes it upon itself to settle the Holy Land.
And it shall not succeed. (V'hi lo titzlah)

My master relies upon Czechoslovakia as if it were possible to find
there the great ones of Israel. Let him please take note that the true
great ones of Israel are not found in his camp. Many are intimidated
by the terrorism and have not the courage to stand up for the truth.
However, the future, despite his protests, is with Zionism. And see the
holy Zohar, poroshat sh'lah:

    "All of them men" (Number 13:3). They were all righteous and they
    were all the leaders of Israel. But they spoke among themselves
    selfishly? If Israel will go up to the land, we will be passed over
    as leaders and Moses will choose new leaders, for we succeeded in
    being leaders only in the desert, but in the land of Israel we will
    not succeed to be leaders."

And so you, too, feel instinctively that you will be able to be leaders
in the exile, but, in the land of Israel, your position will not be

In your open letter, you write:

    The Mizrahi wishes to enact the laws of the Torah by its own strategy,
    of gaining a majority, something that it has no chance of achieving.
    But even if it gains a majority, it is making the obligatory validity
    of the Torah conditional on the result of elections, on the decision
    of the majority

To reinforce this position, your rabbinical court announced subsequently
that such a practice would violate the Torah. However, I allow myself to
present a modest question to the rabbinical court: On what basis do you
nullify the will of the people, when the holy Torah turns over to the
authority of the people the choice of a king and even imposes upon it
this function, as it is written in poroshat Shophtim (Deuteronomy 17:15):
"you may indeed set a king over you." The only qualification that is
required of the king is that he be a Jew by nationality. "You may not put
a foreigner over you." (See the Ramban on that verse.) He represents the
will of people. The priest and the prophet had no executive authority.
Their task was to guide the king and the people by moral means in the path
of the Torah. If these means were not effective, the Holy One Blessed Be
He Himself reserved to Himself the function of carrying it out, as the
tokhahah takes into account the possibility of moral reproof and exile.

And as our Sages said (Megilah 14a):

    Greater [more effective] was the removal of the ring (by Ahasuerus
    to Haman) than forty-eight prophets and seven prophetesses who gave
    prophecy to Israel.

Haman the wicked was noteworthy for Israel in being a more significant
source of reproof than the forty-eight prophets and seven prophetesses
who arose for Israel. However, I have not found in the entire Written
and Oral Torah that the Holy One Blessed Be He commanded that nation be
subject to reproof by an Orthodox, Agudist association.

The proper path is the path of the Torah. The Mizrahi, which aims to
influence the leaders and the people through moral means, therefore seeks
that the people should accept upon themselves the laws of the holy Torah,
and to gain a majority.

Nor does the Agudah appear to be serious, for more than eight years
passed since the Katowitz meeting, with no sign of life from the Agudah.
In the new program they attempt to explain this fact as the result of
a war that broke out twenty-seven months later. In the opinion of our
Sages (Berahot 58b), a period of twelve months is sufficient for the
most precious matters to be forgotten. A period of a year is enough for
deceased parents to be forgotten. A year after the passing of her husband,
a widow may marry another man. But what happened to the enthusiasm of
the Katovits meeting? How did they fill the vacuum of this period of
time? Why could they not call within a year a planned international
conference? And how were their efforts to minimize the suffering and
hardship that came during the World War especially on the Jewish people
the terror of which cannot be expressed? How small is the Agudah and
how negligible its achievements in comparison to those of the Zionist
leadership, both in the political and in the human fields.

Please remember, my lord, that in every place in which pogroms
and lootings were carried out, they were stopped or restrained only
through the great influence of the Zionist administration, the national
representative of the Jewish people in the great League of Nations.
It has now been told to me that in Nasaud and other small towns in
Transylvania that the Romanian government stopped the looting populace
by taking into consideration that the Jews had gained great influence
in the Peace Conference and that looting the property of the Jews would
damage Romanian interests at this conference. Even Graf Apponyi of
Hungary testified on the great influence of the Jews and he therefore
weakened and minimized the atrocities against the Jews.

What can the Agudah show in comparison to this? Nothing of the Agudah's
opposition program for the land of Israel has been disclosed. Does it
wish to set up, as a shadow government, Orthodox trains, telegraphs,
and post offices? Or does it propose to organize a special police force
for the Orthodox and similar services, and to gain for this purpose the
permission of the English government? And what does it wish to do in the
Diaspora? Does it wish to seek special minority rights for the Orthodox?
Or perhaps it wants, on the example of the Orthodox in Czechoslovakia
and Transylvania, to forego any claims on the relevant governments
for minority national rights, and only to gain special recognition?
As long as the Agudah does not clarify these questions, it cannot hope
to be joined by serious and clear-thinking people.

Finally, I wish to conclude with a word of encouragement for the Hareidim
of the Mizrahi in the belief that we are now living in the time of the
Salvation and that our work is holy work. For this purpose I will cite
the following passage from Tanah d'vai Eliyahu:

    The salvation from Egypt was not strong and durable enough to
    last for eternity because it was a salvation achieved by ravaging
    nature through miracles and signs and wonders. But a miracle has no
    permanence. By contrast, in the salvation to come, the miracles will
    be hidden within nature. It will therefore last forever and it will
    be an eternal salvation.

See also the Radaq on the verse in Psalms (146:3): "put your trust not in
princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no help." The Radaq says that
if one is saved through human agency, trust should not be placed in the
human, but one should know that it came from the Eternal to enlighten
his heart to do good, just as the Eternal enlightened the spirit of
Cyrus that he should send the children of Israel back to their land.
And so it will be in the future that the Eternal will enlighten the
hearts of kings to return the land to Israel.

The Tosaphot Yom Tov in the tractate of Ma'asrot, tells us in the name
of the Yerushalmi that before the coming of the redeemer there will be a
Jewish government in the land of Israel under the supervision of another
government. (Tosaphot Yom Tov, Ma'asser Sheini 5:2)

The holy Ohr ha-Hayim in poroshat Balaq (Numbers 24:16) writes in the
name of our Sages who said (Sanhedrin 98a) that if the redemption will
occur on account of the merits of Israel, in the category of "Ahishenah"
(I will hasten it), the redemption will be sublimely miraculous and the
redeemer will be revealed to Israel by a sign, as it says in the Zohar,
that a star will go out into the midst of the heavens and it will be an
amazing wonder. In contrast, if the redemption will be in the category
of "b'itah" (its time), because the end has arrived even though Israel
does not merit redemption, the redemption will come about in a different
manner in the normal course of events by natural means.

Would that this essay will succeed to open eyes and to cause the
wayward to return to the correct path, and may the teacher for justice
be speedily revealed and "may the earth be full of knowledge of the L-rd
as the waters cover the sea" (Isaiah 11:9). So may it be His will.

David Glasner

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Date: Tue, 21 May 2002 21:24:51 +0300 (IDT)
From: Shlomo Argamon <argamon@mail.jct.ac.il>
Re: Posai'ach es yodecho u'masbi'a l'chol chai ratzon

While I've long been partial to the drash that what is being bequeathed
to us is our very ratson (to pursue good), without which we'd be utterly
lost, I think it's clearly a drash, not pshat. Pshat I'd say is that
Hashem gives every creature what that creature wants. However, an
interesting point is the use davka of the word "masbia`". It's not just
that Providence grants a creature their desire, but also causes them to
be satisfied by such. That is, not only does G-d satisfy our desires,
but He does so in such a way that it will be *both* what we want *and*
what we need!


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Date: Tue, 21 May 2002 15:41:10 -0400
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Re: Posai'ach es yodecho u'masbi'a l'chol chai ratzon

At 11:52 AM 5/21/02 +0000, Micha Berger wrote:
>Pashut peshat would be as though the pasuq read "umasbia' ritzon kol chai"
>-- leaving every desire satisfied.

>The Malbim's peshat would work better if the pasuq read "... umasbia'
>lechol chei beratzon".

>RMPoppers suggests that "ratzon" was the very quality that HQBH is
>bequeathing, IIRC, something akin to granting "chein". (No surprise
>that our local designated yekke gave me the same peshat as RSS.)

>RAYK points out that without ratzon, goals and purposes for a person
>to persue, life is empty. So he too says that Hashem bestows ratzon --
>but means it in the sense of having desire, not being desired/desirable.
>Hashem does us a tovah by giving us retzonos to pursue.

My objection to these peshatim is the same - "masbi'ah".

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Date: Tue, 21 May 2002 20:04:59 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Posai'ach es yodecho u'masbi'a l'chol chai ratzon

On Tue, May 21, 2002 at 03:41:10PM -0400, Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer wrote:
: >RMPoppers suggests that "ratzon" was the very quality that HQBH is
: >bequeathing, IIRC, something akin to granting "chein"...

: >RAYK points out that without ratzon, goals and purposes for a person
: >to persue, life is empty. So he too says that Hashem bestows ratzon --
: >but means it in the sense of having desire, not being desired/desirable.
: >Hashem does us a tovah by giving us retzonos to pursue.

: My objection to these peshatim is the same - "masbi'ah".

I do not see the applicability of this objection to these two approaches.

In RSS's peshat, HQBH gives us from his Ratzon without which we could never
gain what it takes to be sovei'ah.

In RAYK's, we have as much ratzon as we need to give meaning and structure
to our lives. Our need for ratzon is fully satisfied. There is only
the nequdah al pi qabbalah (mentioned by RSRH on "ve'achalta vesavata`
uveirachta") about sevi'ah being related to sheva`.


Micha Berger                 For a mitzvah is a lamp,
micha@aishdas.org            And the Torah, its light.
http://www.aishdas.org                       - based on Mishlei 6:2
Fax: (413) 403-9905          

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Date: Tue, 21 May 2002 21:46:43 +0300 (IDT)
From: Shlomo Argamon <argamon@mail.jct.ac.il>
Vague thoughts on Chap. 2 of the Moreh

Inspired by a discussion in another forum, I've just started going
through the Moreh for the first time in a number of years. I found the
discussion in Chapter 2 regarding the term "elohim" and its connection
to the expulsion from Gan Eden very interesting, and I'd be interested
in feedback of those more knowledgable regarding some (unformed) thoughts
I had.

AIUI, Rambam connects the term "elohim" (meaning G-d, angels, judges,
or rulers) to the ability to distinguish good from evil, as opposed
to the ability to distinguish true from false. Hence the statement
of the nahhash: "and you will be as elohim, knowing good from evil".
Before eating of the fruit, Adam and Hhava had clear perception of true
and false, but no apprehension of good and evil, which Rambam terms
"apparent truths". What I take from this is that prior to the sin,
Adam and Hhava had the faculty of knowledge and understanding, but not
the faculty of "judgement". And that the introduction of that faculty
into human nature interfered with the clear apprehension of truth,
resulting in the expulsion from Gan Eden.

Perhaps indeed we finite human creatures are not meant to judge, since
judgement in a sense sets up the judge as the center of the universe, as
in "Man is the measure of all things". As we all know from experience,
when examining a thing in order to judge it as good or bad, we are most
likely to be incorrect about its true properties (kal vahhomer when
dealing with people!). Thus the gaining of a new faculty of discernment
paradoxically reduced humanity's capability for real discernment.

Rambam connects this issue also to the term "panim" meaning one's
face or aim. When only truth was the issue (before the sin), the aim
was simple and clear: apprehending truth and so growing closer to G-d.
However, once the faculty (and hence desire) for judgement was introduced,
apprehension of reality is now subjective - "How does X serve my goals?"
is now a possible question, and therefore also "What are my goals?"
And this opens up the possibility of "facing" in many directions,
including away from G-d, R"L.

Once this multiplicity of possible goals was introduced into mankind,
then, it wasn't possible to remain in Gan Eden, the Garden of Pleasure
(related to Eternity="`ad" also Testimony="`ed", related to establishing
truth). So man was expelled into a world which required the formulation
of multiple goals and striving to succeed at them.

It also seems significant to me that the tree is called "`ets haDA`AT tov
vara`". Why is this faculty of judgemental discernment a form of "da`at"?

Feedback actively sought...


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Date: Tue, 21 May 2002 13:57:39 -0400
From: "Gil Student" <gil_student@hotmail.com>
Re: bitachon & nature

Moshe Feldman wrote:
>Frankly, I find the Desslerian approach much more comforting than the 
>Maimonidean, but it's hard for me to have complete bitachon in that 
>approach when I know that the the approach of Rambam (and according to Dr. 
>Berger, that of Ramban and R Bachya al haTorah) is a valid approach as 
>well. Which brings me back to the question I've posed before: how can 
>anyone have complete Desslerian bitachon without having a niggling thought 
>in the back of his mind: maybe Rambam is right?

Even according to the Ramban's system (I'm not sure about the Rambam),
one must still have full bitachon. Someone who believes in the system
(i.e. has emunah) but does not have faith is to be faulted. The Ramban
(or one of his students) writes in Emunah uVitachon that Ya'akov sinned
in worrying shema yigrom hachet. Rabbeinu Yonah writes in Mishlei that
we must have bitachon that everything will be all right and, if it isn't,
at least we get sechar for the bitachon. Rabbeinu Bachya writes similarly
in Kad HaKemach.

Certainly Nach, and particularly Tehillim, teaches the approach of this
type of bitachon.

Gil Student

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Date: Tue, 21 May 2002 15:16:25 -0400
From: "Feldman, Mark" <MFeldman@CM-P.COM>
RE: bitachon & nature

From: Gil Student [mailto:gil_student@hotmail.com] on Areivim:
> Even according to the Ramban's system (I'm not sure about the Rambam), one 
> must still have full bitachon.  Someone who believes in the system (i.e. has 
> emunah) but does not have faith is to be faulted.  The Ramban (or one of his 
> students) writes in Emunah uVitachon that Ya'akov sinned in worrying shema 
> yigrom hachet.  Rabbeinu Yonah writes in Mishlei that we must have bitachon 
> that everything will be all right and, if it isn't, at least we get sechar 
> for the bitachon. Rabbeinu Bachya writes similarly in Kad HaKemach.

I don't think you have proof from the Ramban (though I did not see it
inside). The Ramban and R. Bachya *al haTorah* (I think on the pasuk
dealing with Avraham--"ki yi'dativ asher yitzeveh...") differentiate
between hashgacha on regular people (most of the time subject to teva) and
hashgacha on those who are on the level of "hinei ein Hashem el yirei'av."
So the sin of Yaakov would not necessarily be a sin for someone on a
lesser madreigah. (IIRC, R. Bloch in Shiurei Daas takes this type of
approach in dealing with Yosef's sin in trusting in the sar hamashkim.)

I've gotten the impression that Rabbeinu Yonah in Shaarei Tshuvah does
not take a Maimonidean approach towards nature.

Kol tuv,

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Date: Tue, 21 May 2002 15:16:28 -0400
From: "Feldman, Mark" <MFeldman@CM-P.COM>
RE: bitachon & nature

From: Micha Berger [mailto:micha@aishdas.org]
> On Tue, May 21, 2002 at 12:53:19PM -0400, Feldman, Mark wrote:
>: Even so, that's more comforting than the Rambam's notion that most people
>: are subject to nature...
> "Most people"? He says that a kesil or a rasha` (trans Ibn Tibbon) is
> abandoned to nature. Most of us are somewhere in between on the spectrum.
> Moreh 3:18 pretty clearly defines being a "ben adam" as a fuzzy set in
> this regard.

When I wrote "subject to nature," I meant that they, unlike the yode'a
Hashem/yarei Hashem, don't merit *constant* divine intervention.
Consequently, they much/most of the time will be subject to nature w/o
having the natural occurrence be part of a specific plan by Hashem.

> As I argued here in the past, that too is an indirect hashgachah.
> Onesh needn't be a slap in the face, it could be abandonment to the
> forces one chooses to follow.

Ain hachee namee. However, if a person who is not a kesil or rasha, but
not a yode'a Hashem/yarei Hashem either, is subject to divine intervention
2% of the time and is otherwise left to nature because of his lack of
perfection, the natural occurrence is not part of a Divine plan that is
best for this person (in contrast to CI). IOW, if he becomes depressed
after being hospitalized for injury in a terrorist attack (as we read
about recently), that means that he did not merit divine intervention
(and this is indirect hashgacha), but not that depression is the best
thing for his soul k'lapei sh'maya.

Regarding "abandonment to the forces one chooses to follow:" I didn't
get the impression from Rambam (or from the Ramban's cited in Dr.
Berger's article) that a non yode'a Hashem/yarei Hashem who chooses
to believe that everything is done according to a divine plan will
automatically merit complete hashgacha. (I have read mussar sefarim
which say this, though. And it does make sense in the context of the
proof text quoted by R. Bachya al HaTorah--"hinei ein Hashem el yirei'av"
continues "l'miyachalim l'chasdo".)

And if a person cannot be assured of *complete* hashgacha pratis, how
can he choose to follow the path to believe that everything is divinely
ordained and nothing results from nature?
>:             According to CI, there's no reason to be anxious
>: whether you're going to be in the next terror attack--you either will
>: or won't but it's not up to you (unless you purposely enter a place of
>: sakanah--statistically, even Sbarro's isn't a makom sakanah).

> I don't know if that's what the CI is saying. You're making his statement
> about bitachon into one about HP. He could hold like the Rambam, and
> yet define bitachon to include the confidence that if Hashem treats you
> more beteva it is in your best interest.

The way the CI expresses himself in Emunah u'Bitachon does not lead me to
believe that he was Maimondian in his approach.  CI says that all specific
good or bad *occurrences* (results) are part of Hashem's plan for the
individual, rather than saying that the *process* of either being or not
being treated b'teva is part of the Plan.  Remember, CI is contrasting his
view to the view that "...rachmana, l'tava avid" means that every result is
going to come out in a "good" way as imagined by the individual.

Kol tuv,

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