Avodah Mailing List

Volume 09 : Number 062

Sunday, July 14 2002

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Thu, 11 Jul 2002 08:26:48 -0400
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Piaszcesner & Lubavitcher

I had written:

>Concerning visualizing Hashem - see the sicho Naso 5743 par. 22 p. 1599
>(link provided), concerning the Raavad.
>      ... This is indeed worth seeing. It provides theoretical 
>justification for the Piaczsesner's parctical eitzah - essentially a 
>metaphysical application of the theory of relativity to the worlds of 
>perception of HKB"H, i.e., how you perceive Hashem is reality to you, and 
>applying eilu va'eilu...
>Not sure I accept this chiddush. But fascinating!

Correspondent C writes:

>I don't get it - OK, relative to the level of a 5 year old level a certain 
>degree of hisgashmus is necessary. But using the same tool of relativity, 
>as the child matures the standards should change - so why does the Ra'avad 
>rely on the standards of a 5 year old to define the issur hisgashmus for a 
>mature adult?
>The gemara says that when a child is capable of speaking the father 
>teaches his "shma yisrael". So by the logic of relativity since that must 
>be toras emes, the kavanos of a 2 year old are sufficient for shma. 
>The Rambam/Ra'avad are l'shitasam end of Hil. Milachim by whether the 
>metaphors of nach by biyas moshiach are just that - metaphors - or have a 
>literal meaning.

Another correspondent writes:

>As for the LR.....NU.. the Piaczsesner said it first! (see, I can say 
>this...) [note - this e-mail was from a Lubavitcher Chasid] and this 
>clearly predates him but I on one hand have lost interest... I thing the 
>Zhidchover is kneged the Alter Rebbe on this point viewed via the goal of 
>Shema and Yichud Ila as I think Rabbi Lamm brings in his book...and it is 
>not  a chiddush of the Alter Rebbe

To be honest, I have no clue what was the machlokes the Ziditchover and 
Alter Rebbe and hope this correspondent, or some other correspondent who 
has read Dr. Lamm's book might respond on the matter, please.

Another intriguing comment, in response to the correspondent who made the 
link to popular movies and culture:

>The first person (A) is not a chassid I presume. He is wrong about the 
>idea coming from secular beliefs... (which he clearly is influenced by as 
>I do not go to movies, do not know what he is referring to etc as it is 
>not my world...) As for the Ramchal, despite what the Maggid supposedly 
>said..he is not brought in Chassidus, as the Ramchal's chiddushim are 
>kneged in avodah (as seen the A's wrong conclusion about the goal of 
>chassidus...) I have asked many greats about this and the Ramchal is 
>simply not a chassid's shita...though I certainly have it to contrast with 

I was aware theat Chassidim generally eschewed Ramchal, but have never been 
able to understand exactly why this is the case. This e-mail, while 
confirming the distance, only whets my curiosity more, as I do not 
understand why a contrary derech in avodah (I assume the Ramchal is 
regarded as advocating perishus and mussar-type work which are downplayed, 
generally, in Chassidus) causes a theological aversion as well.

And, an important clarification:

>The hand discussion was presented to demonstrate that the notion of 
>physical representations of spiritual concepts is inherent in the briah - 
>by virtue of His description to us of His hands - and that therefore 
>perceiving Him in some physical sense, l'saber es haozen, might be acceptable.
>I don't know from Matrix, but I do know that my comments re hand/reality 
>are being entirely misunderstood and quoted out of context. I don't say 
>life is an illusion. I say that His hand - entirely spiritual in nature - 
>is a real hand and ours are a physical facsimile - a perceived reality of 
>"hand" which He of course created for us as a challenge/opportunity, if 
>for no reason other than to understand Him and His hand. Our hands are 
>real physical hands, it's just that real physical hands are mere 
>facsimiles of His hands. A shorthand way of discussing this is to say that 
>His hands are real and ours aren't.
>This doesn't mean our world is unreal in the sense of meaningless; it does 
>mean that our physical world, very real, is merely a representation of the 
>spiritual world to which we currently have no/little access. Our job is to 
>pierce through the physical to comprehend and live with the spiritual, the 
>means to do so being of course the physical (otherwise why would He have 
>give us the physical?).
>If we in the physical world attach ourselves to Him properly, then we live 
>in ultimate spiritual reality, as well. Thus: akeydas yitzchok is a 
>seminal event b/c it shows that we have no reality, not even the right to 
>exist, without Him and attachment to Him; the tzaddik can effectuate 
>miracles b/c to him there's no diff between perceived reality (oil burns 
>and vinegar doesn't) and actual reality (HKBH causes substances to burn); 
>techiyas hameysim is reward/punishment for extent to which we live in His 
>reality, rather than our perceived reality.
>The other comment quoted [In my humble opinion all of life is imaginative 
>and the question >>> is to which imaginative palimpsest do we ascribe.] is 
>in fact not a Jewish concept.

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

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Date: Thu, 11 Jul 2002 10:01:18 EDT
From: RaphaelIsaacs@aol.com
Re: Piaszcesner & Lubavitcher

In a message dated 07/11/2002 9:48:10am EDT, sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu
> I was aware theat Chassidim generally eschewed Ramchal, but have never been 
> able to understand exactly why this is the case. This e-mail, while 
> confirming the distance, only whets my curiosity more, as I do not 
> understand why a contrary derech in avodah (I assume the Ramchal is 
> regarded as advocating perishus and mussar-type work which are downplayed, 
> generally, in Chassidus) causes a theological aversion as well.

I have been trying to discover this for a while as well and have asked a
number of Lubavitchers. All that one could tell me is that way way back,
the Maggid (of Mezritch) when saying maamorim, would quote Ramchals from
Klach Pischei Chochmoh then proceed to dismiss them. Something else
they mention is the lack of a mesorah. (The Besht's, they claim, is from
Achiya HaShiloni)

As for prsihus, you, RYGB, made it clear in your essay on Chassidus,
that Chabad is the only strain that advocated perishus, at least at the
beginning of one's avoda. In their words, iskafia.

The concept of G-d's hand being the real one etc.appears in Derech
Mitzvosecha by the Tzemach Tzedek, Shorech Mitzvas HaTefillah Ch.2.

The concept of a child's understanding of Divinity being a valid construct
is found in ibid. Ch.8.


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Date: Fri, 12 Jul 2002 14:19:35 -0400
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Chabad and Ramchal, Magen David

The following is a rephrasing of information I received from a Chabad
source on their perspective on Ramchal:

Ramchal stresses Avodah on Sheleimus Ha'Adam, Chassidus stresses Avodah
on Dirah B'Tachtonim and Bittul.

Ramchal seems to contain many chiddushim arrived at without a teacher
(although perhaps from his own angelic Maggid), but, in general his
innovations did not come from a teacher. (Ramchal has his own "Zohar",
his own "Tehillim" etc... ever see his Ma'amar HaGeulah??!!! [YGB-No] vs.
Chabad. We quote our sources reasons for minhagim: Alter Rebbe's Shulchan
Aruch, Sefer Minhagim

Thus, the Ramchal is generally not quoted in Chabad Chassidus whereas
many other thinkers are noted (and then disagreed with). The Rebbe quotes
widely, but no Ramchal..

An exception is a page of kisvei yad of the Tzemach Tzedek in Ohel Rachel
by R' Chaim Liberman that shows we do not agree; a meaningless footnote in
Likutei Torah (someone just told me another place: Ohr HaTorah Bamidbar-
Pinchas 1085, in discussing how sefiros etc. are gevul and bli gevul, the
Tzemach Tzedek brings the standard Avodas HaKodesh / R. Azriel then Choker
u'Mekkubal from Ramchal, then says "ad kan... u'bdrech chassidus...")

Chassidus holds everything must come from teachers..mesorah, chain
of tradition, i.e., the Besht, Shla"h [Real Chabadniks do not write
HaKodesh], Maharal, etc. (Although not as rigidly as the Chida who
holds all Kabbolas ho'Arizal must come via R' Chaim Vital - Chabad
occasionally brings other Arizal students - I like to recall a 5748
bilti mugeh ma'amar of the Rebbe in Hisvadus 5748 volume 3 p.413 where he
says that all that Chassidim have as a mesorah from the Emek Ha'Melech
- a less popular non-R' Chaim Vital source, Reb Tzadok quotes him -
is what the previous Rebbeim quoted, and not to go hunting for more -
which of course many did not heed.)

The same source also informs me of an interesting machlokes as to whether
the Magen David has any Jewish significance - the Ramchal held it does,
Chabad holds it does not. Thus, rigorously orthodox Lubavitchers will not
employ that emblem. I add that in the shul in which I daven on weekdays
(a neo-chassidic shtiebel, not Chabad), the Aron Kodesh, a hand-me-down,
had its MD broken off (I am sure the Rav had nothing to do with it, but
someone did it). I believe RMF has a teshuva on MD, and I have a shiur
on the topic based on machashava (six points and connection to Dovid).

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

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Date: Fri, 12 Jul 2002 20:45:17 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Amazing Piaczsesner, Visualizations, Continued - Amazing Chiddush of the LR

On Wed, Jul 10, 2002 at 08:29:03AM -0400, RYGB forwarded the following
from Correspondent A:
> I find it interesting that people are using this new world concept in
> relation to HKBH and the world. About 5 years ago a friend of mine
> came to me and said, "It's like the whole world is Virtual Reality
> and we can't see the real thing which is the perspective from HKBH"...

That's not a new world concept -- it's Plato. We're only seeing the
reality's shadows on the wall of the cave.

Lately I've developed the impression that some of Chazal understood
"olam ha'emes" to be Plato's Logos. If so, then they would recognize
it as a more-real reality than ours.

> According to the RamChal - certainly in Derech Hashem and I believe
> also in Da'as Tevunos -- OH"B is not some phantom spiritual world. It is
> rather this world rebuilt after it lays fallow for 1000 yrs between 6000
> and 7000...
> I believe this is also in conjunction with the Medresh that tells us
> that Adam's body before the Chait was similar to our fingernails.

Assuming shitas haRamban, rather than the Rambam's "phantom spiritual
world". From what I said above, though, the spiritual world would be
considered the real one, and this world the phantom.

An idea that also fits this medrash well is RAYKook's understanding of
techiy'as hameisim. History is a process of removing the illusion of
multiplicity. After all, "ein od milvado" and He is One.

At some point we'll reach the madreiga where we eliminate the kelipos
dividing olam hazeh and olam haba. The dead don't so much come back to
life as the concepts of death and life converge.

: Correspondent B writes:

R' or R'n CB will have to wait until I chase the URL he sent.


Micha Berger                 "Fortunate indeed, is the man who takes exactly
micha@aishdas.org            the right measure of himself,  and holds a just
http://www.aishdas.org       balance between what he can acquire and what he
Fax: (413) 403-9905          can use."              - Peter Mere Latham

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Date: Thu, 11 Jul 2002 10:35:23 -0400
From: "Stein, Aryeh" <AStein@wtplaw.com>
RE: The MB and psaq

From: Seth Mandel:
> and in many cases what 
> people assume is the 'psaq' of the MB was not that in the eyes of the CC, 
> who did not follow many of the MB's supposed psaqim.  

From: R' Moshe Feldman:
> 1. Could you give some examples where the CC did not follow the MB's
> supposed psakim?

While the MB "paskens" that one must make a separate brachah on dessert,
according to R' Mendel Zaks, the CC himself did not make a separate
brachah. (FWIW, R' Ruderman, z"l, did not make a separate brachah
on dessert.)


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Date: Fri, 12 Jul 2002 02:32:21 +0200
From: mali and david brofsky <brofsky@netvision.net.il>
mishna berura and psak

while its been a little hard to follow the tens of comments re: the MB and
psak -i would like to throw some thoughts in-

1. intent of author:
the question of an authors intent seems to be a tricky question. the
kitzur shu"a clearly had in mind that his work should be viewed as
authoritative, but the role of commentaries on the shu"a is less clear. it
seems to me to be part of a culture that we just don;t really relate to
anymore. as dr chaim soloveitchik pointed out, in his already well known
tradition article, what was the gra's intention if there is no evidence
that anybody listened to the biure hagra or maase ravs for hundreds of
years? who was he talking to? what was his intention? as was pointed out
- did the CC even follow everything he said in his commentary? it seems
to be part of a culture of psaq and written halakha that we no longer
fully relate to.

2. our percpetion of the MB:
the testimonies from those of a "slightly older" generation were well
appreciated. the phenomenon of equating MB with shmiras shabbos kehilkhasa
seems to be relatively new. i once heard RHS note that he didn't own
a MB until he got married (which was pretyy late - for those who have
heard him talk about it!).
an even brief glance at some of the FRONTLINE poskim will reveal
that the MB was not perceived as a major obsticle to psaq - lkula or
lchumra. it was just another source. many will present the view of the
MB is conforming to their halakhic conclusions, or as the opinion they
are arguing on.

3. authority of MB:
in addition to r elchanan waserman, i have also heard that the chazon
ish's endorsement of the MB, especially over the Arukh hashulkhan,
had a major impact on our percpetion of the authority of the MB

but - we must still ask ouselves, what are the parameters of the MB's
authority? seems to me that MB has become authoritative in two ways:
if you don;t know what to do - you can;t go wrong if you follow the MB
if the MB is lenient - the burden of proof is on you if you want to be
more stringent (and at times visa versa)

two final comments:
its unclear how great the MBs influence, lemaaseh, has been on contemp
practice. i believe the responsa of r moshe feinsten, for example, had a
much greater influence (future topic - the erosion of r moshe's authority
as relfected in recent art scroll contemp halakha books). americans,
at large - drink tea in a keli shlishi b/c of R moshe. israeli charedi
community doesn't. Mb doesn;t really figure in.

finally, one should really examine how often this question is really
relevant. r aaron lichtenstein used to encourage us to learn arukh
hahulkhan, for obvious reasons (backgroung material,e tc). as for psaq
- even if the MB is viewed as slightly more authoritative, he use to
say - how often are we talking about? here and there - yaaleh veyavo on
r"chodesh after shabbos, etc. not a tremendous deal. he did, as mentioned
above, become sort of a "yard stick", though, for halakhic norms.

ok- off to bed .
good shabbos,
david brofsky

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Date: Fri, 12 Jul 2002 16:52:09 GMT
From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
Shir Shel Yom

The shaliach tzibur said the wrong shir shel yom. Should I correct him
privately afterward?


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Date: Fri, 12 Jul 2002 14:53:04 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
A comparison of Z and SZ

(Subject line modified to satisfy RYGB's request that we not intrigue
any children who might share computer access.)

On Fri, Jul 12, 2002 at 09:34:49AM -0400, Avroham Yakov asked on Areivim:
: When explaining Torah concepts, how does one effectively explain the concept 
: that according to Halacha, prostitution is ok, but masturbation is 
: absolutely forbidden?

Hashem refers to intimimacy as a deveq. "Vedavaq be'ishto vehayu lebasar
echad" (Ber' 2:24) refers to its power to connect two people.

In the case of zenus, that deveq is being abused. The particular person is
not one with whom either party plans on having a meaningful relationship
with. However, it's still outwardly focussed. Some of the attachment
still connects the man to people who resemble the zonah: all women,
more so women similar in age, appearance, or some other trait.

In the case of shichvas zera when alone, the emotional deveq ends up
being entirely a self-focus. This is actually more destructive.

However, I don't think that in the real world this inequality applies
all that often. I'm not G-d's accountant, as RSK is fond to point out,
but here's my reasoning behind that guess.

Lefum tza'ara agra. I presume the same is true r"l lehefech. hiring a
zonah requires more time, effort, and forethought. This means that even
if it were less of a cheit *for the same effort*, an actual situation may
not be a lesser cheit. In terms of the Chinuch's "ha'adam nif'al lefi
pe'ulaso", making and going to an appointment has a greater negative
roshem on the individual.


Micha Berger                 "Fortunate indeed, is the man who takes exactly
micha@aishdas.org            the right measure of himself,  and holds a just
http://www.aishdas.org       balance between what he can acquire and what he
Fax: (413) 403-9905          can use."              - Peter Mere Latham

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Date: Fri, 12 Jul 2002 20:48:18 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Gerim

On Wed, Jul 10, 2002 at 08:31:55AM -0400, Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer wrote:
: You are ignoring Amoni v'lo Amonis, etc. This is not a racial thing!

The fact that it's not mitigated by geirus means it's not cultural.
In contrast to Amaleiq.

It could be an inherited feature that only carries down the male line.

Or it could be unique inferior treatment of a group of people defined
by some third concept.

In comparison: The definition of who is Benei Yisra'el also defies the
race vs religion (and culture) dichotomy.


Micha Berger                 "Fortunate indeed, is the man who takes exactly
micha@aishdas.org            the right measure of himself,  and holds a just
http://www.aishdas.org       balance between what he can acquire and what he
Fax: (413) 403-9905          can use."              - Peter Mere Latham

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Date: Thu, 11 Jul 2002 12:49:50 -0400
From: "Joseph Kaplan" <jkaplan@tenzerlunin.com>
Bar/Bat Mitzvah

Akiva Miller explains that the difference between the celebrations of bar
and bat mitzvah is that bat mitzvah girls, as opposed to bar mitzvah boys
"never take a public position in the adult community." I guess that's
why in my Orthodox community, where girls actually do take public roles
(by being motzi others in kiddush, leading a female mezuman, giving divrei
torah and making siyumim, and, when they grow older, taking leadership
positions in shuls, yeshivot and other Orthodox institutions), the bat
mitzvah celebrations become more public like bar mitzvah celebrations.
So when we're looking at "what people actually do," which R. Akiva seems
to say lies at the heart of the matter, we should understand that people,
even Orthodox people, actually do different things.

Joseph C. Kaplan

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Date: Thu, 11 Jul 2002 13:46:45 -0400
From: Arie Folger <afolger@ymail.yu.edu>
Re: Who *wrote* the mishnah?

I wrote:
> : The mishnah is a very incomplete work. Even assuming that in his day
> : all disagreements could have been legislated away (they still had a
> : Sanhedrin IIRC)...

RMB replied:
> Judging from the number of machlokesin between beis Shammai and beis
> Hillel that survived for generations (there were still Shammutim a
> generation before Rebbe, if not his generation as well), I don't think
> Sanhedrin worked that way. At least not after the fall of the lishkas
> hagazis.

Please elaborate. Do you mean that Sanhedrin did not legislate away
disagreements, or that they did not legislate away *all* disagreements?

Besides, my point is that even if Sanhedrin did legislate one way or
another (and we do pasken generally like Hillel and his yeshivah,
sometimes like Shammai and his yeshivah), Rebbi still recorded the
disagreement. This is, IMHO, because Rebbi was not presenting the final
halakhah, but rashei prakim mentioning cases, which were orally discussed.

> The change of Sanhedrin's power to pasken when they left the lishkas
> hagazis could explain why we needed a bas qol to tell us to hold like
> beis Hillel. As Tosafos ad loc point out, even without Shamayim's
> intervention, the halachah would be like beis Hillel because they
> were the rabbim.

Mah 'inyan shmitah etzel har Sinai?

>: Getting backto the gemara in Bava Metzi'ah, even with a mishnah the TSBP
>: could be forgotten. Learning mishnah, as Rebbi refers to it, meant likely
>: more than just the text, also the commentary/working out of the sugya.

> Rebbe in BM 33b probably meant memorizing beraisos. The lashon "mishnah"
> and its Aramaic equivalent "masnisin", is usually used for the repetition
> of a memorized text of this sort. Tani tana kamei deR'... (Which refers to
> the repeater as the "tana", not the one being repeated. Even though the
> rav they're in front of was often an amorah, and therefore the anonymous
> memorizer was of that era. I wonder when the meaning shifted.)

Good point. May be Rebbi *was* refering to Mishnah, or may be to Beraita,
or may be even when they had a written Mishnah it was still considered
better to know them by heart, as it is an index to TSBP. FYI, the Agudah
still promotes that through siyum mishnayot, where a large number of
boys compete showing who can memorize more mishnayot.

> See also Hil Talmud Torah. Knowing the halachah is "mishnah"; knowing
> its mechanics is "gemara". Particularly before these words came to refer
> to particular books.

That I would not take literally; this is rather the original meaning of
the words, but not the works.

> :               .... If indeed beraitot were already being written, merely
> : writing the mishnah would not have been such a big deal; publishing
> : it would be....

> It's hard to picture that a text that existed in print that became the
> basis of all of both shasim (and therefore presumably of much of the
> conversation recorded in the gemara) didn't get massively copied.

As I indicated, this is an ongoing speculation to try to answer the
strongest difficulty rav Steinberger presented. However, even as your
point is very good, my speculation is still plausible. What I stated
was that Mishnah may not have been published for the masses, or even for
the masses of junior TCs. Instead it may have been intended as a book
of minutes, a repository for the elite, and may have been consulted by
the student body even as they didn't usually study from it.

Arie Folger

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Date: Fri, 12 Jul 2002 14:00:22 +1000
From: "SBA" <sba@iprimus.com.au>
RE: CH in front of non-Jews

From: Akiva Atwood <atwood@netvision.net.il>
>>> And SA and Acharonim? Just curious.

>> I didn't go further. But I believe in Hil. Aveida u'Metziah you will
>> find it. I am mystified by your motivations here...

> Curiosity? A desire to know the actual *halacha*? What the actual *psak*
> is b'zman ha zeh?

I don't know if Sefer Charedim qualifies as a 'halocho' sefer - but it
also mentions CH in front of non-Jews.


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Date: Fri, 12 Jul 2002 20:52:05 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Chabad and Ramchal, Magen David

On Fri, Jul 12, 2002 at 02:19:35PM -0400, Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer wrote:
: The same source also informs me of an interesting machlokes as to whether
: the Magen David has any Jewish significance - the Ramchal held it does,
: Chabad holds it does not...

Now that you said it, it seems obvious.

Both are leshitasam as per their machlokes about Keser vs Da'as. Without
keser, what is at the top point of the MD?


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Date: Sun, 14 Jul 2002 09:20:49 -0400
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Fwd: RE: Chabad and Ramchal, Magen David

 From a correspondent, somewhat condensed and edited. I agree with some of 
what this individual writes

Not being an expert on Ramchal I don't really know what to this refers:
"Ramchal has his own "Zohar", his own "Tehillim" etc...". The fact
that Ramchal is ignored in Chasidus could simply be attributed to the
fact that he was a contemporary and also accused of being a follower of
Shabsai Tzvi, and since Chasidim were on the defensive at the time for
the same reasons (Kabbalah, ST, etc...) they didn't need some one else
causing them more grief. 2nd of all, Ramchal was pretty much an unknown
figure in the popular circles until R. Yisroel Salanter made him into
a musar classic. Which brings out my point, that since Chasidim were
opposed to musar, etc... That did away with Ramchal also. And by the
way, the Pshischa Chasidim were students of Ramchal. R. Simcha Bunim
was very in favor of his teachings. By the way, ever noticed how come
in the Mesilas Yesharim the last 2 parts of the last chapter on kedusha
are missing, where as every other chapter has them? They were omitted
and made sure that they were lost (the manuscripts are available, See
Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan's Meditation and Kabbala) so that people wouldn't
try to practice what he says there.

With respect to Shalah Hakadosh, (why is it that: "Real Chabadniks
do not write HaKodesh"?). R' Nachman has multitudes of ideas from the
Shalah mentions as well. See, for example, Likutei Moharan 23 and Shalah
Vaeschanan Torah Ohr 1 about the mezuzah protecting against desire
for money.

In any case, is it a fact that the Arizal's kabbalah must come from
R. Chaim Vital? Much of Rav Chaim Vital's stuff come from R. Yosef
Gikatalia who intern got it from R Avraham Abulafia. And since Abulafia
was put into cherim by the Rashba and many others, his seforim were not
available in print until 1998 (yeah 4 years ago). And this is why the last
section of Shaar Hakavanos of R Chaim Vital is also missing, because it
as a lot of practical stuff from Abulafia. I don't know where the Chida
says that kabbala must come from RCV. I do know though that the Chida
was the 1st one to justify Abulafia and his methods in Sheim HaGedolim,
and let the world know that he is "all right". Rav Chaim Vital himself
at the end of his life began to follow the methods of Abulafia and left
the Arizal's teachings in terms of practice (See abbi Aryeh Kaplan again
for a list of sources on this).

This statement: "We quote our sources reasons for minhagim: Alter
Rebbe's Shulchan Aruch" is inaccurate. I have been told by multiple
Chabadniks that they don't follow the Shulchan Arukh which generally
follows the Beis Yosef and instead follow the Siddur of the Alter Rebbe
(which, by the way, was put out of print by Kehot in 1960s (why?) and
is no where to be found) which follows the Ari. The Kuntres Acharon
in the Shulchan Aruch also has some innovative material in it as well
(and we don't know who wrote it either) (see Rav Moshe's Teshuva to
the late Lubavitcher Rebbe about Tefilin of Rabeinu Tam).

This statement: "Ramchal stresses Avodah on Sheleimus Ha'Adam, Chassidus
stresses Avodah on Dirah B'Tachtonim and Bittul." is also inaccurate.
R' Nachman, Pshischa, Ger, Mei HaShiloach, all stress Shleimus HaAdam,
and at least R' Nachman says (somewhere in the 1st 20 chapters of Likutei,
can't find the exact spot now) that Bittul cannot be achieved without
achieving Shleimus HaAdam first. And in terms of Dirrah Betachtonim there
may be an irony in that Chabad focus on learning Tanya and Chassidus
the whole day instead of Gemora, because they are interested in Dirah
BeElyonim and not Betachtonim.

And of course about the Magen Dovid. There is no source in the rishonim at
all about it. It shows up in seforim for the 1st time in the 1500s. Why,
I don't know. In terms of it becoming a Jewish sign, looks like another
thing we got from goyim. No idea wher he got that Ramchal holds of
its significance. I just searched through all of his writings and it
doesn't come up anywhere. The only people who seems to care a lot abot it
today are the Conservatice and Reform, because since they have no other
connection to Judaism, this seems to be their only connection. Notice
that they won't have a mezuza on the door, and yet the house will be full
junk with Magen Dovid's on it. Everytime they have a spirituality erge,
the go buy another Magen Dovid.

Anyway, makes me wonder who this Chabad source is. Doesn't sound like
a good source.


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