Avodah Mailing List

Volume 10 : Number 024

Wednesday, October 9 2002

< Previous Next >
Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Wed, 9 Oct 2002 00:11:06 EDT
From: RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com
Re: Violating the will of the majority

In a message dated 10/7/2002 4:45:23pm EDT, yadmoshe@012.net.il writes:
>> Bepashtus one may dispute the authority and/or the majority status of
>> the Agudas Harabbonim...
>> So RMF can legitimately assert that the heter was a Taus gamur OTOH he
>> should not assert that relying on this heter is a tuas for those that
>> do.

> I find these assertion rather amazing and totally unconvincing. We
> are discussing the nature of the halachic process. I am presenting a
> description of a recognized authority. In response you keep asserting
> that he was wrong!? It would be helpful if you cited the basis for
> asserting that Rav Moshe's conduct in this area violates the rules.

The basis is facts.  Does the Agudas Harbbanim in fact represent a Rov!?

>>I can show you many cases where poskim accepted post facto relying
>> upon "shaky" heterim. And at least the conecpt of mutav sheyihyu shoggim
>> should make sense in this case. Using a Microphone that is already on
>> is not a d'oraysso AFAIK....
> There is a major difference between "many cases where poskim accepted
> post facto" and concluding that Rav Moshe was wrong not to accept it
> in this case. You might have a legitimate point if you can show that in
> this case of microphones - many major league poskim accepted the validity
> of using microphones while Rav Moshe went against the tide. In fact
> the opposite actually occured. Therefore if the vast majority of poskim
> refused to accept microphones even post facto it would indicate that
> your rule is either wrong or for some reason did not apply in this
> particular case.

I don't get it. I am not opposed to RMF making a statement against
microphones. I am amazed that his conclusion re: the ruling of the Agudas
Harabbanom can in any way be contrued as binding so as to label anyone
a Mechallel Shabbos. WADR to the Agudas Harrabonim what is their offical
capacity to make their psak binding on any other community?

Think about this. Were Chabad to say that anyone who is not makpid on
Chalav Yisrael mamash <pun intended> is ochlei Treifos and THEN cite
hundreds of Chabad Musmachim would that make their psak binding in the
Lower East Side or MTJ?

>> Furthermore, are people to be condemned solely for relying upon a Psak
>> that is a minority? Many k'hillos rely upon the heterim of their minhag
>> - EG what about sukkah on Shmin Atzeres, etc. I do realize that Chilul
>> Shabbos is a biggie, but let's remember that AFAIK microphone is not
>> a d'oraisso.

> There are many reasons for coming down hard on an innovation which is
> viewed as drastically altering the halachic environment just as there are
> reasons for ignoring changes when the protest will cause more darkness
> than light.

Coming down hard is one thing. I am arguing against inventing Halachic
Would the Chasam Sofer feel bound to the Agudas Harabbonim or would this
va'ad be a davar Chadash?

>> In fact I asked the Late R. Shmuel Yaakov Weinberg Z"L re: Mirophone.
>> He told me that it was assure mishum hashmoas kol - a gzeira.

> Did you ask him whether he felt Rav Moshe was wrong? BTW YD II #5
> discusses the nature of the issur.

Nope. I did not discuss RMF's psak. I'm merely pointing out that to
him it was clearly a derabanan, a gzeira.

>> I do realize that RMF as a Gadol felt the need to make a Macho'ah.
>> But if one takes this line of reasoning literally, than we have a slippery
>> slope of people relying upon kulos as mechaleli Shabbos. I would guess
>> the Manhattan Eruv might be another case in point. I personally do not
>> rely on that Eruv - except for the fact that I would not label anyone
>> who DOES rely upon it as Mechallel Shabbos.

> Again you are contrasting your halachic intution with that of Rav Moshe
> and apparently asserting yours is better. If you could cite some geunine
> sources that support your intuition it would be more helpful.

Again I am not concluding that RMF made a wrong Psak as to the issur
or Microphone. Rather I question relying upon the Agudas Harrabonim as
an authority to make one a mechalle Shabbos when the matter is in flux.

>> I would have been more comfortable had RMF declared something like this:
>> "No Yerei Shaomayim Nor any Shomer Mitzvos ought to rely upon the
>> microphone heter because it is an inherently flawed heter and we must
>> take steps to prevent this from becoming a popular practice"

> I am not sure what your comfort has to do with the halachic process?

I'm not sure how polling the Agudas Harrabanim makes somethign Halchically
binding on all communities. How is THAT within the Halchic process.
Did you know that Agudas Harabbonim was esentially limited to European
born Rabbanim at one time? This is hardly a reliable cross-section of
what is normative.

>> Now you CAN argue that RMF - by declaring one a mechallel Shabbos -
>> succeede in effecting this result. It's just that if that is indeed
>> the case, somehow then the ends have now justified the means and we
>> now have to live with a form of "halachic hyperbole" as normative. That
>> means condemning people relying upon minority heterim can be labelled
>> and discarded. I don't like it.

> Again your likes and dislikes should not be the topic of discussion. What
> sources do you have that Rav Moshe violated established canons of halachic
> conduct in this case?

Since when does the ruling of one organization bind upon those who are
not members?

>> Remember the Rambam who condemned the corporeality of HKBH and the
>> Raavad's response that while he agrees with the Rambam's POV he conedes
>> that SOME great people did not agree. OK we may not have GREAT people
>> issuing the heter for microphones but again the stakes are lower AISI.

> This is a straight forward halachic dispute as to whether heresy
> indavertently arrived at makes the person a genuine apikorus. I don't
> see what it has to do with your assertion that Rav Moshe overstepped
> appropriate behavior in the case of the microphones. Please supply
> citations that support your assertions.

The mashal and nimshal are simple. Rambam's condemnation includined
those who had reliable sources.

In this case RMF condemned those who relied upon a psak because he
ruled that reliaying upn that PSAK was not legitmitate because of a
ruling of Agudas Harrabanim. I would like to find out how a ruling of
a Rabbincial body becomes Halchically binding in terms of reliablity?
Where in Shulchan Aruch is the Agudas Harrabonim the decisor of making
a psak unreliable?

See Rema Choshen Mishpat 25 about relying upon one's rebbe for specioifc

WADR you are not addressing my point and are clearly talking past them.

RMF never deined that his piskei Halachah could be challenged, in fact
I am to understand that he WELOCMED challenges. As Such, I am surprised
that you are opposing RMF's own will on this matter, i.e. he made no
assertions that his word was the last word on any matter. This is not a
matter of kavod, it is a matter or technique. I don't think RYGB lacks
deference for R. Chaim Soloveechik merely because Brisk opposed Mussar.

No matter how big a gadol RMF was, he cannot impose by fiat the
authority of Agudas Harrabonim on those who are not affilliated with that
organiation. And I tend to doubt the minroty of members who opposed their
ruling on microphones themselves felt bound by the majority on this issue,
although I cannot prove it.

And let's just say that 51% of Rabbanim in the world opposed using
microphones, does that create a Halachic imperative on the remaing 49%?
Where is the Halachic authority to make that assertion?

[Email #2. -mi]

In a message dated 10/7/2002 10:17:19am EDT, micha@aishdas.org writes:
>: No one is eliminating text from the process. Just that texts are not
>: failsafe either. My point, find a new igrsa in an old text and you
>: can throw out Tradition.
> In the past you criticized what I'm describing as being overly fluid.
> Now you're saying it's overly static.

I don't know what you mean.  My point is that texts can be flawed and that 
Minhaggim are a stabilizing factor for the most part.

> There is a mechanism for throwing out traditions that are minhagei ta'us.
> (Otherwise, the idiom "minhag ta'us" would never have been coined to begin
> with!) In order for such a mechanism exist, there has to be some textual
> process by which one judges the appropriateness of accepted practices.
> You have yet to describe a system that has room for this idea.

A minhag has to be analyzed.  
So does a text
My issue is that textualists tend to default to seeing a text as correct and 
a minhag as flawed, when I would argue the opposite default is often a better 
assumption.   See Tosafos for countless examples

You remined me of my 9th grade classmate who took Art Buchwald's satyes as 
literal truth because they appeared in the newspapers.  This is a common 
idea,  The printed word is holier than oral traditoins.  The idea of course 
is not new.,  The Idea that printed words are holier than oral Traditions 
goes way back into time.  

Hint: Remember Sadducees, Karaites --smile-- 

> For example, in this very case, why aren't you in favor of restoring the
> older text? How is the switch from "oseh hashalom" to "hamvareich es amo
> Yisrael bashalom" legitimate, but not any of the changes since Baer's
> or Heidenheim's siddurim went to press? Wasn't the older switch also
> someone doing what was textually right rather than what everyone else
> did?

I don't get this point.  The swithc was based upon a faulty premise that the 
Oseh Hashalom was MERELY a textual error transcribed from Oseh Hashalom 
Bimromoav that some alleged Sofer moved to the siyym of the brachah.  
However, the fact is that this siyyum is actaully older.  It could STILL be a 
taus sofer to confuse the 2, but that was not the point made by those who 
asserted the error. 

> The question isn't proving C wrong, but my personally being able to
> judge what is beyond the line and what isn't -- and therefore who I
> personally would count for a minyan (assumign the existance of non-tinoqos
> shenishbe'u). If I hold that change X is inside the process, but change
> Y is not by the process, then any conclusions reached because of Y,
> and conclusions reached because of those conclusions, and so on, are
> outside the pale.

So according to those who hold of Chalav Yisrael mamash and require
kashering dishes/pots/ans from Chalav Hacompanies- then many people WE
consider Observant are in fact eating "treif"?

> (BTW, C does NOT believe it's doing the same thing the amora'im or rishonim
> did. They believe they're intentionally restoring fluidity that in the
> past was provided by ignorance and accident. Breaking a process in
> order to restore a feature that the process itself attenuates.)

I don't know this to be a fact. 

> The C halachic process isn't O's. Nor is it the same as pre-C. The
> historical school introduced the notion of going outside halachic process
> -- in particular, hypothesis about what historical forces pushed for a
> halachah -- to evaluate halachos.
> They also broke the notion of precedent in a conscious attempt to regain
> the fluidity of the days when we had less precedent.

Perhaps that is true of the C process, but it is NOT true of CI {Catholic 
Israel} as a concept.  BTW, I have not read a lot of Frankel, but what i have 
read does nto mention this.  AFAIK Solomn Schachter never said this either 

> Then there's the notion of "balancing halachah and societal need" in
> their "Emunot veDei'ot" that outright states that halachah is evaluated
> at least in part by something other than halachah.

Perhaps, but again I am not convinced that this is related to the original 
conctruct of CI in the days of Frankel and Schachter...

>: Your own reasonging re: JTSA is circular. A priori JTSA is ont frum so 
>: therefore their Halachic assertions are incorrect.  But if you chose to see 
>: them as frum you would not be able to say that.

> NO! I have an objective definition, if not fully flushed out, as to
> who is frum. The a priori isn't that JTSA is not frum, but that this
> mechanics rather than that is valid!

> That's why a constitutional law, a set of laws about how laws may be
> made and which attempted laws would be minhagei ta'us, breaks out of
> the CI circulatity.

I would love to see you come up with this Constitutional System.

>: Similarly when a community is Observant and fails to Observe X you have to 
>: take your apriori

> Again NO! WHo is observant is defined in how they got to X or not-X more
> than whether or not they observe some particular law.

>: BTW as discussed on this list, the fact that CI is circular is not ipso 
> facto 
>: a psul except in the rules of logic...

> It becomes ad absurdum. J4j could claim their observances are
> "halachic" and as proof cite themselves as an observant community within
> CI that follows it.

> There is no definition -- anyone can claim anything and prove its veracity
> by citing the claim itself.

I don't see your claims as being any less circular.  You claim a 
constituional system, but you have not produced any constitution! 

>: But since the 900 accept microphones they are not "frum" enough to be 
>: numerated so now their vote is passul

> If the 900 do so by means that require ignoring parts or all of the
> rules for pasqening then they are not frum.

> You've just proven why CI as Schechter framed it was absurd.

> You need a notion of rules of pesaq, and therefore textual rules of how
> to make and change particular pisqei halachah. Otherwise, as you just
> showed by example, there is no definition left.

Can you show me those rules?  Did Tosafos, Rambma, Gra, play by the same 
rules of psak?

>: Also the original Minhag America was Sephardic. At what time did immigrating 
>: Ashkenazim get the right to reset this foundation? 

> You're right -- which means that every American poseiq who didn't switch
> clearly doesn't hold by your "minhag uber alles" definition of halachah!
> Nor did the Gra, or the Briskers, or Hirsch when he rewrote minhag Frankfurt,
> the Besht and various rabbeim rewrote minhagim and nusachos for their
> communities, and you objected to RMF's stance in particular already...

> Perhaps it's because your formulation of "what is halachah?" is simply
> wrong. It doesn't fit the data.

And what is YOUR defintion of Halachah?

Indeed the above switches are precisely what C's claim. That Gra Besht et.
al. made changes w/o regard to precedent. Ein hachi nami. That is how
C's claim that precedent is not binding.

There are 2 ways to make Halachah binding
1) Canonize a text
2) Rely upon Precedent and Tradition

Which do you do?  Neither!  As far as I'm concerned this is non-Halachic

If you want poskim that primarily follow #2 then I'll list some for you
1) Tosafos
2) Beis Yosef
3) Rema
4) Aruch Hashulchan

Plus I can show you many sefarim based upon Minhaggim alone
Noheig Ketzon Yosef
Yosif Ometz

Kol Tuv - Best Regards
Richard Wolpoe

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 9 Oct 2002 12:43:21 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Rambam on Bilam's Prophecy

On Mon, Oct 07, 2002 at 03:05:25PM -0400, Gil Student wrote:
: In Moreh Nevuchim 2:45 Rambam writes that Bilam had ruach hakodesh and not
: nevuah.  However, in 2:42 Rambam writes that the entire episode with the
: talking donkey was a nevuah.  Is this a contradiction?  Does anyone talk
: about it?

This problem is huge, and not simply about understanding the story of

Leshitas haRambam, nevu'ah is a consequence of develpment of da'as.

But, he also holds that the purpose of being good is to develop a da'as
about HQBH.

Therefore, an evil navi is to him a paradox.

However, he defines da'as as yichud hayodei'ah vehayadu'ah on the level
of tzurah. IOW, that the knower has a copy of the tzurah of the known,
thereby creating a unity. That leads him to conclude that a mal'ach,
a seichel nivdal, is tzurah beli chomer and therefore can't be seen
outside nevu'ah.

By putting all of his eggs in the same basket, some are getting squished!


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

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 9 Oct 2002 12:47:21 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Avoiding mitzvos

On Mon, Oct 07, 2002 at 06:27:10PM +0000, kennethgmiller@juno.com wrote:
: Wow. I didn't realize what my comment would lead to. It boggles my mind
: that Sukkah would be considered merely a mattir to allow eating a seudas
: keva during that week. But why not? Where is the border drawn? Where
: is the line between tzitzis, which we are told to actively seek out,
: and shechita, which does seem to be merely a mattir. Where does sukkah
: fall in that spectrum?

I'm not sure we actively seek out tzitzis. It's unclear one is yotzei with
a talis qatan. And even if we are, can the motive for wearing one be a
nequdah not every rishon agrees upon?

It looks to me like there are two distinct inyanim:
1- a matir for wearing 4 cornered garments;
2- a minhag based on the (aggadic) concept of ur'isem oso. Tzitzis as a mussar

I think the spectrum you try to deliniate is a mussar one, not halachic.

BTW, what can be said for sukkah (after the first night) could be said
of matzah (after the first night). If you want to eat hamotzi or mezonos,
not letting it rise is a matir. Gezeira shava, after all.


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

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 09 Oct 2002 15:07:32 +0200
From: "Carl M. Sherer" <cmsherer@ssgslaw.co.il>
Re: Chol HaMoed Sukkos Eating bread in an airplane

On 8 Oct 2002 at 20:57, kennethgmiller@juno.com wrote:
> I'm not sure what he meant. I see two possibilities:

> (1) If I have a Succa available but I choose to drink water and eat
> dates and not eat in a Succa that's okay, but to go where a Succa is
> not available and there's no reason to go there is wrong/assur, EVEN
> if I plan to eat only water and dates.

> (2) If I have a Succa available but I choose to drink water and eat
> dates and not eat in a Succa that's okay, but to go where a Succa is
> not available and there's no reason to go there is wrong/assur, if I
> am planning on relying on Holchei Drachim to have a Seudas Keva. BUT
> if I plan to drink water and eat dates it is okay.

> If he meant #2, then he and I think alike. 

Nope. I meant #1.

> But most posters seem to
> think that both Ravs Lichtenstein and Feinstein are against day trips,
> even if planning on eating only water and dates.

I don't think so. I think their problems are with overnight trips and with
day trips in which one plans on eating things that require a Succah -
in each case where one knows in advance that no Succah will be available.

-- Carl

Please daven and learn for a Refuah Shleima for my son,
Baruch Yosef ben Adina Batya among the sick of Israel.
Thank you very much.

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 09 Oct 2002 09:40:45 -0400
From: David Riceman <dr@insight.att.com>
Re: air conitioning, kvius, and tzaar

Mishpachat Freedenberg wrote:
> I am saying that there are ways to avoid the situation of being mitztaer
> over certain things. It would seem to me to be far better to find a way
> to solve a problem before it crops up...

I started by asking whether emotional pleasure counteracts physical
discomfort to the extent that someone feeling both is not mitztaer? You
think the answer is yes, but have not explained how you know that.
Why didn't Rav Yosef have such emotional pleasure on the windy day?

I also don't understand what you mean by "solve a problem ..." How does
one air condition or heat a sukka? I suppose a thatched roof might
be kosher and provide enough insulation, but it would be difficult to
reinstall every year.

>> So why is there a ptur of mitztaer?

> Because there are some situations that we cannot help by advance
> planning, such as being rainstormed on.

Or excessive heat or cold, as your gemara in Avoda Zara mentions.

The major point of my initial post was that improvements in technology
have left us more sensitive to small changes in temprature.

> However, homes in EY are still more
> comfortable than sukkot here, as I have never worried that a spirited
> child will knock down the walls of my home the way that I must be
> concerned about the wooden panels of my sukka.

How is that related to physical comfort?

David Riceman

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 9 Oct 2002 13:21:23 GMT
From: kennethgmiller@juno.com
Hoshana Rabba not on Shabbos

R' Carl Sherer wrote <<< Chazal feared the mitzva of Hoshanos being
forgotten so much that they rigged our calendar so that Hoshana Rabba
can never come out on Shabbos.>>>

Is *that* why they rigged the calendar like that? There are other things
that we do less than yearly, and don't get forgotten. I thought that the
"No Hoshana Rabba On Shabbos" rule was simply due to some aspect of the
great importance attached to Chibut Aravos, so they made sure we'd be
able to do it every year.

Now, we can certainly discuss exactly why this minhag influences the
calendar more powerfully than the d'Oraisas of shofar and lulav do,
but does anyone write that *forgetting* is the reason?

Akiva Miller

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 09 Oct 2002 09:18:30 -0400
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
More on Klapping during Selach Lanu

I remember very distinctly asking Rabbi Goldberg z"l (Micha Berger's
great uncle, IIRC), our sixth grade Rebbe, how one klaps during Selach
Lan and he said once by Chatanu and once by Pashanu. I do not think I
have checked into the regulations since then!


Reply #1:

>>>See Tfiloh Kehilchosoh for several mekoros. See also Minhag Yisroel
>>>Torah. It's also part of minhogei Chabad. Not only on DAYS where we
>>>don't say tachnun, but any tefiloh where there is no tachnun(like
>>>maariv) there is no klapping.

>>>>Saw recently that RSZA would not "klap" by Selach Lanu on days when
>>>>one does not say tachanun. Anyone every heard this before?

>FWIW, I would have called the thread "Interesting Minhag". Halacha is
>probably too strong a word for this issue.

>In any case, based on what I've read, this has only been the "official"
>minhag in Chabad since 1950 or so, although it might have been the
>practice in the town of Lubavitch. or among the Chabad Rebbeim.
>Since 1994, (in Chabad circles) there has been a renewed interest in
>the year following the death of Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe (RYYS),
>when there was no Rebbe.
>RMMS spoke in the shiva house a number of times, telling a number of
>stories about and hanhagos of his father-in-law. One of those hanhagos
>was that he (RYYS) didn't klap for Selach Lonu when Tachanun wasn't said.

Reply #2:
>That's very authoritative [R' Shlomo Zalman Auerbach] for what originally 
>sounded like a minhag on the
>fringes. Offhand its hard to understand the sevora. Does this mean that its
>a form of vidui on tachunun days and not b'toras vidui on other days. Also,
>vidui is the mitzvas teshuva which it would seem is appropriate at any time.

Reply #3:
>the mekor for this is the Sh'lah HaKodesh (so a Breslov friend of mine
>says) and it is mentioned in both Sefer HaMinhagim Chabad and Hayom Yom
>(the latter was printed while the Rebbe Rayatz was still Rebbe which
>suggests a source in Chabad going back at least that far).

My response: If it is a SL"H H"K, it is amazing that it is not a better 
known minhag! OTOH, I doubt RSZA adopted a minhag that was limited to one 
strain of Chasssidus - and, it seems from this reply that it is a Breslov 
minhag as well.

Reply #4:

>I don't think it's in HaYom Yom.
>It is in Likutei Sichos in one of the sichos from Yud Shvat, compiled
>from various things said during the week of shiva.

Reply #5:

>That of course reminds me of the Midrash Pleiah I heard:
>Hamakeh bidofi shofeich bebechoros
>which I am sure you can figure out.

Kol Tuv,

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 9 Oct 2002 10:38:03 -0400
From: "Feldman, Mark" <MFeldman@CM-P.COM>
RE: hediot and idiot

From: Phyllostac@aol.com [mailto:Phyllostac@aol.com]
> if one is potur and does something
> he is called a hediot - IOW Chaza"l put him down strongly - hediot here
> being interpreted as being something like a fool, possibly with tinges of
> am ha'aretz and rosho added - or some might say 'an idiot'. 
> A thought came to me, and, playing 'devil's advocate', I said - if so
> - how do you explain the term 'kohein hediot' (In that term hediot is
> just taken to mean an 'ordinary kohen', as opposed to a kohen godol,
> sans derogatory connotation of 'fool') ?
> So my question is, are hediot and idiot related ? 

 From Merriam Webster www.m-w.com: Etymology of idiot:
Middle English, from Latin idiota ignorant person, from Greek idiOtEs one in
a private station, layman, ignorant person, from idios one's own, private.

My father (Prof. Louis H. Feldman at YU) has told me that hedyot
comes from the Greek idiOtEs. (Many words in the Mishnah and Gemara,
esp. Talmud Yerushalmi, come from Greek. My father told me that Rav
Goren zt'l studied Greek in order to better understand the Yerushalmi.)
The word developed in the way the word "am haaretz" (in Tanach, it
does not have a pejorative meaning) developed (compare with the Latin
"vulgus"--which in Latin means "common people" but is the root of the
English word "vulgar"; compare also the word "plebian"): at first, it
referred merely to a layman, but as time passed, it took on a pejorative

Kol tuv,

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 9 Oct 2002 11:21:11 -0400
From: "Seth Mandel" <sm@aishdas.org>
hediot and idiot

The word hediot in L'shon Hazal is from the Greek word idiot. However,
the modern English word idiot does not mean what the Greek word idiot
means, no more than cognates such as English starve and Yiddish shtorben,
English hound and Yiddish hunt mean the same thing.

The Greek noun idiootees (using double letters for the long vowels) is
derived from the adjective idios, meaning "private, personal" as opposed
to "communal, public" (the adjective is also used in English in words
like idiomatic, idiosyncracy). The Greek noun means a) a private person
(as opposed to public); b) a common person; c) a layman (as opposed to
an expert or a professional). From meanings b) and c) idiootees was used
in Demotic Greek also in the sense of "bumpkin, ignorant, ill-informed."
This is not a rare word, and is found in all of your Greek dictionaries,
including the one from Liddell of Alice in Wonderland fame.

Hazal used the word in its standard Greek senses (indeed, all of the
myriad Greek words used by Hazal were used in the same way that Greek
speakers of their time used the words; no surprise there). Meaning c)
is used in kohen hediot (a common kohen, a "lay" kohen, as opposed to
a m'shuah milhama or m'rubbeh b'gadim or kohen gadol. In the passage
in sukkah, it is used in the colloquial Demotic meaning of "ignorant,

The word got to English by way of the Old French, which took it from the
Latin, which took it from the Greek. In English, the word was used in its
original meanings of b) and c); however, those meanings are now obsolete.
The passage in meaning from "ignorant" to "mentally deficient" is not a
far one and occurred very early in English; the OED cites examples from
the 14th century.

Seth Mandel

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 9 Oct 2002 16:13:21 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: CI - was Violating the will of the majority

On Wed, Oct 09, 2002 at 10:22:24AM -0400, RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com wrote:
:> This is the whole problem with the circularity. Nothing in particular
:> need be true of CI.

: IMHO You are conflating and confusing the Modern C movements use of CI
: with the original intention of its original protagonists

I'm arguing that the formulation of CI is flawed because it could be used
as Schechter originally intended or to defend C -- or even in theory to
label R "halachic" -- without any change in meaning.

: See the Chazon Ish's {CI} definition of CI {i.e. Catholic Israel} that
: if Psak is wrong it is still binding valid or authoritative in the fact
: that Hashem would not allow His people to err. See the quote of R. Aryeh
: Kaplan on this, etc.

Again, presumes a formal process defining right and wrong, and says that
lema'aseh G-d won't let us go *irrevocably astray.

: Any group that is self-defining is by definition circular...

Let's use math terminology, since every other language has so far
failed us.

Let halachah[c1](t) be community 1's position(s) at time t. Where
community 1 is a member of (or all of) CI at time t.

Therefore halachah[CI](t) be the set of valid halachic positions at time
t across all of CI. Including all conflicting pisaqei halachah that one
may follow at that time.

The rules of pesaq are themselves halachos. This is the constitutional law
I spoke of -- the halachos about how to make, repeal and change halachos.
Not constitutional in the sense of immutable, but the laws that limit
and define lawmaking.

IOW halachah[c](t+1) must be a set of dinim included within
halachah[c](t). Due to eilu va'eilu, the process doesn't necessarily
give a single answer for which set of dinim. But the process used to go
from t to t+1 must be valid at time t.

If one can't chase this inductive process backwards up to Sinai, the
community isn't in CI.

In C's case, there was a t0 for which halachah[C](t0) was new, and
not justifiable from halachah(t0-1).

No, because the group at time t can define the group at time t+1. The
question is whether this inductive process can be chased back to Sinai,
or whether the rules at some time t0 were violated to get a new concept of
"halachah" and therefore of "the community that observes halachah". IOW,
that halachah(t0 - 1) does not include this community's t0.

: Any time you have a heim amru and a heim amru you can claim circularity.


: I am not convinced that CI is truly circular. But for the sake of
: argument let's concede that it IS circular. That is not in and of itself
: an impeachment of its legitimacy by Torah Standards....

No, it means there is nothing left to endorse or impeach. As I've
explained numerous times by now.

: Question: What is wrong with going back to the TB and allowing women
: to have aliyos so long as you can give a good svara that it no longer
: violates Kavod Hatzibbur?

If the rules don't get you there from here, the fact that you were once
there is irrelevent.

Sevara is as per Brisk, not Horeb.

Halachah changes by halachic process, not by aggadic assumptions. We've
discuss possible meanings of kavod hatzibbur by which it would always
be violated. How could we ever know our ta'am hamitzvah captures the
gemara's and that the gemara's ta'am is the only one?

: If Tosafos can say Mayyim Acharonim no longer is need because Melach
: Sdomis is obsolete, why not argue that the issue of Kavod Hatzibbur is
: now obsolete, too?

Melach sedomis isn't a ta'am, it's a metzi'us. Kavod is a chalos.

But good question. Since Tosafos were justifying extant practice, I can
ask you too. After all, what stops a community from assuming kavod
hatzibbur is no longer applicable, follow it, and a generation later
it becoming din?

In fact, since you place the community over the formal rule, why would
they need to assume it? A community could simply give them aliyos,
and you'd make the next generations rabbis scramble for a post-hoc

: Either:
: A) Adhere to Talmudic Gzeiros despite shifting circumstances
: Or:
: B) Repeal Gzeiros when they are no longer applicable
: Or:
: C) Eclectically allow for sticking to some and ignoring others.  

D) Have well defined rules for when one has the right to ignore

E) Allow bedi'eved any change the communtiy did on their own even if
by error, ignorance or laziness.

AISI, I'm asserting D, you're asserting E.

No one is asserting A, B or C.

: The easy way to navigate through these gray areas is simply CI


<Much deleted because you omit what I believe to be the real options.>

: In my construct I use CI to defend Minhaggim and Masoros that are in
: violation of certain classic texts {just like Tosafos does - Might add}

Tosafos support minhag when they can defend them textually. Using formal
process to defend minhag. Not minhag to defend minhag. If Tosafos would
fail to find a justification, they'd question the practice. No?

: Simlarly, Many Minhaggim existed in Ashkenaz before they entered into
: such Texts as Maharil and Rema, does that imply they had no Masorah, too?

Ah, but those could have been formally derived and have formal
definitions, even if they didn't get written down. You were asserting
the defense of common practice because it's common practice, that CI
thereby keeps the formal process in check.


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

Go to top.


[ Distributed to the Avodah mailing list, digested version.                   ]
[ To post: mail to avodah@aishdas.org                                         ]
[ For back issues: mail "get avodah-digest vXX.nYYY" to majordomo@aishdas.org ]
[ or, the archive can be found at http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/              ]
[ For general requests: mail the word "help" to majordomo@aishdas.org         ]

< Previous Next >