Avodah Mailing List

Volume 10 : Number 044

Thursday, October 31 2002

< Previous Next >
Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Wed, 30 Oct 2002 14:27:16 -0500
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Rabbi Ephraim Eisenberg zt"l: The Master Pipeline

Rabbi Ephraim Eisenberg ztl: The Master Pipeline
Rabbi Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer
(Authors note: The indented sections interspersed are quoted from
letters received by the Eisenberg family during and after Shiva. I
very slightly modified these letters, just enough to make heartfelt and
hastily transcribed thoughts more suitable for publication.)

Shortly after Mattan Torah, we lost one of those who imparted Torah to
us in an uncommon way: Moreinu vRabbeinu Rabbi Ephraim Eisenberg ztl.
Indeed, in a unique way. Reb Ephraim was a specialist. When we entered
Reb Ephraims chabura (later it was a shiur, but the principle was the
same) some twenty years ago, it was our first year beyond the
framework of our long stints in yeshivos until then. Through yeshiva
ketana, mesivta and Beis Medrash, we had been under the tutelage of
one rebbe after another, imbibing their Torah, guided by their
approaches and absorbing their perspectives. In a sense, those were
years in which we still had training wheels on our Talmudic bicycles.
Now, we had advanced to the level often called lehrnen fahr zich -
learning on ones own. To use  more traditional, metaphor, we were cast
adrift upon the Sea of The Talmud. This was sink or swim. To swim
would be to develop several capacities simultaneously: to maintain
hasmodo  in a more unstructured setting (after all, the focus was no
longer on the shiur); to hone skills and techniques for intellectual
independence: Mastering the abilities to analyze a Rishon, to abstract
the concept from an Acharon, to compare inferences and contrast

       He would listen to his talmidim and they would feel he really
       wanted to hear what they said. Rebbe ztl always wanted to know
       how we learned the Gemara, how we responded to his comment. He
       wanted us to learn how to learn a Gemara and not just to hear
       his own chiddushim . . .
       When I was in Rebbes Shiur, I had a [health] problem . . .
       Rebbe constantly asked me how I was feeling and gave me names
       of doctors to see. When I went home for two months, Rebbe spoke
       on the phone with me around three times a week for fifteen to
       twenty minutes. When I spoke to Rebbe on the phone, he would
       tell me how he learned the Gemara in shiur. He then would ask
       how I learned the Gemara and what my insights were. The chizuk
       I got from these phone calls was tremendous. This also
       strengthened my learning, because I knew I had to know the
       Gemara very well to speak to Rebbe. Whenever I tell anyone
       about those two months, it amazes them that a rebbe could feel
       such responsibility to a talmid to give up so much of his
       precious time . . .
But, above all else, the imperative that encompassed and transcended
all specific areas of development was the drive for chiddush. In
yeshivos, everything lead s to this ultimate goal: That a talmid make
the transition from a kli kibbul, a receptacle, to a maayan
hamisgaber, to a fountain.

       I am not sure Reb Ephraim ztl ever [directly] demanded anything
       from anyone, certainly not the bochurim. But his being, his
       devotion and his total connection to Torah, these made the
       demand on us! I knew when he saw me he would ask Nu! Where are
       you holding? For me, as a Baal haBayis, this was not an easy
       question to answer. I could not just say I am learning this,
       for the Nu, demanded - a question, an answer, something more!
       It was  mussar, where am I holding? If I am not ready for Reb
       Ephraim, how will I be ready for the next world? This is not
       just me talking. I spoke to a friend, a rebbe, who said the
       same thing: I always had to be ready! And this person had
       nothing to worry about!
What kind of rebbe could shape many talmidim, whose diverse
backgrounds and varied personalities - just as their faces differ so
too do their traits - mandate a special approach for each individual?
The answer lies in an insight of Reb Tzadok HaKohen of Lublin ztl that
I heard Reb Ephraim interpret. Rabbi Chanina states: Much I learned
from my teachers, more from my peers, but from my students more than
from the rest. Reb Ephraim explained: Each talmid has his own unique
pipeline (tzinor) of divine influence that he must build and develop
into his portion in Torah. That pipeline, perforce, flows through the
rebbe to the talmidim. From ones own rebbe, one gains ones own
pipeline, modified by its passage through the rebbes pipeline. Through
contact with ones peers one is influenced by multiple pipelines, but
laterally. When, however, a rebbe has talmidim, multiple different and
unique pipelines must flow through that rebbe for him to convey to
each respective talmid. He becomes the master pipeline, flowing into
the proper channel for each talmid.
But experience demonstrates that not every rebbe is alert to and aware
of the subtle differences between those pipelines. Not every rebbe is
attuned to the careful calibration and application of the right
influences to the right person. Many rabbeim impose one uniform mold.
One size fits all.

       We were accustomed to a shiur served on a platter - the rebbe
       came with a few questions and presented an approach. While
       thats okay, my friends and I much preferred Reb Ephraims
       method. He came in, to be sure, with something to say. But when
       we raised a question, he did not brush it off and continue with
       the shiur. He would give it thought and due diligence -
       thinking and going through all the implications: If you say
       that idea here, then you have to say this there. And if you say
       that there, its going to be shverr from . . . It was
       open-mindedness that only someone totally comfortable with
       changing his mind and totally dedicated to Truth (as opposed to
       the potential theatrics of delivering a shiur) - a truly humble
       person - can do. He was subservient to Truth, and truth will
       sprout from the land, it may come through the question of the
       bochur who was not from the top half of the shiur.
       I remember the bochurim going over to him at the beginning of
       the year, explaining that they would prefer a shiur based on
       the intricacies of the text and the basic commentaries itself
       rather than upon the theories of the extrinsic commentaries
       (Reid) . . .  For some reason, thats what the bochurim
       preferred. So what did Reb Ephraim do? He changed his style! It
       was amazing! - I dont think I ever had a rebbe that would or
       could do that - but he did. He still managed to say the same
       profound shiurim, but from the perspective of the text and the
       basic commentaries, showing how the big implications fit into
       inferences from the words in the Gemara and Rashi . . .  We all
       loved the shiur.
Several of his Maspidim noted that Reb Ephraim was not brilliant.
Rather, from his teens he constantly immersed himself in Torah. His
hasmodo - under the most difficult circumstances - is legendary.
Through that hasmodo he grew to immense proportions. (Perhaps. As a
talmid, I must note, however, that by the time we met him, he seemed,
to us, quite brilliant.) Many Maspidim stressed that in his absence it
was imperative on the rest of us to fortify our devotion to learning,
day and night, emulating him. His capacity for chiddush was amazing -
noch a kashya, noch a teirutz, noch a heoro, noch a daherr - another
question, another answer, another comment, another insight. As several
Maspidim  mentioned, he was holding all over - he mastered the breadth
of the Yam haTalmud, and was a brimming reservoir of cross-references
and insights on even the most obscure topics.
Yet we, the talmidim, had our own reasons for maintaining a devoted
connection to Reb Ephraim over the years. We cherish our recollections
of Reb Ephraim because of the extraordinary array of faculties he
brought to bear as our rebbe: His keen insight into a talmids
intellectual needs, his capacity to provoke each individuals own
development, his extreme patience and tolerance of every talmids
idiosyncracies and petulance, his masterful orchestration of the seder
and the shiur.

       Before I was even officially part of the yeshiva . . .  Rebbe
       drew me close and encouraged me . . .  I never before, or
       since, had a rebbe who would go over to his talmidim to
       initiate a talk in learning . . .  It was during those first
       months in Ner Yisroel that Rebbes enthusiasm, motivation and,
       of course, Rebbes smile made me feel right at home.
       I remember (how could I possibly forget!) how much of an
       interest Rebbe took in my plans and how my parents would feel
       about them. I do not know that anyone else in my life took such
       initiative to help me . . .
       We were learning Makkos and several times a week Rebbe would
       speak to me privately, sometimes for almost two hours, about
       the sugya. Until then I never knew what it feels like to share
       Torah thoughts with an outstanding Talmid Chochom of Rebbes
       caliber. How can I find words to describe the debt I owe Rebbe!
Reb Ephraim was not an orator. He did not wax eloquent. He had the
broadest repertoire of inflections and nuances of takkeh that I have
ever heard, using it - and yeah as well - to connote a remarkable
array of ideas, messages and reactions. But through his endless
capacity for chiddush, he expanded the frontiers of our minds, and
presented before us broad,  new and fertile tracts for us to work and
cultivate, developing our own skills and techniques.

       Im writing to you, but its really for me too. The first picture
       of Rebbe ztl that comes to mind is of him bent over a Gemara .
       . .  no difference where, when - singing, humming a tune (or
       not), but just totally engrossed, with nothing else in the
       world, simply a picture of pure Ahavas Torah, no distractions.
       Then we would come over and wait for him to look up and say
       yeah (the same yeah that ended almost every shiur, started
       almost every conversation in learning or advice. And yeah . . .
       gut ended them . . . ) Rebbe ztl was the one we went to,
       because he was so available - too available. Never would you
       ask about something and leave without at least one extra gem:
       an idea, a resolution, or clarity in an issue or topic.
       Rebbe ztl always had the patience to explain or repeat the
       point to you again or to another bochur or pair of chevrusos. I
       know, because I sat only a couple of rows in front of him for a
       period.  I would go and talk to him about something from shiur
       and then I would hear him tell it over and over again to
       others, every time with the same excitement and emphasis, yet
       with a different nuance for each one.
This critical period in our lives, however, was not just one of
transition in learning, but in life. We were beginning to develop into
autonomous individuals capable of dealing with the broader world. This
broader world lay not necessarily beyond the walls of the yeshiva, but
beyond the external and extrinsic structure and regimen it imposed
upon us. The time when we had to begin considering marriage and
building a home drew nearer as well.
In these areas Reb Ephraim also helped us along our path towards full
maturity - as did, tlctva, the Rebbitzen shetichye, who passes along
her own particular heritage from her father, Rabbi Mordechai Gifter
ztl. The Eisenberg home had an open door policy - talmidim could and
would come any time to discuss issues concerning themselves and their
friends, their struggles and difficulties, to receive counsel and
derive guidance. Several friends reminded me of a Motzoei Shabbos
shortly after a new pizza store opened in Baltimore when we went out
and bought pizza and came back to the Eisenberg home for Melaveh
Malkah. We knew Reb Ephraim would eat no pizza - he barely ever ate
anything  - but the family indulged with us and made us feel like this
was our surrogate home.
Friday night Oneg Shabbos was a high point of the week - the Divrei
Torah and the aura of Kedushas Shabbos were very special - but the
high point of the year was the Purim Seudah. Reb Ephraim did not
imbibe, of course, but the talmidim - both those who did and those who
did not fully partake of the spirit of ad dlo yoda - would spend
inordinate amounts of time with Reb Ephraim. His special capacity to
treat each person according to his own spirit made each talmid feel
that this rebbe could facilitate his accomplishing his particular form
of Purim elevation and inspiration. (Much credit is due to the
Rebbitzen and the family for their tolerance of all that the intense
Avodah of a yeshiva Purim entails!)
This, then, is the aspect that we, the talmidim, sensed. The Maspidim
at the levayah - Reb Ephraims great peers and close relatives - could
not necessarily capture the rebbe-talmid relationship. It was not the
nature of their respective experiences. But we loved Reb Ephraim
because, without fanfare or presumption, he nurtured us and cared for
us through the critical years that brought us from dependence to
autonomy, and because we sensed his, and his familys, warmth and
concern for us in their orchestration of that process. The letters
from talmidim that the Rebbitzen provided to me in order to prepare
this essay testify that many of us thought that we were the additional
children in the Eisenberg family, and we will cherish Reb Ephraims
influence upon us.

       I once saw a Maharal that says: The ideal love is when one
       loves Hashem Yisborach for Him Himself, when one recognizes his
       greatness and loftiness, that He is Truth and that His mitzvos
       are Truth.
       When I first saw this remark, I had a hard time relating to
       this profound concept. What does it mean to love Him by
       recognizing his greatness? As far as Ive ever known, the love
       and care that my relatives or friends had for me generated the
       love that I had felt in any relationship with them. Even with
       my rabbeim, I only seemed to feel a love for them because of
       the care and concern they had for me. It didnt seem possible
       that love should be generated by anything other than someone
       else doing good for me.
       But then, Ill never forget, it hit me so, so hard. There was
       one individual in my life that I loved so much, but I could
       never explain it in words. Yet finally now, with this Maharal,
       I can convey the very real and deep love that I felt and feel
       for my beloved  rebbe . . .  Reb Ephraim ben Reb Chaim HaLevi
       When I first entered his shiur he was not [yet] involved in my
       personal, mundane struggles . . .  yet I immediately loved my
       rebbe. Because his greatness and loftiness were so obvious to
       me, they resulted in an automatic love, so similar to the love
       that I must have for Hashem.
       The saying to know him is to love him is so true. How can I
       explain what it means for a bochur in our generation to be in
       involved with a rebbe who was, so visibly, always thinking in
       learning - even when not sitting in front of a sefer . . .  I
       would approach him to talk in learning.  He would be squinting,
       gazing forward, totally in his mind with Torah, oblivious to
       the fact that I was standing right in front of him! It was so
       real, so genuine.  To know him is to love the Torah!
       How privileged we were to have a rebbe that wouldnt just say a
       shiur for an hour and then disconnect from the bochurim. He
       would come to us during Seder and immerse himself in learning
       with us . . .
       . . . Ultimately, I also loved him for the same reason I do
       love some of my closest friends.  Although he was so great, he
       still connected with me on a mundane level. He was always
       concerned with my happiness  - both material and spiritual.
       When it came time for shidduchim he cared for me like a father
       would . . .
We will attempt to emulate him, and fortify our own diligence, quest
for chiddush, simcha in Torah,  perhaps even his abstinence. Above
all, however, we must fully devote ourselves to helping others in
their growth in Torah and Avodas Hashem. This is the nefesh, the
monument, the soul-force, that we set as our commemoration of our

       Whenever I told Rebbe: Im an All-American boy, what do I have
       to do with a life in the yeshiva world?! He would always
       retort: I was also an All-American, and so was my shverr. If we
       did it, so can you!

Go to top.

Date: Tue, 29 Oct 2002 22:26:44 -0500
From: kennethgmiller@juno.com
Re: the son of the Shunamis (was: Fw: A question from my father r.e. this week's Haftarah)

R"n Rena Freedenberg wrote <<< I believe that Rambam teaches that Hashem
does miracles/interventions in the most "natural" way possible [in other
words, as much through derech hateva as possible]. In that case, why
wouldn't CPR given by a Navi not be as miraculous as, Ich veis nisht,
jumping up and down three times and saying "I want to go home", a la
Dorothy? >>>

I totally agree. But, nevertheless, I think it is still legitimate to ask:

a) Was the miracle that the Navi revived a dead person?
b) Or was the miracle that the Navi healed a choleh whose condition had
deteriorated beyond a point where then-current medicine was able to help?

The two are *not* the same. Was the boy dead or wasn't he? I'm not sure
that this question can be answered definitively, but it is important to
recognize that the question is a legitimate one.

To say that "a and b are the same", is to say that "no one ever really
dies, we just don't know how to revive them". Such a thought might have
been acceptable to popular science-fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke, who
wrote that "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from
magic." (Just substitute "miracle" for "magic".) But such a thought would
*not* have been acceptable to Rav Moshe Feinstein, who I quoted yesterday
as writing that even if medical technology had perfected the reattachment
of severed heads, such a procedure would be forbidden on Shabbos, because
Healing The Sick overrides Shabbos, but Reviving The Dead does not.

Akiva Miller

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 30 Oct 2002 17:37:53 GMT
From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
the son of the Shunamis (was: Fw: A question from my father r.e. this week's Haftarah)

From: Daniel Israel <daniel@pluto.ame.arizona.edu>
> I think that the description of how Elisha revived the boy sounds, to
> the modern ear, sufficiently close to CPR/mouth-to-mouth that there is a
> strong temptation to understand the story along those lines. This would
> be a grave error, as it would turn a Navi into a "mere" medical genius.

Except that given the apparent time lag from when he died until Elisah
arrived on the scene, to have revived him with CPR/mouth to mouth would
have been no less miraculous than reviving him any other way.


Go to top.

Date: Tue, 29 Oct 2002 22:42:22 -0500
From: Chaim G Steinmetz <cgsteinmetz@juno.com>
the son of the Shunamis (was: Fw: A question from my father r.e. this week's Haftarah)

I believe it is clear in Chazal that he was acyually dead - See Sifrei
Zuta Chkas piska 11 (brought in Yalkut #761), that those that touched him
while he was dead would remain tomai mes even after he came back to life,
see also Nidah 70b.

Chaim G. Steinmetz

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 30 Oct 2002 13:15:07 GMT
From: Eli Turkel <turkel@math.tau.ac.il>
atzat gedolim

<It started with a discussion (from Areivim) about whether or not the
prewar gedolim of Europe were culpable for not having advised people
to flee Europe. Everyone agreed that they were not culpable, and two
reasons were suggested:
1. They gave the best advice they could, and
2. God deliberately misled them.>

As I pointed out on Areivim a third opinion that of Chazom Ish (according
to R. Zilberstein) is that the Gedolim gave the right advice and if the
people had tried to flee then world Jewry would have been even worse
off as then the Nazis would have pursued them to other places.

RZ does not amplify but presumably he means that G-d decreed that these
people be killed by the Nazis. Hence, if they managed to flee G-d would
find some other way of implementing his decree.

This implies that there is no way of ever deciding whether a gadol gave
the right advice. No matter how terrible the result we would interpret
it as Ratzon Hashem.Of course this leaves the question that Chazal do
imply that gedolim can be misled.

 Eli Turkel, turkel@math.tau.ac.il on 30/10/2002

Go to top.

Date: Tue, 29 Oct 2002 21:44:06 -0600 (CST)
From: sbechhof@casbah.it.northwestern.edu
Atzas Gedolim

I must clarify that this is a complete misrepresentation and distortion
of my position.

At 05:31 PM 10/29/02 -0500, David Riceman wrote: 

I've been musing for a while about the Ramban Rabbi B cited, and I've
come to the conclusion I don't understand it (I don't own a Ritva on Bava
Bathra so I can't check it for help). I'd like to rehash the argument
and then present my problems.

It started with a discussion (from Areivim) about whether or not the
prewar gedolim of Europe were culpable for not having advised people
to flee Europe. Everyone agreed that they were not culpable, and two
reasons were suggested:

1. They gave the best advice they could, and 
2. God deliberately misled them. 

The argument between 1 and 2 (apparently RMS and RYGB's positions) is
that 1 believed that gedolim's advice is what is to be expected from
their skills and knowledge, and 2 believed that it is normally augmented
by ruach hakodesh, but in this unusual case was not.

I did not enter into that discussion, did not take position #2 and do
not believe advice is "augmented" by RHK, nor that the Ramban is saying
that either.

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

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 30 Oct 2002 00:09:22 EST
From: RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com
Re: Avoiding mitzvos

In a message dated 10/7/2002 3:45:16 PM EST, kennethgmiller@juno.com writes:
> Somehow, I can't help suspecting that there really isn't any solid
> halachic reason why someone should go out of his way to wear tzitzis,
> and that it was really never more than a "public policy" pronouncement
> to begin with. (Which is not to say that I have any objection at all to
> public policy pronouncements; only that by failing to label it as such,
> we have muddied the waters.)

AIUI, the reason to wear Tzitzis all day was in order to avoid any
ta'anos aginast us for not taking advantage of any easy Mitzvah. IOW,
it is almost escahatological in order to be able to say on yom hadin
that we did not pass up the opportunity to do an easy mitzvah.

There is a question about really being mekayyyem the mitzva with arba
kanfos that are far typcially too small to be worn as a garment b'akrai'a
** and I suspect that is why the MB prefers NOT To make a bracha on a
tallis katan and to defer the brachah to a tallis gadol even though the
mechaber seems OK that a Tallis Katan is yotzei...

**indeed the minmum shi'ur is given by the stature of a katan but this
seems to be a bit of a dochak...
Kol Tuv - Best Regards
Richard Wolpoe

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 30 Oct 2002 01:05:38 EST
From: RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com
Re: R. Chaim and psak

In a message dated 10/22/2002 12:03:08 PM EST, turkel@math.tau.ac.il writes:
> ...
> >2. Psak should *always* be based on Lomdus.
> >(How do you think RYE arrived at his psakim - tarot cards?)
> Of course every posek uses lomdus. However, psak is not only based on 
> lomdus but uses other factors.

When I was in Ner Yisrael Baltimore an "elter bachur" explained me thus {take 
it FWIWI!}

RMF is superior in the fact that he can be mecahdesh psak
Rav Ruderman was a {bigger?} baki in Tshuvos and hence any psak he
DID make was more rooted in precdent - AIUI therefore inherently more
reliable in that he was confirming a precdent instead of being mechadesh

Yes it boils down to the okeir harim vs. Sinai dichotomy

Therefore a psak *not* based on lamdus probably implies it is more based
on bkikus- espeically bkius in poskim and tshuvos. IOW it course does
not mean to imply ZERO lamdus, just less creative lamdus.

Kol Tuv - Best Regards
Richard Wolpoe

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 30 Oct 2002 01:14:47 EST
From: RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com
Re: Rabbenu Gershom

In a message dated 10/25/2002 9:30:45 AM EST, micha@aishdas.org writes:
> ... and just to close the loop, and therefore RMF would have the power
> to make takkanos for the US of his generation.

Simply put
Any Rav can propose Takkanos
but it takes another component to make that Takkanh normative

In RMF's case. he was defacto the leading poseik hador, but I doubt
if communities such as Lubavich or Satmar were choshesh for his psak.
And I would be willing to bet that Breue'rs ddi not and does not consult
Igros Moseh re: burial on Yom Tov because they have a longstanding
mesorah to do so
re: of RMF's takkanah otherwise

The problem for many of us is the blurring between the Svara and
the Takannah. Certainly I would be a lot more comfortable had RMF
written things like:
M'ikkar hadin we see that X is muttar, but since it is subject to
abuse I am goazeir or I rpose we the Agudas Harrabanim issue a Gzeira
prohibiting X

Such gzeira against X will be in force until such time that we decide
that this abuse will no longer continue.

If gzeira is too strong, then I guess terms such as cherem or nidui
might work, etc.

Back to my point about the GRA's cherem re: Hassidim

What makes a gzeira stick after throwing it agianst the wall is the
Khal's ratification thereof.

EG, were this function of Illuyuishket then any cherem of the GRA would
still be in force.

If there is indeed some other mechanism to make it work, I eagerly await
its revelation.

[EMail #2. -mi]

In a message dated 10/27/2002 10:48:42 PM EST, micha@aishdas.org writes:
>: IIRC it is generally accepted by scholars of that period that Rabbenu
>: Gershom did NOT make the takkanos via personal fiat, but through agreement of
>: all the major rabbanim in the Shu"m communities (Speyer, Worms, Mainz)....

> If beis din makes a takanah and the tzibbur never accept it, then the
> takanah was never chal. Even Sanhedrin can't make a takanah entirely
> by fiat. Are you sure that Rabbeinu Gershom's cases were different?

Of course it requires acceptance

What seems to be the case in the various takkanos of Rabbeinu Gerhom is
that AIUI most - if not all - were already observed as a hnahaggah. What
Rabbeinu Gershom did - or what was done in his name - was to formalize
what was already de facto being done. Or IOW The Takknaos Rabbeinu
Gershom were essentially part of the proces of formalizing Ashkenzzic
Tradition which was heretofre mostly transmitted via Masorah and Mimetics

This would differ from RMF making a Takkanah such as not buyring on Yom
Tov which AFAIK was done at least from time to time.

Kol Tuv - Best Regards
Richard Wolpoe

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 30 Oct 2002 01:41:31 EST
From: RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com
Re: Ramo and psak

In a message dated 10/25/2002 9:31:25 AM EST, MFeldman@CM-P.COM writes:
> Which is where my point comes in. The fact that the Ramo writes it does
> not mean that it's automatically binding (this opens another can of worms
> of whether/how the SA is binding--see the article by Prof. SZ Havlin
> which I discussed in the Avodah archives); rather Ramo is reflecting
> the minhag of Ashkenaz at his time, and that's why it's binding (i.e.,
> it's not the Ramo had a tremendous koach ha'psak which caused everyone
> to follow him). If so, it's important to investigate exactly what the
> Ramo is codifying--if he's codifying a minhag, then the "psak" of the
> Ramo doesn't have any strength beyond the minhag.

That's a point I have made on occasion on this list Rema is binding
for Ashkenazim not because his ability to outlarn the mehcaber but his
ability to preserve what Traditions were in place in Ashkeanaz.

FWIW, Neither the Mechabeir of the Rema were mechadeish much. Mostly they
we experts at sifting out the Rishonim and IMHO their importance is in
helping to "seal" the Rishonic Era - IOW Chasimas Harishonim - in a way
similar to Chasimas Hatalmud. To be fair though, there are exceptional
cases when even early on the Mechabeir and Rema were not "normative".


L'havdil: What would be the case of us finding a report from a non-Talmid
Chacham of of a minhag? IOW let's say the of the 17th Century equivalent
of the Jewish Press said that while Sephardim do Hoshanos after Shacharis,
Ashkenazim do them after Mussaf? Would such a report of metzius be
a reliable factor in Hanhaggah? {if need be let's say it is mesi'ach
lefi sumo}

If you buy that the information alone is indicative of what ought to
be normative than the Rema need not be a Gadol at all, just an honest
reporter of what is the accepted Psak of his era. Now, it is clear that
the Rema WAS indeed a Gadol. Just that it is POSSIBLE to assert that the
Mechaber was far greater. Nevertheless the issue is not their relative
weight asposkim per se, but rather the weight of the of material that
they digested.

This is realted to my Rav Rudernan vs. RMF post. IOW, if Rav Ruderman
can show that the Chasam Sofer had already paskened Sh'eila X and it
has become the "norm" by now, then lich'ora his psak might carry more
weight than a competing Psak of RMF's; not because Rav Ruderman himself
was a greater poseik, but that the Chasam Sofer was!

Simiarly, Rema can argue with BY because when you distill them down, BY
is usually echoing the Rambam, Rif, Rashba etc. while Rema is echoing
Rosh, Mordechia, Maharil, etc.


The issue of methodology bils dow to thus:
Can one go back to a source {IOW Bavli} and ignore the subsequent
sources {IOW Rishonim}? And if one CAN - then WHEN?

AISI, one should NEVER ignore the subsequent sources - BY himself does
not AFAIK. Rather he cites Bavli and then sifts through the Rishonim
on the Sugya and does not step outsidde the box.

But if you DO step outside the box, then IMHO you MUST have fluent
command of all of Shas, not just the local sugya in question.

That is HOW - IMHO - latitude has been given to GRA and RMF to pasken in
a more creative fashion and to ignore precdent. That is because their
command of Shas was global and there is no question that they would view
things from a comprehensive persepective.

The problem with this methodology is a matter of others who are not so
gifted relying upon svara in a given sugya and thereby ignoring Poskim. I
thin the methodology is not such a good idea in general. Fruthermore,
this method is likely to be Bavli centric and to ignore other sources
that step outside that box, the sources that Tosafos often uses such as
Yerushalim, Tosefta, Psikta etc.

If I am right, then I would expect Poskim such as GRA and RMF to often
oppose Rema and Tosafos and to fall more in line with Rif and Rambam.

Check this out for yourselves. I have seen it many times myself.

Kol Tuv - Best Regards
Richard Wolpoe

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 30 Oct 2002 14:34:24 +0200
From: dbnet@zahav.net.il
Re: oseh shalom bimromav

I did it again. In my last posting on this subject, I cited comments of
the B"Y in O"Ch 189 which are not there. They do exist, however. They
are in the Magen Avraham on same 189.

We are told that there are people who, in their old age, da'atan
mityashevet. And then there those like me. v'd"l.

Sorry if I confused anyone. (As if anyone checks the sources quoted
by others.)


Go to top.

Date: Wed, 30 Oct 2002 14:42:02 +0200
From: dbnet@zahav.net.il
Re: yehei shlama rabba3

<<Oseh shalom" was a later addition, what would you posit about "Y'hai
shlama if Oseh shalom was not there>>

What is the source for oseh shalom being a later addition than yehei
shlama? They are both later additions, added to the kaddish(es) said
at end of davening.

Perhaps they were both added at approximately the same time, one for
Aramaic speakers and one for Hebrew speakers.


Go to top.

Date: Wed, 30 Oct 2002 09:57:00 -0500
From: "David Glasner" <DGLASNER@ftc.gov>
Re: Dor Revi'i on the moral obligation to be intelligent

David Riceman wrote:
> David Glasner wrote:
>> for the Ramban, of blessed memory, has
>> written in his novellae about the response that we find in the Talmud
>> "if you like I will cite a Scripture and if you like I will expoud a
>> rational argument" (iy ba'it eima qra v'iy ba'it eima s'vara).

> Do you happen to know the location of this citation?

I'm afraid not, the reference is uncited in the original teshuvah from
which I translated a snippet. Perhaps one of the b'kiyim on the list
will be able to help us out.

David Glasner

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 30 Oct 2002 11:09:58 EST
From: Yzkd@aol.com
Re: Nice diyuk of Chasam Sofer

In a message dated 10/28/02 4:30:16 PM EST, charlesf.brown@gs.com writes:
> I thought you can explain why Avraham at first did not want to listen
> to Sarah to drive out Yishmael till he was told "shma b'kola" based
> on the machlokes Rambam and Tos. (Sanhedrin 89) whether the mitzva to
> listen to a navi extends even to matters the navi says as "good advice"
> or only if the navi has an explicit tzivuy (see Minchas Chinuch 516).
> Sarah was giving advice, but had no explicit tzivuy, so Avraham did not
> think at first that he would be *mechuyav* to listen. (Though you could
> be mechalaik and say davka Avraham had that right as he also had a din
> navi, but a regular person would not).
> Even if you don't like my idea,

Actually like always "Sfosayim Yishak" with both explanations note Rashi 
21:12 Mashma that it was Nvius, (hence he thought it was Eitzah Tova and HKBH 
said it was Nvius).

> The gemara's kashe is only concerned with Yitzchak; there is never a
> kashe on Avraham (or any navi) being mechuyav to listen to direct nevuah
> even if it entails violating divrei Torah!

Bpashtus the Ois (that is in question in the Gemara) is to prove to
others that it is Dvar Hashem, the Navi knows that for a fact.

 From another angle, WRT Avrohom Ovinu (according to some Mforshim)
Lpoeil he misinterpreted the Tzivuy see Rashi 22:12, however Yitzchok
couldn't question Avrohom maybe he is misinterpreting rather whether he
has to listen when the Nvius is against Torah.

BTW Rashi (22:12) brings that Avrohom wanted to make Chavalah in
Yitzchok that it shouldn't be Lchinom, how could he ask when even a
BN is not allowed to make Chavala, OTOH as discussed among the Shitos
WRT Achilas Basar for BN there is Shito that for a Korban it is Mutar,
hence Avrohom felt that Chavala Lshem Korban is Muttor (Val Derech the
discussion in Poskim wether fasting for Tshuva is Muttor, and whether
if one dies from that he is considered Miabeid Atzmoi).

WRT a previous mentioned Sevara that by Odom the Issur of eating from the
Eitz Hadas would be included in the Issur of AZ, this would also answer
the question that is asked on Rashi Sanhedrin 29a that says that implies
that the Nachash was a Meisis for AZ, what AZ was there Ulfi Hanal Nicha.

Kol Tuv,
Yitzchok Zirkind

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 >