Avodah Mailing List

Volume 10 : Number 067

Wednesday, November 27 2002

< Previous Next >
Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Tue, 26 Nov 2002 09:23:07 +0200
From: "Daniel Eidensohn" <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
Subject:
Re: Astrology Mareh Mekomos


> So at best you can say that RSG was not enthusiastic about astrology.
> Whether that was because the intellectual climate of his day did not allow
> him to condemn it or that he was more focused on other issues can not be
> settled from the available data. The fact remains that only the Rambam
> unequivocally rejected the validity of astrology.

Concerning my assertion that a negative language concerning astrology does
not mean rejection of its validity is found in the Ramban Bereishis 31:19
where he concedes that it is accurate most of the time. However he condemns
it as false because it is not 100% accurate and because people are totally
dependent upon it. This strongly parallels the missing fragment that R'
Kafich brings in his edition of Chovas HaLevavos. Further use of sheker for
something not 100% accurate but close to it concerns a prophet who might be
98% correct but that is not enough to be called emes and in fact is called a
false prophet.

                                Daniel Eidensohn


Go to top.

Date: Tue, 26 Nov 2002 09:17:47 -0500
From: "Shinnar, Meir" <Meir.Shinnar@rwjuh.edu>
Subject:
rambam's shitta


with regard to the rambam in Mishne Torah on creation versus eternity:
Rabbi Professor Isadore Twersky z"l wrote in his Introduction to the
Code of Maimonides p 448 n 224 (Dealing with the issue of contradictions
between the Mishne Torah and the More Nevuchim)
    Note, per contra, that in the MT (Yesode Hat Torah i,5) Maimonides
    rather boldly operates with the the eternity of the world as a
    basis for his proofs of the existence of God; see MN I, 71 (p. 180)
    Maimonides views on creation (whether he believed in a created or
    eternal world) were most recently debated by A Nuriel and A Ravitsky,
    Tarbiz, XXXIII(1964), 372ff, and XXXV (1966), 333ff

it is not so clear, even given the rambam's explicit statements in the
Moreh against Aristotle, what his true beliefs were. However, in the MT,
he is willing to rely on the eternity of the world (by the way, I recall,
though can't look up right now, tha the Or Sameach on yesode hatorah
i,5 understands the rambam similarly - this isn't merely an academic/MO
cabal misreading the rambam) - clearly not a reliance on mesora.

The notion that the rambam represents some esoteric mesora that he
revealed to the world is as believable as the notion he became a mekubal.

Meir Shinnar


Go to top.

Date: Tue, 26 Nov 2002 09:26:09 -0500
From: "Shinnar, Meir" <Meir.Shinnar@rwjuh.edu>
Subject:
Rambam and education


With regard to our discussion of the position of advanced talmudic study
in the rambam, note that in R Twersky's book on the mishne torah, p. 493,
after discussing the rambam's view of the role of his code in talmudic
study, based on several different sources in the rambam (both mishne
torah, the cited iggeret to R Pinhas hadayan, and Perush hamishnayot)

Especially significant is the elimination of Talmudic "depth study">

Meir Shinnar


Go to top.

Date: Tue, 26 Nov 2002 09:52:20 -0500
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Subject:
Re: Corporeality of G-d


At 04:15 PM 11/26/02 +0000, Eli Turkel wrote:
>RYGB and I (hopefully agree on the following points)
>(deleted)

Kvar nimneis v'gamarti not to engage in further polemic with our AO
(Academic Orthodox) contingent. The gaps are too great, v'ha'mea'ayein
yivchar. We cannot even agree how to read a Rambam, as we cannot agree
on the meaning of a simple word like "Rishon!" (Tesuva 3:7). And, when
the Rambam says things like: "Harei MEFURASH ba'Torah u'ba'Navi she'ein
HKB"H guf u'gevi'ah" (Yesodei ha'Torah 1:8), some of us think the Rambam
is not being quite honest (R"L). So what's the point?

Nevertheless, since RET makes assumptions about my position, and I have 
great respect for him, even though I hold him to be utterly wrong and 
misguided in these matters, I must clarify that I do not agree with 
everything he attributes to me below, although I do agree on some of it.

One point: Since we know Onkelos is shollel hisgashmus consistently in the 
Targum, what do you think? That he was alone in this? That is was without 
Chazal's approval? That shnayim mikrah v'echad targum was actually 
introduced by some small minority group of Chazal?

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


Go to top.

Date: Tue, 26 Nov 2002 16:15:04 GMT
From: Eli Turkel <turkel@math.tau.ac.il>
Subject:
Corporeality of G-d


RYGB and I (hopefully agree on the following points)

1. Tanach and Chazal never EXPLICTLY rule out the corporeality of G-d
(The Targum Onkelos that R. Teitz brings is interesting but Rambam does
not bring him as a proof).
In fact many pesukim and statements in Chazal would seem to support the
corporeality of G-d.

2. Rambam and all major rishonim reject the corporeality of G-d (does
the Raavad refer to anyone specific that we know of?). We likewise
assume that all Chazal rejected the corporeality of G-d though it is
not discussed in the Talmud (against with the exception of the Targum)

3. Raavad does not count the incorporeality of G-d as an ikkar. My
personal interpretation was that this was precisely because it is not
mentioned in the Talmud.

---------
RYGB mentioned that Rambam does bring proofs in the hakdamah to
Chelek. There the Rambam brings 2 proofs
(a) Gemara in Chagigah 15a - lo yeshiva ve-amidah velo oref velo ipui
Rambam interprets this to mean that G-d had no body. However, Rashi
interprets the Gemara to mean that angels don't stand etc. Hence,
according to Rashi there is no discussion of G-d here.
(b) Isiah 40-18 that no one can be compared to G-d. Rambam concludes
that if G-d had a body then one could be compared to G-d. IMHO this more
starts with the conclusion and is far from being a very convincing proof.
Rambam explicitly mentions that others have discussed this in detail.
The phrase (dibru anashim) seems to imply that he referes to Gaonim and
not Chazal.
(c) lo -reitem kol temunah - means he has no body

IMHO I reiterate that Rambam was convinced by the logic that G-d
could not possibly have a body as indicated in the Moreh. Therefore he
brings these semi-proofs to show what he already knows to be the truth.
We all agree that Rashi would accept the incorporeality of G-d even
though he interprets the Gemara differently. So yjis is obviously not
the main point.

As I and many others have stated that the Rambam saw these logical
arguments as facts. Hence, anyone who does accept them is denying basic
logic and physical laws. Since these logical arguments define the essence
of G-d one who denies them is an apikorus and it makes no difference
what the source of this truth is.

--
 Eli Turkel, turkel@math.tau.ac.il on 11/26/2002


Go to top.

Date: Tue, 26 Nov 2002 09:31:21 -0500
From: Arie Folger <afolger@aishdas.org>
Subject:
Re: Astrology


I wrote:
>> See both Rav Shim'on Schwab and
>> Gerald Schroeder to see how irrelevant the current date is to
>> the entire argument.

Reb Akiva Atwood wrote:
> Schwab I haven't seen. Anyone have a copy they could fax me?
> Schroeder I've read -- and while I like his style, I've been told by too
> many qualified (and Orthodox) people that his science is "questionable" at
> best.

Irrelevant to the point I want to make. I consider all works of popular 
science (even when meshed with theology) to be oversimplified at best. See 
below.

> And I don't agree it's irrelevant. Chazal clearly held the world was 4000
> or so years old (give/take a few years) -- if not, why date things from
> "Brias HaOlam". Date them from Adam HaRishon, for example.

RSS makes the point that up until the rishonim the anno mundi was not
used in the calendar. Instead, the minyan shatrot (dating from Alexander
the Great) and the years since destruction of the 2nd beit miqdash (see
qinnot from the Qalir, one of the proofs that he was no tanna) were used.

RSS has two essays, one WRT the length of time between the destructions
of both batei miqdash, and the other about evolution and big bang. In
the former he indicates that our anno mundi count is wrong, so according
to him you can't bring any proofs from our massorah that it is 5763,
and indeed he shows that as a popular massorah it is quite recent.

The in latter essay, he uses some bad science to make the point that
physics of time neednot have been the same before the completion of
creation as since. Had he been a physicist, he would have said things
similar to Schroeder, which is essentially that there is more than
one way to measure time, and different observations lead to different
correct readings, to the point that it is meaningless to talk of time
without specifying an observer.

Schroeder's book's strength is not the science, which, as he himself
admits, is constantly evolving, but the attempt to (a) show that
the science fits with the quasy literal reading of ma'aseh vereishit
(meaning, he maintains the important of every word and shows that it has
tremendous significance), (b) because of his framing of his book as a
general approach of reconciling Torah with scientific theory, regardless
of the specifics of the theory, which is subject to change, and (c)
the development of a new system of literal reading, which I coined above
quasy literal, and which he didn't develop, since it was quite popular
among some mequbalim (see my paper on Rambam and the Gra WRT sheidim and
company; I have mentioned it before, but here the emphasis is on how I
elaborated on the Gra's commentary on Yonah), but nonetheless popularized.

Arie


Go to top.

Date: Tue, 26 Nov 2002 18:33:17 GMT
From: Eli Turkel <turkel@math.tau.ac.il>
Subject:
Corporeality of G-d


<One point: Since we know Onkelos is shollel hisgashmus consistently
in the Targum, what do you think? That he was alone in this? That is
was without Chazal's approval? That shnayim mikrah v'echad targum was
actually introduced by some small minority group of Chazal?>

Let me repeat the clarification that I said before. I do not and have
claimed that Chazal believed in the Corporeality of G-d. The debate is
whether they said anything explicit in the Talmud and whether the Rambam
based himself on mesorah or logic.

I agree with RYGB that there is not much point to further arguments.

On a slightly different point I would be interested to know why the
Rambam (in the Moreh) brings down the opinions of the various nonJewish
philosophers and in particular says Aristotle almost reached the level
of nevuah when Rambam never relies on these philosophers for anything
and only bases himself on Mesorah. It is well known that the Rambam was
not in favor of history and so he is not telling us things of historical
importance.

BTW it is interesting that modern thought does not hold Aristotle in such
a high regard. U have seen comments to the effect that modern science
was delayed by many years due to the influence of Aristotlean thought.

--
 Eli Turkel, turkel@math.tau.ac.il on 11/26/2002


Go to top.

Date: Tue, 26 Nov 2002 19:32:19 +0200
From: "Daniel Eidensohn" <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
Subject:
Astrology - possible resolution of Rambam & Chazal


Just came across an explanation by R' Shilat which might resolve the problem
of why the Rambam alone rejected astrology and how he understood the fact
that Chazal do not reject astrology?

1) The Rambam when he talks about false prophets acknowledges that
astrologers can be correct some of the time.

Rambam (Yesodei HaTorah 10:3 R' Hyman translation): [[But observers of the
times and diviners also predict the future. What is the difference between
them and the prophet? The answer is that in the case of the observers of
times, diviners, and their like, part of what they say comes true while part
is not fulfilled as it is said, "Let now the astrologers, the stargazers,
prognosticators of some new things that shall befall you arise and save you
(Yeshaya 47:13). "Of some new things" but not all new things. Possibly too,
none of their forecasts will come true; and they may prove wholly mistaken,
as it is said, "that frustrates the tokens of impostors, and makes diviners
mad" (Yeshaya 44:25). But as for the prophet - all his words come true, as
it is said, " the prophet that has My word let him speak My word faithfully.
What has chaff to do with the wheat says the L-rd (Yermiyahu 23:28). This
means that the words of the diviners are like chaff with which a little
wheat has become mixed, but the word of G-d like pure wheat, wholly free of
chaff.

2)In fact he indicates in that they can be very accurate but are never 100%
correct.

Rambam (Introduction to Mishna R' A.Y. Finkel translation) [[One should not
think,"Since a prophet proves he is genuine by the fact that his predictions
come true, then all fortunetellers, astrologers and mind readers can claim
to be prophets, because we see with our own eyes that they predict the
future every day!".I want to put it this way: Fortunetellers, astrologers
and all others in this category do indeed predict future events, but their
predictions are only partially true, while the remainder inevitably turns
out to be false. We see this happen all the time, and even the
fortunetellers themselves do not deny this. The only way that one
fortuneteller is better than the next is that he told fewer lies than his
colleague did. But that all of a fortuneteller's predictions should come
true is simply impossible. These crystal gazer do not even pretend or boast
that their predictions will come true in all details. One fortuneteller
might say, "This year there will be a drought; there will be no rainfall at
all this year," when in fact a small amount of rain will fall. Or another
might say, "Tomorrow it will rain", while it actually will rain on the day
after. And even such a near miss will happen only to an eminent expert in
the art of the occult, one of the authorities who are quoted in books.
Yeshayah spoke about these diviners when he challenged Babylonia, "You are
helpless despite all your art. Let them stand up and help you no, the
astrologers, the stargazers, who predict parts of the months' events,
whatever will come upon you (Yeshaya 47:13). Our Rabbis (Bereishis Rabbah
85:2) commented that Yeshaya stated, "who predict parts of the events", and
the he did not state "who predict those events in their entirety". The
testimonies and predictions of the prophets however, are altogether
different. All their prophesies come true word for word and letter for
letter, and not even the slightest detail of anything they say in the name
of HaShem remains unfulfilled. This is what Yirmiyah had in mind when he
said that the visions of people who claim to have prophetic power must be
proven to be correct in every detail. He would discredit the false prophets
and demolish their claims to prophecy, saying, "Let the prophet who has a
dream tell the dream; and let him who has received My word report My word
faithfully! How can straw be compared to grain?" says HaShem (Yirmyah
23:28). The Sages explain this to mean that prophecy is crystal clear
without any elements of falsehood blended in, just as grain kernels are
separate from straw. The dream and similar things that are based on
interpretations are mixed with untruths just as straw that contains kernels
of wheat. "Just as it is impossible to have grain without straw, so too it
is impossible [for an ordinary person] to have a dream without senseless
matters" Berachos 55a.

3)You will note that the Rambam even quotes Chazal that astrologers are
correct some of the time even though not all the time and thus he is merely
repeating the views of Chazal.

4) The Chazal he is quoting according to R' Kafich is Bereishis Rabbah
(85:2)

Bereishis Rabbah (85:2): .Potiphar's wife acted from pure motivation just as
did Tamar. Potiphar's wife saw by means of astrology that she was to produce
a child with Yosef. But she did not know whether it was from her or from her
daughter. This is as the prophet Yeshaya (47:13) said "Let now the monthly
prognosticators stand up and save you from some of the things that will come
on you". R' Abin noted that he said "some of the things" but not "all of the
things

5) In fact if you do a computer search on this verse Yeshaya 47:13 it is
typically quoted to acknowledge that astrology works but never 100% of the
time. It is not cited to reject astrology but to say that it is limited. The
Rambam obviously was aware of this and yet he cites it anyway. Apparently
acknowledging the validity of astrology!

Ramchal (Derech HaShem2:7:4 R'  A Kaplan translation): [[[This stellar
influence is also circumscribed , as deemed best by the Highest Wisdom. Some
of these phenomena are known by observation, and this constitutes the
science of astrology. The complete nature of this system, however, cannot be
ascertained by observation. It is for this reason that astrologers can
predict only some of future events accurately and not everything. Surely
this is so in view of the fact that events can be altered by G-d. This is
what is meant (Yeshaya 47:13) "Now let the astrologers, stargazers and
fortunetellers stand up and tell you something about what will come upon
you." Our sages tell us that this means that they can predict something, but
certainly not everything.

6) In fact there is apparently universal agreement as to how to understand
this verse for example Rabbeinu Bachye sounds almost identical to the
Rambam.

Rabbeinu Bachye (Devarim 18:14 R' Munk translation) [[As for you, not so.
Moshe means: you who are apart of G-d's direct supervision are not dependent
on all these intermediaries, you have no call to resort to sorcerers,
diviners, etc. If you need to know something about the future, G-d will
provide a prophet from among your own people. This is a tremendous
advantage. There is no true prognosis of the future which will not prove
deceptive in that it disappoints the people to whom it has been promised
except positive promises made by a prophet. This is why prophecy has been
compared to grain that has already been sifted from the straw. This is the
meaning of  Jeremiah 23:28, "how can straw be compared to grain says the
L-rd of hosts? The prophet compares false prophecy to straw that though it
may contain a few ears of wheat is mostly useless whereas true prophecy is
compared to what. The reasons the prophet does not choose the word wheat or
corn etc is that the word Bar is related to Barair sifting. In true prophecy
the truth has been distilled already where as in false prophecy a little
truth is submerged in a lot of untruths, chaff. ... Man derives some
knowledge of the future originating in the universe of the planets by means
of astrologers; he derives information about the future derived the from the
higher world by mean of the prophets who receive their information of future
events through the angels inhabiting these celestial spheres. All prophets
except for Moshe received their information by means of these celestial
intermediaries (Yesodei Hatorah 6:6). Future events predicts by the "seers"
are unreliable; in the words of our sages Bereishis Rabbah 85:2, based on
Yeshaya 47:13 "the scanners of the heaven, the star gazers who announce
month by month some of what will come upon you." The words masher instead of
asher means that only part of the forecasts of these astrologers will come
true. There is no need ot tell you that future events divined by means or
birds or demons are even less reliable. The only reliable forecast of future
events is that made by authentic prophets, seeing that they receive their
input for the highest word. Seeing that G-d will provide us with such
prophets you have no need ot consult the dead etc. totell the living what is
in store..

7) Problem is what to do with the letter on Astrology which unequivocally
and totally rejects the validity of astrology ?[R' Twersky translation
http://people.bu.edu/dklepper/RN242/rambam2.html " Know my masters that evey
one of those things concerning judicial astrology that (its adherents)
maintain - namely, that something will happen one way and not another, and
that the constellation under which one is born will draw him on so that he
will be of such and such a kind and so that something will happen to him one
way and not another - all these assertions are far from being scientific;
they are stupidity. There are lucid, fautless proofs refuting all the roots
of those assertions...

8) The key to the possible resolution is expressed by the following Ramban
with similar descriptions in Moreh Nevuchim (2:37-38)

Ramban (Devarim 13:2): The Torah apparently describes the false prophet as a
prophet... to allude to the fact that he actually does have prophetic
abilities. In fact there are a small percentage of people who have natural
prophetic abilities that enables them to foretell the future without them
knowing the source of this knowledge. He will go into seclusion and then a
spirit will come in him telling him, 'this is what will happen in the future
concerning a specific event'. The philosophers call this power kahin but
they don't know what causes it. However, the matter has been definitely
verified by eyewitnesses. Perhaps the soul during meditation clings to the
Transcendent Intellect and concentrates on it.  Such a person is therefore
described as a prophet because he actually prophesizes and successfully
predicts events. Thus the signs and wonders described in the verse are the
result of the false prophets accurate predictions of the future.Consequently
the Torah commands us not to obey anyone who prophesizes in the name of G-d
to worship idols - even for a moment - and we are not to pay attention to
the wonders that they do. .... Therefore there is absolutely no basis for
worshiping or serving any other entity - even when ordered by this
impressive false prophet. "

9) R' Shilat proposes the following in his volume on the Rambam's
Introductions page 81-82.

"Foretelling the future is a recognized profession that can not be simply
rejected. There is no question that successful predictions are made by these
people - some more accurate than others. So what then is the difference
between prophesy and divination according to the Rambam? The simple answer
is that a prophet as G-d's messenger is never wrong while the diviner of
necessity is never 100% correct. This is explained in Moreh Nevuchim
(2:37)....Certain people with special abilities connected with the
imaginative faculty - even though they are not scholars or fit to be a
prophet - are nevertheless successful in foretelling the future or
performing magic (today we call this parapsychological abilities)....These
parapsychological abilities are the only explanation the Rambam accepts for
the success of astrology or other diviniation. The Rambam totally rejects
the science of astrology i.e., the influence of the stars on the fate of
man. He similar rejects the systems of divination and magic which he
consistently describes as false nonsense. Thus he agrees that the future can
be determined with various degrees of accuracy by the practitioners of these
systems but not because of the systems but because of their
parapsychological abilities."


In sum: The Rambam is totally consistent with Chazal in acknowledging the
fact of meaningful predictions by some astrologers and diviners. He rejects
as minority opinon or reinterprets those statements of Chazal that seem to
ascribe this accuracy to the **science of astrology**. He agrees with the
consensus that astrology and divination - because of its accuracy as well as
its inaccuracy distracted people away from relying on HaShem and thus is
prohibited. The upset of the Gra and others with the Rambam was because they
disagreed with his rejection of those chazal which unambiguously support the
validity of the science of astrology and divination - because they
themselves felt that these systems had some validity.

                                                    Daniel Eidensohn


Go to top.

Date: Tue, 26 Nov 2002 17:59:05 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Subject:
Re: Astrology


On Tue, Nov 26, 2002 at 09:31:21AM -0500, Arie Folger wrote:
: RSS has two essays, one WRT the length of time between the destructions
: of both batei miqdash, and the other about evolution and big bang. In
: the former he indicates that our anno mundi count is wrong, so according
: to him you can't bring any proofs from our massorah that it is 5763,
: and indeed he shows that as a popular massorah it is quite recent.

Twop points:

1 - "shenas ... lebri'as ha'olam" is followed by "leminyan she'anu monim
kan be..." It seems we're trying to guarantee the validity of the dating
whether or not it actually is the age of the universe.

2- We're counting since the /end/ of beri'ah. Or, as someone else
put it, since Adam's "birth".

-- 
Micha Berger                     Time flies...
micha@aishdas.org                        ... but you're the pilot.
http://www.aishdas.org                           - R' Zelig Pliskin
Fax: (413) 403-9905          


Go to top.

Date: Tue, 26 Nov 2002 17:00:50 -0500
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Subject:
Re: rambam's shitta


At 09:17 AM 11/26/02 -0500, Shinnar, Meir wrote:
>with regard to the rambam in Mishne Torah on creation versus eternity:
>Rabbi Professor Isadore Twersky z"l wrote in his Introduction to the
>Code of Maimonides p 448 n 224 (Dealing with the issue of contradictions
>between the Mishne Torah and the More Nevuchim)
>     Note, per contra, that in the MT (Yesode Hat Torah i,5) Maimonides
>     rather boldly operates with the eternity of the world as a
>     basis for his proofs of the existence of God; see MN I, 71 (p. 180)
>     Maimonides views on creation (whether he believed in a created or
>     eternal world) were most recently debated by A Nuriel and A Ravitsky,
>     Tarbiz, XXXIII(1964), 372ff, and XXXV (1966), 333ff
>
>it is not so clear, even given the rambam's explicit statements in the
>Moreh against Aristotle, what his true beliefs were. However, in the MT,
>he is willing to rely on the eternity of the world (by the way, I recall,
>though can't look up right now, tha the Or Sameach on yesode hatorah
>i,5 understands the rambam similarly - this isn't merely an academic/MO
>cabal misreading the rambam) - clearly not a reliance on mesora.

The OS just refers you to the MN (p. 124 in the RYK ed.).

I am not sure exactly what the point of this post might be.

This Rambam states not a whit about the eternity of the world.

If "tamid" means eternal in the sense of kadmus, then we are declaring
kadmus every day when we say "ha'mechadesh b'tuvo b'kol yom TAMID ma'ashe
Bereishis." Clearly tamid means constantly - after Creation.

If "ein ketz" means ladmus, then we have been and will be suffering
forever and ever, as we say on Chanukah: "V'ein ketz l'yimei ha'ro'oh!"

Rather v'ein ketz means ceaselessly.

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


Go to top.

Date: Tue, 26 Nov 2002 23:52:21 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Subject:
Fwd (avraham@watson.ibm.com): Sfas-Emes, Chanuka, fifth night, 5631


[Just wanted to share. -mi]

Sfas-Emes
Dr. Nathaniel Leff

Chanuka, fifth night, 5631

Why do we light candles on Chanuka? For 'pirsu'mei nisa'. (That is:
to broadcast news of the miracle that we experienced on the first
Chanuka.) How long should the candles stay lit? The reason for the candles
to be lit is so that passers-by should see them. and remind themselves of
the miracle. Accordingly, the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim, 672, a) tells us
that Chanuka candles should be lit "ad she'tikaleh ha'regel min ha'shuk". In
a non-literal translation: "until traffic in the market-place stops". In
a more-or-less literal translation: "until the feet [of passers-by] are no
longer in the market-place".

So much for the plain, simple meaning of the phrase: "ad she'tikahleh
ha'regel". The word ha'regel means "the foot". Working with allusion (remez),
the Sfas Emes reads the word as "hergeil": i.e., habit, routine. Thus the
Sfas Emes is telling us that the Chanuka candles should light until they
bring renewal and remove habit from our Avodah.

Doing mitzvos as a matter of unthinking routine is a constant threat to the
active, conscious way in which we should strive to live our relationship with
HaShem. The Sfas Emes is telling us to let the Chanuka candles remind us to
focus our mind and our emotions on our actions when we do mitzvos. "Hergeil"
(routine; habit) is the enemy. We should be aware of what we are doing rather
than live our lives as unthinking creatures of habit.

"Ad she'tikaleh hergeil min hashuk!"


Go to top.

Date: Tue, 26 Nov 2002 17:48:09 +0000
From: Chana Luntz <Chana@KolSassoon.net>
Subject:
Shaking hands


[Bounced from Areivim. -mi]

>Leah & Menachem Brick <levaynim@optonline.net> wrote
>>I have spoken to one Gadol Beyisroel who is unaware of this Yehareg veal
>>Yavor statement of the Chazon ish......Does anyone have the source?
>>Menchem Brick
>
>This is a bit roundabout, but the interested reader can check back via the
>references:
>
>In his Weekly Halacha - Parshas Chayei Sarah (Weekly-Halacha, Copyright 
>2002 by Rabbi Doniel Neustadt, Dr. Jeffrey Gross and Torah.org.), Rabbi
>Neustadt states:
>
>>Harav Y.Y. Kanievsky quotes the Chazon Ish as maintaining that shaking hands
>>falls into the category of yehareg ve'al ya'avor (see Teharas Am Yisrael,
>>pg. 44). While other prominent poskim do not agree with this stringent view,
>>it gives us an understanding of the severity of the issue.

I was thinking about this again in light of the recent daf yomi (Sanhedrin
74-5) and trying to work out on what basis the Chazon Ish could say this
as a blanket statement.

There seem to me to be three possibilities vis a vis the woman in
question:

a) she is an eshes ish;
b) she is a Jewish penuya; or
c) she is a goya.

Even if you hold that shaking hands is (or may be) derech chiba, on
what basis could you say yaharog ve'al ya'avor in the case of b) or c)
- especially given the whole discussion on 75a making the distinction
between a) and b) at least in a yaharog ve'al ya'avor type case (which
is also identified as being post beis hamikdash)?

And thinking further about all of this - what is the basis of the issur
in c) bichlal? Isn't it a d'rabbanan that makes touching a goya the
same as touching a nida? Is not kovod habrios usually held to overrule
d'rabbanans?

Question: if a frum Jewish man were to be faced with a stam woman in
the US, would you not have sfek sfeka, in that, there is a safek whether
the woman is Jewish or not (but rov not) as well as there being a safek,
even if she is Jewish whether she is a penuya (and in the US, even is
she is called Mrs Cohen, if she is not frum, that safek must be there,
because rov marriages even between Jews in the US are not in accordance
with halacha). Of course, some of this you may be able to be mevarer,
although not actually that easily these days (and in Israel the rov may
work the other way). That is even leaving aside any safek as to whether
a handshake is derech chiba (assuming in fact, which everybody here seems
to, that we posken like the Rambam on this that touching bederech chiba
is an issur d'orisa).

Regards
Chana
-- 
Chana Luntz


Go to top.

Date: Wed, 27 Nov 2002 09:12:14 +0200
From: "Carl and Adina Sherer" <sherer@actcom.co.il>
Subject:
Re: Rachel's tomb


On 26 Nov 2002 at 1:52, Isaac A Zlochower wrote:
> In his slow journey he first finds, apparently in Beit El, that his
> mother, Rebeccah, has died, and then experiences the death of his beloved,
> Rachel. 

Years ago, when we were still living in Passaic, Adina came home from
a shiur and repeated a halachic-medical analysis that argued that the
reason that Rachel died in childbirth was because Binyamin was a breach
baby. As proof the doctor who wrote the analysis (from what we remember -
there may be more) cited the fact that the midwife was able to tell her
before the baby was out that he was a boy, the conversation between
Rachel and the midwife in which she named the baby (consistent with
gradual weakness from hemorrhaging - forgive the spelling if it's wrong),
and Yaakov's inability to bring her to Chevron for burial (which would
be consistent with needing to bury her quickly because of all the blood).

This theory (and I don't know of any proof for it in the Medrash or
Gemara) would argue that Rachel passed away close to her place of burial
and not (unless you accept the "northern theory" - which I find difficult
especially in light of the Ramban) near Beit El.

-- Carl

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


Go to top.

Date: Wed, 27 Nov 2002 10:23:50 GMT
From: Eli Turkel <turkel@math.tau.ac.il>
Subject:
R. Zilberstein


I recently attended a shiur of R. Zilbersteinin BB and he made some
interesting remarks besides he normal great shiur (it is on medicine
and halacha)

1. It is permitted to lie in order to calm someone (he was asked a
question about someone who was asked to remove a snake and instead
captured a snake of his own - when challenged he said he did it to calm
the fears of the people there)

2. If a man travels to meet a woman for a possible shidduch and she did
not tell about a serious illness he has grounds to demand the money for
the flight because of misleading statements.
In normal circumstances one needs only tell about serious illnesses
in the middle of the dating process after the couple has met several
times. However, if a long distance flight is involved than either one
must tell ahead of time or alternatively pay for the flight and expenses
ahead of time.

3. Can one hide information about a shidduch when it is clear that once
they are married that the injured party will continue the marriage in
any case.
The Steipler allowed it while R. Eliyashiv vigorously disagreed.
In general R. Eliyashiv is very much against lying and making up stories
even when there are extenuating circumstances (subject of the shiur was
a doctor making up a story to get a procedure for a patient which they
were not entitled to according to the rules)

4. CI paskened like Ramban that Yishuv EY is a mitzvah from the Torah

--
 Eli Turkel, turkel@math.tau.ac.il on 11/27/2002


Go to top.

Date: Wed, 27 Nov 2002 15:04 +0200
From: BACKON@vms.HUJI.AC.IL
Subject:
Rambam and Mesorah


I see that readers have ignored my suggestion to check the chain of
mesorah from Rabbenu Chananel to his talmid the RIF, to his talmid the
RI MI'GAASH, to his talmid the father of the Rambam: whether THEY wrote
about Chazal and astrology. If as RYGB insists what the Rambam wrote was
based on mesorah, then there ought to be similar de'ot in the RI MI'GAASH,
the RIF and Rabbenu Chananel. If there aren't, or if these sources have
only positive things to say about astrology, then what the Rambam wrote
was NOT based on mesorah.

Curiously, the Minchat Chinuch 80 # 9 d"h "v'ra'iti" (on whether tzaar
baalei chayim is d'oraita) writes re: the Baal haMaor: "kan katav MI'DAAT
ATZMO d'halacha k'Rava...".

Josh


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 >