Avodah Mailing List

Volume 10 : Number 093

Wednesday, January 22 2003

< Previous Next >
Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Tue, 21 Jan 2003 03:03:30 EST
From: T613K@aol.com
Re: Animal suffering

From: Zoo Torah <zoorabbi@zootorah.com>
> Hofni (in Teshuvos HaGeonim, Harkanay edition, no. 375, p. 191), R'
> Sherira Gaon and R' Gaon state that God's reward and compensation to
> animals for the pain that they endure in this world is given to them in
> the afterlife. However, it seems that Rambam (Moreh 3:17), and mainstream
> Torah opinion, disagrees.
> The Kuzari ...                      states that since there is an a priori
> awareness that G-d created the universe and is just, and that animals
> are clearly designed to eat one another, then predation must therefore
> be planned, and it must be the product of a justice that is beyond our
> comprehension....

> The Chazon Ish gives more of an explanation...
> Rabbi Karelitz seems to be saying that the harshness of nature,
> demonstrated by predatory animals, is part and parcel of the overall
> grand tapestry of creation. <snip>

> This answer is far from satisfactory, but it's the best I came
> up with. ... If anyone has any other
> thoughts on this topic, I would love to hear them.

Another thought does occur to me.  When Yeshayahu speaks of the lion lying 
down with the lamb in the time of Moshiach, it seems to hint that animals 
preying on each other is an aspect of an unredeemed world, an 
imperfection--whose ultimate cause is human sin--that will be corrected when 
the world is redeemed.

Toby Katz

Go to top.

Date: Tue, 21 Jan 2003 10:29:52 -0500
From: "Shinnar, Meir" <Meir.Shinnar@rwjuh.edu>
RE: Rambam and Yissachar zvulun

4. Regarding the Rambam. While it is true that the Rambam blasts someone
who throws himself on to the tzibbur, he is refering to a person who has
no means of providing for his financial needs and chooses to rely on
the public purse. The Rambam is NOT referring to a person who makes a
financial arrangement with a partner to support his Torah study. Would
the Rambam invalidate a Zevulun- Yisachar relationship (Note: consider
the fact that the Rambam himself was supported by his brother while
writing the Yad. He only took his position as physician in the royal
court after his brother's tragic death at sea).

This is a misrepresentation of the rambam to conform with other opinions.
The Rambam rejects completely the notion that one can accept money for
studying - whether from the community or from an individual. In his
hilchot talmud tora, he goes in detail into what is acceptable and not
acceptable - and yissachar zvulun is not among the acceptable.

THe rambam's own position is, I think misunderstood - his brother was
the trader, who traded with the family assets. One of the heterim
for a talmid chacham is explicitly that one may trade for a talmid
chacham without charging him - and this seems to have been the rambam's

Meir Shinnar

Go to top.

Date: Tue, 21 Jan 2003 11:47:46 -0500
From: "Brown, Charles.F" <charlesf.brown@gs.com>
Malachim singing shira by yam suf

Midrash/Yalkut in Beshalach says that the Malachim wanted to sing shira
before BN"Y, but Hashem did not allow them to do so (if I remember,
the reason is because man is mortal and may die before he sings shira).
(Parenthetically, the yalkut then brings 2 deyos whether the malachim
sang next and then the women with Miryam, or whether the women sang next
followed lastly by malachim, perhaps suggesting that there might there
be a different answer for each gender to the question recently raised
of whether man is greater than malach -see chasam sofer, r' bachye on
vata'an lahem miryam).

Question: ain hamalachim omrim shira l'ma'alah ad sh'yomru yisrael l'matah
(Chulin 91) - esp. difficult in light of Nefesh HaChaim I:6 that the
gemara means the shira of yisrael is *gorem* the shiras hamalachim who
have no independent initiative to be mashpia on olamos.

Why by shiras hayam was there a possibility of malachim singing before
klal yisrael?

-Chaim B.

Go to top.

Date: Tue, 21 Jan 2003 19:06:40 GMT
From: Eli Turkel <turkel@math.tau.ac.il>

Akiva writes
"I don't see any difference between establishing a date for Shavuos and
establishing a date for Rosh Chodesh. Let's remember that this thread
began in Avodah 10:84, when R' Eli Turkel asked <<< we know that in the
days of Shimon Ben Shetach that the Saducees took over the Sanhedrin. What
happened to kiddush hachodesh at that time?>>>

My questions have simply been extensions of that one. Kiddush Hachodesh
is a religious question (even if it also has political aspects to it). Did
the Pharisees and Saducees cooperate on this issue or not?"

The assumption is that when the Mishna says that the fires were
stopped because of people that misused them that the reference is to
Saduccees. Whether this happened every Rosh Chodesh or only those that
affected the setting of Shavuot is not clear from the Mishna

"Is it possible that the Pharisees refused to sit on a Sanhedrin which
had ANY Saducee members, and therefore established a separate Beis Din
to declare Rosh Chodesh for the Pharisee communities? If they chose to
remain in a united organization, why don't we sit together with Reform?"

We don't have record of 2 such Sanhedrins. In fact we do sit in the
knesset exactly for the same reason - we have no choice if we have
other goals.

We have the same question, but I don't follow your answer. If <<<each
group thought they belonged on the sanhedrin to the exclusion of the
other>>>, then why didn't they establish separate systems for the
adjudication of religious questions? I suspect that the answer will
have something to do with there being only one Beis Hamikdash, thus
they wereforced into sorts of compromising politics. We can avoid having
to enter such politics with Reforms because there is no Beis Hamikdash
which we are forced to share.


"But there were plenty of other questions that the Saducees and Pharisees
could have disagreed on. If they disagreed about when to bring the
korbanos of Shavuos, they could just as easily (or just as difficultly)
have disagreed about when to bring the korbanos of Rosh Chodesh. Or at
the very least, even if the Saducees are in total control of the Beis
Hamikdash, the Pharisees could have held different days for Yom Tov
regarding melacha, chometz, etc."

Again we have no reason to accuse the Saducees of disagreeing for the
sake of disagreement. The assumption is that there were disagrrements
when the sides had different traditions. On the other hand we have no
reason to think that the only disagreements were the ones mentioned
in the Mishna. Perhaps there were others that we have no record of.
As an example we know of disagrrement between the group that lived in
the Dead Sea area and the High Priests in the Temple though it is never
mentioned in the Talmud

 Prof. Eli Turkel,  turkel@post.tau.ac.il on 01/21/2003
Department of Mathematics, Tel Aviv University

Go to top.

Date: Tue, 21 Jan 2003 11:44:33 +0200
From: "Daniel Eidensohn" <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
Re: History, Truth, Memory: Nemonus of Baalei Mesorah

1) Rabbi Schwab (Selected Writings p233-234) [History should be inspiring]

    "There is a vast difference between history and storytelling. History
    must be truthful, otherwise it does not deserve its name. A book
    of history must report the bad with the good, the ugly with the
    beautiful, the difficulties and the victories, the guilt and
    the virtue. Since it is supposed to be truthful, it cannot spare
    the righteous if he fails, and it cannot skip the virtues of the
    villain. For such is truth, all is told the way it happened. Only
    a prophet mandated by his Divine calling has the ability to report
    history as it really happened, unbiased and without praise.

    Suppose one of us today would want to write a history of Orthodox
    Jewish life in pre-holocaust Germany. There is much to report but
    not everything is complimentary. Not all of the important people
    were flawless as one would like to believe and not all the mores
    and lifestyles of this bygone generation were beyond criticism. A
    historian has no right to take sides.

    He must report the stark truth and nothing but the truth. Now, if a
    historian would report truthfully what he witnessed, it would make
    a lot of people rightfully angry. He would violate the prohibition
    against spreading Loshon Horah which does not only apply to the
    living, but also to those who sleep in the dust and cannot defend
    themselves any more.

    What ethical purpose is served by preserving a realistic historic
    picture? Nothing but the satisfaction of curiosity. We should tell
    ourselves and our children the good memories of the good people,
    their unshakable faith, their staunch defense of tradition, their
    life of truth, their impeccable honesty, their boundless charity and
    their great reverence for Torah and Torah sages. What is gained by
    pointing out their inadequacies and their contradictions? We want
    to be inspired by their example and learn from their experience.

    When Noach became intoxicated, his two sons Shem and Japhet, took a
    blanket and walked into his tent backwards to cover the nakedness of
    their father. Their desire was to always remember their father as
    the Tzaddik Tomim in spite of his momentary weakness. Rather than
    write the history of our forebears, every generation has to put a
    veil over the human failings of its elders and glorify all the rest
    which is great and beautiful. That means we have to do without a
    real history book. We can do without. We do not need realism, we need
    inspiration from our forefathers in order to pass it on to posterity."

2) Doros HaRishonim (vol 7 page 318) Days of the Amoraim R' Yochanon and
Reish Lakish

Rejecting Tosfos(Bava Metziah 84a) understanding of Reish Lakish that
he was a gadol who went off the derech and then did tshvua

    "What Tosfos says is impossible to say at all in particular that a
    gadol hador like Reish Lakish was original a gavra rabbah and then
    rejected Torah and became and am haaretz and became a bandit and then
    started to learn again and became a chaver of R' Yochanon. There is no
    basis at all to say what Tosfos said concerning the historical facts
    in this case but while their great kavod remains we have commented
    many times that in all manners which don't impact halacha our masters
    the rishonim did not pay close attention to the material - this was
    not their concern. In fact concerning this case of Reish Lakish the
    facts are entirely the opposite of what they said and the beginning
    of R' Lakish's education was with R' Yochanon."

3) Of interest is that the Artscroll History series is based upon
Doros HaRishonim and in the History of the Jewish People From Yavneh to
Pumpedisa page 156 cites Halevi - without mentioning that Tosfos has a
different understanding.

4) Rav Tzadok writes in Ohr Zarua LTzadik 24b:

    "Concerning the many disparities concerning the Churban between what
    we find in Chazal and that which is described by Yosefus. For example
    that they describe Titus as evil and go into great detail about
    how terrible he was while Yosefus describes him as a tzadik...The
    explanation is that Yosefus was merely a writer not a prophet or
    baal ruach hakodesh and he wrote what he wrote based upon entirely
    upon what he knew saw and heard according to his understanding and
    discernment - therefore it was impossible for him to know the clear
    Emes concerning what he was writing about. In contrast chazal who
    were in fact all baalei ruach hakodesh and were well aware of all the
    stories but in fact did not deviate in the slightest but described
    the Emes according to the way it was and that is why there are these
    disparities. And quite obviously because of this we find disparities
    between the descriptions of chazal in many descriptions from what
    the chroniclers of the non Jewish kings said.

                                                 Daniel Eidensohn

Go to top.

Date: Tue, 21 Jan 2003 13:24:54 -0500
From: kennethgmiller@juno.com
re: Sanhedrin

R' Eli Turkel wrote <<< Again we have no reason to accuse the Saducees
of disagreeing for the sake of disagreement. The assumption is that
there were disagrrements when the sides had different traditions.>>>

What does it matter whether or not they agreed? Even if they happened
to agree on some issue, it is assur to allow kofrim to be part of the
decision-making process, isn't it? Or did the Pharisees consider the
Saducees NOT to be kofrim?

Perhaps my real questions are not on R' Turkel, but on R' Albeck.

In Avodah V10 #87, R' Gil Student had written: <<< ... the baraisa tells
us (Sanhedrin 88b), once the students of Hillel and Shammai grew and they
did not serve their teachers sufficiently there were machloksim. Why?
Couldn't the Sanhedrin still pasken? Albeck (Mavo la-Mishnah, end of ch.
3) suggests that there were still some Tzadukim on the Sanhedrin. When
Beis Shammai and Beis Hillel agreed they were in the majority and
decisively controlled the Sanhedrin. But when they disagreed there
were then three parties - Tzadukkim, Beis Shammai, and Beis Hillel -
and none of them could gain a majority. So any issues on which B"Sh and
B"H disagreed could not be decided by the Sanhedrin.>>>

The "machloksim" referred to must obviously be on eternal religious
issues; if they were on temporal political matters, that baraisa wouldn't
care enough to bother talking about them. So to rephrase the question I
asked in Avodah 10:89 -- If for some reason Beis Shammai and Beis Hillel
were forced to sit together with Tzadukim to adjudicate religious issues,
and there was a three-way vote such that none of the three had a majority,
why would the Baraisa consider this to be an *unresolved* machlokes? Beis
Shammai and Beis Hillel could have taught their students that "None of
the three had a majority, but the Tzadukim don't count and therefore
Beis Ploni had a clear majority and so the Halacha is like them."

Why didn't they do that?

Three possible answers I see are: (a) R' Albeck is mistaken. (b) Kofrim
*are* allowed to vote on religious issues. (c) The Tzadukim were *not*
kofrim. Any other ideas?

Akiva Miller

Go to top.

Date: Tue, 21 Jan 2003 21:19:17 -0500
From: kennethgmiller@juno.com

Point #1: We are told that one of the critical factors in the selection
of Moshe Rabenu as the Redeemer was the care he showed to each of Yisro's
flock, demonstrating the care he would be expected to show of his own
flock - the Bnei Yisrael - later on.

Point #2: We are told that 80% of the Bnei Yisrael were not worthy of
being part of the Exodus, and died during the plague of darkness. Only
the other 20% were worty enough to be Redeemed.

Question: Last Shabbos, Beshalach, on the pasuk "A fifth of the Bnei
Yisrael made aliyah from Eretz Mitzrayim" (13:18) a friend asked this
question: Were any attempts made in Mitzrayim to be mekarev the other 80%?

Someone in shul suggested that Shmos 6:9 ("They did not listen to Moshe
because of kotzer ruach and hard work") is evidence of the people's
refusal to accept any kiruv, but we had two responses to that: (a) That
pasuk itself gives a plausible excuse to the people; not a real heter,
but it sounds like enough of a reason to at least exempt them from the
death penalty. (b) That pasuk was from before any of the makkos began;
isn't it likely that once Egypt started to get pounded, the Bnei Yisrael
would have been more open to getting "mekareved"?

So... surely there must be some stories that we've forgotten, about how
Moshe did not speak only to Pharaoh for the duration of the makkos.
Surely he spoke also to his people, trying to convince them that the
geulah really was coming. Can someone remind us of those stories? Thanks.

Akiva Miller

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 22 Jan 2003 15:06:13 -0500
From: rothmanfamily@juno.com
Marcus Aurelius

R' A. Miller wrote that Marcus Aurelius Antoninus is the same person as
Antoninus mentioned in the Gemara.

Does anyone know anything that proves or disproves this?

Yona Rothman

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 22 Jan 2003 11:45:55 -0500
From: Mlevinmd@aol.com
Re: History, Truth, Memory: Nemonus of Baalei Mesorah

The view that Jewdaism is not interested in accurate history is widely
held as posted. Following an impression obtained from cursory reading of
CHAZAl, it argues that what is important about history its inspirational
effect and only those facts that teach us musar and hashkofa should be
preserved. A good explication is by R. S. Schwab in Collected Writings
(I don't remember if it is a separate essay or in the one on disrepance
of 2nd Temple chronology).

Although clearly the posted views are quite prevalent, there are other
opinions. In addition to the ones posted, Moshe Ibn Ezra in Kitab al
Muhadara...tr. AS Halkin, Jerusalem 1974, p50f.. calls the Jews' neglect
of their history a "sin". Several other such statements are found in
the introductions to historical works that I will cite below.

I think that there must be made a distinction between the theoretical and
practical approach to history. Of note is the fact that until the 16 th
centurey, there was but one historical work in existence - Yosipon. Others
were histories of Mesorah.Then suddenly within a hundred years 10 known
compositions appeared. I list them:

Shlomo Ibn Verga, Shevet Yehuda
Avraham Zacuto, Sefer Yuchasin
Eliahu Capsali Seder Eliahu Zuta, Divrei hayomim lmalkhut venetzia
Shmuel Usque, Consolacam as tribulacoens de Israel
Yoseph haKohen, Emek Habacha and History of Ottomans and French Kings
Gedalia Ibn Yahia, Shalshelet Hakabbala
DeRossi, Maor Einayim
Dovid Gans, Zemach Dovid.

Why did this happen?

It seems that this was a reaction to the inception of a modern view
of the world, one in which history is the fulcrum of the battle of
ideas. Now the historical truth has become the arbiter of correctness
of an ideology and the means to establish its dominance.

If so, the views of the early Rishonim are tactically irrelavant though
strategically remaining the Toras Emes. If we surrender the claim to
accuracy in transmission of fact, we will become vulnerable to attacks
from all sides.

In addition, the totalitarian implications of surrendering control of
history to even well meaning individuals frighten me. Granted, that is
not a problem at current juncture, but are we not establishing a bad
precedent for the future?

M. Levin

Go to top.

Date: Tue, 21 Jan 2003 12:48:39 -0500
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Yishuv Eretz Yisrael

From: "Ari Z. Zivotofsky - FAM" <azz@lsr.nei.nih.gov> [to Areivim]
>Someone wrote (I am leaving off the writers name):

>>So, as to major issue, there are, broadly speaking, two schools of
>> thought.

>>  One is that it is worthwhile to live in the land of Israel as an end in
>> and
>>  of itself, regardless of the role one plays there, regardless of
>> whether
>>  there is a society with which one feels identification. Become a
>>  ditchdigger, if necessary, and join up with the existing systems, no
>> matter
>>  how distasteful, and you have fulfilled your tachlis in this world.

>>  This is a legitimate school of thought.

>>  The other school of thought is that you must attempt to ascertain where
>>  HKB"H wants you to be to fill the role that you perceive He has given
>> you
>>  the talent, capacity and character to fill , to impact upon systems in
>>  which you can make a difference, and to find the niche in which you can
>> do
>>  your small part l'takken olam b'malchus Shakkai.

>>  This, too, is a legitimate school of thought.

>>  I respect the first school of thought.

>>  I subscribe, personally, to the second.

>>  I expect the same respect, in turn, for my perspective.

>To which I would like to respond:

>I do not like to get involved in these kinds of discussions.
>But b'mchilot kvod the writer, I find these statements empty and fake.
>Very few people hold one should move to Israel to be a ditch digger.
>What most people hold is that the Land of Israel was at the center of the
>Bris Ben Habsarim and
>the tachlis of yetziyat mitzrayim. It is a central aspect of the Torah and
>of Judaism.
>It is thus HIGHLY desirable to live in Israel if possible.
>There may be legitimate excuses and heterim to live in chu"l, but they are
>just that, excuses and
>heterim. Whatever talents, etc. that God gave any Jew can also be used in
>Israel today. There are
>B"H bli ayin harah almost 5 million jews in israel of all stripes. there
>is no way one can claim that
>they can't find a niche. Sure, it is hard at the beginning, So are all
>moves, changes, and beginnings.
>Nor will anyone deny that life as a jew is wonderful in the US. The US is
>a great country.  But that
>does not excuse one from living in Israel, and using the talents, capacity
>and character that God
>granted you to improve the Jewish people in the Jewish country. Ezra,
>Nechemia, and the gemara
>never criticize all the Jews who failed to come up in the bayit sheni
>except for those with good
>talents for bavel. They uniformly criticized them all.
>What the writer should say is: "yes, I want to live in Israel, it is the
>proper place for me and all Jews,
>but I just can't because (fill in). I feel bad."
>It is not a philosophy that justifies the staying in chu"l as the writer
>implied. It is convenience, inertia,
>etc. I respect the writer, but it is time for american Jews to at least be

I welcome my friend and co-author RAZZ to the fold of the certified RW - 
those who do not mention the subjects of their attacks in their blistering 
broadsides ;-) ...

While, personally, I have no compunction making the statement he proposes 
that I make at the end of his e-mail to me on Areivim (I assume this is 
actually more appropriate for Avodah), I reject the validity of his thesis.

I do this with great reluctance, for recent experience demonstrates that I 
will be getting barbed e-mails for this!

Furthermore, it puts me back almost a quarter of a century to those debates 
that take place among first-year Americans in Israeli yeshivot.

Nevertheless. No one is debating the centrality of the land to Judaism. 
Eventually it will serve as the home of the leading nation amongst the 
nations of the world.

It's atmosphere is holy and it land as well.

There are many more mitzvos one can be mekayem in it.

All Jews should yearn to live there.

In my concluded opinion, based on extensive research amongst the Poskim, it 
is a mitzvah kiyumis which one should attempt if possible to fulfill but is 
not mandated to fulfill.

Kind of like pidayon petter chamor. Perhaps a better example is shilu'ach 

(For all of you who will now get upset because of emotional considerations, 
stop here and go back to what I wrote above and read it again, then 
continue. We are discussing the halachic categories; not the advantages 
that have led to the conclusion that "Ha'kol ma'alin l'EY").

It is thus a mitzvah - a very, very important one - that one takes into 
account in determining one's mission in life. Some of us may decide that 
our central mission in life is the promotion of yishuv EY; some of us 
(undoubtedly less, and perhaps for good reason, but different strokes for 
different folks) will decide that our central mission is the promotion of 
hanochas tefillin; even less will decide that their central mission is the 
promotion of shilu'ach ha'kan.

You glibly rejected my formulation which included the ditchdigger metaphor. 
You (I know you too well to be dan you l'kaf zechus on this one, my dear 
Reb Ari) pretended that I meant it b'davka. Of course that was not the 
case. Formulate it as you will.

One is not mechuyav, nor is necessarily a good thing, to spend productive 
time writing to Avodah... No, that's true :-), but what I mean really is to 
exert oneself carving out a niche that may well turn out to be a cave in 
which one finds oneself - and one's family - in isolation and 
meaninglessness. Since part of our regard for EY is not to be motzi la'az 
on the yoshvim b'eretz chemda, I think we do not need to get into the 
issues here.

But since you did ask me to say it:

"Yes, I want to live in Israel, it is the proper place for me and all Jews, 
but I just can't because it is not, at the moment, in line with the mission 
that I believe HKB"H wants my family and I to fill to be marbeh Kavod 
Shomayim. I feel bad."

Kol Tuv,
ygb@aishdas.org  or  ygb@yerusalmionline.org
essays, tapes and seforim at: www.aishdas.org;
on-line Yerushalmi shiurim at www.yerushalmionline.org

Go to top.

Date: Tue, 21 Jan 2003 15:11:29 -0500
From: "Gil Student" <gil@aishdas.org>
Re: excuses for living in chu"l

Ari Zivotofsky wrote:
>There may be legitimate excuses and heterim to live in chu"l, but
>they are just that, excuses and heterim. Whatever talents, etc. that
>God gave any Jew can also be used in Israel today.

When one of the Chief Rabbis came to speak at YU, I think R' Avraham
Shapira, he tried to convince R' Hershel Schachter to move to EY.
After a brief discussion of the harbotzas Torah that RHS does in America,
RAS told him that he *may not* move to EY. This happened in the early
'90s when I was in yeshiva.

Gil Student

Go to top.

Date: Tue, 21 Jan 2003 13:15:06 -0500
From: Mlevinmd@aol.com

Posted by: Phyllostac@aol.com
> I was listening to Rav Yosef Schwab shlit"a (of Rockland county,
> NY) on World Jewish (Torah) radio before and, in the course of his
> program on the parsha, he said something like 'there is no 'bride and
> groom' in Hebrew. Chosson = Chasan (son-in-law) and Kallah = kallah
> (daughter-in-law).'

The derivation of Chatan is a dispute between the Radak and Ibn Janach in
their respective Sefer Hashroshim. The term itself is used often in Tanach
in ways that have nothing to do with marraige. The former takes it as a
general title of closeness, even not familial closeness - chatan damim
of Moshe Rabbeinu. The Radak attempts to preserve it as familial term.

M. Levin

Go to top.

Date: Tue, 21 Jan 2003 20:32:39 +0200
From: "Shoshana L. Boublil" <toramada@bezeqint.net>
Re: Chasam Sofer and R' Shimon

From: "Daniel Eidensohn" <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
> Understanding the view of the Chasam Sofer regarding Berachos 35b
> is interesting. But perhaps of greater interest is clarifying the
> discussion in the gemora Berachos itself. It seems that typically it
> is understood that R' Shimon is saying that you can't be a great talmid
> chachom while working so therefore have bitachon and your work will be
> done by others. R' Yishmael is typically understood as being pragmatic
> and insisting that people not rely on miracles but get a job as well
> as learn. Since most people don't have the proper bitachon the gemora
> concludes by saying that for most people the approach of R' Yishmael is
> the one that works.

I was wondering why everyone quoted on Areivim so far on this topic
stops the discussion at this point in the G'mara. The G'mara does not
stop at this point but continues.

To recap, Rav Shimon and his son leave the cave and see a person working
in a field -- and he kills him quoting his opinion that one should
learn Torah (and not work). HKB"H sends him back to the cave with a
harsh rebuke.

Rav Shimon makes an interesting statement after 12 more months in the
cave: Mishpat ReSha'im BaGeihnom 12 chodesh..." apparently he accepts
his additional time as a punishment. When he leaves the cave a 2nd time,
he sees a person running with 2 hadassim. He asks him his purpose and
is pleased with the response.

He then asks if there is some way he can help in Yishuvo Shel Olam --
and he helps divine which areas of Teveria are Kevarim and which are free.
And for what purpose? not to build a Kollel but to build a Shuk.

Apparently Rav Shimon Bar Yochai had a change of heart.

Another interesting source is the last Daf in Ketuvot where the love for
Eretz Yisrael is taught. Among the various deeds performed by rabbis
to increase Ahavat Eretz Yisrael is a rabbi who fixes the roads so that
no one would complain about the roads of Eretz Yisrael. He definitely
didn't think this was bitul Torah....

Just some food for thought.

Shoshana L. Boublil

Go to top.

Date: Tue, 21 Jan 2003 13:57:21 EST
From: T613K@aol.com
Re: chassan vekalla

From: Phyllostac@aol.com
> I was listening to Rav Yosef Schwab shlit"a (of Rockland county,
> NY) on World Jewish (Torah) radio before and, in the course of his
> program on the parsha, he said something like 'there is no 'bride and
> groom' in Hebrew. Chosson = Chasan (son-in-law) and Kallah = kallah
> (daughter-in-law).'

Od yishama...kol chassan vekol kallah

The voice of the son-in-law and the voice of the daughter-in-law???

I'm pretty sure those words DO mean "groom" and "bride" in context--people
celebrating their marriage. That these words also (or originally)
meant son-in-law and daughter-in-law is irrelevant, IMO.

Toby Katz

Go to top.

Date: Tue, 21 Jan 2003 16:50:30 -0500
From: "Gil Student" <gil@aishdas.org>
Re: Chosson and Kallah - no 'bride and groom'

Mordechai wrote [on Areivim]:
>I was listening to Rav Yosef Schwab shlit"a (of Rockland county,
>NY) on World Jewish (Torah) radio before and, in the course of his
>program on the parsha, he said something like 'there is no 'bride and
>groom' in Hebrew. Chosson = Chasan (son-in-law) and Kallah = kallah

What about the Mishnah in Yoma that a kallah can wash her face on
Yom Kippur? That is clearly referring to a newlywed woman.

I believe that R' Yonason Eybeschutz was against calling engaged couples
"chosson" and "kalloh" as is commonly done because those terms refer
to people AFTER they are married. I saw an unpublished article by R'
Hershel Schachter (ghost-written by R' David Pahmer) quoting this halachah
le-ma'aseh. I know that when I was engaged mv"r R' Mayer Twersky was
always careful to refer to my meshudeches and not my kalloh.

Gil Student

Go to top.

Date: Tue, 21 Jan 2003 20:53:16 -0500
From: Arie Folger <afolger@aishdas.org>
Re: Chosen & Kallah

R Mordechai wrote:
> I was listening to Rav Yosef Schwab shlit"a (of Rockland county,
> NY) on World Jewish (Torah) radio before and, in the course of his
> program on the parsha, he said something like 'there is no 'bride and
> groom' in Hebrew. Chosson = Chasan (son-in-law) and Kallah = kallah
> (daughter-in-law).'

When we were engaged, I used to correct people who addressed us as
'hussen and kalleh, that we weren't there yet (and as people were
wondering if we were about to break it off ...) I then pointed out that
the only reference in the Talmud of to an engagement of sorts AFAIK
is Rav mangid aman demeqaddesh belo shidukhei, and we ought thus to be
called mshuddekh and meshudekhes.

Not everybody appreciated the linguistic humour, but many did.

If an important person, out of humility, does not want to rely on [the
Law, as applicable to his case], let him behave as an ascetic. However,
permission was not granted to record this in a book, to rule this
way for the future generations, and to be stringent out of one's own
accord, unless he shall bring clear proofs from the Talmud [to support
his argument].
	paraphrase of Rabbi Asher ben Ye'hiel, as quoted by Rabby Yoel
	Sirkis, Ba'h, Yoreh De'ah 187:9, s.v. Umah shekatv.

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 22 Jan 2003 17:26:29 -0500
From: "Michael Frankel" <michaeljfrankel@hotmail.com>
Philosophy of RSRH, and MM too.

This is a belated response to a RYGB suggestion to the lo'chomim
during the heat of recent battle to address the substance of shitos,
rather than (i paraphrase) the historical issues of who hated whom
just when. besides, the moderators don't want to hear any more of
that stuff. It also might provoke a worthwhile discussion of RSRH,
a very complex and wholly admirable figure whose popular memory
has nevertheless been largely shaped by the survival of some very
articulate polemicist-descendents and followers who have papered over,
quite literally, some much-less-comfortable-to-the-convinced memories.

So:   At 11:38 AM 1/12/03 +0200, RDaniel Eidensohn wrote:
<< One of the reasons for being concerning about how Mendelson was
viewed in previous times is an interesting comment made years ago in
the Jewish Observer. It asked what in fact was the difference between
Mendelson and Hirsch? It concluded that there was not a great deal of
difference. Both in fact produced a German translation and explanation
of Torah. Both integrated secular concepts with Torah. Both were totally
comfortable with secular culture. The answer proposed was that the basic
complaint about Mendelson was that his activities came at an earlier time
when people were frum and thus he facilitated the exit from frumkeit
assimilation. In contrast Hirsch's activities came after Judaism had
hit bottom. Thus his approach served to bring people back in. In fact
the interfaces they both provided were not terribly different.>>

RYGB: <<Anyone who can write ... about there not being a great deal of
difference between MM and RSRH is clearly ignorant of the conceptual
basis of TIDE. It is unfortunate that the JO would print such...>>

The notion that RSRH has much in common with MM is not so easily dismissed
as has been suggested, and I should like to make the case here. I should
also like to suggest that RYGB's words -- whether that was his intention
or not -- makes the common but much too easy mistake of conflating RSRH's
religious philosophy with TIDE, as though that were all there was to it. I
would suggest that TIDE, rather than being the central organizing theme
of RSRH's whole religious philosophy and of course of intense interest to
us moderns, is rather secondary to the main philosophical focus of RSRH,
though one would hardly realize that from the usual RSRH retrospectives
one finds in print these days. i should also mention that i have not
seen the essay penned by RIsaac Breuer comparing RSRH to MM that RYGB
cited in another communication and thus have no idea whether he would
have agreed with me.

But first MM. B'qitzur minrotz -- what did MM espouse as reflected in
Jerusalem? His key chidush was that Judaism was not a set of revealed
beliefs, but rather a set of revealed laws, i.e. ceremonial laws
peculiar to the Jewish religion. E.g. shatnez or hanofas ho'omer. As
for the necessary religious beliefs (e.g. unity of god, immortality of
the soul,...etc.) those were available to Jews not through the sinaitic
revelation per se, but rather through rational analysis. But of course
rational analysis is available to all humanity, and so true religion
is universal and equally available to all mankind. But Jews have this
extra ceremonial stuff -- not religion at all really but peculiar laws
-- which they have to also execute because God told them to do it. (go
figure). So, if true religion is available to all and that's what's
really important, what purpose is there for Jews to carry out their
peculiar ceremonial laws? MM's answer was that executing such ceremonial
duties had an educative vector, performing mitzvos have symbolic meanings
and values which made it much more likely that the Jews were going to
properly ratiocinate their way to the true religion that was in theory
open to all. The non-Jews, without this "cheat sheet" were less likely
to reason their way to home plate. Indeed MM's perspective on revealed
religion and revealed law was identical to Spinoza's with the exception
that Spinoza insisted that the obligation to adhere to the peculiar
Jewish laws lapsed with the loss of the temple service and all that was
left is the natural rational religion open to all humanity, while MM
weakly insisted that the laws did not lapse with the temple, but had a
difficult time explaining just why not. There was some ancillary stuff
-- like absolute freedom of conscience for all and the impermissibility
of any k'fiyah datit by authorities to compel religious conformity and
thus also rejection of the power of the cherem, the cudgel wielded by
rabbonim in the traditional society to enforce authority. (BTW while
previous discussions of historical matters have focused on the Biur, I
believe that some of the initial animus towards MM was conditioned by the
outrage felt by some prominent rabbonim at the usurpation by the State,
with MM's full support, of their ancient prerogative to impose ch'romim
on the recalcitrant. Its imposition now risked legal prosecution) and
the rejection of the notion that Judaism had dogma -- but that, at least
al regel achas -- is pretty much it. Needless to say that this is hardly
a clarion call likely to excite the yungerleit to a religious passion or
mission. Nothing very grand is going on in MM's Jewish universe, certainly
no partnership with HQBH in ma'aling nitzozos with performance of every
mitzvoh personally helping effect the repair of the cosmos. An enterprise
at which one might puff out one's chest in justifiable Jewish pride.

So what does this have to do with RSRH? I believe the answer is -- plenty.
But before identifying where that convergence lies, let me remark the
regularly cited reason that others seem to dismiss such comparisons out of
hand, e.g. as did RYGB above. And that is the issue of TIDE. The popular
differentiation between RHirsch and MM always seems to come back to some
formulation of the following -- with which I agree. MM engaged Germanic
culture and engaged traditional -- what would later be called "orthodox"-
Jewish observance, but these were completely uncoupled activities. RSRH in
contrast had a fully integrated program (leave aside for these purposes
the question of how successful this was, or questions of the extent of
that goal as did say A. Leo Levy in a Tradition article that I mightily
disagree with) which emphasized the primacy of torah and the role secular
knowledge might play in enriching our engagement with torah. So there
was a sharp difference between these two. Integrated TIDE for RSRH and
completely orthogonal T and DE for MM. Quite so. It is likely that RSRH
viewed his own weltanschauung as an integrated affair, with TIDE and the
engagement with Germanic culture that it espoused part of some seamless
whole, from my perspective they seem more separable

But that does not really touch on RSRH's philosophy of religion per
se. And it is here that one finds a quite a noticeable overlap with
MM ideas. MM thought Judaism essentially a system of revealed laws --
but so did RSRH! MM finds mitzvos essentially symbolic events -- but
so does RSRH! Indeed, one could go further (hey, this is my posting,
who's gonna stop me?) and claim that much of these ideas -- of both
RSRH and MM -- are already subsumed or presaged in the classical Jewish
philosophers. Where, after all, is the big leap to a MM/RSRH conception
of rational truths of religion open to all and peculiar Jewish laws,
from r. Saadiah's conception of mitzvos sichlios and shimi'os? Or indeed
to the rambam's conception of rational religion which, in principle,
should also be open to all mankind. That the torah includes information
about religious beliefs is, according to rambam, merely a kindly crutch
for the average intellectually challenged member of the great unwashed,
but the really educated intellectual had no need of that stuff and
could have ratiocinated his way to true religion. So -- in summary --
I find a good deal of overlap between MM and RSRH precisely in the area
of religious philosophy, once we can look past the secondary distraction
of attitudes towards TIDE.

Now -- let me be clear that this is a limited claim I am by no means
suggesting that this is all there was to RSRH's philosophy, or its
convergence with MM for that matter. For one big difference/thing,
there seems a certain unanimity of opinion that RSRH's philosophy was
very greatly influenced by Hegelian constructs. And since MM died when
Hegel was still a teenager it is safe to say that MM's writings did
not exhibit a similar Hegelian influence. I confess I am personally
unable to assess the validity of this consensus since demonstrations
of RSRH's Hegelianism are invariably couched in such dense prose that
I am utterly unable to penetrate their meaning. If anyone thinks I'm
just kidding I invite them to peruse say, Julius Guttmann's classic
"Philosophies of Judaism" where ten pages (pp356-365) are devoted to a
detailed demonstration of RSRH's debt to Hegel.

I was unable to truly understand even a single paragraph in that run,
and the attempt to do so merely gave me a headache (To give you an idea
what I'm talking about, in the very first paragraph one encounters
the following insight: "...Philosophy's task is to take the content
contained in the immediacy of religious consciousness and make it
the consciously known content of the spirit by conceiving it in its
intelligible necessity". well -- duh? Try as they might my neurons simply
cannot come to grips with sentences like this and I greatly doubt whether
it sounded any better in german. it goes on like this for ten pages.)

I should mention as well my perspective on MM and reform. Surely he didn't
cause it. There are tides in the affairs of men, especially when the tide
is a great (as in large, no value judgment there, so don't go beating
me up) religious movement (yes, really), that preclude identification of
a single point of departure. MM was admired by reformers because he had
some things -- culture -- that they thought to also acquire and require,
so naturally they looked back on him fondly. But then they looked back
with even greater fondness on other kulture-meisters, notably Rambam (whom
we never these days accuse of "fathering" Reform). MM's failure was that
of the incompetent Qiruv specialist. When the world is teetering and one
looks for inspiration, MM's tepid defense of adhering to peculiar Mitzvos
-- Divine commandments can't be abrogated -- were both uninspiring and
unable to prevent a rationalist attack. But as well "blame" Reform on
the charedim of the time. They did not present their product in a way
which convinced the majority of the Jewish people

Finally the Jewish Observer. I have read the original JO article on MM
(it was printed in 1986, some years before they printed that shmutz
issue at my own rebbe's p'tiroh and I ceased reading it) and believe
that RDE might misremember their emphasis a bit. JO did indeed, and rather
surprisingly, represent MM as a guy who was basically a shomeir mitzvos
but got into this culture stuff also, without delving into the nature of
MM's philosophy. Rather than RDE's memory that their <<"basic complaint
about Mendelson was that his activities came at an earlier time when
most people were frum and thus he facilitated the exit from frumkeit ">>
they found his fault to lie in his failure to pay due to deference to the
wishes of "the G'dolim" of his day and his failure to resonate to "da'as
torah", a formulation and object moral lesson that you think JO would have
been rather pleased to convey. Though it turned out later not to be so.

As a matter of local list interest the JO here was none other than R. Avi
Shafran who penned that article on MM and who has occasionally appeared on
this list. It is also well worth recalling the response to R. Shafran's
MM article in JO. His wrist was very publicly slapped as the JO, in a
subsequent issue, printed an editor's apology for letting such an article
slip through their editorial process and no less than the Novominsker
Rebbe (head of the aguda's Mo'etza) printed a statement blasting MM. I do
not recall that R. Shafran was required to eat any further public crow by
issuing a self-critical public confession and i'm almost positive there
was no public show trial but was always curious whether R. Shafran himself
felt grateful for this G'dolic hashqofic insight and promptly re-aligned
his inner personal thoughts accordingly. Perhaps someone might ask him.
Public retractions like that illustrate that JO can indeed -- when they're
actually sorry they did something -- say so very clearly. The contrast,
and thus implications, for those who have suggested on this list that
they now regret other notable lapses discussed in the past, are pregnant.

Mechy Frankel				W: (703) 845-2357
michael.frankel@osd.mil			H: (301) 593-3949

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 >