Avodah Mailing List

Volume 11 : Number 002

Tuesday, April 15 2003

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Sat, 12 Apr 2003 22:52:26 +0200
From: S Goldstein <goldstin@netvision.net.il>

> I was startled to read, in Eiruvin 2:4, that a path of a rshus harabim
> cutting through a partition, doesn't invalidate that partition,
> according to Chazal. Does halacha follow Chazal here? I thought traffic
> _could_ invalidate.

> If not, does this apply to a tsuras hapesach, too?

See Peirush haMishna of the Rambam that greatly limits this kula.

Shlomo Goldstein

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Date: Mon, 14 Apr 2003 14:33:15 -0400
From: Mlevinmd@aol.com
Olam habba

>> So you are correct. The palce of gilgul in Jewish thought is quite
>> limited and hints in early sources is all that it proportionately
>> deserves.

> But why can't the same be said of olam haba? I've heard this given as
> a reason for why there is no full discussion of olam haba in Tanach,
> but OH gets major coverage by chazal.
> IMHO, you need to provide a chiluq between OH and gilgul to explain this
> discrepency in how shas treats each.

On Sunday 13 April 2003 14:54, Mlevinmd@aol.com wrote:
> I think that we must realize that the ultimate outcome is Tchias hameisim.
> Both gan eden/ gehinom and gilgul are accessories to enable better access
> to techias hameisim by purging or fixing impediments to it.

AFolger wrote:
> I, for one, feel far from knowing with such certainty what is the exact
> relationship between ThM, G and 'olam habaah.

Ok, let me try to explain.
Yes, the Rambam and the Ikkarim are the shnei haksuvim shein mlamdin
mehem; everyone else sees THM being the main event of the afterlife and
gan eden as an accessory. See Raavad, Hagahos Maimonios, Migdal Oz to
Teshiva 7,2; end of Emunos V'Deyos, Shaar Hagemul. This is the majority
view and my commentws were according to that view.

I disagree that the rishonim professed ingorance. There may be occasional
statments in their writings )as in the end of Hilchos Melochim) to this
effect but in practice each rishon sets out his understanding in as a
dogmatic fashion as they set out their other opinions in the realm of
hashkofo. As a matter of fact, Emunos V'Deyos writes that he is absolutely
certain about his opinion.

I do not know of anyone that accepts gilgul and the Rambam's view
together; in fact, for the reasons I expressed, it would be contradictory.

I do not beleive that there is much more explicit material about Olam
Habbo than gilgul in Tanach. The Emunos VDeyos is an excellent source
for the thorough review of all Scriptural evidence for and against
either idea.

M. Levin

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Date: Mon, 14 Apr 2003 14:38:45 -0400
From: Mlevinmd@aol.com

Micha wrote:
> Who can say when HQBH "programmed" anything? He's lema'alah min hazeman.
> I think it's this lack of real difference that the Rambam (and Ramban,
> when he writes the same) is pointing to. NOT that the Rambam is asserting
> the decision was made at one time rather than the other.

> The point of this statement 9that miracle are preprogrammed) is to deny
> the complaint made by deists that a well made universe should be able
> to run without intervention. That nissim show a flaw in the original
> design. Therefore, we point out that nissim were within the original
> design.

But there were no deists at Rambam's time. There was, however, Aristotle
and AlFarrabi who denied miracle unless pre-programmed. It seems much
more likely that Rambam and Ralbag after him were going in the path of
AlFarrabi than of the deists that were not to express their views for
another 500 years.

M. Levin

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Date: Mon, 14 Apr 2003 20:59:15 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Miracles

On Mon, Apr 14, 2003 at 02:38:45PM -0400, Mlevinmd@aol.com wrote:
:> The point of this statement 9that miracle are preprogrammed) is to deny
:> the complaint made by deists that a well made universe should be able
:> to run without intervention. That nissim show a flaw in the original
:> design. Therefore, we point out that nissim were within the original
:> design.

: But there were no deists at Rambam's time. There was, however, Aristotle
: and AlFarrabi who denied miracle unless pre-programmed. It seems much
: more likely that Rambam and Ralbag after him were going in the path of
: AlFarrabi than of the deists that were not to express their views for
: another 500 years.

Aristo's position is pretty deistic. He insists that G-d can't be involved
in particulars, or even know them. Particulars change in time, and G-d
doesn't change, so how can He know them? While A was not an outright
deist, many Aristotilians were (even though the terminology would be
anachronistic). See WT Jones' "Classical Mind".

To far'enfer: Hashem could know that at time X, Re'uvein sleeps. If you
include the time that the predicate is speaking of in the predicate, it
becomes something that doesn't change state with time. (Thereby leading
to questions about omniscience and free will.)

Also, in 1270, Etienne Tempier, the Bishop of Paris, condemned
219 doctrines held by "radical Aristotilians" in his battle against
scholasticism. #21 was "That all things occur from necessity, all future
things that will be, will be of necessity, and those that will not be,
it is impossible for them to be." #48, "that G-d could not be the cause of
a new act, nor can he produce something new." Both deny the possibility
of miracles.

BTW, the bishop believed that G-d could do the paradoxical, could create
attributes without a subject that has them, etc... and condemned as
heretics anyone who disagreed.

In our world, he lehavdil held like the Ramchal, not the Rambam.


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

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Date: Mon, 14 Apr 2003 17:41:13 -0400
From: "Gil Student" <gil@aishdas.org>
Re: Pesach shiurim

R' Shlomo Wahrman in his Oros HaPesach lists a number of gedolim from
Europe (e.g. R' Meir Simcha, the Rogatchover; heard from his rebbe R'
Eliezer Silver) who did not follow the Noda BiYehuda's doubling of shiurim
and offers a sevara to answer up the NbY's kashya. Pretty solid, and
has to do with the exact definition of an etzba (from where one starts
to measure). Not the kind of thing one can summarize without rereading
it carefully.

Gil Student

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Date: Tue, 15 Apr 2003 0:52 +0200
Re: Children and Mechiras Chametz

Note that the Aruch haShulchan CM 270 #2 indicates that "u'ben she'eino
samuch al shulchan aviv AFILU HU KATTAN ein metziuto l'av". BTW regarding
a daughter (ketana or naara) what she finds always belongs to the father.


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Date: Mon, 14 Apr 2003 18:03:05 -0400
From: kennethgmiller@juno.com
re: Pesach shiurim

In Avodah 10:146, R' Yitzchok Zlochower wrote:
<<< The question of the amount of matza needed for a kazayit has been
futher complicated by the estimates stemming from the Bet Medrash of R'
Moshe and R' Dovid Feinstein. They measure the volume of a given mass of
matzah by placing matzoh meal. in a graduate cylinder ... ... My problem
with this procedure is the rationale for using ground up matza for the
measurement. They have not justified the perceived need to eliminate the
inevitable voids in either machine or hand matza. Moreover, the bulk
density of a solid will be a function of the size distrubution of the
ground particles and of any compaction by rapping the cylinder on the
table or tamping it down. You can easily get a 20% increase in apparent
density by such methods. Then, what justifies their procedure? >>>

My wild guess is that the source of this procedure may be Orach Chaim
210 and 487.

In Hilchos Pesach, the Mishnah Brura 487:3 writes: "If there is an
airspace (chalal) in the matza, the airspace does not contribute to the
shiur kezayis, and he must mash it (to measure it properly - A.M.) But
if there is no airspace in the matza, then even if it is soft and spongy
(rachah v'asuyah k'sfug) there's no need to mash it."

Almost the same thing appears in Hilchos Brachos. MB 210:1 (5 lines from
the end of pg 242) writes: "If the bread was spongy (pas sufgnin) and
puffed up to the point where the air in it was not tangible (ain haavirim
shebo nirgashim) then one who eats a kezayis of it as is cannot bench,
because truthfully, he has not eaten a kezayis."

The other Nosei Kelim use similar language. And unfortunately, one
could argue that these descriptions are too vague. Which airholes count,
and which don't? In any typical piece of bread or matza one can find a
wide variation in the size of the airholes. If a piece of bread measures
exactly a kezayis, the mere pressure of his fingers picking it up can
compress it to be less than a kezayis. If it is still a kezayis when he
picks it up, will it still be a kezayis after his teeth mash it? I don't
see why we should count any air other than whatever is still in there
when the bread/matza is swallowed. (On the other hand, at that point
one might be able to include whatever saliva has been absorbed into it.)

Or, here's an entirely different way I can respond to RYZ's question:
<<< Why is their method intrinsically better than the prior method
of estimating the volume of pieces of matza by eye (of course, spaces
between curved pieces of matza have to be discounted)? >>>

I've got to ask, if you haven't crushed it to matzah meal, how else
can one go about estimating how much matza makes the kezayis? (For
simplicity, let's take a kezayis to be 3 cubic etzbaos.) You can't
simply break you matza into squares 1 etzba on a side, and then stack
them 3 etzbaos high. There's WAY too much airspace between the pieces,
no? And the same problem would apply if matza farfel was neatly placed
into a 3-cubic-etzba box. Far too much space between the pieces. So there
is no solution other than to fill that box with matza meal. Exactly like
the Rabbis Feinstein did.

Akiva Miller

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Date: Tue, 15 Apr 2003 1:55 +0200
Re: Children and Mechiras Chametz

The Minchat Chinuch 9 s"k v'cheresh differentiates ownership by
a kattan between d'oraita [metziat kattan eino shelo min ha'torah]
and d'rabbanan [metziat kattan shelo]. In Minchat Chinuch 11 s"k 18,
he indicates (re: kattan): "v'im yesh chametz birshutam, ein bet din
metzuvim l'hafrisham".... ....aval mikol makom eino birshuto, im keyn
EINO yachol limkor... af hevei kemo hefker". He goes on to say that even
if it's a kinyan d'rabbanan, "b'makom issura lo tiknu chazal kinyan".

One would then have to ask about a boy over 13 who is "samuch" in his
father's house whether the din in CH 270:2 is over ridden by the halachot
of kinyan. Does the boy OWN the chametz (say that he bought with his
money) or does this ownership automatically revert to the father ?


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Date: Tue, 15 Apr 2003 02:40:56 +0300
From: "Carl and Adina Sherer" <sherer@actcom.co.il>
Re: Children and Mechiras Chametz

On 14 Apr 2003 at 10:11, kennethgmiller@juno.com wrote:
> But if that was
> so, then isn't it curious how the adult children did Arba Minim in
> those days? 

Matana al mnas l'hachzir?

> Are there any poskim who point out that "When the father
> gives his sons their lulav, he must explicitly make it the son's
> personal property"? In such a society, such a stam daas might *not* be
> presumable (the way "lending" a lulav to another balabos *can* be
> presumed to be a "matana al mnas lhachzir").

If I'm giving my son my lulav and esrog to bentch on it, I don't see
why he would be different than anyone else.

BTW - one of my cousins learned by Rav Scheinberg in the late '70's.
Before Succos he came home and said that Rav Scheinberg was upset with the
price of esrogim, so he ordered all the bochrim not to buy and instead
to be yotzei with their father's esrog (presumably by matana al mnas
l'hachzir). I don't know if Rav Scheinberg still tells his bochrim not
to buy esrogim, but I can tell you that there's a pause before Hallel
in his minyan so that those who want to be yotzei on his esrog (without
na'nuim) may do so.

-- 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.

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Date: Mon, 14 Apr 2003 22:14:49 -0400
From: kennethgmiller@juno.com
Re: Children and Mechiras Chametz

I asked <<< But if that was so, then isn't it curious how the adult
children did Arba Minim in those days? >>> and R' Carl Sherer suggested
<<< Matana al mnas l'hachzir? ... If I'm giving my son my lulav and esrog
to bentch on it, I don't see why he would be different than anyone else.

The difference is that "anyone else" is capable of making a kinyan. But
the son who lives with his father is supposedly unable to acquire anything
of his own (or so I've been told).

(If someone is unable to acquire anything as the recipient of a normal
Matana, is it possible that he'd be able to acquire a Matana Al M'nas
l"Hachzir? I can't imagine how.)

If the son *is* able to acquire the Lulav from his father, then he'd be
able to acquire other things as well -- like Chometz. See my conundrum?
The only way out (that I can imagine) is that there ARE circumstances
by which a son who lives with his father can acquire a lulav, and if he
acquired any *chometz* under such circumstances, he's gonna have to get
rid of it.

Akiva Miller

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Date: Mon, 14 Apr 2003 17:21:44 CDT
From: Not.present.in.entry.@casbah.it.northwestern.edu
Re: eiruv

On Sat, 12 Apr 2003 22:52:26 +0200 S Goldstein wrote:
> RS:
>> I was startled to read, in Eiruvin 2:4, that a path of a rshus harabim
>> cutting through a partition, doesn't invalidate that partition,
>> according to Chazal. Does halacha follow Chazal here? I thought traffic
>> _could_ invalidate.
>> If not, does this apply to a tsuras hapesach, too?

> See Peirush haMishna of the Rambam that greatly limits this kula.

Whether asu rabbim u'mevatlei mechitza or not is one4 of the great
issues of eruvin - a fine exposition of the topic may be found in The
Contemporary Eruv :-) (he said, recalling the Purim Areivim issue...)


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Date: Mon, 14 Apr 2003 21:21:10 -0400
From: David E Cohen <ddcohen@seas.upenn.edu>
Was the Rambam a "Maimonidean?"

R' Micha Berger wrote:
> I think it helps to understand person B if you know he's
> a Maimonidian, and therefore won't put much weight into any minhag or
> precedent that post-dates Ravina veRav Ashi, and very little weight into
> one that predates them but didn't make it into the Bavli or the Yad.

I do know of people like this, and I have heard this approach described as
"Maimonidean" before, but I wonder if it is the approach that the Rambam
himself would take.

Leaving aside for now his approach to takkanos of the geonim and his 
understanding of "Ravina vRav Ashi Sof Hora'ah" (this is somewhat relevant, 
but could probably be a whole other discussion), the implication seems to be 
that anything that did not make it into the Yad was not given much value by 
the Rambam.

It seems, though, that things that we know about the Rambam from elsewhere
(besides the Yad) suggest that he did practice and give value to minhagim.
Just to focus on one example (although there are many), I read today,
in the haggadah edited by Prof. Daniel Goldshmidt, that despite the fact
that the "Rambam's Haggadah" in the Yad does not include the midrash
about the number of plagues (R' Yose haGelili omer...) and Dayeinu, his
son R' Avraham records that the Rambam used to say them at his seder,
as a kiyum of "vekhol hamarbeh... harei zeh meshubach."

True, unlike some others might, the Rambam did not hold that these
things have bcome quasi-obligatory, despite the fact that they might
have been accepted by many Jewish communities -- and that's why he
didn't record them in his written nusach hahaggadah. But many of the
people who would claim to be following a "Maimonidean" derekh would
probably omit them altogether, and claim that they're an "external"
addition to the "pure and pristine" haggadah established by Chazal.
Yes, of course even they would hold that "kol hama'arikh... harei zeh
meshubach" (Chametz uMatzah 7:1!), but let's face it -- the Rambam didn't
just happen to randomly decide to say "R' Yose haGelili" and "Dayeinu"
at his seder every year -- surely he chose that particular kiyum of
"kol hama'arikh" because there was a minhag to say those particular texts.

Most minhagim (and some would say all valid ones) are a particular manner
of a kiyum in something or other. For example, we have the custom of
machatzis hashekel before Purim; this is a kiyum of "avdinan zeikher
lemikdash." My impression is that while the Rambam did not hold that
such minhagim can easily become obligatory, he did maintain that they
were positive avenues of religious expression, and he himself engaged
in the same such avenues as were practiced by the communities in which
he lived, presumably because he maintained that there was some inherent
value in doing so.

Chag kasher vesameiach,

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Date: Mon, 14 Apr 2003 23:38:39 EDT
From: RaphaelIsaacs@aol.com
Re: Pesach shiurim

In a message dated 4/14/03 11:19:46 PM EDT, kennethgmiller@juno.com writes:
> I've got to ask, if you haven't crushed it to matzah meal, how else
> can one go about estimating how much matza makes the kezayis? 

When at Ner, I was once told that someone at the Star-K water-proofed
(with a spray coating of some sort) a piece of matzah and used
water-displacement to arrive at the shiur that one sixth of an average
hand matzah is a k'zayis. Noda B'Yehudah x2 gets you to a third of
a matzah. With machine, it came to quarter and NodaB'Yehudah half.


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Date: Tue, 15 Apr 2003 16:48:51 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: academics and maror

On Sat, Apr 12, 2003 at 11:21:15PM +0300, Eli Turkel wrote:
: Personally we eat romaine lettuce with a dash of horseradish for old
: times sake with both of them on the seder plate.

That's what we did at my father's home too.

Until I pointed out the following problem:

If cherein is not marror, then it's hiding the ta'am hamitzvah. Even
more so than the charoses some of our guests refuse to shake off.

I recommend placing the cherein on the last bit of matzah, after you
know you were yotzei.


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Date: Tue, 15 Apr 2003 18:50:29 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Chayav adam lir'os es atzmo...

Three vertlach.

The first, posted by RSArgomon on scjm:

From: argamon@sunlight.cs.biu.ac.il (Dr. Shlomo Argamon (Engelson))
Newsgroups: soc.culture.jewish.moderated
Subject: A vertl for the Seder
Date: Sun, 13 Apr 2003 22:34:08 +0000 (UTC)
Organization: The Israel Inter-University Computation Center

I had the great honor to hear a Shabbat Hagadol derasha from HaRav
HaGaon Gedalia Dov Schwartz SHLIT"A yesterday, and wanted to share a
small bit of what I managed to retain. I'm to blame, of course, for
any inaccuracies or other lacks in this writeup.

We all know the halakha, written into the Hagada, of "Everyone must view
himself as though he had left Egypt" [hhayav kol adam lir'ot et `atsmo
ke'ilu hu yatsa mimitsrayim]. But there are two problems here. One is
the sheer difficulty of doing this - after all I *know* that I've never
stepped foot in Egypt, let alone was myself freed from slavery there!
Second is the fact that the Rambam, when bringing down this law, states
it differently: "Everyone must display himself [lehar'ot et `atsmo]
as though he had left Egypt." Why the difference in language?

The Tiferet Shelomo (IIRC) reads the line in the Hagada a little
differently, which gives it an extra layer of meaning. He reads:
"Hhayav kol adam lir'ot et atsmo" - each person should look at himself,
take stock of where s/he is and where s/he is headed, "ke'ilu hy yatsa
mimitsrayim" - as if s/he had just left Egypt and left all the familiar
surroundings of one's slavery.

Mishlei says: "Rebuke a fool and he will hate you, but rebuke a wise man
and he will love you" [my translation from memory]. Why? The Vilna Gaon
comments that one who rebukes may be compared to a mirror - one who is
wise will be happy that the mirror reflects a blemish, so he may remove
it and cleanse himself. Only a fool will be upset with the mirror for
showing him the blemish.

Indeed, the copper mirrors that the women donated to the building of
the mishkan were used to build the laver at which the kohanim would
wash their hands and feet before entering the sanctuary to do the divine
service. Consider that when they would do so, they would see their own
reflections in that burnished copper surface, and be inspired to reflect
on themselves: "What am I? Who am I? Am I truly worthy right now to
perform the divine service?"

So too, as we sit down to the seder to discuss and reenact our national
liberation and dedication to the service of God, we should we each take
a good look at ourselves, "hhayav kol adam lir'ot et `atsmo", everyone
must examine himself and ask "Where do I come from? Where am I going?
What is my true purpose here in life?"

May we all merit to find our true destiny, and to all see the final
redemption of Israel and the world, soon and in our days. Amen.


The second, from RNLeff's Sfas-Emes email list (on yahoogroups):

Dr. Nathaniel Leff

Pesach, 5631

The Sfas Emes on Pesach is very rich: 69 double-columned pages in small
Rashi script. The Sfas Emes has so much to say on Pesach that my best
effort here is like taking a spoonful of water from the ocean.

Why do I mention how much more Sfas Emes is available? Because being
aware of how much more Sfas Emes is out there, some fellow learners may
decide that the time has come to purchase their own set of Sfas Emes. This
purchase can be viewed as an investment in mind-stretching divrei Torah
-- an afikoman present for the entire family. Owning your own copy of
the Sfas Emes will increase your access to his ideas. And better access
to the ideas of the Sfas Emes will help you (and your family) avoid a
malady to which observant Jews are all too susceptible -- the malady of
religious stagnation.

(Before setting out on unfamilar terrain, it helps to have an idea of what
to expect. Be aware that this ma'amar is crafted along three themes: the
past and the present; the individual and the klal (the collectivity); emes
(provable truth) and emuna (faith; affirmation). These three themes weave
in and out of the presentation, giving it a rare artistic beauty. And
toward the end of the ma'amar, expect an extraordinary khap -- coup --
such that only the Sfas Emes could deliver.)

In his first ma'amar on Pesach, the Sfas Emes cites a text from the
Haggada: "Bechol dor vador chayav (!) ahdam lir'os es atzmo ke'ilu hu
yatza miMitzrayim." That is, in each generation, a person must (!) view
himself as having personally experienced the Redemption from Egypt. The
Sfas Emes explains that we can reach this desired -- more accurately:
mandated -- goal if we have emuna. If we truly believe that every
generation experiences its own version of the Redemption from Egypt,
we can re-live the original, prototypical ge'ula as a personal experience.

The Sfas Emes proceeds to elaborate on the idea that we are all enjoined
to re-live the experience of our Liberation from Egypt. Be aware that
Liberation involved much more than escape from physical and political
subordination to the Egytians. Redemption in this case also incuded escape
from Egyptian culture and intellectual life. In that context, the Sfas
Emes quotes a statement of the Maharal. The Maharal tells us that"bevadai"
(certainly) we all participated in the experience of the Redemption from
Egypt as a klal (i.e., the Jewish People as a collectivity). But the
Haggada is telling us more than the fact that we experienced Redemption
as a collectivity. In mandating: "... ke'ilu hu yatza miMitzrayim",
the Haggada is telling us that we must also experience Liberation on an
individual, personal level.

How does one achieve that much more difficult goal of feeling the
ge'ula at an individual, personal level? The Sfas Emes answers: by
joining the collectivity. (Note: The idea that a person can achieve
personal religious fulfillment by joining the collectivity is a startling
paradox. Anyone but the Sfas Emes would steer clear of such an apparent
internal contradiction. By contrast, the Sfas Emes explicitly recognizes
the seeming inconsistencies that HaShem built into the world. In fact,
he gives them center stage.)

How does an individual become part of the collectivity? With emuna:
by truly believing that we were redeemed from the galus of Mitzrayim,
we can re-live the actual experience. Once we affirm our membership in
the collectivity, we can access this experience on an individual basis.

A fair question here is: how does this process work (in the real
world)? That is, how does having emuna enable an individual to become part
of a collectivity? I suggest the following explanation. By definition,
emuna is affirmation of ideas that cannot be proven. Hence, choosing
to accept a given set of ideas sets a person apart from people who
do not give credence to those ideas. By the same token, choosing to
accept those ideas puts the person together with people who affirm
the same thoughts as he. Thus, affirming a set of unprovable ideas --
i.e., emuna -- enables an individual to join the collectivity of klal
Yisroel. (Notice how commonsensical are these ideas of the Sfas Emes
once we make the effort to take them seriously.)

The Sfas Emes has articulated two conditions for experiencing personal
liberation. The person must view himself as having participated
(past tense) in the Redemption. And the person must have emuna; and
thereby recognize that, were it not for the Redemption, he would not
have a relationship with HaShem. With these two conditions satisfied,
the person will realize that indeed he is (present tense) being liberated.

The Sfas Emes tells us that every generation has its 'Yetzi'as Mitzrayim'
(Exodus from Egypt). The Redemption varies with with the specific
situation and the needs of the generation. Continuing with this line
of thought, the Sfas Emes tells us that, to the degree that a person
has emuna that he experienced thel Liberation from Egypt, so too, can
he feel (present tense) the Redemption of his own generation. And so,
too, can each person experience Liberation from his own constraints.

"Constraints"? How did "constraints" get into this discussion? The
answer stretches one's mind, with typical Sfas Emes power. The word
"Mitrzrayim" is usually translated as "Egypt". But with ko'ach ha'chidush
(innovative power) such as only the Sfas Emes can deploy, he reads the
word 'Mitzrayim" in a totally innovative way. The Hebrew word "meitzar"
means "constraint "or "limit". The Sfas Emes is reading "Mitzrayim" as
being the plural of of the word "metizar". Thus, "yetzi'as mitzrayim"
has become: liberation from the constraints that limit a person's growth
in life.

The Sfas Emes does not spell out what he has specifically in mind
when he refers to personal constraints that Pesach teaches us can be
overcome. I suggest that he is referring to long-standing attitudes,
ingrained assumptions, and habits that constrain a person's growth.

A final question. Viewing Pesach as a time for Liberation from one's
personal constraints is fine and good if the constraints are in fact
loosened. But does it make sense to talk of "Liberation" in a case where
the constraints are not loosened? For example, consider a case in which
the constraint derives -- cholilo (God forbid) -- from an incurable
medical handicap. Does the Sfas Emes's perspective on Pesach as a time
for Liberation from a person's individual constraints apply there too?

A major theme in the Sfas Emes's Torah is the need to pierce the Hester
with which HaShem cloaks Himself, and thus, to view reality accurately. A
prominent case in which the Sfas Emes applies this insight is in the
context of seeing the hand of HaShem where an untutored eye would see only
Nature (teva). This observation implies that the Sfas Emes's perspective
certainly does apply to the case of the person afflicted with an incurable
handicap. Knowledge that his condition comes from HaShem (rather than
from mindless Nature) implies that his condition is purposeful. This
awareness gives meaning to what the person is undergoing. It transforms
his experience, and makes it a wholly different condition. Thus, getting
the metaphysics of the situation right provides Liberation in its own
special way.

This Sfas Emes is rich -- in fact, so rich that one cannot hold on to
it. I suggest that your interests will be best served if you focus on
two thoughts that speak to you with special force. Tastes, interests,
and backgrounds vary, so there is no single list of Sfas Emes thoughts
that will serve for everyone. But to stimulate your own thinking about
"take home" Sfas Emes thoughts, here are two suggestions. One unique
and powerful Sfas Emes idea is the notion that every generation must
experience its own enslavement and Redemption. Another powerful new
idea is the thought that Pesach is a time for individuals to break out
of their personal constraints and grow.

The last, some personal thoughts.

The name "Mitzrayim", if taken as a Hebrew word, would be "a pair of
causes of tzaros". Almost literally, "between a rock and a hard place".

For example, losing one's job and being diagnosed with lymphoma within
the same week.

Being beMitzarayim can bring one to deveiqus. "... Bayei'anchu BY min
ha'avodah, vayiz'aqu" (Shemos 2:23)

RYBS contrasts "liz'oq" with "litz'oq". The latter is a cry in words,
"Vatyitz'aqu el Par'oh leimor... (5:15). A ze'aqah is a preverbal cry,
from the deep recesses of emotion. Which RYBS then uses to understand
the qol hashofar. Also interesting to compare is the related shoresh of
the happy sounds of "litzchoq".

As the saying goes, there are no atheists in a foxhole.

Bitachon is predicated on emunah. Without belief that HQBH has helped,
one can't have the bitachon that He is and will be helping. This could
well be why there is a need for semichas ge'ulah letefilah; the emunah
of ga'al Yisrael, that "vayotzei H' E-lokeinu misham lecheirus olam" is
a necessary preparation for the emunah that HQBH will heed our tefillah,
veyemalei mish'alos libeinu letovah.

The key to yetzi'as Mitzrayim, then, was that the ge'ulah deepened
their commitment from that of "min hameitzar" to true bitachon. From the
ze'aqah of Mitzrayim to the shiras hayam to the qol echad which cried
"Qol asher diber H' na'aseh!"

And not ch"v, the qol hamachaneh, the qol anos. "Vataqumu letzacheiq"
(32:6) in their false reassurance in their golden moses.

All too often as soon as the soldier is out of the foxhole, the qol
za'aqah turns to the tzachaqah of knowing he survived, the bitachon
drifts away. A problem we see repeatedly in sefer Shofetim.

Holding onto the ability to have the same kavanah now that I have a job
(at least a contract that runs until July), and the latest test results
are optimistic of the success of my treatment is proving quite difficult.

However, "chayav kol adam lir'os es atzmo ke'ilu hu atzmo yatza
miMitzrayim." The traumas in our own life must also be acknowledged as
ending by Yad Hashem.

"Bitchu baH' adei ad...." "Ki miYitzchaq yeqarei lakha zara." Zera
Avraham must be ma'aminim during -- even BECAUSE OF -- the tzechoq.


Micha Berger                     Life is complex.
micha@aishdas.org                    Decisions are complex.
http://www.aishdas.org                   The Torah is complex.
Fax: (413) 403-9905                                    - R' Binyamin Hecht

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Date: Tue, 15 Apr 2003 08:04:30 +0200
From: S Goldstein <goldstin@netvision.net.il>
child's acquisitions

S Goldstein wrote:
: From SA (and Rema and Nosei Keilim)Choshen Mishpat Siman 270, it seems
: that it is superfluous for children, even above bar Mitzva, that live in
: their parents' home to sell their own chametz. All income and kinyanim
: with that money belong to the father.

>If this were true, why would there be that whole Torah about children
>using one's esrog on the first day of Succos. If all their kinyanim
>are mine, there is simply no way for a child to be meqayeim "lachem"
>regardless of how I give it to him; and no way for me to ruin my "lachem"
>if I do it before using it myself.

Not so fast... A minor can acquire with "daas acheres makneh". A child
living at home can make his own, personal kinyan. Yet, the SA rules
that both of these styles of acquisition are turned over to the father
who provides support. This is parallel to a wife's earnings belonging
to the hhusband.

The "daas acheres makneh" to a minor can even be his own father.
See Mishna Brura concerning the zikui of the food of eiruv, the Shach in
HM above quotes this issue, that the father can specify that he does NOT
want to reacquire the eiruv (or in your case the esrog). In the case
of esrog, the father wants the child to exclusively own the fruit.
See the Biur Halacha (there's a Ritva on this topic) if this is a
necessity of the mitzva of chinuch or merely an option of the father.
This idea is also applied by those machmir to have shalach manos given
from the wife exclusively. Therefore, I agree with RCS comments.

Therefore, when RAM comments:
> 1) I'm not very fluent in Choshen Mishpat, but I imagine this halacha
> is merely a starting point, that the father *can* assert ownership over
> the child's kinyanim in consideration for the food and shelter which
> he provides, but that the father is allowed to make exceptions so that
> the child would have some things which are truly his own. Does this
> make sense?


> 2) As an example of the above, when a father buys several lulavim, and
> gives one to his post-Bar Mitzvah son, it is surely property of the son,
> or else we would see many poskim discussing how the son would be able to
> do this mitzvah. I have not noticed any such writings (in sharp contrast
> to the many writings about how a PRE-Bar Mitzvah boy can do this mitzvah)
> which leads me to suspect that if a boy can own his own lulav, he can
> also own his own chometz.

Yes, but highly unlikely. Why should the giver or father specify that the
father doesn't own chametz? (Unless one has a personal agenda to expand
the number of people selling chametz to the Rav, thereby increasing the
Rav's income, simchas Yom Tov and chinuch of the children to give money
to talmidei chachamim. Not such a bad idea...)

Shlomo Goldstein

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