Avodah Mailing List

Volume 12 : Number 015

Friday, October 17 2003

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 03:27:16 -0400
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Re: Rabbi Yosef Bechhofer & Eruvin

At 10:22 PM 10/15/03, JosephMosseri wrote:
>Since it seems that Rabbi Bechhofer is Avodah's resident mumheh on Eruvin,
>maybe he can help shed some light on why there are so many people who
>are mekel on so many issues but mahmir on Eruvin.

>What is it about carrying on Shabbat within the confines of an eruv that
>irks people?

I have tried to develop an expertise on the halacha. For the most part,
I have avoided the sociology and psychology. Rabbi Adam Mintz of Linclon
Square Synagogue is writing his doctoral thesis on the history or eruvin,
he may be able to provide more enlightenment.


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Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 09:14:26 -0700 (PDT)
From: Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
Re: Rabbi Yosef Bechhofer & Eruvin

JosephMosseri <joseph.mosseri@verizon.net> wrote:
> What is it about carrying on Shabbat within the confines of an eruv that
> irks people?

Because it is the nature of citywide Eruvin to be flawed and often great
Kulos are utilized, that many peole aren't ever aware of. Yet many Ballei
Nefesh use these Kulos when in other areas of their religios lives they
would never rely on Kulos like these.


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Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 12:46:07 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Newly Found Manuscripts

Ohrchama@aol.com wrote:
> It seems that many Gedolim were against relying on newly found
> manuscripts in areas of Halacha, especially to change the
> established practice. I know of CI,RMF,SR,RYBS in particular as
> holding this view.

> SBA writes "<<< IIRC the reason being that HKBH would not have
> allowed Klall Yisroel to be nichshol all these years - and had it
> been relevant or indeed the halocho so - it would have been in our
> hands centuries ago.>>>
> But is it not clear that Psak Halacha has changed in many areas? In
> the place of Rabbi Yosi Haglili they used to eat fowl with
> milk(Shabbos 130.) Presumably Sefardim and Ashkinazim before they
> evolved into separate communities did not follow necessarily the
> same practices they do now....

RYhG and fowl is not a good example. That's not a difference in pesaq, but
rather the Galil took longer to accept the gezeirah than did Yehudah. But
in general, what you say is correct -- halachah does evolve.

What RHSchachter writes RYBS holds is that the disappearance of a sefer
such as the Me'iri means that Hashem didn't want it to influence that
evolution during that period. Which is why RYBS holds that the Me'iri
today would have a say in current evolution -- but not the power to
overturn conclusions based on rishonim HQBH didn't hide from us. Which
is why his authority matches that of an acharon, not a rishon.


PS: Could you kindly include your real name in future emails, at least
until the regulars recognize your address? Thanks.

Micha Berger             A cheerful disposition is an inestimable
micha@aishdas.org        It preserves health, promotes convalescence,
http://www.aishdas.org   and helps us cope with adversity.
Fax: (413) 403-9905         - R' SR Hirsch, "From the Wisdom of Mishlei"

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Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 15:45:49 -0500 (CDT)
From: gil@aishdas.org
Re: Rabbis, Rebbetzins and Halakhic Advisors

Dr. Joel Wolowelsky, in "Rabbis, Rebbetzins and Halakhic Advisors" in
Tradition 36:4 (Winter 2002), addresses the concern voiced about Yoatzot
that they are the beginning of the phenomenon of women posekot. What, Dr.
Wolowelsky asks, is wrong with women functioning as halachic decisors
or as rabbis?

He begins his discussion of this topic by noting that "when the
Conservative movement tried to demonstrate that ordaining women was
possible halakhically, the real argument made was that women could be
hazanot" (p. 59). This is a verifiably incorrect statement. That was
cited from R. Gidon Rothstein's critique in Tradition of Prof. Joel
Roth's formidable "responsum" permitting women rabbis and was correctly
denied by the latter in his response to Rothstein. Additionally, this
can only refer to the Conservative articles in favor of the ordination
of women. The article against address a number of other issues, most
notably those of placing a stumbling block before the women rabbis
who cannot perform many standard rabbinic functions and the historical
identification of semicha with fitness to serve as a rabbinic judge. While
none of this literature can be considered halachically authoritative,
it is certainly an important beginning for any research on this topic.

Dr. Wolowelsky continues, "[W]e should keep in mind that rabbis
who lack talmudic semikha -- and that includes all rabbis today --
have no real halakhic function granted by virtue of their ordination"
(ibid.). Again, this is simply incorrect. It ignores both the purpose
of contemporary semicha and historical decrees that require it. See, for
example, Shu"t Rivash no. 271 and Shem HaGedolim part 1, yud, no. 238. R'
Hershel Schachter's "Kuntres HaSemicha" in his Eretz HaTzvi also has
relevant discussion. There is status granted by ordination but without
scholarship, piety, etc. it is independently insufficient.

On pages 59-60, Dr. Wolowelsky fails to distinguish between repeating an
halacha learned and making an halachic ruling. He attempts, but fails,
to adequately capture this important difference.

Dr. Wolowelsky writes, "[T]here is no more reason to assume that [a woman]
cannot supervise [a wedding] ceremony as the mesadderet kiddushin than
there would be to think that a rabbi who is not a kohen cannot supervise
the priestly blessings in his synagogue" (p. 60). This is incorrect. The
first half of Prof. David Weiss Halivni's paper against the ordination
of women is devoted to demonstrating that a woman may not serve as a
mesadderet kiddushin. See also the Shem HaGedolim cited above that only
someone ordained may do so.

An issue not discussed is that of discrimination. Is it fair to bar women
from serving as rabbis or posekot? However, when and if this will be
brought up we should also discuss the even greater unfairness of training
women to serve as rabbis but only allowing them (based on halacha)
to partially function as such. They will certainly be handicapped in
the job market but will also be placed in embarrassing and even tempting
situations. As unfair as it may seem not to train women as "para-rabbis",
it will be much more unfair to rob these trained women of opportunities
available to their, sometimes less capable, male colleagues.

Dr. Wolowelsky's article contains a number of insights but perhaps the
most prescient comment is the following: "[W]hether or not [Rabbanit
Henkin] is interested in creating a training program for women rabbis,
there is certainly nothing preventing others from doing so if they so
chose" (p. 58).

Gil Student

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Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 09:22:10 -0400
From: Mlevinmd@aol.com
RE:Basics for Philisophical discussions

May I suggest that what differentiates Conservatism and Orthodoxy is
attitude and not specific points of doctrine. Let us return to dynamic
models residing in the Chazal and get away from the philosophical models
of principles of faith.

Specifically, C believes that Chazal are a general guide that may inform
our approach to religion but are not the last word. Other religions,
sciences and social science are also a valid source as is consensus
(Catholic Israelof Schechter).

There is also the concept of broken myth, expressed by Gilman. That is:
the teachings of Judaism I love but just can't accept all of them as
the only way to see the world. On other words, C feels free to reject
tradition when it doesn't make sense to them. Anyone who expresses such
opinions is in fact C, no mattter what label they apply to themselves.

In contrast, O sees all truth as primarily residing in Chazal. Some may
say that outside teachings may at times force us to delve deeper into
Chazal; the right wing would even reject that. (Granted that there
were opinons in Rishonim that aggadic pronouncements are not at all
binding but we are dealing with the contemporary distinction between
C and O.) However, both accept the Jewish tradition is the true and
infallible source of religious insight, if properly understood.

That's the crucial difference in my opinion.

M. Levin

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Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 07:07:27 -0700 (PDT)
From: Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
Re: the man who davened aleph bais

T613K@aol.com wrote:
> I regret that I overlooked this avodah earlier. "Why make him look
> foolish"? "The more incoherent, the better"? The honor of the Baal
> Shem Tov demands a reply.

I do not denigrate anyone's honor. I simply ask questions which have
always bothered me in an attempt to find the truth. I ask in the same
spirit as RMF when he asked how Chasidus dared "diddle" with the
Nusach HaTeffilah and adopt the Nusach of AriZal (Nusach Sfard),
which is a Kabbalistic interpretaion of the Nusach of Edot Mizrach
and not even Ashkenaz, which was the heritage of the BSHT and his
Chasidim. IIUC it was the BSHT who changed the Nusach HaTeffilah that
had been around for centuries.

> The story is that the peasant ON HIS OWN INITIATIVE walked into
> shul crying and said, "Ribono shel olam, you know that I neverearned
> how to read from a siddur and I don't know how to daven. But I donow
> the aleph bais, so I will say the aleph bais, and You take the letters
> and put them into words for me." Then he proceeded to recite the aleph
> bais out loud, over and over.
> People in the shul started laughing at the fellow...

> The almost deliberate misreading and misinterpretation of this
> story  that I have seen in these pages reek with the aroma of Haskalah.

That is inaccurate. See above.

> I don't want to argue about the virtues of chassidus all over again,
> because I see already that my efforts amount only to casting pearls
> before swine in this moshav Litvaks.

...And there is no Litvak like a converted Litvak.:)

> I merely reiterate for the record, for the honor of the Besht and for
> the honor of my forebears, 

My forbearers were not only Chasidim but illustrious ones. But I rejected
that Hashkafa because of all the questions and problems I had with that
movement, that I did not have with traditional Judaism.

> that the tefillos of a common man may indeed
> on occasion be more acceptable before HKBH than those of a more
> learned person; that devarim hayotzim min halev, especially when
> accompanied by tears, have a direct line to Heaven; 

Did I ever say that they don't? I am simply saying in order to have
apporpriate prayers in the case of that Am HaAretz who was seeking to
do Teshuva at that moment... saying the hebrew alpahbet seems to me to
be less effective than... let's say, saying in his Polish (or Yiddish)
vernacular that the he (the Am HaAretz) deeply regretted his Aveiros
and resolved never to do them again. He would then perhaps look in the
Polish version of the Artscroll Machzor and do Vidui in Polish and
the Al Cheitsin Polish. Answering to the BSHT that he only knew the
Alphabet should not have inspired the BSHT to answer, "Well, just say
the Alphabet." However, I might agree that this AH who was now a sincere
BT had greater Kavanos than the rest of the BSHT's Tzibur. I just think
those Kavanos might have been more appropriately channeled.

Who am I to question the BSHT? Does that matter? The question is a
sincere one and not a flippant one and it stands no matter who asks
it. It is not asked with any derisive intent.

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Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 09:28:16 -0700 (PDT)
From: Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
Re: the man who davened aleph bais

T613K@aol.com wrote:
> One of the halachos of kibbud av va'em is that not only are you not allowed 
> to contradict your parents, you are not even allowed to confirm what they say 
> by adding, "Yes, you're right."  Even THAT makes you the judge and superior 
> over people who in reality are your superiors, and don't you forget it.

I am not contradicting my parents! I am expressing my own Shitah that
mostly coincides with that of the Gra.

> It's not for you to say who is right and who is wrong in a battle of the 
> titans, and it does not add to the Vilna Gaon's honor that R' Harry from
> Chicago agrees with him.

I am not judge and jury in this battle of the titans, but I am entitled to
agree with a point of view if it makes more sense to me than an opposing
point of view. I am simply stating my opinion. Nor was I trying to add
to the honor of the Gaon. I was simply attaching myself to his views. He
in fact may be rolling over in his grave because of the likes of me
attaching myself to him but I cannot help but speak the truth as I see
it. If it happens to coincide with the Gra, that isn't my fault. But I
am happy that it does and gives my own veiwpoint weight that it otherwise
would not have.


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Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 09:10:39 -0700 (PDT)
From: Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
Re: Hedyotos...Eating in the Sukkah When it Rains

Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org> wrote:
> On Mon, Oct 13, 2003 at 09:46:49AM -0700, Harry Maryles wrote:
>: While perusing my favorite Sefer 

> I'm guessing your favorite seifer isn't a chumash. Wanna cure my
> curiosity?

Rabbi Matis Blum's Torah L'Daas

>:    ... In discussion of this concept one needs to distinguish between
>: legitimate Chumra: where Lifnim Mishuras HaDin is to be encouraged,
>: and Yuhara: doing something that is totally unnecessary and cannot be
>: considered Lifnim Mishuras HaDin.

>: The Rambam and the Ramban both say that one is a Hedyot only when the
>: mitzvah that is done has no possible fulfillment by anyone but if there
>: is anyone at all that could fulfill his Chiuv (mitzvah requirement),
>: then, according to most Poskim an individual doing this act would not
>: only NOT be a Hedyot but in fact would just be considered a Machmir and
>: Tov Alav Bracha.

> Is this claim that the only kind of meaningful chumrah that of the eino
> metzuveh ve'oseh? If so, we're forgetting that most chumros are not doing
> something that all hold is mutar, rather it's following a shitah that one
> knows is not pesaq.

I do not understand what you are asking/saying. But I'll try and rephrase
by quoting more from Rabbi Blum and see if that helps. The Rambam states
in his Perush HaMishnayos on the Mishna in Sotah 3rd Perek that a Chasid
Shoteh and Rasha is one who increases Nivul and is Medakdek on himself
so as to gain honor in the eyes of man by doing acts that he is not
M'Chuiv to do... he is a Shoteh (fool) B'Chasidaso. The Gemmarah in
Shabbos Yerushalmi calls such a person, (i.e. one who is patur from a
Mitzvah and does it anyway) a Hedyot. Tosfos brings this up in many
places as cited in Torah L'Daas and Poskim bring it up as Halacha in
many places as well.

This excludes legitmate Chumros sourced in Halachic requirement at some
level. Chumros can be defined in part, as activity designed to fulfill
a required Mitzvah at a higher level of observance... or as a means of
protecting onself from violations. So, for example utilizing an Eruv
that most Poskim hold is Kosher but some find problems with is one level
of observance. Being Choshesh for the Daas HaMachmir and not utilizing
such an Eruv isa Chumrah and is a "higher" level of obnservance....Or
buying a Esrog that has many hiddurim not required for basic Halachic
acceptability, that, too is a Chumra and not Yuhara.

OTOH if there would be a Eruv that would have universal approbation and
one would not use that Eruv... that would be Yuhara. This is not the same
as an Eino Metzuvah V'Oseh. If you are not Metzuveh but it is clearly a
Mitzvah for others, then you DO get Schar (at a lessor level). You are
simply buying into a Mitzvah that others have and you have permission
to do. For example if you are in a Sukkah and it starts raining you may
complete the meal in your house even if the rain stops before you are
finished. But If someone troubles himself to go out into a Sukkah anyway,
it is not Yuahara anymore because at the point the rain ceases, the Chiuv
returns for others that had not started eating during the rain. If you
go into the Sukkah then it is merely a Chumrah and not Yuahara.

> As for the rain... If a mitzta'eir is patur because the ke'ein tadiru
> defines a diras ara'ai, then he isn't even sitting in a sukkah. We've
> discussed this issue, whether ke'ein tadiru is a din gavra or din cheftza,
> a few years ago.

Right, but the issue of Tzar is only one issue. The issue of the
Yesushalmi's statement of, "Kol Mi SheHu Patur MiDavar VeAsahu, Nikra
Hedyot" is another. On this issue, even if there would be any Tzar by
eating in the rain, you would still be a "Hedyot" by eating in a Sukkah
in the rain because everyone else is absolutely Patur.


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Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2003 07:21:52 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Jonathan Baker" <jjbaker@panix.com>
Philosophy vs. Kabbalah

> RGS:
>>The Malbim and the Meshech Chochmah were certainly highly influenced by
>>philosophy which is why they follow the more philosophical view of HP
>>(the Malbim explicitly follows the Moreh Nevuchim in his peirush to
>>Orach Chaim 1:1).

> Your causal conjecture has no basis in reality. The Malbim was quite
> knowledgeable in Kabbala and I assume the Meshech Chochma was also.

Indeed, as one can tell by learning the Meshech Chochma.  I've heard
it praised for its blending of halacha, aggadita and kabbalah.

> Furthermore see Rabbi Elias's notes to the 18th letter of R' S' R'
> Hirsch page 287. "We must note that the Rogatshover...mantained that
> all statements by the Rambam originate in Talmudic or Rabbinic sources,
> even though they may be couched in terms of Greek and Arab philosophy
> (see also Mahratz Chayes on this point). Some great chassidic thinkers
> have pointed out that the Moreh properly understood, corresponds with
> the teachng of the Kabbalah...Rabbi Yerucham Levovitz...declared that
> it is wrong to call the Rambam's system "philosophy": "It is Torah and
> we can only say that he knew philosophy" (heard from Rabbi S. Wolbe).

And yet Kabbalah is neoplatonic, and there are those who see Platonic
strains in the Moreh, not just Aristotelian origins.  See, e.g., the
Rema's Mechir Yayin on Esther, who puts a Neoplatonic spin on the 
peirush, explicitly drawing from the Moreh.

> In conclusion: Your attempt to identify the BESHT with the kabbalistic
> view and the rishonim as non kabbalistic - has apparently no basis
> in fact.

Some Rishonim were non-kabbalistic, e.g. Rambam, but even Rambam's system
drew from the same philosophic sources as the kabbalah (even if R' Nachman
wanted to deny the validity of philosophy for his hasidim).

   - jon baker    jjbaker@panix.com     <http://www.panix.com/~jjbaker> -

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Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2003 07:28:45 -0700 (PDT)
From: Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
RE:Basics for Philisophical discussions

Mlevinmd@aol.com wrote:
> May I suggest that what differentiates Conservatism and Orthodoxy is
> attitude and not specific points of doctrine. Let us return to dynamic
> models residing in the Chazal and get away from the philosophical models
> of principles of faith.

> Specifically, C believes that Chazal are a general guide that may inform
> our approach to religion but are not the last word. Other religions,
> sciences and social science are also a valid source as is consensus
> (Catholic Israelof Schechter)...
> In contrast, O sees all truth as primarily residing in Chazal. Some may
> say that outside teachings may at times force us to delve deeper into
> Chazal; the right wing would even reject that. 

This definition is still in the philosophical domain. To say that one
accepts outside sources as valid even if diametrically opposed to Chazal
is to conciuosly choose a method towards belief based on philosophical
constructs of pure rationality versus pure belief. I do not think this
separates C from O. Such distinctions exist within O as well, as you
hinted at. There is legitimate disagreement about whether one should take
Chazal's aggaditta literally or not. There is also debate as to whether
Chazal were fallible in matters of science. Is one a Kofer if one believes
in Shadim? Is one a Kofer if one believes that the universe is more than
about six thousand years old? Id one a Kofer if one belives in the theory
of evolutuion? Is one a Kofer if one belives in extreme position that the
Mabul was only allegorical. These and other controversial beliefs do not
make anyone a Kofer no matter how out of the mainstream these beliefs are.

What about Dr. Berkovitz's postion on the Shulchan Aruch, claiming as
"Torah, Lo Basahmayim He" and as Torah She"BAL PEH", that it is NOT the
final word nor should it be and we now have the right to over-rule it
based on the fact that it should never have been written in the first
place. Is he a Kofer? One cannot draw the lines you draw because there
is philosophical overlap between C an O in this area.

It is the wholesale dismissal of Torah MiSinai that separates us... C
favoring the intellectually flawed (IMHO) arguments put forth by
archeological evidence, or more accurately lack thereof... over Mesorah.


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Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2003 16:39:22 +0200
From: Arie Folger <afolger@aishdas.org>
Re: new birth control?

On RHM wrote:
> Arie Folger <afolger@aishdas.org> wrote:
>> I doubt that halakhah cares whether or not the ejaculated fluid contains
>> sperm. Thus, this method would not make a tremendous difference.

> Why? Technically, Hashchasas Zera means destruction of sperm, and nothing
> to do with its fluid medium. I would however assur male contraceptives
> on other grounds. To supress sperm production might come under the Issur
> of making oneself a Krus Shafcha.

The question was whether there would be still hash'hatat zera' once this
birth control method has been applied. How would you see that there is no
sperm in the fluid (what is that fluid called in English, anyway?)? With
a microscope? Well, why would we take microscopes anymore into account
here than WRT checking for bugs that are notceably larger than sperm
cells? Visual change of color? How can you tell spermless fluid apart
from same fluid with very low sperm count?

I am not aware of a halakhah stating that one who has a low sperm count
is not restrained by laws against ShZL.

Arie Folger
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 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 Rabbi Yoel
	Sirkis, Ba'h, Yoreh De'ah 187:9, s.v. Umah shekatav.

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Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2003 11:15:18 +0200
From: eli turkel <turkel@post.tau.ac.il>
ceremonied and mitzvot

I just read a story about the Griz as a young boy passed a chassidic
shul and was impressed by their hallel on Pesach night in shul. His
father, R. Chaim saw that R. Velvel was impressed by the enthusiasm
and missed saying Hallel and explained to his son that enthusiasm means
something only if it is a mitzvah. Hence, for the chassidim who think
it is a mitzvah to say hallel in shul on Pesach night the enthusiasm
is appropriate. However, for those that disagree enthusiasm without a
mitvah is meaningless.

This corresponds to the quotes in the name of RYBS who follows the
Brisker derech.

Having just heard the YK niggunim on Hoshana Rabbah I found it very
meaningful though it is a minhag and not a mitzvah.

Of course one can say that every ceremony that becomes a minhag is
then a mitzvah but then one destroys the distinction between mitzvot
and ceremonies.

Chag Sameach,
Eli Turkel

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Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2003 09:10:28 EDT
From: Joelirich@aol.com
Re: Newly Found Manuscripts

> SBA writes "<<< IIRC the reason being that HKBH would not have
> allowed Klall Yisroel to be nichshol all these years - and had it
> been relevant or indeed the halocho so - it would have been in our
> hands centuries ago.>>>>>

To tie in another thread- are you saying the person who had the last
"public" copy of the meiri had no bchirah to be able to give it to
someone who might have kept it public?

What is the halachik basis for saying that we ignore a Rishon's opinion
because it was unavailable? The above reasoning is nice (similar to
one opinion in why we don't put to death eidim zomimim if the defendant
was already put to death) but not what one would normally rely on in an
halachik disagreement.

Gmar Tov,
Joel Rich

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Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2003 10:18:23 EDT
From: Joelirich@aol.com
From Today's Haaretz - re ROY and new manuscripts

[RJR, on Areivim:]
From Today's Haaretz - re ROY.  The whole article is interesting reading
> <http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/350813.html>

He is also willing to make halakhic use of scientific research that
disclosed new manuscripts not familiar to previous authorities,
or differences in versions between various manuscripts of ancient
authorities, or even the Talmud itself. Here too, he remains faithful
to his cognitive independence and did not hesitate to disagree with
the Hazon Ish, who was strongly opposed to any halakhic reliance on
these manuscripts.

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Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2003 09:57:07 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Simchas Beis haSho'eivah

The following appears in this week's Toras Aish. I thought comments from
a more critical audience would be more interesting.

BTW, in the below I assume a particular niqud in the mishnah. Which does
R' Aqiva say "lifnei Mi atem m'taharim" with a sheva under the mem of
"m'taharim", or "mitaharim", with a chiriq? Respectily, that would
translate to "Before Whom are you tahor" (besheva) vs "Before Whom do
you render something tahor" (bechiriq; from context, that something
is ourselves).

I assume that it's an active noun, stating that man makes himself tahor,
in contrast to the second phrase, where HQBH does. This is following RYBS.

"UMi mitheir eschem" is less ambiguous. The verb is transitive, the
subject (Mi) is causing the taharah of the object (eschem). Only a chiriq
would fit.

Metaheir vs mitaheir is something ba'alei qeri'ah know about. The "kohein
hamitaheir" vs the "tzaru'ah ham'taheir". Since in standard hav'arat
America they can sound identical, I don't know why some BQ make a point
of saying a full chiriq, "meetaheir" for the kohein. It's not even a
chiriq malei.

Going even further off onto this tangent into mesorah-land, the word is
"tzitzis", "tzeetzees" or "tzitzees", not "tzeetzis". The first two make
sense if you do not distinguish between types of chiriq; which RSM says
is correct. The latter reflects which one is malei. What I hear most
often makes the chiriq malei less full than the chaseir, along with
making the word mil'eil.


R' JB Soloveitchik frames his Jewish thought and his perspective on
mitzvos about tensions between various dialectics inherent in the human
condition. Conflicting truths about man that are somehow both true.

For example, people construct a society in order to better serve their
needs. And yet, man's highest calling is to serve the society, rather
than themselves.

Perhaps the most classical such dialectic is the distinction Rabbi
Soloveitchik draws between Adam as he is portrayed in the creation
story in Genesis 1 and Adam as portrayed in Genesis 2. Adam I is at
the culmination of creation. All builds up to him. He is charged "to be
fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth and master it." Man the engineer
and technologist, forming the world to serve his needs. Majestic Man.

In Genesis 2, we're given a different view. From the time of his creation,
Adam is in communication is G-d. "It is not good for man to be alone", so
Hashem creates a woman "therefore man leaves his father and his mother and
cleaves to his wife." This is a person as relying on his relationships
and brings value to his life and the world through them. Adam II is
Covenantal Man, who seeks redemption.

Succos is very much Adam II's holiday. The farmer, having just brought
in his crop, has a propensity to credit himself for his success. Succos
re-addresses that, by reminding him that it's not his mastery alone
that brings food to the table. The succah teaches that it's not his fine
house and the engineering it represents that bring security to his life.

There is a dispute between R' Eliezer and R' Akiva (Succah 11b) as
to the nature of the succos in the desert that the mitzvah actually
commemorates. According to R' Eliezer (and Unkelus Vayikra 23:42, as well
as the Shulchan Aruch O"Ch 625"1, Gr"a ad loc), the original succos were
clouds of glory. According to R' Akiva, they were actual huts.

Perhaps they're basing themselves on different ideas about the
significance of the succah. In R' Eliezer's opinion, the succah is
commemorating Hashem's gifts to us. It's to remind us that there is a
Covenantal Partner in our efforts. R' Akiva has the original succah
being the product of a partnership. Man builds, but it's Hashem who
insures the success of that building. R' Eliezer focuses on our Partner,
R' Akiva on our willingness to join the Convenantal relationship. (See
Aruch haShulchan O"Ch 625.)

Each speaks to the farmer celebrating his harvest as he gathers it at
the end of the year. One speaks of the role of bitachon, trust in G-d,
which may otherwise be forgotten. The other speaks of the appropriate
end-state, of the synthesis of bitachon and hishtadlus, personal effort.

"And a mist came up from the ground, and gave moisture to the whole face
of the earth." - Genesis 2:6

"'And a mist came up from the ground': For the topic of the creation
of man. He raised the tehom [groundwater?] and gave moisture to clouds
to wet the earth and to make man. Like one who kneads bread, who adds
water and after that kneads the dough. So too here, 'He gave moisture'
and then 'He formed'." - Rashi ad loc

"And Hashem E-lokim formed the man, dust from the ground, and He breathed
in his nose a living soul; and the man was a living spirit." - Genesis,
ibid v. 7

"'Dust from the ground': He collected dust from the whole earth, all
four directions... Another opinion, He took his dust from the place
about which it says 'an altar of earth you shall make for Me.' He said,
'If only the dirt would be an atonement for him, and he would be able
to stand.'" - Rashi ad loc

In his work "Pachad Yitzchak", R' Yitzchak Hutner notes the steps of
creation of man, according to this second opinion in Rashi. First, G-d
adds water to the earth to make clay, then He forms man and breathes a
soul into him.

R' Hutner writes that this is exactly what we recreate during the nisuch
hamayim (water libation on the altar). The kohein pours water on the very
spot Hashem did. This is accompanied by the simchas beis hasho'eivah,
celebration and singing. Music is the most spiritual of the seven
wisdoms. It speaks and moves the soul on a fundamental level. Through
the Simchas Beis haSho'ievah we imitate G-d's breathing a soul into Adam.

We just came from Yom Kippur and teshuvah. When Hashem fulfills His
promise "And I will give you a new heart, and place a new spirit within
you." (Yechezkel 36:26) Simchas Beis haSho'eivah is a celebration of
man's ability to recreate himself, and therefore follows the steps of
our original creation.

To continue R' Hutner's thought with a couple of my own, in light of the
above: Repentance too can be seen in both R' Eliezer's and R' Akiva's
perspectives. One can seek atonement from Hashem, and thereby realize
the need to have a partnership with Him. Or, one can seek atonement
from the partnership itself. As the same R' Akiva says, "Praised are
you Israel. Before Whom do you atone, and Who atones you." Atonement
is both done by man through the Divine Presence, and is a gift from
Him. A dialectic.

I would like to suggest one additional point. This description is from
the second chapter of Genesis, it's the telling of the creation of Adam
II. It's not merely the celebration of our recent re-creation, it's the
celebration of our creation as beings in a covenantal partnership with
the A-lmighty. And therefore, it's not only on Succos as a postscript
to Yom Kippur, it is a fundamental part of the message of the holiday.

Go to top.

Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2003 08:19:33 -0700 (PDT)
From: Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
Re: new birth control?

Arie Folger <afolger@aishdas.org> wrote:
>> Why? Technically, Hashchasas Zera means destruction of sperm, and nothing
>> to do with its fluid medium. I would however assur ma contraceptives
>> on other grounds. To supress sperm production might come under the Issur
>> of making oneself a Krus Shafcha.

> The question was whether there would be still hash'hatat zera' once
> this birth control method has been applied.

There MAY... still be an Issur of Haschasas Zera by the use of this sperm
suppressant even if you aren't technically a Krus Shafcha... I don't
know. If you are now asking what if someone went ahead and used this
sperm suppresant anyway, well I suppose that as long as it is possible
that he still contains sperm, than he is permitted to procreate. But
L'chatchila I would think there is a problem with it. And if it kills
ALL the sperm than one would clearly be making oneself a Krus Shafcha.

> How would you see that there is no > sperm in the fluid...
> With a> microscope? 
> Well, why would we take microscopes anymore into account here than WRT 
> checking for bugs that are notceably larger than sperm cells?

One cannot use a microscope to check for bugs in a matter that is
Halachicly determined by the use of the naked eye. But in an Halachic
situation ALREADY BASED on the microscopic, i.e. the presence or absence
of sperm, then a microscope becomes a legitmate tool for determination.


Go to top.


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