Avodah Mailing List

Volume 13 : Number 019

Sunday, May 9 2004

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Fri, 7 May 2004 16:43:12 +0300
From: "proptrek" <ruthwi@macam.ac.il>
Re: Kivrei Tzadikim

> IIRC, in a shiur on the halachos of visiting the mkomos hakedoshim in EY,
> RHS commented once that he recalled seeing that Kohanim duchaned in the
> Meoras HaMachpelah.

"asher kideshanu bikedushatho shel aharon wetsiwanu la'uf hahhutsah".

local opinions are split. hehhakham 'ovadyah forbids, the one who came
next allows. they used to say ashkenazers are forbidden, often some
blackfellers are seen praying outside at the 7th0step corner where the
arabs sacrifice their chickens, but the ashkenazi minyan also often
has bentchers.

hard to understand what the point is to go out of one's way to do a
possibly forbidden thing without any sekhar 'averah betsidah (hhote welo
lo?), but then we have the bamoth.

as heine rhymed about philosophy,
es ist langweilig und bringt nichts ein
und in die Hoelle kommt man obendrein.


[Trans of Heine quote:
it is boring, and it brings nothing
and into hell it brings a man, besides.

Go to top.

Date: Fri, 07 May 2004 12:19:41 -0400
From: "Avroham Yakov" <avyakov@hotmail.com>
Asher yotzer for a person w/ a prostate problem


If a person has a prostate problem, that makes them go to the bathroom as
much as 3 times per hour, often for a small output, do they recite an asher
yotzer every time?

Thank you,

Go to top.

Date: Fri, 7 May 2004 11:39:27 -0400
From: gershon.dubin@juno.com
Mesorah conference

From: "Carl and Adina Sherer" <sherer@actcom.co.il>

Posted on Areivim:

The following is from Sfunei Tmunei Chol, bottom of Page 163:

One expert, who is familiar with shechitos done all over the world,
reports that in the western United States, one may expect to find 2%
of adult bovine without any sirchos at all; in central United States,
about 15%; in Honduras, approximately 45%; in Brazil, around 70%;

Does this mean that you can't drink milk in Brazil since there's no
rov non-terefah?


Go to top.

Date: Fri, 07 May 2004 14:21:23 -0400
From: "H G Schild" <hgschild@hotmail.com>
Rebbe Akiva

"He too died on 33 baOmer, in addition to RShbY."

where does Reb Tzadok say this?

See Yalkut Shimoni Mishlei #944


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Date: Fri, 07 May 2004 12:39:11 -0700
From: Daniel Israel <israel@email.arizona.edu>
Valid halachic change

From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>:
> There is also the change in pesaq when (3) a poseiq believes he found
> the previous ruling is not a valid pesaq, that it runs counter to the
> din. Not simply without basis, but runs against a critical source. But
> that's a restoration of halakhah, not a change within it.

I don't think that "restoration" is necessarily what is happening.
It could also be a switch between eilu v'eilu. IOW, one posek can look
at the sources and issue one psak. Later, other poskim may conclude
otherwise based on the sources. Eventually, the klal may cease to be
noheig like the first, and follow the second. Do we say the first posek
was wrong, that is, made a mistake in formulating the psak? Or do we
say eilu v'eilu but today we are noheig like the second?

Daniel M. Israel
<israel@email.arizona.edu>		1130 North Mountain Ave.
Dept. of Aerospace & Mechanical		The University of Arizona
   Engineering				Tucson, AZ  85711

Go to top.

Date: Fri, 7 May 2004 16:24:12 -0400
From: "Shinnar, Meir" <Meir.Shinnar@rwjuh.edu>
RE: 24/7

> Shinnar, Meir wrote:
>> Here was one local minhag, based on oral heterim, that the SE did not
>> accept - but he clearly realized how widespread it was, and didn't think
>> that it was obligatory to protest. (the fact that RSRH had gone to the
>> opera might be news here, but was well known in Germany), and his tshuva
>> documents his awareness that his approach is not the local approach.

> The SE doesn't write about some "minhag" based on "oral heteirim" that
> he rejects. He notes that the norm was to violate halachah.

WADR, the SE does not write that the norm was to violate halacha.
He mentions the minhag, even of yereim (and BTW, he is refering here
just to concerts - music - not the issue of kol isha), brings down a
possible heter, based on a shittat haposkimand then brings down that it
is against maskanat haposkim.

RMB would read that the norm is to violate halacha - I read that that
the norm was to follow a shittat haposkim that the SE thinks is against
maskanat haposkim - but the further implication that the norm is to
violate halacha is not one (nor the language) that he would have used -
I think that RaV Breuer has documented that RSRH went at the least to
concerts ( agreed?), and even played music, as did rav hildesheimer - the
SE did not accept the shitta on which it was based - but he specifically
brings down a possible heter for them.

On another post, RMB asks
> What makes you believe this mimetic tradition represents halakhah rather
> than violates it?

This question would have been clear to the SE, and most of the previous
generation - the fact that the mimetic tradition represented people of
unquestioned halachic integrity, and even gdolim, rather than merely am
aratzim, was proof that it represented a shitta, even if it was a shitta
that we believe is against maskanat haposkim.

Meir Shinnar

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Date: Sat, 08 May 2004 21:49:48 +0300
From: "Ira L. Jacobson" <laser@ieee.org>
Re: Christianity

[R Zvi Lampel] <hlampel@thejnet.com> stated the following, initially
quoting me:
>> With regard to translations of Moreh Nevukhim, it might be noted that
>> the Rambam himself examined Ibn Tibbon's translation and approved it.

>See R' Kapach's own introduction, where he deals with this, criticising R'
>Ibn Tibbon's translation and maintaining that the Rambam did not approve
>of it.

Unless you consider Iggerot HaRambam to be a forgery (and can bring
evidence to support such a claim), we have clear evidence that the Rambam
approved Ibn Tibbon's translation.


Go to top.

Date: Sun, 09 May 2004 01:46:24 +0200
From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
Re: Asher yotzer for a person w/ a prostate problem

Avroham Yakov wrote:
> If a person has a prostate problem, that makes them go to the bathroom as
> much as 3 times per hour, often for a small output, do they recite an 
> asher yotzer every time?

Shulchan Aruch (O.H. 7:4): There is no minimum amount - even a single 
drop - requires the beracha...

Go to top.

Date: Sun, 09 May 2004 01:41:02 +0300
From: "Carl and Adina Sherer" <sherer@actcom.co.il>
Re: Mesorah conference

On 7 May 2004 at 11:39, gershon.dubin@juno.com wrote:
> One expert, who is familiar with shechitos done all over the world,
> reports that in the western United States, one may expect to find 2%
> of adult bovine without any sirchos at all; in central United States,
> about 15%; in Honduras, approximately 45%; in Brazil, around 70%; 

> Does this mean that you can't drink milk in Brazil since there's no
> rov non-terefah?

He was referring to the incidence of NO sirchos, i.e. glatt. Not that
everything else is treif. In Brazil, 70% of the cows shechted are glatt.

I'm not sure what your reference to milk is. By your standard, you
wouldn't be able to drink the milk in the US.

-- Carl

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

Go to top.

Date: Sat, 8 May 2004 22:31:27 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Mussar Kallah II (incomplete notes)

Some of my notes from the Mussar Kallah II in Houston (2-May-04). I
didn't take notes thinking I'd be trying to reproduce it for others. So,
there are two major gaps.

As these are from my notes, things are missing from both ends of a very
personal bell curve: I didn't write down things that interested me enough
for me to have already learned them, nor those things that didn't interest
me enough to make pen leap to hand.

Second, my note taking tapered off mid-day. When I was at the dais for a
panel discussion, I felt awkward taking notes. After the run was broken,
I didn't pick it up again.


The morning opened with speeches on the subject of what is mussar and
the resurgence it's enjoying today.

Dr Alan Morinis (the organizer) noted the many exciting things that have
occured in mussar in the past year. Top of the list: R' Zvi Miller's
translation of Or Yisrael came out, and the Afikim Foundation started
teaching rabbanim how to teach mussar. But there were other items as well.

Alan mentioned a book by Ibn Greirol titled "Tiqun Midos haNefesh"
(Fixing the Measures/Traits of the Soul". It is both a map of the soul
and a guide to improvement.

The world is build from within -- world improvement requires personal

Leiv Eliyahu (R' Lopian) defines Mussar as the bridge from mind to
heart. To take intellectual knowledge and internalize it until it becomes
part of the self.

R' Wolbe defines mussar as the building of an interior world.


R' Efraim Becker (who has what I'd call a "Desslerian Psychology"
practice, and he agreed with this description) continued the defining
practice by contrasting mussar with self-help. (I was thrilled with
this, because I thought that in the first kallah we left this question
overly vague.)

Self-help addresses (1) loss of productivity; and (2) personal pain. In
Torah (including Mussar) we'd call these yisurim (trevails?). But Mussar
wouldn't want you to attach yisurim. Yisurim are triggers, part of the
solution. They aren't the things that need changing, they are causes
to get up and change something. Mussar adds to self-help the notion of
duty. One doesn't try to eliminate yisurim, but their causes -- which
reside in flaws in our ability to carry out our mission.

The idea of duty is a lack of freedom that is alien to contemporary
man. R' Becker gave an example. They found that if they put some Sony
gadget in the window with a "big sale" sign, interest for the product was
high. If they put a 2nd product in the window, interest fell. Why? Isn't
the first product just the same either way? Rather, with a choice, people
could no longer delude themselves into thinking they want the product
just because it's there. "I wasn't poor until my neighbor got a jaccuzzi."

You have to know what you want before you can know what to change.

But moderns really don't know what we want.

The G-d - man enounter as devolved into a Will - no-Will one. A person
must have a will before he can subjegate that will, because he can have
a meeting of the minds. Then you can see how those wills don't match,
and address the gaps between them.

Most Mussar work is personal, private work -- hisbodedus. This is to be
alone, not lonely. (See R' JB Soloveitchik's Lonely Man of Faith for the
distinction.) Hisbodedus literally means, "to be aware of oneself". To
clear oneself of "head traffic".

We don't know how to be alone. We need a new intro to Mesilas Yesharim,
"How to be alone".

The Torah tells the early Jews not to act "like the deeds of the land of
Eypt" or "the land of Canaan". Does the land itself have actions, that
one should avoid, why add the word "eretz", "land"? First, note that
it would seem from the Torah that the purpose of the Jewish people are
to be a holy people in a depraved land -- look where we came from and
where we were told to go. A land shapes the people. Fertile land makes
corruption easier. It poses a challenge for those who dwell on it.

The resident of Lithunanian during the Mussar movement was poor. We too
face challenges he did not. And note that in the lands that were wealthy
when R' Yisrael Salanter tried planting mussar in them -- Germany and
Paris -- didn't take to Mussar.

The gemara says that idleness leads to insanity. It also says that
idleness leads to evil. How does it resolve the two quotes? If there are
games to play, it leads to evil. However, without such games, it leads
to insanity.

Compare this to the Chafeitz Chaim. He once welcomed a donor in his
home. The donor noticed the bare rooms and asked where the Chafeitz
Chaim's furniture was. The CC replied by asking the wealthy man where
his was. "I'm just passing through, I didn't bring it with me." "I too
am just passing through..."

The Gra was asked what could be done to insure having children that stay
on the path. The Gra suggested that one pray "May it be Your Will that
none of them have wealth."

Rav Yisrael compares the world to a 5 star hotel. You can get whatever
you want, but everything has a high price. Wealth isn't inherently evil;
but it does come with challenges.

The gemara speaks about the generation at the end of history, in which
the prophet tells us that G-d "will send a famine upon the land. Not a
famine for food... but one to hear the words of Hashem." The gemara asks
that Hashem bestow special mercy on this generation. The Ponovizher Rav
asks, why? The problem with hunger is that when you finally get a little,
you're excited, you're satisfied. A generation starving for Torah too
might hear a little and be amazed and satisfied, rather than realizing
they just begun.


Rabbi Elyakim Krumbein (who left Israel for the first time in 30 years to
partcipate!) spoke of the need to adapt Mussar to fit the people. Since
Mussar is about personal transformation, it will take different shapes
based on the people involved.

For example, R' Zelig Pliskin (a popular writer on this sort of subject)
cites the Mesilas Yesharim ch. 1 as saying that everything has its
challenges. Poverty is a challenge, wealth is a challenge... All these
are challenges that provide growth.

R' Krumbein then read from the text itself. Mesilas Yesharim doesn't
define mussar as being about growth, about our lives in this world. He
calls them nisyonos -- which may or may not mean "challenges" -- on the
way to the World to Come.

R' Pliskin adapted the message for the audience.

The Tanya writes that books about piety written by human beings can't be
for everyone. Even within halakhah, there are debates based on people's
perspectives. How much more so in less rigid venues! Therefore he writes
that the Tanya sets out to be a resource book. A person should read it
with an eye to pull out from it what they can use.

Mussar, unlike halakhah, is a personalized walk beyond the letter of
the law.

The Ramban, in his comment on the Torah's words "Be holy for I Am holy",
uses Rav as an example of holiness. Rav never said anything idle. If he
said "Hello" and asked about your family, he had a deep reason for it.

Does this mean that Rav was uniquely holy amongst our sages? No! That
was Rav's way to be holy. Each rabbi found his own means to sanctity.

We have many sources. This gives us both many ideas to draw from. Also,
even in seeing the same idea different ways, it gives us many
opportunities to see the presentation that inspires us.


Rabbi Zvi Miller started with a parable (I don't have the source). A
king lived in a magnificent palace with a beautiful yard. One night,
a family dumped its trash in the palace garden. A huge mountain of
garbage. When the king saw it, he smiled.

That is Yom Kippur. Hashem takes joy in our giving Him our garbage
to clean.

Man is a creature of error, but Hashem gave us the means to correct it.

The Alter of Kelm could have been a great halachic leader. In fact, a
delegation went to Rav Yisrael Salanter asking him to convince the Alter
to dedicate more of his time to gemara and halakhah and less on mussar.

R' Yisrael explained. We make hamotzi on Shabbos only on full challos. A
sweet beautiful challah that is slighly deficient can't be used, but a
simple whole one can. The Alter's mussar is the very thing that makes
his Torah beautiful and whole.

R' Miller than detoured into explaining who the Alter of Kelm was. R'
Yeruchom got to Kelm shortly before the Alter's passing. He heard only
two shiurim from the Alter. In those two shiurim, his entire life was
changed. R' Yeruchom spent the day of the Alter's passing with the coffin,
crying. "I had just gotten to see what a man was, and the chance was taken
from me. My crying in that room all day was what gave me everything."

R' Miller defined Mussar as the systemized collection of the ethical
teachings of Torah. Mussar is the most esoteric of Torah because it is
the key to the heart.

Rav Yisrael's first and primary innovation is to take time for Mussar

His second is the technique of study, using hispa'alus, repeated
vocalization a day.

R' Zvi Miller closed by suggested we all dedicate 20 min a day to


Here's what I took away from the Q&A session:

1- R' Becker defining mussar.

Mussar consists of the ideal, the real, and bridging the gap between them.

One gets at the ideal through personal example and through the study
of texts.

When looking at the real, never use the excuse that one day's behavior
was an exception to the rule, or that I was acting out of character. If I
did it, it's me who did it, it was my character. A wise person is one who
can take a lesson after doing something the first time. Most of us need to
wait for a pattern to emerge -- and few bother to look for that pattern.

Bridging the gap requires identifying one thing and working on it. You
need to have some metric by which you can measure success, and measure
whether you're working or letting things slide.

2- R' Becker on laziness

If you gain wealth in order to retire, you're working toward leisure, and
the dangers of leisure (see above) apply. If you spend your life working
toward the World to Come, this world becomes an other-worldly experience.

At this point we broke for lunch.


Our host, Dr. Sam Axelrad, introduced the discussion. He had a sore
throat and had a hard time speaking, but I saw in his notes that Dr
Axelrad had more to say than the limited intro that he gave. I found
that a little frustrating as I was very curious to hear his perspective.

Dr. Morinis discussed the difference between Kelm, Novorodok and Slabodka.

In Kelm, one learnt to take time. To be exact. To unclutter your mind. The
focus was on introspection.

In Slabodka, they looked toward the greatness of man, the beauty of
being in the image of G-d, and the pursuit of lofty heights.

Dr. Morinis, because he was taught by R' Perr (a student of Novorodok
whose wife descends from the Alter), spent more time discussing
Novorodok. The Alter of Novorodok gave up the homeowner's life to teach
Mussar. When he first came to Mussar, he walled himself behind brick for
two years. Novorodok taught radicalism. For food, there is a milchig,
fleishig, and parve -- for people, there is no "parve". The Novordoker
sought to "Storm the Soul".

This is why the Novorodoker went through excercises to experience
the middah they were working on. To learn bitachon (trust [in G-d]),
he would be placed on a train without return fare and was asked to get
back to the yeshiva without asking for help. After time, people noticed
these students trying not to make eye contact and walking long distances,
and would offer help without being asked. But that's how Hashem helped!

Or to learn humility, the student would be sent to a pharmacy on a
mission to buy nails.

The Alter defined effort as being the nourishment of the soul. Effort,
not accomplishment.


At this point my notes end.

R' Craig Miller spoke about his experiences in his own travels to Torah
and Mussar as well as those while teaching Mussar to NYU students. As I
know RCMiller quite well, and know the amazing work he's doing in NYU
and the impact he's having, the need to take notes was outweighed by
my embarassment.


I spoke about the paradox underlying the human condition. The Ramchal
(Derekh Hashem 2) writes that Hashem created man because it is the nature
Good must have someone to whom to be good. So, we exist to receive.

But, he continues, the greatest good is Hashem Himself. So, He gave us
the ability to be free willed, creative, giving, beings. Receiving the
power to give means we're givers. R' Dessler, in his "Notebook on Chessed"
defines the human ideal in terms of chesed, giving.

The basic paradox: Receiving vs Giving.

We see a similar dichotomy in how we define the phrase "derekh
Hashem". The Rambam (Hil' Dei'os), defines it as the path *of* G-d. To
walk the derekh Hashem means to imitate His Middos (as we perceive
His actions). Alternatively, e.g. Rashi on Noach, the "derekh Hashem"
is the "path to G-d". The Rambam defines it in terms of giving. Rashi,
in terms of receiving.

The audience too seeks mussar along these two lines.

Some see it as a spiritual practice, a means of receiving. That practice
is one of self-improvement.

Others, as a self-improvement regimen; but improvement in religious and
spiritual terms. The idea is to develop our ability to give.

Within the ideal, there is unity. And a few luminaries, closer to
the ideal than us, see more of the unity. R' Yisrael founded a single
movement. When he passed away, submovements and approaches emerged taking
different aspects of the whole.

The difference is subtle. After all, we're not contrasting religions or
even movements, but strains within a movement. But there are pragmatic

Novorodok focussed on reception. Therefore, they addressed issues such
a bitachon.

Kelm looked to develop one's ability to think clearly and to
give. Slobodka too looked to give, but not in terms of increasing one's
ability to give, but one's emotional preparedness. Kelm taught people how
to think, Slabodka challenged them to apply that knowledge to the fullest.


R' Wender provided a nice counterbalance to Dr Morinis's description of
Novorodok. R' Wender, the rabbi of the Young Israel of Houston, studied
at Yeshivas Chafeitz Chaim for 14 years under R' Henoch Leibowitz --
a student of Slabodka.

I recall only one anecdote from his speech. R' Hutner, also from
Slabodka, founded his yeshiva, Chaim Berlin, on a totally different
foundation. Rather than Mussar, Chaim Berlin is founded upon a
Maharal-derived approach. Very philosophical and inspiring, but not the
life-shaping experience of Mussar.

Some students took a survey of American leadership from Slabodka (and
there were many!), and eventually got to R' Hutner to ask him why he made
this decision. R' Hutner said that he didn't feel the American yeshiva
student didn't have what it took to do mussar and follow through with it.

R' Wender pointed out that his own rosh yeshiva believed
otherwise. Yeshivas Chafetz Chaim has a Mussar program. There can be
an American mussar, and R' Wender was personally gratified to see those
words born out in his own Houston.


In the second part of the afternoon we had break-out groups discussing
middah. In true fulfillment of "Those who can't do, teach", I spoke
for the session on Menuchas Hanefesh -- calmness.

We started with a visualization, placing oneself in Noah's position at the
end of the flood. The description in the Torah heavily uses conjugations
of the word "menuchah". The protagonist's name -- Noach. The ark comes
to rest on the mountain -- "vatanch hateivah". The dove seeks "mano'ach" --
a resting place. The language calls our attention to the event as an
archetype of menuchah.

However, that's the calm /after/ the storm. (Quite literally.) How does
one acheive menuchah during the storm.

Also, the trope mark "munach" is used in the begining of a phrase, it's
a prepratory note. Implied in that choice of name is that they found
the word "menuchah" implying not only an end, but a preparation of the
thing to come.

The berakhah on tefillin is "... who commanded us lehani'ach tefillin --
to rest tefillin". Tefillin can only be worn while we are in the proper
frame of mind. (Which is why today, when shorter attention spans on the
norm, we wear it for the minimum time necessary.) Menuchah connotes a
reflective pause.

This is also implied by what it is "menuchas hanefesh" asks us to
put to rest. The "nefesh". There are many words in Judaism for soul
(just as there are many words in Innuit Eskimo languages for snow,
allegedly). Neshamah implies lofty spirituality. Ru'ach connotes one's
will. Nefesh, though, is something we share with animals. One can't
consume blood for "the blood is of the nefesh". Nefesh is our more
primitive, mammalian, selves.

And one can't really explore the meaning of menuchah in Judaism
without looking as Shabbos. The most common text used for Qiddush on
Shabbos morning is composed of two paragraphs. One ends "... and on
the seventh day He rested -- vayinafash". From the word nefesh. The
second, "... for on six days Hashem made the heaven and the earth,
the sea and everything within them, vatanach -- and He rested on the
7th day." Menuchas hanefesh, stepping back from the storms of life to
get an opportunity to reflect, defines Shabbos.

I therefore suggested that menuchas hanefesh does not mean not feeling
anger, stress, or the other things that break our calm. If nothing else,
such a definition would make the problem too large to tackle. Rather, it's
to be able to find the point of quiet and watch the emotion. The anger
is there, the stress is there, but not overwhelming our ability to think.

That is Shabbos.

I then proposed a hispa'alus. It worked for me, although I could
understand why a phrase with this many /ch/ sounds would be harder for
many in the room.

Also, looking at the quote, one can glean tactics for acheiving
menuchas hanefesh. The practices already introduced -- visualization and
quote-based hispa'alus -- are themselves tactics (number 1 on our list).

 From Psalms, said on Rosh Chodesh and holidays in Hallel:
"Shuvi nafshi limnuchaychi -- Return my soul to my rest
Ki Hashem gamal alaychi -- for G-d provides support upon me."

Note some of the implications: Shuvi - return: I have been there before.

2- If one pays attention to moments of calm, one can capture the feeling
and more readily reproduce it. I'm not talking about intellectualizing
the process. Just that through awareness, one can recall the feeling on
a gut level.

Nafshi -- my nefesh. Who is the "I" who has a nefesh? I need not be the
storms of my soul.

This is actually quite difficult. At the moment of being overwhelmed,
how does one decide not to be overwhelmed? There's a Catch-22 (or
bootstrapping problem)in requiring a balanced mind in order to work on
balancing one's mind.

Limnuchaychi -- to my rest. I own it.

3- Some form of Shabbos observance (or breaking for minchah, mid-day;
the name isn't quite derived from "menuchah" but if one dismisses the
notion of coincidence...) gives one experiences of calm to return to.

Ki Hashem gamal alaychi -- For Hashem provides support upon me.

4- Bitachon, trust that Hashem has a purpose, will allow me not to
needlessly fight that which shouldn't be fought. Yes, things that need
resisting are challenges I must face. But too often we're stressed about
things we can't control -- solely because we don't realize these scenarios
serve their purpose as well.

5- Realize that every storm does have an end. And that menuchah after
the storm is when we can prepare for the next one -- thereby preventing
that overwhelming feeling when it hits.

During the conversation, it came out that a number of people there
were confusing the role of hispa'alus with that of exercises to change
a middah. After all, with menuchas hanefesh, meditation will itself
help acheive calm.

So, I took a detour and listed some of the basic mussar practices. I
used the framework R' Becker proposed earlier that day:

To understand the ideal:
1- Mussar study
2- Hisbonenus visualization
3- Hispa'alus on a text (which itself is a kind of hisbonenus)

To understand the real:
4- Cheshbon hanefesh. We discussed the various approaches, from keeping a
diary of one's decisions and reactions to the system in the book Cheshbon
haNefesh (derived from a letter by Benjamin Franklyn).

To bridge the gap:
5- Qabalos -- accepting upon oneself small incremental steps
6- Pe'ulos -- activities designed to jar one out of one's rut

To implement these, we need communal support
7- Va'ad -- "committee", a peer group for learning and to help keep up
one's qabalos.
8- The beis mussar, the mussar hall

One could meditate on menuchas hanefesh as one would do a hispa'alus on
any middah. However, one could also meditate as a pe'ulah, but that's
specific to the middah in question.


Dr. Morinis then wrapped up, summarizing the day and the opportunities
to run with what we started.

Most people didn't leave, though, for a significant time after the

The interest level was high. People in Houston were pretty thirsty for
Jewish tradition. Not only evidenced by the slow departure, but also by
the haste in which the book table emptied!


Micha Berger             Today is the 31st day, which is
micha@aishdas.org        4 weeks and 3 days in/toward the omer.
http://www.aishdas.org   Tifferes sheb'Hod: What level of submission
Fax: (413) 403-9905                  results in harmony and balance?

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Date: Sun, 9 May 2004 00:25:34 -0400
From: "Moshe & Ilana Sober" <sober@pathcom.com>
LaG B'Omer

RMB: <<Moreso, Rav Tzadoq writes that 33 baOmer is really to remember
Rabbi Aqiva, and a life that spanned teshuvah, a critical link in the
shalsheles hamesorah, living and dying bemesiras nefesh. He too died on
33 baOmer, in addition to RShbY. >>

I'm curious about LaG B'Omer and the customs surrounding it. It seems
like there isn't much going on halachically - no tachanun, and lifting of
omer restrictions - but at least in EY it's a day of great significance
- bonfires, pilgrimage to Meron, etc. Is there a distinction between
religious holidays and "folk holidays"? How do "folk" elements get
into religious holidays? Do these practices have inherent religious
significance, or do they acquire it? Another example that comes to mind
is Tu Bishvat. And costumes on Purim. Any ideas/sources? Thanks!

 - Ilana

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