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Volume 14 : Number 006

Monday, September 27 2004

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Fri, 24 Sep 2004 01:29:16 +0200
From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
Re: Balancing Machshavah Amuqah and Emunah Peshutah

Micha Berger wrote:
>I credited this view of avoiding hashkafah (a quote vaguely along the
>lines of: our hashkafah is to not have a hashkafah) to RMF, and RDR
>asked where I saw it....
>Ironically, it's also the conclusion of Nefesh haChaim cheileq 4. That
>knowing the din is knowing the mind of G-d is the key to self perfection
>is man's tachlis.

Actually the issue of avoiding hashkofa seems to be inherent in the
yeshiva system - possibly because of the Nefesh HaChaim or possibly
because of the emphasis of the Reform and haskala on philosophical

 Dayan Gruenfeld (Introduction to Horeb page xxxvii): It would nevertheless
be wrong to conclude from Hirsch's stress on the legal character of
Judaism that he underestimated the study of the underlying ideas of
Jewish laws or the general religous and moral truths of Judaism. ...What
Hirsch opposed, however was the notion so dangerous for the survival of
both Jewry and Judaism that obedience to the laws of the Torah can be
replaced by airy religous sentiment.

Kuzari (2:26): He who accepts religious beliefs and mitzvos innocently
without analysis and evaluation is superior to one who evaluates and
analyzes. However someone who deviates from this high level of simple
faith and turns to analysis is better off utilizing analysis based upon
accepted theological principles. Deserting the traditional theology for
secular intellectual analysis and doubts brings a person to great loss.

Kuzari (5:1): Tradition is only good for the satisfied person. However for
the confused person it is better to investigate thoroughly especially
if this analysis comes to validate the Tradition. Then there is an
integration of these two approaches - knowledge and tradition.

Sefer HaIkkarim(1:3): An even greater problem is that we don't find
that our Sages clearly explained the foundation principles of religion
things. It would have seemed appropriate that they would have clearly
explained the foundation principles of religion - the foundation concepts
of G-d's Torah. That is because the main success for man and his spiritual
reward is dependent on them. Just as they explained they explained the
laws of damages and monetary laws which are merely the physical aspects
of life and foundations of society.

Abarbanel (Rosh Amana #23): If there are in fact foundation principles and
roots - then why didn't our sages mention them? If they exist it would
have been better if our sages had specifically discussed them then just
dealing with the mitzvos and the moral and ethical principles of Pirkei
Avos. Since our sages who are our guides seemed unconcerned with these
principles and did not mention that there were unique principles of faith
that a person needed to believe - it is quite obvious that they did not
agree with their profound wisdom to create a unique set of religious
principles. That is simply because the entire Torah is true and divine
and no one part is more fundamental than any other part.

Chavas Ya'ir (#124): In previous generations according to what I
have heard - they learned in their youth the Sefer Akeidah, the Sefer
HaIkkarim, the Kuzari and other like them. That was because their entire
purpose was spiritual perfection which is emuna in the foundations of
religion. Therefore they learned books that spoke about and analyzed
these issues. However today our approach - of avoiding these studies
- is an excellent idea because it is best for us and our children to
believe the required faith without analysis. However, there are still
some who learn - because of their desire for spiritual perfection -
Chovas HaLevavos which speaks also of analysis in the first section and
the rest is full of knowledge and fear of Heaven ... Nevertheless without
doubt the study which leads to deed is much greater than any other study.

Rav S. R. Hirsch had originally planned two volumes. Horeb and Moriah.
Moriah was to be a book on hashkofa - but he never wrote it. Hirsch
was actually more concerned with a philosophy of halacha rather than
hashkofa. [see Dayan Grunfeld's Introduction to Horeb]

Rav S. R. Hirsch (Shemos 19:4): The basis of your knowledge of God does
not rest on belief, which can, after all, allow an element of doubt. It
rests solidly on the empirical evidence of your own senses, on what you
have seen with your own eyes, have yourselves experienced. In exactly
the same words chap. 20:19, speaks of the fact of the Revelation of
the Torah "You yourselves have seen that from heaven have I spoken with
you." The two fundamental truths on which the whole of Judaism rests,
the Exodus from Egypt and the Lawgiving on Sinai, stand firmly on the
actual evidence of your senses; and, as they were seen, heard, felt, and
experienced simultaneously by so many hundreds of thousands of people,
every possibility of deception is ruled out. Both these fundamental
truths accordingly are completely out of the realm of mere believing or
thinking and are irrefutable facts which must serve as the starting-point
of all our other knowledge with the same certainty as our own existence
and the existence of the material world we see about us.

R' S. R. Hirsch(Bereishis 15:6) Emuna is the foundation of Judaism.
However the contemporary understanding of emuna as only faith - robs
it of its true meaning. Belief is typically understood as an opinion.
Something that is considered true primarily because of the authority
of someone else. Today religion is typically identified as belief and
this belief become the essence of religion. By making religion into
a collection of beliefs and defining a religious person as one who
believes in the truth of these beliefs that are typically viewed as non
rational, religion has been divorced from everyday life. Religion has
been transformed into a collection of dogmatic beliefs that are viewed
as the necessary condition for getting into heaven. However emuna is
not correctly translated as believing the truth of someone else's words.
Emuna in G-d actually means fully trusting and therefore being submissive
to G-d Himself and to place one's life fully in G-d's hands. The word
emuna is based on the root EMN that manifests itself as "ooman". This
words has the connotation of an artisan - a shaper and creator of
works of art. It carries the meaning of a nurse - who sustains and
nurtures others. It also can indicate an educator who enlightens and
helps in the social and moral development of others. Therefore emuna
in G-d means to submit one's entire life, its development, education,
actions and values to G-d. It means being entirely dependent upon G-d
for nurturing as well as direction. It means to allow yourself to be
molded by G-d as clay is molded by the artist. In short, emuna in G-d
means to give yourself totally to G-d.

R' S. R. Hirsch (Nineteen Letters #18): [the leaders of Orthodoxy]
became at first enemies of this philosophical spirit, and later of all
specifically intellectual and philosophical pursuits in general. Certain
misunderstood utterances [e.g., Bereishis Rabbah 44:1] were taken as
weapons with which to repel all higher interpretations of the Talmud...
The inevitable consequence was, therefore, that since oppression and
persecution had robbed Israel of every broad and natural view of world
and of life, and Talmud had yielded about all the practical results
for life of which it was capable, every mind that felt the desire
of independent activity was obliged to forsake the paths of study
and research in general open to the human intellect, and to take its
recourse to dialectic subtleties and hairsplitting. Only a very few
[e.g., R' Yehuda HaLevi's Kuzari and Ramban] during this entire period
stood with their intellectual efforts entirely within Judaism, and built
it up out of its own inner concept [Drachman translation]....we are left
with two generations confronting each other. One of them has inherited
an uncomprehended Judaism, as practiced by men from habit, a revered
but lifeless mummy which it is afraid to bring back to life. The other,
though in part burning with noble enthusiasm for the welfare of the Jews,
regards Judaism as bereft of any life and spirit, a relic of an era lone
past and buried, and tries to uncover its spirit, but, not finding it,
threatens through its well-meant efforts to sever the last life nerve
of Judaism-out of sheer ignorance [Paritzky translation].

gemar chasima tova
Daniel Eidensohn

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Date: Fri, 24 Sep 2004 08:51:59 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Next year in Jerusalem...?

As the old "joke" goes: You know why most Jews still live in the diaspora?
Because every year we say "Next year in Jerusalem!" And it's never
next year...

Here's an interesting thought from the Satmar Rav in Vayo'el Moshe.

When Yaakov first meets Rachel, he is at a well with some shepherds,
waiting for enough to come by to move the stone that protects the
well. As she approaches, he asks the shepherds if all is well with
his cousin Lavan, and they answer, "All peaceful, vehinei Racheil bito
ba'ah im hatzon -- and here is Racheil his daughter, coming with the
flock." (Ber' 29:6)

A few lines later, "When he is still speaking to them, veRacheil
ba'ah im hatzon -- and Racheil came with the flock that belongs to her
father." (Ibid v 9)

Notice that one time "ba'ah" is used to mean that Racheil was on her way,
the other that she had arrived already. Rashi clarifies with a grammatical
point; it makes a difference which syllable gets the accent mark. The
first usage was "BA'ah", with the stress on the first syllable, meaning
"she is coming". The second, "ba'AH" -- "she came".

Everyone assumes that the line said at the end of Yom Kippur and the
Pesach Seder is "Leshanah haBA'ah biYrushalayim -- The coming year in
Jerusalem". The Satmar Rav said this is a mistake.

We voice this desire on Yom Kippur shortly after the year began on
Rosh haShanah, and on Pesach, shortly after the begining of the year
of months, the begining of Nissan. The stress is "BA'ah" but "ba'AH" --
We are speaking of the year that just came!

Leshanah haba'AH biYrushalayim habenuyah!
May the year that just began be spent in a rebuilt Jerusalem!

Gemar chasimah tovah,
and with wishes for harchavas hanefesh (a year with no troubles, one
that provides enough calmness in your soul to be able to accomplish more
and more),

Micha Berger             You will never "find" time for anything.
micha@aishdas.org        If you want time, you must make it.
http://www.aishdas.org                     - Charles Buxton
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Date: Fri, 24 Sep 2004 13:21:53 GMT
From: "Gershon Dubin" <gershon.dubin@juno.com>

From: "Newman,Saul Z" <Saul.Z.Newman@kp.org>
<<1- no minyan at start of slichot. when minyan arrives, do they backtrack
and say the opening kaddish or not?>>

Not unless they go all the way back and repeat Ashrei, which is the
focus of the kaddish. The kaddish cannot be said on its own.

<<deleted? can it be said with trope without a minyan? [ i had seen that
brought down somewhere but cant find it}>>

Correct; I'm not sure you need trope so long as your kavana is ke'osek

<<yihyu leratzon imrei fi. e g at the end of ochila la kel does the
chazan say it out loud? seen it both ways>>



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Date: Fri, 24 Sep 2004 08:42:50 EDT
From: Joelirich@aol.com
hachana mshabat lshabat

Is anyone aware of any sources on this (e.g could i roll the sefer torah
on one shabbat to the next weeks maftir; if I had a dining room only
used for shabbat could I clean the table after shalosh seudot and reset
it for next friday evening?)

Joel Rich

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Date: Fri, 24 Sep 2004 13:19:51 GMT
From: "Gershon Dubin" <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
Non-Nitbal Dishes on Shabbos

From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
<<I thought of them as keilim shemilakhtam le'issur, as the appropriate
melakhah for such dishes in bringing them to the miqvah.>>

They are keilim shemelachtam leheter; the fact that you cannot use them
right now doesn't make their *function* asur. Call it Aryeh derevia
alayhu if you like.

<<he assumed the keli would be muqtzah machmas (*) gufo. In retrospect,
that may make more sense.>>

No, as keilim shemelachtam leheter, you may move them letzorech gufo
umekomo as with keilim shemelachtam leisur, but also mechama letzeil.
The only isur is shelo letzorech kelal, which would include playing with
the silverware at the table (toveled or not BTW!)


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Date: Fri, 24 Sep 2004 13:53:09 -0400
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Re: Chazal - as seen by rishonim and achronim

Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
> On Wed, Sep 22, 2004 at 02:28:15PM +0200, Daniel Eidensohn wrote:
>: Ba'al HaTurim(Bereishis 21:10): Since Sarah drove Hagar from her house she
>: was punished that her descendants would be enslaved and sent into exile.

> It's interesting that the 400 years start from Yitzchaq's birth, which
> is also when Hagar's oppression began.

Hagar's oppression happened 14.5 years before Yitzchaq's birth, when
her pregnancy became visible. The second incident, when she and Yishmael
were thrown out, happened 5 years *after* Yitzchaq's birth.

BTW, how can the second incident be considered a sin, for which we were
punished, when Hashem explicitly endorsed it? Meila the first incident,
I can understand - the angel told Hagar to return and submit to Sarah's
abuse, but that doesn't mean what Sarah did was right; as for her nevuah
being greater than Avraham's, we can say that that developed over the
intervening 20 years between the two incidents. But the second incident?
At that point Sarah was at the level where 'kol asher tomar elecha Sarah
shema bekolah', so how can we suggest that she was wrong?

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Date: Sun, 26 Sep 2004 10:35:10 +0200
From: Arie Folger <afolger@aishdas.org>
Re:Balancing Machshavah Amuqah and Emunah Peshutah

RSMashbaum wrote:
> In the framework of RMB's categories above, Rashi is neither scholastic
> nor anti-scholastic; he is non-scholastic. Similarly, he is not
> qabbalistic, like the Ramban, nor anti-qabbalistic, like the Rambam; he
> is non-qabbalistic. AFAIK, we have not only no significant philosophic
> works from this extremely central figure in the mesorah, but virtually no
> philosophic passages at all in his volumnious writings.

Actually, I wonder. I once had a brief but inconclusive discussion about
this with R. Dr. Kanarfogel (that should really be Kanarvogel, unless he
is originally from Poland, IMO), and he agreed that too little attention
has been paid to other works by Rashi and to research into Rashi's
connection with early authorities who did deal with metaphysics and the
theology of cosmogony. (however, Rashi did deal with cosmogony proper.)

Since this was a very brief interchange, I wouldn't be surprised that
"too little attention" is much more than "no attention", plus, I am
unfortunately not familiar enough with what extant works we have from
Rashi and his school. The only works I am aware of that are extant are
his siddur (there is a discussion as to how much, if any, is his) and
of course his commentaries to Tanakh and Talmud. If I am not mistaken,
we have also his tshuvot and a bunch of works I never read and don't
even know what matters they deal with.

So, is anybody familiar with Rashi scholarship and whether Rashi hints
at philosophical positions?

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: Sun, 26 Sep 2004 14:59:51 +1000
From: "SBA" <sba@sba2.com>
Re: Torah as Allegory

From: "MYG" <mslatfatf@access4less.net>
> ..... If, in my youth, I would have known all the arguments against
> RAMM as I know them now, my emunah would have suffered greatly. However,
> since I didn't, my emunah had a chance to entrench itself in my psyche,
> and grew into an existence of its own, independent of intellectual
> support..... I would suggest that R' Avigdor Miller's followers have the
> following common denomenator: He got there first. Whether in one's teenage
> years, or later on in life, RAMM took hold because there was no other
> mehalech available that answered all the questions in a nonapologetic,
> vigorous way. When later on, one of these followers of RAMM may come
> upon one of the other mehalchim out there, (such as RNS's, for example)
> it is thoroughly vetted by the concepts already accepted as truth that
> are established in his mind. ... I take science seriously. I am also
> not bothered by the apparent contradictions between them. I'll repeat -
> if RNS's mehalech and RAMM were both presented to me at the same time I
> very likely would have rejected RAM's mehalech. It's just that at this
> point in my life, I am not bothered by the questions that bother RNS -..

Reminds me of that vort that we only say "Mi L'Elokeinu" after having
said [and understood that] "Ein k'Elokeinu"...

BTW, did RAM every comment about the Rambam's views on Torah as Allegory?


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Date: Sun, 26 Sep 2004 09:17:54 -0400
From: "David Riceman" <driceman@worldnet.att.net>
Re: Torah as Allegory

Now, I think, we can go back to my initial objection. In his original
post RMYG wrote:
> To my mind, informed ignorance is best.

Implying, to me at least, that he was advocating II as a l'chatchila
strategy for education.

Elsewhere in that post he describes II's as having encountered Rabbi
Miller's books before they realized the problems with them, and in his
most recent post he wrote:

> If, in my youth, I would have known all the
> arguments against RAMM as I know them now, my emunah would have suffered
> greatly. However, since I didn't, my emunah had a chance to entrench
> itself in my psyche, and grew into an existence of its own, independent
> of intellectual support.
> if RNS's mehalech and RAMM
> were both presented to me at the same time I very likely would have
> rejected RAM's mehalech.

So now I can ask the l'chatchila question: if a young person comes to
you asking about dinosaurs, now that you know both approaches, do you
recommend RAM's books or RNS's books? If the former, how do you justify
offering arguments that you know are tendentious? If the latter, how do
you justify your haskamah for II?

David Riceman

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Date: Sun, 26 Sep 2004 17:47:54 +1000
From: "SBA" <sba@sba2.com>
Sefer Zochiyos

Some years ago someone here questioned the 5 'Kosveinu besefers' that
are mentioned in Ovinu Malkeinu.
After all, Chazal talk only of 'shlosho seforim niftochim' - so where
do these 5 seforim come from?

I then noted that the commentators in the siddur Otzar Hatefilos talk
about this - but the do not really resolve this question.

Now that we have many new chevrah - maybe someone can come up with
an answer?

Meanwhile I have an additional question.

What kind of bakosho is 'Kosveinu besefer Zochiyos'?

If you have done the right thing - mitzvos and maasim tovim - you will
definitely be in that sefer. But if not, how can you ask to be included?

We have been discussing it in the past few days and the best I could
come up with was that when one does tshuva miyiro zedonos naasu shegogos,
but with teshuvo me'ahava they become zochiyos. So we are asking Hashem
to accept our teshuvo as being me'ahava - thus transferring all our
earlier aveiros into sefer zochiyos..

[The SR z'l explains similarly the tefiloh 'Yehi Rotzon Sheyirbu
zechoyoseinu' - which lechoreh is also quite puzzling... asking Hashem
simply to increase ones zochiyos?

One answer he gives quoting the Yismach Moshe that Teshuvas Horabim -
even if it is 'miyiroh' - is counted as being 'me'ahavo' and thus the
zedonos become zochiyos...]


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Date: Sun, 26 Sep 2004 14:50:25 +1000
From: "SBA" <sba@sba2.com>
Yizkor and Chasam Sofer

From: "H G Schild" <>
> A Rabbi at my shul got up before Yizkor and stated that the CHASAM
> SOFER says that we also say Yizkor for that "part of our own neshama
> that already lived and is no longer in our guf".... Reference inside
> please? or original source?

I'll ask some of our local CS experts.
But why not ask that rabbi himself?


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Date: Mon, 27 Sep 2004 01:05:42 +1000
From: "SBA" <sba@iprimus.com.au>
Al Naharot Bavel

> Any sources as to the seemingly common minhag of not saying it before 
> bentching during the week? 

According to sefer Minhag Yisroel Torah [and Likutei Maharich] it is a
chassidish minhag to say Shir Hamaalos at all times. Possibly introduced
by the Baal Shem Tov z'l


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Date: Sun, 26 Sep 2004 15:39:29 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Chazal - as seen by rishonim and achronim

On Fri, Sep 24, 2004 at 01:53:09PM -0400, Zev Sero wrote:
: Hagar's oppression happened 14.5 years before Yitzchaq's birth, when
: her pregnancy became visible. The second incident, when she and Yishmael
: were thrown out, happened 5 years *after* Yitzchaq's birth.

I assumed, based on the pasuq, that it happened in response to Yishma'el's
taunting Yitzchaq -- which happened on the day of Yitzchoq weaning party
(21:8-10). I now see in Rashi that was when Yitchaq turned two, so my
count is off by two. So much for that idea.

What's the maqor for saying it was at Yishma'el's birth and when Yitzchaq
turned five?


Micha Berger             None of us will leave this place alive.
micha@aishdas.org        All that is left to us is
http://www.aishdas.org   to be as human as possible while we are here.
Fax: (270) 514-1507            - anyonyous Dr, while a Nazi prisoner

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Date: Sun, 26 Sep 2004 15:43:49 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Mesorah

On Wed, Sep 22, 2004 at 05:09:41PM +0200, Daniel Eidensohn wrote:
:  From the various responses posted I realize I wasn't clear about the
: nature of the dispute between the Chazon Ish and R' Chaim Na'eh. It was
: more than just minag versus text or the masses verus the gedolim. The
: masses in this case included people like R' Yisroel Salanter (whose
: kiddush cup is too small) and the Meshech Chochma etc....

That shows it wasn't "masses vs gedolim", but does not disprove "minhag
vs text". The CC's cup wasn't large enough according to the MB. That
would really seem to show that it was about choosing minhag over theory,
even within a single gadol's mind!

: In fact this dispute is closer to the issue of Zaken Mamre - even though
: he clearly knows that the mesora is a certain way and this understanding
: is not disputed by the Sanhedrin...

I don't see the comparison. The zaqein mamrei chooses his theory, or
mesorah, over Sanhedrin's theory. However, the Sanhedrin's vote *defines*
right. Here, in the post-Sanhedrin, post-semichah, post-2,000 yr of
Torah, post-vote over a seifer, era, we have different contenders for
defining right.


Micha Berger             "And you shall love H' your G-d with your whole
micha@aishdas.org        heart, your entire soul, and all you own."
http://www.aishdas.org   Love is not two who look at each other,
Fax: (270) 514-1507      It is two who look in the same direction.

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Date: Sun, 26 Sep 2004 16:22:16 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: linguistic norm

On Wed, Sep 22, 2004 at 08:14:00PM +0200, D&E-H Bannett wrote:
: In ben Asher's time the ba'alei mesorah speak of the seven vowels and
: the statement "shiv'a m'lakhim marpim" is the source of their sh'va nach
: in v'shamru, shoftim v'shotrim, etc. They had good ears and heard seven
: vowels. Therefore there were only seven.

Leshitasam. Just because the Tiberian niqud system won the written battle
doesn't mean that our havaros are necessarily based on them.

: A few hundred years later R' Yosef Kimchi invented a logical system of
: ten vowels, five long and five shorter companions...

The Kimchi's didn't invent the idea out of whole cloth. They came up
with a system for describing what they heard, using the current theory
for Arabic -- a related language. Kind of like lomdus: post-facto you
come up with a rule that explains as many examples as possible with a
single theory.

Then, with time, people start to assume the exceptions are errors that
crept in, and try to "correct" them.

Sepharadi pronounciation fits the "Palestinian" system, where patach
and qamatz are denoted by the same symbol, as well as tzeirei and segol.

Bavli niqud, OTOH, would explain why Rashi refers to a segol as a
"patach qatan. Both patach and segol were denoted by the same symbol. The
ambiguity directly parallels qamatz gadol and qamatz qatan as we refer
to them.

Hmmm... Sepharadi pronounciation fitting the Israeli shitah, and Rashi
fitting the Babylonian... Wonder what Agus does with that!

: This addition of vowels occurred some 800 years ago, affected the
: categorization of the sh'vaim, and made pronunciaton obey grammatical
: rules.

I doubt it. My belief (as asserted above) is that their rules fit the
general pronunciation amongst the more careful in their community.


Micha Berger             When we long for life without difficulties,
micha@aishdas.org        remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary
http://www.aishdas.org   winds, and diamonds are made under pressure.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                        - Peter Marshall

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Date: Sun, 26 Sep 2004 22:30:09 +0200
From: Simon Montagu <simon.montagu@gmail.com>
Re: hachana mshabat lshabat

Tosefta Shabbat 13, 19 http://kodesh.snunit.k12.il/b/f/f21.htm

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Date: Sun, 26 Sep 2004 20:25:44 EDT
From: Joelirich@aol.com
Re: hachana mshabat lshabat

In a message dated 09/26/2004 4:34:10 PM EDT, simon.montagu@gmail.com writes:
> Tosefta Shabbat 13, 19 http://kodesh.snunit.k12.il/b/f/f21.htm

Interesting, because in the other versions of this no mention is made of
this shabbat for next shabbat, only this shabbat for this shabbat or chol.
Further if you look at the Bavli (shabat 118a) Rashi clearly says (as
I always understood the issur) that it's due to doing it ltzorech chol.

Does anyone know a source (written or oral) on halacha lmaaseh on
this issue.

Joel Rich

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