Avodah Mailing List

Volume 14 : Number 023

Friday, November 5 2004

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Wed, 3 Nov 2004 21:46:51 +0200
From: "D&E-H Bannett" <dbnet@zahav.net.il>
Re: 'aliyot

I know nothing of the origins, but the stops are definitely not universal.

First, the Teimanim have completely different stops for the 'aliyot.
I am speaking of the Baladi and Darda'i nuschaot. Many of the Shami,
after receiving printed books from Izmir and Livorno, changed over to
the usual stops.

Second, the German humashim, such as those of R' Wolf Heidenheim, have a
number of differences in the stops. One that comes to mind is in Parashat
B'reshit where most humashim have sheni at asher bara Elohim la'asot at
the end of vaikhulu, the German Ashkenaz have r'vi'i at that point with
stops before at yom shlishi and yom hamishi. In addition where most have
shlishi at nefesh hayya hu sh'mo, Heidenheim notes that the "Sefaradim"
have shlishi a few lines before at 'ezer k'negdo.

Sorry I never investigated the early sources for the stops. They must be
from Bavel, because in Eretz Yisrael they had the three year (and half)
cycle and thus shorter 'aliyot and weekly parashot.


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Date: Wed, 3 Nov 2004 17:07:40 EST
From: T613K@aol.com
Re: Ma'aras haMachpeilah

In Avodah V14 #22 dated 11/3/2004  RMB writes:
> Crown Prince Rudolph of Austria, the son of Franz Joseph  visited
> Palestine a few years before his death in  1989.
Sender: owner-avodah@aishdas.org
Precedence: bulk
Reply-To: avodah@aishdas.org
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8

Maybe that was supposed to be "1889"?

 -Toby  Katz

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Date: Wed, 3 Nov 2004 22:18:59 GMT
From: Chana Luntz <Chana@kolsassoon.org.uk>
Re: Intergenerational conflicts and Hilchos Shabbos

RDB writes: 
>2. Regarding "intergenerational conflicts" - I am 
>consistently shocked  and amazed by the ignorance of many 
>Orthodox families regarding basic kashrus and shabbos 
>halachos. Some practices are almost impossible to 
>justify (including common use of the blech (except for Rav 
>Ovadia Yosef's view) and oven on shabbat, 

Hold on, that is a bit of a dismissive waive. ROY's view is not just
his view, it is the view of the Sephardi poskim based on the Rambam
and others, and held down the years. It is a much a distinction between
Ashkenazi and Sephardi halacha as kitniyos on pesach. That is, Sephardim
can do chazarah on shabbas so long as it is garuf and katum and the
food is fully cooked and there is more solid than liquid, even from
completely cold.

Now I agree that your American students are almost certainly Ashkenazim,
and that has never been the Ashkenazi halacha, and RYBS's permission based
on the Ran is about as lenient as it gets for Ashkenazim, and that the
parents of your students should no more be relying on Sephardi halacha
in this regard than eating items labelled for ochlei kitniyot on pesach
(which is another thing that a lot of people do).

But even there *in Israel* (at least outside of Jerusalem where there
were always two beitei din)they again have ROY to rely on, because ROY
holds that Maran is the posek of Eretz Yisroel and that the Ashkenazim
should never have set up different betei din and poskened differently
and should all have switched to Sephardi minhagim on moving to Israel.

So, according to ROY, these parents (at least in Israel) in this regard
are acting in ways permissable l'chatchila.

Now I agree with you that your students, and the girl in question, has
every right to, and will find many poskim who will advise them to, follow
a different stricter position when they themselves set up their own homes.

But, if they are indeed acting in a way that at least a posek of ROY's
stature says is l'chatchila, and you weigh that up against the kibud av
v'am issues, I don't think the halachic conclusion is that difficult.
And it is precisely this kind of example, which illustrates the
complexity and breadth of the halachic system which I think (and said
in a previous post which Micha does not seem to have posted yet), if
taught will help alleviate the blanket chillul shabbas allegations and
the inter-generational conflict. Because even if your students or the
girl choose to follow a stricter opinion in their own lives, it is also
clearly inappropriate to label actions performed l'chatchila by half
the halachic population as chillul shabbas.


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Date: Wed, 3 Nov 2004 19:56:59 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Dveykus vs. Shleymus, Parashas HaShavua

On Thu, Oct 28, 2004 at 09:19:48AM -0400, Yosef Gavriel & Shoshanah M. Bechhofer wrote:
: Does the NhC mention ha'alo'as nitzotzos explicitly (my sefer is 
: unavailable at the moment)?

Looking inside, I see he does not. Rather, RCV writes, "The tiqun reaches
to that world [from which the ko'ach it repairs comes] and the upper
ko'ach which recieves it -- to repair it, to raise it, or to add light
and qedushah [*] upon its qedushah."

The footnote in my edition refers you to 2:6, where the purpose of
berachos is given as the addition of light and qedushah to the world.

In the haga"h, R' Yitchaq refers to the berakhah bringing down from the
Or Maqif from which the light of the mitzvah derives. This is an idea
RCV discusses at length in Ruach Chaim at the very begining of Avos.

I believe RCV's "raising the koach" is what my memory translated.

: Expound on "national," please.

Well, the beris is between HQBH and the Jewish people as a whole. It is
therefore reasonable to explain the purpose of the mitzvos on national
terms, and therefore the individual's goals in terms of his role within
the people.

For some issues, this yeilds the simplest explanation. E.g. gender
differences need not be explained in terms of the individual's
neti'os. One need not say all men are X or all women are Y. But rather
that the nation is best served by establishing these norms, as these
are the propensities or norms shown in each group.


Micha Berger             For a mitzvah is a lamp,
micha@aishdas.org        And the Torah, its light.
http://www.aishdas.org                   - based on Mishlei 6:2
Fax: (270) 514-1507      

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Date: Wed, 3 Nov 2004 19:59:04 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Asking questions

On Tue, Nov 02, 2004 at 05:43:02PM -0600, Kohn, Shalom wrote:
: Are others on the list equally troubled by the notion -- attributed to
: Rav Chaim, no less -- that "questioning is prohibited"?

It didn't surprise me. First, without the translation, do we know whether
he's speaking of she'eilos, qushyos or tiyuvtos -- finding unknowns,
resolving aparent contradictions, or looking for an upshlug?

(Note that English only has two categories with a distinction that is
poorly articullated: to ask a question, and to question. However, in
learning we speak of at least three different kinds of queries.)

Second, RCB is not one to appeal to first principles and ask as much as
analyze and extend. The questions of lomdus may be a different kind of
topicality than this comment.

On Wed, Nov 03, 2004 at 11:07:17AM +0200, Daniel Eidensohn wrote:
: Rosh (Sukkah 10a #15):The gemora typically only asks a question that it
: can answer

Such questions are frequent and even has their own buzzwards: Teiqu?
Tiyuvta de-.... Tiyuvta?

As I said, I wasn't so much surprised as awaiting for further


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: Wed, 3 Nov 2004 20:33:21 -0500 (EST)
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Requesting this List to List Machshava Classics

RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com wrote:
> The list of complete texts is not too difficult to name and I've received
> help from distinguished members off-line such as Dr. Shinnar....

I'm curious to see what you came up with.

>                                                               Also,
> Yeshivas Beth Moseh in Scranton has excllecent selections fom Kuzari,
> Rambam, Chovos Hlevavos, Ramchal etc. Even if you don't like their
> translation, at least you have a list of sources to investigate.

What do you expect from a yeshiva whose logo is a picture of Har Sinai
with firey letters radiating from it reading "AishDas"? <g>

> What I need help is making a list of "EXCERPTS" that are also classic.

I'm not sure how to make a canonical list of classic quotes. The
assessment would be overwhelmingly subjective, and largely reflective of
the editor's own mehalekh. Everyone sees a very different set of ideas as


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: Thu, 4 Nov 2004 08:24:14 +0100
From: Arie Folger <afolger@aishdas.org>
Re: Zohar and its authors

RSP wrote:
> Isn't a similiar question asked against the Torah. i.e. there are
> words in the torah that we don't see being used in other writings till
> much later in history, which would date the torah to a later time then
> we'd want.

Careful. Some proponents of these arguments want to first make the
revealed text of the Torah older than we claim it is, then to "disprove"
that straw man and subsequently place the revelation of the Torah,
without warrant, at a much later date. It would be quite irrelevant if
the texts of Bereishit are written in awkward Exodus Hebrew, as it was
committed to writing after the Exodus, and the difference in style may
be attributed to the fact that, while Shemot through Bamidbar is written
as a present tense or recent past, and Devarim is written as a series
of speeches from MR to klal Yisrael, Bereishit is written as what was
then already old history.

In general, I would abstain from drawing parallells between the arguments
around authorship of the Zohar, and biblical criticism, as each is a
specialized field, and while I know a fair deal about the former (and
I suspect, so do many list members), I know too little about Biblical
criticism, and what I have seen is much weaker than the similar arguments
about Zohar.

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: Thu, 4 Nov 2004 14:51:26 -0500
From: "Jonathan Ostroff" <jonathan@yorku.ca>
RE: LECTURE #3: TORAH AND SCIENCE -- Rambam, methodological naturalism, and the starlight problem

[R' Joel Rich:]
> A  perennial Avodah favorite addressed on the Gush VBM.
> <http://vbm-torah.org/archive/bereishit/03bereishit.htm>

>               LECTURE #3: TORAH AND SCIENCE

[Quoted by Micha:]
> Much ink has been spilled over the camels that are mentioned in
> Scripture. The book of Bereshit describes our patriarchs riding
> camels. Scholars and Rabbis have been arguing for decades whether or not
> camels had already been domesticated in the patriarchal period. According
> to the position presented here, the question is totally irrelevant
> Dr. Yisrael Rosenson brings another example that is relevant to the
> present discussion. Rosenson relates to the objection raised by biblical
> scholars against the story of the fall of the walls of Jericho, the truth
> of which archeology has been unable to verify. Scripture's objective,
> argues Rosenson, is not to provide a precise historical description of
> Jericho's fortifications. Scripture's aim here is to portray a nomadic
> people standing outside a settled and fortified city, and to describe
> their experiences and feelings

This does not accord with Chazal or the meforshim who do take the
historicity of the Torah seriously, even with respect to maaseh beraishis
as discussed in the thread on the age of the universe and evolution.
Kathleen Kenyon denied the historicity of the account of the walls of
Jericho in Tanach, but Byant Wood disagreed with much of her analysis
(Wood, B.G. Did the Israelites Conquer Jericho? A Now Look at the
Archaeological Evidence. Biblical Archaeological Review, 16(2):
44-58, 1990.; see further discussion there). While I have seen many
archeologists write that camels are anachronistic to the patriarchal era,
an Egyptologist told me that this is just plain wrong as (IIRC) pottery
shards with figures of camels that date to that era was reported over
30 years ago (I can look up the references if necessary).

The VBM article also reports that "Rambam [MN II, 25] states that he
would have no problem interpreting Scripture not in its literal sense,
if our scientific or philosophical knowledge would require that". This
is an oversimplification of a very complicated discussion in the 2nd
chelek of the MN (please see my account of this in earlier threads on
the age of the universe).

My understanding of the Rambam is that when it comes to origins (the age
of the universe; origin of man etc.) normal scientific evidence would
be insufficient to cause us to move away from the historical account,
especially, I would add, where these scientific statements are at
the end of a long inferential chain relying on extrapolation and deep
theory. What you would need is an incontrovertible logico-deductive
proof (e.g., for the Rambam, that G-d is not corporeal). At MN II:17,
the Rambam writes that:

"No inference can be drawn in any respect from the nature of a thing
after it has been generated ... to the state of that thing while it is
moved towards being generated".

If you extrapolate backwards from the slow growth of an 18 year old you
will draw a dramatically incorrect inference if you were unaware of the
dramatic growth of a baby or a fetus in the womb. The Rambam, I believe,
is here referring to what today would be called the uniformatarian
position (taken by all materialists who believe in methodological
naturalism) that only the natural processes we see operating today could
have been operating in the past. This is an unwarranted assumption,
as the Rambam writes, that in the 7 days of creation, natural law was
not yet fully operative.

RNS wrote in the Science of Torah (SoT page 91) that there is
"incontrovertible" evidence for an ancient universe e.g. the light
reaching us from the milky way must have started 10 billion years ago. The
uniformatarian principle would say that the speed of light is found today
to be an absolute constant and hence must always have been so. After all,
the constancy of the speed of light is a consequence of one of the most
reliable scientific theories -- general relativity.

However, according to my understanding of the Rambam, the laws of nature
were not fixed in the 7 days of creation and hence light could have moved
a billion times faster. Perhaps, even, general relativity was not yet
operative and/or some other mix of natural law and miracle was at work.
Again, it is a mere assumption that what we observe now gives us sound and
reliable evidence for how it came into being. The seven days of creation
represent the "Planck time" of creation -- other than the Torah, we have
no reliable evidence for what happened during this period of origins.

I recently became aware of the references below, in which some scientists
are speculating with the "heretical" and revolutionary idea that the
speed of light may very well have been different in the past.

[1]	Barrow, J.D. Cosmologies with varying light speed. Physical Review
D, 59(4): 1999. 

[2]	Barrow, J.D. Is nothing sacred? (challenging rule that speed of
light is invariable). New Scientist, 163(2): 28, 1999. 

[3]	Magueijo, A.A.a.J. A Time Varying Speed of Light as a Solution to
Cosmological Puzzles. Physical Review D, 59(4): 043516-1 to 13, 1999. 

[4]	Mullins, J. Constants stay put for now. New Scientist, 182(2453):
15, 2004. 

[5]	Reich, E.S. If the speed of light can change. New Scientist,
183(2454): p6(2), 2004. 

For example, in [3], Magueijo calculates that the speed of light must have
been 60 orders of magnitude faster than the current value in the early
history of the universe! This would be needed to save the big bang theory
from various "pirchas" and as an alternative to the inflation hypothesis.
Note that Magueijo is working within the normal uniformatarian assumptions
of methodological naturalism that natural law always prevailed and that
what we observe now gives us sound and reliable evidence for what was.
Nevertheless, it is instructive that yesterday's "heresy" is today's
Physical Review D.

All that we need for the starlight problem to disappear is a much more
conservative 9 orders of magnitude during maaseh beraishis.

I would be interested in the reaction of any physicists on avodah to

Contra the VBM article, there is no "clash between the plain sense
of Scripture and modern scientific findings" when science is done
responsibly and assumptions are clearly identified. Rather, the clash
is between scripture and scientism, i.e. the unwarranted assumption of
methodological naturalism.

Kol Tuv .... Jonathan

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Date: Thu, 4 Nov 2004 09:34:49 -0500
From: "" <hlampel@thejnet.com>
Josephus and etrog

"Moshe Feldman" <moshe.feldman@gmail.com>:
> The contradiction in Josephus (as noted in
> the original question by R. Levin) is that in one place he refers to a
> citron while in another he refers to a perseia.

Thanks for the reply but, as I originally asked, please supply the
"chapter and verse" where Josephus mentions "perseia" in terms of the
numbering system used in Whiston's edition.

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Date: Thu, 4 Nov 2004 08:35:04 +0100
From: Arie Folger <afolger@aishdas.org>
ANNOUNCEMENT - Maharsha on Psa'him

Check out http://www.maharsho.com where you will find an English work
based on thorough analysis of the Maharsho on the entire Psa'him, as
well as explanations to everything needed (GeFaT) to understand those
Maharsho pieces. Included is also an analysis of much or all of the
Maharshal on Psa'him.

Pick a difficult sugye and take a careful look; you need to pay serious

The work was done by my cousin R. 'Hazkl Folger (he is a lurker of Areivim
& Avodah and is probably getting ennerved at my hypercorrection, so here
is the more common spelling: Chazkel ;-)), who also authored a book on
the Meiri to mass. Qidushin, which is also an analysis and commentary
based on the Meiri on Qidushin; these are not mere translations.

May he merrit to study and publish on many more works and massekhtot
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: Thu, 4 Nov 2004 13:27:51 +0200
From: Eli Turkel <turkel@post.tau.ac.il>

On Wed, 3 Nov 2004 15:56:51 -0600, [Micha] wrote:
> If the price differential exceeds 1/6 (ie 16-2/3%), the sale
> wouldn't be valid. However, whether that implies a lifnim mishuras 
> hadin to stick to market value without any overpricing on the part of 
> the storeowner,  it doesn't mean that there is no value to sticking 
> with the man if he isn't / can't afford to be a machmir.

I find it difficult to measure onaah in today's market. It is 1/6 from the
bottom price, average price, highest price in a recognized supermarket?
In most price surveys I have seen no one store is cheapest on all
items. Many cheap stores can be quite expensive on certain items. Does
it mean that every store is over on onaah unless they do a price survey
on every item in the store?

On electronic devices can we compare a local store to internet prices?
Do we compare the local store to discount stores like Walmart?

Eli Turkel,  turkel@post.tau.ac.il on 11/4/2004
Department of Mathematics, Tel Aviv University

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Date: Wed, 3 Nov 2004 22:37:28 GMT
From: Chana Luntz <Chana@kolsassoon.org.uk>

I wrote:
>>On the other hand, my problem with the discussion whenever 
>>it comes up every year especially as we are frequently in 
>>the parsha is this:

>>If visitors had shown up on Avraham's doorstep looking for 
>>candy (by whatever name) do you think he would have turned 
>>them away?


>>It is one thing if the act in question is one with dubious 
>>origins. But giving candy to visitors is hachnasos orchim, 
>>and I sruggle to see how the pagan origins of tricking or 
>>treating (ie the reason these people happen to turn up at 
>>one's door) operate overrule the obligations of hachnasos 
>>orchim (if the goyim that Avraham entertained happened to 
>>be travelling in the desert due to some pagan festival, as 
>>is more than likely, are you saying he would not have 
>>invited them in?)

You then replied: 
>This is a very important argument. If I may rephrase it, 
>even Tosafos, the strictest rishon on this issue, allow one 
>to perform a Gentile practice if it is mentioned in 

>Is the Halloween practice really the same as Avraham's, 
>which would make it kesivah be-Oraisa and therefore 
>permissible? No.

>1. I suspect that Avraham would have insisted that these 
>children take off their costumes (i.e. wash their feet of 
>idolatrous dirt) 

But there would seem to be a major distinction between something that
is mamash an avodah zara (as dirt apparently was) and a costume. Even
in the case of a costume that was the equivalent of the bigdei kehuna
and used for the service of avodah zara there would seem already to be
a distinction. And in the case of Halloween where nobody believes that
these kids are actually worshipping any avodah zara, even less using
these costumes as part and parcel of that worship, the case would seem
to be a lot weaker.

In fact could we not derive from the psukim themselves that Avraham would
not have required the taking off of a costume? After all, on what basis
was it that Avraham surmised that these people were likely to worship
dirt? Mostly likely because they were dressed as Arabs (it was either
that or he was able to detect their ethnic origin from their faces).
If dressed as Arabs, then indeed their costume was labelling them as
dirt worshippers and yet Avraham only required the washing off the dirt
itself, not a change of clothing.

>and thank God for the candy before eating it.

Interesting. Do you understand that Avraham was requiring a brocha
rishona? I always thought that what was being asked was for a brocha
achrona (the d'orisa of v'achalta v'savata) (it might depend on whether
the kids in your neighbourhood who come are in fact Jewish or non Jewish).

>2. This is simply not hakhnasas orehim. That mitzvah is 
>when one invites guests to stay in one's home or people who 
>are guests elsewhere to eat a meal in one's home (see 
>Terumas Ha-Deshen, part 1 no. 72; Rema, Orah Hayim 333:1 
>and commentators). 

This seems very odd, because one would end up concluding that Avraham
Avinu did not fulfil the mitzvah of hachnasas orchim (although Lot did),
nor was he likely to if he was approaching travellers in the heat of
the day. In which case mMaybe the statement of Chazal that "greater is
hachnasas orchim than receiving the presence of the Shechina" which they
derive from Avraham should be modified to "greater are attempts towards
hachnasas orchim even when they are unlikely to pay off than receiving
the presence of the Shechina". But if that is the case there would still
seem to be merit in giving to visitors who do not fulfil the technical
definition or orchim.

But I wonder if there is not another way to read the Trumas Hadeshen and
the Rema? After all, what is being brought down there in the Shulchan
Aruch is the mishna which states the permissability of moving piles
of grain on shabbas, in circumstances in which it would otherwise be
prohibited, for tzorech orchim and other situations of d'var mitzvah.
And the Rema is qualifying that it is not just moving piles of grain,
but any other shvut that can be violated in such circumstances.

And in that context one can see that it cannot be right (or what is
intended by the mishna) that one could invite one's mates over for
a shabbas meal with that inviting thereby allowing one to violate
d'rabbanans with impunity, and similarly it cannot be right that one
could invite one's mates over for a meal and by virtue of that fact
alone call it a seudas mitzvah with all the ramifications of that term.

So it seems logical for the Trumas Hadeshen and the Rema to qualify
that the sort of orchim being discussed here, namely orchim that have
come from afar (note that the Kaf Hachaim brings a further qualification
on the Mechaber that they must have arrived just before shabbat, which
again makes sense,because if they arrived well before shabbat, why were
the piles of grain not moved then).

But the circumstances in which the needs of orchim override the
d'rabbanans of hilchos shabbas could, it seems to me, be seen as a
different question to the full definition of the mitzvah of hachnasas
orchim. And in fact does not the Magen Avraham advert to this in his
statement in s'if katan 5 that if friends are invited over it is a seudas
reshut and that the mitzvah is only on the baal habayis who invites
(suggesting that there is a mitzvah of hachnasas orchim to invite one's
friends, but, in simple terms, the wider mitzvah is on the gavra, not
the cheftza).

If you read the Rema as I have done above that would seem to leaves
one free to understand the mitzvah of hachnasas orchim more like the
Rambam in hilchos avelim (perek 14, halacha 4) where he describes it as
"m'achil ovrei drachim u'mashke otan" (not to mention the pshat of the
Torah and the many drashes over the years).

>Giving nosh to neighborhood kids is not any mitzvah of 
>which I know. Hessed? Not really; these aren't kids in 
>need. Tzedakah? Certainly not; these children are not 

But it does seem to fit within the Rambam's description of hachnasas
orchim. And if you take Avraham as the paradigm around which the Chachamim
instituted the mitzvah (because the Rambam makes it clear that it is
a mitzvah d'rabbanan) then needing would not seem to be an essential
criteria, because it is hard to think of a case of less need than when
the guests are in fact angels who have finished their shlichus and will
be home by evening.

I further wrote:
>>I can however see the merit in making it clear to one's 
>>guests what we do and don't keep (as Avraham did in asking 
>>his visitors to bless HaShem) - eg stating (as you give 
>>the candy) something like "Jews don't celebrate Halloween, 
>>but we are happy to give candy to visitors whatever the 

>Is that true? Do you keep candy near your door every day 
>for when the neighborhood kids come by asking for it? 

No, I certainly don't (keep candy or even sweets by the door). But
I think Avraham Avinu would have, and if somebody wanted to practice
chessed on the level of Avraham Avinu they would (hence my phrasing,
I can see the merit ...).

>Once you make such a statement, you'd better. Because the 
>kids will come. Every day.

I did wonder if indeed if one did make such a statement the local kids
would come every day. My best guess is that they would not. I don't know
about your neighbourhood, but most neighbourhoods I know of there are
elderly people who would be more than willing to ply neighbourhood kids
with candy in exchange for a visit, but I don't see the kids beating a
path to their door. And most kids have, quite rightly these days, been
educated against accepting candy from strangers outside of the accepted
parameters, of which presumably trick and treating is one.

But even if they did come every day, Avraham Avinu would have seen that
as a terrific kiruv opportunity. On Halloween they won't want to stay and
talk because they want to go onto the next person to get more goodies,
but on any other day it is a golden opportunity so let them come.

Perhaps if you wanted to make a statement similar to the one above,
but wanted to put more emphasis on the kiruv, maybe you could make
the statement slightly differently eg "Jews don't celebrate Halloween,
but we are happy to give candy to visitors whatever the day, so long as
before you eat the candy you thank G-d for providing it, and to help you
make that blessing I have included the words of the blessing (probably
in English) here attached to the candy". That way, if they did indeed
come back, they would know that part of the deal was a brocha.

I am not saying it is an easy thing to do, it is clearly time consuming
and expensive, and there may well be other mitzvos on which one wishes
to spend one's time and money. But it does seem to me to be a true
reflection of the midos of Avraham Avinu.


Go to top.

Date: Fri, 5 Nov 2004 16:27:06 +1100
From: "SBA" <sba@sba2.com>
Eliezer and Rivka's camel 'test'

Let me share a nice pshat I heard tonight -- through which we can better
understand a number of inyonim in this and other parshiyos. [I am writing
this late on Erev Shabbos -- and hope it is in an understandable form..]

It comes from the sefer Ne'os Deshe by the old Nitra Rov, Rav Shmuel
Dovid Ungar zt'l. The vort is actually from the included chiddushim of
his father Rav Yosef Moshe Ungar zt'l the rav of Piestany.

Several questions:

1) "Veho'ish Mishto'eh...Hahitzliach Hashem Darko...?" [Eliezer was
'astonished...reflecting silently to know whether Hashem had made his
journey successful or not' -- Artscroll translation].
Meforshim ask, why did Eliezer continue to have sefeikos about the
success of his mission, even after all the criteria of his 'test' had
been fulfilled?

2) Also, why - after having proven that Rivkah was the perfect match
- did he allow this 3 year old girl to draw water and attend to his
camels? Why not do it himself - or use one of his servants?

3) Furthermore, camels can go for days without drinking, and these had
only just left Avrohom's house - as Rashi says [24:42] that Eliezer and
his caravan had 'kefitzas haderech' - arriving the day they left. So
the camels were definitely not in any need for a refill!

4) Further in the parsha, when relating the events to Besu'el, Eliezer says
"Vo'eisht, vegam hag'malim hishkosoh". Why the need to go into this
seemingly unnecessary detail about Rivkah's concern for the camels ?

RYMU explains all this with a hakdomo besheim the Gro z'l - on [Vayeishev
44]: "Haboker or ve'ho'anoshim shulchu - heimoh vechamoreihem".

The Gro asks, why add those 2 words - "heimoh vechamoreihem"?
Doesn't "Ve'ho'anoshim shulchu" - says it all!

He answers with the Chazal regarding 'behemton shel tzadikim' that
'ein HKBH mevi takolo al yodon' [Taanis 24 -- about the donkey of Reb
Yosi demin Yukras who stalled and wouldn't move -- until an item that
didn't belong to its owner was removed from it].

It is known that Yosef Hatzadik was not out for retribution against his
brothers -- but rather ensuring that they have a kaporo on this world
for the tzaar they caused him.
However, he didn't know if he had already caused them enough pain and
'agmas nefesh' or not -- and if his brothers had already received
their kaporo.

So what did Yosef do?

He placed his goblet into a sack carried by one of their donkeys. Thus,
if they had already been forgiven, and they being returned to their
tzadik status, their donkey would not have budged -- not wishing to carry
an item that is not theirs. OTOH if the donkey moves [proving it does
don't qualify as a 'behemton shel tzadikim'] -- it is a siman that they
still need a kaporo.

And that, says the Gro, is the diyuk of "hemoh VECHAMOREIHEM" -- Yosef
saw that the donkeys had no qualms about carrying an item not theirs...

Now back to Eliezer and his camels.

Eliezer knew that the camels of Avrohom would not touch anything that
wasn't 100% 'kosher veyoshor'. And indeed knowing that the camels had
no need for water after their short 'kefitzas haderech' trip -- he made
a special test for Rivkah -- via the camels to see if she was a worthy
candidate for Yitzchak. [See Rashi 24:14, Uvoh eida]

Had she had any p'sul, or drawn the water in any incorrect way -- ie
her pushing ahead of others etc etc, no doubt the camels would not have
accepted her offer of water...

After this drush, the questions raised above are all nicely solved...

Go to top.


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