Avodah Mailing List
Volume 14 : Number 113
Monday, April 11 2005
Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Fri, 8 Apr 2005 09:54:22 -0400
From: "Stein, Aryeh" <AStein@wtplaw.com>
Subject: Evaluation of the Pope by R' Nachman Kahana
[Referring to an Areivim discussion of a comment made on the Larry King
Given our discussion of whether the Pope is one of the lamed-vov tzadikim,
I thought this dvar torah (distributed by my shul) was appropriate
(although the moderators may think otherwise.)
Sent: Thursday, April 07, 2005 9:22 PM
Subject: D'var Torah from Rav Nachman Kahana
BS"D Parshat Tazria Shabbat Parshat Ha'chodesh 5765
Notwithstanding several "minor" faux pas, such as issuing the order to
construct monasteries in the major concentration camps, and recommending
the elevation of Pope Pius the 12th, the pope of the holocaust to
"sainthood" and essentially denying the justification of Judaism as a
religion, since we all have to convert; the demise of the present Pope
calls for an evaluation of the man, since these are no more than mere
'oversights' and are in the accepted range of 'shogaig' for one who is
The timing of the Pope's death in this week's parsha, Tazria,
is appropriate. In fact, it could not have been more brilliantly
orchestrated, because the event has a message for us and for the world.
The festival surrounding his death, where millions of 'batlanim' with
nothing better to do are now descending on Rome, serves as a reminder
how easy it is for the masses to be swept up into avoda zara, whether
the object of worship is a man or a piece of wood.
What's the message?
There are two matters, which although ostensibly different, share the
same challenge to the intellect.
1) Our parsha details the laws concerning a metzora. Upon the decision of
a kohen, a white mark on a person's the body within which the hairs turned
white, renders the person a metzora. His whole life is now changed. From
being a social personality he (or she) is now a recluse, an outcast from
society. If the blemish spreads or if new ones appear, his status becomes
ever more loathsome as it spreads over his body. Ninety nine percent
of his body is now effected; there is no hope for physical cure nor for
social forgiveness. Suddenly he awakens one morning and his whole being,
every part of his body is totally blemished, the Torah now declares him
Tahor' - pure - he may now return to normal life! How bizarre!
2) The halacha states that capital crime cases be tried before 23
judges, with a majority deciding the fate of the accused (acquittal is
decided by a majority of even one, that is 12 for acquittal versus 11
for guilty, but the death penalty must have a majority of at least two).
In Sanhedrin 17a, Rav Kahana states that if all 23 judges rule that the
accused is guilty, he is not killed by the court (of course, he is not
free to go home but he is not killed). How bizarre!
Both these issues stand on the same principal, that all bad is better
than when only some is bad. And this requires an explanation.
The reward/punishment mechanism of the Torah is based on free will. One
who performs a sin through coercion or because of an irresistible
inner compulsion is not as culpable as one who sins after premeditated
planning. A person who was "born bad" with an evil soul, devoid of all
compassion because he cannot feel compassionate, is less culpable than
one who was born knowing the difference between right and wrong, but
chooses to do wrong.
The metzora is ostracized from society because he chose to speak lashon
hara. He knows it is wrong therefore his body is partially well and
partially sick. However if the blemish covers his whole being, Hashem
is telling us that this man has done wrong because his inner self lacks
the ability to choose what is right. Hence, there is no justification
for punishment, which will do no good in making him aware what is right,
because his soul has died within him.
Likewise,when an accused is so obviously guilty that not even one judge
can find something to justify the man's actions, he cannot be killed. He
has lost his humanity. Hashem will deal with him in the other world,
but not the earthly court.
What does this have to do with the Pope?
Christianity has some admirable points. Priests and nuns trek to the
jungles to bring medical care to primitive peoples. They care for widows
and orphans. It even produced a Pope who asked for forgiveness from
the Jewish nation for the church's responsibility for the fact that we,
the Jewish people, after 3500 years number only 13 million.
It produced this Pope, who was the first in history to enter a bet
knesset. He even came to the Kotel wearing his kippa. How many kippa
wearing frum Jews have not done this?
Here is the point. As he pushes the up button on his elevator (maybe),
the Pope consequently is pushing the down button for Christianity, in all
its generations. If Christianity produces only Torquemados, Chelmanitkys
and Hitlers, what can we say to a religion whose believers are born with
evil souls. What can we say to our tormentors and torturers in all of
Europe if they are just a step higher than beasts of prey. If they are
the murderous field soldiers of papal generals, who commands them to
revenge the blood of innocent Christian children which is necessary for
the production of matzot, they are like the metzora entirely covered by
tzara'at, or the accused devoid of any good so that not even one judge
can defend him.
But no! Christianity produces some good people. Hence, we are dealing
with a religion which has a conscience. But if it has a conscience it
means that when they murdered millions of Jews in all the centuries it
was done premeditatedly. There was reason and purpose which drove them
to go on crusades and make pogroms and build the gas chambers which
extinguished the holy breath of life in our brothers and sisters.
Let no one be disillusioned to think that the church has changed. As
we fall over ourselves trying to impress the Christians that we are
more forgiving than they, by intermarrying with them in droves, and as
we grope for the words to express our deepest sympathy over the world's
great loss, let us remember that it was this man, who after meeting with
Arafat, declared that Jerusalem is holy to the three major faiths. But
what he really meant was that it does not belong to the Jewish nation.
Ya'akov, our father, was aware of the two faces of Aysav, when he prayed
to Hashem (parshat va'yishlach), "Save me from brother from Aysav". And
Chazal explained that Ya'akov saw that the danger to Am Yisrael is
two-fold: when Aysav relates to us as "Aysav", the grandfather of Amalek
dressed in the robes of a vengeful fanatical Pope, and also when he
relates to us as a "brother", adorned in the gracious, sweet talking
manner of a "kindly" Pope.
The Goyim have an agenda. But we too have an agenda. Their agenda is the
eventual eradication of the Jewish nation by conversion to their avoda
zara. Our agenda is "tikun olam be'malchut shaday" - the elevation of
all mankind through the recognation of Hashem's mastery of the world.
The initial steps have been taken with the return of millions of Jews
to Eretz Yisrael and with the rebuilding of Torah life here, through
the great yeshivot and rabbanim and the preparations being made for the
eventual rebuilding of the Bet Hamikdash and restoration of the Sanhedrin.
As the navi Micah 4:5 says, "Let all the nations go in the way of their
gods, but for us we will go in the name of our Lord our G-d forever.
Go to top.
Date: Fri, 8 Apr 2005 05:28:25 -0400
From: "Samuel Svarc" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Refusal to believe
I recall reading, that as Carl Sagan was dying, his friend Bishop
(cardinal?) Something or Other asked him if he finally believes in G-d.
Sagan answered that he doesn't and shortly after (L'havtil EAH) yotzo
I used to think that this refusal to believe, which to an atheist
like Sagan means that when he dies it's over. literally, showed a
certain gevurah. He wouldn't trade what he considered the truth (the
inexistence of a .) for the comfort of an afterlife. Now I'm wondering,
does he fall in the group of reshoim who refuse to repent, even at the
gates of Gehenom? As R' Elchonon explains in Kovetz Mamorim, a person
would naturally believe in a Creator if not for his tavus. Therefore,
for Sagan, who as a scientist should have appreciated the evidence for a
Creator better than your average layman, his refusal to believe at a time
people generally start to believe (either because of reflection on their
lives or as a result that most people don't have too many tavus then)
is a sign of Rishus. In the geder of Makir Es Boro V'Rotzo Limrod Bo.
Go to top.
Date: Fri, 8 Apr 2005 13:02:02 -0400
From: "Markowitz, Chaim" <email@example.com>
Subject: Tevila bizmanah
I haven't really been folowing the tevilah b'zmano discussion but
something caught my eye so I figured I would add in my comments.
Chana Luntz <chana@KolSassoon.org.uk> wanted to bring a rayah from
both the Rambam and Chinuch on tevila for tumah to explain tevilah for
I am not sure it is correct to make any comparisons between tevila for
tumah and tevillas niddah. It could be different sugyas. Of course one
could argue that it is the same sugyah because tevilas niddah (at least
b'zman habayis) helped for tumah and tahara also. I'm just raising the
point that superficially I don't know if you can be m'dameh milsa l'milsa.
Go to top.
Date: Fri, 8 Apr 2005 17:59:44 GMT
From: "firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Erev Pesach on Shabbat (5765): A Short Guide
Regarding those who eat challa far from the table, clean themselves
carefully, and then eat Pesach food, I asked <<< given those ground
rules, I can't help but wonder: Is the other food tafel to the bread,
or maybe it isn't? >>>
I'll now amplify my question, with explanations and sources.
(First let me point out that I'm only talking about HaMotzi. I don't
know whether or not the food would be tafel to the bread as regards
Birkas Hamazon. The subject of dessert certainly proves that different
rules apply there.)
Many areas of halacha depend on what a person had in mind while doing a
certain act. For example, if I say a bracha on an orange while an apple
is also in front of me, then whether I can eat the apple without an
additional bracha will depend on whether I had the apple in mind when I
said the bracha on the orange: If I explicitly intended to eat the apple
then it does not need its own bracha, but if I explicitly intended to
not eat the apple then it does need its own bracha.
But what if I simply say the bracha on the orange without any other
explicit thoughts? The rabbis spend much effort analyzing the realities of
each situation, developing rules to figure out what had been -- or should
have been -- in mind at the time. For example, was the apple in front
of me when I said the bracha on the orange? Were they both shalem? Do
I like one more than the other? Depending on the situation, these or
other questions may be important for determining the halachic status.
Sometimes, the reality of a situation is so strong that it will even
override one's explicit thoughts. For example, if one sees his possesions
being carried away by a flood, this constitutes "yiush". He abandons hope
of ever getting them back, and consequently gives up ownership, so anyone
downstream can legally pick them up and keep them. What really amazes me
is that this is true even if he stood on his roof and screamed at his
stuff as it floated away, "I'm not abandoning you! I'm not abandoning
you!" (Choshen Mishpat 259:7)
When we say Hamotzi on bread at the beginning of a meal, does the Hamotzi
cover the dessert? This will depend on many things, such as local custom
and the type of dessert. AFAIK, everyone (or almost everyone) holds that
fresh fruit is not a meal-type food, and so is not tafel to the bread, so
it needs its own bracha. But even so, Mishna Brurah 177:8 says that if one
actually eats a bit of bread together with the fruit, this will force the
fruit into a tafel status, and it can be eaten without a separate bracha.
In our regular lives, we are very accustomed to the idea that our
meal is covered by the Hamotzi. It is true even if I won't eat more
bread at this meal. It is true even if we finished all the bread in
the house. It is true whether we are sitting at the table or standing
in the kitchen. This is because of the importance of the bread. Even
though general society doesn't see bread quite the same way any more,
we still put it at the beginning of the meal, and acknowledge a certain
importance to it, and accept the idea that the other food is tafel to
it. The more modern of us don't really understand it, but we accept the
role which halacha gives it, and we go along for the ride. (A friend of
mine one said, "The thing I miss most from before becoming a Baal Teshuva
is that sandwiches are no longer a convenience food.") At the very least,
we will probably have some bread on the table throughout the meal, even
if we're not eating it with this particular course. And then we may even
bring some bread back, to have some on the table during benching.
Little or none of that applies on Shabbos Erev Pesach. I will quote
again from R' Frimer's Guide: <<< Make ha-Motzi over two hametz challot
AWAY from the table. Eat the Challot over a paper towel or hametz
plate, collect all crumbs and dispose of them by flushing them down
the toilet. Wash plate in bathroom sink and put it with the hametz
dishes. Wash out your mouth and hands and continue with your Kasher
le-Pesach meal. >>>
Everything possible is done to keep the bread and the meal separate. Wash
your mouth and hands??!! Isn't this the exact opposite of the person
who ate bread with his fruit? There, his actions forced the fruit to be
tafel to the bread. It seems to me that these Erev Pesach actions force
the meal to be *not* tafel to the bread. Consider how careful we are to
insure that not a single crumb gets anywhere near the table. That is
very different than a case where I'm not eating any more bread but it
(or its crumbs) is still on the table.
All I'm suggesting (NOT paskening, obviously!) is that people who follow
those procedures should make the appropriate brachos on the meal when
they return to the table.
Go to top.
Date: Fri, 8 Apr 2005 16:26:49 -0400
From: "Israel Zucker" <izucker@...net>
Subject: RE: Evaluation of the Pope by R' Nachman Kahana
Hardly a "dvar torah". This is offensive to an extreme, but somehow I
doubt those who wrote it would be receptive to hearing a different view.
Christianity _has_ changed, or at least the conscience of those practicing
it. Jews have made errors in the past, some quite egregious, but we
wouldn't fault our religion for it (although others do). We shouldn't
do that to others.
Go to top.
Date: Fri, 8 Apr 2005 15:07:50 -0400
From: "Moshe Y. Gluck" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: Bracha for t'vila
>When do you anticipate that a post menopausal woman would do tevila? The
> only case I can think of is the one brought by RTK ie if she chooses to go
> erev yom kippur, and I don't believe she makes a brocha in that case.
I remember a situation in which a post-menopausal woman needed to go to
the mikvah. It was the first and last time of her life in the mikvah.
Go to top.
Date: Sat, 9 Apr 2005 20:03:07 +0200
From: Eli Turkel <email@example.com>
"The generation of Sages who took part in Rav Ashi's assemblage but lived
on after him (such as Ravina II, who out-lived Rav Ashi by 48 years)
were the last of those providing hora'a, decision-making. They continued
to add to the Talmud's text a small number of rulings that had not yet
been recorded and closed the Talmud in the year of Ravina II's death
(500 CE). .... "
There however do exist other shitot that some sections of the gemara
are from the time of the geonim especially R. Achai Gaon and Semag.
As to the percentage due to the saboraim that is controversal. To my mind
the number given by Zvi "a third of a meschecta" is still quite large
(BTW is that 1/3 of Shabbat or makot).
However, according to the school of R. Feldblum and revadim many if not
most of the "stam" gemarot are Saboraic and so a much higher percentage
Go to top.
Date: Sat, 9 Apr 2005 20:13:33 +0200
From: Eli Turkel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: REED on education
> BTW isn't this loss almost a required result from the R'ED vision of
> yeshivot producing a gadol?
This has been repeated on this list forever. While it is known that
this was his shitah for his kollel can someone please provide a quote
that REED said that ALL yeshivot should be set up to develop gedolim.
On the contrary I always assumed that his justification for such a
program in his kollel was that talmidim who were not on such a level
could go to other yeshivot.
Go to top.
Date: Sat, 09 Apr 2005 18:09:30 -0400
From: Zev Sero <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Bracha for t'vila
Chana Luntz <chana@KolSassoon.org.uk> wrote:
> In message , a. adereth <firstname.lastname@example.org> writes
>> It would follow from the analysis, below, that a postmenopausal woman
>> not make a brocha on t'vila,
> When do you anticipate that a post menopausal woman would do tevila?
Suppose she never went after her last nidah, and now she's well beyond
those years, but she's still asura lebaalah until she goes one last time.
> Now the Rambam describes the mitzvah this way in Sefer Hamitzvos, mitzva
> aseh 109 "... and it is not the intention in saying that tevila is a
> positive mitzvah that a tameh person is chayav to become tahor in all
> cases like it is mechuyav on one who dresses in clothes that he put on
> tzitzit [interesting example, since he doesn't mention clothes with four
> corners] or one who has a house has to put up a maka, ... because the
> din itself is the mitzvah .. and one who wants to remain in his tumah
> and not enter for a long time into the machane shechina rishut b'yado."
How about comparing it to shechitah. There is never a chiyuv on anyone
to shecht, and most of us go through life never once fulfilling this
mitzvah, but one who does shecht is doing a mitzvah, and makes a bracha.
Go to top.
Date: Sat, 9 Apr 2005 19:57:05 -0700 (PDT)
From: shmuel pultman <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Eruvin
On Thu, 7 Apr 2005 15:41:37 Steve Brizel wrote:
> I know the map that you are refering to and I have posted it for this
> list's edification . Those highways are the borders of the eruv. None of
> those highways run thru the neighborhood....
> .... The KGH eruv does not permit youto carry over
> the Grand Central Parkway or the Van Wyck to allow for carrying on Jewel
> Avenue to Forest Hills.
If you are referring to the majority of the poskim -- those that maintain
that the criterion of shishim ribuy is dependent on the road itself --
there is no such thing as a regular reshus harabbim and a jumbo reshus
harabbim. If the road has shishim ribuy traversing it is a reshus harabbim
otherwise it's not. None of the roads that run through Brooklyn's eruvin
have anywhere near shishim ribuy.
If you are referring to Rav Moshe zt"l's shita, the fact that the roads
that run through the KGH neighborhood are small ones has no bearing on
the matter that in a city Rav Moshe reckons the shishim ribuy (3,000,000
people) over a twelve mil by twelve mil area and not over a single
road. On the contrary, the fact that the heavily traversed expressways
are in the twelve mil by twelve mil area that includes KGH should add
to the population of that area and possibly affect the construction
of the KGH eruv. (Additionally, all of the roads that border the Boro
Park eruv are much smaller than those that border the KGH eruv, so why
shouldn't Rav Moshe have permitted an eruv there.) However, both Brooklyn
and Queens do not contain 3,000,000 people over a twelve mil by twelve
mil area and are not classified as a reshus harabbim. Therefore, we are
only left with Rav Moshe's issue that one may think that the borough is
a reshus harabbim (Igros Moshe, O.C. 5:29). In this matter IMHO there
should not be any differentiation between the two boroughs as well.
Go to top.
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