Avodah Mailing List

Volume 15 : Number 007

Sunday, May 1 2005

< Previous Next >
Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Thu, 28 Apr 2005 20:48:45 +0200
From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
Re: dreams and schar veonesh

T613K@aol.com wrote:
>In Avodah V15 #5 dated 4/27/2005 Eli Turkel <eliturkel@gmail.com>
>>I assume that on the previous Rosh Hashana  she was put in the book of
>>life and somehow this got changed by a  dream.

>Your assumption that Rava's wife was written in the Book of Life on
>Rosh Hashana but died anyway because of her husband's sin is probably
>not correct.

The Maharal apparently disagrees with your assertion. Being written
in the Book of Life or Death is not an absolute determination of life
or death. And obviously a person can die from the actions of others -
especially wives and children.

Maharal(Rosh HaShanna 16b page 110): The explanation that the complete
tzadik is written for life is that everything concerning him is for
life even if the mazel is for death...he will be guarded against the
chance causes of death by G-d...Concerning the wicked it is the opposite
even his mazel is for life G-d writes him for death. That means G-d
leaves him exposed to chance causes of death. Death is not inevitable
because the mazel might be so strong that it will guard him but it is
a strong possibility. That is why Chazal tell us that one should not
travel with a rasha because he is accompanied by the angelic agents of
destruction...however there are times that he doesn't actually die...This
is expressed by Dovid (Shmuel I 26) that death is divided into 3 causes 1)
G-d directly causes 2) natural 3) chance...

Go to top.

Date: Thu, 28 Apr 2005 23:05:40 +0200
From: Saul Mashbaum <smash52@netvision.net.il>
Re: Brocha on Tevila

Chana Lunz , in Avodah V15 #5 quoted Minchat Shlomo, chelek 2 siman 58
>..that we find by women that they make a bracha on tevila
>which is m'chumra u'misafek v'ano m'ikur hadin, and this is because they
>have accepted on themselves the obligation of tevila also m'tzad hachumra
>and hence they make the bracha. 

Chana asked several questions on this passage, and asked:
>Anybody have any idea what these minhagim and chumros that are being
>referred to here are?

It is clear to me that RSZA is referring to doubtful cases of nida/ziva,
in which women are stringent to consider themselves nidot, count 7
clean days, and do tvila (like tipat dam k'chardal, llo hargasha). Such
a woman may be in fact completely t'hora even without the tvila, in
which case the tvila has not achieved anything mi-ikkar hadin. If so,
how can a woman make abracha on something which has no effect? According
to Ashkenazic practice to make brachot on minhagim, this is not such a
serious question; the tvila has validity in maintaining the chumrot and
minhagim of hilchot nida; this makes the tvila itself a minhag, over
which A can make a bracha. (see Aruch HaShulchan YD 200;1 in which he
explicitly compares making a bracha over a tvila done m'chumra to bircat
haminhag like Hallel on Rosh Chodesh). However, asks RSZA, according
to the mechaber, according to whom brachot are not made over a minhag,
how can a woman make a bracha on such a tvila.?

RSZA's answer is that such a tvila may well have an effect, since it
may make a woman t'hora to enter the har-habayit, which she would not
be able to do before the tvila, as one who was poletet shichvat zera.

Chana's questions on this passage are indeed serious; by this logic, a
man should make a bracha on erev YK, and in fact for any tvilat keri. And,
as Chana further points out, if the woman has not had relations since her
previous tvila, then the effect RSZA ascribes to the tvila does not apply.

The principle "according to Tosfot, we can make a bracha over a minhag"
needs clarification. It does not mean that any minhag should have a
bracha recited over it. There are several well-established minhagim
mentioned in the SA: slichot, kapparot, chibut arava, maot chiitin,
to name a few. No bracha is made over any of these. Tosfot is saying
that something which we say a bracha over when it is a mitzva, may have
a bracha said over it when it is a minhag. Hallel is the best example:
since we make a bracha on Hallel onYom Tov, when it is required, we
may make one over it on Rosh Chodesh, when it is a minhag. The AhS,
in comparing tvila to Hallel, (for Ashkenazim) is saying that since
women make a bracha over tvila when it is required, they may make a
bracha over it when it is only to maintain a minhag.

It is *possible* that a similar concept may apply to the mechaber,
who says a bracha is made only if the mitzva is obligitory (and not
when it is voluntary, as it brachot on lulav and succa for women). It
may be that if the mitzva requires a bracha when obligitory, as tvilat
nashim mitzad hadin, a bracha may be made over it when it is strictly
not, *if* it achieves a significant halachic effect, such as achieving
tahara which would allow one to enter har-habayit. OTOH, since a man's
tvila l'keri is never strictly required, it does not merit a bracha,
even though it achieves the same effect

Indeed, according to RSZA's explanation, a sfardi woman who had no
relations since her last tvila would not make a bracha on a tvila done
to maintain a minhag.

Saul Mashbaum

Go to top.

Date: Thu, 28 Apr 2005 20:05:54 -0400
From: "Herb Basser" <basserh@post.queensu.ca>
another mayseh

>I would add the Tosefta 10:12 parallel to "Mayseh BiRabi Eliezer":
>"Shehayu Mesubin . . . vehayu asukin Bi-HILCHOS HAPESACH kol oso HaLaylah"
>as the parallel of "Vehayu MESAPRIM BIYITZIYAS MITRAYIM kol oso Halalylah"
>in the Hagagdah.

>So "KiHilchos HaPesach" would mean reading the entire Hagadah/Arvei
>Pesachim until the last mishnah (relevant to Pesach) about "Ein

The Rambam didnt understand the matter that way-- kol oso halayla they
were talking about various laws-- rabbi elezar ben azariah would have
finished sippur and hallel by hatzos-- but learning is based on something
else-- leil shimurim or ushemartam es hadavar hazeh (shmos 12:24)--
stay up learning-- shmira means both to try to stay awake (so the rosh
to mishna tamid 1:1, and he is the one who says to learn after the seder
until sleep overpowers) and to learn halakhah(vayikra 27:3).

Thus rambam's haggadah relates that the mishna of brachos that is in the
haggadah talking about saying the 3rd paragraph of shma dealing with the
exodus from Egypt derived from a discussion that night in bnei b'rak--
rambam reads "amar lahem r elezar ben azariah-- lo zachisi etc" and thus
the mystery is removed why this section is there-- its part of the same
story. and it show they were talking about laws of mentioning yetsias
mitzraim-- not laws of pesach or the seder.

Zvi Basser

Go to top.

Date: Fri, 29 Apr 2005 13:43:40 GMT
From: "kennethgmiller@juno.com" <kennethgmiller@juno.com>

At our Seder, someone asked a fascinating question, which I'd like to
share with you, with some possible answers.

The next-to-last stanza of Dayenu is usually translated: "If He would
have given us the Torah, but not brought us in to the Land of Israel,
it would have been enough for us!"

The question: He *did* give us the Torah, but many of us are living
outside of the Land, and it is *not* enough for us! The Torah is not
enough; we want Israel too!

I was dumbstruck. What have we been thinking all these years while saying
these words? What were the authors of this poem thinking?

My first guess was that perhaps it is only because we have already
inherited the Land, that we appreciate it so much; the generation of the
Exodus might well have said, "This Torah is so wonderful! Dayenu! We
are satisfied!" But I doubt it. They knew of Hashem's promise to the
Avos. Would they have let Him off the hook so lightly? I don't think
so! Moreover, Moshe Rabenu surely appreciated the Torah as much as (or
more than) anyone else, but he was not satisfied, and pleaded with G-d
to let him in to Eretz Yisrael.

I looked for other answers.

The Abarbanel and Rashbam suggest that Hashem did not have to bring that
very first generation (i.e., those who were under 20 years old at the
Exodus) in to the Land, but He could have delayed this for a generation
or even longer. That would have been enough for us!

But it seems to me that this interpretation presumes that the song Dayenu
was written from the perspective of the people of that first generation:
"If He would've waited a few generations, it would've been enough, but
He didn't wait!" And that is untenable, because the very next stanza
talks about the Beis HaMikdash! (The phrase "Beis Habechira" cannot
refer to the Mishkan, at least not according to Abarbanel and Rashbam
who comment there, "We already had a Mishkan [and that would have been
enough]. but He added on the Beis HaMikdash and its Ten Miracles.")

And then I saw The Lehmann Hagadah, published by Feldheim.

Lehmann translates "Dayenu" differently than any other hagada I can
remember seeing. He punctuates it not with an exclamation point, but
with a question mark.

NOT "It would have been enough!"

Rather, "Would it have been enough?"

He maintains this understanding throughout the entire song. He does
not explain Dayenu as a list of wonderfully nice things which Hashem
did for us. It was much more than that. These steps were *necessary*,
in order for Bnei Yisrael to become that which they are to become,
and for Hashem's goals to be realized:

"It would never have sufficed for the sublime objective which the
slavery of our fathers in Egypt served, if G-d had led us out of
Egypt without letting the despoilers of our happines feel His acts of
punishment." (pg. 161)

If He took us out of Egypt and did not give us their wealth, would it
have been enough?

If He provided for our needs but did not teach us the lessons of the
Manna, would it have been enough?

If He fed us the manna and did not give us the Shabbos, would it have
been enough?

And if He had given us the Torah, but without bringing us into Eretz
Yisrael, would it have been enough? No, it most certainly would NOT have
been enough!

Akiva Miller

Go to top.

Date: Fri, 29 Apr 2005 13:17:10 -0400
From: Mendel Singer <mendel@case.edu>
Re: The "hidden five" at the Seder.

At 11:45 AM 4/27/2005 -0700, RHM wrote:
>> their is a fifth cup of wine
>> (kos Eliyahu); which (iirc) stems from the fifth saying of redemptionn
>> in the Torah.

>The following explanation of the Kos Shel Eliyahu is in large measure
>taken from Torah LaDaas.  <snip>

Thanks for the excellent and thorough discussion of the 5th cup!

The Maharal was also noheig to drink 5 cups, as are Radzyner chassidim. I 
don't know if any other chassidim do this.


Mendel E. Singer, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Health Services Research
Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics
Case Western Reserve University
e-mail: mendel@case.edu

Go to top.

Date: Fri, 29 Apr 2005 12:31:14 -0700 (PDT)
From: Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
Re: Chochom and the mitzva of the night

Zev Sero <zev@sero.name> wrote:
> Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
>> The question may be asked, "If the Chiuv of Sipur Yitzias Mitrayim is
>> extant at most, only until the end of the night, then what is the
>> point of going on past the night until Zman Kriyas Shema the which is
>> much past night and well into the morning

> Er, she'elat tam: since when is this talking about *sof* zeman kriat
> shma?  Bepashtut it's talking about *techilat* ZKSh - as it says
> "*higia* ZKSh" - and the students came in to tell them that the time
> for hagadah was over, because it was already getting light out, and
> it was time to say KSh instead.

I didn't say "sof". I said "Zman Kriyas Shema". Zman Kriyas Shema doesn't
begin until Netz. Sof Layla is at Alos Hashachar. So during that interval
(between Alos HaShachar and Netz HaChama)they were not Yotze Sipur Yitzias
Mitzrayim. They were only Yotze Limud HaTorah. Higiya Zman Kriyas Shema
Shel Shachris and the Talmidim came to inform them to interupt learning
in order to say Kriyas Shema B'Zmano. One is M'chuiv to interupt learning
Torah in order to say Kriyas Shema B'Zmano.


Go to top.

Date: Fri, 29 Apr 2005 10:01:31 -0400
From: "David Riceman" <driceman@worldnet.att.net>
sheina shel shaharis motzi es haadam min haolam

I know it's not Purim but I overslept this morning ...

We all know that atzei sukkah and noyei sukkah are assurim kol shiva
because of the Biblical phrase "Hag HaSukkos", and Hazal doreish "mah
hag lashem, af sukka lashem".

It seems to me that we can make the same drasha about matza: assur
l'histapek mimatzos kol shiva shenemar hag hamatzos, ma hag lashem,
af matzos lashem.

This would explain many things:

1. There is a widespread custom of eating only "matzos shel mitzva" at
the seder. We can understand this to mean that the makers made a tnai
when they made them, similar to the tnai that is mattir noyei sukkah.

2. There is a rapidly spreading custom of eating "matzos shel mitzva"
not only at the seder, but exclusively for all of Pesah. This can be
explained the same way.

3. Anyone who has tasted normal Pesah matzos will know they taste like
stale cardboard, unlike "matzos shel mitzva" which taste more like fresh
cardboard. Undobtedly those people who are aware of this drasha merely
rent their matzos for display, and after Pesah they are collected and
repackaged by the matza manufacturers for next year.

David Riceman 

Go to top.

Date: Fri, 29 Apr 2005 16:30:03 -0400
From: MPoppers@kayescholer.com
Re: chochom and the mitzva of the night

> A shiur that touches on these issues from R. Y. Kahn...

Thanks, RML. Here's a thought on the Haggadah which IMHO explains a lot
about its structure and about what we're trying to accomplish (this as per
a foreword in a "Malbim Haggadah" print in my library that I happened to
pick up on erev Pesach -- I'm going to be very brief, with any errors of
transmission being mine [because I don't have that print with me while
typing this], and details can be supplied upon request): we want to
fulfill two Torah-level mitzvos, one of which is sourced in the posuq,
"V'higadta l'vincha bayom hahu laimor, 'Ba'avur zeh asah H' li btzaisi
miMitzrayim,'" and the structure of the Haggadah follows the posuq.
That is, we can split this verse up as follows and realize a one-to-one
mapping between section A of the Haggadah and section A' of the verse:
-1- "V'higadta l'vincha"
"Avodim hayinu" explains why we have the mitzva of "V'higadta," even if
we're "chachomim," etc. The section ends with a repetition of the
key posuq.
-2- "bayom hahu"
"Yachol maiR'Ch', Talmud lomar, 'Bayom hahu'; ...."
-3- "laimor"
The d'rashos on the various psuqim.
-4- "Ba'avur zeh"
Rabban Gamliel is reading "Ba'avur zeh" not as "Because of this H'
did what He did" but rather as "This, i.e. the 'Pesach,' 'Matza,' and
'Maror' and what they represent, is because of what H' did." Hence,
they are central to the mitzva sourced in the posuq.
-5- "asah H' li"
"...lir'os es atzmo...shene'emar....."
-6- "btzaisi miMitzrayim"
"Btzais Yisrael miMitzrayim...."

Again, much more can be said (and we have some time to say it before we
i'y'H' bring the Korban Pesach next year) -- the chevra is welcome to
fill in some blanks :-).

All the best (including wishes for a wonderful Shabbos and Chag Someach)
 -Michael Poppers via RIM pager

Go to top.

Date: Fri, 29 Apr 2005 11:29:42 -0400
From: "Sheldon Krause" <sk@ezlaw.com>
Shutting off the gas

With respect to the fire in W'burg, is it so clear that with Central
gas systems the gas cannot be turned off, even tachas hakedairah?

Go to top.

Date: Fri, 29 Apr 2005 14:16:41 -0400
From: "" <hlampel@thejnet.com>
Re: Teaching Children Midrashim

israel@email.arizona.edu had posted: 
>> I was asked by a child (about 11 years old) whether, when the sea split, 
>> the fish were froze or were swimming around.... 

I replied:
> Krias (or Bekias) Yam Suf is not a Midrash, 
> but stated clearly in the Torah, and clearly accepted as literal

israel@email.arizona.edu responded on: Apr 26, 2005:
> Obviously krias Yam Suf is not a midrash, but there are many, many
> midrashim about it. Often when this episode is taught to children a mass of
> these midrashim are presented without any explanation (e.g. there were 12
> lanes, all the water in the world split, etc.). 

This is a separate question, not about the splitting or the freezing (as
originally stated), but about the 12 lanes, all the water in the world,
etc. (Incidentally, some people like to use the all-the-world's-waters
Midrash to support the idea that krias Yam Suf was an almost natural
phenomenon--i.e., not restricted to the Yam Suf, but the result of
something that effected all the earth's water bodies of the time.) But
I'm confused. Next RDMI again refers to the facts of the p'sukim as
midrashim-based ideas, for in response to my referring to...

> how some meforshim explain 
> the p'shat of how the waters stood up as walls, 
> the floor of the sea became hard, etc.: The blowing wind blew apart and 
> then froze solid the walls and previously muddy ground. ...

RDMI wrote:
> But I think this explanation is all based in midrashim.

/This/ explanation? The p'sukim state that through the
blowing of the wind, the waters stood up as walls (in what
form? Liquid? Solid? Frozen? Hence meforshim [some based on Midrashim,
some--see Malbim--based on other references to this event in Nach]). And
the p'sukim state that the sea floor became hard for the Israelites
and, with the involvement of the pillars of cloud and fire, muddy for
the Egyptians.

I get the impression that despite his particular wording, RDMI is really
solely concerned about the other midrashically-based assertions (12
lanes, waters of the world, blossoming flowers, springing fountains),
and questions the presentation of this to children without explanation
as to what the significance of the assertions are (regardless of whether
they are meant literally or, as RDMI evidently prefers, unliterally). One
should note that the Malbim does take these literally and sees them
alluded to in T'hillim.

Nevertheless, RDMI's general question stands, about how to teach Midrashim
that are clearly [to many, including to some/many?/most?/virtually
all? meforshim] unliterally-meant, and was discussed previously on Avodah,
specifically regarding the height of Adam, Moshe Rabbeynu and (lehavdil)
of Pharaoh. In this case, RDMI and I would probably commiserate in
each other's frustration if we were asked to explain precisely how
Adam avoided getting his hair burnt, since "his head reached the sun"
(rather than proving through this that it's not meant literally).

But back to the fish, I wrote:
> Did the fish freeze? I agree it seems irrelevant, but it's a valid 
> question. 

RDMI replied:
> My point was that it can't be both. (I mean it is valid in the 
> sense of it has an actual answer, but it may be of no significance to 
> us and we may have no way of answering it.)

The question of how to teach (indeed, understand for ourselves) things
that have no apparent significance to us and/or that we have no way of
knowing how they actually occurred is no less relevant with things we
all agree are meant literally. In any case, it would be wonderful to find
specific significance in each factor of the miracles Hashem wrought for
us, and I've seen sedarim that deal with this subject. In fact, I've seen
the effort to demonstrate the occurrence of more and more miracle-details
tied up with the familiar discussion between Rabbi Yosay HaGlili, Rebbi
Eliezer and Rabbi Akiva regarding how many miracles were performed in
Egypt vs. at the Yam Suf. In general, the significance is to impress
upon ourselves how ever-more grateful we must be to Hashem. But ah,
to know the significances in all their details..!

Zvi Lampel

Go to top.

Date: Fri, 29 Apr 2005 15:41:22 -0400
From: "Cantor Wolberg" <cantorwolberg@cox.net>
Sensitivity via Schar Veonesh

Recently someone posted the following and part of a response follows:
> Where does schar veonesh come into all of this....
> I assume that on the previous Rosh hashana she was put in the book of
> life and somehow this got changed by a dream.

> Why assume that?  Maybe she deserved to die and was destined to die that
> year... not being put in the book of life.

I must say that I am bothered by this type of rhetoric, namely: "Maybe
she deserved to die."  We as Jews should have more compassion and
understanding. Secondly, that kind of speculation can border on the
presumptuous. The type of statement: "Maybe she deserved to die" is what
turns many off to religion.  A much more sensitive way of articulating
that thinking if necessary might be: "Maybe it was her time to die" or
"Her days perhaps had come to an end" or "Perhaps the Ribono Shel Olam
was summoning her back home."  But to say that she "deserved" to die
seems quite harsh, inappropriate and unnecessary. Furthermore, His
design and reasons are generally far beyond our comprehension anyway.

Just a gut reaction...

Go to top.

Date: Fri, 29 Apr 2005 06:38:14 -0500 (CDT)
From: afolger@aishdas.org
Re: Eruvin

RSPultman wrote:
> Additionally, I think you should take a look at KGH's eruv map at
> <http://www.kehillah.com> to see the borders of the eruv. The eruv
> borders the Van Wyck Expy, Long Island Expy, and the Grand Central Parkway
> and they had to construct tzuras hapesachim over the ramps leading to
> these highways. There is no question that these highways are included
> in the twelve mil by twelve mil area that incorporates KGH.

This is a key distiction. The three highways have fences/walls/are in
ditches, such that KGH is separated from Queens by me'hitzot.

Re: the story about RAK telling RNL that it had been a while since he had
learned eiruvin, the story is told here with too much seriousness. I
recall hearing the story in YU, I believe from RHS. The story is
that RNL was involving himself in the all-Manhattan eiruv, and RAK
was objecting. RNL had to go to RAK, not to get his approval, but to
avoid a condemnation. RNL was afraid of failing his bid with RAK, and
discussed the matter with RYBS. RYBS encouraged RNL as reported, and
when meeting, RAK - after having seen that RNL had more than an inkling
of what he was doing, since the latter had given a thorough presentation
of what he wanted to rely on - used the pretext of not having learned
Eiruvin in a while (which was likely true, as he wouldn't lie, however,
I am sure that even many years after his last 'hazarah of the matter at
hand, RAK would have no problem recalling the halakhot), he decided not
to condemn RNL and let him be, instead. I do not know what the end of
the story was, as I do not know when RAK signed/didn't sign a kol koreh
against the Manhattan eiruv.

Gut mo'ed, gut yomtov,
Arie Folger

Go to top.

Date: Sun, 1 May 2005 21:32:50 +0200
From: "Akiva Blum" <ydamyb@actcom.net.il>
Re: Brocha on Tevila

Chana Luntz <chana@KolSassoon.org.uk> wrote:
> Now, as is so often the case, while looking for something else I fell
> over a teshuva in Minchas Shlomo ... (in chelek 2, siman 53) ...
> (si'if 2 of that siman) seems primarily to be about making a brocha on
> lighting Channuka candles in shul. But in passing in the fourth paragraph
> there he states "that we find by women that they make a bracha on tevila
> which is m'chumra u'misafek v'ano m'ikur hadin, and this is because they
> have accepted on themselves the obligation of tevila also m'tzad hachumra
> and hence they make the bracha. And if so, it is hard to reconcile this
> with the position of the mechaber that one does not make a bracha even
> on mitzvos which have been accepted upon themselves like mitzvos aseh
> shehazman grama so how are they able to make a bracha on this tevila....

> Now this passage strikes me as exceedingly strange, and I confess I do not
> understand it. First of all, what chumros are being referred to that it is
> common for women to toyvel for? ...

He is refering to the fact that when a women has a ketem that requires
a psak, the psak will not always be definite tomei, but may be meshum
sofek (note leadmimut). Nevertheless, women are noheg to make a brocho
on all tevillos.

This may not answer all the questions but is clear to me that that is
his intention.

Akiva B

Go to top.


[ Distributed to the Avodah mailing list, digested version.                   ]
[ To post: mail to avodah@aishdas.org                                         ]
[ For back issues: mail "get avodah-digest vXX.nYYY" to majordomo@aishdas.org ]
[ or, the archive can be found at http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/              ]
[ For general requests: mail the word "help" to majordomo@aishdas.org         ]
< Previous Next >