Avodah Mailing List

Volume 15 : Number 009

Sunday, May 8 2005

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Tue, 3 May 2005 20:18:15 EDT
From: Zeliglaw@aol.com
Re: Dayenu

> The Ramban states in his intro to Sefer Shmos that Shmos records the
> Galus and Geulah. When you read Dayenu in its totality, it records the
> entire process.

Also, R Kasher in Hagaddah Shelmah quotes R Avraham ben HaRambam who
states that the Rambam was aware of Dayenu and said it even though it
was not part of of his formal text. Dayenu was not universally accepted
by all of Klal Yisrael as part of the Haggadah even as as of the time
of the Rambam. That's why the Haggadah of the Rambam omits it.

Steve Brizel

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Date: Wed, 04 May 2005 16:44:56 +0200
From: saul mashbaum <smash52@netvision.net.il>
Re: Chochom and the mitzva of the night

RMB wrote about the shitta of REbA regarding zman achilat korban Pesach
>It's possible that there is a split between when
>the latest time one may eat the qorban and when it becomes nosar. So,
>one could argue that REbA held that one can eat until chatzos, but it
>becomes nosar even according to him at morning. 

I once heard a very interesting extension of this idea. According to
REbA, the KP must be eaten by chatzot; one who did not eat any part of
a KP by chatzot has been mevatel a mitzvat aseh. However, after chatzot
(until the morning), not only is the KP not notar, it is a shlamim,
and one who eats it then has a kiyyum in achilat shlamim.

I heard this in the name of the Ohr Sameach.

Saul Mashbaum

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Date: Wed, 4 May 2005 11:53:47 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Chochom and the mitzva of the night

On Wed, May 04, 2005 at 04:44:56PM +0200, saul mashbaum wrote:
: I once heard a very interesting extension of this idea...

Actually, the Brisker variant is identical to the Or Samei'ach's,
as others pointed out to me in private email. However, since this
"extension" wasn't in the Brisker version until RYBS, RMShKmD gets credit
as the mechadeish.


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Date: Wed, 4 May 2005 03:40:51 GMT
From: "kennethgmiller@juno.com" <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
Biur Maasros

I already posted to Areivim about this, but I want to make sure the
Avodah people hear too.

On Pesach of the fourth and seventh years of the Shmittah cycle, there
are special mitzvos called Biur Maasros and Viduy Maasros, which are
most relevant to people who possess either unmaasered food or a coin
which had been used for redeeming Maaser Sheni.

This year (5765) is the fourth year of this cycle, and these mitzvos
should have been performed last week. People who never separate Trumos
and Maasros don't need to worry about this, and I presume that this was
well-publicized in Eretz Yisrael.

But if you are a person who (like me) lives in Chutz Laaretz and has
recently purchased Israeli produce so as to be able to do these mitzvos,
you may have (like me) neglected to do Biur Maasros and Viduy Maasros
in its proper time.

More information on this subject can be found in any sefer on the topic
of Hafrashas Trumos uMaasros, such as the section which was written by
Rav Kalman Kahana, and printed in the back of many Israeli editions of
Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, chapter 12.

Akiva Miller

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Date: Tue, 3 May 2005 23:02:31 -0400
From: "Cantor Wolberg" <cantorwolberg@cox.net>
Teaching Children Midrashim

The following question was posed recently:
"But how do you teach this medrash to your kids? Do you says there was
one split? Many? Water fountains? Fruit trees? Marble tiled floors? I've
got a little sefer that has an artist's rendition of all of the above and
more. My eight year old really enjoyed looking through it. But should
I tell him the Maharal that says it's likely not literal? What about a
5 year old? A 3 year old? What about a table that has all of those ages
there? Just avoid the whole subject then?"

This is the type of question that Dr.Haim Ginott z"l would probably have
given the definitive answer. He was a master at teaching adults how to
effectively relate to children.

In regard to how you would teach this medrash (or any medrash for that
matter) to your kids, I would suggest the following. Use a moshol such as
relating the medrash and telling the child that it is similar to a fairy
tale. Although, the fairy tale is not exactly true, it gives a message
and conveys a lesson. If you aren't comfortable with that analogy, then
you might explain that a medrash is like a cartoon. The child knows that
the characters in the cartoon are not real, but they are "like" real and
there is a purpose to the story. It is meant to teach us something. A
third technique may be to explain to a child that there are terms (idioms)
we use that aren't literal (perhaps an easier word than "literal" would be
preferable for a youngster), but nevertheless strongly convey its meaning.
An example might be: "her hands were as cold as ice." You could tell
the child that the hands really weren't the same temperature as ice,
but the expression merely tells us that her hands were very cold. I'm
sure there are many other examples you could think of.

I don't know if the above is helpful, but for some, it may be a
satisfactory means of teaching what a medrash is.

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Date: Wed, 4 May 2005 09:24:56 -0500
From: "Gershon Seif" <gershonseif@yahoo.com>
Re: "obligation" to believe aggadata

RMB wrote:
> Given the Rambam's balzingly (blazingly?) negative description in
> his intro to pereq Cheileq of the two katim who do believe in the
> historicity of every aggadic story, it's hard to believe RYBS would
> declare that assuming one of these positions an ikkar. Not to mention
> the Maharal, Maharsha, and Gra each deny that chazal had any interest
> in the historicity of these stories.

I know where the Maharal says that the default for aggadita that sounds
very far from reality, is that it's metaphorical

Rav Mordechai Becher sent me this a while ago:

Maharal, Be'er Hagolah, Fourth Be'er (p. 51); Ibid., First Be'er Now you
will see that most of the words of the Sages were in the form of metaphor
and the analogies of the wise... unless they state that a particular story
is not a metaphor, it should be assumed that it is a metaphor. The matters
of great depth were generally expressed by the Sages using metaphors,
and should be understood as metaphors unless they are explicitly indicated
to be taken literally. And therefore one should not be surprised to find
matters in the words of the Sages that appear to be illogical and distant
from the mind. (Berachot 61a: The evil inclination looks like a fly)

And thanks for reminding me of that Rambam in his the intro to Chelek

Where are the mekoros for the Gra and the Maharsha on this? (my guess is
that you're going to have too many Maharshas to put in one post because
that's his whole approach to Aggadita - but if you have a few that are
real mefurash about this very point, just like the Maharal I quoted above,
that would be very useful.

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Date: Wed, 4 May 2005 13:01:52 -0700 (PDT)
From: Jonathan Cohen <jcoh003@yahoo.com>
Re: Brocha on Tevilah

> But surely the same argument can be run for the tevila by men on Yom
> Kippur - since a man is surely also required to make a bracha over it
> when it is a mitzva. When a man is involved in entering har habayis,
> or in any of the avodahs of the beis hamikdash, he will also do tevila
> and presumably make a bracha, so why should he not make a brocha on erev
> yom kippur?

First let's take a step back. According to the Mechaber, a kohen who
is tovel k'halacha is fit to eat challa outside of Israel. L'ma'ase
very few people are noheg to do this nowadays, but some have told me
they used to in Teman. But according to this halacha, would the kohen
(let's say he's sefardi) make a bracha?

What if a kohen was tovel erev yom kippur and had da'at to prepare
himself for a theoretical challah, despite it's non-existence?

And finally what if he didn't have such da'at?

Jonathan Cohen

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Date: Thu, 05 May 2005 01:44:00 +0200
From: Dov Bloom <dovb@netvision.net.il>
Re: darshening the fifth pasuk

In addition to RDZ Hoffman I think R Azriel Hildesheimer (who brought
Hoffman to his Seminary in Berlin?), wrote about the fifth pasuk.

Shimon Heksher wrote an article about this tying in with the theme of
5 on Seder night relating to the 5th lashon of geula -veHeveiti and the
5 of the Yad Hachazakah.

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Date: Thu, 5 May 2005 09:52:39 -0400
From: Gil Student <gil.student@gmail.com>
Re: "obligation" to believe aggadata

See the Rashba in his Chiddushei Aggados to Berachos 56a. I posted
to my blog from the Maharatz Chajes' The Students' Guide Through The
Talmud in which he discusses this issue and quotes from the Rashba:

Gil Student,          Yashar Books
Subscribe to "Sefer Ha-Hayim - Books for Life" Newsletter:
news, ideas, insights and special offers from Yashar Books

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Date: Thu, 5 May 2005 17:44:39 +0100
From: Chana Luntz <chana@KolSassoon.org.uk>
Re: Brocha on Tevila

I wrote:
> <I wonder whether an alternative explanation might be that even the
> mechaber might allow a bracha on a minhag that is explicitly
> mentioned in the gemora.>

But somebody pointed out to me off list that indeed:
>      Then what about Hallel on Rosh Chodesh, mentioned as a minhag in
> Ta'anis 28b?

Which is of course completely true. The reference is to Rav going
to Bavel and seeing them reciting Hallel on Rosh Chodesh, and being
minded to stop them, until he realised they were skipping parts, and
then realised it was just a minhag (minhag avosanu b'yadanu).

OK, here is a further attempted refinement of the suggestion, a bracha
is only allowed on a minhag that is explicitly mentioned in the gemora
and has universal applicability.

That would explain the Hallel situation - which at the time of the gemora
was clearly something local to Bavel, as Rav was surprised when he saw it.

On the other hand, presumably the practice of keeping two days yom
tov outside of eretz yisroel was more widespread (since it was kept of
necessity originally everywhere outside of eretz yisroel), and maybe
could be deemed a universal minhag (similar to tipat dam k'chardal).

Another (alternate) suggestion - maybe a brocha is only made on a minhag
that arose because of situations of safek, but not otherwise. That would
cover yom tov sheni, and also would cover tipat dam k'chardal, because
of the chashash that maybe some zera covered up the kesem and that is
why only a tipa is seen. But it would not cover Hallel on Rosh Chodesh,
or tevila erev yom kippur.

I further note that the daf yomi advancement forum "insights into the
daf" on Ta'anis 28b brings the Brisker Rav as having an alternative
explanation for the stira in the Rambam as to why a bracha is made on
second day yom tov but not on a Rosh Chodesh Hallel, but I can't say I
find the explanation very satisfying (nor, while it might answer the
direct stira between these two, does it seem to me to deal with the
wider situations in which Sephardim do not make a brocha on minhagim).

Chana Luntz

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Date: Thu, 5 May 2005 14:00:36 -0400 (EDT)
From: "R Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer" <rygb@aishdas.org>
Re: 'obligation' to believe aggadata

In our generation, which has been zocheh to the illumination of the
Maharal, Reb Tzadok, Rav Desseler and other giants, including ylct"a R'
Shlomo Fisher, there can no longer be any excuse for a person not to
believe in the veracity of Aggadata.

Kol Tuv,
rygb@aishdas.org   www.aishdas.org/rygb

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Date: Thu, 5 May 2005 15:34:16 -0400
From: Gil Student <gil.student@gmail.com>
Re: "obligation" to believe aggadata

> I heard the following story from R' Michel Shurkin, concerning this
> topic...

I asked a talmid of RYBS about this episode and he recalled it (or one
similar) as well. He noted that a mischievous trouble-maker well known
around YU (initials JS) was involved and this talmid specifically
questioned the context of this incident. There were, evidently,
halakhic implications to the passage.

Gil Student,          Yashar Books
Subscribe to "Sefer Ha-Hayim - Books for Life" Newsletter:
news, ideas, insights and special offers from Yashar Books

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Date: Thu, 5 May 2005 16:57:22 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Rambam and miracles

On Thu, Apr 21, 2005 at 05:17:12PM -0700, Harry Maryles wrote:
:> But Hashem is "beli reishis beli sachlis".

: To me that statement just tells us that He is infinite.

Beung more specific about the Hebrew, it says Hashem has no beginning
(with all the connotations of the word "rosh") and no culmination.
Tachlis is more than just an end.

:> A number of meforshim comment
:> on this. One approach is that He is before all, not that He had an
:> earlier start than everything else.

: He ... IS... before all (a temporal expression, I dare say)...
: could mean that He is the most imporatnt being... also true. But I like
: the definition that He is infintite. That makes the most sense to me.

Why do you say the expression is temporal? "Is" is simply the present
tense of "to be". English lacks a tenseless version of the word. But
"to be" isn't temporal.

I will once again note that in lashon haqodesh we wouldn't have that
problem. "Boneih" is both "is building" and "builder" -- there is no real
present-tense conjugation. Someone who is building is being described
as someone who (temporarly, at least) is a builder. It also implies a
much tighter coupling between who you are and what you do, but that's
a different tangent.

As for "before", that implies that there is no moment in which He
didn't exist. Even at moments in which there was nothing, before the
yeish mei'ayin.

But that requires belief that time wasn't created, which doesn't seem
tenable in today's hashkafos.

:> However, another is that the pasuq
:> is referring to Hashem being logically prior, not chronologically. (And
:> similarly, "Acharon" means that He is Ultimate Purpose.) 
:> Such a statement would be satisfied by the belief in an Eternal Borei who
:> is therefore ne'etzal an eternal universe. The causality is preserved,
:> without giving a first moment of time.

: This would take away support for the concept of a "First cause"....

Um, how does the assertion that he is logically prior, ie that He is
First Cause, take away the concept of His being First Cause?

: Be that as it may, I would argue that when I say that God preceded
: everything else, it doesn't have to mean temporally...

Then you're back to logically prior, the reason something came to be,
the First Cause, that isn't within time. We are in agreement on the main
thesis. At least our terminology differs, probably some of the details

:     ... Use of the term "logically prior" does little to clear up our
: understanding... as the very word "prior" suggests the temporal.

Only if the sequence in which it's prior is chronological

Light moves at the maximum speed because it has no rest mass. The fact
that it has no rest mass is ligcally prior, but doesn't happen first.

: Never-the-less even if one tries to explain exstence in the
: incomprehensible pre-time era one still must say that God preceedes
: matter. There can be no eternal matter as that would seem to equate, at
: some level, God and matter. It seems illogical to say that the Creator
: existed simutaneously with something other than Himself. It is most
: logical to say that God created matter in one big bang.

There was no time before creation. Therefore, there was no time in which
nothing existed. Before string theory, the same was/is believed about the
big bang. Stephen Hawking described the question "What happened before
the big bang?" as being exactly parallel to asking "What happens if you
travel north, and reach the north pole, and still go north?" Exact same
math. There is no more north than the pole, and there is no before the
big bang (again, barring some new hypotheses).

Matter didn't always exist only because there wasn't an always -- time had
a start.

I suggest you again read my metaphor about Hashem creating the universe
in a manner closer to a printing press printing a page of a history book with
a timeline in it. The imaginary people living on that timeline have a different
concept of time than the printer. To them, to the left is before, to the
right is after. To the printer, it was all made "at once". Creation didn't
happen at the left end of the line, it equally applues to the printing
across the whole line. "Hamchadeish betuvo bekhol yom..."

In the caseof the real Beri'ah, there is no Printer's time with which to
contrast the timeline. However, the mashal does give you the means to think
about Hashem not having /our/ time, which is closer to the emes.


Micha Berger             Today is the 11th day, which is
micha@aishdas.org        1 week and 4 days in/toward the omer.
http://www.aishdas.org   Netzach sheb'Gevurah: What is imposing about
Fax: (270) 514-1507                            strict justice?

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Date: Fri, 06 May 2005 14:42:10 +0200
From: saul mashbaum <smash52@netvision.net.il>
Re: pirkei avot

RMB wrote:
>Which, in turn, gets us into a discussion as to whether mitzvos have
>any comprehensible avos, an issue I think brings us to the heart of
>the difference between Brisk and Telzhe.

I don't recall if it was noted on Avodah that RMB has written on this
subject in Asplaqaria:

I read recently, I cannot recall where, the following mashal of the
derech halimud of 4 major gdolim:

Let's say you want to investigate a piece of cloth. You can put it under
a microcope. You can unravel it and examine the threads that make it
up. You can compare it to other similar pieces of cloth. You can feel it.

The first procedure represents R. Chaim; the second, R. Shimon; the third,
the Rogachover; the fourth, the Chazon Ish.

Saul Mashbaum

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