Avodah Mailing List

Volume 15 : Number 010

Wednesday, May 11 2005

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Sun, 8 May 2005 03:14:20 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: pirkei avot

On Fri, May 06, 2005 at 02:42:10PM +0200, saul mashbaum wrote:
: I don't recall if it was noted on Avodah that RMB has written on this
: subject in Asplaqaria:
:     <http://www.aishdas.org/asp/2005/02/brisk-and-telzh.shtml>

You don't cite RYGB's "An Analysis of Darchei HaLimud
Centering on a Cup of Tea", which has a far broader comparison:

If this topic interest you, search the archive for VIDC ("Vos is der
chiluk"), a series of challenges RYGB posted in which the chevrah were
to find solutions to the question in as many different darkhei limud as
they could.


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Date: Sun, 8 May 2005 10:22:15 +0200
From: Michael Beyo <michael.beyo@gmail.com>
Question on the Rambam

Why does the Rambam in Hilhot Melahim cap 11, says the Rabbi Akiva
'imagined' (dima') that Bar Koziva is Mashiah? Is it possible to say that
the Rambam used this verb because according to him Koah aMedame is not
constructive and can lead to false immaginations? And that what brought
Rabbi Akiva to immagine that Bar Koziva was mashiah was not based on a
rational/logic deduction?

Michael Beyo

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Date: Sun, 8 May 2005 09:03:44 -0400
From: "Rich, Joel" <JRich@Segalco.com>
Lfnim mshurat hadin

On a rather well known blog the following note appeared:
"The "conflict' or better "source of morality' in or outside halakha is
a peculiar preoccupation of R. Lichtenstein and some of his students"
It may originate in the Rav ZT"L with "halacha is a floor not a ceiling" .
RAL-although the leading student of RYBS- is not the only one of RYBS
students who have discussed ethics and morality when the halacha is
mykroft | 05.08.05 - 5:53 am | # 

I've always thought there were a lot of semantics in this discussion
but was wondering if anyone had seen any works by other than the above
which dealt with this question in the context of lfnim mshurat hadin

One particular case I once heard discussed was 2 people who "agree"
that they will buy lottery tickets and if 1 ever wins they'll split it.
5 years later after 1 has moved away the other wins and when the 2nd
makes a claim says lets go to bet din and see what the din is, this
is what hkb"h would want. What would the bet din decide? What would be
morally correct? What if the win had been the next day?

Joel Rich

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Date: Sun, 8 May 2005 14:34:48 -0400
From: "" <hlampel@thejnet.com>
Reality of the Universe

Regarding a previous discussion of formulating the "reality" of the
world relative to Hashem's reality, I came across the following from
Sefer Ikkarim, Maamar Sheyni, chap. 27:

"It is clear therefore that the word "nimtza" (existent) cannot truly
be predicated of any existing thing except G-d.... Therefore, the
word "existent" applies to Him more truly than to any other existing
thing.... The word "nimtza" applies truly to one whose existence is not
dependent upon any other, but on his own essence...Hence, /there is
none among existing things to which the word existent applies truly/
except G-d, whose existence depends upon His own essence and not upon
another's. Hence, /His/ existence is a true existence (metziaso metsius

In the previous discussion, R. Micha Berger disagreed with my
understanding of the Rambam. The Rambam says that Hashem is the only
"emmes," and that everything He created is dependent upon and persists
only through His Will, but is not as permanent as He. I took it to mean
that only Hashem (truly) exists. R. Micha, IIUC, takes it to mean that
the universe's existence is less permanent, but that "as long as" it
exists, the existence is as real as Hashem's.

I believe that the Sefer Ikkarim supports my understanding of the
concept, and helped influence my understanding of the Rambam. I.e.,
that the word "nimtza" applies to the Universe only in a borrowed sense,
just as anthropomorphisms apply to Hashem only in a borrowed sense.

Zvi Lampel

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Date: Mon, 9 May 2005 11:02:53 -0500
From: "Gershon Seif" <gershonseif@yahoo.com>
RE: Avodah V15 #9

[R' Gil Student:]
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:

Thank you Gil, Those two pieces on this topic contain some useful
sources. Much appreciated. (R' Micha - if you read through the post
linked to at the bottom of the first post, you'll notice a Maharsha. Is
that one of them you were thinking of?)

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Date: Tue, 10 May 2005 01:59:25 -0400
From: "Ari Meir Brodsky" <ari.brodsky@utoronto.ca>
Yom HaAtzmaut

Hi Friends,

It's that time of year when we start thinking about the Calendrical
Complications of Yom HaAtzmaut. Well, some of us do, at least!
For a refresher about the calendrically interesting features of
this year 5765, please refer to my essay about this year, called
"How is this year different from all other years?" available at:

Some highlights regarding this year's Yom HaAtzmaut:

(Item M.26:) YOM HAATZMAUT ADVANCED TO 3 IYYAR: Because 5 Iyyar
falls on Shabbat, Knesset law stipulates that Yom HaAtzmaut is
celebrated on the previous Thursday, 3 Iyyar, and Yom HaZikaron
is observed on Wednesday, 2 Iyyar. See the relevant legislation
at www.knesset.gov.il/laws/special/heb/chok_yom_haatzmaut.htm
and www.knesset.gov.il/laws/special/heb/chok_yom_hazikaron.htm .
My understanding is that this adjustment has been in effect for as long
as Yom HaAtzmaut has existed. (DOES ANYONE KNOW IF THIS IS CORRECT?)
As you can see from the years listed at the beginning of this section
(in the essay itself), this year is the 8th time in history that we
celebrate Yom HaAtzmaut on 3 Iyyar. The first one was 5710 (1950).

(Section Q and item T.4:)  This year is a late-year (Jewish calendar dates
and holidays are as late as they get in the 19-year cycle, relative to the
solar year), so the anniversary of Israel's Independence - 5 Iyyar -
actually falls on May 14 this year, as it did in 5708 (1948) and 5746

There are many other calendrical features of this holiday that I would love
to research and write about if I had an infinite amount of time and weren't
working on a Ph.D. thesis.

Despite all the positive feedback I've received about my essay, I must say
that I am a little disappointed that I've received very few answers to my
questions left open in items M.13 and M.24.  The question in M.13 is:
"Does anyone have any authoritative information as to whether or not we say
Tachanun at Mincha the day before Yom HaAtzmaut?"
If we don't say Tachanun at Mincha the day before Yom HaAtzmaut (as well as
not saying Tachanun on Yom HaAtzmaut itself), then because of this year's
unique calendrical configuration (Yom HaAtzmaut being celebrated on 3
Iyyar), we would have 37 consecutive days of no Tachanun at Mincha, which
would be a record.

On a less calendrical note, the e-mail below from my friend Jeremy Brumer
contains a link to a fascinating article about the history of Yom HaAtzmaut,
well-researched and complete with endnotes.  (Endnotes numbered 4 and 20
could be considered calendrical.)

Chodesh tov and enjoy!


Ari M. Brodsky

-----Original Message-----
From: Jeremy Brumer [mailto:jabrumer@ca.ibm.com] 
Sent: 6.May.2005 1:13 AM
To: Ari Meir Brodsky
Subject: History of Yom Ha'atzmaut

Hi Ari,

I just came across a really good, thorough article on the history of the
Tefillos for Yom Ha'atzmaut.


It doesn't discuss much about if the 5th of Iyar comes out on Shabbos, but
does talk extensively about the decision to call it Yom Ha'atzmaut, to make
it 5 Iyar vs. 14th May, and why the 5th of Iyar in the first place - when
the battle was yet to be fought on 5 Iyar, different opinions on whether to
say Hallel with or without a bracha, to say it at night, by shacharis or by
mincha, the statements and decisions of the Rabbanut Harashit, and opinions
on the exact text to say in the tefillos. Also a good story about Rav Shach
zt'l refusing to daven in his yeshiva on the first Yom Ha'atzmaut since they
were going to say Hallel with a bracha, preferring to go to the minyan where
Hallel was being said without a bracha

Have a good Shabbos!


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Date: Sun, 8 May 2005 16:02:46 -0700 (PDT)
From: Jonathan Cohen <jcoh003@yahoo.com>
Shabboth Sholoem and dikduk

An question pointed out to me over Shabbat.

I was telling someone about the Temani minhag to greet friends on Shabbat
by saying

Shabboth Sholoem. (oe = my representation of a Temani cholam)

He question why it should be shabboth with a kamatz, why not shabbath
with a patach. And this makes sense if we understand shabbat as samuch
to shalom ie a shabbat of shalom.

Otherwise shalom must be an adjective - and who ever heard of shalom as
an adjective!

(I also noticed that shabbat kodshecha is also written with a patach -
the shabbat of your holiness? What does that mean? I always thought it
was your holy shabbat, or your holy mo'adim - but grammatically it is the
moa'adim of your holiness. Perhaps someone can explain this side issue.)

So I looked up the Ratzabi's section on Shabbat greetings in Temani minhag
(Temani ettiquete was very highyl developed, with different greetings
and responses for a bewildering array of situations - eg when you see
someone with a candle, you say 'ner mitzvah' and he replies 'v'torah or'
or something along those lines). Unfortantely he doesn't give the nikkud -
but he does write the following: the vocalisation is my Israeli reading
of the words he uses.

The general greeting is 'shabbat shalom'. The response is either
'alecha (v'alenu) v'al kol yisra'el', or 'shabbat shalom umvorach'.
At the day meal the greeting is 'shabbat tov', and the response is
'alecha (v'alenu) v'al kol yisra'el'. And in s'oda (yes with a cholam
not a shuruk in Temani tradition from lis`od) sh'lishit we say 'shabbat
shalom tov umvorach.' So let's see bishlama 'tov' and 'umvorach' - but
how can one stick shalom in the same sentence structure just like that.
It must be either I am totally misunderstanding the phrase, or misreading
the words, or shalom can somehow act as an adjective like m'vorach.


Jonathan Cohen

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Date: Sun, 8 May 2005 22:02:17 -0700 (PDT)
From: shmuel pultman <spultman@yahoo.com>
Re: Eruvin

On Fri, 29 Apr 2005 06:38:14 R Arie Folger wrote:
> This is a key distiction. The three highways have fences/walls/are
> in ditches, such that KGH is separated from Queens by me'hitzot.

This is pure conjecture on your part since there is no mention of
mechitzos as a heter in Rav Moshe ztl's teshuva concerning the KGH
eruv. Rav Moshe only relied on the fact that KGH is a small community and
the eruv did not include the highways in its parameters. (These criteria,
though, do not follow his shitos in eruvin; see my other posts.) Nor is
mechitzos mentioned in Rav Noach Oelbaums teshuva to allow the eruv in
KGH (Minchas Chein, 24) nor does Rav Pinchus Goldberger mention them in
his teshuvos against the KGH eruv (Minchas Asher, 1:51-52, 2:56-57, 2:59).

> 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.

RAK was the main rav against the Manhattan eruv and he signed against
the eruv in 1962.

Shmuel Pultman

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Date: Mon, 9 May 2005 06:17:03 -0700 (PDT)
From: Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer <rygb@aishdas.org>
YGB: Bava Basra Halachah l'Ma'aseh

Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer has sent you a link to a weblog: 

Blog: YGB
Post: Bava Basra Halachah l'Ma'aseh
Link: http://rygb.blogspot.com/2005/05/bava-basra-halachah-lmaaseh.html

Powered by Blogger

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Date: Mon, 9 May 2005 11:42:23 -0400
From: "" <hlampel@thejnet.com>
Sanhedrin Overturning a Previous Drash

In "Dynamics of Dispute," I wrote that the commentaries are hard put
to find any actual historical occurence where one Sanhedrin overturned
the drash-generated p'sak of an earlier one, (as per Rambam Mamrim
2:1). Dr. Gary J. Schrieber has written me to suggest Zevachim 61b
(bottom) as a source for it actually happening. There it says that the
olay reggel (Anshay Knesses HaGdolah) held that the words "mizbach adama"
in Chumash teach that the mizbeach had to be attached to the ground,
allowing them to insert drain pipes for the nesachim, and enlarging the
mizbeach to cover the previously used drain holes in the ground. This was
in contrast to the way Dovid HaMelech's earlier Bes Din understood it,
namely that it must be solid dirt, keeping them from inserting such pipes.

This would seem to be an historic example of a Sanhedrin excercising
their power of overturning a previous drash l'ma'aseh!

My only concern is how the rest of the sugya's p'sak that the maximum
dimensions of the mizbeach is not me'akiev interacts with this. Is it
in effect nullifying the previous understanding, and perhaps denying
the historical occurences first suggested?

Can any of the talmiday chachamim (or anyone else) of Avodah help?

Zvi Lampel

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Date: Tue, 10 May 2005 13:28:11 -0700 (PDT)
From: "M. Levin" <mlevinmd@aol.com>
Der Alter: A take on Yeridas Hadoros

[From deralter.blogspot.com -mi]

Why do Amoraim not dispute Tannaim? Is this fact not a proof that Amoraim
viewed the teachings of Tannaim as having been directly received from

This sensible conclusion is vitiated by the view of the Kesef Mishna who
states that Amoraim did not argue on Tannaim because they accepted on
themselves to not do so. At first glance this acceptance appears somewhat
arbitrary and it is important to go beyond the statement itself and ask,
"Why did they do so?". R. David Nieto in Mattah Danmaintains that it
was because they recognized that the Tannaim were reporting Sinaitic
traditions[1] and because they recognized that Tannaim were greater than
they in wisdom.

The same approach was independently arrived at by the Chazon Ish who
writes: "The truth is that the generation after the Mishna suffered
a declined in stature relative to Tannaim. The knew that the truth is
always with the Tannaim. Once they knew the truth of the matter that
it is impossible for them to understand something that had not been
understood by one of Tannaim, it was no longer possible to disagree
directly with Tannaim on their own authority (Letters 2:24)[2]".

Iin Matteh Dan, this claim that Sages were greater than subsequent
generations takes the scholar and Khazar into the question whether
generations are declining one after another. Khazar points out that
technological and scientific advances in our day belie the conviction
that we are less intelligent or less advanced than our forefathers. The
unstated corollary is that we do not have to follow them in matters
of religion. Uncharacteristically, the scholar avoids countering
this argument directly, responding in a convincing but limited
fashion. Apparently R. Nieto sided with the mystics to whom he alludes
within the discussion and who believed that in certain aspects the
later generations can achieve more than the earlier ones, albeit not
in areas of legal interpretation[3]. He seems to have chosen, however,
not to write so explicitly so as not to play onto the hand of scoffers.

[1] This point was made in book form by R. Z. Lampel in Dynamics of
Disputes. The making of machlokes in Talmudic times, Judaica Press,
1992. With great eruditions and scores of examples he demonstrates that
Amoraim refrained form arguing agaist Tannaim because they were no longer
certain which of their statements were Sinaitic law and which may have
been an interpretation.

[2] It is not clear if Chazon Ish disagrees with the Kesef Mishna or
interprets it; both understandings of his words are defensible. The
Chazon Ish does extend this principle to Rishonim as well. In some of
his other writings he invokes the element of Divine Spirit that rested on
the Sages throughout history. R. Elchanan Wasserman in Kovetz Shiurim 2,
Kuntres Divrei Sofrim, 2 explicitly argues with Kesef Mishna, rejects
its explanation, and interprets Maimonides differently.

[3] The principle that "generations grow smaller" is well established in
Jewish thought, so much so that it served as basis for legal decisions
(See Tslach Pesachim 116b). On the other hand, there are Chassidic and
Kabbalistic sources that allude to the fact that while early generations
were great because they were close to Revelation, later generations also
derive greatness from their closeness to Redemption. See Sod Yesharim
(Radzin) Pesach 121; A. Marcus, Hechassidut, in the name of Ba'a' Shem
Tov, pp. 14-15; R. A. Y. Kook, Orot Hakodesh 2,p. 537; Midrash Pinchas
(Koretz), p. 82. R. Tsadok Hakohen wrote that while the generations are
diminishing, total holiness within the nations as a whole continuosly
accumulates (Tsidkat Hatsadik, p. 116. See S. Sperber, Hemshekh Hadorot,
Haraya, pp. 45-46). Some say that it applies to masses but individuals
are not subject to thsi rule (R. Avraham Simch's Peirush on Zoahr Ne'elam,

Posted by M. Levin to Der Alter at 5/10/2005 04:23:00 PM

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Date: Tue, 10 May 2005 15:26:46 -0500
From: "Gershon Seif" <gershonseif@yahoo.com>
authority of poskim in the realm of hashkafa

I know this has been discussed back and forth on Areivim and Avodah but
I'd like to get some clarity so I'm bringing it up again. Sorry if this
is getting boring already.

Lately there's been a lot of discussion on the issue of chazal's
fallibility or infallibility.

Rav Elyashiv has come out with a psak regarding the Slifkin books and Rav
Feldman has been to E"Y a few times and it seems from what I'm hearing
that he is tweaking his hashkafic views around the psak he's hearing
from Rav Elyashiv.

A fellow Avodah member and I have had a few offline emails back and forth
about the basic premise behind this process. He questioned whether or
not it was in the realm of a posek to pasken on in the first place. I
responded that if Rav Elyashiv is paskening about it, he has just given
a psak that it is within his realm. So here are the questions:

1) What is the name of the issur of saying chazal were fallible? I've
heard the words makchish magideha. Where does that term come from? Anyone
know if it's been used in the past in a similar way?

2) Does anyone have any SOURCES (not personal opinions - we've had
too many of those!) that would show how psak is or isn't limited to
non-hashkafic areas.

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Date: Tue, 10 May 2005 20:53:56 -0700
From: Daniel Israel <israel@email.arizona.edu>
Re: Rambam and miracles

Micha Berger wrote:
> 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.

I once suggested to someone, based on the modern usage of "tachlis"
as "purpose," that this meant HaShem has no purpose. That is, man
is created with a purpose which he must fulfill. HaShem, OTOH, has no
purpose to fulfill, he simply is. (I tried connecting this to the verse,
"Elokeinu bashamayim, kol asher chofetz asah." IOW, HaShem can act
without needing to conform to an externally imposed purpose.")

My friend rejected this on the grounds that there is no mekor to justify
this use of "tachlis" in classical Hebrew. Any comments?

Daniel M. Israel
Dept. of Aerospace & Mechanical		The University of Arizona

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