Avodah Mailing List

Volume 15 : Number 067

Tuesday, August 9 2005

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Mon, 8 Aug 2005 13:29:14 -0400
From: "Shinnar, Meir" <Meir.Shinnar@rwjuh.edu>
Re: Is the World Good?

[The sound you hear in the background is your moderator thunking his
head in frustration for mission what should have been obvious. -mi]

On Sun, Jul 31, 2005 at 09:59:27PM -0500, brent wrote:
: Where is there is source at all in Torah that considers this world good?
: It is called, "Emek HaBachah" (Valley of Tears), "Olam HaChoshech"
: (World of Darkness) and other such terms...

What about vayar elokim et kol asher asa vehine tov meod....

Meir Shinnar

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Date: Mon, 8 Aug 2005 13:53:51 EDT
From: T613K@aol.com
Re: G-d of nature and history [was: [Hirhurim - Musings] Mixed Theology]

In Avodah V15 #47dated 7/12/2005 Gil Student <simcha365@hotmail.com>
> When people are eclectic and mix concepts from different thinkers,
> there is always a danger that they will end up combining contradicting
> ideas...

> When confronting the problem of suffering and evil in the world, many
> turn to the idea that God intentionally hides his presence. The earliest
> Jewish source in which I can recall seeing this concept is the writings of
> R. Moshe Hayim Luzzatto (Ramhal)...
> On the other hand, when dealing with Creation or evolution, people
> argue that the "intelligent design"... of the universe proves that it
> was created.

There is a huge logical hole in this line of thinking, and that is,
you are contrasting Side A of history with Side B of evolution/science,
ignoring the fact that both history and science have more than one side.
G-d hides Himself in history, and also reveals Himself. He hides Himself
in nature, and also reveals Himself.

Compare Sides A AND B of history with Sides A AND B of nature, and your
supposed contradiction disappears.

History, course of human events: it is possible for two different
people to look at the same events--say, the survival of the Jewish people
through the centuries--and for one to see a series of random occurrences,
while the other sees clear evidence of Hashgacha Pratis.

Science, nature, evolution: again, it is possible for two different
people to look at the same evidence--say, the fact that creatures
from entirely different phyla have similar eyes--and for one to see
"evolutionary convergence" while the other sees "intelligent design."

Side A: He hides Himself, working through seemingly natural events,
rarely performing open miracles.

Side B: He reveals Himself to those with the heart, mind and eyes
to see.

--Toby Katz

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Date: Mon, 8 Aug 2005 12:53:24 +0300
From: Moshe Feldman <moshe.feldman@gmail.com>
Re: [Areivim] malchus/medina

I had written:
> in Israel, the prime minister is not the melech; the government is.
> Moreover, as Israel is a democracy, the system of government includes
> participation by the citizenry.

On 8/8/05, brent <fallingstar613@hotmail.com> wrote on Areivim:
> I find this to be faulty reasoning and intellectually dishonest in
> its approach. You're saying that there is a malchus but no melech.
> There is no such thing as a kingdom without a king/queen. But even if
> there were such a thing, you are going back and forth and bending
> logic to reach your conclusion. If there is a malchus then democracy
> is irrelevant because (correct me if I'm wrong but..) a melech cannot
> be mochel his kavod, so the fact that the democratic system allows for
> descent, a malchus, according to the Torah does not allow for that.

I do not think that my argument is inconsistent. I am saying that the
government, not the P.M. is the melech. AIUI, legally, the P.M. does
not have authority separate from the government (he is the "chief
minister" of the government). What would you say if in Israel, there
were no P.M. just a council of ministers--would you say that there is
no possibility of malchus?

Why does malchus need to be in the exact same form it was in Biblical
times? Why can't malchus be in the form of an elective body? And if I am
right that it can be, then there is no reason that citizen participation
in a democracy should constitute mored b'malchus--that is exactly the
form of malchus.

I don't have any proof that democracy constitutes malchus--perhaps
someone could find an article discussing this. I do have the tshuvah
of Rav Kook, Mishpatei Cohen siman 144 part 15 where he states that a
king need not be appointed the way kings were once appointed, writes:
"anyone who leads the nation the mishpatei ha'melacha [apply]."

Let me also add that I know that RYBS (and others) did argue based on
the Rambam that the powers of the Sanhedrin revert to the people when
the Sanhedrin is no longer extant. One could make a similar argument
about kingship--has anyone seen an achron make that argument?

Kol tuv,

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Date: Mon, 8 Aug 2005 17:13:18 +0200
From: "Shoshana L. Boublil" <toramada@bezeqint.net>
Re: [Areivim] malchus/medina

From: "Moshe Feldman" <moshe.feldman@gmail.com>
> Let me also add that I know that RYBS (and others) did argue based on
> the Rambam that the powers of the Sanhedrin revert to the people when
> the Sanhedrin is no longer extant.  One could make a similar argument
> about kingship--has anyone seen an achron make that argument?

Rav Goren zt"l wrote a series of books on this topic (democracy as
"malchut"). I read them some years ago. If anyone is interested,
I'll post the details.

Shoshana L. Boublil

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Date: Mon, 8 Aug 2005 23:32:17 GMT
From: "kennethgmiller@juno.com" <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
Re: lo sassur

R' Brent Kaufman wrote <<< ... "yorucha" is only in regards to the
"shaila" that arises for which you will go to that place and seek their
hora'ah. It doesn't imply that they can create decrees unrelated to the
question that brought you there. >>>

I was taught that too. When I asked the source for new decrees, I was
told that it is from Vayikra 18:30, "ushmartem es mishmarti". Torah
Temimah 82 there would seem to support this, but only for protective
siyagim. Authority for brand-new takanos comes from elsewhere, I suppose.

Akiva Miller

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Date: Tue, 9 Aug 2005 03:10:07 -0500
From: "brent" <fallingstar613@hotmail.com>
Lo Sassur

From: Mlevinmd@aol.com
> The objection that you quote is a standard Karaite objection. It has
> been dealt with by R. David Nieto in Matteh Dan, Part 1. Basically
> he uses this verse to show that they ahve to conceded that Rabbinic
> interpretations have status of Torah at least in some cases. Once this
> is conceded, other arguments carry the day.

Wait, that's not an arguement. The verse says that they have the
authority to judicize a controversy that is raised and that judicial
ruling is authoritative. That's all. That's as far as their status
extends (acc. to the pshat of the pasuk).

You can't say that since the pasuk gives them a little authority, we
can just take that little bit of authority and extend it to other areas
as they see fit. I just dont' see the logic of that.

brent kaufman

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Date: Tue, 9 Aug 2005 10:41:52 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: lo sassur

brent wrote:
> Even the original does not imply this. But that "yorucha" is only in
> regards to the "shaila" that arises for which you will go to that place
> and seek their hora'ah. It doesn't imply that they can create decrees
> unrelated to the question that brought you there.

Actually, it says that they are empowered to make decisions based upon
the hora'os already made. But another maqor was already given.

At this point, I'm wondering for whom is this question. If for the Xian
audience, they already can be pointed to Paul. Even if his contemporary
rabbis were ones he described as vipers, it doesn't deny the idea in
principle. If for yourself, you know because TSBP was given alongside that
pasuq. So who is left -- you're worried about da mah lehashiv laQara'im?

> The Sarim that Yisro advised were judges (not Judges/Shoftim) in
> judicial cases.

They did not need one judge for every 10 people. They existed
because there wasn't enough Moshe to go around and answer everyone's
questions. They were LORs. LORs don't legislate, but they are a
non-inherited source of authority. Moshe did legislate dinim derabbanan,
so there's reason to believe the higher-level sarim were expected to
as well.

The 70 zeqeinim were also a non-inherited rabbinic-style role. They
themselves are a beis din hagadol, a Sanhedrin (if I can be anacronystic
in my terminology). Even TSBK does not make it all about the Leviim
and Kohanim.


Micha Berger             Zion will be redeemed through justice,
micha@aishdas.org        and her returnees will come in righteousness.
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Date: Mon, 8 Aug 2005 20:44:17 -0400
From: "Cantor Wolberg" <cantorwolberg@cox.net>
Davening at a Qever

>> The Gra assurs directing one's requests at the meis.

> And who doesn't???

There is a Torah injunction "not to turn to the dead [for help]."
Praying to the dead was seen in the Torah as being an idolatrous
practice. The Shulchan Aruch stresses that one should never pray to
the dead but rather one should gain inspiration by recalling their
righteousness and thereby pray to HaShem more intensely and effectively..

The Ari stated that one should not visit cemeteries at all, except when
it is tragically incumbent [to bury the dead] to be present there.

It seems to me that I have seen knowledgeable, observant Jews who have
prayed to the meis, expecting the meis to intervene on their behalf.

Powerful King Shaul finally reached the end of his tragic fall away from
G-d when he involved himself in channeling. Saul chose to seek answers
from a medium when G-d didn't provide him the answers he wanted. In 1
Samuel 28:6-20, Saul asks a psychic to summon the spirit of the prophet
Sh'muel. His grave error is mentioned later in Chronicles 10:13-14,
which emphasizes that Shaul's involvement in it was wrong: "And Shaul
died for his transgression which he committed against the L-rd, because
of the word of the L-rd, which he kept not; and also for that he asked
counsel of a ghost, to inquire thereby, and inquired not of the L-rd;
therefore He slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David ben Yishai."

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Date: Mon, 8 Aug 2005 22:22:22 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: harry potter and kishuf

On Wed, Aug 03, 2005 at 04:54:28PM +0000, kennethgmiller@juno.com wrote:
: Perhaps the mal'ach is compelled to grant me the bracha. And perhaps
: the mal'ach is compelled to deny me the bracha...

Or perhaps the mal'ach is compelled to give me a berakahah if an only
if I ask for one (all other actions of people being equal). In which
case, by asking do I not compell?

: I concede the possibility that from the mal'ach's persepctive, once I
: have asked him for the bracha he is now forced to give it. I do not know
: whether or not that *possibility* is enough to define the situation as
: kishuf, and I leave that to those who've learned this stuff deeper than
: I have.

Thinking about it further, I think this is associated with the machloqes
the Rambam and the Or Samei'ach about what we mean when we say mal'achim
lack bechirah.

According to the Rambam, mal'achim lack bechirah in the same way a rock
can't choose whether or not to fall down a cliff. When all the physical
forces are in place, it's compelled to fall. By parallel, if my actions
put all the spiritual forces in place, the mal'ach is equally compelled
to action.

I see this as no different than the concept used by people trying to bind
it with names.

According to the Or Samei'ach, there's simply no choices to be made. In
that case, I can agree with RAM's focus on my perspective. I make my
choices. If the mal'ach then finds its decision obvious, that's its

On Sat, Aug 06, 2005 at 09:52:39PM +1000, SBA wrote:
:> The Gra doesn't do away with the notion of davening at a qever. Rather,
:> he says it's a way to invoke their zechus, and to be inspired to greater
:> kavanah. , the Gra assurs directing one's requrests at the meis.

: And who doesn't???

Take a look at the closing prayer after Tiqun haKelali.

Also, all those yidden at qeiver Racheil already cited as crying "Mameh
Rochel ..."

Last, the chaveirim here who asked how it's different than asking a
living gadol for a berakah.


Micha Berger             Zion will be redeemed through justice,
micha@aishdas.org        and her returnees will come in righteousness.
Fax: (270) 514-1507      

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Date: Tue, 9 Aug 2005 13:10:49 +1000
From: "SBA" <sba@sba2.com>
praying to intermediaries

From: "brent" <>
>>And earlier still, Kolev ben Yefuneh temporarily separating from the
>>Meraglim to davven at the Me'oras Hamachpela.

> Yes, but why? How is it any different than Catholics praying to Mother
> Mary to ask ysh'u for mercy?

See KSA 128:13 re being mispallel at kivrei tzaddikim on Erev RH.

"...umarbim tachanunim le'orer es hatzadikim hakedoshim...
sheyamlitzu tov baadenu beyom hadim.
vegam machmas shehu mokom kevuras hatzadikim...hu kadosh vetohor,
vehatefila mekubeles shom beyoser bihyoso al admas kodesh. 
veyaaseh HKBH chesed bizechus  hatzadikim.
Avol >>>al yosim migmosoi neged hameisim hashochnim shom, ki karov hadovor 
sheyihye bichlall vedoresh el meisim<<<<.
ach yevakesh meHShY sheyeracheim olov 
bizechus hatzadikim shochnei ofor..." 


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Date: Tue, 9 Aug 2005 10:47:55 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Torah shebaal peh

Rich, Joel wrote:
> on a tape shiur I once heard it was quoted in the name of R' Sternbuch
> that when moshiach comes we will revert to oral transmission of tsbp.
> The current written texts will be of historical interest. I'm not sure
> what that meant or if it was an accurate report. Any ideas/sources?

First, I think it's muchrach. Otherwise, the innovation of writing TSBP
couldn't be characterized as a hora'as *sha'ah*. As it is, it's been a
painfully long sha'ah.

Second, if there's a Sanhedrin, then why couldn't they overrule Ravina
veR' Ashi, not to mention any batei din gedolim that they outrank
in chokhmah uminyan? (And after techiyas hameisim, that should be
"all". Just including the avei beis din of history would be greater in
minyan and chokhmah. You'd have Moshe Rabbeinu and Shelomo haMelekh --
the greatest in chokhmah by any definition -- on the same court!)

This fluidity would force one back to the pretextual model. Although with
the internet, maybe not! The internet gives real fluidity and impermanent
fora for the written word.


Micha Berger             Zion will be redeemed through justice,
micha@aishdas.org        and her returnees will come in righteousness.
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Date: Mon, 8 Aug 2005 22:16:07 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Chassidim-Misnagdim

From: "Yosef Gavriel & Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <ygb@aishdas.org>
:> I was asked by a talmid at Ohr Somayach to compile a list of
:> distinctions between Chassidim and Misnagdim.

:> This is too short and sharp to be accurate, so take it as a
:> springboard. The middos used here for comparison purposes are taken
:> from the Table of Contents of Otzaros HaMussar by R' Moshe Tzuriel
:> shlita.
:> Note: Early readers notes three other important differences that must
:> be noted:

I think this is a basic problem. A derekh is not only defined by how it
considers certain topics, but by which topics it considers. A misnageid
summarizing the essentials of yahadus wouldn't list the role of the
tzaddiq, a chassid would.

(I made a similar comment about the questions back when we were doing
VIDC. The difference between derakhim is actually more about which issues
are issues than about how they are explained.)

> Ahavah
> Misnagdim: Downplayed and underdeveloped theme; too elusive to define
> and too dangerous to use as a focus.
> Mussar: Similar to other Misnagdim
> Chassidus:  Central theme (although not much time is spent developing it);
> essential for Dveykus.

Of course chassidim don't spend time developing ahavah. A cerebral
approach would perhaps be Chabad, but not chassidish by other
definitions. Chassidus is in the experience. If you have to have
ahavah explained, you're not living it.

The same experience vs intellect distinction is behind:
> 3.       Connection to Tzaddikim. For Chassidim this is a part of the
> quest for dveykus - the tzaddik is the devek. For Misnagdim, the
> leader is more of a teacher and counselor.

Two more examples from rows below:
> Avodas HaShem
> Misnagdim: Intellectual.
> Mussar: A combination.
> Chassidus: Emotional.

> Hakoras Tovah
> Misnagdim: A logic
> Mussar: A middah.
> Chassidus: An emotion

Consistently, Chassidus describes the goal experientially in contrast
to the misngadim's more cerebral model. Mussar builds on middos, the
common ground from which reason and emotion emerge (and therefore a
"combination" requiring both).

> Bushah V'Azus
> Misnagdim: Harbors doubt, sometimes lacks confidence.
> Mussar: Paradoxical trends toward doubt and boldness co-exist.
> Chassidus: Bold and confident in the service of core values.

I wouldn't describe mussar's position as paradoxical. It's more of the
dialectic of the Rambam's shevil hazahav, or the Orechos Tzaddiqim's
identification of the positives and negatives of each middah.

Same thing with the "paradoxical" approach to ga'avah. To skip ahead:
> Ga'avah V'Anavah
> Misnagdim: Takes pride in personal accomplishments, built on drive. Tool
> for aliyah.
> Mussar: Paradoxical trends toward ambition to achieve and negation
> of kavod (see below).
> Chaddidus: Bittul - negation of self; role in system more important
> than personal satisfaction.

Personally, I believe that if anivus were properly defined
it would both negate kavod and motivate. RYGB already did,
but others may be interested in seeing and critiquing

> Bitachon
> Misnagdim: Hashem has his plans.
> Mussar: Could go either way.
> Chassidus: Everything is Good!

Misnagdim actually have a richer answer, since they didn't buy into the
chiddush of universal HP. An event can either be His plan, or -- if you
don't merit it -- teva.

Mussar is more like:
    Navorodok: if you have bitachon, everything will be good. In Novorodok
	bitachon is experimentally measurable, by one's success at
	gaining Divine aid.
    Rest of Mussar: Hashem has his plans

> Dveykus Ba'Hashem
> Misnagdim: Nice, but not essential
> Mussar: Similar to other Misnagdim.
> Chassidus: It's Everything!

The misnagdic position was overstated. How about "essential, but only as
a component of sheleimus".

> Chesed V'Rachamim
> Misnagdim: Only when not learning.
> Mussar: Only when not learning, but then a focus.
> Chassidus: A legitimate option instead of learning.

As per many mussar maiselach, one's chumros in bein adam laMaqom come
after bein adam lachaveiro. I therefore believe there's a certain amount
of learning that outranks pursuit of chessed, but beyond that, the chessed
would come first. And even then, it's only bemaqom she'acheirim osim.

> Kavod
> Misnagdim: Can be used as a shelo lishmah, major emphasis on Kavod
> HaTorah.
> Mussar: Eradicating Kavod is one of the most central of Mussar's themes
> Chassidus: Preferable to eradicate, with the exception, obviously,
> of Rebbes.

Eradicating ga'avah is a mussar goal, but altogether eradication of one's
own kavod? That's very hard to fit with Slabodka. And again, the Orechos
Tzaddiqim ch. 1 identifies positive uses of ga'avah too.

Second, no one is their own rebbe. Therefore, is anyone in chassidus
supposed to groom their own kavod?

> Kiruv
> Misnagdim: Positive attitude, at least in theory.
> Mussar: Similar to other Misnagdim, but more l'ma'aseh.
> Chassidus: Except for Chabad and Breslov, neutral or negative attitude

This raises the question, already asked by others, of which time slice
you're addressing. Nowadays, the differences between chassidish and
misnagdish thought is much more blurred. So I didn't think your other
answers were about their current manifestations.

But this row only makes sense in contemporary terms. Chassidus was
founded as a qiruv movement, and that only later wore off.

You also omit Boston, not to mention all those Teimani Satmerer Chassidim.

> Shalom U'Machlokes
> Misnagdim: We pay lip service to shalom, but in reality...
> Mussar: More of an attempt to put principle into practice.
> Chassidus: We pay lip service to shalom, but in reality...

This is why people asked if the list is theoretical or sociological. Here
is looks like mussar ends up ahead by not being an existing
movement. Therefore other misnagdim and chassidim are judged by the
reality, whereas you judge mussar by the theory.

> Simchah V'Atzvus
> Misnagdim: Not much attention paid to these concepts. Some Misnagdim
> are pretty depressed.
> Mussar: Similar to other Misnagdim.
> Chassidus: A lot of attention. In theory, and often in practice,
> Chassidim are happy, avoid sadness, and are more happy-go-lucky.

Again, I'm not sure I agree with your characterization of mussar. There
are many statements of the nature of "ashreinu matov chelkeinu" --
and even warnings from the Alter of Slabodka (as repeated by RAEK)
and RSWolbe to be on guard that turning into ga'ava.

R' Dovid Katz also comments about how many people who formed impressions
of mussar 2nd-hand were surprised when they saw its practitioners for

OTOH, clinical depression runs in large numbers in the Litvisher gene
pool. (Not a characterization, but a statement proven in a study by a
frum geneticist.)

> Tochachah, Kana'us, Chanufah
> Misnagdim: Not much attention.
> Mussar: Same.
> Chassidus: Not much attention.

Tochachah and kana'us not important in mussar???

> Teshuvah
> Misnagdim: Very Important.
> Mussar: Same.
> Chassidus: Very Important.

I think teshuvah is something mussar would consider a defining feature of

> 1.     Mikveh. Chassidim stress the need for extra taharah as
> facilitation of dveykus; Misnagdim find no greater source of taharah
> than Torah - and, anyway, are not big on dveykus.

IMHO, this is only a consequence of a more fundamental difference --
the role of qabbalah in determining practice. Al pi nigleh, tum'ah is
primarily a monei'ah that keeps you from fulfilling certain mitzvos. If
those mitzvos don't come up, there is no problem staying tamei. Al pi
nistar, it's a state to be left as rapidly as possible. This also means
that relative tum'ah that isn't extreme enough to have a nafqa minah
lehalakhah is still significant.

On Sun, Aug 07, 2005 at 08:37:37AM -0400, Yitzchok Levine wrote:
: The selection below is from page 138 of "A Jubilee of Watching, The Story
: of HaRav Chayim Eliezer Samson," by Rachel Samson Rabinowitz...
:                                     Rabbi Samson referred to the story
:     chazal teach about the fiery power of study of Reb Yonasan Ben-Uziel,
:     which was intense enough to burn a bird flying above him.41 "The
:     Chasidishe student," Rabbi Samson said, "would be simply enraptured
:     by the awesomeness of the story, whereas the Litvishe student would
:     become absorbed with the intricacies of whether Reb Yonasan Ben-Uziel
:     would be liable for any damages for the life of the bird."

That's like a chaqira made by RYGB. Chazal (Bereishis Rabba 10:6-7) say
tat every blade of grass is controlled by a mal'akh "standing" over it,
causing it to grow.

RYGB pointed out on this list a long time ago that the chassidish talmid
would hear this and try to study each mal'akh, deduce its sheim, and get
in touch with the spirituality of the experience of walking on grass.

The Baal Mussar, OTOH:
    [O]ne of the Alter's shmuessen that Reb Avrohom Elya transcribed
    (ibid., p. 221). In that shmuess, the Alter discusses Chazal's
    statement ... Man casually walks upon thousands of blades of grass,
    not considering the great wisdom and transcendent purpose of the
    thousands of malachim upon which he treads. How uplifted a person
    should become when he realizes how many malachim were created to
    serve him! His heart should fill with both the glory of this kedusha
    and emotions of gratitude for this gift. How can one not be ashamed
    to enter the sanctuary of kedusha that is this world with soiled
    shoes and dirty clothes? How is he not embarrassed to be engrossed
    in frivolities while at the same time making use of the malachim
    created to facilitate man's destiny? The entire world - from its
    most general principles to its finest details - serves as a reminder
    at each step we take to be cognizant of G-d, and, bechol derachecha
    da'eihu, "In all your paths you shall know Him."


Micha Berger             Zion will be redeemed through justice,
micha@aishdas.org        and her returnees will come in righteousness.
Fax: (270) 514-1507      

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Date: Tue, 09 Aug 2005 00:24:37 -0400
From: "Yosef Gavriel & Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <ygb@aishdas.org>
Re: chassidim/misnagdim/mussar comparison

brent wrote:
> What, then, is similar between today's chassidus and the original 
> Chassidus?
> I don't mean only in theory.

That emotion is more important than intellect.

Gershon Seif wrote:
>>In response to the legitimate complaint that I neglected Mussar, I 
>>have expanded the table.

>When I first looked at the table I assumed that the misnagdim column
>was really explaining the yeshivish/mussar oriented view already.

>I would love to see you add TIDE to the chart!

 From the first footnote of my "Forks" essay:

    A detailed treatment of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch's philosophy
    as reflected in the writings of his grandson, Dr. Isaac Breuer, is
    presented in my essay: Dr. Yitzchok Breuer zt"l and World History. I
    believe it is accurate to state the following distinction: The
    schools of thought presented here focus on the Avodas Hashem that is
    the predominant aspect of life. Torah im Derech Eretz, on the other
    hand, focuses on the totality of life -- of a person, of the nation,
    and of the world -- and living that life in a manner consistent
    with what Torah im Derech Eretz understands to be Hashem's will
    and purpose for the person, the nation and the world. Hence, it
    is entirely possible to not follow Rabbi Hirsch's system of Avodas
    Hashem (as presented in Chorev and other works), following, instead,
    another approaches to Avodas Hashem, such as those presented here,
    and still be an adherent, on the more global or holistic level,
    of Torah im Derech Eretz. (Conversely, it is theoretically possible
    for someone to reject Torah im Derech Eretz yet adopt a Hirschian
    mode of Avodas Hashem.)

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Date: Mon, 8 Aug 2005 22:26:50 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: The Upgrade of Chassidus

On Fri, Aug 05, 2005 at 11:48:05AM +0200, Daniel Eidensohn wrote:
: The Klausenberger Rebbe (Shefah Chaim volume 4 #248) wrote concerning this:
:     "Our grandfather the Ateres Tzvi once said while fish were being
:     prepared and they were flopping around after their heads had been cut
:     off. "In this same manner will the chassidic rebbes dance and jump
:     -- without a head -- before the coming of Moshiach." ...

How does that shtim with the words of the Baal Shem Tov's letter (tr.
David Spears):
    On Rosh Hashanah of the year 5507 (1746 cue.), I made a [Kabalistic]
    oath and elevated my soul in the manner known to you. I saw wondrous
    things in a vision, the like of which I had never witnessed since
    the day my mind first began to awaken. The things which I saw and
    learned when I ascended there would be impossible to communicate,
    even if I could speak to you in person. When I returned to the lower
    Garden of Eden, I saw many souls, both living and dead, some known to
    me and others unknown-their number was beyond reckoning. They were
    hastening to and fro in order to ascend from one world to another
    through the Column known to those initiated into the Mysteries. Their
    joy was too great for the mouth to express or the physical ear to
    hear. Also, many evil-doers were repenting, and their sins were
    being forgiven, since it was a special time of Divine favor. Even
    to me, it was amazing how many of them were accepted as penitents,
    a number of whom you also know. There was great joy among them, too,
    and they ascended in he same manner.

    Together they begged and implored me unceasingly, "Because of the
    glory of your Torah, God has granted you an additional measure of
    understanding to grasp and to know these matters. Ascend with us so
    that you can be our help and support."

    Because of the great joy that I beheld among them, I agreed to
    go up with them... And I besought my master (Achiyah HaShiloni)
    to accompany me, for the ascent to the Supernal Worlds is fraught
    with danger. From the day of my birth until now, I never experienced
    such an ascent as this.

    I went up from level to level until I entered the Palace of Moshiach,
    where Moshiach studies with the Tannaim and tzaddikim, as well as
    the Seven Shepherds. There I found extremely great rejoicing, but
    I did not know the cause of this delight. At first I thought that
    it might be due to my having passed away from the physical world,
    God forbid. Later they told me that I had not yet died, for they
    have great pleasure on high when I effect mystical unifications in
    the world below through their holy Torah. However, to this very day,
    the nature of their joy remains unknown to me.

    I asked Moshiach, "When will you come, master?" And he replied,
    "By this you shall know: it will be a time when your teachings
    become publicized and revealed to the world, and your well-springs
    have overflowed to the outside. [It will be when] that which
    I have taught you-and that which you have perceived of your own
    efforts-become known, so that others, too, will be able to perform
    mystical unifications and ascents of the soul like you. Then all
    the evil klippos will be destroyed, and it will be a time of grace
    and salvation."

    I was amazed at this and greatly troubled, since a long time must
    pass for this to be possible. But while I was there I learned three
    segulos and three Holy Names which are easy to learn and explain. My
    mind was then set at ease, and I thought that with these teachings
    the people of my own generation might attain the same spiritual
    level and state as myself. They would be able to elevate their souls
    and to learn and perceive just as I do. However, I was not granted
    permission to reveal this during my lifetime. I pleaded for your sake
    to be allowed to teach you; but I was denied permission altogether
    and took an oath to that effect.


Micha Berger             Zion will be redeemed through justice,
micha@aishdas.org        and her returnees will come in righteousness.
Fax: (270) 514-1507      

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