Avodah Mailing List

Volume 16 : Number 032

Thursday, November 17 2005

< Previous Next >
Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2005 10:47:48 +0000
From: Arie Folger <afolger@aishdas.org>
RE: Ikkare Hashkafa

Did Rav SRH consider TIDE as a horaat sha'ah? Well, let me add two more data 
points, one in the original German:

„Sie w?nschen also im Ernst“, unterbrach ihn ein junger Mann,
seine Glac?handschuhe zurechtziehend, „Sie w?nschen also im Ernst
die alten Zeiten wieder zur?ck, und bedauern es am Ende gar, da?
die Juden nicht mehr in den Ghetti wohnen und den gelben Fleck zum
Abzeichen tragen? —“ „Das nicht,“ erwiderte ich ernst, „das
nicht, junger Mann. Ich verkenne nicht die Vorz?ge unserer Zeit; ich
freue mich aufrichtig, unsere Jugend in Frack und Handschuhen und der
ganzen Tourn?re der Bildung zu sehen; freue mich noch mehr des Sieges der
Humanit?t und des Rechtes und der Wahrheit in der Brust der Menschen, die
die Ghetti-Mauern umgesto?en und Jude und Nichtjude einander menschlich
n?her gebracht. Ich freue mich der nunmehr dem Juden ge?ffneten Bahnen,
in welchen er sein Talent und seinen Charakter und die ganze edle F?lle
seiner religi?sen Lebensanschauungen bew?hren k?nnte. Ich freue mich,
da? wir nun Juden sein k?nnten, ohne f?r dieses unser Judentum Friede
und Ehre, Gl?ck und Leben opfern zu m?ssen. Ich kann aber mit allem
dem nur dann freuen, wenn wir in dieser leichteren, freieren Lebenslust
nun wahrhaft ernste Juden sein wollten; wenn wir in diese Neuzeit die
herrlichen Herz- und Seelensch?tze der alten Zeit mit hin?bergebracht,
und den ?u?eren Glanz und die oft nur sch?nere Oberfl?che nicht zu
teuer bezahlt h?tten mit allem dem, was in Wahrheit die Gediegenheit und
den ?chten Kern des Lebens bedingt.“ Rabbiner Samson Raphael Hirsch,
“Aus der Mappe eines wandernden Juden”, 2.Kapittel, Gesammelte
Schriften, Erster Band, Frankfurt 1902, S. 436 – 470.

The salient point is that Rav Hirsch presents in that text a fictitious
exchange between two "modern" German Jews, one of which (RSRH's hero
and thus mouthpiece) says that he rejoices in the advances of modernity,
including changes in fashion, greater culture of the new generation,
Humanist achievements including a modicum of emancipation, and *greater*
*closesness* - *as* *people* - *between* *Jew* and *non*Jew*, however
cannot truly celebrate until Jews are sufficiently proud of their own
heritage to use these newfound freedoms to make with their Judaity
inroads into new frontiers.

That sounds like a rather strong support of TIDE. Unfortunately, I do
not know when he wrote that piece. It would have been nice to know if
it was from his time in Moravia or from Frankfurt.

Please note that the above excerpt is a small part of a longer text, and
any apologetic overtones in the first sentence of the main character's
response is merely a result of the story line RSRH is developing. IIRC
he had been talking to someone on a carriage and was overheard by a
young man who asks him whether he desires that Jews would return to
the Ghetti. Hence he is trying to explain to the passerby what his true
intentions are and fill him in on what he didn't overhear.

See also Rabbi Hirsch, Samson Raphael; Gesammelte Schriften; vol. VI,
pg 26. and p. 27 ?4 & p. 28 ?2-4 for major praise for Jephet's
culture, saying that for the perfection of man, both Shem *and* Jephet
are needed, for it is the culture of Jephet that prepares man for the
spirit of Shem! Unfortunately, I do not have the references in the English
translation, and the German text is hard to scan, for OCR programs rarely
know what to do with the Frankist (a.k.a. Ghothic) font.

This last citation is from an article in Jeshurun, i.e. after he joined
the IRG, and he decided to praise Jephet, explicitly linked to Hellas,
precisely in his piece of Kislev, even though he then has to bend over
backwards to explain how, in that case, the Hellenists could be seen
in a bad light in the episode of 'Hanukkah. (RSRH answers, IIRC, that
while the culture of Hellas is their Divinely deisired contribution to
humanity, it must not be used to attack Torah)

[Email #2. -mi]

RHM wrote:
> Maybe we should all move to Qumran?

If we do, will we still be in isolation?

(while this is a joke, there is a serious side to it, as isolation of
an entire population may be impossible)

Berocho veScholaum,
Arie Folger

Go to top.

Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2005 13:40:53 +0000
From: Arie Folger <afolger@aishdas.org>
TEST - Re: Avodah V16 #30

On Wednesday, 16. November 2005 22.44, Avodah wrote:
> [Umm, Hebrew doesn't work on this list. Hopefully RSC got a non-mangled
> copy. -mi]

Actually, I have been wondering about this. Sometimes, such as in Avodah
v15 #44, the Hebrew worked, at other times, like today, it doesn't Why?

I checked the headers, and they clearly include "Content-Type: text/plain;
  charset=utf-8", so one need not look for the problems there.

I suggest that either some people's mailers are Hebrew incapable, such as
the "webmail" program Aishdas uses, the settings are wrong (could happen
to anybody) or the mailing list program doesn't grok unicode. Are you
using mailman or listserv? Does it run on Linux, SunOS, *BSD or Windows *?

[The webmail script AishDas provides (and you can use POP instead of web
access can read utf-8 files. You have to manually select view -> encoding
-> utf-8 from your browser after loading the page.. The page lies,
using a single encoding scheme (iso8859-8) regarless of the email. -mi]

Knowing that my mail client does do Hebrew properly, I am sending here
some Hebrew text to see the result. It includes nikud and te'amim to
complicate matters. Best viewed with an OpenType font created for Hebrew
text, such as SBL Hebrew, Lucida Sans Unicode or Ezra SIL (not SIL Ezra).

? ??????? ? ??????????? ???????????? ?????????????? ????????? ????????? ?????? ???????????? ?????????????????? ??????? ???? ???????? ????? ????????? 
?????? ?????????????

And here with neither nikud nor te'amim:
???? ?????? ???????
Now I will just look at the results on list.

Kol tuv,
Arie Folger

Go to top.

Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2005 07:33:47 +0200
From: Akiva Atwood <akiva.atwood@gmail.com>
Pri aitz Hadar - Cedar cone?

While researching an article on Esrogim Gila found the following claim:
> synagogues, and was used as the handle for the ritualistic circumcision
> knife. The etrog is still used today in the Feast of Tabernacles ritual
> during the holiday of Sukkot. The original ritual called for a fruit
> of the hadar tree, or the cedar tree whose cone was called kedros in
> Greek. Kedros was Latinized as cedrus and this eventually turned into
> citrus.

Which seems historically accurate (citrus not arriving in the Middle
East until 500 BCE).

However, for a frum article she can't use a non-Jewish source. Does
anyone know of any authoritative Jewish sources for this?


there are no dilemmas without confusion, there's no free will without
dilemmas, and there's no humanity without free will.

Go to top.

Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2005 10:45:18 -0500
From: "Shinnar, Meir" <Meir.Shinnar@rwjuh.edu>

I am very confuse by RYGB's statement on haskala (something that
frequently happens between us)

Initially, RYGB said
>Haskalah, AFAIK, was *never* a force in Germany. Indeed, there was no
>room for it to attract adherents *because* of the philosophy of RSRH
>which successfully brunts its force.

when challenged, he said
>RSRH's perspective on MM is interesting, but not relevant. For the most
>part, German Jews were not great philosophers and thinkers. They wanted
> nothing more or less than freedom from the strictures of Halacha.

>It began in Germany, but was not the driving force there. Prikas Ol was
>the driving force. Haskala was far more pernicious - and effective - in
the intellectual atmosphere of Lithuania than the pragmatic atmosphere
>of Germany.
>Haskala and Reform are not the same thing!

Therefore, the role of haskala in Germany is apparently not because of
RSRH, but because of pragmatic atmosphere - and he differentiates haskala
from Reform

>*Haskala* was almost nowhere to be seen - outside Berlin. You continue 
>to conflate Reform with Haskala.

Now, while Reform is not the same as Haskala, and is not a necessay
sequel to haskala, they share much of the same values. They both share an
openness to the surrounding culture and a belief that the intellectual
tools of modern culture can and should be used in understanding our own
religious heritage (this I would even argue might be viewed almost as a
defintion of haskala) - and is also part and parcel of Modern Orthodoxy
(and of RSRH - even if he wasn't a proponent of Wissenschaft...) - and
it was something that was almost universally shared by all of German
Jewry by the late 19th century (almost all of whom, even in small towns,
went to either public schools or to Modern Orthodox day schools) -
and the major issue that RSRH dealt with on a sociological level was
the meaning of torah in this modern, post haskala environment.

Perhaps RYGB can define what exactly he means by haskala - so that we
have the same defintion

The last point that RYGB makes is that the small towns were a different
reality than the big towns. That statement is partially correct - small
villages were different, and there were small villages that remained
Orthodox - but most of Germany, even rural Germany, wasn not Orthodox
by the turn of the century.

Meir Shinnar

Go to top.

Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2005 18:24:09 +0200
From: saul mashbaum <smash52@netvision.net.il>
Re: halachic implications of IVF

A brief article which concisely explains the halachic issues concerning
IVF and other modern reproductive techniques (as mentioned in RTK's
recent posting on this subject) is

Assisted Reproduction and Judaism by Miryam Z. Wahrman, Ph.D.
at <http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/ivf.html>

Saul Mashbaum

Go to top.

Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2005 13:33:39 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Torah and communal sheleimus

On Mon, Nov 07, 2005 at 11:42:09AM -0500, mlevinmd@aol.com wrote:
: What I am trying to say is that the issue is mcuh more complex than in
: your analysis. Torah provides tools for integration on the religious and
: spiritual levels but it does not do the work of the indivdual to ensure
: that this integration actually takes place.

So, of my chaqirah, you seem to be asserting the "Torah is a tool that
a person could never choose to use correctly" side. However, you seem
to add that Torah is aimed at the religious and spiritual levels of
your model, and not the physical, pscyhological or social ones.

The last, excluding the social level, seems problematic to me. If the
exclusion was intentional, could you explain the role of mitzvos beinAdam
lachaveiro in a way in which they do not address social skills?

Second, are you adding that because the Torah only addresses the more
advanced levels of human development, a person could choose to use the
Torah correctly, but be unready to do so on those issues where he's
still more immature in his development?


PS: This would be an interesting topic for MK IV...

Micha Berger             A person must be very patient
micha@aishdas.org        even with himself.
http://www.aishdas.org         - attributed to R' Nachman of Breslov
Fax: (270) 514-1507      

Go to top.

Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2005 13:46:39 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Writting His name in full

On Sun, Nov 13, 2005 at 03:13:50PM -0500, Zev Sero wrote:
: It remains the case, though, that the word used in a foreign language
: as the Name is different than other kinnuyim: when praying in a foreign
: language, one must address Him by His name in that language, and not by
: any kinnuy, whether in that language or in Hebrew. E.g. when praying in
: English one must use the G name, and not the L kinnuy.

Is "G-d" a name?

In terms of spoken word, as in prayer, it's identical to the word for
deity, "god" with a lower case "g".

I guess this first question boils down to: Would sheim E-lokim, which
can also be used to refer to the Creator or to gods or even legislative
rulers in general, be considered a sheim qodesh if it weren't used as
such in Tanakh? "God" would have the sameambiguity, but isn't used in

Second, why do we call the Creator "G-d", anyway? "God" refers to some
trinitarian deity. That's what the people who coined the word, whether
we look at "God" or the German "Gott", were thinking. How can we call
Him by the name of an AZ?

BTW, wikipedia claims the origin of the word (according to the larger
side of a hot dispute) is the proto-Indo-European "ghutom", which refers
to libation. So it might even be related to the Notzri conflation of
deity and messiah!

More language ugliness: "deity" comes from the Greek "theos", which is
akin to "Zeus" (who is "Dios" in genetive conjugation).


Micha Berger             "Fortunate indeed, is the man who takes
micha@aishdas.org        exactly the right measure of himself,  and
http://www.aishdas.org   holds a just balance between what he can
Fax: (270) 514-1507      acquire and what he can use." - Peter Latham

Go to top.

Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2005 13:56:27 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Belief in HaShem

On Tue, Nov 15, 2005 at 07:24:21PM -0500, Joshua Meisner wrote:
: 1) Is the mitzvah of belief in HaShem a command to intellectually know of
: His existence (or better, to strive for this knowledge) or is it a command
: to have simple faith in His existence? Some combination? Machlokes?

This is a tough question to even ask, as defining "know" vs "faith"
is non-trivial.

R' el Qafeh ("Kapach") quite clearly proves that the Rambam asked people
to KNOW the 13 ikkarim, not to simply trust they exist.

However, in terms of intellectial knowledge vs simple, I would personally
argue that until someone has the simple knowledge, all the intellectual
arguments won't convince him (see signature quote, below). But without
the intellectual detail, one's faith will inevitably devolve into a
false image like an old man in heaven...

I touch on this repeatedly in my blog. Look at the fist topic at
<http://www.aishdas.org/asp/bysubject.shtml#tho>, "Faith and Proof".

: 2) Does a ben Noach have a mitzvah to believe in HaShem? The relevant
: mitzvah of the 7 mitzvos b'nei Noach would seem to be the prohibition of
: avodah zara, but if a ben Noach does not do any action acknowledging the
: status of any other power as being divine, would he be in violation of
: this law? In other words, would a non-Jew who professes to be an agnostic
: or an atheist (or, for that matter, one who never thinks about such things
: at all= ) be doing anything wrong? If a ben Noach does have some chiyuv
: of active belief in HaShem, does it differ at all from that of a Jew?

Are you asking about a prohibition against idolatry that isn't expressed
as woship? Or about one against atheism? Or a duty not to be a-religious


Micha Berger             The mind is a wonderful organ
micha@aishdas.org        for justifying decisions
http://www.aishdas.org   the heart already reached.
Fax: (270) 514-1507      

Go to top.

Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2005 19:17:26 GMT
From: "Elazar M. Teitz" <remt@juno.com>
re: belief in Hashem

|2) Does a ben Noach have a mitzvah to believe in HaShem? The relevant
|mitzvah of the 7 mitzvos b'nei Noach would seem to be the prohibition of
|avodah zara, but if a ben Noach does not do any action acknowledging the
|status of any other power as being divine, would he be in violation of
|this law? In other words, would a non-Jew who professes to be an agnostic
|or an atheist (or, for that matter, one who never thinks about such things
|at all= ) be doing anything wrong? If a ben Noach does have some chiyuv
|of active belief in HaShem, does it differ at all from that of a Jew?

According to those who believe that shituf is permitted for a ben Noach,
it would seem that the _only_ chiyuv he has is the positive one of Anochi,
and not the negative of Lo yihyeh l'cha.

Go to top.

Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2005 15:25:31 -0500
From: "Samuel Svarc" <ssvarc@yeshivanet.com>
Re: Belief in HaShem

From: Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
>And why pray tell do you think it wrong...

Well, let's see if I can explain.

On one side of the debate we find.
"Gedolim who say".
And on the other side of the debate we find.
"I [R'HM] resp[e]ctfully disagree".

If this doesn't do the trick...

As for, "I'm sorry, I cannot prevent my mind from thinking and denying
thought is intellectually dishonest". You're being disingenuous, there
are explicit mitzvos in the Torah that deal with thoughts; some a person
*must* have, some a person is *not* allowed to have.


Go to top.

Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2005 13:07:59 -0800 (PST)
From: Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
Re: Belief in HaShem

Samuel Svarc <ssvarc@yeshivanet.com> wrote:
> On one side of the debate we find.
> "Gedolim who say".
> And on the other side of the debate we find.
> "I [R'HM] resp[e]ctfully disagree".

> If this doesn't do the trick...

No that doesn't do the trick. It is not "Gedolim". It was R. Elchanan. He
is not "Gedolim" He was a single Gadol. Other Gedolim disagreed. I sided
with others because of my own thining on the subject.

> As for, "I'm sorry, I cannot prevent my mind from thinking and denying
> thought is intellectually dishonest". You're being disingenuous, there
> are explicit mitzvos in the Torah that deal with thoughts; some a person
> *must* have, some a person is *not* allowed to have.

You cannot equate Kavanah or Hirhurim Assurim with rational thought.
If my mind seeks rationality on a subject, no amount of telling me not to
think rational thoughts about it is going to prevent my mind from thinking
them. The thoughts are there. By denying that I have them I would simply
be lying to myself. Say the word cucumber and then try not to think of
a cucumber. Telling you not to think of a cucumber doesn't work.

If you have a rational thought, do you deny having it? Do you say that
R. Elchanan said these thoughts are Assur to have so I'm not really
having them?


Go to top.

Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2005 16:16:31 -0600
From: "brent kaufman" <fallingstar613@hotmail.com>

I am not in a position to listen to shiurim. If you'd like to say what
he says about the issue fine. However, no shiur is going to outdo the
opinions of the Ari and Ramchal, Rashash, all of whose writings I am
familiar with and they believed as do all of the mekubalim after the Ari,
that the Zohar is by RASHBI and/or his students.

I see and I've seen for a long time, especially in certain academic
Torah circles, that there is a strong desire to discredit Kabbalah
(Toras Nistar) and especially the Zohar from which all post-Ari kabbalah
derives. I have my own understanding of why this is, nonetheless, these
teachings are a part of the Torah mesorah of Klal Yisrael, citing a
Rishon or Acharon here or there that disagree, not withstanding. No one
is forced to accept these things but what is there to gain by brushing off
the writings of R. Chaim Vital and the Ramchal and mekubalim since then?

It is well known that the Gra said that the dinei d'Rabanon of Chazal
are still obligatory even when they are irrelevent and no longer apply
because there are reasons for these takanos and gezeiros and dinim
that go beyond the reasons given in the Gemara that are "al pi sod".
Those "sodos" and reasons are taught by the mekubalim of the "Lurianic"
school (as its been called here). Without those who have explained their
reasons, they are, in fact, irrelevant anacronisms. Just a thought.


Go to top.

Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2005 14:05:14 -0500
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Re: Eliyahu was not a Cohen?

Gil Student <gil.student@gmail.com> wrote:
>>> Bringing the korban was an "eis la'asos la-Shem." How does that apply
>>> to the other case?

>>Not according to the Rambam in Yesodei Hatorah. He gives it as an
>>example of Hora'at Sha'ah, which is essentially the power of a navi to
>>suspend, on a temporary basis, any halacha except AZ. This power
>>specifically relies on nevu'ah - that's how the navi knows whether Hashem
>>wants the law to be suspended (unlike Et La'asot...

> See the Maharatz Chajes' treatment of this in his Toras Nevi'im, the
> Hora'as Sha'ah section. From that very Rambam, he is medayek that a
> Hora'as Sha'ah has the same limitations of an Eis La'asos -- that it
> must be le-migdar milsa. That was what I meant. How was the second
> case in any way some communal emergency?

Two unrelated points:
1. I am *not* saying that saving the Ben Hashunamit was a Hora'at Sha'ah.
I'm saying that since Eliyahu knew by nevu'ah that he could save him,
it was permitted under ordinary halacha as pikuach nefesh. But how could
Eliyahu rely on his nevu'ah to be accurate? I answer *that* objection by
pointing to the law of Hora'at Sha'ah. If he could rely on his nevuah
to determine that Hashem wanted him to bring a korban bachutz, he could
equally rely on it to determine that if he treated the Ben Hashunamit's
corpse, he would be able to revive him.

2. Let's look at another example of Hora'at Sha'ah: during the dedication
of the 1st BHMK, the self-affliction of Yom Kippur was suspended. What
"lemigdar milta" required that? What communal emergency justified it;
what terrible thing would have happened, had they observed YK that year?

What's more, even in principle, I don't see how the Maharatz Chajes's
theory can possibly be sustained. What he is essentially saying is that
Hashem tells a navi that He wants something done, which is contrary
to the halacha, and unless there is some urgent reason to comply, the
navi should ignore Hashem's orders, ch"v. The fact that Hashem wants
it isn't enough, apparently. We must also have a sevara, that if we
don't comply something bad will happen, not just to a yachid but to the
whole community, and so lemigdar milta we will obey Hashem! And if we
don't think anything bad will result from disobeying Him, then we not
only will but *must* do so! I mean, Lo Vashamayim Hi is all very well,
but this seems to me to be taking things a bit too far.

Zev Sero

Go to top.

Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2005 16:53:06 -0500
From: "Rich, Joel" <JRich@Segalco.com>

Some time back we discussed what we would tell a ben noach who came to us
and asked whether hkbh wanted him to convert.  I was thinking about the
bracha a ger makes upon geirut.  What mitzvah is he saying it on? Who is

joel rich

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 >