Avodah Mailing List

Volume 16 : Number 037

Wednesday, November 23 2005

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Tue, 22 Nov 2005 00:49:42 -0500
From: "Samuel Svarc" <ssvarc@yeshivanet.com>
Re: Geirut

From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
>"Samuel Svarc" <ssvarc@yeshivanet.com> wrote:
>> AFAIK it's k'tzas mashmia in the Gemara, that HKBH *is* interested in a
>> sincere convert. OTOH, *we* are required to try to dissuade him... 

>I don't believe we *are* supposed to try to dissuade him. I think this
>is a major misconception. What we are supposed to do is make a full
>disclosure, of both the positives and the negatives. Like the army, we
>want recruits, but only ones who are committed, and will stay through
>the bad times as well as the good. If he is going to quit as soon as
>things get tough, we'd rather that he not join us in the first place,
>and we certainly don't want him to have a just complaint that we tricked
>him, that he didn't know what he was getting involved with.

Although I hear what your saying (your sevorah makes sense to me), I
quite distinctly remember Chazal's that don't jibe. As I don't have a
Mikraoth Gedolath Rus (or for that matter on any part of Nach), I can't
check it up. I looked your mareh makom though, see my comments below.

>If you look at "the speech", e.g. in YD 268:2, it says "and just as we
>tell him the punishment of the mitzvot, we also tell him their reward,
>and let him know that by doing these mitzvot he will merit the Next World
>[...] the Next World is hidden away exclusively for the righteous, i.e.
>the Jews [...] and we expand on this theme in order to attract him".

Not quite. YD 268:2 "When he comes to convert, we [Bais Din] tell him,
"What did you see that you are coming to convert? Do you not know that
Jews these days are [afflicted?]... [unsure how to translate these
three words] and pain comes unto them?" If he says, " I know and I am
not [even] worthy to join them [the Jews]", we accept him at once and
inform him of the essentials of knowledge... and we do not add onto
him [more and more of these prohibitions] nor do we tell him the nitty
gritty halachic details of those few prohibitions that we did tell him,
and the same way we told him the punishment for sins, so too do we tell
him the reward for mitzvos..."

So first we try to scare him, and if he persists, *then* we give him the
full disclosure. See the Shach and Taz there for an explanation that is
different then either of us.

>What I get from this is that it's just as important *not* to dissuade
>a genuine applicant as it is to dissuade one who isn't genuine.

True. Like I originally said, "AFAIK it's k'tzas mashmia in the Gemara,
that HKBH *is* interested in a sincere convert". But it appears that we
*do* try to dissuade him first.


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Date: Tue, 22 Nov 2005 08:26:57 +0100
From: Arie Folger <afolger@aishdas.org>
Re: Writting His name in full

RZS wrote:
> But it's "sefer torah shektavo min", and I think that "min" in this case
> is davka, and not a synonym for "apikores" or "mumar". It's specifically
> a sefer written by a Christian that must be burned, because every time
> that he writes the Name, he doesn't mean Hashem, he means his god.

Are you so sure that a Min is a Christian? Shouldn't we first of all
declare that a priori, the Min is a Jew, for in teh 1st chapetr of 'Hullin
we learn ein minnim be'ovdei kokhavim, and second of all, that it doesn't
matter if he is davka a Christian Jew, or would a Jew who is aduq to,
say Zoroastrianism, Gnosticism, or in our days, haShem yatsileinu,
Buddhism, also qualify?

Arie Folger

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Date: Tue, 22 Nov 2005 07:57:03 EST
From: T613K@aol.com
Re: Kohain gadol

In Avodah V16 #12 dated 10/28/2005 "Russell Levy" <russlevy@gmail.com>
>>Check out Yoma 9a: There were more than 300 kohanim in the bayis
sheini (420 years). 4 kohanim gedolim served 141 years, so you have
the other (at least) 296 kohanim in 279 years -- the average was less
than a year. I understood the gemara to mean that they died (since
they are called reshaim in a passuk), but I guess it could be they all
got tamei...<<

What happened to the seven sons of Kimchis (or whatever her name was),
the woman whose house never saw a hair on her head and she therefore
had seven sons
 who were all KG?

 -Toby  Katz

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Date: Tue, 22 Nov 2005 01:32:16 EST
From: Yzkd@aol.com
Re: m'dameh davar l'davar

In a message dated 11/21/2005 6:02:39pm EST, micha@aishdas.org writes:
> When drinking from a cup with an embedded filter ...        , since
> the act of drinking is the same act as the birur, my LOR considers it
> akhilah le'alter (unsurprisingly IMHO).

The clearer heter is Derech Achila, the heter of "myad Lpeh" (straight from 
the hand to the mouth) is not so Poshut.

Kol Tuv,
Yitzchok Zirkind

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Date: Tue, 22 Nov 2005 19:07:33 +0100
From: Arie Folger <rabbinat@igb.ch>
re: Eliyahu not a kohein?

REMT quoted:
>> He had attained the level of being capable to revive the dead, like we
>> see other people mentioned in Shas were capable of (the famous story on
>> Purim...), and he knew he could to it.
... and answered
> If he had that ability, then why wasn't he obligated, for reasons of
> pikuach nefesh, to bring back to life every dead person he could?

Piqua'h nefesh depends on someone still being alive. Put differently, if
the boy were married, would his wife still be married after the revival,
or not? If his wife would still be married to him, was he really dead,
or was the nes one of quasi resurrection, with the real thing reserved
for HQBH directly? If the wife would be free, having become a widow
before the revival, why would the act of revival qualify for piqua'h
nefesh in the first place? (this is a bit analogous to the question of
whether the wife of Eliyahu, and of Pin'has, ever became widowed)

Arie Folger
Rabbiner Arie Folger,
Israelitische Gemeinde Basel

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Date: Tue, 22 Nov 2005 14:33:42 -0600
From: "Gershon Seif" <gershonseif@yahoo.com>
shnayim mikra

Question for you all.... is there a source that says one is obligated
to say/read shnayim mikra v'echad targum out loud? perhaps just reading
would suffice. A chaver of mine just asked me about this and I assumed
it would be a slam dunk that there's a chiyuv to say it out loud, but
I haven't found a ra'aya just yet.

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Date: Tue, 22 Nov 2005 15:47:45 -0500
From: "Ashkanazy, Zev" <ZQAshkanazy@aaachicago.com>

I am interested in the opinion of the Mechanchim of this group for the
following question.

A student in a frum high school has an issue about a frum secular teacher
and brings her complaint to an administrator. When the administrator
speaks to the teacher she refuses to say who the student is that
complained and does not give the teacher any information so she can
make improvements or apologize, if necessary. My contention is that the
"to'elet" for the student being allowed to say the lashon hara is gone
if the teacher does not get the full story.

Please advise.


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Date: Wed, 23 Nov 2005 13:58:19 -0500
From: "David Riceman" <driceman@worldnet.att.net>
Re: m'dameh davar l'davar

From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
>: <my wife>If taking a strainer containing tea leaves out of a cup of tea 
>: on Shabbos
>: is borer, why isn't taking a tea bag containing tea leaves out of a cup
>: of tea on Shabbos borer?

> <RMB>Your wife asks a good question. AIUI, it IS boreir (SSK 3:58, besheim
> RSZA).

I'm beginning to realize that this is more complicated than I had
thought. SSK is considerably more tentative in his language than
you are. I haven't found the time to check sources yet, but here are
some preliminary thoughts:

The classical case of borer would be to take a mixture of tea + leaves,
pour the mixture through a strainer, and end up with tea. Even that
is not entirely clearly assur d'oraysa. See Hayyei Adam H. Shabbos
16:7 where he distinguishes between potable liquid [tzlulim] with
contaminants and non-potable liquid [akurim] and cf. ibid. 9, where he's
unsure whether straining coffee is assur d'oraysa or only d'rabbanan.
All of us know that tea with loose tea leaves is potable.

On weekdays I make tea by putting tea leaves in a strainer, putting the
strainer into a cup, pouring boiling water onto the leaves, then removing
the strainer with the leaves. The strainer I use takes up almost the
entire volume of the cup. I am unsure whether removing the strainer
fits the above paradigm of borer since I don't know whether the water,
once poured, is in the strainer or in the cup (it can flow freely,
only the leaves are restrained).

I think removing the strainer would be assur drabbanan, but, as I said
above, I'm not sure it would be assur d'orraysa because I'm not sure
there ever was a mixture, and, even if there was, I'm not sure there's
an issur of borer associated with straining it.

But now consider a tea bag. It's not comparable to my favorite tea filter
(ignoring for a moment the gross inferiority of the resulting tea) because
it doesn't contain the bulk of the liquid in the cup, it contains only
a tiny bit of liquid, so there's a negligible mixture of water and tea
leaves. Any objection to removing the tea bag can't be because it's like
a strainer, since the tea leaves are certainly not mixed with the liquid,
it has to be because the tea bag as a whole is psoleth. But in that
case we have precisely the case the Hayyei Adam permits b'derech shinui.
Of course the removal is always done by hand and not by kli, so I don't
know whether that improves or worsens the possibility of shinui.

David Riceman 

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Date: Tue, 22 Nov 2005 22:39:51 -0500
From: "S & R Coffer" <rivkyc@sympatico.ca>
RE: disagreeing with rishonim

[Kindly stick to making new points. Much of the last couple of posts on
this thread have been each side repeating the point of contention from
their side rather than giving new material. -mi]

On November 22, 2005, Daniel Eidensohn wrote:
> This takes us a step forward- now that you accept that the Yaavetz
> asserted that there are rishonim who felt it is legitimate to disagree
> with Chazal.

Not really. My position still remains that maamarei Chazal which have been
authenticated are beyond reproach and must be accepted without pause. The
fact that *an* acharon interpreted *a* rishon as disagreeing with Chazal
doesn't change my mind. There will always be *some* minority shittos
that don't fit in to our collective messora per se. I don't consider a
scattered source here or there as sufficient cause to validate a position
that "there are rishonim who felt it is legitimate to disagree with
Chazal". Besides, what are we talking about here? The Yaavetz who, at
the same time that he interprets the Radak as disagreeing with Chazal,
rejects his authority to do so, and Rav Dessler who also notes the
Radak's apparent disagreements with Chazal, agrees with the Yaavetz that
it is inappropriate for a Rishon to dismiss Chazal's interpretations,
and then offers a clear and lucid approach to reconcile the Radak with
maamarey Chazal. This seems like quite a weak peg to hang your hat on.

>              It would also follow that it is legitmate to understand the
> Ohr HaChaim as saying that he has the right to disagree with understanding
> of chazal - in non-halachic matters.

I understand the Ohr haChaim as saying that it is legitimate to advance
alternative interpretations to those of Chazal within the context of
shivim panim laTorah but I don't believe he would entirely reject a
maamar Chazal. After all, I'm sure the OH would not begrudge Chazal
their interpretation as one of the "seventy facets". However, even if
the OH would feel authorized to reject maamarei Chazal, I would consider
him a daas yachid. My estimation of his greatness would in no way be
diminished but that doesn't mean I have to "rechen" with his shita in
this matter. Like I mentioned above, I don't consider isolated sources
as holding credence within the context of our collective messorah.

BTY, the term "messorah" here is elusive and can be interpreted in varying
manners. I don't mean to appeal to partisan dogma and claim that "my"
messorah is more authentic than someone else's. I am merely saying that
if we have an overwhelming majority of opinions amongst the Rishonim and
Acharonim, an isolated source does not necessarily have the ability to
gain status as a legitimate shita to follow.

>                                       At this point you apparently have
> modified your original position to the point that we can both say there
> is a totally legitimate debate in classic authoritative sources concerning
> this matter. One should not be considered a shagetz or kofer for adopting
> the view of major rishonim (though of course there are such assertions).

I've never heard shagetz but kofer...now we're getting into another issue
altogether, one that has been discussed on Avodah at length. Personally,
I prefer to stay away from labels but suffice to say that if a person
chooses to predicate his hashkafas hachaim on the idea that Chazal
frequently erred, he is making a fundamental error in judgement despite
all the Or HaChaims he may wish to invoke in his defence.

Incidentally, you claim that I have now modified my shita sufficiently
for us to agree on the fact that one who adopts the shita that it is
permissible to argue on Chazal is "adopting the view of major rishonim"
and "should not be considered a shagetz or kofer". Yet, the one source
you choose to illustrate your assertion is the Yaavetz and he had similar
words (lustful and arrogant) for anyone adopting such shittos. Thus,
I don't see how you can dance at two weddings.

> At this point I think we are in agreement in rejecting your original
> assertion that everyone holds chazal's views must be totally accepted
> and that there is no legitimate disagreement with their interpretations.

Only in the context of advancing *additional* interpretations. Anything
else is, IMO, illegitimate despite some possible (depending on how you
interpret them) isolated sources. I know this position seems intractable
to many people but after many years of exposure to the commentaries
of the Rishonim on Gemara and Chumash, seeing how they all struggle to
understand every nuance of Chazal's words, there is no room for doubt
in my mind regarding the veracity of my approach in this matter.

> It is also clear that there are gedolim such as Rav Dessler who agree
> with your original assertion. I personally think that this position
> requires some very creative readings that I find unsatisfactory. Aside
> from the one I cited where he asserts that in essence the Rishonim lied
> for the sake of kiruv

You do not understand Rav Dessler properly. The gist of Rav Dessler's
letter is that Chazal's interpretations were the essence of Torah
but to one who is not on the madrayga to entirely internalize their
meaning, the Rishonim offered alternate interpretations that captured a
*portion* of the meaning of the verse but not its ultimate essence, its
truest form. The Rishonim weren't lying. They were offering alternate
interpretations that the pasuk can be sovel although on its deepest
level their pirushim fell short of Chazal's.

>                         another reading that I find problematic is his
> interpretation of how to reconcile the views of the Rambam and Ramban
> concerning medicine. While the latter is not directly connected with
> our discussion - it is illustrative of the type of interpretation.

> p528 in Daas Torah

> *Michtav M'Eliyahu****(3:170): *At first glance it would seem that there
> is a major dispute concerning curing the sick. The view of the Ramban
> is that the truly pious do not need doctors.... 

I think Rav Dessler's approach is perfect however since you didn't really
outline your issue with it, I will leave off defending it. I just wish
to remind you that the Ramban was a practicing physician.

> Ultimately what we are disputing concerns whether there have been major
> authorities who have legitimate alternative undestandings of hashkofa to
> what is assumed now. Successful denial of diversity makes contemporary
> authority stronger. However it has an inverse effect if people can't
> accept the validity of this denial.

No one is trying to deny the past. But not every espousal warrants entry
into the general knowledge base of our mesorah. People who pick and
choose at will only serve to undermine the infrastructure that has held
our nation together for thousands of years. Even some opinions of Chazal
were rejected by the authors of the Talmud. For instance, Rav Hilel was
a great man but his interpretations of certain pesukim in Yeshaya haNavi
were not accepted by the rest of Chazal and thus they just didn't make it
into our tradition regarding the parameters of mashiach. Comments like
"Successful denial of diversity makes contemporary authority stronger"
are merely red herrings that misdirect the focus of our dispute. I don't
care about the ramifications of establishing the proper mesorah regardless
of what they might be. I only care about the truth, nothing more.

[Email #2. -mi]

On November 22, 2005 Eli Turkel wrote: 
<<<He further states that once the Zohar was revealed one is prohibited
from accepting the Rambam and others who held that hasgacha does not
apply to every individual and especially not to every animal. Rather
one is required to reject this opinion as apikorsus.>>>

<<Chas v'shalom. Every rishon that I know of held like the Rambam in
hashgacha pratis. .... If the Rambam and all the Rishonim were wrong is
a bazunderra shaila however it is definitely not apikorsus to believe
like them.>>

<I personally agree with this. However the phrase "Chas Vashalom"
against Rav Zadok is too strong for a person of his stature.>

It was meant to defend the Rambam not malign Rav Tzadok but now that you
bring it up, can you kindly supply me with the mareh makom? I'd like to
see for myself that Rav Tzadok calls one who adopts the Rambam's shita
as following apikoruss.

Simcha Coffer

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Date: Wed, 23 Nov 2005 12:38:21 EST
From: Yzkd@aol.com
Re: disagreeing with rishonim - haskafa

To see copy of Sdei Chemed Kuntres haKlolim Mareches haAlph Ois 150,
and Pa'as haSodeh Mareches haAleph Klolim ois 70, as well as from the
Shaloh Hakodosh on this (in the Shaloh Hak' there is much more I am
just posting the part mentioned in the Sdei Chemed) please point to:

Kol  Tuv,
Yitzchok Zirkind

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Date: Wed, 23 Nov 2005 10:48:30 +0200
From: Eli Turkel <eliturkel@gmail.com>
Ramban and science/observation

 From an article I recently saw.

Ramban in several places disagrees with other rishonim and sometimes
chazal based on scientific and personal observations.

1. We have quoted many times the Ramban on the origin of the rainbow

2. Ramban decides on the size of coins based on an ancient coin he saw
in EY.

3. Ramban (Chullin 62b) disagrees with Rabbenu Tam on the simanim for
birds based on his personal investigation of the black raven

4. Most interesting is Ramban on Vayikrah 12:2. He brings the Chazal that
the gender of a child depends on which parent is "mazriah" first. The
mother contributes the blood and the father the white (loven). He then
quotes the Greek philosophers that everything in the baby comes from the
mother except for "Yuli". He then explains the pasuk also according to
the opinion of the Greek philosophers.

I have seen various modern attempts to explain the gemarot about the
gender of the child and which parent contributes what to the child. The
Ramban does not seem to be particularly perurbed if the Greek philosophers
are correct and explains pesukim according to this "goyish" approach.

In the debate over putting the works of Rambam in cherem it is the Ramban
who is one of the greatest defenders of the kavod and righteousness
of Rambam.

kol tuv,
Eli Turkel

Eli Turkel

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Date: Wed, 23 Nov 2005 10:49:40 -0500
From: "Rich, Joel" <JRich@Segalco.com>
FW: Starting Shmona Esrah together with the Tzibur

From: Ari Zivotofsky [mailto:zivotoa@mail.biu.ac.il] 
> I have been email-less for the greater part of the last two weeks and see
> that I missed 2 threads related to shmona esrei:
>     - starting shmona esrei with the Tzibur
>     - 6 davening and 4 answering

> I discuss both (briefly) in this article:
> <http://www.ou.org/publications/ja/5765/5765fall/LEGALEAS.PDF>

w/r/t your footnote#9 I'm pretty sure R'HS quotes R'YDS in Nefesh or Mpninei
as saying one should wrap tfillin properly before musaf even if it means
starting later. I'll see if I can find it.

[Email #2. -mi]

I stand corrected-see page 145 of Nefesh Harav - you would be better
off relying on the Taz and davening mussaf with tfillin on!
thanks to a budding T"C for the cite.

Joel Rich

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Date: Wed, 23 Nov 2005 15:18:48 +0200
From: Simon Montagu <simon.montagu@gmail.com>
Re: shnayim mikra

On 11/22/05, Gershon Seif <gershonseif@yahoo.com> wrote:
> Question for you all.... is there a source that says one is obligated
> to say/read shnayim mikra v'echad targum out loud? perhaps just reading
> would suffice. A chaver of mine just asked me about this and I assumed
> it would be a slam dunk that there's a chiyuv to say it out loud, but
> I haven't found a ra'aya just yet.

I don't know about shmo"t specifically, but Bruria says at the bottom
of Eruvin 53b that one should always learn out loud.

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Date: Wed, 23 Nov 2005 23:20:49 +0200
From: Moshe Feldman <moshe.feldman@gmail.com>
Conversion without Kabbalas Ol Mitzvos

Dr. Josh Backon <backon@vms.huji.ac.il> wrote on Areivim:
> It's just tragic that the vast majority of Russian gentiles who were
> KETANIM when they arrived in the early 1990's didn't have GIUR (zakkin
> l'adam she'lo b'fanav) where kabbalat ohl mitzvot isn't required (as
> per the RITVA quoted in Shita M'Kubetzet Ketuvot 11a and the Dagul
> Mi'rvava Yoreh Deah 268 s"k 3).

Igros Moshe EhE IV:26 says that if a non-Jewish child (of Reform
converts) is studying in a frum school, it is permissible to convert
him w/o kabbalas ol mitzvos because (1) it is possible that the frum
teachers will be mashpia on him to keep the mitzvos, and in that case
we would say zachin l'adam (see Kesubos 11a), and (2) even if he won't
be frum, the fact that he is Jewish is a zechus and any mitzvos he does
are treated as mitzvos while his aveiros are treated as being b'shogeg.

Has any posek specifically analyzed the issue of Russian ketanim who
are unlikely to become frum?

Kol tuv,

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