Avodah Mailing List

Volume 16 : Number 078

Friday, December 30 2005

< Previous Next >
Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Thu, 29 Dec 2005 20:44:45 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Length of Maaseh Breshis has no impact on halacha (science of origins is speculative and suspect)

On Wed, Dec 28, 2005 at 03:04:54PM -0500, Jonathan Ostroff wrote:
: Now I actually agree with RMB that IF the so called expansion over
: billions of years of big bang cosmology violates the well tested law of
: conservation of matter+energy, then ipso facto something is likely to
: be be badly wrong with the theory.

The energy implied is that of expansion. IOW, if any energy is not
conserved it's "spent" by the expansion itself, and any assymetry is
in the universe's size. Similarly, any "change" in the speed of light
would be due to us being being farther apart than ct from where the
light originated due to the expansion of the space between them.

The energy you're finding is found because we know how it's expended --
and we know how it breaks symmetry. So even if there /were/ a cosmological
constant, the newfound energy it represents wouldn't accomodate
accelerating light due to changes in physics since the light departed
the star. (Besides, if energy wasn't conserved back then -- what star?)

You're like someone who has one shoe looking for the other. You eventually
find the original shoe and think you now have a pair.


Micha Berger             A person lives with himself for seventy years,
micha@aishdas.org        and after it is all over, he still does not
http://www.aishdas.org   know himself.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                            - Rav Yisrael Salanter

Go to top.

Date: Thu, 29 Dec 2005 21:46:42 -0500
From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
Re: Bugs

On Thu, 29 Dec 2005 20:28:23 -0500 Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
> But we took a survey amongst our own experiences a couple of years ago.
> For iceburg lettus and most leafy vegatables grown in the US, it doesn't
> approach anywhere near 10% per head

The minim being focused on are leafy vegetables such as Romaine.
Iceberg and cabbage are NOT a problem. Also, the bugs are not big black
dots waiting to be discovered. And, finally, the central issue is not
if this vegetable or the other does/does not have bugs, it's if the
cleaning process can be relied upon to the extent of not needing bedika.


Go to top.

Date: Fri, 30 Dec 2005 11:20:51 +0200
From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
Re: Bugs

Micha Berger wrote:
>If we're chosheish for odds like that, how can we hardboil eggs?

I assume you are referring to the possibility the egg has blood spots.
See Igros Moshe (Y.D. I #36 page 53-54

Go to top.

Date: Thu, 29 Dec 2005 22:13:46 -0500
From: "Samuel Svarc" <ssvarc@yeshivanet.com>
Re: a person who is in the "wrong body"

> It is my understanding that many/most poskim will permit an abortion
> based on a psychiatric determination that failure to do so will endanger
> the mother's life, even if there's nothing physically wrong with her.

If they believed the determination they might consider the fetus a
rodef. But I find it hard to believe this claim. Do you have any mareh
makomos that I could look up?


Go to top.

Date: Fri, 30 Dec 2005 09:31:55 +0200
From: Simon Montagu <simon.montagu@gmail.com>
Re: Joseph and His Father

On 12/30/05, Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org> wrote:
> On Fri, Dec 23, 2005 at 02:39:13PM -0500, Zvi Lampel pointed us to
> <http://www.aishdas.org/articles/josephAndHisFather.shtml> where he wrote:
>> Rashi cites the Zohar, which says that Yaakov's sending Joseph was
>> Hashem's interfering with his normal thought-process...

> 1- Where is the Zohar? What do people who claim a late date for the
> Zohar do with this Rashi? Do they claim RMdL quoted Rashi in a text
> he was attributing to a tanna?

The Zohar is at I 184a, but Rashi's sources seem to be Sota 11a and BR 84, 13

Go to top.

Date: Fri, 30 Dec 2005 19:25:50 +1100
From: "SBA" <sba@sba2.com>
Divrei Yoel on Chanuka - Questions re Nusach etc..

I have in past years waxed lyrical about the beautiful Divrei Torah and
Drush to be found [in all of the Satmar Rebbe's seforim, but especially]
in the 400-plus pages of the Divrei Yoel on Chanuka.

The rebbe had a minhag to say Torah to the large tzibbur every evening
after lighting the menorah and much of his chiddushim are in this volume.

He often repeated questions - sometimes a dozen of them and even more
[on page 140 I actually noticed 25 !], and with one beautiful drush -
explained it all and made it all clear and understandable.

The Torah was usually based on the Tefilos "Haneiros Halolu" and
"Al Hanissim" as well as on the Gemoro [Shabbos 22] re the connection
between the 2 maamorim of Rav Tanchum: "Ner Chanuka shehinicho lemaalo
me'esrim amo" and the continuation of 'Vehabor reik ein bo mayim". Also
on the Midrash "Hadudoim nosnu re'ach zeh Reuven..ve'al pesocheinu kol
megodim zeh ner Chanuka" . Also getting much attention is of course the
Kashe of the Bes Yosef - with amazing and innovative teirutzim.

Having this year again looked into the sefer, I was thinking of repeating
some of the drush. However it is really too long for a post, plus I
don't wish to rely that much on my translating abilities.

However, I thought it would be interesting to be able to discuss with
family and friends - as well as with our Chevra - some of the questions
upon which the Rebbe bases his Chiddushim.
Thus I have made a list of some of the Kashes/Shaalos - and for those
interested in more, I say "Ve'idoch, zil gemor".

[BTW some of the questions are so obvious, I am slightly ashamed that
I didn't think of them myself...]

"Haneiros halolu.al yedei Kohanech Hakdoshim -
Vechol Shmonas Yemei Chanuka".
Pshat in these lines - which don't really connect.

Nowhere else in Nach or the Seder Hatefila are Kohanim labelled as
"kedoshim". Why here?

Also "V'ein lonu reshus lehishtamesh bohem".
Why is this davar halocho included in the tefila?

"Elo lirosom bilvad". What are we trying to emphasise by adding the word
'bilvad' - which lechoreh seems superfluous?

And what is the connection between "lirosom bilvad" and "k'dei lehodos"?
What has one to do with the other?

"Al hanisim v'al hanifloas she'osiso..al yedei Kohanecho". The nissim
were by the RBSO - not the Kohanim.

In "Al hanissim" - "Ulecho osiso Shem godol vekodosh" and "lehodos
ulehallel leshimcho hagodol". Explanation required for using the term

And why davka the descriptions"Hagodol vehakodosh"?

"Ravto es Rivom". "Riv" is something that happens between humans.
How can this refer to HKBH?

"Danto es dinom" also needs explaining.

According to the Gemoro [Shabbos 21b], "Mai Chanuka", the Nes Chanuka
was the Pach Shemen".
Why does it not get any mention at all in "Al Hanissim"?

Why the repeat - "Lehashkichim Toroseco" and "Lehaavirom mechukei
retzonecho"? Isn't it haynu hach?

Explanation of 'nokamto es nikmoson". What nekomo are we referring to?
Winning the battles is not really an act of 'nekomo'.

"Temeim beyad tehorim, Reshoim beyad tzadikim, etc etc" Why is that a Nes?
Why should Temeim and Reshoim be stronger than Tehorim and Tzadikim?

Why the need to repeat "tehorim, tzadikim, oskei sorosecho'?
They all mean the same thing and refer to the same people?

OTOH, the Chashmonoim had many other maalos and middos.
So why were davka these listed?
Similarly the Yevonim had plenty of other faults,
 why were only [or davka] some mentioned?

"Temeim beyad tehorim". The Jews were also all temeyei meisim at
that time. Which obviously means that 'temeim' and 'tehorim' refers
to the rishus of the Yevonim and tzidkus of the Yidden - as if to say
'tzadikim and reshoim' - which has mentioned anyway. Why the double up?

"Giborim beyad chaloshim". According to Yosifon and other sources the
Chashmonoim were actually giborim!

"Bo'u vonecho..ufinu es hecholecho vetiharu es mikdoshecho etc".
What does this have to do with the Nes?
On Purim in Al Nissim we don't mention all that happened afterwards.

"Ulecho osiso . shem godol vekodosh be'olomecho ." Again, great things
happened on Purim as well, but there is no such words in Al Hannisim.

What is the emphasis of 'be'olomecho"? Of course it was in Hashem's world!

"Teshu'o gedolo upurkon kehayom hazeh".
What is the meaning of "Kehayom hazeh"?

Why don't we make the brocho of 'She'oso nissim l'avoseinu bayomim hoheim
bizman hazeh' on Pesach?   Why only on Chanuka and Purim?

"Yevonim nikbetzu olay..vetimu KOL hashmanim".
They didn't - one pach shemen remained untouched, as indeed the zemer
continues "uminosar kanakanim naaseh nes..'!

The Gemoro [Shabbos 21b] "Mai Chanuka? DeTonu Rabonon.."
Why the change in the usual gemoro style by asking "Mai Chanuka"?
Normally the gemoro simply says: "Tonu Rabonon".

Explanation of the Gemoro "Lesho'o acheres kovum Yom Tov.."
Why did they wait a year - and not celebrate immediately?

Midrash Tanchuna [[Tetzave] relates that the lights in the Menorah in the
BHMK sometimes burned for a whole year.
So why the big 'trask' about this happening for 8 days?

It is Erev Shabbos Chanuka - late - and I want to post this before Shabbos
so you - who lag behind us Aussies - can enjoy this over the Shabbos,
al kein kitzarti and only went through the main and easily translated
questions - and only up till around page 150. For your information
there are another approx 300 pages - which maybe I will write about
another Chanuka..

Shlomo Boruch Abelesz

Go to top.

Date: Thu, 29 Dec 2005 23:20:43 -0400
From: <myb@yeshivanet.com>
Re: Leil Nitel

> There is a book written bya Monsey resdient that is called Leil Nittel
> and that I picked up in a local seforim store. If anylone is interested
> I will dig it out and check if there is an address to obtain it. It
> is writtten from a chassidishe perspective but has valuable sources;
> it also strongly attacks Rav Kook's view of Christianity.

AFAIK this book has since been withdrawn from the shelves (voluntarily,
not banned...). It's detractors claimed it delves to much in Xistian

> I also recall that Nitei Gavriel has a long section on Nittel.

It's in Nitei Gavriel on Chanukeh, and as it's usually the case with
Nitei Gavriel, it's as comprehensive as possible.

Kol Tuv,
 - Avigdor Feldstein

Go to top.

Date: Fri, 30 Dec 2005 07:42:57 +0200
From: Marty Bluke <marty.bluke@gmail.com>
Re: Chazal and science

From: Gil Student <gil.student@gmail.com>
>>Note, this description of the sun going out the window is part of
>>the basis of R' Tam's shita for when nightfall is and therefore seems
>>to be taken literally.

> Also, the Maharam Alshaker (Al Ashkar) and the Minchas Cohen state that
> Rabbeinu Tam's view is based on incorrect science.

The Maharm Alshaker may reject R' Tam's view but it still doesn't explain
how he understands the gemara there which talks about a firmament a
window, etc.

My point was that the gemara's deoiction of the movement of the sun
(around the Earth) , the firmament, etc. is difficult, this is difficult
whether or not you hold of R' Tam. What we do see from R' Tam that he
took the gemara as a literal depiction of movement of the sun.

Go to top.

Date: Mon, 19 Dec 2005 14:55:04 -0500 (EST)
From: "Jonathan Baker" <jjbaker@panix.com>
AishDas and Yavneh Minyan of Flatbush Shabbaton 6-7 Jan 2006

[Formatted for fixed-width font. -mi]


I am dust and ashes                               The world was created for me.

          V'ahavta et Hashem            Vihalachta bidrachav

         ...from His right hand He gave them the fiery Torah.

                          *       *       *

                      Yavneh Minyan of Flatbush
                       present a Shabbaton on

                        The Sh'vil Hazahav:
                          Finding Balance
               Socially,    Emotionally,    Spiritually.

                  For the greater Flatbush community

         January 6-7, 2006, at the Yavneh Minyan of Flatbush
      1277 East 14th St, Brooklyn, NY - in the Shulamith School

                          *       *       *

  Talks and Discussions                        Intense Prayer and Song

              it makes you think  ...  what do I do next?

                          *       *       *

   Ma'avir al Midosav: are we a nation of doormats?
   Choosing Ahavah: can emotions be commanded?
   Simple Emunah and Philosophical Knowledge

Featured Speakers:

  R' Moshe Sokol: Rav, Yavneh Minyan of Flatbush; Dean, Lander College.
  R' Micha Berger: founder, AishDas Society, lecturer on Mussar.
  R' Sholom Carmy: professor of bible and Jewish thought, Yeshiva University.
  R' Yaakov Feldman: Director, Machon Binah; Hospice care; Translator.
  R' Yisroel Hirsch: Rav, Shaarei Shalom; founder, Shalom Mediation Center.
  R' Gil Student: founder, Yashar Books.

                         *        *       *

Yavneh Minyan: a dynamic schul in the heart of Flatbush
AishDas: living the Torah with passion

      http://www.yavnehminyan.org/             http://www.aishdas.org/

                          *       *       *

The Shabbaton will feature
   - kabbalat Shabbat in AishDas' unique singing davening,
   - a delicious Friday night dinner with kumsitz,
   - talks and discussion groups after dinner and after Shacharit,
   - melave malka, to which all are invited.

   Full program:      $50  (Yavneh members $36)
   Children under 12: $15 for the dinner; does not include Melave Malka.
   Melave Malka:      $18 

Note: there are only 75 seats at the dinner, so respond early.

RSVP by January 1st, 2005. Application available at

Go to top.

Date: Fri, 30 Dec 2005 03:47:35 -0800 (PST)
From: Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
RE: Length of Maaseh Breshis has no impact on halacha (science of origins is speculative and suspect)

Jonathan Ostroff <jonathan@yorku.ca> wrote:
> 5. Great scientists such as Einstein, Newton and even Aristotle
> thought that the minimal age of the universe was static and eternal
> (t = -\infinity). Scientists now think that was a mistake of infinite
> proportions and their date for the universe is currently t = -13.7Gy. How
> did such a mistake come to be made and is it possible that we may find
> our current minimal estimates off target once again? As compelling as
> our evidence may appear, could it be that we are vulnerable to future
> empirical disconfirmation?

There is not a scientist in the world that would not acknowledge that
evidence now in play proving an ancient univese couldn't be modified
by newly discovered evidence. There are no absolutes in science.
Yesterdays scientific truths are as changebele as the next scientific
discovery makes them. That does not mean that we can't draw conclusions
from the data we have now. The more scientific proofs we have to indicate
an older universe the more likely that it is old. Further more, how do
you deal with the follwing Rambam Shittah expressed in the Moreh Nevuchim.

The following is a quote from an upcoming article by Rabbi Avi Shafran
of Agudath Israel of America to be published in the next issue of the
Jewish Observer:

    "The Rambam does write (Moreh Nevuchim, 2: 25) that even some
    seemingly fundamental philosophical convictions need not be considered
    inherently sacrosanct to Jewish belief. Should incontrovertible
    physical evidence to the contrary be discovered, he explains,
    then p'sukim seeming to indicate otherwise would simply have to be
    understood figuratively, like p'sukim that refer to Hashem, chalilah,
    as having physical form."


Go to top.

Date: Fri, 30 Dec 2005 11:47:27 -0500
From: "S & R Coffer" <rivkyc@sympatico.ca>
RE: Historical Reality and Chazal

On December 28, 2005, Eli Turkel wrote:
> With regard to the recent parsha about Reuven. We all know the famous
> gemara that reinterperts simple pshat so that Reuven did not sin.
> However, other medrashim do assume that the simple pshat holds especially
> based on the "berachah" of Yaakov on his deathbed.
> Even achronim like Bet Halevi assume that the literal pshat is true,

I do not believe any such Medrash or Beis haLevi exist. Can you please
supply a mareh makom for your assertion?

Simcha Coffer

Go to top.

Date: Fri, 30 Dec 2005 11:35:59 -0500
From: "S & R Coffer" <rivkyc@sympatico.ca>
RE: Xmax and Assimilation

On December 28, 2005, Micha Berger wrote:
> myb@yeshivanet.com wrote to Areivim:
>> But there is a strong makom to differentiate between giving money, which
>> is a minhag yisroel, whereas giving gifts could possibly be of Xistian
>> origins.

> But as I said, would you condemn roite bindeleach for the same reason?

Actually, some people consider it "Darkei Emoree", a lav.

>  Or,
> once something catches on in Kelal Yisrael, you assume a kosher source
> rather than going with evidence to the contrary?

When the Gra was a youth, he started breaking minhagim left and
right based on a Yerushalmi here, a Bavli there etc. He would say,
"minhag is osiyos gehinom". IOW, just because klal Yisrael participates
in an activity does not mean that activity is not subject to further
clarification and even possibly bitul. I am pretty sure giving presents
on Chanukah minhag is copied from the Christians and would love to see
it abolished. (I do it in my own house because I choose the battles I
can win :-)

Simcha Coffer

Go to top.

Date: Fri, 30 Dec 2005 09:01:54 -0500
From: Russell Levy <russlevy@gmail.com>
Re: Three steps forward

RMP wrote:
> Yes, I step back before the SHaTZ finishes Qaddish. After the Amidah, I
> remain "back" and step forward for Qdushah (and when there's no chazoras
> haSHaTZ, I try to remain "back" until the midpoint of Qaddish 'Tisqabal'
> [assuming I've completed my Amidah before then :-)], more to help me
> keep my kavanah in the post-Amidah period than for any other reason).

What do you do for Maariv? Before "Ga'al Yisrael" also? Hashkivenu,
et. al. are a ge'ulah arichta, so by this logic, you shouldn't have an
interruption there either.

Go to top.

Date: Fri, 30 Dec 2005 10:32:04 -0500
From: "Zvi Lampel" <hlampel@thejnet.com>
Re: Joseph and His Father

Thu, 29 Dec 2005 R. Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>

On Fri, Dec 23, 2005 at 02:39:13PM -0500, Zvi Lampel pointed us to
<http://www.aishdas.org/articles/josephAndHisFather.shtml> where he wrote:
> Rashi cites the Zohar, which says that Yaakov's sending Joseph was
> Hashem's interfering with his normal thought-process. ""He sent him out
> from Aimek Hebron, the deep place of Hebron. -- But Hebron is highland,
> not deep! It means that Yaakov's sending Joseph to his brothers was part
> of ""oso eitza amuka,"" that deep, divine, master plan, to eventually put
> Yaakov in a situation forcing him against his will to leave Canaan and
> relocate in Egypt...

> 1- Where is the Zohar?

Don't have the time right now. Please try the Malbim, and if that doesn't
help, let me know and I'll try bli nedder to do a CD search.

> What do people who claim a late date for the Zohar do with this Rashi? Do
> they claim RMdL quoted Rashi in a text he was attributing to a tanna?

Tsorich Eeyun (and time...)

> 2- You must have known the philosopher in me would have to ask: What
> about Yaaqov Avinu's bechirah?

This Malbim is discussing this very issue, citing the machlokess of
Akeidas Yitzchak with others over whether Hashem ever interferes with
bechirah. Using this episode, Malbim constructs a compromise position,
that He does when it involves major matters (IIRC he cites "Lev mellech
b'yad Hashem").

I'd appreciate it if you could look this up and keep us, err, "posted"!

 Zvi Lampel

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 >