Avodah Mailing List

Volume 16 : Number 085

Wednesday, January 11 2006

< Previous Next >
Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Tue, 10 Jan 2006 12:58:06 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Three steps forward

On Mon, Jan 02, 2006 at 01:35:23AM -0400, myb@yeshivanet.com wrote:
: I after writing this, I noticed that the MB in 111:2 writes that
: lekatchila one should be cautious not to be mafsik bein ge'ula letfilah
: even with silence, more than toch k'dei dibbur (which I'd assume is at
: most 2.5 seconds).

What about a niggun?

Sometimes, when my mind is wandering, I sing a little nigun to myself
to get the emotions in their proper frame. Would this be a hefseiq,
or part of tefillah? Should I stick to tunes that I can sing "Hashem
sefasai tiftach" to?

: Those who follow the psak of the Mechaber don't answer omein after go'al
: yisro'eil, but according to the Rem"a answering omein isn't considered
: a hefseq (see OC 111:1).

I find this a strange reversal. R' Avi Mensura and I discussed
qiddush when I was at his home. (Correction, his dirat arai while on
shelichut. His home remains in EY.) Ashkenazim finish the berakhah
"hagafen", and similarly for Baladi Teimanim, the last word is
"hajafen". However, Sepharadim say "hagefen". Why? He explained that
Sepharadim consider "amen" to be part of the sentence. (I invite RAM to
mention any meqoros. I forgot details.)

Thus, Sepharadim, who consider amein part of the berakhah, are the ones
to have a problem answering "ga'al Yisrael", but Ashkenazim, who consider
it more separate, do not?

As I said, I find it strange.


Micha Berger             None of us will leave this place alive.
micha@aishdas.org        All that is left to us is
http://www.aishdas.org   to be as human as possible while we are here.
Fax: (270) 514-1507            - unknown MD, while a Nazi prisoner

Go to top.

Date: Tue, 10 Jan 2006 14:22:57 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: vest kavua nowadays

On Tue, Jan 10, 2006 at 08:21:44AM +0200, Shoshana L. Boublil wrote:
: I am truly astonished. ALL the women in my family have veset kavu'a.
: Not ony that, but through 15 years of teaching Kallot, the vast majority
: had one type or another of veset kavu'a.

I'm wondering what percentage of your sample population were Sepharadios.
Could it be attributed to genetics, or to a change that happened in 20th cent
Ashkenazic culture / diet, that didn't happen in Sepharadi communities.

Or perhaps there is even a mystical connection...

I've commented in the past on R' Marc Angel's "The Rhythms of Jewish
Living: A Sephardic Exploration of the Basic Teachings of Judaism"

The Kevasikin minyan that I sometimes attend (when haneitz happens to
fit my commute schedule) have bought a radio clock that is accurate
to 1% of a second by using a radio signal from ANSI's atomic clock in
Washington. They map haneitz to 1 sec accuracy.

This isn't kevasikin, though -- the vasikin were unable to be that

RMA suggests that a major part of kevasikin (aside from "zerizim
makdimin") is being in tune with rhythm of teva. Much like the Torah's
linking of the regalim to the agricultural year. This distances you from
that, because you are davening based on a clock and a chart, not the sun.
<pause rehash>

Liqutei Moharan says similarly about this 2nd purpose of kevasikin.

<resume rehash>
RMA argues that Ashkenazim assimilated a synagogue-centrism from
Xianity. That Sepharadim are much more in tune with the natural cycles
(annual, daily, etc...) and better live the notion that Yahadus is all
of life rather than beis medrash and beis kenesses centered. That undue
Ashkenazi Synagogue centrality is a side effect of living amongst people
who think in terms of cathedrals.

Therefore, he argues, Sepharadim have a Yahadus which is much closer
to the farmer of Ki Savo, the person who celebrated a Pesach which was
also a Chag haAviv, who felt the connection between matan Torah and
Chag haQatzir, etc... Something to which the 19th cent yeshiva bachur,
living from beis medrash to essen tag, can not relate to -- despite
all his lamdus.

The majority of the work is about those cycles, not the polemic. And
A vs S polemics aside, it's an observation worth considering. While I
wouldn't buy it in its totality, I see an element of truth.

So I'm wondering, is the RSO preserving Sepharadim as the keepers of that
connection between Yahadus and natural cycle, whereas for Ashkenazios
it was less damaging to let that connection lapse?


Micha Berger             With the "Echad" of the Shema, the Jew crowns
micha@aishdas.org        G-d as King of the entire cosmos and all four
http://www.aishdas.org   corners of the world, but sometimes he forgets
Fax: (270) 514-1507      to include himself.     - Rav Yisrael Salanter

Go to top.

Date: Tue, 10 Jan 2006 23:14:02 -0800
From: "R. Avi Mansura" <avim@yhol.org.il>
Re: Three steps forward


Yalkut Yosef Shabbat vol.1 p. 249 in the footnote brings a few reasons
for the "segol". Ben Ish Chai in "Rav Pealim" (Part II Oc 25) has a long
teshuva about it, and he doesn't bring this reason. One of the reasons
he mentions is that 'geffen' is the form of the word in the passuk of
the 7 species.

In the footnote of Yalkut Yosef the reason you quoted is mentioned. He
doesn't bring a source for it and might be his own svara. It is based
on a Rashi in Berachot daf 47a: The gemara says that the person saying
hamotzi can't cut the bread until the other people finish saying amen.
Rashi explains that this is because the amen is also part of the bracha.
We can conclude from this that the same would apply in kiddush: that the
person making kiddush shouldn't drink until the people finish amen. To
hint to this concept, claims the author (probably ROY son), the word is
voweled not as the end of the sentence.

I agree that accepting this explanation would imply that amen is not
a hefsek at the end of the bracha since it is part of it, but maybe a
chiluk could be suggested: when a person is "shomeah k'oneh" in kiddush
and hamotzi amen is part of the blessing whereas in the case of ga'al
Yisrael it is not be part of the bracha, and could even be considered
a hefsek (I know this sounds a bit far fetched).


Go to top.

Date: Tue, 10 Jan 2006 15:34:34 -0500
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Re: Length of Maaseh Breshis

>: It didn't have to involve billions of years. Ela mai? Millions?
>: Thousands? Decades? Whatever He did would have to imply *some* time
>: before creation...

> Hashem could have designed nature such that 6 days would have been a
> logical and reasonable interval for creation.

What? That you or I, given the right materials and energy, could create
a world in 6 days? Then what would be the greatness of His creation?
"'Yotzer Hame'orot'? Pfft. I made a dozen stars just last week, each
one bigger and brighter than the sun!".

In a universe in which a mountain or a star can form or be destroyed in
a day, what would become of human flesh?

Zev Sero

Go to top.

Date: Tue, 10 Jan 2006 23:55:19 GMT
From: "kennethgmiller@juno.com" <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
Re: Length of Maaseh Breshis has no impact on halacha (science of orig ins is speculative and suspect)

R' Harry Maryles asserted:
> I believe that dinosaurs actually existed. But to those who
> say they didn't, the burden is on them to explain how those
> bones got there. The view that God just put them there to
> make the world look old for no reason makes no sense. It
> also makes no sense to say that he put them there to test us.

I'm not among those who say the dinosaurs never existed. Nor am I among
those who are sure that they did. Rather, I admit that I do not know,
and have not been convinced either way.

That said, I hope it's okay for me to respond on behalf of "those who
say they didn't":

G-d put them there. He did it for a reason, and that reason might well
have been something OTHER than "to test us".

Specifically, perhaps He put them there so that scientists could someday
come and find them and study them, and learn things that would not be
known otherwise. I must admit that I do not know of any examples of this
knowledge, but I'd bet that some medical discoveries have come from
comparing dinosaurs with other animals. If so, then it doesn't really
matter whether the dinosaur actually existed or not. What *does* matter,
is that HaShem has provided us with a source of information about how
to run the world better.

Perhaps there was a way He could have given us this knowledge without
resorting to what appears as trickery. Or maybe not. In any case, I am
willing to accept the *possibility* that the truth is somewhere along
these lines.

Akiva Miller

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 11 Jan 2006 19:32:31 +0200
From: "Shoshana L. Boublil" <toramada@bezeqint.net>
asking your Rav (was Re: Rav Shmuel Kaminetsky and Length of Maaseh Breshis)

From: "Samuel Svarc" <ssvarc@yeshivanet.com>
> Furthermore, the whole solution is not practical. Let us overlook
> the people (like myself :-) who won't be calling a GH anytime soon to
> discuss hashkafa. We will focus on the (few) people who will call. 

In my personal experience, when I have a question about a Rav's hashkafa,
my practice, and my husband's practice is to call the Rav directly,
or visit him (if we can't contact him by phone) and make an appointment
and discuss the issue.

a) Why wouldn't you call someone who you consider your Rav, whose hashkafa
you follow?

b) Isn't part of following a Rav also learning from him, which would
also involve meeting and discussing things with him?

Some of the most fascinating shi'urim I've witnessed (and heard about
from my husband) are the private sessions with Gedolim where hashkafa
and halacha are discussed and analyzed.

Shoshana L. Boublil

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 11 Jan 2006 20:42:42 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Length of Maaseh Breshis

On Tue, Jan 10, 2006 at 03:34:34PM -0500, Zev Sero wrote:
:>Hashem could have designed nature such that 6 days would have been a
:>logical and reasonable interval for creation.
: What? That you or I, given the right materials and energy, could create
: a world in 6 days? ...

No, that it could be done once. Perhaps hyle, without form, could be
given form more readily than forms could change. After all, Hashem
had an infinity of possible physics to choose from.


Go to top.

Date: Wed, 11 Jan 2006 13:17:13 -0500
From: "Moshe & Ilana Sober" <sober@pathcom.com>
vest kavua nowadays

A non-list member (Dr. Deena Zimmerman, an MD and yoetzet halacha)
was following this discussion and sent me her thoughts on this topic,
which seem to me worth posting.

- Ilana

1) A comparison of veset haguf and modern medicine can be found in
the article in techumin Zimmerman D, Ganzel T. Veset haguf-hebet refui
hilchati [heb] Techumin 20,5760.

2) Until such point as an actual study is done, we really do not know
the percentage of women who have a veset kavua. Anecdotal reports mean
that a phenomenon exists, not how frequent it is. They fact that one
family all the women had is not surprising and there often seems to be
a famial pattern to menstrual patterns.

3) From the thousands of women who use our website www.yoatzot.org
and hotline (1-877-YOETZET or Israel 02-642-0102), a veset kavua would
seem to be a minority although does exist. Therefore veset kavua should
be taught but women should not go crazy looking for it as it is quite
possible that they do not have it.

4) While most women do have a timeframe in which their period comes
out, it is a matter of halachic debate if "Days 28-30" is this would
be considered a veset or not. This is probably better called a veset
chatzi kavuah and yes, THAT is rather common.

5) Finding women who have a veset kavua while taking hormonal
contraception is much more common. Once again, no studies have been
done. Here the percentage is much larger than in the general population
but without data, sweeping statements should not be made.

6) Menstrual patterns have changed in recorded history so not surprising
that things are different today than they are in the talmud. A related
article can be found in
Zimmerman DR. Lactational amenorrhea - a medical and halachic review. B'Or
Hatorah 2002;13;173-182

Thank you

Go to top.

Date: Tue, 10 Jan 2006 11:38:13 -0500
From: "Ashkanazy, Zev" <ZQAshkanazy@aaachicago.com>
Tfila L'shlom Hamedina

Eli Neuberger wrote:
> *Sol Newman wrote;
>> eg  ex-Gaza jews [ or current Yesha jews]  praying on behalf of one 
>> who would exile them...

> Why stop there? What about "tefilah la medina"?

I am not sure I understand you. Because Sharon and his cronies made a
horrible judgment and mistake, therefore we should withhold our tefilos
for the entire Medina. Because of Sharon's mistake you are willing to
withhold tefilot from other deserving Jews.

I assume you feel that if Chas V'Shalom someone close to you needed our
tefilos we would be justified in withholding them because we disagree
with you on certain things.

One last point. I think our scholars out there can quote the exact gemara,
but I believe we learned in Brachos that if we know of someone in need
of a refua and we are not mispallel for them the Gemara admonishes us
for not davening for them.

Check out www.edah.org/kavvanah.pdf for an interesting comment re the
tfila during this time.


Go to top.

Date: Wed, 11 Jan 2006 08:55:09 +0200
From: Yisrael Medad <yisrael.medad@gmail.com>

I saw this in the postings about Joseph and his Father:
> "He sent him out
> from Aimek Hebron, the deep place of Hebron. -- But Hebron is highland,
> not deep!

Anyone who is in Chevron and stands near Admot Yishai, can see that
topographically, the Maarat HaMachpela is in a valley and seems to be
the lowest point in the city.

BTW, the Ropshitzer notes that Emek Chevron is to be read Emek -
Ayain-Mem-Kof = Ol Kedushat Malchuto and that is why eventually, Yehuda
received the royalty even though temporarily, Joseph was kinglike
in Egypt.

Yisrael Medad

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 11 Jan 2006 15:34:17 -0500
From: Joshua Meisner <jmeisner@gmail.com>
Re: Kashrut supervision

On 1/11/06, Rich, Joel <JRich@segalco.com> wrote:
> [R Shalom L. Kohn:]
>>            The next question -- and would you trust the owner with the
>>$100,000 if a mashgiach from one of our kashrus organizations was hanging

> Yes, if the kashrut organization took responsibility(and liability) for
> him.

If a kashrus organization negligently causes someone to eat treif, they'd
be oveir on lifnei iveir, but would the oveir get off entirely scot-free?
Is responsibility for a sin transferrable?

 - Joshua Meisner

Go to top.

Date: Tue, 10 Jan 2006 15:28:44 -0500
From: "Rich, Joel" <JRich@Segalco.com>
RE: Tzadik vtov lo

> So, one gets onesh in olam hazeh if the best way for the person to
> get from where they are to where they should be requires going through
> onesh. Or nisayon, or yisurim...

> Onesh in olam hazeh does therefore increase one's sechar in olam haba --
> if responded to correctly.

So you see it as asymmetrical - schar mitzvah bhai almah leka but schar
aveira bhai alma ika?

Joel Rich

Go to top.

Date: Tue, 10 Jan 2006 17:36:12 -0500
From: "S & R Coffer" <rivkyc@sympatico.ca>
RE: Tzadik vtov lo

On January 10, 2006, Micha Berger wrote:
> But since SvO is causal, I understand things like "YK mechaperes" as
> meaning that YK, when experienced correctly, changes one in a manner
> that effects kaparah and removes the internal cause for onesh.

But according to Rebbi, you need not experience YK correctly. Even if
you are sleeping, for instance, YK is michaper. How does that fit in to
your paradigm?

Simcha Coffer

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 11 Jan 2006 20:18:41 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Tzadik vtov lo

On Tue, Jan 10, 2006 at 03:28:44PM -0500, Rich, Joel wrote:
: So you see it as asymmetrical - schar mitzvah bhai almah leka but schar
: aveira bhai alma ika?

It seems I was unclear:
What people get in olam hazeh is the Rachmana's "letav avad". For a
tzadiq, that at times may coincide with sechar, at times be experiences
that require he extend himself. For a rasha, that may at times coincide
with onesh, but at times be easy experiences that don't cause him
challenges he is incapable of facing.


On Tue, Jan 10, 2006 at 05:36:12PM -0500, S & R Coffer wrote:
: But according to Rebbi, you need not experience YK correctly. Even if you
: are sleeping, for instance, YK is michaper. How does that fit in to your
: paradigm?

It would seem that the whole point of the machloqes. Nu, so the
chachamim's position is more mestabeir to me than Rebbe's. It's clear
(to me) from the same gemara (Yuma 85b) that they cast YK in the same
role as qorbanos -- something in addition to teshuvah.

(IMHO, as an experience which reinforces the teshuvah...)

This ties into my problem with the notion that the mezuzah provides
shemirah, not only the mitzvah of the mezuzah. How would someone's life
be better served by one thing or another based on the state of a kelaf
he can't even know?

Or qaddish. I can see someone getting sechar for being the force that
motivated someone to say qaddish after his petirah. However, what if that
person is r"l hit by a car shortly after his parent's death? Should the
parent's neshamah get less of an aliyah because the child lived to say
fewer qadeishim?

It fits neither din nor hatavah. Nor the causal model described by baalei
mesorah from the Ikkarim to RCVilozhiner.


Micha Berger             Like a bird, man can reach undreamed-of
micha@aishdas.org        heights as long as he works his wings.
http://www.aishdas.org   But if he relaxes them for but one minute,
Fax: (270) 514-1507      he plummets downward.   - Rav Yisrael Salanter

Go to top.

Date: Tue, 10 Jan 2006 23:02:57 +0200
From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
Re: 1000 sacrificed for 1 Godol

Shmuel Weidberg wrote:
>On 1/7/06, Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@012.net.il> wrote:
>>Rav Dessler (Vol 3 page 357) talks about the sacrifice we must be
>>preparred to make to produce gedolim. He cites the Rambam "Let a 1000
>>fools be sacrified in order that one gadol benefits".
>>Where does the Rambam state this? ...

>In the introduction to the Peirush Mishnayos, the Rambam says something
>along those lines.

Actually he doesn't.

Rambam states there that the purpose of creation is the talmid chochom.
He then asks what need do the uneducated serve? He responds that they
are to maintain the world and to provide companionship for the talmid
chachom. He nowhere suggests that it is appropriate to destroy, demean
or allow the lesser beings to go off the derech to produce gedolim as
Rav Dessler asserts. In other words Rav Dessler's claim that the Rambam
provides support for his position seems unjustified. Furthermore Rav
Dessler citation of the Rambam is in quotation marks - and there is
apparently no such quote.

This issue is found in the Avodah archives 2001 - but it was never

[Email #2. -mi]

On 1/7/06, Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@012.net.il> wrote:
> Rav Dessler (Vol 3 page 357) talks about the sacrifice we must be
> preparred to make to produce gedolim. He cites the Rambam "Let a 1000
> fools be sacrified in order that one gadol benefits".
> Where does the Rambam state this? ...

I just found the source of the Rambam.

In Encounter - Professor Low's article on this letter of Rav Dessler in
footnote 5 page 217 - the editors state that it is not the Rambam who
stated this principle but the commentary of Shem Tov to the Introduction
of the Moreh Nevuchim. I found it on page 10 of the standard edition of
the Moreh Nevuchim.

Shem Tov states:
"Let millions of fools die for the sake of saving the superior man. And
the superior man should not be sacrificed for the sake of saving millions
of fools. That is because the fools are comparable to animals for which
it is a mitzva to slaughter them for the sake of intelligent man. So
surely it is not appropriate to be concerned about the degradation of
the great masses if there can be benefit to the superior man. Therefore
it is required for the chochom to reveal the truth in a manner so as not
to contradict the Divine intent - even if it leads to the debasement of
many fools."

The Rambam's words that Shem Tov is commenting on are the following:
[translation by Prof S Pines]

"To sum up: I am the man who when the concern pressed him and his way
was straitened and he could find no other device by which to teach a
demonstrated truth other than by giving satisfaction to a single virtuous
man while displeasing ten thousand ignoramuses - I am he who prefers
to address thai single man by himself, and I do not heed the blame of
those many creatures. For I claim to liberate that virtuous one from
that into which he has sunk, and I shall guide him in his perplexity
until he becomes perfect and he finds rest."

I think it is obvious that the Rambam - who is addressing the need to
teach truth even if educated fools get upset with it - provides no
support for Rav Dessler's position. The Malbim notes that the term kesil
(fool) is not referring to someone stupid or uneducated - but rather an
educated person who has a warped understanding of truth. Thus the Moreh
Nevuchim is not saying to provide an inferior educational experience or
life style for the masses in order to benefit the Chochom. He is simply
saying that in teaching truth we should not be concerned about those
educated fools who will be upset by the teaching.

Daniel Eidensohn

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 >