Avodah Mailing List

Volume 16 : Number 132

Wednesday, February 15 2006

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Tue, 14 Feb 2006 09:25:00 -0500
From: bbfan33@aol.com
re shirat hayam

Regarding "Mah titz-ak alyly": 
I heard R Moshe Hauer (Baltimore) explain that hashem is saying to Moshe,
why are you screaming at me?. Obviously Moshe had approached Hashem
before about other issues, and Hashem gave him solutions- this time
Moshe's approach was different, hence Hashem's response. Contrast the
Mah tit-ak alyly clause -confrontational with the daber al bnei yisrael
v'iyisau... normal usual mode of speech.

When we are in a confrontational situation with our kids, family members,
clients, administrators, etc, we are often caught up in their passion,
and tone of voice, and often respond in kind.

Hashem was telling Moshe, keep your cool- we've been through tough
situations before, and I got you through- this time is no different.
I need a cool leader in this situation- not someone who is going to panic.

Aaron Zuckerberg

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Date: Tue, 14 Feb 2006 13:21:28 GMT
From: "kennethgmiller@juno.com" <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
Re: Shiras HaYam

R' Zvi Lampel asked:
> If "Mah Titz-ak Ayly" means "Why are you praying to Me,
> when it's a time for action," it's very perplexing. ...
> What more important time is there to daven to Hashem for
> help? What else were they to do, without being told there
> would be a nes? Attack the Egyptians? Fly over the
> mountains? Drown themselves in the sea?

Rashi seems pretty straightforward to me. HaShem did *not* say, "Don't
daven." Rather He said, "Lo ays ata *l'haarich* b'tefilah - Now is not
the time to *prolong* the prayer."

IOW, RZL is correct, that this *is* a very important time for
davening. But OTOH, it is also a very important time for hishtadlus. Pray
a bit, and then, if all other options are exhausted, attempt escaping
the atttack by swimming across the yam.

But RZL raises an interesting alternative. Swimming was not the very last
resort. Attacking the Mitzrim was another option. They clearly had some
weapons with them, as we see from the battle with Amalek just a short
time later. Why didn't they use those weapons against Mitzrayim before
jumping into the water?

Perhaps, if the Yam Suf was actually a shallow Sea of Reeds (rather than
the deep Red Sea) they made a rational, derech hateva, hishtadlus-oriented
military decision that they had a better chance escaping across the
reeds than trying to fight a major international superpower.

Akiva Miller

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Date: Tue, 14 Feb 2006 14:45:53 -0800
From: Joe Socher <jsocher@gmail.com>
Re: Vetein Tal uMatar, etc.

Here in CA it is very much relevant to pray for rain at this time of
the year, since we have a climate similar to the Middle East.

(It usually starts raining around Succos, and the last significant
rainfall of the season is usually before Shavuos.)

My only point is this, since Shemuel certainly knew that his calculation
was a rough estimate of the solar year, doesn't it seem likely that he
expected it to be corrected when it got out of whack?

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Date: Tue, 14 Feb 2006 13:39:28 -0500
From: "Zvi Lampel" <hlampel@thejnet.com>
RE: Shiras HaYam

> Here's a mehalech. Tefila is chal on items that can be changed such
> as banei chayey u'mizonee. Tefila is not chal, and is inappropriate,
> as regards to things that are unchangeable. One does not pray that the
> sun should rise the next day. One gives shvach v'hoda'ah for the sun,
> not tefila.

> Now, Chazal say that the splitting of the yam suf was one of the tinaaim
> of Maaseh Bereishis (vayashav haYam liEisano...litna'o haRishon). That is,
> Hashem decreed during the creative process of MB that the yam suf would
> split when it "saw" klal yisrael trapped in the desert....

But "Mah tita'ak ay-lai" sounds like a criticism. This would only seem
appropriate if Moshe Rabbeynu was already aware of this "programming." Was

Zvi Lampel

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Date: Tue, 14 Feb 2006 13:49:21 -0500
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Re: Killing kinim on shabbat

Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org> wrote:
> I actually looked up the word in the dictionary. It means "larva, or
> sometimes, egg ...". My guess is that the language amongst Jewish moms
> isn't the technical usage, and that's why a couple of people called RnTK
> on using the word "nit".

dictionary.com cites 4 dictionaries:
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition:
     The egg or young of a parasitic insect, such as a louse.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary:
     The egg or young of a parasitic insect, such as a louse.
Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary
     the egg of a louse or other parasitic insect; also : the insect
     itself when young
WordNet ® 2.0, © 2003 Princeton University:
     2: egg or young of an insect parasitic on mammals especially a
     sucking louse; often attached to a hair or item of clothing

Wikipedia, Head louse:
   There are three main stages in the life of a head louse: the nit,
   the nymph, and the adult.

    * Nit: Nits are head lice eggs. They are hard to see and are found
   firmly attached to the hair shaft. They are oval and usually yellow
   to white. Nits take about 1 week to hatch.
    * Nymph: The nit hatches into a baby louse called a nymph. It looks
   like an adult head louse, but is smaller. Nymphs mature into adults
   about 7 days after hatching. To live, the nymph must feed on blood.
   It metamorphoses 3 times before it reaches the adult stage.
    * Adult. Females lay nits (a few hundreds of eggs); they are usually
   larger than males. To live, adult lice need to feed on blood. If the
   louse falls off a person, it dies within 1-2 days.

> All of this is still irrelevent. The thing which lives in human hair isn't
> the thing which infests rotting meat. When chazal speak of abiogenesis,
> among the cases is rotting meat, and that such bugs would be kosher
> (if found within the meat, not at the edge, etc...) RCS, that's what
> I use the word "maggots". But even if my entomology is wrong, whatever
> that particular bug is, it isn't a louse. Questions about being able to
> see any part of the louse's life cycle would have nothing to do with it.

But the things in rotting meat aren't kinnim, they're tola'im. When they
say that kinnim can be killed on Shabbos, they *are* talking about the
thing which lives in human hair, or the similar thing which lives on
human bodies and lays its eggs in clothes.

Zev Sero

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Date: Tue, 14 Feb 2006 13:53:09 -0500
From: "David Riceman" <driceman@worldnet.att.net>
Re: Killing kinim on shabbat

From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
> Second, because some approximation or another had to be used, all Shemu'el
> is saying is that this estimate is close enough for pesaq. Which makes
> sense for things like vtu"l or birkhas hachamah. However, for the
> calendar itself, upon which deOraisos depend, we insist on the closer
> approximation.
> IOW, Shemu'el isn't asserting physical correctness, but setting a
> mandatory precision in estimation.

The error of the approximation increases linearly with time. What was
"close enough" 1700 years ago may not be close enough today. If Shmuel
had indeed been infallible he would have known that people would still
be using his approximation so far into the future and set a sunset clause
on its use.

David Riceman 

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Date: Tue, 14 Feb 2006 14:12:24 -0500
From: "David Riceman" <driceman@worldnet.att.net>
Re: Calling A Spade A Spade: Rambam and Kollel

From: "Zvi Lampel" <hlampel@thejnet.com>
> I challenge anyone to find either in biblical or rabbinic Hebrew, or
> in any of Rambam's writings (or in any Hebrew writings by rishonim or
> acharonim, for that matter), the usage of a prepositional possesive
> joined to a noun -- as in "u-b'yado mammon rav li, v'lo" -- to mean
> "mine" or "his."

"Li Gil'ad v'li Menashe" (Ps. 60:9), "Gilead is mine and Manassah is mine
(old JPS translation - - Artscroll says the same thing with slightly
different spelling of the proper nouns)."

David Riceman 

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Date: Tue, 14 Feb 2006 14:12:16 -0500
From: "Shinnar, Meir" <Meir.Shinnar@rwjuh.edu>
RE: Calling A Spade A Spade: Rambam and Kollel

RZL wishes to revisit.
1. WRT to the rambam's letter, the phrase uv'yado mammon rav li, v'lo,

RZL insists that this means that the brother had his own money that he
was going to give the rambam.

This is a very difficult reading. If the pshat that RZL insists on
that the brother was the sole businessman, and that he was supporting
the rambam out of his own monies - then saying that the rambam says that
his brother died, and that he had much money designated for me, and for
him,and for others - is very awkard (and unnatural - it should be that
beyado mammon rav lo shehaya (noten, mahazik - choose along those line)
oti - rather than that he died, and he had much money that he was going
to support me with, and oh, it was also his money...)Even if one insists
that the designation li means for me rather than mine, it makes far
more sense to suppose that that the rambam is saying that the brother,
having made money from trading in his, the rambam's, and others' money,
now had monies for the rambam, himself, and others - although until
the rambam actually received them they wouldn't technically be his
(he wasn't koneh them)- they would be for him...

(a new avodah arrived - and rav folger makes a similar suggestion)

> Again, the bottom line is that l'ma'aseh, for us, taking payment for
> Torah-pursuits is acceptable -- especially through using concepts such as
> s'char b'tayla. (And this, after all, ends up permitting anyone to accept
> payment as long as he is not simultaneously partaking in some enviable
> turn-key business or is in possession of a large inheritance. We must
> not forget that the Rambam's lechatchilla was spending the /overwhelming
> majority/ of one's day in Torah study, a far cry from the situation in
> which we find ourselves today. Let's not cherry-pick lechatchillos.)

Actually, no. The notion of schar batala as classically applied was that
the person was available to provide service to the community - whether
to teach or pasken - not that he would sit and learn. The issue of
providing support for talmidim is not based on schar batala. There is
a tremendous difference between providing payment to the rav hair,
or even the dayan ha'ir, or to the day school teacher - and providing
support for someone learning in kollel

> I think this is plain to anyone who reads the citations I
> brought from the Kessef Mishneh on the Rambam (Hilchos Talmud Torah 3:10),
> the Rema on Yoreh Deah (246), Darkei Mosheh, Bach, Rashbatz [Rav Shimon
> bar Tsemach], Derisha, and Shach approvingly citing Maharshal. (Indeed
> the Rambam himself -- begrudgingly -- described this as the practice
> of "the entire Jewish nation" in his time and in his recent past, who
> "considered themselves as performing a great mitzvah by doing s! o.")

It is clear to everyone, including the rambam, that the customary habit
is to support rabbanim - the truth has to be faced. The question,
of course, is how one views that habit - and there are three approaches.

1. Rambam - this approach, in spite of its venerable history and support,
is clearly mistaken and a hillul hashem.
2. Some - What has been done is what should be done - and ideally,
communal support should even be increased.
3. Majority - what has been done is acceptable, but the rambam is not
just dismissed, it is taken as the ideal - and the question is reconciling
the ideal with reality.

> (All the more so is there no prohibition against /family/ support of
> full-time learners. Even Rav Sheilat himself, commenting on the Rambam's
> letter about his late brother, concludes that it was not halacha, but
> middas chassidus, that would have motivated the Rambam to refuse family
> support without his own monetary investment in the business. Rav Sheilat
> expresses the incongruity of denying that a natural family relationship
> smiles upon freely supporting any of its own who take upon themselves
> the ol haTorah full-time.)

Rav Sheilat kvodo munach, but that is not the rambam.  
It should be understood that the rambam views not merely that support
of torah study is not a communal obligation, and that therefore our
tzedaka money is better spent elsewhere - but rather the support of
torah denigrates the ohr of torah - and that therefore the money should
not be spent. While my obligation to support my poor family members is
greater than my obligation to the general community, it doesn't override
the fact that such support is viewed as forbidden (clearly an unpopular
view today...)

> But choosing to focus on the Kessef Mishneh, RMS wrote:
> "When I took lomdus 101, the first principle I learned was that if
> someone brings multiple reasons, it is because he finds each individual
> reason problematic. The Kesef mishne, after a long explanation of why he
> thinks the rambam is wrong ... goes on for two more attempts. ... This
> is proof that the kesef mishne himself found his primary refutation of
> the rambam to be problematic."

> My reply:
> The "lomdus 101 principle" must be understood properly. If one's position
> is strengthened by the fewer proofs one attempts, RMS should have written
> a much shorter post! The Kessef Mishneh's explanation is long only because
> he is answering each of the multiple proof-texts the Rambam brought for
> his position. Does "lomdus 101" posit that the Rambam considered each
> of /his/ multiple reasons problematic?

1) The kesef mishne does two things.
a) First, he goes through all the different proof texts that the rambam
brings (and the reason the rambam brings so many proof texts in his
perush hamishnayot is because he knows how radical his position is going
to be deemed)
b) After going through the proof texts, and offering an alternative
explanation for the proof texts - he then tries for a different
explanation of the entire sugya - not for a different proof text. It is
the fact that he has to bring an alternative explanation that is proof
that he is aware that there are problems with the previous explanation.

Now, most of the poskim and nose kelim dealt with the real social
situation and the norm in Europe was until the nineteenth century
a) The community supported the rav, perhaps one or two other communal
functionaries (larger communities maybe more)
b) Sometimes, the community supported the rav's yeshiva - unmarried
students pre smicha (and smicha was given at a young age - 20 at the
latest - most often much younger)- who were thought to represent the
next generation
c) Post marriage, students were supported by their families, not the
community - unless they got a communal position.

there was a major uproar when Rav Yisrael Salanter provided support for
married students in his Kovno kollel

The psakim deal with the acceptability of this situation.

The current situation is far different - especially in Israel - where the
ideology, based on Rav Dessler, is that the community should support any
one who wants to sit and study The ideology is not that the students are
there learning to be future communal functionaries, nor are they providing
a public service (except that the actual study of talmud torah is viewed
as public service). The study of torah lishma is a fine ideal - but
the communal support of studying torah lishma is far more problematic.....

This precisely the position that the rama, quoting the rambam, says-
kol hamesim al libo la'asok batorah velo laasot melacha lehtiparnes min
hatzedaka hare ze mehalel et hashem umevaze haotora.
When you have schools who will not take parents who work for a living,
how can you argue that this is not against the rama?? Not working has
become not a necessity for having communal rabbis, but an ideal in and
of itself - something that is not mainstream halacha.

Meir Shinnar

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Date: Tue, 14 Feb 2006 15:18:32 -0500
From: "Zvi Lampel" <Hlampel@thejnet.com>
Re: Re: Calling A Spade A Spade: Rambam and Kollel

From: "Zvi Lampel" <hlampel@thejnet.com>
>> I challenge anyone to find either in biblical or rabbinic Hebrew, or
>> in any of Rambam's writings (or in any Hebrew writings by rishonim or
>> acharonim, for that matter), the usage of a prepositional possesive
>> joined to a noun -- as in "u-b'yado mammon rav li, v'lo" -- to mean
>> "mine" or "his."

[R' David Riceman:]
> "Li Gil'ad v'li Menashe" (Ps. 60:9), "Gilead is mine and Manassah is mine 
> (old JPS translation - - Artscroll says the same thing with slightly 
> different spelling of the proper nouns)."

Here, too, the verb of being is implied. "Li Gile'ad" means "Gil'as is to
me," which means "Gil'ad is mine;" as opposed to "my brother had mammon
li," which can only mean, "my brother had money for me."

Zvi Lampel

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Date: Wed, 08 Feb 2006 12:16:31 +0200
From: Ari Zivotofsky <zivotoa@mail.biu.ac.il>
Re: Enzymes in Honey & Cheese

[Sorry, I misplaced this email for a week. -mi]

Micha Berger wrote:
>On Tue, Feb 07, 2006 at 08:53:09AM +0200, Ari Z. Zivotofsky wrote:
>:             honey is never broken down and honey is not produced by bee 
>: glands (unlike royal jelly). the nectar's long sugar molecule is merely 
>: split into the shorter chains of honey by bee produced enzymes.

>Doesn't your reisha "is never broken down" different than the seifa
>"long sugar molecule is split into the shorter chains of honey"...?

>Are you asserting a shiur to how chemically pronouned the change must be?

not contradictory at all, just maybe not explained well. so I will
try again.

the grass the cow eats is fully decomposed to its fundamental units and
milk is then produced from those raw materials in the cow's mammary gland.
nectar is never fully broken down, and honey is not a glandular secretion
of the bee.

The nectar contains complex sugars such as sucrose (a disaccharide - two
attached sugar rings) that are broken down to simpler sugars, glucose (a
6 carbon ring) and fructose (a 5 carbon ring), that are found in honey.
Thus, the nectar was never digested nor incorporated into the bee's body
and the bee did not synthesize the honey. Sugars are rings. but they
can be linked rings that are them split apart (as here) or large rings
that are easily opened, broken, and re-closed.

Honey is not merely dehydrated nectar. the bee's enzymes do chemically
act on it, but it is not a glandular secretion produced by the bee.
hope this is clearer.


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Date: Tue, 14 Feb 2006 22:13:13 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Killing kinim on shabbat

On Sun, Feb 12, 2006 at 12:44:44PM -0500, S & R Coffer wrote:
: True. But what about lice, for instance? Is it permissible to kill them
: on Shabboss? Chazal's infallibility would be compromised if you paskened
: "yes"...

Rav Kook would say it is assur. However, chazal were not wrong -- if
there were bugs born abiogenetically, they would be mutar.

Just like the babirusa discussions of our day -- conjecturing what the
din would be given a scenario doesn't become "wrong" when the scenario
turns out to be impossible.


Micha Berger             For a mitzvah is a lamp,
micha@aishdas.org        And the Torah, its light.
http://www.aishdas.org                   - based on Mishlei 6:2
Fax: (270) 514-1507      

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Date: Tue, 14 Feb 2006 23:24:14 -0500
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Re: Creation & allegory

Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@012.net.il> wrote:

> As is obvious from the literal meaning of the text - there were
> 6 historical days of creation. However if you insist that everyhing was
> created on the first day - then you have a problem as to how light was
> created on both the first and fourth days. If you accept the view that it
> was the same light - then you have to reject the original understanding
> that there were six days of creation. The Abarbanel is very bothered by
> this issue and insists that the language of the Torah does not allow for
> a non creation view of the six days. But that is what Rambam, Ramban and
> apparently Rashi do.

I'm sorry, I'm just not getting something.  Rashi's explanation seems
very simple to me (which is as it should be, since it's supposed to be
understood by 5-year-olds), and I don't see what more is needed, or what
makes you think that Rambam is saying something different.  Rashi says
that the sun was created on the first day (Rambam clarifies that it was
at the first moment), but not put into the sky until the 4th day, and
the same goes for the plants, birds, animals, etc, which were created
at the first moment, but didn't emerge until the appropriate time.
What's the problem with that?  And where does anyone say that the light
created on the 1st day is in any way connected with the astronomical
bodies that were put into place on the 4th day?

Zev Sero               Something has gone seriously awry with this Court's
zev@sero.name          interpretation of the Constitution.
                       	                          - Clarence Thomas

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Date: Wed, 15 Feb 2006 15:39:38 +0200
From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
Re: Creation & allegory

Micha Berger wrote:
>  From the intro:
>                                                            The reader
>     must, moreover, beware of raising objections to any of my statements,
>     because it is very probable that he may understand my words to mean
>     the exact opposite to what 1 intended to say...
>                                  I feel assured that those of my readers
>     who have not studied philosophy, will still derive profit from many a
>     chapter. But the thinker whose studies have brought him into collision
>     with religion, will, as I have already mentioned, derive much benefit
>     from every chapter. How greatly will he rejoice! How agreeably will
>     my words strike his ears! 
> The Rambam seems to (1) tell people to ignore anything they think is his
> chiddush, as they probably misunderstood; and (2) believes that you don't
> need to be a philosopher to understand some of what he's talking about. It
> sounds more like a warning before an advanced text than an esoteric one.

The introduction you cited sounds very similar to the words of the Ramban
in his introduction to his commentary to Chumash. .
"... I am offering proper advice to all those who look at my commentary
not to create interpretation and build theories from any perceived
allusions concerning what I write about secrets of the Torah. I can
confidently state that you won't understand my words at all - unless
you have a background in kabbalistic traditions. "

If you replace "kabbalistic traditions" with background in theology
or philosophy - they seem equivalent. Those who are ignorant can still
benefit but the greatest benefit is for those who have philsophical
[kabbalistic} training.

Thus what the Rambam offers is pshat in depth for those who have 
philosophic backgrounds while the Ramban is offering esoteric writings 
for those who have kabbalistic backgrounds. I fail to see the difference.

*es?·o?·ter?·ic *[?¨ss?™ t?©rrik]
*1. * 	*restricted to initiates: *intended for or understood by only an 
initiated few
*2. * 	*abstruse: *difficult to understand
*3. * 	*secret: *secret or highly confidential

[Mid-17th century. From Greek /es?Ťterikos/ “belonging to an inner 
circle,” from /es?Ťter?Ť/ “inner,” from /es?Ť/ “within.”]

*Microsoft?® Encarta?® Reference Library 2004. ?© 1993-2003 Microsoft 
Corporation. All rights reserved.*

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