Avodah Mailing List
Volume 16 : Number 135
Sunday, February 19 2006
Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Fri, 17 Feb 2006 05:55:39 -0500
From: "S & R Coffer" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: RE: the Mabul
On February 14, 2006, Micha Berger wrote:
> So to rephrase: Had Ovadiah, while he was zocheh to the minor lemaalah
> min hateva of finding evidence of a neis, been looking for evidence of
> the mabul, he would have found it.
> Still, I'm using the notion of conflicting realities to suggest that
> today's archeologists simply live on a plane of teva. And therefore their
> experience of the relics of the past casts those relics into a derekh
> hateva reality. Just as REED writes about the 6 days of bereishis --
> the overly focused on teva contemporary scientist imposes a multi-billion
> year history on his reality.
No comparison at all. Rav Dessler is referring to perspective; you
are referring to reality. According to Rav Dessler, only the blind
materialists cannot see Hashem, due to their focus on materialism, as
opposed to shlomey emuney yisrael who can and *do* see Hashem in the
beriah. Your presentation above necessitates Ovadya to exist on a level
which is lemala miderech hateva in order to perceive the truth. This is
the notion which I am contesting.
> I just wrote this up on my blog. (Warning to RCS, you might want to take
> an aspirin in advance!) I compare this position to that of Ernst Mach. See
I downed the entire bottle...it didn't help. But I don't want to respond to
your blog entry here because you haven't posted it to Avodah. I am
responding only to what I see here. (BTY Rav Micha, I assume you mean SC,
>> As R' Dessler explains, there is a spiritual reason for oil
>> burning as opposed to vinegar (as everything else in the beriah) however
>> the kedusha of RCBD's Shabbos superseded this consideration. The reason
>> RCBD was zocheh to this, and other miracles, is because he related to
>> all of teva as a manifestation of Hashem's ratzon and thus there was no
>> difference to him between oil burning and vinegar burning....
> As you write, that's a different ma'amar. You're citing REED's discussion
> of the justness of selectively granting nissim, whereas I'm relying on
> his description of the Maharal's take on the "mechanics" of teva and neis.
I do not know which maamar you are referring to but neither the Maharal
nor Rav Dessler claim that people who do not experience nissim are
incapable of perceiving evidence of same. Kindly supply a mareh makom
so we can hash out our difference by referring to the text.
> Not because we never experienced them, but for the same reason we
> never experienced them. We do not live in olam hayetzirah, where the
> neis occured.
The mitzrim also didn't live in olan haYitzira yet they experienced the
nissim. In fact, it was one of Hashem's primary purposes in performing
the neis...."l'maan teida ki ein kamoni etc." or "v'yad'u mitraim ki
ani Hashem etc..."
> For the same reasons:
> 1- From the "justice" perspective -- witnessing a neis would raise my
> emunah, but to a lesser extent, so would witnessing evidence.
I'm not sure what you mean but if you are implying that evidence of
Hashem's presence is withheld from mankind because of the midas haDin,
you are, WADR, sorely mistaken. Evidence of Hashem's presence exists
everywhere by the 100's of billions of examples! It us merely the yetzer
hara which causes us to lose our *perspective* and allows us to seem
randomness and chance as opposed to a boreh. "biderech she'adam rotzeh
la'laches, molichin ossso".
> 2- The neis wouldn't have occured to plebian people like us as we stand
> now -- neither to ch"v punish nor to save us. We do not live in the
> reality that had a neis. Just as in Mitzri or Chinese reality, the sun
> never stood still, it only stood for those in Giv'on that day.
The reason nissim do not occur to us is not due to the reality we
occupy. It is because we wouldn't learn from them. This idea is explained
by Rav Dessler at length in several places. The best place to look is
in parshas bi'Shalach. He states there openly that "plebeian" people
can certainly experience miracles but that Hashem doesn't manifest them
because of their lack of perspective. They wouldn't learn from these
demonstrations just as Pharaoh didn't learn from the makkos. Not that
it is impossible for a plebe to experience miracles.
> The effect is exactly what's found WRT the mabul: the human testimony of
> a mabul is very strong, but the physical record is lacking.
> The human
> testimony is eid mipi eid from those who were zochim to the neis, the
> physical record is seen by those who were not.
>>> Once you believe that empirical reality needn't be consistent, it's
>>> impossible even in theory to show a contradiction between the empiricist's
>>> results and the Torah. One reflects the teva experience of reality,
>>> the other, the neis.
>> You are compromising the attempts of kiruv (not that this has to be a
>> consideration but I am merely being 'machnis' you 'bidvarim'). Much of
>> kiruv richokim (not to mention kiruv kirovim) is based on demonstrating
>> that the Torah is perfectly in concert with empirical evidence....
> Much of kiruv rechoqim uses techniques I wouldn't. However, kiruv doesn't
> occur from the techniques, it occurs from the experience of shemiras
> Torah umitzvos. The techniques are just to get the person to be willing
> to have the experience.
But if the techniques are flawed, your chances of getting the subject "to be
willing to have the experience" are dramatically compromised.
>> don't see why you feel the two are exclusive. I agree that the laws
>> which governed MB were different but once Hashem set teva in motion
>> (although, according to some shittos, he is constantly renewing reality),
>> there is no reason to say that two separate planes exist....
> I was not writing what I feel. (Which I'm not sure of.) I was writing
> what I understand REED's explanation of the Maharal's position to be. And
> he clearly writes about inconsistent realities.
I await your mareh makom with bated breath.
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Date: Fri, 17 Feb 2006 07:45:55 -0500
From: Micha Berger <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: the Mabul
On Fri, Feb 17, 2006 at 05:55:39AM -0500, S & R Coffer wrote:
: I downed the entire bottle...it didn't help. But I don't want to respond to
: your blog entry here because you haven't posted it to Avodah. I am
: responding only to what I see here. (BTY Rav Micha, I assume you mean SC,
: not CS.
I'm pretty sure you didn't read the blog entry very carefully. Because
the mar'eh meqomos you ask for are given there:
> Another case where Rav Dessler (Mm"E vol. pp 304-312) focuses on the
> role of perception in defining reality is his elaboration of the Maharal's
> understanding (Gevuros Hashem, 2nd introduction) of nisim...
: I'm not sure what you mean but if you are implying that evidence of
: Hashem's presence is withheld from mankind because of the midas haDin,
: you are, WADR, sorely mistaken...
No, I mean that nissim aren't experienced by someone whose awareness is in
olam ha'asiyah. The essay is all about teva vs neis and the differences
in olamos. And in it REED explains why a difference in perspective truly
puts someone in a different olam.
You and I repeatedly understand REED differently because you're imposing
on the text a logical positivism that simply isn't there. REED is a
Trancendentalist, like Kant or Mach, not a Scholasticist.
: > 2- The neis wouldn't have occured to plebian people like us as we stand
: > now -- neither to ch"v punish nor to save us. We do not live in the
: > reality that had a neis. Just as in Mitzri or Chinese reality, the sun
: > never stood still, it only stood for those in Giv'on that day.
: The reason nissim do not occur to us is not due to the reality we
This is explicitly opposite of the meqoros I brought.
Micha Berger When a king dies, his power ends,
firstname.lastname@example.org but when a prophet dies, his influence is just
Fax: (270) 514-1507 - Soren Kierkegaard
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Date: Fri, 17 Feb 2006 13:08:57 +0200
From: "Akiva Blum" <email@example.com>
Subject: zebu and turkey
(article by R. Nosson Slifkin), states:
>> A further point to consider is that at this point, many Jews have
>> already been eating zebu for many years. This itself provides cause
>> not to prohibit its consumption - or to realize the implications of
>> prohibiting it. After all, there is no mesorah whatsoever for turkey,
>> which was unknown to Jews before discovered in America...
>Can anyone explain why one who eats turkey would not eat the zebu?
Slifkin misunderstood the tshuva of the Netziv.
The Netziv was not mattir based simply on the fact that many people are
doing it, and it would be wrong to say all those people did avairos. The
problem with turkey is a lack of mesora, so he suggests that since many
people are eating it, they must have started based on a mesorah that
we now are not familiar with but did really exist. The zebu issue began
in the 50's and the CI claimed that there are no Jews eating it with a
mesorah. Eating it for 50 years will not help us invent new facts which
we know did not exist.
[Email #2. -mi]
>> There is an additional factor that in my opinion renders the debate
>> between those who require a tradition and those who don't of little
>> relevance to either the zebu or bison (American "buffalo") questions.
>> With regard to quadrupeds, the Talmud offers an irrefutable, undisputed
>> test of the kashrut of an animal that cannot be the challenged on
>> subjective grounds. Bechorot 7a declares that kosher and non-kosher
>> species cannot cross-breed....
>The zebu not only passes this "hybridization test", but produces live,
>fertile offspring with other domesticated cattle (Bos taurus; family -
1. The Rambam does not offer this as proof to identification of
kashrus. He simply states that the breeds do not mix. AIUI the reason he
mantions this, from context, is that the question of kashrus and chelev
is irelevent because the animal does not exist.
2. Even if this would be a proof, it doesn't help us. There is no question
as to the kashrus of the zebu. The CI (actually the Chochmas Odom,
based on the Shach) holds that even if we were sure, nevertheless, the
minhag is to not eat an animal without a mesorah. So the zebu might fit
all the rules and proofs but no mesorah means we are noheg not to eat it.
Go to top.
Date: Fri, 17 Feb 2006 13:56:33 EST
Subject: Re: Calling A Spade A Spade: Rambam and Kollel
[R Meir Shinnar:]
> One thing that seems clear is that the early minhag was clearly not
> to give direct support for rabbanim - which is why various alternatives
> were proposed (eg, being invited to every seudat mitzva and given nice
> portions, gifts in return for different errands). There was a time that
> rabbanim had a monopoly on shidduchim - providing the major source of
I seem to remember that the rebetzen had a monopoly on certain items in
some places -- candles, salt? other items? -- had to be bought from her.
Go to top.
Date: Sat, 18 Feb 2006 22:29:35 +0200
Subject: RE: Creation & allegory
On February 17th 2006, Simcha Coffer wrote:
> The bottom line is that anyone claiming that the Rambam understood MB
> allegorically is introducing erroneous notions into the text and
> misrepresenting the Rambam's true position on this matter.
Sometime in the twelfth century, Rambam wrote:
> The account of creation given in Scripture is not, as is generally
> believed, intended to be literal in all its parts.
(Guide of The Perplexed, 2:29)
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Date: Fri, 17 Feb 2006 15:05:46 -0000
From: "Chana Luntz" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> there is no question that if the fruit/veg. were imported
> that they are chayav long before then in terumos& maasros.
> the derabanan of terumos&maasros is not the regular
> derabanan. terumos & maasros is a deabanan based on a
How does this position differ from that of the mishna l'melech quoted
by ROY Yabiat Omer chelek 6 Yoreh Deah siman 28?
There he seems to think that the majority of achronim reject this position
of the mishna l'melech.
> but it doesn't make a difference who buys it,
> rather where was the gmar melacha. and if the gmar melacha
> was by a jew- it is chayav in terumos & maasros.
Again that doesn't seem to quite shtim with the view Rav Kook seems to
take based on the Rambam, where he seems to view the question as one
of a different independent d'rabbanan if it is sold to a non Jew rather
than to a Jew. Obviously a non Jew is not chayav to take, as they are
not chayav in mitzvos and therefore presumably there is no problem them
eating tevel - it would thus seem that the issue becomes, at least at
the point of sale, is the Jew chayav to take even though he is selling
on to a non Jew. The answer seems to be, according to Rav Kook based
and the Rambam, yes, based on a d'rabbanan - something that would seem
to be true even in circumstances where the obligation to take terumos
and ma'asros in order to eat the produce was d'orisa.
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Date: Fri, 17 Feb 2006 13:17:45 -0500
From: Zev Sero <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Tal Umotor
"S & R Coffer" <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> What about Australia? Do you think Shmuel was expressing a universal
> opinion? We follow Shmuel wherever possible i.e. wherever it doesn't
> diverge too dramatically from the seasonal status of the geographical
> location in question.
1. Is the "60 days after the tekufah" attributed to Shmuel? AFAIK
Cheshbon Shmuel is a general statement about the approiximate length
of the year, not about when to start saying Tal Umatar. In Bavel the
beginning of the rainy season is 60 days after the tekufah, and to make
things simpler we use Cheshbon Shmuel to calculate that date.
And, in fact, we do follow this minhag Bavel *everywhere* outside EY,
no matter how dramatically the local conditions diverge from those of
Bavel, or how little sense it makes. Including Spain and Australia.
If the Rosh couldn't change it, we certainly can't.
Dubin Avrohom (Abe) P wrote:
> equinox, which is September 19 or 20. Has anyone ever seen a source
> for beginning on December 4 that ties to the 60-day rule? Although I
> don't see why it should be relevant, even if you factor in the 11 day
> gap between the Julian and Gregorian calendars, you will not get to
> December 4.
The gap is 13 days, not 11. And the Gregorian adjustment took things
back to the 4th century, when the date of Easter was fixed, not to the
establishment of the Julian Calendar, which was when the minhag Bavel
for Tal Umatar, and, lehavdil, the date of Saturnalia, were both set.
Did you never wonder why Xmas is on the 25th, not the 21st? Gregory could
have made Xmas come out on the winter solstice again, by adding another
4 days to his correction, but his concern was Easter, not Xmas.
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Date: Sun, 19 Feb 2006 17:57:24 -0500
From: "Zvi Lampel" <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Shiras HaYam
Wed, 15 Feb 2006 (Avodah V16 #134) R. Stuart Feldhamer
> From: "Zvi Lampel" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>> Has anyone noted that the flourishes with which we lein parts of Shiras
>> HaYam (usually those pesukim that contain the shem Hashem) are identical
>> in tune with the tune of Shir HaShirim?
I have certainly not noticed this...in fact, the tunes seem to be rather
different to me. Does anyone else have any comment on this?
As I hear it, both
"Shir Ha-Shi- ri-im / asher l-Shlo- mo-o" and
"Soos Ve-Rach-bo-o / ya -ra a- ba- ya-am," for example, are chanted:
G G G G-E / E E E- D-C.
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Date: Sun, 19 Feb 2006 18:30:04 -0500
From: "Stuart Feldhamer" <email@example.com>
Subject: RE: Shiras HaYam
From: Zvi Lampel [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
> As I hear it, both
> "Shir Ha-Shi- ri-im / asher l-Shlo- mo-o" and
> "Soos Ve-Rach-bo-o / ya -ra a- ba- ya-am," for example, are chanted:
> G G G G-E / E E E- D-C.
You're right, the tunes are similar, especially at the end. But here's how I
"Soos Ve-Roch-vo-o-o / ra -ma va- ya-am"
G G G A G E E E D D C
"Shir Ha-Shi- ri-im / asher l-Shlo- mo-o"
E E E G E E E D D D C
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Date: Sun, 19 Feb 2006 22:26:12 -0000
From: "Chana Luntz" <email@example.com>
Subject: Kashrus reliable enough
While I was leafing through Yabiat Omer looking for teshuvas on tevel,
I reacquainted myself with the teshuva in Chelek 5 Yoreh Deah siman 3 -
which is rather on point to the kashrus discussion - and also written
very much in ROY style, so I thought people might be interested in a
brief synopsis (teaser if you will).
The teshuva begins by explaining that that ROY was asked by an "adam yirat
shamayim" - who follows the custom of our holy land and does not eat from
meat unless it is chalak [glatt] without any chashashot of sirchot clal,
following the position of Maran HaShulchan Aruch - but who had been
invited to a seudat mitzvah from one of his family who buys stam basar
"kasher" min hashuk. And this fellow asks if he is permitted to eat
there for the honour of his mishpacha without inquiring into whether
the meat is chalak or not.
So the first section of the teshuva (si'if aleph) is all about what
a terrible thing it is not to eat glatt - with a page and a half of
citation after citation after citation of rishonim and achronim (many
many of whom are Ashkenazim) about how you should never eat meat that
have any sirchot at all, and shouldn't rely on the position of the Rema,
and how it gives scope to the unscrupulous who end up selling treifot
etc etc (he starts of the section by stating that first of all, he must
make known the severity of the matter [chomer hainyan]).
But after that beginning, the conclusion of the teshuva the "maskana
l'dina" which is found at the end of si'if gimmel, is that one who is
careful to only eat basar chalak may indeed partake at the table of one
who is not careful in this, and eats basar "kasher" in circumstances
where it is a seudat mitzvah.
In between (in si'ifim bet and gimmel) is his reasoning - which again
includes extensive citations, but which boils down to this. It is a
situation of safek safeka - because firstly *maybe* in fact the animal
that he is eating was in fact glatt (ie it had no sirchot at all)
(because it is not as though they will reject those animals, just that
they will accept some which are not glatt). And secondly *maybe* the
halacha is like the makilim who say the halacha is that a certain level
of sirchot are kosher (ie the Rema). And on a safek safeka one can rely
probably l'chatchila and certainly in these kinds of circumstances.
In the course of the discussion various other matters come up:
- one is the question of the kelim, because even if the particular animal
that is being eaten may actually be glatt and there is the safek safeka,
surely the kellim will at one time have had on them animals that are not
glatt. But firstly he holds that stam kelim of a Jew are held to aino
ben yomo (the only difference between kellim of a Jew and a non Jew is
that a Jew can be asked, but in situations where one cannot really ask the
basic din is the same). And then he runs various safek sfekos there too.
- a second is the question of the need to investigate. He shows from
various sources that if it is possible to investigate a matter, then
there is a rabbinic obligation to investigate and one cannot rely on a
chazaka (including the chazaka that an animal that has been geshochten
is kasher and not treif) (one of the key sources for this, it turns out,
is the question of obtaining a property on erev pesach and having to
check whether it has been searched for chametz or not - so as you can
see, the discussion is quite wide ranging and covers a whole host of
obligations). He then goes on to discuss the various limits on this
obligation to check and investigate. As again this discussion covers
a good portion of a page, with many many citations from rishonim and
achronim it is hard to summarise more here, but IMHO it is well worth
the effort to work through, partly because of the exposure not just to
ROY's thought but to so many others as well and the way they tackle the
question of what are the limits of investigation.
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Date: Sun, 19 Feb 2006 19:24:17 -0500
From: "Dubin Avrohom \(Abe\) P" <Abe.Dubin@buckconsultants.com>
Subject: RE: Tal Umotor
[R Simcha Coffer:]
> On February 15, 2006 Dubin Avrohom (Abe) P wrote:
>> Halachically, the time for beginning is 60 days after the Tkufas
>> Tishrei. ... Tkufas Tishrei falls on the autumnal
>> equinox, which is September 19 or 20. Has anyone ever seen a source
>> for beginning on December 4 that ties to the 60-day rule? Although I
>> don't see why it should be relevant, even if you factor in the 11 day
>> gap between the Julian and Gregorian calendars, you will not get to
>> December 4.
> Sure you will. But first you have to adjust your definitions. The
> autumnal equinox is not the 19th of September. It is more like the 22nd
> (and possibly the 23rd and 24th). The Beis Yosef (written in 1522)
> quotes the Avudraham that 60 days after tekufas Tishrei is November
> 22. Approximately 60 years later, in 1584, Gregory made his 10 day (not
> 11) adjustment ...
> Now the cheshbon is simple. Add the ten days Gregory removed from the
> Julian calendar and you have December 2 in 1585. Skip the years 1600
> and 2000 because they are divisible by 4 and add a day for 1700, 1800
> and 1900 and viola, you have 13 days which brings us to December 5.
With all due respect, the reason why I noted in my first post that the
Julian/Gregorian difference was irrelevant is because the only year that
lost 10 days was the year 1584, when what would have been November 22
became December 2.
In 1585 and every year thereafter - up to and including 2005 - the rule
should have gone back to what it always was, namely Tal Umotor begins
60 days after the Tkufa.
Let's use real numbers to see what I mean.
The autumnal equinox fell in 2005 on September 22 at 6:23 PM EDT. As a
point of reference, sunset was 6:52, so according to the Mishna Brura
117:4, Thursday 18 Elul and September 22 was the Tkufa. 60 days later
is November 20 (9 days remaining in Sept, 31 October and 20 November)
which was Sunday 18 Cheshvan.
This is also consistent with the Mishna Brura 117:5 who says that there
are always two full days between the Tkufa and the beginning of Tal
Umotor, so that if the Tkufa falls on Thursday, Tal Umotor would begin
All over the USA, we began Tal Umotor on Sunday night / Monday, three
days removed from the Tkufa.
Of what relevance is the 10 days dropped by Pope Gregory to the above
I still can't figure out why we started Tal Umotor two weeks after the
time stipulated in the Shulchan Aruch - and why we will do it again in
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