Avodah Mailing List

Volume 16 : Number 163

Saturday, March 18 2006

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2006 12:16:35 -0500
From: Yitzchok Levine <llevine@stevens.edu>
Re: AgriProcessors in the News - Kashrus question

At 12:59 AM 03/17/2006, Dr. Josh Backon wrote:
>However, the Rema (Even HaEzer 5:14) indicates
>    that if there is any human need, the prohibition is overturned

But there was no "human need" for what was formally being done at this
slaughterhouse, because these procedures have now been stopped without
interrupting operations. Therefore, these inhumane procedures were never

I do not see how what you have quoted relates to the situation in question.

Yitzchok Levine 

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Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2006 12:25:10 -0500 (EST)
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: One woman make a berakha for another by a MASZ"G

In Avodah V16 #151, I wrote:
>> "So, first explain the concept of why my wife makes these berakhos
>> [birkhot haMitsva] for herself, then perhaps we can see if the sevarah
>> holds when making them for other women."

RAFrimer replied:
> The answer to this question is too long for a post, so I gladly refer
> him to read Text and notes of Section A of our paper on Women's services
> where we discuss the various shitot....

To summarize: The permission for women to make berakhos on a non-chiyuv
comes from R' Tam.

R' Goren, in a chiddush RAF finds problematic, suggests that women were
permitted to make berachos on MASG for reasons similar to permitting them
to do semichah on qorbanos -- la'asos nachas ru'ach. But then, RAF asks,
why not say the same for zimun besheim? And the rationale would only work
for women, while Rabbeinu Tam's ruling is applied by other rishonim to
men who are non-mechuyavim of the particular mitzvah. (E.g. the Radvaz
allows making a berakhah when leining the megillah without a minyan by
invoking this R' Tam.)

The Ran says the reason is that one gets sechar even as an eno metzuveh

R Ben-Zion Hai Uziel and RYBS say that women make the berakhah because
they are part of kelal Yisrael which was, as a unit, commanded -- even
though they're not the ones upon whom the specific obligation falls. (To
my mind, this fits the words best: "vetzivanu" doesn't speak of acting
for religious fulfillment or sechar, but does speak of a group being
commanded.) "Asher qidishanu" refees to kedushas Yisrael as a corporate

This last sevarah certainly implies that a woman ought to be able
to make a berakhah for another. After all, they're all part of the
tzibbur. The first sevarah is less amenable to such extension, as it's
unlike permitting her to do a mitzvah herself beyadayim.

But more to the point, R' Tam doesn't seem to say there is any obligation
for her to make a berakhah; the discussion is on what grounds does it
make sense to permit her to do so. So, what chiyuv is woman A fulfilling
on behalf of woman B? Woman B could do the mitzvah without a berakhah
either way.


Micha Berger             "'When Adar enters, we increase our joy'
micha@aishdas.org         'Joy is nothing but Torah.'
http://www.aishdas.org    'And whoever does more, he is praiseworthy.'"
Fax: (270) 514-1507                     - Rav Dovid Lifshitz zt"l

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Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2006 09:07:22 -0500
From: "David Riceman" <driceman@worldnet.att.net>
Re: relativity and geocentrism

From: "S & R Coffer" <rivkyc@sympatico.ca>
> I'm not sure what you are referring to but it seems clear to me (and
> many others) that scientists who invest their careers in origins based
> science generally maintain a materialistic view of the universe. Are
> you contesting this fact?

Yes. Scientists try to understand mechanisms. Fiat is not a mechanism.
If indeed you believe that God works through fiat you need to explain
why we have the perception of teva (once again I urge you to reread that
chapter in the MN, especially the mashal about dying cloth).

> Four things. Firstly, I am not looking for simple and elegant. I am
> looking for truth. Second, I never claimed that teva requires recourse to
> a "that's what G-d wants" argument. I am constantly turning to empirical
> evidence to support my contentions.

My recollection is that all of your fact-based arguments are negative.

> Thirdly, there is nothing inelegant
> with the argument of "that's what G-d wants".

Yes.  It proves too much.  Here's an example:

Q: Why is ice colder than water?
A1: Heat is atomic motion. Ice is a crystalline structure and if the
atoms moved too quickly they would not stay in the crystal.
A2: That's what God wants.

Q(hypothetical): Why is ice hotter than water?
A1(h): Picture your argument here.
A2(h): That's what God wants.

It's inelegant because it can be used to justify anything, true or false.
See the Rambam's criticism of the Kalam that they confused "possible"
and "capable of being imagined".

David Riceman 

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Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2006 09:47:17 -0500
From: Jacob Farkas <jfarkas@compufar.com>
Re: mechiyat amalek

On Mon, Mar 13, 2006 at 04:47:24PM +0200, Eli Turkel wrote:
: Neither one explained the requirement laharog taf ve-nashim and in the
: story of Shaul even to kill the animals.

R' Micha Berger wrote:
> It doesn't say "timkheh es Amaleiq", but "es zeicher" -- any reminder or
> memorial of them. Which would include their offspring. It's not about
> guilt (nor can be if newborns are included), but about their every mahus
> being a memorial to their nation and what they stood for.

My understanding of the question was not whether Taf V'Noshim were
included in the Tzivuy, but why. IOW, why is it necessary for the
destruction of Amalekism to destroy newborns? Is Amalekism genetic,
or nurtured? And why the animals? How did Amalek influence their cattle?

Clearly the commandment was total eradication, as we see Chazal state,
"Shelo Yomru Shor Zeh shel Amalek," but that is from the Jewish
perspective, that we should not have any Amalek among us, be it people
or property acquired through Amalek.

It is a very difficult Mitzvah to understand, and Shaul had great
difficulty as a result. All that is offered as explanation amounts to
Zos Hukas HaTorah.

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Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2006 12:58:14 -0500
From: Steg Belsky <draqonfayir@juno.com>
Re: AgriProcessors in the News - Kashrus question

On Mar 16, 2006, at 22:10:26 -0500GMT, R' Zev Sero wrote:
> In any case, the complaint seems to be about things that happen *after*
> the shechitah, when the animal is halachically dead, and scientifically
> unable to feel pain. Thus neither kashrus nor humaneness are a problem,
> the only problem is in how it looks to someone who is not used to it,
> or who wants to make trouble.

I'd like to see some documentation on the animal being scientifically 
unable to feel pain.

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Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2006 12:33:48 +0200
From: "Eli Turkel" <eliturkel@gmail.com>

Simcha writes
> If evolution is correct, why are there no transitional fossils? Why
> is it that after more than 150 years of searching, science has not found
> the appropriate sequences to demonstrate the veracity of their theory
> and yet they cling tenaciously to a theory which Darwin himself admitted
> would be falsified in their absence? How can variety exist in the face
> of such mathematical odds? Why do we not see evolution at work right
> now? Why is it that everywhere we look we see clearly defined species
> which are perfectly 'adapted' to their surroundings? (Darwin himself
> was bothered by this question). Where are the current organisms which
> represent the transition between, say, fish and reptile? If evolution
> is a real process, why do we not find intermediary organisms between
> the major phyla? Why must we satisfy ourselves with micro-evolutionary
> examples of the theory which do not really prove anything at all?

I agree with Micha that nothing is advanced by these continuing arguments
amongst ourselves. I know of no serious scientist even among the religious
who doubt a world of billions of years and the basic facts of evolution.
Some of Simcha's questions have indeed led to the theory of punctuated
equilibria that evolution happens in jumps and not continuously. The
fossil record is extremely clear that earth was first populated by simple
creatures and this slowly (over billions of years) evolved to more complex
plants and animals. The controversy is whether there was a gradual change
or sudden (over thousands of years not millions) changes happened. BTW the
latest theory is that even humans have evolved over the last 50,000 years
and are probably still evolving. Evolution in animals/plants in recent
(comparatively) history is more well known. Since change is measured in
ten of thousands to millions of years we obviously will not see it before
our eyes unless it is forced in an experiment which indeed has happened.

No paper or serious scientific book challenging the basics has appeared.
The US courts have constantly thrown out challenges to these principles.
I am sure that some will argue it is all a big hoax. However, even when
I read articles in Be-or Hatorah which are mainly Chabad scientists very
few disagree with the thesis of an old world that changes. Each comes
with his explanation of why this does not contradict the Torah.

I conclude (for the next year -)) the an article in a scientific journal
that disagrees with current theories needs to come with a detailed
scientific explanation of the facts that we do know. A paragraph list of
questions does not constitut= e a physical theory. As others have stated
in fact Avodah/Areivim is not the place to present a truly scientific
explanation. Those they wish to follow this route (and dont want a secular
physics/biology journal) can write to Be-or Hatorah or even better to
BDD where it will be sent to a religious scientist for proper review.

kol tuv,
Eli Turkel

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Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2006 13:09:58 -0500
From: "Glasner, David" <DGLASNER@ftc.gov>
RE: killing kinim on Shabbat

Micha Berger wrote:
> On Fri, Mar 10, 2006 at 12:00:47PM -0500, Glasner, David wrote:
>: I'm sorry, but I literally do not understand what you are saying. I am
>: asking you to explain the meaning of the words that the Gemara "mina
>: hu d'mikri beitzei kinim." In the sugya Abaye is asserting, based on
>: the master's saying, that it has already been recognized that there are
>: "beitzei kinim." In answering Abaye, and positing that "beitzei kinim"
>: is the name of a species, does the Gemara believe that lice eggs exist or
>: that they don't exist? ...

> The problem here is totally unconnected to my interpretation.

Well, I'm not so sure. You apparently are treating the sugya
itself as an inkblot which you don't have to interpret, so that any
inconsistency between the sugya and your interpretation is irrelevant
to your interpretation. If that's your position, fine. But I wouldn't
say that it's unconnected to your interpretation.

> It's impossible that they did not know about louse eggs. We do, and we
> have a much smaller percentage of lousy head than they did. Anyone who
> combed for eggs and nits knows there are louse eggs. And in those days,
> that meant everyone knew.

We know that there are these little thingies in people's hair. We don't
know what they knew about them. You are just guessing.

> My comment therefore had nothing to do with that question, and set it
> aside.

Okay, now I'm with you.

>: But none of this has to do with emunas chakhamim...

> My comment wasn't about emunas chakhamim either. It was about the din,
> and whether din changes when science does.

That was your own previous comment that you commented on.  Not mine.

:> They're willing to use theory to couch other ideas. But when it came to
:> din, they simply quoted uninterpreted observation. Which then lead to
:> what grew into my "taam and taste" theory: that halakhah is about the
:> world as observed, not some attempt to ascertain objective reality.

: I just don't follow what you are saying at all. On the one hand,
: you say that Hazal are basing din on observation, and on the other you
: say that they knew that some lice have eggs, just that those eggs are
: somehow being excluded from the discussion, because they were too big,
: and that, disregarding the fact that everyone knew about the big lice
: eggs, the Gemara tries to understand the reference of the master to
: "beitzei kinim" as not being to the lice eggs that everyone knew about,
: but to a species that no one ever saw or heard of before or since. I'm
: sorry, but my head is spinning.

This paragraph actually says what I intended to, except adds that I
unfortunately caused your head to spin. I disregarded the bit about a
species named beitzei kinim, because I can't understand it no matter what
peshat I offer. The basic premise doesn't fit the evidence; well beyond
not knowing science or what was contemporary theory. It's as much science
as someone today knowing that hair grows from little holes in your skin
(which we call follicles).

I agree that the sugya is difficult. I don't' agree that you can
interpret it without parsing the words. You also have a huge problem in
explaining how the halakhah pesuqa among all posqim came to give a blanket
heter on killing lice based on the prinicple kinah einah para v'rava.
But at least now I follow (I think) what you are saying.

> Ein lah piryah verivyah could only apply to animals that reproduce
> through microscopic eggs (or by budding or biogenetically, perhaps).
> Eggs they didn't know about for some amazing reason didn't cross my
> mind.

until I got to this. Sorry, but you've left me in the dust (figuratively
speaking) once again.

David Glasner

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Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2006 12:12:36 -0600
From: "Kohn, Shalom" <skohn@Sidley.com>
Shechita and pain

R. Zev Sero wrote:
> In any case, the complaint seems to be about things that happen *after*
> the shechitah, when the animal is halachically dead, and scientifically
> unable to feel pain.

Do you have proof that no paid is felt after shechita? My FIL, a shochet,
asserts that inasmuch as shechita typically cuts the varidim (carotid
artery and jugular vein), the brain is deprived of blood and does not
experience pain. (Of course, that is not a requirement of shechita,
but is in hilchot basar b'chalav in connection with livestock which is
not cut into pieces before salting.) In any case, it is not clear to
me that this blood loss is immediate; nor that a brain without blood
does not experience pain.

My FIL also says, which does ring true, that the shechita knives are
so sharp that the incision is not really noticed, and as an example, he
cites the times he cut himself (or someone cuts himself with a razor, that
the cut itself is not noticed). Thus, at least the initial trauma and
pain would seem to be less than if the animal is stunned (the nonkosher
alternative) by either shooting a bolt into its brain or driving in an
electrical probe.

I do think we are on a slippery slope if we try to defend shechita as
humane, because the pressure to ban shechita will increase if "scientists"
decide otherwise. The defense for shechita is the religious obligation to
do so (per halacha). [I know that now this post technically has reached
the forbidden territory of talking about "halacha and science," but hope
it still gets past our moderators. <grin>]

Shalom L. Kohn 	

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Date: Sat, 18 Mar 2006 21:55:34 +0200
From: Moshe Feldman <moshe.feldman@gmail.com>
RE: lifneihem v bifneihem

This issue is discussed at length at
<http://www.biu.ac.il/JH/Parasha/purim/pper.pdf> which states that
R. Yaakov Sapir in 1857 sent some 550 girsa questions to Syria to verify
the text of the Tanach according to the Keter Aram Zova (part of which,
including Megillat Esther, was damaged subsequently in riots in 5708).
He found out that the correct girsa is lifneihem.

The article (seemingly citing R. Mordechai Brueur) claims that there
is no difference in meaning between these words, and therefore one is
yotzai no matter which of the variants is read.

Kol tuv,

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Date: Sat, 18 Mar 2006 20:19:55 +0200
From: "Eli Turkel" <eliturkel@gmail.com>
bird flu

On Israeli TV the spokesman mentioned that the Israeli health laboratories
worked all day on identifications of the bird flu.
Is this included with the heter of pikuach nefesh on shabbat?

Eli Turkel

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Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2006 11:58:04 +0200
From: "Eli Turkel" <eliturkel@gmail.com>
dairy coke

RYBS is quoted as prohibiting dairy cake except for cheese cake which
is obviously milchig. However, this is a minority opinion. Most poskim
distinguish between bread which is eaten together with other items and
cake which is usually not.

Eli Turkel

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Date: Sun, 19 Mar 2006 01:58:28 +1100
From: "SBA" <sba@sba2.com>
Musafim Kehilchasam

From: Gershon Dubin <>
> Has anyone ever heard why, "kehilchasam"? What's the hava amina?

Good question.
The Dover Sholom in the SIddur Otzar Hatefilos brings a pshat from the
Yaaros Dvash. [Not that I understand it.]

BTW, you could also ask about 'Korban Mussaf Shabbos >>KORO'UI<<.

See same siddur Peirush Etz Chaim and Iyun Tefila [beshem Tosfos] from
the Midrash Shochar Tov.


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Date: Sun, 19 Mar 2006 02:04:58 +1100
From: "SBA" <sba@sba2.com>
AgriProcessors in the News - Kashrus question

Response from Reb Seth Mandel -
Rabbinic Coordinator for OU Shechita
[Not to mention former Avodah regular and Areivim moderator.... -mi]

From: Yitzchok Levine <>
> This week there are many articles in the news about the USDA and inhumane
> kosher slaughter.
> According to one source associated with the slaughterhouse involved,
> "The kosher status of the meat never has been in question."

> Is this really halachically true? Does the inhumane treatment of animals
> during the slaughtering process have no affect the kashrus of the meat?

 ----- Original Message ----- 
From: Seth Mandel

Please post in my name.

There are many inaccuracies and misunderstandings in all three of these
articles. PETA is not interested in finding solutions to increase the
humaneness of kosher slaughter; they are out to sensationalize what they
can to further their animal rights agenda. They can perpetrate their
charges because most people are complete amaratzim about animal biology.
Just one example of a misunderstanding: if a person cuts off a chicken's
head with a single cut from a sharp instrument, it is surely humane.
Yet the headless chicken will continue to run around for a minute or two.
Is it suffering? How can it if their is no brain function and the head
is not attached to the body? PETA does not have to address such issues,
since people in cities understand so little.

As for R. Levine's point: kosher to eat and the prohibition of tza'ar
ba'alei chayim are separate mitzvos. One is not allowed to violate one
mitzva to perform another, but if one does, it does not invalidate the
outcome of the other mitzva. The machloqes about mitzva haba'a ba'averah
is not about whether the outcome of the first mitzva is posul.

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Date: Mon, 13 Mar 2006 15:18:30 -0600
From: "cbk" <fallingstar613@hotmail.com>
Kabbala goes to yeshiva

[Thread bounced over from Areivim. -mi]

> If a yungerman wants a little teaser then fine,but full time study
> should be left to older big TC's

This is a very narrow view of Toras Nistar, one found only in the Litvish
yeshiva world. Yes, the Shach was more strict on this matter but the
simple fact of the matter is that Kabbalah is being taught to Bnei
Torah by rebbeim that no longer adhere to the earlier strictures. In
the Sephardi world especially, rabbonim aren't so makpid on these things
and never were. Even some Litvish rabbonim have loosened the reigns on
these topics. (R. Moshe Shapiro has made comments to this effect.)

interesting side point:
R. Chaim Vital writes in Shaar HaGilgulim that he is a gilgul of the
Magid Mishneh, who in his life was not machshiv Toras Nistar and therefore
came back as R. Chaim Vital to focus on it.
R. Yehudah Fatayah (talmid of Ben Ish Chai and author of Minchas Yehuda
on Aitz Chaim) says the same about himself being a gilgul of the Nodah
B'Yehudah who also was not interested in Toras Nistar.

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Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2006 11:28:51 -0500
From: Yitzchok Levine <llevine@stevens.edu>
Kabbala goes to yeshiva

At 11:00 AM 03/14/2006, [RCBK] wrote:
>interesting side point:
>R. Chaim Vital writes in Shaar HaGilgulim that he is a gilgul of the
>Magid Mishneh, who in his life was not machshiv Toras Nistar and therefore
>came back as R. Chaim Vital to focus on it.
>R. Yehudah Fatayah (talmid of Ben Ish Chai and author of Minchas
>Yehuda on Aitz Chaim) says the same about himself being a gilgul of the
>Nodah B'Yehudah who also was not interested in Toras Nistar.

How are we supposed to "square" what you have written above with the

R. Saadia Goan (882-942) in his Beliefs and Opinions (Emunos VeDeyos)

"Yet I must say that I have found certain people, who call themselves
Jews, professing the doctrine of metempsychosis, which is designated
by them as the theory of the "transmigration" of souls. What they
mean thereby is that the spirit of Reuben is transferred to Shimon and
afterwards to Levi and after that to Judah. Many of them would even go
so far as to assert that the spirit of a human being might enter into
the body of a beast or that of a beast into the body of a human being,
and other such nonsense and stupidities." (Treatise VI , Chapter VIII)

Others who followed R. Saadia Goan and did not subscribe to the doctrine
of gilgul are R.Chisdai Crecas ( c.1310-c.1415) and R. Joseph Albo

In the March 21, 2003 issue of the Jewish Press Rabbi M. M. Weiss wrote
that "Rabbi Avigdor Miller would not talk about it (reincarnation),
since it is not mentioned even once in the entire Talmud Bavli."

Yitzchok Levine 

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