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Volume 17 : Number 070

Thursday, June 15 2006

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Tue, 13 Jun 2006 12:23:54 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Nevu'ah in Hebrew?

On Thu, Jun 08, 2006 at 06:56:05PM -0400, T613K@aol.com wrote:
: Since Moshe Rabbeinu was nursed by his own mother I presume that his first
: language was Hebrew...

But he was not, AFAIK, raised by his birthmother. Which is why we do not
speak of "Yequsi'el Rabbeinu", but rather use the name Bisyah gave him.

Tangent: It would seem to be a rule in the Torah, connecting naming with
raising. Such as the shefachos bearing sons /for/ Rachel and Lei'ah, and
it's Rachel and Lei'ah who name them. Binyamin has the name his father
gave him rather than Rachel's "Ben-oni", and Rachel didn't survive to
raise him. Back to the subject...

:                                             ... but I think it far more
: likely that a nevuah is "heard" as your own voice, the same voice with
: which you express thoughts in your head. The case of Shmuel mistaking
: Hashem's voice for Eli's voice is different from Moshe's case anyway,
: because Shmuel was asleep and also he was a child when he heard the
: voice calling him.

I don't know about most people, but in my personal experience, the stream
of thought is voiceless. Only time it has "my voice" is when I think
about it, and the paradox of words-as-they-are-heard existing without
being in anyone's voice is forced to resolution. They aren't actually
heard, after all, so they needn't be something that physically exists.

Similarly, dreams aren't really in black and white, rather they exist
without color unless color is relevent to the dream. The part of the
mind that processes image simply doesn't give the dream object all the
attributes of images.

: Assuming that he continues to speak the language and to hear it at least
: occasionally, he should be able to speak it fluently and without an accent --
: even though his vocabulary in that language may be extremely limited,
: if he switched at age three to some other language.

My point is which language divides his world into categories. (Look up
Sapir-Worf hypothesis.) One of my favorite examples is the interminable
debate about whether Judaism is a nationality or a religion. On the
one hand, a born Jew need not believe in Judaism, OTOH, a believer
can convert.

To my mind, the flaw is that we're limiting our discourse to which
concepts have well-labeled pigeon holes in English. But why need
the Jewish thoughtspace be limited to dividing the world into those
categories, and not more, or not divided in different places?

To get back to nevu'ah... Can nevu'ah be accomplished by someone
who doesn't think in the right language? Or is having one's thoughts
impressed into the wrong set of pigeon-holes an irreversable pegam? And,
given that human answers tend to be about how much rather than absolutes,
let's make that: How much harder is nevu'ah to accomplish for someone
who thinks in another language? And which language? Maybe early Aramaic
is close enough not to be much of a hinderance, but Greek or English
would be an inusrmountable hurdle...

"Veromamtanu mikol halshonos..."

On Sun, Jun 11, 2006 at 12:19:16PM -0400, Zvi Lampel wrote:
: Here's another way. You are evidently reading Yesodei HaTorah 7:3  ...
: I would translate it, "Those things made known to a navi in the visual
: portion of a prophecy are [really only concepts] transmitted through
: metaphoric imagary." The Rambam's point being that when the navi "sees
: Hashem" as a warrior, or "sees" angels ascending and descending a ladder,
: he is not seeing reality, but a representative model of it....

As I think we established in the "Kavod Nivra" discussion, the Rambam
understands nevu'ah to be a perception of the heavenly reality, as
the navi's soul will clothe in metaphor as part of the perception
process. This reality to what's being seen (not total, but more than
"model") is why he makes Yechezqeil's and the 70 zeqeinim's "'Man'
on the throne" was the kavod nivra.

In contrast to the Ramban's explanation, that nevu'ah is a message that
G-d relays. Which is why the Ramban has no need to posit that anything
had to be created for the nevu'ah -- they saw a message in which G-d was
a protagonist. The inability to see Hashem is taken care of because it's
all "just" a message.

: navi is not on the level of Moshe Rabbeynu, he needs this "visual aid" to
: gain a grasp of the concept. The Rambam continues to tell us that Hashem
: always immediately instills into the navi's mind the correct intepretation
: of this image. (And he then tells us that the navi, if so instructed,
: communicates either the image, or the message, or both, to the people.)

To continue from the above, but not posted in the past AFAIR: According
to the Rambam, why is the nevu'ah clothed in metaphor? Because the navi
is used to the world of the chushim, it's all his mind can handle.
When he experiences anything else, he forces it preconsciously into
known experience. MRAH was able to visit the world in question for 40
day stretches. His mind therefore didn't clothe the truth.

Which is the problem with the following:
: FWIW, the Sefer Ikkarim, which generally follows the Rambam's ideas,
: clearly understands the concept this way (III:9). To take but one passage,
: he writes,
: "...although G-d is a nivdal and it is impossible to comprehend Him,
: He nevertheless appears to the prophet in a given form, which the
: prophet sees speaking to him, although in reality there is no such form
: in existence, the voice alone which the prophet hears being the real
: purpose of the vision, and nothing else."

While the Ikkarim is a philosopher, he has a Ramban-esque understanding
of nevu'ah.

: Between the words, "vehasir hanafu'ach... vekhen she'ar hanevi'im," the
: Rambam in Yesodei HaTorah (actually 7:3) gives as another example the
: "makale shakeyd" the almond tree staff that Yirmiyahu saw (Yirmiyahu
: 1:11 ff.)....
: This indicates that at least one part of one nevuah of one navi was
: communicated in Hebrew.

I was pushed to spend much time on this nevu'ah by R' David Willig, who
wanted me to understand what he taught me to lein for my bar mitzvah. And
I wish I understood it. But your explanation of how Hashem mixed verbal
explanation and metaphoric image doesn't seem to match the Yad.

7:2 tell us that "vekhulan keshemisnav'in... vetisha'eir hadei'ah penuyah
lehavin mar shetir'eh..." All of them, when they prophecy, see things.
Then we get to 7:3, and we see "hadevar'im shemodi'in lenavi bemar'eh
hanevu'ah" -- the mar'eh we were just told was the medium of all nevu'ah --
"derekh mashal modi'in lo".

Also, if the Yad meant that some nevu'os weren't derekh mashal, why
would 7:3 conclude by explaining that "veyeish meihen omerin hapisron
bilvad" -- that when we see text that doesn't mention the mashal, still
"vekhulam bemashal vederekh chidah heim misnabe'im"?

I would think that the Rambam understood Yirmiyahu's experience to be that
of seeing a mashal he couldn't comprehend, and then lead to the meaning
of that mashal via simpler meshalim that he recorded in terms of their
pisronos. And yes, knowing the pisron requires a Hebrew play on words,
but that doesn't mean anyone said the words to Yirmiyahu.

IOW, the insistence in the Yad that even when there is no mention of
a metaphoric vision there still was one both voids RZL's ra'ayah, and
seems to be at odds with the Moreh. (Just to repeat my earlier question,
but with more development.)

And, to get back to the original question... You see that the Rambam
divorces the text describing the nevu'ah from the content of the nevu'ah.


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

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Date: Tue, 13 Jun 2006 13:09:11 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: geirut

On Fri, Jun 09, 2006 at 02:55:45PM +0000, kennethgmiller@juno.com wrote:
: If Orpah and Ruth converted *after* their husbands died, then I don't
: understand why Ruth and Boaz would be considered as relatives. And if
: they converted *before*, then I don't understand why Naomi would urge
: them to remain behind.

As already posted in response to RAM's question, it's a machloqes,
where the rabim seem to conclude that the geirus was later. Not that
"halakhah kerabim" applies when we're speaking of aggadita.

I have a problem with the notion that she converted before picking up the
leqet in the field. I can not picture Rus calling herself a "nakhriah"
(2:10) after converting. And Boaz's defense isn't "but you're one of us
now", rather "It was told to me all you did for chamoseikh..."

: I've heard that the above might be resolved by saying that they converted
: before marrying, but that it was a conditional conversion, pending an
: evaluation of some sort, kind of like RAA's question above....

And then how does one prove qabalas ol mitzvos from her later declaration
of "ameikh ami..."? With the exception of geir qatan (a case of she'i
efshar otherwise), qabalah must be the first step.

And little can be brought from the question of yibum, since neither Peloni
nor Boaz were Machlon's brother. Once you're talking about moral yibum
rather than halachically mandatory yibum, why would the moral demand
necessarily require the marriage be valid? The whole subject is lifnim
mishuras hadin. Perhaps it's that the person getting the niftar's nachalah
ought to respect the man's pledges, which would include supporting this
woman and giving her a life and home -- particularly once the means to
do so it mutar.


Micha Berger             Nearly all men can stand adversity,
micha@aishdas.org        but if you want to test a man's character,
http://www.aishdas.org   give him power.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                      -Abraham Lincoln

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Date: Tue, 13 Jun 2006 16:06:47 -0400
From: Jacob Farkas <jfarkas@compufar.com>
Re: Questions in Eruvin

R' Zev Sero wrote:
> That's exactly my point. You do note a problem with having the lechi 
> behind a fence, even without a roof, because beisa keman demalya dami, 
> and then give the fact that there's no roof as a reason not to say that, 
> but you say there's still a problem because of gud asik. In the SAH's 
> case, there is a roof, so if keman demalya is really an issue then it 
> should be an issue here. And pi tikra is equivalent (isn't it?) to gud 
> asik, i.e. the same problem should apply -- if gud asik of the fence 
> cuts off the tzuh"p, then so should the pi tikra. And yet it seems that 
> even the Taz wouldn't have a problem with it, if not for the hefsek 
> between the lechi and the rope.

The roof in question is an overhang that extends past the wall, where
a stick is placed outside of the wall, with the intent of aligning a
string above the stick for Tzuras HaPessah.

The scenario that is problematic for Eruvin, is one where a portion of
the intended TZHP is in an area enclosed by a fence. The Posqim invalidate
such a TZHP(Mishnah B'rurah 363:26 sq 113, see footnote 90 of MB where he
quotes the Sha'arei T'Shuva who quotes Havvas Da'as in an essay titled
Tiqqun Eruvin [Published at the end of M'qor Hayyim - Lemberg edition]
as the source for this ruling. The HD cites two reasons to invalidate, 1)
That a Lehhi needs to be outside the fence or wall for Hekker, 2) Beisa
K'man D'malya nullifies the existence of the Lehhi for TZHP purposes.

R' Bechofer ( http://www.aishdas.org/baistefila/eruvp2a.htm ) mentions
the Avnei Nezer [OH 291] who refutes the (aforementioned) HD reasons for
invalidating this Eruv. Instead, the Avnei Nezer invalidates this Eruv
for another reason, because the walls of the house or fence surrounding
this Lehhi are Mafsiq the TZHP intended, and we can no longer consider
it as part of a TZHP. The fence's walls are considered a Mafsiq by virtue
of Gud Asiq.

When the Lehhi is underneath an overhang, there is no question about
the TZHP, provided that the string is underneath the overhang. Should
the string be attached above the roof (overhang) the MB rules (based on
the Taz and Eliyah Rabbah) that there is no TZHP as the roof is a hefseq
[Mishnah B'rurah 363:26 sq 112] between the Lehhi and the string.

AIUI, the question assumes that the overhang of the roof should create
a virtual wall from the end of the overhang to its parallel point on
the ground, and this could accomplish 1) enclosing the Lehhi within
the structure of the house and thus potentially apply the rule of Beisa
K'man d'malya, or 2) achieve a Hefseq as in the Avnei Nezer's reasoning
for invalidating a Lehhi in a fenced in area. Either possibility would
only be valid if a) we apply Pi Tiqrah Yored V'Sosem to the end of the
roof/overhang, and b) we assume that Pi Tiqrah operates like Gud Asiq
and creates a virtual wall.

There are Rishonim who dispute "b" and consider Pi Tiqrah to create a
Pessah rather than a wall, and would work where a Pessah or TZHP is needed
[Tosfos Eruvin 94a-b sv Bishtei Ruhos Nami towards the end, "..D'tama
d'pi tiqrah mishum d'dami l'pessah..."]. See Igros Moshe [OH 1:138]
where RMF refutes R' Michael Ber Weissmandel's position considering
the (once-existing) Third Avenue El as a wall for Eruvin purposes,
thus enclosing the Lower East Side. RMBW argued that the El should be
considered a wall because of Pi Tiqrah, where RMF argued that Pi Tiqrah
does not create an actual *wall* and brings many Rishonim as proof.

Furthermore, Pi Tiqrah is not applied for roofs where the roof is on an
angle [OH 361:2] (an overwhelming majority of roofs that overhang would
probably fit in this category --jf). Though the Taz does argue and state
that it could apply on a slanted roof, he does require that there be 4
Tephakhim of level roof at the end of the overhang. Otherwise Pi Tiqrah
does not apply, even according to the Taz.

Jacob Farkas

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Date: Tue, 13 Jun 2006 16:52:43 -0400
From: "David Riceman" <driceman@worldnet.att.net>
Re: Tzimtzum KePeshuto

From: "David Riceman" <driceman@worldnet.att.net>
> See MN 1:&1 

I meant MN I:71.  Sorry for the confusion.

David Riceman

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Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2006 15:53:01 +1000
From: "SBA" <sba@sba2.com>
chosen by some bochur hazetzer

From: Zev Sero <>
> Personally, what makes sense to me is to stop where the cohen stops
> on Mon/Thu/Mincha, and pick up again at maftir. Those breaks sometimes
> make little sense too, and I've heard it suggested that they were also
> chosen by some bochur hazetzer, but at least they're widely accepted
> for better or worse.

See Darkei Chayim Vesholom [Munkatch] p 71, siman 222, where he writes
that the stops marked in our chumoshim (and siddurim) 'ein lo mekor
beposkim kelal' and that they were compiled by a melamed - and are full
of errors.


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Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2006 06:06:34 -0400
From: Moshe Shulman <mshulman@ix.netcom.com>
Re: Tzimtzum KePeshuto

>> I have read much of this discussion from Chabad sources on tzimtzum
>> k'peshito and I think it is really more confusing of the issues then
>> clarifying. After all the Ari discusses tzimtzum in a two dimensional
>> world (BTW the RMK in Pardes has it as three dimensional.)... The main
>> issue is to understand that HaShem is beyond any physicality, and that
>> his Hashgochah permeates this physical world.

>Isn't that the Kipeshuto position, though, that God does not permeate
>the physical world, only His Hashgocho does?

Not necessarily. The view in Ziditchov is very much like the K'peshito,
but like all chassidim they believe in 'permeation'. The permeation idea
comes to us through the Kabbalah of R Yisroel Sireg.

>I saw that in the Etz Chaim it was two-dimensional. What occurred to me
>today, is that perhaps this analogizes to Hashem existing in different
>dimensions from us - so we cannot perceive His presence. but He is
>still here, perhaps at 90 degrees to our four dimensions.

I like to think of pre-Tzimtzum as the 0 dimensional existence of G-d.

From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
>Regarding the Shomer Emunim - If you look in the introduction, the
>publisher noted that the Mishnas Chasidim wrote a haskama to the Shomer
>Emunim - but criticized the Shomer Emunim for rejecting the view of
>tzimtzum kepeshuto. The Mishnas Chasidim was not and is not considered
>a kofer.

He does not criticize it in his haskomah. The point you mention is 
stated in the intro by the person who put out the sefer, and appears 
to me to be much weaker.

>The issue of the nature of tzimtzum as well as the status of the Arizal
>and his writings were and are issues of contention between the Misnagdim
>and Chassidim. If you speak to a follower of the Leshem you will get a
>different understanding than those who follow the Ramchal. If you ask
>a sefardic mekubal you will get a different understanding than asking
>a chassidic expert.

What do you mean by 'the status of the Ari'? I was under the 
impression that no one challenges the fact that Kabbalah today is all 
based on the Ari just as Judaism is based on the talmud.

Moshe Shulman   outreach@judaismsanswer.com 718-436-7705
Judaism's Answer:  http://www.judaismsanswer.com/

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Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2006 17:23:10 GMT
From: "Gershon Dubin" <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
Fw: Temimus

Redirected from Mesorah on Micha's suggestion:

Anyone have an idea why Shevuos is the only one where the keves in the
korban musaf is not specified as being tamim?


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Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2006 15:06:42 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Shevet's Nusach Hatfila

On Mon, Jun 12, 2006 at 08:15:23AM -0400, Rich, Joel wrote:
:                      Does anyone know of the source that each shevet
: had its own nusach hatfila? Does anyone know of any discussions of the
: interaction between the sanhedrin of the shivatim and the sanhedrin in
: Yerushalayim (what cases went where? Was there an "appeals" process? Did
: talmidim move between them? Judges?

And, while exploring RJR's questions, would anyone like to comment on
my blog entry at <http://www.aishdas.org/asp/2006/04/what-is-judaism.shtml>.
One paragraph, as a teaser:
> Yissachar was well known for their Torah study; despite living in the
> more idolatrous northern kingdom. I sometimes wonder what Isaacarism
> would have been like, as opposed to Judaism. Yehudah was more open to
> contemporary society. That's how they merited to rule -- they were known
> for he ability to admit wrongdoing (such as the story of Judah and Tamar,
> or David and Bethsheba), were spiritually committed, and were in touch
> with the facts on the ground. Yisachar were more isolected.... Would
> Isaacarism necessarily be ascetic, a religion of hermits and nezirim,
> with many gezeiros fencing in our physical desires from any taint of
> prohibition? Or is that too much speculation on too little data?

As for Nusachos, see AhS OCh 68:3. He cites the MA (sham) who in turn
cites the Ari (which Google tells me is at Ma'avar Yabok, Sifsei Tzedeq,
31) that there is a gate for each sheivet, and a 13th gate for people
who don't know or don't have a sheivet. Therefore, one should not change
their family nusach.

Chabad adds that the Ari captured this 13th nusach, that the Baal
haTanya correctly reproduced it, and therefore their "Nusach Ari"
(a title which can just as fairly be given to any chassidish "Nusach
Sfard") is the safest choice of nusach, usable by all. I do not know
enough Chabad Torah to give a primary source for this.

However, the AhS seems to pointedly use the same source to reject changing
one's Nusach to the Ari's minhagim. (And the same argument would apply
to the Gra's or Brisker modifications.)


Micha Berger             It isn't what you have, or who you are, or where
micha@aishdas.org        you are,  or what you are doing,  that makes you
http://www.aishdas.org   happy or unhappy. It's what you think about.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                        - Dale Carnegie

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Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2006 16:25:09 EDT
From: Yzkd@aol.com
Re: Fw: Temimus

In a message dated 6/14/2006 3:14:21pm EDT,  gershon.dubin@juno.com writes:
> Redirected from Mesorah on Micha's suggestion:
Sender: owner-avodah@aishdas.org
Precedence: bulk
Reply-To: avodah@aishdas.org
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8
List-Id: "Avodah Torah Discussion Group" <avodah.single.aishdas.org>

Now I saw it in both places :-)

> Anyone have an idea why Shevuos is the only one where the keves in the
> korban musaf is not specified as being tamim?

According to the Abarbnel the words Tmimim Yihyu Lochem that follows
(Bamidbar 28:31) is Mashlim it (in Tfila we are just saying Loshon
Haposuk and as short as needed).
Kol Tuv,
Yitzchok Zirkind

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Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2006 20:34:27 GMT
From: "Gershon Dubin" <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
Re: Fw: Temimus

> According to the Abarbnel the words Tmimim Yihyu Lochem that follows
> (Bamidbar 28:31) is Mashlim it (in Tfila we are just saying Loshon
> Haposuk and as short as needed).

Thank you.  Now, why is it different for Shavuos <g>?

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Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2006 23:28:30 +0200
From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
Re: Shevet's Nusach Hatfila

Micha Berger wrote:
> As for Nusachos, see AhS OCh 68:3. He cites the MA (sham) who in turn
> cites the Ari (which Google tells me is at Ma'avar Yabok, Sifsei Tzedeq,
> 31) that there is a gate for each sheivet, and a 13th gate for people
> who don't know or don't have a sheivet. Therefore, one should not change
> their family nusach.
See also Igros Moshe OH II #24 page 196 and Chasam Sofer OH #16

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Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2006 17:17:07 EDT
From: Yzkd@aol.com
Re: Fw: Temimus

In a message dated 6/14/2006 5:13:53pm EDT,  gershon.dubin@juno.com writes:
> Thank  you.  Now, why is it different for Shavuos  <g>?

You want everything? :-) actually Rashi Al Asar says that it says
to teach us that also the Nesachim should be Tmimim, so you will ask
so why by Shvuos (Granted it need say only in one place but why here)
the answer LAN"D is Poshut, Shvuos which is a combination of "7" weeks
"Tmimos" is (outstanding and) different, hence we save the Limud that
even the Nesachim have to be Tmimos for Shavuos.

Kol  Tuv,
Yitzchok Zirkind

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Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2006 23:14:57 -0400
From: "S & R Coffer" <rivkyc@sympatico.ca>
RE: Ikrei haEmunah (was Tzimtzum KePeshuto)

On June 13, 2006, David Riceman wrote: 
> See MN 1:71 "Therefore, you will always find in my halachic works that
> when I mention the principles of religion and speak about proving the
> existence of God I write in a manner that can be harmonized with belief
> in the eternity of the world ("notim l'tzad hakadmut") - not that
> I believe that the world is eternal, but that I want to prove God's
> existence in an irrefutable way."

> RSC's diyyuk was intended by the Rambam, not to describe his own opinions,
> but to simplify his proof of God's existence.

I don't see the relevance of the above quotation to our discussion. All
the Rambam is saying is that whenever he discusses elements of the
foundations of our religion, such as the existence of God, His oneness,
His eternity, His lack of corporeality, His static nature, His not having
a cause which preceded Him etc., all of these elements are presented in
such a way that they can coincide with kadmus. This has nothing to do with
discussing the various qualities about Hashem in a differentiated form
which the Rambam would have done anyway even had he decided to dispense
with his nitiyah li'kadmus. There is simply no other way to discuss the
nature of Hashem in human terms. And the bottom line is, the Rambam holds
l'halachah that these elements are Yesodos haEmunah. How can one say that
they are not really his opinions? He claims that people who don't believe
in his stated Yesodos lose their chelek l'olam habba. That's pretty
harsh for something that wasn't even really his belief, don't you think?

>> He brings no
>> pesukim to back his conclusions there and claims that this idea of
>> simplicity is impossible to comprehend and almost impossible even to
>> express. OTOH, when it comes to independence, he makes no such claim and in
>> fact, 1:2-3 makes it clear that the Rambam felt that the doctrine of
>> independence is clearly understandable.

> This is false. See MN 1:56-57 that both are incomprehensible. On the
> other hand RSC's definition of incomprehensible is not the Rambam's.

I'm not sure what you believe my definition of incomprehensible is or
how it differs from the Rambam's but one thing is for sure; not only
did the Rambam comprehend the doctrine of necessary existence, he felt
it was philosophically provable without a shadow of doubt "except to
one who does not properly comprehend the pathways of polemics" (Kapach
ed. page 168 top two lines).

>                                                    See,
> for example, MN II:1: "There cannot be two necessary existents, since,
> if there were, necessary existence would be an accident appertaining to
> their essences, and neither would be essentially a necessary existent,
> but would be necessary due to this other thing ....

RDR starts the quote in the middle of the sentence skipping three
important words: "v'chein yuchahc b'kalus" - and similarly [to all
of the elements discussed regarding Hashem like his lack of a guf,
his simple nature etc], it can easily be proven that there cannot be
two necessary existents etc. How can something incomprehensible be
proven? And easily too.

>                                     It indicates that
> the Rambam rejects RSC's radical interpretation of what it means for
> a doctrine to be incomprehensible.

I think RDR needs to dilate upon his postulations a bit more; they seem
'incomprehensible' to me :-)

>                             Also see MN I:50, where the Rambam
> makes fun of Christians for affirming the doctrine of the trinity while
> admitting they don't understand it.

I have three questions for you. 
1) Do you affirm the doctrine of the absolute simplicity of Hashem as
delineated by the Rambam in perek Beis of Hilchos Yesodey haTorah?
2) Do you believe that this doctrine is incomprehensible?
3) If you answered yes to both questions above, what makes you any
better than the Christians? In fact, what makes the Rambam, who admits
that not only is the doctrine of simplicity *impossible* to understand
it is almost impossible to even express, any better than the Christians?

The teretz is as follows. In the preface to the second chelek of
the Moreh, the Rambam has twenty five philosophical hakdamos which
he refers to subsequently in chelek Beis and draws upon them to prove
what he considers the Yesodei haTorah. The Rambam related to all of the
Yesodey haTorah in a very concrete and philosophically tenable way and
drew heavily upon Aristotle in this vein. For instance, the Rambam has,
IIRC, ten proofs that Hashem cannot possess a guf. As a ramification of
this conclusion, the Rambam felt that the Achdus haBoreh and the lack
of differentiated ti'arim was incontrovertible. He makes fun of the
Christians because what they are saying doesn't make sense, not because
they don't understand it.

OTOH, there is nothing wrong with you, or the Rambam affirming a doctrine
that is incomprehensible as long as it does not fly in the face of common
sense. Personally, I believe that the Rambam does not count this doctrine
as part of the ikkrei haEmunah precisely because it is incomprehensible
and thus unprovable. That's why he didn't bring a pasuk to support his
contention regarding "He is the Knower etc." He believes this doctrine
probably because he received it b'kabbala. I might be wrong about this
but I'll wait to see if anyone can disprove my hypothesis.

>> Once again RDR seems to be ignoring an offena Rambam. The Rambam states
>> explicitly that lack of shinui is taluy primarily in lack of a guf 1:11.

> You've misread this. I'll translate: "Now that it's clear that He has
> no body, it's clear that no accidents appertaining to body can occur to
> Him. Neither attachment nor seperation, nor location nor measure, nor
> ascent nor descent, nor right nor left, nor fron nor back, nor sitting
> nor standing. [here is where the qualification of having a body ends]
> And He is not existent in time so that he lacks a beginning and an end
> and an age, and He doesn't change, since nothing can cause Him to change."

Your reading is mystifying. The entire 1:11-12 is about Hashem's lack
of physicality and the conclusion that references to physicality in
the Torah are merely anthropomorphic. The next sentence after the one
you quote is "and He has no death and no life like the life of a body
etc. Are you imagining that the Rambam chose 1:11-12 to discuss this
most fundamental of ikkarim and then threw something unrelated into
the middle of halacha 11? The qualification of not having a body ends
at the end of 1:12, not before. What the Rambam means to say regarding
shinuy is since 1) Hashem has no guf, it is thus clear that 2) no physical
occurrences (not accidents as RDR translates) relate to Him and thus 3)
there is nothing to make Him change so 4) He does not change.

>> OTOH, Tzimtzum as a process of he'elem is far more profound because it
>> applies to *all* of Havaya, even the kutzo shel yud.

> I think this is the center of our disagreement. Tzimtzum is the
> ground for permitting differentiated existence (according to the tzad
> tzimtzum kipshuto as I explained it). RSC seems to claim that it has
> an instantiation at each level of existence (a la Rabbi Bloch in the
> essay "Darkah shel Torah" in the introduction to the first volume of
> his father's Shiurei Daas). I would like to see a source for that, but
> I'm skeptical, if only because tzimtzum is never mentioned explicitly
> in the Zohar.

The primary source is Kisvey Arizal and he just doesn't present it the way
RDR does. He says that before the process of Tzimtzum, all of existence
comprised the Or Elyon haPashut and when it was oleh b'machshavah to
create existence, Hashem employed Tzimtzum and created a chalal for *all*
of existence as we know it, from the highest to the lowest worlds. I
don't see how RDR's interpretation can fit into the Arizal's description
of Tzimtzum. As far as looking for an earlier source, since the Arizal
was the first documented marah d'shmatsah, he is the source.

Simcha Coffer

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