Avodah Mailing List

Volume 17 : Number 093

Friday, July 21 2006

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2006 23:51:39 -0400
From: "Shmuel Weidberg" <ezrawax@gmail.com>
Tissues as sefarim marks

I have a sheila about whether you are allowed to use a tissue as a
bookmark for a sefer. More particularly: Are you allowed to use it for
its usual purpose after you are done, or does it get a din of tashmishei


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Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2006 14:02:57 GMT
From: "Gershon Dubin" <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
Re: Tissues as sefarim marks

"Shmuel Weidberg" <ezrawax@gmail.com> wrote:
> I have a sheila about whether you are allowed to use a tissue as a
> bookmark for a sefer. More particularly: Are you allowed to use it for
> its usual purpose after you are done, or does it get a din of tashmishei
> kedusha?

Tashmishei mitzva more likely, unless you hold that printed sefarim are
etzem kedusha.  If they're TM, you can do what you want with them
except derech bizayon (I'll leave that to your imagination).


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Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2006 13:02:01 +0100
From: joshua.kay@addleshawgoddard.com
RE: Israeli News on NY Erev Shabbos

[R Moshe Yehudah Gluck:]
> There is a (IIRC) Brisker Rav Al Hatorah that makes this distinction, and
> says that he will not be patur. Because of this, some people are careful
> not to use a non-frum taxi driver to go to the hospital on Shabbos.

It's a Beis HaLevi al HaTorah.  Perhaps the Gri"z repeated it.

Kol tuv
Dov Kay

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Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2006 14:05:41 GMT
From: "kennethgmiller@juno.com" <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
Re: Israeli News on NY Erev Shabbos

R' Micha Berger asked:
> Is using the microphone or telephone on Shabbos a case of bishul?

According to Rav Moshe Heinemann (of the Star-K; in "Guide to Halachos"
by Nachman Schachter, published by Feldheim, pp 29-30):

    Activating any electrical device to generate either heat or light or
    increasing the setting on an electrical device to generate more heat
    or light is prohibited because of the Melacha D'oraisa of Ma'avir.
    Examples include intentionally 1) activating a heating pad, 2)
    activating a light, 3) increasing the setting on a dimmer switch
    and 4) increasing the setting on an electric blanket.

    However, activating a cevice that provides unnecessary heat or
    light, e.g. a phone with a lighted dial in an illuminated room,
    is prohibited as a Melachah D'rabbanan.

    Activating or increasing the setting on any electrical device whose
    purpose is other than generating light or heat, e.g. a fan, an air
    conditioner, a timer or an automatic door etc. is prohibited as a
    Melachah D'rabanan. However some electrical devices included in this
    section perform an additional Melachah, e.g. a grinder performs the
    Melachah D'oraisa of Tochein [grinding]. Therefore, asking a non-Jew
    to activate or increase the setting on such a device is prohibited.

The rest of that chapter provides many more details and clear examples. I
strongly recommend it to anyone who is dissatisfied with "one size fits
all" psakim like "Electricity is assur on Shabbos", which -- despite
being accurate -- is too superficial to allow the person to understand
how to deal with borderline cases.

According to this, it seems that Rav Heinemann holds that electricity
in these cases is NOT bishul. And even if it was bishul, it would only
be bishul d'rabanan, since the critical criterion is the function of
the device (audible communication in this case) and not the heating of
the wires.

On the other hand, we now see an important distinction: This thread
has been about an interview which appeared on *radio*. If it was
a *television* interview, then I'd imagine that it would meet Rav
Heinemann's criteria for D'oraisa, since it involves the lighting of video
monitors and such. Or perhaps that is only an incidental by- product,
needed only by the technicians who might adjust this control or that
one; perhaps the only critical intention involves getting a recording
of the reporter and interviewee, and placing that recording onto some
kind of digital or analog medium. If so, then although consumers would
be doing a D'oraisa when turning on or adjusting the tv to watch it, the
cameraman and most technicians are only doing D'rabanans when recording
and broadcasting it.

Akiva Miller

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Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2006 13:21:57 +0200
From: Arie Folger <afolger@aishdas.org>
RE: MB/Yeshiva Communities

R'n LL wrote:
> What about the interminable piyyutim during chazarat hashatz on Rosh
> Hashana and Yom Kippur? ? Are they prohibited?

Which just shows that despite public perception that the "piyutim are a
hefseq" opinion won out, it really didn't Piyutim are not considered a
hefsek in 'hazarat hashatz, except by a small minority, whose 'hazarat
hashatz on RH & YK would look radically different from anything we
know. R. 'Hayim Brisker is said to have had that in his minyan.

According to most everyone else, piyutim are inclusions, part and parcel
of 'hazarat hashatz.

OTOH, there does exist some disagreement regarding the yotzrot, ofanim,
zulot and geulot (I haven't seen any printed ahavot, although I can't
imagine no one wrote them. Perhaps this is an oversight of mine). For
the not-yet-initiated, those are the names of piyutim included in birkot
qeriat shma'.

Interestingly, I could easily see the siluqim being considered a hefseq in
'hazarat hashatz, but somehow *some* of the die hard anti-piyutim people
tend to say the siluq on Shabbat ahGadol.

Ve'atah banim, shiru laMelekh ... (it's not just a popular song, it's
an ofan),
Arie Folger

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Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2006 06:59:10 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Capital punishment

On Mon, Jul 17, 2006 at 07:30:09PM -0400, R ZevSero wrote:
: I'm not sure what you mean here. "Ziknei ha'ir hahi" means the BD,
: doesn't it? It seems that this strenghtens my point.

Does it? I thought it was more like tuvei ha'ir.

If it does, then yes, it would strengthen your tzad.

But the reason why you're not sure what you mean is that you confused
me with a debating opponent. That isn't my intent.

:> But if they're supposed to carry it out, why would they connive to
:> avoid it?  Rather, it looks like they had a moral imperative -- to
:> minimize capital punishment -- that they couldn't carry out any
:> other way.

: On the contrary, the moral imperative was to carry it out; the physical
: reality was that they couldn't, because the Romans didn't let them.
: The gemara's language (AZ 8b) is "since they saw that the murderers were
: increasing, and they were not able to judge them"....

That lashon would be the typical way of the gemara listing cause and
effect. It only reads otherwise because in English, we wouldn't use the
word "and" after a "since". But it's common in Shas.

And on Tue, Jul 18, 2006 at 07:19:27PM -0400, R ZevSero wrote:
: It does. It says "and they were not able to judge them". What do *you*
: think that means? That there simply weren't enough dayanim in all of
: EY to handle the enormous case load, nor any competent TC who could
: be appointed as dayanim? That's ridiculous....

I think your incredulity presupposes your conclusion.

If the gemara is saying that a BD whose bar for executing MBD is set too
low is a chavlanis, that once in 7 or in 70 years is too often (in normal
societies), then:
1- It takes a LOT of time per case, and
2- Yes, it would be a very rare skill, limited to acknowledged experts.

: Cf the New Testament, whose authors would surely have loved to have
: claimed that the Jews had actually murdered their god, were such a
: claim credible. It wasn't, because everyone at the time knew that the
: Jews did not have the power to execute anyone.

Your proof from the NT is a grass reed on which you're building a castle.

1- As you note, their description of the court case is absurd. (Meeting
outside the lishkah, at night, kulo chayav, etc...) Why assume truth of
any of it?

2- The dating is incredibly suspect. 4BCE is because different parts of
the myth presume different things about when it happened, and in order
for Herod to be alive at all during his birth, they can sort of stretch
things by making it Herod's last year. Who knows how long the historical
figure behind this story lived, if it isn't invented from whole cloth?
And if the Yeishu from whom the trial story grew is the talmid of Shim'on
ben Shetach?

3- The beis din hagadol got the name Sanhedrin because the Romans
acknowledged it as the local court. The term was given in pretty much
every colony. Given that they officially delegated it their judicial
responsibilities, why would they then hamper its activities?


Micha Berger             A cheerful disposition is an inestimable treasure.
micha@aishdas.org        It preserves health, promotes convalescence,
http://www.aishdas.org   and helps us cope with adversity.

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Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2006 07:05:41 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Distance from Y'm to Yericho

On Mon, Jul 17, 2006 at 10:27:10PM -0400, Zev Sero wrote:
: According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parasang, the Greek geographer
: Strabo wrote: "When I ascended the hills, the measures of these
: schoeni were not everywhere uniform, so that the same number sometimes
: designated a greater, sometimes a less actual extent of road, a variation
: which dates from the earliest time and exists in our days." (Strabo XV,
: I, II.) In other words, distances were estimated by travel time, and
: would therefore vary depending on the terrain. I can imagine that a 1 km
: climb or descent would be somewhat arduous, both for people and animals,
: and therefore the "parsaot" on such a journey would be shorter than they
: would be on flat ground.

As was brought to my attention learning techum Shabbos, the measured
length of a curvy road changes depending on the length of the rope used
to measure it. Bigger ropes measure secants instead of the details of
every curve.

And if the road goes up and down mountains, which approximate fractals,
a tiny rope could get amazingly long results.

Add to that the lack of precise standardization of units of
measure. Multiply a small differents by the length of a road, and it
could become significant.

I think that's enough to explain why the measurements were inconsistent.

In the case of a mil, it's the reverse. The unit of length determines
the unit of time. IMHO, it would be a stretch to say that "mil" means
a distance and the time it takes to cross it, while "parsah" means the
distance crossed in a certain amount of time.


Micha Berger             The mind is a wonderful organ
micha@aishdas.org        for justifying decisions
http://www.aishdas.org   the heart already reached.
Fax: (270) 514-1507      

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Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2006 07:29:12 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: historical contingency and brachos

On Tue, Jul 18, 2006 at 08:01:16AM +0200, Arie Folger wrote:
: ... as R'nLL summoned you, I shall too: please demonstrate why you
: are so confident that in serious matters (deOraita) there would be
: significant differences between the Shevatim. I don't deny that there
: were differences, which were greater than we would ordinarily fashion -
: after all, we are children of the current conservative uniformist system -
: however, I fail to see why there would be fundamental differences. Tell
: me, before entering and settling EY, did Moshe Rabbenu pasqen very
: differently for each of the shevatim, or was there a more uniform
: pessaq? If the latter, why would a significant, intended divergence
: appear later?

It's not a question of how Moshe Rabbeinu pasqened, but how Osniel
ben Kenaz reestablished. For all I know, he could have established 49
arguments for each tzad, that being the recreation of the lost Torah,
if not the ruling.

Also, I presume many many matters came up in EY that wouldn't have
been pasqened upon in the Midbar or Moav. By far, most of what Moshe
taught was not halakhah lemaaseh, and therefore was "eilu va'eilu" not
"vehalakha ke-"

But again, I was working with the given that the RSO created a nation
divided into geographically distinct shevatim, with different tendencies
in both genetic nature and environment, with different emotional
compositions and lifestyles (as described in Shofetim and in Chazal)
bedavka because He wanted them to be diversity.

Uniformity came with a community that had a single Anshei Keneses haGdolah
with no lower courts, with ever-growing bodies of precedent, with Roman
roads, which made more issues harder to keep diverse and still function
as different parts of a single body.

Take the level of machloqes at the end of the Sanhedrin, plot backward
through the tannaim, through Batei Hillel veShammai, add in these factors,
and I think the notion of very large halachic differences compared to
anything we're used to learning about was

But I also realized something else: My blog entry (which, after all,
will lack the defendability of a PhD thesis, despite this discussion)
wasn't written with a focus on pesaq. This discussion refocused the
topic, and I hadn't noticed.

Picture one of the rishonim from the Golden Era of Sepharad finding
himself amongst Chassidei Ashkenaz. "Self-flagellation as a means of
repentence??? What religion is this?"

I was extrapolating more from those kinds of differences backward.

Side note: 10 of the Shevatim were onesim by Malkhus Yisrael law from
going to aliyas haregel. Its role in being able to have a convention to
standardize practice between shevatim (assuming one believes they wanted
to) would have been limited.

On Tue, Jul 18, 2006 at 01:26:22PM +0000, kennethgmiller@juno.com wrote:
: My main point in this thread has been that bread's role has never 
: appeared to *me* as the ikar of the meal, but as an accompaniment to 
: the other foods. I am willing to accept that in other cultures, bread 
: was the ikar of the meal, and the meat was eaten to enhance the 
: bread, but to me such logic seems somewhat bizarre.

Just to help the mental picture seem less bizarre:

We're talking flat middle-eastern breads, and eating by scooping
up spreads (techinah and chumus) and finely chopped foods. Everything
becomes means of adding taste and nutrition to the bread.

I had that experience in a Teimani home. It is is also done in many Indian
(Hindi, not Native American) homes with their flat breads, if various co-
workers and former co workers are any indication. (As well as some treif
Indian restaurants I've nursed a beer in for business purposes. BTW,
in my experience, the local Kingfisher allegedly-Indian beer is a light
beige beer brewed in NY, and should be as kosher as any other such beer.)


Micha Berger             Spirituality is like a bird: if you tighten
micha@aishdas.org        your grip on it, it chokes; slacken your grip,
http://www.aishdas.org   and it flies away.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                            - Rav Yisrael Salanter

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Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2006 09:19:56 -0400
From: "Brown, Charles F" <charles.f.brown@gs.com>
RE: Gedola Melacha

> Is RSBY's statement in Berachos not a contradiction to his statement
> in Menachos 35b that one fulfills Lo Yamush Sefer HaTorah HaZeh MePicha
> by reading Keri'as Shema twice daily?

See R' Ahron Soloveitchik's discussion of the sugya in Perach Mateh
Ahron, also in the essay on Torah U'Mada in "Logic of the Heart, Logic
of the Mind". The simple answer is that there is no contradiction
between aspiring to the ideal of complete immersion in talmud torah and
recognizing the positive benefit of work for the overwhelming majority
who cannot reach those heights, but at least fulfill talmud torah on
some miminalist level. The question creates a false dichotomy.

 -Chaim B.

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Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2006 15:12:19 -0400
From: "Rich, Joel" <JRich@Segalco.com>
Yated Halacha Article

> Halacha Talk by Rabbi Yirmiyohu Kaganoff 
>Do the Clothes Make the Man? 
>Not if They are Washed During the Nine Days!
> The Mishna teaches that "Mishenichnas Av mema'atim b'simcha," "Once Av
> enters, we decrease Some commentaries point out that the public mourning
> follows the exact opposite procedure of private mourning. Whereas private
> mourning moves from the more intense mourning periods to less intense,
> the public mourning begins with the Three Weeks, then to the Nine Days,
> the week in which Tisha B'Av occurs, Erev Tisha B'Av, and finally the
> intense mourning of Tisha B'Av itself. By gradually increasing the
> intensity of the mourning, we should be able to reach the appropriate
> sense of loss on Tisha B'Av itself.

Does anyone know which commentaries make this point?

Joel Rich

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Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2006 20:03:29 -0400
From: "Moshe Yehuda Gluck" <mgluck@gmail.com>
Music during the Three Weeks

I heard that there are some Poskim who are of the opinion that when
playing a recording of a voice singing, the tape/CD/computer playing
it is the equivalent to a musical instrument, and therefore may not
be used, even though it would be permissible were one to be at a live
performance. Does anyone have any more information about this?


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Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2006 22:27:30 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: How do Achronim become Rishonim?

On Wed, Jul 19, 2006 at 05:56:41pm -0400, rabbirichwolpoe@aol.com wrote:
: I am guessing that Rabbinates rallied aroundthe Bavli opposition to
: the Karaites.

Except that we were rallied around the geonim of the same yeshivos since
before the Qaraim. I think we rallied around the Bavli because it had
generations of peer review, and because we were scattered to the four
corners and needed it. There was no way the RBSO would scatter us to
multiple communities and not give us the tools to carry the halachic
process on.


Micha Berger             Man is equipped with such far-reaching vision,
micha@aishdas.org        yet the smallest coin can obstruct his view.
http://www.aishdas.org                         - Rav Yisrael Salanter
Fax: (270) 514-1507      

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Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2006 22:32:43 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: MB/Yeshiva Communities

On Wed, Jul 19, 2006 at 06:10:08PM -0400, rabbirichwolpoe@aol.com wrote:
: From: mgluck@gmail.com
:> R' JR:
:>> Is learning during chazarat hashatz prohibited in Yeshiva communities?

:> Yes.

: how about catching up on skipped pieces of pesukei dezimra? 

Why bedavka pesuqei dezimrah? Once it no longer serves the role of getting
one ready for Shemoneh Esrei, is there value to those kapitlach Tehillim
over any other? The Gra says no, and while the world holds otherwise
(as is evidenced by people on the bus after the 6:10 minyan), I could
use help finding a conflicting maqor.

Me, I keep a seifer on the siddur (peirush hamillim) in my tallis bag --
and everywhere else, this shiur I offered to give is taking overwhelming
amounts of time. I learn tefillah when my mind starts wandering during
chazaras hashatz. It is a minimal hesech hada'as, I hope.


Micha Berger             The trick is learning to be passionate in one's
micha@aishdas.org        ideals, but compassionate to one's peers.
Fax: (270) 514-1507      

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Date: Fri, 21 Jul 2006 00:04:23 -0500
From: "CBK" <fallingstar613@hotmail.com>
Capital punishment

> "they were the same Sanhedrin with
> the same prestige whether they sat in the LHG or next door. The place
> does not honour the person, the person honours his place."

In this case though, the place is given its own individual honor/kavod. It
is the Place that Hashem has chosen wherein to dwell. It is part and
parcel of the mitzvah d'Oraysa Devarim 7:8-11 -
    in any legal matter between blood ...
    then you shall rise and go up
    to the place to be chosen by G-d.
    And you shall approach the Levitical priests
    or the judge.

It isn't the same Sanhedrin in the Azara that moved to the southern
extension of Har HaBayis. One was a judicial/legislative body given
authority to fulfill Hashem's ratzon. And the other was a body without
all of the authority as the first.

> If they had moved because the roof was leaking, or because the LHG
> needed painting, would you call that too a punishment,

That would be a temporary pause in their jobs for purposes of bedek
habayis, which recognizes that maintenance on the Beis HaMikdash will
occassionally be necessary. That is not at all the same things as
officially vacating a spot chosen by Hashem in which to fulfill their
function, with no forseeable end to the situation. Thus removing from
themselves the full range of authority which the Torah wants them to have.


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Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2006 23:42:03 -0400
From: "Shmuel Weidberg" <ezrawax@gmail.com>
Re: Music during the Three Weeks

On 7/20/06, Moshe Yehuda Gluck <mgluck@gmail.com> wrote:
> I heard that there are some Poskim who are of the opinion that when
> playing a recording of a voice singing, the tape/CD/computer playing
> it is the equivalent to a musical instrument, and therefore may not
> be used, even though it would be permissible were one to be at a live
> performance. Does anyone have any more information about this?

Doesn't answer your question, but R' Shlomo Miller did asser acapella
that is difficult to distinguish from musical instruments.


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