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Volume 23: Number 9

Fri, 26 Jan 2007

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Daniel Israel <dmi1@hushmail.com>
Date: Wed, 24 Jan 2007 22:56:48 -0700
Re: [Avodah] Talmud Torah

Chana Luntz wrote:
> If your father asked you for a
> glass of water but you had to do something else first, you would still
> spend the whole time thinking and worrying about getting your father
> that water and it would certainly weigh on your mind (ie kind of like
> RMF's reference to focus of your life). But you are still supposed to go
> off and do the other mitzvos and all the other things you have to do.

A similar thought that was mentioned to me by a certain frum scientist 
in Yerushalayim (and I mention it here not because it is in any sense 
authoritative enough to settle the argument, but because it is a very 
clear way of expressing the point):

One needs to make one's limud torah the ikar, and other stuff (he was 
talking about parnasa) the tafel.  But in hilchos brachos we find that 
the ikar is not always the rov.

Daniel M. Israel

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Message: 2
From: "Yisrael Dubitsky" <yidubitsky@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 25 Jan 2007 14:00:09 +0200
[Avodah] Yerushalmi editions

(Micha-If you deem this more appropriate for Areivim you may send it there,
on condiition that responses there be forwarded also to me)

I was wondering if any of the Yerushlami experts on this list have an
opinion on the fairly new one volume edition of the Yerushalmi by Ketuvim
press (it is about 6 months old; see here http://www.ketuvimalmog.com/ for
details), both in terms of its utility for the poshutte yid (non-academic,
non-super talmid hakham) -- ignoring for the moment the fact that it has
none of the commentaries -- and in comparison to the Academyah's one volume
edition. I think the indexes included are superb, but I have trouble with
the fact that they left out the standard or even non-standard (I know, I
know, that's why they left it out, since there really is no standard)
pagination, including only perek and halakhah references  (I think the
sugyot numbering is great but is certainly not traditional and this may
effect how, or if, laymen would use it at all). Is the print too small or
crowded to be useful?

I have been unable to find any serious reviews of the recent volume and
would appreciate any insight (critical or otherwise).

Yisrael Dubitsky
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Message: 3
From: "Moshe Yehuda Gluck" <mgluck@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 25 Jan 2007 01:28:14 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Talmud Torah

R' Daniel M. Israel:
*One needs to make one's limud torah the ikar, and other stuff (he was
*talking about parnasa) the tafel.  But in hilchos brachos we find that
*the ikar is not always the rov.

Ayin in the Hakdamah to the Chochmas Adam, where R' Avrohom Danzig defends
himself against the anticipated attacks that how can he - a businessman -
presume to write such a sefer. He answers in much the same vein. 


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Message: 4
From: Arie Folger <afolger@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 25 Jan 2007 09:49:20 +0100
Re: [Avodah] Yosef

R'n ISober wrote:
> I wonder if this [the so-called Stockholm syndrome,
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stockholm_syndrome --AF] could possibly shed 
> light on the famous question of why 
> Yosef - who for years before becoming viceroy was very much a kidnap
> victim, slave, and prisoner - never tried to contact Yaakov from Mitzrayim?

But Yosef was a great deal older than the cases the media described recently.

Nonetheless, the Stockholm syndrome is observed in adults, too.
Arie Folger

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Message: 5
From: "David E Cohen" <ddcohen@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 25 Jan 2007 11:05:59 +0200
Re: [Avodah] zman hadloko erev Shabbos and motzoei Shabbos

R' Zev Sero wrote:
> The fluctuation of noon/midnight (AKA the Equation of Time) does not
> depend on the season but on the position of the earth in its elliptical
> orbit, and is therefore the same everywhere.  

I believe that it's actually both.  The "Equation of Time" is really the sum
of two separate factors (though RZS is correct in saying that it is the same

One, as RZS mentioned, is the position of the Earth in its elliptical orbit,
which results in different speeds of rotation around the sun.  When the
Earth is closer to the sun, and thus moving faster in its orbit, the sun has
"more catching up to do" each day.

The other factor is, in fact, the tilt of the Earth, which results in all of
the sun's motion being along the "east-west axis" (the "celestial equator")
at the equinoxes, but less of it being along that axis at other times.
Thus, it takes longer at the solstices than at the equinoxes for the sun to
"catch up" with the change in the Earth's position in its orbit that
happened over the past day.

I second R' Micha's recommendation of http://www.analemma.com, which
explains this much better than I can.

To bring this back to Avodah territory, in Iggeros Moshe OC 24, where R'
Moshe Feinstein is explaining how he made the luach of his yeshiva, he
writes that there are times of year when the morning is longer, and there
are times of year when the afternoon is longer.  I have seen this explained
(in R' Blumenkrantz's Pesach book, IIRC) as meaning that R' Moshe held that
the mean solar noon should be considered chatzos all year round, and all
morning zemanim should be calculated using the time from sunrise until then,
and all afternoon zemanim should be calculated using the time from then
until sunset, even though there are times when the "morning" could be 20
minutes longer than the "afternoon," and vice versa.

I have a difficult time understanding this.  First of all, R' Moshe writes
that chatzos is "ke-she-ba hashemesh be-emtza` ha-darom shaveh la-`olam."
The time when the sun is directly to the south (here in the Northern
Temperate Zone) is the actual solar noon, not the mean solar noon.
Furthermore, I believe that the everyday use of the mean solar noon is a
relatively recent phenomenon (a few hundred years old).  It predates the
adoption of standard time zones, of course, but it postdates the adoption of
the clock that has 24 equal hours.  For a time, people were using these
clocks, but resetting them to 12:00 every day at the actual solar noon.
Zeminim be-Halakhah, by R' Chaim Benish, has some pictures of charts from
early-20th-century Jerusalem that list zemanim in 3 forms (besides the
"sha`on Eretz Yisra'el," which was reset every day at sunset, a different
matter altogether): actual solar time, mean solar time, and standard time).

My point is that mean solar noon seems simple to us, since it's at the same
time on our clocks every day.  We are more in touch with our clocks than
with the sun, so we pull out our calculators and computer programs to plug
in the Equation of Time and figure out when the actual solar noon is.  But
when the noon on people's clocks (and before that, sundials) was actual
solar noon, they would have had to know the Equation of Time in order to
calculate mean solar noon.  I find it difficult to believe that this is what
Chazal had in mind.

If I were reading R' Moshe's words on my own, I would think that he was
simply referring to the fact that chatzos will not be exactly halfway
between sunrise and sunset, since the sun's declination and the Equation of
Time do change slightly within the course of a day.  On the other hand,
though, the total effect of this would probably not be more than one or two
minutes, which is not nearly as substantial as what R' Blumenkrantz is

Can somebody who has an MTJ luach report as to which explanation of R'
Moshe's shitah is correct?  If R' Blumenkrantz's understanding is correct,
what was R' Moshe's sevara?


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Message: 6
From: "Ilana Sober" <sober@pathcom.com>
Date: Thu, 25 Jan 2007 10:04:32 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Yosef

Thinking more about Yosef - the Stockholm syndrome was a way into the
question - why should we assume that Yosef WOULD normally have contacted
Yaakov? Would he, in fact, have considered himself free just because he had
gone from being a prisoner to being the viceroy?

I think we can suggest that Yosef did not feel especially "free" as the
viceroy. He was rich, powerful, and important. But I don't think that rich,
powerful, important people in totalitarian dictatorships feel "free." Those
men running in front of him shouting Avrech were keeping an eye on him

Yosef knew perfectly well that a Pharaoh who, on a whim, could appoint a
prisoner from the dungeon to be viceroy could just as easily send the
viceroy back to the dungeon, or worse. He did not even need to use logic or
psychological insight to make this simple deduction - he had seen first hand
what happened to the Sar Hamashkim and the Sar Haofim.

Yosef's particular position was especially precarious, since he was in the
inherently unpopular position first as tax collector and than as the officer
who sold the Egyptians back their own grain at prices they couldn't afford.

I wonder if Yosef suspected that Pharaoh chose him specifically for that
position not only because of his brilliance and insight, but because he was
a solitary Hebrew, alone in Mitzrayim, without any clan or family loyalty.
An Egyptian in that position would have been particularly vulnerable to
corruption - collecting fewer taxes from his family, or giving them grain
for free or at a discount.

Thus, if Yosef had sent a letter to his family in Eretz K'naan - something
he could not have done secretly - he could have aroused quite a backlash,
jeopardizing himself without helping them. Alone, Yosef seemed like a wise
and fair administrator whose tough economic policies would get Egypt through
an unprecedented famine. But once he brought in a clan of dozens of
relatives, might he seem like a foreigner exploiting Egypt to line his own

When ten of his brothers do turn up (and I will ignore for the moment
another essential aspect of the story - that these were the same brothers
who sold him into slavery), Yosef hatches up a complicated plot to bring the
rest of the family down to Egypt, where they can survive the famine. What
was he planning to do, before he broke down and revealed himself at the
beginning of Vayigash? Would he have used Binyamin as a lure to bring Yaakov
down? Would he ever have revealed his identity, or would he have considered
that too great a risk?

I haven't figured out quite what Yosef does expect when he invites the
family to come down. Initially, he seems very confident that they will be
welcome, and Pharaoh indeed responds enthusiastically. But later on, he
needs to do some careful maneuvering with Pharaoh, choosing a specific
delegation, presenting them as shepherds, etc.

Finally, it's important to remember that the story of Yosef - like that of
Esther - is not precisely a fairy tale of the young shepherd boy who rises
to become viceroy of Egypt and lives happily ever after. Yosef is NEVER
free, not even when he is joined by his family. Sefer Bereishit ends on a
poignant note, as Yosef  entreats his brothers to bring his bones with them
when they return to the Land, and dies and is buried in Egypt.

Note: I realize that Avodah posts carry some responsibility and I did not
exactly dash this off - BUT I also did not take the many hours of careful
learning that would be required were I to write a real article on this
topic. I am only trying to present some questions, suggestions, and initial
directions for thought and discussion.

- Ilana

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Message: 7
From: "Michael Kopinsky" <mkopinsky@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 25 Jan 2007 13:24:46 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Ona'ah less than one sixth

One of the Nosei Keilim there points out that the Ramban AHT writes that
really Ona'ah Kol shehu is assur mid'oraisa.  He holds that the entire din
of Tashlumin for Ona'ah is Mid'rabanan, as is the exclusion of karka,
etc., and that the drashos in the gemara are really just asmachtas.

On 1/22/07, celejar <celejar@gmail.com> wrote:
> > I believe that 1/6 is only for undoing the sale but any conscious
> overcharge is
> > prohibited.
> The Shulhan Arukh (Siman 227) does indeed rule in accordance with the
> Rosh that less than a sixth is a Safek Issur Torah.
> _______________________________________________
> Avodah mailing list
> Avodah@lists.aishdas.org
> http://lists.aishdas.org/listinfo.cgi/avodah-aishdas.org

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Message: 8
From: "Chana Luntz" <chana@kolsassoon.org.uk>
Date: Thu, 25 Jan 2007 18:13:35 -0000
[Avodah] Talmid Torah

RAYW writes: 

> It is paskened explicitly that someone who is "toyroso 
> umnoso" is poter even from davening.(From a practical view it is not
relevant these days, as the 
> geder of to"um is that of RSBY,

And it was precisely because I was thinking of the RSBY situation that
it seemed to me that RSBA's statement was (I am sure unwittingly) so
dangerous - because by stating that bochrim in yeshiva today are patur
from mitzvos like chessed based on talmud torah kneged kulom he was at a
stroke putting every Tom, Dick and Yankel sitting in yeshiva on the
level of RSBY.  Note that half truths are even more dangerous than
complete untruths.  If it was completely untrue that talmud torah never
negated davening, for example, then there wouldn't be a hava mina for a
bocher to think he was patur, but because precisely of the situation,
statements suggesting that talmud torah today is equivalent to that of
RSBY are particularly dangerous.  That is why I pointed out the davening
connection in that mishna. 

 but theoretically we see that 
> TT kneged kulum, only we don't have enough TT)

And similarly we don't have enough kavanah for real davening today, but
we have to work with what we have and we have to posken based on the
reality of today, not theoreticals.  And the way we posken today is that
men have to daven three times a day, no exceptions, regardless of
whether they are engaged in talmud torah or not, or whether they have
requisite kavannah or not, and they have to say Shema on their wedding
night, etc etc.

> The Rambam (hil. TT 3:4) paskens if you have if front of you 
> either to do a  mitzveh or TT, if someone else could do the mitzveh,
> better to carry on  learning, only if no-one else could do that
mitzveh, then you 
> can interupt  the learning, do the mitzveh, then resume the learning.

Yes, this is the basis for the Tur and Shulchan Aruch I brought in my
post last night (Yoreh Deah siman 246 si'if 18) which says the same

> See also the Kesef mishneh that brings the source: (also 
> brought by Rosh in Kusubos perek 2 siman 5)  from a yerushalmi
pesochim 3:7 that 
> says: "R'  Avohu sent his son to learn Torah in Tiveria. [whilst
> the son did the  mitzeh of] koyve'es meis, [his father asked him 
> sarcastically] are there no kevorim locally that I had to send you to
Tiveria [to do this 
> mitzveh].  Therefore we see that TT koydem lemayseh, but this is only
> there is  someone else available to do the mitzveh, but if not, one 
> could interupt learning for the mayseh"

Yes, but the Shulchan Aruch poskens in Yoreh Deah siman 361 si'if 1
(regarding a meis) and Even HaEzer siman 65 si'f 4 (regarding a kala)
like the braisa in kesubos 17a that we are mevatel talmud torah l'hotzei
es hameis  v'lhakenses hakala.  {BTW note the Shach's comment there in
Yoreh Deah, perush chova lvatel v'ken haskimu haposkim]. 

So, what do you do with this Yerushalmi?  Either you say that there is a
contradiction between the Bavli and the Yerushalmi and we pasken like
the Bavli (but that seems somewhat difficult when you see that the
Shulchan Aruch also brings the language of the Rambam regarding talmud
torah to be mevatel only if there is not somebody else available to do
the mitzvah.)

Alternatively a solution seems to be implicitly suggested by Tosphos
there on Kesubos 17a.  Inter alia, Tosphos bring the halacha in moed
katan 27b (also brought down in the Shulchan Aruch in siman 343) that if
there is a meis in the city, all of the city are required to be mevatel
from their work to deal with it, but if there is a special chevra (ie a
chevra kadisha) that has been appointed to deal with any meis that may
occur, then the townspeople need not be mevatel from their work.  And
Tosphos there distinguishes between the general requirement to deal with
the meis a la a chevra kadisha, and the requirement to accompany the
meis.  So presumably you could say that the actual work of looking after
the meis is one that one can delegate to another, while accompanying the
meis is not, and that in the case of R' Avohu's son he was getting
involved in the work of a chevra kadisha - work which is clearly
delegatable, as even the ordinary workers are allowed to delegate.

So the question then becomes - are acts of chessed delegatable or not
(clearly this now easily covers the davening situation, because you
cannot get somebody else to daven for you)?  In general - one of the
fundamental differences between the mitzvah of chessed and the mitzvah
of tzedaka is that the first is done with one's guf and the second with
one's money.  To the extend that is true, it seems difficult to say that
chessed is really delegatable - whoever you give the mitzvah to, it will
never be done the way you do it.  And the very examples of accompanying
the meis and the kala seem to make this point - after all, one  body in
a procession should be just like another, but that is not the way we
hold.  And it is interesting that v'halivias hameis and haknanasas kala
are two of the mitzvos listed in that mishna in peah which concludes
with talmud torah kneged kulom.

> The reason is brought bishnoys eliyohu perek 1 peah "...every 
> word that a person learns is a mitzveh...one blat is many hundreds of 
> mitzvehs...obviously 100 mitzeves is better that just one"

Actually, this does not work very well with the idea that if it is a
mitzvah that cannot be done by others, one has to do it.  If this were
true, then why? Surely one should be mevatel the one to allow the 100,
even though the one is vadai being lost?

> The Taz YD 251:6 brings down RSh"L that asks the question, that how
can it  it be that the ShOr paskens that one can interupt learning 
> for hatzolos  nefoshos, for it says "TT is bigger that Hatz"Nef" and
on  this the RSh"L  bleibs shver. The Taz answers that obviously
"nothing comes 
> before Pik"Nef",  but when it says "TT is bigger" is is referering to
the  schar. Someone who 
> is lucky enough to be able to learn and not have to get involved with
Hat"Nef gets more schar than one who does the Hat"Nef 
> (obviously one who has  in fromt of him both, has no choice but to do
the Hat"Nef, 
> but he gets less  schar than if the situation would never have

That does intrinsicly seem to shtim with the "shikul" language of the
Shulchan Aruch I brought in my previous post - but then how do you
explain Abaye versus Rava that I also brought in a previous post?  Of
course it is also clear that without the Torah, Abaye would not have
extended his lifespan at all (do you or do you not want to say that Rava
and Abaye were "toyroso umenoso"?) it was just that the combination of
torah plus gimilus chassadim led to a greater atonement than the torah
alone practiced by Rava.  Of course, on another level this statement
might be said to be always true - after all, if there were no poor, sick
or dying people, then there would be a lot less need for gimilus
chassadim, and hence arguably more time for Torah, even for the Abaye's
of this world.  We don't wish people sick so there can be more mitzvos
performed, so somehow the schar of gimilus chassadim must be related to
what there is to do, and it is a lucky society where there is little and
everybody can therefore concentrate on Torah.

> Avrohom Yitszkhok Walters
> Beis Shemesh

Shabbat Shalom


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Message: 9
From: Chaim Tatel <chaimyt@yahoo.com>
Date: Thu, 25 Jan 2007 14:52:37 -0800 (PST)
[Avodah] Chatzot and location

On 1/21/07, Zev Sero <zev@sero.name> wrote:

>Time zones are an artificial creation, which must of course be taken
>into account.  But the natural time of chatzot on a given date is the
>same all over the world.

Zev, I have to strongly disagree.
Chatzot on given dates *DO* depend on location on earth.
I made a small chart to prove this (data comes from HEBDATE).
I couldn't get it to look right in email, so I put it in my website:
Chatzot varies by location, and time of year.

Chaim Tatel

Do you Yahoo!?
Everyone is raving about the all-new Yahoo! Mail beta.
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Message: 10
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 25 Jan 2007 18:52:03 -0500 (EST)
Re: [Avodah] Chatzot and location

On Thu, January 25, 2007 5:52 pm, Chaim Tatel wrote:
:>Time zones are an artificial creation, which must of course be taken
:>into account.  But the natural time of chatzot on a given date is the
:>same all over the world.
: Chatzot on given dates *DO* depend on location on earth.
: I made a small chart to prove this (data comes from HEBDATE).
: Chatzot varies by location, and time of year.

The difference between times on each date is due to where each on is WRT their
time zone, as RZS wrote. Longitude is irrelevant, and lattitude has no other

If you notice, in every location it is 6 minutes earlier on Jul 25 than Jan
25. That's due to the analemma. It's not like chatzos moves more for those in
one location than for those in another.

Tir'u baTov!

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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Message: 11
From: "Moshe Yehuda Gluck" <mgluck@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 25 Jan 2007 20:12:01 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Talmid Torah

R'n CL:
*And similarly we don't have enough kavanah for real davening today, but
*we have to work with what we have and we have to posken based on the
*reality of today, not theoreticals.  And the way we posken today is that
*men have to daven three times a day, no exceptions, regardless of
*whether they are engaged in talmud torah or not, or whether they have
*requisite kavannah or not, and they have to say Shema on their wedding
*night, etc etc.

I hope I'm not repeating another poster - I didn't follow the entire thread.
IIRC, this thread started on Areivim because of an argument about whether
the Chiyuv of TT is 24/7 or just two psukim, i.e. v'hogisa bo yomam

It is clear in Hilchos Birchas Hatorah that the chiyuv of TT is 24/7, and
that is explicitly stated as the reason why we don't have to make a new
Brocha every we time we read Avodah (unless, according to some, there was a
hefsek such as shinas k'va). See BY OC 46 s.v. V'im ba lilmod: ??? ????
????? ???? ????? ???? ???? ??? ??? ??? ?????? ????? ????? ????? ?? ????


P.S. BTW, IIRC reading Avodah wouldn't require Birchas Hatorah because it is
hirhur, however writing Avodah would. Which raises the question, what about
typing Avodah? 

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Message: 12
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2007 00:27:41 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Chatzot and location

Chaim Tatel wrote:
> On 1/21/07, Zev Sero <zev@sero.name> wrote:

>> Time zones are an artificial creation, which must of course be taken
>> into account.  But the natural time of chatzot on a given date is the
>> same all over the world.

> Zev, I have to strongly disagree.
> Chatzot on given dates *DO* depend on location on earth.
> I made a small chart to prove this (data comes from HEBDATE).
> I couldn't get it to look right in email, so I put it in my website:
> http://chaimyt.tripod.com/noon.htm
> Chatzot varies by location, and time of year.

The times you give have been adjusted for standard time (or "railroad
time", as it used to be known), which is a recent invention, and just
as artificial as daylight saving time, or "camp time".

Suppose  you chose to keep your watch 4 minutes behind.  It is obvious
that you would then have to subtract 4 minutes from all zemanim.  You
wouldn't conclude that the zemanim vary from person to person, and that
shabbat comes in for you 4 minutes earlier; instead you'd recognise that
the metziut hasn't changed, and that the 4 minutes' adjustment you must
make is purely an artifact of your choosing to keep your own personal
"time zone".

Now suppose your entire shul decided to keep their watches 4 minutes
behind.  The sun would, of course, take no more notice than it did when
this was just your personal shtick.  All mitpalelim would have to
subtract 4 minutes from all their zemanim, because the metziut wouldn't
have changed, but their watches would have.

Now suppose the entire population of New York joined in this shtick,
and all decided to turn their watches back 4 minutes.  Would that
change the metziut, would it finally convince the sun to alter its
path in the sky, and rise 4 minutes later, because "it's too early"?
Of course not.  Everyone would simply have to subtract 4 minutes from
all published zemanim, until they reprinted the calendars to reflect
this pecularity.

Well, guess what, that is exactly what New Yorkers in fact do.
A bit over a century ago the railroads announced that their clocks
in New York would be moved back 4 minutes, and anyone who wanted
to catch a train on time would have to do the same.  And since then
New Yorkers have kept their watches 4 minutes behind.  So if today
chatzot was at 12:12, New Yorkers' watches all said 12:08 (at least,
those that were "correct").  That didn't change the metziut, it's
just an artificial adjustment that must be made to watches that are
deliberately kept out of sync with the natural time.  Seattleites,
OTOH, keep their watches 9 minutes ahead, so when chatzot happened
over there, at 12:12, their watches said 12:21.  Again, the change
wasn't in the metziut but in their watches.

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


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