Avodah Mailing List

Volume 23: Number 10

Sat, 27 Jan 2007

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: "Rich, Joel" <JRich@Segalco.com>
Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2007 05:13:53 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Talmid Torah

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? 

Source?  (is reading only hirhur, what about listening?)
Joel Rich
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Message: 2
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2007 11:36:34 -0500 (EST)
Re: [Avodah] paying in advance

On Mon, January 22, 2007 12:19 pm, celejar wrote:
: The Shulhan Arukh (Siman 227) does indeed rule in accordance with the
: Rosh that less than a sixth is a Safek Issur Torah.

Lo zachisi lehavin how the Rosh and SA expected the market to work. Suppose
two venders sell the same product for slightly different prices. One sold for
above the mean, the other one's customer bought for below the mean. Does this
mean that the pricier vender and the customer of the cheaper one were safeiq

I understand, as REMT wrote, if the ona'ah is on measurable quantity. The guy
pulled a con job ("con job" being a candidate for translation of ona'ah, tying
it to ona'as devarim). But in general, I don't see how it would work.

It would also depend how one understands the mishnah and the Rambam. How would
the assumption that people are mochalim small differences in price patur one
from returning the money, but not eliminate the issur altogether?

On Tue, January 23, 2007 12:06 pm, Eli Turkel wrote:
: The "purpose" of the halacha is so that the worker need not wait for
: his payment. As the pasuk says he is anxiously waiting for his payment
: for his livelihood. If so it sounds strange that one loses the "aseh"
: by paying in advance which is even better for the worker. Agreed this
: might be a bad deal for the employer but if he volunteers to do
: "lifnin mi-shurat hadin"" why should he lose his aseh?

I think the dilemma is an aspect of one of my pet topics, the nature of doing
a mitzvah bein adam lachaveiro lishmah. Is it lesheim helping the other
person, or lesheim obeying the Borei's mitzvah? (See

It strikes me as paradoxical to say that by helping the person more, one gets
less sechar. If this were so, then there is no real bein adam lachaveiro. The
mitzvah becomes part of Avodah, maximizing my Avodah, without having Gemilus
Chassadim as a distinct pillar.

Personally, I would pay the worker early, and not try to do clever cheshbonos
to get another chiyuv so that I can fulfil it. I can't see how the qiyum asei
could possibly be worth more than the chesed of helping 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: 3
From: "Eli Turkel" <eliturkel@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2007 14:35:32 +0200
[Avodah] onaah

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, >>

The harder question is that given a capitalist society how does one measure
onaah especially small amounts. No product has a set price as stores sell the
identical product at different prices.
If even a kol shehu is prohibited that ,ight i,ply any store above average price
is violating a Torah prohibition. Of course thats impossible by
defintion of an average.
Rem,ind sone of the old joke of the principal who says that all
students in his school
are above average for the school

Eli Turkel

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Message: 4
From: "Dr. Josh Backon" <backon@vms.huji.ac.il>
Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2007 16:09:42 +0200
Re: [Avodah] Talmid Torah

>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].

The question is are we mevatel TT for kevurat ha'meit. The general 
rule is, "yes";
however, there are a number of exeptions.

Note the Beit Shmuel who indicates "afilu mi she'torato umnato". However, the
Korban Netanel (who lived 70 years later than the Beit Shmuel) on the 
ROSH in Ketuvot
re: are we mevatel TT for kevurat ma'meit, exempts one who is "torato 
um'nato". Ditto the ROSH
there for one who is "tani v'kari", the ROSH in Eilo Megalchin on one 
who teaches "tinokot
shel beit rabban", and of course the RAN who deems it "reshut b'alma".

>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.

See also the Tosfot in the beginning of Megillah 3b d"h "meit mitzvah.



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Message: 5
From: "Moshe Yehuda Gluck" <mgluck@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2007 10:20:07 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Talmid Torah

I wrote:
See BY OC 46 s.v. V'im ba lilmod: ??? ???? ????? ???? ????? ???? ???? ???
??? ??? ?????? ????? ????? ????? ?? ???? ?????.

I was corrected off-list - I mistakenly wrote 46 - I should have written BY
OC 47. 


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Message: 6
From: T613K@aol.com
Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2007 10:44:50 EST
Re: [Avodah] Talmid Torah [should be: Talmud Torah]


R' MYG writes:

>>P.S. BTW, IIRC reading Avodah wouldn't  require Birchas Hatorah because it 
hirhur, however writing Avodah would.  Which raises the question, what about
typing Avodah? <<
If you type your own thoughts, then typing requires Birchas Hatorah.   If you 
are a secretary taking dictation, then I suppose typing would not require  
BH.  If you /have/ a secretary who types your Avodah posts for you and you  give 
her dictation, then it would be like teaching (as opposed to thinking) and  I 
guess teaching requires BH.  BTW /does/ your secretary type your Avodah  
posts for you?  If I had to be a secretary that's the kind of job I'd  want.

--Toby  Katz

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Message: 7
From: chaim.tatel@yahoo.com
Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2007 09:03:36 -0800 (PST)
Re: [Avodah] Chatzot and location

Nice try. But that doesn't explain, how, in this day of "atomic" clocks and UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) how Chatzot varies as much as 30 minutes in my chart. Latitude and Longitude make a difference.

Daylight in Seattle varies from 9:15 hours today (Jan 26) to 15:12 hours on July 26.

BTW, "Camp time" is actually "standard time" not "daylight time."


----- Original Message ----
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
To: Chaim Tatel <chaim.tatel@yahoo.com>; A High-Level Torah Discussion Group <avodah@lists.aishdas.org>
Sent: Thursday, January 25, 2007 9:27:41 PM
Subject: 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

Get your own web address.  
Have a HUGE year through Yahoo! Small Business.
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Message: 8
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2007 13:22:40 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Chatzot and location

chaim.tatel@yahoo.com wrote:
> Zev,
> Nice try. But that doesn't explain, how, in this day of "atomic" clocks 
> and UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) how Chatzot varies as much as 30 
> minutes in my chart. Latitude and Longitude make a difference.

No, they don't.  UTC is precisely why your chart shows such variation.
If all the people in Seattle choose to set their watches 9 minutes
ahead, then naturally they must add 9 minutes to all zemanim, including
chatzot.  Tomorrow they might decide to set their watches 15 minutes
behind, and if so they will have to subtract 15 minutes from all
zemanim.  And if you personally decide to keep your watch on Israeli
time, you'll have to subtract 10 hours or so.  None of this affects
the metziut.  The sun still rises when it rises, sets when it sets,
and reaches its zenith when it does, regardless of how people choose
to set their watches.

> Daylight in Seattle varies from 9:15 hours today (Jan 26) to 15:12 hours 
> on July 26.

Yes, it does.  It's even shorter on 21-Dec, and longer on 20-Jun.
But what has that got to do with chatzot?

> BTW, "Camp time" is actually "standard time" not "daylight time."

Unless your camp decides on something else.  My point is that it's
an artefact of the camp director's arbitrary decision, and it doesn't
affect anything in the real world.  A camper can't look at a calendar
and say "look, candle lighting isn't until 8, and now it's only 7,
so I have an hour till shabbos".  He has to take into account the
fact that his watch is set differently than the one the calendar
publisher expected.  The exact same thing applies to all those
Seattleites who choose to keep their watches 9 minutes ahead, so
as to be an exact number of hours behind UTC.  Chatzot today is at
12:12, all over the planet, but since you have chosen to set your
watch forward 9 minutes, then on your watch it will be at 12:21.

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

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Message: 9
From: "Elchanan Schulgasser" <mechina@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2007 13:48:25 -0500
[Avodah] Spoils of Egypt

The Gemara in Berachos (Tes amud bais) says B'nai Yisrael left Mitzrayim
empty like a barren trap or empty fishing net (that is, Egypt was completely
despoiled, not Bnai Yisrael)

Yet the Midrash (Mechilta, Tanchuma) says that the plunder from the drowned
Mitriyim after the splitting of the Yam Suf was MORE than what they took out

Where did this second pile of booty come from if Bnai Yisrael already
emptied out Mitzrayim?

Has anyone seen a p'shat on this apparent s'tira? Someone must talk about
it. Thanks if you know.

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Message: 10
From: "Michael Kopinsky" <mkopinsky@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, 27 Jan 2007 15:10:57 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Talmid Torah

On 1/26/07, Rich, Joel <JRich@segalco.com> wrote:
> 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?
> =====================================================
> Source?  (is reading only hirhur, what about listening?)
> KT
> Joel Rich

SA 47:3.  The Taz is also troubled by this, since we know that K'sivah Lav
k'dibbur dami (interestingly, his proof for this is the halacha of
"Mipihem v'lo mipi ksavam), and the mechaber paskens in the next sif that
hirhur doesn't need a bracha.

In any case, the MA and Taz both limit the chiyuv bracha to a case where
you are learning via writing, not just copying.  (The MA's lashon is
"Nir'eh davka b'koseiv sefarim l'atzmo derech limudo umeivin ma shehu
koseiv, aval sofer hama'atik v'eino mevakesh l'vhavin mah shehu koseiv
ein tzarich l'vareich.")  I don't see a chiluk between that and typing.
So I guess the question re: Avodah would depend on if it is an intelligent
post you are writing or not.

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Message: 11
From: "SBA" <sba@sba2.com>
Date: Sun, 28 Jan 2007 01:24:12 +1100
[Avodah] Yosef

From: "Ilana Sober" <>
..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?

Have you seen the Or Hachaim Hakodosh?
 Vayigash, 45:26 dh 'Vero'isi'.


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Message: 12
From: "Chana Luntz" <chana@kolsassoon.org.uk>
Date: Sat, 27 Jan 2007 23:25:50 -0000
Re: [Avodah] Talmid Torah

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

Actually, I think it started when it was suggested that because of
talmud torah kneged kulom, yeshiva bochrim did not need to do chessed.
One response to this was to argue that the mitzvah of v'hogisa was
fulfilled by saying Shema, but I don't think that encompassed the full

> It is clear in Hilchos Birchas Hatorah that the chiyuv of TT  is 24/7,
> that is explicitly stated as the reason why we don't have to  make a
> 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
> lilmod: 

Well the slight problem with using Hilchos Birchas Hatorah to prove that
the chiyuv of TT based on v'hogisa bo is 24/7, despite the reasoning
there (inter alia brought by the Taz), is that nobody suggests that I
have to make a new brocha every time I read Avodah, despite everybody
agreeing that women are chayiv in making Birchas HaTorah.  Nor is it the
practice in any Beis Ya'akov that I am aware of, that every time they
have a kodesh class they begin it with Birchas Hatorah (on the grounds
that there has been a hefsek eg of of a maths or English class between
the  Birchas Hatorah said in the morning and the kodesh class).

Now two reasons are given for women being chayiv in Birchas Hatorah.
The first is because they are chayav in saying the parsha of korbanos
(certainly a one off, and note, a lot of women who do say Birchas
Hatorah do not say this) and the second is because they are chayav to
learn the halachos that pertain to them.  But given that women do not
seem obligated to repeat birchas hatorah, this would seem to indicate,
based on the logic of the gemora and meforshim such as the Taz, that the
obligation for women to learn the halachos that pertain to them is one
that operates 24/7 (presumably at least until one knows the Shulchan
Aruch cold - since most of the halachos there on some level pertain to

But I believe everybody agrees that v'hogisa bo in its purest form does
not apply to women -therefore, the only way I can see out of this
situation is to hold, contrary to the Taz, that at least one reason for
Birchas Hatorah is due to other aspects of the mitzvah of Talmud Torah,
either not based on v'higosa bo or on a weakened form of v'hogisa bo
that applies to women despite the sifri (I guess you could characterise
it as the aspect of talmud torah that leads to ma'ase, but that doesn't
seem to shtim with the plain meaning of the words of v'hogisa so it
seems easier to say that the source for this aspect of talmud torah is
sited elsewhere). Indeed I think you will find that there are other
commentators who derive the obligation for Birchas Hatorah from psukim
other than v'hogisa.  (On the other hand, I cannot find anybody who
seems to address what seems to me to be a clear kasha on the shita of
the Taz et al).

> KT,
> P.S. BTW, IIRC reading Avodah wouldn't require Birchas 
> Hatorah because it is hirhur,

This is not so pashut.  As the Ben Ish Chai puts it after stating that
hirhurim bilvad is mutar, that there are those who say that one who
learns by being meayin in a sefer needs to say birchas hatorah.  The Kaf
HaChaim also brings various meforshim who hold that iyun b'sefer
requires birchas hatorah before it because somebody who is being meayin
in a safer will come to say something out loud (the same logic that the
Taz uses vis a vis writing). (Unfortunately, because the Ben Ish Chai
does not bring his sources, it is not clear to me whether the yesh omrim
is derived from these other meforshim that it is a risk of speaking out
loud when learning from a sefer that is the issue, or because iyun
b'sefer is something more than hirhur bilvad - which I confess is the
way it reads).

In the course of an extensive discussion on the question of hirhur and
ksiva in relation to birchas hatorah in Yabiat Omer chelek 4 siman 8,
Rav Ovadia brings some opinions that the reason (for those who hold the
majority opinion, ie contrary to the Gra, that hirhur does not need
birchas hatorah) why hirhur does not need birchas hatorah is because
hirhurim do not last ie his learning is not established.  It appears
from that teshuva that it is arguable that iyun b'sefer can in some
circumstances be more permanent - and it seems to me that it is even
more arguable that the nature of Avodah, being (in its ideal form) one
of dialogue rather than monologue, lends itself to a greater permanance
than iyun b'sefer, where one is arguably more passive.  Note further the
discussion (in depth in that teshuva of ROY) regarding one who hears
others speaking divrei torah, and what the requirements vis a vis
birchas hatorah are in that case.  It seems to me that a case could be
made, because of the immediacy of response of an internet mailing list
such as Avodah, and the dialogue format, that it is in fact closer to
the communication ideal of talmud torah, and further from hirhur, than
iyun b'sefer and so even those who do not go as far as the Ben Ish Chai
suggests might hold it was necessary to make birchas hatorh in this

 >however writing Avodah would. Which raises the  question, what about
typing Avodah? 

As far as I can see, there are three reasons given why writing requires
birchas hatorah:

A) that when writing one is likely to say the words out loud (the Taz et
B) that writing is a ma'ase, in contrast to hirhur, and a ma'ase
requires birchas hatorah (the Levush et al);
C) that the essence of the talmid torah on which the bracha is being
made is the ability to transfer it to others.  Ksiva, while not the
primary mechanism by which the Torah is required to be tranferred to
others, has the characteristic that it can be used to transfer Torah to
others (including Torah she baal peh, after it was permitted to write it
down) and hence requires a bracha, unlike hirhur, where the torah
thought in essence goes nowhere (see Rav Ovadia's teshuva referred to
above, where this and the meforshim who suggest this is discussed quite

Now it seems to me that typing Avodah would require birchas hatorah
whichever of these reasons is held.  Because there seems no reason to
distinguish typing and writing in terms of the likelihood of saying the
words out loud.  And typing is just as much a ma'ase as writing.  And,
in terms of communication, it is stronger than just stam writing, as it
is being written specifically as part of a form of talmud torah
communication.  Just my thoughts on the subject.

Shavuah tov



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