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Volume 23: Number 34

Wed, 28 Feb 2007

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Wed, 28 Feb 2007 17:06:03 -0500 (EST)
Re: [Avodah] Tzinius and the ILG

Anyone notice how many of our threads lately revolve around the question of
the relationship between halakhah and aggadic moral imperatives? Not that I'm
really sure they are aggadic, I think it's more the vagueness of mitzvos about
being tov, yashar, and qadosh -- TYQ.

We have the discussion about slavery, the question of whether we are
mechuyavim to speak up about the Sudan, or whether such interest may be
assimilationism from liberal Judaisms that distracts us from more central
priorities, the issue of avaq ribis being close enough to ribis to be wrong
but not prohibited...

Something I just noted about TYQ. (Actually, I noticed it a few paragraphs
from here, but I jumped back to type.)

Tov is something that requires a recipient -- R' Saadia Gaon and the Ramchal
use this idea to explain Hashem's motivation for creating.
Yashar is an internal quality.
And qedushah is a dedication to avodas Hashem.

IOW: We have (in a different order) Torah (hayashar), avodah (qedoshim tihyu),
ugemillus chassadim (hatov).

Some TYQ issues become assur derabbanan. In fact, I would think there would
only be three grounds for issurim derabbanan:

1- Gezeiros, covering for violation through habit.
2- Things HQBH didn't need to assur because the metzi'us wasn't there yet.
This would include our examples of the shift to chalitzah or the shift away
from qidushin a"y bi'ah. Peritzus became more rampant, priorities changed
becuase the metzi'us did.
3- Things recognized as TYQ.

The third category is problematic. Why would Hashem allow a TYQ problem bad
enough for Chazal to see the need to assur it? However, the case of avaq ribis
seems to be an existence proof -- the category must exist if we find an
example of it. But in addition to avaq ribis, there are also all the things
prohibited on Shabbos mishum shevus; I can't see why amira laakum was less
Shabbosdik in Chazal's day than in Yehoshua's. (I would have said Moshe's but
I don't know if they had akum around very often.)

It is therefore acceptable, to my mind, to ask whether the eved Kenaani is
also in this category. And I would still argue that eved kenaani is a TYQ
issue, since it's "desani lakh".

My suggestion that when everyone else has slaves the Jewish community can't
feed itself without them was building off the idea that it too is about change
of metzi'us, in a case where the alternative causes worse problems. Which need
not be starvation -- sweatshops are worse in many ways. Or it may be something
I haven't identified, the core of my point is the approach, not the particular

On Tue, February 27, 2007 7:32 am, Rn Chana Luntz wrote:
> The same thing would seem to be true by slavery.  There was slavery
> before matan torah. The Torah took the concept and modified it and
> required various elements that were not there before (eg obligation in
> mitzvos), but did not ban it entirely.  It has been argued, on this list
> and elsewhere, that this shows that the Torah is morally in favour of
> slavery, and that therefore any notions that we have that slavery is not
> necessarly moral are contrary to the moral compass of the Torah.  If
> this argument were to be true, then the same thing would have to be said
> for kiddushin by way of biah - it didn't ban it when it could have done,
> therefore it must approve of it. Otherwise you are left with the idea
> that there may be concepts that the Torah is morally uncomfortable with,
> but that doesn't mean it always bans it, sometimes it leaves it for
> later generations, when the time is right, to procribe them out of
> existance.

Or avaq ribis. I believe we truly are left with that idea.

I can't explain why. Part of the missing general TYQ theory.

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: 2
From: Arie Folger <afolger@aishdas.org>
Date: Wed, 28 Feb 2007 21:34:33 +0100
Re: [Avodah] Torah and Slavery

RAM wrote:
> I am reminded of a very (some would overly) Politically Correct
> explanation of what is meant by 'Kiddushin' and 'Haishah niknis'. Do
> I really 'own' my wife? The same way as I 'own' my shirt? To
> answer 'yes' would be very unsettling, just as I'm uncomfortable
> about 'owning' an eved. But the parallels are too numerous: from the
> procedure of the kinyan, to my status as her 'baal', and more.

IIRC the Tzlach (Rav Yechezqel Landau) stresses that qidushin [not equal] 

Arie Folger

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Message: 3
From: "Eli Turkel" <eliturkel@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 28 Feb 2007 23:00:44 +0200
[Avodah] teaching women torah

Just came from a shiur on teaching women torah.
The Rambam says "tzivu chachamim"  not to teach one's daughter Torah.

They did a search (Bar Ilan reponsa project) on the phrase
"tzivu chachamim" in the Rambam. It appears 28 times and in all of them
it means good avice.  In fact 9 appear in hilchot deot.
Some interesting examples
"tzivu chachamim" not to marry more than 4 wives
"tzivu chachamim" than a man should honor his wife
"tzivu chachamim" that a father should give something to his daughter to marry
(doesnt mention how much jewelry)
"tzivu chachamim" to visit the sick of the Gentiles
Eli Turkel

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Message: 4
From: saul mashbaum <smash52@netvision.net.il>
Date: Wed, 28 Feb 2007 23:43:20 +0200
Re: [Avodah] Torah and Slavery

Although it seems obvious to us that being a salaried employee is a straightforward and sensible way to make a living, it is regarded with some suspicion in classical Jewish sources. This is because of the shibud the worker has to his employer, which borders on slavery (no jokes please). The longer the worker contracted for, the more the practice was frowned upon.  

An example of this principle (even for a short period of employment) is the din that a poor person must take fairly desperate measures to  ensure that he has enough money for 4 kosot for leil haseder, if the gabbaei tzedaka improperly did not provide him with such funds. Three measures are mentioned (see SA OC 472:13): selling one's garment, taking a loan, or hiring oneself out. In this context, becoming a salaried worker is an unusual measure, required in this case (and seeming not in order to do other mitzvot) because of the great obligation of pisumei nissa. Interestingly, regarding ner chanuka OC 671:1, the first two measures alone are mentioned. The MB there says, based on the Maggid Mishna, that becoming a salaried employee is required in this case as well ( for pirsumei nissa), but other poskim hold that this extreme measure is not required for ner chanuka.

As an aside which connects to another thread on areivim, I will point that although the gabbaei tzedaka are required to provide everyone with the wherewithal to perform the mitzva of ner chanuka, the MB limits this one candle per night, which is ikkar hadin. Apparently, the fact that everyone else lights many more candles does not "entitle" the poor man to more money to "keep up with the Cohen's" 

Saul Mashbaum  

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Message: 5
From: "Michael Kopinsky" <mkopinsky@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 28 Feb 2007 23:55:43 +0200
Re: [Avodah] ikkarim redux

On 2/28/07, Meir Shinnar <chidekel@gmail.com> wrote:
> ...remember that ma'aseh breshit is physics, and ma'aseh merkava
> is metaphyics - and both are part of talmud tora;
> Meir Shinnar
Not according to the Ran.  He says (in Drashos #1) that Maaseh Bereishis
is understanding the connection between the seder hahishtalsh'lus and the
world, and maaseh merkava is the connection between G-d and the seder
hahishtalsh'lus.  Thus, according to him, both are metaphysics, just
varying quantities of "meta".

(According to what you're saying: is it forbidden to teach physics to more
than a certain number of talmidim at a time? (His kashya, not mine.))

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Message: 6
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Date: Wed, 28 Feb 2007 17:00:50 -0500
Re: [Avodah] early bird specials and ribbis

Micha Berger wrote:
> On Mon, February 19, 2007 7:22 am, R Michael Kopinsky quoted me and asked:

> :> Is avaq ribis prohibited as ribis, or prohibited as mar'is ayin?
> :
> : As Zev said, there are different categories.  Mechzei K'ribbis (which he
> : says is applicable here, I haven't looked up the sources properly to agree
> : or disagree in this particular case) is different from Avak Ribbis.  The
> : Rosh writes in Eizehu Neshech (on the sugya of "Ein Sochrim mimenu
> : b'pachos") that Mechzei K'ribbis is subjective, and thus dependent on the
> : situation.
> Given this Rosh, what would be the status of heter iska today? Does it make a
> difference if the person is enough of a lamdan to really feel its more than
> just a loophole?

AIUI, Mechzei Keribbis means that an outside observer who is fully
aware of all the details of the transaction, but can't read the minds
of the parties, can't distinguish this from a loan.  In the case of an
iska, there is a contract setting out the terms, which are very
different from that of a loan.  So the omniscient-but-not-telepathic
observer would readily see that it isn't a loan.  In the case of
paying advance wages at a discount, if the "borrower" is a current
employee of the "lender" then the observer can readily understand
that the money is not a loan but an advance on the employee's wages.
But if there is no employee-employer relationship then this observer
has no basis by which to distinguish the transaction from an ordinary
loan, so he will naturally (but mistakenly) assume that that's what
it is; when, at some future point, the "borrower" begins working for
the "lender", and does unpaid work worth more than the amount he
received, the obvious (though wrong) conclusion is that he is paying

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: 7
From: "Michael Kopinsky" <mkopinsky@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 1 Mar 2007 00:02:00 +0200
Re: [Avodah] Torah and Slavery

On 2/28/07, kennethgmiller@juno.com <kennethgmiller@juno.com> wrote:
> What does 'kinyan' really mean? Is 'ownership' a real concept in
> halacha? LaSHEM haaretz um'loah!!!

Interestingly, some Rishonim write (maybe the Meiri - I haven't seen it in
months) that the reason why hekdesh is chal immediately is because since
the world is a chatzer hamishtameres l'daas, once I verbally declare my
separation from this object, HKBH is koneh with a kinyan chatzer.  (I'm
probably misquoting something, but it's an interesting idea.  Almost
sounds like Purim torah.)

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Message: 8
From: saul mashbaum <smash52@netvision.net.il>
Date: Thu, 01 Mar 2007 00:07:08 +0200
[Avodah] Torah and Slavery

There has been some discussion of kinyan haguf, and its relation to kinyan kiddushin. 

Part of the difficulty involved in understanding this subject is that the halachic concept of "kinyan" is not identical with the concept of "purchase". There are many examples in halacha of making a kinyan where nothing is purchased: a kinyan is often made on a shibud or hitchaivut, giving it a more binding status, although no tangible object is purchased or acquired.

Kinyan kiddushin is of this nature. It is a "kinyan issur"; the halachic efect of such a kinyan is *not* that that the husband has "acquired" the wife, or rights relating to her, but to bring into effect a change in her halachic status, such that she is forbidden to everyone but the husband (and the husband incidentally is forbidden to some of her relatives). For the most part, the financial connection between the husband and wife is effected by nissuin, not kiddushin. In any event, the act of kinyan kiddushin is clearly not related to a monetary purchase. 

Like the imprecise translation of "melacha" as "work", which has engendered much confusion as to the nature of the malachot of Shabbat, so the translation of "kinyan" as "purchase" has caused much confusion as to the nature of kiddushin.

Saul Mashbaum

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Message: 9
From: "Meir Shinnar" <chidekel@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 28 Feb 2007 17:09:43 -0500
Re: [Avodah] ikkarim redux

> : Part of the reason that they are used is precisely the perception that
> they
> : are universally accepted - and therefore, the precedents  that Marc
> Schapiro
> : brings means that any psak that did not take these into account is of
> less
> : value - and those of us who know the precedents can therefore rule
> : differently....
> But they did! You open the Rambam, the Raavad is right there, defending
> those
> who assign a bodily form to the Creator.

They were aware that the raavad was willing to defend those believing in
hagshama.  You are well aware that the standard yeshivish take on the raavad
is that there weren't any real rabbanim of stature who actually held in
hagshama.  There is a difference in taking a position that everyone of
stature holds is wrong, but some argue doesn't rise to kfira, and saying it
is kfira - and taking a position that someone of stature held and declaring
that to be kfira.  That's where Marc Schapiro come is - that he shows that
many people who are normally considered bar samcha held positions that the
ikkarim crowd would declare kfira - didn't merely defend those holding them
as being wrong but held them themselves...

:> I would also argue that this was the Rambam's intent, as he includes them
> in
> :> Hilkhos Teshuvah in defining terms he then uses throughout Mishneh
> Torah
> :> in these ways. But that's secondary, since I'm talking about pesaq
> today,
> :> not the Rambam's intent.
> : Yes, the rambam would have had no problem classifying many gdole yisrael
> as
> : kofrim - but most of us do..
> How is this in response to what I wrote? I am talking about what we hold
> lehalakhah today, you're talking about people who lived during the days of
> the
> rishonim. I tell you what... If I find a bottle of wine that was handled
> by R'
> Moshe ben Chasdai of Taku, we'll argue then if the pesaq would hold
> retroactively.

My point is different - yes, the rambam is quite willing to pasken  hilchot
deot,  and  doesn't quite care about his opposition, and whom he
classifies.  All the paytanim with prayers to  malachim, even possibly the
sefirot (a la 14th century rav who said no difference between saying hashem
is 10 and hashem is 3) - all  kfira

However, today's psak process is quite different, not just in hilchot deot -
and in general, we are loathe to declare someone wrong - even if we pasken
against him (as in all the diyukim leshitato etc..) - and the psak you
presuppose would exactly do this - because you can't argue leshitato and elu
ve'elu in kfira...

You're accusing me of condemning R' Yosef haGelili for eating his chicken
> with
> cheese.

> : But you can't have it two ways - if all those who don't hold by a
> particular
> : ideology are kofrim - there isn't a home for them.
> This is an Areivim issue. If I had more to say than the observation that I
> miss how the seifa follows from the reisha, I would reply there.

We can discuss it further on areivim.  However,  few people are willing to
be part of a community that views them as heretics, even if not formally
excommunicated - but they are willing to be part of a community that doesn't
accept their ideas - but doesn't ban them and is on some level willing to
discuss them.

> amar chazal...)
> Nu, so that in itself would be the resolution of what to do if one of the
> Rambam's 13 were to be proven false. Ani maamin be'emunah sheleimah that's
> not
> going to happen.

let me give a related fact - well known psak of rav  moshe that  the  perush
attributed to rav yehuda hachasid was a forgery - because the plain meaning
violates the eighth ikkar - and we now have enough evidence that it wasn't a
forgery.  (rav moshe wasn't willing to say nu, rav yehuda hachasid held in
kfira, as some are..) - now that it isn't a forgery, how do we deal with it?

:> OTOH, he also quotes this list's membership agreement, and while I'm
> :> neither as bright as him nor as educated in the subject, I am well
> aware
> :> that the ikkarim enjoy an acceptance today that they hadn't in the
> past.
> : yes, as a sociological statement they enjoy an acceptance...
> YOu say "yes" and then miscast what I said. I'm talking about pesaq.
> Halachically speaking, they enjoy an acceptance. It's what most poseqim
> rely
> upon.

I am arguing that the acceptance is more sociological than halachic - the
basis of it is more that everyone in our community clearly accepts it and
there is no controversy - rather than an actual halachic argument - and the
transmutation of sociology into psak is a real problem. (it isn't far
different than psaks about wearing hats.....- but there at least, there do
exist psakim arguing for a real basis...)

Your defense seems to be that these poseqim are simply ignorant of the
> history
> of Jewish philosophy, and therefore that acceptance doesn't have halachic
> weight. If I understand correctly, there is no point to discuss that issue
> further.
> However, do you have any support for that statement? As I mentioned
> before,
> one of the ikkarim is shown to be a machloqes on the standard tzuras hadaf
> alongside the Rambam. And while it's easy to point at those trying to
> continue
> Vilozhin and Brisk and talk about how they never study machashavah. But
> they
> aren't the sum total of contemporary poseqim.

I would just point out that in the entire discussion of Marc Schapiro's
book, over many threads and years, no one has ever mentioned any posek who
has seriously discussed the issues raised in the book - nor pointed to any
psak that has such a discussion - it has merely been, well, poskim ignore
his book, they use ikkarim,they have used ikkarim for hundreds of years, so
his book is irrelevant.  Furthermore, normally psak does require strict
parameters (I sort of keep shabbat would not cut it with most...) - and it
is of interest that no one has been able to define exactly what variant of
the ikkarim is actually universally accepted - suggesting that yes, for most
poskim (at least those who deal with these issue) do lack a philosophical
sophistication.   Let me know of any exceptions...

:> But it isn't an ikkar. The flipside of accepting the ikkarim as defining
> :> which of my peers I'm to treat one way or the other is that it sets a
> :> maximum as well as a minimum.
> : You might - but others view them as the minimum.  Once one is willing to
> ban
> : positions accepted by many, there is no reason to limit it to the
> ikkarim..
> First, how is that a halchic argument? Second, who are the "many"? I would
> bet
> that RMShapiro himself believes the loose version of the ikkarim I am
> speaking
> of. He denies their being necessary for his self-identification as O, I
> heard
> nothing about his denying their truth.
> :> Besides, we can learn from the fact that the gemara still quotes Rav
> :> Hillel while telling us his statement requires kaparah that one is
> :> supposed to learn these rejected opinions, just like any other. Perhaps
> :> this is a proof to the Ra'avad.
> : This is the radbaz's proof text
> I miss how this helps your position. The Radvaz is saying that someone can
> hold a non-normative position and yet still not be a kofeir. It doesn't
> widen
> the definition of normative.

  Remember, the whole contention was that while the truth of statements
might be up to debate, poskim have used certain criteria for halachic
determination on the status of the individual - and the radbaz undermines
that contention - by arguing, in essence, that the halachic issue of kfira
is determined by the process and motivation of the individual, rather than
the fact content of the statement - so the halachic process doesn't have to
deal with the truth of a given statement.   The radvaz also rejects the
notion that something that didn't make some one a kofer back then makes him
one now....
It therefore dramatically widens the range of those who are welcome in the
community - even though I have a certain conception of the truth that they
don't .  The entire notion of normative beliefs is therefore quite different
Meir Shinnar
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Message: 10
From: "Meir Shinnar" <chidekel@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 28 Feb 2007 17:53:21 -0500
[Avodah] Fwd: ikkarim redux


WADR, I think you are missing RMB's point.  There are specific

l'maaseh inyanim for which it is necessary to define k'fira.

Whether you want to, for example, accept the geirus of a beis din

that understands the parameters of k'fira differently than you do

is a real question, but outside the scope of this post.  What RMB

is claiming is that b'zman hazeh in places where it is l'maaseh

necessary to define k'fira, some version of the ikkarim is used.  I

am willing to grant that it is conceivable that there are

exceptions to this, but I haven't seen any, and you haven't brought


1.  The issue whether kfira as a halachic criteria, rather than as a
philosophic one, is one properly addressed by halachic criteria - or that
one should be quite leery of such labels - is not answered by the fact that
some poskim do - the main point of my post.  While radbaz is not a
contemporary posek, he is a very major posek who rejects the halachic
approach endorsed by RMB - and he is someone, from a halachic perspective
(if one does want to use halachic criteria) one can be somech on (and see
later about the CI)
2) The issue of gerut is quite different than the issue of kfira -
thecriteria that bet din uses in order to accept one into
the club are not necessarily the same as the ones that one would use to
define kfira in other halachic circumstances.
eg, rav shlomo goren has a tshuva about whether someone who wants to undergo
gerut - fully accept ol malchut shamayim and ol mitzvot, however, does not
accept the notion of am yisrael - feels himself bound to all shomre mitzvot,
but not otherwise - that person would not be accepted as a ger - and while
brit avot (a la RYBS is important), it isn't quite the same as kfira.
The notion of some version related to the thirteen ikkarim as defining
sociologically what most of the community believes is something that even
Marc Schapiro acknowledges -  and a large part of gerut, in additional to
accepting ol malchut shamayim, is joining the community and its standards -
which is quite different than defining it as real kfira.

3) The other main issues where kfira may have a halachic role are ones where
there are actually few tshuvot, especially by major poskim, to justify RMB's
position.  eg, a kofer can't be counted in a minyan - but, AFAIK, most
poskim don't have a problem counting people who do not believe in theikkarim
and are therefore, according to people here,  kofrim.  eg, most non O will
accept biblical criticism and a major human component in the writing of
humash, but that hasn't been an issue (and if we accept the hazon ish's
position about people today being quasi tinokot shenishbu as also applying
to kfira - which I think that he did, and which would be, in essence an
adoption and extension of the radbaz's criteria - that kfira which is in any
way caused not by willful rejection, but by secondary causes - whether
faulty reasoning or the pressure of general society , is not kfira - we are
in essence saying that kfira doesn't have a practical halachic dimension in
our times - and we are left with the philosophic dimension).

4) Again, until recently, there was a tremendous reluctance to label as
kfira a position endorsed by someone recognized as a major figure in themesora (
and for many, even for minor figures - the comment of the ra'avad
abouthagshama) - something that other posters have recognized.

Meir Shinnar
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