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Volume 23: Number 36

Fri, 02 Mar 2007

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: "Newman,Saul Z" <Saul.Z.Newman@kp.org>
Date: Thu, 1 Mar 2007 07:55:03 -0800
[Avodah] the 5th purim mitzva

it seems very prevalent that in today's time , there is now an apparant 5th
mitzva, being tzedaka for every mossad one can think of. i dont remember
growing up purim being a day for collecting for yeshivahs, hatzala, etc  it
WAS a mitzva to give for matanot leaniyim, a bo-bayom mitzva, geared for
providing for the aniyim's need for the day.
i wonder was it always a general every-tzedaka-under-the-sun day, or did
this just become something for shtik-oriented teenagers to do to while away
the time. maybe it just took longer for the practice to get to the west.
am i wrong?
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Message: 2
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Date: Thu, 01 Mar 2007 14:21:28 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Rabbi Yonasan Sacks - The Character of Ta'anis

Micha Berger wrote:

> Grammatically, isn't "bizmaneihem" correct for two different groups of people
> who have different days? So this would seem to me to be derashah, not peshat.
> Except that derashah is only for chumash, not kesuvim.

?  Who says we don't darshen kesuvim?

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: 3
From: bdcohen@optonline.net
Date: Thu, 01 Mar 2007 19:30:38 +0000 (GMT)
[Avodah] Torah and slavery

For an in depth treatment of this subject including the whole question of kinyan haguf, I would recommend listening to Rav Tabory available at www.kimitzion.org Look for the weekly mitzva shiur for Parshat Mishpatim done on 2/12/07.

David I. Cohen
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Message: 4
From: "Marty Bluke" <marty.bluke@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 1 Mar 2007 21:37:40 +0200
[Avodah] end of fast

R' Eli Turkel asked:
<In Israel the fast seems to end about 10 minutes before motzei shabbat
time.Whenever I am in the US the fast ends about the same time <as motzei
shabbat.Any reason for the discrepancy?

In Israel in general the zeman for motzei shabbos is closer to reality (e.g.
it is not a fixed number of minutes) while in the US the zeman for motzei
shabbos is usually fixed (50 minutes after shkia).

For Taanis Esther there is no din of Tosefes and it is only d'rabbanan and
therefore the zeman is earlier.
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Message: 5
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Date: Thu, 01 Mar 2007 14:58:02 -0500
Re: [Avodah] end of fast

Eli Turkel wrote:
> In Israel the fast seems to end about 10 minutes before motzei shabbat time.
> Whenever I am in the US the fast ends about the same time as motzei shabbat.
> Any reason for the discrepancy?

Are you using the same source in all cases?  Perhaps the source you're
using in EY adds more time to shabbat than does the one you use in the USA.  

AFAIK, the fast ends at tzet hakochavim, shabbat ends at TzhK plus some
tosefet shabbat.  Also, Shabbat is deoraita, so people may use a longer
calculation of TzhK, while taaniyot are derabanan so they may use a
shorter calculation.  But whatever decisions any one source makes, they
should be the same in EY and the USA.

Unless: if the source you're using calculates TzhK for the fast end,
but arrives at a shabbat-end time by simply adding some fixed number
of minutes to sunset, then there will be a gap between them,
representing the difference between actual TzhK and this abitrary
number of minutes.  This gap will be bigger in EY than in the northern
USA, because EY has a lower latitude, and therefore, on any given day,
a shorter bein hashmashot.  In the southern USA, where the latitude
is about that of EY, the difference will disappear.

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: 6
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 1 Mar 2007 15:29:07 -0500 (EST)
Re: [Avodah] Tzinius and the ILG

On Tue, February 27, 2007 2:06 pm, R Michael Kopinsky wrote:
: If I may modify that slightly: "any notions we have that slavery is
: INHERENTLY immoral are contrary to the moral compass of the Torah."  I
: think that the fact that the Torah permits slavery indicate that it is not
: INHERENTLY problematic....

Sometimes parents have to choose their battles. That's the eishes yefas to'ar

Second, sometimes you have to permit the least of evils.

Permission doesn't imply a lack of inherent problem, because the threshold
isn't zero. It only implies that in those situations there are greater
problems with prohibiting.

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: 7
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 1 Mar 2007 17:01:05 -0500 (EST)
Re: [Avodah] Torah and Slavery

On Tue, February 27, 2007 6:47 pm, kennethgmiller@juno.com wrote:
: What does 'kinyan' really mean? Is 'ownership' a real concept in
: halacha? LaSHEM haaretz um'loah!!!

In a few weeks (<gulp>) many of us will be appointing a shaliach for selling
our chameitz using a qinyan sudar. And in Rus, this form of qinyan is called
"hate'udah beYisrael". Qinyan doesn't mean "to buy", but rather take on a

Below is something I wrote to scj back on 22-Mar-00. The references are to
mail-jewish digests, not here.

As for ba'alus, I argued that it's the license that comes with that
responsibility, not ownership. Thus the idiom of being in someone's *reshus*.
I based that on something RDLifshitz taught about mezuzos on one's rental
apartment or a co-op. A strict co-op board could render the owner of a co-op
less ba'alus than a rentor with a liberal landlord, to the extent of possibly
giving him a petur from mezuzah! See
<http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/vol07/v07n016.shtml#26>, a reply to one of
RYGB's Vos Iz Der Chiluk challenges. I argued that "ke'ilu hein birshuso" for
bal yeira'eh would apply to something owned that is assur behana'ah and
therefore lacks ba'alus.

In another scj discussion, I relate this distinction to the West's focus on
rights, and thus property as something I can benefit from, with halakhah's
focus on duties, and therefore ba'alus and responsibility for something.


Here's some ideas that were bounced around on mail-jewish and in subsequent
private emails.

First, we can prove that although a wedding is sometimes called kinyan, it is
not a property transfer.

a- Property transfer requires the agreement of buyer and seller, not of the item
   (e.g. slave) being bought. Marriage requires the woman's consent.

b- Money recieved in exchange for a kinyan does not itself require a kinyan.
   (IOW, I need not do anything to take possession of the money given me to buy
   my house.) However, the ring is put on the woman's pointer finger so that
   she can make a kinyan on it by moving it to her ring finger. It is therefore
   NOT payment.

c- In his "Perceptions" for Chayei Sarah 5760, R Pinchas Winston writes:
   : Given that the amount of money needed to be transferred is minimal and
   : fixed, regardless of the financial worth of either the husband- or
   : wife-to-be, this is obviously not a simple financial transaction taking
   : place over here.

   This is an important point. People aren't worth only a perutah, and yet that
   is all marriage requires.
   I might also point out that the law of "ona'ah" voids any sale where the
   price was more than 1/6th away from market value in either direction. Yet
   a marriage can involve the transfer of a perutah, or of a gold ring.

So the next question is defining the word "kinyan" and why it's being used
for weddings.

1- Perry Zamek in mail-jewish v29n63 writes:
: I would like to suggest an alternative interpretation -- "Kinyan" in the
: sense of undertaking, or obligation. (as in, he "made a kinyan to carry
: out a certain act") ...           Thus, she is not his property, but the
: beneficiary of his commitment.

1b- Oren Popper (v29n72):
: I would therefore suggest another interpretation to Kinyan - "to legally
: bind to...". In the few moments of thought I've given to this
: definition, it does seem to make sense for an appropriate interpretation
: to Kinyan across various contexts...

This is similar to Perry's idea, just more generalized. Oren doesn't feel that
the use of the word "kinyan" can in general refer to the kind of binding Perry
speaks of, that of accepting an responsibility.

2- Me (v29n81):
: [RYB Soloveitchik]  zt"l understands the key definition of the /knn/ root
: to be "to make". The same root is also used for purchasing because by
: purchasing we are trading manufactures. Buying an item therefore ties you
: to the object from the time it was manufactured -- not just from the point
: of purchase. You are really trading your effort for the effort made in
: making the item.
:                  the use of the word nikneis for marrying a woman [is]
: because of this retroactive effect. The couple were truly created for
: eachother. We therefore use the same *form* as purchasing even though
: purchasing is not involved.

3- By private email someone else suggested that kinyan means "a formal show
   of intent". Which is true for transfers of property, where it shows my
   intent to own or no longer own something. It's also true for weddings,
   even though the thing intended is very different.

5- In the above mentioned article, R Winston suggests the following explanation
   for why the concept of "kinyan" is used.
: A bag of money he took in his hand... (Mishlei 7:4)--there is no "money"
: except for the righteous, as it says "A bag of money he took in his
: hand..." (Sanhedrin 96b)

: The Talmud is saying that "money" is a euphemism for a "righteous person."
: And, there is a deep philosophical reason why, but, suffice it to say that
: both represent potential that can be spent in the service of G-d. This is
: why "Chanukah-Gelt" on Chanukah--a holiday that is all about using
: potential the righteous way--is such an important matter.

: Hence, we can conclude that, as much as the technical transaction of
: Kiddushin is performed with actual money, it is also symbolic of what a
: husband and wife are really agreeing upon--to sanctify themselves and their
: relationship by pursuing a common life of righteousness. This is the real
: "money" that makes the Kiddushin (literally, "sanctification") spiritually
: take effect, and what makes the marriage, ultimately, an eternal one.

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Message: 8
From: "David E Cohen" <ddcohen@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 1 Mar 2007 22:13:20 +0200
Re: [Avodah] When did Ta'anis Esther begin?

R' Zev Sero wrote:
> First we need to know what, if anything, Megilas Taanis actually
> says about Taanis Esther.  If it's mentioned, then it would be a
> clear exception to the general rule, and thus no problem.

The 13th of Adar is mentioned in Megillas Ta`anis, but as the celebratory
day of "Yom Nikanor," which seems to suggest pretty strongly that Ta`anis
Esteir was not being observed on that date before the churban.

Here's my own theory:

From the Mishnah and Tosefta, one gets the impression that the mitzvah of
mikra Megillah is by daytime only, and that like most mitzvos `aseih
shehazeman gerama, women are exempt.  Perhaps this was the original takanah
in the days of Mordekhai and Esteir.

R' Yehoshua` ben Levi tells us that one is obligated to read at night (since
the Jews cried out at night also -- "velailah lo dumyah li"), and that women
are obligated (since they, too, were included in the miracle).  Perhaps this
reflects a different, later takanah of Chazal, which gave the observance of
Purim the additional aspect of attempting to relive the experience that the
Jews went through.  Once Chazal decided to remodel Purim by adding this
layer to its observance, it became relevant to expand the chiyuv of mikra
Megillah based on when the Jews cried out (both day and night) and who was
involved (both men and women).

If this correct, perhaps one could suggest that Ta`anis Esteir was not part
of the original observance of Purim, but came as part of the "reliving the
experience" framework of this later takanah.  In order to relive the
experience, we can't just have a day of rejoicing in a vacuum, but need for
it to come on the heels of tze`akah and teshuvah.


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Message: 9
From: T613K@aol.com
Date: Thu, 1 Mar 2007 15:14:06 EST
Re: [Avodah] Tzinius and the ILG


TK wrote:
>>Well, a more limited inference would be that rape of an enemy woman  in  
wartime is not inherently immoral. <<
TK now thinks she must have been drunk when she wrote that.  In the  cold 
harsh light of day, she does not really think that this is such a  defensible 
position.  She certainly would not want to be the wife of a man  who brought home 
such plunder from war.  "Hi honey, look what I brought  home!"  "Ugh, what IS 
this??  A bald woman?  And you want ME to  feed her and take care of her?!  
All she does all day is wail and sniffle,  what on earth kind of thing is this 
to bring home?!  You couldn't find some  jewelry in the ruins, you had to 
bring home this...this...."  "Oh for  crying out loud, what are you making such a 
fuss for?  Rape in wartime is  perfectly moral!"  No, not really such a 
defensible position at all.

--Toby  Katz

<BR><BR><BR>**************************************<BR> AOL now offers free 
email to everyone.  Find out more about what's free from AOL at 
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Message: 10
From: "Moshe Yehuda Gluck" <mgluck@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 1 Mar 2007 22:00:51 -0500
Re: [Avodah] When did Ta'anis Esther begin?

R' Zev Sero:
*First we need to know what, if anything, Megilas Taanis actually says
*about Taanis Esther.  If it's mentioned, then it would be a clear
*exception to the general rule, and thus no problem.

As far as I can tell, it doesn't say anything about Taanis Esther.


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Message: 11
From: "kennethgmiller@juno.com" <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
Date: Fri, 2 Mar 2007 03:31:28 GMT
Re: [Avodah] Tzinius and the ILG

It seems that a post of mine was misunderstood. I will now clarify it.

R' Michael Kopinsky wrote:
> I think that the fact that the Torah permits slavery
> indicate that it is not INHERENTLY problematic. Just
> like polygamy, there are times when slavery is OK.
> Both are unacceptable under certain circumstances,
> which is why polygamy is assur, and slavery may as well
> be. ... Murder, on the other hand, (if it is actually
> murder, and not permitted killing) is absolutely
> immoral, and no societal norms can EVER be machshir
> murder.

To me, rape is an inherently immoral act, so I played "devil's 
advocate" and used it to demonstrate a logical flaw in RMK's post. I 
> According to this logic, rape is not inherently immoral,
> because if it was, then we would not find a case (yefas
> toar) where it is mutar.

In other words, according to RMK's logic (which says that if 
something is occasionally allowed by the Torah, it cannot be an 
inherently immoral act) rape is *not* inherently immoral. But since I 
presume that rape *is* inherently immoral, my conclusion is that 
RMK's logic is flawed.

However, I would like to propose a variation of RMK's logic which 
seems satisfactory to me:

When the Torah permits something in all cases, this indicates that it 
is not inherently immoral. RMK's examples of polygamy and slavery are 
in this category. When the Torah forbids something in the vast 
majority of cases, this indicates that it *is* inherently immoral, 
even though there might be some exceptions where that act is allowed. 
This category includes killing people (despite the exceptions for 
executions and self-defense) and rape (despite the exception for 
yefas toar).

Akiva Miller

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Message: 12
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 2 Mar 2007 06:37:25 -0500
[Avodah] Vashti's Tail etc...

To give context, on Areivim we were discussing the dilemma of how to
deal with your children coming home with stories like Vashti's tail.

I pointed the chevrah to R' Adlerstein's "Did Vashti Really Have a Tail"
<http://www.innernet.org.il/article.php?aid=236> where he humorously
expressed his nervousness about non-frum Shabbos guests coming the Shabbos
before Purim, and his child bringing this medrash home when discussing
"So, what did you learn this week?"

I also found "Did Vashti have a Tail?: Reflections on Teaching
Midrash Aggadah in Elementary Day Schools", by Penina Besdin Kraut
<http://www.lookstein.org/articles/vashti.htm>, on the Lookstein Center
(of Bar Ilan) site for Jewish educators.

On Thu, Mar 01, 2007 at 09:48:46PM -0500, R Moshe Yehuda Gluck asked
: If we believe in Kriyas Yam Suf, Matan Torah and Nevuah, why do we have a
: problem believing in Vashti's tail?

See the Rambam, introduction to Cheileq, a few amudim before the ikkarei
emunah, his description of the three katim of people when it comes to
aggadic stories. I don't want to be in one of his first two katim.

When we debated the historicity of aggadic stories in vol15 (May 2005),
RGSeif was compiling a list of baalei mesorah who tell you they are
ahistorical. Perhaps it's time for him to post the current state of his
collection of meqoros.

I recall it included the above Rambam, the Maharal (which RGS got from
Rav Mordechai Breuer, BTW), the Gra and the Maharsha, RGStudent mentioned
the Rashba in Chiddushei Aggados and the Maharatz Chayos (and pointed
us to <http://hirhurim.blogspot.com/2005/04/fantastic-aggadah.html>
for a translation of the MC's take on the Rashba).

Why is medrash told as meshalim, then? Different reasons are given:
Rav Hirsch (kedarko beqodesh) discusses the emotional and intellectual power of symbols. Or perhaps it was a means of minimizing the writing of TSBP,
but this technique is unsuited for halakhah. Or the MC's explanation:
it was a way of grabbing the audience's attention.

IOW, like a few other issues in contemporary Jewish thought, current
opinion in the street does not reflect the opinion of the majority of
baalei mesorah who wrote on the issue over the ages.

In general, I do not see a problem with that. I didn't reject my belief
in universal HP after tracing the very short history of the idea.
However here, I am convinced by the Rambam's argument that taking them
literally will either be dangerous to one's emunah or a ziyuf haTorah.
Again, see the haqdamah for yourself.

In the case of Vashti's tail, I don't even think it was a mashal. Reading
RYAdlerstein's peice led me to conclude the medrash was meant to be read
literally in general, but used a colorful idiom for one phrase. It would
be like someone a millenium from now opening a book written in American
English in the 20th cent, and wondering why the author claimed something
so outlandish as a character growing a spare tire around his waist.


Micha Berger             Rescue me from the desire to win every
micha@aishdas.org        argument and to always be right.
http://www.aishdas.org              - Rav Nassan of Breslav
Fax: (270) 514-1507                   Likutei Tefilos 94:964

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Message: 13
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 2 Mar 2007 06:42:48 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Vashti's tail etc...

On Fri, Mar 02, 2007 at 02:37:09AM -0500, Moshe Yehuda Gluck quotes
RMMiller and responds:
:> Additionally, such an explicity supernatural occurance seems out of
:> place in the (superficially) natural story of the megilah.

: That seems to me to be an emotional reason for rejecting the plain meaning
: of Chazal....

Actually, it defies every maqor that speaks of hesteir panim.

The whole mehalekh we consistently take to understanding Purim *requires*
a lack of any supernatural events.



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