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Volume 23: Number 41

Tue, 06 Mar 2007

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: RallisW@aol.com
Date: Tue, 6 Mar 2007 00:11:48 EST
[Avodah] (Darius II) Daryovesh In The Megilloh?

First, why is the birth of Daryovesh not mentioned in the Megilloh even  
though it occured during this period, in I'm not mistaken? Second, according to  
the Apocrypha there are six additional chapters to Megillas Esther. I'm sure  
that Chazal did not include them into the Megilloh, because they did not focus  
on the miracle of Purim.
I'd love to hear people's different opinions.
<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: 2
From: "Moshe Yehuda Gluck" <mgluck@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 6 Mar 2007 00:31:29 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Ikkarim redux

*> To possibly add a different perspective, it seems to me that
*> perhaps the
*> issue of minhag can be added to the mix. In other words, what is
*> the minhag
*> of the majority of Klal Yisrael when it comes to Ikkarei HaDas?
*> Well, just
*> about every siddur for hundreds of years included Yigdal and the 13
*> Ani
*> Maamins. If so, as far as the psak of minhag is concerned, the 13
*> ikkarim
*> are accepted as psak. (Risking R' SM's wrath :-) I'll share
*> something a
*> posek told me. He asked a major contemporary posek (MCP) what the
*> minhag by
*> a certain aspect of Hilchos vestos was, and the MCP answered that
*> it was
*> whatever was printed in the Yiddish pages of the (IIRC) Korban
*> Mincha Siddur
*> that discussed Hilchos Niddah. As all Jewish women used to use that
*> as their
*> Hilchos Niddah primer, that was the minhag.)

R' MS:
*minhag and sociology are closely related.  I don't think that there
*is much doubt that the average person thinks that the 13 ikkarim
*constitute some type of catechism - which is exactly RM Schapiro's
*point - that when one examines the facts, it is difficult to maintain
*that there actually exists a uniform version of the ikkarim which is
*globally accepted.
*The debate here is whether halachic criteria factor at all  into the
*ikkarim - but the suggestion that what ikkare emunah are is decided
*by the minhag amcha - rather than by rational analysis and the
*leaders,   would have made the author of the ikkarim cringe...Yes,
*there are halachic issues where the which shita is used depends on
*the minhag - and, as in this post, the question was specifically
*which minhag was the accepted one - and, in general, unless one
*believes it is a minhag taut one does go with what people do.
*However, the very idea that ikkare emunah are decided by the amcha
*reflects a fundamental cheapening of the very idea....

I see Minhag as a type of Psak. I don't have Mareh Mekomos, but I suspect
that RAMBAM, too, saw it that way, as the source for the idea is in the
Gemara. (I assume that by "the author of the ikkarim" you mean RAMBAM and
not the author of the Sefer HaIkkarim.) I am also not sure that the
mechanism driving the fact that Minhag can decide Psak is based on Amcha
deciding the correct Mehalech - I rather suspect it is because either the
RBSO generally sees to it that the Amcha don't make mistakes; or, because we
assume that Amcha are basing themselves on reputable authorities. (IIRC,
I've seen the Aishel Avrohom (Butchatch) say the first idea.)


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Message: 3
From: "Dr. Josh Backon" <backon@vms.huji.ac.il>
Date: Tue, 06 Mar 2007 09:22:08 +0200
[Avodah] First mention of Taanit Esther

See: Messechet Sofrim 21:1 "minhag raboteinu she'b'maarav l'hitanot...".
See also the She'iltot on Parshat Vayakhel Siman 66. The Shibolei
haLeket 194 deems Taanit Esther a minhag rather than being "m'divrei



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Message: 4
From: "Marty Bluke" <marty.bluke@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 6 Mar 2007 14:13:03 +0200
[Avodah] Tzeit

R' Jeffery Saks wrote:
<In Israel this creates a problem of wanting to get to Birkhat Kohanim for
Neilah before Shkiah, then having to shlep out everything else <(Avinu
Malkeinu, etc.) to fill the time. If anyone has a creative solution to this
problem -- aside from paskening like the Mishnah Brura <over the Luach --
I'd be delighted to hear it.

One creative solution that is used in at least 1 shul that I know of in
Israel is to do the following. In Chazaras Hashsatz of Neila skip all the
selichos, duchen and then right after chazaras hashatz (before avinu
malkenu, kaddish tiskabel, etc.) go back and say all the selichos you
skipped. This allows you to duchen (before shkia) while not having to shlep
afterwards as you are saying all the selichos which take some time. By
saying them before kaddish tiskabel they are still connected to the chazaras
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Message: 5
From: "Marty Bluke" <marty.bluke@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 6 Mar 2007 14:25:48 +0200
Re: [Avodah] [Areivim] vashti

R' Micha Berger wrote:
<Could someone post a maqor that says that the default assumption when
dealing with a medrash that is "fantastical" is to assume it IS <historical?
Or even that the majority are

The gemara at the end of berachos (54b) has an incredible story about Og.
The gemara describes how Og had planned to destroy Israel. He planned to
uproot a mountain three miles in size, throw it upon them and kill them. The
gemara then goes on to describe how Moshe killed Og. Both the Rashba and the
Maharsha assume that the story is not to be taken literally. However, the
Mishna Berura (Biur Halacha Siman 218 sif 1) does take this story very
literally. He comments how Og was descended from Malachim and was therefore
endowed with great powers etc. One could infer from here that the MB held
that we take all of these stories literally as this is one of the more
fantastic ones, and that is not just me talking, the Maharsha writes that
the story is "zar hu". So if we take this story literally when the Rashba
and the Maharsha don't kal vachomer we would take a less incredible story
like Vashti's tail literally.
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Message: 6
From: "Eli Turkel" <eliturkel@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 6 Mar 2007 14:51:45 +0200
[Avodah] esther and virgins

My wife pointed out to me that in a latter posuk it says" Vaye'ehav
hamelech es ester mikol hanoshim vatiso chein vochesed lefonov mikol
habesulos" which implies that there was a broadening of the selection
criteria at some point after the initial decree.>>

This would mean that Achashverosh also "invited" married wives. Not a
very good way
of keeping friends in the kingdom! Doesn't seem to fit with the other stories of
his making the party to make friends etc. Remember he did not know
that Esther was
Jewish so this wouldnt have been an anti-Jewish act.
According to another Medrash that Esther was an old lady at the time
it is even stranger.

kol tuv

Eli Turkel

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Message: 7
From: "kennethgmiller@juno.com" <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
Date: Tue, 6 Mar 2007 12:53:21 GMT
[Avodah] besulos

R' Eli Turkel wrote:
> only virgins were "invited" to Achashverosh

R' Levi Serebryanski wrote:
> My wife pointed out to me ... "mikol habesulos" which
> implies that there was a broadening of the selection
> criteria ...

I have often wondered: in this context, and/or perhaps in other 
contexts, is it possible that we translate the word "besula" too 
literally? Could it be that in some cases it can refer to ANY 
unmarried girl, regardless of whether she has had sexual relations?

Akiva Miller

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Message: 8
From: "Eli Turkel" <eliturkel@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 6 Mar 2007 14:55:39 +0200
[Avodah] Vashti

But the second opinion rejects that approach, and insists that her
disfigurement wasn't some mere skin outbreak, but a supernatural
event, one that requires the instrumentality of Malach Gavriel;
perhaps the reason why this was necessary was to drive home to her
that she hadn't merely suffered from bad luck, but was being
punished for her misdeeds.  >>

I repeat my previous question - what forced Chazal to assume Vashti has sins and
was evil. This is not pshat in the pesukim. Again, in accordance with the Malbim
(and R.Boubil) it could have been just political intrigue.

Eli Turkel

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Message: 9
From: Meir Shinnar <chidekel@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 6 Mar 2007 08:39:59 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Ikkarim redux


> As RMS has stated several times that there is no universal  
> acceptance  of the
> 13 ikkarim in our sources, I wonder a) which of the 13 are not   
> universally
> accepted as binding and b) which of the 13 he personally does not   
> believe.
> Also I wonder when he says that the ArtScroll's acceptance of the   
> 13 ikkarim is
> a "minhag taut" -- I wonder what exactly is the taus that   
> ArtScroll has
> made, in his opinion?

I am surprised at RTK, normally a close reader -
a) I have never said anything about my personal belief - I think  
reducing it to the personal is problematic - so I wonder where she  
got the idea.  If she wants to know, I believe in 14 ikkarim - the  
thirteenth + ibn ezra's vehamalach ben ha'adam ve'elokav hu sichlo   
(or, to rephrase, ani ma'amin be'emunah shlema shehatora lo machricha  
lih'yot shoteh) - something I am sure the rambam would have fully  
agreed with (and is also relevant to other threads - such as  
understanding vashti's tail)

b)I have never said anything about Artscroll and the Ikkarim - I was  
talking about the acceptance of the artscroll siddur by the community 
(again, please read what I said), and, as said there, I don't think  
this is an appropriate forum for the discussion of artscroll.

c) What we have been talking about is something else.

   1) RM Schapiro documented that there wasn't universal acceptance  
of the 13 ikkarim - not merely not acceptance of them as defining the  
ikkare emunah, but people who were cholek on their validity - this is  
in his article and book.

No one has mounted a serious refutation of that point - but instead,  
people have argued that that diversity of opinion, while recognized  
as having existed, is halachically irrelevant - because every posek  
today uses them - and the discussion was over the truth  and  
implications of that assertion.

However, no one, post RM Schapiro, has seriously denied the point  
that there wasn't universal acceptance of the ikkarim.
If RTK wishes to mount a challenge to this assertion, let her...

  2)  Even if one says that the 13 ikkarim are binding, few people  
hold that they are binding in their initial form and meaning - There  
are very few who truly hold that the 13 ikkarim (available in every  
Orthodox siddur, as another poster wished to remind those of us so  
ignorant as to question what they mean...) are truly binding as  
written - in that they would write out those who disagree.... one  
example that most are modeh to is the issue of prayers to mal'achim -  
but there are many other issues (eg, a mekubal who holds that the ari  
reached a greater understanding of the chochma haelokit than moshe  
rabbenu, or someone who holds kipshuto of an opinion in the gmara  
that the last eight psukim of the torah were written by yehoshua -  
there are relatively few who would say that they have the status of  
kofer - and there are many others  - and so people have talked about  
a loose variant of the ikkarim that is binding - while no one has  
actually been able to formulate the precise variant - that would  
include everyone that they want to include - which the whole concept  
rather strange.

This has been compared to saying that the shulchan aruch is binding -  
true, but not quite, as we frequently follow other opinions - but  
saying this about dogma changes the whole notion of dogma...
Of course, RTK may be able to formulate a linguistically precise  
universally accepted version, but, unless one defines the universe  
quite narrowly, that is quite an endeavor.....

Meir Shinnar
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Message: 10
From: "Yisrael Medad" <yisrael.medad@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 6 Mar 2007 17:52:45 +0200
[Avodah] Letter

*But doesn't that risk running afoul of the idea of the Xtians or,
lehavdil, the Lubavitchers?  "Ish Hashem Hayah".*

Not necessarily.  He was a man of G-d, who followed a moral code dictated by
a Divine Being.  Simple.

*By the way, that's usually spelled "Polonnoye" in English*.
You don't really expect me to spell a Russian-Ukrainian place name properly
in English except by my phonectic comprehension, do you?  ;>)

Yisrael Medad
Mobile Post Efraim 44830
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Message: 11
From: saul mashbaum <smash52@netvision.net.il>
Date: Tue, 06 Mar 2007 18:08:00 +0200
Re: [Avodah] Vashti's tail

That's very nice, and fits well with the Malbim's take on what was going
on behind the scenes (which IMHO was meant more as a commentary on 19th
century German politics than on what he thought the megillah really means).
I find this statement extraordinary. Why do you think this is the case? I'm certainly willing to be convinced, but on the face of it I am *very* skeptical of the accuracy of this statement.
I find perfectly plausible that, for example, Shakespeare's Macbeth contains references to contemporary British politics (the ascension of James I to the throne). Macbeth is, after all, a dramatic work meant to entertain his contemporary audience. Why would the Malbim base his commentary on a book of the Tanach on a transient political situation? 
Saul Mashbaum
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Message: 12
From: "Dr. Josh Backon" <backon@vms.huji.ac.il>
Date: Tue, 06 Mar 2007 18:49:33 +0200
Re: [Avodah] risk-taking limits

>Well, in fairness to the other point of view, there probably IS some
>question as to how much you are obligated to put yourself at such risk,
>and probably also questions as to whether you are allowed to take such

Here's my post from SCJM from 2 years ago on placing oneself in danger
[I'm also going to cross-post this to AVODAH]

Halachic discussion on danger has ranged from diets (Iggrot
Moshe CM II 65), aesthetic plastic surgery (IM CM II 66,
Chelkat Yaakov III 1, Minchat Yitzchak VI 105 #2, Tzitz
Eliezer XI 41), performing a mitzva (e.g. drinking wine
at Seder for someone with a severe allergy to wine (Halacha
u'Refuah Sefer Daled p. 125), undergoing risky medical
procedures (Shvut Yakov III 75; Achiezer II 16 #6; Binyan
Tzion I 111; Beit Meir YD 339 #1; Yad Halevi I YD 207; Harav
Unterman in NOAM Vol. 13, p. 5; Tzitz Eliezer IV 13 and X 25
#17; Shearim Metzuyanim B'Halacha 190 s"k 4; Mor u'Ktziya 328),
volunteering for medical research, and others.

discussed in Choshen Mishpat 426:1. Although the Yerushalmi
indicates that a person MUST place himself in a *possible*
risk in order to save someone else, see the SM"A there that
this isn't brought down since most Rishonim didn't hold this

HOWEVER: the Pitchei Tshuva CM 426 s"k 2 indicates that although
a potential rescuer should evaluate risks, he shouldn't be
overly cautious. The Mishna Brura OC 329:19 states that there
is no obligation in risking one's life to save another but still
does mention this Pitchei Tshuva. More relevant is the Tzitz
Eliezer XIII 100 who rules that in time of war, one may take
extraordinary risks in order to save others. Rav Elyashiv in
his Kovetz Tshuvot #124 (re: doctors' chiyuv to treat everyone
any time of day or night) states that one must undergo pain
and suffering in order to save the life of someone else (he
does mention the Rambam in Sefer hamitzvot Lo Taaseh #297 and
the SM"A in CM 426 quoting the Yerushalmi).

On the one hand, halacha (YD 252) holds that Pidyon Shevuyim
is the highest mitzva. Needless to say this refers to live
humans who are being mistreated (Rambam indicates those who
are starving, in tatters). On the other hand, we have the case
of Maharam mi'Rottenberg who forbade his disciples from ransoming
him from jail (7 years) and from ransoming his body (14 years)
to prevent blackmail of the Jewish community.

The only historical precedent I could find for endangering
one's life to retreive body parts is the story told in
Shmuel Alef 31 (and in Divrei haYamim Alef 10:12) about the
residents of Yavesh Gilad who risked their lives to retrieve
the body parts of Shaul HaMelech and his sons who were killed
in battle with the Pelishtim. I checked all the mefarshim in
both places and the only relevant one was Rashi in Divrei
HaYamim who specifically indicates how the residents of Yavesh
Gilad MASRU ATZMAM B'SAKANA. Since Rashi makes no negative
comment about their actions (and indeed seems to praise it)
it looks like it's permissible to endanger one's life to retrieve
body parts for kevurat yisrael.



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