Avodah Mailing List

Volume 23: Number 47

Sat, 10 Mar 2007

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: "Moshe Yehuda Gluck" <mgluck@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 8 Mar 2007 20:20:17 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Concord wine for 4 kosos

R' MB:
*A hybrid of concord grapes and old-world grapes is seedless, ie a mule.
*is why the former is called Vitis labrusca, and the latter, Vitis vinifera.
*believe that this inability to crossbreed to produce fertile offspring is
*halachically sufficient to consider them two species.
*So, how do we know that concord wine is yayin for 4 kosos? Why isn't it
*medina? Perhaps its use, and making a hagafen/hagefen on it is a practice
*entrenched before the botony was better known?

See Pesachim 35a, "??? ?????? ??? ????? ?????? ???? ?????? ??? ??????" - it
appears that whatever taxonomy was used by Chazal was sufficiently broad to
allow these to be considered subspecies of some sort of wheat and barley.
Presumably, hybrid/seedless grapes are still considered grapes, and their
fermented juice, wine.


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Message: 2
From: "Jonathan Baker" <jjbaker@panix.com>
Date: Thu, 8 Mar 2007 20:31:59 -0500 (EST)
[Avodah] Medrash


> The Seder Olam orders them Koresh, Achashveirosh, Daryavesh. This places Purim
> between shivat Tziyon (under Koresh) and before bayis sheini. And thus
> Esther's (adopted?) son was the one who permitted the building of the BHMQ
> (2nd year of Daryavesh) and the aliyah sheniyah with Ezra (7th yr of
> Artachshasta, who is identified with Daryaveish).
> PDRE has a chronology that matches the opinion of most modern historians, that
> Achashveirosh was after Daryaveish, and Purim is around 4 decades into the
> bayis sheini period. Historians -- who so far agree with the PDRE but who
> knows what the PDRE would say about this point -- identify Artachshasta with
> Artexerces, and make Ezra and Nechemiah 20 years after Purim.
Weren't there two Daryaveshes?  Darius the Mede, Cyrus, Xerxes, Darius
the Persian (who was the son of Esther)?  Cyrus said "go back", the 
Samaritans said "no Temple", Darius the Persian finally overrode the

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Message: 3
From: "Rich, Joel" <JRich@sibson.com>
Date: Fri, 9 Mar 2007 13:33:39 -0500
[Avodah] Yisrael af al pi shechata

I believe we've discussed the force of this statement before but don't
recollect if we discussed whether the child of a meshumedet is
considered Jewish (assume this is not a case of tinok shenishba - would
that make a difference?)
Joel Rich
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Message: 4
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Date: Fri, 09 Mar 2007 14:38:27 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Yisrael af al pi shechata

Rich, Joel wrote:
> I believe we've discussed the force of this statement before but don't 
> recollect if we discussed whether the child of a meshumedet is 
> considered Jewish

Why wouldn't he be?  She's still Jewish.  (The requirement for a
meshumad to go to mikveh and re-accept the mitzvos is purely a takana
made by medieval Ashkenazi communities for its symbolic effect, to
bring home to people just how serious a problem shmad is.  It's of no
real halachic effect.  It's like the shevuah that BD sometimes makes
someone take with a sefer torah and black candles, etc, all pure
mumbo-jumbo from a halachic standpoint, but designed to dramatise to
the person how serious a false oath is.  If a meshumad returns and
doesn't "reconvert" he's just as kosher.)

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: 5
From: "Katz, Steve" <steve@katznson.com>
Date: Fri, 9 Mar 2007 15:20:32 -0500
[Avodah] FW: Tzeit

In Frankfurt am Main (Germany) after duchaning during Neilah before
shkiah the Rav gave a 20 minute drosha before Avinu Malkeinu.
KT and SS

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Message: 6
From: Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer <ygbechhofer@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 09 Mar 2007 15:25:40 -0500
Re: [Avodah] AishDas and Mussar

I have trained my 10th grade talmidim at MTA to think about everything 
along the Chassidish/Litvish divide, further subdividing Lita into Brisk 
vs. Mussar. They know my biases, in some cases share them, in some cases 
reject them (and, to be honest, some are apathetic). I wish someone had 
let me know about this kind of stuff when I was in 10th grade, and I 
hope that this "early start" will facilitate their growth in ways that 
our dor did not acquire when we were in HS.


Micha Berger wrote:

> Mussar is the pursuit of meaning, not a particular answer to the question.
> This is why Kelm could have secular studies in their high school, while the
> Alter of Novhardok wrote about the collapse of the Jewish "city" and the need
> to retreat to the citadel of the Yeshiva. Or the famous distinction between
> N's "ich been gornisht" vs Slabodka's "gadlus ha'adam".
> The only alternative to Mussar is chassidic ecstatic experience. IOW, either
> one pursues meaning that is based on thought and experience, or one that is
> based on experience for which thought is a second layer. I chose the former
> for AishDas. Not the least because the experiential route is already covered
> by others, but primarily because I'm too into philosophy to be engaged by the
> alternative.
> But both RYBS and R' Yaakov Kaminecki independently discuss the loss of the
> "erev Shabbos Jew", using the same example (!) to describe the loss of
> emotional backing to observance.
> I highly recommend reading R' Elyakim Krumbein's Musar for Moderns. He relies
> on sources that reflect the primarily "Anglo" MO community in Israel, ie his
> typical student in Gush -- RYBS, R' Kook, some Tanya and Likutei Maharan
> (think ChaBaKuK). The lifestyle he is giving a Mussar foundation to is MO.
> Mussar is a broader concept than the one path taken by Tenu'as haMussar. One
> can use their tools to deepen pretty much any hashkafah. Exceptions might be
> Bretslov and Izbitch, which eschew any of the kind of thinking which could
> complicate experience. Probably also Brisk, and the belief that "der bester
> Mussar seifer iz a blatt gemara" -- no need to attacking Mussar's goals
> directly.
> Just look at the huge gap between my philosophy and RYGB's. I'm into RSRH,
> REED, the Maharal, the Kuzari, the Aristotelian rishonim. RYGB is citing
> Qabbalah and Rav Tzadoq. Both of us agree, though, on the need for a head-on
> attack of the job of becoming the kind of person idealized
> In short: I grabbed on Mussar as a tool to work on the heart. It doesn't
> conflict with the range of philosophies to which one aims that heart.
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Message: 7
From: Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer <ygbechhofer@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 09 Mar 2007 15:32:51 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Tzinius and the ILG

I have an ongoing debate with one of my colleagues at MTA. Were he not 
Jewish, he would be Catholic, and he believes that a la Catholicism, 
mitzvos are meant to have a salvational effect on us.

On this basis, he justifies the teaching of Gemara b'Iyun to lower-track 
students - viz., it has a salvific effect even if they gain little 
enlightenment from it.

I, OTOH, believe that mitzvos are meant to have a refining impact on us 
- and that applies even to the most obscure and mystical rites we possess.

As such, I have great difficulty justifying the almost pointless 
instruction of the lower levels in Gemara b'Iyun. Better to teach them 
Sefer HaChinuch.


Micha Berger wrote:

> 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...
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Message: 8
From: Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer <ygbechhofer@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 09 Mar 2007 16:28:07 -0500
[Avodah] More on Mitzvos and Iyun (Was Tznius and ILG)

My colleague wrote, upon seeing my email:

> I think this is a fair representation of my view of mitzvos but I'd 
> like to have "salvific" defined as "metaphysical effect upon the 
> neshamah and upon the spiritual fabric of the cosmos leading to the 
> soul achieving a better place after death."


> BTW the notion that the minutae of kashrus, taharos, korbanos, 
> ketores, safrus etc ad infinitum has rational overt impact towards our 
> refinement seems to me at least patently absurd.
> Ditto re the study of Tlamud b'iyun. What difference could it have 
> rationally towards my moral refinement to discuss a stirah in rishonim 
> in zevochim???? Or offer a lmudische disscetion of a machlokes.
> Either it's all supra rational or its just silly.
> After reading the Kellner book I am even more convinced of the 
> inability of the neo Aristotelean world view to explain Judaism.

To which I say:

1. I think it absurd to regard all that as salvific. Why would the RBSo 
have us do all these silly things merely to save our souls. And, a 
refining impact need not be rationally or overtly explainable.

2. It is only such refining (to both reason and emotion) that makes 
Talmud b'Iyun worthwhile. See above #1.

3. At least I have the Rambam and Rov Rishonim on my side. Kellner, 


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Message: 9
From: "SBA" <sba@sba2.com>
Date: Sun, 11 Mar 2007 02:01:40 +1100
[Avodah] Lo higido Esther es amo ve'es moladto..

Do any of the meforshim discuss the great risk Esther took by not
revealing her nationality?
After all, that meshugenner husband of hers could easily have killed her for
not answering his question..


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Message: 10
From: "SBA" <sba@sba2.com>
Date: Sun, 11 Mar 2007 02:05:43 +1100
[Avodah] Fw: yefas toar

From: "SBA" <sba@sba2.com>
> I am not so sure about this being a true 'hetter' of 'rape'.
> See Kiddushin 22a, Rashi dh: Shelo Yilchotzeno Bamilchomo:
> "Lavoy oleho." Which may mean no rape, or to wait until
> he takes her home. (Admittedly Tosfos has a lot kashes on this.)
> Also see Rambam Hilchos Mishpotim 8:2-7 all the halachos concerning
> a 'yefas toar'. Definitely not the usual rape situation.

Maybe I should have added, that reading the Chumash, there is absolutely no
indication of rape. (Checking out the Chumash and rashi is always a good 

"Velokachto lecho le'isho": "She'im ein HKBH matiro YISOENO be'issur. Avol
im NOSOH..."

Clearly talking about marriage - and not rape.

Ve'im tirtzah lomar that according to some shittos he may have relations
with her ONCE before the whole procedure, it's still FAR from the usual 
Again see Rashi on "Veheisiro simlas shivyo":  "Lefi sheheim naim, sheAkum
benoseihem miskashtos bamilchomo lehaznos acheirim imohem..."

Rape? She was ASKING for it...


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Message: 11
From: "Eli Turkel" <eliturkel@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, 10 Mar 2007 20:09:35 +0200
[Avodah] Josephus

J<<osephus was a Sadducee heretic, Jerome was a sheigetz who probably
got the idea
from Josephus, and Targum Rishon is post-Talmudic.  >>

Why would one think that Josephus was a Sadduccee heretic? He seems to favor
the Pharisees over the Saducees.  Just because someone doesnt agree with
everything we like doesnt make him a Sadduccee
Eli Turkel

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Message: 12
From: Zoo Torah <zoorabbi@zootorah.com>
Date: Sat, 10 Mar 2007 20:16:53 +0200
Re: [Avodah] Medrash

R' Zev Sero wrote:

<<On the other side of the spectrum, I've never heard of *anyone* who takes
the RBBC stories literally, so arguments against such a position are using a
straw man.>>

Maharsha, in his commentary to the first of Rabbah bar bar Chanah's stories,
and apparently referring to all of them, does say that these stories are
true in their literal meaning as well as in their deeper meaning; he notes
that sailors see weird and wonderful things. Rashbam writes similarly. So it
seems that there is a long-standing dispute in these matters.

Natan Slifkin

New! "The Challenge Of Creation: Judaism's Encounter with Science, Cosmology
and Evolution." Buy it at www.yasharbooks.com/shop

Learn more about Torah and the natural world at www.zootorah.com

Subscribe to the Zoo Torah essay series - send an e-mail to

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Message: 13
From: Yitzchok Levine <Larry.Levine@stevens.edu>
Date: Sat, 10 Mar 2007 21:44:52 -0500
[Avodah] R. Danziger's Review of R. Elias' 19 Letters

For those who are interested, I have posted a link to Rabbi S. 
Danziger's original review of Rabbi Elias' edition of RSRH's Nineteen 
Letters at


This review appeared in Jewish Action Magazine, Summer 1996. Amongst 
other things, Rabbi Danziger quotes and explains RSRH's approach to 
Aggadita and Kabbalah. I found RSRH's views on these topics most 
interesting in light of some of the views of other Torah scholars.

Other articles related to the topic of TIDE, pro and con, are at 

Yitzchok Levine 


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