Avodah Mailing List

Volume 23: Number 64

Mon, 26 Mar 2007

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: "Ilana Sober" <sober@pathcom.com>
Date: Fri, 23 Mar 2007 10:58:36 -0500
[Avodah] candles

RZS: Chazal certainly had both beeswax and tallow candles, and called them

Thank you for the correction. I see in Bameh Madlikin (20b) that sha'avah
(beeswax?) is pasul as the liquid in a lamp but kosher as a "ptilah" - which
Rashi explains as "our" type of candle. Although I am not convinced that
this is what our very-very-great-great grandfathers actually used for
bedikat chametz, I am also modah that a small flame, however generated, is
significantly different from an electric bulb.

I wonder what happened when paraffin candles were invented. Did anyone
pasken that if tallow was good enough for your grandfather, it should be
good enough for you?

- Ilana

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Message: 2
From: "Moshe Yehuda Gluck" <mgluck@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 23 Mar 2007 11:27:23 -0400
Re: [Avodah] [Areivim] Kitnyos

A discussion on Areivim mentioned the idea that it would be difficult to mix
up kitniyos and non-kitniyos. Actually, the kitniyos plants used to actually
grow amongst the chometz plants. It was a real chashash. See Hagahos Yaavetz
to Pesachim 35a s.v. Mai Shitznisa.


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Message: 3
From: "Chana Luntz" <chana@kolsassoon.org.uk>
Date: Fri, 23 Mar 2007 17:23:17 -0000
Re: [Avodah] [Areivim] Re Love of Israel

Moved to Avodah as requested

RMYG writes:

> R'n SB:
> *Before we continue, I would appreciate if someone could 
> locate those *G'marot *and other sources that show that when 
> the King of Israel or the King of *Judea, or later, King 
> Herod (for example) didn't follow Halacha -- the *citizens 
> could ignore royal commands and laws and act as they pleased.
> There was a technical problem with their not listening to 
> King Herod - they would get killed. Is there any source that 
> there was a halachic problem?

If you read Hilchos Melachim in the Rambam (look particularly at Perek
3) you will see that there is a general principle that anybody who
rebels against a king may be executed (see halacha 8) - the example that
the Rambam gives is the king ordering a person to go to a particular
place and him refusing.  Halacha 9 then states that if a person was
preoccupied with a mitzvah he is not liable, on the principle that d'vri
haRav (ie Hashem) takes precedence over divrei haeved (ie the king).  He
then goes on to say that it is not necessary to say that if a king
decrees to mevatel a mitzvah, he should not be listened to.  But this is
by no means written as a blanket heter to not listen to the king in all
situations but only where there is a conflict between the divrei haRav
and the divrei Haeved.  The only conclusion I think that can be drawn
from that is that if there is no conflict, one is chayav misa if one
does not obey the king.

And of course the principle of giving kovod to a King is learnt out from
Eliyahu running before Achav (see Menachos 96a) and Achav was, as we
know, involved in Avodah Zara, among other things - so not exactly the
most dedicated of shomrei mitzvos.  Nor was he a melech of beis David.

And R' Mike writes 
> >From a strictly halachic perspective, obviously all those cases were 
> >cases
> of melachim,
> which is the only halachic government. Clearly, the 
> government nowadays is not a malchus

That is in fact not so clear at all.  There is a view that where a
community of Jews have sovereignty over their own actions, and
are not under the domination of a non-Jewish ruler - that constitutes
malchus.  That is, where we do not have an individual from beis David
to rule over us, then the community as a whole
takes the "reserve powers" as it were, and is considered a king.  If you
follow this halachic line (and i believe that Rav Kook and many of his
followers do - it is based on principles in the Ran by the way) - then
the establishment of Medinat Yisroel was the
restoration of malchus to Yisroel, in the Land of Israel.

(a melech must be 
> annointed not elected, must not be a woman, must be a ben 
> david, etc, etc.). There is no torah prohibition to violate 
> the word of Ehud Olmert medin melech. The government never 
> lost it's halachic legitimacy, because it never had any.
> The government has no halachic legitimacy medin melech, and 
> therefore one may certainly question it's entire legitimacy. 
> (Not that I think there is anything productive to be gained 
> from doing so).

As mentioned above, if you hold by the reserve powers rule, then this is
not in fact true.  Another (but slightly different) position on this
holds that if people accept somebody as a king over them (kablu alehem),
then that person takes on that position (not dissimilar to accepting a
judge) even if they do not otherwise fulfil the characteristics
required.  The Ramban brings this as a justification as to how Devorah
could act as shofet, and again appears to be basing it on a form of din

> KT,

Shabbat Shalom


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Message: 4
From: "Ilana Sober" <sober@pathcom.com>
Date: Sat, 24 Mar 2007 21:14:34 -0500
[Avodah] candles

Sorry for posting without proper research - I see now that the Rosh, brought down in the SA, says one should davka use a wax candle for bedikat chametz, not tallow because it drips (and is fleishig or treif, depending) and certainly not oil because it drips and the lamp is also hard to get into chorin usdakin.

Although that is still not necessarily a source for what chazal actually did.

- Ilana
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Message: 5
From: Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer <ygbechhofer@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, 24 Mar 2007 23:03:07 -0400
Re: [Avodah] More on Mitzvos and Iyun

Micha Berger wrote:

> As my son is a case in point. He would have no problem following the be'iyun,
> if he didn't have to deal with reading the texts. As he is significantly above
> grade level in math, I have little doubt (and a father's confidence and pride)
> that he could follow a tife sevarah with the best of 'em. Should he be
> deprived?
I am not addressing the very smart population, regardless of reading issues.

> In general: IQ is a fiction in that intelligence can't be reduced to a single
> number. Different people can gain different things from be'iyun, they needn't
> get everything out of it to get /something/.
The question is what is the point of diminishing returns. Would you not 
agree that there is some point at which learning Ein Yaakov would be 
more productive? (As I have noted elsewhere, the question is actually 
sharper when it comes to bekiyus.)

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Message: 6
From: Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer <ygbechhofer@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, 24 Mar 2007 23:44:55 -0400
Re: [Avodah] AishDas and Mussar

Micha Berger wrote:

> On the same subject line, different topic, RYGB wrote at Fri, 09 Mar 2007
> 15:25:40 EST:
> : 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.
> Is this fair to your Yekkish and Sepharadi talmidim? I mean, getting them to
> think in these terms is great, but there are more than three families of
> derakhim.
Not anymore... Although we do discuss these extinct derachim and their 
utility as supplements to the major derachim. Where have you recently 
met active Yeskkishe and Sephardic communities of Avodah that are 
distinct from the "Forks" divisions?

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Message: 7
From: "Michael Kopinsky" <mkopinsky@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 25 Mar 2007 00:44:39 -0600
Re: [Avodah] AishDas and Mussar

On 3/24/07, Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer <ygbechhofer@gmail.com> wrote:
>  Not anymore... Although we do discuss these extinct derachim and their
> utility as supplements to the major derachim. Where have you recently met
> active Yeskkishe and Sephardic communities of Avodah that are distinct from
> the "Forks" divisions?

Sfardim in EY, at least from my experience, are very different in this
regard.  Just read their mussar (my source is Rav Mordechai Eliyahu's weekly
parsha sheet, compiled by someone else from his weekly radio show). Their
mussar seems to echo much more closely the mussar of the Rishonim, such as
Rabbeinu Yonah and the Ran in Drashos.  It does not have depth of experience
of the chassidim nor the depth of introspection of the Mussarniks, but is
much more to the point, and thus more harsh.  Rabbi Prof Haym Soloveitchik
(in Rupture and Reconstruction) claims that Sfardi mussar has much more of
the fire and brimstone stuff.  While RME doesn't have that, it is much more
direct than what we're accustomed to.

Granted, I think that many of them could gain a lot from exposure to other
derachim, but they do have a different derech in mussar, and it's important
to realize this.

Also, what I have seen is in EY, where isolate sfardi communities still
somewhat exist, unlike in the melting pot USA.  It is likely that RYGB's
talmidim, even if sfardi or yekish, will be practicing the American Judaism
descended from chassidus/litvish as described in RYGB's essay, and only
really maintaining "token" minhagim symbolizing their sfardi ancestry.
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Message: 8
From: MPoppers@kayescholer.com
Date: Sun, 25 Mar 2007 04:16:29 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Amen

In Avodah Digest, Vol 23, Issue 63, RnCL wrote:
>> Unlike the blessing, expressed openly in speech, Amen belongs inside the
mind. The blessing is the means, and Amen is the goal. <<
> I confess that I am rather surprised by this.
> While it is true that the halacha is that one should not answer amen
louder than the original blessing (Orech Chaim siman 124 si'if 12), it
is also the halacha that one should not answer an amen which is
"chatufa" (missing the aleph) or "katufa" (missing the nun) - see s'if
10 there. These latter halachas would seem to emphasise that it is
important the the amen is articulated clearly, and therefore is by no
means silent. <
IIRC, "Amen belongs inside the mind" intended to convey the notion of the
respondent being mentally "in sync" with the m'vareich (or with the person
uttering Qaddish) and didn't mean to say that the respondent
needn't/shouldn't verbally express his mental agreement.

Gut Voch and all the best from
--Michael Poppers via RIM pager
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Message: 9
From: "Marty Bluke" <marty.bluke@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 25 Mar 2007 13:32:34 +0200
Re: [Avodah] [Areivim] Kitnyos

In many of the postings relating to Kitniyos people have referred to
it as a gezera. It is not a gezera, kitniyos are explicitly permitted
by the Gemara. A minhag evolved in ashkenaz not to eat kitniyos.

As my 12 year old son pointed out to me, the situation nowadays
borders on the ridiculous. Anything and everything (cakes, cookies,
etc.) is made today out of potato starch for Pesach, which makes the
whole minhag of kitniyos into a bit of a joke.

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Message: 10
From: "SBA" <areivim@sba2.com>
Date: Mon, 26 Mar 2007 00:04:22 +1000
[Avodah] Amod Hashachar

For centuries, rebbes and their talmidim have been teitching (Brochos 1:1):
'Ad sheyaaleh amod hashachar'  referring to the 'morgen shtern' = the
morning star. (Anyone who went to a Yiddish cheder, and was taught
differently, please comment.)

I have in the past weeks had reason to look into this and there is no doubt
that this is incorrect. Not one of the meforshim on Mishnayos explains it

I wrote 'for centuries' as the Tosfos Yom Tov already writes:
"Yesh regilin leposroy kochav hashachar...ach bekaan ein nachon.."

So too does the Gro write in Shenos Eliyohu:
"Amod Hashachar: hu heir pnei hamizrach - velo ayeles hashachar..."

Kehati brings 4 pshotim, not one as morning star, (with one inferring that
'ayeles hashachar' is not the 'kochav hashachar'.

See also the Mishna Berura's view 58:18 dh: 'Amod Hashachar'.

From Wikipedia for "Morning star"
>>Morning Star may refer to: The planet Venus, also called the evening star.
Venus..is the second-closest planet to the Sun,...It is the brightest
natural object in the night sky, except for the Moon, ....reaches its
maximum brightness  shortly before sunrise or shortly after sunset,
for which reason it is often called the Morning Star or the Evening Star.<<

Any melamdim and magidei shiur here who can comment?


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Message: 11
From: Yaakov Moser <ymoser@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 25 Mar 2007 22:33:40 +0200
Re: [Avodah] Halachic who is right from "The Lost Scotch"

One question that I would like to ask in connection with the case is 
what everyone has to say on why our gut "moral" feeling is so different 
from the Halacha (at least as presented by the author of the book):
Can we assume that usually Halacha, at least in realms of Hoshen 
Mishpat, is close to what we feel is morally correct and it is only this 
case which is out of line, or are there plenty of other examples of such 
a dissonance? [As noted the level of dissonance may well be one of the 
reasons this case was included in the book - and brought to our 
attention on this mailing list.]
To what extent is it just the particular situation presented (ie the 
wedding singer) which presents a moral problem, or is even the basic 
ruling brought in the Shulchan Aruch that the worker loses out because 
the river dries up a challenge?
What are the sources for this Halacha - and do we need to know more of 
the socio-economic/legal background to workers at the time of Hazal in 
order to understand the ruling?

I would be interested to hear other people's views on the subject.

Jason Moser

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Message: 12
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Mon, 26 Mar 2007 12:21:19 -0400 (EDT)
[Avodah] Minhag Avos and Minhag haMaqom

Some group named Machon Shilo raised the question of qitniyos in EY bizman
hazeh. Regardless of my opinion of their basic argument (discussed on Areivim)
I would be interested in a discussion on the nature of minhag.

In most of our communities today (places like Frankfort-am-Hudson, New Square,
etc... aside), the locale does not have its own minhag. Rather, we are still
looking back to our father's or grandfather's place of origin and retaining
that location's minhag. A yekke living in Elizabeth probably still waits only
three hours after meat, washes his hands before qiddush, etc...

As pointed out on Areivim, this is mutar. The typical town is like the
talmudic case of one with two batei din. Although in Elizabeth, with REMT's
say in the running of every facet of the kehillah, I find that a stretch.

I do not see how this is a good thing, or how minhag is /supposed/ to work.
Yom tov sheini shel goliyos, the textbook "minhag avoseihem beyadeihem",
depends on where someone calls home, perhaps even for shorter stays, not
whether my family happened to live in EY or in Bavel during bayis sheini. The
ideal for minhag is for a locale to have a norm.

Of course, what we're seeing right now could simply be the consequence of
living in a transition period. We'll never know, as the emergence of a
communal identity reflecting our current actual locales will be overwhelmed by
the effects of having a melekh, a BHMQ, and a Sanhedrin, well before the
generations it would take.

And I think that's really it. Minhag, being what is is, would have to merge
naturally, because people happen to converge in behavior. Much the way
upsherin is spreading among American Litvaks. Even if it were not Machon Shilo
but a group of rabbanim with greater name recognition and accepted authority,
I am not sure they can unify minhag through proclamation. (Perhaps that's why
such groups haven't tried.)

But I do not think the status quo is a good thing, or how minhag should work.
While I might lament the death of a derekh hachaim that served my family so
well for generations, not every minhag that I was raised with can and should
emerge victorious. IMHO, it is better to see a singular minhag EY than a
survival of minhag Litta or Aram Tzova. (And better to see a geulah than see a
minhag America ever develop.)

WADR to those among us who are vocal advocates for preservation of their
distinct minhagim. Actually, their championing the minhagim and hashkafah of
their forebearers will play a significant role in what kind of norm emerges.

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: 13
From: "Rich, Joel" <JRich@sibson.com>
Date: Mon, 26 Mar 2007 12:45:35 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Minhag Avos and Minhag haMaqom

Some group named Machon Shilo raised the question of qitniyos in EY
bizman hazeh. Regardless of my opinion of their basic argument
(discussed on Areivim) I would be interested in a discussion on the
nature of minhag.

Tir'u baTov!

The question that always bothered me is when (and why)  did the nature
change from primarily community based to family based? I say primarily
because IIRC the chatam sofer and R' Moshe allowed a ben Yeshiva to
change his minhag to that of the Yeshiva.

An ancillary question - we know the halacha of 2 batei dinim but why
would there have been 2 batei dinim in the town in the time of the
gemara - is it lchatchilla or bdieved?

Joel Rich
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