Avodah Mailing List

Volume 23: Number 91

Tue, 01 May 2007

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Elliott Shevin <eshevin@hotmail.com>
Date: Tue, 1 May 2007 17:13:23 -0400
Re: [Avodah] fashion models and opera singers

Harry Maryles wrote:
> > But IIRC when Fiddler on the Roof first came to the Chicago stage> (the play, not the movie), Arie Crown Hebrew Day School used it as a> fund raiser. Of course the subjet of Kol Isha came up. 
Definitely "Bach." And "Harnich."  :-)
> I believe the Heter was based on the fact that the faces of the women> in the play could not be seen from the seats that were being sold by> ACHDS and the sound heard was that of a microphone reproduction and> not their actual voices. 
It seems to me that as a practical matter, some of the actor's own voice 
will be audible, in addition to the sound system--although so little, it 
may be butil. 
On the other hand, I don't feel so guilty now about having seen the 
tour of "Wicked" last May--especially since our seats were in the 
last row of the nosebleed section.  :-) Elly
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Message: 2
From: "Aryeh Stein" <aesrusk@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 1 May 2007 17:17:18 -0400
Re: [Avodah] fashion models and opera singers

[From Areivim] RMF quoted RSC as follows:

>>>Offhand, however, it is not the singer who transgresses, but the
men who come to hear her. And since these men would presumably attend
the opera anyway, the female singer would not be liable for *lifnei
ivver* (=aiding and abetting a transgression).>>>

Can the same thing be said about a frum female who wants to wear a
bikini at the beach - it's those men looking at her that are
transgressing, not her?  And, since these men are at the beach (where
there are other women dressed in a similar fashion), there's no
problem with "lifnei eiver."

I think we all would agree that this would, in fact, be wrong.  If so,
how is it different than singing at the opera - both are "displaying
their erva"?


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Message: 3
From: Goldmeier <goldmeier@012.net.il>
Date: Tue, 01 May 2007 19:42:33 +0300
Re: [Avodah] Matza on Pesach Sheni

According to Rite and Reason, there are varying customs. Some eat the 
night of the 14th and some eat during the daytime. Of course there are 
some who will do both as well...

Kol tuv



kennethgmiller@juno.com wrote:
> Pesach Sheni is this week, on Wednesday. The Sefer Hatodaah (as 
> translated by RnTK's father, Rav Bulman zt"l) writes: "Some have the 
> custom of eating some left-over matzah from Pesach, as a memorial to 
> the Pesach sacrifice which was eaten together with matzot."
> Does anyone know, according to this minhag, when would the matza be 
> eaten? On Wednesday afternoon, corresponding to when the Pesach Sheni 
> is shechted, or on Wednesday night, corresponding to when the Pesach 
> Sheni is eaten?
> Thanks!
> Akiva Miller
> _______________________________________________
> Avodah mailing list
> Avodah@lists.aishdas.org
> http://lists.aishdas.org/listinfo.cgi/avodah-aishdas.org

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Message: 4
From: "Eli Turkel" <eliturkel@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 1 May 2007 18:36:44 +0200
[Avodah] 2 most influential poskim

<<Doron Beckerman claims that the Chofetz Chaim and Rav Moshe Feinstein
are "the two most influential
Poskim in post WWII Jewry."
Rav Ovadiah?  Rav Shlomo Zalman? etc.
Also, if as has been mentioned here before the influence of the
mishnah berurah post-WW II was largely due to the influences of Rav
Kotler and the Chazon Ish -- see Daniel Eidensohn's posts at
http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/vol01/v01n026.shtml and
http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/vol04/v04n003.shtml -- then perhaps it
makes more sense to view Rav Kotler and the Chazon Ish as among the
most influential poskim.>>

In any case the MB is from the 19th century and why count it more than SA.
My personal vote for the 2 most influential modern poskim are the Chazon Ish

and RMF. Certainly in Israel Chazon Ish is the most influential posek.
RAK was basically a RY and not a posek. RSZA would be my second choice
in hilchot shabbat. However, when it comes to modern shailot in 4 parts of
I think that RMF was the most innonative. Just as a trivial example consider
question of saying birkhat hagomel for a flight. Most poskim compare it to
over water and apply the old criteria. RMF redefines what it means and
is doing something unnatural. Similarly with kitniyot RMF goes to the
basic question of the gezara while the others try and decide if cottenseed
is called
kitniyot etc ...

Eli Turkel
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Message: 5
From: "Eli Turkel" <eliturkel@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 1 May 2007 18:23:52 +0200
[Avodah] unity

Again, where do we see a basis for considering the current mixture of
minhagim in a single city being anything more than a bedi'eved? And
why aren't we looking to accelerate the process of unifying?>>

I think there are 2 levels of lechatchila:

1. In an ideal world minhag hamakom wins and there is only 1 minhag
determined by the Sanhedrin (or perhaps 1 for each tribe)

2. Given the present status the lechatchila is for each community to follow
minhag avot. There is no basis to impose unity. In Israel they tried a
common nusach that was some combination of all the variations and it was
rejected by almost all gedolim. Rav Arusa wrote his PhD advocating a unified
minhag (based mainly on his Yeminite-Rambam background) which also got
nowhere. In EY there are few generally accepted country-wide minhagim by
they are rare. Though I have not made a study I suspect that this occurred
when the Gra and/or Shulchan Arukh haRav agreed with Sefardi psak against
the Ramah. For example not wearing tefillin on chol hamoed or saying
She-he-chiyanu at a Brit Milah.

Eli Turkel
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Message: 6
From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
Date: Tue, 01 May 2007 20:36:19 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Love your fellow as yourself

Prof. Levine wrote:
> The new translation of RSRH's commentary on Vayikra translates pasuk 
> 19:18 as "but you shall love your neighbor's welfare as though it were 
> your own."
> From Rav Hirsch's commentary it seems to me that he interprets the 
> work l'ray'acha to apply to all of mankind, to one's fellow man, and 
> not just to one's fellow Jew. Indeed, he writes, "For the duty of love 
> that is under discussion here is incumbent in regard to *_all_* our 
> fellow men." (page 624. My emphasis on the word all.)  Further in his 
> commentary of this pasuk Rav Hirsch refers to Avos 6:1, namely that 
> one who loves Hashem loves His creatures. His creatures would, of 
> course, include all mankind.
> Yet, according to the Chinuch and the Rambam, ray'acha is taken to 
> refer to one's fellow Jew only.
A support for the general understanding is found in Rashi(Shabbos 31a). 
Rashi understands Hillel's response as a parapharase of Vayikra (19:18). 
[As does the Maharsha] Concerning the idea of learning all the Torah on 
one foot. "That which is hateful to your chaver (ray'acha) don't do. 
Rashi says your chaver (ray'acha) either means G-d or man. If it means 
man that means not to steal and do the other mitzvos which are relevant 
to man. He doesn't differentiate between Jew and non-Jew.

Daniel Eidensohn

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Message: 7
From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
Date: Tue, 01 May 2007 21:18:56 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Did Shlomo HaMelech lie when suggesting the baby

R' Meir Rabi wrote:
> Did Shlomo HaMelech lie when he proposed that the baby be cut?
> The Gemara Shevuos 30 defines MidVar SheKer TirChok as misrepresenting 
> that two witnesses exist thereby inducing an admission, rather than 
> presenting a single witness which only requires that an oath be taken, 
> and we are fairly sure he will swear falsely. There is no suggestion 
> that any testimony is presented, the fake witness just comes along to 
> BD and just by impression, convinces the admission of the defendant.
>  One would have thought this a fantastic outcome, no lies, false oaths 
> and true restitution. But we are wrong, this is bad, evil and sinful.
> Now, how was the ploy utilised by Shlomo HaMelech any different? He 
> threatened to cut the baby thereby discovering the true mother.
To add to the question [which is on 31a]. The Magen Avraham (O.H. 156) 
poskens like Pesachim (112a) that if you are convinced that the halacha 
is X you are allowed to say it in the name of a godol in order that 
people accept the halacha.

However the Nesivos [choshen mishpat 28:7] notes that the fear is the 
litigant will be coerced into make a peshara not in accordance with the din.

Daniel Eidensohn

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Message: 8
From: "kennethgmiller@juno.com" <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
Date: Tue, 1 May 2007 18:34:04 GMT
Re: [Avodah] Peanuts and other Kitnios

R' Micha Berger asked:
> Again, where do we see a basis for considering the current
> mixture of minhagim in a single city being anything more
> than a bedi'eved? And why aren't we looking to accelerate
> the process of unifying?

Simple questions, with simple answers. Really, people shouldn't be 
working so hard on this stuff. No sarcasm intended.

First, I *don't* see the current mixture as anything more than 
bdieved. But, by definition, b'di'eved is the situation that has been 
given to us. It would have been nice and lechatchila if Jewish 
immigrants assimilated into the existing communities. But they 
didn't. This is how it is. Deal with it. By which I mean that we can 
live with differing minhagim, as long as we don't fight over them.

Second: We *are* looking to accelerate the process of unifying. It's 
a three-step process. We're currently on step number one, and trying 
to finish it up as fast as we can. Then we'll get to steps two and 

The Three-Step Process of Unifying Klal Yisrael:
1- Get all of us to be as much of an Eved HaShem as possible.
2- Moshiach will come.
3- Beats me what comes next. We'll figure it out later.

Akiva Miller

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Message: 9
From: "Chana Luntz" <chana@kolsassoon.org.uk>
Date: Tue, 1 May 2007 23:49:11 +0100
Re: [Avodah] Torah Study vs. other contributions to society

I wrote:

> >Look, let me give an extreme example.  My computer is (at least when 
> >attached to the Bar Ilan CD) Baki in all of Shas, Rishonim, 
> Achronim, teshuvas, what have you - at least if you know how to ask
the right 
> >questions.  But "knowing" Shas/Rishonim/Achronim in the 
> fashion of my computer does not fulfil a person's mission in life.
> needs to be more than that.  Torah and mitzvos needs to be integrated
into a 
> >person's life.  One clear way of doing this  is if a person 
> is going on to be a Rav, he will be applying the Torah he has learnt
to assist 
> >others (and that requires developing his understanding).  
> Same is true if he goes on to be a Rosh Yeshiva or teacher.  But if he

> sits in his ivory tower of a yeshiva and learns b'Hasmada, how 
> ultimately does he differ from my computer (except that my computer
does it 
> better)?  The answer that I think everybody would give is that it is
> just having a photographic memory that is important, but it is that 
> something extra that human beings are capable of adding called
> that can, if done properly, make this learning valuable.

And RMSS then writes:

> I do not believe that is the correct answer. Your computer is 
> an inanimate object that has no chiyuvim or mitzvos. The Jew 
> sitting in "his ivory tower of a yeshiva" is doing what 
> Hashem commanded him to do. 

But the contrast was between him sitting in his ivory tower of a yeshiva
and going out into the world and becoming a medic and saving lives, ie
pikuach nefesh.  The question that was asked was in essence, what is it
that Hashem commanded him to do out of those two?  So let me give you a
non realistic example - just for this purpose.  Let us say that the
person in question was, when it came to learning, an idiot savant, ie he
had a photographic memory, but absolutely no ability to produce any
chiddushim. That is, while he could on applying himself recite endlessly
what has previously been said, nothing of his own would ever be added to
the Torah body of knowledge.  On the other hand, in some way, if he went
out and became a medic, he would be able to save lives by using his
abilities.  Would you still say it is so clear that one is doing what
Hashem commanded him to do if he stayed in learning?  I think one would
instinctively draw a very clear line between such a person and the GRA,
say, who while he might well have also been able to save lives as a
medic, produced an enormous amount of "new Torah" ie chiddushim which
contributed to the growth and development of Torah knowledge.

Note of course that the more one takes a Litvishe approach, the more one
draws this line.  After all, one of the criticisms in the Litvishe world
of a Rav Ovadiah Yosef and his derech of learning has to do with the
extent he catalogues and brings an encyclopedic numbers of sources
rather than the more chiddush oriented approach of the Litvishe school.
But the less you regard this "understanding that if done properly makes
this learning valuable" as I put it as being the key, the more you have
to conceed that Rav Ovadiah is the greater scholar. 

> >...  From a TUM perspective, the same level of understanding just
cannot be 
> achieved by remaining in an ivory tower yeshiva setting for one's
> life, and hence by doing so this fellow has just not fulfilled his
mission in 
> >life, which is to develop his understanding to the utmost extent 
> >possible, no matter how hard he works at learning b'hasmadah and how 
> >many mesechtos he is Baki in.
> Experientially, this is a disproven perspective. The two 
> greatest examples of people who spent their lives in an 
> "ivory tower" are the Gra and the Chazon Ish. It's ludicrous 
> to assert that they didn't fulfill their mission in life.

Note that a TUM perspective would disagree vigorously with this
statement which suggests that the Gra spent his life in the ivory tower
of the yeshiva. The Gra was famous for teaching himself, and that
includes all forms of secular knowledge.  One doesn't have to go to
university to satisfy TUM - just be prepared to explore all forms of
knowledge.  A TUM proponent might well say that is is easier to acquire
this knowledge by going to university, where one is spoonfed, rather
than teaching it to oneself, like the Gra did, and that many if not most
people might not be able to achieve even a modicum of secular knowledge
without that spoonfeeding (just as many people both in and not in the
TUM worldview may well say that while it might have been possible for
the Gra to achieve his torah learning without needing the support of a
yeshiva setting, that is not true of most people) but that is a
different matter.

Regarding the Chazon Ish, a TUM perspective could well take the view
that the Chazon Ish might have been even greater if he had had more
secular knowledge (might not have been a daas yachid regarding the
nature of electricity for example) - and that it was his lack of secular
knowledge and understanding of the outside world that resulted in the
Chazon Ish never being accepted by the entire Jewish world as the posek
hador - so that arguably he did indeed not fulfil his mission in life.

And RDB then writes:

> 1) Your computer has no Neshama that is nourished by bytes of 
> Torah information. 2) Your computer is not fulfilling the Mitzvah of
> Torah K'neged Kulam. 3) Your computer has no appreciation that it is
absorbing the 
> Chochmah of the Borei Olam. 4) Your computer has no need to fulfill
the Halachos 
> contained in the stored information 5) Your computer has no Bein Adam
LaChaveiro interactions 
> that need to be guided by the Torah. Our protege  interacts 
> with his family, friends, neighbors, acquaintances, and 
> strangers on a daily basis, just not in the context of a 
> particular profession.

Agreed.  But note that certainly 3), 4) and 5) are precisely about that
something extra called understanding that a human being is capable of
adding.  Appreciation of Chochma is understanding.  In addition one
needs understanding in order to fulfil halacha, and to have bein adam
l'chavero interactions.  As I tried to suggest, one of the key
differences between my computer and a human being is this thing called
understanding, which allows the knowledge held to be applied.  That I
thought was a universal.  The difference is that TUM believes that the
understanding achieved by also picking up secular knowledge and
knowledge of the outside world is a deepened form of understanding when
then applied to the learning of Torah.  That is, from a TUM perspective,
when a human being learns Torah after some contact with the outside
world, he has a deepened appreciation that he is absorbing the Chochma
of the Borei Olam (ie no 3), it helps him to better understand the Torah
he is learning so as to fulfil the halachos contained in the Torah he is
learning (no 4) and thereby helps him better to do the bein adam
l'chavero interactions better (ie 5).

No 1) *may* not be about understanding  - but only if you understand the
nourishment to take place on a purely spiritual/mystical plane that has
nothing to do with the intellect.  If you understand the level of
nourshment being linked to the intellectual level of the understanding,
then a TUM advocate would again hold that by also exploring secular
knowledge that nourishment will be increased (this also goes to the
discussion that is being had here on Avodah about whether there is value
in teaching a weaker student gemora that he doesn't have a hope of
understanding, because he gets something on a mystical level.  If you
say yes, then it is not about understanding, it is about something
mystical - which taken to the extreme might mean that say, my son David,
who has the intellectual level of a 6-9 month baby and will continue to
do so for the rest of his life, might get something out of being plonked
in an advanced gemora class.  But if you say that putting a weak student
into a class that goes completely over his head is not a sensible idea,
then you seem to be back to the idea that that nourishment is linked to

And similarly with no 2).  It depends what you mean by talmud torah.  A
TUM perspective is that the talmud torah is of a better quality if the
mada aspect of life is explored - that is very clear from R' Lamm's
books.  So if talmud torah is kneged kulam then a better quality may
well be better (even if it is a better quality earned at the expense of
quantity).  That is also why I was saying that Torah u'Parnasa is
different from TUM -ie Torah u'Madda.  Madda, ie literally science, is
about the knowledge of the secular world, and the need to explore it in
order to better strengthen one's Torah understanding.  It was, as far as
I am aware, coined by R' Lamm, but obviously was an attempt to formulate
an explanation for the kind of teachings he received from his teachers
(he certainly would have seen RYBS as demonstrating that ideal - a Rosh
Yeshiva who was also a first class philosopher). Torah u'parnessa is
about the obligation to earn a living and support one's family (with its
roots in the Rambam and in the gemora where we would seem to posken
against RSBY) and hence the pragmatic need to acquire the skills to do
so honourably (and the dishonourability of turning one's torah into a
spade).  They do not necessarily overlap.  I cannot believe that R' Lamm
would have thought RYSB a failure if there had been no YU to pay his
salary, despite not only torah but philosophy not being the most
lucrative of professions (nor one that gives an income with any degree
of certainty).  Nor would he have thought that RYSB should have gone off
and done medicine even if he could have saved many lives. But I believe
he unquestionably felt that RYSB was a greater Torah scholar because of
his studies in philosophy (and mathematics and ... ), and that he would
have been a lesser Torah scholar had he not gone anywhere near such
studies, but stayed within the confines of the yeshiva world.  And I
also believe he felt that this would be true even of those with lesser
abilities, ie they would all be better Torah scholars than they would
otherwise be if they explored madda in the wider sense, whatever that
meant in terms of their abilities (ie it might not be philosophy, it
might be physics, or medicine, or computing that best enhanced that
particular individuals abilities in torah, although all of the above and
more is more likely to be better - the ideal of Torah u' Madda is also
the polymath).  R' Lamm's idea can be extended also to non academic
subjects, but it's original formulation was in terms of the academic.
But however you formulate it, the ideas is that if a person does not
explore these wider aspects of life, then that person will be a lesser
person than they would otherwise be and as a consequence the torah that
they are capable of will be diminished.



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Message: 10
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Date: Tue, 01 May 2007 18:57:15 -0400
Re: [Avodah] fashion models and opera singers

T613K@aol.com wrote:

> If it's not OK for a Jewish man to hear a woman sing I don't know how it 
> can be OK for a Jewish woman to sing in a venue where there is a very 
> high probability that at least one member of the audience is a Jewish man.

Why not?  This is not just "one side of the river"; there is literally
nothing the singer can do that would prevent or lessen the listener's
putative avera.  The opera will go on, with exactly the same number of
female singers, whether she is in it or not; the man will attend it,
and will hear the same songs coming from voices just as female.

The proper analogy is not to "two sides of the river" or "one side",
but to a goy who is standing with a cup of wine on a tray, and a yid
come and stands beside him with another cup of exactly the same size,
also on a tray.  Along comes a nazir who announces his determination
to drink exactly one cup of wine, not a drop more or less, walks up to
the two cup-holders and chooses the yid's wine instead of the goy's,
while they both stand there doing nothing.  In that case I don't think
anyone would hold the yid even peripherally responsible for the nazir's

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: 11
From: T613K@aol.com
Date: Tue, 1 May 2007 19:04:59 EDT
Re: [Avodah] Child marrying against Parents' wishes

From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
>>However if  the potential mate is in fact observant but is  a baal tshuva 
or a ger.  or a mixed marriage of American and Israeli or ashkenaz with 
sefardi? A  litvak marrying a chasid? What about biracial? If the person 
is retarded or  has Down's syndrome? What about ben or bas nidah? Former 
drug addict or  alcoholic?

Does anyone know of psak in these types of  cases?<<

Daniel Eidensohn

Don't know a source -- only anecdotal.  One case I know of was  a young man 
who married the daughter of a giyores -- the chassan's parents  refused to come 
to the wedding, even though my father got involved himself  and tried to 
persuade the parents to change their minds.  The parents were  eventually 
reconciled to their son's marriage -- they went to the bris when  their first 
grandchild was born.
The other case I know of was the marriage of a BT man (who had  been frum a 
long time and had learned in mainstream yeshivos) and FFB  woman where my 
father said, in regard to the question of ben nidah, "Yeshiva is  a mikva."
My impression is that my father wouldn't have given a blanket psak -- one  
may marry against his parents' wishes, period -- but would want to know on a  
case by case basis whether the parents' objections were justified, before  
advising the chassan (and kallah) what to do.
This gets into "da'as Torah" territory, which some object to because it  is 
somewhat amorphous and depends on how much you trust the particular da'as  
Torah you're consulting.  Some people want clear psak with written sources,  and 
will not be satisfied with anything else.

--Toby  Katz

************************************** See what's free at http://www.aol.com.
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