Avodah Mailing List

Volume 23: Number 98

Sun, 06 May 2007

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Ken Bloom <kbloom@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 4 May 2007 14:48:34 -0500
Re: [Avodah] chumrah of Sefardim

On Friday 04 May 2007 04:01:58 am Eli Turkel wrote:
> In past posts people have discussed various kulot of Sefardim.
> In his latest halacha yomit ROY paskens that a Sefardi is not
> yotzeh with sweet chalah for Lechem Mishneh (and its berachah is
> mezonot). He specifically states that a Sefardi that visits an
> Ashkenazi for shabbat meal has to either request chalah without any
> sugar or else to bring his own challot.
> I wonder how many edot mizrach actaually do this?

I do this as much as possible. The sepharadi shuls here are makpid to 
only serve water challah. When I do say hamotzi on sweet challah, it's 
because I know I usually eat a lot of challah anyway, so I'll probably 
eat the necessary shiur to say hamotzi regardless.

ROY is specific that one cannot include other foods to make this shiur, 
but one Sepharadi rav here follows RMF in this regard, as he says that 
you can combine other foods to make the necessary shiur.


Ken Bloom. PhD candidate. Linguistic Cognition Laboratory.
Department of Computer Science. Illinois Institute of Technology.
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Message: 2
From: dfinch847@aol.com
Date: Fri, 04 May 2007 16:22:35 -0400
[Avodah] Ideal World

Micha Berger writes:

"I seem to recall Aleinu's phrasing of our mission statement is that we 
strive to create an ideal world, lesaqein olam bemalkhus Shakkai."

The notion of creating an "ideal world" is an interesting one. It 
mirrors the concept of tikkun olam, which is often invoked (albeit not 
by the RW) as a Jewish duty to extend oneself to reform the secular 
world. From a different point of view, Aleinu's ideal world, like 
tikkun olam, has little to do with social unity or reform, either 
within the Jewish community or outside of it. Instead, it refers to the 
proper process of Talmud, i.e., the construction of an imaginary 
utopian agrarian society under rules derived from Gemara. This ideal 
world exists only in our heads, as a space within which we can 
concretize or "apply" rules that otherwise would remain hopelessly 

This isn't to say that social unity within the Jewish world isn't 
important. Most of us yearn for unity, but we are notoriously bad at 
acheiving it, to our great loss. Unity means tolerance, and too many 
Jewish true religionists believe that tolerance of apikorsism is 
apikorsism itself. I'm reminded of the famous comment by an American 
platoon leader in Vietnam: "We destroyed the village in order to save 

David Finch
AOL now offers free email to everyone.  Find out more about what's free 
from AOL at AOL.com.

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Message: 3
From: "Samuel Svarc" <ssvarc@yeshivanet.com>
Date: Fri, 4 May 2007 17:59:30 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Torah Study vs. other contributions to society

MSS then wrote (on why a computer is not compared to a person):
>> 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?

Well, lets see what Chazal say about this--the Gemara in Megilla that Gadol
Talmud Torah
MeHatzalas Nefashos. It would appear that they felt it's better to seat in
that ivory tower.

>> 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

Is that so? Before you gave as the alternative to the ivory tower becoming a
medic, i.e. helping people. The Gra chose not to do this; he chose to remain
in the ivory tower. If what you meant was secular knowledge, who argues
against this? No one. The Gra is quoted in favor, and it's a Mishna in Avos
that chochma exists by NJ. This is a straw man. The question that was posed
(I quote from Avodah Digest, Vol 23, Issue 82) was, "I just wanted to point
out what the Pe'as HaShulchan says in his preface, that the GRA wanted to
study pharmacology from the doctors of the time (i.e. the practical stuff of
how to concoct medicines. It sounds like the theoretical things he figured
out on his own), and his father forbade him from doing so, so that he should
not have to waste time from Torah study, since he would have to go save
lives if he knew how to practically apply the knowledge he would get from
the doctors).

I believe this is based on the Gemara in Megilla that Gadol Talmud Torah
MeHatzalas Nefashos. Had the GRA known practical medicine, he may have had
situations of a Mitzvah that could not be done by others to save lives, and
his father felt that it was not comparable to the value of the extra Torah
study the Gaon could accomplish.

Does the Torah UMadda accept  this approach as part of its Hashkafa, and, if
so, how? Or does TuM feel that other sources contradict this approach?". No
one denied that the doctors had knowledge that they could have taught the
Gra. What is being asked is, would a TuM adherent make the same choice as
the Gra? And if not, why?

>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.

I can only quote a Gemara to such an attitude, "If he is judged as not
fulfilling his mission in life, what hope is there for the rest of us?"

>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
>> Talmud Torah K'neged Kulam. 3) Your computer has no appreciation that it
>> absorbing the Chochmah of the Borei Olam. 4) Your computer has no need to
>> 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
>> 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).

I see no evidence of this. One would think that after at least 50 years of
TuM having a run one could handily show these assertions. Can it?


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Message: 4
From: "Samuel Svarc" <ssvarc@yeshivanet.com>
Date: Fri, 4 May 2007 17:59:30 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Torah Study vs. other contributions to society

I guess that this is the kind of post one get's when people don't read for

>Subject: Re: [Avodah] Torah Study vs. other contributions to society
>On Fri, April 27, 2007 3:42 am, Moishe Shmuel Svarc wrote:
>: 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....
>Both of whom made a point of studying math and science.

Has anyone said not, least of all, I??

The "ivory tower in discussion" was learning full time, isolated, or going
out and doing something to help this world. I'll quote Rn' Luntz who brought
this concept into our discussion, so I think her words is what we should be
discussing, not some "straw man" definition of "ivory tower". "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

To *this* the reply was made, that both the Gra (remember the Dubno Maggid's
tochahcha to the Gra?) and the Chazon Ish, stayed in learning their entire
lives. The epitome of the "ivory tower" that Rn' Luntz was arguing against.


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Message: 5
From: "Joseph Mosseri" <joseph.mosseri@verizon.net>
Date: Fri, 04 May 2007 18:58:50 -0400
[Avodah] Sefaradim & Hamossi

Regarding the issue Houmrot of Sepharadim.

What Hakham Obadiah Yosef has stated regarding sweet Hallah is the norm
amongst all Sepharadim.

Hamossi is only recited over bread that is made strictly of Flour and water.

If sugar or eggs or juice or oil are added we say Mezonot.

We never use these Hallot to say Hamossi.

Our Shabbat table always has fresh Pita bread.

As far as being qobe'a seoudah, if I recall correctly you need to eat an
amount equal to 4 "eggs" and I know of no one who plans to eat that much
sweet hallah.


This info holds true for Egyptians, Syrians, Lebanese, Iraqis, and many

Shabbat Shalom,

Joseph Mosseri


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Message: 6
From: "SBA" <areivim@sba2.com>
Date: Sat, 5 May 2007 19:58:25 +1000
Re: [Avodah] what actually is the issur

From: "M Cohen" <>
..my comments were only 'limud zechus' for the girl - clearly singing in
front of nJewish men an activity that one would recommend 
that Jewish women s/ stay away from.

However, I'm not sure I understand the connection between your 2 examples.

None at all. (Well hardly.) I wasn't trying to make a connection.

Your comment simply reminded me of this other discussion.


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Message: 7
From: "SBA" <areivim@sba2.com>
Date: Sun, 6 May 2007 02:08:18 +1000
[Avodah] HaTzaddikim HaTehorim

Shoshana L. Boublil:
I generally prefer Rav Kook's take on this matter:
HaTzaddikim HaTehorim Einam Kovlim Al HaRish'a -- Ela Mosifim Tzedek
   Einam Kovlim Al HaKefira -- Ela Mosifim Emunah
Einam Kovlim Al HaBa'arut -- Ela Mosifim Chochmah 
The pure Tzaddikim do not complain of evil -- rather, they add justice;
 do not complain of heresy -- rather, they add faith;
   do not complain of ignorance -- rather, they add knowledge.

We would expect no less from "HaTzaddikim HaTehorim".
OTOH, even RK didn't expect this from your average beinoni...


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Message: 8
From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
Date: Sat, 05 May 2007 21:08:48 -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 31 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.
Just asked this question to Rav Nosson Kaminetsky. He replied that his 
father Rav Yaakov Kaminetsky said that it was not a lie. Shlomo HaMelech 
in fact was prepared to cut the baby in half. But at the same time 
Shlomo HaMelech was fully convinced that the threat to do so would cause 
the resolution of the question and thus he would not have to follow 
through on his threat.

Daniel Eidensohn

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Message: 9
From: "Eli Turkel" <eliturkel@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, 5 May 2007 20:56:25 +0200
[Avodah] sweet chalot

L'maaseh, if you are koveiah seudah, you have to make hamotzi (and do
Netilas Yadayim) on the sweet chalah as well.  So why wouldn't it count
for lechem mishneh?>>

Because ROY paskens that keviat seudah is 216 gram (a lot of challah)
and he paskens like the Chida against Magen Avraham that other
foods are not included in the amount needed to be koveah seudah.
Hence sefardim make mezonot on sweet chalah (unless they eat
a lot of it) and it does not qualify for lechem mishneh

Again the major question for me is what do sefardim in practice when they
are invited out?

BTW in a similar vein we had a discussion in our shul of the ramifications
pf being a "chaver" in the days of the Temple or shortly thereafter. The
case in the gemara is that if one's coat falls and someone else picks it up
then the coat is tameh. One certainly can't
shake hands with most people. We have discussed the problems of men and
women shaking hands in a business setting. I can just see telling one's boss
or customer than you cannot shake his hand because he is an am haaartez!
Being a cohen or chaver was quite restrictive to ones social life

Eli Turkel
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Message: 10
From: "Mike Miller" <avodah@mikeage.net>
Date: Sun, 6 May 2007 05:38:28 +0300
[Avodah] Parshas Behar (Bahar?)

Does anyone know the name of this week's Sedra is not changed from
Behar to Bahar, for the same reasons that Bemidbar becomes Bamidbar?

-- Mike Miller
Ramat Bet Shemesh

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Message: 11
From: "kennethgmiller@juno.com" <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
Date: Sun, 6 May 2007 11:28:54 GMT
Re: [Avodah] unity

R' Micha Berger wrote:
> However, here we again see the existence a mechanism
> for changing minhag. Some condemned groups like talmidei
> haGra for changing their minhagim, just as the Gra
> himself objected when Chassidim did so. And yet, they
> still stand as strong precedent on the strength of their
> own members. The notion that one may change minhag must
> have been held by the Briskers as well. RSRH. The list
> goes on quite a bit.

I can come up with at least one or two mechanisms for a community to 
change its minhagim.

The first is so simple that I'm suprprised no one has mentioned it 
yet, and that is when the rav (rosh yeshiva, rebbe, whatever) 
determines that the current minhag is plain, flat-out, *wrong*. 
Others might disagree and defend the current minhag, but depending on 
how much influence the leaders have, this is a straightforward way of 
effecting change. (I can easily imagine that many communities 
abandoned yotzros and other piyutim on these grounds.)

The second is from Igros Moshe, Orach Chaim 2:21, where he discusses 
a shul founded by Nusach Ashkenaz people, but has acquired many 
Nusach Sefard members who want to change the shul's minhag to Sefard. 
Rav Moshe responds that as long as the majority, or even a large 
minority, of the members are Ashkenaz, the shul's minhag cannot 
change; only when there are zero remaining Ashkenaz members, only 
then may the shul's minhag switch over. (It seemed to me to be a 
glaring omission, that Rav Moshe did not say what the halacha is when 
a small minority of Ashkenaz members are still present.)

HOWEVER, that applies only to *changing* minhagim, not to *adding* 
minhagim. He gives three examples of what consitutes *adding* a 
minhag: Mimaamakim after Yishtabach in Aseres Ymei Teshuva, L'David 
Mizmor after Shmoneh Esreh in Maariv on Rosh Hashana and YK, and 
Hallel at Maariv on Pesach. In all three of these cases, RMF writes, 
there are very good reasons not to say the thing in question, but 
that does NOT mean that they actually have a minhag not to say it. 
They simply don't have a minhag *to* say it. Therefore, RMF writes, 
if the majority of the membership wants, *and* the rav agrees, the 
shul may accept such a minhag on itself. In contrast to all these, 
RMF offers the question of moving Hoshanos from after Hallel to after 
Musaf; that is a change of minhag, and is not allowed.

Akiva Miller

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Message: 12
From: "Simon Montagu" <simon.montagu@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 6 May 2007 14:39:35 +0300
Re: [Avodah] Parshas Behar (Bahar?)

On 5/6/07, Mike Miller <avodah@mikeage.net> wrote:
> Does anyone know the name of this week's Sedra is not changed from
> Behar to Bahar, for the same reasons that Bemidbar becomes Bamidbar?

Probably because it's not the name of a whole book, therefore used less
often, therefore under less pressure to become corrupted by amhaaratzim. I
have no answer to why Sh'mot doesn't become Shemot, though.
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Message: 13
From: "Michael Elzufon" <Michael@arnon.co.il>
Date: Sun, 6 May 2007 16:43:47 +0200
[Avodah] Love your fellow as yourself

Date: Thu, 03 May 2007 15:32:01 +0000
From: "Daniel Israel" <dmi1@hushmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Avodah] Love your fellow as yourself

On Thu, 03 May 2007 15:17:37 +0000 Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org> 
>Tangent: It could be that he was asking for an explanation of the
>whole Torah of a single principle, not "while standing on one 
>foot". This would explain why Hillel doesn't follow his own advice 
>not wasting time answering people who are trying to be silly; the 
>question wasn't silly. I believe this is in the Gra, but as I 
didn't find 
>it, I may have my sources confused.

See the Kli Yakar on that pasuk, which seems to indicate that the 
real question was, as a ger who would not have had a Torah 
upbringing to accustom himself to mitzva obseravance is there one 
principle he could keep in mind because kol haTorah kulah might be 
too much to hold onto in all practical situations.  This, of 
course, opens up the question of why Shammai did not respond 

Daniel M. Israel

This is off the top of my head, but I believe it was the Maharsha who explained that he was asking for a basic principle.  Shammai pulled out his building stick to indicate that this was the wrong way to look at the Torah; it was not a tree, with all of the mitzvoth branching off a single trunk, but, rather, a building which required a broad foundation.


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