Avodah Mailing List

Volume 23: Number 115

Fri, 18 May 2007

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: "Michael Elzufon" <Michael@arnon.co.il>
Date: Thu, 17 May 2007 19:02:33 +0200
[Avodah] Shmitta

With all that, I don't see why Otzar BD couldn't fulfill all of this, and
therefore I'm skeptical of the claim that the Badatz doesn't use OB. If it's
true, it would behoove those who feel it's wrong to attempt getting their
POV, as I'm sure they have one as well.  

[MJE] The EH does not hold by Otzar Beth Din by shitta.  I think that this is at least part because the Rambam did not hold by it.

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Message: 2
From: Arie Folger <afolger@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 17 May 2007 20:04:31 +0200
Re: [Avodah] Torah Study vs. other contributions to soCIETY

Recently the gemara in massekhet Megilah "gadol TT meihatzalat nefashot" was 
repeatedly mentioned as a prescriptive statement regarding to training ahead 
of time. Combining that with the story about the Gra and his father's 
recommendation that the son not study pharmacology, it was suggested that 
while piqua'h nefesh requires even transgressing all kinds of prohibitions to 
save a life, that is only while the emergency is presented before us, 
however, training for healing in piqua'h nefesh situations is to be 
discouraged, as it will result in eventual bittul Torah, behetter, but bittul 
Torah nonetheless.

I don't feel like plunging into this debate, but would like to mention that it 
isn't at all clear that Mordekhai was being censured for his hatzalat 
nafshot 'am Yisrael. I don't quite recall whom I am quoting here, as I am not 
busy with Yevamot and Shavu'ot, but I recall mentioning an opinion that 
Mordekhai was censured not for the hatzalat nefashot, as that was necessary 
and praiseworthy, but for staying on as an imperial advisor after the danger 
had passed. Sure, in his new capacity, Mordekhai might prevent future 
gezeirot, but it was preferable to be beohalah shel Torah rather than become 
a court Jew.

IIRC, this interpretation is also mentioned in the notes of Rebbe Scroll (the 
son Mr. Schottenstein) ;-).

While I admit that the interpretation suggested up until now in this thread 
fits the words of the gemara better, the interpretation I am quoting deals 
with the obvious absurdity of *seeming* to suggest that in the face of 
greatest danger, it would have been better for Mordekhai to abstain from 
getting involved.

Kind regards,
Arie Folger

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Message: 3
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Date: Thu, 17 May 2007 14:09:58 -0400
Re: [Avodah] shemitta

Samuel Svarc wrote:

> I highly doubt this goes into Yishuv EY, not facilitating someone else.
> Furthermore, Yishuv EY today is not a mitzvah according to the Rambam and
> many others, so there is no problem in not facilitating someone else's
> Yishuv.

The Ramban holds that "viyshavtem bah" is itself a mitzvah, so that
someone who lives in EY and breaks every one of the other 612 mitzvot
is nevertheless doing a mitzvah merely by living there.  The Rambam
disagrees, and holds that living in EY is not itself a mitzvah in the

But he certainly holds that "Yishuv EY" -- that EY be settled -- is a
"mitzvah" in the looser sense, i.e. something that is not only desirable
but justifies kulot that one would not otherwise use.

For instance, suppose one wishes to buy a property, but it can only be
done on Shabbat, and the issur of amira lenochri stands in the way.
I know that in Australia for many years people permitted this, but only
if the nochri was only doing issurim derabbanan, which had been agreed
upon before Shabbat, and even then it was only bish'at had'chak, since
there was no other way to buy houses in those days.  As soon as it
became possible to buy on Sundays, people stopped buying on Shabbat,
even through a nochri.  But that's all in chu"l; in EY the halacha,
which AFAIK is unanimous, is that there is no problem, one can tell
the nochri to do anything that is necessary in order to buy the
property -- even clear melachot de'oraita -- and the reason is because
of Yishuv EY.  And I don't think this depends in any way on the dispute
between the Rambam and Ramban on whether Yishuv EY is itself one of the
613 mitzvot.  Even if it's not a mitzvah, it's important enough to
justify an exception to the issur of amira lenochri.  It doesn't seem
utterly unreasonable, then, to suggest that it may justify at least
some minor kulot in other areas, such as shmitta derabanan.

(This is not to suggest that it *must* justify *all* such kulot.  It
would be perfectly reasonable for a posek to say that this instance
of yishuv EY is so tenuous, and the issur which it is sought to relax
so strong, that it is not justified.  But one can't dismiss the very
idea of such a relaxation  by referring to the Rambam's position on
the status of yishuv EY as an independent mitzvah.)

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: 4
From: "Samuel Svarc" <ssvarc@yeshivanet.com>
Date: Thu, 17 May 2007 14:32:59 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Torah Study vs. other contributions to soCIETY

>From: David Riceman <driceman@att.net>
>You're changing your opinion again.  Originally it was Talmud Torah
>which takes priority, then it was kvius of Talmud Torah, then it was
>preparation for Talmud Torah, now it's preparation with the intent of
>enhancing Talmud Torah.  Is there a precise formulation of this
>preference somewhere?  It seems, l'havdil, more like Proteus than like a

WADR, for someone who has misunderstood almost every single point of the
original discussion it takes a certain level of misplaced confidence to
assert this. The odds are that you are misinterpreting what I said again. If
you will kindly point out, i.e. by bringing quotes instead of assertions,
which two posts of mine seem to you contradictory it would be my pleasure to
play Ariadne to your Theseus.

>> In the context of the original discussion, the training for
>> Zaka scenario was used as a stand-in for the exact opposite,
>> where one has the knowledge necessary for Torah but wants to
>> learn it's practical application as a means to save lives.
>Why is that not also Talmud Torah?

How can that be termed TT? What is he learning? Even when he is learning
medical knowledge, such as anatomy, etc., that could be useful for TT, that
study is not called TT. Now, when he already has this knowledge and is
merely learning it's practical application for the purpose of saving lives,
lo kol sh'kein that it can't be called TT. 

>Don't you agree, for example, that
>learning the umanus of shehita counts as Talmud Torah?

No, I don't agree. The halachos of shechita, yes. Practical lessons on how
exactly to hold the knife, no. Pray tell, why do you think differently? Do
you have a source that leads you to this opinion?


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Message: 5
From: "Samuel Svarc" <ssvarc@yeshivanet.com>
Date: Thu, 17 May 2007 15:07:20 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Torah Study vs. other contributions to soCIETY

>From: saul mashbaum <smash52@netvision.net.il>
>>The source was the Gemara in Megillah which states that Talmud Torah is
>>indeed greater than Hatzalas Nefashos as a choice of prioritization
>I have never understood why this gemara is so often cited as a proof for
>the absolute primacy of Talmud Torah over everthing else.

I would imagine it's because this Gemora places it's importance above
hatzolas nefoshos, which we all know the importance of.

>The gemara says
>of Mordechai that "pirshu mimenu miktzat Sanhedrin" on this point, clearly
>indicating that most of the Sanhedrin essentially supported Mordechai.

You're stopping a couple of lines short. After this bringing down what the
minority did, the Gemora starts a new meimra with Omar Rav Yosef, in which,
using pesukim in Nach, the Gemora establishes that Mordechai's standing was
diminished. This is universally held, i.e. it's not a minority opinion. As
well, the Gemora uses a clear statement "Gadol TT yoser m'hatzolas n'foshas"
that is not refuted at any point in the Gemora, nor do any meforshim al
hadaf ask on this. As well, this Gemora is quoted with this understanding by
gedolie torah of previous generations.


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Message: 6
From: "Doron Beckerman" <beck072@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 17 May 2007 12:41:30 -0700
Re: [Avodah] Torah study vs. Other contributions to society

Regarding Megilla 16b, RMB writes:

>> The pasuq being explained is "veratzui lerov echav". Thus, it's not
even worth as HQBH measures it, but worth in terms of how fellow members
of Anshei Keneses haGedolah do. <<


>> The pasuq being explained is one of being ratzui to other people. It
therefore never crossed my mind when learning the gemara that the gemara
was explaining anything other than those other people's chiyuv of showing
him kavod. <<

That is not the case. The Gemara first quotes the Passuk of V'Ratzui L'Rov
Echav to show that a minority of the Sanhedrin distanced from him. The
Gemara then brings a new Meimra of Rav Yosef that Gadol Talmud Torah... from
where Mordechai is placed on the list.

The 'Rif' commentary to the Ein Yaakov asks - why was the dictum of Gadol TT
not proven from V'Ratzui L'Rov Echav? He answers - had it been for the first
Passuk we would think that that is the position of those members of the
Sanhedrin - but who says that Hashem agreed? He answers that the listing of
Mordechai in different places shows that Hashem Himself agreed!
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Message: 7
From: "Moshe Feldman" <moshe.feldman@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 17 May 2007 22:49:51 +0300
Re: [Avodah] shemitta

I wrote:
>Rav Matanya Ben-Shachar (rav of Neve Daniel) pointed out that as shemitta
>nowadays is drabbanan, such a view avoids a drabbanan but . . .
>undermines the mitzva of yishuv haaretz (deoraisa according to Ramban), as
>Jewish farmers flounder financially and may abandon farming (and there is
>less and less farming in Israel today).

"Samuel Svarc" <ssvarc@yeshivanet.com> wrote:
<<Furthermore, Yishuv EY today is not a mitzvah according to the Rambam and
many others, so there is no problem in not facilitating someone else's

Actually, DL and some Litvish charedim I've spoken to here seem to
believe that the halacha is like the Ramban.  And it is not clear that
the Rambam holds that there is no mitzvah: he did not count it in the
Sefer Hamitzvos, but there are a number of klalim which explain why a
mitzvah may not make into the count of 613 mitzvos.  Certainly in Yad
HaChazkah he does consider there to be an inyan of yishuv EY nowadays.
 And Rav Moshe Feinstein holds that according to the Rambam it's a
mitzvah kiyumis.

I wrote:
>Rav Shlomo Levy (rosh kollel of Yeshivat Har Etzion) noted that according
>to the Ramban (as understood by Rav Kook, which Rav Levy believes to be the
>simple understanding of the Ramban), there is a mitzvah de'oraisa (when
>shmitta is de'oraisa) to eat peiros shevi'is (the pasuk says "l'ochla"),
>though the CI believes that according to the Ramban the mitzvah is just
>not to destroy the fruit (l'ochla v'lo l'hefseid).
> Interestingly many charedim in Bnei Brak have given up on the "kulah"
>of the Chazon Ish and gone over to the Edah Hacharedit. One reason is not
> to have to"bother" with the rules of shemitta produce.
>According to what I wrote above, this should not be viewed as a "bother"
>but a zchus to fulfill a mitzvah.  We don't normally try to put ourselves in a
>position to be patur from fulfilling mitzvos.

"Samuel Svarc" <ssvarc@yeshivanet.com> wrote:
<<I'm surprised that you'd insist on charedim applying R' Kook's understanding
of the Ramban instead of the interpretation of their manhig, the CI.

First, I noted that Rav Kook's understanding is the pashut pshat in
the Ramban.  Second, the CI himself strongly pushed Otzar Bais Din
over buying produce from Arabs.  So charedim should follow their
manhig completely, not just for one prat.

Shabbat Shalom.

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Message: 8
From: "A & C Walters" <acwalters@bluebottle.com>
Date: Thu, 17 May 2007 23:20:53 +0300
[Avodah] Orla

This is halachically fine for vegetables, but what about fruit?!? What about
orla? Not only is orla the hardest thing to give hashkocho on (according to
Mashgicim in the Eida Chareidis), but since orla cannot be sold here,
because even the Rabinut won't give a hechsher, to generally it is exported.
So apart from the halocho of sofek orla bEY lechumra, in metzius a lot of it
is, l"a probably vadai orla?

> Israeli fruits and vegetables are sometimes sold in local stores (e.g. 
> peppers from Costco). While one should be eager to purchase this 
> produce and support the Israeli economy, it is important to carefully 
> follow the Halachos relating to separation of Terumos & Ma'asros.

Finally - A spam blocker that actually works.

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Message: 9
From: "Moshe Feldman" <moshe.feldman@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 17 May 2007 23:53:41 +0300
Re: [Avodah] shemitta

Someone just pointed me to an article stating that at least as of the
last shemitta, many charedi rabbanim, including Rav Elyashiv, Rav
Karelitz and Rav Wosner support Otzar Bais Din.  See

Presumably, Rav Elyashiv's statement that "there are those who
maintain that eating shevi'is fruits is a mitzvah" refers to the
Ramban (simple understanding, as understood by Rav Kook, and not the
addition made by the CI).

<<Farmers in many settlements throughout the country, including Beis
Chilkiya, Chofetz Chaim, Tirat Yehudah, Yesod Hamaaleh, Dalton,
Chazorim, Peduyim, Achuz, Tsafaria and others approached ga'avad HaRav
Nissim Karelitz even before the onset of shmittah, asking that they be
authorized to transfer their fields and vineyards to the Otzar Beis
Din. HaRav Karelitz complied with their request, and set up a special
beis din for that purpose.
Distribution stations will soon open in other chareidi centers
throughout the country.
HaRav Eliashiv also said that the kashrus arrangements are implemented
with the utmost hiddur. He calls upon the community and Torah
institutions to use the produce distributed by the Otzar Beis Din,
stressing that there are those who maintain that eating shevi'is
fruits is a mitzvah. He then mentions the efforts of the Ridbaz to
reinstate shmittah observance in Eretz Hakodesh by distributing
kedushas shevi'is wine for kiddush. In conclusion, HaRav Eliashiv
notes that those assisting in the observance of shevi'is will be
blessed from the Source of Blessing.

HaRav Shmuel Halevi Wosner, ga'avad of Zichron Meir, joins the appeal
and adds, "I join the abovementioned appeal and I heard about the way
it is done properly."

HaRav Nissim Karelitz, av beis din of the Otzar Beis Din, testifies in
his letter that the "gibborei hakoach, acheinu shebasodos" are braving
many difficulties, and have followed all the directives of the beis
din. He calls upon the community -- including yeshivos and
institutions -- to strengthen those who observe shmittah kehilchoso by
using the fruits which have no chashash of shomur vene'evad and hopes
that everyone will bring the blessing into their homes and eat these
fruits bikedushas shevi'is.

Kol tuv,

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Message: 10
From: "Doron Beckerman" <beck072@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 17 May 2007 14:39:46 -0700
Re: [Avodah] Torah study vs. other contributions to society

I've discovered that this is an idea expressed quite a bit earlier than the
Chafetz Chaim. The Ta"Z to YD 251:(6) says (commenting on the Psak of the
Shulchan Aruch that one may use money designated for Talmud Torah to save
people from being stripped and beaten)

"The Rasha"l asks on this ... Gadol Talmud Torah MeHatzalas Nefashos... And
there is no question here, for certainly there is nothing that overrides
Pikuach Nefesh, only there the Gemara means that there is more merit to one
who merits to learn Torah and did not have the opportunity to engage in
Hatzalas Nefashos, than one who has the opportunity to save lives and
through this he had to be Mevatel  Torah and deal with Hatzalas Nefesh. This
is learned from Mordechai Bilshan, that initially, where he did not have any
opportunity to engage in Hatzalas Nefashos, he was more important in the
eyes of the Chachamim than later, when he had the opportunity to perform
Hatzalas Nefashos and he had to be Mevatel Torah, as it says there that the
Chachamim did not count him as they did before."

The Ta"Z goes on to prove this from  the later comparison between Talmud
Torah and Binyan Beis HaMikdash, where Ezra did not go up since the Mikdash
was going to be built anyway, and Talmud Torah is greater than participation
in that construction.
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Message: 11
From: "Chana Luntz" <chana@kolsassoon.org.uk>
Date: Thu, 17 May 2007 23:37:29 +0100
Re: [Avodah] chumrot of sefardim

> The question of when one can defy local pesaq (chumrah type
> 3) on the grounds that it is really a kind of doubt (chumrah 
> type 1), as RnCL takes for granted, I will leave to others. 

I only take it for granted because there appear to be enough sources
that state this as fact.  For example, the Pri Megadim I quoted in my
previous post.  And ROY's piskei teshuva are littered with it - for
example, take the teshuva on allowing a sephardi fellow to eat non glatt
meat at a Sephardi family simcha  in Chelek 5 Yoreh Deah siman 3 that I
have an commented on in Avodah vol 16 #140 and 142 where the safek sfeka
that allows ROY to permit is based on a) maybe the animal being eaten
did not in fact have sirchos [safek in metzius] and b) maybe the Rema
was right and such sirchos are mutar (safek in psak).  Note however that
he needed both sfekos because we are dealing with a d'orisa [treif meat]
which meant that on merely one of the safkos we would go safek d'orisa

> do not know when one can simply ignore a rejected shitah, and 
> even pasqen lequlah on de'Oraisos
>  -- clearly NOT safeiq behavior, and when we treat a 
> machloqes like a safeiq. I have asked this on-list before.

I am not sure I understand what you are asking here.  If you are asking
when you can go against local psak when there are others who pasken
differently I see two aspects that seem to come up:

A) the calibre of the other psak and the extent of its acceptance. Ie it
can't just be a psak from anybody.  At one end of the spectrum there is
something like the Rema/Mechaber, where each holds sway over a goodly
portion of world Jewry.  On the other there might be some obscure rishon
or it might be a shita that is roundly condemned by other rishonim and
universally has never been adopted.  Within that spectrum one can ask
where one draws the line, but only at the margins (My best guess would
be something like -  if a shita is mentioned in the nosei kelim to the
Shulchan Aruch, it is already something of an acknowledged shita, If
only mentioned in the Beis Yosef, less so, if not even mentioned in the
various commentators on either the Rambam, Tur or Shulchan Aruch, your
on weak ground, but I would be interested to know if anybody else has
heard of a rule of thumb like this).

B) there almost invariably is associated with this kind of psak words
like, bidieved, b'sha'ah hadchak, shalom bayis, eiva etc etc - ie
extenuating circumstances.  The psak I referred to above regarding the
non glatt meat is a classic example - it was, after all, a family
simcha, and the family would likely be insulted if the fellow would not
eat or would ask for different food.  It was not discussing the
standards required for what the fellow brings into his home.  It is
quite clear that ROY would never permit non glatt meat to have been
purchased and eaten by this fellow at home.  Similarly the Pri Megadim
talks about bideved getting hana'ah, not about what to do l'chatchila.
What is considered sufficiently extenuating to trigger this is of course
a question but that seems to me to be precisely what one needs a major
posek for. Ie this is never used to permit in circumstances that might
be deemed to be normal but only to permit in non ideal environments or
where other considerations need to be taken into account, such as
interpersonal relations (in other words, a heter).  That is why it is
invariably used l'kula, not l'chumra.  This is different from being
choshesh for other shitos l'chumra, which is inevitably being done in a
l'chatchila environment, where one is trying to go beyond the din
(whether zehirus or prishus or whatever the motivation).

If you are asking something different, I am not sure I understand what
it is.
> Tir'u baTov!
> -mi



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Message: 12
From: David Riceman <driceman@att.net>
Date: Thu, 17 May 2007 20:16:58 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Torah Study vs. other contributions to soCIETY

Samuel Svarc wrote:

you will kindly point out, i.e. by bringing quotes instead of assertions,
which two posts of mine seem to you contradictory it would be my pleasure to
play Ariadne to your Theseus.>

sources follow:

>> <me>
>> You're changing your opinion again.  Originally it was Talmud Torah
>> which takes priority,
<The "ivory tower in discussion" was learning full time, isolated, or going

out and doing something to help this world.5/4 5:59 PM>

>>  then it was kvius of Talmud Torah,
<So, one might not be obligated to learn all day (a
topic we will leave for another time), but it definitely is preferred over
other Mitzvos.5/10 4:05 PM>

>>  then it was
>> preparation for Talmud Torah,
<Sure, if someone wants to train to enhance his Torah study, go right ahead (although I disagree with you on how effective and time efficient a route this is).5/16 11:33 AM>  This, incidentally, may be a misunderstanding on my part.  I had interpreted it as a response to my question of how you justify the Rama's doing something that's not preferred.  It may be that you failed to answer that question and this is a non-sequitur.  If so, how do you justify the Rama's behavior?

>>  now it's preparation with the intent of
>> enhancing Talmud Torah.
<see previous citation>
>>   Is there a precise formulation of this
>> preference somewhere?
I'd still like an answer to this.
>> WADR,
None due.
>  for someone who has misunderstood almost every single point of the
> original discussion
None given.
>> Don't you agree, for example, that
>> learning the umanus of shehita counts as Talmud Torah?
> No, I don't agree. The halachos of shechita, yes. Practical lessons on how
> exactly to hold the knife, no. Pray tell, why do you think differently? Do
> you have a source that leads you to this opinion?
Sure; the Shulhan Aruch discusses it, as does the Gemara.  I would have 
thought that Talmud Torah necessarily includes learning how to do 
mitzvos.  If you exclude that then haser ikkar min hasefer.

David Riceman

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Message: 13
From: "dhojda1@juno.com" <dhojda1@juno.com>
Date: Fri, 18 May 2007 00:24:31 GMT
[Avodah] Going up to Har HaBayis

It was reported last week that several Rabbonim from the RZ camp,
amongst them Rav Yaakov Meidan of Yeshivat Har Eyzion, went up to
portions of Har HaBayis. It was also reported that Rav Yaakov Ariel,
the highly respected Rav of Ramat Gan, published a psak that seemed to
support their actions.

If any of our correspondents could fill in the halachic details, I
would be most appreciative.

Kol Tuv,
Dovid Hojda


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