Avodah Mailing List

Volume 23: Number 188

Fri, 07 Sep 2007

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 7 Sep 2007 09:55:21 -0400 (EDT)
Re: [Avodah] Davening for one's enemy

On Thu, September 6, 2007 3:09 pm, Richard Wolpoe wrote:
: There are 2 cases in Tanach that are loosely similar tho' by no means
: a perfect analogy:

I think neither really qualify.

:    1. Moshe pleaded to HKBH on behalf of Am Yisrael after the Egel
:    Masecha * then proceeded to give them strong mussar...
:    2. Similarly, Shmuel pleaded to HKBH on behalf of Sha'ul Hamelech
:    after Milchmes Amaleik all night long and then proceeded to give
:    him strong    mussar.

These are examples of disappointed rabbeim dealing with their
talmidim. Not enemies.

Even Avraham's davening for Avimelekh could be cast in these terms, as
AAAH (Avraham Avinu alav hashalom -- a new acronym for the list?)
certainly tried to be eretz Kenaan's rebbe. (Perhaps limited to
outside of Malkitzedeq/Shem's turf of Shalem/Y-m, where he and Eiver
were already teaching.) Although I admit that's a stretch.

And Beruriah doesn't so much daven for them in and of themselves, but
rather davens that they stop being enemies. She does so in a manner
that would be a win-win for all involved, and thus her tefillah is for
something that would aid them rather than R' Meir's tefillah for
something that would harm them. But both were davening be'etzem for
themselves to have peace from the ruffians. This is why the story
impacts how one understands birkhas haMinim in Shemoneh Esrei.

BTW, does anyone know if the hoodlums involved were Jewish?

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: 2
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 7 Sep 2007 13:21:17 -0400 (EDT)
Re: [Avodah] Bishul achar shelo bederekh bishul

On Sun, August 26, 2007 8:54 pm, kennethgmiller@juno.com wrote:
: If the water changed color, Rav Moshe Feinstein says that this proves
: nothing, since the tea leaves would have changed the water's color
: even if the water was cold; that the color change occurs more quickly
: if the water is warm, and even more quickly if the water is very warm,
: still proves nothing.

As per the quotes emailed the chevrah by RDE, this was to defend his
shitah that tea qualifies as tavlin. Is a bay leaf tavlin, or only
powders? These are whole tea leaves, not grains. But in any case, if
RMF argues that the hastening of the process caused by the water's
heat doesn't qualify as bishul, the chalos sheim "tavlin" seams

However, you can taste the difference between tea made with cold water
and tea made with hot. For that matter, WRT green tea, there is a
marked difference between tea made with boiling water and tea made
with 180deg F (which is yad soledes bo, but not boiling). One that
even non-addicts would notice. I'm not sure if the metzi'us is exactly
as RMF assumes, although I couldn't Google an exact description of the

My mnemonic for remembering the boiling point of water (in Fahrenheit,
in Celsius, it's the definition of 100deg C): Gematria "rebbe".

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: 3
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 7 Sep 2007 14:57:45 -0400 (EDT)
Re: [Avodah] Teshuva - postive or negative?

On Fri, August 31, 2007 2:17 pm, R Daniel Eidensohn forwarded from an
off-list email a collection of "sound bites" about teshuvah from Orot
haTeshuvah. Among them:
: * One tends to have paradoxical feelings of tshuva, with (1) anxiety
: over one's sinful state, (2) joy over renewed and positive state.

Working from the Rambam's four steps:
    -azivas hacheit
    -qabbalah al ha'asid
I don't see the "paradox".

Charatah is inherently depressing. I could even see someone explain
"charatah" to a child as "feeling sad over something I did". On the
other hand, while qabbalah al ha'asid isn't /inherently/ joyous (in
that it is theoretically possible to make such a qabbalah without
joy), if properly considered it would be joyous -- a renewed and
positive state, new opportunities.

So it is not so much paradox as different steps in the process.

(In any case, I would have translated it "ambivalent", as having
conflicting emotions is the norm, not paradox.)

I think the problem the seminary student had with "the depressing tone
of Elul" is a particularly modern malaise. With modernity we assigned
a strong value to autonomy. In extreme cases, this becomes the entire
moral code. As one person posted on scjm (on more than one occasion),
he believes the worst moral offense is opposing your morality on

Autonomy means doing what I want to do rather than being coerced.

People therefore relate well to the carrot, but do not respond to the
stick the way we used to. Rather than chastising people into
submission, it causes anger, resentment, and in many cases, rebellion.

In fact, R' Shlomo Wolbe says that parenting and mussar in our
generation must use the carrot, it must be "zeri'ah ubinyan" (as the
title of his seifer puts it), not pruning. Yes, Shelomo haMelekh tells
us "one who spares his rod spoils his child" (Mishlei 13:24). But we
can use another pasuq to specify which rod. "And I took unto me two
staves; the one I called Graciousness, and the other I called Binders;
and I fed the flock." (Zecharia 11:7) Who said Shelomo was speaking of
the first rod? Do not spare the rod of Graciousness! At least, that is
what we need today. (Ad kan RSW's thought.) We have a self esteem
movement, we today speak Slabodka's language of "gadlus ha'adam", not
Novardok's "ich bin gornisht".

In fact, the entire concept of submission is in disfavor. We speak of
connecting to mitzvos, being moved by mitzvos, singing "Mitzvah
gedolah lihyos besimchah tamid" and "ivdu es Hashem besimchah". But
the counterbalancing value of "ana avda deQudshah berikh Hu" and "ani
avdeKha ben amaseKha" is totally absent. We serve G-d to be happy, to
have meaning, and we do mitzvos to enjoy thoughts of deeper meanings.
But simply serving Hashem to serve Hashem, because He is King? To
submit our will before His? Not really the language found in
contemporary literature.

And I think that is why we can relate to "qaballah al ha'asid" and
focus on that growth and clean slate, but can't do the same when it
comes to confronting the ugly parts of our past. Carrot, not the

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: 4
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 7 Sep 2007 14:59:10 -0400 (EDT)
Re: [Avodah] halachic intuition

On Thu, September 6, 2007 1:33 pm, R Eli Turkel wrote:
: On a more fundamental I disagree with the SR that there is such a
: concept as "knowledge of Torah without any contamination from
: external ideas".
: Different poskim take the same gemara and come to opposite conclusions
: based on their own inner feelings or background.

I think we need to distinguish between "contamination" and perspective.

Two people who look at the same object from different angles will see
slightly different things. This isn't a bad mashal (if I may say so
myself) for the Maharal's position on the origin of machloqes -- that
reality can not capture the full richness of Torah, and therefore any
implementation is only one aspect of a fuller truth.

Yes, the two poseqim look at the halakhah from different angles
because of their entire histories, both their encounters with Torah
and their encounters with other things.

However, they both should be looking at unadulterated Torah.

I agree with those who already posted that they think RMF advocates
both approaches, pasqening through logical, articulated sevara, and
pasqening from a gestalt, ineffable, picture of how the din works.

Rather, the machloqes here is whether the SR's gestalt was a Torah
one, or perhaps tainted by western values. (Recall, I am not assessing
the SR, I am trying to explain how I read RMF -- that /he/ assessed
the SR's approach to this particular pesaq and /he/ found it lacking.)
The fact that the SR brings Catholic ethic as an example when trying
to illustrate his point might be indicative that he isn't merely
looking at the inyan from another angle, but the baggage brought with
him is blocking part of the view.

: On more serious issues it is impossible to define what is a Torah
: thought and what is an alien idea. Is a psak of Rambam alien because
: he learned Greek philosophy?

Well, don't two promoters of secular studies recommend avoiding Hil'
Yesodei haTorah for this very reason?

You're right that there is plenty of gray area. But what halachic
issue doesn't have area subject to machloqes?

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: 5
From: "Meir Shinnar" <chidekel@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 7 Sep 2007 09:43:14 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Mi Sheberach for a Non-Jew

 Meir Shinnar wrote:
> : We are entitled to ask hashem.  We don't have the right to expect
> : that our requests be granted...
> : Your pshat is that the act of tefilla is a mitzva just like tzedaka -
> : and therefore the two texts - both ba'avur she'anu mitpallelim and
> : ba'avur she'eten tzedak - are congruent - but most understand ba'avur
> : she'anu mitpallelim as reflecting the power of prayer - rather than
> : just as a mitzva - and is therefore iyun tefilla.
> I take it RMS's "most" are those who "asser". I fail to see, though,
> why they interpret the phrase as they do. If "ba'avur she... notenim
> tzedaqah" and "ba'avur she... mispallelim ba'adam" are used in the
> same role, why would you think that they have a different dynamic?
> I took it for granted that the "mispallelim ba'adam" was simply a
> means of trying to get /some/ zekhus backing the tefillah even without
> committing to spending money which may not be available.
There is a different dynamic.

The tefilla is not there just as a zchut - eg, for a zchut, one could
say hu yevarech et hachole x ba'avur that I was mitpallely for chole y
- since tefilla is used only as a zchut.  The language hu yevarech
ba'avur she.. implies a direct casual nexus between the ba'avur she -
causing the hu yevarech - and ba'avur she'anu mitpallelim ba'avuram
implies (although one could parse the words differently, most people
do understand a casual nexus between praying for the individual and
the response - rather than a generic zchut issue - and this is the
issue of iyun tefilla.

Now, one can find midrashic sources that suggest that one (and
especially a kahal) can, under some circumstances expect to be
answered - but those who view iyun tefilla as problematic would
suggest that even if one believes that, it is not proper to insist,
especially in a public forum, on it.
Meir Shinnar

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Message: 6
From: "Doron Beckerman" <beck072@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 7 Sep 2007 17:29:07 +0300
Re: [Avodah] lifnei iver/kanaus

RnCL writes:

>> Is this a realistic example?  I suspect that if a person could be
stopped from doing something by the mere taking of his money, then
blinding him would be excessive use of force, and not permitted under
the pen yosif principle.  A (slightly) more realistic example might be
whether you could stop someone attempting to kill a person either by
taking away his money or by physically restraining him, and I would
assume in this case Rav Henkin would say that you should physically
restrain him until he causes no more danger rather than take away his
money.  But I just can't see how you could have a rodef situation where
mere physical restraint is not enough, and you need to go to the extreme
of blinding him, and yet where somehow taking away his money would
succeed in stopping him in his tracks (whereas bribing him, ie giving
him some of your money would not work, given that bribing him is not
only mutar but a mitzvah).  Of course, the actual (and realistic)
example used in the halacha (see eg Choshen Mishpat siman 380 si'if 3)
is where in the course of saving somebody's life from a rodef, property
(eg kelim) of the rodef are incidentally damaged.  It is there that the
statement is made: "shelo yiyeh mamono chamur m'gufo"  - but I don't see
that that gets you to where you want to be, firstly it is talking about
damaging property, not theft, and secondly all it says is that pikuach
nefesh is doche both.  Now you might eliminate the first objection by
quoting the Tur at the beginning of siman 380 where he seems to link up
the issur of damaging property with that of genava and gezela (seeming
to imply that this is the source of the issur of property damage), but
the meforshim seem to understand that statement as merely clarifying
that just as with genava and gezela, there is an issur even if one does
it with the intention to pay for the item taken, so there is an
intrinsic issur from the torah in damaging property, not withstanding
that one fully intends to pay for the damage caused (note in particular
that the Bach sources the essence of the issur of nezek mamon
elsewhere). Nor does this deal with my second objection re pikuach

All the above paragraph is my analysis, not Rav Henkin's.  I do note
however that Rav Henkin in the teshuva has an extensive discussion
about, inter alia,  a statement of Rabbi Meir which seems to suggest
that in fact gezela is yarog v'al yavor and that Rashi at least seems to
hold this way (he quotes Rashi on Baba Kama 60b d"h v'yitila) and other
statements which suggest it is problematic to save oneself via the
property of others, while the same cannot be said of hitting.  So in
some ways, he says, one might argue a kal v'chomer the other way, and
hence one cannot say that this is more chamur than that, or that is more
chamur than this, but that they are two separate dinim that apply in
their own spheres with their own chumros and kulos, and therefore just
because one is permitted to hit a talmid, does not mean one is permitted
to take his property. <<

  1) The realism, or lack thereof, does not detract from the absurdity of
equating Chavalah and Gezeila (or making Chavalah less serious)  in the aim
of achieving a particular desired result. In the case of a desired result of
Chinuch, I find it exceedingly difficult to suggest that if a Rebbe hits his
Talmid to the point where he kills him B'Shogeg he is Pattur from Galus,
(Makkos 8) and yet that does not dictate leeway in taking his away his
property for acheiving the same result.

2) Restraining is not Chavalah.

3) While the Tur is not a clear-cut source for the Issur Hezek stemming from
Gezeila,  the Rabbeinu Yonah to Avos (1:1) is very clear in this regard,
though I am aware of other sources for this Issur (Yad ramah to BB 26 has
two more)

4) The position that Gezeila is Yehareg V'Al Yaavor is rejected by the vast
majority of Rishonim, (though the Ramban to Kesuvos 19 quotes such a
possibility in interpreting the Gemara there) and even though the Rashi to
BK 60, B'Pshuto does seem to say this, as pointed out by the Parshas
Derachim (who is incredulous that it is possible for Rashi to hold this),
many Acharonim (Yad David, Beis Aharon, et al) learn Rashi differently.

5) The main reason the Gemara re Nirdaf breaking the Keilim being Pattur
doesn't do me any good is because there the Kal VaChomer is from being able
to kill him outright, not necessarily from Chavalah.
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Message: 7
From: "Doron Beckerman" <beck072@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 7 Sep 2007 17:52:16 +0300
Re: [Avodah] lifnei iver/kanaus


>> If an example is impossible, it does not strike me as a relevant

I didn't say it is impossible, I said it isn't realistic. Of course it is
possible. Reuven is about steal Shimon's diamond. Reuven catches Shimon,
Shimon runs away, Reuven chases him with a knife. Levi, standing a few feet
away,has permanently blinding 'mace' which he can spray on the
Rodef, or grab the diamond himself (with the intent to return it) and
call out to Reuven that he has the diamond. Any lack of realism in this
example is not due to impossibilty, just a bit of a lack of creativity.

>> And if by doing some other averah to achieve the same result ought there
also to be leeway - eg if the rav was boel the talmid's wife as a way of
bringing him to his senses, that would also be OK?  Ok that is a yarog
v'al yavor, but I am sure you can come up with an issur lav. <<

But you concede that in a case of a Rodef, blinding him instead of taking
the diamond would be excessive force. The point of the other Poskim is that
"Mamono Chaviv Migufo" is illogical.
(Also, it isn't even all that clear that the source for Chavalah is "Pen
Yosif" and not "Lo Yosif."

>> Rav Henkin does bring all this. The main point he is making though is
that one could not even start a discussion about whether gezeila is
yarog v'al yavor if you allow gezela as a kal v'chomer from hitting.
The whole argument goes away based on, well hitting is not yarog v'al
yavor, gezela is more kal than hitting, so therefore it cannot be yarov
v'al yavor, end of issue.  The fact that this line of reasoning is not
imployed in the yarog v'al yavor for gezela discussion, even by those
who hold that gezeila is not yarog v'al yavor indicates that in fact we
do not learn the kal v'chomer in this way. <<

If that were true, then Yehareg V'Al Yaavor for Gezeila would fall away due
to other Issurei Misas Beis Din not being Yehareg V;Al Yaavor,
(notwithsatnding the Aggadic statement of K'illu Notel Es Nafsho).

>> I confess I don't think it reads that way, rather the kal v'chomer is to
chavla, which itself is a kal v'chomer from being able to kill him
outright. <<

It doesn't seem that way to me from Rashi and Tosfos.

Kol Tuv,

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Message: 8
From: Yonatan Kaganoff <ykaganoff@yahoo.com>
Date: Fri, 7 Sep 2007 11:47:35 -0700 (PDT)
Re: [Avodah] Davening for one's enemy

I appreciate all the examples that people gave, but I think that bringing examples from Tanach misses the point.
  Most of the examples mentioned show the tzidkus of the individuals involved, and, with the possible exception of Avimelech and Avraham, it is unclear if there was personal animus involved.
  Do we have prescriptive suggestions from sifrei mussar or the sefarim hakidoshim encouraging people to daven for people for whom they have negative feelings (e.g. anger, resentment, jealousy)?

Luggage? GPS? Comic books? 
Check out fitting  gifts for grads at Yahoo! Search.
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Message: 9
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 7 Sep 2007 15:49:23 -0400 (EDT)
Re: [Avodah] Intuition - sources

On Fri, September 7, 2007 3:46 am, R Daniel Eidensohn wrote:
:> How would you describe the Satmare Rebbe's opposition to AI in this
:> model?

: To reiterate I stated that daas Torah is the intuition that results
: from immersion and mastery of Torah. It is not universal commonsense.
: Nor is there only one daas Torah. Thus gedolim can legitimately
: disagree even though all sides are relying on their daas Torah

Yes, that's how /we/ can describe the machloqes.

It's not how RMF does. By raising the issue of adulteration by
external sources, he seems to be questioning whether the SR's position
is even a shitah.

RDE seems to say RMF was only trying to dismiss the argument -- why
should we care what Catholic law is? However:
> "I thank G-d am not from them and not from the masses. All of my
> hashkofa is only from my knowledge of Torah without any contamination
> from external ideas. The Torah's  judgments are true whether they are
> harsh or lenient. The ideas from alien hashkofa or those which
> spontaneously appear in a man's heart are all of no significance - even
> if they are to be conservative and strict. It is simply a false
> to view these alien ideas as being more pure and holy..."
does seem to place the SR's position -- not just the reference -- as a
"false illusion", a product of "contamination", not eilu va'eilu.

Tir'u baTov!

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Message: 10
From: "Richard Wolpoe" <rabbirichwolpoe@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 7 Sep 2007 16:03:34 -0400
Re: [Avodah] halachic intuition

On 9/7/07, Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org> wrote:
> On Thu, September 6, 2007 1:33 pm, R Eli Turkel wrote:
> : On a more fundamental I disagree with the SR that there is such a
> : concept as "knowledge of Torah without any contamination from
> : external ideas".
> : Different poskim take the same gemara and come to opposite conclusions
> : based on their own inner feelings or background.
> I think we need to distinguish between "contamination" and perspective.
> Tir'u baTov!
> -mi
Re: contamination it is bovious that most of Hazal were heavily influenced
by the Greco-Roman culture prevalent in their day- especiallyin the Mishna.
I would ventureto gues that they still could make Torah based decision even
though subconsiously they may have  recorded some  Hellenistic concepts in
their  minds.

Remember whn RSBY emerged rfrom the cave his Puritanical Torah lacked a
semblance of tolerance and he was remonstrated for it.  Perhaps his lack of
general culture was an aspect of his purity.

There is a Midrash that Avarahm Avinu knew 600 Maschots of A"Z. Lich'ora
knoweldge of exteranl cutlure was essential to his task.

And any Sanhedrin that knows 70 foreign languages is likely to absorb some
foreign Literature on the way

That said, it might not be legit to CONSIOUSLY base Halachic decisions upon
alien cultural norms - except insofar as a reactionary nature. E.G because
of what the Goyim may say we no longer do kefiyyas Hamitta, etc. during
Aveilus - clearly an external impetus for a  law.  And Yayin nesech / Stam
Yienam  is limitted to Grape wine, although it MIGHT have been differn had
ovdei A"Z  used  other kinds of wine,etc.r

Kesiva vaChasima Tova
Best Wishes for 5768,
Please Visit:
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