Avodah Mailing List

Volume 23: Number 212

Tue, 02 Oct 2007

< Previous Next >
Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: David Riceman <driceman@att.net>
Date: Tue, 02 Oct 2007 09:20:41 -0400
Re: [Avodah] heter mechira produce

Goldmeier wrote:
> Does anyone know if that svara really applies and is used in piskei 
> halacha on shmitta issues?
IIRC it was used in the previous century's discussion of this issue.
>  And if not (as I think is the case), why not?
I suspect this is a sociological phenomenon rather than a halachic one.  
One analogue in America is the elevation of mehitza in shul from a 
custom not even mentioned in Shulhan Aruch to the fourteenth ikkar, 
which distinguishes observant Jews from non-observant Jews.  My (North 
American) impression is that Jews in Israel are using it to distinguish 
hareidim from non-hareidim.

David Riceman

Go to top.

Message: 2
From: "Prof. Levine" <llevine@stevens.edu>
Date: Tue, 02 Oct 2007 10:26:19 -0400
[Avodah] Rabbi Yaakov Emden's Letter about Christianity

 From http://www.auburn.edu/~allenkc/falk1a.html


For it is recognized that also the Nazarene and his disciples, 
especially Paul, warned concerning the Torah of the Israelites, to 
which all the circumcised are tied. And if they are truly Christians, 
they will observe their faith with truth, and not allow within their 
boundary this new unfit Messiah Shabbetai Zevi* who came to destroy 
the earth.
*(Shabbetai Zevi, a seventeenth-century mystic [d. 1676], represented 
himself as the Messiah, and many Jews initially believed his claim. 
When the Turks threatened him with death unless he converted to 
Islam, he meekly acquiesced, expiring in ignominy. However, secret 
cells of believers still followed his teachings and hoped for new leadership.)

But truly even according to the writers of the Gospels, a Jew is not 
permitted to leave his Torah, for Paul wrote in his letter to the 
Galatians (Gal. 5) "I, Paul, say to you that if you receive 
circumcision, the Messiah will do you no good at all. You can take it 
from me that every man who receives circumcision is under obligation 
to keep the entire Torah." Again because of this he admonished in a 
letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 7) that the circumcised should not 
remove the marks of circumcision, nor should the uncircumcised 
circumcise themselves.

Many have asked that Paul appears to contradict himself here. In the 
Acts of the Apostles (Acts 16), it is mentioned that Paul circumcised 
his disciple Timothy. And they found this very puzzling, for this act 
seems to contradict the later text which seems to indicate that he 
considered circumcision a temporary commandment until the Messiahs 
arrival; but this took place after the time of the Nazarene! 
Therefore you must realize--and accept the truth from him who speaks 
it-- that we see clearly here that the Nazarene and his Apostles did 
not wish to destroy the Torah from Israel, God forbid; for it is 
written so in Matthew (Mt. 5), the Nazarene having said, "Do not 
suppose that I have come to abolish the Torah. I did not come to 
abolish, but to fulfill. I tell you this: So long as heaven and earth 
endure, not a letter, not a stroke, will disappear from the Torah 
until it is achieved. If any man therefore sets aside even the least 
of the Torahs demands, and teaches others to do the same, he will 
have the lowest place in the Kingdom of Heaven, whereas anyone who 
keeps the Torah, and teaches others so, will stand high in the 
Kingdom of Heaven." This is also recorded in Luke (Lk. 16). It is 
therefore exceedingly clear that the Nazarene never dreamed of 
destroying the Torah.

We similarly find Paul, his disciple, in a letter to the Corinthians 
(1 Cor. 5), accusing them of fornication, and condemning one who had 
lived with his fathers wife. You may therefore understand that Paul 
doesn't contradict himself because of his circumcision of Timothy, 
for the latter was the son of a Jewish mother and a Gentile father 
(Acts 16), and Paul was a scholar, an attendant of Rabban Gamaliel 
the Elder, well-versed in the laws of the Torah. He knew that the 
child of a Jewish mother is considered a full Jew, even if the father 
should be a Gentile, as is written in the Talmud and Codes. He 
therefore acted entirely in accordance with the Halakha by 
circumcising Timothy. This would be in line with his position that 
all should remain within their own faith (1 Cor. 7). Timothy, born of 
a Jewish mother, had the law of a Jew, and had to be circumcised, 
just as he was enjoined to observe all commandments of the Torah 
(Paul's condemnation of the man who lived with his stepmother is 
similarly understandable, as such an act is also forbidden to 
Noahides), for all who are circumcised are bound by all the 
commandments. This provides a satisfactory reply to the question.

See the above link for the rest.

Yitzchok Levine 
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lists.aishdas.org/private.cgi/avodah-aishdas.org/attachments/20071002/cf68e2bc/attachment-0001.htm 

Go to top.

Message: 3
From: "Richard Wolpoe" <rabbirichwolpoe@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 2 Oct 2007 16:42:35 -0400
[Avodah] A Hassidic Thought about the Sukkah

> Note: I don't recall which rebbe first said this, but if anyone in
> Cyber-space knows, I will update this post accordingly, BEH

Q: How is The Mitzvah of Sukkah so unique [almost] - in that it shares a
quality in common with only 1 other mitzvah nowadays.

A: Just like the Mikvah, the Sukkah encompasses our entire body. In the time
of the Temple , we could experience being encompassed by the sanctity of the
Bet Hamikdash, now we have only Mikvah and Sukkah.
Posted By Rabbi Richard Wolpoe to
10/02/2007 04:35:00 PM

Gmar Tov
Best Wishes for 5768,
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lists.aishdas.org/private.cgi/avodah-aishdas.org/attachments/20071002/43b26bef/attachment.html 

Go to top.

Message: 4
From: "Prof. Levine" <llevine@stevens.edu>
Date: Tue, 02 Oct 2007 17:17:36 -0400
[Avodah] Rav Yaakov Emden & Christianity

At 04:51 PM 10/02/2007, Zev Sero wrote:

>Daniel Eidensohn wrote:
> > There is a major difference. Rambam holds that Christianity is idolatry
>I don't see how this differs from the Rambam.  He says exactly the
>same thing.  That doesn't mean it isn't AZ, or that we're not commanded
>to destroy it if and when we can.

See http://www.auburn.edu/~allenkc/falk1a.html for the letter that R. 
Yaakov Emden wrote about Christianity.

Yitzchok Levine 
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lists.aishdas.org/private.cgi/avodah-aishdas.org/attachments/20071002/bc5cdc49/attachment.htm 

Go to top.

Message: 5
From: "Richard Wolpoe" <rabbirichwolpoe@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 2 Oct 2007 17:30:37 -0400
[Avodah] How much Conformity to local Nusach/Mihag is

How much Conformity to local Nusach/Mihag is required for Shatz and for the
Private Worshipper? What are the parameters?  Kudos to Mr. Michale Opoers
for a long off-list discussion that stimluated my brain in this direction?


   1. Can he say TiskaBAL instead of TiskaBEIL
   2. Is the Shatz qrequired to conform whilst saying things silently
   1. Is a Shatz required to daven the minhag of the shul during his
      PIRVATE AMIDAH or his minhag Avos?
      2. Does a Shatz have to say Barcuh Hashem or V'shamru at Arvis
      or may he wait silently until the tzibbur finished and then proceed.
      3. Can you say Morid Hatal in a congregation that normally omits
   it? [fwiw when I was at ner israel a rebbe made that Shatz go back to ata
   gibbor and to repeat it w/o morid hatal!]
   4. At a Nusach Ashk. Minyan 2 reciters of kaddish Yasom shouted out
   v'yatzmach - is that ok?
   5. Can a Sephardi take an aliya and say HIS nusach on the Bracha? Can
   he start with Hashem Imachem?
   6. Can a Sephardi lein with his trope?  A Yekke?
   7. How about pronuncations modern Israeli vs. old Ashkenaz?
   8. Geshem/Gashem?

Private Worshiper:

   1. Can a private person say kesser yitnu while the tzibbur says
   2. Does a private person have to articulate nekadesh bekolram or may
   he ramain silent in a shul that says it out loud?
   3. What about K''vodo or az bekol?
   4. MUST a private worshipper say Piyyutim?
   5. If Artscroll has Zecher rav tuvehca, can you say Zeicher rav
   6. May one shake the lulav in a differnt sequence than the tzibbur

Gmar Tov
Best Wishes for 5768,
Please Visit:
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lists.aishdas.org/private.cgi/avodah-aishdas.org/attachments/20071002/ef1bee97/attachment.html 

Go to top.

Message: 6
From: "Richard Wolpoe" <rabbirichwolpoe@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 2 Oct 2007 17:32:46 -0400
[Avodah] Shmini Atzeret - why Sukkah YES and Lulav NO?

Why do we sit in the Sukkah in the Golah on Sukkot but do not take the Lulav
etc. on Shmini Atzeret? This question has bothered me since I was a kid -
AND there are MANY reasons given.

Please See
Blog: NishmaBlog
Post: Shmini Atzeret - why Sukkah YES and Lulav NO?

Gmar Tov
Best Wishes for 5768,
Please Visit:

Gmar Tov
Best Wishes for 5768,
Please Visit:
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lists.aishdas.org/private.cgi/avodah-aishdas.org/attachments/20071002/9e73bd91/attachment.htm 

Go to top.

Message: 7
From: saul mashbaum <smash52@netvision.net.il>
Date: Tue, 02 Oct 2007 23:53:06 +0200
Re: [Avodah] Halitzah (or is it better for one person to do a

RCLunz wrote about the fact that judges in a case of zika may advise the yavam to do chalitza if yibum is deemed inappropriate:
In fact the authority of the court to pursuade the yavam could be argued to be proof in the
opposite direction. [ie, that chlitza in the face of yibum is not a mitzva at all SM]
If it were true that yibum and chalitza are
alternative mitvos, with yibum merely being the more preferable, then
why is there a need for a specific posuk to tell the judges to tell him
not to bring strife into his home - obviously shalom bayis should take
precedence and the judges would logically of their own accord tell him
that if he couldn't work it out himself.  Only if you say that in the
face of yibum chalitza aino mitzvah does it seem absolutely necessary
that the Torah brings a pasuk specifically telling the judges that they
have authority to, and should, counsel the yavam that if there is a risk
that he is going to bring strife into his home, because on the face of
it the couple do not seem compatible, he should not do yibum.  Otherwise
everybody's inclination, in the face of a vadai mitzva aseh with no real
alternative, would be to take the risk.

WADR, I find the above arguments unconvincing. "v'dibru elav" indicates that the judges are not essentially passive in a case of chalitza, merely enabling a process which is mandated by the Torah, but are required to take an active role in charting an appropriate course of action. Thus the role of dayanim in chalitza is distinct from that in gerushim. I do not agree that  "v'dibru elav" is a special heter,  because of extenuating  circumstances, to prescribe an alternative that is normally unacceptable, and indeed is not a mitzva.  I believe it is a directive to the judges to properly advise the yavam which of two acceptable procedures, both of which are mitzvot, should be followed in a specific case. The judges are to give the yavam "eitza hahogenet lo", guide him to use good judgement in choosing the appropriate alternative, which may in fact be chalitza, which is a mitzva.
>>So the gemora comes riding to the rescue of Reish Lakish's principle by explaining that in the face of >>yibum, chalitza cannot be considered a mitzvah.There appears to be no disagreement proposed to this >>statement, and this is where the sugya concludes. 
All true, but even if we take, based on this sugya , the statement "chalitza b'makom yibum lav mitzva hi" as unrefuted and definitive, one must still determine the strength and literalness of the statement. I still believe it reasonable to maintain that it means to say that the preference for yibum is so strong that it RL's general principle does not apply in this case. This does not require us to say that chalitza in the face of  the possibility of yibum, chalitza is *no mitzva at all*; it's just not enough of a mitzva to apply RL's principle (avoid the lav if at all possible) to yibum shel chayyvei lavim.
Saul Mashbaum
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lists.aishdas.org/private.cgi/avodah-aishdas.org/attachments/20071002/585be378/attachment.html 

Go to top.

Message: 8
From: "kennethgmiller@juno.com" <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
Date: Wed, 3 Oct 2007 01:16:46 GMT
Re: [Avodah] Tea before Shacharis

R' Micha poignantly asked:
> He used to enjoy being a sha"tz, and ... singing along with
> the chazan ... Now, it's painful to make it all the way
> through one or more tefillos without a break, ... Can
> someone put his mind at ease by proving that the mashal of
> an eved hamozeg kos lerabo veshafach lo specifically
> applies to Sukkah?

I'm sure that people with better brains than mine will have a lot to say about this, but I can help but suggest a few ideas...

When I think of a situation where a person is unable to do a mitzva, I do not first think of Eved Hamozeg. Rather, what comes to my mind is Machshava Mitztaref L'Maaseh.

So the first question I'd ask is: Are these two ideas mutually exclusive? Perhaps when we leave the sukkah because of the rain, we get the zechus of living in it anyway. Or maybe sukkah is unique, in that it is an unusual mitzva, whose parameters are designed in such a way that Hashem can use it to show His displeasure towards us, by denying us both the mitzvah and its zechus.

Sukkah is a very unusual mitzvah. I cannot think of any other Aseh D'Oraisa which is so very dependent on one's subjective opinions, to keep the chiyuv in force, or to create an unavoidable p'tur.

Offhand, perhaps Krias Shma for a Chasan is similar. Or maybe that has nothing to do with Shma per se; maybe it's just an extreme example of the general principle of Mitzvos Tzrichos Kavana. Maybe Sukkah really is unique.

The mashal of Eved Hamozeg is designed to illustrate that when we have been denied the opportunity to do the mitzva, we should understand that HaShem is upset with us. Can someone do a search to see if this mashal appears in other contexts? If it appears only by Sukkah, or also appears for other similarly subjective mitzvos, then perhaps we can draw a clear line between the cases where it applies, and the cases where Machshava Mitztaref L'Maaseh applies.

Akiva Miller

Go to top.

Message: 9
From: "R Wolberg" <cantorwolberg@cox.net>
Date: Tue, 2 Oct 2007 23:01:14 -0400
[Avodah] Do They Really Deserve a Beating?

The willow which symbolizes the Jew without Torah learning and good deeds
and also symbolizes the "mouth" is taken in our hands and beaten (havatat
aravot) on the floor five times. There are many, many different reasons
given for this obscure ritual. I would like to offer my own: I see the
beating of the willows parallel to the azazel ritual. In other words, the
willows become the scapegoat. 


Why five times? Five is a significant number: Five senses, Five Books of
Moses, Five pointed star, (this symbol of the five-pointed Star and the
corresponding number five have been consonant symbols for Man for as long as
there has been written record, dating back to the earliest centuries, Five
fingers on each hand, Five toes on each foot and the word "quintessence"
means the fifth essence. In  <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physics> physics,
quintessence is a  <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypothesis> hypothetical
form of  <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_energy> dark energy postulated
as an explanation of observations of an
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accelerating_universe> accelerating universe.
The ancients saw a link of God to man in the number five. Geometrically it
is a pentagon. In three dimensions it is a pyramid, like the Great Pyramids
in Egypt. So as you can see, beating the willow 5 times may have greater
meaning than meets the eye.


Another beautiful thought: The word for willow "aravah" also means "sweet,"
so that our prayers should be sweet before the Almighty.


So when you beat the willows, be sure to pray for a sweet year and a
quintessence of Avodas HaShem.


Richard Wolberg


-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lists.aishdas.org/private.cgi/avodah-aishdas.org/attachments/20071002/88b60210/attachment.htm 


Avodah mailing list

End of Avodah Digest, Vol 23, Issue 212

Send Avodah mailing list submissions to

To subscribe or unsubscribe via the World Wide Web, visit
or, via email, send a message with subject or body 'help' to

You can reach the person managing the list at

When replying, please edit your Subject line so it is more specific
than "Re: Contents of Avodah digest..."

< Previous Next >