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Volume 24: Number 95

Thu, 13 Dec 2007

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: "Gershon Dubin" <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2007 17:04:13 GMT
[Avodah] Derech Eretz Kadma LaTorah

Are we still looking for a source for this?

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Message: 2
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2007 12:08:05 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Yekum Purkan

Micha Berger wrote:
> On Thu, December 13, 2007 12:45 am, Zev Sero wrote:
>>> 2- Yequm Purqan sounds like Babylonian Aramaic to my untrained ear.
>>> It has all those words with trailing vowels one finds in the language
>>> of people called "rabi" as opposed to that of "rav".

>> But Rabbi was used in EY, and Rav in Bavel...

> Yes. And obviously "Rabbi Aqiva" and "Rabbi Shim'on bar Yochai" just
> leapt to mind. Nu, time for a nap.

In any case, it's irrelevant, because the difference isn't one of
language.  Rabbi means someone with smicha and Rav means someone
without.  That's why all the Rabbis were from EY and the Ravs from
Bavel.  So it proves nothing about YP's dialect.

> In any case, this would seem to prove RRW's first point, that Yequm
> Purqan is Israeli.
> Which would make it contrary to Agus's theory about Ashkenazi practice
> showing more heritage of Israeli mesorah.

Huh?  You still have that backwards.  YP being Israeli and not Bavli
would *support* Agus's theory.  It would explain why A say it and
S don't.  But it still seems odd that the S equivalent is in Hebrew
and not Aramaic, which was the original cause of my posting about it.

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: 3
From: Yitzhak Grossman <celejar@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2007 12:20:57 -0500
[Avodah] Niddah as applicable to the union of a Jewess and a


A followup to two recent threads on Avodah - I was browsing R. Bleich's
Contemporary Halachic Problems, and I came across this [0]:

The Biblical prohibition of niddah encompasses relations between a
Jewess and a gentile male according to all authorities with the
(possible) exception of Rabbeinu Tam, Sanhedrin 74b.  Cf. Heikhal
Yitzhak, Even ha-Ezer, I, no. 20, sec 2.

I don't currently have access to the Heikhal Yitzhak.

[0] Volume I, p. 291 n57

Bein Din Ledin - bdl.freehostia.com
An advanced discussion of Hoshen Mishpat

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Message: 4
From: Yitzhak Grossman <celejar@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2007 12:38:58 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Apikores?

On Wed, 12 Dec 2007 22:16:11 -0500
Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org> wrote:

> On Wed, Dec 05, 2007 at 10:34:49AM -0500, David Riceman wrote:


> : I'm (to put it mildly) not thrilled with this attitude (though I find it 
> : a plausible reading of Rabbi Dessler) and as a contrast I cited Rabbi 
> : Lipkin's opinion that tending to other peoples needs in gashmiyus takes 
> : precedence over tending to their needs in ruhniyus.
> That's our duty to another. Not Hashem's. I fail to see how one reflects
> on the other. IOW, Hashem could decide that the spiritual reward in the
> world to come outweighs temporary pain in the here-and-now. But for man
> to do so opens the door to the Inquisition.

What would be wrong with the Inquisition, assuming that a) the theology
behind it is correct and b) it is not abused by its implementers for
personal gain?  [I'm aware that neither condition held in actuality.]
Do you simply mean that bad theology and / or corruption are inevitable?

> Despite "mah Ani ... af atah ..." our moral choices differ. Hashem banned
> murder even though He takes lives regularly.

But He permitted, and even commanded, judicial / executive enforcement
of Halachah.

> Tir'u baTov!
> -Micha

Bein Din Ledin - bdl.freehostia.com
An advanced discussion of Hoshen Mishpat

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Message: 5
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2007 20:23:27 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Women Lighting menorahs (fwd)

On Wed, Dec 12, 2007 at 01:52:56PM -0600, Steven J Scher wrote:
: 1) R'MK lights a menorah for himself, and a second one for his wife
: (and additional ones for their daughters?)

: 2) The mehadrin approach only means a candle for each MALE member of the
: household.

Lighting a menorah would be the mehadrin min hamehadrin approach.

According to the Ri (Tosafos, Shabbos 21b "Vehamehadrin"), doing MMH means
one menorah per household to the exclusion of one per person. Having one
per person per day wouldn't be as obviously displaying the number of days.

The Rambam (Hil' Channukah 1:1-2) disagrees.

The BY (OCh 671) quotes the Ri, and is usually taken as holding like him.
Sepharadim follow this position -- and Ashkenazim generally follow the
Rambam. (With a possible exception of the Katzes?)

RJJSchachter wrote about it; the article is on YUTorah.org. He is most
intrigued by the influence each rishon had on the other's eidah!

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             A cheerful disposition is an inestimable treasure.
micha@aishdas.org        It preserves health, promotes convalescence,
http://www.aishdas.org   and helps us cope with adversity.
Fax: (270) 514-1507         - R' SR Hirsch, "From the Wisdom of Mishlei"

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Message: 6
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2007 20:53:38 -0500
[Avodah] Gra and TuM

I wrote:
>> The Gra would answer that for the one yad of math so learned, the
>> talmid is now capable of 100 yadayim of Torah.

>> And now we can  presume the usual back-and-forth about TuM has  occured,

RnTK objected:
> The Gra knew and used mathematics but I really don't think you can  
> legitimately claim him as an early exemplar of TuM....
> I would not even attempt to claim the Gra for TIDE, though I think
> doing so would be a little closer to the mark than TuM.

I didn't mean that the Gra's position necessarily was TuM, just that
mentioning that quote was bound to lead to a TuM discussion. However,
since RnTK raised the question...

TIDE and RYBS's version of TuM differ in two ways:

1- TIDE is about a fusion of Torah and the secular into a single
spectacular whole. RYBS spoke of dialectic tension and findin a harmonious
coexistence in a life of conflicting priorities and needs.

2- TIDE is a unity of Torah and hih culture. The focus is on refirnement
of the individual. TuM is academic, Torah and secular knowledge.

The Gra's position is a synthesis -- but of knowledge, not culture and
its refinement.

(RSRH's TIDE resembles Slabodka's gadlus ha'adam. Not identical,
but perhaps first cousins. Both lead the student to dress and comport
themselves according to the best of western standards.)

So I guess we should take TIDE's conjunction and TuM's noun -- the
synthesis of TIDE's and the M of TuM -- TIM?.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             None of us will leave this place alive.
micha@aishdas.org        All that is left to us is
http://www.aishdas.org   to be as human as possible while we are here.
Fax: (270) 514-1507            - unknown MD, while a Nazi prisoner

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Message: 7
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2007 21:05:40 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Having a boyfriend equivalent to being married?

On Tue, Dec 11, 2007 at 10:50:31PM -0800, Josh E. wrote:
: Suppose a woman has several boyfriends, who she was intimate with, prior
: to becoming a baalas teshuvah. Now, there is a chazakah of "Ein adam oseh
: b'ilaso bi'ilas zenus". If the chazakah applies to her, we assume the biah
: was not for zenus but for kiddushin...
: You might say that the chazakah doesn't apply to her because she was
: not observant. What if she was, but just transgressed in this one
: particular area?

I would think that RYBS's response to R' Rackman's beis din would be
loosely applicable. RYBS says that tav lemeisiv is inherently true
based on Chava's qelalah and is an existential reality regardless of
how society changed.

This opens the door to saying something parallel for other chazaqos.
Perhaps it's a deep human truth, that no matter how much she consciously
is willing to be a perutzah, her yetzer hatov is thinking "this is *the
real thing* and we're going to be together forever", justifying it in
context of marriage.

RZS's notion that any eidim could probably assumed to be pasul was
inspired. It's one of those cases where the answer ocmes from a direction
the questioner wasn't looking.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             You cannot propel yourself forward
micha@aishdas.org        by patting yourself on the back.
http://www.aishdas.org                   -Anonymous
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Message: 8
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2007 21:17:05 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Fables and Lies

On Thu, Dec 13, 2007 at 12:49:24AM +0000, kennethgmiller@juno.com wrote:
: Rabbi Frand got these ideas from the Sfas Emes. His point seems to be
: that the kaparos suffered by the Ten Martyrs could have been avoided,
: if Yosef would have given his brothers their full due. But "Yosef could
: not endure it any longer", and he revealed himself sooner than he could
: have, leaving a bit more to be taken care of at some future date.

I don't find this notion very satisfying. The punishment seems way out
of proportion of what's left of the crime.

And, as I noted before, even Shaar haGilgulim doesn't identify the
harugei malkhus as gilgulim of the brothers. So it's not completing
their punishment, since it's coming to the wrong people. Was Yosef's
neshamah's enduring the torture as R Yishmael kohein gadol punishment
for not doing his job in punishing his brothers?

I was taught (somewhere in my childhood) that Yoseif relented because
he saw the brothers had done teshuvah. After all, here was Binyamin,
another son of Rachel, who had just gotten better treatment than them --
a gift 5 times their size from the viceroy in Egypt. But unlike last time,
rather than their jealousy taking over, Yehudah places Binyamin ahead
of his own welfare. And the language used, "aval asheimim anachnu",
is the template for a key element of vidui.
<http://www.aishdas.org/10YemeiTeshuvah.pdf> pg 26-28.

According to this, why should anyone be punished after the teshuvah?

(RJSachs, the CR of the UK, suggests that this teshuvah was a critical
preparation for galus Mitzrayim. That straying while in Mitzrayim was
inevitable, and without having learned the art of teshuvah, all would
have been lost.)

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger                 Time flies...
micha@aishdas.org                    ... but you're the pilot.
http://www.aishdas.org                       - R' Zelig Pliskin
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Message: 9
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2007 21:22:28 -0500
Re: [Avodah] A shemitta miracle story

On Mon, Dec 03, 2007 at 02:46:08PM -0500, Zev Sero wrote:
: Dov Bloom wrote:
:> Anyone in Eretz Yisrael who looks at agricultural economics knows that
:> last year (5767) was not a great year at all! Certainly it did not give
:> a threefold yield ( VeTziviti et haBracha beShana HaShishi VeAsat et
:> HaTevuah LeShalosh HaShanim). 

: And yet it did for the people of Mevo Horon, who put their trust in it.

Anyone who explains an event as reward for a particular mitzvah is
assuming the burden of explaining tragedy in terms of sin, explaining
why one person gets reward and another not, etc....

For example, today was my daughter's yahrzeit (it's now after tzeis).
The only one of my wife's family to have gone through anything that
horrible was the one who became frum. Fortunately, my wife is "an FFB
who took a while to realize it, rather than a BT". Because the way we
teach bitachon and sechar va'onesh to BTs would have ch"v convinced her
that experimentally, her life choice was proven wrong.

Reductio ad absurdum. The same line of reasoning gets you places I don't
think you would want to go when dealing with the tragic, therefore the
line of reasoning must be flawed and unusable here too.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             A sick person never rejects a healing procedure
micha@aishdas.org        as "unbefitting." Why, then, do we care what
http://www.aishdas.org   other people think when dealing with spiritual
Fax: (270) 514-1507      matters?              - Rav Yisrael Salanter

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Message: 10
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2007 21:40:17 -0500
Re: [Avodah] The Kuzari, vindicated

On Tue, Dec 04, 2007 at 07:31:22PM +0100, Arie Folger wrote:
: RRW wrote:
:> AISI Das Moshe is not intrinsically superior for the individual, it is for
:> Yisroel

: That is IMO a dangerous statement. Wouldn't that be music in the ears of some 
: New Age Jews, who would happily be more concerned with their private 
: spirituality and leave their peoplehood at the door.

Isn't RRW arguing the exact opposite? That the Torah is a national
covenant rather than a matter of private individuality?

Whereas I have been arguing that the beris in Shemos is with individuals,
and the national aspect is the second beris in Devarim. IOW, mitzvos
acheive personal redemption, AND creates a nation entrusted with bringing
redemption to the world.

I would not deny the role of a national covenant. I just can't fit much of
what I was taught to the notion that there is *only* a national covenant.
E.g. NhC ascribes the avos the ability to feel within their own souls
all 613 mitzvos. Not as part of a nation, but by feeling what they would
need to acheive sheleimus. If a person without a national covenant would
oly require the 7 mitzvos already given to Noach, what exactly is he
talking about?

I learned something similar to RRW's in RYLeibovitz's writings. That
mitzvos need not work for every individual because they are laws created
for a society. They therefore address norms.

I am uncomfortable with this idea. IMHO, mitzvos address that which
all have in common as the human condition. Things that are products of
personal variation are addressed by the more general directives of QTY
(qedushah, tov, yashar) mitzvos that each person must turn into particular
actions for themselves (with their rav's help).

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             A wise man is careful during the Purim banquet
micha@aishdas.org        about things most people don't watch even on
http://www.aishdas.org   Yom Kippur.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                       - Rabbi Israel Salanter

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Message: 11
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2007 21:48:26 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Fables and Lies

On Tue, Dec 04, 2007 at 11:59:44AM -0500, Rich, Joel wrote:
:> Chazal used the story for a mashal. The question of whether the mashal
:> happened to also be what happened to occur or not isn't one that they
:> would have ever asked. Therefore, some could be historical, some not
:> -- it's not important and no one kept track. Even caring which is which
:> places you in a different perspective WRT the narrative than intended by
:> Chazal.

: Agree, as long as we keep in mind that the story could have been
: intended as  a memory device rather than a proof for the concept
: (because otherwise we have the law of unintended consequences issue -
: when someone looks at the same story and "proves" something else from
: it).  I find in some cases it is viewed as a source proof text instead.

In RSRH's CW III, a symbol is described as the crossroads of heart and
mind. We can contemplate a symbol to give a visualization and emotion
we intellectually comprehent. We can also use the symbol as a way to
reason about something that we can feel the broad strokes of, by giving
us a model to burther explore.

That's a far more powerful and rich concept than calling it a mnemonic.

On Wed, Dec 05, 2007 at 11:54:57PM +0200, Ilana Sober wrote:
: RnTK:
:: The word myth simply is never used to describe straightforward history.

: Exactly. That's why I think it is a useful word in conveying the idea
: that the events recounted in the Torah are not intended to be merely
: history, but something much more important.

As I wrote (and quoted above), I think the second you even ask the
question of historicity you are relating to the naarative in a way
different than Chazal's intent. It's entirely the mashal, and whether
the nimshal was drawn from history or not was never explored, asked
or cared about. The question is wrong, not just a particular answer
to it.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             A person must be very patient
micha@aishdas.org        even with himself.
http://www.aishdas.org         - attributed to R' Nachman of Breslov
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Message: 12
From: yzkd@aol.com
Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2007 13:14:28 -0500
Re: [Avodah] from a parsha sheet

C appears to be for mattiring a neder made in a dream (KSA 67:8):

The required "scholarship" there is for people who know Mikrah see Y"D 210:2, the requirement of 10 "scholars" is when one was put in Nidui in a dream see Y"D 334:35 for details.

Kol Tuv,
Yitzchok Zirkind

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Message: 13
From: T613K@aol.com
Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2007 16:41:43 EST
Re: [Avodah] Women Lighting menorahs

From: Steven J Scher <sjscher@eiu.edu>
>>The sources are  clear that a woman is equally chayav the menorah on


Now, we know that the mehadrin approach is for there to be a candle  for
every member of the house (or 1/night for each member to be mehadrin  min

It seems there are several interpretations about what  happens in the Katz

Enquiring minds want to know.<<
With my son away in yeshiva this year, my husband lit one menorah for the  
whole family.  When my son is home, he lights his own menorah and my  husband 
lights for the rest of us (myself and my daughters).
I was not aware of any hiddur of lighting one candle for each person.   Do 
you mean one menorah for each person?  "One candle" wouldn't make it  clear 
which night of Chanuka it was.
I don't know the reason for what we do BTW but I do know that it was done  
the same way in my natal home -- my father lit for the house, and my brothers  
each lit his own menorah.  

--Toby  Katz

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Message: 14
From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
Date: Fri, 14 Dec 2007 00:20:21 +0200
[Avodah] All transgressions are sins?

I am looking for a clear source that every transgression of a negative 
comandment is a sin which requires teshuva.

In particular I am studying the prohibition of ona'ah - fraud. It is 
prohibited for someone to overcharge by a sixth. If he overcharges more 
the sale is invalid while if he overcharges less than a sixth it is 
assumed that the buyer is mochel - and presumably there is no sin.

Is it necessary to do teshuva for overcharging by a sixth? The halacha 
is that if you are overcharged you have a finite amount of time to 
complain and then go to court to collect the overcharge. After that time 
has passed you can not collect in court. If you don't complain by that 
time it would seem to be assumed you are mochel. If you are mochel how 
can there be a sin?

Basically I am asking whether there is a group of prohibitions which 
when violated do not constitute sins even though they do require 
payment. Another example would be damaging another's property. What if 
you pay a person $1000 and then smash his window. Have you done a sin 
which is manifest in your soul? Or is the Torah simply saying don't do 
it and if you do you must pay - but it is not a sin.

Where does it say that violation of every negative commandent 
constitutes a sin which causes spiritual degradation that requires 
teshuva? Obviously a negative commandemnt means don't do it. But is it a 
spiritual blemish?

Daniel Eidensohn

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Message: 15
From: "Daniel Israel" <dmi1@hushmail.com>
Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2007 16:09:37 -0700
Re: [Avodah] Men lighting Shabbat candles with a berakha

On Wed, 12 Dec 2007 00:49:19 -0700 Simon Montagu 
<simon.montagu@gmail.com> wrote:
>R. Aryeh Frimer wrote on Areivim that if a man lights his own 
>Shabbat Candles with a berakha, it's probably a *Berakha levatala.*

I don't see this.  Both the man and the women are obligated to 
light.  Universal custom is for the man to be yotzei the woman's 
lighting.  However, I see no reason why this is any different from 
any other case of being motzei someone else: if either the man or 
the woman have in mind that she is not motzi him, then he is still 
obligated and would need to make a bracha.

>How is this? I would have expected (by symmetry with the case of a 
>woman taking lulav etc.) that it's permitted for Ashkenazim and a 
>berakha levatala for Sephardim.

This case does not seem parallel to me.  There the women is not 
chayiv in that mitzvah, but if she doesn't do it herself, the man 
cannot be motzi her.  So when a takes a lulav the question of the 
bracha is because she isn't actually chayiv.  In our case, the man 
is (intrinsically) chayiv, the question is whether he has fulfilled 
his obligation with the woman's lighting.

>And what circumstances are we considering? Does it make a 
>difference if the ba`alat habayit is not at home or not able to 
>If that is the case, and if there are adult unmarried daughters at 
>home who don't have the custom to light every week, is it better 
>them to light with a berakha or the ba`al habayit without?

The case where the ba'al is away and the isha is at home is 
discussed, I don't know about the reverse.  But let's stick with 
the simple case: if the woman is unable to light, then the man 
should light, with a bracha, and be motzi the whole household, as 
the woman usually is.  Asking an unmarried daughter is an 
interesting idea, but I've never heard it suggested (which doesn't 
mean much).

In fact, as I recall, the Chaye Adam specifically discusses the 
case of a man lighting because he sees that his wife is running 
late and may miss lech bentching.  (He is concerned about 
machlokes, very interesting, ayin sham.)

Daniel M. Israel


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