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Volume 24: Number 97

Sun, 16 Dec 2007

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Yitzhak Grossman <celejar@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 14 Dec 2007 10:11:21 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Fables and Lies

On Thu, 13 Dec 2007 21:17:05 -0500
Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org> wrote:

[snipped discussion of Yosef's motivation for dissembling]

Ralbag explains that Yosef's goal in his charade was to assure himself
of Binyamin's safety, and to ascertain that the brothers didn't have
designs against him similar to those that they had once had against
himself.  Once he determined that they felt filial toward Binyamin, and
that they were endeavoring to secure his release, he revealed himself
as Yosef.

To'eles 8, end of Mi'kez.

> Tir'u baTov!
> -Micha

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

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Message: 2
From: T613K@aol.com
Date: Fri, 14 Dec 2007 13:52:53 EST
Re: [Avodah] Yosef and his brothers [was: Fables and Lies}

R' Saul Mashbaum writes:

>>It is precisely at this point, that the brothers, still in  Egypt, but 
realizing what awaits them when they return to Yaakov, say "Aval  asheimim anachnu 
al achinu, asher rainu et tzarat nafsho, b'hitcan'no aleinu  v'lo shamanu, al 
ken baa aleinu hatzara hazot."<<
This reminds me of something striking that I always think about this time  of 
year, when we read the whole Yosef story. That is, when Yosef is set upon by  
his brothers, put in a pit, and then sold -- the Torah doesn't say a peep 
about  how Yosef reacted to all this at the time, whether he said anything, 
fought back  or what.  He's just -- silent.  The emotional tone of the  sale is 
flat.  That's how the brothers feel, that's how the reader  feels.
Only years later, when the brothers say this, "We are guilty about our  
brother, because we saw the /suffering of his soul/ when /he pleaded with  us/ but 
we didn't listen" -- do we get a glimpse of the emotions and drama of  the 
events that had occurred years earlier.  Now we first hear about the  young boy 
crying and pleading with his older brothers, the terrible tza'ar he  felt.  
Only at the same moment that the brothers finally feel what they had  suppressed 
all those years -- sorrow and compassion and regret for their  brother's pain 
-- do we, the readers of the Chumash, first get a sense of  the fraught 
emotions of that event, the sale of Yosef.  

--Toby  Katz

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Message: 3
From: Steven J Scher <sjscher@eiu.edu>
Date: Fri, 14 Dec 2007 13:17:08 -0600 (CST)
[Avodah] Women Lighting Menorahs


R'Akiva Miller:

> Here's my understanding of the three levels, based on Rav Shimon Eider's Halachos of Chanukah, page 8:
> According to Ashkenazim:
> Halacha: For the entire household, one candle is lit each night.
> Mehadrin: Each person lights one candle each night.
> Mehadrin Min Hamehadrin: Each person lights one candle the first night. Each person lights two candles the second night. Etc.
> According to Sefaradim:
> Halacha: For the entire household, one candle is lit each night.
> Mehadrin: Each person lights one candle each night.
> Mehadrin Min Hamehadrin: For the entire household, one candle is lit the first night. For the entire household, two candles are lit the second night. Etc.

This is my understanding, too.  (Although I admit that while I was vaguely 
aware of the sephardic minhag, I wasn't really thinking about it).

> My personal practice is that in most cases, I light, but my wife does not,
> and both my sons and daughter light. This follows Mishne Brura 671:9, 
> that because of "ishto k'gufo" (that husband and wife are two halves of 
> a whole), one of them can light and still be following the "each person" 
> rule. It seems to me, though, that my unmarried daughter is unable to 
> rely on this concept until she gets married, and so she must light for 
> herself in order to follow the "each person" rule.

I saw this MB too, but don't really understand it.  Is there any other 
case where the halacha or minhag is for everyone to do something, but we 
rely on ishto k'gufo to fulfill it?

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Message: 4
From: "Ilana Sober" <ilanasober@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, 15 Dec 2007 21:11:28 +0200
[Avodah] Having a boyfriend equivalent to being married?

Re: tav l'meisiv:
I was chatting recently with a friend who has been a widow for quite a
few years, and who has not remarried. She mentioned that she knows
some women who stay in pretty difficult marriages rather than getting
divorced and said something like, "I definitely understand where
they're coming from - even a bad marriage is better than being alone."
I asked if she had ever heard of the statement tav l'meisiv - she

On the other hand, I have friends who are grushot and object
vociferously to tav l'meisiv.

- Ilana

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Message: 5
From: RallisW@aol.com
Date: Sat, 15 Dec 2007 19:57:07 EST
[Avodah] Former Synagogue Now Abandoned Or C"Sh A Church

How does halochoh view a former synagogue, either now lying abandoned or  
C"Sh turned into a church or a mosque? Does one tear kriyoh upon seeing it, as  
with seeing the mokom hamikdosh? (I would guess probably not.) Is there any  
distinction between a former Orthodox shul or a  Conservative/Reform? Do they 
still retain some of their former kedushoh? 

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Message: 6
From: "Richard Wolpoe" <rabbirichwolpoe@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, 15 Dec 2007 21:58:17 -0500
Re: [Avodah] The Kuzari, vindicated

On Dec 12, 2007 10:29 PM, Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org> wrote:

> On Tue, Dec 04, 2007 at 05:52:47PM -0500, Richard Wolpoe wrote:
> : And AFAIK Rambam requires Jews to encourage non-Jews to observe the 7
> : mitzvos but not to encourage them to do more. AISI, the ONLY reason for
> a
> : non-Jew to do more is to be part of a national covenant.
> Or to serve as a kohein to the masses.
> A nazir pursues a higher qedushah without being in a "nazir" startion in
> the national structure.
> : If Judaism were a a requirement for "salvation" then we would be selfish
> or
> : miserly in discouraging converts.
> I fail to see the connection.
> But since you speak of redemption.... If Judaism is about national
> redemption, does the pious individual of a sinful generation or nation
> not get redeemed?
> Tir'u baTov!
> -Micha
> --

You are confusing the giving of the Torah and Taryag mitzvos with judgment
Judgment of one's goodness/badness pre-dates and post-dates matan torah.

The point of Mtan Torah is national covneant.
the point of being a 'good person" applies to ALLL bnei noach and my point
is that Salvation can be gained with or without Torah

Peraps a JEW can only be justified via Torah or perhaps a Jew can STEP out.
Certainlyu halachah does not permit a jew to step out but I have no reason
to believe that  Someone like Esther who  hid her Jewishness  from all did
not de facto renounce her national identity etc.

Kashrus is not about individual spirituality -that is why it depends so much
upon communal standards.  Glatt Kosher is not a Torah imperative according
to Rem et. al. but it has evolved as communal standard for serous
practictioners of Kashrus.

bottom line: Torah is about COMMUNAL standards of concutcs [e.g. uvi'arta
hara mikirbecha] and not about individual perfection. [of cours indivdiuals
can do a biur of ra upon themselves but that is not the gist of that mitzva]

That said any society MUST accomodate individiual Tzadikim and chachamim.
So it would be inconsistent with a system of a comunity to be devoid of
Kohanim, levi'im, ne'vi'im etc.  Read parshas Mishpatim. You have virtually
every communal role outlined.   Perhaps SOME Torah people need to be ba'alei
mussar, but it is not THE Torah goal

If you can find frum Jews who can enumerate which Targyagmitzvots apply to
them in particualr I think you would have a point. Fact is, that eithr
people learn all 613 mitzvos or perhaps only that apply today such as the
Chofetz Chaim's Sefer Hamatzvos hakatzar. I don''t know anyone walking
around with a list of mitzvos that pallies uniquely to themselves.

The Torah's Taryag pre-supposes a nation in Israel with a king a Koehin
Gadol. this is the structure of a nation that goes to war, plants crops,
makes pilgrimmages etc. it is not a self-perfection manual. maybe the sifre
Emes and/or Koheles fit that bill.

Of course within the Torah there is appeal for righeous behavior. all of the
10 commandments are about a good society. I don't kill not to be a goodie
two-shoes but to keep a just society. Niuf is societal, that is why it is is
the 10 commandment, if it were about self-perfection perhaps all  illicit
conduct would have been listed.

The 10 commandmens does not say do not lie, it says do not give false
testimony about another. This is societal.

 The entire foundation of yetiz'as mitrayim is societalAsk yourself how come
HKBH took out so many resh'aim from mitzrayim!   If HKBH wanted
perfectionism He could have selected a really small subset.

or if HKBH wanted indivdual perfection He could have commanded do SOMETHING
to commerate the Exodus. L'havdil like Catholics give up something for Lent.
Rather he commenaded a national unified one-size-fits-all set of mitzvos and
a common primer/cathechism which is our haggadah.  Why not have a personal
seder " how yetiz'as mitzrayim makes ME a better yid?"  Very little
literature on that point. Rather we have a national text that talks about 4
banim,, 10/50/200/250 makkos etc.

Atem nitzvaim includes scotevie Eitzim  etc. [even Giv'onim!]  The Torah
speaks to a  PEOPLEHOOD.  This is articulated by l'ma'an yetzaveh. Avrahm's
tachlis is to pass on justice through his progeny

Nidividual tzaddikim can extis witha or withou Torah.
Noach/UIyyov/Shem/Ever/Yisro did it w/o Toah. For some reason the AVos did
Torah BEFORE matan Torah. I'm not sure WHY but the aforemention l'ma'an
yetzaveh comes to mind.  Certainly as a people we have Avos.

Do Xtians have Avos? I think not. Maybe Islam does..Otherwise, we are
perhaps the only religion I know that describes its God as God of its
ancestors?  Why? Holy Patriarchs. Holy Land. Holy City Holy Temple.  Common
Commandments. Hakheil.

Do monks who mediate all day in a quest for communion with G-d require any
of the above? Most monastics eshew society and seek solitude.
Self-perfection is certainly an ideal for lamed vavniks.  But I do not see
the concept of Torah as adressing jsut lamed vavniks. maybe Kabbalah is for
self-perfection.  Maybe the Zohar.  Is the Tachlis of Taryag to become
mekuuballim? Or is that for Yechidei Segulah?


Kol Tuv / Best Regards,
see: http://nishmablog.blogspot.com/
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Message: 7
From: moshavletz@aol.com
Date: Sat, 15 Dec 2007 22:10:48 -0500
[Avodah] Fasting on minor fast days


Does anyone? know of any poskim who say that you needn't fast on the minor fast days after the establishment of the state of Israel?


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Message: 8
From: "Richard Wolpoe" <rabbirichwolpoe@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, 15 Dec 2007 22:13:09 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Gra and TuM

On Dec 13, 2007 8:53 PM, Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org> wrote:

> 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

Whilst in the KAJ neiborhood I was told the difference between TuM and TIDE
is as follows:

   1. TIDE: all of secular culture can be SUBJECTED to TORAH. That which
   is good [e.g. Kant] can be used for a Torah purpose. Call if
   refinement. I think Hirsch waw it as culture. A Godo Jew can absorb the good
   of secualr soceity via the filtering process of the Torah
   2. TuM: Torah and Science are co-equals. Torah influences how one vies
   science AND vice versa.  TIDE followers in  Breuer's strongly object to this
   model as giving Science the same validity as Torah.

I cannot speak to how RYBS defined TuM. It was not his creature AFAIK it was
Dr. Belkin's

And I do not think that Dr. Belkin ever meant TuM to be exactly as  KAJ
characterizes it.   Belkin's model was as follows:

   1. You learn Torah in a traditional Beis Midrash Yeshiva atmosphere
   2. You learn secular Studies in a secular way as in any University

Afterwards, the syntheis is done by the indivdiual outside of class.  The
students resolves the dialectic himself  It actually works well with elite
types and often fails with average types who are not capable of resolving
the cognizvant dissonacne. Taht is perhaps why Belkin was soundly
crtiicized. The problem with RYBS and Belikn et. al. is that they were all
egenii and could not fathom how non-genii would handle these dialectical

The Anti-TuM world usualyl wants the authority figure to do the
synthesizing. RYBS/Belkin et. al. we about empowering the individual student
to be more independent and to think for himself. This is the biggest cause
of tension aisi between YU and the anti-YU world.

E.G.a KAJ freiend of mine  took all of Dr. Lamm's pronouncements as official
YU hashkafa. He could not even be massig that YU could have a diversity of
hashkafos within its own precincts and that indivdual maggidei Shiur were
NOT subject to Dr. Lamm's  personal machsahva. That  would not fly in the
Yeshiva world.

OTOH 1 yeshiva I know had a problem when the Mashgiach Ruchani and a  future
Rosh Yeshiva had differing hashkafos. At YU they would have both remained,
in this yeshiva - one had to leave.

Kol Tuv / Best Regards,
see: http://nishmablog.blogspot.com/
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Message: 9
From: "Richard Wolpoe" <rabbirichwolpoe@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, 15 Dec 2007 22:28:22 -0500
Re: [Avodah] All transgressions are sins?

On Dec 13, 2007 5:20 PM, Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@012.net.il> wrote:

> 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.
> Daniel Eidensohn
> _______________________________________________

There is a similar Chakira re: parking tickets. [excluding parking near a
hydrant which could create a sakkanah]

Let's say one is willing to park at a meter, ot pay ther quarter, leave it
ther for the day and be willing to apy the $50.00 fine. It might be cheaper
than parking at a garage. Is that OK?


   1. Is the parking ticket a FEE for parking and you MAY lechatchila
   park illegally so long as you are willing to pay
   2. OR is it a fine for bad/moralunethical/anti-social behavior and it
   is not OK to do so unless under duress?

Kol Tuv / Best Regards,
see: http://nishmablog.blogspot.com/
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Message: 10
From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
Date: Sun, 16 Dec 2007 11:23:50 +0200
Re: [Avodah] All transgressions are sins?

kennethgmiller@juno.com wrote:
> R' Daniel Eidensohn asked:
>> I am looking for a clear source that every transgression
>> of a negative comandment is a sin which requires teshuva.
>> ...
>> 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?
> I can't imagine what could possibly lead someone to think that one might violate G-d's Word and not have to apologize to Him for it.
There are a number of authorities who claim that the Rambam holds that 
there is no Torah obligation to do teshuva

See Netziv to Devarim(30:11),Avodas HaMelech, Minchas Chinuch #364. 
There is also an interesting question that if there is a positive 
commandment of teshuva associated with every violation then how can 
there be malkus [See Frankel Rambam index to Hilchos Teshuva]

> "Is it a spiritual blemish?" How can it NOT be? Maybe we need to define our terms. I've been led to understand that a "spiritual blemish" is something which separates me from the Source of sprituality. It seems to me that disobeying Him would meet that criterion.
> "Where does it say...?" -- Lamah li k'ra? Sevara hu!
> Please forgive me if any of the above sounds flippant and insulting. I do not mean to insult the question nor the questioner. My intention, rather, is to underscore how very basic this quesion is, and to remind everyone (myself included) that it is the most basic questions which tend to have the most difficult answers.
It is so obvious - so why doesn't anyone say it? Either because it is 
too obvious or because it is not true! I have heard the "proof" that it 
is obvious -  but not everything that is obvious is passed over in 
silence. As you point out I am dealing with the most basic theology - so 
why doesn't someone say it? Furthermore we are dealing with rather 
circular reasoning. Since it obviously causes a blemish when 
transgressing G-d's word it requires teshuva. Where does it say that 
every transgression causes spiritual blemish and where does it say that 
every transgression requires teshuva?

It is either obvious that one must do teshuva or that teshuva is 
optional. I am going one step beyond that by asking whether sometimes 
teshuva is not needed for a transgression because not every 
transgression is a sin.

To repeat my question. Where is it stated that every transgression is a 
sin that causes spiritual damage which requires repentance?

Daniel Eidensohn


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