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Volume 25: Number 37

Fri, 25 Jan 2008

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2008 18:22:20 -0500 (EST)
Re: [Avodah] Diberah Torah

On Thu, January 24, 2008 2:18 pm, Daniel Eidensohn wrote:
: I am not sure what you mean "taken out of context" Over time words and
: phrases acquire new connotations....

This is altogether a new use.

Rabbi Aqiva darshened lexically, looking for keywords, pulling mounds
of halakhos out of the tagin on the letters. R' Yishmael objected,
saying the Torah uses natural language, and therefore words like "es"
need not signify any ribui.

The rishonim take his words and turn it into a shorthand to mean
entirely different things. That's beyond just new connotation, it's a
new topic. One can believe that the Torah speaks idiomatically and
still darshen like Rabbi Aqiva -- one is peshat in pasut, the other is
rules of derashah. Differing topics; not different connotations of the
same idea.

:                            For example Prof. Jacob Katz has an
: article [Tarbiz #27 1958] of how the expression "Israel even though
: they have sinned is still Israel." Sanhedrin (44a) was given halachic
: significance when it is not used that way by Chazal. I am not sure
: that there is a prohibition of using phrases differently than
: Chazal....

Not at all. As I was saying, it's common. But don't confuse two uses
of the same phrase to give earlier authority to the later idea, or to
misunderstand either.

When the notion of non-literalism was attributed to Chazal's use of
the phrase and R' Yishma'els side of the machloqes, I spoke up. That's
anachronistic conflation of two uses of an idiom.

SheTir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             One who kills his inclination is as though he
micha@aishdas.org        brought an offering. But to bring an offering,
http://www.aishdas.org   you must know where to slaughter and what
Fax: (270) 514-1507      parts to offer.        - R' Simcha Zissel Ziv

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Message: 2
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2008 18:52:14 -0500 (EST)
Re: [Avodah] Cave or desert island

On Thu, January 24, 2008 4:06pm, R Doron Beckerman wrote:
: It may be true that the ultimate goal is to perfect society, but if
: the
: choice is living in a corrupt society and trying to influence them, or
: becoming a hermit/going to live in a cave for fear of them influencing
: you,
: the Rambam in 6th Perek of Hilchos Deos is very clear on which option
: to choose...

If the job is to perfect oneself, one can't choose to avoid sin by
accomplishing less.

Binyamin, Amram, Yishai and Kilav were great people, recorded in
Tanakh for all time as tzadiqim. But none of them are as commemorated
as the ushpizin, who did sin. We bless our kids to be like Ephraim and
Menasheh, not their uncle. Moshe and David are recognized as
surpassing their fathers, and Kilav is barely known -- and didn't get
the melukhah over his brother.

On Thu, January 24, 2008 12:04 pm, R Michael Makovi wrote:
: Any individual by himself can be righteous. And it's not because it's
: easy. Rather, there's nothing to do! True, I haven't stolen or lied or
: injured, but I couldn't if I wanted to! There's a saying, something
: like "When there's nothing to steal, the thief regards his virtue as
: real". So it isn't merely that the achievement was easily won. Rather,
: there's no achievement at all whatsoever!

I disagree with this sentiment for the above reason. There ius more to
personal perfection than not sinning.

Weaving togather another point of RMM's from the paragraph before that
one and the sentence after it:
: But the purpose of the Torah is to perfect the society! As Rabbi Aryeh
: Carmel puts it in Masterplan, the aim of the Torah is not the
: perfected individual, but rather the perfected society.
: Rabbi Eliezer Berkovits touches on this, in several places...

This thread started with RRW championing REB's version of this idea,
and my objection to the notion that a perfected society is the sole
goal of beris Sinai, the only thing added beyond the beris with Noach.

My argument was that if this were true, there would be no value to
doing mitzvos specific to Jews when cut off from all other Jews.
Perhaps even when cut off to the point of not having contact with 10
Jewish adults. (Of either gender; qiddush Hashem doesn't require the
minyan be men so we see a quantum of Jewish community isn't
necessarily gender specific).

On Wed, January 23, 2008 12:02 am, R Richard Wolpoe wrote:
: But the ikkar Torah is in a community.  Bedi'avad of course one does
: what he can on a desert island

Why would he even have a bedi'eved duty? After all, it's a community's
duty, and his actions have no impact on Jewish community.

Again I'm jumping back to get to a new point. RRW writes earlier in
that post:
: You are conflating bein adam lamakom to bein adam lachaviero

You didn't give me motivation to make that distinction. After all,
according to your position, any mitzvah beyond the 66 included in the
7 mitzvos benei Noach only gain their relevancy from the community.
Even bein adam laMaqom ones only exist to sanctify that community. No?

I would instead follow the Ramchal, that mitzvos exist to perfect the
self, as he understands the tanna's mashal of "prepare on erev Shabbos
so that you can feast on Shabbos".

Why then do Jews have more mitzvos. "Ratzah HQBH lezakos es
Yisrael..." Peirush haRambam -- because it gives us more opportunities
to have that moment of epiphany (koneh olamo besha'ah achas) by which
we get olam haba.

I might not share the Rambam's love of phrasing the goal in terms of
yediah, as per a conversation we had back in vol 2, about the Rambam
thereby concluding that mentally retarded people have smaller souls.
However, the notion that more mitzvos means more tools or
opportunities to accomplish one's tafqid stands.

More opportunities is only good if you take one. More wasted
opportunities is reason for culpability. Jews play for higher stakes.

That's in addition to being part of a national covenant. As I wrote
shortly before RMM joined, there were at least two berisim in Sinai.
Not only is a Jew a component of a holy Kelal Yisrael, but Kelal
Yisrael is composed of holy Jews. We need both.

I tried leveraging the pasuq "mamlekhes kohanim" (belashon rabim, each
Jew being a kohein), "vegoy qadosh" (belashon yachid, the sanctity of
the goy as a unit). However, RRW showed that "mamlekhes kohanim" isn't
necessarily translated that way. Although I still don't understand how
those rishonim can call it "peshat".

SheTir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             One who kills his inclination is as though he
micha@aishdas.org        brought an offering. But to bring an offering,
http://www.aishdas.org   you must know where to slaughter and what
Fax: (270) 514-1507      parts to offer.        - R' Simcha Zissel Ziv

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Message: 3
From: Saul.Z.Newman@kp.org
Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2008 14:53:41 -0800
[Avodah] tora state

in re a recent  areivim discussion of what a haredi tora state might look 
like, i found this

from a RW rabbi on the OU website, has his own idea of a 'tora state'
I believe that the time has come to establish a political party whose=20
platform is unashamedly for a Torah state.=======

The leadership will be composed of rabbis who regard the medina not as 
mere political entity but as the forerunner of the final geula.

The major points of the platform would be:

1- There is no one definition of democracy in the world. Hence, we will=20
redefine ours as a Torah democracy. The law of the land will be the 
and will be coercive as all law is.

2- Massive construction in Yehuda, Shomrom and the Golan with the aim 
bring a million Jews to these areas within 10 years.

3- A massive effort to bring millions of olim (new immigrants), 
the research of the millions of people who are descendants of the 
(Marranos) or the Ten Lost Tribes for the purpose of uniting them with the 

Jewish nation.

4- The army as the most respected institute in the land will be 
All able-bodied males will undergo basic training, regardless of how 
pages of the Talmud they know and all soldiers will be taught the=20
rudiments of Judaism. All female soldiers will be released and the concept 

of &quot;ma?chanecha kadosh&quot; will be implemented.

5- Shabbat will be the law of the land. There will be no desecration of=20
the shabbat in the public areas, including non Jews. Kashrut will be=20
strictly observed as will the limits of modesty - tzniut.

6- The Law of Return will be amended so that only Halachic Jews will be=20
able to attain citizenship.

7- Only Halachic Jews will be permitted to serve in the Knesset, and 
after fulfilling a minimum requirement of Torah and general knowledge.

8- An ultimatum will be given to the Gazans that within 24 hours all=20
weapons are to be deposited in the city stadium. After this time if=20
anything which can be construed as a weapon will be found then the 
city will be immediately destroyed.

9- The Gazans are to immediately clean out the area called &quot;Gush 
Katif&quot; in =

preparation for its re-building, bet knesset by bet knesset (synagogue 
synagogue), home for home, on an area three times larger then before.

10- Architectural plans will be drawn up for the Bet Ha?Mikdash, to be=20
implemented at the appropriate time.

11- We would send Rav Lau to make a statement to the General Assembly 
the UN, that Medinat Yisrael is the realization of God?s promise to return 

His nation to His land, and the establishment of a new United Nations 
Yericho, to unite all the gentiles in the world around the seven 

The list is endless.

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Message: 4
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2008 18:00:53 -0500
Re: [Avodah] What would a Torah government look like

Shmuel Weidberg wrote:
> On Jan 24, 2008 12:19 PM, Ben Waxman <ben1456@smile.net.il> wrote:
>> A Rosh Yeshiva (who shall remain nameless) once told me that having
>> everyone become frum would be the greatest disaster imaginable for
>> the yeshivot. At that point, there would not be any excuses for
>> khareidim to continue in yeshivot ad infinitum.
> I think when everybody becomes frum and learns all day, then the
> yissachar zevulun relationship will become they Yaakov Esav
> relationship as it was supposed to be. Eisav will work and support
> Yaakov so that all of klal yisroel can learn torah.

Well, certainly in the Future, we are told that "ve'amdu zarim vera'u
tzonchem".  But we don't need to go there.  The idea that everybody
must be in yeshivah full time has almost no support outside EY, and
in EY it's almost entirely driven by conscription and the laws
surrounding that.  If there were no conscription, or alternatively
if the whole army had conditions similar to the Nahal Haredi, we
would quickly see the everybody-in-yeshivah-for-life shita shrink
to the same negligible size that it has in chu"l.  Those not suited
for full-time learning would leave and get jobs (possibly after army
service) and support the learners.

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: 5
From: Ben Waxman <ben1456@smile.net.il>
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2008 06:10:10 +0200
Re: [Avodah] What would a Torah government look like

>From: "Shmuel Weidberg
>I think when everybody becomes frum and learns all day, then the
>yissachar zevulun relationship will become they Yaakov Esav
>relationship as it was supposed to be. Eisav will work and support
>Yaakov so that all of klal yisroel can learn torah.

Possibly, but the above is not above what a Torah government would 
look like, but some sort of post-Messianic scenario. And even as a 
post-Messianic scenario, it is certainly not clear that all of us 
will be in yeshiva all day long. From the Rambam it is clear that 
this scenario will not NOT the case.


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Message: 6
From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2008 01:47:37 -0500
[Avodah] What would a Torah government look like

From: "Shmuel Weidberg" <ezrawax@gmail.com>

<<I don't think there ever was a court Navi. For one thing, Shmuel who
would presumably have been Shaul's court Navi does not seem to have
stayed with the court. And it's not clear that Nosson stayed in
David's court. And we find no such concept by any of the other kings.
In any case, the Navi was independent of the King completely.>>

Rav Yaakov Kamenecki describes this concept explicitly in his sefer on


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Message: 7
From: Ben Waxman <ben1456@smile.net.il>
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2008 11:07:54 +0200
Re: [Avodah] Avodah What would a Torah government look like

>Rav  Micha Berger wrote:
>I do not think beis din would try to impose shemiras hamitzvos on a
>society that ignores them.

The issue of imposing mitzvot on individuals is one thing. Another 
question is how would such a government deal with government 
services, branches, institutions? Would it impose on them Torah 
restrictions? Would Reshet Bet be allowed to broadcast on Shabbat? 
Would a radio broadcaster be allowed to mock rabbanim like they do today?

Or in other words would 120 religious Jewish MKs give the secular the 
freedoms that the state today give the religous?


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Message: 8
From: "Eli Turkel" <eliturkel@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2008 10:40:32 +0100
[Avodah] What would a Torah government look like

To my mind one of the greatest challenges to a Torah government would
be modern day commerce

A simple example  one makes an electronic reservation by computer for
a hotel room or
plane flight and holds it with a credit card. When one arrives they
refuse to honor their commitment.
Upon screaming they answer that according to halacha a promise to do
some action is not
enforcable and no kinyan was done. Even if one paid in advance money
is not a kinyan.
7 tovei hair doesnt help since one cannot declare a sale without a
kinyan or with a money
kinyan. At best chazal declared some actions like a handshake a kinyan
in some circumstances
but a computer transaction has none of that. With the increased use of
computers and faxes
very little commerce is done in the presence of the two parties. Banks
transfer money between
themselves on an automatic basis without any human intervention. How
can there be
gemirat daat when no human even knows it is happening.

A further problem is davar shelo ba laolam. Many of our transactions
involve future products.
One buys an automobile to be delivered in a month and the car does
even exist yet. Certainly
the futures market would be in trouble. Again a local community has no
right to declare a
davar she lo bah leolam as being valid

Haym Soloveitchik  has an interesting recent article on Raabad. He
points out that
endorsing a check is a transfer of a note of indebtedness, According
to Shmuel one has the right
to forgive a shtar chov. In essence that would make transfers of checks useless.
As he stresses commerce is based on the ease of use. It is of no use
that this is stealing
and one can go to court to collect damages. No one wants to go through that
see for example tosafot of Rash on ketuvot that wonders how one can sell a debt.
Even the status of paper money is debatable. BTW I have discovered
that in Europe nobody
uses checks. Instead things are done by bank transfers which again
present kinyan problems.

Some of these problems such as the status of a corporation on dealt
with by poskim on the
level of ribit or chametz bepesach. These involve issurim and so the
poskim have to make
decisions, frequently lechumra, ie dont use paper money to sell
chametz and dont own stocks
in beer companies over pesach.

I would be interested if there are teshuvot about these issues from a
choshem mishpat view.
Thus there is no issur in selling something that does not exist or
transfering goods without
a kinyan. The difficulty arises only when one wants to enforce the
contract and the other side
refuses. If one looks at most teshuvot on choshem mishpat they involve
issurim or else
relations between neighbors. If someone sells future pork bellies and
loses million of dollars
and refuses to honor the commitment it goes to a secular court and not a bet din

BTW in the article of HS there is a fundamental disagreement between
Haym Soloveitchik and his
critic R. Buchwold. HS believes that it the job of a posek or RY to be
inventive to solve contemporary
choshem mihspat problems and not just issur veheter. The basic thrust
of the article is the
inventiveness of Raavad to do exactly that. R. Buchwold looks at it as
almost a reform jew
chabging halacha due to changed circumstances. HS argues that there is
a basic difference
between Orach Chaim and Yoreh Deah where that approach is discouraged
and Choshen Mishpat
where it is necessary if halacha is to be relevant to modern commerce.

Eli Turkel

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Message: 9
From: "Chana Luntz" <chana@kolsassoon.org.uk>
Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2008 23:15:22 -0000
Re: [Avodah] Fasting on YK

> On Wed, January 23, 2008 8:27 am, chana@kolsassoon.org.uk wrote:
> :                                         That means that, cooking on
> : shabbas for the person who is already sufficiently sick is 
> completely,
> : al pi halacha, mutar.  Going to get the food from the neighbour
> : therefore is a chumra, and we do not (at least according to RSZA)
> : impose a chumra in the case where it will cause tzar.
> Assuming, as you do, hutra. What if dechuyah?

Not necessarily me, but RSZA.  I agree it is more difficult to explain
RSZA if you say that it is dechuya.  After all, here there is a
neighbour with food.  To the choleh it does not matter whether the food
comes from the neighbour or you cook it in terms of doing what is best
for their illness.  If it is dechuya, how could you let the mere tzar of
the neighbour compete with an issur d'orisa of bishul?  I think you can
still get there, but it does mean a more expansive understanding of
dechuye than one might otherwise have thought.  It means on has to say,
if one is going to say, as RSZA says, that the tzar of the neighbour
allows you to then cook for the choleh, that the issur is sufficiently
pushed off the cook that (even if the cook is the same person as the
neighbour whose food might be used) the existence of available food from
elsewhere is not enough to re-establish the issur.

 I thought that 
> was the whole nafqa mina of that machloqes. (I also thought 
> that lema'aseh we're chosheshim that shabbos is only dechuyah.)

Of course if you do not use this expansive definition of dechuye, or you
reject this understanding, then it has even less applicability to the
husband and fasting wife.

> SheTir'u baTov!
> -micha



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Message: 10
From: T613K@aol.com
Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2008 19:11:06 EST
Re: [Avodah] assisted suicide

From: Gershon Seif _gershonseif@yahoo.com_ (mailto:gershonseif@yahoo.com) 

>>My  wife (who is a lobbyist for Agudah) was in Madison, WI yesterday to 
join a long  list of people/organizations who came to voice their objection to a 
proposed  bill to allow physician assisted suicide.

Some of the people who spoke in  favor of the bill tried to show how Shimshon 
would have been in favor of  assisted suicide....

What are the basic chilukim between Shimshon's  situation and a person 
suffering from a teminal illness, that would allow him to  do what he did, and yet 
forbid assisted suicide? 
My first hunch is that by Shimshon it was only a grama. And it might even  be 
a safek, whereas what the assisted suicide wants to allow would be a vadai  
and quite direct.<<

A talmid chacham of my acquaintance told me (when I asked) that the  people 
who jumped out of the World Trade Center rather than be burned to death  were 
not committing suicide or doing anything wrong -- that at the point of  death, 
if you have a choice, you're allowed to choose.  Say a killer gave  his victim 
a choice of death by gun or by bow and arrow -- the victim would be  allowed 
to choose. It may be that Shimshon was that close to death and chose to  die 
in a way that would bring down the Plishtim with him.
In the case of a person suffering from a terminal illness, the person who  
opts for suicide is not just choosing one of two alternative deaths, he is  
actually hastening his death.  
In the case of Shimshon, your thought that it was only grama is actually  a 
strong case, and here is an aspect that makes it even stronger:  his  "suicide" 
depended completely on a nes occurring, he had no way bederech hateva  to 
kill himself or to kill the Plishtim.  What he did might better be  compared to a 
person praying for death, which I think all would agree is  mutar.  If Hashem 
Himself steps in, then the person's death is literally an  Act of G-d -- 
which is what Shimshon's death was.
The reality is that physicians do actually often help people die but this  is 
never official.  It will always go on but should not be codified in  law 
because it makes it too official, almost as if the government is actually  
encouraging people to hasten their end. In Holland many people who are  "assisted" 
this way do not actually want to die and are not even close to  death, but have 
been persuaded by others.  There have even been cases  where patients 
specifically said they did not want to die but doctors signed at  the heirs' request 
that the patient "really" wanted to die.   Pain  killers and anti-depressants 
would be much better for them and would obviate  many "requests" to die -- but 
the extra months or years in nursing homes would  be very expensive for the 
govt and/or the heirs.
Anyway, bottom line, there is a huge difference between a person  saying,  
"Please release me from my suffering, take my soul now" to a  physician -- and 
saying that same thing to his Creator.

--Toby Katz
Romney -- good values,  good family, good hair
Best hope against  Hillary

**************Biggest Grammy Award surprises of all time on AOL Music.     
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