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Volume 25: Number 110

Wed, 26 Mar 2008

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2008 23:13:36 -0400
[Avodah] Fighting for your host country

On Mon, Mar 24, 2008 at 02:53pm IST, R Michael Makovi wrote:
: If the war is moral, then you are fighting for a moral cause and any
: opposing Jews are irrelevant, and if the war is immoral, then you are
: fighting Judaism itself, and any opposing Jews are irrelevant.

The opposing Jews are irrelevant until you shoot that Elbonian soldier and
you are close enough to hear your victim's dying words "Shema Yisrael!"
I don't think the halachic question can be divorced from this fundamental
emotional truth.

There are many causes that are moral, and even of high enough priotity
to kill for, but don't outrank the unity of Kelal Yisrael.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Here is the test to find whether your mission
micha@aishdas.org        on Earth is finished:
http://www.aishdas.org   if you're alive, it isn't.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                        - Richard Bach

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Message: 2
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2008 23:35:28 -0400
Re: [Avodah] R' Angel & Geirus Redux

On Mon, Mar 24, 2008 at 02:27pm IST, R Michael Makovi wrote:
: Indeed - ALL gerim are not going to be able to keep all the mitzvot at
: first - like a bar mitzvah. It's simply impossible for it to be
: otherwise. Heck, an FFB is not able to keep ALL the mitzvot properly!
: So practical observance of the mitzvot cannot possibly be measured by
: anything except the effort and the intent.

And this is muchrach form the fact that a me'ikar hadin, one need only
teach the geir a sampling of halakhos so that he gets a sense of what
halakhah is like.

On Tue, Mar 25, 2008 at 08:02pm IST, R Michael Makovi wrote:
: Correct. I was under the impression that we were distinguishing between
: 1) Saying "I will TRY to keep them all", and
: 2) Saying, "I will fail to keep them all, because I am imperfect"

:                      ... in place of 2 should be substituted,
: 2) Saying, "I will not even try to keep them all, because they are too
: hard, but I recognize the chiyuv"

I would prefer to formulate qabbalas ol mitzvos as the belief that one
is supposed to live according to halakhah, and that in cases where one
isn't, the flaw is mine, not halakhah's.

There is the person who tries and fails. And there is the person who
fails to even try. But then there's the person who at the time of his
conversion decided that some halakhah is wrong. That's the person whose
geirus is invalid.

C and R simply don't have our concept of halakhah. Thus, they can't
produce a geir, even if they educate the candidate and then try to get
an O BD to do the geirus itself.

There is thus a halachic line that one poseiq could legitimately say
another camp, even another O camp, has crossed.

I have no idea where the notion that ameikh ami, or "Shema Yisrael"
replaces the requirement of qabalas ol mitzvos for geirus.

The gemara in Yevamos 47b speaks of which mitzvos must be listed as
part of qabalas ol mitzvos. And contrasts to an eved... We can compell
a former eved Kenaani to keep mitzvos; but how does one accept a geir
who feels no loyalty? Force him to feel loyal?

The Rambam and SA both list the criterion of not excluding a single
din. How then can one not require the enterprise of dinim? If someone
saw R' Uziel or R' Goren inside, I would appreciate explanation.


Micha Berger             "'When Adar enters, we increase our joy'
micha@aishdas.org         'Joy is nothing but Torah.'
http://www.aishdas.org    'And whoever does more, he is praiseworthy.'"
Fax: (270) 514-1507                     - Rav Dovid Lifshitz zt"l

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Message: 3
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2008 21:49:35 -0400
[Avodah] RAYK and the end of chol

On Thu, Mar 20, 2008 at 03:28pm IST, R Michael Makovi wrote (on the
thread "R' Angel & Geirus Redux"):
: Rav Kook too I think implicitly held like this. His philosophy was
: that today, we are seeing people that are bad on the outside but good
: on the inside. They have tremendous neshamot yearning to improve the
: world (look at all the Jews in left-wing causes), and the Torah had
: been made into something so small and parochial...

RAYK believes that everything is qadosh. "Chol" is an illusion -- that
something isn't qodesh. The geulah comes from the loss of barriers
and thus the qedushah inherent in all becomes visible. Lesasid lavo,
Yeshaiah's "eretz chadashah" is one where olam hazeh and olam hava

Therefore, RAYK expected the masses to somehow show that progression to
universal qedushah. However, it could still be in a semirevealed form.
The misguided idealist who is holy in his idealism but a sinner in his
choice of ideal.

But the whole zerichas hashemesh model of geulah didn't stand up that well
to subsequent events. He wrote before WWII, after all.

And since his day, there was far from a rise in idealism. Here in the
US, the flappers gave way to the greenhorn who only wanted the American
dream and for Sammy to be a true American. Sammy's kid spent some time
in an Ashram in the late 60s and early 70s, but that was replaced by the
Me Generation, Yuppies, Gen-X... The competition to Yahadus is a vapid
culture, not what RAYK would forsee in the hayday of Communism. And over
in Israel, the Communism of the kibbutzim is over, Zionism gave way to
post-Zionism, Israel too had is Yeled vaKelev generation, etc...

RAYK thought that the world was in an accelerated path to the geulah.

:                                    ... Also, compare Torah im Derech
: Eretz to Rav Kook's view of learning chol, "sanctify the chol by
: infusing it with kodesh". Rav Kook and Rav Hirsch say the same thing
: on learning chol, but in different language.

First, TIDE is built around "Yaft E-lokim leYefet". The idea human
being is ennobled, raised above the animal -- both in Torah and in being
cultured. Far from RAYK's Zionism, I have no idea how TIDE is defined when
not living amongst a host population of Benei Yefes defining high culture.

Second, RSRH's TIDE is an entirely different paradigm. Rather than speak
of a cosmic fading away of the whole concept of chol, RSRH speaks in
terms of the ennoblement of high culture.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             In the days of our sages, man didn't sin unless
micha@aishdas.org        he was overcome with a spirit of foolishness.
http://www.aishdas.org   Today, we don't do a mitzvah unless we receive
Fax: (270) 514-1507      a spirit of purity.      - Rabbi Israel Salanter

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Message: 4
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2008 22:40:54 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Sheva Brochos

Cantor Wolberg wrote:

>> There is no such thing as three days of sheva brochos.
> Not true. Check Kesuvos 7b. If he's an alma and she's an almana, you 
> have one day of brochos.  If she's an almana (and he isn't) some hold
> the simcha is only three days.

Simcha is 3 days, but bracha is seven days if it's a first marriage for
either one, and one day if not.  AFAIK there is no opinion (and certainly
there's no opinion on that page) that there is ever three days of sheva

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: "Rich, Joel" <JRich@sibson.com>
Date: Wed, 26 Mar 2008 05:19:48 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Niskatnu haDoros


If someone tries to reopen questions because they consider the
codification an ossification that runs against the health of halakhah,
they have to start by restoring the Jews who were capable of playing
with those higher stakes, of being the giants on whose shoulders we

And, to look at the same thing from a very different angle... If someone
could find a throwback, someone with the mesiras nefesh of R' Yehudah's
generaion who lived among R' Papa and Abyei (to cite the people who
coined "nisaqtnu hadoros), we would call that a BG gadol mimenu
bechokhmah uveminyan.

Tir'u baTov!

Why is this "start" a requirement? Assumedly to "undo" the start of
codification, but philosophically I've always wondered why we didn't say
we'll follow the rules and let the chips fall where they may (i.e.
yiftach bdoro vs. declaring a need for a change due to yiftach)

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Message: 6
From: Cantor Wolberg <cantorwolberg@cox.net>
Date: Wed, 26 Mar 2008 01:50:39 -0400
[Avodah] Our Debt to Previous Generations

Deeper meaning of the striking Mishnah in Avos 2:10,13,14), which adds  
yet another dimension to our interpretation: ?Rabban Yohanan ben  
Zakkai had five disciples? He said to them, ?Go out and see what is  
the best characteristic to which an individual ought cleave.    R.  
Eliezer says, a good eye;     R. Yehoshua says, a good friend;     R.  
Yose says, a good neighbor;     R. Shimon says,"ha?ro?eh et ha?nolad?  
to see that which will be born.  R. Elazar says, a good heart.  He  
then said to them, ?Go out and see which is the worst characteristic  
from which an individual ought flee?'      R. Eliezer says, an evil  
eye;     R. Yehoshua says, an evil friend;     R. Yose says, an evil  
neighbor;     R. Shimon says, to borrow and not repay;     R. Eliezer  
says, an evil heart.

One of the fascinating aspects of this Mishnah is that only R. Shimon  
seems to have bypassed the parallel structure of the two halves of the  
Mishnah: according to him, the good characteristic towards which one  
must aspire is the ability to see what is yet to be born, the outcome  
of events and experiences, the opposite of which he defines as to  
borrow and not repay rather than as not to see that which will be  
born, not to be aware of the outcome of events (which we could expect  
to find). It could very well be that his intent is precisely the  
parallel structure; after all, one who borrows and doesn?t repay was  
generally not sufficiently aware when he borrowed the money that pay- 
day will soon arrive, and that he?d better be prepared for that day  
with sources from which to repay his debt. Be that as it may, R.  
Shimon?s unique formulation within the Mishnah cries out for further  

I saw the following beautiful vort:  Rav Shalom Gold of Har Nof,  
Jerusalem once suggested another interpretation for ?ha?ro?eh es  
ha?nolad:? not one who sees that which will be born (which in Hebrew  
would be yivaled) but rather one who sees from whom he was born, one  
who understands that he did not emerge from an empty vacuum and  
realizes that he has a certain debt to pay to the previous generations  
which formed him.

Once we realized our debt to pay to the previous generations (which  
formed us), we would possess a good eye, choose good friends and  
neighbors, and contain a good heart.  It's all about remembering the  
past, applying it to the present and recognizing the consequences to  
our future.

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Message: 7
From: "chana@kolsassoon.org.uk" <chana@kolsassoon.org.uk>
Date: Wed, 26 Mar 2008 15:53:29 +0100 (GMT+01:00)
Re: [Avodah] schechtworthy

RZS writes

>Well, trimming the beard is a matter of halachic psak, not just
>communal norms, but another example I gave was wearing galoshes,
>which nobody holds is inherently assur, and today everybody wears
>them without question.  And yet, when they were new and "modern",
>a shochet who wore them would be sacked on the spot.

Yes but on what halachic basis?  I am still waiting for the halachic 
sources that provide the underlying fundamentals of these decisions.  
So far you have quoted a case from the LR, but not his sources (and 
since he was permitting, and we are only deriving the issur by 
implication, even that is not very conclusive).

I am, as I made clear in my previous post, doing this because poretz 
geder is a term that is being flung around a lot today, and it struck 
me that if it was going to be discussed anywhere in our sources, 
disqualification for shechita may well be the place - but so far I 
can't find it.

>Zev Sero               Something has gone seriously awry with this 

And then RMB wrote:

>Even if certain terms -- pesaq, cheirem, kofer, etc... -- have been
>.abused to build up those gedarim, one can still dig through the 
>anf find who really violated a society's *halachic* norms rather than
>lesser norms labeled in guzma-ridden terms. Notice that I am implying
>(now stating outright) that someone who violates halakhah in a way
>everyone else does would not necessarily be unsuable as a shocheit.

>AIUI, this is the definition a wise woman brought sources for in 

I did indeed, but if you look at what I wrote there - it was as 

<<the proof text for poretz geder is Koheles 10:8 [v'poretz geder 
nachash] which Rashi explains there refers to a siyag shel Chachamim
l'avor al divreheim, which seems to be the way it is understood in the
gemora as well. And I note that the Ramban (in his hakdama to Sefer
Hamitzvos - chelek 1 (5)) understands that a violation of the lav of 
tasur only occurs in relation to something that is d'orisa or halacha
miSinai in origin, but in relation to takanos and gezeros, one is not 
violation of the lav, albeit that there is misa b'yadei Shamayim based
on the concept of poretz geder (ie the death b'yadai shamayim is
encapsulated in the form of the nachash).  So unless you say that the
shitta adopted is that of a zaken mamre, prima facie I can't see how 
get to poretz geder no matter what motivates the change.  Agreed there
are some citations of the concept in the Shulchan Aruch which might
suggest a slightly wider definition, but those seem to be of the 
of creating effectively a local and specific takana - which again 
draw it back to a violation of divrei Chachamim.>>

I still don't get from there to your average community norms of the 
nature being cited - certainly nowhere near galoshes.  Nor do I see the 
necessary connection between possibly being worthy of misa b'yadei 
shamayim and having one's chezkas kashrus withdrawn.

>Of course, many people may not believe TV ownership isn't actually
>assur. But if the poseqim who decided that community's norm did so
>on halachic rather than lifnim mishuras hadin grounds, then the
>person would be a poreitz geder, lose his chezqas kashrus, and be
>unusable as a shocheit.

>In the historical case: A shocheit in Hungary whose wife didn't cover 
>hair was unusable, a Litvak in the same shoes was. 

You made mention in a later post about the fact that husbands are not 
controlling, but the issue here is, I believe, that we are dealing with 
a violation of daas Moshe - ie a d'orisa, and something which is 
specifically stated as a reason a woman should be divorced in the 
Mishna in Kesubos (along with, I would note, feeding her unsuspecting 
family treif).  As a  divorce is indeed within the control of the 
husband, the connection is quite close.  The somewhat unusual aspect of 
this psak appears to be that the community norm might be said to go so 
far as to permit somebody who is over on an issur d'orisa or who fails 
to divorce his wife in accordance with the Mishna in Kesubos which 
would seem to require it.

None of this is, to my knowledge, the subject of any halachic 
dispute.  Hair covering and the misnah in kesubos is not, in fact, a 
"question of psak" at all - it is a more Torah MiSinai than anything.

And in a later post RMB wrote:

>Half of my thesis, which was based on a post by RnCL from last year, 
>that a poreitz geder is defined in terms of violating the local 
>pesaq. Thus, we have to be talking about issur, even if it's only 
assur in
>the eyes of some -- assuming that "some" include the local 

Well, I will need to go back and look up the Shulchan Aruch sources 
again, but I don't think that is what I either thought or said.  Rather 
it seems to be used, as far as I could tell, in a situation where the 
Rabbonim have instituted a siug or geder, and there is a specific 
violation of that.  ie there needs to be either a or universal local 
takana, and then a violation of it.  It seemed to me to be much 
stronger than mere psak - even if the local rav poskened one way, and 
the individual acted another based on other sources - so long as the 
local rav did not claim that he had instituted a takana that was 
binding on all in his locality, I don't see the source for poretz 

I have yet to see the takana on galoshes or even beard trimming.

>Is it assur deRabbanan to violate minhag hamaqom, in particular when
>using the word "minhag" to refer to local pesaq? I don't know. When I
>wrote "we're not talking about issur", I assumed not.

As I tried to bring from the sources in the paragraph above, that does 
not appear to me to be the understanding of the rishonim either.

>The other half of my thesis, for which I still owe RnCL 
>is that even someone who violated no issurim, technically, since he
>is capable of that level of contrarianism as to be worthy of death by
>snakebite, we can't assume he'll conform WRT hilkhos shechitah

Yes, I am seeking sources.  Especially as the form of poretz geder 
that I could find seemed to be about specific challenge to local 
rabbinic authority acting in their capacity as such, more than just 
plain contrarianism.  Nothing even remotely like tableclothes, or 
galoshes, or even beard trimming.

And I am further seeking sources that even if somebody is poretz geder 
- where the loss of chezkas kashrus comes from.  My understanding of 
chezkas kashrus was that it was only lost vis a vis the particular 
averah that was done  (unless you are talking about some of the real 
big'uns, such as being mechallel shabbas b'farhesia).  So to hear that 
chezkas kashrus was lost for a bit of contrarianism, or even takana 
breaking was news to me.

Of course that rather does get us back to the Big Event - if you 
understand a kol koreh as having the force of a modern takana (which is 
what it presumably purports to be).  This rather goes to who one 
believes is equipped to pass takanos (if anyone) today and if so, how.

>Just a reminder, from the two sentences quoted from a newsletter,
>all we know is that the teshuvah is written with the perspective that
>television is assur. We have no idea that the Shevet haLevi thought
>that TV is assur lekhol hadei'os and the fellow is simply an avaryan,
>or -- as RSZ suggested -- that he was aware of and acknowledged a 
>lehaqeil, but it's irrelevent for our purposes since the shocheit 
>be a poretiz geder anyway.

I think this is very relevant for our purposes.   To the extent that 
the community rabbaim can  be deemed to have effectively passed takanos 
forbidding television (and that will depend on the extent to which you 
believe the rabbonim of today can legitimately wield such power and how 
extensively), I can see this case as being legitimately within even the 
definitions of poretz geder I brought above (how that is linked to the 
validity of one's shechita, I am still waiting for somebody to tell 

But, I am afraid that while I cannot see galoshes or even beards, I 
can see Big Event concerts and, I'm afraid that also means I can see 
book bannings as well - so long as the legitimacy of the book banning 
is based on the argument that this is takana instituted by the local 
rabbonim as a siyug (eg on divrei emunah). You may disagree with it, 
but doesn't that just make you a contrarian?  

I confess that I am rather loathe to take the postion that significant 
numbers of the members of this list have lost their chezkas kashrus -  
but that seems to be being what is being argued here. Or at the very 
least, that those within such communities (ie those who fall within the 
legitimate province of the takana) are legitimate in regarding those 
outside it, including large numbers on this list, as having lost their 
chezkas kashrus.   Or at the very very least, people who might have 
once been deemed to have been within such a community, but are now 
expressing views and writing books that are outside it must be said to 
have lost their chezkas kashrus for being contrarian.

I personally, as this must make clear, struggle to believe that is 
what poretz geder is all about.  Bli neder, I will be working a bit 
less next week, so hopefully I will have time to go back over the SA 
sources that I found last year and which point to a more local 
definition of poretz geder (because if you go on the version of Rashi 
and of Ramban, you seem to be more dealing with divrei Chazal than 
anything else).   But in the meantime, I would appeciate some rather 
harder sources in the face of what seems to me to be assertions with 
such significant consequences.




33% off Norton Security from Tiscali - http://www.tiscali.co.uk/securepc

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Message: 8
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Date: Wed, 26 Mar 2008 11:13:13 -0400
Re: [Avodah] schechtworthy

I think what we're dealing with here is not the loss of the standard
chezkas kashrus that every Jew is presumed to have, but of a higher
level of proven trustworthiness that is demanded of communal shochtim.
I imagine that those who fired a shochet for wearing galoshes would
still allow him to testify at a din torah, and would even eat at his
home.  But his deviation from communal norms made his yir'as shomayim
suspect enough not to eat from his shechita.

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: 9
From: Cantor Wolberg <cantorwolberg@cox.net>
Date: Wed, 26 Mar 2008 06:16:43 -0400
[Avodah] Sheva B'rochos

Someone was kind enough to email me privately with the distinction of  
b'rocho and simcha in the gemara kesuvos.
Actually, I learned it that way but even the rebbe used the term 3 day  
sheva b'rochos while making the distinction
between b'rocho and simcha. That's why there are others who also  
untechnically thought there was a situation of
a three day sheva b'rochos.

It reminds me of the distinction of saying the shehecheyanu either for  
mitzva or hana'a. The famous example in the
gemara Pesachim is between the kohen and the father at the pidyan  
haben. The shaila is who says the shehecheyanu?
The kohen or the father? The kohen has hana'a and the father has the  
mitzvah. So eventually it is decided that the mitzvah
is more choshuv and therefore the father has the primary obligation.  
Actually both are supposed to say it, but the father
says it in the presence of the kohen and paturs him (I may not be  
exact there). Then the example is given of 2 people -- one
who has the lulav and the other eating a pomegranate. Both have the  
obligation of making the shehecheyanu, so which one
takes precedence? The b'rocho over the lulav is mitzvah and the  
b'rocho over the pomegranate is hana'a. Since the mitzva
is more choshuv, the lulav takes precedence and his brocho paturs the  
person eating the pomegranate.

In both cases it is assumed that the person whose shehechyanu is  
because of hana'a answers Amen with the proper thoughts.

Again, if any boki out there disagrees, please let me know.


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Message: 10
From: "SBA" <sba@sba2.com>
Date: Wed, 26 Mar 2008 21:17:40 +1100
Re: [Avodah] Sheva Brochos

From: Zev Sero < >
There is no such thing as three days of sheva brochos.

I too have heard about divorcees/widow(er)s having 3 days of SB, 
but it may simply be an urban myth.

OTOH, see the KSA 149:4 which lechoreh seems to say - 3 days.

Whilst looking into this, I noticed that the Pischei Teshuva EH 62:9 writes
beshem the Nodah Beyehuda "..be'inyan noef shenoso be'uloso ein mevorchin
sheva brochos ele yom echad.."- as his Simcha is far less that in case of a
bachur ubesula.

So BTs who after living together (in their previous life) and now get
married. If one makes 7Bs for a week is it a brocho levatolo?


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