Avodah Mailing List

Volume 25: Number 148

Mon, 28 Apr 2008

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Yitzhak Grossman <celejar@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 25 Apr 2008 14:57:52 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Is having a good time ossur

On Thu, 10 Apr 2008 09:42:40 -0400
"Richard Wolpoe" <rabbirichwolpoe@gmail.com> wrote:

> If you read Rishonim and  omit Acharonim the  issurim  on Sefirah seem
> limitted to:
>    1. Taspores
>    2. nissu'in
>    3. some kind of mleacha [shabasos tihyena]
> IMHO [and this dovetails with Ramban] Seifrah is a quasi hulo shel mo'ed -
> and as a result all of the above are assur. there is also "mitztzas aveilus"

The prohibition against giluah on Hol Ha'Moed is "kdei shelo yecansu
l'regel k'shehen m'nuvalin" (Moed Katan 14a); is that reason applicable
to Sefirah?

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

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Message: 2
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Date: Sun, 27 Apr 2008 23:34:13 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Dinosaurs kosher?

Michael Makovi wrote:

> Also, Rabbi Slifkin says the Torah classifies based on shape and
> locomotion, not evolutionary category, and therefore, dinosaurs are
> not sheratzim, which by definition are creepy-crawlies. I don't
> remember what he says they'd be instead, but it seems to me that the
> most likely category for them is birds.

Nope.  They didn't fly, didn't even have wings, so they weren't "of".

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: "Michael Makovi" <mikewinddale@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 28 Apr 2008 00:12:03 -0400
Re: [Avodah] When does mixed swimming mean?

> >> She responded to me, however, that there is no issur of wearing tight
> clothing.
> Mikha'el Makovi

> This is a common problem of people caring too much about the letter of the
> law and not enough about the spirit of the law. If someone cares about their
> relationship to Hashem and His requirements for dressing appropriately, why
> would wearing a skin-tight long sleeve shirt even be a thought? This would
> be entirely inappropriate to such an extent that it would have been a waste
> of paper and ink for any halachic source to require its banishment!

R' Liron Kopinsky (cf. R' Daniel Israel)

Indeed, I had simply assumed it was prohibited (without ever having
seen a source), and I simply assumed there'd be a source were I to
look for it. Only when she said, with complete surety, that there was
no such prohibition, was I brought short.

Is there any halachic statement, regarding tzenua or any other issue,
that one could use to justify this meta-letter-of-halakha concept of
tzenua? I can think of "Do what is good and right...", but other than

Mikha'el Makovi

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Message: 4
From: "Michael Makovi" <mikewinddale@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 28 Apr 2008 00:20:20 -0400
Re: [Avodah] When does mixed swimming mean?

> Fwiw iiuc there is now a line of full body non-skin tight bathing suits
> available.
> CKVs
> Joel rich

If a certain beach or pool were mixed but permitted only davka such
bathing suits for women, would mixed swimming per permissible then?

Mikha'el Makovi

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Message: 5
From: "kennethgmiller@juno.com" <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
Date: Mon, 28 Apr 2008 06:21:25 GMT
Re: [Avodah] When does mixed swimming mean?

R' Daniel Israel wrote:
> I am not up on the halachic literature, but I would say that
> much of tznius is from the fifth chelek of SA (common sense).
> We all understand the basic idea of tznius- it seems wrong
> to you because it is, and one shouldn't need the SA to
> figure that out.

We also all understand the basic idea of stealing. It seems wrong because it is, and one shouldn't need the SA to figure it out.

Yet, we *do* need the SA, because there are many details about stealing which we *cannot* figure out on our own.

Similarly, tznius also has details which we cannot figure out on our own,
and the more our teachers teach us about it, the more capable we will be of
understanding what halacha requires of us.

(Personally, I have wondered for years why I've never seen any frum women
or girls in culottes. They seem to me *much* more tznius than a skirt of
equal length.)

Akiva Miller
Click here for great computer networking solutions!

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Message: 6
From: Cantor Wolberg <cantorwolberg@cox.net>
Date: Mon, 28 Apr 2008 04:11:44 -0400
[Avodah] Daas Torah vs tight clothing

Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart in 1964 stated: "I can't define  
pornography, but I know it when I see it."
Obviously, his perception would be quite different from our perception.

Prohibition against tight clothing would be our "I know it when I see  
it" but it's all a matter of how high (or low) our individual bar of  
morality is.
We certainly have much higher moral standards than the Constitution of  
the United States and yet, daas Torah doesn't necessarily give us the
unequivocal, definitive answers.

The Constitution doesn't contain chukim, so its orientation is quite  
different from ours.
Living in a country such as the U.S. presents tremendous challenges in  
being able to deal with cognitive dissonances, and it's no
wonder that we can't agree on many things with each other. This IMHO  
is what gives fertile soil for potential sinas chinam.

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Message: 7
From: "Rich, Joel" <JRich@sibson.com>
Date: Mon, 28 Apr 2008 05:25:49 -0400
Re: [Avodah] When does mixed swimming mean?


Somone (RnTK, maybe, or RnSB?) recently made an excellent point about
this which boiled down to: yes, one can write a sefer that paskens
outfit by outfit, but that misses the point and gets bogged down in
minutia to the extent that the real concept is lost (and communal
standards get replaced by someone's chumros).  If one teaches the
underlying ideas and the basic halachos, women will figure it out.

"Tight clothes" is a perfect example.  A psak would require strictly
defining "tight clothes," which is probably impossible.  Some common
sense is required: does this outfit attract the wrong kind of attention
or not?

Daniel M. Israel
2 points 
1. tzniut is not just for women and some would argue that orthodox
society as a whole has not done as good a job as it could in "common
sense" in this area.

2. It may be a difficult lesson to transmit that sometimes we are
concerned only with the strict letter of the law (e.g. our prior
discussions concerning sheitels) and sometimes we expect "common sense"
often no agreement as to common nor sense)
Joel Rich
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Message: 8
From: T613K@aol.com
Date: Mon, 28 Apr 2008 01:32:27 EDT
Re: [Avodah] HQBH speaks through History [was R' Angel &

From: "Michael Makovi" _mikewinddale@gmail.com_ 

>>I  went to a talk of Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein about TuM, and the most
memorable  part, IMHO, was when he said that those who study mada
generally understand  Sefer Bereshit better. If so, it's not only the
leaders who need  TIDE/TuM.<<

Please do not conflate TIDE with TuM.  They are two very different  
philosophies, often at odds with each other.  This has been extensively  discussed on 
A/A before you came aboard.

--Toby  Katz

**************Need a new ride? Check out the largest site for U.S. used car 
listings at AOL Autos.      
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Message: 9
From: T613K@aol.com
Date: Mon, 28 Apr 2008 01:58:15 EDT
Re: [Avodah] Daas Torah

I need to clear up something confusing in Avodah Digest, Vol 25, Issue 147,  
which happened through no fault of my own.  In the table of contents you  have 
this item:  
==begin quote==
Today's Topics:

1. Re: Daas Torah (_T613K@aol.com_ (mailto:T613K@aol.com) )
==end quote==
This leads the reader to expect the first item to be a post by me.   However, 
that item was not written by me, but by R' Rich  Wolpoe. Below is the correct 
sequence, as it should have appeared.  
The corrected sequence should read:
RRW:  >>Example: I was taught in junior high that vinegar is  Acetic  Acid 
AND that 
aspirin is made from acetic acid and salicylic  acid. On that  basis I used 
assum that aspirin was a product  of  hametz!  But  I was corrected by  
practical chemists  and pharmacists who explained  that using grain vinegar 
prohibitive  in the manufacture of  aspirin!  So a little learning can be 
and  misleading.<<

TK:  >>For that reason, one  should not consult a rav who only has a little  

Also  one should not consult a posek who is still in junior high   school.<<

RRW then responded with the following long post -- ALL of  which was written 
by him, including the subdivisions marked off with double  lines:  
That's  not my point
My point is one should not consult any Rav in  any area in  which he is not 
expert even if he is k'ven shiv'im  shana  ....
That Rav will himself be wiling to  consult experts.

So my point is that Da'as Torah is really quite  limited to the  sphere of 
Torah itself and only to the areas in which  that Rav knows what he  is 

OTOH, it is often a  good idea to consult a Rav for  his insight   anyway.


Maa'seh   shehaya #1:

A frum Jew drowned off the GW Bridge. 
Police Ruled it  a  suicide.
The fellow involved was somewhat involved with the mob
I  was  talking to a "Gadol BaTorah" and he discussed the fellow's suicide as 
a  fact.
I corrected that Gadol and said that we cannot be sure and  that al pi  
halacha we MUST give him the benefit of the doubt!   The Gadol concurred  
with my 

What I did NOT tell that  Gadol was that the fellow  had a mob connection for 
obvious reasons of  LH etc.  Anyone aware of that  connexion would realize 
a  suicide is not ALWAYS a suicide and that the  fellow may have been  either
1.  murdered in a way to  APPEAR as a  suicide  
2.  OR he was told to jump off the bridge  at the point of a gun or 
similar  coercion [like hurting the  family]

Point? That Rav was probably  not so aware of how the mob  works. I won't go 
into how I know but suffice it  to say that I am more  worldly. 

Given a realistic probabilty that said  suicide was never  a suicide we 
generally give the niftar the benefit of the  doubt, and  the Gadol would 
concur. Just that he could not fathom WHY  it  was a feasible reality IOW 
the safeik? The police and the M/E  ruled  it a suicide!  But I had exposure 
entire sets of facts  that this Gadol   Lacked.


M'aseh   #2. A Rav with Semicha - but not practicing - was lecturing that we  
cannot  consider the case of a woman who is to shy to ask sh'eilos  about 
taharas  hamishpacha.  He was talking BOOK LEARNING. I have  heard anecdotal  
evidence hat there are many sizable communities in  which the one-Rav town 
gets  a 
VERY low number of queries.    POINT? Despite  this Rav's  intentions to  
book  halacha the reality on the ground is  that women ask in far fewer 
than would normally be expected.   They don't print those  sociological stats 
in the Mishnah Brurah!  But  Rabbonim in the  know - know what they are up 

Therefore, Da'as  Torah of  the ivory tower nature can be downright misleading

OTOH a very  dear  friend had a shidduch prolbem ironed out by Hassidc Rebbe 
about 25  years  ago in Boro Park,  Rebbes are often well-trained and  
well-versed in  personal and family issues. They not only know halacha  but a 
lot about 
family  dynamics and human nature. Their "da'as" can be  very effective, far 
more than  any assimilated social worker would have  been. However, how much 
that is  pure Torah and how much of that is  plain "seichel" coupled with 
of  intense experience

Torah,  sechel and experience = da'as Torah

I don't  know. as far as  Siyyatta Dishmaya goes, Rabbonim do not have a 
monopoly.  Doctors have  it, too. Ever watch House?  He is a Kofeir who gets 


Da'as   Torah to me is a function of using good judgment on gray areas.  
Illustration:  equating Electricity to fire [or not] is the kind of  halachic 
judgment a  Poseik would do better than an engineer or  physicist - because 
it is not 
a  function of what happens on the  molecular level but on the visible 

Kol Tuv /  Best  Regards,
see:  _http://nishmablog.blogspot.com/_ (http://nishmablog.blogspot.com/)    

**************Need a new ride? Check out the largest site for U.S. used car 
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Message: 10
From: "kennethgmiller@juno.com" <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
Date: Mon, 28 Apr 2008 06:10:52 GMT
Re: [Avodah] Shaliach for a mitzvah

On the quesiton of sending tzedaka via a non-Jewish postal service, I suggested that
> tzedakah is different than gittin. By a get, the giving
> is a critical part of the act, and so either the husband
> must give it himself, or it can be given by someone who
> is a real shaliach of the husband. ...

R' Arie Folger pointed out:
> Please note that gittin are sent by mail, as long as it
> is mailed to the beis din/shaliach, and is then given by
> the shaliach to the woman. IOW, the intermediary of the
> non Jewish mail office does not create any problems. 
> Likewise, the tzdaqah you give is likely going to an
> institution, which will in turn pass it on or expend it
> on behalf of those in need, hence the whole question
> doesn't arise. Nonetheless, it is a nice theoretical
> question.

I did not know that gittin are sent by mail, but the procedure you describe
makes sense to me. Nevertheless, I still perceive a big difference between
gittin and tzedakah, because the husband has explicitly made that person
his shaliach, and so the get is valid even though the shaliach received the
get via a non-jewish postal system. In contrast, the donor did not make the
tzedakah fund into his shaliach for giving the money to the poor.

The above might be answered by saying that even though we are machmir to
explicitly name a specific individual as the shaliach for the get, it is
also acceptable that the unnamed office worker of the tzedakah fund is an
implicit shaliach to pass the donation onwards to others, in a "zochin
l'adam shelo b'fanav" sort of way.

But I would question that, even in a case of a tzedakah fund which collects
for poor people, because the office worker is much more easily called a
shaliach of the recipient than a shaliach of the donor (and if he is indeed
a shaliach of the recipient, then the chain between the donor and the
recipient is broken). But certainly in the case of donations to a
charitable institution, such as a yeshiva, where the money does *not* get
passed on to a third party - in such a case it is very difficult for me to
see how the case can be compared to your description of sending a get
through the mail.

Akiva Miller
Click here for great computer networking solutions!

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Message: 11
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Date: Mon, 28 Apr 2008 05:06:10 -0400
[Avodah] Shabur Malka v Caesar

In Shavuot 6b, Rava gives an example of two things that are similar and
yet very different, by comparing Shabur Malka, the king of Persia, to
the Roman Emperor.  When Rav Papa asked him which one is greater, Rava
exclaimed "Have you been hiding in the forests?!" (or as we would put
it, "On what planet have you been living?") In other words, how can you
possibly not know that Rome is a world power?  There's a shiur in being
a batlan.  And he brings a proof from a pasuk in Daniyel, and a memra of
Rabbi Yochanan.

So far this sounds like a call for at least some measure of TIDE.  Rava
expected Rav Papa to be at least worldly enough to know that the Caesar
of Rome is much greater than Shabur Malka.  But his own proof seems to
be not from the newspapers but from a pasuk, and it seems to me that
that proof can't possibly be supported.  After all, neither Daniyel nor
R Yochanan can possibly have meant their words to apply to all of history.
Surely nobody would suggest today that this pasuk proves that Silvio
Berlusconi is a far more powerful person than Mahmoud Ahmedinajad!  So
how did Rava know that the pasuk applied in his own day, and proved that
Caesar was a greater king than Shabur?

Further, when one looks at the actual history of the period, it turns
out that Rav Papa's question is not at all out of order.  The Shabur
Malka of their time was http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shapur_II, who
fought several wars against Rome, some more successful than others, but
on the whole he more than held his own against the might of Rome, and
the Emperor Julian died fighting his forces.

What's more, just two generations earlier, Shmuel's friend
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shapur_I actually captured the Emperor
Valerian and held him captive for the rest of his life!  It stands
to reason that this fact was celebrated and well known in Persia even
in the reign of his great-grandson Shapur II, and any worldly amora
would have known of it.  At the very least Rav Papa might have heard
rumours of such a thing having happened, which would surely justify
his question.

Zev Sero               Something has gone seriously awry with this Court's
zev@sero.name          interpretation of the Constitution.
                                                  - Clarence Thomas


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