Avodah Mailing List

Volume 25: Number 152

Tue, 29 Apr 2008

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: "Moshe Y. Gluck" <mgluck@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 28 Apr 2008 23:12:54 -0400
Re: [Avodah] When does mixed swimming mean?

R' Joel Rich:
> Vrochetz means to swim? One might posit that mixed sponge bathing or
> microwave cleaning would be assur due to the bodily contortions involved
> in cleaning one's body, not the medium of water.
> Al achas kamo vekamo, leisure and relaxing activities in the water.

It seems to me that swimming pools bring out a person's inner child to some
degree (perhaps due to the relative weightlessness?) thereby leading to
Kalus Rosh more so than, say, a formal dinner (even where alcohol is
served). IOW, even if the visual aspects of Tzenius were totally absent
there still might be an issue.


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Message: 2
From: "Richard Wolpoe" <rabbirichwolpoe@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 29 Apr 2008 00:25:17 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Is having a good time ossur

On Fri, Apr 25, 2008 at 2:57 PM, Yitzhak Grossman <celejar@gmail.com> wrote:

> 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?
> Yitzhak
> --

This is AISI a Gaonic custom  based upon a model of a  quasi  hulo shel
Remember, this is all Ga'onic - there is no Talmudic imperative to observe
aveilus here at all.

[FWIW In that sense it is like Ta'anis Esther which is acknowledged to be
the least stringent of all fast days]

The 3 original aspects were:

   1. Taspores
   2. Nissu'in
   3. Limited Melacha

 [actually it was iirc just 2 taspores came later]
The specifics of limitted melacha are vastly different than those of hulo
shel mo'ed BUT the concept is similar. It would be onerous to have  a 6-week
HHM after Passover w/o SOME relaxation of restrictions.

AIS, the aveilus aspects selected were those that would co-incide with the
pre-existing restrictions - hence miktzas aveilus

And Arizal was makpid NOT to cut hair until erev Shavuos mamash [not EVEN
Lag BA'omer! AIUI]

Now even if the hulo shel mo'ed theory is all wet, we can still identify
that the ORIGINAL restrictions as constituted were quite limited. What is
interesting is that the Tur and th Kitzur SA use virtually the same language
on the matter.

Now it is mistaver to say the at the Crusades would have increasedthe
intensity of the Restrictions. But as per Tur and AFAIK general Ashkenazic
Rishonim, there is no evidence of this. It is NOT mistaver to say that form
the era of  Magen Avraham forward this restrictions started mushrooming!

I don't have any major objection to saying

> event X triggered humra Y,

but this  just does not fit the facts of the case here.

Waht DOES seem obvious is that Ashkenzim [unlike Sephardim] chose to observe
the "back -half" off sefira because of the events on and about Rosh Hodesh

Clarification: I am not denying that we have a minhag/Masroah to observe
Aveilus during this period. My point is simple, the original scope and
parameters of aveilus were quite specific and additional models
super-imposed upon the original are imho shinuyyim to the accepted practice.

Lemashal, what would you say if ashkenazim started saying not only are
kitniyyos assur eat on Pesach but they are subject to bal yei'ra'eh and bal
Yimatzei and they must be destroyed or sold. You would immediately realize
that his humra was not rooted in the original g'zeira.

I am saying the same about the restrictions of Sefira, that about 200-300
years ago, the restrictions morphed, and  AISI for no particular reason than
to impose general Aveilus on a more restricted g'zeira

Kol Tuv / Best Regards,
see: http://nishmablog.blogspot.com/
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Message: 3
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Tue, 29 Apr 2008 08:17:00 -0400 (EDT)
Re: [Avodah] Newspaper and LH

I was asked to post the following reply anonymously for reasons I find
valid. (You'll have to trust me.)


RRWolberg wrote:
> My question is: without witnessing it, how would you know if someone
> is an adulterer?  Just because people say it doesn't make it so.

Ahem. Such people don't necessarily hide their intentions. You don't
need kimkhol bishfoferet. If they always walk around together,
vacation together, etc., what would you say?

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Message: 4
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Tue, 29 Apr 2008 09:19:51 -0400 (EDT)
[Avodah] Kaddish Yasom -- Misplaced Priority?

You're going to have to trust me again. Forwarded on behalf of the
author for a sound reason.


I haven't been following the whole discussion on Areivim, but I just
saw the post on Avodah (entitled "Airline Prayer") referencing the
question of whether a hakpadah to say kaddish is sometimes given undue
weight when it comes into conflict with other halakhic values.

I was actually just thinking about that this morning, while noticing
somebody sitting in front of me say a complete kaddish between putting
on his shel yad and his shel rosh!

I have also seen, on a number of occasions, cases where people wait
for a minyan to start pesukei dezimrah (even though a minyan would
have definitely arrived before Barekhu), because somebody "has to" say
kaddish after the beraisa of R' Yishma`eil, resulting in the whole
minyan saying keri'as shema` after the zeman.

The way I understand it, saying kaddish is a zekhus for the niftar,
but by no means the only way that a chid's actions can be a zekhus for
a deceased parent.  Even if one were to argue that the desire to be
mezakeh one's parents is an understandable, or even laudable reason
that saying kaddish might be given unusual weight when it comes up
against other values, wouldn't hakpadah on hilkhos berakhos (in the
case of the hefseik between the tefilin) or hilkhos keria's shema` be
an even bigger zekhus?  (And if I'm guessing the context of the
original Areivim discussion correctly based on its subject line,
perhaps the same could be said about hakpadah on gezel sheinah and
"ve'ahavta lerei`acha kamokha.")
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Message: 5
From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
Date: Tue, 29 Apr 2008 13:19:51 +0300
Re: [Avodah] Daas Torah

R' Richard Wolpoe wrote:
> Agreed. And contrary to the "politically Correct" idea taht only  
> "tzaddikim" get  siyyata dishmaya, I have  seen some pretty mediocre 
> people and  several vanilla Gentiles get incredible siyyata dishmaya.

page 123 in my sefer Daas Torah in section* *"Torah and Prophesy is 
Basis of all Knowledge"

*Chasam Sofer(Orech Chaim 1:208): *And this that you have written a 
number of times concerning the issue of wisdom and prophecy and Azniel 
ben Kenaz who restored the lost Halacha by pilpul? You correctly explain 
that which the Raavad said that there was ruach hakodesh in his beis 
hamedrash and similar such expressions does not mean ruach hakodesh in 
the sense that Dovid HaMelech had. Rather it means the spirit of G?d for 
those who engage in Torah for pure motivations who merit to ascertain 
the truth* *even if according to the nature of their wisdom and 
intelligence they should be incapable of comprehending it properly. 
Nevertheless, G?d in His mercy gives extra inspiration of wisdom for a 
limited time. In this manner Azniel ben Kenaz merited to ascertain the 
truth through pilpul, kal v?chomer and gezera shaveh [Temurah 16a] that 
which his natural intelligence was incapable of doing. This is similar 
to what it says in Bava Basra 12a that /even though prophecy was taken 
from the prophets but not from the sages. /However, your understanding 
of this gemora to be that wisdom was not taken from the sages is 
incorrect. Rather it is that prophecy was not taken from the sages. In 
other words, that type of prophecy which is attainable through the 
wisdom of one who studies Torah for pure motivation merits many things 
[Avos 6:1] with his intellect and his wisdom even though he doesn?t have 
the natural ability for it. The gemora wants to prove this from the 
common fact that a talmid chachom comprehends something on his own which 
in fact is according to the understanding of Rabbi Akiva. We know that 
this person?s level is not up to Rabbi Akiva?s heels. This proves that 
it happened by the prophetic ability we mentioned. In addition, we also 
find that he says things which in fact are Halacha L?Moshe m?Sinai. The 
gemora rejects this proof by saying that perhaps this occurs by chance 
like a blind person groping through a window. However, the gemora 
concludes that it is not by chance since he gives justifications for his 
views and thus it is like a prophetic form of wisdom. This idea can 
explain the gemora in Megila (16a): ?/Whoever says wisdom even if he not 
Jewish is called a wise man.? /The obvious question is why shouldn?t he 
be called a wise man? Don?t we in fact even say a beracha on the wise 
men of the non?Jews ?who gives of His wisdom to human beings? (Berachos 
58a)? The answer is that without this gemora we would have mistakenly 
thought that Divinely inspired wisdom only comes to Jews while if a 
non?Jew said something brilliant that seems to transcend his 
intellectual capabilities we would have thought it was just blind chance?.

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Message: 6
From: "Eli Turkel" <eliturkel@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 29 Apr 2008 12:37:58 +0200
[Avodah] kidesh and chol

If chol has no independent value, but is only something to be subdued
and conquered by Torah, why not simply sidestep the issue and ban all
chol? Make a Torah-only environment and be done with it. If TIDE is to
avoid irrelevancy, then chol must have value - there must be an
imperative to have im derech eretz and not Torah-only. Torah may be
higher than chol, but chol must have its own value if there is an
reason to have IDE.>>

I have seen several articles recently about the attitude of RYBS towards
secular studies. Interestingly among the large amount of material that has been
published there is no dsicussion by him about secular studies though he heavily
quotes nonJewish scholars. In fact in some personal conversations he stressed
more the learning of humanities than the sciences.

The general consensus seems to be that he felt that chol can be used to
increase our knowledge and appreciation of kodesh. If a concept of
Hegel (for example)
can be used to better explain a gemara then use it. He probably would not
approve learning humanities for its own sake . Of course the sciences
are different as
they can be used to improve life.

Eli Turkel

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Message: 7
From: Cantor Wolberg <cantorwolberg@cox.net>
Date: Tue, 29 Apr 2008 07:19:31 -0400
[Avodah] Conflating TIDE with TuM Philosophies

M.M. wrote the following which was part of a confusing posting: "Torah  
is the how, but
derech eretz is the what, and how can the how exist without the what?"

Reading the above clarifies for me the following definition of  
philosophy by Voltaire:
He described philosophy as a blind man searching in a dark room for a  
black cat
that isn't there.

Kol tuv.

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Message: 8
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Tue, 29 Apr 2008 12:06:58 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Conflating TIDE with TuM Philosophies

On Tue, Apr 29, 2008 at 07:19:31AM -0400, Cantor Wolberg wrote:
: M.M. wrote the following which was part of a confusing posting: "Torah  
: is the how, but derech eretz is the what, and how can the how exist
: without the what?"

: Reading the above clarifies for me the following definition of  
: philosophy by Voltaire:
: He described philosophy as a blind man searching in a dark room for a  
: black cat that isn't there.

On the contrary! I think he captured TIDE almost identically to the
Seridei Eish's description:

        The Torah, according to Rav Hirsch, is the force that gives
        form. Form, to Aristotle's thought, means a thing's essential
        nature in distinction to the substance from which it is
        embodied. Derekh Eretz is merely the matter on which Torah works.
                -- Essay in "Shimshon Rephael Hirsch: Mishnaso Vishitaso"

While RYBS talks about creative decisionmaking between conflicting
priorities ("ramatayim tzofim"), RSRH is in terms of unity -- an ehrlicher
yid is a noble soul by both criteria. Torah ennobles, culture ennobles. In
this way I see huge overlap in the goals of Slabodka Mussar and TIDE. Not
quite identical, by a long shot, but there is a reason why both produced
people who would be admirable in the secularly cultured person's eyes
(and well dressed, to boot) and dreamed of revolutionizing the world.

See <http://www.aishdas.org/asp/2007/07/tide-variants-on-a-theme.shtml>.
My meanderings on TIDE, TuM, R' Kook, the CI, the Gra, R' Hutner --
how they are similar and how they differ in their approach to chol, are
largely an indication of what the chevrah here were capable of changing
my mind about.

Another major difference is that TuM is academic, while TIDE is an issue
of culture. TIDE can therefore be easily applied in any life.

In contrast, I have no idea how one could really have a TuM based
community. I am pretty much an academic by inclination (if not in reality
-- I work in the financial industry), but most people are not.

TUM (or whatever RYBS himself would have called it) isn't the only place
where I believe RYBS's philosophy suffered because he didn't understand
the huge gap between himself and the middle of the bell curve.

In Halachic Man, homo religiosus and coginitive man find resolution in
halakhah as a creative partnership with the A-lmighty. How many of us
create halakhah? How many of us have he'aros at such a frequency that
that creativity dominates our relationship to it?

I think that this gap between RYBS's ideals and the experience of those
he tried to disseminate them to has much to do with how none of his
students actually follow the entirety of his example. They simply can't.
And this is why MO is simply splitting in two (or more) without RYBS as
a charismatic unifying leader. He left MO an ideal that can't support the
community outside the university.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Today is the 9th day, which is
micha@aishdas.org        1 week and 2 days in/toward the omer.
http://www.aishdas.org   Gevurah sheb'Gevurah: When is strict justice
Fax: (270) 514-1507                            most appropriate?

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Message: 9
From: Yitzhak Grossman <celejar@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 29 Apr 2008 09:47:59 -0400
Re: [Avodah] letter of RSRH

On Mon, 28 Apr 2008 13:16:04 EDT
T613K@aol.com wrote:


> Had he been alive when Zionism really got under way, he would have followed  
> the majority of gedolim and majority da'as Torah, and would not have been a  
> Zionist. (I take it for granted that everyone knows the difference between  

How do you know?

> political Zionism and ahavas ha'aretz.)   He would however have  cooperated with 
> the institutions of government, once a medinah was a fait  accompli.  He would 

How do you know?

> NOT have agreed with the Satmar Rebbe or the  Lubavitcher Rebbe that it is 
> preferable, when given a choice, for Jews to davka  remain in chutz la'aretz 
> until Moshiach comes.  OTOH where there is already  an established kehilla in 

How do you know?

> chutz la'aratz, like the Yekke community in America,  he would not counsel them 
> to dissolve their kehilla and reconstitute it in  E'Y. 

How do you know?

I see that RMB has made my monotonously repeated point somewhat more
gracefully, but I still feel the need to reiterate it, distilled to the
stark essence of the question.  RnTK, if you are going to
authoritatively assert Rav Hirsch's (or anyone else's) positions, you
need to provide sources.


> Hirsch's descendants and followers in Eretz Yisrael mostly identified with  
> the PAI party (Poalei Agudas Yisrael) in the early decades of the Medinah.   
> That party now seems to be defunct.  Hirschians in  E'Y were /not/ Satmar and 
> were /not/ Neturei Karta.  They even  built a kibbutz, Kibbutz Chofetz Chaim.

From the little that I know of PAI, they did not always follow "the
majority of Gedolim and majority da'as Torah".  From the current issue
of the JO (Apr 2008, sidebar to p. 16):


At one point [during the plenary session of the 1947 Marienbad World
Agudah Conference], Rabbi [Eliyahu Meir] Bloch stood up, and, pointing
to Reb Blau [the leader of the PAI delegation], brought matters to a
head by declaring, in ringing tones, "the question is, are you or are
you not prepared to accept the authority of the Moetzes Gedolei
HaTorah?" ...

Slowly, Reb Blau eased his frame out of his seat and got up to face the
Rosh HaYeshiva.  He then cautiously but firmly worded his reply as
follows: "Yes, we accept the authority of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah -
provided that they understand us."

If it was understanding that Reb Blau was seeking, then he certainly
achieved it.  For at that moment, everyone in the hall, indeed,
comprehended that his diplomatically phrased reply was, in fact,
tantamount to a refusal on the part of the Poalei Agudah to be governed
absolutely by the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah. ...


EJ (first edition, entry on PAI), however, implies that the formal
showdown only occurred in 1960:


... it did not disassociate itself completely from Agudat Israel; in
particular, it continued to accept the authority of its Mo'ezet Gedolei
ha-Torah. ...

In 1960, however, P.A.I. contravened a decision of the Mo'ezet Gedolei
ha-Torah by joining the government, and as a result the formal ties
with Agudat Israel finally came to an end.


> --Toby  Katz

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

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Message: 10
From: "Eli Turkel" <eliturkel@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 29 Apr 2008 12:29:40 +0200
[Avodah] Eating Two Kezeisim of Matza for Motzi-Matza

How can each person at the table eat a kezayit from each of the top two
matzos, when we use such tiny matzos? >>

RMF suggests using other matzot besides the 3 on the seder plate.
Others distribute a set of 3 to each person (or couple)

I have been confused by the whole discussion. I thought the whole idea
of 2 kezaisim of matza was a daas yachid of the Rosh which is basically
not accepted for halacha but is done as chumra. If so why the fuss?
The idea presented that only the head of the table eats 2 kezaisim
sounds reasonable.
Sort of like u-rachatz where some have everyone washing hands and some only
the head of the seder.

Eli Turkel

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Message: 11
From: D&E-H Bannett <dbnet@zahav.net.il>
Date: Tue, 29 Apr 2008 16:42:26 +0300
Re: [Avodah] Two days of yomtov

<<to Israel on chol hamoed.Their LOR again said to keep 2 
days for the first days of chag and one day for Simchat 
Torah/Shemini Atzeret.

Has anyone heard of such a split in the middle of chag?>>

What's the problem? When in chu"l, two days.  When they 
arrived in Israel and, just as in the old days when they 
learned the date of Yomtov, one day.


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Message: 12
From: "Eli Turkel" <eliturkel@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 29 Apr 2008 12:23:25 +0200
[Avodah] Rackman and Berkowitz

To understand the concern with R' Berkovitz it is helpful to note
another promient rabbi who has very similar views

R' Rackman. There is a recently published article discussing the issue
of having a view of halacha which deviates from the majority of rabbis

 David Singer, "Emanuel Rackman: Gadfly of Modern Orthodoxy," /Modern
Judaism/ 28:2 (May 2008): 134-148.>>

I don't think that R. Rackman was in the league of  R. Berkowitz as a
talmid chacham.

Eli Turkel


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