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Volume 25: Number 192

Wed, 21 May 2008

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: T613K@aol.com
Date: Wed, 21 May 2008 11:30:55 EDT
Re: [Avodah] totafos [was: Lying to protect the simple of

From: "Richard Wolpoe" <rabbirichwolpoe@gmail.com>
>>I  could be wrong but IIRC the Mishna calls a ttoefs as a tachshit a woman
wers  on her forehead <<

Jastrow says totefes is an ornament worn on the  forehead, and Alkalay 
suggests a root from tiftef (tes peh tes peh) meaning to  sparkle.


--Toby  Katz

**************Wondering what's for Dinner Tonight? Get new twists on family 
favorites at AOL Food.      
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Message: 2
From: <cantorwolberg@cox.net>
Date: Wed, 21 May 2008 11:58:32 -0400
Re: [Avodah] A Reminder for All of Us

That is a paraphrase of Messilat Yesharim at the end of the section dealing with Perishut IIRC.

...Which proves the pasuk from Koheles: "...Eyn kol chodosh tachas
hashomesh."  And if I could be so bold, I would add to that: (Eyn kol
chodosh tachas hashomesh)  zulat shiluvim. 

---- Arie Folger <afolger@aishdas.org> wrote: 
> Reb Richard Wolberg wrote:
> > The following is an appropriate quote during Sefira and right before
> > Lag B'Omer: ? The Gerer Rebbe said: "When one learns the Torah, prays much
> > and begins to think 'I am truly pious: I overlook nothing in the
> > performance of my mitzvot,' such a person transgresses the mitzvah: "Do not
> > be seduced by your heart nor led astray by your eyes.' Let such people look
> > at the Tzitzis and be reminded who they are."
That is a paraphrase of Messilat Yesharim at the end of the section dealing 
> with Perishut IIRC.
> -- 
> Arie Folger
> http://www.ariefolger.googlepages.com

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Message: 3
From: "Jacob Sasson" <jsasson@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 21 May 2008 12:18:24 -0400
[Avodah] Matza

>>The problem? The Mishan/Haggadah with the questions equate year 'round teh
eating of Hametz uMatza - which presupposes that they are equally valid for
kevia's S'eduha all year Round. FWI I actually heard this quoted from a
Sephardic Hacham.

Rabbi Rich Wolpoe wonders why Sephardim say Mezonot on Matza.  The real
question is why anyone would say hamotzi on matza.

The halacha, as codified by the Shulchan Aruch, proscribes a mezonot for
"Pat Haba'a Bekisnin".  Three definitions are given for PH"B, one of which
is a cracker.  In principle, Matza is a cracker and the default rule on PHB
is that they require a mezonot.  Ashkenazim say hamotzi on Matza only
because it is normally eaten as a meal.  Thus, matza is an exception to the
PHB rule but is not lechem in and of itself.  To put it in Brisker terms,
Matza does not have a "chalos shem pas."

The "problem" of comparing hametz and matza in the mishna/haggada is only a
problem if you assume that the "matza" referred to is the same cracker like
matza eaten today.  It was not.  Traditionally, matza was made of unleavened
dough.  Many sephardim (myself included) still eat this "soft matza" on
Pesach, which explains the comparison between hametz and matza quite well.
They are distinguished only by the fact that the matza didn't have time to

One of the obligations on Pesach is the eating of the korech "sandwhich."
Korech means to "fold".  The real questions are how ashkenazim "fold" their
matza and when the cracker we call matza replaced the original "soft" matza.

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Message: 4
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Date: Wed, 21 May 2008 12:31:35 -0400
Re: [Avodah] haaramah

Richard Wolpoe wrote:
> Zev Sero wrote:

>> But it's not a profit-making venture, so from where is the
>> "investor" to be paid his capital and dividend?

> Real este is the largest industry in th US. I fail to see how it is NOT 
> a busineswith a profit. Simple homeowners invest in real-estate all the 
> tie, jsut as they do in their 401(k)'s etc.
> [...]
> So I fail to see how a mortgage or Home equity lone is NOT an investment 
> loan. It's like buying stock on margin. except the SEC requires 50% for 
> stocks and most mortgages only require 20% down which is much more 
> highly leveraged

It doesn't answer the question, because the investor's repayment and
dividend is supposed to come out of the profits the business produces.
A residential house doesn't produce any profits until it's sold (and
it may not do so then either).  Unless you decide that the house belongs
to the "iska", and the "borrower" is actually buying it from the "iska"
in instalments, and paying rent in the meantime.  That could work with
a house, and I suppose it might work with shares too, since I believe
there's a short-term rental market for shares, but then why make it an
"iska", why not just buy it in the "lender's" name, and do the
instalments and rent directly?

And what will you do with a car?  A private car is certainly not a
profit-making business!  And a chasunah doesn't even leave something
that can be sold!  The only way I can see an actual "heter iska" in the
original sense working is if we all agree to pretend there's a business
going on, and the one who claims the emperor is naked has an impossible
burden of proof, even though everyone knows he's right.  I'm pretty sure
that level of sham can't be sustained halachically.  Whereas the KSA's
scheme with the cheques doesn't depend on any business, and can be used
for any purpose.  Ditto for the SA Harav's scheme with the building,
except that you have to actually have a building (or buy one for this

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: T613K@aol.com
Date: Wed, 21 May 2008 13:14:09 EDT
Re: [Avodah] Mitzvah Haba'a BeAveira

>>So the question then is, if she of her own free will decides to  hug
him, is there a certain level of emotional need of his that  justifies
this act, the same way, for example, a man can reciprocate a  woman's
handshake (after she's already extended her hand) to avoid  shaming

If so, why is it not mitzvah ha-ba'ah ba'averah?  <<

Mikha'el Makovi

It is not a mitzvah haba'ah be'aveirah because it  is not a mitzva at all.  
There is no conceivable scenario under which  giving this guy a hug to comfort 
him would be a mitzva.  IF this  particular guy would benefit just as much 
from a hug from his grandmother -- or  from the handyman -- as from a hug from a 
pretty young girl, THEN  you might be able to say that he just really "needed" 
a hug.  But the  scenario you describe -- there is just no mitzva at all.
If physical contact were necessary for some other reason than emotional  
comfort -- for example, if a Hatzala volunteer was loading a woman into an  
ambulance, or a dentist was filling a tooth, or a nurse was taking a man's blood  
pressure -- then there is still no "mitzva haba'ah be'aveira" because there is  
absolutely no aveira in such cases.

--Toby  Katz

**************Get trade secrets for amazing burgers. Watch "Cooking with 
Tyler Florence" on AOL Food.      
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Message: 6
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Wed, 21 May 2008 13:31:15 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Matza

On Wed, May 21, 2008 at 12:18:24PM -0400, Jacob Sasson wrote:
: One of the obligations on Pesach is the eating of the korech "sandwhich."
: Korech means to "fold".  The real questions are how ashkenazim "fold" their
: matza and when the cracker we call matza replaced the original "soft" matza.

Check the archives. We discussed this shortly before Pesach. IIRC,

Tir'u baTov!

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Message: 7
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Wed, 21 May 2008 14:01:59 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Ta'am of eating matzah

On Fri, May 16, 2008 at 03:14:20PM +0300, Michael Makovi wrote:
: But R' Rich has a point - there are MANY cases in the Torah which
: modern studies have shown connections to ancient practices and
: knowledge that the first generations would have been very very well
: aware of. Surely it cannot be mere coincidence!

But surely that can't be the be all and end all.

I'm reminded of the Narvoni's take on the Moreh on why we have
qorbanos. It's a famous problem: In the Yad, the Rambam clearly refers
to qorbanos as ledoros (starting with their mere inclusion), but in the
Moreh he says they are to ween us from AZ, which had taqroves. According
to the Moreh, why would they be ledoros?

There are a numbert of answers, I discuss a few of them in
<http://www.aishdas.org/mesukim/5764/vayikra.pdf> and

The Narvoni (quoted by the Abarbanel at the beginning of Vayiqra)
understands the MN as saying that the need for qorbanos is an innate
human limitation. We should be able to connect to the A-lmighty without
the intangible. How do we know it's innate? Because when people didn't
have an opportunity to offer qorbanos, they brought offerings to AZ. It
spontaneously emerged.

Thus, the need for an AZ alternative is innate, and therefore ledoros.

We therefore can understand qorbanos better with historical context. But
even if you never knew that animal sacrifice was once a ubiquitous part
of worship, it would still serve to bring us closer to HQBH.

Part of the problem is that I didn't emphasize the point that I was
speaking of "osos" strongly enough for RMM or RRW to notice.

: To add more examples:
: - In the Torah we find many Semitic idioms. If one follows R' Yishmael
: that the Torah speaks in the language of men, then it means that many
: of the literary oddities we find in the Torah and try to darshon, are
: simply ordinary everyday Semitic idioms that no one originally found
: odd at all....

: - With the goring ox, we are told that the owner must pay, even if it
: gores a child. Rabbi Hertz points out that until the Code of Hamurabi
: was discovered, no one knew why goring a child ought to be
: different....

What about eirukhin? Children are assesed at less money.

But in any case, these aren't issues of understanding osos.

: You are taking issue with the idea that the Torah presumes knowledge
: of Egytian bread and pagan meat and milk...

I'm taking issue with the idea that we need such knowledge to get the
primary gain from the mitzvah.

Part of the problem is that the two people who disagreed with my post
have a more nomian and less ontological view of mitzvos. If you think
in contractual terms, the function of mitzvos is not at issue. But if
you think in terms of mitzvos as the means (or the tools which someone
can choose to make the means) to his-haleikh lefanai veheyei samim, then
the notion that mitzvos are based on things that are neither innate in
the human nature or recorded in the Torah becomes problematic.

(In this light, chuqim must be innate, and in some way that we don't
understand about our own natures.)

How is it supposed to refine me to avoid Egyptian-style baking for a
week when for most of my people's history I couldn't be expected to know
that's what I'm doing?

OTOH, the Torah does tell us it's the bread of poverty and of the hasty
departure from Egypt. The reason R' Gamliel holds we must mideOraisa
mention for eating matzah is recorded, and doesn't require expertise
we usually didn't have. The experience of changing diet for something
visually less puffed up doesn't even require knowing the naarative in
seifer Shemos!

I therefore am much more comfortable considering these the primary
meanings of the mitzvah. They can change the non-historian, refine
his tzelem E-lokim.

: Actually, this is in fact davka why Rav Hirsch says we must learn
: Canaanite, Egyptian, Babylonian, and Roman culture and history - he
: says we cannot understand the Torah's moral laws without knowing what
: they are polemicizing against. I will humbly suggest we extend Rav
: Hirsch's words to many ritualistic laws too.

That may be alst talmud Torah. But IMHO mitzvos ma'asiyos must conform to
"na'aseh venishmah", or "ta'amu ure'u" -- the experience itself should
be able to teach without having a backgrounder.

I throw in that repeated IMHO advisedly, since I don't think RSRH's symbol
system would require this. My stance shifted in the past 15 years from
Frankfurt toward Salant. RSRH mentions in his introduction that symbols
are a form of communication via agreed-upon semantics between Sender
and recipient. There is no demand that they have any innate function,
fitted to inevitably work given the fixed elements of the human condition.

: So you object that if we aren't aware of them, this poses a difficulty
: to their being otot. But a few points:
: 1) G-d wanted to give us 5 books, not 50. He couldn't include a
: history book to summarize all of the foreign cultures. He gave us what
: was manageable for a scribe.

This doesn't address my problem. If the mitzvah can't work because
people don't know what it addresses, then why not drop it along with
the other 45 books?

: 2) If we don't remember this things, perhaps it is simply a sign the
: Torah did its job! ...

This is subject to the problem with understanding the qorbanos as weaning.

: 3) Who knows how much Exile destroyed our memory, by disrupting
: mesorah and such? Besides the Romans killing all our rabbis, who knows
: how many rabbis and grandfathers and kohanim/leviim died under Bavel,
: and disrupted our mesorah? We know that the Torah was forgotten until
: Ezra and Hillel, and maybe this includes much history and cultural
: knowledge too.

At least this answer could work -- we broke the system. This is basically
saying the other 45 books from option one were in TSBP, and they were
tragically lost.

But as above, while it might work, I find it unappealing because it
relegates the last two millenia (or 2,500 years) to running largely on
autopilot, performing empty gestures. Unappealing enough to be unable
to believe it would be allowed to happen.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Today is the 31st day, which is
micha@aishdas.org        4 weeks and 3 days in/toward the omer.
http://www.aishdas.org   Tifferes sheb'Hod: What level of submission
Fax: (270) 514-1507                      results in harmony and balance?

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Message: 8
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Wed, 21 May 2008 14:30:34 -0400
Re: [Avodah] When Things Are Only MAYBE Assur

On Fri, May 16, 2008 at 05:58:57PM -0400, Richard Wolpoe wrote:
: b'nosein Ta'am as expalined by Talmud/Rambam/Tur/Mechabeir [see YD Tur 98
: for quotes of Rava et. al.]  is subject to te'imas kefiela for issur, and
: t'eimas koshein for Trumah. Therefore  I don't get this point.

On Fri, May 16, 2008 at 05:58:57PM -0400, Richard Wolpoe wrote:
: On Thu, May 15, 2008 at 10:16 AM, Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org> wrote:
:> On Thu, May 15, 2008 at 07:32:04PM +1000, Meir Rabi wrote:
:>: It is noted by the Acharonim that when the Gemara discusses questions to do
:>: with transfer of non-Kosher flavour, there is no suggestion that a
:>: connoisseur be employed... Why not?
:>: And perhaps we can ask ...                   how can we have a debate in
:> the Gemara about matters of verifiable fact?

:>: It is therefore proposed that it is not absolutely known if the flavour
:>: has or has not been transferred...

:> I was bothered by the first question, and by the absurdity in claiming
:> that Ashkenazim think the entire volume of the pot is of that which
:> would give flavor to the substance in it....
:> But I fail to see how casting the question as a safeiq explains our not
:> hiring a taster.
:> My answer ...                 If it can't be about physical tastables,
:> then let's not look at physics.

:> The word "ta'am" has a meaning other than "taste". "Ta'amei hamitzvos"
:> "Mai ta'ama?" etc... If you assume "nosein ta'am" refers to how people
:> are expected to think of the object, all three questions evaporate. The
:> question is no longer easily measurable, being an about not only
:> psychology, but presumptions about preferred psychologies.

: b'nosein Ta'am as expalined by Talmud/Rambam/Tur/Mechabeir [see YD Tur 98
: for quotes of Rava et. al.]  is subject to te'imas kefiela for issur, and
: t'eimas koshein for Trumah. Therefore  I don't get this point.

Obviously something that tastes like meat has a ta'am of meat. My question
was how can ta'am go beyond taste, such as the case I brought of how
much it takes to be mevateil a balu'ah. IOW, the taster isn't directly
testing the taste, he is indirectly testing how people would think of
this pot. If it's an issue of the chulent-as-perceived, then of course
perception includes knowing how it actually tastes.

: ANYTHING that is boteil beshishm is a function of bnosein Ta'am but ther ar
: issuirng taht are nto bateil beshishim.
: Or as one of my issur v;heter studnets explains:Botteil beshishim is a PROXY
: for noesin Ta'am.

Actually, don't you need both -- 1:60 that in addition doesn't have any
noticable ta'am?

: I also think this logic would knock out the Rabbeinu Tam Ta'am k'ikkar into
: a different universe or dimension.

Are you talking about nehepach heter le'issar? I think I give it a
rational basis? Why should eating a qezayis which happens not to contain
a qezayis of the issur matter? Because we're eating a qezayis of chulent,
not a qezayis of beans. And this is the same as the distinction I made
to justify Ashk chumrah WRT nosein ta'am. The physics: a pot containing
trace amounts of meat. The perception: a meaty pot. One has to be mevateil
the perception, not the physics. The distinction isn't one of physics,
but one of how we perceive the object.

Lehefech, I think it's /easier/ to understand NHL with ta'am meaning
"as perceived / understood". You don't need to deal with the fact that
the chulent doesn't have to taste like the tarfus in order to turn into
issur, but only have a taste where its contribution is detectable.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Today is the 31st day, which is
micha@aishdas.org        4 weeks and 3 days in/toward the omer.
http://www.aishdas.org   Tifferes sheb'Hod: What level of submission
Fax: (270) 514-1507                      results in harmony and balance?

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Message: 9
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Wed, 21 May 2008 15:00:12 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Dancing on Shabbos

On Fri, May 16, 2008 at 06:40:00PM -0400, Richard Wolpoe wrote:
: And I confess there was a straw man aspect. I  was most cetainly attacking
: the idea that O's can over-turn Halachah jsut becauase they do it but if C's
: do something similar it must be wrong...

That's like citing C citing pruzbul as a source. It's not just a "can
over-turn Halachah" it's the when and why.

But I would have thought we would actually be on the same side on the
issue of dancing on Shabbos.

The aggadists would find a tzad heter for dancing, since it aids in the
feeling of Shabbos.

Since mimetically most Jews do dance, you as a minhag avos supporter
Should have equal reason to rely on the da'as yachidim of Tosafos or the
implication of the Y-mi.

Overturning norm to be loyal to the books was something you decried
earlier in this thread. What's the difference here?

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Today is the 31st day, which is
micha@aishdas.org        4 weeks and 3 days in/toward the omer.
http://www.aishdas.org   Tifferes sheb'Hod: What level of submission
Fax: (270) 514-1507                      results in harmony and balance?

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Message: 10
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Wed, 21 May 2008 15:11:20 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Prozbul

On Mon, May 19, 2008 at 06:26:15AM -0400, Cantor Wolberg wrote:
: "In an ideal world, we wouldn't have prozbul; the rich would lend to
: the poor without fear of the impending shemitta."

: This comment brings up an interesting theological question. If the  
: above is the case, then why did God legislate it to begin with?
: In other words, the prozbul could have been built into the torah.

Or, why did HQBH tell us to choose yibum over chalitzah when in the real
world for most of history, men would have the wrong motives for yibum
and thus chalitzah is the better choice?

A general question: Does the Torah describe the ideal society, or does
it tell us how to live as close as possible to the ideal in the society
we find ourselves?

Phrased that way, I think it's clear the Torah needs to provide both.

Which leads right to RRW's response.

On Mon, May 19, 2008 at 10:22:02PM -0400, R Richard Wolpoe replied:
: Here are several related approaches:
:    1. Mikra [scripture] is according to Middas hadin, while Oral Law [TSBP]
:    stems from middas haorachimim...
:    2. Mikra is addressing the realm of mind/thought/perception. Really we
:    SEE the eye for he eye. TSBP is the pragmatic implmentation...

IIUC, RRW is saying here something akin to: Miqra descrribed the ideal
society, and with TSBP we know how to live within the society we find

:    3. Mikra is more rigid.  Stone Tablets, parchment scripture. TSBP is more
:    flexbile -Oral and therefore is less fixed...
:    4. The law of Mikra is really immutable.  In a sense  Prozbol is a
:    hora'as Sho'oh...

Pruzbul might not even be deOraisa, so miqra vs TSBP wouldn't be an
issue. No miqra.

If I may add to RRW's constellation of interlocking reasons:

Tanakh is a seifer mussar. The primary lessons of all the naarative is
to provide archetypes of people, behavioral examples to emulate or take
warning from. The nevi'im acharonim are rife with behavioral warnings
and instruction.

Why would chumash be any different?

And thus, the text says "ayin tacvhas ayin" because morally, the person
needs to realize on some level that's what he deserves. However, the
TSBP gives us halakhah.

(This is sort of a (2b).)

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Today is the 31st day, which is
micha@aishdas.org        4 weeks and 3 days in/toward the omer.
http://www.aishdas.org   Tifferes sheb'Hod: What level of submission
Fax: (270) 514-1507                      results in harmony and balance?

Go to top.

Message: 11
From: "Shoshana L. Boublil" <toramada@bezeqint.net>
Date: Wed, 21 May 2008 23:14:06 +0300
Re: [Avodah] prozbul & heter iska

> From: "Eli Turkel" <eliturkel@gmail.com>
> Cc: avodah <avodah@aishdas.org>

> <<How did the court rule?  If it ruled against the bank, does the bank
> continue to lend on the same terms?  If so it appears that it now
> agrees to those terms knowing what they >>
> I believe the secular courts ruled in favor of the banks. How we continue
> using the same heter iska is a good question
> any israeli lawyers in the crowd?

Besides the court case that R' Folger mentioned there was another case where 
the banks won only b/c the other side didn't completely fulfill the 
requirements of the heiter iska - the Shevu'a. The court ruled that if the 
Shevu'a had been carried out, the banks would have lost their case.

In a later case (about 20 years ago), my husband, Rabbi Tsuriel Boublil, 
Adv., represented a person who had lost everything he owned and owed the 
banks hundreds of thousands of shekalim. His situation and the conditions of 
the loss were such that he could undergo the Shevu'a and my husband 
petitioned the Beit Din Rabbani to administer the Shevu'a.  They did not do 
so, but they wrote that if necessary - they were willing to do so (I don't 
recall the names of the Dayanim).

Following this, the court recommended that the bank settle with our client 
out of court.

Shortly afterwards, the Israeli banks rewrote all the Heter Iska documents 
in the country.  I don't know of a test case that went to court after the 

Shoshana L. Boublil


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