Avodah Mailing List

Volume 25: Number 257

Mon, 14 Jul 2008

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Akiva Blum <ydamyb@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, 12 Jul 2008 22:10:57 +0300
Re: [Avodah] Likut Atzomos

>Akiva Blum wrote:
> The Mishna in pesachim perek 8 mishna 8 mention someone who is melaket
> atzmos oviv, gathering bones, as tomeh. This also appears in perek 1 of
> moed katan. The Tiferes Yisroel in pesachim says that people would bury
> their dead in a temporary grave, and after the meat had rotted, the
> bones would be reinterred in their ancestral cemetery. Can anyone point
> to a source, and perhaps also an explanation for this practice?

On Thu, Jul 10, 2008 at 04:13:09PM -0400, David Riceman wrote:
: See Martin Goodman, "Rome and Jerusalem", p. 248. It's well documented
: archaeologically and in literature....

More than well documented, they're commmonplace. Most tourists encounter
them in a number of places that they visit, including some of the earlier
tannaim. Google "Israel ossuary" (without the quotes) for numerous
pictures. (An "ossuary" is an aron for bones.)

: Goodman says "there is no certain
: explanation."

The uncertain one I was left thinking was the standard is that they
wanted to minimize tum'ah in EY. Liqut atzamos minimizes burial space.


I was hoping for some sort of Jewish source. I see that it was done, but
could it have been a Saducee thing (or Roman, Greek, etc.)? Did the
everyone do it? Was it continued after the churnan?

The gemora in Bava Basra describes the system of burial caves, cuchin. If
these are the temporary graves, why did they need such a big set up?
Sixteen cuchin! (or 52! acc. To R.Shimon). How many people did they expect
to die in a year in this family? And if these are the final graves, why are
they so large? They are clearly made for body size?

Can someone help me with mekoros?


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Message: 2
From: "Rich, Joel" <JRich@sibson.com>
Date: Sat, 12 Jul 2008 22:26:19 -0400
[Avodah] Davening in a bedroom

Can anyone point me to a source which forbids davening in a bedroom?
Joel Rich
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Message: 3
From: Cantor Wolberg <cantorwolberg@cox.net>
Date: Sat, 12 Jul 2008 22:34:43 -0400
[Avodah] Pinchas "Generations Go, Generations Come"

After the words, "Vay'hi acharei ha-mageifa" 26:1 ("When the plague  
was over"), the Torah suddenly inserts a highly unusual paragraph  
break [piska b?emtza pasuk]. Very rarely does the Torah begin a new  
paragraph in the middle of a verse.

Chizkuni explains the Torah uses this device to emphasize that the  
deaths that had occurred up to this point were the last ones that  
would be decreed on that generation. From this point on, those who  
were to be counted in the forthcoming census would all enter the Land.

Alternatively, this mention of the plague is juxtaposed to verses 17  
and 18 (Ch.25) immediately preceding it to show that the Midianites  
were directly responsible for the plague of the twenty-four thousand  
who lost their lives. Thus the sense of the verse is that after the  
plague -- which aroused the feeling that 24,000 Jews were dead but the  
Midianites who had caused the disaster had escaped retribution -- God  
would command Israel to exact vengeance upon the Midianites (Moshav  

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Message: 4
From: Yitzhak Grossman <celejar@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, 12 Jul 2008 23:03:21 -0400
Re: [Avodah] money and halakhah

On Fri, 11 Jul 2008 14:01:27 -0400
Zev Sero <zev@sero.name> wrote:

> Whereas if you destroy a $20 note, what happens?  It's gone.  There
> *is* no "chov", there never was one.

Note that the Treasury may replace mutilated or destroyed notes, even
if less than fifty percent of the note is present, according to these
articles.  [I am not claiming that this is necessarily relevant to the
Halachos under discussion.]:


The government has some rules for paying people the full value for
damaged greenbacks. More than 50% of a note identified as genuine U.S.
currency must be present, or 50% or less can be present as long as the
Treasury is satisfied that the missing portions have been totally
destroyed. Officials do that by looking at the method of mutilation and
any supporting evidence.


     The Office of Currency Standards, located in the Bureau of
Printing and Engraving, uses experts to examine the mutilated currency
and will okay the writing of a Treasury check for the value of the
currency determined to be redeemable.

     Mutilated currency is money that is less than half the original
note, or in such bad condition that its value is questionable and
special examination is needed to determine the value of the paper money.

> Zev Sero               Something has gone seriously awry with this Court's

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

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Message: 5
From: "Eli Turkel" <eliturkel@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 13 Jul 2008 11:09:09 +0300
[Avodah] ra-ah bird

<<which can be found in Yalqut Shim'oni 537 d'h' "v'es hachasidah"
(re the P'Shmini section on birds):
Tanna omedes kan b'Bavel v'ro'eh n'veilah b'eretz Yisrael."

I found on Shamash archives

* Ra'ah is explained as a far seeing bird (the root ra'ah means 'to see'):
'It stands in Babylon and sees a carcass in Eretz Israel.' The ra'ah views
things negatively and finds faults in others. This is like the housewife
who rebukes her cleaner that the dusting has not been done properly. The
cleaner suggests that the dust specks might be on the glasses of the
 housewife."  >>

There is no source in this quote

Does anyone know what is the complete medrash?

Eli Turkel

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Message: 6
From: "Marty Bluke" <marty.bluke@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 13 Jul 2008 15:17:16 +0300
Re: [Avodah] money and halakhah

This issue of paper (fiat) money comes up in Hilchos Ribis. The gemara
in Eizehu Neshech has an issur of lending and returning commodities.
The poskim discuss whether banknotes or considered money or
commodities. All of the modern day seforim on Ribis ( the most famous
probably being the Bris Yehuda) quote the teshuvos Chasam Sofer that
paper money is considered money and therefore there is no problem of
sa'ah bsa'ah. In fact, they say that even those poskim who disagreed
in the 19th century, would agree today because there is no "real"
money today at all. The Chazon Ish in Hilchos Ribis agress with this
as does the Aruch Hashulchan (I just saw it a week ago and now can't
find it, if anyone can give me the exact reference in the Aruch
Hashulchan I would greatly appreciate it).

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Message: 7
From: Arie Folger <afolger@aishdas.org>
Date: Sun, 13 Jul 2008 09:03:46 +0200
Re: [Avodah] TIDE and Austritt

On Friday, 11. July 2008 17.33:24 avodah-request@lists.aishdas.org wrote:
> ? ?1. Meetings ?at secular events [NOT AT A SEDER] with non-O clergy does
> ? ?not confer legitimacy. This is an old battle and is obsolete. It only
> ? ?confers de facto reality no more than their being a shul presiident or
> to non-Jewish Clergy. ?Fro example at Soveit Jewry Rallies non_jewish
> clergy spoek and so did non-O Rabbis. Does not mean that we can ride to
> shul the next shabos.

I respectfully disagree. Where joint appearance could be acceptable and 
desirable, I think religious leaders should blend into the background. Let 
lay leaders do it and you won't confer legitimacy; have religious leaders act 
and you give it willy nilly a strong religious aspect.

BTW, based on my experience as the rabbi of a grossen Gemeinde, or, as it is 
known nowadays, an Einheitsgemeinde, I can tell you that Austritt is an 
important concept that deserves a lot more credit, but it i being abused, as 
well. I a sense, I disagree with the detractors of Austritt as a principle 
and with those who believe that nowadays no legitimation is implied in joint 
appearances with  to'im, but at the same time I must say that there is such a 
thing as excessive Austritt. It is true that current day situations do not 
resemble those of Rav Hirsch's day.

Kol tuv,
Arie Folger

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Message: 8
From: Arie Folger <afolger@aishdas.org>
Date: Sun, 13 Jul 2008 09:29:07 +0200
Re: [Avodah] TIDE and Austritt

RMB wrote:
> If Austritt applied today it would mean shunning the OU and RCA
> and avoiding functions where the O rabbi belonged to the SCA or some
> still-existing parallel. Even political lobbying. Possibly not even giving
> credance to the OU hechsher until they renounce RYBS's SCA responsum.

I am not sure. RSRH had close contacts with Rav Ezriel Hildesheimer, despite 
fighting him regarding the Orthodoxen Rabbinerseminar. They  corresponded 
extensively. REH was the rav of an Austrittgemeinde, but interpreted Austritt 
in a way that would make the hair of many members of the RCA stand on end, 
such a maverick he was.

The reall issue of Austritt AISI, based on, for example, Heinz Moshe Grauper's 
and Robert Liberles' books, was whether, after Kehillah Kedoshah Frankfurt 
had become Kehillat haKefirah Frankfurt and then turned around to become "the 
heterodox community of Frankfurt that accomodates the Orthodox, too," whether 
under such circumstances one needed to distance himself from the heterodox 
construct, because otherwise heterodoxy would be given a hekhsher and be 
helped in its prohibited actions, or whether the unity of klal Yisrael 
required sacrifices such as accepting heterodoxy.

History has shown that almost all the Orthodox sided with Austritt. Where 
Orthodoxy did not necessarily side with Austritt, there was either no need 
for it, or Orthodoxy suffered tremendously, especially in the education of 
the youth.

However, IIUC, *after* most of RSRH's kehilloh refused to practice Austritt 
(80% remained members of the grossen Gemeinde despite being members of KAJ), 
he did become more extreme. That said, the circumstances were unique: R and 
the historical school were making inroads and bringing about a 'hurbon of 
many kehilaus.

One communication between REH and RSRH touching on Austritt was whether to 
join the Alliance Isra?lite Universelle - ma'hrivei neshamot, as I found out 
from family members who were educated in their schools, but on could argue 
that that was much later. REH was approached to become a board member and he 
refused to even become a regular member. However, as antisemitism increased, 
he agreed to become a regular member, while RSRH refused even that, on 
account of the leadership being anti-Judaism. As a matter of fact, they were 
indeed assimilationists. RSRH mentioned, for example, the fact that their 
president was in a mixed marriage.

What you see from the above was that they battlefield wasn't an OU or an RCA, 
but things like the Federations. REH wouldn't have joined the SCA, either, 
but he would CONTEMPLATE, not necessarily agree to, join in the Federations. 
RSRH would have neither.

Whether RSRH ate from the W?rzburger Rov's she'hitoh I don't know, and if he 
didn't it was more out of a desire to sustain his kehilloh, i.e. out of 
economic and political calculations, than out of Austritt ideology.

Regarding nowadays, since RSRH passed away, and circumstances changed, one can 
argue almost anything sensible in the name of Austritt and TiDE, as posters 
have been doing, and so I do not desire to enter this debate too deeply.

Kol tuv,
Arie Folger

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Message: 9
From: Arie Folger <afolger@aishdas.org>
Date: Sun, 13 Jul 2008 10:58:35 +0200
Re: [Avodah] TIDE and Austritt

RTK wrote:
> You keep defining austritt with reference to 19th c Frankfurt, where bitter
> ? battles were fought between Hirsch's kehilla and the gemeinde Orthodox. ?
> And btw ?the latter would have had no shuls, no schools, no kosher food and
> ?no mikva if not for Hirsch's establishment of austritt

That is not true. The Grosse Gemeinde turned around in 1842, after 12 years of 
R hegemony, and the IRG was only established in 1851. The IRG was established 
on Austritt, even before RSRH became its leader 2 yeats later.

Arie Folger

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Message: 10
From: David Riceman <driceman@att.net>
Date: Sun, 13 Jul 2008 10:11:18 -0400
Re: [Avodah] T'uM

Richard Wolpoe wrote:
> Corecton Kitzur SA re: pidyon  164:1. Further, Morechai Eliyahu Kitzur 
> says se Chasam Sofer 289. KSA says bransilber is kosher, Banotes are 
> not. IIRC he says shaveh kessaf IS OK which means shaveh kessa and 
> banknotes are NOT one and the same
For an explanation see Rabbi Kasher's book "Mefaneah Zephunoth", pp. 70-71.

David Riceman

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Message: 11
From: Yitzchok Levine <Larry.Levine@stevens.edu>
Date: Sun, 13 Jul 2008 19:12:19 -0400
[Avodah] What TIDE Really is

There has been much discussion on both Areivim and Avodah about what 
TIDE really is. Recently I purchased the book Moreshes Tzvi: The 
Living Hirschian Legacy that was published by KAJ in 1988. (You can 
get it from "K'hal Adath Jeshurun (KAJ)" <kaj85@juno.com> for $20. I 
sent them a check payable to K'hal Adath Jeshurun and mailed it to 
P.O.Box 706, New York, NY 10033) I strongly recommend this book to 
anyone who is interested in understanding what TIDE really is.

I have posted a short article that appears in this book titled RSRH 
in Perspective - Three Contexts that was written by Dr. Elliott Bondi 
at http://tinyurl.com/5oc8r6 . It is a pdf file.  This article can 
also be accessed from the web page 
http://www.stevens.edu/golem/llevine/rsrh/ . There you will find a 
number of articles about TIDE and related matters.

Yitzchok Levine 
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Message: 12
From: saul mashbaum <smash52@netvision.net.il>
Date: Mon, 14 Jul 2008 08:20:35 +0300
Re: [Avodah] ra-ah - da-ah (from areivim)

RETurkel cited the following rabbinic statement: "Tanna: omedet (kan) b'Bavel v'ro'ah n'veilah b'Eretz Yisrael."

Aside from being a statement in Yalkut Shimoni, as several list members eruditely pointed out, this is an open g'mara, Chullin 63b.
In the context of the g'mara, this is a morally neutral statement; the
g'mara is describing the excellent vision of the bird in question, not
passing judgement on it or explaining why it is a tamei bird.
That's on the literal level. Homiletically, IMNSHO this phrase very aptly describes those who live in chu"l and are constantly harping on things in Israel.

Is "being in Bavel and seeing n'veila in Israel" a good thing, as RZS maintains, or a bad one? I guess it depends on whether you are a vulture or a person. 
Saul Mashbaum
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Message: 13
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Mon, 14 Jul 2008 11:13:28 -0400
[Avodah] Fwd (rbh@sympatico.ca): Insight 5768-34: Teaching

This was just too AishDas-y not to share.


Date: Fri, 11 Jul 2008 17:04:16 -- 0400
From: Nishma <rbh@sympatico.ca>
Subject: Insight 5768-34: Teaching Personality

5768 -- #34

This INSIGHT is dedicated
in memory of
Hyman Scherer a"h
by Martin Scherer

Rabbi Benjamin Hecht

Rabbi Yisroel Chait, the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Bnei Torah, poses
a most fascinating yet bewildering question [1] that I continue to
find difficult to answer: how does one truly get through to a ba'al
gaiva, an inherently haughty person, that he/she should not be a ba'al
gaiva? Of course, it is possible to teach and, perhaps more importantly,
to motivate such a person to act humbly but that is precisely the Rosh
Yeshiva's point. If one looks at many of the sources within the Torah
literature in this regard, such as, for example, Avot 1:13 [2] one finds
arguments that contend that the method by which one receives honour is
by not seeking honour-but is the ultimate aim still not honour? Honour
would still seem to be the objective; the instruction is that the way
to achieve this objective is through a method that seems to convey the
opposite -- but is this the true lesson of such statements? Is the goal
solely to affect action or is the goal to affect the person, to cause
the person to not desire honour? It would seem that when we discuss
humility, the objective of such teachings is more than causing a change
in behaviour but rather to cause a change in personality: don't desire
honour! Yet the very teachings that try to affect this change actually
seem to reinforce this desire by using this desire itself to motivate
the person. You want honour so don't act haughty and thereby you will
get honour -- but the goal is still honour. How do you get across to
someone that he/she should not even have this drive for honour?[3] This
is the Rosh Yeshiva's question. If a person's yardstick in determining
behaviour is a drive for honour, you can cause them to change behaviour
by using this yardstick but is the goal not solely to change behaviour
but to change the yardstick? How then do you change the yardstick?

The answer may be that the goal is simply to change behaviour, that
it is not truly possible to change the yardstick. Alternatively,
it may be argued that the only way to change a yardstick is to find
another yardstick within the person that is more important to him/her
and use that yardstick to affect change in the yardstick of desiring
honour. An argument that haughtiness may hinder one's career would be
such an example, assuming that the desire for success in one's career
is more important to the person than honour. The person will thereby
not try to just change behaviour but also personality in attempting to
satisfy a greater drive within himself/herself. The problem is that this
is not what these teachings such as the one presented in Avot 1:13,
seem to be presenting. They are using the very drive to change the
very drive, or, perhaps, it is just the behaviour that is the focus
of these statements. What is perhaps most significant from all this,
though, is the recognition that you can only teach someone based upon
what motivates them.

The words of Mishlei 22:6 to teach a child according to his/her ways
would seem immediately to come to mind. It is not enough to present
someone with information expecting that person to affect change in
himself/herself by just encountering this information. One must cause
this information to touch the person; the nature and personality of the
person is thus most significant. What is being taught, thus, must be
molded in consideration of the person one is wishing to instruct. This,
though, places a parameter on the information that one wishes to impart,
even if this is Torah information. It would seem not to be enough to tell
someone what the Torah says; one must also determine why someone would be
interested in this information and then, most importantly, consider this
knowledge in conveying the Torah idea to this person. But does this not
mean that we are demanded to mold the Torah information in consideration
of the person? Does this not seem to imply that even Torah is defined,
to some extent, by the individual it is trying to reach and instruct?

The famous statement of T.B. Makkot 10b that states that in the way
someone wishes to go, the Torah will lead them, seems to be powerfully
on point. Included in the gemara's discussion is the case of Bilaam who
finally was allowed by God to go to with these emissaries of Balak even
though at first God said not to go with them. Is this stating that God
will give in to the desires of individuals? How could Bilaam, a person
who encountered God on the highest level possible for a human being to
perceive the Divine, consider an act that is even slightly removed from
the Will of God? The case of Bilaam seems to show that just the knowledge
of God, even at the highest level, cannot affect a person unless that
knowledge touches something within the personality of the person thereby
igniting a drive to follow that instruction. Yet Bilaam was still punished
for his misbehaviour and the words of Makkot still do not justify the sins
that one may commit. Indeed the Torah itself will lead you upon the path
you wish to go, indeed you will use the very words of Torah to justify
that which you wish to do, but nonetheless you are still responsible for
your misdeeds. It has always bothered me. I turn to Torah for instruction
yet I am told that the Torah itself can mislead me and seem to instruct me
in a way that I should not go because that is the way I want to go. The
Torah would seem to be intentionally open to being misleading. It seems
to be that it must be -- for the only way it can truly speak to me is
through knowledge of who I am and touching that which interests me.

To speak to me, the Torah must present itself in the context of my
being. My being thereby becomes a parameter in my understanding of
Torah. This very parameter, though, may also cause my understanding of
Torah to veer and affect the message in an inappropriate manner. How do
I know, though, when I am following the words of Mishlei and teaching
Torah in an appropriate manner that considers the person's being or
when I am following the model of Bilaam and applying a person's being
to distort the Torah message? How do I use a person's desire for honour
to teach that person not to be interested in honour?

Of course, in the case of Bilaam, he was first told not to go with the
men, so he should have already known better. What can we do, though, when
we can already distort the first message? As I said, I am still troubled
by this question. My only conclusion so far is that it is important for
us to understand and consider this dilemma as we contemplate the Torah
word. We must be also very careful to recognize what we truly want.

1 Heard orally.

2 This states that one who seeks a name, loses his/her name -- that the
one who seeks honour will ultimately not gain honour. This would seem
to be a tautology. If we argue that one should not seek honour because
seeking honour one will actually result in not gaining it, does the
not-seeking of honour, thereby, become a way of seeking honour?

3 Of course, some level of concern for one's honour may still be
appropriate and this question should be understood within this context. On
the difficult question of determining the proper level of this concern,
see, further, Rambam, Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Deot, c. 1,2.

(C) Nishma, 2008

We welcome your comments on this Insight at the Insight Discussion Forum
at our website, www.nishma.org, or click here to go directly to this
Discussion Forum.
www.nishma.org http://nishmablog.blogspot.com/
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