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Volume 25: Number 264

Tue, 22 Jul 2008

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 2008 06:59:10 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Halachic Texts: More Background

On Mon, Jul 21, 2008 at 10:46:39PM -0400, Richard Wolpoe wrote:
: > I'm trying to defend the normal stance, by defining halakhah
: > descriptively.

: You are equating status quo with halachah. It is by far the msot circular
: form of Halachic justifcation I have found....

Justification? Definition!

As I said, I'm being descriptive. Given that what we're doing is halachic
process, what generalizations can we make from what we see done to define
that process.

This whole thing began with you and Rabbi ABC wondering what the rules
were. Now, given that we don't know what the rules are, because no one
ever sat down and articulated them, the only thing left is to see what
implied rules we see in practice.

: by the way is 180 degrees AGAINST the GRA...

Which means the process must be broad enough that you could take it in
both directions.

Either that, or you need to declare either talmidei haGra or some other
group to be non-O.

: Then you defend the GRA for attacking a non-normative minhag that goes
: agianst text. Please take a stance one way or the other!

No. My stance is that halakhah is NONALGORITHMIC. (Sorry for shouting,
but I've been saying it for over a year now.) My stance is that the
process defines which issues require consideration, and general
statements about how much weight to give each issue, but different
derakhim justify variation in which matter to weigh more.

The person who supports textual conclusion over mimetic precedent AND
the person who supports the mimetic precedent as the greater of the two
are both working within the process.

As per above -- it has to be a system flexible enough to include both
talmidei haGra and Breuers'.

And yet not so flexible as to be limit-less. Which is why (along with
the fact that this is what we see in O) I posited that there are limits,
algorithmicly defined limits, over which issues are to be considered
altogether, and there are limits in variation of weighting.

But all-in-all, the last step in pesaq is often (at least in the more
interesting problems) weighing halachic pros vs halachic cons, and thus
differences in pesaq will emerge.

:> A shitah that can be shown to be internally flawed isn't settled law.
:> You're just reinvoking what I tried to dismiss in #1.

: Yes and the shita to NTO wear a Tallsi Gaddol is so flawed that the Mishna
: Brura objected to it!  never mind the Rema and the Ba'eir Heitev!

And so in their consideration, the sevara cons outweighed the mimetic

: Also Rabbiner Hirsch considered it OK to use German but verbotten to give up
: piyyyutim, even though he COULD have used the GRA as a basis to do so. So
: mimetics was not dead. It's a nice prsumption, but there is no eveidence to
: support it.

Nor did I make it. You're still talking absolutes, which is not the
plane I'm in. I said the Gra and the SAhaRav's more sevara than mimetic
approach to halakhah was possible because mimeticism was decaying. The
actual collapse was never total, and certainly ran at least from their
lifetimes through the Shoah through the "slide to the right".

:> One can only select among eilu va'eilu, not invent ideas of whole cloth.

: As long as one can justify his opinion withing the text he may ignore
: precedent. This is the GRA's shita, Probably Meharshal's and Bach's, too.
: ou see mto want ti both ways at times, I stil don't get it

But there is no text in RER's case!

: The scheme of going back to text is slippery-slope dangerous. it is THE
: major support for Golinkin and the Masorti, and actaully could justify RER
: regardless of thowbackisms.

TuM and TiDE are dangerous. Trying to pre-filter the world, which can
never be perfectly done, carries its dangers. Trying to flee dangers is
dangerous -- you'll turn the Torah into fundamentalism! Since when does
dangerous mean wrong?

: That does not mean that Halachah cannot evolve here and there. It can and it
: does I am talking about:

:    1. Radical changes
:    2. Ignoring percedent
:    3. Taking flawed mimetics over texts [e.g. Taliis Gadol]

I deny that any of it is radical. You can follow a nusach haGra siddur.
Pre-Gra variation in siddurim, eg Edot haMizrach, is broader in difference
-- and they're similar enough that I can follow in one of them, too.

Obviously having problems with both #2 and #3 opens the door to a
"conflicting desirata" view of halachic decisionmaking.

: Micha, your system is really impossible to exclude vitually any decision as
: a to'eh bidvar hamishne because you have eschewed any/all objective
: standards.

And so, a year later, you're still at "if it ain't an algorithm, there
is nothing".  And a thermostat which uses fuzzy logic, might turn on
the heater when the temperature outside goes up. Because if there is no
hard-n-fast rule, it's a free for all. Right?

: I see no reason NOT to accept RER or REB or any other Radical Reconstruction
: of Halacha becaus after all their are sniffim involved...

No, because some of their sniffim are made up, with no precedent or
source in any domain othwer than their own theories'.

: Micha let's face it.
: Waht you are REALLY saying is
: "We" accept th GRa but not RER's radical positions
: "We" go with the flow, regarldess of the laws in the flow.

No. I'm saying
SINCE we accept the Gra but not RER
and SINCE we go with the flow,

what can we deduce about the as-yet-unknown laws in the flow?

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             A person must be very patient
micha@aishdas.org        even with himself.
http://www.aishdas.org         - attributed to R' Nachman of Breslov
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Message: 2
From: "Richard Wolpoe" <rabbirichwolpoe@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 21 Jul 2008 22:54:57 -0400
[Avodah] Bavli Redux - Does it's authority stem from

Dear List,
Someone [I don't recall who] suggesteds that there WAS a Sanhedrin around
[inEY] when the Bavli was completed. FWIW the Rambam in his hkqdamah flatly
rejects this notion. [I amp osting today because I jsut reread it today]

[disclaimer: I don't buy every historical point in the Rambam's haqdamah,
but this one is imho a slam dunk]

Rather the Rambam claims the authority of the Bavli is  essentialy
"nispashet" [this is truly akin to the Catholic Israel arguemnt in that
Catholic Israel is a RATIFYING BODY not a legislatiing body]

Dislcaimer 2:
 I would suggestt that nispashet included the possiblity that in different
communites there were "hagahos" on inidivdual practices, just as with the
Mishneh Torah and the the Shulchan Aruch. Or iow. when we say the Bavli was
accepted everywhere it does not mean w/o any restirction or interpretation,
just like the Mishnah itself was qualified by the Talmudic dial;etic, so was
the Bavli itself so qualified.

Kol Tuv / Best Regards,
see: http://nishmablog.blogspot.com/
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Message: 3
From: "Richard Wolpoe" <rabbirichwolpoe@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 21 Jul 2008 23:15:30 -0400
Re: [Avodah] TIDE and Austritt

On Tue, Jul 15, 2008 at 3:14 PM, Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org> wrote:

> As for who Austritt would apply to today...
> Who today threatens the integrity of the O message? It's certainly not C
> or R. They aren't trying to change us.
> Tir'u baTov!
> -Micha

Certainly all O's from RWO to LWO [left Wing Orthodox] accept some
restrictions on "legitmizing" R or C rabbis

Consider this

My own LOR is lecturing at the JCC on the Palisades as follows

Rabbis Phillip I. Ackerman-Lieberman, Amy Bolton, Jeffrey S. Fox, Steve
> Golden, Debra Hachen and Lawrence Rothwachs.
> The Psalms express our deepest emotions, from great elation to ultimate
> despair. They can lift us up in joy, or validate our sadness. They are a key
> part of our liturgy, and our Shabbat and holiday celebrations. It is the
> book we turn to when suffering illness, and for comfort when we grieve. In
> this series, explore the themes of six different psalms as they relate to
> our own emotional and spiritual lives. Learn with rabbis of different
> denominations who serve throughout our community.
> July 8 - Rabbi Philip Ackerman-Lieberman - Psalm 27
> July 15 - Rabbi Steve Golden - Psalm 16
> July 22 - Raabbi Debra Hachen - Psalm 145
> July 29 - Rabbi Amy Bolten - Psalm 19
> August 5 - Rabbi Laurence Rothwachs - Psalm 91
> August 12 - Rabbi Jeffrey Fox - Psalm 1
> Preregistration requested

Does anyone fomr O C or R seriously believe that Rabbi Rothwachs, by
participating in this series is conferring LEGITIMACY on the non-O Rabbis
involved? anyone who knows Rabbi Rothwachs would know that he would be
APPALLED by that notion!

Certainly Rabbi R would not allow a C or R rabbi and kibbudim in his shul
and would not join together with any C or R rabbi in anyway that would mean
a "joint" halachic act of any kind.

OTOH, joining in a series of lectures on Tehilllim does not confer legitmacy
for their theological positions, perhaps some acknowledgment for their
academic credcntials, but even that is debatable.

Whne Rabbiner Hirsh was around, R & C rabbis were Ortho trained, Austritt
was NECESSARY in order to avoid confusion. There is no such circumstance
today, e.g. you could add Catholic or Protestant theologian to this series
and it would change little.

One area that MIGHT be a legitimate point of contention is supporting Jewish
Federations that support non-O functions. This is a serious issue and I do
NOT take this lightly. My former LOR was a big proponent of UJC here in
Bergen County, perhaps because the GOOD it did for Ortho yeshivos
over-weighed the "bad" I don't know his cheshbon, but I can see a really
good argument for boycotting ECONOMIC aid to non-O institutions.

But sharing a podium for things like Supporting Israel or something like
what Soviert Jewry used to be [or Ethiopian Jewry is today?] to me is


There are limited areas in which denominations MUST co-operate- Chaplaincy
[hospital or military] is a case in point.

In Holy Name Hospital in Teaneck, the nuns often do things like shave the
people in a coma. Should we deny both the patient and the nuns this act of
Hessed lest someone construe them as "legitimate?"
Kol Tuv / Best Regards,
see: http://nishmablog.blogspot.com/
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Message: 4
From: "Richard Wolpoe" <rabbirichwolpoe@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 2008 00:04:33 -0400
Re: [Avodah] money and halakhah

On Sun, Jul 13, 2008 at 8:17 AM, Marty Bluke <marty.bluke@gmail.com> wrote:

> 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).

When I first posted this tangent, I was anticipating a serious Halachic
discussion!  Can you furnish more details as to the location of the sources?
  E.g. where is the Chasam Sofer, the CI etc.

Kol Tuv / Best Regards,
see: http://nishmablog.blogspot.com/
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Message: 5
From: "Richard Wolpoe" <rabbirichwolpoe@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 2008 00:39:01 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Austritt [was: Who Was Rabbi Nobel Anyway?]

On Sun, Jul 13, 2008 at 2:16 AM, <T613K@aol.com> wrote:

>   From: "Richard Wolpoe" rabbirichwolpoe@gmail.com
> >>As for your other point about C or R rabbis gaining legitimacy, the
> Yeshiva
> of Hartford made ALL local rabbis viz. O/C/R as honorary board members even
> though it was a Torah Umesorah school [founded in 1939} and people Like R.
> Shraga Feilb Mendlovich etc. were involved in it as well as Dr. Joe
> Kamenetsky
> later on.   Was this conferring "legitimacy" for those rabbis?  It is kind
> hard to say that. It was a community school but the tenets of the charter
> were 100% Orthodox.  they did hire a C rabbi to teach some Hebrew language
> classes.
> The split came later when a new generation C rabbi founded Solmon Shechter
> school.  Them the C rabbis broke with the Ortho Day School. <<
> >>>>>
> You wrote:  "the Yeshiva of Hartford made ALL local rabbis viz. O/C/R as
> honorary board members....  Was this conferring "legitimacy" for those
> rabbis?"
> Do your ears hear what your mouth is saying?  Why did they put "ALL the
> local rabbis" on the board?  Were they implying that those guys were
> actually rabbis?

They were conferring leadership roles.  They were not defending their brand
of Judaism.  What it meant was the school was inclusive. I guess it might
have made sense to make the presdients of all shuls as members, but the
rabbinical posts were more stable

> Oh no of course not, and I'm sure no one thought for a moment that
> they meant to imply anything about rabbinical about those clowns, oh no no
> no.

is the sarcasm really necesary to make your point?

> If my father had been the rav of Hartford or had anything to do with the
> founding of the school, you can bet there wouldn't have been any such board
> with quote "ALL the rabbis"!

I can also be the schol would have gone under> isntead this school is around
since 1939. Few Schoopls outside of NYC can say that. Austitt in ANY small
town afaik never worked. If you know otheiwse I chalenge you to produce the

> Now of course the O Jews who put "all the rabbis" on the board did it with
> a wink-wink to their own people, "Hey come on guys we're only licking their
> toes, we don't /really/ consider them rabbis, but hey, we need kids from
> their congregations and money from their people so.... wink wink!"

I think they considered them as leaders as clergy but they NEVER conferred
any legitimacy upon a non-Hlachic norm. If this distinciton is too subtle
for you to buy, that is OK with me but theat is no call for sarcasm

> How well this chanifa worked you can see in your last paragraph:  the C
> guys went ahead and started their own C school anyway.

Actaully your facts are wrong as well as the nature of your attacks. When
Rabbi MorrisSilvernam retired Rabbi Howeard Singer came to town and insisted
on his OWN austritt asyaing we cannot do bbusines with those Orthos and HE
broke away and started Solmon Shchechter. the Previosu non-Austirtt C Rabbis
wer content to run their Hebrew schools and give the OPrthos the monopoly on
Day Schools. It was DAVKA the Austrit mentality that drw resources,studetns
and funds fromn haveing only ONE communiyt day school under O auspices into
starting a SPLIT community that divided reesourcsandstudetns and made the
school more difficlt to support finanicially. This informtuate split was
precisely due to an application of Austritt but this by the C's AGAINST teh
O's. There wer fed up with O's running the community's ONLY Day School and
Stepp out [the meaning of Austritt} and caused a frfit that extists today.
So there were probably dozens of neeshamaos that MIGHT have been brought
clsoer to HKBH but isntead found a kind of Austritt and brought closer to
the kind of Torah NOT miSiani taugth as SS. Can we thank Asutritt thinking
for this? I think so!

> They weren't fooled and they certainly weren't co-opted into becoming Ortho
> or running the risk that any of their congregants would become Ortho.

*--Toby Katz

The C's WERE upset when ther kids came home and aske d how comes there's
treif inthe ice box. I rembmer those stories well

> And what's that bit about hiring a C rabbi to teach Hebrew?!  Hebrew is not
> loshon hakodesh?  Hebrew is a secular subject?!

I don't know HOW you jump to conculsions> no one was saying that Hebrew was
NOT part of limudei Kodesh,  I was just reporting the facts.This C rabbi
FWIW had attended some O institutions and considered HIMSELF frum - albiet
he made his parnassa from a C shul. this brings up the other topic of what
is a C rabbi and is worhty of its own thread.

I cannot say for certain, but had he been a 100% ideoligcally C rabbi he
probably would nto have been given even hebrew. But you have a black and
white attitued. The REAL world has a lot of gray. Obviously they felt that
this man had a degree in Hebrew Ed. and it was safe enough for himto teach
Hebrew. I know the leaders of this institution were major players in Torah
u'Mesorah and certainly did not play this game lightly.  I am amazed at how
people on this list sometimes make things so simple when they are not so

The OU had dozens of non-Mehitza shuls in this era.  They all [afaik] had
rabbis with Ortho Semicah. And SOME C shuls had O rabbis who were there for
keiruv purposes and had been given specific teshuvos to do so.

FWIW, I know of a student who was at JTS and became a Chabadnik and the
Rebbe told him that "he can stay there so long as . Sha'ul Lieberman is
there."  so the Rebbecertainly saw some gray areas. There were even
Chabaniks in signifcant nubmers at YU. I hardly think that the rebbe was
ENDORSING YU by permitting some excpetional students to study there.

This Austrit idea of legitimzing is so highly exaggerated that I cannot
fathom it. I have frum friends who graduated Cattholic University and Holy
Cross College etc.   I(s that Chanifa?

Let's get real. The Yeshiva of Hartford had studnets from virtually every C
shul in my day.  And some of those yong men and women became exposed to
Torah and became frum. and MANY others becamse exposed and di NOT become
frum BUT are amongst the BIGGEST supporters and fundraisers for the School.

Rabbi Julius Berman was a graduate of the yeshiva of Hartford about a decade
before I did. Maybe you can discuss these issues with him becuase he was
certainly aware of hte dynamics much better than I.

It almost never ceases to amaze me how people reconstruct history to fit an
ideology instead of looking at the facts on the ground.

FWIW, there were bar mitzvahs in the C shuls of classamtes of mine etc. Even
those who DID attend knoew better than to daven in the C shul, those from O
backgrounds davened earlier and simply went the way they might to a non-frum
relative's simcha.

Maybe the MOST simple minded found that the C rabbis "honorary" membership
conveyed some kind of approval.   But simply most people were not so-minded.

The C movement DID become more "edgy" when a new generation of Rabbis - led
by howard Singer- pushed Somon Schechter school.s the Irony is that the R
rabbis seemed more comfortable with supporting the more commuinity and less
"Austritt" minded O Day School How ironic!

see: http://nishmablog.blogspot.com/
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