Avodah Mailing List

Volume 25: Number 282

Tue, 05 Aug 2008

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Daniel Israel <dmi1@hushmail.com>
Date: Sun, 03 Aug 2008 21:41:12 -0600
Re: [Avodah] Misayei'a L'Dvar Aveira - cashier situation

Zev Sero wrote:
> Samuel Svarc wrote:
>> While I agree with RZS's conclusion (for the reasons given by RDB), I don't
>> understand his sevara. I don't agree that someone who buys treif would 
>> steal and furthermore the halacha doesn't agree.
> The main chidush of a supermarket is that it's self-service; you take
> what you want, and the only function of the assistant is to take your
> money.  If you were a ganef you could simply walk out with the goods;
> you might not get very far, but it is an option.  In this situation,
> I don't see how the assistant helps the avera in any way.  All he's
> doing is preventing a second avera.

I think RSS was responding to what sounded like (I also read it this 
way) your implication that we assume that if someone  eats treif they 
would also steal.  There may have been times and places when that would 
be a reasonable assumption, I'm not sure, but it is not one in today's 

If that was not what you meant, then I'm not sure what introducing the 
ganef does for your argument.

Daniel M. Israel

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Message: 2
From: Daniel Israel <dmi1@hushmail.com>
Date: Sun, 03 Aug 2008 21:42:53 -0600
Re: [Avodah] being a policeman, fireman

Josh Skolnick wrote:
> I believe that the volunteer firefighters in our area will respond to a 
> confirmed fire on the chance that it is Jewish home, and it will be 
> pikuach nefesh.  

It would seem to me that there is a reasonable chance that it is (or 
could become) pikuach nefesh even if it isn't a Jewish home.

Daniel M. Israel

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Message: 3
From: Daniel Israel <dmi1@hushmail.com>
Date: Sun, 03 Aug 2008 21:59:04 -0600
Re: [Avodah] Hating a Meisis to Kefirah, Should be - Hating

Meir Rabi wrote:
> I don't really follow the discussion.
> There is a prohibition to hate a fellow Jew IN ONES HEART. That means
> secretly. There is no prohibition transgressed if one discloses that hatred.

First, AFAIK, this is a machlokes Rambam and Ramban; I don't know how we 
posken.  Second, there are still other mitzvos which one violates by 
hating improperly (v'ahavta l'reiecha kamocha, for example).  So, 
without taking a position (in this post) regarding when it is proper to 
hate, one cannot avoid the problem of a safek case by only hating in the 

Daniel M. Israel

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Message: 4
From: "Richard Wolpoe" <rabbirichwolpoe@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 4 Aug 2008 00:12:36 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Hating a Meisis to Kefirah [Areivim]

On Fri, Aug 1, 2008 at 10:41 AM, Doron Beckerman <beck072@gmail.com> wrote:

> R' Micha Berger asks for a source that Meisis to Kefirah is worse than
> Meisis to Avodah Zarah.
> That Kefirah is worse than AZ is in the Rambam's Iggeres Hashmad and in the
> Ibn Ezra to Parshas Yisro. That it is so regarding hating a Meisis, I have
> some indirect sources based on the above, but it is Mefurash Yotzei Mipi
> Kohen Gadol in Chofetz Chaim Hilchos Rechilus Klal 1 in Beer Mayim Chaim 9
> that Moshe Rabbeinu hated Dasan and Aviram based on hating a Meisis - Al
> Achas Kamah V'Kamah based on Ki Bikesh L'hadichachah. He is very explicit
> that the Mitzvah D'Oraysa is not limited to AZ per se.
> R' Micha Berger asks:
> >>  Applicability? Who preaches that there is more than one god, but one
> of them went to Moshe in the midbar, taught him kol haTorah kulah,
> including TSBP, etc... and you must keep the deRabbanans, etc...
> Everyone who incites to AZ also incites to other forms of heresy. <<
>  I could think of forms of AZ B'shittuf, plus Stam inciting someone to give
> in to his Taava in the times of Bayis Rishon.
> Applicability L'maaseh - Daat Emet.
FWIW We had this debate on avodah re: which is worse kefirah or AZ.

I'm not sure re:  ancient pagan cults, but wrt to the modern religions
[Xtianity, Islam] it seems obviosu to me that for a homo religioso [RYBS's
term] some kind of structured relgiion is superior to atheism any day.

Kol Tuv / Best Regards,
see: http://nishmablog.blogspot.com/
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Message: 5
From: Cantor Wolberg <cantorwolberg@cox.net>
Date: Mon, 4 Aug 2008 06:22:03 -0400
[Avodah] Cutting Nails during the Nine Days

According to some Poskim only one who cuts their nails every Friday  
L'kovod Shabbos
may cut their nails on the Friday before Tisha B'Av.
Eliyahu Rabbah 551, Yad Efraim 551, Kaf Hachaim 551:48, Piskei Tshuvos  
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Message: 6
From: Daniel Israel <dmi1@hushmail.com>
Date: Sun, 03 Aug 2008 22:06:04 -0600
Re: [Avodah] infallibility of chazal

Eli Turkel wrote:
> In a slightly differenr vein I heard in the name of Rav Elyashiv
> (from his s-i-l) that one needs to accept the opinion of modern medicine but
> not of individual doctors
> i.e. one distinguishes between universally accepted truths and individual
> opinions and theories.

I wonder what the context was.  I assume "accept" here can't mean 
"accept as true."  Obviously the state of the art in medicine can be 
wrong in a way that the consensus of Chazal can't be.  (I could refine 
that statement to deal with your example of the mistaken Sanhedrin, but 
I assume my basic point is clear.)  I assume the point is that we have 
some obligation to go by the best available information.

Daniel M. Israel

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Message: 7
From: Daniel Israel <dmi1@hushmail.com>
Date: Sun, 03 Aug 2008 22:42:20 -0600
Re: [Avodah] nes niglah

Zev Sero wrote:
> kennethgmiller@juno.com wrote:
>> We often hear varied stories about this tzadik, or that gadol, and 
>> frankly, they are sometimes difficult to believe. I have often heard 
>> this as a common reaction to such incredulity: "If you think all these 
>> stores are true, then you're a fool. But if you think they're all 
>> false, you're an apikores. The message of these stories is that they 
>> *could* be true."
> Well, no.  Each individual story claims to be true; some of them have
> messages, but the truth of the message may to varying degrees depend on
> the truth of the story (depending on how novel the message is).  The
> saying is about this whole corpus of stories, that it's not possible
> for them all to be true, it must be that many false stories have crept
> in over the years, but it's difficult to know which particular stories
> are false, because to a believer they're all plausible.  Disproving
> such stories depends on external evidence, and generally ends up with
> it remaining possible that the basic story happened, but to another
> person, or in another place, etc.

Are we talking about "gedolim stories" or midrash?  I usually associate 
RAM's statement with the latter. If that's what we're talking about, I 
think RZS is taking too minimalist a position.  Why is it impossible for 
all of them to be true, if they are all plausible.  WRT midrashim we see 
that certain midrashim are contradictory, so they can't all be true. 
But I don't think that the intention of the statement is simply to deal 
with contradictory midrashim; it is a wider statement about the nature 
of midrash.  Midrash is not a body of historical material that contains 
errors which must be sorted out; it is a body of truths (all true, 
including both sides of contradictions) but the truth is not always in 
the literal meanings of the story.

If, OTOH, we are talking here about "gedolim stories," then it seems to 
me we are over analyzing.   In a machshava sense, they all (or, almost 
all) are plausible.  But we don't have a reliable mesorah for most of 
them; the credibility of a story is only as good as its mesorah.

Daniel M. Israel

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Message: 8
From: "Litke, Gary" <glitke@willkie.com>
Date: Mon, 4 Aug 2008 13:55:20 -0400
[Avodah] division of parshas hashavua

What is the source for our standard division of chumash into the
specific weekly portions?
Abarbanel says in intro to Sefer Shmos that this comes from Moshe
Rabbeynu mipi HaGvura. [He also says that Sefer Shmos has 12 portions;
presumably he followed minhag Barcelona and divided Mishpatim into two,
with the second beginning at 'Im Kesef Talveh'.]

I have heard from others that it was devised by Ezra/Anshei Knesses
Hagdola, including the precise breaks for each of the seven aliyas.

Does anyone have further source material for this question?
When the trienniel cycle was used did they divide our weekly portions
into three or did they have a different convention?

Thanks, Gedalia


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Message: 9
From: Michael ORR <michaelorr@rogers.com>
Date: Mon, 4 Aug 2008 18:50:26 -0400 (EDT)

  It is well accepted that the leading reason for churban bayis sheni was
  sinas chinam, baseless hatred:  Yoma 9b.  Other reasons cited for the
  churban bayis sheni, i.e. insisting on legal rights without a willingness
  to go beyond the letter of the law, cited in BM30b, and the refusal of
  Torah scholars to rebuke the people for fear of their disrespect, cited
  in Shabbos 119b, can all be classified under the broad category of sinas
  chinam.  (See article by Rabbi Mordechai Willig for discussion on the
  relationship of these causes: http:/
  /www.torahweb.org/torah/2005/parsha/rwil_devarim.html ) Sinas chinam
  can be characterized as deficiency in proper conduct bein adam lechavero. 
  Given that eliminating sinas chinam, i.e. remedying the deficiency in
  proper conduct bein adam lechavero, is the key to geula and the
  re-establishment of the bais mikdash (Yer. Yoma 1:1), which is the
  highest and ultimate historical goal of Jewish existence, why is there
  not a more concerted and prioritized effort by Torah Jewry to teach and
  promote proper conduct bein adam lechavero?  Shouldn?t this be a priority
  that is so well known and so well publicized that it is seen both by
  insiders and outsiders as characteristic of the Torah community? 
  Notes on the question:
  -My observation has been that there is an emphasis on learning mitzvos
  bein adam lamakom, e.g. all Orach Chaim topics.  Although in an important
  sense, the bein adam lamakom orientation is foundational, and so cannot
  be neglected, the paramount importance of addressing sinas chinam based
  on the above sources suggests to me that we are missing something
  -The potential for overemphasis on bein adam lamakom mitzvos seems
  especially problematic when there is an emphasis on chumros, which tend
  to divide.  The topic of chumros is complex though, since chumros can
  also be a way of achieving unity.  For example, if one observes all the
  chumros of kashrus, anyone can eat at that person?s house ? though the
  down side is that they won?t be able to eat at other?s houses much unless
  they maintain different standards for eating out.  
  -It seems to me that chumros bein adam lachavero are much less divisive,
  and in fact have a unifying force that chumros in conduct bein adam
  lamakom lack.   In fact the kashrus example seems more an indication that
  there is a bein adam lechavero aspect to kashrus rather than an
  illustration that chumros in mitzvos bein adam lamokom have a unifying
  force.  The essence of accepting a chumra on oneself regarding bein adam
  lechavero conduct is to restrict oneself and in doing so to give more
  latitude to others.  By contrast, accepting a chumra in conduct bein adam
  lemakom is either neutral with respect to one?s expectation of others, or
  more demanding as one would implicitly tend to expect the same conduct of
  -Of course it is important to approach this issue in a constructive and
  positive way that does not use it as a stick for beating other parts of
  the community that may be seen as more blameworthy on this analysis. 
  (See reference to Netziv in R. Willig?s article.)
  Michael Orr
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Message: 10
From: "SBA" <sba@sba2.com>
Date: Tue, 5 Aug 2008 11:06:04 +1000
[Avodah] "El Moshe L'emor"

I thought that this piece from the sefer Pardes Yosef Hachodosh (Mattos p.
1245) quoting from the Heichal Habrocho (a peirush on the Torah by 
R' Eizikel Komarner zt'l) may be of interest to our medakdekim (a group
that, unfortunately I do not belong to):

Mattos 32:25
"Kol 'el Moshe le'mor' bechol oraysah haLamed degusha, lever min dein 'el
Moshe le'mor' haLamed refuyah... Drosh Achi vekabel sechar".

(The PYH then shows that actually there is a similar case in Korach 18:27) 

It offers an explanation for this, but I don't feel qualified to do the

If you are interested and don't have the sefer, I am happy to send a scan.

SBA sba@sba2.com

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Message: 11
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Tue, 5 Aug 2008 15:27:30 -0400
[Avodah] The halakhos of ecology

From Areivim (the authors can take credit if they choose, but I'm too
lazy to ask):
:>BTW, What is the Torah's take on protecting endangered species? Do we care 
:>about this at all?

: I can't think of anything in any Torah source that even suggests we should
: care about the extinction of species with no known use.  Useful species,
: of course, are subject to bal tashchit, but they're rarely in danger,
: because people cultivate them or take other measures to preserve them.

"No known use"? Or "no use" -- which would be the contrapositive of your
next sentence.

Bal tashchis gives priority to sacing fruit trees over non-fruit bearing
ones. But can we say that any part of the beri'ah is really unnecessary?
Didn't David haMelekh ask this about spiders, only to be proven wrong?


Micha Berger             Zion will be redeemed through justice,
micha@aishdas.org        and her returnees, through righteousness.
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Message: 12
From: "Rich, Joel" <JRich@sibson.com>
Date: Tue, 5 Aug 2008 09:51:52 -0400
[Avodah] consistency?

Tosfot (munachot 11a S"V vrabbi shimon explains that when the gemara
says rabbi shimon doesn't doresh et here it really just means for the
drasha suggested by the gemara (to me implying he would use it for
something else; tosfot is forced into this because elsewhere we see R'
shimon does doresh etim).  Question- I find no other place in shas where
R' Shimon has a limud from this et, how do you understand this seeming
Joel Rich
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