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Volume 25: Number 285

Thu, 07 Aug 2008

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: "Richard Wolpoe" <rabbirichwolpoe@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 6 Aug 2008 22:59:41 -0400
Re: [Avodah] nes nigleh

On Mon, Jul 28, 2008 at 5:09 PM, Doron Beckerman <beck072@gmail.com> wrote:

> Rabbi Wolpoe writes:
> >> I am not saying these are not nissim gluyyim
> It is feasible to argue that everything occured in a form of vision and not
> in te physical plain.
> Consider holograms.  Steven Spielberg could have made all of the miracles
> APPEAR but they would not have been there physically rather they would be
> holographic projections.
> Again, I am not defeintely saying that they WERE holograms, it's just you
> cannot PROVE that had the Rambam had access to this technology that he would
> have said otherwise. <<
> If the Rambam were willing to say that it was just a vision but it didn't
> really happen - he didn't need recourse to hologram technology. He could
> have said that Moshe/Aharon and Eliyahu caused all present to hallucinate
> these occurences and be convinced of their reality, which is not a
> radical suspension of nature.
> _______________________________________________

Maybe but I am saying that a hologram is a REAL form of communication just
not a real altering of physical laws.

So If HKBH shows bil'am a phsycial hologram it is a the same as if HKBH were
talking via pictures. Then HE could give him a graphic VISION of of say a
donkey speaking w/o altering the bri'as.  I cannot say for sure that Rambam
would go for this, but it is my impression that his would fit the Rambam's
modle better than say a hallucination.

After all a hologram is as real as a telgeram, but it is ONLY a story
[fiction] and not tangible fact. The point? it is a powerful method of
commmunicating a message from  the Al-Mighty a dwould not tamper with Teva.
Of course in 200 years of more tehcnology there might be even superior
models such as telepathy etc.  This is only a model or an illustratoin  I am
not saying HKBH used holograms.  I AM saying that if I were a Talmid of the
Rambam and shot forth into the present via time mahcine to TODAY this would
make a lot of sense...

Kol Tuv / Best Regards,
see: http://nishmablog.blogspot.com/
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Message: 2
From: "Richard Wolpoe" <rabbirichwolpoe@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 7 Aug 2008 00:32:37 -0400
Re: [Avodah] nes niglah

On Wed, Aug 6, 2008 at 7:31 PM, Eli Turkel <eliturkel@gmail.com> 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."
> I thought the original was from the Maggid who said that one who
> believes all the stories of miracles from the Baal Shem Tov is a fool
> OTOH one who believes he couldn't have done the miracles is an apikorus
> --
> Eli Turkel
> _______________________________________________

I've heard this stated in many forms
But Actually the Rambam and his son R. Avraham say pretty much teh same re:

If you take Aggadah literally you are a fool - and actaully make TORAH look
But if you are cyncial re: Aggadah, you are also a fool - and maybe a letz.

The point is that Agaddah is out to tech truths but not LIERAL truths
If you see the stories as literal you wil miss the point.
If you take the story as literal and think it is STUPID it is perhaps even

I think the Netziv explained it thusly.  In a 1,000 years the statement:
"The 2-headed eagle has spread his wings over thousands of miles.." will
face the same mis-understanding.

But as we still know NOW, the 2-headed eagle wa the herald of the Tsar so it
made perfect sense as a metaphor in the time of the Netziv..

I once showed [or had to show] some RWO relatives that if you take Midrash X
literally, then Rashi in Humash will come out to be an apikoros!

Did the Rambam and R. Avraham get this from an even earlier source? I do not
know.  Perhaps R. Sa'adyah or others have said the same.

Kol Tuv / Best Regards,
see: http://nishmablog.blogspot.com/
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Message: 3
From: "Richard Wolpoe" <rabbirichwolpoe@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 7 Aug 2008 00:47:20 -0400
Re: [Avodah] infallibility of chazal

On Mon, Aug 4, 2008 at 12:06 AM, Daniel Israel <dmi1@hushmail.com> wrote:

> 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
> dmi1@cornell.edu
If Tanu Achnai was a physical reality that R. Elizer was correct within the
confines of the Divine Creation, then the rest of Hazal who argued with him
can be seen as wrong as scientisists.

Or to put this in plain English: assuming that R. Eliezer had the objective
truth than the Hazal who disagreed  were wrong by THAT standard.

Kol Tuv / Best Regards,
see: http://nishmablog.blogspot.com/
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Message: 4
From: "Shoshana L. Boublil" <toramada@bezeqint.net>
Date: Thu, 7 Aug 2008 08:15:03 +0300
Re: [Avodah] The halakhos of ecology

> From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
> Subject: Re: [Avodah] The halakhos of ecology

> Micha Berger wrote:
>>>From Areivim (the authors can take credit if they choose, but I'm too
>> lazy to ask):
>>: I can't think of anything in any Torah source that even suggests we
>>: 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.

>After all, why should you care?

Professor Rakover in his book Eichut HaSeviva brings the following source:
"Ki Li HaAretz"  (Vikra 25:23) the earth is not under sole ownership of 
mankind, rather it is given to him to work and guard. This obviously impacts 
on our rights and obligations to the beings Hashem created on this planet 
where we live.

The tree you
> don't cut will produce no benefit to you.  So the Torah steps in and
> tells you not to be wasteful of a common resource, even one you
> personally will never benefit from because you'll never be this way
> again, but rather to treat it as you would your own property, which
> you manage prudently because you know it will continue to be yours.

This assumes that destroying anything is not a problem.  Sefer HaChinuch 
mitzva 729 (730 in the Shevel Edition) states categorically that the intent 
of the mitzva of Bal Tashchit is to teach us tp distamce ourselves from any 
bad thing or destruction.... "VeLo Ye'abdu Afilu Gargeir Shel Chardal 
Ba'olam"... and that they will feel sorrow and loss at any loss or 
destruction that they will see. And if they can save, they will save it from 
destruction, with all their might.  And that is not how the Resha'im behave, 
the brethren of the Mazikim - for they enjoy the destruction of the world 
and they themselves are the destroyers....

> As far as unknown benefits from species, you're ignoring the cost of
> *not* allowing them to become extinct.  After all, we're not talking
> about senseless destruction, we're talking about allowing or preventing
> useful activity, because it might have an impact on a species's
> survival.  Refraining from that activity has a real and measurable
> cost, while the supposed benefit is unknown and may not even exist.

Any act that completely destroys a species is senseless.  We are thinking 
beings.  We should strive to find solutions that don't require destruction. 
As noted by the Chinuch - the way of Chassidim is to prevent destruction. 
There are vast areas on this planet that are still uninhabited;  In many 
areas it has been found that animal reserves can be set up to provide safe 
living for both animals and mankind (and income from safari and photo 
options etc.).

Another source I would like to bring is from the Noda BeYehuda - shu"t Noda 
BeYehuda, Mahadurat Chanina, Yoreh Deah 10 (I saw this in the book Eichut 
HaSeviva BimKorot HaYahadut which was produced by the staff of Bar Ilan 
University Shu"t project:

In this source, Rav Landa is asked about hunting by a person who owns lots 
of land, villages and forests and whether he can hunt animals with a rifle 
himself or whether it is forbidden for reasons of Tz'ar Ba'alei Chaim or Bal 

Rav Landa states that as the fur/skin of the animal can be used it is 
neither and allows it. But he doesn't end the Teshuva there and continues to 
talk against hunting except for express need saying: "...Aval Mi She'ein Zeh 
LeTzorech Parnassato VeEin Ikar Kavanato Kelal Bishvil Parnassato, Hu 

So destruction for the joy of destruction is definitely counter Ru'ach 
HaTorah, and the vast majority of other kinds of destruction are the result 
of uncaring and laziness, b/c it is usually (I'll not say always, though I 
am tempted to do so) possible to find a way to obtain the same result 
without destroying fauna or flora - if one makes the effort to think and 
seek other answers.  Apparently, the Torah view is indeed to seek out these 
other ways.

Shoshana L. Boublil
Permaculture Consultant

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Message: 5
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 7 Aug 2008 09:30:44 -0400
[Avodah] 10 shevatim

Why does everyone speak of the 10 lost shevatim?

Didn't Malkhus Yehudah include 3 shevatim -- Yehudah, Binyamin and
Shim'on -- plus the majority of sheivet/non-sheivet of Levi? In fact,
Shim'on never managed to fully settle the Negev, and was living in an
area within nachalas Yehudah. But even their own nachalah was the
furthest end from Malkhus Yisrael. Nu, so maybe they didn't qualify
being counted as a separate sheivet by the end of bayis rishon, but they
weren't scattered with the northern or eastern shevatim either.

(I'm sure we discussed this before, but I couldn't find the


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: 6
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 7 Aug 2008 10:53:44 -0400
[Avodah] Social Contracts and Covenents

On Wed, Aug 6, 2008 at 5:44pm EDT, Zev Sero wrote to Areivim about
the authority of a government to tax its citizens (in particular,
citizens living abroad; e.g. American olim):

: A secular answer is that a government always acts as the agent of one or
: more of its citizens, and therefore can only have the right to do that
: which some subset of its citizens have the right to do as individuals.
: It derives the right to punish wrongdoers from the victim's natural right
: to do justice for himself.

There is a Jewish answer that derives it from shutfim as well.

But I think the US claims to be contractual. My own theory is that
the US gov't is largely the product of a bunch of Masons who wanted
to set up a Lockian (Locke was also a Mason) republic. Compare Locke's
inalienable rights to "life, liberty and property" with the Continental
Congress's "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." Property was
voted out of the final document because they were afraid of sounding
like promising something we would identify with Communism (but Marx
wasn't around yet). I don't say this conspiracy theory too loud or too
often, out of feat that someone will send the guys with butterfly nets
after me. Locke's notion of government was based on the social contract,
and that idea was popular among other philosophers of the era (Hobbes,
Rousseau) as well.

The constitution is quite explicitly a formal social contract.

Presumably one would need to renounce one's citizenship in order to
terminate the contract.

If you object to the notion of a contract that one party didn't enter
into willingly... Well, yeah, that was Hume's objection too. James
Madison therefore called it a "social compact".

Perhaps we can make a similar chiluq between a contract and a covenent.
A party to a contract is accepting a set of terms in order to get in
return something (hopefully) of greater value to him. A beris defines two
people joining together together for the common good of the unit rather
than each seeking their own good by giving up something in exchange.

Thus, we could invoke zakhin le'adam shelo befanav -- if it weren't
circular reasoning to invoke something from the content of the beris
(and thus non-existent until AFTER the beris is entered) to legally
justify the means of entering it.


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: 7
From: Cantor Wolberg <cantorwolberg@cox.net>
Date: Thu, 7 Aug 2008 06:58:07 -0400

Actually Av is a Hebrification of the Babylonian Abu which in turn was
slurred from the Sumerian (Ur III) month "Aru" - lion, the mazal of
the month.

Interesting that it comes from lion. The gemara says we should be as  
powerful as a lion to serve God. Animal psychologists have taught that  
all the animals in the cat family
(tigers, cheetahs, leopards, pumas, jaguars, etc.) cannot get along  
well with each other. Only the lion can control its inclinations and  
get along with other lions. They won't
leave each other as do the other cats. So the Torah teaches that the  
real power is controlling one's yetzer hara.

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Message: 8
From: "Meir Rabi" <meirabi@optusnet.com.au>
Date: Thu, 7 Aug 2008 22:25:21 +1000
[Avodah] The Most Painful Rebuke Offered by Moshe Rabbenu &

Of all the subtle messages of rebuke that Moshe Rabbenu delivered to BNY in
the opening Pessukim of this week's Sedra I believe the most disparaging is
in Passuk 14. This verse is peculiar because it actually records the support
and enthusiasm of BNY for the new court hierarchical system that was being
introduced. Yet Chazal see right through the sweet glitzy words of the
smooth talk.

Where else do we find that the Torah records the endorsement of BNY
regarding any Mitzvah?

Rashi observes this as a personally depressing moment for Moshe Rabbenu. The
people did not want Moshe R as their judge. He would be too honest to be a
"good" judge. They wanted judges who would favour them, judges who could be
bribed. They liked the idea of having a system of courts because it suited
them by offering access to judges who would be amenable to seeing things
their way.

There is within this Rashi another remarkable observation: why does Moshe
Rabbenu consider that BNY should have refused to have anyone other than
himself be their teacher? There are great people who are not necessarily
good or efficient teachers.

But Moshe Rabbenu has a completely different perspective about teaching and
learning Torah. He argues that BNY should have insisted that they learn from
him because he SUFFERED for Torah. Anyone have any ideas about why this is

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Message: 9
From: "kennethgmiller@juno.com" <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
Date: Thu, 7 Aug 2008 15:28:16 GMT
Re: [Avodah] KSA, MB, AhS, Chayei Adam and other codes

From R' David Riceman:
> This raises a tangential question.  To what extent, having
> grown fond of a code which is outside of your received
> chain of precedent, can you add it to the chain because
> you respect the author?

Alternatively, what if you want to follow a particular shita which is
contrary to "your received chain of precedent", not because of your general
respect for this author, but because his logic and argument is stronger
than the opposition?

This is another phrasing of my long-held question: What constitutes a
minhag, such that one follows his father's practice? And what is not a
minhag, such that one follows his posek's direction?

Akiva Miller

Click here to save cash and find low rates on auto loans.

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Message: 10
From: "kennethgmiller@juno.com" <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
Date: Thu, 7 Aug 2008 15:31:22 GMT
Re: [Avodah] Washing during the nine days

R' Moshe Feldman wrote:
> ... The implication is that the Nine Days are no more
> chamur than Shloshim.

My son asked me a very related question yesterday: Why do we avoid meat during the nine days, if it is allowed even during Shiva?

Akiva Miller

Planning for retirement? Click for free information on 401(k) plans.

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Message: 11
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 7 Aug 2008 11:37:05 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Washing during the nine days

On Thu, Aug 07, 2008 at 03:31:22PM +0000, kennethgmiller@juno.com wrote:
: My son asked me a very related question yesterday: Why do we avoid
: meat during the nine days, if it is allowed even during Shiva?

Shiv'ah doesn't commemorate the end of qorbanos, the lack of meat on His



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