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Volume 25: Number 294

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: David Riceman <drice...@att.net>
Date: Wed, 13 Aug 2008 19:42:19 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Can you build a community around Halakhic Man?

Micha Berger wrote:
> <me>
> : This isn't behirah.  See MDM, in the section I cited, #1 (pp. 230-231).
> : Clarity leads to inevitability, not to choice.<snip> The
> : creativity of HM is precisely in understanding a sugya so clearly that
> : he has no choice about how to explain it or pasken from it.
> <RMB>
> Then RCBrisker was not a halachic man. There was an agunah in Brisk,
> and neither he nor the dayan knew how to pasqen. He asked the dayan to
> write RYESpektor for a pesaq, and that he should telegram back a one word
> answer. RCB was afraid that if he knew the sevara, he could argue both
> sides and reopen the question!
This is a red herring.  One of the consequences of eilu v'eilu is that
both sides of an argument can be understood as clear and inevitable.  In
fact it points to another problem with HM (the essay).  We know that HM
(the person) has to pasken in order to live, but HMTE never discusses
how HMTP does that; it can't be done by using a priori categories.
> More that someone trying to be living dialectically based creativity in
> which one of the archetypes is HM -- and thus that creativity includes
> halakhah -- needs a certain level of expertise. Not that high, but beyond
> what most balebatim will bother gaining and if gained, will often apply.
But they're capable of attaining it.  If they were brought up in this
hypothetical community (I'm tempted to call it HMTC) they would believe
it to be obligatory, and then they would "bother" to attain it.
> Yes, that HM in terms of rebuilding oneself to conform with halakhah's
> a priori categories. But that's not becoming a creative partner with
> G-d in how one deals with life's conflicts, including making halakhah
> into a partnership excercise.
Now you're confusing means with ends.  The "rebuilding oneself to
conform with halakhah's

a priori categories" is a means to "becoming a creative partner with
G-d in how one deals with life's conflicts

> <me>
> : Another critique of HM, irrelevant to this thread, is that the
> : categories of Torah are not really a priori, v'od hazon lamoded.
That last word was a misprint.  I did not mean to imply that only
statisticians can become prophets, though see Lech L'cha 15:5, and see
(an uncensored version of) Rashi Ki Tisa 33:16 s.v. "v'niflinu".
> But I invite you to start another thread about it. I didn't think that
> the a priori nature halakhah's categories was open to question (within
> a Torah-dik worldview).

I'll try to find the time to compose a post.

David Riceman

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Message: 2
From: Cantor Wolberg <cantorwolb...@cox.net>
Date: Wed, 13 Aug 2008 21:50:19 -0400
[Avodah] Tisha B'Av on Sunday

S.F. wrote: I had thought of that answer but I find it to be
incomplete. You can't have
it both ways. Either it's fasting, or it isn't. If it isn't fasting,
there is no need to make a restriction on eating and drinking during

With that reasoning, you can say that all people fast every day --
from the time
they go to sleep until they wake up. Therefore, we are all tzaddikim
we all fast EVERY day, since You can't have it both ways.

There are parts of every day we don't eat or drink. That doesn't mean
we have fasted.

(Tisha B'Av is more about public mourning rather than fasting. So not
eating the last hour
of Shabbos (if that is indeed the case) is not a public display of
mourning anyway).
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Message: 3
From: T6...@aol.com
Date: Thu, 14 Aug 2008 03:51:45 EDT
Re: [Avodah] Tisha B'Av on Sunday

From: "Stuart Feldhamer" _stuart.feldhamer@gmail.com_

>>The common thread between all the replies is that one hour of not  eating is
not really fasting.

I had thought of that answer but  I find it to be incomplete. You can't have
it both ways. Either it's fasting,  or it isn't. If it isn't fasting, then
there is no need to make a restriction  on eating and drinking during  that


If  you have already bentshed on an ordinary Shabbos after sholosh seudos,
and  it's getting dark, you can't eat until havdalah, but that's not called
"fasting on Shabbos."

But I will add a bit more.  The norm is that we always add time to the
beginning and end of Whatever, to make sure we don't transgress.  So
we add  a bit
to the beginning and end of Shabbos, a bit to the beginning and end of  Tisha
B'Av, etc.  We never simply have a 24-hour Whatever.

Here Shabbos is edging into Tisha B'av and the fuzzy hour is that  hour which
we have tacked onto the end of Shabbos, which is at the same time the  hour
we have added to the beginning of Tisha B'Av.  Now, you can look at it  sort of
like those quantum photons or Schroedinger's cats that are neither  this nor
that, or maybe both.  That hour is either Shabbos or Tisha  B'Av or somehow
both if you don't look too closely.  To the degree that  it's Tisha B'Av, that
hour is already Sunday and you have begun the fast (by not  eating anymore).
To the degree that it's Shabbos, it's still Saturday and  you are not fasting
because you have eaten and drunk all day.

"You can't have it both ways."  Tell it to Schroedinger's cat.

--Toby  Katz

**************Looking for a car that's sporty, fun and fits in your budget?
Read reviews on AOL Autos.
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Message: 4
From: T6...@aol.com
Date: Thu, 14 Aug 2008 03:57:39 EDT
Re: [Avodah] Tisha B'Av on Sunday

RMB wrote:

>>My problem with the practice isn't with fasting, but with the  idea that
it's not explicit aveilus berabbim beShabbos. Okay, if it were just  about
not eating for an hour, that's one thing. But given that most men  visibly
broke from their norm of when to daven minchah and eat  "shaleshudis",
how is this not a public display?<<

By no stretch of the imagination can a major meal  be called a "public
display /of mourning/."  A better question might be,  isn't this hachana lechol?

--Toby  Katz

**************Looking for a car that's sporty, fun and fits in your budget?
Read reviews on AOL Autos.
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Message: 5
From: "Doron Beckerman" <beck...@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 14 Aug 2008 12:57:04 +0300
[Avodah] King/Kenig

One of my Rabbeim once pointed out a difference in outlook between the Torah
and other cultures. "Kenig" means something like "Kol Yachol", which is the
essence of how the king was perceived, whereas in Lashon Hakodesh the word
is "Melech" - which means something like he who takes counsel.
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Message: 6
From: "kennethgmil...@juno.com" <kennethgmil...@juno.com>
Date: Thu, 14 Aug 2008 04:42:22 GMT
[Avodah] Birkas Erusin

Baruch shekivanti!

On the occasion of my daughter's wedding about 18 hours from now, I'd
like to share a thought which I've had for a long time, but could find
no support for until a few minutes ago.

I've heard it said that the Birkas Erusin is a Birkas Shevach,
praising Hashem about marriage. But to me, the text never seemed to
fit that explanation. It certainly starts off like a Birkas Hamitzvah.
But which mitzvah would it be? From the situation in which it is said,
one might think it to be on the mitzvah of getting married. But if so,
the wording is very odd.

> ... Who sanctified us with His mitzvos
> and commanded us about forbidden relations
> and forbade to us the arusos
> and permitted to us those who married us with
>   chupah and kiddushin...

I've always suspected that this bracha is a Birkas Hamitzva, but an
unusual one in that it is on a Lav rather than an Aseh. Specifically,
on the prohibition of relations with a woman who a merely his arusah,
and not his full-fleged nesuah.

But how can we have a Birkas Hamitzvah on a prohibition? It is unheard
of! Yes, I'll concede that this is the only such brachah. But this is
also a very unusual prohibition. All other prohibitions apply from the
time we were first obligated in mitzvos, or they apply at certain
times of the day or year, and are clock/calendar dependent. As such,
the concept of Over Laasiyasan sort of doesn't apply, making the
bracha a no-go.

In contrast, this prohibition does not apply at all. And then, a
person can do a certain act which brings the prohibition into force -
namely, kiddushin. And then, by abstaining from the prohibited act, he
is fulfilling the mitzvah. (Yes, he is fulfilling it via Shev V'Al
Taaseh, but cut me some slack, okay?) Such a convergence of criteria
is not met by any other prohibition. (Maybe a neder would be similar;
I don't know if one makes a bracha on a neder. Early Kabalas Shabbos
or Kabalas Yom Kipur could also count, but it would be weird making a
bracha on the optional acceptance of something that would be automatic
in another hour anyway.)

And then, a few minutes ago, I found a source which (if I'm reading it
correctly) says exactly the same things as I've written above.

In the Siddur Otzar Hatefilos, the perush Etz Yosef says the following
on the words "v'asar lanu es haarusos": "Rashi explains that it is
d'rabanan that they made a gezera on yichud with an unmarried woman,
and even an arusah was not allowed until she enters the chupah with a
bracha, as it says, 'A kallah without a bracha is assur to her husband
like a nidah.' And even though this issur is mid'rabanan, one needs to
say a bracha on it just like we say a bracha on Ner Chanukah and Mikra
Megilah which are mid'rabanan...."

Others dispute this, but at least my thoughts were not unfounded.
Baruch Shekivanti.

Akiva Miller

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Message: 7
From: "Eli Turkel" <elitur...@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 14 Aug 2008 08:38:22 +0300
[Avodah] kinnot and churban

RET tried asking again this year:
> If one examines both Eicha and the kinnot there is in fact very little
> emphasis on the physical destruction of the bet hamikdash. The emphasis
> in Eicha and followed in the kinnot is on the destruction of the city of
> Jerusalem which is now desolate and more on the loss of life of both the
> general populace and special individuals.

The treatment of other human beings is what caused the churban. In fact,
it was spiritually necherav by our chata'im, and Edom "only" destroyed
the husk.>>

Eichah was for first temple which was destroyed by AZ and Bavel.
Only second temple was destroyed by sinat chinam and Edom.

However, the local raabi basically agreed with Micha that the destruction
of the Temple was only the last straw of a state that no longer deserved
to continue.

Nevertheless we see the importance of the Churban habayit itself by
the attempts to outlaw meat because of the loss of korbanot.
R. Yehoshua only disagrees because there is no end to this logic.
This is also the origin of our minhag not to eat meat in the 9 days
as distinct from personal avelut. Thus avelut yeshana concentrates
on the loss of the Temple and not the killing of the population.

Eli Turkel

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Message: 8
From: Cantor Wolberg <cantorwolb...@cox.net>
Date: Thu, 14 Aug 2008 06:37:16 -0400
[Avodah] Hilchos Birkat Hamazon

The following is documented:

532. If one steps on bread crumbs (even small (aggregate) amounts of
less than a kezayis),

                                                                it can
lead to poverty. Therefore, one should be careful to dispose of the
crumbs by either

                                      wrapping them and then
discarding them in the garbage, or throwing them into water.
Shulchan Aruch w/Mishnah Brurah 180:4

533. Before beginning Birchas Hamozon one should remove, or cover the
knives because;
a) Metal (i.e. a knife), which shortens life, should not be left on a
table which is compared to

                        a Mizbeach (alter),
which lengthens life (through the offerings brought), and b) It once

                        that someone was so overcome
about the destruction of the Bais Hamikdash upon reaching

                         "Boneh Yerushalayim" that he grabbed a knife
stabbed himself. Therefore Chazal decreed

knives should be removed or covered before bentching.
Shulchan Aruch w/Mishnah Brurah 180:5

My questions are:  Is it credible that stepping on bread crumbs can
lead to poverty. Symbolically,
you might say that if someone is careless to throw food around and
lacks respect for it, perhaps
it would indicate that he is the type of person who would not prosper.
But even THAT is a stretch.

Second halacha above:  I always liked the idea of removing or covering
knives before Birchas since
it is compared to weapons. However, to give, as an example, a mentally
disturbed person who
attempted (or committed) suicide with a knife, seems an unnatural
example. In mental and penal institutions
they don't give knives to the people, but there's an appropriate
reason for it.

To follow the above logic about this guy who stabbed himself, if there
was anxiety and concern over it,
they should have banned knives altogether. What's there to prevent an
emotionally disturbed individual
(as in prison or a mental institution) from stabbing himself (or
someone else) before the birchas?

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Message: 9
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 14 Aug 2008 10:59:33 -0400
Re: [Avodah] kinnot and churban

On Thu, Aug 14, 2008 at 08:38:22AM +0300, Eli Turkel wrote:
: Eichah was for first temple which was destroyed by AZ and Bavel.
: Only second temple was destroyed by sinat chinam and Edom.

But my quote from Yeshaiah was about bayis rishon too...

However, while you weakened my point WRT Eikhah, it sands as is for Qinos,
and can withstand the criticism somewhat. Broaden my observation to be
about using the BHMQ to "buy G-d off" in general, and it still explains
why one would focus on the sins we were trying to bribe Him to ignore
rather than the loss itself.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             It is harder to eat the day before Yom Kippur
mi...@aishdas.org        with the proper intent than to fast on Yom
http://www.aishdas.org   Kippur with that intent.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                       - Rabbi Israel Salanter

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Message: 10
From: Cantor Wolberg <cantorwolb...@cox.net>
Date: Thu, 14 Aug 2008 07:10:03 -0400
[Avodah] Tefillin On and Off

This week's portion contains the mitzvah for tefillin. Interestingly,
we put on the shel yad first and then the shel rosh afterwards.
However, when removing the
tefillin, we do it in reverse. Why in reverse?

The arm symbolizes physical strength and the head symbolizes the
intellect and mind.  Before we can even think, we must possess
physical strength. Hence, we begin
with the physical. However, when removing the tefillin, we are
somewhat sad that we have to end that mitzvah. So in order not to get
too upset, we slow down our
intellectual process (so as to take our mind off the fact that we are
concluding the mitzvah), and then we can utilize our physical strength
to conclude.


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Message: 11
From: David Riceman <drice...@att.net>
Date: Thu, 14 Aug 2008 09:18:38 -0400
Re: [Avodah] KSA, MB, AhS, Chayei Adam and other codes

> <RMB>
> :>But according to RALichtenstein, the iqar of RYBS's objection is that if
> :>one could simply invoke hafka'as qiddushin in this way, we could throw
> :>out much of Yevamos, Gittin, Even haEzer, etc...
> <me>
> : I don't understand this.  Didn't Rabbi Soloveitchik rule that we need an
> : explicit tradition about makom hamizbeah, rather than our best
> : deduction.  Why didn't he reject that opinion as well, since it requires
> : us to throw out much of sidrei kodshim and tohoros?
> <RMB>
> Apples and oranges.
> RYBS doesn't believe in two kinds of innovation (at least).
> 1- The general Brisker belief that only halakhah can create halakhah,
> and science without mesorah can't establish din. So, it would take
> Eliyahu haNavi to restore techeiles, identify maqom hamiqdash, etc...
> (It's not throwing out qodeshim, it's postponing it.)
> 2- There is a concept of halachic engineering; finding a means to change
> the situation to one where an issur doesn't apply. E.g. heter iska. RER
> is proposing another example of engineering. However, RYBS doesn't
> believe one can accept engineering that oviously must have crossed R'
> Aqiva Eiger's mind and that he didn't recommend. That alone is proof
> that the engineering doesn't work.
> An objection that's only an issue to prove the engineering is no good,
> and not about other kinds of innovation.
This is a lovely hiluk, but its not germane.  RER's observation, IIUIC,
is that tav l'meisav is deduced from the observations that (a) women
marry for status, and (b) women's primary route to status is through
their husbands.  Nowadays women have an equally viable route to status
through careers, so that deduction is no longer applicable (ad kan RER).

Careers as a means to (female) status have become viable for amcha only
since the nineteen seventies.  How could R. Akiva Eiger have predicted this?

I only heard of this comment of RAL's through you, so I don't know how
much I can read into it that you didn't intend to put there, but let me
repeat what you wrote:

:>But according to RALichtenstein, the iqar of RYBS's objection is that if
:>one could simply invoke hafka'as qiddushin in this way, we could throw
:>out much of Yevamos, Gittin, Even haEzer, etc...

To me this reads as though RAL/RYBS is adumbrating a principle: any
hiddush which negates large amounts of halacha is, ipso facto,
incorrect.  If so, why shouldn't it apply to the "general Brisker belief
that only halakhah can create halakhah"?

David Riceman


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