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Volume 25: Number 297

Sat, 16 Aug 2008

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: "Rich, Joel" <JRich@sibson.com>
Date: Fri, 15 Aug 2008 09:31:12 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Bracha on Megillah


OK, thank you. Brings up the next questions.  Most shuls read haftorot
from a sefer, not klaf, and the established bracha rishona is used:

1. In shuls which choose to read haftorot from a klaf, would the bracha
change to an "asher kidshanu bimitzvotav" formulation?

2. If we read haftorot from a sefer with a bracha, why is there not a
similar bracha established for the reading of a megillah from other than
a klaf?

Kol tuv,


IMHO better question is it permissible/required  to switch back to a
klaf and why (aiui it is generally understood that the klaf was stopped
due to financial reasons).

Joel Rich
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Message: 2
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 15 Aug 2008 11:20:04 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Can you build a community around Halakhic Man?

On Wed, Aug 13, 2008 at 07:42:19PM -0400, David Riceman wrote:
:                         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.

I disagree with the problem, but then, I'm looking at the whole thing

As I see it, RYBS is describing the study of what I'll call "divrei
E-lokim chaim", halakhah before one reaches the pragmatic level, as a
means of clarifying halachic categories and raising them to the level
of inevitability. Which, in the case of there being two tzedadim, will
produce a chaqira, a dialectic tension of inevitable halachic desiderata.
(An awkward word I've been using too often lately.)

Then, RYBS's usual engine - dialectic forces choice and thus creativity
- becomes the mechanism for pesaq. For translating "eilu va'eilu divrei
E-lokim chaim" into "vehalakhah keBH".

I am arguing that this is his thesis in places like the Lonely Man of
Faith and Ramatayim Tzofim (which is more properly called his address
to the YU Rabbinic Alumni Assoc on Mar 1, 1956, and should properly be
called Ramasayim Tzoifim, to match the Yiddish in which is was given).
That dialectic and creativity are at the root of the actual living
according to halakhah, not "merely" its study, and the root of finding
a coexistence of both peaks.

My whole thesis rests upon the observation that RYBS's TuM-like concept
demands pragmatic use of the individual's creativity. As does his
expectation of how we relate to halakhah in general. For that matter,
I take the above two sentences back as a false oversimplification (but
leaving them in this post for contrast) -- pragmatic halakhah and the
two peaks are to RYBS the same issue, living with halachic categories
in this world.

: >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.

In the ideal yes. My point is that people don't follow ideals, so that a
community's ideal not only has to have a positive peak for its successes,
but not have a trough at the point where the majority of people find
themselves. More is great, but a little is also good. With a trough,
it's more is great, but trying to do it when you can't is worse than
not trying.

A weak chassid is ahead of someone who doesn't have chassidus. But a
weak person who is told "be creative" is behind someone who is not told
to create.

Which is why I wasn't discussing the problems with the ideal, such as
"the Mussar objection". I was discussing the problems with teaching it
to large groups of people, a community, rather than to people you know
are likely to make it past that initial trough.

: >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".

Again, I disagree. The creativity is in how to take a priori categories
and live in an a posteriori world. This is how Halakhic Man has a
religious life that isn't homo religiosus passivity. Thus, I see the
creative partnership as the means of conforming, not the other way around.


PS: We're probably maddeningly boring to the non-YU majority here.

Micha Berger             Despair is the worst of ailments. No worries
micha@aishdas.org        are justified except: "Why am I so worried?"
http://www.aishdas.org                         - Rav Yisrael Salanter
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Message: 3
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Date: Fri, 15 Aug 2008 10:07:49 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Bracha on Megillah

On Thu, Aug 14, 2008 at 08:44:43PM -0400, Henry Topas wrote:
> Can someone remind me why we only make a bracha on Megilat Esther?

AFAIK there is no obligation to read any of the other megilot.
Shir Hashirim, Ruth, and Kohelet are just a minhag Ashkenaz.
Eicha is a universal minhag, but still just a minhag.  If you don't
read it, it's no big deal.  So how can you say "asher kidshanu
bemitzvotav vetzivanu"?  Who commanded you?  Not the Torah and not

Zev Sero               Something has gone seriously awry with this Court's
zev@sero.name          interpretation of the Constitution.
                                                  - Clarence Thomas

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Message: 4
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 15 Aug 2008 11:34:19 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Bracha on Megillah

On Fri, Aug 15, 2008 at 10:07:49AM -0400, Zev Sero wrote:
:                             So how can you say "asher kidshanu
: bemitzvotav vetzivanu"?  Who commanded you?  Not the Torah and not

I agree with your thesis, but this line bother's me.

Going back to Feb 2002, RYGB pointed to Mamrim 1:2 to
show that minhagim are covered by lo sasur. So, wouldn't that mean that
it's the same "vetzivanu", since it's the same tzivui when one follows
a minhag as when one follows a derabbanon. Instead
> We do not make berachos on them nevertheless, as that is part of their
> "etzem cheftza": "D'lav toras mitzvos be'hu l'vareich aleihen, d'rak
> al mitzvos mevorchin, v'lo al minhagos."
And then proves this from Rambam, Megillah 3:7.

R' Yitzchok Zirkind added:
> Just to add: see Rambam last Halacha in Hil. Brochos, and see Rashi
> D"H Minhag Sukka 44a, even though that Tos. D"H Omar Taanis 28b (and
> other ones noted there) hold otherwise, and see Sdei Chemed Asifas Dinim
> M'areches Brochos # 14.

IOW, it would seem that one can argue that the only thing that makes
a minhag not a derabbanan is that the rabbanim chose not to use the
concept of tzivui, and thus it's not "vetzivanu".

(Perhaps a mashal from the army -- your superior officer can request
you get him coffee, or he could order you to get him coffee [assuming
such personal orders are legal in this particular army].)

Which would be a different shitah than what I was arguing, that minhagim
are only ratified by rabbanim, not created by them. Although the two
could coexist.


Micha Berger             The mind is a wonderful organ
micha@aishdas.org        for justifying decisions
http://www.aishdas.org   the heart already reached.
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Message: 5
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 15 Aug 2008 11:42:29 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Bracha on Megillah

On Fri, Aug 15, 2008 at 09:31:12AM -0400, Rich, Joel wrote:
: IMHO better question is it permissible/required  to switch back to a
: klaf and why (aiui it is generally understood that the klaf was stopped
: due to financial reasons).

That seems to be the MA's reasoning (OC 242) based on the BY, and since
publishing is relatively cheap, one should do so from whole sefarim,
not a printed copy of just the maftir.

Both the MB and the AhS give preference to kelad.

 From a communal budgeting perspective: Now that leining haftorah from a
kelaf is a long interrupted minhag, how much priority can we give to
spending money on restoring it? How binding is a long interrupted minhag

This is a question I had on my doing kaparos with a chicken. The SA
doesn't like it. My family interrupted this minhag at least 4 generations
ago. Does an interrupted minhag trump a SA?

Which now has this topic tied into RAM's question about minhag avos
w/out minhag hamaqom and can one choose a compelling seifer instead.


Micha Berger             When you come to a place of darkness,
micha@aishdas.org        you don't chase out the darkness with a broom.
http://www.aishdas.org   You light a candle.
Fax: (270) 514-1507        - R' Yekusiel Halberstam of Klausenberg zt"l

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Message: 6
From: Michael Poppers <MPoppers@kayescholer.com>
Date: Fri, 15 Aug 2008 11:24:52 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Mesei Midbar

In Avodah Digest V25#295, RGD wrote:
> Did everyone die when they reached 60? 
Or did some die younger and some older, with the net-net being that all 
who were 20-60 at the yetzias mitzraim were dead by the time they were 
ready to enter E"Y.
If the former, only those who had turned (would be turning?) 60 during 
that year should have dug graves;  everyone else would have known they 
still had time. <
RGD is undoubtedly aware of RaShY on 4-14:33 ("lo meis echad meihem pachus 
miben shishim...") vs. on BT Ta'anis 30b ("v'hayah kal echad v'echad 
yotzei v'chofeir lo kever...").  I had learned that the latter was the 
public behavior (i.e. all the men who were of military age at the time of 
the g'zeirah dug a grave each year that they were still alive to do so) 
and that, according to the explanation noted by RaShY al haTorah, it so 
happened that only the ben-shishim men died each year.  Perhaps one could 
say that only the ben-shishim subset dug graves every year, but iqar 
chaseir meiRaShY al BT Ta'anis if he held that way.

A guten Shabbes/Shabbas Shalom and all the best from
Michael Poppers * Elizabeth, NJ, USA
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Message: 7
From: T613K@aol.com
Date: Fri, 15 Aug 2008 11:22:46 EDT
Re: [Avodah] 10 shevatim


RMB:  1- Is a sheivet that is among us but unidentified called  "lost"
2- Is being called a Jew mean that we think you're from sheivet  Yehudah
rather than Malkhus Yehudah? (Which changes whether  non-Leviim 
are being unspecified, or whether benei Binyamin and  Shim'on are being

TK:  1. It is  possible that the ten "lost" tribes will only be restored 
through the correct  identification of Jews who already know they are Jewish.  It 
is highly  unlikely that there are any other unknown Jews of the lost tribes 
out there  waiting to be "found."  They are all assimilated into other nations. 
  If they are halachically Jewish on their mothers' line then they no longer  
belong to any tribe on their fathers' side (since their fathers are not  
Jewish.)  If they are descended paternally from some shevet or other,  they are 
not Jewish on their mothers' side.   There is no unexplored  island, forest, 
desert, mountain or country on the other side of the Sambatyon  where whole 
tribes could still be living undiscovered.  There is no  Sambatyon (even though the 
Yated once had an article saying that there is --  without any comment!).  If 
we ever found it, we could cross it easily on a  Wednesday with a helicopter.
2.  Today, any Jew called a "Yehudi" is simply a "non-Levi" -- exact  tribe 

R' Arie Folger wrote:
: I wonder, whether everyone agrees that the  non Jewish child of a Jew, who 
: converted, has absolutely no filial  relationship with his father, or 
: some authorities would say that  while the qedushah of kehunah cannot be 
: transmitted this way, one could  maitain his status as a Danite, Reubenite, 
: Simonite, Zebulonite, Jew,  Benyaminite etc.

RMB: Rashi on Vayiqra 24:10 quotes Toras Kohanim that  the meqalel spoke in
anger after being told he could not camp with shevet  Dan, and then Moshe
confirmed their ruling.....Because
he had no  sheivet.

So it would seem that even for non-Leviim, people with no  patrilineal
line are sheivet-less.

TK:  The case RMB brings has no relevance to RAF's question.   RAF's question 
was about a convert whose mother is not Jewish, but his father is  Jewish.  
The question is, does he belong to his father's tribe, or, since  he was not 
born a Jew, is he considered to be shevet-less?  
RMB's case concerns a born Jew whose mother IS Jewish but his father is not  
-- the exact opposite case.  It has already been poskened in this case that  
the fellow had no shevet, and could not claim his mother's shevet.  RAF's  case 
I guess will have to wait for Eliyahu  Hanavi.

--Toby  Katz

**************Looking for a car that's sporty, fun and fits in your budget? 
Read reviews on AOL Autos.      
review?ncid=aolaut00030000000007 )
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Message: 8
From: "Gil Winokur" <gilwinokur@usa.net>
Date: Fri, 15 Aug 2008 13:15:12 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Tefillin On and Off

1)  We take the Shel Rosh off first to place it in the bottom of the bag,
such that the shel rosh comes out first, since ein mavirin al hamitzvos. 
See Rashi/Tosfos Yoma 33b.

I also heard a d'var Torah a couple of years ago from my nephew on this issue (I don't remember his sources)

2) "Leos [al yadecha]" is singular, while "Totafos [bein einecha]" is
plural, indicating that the shel yad is put on alone, and that one should
have both tefillin on while wearing the shel rosh.  Of course, this pasuk
also refers to the multiple parshiyot in the shel rosh.

Gil Winokur
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Message: 9
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 15 Aug 2008 14:07:58 -0400
Re: [Avodah] 10 shevatim

On Fri, Aug 15, 2008 at 11:22:46AM -0400, T613K@aol.com wrote:
: 2.  Today, any Jew called a "Yehudi" is simply a "non-Levi" -- exact  tribe 
: unknown.

Actually, Leviim are called Yehudim today as well. As well as the meaning
of "Yid" in 19th cent Yiddish. The question is whether they would have
been called Yehudim in Mordechai's day.

R' Yochanan (Megillah 13a) says that Mordekhai was called a Yehudi because
he denied AZ. Just as Bisyah was called Yehudiyah for the same reason. And
the megillah's use of "misyahadim". But is this a causal statement, or one
explaining the purpose of choosing this appelation rather than another?
If it's a causal statement, then it means that the connection to sheivet
or malkhus Yehudah is tangential -- both represent the same concept.
If it's a description of the purpose of this word choice, but the word
itself does from the person Yehudah (1 or 2 steps removed) it would
indicate that R' Yochanan would include Leviim under the title, as well
as geirim (like Bisyah).

However, while the above was interesting to look up, I then thought
of a solution from within the megillah itself. Esther 9:27 couldn't
possibly be saying the non-Leviim alone accepted to observe Purim. Thus,
in Mordechai's day the word clearly included multiple shevatim, and
was not a product of a lack of clarity over who was from Binyamin.

I still don't know what happened to Shim'on, who lived in malkhus
Yehudah and is still presumed in the books to be one of the missing


Micha Berger             A person lives with himself for seventy years,
micha@aishdas.org        and after it is all over, he still does not
http://www.aishdas.org   know himself.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                            - Rav Yisrael Salanter

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Message: 10
From: Yitzhak Grossman <celejar@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 15 Aug 2008 16:34:29 -0400
Re: [Avodah] KSA, MB, AhS, Chayei Adam and other codes

On Wed, 13 Aug 2008 17:14:14 -0400
Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org> wrote:


> But speaking a little more broadly... Hafka'as qidushin was never invoked
> the way RER did, with (1) no maaseh on the part of the husband, and (2)
> in a case by case fashion. He's taking an idea that historically was a

As I have previously pointed out, perhaps "almost never" but not
necessarily "never"; see Darkei Moshe EH end of Siman 13.  [I believe
that I originally learned of this from a book of R. Riskin on the
subject of Agunos.  I take no position here on the overall legitimacy
of his or anyone else's arguments on the subject.]


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

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Message: 11
From: Cantor Wolberg <cantorwolberg@cox.net>
Date: Sat, 16 Aug 2008 20:47:35 -0400
[Avodah] Eikev "Let All Who Are Hungry, Come and eat"

"And you will eat, and you will be satisfied, and you shall bless the  
Lord your God..."
(Devarim 8:10).

What is interesting is that the Torah is commanding us to "eat," "be  
satisfied," and then "bless the Lord."  Why would we have to be  
commanded to "eat" and "be satisfied" (unless we had anorexia); even  
animals do that without having to be told. In fact, we usually have to  
be told not to eat so much.  The answer lies in "...and you shall  
bless the Lord your God."  In other words, blessing God is not a  
natural thing to do.  How many people we have known who eat just like  
animals and then leave the table unaware of God's beneficence.  The  
Torah is telling us that by "blessing the Lord your God," eating  
becomes a praiseworthy and holy act.  And the Torah is telling us to  
"be satisfied," which doesn't mean to gorge and stuff ourselves. In  
satisfying our hunger, one eats to live but shouldn't live to eat, and  
is always mindful of one's Creator by "blessing God" after the meal.

In his work on Torah-derived table manners,  R' Bachya ben Asher  
writes:   When one finishes eating he should remain at the table for  
some time, as Chazal said (Berachot 54b), "If one extends his meal,  
his life will be extended."  Why?  Because the longer a person sits at  
the table, the greater the likelihood that a poor person will chance  
by and will be fed. This is somewhat reminiscent of the Pesach Seder  
where we say "Let all who are hungry, come and eat..."  Somewhat like  
feeding the poor in our country on Thanksgiving and xmas.  But the  
Talmud is saying this should take place every day, at every meal.

In this vein, we find a verse (Yechezkel 41:22) where the words  
"altar" and "table" are used interchangeably, and Chazal explain that  
just as one's sins are atoned for upon the altar, so they are forgiven  
when one feeds the poor at his table. (So great is this mitzvah,  
writes R' Bachya, that some people have their coffins built from the  
wood of their table so that the boards can "testify" on their behalf  
before the Heavenly court).

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