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Volume 25: Number 304

Sun, 24 Aug 2008

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: "Chana Luntz" <chana@kolsassoon.org.uk>
Date: Fri, 22 Aug 2008 18:09:07 +0100
Re: [Avodah] Geirut

RAF writes:

> 1: the apotropos can still not swear regarding issues that 
> came about before he became apotropos. Being 10 years in service does
> enable you to know first hand what happened before the onset of

Agreed.  The question is, is there *any* case in which an apitropos is
allowed to swear - assuming it is about something he knows about *on
behalf of the katan* ie where it is the katan's property and the
fundamental obligation to swear is that of the katan.  My understanding
is that - even if you find a case in which the apitropos has full
knowledge, (and if he had served for 10 years then it is quite likely
there exists property about which he has full knowledge and where there
are no links to anything that happened before the onset of service -
because it was acquired by the katan, by him, during that period) - he
still could not swear, on behalf of the katan, ie in the place of the
owner of the object. Even if the lack is nothing to do with knowledge,
as the apitropos' knowledge is at least as great as any normal baal.
How about a shor that was acquired by the katan (ie for him by the
apitropos) during his period of service (or was born to the katan during
the period of the apitropos's service)- can the apitropos swear any
necessary oaths about it on behalf of the katan (in circumstances when
the katan if a gadol would otherwise be required as the baal hashor to
swear or it would be a benefit to the katan for him to swear)?  Can the
apitropos substitute his daas for that of the katan?  (Even here of
course, if he could, it is possible that we are deeming the property
transferred to the apitropos so that he can swear as baal - but less
clearly, as the obligation to swear presumably occurred before this
transfer could be deemed to take place).

> KT, GS,
> -- 
> Arie Folger
> http://www.ariefolger.googlepages.com

Shabbat Shalom


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Message: 2
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 22 Aug 2008 15:41:49 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Ve'einenu me'iros

On Thu, Aug 21, 2008 at 08:04:30PM +0000, Gershon Dubin wrote:
: You mentioned that you didn't understand what enhanced sight had to
: do with shevach of Hashem.
: Rav Feivel Cohen once explained it to mean that we would be capable
: of seeing more of His niflaos and therefore be better equipped to
: praise Him.

Often the problem isn't what we're able to see as much as what we choose
to. Shetir'u batov!

After all, gam zu letovah. If we would asses everything by this
criteria, woudl their be a shortage of things to praise Him for?


Micha Berger             Here is the test to find whether your mission
micha@aishdas.org        on Earth is finished:
http://www.aishdas.org   if you're alive, it isn't.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                        - Richard Bach

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Message: 3
From: "kennethgmiller@juno.com" <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
Date: Fri, 22 Aug 2008 21:09:10 GMT
Re: [Avodah] Issur in smoking marijuana?

R' Elliot Pasik asked:
> I'd be curious to know when Rav Moshe Feinstein, ztl,
> wrote about marijuana. From about the 50s through the 70s,
> marijuana was more of a protest symbol, than a recreational
> drug  The protest was ... I speculate that in declaring
> marijuana assur, and stating the reasons, dina d'malchus
> dina was not weighing on the mind of Rav Feinstein, because
> Jews were mostly law abiding then - I would say mentchlich.
> Today, there is simply no validity for anyone to smoke
> marijuana, other than for medical reasons. Its a crime.
> ... If Rav Moshe were writing today, I speculate that dina
> d'malchus dina would be addressed.

The teshuva which I and others referenced (Igros Moshe, Yoreh Deah 3:35) is dated @nd Day of Rosh Chodesh Adar 5733 - Spring 1973.

I'll grant that marijuana was quite the symbol of protest and
counterculture, but the ability to use it as such derived specifically from
its illegality. IIRC, everyone knew that it was illegal. If you are trying
to suggest that people (such as Rav Moshe) did not realize that it was
illegal, then you've totally lost me.

BTW, while we're on this thread, I'd like to thank those who answered my
question by pointing out that the addictiveness of drugs, and the tendency
to hang out with society's lower elements, do make RMF's teshuva apply more
strongly to drugs than to tobacco and alcohol.

Akiva Miller

Click here for a free directory of employee development and training solutions.

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Message: 4
From: Cantor Wolberg <cantorwolberg@cox.net>
Date: Sat, 23 Aug 2008 20:26:26 -0400
[Avodah] Eikev "...Not by bread alone does man live..."

8:3 "...Not by bread alone does man live, rather by everything that  
emanates from the mouth of God does man live."

There is an interesting metaphor here. As humans we must take in food.  
Nevertheless, we are told that we don't live to eat and what we put in  
our mouths is not nearly as important as the spiritual aspect of man ?  
what comes out of the mouth of our Creator.  Also, "bread" refers to  
all materialism.  In regard to bread as food, we elevate the act of  
eating to a spiritual plane, first by the blessing that precedes the  
meal and the birkat hamazon that follows the meal. At the meal we are  
also supposed to talk words of Torah. So eating becomes a ritual and  
religious act and brings people together for the sake of God and His  
Torah. Likewise, the materialistic aspects of life should also be  
elevated to a spiritual plane. Hence, earning money gives us the  
opportunity to help those less fortunate. Having an education gives us  
the opportunity to implement our knowledge to better the world. And so  
the list goes on...
Incidentally, the word "companion" means etymologically "with bread."   
In other words, when we share our bread with others, we gain a true  


Not by bread alone, are we ultimately fed
But by the word of God, which will lead us ahead.

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Message: 5
From: Arie Folger <afolger@aishdas.org>
Date: Sat, 23 Aug 2008 22:11:17 +0200
Re: [Avodah] Geirut

On Friday, 22. August 2008 13.51:16 Arie Folger wrote:
> IIRC, Rav Na'hman's position is not based on HBDH.

This is, of course, utter nonsence. All the Rishonim that speak out on the 
matter, AFAIK, state that Rav Na'hman is based on hefqer beit din hefqer. 
Nonetheless, my other point stands, that the language of dinei mamonot is 
used in conjunction with a giyur qatan, namely, zakhin lo leadam shelo 

It would seem that the da'at beit din isn't qabalat 'ol mitzvot for the qatan, 
but an estimate that he would/will be meqabel 'ol mitzvot.

Good week,
Arie Folger

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Message: 6
From: Cantor Wolberg <cantorwolberg@cox.net>
Date: Sat, 23 Aug 2008 21:28:11 -0400
[Avodah] Re'eh "You are Children to HaShem your God..."

"You are Children to HaShem your God..." [Deut. 14:1]
The Nesivos Shalom, from the Rebbe R' Shalom Berzovsky of Slonim,  
calls these words the foundation of Judaism -- to recognize that  
regardless of our situation,
we are still God's children.

A child never stops being his or her parent's child. The Rebbe, R'  
Mordechai of Chernobyl, once had a guest at his table who had  
committed a great sin, and was
moaning and sighing about the terrible thing which he had done. The  
Rebbe said that if someone is in that situation, and does not realize  
that God accepts his sighs
and moans, then he is also a denier of God, meaning that he must  
realize regardless of his situation, he remains God's child and God  
wants him back.The Jewish people
are called "God's children" even if they are sinning and not doing the  
will of God.

The Sforno in his commentary explains, "It is not appropriate to show  
extreme worry and pain for any relative or friend who passes away,  
when there is a
relative Who is of greater importance, value, and Who is the basis of  
all good (that being the Almighty)".

Therefore Moshe says to the Jewish people, "You are God's Children" to  
indicate that He is our eternal Father and there is no basis to worry  
and grieve at an extreme
level for any deceased.  Regardless of who passes away, a Jew is never  
abandoned just as a father does not abandon his child. Just as a  
parent loves his child more than
the child could ever love his parent, the Torah is teaching us that  
God values us as His Children.  If a Jew were to lacerate himself or  
pull the hair out of his head (known in
psychiatric terminology as trichotillomania) as a result of a loved  
one passing away, this behavior would indicate that he believes that  
he has nowhere to turn and he is in a
hopeless state, which is an oversight of God's special relationship  
with him.

It is a basic tenet of Jewish belief that when a person passes away,  
his spirituality (which is his essence) is eternal.  Therefore a  
person who grieves excessively or for too long
a period, not only is unaware of God's special relationship, but also  
hasn't understood the existence of an eternal soul.  Thus, it is a  
negative commandment to express excessive
grief in this manner. Though this may seem insensitive to some, it  
actually gives hope, trust, confidence and faith that there is more to  
come (in a most positive and optimistic sense),
and thus provides comfort and solace to one who has suffered a loss.  
We must understand that death is not final. It only severs a  
relationship temporarily and we are assured that
at some point in the future, it will be reignited and we will be  


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Message: 7
From: "Liron Kopinsky" <liron.kopinsky@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, 23 Aug 2008 20:39:32 -0700
Re: [Avodah] Issur in smoking marijuana?

> BTW, while we're on this thread, I'd like to thank those who answered my
> question by pointing out that the addictiveness of drugs, and the tendency
> to hang out with society's lower elements, do make RMF's teshuva apply more
> strongly to drugs than to tobacco and alcohol.
> Akiva Miller

"society's lower elements":
It should just be noted from this comment that it would imply that if
marijuana or any other illegal substance were made legal and taxed and
thereby made available at any corner convenience mart that the issur would
apply less strongly? This would mean that there is no inherent issur on the
use of marijuana itself but rather just on the people who it would cause one
to associate with.

"the addictiveness of drugs"
I thought it was scientifically proven that tobacco is way more addictive
(in the medical sense at least) than marijuana?

I would like to believe that the issurim on not using drugs comes more from
the inherent damage that the drug does to one's body as well as the people
around them (whether by second-hand smoke or by second-hand behavior) and
that the use of tobacco or marijuana or the over-use of alcohol would all be
equally prohibitted. (I differentiate between tobacco/marijuana and alcohol
because I would argue that certain substances which are proven to be more
addictive and cannot have safe use should be entirely assur as well, but I
find it hard to place this type of a ban on alcohol for all people because
there are many people who do effectively show appropriate moderation in
their use of alcohol.)

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Message: 8
From: T613K@aol.com
Date: Sun, 24 Aug 2008 03:17:57 EDT
Re: [Avodah] Format of Tehillim


R' Alan Rubin _alan@rubin.org.uk_ (mailto:alan@rubin.org.uk)  asked:

>  > Why do the vast majority of siddurim print most tehillim as if they
>  > were prose? Doesn't this obscure the poetry of the tehillim?

R'  Micha Berger answered
> To really answer your question, I think in many  cases it reflects the
> fact that most people aren't shopping for a siddur  based on their
> knowledge of what the tefillos mean. 

RAR  responded:
>>Pity that the only answer is so prosaic!  <<

I don't know if the pun was intended -- the answer is *prosaic*  -- but it is 
an excellent pun.  And he is right that it is a pity, I've  often thought it 
myself.  Tehillim should be printed on the page with every  new pasuk starting 
a new line.  And since many pesukim of shira  (poetry) have a parallel 
structure, "kefel davar bemilim shonos," the  second part of each pasuk should be on 
a new line too, but indented a  little.  And when the lines start with 
successive letters of the aleph  bais, the first letter of each pasuk should be 
printed in bold.  In the  ArtScroll Yom Kippur machzor, Ashrei actually is printed 
that way, with each  pasuk on a new line and the first letter in bold.  But 
they didn't do it  with other perakim of Tehillim (for instance, the Shir Shel 

--Toby  Katz

**************It's only a deal if it's where you want to go. Find your travel 
deal here.      
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Message: 9
From: T613K@aol.com
Date: Sun, 24 Aug 2008 03:58:20 EDT
Re: [Avodah] Geirut

I'm sorry I don't have the learned sources to cite but I will just mention  
that in conversation with my father -- he once said that if a person converts  
and /never/ keeps the mitzvos, then his conversion is invalid and he is not  
Jewish, and if it's a woman, her children are not Jewish.  He also said  that 
if the person does become frum some time after his conversion,  then his 
conversion /is/ valid.  He added that the status  of a non-observant convert 
actually remains a gray area for his  whole life -- unresolved, in limbo -- until the 
convert's death.  
As long as he alive, there is always the possibility that at some  point in 
the future he will become frum and start keeping  mitzvos, which at that point 
will prove that he really is a Jew and  will retroactively validate his 
conversion.  It's only after he  dies -- at which point you know for sure whether he 
ever did or did not start  keeping mitzvos -- that you know for sure whether 
his conversion was effective  or not.  If he did keep mitzvos at some point 
but then stopped, he then  remains a Jew who is a sinner, like any non-observant 
Jew.  If he  /never/ became frum while he was alive, then you know when he 
dies that he was  never a Jew.
(Obviously my father held that KOM is indeed a necessary part of  geirus.)

--Toby  Katz

**************It's only a deal if it's where you want to go. Find your travel 
deal here.      
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Message: 10
From: "Chana Luntz" <Chana@kolsassoon.org.uk>
Date: Sun, 24 Aug 2008 14:16:02 +0100
Re: [Avodah] Geirut

I wrote:

> >Dunno, but this is why I find the whole concept of KOM, that you seem to
> >swim through so easily, so messy and complicated.  Can somebody give me
> >another paradigm for KOM that is not a shavuah and not devarim shebelev?
> >>>>>

And RTK replied:

> When the would-be ger agrees verbally that he will keep the mitzvos, the
> Bais Din believes him and accepts him for gerus (unless of course they
> have some good reason to suspect that he is not sincere).  But if, after
> the conversion ceremony, he does not in fact /ever/ keep any mitzvos, then
> his gerus is invalidated and his own actions prove that his KOM was not
> real -- that there never was any actual KOM on his part.

Yes, I know that is the way it is generally understood. 

The thing is, you are not thinking like a halachist.  What you appear to be
creating here is a new paradigm within halacha, without reference to the
traditional discussions.  You see, verbal statements, including agreements
to something or promises to do something is discussed extensively throughout
shas, under the rubric of nedarim and shavuos (vows and oaths).  There is a
lot of discussion about what happens when somebody has one thing in his
heart and another thing in his mouth.  Sometimes this occurs by accident,
the wrong thing pops out (I am intending to vow never to eat cheese, but say
bread by mistake). Somebody someone says something because they are subject
to an ones, compulsion, and the consequences of that are discussed. And
sometimes people say something which they intended to say, but is blatently
untrue (they swear an oath before Beis Din, for example, that they did not
misappropriate money and they did).

What you are saying here is there occurs a case - that of KOM, where a
person can stand up in front of beis din and say something.  They can fully
mean to say exactly what they said.  They understand (as it has been
explained to them) the consequences of what they have said.  They are in
fact lying through teeth - as they never intended to do what they have
promised to do - and the consequence is, not that they are considered a
violator of their shavuah (bemazid or beshoggeg) and chayav the consequences
of that, which is what you might deduce from every other case in which a
person stands in front of beis din and says something untrue - but that the
statement never was, and the whole thing is undone.

Now there is a mechanism for undoing a shavuah or a neder, a procedure for
being matir neder or shavuah, and that is detailed extensively in the
sources.  Admittedly there is a problem with doing that if the shavuah or
neder is made al daas rabim, so I am not sure it could possibly be applied
here, but *in theory* one might understand a situation where a ger came
along and said - hey, I didn't really understand what being KOM was when I
said, it, can beis din please release me from my shavuah so I am no longer
obligated with ol mitzvos.  That fits within the halachic paradigm.

Now there are also some other cases where a verbal statement is not
technically required, but daas and willingness is, such as the giving of a
get - where we get into the whole question as to whether if you beat a man
to give a get and he says "Rotze ani" is that sufficient daas.  But again
what you are proposing here goes way beyond that kind of query.  To make
this analogous you would be saying that even if a man were to say "I want
to" and gives the get you need to look behind his words and see what he is
really doing (maybe go to his house and check whether he is still grieving
for no longer being married to his wife).  Note of course that the reason
for this requirement of daas is learnt out of a posuk.

Other than that - where do we get verbal statements or implied verbal
statements in halacha - that have this kind of consequence?

It is of course possible that this is a completely different paradigm of
statement from all others within halacha.  But if so, it is so interesting
you would expect extensive discussion on this, and why the usual paradigms -
such as shavuah, do not apply.  And also where you learn it out from.  All
of this is absent from the halachic literature, as far as I am aware  That
is why, in many ways, proposing this type of KOM concept seems in many ways
to really be very radical, even though it is being brought as being

> --Toby Katz




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