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Volume 25: Number 345

Fri, 26 Sep 2008

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Cantor Wolberg <cantorwolb...@cox.net>
Date: Fri, 26 Sep 2008 07:22:02 -0400
[Avodah] Free Will Versus Physics

R' Micha wrote:
"what Hazal meant by hakol bidei shamayim are those things that are  
not within man's
control, such as his physical stature and the climate."

Interestingly, however, modern scientific technology is in the process  
of putting 'physical stature' and 'climate' within man's control.
This may be a precursor to Moshiach in a very mystical way.

Kol tuv.
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Message: 2
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 26 Sep 2008 10:02:33 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Free Will Versus Physics

On Fri, Sep 26, 2008 at 07:22:02AM -0400, Cantor Wolberg wrote:
: R' Micha wrote:

Not I, I was quoting RYGrossman.

What I did post was about Tosafos and "chutz miyir'as Shamayim" vs
"mitzinim upachin". However, I had forgotten who pointed me to that
Tos'. It was RSGoldstein in

Tracking down that discussion may be of use in this one.


Micha Berger             With the "Echad" of the Shema, the Jew crowns
mi...@aishdas.org        G-d as King of the entire cosmos and all four
http://www.aishdas.org   corners of the world, but sometimes he forgets
Fax: (270) 514-1507      to include himself.     - Rav Yisrael Salanter

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Message: 3
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 26 Sep 2008 10:12:26 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Outside societies' standards

On Thu, Sep 25, 2008 at 7:18pm EDT, R Yitzhak Grossman wrote:
: On Wed, 24 Sep 2008 15:11:51 -0400 "Rich, Joel" <JR...@sibson.com> wrote:
: > Several questions - other than R'OY in his pants tshuva does anyone know
: > of sources in non- monetary cases which specifically mention outer
: > society as measure?  was the prisha saying either/or?  If it's not from
: > the outside, how did malbush yisrtael get defined over the years?

: Rav Breish (Shut Helkas Ya'akov EH 14:1) argues against artificial
: insemination with donor sperm from the fact that the Catholics and the
: Pope find it morally abhorrent.  He cites several precedents for the
: concept of banning that which non-Jews consider immoral, including the
: Magen Avraham (244:8) prohibiting a form of Amirah L'Akum which is
: permitted midina, since the non-Jews do not allow even non-non-Jews to
: work on their holidays, and if we would allow it (mutatis mutandis), a
: Hilul Hashem would ensue.  Rav Moshe Feinstein (published there #17)
: rejects this principle entirely, insisting that we do not care about
: what the non-Jews prohibit for religious reasons...

That's not quite the same as rejecting using their moral standards. Rel
Separating a person's moral stance from their religious one isn't ever
going to be a clean cut. But in many religious minds, it's the gut
defined morality which is then justified using their religious terms.

Yahadus seems to me to embrace the need to follow both natural morality
and religious dictate. The latter, halakhah, has the greater authority
-- where the pesaq is well defined. I could see natural morality being
a factor in creating a pesaq where no one position is compelling for
internal reasons, although RRW will certainly object to that idea.

 From my post of 8 Jun 2001, my notes of a lunch-n-learn type shiur by R'
Zev Reichman <http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/vol07/v07n058.shtml>, here
is one of the shitos I listed about halakhah and copyright law:
> 2- I already cited the most chamur, the Sho'el uMeishiv 1:44, who goes
> beyond ddd. RZR wondered if the SuM would also recognize the French
> philosophy of copyright: that the artist could sell reproduction and
> profit rights, but eternally retains rights to controlling how the idea
> is changed. (So even if you sell a painting, the owner is allowed to copy
> it, but not modify it.) After all, this is also a secularly identified
> moral right. Would it be a halachah only in France?

ddd = dina demalkhusa dina, which came up all over that discussion.


Micha Berger             You will never "find" time for anything.
mi...@aishdas.org        If you want time, you must make it.
http://www.aishdas.org                     - Charles Buxton
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Message: 4
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 26 Sep 2008 13:39:54 -0400
[Avodah] Hamemuneh Al Parnasah

Someone on scjm recently pointed me to this from Jose Faur's bitter
anti-Qabbalah polemic titled "Anti-Maimonidean Demons"
In fn 92, he writes:
> .... A most solemn prayer pronounced at the end of the Sephardic services
> (but not of the Spanish and Portuguese!) the night of Rosh ha-Shanah
> invokes the "great and holy name dicarnosa" (wulma'an ha-shem ha-gadol
> ve-haqadosh diaqarnosa) that is supposed to be encoded in the subtexts of
> two Scriptural passages. This superlative magical name is nothing more
> than the Spanish "dea carnosa" or "fleshy" -- probably in the sense of
> "portly" -- "goddess." Let us not for- get that, until recently, only
> plump ladies were regarded as sexually attractive....

The writer pointed out that "deo cornosa" could be "god incarnate", ie

Also, the last of the 4 names scanned by the eyes when saying the tefillah
for a chalom, "diunsym" looks suspiciously similar to Dyonysum, the
accusative declanation (the word when used as a direct object) of the
name of the Roman god Dionysus (the name when used as a subject).

My instinct is to assume that this is Dor Enosh's legacy. The Chaldean
messenger bull-god was Kerub, presumably the elevation of keruvim to be
powers in themselves. SImilarly, why couldn't the Romans take an aspect
of Deity and make it a thing in and of itself?

Anyone have more informed ideas?


Micha Berger             In the days of our sages, man didn't sin unless
mi...@aishdas.org        he was overcome with a spirit of foolishness.
http://www.aishdas.org   Today, we don't do a mitzvah unless we receive
Fax: (270) 514-1507      a spirit of purity.      - Rabbi Israel Salanter

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Message: 5
From: Dov Kay <dov_...@hotmail.co.uk>
Date: Fri, 26 Sep 2008 12:07:43 +0000
[Avodah] Praying to Angels

As the one who started this thread, I should have given the source for the
Ramban's statement about praying to angels.  It is in Toras Hashem Temima. 
In it, he refers specifically to the piyut machnisei rachamim, and says
that it should not be said.  It seems that he considers this sort of thing
AZ mamash, as he then goes on to discuss the chet ho'egel, which also
started as the desire for an intermediary.  He also quotes a Yerushalmi in
the beginning of Berachos (daf 9, IIRC), which contrasts the King of Kings
with a human king, as the latter requires ministers and other
intermediaries, while HKBH wants us to appeal to him directly.	I don't
have the original in front of me right now, but I can provide a full quote
if anyone wants.
The Mossad HaRav Kook edition of Selichos also cites the Shibolei HaLeket as defending the recitation of machnisei rachamim.
I should note that in Yeshivas Ohr Somayach in Jerusalem, machnisei
rachamim was not recited, and I imagine that this is the minhag of Yeshivas
Mir, as most of OS's minhagim came from there.	
In practice, I am in RMB's boat, in that I am usually behind and am grateful to have an excuse for something to skip.
The MHK edition also refers to editions which changed the phraseology of
the offending stanza in the piyut of the 13 middos so that we express the
wish that the midas horachamim should show us favour, rather than
beseeching the midah itself.  Goldschmidt, the editor, isn't impressed with
these efforts because they distort the poetry of the piyut.
Kol tuv
Dov Kay
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Message: 6
From: T6...@aol.com
Date: Fri, 26 Sep 2008 09:33:17 EDT
Re: [Avodah] Conflicting Sources

From: Cantor Wolberg _cantorwolberg@cox.net_ (mailto:cantorwolb...@cox.net) 

>>I  thought the purpose of the Torah She-b'al peh was to illuminate the   
protocol for many things such as T'fillin and Tzitzis.
Therefore, why  would there have been conflicting sources when the main  
source is from  God?<<

There may be other more complex  legalistic reasons, but the simplest 
explanation is that the chain of  transmission became confused over the centuries and 
people forgot things.   The Torah sheba'al peh was, by definition, 
transmitted /orally/ for centuries,  and naturally mistakes crept in and details were 
forgotten, leading to  disagreements.  Subsequently some of these details had to 
be reconstructed  retrospectively, using rules of logic like gezeirah shaveh, 
kal vechomer and so  on.  Eventually it was found necessary to commit the 
Torah "sheba'al  peh" to writing even though a "written oral law" sounds like an 
oxymoron.   Otherwise the oral law was in danger of being forgotten.  "Eis 
la'asos  l'Hashem...."  We see even in our own lives how easily things can  
become confused, as grandchildren argue over whether Zeida did it this way or  that 
way -- whatever "it" may be.  


In addition, some details may not be matters of law but of minhag. Over  
time, of course, minhag becomes din, "the way it's always been done" acquiring  
the force of law.

--Toby  Katz

**************Looking for simple solutions to your real-life financial 
challenges?  Check out WalletPop for the latest news and information, tips and 
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Message: 7
From: "Rich, Joel" <JR...@sibson.com>
Date: Fri, 26 Sep 2008 10:17:58 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Conflicting Sources


I thought the purpose of the Torah She-b'al peh was to illuminate the
protocol for many things such as T'fillin and Tzitzis.
Therefore, why would there have been conflicting sources when the main
source is from God?

Because eilu v'eilu is imitato dei?
Joel Rich 
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Message: 8
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 26 Sep 2008 13:57:16 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Conflicting Sources

On Thu, Sep 25, 2008 at 08:57:34PM -0400, Cantor Wolberg wrote:
: I thought the purpose of the Torah She-b'al peh was to illuminate the  
: protocol for many things such as T'fillin and Tzitzis.
: Therefore, why would there have been conflicting sources when the main  
: source is from God?

Eilu va'eilu -- He let us decide.

We wrote about this numerous times before at lenth, and I blogged about
it at length. See

Just a snippet from part 2, to sum up the particular opinion I found
most to my own taste:
>  My personal inclination is close to the philosophy of the Maharal's.
>  If I can use a variant on Plato's metaphor, we are like people
>  looking at shadows of an object. Since reality can not capture all
>  "three dimensions" of "divrei E-lokim Chaim", we see what looks
>  like conflicting "two dimensional" shadows. Shapes that accurately
>  represent the whole, but only from the direction from which we are
>  shining the light. The process of pesaq is that of deciding how we
>  should grow and develop given where we stand; what are angle ought to
>  be in relation to that 3 dimentional object and therefore what shadow
>  it casts.One can't adopt two conflicting positions, neither
>  leniencies (as would the Conservative movement do) nor stringencies
>  (as per the insufficiently fictional "Chumrah of the Month Club").
>  That would be combining two different angles, to produce a "shadow"
>  the object could never really cast. One is no longer representing the
>  "object", the Word of G-d.

>  True pluralism (within a range of valid positions) seems to be a
>  compelling conclusion from the Gemara (Hagigah 3b) is concerned about
>  the person who will note when "those [Rabbis] prohibit, yet those
>  [authorities] permit [the very same thing]... how can I possibly learn
>  Torah today?" The answer is found in the words of Koheles 12, "Nasnu
>  meiRo'eh echad -- both views were given by the same shepherd."

(References to R' Tzadoq and to how eilu va'eilu places halakhah outside
Goedel's Theorem deleted.)


Micha Berger             Man can aspire to spiritual-moral greatness
mi...@aishdas.org        which is seldom fully achieved and easily lost
http://www.aishdas.org   again. Fullfillment lies not in a final goal,
Fax: (270) 514-1507      but in an eternal striving for perfection. -RSRH

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Message: 9
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 26 Sep 2008 14:00:35 -0400
Re: [Avodah] induction cooking

On Fri, Sep 26, 2008 at 02:19:31AM +0000, kennethgmil...@juno.com wrote:
: If I understand you correctly, you would not require a blech on a hot
: plate or crock pot, because no flame is visible in those devices.

I was saying more that I don't understand why we require a blech. (As
opposed to a declaration.) Given that pre-modern poseqim write, as RZS
said, that it's either or, why does the SSK and R' Eider require covering
the controls when one can't see a flame? Shouldn't the crockpot hiding
from me the glow of its coils, or the induction plate avoiding glow
altogether, be just as good as if there was a flame and I covered it
and NOT the controls?


Micha Berger             Man is equipped with such far-reaching vision,
mi...@aishdas.org        yet the smallest coin can obstruct his view.
http://www.aishdas.org                         - Rav Yisrael Salanter
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Message: 10
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 26 Sep 2008 14:02:44 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Reciting l'Dovid Hashem Ori...

On Fri, Sep 26, 2008 at 04:37:53PM +1000, SBA wrote:
: See the Baal Taturim in this week's Parsha  - Pasuk 30:6, dh: 'Es Levovcho
: ve'es Levav' - "Roshei Teivos Elul..." 
: Then it continues on: "Lulei" (which no doubt refers to "Lulei He'emanti" 
: in LeDovid Hashem Ori Veyishi") "oysios Elul - she'mi'Elul vo'eilach
: charadti neged Hashem.."
: The Baal HaTurim lived approx 300 years before Shabsi Zvi yemach shemoy.

Quoting a pasuq doesn't mean he said it. Just as I presume the Baal
haTurim didn't say parashas Nitzavim every day of Elul.

However, Nathan of Gaza could well have known this bit of Baal haTurim
when starting his custom.


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Message: 11
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 26 Sep 2008 15:38:30 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Trends in Psak

As should be known to the chevrah by now, my take on pesaq is like this:

1- First the poseiq explores the issues, using the texts. Hard rules
   define his options.

2- Of the options remaining, he is left weighing pros-and-cons of the
   alternatives. This includes:
       a- textual concerns
           i- the number and authority of who said it
           ii- the appeal of their logic
       b- existing practice
       c- hashkafic desidarata -- what will allow for the most kavanah
          on the part of the sho'eil, what conforms to natural morality,
   There will be machloqesin in the relative weights of all three
   factors as well as the weights within a category. One may feel a
   rishon is significantly more authoritative than an acharon. Another
   not -- Ravina veRav Ashi sof hora'ah. Another might consider the
   Rambam the end-all of rishonim, another may look to the Maharil,

3- If the previous step fails, the halakhah is left in safeiq, and the
   rules of safeiq are applied.

Given that background, here's what I make of the dialog between Ishim
veShitos and Avakesh.

Ishim veShitos:
: Among some Posekim[1], there is an attitude of "yiqov hadin es
: hahar"...
: At the opposite extreme, lies those posekim who feel it necessary to cite
: and discuss every possible precedent on the issue[3]...

A machloqes on the relative weights of 2a(i) vs 2a(ii), respectively.

: [1] The best example of this school of thought is R' Yaakov Emden who
: was fiercly independant in his pesakim...

But if you go too far, like the Rogotchover, you end up in an area no
one else is willing to follow. Everyone quotes the Rogotchover, but when
was the last time you heard someone pasqen linke him?

: [3] The most important posek from this school of thought is the Mishna
: Berurah who cites every Acharon possible and considers them all obligatory
: I do not know if Chacham Ovadiah belongs in this category. True he is
: careful to cite alll the Acharonim on any issue but I don't know to
: what extent he considers them obligatory....

I think the MB is just loathe to weight options, and therefore often
ends up in step 3, applying the rules of safeiq. That is different than
ROY who then follows rov.

I heard ROY critiqued in that he doesn't always know who he is counting.
An essay by some RCA member LOR in haDarom and a teshuvah in the IM are
both counted as though equals.

Avakesh makes the issue a machloqes in halakhah kebasro'i. I don't

He writes:
: 1. The latest PUBLISHED posek is the basroi and we follow him (the
: currently accepted approach)...
: 2. The posek who is NOW considering the question is the basroi and has
: the right to follow his own judgment even against previous poskim...

I don't see how this can be halakhah kebasra'i. Who is getting the
instruction to hold like the later authority? The poseiq! Would he be
told "hold like the later authority" or "hold like the more compelling
argument"? It just seems implausible.

: 3.Among Sephardim, all authorities are important, because halacha k'basroi
: is a principle that applied to Amoraim and not in contemporary psak.

Prof Ta-Shema dates the Ashkenazi acceptance of this as a general rule
as part of the Maimonidian Controversy, and unsurprisingly therefore,
it never reached the Sepharadim.

And yet, ROY polls contemporary shitos, not rishonim... I don't get it.

The Maharam miRutenburg (shu"t YD #60) limits it to where the later rav
backs up his position with proof, showing that he deals with the earlier
authority. A matter of the basra'i being able to review all earlier
workd. He is on their giant shoulders.

We also see this in SA CM 25:20, where the Rama has to add HkB to the
SA's kelal. (Since it's not a Sepharadi thing.) He limits it to cases
where the earlier works are well known, like "shelifa'amim haposeqim
choleqim al hage'onim".

To be complete, discussing the end should also make mention of where the
rule begins. The full kelal as written in Seider haDoros, is "halakhah
kebasra'i miAbayei veEilakh". The Rosh on R' Eliezer deMilah (I don't
know where in the pereq) asks on the Rif. (His version "... miAbeyei
verava va'eilakh. Aval bedoros shelifaneihem, ein halakhah ketalmid
bemaqom harav.") The Rosh asks: how can the Rif write that the halakhah
is like Raba over Rav because Raba is basra'i, if both preceed the rule?

My guess is that when semichah was more solid, nisqatnu hadoros was a
greater factor. At some point it declined in importance in relation to
being able to review the earlier generations' thoughts and compare.


Micha Berger             Despair is the worst of ailments. No worries
mi...@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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