Avodah Mailing List

Volume 25: Number 381

Mon, 10 Nov 2008

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: T6...@aol.com
Date: Sun, 9 Nov 2008 11:29:12 EST
Re: [Avodah] Another View on How to Portray People of the

From: "Joseph I. Lauer" _josephlauer@hotmail.com_ 

>>'What is gained by pointing out
>>their inadequacies and  their contradictions? We want to be inspired by 
>>example and  learn from their experience....'" [--RSS]

>> How does one "learn from their experience" when only part of  the
experience is related? <<
Joseph I. Lauer  

RJL asked a great question.  I think that (in  many cases) the historian 
SHOULD write about great people's failings and  challenges and weaknesses -- 
especially if they overcame them.  The  hagiography that paints "gedolim" as people 
who were born as malachim and were  always perfect does not teach us anything 
that we can actually learn from, as  well as being fundamentally sheker.
*The Making of a Godol*  was banned because its author, R' Nasan  Kaminetsky, 
portrayed gedolim as full rounded human beings, but I found  MOAG to be a 
very inspiring book.

--Toby  Katz

**************AOL Search: Your one stop for directions, recipes and all other 
Holiday needs. Search Now. 
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Message: 2
From: "Rich, Joel" <JR...@sibson.com>
Date: Sun, 9 Nov 2008 12:30:13 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Another View on How to Portray People of the


I do not wish to take the conversation in that direction, just to point
out that the emotional weight of the conversation is not actually about
our particular point.

Keeping the discussion to the points already raised, even in cases where
any shomer Torah umitzvos would agree the story is negative, R'
Hutner's argument applies. Besides, describing all greatness at though
it were mibeten actually robs the gadol of much of his accomplishment by
making it a gift from the A-lmighty.

Tir'u baTov!

While I agree with most of the post, to me the element missing is more
basic, once you say you will shade the truth (especially on a consistent
basis) you have little, if any, credibility.

Joel Rich
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Message: 3
From: Yitzchok Levine <Larry.Lev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Sun, 09 Nov 2008 13:46:21 -0500
[Avodah] Even More on How the Torah Portrays Great Men

Rabbi Nosson Kamenetsky discusses different views about relating 
stories about great men of previous generations that may contain 
negative incidents. He writes in the Forward to the Improved Edition 
of the Making of a Godol:

I came across a striking disagreement between two famous brothers on 
the subject of stories about great men of previous generations. R' 
Shimon Schwab in his Selected Writings. defines the difference 
between history and "storytelling" in that the first must be 
"truthful, and unsparing of even the failings of the righteous". R' 
Schwab asserts eloquently that "a realistic historic picture" will 
reveal "inadequacies" which will "rightfully make a lot of people 
angry" and that "no ethical purpose is served by preserving" such a 
picture; he contends that we must "put a veil over the human failings 
of our forebears and glorify all the rest which is great and 
beautiful (emphasis added)". In other words, he favors "storytelling" 
over "history". He coins an adage: "We do not need realism: we need 
inspiration from our forefathers." That author's brother, R' Mordkhai 
Schwab, however, had a negative view of "story tell-when he told me, 
"The Satmarer Rav, R' Yoilish Teitelbaum, never told 'stories ' 
because he said, 'You cannot educate through lies [shekar].''' R' 
Mordkhai agreed with R' Yoilish in reference to stories intended to 
glorify their principals while dehumanizing them.

I have put all of what R. Nosson wrote about this topic at 

Yitzchok Levine 
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Message: 4
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Sun, 9 Nov 2008 18:56:14 -0500
Re: [Avodah] How the Torah portrays our great men

On Sun, Nov 09, 2008 at 10:22:21AM -0500, Zev Sero wrote:
: A maamar chazal that mentions phrenology?  Isn't that strictly a 19th-
: century "science"?

You're right. I probably should have said physiognomy.

Tir'u baTov!

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Message: 5
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Sun, 9 Nov 2008 19:38:15 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Aveilus

On Sun, Nov 09, 2008 at 05:06:01AM -0500, Cantor Wolberg wrote:
: I once saw a beautiful teshuva regarding the halacha of the length of  
: aveilus and the seeming disparity between only 30 days for a child and  
: a year for parents.
: When parents loses a child they will be mourning the rest of their  
: lives, therefore, in order not to exacerbate it, halacha has  
: compassionately made the (external) aveilus for only 30 days....

I could argue the reverse. Since aveilus is cathartic, the person who
feels the pain longer should be given the tool to feel like he has done
justice to his feelings and the memory of the deceased. Someone who can
get past it on their own more readily doesn't need to be given aveilus
to help him work it out for as long of a period.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             None of us will leave this place alive.
mi...@aishdas.org        All that is left to us is
http://www.aishdas.org   to be as human as possible while we are here.
Fax: (270) 514-1507            - unknown MD, while a Nazi prisoner

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Message: 6
From: "Prof. Levine" <llev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Sun, 09 Nov 2008 18:23:42 -0500
[Avodah] a troubling halacha

At 06:13 PM 11/9/2008, you wrote:

>I understand that in communities where only one person says kaddish, 
>an avel for a parent has higher priority than an avel for other 
>relatives. But you seem to be saying that in some communities, an 
>avel for other relatives does not say kaddish at all, unless there 
>are no sons to say it.
>Is that so? I'm curious which communities are that way.
>Akiva Miller

Why should one say for a sister or a brother, if they leave behind 
sons who are over Bar Mitzvah who are saying kaddish for them? The 
halacha is, as I understand it, that only one person is supposed to 
say kaddish at a given time. (Today this has changed in many places 
in order to avoid fights over who gets to say which kaddish.) From 
here you see that only one person saying kaddish is what is to be 
done. Why have others say kaddish?

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Message: 7
From: "Elazar M. Teitz" <r...@juno.com>
Date: Mon, 10 Nov 2008 02:31:54 GMT
Re: [Avodah] a troubling halacha

R. Micha Berger:

<RYBS writes that aveilus mishum availus is never more than 30 days.
This is why the worst of mourning, when a parent loses a child, the aveilus
is only 30 days. The rest of the year for a parent is caused by kibud
horim, not aveilus itself.>

R. Joel Rich:

<IIRC he added because of the loss of the transmitter of the mesora.>

     I believe it was Rav Hutner who gave that reason, although with a connection to RYBS.

     In the year in which he sat shiva three times r"l, for his mother,
     brother and wife, on one of those occasions my father and RYH came
     simultaneously to be menachem aveil, and the question of the
     difference between aveilus for a child and a parent came up.  Each
     gave a different answer: RYBS mentioned the kibbud av va'eim aspect,
     RYH said that the passing of a parent means that we are one more
     generation removed from the origin of our mesora, and my father said
     that one has only one father and mother, while parents generally have
     more than one child.

     I have seen the story in print more than once.  Unfortunately, though
     not atypically for the sources in which I saw it, neither the identity
     of the aveil nor his answer were given.


Click here to discover unbeatable cruise deals. 

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Message: 8
From: Ben Waxman <ben1...@zahav.net.il>
Date: Mon, 10 Nov 2008 08:46:49 +0200
Re: [Avodah] a troubling halacha: source

I am still somewhat confused about this whole issue. Why not tell the 
relative? Put aside the cases where the relative is sick or old or pregnant.

Someone wrote me off line that the gemara indicates that one should not be 
the bearer of bad news. What gemara is this? Is being the bearer of bad news 
"bad" for that person?


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Message: 9
From: "Danny Schoemann" <doni...@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 10 Nov 2008 16:36:58 +0200
[Avodah] a troubling halacha

R' Eli Turkel wrote:
> In the latest shiur of R. Zilberstein he repeated the halacha against
> informing women of the death of a close relative

R' Zev Sero then wrote:
> What halacha?  I don't believe there is any halacha against telling.
> It's just natural not to want to bring bad news to someone, and if the
> news might harm them then there's a greater reluctance.  But I've never

I guess the KSA Yomi hasn't gotten there yet :-)

See KSA 206 - 9, 10, 11 - http://www.kitzur.net/main.php?nk=1&;siman=206

9: A person who informs others that their relative has died fulfills
the Pasuk of "he who tells is a fool". One may even invite the person
to a Seuda or a Simcha. A husband may even have marital relations with
his wife since she doesn't know yet.

10: However if you asked outright about a relative's health you may
not lie. You should be ambiguous and the asker will figure it out.

11: The Minhag is to inform male sons about their parents demise so
that they can say Kaddish.

???? ?
?? ??? ?? ?? ??? ???? ??, ??? ????? ??. ??? ????? ????, ?????? ??? ???
????. ?????? ??????? ?????? ?????? ???? ????, ?? ?? ??? ???? ????
????, ??? ??? ???? ?? ???. ??? ??? ????? ??? ???? ???? ?????, ??? ??
???? ???, ???? ???? ???? ?????
???? ?
??? ?? ??? ???? ???? ?? ????? - ??? ?? ??? ??, ??? ?? ???? ?????, ??
???, ?????, ????-??? ????. ??? ???? ????? ?????? ???? ?????, ?????
????? ???
???? ??
????? ?????, ?????? ?????? ???? ??? ?? ???, ??? ?????? ????

- Danny

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Message: 10
From: "Jonathan Baker" <jjba...@panix.com>
Date: Sun, 9 Nov 2008 19:24:19 -0500 (EST)
Re: [Avodah] Sandakos

From: "Marty Bluke" <marty.bl...@gmail.com>
> R' Jonathan Baker wrote:

> <...Now, any given kohen cannot offer incense more than once (presumably aside
> <from the kohen gadol, who deals with it every year at Yom Kippur).  So
> <too today, any given person does not serve as sandek for two brothers
> <from the same immediate family.
> The Gra in Shulchan Aruch points out the fallacies in this reasoning.

Fine, fine, of course if you look at minhagim rationally, they
often come up short.  So?

It's all a way of giving more metaphorical importance to a guy who
is basically playing a stand-in for a table.  The other half of it,
why they're called sandek, from syndikos, or advocate, is probably
more important.  But you want some nice homiletical material, and
a bit of added kedusha, so you attach it to the midrash about Avraham
and the 320 foreskins.  And how many people today take seriously the
"syndic" part of being a "sandek"?  As in, making sure the nimol gets
some kind of Jewish education?

Now, can we come up with some nice homilies for the guys who hold
the chuppah poles?

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Message: 11
From: Tamar Weissman <tamarweiss...@yahoo.com>
Date: Mon, 10 Nov 2008 03:09:42 -0800 (PST)
[Avodah] bread machines and taking challah

I was taught that we are to mafrish challah without a bracha when using
more than 2.5 and less than 5 cups of flour.  If my bread machine recipe
takes 4 cups, and it's impossible to stop mid-cycle, what do I do vis-a-vis
hafrashat challah?

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Message: 12
From: Tamar Weissman <tamarweiss...@yahoo.com>
Date: Mon, 10 Nov 2008 03:22:36 -0800 (PST)
[Avodah] fashla! WAS bread machine and taking challah

Oy vey.  Messed up big time -- I meant pounds, not cups.
And now, hypothetically speaking, if I can't access the dough until the
bread is baked and it's been made with under 4 lbs of flour (separate
without a bracha), how do I take challah?

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Message: 13
From: "Chana Luntz" <Ch...@kolsassoon.org.uk>
Date: Mon, 10 Nov 2008 00:50:36 -0000
Re: [Avodah] childbirth

Further on point 2 of RET's post on this subject, namely

> 2. In the medical shiurim of R. Zilberstein he has several times dealt 
> with the question whether a woman can get pregnant when she has a 
> serious > disease that the pregnancy will aggravate even to the point 
> of pikuach nefesh. His standard answer is that the woman is not 
> required to but is allowed to get pregnant if she wishes. Her desire for
>children overrides putting herself into danger.

> Though he does not mention it a similar situation occurs when one's 
> job entails danger that we pasken that can is allowed to take on a 
> dangerous profession, eg Nodah BeYehuda allows one to become a hunter 
> (he has side problems that are not relevant here).

I don't think you need to go as far as analogising to a dangerous
profession.  As it states in Nedarim 64b Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said, any
person who does not have children is considered as dead as it says havu li
banim v'im ain meta anochi" (Breshis 30:1).  

If you are prepared to take that statement seriously (ie that Rachel Imanu
was not overstating the case) then for all the risks of pregnancy and of
sakanas nefashos, such risks will perforce need to be set against the
pikuach nefesh situation which is created if a woman such as Rachel Imanu
remains childless.  

If you accept this, then the difficulty in permitting a woman who feels like
Rachel Imanu to getting pregnant, goes away, at least the first time.

However, it does not seem as clear that:

a) a similar calculation can be applied to subsequent children (does Rav
Zilberstein hold similarly even in a case where the woman already has ten
children who need her and who run the risk of being deprived of a mother if
she shortens her life by having yet another?);

b) one can necessarily assume the same calculation for every woman
(certainly Elchanan, when faced with Chana being in a similar situation,
believed that she should be content with what he was able to give her. Was
he wrong not just in the specific case but also in general? although to
counterbalance that, the midrash would seem to apply it generally - and to
men as well as women).

So while the intense desire for children can, it seems to me, get you to a
partial resolution to the questions raised by Rav Moshe in a different way
from Rav Moshe (ie not by saying the danger does not exist, but by
acknowledging that it does exist, while positing a greater danger should
children not be produced), it does not to my mind provide a full answer.  It
might get a bit closer to an answer if one posits that banim in this context
means the d'orisa fulfilment of the mitzvah (ie if Rachel Imanu and the
d'orisa halacha are talking about the same thing) then perhaps you can
answer Rav Moshe's question as to how Hashem could command pru u'rvu with
this response. Even this is not straightforward however.  Chana may have
ended up having five children, but would we have said she was not answered
if she had none other than Shmuel?  



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Message: 14
From: "Eli Turkel" <elitur...@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 10 Nov 2008 07:59:15 +0200
Re: [Avodah] childbirth

> If you are prepared to take that statement seriously (ie that Rachel Imanu
> was not overstating the case) then for all the risks of pregnancy and of
> sakanas nefashos, such risks will perforce need to be set against the
> pikuach nefesh situation which is created if a woman such as Rachel Imanu
> remains childless.
> If you accept this, then the difficulty in permitting a woman who feels like
> Rachel Imanu to getting pregnant, goes away, at least the first time.

> a) a similar calculation can be applied to subsequent children (does Rav
> Zilberstein hold similarly even in a case where the woman already has ten
> children who need her and who run the risk of being deprived of a mother if
> she shortens her life by having yet another?);

I am currently looking through several old teshuvot. In one R. Zilberstein
explicitly refers to Rachel Imenu as a source. He also brings that
depression is considered as pikuach nefesh. Hence, it should apply to
beyond the first child. Nevertheless I would guess (my opinion) that
for the 10th
child we would try very hard to talk the mother out of her decision.

Without discussing pikuach nefesh I am personally of women who went through
difficult fertility treatments for the 10th child

kol tuv

Eli Turkel


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