Avodah Mailing List

Volume 25: Number 418

Mon, 15 Dec 2008

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: "SBA" <s...@sba2.com>
Date: Sun, 14 Dec 2008 23:32:57 +1100
[Avodah] Breast-Beating in vidui

From: "Prof. Aryeh A. Frimer" 
Does any know of a source for breast-beating during vidui.  It is an almost
universal concept - but where did it begin in Jewish sources?

See the Magen Avrohom, Hil' YK (607:3)..
"..veyakeh be'egrof al hachozeh (Kisvei Ho'Ari). 
UbeMidrash Koheles eesa, sheyakeh al halev lomar: "ato garamta li...


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Message: 2
From: "SBA" <s...@sba2.com>
Date: Sun, 14 Dec 2008 23:49:50 +1100
Re: [Avodah] Truth about the Sheva Brochos

From: Micha Berger Subject: To: 
The Chasam Sofer presumably holds like R' Tam, since he allows a woman
to be counted as panim chadashos -- as long as her presence adds to the
joy of the meal.

It seems that the CS also holds that one can count a katan as a PCh.
Has anyone ever heard that this view of the CS is followed anywhere?


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Message: 3
From: Ben Waxman <ben1...@zahav.net.il>
Date: Sun, 14 Dec 2008 15:58:22 +0200
Re: [Avodah] Did RSRH Write LH about Shimon and Levi

This is not a justification given by the Ramban, but a qasha by the Ramban 
on the Rambam. That is to say, why is the Rambam searching for a difficult 
reason (they didn't judge the thief), when they were all guilty of much more 
serious crimes. This qasha is part of a series of questions by the Ramban on 
the entire shita of the Rambam.  What is written below can't be used as a 
justification for what the brothers did.

> 2) They were all reshaim anyway (ovdei avoda zara etc.) so there is no 
> need
> to try and justify why they were chayav mita from the pesukum (Ramban I
> think)

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Message: 4
From: T6...@aol.com
Date: Sun, 14 Dec 2008 15:05:30 EST
Re: [Avodah] Did RSRH Write LH about Shimon and Levi

In a message dated 12/13/2008, Larry.Lev...@stevens.edu writes:

There have been times when people have criticized me for sending out  
messages that contain negative information about people.  The accusation  is that 
what I sent out is Loshon Harah, and I am not allowed to disseminate  such 
information.  They claim that even if the information is widely  known and has 
appeared in the media,  one is not allowed to distribute it  further. In light of 
this, I present the commentary of RSRH on what Shimon and  Levi did as it 
appears in the new translation of his commentary to Bereshis  34: 25 - 31.

According to the Chofetz Chaim, negative  information may be disseminated for 
certain kinds of to'eles.  To derive  from the Torah commentary of a tzaddik 
and great Torah scholar some kind of  blanket permission to spread negative 
information about Jews is really quite a  stretch.  There is also a tone of 
disrespect towards RSRH in the very title  of this thread.

--Toby Katz
Read  *Jewish World Review* at _http://jewishworldreview.com/_ 

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Message: 5
From: "Eli Turkel" <elitur...@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 14 Dec 2008 22:10:17 +0200
[Avodah] esav

<<Which reopens the question of when one takes the liberty of giving a
peshat contrary to Chazal. Does RSRH have a contrary source in Chazal
to the medrash that turns Esav's act into an attempt to steal -- which
even as a mashal, can't indicate authenticity on his part.>>

Rashbam also takes a very positive attitude towards Esav that the 400
men with him were an honor guard and that he was genuine in his good
feelings towards Yaakov.

Eli Turkel

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Message: 6
From: "Joshua Meisner" <jmeis...@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 14 Dec 2008 19:33:16 -0500
Re: [Avodah] [Areivim] Seeing the Swiss Alps

On Wed, Dec 10, 2008 at 6:59 PM, <T6...@aol.com> wrote:
> 5.  A different post needs to be written about Pirkei Avos, and a person
> who looks up from his Gemara to say, "Mah na'eh ilan zeh!"  That could be a
> whole separate essay but, on regel achas, it does not mean that a person
> should refrain from looking at beautiful sights or should refrain from
> noticing that Hashem has created a magnificent world for us to enjoy.   What
> it does mean -- well that is for the other regel, enough for now.
I do not understand the mishnah to mean that a person should ignore the
beauty of nature around him, but merely that to cease the learning that one
is currently actively engaged in in order to take note of such nature is a
misplacement of priorities.  I don't see R' Shteinman's refusal to look at
Niagara Falls as being in conflict with the idea that has been cited in the
name of RSRH and others that the world is here for us to enjoy, but rather
as an expression that one should not interrupt in the middle of a sugya to
do so.

Joshua Meisner
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Message: 7
From: "Prof. Levine" <llev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Sun, 14 Dec 2008 23:03:59 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Did RSRH Write LH about Shimon and Levi

At 03:05 PM 12/14/2008, T6...@aol.com wrote:
>According to the Chofetz Chaim, negative information may be 
>disseminated for certain kinds of to'eles.  To derive from the Torah 
>commentary of a tzaddik and great Torah scholar some kind of blanket 
>permission to spread negative information about Jews is really quite 
>a stretch.  There is also a tone of disrespect towards RSRH in the 
>very title of this thread.

Absolutely no disrespect was meant to RSRH. He is one of my heroes. 
Indeed, we just returned from a dinner marking the completion of the 
new translation of RSRH's commentary to the Chumash. I had a chance 
to briefly meet Rabbi Shelomo Danziger as well as many descendents of RSRH.

I did not derive anything. I know that what RSRH wrote is not LH. 
However, some have insisted that one cannot write anything negative 
about anybody. I believe that RSRH's commentary on what Shimon and 
Levi did proves that this is not true. There are times when it is 
permitted to write negative things about people.

Someone wrote to me

Black letter law - from the classic work of the Chofetz Chaim.
     A. There is a prohibition on Loshon HaRa - even the written 
form. No questions about that.
     B. Information that is widely known and disseminated is not 
Loshon HaRa even when spoken, unless you are providing some new "insight".

But, please do not accuse me of being disrespectful to Rabbiner 
Hirsch. The more I study of his writings, the higher my opinion of him goes.


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Message: 8
From: T6...@aol.com
Date: Mon, 15 Dec 2008 01:13:51 EST
Re: [Avodah] RSRH's Comments on Bereshis 33:4-7

From: Micha Berger _micha@aishdas.org_ (mailto:mi...@aishdas.org) 

On Fri, Dec 12,  2008 , R Yitzchok Levine quoted RSRH:
: The word "vayevkoo" ("and they wept")  attests that Esav was overcome by
: genuine human emotion....

Which  reopens the question of when one takes the liberty of giving a
peshat  contrary to Chazal. Does RSRH have a contrary source in Chazal to
the medrash  that turns Esav's act into an attempt to steal -- which even
as a mashal,  can't indicate authenticity on his part.

Hirsch's source is Rashi 33:4 -- Rashi cites  two opinions -- the second of 
which is "shenichmaru rachamav be'osah  sha'ah uneshako bechol libo."  And that 
is the obvious pshat.   Midrashim that twist the pshat into pretzels tend not 
to be Hirsch's preferred  midrashim.


--Toby Katz
Read *Jewish  World Review* at _http://jewishworldreview.com/_ 

**************Make your life easier with all your friends, email, and 
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Message: 9
From: "david guttmann" <david.gutt...@verizon.net>
Date: Mon, 15 Dec 2008 05:08:12 -0500
[Avodah] Drazin book on Rambam -

Rabbi Dr. Israel Drazin has recently written a book published by Gefen
publishing called Maimonides The Exceptional Mind. Though the author
presents himself as Orthodox with credentials supposedly from Ner Israel,
has served in the Chaplaincy for over 30 years and is a Brigadier General in
the Army, he is far from any understanding of legitimate Judaism. 

Here are some examples of his ideas ascribed to Rambam -

>God did not instruct Abraham to leave his home and journey to Canaan.
Abraham made the choice himself, perhaps as part f his search to understand
and come close to God. God did not tell Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac.
This was a natural internal struggle; Abraham may have been debating within
himself to what lengths he must go to show his love to God. . . ."

See Rambam MN 3:24 where he argues that one of the things the Akeidah
teaches is nevuah. This quote in my mind is just over the line but see

>that the blowing of Shofar on this day was started by the masses and was
later justified by the rabbis using the two cited verses."

Where is TSBP and Pirushim Hamekubalim that Rambam builds his whole
understanding of Halacha? See my post on this at 
ml . His idea is that originally Misinai there was no Shofar just "shouting"
as is the >literal< meaning of the word Teruah. The masses because of their
belief in demonology instituted Shofar because it scares away the demons.
The Rabbis were forced to accept this and tried to mitigagte it by coming up
with new ideas for it! 

>Maimonides recognized the authority of the earlier Rabbis and accepted
their decisions but only because each of their rulings derives from the role
they played in Jewish history. Maimonides was thus expressing the belief
that the rabbinic decisions were not correct per se, but, since the majority
of Jews had decided to accept the early rabbis' Halachik decisions, they
became authoritative

According to Drazin there is only one category Takanot Uminhagim which
require acceptance of the masses. Where are the Pirushim Hamekubalim,
decisions of Beit Din Hagadol based on the 13 Midot etc... As enumerated in
Mamrim chapter 2? But even more galling Halacha in its entirety is
subservient to "Puk Chazi Mah Ameh Davar"! 

He is also very big on dismissing opposing opinions with chutzpah and
disdain. Here is how he addresses the Kuzari's concept of the chosen people:

>However, his [Halevi] notion of Jewish supremacy is outrageous and
perverse, and his understanding of history illogical.

Even his understanding of Kefirah concepts such as biblical criticism is
flawed. My uncle A'H used to say to be a proper Apikores one has to know how
to learn. It sounds better in Yiddish > Zu zain an apikores darf man kennen
lernen ob nisht is man nor a Shoteh <.  I have written a few posts on his
book as I felt that the uninformed should not even think in accepting any of
his ideas. I abhor censorship but it is a Mitzvah lefarsem that his writings
are unreliable and he has no understanding whatsoever of Rambam, Kuzari et
al and worse of all what is Torah and Halacha. 

He has approbations on the Amazon site from Prof. Shamma Friedmann which is
surprising for such a book unless he wrote it tongue in cheek. The author
has written on onkelos which received an approbation from Rabbi Norman Lamm
that he placed on the cover of this book. It took me a while to realize that
it did not belong here. 

My posts are at 





David Guttmann
If you agree that Believing is Knowing, join me in the search for Knowledge
at http://yediah.blogspot.com/ 
Ve'izen vechiker (Kohelet 12:9) subscribe to Hakirah at www.hakirah.org 

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Message: 10
From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.du...@juno.com>
Date: Sun, 14 Dec 2008 21:11:00 -0500
[Avodah] 400 men

The 400 men who deserted Esav were later rewarded, per Rashi, in the
times of Dovid hamelech.  When did they desert and why were they
rewarded-it appears that they deserted only after the confrontation with
Yaakov, so why the reward?

TOP Chart Ringtones
Get top ringtones on your cell phone. Click here now!

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Message: 11
From: T6...@aol.com
Date: Mon, 15 Dec 2008 01:19:20 EST
Re: [Avodah] Chevra Kadisha Fast Day today, 15 Kislev?


On Areivim, Naomi S Israel wrote:
> I heard something new today  -- apparently 15 Kislev is a fast day for 
> Chevra Kadishas?  Is  this commonly done??

From: Zev Sero 
It's pretty much universal that the members  of a chevra kadisha observe
a fast day.  The exact day varies by  region.  In Lita the minhag was
15 Kislev; in Poland the minhag was 7  Adar.  
Our chevra kadisha in Miami observes 7 Adar, which  is Moshe Rabbeinu's 
yahrtzeit -- and Hashem Himself acted as the chevra kadisha  in that case, and 
buried Moshe in an unknown grave.  But what happened on  15 Kislev (which happens 
to be my father-in-law's yahrtzeit, but I never heard  of something else 
special about that date)?

--Toby Katz
Read *Jewish  World Review* at _http://jewishworldreview.com/_ 

**************Make your life easier with all your friends, email, and 
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Message: 12
From: T6...@aol.com
Date: Mon, 15 Dec 2008 02:00:08 EST
Re: [Avodah] Did RSRH Write LH about Shimon and Levi

From: "Liron Kopinsky" <liron.kopin...@gmail.com>
I heard a  drash at Sueda Shlishit today which said that there are differing
opinions  about why Shimon and Levi did what they did.
1) By not setting up and  enforcing a court system that punished violators of
the 7 mitzvot, they were  equally culpable (Rambam I think).....

Kol  Tuv,

AFTER Shimon and Levi killed the inhabitants of  Shechem, they took Dinah and 
left -- IOW she was being held hostage the whole  time!  All those 
negotiations about how Shechem loved her and wanted to  marry her and all the rest of it 
-- were all being carried out in a hostage  situation, with Dinah already 
having been violated in a horrible way (see Rashi)  and still being held captive. 
 It certainly seems that the whole city was  in cahoots in allowing their 
prince to treat her this way and not demanding that  she be immediately released. 
 Certainly Shechem's father seems to have had  no compunctions about what his 
son did -- he didn't say to his son, "You  horrible beastly boy, what have 
you done?!  Let her go this instant!"   Instead he was an enabler of a horrible 
crime and said, "You want to keep her my  boy?  Fine, I'll go talk to her 
father and make sure there that you get to  keep her with no repercussions."  That 
Shechem was the ultimate spoiled  brat -- gets to kidnap and rape a young 
girl and his father aids and abets the  crime!
All the negotiations that followed were basically phony -- compare how  
Chamor and Shechem speak to Yakov and his sons, with phony respect, with how  they 
speak to their own townspeople.  Yakov's sons said, "We will give our  
daughters to you and we will take your daughters for ourselves"  -- with  Yakov and 
his sons being the agents who decide, who give and take according to  their 
will -- and Shechem and his father agreed (seemingly).  But when they  went back 
to their townspeople to persuade them to go along with the  condition set -- 
circumcision -- they didn't say, "Yakov will give us his  daughters and take 
our daughters"  -- instead they said, "WE WILL  TAKE their daughters for wives 
and WE WILL GIVE them our  daughters" -- making the Shechemites, not the 
Yakobites, the boss -- and even  more significant was what they added: "Their cattle 
and their property and their  animals will be ours."  It seems they were 
plotting against Yakov and his  sons all along, trying to string them along with 
promises that they would  circumcise themselves and agree to whatever the 
Yakovites would demand, while  really planning to take control and seize everything 
from the Yakov and his  sons, their women and their property.  The whole town 
in cahoots,  remember.
What upset Yakov wasn't "How could you do so something so violent and  
disgusting and immoral as to kill innocent people?" but "You've made me look bad  in 
the eyes of the locals, you acted hastily and impetuously without considering 
 the long-term consequences -- all the surrounding cities are likely to gang 
up  against me now, now that they see what my sons did to Shechem -- and I am 
too  weak and small to go to war with an entire nation, it isn't time yet, we 
can't  go to war with the people of Canaan until a couple more centuries have 
passed  and our population has multiplied."  In the event Hashem evidently  
protected B'Y, and Yakov's fears did not materialize -- the people of the land  
did not retaliate for the destruction of Shechem but left Yakov and his sons 
in  peace.
A possible counter argument is that on his deathbed, Yakov was highly  
critical of Shimon and Levi and apparently accused them of murder -- "be'apam  hargu 
ish."  It seems that Yakov thought they should have behaved  differently and 
should have found a way to save their sister without resorting  to violence.  
BTW R' Yitzchok Levine started this thread by asking whether RSRH "spoke  
loshon hora about Shimon and Levi" when he wrote that they adopted the methods  
of Esav, but if you look at Rashi on Ber. 49:5 you will see that Hirsch was  
closely following Rashi, who says there about Shimon and Levi, "Umanus zo shel  
retzicha chamas hu veyedeihem, mibirkas Esav hi zo, umanus shelo hi."  --  
"This business of killing people is stolen from Esav, that is Esav's type  of 
business."  You could say Rashi was speaking L'H about Shimon and Levi  but then 
you would have to say that Chazal were speaking L'H about them and  maybe the 
Torah itself was speaking L'H in recording Yakov's deathbed  words!

--Toby Katz
Read *Jewish  World Review* at _http://jewishworldreview.com/_ 

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