Avodah Mailing List

Volume 25: Number 426

Sat, 20 Dec 2008

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: "Eli Turkel" <elitur...@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 18 Dec 2008 08:36:31 +0200
[Avodah] asarah harugei malchut

: The piyut doesn't say anything of the sort.  The wicked king claims to
: be exacting justice for the sale of Yosef, and says he would have killed
: the shvatim themselves if they were still alive, but since they aren't
: he'll kill these 10 as their proxies.  None of this is supposed to be
: just or legitimate; the paytan is just showing the wickedness of the king,
: that not only did he kill these 10 tzadikim, but he dressed the murder up
: as some sort of mitzva >>

Regardless of how we interpret the killing of the 10 Martyrs we must remember
that this story is made up. The various Martyrs lived over a span of some 50-100
years and were killed under several different Roman emperors.
Hence, it is difficult to historically consider that Roman emperors really
connected anything to the sale of Yosef. This is what the paytan wishes to teach
rather than history

BTW does anyone know when this piyut/medrash was written?

Eli Turkel

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Message: 2
From: "Meir Rabi" <meir...@optusnet.com.au>
Date: Thu, 18 Dec 2008 14:48:13 +1100
[Avodah] Yosef Kappara and Tamar

The arguments and counter arguments about Yosef's brothers asking for
Mechila and if Yosef granted Mechila, seem like a discussion about "it was a
horse! NO it was a mule!" what is said and what is not. Why not put the text
itself on the discussion?


Is there some suggestion that even after the demise of Yosef there was still
some opportunity to attain forgiveness and Mechilla?

Aside from going to his Kever with a Minyan, the obvious answer, there is an
implied understanding that even many generations later some type of
reconciliation can be achieved. Does this mean that the old enmities were
still being maintained? All the way down to the 10 Martyrs?


And is there some understanding how their suffering brought reconciliation?



On another matter: Tamar - Why did Tamar wait until her pregnancy was
obvious; she sh/could have presented to Yehudah the evidence of his presence
and informed him that she is expecting. This would have avoided the
inevitable "showdown" and given Yehuda ample opportunity to devise an
honourable solution by marry her to Shelah or himself or send her away to
return later or not at all. If the last option frightened her and she wanted
to avoid this was she permitted to thus endanger her life?





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Message: 3
From: Zev Sero <z...@sero.name>
Date: Thu, 18 Dec 2008 16:44:58 -0500
Re: [Avodah] dreidel

Eli Turkel wrote:
> Just read an article that dreidel (sivivon) is based on an English
> game T-totem that
> went to Germany and was played mainly around Xmas.
> Any poskim outlaw dreidel based on chukat hagoyim?
> sounds much worse than Thanksgiving

There's nothing specifically goyish about it, any more than wagons or
dolls or blocks, or any other toy.  The inventor of the game is more
likely to have been a goy than a yid, just because there were a lot
more goyim than yidden in Europe at the time; but nobody knows, and it
may even have been invented independently several times.

The original letters were in Latin, where T was like the gimmel, and
stood for "totum".  Then it was translated into Yiddish, with "Nisht,
Gantz, Halb, Shtel"; and then someone came up with the "Nes Godol Hoyo
Shom" thing to give it a Chanukah flavour.

My question is whether kids started playing dreidel on Chanukah because
they were flush with Chanukah gelt, or whether they started getting
Chanukah gelt because they needed something to play dreidel with.
Either way, the story that they played dreidel to hid their Torah
learning, like the equivalent Lag Baomer story with the bows and
arrows, seems implausible.

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

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Message: 4
From: Yitzchok Levine <Larry.Lev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Thu, 18 Dec 2008 06:45:36 -0500
[Avodah] RSRH's Explanation of Yosef's First Dream

I found the explanation of Yosef's first dream 
given by RSRH on Bereshis 37: 7-8 most interesting. YL

According to the foregoing, Yosef told his brothers: ?In my dream
we were not so divided. We were united in our work; we worked together,
piling up the small sheaves into large heaps in the middle of the
field. I, too, was prepared to add my own small sheaf to the large common
heap, but my sheaf could not be moved. It stood up and remained
upright; it refused to be carried to the common heap in the center.
What is more, your sheaves formed a circle around my sheaf and bowed
down before my sheaf!?

This is a perfect portrayal of an isolated individual who towers in
stature above his brothers, who are gathered around him in a gesture
of obeisance. This happened against his will; he had been prepared to
make his own small contribution to the whole, and thereby be integrated
with all the others.

It is also interesting to note that the objects in Yosef ?s dream were
sheaves of wheat. Agriculture was not the brothers? occupation; they
were shepherds. Their destiny to become an agricultural nation was still
in the distant future. If farming was so much in Yosef ?s thoughts that
he even dreamed about it, this could have been so only because his
father, Yisrael, had taught him about the national destiny that was in
store for his family.

Precisely for this reason the brothers felt justified in their response:
?Do you want to become king over us some day? Or do you perhaps
want to be ruler over us even now? Such notions should not occur to
you even in a dream!? And so they hated him all the more, not only
because of the nature of his dream, but also for his impudence ? as
they saw it ? in telling them of it. 
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Message: 5
From: "Rich, Joel" <JR...@sibson.com>
Date: Thu, 18 Dec 2008 09:10:40 -0500
[Avodah] cities named for avoda zara

I haven't listened to it yet
Joel Rich
Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz
"Mumbai" - May We Say the Word?
Given on: Tuesday December 16, 2008
An analysis of the halachic permissibility of saying the names of cities
that are named for avoda zara. 


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Message: 6
From: "I. Balbin" <Isaac.Bal...@rmit.edu.au>
Date: Fri, 19 Dec 2008 08:43:18 +1100
Re: [Avodah] Jewish Hyper-sensitivity guided by Mesora

> Date: Thu, 18 Dec 2008 14:32:03 +1100
> From: "Meir Rabi" <meir...@optusnet.com.au>
> Which requires some elaboration, like whose Mesora? How far back? Does
> Mesora ever change? How have certain changes been accepted and others
> rejected? Is tat also part of the Mesora?
> Reb Moshe responded re wearing modern American clothing that were a
> variation from the traditions.

The answers are, your Mesora. Importantly, your Mesora does not  
disqualify someone elses. That's half the problems we have.

When Reb Moshe was asked by Lakewood whether they should keep Shabbos  
on Sunday as well in Melbourne, he responded "Go and see what the  
Yidden in Melbourne already do" He did not Pasken.

I forget which of the Brisker did this, but they started wearing a  
short suit jacket only after moving to a different city for a period  
of time where the Talmidei Chachomim did so. After that, they were  
able to go back to their own city and continue to wear the short suit  

Dr Chaym Soloveitchik got it right, in his tradition article, in my  

Mesora will only be unified when the Moshiach comes. Attempts to  
dilute people's Mesorah and/or contort it to be in keeping with  
someone elses only causes Sinas Chinom.

Rabbi Willig's shiur on Kezayis Matzah is another affirmation that you  
do what you saw from Kedoshim in your family.

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Message: 7
From: "Prof. Levine" <llev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Thu, 18 Dec 2008 16:49:05 -0500
[Avodah] Horaas Shaah

At 04:27 PM 12/18/2008, Michael Kopinsky wrote:

>But Rav Schwab did know German, and was very familiar with RSRH's writings,
>and was apparently convinced by RBBL's arguments.

Rav Schwab discusses his changing attitude toward TIDE in his article 
TIDE - A Second View which I have posted at 

It is not at all clear to me that Rav Schwab was *very* familiar with 
RSRH's writings when he went to Lithuania in 1926 at the age of 18 to 
study in Telshe.  True, he could read German, but reading Rav Hirsch 
in the original high level German idiom in which he wrote could not 
have been easy for anyone, let alone a teenager.

Yitzchok Levine 
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Message: 8
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 18 Dec 2008 17:35:44 -0500
Re: [Avodah] dreidel

On Thu, Dec 18, 2008 at 04:44:58PM -0500, Zev Sero wrote:
: There's nothing specifically goyish about it, any more than wagons or
: dolls or blocks, or any other toy.  The inventor of the game is more
: likely to have been a goy than a yid, just because there were a lot
: more goyim than yidden in Europe at the time; but nobody knows, and it
: may even have been invented independently several times.

By the 1700s, it was associated with Christmas. Jamieson's Dictionary,
in the appendix titled "Yul", writes about how kids would prepare for
the holiday by collecting pins for playing teetotum (vol II, pg 714)

That's not to say it was only played that time of year, but certainly
was associated with the season.

: The original letters were in Latin, where T was like the gimmel, and
: stood for "totum".  Then it was translated into Yiddish, with "Nisht,
: Gantz, Halb, Shtel"; and then someone came up with the "Nes Godol Hoyo
: Shom" thing to give it a Chanukah flavour.

The other sides had (A)ufer (take), (D)epone (put) and (N)ihil (nothing).

Getting rid of Latin was one of the key point of the English Reformation,
so the practice of using a Latin-labeled top as a holiday celebration
would have to (1) predate their current version of Christmas, or (2)
imply that the top was used year around, and only later got associate
with the season.

And Joseph Strutt (b. 1749) "Make it a Pleasure and Not a Task" mentions
playing teetotum as a child and makes no mention of Christmas.

The above was produced by excessive Googlingk, starting with checking
wikipedia's sources. My previous exposure to the concept of a teetotum
was Alice Through the Looking Glass (ch. 5). "'Are you a child or a
teetotum?' the Sheep said, as she took up another pair of needles. 'You'll
make me giddy soon, if you go on turning round like that.'" Martin
Gardner discusses it in his peirush.

My gut instinct is that the teetotum was a serious gambling instrument
before it was redueced to a children's toy. That seems to be the
implication of the old (public domain) Britannica. Both Jews and
Christians needed something indoors to entertain the kids during a cold
holiday, so they both hit upon giving out cheap tops.

Since we have a whole thing about gambling in this season, extended to
nitl nacht, kvitlach, etc... I would bet (sorry!) we were first. But
if my theory is correct, it really isn't the least bit religious.

(The word "tot", for a chlid just learning to walk similarly traces
itself back to teetotum as I found in Jamieson, a couple of hundred
pages earlier.)

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Our greatest fear is not that we're inadequate,
mi...@aishdas.org        Our greatest fear is that we're powerful
http://www.aishdas.org   beyond measure
Fax: (270) 514-1507                        - Anonymous

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Message: 9
From: T6...@aol.com
Date: Thu, 18 Dec 2008 00:48:32 EST
Re: [Avodah] Did RSRH Write LH about Shimon and Levi


From: Michael  Poppers
In Avodah Digest V25#421,  RnTK wrote:
> [Dinah's] life was ruined <
In case this hasn't yet  been noted, see Da'as Z'qeinim on 1-41:45: "...d'bas 
Dinah hay'sah miSh'chem,  v'talah lah Ya'aqov Avinu qamia' bitzkva'arah 
_v'hishlichah_..." (emphasis  mine: YA sent her [and his granddaughter/her daughter 
As'nas] away from the  family...is "banished" too harsh a word?). 

All the best  from
--Michael Poppers via RIM pager

I find it hard to take that medrash seriously because there is simply no  
textual support for the notion that Dinah was sent away or that she had a  
daughter or that "Asnas bas Potiphera" was really "Asnas the daughter of Dinah  and 
Shechem" or that Eishes Potiphar adopted a daughter.   It's all  based on 
what?  And explains what?
When Rashi quotes a medrash it is usually because the medrash answers  some 
question in the text.  IIANM Rashi does not quote this particular  medrash 
anywhere.  What Rashi does say (Ber. 39:1) is that Eishes Potiphar  saw in her 
astrology that she was destined to have children from Yosef, and she  didn't know 
if it was from her or from her daughter.
If her daughter wasn't even her daughter but was a foster child, Asnas bas  
Shechem veDinah, then in what possible way could it be said that a child of  
Yosef's and Asnas' would be the fulfillment of "she saw that she was destined to 
 have children from him"?  How would that child be related to Eishes  
That medrash, whatever it means and wherever it comes from, is not pshat  and 
does not fit the pesukim at all, and as I said, Rashi makes no mention of  it.
(and I have it bekabala from an adam godol that it is not necessary to  
believe that every medrash is literally true)
You will also find in Ber 46:15 that Dinah is mentioned explicitly in the  
pasuk as one of the 70 family members who went down to Egypt with Yakov.   There 
is no suggestion whatsoever there that she had gone down to Egypt earlier  or 
that she had sent a child of hers down to Egypt earlier.   Now  Rashi there 
does say that she only agreed to leave the city of Shechem when her  brother 
Shimon promised to marry her.  Rashi also says (Ber 46:10) that the  "Shaul ben 
haCana'anis" mentioned among the children of Shimon was actually  Dinah's son. 
  Her son by Shechem or her son by Shimon?  Not  clear.  In any case there is 
no mention that she had a daughter, neither in  the pasuk nor in Rashi.

--Toby Katz
"If you don't  read the newspaper you are uninformed; 
if you do read the newspaper you are  misinformed."
--Mark Twain

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

**************One site keeps you connected to all your email: AOL Mail, 
Gmail, and Yahoo Mail. Try it now. 
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Message: 10
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 18 Dec 2008 17:44:57 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Yosef Kappara and Tamar

On Thu, Dec 18, 2008 at 02:48:13PM +1100, Meir Rabi wrote:
: Is there some suggestion that even after the demise of Yosef there was still
: some opportunity to attain forgiveness and Mechilla?

As I already mentioned, R' Bachya said the kaparah was not because Yoseif
didn't forgive them. He did. However, he never articulated that mechilah.
It bothered me when I cited it. Why should their guilt carry on for
millennia just because he didn't say "I forgive you?"

In light of the train of thought RMR's post triggered, I would not suggest
that the problem wasn't obtaining Yoseif's mechilah, but HQBH. They were
willing to go to their graves thinking they weren't mefayeis Yoseif. Their
cheshbon with Yoseif was cleared, but there internal cheshbonos were not.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             For a mitzvah is a lamp,
mi...@aishdas.org        And the Torah, its light.
http://www.aishdas.org                   - based on Mishlei 6:2
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Message: 11
From: Yitzhak Grossman <cele...@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 18 Dec 2008 23:51:30 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Did RSRH Write LH about Shimon and Levi

[We are discussing the question of the tenability of the suggestion
that Dinah was seduced, rather than, as conventionally assumed, raped.]

RnTK brought to my attention the comment of Rashi to the verse
(Bereishis 34:7) "ve'chen lo ye'aseh":

"le'anos [lamed ayin nun vav tav] es he'besulos, she'ha'umos gadru
azman min ha'arayos al yedei ha'mabul"


She argued that this implies that Rashi interprets the episode as
rape.  I promised to check the super-commentaries, and I have done so.
Although there certainly are those who understand Rashi this way, most
notably Rav Eliyahu Mizrahi, I also found the super-commentary Nahalas
Ya'akov, who says *exactly* what I've been saying all along:

"And even though the Rav [i.e. Rashi] wrote "le'anos es ha'besulos",
which implies, that everything depended on that which he [Shechem]
oppressed her against her will, which is theft, we can say, that it is
not so [lav davka], first, for it is not evident from the text that he
raped her, but on the contrary "va'ye'daber al lev ha'na'ra", and also,
if we assume that he raped her, how did the Rav know to interpret
"va'ye'a'ne'ha" - "shelo ke'darka", perhaps "va'ye'a'ne'ha" means,
"ke'darka" but rape, against her will, and certainly according to what
the Shas says (Yoma 77b) "she'inah mi'bios aheros", implying that she
became desirous of him and he withheld further intercourse from her,
and it is implausible ["dohek"] that first he had intercourse with her
against her will and afterward she became desirous of him.

And that which Rambam wrote that it was theft even though he seduced
her, this is because we rule that seduction of a minor is considered
rape ["ones"], and Dinah at that time was six or seven years old, and
she was still in her father's domain, and it is therefore called theft,
but the liability ["hiyuv", i.e. the sin for which he was liable] was
still theft, and not "ervah".

And if the Rav did indeed mean by "le'anos", that he raped her, we can
say that they only restricted themselves from and prohibited
[intercourse with] unmarried women through rape, and not consensual

Nahalas Yehoshua (by Rav Ya'akov Selenik, the son of Rav Binyamin
Aharon Selenik, the author of Responsa Masas Binyamin) to the above

He leans toward seduction based on a close reading of the text, and
inclines toward interpreting Rashi's comment accordingly, although he
does admit the possibility that Rashi assumes rape. Baruch

Incidentally, Wolf2191 (http://ishimshitos.blogspot.com) notes
(in private correspondence) that Shadal assumes rape:


Bein Din Ledin - http://bdl.freehostia.com
A discussion of Hoshen Mishpat, Even Ha'Ezer and other matters

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Message: 12
From: "Eli Turkel" <elitur...@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 19 Dec 2008 12:16:23 +0200
[Avodah] mesorahReb Moshe responded re wearing modern

Reb Moshe responded re wearing modern American clothing that were a
variation from the traditions.>>

RMF also was against nusach sefard (chassidic) as it was a change from
tradition although that happened some 300 years ago. Evidently his
opinion is that it makes no difference how long ago a mesorah was
changed it is still considered a change today.

I don't think most people feel that way

Eli Turkel

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Message: 13
From: Yitzchok Levine <Larry.Lev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Fri, 19 Dec 2008 05:22:38 -0500
[Avodah] RSRH on Consoling Someone

The following is from RSRH's commentary to Bereshis 37: 35. YL

35 All his sons and daughters arose to console him, but he refused to 
accept consolation. He said: I shall go to my grave, mourning
for my son. Thus his father wept for him.

("His daughters" probably refers to his daughters-in-law.)
All of them "arose" to console him. They did not "go" or "come";
they "arose" to console him. "To arise" in order to perform an act
implies that the act is born of resolution, an act one must bring oneself
to perform. Until this point, they themselves were immersed in grief.
No one feels so much grief as do those who must console a mourner.
To see one's aged father inconsolable, viewing every cheerful thought
as a sin, would move even a heartless scoundrel to agonized remorse.
He would be too distraught to offer consolation, because he would be
in need of consolation himself.

But why didn't any of them attempt to sprinkle soothing balm upon
the wound? Why didn't they reveal to him: "Yosef is alive!"? The answer:
because that would have been the greatest cruelty of all. In the minds
of parents, a child who was torn by wild beasts is never lost, but a child
who is wicked is worse than lost. Therefore, he who would not aggravate
the father's grief a thousandfold would have to remain silent until the
day when Yosef would return and the joy of the reunion would mitigate
in the father's mind even the crime that had been committed by his
other sons. Had they told Ya'akov at that time the truth about what
had been done to Yosef, Ya'akov would have felt as though he had lost
not only one son, but ten sons at one time.

No one can console another person. One can only offer him reasons for taking
comfort; the mourner himself must take these reasons to heart, if they
are to effect a change in his frame of mind. Ya'akov, however, refused
even to attempt to bring about such a change in himself.
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Message: 14
From: "Eli Turkel" <elitur...@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 19 Dec 2008 16:00:40 +0200
[Avodah] chanukah candles and women

I still do not understand why wives generally do not light chanukah candles
according to the Ashkenazi custom that each person lights seperately

1. Is there any other mirzva where we apply ishto kegufo?
Certainly a woman can shake a lulav with a beracha (Ramah) even though
her husband already did it

2. If ishto kegufo why can;t the wife light even lechachtila for the husband and
why if he is absent does he need to appoint her as a shaliach?

3. According to Rambam that mehadrin min hamehadrin means the
husband/father lights for each member of the family (not like the Ramah that
each lights for themselves) does the husband add candles for the wife?

4. Why dont single girls (over 12) at home light chanukah candles.
They are now required
and one cant apply ishto kegufo. The fact that they wont light when married
doesnt override the present mitzvah (it is not just chinuch she is over 12)

I understand that by RYBS the women in the house did light but that is
not the general custom

Eli Turkel

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Message: 15
From: Zev Sero <z...@sero.name>
Date: Fri, 19 Dec 2008 10:51:45 -0500
Re: [Avodah] mesorahReb Moshe responded re wearing modern

Eli Turkel wrote:
> Reb Moshe responded re wearing modern American clothing that were a
> variation from the traditions.>>
> RMF also was against nusach sefard (chassidic) as it was a change from
> tradition although that happened some 300 years ago.

Where did he write this?  I know he wrote that the differences between
the two are trivial, and when it's written not to change traditions it
doesn't include such trivial changes.  His own father grew up davening

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

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Message: 16
From: "Meir Rabi" <meir...@optusnet.com.au>
Date: Sat, 20 Dec 2008 23:13:48 +1100
[Avodah] LeShanos MipNey HaShalom

Why are the brothers of Yosef praised for not speaking pleasantly to Yosef
thus not being Achas BePeh VeAchas BeLev, why should they not have put on a
pleasant or polite face, LeMaAn HaShalom?


The expression in the Passuk, VeLo YaChLu, sounds like they may have wanted
to but were not Halachically permitted to.


Was YaAkov not aware of this communication breakdown?


Meir Rabi


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