Avodah Mailing List

Volume 25: Number 435

Sun, 28 Dec 2008

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: "Eli Turkel" <elitur...@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 26 Dec 2008 13:42:36 +0200
[Avodah] security camera

<<In sharp contrast, I can't figure out what melacha a person might
even be accused of when a security camera takes pictures of him
(regardless of whether it is film or electronic photography).

But I did not *put* my image onto the picture. I was totally passive,
and the camera automatically took a picture that I happened to be in.
This is not a direct act; this is not an indirect act; this is not
even mis'asek; I don't see how it is an action at all. >>

This assumes the camera is constantly running. However, if the camera
is turned on when it "sees" an intruder than it is active. This is the
case with electric lights which are turned on when someone approaches
a building.
Even in this case R. Wosner allows it if he gets no benefit from the
the lights being turned on (ie a neighbors security lamp)

Eli Turkel

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Message: 2
From: "kennethgmil...@juno.com" <kennethgmil...@juno.com>
Date: Fri, 26 Dec 2008 12:43:09 GMT
Re: [Avodah] priorities in halacha

R' Danny Schoemann wrote:
> Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:5 - If one can afford it, one
> should buy a silver Menorah to beautify the Mitzva.

R' Zev Sero asked:
> Isn't it a little strange for a sefer halacha to impose
> a particular aesthetic as if the author's tastes were
> universal?

I *wish* it were strange. Unfortunately, it seems all too common. A classic example is eating meat on Shabbos. 

I have seen recent "seforim" prescribe the sort of tablecloths and dinner
utensils which should be used or avoided on Shabbos. I wish these authors
would preface their words with something like, "In our communities, these
things tend to be considered more beautiful..."

Akiva Miller

Free information on Trade Schools. Click Here.

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Message: 3
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 26 Dec 2008 09:00:07 -0500
Re: [Avodah] A Heathen Expression

On Thu, Dec 25, 2008 at 12:45:16PM -0500, Yitzchok Levine quoted RSRH
on Ber 42:4:
: 4 But Binyamin, Yosef 's brother, Ya'akov did not send with his 
: brothers, for he said: An accident might befall him.

: The common expression that something "happens" is a heathen 
: expression. Nothing happens by itself; everything is designed by the 
: Designer of all things.

I see this as placing RSRH in the universal HP camp.

But if the statement is "heathen", why would Yaaqov avinu say it?

: Only man, by exercising his free and moral will, shapes his own destiny.

Second, it's common for criminals to speak about the crimes in the
passive voice. "I feel terrible about what happened." I would think,
therefore, that this pasuq betrays Yaaqov having feelings of guilt about
Yoseif's fate.


Micha Berger             Mussar is like oil put in water,
mi...@aishdas.org        eventually it will rise to the top.
http://www.aishdas.org                    - Rabbi Israel Salanter
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Message: 4
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 26 Dec 2008 09:15:20 -0500
Re: [Avodah] pach hashemen

There is a Yalqut Re'uveini that connects Yaaqov's pachim qetanim to
Chanukah's pach shemen. I recently used it in a blog entry

This is how I retold and interpreted it:

Yaaqov went back across the river to get some "pachim qetanim", small
jugs. When crossing back again to his family, Yaakov encounters an angel,
identified with Eisav and his people's guardian (among other candidates).

One of these pachim made its way down the ages to Shemu'el. Shemu'el
used it to anoint Sha'ul as our nation's first king.

 From Shemu'el, the jug was eventually inherited by Elisha. When the poor
Shunamit woman came to him desperate for funds so that her sons won't be
sold as slaves, Elisha told her to collect any vessel she had that could
hold oil, and to borrow all such that she could from her neighbors. And
Elisha then took the jug with the left over oil from the annointing of
Sha'ul, and filled every utensil in her home.

(I'm sure you see what's coming next, but to spell out the details.)
This jug was then placed in the first Beis haMiqdash, not with the
other jugs of oil, but with the collection of artifacts that attest to
miracles (the jar of mon, Moshe's staff, Aharon's blooming almond branch,
etc..) And the jug made it through the interegnum and was placed in a
similar spot in the second bayis. The seal that most understand to be
a mark of purity is taken by this midrash to also mark this special jug
so that it not be confused with the regular ones.

When the Yevanim defiled all the oil, this oil wasn't found because
it wasn't stored with the rest! (I know, if we assume this medrash is
historical, it contradicts a trend of thought I developed in another
recent post.) And the same miracle that supported the Shunamit is the
miracle of the oil of Chanukah. The pach shemen of Chanukah was one of
the pachim qetanim of Yaaqov.
What's the point of this medrash, the lesson it's written to teach?
Looking at the key themes in it, I think I can suggest an idea.
Rashi on Vayishlach quotes Chazal that Yaaqov went back because the
righteous consider their money precious, because they earn their money
honestly. Proper business ethics isn't "just" the permissable way to
conduct business, it actually sanctifies the activity. And therefore,
the pachim qetanim were sacred to Yaaqov, not to be simply left behind.
Sha'ul's mission for his kingship is to vanquish Amaleiq. Amaleiq is a
nation whose namesake forefather was Eisav's grandson....

The Shunamit was supported in her time of need by the rewards of Yaaqov's
sacred toiling in this world....

Chanukah was a step before Eisav-Edom, back at Yavan, Rome's role
model. The Jews lost themselves to Hellene values. To a religion where
even the gods represent physical forces...

And then they find the jug of oil. The jug of holy wordliness, of
sanctifying the universe through halakhah. Not disdain for the physical
or the beautiful, but knowing its value -- as a tool. And with that
concept the Chashmonaim revived Jewish loyalty, disbanded Hellenist
oppression, and restored the concept of Jewish autonomy for the next two
centuries. And when we couldn't maintain that, we still had the notion
that there was a role for Yefetic culture but not a clear idea of what
that role was, in stepped Edom. Through that struggle with Edom, we can
restore the world to "two great lights" [a reference to a Maharsha that
I skipped in this post but was in the blog] -- Yisrael and Eisav working
in harmony.



Micha Berger             When faced, with a decision, ask yourself,
mi...@aishdas.org        "How would I decide if it were Ne'ilah now,
http://www.aishdas.org   at the closing moments of Yom Kippur?"
Fax: (270) 514-1507                            - Rav Yisrael Salanter

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Message: 5
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 26 Dec 2008 09:38:41 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Security Cameras & Sattelites on Shabbas

On Thu, Dec 25, 2008 at 01:44:17AM +0000, kennethgmil...@juno.com wrote:
: A telephone is VERY different than a camera.
: When one speaks, and his voice is carried by the phone, his voice
: affects the electric current...

When one stands before an electronic camera, the light he reflects
impacts upon a grid of capacitors, causing the capacitor to charge
up in proportion to the light hitting it. This is then handed down
bucket-brigade fasion eventually reaching a charge amplifier and the
amount of charge it converted into a voltage.

: But I did not *put* my image onto the picture. I was totally passive,
: and the camera automatically took a picture that I happened to be
: in. This is not a direct act; this is not an indirect act; this is not
: even mis'asek; I don't see how it is an action at all.

Usually a security camera is already running when you enter its field
and move within it. And if not, worse -- you cause a motion detector to
start it going.

BTW, we discussed this in vol 5 in the early 100s (although that
was mostly about motion detectors and house lights), and vol 12,
at around issues 78 and 80. I particularly liked RET's post at
http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/vol12/v12n080.shtml#20 , where he
paraphrases RMJBroyde and his LOR's conversation with R' Zilberstein.
(RMJB focuses on pesiq reishei delo ikhpas lei and that in most cases
the triggered event is derabbanan -- no filaments involved.)

Which explaines the difference with a microphone, where the result is
not only ikhpas lei, but nicha lei.

RSBA once saw a teshuvah (he wrote about it in Aug '00) by R' Wosner
permitting walking in front of a camera, he thinks the reason given
was that it's not a melekhes machsheves. In the same conversation,
RCMarkowitz quoted RDF as permitting.


Micha Berger             When you come to a place of darkness,
mi...@aishdas.org        you don't chase out the darkness with a broom.
http://www.aishdas.org   You light a candle.
Fax: (270) 514-1507        - R' Yekusiel Halberstam of Klausenberg zt"l

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Message: 6
From: "Tzvi Haber" <tzvihir...@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 26 Dec 2008 11:55:31 -0500
[Avodah] security cameras

It would seem a possible problem could be Kosev. I believe i heard in the
name of Rav Elyashiv regarding the old city cameras - which are eveywhere -
that since there is not always a display for each camera (they rotate) there
is no psik reisha. even if there would be a display it would be a temporary
kesiva. Many (frum) areas of Manhattan have the same problem.
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Message: 7
From: Harvey Benton <harveyben...@yahoo.com>
Date: Fri, 26 Dec 2008 10:23:35 -0800 (PST)
Re: [Avodah] Cameras on Shabbas



I do not fully get the analogy or appropriateness of a
microphone to a camera. Do we know for sure that a camera taking a picture with
or without an image, or with different backgrounds or colors uses the same
amount of electricity?? And if the amount
of electricity used does vary, would it be a problem?


Some people wait to open a refrigerator on Shabbas, until
they can actually hear the motor running, so as not to trip the motor circuit.
However, the simple act of opening a fridge, whether or not the motor is on at
the time, causes warmer air to enter, thus necessitating that the motor will
run longer.? People however DO open
refrigerators on Shabbas, so affecting electricity usage might not be a


The Microphone is assur for another reason that I was told;? you are deriving
benefit from it (neicha lei).



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Message: 8
From: "Rich, Joel" <JR...@sibson.com>
Date: Fri, 26 Dec 2008 15:42:32 -0500
[Avodah] Rav Aviner on Amen Meals

"Amen Meals"
Q: What is Ha-Rav's opinion about "Amen Meals" (participants take
different types of food, recite a blessing before eating and those who
hear the blessings answer "Amen")?
A: This is a new creation. It is permissible to participate since they
are not doing anything inappropriate; they are reciting blessings and
saying "amen." Why do women do this? In order to increase merits for
themselves, for the sick, for young women to find mates, etc... But if
people want to increase merits they do not have to invent new venues.
The problem of increasing merit has always existed, and we have already
been told what to do: repent, pray and give tzedakah (prayers of the
High Holidays). One should pray, give the money one would spend on the
"Amen meal" to tzedakah and repent for things he is not doing well. Is
it worthwhile to participate in an "Amen meal"? It is preferable to
increase merits not through newly created paths but through
well-established and clear ones. There is, however, another aspect to
these meals: they are a social gathering. Some women are being
constricted at home by running the home and taking care of the children
and they need to get together with friends. Without friends they will
die, as it says in the Gemara: "friendship or death" (Ta'anit 23a).
Instead of bumping into friends at the supermarket and chatting, they
recite blessings and answer amen. This is fine, but if it is to increase
merits, Hashem already thought of this and gave us 613 mitzvot and we do
not have to create new things.
Q: What about women gathering to separate challah?
A: This is also a new creation. If one bakes and uses a certain amount
of flour there is a mitzvah to separate challah, but nowhere is it
written that people should gather together to do so. It is possible to
take that time and use it to fulfill other mitzvot - ancient creations.

Joel Rich

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Message: 9
From: Dovi Jacobs <dovijac...@yahoo.com>
Date: Sat, 27 Dec 2008 23:05:12 -0800 (PST)
[Avodah] Online Aruch Hashulchan: Hilchos Hashkamah, Tzitzis,

(Redirecting to Avodah per moderator comment.)

Having finished Hilchos Tefillin
as of the fourth candle of Chanukkah, I'm pleased to announce that the
initial halachos of Orach Chaim are now complete in the online, edited
version of the Aruch Hashulchan: Hilchos Hashkamas Haboker, Tzitizis,
Tefillin (simanim 1-45). I've started Hilchos Birchos Hashachar, and
hope God willing to finish Hilchos Tefillah sometime around Pesach.

Since Hilchos Mezuzah and Sefer Torah
in Yoreh Deah are already done, the addition of Hilchos Tefillin makes
all of the complementary texts in hilchos sta"m complete. Those who
learn Orach Chaim may want to supplement Hilchos Tefillin with the material in Yoreh Deah.

In the meantime, my co-contributor Netanel has already finished the bulk of Hilchos Shabbos,
which he will finish IYH in the coming months. Done so far are simanim
242-299 and 345-416. Hilchos Shabbos is a vast endeavor, and Netanel
deserves great credit for his perseverance.

Thus, in conjunction with previous material, the following parts of the Aruch Hashulchan are now done: 

Orach Chaim:
*Hashkamas Haboker, Tzitzis, Tefillin (simanim 1-45).
*Hilchos Shabbos & Eruvin (simanim 242-416) is about 3/4 complete.
*All of the Moadim (simanim 417-697) has been complete for some time.
In total, most of Orach Chaim is already done, and it should be nearing completion during the current year.
Index to Orach Chaim: http://he.wikisource.org/wiki/AHS:OH


Yoreh Deah:

Simanim 240-291, encompassing Hilchos Kibbud Av va-Em, Kevod Rabbo
ve-Talmid Chacham, Talmud Torah, Tzedakah, Millah, Avadim, Gerim, Sefer Torah,
Mezuzah.Simanim 334-403, encompassing Hilchos Niddui ve-Cherem, Bikkur
Cholim, and Avelus.Index to Yoreh Deah: http://he.wikisource.org/wiki/AHS<

Remember that besides just printing or reading these texts for your own Torah study, you can also correct and improve them
as well, for yourself and for others! You can correct typos, improve
the punctuation, and even improve the formatting of entire pages. You
are also?invited to add?new simonim on your own. Two of the website's
main contributors have professional experience with editing Torah texts and/or proofreading, and we are happy to help others contribute as well.

In addition, I will be adding a post to Avodah in the near future with
some ideas for re-thinking the "Aruch Hashulchan Yomi" (the current
cycle is set to end a few days after this coming Shavuos).

be makdish your learning of halachah from these texts in the zechus of
Israel's wounded and captive soldiers, for acheni kol beis yisrael in poverty, sickness or distress (among them Rivkah bas
 Tirtsel), and the strength and peace of all Israel.


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Message: 10
From: "Eli Turkel" <elitur...@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 28 Dec 2008 11:27:24 +0200
[Avodah] things not in the mishna

Nin giving a shiur I discussed the fact that Chanukah is only mentioned
in the Mishna as an aside and there are no hilchot chanukah in the Mishna
in contradistinction to Purim which has its own mesechta.

Someone asked me that there are many halachot that are not mentioned
in the Mishna. Tefillin have an aside in Menachot, Tzizit, Mezuzah,
Brit Milah, Gerut are among the many basic halachot that are left out
of the Mishna. On the other hand tefilla/berachot gets a whole mesechta
while korbanot gets a whole seder.

Question: Is there any reason why some halachot are essentially ignored
in the Mishna?

Just to be clearer. Obviously the gemara adds many details to the Mishna but
at least the Mishna gives the basic halachot. For tefiilin the mishna
only states
that one can wear tefillin of the head and arm independently as an
adjunct to many
halachot where one part does not prevent another part

Eli Turkel

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Message: 11
From: "Eli Turkel" <elitur...@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 28 Dec 2008 13:51:07 +0200
[Avodah] chanukah and other things not in the Mishna

A discussion of why Chanukah and other topics are not in the Mishna


Eli Turkel

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Message: 12
From: Yitzchok Levine <Larry.Lev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Sun, 28 Dec 2008 10:24:48 -0500
[Avodah] The Difference Between Rachamim and Rachmonis

RSRH gives a most interesting explanation of the 
difference between Rachamim and Rachmonis. YL

Bereshis 43: 14 May the All-sufficing God grant 
you compassion before the man, so that he may let 
your other brother and Binyamin go. As for me, if 
I must be bereaved of my children, then I will be bereaved.

Rachamim denotes the attribute of God?s love for His creatures, which is
most general and will never be lost. The attribute of Rachamim should also
be the guiding principle in human relations. Rachamim  is love of family, love
of parents for their children, love of children for one another because
of the one Rechem from which they came forth.

People tend to confuse Rachamim  with the popular expression Rachmonis and
take the attribute of Rachamim to be pity. Pity, however, is of a much lower
level than that of true Rachamim.

Which is rarer, which is nobler: sharing in others? pain or sharing
in others? joy? Very few people do not feel pain at the suffering of their
fellow men. But this is certain: not all those who today share in a poor
man?s pain will rejoice to the same degree if overnight he becomes rich,
and tomorrow passes them in the street, riding with his family in an
elegant carriage.

Rachamim, the attribute by which our nation is distinguished (Yevamos
79a), means more than pity. Rachamim stems from Rechem, which denotes the
most intense and self-sacrificing investment of energy by one being for
the formation and emergence of another being; the commitment of all
of one?s blood and energy for the sake of another being?s formation
and completion. Rechem, the womb, is the hearth of the deepest devotion.
Afterward, too, when the new being has been completed, the Rechem ?
this deepest devotion ? effects not only sympathy with the baby?s crying
but even more intimate joy with its smiling. A smile of a baby on
the lap of its mother makes up for years of worry and sleepless nights.
 From Rechem derives the attribute of Rachamim. This attribute not only suffers
when the other suffers, but knows no rest until it sees him happy.

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Message: 13
From: "Danny Schoemann" <doni...@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 28 Dec 2008 18:13:29 +0200
Re: [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 separately....

HoRav Shimon Moshe Diskin zt"l wrote in Mas'eis HaMelech: [1]

The reason for Mehadrin in Chanuka lighting is because the miracle was
caused by  a Hidur Mitzva, as they could have lit with Tomai oil,
since Tuma is allowed in public.

Now, since there are 2 reasons for lighting; the salvation and
lighting the Menora, and we know that women are exempt from the Avodah
in the Bet Hamikdash (see Zera Avrohom 3:6)  therefore women only
light because of the salvation, since they too were part of that

Therefor they have no Din of Mehadrin; after all, the reason for
lighting by oneself is only because of Mehadrin so therefore there's
no reason for them to light separately.

As a logical conclusion, if a woman lights, she wouldn't need to
follow the Mehadrin laws of Chanuka, however the laws of Hidur Mitzva
- up to a third - would apply. This would be a big Chidush (Mechudash
Beyoser) and needs research.

[1] Source: page 57, Kol HaTorah; Yeshiva Kol Torah's "Chanuka Torah
compendium 5769

- Danny, Zot Chanukah, Jerusalem.

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Message: 14
From: "Eli Turkel" <elitur...@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 28 Dec 2008 19:10:02 +0200
Re: [Avodah] chanukah candles and women

> The reason for Mehadrin in Chanuka lighting is because the miracle was
> caused by  a Hidur Mitzva, as they could have lit with Tomai oil,
> since Tuma is allowed in public.
> Now, since there are 2 reasons for lighting; the salvation and
> lighting the Menora, and we know that women are exempt from the Avodah
> in the Bet Hamikdash (see Zera Avrohom 3:6)  therefore women only
> light because of the salvation, since they too were part of that
> miracle.
>Therefore they have no Din of Mehadrin; after all, the reason for
> lighting by oneself is only because of Mehadrin so therefore there's
> no reason for them to light separately.
>As a logical conclusion, if a woman lights, she wouldn't need to
> follow the Mehadrin laws of Chanuka, however the laws of Hidur Mitzva
> - up to a third - would apply. This would be a big Chidush (Mechudash
> Beyoser) and needs research.

1. As the author himself admits if a woman is alone and lights candles
I have never heard
that she has only the basic mitzvah and not mehadrin
In fact the Mechaber only mentions mehadrin min hamehadrin

2. He claims that because women are exempt from avodah they are not included in
mehadrin. I lost the connection

In a shiur I went to the rav took it for granted that women are part
of the tzibbur and
so are included in the mitzvah (passively like everyone else) of lighting the
Menorah in the Temple. Is this author assuming that women are not part
of the tzibbur
for getting kaparah from korbanot even though they don't give a half
shekel? Why would
the Menorah be any different from any other service in the Temple?

Eli Turkel

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Message: 15
From: "Eli Turkel" <elitur...@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 28 Dec 2008 20:46:49 +0200
[Avodah] TIDE in Lthuania

<<Rabbi Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer has kindly given me permission to post
his article dealing with TIDE schools in Lithuania that appears in
this month's Jewish Observer. ...  it makes it clear
that the gedolim in Lithuania were willing to provide a TIDE
education to the youth, because the environmental situation in
Lithuania had changed as a result of the modernization of the
country.  Indeed, it seems that not only were they willing, but that
they felt it was necessary.>>

I fully agree with the assessment of the importance of this article

If I read the footnote correctly more youth remained religious in this
part of Lithuania then in the area around Brisk where TIDE did not
Interesting that the gedolim in EY decided on the Brisker attitude
rather than the Telshe approach to gymanisum in spite of the greater
success of the Telshe & TIDE

It seems that Telshe was in general more open to secular studies. My
wife grew up in Cleveland many years ago and her teachers were the
rebbetzins from Telshe.  They were experts in Tanach ala Nechama
Leibowitz (they were her contemporaries and obviosly their education
was independent of hers) and in general were wordly
I believe that the wife of R. Bloch had a MD

Eli Turkel


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