Avodah Mailing List

Volume 26: Number 97

Tue, 26 May 2009

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: rabbirichwol...@gmail.com
Date: Sun, 24 May 2009 23:07:27 +0000
[Avodah] How were Levi'I'm Counted?

Rashi Bamidbar 3:16 
Levi'I'm were counted "al pi Hashem"

Does this imply that they did not use Mahatzis Hasheqel?

Do any Midrashim or Mefarshim elaborate upon this method?

Gutn Chodesh
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

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Message: 2
From: rabbirichwol...@gmail.com
Date: Mon, 25 May 2009 21:30:59 +0000
Re: [Avodah] The MB, Minhagei Lita, and Temimos

Y Levine:
> During the fifty years after publication of the Mishnah Berurah until
> the destruction of Lithuanian Jewry communities did not adopt those
> decisions and recommendations of the Mishnah Berurah that ran counter to
> the traditionally acceptedminhagim. Not even in Radin, where the Chafetz
> Chaim had his Yeshivah, did the community change the traditional customs
> in favor of those urged by the Chafetz Chaim. Hence, many people today
> mistakenly assume that whatever the Mishnah Berurah recommended must have
> been the accepted custom in Lithuania. Again, I will point out some of
> these anomalies as we come upon them...

Years ago I posted that the Litvisher rabbanim I knew said that the AhS
was the prevailing poseiq in Lita no the MB. FWIW One of these rabbanim
lived in Hartford and his father-in-law was a rav in Baltimore.

The last 3 doros of Gdolei Psaq in Lita went more or less like this
R Yitzchok Elchanan Spektor
Rav Chaim Ozer. Grodzinsky

However the yeshivisher world has since lionized other G'dolim instead.


I heard this related story:
Rac Chaim Brisker was such a genius that people forgot what a tremendous
ba'al chessed he was and
The Chofetz Chaim was such a tzaddik, that people forgot what a great
lamdan he was.

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Message: 3
From: "Shlomo Pick" <pic...@mail.biu.ac.il>
Date: Mon, 25 May 2009 17:01:41 +0300
[Avodah] har sinai

Last shabbos was the yahrzeit of the last radziner rebbe before the war, and he
died al Kiddush hashem during the war.  I was at the yahrzeit tisch with the
present day rebbe here in bnei brak and he said over some torah from the
father of the rebbe hy&quot;d. Among the things he said was why does the Torah
relate that bnei yisrael camp kenneged hahar, I should have said al yad,
eitzel or tachat hahar. He answered that in the desert when one camps he
camps with his back towards the mountain, for the mountain offers protection
against the winds, sands, etc.  So why does it say keneged?  Because it
teaches that when klal yisrael came to Sinai, they were ready to turn their
backs towards the world, worldliness, and all that is comprised in olam
hazeh. They wanted ruchinyuss, and that was their message upon arriving at

If you accept this, then the author of this homily added one can understand
the verse in dayeinu.  The fact that God brought us to Sinai is sufficient
because it afforded us the opportunity to turn our backs on worldliness, and
seek ruchniysuss which was granted in the next verse of dayeinu.

and ein meshivin al haderush,

chag sameiach

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Message: 4
From: AES <aesr...@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 25 May 2009 15:26:47 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Kinyan on Shabbas? (Har Sinai)

RHB asked several questions, including the following:
2. Kinyan Questions:
A.  Did Hashem make us his nation at Har Sinai (or at Yetzias
Mitzrayim?). If at Har Sinai, isn't that considered a Kinyan on the
part of Hashem??

IIRC, this kinyan did not take place at Har Sinai, but rather occurred
when Hashem told us "You shall be a Kingdom of Priests and a Holy
Nation" and we responded with "Everything that Hashem has commanded we
will do."  Shemos 19:6-8.  According to the Taamei HaMinhagim (brought
down here: http://revach.net/article.php?id=3793&;style=print), this
happened on the Yom HaMeyuchas - today - the second day of Sivan.

(However, see http://www.ou.org/chagim/roshchodesh/sivan/yomhameyuchas.htm
where it states that Hashem's statement to us occurred on Rosh Chodesh
Sivan and our response was the next day.)


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Message: 5
From: Richard Wolpoe <rabbirichwol...@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 25 May 2009 23:07:14 -0400
Re: [Avodah] The MB, Minhagei Lita, and Temimos

On Sun, May 24, 2009 at 10:27 AM, Yitzchok Levine

>  Rabbi Menachem Mendel (Manual) Poliakoff is the dean of Baltimore rabbis.
> He is a grandson of the Rabbi Avraham Nachman Schwartz, who founded the
> Talmudical Academy of Baltimore in 1917. (See *"* Bringing Torah Education
> to Baltimore<http://www.jewishpress.c
> om/pageroute.do/36516/Bringing_Torah_Education_To_Baltimore_Dr._Yitzch
> ok_Levine.html>"
> *The Jewish Press, *October 3, 2008, pages 57 & 75. )
> Yitzchok Levine
> *Background
> *A commonly-held fallacy is that only within the geographical borders of
> today's Lithuania did the various Jewish communities observe the Lithuanian
> customs. The
> truth is *Minhag Lita *prevailed throughout most of Eastern Europe, from
> the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea, including Belarusia (White Russia) and
> substantial sections of Poland.
If you take a Roedlehim Machazor
and the Vilna KOLBO machazor you will find a lot in common.  Especially not
the slichos  during YK Shacharis, Musaph, and Mincha

The old Litvisher Minhag was fairly close to authentic Ashkenazic roots
throughout the 18th Century. I do not know exactly how it evolved away.

Illustration:  Yekkestoday still have no synogogue break on Yom Kippur.  The
Chayei Adam takes this for granted and therefore does NOT permit a Kallah
leniencies to look presentable because "people are in shul all day long"

But today, Most American non-Yekke Ashkneazic shuls DO have a break. Sp we
see things changed even inthe Litvisher velt.

I would guess that one can still extract the authentic Litvisher minhaggim
from books by using a careful read of Chyei Adam, AhS, And certain teshuvos
from Lita.

Kol Tuv - Best Regards,
see: http://nishmablog.blogspot.com/
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Message: 6
From: T6...@aol.com
Date: Tue, 26 May 2009 00:30:24 EDT
Re: [Avodah] forums for Psak

From: Eli Turkel _eliturkel@gmail.com_ (mailto:elitur...@gmail.com) 

>>With  all dues respect I find this attitude naive. Journals like the 
of  Halacha and Contemporary Society, R. Bleich's halacha articles in
Tradition  etc and volumes in Hebrew like Techumim quickly bring sensitive
issues in  shutim to the greater public. ...
Similarly responsible rabbis realize that  something said to
individuals or a small
group can easily spread if it  controversial enough. As the gemara says even
the birds can bring the  stories. <<
Eli Turkel

Koheles 10:20.  "Bemada'acha [even in your thoughts] melech al  tekallel, 
uvechadrei mishkavcha al tekallel ashir -- ki ohf hashamayim yolich es  
hakol, uva'al kenafayim yagid davar."  A bird will carry your secrets far  and 
wide --  the walls have ears.
HOWEVER I do not think this applies to the question of what is the best  
forum for publishing halachic discourse.  After all, even if a given psak  is 
only meant for a particular individual or a small group, it is not going to  
be a hush-hush secret!!
Koheles is talking more about expressing negative thoughts and feelings  
against people in positions of power who could cause you a lot  of harm if 
they found out that you wish them ill.
--Toby Katz

**************We found the real ?Hotel California? and the ?Seinfeld? 
diner. What will you find? Explore WhereItsAt.com. 
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Message: 7
From: Eli Turkel <elitur...@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 26 May 2009 10:09:13 +0300
Re: [Avodah] forums for Psak

> HOWEVER I do not think this applies to the question of what is the best
> forum for publishing halachic discourse.? After all, even if a given psak is
> only meant for a particular individual or a small group, it is not going to
> be a hush-hush secret!!
When a psak is published in a sefer it is in the public forum and it is
legitimate to then quote it in general journals or even Avodah/areivim !!

I agree that even a private psak may not remain secret but it still has a
different value.

Eli Turkel

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Message: 8
From: T6...@aol.com
Date: Mon, 25 May 2009 23:41:57 EDT
Re: [Avodah] Targumim from Sinai

From: Simon Montagu _simon.montagu@gmail.com_ 

>>RSBA reminded me in an Areivim thread that the Targumim are  from
Sinai. This surprised me at first, because my memory was that at  most
they are described as "beRuahh hakodesh", but I was wrong: the Taz  on
SA OH 285 SK 2 explicitly says "hatargum yesh lo ma`ala  she-nittan

....How can this be reconciled with the gemara  in Megilla? I can
imagine one possibility: the targum was given as part of  TBSP and
Onkelos was the first to write it down....

I would like further clarification on this point,  too, but this is what I 
think it means:  not that the actual Aramaic words  used by Onkelos were 
given on Sinai together with the Torah [who even spoke  Aramaic back then?  Why 
would Hebrew-speaking Israelites need a translation  in a language they did 
not even speak?] BUT that the correct understanding and  interpretation of 
the words of the Torah Shebichsav were transmitted orally  along with the 
Torah Shebichsav -- for example, that the shoresh p-k-d means "to  count" in 
Bamidbar 1:49 ("Don't count the tribe of Levi with the rest of B'Y")  but 
means "to appoint" in Bamidbar 1:50 ("Appoint the Levi'im to their jobs in  the 
When the Taz says that the Targum was given on Sinai, does he necessarily  
mean that it was given /in Aramaic/?  Onkelos wrote the correct  
interpretation and understanding of the Hebrew words using the language current  among 
the Jews of his day, but the interpretation and understanding were the  same 
as what had been transmitted through the doros down from Sinai.   That's 
just what seems reasonable to me.
--Toby Katz

**************We found the real ?Hotel California? and the ?Seinfeld? 
diner. What will you find? Explore WhereItsAt.com. 
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Message: 9
From: Michael Makovi <mikewindd...@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 26 May 2009 12:05:25 +0300
Re: [Avodah] Modern Orthodoxy

I'm listening to Rabbi Sacks's shiur about cyclical versus historical
(prophetic) time
(http://www.csstorage.org/audio/downloadaudio.php?audio=21), and I
largely agree.

However, around 41:30, I vehemently disagree. Rabbi Sacks said Rav
Hirsch justified being a German/French citizen and an Orthodox Jew, by
distinguishing between private and public life. But this is
Mendelsohn, not Rav Hirsch.

Rav Hirsch held precisely the opposite of this bifurcation; as he says
in "Religion Allied to Progress",
"Judaism is not a religion, the synagogue is not a church, and the
rabbi is not a priest. Judaism is not a mere adjunct to life: it
comprises all of life. To be a Jew is not a mere part, it is the sum
total of our task in life. To be a Jew in the synagogue and the
kitchen, in the field and the warehouse, in the office and the pulpit,
as ... father and mother, as servant and master, as man and as
citizen, with one's thoughts, in word and in deed, in enjoyment and
privation, with the needle and the graving-tool, with the pen and the
chisel--that is what it means to be a Jew. An entire life supported by
the Divine Idea and lived and brought to fulfillment according to the
Divine Will. The more, indeed, Judaism comprises the whole of man and
extends its declared mission to the salvation of the whole of mankind,
the less it is possible to confine its outlook to the four cubits of a
synagogue and the four walls of a study."

Moreover, Rav Hirsch says in "The Relation of General to Specially
Jewish Education".
"We have to lament that the great Jewish scholars, in whom that age
[of religious upheaval in the wake of the Enlightenment and
Emancipation] was by no means poor, were prevented by seclusion to
which the political situation of their people had condemned them from
themselves making a firsthand acquaintance with the general cultural
strivings of of the age. With their keen insight they would quickly
have greeted what was true and good in general culture as something
closely akin to the Jewish outlook, and they would have been the first
to prepare a home for it in their own circle. We have to lament that
an opposition [between religion and science, or between the physical
and the spiritual] which might find some justification in other
denominations [viz. Christianity] was carried over without more ado
into the field of Judaism, without anyone asking whether owing to the
peculiar nature of the Jewish religion it did not here lose much of
its acuteness."

Rav Hirsch, according to Rabbi Yehiel Weinberg, rather held that the
Torah is the form and derech eretz the matter. As Rabbi Dr. Eliezer
Berkovits says in Judaism: Fossil or Ferment,
"In all its rawness and dark demoniac wildness, this world is
extremely precious for man's salvation. The Spirit as such, in the
realm of human existence, lacks efficacy. Faith alone will not move
mountains; but faith will move mountains if it has hands and bodies
and machines at its command. The physical, the material, the ?mundane?
are indispensable for the Spirit, if it wishes to take effect in this
world. Only through the instrumentality of the Material can the
conscious aspiration of the Spiritual find expression and realization
in the life of men. A man cannot even think goodness with a brain; he
can certainly not do good without a body. All energy and power in this
world has its seat in the material and organic ground of life; all
purpose and value, in its spiritual manifestation. The Purposeful, on
its own, is powerless; the Powerful, by itself, purposeless.1 The
greatest waterfall, left to itself, will only fall; the finest blue
print, left in the drawer of the engineer, will not move a single
wheel. The two realms find their salvation in their
?interpenetration.? The Spirit alone may redeem the Mundane from its
blind demoniac purposelessness; the Mundane alone may reciprocate by
offering liberation to the Spirit from the prison of its
powerlessness. The two realms meet in man; and in their
interpenetration, through man, this world is transformed into the
Kingdom of God. By investing the Mundane with value and significance
and the Spirit with power and effectiveness, the act of
interpenetration becomes the sanctification of life."

Moreover, says Rabbi Berkovits in Towards Historic Judaism,
"Judaism looks upon life as the raw material which has to be shaped in
conformity with the spiritual values contained in the Bible. Judaism
is a great human endeavor to fashion the whole of life, every part and
every moment of it, in accordance with standards that have their
origin in unchallengeable authority. Its aim is not merely to
cultivate the spirit, but to infuse prosaic, everyday existence with
the spirit. Its great interest is not the human soul, but the living
human body controlled by the forces of the soul. It is in and of this
world. It will never yield to the obstinacy of that gigantic mass of
raw material which we call life, and which so reluctantly allows
itself to be molded by the spirit. It will never reconcile itself to a
divided existence of which part is Caesars? and part God?s. The whole
of life is one piece; the whole of life is the testing place for man.
Judaism is in love with life, for it knows that life is God?s great
question to mankind; and the way a man lives, what he does with his
life, the meaning he is able to implant in it ? is man?s reply. Actual
life is the partner to the spirit; without the one the other is

I find it difficult to find any bifurcation between the physical and
spiritual, between the public and the private, between anything and
anything else; we rather find harmonious "interpenetration". Rav Kook
may have made great use of the concept of unity and harmony, and given
it mystical and metaphysical basis, but the idea was not his own. (Nor
was it Rav Hirsch's; the idea is G-d's.)

Michael Makovi

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Message: 10
From: Richard Wolpoe <rabbirichwol...@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 25 May 2009 23:34:03 -0400
Re: [Avodah] rav ovadya yosef and leil shauvot

On Sun, May 24, 2009 at 8:19 AM, Shlomo Pick <pic...@mail.biu.ac.il> wrote:

> Re: tikkun.  Most Sephardic and Chassidic Jews indeed do the tikkun.

In my shul in the Heights we read from the Tikkun Leil Shavuos and the
Tikkun leil hoshana rabba - Eshkol Heidenheim eidtion [of course!]

But we did only about an hour of learning due to the elderly nature of the
congregants. So we did selections.  We went around the table and took turns
reading, and I parceled out the reading assignments.

It is intersting that yekkes do this because of its Qabbalistic overtones.
But I also have found that Yekkes do have a lot of practices based upon
Shlah as opposed to the Ari.  And the Shlah is AFAIK the orginal arranger of
the Tikkun, which Heidnheim simply fixed up after seeing the editions of his
era laden with errors.
Kol Tuv - Best Regards,
see: http://nishmablog.blogspot.com/
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Message: 11
From: Maxi Yedid <maxiye...@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 25 May 2009 23:22:53 -0500
[Avodah] study until tired

There is a certain "shita" of limud that several Gedolim were heard to study
in this way. The idea is to study until you literally "fall down" from
(This is quoted in Daat Chochma U Mussar; Meorot Hagedolim and others).

I had a question though: what they do with the tefilot? did they actually
prayed and came back to study or they simply didn't interrupt? and what did
they do with shajrit?


kol tub

nissim yedid
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Message: 12
From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmo...@012.net.il>
Date: Tue, 26 May 2009 13:05:16 +0300
Re: [Avodah] How did the Neviim Write their Sefarim?

Arie Folger wrote:
> Thus, according to Abarbanel, we could say that one major difference
> between the Pentateuch and Nakh is that the former was not based on
> earlier sources, but on a direct and complete prophecy from HQBH to
> Moshe, while the latter is the product of a prophecy to include a
> selection of preexisting stories coming from several disparate sources
> (at least twO. the annals of Israel and those of Judah).
> ---
> IOW, do we have either a tanna demesaye'a lei, or one who refutes? Or
> is Abarbanel alone in even approaching this issue altogether?
Look at the introduction to the Artscroll Divrei haYamim concerning the 
view of the Shaagas Aryeh and others who take a similar approach - at 
least for this sefer

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Message: 13
From: "Dov Weinstock" <dov.weinst...@nycadvantage.com>
Date: Tue, 26 May 2009 09:30:21 -0400
[Avodah] rules of evidence in halcha

Background - The recent plot to bomb synagogues in Riverdale NY has taken a
new twist, with reports that the suspects were hapless recruits of an FBI
informant and that the whole thing smells of entrapment - i.e. there would
have been no attempt to engage in criminal activity without the FBI egging
them on.

Which made me curious about a couple of things.
1. Is there a similar concept in halacha, or do we find both parties liable
- i.e. the entrapper and the entrapped?
2. Is there anything similar to 'inadmissible evidence' - i.e., valid
evidence that the court will ignore because of the way it was obtained?

Dov Weinstock

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Message: 14
From: "Prof. Levine" <llev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Tue, 26 May 2009 06:18:15 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Simchas Yom Tov

At 11:25 PM 5/25/2009, T6...@aol.com wrote:
>If the evening kiddush and se'udah are going to start at 9:30 or 
>10:00, people should eat a light meal around six o'clock.  The late 
>se'udah at night does not have to be a heavy meal and certainly does 
>not have to be the only meal of the day!  Challah, a main course, a 
>cup of tea and off to the bais medrash to learn [for the menfolk and 
>some of the liberated womenfolk], or time to toddle off to bed [for 
>the kidlets and old folks and the rest of the womenfolk].

Off to bed for the womenfolk!!!!  What happened to the time honored 
custom of women staying up all night on the first night of Shavuous 
baking various kinds of cheesecake?   Has this important minhag been 
lost in America? For shame! >:-}

>I don't know exactly why the question of the late meal is coming up 
>now, anyway.  Doesn't practically everybody end up eating quite a 
>late meal at the seder?  Especially in a year like this when it was 
>already daylight savings time at least in the US?  What's the big deal?

When it comes to the seder, there is absolutely no way that one can 
start it early. One must make Kiddush after Tzeis so that one has 
Arba Kosos at the seder.  However, when it comes to Shavuous, there 
are opinions that allow one to make Kiddush early. Please see the 
selections I have posted at 
http://personal.stevens.edu/~llevine/maariv_on_shavuous.pdf  taken 
from the sefer Shorshei Minhag Ashkenaz, volume 4, by Rabbi Benyamin 
Shlomo Hamburger.

Also, Tzeis on Shavuous is later than on Pesach.

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Message: 15
From: "Shlomo Pick" <pic...@mail.biu.ac.il>
Date: Tue, 26 May 2009 15:04:46 +0300
Re: [Avodah] Simchas Yom Tov

>>>As tone is so hard to gauge on the internet, I am not sure
>>>whether you are saying that the Chofetz Chaim et.al. were
>>>insensitive to the needs of others, or whether you are being
>>>sarcastic at the expense of Professor Sperber.  I hope it is
>>>the latter!  

it certainly is and i thought that was clear....

>>>>Regarding the needs of guests, women, children, the elderly
>>>>and so on --  who are waiting hungrily for kiddush and the
>>>>evening meal --  may I suggest that there is no need to
>>>>fast all day erev Shavuos until after kiddush? If the
>>>>evening kiddush and se'udah are going to start at 9:30 or
>>>>10:00, people should eat a light meal around six o'clock. 
>>>>The late se'udah at night does not have to be a heavy meal
>>>>and certainly does not have to be the only meal of the day!
>>>> Challah, a main course, a cup of tea and off to the bais
>>>>medrash to learn [for the menfolk and some of the liberated
>>>>womenfolk], or time to toddle off to bed [for the kidlets
>>>>and old folks and the rest of the womenfolk].

see OH, 529:1 and commentaries that a half hour before mincha ketanah one should not be koveiah seuda and this is lechevod yom tov.
i don't know what your mincha ketana is, but a half hour before that.  if a
light meal is kevi'at seuda, no. fruits and vegetables certainly yes.
anything else like kugel, too much cake, perhaps cylor.

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