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Volume 27: Number 54

Mon, 22 Feb 2010

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Richard Wolberg <cantorwolb...@cox.net>
Date: Sun, 21 Feb 2010 08:16:52 -0500
[Avodah] Revenge and Punishment

Zev Sero wrote:
Revenge *is* justice.

That is totally preposterous. In fact there is a cognitive dissonance between the two terms.
It is like saying that vigilantes are the policemen.
Nowhere is there a dictionary definition that equates revenge with justice.
Revenge is subjective and justice is objective. 

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Message: 2
From: rabbirichwol...@gmail.com
Date: Sun, 21 Feb 2010 16:29:33 +0000
Re: [Avodah] Revenge and Punishment

On Sun, Feb 21, 2010 at 11:09:27AM +0000, Dov Kaiser wrote:
:> We say Hashem yiqom

: At first, I thought it was just a typo, but I have noticed that both
: RMB and RZS have been writing *yikom*. I believe it should be *yinkom*.?

Ki dam avadav YIKOM
in Av haRahchamim.

From one who says it only twice a year!

And twice more in haazinu

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

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Message: 3
From: T6...@aol.com
Date: Sun, 21 Feb 2010 12:11:55 EST
Re: [Avodah] Revenge and Punishment

From: Dov Kaiser _dov_...@hotmail.co.uk_ (mailto:dov_...@hotmail.co.uk) 

R.  Eidensohn excerpted:

<<*Yoma^] (23a): *Any scholar who does not  avenge himself and bear grudge 
like a snake is not a real talmid chachom.  [SNIP]>>

The Gemara is working hard to find a heikhei timtza  for R. Yochanan's 
statement that a talmid chakham who does not take revenge like  a snake is not a 
real talmid chakham.  It rejects the possibility that the  statement refers 
to monetary matters, as the Torah forbids revenge in this  area.  It then 
rejects the possibility that it refers to taking revenge for  a tzaara 
d'gufa, because we have already learned in Shabbos 68b about the virtue  of 
*ha-ne'elavin v'ein olvin* ...  The Gemara then narrows down the  application of 
the statement to a case where the talmid chakham suffers tzaara  d'gufa but 
receives no apology....

RMB has already clarified that there  are Rishonim who explain this 
statement of R. Yochanan to be referring to  slights to kevod haTorah rather than 
personal slights.  However, there is  no hint to that qualification in the 
words of the Gemara in  Yoma....


Kol tuv
Dov Kaiser   
To answer in a way that Rashi would say is not wise -- that  is, to answer 
your last point first -- I would say that the "hint" you find  lacking in 
the Gemara is the very word "scholar"!  By saying that a  *talmid chacham* 
must take revenge it implies right there in those very words  that it is 
talking about slights to kovod haTorah!
Now to go back and take another look at the rest of this post (and  this 
whole thread), the question is, under what circumstances is it  [permissible] 
[necessary] to take revenge, given that the Torah seems to command  
forgiveness?  We've already just mentioned one circumstance in which  it is 
apparently necessary, viz, a slight to kovod haTorah.  Others may be  found in the 
Tefillah Zakah recited just before Yom Kippur.  This  tefilla was composed, 
according to ArtScroll, by R' Avraham Danzig, author  of Chayei Adam, so I 
will take him as an authority for what kinds of sins one  [need not] [may not] 
forgive, when someone has harmed you.
Here is the ArtScroll translation of the relevant  passage:
==begin quote==
Behold!  I extend complete forgiveness to everyone who has  sinned against 
me, whether physically or monetarily, or who has gossiped about  me or even 
slandered me.  So, too, to anyone who has injured me, whether  physically or 
financially, and for any human sins between man and his neighbor  -- except 
 for money that I wish to claim and that I can recover by law,  and except 
for someone who sins against me and says, "I will sin against him and  he 
will forgive me" -- except for these I grant complete forgiveness; and may no  
person be punished on my account.
==end quote==     
Of course, this goes even beyond what the Torah requires, since the  Torah 
does not forbid a person to call out to Hashem to punish their  oppressor.  
In fact the Torah itself says that if a widow or  orphan cries to Hashem 
because someone has mistreated them, that Hashem will  listen to them and woe 
betide their oppressor.
But the Tefillah Zakah does carve out clear exceptions to the "I  forgive 
everybody" statement, and these are, damages that can be claimed in  legal 
proceedings, and harm caused by a person who thinks he can act with  impunity 
and presumably keeps sinning against the same victim without  remorse.   

--Toby  Katz


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Message: 4
From: D&E-H Bannett <db...@zahav.net.il>
Date: Sun, 21 Feb 2010 19:47:56 +0200
Re: [Avodah] Revenge and Punishment

Ah, it's simple. Yinkom has no dot in the kuf.  Yikkom has a 
dot in the kuf.

See:  yissa, yissa' yishak, yitten, yibbol, yippol yitzok, 
yittom yiggof, yiddor, yittosh, etc., etc. The Torah is full 
of them

more to the point, see Yehoshua 10:13. My CD-Keter says 
yinkom and tinkom do not appear in Tanakh.

Actually both are considered correct but yikkom is more 
common and preferred. In Israel. small kids when learning to 
speak will often say hu yinsa' or tinten li. I've even heard 
"tizaher, ata tinpol!"


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Message: 5
From: Shayna Korb <shayna.k...@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 21 Feb 2010 08:24:36 -0800
[Avodah] Self-imposed exile by rabbonim


Does anyone have any sources on rabbonim putting themselves into exile and
wandering around? I heard that the Gra did this and that it was a custom at
the time, but I am looking for sources inside.

Thank you!
--Shayna Korb
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Message: 6
From: Yitzchok Levine <Larry.Lev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Sun, 21 Feb 2010 11:33:48 -0500
[Avodah] "And Nevertheless ..." The Great Enigma of World

The older I get the more I want to know "What is Yahadus really all 
about?"  IMO, one can know a lot of halacha, a lot of gemara, etc., 
and still not possess an overview of what Judaism is all about. IMO, 
RSRH gives one insights that help one acquire a Torah outlook.

On Shabbos I read Rav Hirsch's essay Adar VI  in The Collected 
Writings of RSRH. As I read it, I found it time and time again an eye 
opener. I have posted this essay at 
http://www.stevens.edu/golem/llevine/rsrh/adar_vi.pdf . Below are 
some selections from the essay. YL

All this is depicted in that dire prediction of Israel's future. The 
Children of Israel are seen in the "enemy country;" they are charged 
with the theft of the very ground beneath their feet, of the very air 
they breathe. They are "despised;" they have forfeited that which 
should have been "their wisdom and their insight in'the eyes of the 
nations,"  the ideals that should have shown to the nations of the 
earth how the Name of God shines upon Israel and that should have won 
Israel the respect of the world. They preferred to compete with the 
cavalries of the nations, with the armed might of the princes, with 
the politics and the political sagacity of the sovereign states. They 
attempted to vie with the others on a level not permitted them, when 
in fact it was their mission to teach the nations by their own 
example, in life and history, that such trappings of material power 
are secondary, transitory and wanting.

And so the Children of Israel lost the respect of the nations, with 
whose physical prowess they were never meant to compete. Because they 
regarded the very core of their existence as merely "accidental," 
they were repaid measure for measure in that their existence truly 
became "accidental" in the midst of an arrogant mankind, armed with 
violence, which could only see that the exiles who accidentally had 
been scattered among them lacked the foundation upon which they, the 
nations of the world, had built their glory and greatness. There is 
among the nations no eye which appreciates that quiet grandeur, that 
everlasting might which should shine all the more brightly during the 
dark periods of Israel's history; an ideal which-if only the exiles 
themselves had perceived it as their one true remaining 
treasure-would have placed Israel as a shining light upon the horizon 
and would have presented even these remnants to thinking men as the 
miracle nation, worthy of their respect.

The nations, aware that Israel does not have what they consider the 
trappings of power, do not understand the greatness which Israel does 
in fact possess. Therefore Israel finds itself "despised" in enemy 
country, without personal and civil rights, scorned as a lowly worm 
among earth's creatures. The Biblical prediction portrays the 
Children of Israel as "rejected" everywhere, a foreign body, 
disruptive, troublesome, an obstacle to the unity of the host nation, 
intruders whom the nation,  must literally eliminate or disgorge if 
it is to regain its balance.

       The Jews are the only element that cannot be absorbed by the 
state; they are a problem for which political wisdom cannot find a 
solution, an entity which no political authority can encompass.


("let it be written that they be destroyed"-Esther 3, 9). The 
purblind policy of Haman was to demand a royal decree authorizing him 
to exterminate the Jews. Antiochus sought to attain the same 
objective with a sword in his right hand and with all the cunning of 
seduction in his left, appealing to the senses and befuddling the 
mind. That which cannot be exterminated physically by murder could 
well be vanquished morally by diabolical, gentle seduction; a policy 
that persistently employs both violence and temptation to achieve its 
ends may be sure of success. This is indeed the policy which has 
poisoned the air breathed by the unfortunate exiles over hundreds and 
even thousands of years.  Haman's example is followed only from time 
to time if someone's patience has worn thin, or if a Haman runs afoul 
of a Mordecai and seeks to slake a base thirst for revenge or an even 
more sordid avarice under the guise of concern for the welfare of his 
country. By and large, the atmosphere in which the history of the 
exiles unfolds follows the pattern set by Antiochus. The unfortunates 
have been subjected to the pressures and the ridicule of crude force 
on the one hand, and the satanic smile of seductive temptation on the 
other, in the hope that they will be destroyed physically and morally 
at the same time.

And then the Roman-Christian world took a certain book from the hands 
of that very despised and rejected nation which had been marked for 
destruction, and hailed this book as a promise of the world's 
redemption and of their own deliverance from the corruption of 
paganism. The adherents of this creed even began to worship a son of 
these exiles as their divine savior, and to revere that book and that 
son as the foundation of all future civilizations and of the 
advancement of salvation on earth. Then they felt they could no 
longer dismiss out of hand the suggestion that the origin, the 
destiny, the history and the teachings of these scattered exiles had 
been attended by a "special  Divine element." At that point the urge 
to destroy the Jews was given an intellectual rationalization: the 
"Divine" element that had been manifest in these exiles had become a 
thing of the past; the Jews themselves had cast it aside and 
therefore God had scattered them among the nations,  "to break My 
covenant with them."

At one time, it was claimed, the Jews had indeed been the Chosen 
People, whom God had blessed and found worthy of bringing about the 
salvation of the world. But now they are the pariahs whom God Himself 
has despised and rejected. He Himself has canceled His covenant with 
them and marked them for destruction. Therefore those who hate, 
oppress and persecute the Jews are performing a sacred task that is 
pleasing to God. ("They that rule over them bring them misery in the 
name of God"-Isaiah 52, 5). That spirit which might have salvaged the 
fate of the Jews had turned the hatred and persecution of Jews into a 
religion. thus cutting off even the last hope of the exiles.

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Message: 7
From: T6...@aol.com
Date: Sun, 21 Feb 2010 11:34:44 EST
Re: [Avodah] kol hamosif, gorea

From: Saul.Z.New...@kp.org
> from revach-----
> The Chasam Sofer says since the Menorah represents the light of Torah
> we learn from here that no outside sciences or wisdom should be used
> to adorn the Torah. The Torah has all its light within it and nothing
> in the outside world can enhance this brilliant light. With this idea
> he explains the gemara Megila (32) "He who holds the Sefer Torah bare
> (without a covering) will be buried bare without mitzvos." This means
> that if a person considers the Torah lacking and he feels it needs the
> beauty of science and other wisdoms to adorn it and make it complete
> will himself die without mitzvos since this is Apikurses.

I could equally well make a drasha about how the knobs and flowers
obviously serve a decorative rather than functional purpose, and therefore
prove that external chachma IS part of Torah, as long as it is attached
to Torah and not sought for its own sake. Of course I would not dare
to take issue with the Chacham Sofer -- were it not for the fact that
many other Torah greats have done so.

Another argument could also be made, viz., that anything that is
demonstrably true -- e.g, the laws of physics that enable planes to fly,
or laws of biology that enable farmers to grow better crops and improve
their livestock -- is intrinsically part of Torah, that everything in
the natural world was created by Hashem and therefore is part of Torah,
"Histakel be'Oraisa ubara alma."

Except for the speculative and apikorsishe parts of science textbooks
(usually the introductory passages, sometimes the odd sentence thrown in
here and there that is really opinion masquerading as science), science
itself is Torah. You could make that case. And then you could write
footnotes to the Chasam Sofer and say, "This means that one should
not study philosophy, literature, or anything else that is a purely
human construct unrelated to Torah, but the study of the natural world
IS Torah." (I personally would still remain a Hirschian not a Soferian,
but the case could be made, I'm just saying.....)

From: "Rich, Joel" _JRich@sibson.com_ (mailto:JR...@sibson.com) 
> and R'  Aron Soloveitchik taught that the menorah represents all wisdoms 
> with the  central  branch representing torah towards which all curve  
> towards.

Hirsch says exactly the same thing, and he in turn bases it on still  
earlier sources.

--Toby Katz

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Message: 8
From: Zev Sero <z...@sero.name>
Date: Sun, 21 Feb 2010 15:31:08 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Revenge and Punishment

kennethgmil...@juno.com wrote:
> R' Zev Sero wrote:
>> But, e.g., a go'el hadam has an obligation to avenge the victim

> I was under the impression that a go'el hadam has *permission* to avenge
> the victim. Or perhaps that he does not even have permission, but that he
> will not be liable to Beis Din for his act - but might still be liable to
> Shamayim for it.

> Am I mistaken? Where do you get the idea that the go'el hadam HAS TO
> avenge the victim?

Rotzeach Ushmirat Nefesh 1:2

Dov Kaiser wrote:
>> We say Hashem yiqom>>

> At first, I thought it was just a typo, but I have noticed that both RMB 
> and RZS have been writing *yikom*.  I believe it should be *yinkom*.

Nope. "Harninu goyim amo, ki dam avadav yikkom." The nun is replaced
by a dagesh on the kuf. "Yinkom" is a common mistake, reinforced by an
old misprint in many siddurim in the text of Av Harachamim. (There is
another common misprint too: in "minsharim kalu *u*mei'arayos gaveiru",
the vav is a mistake and shouldn't be there.)

Zev Sero                      The trouble with socialism is that you
z...@sero.name                 eventually run out of other people?s money
                                                     - Margaret Thatcher

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Message: 9
From: Zev Sero <z...@sero.name>
Date: Sun, 21 Feb 2010 16:16:04 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Self-imposed exile by rabbonim

Shayna Korb wrote:
> Hello,
> Does anyone have any sources on rabbonim putting themselves into exile 
> and wandering around? I heard that the Gra did this and that it was a 
> custom at the time, but I am looking for sources inside.

"Pravn golus" was a common practise.  See, e.g., the (misleadingly-titled)
"Lubavitcher Rebbe's Memoirs".

Zev Sero                      The trouble with socialism is that you
z...@sero.name                 eventually run out of other people?s money
                                                     - Margaret Thatcher

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Message: 10
From: rabbirichwol...@gmail.com
Date: Sun, 21 Feb 2010 21:35:20 +0000
Re: [Avodah] kol hamosif, gorea

> Of course I would not dare to take issue with the Chacham Sofer --
> were it not for the fact that many other Torah greats have done so.

You don't have to be a "Gaon" to see that the Chasam Sofer was combatting
Reform during a very specific crisis. And so we have no evidence that in
a different time or society that the Chasam Sofer would himself been so
headstrong about this. [OK conversely maybe we have no evidence he might
have been less headstrong]. The point is that under specific conditions
the CS darshened this way and we cannot be certain that he meant this
as a universal principle or not.

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

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Message: 11
From: Yitzchok Levine <Larry.Lev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Sun, 21 Feb 2010 17:12:26 -0500
[Avodah] Zachor

The following if from RSRH's essay Adar II that is in the second 
volume of his Collected Writings.  YL

  The Jews were destined to be the eternal people of history, to 
wander the earth as the "eternal Jew;" to stand at the cradle and 
grave of all nations; to undergo the evolutions and revolutions of 
history; to suffer in the catastrophes of nations. From the shipwreck 
of the past we were assigned the task of successfully salvaging the 
eternal spiritual heritage of all of mankind. From the onset of 
history we were given stern notice: do not be dazzled by material 
might, no matter how brilliantly and meteorically it beckons on the 
historical firmament of nations. Do not tremble when sword-carrying 
nations subdue and brutalize the defenseless. Always be aware that 
the days of any power are numbered which fails to accept the 
certainty of the ultimate victory of man's spiritual and moral destiny.

Let Amalek swing the Esau-sword with a mighty fist. Whenever Israel 
failed to keep its spiritual power alive it lost its protection of 
heavenly proximity. Amalek, without fear of God,; massacred the 
nation: v'lo yera Elokim. But then the raised hand of Moses prove.d 
mightier than the Esau-sword and the Amalek-fist. As long as this 
prayerful hand remains raised, Amalek will be defeated. On G~d's 
throne lies the scepter of world-power. God fights the battle against 
the materialistic might .Midor dor through all generations and all 
time. World history is the sum total of God's battle against the 
Amalek materialism. God's leadership assures the ultimate victory of 
spirit over matter.

Tiny, defenseless Jacob-nation, calmly build your altars. You may be 
diminutive but are the herald of God's battle. Inscribe "God" upon 
your banners and history will celebrate you as the victor over 
Amalek. Divine guidance will help you to eradicate the last trace of 
Amalek-glory from the memory of mankind. The struggle is led by God: 
You will prevail in the battle against the external Amalek-threat 
only !if you are the victor in the struggle within yourself, with the 
materialism within you. The successful outcome of this struggle is 
taharah - purification: its victory-trophy is purity.
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Message: 12
From: "Elazar M. Teitz" <r...@juno.com>
Date: Mon, 22 Feb 2010 00:37:28 GMT
Re: [Avodah] Revenge and Punishment

<<We say Hashem yiqom>>

<At first, I thought it was just a typo, but I have noticed that both RMB and RZS have been writing *yikom*.  I believe it should be *yinkom*.>
     "Harninu goyim amo, ki dam avadav yikom."  "Lo sikom."
     In verbs whose pei-hapo'al is a nun, it is generally dropped in asid: yishoch, yitol, yigos, yiga, yisa, yipol, etc.

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