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Volume 27: Number 65

Mon, 08 Mar 2010

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Zev Sero <z...@sero.name>
Date: Sun, 07 Mar 2010 10:59:08 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Who First Said it?

Akiva Blum wrote:

> It's in the Mekor Baruch vol. 3 Chap 20.  I would translate it but the hebrew
> there is too flowery.
> He quotes the Rebbe reb Mendele (Menachem Mendel Schneersohn, Zemach Zedek) in
> conversation with the Aruch haShulchan, that the Rebbe said to his father-in-law
> and grandfather-in-law that the chassidim owe an enormous debt of gratitude to
> the Gra, and they agreed with him. The Rebbe explained the chassidus might have
> gone 'off the tracks', and the Alter rebbe, due to the Gra's battling, kept it
> straight.

Exactly.  I believe that is the original source of this nonsensical story.
His entire narration of his father's supposed weeks learning with the
Tzemach Tzedek (not the Rashab), the close relationship they had, and the
conversations they supposedly had during that time, is a complete fantasy.
No such thing ever happened.  Had someone spent that sort of time with
the TzTz, it would have been remembered, and when he later became famous
the story would have been handed down through the generations.  MB simply
made up this entire story, as he made up many others.

>  In addition, he wrote the Shulchan Aruch haRav to keep the chassidim
> connected to halachah.

More nonsense.  He wrote it at the Maggid's direction, very early in his
life, because the Mechaber's SA was 200 years old, and there was a need
for an updated SA that would take into account the work of the achronim.
When the misnagdishe world rejected the SAH because of its author, it
still needed a sefer to fill that role, so the Chayei Adam wrote one.

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: 2
From: Zev Sero <z...@sero.name>
Date: Sun, 07 Mar 2010 11:02:41 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Who First Said it?

Micha Berger wrote:
> On Fri, Mar 05, 2010 at 03:10:44PM -0500, Zev Sero wrote:
> : I believe that book is indeed the origin of this silly story...
> Given the fact that the Baal haTanya fought against Kalisker rebbeles
> that were drifting outside of halakhah, I find the story quite plausible.
> I have no idea why you consider the story "scurrilous" or "silly",
> rather than crediting hisnagdus with a role in causing that winnowing.

R Avrohom Kalisker was not drifting outside halacha, and the AR did not
fight him!   On the contrary, he came to his defense when the Maggid
was going to expel him and his followers from the chassidic movement,
*not* for halachic deviations but for strange behaviour such as Novardok
became famous for a few generations later.  The AR stood up for him, and
while he was forbidden from teaching chassidus he remained within the fold.
Their much later split was again not over non-halachic behaviour, but over

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: 3
From: Yitzchok Levine <Larry.Lev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Sun, 07 Mar 2010 13:57:35 -0500
[Avodah] RSRH on the Agel and What We See Today

I, and others whom I have spoken with, am disturbed by many things 
that I see going on in the O world today. To me it seems that some 
are "making up a new religion." People ascribe powers to coins, to 
men and to who knows what else. IMO, one can gain insight into what 
the Torah perspective on these things is by reading the first part of 
RSRH's commentary on Shemos 32

1. When the people saw that Moshe did not fulfill their expectation
that he would come down from the mountain, the people gathered
against Aharon, and they said to him: Arise, make us gods who shall
go before us; for this man Moshe, who brought us up from the land of
Egypt, we do not know what has happened to him.

For those interested, I have posted his commentary on this Pasuk at


Yitzchok Levine 
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Message: 4
From: "Chana" <Ch...@Kolsassoon.org.uk>
Date: Sun, 7 Mar 2010 23:23:21 -0000
Re: [Avodah] Geirut for marriage

RMB replied:

> I must confess I was mildly offended by this reply, as it implies an
> underestimation of my exposure to the SA. (One that I would
> have hoped my posting history would show I am past.)

I'm sorry if that was the implication.  I didn't mean to imply that, I guess
I was just frustrated by the way you insisted that there *could not* be an
alternative way of reading the SA (you objected even to the word "reading"),
and that you suggested that it was necessary to have the word "aval" in
there for there for there to be a machlokus.

> The question isn't whether "The halakhah is A, some say B, means a
> machloqes, it's whether the default when B doesn't conflict with A to
> read it as:
> My Take:
>     The halakhah is A
>     Some way we need B too. We hold only A.
> 2 dinim that aren't explicitly peices of a whole aren't assumed to be
> in
> contrast. The SA would exclude the "both" possibility when such a
> possibility makes sense.
> Your take:
>     The halakhah is A
>     Some way we need B instead.
> Your proofs are from cases where A and B do conflict, and so there is
> no parallel. 

Ahh, but you see, I think A and B do conflict in our case, there is indeed a
machlokus.  The stam opinion is that mila and tevila at night or not in
front of three is not meakev, the Rambam and the Rif hold it is, classic A
and B conflict.  Classic SA statement of conflict.

That is why I think it perfectly parallels the megilla case, where A and B
also conflict.

> See, se'if 2's yeish omerim states that it is based on assumptions that
> are not shared by the stam of se'if 1. It's not a parallel case.

And so does our case.  The yesh omrim (ie the Rambam and the Rif) share
assumptions about what is the nature of "mishphat" that is not shared by the

> Tangentially, the SA does this general and exceptional thing not just
> WRT shitos and pesaqim, but also special cases in metzi'us. One se'if
> will say we do X, and the next will say but in rare case A, we do Y
> instead. Personally, it makes me nervous. The first line doesn't even
> say "we usually do X", it's written in the same language as something
> without exceptions. The possibilty of abuse by partial citation, or
> who thinks they found the se'if but are too ADD to keep on reading,
> just tenses me out.

But here you are describing something else, a general and exceptional
situation.  The case of the Megilla is not general and exceptional, it is
the citation of a machlokus where the yesh omrim does not, as you say, share
the assumptions (world view was the way I put it) of the stam.  And that
means that a choice has to be made, not based on circumstance, but on psak.

Similarly, the situation vis a vis our gerus case is not of an exceptional
case versus the normal case, it is what is the psak in the case where in
fact the tevilla was done at night or not in front of three.  According to
the Rif and the Rambam, there has been no gerus, bideved (but if
subsequently there are children the product of a woman who did this, the
children are deemed kosher).  According to Tosphos and the Rosh, bideved,
the gerus is valid.

> The SA cites a Rambam.

Yes, as a yesh omrim, he cites a Rambam as saying that if a tevila was done
at night or not in front of three there is no gerus.

You learn from that citation that the SA holds that the Rambam must hold
that there must be some form of kabbalat mitzvoth of the nature that he
describes above vis a vis Tosphos and the Rosh.  Since you don't like my use
of the word shavuah, let's use the word that is used, mishpat.  Tosphos and
the Rosh hold that there must be a form of mishpat involving kabbalat
mitzvoth. You appear to be saying that the SA holds that the Rambam holds
that there is a form of mishpat involving kabbalat mitzvoth. You appear to
be learning this out because he does not state in the SA that the Rambam
disagrees with this bit above, therefore he must agree.  I was trying to
point out that there are lots of other cases in the SA, megilla being one,
where a specific machlokus is brought in a stam and yesh omrim format, and
one does not therefore go and assume that the person brought as the yesh
orim necessarily adopts the viewpoint of the stam in all aspects other than
that brought as the machlokus.

> YOU said that Rambam must be explicit and in our locaiton in the Yad,

I am saying that it must be possible to read the Rambam in his totality in
the way that you do, otherwise you are assigning a nonsense position to the
Shulchan Aruch. I certainly do not claim omniscience of the Rambam's
writings. And I do agree, it does not have to be in our location in the Yad,
it could be in the following chapter (14).  But it cannot be elsewhere
because the SA only brings these two chapters as being of relevance in his
discussion in the Bet Yosef.  The Bet Yosef is the SA's monumental work in
which he brings all the rishonic positions that he believes to be of
relevance.  I think it is very difficult to argue that the Bet Yosef learnt
something critical in the Rambam, so critical that he states (well, implies,
it clearly isn't stated, otherwise we wouldn't be having this discussion,
since I hold it isn't there) in the SA, and yet does not refer to it at all
in his Bet Yosef. If it is not in the Bet Yosef then in my view:

> and therefore the SA can't be saying what I think he does.

> I'm saying that the SA may be assigning the opinion I see his text
assigning to the 
> Rambam based on something else in the
> Rambam. Not that the SA must be taken beyond his own words; rather than
> his words may be based on something in the Rambam we aren't seeing.
> I'm saying you must go beyond your own understanding of the Rambam
> before assuming you know what the SA could have meant. Including the
> possibility the SA was basing himself on a deduction from the Rambam.
> Not that the SA is saying more about the Rambam than is explicit in the
> SA.

I am not even following you there.  The Shulchan Aruch says nothing
explicitly about the Rambam's stance on kabbalat mitzvoth. All he says
explicitly is that the Rambam holds that a tevila before three invalidates
the gerus even bideved.  You are learning an implication.  It is an
implication that *I think* is coming out of the word afilu.  Out of this
word (or maybe it is some other word) you learn that the SA holds that the
Rambam is being machmir on the Tosphos and the Rosh, but accepts their basic
premises otherwise.  I don't see how you can say that is explicit in the SA.
Especially given the SA's common practice of citing two opinions in
machlokus in the stam and yesh omrim format.

> So, according to Tosafos, it's a heqesh mishpat-mishpat, a gezeiras
> hakasuv. 

The fact that it is learned out from mishpat (I am not sure it is exactly a
heqesh, but anyway) is not in any doubt (as far as I can tell).  The gemora
says so explicitly in Yevamos 46b and Kiddushin 62b.  The question at stake
is what bit of the process needs the mishpat.  The most straightforward way
of learning the gemora in 46b is that it is the tevila that needs the
mishpat, and so learns the Rif.  Tosphos says no, based on the gemora in
Yevamos 45b which seems to allow for the tevila of a nida to count, that is
the Tosphos I brought.  The Rif explicitly explains this gemora differently,
as only pertaining to koshering her children.

>Nothing mentioned about QOM being a shevu'ah. Or even a legal
> action.

Umm, I am happy for you to drop the word shavuah, I thought it made it
easier, but if you disagree, I am happy for that.  But I don't understand
how you  can drop legal action.  A mishpat is a legal action.  It is a
sitting of beis din at which something happens.  The Rif and the Rambam's
position (as I understand the SA and the Bet Yosef, and for that matter the
Bach) is that the legal action that occurs in front of beit din is tevila.

> But more to the point, nothing that would imply that those who
> are choleqim assume that QOM is NOT a legal action just because there
> is a lack of BD. (Qinyan is also a legal action, and doesn't require BD.)

True. Indeed the whole discussion is about something that is unquestionably
an action, that of tevila, and the whole machlokus between the Rif and
Tosphos is about whether or not it is a legal action that can fulfil the
requirement of gerus if it is done without beis din.  But it is very easy
for us to understand what the action is in the case of tevila, it is the
physical getting under the water, and it is that which beis din needs to see
(that is why they look for a second in the case of a woman to see she is
fully immersed before turning away). The argument between the stam and the
yesh omrim here is whether the tevila operates as a legal action even
without the presence of beis din.

Now once you agree that Tosphos and the Rosh require some sort of legal
action in front of beis din, you need to decide what that is.  I think most
people regard that as requiring some form of verbalisation, whether as a
statement or an acknowledgment of acceptance.  But you appear to hold
differently.  I am not quite sure how it is that you understand a beis din
having any idea whether Tosphos's mishpat has occurred if the person
involved doesn't say anything at all.  Maybe they get them to do a qinyan?
OK.  But how do you know that this kinyan (and what kinyan is it) has any
connection with QOM?

And I also agree that QOM could be a legal action even not in front of beis
din (it may not be the stam opinion in the SA, but it is an interesting
discussion).  But you have to tell me what it is and how it is performed.  A
legal action can involve verbalisation (but then it is close to a shavuah
which is why I used the term, shavuah is the general description of a legal
action involving speech, commitment and a person rather than an object - ie
I will, I will not, I did, I did not.).  A legal action can obviously
involve physical action (such as is involved in a kinyan) but you have got
to have some sort of visible or audible mechanism.  Devarim shebelev aino
devarim, and do not constitute a legal action.  Nor, if a legal action could
be performed ambiguously, does it generally work as a legal action.  The
mechanism for kinyan involves actions that unambiguously relate to whatever
deal has just been hammered out.  The fact that I pick up your scarf because
I have a tendency to fiddle does not a kinyan make.  And in the reverse
case, if you and I appear to make a valid kinyan with valid actions in front
of witnesses, the fact that I may come back later and say I was just
fiddling with your scarf or animal or whatever doesn't cut much ice.

So I am open to suggestions.   How can you possibly have QOM as a legal
action without any prescriptive measures as to how we know it when we see
it?  And what legal action is, according to you, involved?  Of course there
is one suggestion, which is just as a kinyan is presumed to have occurred if
I do the legal action in the right context, raise the scarf or push the
animal or whatever, then so too here.  But the only actions that are
unambiguously involved with gerus are mila and tevila.  So it seems to me
that while you could get to a position which says that if somebody goes
through mila and tevila they by definition must have had QOM, just as then
undoing the kinyan is almost impossible, save claims of mekach toas and anus
etc, so too here, the legal action has been performed and QOM has
definitionally occurred.  Not sure what they buys you, but if that is your
reading of the Rambam - OK.  But to state that is unequivocally in the
Rambam is to my mind difficult.

> It was only your comparison I was asking about. Yes, according to
> Tosafos, geirus requires a BD because of that gezeira shava, and since
> QOM is the essence of geirus, that's the one bit that needs a BD even
> bedi'eved.

OK, so what is the "bit" in descriptive terms?  What happens at that BD
sitting according to you according to Tosphos?

> : Now you could quibble about what is meant by kabbalat mitzvoth...
> Why? We agree on that point.

Well only because it introduces far too many other points of discussion. It
is fair to say, however, that a fair number of people out there do indeed
quibble about what is meant by kabbalat mitzvoth.  There are those who say
that it is all about entering into das yehudis and wanting to be a Yisrael.
It is a completely other read of what it is that is required at the beis din
sitting.  And you see, unless you grant me my quasi shavuah language, you
would seem to have no other way of excluding this.  Because my quasi shavuah
forces the person to say outright, or say yes to, a statement that you will
keep the Torah and mitzvoth.  Leave all that out, and you can end up with a
"do you want to be a Jew" statement or belief.  So maybe I should pose this
as well - are you comfortable that if the Beis Din says to a person, do you
want to be a Jew, and they say yes, but there is no discussion at all about
being shomrei mitzvos, that is a valid mishpat as described by Tosphos?  If
not, what do you require?

Before we go further I probably need to sum up again my position, as I think
it keeps getting a bit lost in the wash.  What happened was a poster on this
list quoted - well effectively Tosphos as brought by the SA on QOM and you
came back quoting the Rambam.  I said I couldn't understand you quoting the
Rambam because:

a) on the point regarding QOM specifically, the Rambam was the minority
opinion.  Ie, as I have argued above, the Shulchan Aruch is bringing a
machlokus in his classic form, with a stam and yesh omrim, and the Rambam,
whatever he holds on QOM, is the minority on this point. 

b) what the Rambam actually held on this point is not at all clear cut
(which is why just simply quoting him is not very convincing), to whit that
a major achron (ie the Bach) held differently.  I think this point may have
gotten a little lost, because in defending the Bach (or what you would call
my reading of the Bach), I am articulating what I consider to be his
plausible read of the Rambam.  What I have tried to make clear is that I
don't know that it is the only read, but that it is a plausible read.  I
believe that once you ask the question about QOM, the Rambam becomes very
difficult, as no answer really works.  Your read is forced, and so in places
is what I understand the Bach's to be.  I think that on balance I probably
do prefer the Bach's (or what you would call my understanding of the Bach's)
- but it is only on balance.  I also wonder if it is because of this
difficulty in understanding the Rambam on this that the Shulchan Aruch
relegated him to minority status, contrary to his general policy.  Although
it is interesting to me that the Bet Yosef seems to work quite hard at
putting the Rambam into the same category as the Rif on the whole mishpat
question.  I would have thought he would have preferred to include him with
the Rosh and Tosphos (and hence not had to violate his rule).  And given
that the Rambam is not as crystal clear as the Rif on what he held, if the
Bet Yosef could have somehow included him in with the Rosh and Tosphos, I
think he would have done so.  But he spends a fair few words explaining how
the Rambam actually holds like the Rif.  

> But as I later wrote, his qiddushin is chal, so the Rambam isn't saying
> that a geir without QOM is a Yisrael mumar. He is talking about someone
> who is less Jewish than that.

Again, you are assuming that the correct reading of his kiddushin is chal is
only after his tzidkus is revealed, I understand his kiddushin is chal
whether or not his tzidkus is revealed.  So he is not talking about somebody
less Jewish than a Yisrael mumar.  According to the Rambam a Yisrael mumar's
kiddushin is chal (it is only the Mordechai, I think, who holds that the
kiddushin of a Yisrael mumar is not chal) and one is required to return the
lost object of a yisrael mumar (the Bet Yosef notes this explicitly as being
the position of the Rambam).  Regarding somebody who tzidkus is revealed,
obviously his kiddushin is chal and one has to return his lost object, he is
a Yisrael l'kol davar, even for those things where a Yisrael mumar is
suspect (such as his wine).  What would be the hava mina that it would not?

> I still don't see it in the Bach, WADR to RYHH (CC-ed, so hopefully he
> will clarify).

I think the Tzitz Eliezer reads the Bach in the same way as well, see Chelek
16 siman 66 under the heading of "Bishulei HaDevarim".  He begins his quote
of the Bach, as I would with the words "d'af al pi" while according to your
reading he would need to bring what is said before regarding tevilla, as
this somehow has to do with tevila.

As I read the Tzitz Eliezer, he is saying that the Rambam has two facets,
that it is not necessary  bideved (a) either to tell the ger about the
mitzvoth or their punishment, nor (b) for him to accept the mitzvoth, and
that while the SA poskens like the Rambam on the first point in si'if 12, he
poskens against him but rather in favour of Tosphos, as set out in the
position of the Bach in si'if 3.  

No doubt you will have a different reading of the Tzitz Eliezer though, this
cite may merely push the debate there.    As the way I am reading the Tzitz
Eliezer is the way I have been reading the Bach and the Shulchan Aruch all
along.  Ie to my mind they all agree with each other.

> R' Uzziel doesn't deny QOM in that he uses the idiom. What I see
> instead is that he uses it very differently. IOW, he defines it in
> terms of joining the nation under the ol, rather than the mitzvos in
> particular. Unless we have a new POD, how to read R' Uzziel.
> Thus it would seem that R' Uzziel would say the Rambam holds that a
> declaration of "ameikh ami" must be done before a BD.

Well you see, because I hold that the SA does not rule according to the
Rambam, and I understand Rav Uzziel as understanding that, his terms of
nation under the ol is how he understands Tosphos, which is the majority
opinion, meaning that indeed the ameikh ami should be done before beis din,
and he can then add to that, as a snif l'hakel, the fact that the Rambam
probably doesn't require QOM at all (or at least the Bach holds that he

> But as I see it: IB 12:17 drags in marriage ("umutarim lehikaneis
> beqehal
> Hashem miyad), which means status as a Jew, which then means the Rambam
> is requiring some kind of QOM, however you take those words, to make a
> real Jew in addition to requiring geirus.

And as I said, 12:17 is not where he deals with the essential matter of
status, but of practicality ie where he talks about what one is going to
allow l'chatchila.  And l'chatchila one should only going to let somebody
marry a nice Jewish girl if they not only Jewish but have demonstrated that
they are not a mumar.

> You didn't correct my reading of the Bach, you tell me I'm reading the
> wrong part.

I then thought it was obvious that if you were quoting from the wrong part,
that I thought the Bach was talking about something else there. Ok, I have
dug up your reading - at least I think what you are referring to:

:> The Bach you refer to (YD 268, "vekhol inyanav") also doesn't deny the
:> Rambam requiring QOM. Rather, he says the Rambam and Semag only require 
:> BD for tevilah. The question he addresses is whether QOM requires BD, 
:> not whether becoming a Jew requires QOM altogether -- even bedi'eved.

I don't have see any issue here.  Here I believe the Bach is discussing the
question of whether mishpat requires QOM in front of BD.  I agree that
*here* he does not rule that the Rambam does not require QOM, but neither
does he state that he does require QOM.  Ie he is completely silent on the
topic here, which is why I thought the section irrelevant.  The topic here
is solely whether or not the Rambam requires QOM in front of beis din.  Not
requiring that (as the Bach states) could mean one of two things, either
that he requires QOM but just not in front of beis din, or he does not
require it at all.  That is why I pointed you further down, because it is
further down that I believe he resolves which of the two he holds vis a vis
the Rambam by stating that the Rambam does not require kabbalat mitzvoth kol

You then have some reading of the section further down where you somehow try
and limit the statement of kol ikar, to somehow being about some QOM in
tevilla, - but I can't see what you are saying.  Kol ikar means nowhere
nohow, you wouldn't say kol ikar if you were just talking about in a very
limited circumstance, and he then contrasts this position of the Rambam with
the Tosphos and the Rosh who are cholek, and we know that Tosphos and the
Rosh require QOM as a separate matter from tevila.

 If so, then what do you do with the part I did quote, in
> which he menti ons QOM albeit without BD?

I can't see where you are saying that he mentions QOM without BD in
connection with the Rambam.  If one rejects position A that involves two
items, it does not mean that one accepts one of those items and only rejects
the other, one can just as easily be rejecting both.  I don't believe the
Bach makes it clear either way *here* whether the Rambam's rejection is of
one item (the necessity of Beis Din) or both (Beis din plus QOM), but does
clarify which of the two he holds by further down with his kol ikar
reference.  That seemed obvious to me.

> It's the words of the Bach (YD 268).
> 1- Tevilah lesheim QOM: See d"h "UM"SH veT"Ch omedim al tevilaso".
> Quoting Rashi: "... Hilkhakh beshe'as tevilah mitzvah tzarikh leqabeil
> alav ol mitzvos"

Yes, here is quoting Rashi.  The Bach is a compendium of rishonic opinions
and explanations on the Tur.  The Tur holds, as one would expect, like the
Rosh on the point of QOM.  The Bach here is quoting the Tur and bringing
Rashi on the Tur so you have his view on it and a partial explanation of
where he gets it from.  Rashi's view is not, and is not expected to be, the
Rambam's view.  And between this explanation of the Tur in which he quotes
Rashi, and his discussion of the Rambam that we are referring to, there are
I don't know how many d"h references to the Tur which indicate a break and a
new discussion.  I get at least six and maybe seven.  To imply that the Bach
in discussing the Rambam is referring back to a discussion vis a vis Rashi
six or so paragraphs ago vis a vis the commentary on the Tur, without any
reference seems very odd to say the least

> 2- The Rambam requiring QOM, albeit not before BD, in Bach d"h "UM"SH
> uleR' Elfas vechu'", starting with "Vezos his shitas haRambam", phrases
> the woman who doesn't keep halakhah as ho'il vehuchzequ goyim. Not
> Yisrael mumar.

The words right before "vezos he shitas haRambam are. "aval l'gabei banim
hayu d'eved v'somchim al hachazaka" - ie but with regard to the children we
rely upon the Chazaka.  And then he writes "vezos he shitas Rambam in Perek
13 of Hilchs Issurei Biah, (halacha 9) that he writes that a gioyres that we
see that she noheges b'minhag darchei yisrael tamid - like she toyvels for
nidah, and likewise a man shenoheg b'darchei Yisrael she tovel 'keri v'oseh
kol hamitzvos harei elu b'chezkas gerei tzedek etc, af al pi im bau
l'hitarev b'yisarel ain ma'asim otam etc hoeil b'chezkas goyim  v' ken kasuv
HaRav Hamagid sham she kerovim divrei haRif l'divrei HaRambam.  

Now if you look at the full cite of Halacha 9 in the Rambam, you can see
this is discussing a case where the person *has no eidim to testify that
they converted* - the language is "af al pi sheain sham edim l'mamidim
lifnei mi shenitgaru".

This is not discussing a situation of the Rambam requiring QOM but not
before beis din.  This is discussing the opposite case, here is somebody
where the metzius is that he or she appears to be keeping all the mitzvos,
but we have no evidence of any actual conversion.  What to do?  Well the
Bach holds (and the Shulchan Aruch and the Magid Mishna) that the Rambam
holds that while one should not marry such a person l'chatchila without
either eidim or a new tevila, b'dieved if it gets as far as children, we
treat them as kosher.

> I see the Rambam saying that it is only because a chozeir leAZ is a Jew
> that the marriages were chal!

Yes, so am I.  The difference is not that, the difference is what is the
trigger. I am arguing that the trigger that makes a Jew is tevila once he
comes up from his tevila he is a Jew, which is why the marriage is chal,
even if after his tevila he is chozer lAZ.   You are saying that it is not
just tevila you need but QOM.  

Actually I think you are not putting your case as strongly as you could be.
The key word here for you is chozer, because chozer usually means go back
upon (as in chozer b'teshuva) .  And what you are really arguing is that by
the Rambam using the word chozer, he is saying that to "return" to AZ, he
must have left it, hence at least some form of QOM (although actually a ger
toshav accepts not to do AZ, not only a Jew).  While I agree that of all
your arguments, this is one possibly the trickiest for the Bach, it is by no
means insurmountable.  This is because the Rambam in this perek frequently
uses the word chozer in a very odd way, in which he is clearly not meaning

To whit - in halacha 14 - he uses the expression vis a vis an ideal ger
"v'rau otan shechozru meahava." Now we are discussing a goy here who is
coming to be megaired, not a ba'alei teshuva.  What is it he is being chozer
to? Surely the word should have been ba meahava.
And then again in halacha 15  he uses the word "chozru" to describe the
people who were coming to be megaired at the time of David and Shlomo.  And
then he says "Shekol hachozer min ha'akum b'shvil davar mehevlei olam aino
megeri tzedek".

So despite the way that one would normally translate this word, the Rambam
clearly does not use it solely to mean "go to back to a former state that
has been left".  Rather he appears to use it to mean to come, to be in, to
do.  And without the full force of the word, you have nothing that shows the
person having accepted something and then reneged.  And yet to get to the
result you want you have to postulate a situation with the wives of Shlomo
and Shimshon that they were really good eggs that later went bad, rather
than thoroughly bad eggs - and you have to deal with words like negale
sodon, which clearly point the other way, ie that their true essence all
along was what was later revealed by their later AZ.

That is why I say that on balance I think the Bach's understanding of the
Rambam is the slightly better one.   But as I have also said above, I think
the only place where this aspect is relevant is really where one is looking
to rely in bshas hadchak type situations on minority opinions.  Now one can
argue that such a situation could be found in modern day Israel, but in
general what one needs to look to regarding the nature of QOM and what is or
is not meakev is to Tosphos and the Rosh.

You do need to understand what is meant by chosheshinan more critically than
this, because that is used by the SA in Si'if 12.  But the very fact that it
is in si'if 12 and not in si'if 3, which is where the SA discusses QOM and
its impact on the gerus, is to my mind further proof that chosheshinan is
talking about how you treat people post gerus, not about what is essential
to effectuate the gerus.  

> -Micha



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Message: 5
From: T6...@aol.com
Date: Sun, 7 Mar 2010 21:17:12 EST
Re: [Avodah] RSRH on the Agel and What We See Today

I haven't been following the bugs-in-fish issue closely, but where do you  
stand on that?

--Toby Katz


In a message dated 3/7/2010 1:58:16 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,  
Larry.Lev...@stevens.edu writes:

I, and  others whom I have spoken with, am disturbed by many things that I 
see going  on in the O world today. To me it seems that some are "making up 
a new  religion."
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Message: 6
From: T6...@aol.com
Date: Sun, 7 Mar 2010 23:09:44 EST
Re: [Avodah] The Two Tablets


From: Yitzchok Levine _Larry.Levine@stevens.edu_ 

In  his article 
there a  Disconnect between Torah Learning and 
Torah Living?  
COMPLETE  ARTICLE)   Rabbi Dr. Aharon Hersh 
Fried  makes the case that  today there is far 
more emphasis on Bein Adom L'Makom than on Bein 
Adom  L'Chaveiro.  

Although Christians have been saying that about Jews for 2000 years, and  
Reform and Conservative have been saying it about Orthodox Jews for over a  
century, it is not true.  
Compared to non-Jews, Jews are exemplary in their devotion to their  
fellow-man and especially to their fellow Jews.  And compared to R and C,  
Orthodox Jews have every reason to feel justifiably proud of our  incredible  
chessed and tzedaka institutions, right across the  spectrum.  
It is only when compared to our own ideals of perfection that we  fall 
Non-O have absolutely nothing comparable to musar, or chassidus, or  
gemachim, or bikur cholim, or loshon hara shiurim, or "hamalbin pnei chaveiro,"  
or "hevei dan lekaf zechus" or special consideration to widows, orphans and  
converts, or chevra kadisha or Zaka or Hatzalah or Shifra-Puah groups that 
help  new mothers, or neighborhood committees that cook for families that are 
sitting  shiva or have a member in the hospital, or hachnasas orchim, or 
kiruv, and I  could go on and on and on.  As a percentage of their income, 
Orthodox Jews  give many times more tzedaka than do non-O Jews.  It is well 
known that if  a Jew is stuck in any town in the world where there are any 
Orthodox Jews, he  will not lack for a Shabbos meal.
Rabbi Dr. Aharon Hersh Fried's own concern for mitzvos bein adam lechavero  
is admirable, but his accusations are false and his slur against  Orthodox 
Jews is a transgression against his own ideals.
I have myself been the victim of rudeness on the part of frum Jews in  
Brooklyn and Yerushalayim so I know that we have people in our midst who  could 
stand to  have their rough edges polished.  Nevertheless we have  so much to 
be proud of.  We need to stress what is positive about  our community, when 
there is so much more light than darkness. 

--Toby  Katz


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Message: 7
From: "kennethgmil...@juno.com" <kennethgmil...@juno.com>
Date: Mon, 8 Mar 2010 01:09:33 GMT
Re: [Avodah] What is Hard Matza - Difference between Baking

R' Meir Rabi asked:
> Perhaps we are just drying it out very rapidly and we are
> eating not baked dough but just dried out dough

If it was not baked but only dried, it would not change color. If it
changes color, surely this is proof of baking, no? But I concede that if
only *part* of the matzah changed color, and part stayed white -- however
tiny that white part might be -- then RMR's question still stands.

I recall reading a few years ago about some communities who avoided certain
brands of matzah because those matzos were too white, and were perhaps
insufficiently baked.

My only point is that RMR is raising an interesting point. I have no
evidence whether the groups I mentioned are being justifiably careful
because they have determined that the hashgachos neglect to do the tests he
mentioned, or whether, perhaps, those groups are being improperly machmir
because they are unwilling to accept that the hashgachos DO do those tests.

(Personally, I trust the hashgachos which I rely on, that their rabbonim
have looked at all of the many aspects of matzah-baking under their
jurisdiciton, and that they feel okay with it. I work under the presumption
that just like they know what to look for regarding crumbs of dough that
might get caught in the machinery and become chometz, so too do they know
what to look for when they see a matzah coming out of the oven. It is hard
for me to believe that the hashgacha has no say over how long the matzos
must stay in the oven, or what temperature the oven is set to. Surely their
knowledge of Hilchos Chometz includes an awareness of the test which RMR
mentioned, AND ALSO an awareness of when a matza is baked so well that
those tests are not needed.)

Akiva Miller

Love Spell
Click here to light up your life with a love spell!

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Message: 8
From: "Elazar M. Teitz" <r...@juno.com>
Date: Sun, 7 Mar 2010 22:22:19 GMT
Re: [Avodah] Who First Said it?

<<The story about "cutting off  the roots of his soul" -- that the
Gra would have converted to Christianity if not for the Ba'al HaTanya is
scurrilous nonsense.  Where do you get this stuff?>>

<Start with Likutei Dibburim vol 2 p 516, Reshimas Hayomon p 177, >
     It would seem that if they lacked the power but thought they had it,
     then it is tipshus.  If they did have it and would have used it, or
     even contemplated using it, then it would be rishus of the highest
     order.  To be dan l'chaf z'chus, I vote for the former.

Win the battle of the bulge with great liposuction solutions. Click now!

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Message: 9
From: rabbirichwol...@gmail.com
Date: Sun, 7 Mar 2010 23:57:38 +0000
Re: [Avodah] Who First Said it? 2

> The Shulchan Aruch (OC 173:7) connects the dots from what's already 
> given in the gemara (he concludes that "kan haben shoel" refers to a 
> tinok, and he gives an order of priority for what to do if there's no 
> son). 
> In the Shulchan Aruch's view, it's clear that a young child is the best 
> choice -- we're trying to get him to ask something by changing things in 
> the meal. If he doesn't ask something, his father prompts him with the 
> four questions.
Note the SA is following Rashi-Rashbam that the Tinoqos are mean to ask
davka "lama shosim kos sheini koden s'udah?"
But NOT the questions embedded in the mishnah nor the haggadah!
Zissen Pesach 
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

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Message: 10
From: rabbirichwol...@gmail.com
Date: Mon, 8 Mar 2010 00:03:50 +0000
[Avodah] Who First Said It? 4

We discussed this a bit iirc last year - namely who first required 2
consectutive k'zeisim for hammotzi and al achilas matzah?

[As opposed to allowing one big k'zayis to be yotzei both aspects.]

Zissen Pesach
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile


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