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Volume 27: Number 151

Tue, 27 Jul 2010

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Jonathan Dickson <Jonathan.Dick...@blplaw.com>
Date: Tue, 27 Jul 2010 00:38:27 +0100
[Avodah] zecher lechurban

On Mon, Jul 26, 2010 at 02:50:32PM +0300, Eli Turkel wrote:
: BTW over my front door I have a wonderful large scale photograph of the kotel
: taken by my brother-in-law on hoshana raba night as dawn breaks and the
: kotel area is fully filled. (I have an electronic copy for anyone interested)

I once heard Rabbi A Kimche (of London) point out that the shulchan aruch
(OC 560:1-2) brings a series of things we're supposed to do nowadays to
remind us of the destruction of Yerushalayim - (1) leaving an area of the
home unpainted, (2) making a point of not putting out all one's fine
vessels on the table at once, (3) women not wearing all their jewellery at
once [as in actively omitting to put an item on] and (4) a chatan placing
ash on his forehead. (He continues with others in simanim 3-5).

The Rema then adds that in some places, they have the minhag to break a glass under the chupa.

The only one of these that appears to be consistently practiced (or even
widely known about) is the glass under the chuppa - and what do we do the
instant the glass is smashed, symbolising the churban? We shout "mazel

kol tuv

Jonny Dickson

Save paper ..... think before you print.


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Message: 2
From: Zvi Lampel <zvilam...@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 26 Jul 2010 22:17:12 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Rishonim and Chazal (was One Opinion)

Ramban and Chazal---Bilaam

The Ramban (B'Midbar 22:20) quotes the Ibn Ezra's commentary explaining 
Hashem's original instruction to Bilaam not to go to Balak, and His 
subsequent reversal, telling him to go. The Ibn Ezra says it is akin to 
Hashem's acquiescence when the Bnei Yisroel asked to have men spy the 
Land of Canaan, despite the fact Hashem has already guaranteed their 
success in conquering it. The Ibn Ezra explains that once one refuses to 
follow Hashem's original instruction, Hashem instructs one to act in 
accordance with his choice.

In both cases---that of the spies and that of Bilaam---the Ramban denies 
that the explanation could be "that G-d would reverse His word because 
of a person's stubbornness." And he further objects to the idea that 
Hashem would then punish anyone for following through with what He had 
given him permission to do, as is what happened in both cases. The 
Ramban says "/Challilah/" to this idea.

*At this point, the Ramban inserts: And they say in a Midrash that in 
the way a person wants to go, in it "/moleechin oso/." --which 
apparently supports the Ibn Ezra's thesis: That once a person chooses a 
certain path despite Hashem's disapproval, Hashem accomodates him to 
follow that way.*

* *

*The Ramban, however, does not retract his position. In fact, he goes on 
to expound his explanation opposing the Ibn Ezra's thesis---and 
ostensibly opposing the Chazal he cited, offering no alternate one.*

* *

The apparent opposition alone is a problem, considering the Ramban's 
usual use of Chazal as authoritative, both as support for himself and as 
basis for fierce rejection of other views---repeatedly some of Ibn Ezra's!

But furthermore, Ramban's _placement_ of the Midrashic citation in his 
presentation is incomprehensible. The sequence does not flow: One would 
expect that citation of Chazal to appear either before or after the Ibn 
Ezra's explanation, to show support; or after the Ramban concludes his 
explanation, as a concession to the Ibn Ezra (which is indeed the way 
commentators on the Ramban explain it---although they fail to explain 
why the Ramban then continues to discredit the idea promulgated by the 
Ibn Ezra and ostensibly the Chazal). Instead, after citing the Midrash, 
the Ramban then goes on to expound upon his opposing explanation.

(The Ramban explains that in the matter of the spies, the people's 
innocent and valid intention was to plan the conquest strategy; and he 
explains that Bilaam as well was acting quite appropriately, declaring 
that nothing could absolve him from following G-d's orders, and seeking 
G-d's advice as to how to respond to the second contingent Balak sent 
him. And Hashem's instructions were consistent: From beginning to end, 
He did not want Bilaam to curse the Israelites; but He absolutely did 
want Bilaam to accompany the second contingent---if they would desist 
from the demand that he curse the Israelites---to bless the Israelites. 
Bilaam's sin was that when he reported G-d's message to Balak's men, he 
suppressed the qualification G-d gave him, and created the false 
impression that G-d acquiesced to cursing the Israelites, and the 
blasphemous idea that G-d changes His mind and decides one day to keep 
the Israelites from being cursed, and decides the next to allow it.)

Now, often the Ramban holds that the /peshat/ of a passage does not 
follow the Chazal, and that the Chazal knew this, but were merely using 
this passage as a literary device upon which to peg their teaching---the 
teaching with which the Ramban of course agrees. But here, the Ramban 
has strongly objected to the teaching itself---without offering an 
alternate Chazal in his support!

By my use of the words "apparently" and "ostensibly," you may already 
have an idea where I'm heading.

*The reason we see a disconnect between the /Chazal/ and the Ramban's 
placement of it in his commentary, is that---influenced by Rashi and 
popular usage---we think the /Chazal/ is saying what the Ibn Ezra 
holds*. But the Ramban, I propose, does not understand the /Chazal /that 
way. He understands it the way the Meiri (/Makkos/ 10b) does: simply 
that G-d grants us free will. The fact that G-d did not simply make 
Bilaam unable to get up in the morning, but gave him instructions---to 
refrain from cursing Israel, and to commit to blessing Israel---shows 
that G-d allows people even with the worst of intentions to exercise 
their free will. "/molichin oso/" should not be translated, "they lead 
him," but "they give him the ability to go."

The Ramban's citation of the Chazal is not a support of the Ibn Ezra, 
but an introduction to his own explanation. One can entertain the 
possibility that the Ramban introduced it knowing that the Ibn Ezra took 
it the way he did. But regardless, he cites it as a support for his own 
opposing understanding based, he believes, on a more reasonable 
theology. In effect, he is saying, "Now, there is a Chazal that sheds 
light on how to understand these passages. Do not take it as the Ibn 
Ezra does; the correct understanding of it is as follows..."

Zvi Lampel
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Message: 3
From: Danny Schoemann <doni...@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 27 Jul 2010 10:17:54 +0300
[Avodah] buying Israeli produce

From: R' Eli Turkel

>On a slightly different topic RSZA opposed the idea of avoiding shemitta
> problems by buying fruits and vegetables imported into EY. He indeed
> felt there was a mitzva to observe shmitta even though it is rabbinic and
> one should not seek to avoid keeping the mitzvah. This is in addition to
> the mitzvah of helping those farmers that keep shemitta and sell through
> some otzer bet din. I would imagine that he would say the same for
> terumot and maaserot even though they are rabbinic.

Yet the Rosh Yeshiva (RSZA) was not against the Heter Mechira...

- Danny

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Message: 4
From: Saul.Z.New...@kp.org
Date: Tue, 27 Jul 2010 07:41:52 -0700
[Avodah] toras hachasiddus

in reference to this sicha from 1953,  at  points  gimmel and daled  ,  i 
found  interesting  the  concept  that  'nikve'ah hahalacha  ktorat 
hachassidut'  and  that  there is no dissention possible  after  psak 
halacha;   and  that [further on , by notes  22 -23 ]  after all  the 
objections to chassidus  were only the risk of chassidus was potentially 
taking  people off the derech, and  that turned  out  not  to be true; 
therefore, one who holds concepts not consistent with chassidus [ chabad 
chassidus?]  is in halachic/hashkafic error,  at least that's how i read 

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Message: 5
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Tue, 27 Jul 2010 13:01:57 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Kelayim - Holy or Evil?

On Fri, Jul 23, 2010 at 12:12:40AM -0400, T6...@aol.com wrote:
: In contrast, if something is a mitzva, then it is not an aveira -- by  
: definition. If Hashem Himself commanded it, then it is not an  aveirah....

The question as to whether hatzalas nefashos is matir Shabbos or docheh
Shabbos is an open one. In fact, many (R' Shelomo Kluger, among others)
understand this to be a machloqes between the SA (328:4) and the Rama
(328:12). The SA appears to hold that one needn't minimize the melakhah
involved in saving a life, while the Rama rules that one must. The
Ramban (Toras haAdam, "Sakanah") holds like the Rama, citing a beraisa
on Shabbos 128b that says one should deliver a baby kele'acheir yad,
if there is no additional risk incurred.

If it's dechuyah, then we have a case where HQBH told us to do something,
but an aveirah is still being done. One won't get any "demerits" for
the aveirah, but there is still a violation that must be minimized.

Life is complicated, and many of our harder decisions involve conflicting
values. And those values are often expressed in din. If neither din is
hutrah, we are being told to violate one for the sake of the other.

> How could Hashem forbid something in one place that He mandates in
> another? Well, getting back to the subject line of this thread --
> "holy or evil?" -- I don't think you could possibly call shatnez
> "evil" since the K'G wore shatnez, but you could possibly say that it
> is an evil /act/ to misappropriate something holy and use it for your
> own purposes or use it in a manner that the Torah forbids.

In the case of shaatnez, I see three possibilities:

1- Shaatnez is bad, but bigdei kehunah provide an overriding reason to
   wear it anyway. The damage caused by wearing shaatnez (or by shechting
   a qorban on Shabbos) is overridden by the far greater spiritual
   benefit. And then we must ask whether we are protected from that
   damage and hutrah, or the damage is a worthwhile cost for the far
   greater gain -- dechuyah.

2- Wearing shaatnez in weekday clothes is in the same family as me'ilah --
   shaatnez is so singlularly for bigdei kehunah, wearing it for yourself
   is wrong. Ie the problem is that shaatnez is too good.

3- Whether or not shaatnez is good depend on context, not that something
   is too wrong without an overriding positive provided by one context
   (#1), or too good to be used in another context (#2). Not sure how
   to fill in details on this one. However, RET's example of shechitah
   vs meliqah might be a case of this.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             It is our choices...that show what we truly are,
mi...@aishdas.org        far more than our abilities.
http://www.aishdas.org                           - J. K. Rowling
Fax: (270) 514-1507


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