Avodah Mailing List

Volume 28: Number 89

Sun, 05 Jun 2011

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Meir Rabi <meir...@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 3 Jun 2011 10:15:25 +1000
[Avodah] The "harmless" Evil of the drug pimp. The innocence

RZS proposes that, ?transporting drugs through these countries is *in
itself* completely harmless ? If you don't get caught then no harm will

That argument proposes (as Daniel M. Israel pointed out) that throwing a
rock into a group of sparsely distributed people is harmless and therefore
guiltless even when someone gets hit, since in all likelihood no one will
get hit. To paraphrase R Zev, ?If you don?t hit someone then no harm will
result.? This is clearly incorrect.

If RZS is suggesting that this is the rule of Gerama then we must clarify
that Gerama is not an issue related to probabilities. The foundation of
Gerama is that the outcome is not entirely encapsulated within the action.
Throwing a spear encapsulates the entire damage that will occur at a later
time. If there is a shield interposed between the thrower and the target
which is removed AFTER the spear has been thrown, the action of throwing is
impotent. Removing the shield is NOT an act that causes harm, it permits
something to continue. That is Gerama and can not be pursued through the
regular channels of BD.

RZS also seems to consider intention as a component of Gerama, ?the sender
certainly *wants* it to get through; he doesn't intend it to get caught, and
thus he doesn't intend any harm to the patsies.  Therefore this is even more
of a grama?

Intention has nothing at all to do with Gerama. It is though in all
likelihood, a great component in determining the magnitude of guilt and
compensation BiDey Shomayim.

I believe that R Zev is mistaken when he suggests ? ?Therefore this is even
more of a grama than the gemara's spear thrower, where the thrower (may well
have known and) intended that the shield would be removed, and yet is patur
bedinei adam?. He is mistaken because the damage is already encapsulated in
the act of throwing the spear, it is for this that he is responsible, in
this world, for the damages. That is what we Pasken - Sending a flame in the
hands of a ChShKatan is NOT Gerama, the sender is guilty and processed
through BD in this world.

This says more than the RaMBaM pointed out by R Moshe Y. Gluck, where the
instigator is NOT punishable by BD in this world. The instigator who uses a
ChShKatan is punished by BD in this world. As someone mentioned from the
Tosafos in Kiddushin 42a, the moral imperative is ?Listen to Gd, not to your
Rosh Yeshivah etc.? But if the patsy is unaware of Gd?s objections then the
sender is to be punished by BD in this world. [this inspires a new
discussion about whether the Talmidim of the RY can be considered capable of
recognising that HKBH in fact disagrees with their RY]

R? Zev also says that, ?shliach lidvar avera is not just a technical rule,
it's a moral truth.  People are moral agents.?

How can it be a moral truth if R Zev concedes that they are guilty of Lifney
Iveir? That seems to be inconsistent. Of course R Zev has already admitted
to the proof from Rambam, Rotzeich U'shmiras Hanefesh, 2:2-5, specifically,
the end of Halachah 2.

But R Zev is not convinced, he asks, ?Now my question becomes why he's
responsible; a hired killer is not like an animal, after all.  Unless you
say that once a person has disclosed to you that he's depraved (e.g. by
advertising his services as a hit man) you have to treat him like an animal
who has no bechira?  I don't know; it doesn't sound quite right.?

 I think R Zev has not paused to think about the differences between the
letter of the Law and the spirit of the Law. Ein SheliAch means the
evil-doer can not seek exemption by having submitted to the requests,
demands or dictates of anyone else on this planet. Life is to be lived
between yourself and HKBH. At the same time, that has nothing to do with the
guilt of the instigator who is in breach of the spirit of the Law and even
can be in breach of the letter of the Law, as when using a ChShKatan or
unsuspecting na?ve bochrim.

That Rasha is guilty and should be subject to the harshest sanctions
possible, until some penance is convincingly performed.
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Message: 2
From: Eli Turkel <elitur...@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 3 Jun 2011 12:10:29 +0300
Re: [Avodah] pikuach nefesh

First of all the Tzitz Eliezer says that one can't throw the switch.
The trolley case is worse because a person is tied to the tracks. In
diverting a grenade it is
a little more indirect.

R Zilbestein from a shiur from last July poses several questions (and

1.  Paratroopers whose cords got entangled. The officer can save himself by
tearing the cord of
the other paratrooper that accidentally caused the entaglement

2. A pilot who is mistakenly firing on friendly troops. Can one shoot down
the plane

3. An electrician mistakenly touches a live wire. The only way to save
himself is to shut down
the electricity of the neighborhood. However, there is someone on life
support who will die if the
electricity is turned off (assuming no standby electricity)

4. Terrorists using innocent people as protection. Can one shoot the
terrorists knowing it may
also kill innocent civilians

5. Could one  (halachically)

bomb the extermination camp in Aushwitz knowing that it would kill
many of the inmates.

Eli Turkel

On Fri, Jun 3, 2011 at 5:15 AM, Poppers, Michael

> In Avodah V28n87, RET noted:
> > CI has a question: Can one divert a grenade to save many people but it
> will fall on a few. CI remains with a safek. R. Zilberstein in many shiurim
> seems to tend towards allowing it (it has many practical applications). I
> believe the Tzitz Eliezer does not allow based on the CI' safek <
> Isn't that question the "trolley problem"* (for which I was told some years
> ago the Halachic answer is "no, don't throw the switch")?
> ---
> *) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trolley_problem
> All the best from
> -- Michael Poppers via BB pager

Eli Turkel
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Message: 3
From: "Poppers, Michael" <MPopp...@kayescholer.com>
Date: Thu, 2 Jun 2011 22:15:41 -0400
Re: [Avodah] pikuach nefesh

In Avodah V28n87, RET noted:
> CI has a question: Can one divert a grenade to save many people but it
> will fall on a few. CI remains with a safek. R. Zilberstein in many
> shiurim seems to tend towards allowing it (it has many practical
> applications). I believe the Tzitz Eliezer does not allow based on the
> CI' safek <
Isn't that question the "trolley problem"* (for which I was told some years ago the Halachic answer is "no, don't throw the switch")?
*) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trolley_problem

All the best from 
-- Michael Poppers via BB pager

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Message: 4
From: Eli Turkel <elitur...@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 3 Jun 2011 12:47:46 +0300
[Avodah] pikuach nefesh

<<May you bulldoze away the few bodies at the top of the mound, certainly
killing or hastening the death of one, so as to reach the far greater
number of soldiers further down as rapidly as possible? It would give
you the greatest chance of saving the most lives. But the bulldozer
operator would be actively killing.>>

R Zilberstein also discusses this case in the shiur I mention in another
Actually this story happened to the Pnei Yehoshua who gives thanks to G-d
at being saved (whatever the equivalent of the bulldozer was in those days)

Bottom line R. Zillberstein seems to allow it. He also points out that these
questions involve lives any in theory should be decided by a Sanhedrin.

Eli Turkel
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Message: 5
From: "Rich, Joel" <JR...@sibson.com>
Date: Fri, 3 Jun 2011 05:54:00 -0400
Re: [Avodah] pikuach nefesh

In Avodah V28n87, RET noted:
> CI has a question: Can one divert a grenade to save many people but it 
> will fall on a few. CI remains with a safek. R. Zilberstein in many 
> shiurim seems to tend towards allowing it (it has many practical 
> applications). I believe the Tzitz Eliezer does not allow based on the 
> CI' safek <
Isn't that question the "trolley problem"* (for which I was told some years ago the Halachic answer is "no, don't throw the switch")?
*) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trolley_problem

All the best from
-- Michael Poppers via BB pager
The halachic answer is - not clear. The CI was asked aiui based on an
actual bus driver case and is noteh to say diverting the arrow is a maaseh
hatzalah. There is a ton of source material on trying to understand
halachic priorities in this and similar life priorities - suffice it to say
imho there are different takes, primarily (again imho) on how you
understand "sumak tfei" (who says your blood is redder) as a real question
(i.e if you could tell whose blood was redder (perhaps a talmid chacham, or
5 people against 1) you would act on it versus seeing it as a statement
that it is unknowable and we must stay away from being involved in taking
any life (i.e let hkb"h decide)-yes this is a simplification
Joel Rich 
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Message: 6
From: "Prof. Levine" <llev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Fri, 03 Jun 2011 09:57:19 -0400
[Avodah] Shela HaKadosh - Good Children Are Not Raised On One

 From http://tinyurl.com/3z2v7gy

Yom Kippur Katan Chodesh Sivan is the big day for davening for our 
children's hatzlacha according to the Shela HaKadosh.  His famous 
tefila is readily available as are tzedaka opportunities enabling you 
to boost the effects of your tefilos with a donation.  But like 
everything else that we grab onto for dear life, this is the easy 
part.  The Shela had lots more to say about raising good children 
other than paying lip service and writing a yearly check and I am 
sure today's gedolim would agree.  In fact his entire Sefer from 
which he earned his name the Shela (Shnei Luchos HaBris), was written 
as a guide to his children when he left home for Eretz Yisroel.

See the above URL for the rest of this article. YL
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Message: 7
From: "kennethgmil...@juno.com" <kennethgmil...@juno.com>
Date: Fri, 3 Jun 2011 12:38:23 GMT
Re: [Avodah] kimu v'kiblu, purim,

R' Harvey Benton asked several important questions about the nature of our obligations to obey the Torah:

> 1. Why is the Torah binding if given to us by force? ... ...


> 2. Is an agreement forced upon or given to, or made by a soul
> binding upon a body, or even a body associated (whole or in
> part) to a given soul at a later date? ...

To answer these and similar questions, we first need to understand what we
mean by the concept of "obligation" to begin with. Let's take an example
that is even simpler and more basic than the ones RHB brings: If I tell you
that I will do a certain thing tomorrow, can I unilaterally change my mind
later on? Can I simply choose not to do it? Would it be wrong for me to
choose not to do it?

I suggest that the answer is that I am obligated (to some degree) to keep my word, because society will not be able to function otherwise.

This is not an "obligation" in a legal and technical sense, but in a
natural sense. Or you can call it "natural law" if you like. My point is
that the world operates according to certain laws, and that among these are
that objects fall down when you let go of them, and that people do not
indiscriminately kill each other. Failure to heed these laws will
inevitably lead to disaster. Maybe a small disaster or maybe a large one,
and maybe it will be immediate or over a long time. But it *will* lead to
problems, because the world was designed to follow certain rules, and if
those rules aren't followed, then the world will not work properly.

One has to follow the rules. If I say that I am going to do something, I
had better do it or there will be negative repercussions. This is how I
understand "obligation" in its most basic sense.

And that's how I understand the mountain being above us at Har Sinai. G-d
did not threaten us with death, cajoling us to accept these laws. Rather,
He was *illustrating* to us that we follow these rules or the world would
end up in chaos. Our "acceptance" of the laws did not really affect their
power or their validity in any sense other than our psychological
relationship with them. That is, once we accepted the Torah (at Sinai
and/or on Purim), we get a new perspective on it, and it becomes easier to
speak about our "obligation" to keep it.

But it is a matter of semantics and psychology. Like "b'dieved" and
"d'rabanan", so too "obligated" encompasses a many concepts, and is a
shorthand to help us deal with them.

(By the way, much of this applies not only to Torah, but to civil
government as well. When people form a government by the consent of the
governed, it also governs those who are born into that society. They are
automatically obligated by the laws, and cannot complain that they never
consented to them. And I think the logic behind this is that society is
unable to function in any other way.)

Akiva Miller

Groupon&#8482 Official Site
1 ridiculously huge coupon a day. Get 50-90% off your city&#39;s best!

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Message: 8
From: Richard Wolberg <cantorwolb...@cox.net>
Date: Fri, 3 Jun 2011 06:56:40 -0400
[Avodah] ein shaliach lidvar aveirah

The following has been held by some:  That's very different from a godfather who tells
people to do things that are actually wrong, and that they know to be wrong,
and that they have the choice to refrain from.

The incorrect word above is "tells."  The word is "orders."
To think that they have the "choice" to refrain is very naive.
If a godfather or crime boss gives orders and the subordinates
refrain from carrying out the orders, they will be killed. A godfather
doesn't give one a "choice."  They may have had a choice l'chatchila
not to become involved with the mafia. However, even that is somewhat
more complex than it sounds. A person born into a mafia family, whose parents
are criminals and whose entire family are career criminals, has a much more 
difficult path and requires a super strength to leave his environment. However,
once a person is involved and is ordered by the crime boss to do anything, his only
consequence in not following orders is death.
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Message: 9
From: Daniel Israel <d...@cornell.edu>
Date: Fri, 3 Jun 2011 11:23:33 -0600
Re: [Avodah] ein shliach le-dvar averiah

On Jun 1, 2011, at 3:46 PM, Zev Sero wrote:
> On 1/06/2011 4:58 PM, Daniel M. Israel wrote:
>> But RnTK's claim has nothing to do with shlichus!  And I don't
>> know if the halacha would credit your presumption that the risk
>> was remote.  So the question is, what is the halachic status of
>> someone who puts someone else's life at risk?	For example, what
>> if anything, would be the punishment for someone who blindly
>> throws rocks into an area in which someone is standing?  Is he
>> chayiv for anything if he doesn't actually hit the person?
> "Ein shliach lidvar avera" is not just a specific rule in one case; it's
> a general rule that people are moral agents, and nobody is responsible
> for what another person does.  That includes things that are not averos
> at all; each person decides for himself what to do, and nobody else can
> be held responsible, even if he induced that person to do it.  What he
> can be responsible for is lifnei iver, giving someone bad advice, and
> he's responsible for that whether the person followed the advice or not.

If he had told them what they were carrying and then convinced them to do
it anyway, you _might_ have a case.  But here you can't say they were
responsible for their action, because he put them their via false
pretenses.  So if I convince you to walk into my backyard, which is full of
pits, perhaps you can say it is only lifnei iver.  But if I assure you
there are no pits, are you claiming I'm not a mazik?

Daniel M. Israel

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Message: 10
From: Eli Turkel <elitur...@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 3 Jun 2011 15:10:20 +0300
[Avodah] pikuach nefesh

After some questions I will attempt to clarify a little more (better?) the
position of
R. Zilberstein (in several shiurim over the years) and the poskim he quotes.

1. The case asked of the CI (Sanhedrin 25) is quite close to the trolley
case. The case was a car out of control
that is headed towards a crowd. One is able to move the steering wheel to
direct it towards a
much smaller group of people. The CI introduces the case of deflecting an
arrow from the many
to the few. The CI attempts to allow it since the action is a positive one
not meant to kill anyone.
However, the CI ends with a tzarich iyun because in fact he is actively
killing someone even though

R Zilberstein was discussing a case of triage. He paskened that a doctor
should choose the medium case
rather than the most severe case as the chance of saving the patient is
greater. He then said that even
if the doctor was in the middle of treating the severe case, eg he was
putting pressure on a wound to
slow the blood flow,  he should leave because any damage to that patient is
indirect (based on an
Even Haezel) and so even the CI would agree.

2. In a later shiur the question came up whether a doctor should treat a
person wounded by a terrorist
or else try and stop the terrorist from a mass murder. His conclusion was
that if the terrorist is in
the immediate vicinity he should try and stop him. However, in more general
cases there are too
many doubts and better to defintely save this one patient (ein safek motzi
mide vadai)

3. In the lrecent shiur that I quoted R. Zilberstein reaches the following
conclusions based on the
Meiri that the Mishna that says that once the baby has its head out that the
mother and baby are equal
applied to outside people. However, the mother has the right to save her own
life at the expense of the infant.

All the conclusions were preceded by perhaps (Nireh or Yitachen)

a. The paratrooper is allowed to cut the cord from the other parachute to
save his own life
b. One is not required to give preference to the officer but it is
c. The electrician is allowed to disconnect the electricity even though
someone is on life support
d. Tzarich Iyun if one can kill a terrorist when innocent bystanders will
also be killed
e. If a doctor is a rodef someone can kill the doctor even though the
patient will die
f. One could bomb the train station going to  Auschwitz  even though there
are Jews in the station

Again all the above conclusions were introduced with Nireh or Yitachen
He concludes based on a Chatam Sofer that learning these halachot can result
in the zechut that it won't be necessary to deal with such questions

Eli Turkel
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Message: 11
From: Hankman <sal...@videotron.ca>
Date: Sat, 04 Jun 2011 22:57:51 -0400
[Avodah] Kol, winemaking and besomim

In a recent daf yomi the gemara tells us that "kol" is bad for wine making while elsewhere a braisa on the ketores tells us that "kol" is good for the besomim.
does anyone have a good explanation of these assertions in shas? The only
thing I could come up with (is pretty dachuk and just speculation for lack
of anything better) is as follows.

I assume "kol" means the vibrational frequencies of the human voice.
Perhaps the resonant frequency for the powders that the besomim are ground
to are in this range of frequencies and perhaps these vibrations cause
these powders to pack in an optimum density when the spices are measured so
that the recipe (relative quantities of each spice) follow more closely the
desired correct volumetric recipe for the besomim. I assume since the Torah
was not given to malachai hashores that small room for discrepancy is OK
for the besomim, but the minor compaction due to this vibrational effect
might bring the powder density to its optimum for the "best" measurement to
more exactly meet the desired recipe. Again, I have no proof for any of
this, just thinking aloud trying to explain this assertion and what it
might mean.

As far as the effect of "kol" on wine making I could only ask if it is
possible that the vibrations in the frequency of the human voice have any
effect on the fermentation process of wine? Perhaps in some minor way these
vibrations impede the fermentation?

If anyone has a good explanation of what the gemara or the beraisa mean I would like to hear it.

Kol Tuv

Chaim Manaster

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Message: 12
From: "Prof. Levine" <llev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Sun, 05 Jun 2011 09:45:47 -0400
[Avodah] Love your God in such a way that you cause others to

The following is from Chochmo U"Mussar by Rabbi Dr. Salomon Breuer, 
who succeeded his father-in-law, RSRH, as rov of Frankfurt.  It is 
from his commentary on Parshas Naso.

In the word beha'alosicha  the Sages find an additional 
challenge:  In front of the Menorah was an elevation consisting of 
three steps which the priest had to climb when he turned to the task 
of caring for the Menorah. This seems to signify the following 
thought: if the priest wishes the wick to receive its light from the 
Menorah-flame and then to burn on by itself - i.e. if he desires his 
Torah to inspire the hearts and minds of his people and to help it 
attain the strength which will protect it from sin and weakness - he 
must succeed in climbing with his flame "an elevation of three steps!"

V'ahavta eis HaShem  Elokecha, B'chol l'vav'cha, uv'chawl nafsh'cha, 
u-v'chol m'odecha. Love your God; "love Him in such a way (Yoma 86) 
that you cause others to love the Name of God". When is this the 
case?  He who has studied, absorbed God's teaching from the mouths of 
the Sages, talks pleasantly with his fellow-man, proves honest and 
straight in his business dealings and social relationships, of him it 
will be said: hail to him who has studied the Torah, hail to his 
father, his teacher, who has taught him the Torah; look at him who 
has studied the Torah, how fine are his manners, how good are his 
deeds! - But he who has sat at the feet of the Sages and studied the 
Torah, but proves unreliable and irresponsible in word and deed, in 
business and social dealings - what is then the judgment of his 
fellow-men? Woe to him who has studied the Torah, woe to his father, 
his teacher, who has taught him the Torah! Fortunate are those who 
have not studied the Torah  - just look at this Torah-scholar, how 
ugly are his manners, how perverted his deeds!

It is not his mere scholarship which enables the teacher to win over 
the hearts of his disciples for God's Torah. The secret of his 
success lies in his character qualities, in his mode of living: 
V'ahavta eis HaShem ..., love your God in such a way that you cause 
others to love the Name of God. If your own learning has not 
motivated you sufficiently to love God, how should others learn it 
from you. He whose Torah knowledge fails to inspire him towards 
wholehearted devotion to the Will of God "with all his heart, all his 
soul and all his resources"; he who fails to demonstrate in his own 
life that the Divine Will rules and hallows every beat of his heart, 
every breath of his life, every particle of his possessions; he whose 
life is a denial of the Torah precepts which he praises with his lips 
- he will never be able to inspire others to draw their light from 
his Torah-flame which leaves his own life in wretched darkness .
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