Avodah Mailing List

Volume 28: Number 214

Fri, 28 Oct 2011

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Wed, 26 Oct 2011 18:07:35 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Birds & Fish in the Mabul

On Wed, Oct 26, 2011 at 04:10:55PM -0400, Zev Sero wrote:
> On 26/10/2011 11:02 AM, shalomy...@comcast.net wrote:
>> And, why did the birds have to be on the teva?  Couldn't they
>> just fly above the flood?

> For a year?!  Not even a vulture or a condor can do that!

OTOH, how did the olive tree survive?

Clearly teva wasn't involved.

(Which would also explain the lack of erosion or other evidence.)

Tir'u baTov!

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Message: 2
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Wed, 26 Oct 2011 18:21:53 -0400
Re: [Avodah] The sukkah on Shemini Atzeret controversy

On Wed, Oct 26, 2011 at 05:36:51PM +0000, kennethgmil...@juno.com wrote:
:> You write that there were gedolim who weren't willing to keep
:> the insertions. Who?
: My [choose one: understanding, presumption, guess, limud zechus, excuse]
: is that I'm referring to those who eat in the house on Shmini Atzeres. Do
: you have a better explanation of how they justify themselves? ...

It wouldn't be the only time Ashkenazim or a subgroup of Ashkenazim
pasqened differently than the gemara. In the case of mayim achronim, we
apparently hold like the Y-mi which mentions "melach sedomis" but doesn't
make the comparison to mayim rishonim -- and thus gives us room to be
meiqil when no one uses such salt. In the case of tzitzis knots, it looks
like we pasqen like the Sifri -- 5 knots to be added to gematria tzitzis
and the 8 strings to make 613. Menachos really looks like it requires 8
to 14 knots, as it requires 7 to 13 sets of windings. (Although there
are other attempts to make the two work together that read the gemara
in non-obvious ways.)

But I say "we apparently" and "it looks like" because these too are
post-facto. It's not like any rishon up and said, "We Ashkenazim hold
like the pesaq of EY in this matter."

My point is -- there is no reason to believe that Ashk, which includes
the descendents of many people who immigrated from EY and from EY via
Italy, necessarily holds like the Bavli. There are exceptions to the

A second possibility:

I cited the Minchas Elazar in a comment he made in a discussion of
birkhos hamitzvah. He reinterprets our gemara.

But that isn't the ME's justification ad loc. In 4:31 he says the reason
is that in the lands we live in, sitting in a Sukkah isn't ambiguous -- no
one sits outside for their meals in Oct for fun. It's as much a pegam on
Shemini Atzeres as the gemara's description of why we don't pick up lulav.

(This is also why some have the minhag to only sit in the sukkah on SA
in the day. Night is more clear-cut for the mitzvah than lunchtime.)

: I totally admit that I'm working kind of backwards here, taking this
: practice and building an explanation for it...

That's all we can do. Since no one told us the rules, we have two choices:

1- Assume something simple and clearcut, but that requires assuming that
generations of gedolei haposqim have been violating the rules. Okay, this
isn't really a viable choice, but I find it on line all the time.

2- Try to deduce the rules from the data at hand -- the pesaqim and the
casewise explanations of them.

: Call my logic balabatish if you want; I won't be insulted. But until
: I see something better, I'm sticking with it.

I'm a balabus now. I can't see "balebatish" as an insult anymore.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             The Maharal of Prague created a golem, and
mi...@aishdas.org        this was a great wonder. But it is much more
http://www.aishdas.org   wonderful to transform a corporeal person into a
Fax: (270) 514-1507      "mensch"!     -Rav Yisrael Salanter

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Message: 3
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Wed, 26 Oct 2011 18:25:36 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Shevet HaLevi: Is There An Issur For Women To

On Wed, Oct 26, 2011 at 04:13:19PM -0400, Zev Sero wrote:
> On 26/10/2011 6:17 AM, Prof. Levine wrote:
>> Rav Vosner (Shevet HaLevi 5:197:2) says that the proof of the Tshuras
>> Shai is clear and certainly he is correct that it is assur for a woman
>> to stare at a man. This is a Lav of "Lo Sasuru... Acharei Eineichem"
>> and applies to both genders.

> Isn't the point of the issur as it applies to men that "shelo yeharher
> adam bayom, kedei..."?  If so, how can that apply to women?

As I said earlier, WRT SA EH siman 23... Perhaps the whole point of
legislating a derabbanan was to stop hirhurim that don't actually
get as far as causing SZL. If the only hirhurim we wanted to stop had
a reasonable chance of causing an issur deOraisa, they would be
assur misevara alone -- you can't intentionally risk breaking the
law. (Which now also ties us to the "kosher switch" thread...)

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Nearly all men can stand adversity,
mi...@aishdas.org        but if you want to test a man's character,
http://www.aishdas.org   give him power.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                      -Abraham Lincoln

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Message: 4
From: Lisa Liel <l...@starways.net>
Date: Wed, 26 Oct 2011 17:38:35 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Birds & Fish in the Mabul

On 10/26/2011 3:10 PM, Zev Sero wrote:
> On 26/10/2011 11:02 AM, shalomy...@comcast.net wrote:
>> Why didn't the fish have to die in the mabul?
> Fish don't mate with each other; the female lays her eggs, and then
> the male fertilises them.  So the whole inyan of interspecies znus
> doesn't apply to them.

Wouldn't that apply equally to birds and lizards?


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Message: 5
From: Zev Sero <z...@sero.name>
Date: Wed, 26 Oct 2011 20:03:45 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Birds & Fish in the Mabul

On 26/10/2011 6:07 PM, Micha Berger wrote:
> OTOH, how did the olive tree survive?

IIRC from yesterday, the Ramban says that a floating branch could have
taken root as soon as there was a dry spot to do so.

Zev Sero        If they use these guns against us once, at that moment
z...@sero.name   the Oslo Accord will be annulled and the IDF will
                 return to all the places that have been given to them.
                                            - Yitzchak Rabin


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Message: 6
From: Zev Sero <z...@sero.name>
Date: Wed, 26 Oct 2011 20:44:16 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Birds & Fish in the Mabul

On 26/10/2011 6:38 PM, Lisa Liel wrote:
>> Fish don't mate with each other; the female lays her eggs, and then
>> the male fertilises them.  So the whole inyan of interspecies znus
>> doesn't apply to them.
> Wouldn't that apply equally to birds and lizards?

No.  They mate with each other.

Zev Sero        If they use these guns against us once, at that moment
z...@sero.name   the Oslo Accord will be annulled and the IDF will
                 return to all the places that have been given to them.
                                            - Yitzchak Rabin


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Message: 7
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Wed, 26 Oct 2011 21:46:33 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Birds & Fish in the Mabul

On Wed, Oct 26, 2011 at 08:44:16PM -0400, Zev Sero wrote:
> No.  They mate with each other.

To spell it out, fish and some amphbian males fertilize the eggs
/after/ they are laid. Birds and lizards fertilize the eggs

But not all dagim are taxonomically fish. Whales mate. Shellfish
mate. Etc...

Tir'u baTov!

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Message: 8
From: Joseph Kaplan <jkap...@tenzerlunin.com>
Date: Wed, 26 Oct 2011 21:12:52 -0400
[Avodah] The sukkah on Shemini Atzeret controversy

R. JJ Schacter has a very interesting shiur on this topic where he offers,
as I recall, a different interpretation of the gemarah (haven't heard it in
a few years). It can be found on YU Torah.  I have always eaten in the
succah on SA, rain permitting, but I found his explanation cogent enough
that if invited for a meal on SA at a home where they do not sit in the
succah, I think I would accept (which I did not do in the past). But I
haven't been tested yet.

Joseph Kaplan

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Message: 9
From: "Chana Luntz" <Ch...@kolsassoon.org.uk>
Date: Thu, 27 Oct 2011 11:48:14 +0100
Re: [Avodah] kosher switch

RMB writes:

> However, there is another chiluq between the cases.
> Despite my earlier thought of linking the two cases -- kosher switch
> and hair brushing -- kosher switch is actually far more problematic.
> Shutting off the light using the kosher switch isn't a side-effect.
> It's
> not a question of whether this is pesiq reishei or gerama or even less
> because the action under discussion is the desired consequence.

Hold on.  While it is true that in relation to psik reisha, the action under
discussion is not the desired consequence (that is why anything short of
guaranteed or (perhaps) virtually guaranteed is not a problem), with grama,
the action under discussion is always the desired consequence, it is just
indirect.  The classic case of grama in the gemora is of placing barrels
filled with water in the path of the fire, specifically in order for the
fire to burst the barrels and the water to then put out the fire.  The
desired consequence is the extinguishment of the fire.  The problem is that
pouring the water directly onto the fire to put it out would be an issur
d'orisa.  The gemora says that doing it in the indirect manner is mutar
(according to Sephardim, mutar l'chatchila, according to the psak of the
Rema, only in a case of hefsed meruba and similar).

The question discussed by the poskim, and which is sharpened by modern
technology, is how indirect is indirect?  The contrasting case is winnowing,
throwing wheat up into the air and having the wind separate the wheat from
the chaff, which is an issur d'orisa.  The question is, again, the
performance of the issur is not due solely to the direct action by the
person. Were there no wind, there would be no issur in merely throwing wheat
in the air.  So it is not just that there is another force (eg wind, fire)
which contributes to the whole scenario.  Various answers have been
advanced.  One of the most popular is time delay.  You throw the wheat in
the air, the wind acts (were it not to do so immediately, then the wheat
would return to the ground before any winnowing would occur).  In contrast
the fire takes time to get to the barrels, break open the barrels and
release the water, thus putting it out.  However the assumption appears to
be that there will be an inevitable extinguishing of at least some fire at
some point in time. Here though, not only is there a time delay between the
movement of the piece of plastic on the kosher switch, but there is also
uncertainty about if and whether the switch will work at all, although the
probability is high that ultimately it will, although it is less certain

Another distinction drawn is between the normal way of performing the
melacha (ie throwing into the wind) compared with extinguishing fire (nobody
would put barrels in the way on a normal day).  However, normally people
close circuits to light a light, moving a bit of mechanical plastic and then
waiting for some point in the future when a coin toss will put on the light
is hard to define as normal (although no doubt it could be designed in a way
to make if feel even less normal).

Another distinction drawn (although as I have written on this list before, I
don't understand this one, as those who follow it use it to assur things
that it appears to me should  be mutar) is between whether the force in
question that does the act exists at the time of the person's action or not.
In the case of the winnowing, the wind existing, in the case of the barrels,
if you understand that it is not the force of the fire (which does exist)
but the force of the barrels breaking releasing the water that puts out the
fire, a distinction can be made.  However here, the coin toss only occurs
after the bit of plastic has been moved, so it seems most clearly designed
to meet these criteria.

But in each case, it is assumed that the action under discussion is the
desired consequence.

> May you do a melakhah for the sake of having a < 50% chance of getting
> the melakhah itself done?

The argument here is that no melacha is "done", there is no melacha in
shifting a bit of plastic from here to there, any more than there is in
placing a barrel here or there in the absence of a fire, or in throwing
wheat in the air, absent a wind.  You have to considered the picture of
throwing plus wind versus placing plus fire, and then plastic movement plus
coin toss leading to circuit closure.  The question is, if for some reason
there was only a 50% chance (or less than 50%) chance of there being a wind,
would we still have an issur d'orisa?  Even if yes, if there was only a 50%
chance (or less) of the barrel breaking and releasing the water and putting
out the fire, would the Rema still say it was only mutar in hefsed meruba
situations, or would he allow it in all situations?

> About heter isqa... Recall that using credit swaps or other such
> products,
> Also, the thing falling under statistics is different than either of
> the other two cases. While
>     - the kosher switch involves the probability of your goal outcome,
>     - brushing hair involves the probability of an unwanted outcome but
>       lower probability is better,
>     - heter isqa is also about an unwanted outcome on a pragmatic
> level.
>       The bank doesn't want to lose money.

Nor for that matter do I really want to pull out hairs - if too many of them
get pulled out I would be bald, which I would not like.  I am only
comfortable with pulling out the regular few during my regular, chol,
brushing, because there are not in fact too many of them.  (One of the
reasons I confess I find the hair pulling example difficult, because it
really does seem lo niche lei, although there may be an idea that it thereby
tidies up the remaining hairs).

> But it is a desired probability on a halachic level 

Not really.  In the ideal halachic scenario, the bank lends, *without*
interest, and is guaranteed not to lose the principle.

The desired probability is only to enable the bank to charge what would
otherwise be interest, on the grounds that it is risk money, ie it is
functioning as an investor in the business, with the additional money to be
received characterised as a return on the business.  The definition of an
investor in the  business, rather than a lender, is of taking certain types
of risk, hence the need to create these types of risk to enable the lender
to be considered an investor.

-- the risk needs to be measurable in order
> to
>       permit the deal as a heter isqa.
> banks productize the risk in their various investments and share it
> among separate banks.

That is true, but I am not sure if it is relevant, which is why I was trying
to keep it on a single bank level.  The problem once you introduce credit
swaps and such other products is that it is not totally clear that these
themselves do not fall foul of the ribus prohibitions (or at least avek
ribus), Various futures and hedges are elaborated in the gemora and are
indeed a problem.   The reason we tend not to worry about credit swaps and
similar products is, in my view, because the chances of there being two
institutions that are Jewish on either side of the transaction unmediated by
the (non Jewish) interbanking market might logically be regarded as
negligible.  A credit swap between Jewish individual X and Jewish bank Y
(assuming you do not accept the corporations aren't Jewish argument, which
clearly those requiring heter iskas from the Jewish banks do not) may well
also falls foul of the ribus halachos.

> Also, recall that using credit swaps or other such products, Heter isqa
> doesn't directly depend on the proability of loss, but on the bank
> taking on that risk. The risk is what makes it an isqa.

Well it is more than that - it is what *justifies* the return (otherwise
understood to be interest).

> But the bank could sell off the risk, at a profit, and have no probability
of loss remaining, and
> the heter isqa didn't lose validity

Note though that logically in halachic terms it should therefore be handing
over all of the return by taking out the investment (with at best deducting
agency fees on bringing the new investor and the investment together).  It
is not clear to me whether if the counterparty was Jewish, that would not be
the halachically required nature of a swap, since the risk and the return
are regarded as being inextricably linked (ie anything else would be
regarded as ribus). 

. Heter isqa relies on probability,
> not outcome. Unlike brushing hair, which bedi'eved, if you brushed your
> hair with a brush that was likely to pull hairs and none actually were,
> there is no issur.

Yes agreed.  That is why I felt Heter Isqa was good example to spell out
what is going on at the level of the kosher switch.  In the Heter Iska case
it is the probability of failure that makes the transaction mutar. The fact
that  the outcome may be close to guaranteed for the bank, in terms of its
overall profit margins due to other transactions (or 100% guaranteed due to
credit swaps with non Jewish institutions) is thus irrelevant. Hair is all
about outcome in the individual case, that is what psik reisha is, a
guaranteed or close to guaranteed outcome.

In the kosher switch case, the question is, does *adding* probability as a
factor to all of the other usual arguments for a grama switch (time delay,
unusual nature, force not in existence that actually completes the melacha)
make it "even better" than you typical grama switch, and hence mutar
l'chatchila even for Ashkenazim?

> Tir'u baTov!
> -Micha



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Message: 10
From: David Riceman <drice...@optimum.net>
Date: Thu, 27 Oct 2011 13:20:55 -0400
Re: [Avodah] More Tzaar


<<That's like the story RYBS told of his childhood, which I posted two 
weeks ago at <http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/vol28/v28n208.shtml#12>, 
when RDR asked about the tza'ar of getting to the Sukkah with his dishes 
in food recently after arm surgery. It seems from R' Moshe 
Soloveitchik's answer to his son, mitzta'er is only when the tza'ar is 
inherent in using the Sukkah, and not in getting there.>>

I read the story over Yom Tov, and I think you miss the point 
completely.  R Moshe made kiddush and ate the first kezayis in the sukka 
during the rain, and then he woke his kids after the rain stopped.

R. Moshe's opinion was that everyone agrees that tza'ar is not a ptur on 
the first night of Sukkos (for the first kezayis).   The only question 
is whether a sukka loses the shem sukka during the rain.  If it does 
then you haven't fulfilled the mitzva of achilas kezayis b'sukka 
balayalah rishonah even if you ate there (Har'rei Kedem, vol. 1 p. 231).

I don't see how this provides evidence for your point.

David Riceman

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Message: 11
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 27 Oct 2011 13:31:51 -0400
Re: [Avodah] More Tzaar

On Thu, Oct 27, 2011 at 01:20:55PM -0400, David Riceman wrote:
> I read the story over Yom Tov, and I think you miss the point  
> completely....
> R. Moshe's opinion was that everyone agrees that tza'ar is not a ptur on  
> the first night of Sukkos (for the first kezayis).   The only question  
> is whether a sukka loses the shem sukka during the rain...

Yes, that was RMS's point.

However, lemaaseh, he did wake up his son. So, along the way we have
enough information to deduce something other than RMS's point. The future
RYBS was wrong -- being asleep and requiring waking isn't the kind of
tza'ar included by mitzta'er patur min hasukkah.

If it were patur min hasukkah, RMS wouldn't have had to force his son
to show up, even if the booth while being a rained upon isn't a halachic

Tir'u baTov!

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Message: 12
From: Saul.Z.New...@kp.org
Date: Thu, 27 Oct 2011 07:56:16 -0700
[Avodah] birds and fish in mabul


with some non-traditional approaches.....

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Message: 13
From: Harvey Benton <harvw...@yahoo.com>
Date: Thu, 27 Oct 2011 13:20:53 -0700 (PDT)
[Avodah] purpose of creation?? varous opinions??

what is the purpose of creation, if as stated below (from another forum
i subscribe to, is true??
very good question, could i post this to another forum??
Re: feeling happy

Very well said, thank you _______. The big difference between 
Torah and Esther Hicks is that she believes we are literally the hands 
of god, amplifying the universe, while Torah tells us that God does not 
need any part of His creation to do His work.?

On Thu, Oct 27, 20
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Message: 14
From: Liron Kopinsky <liron.kopin...@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 28 Oct 2011 09:17:54 +0200
[Avodah] Evaporation

 Bereishit 2:6 ?????, ??????? ???-???????, ??????????, ???-????-??????
Rashi translates this as "a cloud arose from the earth and watered the face
of the land."
Does anyone know at what point humanity knew about evaporation causing

Kol Tuv,
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Message: 15
From: Simon Wanderer <simon.wande...@hotmail.com>
Date: Fri, 28 Oct 2011 12:24:09 +0100
[Avodah] Cumulative P'sik Reishei (was Kosher Switch)

Further to the discussions on the above topic, I would point to OC 136 re
walking/running over grass on Shabbos as a key sugya in this respect. From
memory, there is also an important footnote in the SSK on the difference
between this and the combing hair case.

My thoughts are that P'sik Reshei means inevitable, or near enough. I think
the chilukim between the cases must revolve around different types of

-- SW

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Message: 16
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 28 Oct 2011 09:46:13 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Evaporation

On Fri, Oct 28, 2011 at 09:17:54AM +0200, Liron Kopinsky wrote:
: Rashi translates this as "a cloud arose from the earth and watered the face
: of the land."
: Does anyone know at what point humanity knew about evaporation causing
: clouds?

Rashi refers to clouds (he'elah hatehim vehishiqah ananim), but doesn't the
gemara write about tal as though it comes up from the ground? I am not
sure Rashi's shitah is compelling, perhaps someone took this as a reference
to such dew.

OTOH, look at Iyov 36:27-29, which describes the whole cycle explicitly.


Micha Berger             "I think, therefore I am." - Renne Descartes
mi...@aishdas.org        "I am thought about, therefore I am -
http://www.aishdas.org   my existence depends upon the thought of a
Fax: (270) 514-1507      Supreme Being Who thinks me." - R' SR Hirsch

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Message: 17
From: Harvey Benton <harvw...@yahoo.com>
Date: Fri, 28 Oct 2011 08:43:39 -0700 (PDT)
[Avodah] pushing for moshiach/shiduchim, etc

if ever anyone pushes for something, the natural reaction
is to push back or to say "no thank you";
this is something that people of (jewish faith )
sometimes to not understand. 

7th day adventists (lehavdil) going door to door, 

approach very timidly, and? only quietly leave flyers
or offer to talk to you, they do not do as we do

in the spiritual worlds, do you? think it is? the same??

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Message: 18
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 28 Oct 2011 13:27:18 -0400
Re: [Avodah] kosher switch

RnCL pointed out a number of places where my thinking as muddled, and more
where I could have been clearer. However, I think my basic thesis still
holds. So, rather than respond point-by-point, I am going to try rewrite
that thesis reflecting what I learned from the exchange.

I think the issue of probability comes up in three different ways in
the cases we're discussing.

1- In the case of brushing one's hair on Shabbos, it is the probability of
pulling out a hair. Say you brushed your hair, and managed not to pull one
out (against the odds). Then bedi'eved there was no issur, no chatas. If
they did in fact pull out a hair, they could be culpable for committing a
pesiq reishei, or not -- depending on the odds the person ignored. Which
in turn is all about whether we add up the probability of each hair brushed.

2- In the case of heter isqa, we need the bank to assume risk of losing
money as part of the definition of isqa. The actual outcome is irrelevent.
In that sense, it's unlike Shabbos hair brushing.

(That's what I was trying to say with the tangent about being able to sell
the risk as a credit derivative; I was trying to discuss a case where they
don't even hold onto the risk long enough for the outcome to affect them.)

3- Our case is also distinct. Like brushing, it depends on the outcome.
If the outcome is that an issur occured, is the person culpable. But
unlike brushing, turning on the light would be gerama rather than pesiq

Which introduces two differences:

1- Even if the probability of doing a gerama is a mi'ut shechikhah,
rather than a rov (or some higher cut-off), is it mutar? Say you threw a
ball at a light switch because you would really want the light to go on,
but can live without it if you have to. Would you say that's mutar? So
even without adding probabilities, I think it would still be assur
because of the first opportunity for the light to go on alone.

2- This is a product that presumably most buyers bought knowing and
wanting its true behavior. Meaning, the person wants a near certainty of
getting their light to go on within n seconds. I wrote "near certainty",
because I figure whatever our cut-off is for being near enough to
definitely going to happen, the switch must reach it. Otherwise, it
doesn't do anything worth buying.

So, that's the desired goal, and thus what defines the action. The
user isn't thinking about whether the light goes on at this test by
the switch's internal circuit or that one. He is acting in order to
make the light go on within a variable window. I think therefore adding
probabilities is more justified WRT gerama than pesiq reishei.


Micha Berger             It is harder to eat the day before Yom Kippur
mi...@aishdas.org        with the proper intent than to fast on Yom
http://www.aishdas.org   Kippur with that intent.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                       - Rav Yisrael Salanter

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Message: 19
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 28 Oct 2011 14:07:48 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Geirut for marriage

Reawakening this thread again, to point people to an article I just found
from R' Joshua E Broyde and RMJBroyde on the subject in the Latest Meorot
(a YCT publication, part of Edah's legacy)

The article itself is at 

    There has been quite a bit of discussion in the academic and rabbinic
    communities regarding Maimonides' view regarding acceptance of
    the commandments as a requirement for conversion. Some assume that
    Maimonides requires acceptance of commandments virtually no different
    than the Tosaphists, while others assume that Rambam does not require
    acceptance of commandments at all in the conversion process. This
    paper argues that texts in the Maimonides' Mishnah torah demonstrate
    that he indeed requires acceptance of the commandments for conversion,
    and that his omission of this requirement from the central discussion
    in Hilchot issurai bi'ah raises a literary, not a legal question.

Teaser from near the end, to show how the post revolves around the same
point that was at the focus of this thread:
    One last question remains: Why doesn't Rambam explicitly state in
    Chapter 13 of Hilkhot issurei bi'ah that acceptance of commandments
    is needed? Stylistically, this is the most logical place to say so,
    since the entire chapter is devoted to other requirements prior
    to conversion. We have no answer and leave it to future students
    of Rambam to answer the following perplexing stylistic question:
    Given that Rambam very clearly maintains that qabbalat ha-mitsvot
    is necessary for a valid conversion, why does he not record that
    ruling in Chapter 13 rather than in Chapters 12 and 14?


Micha Berger             When you come to a place of darkness,
mi...@aishdas.org        you don't chase out the darkness with a broom.
http://www.aishdas.org   You light a candle.
Fax: (270) 514-1507        - R' Yekusiel Halberstam of Klausenberg zt"l


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