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Volume 30: Number 126

Mon, 10 Sep 2012

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: "Moshe Y. Gluck" <mgl...@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 9 Sep 2012 03:13:25 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Lavan falsely accused?

R' David Wacholder:
Until I saw the Ibn Ezra in the "Mechokekei Yehudah" I fell victim to a
simple minded attack on one of my ancestors. As of today I have abandoned
that approach. ?No longer will I claim that Lavan determined to cause harm
?to his son-in-law and family. ?I am very happy to be able to put the
spotlight back onto Hashem's enduring caring and protection.?
The Torah commands us to bring Bickurim and say a Viduy, a public speech. It
begins "Arami oveid Avi", - commonly understood as ?focusing on Lavan's evil
intentions, which were defeated by Hashem. ? Even thoughLavan ?never acted
on it, due to persuasive advice he received in a dream-prophecy, Lavan's
"evil ambition" is hinted strongly, ?in the Mikdash by every bringer of
Bikkurim, and at every Seder Pesach.?

Do Chaza"l attribute such destructive ?intentions to Lavan? ?Certainly that
is the "common" way to explain the Hagada passage. ?Lavan - a/k/a Aramean -
tried to recover his flocks by fighting war against his own family, whatever
damage may occur. ? .?

Ibn Ezra begs to disagree - and he is correct.?
IBN EZRA stresses the verb ?Oveid - ?It is the same language as the lost
wandering cattle of Hashavat Aveidah.? Yaakov was deprived of his family and
servants,?alone, isolated, impoverished and afraid. ?That easily qualifies
as "Aveidah". He was Oveid, wandering. In passive mood he was lost and
abandoned and impoverished.?

see there. And if you'd like a more grammatically pleasant approach along
those lines, see Malbim. See also Torah Temimah. It's also a little simple
minded to no longer "claim that Lavan determined to cause harm to his
son-in-law and family" when the Pesukim say so clearly (see Parashas


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Message: 2
From: Zev Sero <z...@sero.name>
Date: Sun, 09 Sep 2012 03:34:39 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Lavan falsely accused?

On 9/09/2012 2:24 AM, David Wacholder wrote:
>  Until I saw the Ibn Ezra in the "Mechokekei Yehudah" I fell victim
> to a simple minded attack on one of my ancestors. As of today I have
> abandoned that approach.  No longer will I claim that Lavan determined
> to cause harm  to his son-in-law and family.

Oy vey. The Torah tells us that he pursued them and sought to do them harm
until Hashem warned him off.  How can you abandon that?  There are no two
interpretations of the story in Bereishis!  The question is only about the
pasuk in Ki Savo.

>  Do Chaza"l attribute such destructive  intentions to Lavan?

Yes, absolutely.

>  Certainly that is the "common" way to explain the Hagada passage.

"Common" way?! There is no other way to explain the Hagadah passage.
The Baal Hagadah says explicitly "veLavan bikesh la'akor es hakol".
How can you explain that any other way?

>  Ibn Ezra begs to disagree - and he is correct.

Says who?  Who is this author who decides that ibn Ezra (and Rashbam)
are correct, and Unkelus, the Baal Hagadah, the editors of the Taamim,
and Rashi are all incorrect?

>  According to Ibn Ezra's "wanderer" approach - how do we explain the
> familiar Hagada passage?[...]  Lavan Ha'Arami is a euphemism, a  risk-free
> device to discuss notorious implacable enemies of God and the Jewish people.
>  For centuries  years that was the Roman Empire, Their murderous intent
> could not be expressed directly. We know that Rav Shimon Bar Yochai's much
> milder negative remarks were sufficient to have him arrested, had he not
> become a fugitive until he was forgotten by the Romans.

Good grief.  What a krum svara, twisting and ignoring the Baal Hagadah's words
just to make him fit an interpretation that was first proposed 1000 years later.
The Baal Hagadah explicitly translates "oved" in the sense of "destroy", not
"impoverished".  It's specifically the word "oved" that he uses to say that
Lavan was worse than Par'oh.  Ibn Ezra and the Rashbam disagree; so what?
The Baal Hagadah doesn't need their haskamah.


Zev Sero        "Natural resources are not finite in any meaningful
z...@sero.name    economic sense, mind-boggling though this assertion
                  may be. The stocks of them are not fixed but rather
                 are expanding through human ingenuity."
                                            - Julian Simon

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Message: 3
From: Meir Rabi <meir...@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 9 Sep 2012 17:37:59 +1000
[Avodah] Arami Oved Avi

Rabbeny Bachya explains that Arami refers to YaAkov.
YaAkov, my father, was a pauper [Oved] when he was in Aram and he was still
a pauper when descended to Egypt. In spite of all these setbacks and
impediments to success his family became wealthy and famous.


Meir G. Rabi
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Message: 4
From: Meir Rabi <meir...@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 9 Sep 2012 17:32:11 +1000
[Avodah] Metzitza only six days of the week

Since we practice Metzitza today as a tradition, unlike the Halacha that
requires it as a matter of life and death, the tradition ought to be
maintained only as a show but not as an actual practice on the Holy Day
since in practice it is ChSh.

Just as there were some who removed the Parshiot from their Tefillin so
that they follow the custom of their location to wear Tefillin during
ChHaMoEd, although they maintained their own Shittah by not actually having


Meir G. Rabi
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Message: 5
From: Meir Rabi <meir...@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 9 Sep 2012 17:57:25 +1000
[Avodah] Sefer Torah, Shevet Levi Special Treatment

Rashi explains that having given Shevet Levi a Sefer Torah the other
Shevatim complained that they too wanted a Sefer Torah.

And BTW this request of the Shevatim, prompted MR to say TODAY you have
become a People; and for the past 40 years you were blind deaf and

It seems as though the Yidden only made this request after they were made
aware that Shevet Levi had received a Sefer Torah and they had not.

Why did Moshe Rabbenu give Shevet Levi but not the other Shevatim?
Was it part of MR plan to provoke the other Shevatim?
Is this an example of Kinas Soferim?


Meir G. Rabi
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Message: 6
From: martin brody <martinlbr...@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 9 Sep 2012 06:49:17 -0700
[Avodah] re pas yisrael

"BTW Rabbi Sperber in Minhagei Yisrael volume 2 page 136 understands this
minhag as derivative from a minhag in the yerushalmi to eat b'tahara during
that time period. Since pat akum was likely  to be mkabeil tuma it would be
avoided (supports my earlier feeling that we kept the form and missed the
Joel Rich"

Indeed. The Shelah wrote that to protect from tumah, some would only eat
pas made with fruit juice and not water. Not sure whether that was in
Europe where he spent most of his life or from the mysticism  of Israel.His
sefer was published after his death.

Martin Brody
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Message: 7
From: "Prof. Levine" <llev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Sun, 09 Sep 2012 11:07:53 -0400
[Avodah] Eating Pas Yisrael During Aseres Yemei Teshuva

At 02:48 AM 9/9/2012, R. Micha wrote:

>1- I'm no sure whether this notion of not following a qulah vs adopting
>a chumerah is a real distinction. It's a little arbitrary to say that
>it's chumerah vs baseline law or it's baseline law vs qulah.
>2- The distinction, even if real, isn't relevent to the comparison of
>pas palter to the original objection about people asking us how we could
>post in some tone / on some topic during Elul. "Do you think you're
>fooling Hashem?"
>In either case, we are saying that the person is doing during 10 Yemei
>Teshuvah something that he doesn't consider necessary during the rest of
>the year. And he isn't trying to fool Hashem by trying to avoid a qulah
>he normally uses nor by trying to follow a chumerah he normally doesn't.

I had occasion over Shabbos to read RSRH's essays Tishri IV and 
Tishri VI.  Most of these essays are availbale through google 
books.   Go to the google books search engine and put collected 
writings Hirsch in.  This should lead you to the Collected Writings 
of RSRH.  Go to the essays on Tishrei IV and VI.

IMO, if one wants to really understand what RH and YK are all about, 
then one should read these and the other essays on Tishrei by RSRH.

It seems to me that RSRH makes the point more than once that the 
purpose of RH is not to bring ourselves to some level of Chumra 
observance but to have us return to the *proper observance of 
mitzvos* from which we have fallen during the year.  Your assertion 
"we are saying that the person is doing during 10 Yemei Teshuvah 
something that he doesn't consider necessary during the rest of the 
year." means that this is the root of his problem regarding his 
connection to Hashem.  He should be observing the mitzvos as fully as 
possible. This is the purpose of RH, the Aseres Yemei teshuva, and 
YK.  To stop doing the mitzvos as fully as possible after the Aseres 
Yemei teshuva would, IMO, indicate an insincerity in a person's teshuva.


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Message: 8
From: "Akiva Miller" <kennethgmil...@juno.com>
Date: Sun, 9 Sep 2012 22:02:21 GMT
Re: [Avodah] Eating Pas Yisrael During Aseres Yemei Teshuva

Prof. Levine (sorry, I keep forgetting your first name) posted a link to http://tinyurl.com/8l8aog2  I was
particularly intrigued by this part:

> Although eating pas palter became commonplace and was endorsed
> by the leading authorities of the day, it was not universally
> accepted. Indeed, as soon as Jewish-baked bread was available,
> the Rabbinical decree against pas palter was reinstated in
> some communities, and non-Jewish bread was not an option. Only
> Jewish-baked bread, called pas Yisrael, was allowed. Thus,
> depending upon the locality, this Rabbinic decree was observed
> in varying degrees: 

I searched the article in vain for a support to the claim that "the
Rabbinical decree against pas palter was reinstated in some communities."
The most I could find was that some leaders banned pas palter for their
communities, but that falls far short of claiming that "the Rabbinical
decree" was in force.

For example, the first - and most severe - of the "varying degrees" was this:

> 1. Some communities adhered to it strictly, not allowing any
> pas palter at all.(5)
> ... 5) See Y.D. 112:13. See also Darchei Teshuvah, Y.D.
> 112:18 and Kaf ha- Chayim 31 and 56 quoting the Arizal. 

The way that is phrased, it might mean that the d'rabbanan against pas
palter was never really lifted at all for those communities, or it might
mean that the d'rabanan was lifted even there but the local practice
(=minhag) became to disallow pas palter. So let's examone his sources to
clarify the ambiguity.

From what I see, Mechaber YD 112:13 actually says the opposite, that even a
person who normally avoids pas palter can eat it, if it is of better
quality and he expended no extra effort to get it.

The Darchei Teshuva (http://www.he
brewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=41145&;st=&pgnum=5) quotes
sources according to whom the Arizal was "mazhir" others not to eat pas
akum, or even pas palter = and not even from a Jewish baker, unless one
checked to make sure that the Jewish baker wasn't  just a distributor of
non-Jewish pas palter. Perhaps I'm just naive, but the use of the word
"mazhir", without supplying any halachic reasoning, seems to support the
idea that even according to the Arizal there was not prohibition to
violate, and he only recommended pas yisroel for his own reasons. (That's
not to say that the reasons weren't good ones, only that he was not
claiming the d'rabanan to be in force.)

Kaf Hachaim YD 112:31 doesn't mention the Arizal as far as I can tell.
Rather, it accepts the idea that the minhag is to buy pas palter, even
though there are "anshei maaseh" who don't. He does say that the anshei
maaseh are the "ikar", but I have no idea whether that means they're
following a commendable practice, or whether it means that the common
practice is wrong.

Kaf Hachaim YD 112:56 doesn't mention the Arizal either (though he does
mention someone else who might be the Ari in his lingo). He does tell of a
situation where the Jew must throw is splinter into the fire while the
bread is baking, but he clearly explains the reasoning: "Since only some of
the bread is for the [Jewish] guests and the rest is for [the non-Jews]
themselves, it [isn't really pas palter at all, but it] is really pas baal
habayis." -- In other words, this source seems off-topic.

Akiva Miller

Green Coffee Diet REVEALED
Is Green Coffee the BEST way to Burn Fat? Can it Make you Thinner?

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Message: 9
From: cantorwolb...@cox.net
Date: Sun, 9 Sep 2012 11:09:25 -0400
[Avodah] recalling the 10 plagues during the Bikkurim

Rabbi Meir Rabi asked:
Kitzur Piskey Tosafos Menachos mentions that the 10 plagues were read
during the Bikkurim Ceremony. It is not mentioned in Tosafos.
Can anyone enlighten?

I believe it IS mentioned in Tosafos by R' Yaakov of Orleans who was a Tosafist in France in the 12th century (and studied under Rabbenu Tam).
Shmos 9:14  "...Ani sholeiach kol magaifosai..."   
All My plagues.  This expression implies that the plague that was about to begin would be the
severest of all the plagues. In a comment that the commentators find exceedingly difficult,
Rashi identifies this as makas b'choros, the Plague of the Firstborn, rather than the hail, about
which Moshe was now warning Par'o. Two questions are obvious: Why would the Torah allude
to the 10th plague at this point, when the 7th plague is about to commence? And if the reference
here is to hail, as most explain, why is it referred to as all My plagues? This is one explanation that
addresses the question of R' Meir Rabi: Makas b'choros should be vowelized makas bakuros, 
(beis,kof,vov,reish,vov, sof), the plague of the early-ripe fruits, since the hail destroyed only the 
crops that were fully grown, but not those that were still growing and pliant [v. 31]. The reason this
plague was regarded as so serious was because it struck at the food supply.

Hence, we can infer that could well be the source for the plagues being mentioned in the Bikkurim Ceremony.

May the coming year be full of fruit and free of plagues (irrespective of who is elected president).  rw 
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Message: 10
From: "Prof. Levine" <llev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Mon, 10 Sep 2012 10:08:54 -0400
[Avodah] Some Thoughts from RSRH's Tishri VI Essay

The following are some selections from the above cited essay that is 
in Volume II of the Collected Writings of RSRH. Given what we see 
going on today that is labeled as Orthodox Judaism,  I think they are 
particularly important. YL

In fact, God does not appeal to our feelings and intuitions. He has
not built our "religion" on the mysterious, trackless sand of a shore
gently washed by waves of dreams and fancies.
(Deut. 4, 35)-"I have caused you to see in order to have you know 
that the Lord alone is God and none else
beside Him"). Your covenant with God does not refer you to mere
"belief," but to that which you yourself have seen and experienced.
God has placed the foundations of His covenant with you upon a
world of concrete realities; namely, your election and your commitment.
To the reality of the creation of heaven and earth He has added
the reality of His revelation, confirmed by the experience of your own
national history. He has addressed to you these words so that you may
reflect upon them even in the remotest future.

It is on this clear historic basis, on realities confirmed by the
concrete experience of an entire nation, that Judaism stands, in both
theory and practice. In Judaism emotion must not be allowed to run
away with the mind. Rather, the emotions must be guided by realities
which were clearly apprehended by the senses, grasped by the lucid
intellect and considered by logical thought so that they serve as guides
for every aspect of our lives. Our reflections on these realities must
produce a firm, solemn resolve on our part to fashion our lives on
earth in accordance with the words of God which were addressed to
the thinking mind. Clear reasoning and vigorous willpower: these are
the forces on which Judaism counts; in Judaism, the heart and the
emotions only serve to mediate between intellect and action.

Not "belief' but "knowledge," not "sentiment" but "determination
and accomplishment;" these are the energies through which the
"Jewish religion" becomes manifest. And for that very reason Judaism
is not a "religion." It has no part with any of the facets that other
"religions" emphasize as the "essence of religion." He who would drag
Judaism down to the level of "belief' divorced from knowledge, who
would place also at the head of the "Jewish faith" all the nebulous
subjectivism which indulges in "devout impulses" and have these
notions constitute the basic requirements of the Jewish "religion,"
cannot be one of the "priests of the Lord." He is in reality one of the
priestlings of paganism who exploit vague sentiment and sensibilities
for the worship of their own delusions, whose harvest, therefore, has
mostly been grief and mourning, misery and distress.
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Message: 11
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Mon, 10 Sep 2012 10:39:23 -0400
Re: [Avodah] L'Ayin Haya Noteh

(Recall, my theory to answer RLKopinsky's question was that Rashi wasn't
thinking in terms of compass points vs the page, but in terms of the
path of the moon vs the direction of the text.)

In reply to our discussion here, R' Ezra Chwat emailed me the following,
which obviates the need for my creativity. I saved the attachment at


On Sun, Sep 09, 2012 at 11:46:50AM +0300, Ezra Chwat wrote:
: Attached is the page in R. Shai Walter's Doctorate Dissertation relating
: to your inquiry.

: I have Rabbi Walter's permission to pass this on to you.

: He is the head of the Kidush Hachodesh Institute of Astronomic Research
: at KBY.

: Shannah Tova,
: Ezra

: Dr. Ezra Chwat
: The Department of Manuscripts/
: Institute of Microfilmed Hebrew Manuscripts
: E.J. Safra Campus, Givat Ram... [address and phone numbers removed -mb]
: blog: Giluy Milta B'Alma: http://imhm.blogspot.com

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Message: 12
From: David Wacholder <dwachol...@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 10 Sep 2012 12:32:25 -0400

  The beloved Pizmon "Ulay Yerachem" [begins Mal'achei Rachamim] is a
desperate plea for Hashem's "rachamim" [mercy/caring like a parent].
The rhyme scheme starts Elyon-Higayon-Evyon...Then the end of eight stanzas
divayon chivayon-

My good friend says it alternates the helplessness and  suffering of His
Nation  for His Sake - against the next verse describing how Hashem has
power to cure the ill.
Thus verse seven - they are mocked ridiculed embarassed for Your Sake - not
allowed to answer back against the mockery - because HIs Mercy will not end
- because He will not allow Destruction -  because if it would stop for a
moment there would be  Chilayon - meaning  destruction. That is the
standard translation.

I myself give verse 7 a more subtle positive pin.
.  Despite all the ongoing mockery and ridicule Your Nation endures, Hashem
utilize that as proof of the devotion of Your Subjects. Since there is so
much limitless Mesirut Nefesh by Your Nation for the sake of Your Name,
there is good reason to give thaat devotion Recognition.

The entire stanza reads
Perhaps He will have mercy/parental love on those who despite suffering for
His Holy Name -
still they keep their love for Him,
His Victory they continuously await,
and they are kept upright by his imminent coming to rescue them!
They endure and have confidence - and it is realistic -
AS  Hashem's Mercy is not hoarded and only given out by rations and small
Rather - it is poured out  in limitless abundance!

A child asks - how much does Hashem have Mercy? This much? That much?
Hashem answers - More and More -  Rachamim is like a mother for a child -
it is endless -
The child is after all the creation and reflection of the mother.  By the
wondrous laws of motherhood, the mother never will stop giving to the
Kilayon is from Isaiah - "who could weigh on the balance beam the weight of
the earth" Mi chal b'mishkal afar ha'aretz -
Just as a mother has limitless caring and concern for her child, so the
same way -
Hashem bears in his "Heart" the Suffering for HIs Name, the endured
mockery, the Prayer for his Glory to appear, the reliance on his rescue and
Like the stormy OCEANS  rising and rising until the dams break and a great
onrushing of water comes through -
All of the Suffering and Devotion and Trurst overcomes the obstacles and
becomes a torrent of Rachamim, a Niagara Falls of Caring.
As it comes stronger and stronger, Rachamim  will keep surging  in
limitless quantity and wash away all  the past pain and suffering.

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Message: 13
From: Eli Turkel <elitur...@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 10 Sep 2012 22:52:45 +0300
[Avodah] R Asher Weiss

I was priveleged to hear HaGaon R. Asher Weiss speak in my hometown this
evening. He spoke more about RH then his usual chiddushim.
So short thoughts:

The tekiyot before Musaf are to arouse us to do tshuva (uru yeshenim). The
tekiyot during the Amidah are meant for G-d to remind him/us of the ram of
Yitzchak and ask for mechila.
When we say that we say both to mixup :arvev: the Satan it is not because
he forgot from last year but rather to weaken the Satan. Now that we have
became aware of our faults we have the right to ask G-d to remember the

The most memorial kol nidre he had was not on YK. Some 4 years ago he went
with a small group to Auschwitz. They met a survivor there who told a story
that one year on YK the nazi commander demanded that the Jewish "symphony"
play music to celebrate YK. The band played the tune of Kol Nidre. The
commander liked the tune and said they should play it a second time and
then a third time. While everyone in the group cried they sang together kol
nidrei. He noted that many are very affected by kol nidrei while no one
cries at hatarat nedarim before RH.
(RYBS explains that one can remove a vow retroactively and shows that
teshuva can also work retroactively)

R. Weiss also stressed that we always say avinu malkenu. G-d is both a king
and a father but he is first a king and only second a king. So even when in
judgement he hints that blowing the shofar will help. The main point is
that even then G-d is a judge and not a prosecutor. If G-d would prosecute
we could never win

Eli Turkel
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