Avodah Mailing List

Volume 31: Number 99

Fri, 24 May 2013

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 23 May 2013 15:46:33 -0400
Re: [Avodah] electricity on Shabbos - R. Asher Weiss

On the subject of microscopic causality, I'm thinking that semiconductors
are more like maggot eggs than microscopic bugs, because these circuits
have visible size effects.

And as anyone who has been on Avodah for any length of time knows, R'
Dovid Lifshitz taught in shiur that maggots found within meat in terms
of ignoring those microscopic eggs. On a physics level, it's zeh vezeh
goreim: the visible treif maggot is the product of that egg plus the
meat it then ate to grow to visible size. On a halchic level, the egg
doesn't have mamashus, and thus the only greim is the meat. So, it's
still valid to say the maggot came from the meat.

But my rebbe's shitah is far from the only one on the topic.

However, there is a distinction here. The semiconductor is more like
a train going through a tunnel than the start of the trip. Something
causes the circuit to cause the visible (or audible or tangible) effect.
We might not need to be able to see how the circuit links that cause to
that effect for it to matter.

I could make an argument that when A knocks into B, it's the Pauli
exclusion principle that prevents A and B from occupying the same
space. Atoms are mostly empty, the space between them, more so. It's
the limit that no two electrons can be in the same state that keeps
objects from overlapping. But the leg of a bench pushing aside dirt
isn't considered halachically ignorable quantum effects.

What I'm trying to say is, deep down every macroscopic event can be
reduced to its microscopic and quantum explanation. So I don't think
the fact that a solid state circuit can't be analyzed on a macroscopic
level is relevant to analyzing the temperature of a fridge and triggering
the compressor.

(Although that is still a non-definite gerama whose primary asur effect
is lo nicha lei.)

As long as the causal chain starts macroscopic and ends up macroscopic,
that is. Unlike the maggot egg, which is laid or not without a
macroscopic event.


1- I thought the CI's argument was specific to plug-in devices. Not much
else existed then. And a plug-in device involves mechubar leqarqa, making
boneh a much more plausible argument. Since when is "coming alive" a form
of boneh? It would be maqeh bepatish to make something come-alive-able,
but not boneh, no?

2- As others noted, we would need some kind of shiur. We would need to
define a line between toilets flushing and the babbage difference engine.
But not knowing where the line isn't doesn't mean there isn't one and
that the permissability of flushing proves that a difference engine
would be more mutar than a computer.


: I fear that I'm missing something very basic to this whole discussion. Are
: the Lamed-Tes Melachos to be reduced in importance to being 39 mere
: examples of Significant Action?

Is that a reduction, or a translation of "melakhah"? What is wrong with
saying the 39 melakhos are 39 kinds of significant action? The kinds we
care about listing are those that match steps in building the miskan that
are identifiable enough enough to warrant multiple qorbanos if violated.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             We are what we repeatedly do.
mi...@aishdas.org        Thus excellence is not an event,
http://www.aishdas.org   but a habit.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                   - Aristotle

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Message: 2
From: "Prof. Levine" <llev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Thu, 23 May 2013 16:50:58 -0400
[Avodah] Reform Practice in Orthodox Shuls

At 02:58 PM 5/23/2013, R Micha wrote:

>Again, one can lose decorum in ways that are in concert with davening.
>If the norm is that tefillos each says to themselves aren't all that
>quiet. Dancing for Lekha Dodi. Etc...

Dancing on Shabbos?

The article below is 
from  http://www.cckollel.org/html/parsha/vayikra/shemini5763.html

Clapping and Dancing on Shabbos

Rabbi Avi Weinrib

With Purim lingering in the air and the rest of Adar still to follow, 
feelings of joy and happiness permeate throughout our community. 
Memories of the singing and dancing on Purim cause one to break out 
in spontaneous eruptions of joy, especially on Shabbos. However, we 
have all heard about restrictions on Shabbos regarding clapping and 
dancing. What exactly are these restrictions, and what is the basis for them?

The Background

The Mishna in Beitza [36b] rules that it is forbidden to clap one's 
hands, bang on one's thighs or dance [on Yom Tov]. Tosfos explains 
[Shabbos 148b] that since these actions were generally done to the 
accompaniment of musical instruments, the Sages were concerned that 
if one of the instruments would break one might come to fix it on Yom 
Tov or Shabbos. Fixing an instrument on Yom Tov or Shabbos would be a 
violation of the Melacha D'Oraisa of Maka BiPatish. [As an aside R' 
Yerucham Levovitz [Daas Torah Chaya Sora 24-3] offers a fabulous 
insight as to why we see some of the decrees of Chazal as a bit 
farfetched. He explains that unfortunately we do not fully appreciate 
the severity of a sin and how detrimental it is to us. If we would 
only realize how serious sins are, we would fully understand why it 
was necessary to place so many fences around them. We can compare it 
to a train approaching a busy thoroughfare. Before it arrives, there 
are signs, flashing lights, and descending gates, which are there 
well before the train arrives, and go up only after there is no 
chance of any damage being done. Since the consequences of being 
struck by a speeding train are so severe, the more precautions there 
are, the better. How much more so is a sin, which is so damaging to 
our body and soul.  The Sages in their infinite wisdom saw it as 
necessary to place many safeguards around sin.] Most Poskim are of 
the opinion that this prohibition against repairing instruments would 
apply today as well. Tosafos [Beitzah 30a] maintains that since we 
are not experts in repairing instruments this forbiddance is no 
longer relevant. The Poskim struggle with Tosafos. Firstly, as a 
rule, even when the reason given no longer applies, unless a 
spiritually greater court would actually uproot the decree it would 
still be in effect. [See Bais Mayer 339-1 Igros Moshe O.H. 2 Siman 100]

Secondly, according to Tosafos would it also be permitted to actually 
play musical instruments as well? The consensus of the Poskim is that 
even according to Tosafos, only clapping and dancing would be 
permitted, and not the playing of actual instruments. [See Shut Shaar 
Ephraim 36 Eliyahu Raba O.H. 339-1 Biur Halacha ibid s.v. ulisspek]

The Halacha

The Shulchan Aruch [O.H. 339-3] rules that it is forbidden to clap 
one's hands, bang on one's thigh or dance on Shabbos. The Rema 
quoting Tosafos teaches that some say that nowadays, since we are no 
longer experts in repairing instruments the decree is no longer 
applicable. However, the Poskim do not fully concur with Tosafos. The 
Mishna Berura [S.K. 8] only permits this on Simchas Torah where 
clapping and dancing is a Mitzvah in honor of the Torah. However. for 
any other reason, even other Mitzvos such as a Sheva Berachos it 
would not be permissible. [In many Chasidic circles the custom is 
more lenient based on the Minchas Elozer [Volume 1 Siman 29] who 
permits dancing and singing for those who are caught up in the joy of 
Shabbos since for them it is considered a Mitzvah.]

What is Dancing?

Stepping back for a moment, it is incumbent upon us to define what is 
included in the category of dancing. There is obviously a difference 
between walking around in a circle and dancing. The Toras Shabbos 
[O.H.339-2] based on a Yerushalmi defines dancing as the action when 
one picks up his first foot, then before it fully returns to the 
ground, the second foot has already begun to rise. Any form of moving 
around in a circle that would not include this would be permitted.

Only to the Tune?

The Aruch HaShulchan [339-9] raises another point. He maintains that 
the only clapping and dancing that was forbidden was where one is in 
tune with the song. Only in such a scenario is the clapping or 
dancing intrinsically connected to the song and there is a worry one 
could come to fix the broken instrument. Any form of clapping or 
dancing, which is sporadic and not done in tune, would be permitted. 
Although some Poskim disagree with the Aruch HaShulchan, many see 
this a basis for those who are lenient in these matters.

Banging and Snapping

Included in this decree would also be banging on a table or the like 
with or without any utensil. Snapping one's finger along with singing 
would also be included.

Clapping not Associated with Music

The Poskim rule that only clapping connected to song would be 
included. Clapping, snapping or banging to get another's attention, 
wake someone up or silence an audience would be permitted [ O.H. 338 
Mishna Berura S. K. 2,4].  Clapping for applause would also be 
permitted [Oz Nidbiru  Vol 13-14].

In an Abnormal Fashion

Clapping and banging was only forbidden in a normal fashion. If done 
in an abnormal way, for instance clapping against the back of one's 
hand, this would be permitted, as it would serve as a reminder, and 
would not lead to fixing any instruments. [O.H. 339-3]

Rabbi Weinrib learns full time in the [Chicago Community] Kollel and 
is a frequent contributor to Halacha Encounters.

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Message: 3
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 23 May 2013 17:02:51 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Reform Practice in Orthodox Shuls

On Thu, May 23, 2013 at 04:50:58PM -0400, Prof. Levine wrote:
> At 02:58 PM 5/23/2013, R Micha wrote:
>> Again, one can lose decorum in ways that are in concert with davening.
>> If the norm is that tefillos each says to themselves aren't all that
>> quiet. Dancing for Lekha Dodi. Etc...
> Dancing on Shabbos?

1- Lekha Dodi is before Shabbos

2- WADR to R' Avi Weinrib, greater posqim than he were matir. Usually on
the grounds that either our dancing isn't riqud, or holding like Tosafos
(who write WRT clapping, IIRC) that since the original gezeira protects
against something we no longer are likely to do, its extensions aren't

We've discussed this second point on more than one occasion in response
to your making this objection in the past.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Weeds are flowers too
mi...@aishdas.org        once you get to know them.
http://www.aishdas.org          - Eeyore ("Winnie-the-Pooh" by AA Milne)
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Message: 4
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 23 May 2013 17:20:45 -0400
Re: [Avodah] electricity on Shabbos - R. Asher Weiss

On Mon, May 20, 2013 at 09:34:59AM +0100, Chana Luntz wrote:
: Everybody I think agrees that were we to allow the wholesale use of
: electricity and electric devices, we would destroy shabbas as we know it.
: Shabbas would become completely unrecognisable from that kept by our
: forefathers. I think most of us pretty confidently feel that such a
: scenario would be against the Torah and its intent.

Well, the use of electricity during the week has made life completely
unrecognizable from that kept by our forefathers. We have knew things
we can possibly do; if they are new ways of doing permissable things,
why wouldn't they change life on Shabbos as well?

I agree with what I think your point is. The people who best know the
feel of halakhah realize that letting Shabbos change as the rest of life
does (but less, since many electronic devices do assur things) would
result in something that doesn't fit the feel of Shabbos. I've written
that in the past, suggesting that that's why there is more consensus
about electricity being assur than on how its assur. The preconscious
poseiq knows it's wrong; the conscious poseiq can't say how. But I'm
not positive that's what you mean here.

: But d'rabbanan's are very difficult. We don't really have the
: power to institute new d'rabbanans today...

I think RSZA's shitah boils down to saying that we do.

Sanhedrin is representative of Kelal Yisrael. E.g. for buying qorbanos
tzibbur. If you say that that'sa why their dinim are binding as well (if
the tzibbur accepts them), then without a Sanhedrin the people as a whole
reaching a consensus that something is assur would create a derabbanan.

If you have a better explanation of his sevara, I'm eager for one.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             "Fortunate indeed, is the man who takes
mi...@aishdas.org        exactly the right measure of himself,  and
http://www.aishdas.org   holds a just balance between what he can
Fax: (270) 514-1507      acquire and what he can use." - Peter Latham

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Message: 5
From: "Prof. Levine" <llev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Thu, 23 May 2013 17:08:37 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Reform Practice in Orthodox Shuls

At 05:02 PM 5/23/2013, Micha Berger wrote:
>1- Lekha Dodi is before Shabbos

Doesn't this depend on the time that one davens Mincha?

Some places daven mincha after Shkia.   Even in a place that starts 
mincha before Shkia,  it is possible that it will be bein hashemashos 
by the time Kabbalas Shabbos is started.
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Message: 6
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 23 May 2013 17:22:28 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Reform Practice in Orthodox Shuls

On Thu, May 23, 2013 at 05:08:37PM -0400, Prof. Levine wrote:
> At 05:02 PM 5/23/2013, Micha Berger wrote:
>> 1- Lekha Dodi is before Shabbos
> Doesn't this depend on the time that one davens Mincha?

"Hamaqom" when there are aveilim is after Lekha Dodi. Ban both or

Tir'u baTov!

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: 7
From: "Prof. Levine" <llev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Thu, 23 May 2013 18:36:23 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Reform Practice in Orthodox Shuls

At 05:22 PM 5/23/2013, Micha Berger wrote:
>"Hamaqom" when there are aveilim is after Lekha Dodi. Ban both or

And this is precisely what Rav Aaron Kahn,  who has a shul in 
Flatbush and is associated the RIETS,  did in his shul.  I distinctly 
recall him explaining one Friday night how one should not say 
Hamakom,  because it was Shabbos already.  Indeed, he spoke long 
enough about this so that no one said it when the aveilim entered!

BTW,  to the best of my knowledge HaMakom in not said in Chassidishe 
places which often daven Mincha after Shkia. YL
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Message: 8
From: "Kenneth Miller" <kennethgmil...@juno.com>
Date: Fri, 24 May 2013 01:28:55 GMT
Re: [Avodah] Reform Practice in Orthodox Shuls

R' Micha Berger wrote:

> Lekha Dodi is before Shabbos

Most of it, but not all of it. Mishneh Berura 261:31 cites the Derech
Chochmah that "those who say "Lecha Dodi and conclude it with 'Boee Khala',
that's Kabalas Shabbos Mamash." - And yet, there is still another refrain
of "Lecha Dodi" even after the stanza of Boee.

> "Hamaqom" when there are aveilim is after Lekha Dodi. Ban
> both or neither.

Saying "Hamakom" on Shabbos is not recommended, but it's not assur either. Mechaber 287:1 - "One may comfort mourners on Shabbos."

Ooops! I now see MB 287:3 - "The Pri Megadim writes that if the avel came
to shul after Mizmor Shir, then the shamash should *not* say, 'Go to the
avel', because one should not mention the aveilus publicly. Nevertheless,
going by oneself to him to say 'Shabbos hee mil'nachem' is allowed." So it
is a distinction of Aveilus B'farhesya vs. B'tzina.

So, then, how do we justify the practice that most shuls DO announce
"Hamakom" even after L'cha Dodi? Rav Elazar Mayer Teitz once explained to
me that this very practice demonstrates that we do NOT pasken like the MB
261:31 that I cited above, and that Kabalas Shabbos  does not occur until
Mizmor Shir, which is after Hamakom.

He did not mention it to me at that time, but I now see that an earlier
remark in this selfsame MB 261:31 supports his explanation! MB there
writes: "The Magen Avraham write that nowadays we have the minhag to say
Mizmor Shir, but even so, we do all the melachos until Borchu, if it is
still prior to Bein Hashmashos. The reason is that it was accepted like
that from the beginning, and it is not intended as a kabala." -- Thus, it
seems clear to me that if the Magen Avraham didn't require melacha to stop
at Mizmor Shir, then we needn't require melacha to stop at Lecha Dodi.

(And regarding those shul which say Hamakom after shkia: Let's concede that
comforting the aveilim is not melacha, and not even melacha d'rabanan, and
not even something that could *lead* to a melacha. Let's first finish
Chazaras Hashatz of mincha before shkia, and then we can worry about saying
Hamakom before shkia.)

Akiva Miller
1 Weird spice that FIGHTS diabetes
Can this unusual &#34;super spice&#34; control your blood sugar and fight diabetes&#63

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Message: 9
From: "Elazar M. Teitz" <r...@juno.com>
Date: Fri, 24 May 2013 02:36:29 GMT
Re: [Avodah] Review the Halachos of Sheva Brachos

     Several of the halachos of Sheva Brachos cited from the Hakhel bulletin would seem to suffer from a lack of precision:
<If a Chasuna occurs near shkia and the meal cannot begin on the same
day (before sunset), then the seven days begin on the following day (i.e.
the day of the actual Chasuna meal).>      The majority opinion is that
the seven days begin from the chuppa, and not from the meal.  See, e.g.,
Aruch Hashulchan EH 62:31.

<If the final meal on the seventh day concludes after sunset, Sheva Brachos may still be recited.>         This, too, is at best a minority opinion. 

< It is preferable that Sheva Brachos be recited each day.  Therefore, a
Chassan and Kallah should not travel to places where Sheva Brachos cannot
be recited.>      Although there is a mitzvah to be m'sameiach the
couple all seven days, I have found no source which requires Sheva Brachos
each day, and no mention of a restriction on travel which would prevent
them from being said.  
< If one of the Brachos was temporarily skipped by mistake, it should be recited despite the fact that it will not be in the proper order.>
      Although in general this is true, there is one possible exception: if
      the omitted b'racha was "Yotzeir Ha'adam," according to many it
      should not be recited after the following b'racha, since the latter
      contains every word of the skippd b'racha -- and since safeik
      b'rachos l'hakeil, the accepted psak is not to say it if it was
      accidentally omitted.  EMT
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Message: 10
From: Yonatan Kaganoff <ykagan...@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 23 May 2013 22:54:06 -0400
[Avodah] Interesting Sefiras Ha-Omer Advice

A friend of mine (not a Rabbi, but very Jewish knowledgeable) told me
that he tells people who missed a day of counting sefirat ha-omer that
they should continue counting with a brachah if he is fairly certain
that they will stop counting if they could only count without a

His reasoning is that without saying a brachah, these persons will
likely stop performing the mitzvah altogether and the worst thing that
they are doing is maybe, possibly, saying a brachah l'batalah and
there is a long Ashkenazi tradition of being lenient on saying a
brachah l'batalah.

Any thoughts on this advise?

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Message: 11
From: Ben Waxman <ben1...@zahav.net.il>
Date: Fri, 24 May 2013 12:14:04 +0300
Re: [Avodah] Reform Practice in Orthodox Shuls

In a shul which davens early, for example during the summer, there won't 
be any problem of dancing on Shabbat. The people could dance Sleeping 
Beauty and the only issue will be one of decorum.

On 5/24/2013 12:08 AM, Prof. Levine wrote:
 > Some places daven mincha after Shkia.   Even in a place that starts 
mincha before Shkia,  it is possible that it will be bein hashemashos by 
the time Kabbalas Shabbos is started.

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Message: 12
From: Eli Turkel <elitur...@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 24 May 2013 12:50:04 +0300
[Avodah] kashrut update

moved from an entry by Saul Newman in areivim

<< There are issues one must be aware of with regard to housekeeping. One
cannot leave a non-Jewish housekeeper alone in the house for an extended
period of time, as this can create many Halachic problems in the kitchen.
For example, a housekeeper may warm up her own food in the oven or
microwave without the owner?s knowledge. The solution is to either lock up
the kitchen or have someone occasionally entering the house so that she is
wary of an unexpected visitor..>>

I have talked to several rabbis about non-Jewish housekeepers (Philino in
Israeli terms)
and have still to find a practical solution.
A typical situation is an elderly leady/gentleman who can not get around bt
themselves and has
help. Other cases a family with children that needs help (in many cases
this is hard to get legally).

The above "solutions" are pretty impossible. I have no ideea what it means
to "lock up the kitchen" in most apartments. Certainly in my home in cant
be done.
I am also not sure what it means by occasionally entering the house" . If
the elderly person doesnt have family nearby this again is not very
practical (what does occasionally mean)

Another major problem for which I have no answer (not mentioned) is bishul
If an elderly gentleman is incapicated it is not reasonable for him to
light the oven every time something is cooked.

Eli Turkel
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Message: 13
From: cantorwolb...@cox.net
Date: Fri, 24 May 2013 08:02:35 -0400
[Avodah] Unusual Question

I recently went to Ground Zero with a group of colleagues.
The question came up regarding a kohen being allowed there.
Obviously, there were Jewish people killed during 911.
Consequently, there are remains in the area.
Would a kohen be forbidden to go to Ground Zero?

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Message: 14
From: "Chana Luntz" <Ch...@kolsassoon.org.uk>
Date: Fri, 24 May 2013 13:16:00 +0100
Re: [Avodah] electricity on Shabbos - R. Asher Weiss

RMB writes:

>On the subject of microscopic causality, I'm thinking that semiconductors
are more like maggot eggs than >microscopic bugs, because these circuits
have visible size effects.

Yes, I think that was what I was trying to say, microscopic bugs have no
effect on the macroscopic, quantum effects do.  It creates a distinction.
How we deal with that distinction is another matter.

>On the subject of circuits "coming alive"....

>1- I thought the CI's argument was specific to plug-in devices. Not much
else existed then. And a plug-in >device involves mechubar leqarqa, making
boneh a much more plausible argument.

Why? The very first electric circuits were not plug in-able to anything,
they were self contained units - the flow of electricity to our houses came
much latter.

> Since when is "coming alive" a form of boneh? It would be maqeh bepatish
to make something come-alive-able, >but not boneh, no?

I am no expert on the CI, but majority rishonim hold that there is boneh and
stira b'kelim if you make a keli from scratch.  I therefore don't think you
need plug in-ability to get you to boneh.

On Mon, May 20, 2013 at 08:16:53PM +0000, Kenneth Miller wrote:
: I fear that I'm missing something very basic to this whole discussion. Are
: the Lamed-Tes Melachos to be reduced in importance to being 39 mere
: examples of Significant Action?

Well I have now been sent a copy (thank you very much) of the three teshuvos
from the Minchas Asher, so I am a bit more clued in as to what he says.
Here is a summary of the first one (siman 30) (I haven't properly worked my
way through the other two).

Firstly, he bases his understanding on a Yerushalmi in Shabbat (Perek 7
halacha 2) which states that Rabbi Yochanan and Resh Lakish spent three and
a half years sorting out all the toldos of shabbas into the 39 categories.
Those that they could determine it as belonging to a particular category,
they categorised it in that category, those they couldn't they categorised
it as makah bepatish.

For those who would like the actual words:

????? ??"? ?? ???? ????? ????? ???? ????? ??? ???? ?????. ????? ????? ??????
??? ??? ?????? ?? ?? ??? ????. ?? ??????? ?????? ????? ?? ??? ?????? ?????
??????? ???? ??? ?????

Now RAW derives from this that where they found for any action and matter
that there is a side that is similar to one of the fixed melachos, they
forbad it as a tolda of that issur.  That first chazal considered the nature
of an action ie that it had chashivut, and following that they were metaken
and mechadesh that it was a melacha, and only after that they investigated
to see to which of the 39 melachot this was similar to, and they fixed it as
a tolda of the melacha that it most resembled, but if they couldn't find
that it resembled any particular melacha they fixed that it was a tolda of
makeh b'patish; so that makeh b'patish is the general category for all
melachos that have a great chashivut.

I *think* a more conventional read of this would be that R' Yochanan and R'
Shimon had a mesorah (halacha Moshe MiSinai, perhaps) that many things were
melachos, and they also had a mesorah that there were 39 categories of
melacha, but they struggled to put the two mesoros together, and that is
what they worked on for three and a half years, characterising each they had
into the correct category - and just those that didn't seem to fit anywhere
went into makeh b'patish.

The source itself doesn't say anywhere they were mechadesh or metaken
anything as a melacha (but, then, it doesn't say that they weren't).  And
none of the commentators on this Yerushalmi appear to be giving this radical
read - ie that Rabbi Yochanan and R' Shimon themselves defined what was
considered to be sufficiently significant an action to fit within the
definition of melacha.

RAW acknowledges that this is mechudesh meod - but argues that he gets
support for this reading from a Rambam in hilchos shabbas perek 10 halacha
17 discussing the lancing of a boil on shabbas which states:

????? ???? ???? ??? ?????? ?? ???? ???? ???????? ????? ??? ???????? ??????
?????? ?? ???? ??? ?? ???? ???? ??? ????? ??? ??? ????? ?????, ??? ?????
?????? ???? ????? ??? ??? ?? ????

One who lances a boil in order to widen the mouth of the wound the way
doctors do that when they are intending with refuah to widen the mouth of
the wound behold this is chayav for makeh b'patish *shezu hi melachat
harofeh*, (the continuation of the halacha reads: and if they are doing it
to take out of it the pus that it is in it, behold this is permitted.)

RAW derives from this particularly from the reference to shezu hi  melachat
harofeh  that anything that is a melacha of the doctors can be considered a
melacha chashuva - and it is that characterisation (presumably by the
Rambam) that makes it fall within the definition of makeh b'patish.

Again (and I think even more so) a straightforward reading of the Rambam
would be to understand him as explaining that what doctors do is to "fix"
people, so when they create something new (such as widening the hole of a
wound) this is correctly characterised as makeh b'patish.  This appears to
be Rashi's explanation on the gemora, where he says (On Shabbas 107a):

  ???? - ???? ???? ???, ?? ???? ???? ???, ?? ?? ???? ???, ?? ?? ???? ???.

Chayav: - because of building the opening, or because of metaken kli, ma li
taken makeh, ma li taken kli (what difference is it in fixing a wound, or in
fixing a vessel).

This reference to ma li taken makeh, ma li taken kli sounds like a quasi
quote from the gemora earlier on daf 106a where Rav Ashi is quoted as
saying: ma li l'etaken mila, ma li letaken kli (what difference is it in
fixing a baby by way of mila, or fixing a vessel) - and while there is some
discussion about whether in fact there is an issur of makeh b'patish vis a
vis mila (ie whether fixing a baby because of the need of a mitzvah is a
form of fixing or not), and it is that which the Torah is coming to push
aside when it requires mila to be done on the eighth day, or whether it is
wounding or drawing blood or the like.

The parallel between a doctor fixing a person, and an artisan fixing a kli
is pretty straightforward, as both involve something that is "broken" -
something that cannot so easily be said for an electronic circuit - although
interestingly, we do in English talk about "breaking" a circuit, or a
connection.  But that linguistic link as evidence of a deeper truth is not
what RAW appears to be trying to establish here, but rather that the very
existence of an action that can be considered chashuv, which then allows,
not just Rabbi Yochanan and Rabbi Shimon to be mechadesh and metaken such an
action as makeh b'patish d'orisa, but the chachamim today would seem also to
have that power.  Those are two pretty huge leaps, on relatively little
source material.

RAW therefore concludes that that lighting LED's on shabbas constitutes the
issur of makeh b'patish d'orisa.

RAWgoes on to discuss and reject various rulings by various Sephardi poskim
that allowed the use of electric lights on Yom Tov.  On this he seems on
more solid ground.  I confess I haven't learnt through those teshuvos, but
if he is correct in saying, as I assume he is, that the basis for allowing
electric lights on yom tov was because "the eish was previously in the
wires", and it is just transferring it to the light bulbs, and thus this was
no different to lighting one light from another by means of a stick of wood
or the like, then his criticism that this is not the case in terms of the
physics, seems to make sense.  Or rather, I guess the question becomes, what
is eish?  

What puzzles me a bit about this discussion about LEDs is why RAW (and
others) does not try and include them in the definition of eish?  Now I
agree, LEDs do not involve heat, just the production of a photon in the
visible light spectrum - but why could that not be considered part if not
the essential definition of eish?  Agreed, classic eish involves a chemical
reaction (combustion) that involves the production of both light (ie photons
in the visible spectrum) and heat.  But incandescent bulbs do not involve a
chemical reaction, and there is not the ash and other by-products of such
reaction, most people have felt comfortable that they are eish, based on the
idea that heating up a metal bar until red hot is eish.  But what really
prevents us taking it a step further, and fundamentally understanding the
definition of eish to be the production of light in the visible spectrum,
whether or not heat goes along with it? Isn't that one of the key results
that we look for when we produce, and have always looked for when we
historically produced, eish - whether for light, ie to see, or even for heat
(warmth or cooking). Heat on its own would seem to be somewhat problematic
(my rubbing my hands together to keep warm would not seem to be a toldah of
eish), and so once you eliminate chemical combustion as the definition of
eish, if anything the production of photons in the visible spectrum appears
to be more of an indicator of eish than anything else.  I thus am a bit
puzzled why people have not gone down this route.  I agree we can't pick up
the non visible spectrum, but this is where we get back to the discussion at
the beginning, and potentially ignore at least some incidences of things
that we just can't see.  Any thoughts?




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