Avodah Mailing List

Volume 31: Number 104

Wed, 29 May 2013

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Zev Sero <z...@sero.name>
Date: Tue, 28 May 2013 12:31:22 -0400
Re: [Avodah] nonJewish housekeeper

On 28/05/2013 7:24 AM, Chana Luntz wrote:
> An elderly gentleman or lady, who is incapacitated, is highly unlikely
> to marry the, almost invariably same sex, non Jewish live in care worker.

In the case of a same-sex worker, in a country where such "marriages" are not
recognised, yes.  But in the case of an opposite-sex worker such cases are
common enough to be the stuff of legends and tawdry court cases, and something
that people often worry about even when there's no reason to.  So Chazal's
gezera would apply in its full force

>  In the case of a non kosher restaurant  [...] the reason for being in such
> a restaurant may also come a lot closer to the reason Chazal instituted the
> gezera in the first place (although it may not).

It may be close to that reason, but not with the cooks or kitchen staff!
So the bishul akum aspect would seem to be irrelevant, and if not for lo plug
Chazal's gezera should not apply.  Whatever danger of intermarriage exists in
such a dinner, it would be no different were the entire kitchen run by cohanim
meyuchasim.  Chazal distinguished between pas akum and pas palter, and were
restaurants common in those days they might similarly have distinguished
between cooking in private homes and in restaurants.

Zev Sero               A citizen may not be required to offer a 'good and
z...@sero.name          substantial reason' why he should be permitted to
                        exercise his rights. The right's existence is all
                        the reason he needs.
                            - Judge Benson E. Legg, Woollard v. Sheridan

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Message: 2
From: T6...@aol.com
Date: Tue, 28 May 2013 15:38:19 -0400 (EDT)
Re: [Avodah] Reform Practice in Orthodox Shuls

From: "Prof. Levine" <llev...@stevens.edu>
[RYL linked to  the following article:]

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

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. ... 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.

So if the dancing is clumsy and the clapping is out of sync with the tune,  
then whatever you are calling "dancing" and "clapping" would be permitted 
on  Shabbos.  I deduce that Litvaks are allowed to dance on Shabbos and  
chassidim are not.
But in the real world the practice seems to be the other way around?

--Toby  Katz


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Message: 3
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Tue, 28 May 2013 15:55:33 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Reform Practice in Orthodox Shuls

On Tue, May 28, 2013 at 03:38:19PM -0400, T6...@aol.com wrote:
: Clapping and Dancing on Shabbos
: Rabbi Avi Weinrib
:> 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. ... 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.

: So if the dancing is clumsy and the clapping is out of sync with the tune,
: then whatever you are calling "dancing" and "clapping" would be permitted
: on Shabbos....

The AhS (OC 339:9) writes that our sipuq and riqud was never prohibited.
The clapping and dancing of Chazal's day was part of instrumentation of
the song. But when we sing orally songs of joy, we bang palm to palm --
it's just banging and not according to the rhythm. Which is why Chazal
never speak of clapping the thigh or of dancing in simchah...

IMHO the reasoning of Chassidim is more akin to the MgA 111 (also cited by
the AhS) who permits dancing on simchas Torah because of kavod haTorah.
They are permitting clapping and dancing in ways that enhance the
religiosity of the Shabbos only.

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: Tue, 28 May 2013 16:12:21 -0400

On Sun, May 26, 2013 at 07:15:07AM -0400, Prof. Levine wrote:
> From http://www.torah.org/advanced/weekly-halacha/5763/yisro.html
> DURING PESUKEI D'ZIMRAH - Unless there is an emergency, it is forbidden 
> to talk during this time as it would constitute an interruption between 
> the blessing of Baruch Sheamar and the blessing of Yishtabach.(9)
> 9 O.C. 51:4 and Mishnah Berurah 6 and 7.

We're talking about preserving the semichut of two berakhos that were
established in the days of the geonim. (Saying them in this context, if
not the words of Barukh sheAmar.) The Rambam considers Pesuqei deZimra
at most minhag, and arguably a hanhagah tovah for which you get shevach,
but not mandatory. "Veshivchu chakhamim lemi sheqorei zemiros miseifer
Tehillim... ukevar nahagu.... vetiqnu berakhah..." (Tefillah 7:12)

R' Yosi's recommendation turning into a norm post dates Sanhedrin and R'
Ashi veRavina sof hora'ah. So how does a minhag Yisrael end up with
stricter rules for silence than actual dinim derabbanan?

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             A person must be very patient
mi...@aishdas.org        even with himself.
http://www.aishdas.org         - attributed to R' Nachman of Breslov
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Message: 5
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Tue, 28 May 2013 16:25:17 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Personal Description of RSRH

On Mon, May 27, 2013 at 12:24:19PM +0000, Kenneth Miller wrote:
: Prof. Levine posted and article by Saemy Japhet, which included his
: personal observations about Rav Hirsch...

:> ... later I became a student of the Frankfurt Handelsschule -
:> according to Hirsch's views. The names of Maimonides, Spinoza,
:> Mendelssohn and Graetz were never even mentioned. But in his
:> writings Hirsch branded Graetz's History of the Jews as "a
:> product of detestable wantonness and frivolous superficiality";

: I am surprised to see the name of the Rambam together with those three
: apikorsim, l'havdil.

Mendelssohn wasn't an apiqoreis. His biur was good enough to be in
Volozhin's curriculum, no less! But not what pushed me to reply.

I think RSRH considered the Rambam to be orthopractic, and his hashkagah
to be off the derekh. Actual apiqursus. I posted this quote from Letter
#18 a couple of months ago:
    The age gave birth to a man [R' Drachman's footnote: Maimonides], a
    mind, who, the product of uncomprehended Judaism and Arabic science,
    was obliged to reconcile the strife which raged in his own breast
    in his own manner, and who, by proclaiming it to the world, became
    the guide of all in whom the same conflict existed.

UNCOMPREHENDED JUDAISM! Said of the Rambam!!!!

    This great man to whom, and to whom alone, we owe the preservation
    of practical Judaism to our time, is responsible because he sought
    to reconcile Judaism with the difficulties which confronted it
    from without instead of developing it creatively from within, for
    all the good and the evil which bless and afflict the heritage of
    the father. His peculiar mental tendency was Arabic-Greek, and
    his conception of the purpose of life the same. He entered into
    Judaism from without, bringing with him opinions of whose truth he
    had convinced himself from extraneous sources and he reconciled. ...

He credits the Rambam with his role in halakhah, but doesn't he describe
the Rambam's philosophy as Arabic-Greek and outside the Torah? So,
he goes on the list of people whose perspective on Yiddishkeit simply
don't come up in a Hirschian school. (While not earning the sobriquet of
"a product of detestable wantonness and frivolous superficiality".)

BTW, Graetz was once a student and ben bayis of RSRH's. (I think I
picked that up from the intro to the volume of Collected Writings that
is largely a point-by-point refutation of Graetz's history.) Graetz's
departure from Yahadus was probably particularly painful for the teacher.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             I thank God for my handicaps, for, through them,
mi...@aishdas.org        I have found myself, my work, and my God.
http://www.aishdas.org                - Helen Keller
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Message: 6
From: T6...@aol.com
Date: Tue, 28 May 2013 15:51:18 -0400 (EDT)
Re: [Avodah] Women [was:] More on Rabbi Riskin Permits Women

In Avodah Digest, Vol 31, Issue 93 dated 5/20/2013 
From: "Prof. Aryeh A. Frimer" _fri...@biu.ac.il_ (mailto:fri...@biu.ac.il) 

Subject: More on Rabbi Riskin Permits Women to Read Ruth
for Men

Posted on Areivim

From  http://tinyurl.com/b7lnnwa

"The Efrat Rabbi answered that while men  cannot keep the mitzvah of 
hearing the Esther Megillah by listening to a  woman's reading, it 
would be allowable with other megillahs (Ecclesiastics,  Song of 
Songs, Ruth and Lamentations)."

From the Efrat Discussion  Group

[efrat] Response from Rav Riskin regarding women reading Megillat Rut  on 

Q. May women read Megillat Rut from behind the mechitza on Shavuot morning? 

A. ....the prohibition of Kol Isha does not apply to a sacred  text, since 
women would therefore be permitted to read the megillah with the  musical 


The Scroll of Ruth is not a personal obligation on the part of each 
individual,  but is rather a communal obligation which devolves upon the entire 
community.  Hence there is no distinction between men and women; so women can 
certainly read  it for the entire congregation. 

I truly believe that in the  21st century whatever it is permissible for 
women to do on halakhic grounds  should be allowed for those women who wish to 
do them and in those congregations  which are willing to accommodate them. 
The Lubavitcher Rebbe said very clearly  to me that the greatest challenge 
facing 20th century Orthodox Jewry is making  women feel included as much as 
possible within our religious ritual. 
--end quote--

R' Aryeh Frimer commented:
>> R. Riskin ignores Tosaphot Sukah 38a  explaining the Behag, Semag Esin 
Derabbanan 4, and Magen Avraham 689:5, who  maintain that the problem of 
women reading Megilat Esther  for men is Kevod  Hatzibbur -- which would apply 
equally for Ruth as it would for Esther!  <<

Prof. Aryeh A. Frimer
Chemistry Dept., Bar-Ilan  University
Ramat Gan 5290002, ISRAEL
E-mail (office): _Aryeh.Fri...@biu.ac.il_ (mailto:Aryeh.Fri...@biu.ac.il) 
I am sorry I am only getting to this a few days late -- I was in Israel for 
 several weeks before and after the petirah of my mother a'h (as I 
mentioned on  Areivim) and am slowly going through many backlogged emails.
What I would like to add to RAF's comment here is this:
It is far from clear that it is halachically permissible for women to read  
Megillas Ruth for men.  And bringing a private conversation  with the 
Lubavitcher Rebbe in support of this psak is rather dubious,  since it is a 
position that the Rebbe most certainly did not  hold!
Had the Rebbe wished to allow women to read Megillas Ruth for men, he would 
 have promulgated that ruling by some other means than by telling Rabbi 
Riskin,  in a private conversation, how important it is to make women feel 
included,  and leaving it to R' Riskin to deduce what was therefore to be done.
Furthermore, the premise behind this ruling of R' Riskin's is fundamentally 
 flawed.  That is the premise that the way to make women feel included  is 
to let them play at being men.  When you "let" them do what the men are  
doing you play into the false notion that women were until now excluded, that  
women's historic role in Judaism is inferior, that men get to do all the fun 
 stuff, that men have all the power, and that only now are centuries' old  
injustices to women finally, finally being addressed -- in the holy city of  
What the Rebbe did instead was to put extra stress on aspects of Jewish  
ritual that have always had a feminine cast -- challa, neros, niddah,  tznius. 
 He emphasized the unique contributions of women, the ways in which  men 
and women complement each other, and he did not try to blur the distinctions  
between the avodah of women and the avodah of men.  He insisted that women  
should wear sheitels rather than scarves and hats, so that they would feel 
and  look "normal" in modern society.  When he hand-picked shluchim to go out 
 into the hinterlands, he made sure to pick couples in which not only the  
husbands but also the wives were attractive, talented and articulate.
I definitely have my issues with Chabad, perhaps to be written of some  
other day, but I did have great respect for the Lubavitcher Rebbe, and feel it  
is only right to protest the dishonest uses to which his views are being  
put by R' Riskin.
I would add that I was very touched, and struck by the Rebbe's wisdom, when 
 I read what he said about the Lubavitcher children's magazine -- he 
insisted  that the cover of each and every issue must include pictures of girls 
and not  only of boys.  If the foreground showed a picture of a girl coming 
home  from school, the background showed her little brother playing with his 
toys, and  vice versa.  
For a better and more honest assessment of the Rebbe's teachings re the  
role of women, see 
"Putting Women in the Picture"
--Toby Katz


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Message: 7
From: "Kenneth Miller" <kennethgmil...@juno.com>
Date: Tue, 28 May 2013 22:20:57 GMT
Re: [Avodah] Personal Description of RSRH

Prof. Levine posted:
> The names of Maimonides, Spinoza, Mendelssohn and Graetz were ...

I commented:
> I am surprised to see the name of the Rambam together with those
> three apikorsim, l'havdil.

So far, two people have pointed out to me off-list that Mendelssohn was *not* an apikores. I offer to them my thanks, and to him my apologies.

In my memory, his name hardly ever comes up except in contexts of reform
and haskala, and not as their opponent. With the help of those who have
corrected me, I did a little more research, and I stand corrected.

Akiva Miller
Weird trick
Bank loophole lets you collect silver from practically any bank

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Message: 8
From: Eli Turkel <elitur...@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 28 May 2013 22:58:43 +0300
[Avodah] sefiras Haomer

<<Is anyone machmir on people who become bar mitzva during sefirah? The
hakirah is well-known, but I've never heard of anyone actually
refraining from making the beracha.>>

ROY seems to be the main shitah for the now gadol not to make a bracha.

Main shitah - the gadol makes a bracha if he counted all the days while a

less held - minor counts sefirah independent if he counted all the days
before his bar mitzvah

Eli Turkel
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Message: 9
From: "M Cohen" <mco...@touchlogic.com>
Date: Tue, 28 May 2013 22:35:25 -0400
[Avodah] non-Jewish housekeeper

Other practical eitzos I thought of are:

1. according to those poskim that solve the bishul acum question
commercially via a light in the oven remotely activated by the mashgiah 
(which adds some heat like a kisam), you could cook in the oven and have a
Jew permanently turn on the oven light.

2. if one cannot find a pilot light stove, you can turn off/disconnect the
electric lighter and light the stove when needed from an existing
candle etc that was originally lit by a Jew. Ie leave a yartzeit candle
permanently avail in the kitchen near the stove.

3. not sure if this one works - if a Jew turns off the central power for the
house and then turns it on, and then the nJ uses the regular electric
igniter to light the stove. Maybe this would be considered transferring a
flame. On the other hand, maybe it's more like a Jew fixed the stove and
then the nJ uses it cook (which wouldn't help the BA problem)

Mordechai cohen

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Message: 10
From: Eli Turkel <elitur...@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 29 May 2013 13:20:49 +0300
[Avodah] electricity on Shabbos - R. Asher Weiss

I read the teshuva of R. Weiss onLED devices and found it strange.

1) He complains that various sefardi poskim who allowed electricity on
yomtov didnt know what electricity was. Instead he explains that the
movement of electrons  releases energy and heat and the heat creates the

To the best of my knowledge there is no heat in LED devices. Instead
electricity is
the movement of electrons (horizontally in the wire NOT down the length)
which induces
an electromagnetic wave. In wirless devices there is only the EM wave and
no movement of electrons.

2) RSZA argues that one cant create new categories of molid and brings
proofs. Rav Weiss brings a Rashi from Bitzah that IMHO is not the strongest
prrof. In case he doesnt deal with the proofs of RSZA but instead states
that is approach is correct and obvious (obviously not to RSZA)

In general he doesnt react to the claim of RSZA that one cant create new
categories today.
Even accepting RAW argument about makeh bepatisch being anything important
creation I would suspect that RSZA would counter that only chazal had the
ability to include things in makeh bepatisch. As RAW admits his approach
has not been cited by any gadol that has dealt with the issue.

The teshuva was written in response to a manuscript on LED devices. I was
surprised by the vehemence of RAW's objection. The manuscript was based on
the opinions of CI and RSZA.
RAW's answer is that he has a new viewpoint that prohibits electricity even
where CI allows it and essentially how dare this rabbi to allow such things.

3) In the second teshuva RAW claims that according to CI if one introduces
an elctric circuit into a wire which is NOT attached to any electrical
appliance it is boneh since one changes the wire from dead to alive.
IMHO this is also a major chiddush. That is is only the flow of electrons
that constitutes make bepatisch (again physically there is no flow of

OTOH RAw has a major kulah. He claims that any device that turns on and off
automatically has no problem being used on shabbat. He gives examples of
modern hearing aids,  sensors that constantly monitor to turn off lights if
there is no movement (assuming the light is already on), cellular phones
that constantly check the level of coverage etc.
In the end is advices no avoid any electrical devices on shabbat but says
that for any remote medical need there is no problem (as usual with the
proviso that gedolei yisrael agree).

Eli Turkel
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Message: 11
From: "Rich, Joel" <JR...@sibson.com>
Date: Wed, 29 May 2013 10:02:57 -0400
Re: [Avodah] electricity on Shabbos - R. Asher Weiss

> I read the teshuva of R. Weiss onLED devices and found it strange. 

I suspect R' Eli and Chana find R' Weiss approach strange or difficult
because they are looking for a consistent algorithm that can be applied
a priori to determine the halachic status of an act or device (as I
think many of us would like to view halacha and in fact how it operates
in many/most cases) I think R' Weiss understands that there is a "libi
omer li"/obviously element to halacha that is especially important in
cases of first impression. Much like R' YBS stated in C-C-C [Community,
Covenant and Commitment (?) -micha]:

    "In all fields of human intellectual endeavor there is always
    an intuitive approach which determines the course and method of
    the analysis. Not even in exact sciences (particularly in their
    interpretive phase) is it possible to divorce the human element from
    the formal aspect. Hence this investigation was also undertaken in
    a similar subjective mood. From the very outset I was prejudiced in
    favor of the project of the Rabbinical Counsel of America and I could
    not imagine any halakhic authority rendering a decision against it. My
    inquiry consisted only in translating a vague intuitive feeling into
    fixed terms of halakhic thinking" (Soloveitchik, 2005, pp 24-25).

IMHO "it's obvious" that there are perceived pros and cons to this

KT Joel Rich

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Message: 12
From: "Chana Luntz" <Ch...@kolsassoon.org.uk>
Date: Wed, 29 May 2013 17:15:34 +0100
Re: [Avodah] nonJewish housekeeper

I wrote:


<<Yes, that is how the Mechaber rules, which is why ROY needs a safek
sfeka, and not just a machlokus haposkim.  Basically you have a large
number of rishonim lining up on both sides.  The Shulchan Aruch went with
the more machmir group of rishonim, the Rema went with the more makil
group.	So, rules ROY, Sephardim when faced with a classic case of bishul
akum, ie a non Jew cooking in the non Jew?s premises, in order to matir the
bishul akum, need the Jew to take part in a more substantial aspect of the
cooking (eg stirring) and not just lighting the fire.>>


And RET replied:


>The problem is that ROY is usual very insistent that sefardim pasken
>like the mechaber no ifs or buts. Hence Ohr LeZion discounts this a
>safek. The machaber paskens le-chumra end of story.

>I wonder if there are other places that ROY combines a Rama with another safek to make it sfek-sefeka


Well of course the strongest teshuva in this regard is that found in Yabiat
Omer Chelek 5 Yoreh Deah siman 3 ? where ROY matirs eating at a simcha
where the meat comes from a non glatt hecsher ? and one side of the sfek
sfeka that gets him to allow this is indeed the Rema and the Ashkenazi
tradition of non glatt.  And in that case he is dealing with what he and
the Sephardi poskim understand to be an issur d?orisa, not just an issur


But I think in general it is a mischaracterisation of ROY to understand him
as requiring that Sephardim posken like the Mechaber, no ifs or buts.	
For example, where, as in the case of yesh bishul achar bishul for a d?var
lach, the Mechaber poskens against majority rishonim, ROY assumes that
therefore he only poskened this way because of safek d?orisa l?chumra (see
Yabiat Omer Chelek 10 siman26) (ie he didn?t hold intrinsically that there
was really bishul on a d?orisa level, but he didn?t feel comfortable ruling
in favour of the meikilim in a d?orisa matter like this) and that therefore
if you find some other safek (such as placing it on a cold blech and then
using a time clock) there is no problem warming up cold soup on a blech and
then eating it.


There is also another factor involved in the bishul akum in a hotel case
which you don?t really see from that teshuva, but you do more clearly in
the one regarding non glatt meat ? and that is the interposition of an
Ashkenazi with a chezkas kashrus in the middle.  In the case of the hotel ?
the Ashkenazi mashgiach is acting perfectly halachically in only lighting
the fire.  If the mashgiach was asked, ?is the food kosher to eat??, he is
completely correct in answering ?yes?, according to the way he poskens.  
It seems reasonably clear from the opening of ROY?s teshuva regarding the
non glatt meat that if you were eating in an Ashkenazi person?s town,
(assuming the host was a yiras shamayim and therefore had a chezkas
kashrus), even if you had an intention to return, there is no problem and
no need to investigate whether or not the meat is in fact glatt, you can
just rely on the chezkas kashrus of the owner.	The hotel is a bit more
complicated, because there you are paying f
 or your meal, not the mashgiach or hotel owner, but even so, I strongly
 suspect that these issues are underlying (he does stress that what people
 do is rely on the teudah of the rabbanut hareshit and not pay attention to
 the fact that it is not according to Sephardi standards).  In the case of
 the simcha though, there is nothing in the teshuva which suggests that the
  baal hasimcha was not Sephardi, and just not that frum, and the question
 was could a Sephardi yirat shemayim partake in the simcha.


What ROY doesn?t like is Sephardim relying on the Rema against the Shulchan
Aruch in precisely the circumstances that they differ, particularly in
order to ?fit in? to an Ashkenazi milieu, taking the attitude that if the
Rema said it, surely it can?t be that bad to follow.   The psychological
pressure on a Sephardi boy (or girl)  in an Ashkenazi yeshiva (or Sem), for
example, can be immense, and I think this is what drives a lot of the
stridency in this regard, particularly when coupled with certain implicit
assumptions about superiority that ROY will fight to his dying day.  If
there is even a sniff of that, there will be absolutely no kowtowing to the
Rema ? but that is not the case here.  Ie where the Rema is only one snif
l?hakel, and you need yet another to get you to heter, I don?t think ROY
has any problem with using the Rema as one of his reasons for leniency ? so
long as it is not just because the Rema himself said it, but because
actually there is a large body of ri
 shonim behind him.  The Rema himself may not count for a huge amount,
 rishonim do, especially numbers of them.  The more rishonim actually
 support the Rema?s position (or any position the Shulchan Aruch does not
 take), the weaker ROY treats the Shulchan Aruch?s position, and thus the
 more willing he is to agree to heterim in circumstances that differ
 somewhat from that actually poskened.	 Although again, I think that it
 also depends on how convinced ROY is by the Shulchan Aruch?s treatment. 
 ROY fervently believes that saying a brocha sheino tzricha is a violation
 of an issur d?orisa, with the Rambam, and against Tosphos.   He clearly
 doesn?t really believe that there is bishul acher bishul in a d?var lach. 
 Despite the idea bandied about that ROY is just about gathering numbers of
 poskim, there is no question that, like all great poskim, there are some
 positions that fit in with his Torah weltanschauung, and some which don?t.


>Eli Turkel






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(They are also visible in the web archive copy of each digest.)

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