Avodah Mailing List

Volume 31: Number 145

Mon, 12 Aug 2013

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: cantorwolb...@cox.net
Date: Sat, 10 Aug 2013 23:30:17 -0400
[Avodah] What Does it Mean?

And Who shows kindness for thousands (of generations) to  those who love Me and observe My commandments.
Sh'mos 20:6  
The commentators have pointed out that the word "and observe" ul'shomrei (vov, lamed, shin, mem, reish, yud) 
can be rearranged to spell Yerushalayim (yud, reish, vov, shin, lamed, mem) as it is spelled in the entire Tanach. 
This is a remez of our connection to the holiest center of the universe attainable through observance.
The following will be of interest to those who appreciated gematria:     
The numeric value of Yerushalayim and ul?shomrei is 586.
Our ultimate goal through observance and finally reaching Yerushalayim will be heralded by the sound of the Shofar.
The numeric value of Shofar is 586.
We are known as the ?People of the Book? ? the ?Book,? of course, referring to the Torah. 
As we know, Moshe is the closest person ever, to the Torah (or ?The Book?). The gematria of Moshe is 345 
and the gematria of ?The Book,? hasefer (hey, samech, fay, reish) is 345.
Further, Moshe?s nationality was Egyptian. In the Torah, he is referred to as an Egyptian (Sh?mos 2:19). In fact, 
the Midrash contrasts Moses with Joseph. As an exiled slave in Egypt, Joseph did not hide his origin; the vengeful 
Potiphar?s wife referred to him contemptuously as a Hebrew (Bereshis 39:14). Moses, however, apparently presented 
himself as an Egyptian. Because of this, Joseph merited to be buried in Eretz Yisroel, but Moses did not (Devarim Rabbah 2:8). 
So Moshe (345), could also have been called Hamitzri (hey, mem, tzadi, reish, yud) which is also 345.
Speaking of Joseph, his original downfall was due to the ?jealousy? of his brothers. The gematria of Yosef (yud, vov, samech, fay) 
is 156 and the kinah (kuf, nun, aleph, hay) [the jealousy] that brought him down totals 156.

Shavua tov.

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Message: 2
From: Zev Sero <z...@sero.name>
Date: Sun, 11 Aug 2013 07:33:54 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Essay by R' Aaron Lichtenstein re: Must We Agree

> Ultimately, the ideal for a person should be that, if the Shulchan
> Aruch says don't eat ham, then I should feel revulsion for ham. But
> the question is: What is the basis of that revulsion? If a person
> feels revulsion towards shrimp or lobster because of some aesthetic
> consideration therefore he doesn't eat it, then his not eating it is
> simply a part of the aesthete in him. However, if a person feels that
> on aesthetic grounds he could eat it, but now he has reached a point
> where his revulsion is due to the fact that G-d has forbidden it ?
> how can I want something that G-d forbids? - then he has reached a
> level for which a person should strive.

This.  This is exactly what I've been saying.

Though Chazal tell us explicitly that there are also some forbidden things
that we naturally dislike, and would not eat even if they were permitted,
and the only reason Hashem forbade them was to give us a "free" mitzvah
(rotzoh HKBH lezakos es yisroel).

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: 3
From: "Prof. Levine" <llev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Sun, 11 Aug 2013 09:24:10 -0400
[Avodah] "You must be ?complete? before GOD, your God.?

The following is from Dr. Steve Bailey's weekly Sedra studies series.

Shoftim  TEXT:18:9-14

9 When you enter the land GOD, your God, is giving you, do not learn 
to imitate the detestable
ways of the nations there.
10 Let no one be found among you who passes his son or daughter 
through fire, who practices
divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft,
11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead.
12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to GOD, and because of 
these detestable
practices GOD, your God, will drive out those nations before you.
13 You must be complete before GOD, your God.

The 'delusion' underlying all these magical activities is that 
certain people can influence
"fate" or "nature" by means of bribery, money or power, without 
regard to good or
evil. These people claim powers that we attribute only to God. The 
implication is that,
indeed, God is not the Master of the Universe! Herein lays the 
nefarious delusion.
Belief in these practices undermines the fundamental relationship of 
a Jew to God, to
ourselves and to the world. Here are excerpts from R. Hirsch in 
Chorev (his major
work explaining mitzvot):

         God causes you to be born at such a time, at such a place, 
of such parents...; He
         brings you in contact with... such friends, such teachers; 
equips you with such
         this as a means to carry out His Will....

         But just as your past and present have come to you from God, 
so your future
         lies in His hands -- and your own. For it is the future you 
create for yourself
         according to your good or evil use of your past and present....
         But just because of this, no person, not even the universe, 
can tell you what is
         in store for you; it is known only to God. And just because 
of this no person,
         not even the universe, can mark out for you any act which 
ought to be done or
         not. For this purpose God gave you understanding...use your 
         Nature and Humanity are the means and context of your 
         duty you ought to perform, you can learn from the Torah, but 
whether or how
         you can perform it, at any given moment, you must learn from 
experience and
         discretion. Therefore, for your duty, consult the Torah, but for its
         performance consult experience and discretion; and lay your 
future in God's

R. Hirsch is making a profound observation. We are all born at a 
particular time, raised
in a particular family and educated in a particular place. That is 
our unique history.
Now we live in the present, with a combination of God's Providence 
and our own free
choices. However, no one has the ability to determine our future -- 
that is again in
God's Hands and the product of our own choices. What's most important 
to realize is
that our future is not in the hands of astrologers, Tarot card 
readers, mediums, palm
readers or even Rabbinic mystics who claim the power to give 
blessings that will
determine your future (this is my [Dr. Bailey's] comment, not R. 
Hirsch). How we should approach
the present and future is by learning from experience, using good common sense,
seeking knowledge and wisdom from wise people (not necessarily clergy) and then
choosing to guide our lives by the Torah's laws and principles, with 
the spiritual advice
(not predictions) of our chosen Rabbis and teachers. The moment we give up our
responsibility to choose for ourselves and hand it over to others to 
think for us and
order our behavior, we fall into the prohibition of seeking out 
"sorcerers, enchanters,
charmers and soothsayers...." and not seeking God's teachings to 
guide our present

Now we can understand the imperative: "You must be complete before 
GOD, your God."

When we are plagued by insecurity and confusion, it is only from 
God's teachings that
we receive guidance and direction for our choices; when we despair 
for our future, we
need to recognize that it is from God and our own choices, based on 
our past and
present behavior, that our future is fashioned. If we are "complete" 
in our relationship
to God, we have no need for soothsayers, enchanters and sorcerers or 
mystical guides
to tell us what to do. Conversely, if we, with our insecurities, 
fears and abdication of
personal responsibility, turn to astrologers, fortune-tellers and 
mediums, we displace
God from our lives; and remain "incomplete" with Him -- and with ourselves.

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Message: 4
From: "Rabbi Meir G. Rabi" <meir...@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 11 Aug 2013 23:25:55 +1000
[Avodah] Synthetic Meat

"Kenneth Miller" wrote to clarify the layman's understanding of some
comments made by others:

R' Zev Sero wrote:
"A BP is meat (whereas)  artificial meat is a sort of fungus ... it would
surely be kosher and parev, and have no connection to a BP."

R' Nachum Binyamin Klafter, MD wrote:
"The synthetic meat was never a cow and does not resemble meat in any
manner.  Synthetic meat looks like white pieces of tofu ...... The meat of
a ben paku'ah looks just like veal.  But more fundamentally, the sages did
not make the gezeira of ben paku'ah on synthetic meat.  They made the
gezeira on a fetal calf."

It should be noted that there is only a very weak decree that applies to
Ben Pekuah. And it does not even apply to all BeNey Pekuah. This is the
decree that it requires Shechitah. There is no decree to prohibit Tereifos,
there is no decree to prohibit Gid or Cheilev. And if the beast is not
Shechted properly, some maintain that it is kosher nonetheless. If we argue
that the Ben Pekuah is Parev, there is no indication that our Sages decreed
that out should be treated as though it is meaty.
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Message: 5
From: "Kenneth Miller" <kennethgmil...@juno.com>
Date: Sun, 11 Aug 2013 13:10:41 GMT
Re: [Avodah] Must we agree with the Torah?

R' Zev Sero wrote:
> ... perhaps, now that you know Hashem says they're bad, it
> would be proper, a midas chassidus, not to *pretend* not
> to like them, but to develop a genuine distaste for them.
> Perhaps now that you know He doesn't like them you ought
> to try to become like Him by not liking them either.

I asked:
> How can one possibly accomplish this, without knowing *why*
> Hashem doesn't like them? How can one "develop a genuine
> distaste"?

With sincere thanks to R' Nachum Klafter for his quote from Rav Aaron Lichtenstein on this topic, I think I can now answer my own question:

We often think of ourselves as intelligent creatures, but we are also
emotional creatures. One of the effects of our emotional side is (as Rambam
put it), "l'olam yhe daato shel adam m'ureves im habriyos - A person's
personality will inevitably be influenced by those around him."

This is one of my answers to the question of how Hashem can command an
emotion such as emunah, and how that emotion can be obtained: Simply
surround yourself with believers, and eventually it will rub off on you.

We find in the advertising world, that if a popular personality endorses a
product, there are many people whose response is "If he likes it, then *I*
will like it!"

So too here: If Hashem sees pork as something to be avoided, then I want to
avoid it as well. I don't really need the Taamei Hamitzvos that I mentioned
in my previous post. What I *do* need is a real love of Him and
identification with Him: If *He* likes it or doesn't like it, then that
goes for me too. THAT is "Asei Retzono retzonkha".

As believing Jews, we are instinctively revolted by the words "idol" and
"idolize", especially when applied to shmutzige pop stars. But perhaps that
usage can teach us something positive: If we would idolize Hashem the way
some people idolize their actors and singers, this whole thread might never
have gotten off the ground.

Akiva Miller
Surf Like a Hawaiian
Cruise Like a Norwegian. Hawaii cruises starting at $1249. Book Now.

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Message: 6
From: cantorwolb...@cox.net
Date: Fri, 9 Aug 2013 17:37:09 -0400
[Avodah] Must we agree with the Torah?

On Aug 9, 2013, at 1:43 PM, avodah-requ...@lists.aishdas.org wrote:

> one could also suppose that He warned us off it and not them, because He loves us more.

That's the kind of comment that incites anti-Semitism.
It's also the type of statement that fundamentalists of other religions articulate.
To say He loves us more is an insult to all non Jews.
One has to be careful about comments that initiate negativity.

Choose negotiation over conflagration; compromise over confrontation.   rw

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Message: 7
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Sun, 11 Aug 2013 12:59:09 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Must we agree with the Torah?

Cantor Wolberg wrote:
> one could also suppose that He warned us off it and not them, because
> He loves us more.

> That's the kind of comment that incites anti-Semitism.
> It's also the type of statement that fundamentalists of other religions
> articulate.
> To say He loves us more is an insult to all non Jews.

None of which makes it less true, though. It just makes it a difficult
truth for some people to live with. The problem I have is not with the
claim that Hashem loves us more (see below) but with the idea that Hashem
doesn't love others enough to provide all they need. I think a more
reasonable answer is that we are partnered with Him in a project they
aren't, and therefore need to be more careful and work beyond "merely"
being ideal people. A perfect person, Hashem's ideal for humanity, is
the Seven Mitzvos. Everything else is apparently to make us fit tools
to be the conduit of His Message to the species, not "just" to be as
perfect at being people as we can.

After the universal sentiment of "Yotzeir Or" or "HaMaariv Aravim",
the 2nd berakhah before Shema is "Oheiv Amo Yisrael". And this love
isn't a *consequence* of our keeping the Torah, but an unconditional
love that is the *cause* of our receiving it. Not the sequence:
    Atah vechartanu -- You chose us from among all the nations
    You loved us
    and found us to Your Liking / according to your Will (depending on
        how we define "Ratzon" here)
    and elevated us from among [the communities that speak] all the
        [other] languages
    and You sanctified us with Your mitzvos...
The love came first, then the mitzvos.

And we also have the mishnah in Avos 3:14, where Rabbi Aqiva says that
"man is dear for he was created in [G-d's] 'image', and it was more dear
that they were informed of this. Israel is dear because they were called
children of the Omnipresent... and it was more dear..."

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             One who kills his inclination is as though he
mi...@aishdas.org        brought an offering. But to bring an offering,
http://www.aishdas.org   you must know where to slaughter and what
Fax: (270) 514-1507      parts to offer.        - R' Simcha Zissel Ziv

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Message: 8
From: "Kenneth Miller" <kennethgmil...@juno.com>
Date: Mon, 12 Aug 2013 01:06:37 GMT
[Avodah] Yom Kippur on Shabbos: Kiddush?

I understand from Aruch Hashulchan 271:2 that accrding to Rashi and others,
there is a Chiyuv d'Oraisa to say Kiddush Al Hakos. That is, if one merely
says "Baruch... Mekadesh HaShabbos" in the Amidah, he has still not been
yotzay the mitzvah of Zachor Es Yom HaShabbos L'Kadsho, and still needs to
take a cup of wine and say kiddush over it.

My question: How do these views deal with the situation when Yom Kippur
falls on Shabbos? I can easily see how a takana d'rabanan would allow for
exceptions for such situations. But in my experience, d'Oraisas are very
straightforward, and do not allow for exceptions.

What would Rashi have us do? Does he (or anyone else) address this? Is it a
simple case of Lav Docheh Aseh (which I think is actually the reverse of
the halacha), or is something else at work here?

Akiva Miller
One Weird Trick
Could add $1,000s to Your Social Security Checks! See if you Qualify&#8230

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Message: 9
From: Zev Sero <z...@sero.name>
Date: Mon, 12 Aug 2013 05:25:53 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Must we agree with the Torah?

On 9/08/2013 5:37 PM, cantorwolb...@cox.net wrote:
> On Aug 9, 2013, at 1:43 PM, avodah-requ...@lists.aishdas.org wrote:
>> one could also suppose that He warned us off it and not them, because He loves us more.
> That's the kind of comment that incites anti-Semitism.

So?  It's the truth.  He has told us so many many times.  So it could easily
explain why He warned us off pork and didn't warn them off it.  But it's not
the only possible explanation, and it's not the one we've been given.  OTOH
the explanation we *have* been given is even *more* likely to cause resentment.

> It's also the type of statement that fundamentalists of other religions articulate.

Again, so?  The difference between us and them is that they're wrong and we're

> To say He loves us more is an insult to all non Jews.

How so?  But if it is so, then again, so what?  He has explicitly told us that
this is the case.

> One has to be careful about comments that initiate negativity.

One cannot forget the truth just because other people might not like to hear
it.  One needn't necessarily flaunt it in front of them, but one must remember
that it remains true.

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: 10
From: saul newman <newman...@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 11 Aug 2013 10:17:16 -0700
[Avodah] hakohanim halviim

if someone could help me with an ibn ezra-- in shoftim on the above pasuk
he comments that there are kohanim that are not leviim as he wrote
elsewhere.  i dont know where the elsewhere is that explains the comment...
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Message: 11
From: Eli Turkel <elitur...@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 11 Aug 2013 15:35:38 -0400
[Avodah] synthetic meat

Even kashrut agencies debate the status of synthetic meat and if it is parve


Eli Turkel
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Message: 12
From: Liron Kopinsky <liron.kopin...@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 12 Aug 2013 13:13:37 +0300
[Avodah] Eishet Yefat Toar

A few questions:

Are there any other examples of "Lo Dibra Torah Ela K'neged Yetzer Hara"?
If not, why is this different from all other mitzvot?

If someone were to use the Heter of Eishet Yefat Toar, which the Gemarra
(Kiddushin 21b) analogies by saying "better you should eat Temutot
Shechutot than Temutot Neveilot", should they then feel guilty and wish
they were on a higher spiritual level where they didn't fall captive to
their yetzer and need to use this Heter, or should they just say "mutar is
mutar, end of story"?

At what point in the process does the Eishet Yefat Toar become Jewish?

Kol Tuv,

Liron Kopinsky
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Message: 13
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Sun, 11 Aug 2013 20:56:21 -0400
Re: [Avodah] on orthopraxy

CC recently carried R' Yitchok Adlerstein's take on the subject

    Voltaire said, "Judge a man by his questions rather than by his
    answers." Jews could easily offer a third option: judge the faith
    of a people by their ability to live with unanswered questions.
    Those are good questions. Before we answer them, we might consider
    that we have been there before. We've been there so often, that
    living behind an intellectual eight ball might be described as the
    modal place of residence for Jews over our long history.
    But did this happen? To be sure, there were casualties lost to
    those questions in earlier times. Some of the important works we
    study and cherish today were meant to curtail the extent of those
    casualties. Yet we, for the most part, are descendants of the
    majority who were not fazed by them, who realized that Jews can
    live with questions, when they have enough overarching commitment,
    love and loyalty for Hashem and His Torah.
    But we need to employ the formula of the past, applying it as best as
    possible to the changed conditions of the present. That means that we
    should entrust such work only to those who have immersed themselves
    in serious Torah study. People who are not afraid to say ad kan / I
    can go till this point, but no further. Beyond this point is treif.
    My starting point is not "let's see where this leads us," but "how can
    I better demonstrate the beauty and cogency of the Torah I know
    to be true?" People who operate with responsibility, answering
    the perplexed few without perplexing the clueless many. People who
    respect the halachic sanctions against studying kefirah, except for
    those entrusted by their rabbeim to do battle with it. People who do
    not smirk when you speak of the gemara's warnings of the potency of
    minus, but recognize that simple faith is more worthwhile preserving
    than skepticism.

    We know where to find those few good men. And by now, we know where
    we should not even bother to look.

Once again, I wrote a comment that apparently isn't making CC's cut. This
time I am kind of surprised. While I disagree with RYA's thesis, my
complaint is tactical (the people who have this problem can't easily drop
the question awaiting an authority to reolve it for them), and my proposal
no less chareidi-friendly than his. Anyway, here was my submission:

    The closing paragraph undermines the thesis of the rest of the
    article. You appear to be saying that we are not the people capable
    of living with a question after all. That the masses should instead
    not face the question, and leave it to those who can. The people
    you have to worry about defecting are the ones bothered by the big
    questions who can't simply put them down. Those who need things
    to make sense to their own mode of thinking. The people for whom
    accepting your tactic is as big of a challenge as the original one.

    To accept any document theory r"l is to accept that (for example)
    the juxtaposition of Shabbos to building the Tabernacle was not
    necessarily the product of Divine Wisdom. After all, the entire
    foundation is the claim that one could perceive the seams between
    documents, that the composition has imperfections. But without
    attributing that juxtaposition to the Creator, the basis of a Shabbos
    of resting from 39 specific categories of work becomes human. The
    basis for (again, one example among thousands) distinguishing between
    "little things" like whether I remove what I don't want from what I
    do or if I remove the good from the bad is being questioned. Anyone
    who has observed a halachic Shabbos, one so different than intuitive
    notions of how to structure a "day of rest", and has felt it heal
    his soul, couldn't take such theories seriously.

    We lived with the questions because, as R' JB Soloveitchik put it,
    we had "erev Shabbos Jews" -- people who not only kept the laws of
    Shabbos, but felt its approach on Friday. Today we have universal
    education, and so the community could well on average know the laws of
    Shabbos better than the masses of our great-grandparents' generation
    did. But Shabbos -- and kashrus, and even Hashem's Presence -- aren't
    firsthand experiences nearly as many of us live with. We know more
    about these things, but we don't know them. If a philosopher were
    to disprove the existence of a country you regularly travel to,
    you wouldn't worry about his proofs too much either. But too few of
    us in today's generation have retained the ability to have regular
    first-hand experience of the world the Torah brings us.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             The greatest discovery of all time is that
mi...@aishdas.org        a person can change their future
http://www.aishdas.org   by merely changing their attitude.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                   - Oprah Winfrey

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Message: 14
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Mon, 12 Aug 2013 09:52:21 -0400
Re: [Avodah] on orthopraxy

On Sun, Aug 11, 2013 at 08:56:21PM -0400, I wrote:
: CC recently carried R' Yitchok Adlerstein's take on the subject
: <http://www.cross-currents.com/archives/2013/08/11/living-with-quest
: ions>
: Once again, I wrote a comment that apparently isn't making CC's cut...

Well, to give credit where due, they did eventually approve my
post. Interestingly, posts appear in order submitted, not approved. So
everyone after me was bumped down one.

Anyway, here was RYA's reply appended to the bottom of my comment:
    YA -- Not sure I understand what you mean. However, since we are
    personal friends, and both neo-Litvaks, it is safe to say that
    whatever you meant, I disagree!

    As in any distribution, there are people at extremes, and people
    in the middle. I believe that there is still a sizable and healthy
    middle group of loyal Yidden who want/expect guidance on how to
    deal with issues and challenges. (If I could have doubted it two
    weeks ago, I can't today, after seeing the enormous support offline
    that R Gordimer got for his piece, including many notables very far
    from the haredi world of "emunah peshutah is the only way to go." My
    piece was meant for them.

I plan on continuing the conversation with him there.

Tir'u baTov!


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