Avodah Mailing List

Volume 31: Number 168

Tue, 01 Oct 2013

< Previous Next >
Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Wed, 25 Sep 2013 15:25:20 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Ben Noach legal systems (was: Abortion is not

On Mon, Sep 16, 2013 at 02:19:02PM +0100, Chana Luntz wrote:
: Sorry, I think I misunderstood your passage (at the top).  It seemed to me
: that RYK was postulating something along the lines of your 1. Below.  Then
: you came and added to the question with you "I would split this question
: further".  As I understood your further split, it was an attempt to separate
: the azhara for the sheva mitzvos from the penalty - and that is why I said
: that your split was not tenable, as it was discussed in the gemora, and, it
: seemed to me, rejected.

Nope, nothing that complicated.

Going back to what I wrote later in that post, as explanation:
:> 1- to enforce the 7MBN, and RYBA is [talking] about non-Jewish courts having
:>    license for capital punishment);

:> 2- to enforce the 7MBN *and* implement the chiyhuv misah (except in normal
:>    cases of geneivaah); or

:> 3- to create their own laws as necessary for a safe society, and RYBA is
:>    talking about one Jewish dayan not the 7th mitzvah.

:>    In this 3rd position, the resulting courts could be a fulfillment of
:>    this particular mitzvah even if they didn't address those of the 7
:>    mitzvos which are BALM (AZ and birkhas hasheim). And it's possible
:>    this particular mitzvah wouldn't need to include legally enforcing
:>    border cases like euthenasia or abortion.

First split (discussed by RYK): The role of Noachide courts (mitzvah #7)
is either
    i- to enforce the 7MBN (options 1 & 2, above), or
    ii- to create their own laws as necessary for a safe society (option 3)

If we say (i), then I was suggesting a possible further split. That
in enforcing the 7MBN the Noachide court is either
    a- permitted to punish as they deem appropriate (option 1), or
    b- obligated to mete out capital punishment (option 2).

:> Rather, it could well be about how our courts should be judging them. 

: Does this not assumes that we are expected to take on the role of world's
: policeman? ...

Or, that we are expected to police, judge and punish the Benei Noach
who live within our own borders, where peace is kept by Benei Yisrael's
batei din. And that the subject of punishment for violating one of the
other 6 Benei Noach are only lemaaseh in that case.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Life is a stage and we are the actors,
mi...@aishdas.org        but only some of us have the script.
http://www.aishdas.org               - Rav Menachem Nissel
Fax: (270) 514-1507

Go to top.

Message: 2
From: Zev Sero <z...@sero.name>
Date: Wed, 25 Sep 2013 15:57:39 -0400
Re: [Avodah] How many Korban Pesachs could be sacrificed in 1

On 25/09/2013 12:24 PM, elazar teitz wrote:
> A korban musr be slaughtered, among other things, l'sheim ba'alim.
> The kohein need not know his identity -- he can do the avodah having
> in mind "I am doing this for the sake of its owner, whoever he may
> be"-- but there must be an owner, and he cannot be determined after
> the fact.

Even a shlamim that is brought "just-because"?

> Moshe was only a kohein during the shivas y'mei hamiluim, which ended
> two weeks before erev Pesach.

Or one week; it's a machlokes in the medrash.  Not that it makes any

But how long Moshe's kehuna lasted is a machlokes tana'im, and according
to the "yesh omrim" (which Rav follows) he was a kohen gadol for life.
See also Tosfos AZ 34a dh Bameh, whose girsa in the gemara in Zevachim
says explicitly that Moshe served as a kohen gadol for the entire 40 years.

> Had he retained the status of kohein, it would have been unnecessary
> to burn the chatas after the death of Nadav and Avihu, since there
> would have been a kohein, Moshe, who was not an onein and could
> therefore eat it.

The gemara asks just this question, and suggests that he was too busy,
talking to the Shechinah.  Zevachim 101b

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

Go to top.

Message: 3
From: "Chana Luntz" <Ch...@kolsassoon.org.uk>
Date: Sat, 28 Sep 2013 21:48:46 +0100
Re: [Avodah] How many Korban Pesachs could be sacrificed in 1

RMarty Bluke writes:

>Until now we have discussed how this could have worked in the Beis
Hamikdash. However, Bnei Yisrael brought the Korban Pesach the second year
in the Midbar as well. At that time there were >only 3 Cohanim, Aharon and
his 2 sons. The population was 600,000 men plus presumably
>600,000 women, assuming even 20 people per chabura that leaves 60,000
korbanos. Even if the shechita was done by a non-kohen, 3 cohanim had to do
all the other avodos, kabolos hadam, holacha, >zerika, ... burning the
emurim on the mizbeach. That is an impossible task for only 3 cohanim.

Maybe they held like Rabbi Natan (Pesachim 78b) - It was taught in a braita
Rabbi Natan said from where do we know that all of Israel can fulfil their
obligation from [only] one korban pesach,  The Torah states [Shemot
12:6]"all the congregation shall slaughter it [singular] bein ha'arbaim" -
does the all the congregation schect, is it not that there is only one
shochet? Rather it is to teach that all of Israel can fulfil their
obligation on [only] one pesach.

Shavuah Tov


Go to top.

Message: 4
From: "Rabbi Meir G. Rabi, its Kosher!" <ra...@itskosher.com.au>
Date: Sat, 28 Sep 2013 19:20:10 +1000
Re: [Avodah] : LeiSheiv

It is RaMBaM who asserts that one sits whilst making the Beracha of
LeiSheiv and it is the Rosh who argues that sitting is not the absolute
meaning of the word in this context.
And I have come across variations of the custom you mentioned, making
LeiSheiv before one begins the meal.

Sleeping is not permitted out of the Sukkkah, even a short nap as it is
deemed to be always a matter of Kevius, one cannot just decide to nap for a
couple of minutes and then wake up - so even if you get someone to wake yu
a couple of minutes after youve gone for your nap - it is still deemed in
Halacha to be a Kevius. Yet Surprisingly, we do not make the Beracha for


Rabbi Meir G. Rabi

*Its Kosher* <http://www.kosherveyosher.com> and *Exodus

*it's kosher Authority Pty Ltd    ****ABN: *77 160 144 374

ra...@itskosher.com.au    +61 0423 207 837

kal...@itskosher.com.au    +61 0431 559 695

On Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 7:55 PM, D&E-H Bannett <db...@zahav.net.il> wrote:

> Re: RMGR's <<custom to only make the Beracha when eating, we ought to make
> LeiSheiv as soon as we enter to have our meal.>>
> R' Meir's posting reminded me of my neighbor z"l, a Teimani of the old
> school, who whenever visiting my sukkah would start Borukh of leisheiv
> basukka as he was going through the door. Nothing to do with eating. It is
> about residing even temporarily in a sukka.
> And that reminds me of an aberration I've seen. Someone who made kiddush
> while standing, sat down to make leisheiv basukka and then stood again for
> shehecheyanu.
> Leisheiv in the b'rakha has nothing to do with sitting but with residing.
> "Vayeishev Ya'akov b'eretz  m'gurei aviv, b'eretz Canaan." Does anyone
> think he accomplished that while sitting only.
> Moadim l'simcha,
> David
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.aishdas.org/pipermail/avod

Go to top.

Message: 5
From: "Chana Luntz" <Ch...@kolsassoon.org.uk>
Date: Sat, 28 Sep 2013 22:28:19 +0100
Re: [Avodah] Movement in a minyan

On Sat, Sep 21, 2013 at 08:35:29PM +0200, Ben Waxman wrote:
>> My most common experience is when I go to a Sefardi shul and they sit 
>> for many of the kaddishim...

>>                            I asked a relative (a rav) of Rav Moshe's 
>> and he told me that in his opinion, Rav Moshe's psak doesn't apply 
>> because you can always say that you are in a part of the tefilla that 
>> requires standing. I never found that such a satisfying answer, a kind 
>> of a minor lie.

And RMB replied:
>I would think of it slightly differently. Because it is normal for people
to be in other places in davening and thus standing when the majority are
sitting, it lacks the in-your-face perishah >min hatzibur to stand for other

Yes, I would assume it is the same logic as found in Pesachim 55a in the
name of Rabban Shimon Ben Gamliel and the question of not working on Tisha
B'Av - ie any person may take on himself to be like a Talmid Chacham and not
work on Tisha B'Av even if the general practice is for ordinary people to
work, and we are not worried about questions of Yehura, because people will
just assume that he doesn't have any work to do - saying go out and see how
many batlanim there are in the marketplace.  Similarly here, people will
just assume that a person is in another part of the davening, and not that
they are davka standing for kaddish - so it is not obvious that the minhag
hamakom is being violated.  

>Lulav shaking is a rather benign case -- you're yotzei either way, and you
could simply shake in the way your ancestors did right after the berakhah,
preferably not in shul.

>Tefillin on ch"m is far more messy than your example: one side thinks that
wearing tefillin is taking a sickle to the forces that maintain creaiton,
while the other side thinks that not >wearing tefillin is violating "midevar
sheqer *tirchaq*" (while not actual sheqer, mechzei keshiqra).
>It's not just "you can be yotzei once doing it another way".

But in both these cases it is obvious to any casual observer if one is
deviating from the minhag hamakom or not - which is why the logic of Rabban
Shimon ben Gamliel does not work for these, unlike in the standing for
kaddish case, where it does, so it is not obvious that you are deviating
from the tzibbur.

Tir'u baTov!

Shavuah Tov


Go to top.

Message: 6
From: Eli Turkel <elitur...@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 27 Sep 2013 13:02:25 +0300
[Avodah] new manuscripts

<<Was it a lack of reliability, or that (as I understood after previous
iterations of the topic here) they lack authority because the halachic
process went on for years without them? That established halakhah is
based on something else, and it holds the momentum of precedent and
minhag Yisrael.>>

I am not sure the two are very different. In understood CI as saying that
since these manuscripts were not gone over by generations of talmidei
chachamim they are not reliable and hence lack halachic authority.

However, historically I have grave problems with this CI. I just read an
article by Ta Shma about the Pnei Yehoshua. He points out that one of the
reasons for the popularity of the Pnei Yehoshua is that many manuscripts of
the Ramban, Titva etc. were published in his day and so he was the first
Achron with access to the original chiddushin. Until his day achronim knew
these shitot only through citations by Bet Yosef and other secondary
sources. Of course reading the full words of the Ramban is very different
than seeing partial quotes.
In general he feels that the publication of the Pnei Yehoshua marks a new
era in commentaries of achronim for several reasons.

I am trying to find another article of TaShma where he discusses in detail
the publication of various rishonim. In general they were published over
many decades mainly from manuscripts in sefardi countries. Since the
publication of these manuscripts these have become standard material in
ashkenazi yeshivot. Hence, I have no idea how to apply the rule of CI. Is a
manuscript published in 1650 and used simce then enough to be part of the
halachic process. How about 1750, 1850?
As mentioned Rav Yosef Karo, Shitah Mekbetzet etx seem to have had access
to these manuscripts while Maharsha, Ketzot, Netivot saw only the quotes
and not the original which means they did not see whole parts. They
frequently discuss the same questions and sometimes come up with the same
answers as Ramban etc and sometimes disagree all without knowledge of these

Eli Turkel
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.aishdas.org/pipermail/avod

Go to top.

Message: 7
From: saul newman <newman...@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 25 Sep 2013 13:22:58 -0700
[Avodah] 2 questions

1.  while could find reference to yavesh  aravot , couldnt find  reference
to 'color change'  ie the black coloration that tends to occur--- the color
changes  but theyarenot neccesarily  dry.

2. in re 'kavush' , the feldheim sefer distinguishes between soaking -in
vs  soaking in a towel  > 24hr  [as clearly will happen from fri pm's till
motzei shabbos].  the olam seems not to consider this a problem...
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.aishdas.org/pipermail/avod

Go to top.

Message: 8
From: "Kenneth Miller" <kennethgmil...@juno.com>
Date: Sun, 29 Sep 2013 03:25:52 GMT
Re: [Avodah] LeiSheiv

Rabbi Meir G. Rabi asked:

> Why do we not make the Beracha of LeiSheiv before HaMotzi? After
> all it is the first Mitzvah. In fact even though custom has
> emerged to only make the Beracha when eating, we ought to make
> LeiSheiv as soon as we enter to have our meal, before we wash or
> make Kiddush.

It seems to me that RMGR is asking about the Mishneh Brurah 639:46, who
wrote that if one made a clear hefsek since the last time he was in the
sukkah, "when he returns afterwards, he has to say the bracha again, even a
hundred times a day. And when he enters, even though he's not eating there,
he says the bracha because sitting and standing there are also mitzvos,
because it is "k'ein taduru"... Nevertheless, the minhag everywhere is like
the poskim who don't say the bracha except when eating: Even if they sit in
the sukkah for an hour before eating, they don't say the bracha because
they hold that the bracha that they'll say later on the food will cover
everything, because it [the meal] is the ikar, and it will cover the
sleeping and the tiyul and the learning, which are all tafel to it."

In other words, the MB seems to says that there are indedd poskim who would hold as RMGR suggests, but nevertheless, universal minhag has developed otherwise.

One might ask: "But WHY? What's wrong with saying the bracha as soon as he
enters the sukkah?" My guess is that it might constitute a case of a bracha
that doesn't have enough koach to properly patur us. If it is true that
eating in the sukkah is a Chiyuv D'Oraisa, but sitting in the sukkah is
merely a Kiyum D'Oraisa, then can the bracha on one cover me for the other?

It might be comparable to the Bar Mitzvah boy who says an early Maariv on
the evening that he becomes a gadol. Does he daven a second time? Was he
yotzay with what he said as a child? Similarly here: If I say Leishev on
sitting and learning in the sukkah (which I could have done in the house),
then what happens when mealtime arrives (which I *must* eat in the sukkah?
Did that bracha cover me, or do I have to make another Leishev despite not
having made any hefsek? Its' a messy problem, and the solution suggested by
the MB is to delay the bracha for mealtime.

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

Go to top.

Message: 9
From: "Kenneth Miller" <kennethgmil...@juno.com>
Date: Sun, 29 Sep 2013 02:06:40 GMT
Re: [Avodah] Dimensions of a circular sukkah

To summarize prior posts: I asked about a circular sukkah, whose diameter
is about 9.35831 tefachim, yet meets the criterion of a circumference of
29.4 tefachim. R' Micha Berger responded that it would be kosher while
circular,, but not if the walls were flattened internally, because then
they'd be only 6.61732 tefachim wide. This surprised me, because the sukkah
was unable to contain a 7x7 square even while it was circular.

R' Micha explained his logic:

> Yes, because we hold a circular circle doesn't need to be large
> enough to circumscribe a square sukkah. We hold it's needs to
> be large enough to *approximately* circumscribe one.
> To help you accept that approximation (without involving my
> philosophy of halakhah):
> In terms of area, your minimal 29.4 tef circumference sukkah has
> an area of just under 68.8 tef^2, still MUCH larger than the
> minimal 49 tef^2 area of a square one. And in terms of diameter,
> the diameter of just under 9.36 tef is still larger than the
> minimum length or width.
> It is only the idea that a Sukkah must fully contain a length
> and width at the same time (and thus a 7 tef x 7 tef square)
> that is approximate.

This makes a certain amount of sense, if I'm understanding it right. I
think what you're saying is that Chazal require 7 tefachim of width, and
also 7 tefachim of length, but they don't really care about the four
corners so much. In a 7x7 square, the sides are each 3.5 tefachim from the
center, but the corners are 4.9497 tefachim away, and that's far more than
might be required.

For the record, do any poskim discuss a sukkah which was found to measure
6.5 by 8 tefachim (52 sq.tef.)? Or is our circle to only exception allowed
to the Lo Plug about requiring a 7x7 square, as opposed to a minimum area
of 49 sq.tef.?

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

Go to top.

Message: 10
From: "Kenneth Miller" <kennethgmil...@juno.com>
Date: Sun, 29 Sep 2013 02:42:11 GMT
Re: [Avodah] Repetition of Pesukim in Hallel

R' Allan Engel asked:
> When we repeat the pesukim at the end of Hallel, we say the
> entire pasuk twice, with the exception of the passuk "Ana
> Hashem Hoshiah Na, Ana Hashem Hatzlichah Na", where we repeat
> the first half of the pasuk before saying the second half.
> I am aware of the gemara in Arvei Pesachim (119a) that says
> that the structure of this pasuk is "call and response", ie the
> second half is a reply to the first, but this is also true of
> the other pesukim, such as "Baruch Habba Besheim Hashem,
> Beirachnuchem Mibeis Hashem" which we say in its entirety before
> repeating.
> So why do we say this pasuk differently?

This used to bother me too, but I've been working on it for a few years.

I don't have a complete answer, but it seems to me that in certain
circumstances, repetition of words or phrases is a useful tool for
emphasizing certain portions of the speech, in order to better convey the
message. I can't explain exactly how "... hoshiah ... hoshiah ... hatzlicha
... hatzlicha ..." is more meaningful than "... hoshiah ... hatzlicha ...
hoshiah ... hatzlicha ...", but it seems to me that IS more meaningful, and
that's why the custom evolved to say it in that manner.

I think that some people (and this used to include me) are overly machmir
against repetition. I reached this conclusion upon realizing that it does
happen in Tanach, and not too rarely. Here are some of the more common

"Hashem" is repeated in the 13 Midos.
"Kadosh" is said 3 times in Kedusha.

One might respond to these that each occurrence has a difference nuance of
meaning, but that is exactly my point. Words are repeated for exactly this
purpose, and there's nothing wrong with that.

In Hallel: "Yosef Hashem aleichem, aleichem v'al b'neichem."
In Hallel: "... ani avdecha, ani avdecha ben amasecha ..."

In this light, I see absolutely no problem with the way many shuls sing the
last line of Avinu Malkeinu: "Avinu Malkeinu, chaneinu va'aneinu" - and
then going back to the beginning of the line. The first four words
constitute a complete thought, and can stand on their own, and are enhanced
by being followed with the entire line.

Akiva Miller

Fast, Secure, NetZero 4G Mobile Broadband. Try it.

Go to top.

Message: 11
From: "M Cohen" <mco...@touchlogic.com>
Date: Sun, 29 Sep 2013 13:18:35 -0400
[Avodah] AoU / evolution of man m'makom

wrt previous "evolution of man" discussions on Avodah/Areivim, I don't know
if this m'makom was previously mentioned.

R Schwab (in Mayan Bais shoaiva on breshis 2'23) says explicitly that there
were human like creatures alive before Adam who looked like pple, planted
and harvested as pple do, could reproduce with Adam, etc, but did not have
the neshama of Adam harishon.

As I've mentioned previously, this approach still requires us to say that
all these pple mysteriously died out somehow and the world is now only
populated by Adam's descendants (all goyim are today are considered human,
descendants of Adam, capable of converting and becoming Jewish, etc)

Mordechai cohen

Go to top.

Message: 12
From: Lisa Liel <l...@starways.net>
Date: Sun, 29 Sep 2013 18:54:08 -0500
Re: [Avodah] AoU / evolution of man m'makom

On 9/29/2013 12:18 PM, M Cohen wrote:
> wrt previous "evolution of man" discussions on Avodah/Areivim, I don't know
> if this m'makom was previously mentioned.
> R Schwab (in Mayan Bais shoaiva on breshis 2'23) says explicitly that there
> were human like creatures alive before Adam who looked like pple, planted
> and harvested as pple do, could reproduce with Adam, etc, but did not have
> the neshama of Adam harishon.
> As I've mentioned previously, this approach still requires us to say that
> all these pple mysteriously died out somehow and the world is now only
> populated by Adam's descendants (all goyim are today are considered human,
> descendants of Adam, capable of converting and becoming Jewish, etc)
Why?  If they could reproduce with us, who's to say that people today 
aren't descendants of both strains?

Incidentally, does R' Schwab give a source for this claim, or is it his 


Go to top.

Message: 13
From: "M Cohen" <mco...@touchlogic.com>
Date: Mon, 30 Sep 2013 08:35:44 -0400
[Avodah] AoU / evolution of man m'makom

..If they could reproduce with us, who's to say that people today aren't
descendants of both strains?
Good pt

..Incidentally, does R' Schwab give a source for this claim, or is it his

Svara, except that he tries to show that it fits very well with the posukim 
and the diff loshonos used to describe the chayos hasadeh,
and this explains why Adam wanted to have s relations with the chayos

Ayain sham.


Go to top.

Message: 14
From: Ben Waxman <ben1...@zahav.net.il>
Date: Mon, 30 Sep 2013 22:14:43 +0200
[Avodah] who do you ask to explain a pasuk

Rav Yehoshua Reiss, in an article in the book "Hi Sichati" in which he 
reviews the history of learning Tanach in Am Yisrael, brings the 
following story:

Rav Hai Gaon was learning with his students and they came across a pasuk 
from Tehillim (141:5). There was a difference of opinion about its 
meaning. Rav Hai told Rav Mazliach to go to the Catholic (monestary?) 
and ask him how he explains this verse.


Go to top.

Message: 15
From: Lisa Liel <l...@starways.net>
Date: Mon, 30 Sep 2013 17:36:21 -0500
Re: [Avodah] who do you ask to explain a pasuk

On 9/30/2013 3:14 PM, Ben Waxman wrote:
> Rav Yehoshua Reiss, in an article in the book "Hi Sichati"...
> Rav Hai Gaon was learning with his students and they came across a 
> pasuk from Tehillim (141:5). There was a difference of opinion about 
> its meaning. Rav Hai told Rav Mazliach to go to the Catholic 
> (monestary?) and ask him how he explains this verse.

What's his source for this story?

Go to top.

Message: 16
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Tue, 1 Oct 2013 06:30:07 -0400
[Avodah] Open Orthodoxy -- the ideological divide

On Tue, Oct 01, 2013 at 05:40:42AM +0200, R Ben Waxman wrote to Areivim
in a thread titled "Statement of Agudath Israel of America Regarding
Yeshivat Chovevei Torah" (Spoiler: the Agudah came out against):
> One of RYBS' grandsons (Rav Meir Lichtenstein) said that the Rav felt  
> that each generation had to find its own solutions to its particular  
> issues. One couldn't just say "The Rav opposed/the Rav favored X, so 50  
> years later that is what we must do today". It could be that today's MO  
> rabbis would conclude that YCT is out, but they would have to do so on  
> their own.

And he famously pushed his students to have the backbone to be real
morei de'asra and decide things that require a local touch for themselves.
Even when it came to taking shuls without mechitzos, where RYBS required
not taking a salary until a mechitzah was put up (to avoid coming to terms
with it), and yet asked each talmid what he would do.

But it is significantly different here, because not only did RYBS prohibit
joining the SCA, he believed the kind of dialog it's trying to foster
is inherently impossible on a practical (rather than legal) level --
and not just for sociological reasons.

So, I think we could rest assured that today RYBS would prohibit. But I
don't know how to answer the meta-question of whether he would prohibit
others, even his students, permitting such dialog. So I think the objection
is both right in that they're doing something RYBS wouldn't approve of,
but wrong in that they assume RYBS would object to that fact in the way
they do.

It is telling, though, that RAWeiss's manifesto show a large gap between
theory and practice on this point in the very same position paper. The
    In the same framework, all those who hold to Orthodoxy contend that
    "new Halakha," which emerges constantly from the wellspring of the
    halakhic process, must always be based on the highest caliber of
    religio-legal authority. There must be an exceptional halakhic
    personality who affirms the new ruling on the grounds of sound
    halakhic reasoning."

And the implementation:
    In sum: for we Modern Orthodox, if da'at-Torah means to revere
    the wisdom of the great rabbinic authorities, like Rav Yosef Dov
    Soloveitchik, of blessed memory, we believe in it. If, however,
    it means to follow blindly the great rabbinic authorities in
    non-halakhic areas or to close off discussion in purely halakhic
    areas, we disagree. We respect Rav Soloveitchik's da'at-Torah
    precisely because he was a person of enormous human wisdom and
    insight. He understood that da'at-Torah was not to be imposed;
    that it was to be persuasive rather than authoritarian."

IMHO, what's more central to the split is not how much autonomy is
given the front-line rabbi over the gadol but the very definition of
the scope of mesorah. In the same paper, RAW makes it clear that he
defines O, and indeed compliance to the Torah altogether, as entirely
black-letter, codifiable, halakhah, to the exclusion of aggadita:
    The key to strengthening Open Orthodoxy is the reconciling of more
    rigid halakhic practices, which I believe are positive, with our
    open ideological agenda. _It_is_this_tension_that_is_difficult_
    _to_live_with_...The Orthodox Right deals in absolutes -- their
    closed ideological agenda is a natural offshoot of their halakhic
    fervor. Open Orthodoxy does not see this offshoot as necessary. For
    the Open Orthodox Jew, true and profound religio-legal creativity
    and spiritual striving emerges from the tension between the poles
    of strict halakhic adherence and open ideological pursuits. They
    appear to be opposites when in fact they are one.

This first showed up in the discussions about ordaining women. The
entire agenda is about taking for granted the values from the West,
as long as we can follow them while conforming to halakhah, rather than
asking whether that value is constructive or a challenge. And you hear
the two sides speaking across each other. One side is saying this is
a change to how we worship that isn't Torah-positive. The other side
is saying that it fits the rulings they're choosing to follow through
legitimate halachic methodology, how can you call it non-Orthodox?

The clincher (for me; recall, this is all IMHO) was the business with
refusing to evict someone from the IRF despite his publicly promoting
disbelief in the Exodus and the revelation at Sinai as historical events.

The explosion in the number of halachic disputes for the first time in
history in the days of the schools of Hillel and Shammai is attributed
to the students lacking proper apprenticeship (shimush) under their
teachers. (Note that this means that the disputes come from students
not really knowing their teachers' positions, and can't be traced to
what Hillel and Shammai themselves actually believed.)

Say someone has a rebbe from the house of Brisk. He tries to relay a
philosophy and his personal experiences of observance. But the daily
class is a series Brisk-style explanations based on legal categories. has
nothing to do with values. If one gets information as a college student
without real apprenticeship, they could be left with the impression that
Judaism is defined solely by legal process.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Strength does not come from winning. Your
mi...@aishdas.org        struggles develop your strength When you go
http://www.aishdas.org   through hardship and decide not to surrender,
Fax: (270) 514-1507      that is strength.        - Arnold Schwarzenegger


Avodah mailing list

End of Avodah Digest, Vol 31, Issue 168

Send Avodah mailing list submissions to

To subscribe or unsubscribe via the World Wide Web, visit
or, via email, send a message with subject or body 'help' to

You can reach the person managing the list at

When replying, please edit your Subject line so it is more specific
than "Re: Contents of Avodah digest..."

A list of common acronyms is available at
(They are also visible in the web archive copy of each digest.)

< Previous Next >