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Volume 32: Number 42

Sun, 16 Mar 2014

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: "Rich, Joel" <JR...@sibson.com>
Date: Fri, 14 Mar 2014 16:43:21 -0400
[Avodah] Yishtadel and Midat Chassidut

The Shulchan Aruch uses the word Yishtadel 4 times (3 in orach chaim and one in even haezer) and the phrase midat chassidut 3 times (all in choshen mishpat).
Are there other such phrases that are used and any pattern as to what circumstances the shulchan aruch uses them?
Joel Rich

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Message: 2
From: T6...@aol.com
Date: Sun, 16 Mar 2014 01:31:20 -0400 (EDT)
Re: [Avodah] Esther in a hurry

From: Eli Turkel <elitur...@gmail.com>

So let's rephrase  the question - why was Mordechai in a rush with 11 
months to go?
Why not wait  until after Pesach as a minimum?

Interestingly almost the entire Megillat Esther takes place  within a week 
or so.
Even the letter Mordechai sent to the Jews was only in  Sivan.

Eli Turkel

The letter Mordechai sent to the Jews -- contradicting the letter Haman had 
 sent out -- was only sent on 23 Sivan.  Given the haste with which  
Mordechai and Esther acted -- as soon as they learned of Haman's letter -- one  
wonders why he then waited from Nisan until Sivan to send out the letter that  
Achashverosh had authorized him to send?   Why not send it right  away, 
even before the end of Pesach?  
Malbim answers that Mordechai waited for the original messengers to  return 
to the capital, that he wanted to send the second letter -- the one  saying 
the Jews could defend themselves -- with the /same/ messengers who had  
carried the first letter -- the one saying the Jews were to be killed.
The reason he wanted to send the second letter out to the provinces with  
the same messengers as the first is so that people would understand that the  
second letter was legitimate and superceded the first.  Otherwise, if two  
letters were sent out with two different sets of messengers, one right after 
the  other, people would be wondering which one really represented the will 
of the  king.   In some provinces, the local rulers would assume that the  
first one was the real one and act accordingly.
The above is from *Turnabout: The Purim Story* -- a book by R' Mendel   
Weinbach z'l based on the Malbim.

--Toby Katz


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Message: 3
From: Isaac Balbin <is...@balb.in>
Date: Sat, 15 Mar 2014 22:35:51 +1100
Re: [Avodah] To Drink or Not To Drink? - A Halachic Analysis

[Avodah] To Drink or Not To Drink? - A Halachic Analysis of Getting
Drunk on Purim from Y Levine

The Halacha is what people do. The caveat is not to over do. It's that
simple and the story of Rav Zeyra is allegorical as you noted. Follow the
Ramoh and really, citing the kitzur adds nothing he has a methodology of
Psak based on three acharonim. He doesn't give his own opinion. It's a
relative thing. Some will have a cup of red wine and they will shloof
others will be used to red wine and need more to reach as de Lo yada
(and that can't be erased by Litvaks or yekkes). The key is to stop when
you've had enough .. I always advise getting up from the Seudas and
walking around a bit. You quickly find out if you've had too much. If
you stay seated you can be deluded

???? ??????? ????? ????? ????

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Message: 4
From: Michael Poppers <michaelpopp...@mail.gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 14 Mar 2014 17:41:33 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Esther in a hurry

In Avodah V32n39, RZS paraphrased the dialogue between Mordochai and Esther:
> Go to the king immediately.  So Esther said in that case I need some
> ammunition; go fast for three days, to get Hashem on our side, and then
> I'll risk my life.  If you want to postpone the fast till after Pesach,
> fine, then I'll go after Pesach.

I recall hearing a *medrash* quoted as having Mordochai asking, "Are you
sure you want to call a fast which includes the first day of Pesach?" and
Esther confirming (if not insisting on) it.

[Email #2. -micha]

I believe that *medrash* can be found at Yalqut Shimoni 1056 (URL:

*A frielichen Purim*! from
*Michael Poppers* * Elizabeth, NJ, USA

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Message: 5
From: Ilana Elzufon <ilanaso...@mail.gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 16 Mar 2014 09:53:31 +0200
Re: [Avodah] Esther in a hurry

Mordechai had a very complicated risk calculation here.

On the one hand, the benefits already enumerated of working as quickly
as possible to avert the decree.

On the other hand, the risk that Esther would be killed when she
approached the king - which would mean not only the loss of her life,
but the loss of a key figure close to the king. One might suggest that
taking such a risk with Esther's life and with the whole enterprise would
be foolhardy or even assur. Presumably, the king would eventually summon
her some time over the next few months, and she could raise the matter
with him then.

But there is another risk in waiting a few months. No one in the court of a
king as impulsive as Ahashuerosh can count on a normal life expectancy. (Of
course, no one can count %100 on waking up tomorrow morning, but some
people have a lower chance than others.) We know what happened to Vashti
and Haman. We know that Mordechai came very close to being hanged on the
pole in Haman's courtyard just a few days after these events. (Yes, the
immediate impetus for Haman's initiative included Esther's little party,
but something else could also have prompted such an action.) Who knows if
Esther and/or Mordechai will still be around in the few months it might
take for the king to summon her? Perhaps this was a factor in Mordechai's
decision to act immediately?

[Email #2 -micha]

One more thing - in addition to the risks inherent in being Ahashuerosh's
queen, Esther is sitting on top of an increasingly volatile secret - the
fact that she is Jewish. If she does not take the initiative and reveal
this as quickly as possible in a way favourable to her, she risks being
found out involuntarily, which would probably not bode well for her,
Mordechai, or the Jews in general.

Purim Sameach!

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Message: 6
From: Lisa Liel <l...@starways.net>
Date: Sun, 16 Mar 2014 13:02:28 -0500
Re: [Avodah] To Drink or Not To Drink? - A Halachic Analysis

On 3/14/2014 11:37 AM, Micha Berger wrote:
> 3- Knowing when to build on the good vs attacking evil is a subtle
> thing most people can't get right when sober. So how drunk is
> "ad dela yada bein 'barukh Mordechai' le-'arur Haman'"?
On the contrary.  When sober, many people have a gut aversion to 
rejoicing over the downfall of an enemy, and find one reason after 
another to support that position.  A little drinking can do away with 
such inhibitions so that a person can acknowledge the simple truth, 
which is that there /is/ no difference between Arur Haman and Baruch 
Mordechai.  Rejoicing over our enemy's downfall and rejoicing over our 
own triumph are the same thing.


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Message: 7
From: "Chana Luntz" <Ch...@kolsassoon.org.uk>
Date: Sun, 16 Mar 2014 22:11:50 -0000
[Avodah] Aliyyot to the Blind vs Aliyyot for women

RAF writes:


 > In Avodah Digest, Vol 32, Issue 35, Liron Kopinsky asks why Aliyyot can't
be given to women when aliyyot are given to the Blind.

  >  Dov and I discuss the case of "Suma" in great length in our Tradition
article  on Women's Aliyyot (See: ?Women, Kri?>at haTorah and Aliyyot? Aryeh
A. Frimer and Dov I. Frimer, Tradition, 46:4 (Winter, 2013), 67-238  -
available at 

> http://www.rcarabbis.org/pdf/frimer_article.pdf).  See especially Sections
VIA and B and note 172.



> R. Caro (Shulhan Arukh, O.H., sec 139, nos. 2 and 3, and sec. 141, no 2)
rules according to Rosh and others that even >in the presence of a ba'al
korei, the oleh is obligated to read along quietly with the reader,  lest
the oleh?s berakhot be considered in

> vain (le-vatala). As a result, Rabbi Caro furthermore rules, that a blind
or illiterate person is precluded from receiving an aliyya.

>R. Moses Isserlish (Rema; Darkei Moshe, Tur, O.H., sec. 135, no.4 and sec.
141, no 1) concurs that normative halakha requires the oleh to read along
with the reader - and hence a suma, who >can't read from the Torah, should
not be able to get an Aliyya.  However, Rema (in his gloss to Shulhan Arukh,
O.H., sec. 139, no 3) cites the leniency of R. Jacob Molin (Maharil) and
others >who permit a blind or illiterate individual to receive an aliyya,
even though neither can read along with the ba?al korei from the Torah
parchment. According to Maharil, the Ba'al Korei can >read for the blind
oleh via the mechanism of Shome'a ke-oneh because both the ba'al korei and
the oleh are inherently obligated.  Hence there can be a transfer of the act
of reading from the >Ba'al korei to the oleh who makes the berakha. (We
discuss this mechanism of Shomei'a ke-oneh at great length in Section II of
the article.)     

>    In contrast to Suma, Women are not obligated in Keri'at haTorah (this
is the view of all known Rishonim and the overwhelming opinion of Aharonim -
thoroughly documented in the article, >Section III and note 85). Hence
shome'ah ke-oneh cannot work and the Berakha would be le-vatala.  As a
result, there is no such dispute or ruling regarding women receiving aliyyot
in the >posekim.


The problem with this analysis, as  RAF and RDF freely acknowledge, is that
the same discussions vis a vis a woman apply also to a katan, who is also
not obligated in kriyas hatorah, or at most obligated mishum chinuch which
is a lesser obligation, and may even be an obligation on the father, not the
katan himself.  Shomea k'oneh therefore cannot work for a katan receiving an
aliya either.


And yet it is a commonplace across the Sephardi world (and has been for the
last two thousand years) to call up katanim to the Torah, in accordance with
the mishna Megilla (24a) the rishonim and the Shulchan Aruch.  


It does vary as to the extent.  Some at least appear to follow the Ari Zal
that one can only call up a katan for shvi'i (this has to do with kabalistic
analyses linking each of the aliyos on shabbas to one of the sfiros - see
the Birchei Yosef 292:5) or at least do not call up katanim for the first
three aliyos (also there).  Some only call up for a maftir/haftorah (the
Moroccans) and the S&P call up for haftorah only.  But other groups call up
katanim more generally throughout the seven aliyos on shabbas and the
various aliyos on yom tov/yom kippur, and even on Mondays and Thursdays,  -
see Yachave Da'at  (chelek 2 siman 15) where ROY justifies the Monday and
Thursday practice (although he does prefer a specific tzorech in this case,
given the split amongst the poskim as to whether one can call up a katan
only on shabbas and yom tov or even on weekdays).  


To give you a real life example:  a few weeks ago the new (Ashkenazi)
English Chief Rabbi (Rabbi Mirvis) who has been doing the rounds of the
shuls in the Golders Green/Hendon area, decided for a given shabbas that he
would visit the Sephardi shul that my husband went to as a child.   So my
husband decided to go (even though it is a fair walk from our house).  And a
boy in our nephew's class (our nephew is eight(!) and one of the oldest in
the class) layned beautifully for the Chief Rabbi (not the Chief Rabbi's
aliya, but some of the others).  In this instance the katan just layned and
did not himself get an aliyah (although that was probably because while he
had been down for months to prepare the layning, but once it turned out the
Chief Rabbi was coming, there were too many important adults to spare an
aliyah for a child).  But in general all combinations occur.  Katan laying
for gadol, katan layning the portion that he is called up for, katan called
up when gadol layns.


That is, between the two halachos, that of permitting the calling up of a
blind man, and that of calling up a katan, the katan is the normative, more
generally halachically accepted, practice, even though the minhag in
Ashkenaz is not to do it (but even the Rema acknowledges its normative
nature, holding only that one should not call up kattan forall seven aliyos
(Shulchan Aruch Orech Chaim siman 282 si'if 3)).  On the other hand the
calling up of a blind man is much more halachically difficult to justify,
even though the Rema does indeed acknowledge the minhag from the Meharil to
so call, despite the opposition of the vast majority of the rishonim.


So what in effect RAF and RDF are arguing for is that the logic applied to
justify the difficult, hard to legitimise case (that of the blind), should
then applied back onto the normative, everybody agrees the halacha permits
case (the katan), and used to illegitimate it; and with it the practices of
half the Jewish people for thousands of years.   And that I don't believe is
a tenable position.


So, how do we deal with the difficult case of the minhag vis a vis the blind
man?  Now the most common way to justify this is, as RAF/RDF say, is by
reference to shomea k'oneh.  That is, in the case of a blind man, where that
man cannot look into the Torah scroll himself and read (albeit quietly)
despite standing there at the bimah, and where he is forbidden to read ba'al
peh, because of the principle that Torah shebichtav is forbidden to be read
ba'al peh, the usual justification for the minhag is to fall back on the
idea that in fact the blind man is relying on the reading by the ba'al koreh
under shomea k'oneh.  But at most that means that in this particular
scenario a special relationship is formed between the oleh and the baal
koreh, meaning we need to have equivalent obligation, so in the case where a
blind man is called up, the person layning would then need to be a gadol and
not a katan.  But to then suggest that this should undermine the normative
case permitted for at least the last two thousand years and rule out a
katan being called to the Torah, would seem to be a case of the tail wagging
the dog.


And note that despite the existence of a few rishonim holding for shomea
k'oneh and the posited reliance in order to justify the minhag, the
fundamental underlying problem as identified in the rishonim remains, that a
blind man who is called up to the Torah is doing no more than any other
member of the congregation in listening to the reading of the ba'al koreh,
just merely from a position a little closer to the ba'al koreh.  If a man
from the congregation needs to go to the bathroom between aliyos, and
thereby misses the brachos on a portion of the Torah,  he does not need to
say those brachos quietly before he listens to the reading of the ba'al
koreh, because of the general principle that his brachos in the morning
patur his Torah learning all day (Shuchan Aruch Orech Chaim siman 47 si'if
10).  And while various rishonim are prepared qualify this by saying that if
there is a sufficient hefsek (such as a fixed sleep) he can/should repeat
the brachos, there is nothing of this nature that would normally be deemed
to create such a break between the birchos haTorah in birchos hashachar and
the layning after shachris (the consensus being that going to the bathroom
is not a sufficient hefsek).   But if there was a general shomea k'oneh
relationship that set up a bracha on the part of the listener, a late
running newcomer to shul or a bathroom returner who missed the brachos from
the oleh would need to say the brachos too!


This is why the majority rishonic position is that one cannot call a blind
man to the Torah, because while the ordinary oleh is doing something special
when he is called up, namely looking in the Torah scroll and reading along
quietly (something that is not done by the rest of the congregation and
which justifies the special bracha) the blind man is doing nothing special
over and above the rest of the congregation, and if for the rest of the
congregation eg coming back from the bathroom or coming in late to say the
brachos over the Torah would be bracha l'vatala (and no shomea k'oneh is set
up between that man and the ba'al koreh), so too would it be for the blind
man.   So at best what can say is that a special relationship is permitted
to be formed between the blind man and the ba'al koreh, a relationship that
need not be set up for any other oleh, of shomea k'oneh, which allows in the
difficult case the saying of the brachos, but that in the normal case,  the
normative situation applies and there is no shomea k'oneh as per the
majority rishonim.


I might perhaps suggest however (independent of the above) that the
understanding of why we have here a bracha l'vatala, or more technically a
bracha sheano tzricha, (because it would in fact be a  valid bracha if the
blind man had not said his birchas hatorah in the morning and these brachos
were not duplicative) might give an alternative explanation of how one can
justify calling up a blind man.  Because once the chachamim instituted that
every oleh makes brachos, in doing so they operated to change what the
birchas hatorah in the morning cover. Originally a man saying the birchas
hatorah in the morning patured all his learning that day (or at least up
until there was a valid hefsek).  But once the chachamim made their takana,
that every oleh makes birchos hatorah, what that effectively meant was that
the birchos hatorah in the morning can be deemed to patur all his learning
that day *except for the learning he does if/when he is offered an aliyah
and is called up to the Torah*, since this will be covered by the separate
brachos that the chachamim instituted he will make as an oleh.


And once you say that this is the standard position for every able sighted
man, then this could be true also for somebody blind.  In a place where the
minhag was not to call up a blind man, then that learning when called up to
the Torah never takes place.  However in a place where the minhag is to call
up a blind man, he too would understand his birchas hatorah in the morning
not to cover any Torah learning that he does when offered an aliyah and
called up to the Torah. (Note by the way that in this day and age, the whole
question is for the most part not applicable to the illiterate, as the
illiterate today are overwhelming illiterate in Hebrew because they are not
frum, and hence are likely not to have made any birchas hatorah in the
morning at all, particularly in Sephardi circles where birchas hatorah are
said prior to coming to shul, and so there is likely no bracha l'vatala).


However this explanation of why calling up a blind man does not result in a
bracha sheaino tzricha is still  likely still be a problem for the Shulchan
Aruch (and Rav Ovadiah who follows him), because they hold that a bracha
sheino tzricha is an issur d'orisa.  So it is one thing in relation to the
situation where the chachamim actually made their takana of each oleh making
a  bracha, which was in the days when everybody read for themselves (and
which by definition therefore excluded a blind man who could not read and
therefore could not be called up).  All acknowledge that the power to
determine the circumstances for brachos was given over to the chachamim .
Hence they could mandate a bracha in a circumstance where otherwise it would
be a bracha sheano tzricha.   But to extend this to a blind man and allow
him to make a bracha sheano tzricha when we could prevent any question of
this by never calling up a blind man and thus avoid any concern that one
might come to violate an issur d'orisa is not territory in which they would
likely be willing to go.  But for those following the Ashkenazi tradition,
which follows the position of Tosphos and others that a bracha sheino
tzricha is only an issur d'rabbanan  and who therefore allow a bracha to be
said even on a minhag (like half Hallel); allowing a blind man also, like a
fully able man, to bifurcate his morning brachos, and have them not cover
any Torah learnt during any potential aliya does not seem such a difficult
position to take.   But such an understanding would mean that no bracha
l'vatala is occurring when a blind man is called up without any need to
resort to shomea k'oneh.  And this would also comfortably allow for some of
the Brisker extensions based on the Meharil that RAF/RDF cite without
needing to reject the overwhelming majority of rishonim and without
postulating a fundamental rejection of normative halacha as practiced across
the Sephardi world for hundreds of generations.


But whether this suggestion is valid or no, the fact is that katanim are not
obligated in krias hatorah, and shomeah k'oneh cannot work vis a vis them,
and yet nobody suggests that the brachos they make week in and week out
across the Sephardi world are brachos l'vatala or that their calling up is
invalid on this basis, and certainly not based on the halachic stretch that
is the calling up of the blind.

>Prof. Aryeh A. Frimer






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Message: 8
From: Zev Sero <z...@sero.name>
Date: Sun, 16 Mar 2014 11:05:08 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Aliyyot to the Blind vs Aliyyot for women

On 16/03/2014 1:07 AM, T6...@aol.com wrote:
> From: Zev Sero <z...@sero.name>
>> On 13/03/2014 12:55 PM, sholom Simon wrote:

>>>> In contrast to Suma, Women are not obligated in Keri'at haTorah
>>>> (this is the view of all known Rishonim and the overwhelming
>>>> opinion of Aharonim - thoroughly documented in the article,
>>>> Section III and note 85). Hence shome'ah ke-oneh cannot work and
>>>> the Berakha would be le-vatala. As a result, there is no such
>>>> dispute or ruling regarding women receiving aliyyot in the posekim.

>>> Naive question: why doesn't the gemara bother mentioning this in Megilla
>>> when it quotes the baraisa that says women aren't called up because of
>>> kavod ha'tzibbur?

>> Why would it?  There's no suggestion there that women are obligated.   The
>> braisa certainly doesn't suggest this.

> This doesn't really answer his question.  His question -- if I understand
> it -- is, Why doesn't the Gemara say women can't get aliyos because they
> are not obligated in kriyas haTorah?  Why does it give what would seem to
> be a secondary reason -- kovod habrios -- and not what seems to be the
> primary reason?

No, that was not RSS's question.  Not being obligated is not a reason not
to be called up.  The braisa also holds that women are not obligated, and
yet says they *can* be called up.  Indeed the whole point of the braisa is
that one needn't be obligated to be called up.  The topic we're discussing
here is a suggestion some supporters of women's aliyos have made, that just
as nowadays we call blind men and illiterate men even though Chazal said
not to, so also we can call women (following the braisa), even though Chazal
said not to.   The quoted article points out a big distinction between blind
and illiterate men on one hand, and women on the other: the former are
obligated and the latter are not.  Thus they can't be considered in the same
light; the issues with each are different, and arguments for calling one will
not apply to the other.    In particular, "shomea` ke'oneh" can work for a
blind or illiterate man, because he is obligated, but it can't work for a
woman, because she is not.

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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