Avodah Mailing List

Volume 32: Number 43

Mon, 17 Mar 2014

< Previous Next >
Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: "Kenneth Miller" <kennethgmil...@juno.com>
Date: Sun, 16 Mar 2014 18:59:56 GMT
Re: [Avodah] Time for the Deceased

We have digressed quite a bit from a question raised in early February,
regarding whether or not the neshamos of deceased people are aware of the
flow of time. R' Micha Berger took the position that they are *not* aware,
while R"n Lisa Liel and I had trouble following his reasoning.

Back in Avodah Digest 32:27 (Feb 13), R"n Lisa Liel wrote (to RMB):

> You keep saying that, but you haven't given any reason for it.
> Plus, your analogy is off.  A blind man lacks the capacity to
> really get sight (assuming that he's blind from birth, of course).
> Whereas you haven't established that we lack the capacity to
> understand what time is for the dead...

and RMB responded:

> I need to demonstate logically that olam haba (to speak Rambam;
> shamayim in Ramban-speak) isn't a physical location?
> Pretty much every rishon has done that. Not just for G-d, but for
> mal'akhim and neshamos -- any thing that has no chomer. Yesodei
> haTorah pereq 2. Also, much of the Moreh cheileq 1. The idea of
> physical location without chomer would have been as unthinkable to
> the Rambam (or the Kuzari, or the Ramban...) as my own assumption
> that the suggestion wouldn't be on the table.

Fair question. My answer is: yes, we'd like you to demonstrate logically
that olam haba (a/k/a shamayim) isn't a physical location. Several times, I
cited R' Elya Lopian's analogy between radio waves and the kedusha of
tefillin, and you never responded. Science is showing us things that we
never dreamed possible.

Speaking of science, in the latest digest, in the thread "Philosophers and philosophy", RMB explained:

> Aristo noticed that every new process is set in motion by someone
> choosing to set it in motion. (This is sort of tautological, hidden
> in the word "new". If one ball moves because it was hit by another
> ball, no intellects involved, Aristo wouldn't have thought of it as
> a *new* process.) And things intellects start in motion eventually
> stop. (Today we attribute this loss of momentum to friction,
> including air drag, friction with the flaw, etc...)
> Aristo concluded that all action starts with an intellect, which
> then imparts impetus to an object, which then is in motion/change
> until the impetus runs out. Since the spheres in which the stars
> and planets are embedded never run out of impetus, they must have
> intellects. And since nature causes change, there must be
> intellects beyond/behind physics -- thus "*meta* physics".

Thank you. I do accept that, as a scientific explanation of how someone
cant believe that the stars and planets are living, thinking beings. Until
now, I had thought such beliefs could only have come from some sort of
revelation, because I couldn't imagine where else one might get the
evidence to support such a conclusion. But this is logical and reasonable.

BUT it turns out that the same phenomena can be explained in other ways
too. Ways that did not occur to Aristotle or to the Rambam. Should we feel
obligated to follow their beliefs and "proofs" simply because the Rambam
believed Aristotle to be correct, even if our logic says otherwise?

I am not taking these questions lightly, and I hope no one thinks I am. I
can deal with basing Tal Umatar on a year of exactly 365.2500 days because
the legal system needs to balance truth with practicality. But if we're
discussing the concept of neshamos experiencing time (which doesn't impact
any halachos that I can think of), I *suspect* we should be going for
whatever answer makes the most sense TO US regardless of what previous
gedolim have said.

Akiva Miller
#1 Worst carb EVER (avoid!)
This health food causes fat gain, wild energy & blood sugar swings

Go to top.

Message: 2
From: "Prof. Levine" <llev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Sun, 16 Mar 2014 12:36:41 -0400
[Avodah] Daas Torah and the Holocaust

At 08:13 AM 3/16/2014, Zev Sero wrote:

> > I do not know what you base your statement that the Belzer Rebbe was
> > not "rescued" on. From
> > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aharon_Rokeach#Escape_from_Europe
> >
> > During World War II, Belzer Hasidim both inside and outside Nazi-occupied
> > Europe saw saving the Rebbe as their primary goal. They spirited 
> Rebbe Aharon
> > ?who insisted on being accompanied by his half-brother, Rabbi Mordechai ?
> > out of Belz into Winicz, then into the Bochnia Ghetto, then into the Krak?w
> >  Ghetto, and then back into the Bochnia Ghetto, narrowly avoiding Gestapo
> > roundups and deportations.
>Yes, and then he made it to Hungary, which at that time was safe.  He didn't
>need rescuing from there.  Nobody knew that it would not continue to be safe.
>The speech we're discussing shows that he didn't know it was soon going to
>become dangerous.

This is simply not true.  Since he was a Polish citizen in 
Hungary,  he was in grave danger.  He could not rely on the 
protection of the Hungarian government which was not completely 
controlled by the Nazis at this time.   The Nazis had a strong 
presence in Hungary before they took over and they were looking for 
Jews who were not Hungarian citizens to deport.

Read the books about his escape from Hungary.


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

Go to top.

Message: 3
From: T6...@aol.com
Date: Sun, 16 Mar 2014 13:09:59 -0400 (EDT)
Re: [Avodah] Daas Torah and the Holocaust

From: Zev Sero <z...@sero.name>

> Furthermore, see  Esther Farbstein's book Hidden in Thunder, volume 1.
> In particular, from  page 113 "He [the Belzer Rebbe] managed to escape
> at the last minute  from Budapest (as a refugee, before it was
> occupied) after four years of  moving from place to place. "

I'm not sure what that's based  on.   Though I do see on the Hebrew WP page
that he left Hungary  because he became aware that the Gestapo was demanding
that the Hungarian  government hand him over to them.  If that is true (no
source is given)  then it would be fair to say that he was rescued or that 
escaped, but only  from a personal danger, not one that he could have 
to include anyone  else.

Zev  Sero               

The Gestapo at one point demanded that the Hungarian govt hand over all  
Jews with foreign passports.  Those who were Hungarian citizens thought  they 
were safe, but had to try and hide foreign Jews or spirit them over the  
The entire war was a period of hester panim such as we have never  
experienced in our whole long history of exiles, persecutions and  massacres.  NO 
ONE was given the secret "mei'achorei hapargod."    NO ONE knew what was 
coming or which place would be safe.  EVERYONE acted  blindly, going with the 
best available information.  Only afterwards was it  possible to see that each 
and every individual who managed to survive did so  only with miracles -- 
with a "hidden hand" directing him to go here and not  there, go this time and 
not some other time, trust this person and not that  person.
The argument that daas Torah is a useless and meaningless concept --  
because not every talmid chacham has ruach hakodesh at every moment, or because  
talmidei chachamim are not granted ruach hakodesh at moments of "gezeirah 
hee  milfanai" -- is a spurious argument.  If you ask the biggest Torah 
scholar  for advice at a moment of peril and he doesn't know what to do, that only 
means  al achas kamah vekamah, a person who is devoid of Torah learning 
will be  scrambling with no idea which way to turn.  If this and that am 
ha'aretz  manages to survive, through random luck (or we would say, hashgacha 
pratis),  that in no way "proves" what so many seem to infer -- that those who 
are  ignorant of Torah actually have /greater/ wisdom than Torah scholars in 
times of  maximum peril.
Many Zionists left Europe for Palestine before WWII -- and ended up  going 
back to Poland, Rumania, and Hungary, because of the incredible poverty in  
Eretz Yisrael at the time.  There were children who died of hunger in E'Y  
in the 19-teens and '20s.  Everybody is such a genius and brilliant navi  
/now/, with 20-20 hindsight.
The Jews in Shushan blamed Mordechai for Haman's decree -- "You stubborn  
chareidi, couldn't you give Haman a little kovod, did you have to get us  all 
in trouble?"  Even after all the events of Purim, it was only "most" of  
the Jews, and not all of them, who respected the godol hador.  But we know  
whose names are remembered and whose names have long been forgotten by Klal  
I would like to add something that one of my brothers said to me  the other 
day.  (I won't mention his name in case he doesn't want to be  named on the 
internet, but it's inside some of the volumes of the Hebrew  ArtScroll 
gemara, the ones that he worked on.)  I paraphrase.  He  said that every Jew 
wants, or should want, to do ratzon haBorei.  Our only  question at every 
moment is, "What does Hashem want from me?"  If one is  not sure, one consults 
someone greater than he in Torah learning and  piety.  That is what it means 
to consult da'as Torah.
Questions like, "Which job will be the most lucrative?" or "In which  
country will I be most likely to survive anti-Semitic gezeiros?" are not the  
relevant questions.  The relevant question for a Jew is, "What does the  Ribono 
Shel Olam want from me?"  "How can I best serve my Borei?"  
There is still no guarantee that any given tzaddik or talmid chacham knows  
"the" answer for each individual at each moment in time, but when you face 
Yom  Hadin you will be in the clear because you will be able to say 
honestly, "I  tried my best to do what the Ribono Shel Olam wanted me to do."
Lav davka does HKB"H want every person to escape a painful gezeirah.  He 
wants us to try our best to live and survive, that's a mitzva; but  whether we 
succeed or not is in His hands.  The ultimate world plan is not  given to 
us to know.

--Toby Katz


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

Go to top.

Message: 4
From: Ben Waxman <ben1...@zahav.net.il>
Date: Tue, 18 Mar 2014 04:08:48 +0200
Re: [Avodah] Daas Torah and the Holocaust

Did they know that at the time?


On 3/16/2014 7:09 PM, T6...@aol.com wrote:
> The entire war was a period of hester panim such as we have never 
> experienced in our whole long history of exiles, persecutions and 
> massacres.  NO ONE was given the secret "mei'achorei hapargod."   NO 
> ONE knew what was coming or which place would be safe.  EVERYONE acted 
> blindly, going with the best available information.

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

Go to top.

Message: 5
From: Arie Folger <arie.fol...@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 17 Mar 2014 14:11:51 +0100
Re: [Avodah] Esther rin a hurry

On Mon, Mar 17, 2014 at 1:46 PM, Eli Turkel <elitur...@gmail.com> wrote:

> Rabbi Folger is obviously correct as seen that the Jews killed 75,000
> people in the empire. So why wait 2 months to send the letters?

Because there must have been serious opposition within the palace, among
teh messengers, etc.? I guess they needed to purge the immediate

Arie Folger,
Recent blog posts on http://ariefolger.wordpress.com/
* Wieviel Feste feiern wir an Sukkot (Audio-Schiur)
* Die ethische Dimension des Schma Jissra?ls (Audio-Schiur)
* Ein Baum, der klug macht?! (Audio-Schiur)
* Podiumsdiskussion ?J?dische Religion zwischen Tradition und Moderne?
* Great Videos from the CER in Berlin
* A Priest Returns to his Faith
* The CER Berlin Conference in Pictures
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.aishdas.org/pipermail/avod

Go to top.

Message: 6
From: Eli Turkel <elitur...@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 17 Mar 2014 14:21:03 +0200
[Avodah] Esther rin a hurry

<<Because between then and eleven months later, Haman's party was sure to
make lots of preparations to anihilate the Jews, and it was of paramount
importance to hip this in the bud.>>

Note that after Haman is hanged that the letters to the Jews to defend
themselves is sent out only at the end of Sivan
more than 2 months after Haman is hung.

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

Go to top.

Message: 7
From: Eli Turkel <elitur...@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 17 Mar 2014 14:46:14 +0200
Re: [Avodah] Esther rin a hurry

Rabbi Folger is obviously correct as seen that the Jews killed 75,000
people in the empire. So why wait 2 months to send the letters?

Note that I speak of Haman's *party*! It is naive to think Haman was acting
> alone. He was surely the leader of something bigger that remained dangerous
> even after the leader's death.

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

Go to top.

Message: 8
From: Eli Turkel <elitur...@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 17 Mar 2014 15:12:48 +0200
[Avodah] Questions about the Megillah

1) We all know the midrash that Achashverosh used the dishes from the
Temple and the clothing from the Cohen Gadol
However in Ezra 1:7 it says that Coresh gave all the dishes from the bet
hamikdash that Nevuchadnessar took to Shezbazzar for the Temple  and then
gives a list of thousands of dishes that sheshbazzar took to Jerusalem.
This is repeated in Ezra 5:14 and again 6:5

2) Esther became Queen in the 7th year of Achashverosh. The story of Purim
happened in the 13th year.  According to Chazal Achashverosh ruled only 14
years and Darius took over.
Again according to the Midrash Darius was the son of Esther. Hence he was
somewhere between 2 and 7 years old when he became king. He gave permission
to rebuild the bet hamikdash in the second year when he was between 3 and 8
years old.
Though not impossible chapters 5 and 6 of Ezra do not seem to be talking
about a child king.

As an aside it is interesting whether Esther was the mother of the heir
apparent at the time of the story of Purim.

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

Go to top.

Message: 9
From: Arie Folger <arie.fol...@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 17 Mar 2014 13:29:44 +0100
Re: [Avodah] Esther rin a hurry

On Mar 17, 2014 1:21 PM, "Eli Turkel" <elitur...@gmail.com> wrote:
> <<Because between then and eleven months later, Haman's party was sure to
> make lots of preparations to anihilate the Jews, and it was of paramount
> importance to hip this in the bud.>>
> Note that after Haman is hanged that the letters to the Jews to defend
themselves is sent out only at the end of Sivan
> more than 2 months after Haman is hung.

Note that I speak of Haman's *party*! It is naive to think Haman was acting
alone. He was surely the leader of something bigger that remained dangerous
even after the leader's death.


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

Go to top.

Message: 10
From: Esther and Aryeh Frimer <frim...@zahav.net.il>
Date: Mon, 17 Mar 2014 14:36:37 +0200
[Avodah] Aliyyot to the Blind vs Aliyyot for women vs Aliyyot

    I apologize for not responding to previous comments on my post, However
    personal issues and Purim got in the way.  Unfortunately, all the
    issues raised on Avodah are extensively discussed and documented in the
    full paper: "Women, Kri'at haTorah and Aliyyot" Aryeh A. Frimer and Dov
    I. Frimer, Tradition, 46:4 (Winter, 2013), 67-238, available at  http://www.rcar
    abbis.org/pdf/frimer_article.pdf.  Please read it before you
    criticize our conclusions.	I know that discussion groups are based on
    bite-sized pieces. But this is a very complicated Sugya and Dov and I
    have dealt with it in all sincerity and complexity - and hopefully
    honestly with no agendas.  As the notes therein confirm, we have also
    discussed the various issues with leading gedolim respected by all.  
    It is very important to appreciate that the gemara in Megilla is
    talking about a system in which each oleh/olah read for themselves.  
    Women (if not for Kevod haTsibbur) and Minors could get aliyyot -
    provided they read for themselves.	We make this point very clearly and
    repeatedly in the paper.  How someone not obligated (woman or minor)
    can read for the tsibbur is also discussed at length. 
    But focus of our paper is not on this issue but on the question of how
    the Oleh can make a berakha when he is not the one who does the ma'aseh
    mitsva, i.e., the one who reads aloud - but the ba'al korei.  The
    institution of Ba'al Korei	did not exist at the time of the Talmud and
    was introduced around the year 1000 just before the rishonim period.
    Once there is a bifurcated system, with one individual making the
    berakhot and another doing the ma'aseh haMitsva -  Shomei'a ke-oneh and
    areivut  is required to transfer the action to the Oleh. This will
    generally only work if the Oleh and Ba'al korei are BOTH inherently
    obligated.	A women is not obligated while a blind man is.	Hence,
    according to the Maharil - and this is the general custom in all eidot
    - Shomei'a ke-oneh allows the male ba'al korei to read for a blind man,
    but not a woman. 
    Regarding Chana Luntz's recent and erudite challenge to our distinction
    between Suma (the blind) and women	- from minors, this too we discuss
    in the paper in sectionVIC, which reads as follows:    
    "However, at this juncture we need to distinguish between minor males
    and adult women. Regarding minors, while they are not fully obligated,
    there is an obligation for majors to educate them (hinnukh) in the
    fulfillment of mitsvot - including keri'at ha-Torah. This educational
    obligation is sufficient to validate a one-directional transfer from
    the major to the minor. It is for this reason that a major may recite
    havdala and other birkhot ha-mitsva to be motsi (assist) a minor[195] -
    even if the minor is not his own child.[196] Once again, this is not
    the case for women, who bear no obligation for keri'at ha-Torah
    whatsoever.[197] The upshot of these considerations is that minor males
    may perhaps be able to receive aliyyot and have others read for them;
    women certainly may not.[198]  Significantly, however, the above
    analysis does not preclude women and minors from reading for
    themselves, should they be called for an aliyya,[199] since no transfer
    mechanism is required in
  such circumstances."  
    At the end of Section VIE we summarize as follows:
    "Reiterating, under the bifurcated oleh/ba'al keri'ah system, because
    women are not obligated in keri'at ha-Torah, they cannot read for
    others, nor can others read for them. Should they do so, the Torah
    reading benedictions may well be for naught. This conclusion is
    me-ikkar ha-din (the basic law) according to the overwhelming majority
    of posekim and has nothing to do with kevod ha-tsibbur (which we have
    yet to discuss). This conclusion challenges and undermines the
    prevalent keri'at ha-Torah practice in nearly all
    egalitarian/"Partnership" Minyanim (see Addendum); unless the woman who
    gets the aliyya reads for herself aloud, the birkhot keri'at ha-Torah
    will be berakhot le-vattala. However, if the woman who gets an aliyya
    does indeed read for herself, then we have come to the issue of kevod
    ha-tsibbur, to which we now turn."


[195]. See Shulhan Arukh, O.H., sec. 167, no. 19 (regarding ha-motsi);
Magen Avraham, O.H., sec. 273, no. 7 (regarding kiddush and havdala); Mateh
Efrayim, O.H., sec. 625, no. 59 (regarding sukka); Mishna Berura, O.H.,
sec. 273, no. 16 (regarding kiddush and havdala); R. Simha Ben Tsiyyon
Isaac Rabinowitz, Piskei Teshuva, VI, sec. 677, no. 8 (regarding Hanukah
candle lighting); R. Barukh Rakovsky, ha-Katan ve-Hilkhotav, I, ch. 13, no.
2 and n. 2 (general). 

[196]. Mishna Berura, O.H., sec. 167, no. 93. In Sha'ar ha-Tsiyyun, ad loc.
no. 84, he cites to this effect Beit Yosef, Gra, Taz and other aharonim. In
Sha'ar ha-Tsiyyun, O.H., sec. 273, no. 17, he reiterates this position. See
R. David Yosef, Halakha Berura, VIII, sec. 167, no. 20, Halakha Berura end
of subsec. 51, Sha'ar ha-Tsiyyun n. 150, who concludes that this is the
clear consensus of the codifiers. R. Eliezer ha-Kohen Rabinowitz, Torat
ha-Katan, ch. 8, sec. 13, concludes from these sources that while the
obligation and burdens of hinnukh rests on the parent, all can share in its
fulfillment. We reiterate that according to the minority view of Maharit
and Or ha-Hayyim, supra n. 68, that majors bear arevut for minors, a major
may certainly recite birkhot ha-mitsva for a minor.

[197]. Vide supra, n. 58. 

[198]. The correctness of this analysis regarding women has been confirmed
by R. Aharon Lichtenstein (21 Nissan 5772; April 13, 2012) in a
conversation with R. Dov. I. Frimer and R. M. Zev Frimer, 

[199]. Indeed, the vast majority of posekim rule that women (kevod
ha-tsibbur aside) and minors may read for themselves, should they be called
for an aliyya. See supra, n. 176: Resp. Mahari Bruna; Resp. Mishpat Tsedek;
Magen Avraham; Shulhan Arukh ha-Rav; Resp. Perah Shoshan; Hayyei Adam;
Resp. Peulat ha-Tsaddik; Resp. Ish Matsli'ah; Resp. Yaskil Avdi; Edut
le-Yisrael; Resp. Iggerot Moshe; Emet le-Yaakov; Kenesset Avraham. See
supra n. 177: Yalkut Yosef (various volumes cited). See R. Joseph B.
Soloveitchik, supra, n. 181. See also R. Joel Sirkis, Resp. Bayit Hadash
(Bah), sec. 158; R. Hayyim Jacob (Shadar) of Tsfat, Resp. Sama de-Hayyei,
O.H., sec. 16; R. Isaac Tayeb, Erekh ha-Shulhan, O.H., sec. 282, no. 4; R.
David Amado, Resp. Einei David, p11 column 4; II, sec. 63; Tehilla
le-David, O.H., sec. 282, no.8; Derekh ha-Hayyim, sec. 77, no. 6; R.
Mordechai Carmi, Ma'amar Mordekhai, O.H., sec. 282, no. 5; R. Katriel
Fishel Tchorsh, Resp. Keter Efrayim, sec. 26; Resp. Tsits Elie
 zer, VII, sec. 1, end of anaf 8; Yalkut Yosef, and Yehavveh Da'at, II,
 sec. 15, IV, sec. 23 and V, sec.25; R. Elyakim Getsel Pashkes, Itturei
 Megilla (5772 ed.), Megilla 24a, "Be'ur be-Divrei ha-Magen Avraham," 405.
 It remains the custom of the Yemenite community that each oleh, including
 minor males, reads his own portion; see R. Isaac Ratsabi, Shulhan Arukh
 ha-Mekutsar, O.H., II, sec. 60, no. 3.

There are, however, posekim who forbid a minor or woman from reading even
their own aliyya. According to this school, when the Talmud Megilla permits
those not obligated to receive an aliyya, this was not meant to be a
normative situation, and required a male adult ba'al keri'ah. See: R.
Abraham ben Mordechai Halevi, Resp. Ginnat Veradim, II, sec. 21; R. David
Zvi Solomon Eybeschuetz, Levushei Serad to Magen Avraham, O.H., sec. 282,
no. 6; R. Abraham Dovber Kahan Shapira, Devar Avraham, I, sec. 16, no. 17;
Resp. Mishpetei Uziel, mahadura tinyana, I, O.H. (5761 edition, vol. III),
milu'im to O.H., sec. 131, no. 1; R. Hayyim David Halevy, Shulhan Arukh
Mekor Hayyim, III, ch. 122, no. 14; Resp. Mishne Halakhot, XV (O.H.,
Mahadura Tanyana, part 5), sec. 209; R. Samuel David, Resp. me-Rosh Tsurim,
sec. 5. We note that this latter position is explicitly challenged by:
Resp. Iggerot Moshe, sec. 72 (referring to Levushai Serad); Resp. Yehavveh
Da'at, V, sec. 25; R. Moses Malka, Resp.
  Mikveh Mayyim, III, O.H., sec. 26; Resp. Kiryat Hana David, II, O.H., sec. 43 (all referring to Resp. Mishpetei Uziel).

Prof. Aryeh A. Frimer
Chemistry Dept., Bar-Ilan University
Ramat Gan 5290002, ISRAEL
E-mail (office): Aryeh.Fri...@biu.ac.il
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.aishdas.org/pipermail/avodah-ai


Avodah mailing list

End of Avodah Digest, Vol 32, Issue 43

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 >