Avodah Mailing List

Volume 32: Number 52

Mon, 24 Mar 2014

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: "Kenneth Miller" <kennethgmil...@juno.com>
Date: Mon, 24 Mar 2014 17:15:33 GMT
Re: [Avodah] Fighting the Taf Guys

R' David Cohen wrote:

> To others, the ability to read the siddur the same way that one reads
> the newspaper is the perfect illustration of how mitzvot can be
> fulfilled with more meaning in modern Israel, in their "natural
> habitat" where they are integrated into everyday life, and changing
> our liturgical pronunciation is a small price to pay in order to
> achieve that integrated life.

I've told the story before, but it bears repeating: When I was at Ohr
Somayach in the '70s, one of the Israelis commented that he was jealous of
the Americans' ability to carefully analyze the words of the Rambam, to
plumb their depths for meaning. He specifically compared the Rambam to
"reading a newspaper", because the language was so pure and simple that it
was all too easy to skim through it.

Of course, what works for one person does not work for another, so I'm not
really arguing against RDC, just presenting a possible downside that some
have run into.

Akiva Miller
Do THIS before eating carbs &#40;every time&#41;
1 EASY tip to increase fat-burning, lower blood sugar & decrease fat storage

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Message: 2
From: H Lampel <zvilam...@mail.gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 23 Mar 2014 16:34:34 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Etz hada'at

On 3/21/2014From David Riceman :
>>> ... His
>>> logic (see 1:49 and 2:6) is that since melachim are not physical beings,
>>> they cannot be physically seen by humans, and therefore any narrative of
>>> a person seeing a malach must be speaking of what he saw in a prophetic
>>> vision.

> That logic applies equally to any narrative predicating place of angels.

> Furthermore, the Rambam himself (as I cited earlier) says

>>> if a story in the Bible contains a mal'ach, EVEN AT THE VERY END
>>> (emphasis mine), the entire story is a retelling of a prophetic vision
>>> rather than physical history (MN II:42)

> The Rambam there makes no mention of "a person seeing an angel", he
> mentions (tr. Friedlander) "the appearance or speech of an angel
> mentioned in scripture". He says that you can learn the status of the
> entire narrative from the appearance of an angel anywhere in it, even at
> the end.

> Perhaps you could give us a detailed commentary on the first paragraph
> of MN II:42. I think you are contradicting its plain meaning.

The Hebrew (Ibn Tibbon's) reads "kol makom sheh-nizkar bo /re'eeyas/
malach o' diburo," "Every place that mentions within it /the seeing/
of an angel or its speaking..." Friedlander's translation "appearance of"
is meant in that sense, not in the sense of "account of the existence
of an angel." (The word "re'eeyas" would be unnecessary.) It goes on
to say "...achar sheh-timtsa sof ha-inyan ki zeh asher ra'ah v'dibbar
hayyah malach, teidah v'tis'ammis sheh-mit'chillas ha-inyan, hayyah
mar'eh ha-nevuah o' chlom shel nevuah," "once you find at the end
of the matter that that which /he saw/ and which spoke was an angel,
know and make it emmmess that fron the beginning of the matter, it was
a prophetic vision or prophetic dream."

We agree that the Rambam holds that an angel is by definition a
non-physical being. Therefore, he holds, it cannot be perceived by man's
five senses. So any description that, on the surface, attributes physical
properties to an angel, or subjects it to physical boundaries (such
as locomotion or location, such as in describing the angel as having
been placed somewhere) must be understood non-literally. If someone
is described as interacting with an angel, such as speaking with it,
it must be understood that this was in a vision.

The Rambam adds a thesis to this in MN 2:49. If I understand you
correctly, you take the Rambam to be adding that once a narrative
attributes physicalities to an angel, not only must that bit of the
narrative be understood as a vision and a mashal, but so must the entire
narrative surrounding it. Once the character of an angel involved in
physicalities (such as location) is introduced, even if at the very end of
a narrative, that is a cue that the entire narrative, from the beginning,
is that of a vision or mashal.

Not only do I think the Rambam's words do not support this understanding,
but if it were so, we would be faced with a problem. One of the
Rambam's illustrations of his thesis is the episode of Bilaam and his
donkey. Rambam states that from the fact that the narrative describes
an angel speaking to Bilaam /near the end/ of the episode, we conclude
that the entire episode of "Bilaam on the way," from the beginning,
was a vision.

But the episode virtually /begins/ with descriptions of the angel in terms
of physicalities!: "The angel of Hashem stationed itself in the road...And
the donkey saw the angel of Hashem stationed on the road and its sword
drawn in its hand..." etc., and continues with this mode throughout the
episode. Why does the Rambam invoke the /end/ of the episode to conclude
that the entire episode is a vision, if the episode is replete, from
the beginning, with physicalities attributed to the angel?

My answer is that the Rambam holds that the word "malach" can denote
any being or natural force, such as the elements or human urges, through
which Hashem fulfills His Will. Such would have been the understanding
of the "malach" that blocked his way, without invoking the phenomenon
of a vision. (RMB would categorize this as use of idiom, rather than
allegory.) Yes, it is understood non-literally but, so far, the Rambam
would not tag it as a vision. He would understand it to mean that Bilaam
was physically, in real life, on his way, and Hashem caused something
natural to block his donkey. (He actually says this MN 2:6). (And while
it is conceivable that Hashem could miraculously make a donkey talk,
it is impossible for a donkey to hear or perceive an angel talking,
and the malach in such a case could not be an angel.)

Only when, at the end of the narrative, it, in Rambam's words, "becomes
clear that this being was an angel" (I suppose the Rambam is referring
to the report that it was previously invisible to Bilaam, and only now
Hashem "opened his eyes" for him to perceive it) must we conclude that
(since angels are non-physical and unperceivable through physical means)
this was a matter of a vision.

Rambam's point is precisely what he said: Once a being is identified
as an angel (which can only be perceived by humans through visions),
that being was an angel from the time it was introduced, and therefore
all previous references to humans speaking to, interacting with, or
otherwise perceiving that being must be references to a vision. But this
does not mean that the involvement of a malach or angel in any point of
a narrative renders the entire narrative a vision or mashal.

Likewise, in his previous illustration, Rambam assigns the phenomenon
of prophetic vision to Yaakov's "meeting up with angels" and (what he
maintains is the identical incident) his wrestling with an angel; but
takes the other parts of the narrative as plain, material history. [My
translations, which I think a reading of the Hebrew [Ibn Tibbon's or
Kapach's) justifies]:

The same, I hold, is the case when it is said in reference to Yaakov,
"And a man wrestled with him": This took place in a prophetic vision,
since it becomes clear in the end that it was an angel. The matter
here is precisely the same as that with Avraham [and the three "men"],
which first stated the account in general form, "And Hashem appeared
to him," etc., and then started to explain how this was. Similarly,
with Yaakov, it said, "And the angels of G-d met up with him" and said
that he sent messengers, and did certain things [this is referring to
Yaakov's division of his camp into two, and his preparation of cattle
as a gift with instructions to his servants on how to present them--ZL]
and "he was left alone [and a man wrestled with him]." And this is the
"angels of G-d" about whom it was said at the beginning, "And angels of
God met up with him". /And this wrestling and speaking [with the angel]
was entirely a prophetic vision./

Note that Rambam identifies as a vision only the bit where there was a
reported interaction of man with angels. The earlier events (involving
Yaakov's division of his camp into two, and his preparation of cattle
as a gift with instructions to his servants on how to present them)
are taken as real-life accourences. "The beginning of the inyan" skips
back to the previous part of the natrrative where this being with which
he wrestled was mentioned.

When the Rambam says that once we see a person interacting with an
angel--even if we only see it the end at the end of a narrative--it was
a vision, and "it" was a vision even from the beginning "of the inyan,"
the "inyan" is the previous reference[s] to the beings under discussion,
not the entire narrative. This is why the Rambam also illustrates
his thesis with the three "men" that visited Avraham and the "man"
that Yaakov wrestled with, but not of the Akeidah, nor of the malach
haMavess that passed over the Hebrews' houses, nor of kriass Yam Suf
where the malach changed positions. He does not hold that the entire
"inyan" of the 10 makkos, or the exodus from Egypt and kriass Yam Suf,
were visions, just because the narrative included malachim.

Indeed, were it the Rambam's thesis that once a narrative involves the
description of a malach or angel being located somewhere, the entire
narrative must be a vision, since angels are incorporeal, one would
have to say the same, all the more so, about such narratives ascribing
physical properties and movement to Hashem. One would have to say that
any narrative which speaks, for example, of the hand of Hashem doing
something, or describes Hashem as going down to a particular place,
or speaking, is from the beginning someone's vision, and not a report
of physical history.

Zvi Lampel

[Email #2. -micha]

I wrote:
>>  Rambam holds that the word "malach" can denote any being or 
>> natural force, such as the elements or human urges, through which 
>> Hashem fulfills His Will.

I should add: or a person, especially a prophet.

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Message: 3
From: David Riceman <drice...@optimum.net>
Date: Sun, 23 Mar 2014 15:28:53 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Rav Elya Lopian: tefillin and radio

> I'm glad you asked. My personal belief is that they are profound 
> beyond most people's imagination, as one might expect of things which 
> operate on a metaphysical level. But they do have rules, and are bound 
> by limits of many kinds. I have heard of people and animals referred to 
> as "living machines", and if that is legitimate, then tefillin (and all 
> mitzvah items) can be referred to as metaphysical machines.

My question was not about the profundity of Hilchos Tefillin; it was 
about the profundity of the analogy between tefillin and radio.

I don't see that your post addressed my question.

[Email #2. -micha]

RAM (offlist, cited with permission):
> Could you restate the question?

I'll try to start with general questions, and then I'll move on to

You cite REL saying "If even one letter is defective, the connection is
lost and the kedusha is blocked." I think you're implying without saying
that the function of tefillin is to receive shefa, or "waves of kedusha",
or something of such nature.

I don't know of any sources which say that. The Rambam (in the
introduction to the MT where he describes Sefer Ahava, p. 21 in Frankel's
edition) says their function is "to induce love of God and to remember
Him continually". Sefer HaHinuch says something very similar. If you
have access to the Recannati's book on ta'amei hamitzvos you'll find
interesting stuff about tefillin in it, but I don't think it fits your

You write "I have heard of people and animals referred to as "living
machines", and if that is legitimate, then tefillin (and all mitzvah
items) can be referred to as metaphysical machines." I don't understand
the term "machine" in that sentence. Normally I think of a machine as
having been designed to serve a particular function (like a radio).
How do people and animals fit that? What (to reiterate) do you think
the function of tefillin are, and how do you know?

I agree that there are spiritual laws as well as physical laws, but I
don't see that that supports the analogy with radio. Unlike some machines
which were invented before they were understood, radios were developed
decades after Maxwell's equations, and transmitters and receivers were
well understood. We do have instructions for making tefillin, but why
do you think that every detail is functional. In particular, you write
"without them, the tefillin will either work poorly (kosher b'dieved)
or not at all (pasul l'gamrei)." Where does the equation of "working
poorly" and "kosher b'dieved" come from?

> Teshuva is another such machine. It is a sort of time machine, with
> the ability to wipe out the past. It too has requirements (such as vidui
> and charata) which must be followed for maximum effectiveness. We've
> discussed other details too, such as how teshuva can cancel one's sins,
> but replacing them with mitzvos is more complicated. And teshuva is
> value-neutral: Just as it cancels the regretted sins, it can cancel the
> regretted mitzvos too.

This is a major misunderstanding, which I lack time to write about
in detail. The past is not just the past; it is an impetus for our
future actions. Teshuva changes, not the actions themselves, but how
we construe them and use them in the future.

I don't want to go through your list of examples one by one, but most of
them confuse legal status with what you call "metaphysical properties".
If you have access to Rabbi Kasher's book "Mefaneah Zephunoth" you would
benefit from reading the whole thing, but see in particular Perek 20
Siman 5.

"Kedusha and tum'ah are metaphysical properties. They are very real"
This is a mahlokes between the Rambam and the Ramban. See H. Mikvaos
11:12, and see the sugya of hezek she'eino nikar, H. Hovel UMazik 7:1-3.

David Riceman

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Message: 4
From: T6...@mail.aol.com
Date: Mon, 24 Mar 2014 13:28:40 -0400 (EDT)
Re: [Avodah] Fighting the Taf Guys

From: Arie Folger <afol...@aishdas.org>
> There are six (in fact seven, but that got lost a long time ago,
> leaving only a trace in Sefer Yetzirah) letters that are pronounced
> differently depending on whether or not they are provided with a
> dagesh qal. Thus, not only is tav difrerent from saf and beis different
> from veis like kaf from khaf and pei from fei, but so, too, are dalet
> different from thalet (th as in the) and gimmel different from rimmel
> (r as in the French r, not to be miustaken with the oft mispronounced
> reish, to be pronounced like the Spanish r).

I have heard someone make kiddush distinguishing between gimmel and
jimmel, but I never heard rimmel.

From: David Cohen <ddco...@gmail.com>
> All that being said, the underlying issue is the hashkafic questions behind
> the fact that in Israel, almost all dati-leumi Ashkenazim below the age of
> 70 (with the exception of some olim) use Sefaradi (really modern Israeli)
> prounciation in tefilah. As I understand it (largely from a lecture that I
> heard on the topic from Prof. Yohanan Breuer a few years ago), when this
> practice began to spread in the 5690s, the idea behind it was that the
> young people would connect to tefilah and keriat haTorah more if they felt
> that it was being done in the same language that they were speaking on the
> street.

Most Ashkenazi charedim in Israel do make a distinction between the
pronunciation of street Hebrew and that used for davening or leining.
They do distinguish between Ivrit and Loshon Hakodesh. They connect
very well with tefilla and krias haTorah -- with an attitude of
reverence and an understanding that a siddur or Chumash is not the same
as a newspaper. Not coincidentally, they tend to be better spellers
than regular Israeli kids, who often mix up tes with tav or even aleph
with hei.

--Toby Katz

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Message: 5
From: "Joseph Kaplan" <jkap...@tenzerlunin.com>
Date: Mon, 24 Mar 2014 13:17:00 -0400
[Avodah] How to Teach History

While I strongly disagree with R. Schwab's attitude about teaching history,
in one way it demonstrates, perhaps ironically, a strong sense of
intellectual honesty.  That is, that unlike others - including individuals,
publishers and organizations -- who publish *as history* false or misleading
accounts about past events, personalities and communities, R. Schwab is
upfront that he thinks such accounts are okay but makes clear that they are
*not history*. And for that I believe he is deserving of credit
notwithstanding what I believe to be the error of his basic position.




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Message: 6
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Mon, 24 Mar 2014 15:15:33 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Fighting the Taf Guys

On Mon, Mar 24, 2014 at 05:15:33PM +0000, Kenneth Miller wrote:
: I've told the story before, but it bears repeating: When I was at Ohr
: Somayach in the '70s, one of the Israelis commented that he was jealous
: of the Americans' ability to carefully analyze the words of the Rambam,
: to plumb their depths for meaning...

OTOH, our growing dependence on ArtScroll means that fewer and fewer of us
are likely to bother. I don't mean this to blame ArtScroll, if it weren't
them, it would be Koren or someone else. The problem is the American
need for instant gratification, for viewing talmud Torah, or any mitzvah,
or any activity for that matter, in terms of having learned, accomplished,
and not take the time to appreciate, value and enjoy the process itself.

So why work at learning a rishon AS didn't get to? Or to form one's own
opinion of the text and rishonim when the translation with running commentary
is so available?

Yes, we have the ability. Do we have the motive?


Micha Berger             "'When Adar enters, we increase our joy'
mi...@aishdas.org         'Joy is nothing but Torah.'
http://www.aishdas.org    'And whoever does more, he is praiseworthy.'"
Fax: (270) 514-1507                     - Rav Dovid Lifshitz zt"l

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Message: 7
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Mon, 24 Mar 2014 15:31:48 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Fighting the Taf Guys

On Mon, Mar 24, 2014 at 01:28:40PM -0400, T6...@mail.aol.com wrote:
: I have heard someone make kiddush distinguishing between gimmel and
: jimmel, but I never heard rimmel.

I don't understand jimmel. G and J are toally unrelated sound; one made
in the back (velar), the other is made with the teeth.

If you look at bege"d kefe"t they come in voiced and unvoiced pairs. Try
to say a pei while also vibrating your vocal cords -- you'll get a beis.
Similarly fei and veis. (Or the Babylonian phei and bheis.)

    p/f  - b/v
    t/th - d/dh (thav like "thing", dhalet like "this")
    k/kh - g/???

Well, if we follow the pattern, the undotted gimel would make the
sound you get if you try making a khag sound while alos using your
vocal chords. Something more like the Israeli reish, like RAF's

So I wondered about the origin of the jimel. My first guess was that it
was an oddity borrowed from Arabic (which does have a gim/zhim pair, which
even is sometimes pronounce with the dzh sound of the "j" in "jump").
Then I questioned that guess, because something linked hard and soft g,
the sound in "go" vs "gym" into the same letter. I doubt it's an influence
from Arabic. So, perhaps the sounds have some linkage that I totally miss.

: Most Ashkenazi charedim in Israel do make a distinction between the
: pronunciation of street Hebrew and that used for davening or leining.
: They do distinguish between Ivrit and Loshon Hakodesh...

As does my daughter's school. They teach Tanakh by translating from
Leshon Tanakh pronounced in Ashkenazis to Israeli Hebrew (Abazit, as
RSM tried to get us to say), to English.

"vayivro - vehu bara - and He created"

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             It is harder to eat the day before Yom Kippur
mi...@aishdas.org        with the proper intent than to fast on Yom
http://www.aishdas.org   Kippur with that intent.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                       - Rav Yisrael Salanter

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Message: 8
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Mon, 24 Mar 2014 16:17:02 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Nadav and Avihu

On Thu, Mar 20, 2014 at 04:15:29PM -0400, sholom wrote:
: There's a chassidishe view that Nadav and
: Avihu got exactly what they wanted...

I wonder what percentage of oneshim can be viewed this way.

Bederekh she'adam rotzeh leileikh, sham molikhim oso.

And if the person wants to go in a way that doesn't lead to the happiness
HQBH prepared for us? Getting exactly what they wanted would inherently
contain its own punishment.

This may be a valid way to look at every onesh. (Understanding that when
looking at anything HQBH does, there are multiple equally correct and
equally incomplete ways to describe it.)

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Mussar is like oil put in water,
mi...@aishdas.org        eventually it will rise to the top.
http://www.aishdas.org                    - Rav Yisrael Salanter
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Message: 9
From: Esther and Aryeh Frimer <frim...@zahav.net.il>
Date: Mon, 24 Mar 2014 23:17:24 +0200
Re: [Avodah] Aliyyot to the Blind vs Aliyyot for women vs

Again, I apologize for the tardiness of my reply. Life keeps getting in the way of the important things!

In our paper we argue that for the oleh's berakha not to be a berakha
le-vatala, the oleh and ba'al korei must both be obligated in keri'at
haTorah (Major Male) so that the ma'aseh ha-mitsva (reading aloud) is
transferred to the oleh who makes the berakha. Thus, a blind man may
receive an aliyya and make the berakha, since he is obligated in Keri'at
haTorah and the ba'al korei can read for him and transfer the action to
him. A women who is not obligated, may not read for others. [We do
reaffirm, however, that a woman and a minor may read for themselves.] 

Ms. Chana Luntz correctly notes that if this analysis were correct a minor
could not serve as a ba'al korei for others. Yet, she testifies that in
many sefardic communities minors indeed do read for others.  Over the past
few days, Dov and I have spoken to many Sefardic Rabbis who have confirmed
that this practice is indeed found in some sefardic communities, though it
is certainly a minority practice - not the general custom. Several of these
Sefardic Rabbis were adamant that such a practice is forbidden.

Indeed, the analysis in our paper follows the lead of Magen Avraham (O.H.,
sec. 282, no. 6) and the overwhelming majority of posekim who rule that
neither a minor nor a woman can serve as ba'alei keri'ah for others. They
base their stance on the grounds that women are not obligated in keri'at
ha-Torah, while minors bear, at most, a lesser obligation than majors. As a
result, neither shelihut nor shome'a ke-oneh are effective mechanisms to
enable a woman or a minor ba'al keri'ah to be motsi an oleh. In the paper
we cite a list of more than 30 leading scholars who completely prohibit a
minor (and a woman, who is similarly not obligated) from reading for others
including the following Sefardic Poskim: R. Hayyim Joseph David Azulai
(Hida), le-David Emet, sec. 5, no. 27; Erekh ha-Shulhan, O.H.  sec. 139,
s.v. "Din bet" and O.H., sec. 282, no. 4; R. Jacob Hayyim Sofer, Kaf
ha-Hayyim, O.H., sec. 282, no. 2, n. 23 (as the view of the majority of
codifiers); R. Ovadiah Hadaya, Resp. Y
 askil Avdi, VII, O.H., sec. 5 and VIII, O.H., sec. 36; R. Matsli'ah Mazuz,
 Resp. Ish Matsli'ah, I, O.H., sec. 10 (as the view of the majority of
 codifiers); R. Isaac Nissim (as the view of the majority of codifiers)
 cited in R. Solomon Yaloz, Resp. Asher le-Shlomo, I, O.H., sec. 3; R.
 Mordechai Eliyahu cited in R. Shlomo Moshe Amar, Resp. Sheima Shlomo, IV,
 sec. 5. 

We cite anoter list of more than 20 scholars posekim who prohibit a minor
to serve as a Torah reader, unless it is a she'at ha-dehak: R. Hayyim
Joseph David Azulai (Hida), Birkei Yosef, O.H. sec. 282, no. 8; Hazon
Ovadya, Hilkhot Shabbat, part 2, Hilkhot Keri'at ha-Torah, sec. 9, n. 9; R.
Ovadiah Yosef, Yehavveh Da'at, V, sec. 25; R. Ovadiah Yosef, Livyat Hen,
sec. 282, no. 19; R. Isaac Yosef, Yalkut Yosef, II, sec. 135, Seder ha-Olim
le-Sefer Torah, sec. 33, and IV, Hilkhot Shabbat, part 1, sec. 282, Dinei
Keri'at ha-Torah be-Shabbat, n. 15; R. Isaac Yosef, Yalkut Yosef, Dinei
Hinnukh Katan u-Bar Mitsva, Dinei Keri'at ha-Torah, no. a and b, 43; R.
Moses Malkah, Resp. Mikveh Mayyim, VI, O.H., sec. 11 (see, however, III,
O.H., sec. 26); R. Shlomo Moshe Amar, Resp. Sheima Shlomo, IV, sec. 5.

Nevertheless, there are indeed	poskim who permit minors to serve as
ba'alei keri'a for others - and it is presumably on these minority opinions
that the communities Chana Luntz refers to rely. This group includes the
noted halakhicists R. Israel Jacob Algazi and R. Joseph Te'omim (R. Israel
Jacob Algazi, Emet le-Ya'akov, Dinei Aliyyat Keri'at ha-Torah, sec. 27; R.
Joseph Teomim, Pri Megadim, O.H., sec. 282, Eshel Avraham, no. 6 and
Mishbetsot Zahav, no. 3). This is also the opinion of Rav Moshe Malka,
Resp. Mikveh Mayim, III, O.H., sec. 26. They opine that, since a minor is
rabbinically obligated in mitsvot (hinnukh), he is empowered to assist
others in fulfilling their rabbinic obligation of keri'at ha-Torah.
However, as discussed in section II of our paper, this position has
remained well outside the halakhic consensus for three primary reasons.
Firstly, many authorities refuse to accept the initial premise, that a
minor is rabbinically personally obligated. But even were 
 we to accept this assertion, the minor still possesses a lower level of
 obligation in keri'at ha-Torah, one resulting from two rabbinic edicts
 (trei de-rabbanan), and cannot assist a major whose obligation is greater
 (had de-rabbanan). Finally, as discussed above, the overwhelming consensus
 of the codifiers is that the concept of arevut does not apply to minors
 whatsoever. For this reason, the position of R. Algazi and R. Te'omim has
 been generally rejected and invoked, if at all, only in pressing
 circumstances (she'at ha-dehak), i.e., when there is no one else available
 to read and the Torah reading will be cancelled as a result. 


But the critical point is that even were we to accept the correctness of R.
Algazi and R. Teomim's assertion, this would only empower minor males to
serve as ba'alei keri'a, because they are rabbinically obligated. Women,
however, are not obligated whatsoever! 


In her recent post, the truly erudite Ms. Luntz makes a very novel
suggestion, namely: "Even if the oleh does not actually read along (at
least somewhat) in the Torah, so long as he is able to perform the ma'aseh
mitzvah, it can be argued that he can still make the brachos on the basis
of Rav Zera's principle of kol hara'ui l'bila ain bila makeves bo." 

Such a position is problematic for several reason. Firstly, Rav Zera's
priniciple of kol hara'ui l'bila ain bila makeves bo is a mahlokes Rishonim
ve-Aharonim le-halakha	whether it applies be-khol haTorah kula or only
where the Torah is megaleh.  Secondly, Ms Luntz is suggesting is that one
can make a birkat ha-mitzva and never actually do the mitzva - and yet the
berakha would not be a berakha levatala because he could have done the
mitsva. So, for example, one could make a le-Shev ba-Sukka and never sit in
it, simply because he could have. Or similarly, one could make le-Hadlik
ner shel Hanukka and never light the candle; yet the berakha would not be
le-vatala since one could have made the berakha.  Finally, the Rosh says
that if the oleh doesn't read along, his berakha is le-vatala. But why? He
could have. The Rosh, nor any subsequent authority ever entertained the
application of kol hara'ui lebila to keri'at haTorah.

My brother Dov discussed Ms Luntz's suggestion with Rav Asher Weiss, who
summarily rejected it.	He posited that kol hara'ui l'bila  only applies to
Dinim (status) not to mitsvot. He even cited a Ritva to Hullin 106b where
one washes his hands for bread and makes al netillat Yadayyim - and then
changes his mind and decides not to eat bread.	The Ritva says it is not a
Berakha le-vatala, nor do we require the individual to eat bread, because
he actually did the mitsva action appropriate for the berakha.	But, says
Rav Asher, had he not done the mitsva action of washing, then obviously the
berakha would have been le-vatala, even though he could have washed.

Kol Tuv

    Aryeh (from home; For Aryeh and Dov)

Prof. Aryeh A. Frimer
Chemistry Dept., Bar-Ilan University
Ramat Gan 5290002, ISRAEL
E-mail (office): Aryeh.Fri...@biu.ac.il

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Chana Luntz 
  To: 'Esther and Aryeh Frimer' ; 'Avodah Avodah' 
  Cc: 'Dov Frimer' ; 'Joel B. Wolowelsky ' 
  Sent: Thursday, March 20, 2014 12:10 AM
  Subject: RE: Aliyyot to the Blind vs Aliyyot for women vs Aliyyot for minors

  RAF writes:


  >	  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. 


  I agree, the discussion in the gemara in Megilla is indeed talking about a system in which each oleh/olah read for themselves.  


  However the minhag amongst Sepharim, as evidenced by the katan who read
  when the Chief Rabbi came to visit a few weeks ago, includes for katanim
  to read *for gedolim* (as well as, sometimes, for themselves, and
  sometimes having an aliya when a gadol reads).  Indeed, were a katan to
  be limited to only reading for himself, he would only end up learning one
  aliyah in a given parsha.  What the system produces, however, are katanim
  who, by the time they are 10 or 11 and have been reading for 3-4 years,
  know virtually the entire Torah, with trop.  It is an extraordinarily
  effective chinuch system, and sets the boy up for life.


  This (ie katanim reading for gedolim) is a widespread practice in numbers
  of Sephardi communities, and we have absolutely no reason to suspect that
  it has not been going on ever since the split between the oleh and the
  ba'al koreh occurred over a thousand years ago.  And this is the first
  suggestion, as far as I am aware, that there is any problem with the
  common practice (once it is accepted that  katanim can have any
  involvement in the Torah reading at all). ie this is the first suggestion
  that distinctions need to be made within the roles that katanim can take
  vis a vis the Torah reading.


  >	  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 -


  And the majority rishonim, including the Rosh and the Beis Yosef, are
  fully cognisant of this problem, and resolve it by explaining that the
  oleh does do the ma'aseh mitzvah, he reads from the Torah - albeit
  quietly along with the ba'al koreh.  Nothing has changed in that regard,
  just that the tzibbur does not hear him, rather they hear the ba'al koreh
  who is likely to be a more fluent reader who is more pleasant to listen


  Even if the oleh does not actually read along (at least somewhat) in the
  Torah, so long as he is able to perform the ma'aseh mitzvah, it can be
  argued that he can still make the brachos on the basis of Rav Zera's
  priniciple of kol haroyi l'bila ain bila makeves bo.


  The problem is with a blind man who *cannot* perform the ma'aseh mitzvah.
   Some other solution has to be found if one is to allow for a blind man
  to have an aliyah.  One suggestion posited by the minority rishonim and
  various achronim to allow a blind man specifically to have an aliyah is
  to rely in this case on shomea k'oneh.  But there is no need, nor any
  suggestion, that thereby they are undermining the position of the
  majority rishonim that in the normal case the basis for the brochos is
  the quiet reading by the oleh.  


  In other words, the simplest and most straightforward reading of all the
  sources is that the majority position stands for the normal case, and in
  the special case of a blind man and similar, an alternative halachic
  justification and mechanism has been found, relying on minority opinions.


  However, what you appear to be arguing for is a situation where allowance
  in the special case is then used to dismiss the majority understanding in
  the normal case, and posit the special case as normative.  And the
  fundamentally problematic nature of such a suggestion is that it thereby
  illegitimates practices that go back hundreds if not thousands of years
  in many communities involving katanim layning and gadolim getting the


   >    "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-TorahThis educational obligation is
   >    sufficient to validate a one-directional transfer from the major
   >    to the minor. 


  But it is not one-directional as evidenced as above.	If you want to
  argue that shomea k'oneh is the dominant mechanism even for normal
  aliyos, then you are ruling out the widespread minhag of katanim reading
  for gedolim across the Sephardi world. .  I do not believe the Meharil or
  the Rema (who according to the Aruch HaShulchan (Orech Chaim siman 137
  si'if 7) accepted the minhag of giving aliyos to blind men only
  reluctantly, it not actually being his opinion set out in the Darchei
  Moshe) ever intended or contemplated such a wholesale rejection of the
  majority rishonim and Shulchan Aruch.  Rather they were merely allowing
  for a particular set of exceptional cases, and in those exceptional cases
  only, they were prepared to allow for minority halachic mechanisms such
  as shomea k'oneh that could run side by side with the normative majority
  supported ones that applied in the normal case.  But such an
  understanding means that the normative situation remains: and katanim can
 d for gedolim, and ketanim can say brachos on their quiet reading from the
 Torah while a gadol ba'al koreh reads out loud, without needing to resort
 to questions of one directional transfer.



  >Prof. Aryeh A. Frimer





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