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Volume 32: Number 54

Wed, 26 Mar 2014

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2014 12:14:20 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Rav Elya Lopian: tefillin and radio

On Thu, Mar 20, 2014 at 10:01:13am GMT, R Akiva Miller wrote:
:> The boss is imposing a consequence. But I'm convinced that sechar
:> va'onesh can be explained in causal terms. ...
:> A person should get what they deserve and what their life or
:> afterlife requires. And spiritual mechanics gets in the way of
:> that. The person who is wearing broken tefillin through no fault
:> or knowledge of his own doesn't deserve anything different, and
:> shouldn't require different life experiences to complete his path.

: It's not clear to me whether you mean "he shouldn't be any different
: than the one who wore kosher tefillin" or "he shouldn't be any different
: than the one who did not wear tefillin at all." Either way, I'd like to
: propose a middle path.

I meant "he shouldn't be any different than the one who wore kosher

: In our case, I suggest that when one wears tefillin which he doesn't
: realize are pasul, he is unfortunately unable to get any of the s'char
: which kosher tefillin normally provide. But he does get all of the s'char
: which normally go to a faithful servant of the Boss.

I think that sekhar va'onesh has to be amenable to at least three
different kinds of explanation:

1- Causal. Doctors orders tell us how to be healthy, and violating them
causes its own misery. (Assuming a perfect doctor.) Similarly, the
Designer told us how to maximize sekhar, and if someone doesn't follow
the rules, they get less sekhar.

2- Penal. This is the opposite, in that we're not looking at Hashem
setting up a system in advance, but we're looking as Him responding
to the deed. Moral recompense.

The difference between the two is the "when" of HQBH's causing the
onesh, which is a meaningless concept. We can talk about the when of
the effect, the onesh itself, but not when He Decided to mete it out. So,
both can model the same thing.

3- Hatavah. A comon conclusion among baalei mesorah (from R' Saadia among
the philosophers to the Ramchal) is that the point of creation cannot be
a need of the Creator's, as He has no chesronos. Creation is to provide
Him with someone to be good to. This is only as good as we can understand,
as on a level we can say that needing a recipient is itself a need. But
anyway, in such a worldview, the "equilibrium state" of all of history,
wholesale and retail, is to receive as much good as possible. It is to
that end that all events lead to. (When possible.)

And so, onesh isn't just caused by sin, and the only fair response to sin,
it is also the cure of its effects.

Revisiting my three criteria:

1- As I cited last time, the Ran, the Ikkarim, the Ramchal, RCV, and
numerous others explain sekhar va'onesh in terms of the mitzvah impacting
the soul which then is then more capable of receiving Hashem's sekhar.
So, let's say someone does everything he is obligated to, and never learns
his tefillin weren't kosher. There is no impact on the person due to
the tefillin being pasul, and there is no impact caused by his being
neglectful. So, why shouldn't the guy get the metaphysical effects of
working tefillin?

As I put it last time, RCV opens Nefesh haChaim with exploring the idea
only human souls are the unity of all kokhos. (Other than their Source;
and RCV sees in this commonality the tzelem E-lokim, contrary to the
Meshekh Chokhmah's angle, which I champion below.)

Radio waves travel through spacetime, qedushah travel through neshamos,
at least to reach physical objects.

2- On a penal plane, obviously if the guy did everything he was supposed
to, he deserves exactly the same reward. So why shouldn't he get it?

3- Similarly "hatTov shimekha". Two people who do the very same thing
are equally prepared to receive shefa. They are in the same state.
So how would unknown differences in their tefillin change how much shefa
they actually do receive?

These last two ideas would also explain the chazaqah demei'iqara (and
birur in general, but if I go there, ein ladavar sof!) Tefillin that were
known to be kosher, or a miqvah that was known to hold 40 se'ah, or a
chalaf that was known to have no nicks,etc... all remain kosher until a
person knows otherwise. Again, as long as criminal neglect isn't an issue.

(Knowledge only pasuls lemafrei'ah when the chazaqah that it's a rei'usa
for is itself contradicting a rov or another chazaqah. Where needing to
rely on a chazaqah could be construed as neglect. See Shakh YD 1:8)

We don't send all the women back to the miqvah, or sell all the meat as
treif, lest someone siffer the metaphysical consequences of unknowingly
violating an issur.

On Thu, Mar 20, 2014 at 4:31:23pm EDT, R David Riceman wrote:
>>> The student wondered what this conversation was all about, but R'
>>> Lopian then revealed what he really was thinking about.  "If this
>>> is true, why do we find it hard to believe that we if we position
>>> a little box on our head (indicating the place of tefillin), it
>>> channels kedusha from Shamayim without a visual connection?  This
>>> is true only if the four parshiyos of the Torah are written with
>>> complete perfection and kedusha.  If even one letter is defective,
>>> the connection is lost and the kedusha is blocked.  We can
>>> understand from the radio that this is true!  (Lev Eliyahu)

> This analogy bothers me.  People who understand electronics can walk you  
> through the circuit, wire and component by wire and component, and  
> explain what each part does.  If one component is defective they can  
> replace it and the circuit will work again.  It's a functional device in  
> a very literal sense, and its current state determines it functionality.

I think the mashal is more to make the idea of metaphysical engineering
plausible, palatable to the student. It doesn't reveal information the
student doesn't already know, and it doesn't explain why details in
the construction matter. But if the student can accept that radios need
all that complexity to connect to something imperceptible to the senses
without the student personally understanding why or how, he can quiet
that part of his mind that asks why tefillin need all that "spiritual
engineering" to connect to qedushah.

The difference RDR points to is actually what one would expect when
jumping to from physics to metaphysics. In the physical world, things
depend on state. But in ruchnius, everything depends on process. Two
people with the same level of patience could be holding in entirely
different places is one is simply a patient as he was as a toddler,
and the other worked hard at it. The agra for talmud Torah rests in the
tza'ara, not in the knowledge gained.

We are all infintesimal in comparison to HQBH. The truly transcendent
thing about man is our ability to transcend. That we are constantly
in process, creating ourselves rather than our essense being defined
passively by how G-d, upbringing and enviroment made us. (And this
idea is part of the Meshekh Chokhmah's identification of tzelem E-lokim
with bechirah.)

And so, if spirituality's shadow in olam hazah is one of process,
then perhaps it makes sense that the spiritual mechanics of tefillin
rely on the process of their making, and not only on the end-point of
that process.

(Alternatively, someone other than myself might prefer the notion that
a letter written by an apiqoreis is metaphysically different in result.
The spiritual state of the resulting finished product is different,
even if the physical state is identical. With this answer, one doesn't
have to come onto a discussion of process.)

> Furthermore I doubt if anyone can point out, letter by letter and blank  
> space by blank space, the function of each of its parts.

No, so we have more mastery of the electromagnetic spectrum than of our
understanding of qedushah. After all, humanity figured out hor to build
radios; we needed help with tefillin. Why does that make an idea more
or less false?

But again, I think the mashal was just a chizuq emunah for the student.
We live among a host culture whose religion implies a moral code,
but they did away with legal system level detail. Our zeitgeist is one
of hand-wavey religious dictates. Perhaps if REL and his talmid lived
among Muslims, the talmid wouldn't have needed chizuq to deal with the
level of detail in our mitzvos. REL shifts the talmid's uncertainty by
focusing on law in the sense of rules for how things work rather than
the kind of law enforced by gov't.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             The thought of happiness that comes from outside
mi...@aishdas.org        the person, brings him sadness. But realizing
http://www.aishdas.org   the value of one's will and the freedom brought
Fax: (270) 514-1507      by uplifting its, brings great joy. - R' Kook

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Message: 2
From: "Prof. Levine" <llev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2014 10:47:20 -0400
[Avodah] The True Followers of the Chatam Sofer

 From http://tinyurl.com/n87ytk4

His [the Chasam Sofer's] Attitude towards Work and Secular Studies

Out of concern for their livelihood, the Chatam 
Sofer encouraged most of his students to work and 
set times for Torah study ? unlike the practice 
today among Hareidi society, which encourages the 
majority of men to learn in Kollel. True, he did 
believe that in chutz la?aretz (outside of the 
Land of Israel), it was preferable for someone 
who could make ends meet without working and 
without having to rely on the public coffers, to 
engage in Torah study, similar to the opinion of 
Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai in the Talmud (Berachot 35b).


The Chatam Sofer?s Attitude towards Eretz Yisrael

As far as his attitude towards Eretz Yisrael is 
concerned, there are no two ways about it ? the 
Chatam Sofer was one of greatest admirers of the 
Land of Israel. If all his comments on the 
importance of Eretz Yisrael were gathered, they 
would comprise an entire book. Following in the 
path of Chazal and Ramban, he wrote that the main 
fulfillment of Torah and mitzvoth is in the Land 
of Israel (Drashot Chatam Sofer 18:1), and 
compared chutz la?aretz to a grave (ibid. 76:1). 
He also wrote that ?the ground of Eretz Yisrael 
is holier than the skies of chutz la?aretz? (ibid. 324:2).

All this coincides with his wonderful explanation 
of the importance of work in the Land of Israel, which I mentioned last week.

?Working the land and producing its holy fruit is 
itself a mitzvah ? the mitzvah of yishuv Eretz 
Yisrael, settling the Land of Israel?? But not 
only that, he also wrote: ?It is possible that 
other trades which involve social welfare are 
also included in the mitzvah.?  Now, as a posek 
halacha (adjudicator of Jewish law) who chooses 
his words precisely, we see that he was not 
content writing that the other trades are 
machshirei mitzvot (the performance of tasks that 
are necessary to enable a mitzvah to be 
performed), rather, he wrote that they are 
possibly an actual mitzvah. In other words, if 
these trades are considered machshirei mitzvah, 
then their importance is measured only according 
to their degree of benefit in settling the Land, 
but if the same outcome can be achieved by other 
people doing the job, there is no need 
specifically for Jews to fill all these trades. 
But if the trades themselves are a mitzvah of 
yishuv ha?aretz, they inherently possess kedusha 
(holiness). In any event, his remarks indicate 
that anyone who contributes to the prosperity of 
the State of Israel fulfills an absolute mitzvah 
of settling the Land of Israel (Chiddushei Chatam Sofer, Sukkah 36b).

In his book ?Torat Moshe? on the Torah portion 
Shoftim, he added that even vocational studies 
are a mitzvah: ?"Not only working the land [is 
the fulfillment of a commandment] but also 
studying all trades, because of the settlement 
and honor of the land of Israel, so that no one 
should say that in all of the land of Israel 
there is no qualified shoemaker or builder and so 
on, and they would need to bring them from other 
lands, consequently, studying all the trades are a mitzvah?"

It should be noted that his approach had an 
influence on his disciples and their students, 
seeing as a relatively high percentage of them immigrated to Eretz Yisrael.

Another point worth mentioning is that the 
Lithuanian method of Torah study prevalent among 
Hareidi society today, is also radically 
different from the method of the Chatam Sofer, 
who emphasized learning aliba d?hilchata 
(straightforward and practical explanations).

See the above URL for more.  YL

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Message: 3
From: Zev Sero <z...@sero.name>
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2014 13:10:14 -0400
Re: [Avodah] This Chasam Sofer is Astounding!

On 25/03/2014 5:22 AM, Prof. Levine wrote:
>  From http://www.rationalistjudaism.com/2014/03/this-chasa
>  m-sofer-is-astounding.html
> But, says Chasam Sofer, but, this is only true in the Diaspora. [That
> one should learn and not work. YL]   In the Diaspora, there is no
> reason to work at a trade except to earn a living; furthermore,
> enhancing the economy of one's host country accentuates the fact that
> the Jews are in exile. Accordingly, if one can truly dedicate oneself
> to Torah and succeed that way, there is no reason to work, and this is
> what Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai was referring to (and Chasam Sofer argues
> that even Rabbi Yishmael would agree).
> In Israel, on the other hand, it's entirely different. Here, Chasam
> Sofer says, one does not only work the fields in order to make a
> living. There is also the mitzvah of /yishuv ha'aretz/, settling the
> land. In the same way as one stops learning Torah to put on tefillin,
> says Chasam Sofer, one stops learning Torah to farm the land, which is
> the mitzvah of /yishuv ha'aretz/. Chasam Sofer explains that /yishuv
> ha'aretz/ does not just mean living in Israel; it means developing the
> country. He further says that not just farming, but all industries and
> professions, are part of settling the land and giving it honor. Chasam
> Sofer adds that it would be a deficiency in the honor of Israel if a
> certain profession does not exist there, requiring products to be
> imported from abroad.

The blogger misrepresented the pieces he cited.   In the first piece, from
Lulav Hagazul, the CS clearly says that in ChuL there is no machlokes, and
RY agrees with RShBY, while in EY *there is the machlokes* between RY and
RShBY.  Then when a commenter pointed the misrepresentation out to him, he
doubled down and claimed that it was ambiguous; anyone who reads it can see
that there is nothing at all ambiguous about it.

He also ignores the other criterion the CS includes, which is that "rov
yisroel shruyin", which is presumably because the CS holds like the Rambam
and not the Ramban, that the mitzvah of yishuv EY does not apply at all times.
And in this piece he only suggests that *maybe* other occupations are included;
he does not state it as a settled matter.

In the second piece, from parshas Shoftim, (and which doesn't appear in
all editions), the CS again says "yisroel shruyim al admosom", because
without this there is no mitzvah of yishuv EY.  In this piece he does
say that that RShBY and R Nehorai are only talking about a time when the
Jews are scattered among the nations.  Therefore he *has* to hold that at
such a time there's no mitzvah of yishuv EY; if he held according to the
Ramban he would have to say that RShBY is only talking about ChuL, and
that's not a tenable position, because RShBY himself lived in EY.  Also
in this piece he stresses that RShBY is correct, and even when yishuv EY
does apply one must work only for the sake of the mitzvah, and not for
the purpose of parnassah.   As for other occupations, he only says they're
part of the mitzvah if that craft would otherwise be absent in EY; if there
are already cobblers in EY it would seem that there is no mitzvah to become

There's also the principle that a mitzvah that can be done by others does
not override learning Torah.  Perhaps RY's words are confined to reaping
ones own crops, if one happens to have fields and no workers, because then
who else will reap them?

But in any event, if this second piece is authentic it contradicts the
first piece, so they can't be cited together.  We would have to know
which one is mishnah acharonah.  To pretend that the first one is
ambiguous and the second clarifies it is dishonest.   As is pretending
that it applies today, when we don't have a state of "yisroel shruyim
al admosom" (even if a majority of Jews live within the borders, the
tribes are not each on their own land).

Zev Sero               A citizen may not be required to offer a 'good and
z...@sero.name          substantial reason' why he should be permitted to
                        exercise his rights. The right's existence is all
                        the reason he needs.
                            - Judge Benson E. Legg, Woollard v. Sheridan

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Message: 4
From: Michael Poppers <michaelpopp...@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2014 13:22:13 -0400
Re: [Avodah] How to Teach History

In Avodah V32n53, RDrYL responded to me:
>> RDrYL, kindly (a) define "Hirschian" and (b) list actual facts either

supporting or not supporting your "RSS was a Hirschian" theorem.  Thanks.
For a definition of Hirschian, please read some of the essays that
are at http://web.stevens.edu/golem/llevine/rsrh
You might start with
Torah with Derekh Eretz by Mordechai Breuer
and The "Torah-Im-Derekh-Eretz" of Samson Raphael Hirsch by Mordechai

For support of the fact that Rabbi Shimon Schwab was a Hirschian read
please read TIDE - A Second View
<http://web.stevens.edu/golem/llevine/rsrh/tide_second_view.pdf> <
Thanks.  The answer to (a) includes both philosophy and action (if you
wish, both "doxy" and "praxy") in the *hashqafah* we call TiDE; it also
includes both one's personal efforts in becoming an "Israel-Man" and one's
efforts to influence others (including but not limited to the educational
system).  RSS may have changed his mind during or around 1990 on whether
TiDE was a *hora'as sha'ah*, but I never saw any evidence that he changed
his "praxy" as a result (not that it would have much mattered -- he had
already passed on the leadership of YRSRH, not to mention KAJ, and did not
[have the opportunity to] rectify what had been done in the decades prior
to his mind-change) -- is that essay all the evidence you can muster?

All the best from
*Michael Poppers* * Elizabeth, NJ, USA
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Message: 5
From: David Riceman <drice...@optimum.net>
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2014 14:56:26 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Etz hada'at


<<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.">>

Thanks, that's very helpful.  Schwartz's translation also confirms that 
Friedlander is misleading.

But look at the Abarbanel on Breishis (near the end of perek gimel, p. 
116 in the Jerusalem 5724 reprint, beginning of column 1):"Aval 
b'ytziras ha'adam hashniyah uvytziras ha'isha min hatzela v'eitz 
hahayyim v'etz hada'as
v'hanahash ud'varav la'ishah v'divrei ha'ishah imo v'achilas ha'eitz 
v'shiluho min hagan v'lahat haherev kol zeh yahshov harav [=haRambam] 
she'ein hadavar kfi pshuto aval nichtav l'lamdainu dvarim mad'iyim min 

David Riceman
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Message: 6
From: Arie Folger <afol...@aishdas.org>
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2014 20:36:02 +0100
Re: [Avodah] How to Teach History

RPr.LL wrote:
> Rav Schwab did not distance himself from RSRH's talk marking the
> 100 anniversary of Schiller's birth.

Actually, he did. This is from an essay of mine published in a Festschrift
in Switzerland a couple of years ago.

However, R. Schwab, pondering the contrast between the high esteem in which
Jews held
German culture and the German barbarity during the Nazi period, concludes
that, after the

"Let us admit it. Our grandparents subscribed to an illusion ? an imaginary
faith in the
civilizing result of a liberal education encompassing art, poetry, music,
and theater. It was
thought that man's inhumanity to man was a matter of the deep, dark past.
Some still did
not awaken from this vision until the smoke began to rise from the burning
shuls and
sefarim, and until this illusory silence was broken by the shattering of
windows [during
Kristalnacht ?? AF] and the screaming of frightened children in the night.
... Should
someone tell you of knowledge, of science, of wisdom among the nations ?
believe him. But
if he tells you of Torah among them ? don't believe him.
"True ? there is science, technology, law, medicine, political science,
history, languages,
psychology et al. Our tradtion of Torah 'im Derekh Eretz applies to that
too ... we respect
the accomplishments of science and most areas of human knowledge. ... We do
not extend
Torah 'im Derekh Eretz to include philosophy, ethics, morality and
humanism. The
teaching of what is right and wrong, what is noble and ignoble, what is
decent and
indecent, this is not in the realm of the umot ha'olam (nations of the
world). ... No longer
are we going to seek our Schiller to teach us about humanity. It no longer
interests us.31"

Note 31 reads: 1 R. Shimon Schwab, ?Kristalnacht: A Historical Perspective?
in ?Selected Writings? (New Jersey, 1988), pgs. 81?-87.

You may download the entire essay here:

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
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Message: 7
From: "Prof. Levine" <llev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2014 17:23:46 -0400
Re: [Avodah] How to Teach History

At 03:36 PM 3/25/2014, Arie Folger wrote:
>RPr.LL wrote:
> > Rav Schwab did not distance himself from RSRH's talk marking the
> > 100 anniversary of Schiller's birth.
>Actually, he did. This is from an essay of mine 
>published in a Festschrift in Switzerland a couple of years ago.
>However, R. Schwab, pondering the contrast 
>between the high esteem in which Jews held
>German culture and the German barbarity during 
>the Nazi period, concludes that, after the
>"Let us admit it. Our grandparents subscribed to 
>an illusion ? an imaginary faithh in the?
>civilizing result of a liberal education 
>encompassing art, poetry, music, and theater. It was?
>thought that man's inhumanity to man was a 
>matter of the deep, dark past. Some still did
>not awaken from this vision until the smoke 
>began to rise from the burning shuls and
>sefarim, and until this illusory silence was 
>broken by the shattering of windows [during
>Kristalnacht ???? AF] and the screaming of 
>frightened children in the night. ... Should
>someone tell you of knowledge, of science, of 
>wisdom among the nations ? believe him. But
>if he tells you of Torah among them ? don't believe him.
>True ? there is science, technology, law, 
>medicine, political sccience, history, languages,
>psychology et al. Our tradtion of Torah 'im 
>Derekh Eretz applies to that too ... we respect
>the accomplishments of science and most areas of 
>human knowledge. ... We do not extend
>Torah 'im Derekh Eretz to include philosophy, 
>ethics, morality and humanism. The?
>teaching of what is right and wrong, what is 
>noble and ignoble, what is decent and?
>indecent, this is not in the realm of the umot 
>ha'olam (nations of the world). ... No longer?
>are we going to seek our Schiller to teach us 
>about humanity. It no longer interests us.31"
>Note 31 reads: 1 R. Shimon Schwab, 
>???Kristalnacht: A Historical Perspective??? in 
>???Selected Writings??? (New Jersey, 1988), pgs. 81??-87.
>You may download the entire essay here: 

I am aware of his essay.

I think it is more accurate to say that he 
distanced himself from the high esteem in which 
German Jews held German culture.  He did not 
distance himself from RSRH's Schiller talk. If he 
had distanced himself from RSRH's Schiller 
talk,  then why  was he in favor of this talk 
being included in the Collected Writings of 
RSRH.  Others were not,  and it was left out when 
the original 8 volumes were published.  However, 
this talk is now included in volume 9 which appeared recently.

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Message: 8
From: "Kenneth Miller" <kennethgmil...@juno.com>
Date: Wed, 26 Mar 2014 01:52:30 GMT
Re: [Avodah] Time for the Deceased

R' Micha Berger wrote:

> But whatever neumenal reality is behind our phenomenon of time,
> it, like whatever causes the phenomenon of space, are part of
> olam hazeh. We have experimental evidence that shown they're
> inseprable from each other, from velocity, and from gravity,
> etc...

"Neumenal reality" is a new term to me. I am presuming that you are
referring to ideas mentioned at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki
/Noumenon  But if that's so, then you're talking about things which by
*definition* lack experimental evidence. Perhaps you meant "experiential"

I asked:

> yes, we'd like you to demonstrate logically that olam haba
> (a/k/a shamayim) isn't a physical location.

RMB answered:

> Where is "1+1=2"? In one sense, everywhere. There is not part of
> the universe in which 1+1 doesn't equal 2. In another sense,
> nowhere. An idea doesn't take up space, have a location.
> An idea is a tzurah beli chomer, pure form. .... the form itself
> doesn't take up space at all, nor have a location. Nor a when.
> And, this is why the Yad describes mal'akhim as tzuros beli
> chomer, while the Moreh identifies them with Aristo's pure
> intellects. An intellect without a body lacks a "when" and
> "where" just like "1+1=2" does -- and for the same reason.

I accept what you are saying about ideas. The same could be said about lots
of things. "Green" lacks a when and a where too. Even "table" lacks a when
and a where, because it is an abstraction. But if I'm talking about a
*specific* table, then it is no longer an abstraction, and it does have a
when and a where. And so does a specific radio wave. Most wavelengths
aren't visible, and they go way too fast in any case. But we can see and
measure their effects, and they most certainly do have a where and a when.

So it seems to me that if a mal'ach is an abstraction, then it has no more
of a when and where than "1+1=2" does. This would be the case for those
mal'achim who are mere mental images in a nevua. But in a situation (or
following a shita) where the mal'ach is NOT a mere image, then it is very
different from "1+1=2". Let's not confuse abstractions with intangibles.

Let's say, for a moment, that two malachim really do accompany me home from
shul on Friday night. I admit that I don't know what that means, but it
certainly means *something*. I don't know whether these "mal'achim" have
bechira or not. I can't touch them or see them. I don't think it counts as
a nevuah because I'm really not at all aware of them.

They are intangible, but they're not abstractions. And I can prove that
they aren't abstractions, because the Gemara told me two very important
things about them: (1) They are *here*, accompanying me home, and not a
mile away. (2) They are *now*, on Layl Shabbos, and not at other times. You
can get as metaphoric as you like, and say that these mal'achim are not
really beings but they are something else entirely, and I'm still okay with
that, because they DO have a "where" (near me in some sense, and not
distant from me in that sense) and a "when" (on Layl Shabbos, or at least,
their effects (whatever that means) are manifested (whatever that means) on
Layl Shabbos). So how can Rambam and Aristotle say that they *lack* a where
and a when?

Disclosure: I've been using an awful lot of weasel words, and I've been
admitting that there's an awful lot that I don't know. I hope that doesn't
make it look like I'm avoiding the issue. Rather, I'm trying to be as
inclusive as possible of all sorts of shitos and interpretations. But there
are certain things that we must agree on, and among them is that mal'achim
are creations, not gods. Unless you want to argue that the mal'achim who
accompany us home on Layl Shabbos are total abstractions on the order of
concepts like "1+1=2", then I just can't imagine how one can argue against
even the *possibility* that they *might* have a where and a when.

Akiva Miller
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Message: 9
From: David Riceman <drice...@optimum.net>
Date: Wed, 26 Mar 2014 09:29:43 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Rav Elya Lopian: tefillin and radio (Kenneth


  <<There can be MANY reasons for a particular mitzvah. What I've 
written is in addition to what you pointed out, not instead of it.>>

  I had hoped you'd cite a source (maybe a rishon or a Hazal?) 
specifically about tefillin.

  <<For example, here's a portion of ArtScroll's Translation of Tefilas 
Zakkah: After mentioning "evil fantasies", the tefillah says: <<< 
Thereby I have created corrupting, destructive spirits that are known as 
'plagues of human beings.' Woe is to me that instead of the good 
thoughts through which would have created holy angels that would have 
been good defenders and advocates of my benefit, in their place I have 
created destroyers to harm myself... >>> I won't pretend to fully 
understand this, but it sure sounds like good angels get created as a 
direct result of mitzvos, and destructive ones get created as an output 
of sins.>>

  Again, this is something that deserves explanation, but it doesn't 
seem very closely related to (a) waves of shefa or (b) the detailed 
requirements of tefillin. I think you need to make your thesis more precise.

  <<Or the Y'hee Ratzon after Tekios D'Myushav>>

  The instructions in the Koren mahzor read: "There are those who have 
the custom of not saying this, and there are those who prohibit saying 
this." No mention of anyone actually saying it. I don't know who 
composed this prayer, but citing it also seems to make your thesis 
fuzzier rather than clearer.

In the case of tefillin we had a mitzvah with many detailed requirements 
for its physical instantiation and your presumption that it was designed 
to receive shefa.  Neither of those seem germane to either of these 

  <<He tried to tell me something about "quality", but I was too young 
to understand.>>

  I think you misunderstand my question. I understand hadar for esrog, 
since the Torah mentions it, and Hazal generalize the concept of hiddur 
mitzva extensively. But why do you think having beautiful tefillin makes 
them work better? Again, can you cite a source saying that beautiful 
tefillin work better than simple kosher tefillin? I understand that 
you're speculating, but your speculation seems based on thin air.

  I don't know if you are familiar with George Frazer's "The Golden 
Bough", but in it he postulates a rule he calls "the law of similarity", 
which says that in magical thought things similar to each other have 
similar effect (think of the illuminated manuscripts of circuit diagrams 
in "A Canticle for Liebowitz"). Now go read the Rambam's analysis of a 
certain type of AZ in PhM AZ 4:7 (this is one of those places where 
Kafih's translation works better). I'm not sure how close your ideas are 
to those the Rambam describes and condemns.

  I admit that it's hard to find a clear line of distinction between 
that and the phenomenon of nevuah which he discusses in H. YhT 7:1 and 
MN II:36. Nonetheless I wonder if you may be going over the line, and I 
wish you would clarify your conjecture.

David Riceman


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