Avodah Mailing List

Volume 32: Number 137

Mon, 27 Oct 2014

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: via Avodah
Date: Thu, 23 Oct 2014 00:51:09 -0400
Re: [Avodah] re'ach

From: Kenneth Miller via Avodah _avodah@lists.aishdas.org_ 

>  is there any doubt at all that the "'atalef" listed is the bat?
> But I  don't see how this is relevant. Bats are 'ofos -- they fly!
> Just as  cetaceans are dagim, because they swim.[--RZS]

I am not knowledgeable  enough to take sides in this discussion, but I just 
noticed a Rashi on this  week's parsha which might be useful: If I'm 
reading it correctly, on pasuk 7:14,  he says that the category of "tzipor" (bird) 
includes a chagav (grasshopper),  because the pasuk uses the word "kanaf" 
(wing), and grasshoppers do have  wings.

(I would note that although grasshoppers do have wings, they do  not use 
them to fly; or at least, their power of flight is not nearly as strong  as 
that of birds. But that's okay, because the pasuk makes no reference to "'of"  
(flying) -- only to "kanaf" (wings).)

Akiva Miller

Chazal did have a notion of species but did not classify species the  way 
we moderns do.  It is not clear to me how the Torah itself  characterizes 
species, but it seems to be using characteristics that are obvious  to the 
naked eye and not determined by anatomical studies or genetics.  If  the atalef 
is a bat then the Torah is lumping together "things that fly" and not  
distinguishing between birds and mammals as we do.
On Ber 1:20 ("Yishratzu hamayim sheretz") Rashi says, "Every living  
creature that does not rise much above the ground is called 'sheretz' such as,  
among things that fly, flies (zevuvim); among disgusting things, ants, beetles 
 and worms; among larger creatures, the mole, snail and so on; and all  
fish."  (Based on Silbermann translation.)

--Toby Katz


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Message: 2
From: via Avodah
Date: Thu, 23 Oct 2014 00:33:20 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Mindfulness

From: Micha Berger via Avodah  <avo...@lists.aishdas.org>

: Mussar is cool, analytical and  rational, while chassidus is warm and  
: humane.  With mussar you  focus on yourself -- it is almost narcissistic 
: constantly taking  your own temperature...[--TK]

I vehemently object to both  characterizations:

1- Hispa'alus is all about getting emotionally worked  up. A central
message of mussar is about how middos respond to experience,  imagery,
song, meditation, shouting.... far more than they are changed by  abstract

2- A derekh that focuses on my relationship  to the Borei is more,
not less, prone to spiritual narcissism than one  founded by someone
whose last concern was that the bachur left to keep him  company
might be scared by being left in the room with his own dead  body.

1. When you write that "Hispa'alus is all about getting emotionally worked  
up" you remind me of a conversation I had with my husband a few years ago.  
 We heard a speech by a big talmid chacham whose approach is some mixture 
of  Litvish and Yekkish -- appealing to the intellect -- and the speech was 
about  doing teshuva before Yom Kippur.  The speaker went on and on about how 
 important it is to cry when you do teshuva.  He brought many quotes and  
citations about the importance of crying.  When he was done, there wasn't a  
wet eye in the house.  
Not even the slightest moisture.  Not one tissue was used.  Not  one old 
lady even sniffled.  
Later I said to my husband, "When my father used to speak before Yom  
Kippur, he never once mentioned that it was important to cry.  His speeches  were 
so emotional and inspiring that you couldn't /help/ crying!  He  didn't 
have to command his audience to cry -- he /made/ them cry!"
That has always seemed to me one big difference between Litvaks and  
chassidim, and mussar seems so Litvish to me -- so dry.  A dry-as-dust  essay 
about the importance of emotion and imagination might evoke guilt and a  great 
deal of earnest eye-squeezing, but it isn't going to actually elicit  emotion 
and imagination.
2.  "[His] last concern was that the bachur left to keep him company  might 
be scared by being left in the room with his own dead body."  The  concern 
with another's feelings is characteristic of Torah Judaism in general --  in 
no way unique to mussar.  You can read any number of similar stories  about 
Torah greats from every movement, every community and every  generation.  

--Toby  Katz


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Message: 3
From: David Riceman
Date: Thu, 23 Oct 2014 10:03:16 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Halachah keBasrai?

See Tshuvos Havos Yair #149 and #94 s.v. "MeAbbaye v'Rava halacha 
k'basrai" esp. two paragraphs later s.v. "v'ayyein bRif Perek Klal Gadol".

David Riceman

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Message: 4
From: Micha Berger
Date: Thu, 23 Oct 2014 16:59:27 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Selach, Mechal, Kapper

On Sat, Oct 04, 2014 at 11:45:43PM +0100, Allan Engel via Avodah wrote:
: Why in the Amida is the order Limchila, Lislicha Ulchapparah, but in the Al
: Cheits it's Selach then Mechal (then Kapper)?

: (A brief search through the archives turns up a post from RMB in 2001
: saying that there is "a machlokes between the Gra and RSRH about whether
: "selach lanu, mechal lanu, kaper lanu" is in ascending or descending
: order." I can't immediately see if this would explain the difference
: between the two orders I reference.)

Relevant to the 2001 discussion is that according to RSRH, selichah
is a repair of the effects of the sin, whereas the others relate to
healing the relationship (mekhilah) and avoiding punishment (kaprah).
Selichah is different in kind than the other two -- it impacts the
individual, rather than how Hashem relates to us.

Whereas according to the Avudraham (who was possibly the Gra's
souce), it's kaparah -- which leads to tahrah "yekhapeir aleikhem
letaher esekhem" -- that is the change in one's self, and selichah
which is the pardoning of punishment. So that it's kaprah that is
different in kind.

RSRH's peshat would place healing the self in between two expressions
of healing the relationship. AND it's not in ascending or descending
sequence of desirability.

And while to the Avudraham or Gra there is still no neat sequence,
at least it's relationship, relationship, self. So we can read it
as: YK is for healing our relationship with You, preferably entirely,
but at least enough to avoid punishment; but better than healing
our relationship, it can also be a time to heal ourselves.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             I long to accomplish a great and noble task,
mi...@aishdas.org        but it is my chief duty to accomplish small
http://www.aishdas.org   tasks as if they were great and noble.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                              - Helen Keller

%(real_name)s mailing list

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Message: 5
From: Zev Sero
Date: Thu, 23 Oct 2014 12:37:15 -0400
Re: [Avodah] re'ach

> (I would note that although grasshoppers do have wings, they do not
> use them to fly; or at least, their power of flight is not nearly as strong
> as that of birds. But that's okay, because the pasuk makes no reference
> to "'of" (flying) -- only to "kanaf" (wings).)

Locusts certainly fly!   That's the whole problem with them!   And their
power of flight is far greater than that of chickens.    WP (for ease of
reference) says "The adults are powerful fliers; they can travel great
distances", and surely nobody disputes this.   In any case, in Parshas
Shmini we see explicitly that chagavim are "`ofos", so there's nothing
to talk about.    And as Rashi says in Bereishis, flies are "`ofos" too.

And yet if "bat haya`anah" is the ostrich, then they are also "`ofos",
despite not flying.  (Or did the ancients assume that ostriches do fly,
and just happened never to have been observed doing so?)

None of which changes the fact that the Torah clearly recognises the
existence of different species, or that interfertility is an obvious criterion
for distinguishing them that must surely have occurred to the ancients
as soon as they gave up trying to breed mules together.

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Message: 6
From: Lisa Liel
Date: Thu, 23 Oct 2014 13:15:30 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Hoshana Rabba

On 10/15/2014 9:52 AM, Rich, Joel via Avodah wrote:
> As the sun rises on Hoshana Rabba, an annual question dawns (on me), 
> when in Jewish history can we document the "yom hadin" nature of 
> Hoshana Rabba being clearly identified ?

For what it's worth, this is how it was explained to me over the years 
(this is a combination of information I got from various sources).  The 
event was call "Yom Hashem HaGadol v'HaNora", which all of the Nevi'im 
prophesy about, which is the denoument of the War of Gog/Magog, and 
which we pray to happen soon every time we say Kaddish, will happen on 
Hoshana Rabba.

There's a concept of certain dates being imbued with significance even 
before the events that happen on them... happen.  Tisha B'Av, the 25th 
of Kislev, etc.  Hoshana Rabba has the unusual status of being a holiday 
to commemorate an event that hasn't happened yet, but an event that's 
supposed to outshine Yetziyat Mitzrayim in size and significance.  Other 
than Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, it's the only day when we say "kadosh 
v'nora Shemo" when we're taking out the sefer Torah.  Normally it's just 
"kadosh Shemo".

The fact that we read haftarot about the War of Gog/Magog during Sukkot 
is connected to the whole subject.  The Yom HaDin nature of the day 
isn't Yom HaDin for us, really.  It's Yom HaDin for the nations of the 

So it'd have to be at least as early as the establishment of those 
haftarot, no?


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Message: 7
From: Prof. Levine
Date: Sun, 26 Oct 2014 10:23:36 -0400
[Avodah] Original Sin

The following is from RSRH's commentary on Bereishis 3:19.

19 By the sweat of your countenance shall you eat 
bread, until you return to the ground, for from 
it you were taken; for you are dust, and
to dust you shall return.

Great importance is attached to the following further observation:
The Divine judgment directs a curse at the earth and at the serpent, but
this judgment contains not a hint of a curse against man. Man is not
cursed in any way. Nothing was changed in man?s lofty calling or in his
ability to fulfill it. Only the external conditions, only the stage on which
he is to fulfill his mission, have been changed ? and even this happened
only for his own good. The mission itself, his Divine calling and his
ability to fulfill it, have not changed one iota. To this day, every newborn
infant emerges from God?s hand in purity, as did Adam in his time;
every child comes into the world as pure as an angel, to live and become
a man. This is one of the cardinal points in the Torah of Israel and in
Jewish life.

But what a miserable and hopeless picture of man is drawn by those
who err and deny his purity. On the basis of the story of Gan Eden, they
have concocted a lie that undermines the moral future of mankind. We
are referring to the dogma of ?original sin,? on the basis of which they
have built a spiritual structure against which the Jew must protest with
every fiber of his being.

It is true that, on account of the sin in the Garden of Eden, all of
Adam?s descendants inherited the task of living in a world that no longer
smiles at them as it once did, but this is so only because this same sin
is still being committed over and over again. However, the express purpose
of the present conflict between man and earth and of man?s resultant
?training by renunciation? is to guide man toward moral perfection,
which will pave the way for his return to Paradise.

But to say that because of ?original sin? sinfulness is innate in man,
that man has lost the ability to be good and is now compelled to sin ?
these are notions against which Judaism raises its most vigorous protest.
Man as an individual and mankind as a whole can, at any time,
return to God and to Paradise on earth. Toward this end, man needs
no medium other than devotion to duty, which is within the capacity
of every human being. Toward this end, there is no need for an intermediary
who has died and then been resurrected. This is attested to by
all of Jewish history, from which we learn that, in subsequent generations
God drew as near to men of purity as He did to Adom Harishon before
the sin. Avraham, Moshe, Yeshayahu, Yirmeyahu, and others like them
attained God?s nearness simply by their faithfulness to duty. The first
principle of Judaism ? the one, free God ? goes hand in hand with
the second principle, namely, the pure and free man.

The dogma of original sin is a most regrettable error of an alien
faith. They think that, in consequence of this sin, sinfulness is innate
in man, and that man can be saved from the curse of sin, only by virtue
of the belief in a certain fact. In the story of Gan Eden, however, there is
no mention of a curse against man. To this day, every Jew avows before
God: ?The soul that you have given me is pure,?
and it is up to me alone to keep it pure and to return it to You in its
original state of purity. As our Sages teach us: 
There is no age in which people like
Avraham, Ya?akov, Moshe, and Shemuel do not live? (Bereshis Rabbah
56:7). In every age, in every generation, man is capable of ascending to
the highest levels of morality and spirituality.

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Message: 8
From: Michael Poppers
Date: Sun, 26 Oct 2014 22:32:32 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Yom Kippur at KAJ in Washington Heights

In Avodah V32n144, RDrYL noted URL <http://www.kayj.net/media/
kunena/attachments/76/YKatKAJ.pdf>.  To that well-written essay I would add
one other point of distinction at KAJ not found in other *nusach*-Ashk'naz
shuls: each "Avinu Malkeinu" (AM) line is said with fervor by the Chazzan
and then said aloud *b'yachad* by the Qahal.  One can imagine the great
fervor with which AM is said at N'ilah, esp. when YhK is on Shabbos --
time-wise, I recall it taking on the order of ten minutes (something to
consider when you're a Chazzan trying to precisely time the end of N'ilah

All the best from
*Michael Poppers* * Elizabeth, NJ, USA
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Message: 9
From: Michael Poppers
Date: Sun, 26 Oct 2014 22:59:03 -0400
Re: [Avodah] ani vahu or ani vaho

In Avodah V32n143, RAG asked:
> I have for many years chafed at the sound of the tzibbur saying: "Ani
vaho hoshia na." I recall that when I was younger, before the appearance of
a certain siddur, many people said "ani vahu," with a shuruk, not a cholam.
Today, it seems that most people say vaho, with a cholam.
> There are numerous proofs that the word is "vahu." This phrase comes from
the Mishnah in Sukkah 45a. In some editions of the mishnayos, the word is
actually written with an aleph at the end, a clear indication that the
vowel is a shuruk.
> <snip>
> ...I would like to hear what others have to say about this matter.<
Baer (Avodas Yisroel) has "vaho" w/out comment.  Years ago, my thought was
that "Ani VaHo" was an anagram of the *sheim HaVaYaH*, with the "Ho" being
the "do" in the *sheim adnus* we use to pronounce the Tatragrammaton -- if
it was "Hu", what *sheim-adnus* syllable would it represent? -- but, of
course, it's just a thought.

RAG mentioned BT Sukah 45.  He (and you) may be interested in these
Mishmar-'blog thoughts in favor of "vaho" -- see URL <

All the best from
*Michael Poppers* * Elizabeth, NJ, USA
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Message: 10
From: saul newman
Date: Mon, 27 Oct 2014 11:28:20 -0700
[Avodah] man-made climate change


two opposing viewpoints-------

Some of us, though, feel that a passuk we recite daily ? ?Tremble before
Him, all the earth; indeed, the world is fixed so that it cannot falter?
(Divrei Hayomim 1 16:30) ? reassures us that Hashem has built
self-correcting mechanisms into nature, and that our zeal should be
reserved for Torah-study and mitzvos.


 take care that you do not damage and destroy My world, for if you damage
it, there is no one to repair it afterwards!? (Midrash Koheles Rabbah 7:1)

question:  1. could the  lack of concern  about environmental issues
reflect less their veracity , and more the hostility to religion that many
in those agencies advocate

 2.  how to reconcile the medrash with the passuk.   i would tend to think
 the passuk refers more to
the physical constants,  Maxwell's Laws etc  ,  the underlying mechanics
the RBSO directed nature to abide by...
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