Avodah Mailing List

Volume 34: Number 4

Wed, 13 Jan 2016

< Previous Next >
Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Akiva Miller
Date: Mon, 11 Jan 2016 07:52:43 -0500
[Avodah] Musical instruments in shul

Someone sent me a video showing that when his minyan sang Hallel this
morning in shul, the leader was using a guitar.

I thought that because klei shir were used in the Beis Hamikdash, there is
a specific halacha or minhag not to use them in shul nowadays. Am I

Akiva Miller
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.aishdas.org/pipermail/avodah-a

Go to top.

Message: 2
From: Micha Berger
Date: Tue, 12 Jan 2016 14:23:19 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Hallel - sung?

On Fri, Dec 11, 2015 at 12:32:30PM +0200, Ben Waxman via Avodah wrote:
: http://www.flipsnack.com/79987ECF8D6/522.html See page 5. Rav Meir
: Cohen attacks musical Hallel (and much of singing in shul), calling
: it a complete distortion of what the Levi'im did ..
: Levis' song Avodah, not a method to raise spirits), a poor
: substitute for true spirituality which only makes things worse.
: http://www.flipsnack.com/79987ECF8D6/523.html  See page 5. A
: response written by Rav Harel in which he defends the musical
: Hallels and singing in general, bringing several sources to show
: that this type of prayer is exactly what Chazal wanted.

... which doess not make it levitic.

I understand the "poor substribtute for true spirituality" thing. I
take a teen with Downs to a Carlebach minyan, and he gets into
it just around the same as people who are capable of knowing
what is being said.

That said, it needn't be used as a substitution. Traditional nusach
isn't accused of being a replacement for kavanah.

But one would have to make sure to have a chazan who plans ahead,
matching tune to the phrasing as well as the mood of the words. The
emotional impace of the melody can enhance kavanah.

In short, I see RMC's objection to apply to common implementation,
but not to the ideal that RAH is describing.

Meanwhile, though, if many aren't pursuing true spirituality either,
it's a bit of "the perfect is the enemy of the good".

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             When memories exceed dreams,
mi...@aishdas.org        The end is near.
http://www.aishdas.org                   - Rav Moshe Sherer
Fax: (270) 514-1507

Go to top.

Message: 3
From: Micha Berger
Date: Tue, 12 Jan 2016 14:41:25 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Halacha as a System and Deriving halachah for

On Wed, Dec 30, 2015 at 04:56:07PM -0500, David Riceman via Avodah wrote:
:>                      I am developing the theory that the reason for
:> "lo bashamayim hi" is because "befikha uvilvakha la'asoso". That
:> just as all of Torah is an elaboration of "mah desani lakh,
:> lekhaverkha lo sa'avod" to an extent beyond a human's ability to
:> work out, the same is true in the converse. Halakhah cannot be
:> decided in shamayim, detached from a heart that has a natural moral
:> calling.

: To some extent this is what the Ran argues in the passage I cited in
: a previous email.  But "natural moral calling" is too constraining.
: One can make a plausible argument that dinei tumah and taharah have
: a moral dimension, but can one make such an argument about the
: construction of break-down ovens?

If moral calling were sufficient, we wouldn't need halakhah. And Hillel
would have said "de'alakh sani lechavrekha lo saavid" without having to
conclude "zil gemor".

A mashal: Natural morality without any knowledge of medicine would never
make sense of a doctor's decision to amputate. Any more than natural
morality without HQBH's input could make a decision about tum'ah and
break-down ovens. But just as one is more information that if the person
had it he would see how the doctor was being moral, so too with Divine
Wisdom we would see how every mitzvah is about leheitiv es hazulas.
Possibly in the role of the golden eggs, possibly in the role of caring
for the goose.

As R' Yitzchaq Volozhiner descrives RCV, in the haqdamah to NhC:
   He regularly rebuked me, because he saw that I did not participate in
   the pain of others. And these were his constant words to me: This is
   the entire person. One is not created for himself, but to benefit
   others with the full extent of his powers. (Shezeh kol ha'adam:
   lo le'atzmo nivra, loq leho'il le'achrini...)

But because Yahadus is all about leho'il le'achrini, halakhah's topic
is an elaboration of natural morality. Even WRT tum'ah vetahara.

My notion is that the two make a single whole -- and therefore one
cannot follow natural morality without halakhah, but one cannot
create halakhah without natural morality.

This is what I was talking about when I noted that the pasuq that
says "lo bashamayim hi" tells you that it instead resides in your
mouth and heart.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Education is not the filling of a bucket,
mi...@aishdas.org        but the lighting of a fire.
http://www.aishdas.org                - W.B. Yeats
Fax: (270) 514-1507

Go to top.

Message: 4
From: Micha Berger
Date: Wed, 13 Jan 2016 18:29:34 -0500
Re: [Avodah] takanot by chazal

On Fri, Jan 01, 2016 at 02:36:18PM +0000, Rich, Joel via Avodah wrote:
: Anyone have any shiurim/sources on the establishment of takanot by chazal?...
: 1) How often does the specific application turn on an individual's
: specific circumstances?

This would be a statistcal question. The actual per-taqanah answer
would rely on the phrasing of the taqanah. I don't think you're going
to find a rule, if that's what you are going for.

: 2) How often did measures turn on the individual in question vs. "the
: average Yossi"? (e.g. how we determine for an individual if he has eaten
: sviah (enough to be full)).

About shiurim in particular, I have been chasing the same question. When
are 4 amos an average, and when is it that person's amos? Obviously for
a group's eruv, you cannot say it's kosher for one person because ti
qualifies by the length of his arm, but not for another.

I thought I got a hint of the idea that this in itself is a general rule
-- the standard ammah is noly used when the din is on the cheftzah and
applicable to multiple people.

See my posts at
    - it's carrying 4 of your own amos in a RhR, or going 4of your
      own amos beyond techum
    - AhS OC 363:32-35 http://j.mp/1DMRNlm - when do you use a personal
      measure, when a fixed one, and if fixed -- how consistentdo you
      have to be? Eg on the same eruv, you do not use two different
      amos. But there is a machloqes rishonim whether you use wide
      amos for all kelayim, because that would be more machmir the most
      often in kelayim, but a small one for everying in mavui or sukkah.
    - AhS OC 586:15 - minimum shofar must be visible when held, so it's
      the ba'al toqei'ah's tefach, regardless. This just shows that the word
      tefach isn't always about a formal shiur.
    - AhS OC 612:8 - drinking melo lugmav is his own cheek, but kezayis
      is standardized. I asked if this is because no person has their
      own kezayis, but if breeding changing their size the generation
      could have their own? Or is it because kezayis is the definition of
      okhel, not akhilah, and we're back to gavra vs cheftzah? (Melo
      lugmav isn't defining the liquid, because that shiur is a revi'is.)

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             One who kills his inclination is as though he
mi...@aishdas.org        brought an offering. But to bring an offering,
http://www.aishdas.org   you must know where to slaughter and what
Fax: (270) 514-1507      parts to offer.        - R' Simcha Zissel Ziv

Go to top.

Message: 5
From: Micha Berger
Date: Wed, 13 Jan 2016 21:40:53 -0500
Re: [Avodah] tinok shenishba

On Sun, Jan 03, 2016 at 06:07:00PM -0500, Akiva Miller via Avodah wrote:
: R' Saul Newman wrote:
: > in an offline conversation, a list member included a remark
: > that 'the tinok shenishba excuse is wearing thin' ...
: Why would anyone care about the definition of a tinok shenishba? As far as
: I can see, that status is relevant only because halacha places certain
: sanctions against sinners, and the "tinok shenishba" status can exempt a
: sinner from (some of) those sanctions. If so, then I think that a
: discussion of this status might be more productive if we compare it to
: other similar statuses.

Tinoq shenishba isn't really a halachic category. The gemara (Shabbos
68a) uses it as an example of a broader principle -- the person who is
even less than a mechalel 2 Shabbosos behe'elem achas. (He'elem requires
once knowing, and then forgetting.) He is thus oneis, not shogeig.

It would therefore seem comparatively unimportant to define YsN than
to ask directly about whether the person is an oneis.

Yabia Omer (YD:11) says that a tinoq shenishba is an oneis for this
reason. Not even a shogeig.

: But why are embarrassment and shame relevant? When we ostracize the
: Mechalel Shabbos B'farhesya to the point of denying him the privileges of
: his Jewishness, what is our goal? What are we hoping to accomplish? Suppose
: he relents, and stops his public flaunting of Shabbos, but continues to
: violate Shabbos in the privacy of his home. Is that really such a positive
: step that we would allow him to be counted for the minyan again? ...

Well it means that he isn't willing to leave the community. And perhaps
that is a big enough step to tell the community not to shun him. After
all, the rasha of the Hagaddah is famousy called a heretic for exactly
this -- lefi shehotzi es atzmo min hakelal, kafar be'iqar.

: I can't help but suspect that the difference between Mechalel Shabbos
: B'farhesya and Mechalel Shabbos B'tzin'a has nothing to do with being loyal
: and faithful to Hashem, and actually has everything to do with maintaining
: order and not rocking the boat. I hope I'm wrong.

(RMR did posit that there was a measure of respect for Shabbos in his
knowing its violation is something shameful.)

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             The greatest discovery of all time is that
mi...@aishdas.org        a person can change their future
http://www.aishdas.org   by merely changing their attitude.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                   - Oprah Winfrey

Go to top.

Message: 6
From: Micha Berger
Date: Wed, 13 Jan 2016 21:47:06 -0500
Re: [Avodah] theodicity

On Fri, Jan 08, 2016 at 11:19:07AM +0200, Eli Turkel via Avodah wrote:
: Why do the righteous suffer??[
: <http://www.kolhamevaser.com/2015/11/of-sensitivity-and-humili
: ty-an-exposition-of-rabbi-aharon-lichtensteins-approach-to-the-suffering-
: of-others/#_edn5>

Notice that this is RAL's approach to the suffering of *others*.

I am reminded of R' Yisrael's principle of davar vehafukho. Very often
the ideal attitude we should take when dealing with others is the opposite
of the one we take WRT ourselves.

It's okay to have bitachon when it's our own needs, but when it comes
to others, take care of them without expecting Hashem to help him.

Worry about another's kavod, but be an anav.

And WRT experiencing tragedy, RAL says one thing about the suffering of
others, but one's own suffering should lead to yefashfeish / ymeashmeish

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Take time,
mi...@aishdas.org        be exact,
http://www.aishdas.org   unclutter the mind.
Fax: (270) 514-1507            - Rabbi Simcha Zissel Ziv, Alter of Kelm

Go to top.

Message: 7
From: Micha Berger
Date: Wed, 13 Jan 2016 21:48:53 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Jedi murder

Maybe a more exact parallel... Would someone who kills by kishuf but
(not kishuf) the hasra'ah was for retzichah be punishable?

Tir'u baTov!

Go to top.

Message: 8
From: Micha Berger
Date: Wed, 13 Jan 2016 21:58:44 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Musical instruments in shul

On Mon, Jan 11, 2016 at 07:52:43AM -0500, Akiva Miller via Avodah wrote:
: Someone sent me a video showing that when his minyan sang Hallel this
: morning in shul, the leader was using a guitar.

: I thought that because klei shir were used in the Beis Hamikdash, there is
: a specific halacha or minhag not to use them in shul nowadays. Am I
: mistaken?

I thought it was one of the gezeiros against making shuls that are too
similar to a Reform temple. So I took a look around...

See the Melameid leHo'il (vol I, OC 16); R' Dovid Zvi Hoffman mentions
its inclusion in a collection titled Eileh Divrei haBeris published
in 1819 by the Hamburg BD, and prohibited by R' Avraham Lowenstein (av
BD of Emden) in 1820. And in 1863, Hildesheimer's made their semichah
conditional on not taking a job in a synagogue with an organ.

But in any case, the MlH argues it's a derekh emori issue. I would
say "Barukh shekivanti", but I probably had my initial impression
from someone citing RDZH here in a prior iteration.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Nearly all men can stand adversity,
mi...@aishdas.org        but if you want to test a man's character,
http://www.aishdas.org   give him power.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                      -Abraham Lincoln


Avodah mailing list



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 >