Avodah Mailing List

Volume 34: Number 113

Wed, 14 Sep 2016

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Micha Berger
Date: Mon, 12 Sep 2016 18:33:07 -0400
[Avodah] Hadassim, Esrogim, and how much to spend on hiddur

On Mon, Sep 12, 2016 at 08:34:58PM GMT, R' Yitzchak / Prof L. Levine shared
with Areivim:
: Click on the link to see an important notice regarding serious issues
: with Hadassim
: http://www.crcweb.org/Haddasim.pdf

Rabbis and Dayanim Fuerst and Reiss meation the lack of point in
spending "$70, $100, or $200 on an Esrog, and then risk not filfilling
the Mitzvah properly because the hadassim are not kosher or are acceptable
only Bdi'eved."

But is there a point even if your hadassim are mehudarim?

The limit we are supposed to spend on hiddur mitzvah is a shelish.
Milevar. So that means spending 150% of the non-mehudar. If you
can get in your town kosher esrogim for $40, it is appropriate to
spend more than $60 looking for hiddur?

Maybe that extra $10, $40 or $140 are supposed to be spent on other 
people's yom tov expenses instead?

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             In the days of our sages, man didn't sin unless
mi...@aishdas.org        he was overcome with a spirit of foolishness.
http://www.aishdas.org   Today, we don't do a mitzvah unless we receive
Fax: (270) 514-1507      a spirit of purity.      - Rav Yisrael Salanter

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Message: 2
From: Akiva Miller
Date: Mon, 12 Sep 2016 18:37:03 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Rav Melamed on Metal Pots

I wrote:
> And most importantly, did those experiments include a
> control group? In other words, did they run the same
> experiments with pots of the same type that Chazal used,
> and if so, did they find that the taste of the first food
> *was* present? Because if not, then how do they know what
> sort of "taste" to be looking for?

I'd like to expand on that a bit. Besides including metal pots of the same
type that Chazal used, the experiments should also include *glass* keilim.

As R' Micha Berger wrote, it's not really clear what "taam" means in this
context. Glass would enhance the experiment because of its non-absorbency
(in certain situations, at least). If "taam" is understood properly,
then the experimenters would find it to be present in metal keilim but
absent from glass keilim.

(In my experience, if one takes a purchases apple juice in a glass bottle,
and then uses that bottle for plain water, the water will always have
an apple juice taste to it, mo matter how well one tries to clean that

Akiva Miller

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Message: 3
From: Eli Turkel
Date: Tue, 13 Sep 2016 12:48:10 +0300
[Avodah] Rav Melamed on Metal Pots

The article that discusses the experiment appeared in BDD vol 30 63-84
Experiments for comparing halakhic principles and empiric reality
regarding absorption and emission in utensils
by Yair Frank, Lavi Schiller and Rabbi Dr. Dror Fixler
earlier a halakhic discussion by them appeared inTechumim 34 113-129

They refer to several articles that discuss experimentation and halacha
by R. Nachum Rabinowitz and R. Ariel.
More specifically they refer to Pesachim 30b where Amemimar did an
experiment to check whether one can use certain vessels for Pesach. With
regard to glass Rashba also checked physically (shut Rashba 1:233)
The Radvaz was asked about porcelain and performed 2 experiments (shut
Radvaz 3:401) etc

The teshuva of R. Lior is found at http://www.yeshiva.org/ask/?id=71715
and http://www.yeshiva.org/ask/?id=56591

In terms of the experiment they did not test only for "taste" but also
for "absorption" . In particular, they weighted the vessel before and
after cooking food to see if it gained weight. This is the method used
by the Radvaz in his experiment. Today one can measure the diffusion of
molecules(or even atoms and ions) into the cooking vessel.

Since the general rule is that psak is not based on things that can only
be seen by a microscope they also check for specific molecules. Modern
taste research is based on 6 types of taste
    1) sweet
    2) salty
    3) sour (chamutz)
    4) bitter
    5) Ummami
    6) fat.
In the experiments they tested for types 1-3 as represented by specific
molecules and pH levels

They tested the following pots
    1) copper electrolytic
    2) Pleaze
    3) Steel 'with carbon
    4,5) 2 types of common noncorrosive steel
    6) aluminum
    7) pyrex
    8) glass
    9) clay (cheres)
the details of the pots are in the article. Most of the article details
the various experiments

Conclusions: the absorption in all the pots was extremely minimal except
for the clay pots.
using radiation the glass emitted much more than the metal pots. However
measuring a basic solution the metals and especially the steel emitted
more than the glass.

They suggest several future experiments including using pots from the
days of chazal and the rishonimIn. In particular R. Eitam Henkin (Hy"d) -
Hamayan 54:2 claimed that without comparing the results to ancient pots
the results are of limited value! The authors argue that we don't know
exactly what pots chazal used. They also didn't agree with the argument
that the sense of taste has changed from the days of Chazal.

The article concludes with an extensive table. One column is the change
is weight after cooking.
most were way less than 1%. while clay was about 9-10%

The more halakhic side was discussed in the Techumim article (deserves
a separate post)
While some poskim are willing to change the halakha based on modern
materials others like R Ariel and R. Asher Weiss disagree and insist on
the original halakha even for modern materials.

Eli Turkel

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Message: 4
From: Micha Berger
Date: Tue, 13 Sep 2016 06:18:54 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Rav Melamed on Metal Pots

On Tue, Sep 13, 2016 at 12:48:10PM +0300, Eli Turkel via Avodah wrote:
: While some poskim are willing to change the halakha based on modern
: materials others like R Ariel and R. Asher Weiss disagree and insist on
: the original halakha even for modern materials.

I am wondering about their "why".

For example, nishtaneh hateva (NhT) has been invoked on numerous
occsasions to reject applying Chazal's precedent to today's
situations. Saying we make our glass / metal differently than they did
seems to be of the same kind.

If anything, more plausible than some cases of NhT. Unless you're going
with R' Avraham ben haRambam's definition of "theory changed", in which
case, the grounds for changing the halakhah lemaaseh in light of today's
reality is stronger; no need to say Chazal's theory was wrong.

Is it some kind of Chazon Ish-like reasoning, that the law, once pasqened
by Chazal, is the law regardless of the science?

Or are they relying on an idea that RIB and then I raised, that "ta'am"
should not be defined scientifically? Or perhaps not in the scientifically
intuitive way?

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             If a person does not recognize one's own worth,
mi...@aishdas.org        how can he appreciate the worth of another?
http://www.aishdas.org             - Rabbi Yaakov Yosef of Polnoye,
Fax: (270) 514-1507                  author of Toldos Yaakov Yosef

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Message: 5
From: Eli Turkel
Date: Tue, 13 Sep 2016 14:33:54 +0300
[Avodah] Rav Melamed on Metal Pots

Having summarized the article in BDD I will now summarize the earlier
article in Techumim. Since there is a great overlap between the two
hopefully this will be shorter.

The first section is a discussion whether "hechsher keilim" is based on
physical evidence or is an abstract concept. For example the laws of Tumah
are clearly spiritual and not physical. Going to a mikveh does not do
anything physical. Their claim is that hechsher keilim is a physical
phenomena. Their main proof that for a mixture of meat and milk one relies
on the taste of a kefelia (either expert or regular nonJew). Another proof
is that one can use a cold milchig dish for cold meat (Rama doesn't allow
but only because of possible problems). The third proof is from the
experiment of Ameimar (Pesachim 30b) In particular the Or-Zarua states that
hagalah and libun are not gezerot but rather they expel the issur.

So they conclude that as long as the absorption/expelling is small enough
it has no halakhic significance. They then discuss the halacha of
"ein mevatlim issur lechatchila"

They conclude with various quotes from RSZA (not in print) that agrees that
one can rely on the experiments when there are other reasons for a kulah.
He further is quoted as saying that a Sanhedrin could change these halachot
but changing them now would undermine every woman's kosher kitchen.

They then sen letters to several known poskim.
R Lior and R. Rabinovich are willing to accept that modern pots do not
absorb or expel (more than minimally).  However, they both distinguish
between lechachila and bi-deved.  Basically both allow use the same pots
for milchig and fleishig lechachila because it would create many confusions.

R Ariel points out that the Rama does not allow using glass for both
milchig and fleishig even though glass does not absorb. This is because
glass is made from sand and so is similar to cheres even though it doesn't
absorb. Therefore all metals are in one category and we don't examine
inter-category. Creating new categories will only confuse everyone (not
clear what he says about plastics) . R Asher Weiss just states
categorically that we follow our minhagim and chas veshalom to change whole
sections of the SA. Finally R. Arusi agrees that the basis on
hechsher keilim is physical, absorption and expelling nevertheless the
halacha does distinguish between thick and thin pots and so all metal and
glass vessels need hechsher and this is "like" (ke-ein) a gezera from the
Torah since the Torah prohibited  expelling a taste of issur even though we
don't have a ke-zayit within 3 eggs.

Eli Turkel
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Message: 6
From: Micha Berger
Date: Tue, 13 Sep 2016 11:19:51 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Geonim, Rambam and Other Rishonim on Mesorah and

On Sun, Sep 11, 2016 at 05:21:20PM -0400, H Lampel via Avodah wrote:
: For clarity's sake, Here's [R/Dr Halbertal's]  thesis:
: 1. Retrieval: G-d revealed every single detail about how to perform
: 2. "Accumulative": G-d did not give complete instructions as to how to
: 3. Constitutive: G-d did not reveal any details of mitzvah observance.

This is way too oversimplified, and the difference between Accumulative
and Constitutive models is made more stark than what the essay actualy

I will ignore his portrayal of the geonim, because -- as you note --
I am not convinced on that point either.

The difference between these two models is more whether:

1- G-d gave neither position at Sinai, and the poseiq's job is to
extrapolate and interpolate from what we have to created new positions
than then "Accumulate", or
2- Hashem gave both positions at Sinai and therefore it is the job of
the poseiq to decide which shitah should be "Constitute" the din.

IOW, how do we understand "peirush" -- is it a tool for posqim to use
to invent new halakhah, or something inherent in the Torah for posqim
to discover?

: 1) Together with every mitzvah that HaKadosh Baruch Hu gave to Moshe
: Rabbeynu, He gave its payrush... and everything included in the
: posuk... This is the meaning of the statement, "The general principles,
: the particulars, and the details of the entire Torah were spoken on
: Sinai" (Sifra, Vayikra 25:1)," namely, that those matters which may
: be extracted through the interpretive rule of "the general reference
: written in the Torah followed by a particular reference," or through
: any of the other interpretive rules, "were received by us through Moshe
: [who received them from God] on Sinai."

Rambam here tells you that by "peirush" he means the former -- we
received through Moshe the interprative rules for creating the particulars.

He could equally as well be saying the latter definition, except that
this would require ignoring how the Rambam himself says machloqes works.
Skipping ahead to where you address that:
: One must strive to get a complete picture of a Gaon's or rishon's
: position, and not stop at some broadly-worded statements, ignoring further
: qualifications...

Except here there are no further qualifications. You are arguing from
example, not contrary explanation. At most it would show that the broad
statement might be a rule that yet has exceptions. (Eg the cases where
the SA doesn't follow his self-declared "beis din".)

: to an opposing opinion (such as that of the Karaites) that entailed
: strongly-expressed verbiage...

My real problem here is that you're calling for an esoteric interpretation,
that the rishonim quoted didn't really mean what they said. Even if true,
it reduces the whole exercise to a Rorschach Test. If the Rambam doesn't
mean what the book says, we should just drop any any attempt to determine
what he really did hold. This ways lies non-O academic understandings of
the Moreh and other such shtuyot; the methodology is useless.

Jumping back for a bit:
: 3) Temura states "1,700 kal vachomers and gezeyra shavvos and dikdukei
: soferim became forgotten during the days of mourning for Moshe, but
: even so, Othniel ben Kenaz retrieved them through his pilpul...

The difference being, that in an Accumulative system, Osniel ben Kenaz
could hypothetically have been *wrong*; BH he wasn't. There was a
particular shitah that was made din, and he managed to retrieve it.
Whereas in a Constitutive system, whatever shitah he justifies would
then be the version of divrei E-lokim Chaim that is the new din.

With a HUGE resulting difference in the power of later authorities to
second-guess those conclusions.

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: 7
From: Micha Berger
Date: Tue, 13 Sep 2016 11:53:40 -0400
Re: [Avodah] R Avraham

On Fri, Sep 09, 2016 at 12:48pm Israel DT, R Eli Turkel wrote:
: In the second shiur he claimed that there are 2 types of teshuva process.
: One that one repents on individual sins. This requires the technicalities
: of teshuva, repentance on the past, vidui and determination not to repeat
: the sin. The second kind is where one changes one's personality, example is
: Elazar ben dordaya. This kind does not need the technicalities of teshuva
: as now the person is a different personality.

I once gave a talk (part of which ended up in "Aval Asheimim Anachnu", pg
34 in <http://www.aishdas.org/10YemeiTeshuvah.pdf#page=34>) contrasting
the Vidui that the Rambam calls the essence of the mitzvah of Teshuvah
in Teshuvah 1:1:
     How does one confess? One says, "Please, Hashem! I erred, I sinned,
     I acted rebelliously before You, and I did such-and-such. Now I
     regret and Im embarrassed of my actions, and I will never repeat
     this thing."
and "the Vidui that all of Israel practice is 'Aval anachnu chatanu.'"

One vidui lists acts, the other vidui emphasizes "anachnu", the "who"
behind the sin.

See my qunterus for more detail (including the connection to Yehudah's
confession to "Tzafnas Paneiach").

:                                               This kind also works in
: reverse when a tzaddik changes totally to a rasha while the first kind
: works only in one direction.

: A more controversial point he made is that the total change of personality
: in teshuva is a special chessed of hashem and the regular person can't make
: such a change in a different situation.

I don't get this. First he says that the same mechanicsm does work
the other way, then he says it can't -- that the self-change is
only possible through a chessed associated with teshuvah?

On Fri, Sep 09, 2016 at 4:24pm EDT, R Akiva Miller replied:
: Okay, having explained my views on Halachic Risk-Taking, I'd like to add
: that this idea that "the expert can never give a definitive answer. He can
: only supply statistics..." applies in other areas too. Specifically, I have
: often used this regarding the definition of death. At most, the doctor can
: give statistics like, "We have never seen anyone in this condition
: improve," and then it is the rav's job to decide whether or not the neshama
: has left the guf. (The fact that one rav might disagree with another rav is
: irrelevant. The point here is that it is the doctor's job to supply
: statistics, and it is the rav's job to make a determination.)

Well, in principle yes. In practice there are times the probability
is close enough to 0 or 1 so that the doctor or other expert is in
all practical sense giving outcome.

Second, it's not always about prediction.

In the case of death, the doctor may give you probability that the
condition will improve -- eg that the heart may be restarted or

But he is also telling you (to reuse your three numbers for a
non-predictive scnario):

1) whether the heart is operating, the person is breathing, what parts
if any of the brain still show activity, etc.. He is telling you the
biological state of the body in the here and now.

2) the poseiq has to decide which set of biological states have the
chalos-sheim "meis", and which are "chai". Misah is a halachic state,
perhaps rooted in a hashkafic statement about when the relationship
between soul and body is servered in some particular way, and what that
"particular way" is. Misah is not a medical statement, but a halachic
categorization of how we view various medical states.

From both of which
3) the pesaq halakhah lemaaseh about the person laying before us
becomes a natural conclusion.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             You cannot propel yourself forward
mi...@aishdas.org        by patting yourself on the back.
http://www.aishdas.org                   -Anonymous
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Message: 8
From: Micha Berger
Date: Tue, 13 Sep 2016 10:55:20 -0400
Re: [Avodah] 13 middot

On a totally different note...

In R' Amital's Et Ratzon: Sichot leYamim haNora'im (2012), RYA says
that vehalakhta dibdrakhav -- the "mah Ani af atah" of "zeh keili
ve'anveihu" is not of all of Hashem's middos. For example, not "Keil
Qana" (Shemos 2:4).

Rather, note that Abba Sha'ul (Shabbos 133b) says on "ve'anveihu --
ani veHu", "mah Hu Rachum veChanun" -- the middoes he names are from
the 13 Middos haRachamim in particular.

As the gemara (RH 17b) put it, "ya'asu lefanai keseider hazah" --
imitating the 13 middos haRachamim is the key to guaranteed mechilah.

I have 2 caveats to this thought:

1- It is a machloqes whether "ya'asu lefanai" really means to do /
imitate, or it means reciting the words the way He Did. This maamar was
sais in respons to R' Yochanan's "shenis'ateif HQBH kesha"tz veher'ah
lo leMosheh *seider* Tefillah."

See what I wrote after hearing RZLeff's Shabbos Shuvah derashah last

Still, from RZL's survey of acharonim, it would seem that by far most
understand "ya'asu" as a call to emulate (as RYA assumes here), with
the Benei Yisaschar saying it's an element of the beris with BY that
overrides justice.

2- The Rambam (Dei'os 1:6) paraphrases the gemara in Shabbos, and then
adds "ve'al derekh zo, qore'u hanevi'im laKeil 'Erekh Apayim', ve-'Rav
Chesed', 'Tzadiq', ve-'Yashar', 'Tamim, 'Gibor', ve-'Chazaq'...

Clearly including adjectives that are not among the 13. For that matter,
it would appear from context that the Rambam is describing the Middah
haBeinonis. The Middah haBeinonis is defined in 1:5, and then 1:6
opens "kakh lomdu befeirush mitzvah zu".

IOW, it would seem that the Rambam's Middah Beinonis is a blend of
the middos on either side, not a middle point, and because this
is what it means to emulate Hashem -- as we see both Middos in Him.

And this is quite a different definition of vehalakhta bidrakhav than
RYA's identifying it with emulating Rachamim.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Man is a drop of intellect drowning in a sea
mi...@aishdas.org        of instincts.
http://www.aishdas.org                         - Rav Yisrael Salanter
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Message: 9
From: Michael Poppers
Date: Tue, 13 Sep 2016 15:20:31 -0400
[Avodah] shir shel yom

In Avodah V34n111, R'Micha wrote:
> Anyway, "we" are saying it in relation to Shemoneh Esrei in its role as a
stand-in for the Tamid, rather than saying it in proximity to mentioning
the Tamid in Seider Qorbanos. <
And here I thought that because Shacharis used to end with various
learning, including but not limited to "pitum haq'tores" and the list of
daily T'hilim chapters (both still said by Ashk'nazim after Musaf of
Shabbos), that the latter list was expanded [at some point in the distant
past] such that each day the actual chapter was said [and that the former
was elided because "people" didn't have the m'nuchas hanefesh to spend a
few minutes saying it properly]....
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Message: 10
From: Micha Berger
Date: Tue, 13 Sep 2016 17:03:08 -0400
[Avodah] What the Pelishtim had in mind?

According to Shana Zaia in the Ancient Near East Today (Sep 2016,
v4n9 <http://asorblog.org/2016/09/09/godnapping-ancient-near-east>)
"godnapping", removing the enemies gods -- idols or other cult
images -- from the losing side's Temples and royal house.

The Pelishtim may have been trying to steal more than an ark...

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Problems are not stop signs,
mi...@aishdas.org        they are guidelines.
http://www.aishdas.org           - Robert H. Schuller
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Message: 11
From: Professor L. Levine
Date: Wed, 14 Sep 2016 12:44:27 +0000
[Avodah] Do you ever recite Birkas Hamazon on crackers?

From today's OU Halacha Yomis

Q: Do you ever recite Birkas Hamazon on crackers?

A: The Gemara (Brachos 42) states that if one eats an entire meal of an
item that is considered "pas haba'ah b'kisnin" (see earlier Halacha Yomis
for explanation of that term), the bracha on that food (e.g. crackers)
would be Hamotzi and one would recite Birkas Hamazon. The Magen Avraham
(O.C. 168:24) clarifies that one would say Hamotzi in the following two
instances: 1) If one ate only crackers, and consumed an amount that would
suffice as a main meal (such as dinner) for an average person. 2)
Alternatively, if one ate other foods (for example, herring along with the
crackers), and together these foods are a full meal, one would recite
Birkas Hamazon. Rav Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe O.C. 3:32) states that in
the latter case, one must consume the amount of crackers equivalent to the
normal amount of bread eaten at a meal. According to Rav Belsky, this would
be equivalent to two slices of bread.

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Message: 12
From: H Lampel
Date: Wed, 14 Sep 2016 08:38:35 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Geonim, Rambam and Other Rishonim on Mesorah and

On 9/13/2016 11:19 AM, Micha Berger wrote:
> : One must strive to get a complete picture of a Gaon's or rishon's
> : position, and not stop at some broadly-worded statements, ignoring further
> : qualifications...
> ... You are arguing from example, not contrary explanation.
Please explain. I don't know what you mean or what I wrote that you're 
referring to. What did I write that is arguing from example? What is 
wrong with that? What does it mean to argue from contrary explanation? 
And why would that be better?

Zvi Lampel


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