Avodah Mailing List

Volume 35: Number 86

Sat, 24 Jun 2017

< Previous Next >
Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Micha Berger
Date: Wed, 21 Jun 2017 19:42:00 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Hashkafah and the Siddur

On Tue, Jun 20, 2017 at 09:19:46AM -0400, Yaakov Jaffe via Avodah wrote:
: But one approach to tefilah (let's call it the one that resonates with me)
: is that it is purely a communication between the speaker and his or her
: Creator, and that consequently, it is not the time and place to be focused
: on proclaiming our ideologies.  Obviously others may argue, and there are
: numerous siddur options for them.  But we shouldn't pretend that this is
: the only approach to prayer, or that every Jew must use ideology in chosing
: a siddur.

But if a person wants to approach tefilah as a pure communication, then
shouldn't they pick a siddur whose ideology is that tefillah is a pure

Having a siddur of a given ideology is not necessarily about proclaiming
that ideology. (But if you want to rail about the fact that too often
this call for an MO siddur /is/ about proclomation, there is room to
do so.) It is about having a siddur that aids the kind of prayer you
want to do. Which is why I never understood why people assign value to
having "their siddur". I have a collection, as I go from more cerebral
to more experiential moods, and want different siddurim depending on
where my head is just then.

For example, the as-yet-unpublished RCA siddur has something in it about
shelo asani that would say something that a Mod-O Jew is more likely to
be concerned about saying than someone who is less engaged with the
more egalitarian west would feel a need to say.

: I did not conduct a comprehensive study of the stone Chumash, but wonder
: whether the troubling explanations are ubiquitous, occasional, or somewhere
: in between...

In my experience, occasional. But the rationalists are under-represented,
given the chareidi tendency toward more maximalist approaches. That's not
troubling, but it's promoting one worldview and not allowing the other to
reach the market-share it deserves.

: or was it a dream (Ramban versus Rambam)?  If Artscroll said he spoke, and
: for example a new chumash says that he did not - then which one most
: accurately reflects my hashkafa? ...

My ideal chumash would present both, or if space requires, inform me
that both possibilities are discussed without full presentation. If two
hashkafic ideas are viable, why should I let an editor choose between
them for me? But that's a different story.

The problem the MO nay-sayers have with the absence of a vaiable
alternative to ArtScroll is less that there is a specific problem
with a comment. As I wrote, those are rare. But that without variety,
without a survey that includes ideas current and popular outside the
Agudist community, those ideas will cease being thought of as normative.

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

Go to top.

Message: 2
From: Micha Berger
Date: Wed, 21 Jun 2017 18:16:34 -0400
Re: [Avodah] first greeting

On Wed, Jun 21, 2017 at 08:49:51PM +0000, Rich, Joel via Avodah wrote:
: What would you like the first thing that HKB"H says to you at 120 when
: you report to the beit din shel maaleh(heavenly study hall)?

(After introducing me to my daughter...)

"I'm proud of you, son!"

"I would help you get used to this, but techiyas hameisim will be underway..."

"So THAT'S why I did that..."

But according to Rava (Shabbos 31a) I should expect, "Nasata venatata

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Live as if you were living already for the
mi...@aishdas.org        second time and as if you had acted the first
http://www.aishdas.org   time as wrongly as you are about to act now!
Fax: (270) 514-1507            - Victor Frankl, Man's search for Meaning

Go to top.

Message: 3
From: Micha Berger
Date: Wed, 21 Jun 2017 18:20:15 -0400
Re: [Avodah] well-known Ramban

On Wed, Jun 21, 2017 at 08:50:41PM +0000, Rich, Joel via Avodah wrote:
: What would your vote be for the most well-known Ramban on Chumash?

#1 Qedoshim Tihyu -- naval birshus haTorah
#2 The end of Bo (although you didn't ask for a runner-up)

Tir'u baTov!

Go to top.

Message: 4
From: Micha Berger
Date: Wed, 21 Jun 2017 19:24:02 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Redemption

On Thu, Jun 08, 2017 at 08:43:42PM +0000, Rich, Joel via Avodah wrote:
: > How does a "goel hadam" work into all this? There is no restoration of
: > any kind. If the goel hadam was interested in justice, or even
: > punishment, he would bring the murderer to court. But in the heat of
: > the moment, his only thought is revenge. This is redemption?
: The psukim are unclear as to the role and iirc many view the goel as an
: extension of the beit din.

Perhaps according to the Rambam (Rotzeiach 1:2), who says "mitzvah beyad
go'el hadam..." and if the go'el doesn't want to or there is none,
"BD memisin es harotzeiach besayif".

Rashi al haTorah appears to hold that "ein lo dam" means the go'el is
killing an already dead man, and therefore bears no guilt. Not a mitzvah,
but a reshus. (But see below.)

And if the go'el only has reshus, it's hard to say he is operating as
beis din's appointee.

Sanhedrin 45b says "mitzvah bego'el hadam", but if there is no go'el,
BD appoints one. There is no sayif.

BUT, Makos 2:7 has a machloqes:
R Yosi haGelili says that if the killer is found outside the techum,
it is a mitzvah on the go'el hadam and a reshus for everyone else
to kill him. (According to the beraisa on 12a, if there is no
go'el, there is reshus...)
R' Aqiva disagrees, saying it's a reshus for the go'el and a
non-punishable issur for anyone else. (According to the beraisa,
they are chayav.)

And here's the weird part -- despite what I quoted above from the Yad,
the Rambam on the mishnah says halakhah is like R' Aqiva.

Rashi on Makkos 12a says about Bamidbar 35:27 "ika leferushei lashon tzivui
ve'ika leferushei lashon tzivui.

In sum, I think RJR is understating it. It's not "only" the pesuqim that
are unclear.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             The same boiling water
mi...@aishdas.org        that softens the potato, hardens the egg.
http://www.aishdas.org   It's not about the circumstance,
Fax: (270) 514-1507      but rather what you are made of.

Go to top.

Message: 5
From: Micha Berger
Date: Wed, 21 Jun 2017 19:28:50 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Rambam Hilchot Qriyat Shema

On Sat, Jun 10, 2017 at 11:07:45PM +0200, Ben Waxman via Avodah wrote:
: >I don't understand the question.  The Rambam always gives reasons
: >and sources, and this chapter is a perfect example...

In the Bavli "Mai ta'ama?" is a request for a reason.
In the Y-mi, it is a request for a pasuq as source.

Reasons and sources are different things, and I think the difference
helps clears up the question.

: Yes, for a mitzva he cites part of the pasuk. Here he not only cites
: the Midrash but quotes it at length, using much more verbiage than
: in other places.

Zev was saying that the Rambam usually opens or close with a reason,
a ta'am hamitzvah. (And, as he explains in the Moreh, he only expects
these to cover the generalities.)

Usually, these are unsourced. But, kedarko, when he can paraphrase a
source he does. Which is what he is doing here.

: I have been doing my own Rambam Yomi and what I have seen is that he
: often says something like "al pi shemoah" or "Moshe tikkein" or
: "pashat haminhag" to explain why we do certain things. But quoting a
: Midrash? This one stands out.

This paragraph addresses the Rambam's not spending much time on sources,
not about reasons.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             I always give much away,
mi...@aishdas.org        and so gather happiness instead of pleasure.
http://www.aishdas.org           -  Rachel Levin Varnhagen
Fax: (270) 514-1507

Go to top.

Message: 6
From: Chana Luntz
Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2017 09:29:00 +0100
Re: [Avodah] Explanation of the Tur?

 I wrote:

: No problem with that, as I was trying to get across the idea that these
: were not "textual" sources - how would you translate [sheyilmedu al pi
: haqabalah hashorashim vehakelalios] better though, to keep the flow and
: that something is being taught "al pi hakabalah"?

And RMB replied:

>"They learned by osmosis the root principles and the general rules..."

I like "the root principles and the  general rules .." - thanks, that is
better than my use of source - but I think "osmosis" is not quite right
either.  I don't think "osmosis" as we understand it would necessarily have
been within the Maharil's conception, and that it is not a great translation
for "al pi hakabala" - maybe "from tradition" - but osmosis isn't right.
The girls  in question probably learnt how to speak the local language by
osmosis (even if eg Yiddish was spoken in the home), but you would not say
that is "al pi hakabbala".  There is a big difference.

:> However, the Maharil also touches on the topic in Shu"t Maharil
haChadashos :> 45, #2, in a discussion of women saying Birkhas haTorah. 

: These two Maharil's are such chalk and cheese, that it does seem difficult
: to understand them as having been written by the same person...

>Meaning, he isn't useful as a source either way, as a harmonization of the
quotes (or a rejection of them) would itself require proof, and can't be
used to make the Majaril a source of a position.

I don't think you can say that.  First of all, the second one, ie the one
from Maharil HaChadashos, made it into the Shulchan Aruch, - it is quoted by
the Rema - and you can't just dismiss that.  And the first one was in the
possession of the Birchei Yosef, who is very influential in a whole host of
ways in terms of psak.  I think rather you have to treat them as two
different rishonic teshuvot, and give them weight on that basis.  It may
well be that they were influenced by, or even possibly penned by, the
student of the Maharil who collected them (hence my note that they came from
two different collections) , and we may never know which one was really the
Maharil's opinion and which one was in fact that of his student or some
other rishon from around that time and attributed to the Maharil, but they
are both rishonic source material, and I don't think we can ignore either of

:: And then the Chofetz Chaim in his defence of Beit Ya'akov type schooling
:: Lekutei Halachot Sotah 21...

::> But it seems that all this was dafka in the times that were prior to us
::> when each on lived in the place of his fathers and the tradition of the
::> fathers was very strong by each one to go in the way that our fathers
::> went and like it says "ask your father and he shall tell you" and in
this ::> it was possible to say that one should not teach Torah and rely in
their ::> practice on their upright fathers.

:> Notice the CC is talking about mimetic chinukh, cultural absorbtion.

: Yes and no.  "ask your father and he shall tell you" [Devarim 32:7] is the
: pasuk used to justify saying "vitzivanu" on Chanukah candles [Shabbat 23a]
: and other rabbinic mitzvot.  It is not exactly a mimetic pasuk...

But that doesn't mean that's the CC's intent. As you write:
:                                   Yes the CC is clearly talking about in
: context of the family (as boys were originally taught prior to the setting
: up of schools)...

>Using the word "avikha" to refer to morei hora'ah is not peshat in the
pasuq. The CC appears to be using the peshat, and ignoring the gemara's

Yes, but even in terms of pshat, it seems very difficult to come away from
the idea of transmission of tradition from father to children when using
this process.  "Asking" is not about osmosis - it is about an attempt at
formal learning, and answering in response to an ask is exactly the process
of formal learning in pretty much all contexts (it is why we still have
teachers even in Universities, and not just books).  If you have system
where you are supposed to "ask" and somebody else is supposed to then
answer, you have  formal  education.  This is a step up from where you are
expected to learn by watching (but not asking) - but where at least
sometimes the educational aspect is clear - eg, I want you to watch and see
how I go to place X, so you can find it yourself next time, is a less formal
process than asking, but it is still a form of education, which is a step up
from osmosis, where nobody on either side necessarily realises that
something is being learnt, it just seeps in (language is a classic case, or
how about accent - kids pick up their accent from school by osmosis, it is
not a conscious process, and maybe the parents would in fact prefer, and
maybe even they would prefer, that they talk with the parent's accent,
rather than that of their peers, but it doesn't happen that way, you send a
kid to school, they start talking like the locals in their school).

>I am uncomfortable with your reading something into the CC which isn't
quite what he said on the basis of his choice of prooftext. (Especially
anyone living after the normalization of out-of-context quote as slogan with
"chadash assur min haTorah".)

Because the proof text resonates, it does even in the pshat.  In the pshat
it is clearly linked to "vshinantam l'vanecha" - ie is the flip side of it
(which is why the extension into drash makes sense, just as v'shinantam
l'vanecha is the basis of the command for Torah study, this is the basis of
the need to listen to the master of Torah).  And if you know the drash, even
when you use it in the pshat form, you will get the resonance.  "V'shinantam
l'vanecha" is the pasuk from which the obligation for boys to learn is
learnt (banecha v'lo banotecha) - with the emphasis then on the father's
teaching - the formal school process came later, when the father's
obligation was delegated to a school teacher.  Ask you father (in the
masculine) is similarly in the pshat about a boy's obligation to learn.
Applying it to girls is an odd stretch in the first place.  What you are
saying is that the proof text when applied to girls suddenly doesn't mean
what it means when applied to boys, in either pshat or drash, that to me
seems odd.

:> Even oral, the "textual" TSBP was formal, rules and ideas, existing :>
rulings. An intellectual excercise, rather than an experiential one.

: Agreed that there were some aspects of TSBP that was formal, rules and
: etc - but that is not the question.  The question is, can or does anybody
: define TSBP as *only* those formal rules and ideas *without* including at
: all the experiential aspect...

>Isn't the question: Does anyone force the CC to define the set of TSBP that
classically one was prohibited from teaching girls as being more than those
formal rules and ideas and as including at all the experiential aspect?

Well the CC is explaining the Rambam.  The Rambam says:

??? ????? ???? ?? ?? ??? ??? ???? ???? ????, ???? ??? ??????, ??? ????? ???
????? ????? ???? ?????? ??? ???? ???? ?????? ???? ??? ???? ????, ???"? ???
?? ??? ??? ????? ??? ???? ??? ?? ??? ????, ???? ???? ????? ??? ???? ??????
?????? ??? ?? ??????? ???? ???? ????? ???? ??? ????? ????, ???? ????? ??
????? ?? ??? ???? ????? ???? ????? ??? ????? ?????? ????? ???? ?? ??? ????
????? ?? ???? ???? ?????? ??? ???? ???? ?????? ?????

A woman who studies Torah gains a reward but not like the reward of a man,
because she is not commanded and all who do a thing that they are not
commanded to do, there reward is not like the reward of one who is commanded
and does rather [their reward] is less than these, and even though she gains
a reward, the Sages commanded that a man should not teach his daughter Torah
because the majority of women their minds are not suited to the learning,
and they will turn matters of Torah to matters of foolishness according to
the poverty of their minds, the Sages said: Anyone who teaches his daughter
Torah it is as if he teaches her tiflut.  With regard to what are we
speaking, with Torah she baal peh [oral Torah]; but Torah she bichtav
[written Torah] even though he should not teach her ab initio, if he taught
her it is not as though he taught her tiflut.

That is, the Rambam says: women who study Torah gain reward BUT a man should
not teach his daughter Torah BUT only Torah she ba'al peh is tiflut, while
Torah shebichtav shouldn't be done, it is not tiflut.

So, the Rambam here appears to only have two categories of Torah, torah
sheba'al peh, and torah shebichtav (note that the Rambam himself in Hilchot
Talmud Torah perek 1 Halacha 11 - says a man is required to divide his time
into thirds, a third in Torah shebichtav, a third in Torah sheba?al peh, and
a third in understanding and weighing - what he calls Gemora, so there he
seems to have three categories, but the third requires a knowledge of the
other two, and presumably cannot be taught).

So, in terms of your question "does anybody force the CC to define the set
of TSBP that was classically prohibited as being more than those formal
rules and ideas and as including the experiential aspect" - it seems to me
that the Rambam does.  Ie given that the CC is explaining the Rambam, and
the Rambam has only two categories of Torah, then either the experiential
aspect is Torah shebichtav  or it is not Torah at all.  But saying that the
experiential aspect is not Torah at all, would seem to be saying the shimush
talmedei chachaimim, which is so valued as essential for horah, is in fact
not Torah at all, and it would also seem to knock out ma-aseh rav, which is
again absolutely critical for our definition of halacha l'ma'ase.  I
therefore think it very difficult to say that experiential teaching,
especially when linked with the formality of "asking", as the CC does, can
be defined as not Torah at all.  So that leaves Torah shebichtav.  I did try
and say that was the Tur's point, what you are should not teach are the laws
as written down, but to say that the experiential is Torah shebichtav seems
to me a very difficult assertion.

:> I don't think he is talking about Oral Transmission in general, only when
:> you don't know what they did or would do in a given situation to have an
:> example to imitate.

: The Rambam says if you recall - "Anyone who teaches his daughter Torah it
: as if he teaches her tiflut.  With regard to what are we speaking, with
: Torah she baal peh but Torah she bichtav even though he should not teach
: ab initio, if he taught her it is not as though he taught her tiflut."

: The Rambam does not say - "with regard to what are we speaking, with
: to that portion of torah she ba'al peh that is formal rules and ideas,
: excluding those aspects that can be taught mimetically, but that portion
: Torah she ba'al peh that can be or is taught mimetically or not
: in a formal educational setting is actually absolutely fine".  

>I think the Rambam is using the word "lelameid" to mean formal education.
>After all, does the father set out to actively teach informally? Hineni
muchan umezuman to teach by demonstrating behavior?

Yes he does, the minute he is "asked", or if he says "watch what I do"
(similar to when I take my children somewhere to show them how to get there
on their own, eg a new school, including pointing out the landmarks, that is
most definitely active teaching, despite the fact that it is experiential,
and not done from giving them a map and teaching them to map read).

>In which case, that would be exactly what the Rambam is saying. Watching
mom and asking questions as gaps arise is how Teimani girls were expected to
grow up up until Al Kanfei Nesharim in '49.

And "look, let me show you how ..." is formal teaching, whether it is a
maths problem or it is how to bake chala.  And if that particular aspect of
teaching falls within the definition of Torah, then one is teaching Torah,
albeit informally.  And the danger with understanding "lelameid" to only
mean formal teaching, not informal teaching, is that you then write out of a
father's obligation to a son an awful lot, as it is not within the mitzvah.
You can't have it both ways, either when a father teaches a son informally
(eg shows him how to put on tephillin, as that seems very difficult to learn
from a book) he is teaching him Torah or he is not.  Which is it?

: And nobody seems to understand him as saying this (because otherwise, they
: could use this kind of TSBP as the subject of the brachot, or for her
: etc), seems to suggest that nobody is differentiating between these two
: types of TSBP...

>Lehefech, the fact that formal reducation requires a berakhah and learning
informally / culturally does not strengthens the possiblity that it is not
equally that lelameid, just like it is not equally talmud Torah.

So this kind of informal education - how to put on tephillin, how to shect,
showing how to... (the list is endless) is not Torah, and doesn?t take the
bracha when done between father and son, or rebbe and talmid?  Isn't that
the consequence of what you are saying?  That the only Torah that men are
obligated to learn as Talmud torah are the formal abstract rules and
regulations and not the practical, which is best taught experientially?  

:                                          Is not the gemora etc filled with
: this kind of teaching?  I can't see us suggesting this is not TSBP.

>The gemara isn't filled with cultural instruction; no text (written or
memorized) can be. Pehrpas a story or two describing a case of it

I think it is, it is filled with ma'aseh rav - which then tends to trump the
formal rules - we learn the halacha from a ma'aseh rav even against the
formal rules, and certainly when following through on the formal rules.

If you rule out this kind of learning from TSBP, you are ruling out one of
the key tools of halacha learning as not Torah.  Isn't that odd?




Go to top.

Message: 7
From: Zev Sero
Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2017 09:27:07 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Explanation of the Tur?

On 22/06/17 04:29, Chana Luntz via Avodah wrote:
>> The gemara isn't filled with cultural instruction; no text (written or
>> memorized) can be. Pehrpas a story or two describing a case of it
>> occuring...

> I think it is, it is filled with ma'aseh rav - which then tends to trump the
> formal rules - we learn the halacha from a ma'aseh rav even against the
> formal rules, and certainly when following through on the formal rules.
> If you rule out this kind of learning from TSBP, you are ruling out one of
> the key tools of halacha learning as not Torah.  Isn't that odd?

Indeed, it's an explicit gemara: "*Torah* hi, velilmod ani tzarich".

Zev Sero                May 2017, with its *nine* days of Chanukah,
z...@sero.name           be a brilliant year for us all

Go to top.

Message: 8
From: Micha Berger
Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2017 12:32:47 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Explanation of the Tur?

On Thu, Jun 22, 2017 at 09:27:07AM -0400, Zev Sero wrote:
:>If you rule out this kind of learning from TSBP, you are ruling out one of
:> the key tools of halacha learning as not Torah.  Isn't that odd?

: Indeed, it's an explicit gemara: "*Torah* hi, velilmod ani tzarich".

I am excluding informal education from "lelameid bito", not excluding
the acquired info from "Torah". When the R' Eliezer (as quoted by the
Rambam) talks about learning
or teaching, is he thinking about mimetic osmosis and the like or
is he referring only to formal education?

It is indeed a key way to learn how to practice. In many cases -- eg
milah, safrus, mar'os, tereifos, etc... -- it's the /only/ way to learn
the necessary Torah.

"Mimetic osmosis *or the like*" is my acknowledgement that Chana
managed to convince me that my dichotomy is really a spectrum from the
informality of unconscious imitation to raw text study. And therefore
there will be gray are that is more or less likely to be included by R'
Eliezer or the Rambam rather than a yes-or-no. My talk of mimeticism
and osmosis overstates where I am going, and created needless problems
with the CC's use of "she'al avikha".

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             When one truly looks at everyone's good side,
mi...@aishdas.org        others come to love him very naturally, and
http://www.aishdas.org   he does not need even a speck of flattery.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                        - Rabbi AY Kook

Go to top.

Message: 9
From: Rich, Joel
Date: Fri, 23 Jun 2017 13:26:36 +0000
[Avodah] Letter from Europe

I seem to remember a letter from a European (German) Jewish community to
someone/thing in Eretz Yisrael with the general message that their hometown
was where they intended to wait for Moshiach whether moving to Eretz
Yisrael was possible or not.  Does this sound familiar? If so, do you know
the source?
Joel Rich

distribution or copying of this message by anyone other than the addressee is 
strictly prohibited.  If you received this message in error, please notify us 
immediately by replying: "Received in error" and delete the message.  
Thank you.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.aishdas.org/pipermail/avod

Go to top.

Message: 10
From: Micha Berger
Date: Fri, 23 Jun 2017 10:06:15 -0400
[Avodah] Sheva Berakhos without the couple

SA EhE 62:11 says that if the benei hachupah have to divide up into
chaburos, they all make sheva berakhos. Even if the locations are not
open to each other nor is there a common server -- none of the normal
things that combine a zimun. The AhS #37 adds that they each make their
own 7 berakhos.

Does this mean that if a man needs to leave a wedding early, he should
really invest the effort to find 9 others and not just 3, not only
because zimun requires trying, but also because the 10 of you would be
passing up a chance to bentch the chasan & kallah!

To add more weight to the idea, earlier in the siman the AhS discusses
the function of panim chadashos at 7 berakhos. In #23-24 he says that
the Rambam (Berakhos pereq 2) implies that the reason why we need panim
chadashos for 7 berakhos is that the whole thing is to fulfill *their*
chiyuv to bentch the chasan & kallah. As guests of the couple, they have
a chiyuv to give them a berakhah, which is fulfilled at the minimum by
their amein. Whereas if everyone there already fulfilled that obligation,
the berakhos are levatalah.

Then in #35 he gives besheim "rov raboseinu" the usually quoted reason
(at least in my circles) that it's their addition to the simchah that
legitimizes the berakhah. Which is why the neshamah yeseirah and Shabbos
meal can serve in the same role. (However, he warns, this only works
for a real se'udah shelishis. A yotzei-zain shaleshudis lacks that
requisite simchah.)

So, it could be that according to the Rambam, walking out of the
se'udah without 7 berakhos is neglecting one's chiyuv to give the couple
a berakhah!


Micha Berger             If you're going through hell
mi...@aishdas.org        keep going.
http://www.aishdas.org                   - Winston Churchill
Fax: (270) 514-1507

Go to top.

Message: 11
From: Micha Berger
Date: Fri, 23 Jun 2017 13:46:57 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Hashkafah and the Siddur

On Wed, Jun 21, 2017 at 11:00:14PM -0400, Yaakov Jaffe wrote:
: Thank you for your perspective.  I understand your argument - rather than
: my three-options (hashkafa a, hashkafa b and hashkafa c), you suggest a
: fourth with a & b side by side, for the reader to chose.  I hadn't
: considered it - but it does have a lot to offer!

We need to distinguish between a specific commentary -- R' Hirsch's
Pentateuch, Mesoret haRav works, Divrei Moshe -- and an anonymous
collector of footnotes as in the Stone Chumush, the ArtStroll or RCA
siddurim, etc... And I want to acknowledge the gray areas. R/Lord Sack's
siddur can be either, depending upon whether someone bought it out of
esteem for R' Sacks and wanting to know his position, or it's as just
Koren's contender in that market.

I am only talking about the latter category, the anonymous shul chumash
or siddur.

Chareidism is founded on the need to protect ourselves from the modern.
And only after dealing with the thread, one considers the opportunities.
And part of that defense mechanism is deffering decisions to those
more knowledgable. In contrast, Mod-O embraces the West's admiration
of autonomy. Thus leaving a gap between the communities about when one
turns to gedolim for answers, and when not.

A side-effect of how "daas Torah" is formulated is that it has little
tolerance for plurality. "The gedolim hold" is an oft-repeated idiom, in
my hometown of Passaic, even by people who -- if you made them stop and
consider the question -- know "the gedolim" often disagree. Because if we
need to choose between valid answers, we could run the risk of choosing
wrongly, a dangerous variant of one, the other, or in combination.

A comparative unknown yeshivish rav or collection of avreikhem providing
such commentary, choosing a consistent style of comment over others is
perceived from that mindset. As promoting one position as the sole truly
normative approach.

The same often happens with Rashi. We think of Rashi's position as the
default, because it's girsa diyenuqa, and another rishon is seen as the
machadesh. Did the brothers sell Yoseif or did they find the pit empty
after the Moavim got there first and selling him? There is a machloqes
tannaim about Rivqa's age when married, but Rashi quotes one, and that
becomes the default in some circles.

In other circles, peshat is more likely to trump medrashic stories. With
the position of numerous rishonim and acharonim (are there cholqim?) that
medrashic stories are repeated for their nimshalim, not the story itself.

Which brings me to a second effect of daas Torah... The more one takes pride
in deferring to authority the more likely one is to embrace the maximalist
position, to accept that which is further from rationalist, from what the
autonomous decision would have been. A second reason why Rivqa must have
been 3 when married, not 15.

Yes, many people know both, but isn't there a clear emotional attitude
about one position being normative rather than the other?

I therefore think that giving a survey of opinions is itself an
inherently MO way of doing this kind of text. It allows someone to choose
autonomously between rationalism, mysticism, maximalism, etc... without
the relatively-unknown rabbi -- or anyone but my own rav, his rav, his
rav's rav... ("my gadol" is a much more MO view than "the gedolim) --
setting himself to tell large numbers of the observant community what
to view as the mainstream, and what is an acceptable but avant-gard
alternative, even if they ever learn of the other options.

If we want RYBS's position to be viewed as part of the mainstream, or R'
Herschel Schachter's (which is far closer to yeshivish but still not
something ArtScroll would quote too often) or R' Aharon Soloveitchik
or RALichtenstein, R' Amital, R CY Goldvicht or any other rosh yeshivas
hesder, R' Kook, etc... there has to be chumashim that put these ideas
in the hands of the common people, the ones who aren't spending spare
time hanging out in the sefarim store or following e-zines, blogs,
email lists or even FB groups that discuss (usually: argue) such things.


Micha Berger             A sick person never rejects a healing procedure
mi...@aishdas.org        as "unbefitting." Why, then, do we care what
http://www.aishdas.org   other people think when dealing with spiritual
Fax: (270) 514-1507      matters?              - Rav Yisrael Salanter

Go to top.

Message: 12
From: Moshe Yehuda Gluck
Date: Fri, 23 Jun 2017 18:56:42 -0400
Re: [Avodah] well-known Ramban

R' Joel Rich:

What would your vote be for the most well-known Ramban on Chumash?




The one about being a naval b'rshus haTorah.




-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.aishdas.org/pipermail/avod

Go to top.

Message: 13
From: Ben Waxman
Date: Sat, 24 Jun 2017 23:04:55 +0200
Re: [Avodah] well-known Ramban

Mitzvah of living in Eretz Yisrael, including conquering it.
On 6/21/2017 10:50 PM, Rich, Joel via Avodah wrote:
 > What would your vote be for the most well-known Ramban on Chumash?
 > KT
 > Joel Rich


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 >