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Volume 36: Number 3

Thu, 04 Jan 2018

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Micha Berger
Date: Wed, 3 Jan 2018 15:12:16 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Foreshadow

On Thu, Dec 28, 2017 at 09:57:46PM +0200, Ben Waxman via Avodah wrote:
: Is the break up of the united kingdom (Israel and Yehuda) somehow
: foreseen in the brothers? ...

That seems to be the imiplication of choosing that particular haftarah
from Yechezqeil (37:15-28) to correspond to Vayigash.

As for the general question of foreshadowing...

Isn't that the Ramban's "maaseh avos siman labanim, that history
foreshadow's the future, and the particular description of history as
Hashem retells it in the chumash doubly so?

That said, I more naturally see it in terms of forward causality, rather
than simanim / foreshadowing. The argument that led to the split kingdoms
were caused by character traits that among their respective children
became cultural traits that led to the split. Interestingly, it's Yehudah
who leads the wrong side in Bereishis, but Ephraim who leads the wrong
side during bayis rishon. And it's Yehudah's ability to acknowledge
(which is his very name!) and Yosef's ability to forgive, which become
the cultural seeds that we'll need for messianic reunification.

More blatantly is Yiravam's paraphase of Aharon at the eigel.

Aharon presents the eigel and says
        Eileh elohekha Yisrael, asher he'elukha meiEretz Mitzrayim
Yiravam presents his two bulls with
        Hineih elohekha Yisrael, asher he'elukha meiEretz Mitzrayim

(Interestingly, it is Yir'avam who has a plurality of bovines, but Aharon
who uses the lashon rabbim of "eileh".)

The eigel planted the seeds of AZ into the culture that allow for the
abandonment of the real BHMQ.

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

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Message: 2
From: Micha Berger
Date: Wed, 3 Jan 2018 15:23:25 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Merchavyah

On Tue, Jan 02, 2018 at 09:58:50PM -0500, Akiva Miller via Avodah wrote:
:> For one thing, the Keter Aram Tzovah has it as two words.
: Someone else (offlist) gave me that same answer, so I clearly failed
: to phrase my question clearly. Let's try again...
: But, l'maaseh, someone who is publishing *must* choose to print it one
: way or the other. Why would someone nowadays choose to follow the
: manuscripts rather than an almost-unanimous opinion in the gemara?

To double-down on the question, that same publisher likely writes
"Hallelukah" as one word, whereas KAZ has "Hallelu-Kah", with a maqaf
linking two words into one teivah.

So it's not an issue of strict obediance to the Mesorah, even over

BTW, lehalakhah they could both be right. The kosher text of a seifer
Torah, when there is doubt, is based on rov of existing sifrei Torah.
If the demographics of girsa'os changed between chasimas hashas and
the Baalei Mesorah (and didn't switch back since), perhaps we follow
the new rov, despite evidence in the gemara of Chazal preferring
something else.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             I thank God for my handicaps, for, through them,
mi...@aishdas.org        I have found myself, my work, and my God.
http://www.aishdas.org                - Helen Keller
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Message: 3
From: Micha Berger
Date: Wed, 3 Jan 2018 15:40:52 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Rambam Hilchot Kiddush Hachodesh -- on "min"

On Mon, Dec 18, 2017 at 09:16:44AM -0500, hankman via Avodah wrote:
: R. Micha Berger wrote:
:> Ironically, defining a "min" is not settled halakhah either.

: If I am not mistaken the modern secular definition of "species" is based
: on whether the populations can interbreed or not. Do we know with any
: certainty that the Torah rejects this criteria as a determinant of "min"?

For kelayim for animals, we use the same criterion -- can produce
fertile young.

For kelayim for plants (including kerem) we use an experiential measure:
same name and visually similar.

The dispute I referred to after the line you quoted isn't about kelayim,
but ofos tehoros. When chickens are deemed kosher, does that include
breeds that don't have the usually secondary signs. What if a leghorn
chicken didn't shift its toe placement once comfortable? They could still
interpreed with other chickens, but would they have been presumed to be
included in the mesorah that chicken is kosher? The discussion appears
to be "no", since we do rely on the toe shift.

And the Braekel chicken? It doesn't even have the rei'usa of being
occasionally doreis-footed. And yet R Moshe Sternbuch prohibits. (I
think that prohibition is only possible because of a gap in knowledge
of history, but that's not our question right now.) Agree or not about
the metzi'us, clearly the definition of halachic category isn't settled.

So, maybe only in the context of kelayim of chai (as opposed to tzomeiach)
does min == species. In other contexts, it appears not to be settled

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             How wonderful it is that
mi...@aishdas.org        nobody need wait a single moment
http://www.aishdas.org   before starting to improve the world.
Fax: (270) 514-1507              - Anne Frank Hy"d

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Message: 4
From: Micha Berger
Date: Wed, 3 Jan 2018 16:04:49 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Rambam ,Hilchot Hannuka

On Sun, Dec 24, 2017 at 08:55:39PM +0200, Ben Waxman via Avodah wrote:
: 2) The Rambam gives a long detailed description on how to properly
: say Hallel in beit knesset. However the last halacha in the chapter
: basically says "I've been in a lot batei knesset and everyone does
: something different'. Meaning - you want to do a musical Hallel,
: different tunes, no tunes, responsive, everyone together, whatever
: you like - it is fine.

But he bases this on metzi'us. So it would seem that you can only do a
musical Hallel if enought other minyanim are doing so for it to be
among the norms. You shouldn't invent your own.

I realize this means you are permitted only because and after others
wrongly committed poreitz geder. But that's how the Rambam's logic seems
to me.

: 3) The Rambam raises the possibility of a woman or child or slave
: reading Hallel and everyone repeating what she or he said word by
: word. However, he doesn't add in the famous curse given in the
: Gemara. Meaning - the Rambam didn't hold by? Tavo Ma'arah
: (spelling?) (at least not here).

Actually, he is limiting the role of Maqreih when one appoins a qatan,
eved or ishah.(Chanukah 3:14)  The responsive style of old is only when the
Maqreih is a bar chiyuvah.

So I scould see two opposite alternatives to (1) your take on the Rambam:

(2) He does hold of tavo me'ara very strongly, but only believes it was
said about responsive reading -- to the extent that the Rambam altogether
prohibits doing so. That would be having a sha"tz who isn't a bar
chiyuvah. But this, this is just using a human being as a siddur.

(3) The Rambam felt that tavo me'rarah was real, but didn't add much to 
the *halachic* discussion. There is no behavioral change between knowing
you're stuck with a non-bar chiyuva helping you read and knowing exactly
how bad chazal considered it.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Weeds are flowers too
mi...@aishdas.org        once you get to know them.
http://www.aishdas.org          - Eeyore ("Winnie-the-Pooh" by AA Milne)
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Message: 5
From: Micha Berger
Date: Wed, 3 Jan 2018 16:11:19 -0500
Re: [Avodah] birur vs hanhaga in other legal systems

On Wed, Dec 27, 2017 at 09:51:45AM +0000, Rich, Joel via Avodah wrote:
: There's a lot of "Brisker Torah" on the differentiation between
: halachically resolving doubts by birur (clarification/resolution of
: doubt) versus hanhaga (we still have a doubt but must move forward while
: not resolving the doubt)....                        Is anyone aware of
: any parallels to this differentiation in other legal systems?

I think the notion of birur involves the Brisker belief that a chalos
sheim is ontologically a metaphysical reality. So, birur creates a
"thing", not just a step in legal reasoning.

In non-religious legal systems, a legal state is merely a concept to
simplify explaining the law's ruling. The conceptual distinction you
are asking about may be impossible to define.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Man can aspire to spiritual-moral greatness
mi...@aishdas.org        which is seldom fully achieved and easily lost
http://www.aishdas.org   again. Fulfillment lies not in a final goal,
Fax: (270) 514-1507      but in an eternal striving for perfection. -RSRH

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Message: 6
From: Akiva Miller
Date: Wed, 3 Jan 2018 18:26:41 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Merchavyah

R' Micha Berger wrote something that goes to the very heart of my question:

> The kosher text of a seifer Torah, when there is doubt, is
> based on rov of existing sifrei Torah. If the demographics
> of girsa'os changed between chasimas hashas and the Baalei
> Mesorah (and didn't switch back since), perhaps we follow the
> new rov, despite evidence in the gemara of Chazal preferring
> something else.

A "doubt" is what happens when you've done your best to figure out the
situation, and you can't decide which way to go. So, for example, a
person who came across several authoritative texts, some of which
spelled "merchavyah" as one word and some spelled it as two, IF he was
unaware of this Gemara, then he would count up his texts and follow
the rov.

But that person is not me, because I was fortunate to have stumbled
upon RSR Hirsch's perush on Tehillim, in which he pointed out the
gemara to me. So to me, there is no doubt; "merchavyah" is one word.

Does that make sense, or am I being obtuse?

Akiva Miller

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Message: 7
From: H Lampel
Date: Thu, 4 Jan 2018 00:20:19 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Historicity of Aggadta

> Date: Wed, 3 Jan 2018 RSM wrote concerning my translation of a passage in Rambam's Hakdama to Perek Chelek:
> I don't know why he divides your and his translation into stanzas.The Rambam does not divide it in the original...
At first I was bewildered by this remark. How in the world does one see 
I divided the Rambam into stanzas?! Then I figured it out. Those slashes 
are not meant to mark stanzas. They are attempts to indicate italics. 
Not that I meant to convey that the Rambam wrote in italics, either, but 
to high-lite the words I wanted to focus on.

Regarding the argument RMB and I have concerning whether Chazal, when 
mentioning events, were interested in their historic veracity, or just 
the message they saw in the alleged events, RSM comments:
> ... If the arguments are about
> whether the Rambam is claiming that no aggadta is historically accurate,
> it is the flow of the arguments that answers that question conclusively,
Neither of us maintained such a thing.
> ...the context and the line of arguments of the Rambam makes it clear
> that anyone who takes aggadta just as historical fact ....
...an entirely different claim, and another one which neither of us 
> ...is a fool because
> everything in Aggadta is meant to teach a lesson. I believe that the
> Rambam would say it is unimportant if it really happened, because Chazal
> are not interested in telling historical facts.
RSM and RMB share this belief, but it has no basis in the Rambam's words 
or context. (And the reasoning is circular. The reason RSM believes 
Rambam would say the veracity of a reported is unimportant is because 
Chazal are not interested. Well, that's begging the question! Who said 
Chazal were uninterested in the historical veracity of events they 
reported? Again, all agree that the purpose of reporting the event was 
to convey a lesson they teach. But that tells you /nothing/ about 
whether Chazal or Rambam were interested in whether the report is true.) 
So the rest of the remarks are really irrelevant.

> Chazal are not interested in teaching history.
> However, the Geonim had a tradition
> that some things that Chazal say are
> historical, and these are the things that the Rambam quotes, such as
> the story of Chanukka.
So Chazal were not interested in whether an event actually occurred, but 
the Geonim were, but the Rambam again was not? And from whom did the 
Geonim get the tradition telling them which events Chazal reported were 
historically true, if Chazal themselves were not interested in this matter?

>   He does not quote the allegories unless he is
> using them for his purposes.
He doesn't quote anything unless he is using it for his purposes.
> He also states things that he believes
> are historical, such as how AZ developed at the beginnings of Hilkhot
> AZ.
All the above about Chanuka and AZ sounds to me like special pleading.
And how do you know the Rambam meant each of these as history, or that 
he thought that this Midrash meant it as history?
On what basis did the Rambam decide that these reports were historical 
and not just to teach us lessons?
And why did it matter to him if the Midrash's report of the development 
of AZ was historically true? Let him just state the lesson it teaches, 
the halachos, and that no rationale permits praying to heavenly objects.
Why did it matter to him if the Chanuka neis actually occurred?Maybe 
Chazal were using metaphor to teach a lesson. Let him just tell us the 
halachos of lighting the licht, which symbolizes the lessons of the 
metaphor (or. as Josephus puts it, ''the freedom to worship had been 
concealed in darkness and is now brought to light.'')

What the Rambam says about the three kattim and Chazal's policy of using
allegory tells us /nothing/ about whether Chazal or he considered it
important that their reports of events were true. Unless one gets the
impression that the Rambam held they did, based upon his praise of Chazal's

Me, I think that if the Rambam held that Chazal, in conveying lessons
through reported plausible events, did so without regard to their truth, he
would have said so. Because when a sage says something plausible happened
(/especially/ if that alleged event teaches a lesson), a normal person
thinks the sage means it really happened. And I think rightly so. And the
Rambam's concern about whether an event was reported as a report of a
dream, reinforces the notion that it mattered to him, and that he was not
unconcerned about, whether it really took place (and conveyed the lesson it


Some remarks on RSM's translation of the Arabic as it relates to the 
translations of the Hebrew offered by RMB and me of,

:????? l'fi shedivrei hachachamim kulam /bedevarim ha-elyonim she-heim
:????? hatachlis/ amnam heim chiddah umashal.

RSM's translation of the Arabic:

     "because what all the scholars (or: those with wisdom) say concerning
     these elevated (or: sublime) matters, which is the ultimate goal,
     is indeed metaphor and allegory."

RBM's take was:
:     "for/all the words of the sages/  are about lofty matters, which
:     form the ultimate concern, but they are [all expressed through] chiddah
:     and mashal."
My take was:
:     for the words of all the wise men//concerning the lofty matters, : which form the ultimate concern,/ /are truly [expressed in] chiddah
:     and mashal.

Upon which RBM asked: Hachakhamim kulam = all the wise men? Wouldn't that need a "kol", as in
"kol hachakhamim", or for emphasis, "kol hachakhamim kulam"?

But RSM too takes it as "all the scholars (or: those with wisdom)." Not
that I wouldn't accept RMB's ''all the words of the sages." I can take it
either way. Similar to ''eilu v'eilu divrei Elokim Hayyim hein'' (whoops, I
just stumbled into another machlokess RMB and I engage in 
perennially!...). Is it "the words of the living G-d," or "the living words
of G-d"?

RMM also asked,
> And what do you do with the prepositional "be-" in "be'inyanim ha'elyonim"
if it isn't "kulam be'inyanim ha'elyanim" -- there is no noun afterward

I had translated the ''be,'' which means ''in,'' as ''concerning," so that
the clause reads not as RMB has it, ''"forall the words of the sages  are
about lofty matters,'' but ''for the words of all the wise men concerning
the lofty matters...'' RSM's take agrees with mine: ''because what all the
scholars (or: those with wisdom) say concerning these elevated (or:
sublime) matters...''

And thirdly, RMB critiqued my translation:

> And "amnam" is not "are truly" but "but they are".

Yet RSM too, translated it, "indeed."

(Before I wrote my original post, I checked out this amnam with /my/ Arabic go-to man, and he wrote:

The word amnam is a precise translation of the Arabic anma, and it carries
the ambiguity of ?but? and ?indeed,? but in this case, I think it means ?but.?)

By the way, one can get to the Arabic and Hebrew on facing pages by going here:

So again I maintain that the Rambam is telling us that Chazal presented
only the inyanim elokiyyim/elyonim lessons in implausible reports. Less
lofty, albeit valuable, lessons were taught in plain language, whose
surface meanings of their statements were intended, but which perhaps
additionally had some hidden meanings (of the non-lofty kind).

But he is not addressing here whether Chazal were concerned about the historical veracity of the reports upon which they built or illustrated their lessons.

Zvi Lampel

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