Avodah Mailing List

Volume 36: Number 106

Thu, 20 Sep 2018

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Jay F. Shachter
Date: Mon, 17 Sep 2018 21:16:25 +0000 (WET DST)
Re: [Avodah] Ha'azinu

> Rabbi Simeon said: "Moses in his Song first said The rock, perfect
> is His work, referring to the occasion when water issued from the
> rock..." (Zohar S'hmot 64b)

I am utterly puzzled by this Zohar, because tzur and sela` are two
totally different words that mean different things.  Their meanings
don't even overlap.  I don't believe that the author of the Zohar was
a Tanna (bring it on) but I am certain that he or she studied the
Torah in the original Hebrew, not in a translation that erased the
distinction between those two words.

On the other hand -- now that I have had time to think about it -- the
person who posted the above to this mailing list thought that he was
posting something that made sense.  So, perhaps it is the case that
even when people are reading the Torah in Hebrew, if they are mentally
translating into their native language as they read, they are thinking
in the mental categories that are imposed on them by their native
language.  Another argument, I suppose, for the late authorship of the
Zohar, and for teaching your children, when they are young, not only
to read and write Hebrew but also to speak and think in it.

                Jay F. ("Yaakov") Shachter
                6424 N Whipple St
                Chicago IL  60645-4111
                        (1-773)7613784   landline
                        (1-410)9964737   GoogleVoice

                "The umbrella of the gardener's aunt is in the house"

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Message: 2
From: Professor L. Levine
Date: Tue, 18 Sep 2018 12:41:45 +0000
[Avodah] My children will be eating sandwiches on Yom Kippur.

From today's OU Kosher Halacha Yomis

Q. My children will be eating sandwiches on Yom Kippur. How should they wash netilas yadayim?

A. Although regarding washing in the morning, Shulchan Aruch writes that
one should only wash until the knuckles, poskim point out that if one must
eat bread on Yom Kippur, one should wash the entire hand including the
palm, the same way that they would the rest of the year (Levushei Mordechai
quoted by Shevet HaLevi 8:139 and many other poskim). In this regard,
washing for bread is like the requirement of Kohanim to wash before
reciting Birkas Kohanim. The Mishnah Berurah (613:7) writes that Kohanim on
Yom Kippur must wash their entire hand before Birkas Kohanim. In all these
cases, there is no violation of washing hands, since the intent is not for

Lehoros Nosson (2:42) explains the difference between washing for bread and
washing in the morning. Although in both cases throughout the year,
lechatchila (in the first instance) one should wash the entire hand and
bedi?eved (after the fact), it is enough if one washed up until and
including the knuckles, there is still an important difference between
them. Regarding washing for bread, many Rishonim hold that that this is an
absolute requirement, and although we are lenient if it was not done,
Shulchan Aruch (OC 161:4) writes that one should be careful to wash the
entire hand. However, Shulchan Aruch makes no mention of washing the entire
hand to remove ru?ach ra?ah. This was only introduced by later poskim, such
as the Magen Avrohom (4:7). Therefore, on Yom Kippur we do not follow this
added stringency, since at the same time it would be a leniency to wash
beyond the knuckles.

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Message: 3
From: Rabbi
Date: Tue, 18 Sep 2018 09:18:33 -0700
Re: [Avodah] How should one wash their hands upon waking in

And see the Ketzos Hashulchan (Badei Hashulchan 2:10) where he says that on
a regular day, washing until the knuckles doesn't remove the Ruach Raah
even Bedieved. And the only reason we wash our hands on Yom Kippur until
the knuckles is since there's not a lot of Tumah on Yom Kippur. 

On September 17, 2018 1:55:56 PM PDT, "Professor L. Levine via Avodah" <avo...@lists.aishdas.org> wrote:
From today's OU Kosher Halacha  Yomis
>Q. How should one wash their hands upon waking in the morning on Yom
>A. Shulchan Aruch (OC 613:1-2) writes that the prohibition of washing
>on Yom Kippur applies only to one who washes for enjoyment. If one?s
>hands become dirty, one is permitted to wash off the dirt. Similarly,
>one may wash one?s hands upon waking in the morning to remove ru?ach
>ra?ah. Because this encompasses an element of danger as well, washing
>to remove the ru?ach ra?ah is considered even more of a necessity than
>washing off dirt. Although the rest of the year, we are careful to wash
>our entire hand three times, on Yom Kippur we wash three times only up
>until and including the knuckles (i.e. until the palm), since strictly
>speaking that is enough to remove ru?ach ra?ah. The Chazon Ish (Orchos
>Rabbeinu II, p. 207) held that one need not be concerned if some water
>goes past the knuckles, since this washing is not intended for
>enjoyment. After Yom Kippur, one should wash the entire hand three
>times (Luach Davar B?ito cited by Piskei Teshuvos 624:1).
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Message: 4
From: Michael Poppers
Date: Tue, 18 Sep 2018 10:14:34 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Abortion - Rav Asher Weiss

In Avodah V36n99, R'Micha wrote
> After all, the fetus
> has a potential of future shemiras Shabbos even if it didn't yet
> become a person. <
When do we consider potential (as opposed to actual) in Halacha?  From what
little I understand, the Halachic conception of an unborn fetus (at least,
past a certain #days threshold, e.g. 40) as nearly a human being (viz. FN2
at http://www.aish.com/ci/sam/48954946.html) is unique, so perhaps RAW is
saying that any Halachic mandate which applies to a human being can be
applied to a fetus....
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Message: 5
From: Zev Sero
Date: Tue, 18 Sep 2018 12:07:33 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Ha'azinu

On 17/09/18 17:16, Jay F. Shachter via Avodah wrote:
> I am utterly puzzled by this Zohar, because tzur and sela` are two
> totally different words that mean different things.  Their meanings
> don't even overlap.

1. First of all, what are these different meanings, and how do you know 
they do mean different things and are not synonyms?

2. Second, even if it is so, the water came from a tzur, so what's the 

Zev Sero            A prosperous and healthy 5779 to all
z...@sero.name       Seek Jerusalem's peace; may all who love you prosper

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Message: 6
From: Ben Bradley
Date: Wed, 19 Sep 2018 21:33:58 +0000
Re: [Avodah] Eating on Yom Kippur

RMB wrote:

  ' Kaf haChaim: If the medical professional or a significant minority
   among experts determine *that it is plausible* that they are a choleh,
   even if they do not believe it is indeed the case.'

'I think the KhC's point is not only his opinion, as otherwise it would
be permissible for someone who read a web page wand got convinced they
have something horrible to eat on Yom Kippur. I find that result absurd;
it seems to me everyone would have to have some criterion for avoiding
eating on YK due to hypocondria. This idea that the doctor must agree
there is some valid grounds for the patient's fear exist -- even if he
believes the fear is misplaced.'

Hypochondria doesn't exist in the modern medical lexicon.  Psychosomatic
illness, or somatising illness, certainly does. The difference is that the
latter involves real, if subjective, symptoms, which can be disabling.
Meaning, again, that modern medicine takes symptoms at face value at
doesn't say 'you're just making it up/neurotic/crazy', which would have
been the case a few decades ago.
Someone with significant physical symptoms but no objective signs of
illness like abnormal test results would certainly be considered 'ill' or
even disabled by modern medicine. I presume such a patient would be a
choleh in halacha and entitled to eat if they think they must.
Someone with mental health symptoms but no pain or other physical symptoms
would have the same category of illness in medical terms. Would the Kaf
HaChaim, and presumably other poskim, distinguish between the two such that
one is a choleh and the other not? Are physical symptoms a different case
to psychiatric symptoms?
Or is psychosomatic illness the same as psychiatric illness and neither
would make someone choleh WRT yom kippur, remvoing the applicability of OC
681:1 to both?
I don't find it absurd to have subjective grounds to allow breaking the
fast. The point is that lev yodeiah maras nafsho. The patient has to be
genuinely concerned for their own pikuach nefesh , not just have read
something online. But if they whole point of this halacha is that the
patient knows themselves better then a doctor can, then we're already
dealing explicitly with a patient's subjective assessment of their state of

A Gut Kvittel

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Message: 7
From: Rich, Joel
Date: Thu, 20 Sep 2018 07:18:50 +0000
[Avodah] religious scientists?

Assume that "surveys" show that the percentage of "top" (TBD) scientists
who consider themselves religious is dramatically lower than that of a
similar demographic of non-top scientists (and non-scientists). How would
one go about explaining the causes of this differential theoretically and
then testing the theory?
Gmar Tov
Joel Rich

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Message: 8
From: Micha Berger
Date: Thu, 20 Sep 2018 13:46:27 -0400
Re: [Avodah] religious scientists?

On Thu, Sep 20, 2018 at 07:18:50AM +0000, Rich, Joel via Avodah wrote:
: Assume that "surveys" show that the percentage of "top" (TBD) scientists
: who consider themselves religious is dramatically lower than that of a
: similar demographic of non-top scientists (and non-scientists). How would
: one go about explaining the causes of this differential theoretically
: and then testing the theory?

The people who get ahead in any profession spend more time within its
community, and therefore pick up the attitudes of its echo chamber. Even
when those attitudes are not compelled by the field itself. And like any
echo chamber (think the current state of American politics and social
media), you will end up with a feedback loop (the chamber's "echo")
that pushes the demographics away from the middle ground.

I guess the only way to test it is to lot at
(1) People who found their scientific calling in childhood, but lacked
the opportunities to get that immersion in the community. And/or
(2) Those who didn't originally go into the sciences, such that their
religious opinions were set before they did.

Just to consider another way the community's culture could have played
out. Had history not included things like the Church denying Copernicus,
which set up an adversarial background even before Darwin was born....

In Calculating God, Robert J. Sawyer (2000) tells the story of humanity's
encounter with a group of alien scientists who come to study other planets
and learn from its inhabitants. Their paleontologist is amazed to learn
that his counterpart is an atheist. On their planet, the scientific
orthodoxy is that given the evidence of evolution and yet the sheer
unlikeliness of evolution getting anywhere -- never mind the rise of
sentient species -- it had to be guided by a Creator. (Where the story
progresses beyond the main character's first few discussions with the
alien palientologist is less illustrative my point.)

There really is no compelling reason the community gravitated to
one philosophical underpinning to the explanation of the data than
another. Something e are now seeing in other fields. In Quantum
Mechanics, the first explanation of what the wave function was and
how/when it collapsed was Niel Bohr's Copenhagen Interpretation. And
it dominated thought in physics until its popularity started fading
in favor of other explanations less than two decades ago. Not that
there weren't other interpretations of Quantum Mechanics that equally
fit the same data. These were different interpretations of the theory,
not different equations but different justifications for why they would
exist. Just that one captured the community's imagination. Until people
found less mystical explanations that allow them to take consciousness
off the pedestal Copenhagen put it on. (And seem to make more sense even
to this person who believes in souls and that an intellect that can observe
should be special...)

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             A cheerful disposition is an inestimable treasure.
mi...@aishdas.org        It preserves health, promotes convalescence,
http://www.aishdas.org   and helps us cope with adversity.
Fax: (270) 514-1507         - R' SR Hirsch, "From the Wisdom of Mishlei"

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Message: 9
From: Chana Luntz
Date: Thu, 20 Sep 2018 12:46:34 +0100
Re: [Avodah] Eating on Yom Kippur

RMB writes:
> Back to the KhC, in practice it's hard to think when you would have a real
> chashash which doesn't reach safek pikuach nefesh level. Usually if there's
> a real chashash that's already the kind of safek which would make it hard to
> say it's mutar to fast. And if >there's no chashash then how is he a choleh?

> So still having difficulty fitting the criteria of this halacha, as per
> KhC, into any modern medical scenario.

Don't know if it helps, but I just had a modern medical situation in
which at least one doctor (who is also a rabbi) clearly felt there was
a real chashash but still a requirement to fast (to the extent of not
taking medicines). Unfortunately I just didn't have time to get a second
opinion, and was completely baffled what to do, so I did what he said
(seemed easiest), but don't know if I was stupid or not.

Basically, somehow I got what the proscribing nurse at my GP surgery
thinks are bites from insects in grass that have become infected. Went to
the GP on Monday afternoon and was seen by the proscribing nurse, who
said - it is infected, you need antibiotics. I said to him - but I have
a big fast on Tuesday night/Wednesday - he said to me "I know you want
to fast for religious reasons, but your leg is infected, and there is a
risk of sepsis, which carries a risk of death!" - Bottom line - he didn't
mince around with it. So I got the prescription for the antibiotics, and
the instructions on them when I got them from the pharmacist was "take
four a day, an hour before food, or two hours after food". I said to
the pharmacist, does that mean that I can take them when I am fasting -
and she said "fine - better actually". But the person my husband often
asks shialas to is not only a rabbi, but a GP (ie a doctor), so I phoned
him up on Monday afternoon as soon as I got home.

He asked me lots of medical questions (did I have temperature (no -
36.9, the practicing nurse had taken that as well)), how far up the
leg was it red and swollen (about mid-calf), how long was the actual
"wound", how much was the dosage of the antibiotics (500mg), and then
he said - and I could have fallen over - I don't see a problem you not
taking them. Try and take two today (it is supposed to be four a day,
but it was late Monday afternoon by the time I started) and then try
and fit in four tomorrow before the fast, and then start taking again
immediately after the fast. A break of 25 hours won't matter! I said
to him that if I take the last one for the day right before the fast,
I will have just stuffed myself full of food, so it won't be "an hour
before food or two after". He said that didn't matter.

I said to my husband, I am not sure that I shouldn't be getting a second
medical opinion on this, and we tossed around some names, but while we
know a few frum doctors, none of them come near to the learning of this
particular doctor who is also a rabbi, and we honestly didn't have time
to go asking, even if I knew exactly how to ask somebody as to whether
they thought this course of action was irresponsible. So I did what he
said - and I guess if I end up in hospital or worse, you will know it
was not the right psak. The leg doesn't seem to have gotten any worse,
but on the other hand it doesn't seem to have gotten any better either
(I did struggle to walk to shul on it and sat down in shul more than I
would normally, but it was manageable, even without painkillers).

So here would seem to be a case where there was unquestionably a chashash
and I can't see how I can be described as anything other than a choleh,
but the rabbi/doctor was clearly convinced that stopping taking the
antibiotics for 25 hours was not a real risk - with the corollary being
that I shouldn't take them over yom kippur!! And while if it had been
somebody else I probably could have come up with a large number of
halachic arguments why one shouldn't do what he advised, but when it
is oneself that is very difficult (or at least I find it difficult).
And it is not really about how I felt, I was sure I would physically
manage over Yom Kippur - it is presumably really whether by doing this
I am giving the infection time to become immune to this antibiotic,
or to spread too far, or similar.

So to try and feed into the CKC's analysis, here there is presumably
a case where yes, there is a pikuach nefesh risk (I don't think the
rabbi/doctor was disputing the risk of sepsis), but the chashash was, as
this doctor/rabbi understood it, does one stop antibiotics for 25 hours
and then resume, and that risk presumably he didn't think was high enough.
And I have absolutely no idea what that risk really is.


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Message: 10
From: Professor L. Levine
Date: Thu, 20 Sep 2018 17:34:39 +0000
[Avodah] Taking Down a Succah During Chol Moed

From today's OU Kosher Halacha Yomis

Q. I will be going away for the last days of Sukkos, and I do not need my Sukkah anymore. Can I take it down on Chol Hamoed before I leave?

A. The Gemara (Sukkah 9a) derives from the verse (Vayikra 23:34) ?The Chag
of Sukkos shall be seven days for Hashem? that just as a Korban Chagiga
(alluded to by the word ?chag? which is seemingly superfluous) is
sanctified to Hashem, so too a Sukkah becomes sanctified to Hashem.
Shulchan Aruch (OC 638:1) writes that the s?chach and walls of a Sukkah may
not be used for any other purpose during the chag. For example, one may not
pull a splinter from the wood of the Sukkah to use as a toothpick. Even if
the Sukkah fell down, one may not benefit from the wood until after Sukkos.
It is not clear from Shulchan Aruch whether one may take down a Sukkah if
no one will benefit from it. Sefer Ikrei HaDat (OC 2:68) discusses this
question and concludes that taking down a Sukkah is ?bizui mitzvah?
(belittling of the mitzvah) and therefore it may only be taken down if
there is a special necessity. Shoel Umaishiv (4:3:28) also seems to imply
that this is not permitted. He writes that one 
 may not 
 even take s?chach off of one Sukkah to place on another. However, Rav
 Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, zt?l (Minchas Shlomo II:54) and L?horos Noson
 (7:47) both point out that there is a clear implication from Shulchan
 Aruch (666:1) that one may take down a Sukkah, once it is no longer
 needed. The Shulchan Aruch states that in Israel, on Hoshanah Rabba, once
 the Sukkah is no longer needed, one may remove a large section of the
 s?chach in order to permit sitting in the Sukkah on Shmini Atzeres and not
 be concerned about ba?al tosif. Of course, one may not benefit from the
 s?chach until after Sukkos. (Note, dismantling a Sukkah on Chol Hamoed
 involves melacha. This would be permitted only for the sake of Yom Tov [if
 the labor is non-skilled], or to avoid a loss.)

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