Avodah Mailing List

Volume 36: Number 119

Mon, 15 Oct 2018

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Mandel, Seth
Date: Fri, 12 Oct 2018 12:33:15 +0000
Re: [Avodah] Geshem or Gashem?!

[Transliterations mine, but I tried to be more consistent with RSM's
already present transliterations. -micha]

From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Sent: Thursday, October 11, 2018 7:42 PM

> I believe Ashkenaz used to. Manuscript research is more RSM's thing

Since my name was mentioned, I think R. Micha was inviting me to add my
ha'penny's worth.

The Ashkenaz mss. all have gover. As due Yemenite mss. I do not remember
what most S'faradi mss. have.

One thing that people are only partially aware of, including many rabbonim
who decided to comment on grammatical matters without the necessary study,
is that L'shon Chazal is a different language than Biblical Hebrew,
but that Chazal grew up knowing T'NaKh by heart, and so sprinkled their
language with Biblical quotations, just as English writers leaven their
language with quotations from Shakespeare or the Bible. Those quotations
are in the archaic dialect of English that was spoken in the 16th-17th
Century when Shakespeare lived and the King James translation was
done. and do not represent the language spoken by a 21st Century writer.

Similarly the language of T'filla as composed by Chazal uses their spoken
Hebrew, which we call L'shon Chazal, but it is as full of quotations
from the T'NaKh as a raisin bun is of raisins. Which makes it often
difficult to distinguish what is L'shon Chazal from what is a quotation.

I am writing a treatise about this, which God willing I will publish
one of these days, which will contain proofs and various strategems to
distinguish what is what.

But if the language is found in a posuk, you can be sure it is a
quotation. And the phrase ????? ??? [mitz'adei gaver] appears twice,
once in T'hillim 37 and once in Mishlei 20, once at the beginng of a
phrase and once at the end.

It seem fair to me to assume that they used the form at the end of a
phrase to put in the b'rokho, and so I would argue that the b'rokho is
incorporating the language of

    ?????? ?????????-?????,  ??????? ???-??????? ?????????
    [MeiYY mitz'adei-gover, ve'adam mah yovin darko.]

and so it would be "gover," as the mss. I saw have it.

Rabbi Dr. Seth Mandel

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Message: 2
From: Looking ForInspiration
Date: Fri, 12 Oct 2018 10:20:01 -0400
[Avodah] Apparently conflicting Stam Mishna


This is my first post to aishdas.org, so forgive me and direct me
if needed.

Up until the end of the 4th Perek of Baba Kama, Stam Mishna holds that
when there is doubt, Hamotzi Mechavero Olov Horaayah. In the 5th Perek,
it holds that when in doubt, you divide the money in doubt. Does this
mean that Shisha Sidrei Mishna does not have just one author?

I have done some quick research through the Hakdamas Hamishna Larambam,
Klallei Hamishna, and some other sources, but nevertheless, if someone
can direct me to sources and research on as much detail as possible
as to *what transpired in the process of the Mishna being written* it
would be much appreciated. Did Rebbi write all the Mishnayos (and if so,
the question above is a strong one)? Did Rebbi write some, but in Baba
Kamah he stopped at the 4th Perek, and someone else wrote the rest of
Baba Kama? Did Rebbi or the other authors of the Mishna, if any, write
the Mishna from memory, or compiled previously written text, or both?

Thank you in advance.


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Message: 3
From: Micha Berger
Date: Fri, 12 Oct 2018 11:20:24 -0400
Re: [Avodah] The Shape of the Tavah

On Fri, Oct 12, 2018 at 07:36:37AM -0400, Prof. Levine via Avodah wrote:
: At 03:01 PM 10/11/2018, Micha Berger wrote:
: >RSRH's teivah is his own reconstruction. He could be wrong too.

: >Borne on the surface of the water means all the weight is above the water,
: >                                           .... It would be another neis
: >for Noach et al not to have capsized.
: First of all,  the entire saving of Noach, his family, and the
: animals is a miracle.  It is not, IMO, something that would happen
: in the "natural" course of events.  Hence,  the ark could indeed
: have been shaped the way RSRH asserts and stayed afloat,  because
: HaShem kept it afloat.

Which I noted.

However, RSRH's observation that Noach built a teivah, not a boat,
didn't compell him to say that the box was atop the water, or that
the bottom was larger than the top. For that matter, the Torah describes
it like it was shaped like a brick -- just length, width and height, no
other details about apparence except the tzohar, if the tzohar was a

: Also,  we know that the nature of the world was different before the
: flood than it is today. IIRC, there are midrashim that say that
: there were no seasons as we have today and that vegetation grew at a
: much faster rate. In short, climatic conditions were very different
: before the flood than after it.

: In light of this,  who says that the laws of physics before the
: flood were the same as they are today?

Saying the world had a different climate doesn't mean the laws of
nature changed. It could mean the earth changed. There is no reason
to believe science itself changed since; and in fact some reason
to believe it hadn't.

After all, "mikol melakhto asher bara E-lokim la'asos" was before
the first Shabbos. The notion that the universe changed in a new
fundamental way since isn't 100% in concert with that.

Although I realize "nishtaneh hateva" has numerous explanations, I
don't know if any require believing the laws themselves changed.


Micha Berger             "Someday I will do it." - is self-deceptive. 
mi...@aishdas.org        "I want to do it." - is weak. 
http://www.aishdas.org   "I am doing it." - that is the right way.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                   - Reb Menachem Mendel of Kotzk

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Message: 4
From: Rabbi
Date: Fri, 12 Oct 2018 09:57:31 -0700
Re: [Avodah] Apparently conflicting Stam Mishna

Welcome on board!

I didn't look up that sugya itself, but it could be that it was a Mishna
Rishona Mishna Achrona thing. Like the reason that the Halacha in Machlokes
VeAchar Kach Stam is different than in a Stam VeAchar Kach Machlokes.

Also, regarding who actually wrote the Mishna - it's a Machlokes Rashi (who
said (in Eiruvin, in the Samechs on the sugya of More Halacha Bifnei Rabbo)
that the Mishna wasn't written in the Gemara's time) and the Rambam (who
said that Rebbi wrote the Mishna). 

I heard that it boils down to the two Girsas of Rabbi Sherira Gaon's famous letter. 
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Message: 5
From: Akiva Miller
Date: Sat, 13 Oct 2018 22:31:20 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Eishes Yefas Toar and Pruzbul

R' Micha Berger wrote:

> But my point is, in all three cases the Torah addresses people
> on a higher plane than the people Chazal encountered in
> reality. The deOraisa didn't accomodate human frailty. (And in
> the case of shemitas kesafim, if the deOraisa applied,
> halakhah still wouldn't have an accomodation.)

I think your cases are great examples of how Hashem deliberately left room
for us to "improve" the Torah somewhat, thereby partnering with Him,
exactly as you've explained.

> And yet, eishes yefas Torah -- lo dibera Torah ela keneged YhR.
> Something TSBP (and natural morality) tells us is immoral is
> not prohibited by the din. Human limitations are taken into
> account, and the Torah instead tries to channel the urge and
> limit the damage.
> So why the difference in approach? Why wasn't ribis permitted
> keneged YhR, or lending past shemittah, or qinyan deOraisa be
> when the buyer takes posession of the merchandise, rather than
> the seller takes the money? Again, all for the sake of keneged
> YhR?

Indeed, as you wrote (in the first paragraph that I quoted,) Chazal
encountered many people who were on a lower plane. Some people were up to
the standards and expectations addressed by the Torah, but to accommodate
the more frail humans, Chazal had to help them out. And with that help, the
fight against the Yetzer Hara is on more level ground.

But I've always understood the Yefas Toar to be an unwinnable situation.
The Bechira Point is off the scale. NO ONE will be able to avoid taking her
(unless he follows the prescribed procedure). That's what is meant by "lo
dibera Torah ela keneged YhR." The only solution is the one prescribed by
the Torah itself; there is nothing for Chazal to add.


D'rabanans cannot forbid things that are explicitly allowed by the Torah.
Chazal can forbid shofar on the years when RH is on Shabbos, but they can't
ban it entirely on Yom Tov because of musical instruments being muktzeh.
So, given that the Torah DOES allow one to take the Yefas Toar (after
following the prescribed procedure), how might you word your proposed

Akiva Miller
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Message: 6
From: Professor L. Levine
Date: Fri, 12 Oct 2018 21:16:21 +0000
[Avodah] Which Actions Have Value

The following is from RSRH's commentary on Bereishis 6:16

You shall make a light for the ark and finish it within one cubit of the
top, and set the entrance to the ark in its side; you shall make it with
lower, second and third stories.

God chose one man who was to save
himself, his family and the animal world; he would be able to save them
and himself ? only if he would do everything just as God had commanded
ha-mitzuveh ve-oseh me-me she-aino metzuveh ve-oseh (Kiddushin 31a) is a
fundamental principle in Judaism. Contrary to prevailing opinion, a person?s
actions have value only if they constitute the performance of God?s
Will. What a person does on the basis of his own judgment, and the like,
is of secondary, uncertain importance. During the 120 years that passed
between God?s announcement to Noach and the actual onset of the flood,
Noach could have done so many things: he could have built a hundred
arks, and so forth. Scripture?s sole intent, however, is to say that Noach
did exactly as God had commanded him; the rest he left to God.


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Message: 7
From: Professor L. Levine
Date: Sun, 14 Oct 2018 16:02:01 +0000
[Avodah] In sight Into Korbanos

The following is from RSRH's commentary on Bereishis 8:20

20 Then Noach built an altar to God and took of every pure animal and
of every pure bird, and offered ascent offerings upon the altar.

la Shem; our offerings are directed to the aspect of God?s rule that desires
not destruction, but life. '? is the source of all life and of all future
existence, and He is ready at all times to grant new life, new vigor, and
a new future. Symbolically, one offers his own life in order to win new
life from God; one offers oneself up to God in order to be consecrated
by God and to be elevated to a holy life on earth. One does not bring
an offering to a vengeful, angry, bloodthirsty god. Rather, one who
brings an offering devotes to God?s Will every pulsebeat, every nervous
impulse, all muscular strength. To make an offering means to win from
God eternal life. One does not offer up an animal; one offers up himself
through the animal. When a person offers an animal before God and
leans his hand upon it; when he slaughters it, collects its blood, dashes
its blood upon the altar, and surrenders its head, legs, breast, and carcass
to the flames ? in doing so he offers to God his own blood, his own
mind, his own muscular strength, and surrenders himself completely
to the fire of God?s Will, as set down for Israel in the Torah.


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Message: 8
From: Cantor Wolberg
Date: Sun, 14 Oct 2018 23:08:41 -0400
[Avodah] Lech L'cha "Go For It"

12:1  Vayomer HaShem el Avram: "Lech L'cha," etc.
The gematria of Lech L'cha is 100. So Avram was being told that life is a compromise: 50/50. 
And if he lives with give and take (50/50), he ends up with 100%.

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Message: 9
From: Eli Turkel
Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2018 10:53:35 +0300
[Avodah] Shapiro Gives Fiery, Unprecedented Assault On

< Human life is a continuous process of growth, from the moment of
fertilization onward. Abortion is the killing of this human life. >>

Nevertheless halacha does distinguish between a fetus and a born infant.
Killing a fetus is not murder and in fact achronim debate exactly what the
prohibition is

Eli Turkel
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Message: 10
From: Eli Turkel
Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2018 11:12:31 +0300
[Avodah] two witnesses

<< I don't think the power of two eidim lies in trustworthiness.

I would put the ne'emanus of eidim in my pet theory about halakhah being
about reality-as-observed. Evidence isn't observation. Eidus is. Add
the ability to compare stories, and we have established something on
the level of metzi'us. (Which, I remind you, is phrased to be about that
which can be "found", not that which exists in principle.)

And metzi'us doesn't deal in more or less likely. Qol kavu'ah applies
to doubts that open in in once-observed realities.  >>

First anything I brought from the Kavanaugh case was simply it was that
stoty that made me think of the issue. The details of that story are
The basic question was that recent studies demonstrate false memories and
especially from years ago and when the wirnesses may have been teenagers
when they are not yer completely developed.

On Micha's remarks it implies that the court can sentence someone to death
even though the facts might not be true.
More important it raises the whole question of DNA samples and all of
modern techniques versus two witnesses

I am now learning with R. Rappaport about contradictions in halacha.  In
particular about a group of animals that were schected and later a problem
was found in a piece of meat and one doesnt know from which cow/sheep it
can from.  Without going into all the details ic could happen that parts of
the cow are considered kosker while parts of the same cow are considered
neveilah. The Taz doesn't like such a scenarion but many others disagree
with him. They hold (like Micha) that the psak determines kosher and treif
and not the metzius.  Timtum halev occurs when one one eats something
prohibited. Eating  pork that is mutar (eg it is less than 1/60) does not
cause timtum halev  I am not sure everyone agrees with R. Rappaport)

Eli Turkel
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