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Volume 37: Number 24

Tue, 26 Mar 2019

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Micha Berger
Date: Sat, 23 Mar 2019 23:19:07 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Mishkan vis a vis Ohel Moed

On Tue, Mar 12, 2019 at 05:43:34PM -0400, Akiva Miller via Avodah wrote:
: 40:34) The cloud covered the Ohel Moed, and Kavod Hashem filled the Mishkan.
: 40:35) Moshe was not able to enter the Ohel Moed, because the cloud rested
: on it, and Kavod Hashem filled the Mishkan.

: From this repetitious wording, it seems clear me that "Ohel Moed" and
: "Mishkan" are two different things...

: 3) Some said both terms refer to the same central structure.

I think that Ohel Mo'eid refers to the enclosed structure of the Miskan,
when it refers to the Mishkan. If the term included the chatzeir which
has no roof, calling it an "ohel" would be odd.

However, Ohel Mo'eid is a more generic term for a structure where the
Shechinah could be experienced. Moshe's place of prophecy when it was
outside the camp was also called an Ohel Mo'eid. Shemos 33:6-11.

Gut Voch!

Micha Berger             One who kills his inclination is as though he
mi...@aishdas.org        brought an offering. But to bring an offering,
http://www.aishdas.org   you must know where to slaughter and what
Fax: (270) 514-1507      parts to offer.        - R' Simcha Zissel Ziv

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Message: 2
From: Micha Berger
Date: Sat, 23 Mar 2019 23:29:48 -0400
Re: [Avodah] [CC] Gripes and Grumbles

On Thu, Mar 21, 2019 at 05:56:40AM -0400, Akiva Miller via Avodah wrote:
: R' Micha Berger wrote:
: > But the only way to get out of this hole is to get away from
: > scolding mispallelim or to impose decorum as a rule, and to
: > give the tzibbur self-motivation.
: It seems to me that "to give self-motivation" is a contradiction in
: terms. "Self-motivation" means that it springs from something
: internal. How can that be given from an outsider?

You can teach people what they should be self-motivated about.
Most people have a desire to be able to connect to davening, they
just can't. If more of us not only knew that davening was special, but
could tap into that specialness and "get energy" from the experience,
the self-motivation to come on time, leave only when it is fully over,
and be quiet and pay attention in between, would follow.

: The only idea I can come up with is to do absolutely nothing -
: nothing! - aside from trying to set a good example. In my experience,
: this procedure tends to have a depressingly small success rate. But
: that's still better than the negative results that come from scolding
: and imposing.

People won't learn what it is that works for you and not for them
that way.

Gut Voch!

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: 3
From: Micha Berger
Date: Sat, 23 Mar 2019 23:25:57 -0400
Re: [Avodah] In defense of Haman -- NOT Purim Torah

On Thu, Mar 21, 2019 at 06:05:15AM -0400, Akiva Miller via Avodah wrote:
:> So, okay, Haman was indeed a rasha. But he wasn't simply attempting
:> to exterminate an entire nation -- he was attempting to exterminate
:> an entire nation that was out to exterminate his own people.
:> And yet Chazal portray him as some unfathomable monster. "Harasha"
:> puts him in a pretty select group.
: Your question is a good one, but I don't think it is new. I think it
: is just a new variation on an old theme, and it is usually phrased in
: terms like: "But what about the children?! How evil can Amalek's
: babies be?!"

I don't see the comparison. I am not asking about the obligation to
kill an Amaleiqi, I am asking why Chazal consider him Haman haRasha
when his acts -- while evil -- are understandable.

The reply:
: To me, the answer is that if an individual Amaleki appears to be
: innocent [whether we are talking about babies, or about an Amaleki
: whose motivation is no more evil than genuine self-defense], we must
: still do our mitzvah, but we must remember to do it very lishmah...

Would only make sense if I asked about the mitzvah, but actually I
asked about the "is not more evil than genuine self-defense." Or at
least something closer to self-defense, tainted by a love of power and
the honor of his office. (After all, Mordechai refusing to bow sets him
off.) But do we have any indication things would have gotten this out of
hand if we didn't have a mitzvah that keeps us in Amaleiq's cross-hairs,
and self-preservation wasn't part of it?

Gut Voch!

Micha Berger             "And you shall love H' your G-d with your whole
mi...@aishdas.org        heart, your entire soul, and all you own."
http://www.aishdas.org   Love is not two who look at each other,
Fax: (270) 514-1507      It is two who look in the same direction.

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Message: 4
From: Micha Berger
Date: Tue, 26 Mar 2019 07:05:46 -0400
[Avodah] [VBM] Shiur #24: Halakhic Pluralism (Part 2)

Topics in Hashkafa
Rav Assaf Bednarsh
Adapted by Leora Bednarsh
Yeshivat Har Etzion

                     Shiur #24: Halakhic Pluralism (Part 2)

In our previous shiur [Posted on Avodah in v37n19
<http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/vol37/v37n019.shtml#06> -mb], we saw three
different understandings of the principle of "these and these are the
words of the living God." According to the interpretation quoted by
the Chida, only one opinion is actually correct; the incorrect opinion
is only instrumentally valuable in deepening our understanding of the
correct opinion. According to R. Moshe Feinstein, only one opinion
is theoretically correct, but any opinion that results from the
proper application of the halakhic process is correct for practical
purposes. According to the Ritva and the Tosafists, both opinions are
essentially true, and it seems that there is no objective correct answer
to a halakhic question.

Rashi and Maharal: True Pluralism, Multifaceted Truth
""""" """ """""""" """" """""""""" """""""""""" """""

A fourth approach to understanding the nature of halakhic pluralism is
found in Rashi.[1] Rashi points out that if each side of a halakhic debate
has a logical basis for its position, then neither side is completely
wrong. If there is a logical reason to think that something is permitted
and also a logical reason to think that something is forbidden, then both
sides must be true. Therefore, in some circumstances the matter should
be forbidden, and in others permitted, as the halakha often depends on
the subtle difference in circumstances between one case and the next.

 Rashi is suggesting here a new model for understanding the nature of
halakhic pluralism. We need not choose between assuming either that one
side is 100% correct and the other 100% incorrect, or that both sides
are 100% correct. Rather, each side of the debate is partially correct,
and the ultimate halakhic truth emerges from a combination of the two

This idea can be understood based on Maharal's understanding of the gemara
in Chagiga.[2] Maharal explains that the phenomenon of disputes between
Torah scholars is not a failure of the system, but rather a strategy
for attaining ultimate truth. God created each individual with a unique
personality, and therefore different people have different perspectives
and different ways of thinking. Maharal explains further that nothing
in the world is simple; complexity is present in every aspect of our
existence. Even those matters that are good have some negative aspect
to them, and even bad things have a positive aspect. Nothing is purely
good or evil in the world, and therefore the true objective answer to
any halakhic question is never a simple yes or no. There are always
different facets to every issue that reflect the complexity of the real
world. Therefore, the halakhic perspective on any issue must also be
complex. The function of Halakha is not to oversimplify reality and ignore
the complexities of the real world, but rather to reflect that complexity
and teach us the authentic divine perspective on that complexity.

However, no one human being is broad and complex enough to discern
everything the Torah has to say about the complexities of the real
world. Therefore, God arranged a system in which a multitude of Torah
scholars would analyze every new halakhic question that arose. Because
everyone is created differently, different scholars would focus on
different facets of the truth, and each would argue for the truth
of his perspective. If the community of Torah scholarship, in that
generation or a future generation, joins together all the disparate
views on a particular issue, we can thus get as close as possible to the
ultimate objective truth, which is the combination of all the different
perspectives on the issue.

In this complex world, the only way for limited human beings to find the
objective Divine truth is through such a system. Only if Torah scholars
take disparate positions and each side argues for the correctness of
its perspective can we clarify the cogency and power of each position,
and thereby achieve an integrated understanding of all the different
facets of the ultimate truth.

We therefore understand why, according to Rashi, both opinions can be
halakhically authoritative, each in subtly different circumstances. If
in fact the truth is complex and each opinion represents an aspect
of the truth, then it is logical that the practical halakhic ruling
should sometimes be determined by one facet of the truth and in other
circumstances by another. According to this theory, the true meaning of
halakhic pluralism is not that each opinion has its own parallel truth,
but rather that any human opinion can, by definition, only contain part
of the ultimate truth. "These and these are the words of the living God,"
because only by adding together all of the partial truths represented
by the disparate halakhic perspectives can we come close to the ultimate

An oft-quoted parable illustrating this idea speaks of four blind men
and an item that they struggle to identify. One blind man feels the
item and declares that it is a wall. Another claims that it is a tree
trunk. A third identifies it as similar to a fire hose, while the fourth
claims that it resembles a vine. It may seem like they disagree about
the identity of the item in question, but in fact, if they combine their
perspectives they might realize that they have encountered an elephant --
whose body is broad and high as a wall, whose legs are thick and round
as a tree, whose trunk resemble a fire hose, and whose tail is similar
to a vine. Only by combining the partial truths represented by each
perspective can we properly understand reality.

According to this approach, we understand why different schools
throughout Jewish history had consistently different perspectives on
Halakha. For example, Beit Hillel was almost always lenient compared
to the pervasive stringency of Beit Shammai. This is not because Beit
Hillel had an agenda of leniency and Beit Shammai one of stringency.
Rather, as Maharal pointed out, God created people to think differently
and endowed each of us with his own personality, perspective, and ways
of thinking. Beit Hillel were spiritual optimists who naturally saw the
good in everything and appreciated the aspect of permissibility in various
halakhically questionable matters. Beit Shammai, on the other hand, were
natural pessimists, who saw the authentic aspect of spiritual danger
in various halakhic matters. Any person or school can, by definition,
only see part of the truth, and God created each of us to be able to
recognize a different aspect of the ultimate truth. It is therefore no
wonder that throughout Jewish history we find that halakhic decisors rule
in accordance with their particular perspectives. This is not evidence
of a political agenda corrupting the pristine halakhic truth, but rather
the proper workings of the halakhic process. Everyone sees his aspect
of the truth, from his own perspective, and then, by combining all of
those aspects, the later generations can achieve a holistic perspective
that approaches the complete divine truth.

Rereading of the Ritva
""""""""" "" """ """""

In light of this interpretation, perhaps we can offer a different
understanding of the Ritva cited in the previous shiur. Perhaps the
Ritva's intention was not that God has no opinion as to the correct
halakhic interpretation and left it up to the arbitrary whims of the
Sages of each generation, but rather that the multifaceted nature of
truth leaves room for flexibility within the halakhic process.

The Kli Yakar,[4] following the approach of Maharal, explains that since
there are different sides to every issue, the majority vote of the Sages
of any particular generation combines with that aspect of the truth
which corresponds to their decision to constitute a sufficient basis for
the legitimacy of their ruling. In other words, it may be that in one
generation God intended for a certain matter to be permissible, because
the aspect of permissibility is most relevant to the circumstances of
that generation, while in another generation God meant for the same
matter to be forbidden, either because in the circumstances of that
generation the pernicious effects of such action are more pronounced,
or because that generation could easily be stringent and avoid an action
that has even a slight negative aspect. Indeed, throughout Jewish history,
halakhic authorities have permitted certain actions based on the needs
and circumstances of their time and place, while other generations
forbade the same actions.

Perhaps this is what the Ritva had in mind. The halakhic process does not
arbitrarily come up with rulings that are convenient for the communities
who request them. Rather, in different generations, a different facet
of the truth might shine more brightly relevant to the circumstances
of that generation. Therefore, God told Moshe Rabbeinu that the final
decision would be left to the Sages of each generation, who would be
able to intuit which facet of the truth was most relevant to their time
and place, and thus discern the true will of God for their contemporaries.

Understanding the History of Halakha
""""""""""""" """ """"""" "" """""""

This perspective on halakhic pluralism leads to a deeper understanding of
the history of Halakha. The majority of the halakhic questions discussed
in the Shluchan Arukh are subject to dispute, and there is perhaps
no chapter of the Shulchan Arukh where the later authorities do not
disagree over the proper interpretation of the gemara or the application
of Talmudic principles to new circumstances. Often, the final ruling
of the Shulchan Arukh or the later authorities will be a compromise,
such as ruling that a matter is permissible but one who is spiritually
sensitive should be stringent, or that we forbid something but in cases
of monetary loss we are lenient, or that there are those whose custom
is to permit and others whose custom is to be stringent. One could take
a cynical view of this process and see the entire history of Halakha
as an exercise in confusion and ignorance. One could conclude that we
don't know the right answer to any of the difficult halakhic questions,
and we constantly hedge our bets in practice because we can't figure out
the right answer. However, according to the approach we have elucidated,
the history of Halakha is not an accumulation of ignorance and confusion,
but rather an exercise in sophistication and a gradual unfolding of a
multifaceted truth. If reality is complex and the world is not black
and white, then the Halakha should be complex as well.

Accordingly, when commentaries argue regarding the correct halakhic
ruling, this represents not a lack of clear knowledge but a deeper
knowledge of the multivalent truth about this particular halakhic
matter. The complex rulings of the later poskim are the proper
applications of that multifaceted truth. When the negative aspects of
a certain matter clearly outweigh the positive aspects, we rule for
practical purposes that it is forbidden. Likewise, when the positive
aspects vastly outnumber the negative aspects, we rule that it is
permitted. But at times, when both facets are significant, we will
emerge with a sophisticated ruling that reflects the complexity of
the issue, and we will be lenient in some circumstances and stringent
in other circumstances, depending on the exact balance and relative
strength of the conflicting aspects. The complex rulings that emerge
from the halakhic process are thus reflections of authentic truth,
which is necessarily complex and dependent on the circumstances.

This perspective on halakhic pluralism also gives us new insight into
the role of the individual in the halakhic process. According to the
approach we have elucidated, the voice of every Torah scholar contributes
one facet of the truth, which may not have been revealed even by other
scholars who are greater and more learned than him. The Maharshal writes
that these and these are literally the words of the living God, because
every Jewish soul was present at Sinai and received a unique revelation
of a unique perspective on the Torah suited to his particular soul.[5]
If the Maharshal is correct, then every Jew possesses a unique share
of revelation, and our understanding of Torah is enriched by the
contributions of every Torah scholar, whether great or small.

Additionally, we can emerge with a deeper understanding of the
relationship between different Torah scholars or schools of thought.
Based on the approach we have elucidated, the relationship between
conflicting halakhic opinions is not a battle between truth and falsehood,
or even a competition between different valid options, but a partnership
between complementary truths that need each other for their completion. It
is thus clear why Chazal tell us that Torah scholars who battle fiercely
in the intellectual arena emerge from the encounter as loving friends, for
each side can find ultimate completion only in the wisdom of its rival.


Based on Rashi and Maharal, we have understood that truth is complex
and multifaceted, and that each side of a halakhic debate represents
an authentic facet of the truth, but never the entirety of the ultimate
truth. Any individual can only see one facet of the truth, and therefore
only the combination of the different opinions of the multitude of Torah
scholars can capture the multifaceted truth of the Halakha as applied
to the complex world in which we live. These and these are the words of
the living God because each opinion represents a facet of the true will
of God as revealed via the Torah. The process of halakhic debate and the
complex rulings that emerge from the interplay of the different opinions
thus represent not a lack of clarity, but a sophisticated expression of
multifaceted truth.

This idea is expressed beautifully in the introduction to the Arukh
Ha-Shulchan, a halakhic code that emphasizes the range of views among
the earlier authorities. He explains that the Torah is metaphorically
called a song because the beauty of music emerges from the harmony of
the different voices in the choir. If the choir all sang the exact same
notes, they could never produce beautiful music. Likewise, the true
grandeur of the Torah is only revealed by the interplay of conflicting
interpretations, which combine to form a glorious whole.[6]


[1] Ketubot 57a.

[2] R. Yehuda Loew ben Betzalel of Prague (Poland and Czech lands,
c. 1520 -- 1609), Be'er Hagola, part 1.

[3] This understanding of "these and these are the words of the living
God" is consistent with its usage in aggadic contexts in Gittin 6b,
where the actual story of the concubine in Giva combined both opinions
as to the nature of her wrongdoing. Likewise, Tosafot, Rosh Hashana
27a, uses this phrase in the context of the debate regarding the date
of Creation, combining the two opinions to conclude that God planned
the Creation in Tishrei and carried out His plan in Nissan. Maharal,
however, holds that the phrase "these and these are the words of the
living God" refers only to disputes like those of Beit Hillel and
Beit Shammai, where the two facets are of precisely equal strength.
Only the passage in Chagiga, which states that the disparate opinions
"are all given from one shepherd... from the mouth of the Master of all
creation, Blessed be He," refers generally to all halakhic disputes.

[4] R. Shlomo Ephraim Luntschitz (Eastern Europe, 1550-1619), Kli
Yakar, Devarim 17:11. In this passage, he also uses this concept to
explain why the Rabbis can abrogate Torah law in emergency situations.
He explains that because even a forbidden matter possesses a minor
aspect of permissibility as well, that aspect can be relied upon in
emergency situations.

[5] R. Solomon Luria (Poland and Lithuania, 1510-1573), Yam Shel Shlomo,
introduction to Massekhet Bava Kama.

[6] R. Yechiel Michel Epstein (Lithuania, 1829-1908), Arukh Ha-Shulchan,
introduction to Choshen Mishpat.

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Message: 5
From: Sholom Simon
Date: Tue, 26 Mar 2019 13:41:14 -0400
[Avodah] irui k'li sheini

 The Biur Halacha holds that irui k'li sheini can cook kalei habishul -- if
the water is yad soledes bo (if lower than yad soledes bo, then he's not

RSZA holds that a k?li shlishi has the same status as irui k?li sheini, and
therefore one may not put an egg, tea leaves, halei habishul, etc. into it
as long as it is yad soledes bo.  (So, use tea essence to make tea, e.g.)

RMF holds that a k'li shlishli doesn't cook anything.  (You don't need tea
essence).  My understanding is that the Yalkut Yosef also permits
everything in a k?li shlishi.

My question is: where does RMF (and/or ROY) stand on irui k'li sheini?
*If* he holds, like RSZA, that  that a k?li shlishi has the same status as
irui k?li sheini, then he would hold that an irui k?li sheini doesn't
cook.  But that would be against the Biur Halacha.  It would seem that the
only other option is that he agrees with the Biur Halacha (that irui k'li
sheini cooks) but disagrees with RSZA (that they don't have the same
status), and therefore RMF would hold that: "yes, al pi the Biur Halacha,
irui k'li sheini can cook, but contra RSZA a k'li shlishi never cooks."

Am I thinking this through correctly?



-- Sholom
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Message: 6
From: Rich, Joel
Date: Wed, 27 Mar 2019 00:58:26 +0000
[Avodah] women not doing work on rosh chodesh.

[Email #1]

While the Shulchan Aruch mentions the practice of women not working on
Rosh Chodesh in OC 417,His wording was of particular interest -- I have
not found this practice mentioned in the Rambam but was wondering if
anybody else is aware of him mentioning it.

[Email #2]

Rashi in Megilah 23b sv rashei chadashim is interesting -- do we have
any idea who added the parentheses quoting Tosafot? I also assumed that
Rashi goes on at such length because there is no source in the bavli
that talks about women only not doing work on rosh chodesh.

Joel Rich


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