Volume 37: Number 33
Mon, 22 Apr 2019
Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
From: Micha Berger
Date: Wed, 17 Apr 2019 17:08:54 -0400
Subject: [Avodah] Heseibah, Halachah and Science
Another teshuvah by R' Asher Weiss. I'm sharing it for the metahalakhah
implications. Must heseibah be on the left even now that we know there
is no greater risk of choking by reclining on the right? Can't you
cut us lefties some slack and free up our dominant arm?
Tvunah in English
Beit Midrash for Birurei Halachah Binyan Zion
Under the Leadership of Maran HaRav Asher Weiss Shlita
For the Zechut of R' Zion Hilu
Posted by: Rabbi Akiva Dershowitz In: The Jewish Calendar, [Kelali]
Likvod Harav Shlit"a,
Seeing as we know that the understanding of some Rishonim that eating
while leaning on the right is dangerous was based on a mistaken
understanding of the location of the windpipe and foodpipe (kaneh and
veshet), and we are therefore forced to explain that the sakanah was
only said in regard to one lying on his back (as per Rashi Pesachim
108, and contra Rashbam) should a "lefty" lean to his right (the more
No, even a lefty should lean on his left side. The Mishna Brura brings
an opinion [472 Shaar Hatziyon 13] that even a lefty who leans on
his right may not fulfill his obligation, even bdieved.
When Chazal rendered a halachic ruling they were intended to do so with
their understanding of nature, biology and the physical world. Their
rulings then become part of Torah Shbal Peh. This was the intent
of Hashem when giving over the ability to make halachic rulings to
Chazal. This was never intended to line up with scientific knowledge.
Scientific knowledge by its very nature is dynamic, constantly changing
with new discoveries and advances. Torah is the ultimate unchanging
mesorah, so once Chazal established the halcha it doesn't change
based on scientific knowledge which is a totally different wisdom
and set of rules.
This principal idea is the key to understanding the general question
of Torah and Science.
A an aside, even from the scientific side of things, we only accept
proof after experimenting and proving, ie. the scientific process. To
the best of my knowledge no study or survey was ever done to prove that
leaning on the right is just as safe as leaning on the left. While
we don't see a reason for there to be a difference, this would be
our unproven theory, well based and logical as it is.
Go to top.
From: Micha Berger
Date: Wed, 17 Apr 2019 17:14:43 -0400
Subject: Re: [Avodah] Pesach mitzvos at night
On Tue, Apr 16, 2019 at 05:12:40PM -0400, Sholom Simon via Avodah wrote:
: Most mitzvos are done by day. Most Pesach mitzvos are done at night. Are
: there any deeper reasons for this (beyond halacha and/or "the geula started
: at night")?
It works better that way. A meal, song, telling stories, trying to relive
The seder is at night for the same reason why people make bonfires at
night, or a kumzitz, a tish, etc...
Go to top.
From: Rich, Joel
Date: Wed, 17 Apr 2019 22:11:20 +0000
Subject: Re: [Avodah] Heseibah, Halachah and Science
> Another teshuvah by R' Asher Weiss. I'm sharing it for the metahalakhah
> implications. Must heseibah be on the left even now that we know there
> is no greater risk of choking by reclining on the right? Can't you
> cut us lefties some slack and free up our dominant
It certainly is an interesting approach. I love the line of attack maybe
that heseiba Itself is vestigial in nature Since it reflects a practice
of a society long gone. This argument has been bad for doing away with
it all together but has never been accepted
I know that the Shulchan Aruch in oc 192 uses the language of msubin
when speaking of a group that has to do zimun. I'm pretty sure we don't
require actual leaning today for that purpose.
Go to top.
From: Zev Sero
Date: Thu, 18 Apr 2019 14:42:30 -0400
Subject: [Avodah] Showering during shloshim (was: Showering during
On 7/4/19 3:35 am, Ari Kahn via Avodah cited his own
>> But in present times our custom is to prohibit bathing for the entire
>> 30-day period [known as shloshim]?
> Rav Moshe Soloveitchik argued that [...] this (presently unknown)
> custom regarding personal mourning.[...] the now-defunct custom,
> cited by the Rama as the Ashkenazi practice current in his time, of
> refraining from bathing for the entire shloshim period. Once this
> custom fell out of practice, Rav Moshe argued [...]
Looking around in the seforim and online it seems that the custom is far
from unknown. On the contrary, every reference I have so far found
takes it for granted that this is very much still binding minhag
ashkenaz. R Kahn's article is the only reference I have seen that
claims it is no longer done. What is the source for this, and does the
fact that so many references know nothing of this not mean that the
metzius contradicts it? Or is this a case where the books say one
thing and universal practice is the opposite?
Zev Sero A prosperous and healthy 5779 to all
z...@sero.name Seek Jerusalem's peace; may all who love you prosper
Go to top.
From: Sholom Simon
Date: Fri, 19 Apr 2019 09:00:49 -0400
Subject: [Avodah] at shul this morning
1. The guy who davened from the amud was wondering if this is the shortest
shacharis of the year: (a) no tachnun; (b) Friday is shortest shir ha'yom;
(c) skipping mizmor l'soda. Thoughts?
2. The young rav making a siyyum on Chullin mentioned 139b where the
gemara asks "Moshe, min hatorah minayin" and answers "inasmuch as he is
[mere] flesh". He thought that that was a perfect (and timely) answer to
"Moshe, why don't we find him in the haggadah" -- i.e., inasmuch as he is a
mere person, we don't want to give credit to him so much for the geula from
Mitzrayim as the haggadah would rather focus on H's beneficence.
Nice "food" for thought this morning,
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