Avodah Mailing List

Volume 37: Number 56

Sun, 14 Jul 2019

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Akiva Miller
Date: Sat, 13 Jul 2019 22:46:46 -0400
Re: [Avodah] tachanun

R' Joel Rich asked:
> Why are the rules for which days we don't say tachanun not
> parallel to those for not saying lamenatzeach?

R' Simon Montagu answered:
> The Levush (132:1) says because it's part of the Kedusha. Note
> that the question only arises in minhag Ashkenaz -- for Sephardim
> the rules _are_ the same for tahanun and lamenatzeah

Being "part of the Kedusha" doesn't really explain anything, at least not
to me, because (a) in what way is it part of the Kedusha, and (b) why would
that make a difference?

Here's what I saw in Levush 132:1, about halfway through that long
paragraph. Note that what he calls "Seder Kedusha" corresponds to what most
of us call "Uva L'tzion". Also note that in this section that I've chosen
to translate, he introduces the paragraph of Lamenatzeach not by that name,
but by its initial words, presumably to underscore its role for a Day Of

<<< They also established to begin Seder Kedusha with "Mizmor Yaancha
Hashem B'yom Tzara - A psalm that Hashem will answer you on a day of
trouble", because it was established through trouble and at a time of
trouble, as will be explained soon, b'ezras Hashem. And it seems to me that
for this reason too, we say Lamenatzeach even on days when we don't say
Tachanun, because it belongs to Seder Kedusha, except for Rosh Chodesh,
Chanuka, Purim, Erev Pesach, and Erev Yom Kippur, because all these days
are more holidayish than other days, as will be explained, each in its
place, b'ezras Hashem. And even though we do say the Seder Kedusha on them,
nevertheless, we don't say Lamenatzeach on them, to show their holiness and
that they are *not* a day of tzara like other days. >>>

What the Levush does not explain, is why Tachanun and Lamenatzeach have
different rules (according to Ashkenazim, thank you RSM). The Levush is
pretty clear that Lamenatzeach is to be said only on a day of (relative)
tzara, and to be avoided on a day of (relative) Yom Tov. What he does NOT
explain (at least not in this section) is the rule for Tachanun, Is "tzara"
the yardstick for Tachanun, or does Tachanun use a different yardstick?

To be more explicit: It seems that Pesach Sheni and Lag Baomer are
sufficiently ordinary that there is no problem with calling them a Yom
Tzara in the context of Lamenatzeach. But they are special to a degree that
conflicts with Tachanun. What makes Tachanun different?

[Translation note: The Levush uses the phrase "yomim tovim", but I found it
difficult to read that as a plural of "yom Tov". I read it with a pause
between those two words, so that "yomim" means days, and "tovim" is an
*adjective* meaning good in a holiday sense.]

Akiva Miller
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Message: 2
From: Akiva Miller
Date: Sat, 13 Jul 2019 23:41:58 -0400
[Avodah] Apollo 11

Anyone with access to a popular account of the flight of Apollo 11, AND a
calendar for the years 5729/1969, can easily confirm the following timeline:

Weds July 16 - Rosh Chodesh Menachem Av - Apollo 11 launched
Sun July 20 - first day of Shavua Shechal Bo - Moon landing
Thurs July 24 - Tisha B'av - Splashdown

Shortly after the splashdown, President Nixon congratulated the astronauts,
and said (among many other things) that "this is the greatest week in the
history of the world since the Creation." I have a suspicion that the
contemporary gedolim might have disagreed.

I remember living through all that excitement, but my excitement was
unfettered by any appreciation for the significance of Tisha B'Av and the
Nine Days. My awareness of such things was still a few years in my future.
I am writing today to ask: What thoughts and feelings were going through
the Jewish world at the time. I suppose that a certain amount of excitement
was unavoidable, but was there any feeling that the schedule and timing
should be taken as some sort of ominous message?

I imagine that some listmembers could argue that this question is a mere
discussion of history, and belongs on Areivim. If that's the decision of
the moderator I won't complain. But I really am wondering if there's a
mussar here for us. If Apollo 11 lasted exactly the length of the Nine
Days, was that really a coincidence? Or is there a message? What would have
appeared in Mishpacha or the Yated? What *did* appear in the Jewish

Akiva Miller
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Message: 3
From: Eli Turkel
Date: Sun, 14 Jul 2019 14:58:05 +0300
[Avodah] what language did Bilaam speak?

What language did Bilaam speak? Since he was from Aram supposedly he spoke
Aramaic (live Lavan)

1. What language did he converse with G-d and with  Balak?
2. What language was the blessings originally given in?
3. What language did the donkey speak to him?
4. What language did the angel speak to him since angels don't speak

Eli Turkel
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Message: 4
From: Akiva Miller
Date: Sun, 14 Jul 2019 12:51:11 -0400
[Avodah] A Day to Disconnect

R Micha Berger points out that many of the melachos involve truly creative
acts that changed the physical world, and were ever-present in our agrarian
society of millennia ago. If I'm understanding him correctly, he sees a
disconnect between that sort of Shabbos rest, as opposed to the emphasis on
disconnecting from electronic media, which are not very creative at all,
and certainly not as creative as planting seeds or building houses.

He seems to ignore the creativity of manipulating electrons to put words on
a screen, and have those words appear on another screen a world away. I'm
totally okay with that, because the thrust of the thread is not about "does
this violate halacha", but rather, "is this the sort of resting that
Shabbos is supposed to provide?"

My answer is that RMB is looking only at the D'Oraisas. Let's think about
the neviim who warned us about Mimtzo Cheftzecha and Daber Davar. A major
factor of what they considered "unshabbosdik" was business activities --
which are "merely" a gezera against the creative activity of writing
receipts and such. "Im tashiv mishabas raglecha..." If if it is
anti-Shabbos to simply enter one's farm to simply check on how the crops
are doing, then isn't checking one's email even more so?

OTOH, if anyone wants to ask, "What is unshabbosdik about non-creative
things like doing business or even merely talking about business?", that
would be interesting.

Akiva Miller
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Message: 5
From: <mgl...@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 14 Jul 2019 13:57:59 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Apollo 11

R? Akiva Miller:

I imagine that some listmembers could argue that this question is a mere
discussion of history, and belongs on Areivim. If that's the decision of
the moderator I won't complain. But I really am wondering if there's a
mussar here for us. If Apollo 11 lasted exactly the length of the Nine
Days, was that really a coincidence? Or is there a message? What would have
appeared in Mishpacha or the Yated? What *did* appear in the Jewish



This doesn?t directly answer your question, but it is of interest. The
Jewish Observer?s take on the Apollo 11 moon landing: http://agudathisrael.org/the-jewish-observer-vol-6-no-2-september-1969elul-5729/




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Message: 6
From: Micha Berger
Date: Sun, 14 Jul 2019 13:47:01 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Apollo 11

On Sat, Jul 13, 2019 at 11:41:58PM -0400, Akiva Miller via Avodah wrote:
: I imagine that some listmembers could argue that this question is a mere
: discussion of history, and belongs on Areivim. If that's the decision of
: the moderator I won't complain. But I really am wondering if there's a
: mussar here for us. If Apollo 11 lasted exactly the length of the Nine
: Days, was that really a coincidence? Or is there a message? What would have
: appeared in Mishpacha or the Yated? What *did* appear in the Jewish
: Observer?

That depends in part on your metaphysics.

Someone with strong rationalist inclinations may not believe in
omnisiginificance, and coincidences do happen.

Someone a little less rationalist who does believe that nothing is ever
by chance or arbitrary might believe there must be a lesson.

Someone more mystically inclined might instead say their is a metaphysical
cauaal connection, something aout the energy of the 9 days that made
the moon landing possible. And not necessarily a lesson for us.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger                 I thank God for my handicaps, for, through them,
http://www.aishdas.org/asp   I have found myself, my work, and my God.
Author: Widen Your Tent                   - Helen Keller
- https://amzn.to/2JRxnDF

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Message: 7
From: Rich, Joel
Date: Sun, 14 Jul 2019 19:49:31 +0000
[Avodah] Manuscripts

I have no expertise but found this post of interest:
If accurate, what is the impact of new data points (oops text)
Joel Rich

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Message: 8
From: Micha Berger
Date: Sun, 14 Jul 2019 15:33:52 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Modern Orthodox Jewish Education

There is a reply to RJM after the lengthy quote from my blog. If you
aren't interested in following that, you might want to skip down to
the horizontal line and check that.

On Tue, Jun 18, 2019 at 09:37:46PM +0000, Rich, Joel via Avodah wrote:
: https://www.thelehrhaus.com/commentary/compartmentalization-and-synthesis-in-modern-orthodox-jewish-education/#em
: Compartmentalization and Synthesis in Modern Orthodox Jewish Education
: By David Stein

I have repeatedly noted (including here once or twice) a danger that
founding a community on RYBS's philosophy would have to avoid, and
my belief that American MO failed to avoid the trap.

See <http://www.aishdas.org/asp/halakhic-community>

I raised other issues that are less relevant to this thread. Here's

   What are those peaks? The essay includes a description of his vision
   for Yeshiva University. Many complain about some of the material taught
   at YU; classes that include Greek mythology, or teachers that espouse
   heresy. However, Rabbi Soloveitchik (according to a lengthy quote in
   vol. II of R' Rakeffet's book) lauded YU's independence, running a full
   yeshiva and a full university totally unconnected from each other but
   under the same roof. In contrast, in Lander College the rashei yeshiva
   have veto power over what is taught in the university. The YU
   experience allows a student to deal with the confrontation of the two
   unadulterated worlds in a safe context, rather than provide a fused
   experience that will provide less preparation for living according to
   the Torah in the "real" world. Synthesis, RYBS argues, would produce a
   yeshiva that couldn't simply run in the footsteps of Volozhin and a
   university that couldn't aspire to be a Harvard. Once blended, neither
   is left alone.


   Again, I think the answer is "no". Maybe the typical person who wades
   though this blog has an interest in heavy thought where words like
   dialectic or antinomy are thrown around, where I speak of the Maharal's
   model of halakhah sounding fundamentally Platonic, or I use examples
   from Quantum Mechanics or Information science to illustrate a point.
   But this isn't the Orthodox world's most popular blog.

   Most people see academia as "ivory tower". Rather than giving someone a
   more precise and informed perspective of reality, they perceive the
   academic as disconnected from the real world and their experience.

   Thus, while to RYBS, the encounter was between Rashi and Rachmaninoff,
   between the Rambam and Reimann geometry (where the Red Sox and Westerns
   are side-matters to the core conflict), to the community who aspires to
   follow his vision, the reality tends to be an English halachic handbook
   and the Yankees.

   u-: The conjunctive linking Torah and Mada -- can we teach the masses
   to aspire for navigating the tension of conflicting values?

   The twin peaks calling RYBS are creative lomdus and secular knowledge.
   The confrontation between Torah and the world in which we live creates
   a tension which fuels creativity. Man is called to cognitively resolve
   the sanctification of this world, which can only be acheived through
   halakhah. This vision of unity of Torah and Madda demands that the
   individual himself pair in that creative with G-d, that finding their
   own resolution of the diealectiv tension. Cognitive man harnesed to
   applying the goals of homo religiosus to master this world in sanctity
   -- vekivshuha.

   The majority of his followers are trying to juggle a rule set and the
   western world -- not just high culture and academic knowledge, but
   primarily the day-to-day mileau they are exposed to and the values
   assumed by the world around them.

   And in any case, they can't employ creativity to map halakhah to the
   world they face. The majority of any large community will not be people
   capable of it -- they aren't posqim and rabbanim. When people are
   called upon to live in two worlds, and yet are unequipped to deal with
   the resulting conflicts, they are left in cognitive dissonance, which
   leaves them with two recourses. Both of which we find in practice,
   among those who aspire to live by RYBS's teachings (as well as among
   many others).

   The first approach is to keep them separate. Since he doesn't have the
   tools to navigate the gap between the worlds, the person
   compartmentalizes them. Dr. David Singer gives an example in Tradition
   21(4), in his article "[44]Is Club Med Kosher? Reflections on Synthesis
   and Compartmentalization" (available by subscription only).

     It all started when I told my friend Larry Grossman that I was
     planning to take my wife Judy to Club Med for a winter vacation. On
     December 22, 1983, you see, Judy and I passed the twenty-year mark
     in our marriage, and it seemed to me that a marathon achievement of
     that order merited some kind of special celebration. What then could
     be nicer than to escape the cold of winter for a few days by going
     to a Caribbean island -- the Dominican Republic, for example where
     we could soak up the sun, loll on the beach, and maybe down a pina
     colada or two under the swaying palms? Please don't misunderstand;
     Judy and I are hardly swingers. Indeed, it is fair to say that my
     own social outlook is quite conservative.... I was interested in the
     paradise and not in the swinging. ... All I wanted was a crack at
     some sunshine, a quiet stretch of beach, and those swaying palms --
     all this at a guaranteed first-class resort. Innocent enough, no?
     Larry, however, would have none of it. He expressed amazement that
     an Orthodox Jew could even contemplate going to Club Med, citing it
     as a classic example of Orthodox "compartmentalization," i.e., the
     process whereby modern Orthodox Jews -- those deeply enmeshed in
     modern secular culture separate out the Jewish from the non-Jewish
     aspects of their lives.

     Compartmentalization has both its defenders and detractors, and I
     have always been counted among the latter. Indeed, in a Spring 1982
     symposium in Tradition,' I went so far as to label
     compartmentalization the "Frankenstein" of modern Orthodoxy, arguing
     instead for "synthesis," the creative blending of the best elements
     of Jewish tradition and modern culture. To me, an Orthodox Jew
     vacationing at Club Med -- taking care not to violate the kashrut
     laws, saying the afternoon prayers on a wind-swept beach, etc., etc.
     -- represented the epitome of synthesis. Yet here was Larry accusing
     me -- me of all people -- of being a compartmentalized modern
     Orthodox type....

   Compartmentalization also arises in avoiding seeing that one is
   arriving at conflicting answers when standing in each of the different
   "worlds". The current youth of the Modern Orthodox world face this
   dilemma when asked about the social acceptability of homosexuality.
   Their Torah says one thing, their culture says another, and for the
   majority, their answers are inconsistent depending on time and context.

   The other possible response is failed synthesis -- compromise. How can
   I get done what I want to get done without violating any of the law? I
   might fish for leniencies, I might be doing something that is opposite
   in thrust and goal to all of tradition, but I will find some way to
   work my goal into what I can of the rule set.

   Take for example the woman who belongs to JOFA, attends a Woman's
   Prayer Group, and doesn't cover her hair. What's the justification for
   the WPG? Well, if you look at the sources, you can navigate a services
   that is similar in feel to a minyan, but does not actually cross any of
   the lines spelled out in the text. The cultural tradition that this
   isn't where women's attention belongs is ignored, in favor of the
   desideratum -- being able to serve G-d in as nearly an egalitarian
   experience as possible. However, when it comes to covering her hair,
   she whittled halakhah in another direction. There, the texts are quite
   clear. It's the cultural tradition that historically has been lax. And
   yet it's the presumption that these Eastern European women of the 19th
   and early 20th century must have had a source that drives her leniency.

   (RYBS himself was opposed to such prayer groups, allowing them only in
   kiruv settings. And yet here is an entire subcommunity of people who
   consider themselves his students or students of his students who
   figured out a way to come to peace with the idea.)

   Whether right or wrong, RYBS himself was against such prayer groups.
   Their approach is not a product of his worldview. And yet, the majority
   of those in the US who support them believe themselves to be disciples
   of his path in Torah.

   In short I identified a number of gaps between Rav Soloveitchik's
   philosophy and his followers:
     * The masses are incapable of creating halakhah, and shouldn't try.
     * The feeling of the "erev Shabbos Jew" eludes modern man.
     * Most people are not intellectually or academically inclined, and so
       encounter the contemporary world at a lower plane than Rav
       Soloveitchik envisions.
     * Because of the above, rather than navigating the tensions of two
       noble callings, thereby being religious beings who sanctify, rather
       than retreat from the world, the more common responses are:
          + compartmentalizing, and simply living in different worlds
            depending on the setting,
          + using that compartmentalization to find rulings that fit
            desired goals, and/or
          + compromising both their observance and their ideals in an
            attempt to be "normal".

   To look at all of these points and criticizing the ideal is unfair. No
   large group manage to live fully up to their ideals. And other ideals
   simply have other dangers. For example, while we identified an
   Orthodox-lite subgrouping within Modern Orthodoxy. But isn't the
   Chareidi who hides behind chitzoniyus (externalities) his suit and
   black hat in order to think of himself as "frum" rather than leveraging
   it to reinforce a self-image and the calling it demands, equally

   However, I asserted that not only isn't RYBS's philosophy working as
   well as it might, trying to apply it to the masses exposes that make it
   less workable even in principle.

On Wed, Jun 19, 2019 at 12:46:40PM -0400, Joshua Meisner via Avodah wrote:
: Is v'chol ma'asecha yihyu l'shem Shamayim davka or lav davka, or is there
: room for secondary - and competing - values?

You are using this formulation to conflate DE or mada with doing things
for one' own hana'ah, and I think that muddies the issue rather than

: I suggested in a response that the Shulchan Aruch in this siman (and a
: handful of others) was dipping a toe across the line between halacha and
: aggadah, the former being a set of hard lines that either tell us what we
: can never do ("Electric fence Judaism") or tell us what we need to do
: during finite periods of time in our lives ("Time-share Judaism") while the
: latter is a fuzzy (although equally real) entity covering an infinite
: portion of space (hyperspace?) that takes on the illusion of lines when
: viewed piecemeal.

There is a basic paradox in the Ramban's "menuval birshus haTorah". If
"qedoshim tihyu" is in the Torah and prohibits being that menuval,
it's not "birshus haTorah", is it?

This points to a basic ambiguity in what we mean by halakhah. And
therefore while I think I agree with you in substance, I disagree
with the terminoloyg.

To my mind, the SA is not so much dipping a to "dipping a toe across
the line between halacha and aggadah" as he is including the halakhah
that one is obligated to do more than the black-letter law. In nearly
all of the SA he spells out what the black-latter is, but the Mechaber
does have to codify the din that that's only the floor, and doing
nothing to go beyond that din is itself no less assur.

Much the way Hilkhos Dei'os is just that -- HILKHOS Dei'os.

: R' Micha, in a response to my invocation of R' Shkop, made the correct
: observation that sometimes downtime can also be holy...

What some may find striking, RSS includes mitzvos bein adam laMaqom
in this notion of only being qadosh because it's caring for the goose,
whereas BALC is the golden eggs. He writes about "'qedoshim tihyu' --
perushin tihyu" (emphasis added):
    Then anything he does even for himself, for the health of his body
    and soul, he also associates to the mitzvah of being holy. For
    does for himself he can benefit the many who rely on him....
    And based on what we have explained, the thesis of the mitzvah of
    avoidance is essentially the same as the underlying basis of the
    mitzvah of holiness, which is practically recognizable in the ways
    a person acts. But with insight and the calling of spirituality this
    mitzvah broadens to include everything a person causes or does even

We rest and enjoy to maintain our bodies and psyche, and we do mitzvos
in order to maintain our souls, but the definition of qedushah is
commitment leheitiv im hazulas.

And perishus is perishus from anything that we're using as a distraction
from that life's mission.

Very much "vekhol maasekha yihyu lesheim Shamayim", even if many of those
actions are lesheim Shamayim only at one remove.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger                 Feeling grateful  to or appreciative of  someone
http://www.aishdas.org/asp   or something in your life actually attracts more
Author: Widen Your Tent      of the things that you appreciate and value into
- https://amzn.to/2JRxnDF    your life.         - Christiane Northrup, M.D.


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