Avodah Mailing List

Volume 38: Number 17

Sun, 08 Mar 2020

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Rich, Joel
Date: Wed, 4 Mar 2020 17:35:57 +0000
[Avodah] shtarei hedyotot

From R'Rimon in Hamizrachi: "In light of the above (me - shtarei hedyotot
et al) it would be best if there were no ads at all in our Parshat Hashavua
sheets"..... "However it is very difficult to abide by these demands in our
times because it's the ads that fund the publication"... "Still it would be
worth having clear guidelines"
This reminded me of tshuvot that explain why we ignore the lifesaving
priorities in Horiyot based on "it's difficult to abide..." I'd really
appreciate a better understanding of the halachic force of this
consideration. Oh, and did the publishers of Hamizrachi appreciate the
irony of this article appearing in their publication with advertisement
which is distributed in many shuls on Shabbat?
Joel Rich

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Message: 2
From: Micha Berger
Date: Wed, 4 Mar 2020 13:59:21 -0500
[Avodah] Proving the Existence of G-d from the Existence of

Experiencing the tzelem Elokim as proof there is an Elokim?

See https://www.newstatesman.com/culture/books/2020/02/search-soul-john-cottingham-review
or http://bit.ly/3czL1aK

Snippets / teasers:

    New Statesman

    The paradox of an atheist soul
    Why the idea of a single self only makes sense in a theistic world.
    By John Gray

    There are many arguments for theism, most of them not worth
    rehearsing. ... A different and more interesting approach is
    to argue that theism is suggested by the fact that we experience
    ourselves as unified, conscious beings - in other words, as having
    a soul. Not necessarily an immaterial entity, the soul is the part
    of us that strives to realise what is best in our nature. We do
    not come to know the soul through any special revelation. We know
    it by considering the kind of creature we find ourselves to be -
    a thinking being inhabiting a life-world that seems to reflect a
    mind greater than our own. Once we realise we have a soul, theism
    becomes a credible way of thinking.

    Such is the approach adopted in this lucid and illuminating book by
    John Cottingham, professor of the philosophy of religion at University
    of Roehampton....

    Cottingham presents a version of the transcendental argument deployed
    by the German Enlightenment philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724-1804). A
    transcendental argument does not appeal to anything factual. Instead,
    it asks what must be true if certain features of human experience are
    accepted as given. Kant used it to support his belief in a universal
    moral law and, at points in his writings, the existence of God. As
    used by Cottingham, its purpose is to refute the Scottish sceptic
    David Hume (1711-1776), whom Kant described as "having interrupted
    my dogmatic slumber". In A Treatise of Human Nature (1739), Hume
    had written that the self is "nothing but a bundle or collection of
    different perceptions, which succeed one another with an inconceivable
    rapidity, and are in a perpetual flux and movement". If the self
    is not an autonomous entity but an assemblage of sensations Kant's
    theistic faith crumbles into dust.

    Cottingham spells out the connection between theism and the idea of
    the self:

        It is a fundamental theistic belief, following the words of
        Genesis, that human beings are made "in the image" of God;
        and this is taken to be especially true in virtue of our
        conscious minds, in virtue of our attributes of intellect and
        will. Theism thus posits a source of ground of all being that is
        somehow mind-like: consciousness is taken to be at the heart of
        reality. The theistic picture tends to be discarded or ignored by
        the majority of contemporary philosophers, but it seems perverse
        to dismiss it from consideration should it turn out to fit rather
        well with certain aspects of reality that cannot in integrity
        be denied... [such as] the irreducible reality of consciousness.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger                 I slept and dreamt that life was joy.
http://www.aishdas.org/asp   I awoke and found that life was duty.
Author: Widen Your Tent      I worked and, behold -- duty is joy.
- https://amzn.to/2JRxnDF                      - Rabindranath Tagore

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Message: 3
From: Micha Berger
Date: Wed, 4 Mar 2020 14:15:13 -0500
[Avodah] [TM] Parashat Zachor with Different Pronunciations

In a recent post in Torah Musings
R Daniel Mann answers a question about a new practice some have regarding
parashas Zakhor.

Again, snippets:

   Question: My shul has always read Parashat Zachor once, with our
   regular havara (pronunciation). Some people now complain that we do not
   follow other shuls and read multiple times with different havarot to
   fulfill the mitzva according to more opinions and to do the mitzva
   properly for Sephardim. Should we change our minhag?

First he brings arguments that one doesn't need correct havara to be
yotzei. Whether because the deOraisa doesn't need to be in lashon
haqodesh, or perhaps has no specific text, or RMF's (IM OC 3:5)
proof from chalitza that havara is not meqev, or that an Ashkenzi
who doesn't distinguish between alef and ayin may serve as chazan for
Ashkenazim... The latter two arguments saying that "correct havarah" is

Still, one might need to have Parashas Zakhor available in many havaros
if the community is of people of different eidos. At least as a chumerah.

But what really struck me was the close. As it also relates to the growing
practice of multiple shofar blowings to make sure some are al pi Rashi,
some with Brisker shevarim, shevarim-teruh in one breath or two, etc...

   Several (Teshuvot V'hanhagot ibid.; Halichot Shlomo ibid.; Aseh
   Lecha Rav VI:22) mention hearing of such a new practice and consider
   it strange. They reject it as being disrespectful to the tzibbur,
   to the rest of our lainings, and/or to past generations who did not
   do such things. I would not criticize a minyan that decides to do so
   anyway (some fine places do), and there are circumstances in which
   there is a stronger argument (e.g., there is no minyan in the area
   of other eidot), but it is wrong to criticize the normal minhag for
   not adopting this innovation.

In the early days of the list, I was particularly prone to Brisker chumeros
(trying to be yotzei as many shitos as possible) or to chumeros or pesaqim
that allow expression of how I understood the mitzvah hashkafically. I
think learning a cycle and a fraction of AhS Yomi has toned that down.

At this point, Brisker chumeros seem to me more a lack of confidence in
the halachic process.

As for hashkafically motivated pesaq, that's still with me more. But I
think I've gotten to an age where I finally understand the value of
continuity as well.

(I mentioned before, though, my mother's observation about the family
she married in to. My grandfather got to the US too young to be aware of
most of his minhagim and therefore ended up acting as per R/Dr Mirsky's
shiurim. My father's decades of "the Rav's" (RYBS's) Tues night shiur,
and repreatedly took on the implications of those shiurim. And then my
own habits. Doing what fits what we learned in shiur last IS the onky
continuity my family practice has.)

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger                 Live as if you were living already for the
http://www.aishdas.org/asp   second time and as if you had acted the first
Author: Widen Your Tent      time as wrongly as you are about to act now!
- https://amzn.to/2JRxnDF          - Victor Frankl, Man's search for Meaning

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Message: 4
From: Prof. Levine
Date: Wed, 04 Mar 2020 14:36:42 -0500
[Avodah] Cholov Akum and Cholov Yisroel

At 02:25 PM 3/4/2020, R. Joel Rich  wrote:

>People ate all sorts of candy based on looking at the ingredients 
>listed on the label.
>And in the alta heim they didn't eat from "unsupervised bakeries (or pubs?)"
>Joel Rich

Since when to two wrongs make a right?

Also one has to keep in mind that in many places everything was made 
from scratch.  My mother-in-law comes from a small town in 
Hungary.  There was essentially no prepared anything. Baking was done 
at home,  meat and chickens were kashered at home,  etc.

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Message: 5
From: Sholom Simon
Date: Fri, 6 Mar 2020 11:19:30 -0500
[Avodah] Hilchot Corona

Good stuff from Rav Aviner:

Some of the questions include:

Q: Is one obligated to listen to the instructions of the Ministry of Health
regarding Corona?
Q: Does one fulfill the Mitzvah of Bikur Cholim on the phone?
Q: If a person is in quarantine for Corona, what does he do about Davening
in a Minyan?
Q: Should one refrain from kissing Mezuzot on account of Corona?
Q: How could someone get sick with Corona while hearing the Megillah when
the Gemara states, "Harm will not befall one on the way to perform a
Q: What is Hashem trying to teach us with the Corona Virus in the world?

and many more

-- Sholom
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Message: 6
From: Zev Sero
Date: Sat, 7 Mar 2020 20:58:20 -0500
Re: [Avodah] [TM] Parashat Zachor with Different

On 4/3/20 2:15 pm, Micha Berger via Avodah wrote:
> But what really struck me was the close. As it also relates to the growing
> practice of multiple shofar blowings to make sure some are al pi Rashi,
> some with Brisker shevarim, shevarim-teruh in one breath or two, etc...

How to distinguish this from the universally accepted practice of 
blowing 30 kolot instead of 9, in order to blow the 9 according to three 
different minhagim?

Zev Sero            A prosperous and healthy 5780 to all
z...@sero.name       Seek Jerusalem's peace; may all who love you prosper

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Message: 7
From: Zev Sero
Date: Sat, 7 Mar 2020 21:25:10 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Proving the Existence of G-d from the Existence

On 4/3/20 1:59 pm, Micha Berger via Avodah wrote:
 > A transcendental argument does not appeal to anything factual. Instead,
 > asks what must be true if certain features of human experience are
 > accepted as given.

One trap to avoid, though, is to assume that ones own experience is
universal.  "Kol echad be`atzmo shi`er", and assumed everyone else must
be the same.  If that assumption is not true, it can lead to utter
confusion, as people debate at cross-purposes, each completely unable
to understand the other's arguments.   See, for an example,


     There was a debate, in the late 1800s, about whether "imagination"
     was simply a turn of phrase or a real phenomenon. That is, can
     people actually create images in their minds which they see vividly,
     or do they simply say "I saw it in my mind" as a metaphor for
     considering what it looked like?

     Upon hearing this, my response was "How the stars was this actually
     a real debate? Of course we have mental imagery. Anyone who doesn't
     think we have mental imagery is either such a fanatical Behaviorist
     that she doubts the evidence of her own senses, or simply insane."
     Unfortunately, the professor was able to parade a long list of
     famous people who denied mental imagery, including some leading
     scientists of the era. And this was all before Behaviorism even

     The debate was resolved by Francis Galton, a fascinating man who
     among other achievements invented eugenics, the "wisdom of crowds",
     and standard deviation. Galton gave people some very detailed
     surveys, and found that some people did have mental imagery and
     others didn't. The ones who did had simply assumed everyone did,
     and the ones who didn't had simply assumed everyone didn't, to the
     point of coming up with absurd justifications for why they were
     lying or misunderstanding the question. There was a wide spectrum
     of imaging ability, from about five percent of people with perfect
     eidetic imagery to three percent of people completely unable to
     form mental images.

     Dr. Berman dubbed this the Typical Mind Fallacy: the human tendency
     to believe that one's own mental structure can be generalized to
     apply to everyone else's.

Zev Sero            Have a kosher Purim and a happy Pesach
z...@sero.name       Seek Jerusalem's peace; may all who love you prosper


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