Avodah Mailing List

Volume 39: Number 47

Mon, 24 May 2021

< Previous Next >
Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Micha Berger
Date: Wed, 19 May 2021 18:33:22 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Can One Take In Shavuot Early?

On Wed, May 12, 2021 at 02:38:39PM +0100, allan.engel--- via Avodah wrote:
> The issue with this particular practice is that it is based on an 'drasha'
> on a word in a passuk that was never darshened until relatively recently,
> and new drashas on pessukim have been outlawed since the era of the amoraim.

Also, because it causes a conflict with an established deOraisa --
tosefes Yom Tov.


Go to top.

Message: 2
From: Micha Berger
Date: Wed, 19 May 2021 18:30:51 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Are We Trying to Grow?

On Thu, Apr 29, 2021 at 01:14:31PM +0300, Saul Mashbaum via Avodah wrote:
> The 'drasha' may indeed be an exhortation to improve -- to be more
> punctilious in observing the mitzvot, to be more diligent in learning
> Torah. The discussion so far of the topic here has, for the most part,
> centered on skepticism regarding tt the efficacy of such drashot.
> However, I believe in most cases, the 'drasha' presents an insight into
> Biblical verses or maamarei chazal...

But if they are yedi'os without an actual halakhah lemaaseh, is it "growth"?

I realize that may be more a question of English usage than mamashus, but
it's important to agree what we are talking about.

If we think there is sufficient learning in our communities, but
not enough of the sort that directly causes "growth" in the senses of
improving middos and/or one's relationship to the Borei, then we aren't
looking to promote more "insight[s] into Biblical verses or maamarei
chazal" as ends in themselves. And in fact, many such divrei Torah
wouldn't be part of the answer to the problem of "are we trying to grow?"

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger                 Life is a stage and we are the actors,
http://www.aishdas.org/asp   but only some of us have the script.
Author: Widen Your Tent                  - Rav Menachem Nissel
- https://amzn.to/2JRxnDF

Go to top.

Message: 3
From: Rich, Joel
Date: Thu, 20 May 2021 02:52:19 +0000
[Avodah] Karaites Mesora

This makes a lot more sense than what I was taught (that the Karaites had no mesorah):
"There are, however, other ordinances in the observance of which we have
been raised since the days of our fathers, and their fathers before them,
and which are a matter of custom with us, which are not recorded in the
Torah but have become as second nature; . . . (Karaite) tradition, however,
is not like the tradition in which the Rabbanites believe, since they add
to and subtract from Scripture and say that tradition overcomes (the
biblical text). . . .(Karaite) tradition, on the other hand, is what is
acknowledged by all Israel, and it does not go against that which is
recorded in the Writ of divine truth; and our scholars have said that every
tradition which does not go against Scripture, does not add to what is
stated in Scripture, is acknowledged by all Israel, and has (indirect)
support in Scripture, is to be called (genuine) tradition, and we must
accept it."

What were you taught about this?

Joel Rich

distribution or copying of this message by anyone other than the addressee is 
strictly prohibited.  If you received this message in error, please notify us 
immediately by replying: "Received in error" and delete the message.  
Thank you.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.aishdas.org/pipermail/avodah-aishdas.org/attachments/20210520/b40dd70f/attachment-0001.html>

Go to top.

Message: 4
From: Rich, Joel
Date: Thu, 20 May 2021 02:54:05 +0000
[Avodah] Whose Pikuach Nefesh?

From a Hamodia interview - to me speaks volumes that the quote could not be
made bsheim omro: I spoke with the head of a major chinuch organization in
Boro Park, who explained to me: "Do you think we were kalei daas -
lightheaded - about the inyan of pikuach nefesh? We understood exactly what
we were dealing with and decided that the possible downside of not living
life normally far outweighed opening up." (Me-I don't recall being asked
about the downside for me of your doing that?)

How does halacha take the impact on others into account?

Joel Rich

distribution or copying of this message by anyone other than the addressee is 
strictly prohibited.  If you received this message in error, please notify us 
immediately by replying: "Received in error" and delete the message.  
Thank you.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.aishdas.org/pipermail/avodah-aishdas.org/attachments/20210520/1d04153c/attachment-0001.html>

Go to top.

Message: 5
From: Meir Shinnar
Date: Wed, 19 May 2021 19:52:35 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Gelatin

> R' Jay F. ("Yaakov") Shachter wrote:
>> And yet, it is davka in Eretz Yisroel where you will find
>> acceptance of R' Chaim Ozer's psaq, and a rejection of the
>> Chazon Ish's psaq, whereas, outside of Eretz Yisroel, the
>> Chazon Ish's psaq is generally followed.
>> (Of course, this is more due to R' Ovadya Yosef, than to R'
>> Chaim Ozer.)
> I suspect that this is not so much a function of the tendency of 
> poskim in
> a given area to hold similarly. Rather, I think it is a practical 
> result
> that in Eretz Yisroel, where there is an effort to provide basic-level
> kashrus for as many people as possible, leniencies such as gelatin 
> were
> allowed by the basic-level hashgachos. (Which, by the way, far
> pre-dates Rav Ovadia.)
This is not trying to provide ?basic level kashrut?, and far 
predates ray OVadia Yosef zt?l.  The rav of yerushalayim after rav 
Kook,  Hagaon ray Tzvi Pesach Frank zt?l allowed gelatin, and he was 
an accepted posek across the board.  I remember buying gelatin candies 
in Meah Shearim  in the early 2000s.
There is an unfortunate tendency when there is a meikil shitta and 
machmir shitta - that one assumes that the machmir shitta is right and 
the the meikil shitta is only bdieved or ?basic level?.  That 
assumption is being motes la?az - and public statements of it violate 
far more serious d?oraitas than most meikil hashgachot.

> In contrast, in America (my knowledge of other areas is sorely 
> lacking)
> most hashgachos pride themselves on aiming for the people who care 
> more
> about kashrus and halacha, so they avoid such leniencies and aim for 
> the
> chumros. But even in America there have always been some hashgachos 
> who
> were willing to rely on the leniencies for gelatin.
> People of a certain age will have no problem remembering when KoJel 
> was
> made of real gelatin, and the box said that it was "packed under the
> supervision of Rabbi" Ploni, but omitted the name of whoever it was 
> that
> supervised the raw gelatin itself. And even today, such hechsherim 
> still
> exist. For example, search Amazon for "NOW Supplements, CoQ10 400 mg,
> Pharmaceutical Grade, All-Trans Form produced by Fermentation, 60
> Softgels", and you'll find a Triangle-K with the words "Contains 
> Gelatin".
There are now well heterim (IIRC by Rev Moshe?) for capsules with 
gelatin - and that they don?t need a hashgacha at all ( swallowing is 
not derech achilla?_).
People are welcome to follow their own chumrot or the chumrot of their 
community - but the whole sale disparagement of other shittot is, IMHO, 
more problematic that the kulot employed?..

I am more concerned about the Ehrlichkeit of the mashgiach than which 
chumrot are followed ( and there is good evidence that many chum rot are 
followed because of market forces - who would eat from place X that 
follows this shitta, when macshgiach of place Y says it?s assur).  
Would you  rather use a hashgacha whose poses admits to attacking 
molested children for going to the police, but is very machmir on 
kashrut, or an ehrlich posek who follows Rev Chaim Ozer??

Meir Shinnar


Go to top.

Message: 6
From: Arie Folger
Date: Thu, 20 May 2021 21:02:12 +0200
Re: [Avodah] Can one take in Shavuot early

RAM asked:
How can we tell the difference between a new drasha that should not have
been darshened, vs. an old one that simply had never been written down

Me: perhaps when the oldest source bothers to tell us he heard it/ learned
it elsewhere,  vs. when no such claim is made? Kabbalists often tell us
they received certain traditions from generating past. But does the TaZ
indicate that his derasha of temimot is older than him? Does he wrote a
named or even nameless source?

Yours sincerely,
Mit freundlichen Gr??en,

Arie Folger

Blogging at http://rabbifolger.net/
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.aishdas.org/pipermail/avodah-aishdas.org/attachments/20210520/90ec3dd9/attachment-0001.html>

Go to top.

Message: 7
From: Arie Folger
Date: Thu, 20 May 2021 20:58:38 +0200
Re: [Avodah] The chiyuv hishtadlus of parents for children

On Fri, May 14, 2021 at 04:45:05PM -0400, R' Akiva Miller via Avodah wrote:
> Could it be that according to Rav Zilberstein...

RMB replied:
None of your answers really address the question. Regardles of hishtadlus,
since when do we say you're allowed to ignore safeiq piquach nefesh in
order to aid the next day's learning -- or for any other mitzvah? Making
this a she'eilah of whether histadlus is required is itself something
very hard to understand.

Me: was Rav Zilberstein being serious about not taking children to a bomb
shelter,  or was he being pedantic to show that the mitzva of hishtadlut is
the wrong model to analyze this particular responsibility,  or was he
making a point that the risk of being hit is so small that one need not
necessarily run to a bomb shelter? Or was he making a point about how real
and actual he considered the protecting given by Torah learning while being
engaged in learning Torah?

Yours sincerely,
Mit freundlichen Gr??en,

Arie Folger

Blogging at http://rabbifolger.net/
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.aishdas.org/pipermail/avodah-aishdas.org/attachments/20210520/e668b4b5/attachment-0001.html>

Go to top.

Message: 8
From: Akiva Miller
Date: Fri, 21 May 2021 06:36:23 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Can One Take In Shavuot Early?

R' Isaac Balbin wrote:

> Indeed, this is an area that the Chafetz Chaim was critical
> of R' Hersh Leib (the Netziv). The Netziv sometimes supports
> his view with a new interpretation of a pasuk which had never
> seemingly existed prior, thereby affixing a deorayso like
> imperative to same.

I'm confused, mostly because I don't know of the Netziv's view on this
matter. You SEEM to be saying that the practice of waiting on Shavuos night
is an example of a new interpretation, and that the Chafetz Chaim was
critical of him for it.

If so, can you give a citation where we can see that the Chafetz Chaim was
critical of this practice? From what I see, Mishne Berura 494:1 *supports*
this practice.

Akiva Miller
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.aishdas.org/pipermail/avodah-aishdas.org/attachments/20210521/79502e4b/attachment-0001.html>

Go to top.

Message: 9
From: Micha Berger
Date: Sun, 23 May 2021 14:44:35 -0400
Re: [Avodah] emunah

On Wed, Apr 21, 2021 at 05:09:33AM +0000, Rich, Joel via Avodah wrote:
> My friend-A person should strive to have as much Emunah as possible. If
> they are able to reach a level of certainty that's great. I don't think
> that belief based on a preponderance of evidence makes someone a kofer
> even if that leaves some element of doubt.

I think there are two distinct things... Machashavah amuqah is studying
hashkafah. It allows one to know more about how Hashem runs the universe,
and more about Hashem Himself -- or at least, more about what He can't be.
But, it is knowledge /about/ G-d.

Knowing G-d, in the manner that makes it possible to have a relationship
with Him, is emunah. A middah. An entirely different think.

Tevya the protagonist of Fiddler on the Roof didn't study much. He wa
no expert in theology, aggaditos, etc... But, when he was alone on the
road with his hoarse, Hashem was there with him to. And Tevya broke
out in conversation with Him. "As the Good Book says, ev-... <chuckle>
Why should I tell *You* what the Good Book says?"

Studying machashavah is critical. Otherwise, one can have emunah in
and form a relationship with a false or even heretical perception of
the Borei. But it's not really buttressing the Emunah itself.

In other words: While the Kuzari's tradition-based-faith didn't fare well
under modernity, the proof-based-faith of the Moreh or Chovos haLevavos
did far worse. Philosophical consensus and cultural norms don't even
take for granted such proofs are even possible, and if possible, that
they will convince the disbeliever.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger                 The meaning of life is to find your gift.
http://www.aishdas.org/asp   The purpose of life
Author: Widen Your Tent      is to give it away.
- https://amzn.to/2JRxnDF                   - Pablo Picasso

Go to top.

Message: 10
From: Micha Berger
Date: Sun, 23 May 2021 15:02:22 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Language Acquisition

On Sun, Apr 25, 2021 at 09:50:30PM -0500, Jay F. Shachter via Avodah wrote:
>> But what I was wondering was, why did you assume that Kenaani
>> language was more comprehensible to Yitzchaq than the Aramaic of his
>> own clan?  There was less cross-pollenation with the language of the
>> Ivri that early on, but more, Yitzchaq likely was intentionally
>> taught the language of Avraham's past.

> Now, we know that the descendants of Avraham eventually switched from
> speaking Aramaic to speaking the Hebrew of the Cannanites...

Chazal assume that we spoke Aramaic all through the period. It is unclear
to me whether they are saying it was as a first language, leaving Hebrew
for ritual use only, or whether our primary language was Hebrew, and we
spoke Aramaic as a regional lingua franca.

But they also assume that Avraham's clan and hangers on didn't integrate,
which is why Yishma'el's and Esav's marriage choices, or for that matter
Yehudah's, was considered so negatively.

More, they assume the Canaanite language was more Hamitic than Semitic.
That the language we know as Canaanite now is more the product of the
influence of Aramaic and Hebrew on a group of Benei Cham than the language
they started out with.

> But even if the midrashim are not literally true...

Well, conflicting midrashim cannot both be historical.

Actually, sometimes... there are two valid but conflicting ways to
describe a human situation or community. But you know what I mean.

He made souls in Charan. That's pasuq. You can take it midrashically,
that he taught monotheism and attracted hangers on. Even if only Eliezer
followed him to war. Or literally, he had unnamed children, perhaps with
unnamed wives and shevachos.

> had enough of an Aramaic-speaking household with him that he could
> have raised his son to be fluent in the Aramaic of his land, his
> birthplace, and his father's house -- if Yitzxaq wasn't the generation
> that switched over from Aramaic to Hebrew, then who was? ...

Maybe no one, as above. Maybe it took many generations. Maybe Hebrew
evolved from Aramaic more in Mitzrayim than anywhere else, with only
finishing touches in the conquest era.

(This is the same flaw as in the so-called Kuzari Proof. How often to
things switch in a single generation rather than evolve over many?)

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger                 "The most prevalent illness of our generation is
http://www.aishdas.org/asp   excessive anxiety....  Emunah decreases anxiety:
Author: Widen Your Tent      'The Almighty is my source of salvation;  I will
- https://amzn.to/2JRxnDF    trust and not be afraid.'" (Isa 12) -Shalhevesya


Avodah mailing list



Send Avodah mailing list submissions to

To subscribe or unsubscribe via the World Wide Web, visit

You can reach the person managing the list at

When replying, please edit your Subject line so it is more specific
than "Re: Contents of Avodah digest..."

A list of common acronyms is available at
(They are also visible in the web archive copy of each digest.)

< Previous Next >