Avodah Mailing List

Volume 40: Number 46

Fri, 08 Jul 2022

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Micha Berger
Date: Fri, 1 Jul 2022 16:17:36 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Emerging Psak

On Tue, Jun 21, 2022 at 08:21:48PM -0400, Joel Rich via Avodah wrote:
> abortion and authorities who are stringent don't get asked questions
> anymore. I think this is a dynamic that bears further analysis. ...
>                                                       Do we see something
> similar about who is the parent in all the various fertility approaches?

Personally, I think there is something else, more geographic, going on.

More lenient shitos allowing abortion were always more common in Israel
than in chu"l. R SZ Auerbach had a R Eliezer Waldenberg to refer such
questions to. And R Gustman also influenced the conversation here.

Currently, the US turns to Israel for pesaq far more than we used to.
There is no Rav Henkin, Rav Aharon Kotler, R Yaakov Kamencki, or Rav
Moshe. (And in the Mod-O world, while people are turning to RHS and R
M Willig, neither's say carries comparible weight to the Rav's.)

So, that different conversation that happened in Israel is reaching us
in the US more than it did.

I also wonder how many abortion cases halakhah lemaaseh here in the US
really got as stringent pesaqim as one would assume knowing only the
party line theory we all took for granted.


Micha Berger                 You will never "find" time for anything.
http://www.aishdas.org/asp   If you want time, you must make it.
Author: Widen Your Tent                        - Charles Buxton
- https://amzn.to/2JRxnDF

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Message: 2
From: Danny Schoemann
Date: Sun, 3 Jul 2022 11:07:12 +0300
Re: [Avodah] 10th vs. 10th

> It struck me that there is a fundamental difference
> between maaser of crops and of animals.

Other differences:
-  Maaser of crops is given to a Levi. Maaser of animal remains the
property of the owner who brings it as a korban (with no gifts to the
Cohen, minimal offerings (Cheilev & blood)  on the Mizbe'ach), unless
it's blemished in which case the owner eats it.

-  Until you separate maaser of crops the produce is Tevel, no status
change before/after separating maaser of animal.

Also wondering what it means.

- Danny

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Message: 3
From: Prof. L. Levine
Date: Tue, 5 Jul 2022 12:34:52 +0000
[Avodah] Is there a permissible way to make tea with a tea

From today's OU Kosher Halacha Yomis

Q. Is there a permissible way to make tea with a tea bag on Shabbos?

A. It is certainly forbidden to place a tea bag on Shabbos into a kli
rishon (a utensil that was on the fire), or to pour hot water on a tea bag
from a kli rishon (e.g., from an urn or tea kettle), since this will cook
the tea. Furthermore, the Mishnah Berurah (318:39) writes that tea leaves
should be categorized as kalei ha?bishul (items that can cook easily). If
so, placing them in a kli sheini (secondary vessel ? such as water poured
into a cup from a kettle) would be a Torah prohibition. The Aruch
Hashulchan (318:28) writes that one may not even place tea leaves into a
kli shlishi. Although the Mishnah Berurah does not clearly state that a tea
bag may not be placed in a kli shlishi, he infers that is so; he writes
that tea may not be prepared on Shabbos, and he does not offer kli shlishi
as an option, as he does in other instances.  Many poskim, including Rav
Elyashiv (Shvus Yitzchok ? Bishul 29:7) and Shmiras Shabbos K?Hilchasa
(1:57), write that one should be strict, as this in
 volves the possibility of a Torah prohibition.

However, Rav Moshe Feinstein zt?l (Igros Moshe OC 4:74, Bishul 15) writes
that he does not believe  that tea is kalei ha?bishul, and even if it were,
he is not convinced that anything can be cooked in a kli shlishi. Some
point out that the Pri Megadim (Aishel Avrohom 318:35) is seemingly lenient
to allow placing tea into a kli shlishi, however, others read the Pri
Megadim in a way that does not allow for this leniency. There are great
poskim who line up on both sides of this disagreement, and everyone is
encouraged to discuss this question with their own rabbi. [Note, there is
also the issue of ?borer and mishamer? that was discussed in previous

Professor Yitzchok Levine

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Message: 4
From: Micha Berger
Date: Mon, 4 Jul 2022 18:05:30 -0400
Re: [Avodah] taking a stand?

On Fri, May 27, 2022 at 02:44:18PM -0400, David Riceman wrote:
> I once asked one of my rebbeim how one can treat a machlokes as a safek.
> He said one can do that only if legitimate communities take both the
> positions, and one is unsure where one's questioner belongs. I'm not
> sure that always works historically, but it's a beautiful hilluk and it
> implies that your example doesn?t relate at all.

While this is true by most systems of pesaq, e.g. the Shakh's qunterus
in Choshein Mishpat, it's not true for Briskers.

(By which I do NOT mean R Chaim, who defered to the Brisker Dayan, R
Simcha Zelig Reguer. I mean his students and descendents, or maybe it
wasn't until the following generation, who took the approach to halakhah
he used only in creating personal chumeros, and made communal norms out
of them.)

In Brisk, the Rambam's "Rav Ashi veRavina sof hora'ah" is taken pretty
seriously, and no rishon's shitah is ever truly dead. If there is no
final pesaq after the gemara, you're going to have a lot more halachic
questions that are open sefeiqos.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger                 One doesn't learn mussar to be a tzaddik,
http://www.aishdas.org/asp   but to become a tzaddik.
Author: Widen Your Tent                            - Rav Yisrael Salanter
- https://amzn.to/2JRxnDF

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Message: 5
From: Micha Berger
Date: Mon, 4 Jul 2022 18:19:29 -0400
Re: [Avodah] taking a stand?

On Wed, Jun 22, 2022 at 10:38:11AM -0400, David Riceman via Avodah wrote:
> RMB:
>> Going back to RDR's point... I think that the Rambam agrees that human
>> evil (as defined by the antonyms of chessed, mishpat and tzedaqah)
>> depends on ignorance. But not because he rejects yh"t vs. yh"r, but
>> because he feels the sufficient yedi'ah is what allows the yh"t to win.

> But then why the emphasis on acquiring good midos through repeated
> practice in 8 Perakim and H. Deos? Shouldn't he just say 'mashcheihu
> l'beis hamidrash'?

Also, on Avos 3:17, when he talks about it being better to give the same
amount of money to many people, than give it in a lump sum to one.

That's a great question. Still, that's the impression the Moreh leaves
you with -- liteally all throughout the first and third chulaqim,
examples already given.

And there is the oddity that the Rambam's term for what we call "Middos"
is "Dei'os". How the Rambam understands the dichotomy between knowledge
(yedi'ah) and emotional dispositions (dei'os) is not clear to me. Doubly
so when we realize that with Peirush haMishnayos and the Moreh we are
dealing with translations. But it seems that without that peace, I cannot
answer your question.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger                 It's nice to be smart,
http://www.aishdas.org/asp   but it's smarter to be nice.
Author: Widen Your Tent                      - R' Lazer Brody
- https://amzn.to/2JRxnDF

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Message: 6
From: Micha Berger
Date: Wed, 6 Jul 2022 14:06:52 -0400
[Avodah] Abortion Legislation

I assume most of you have seen the exchange between R Michal Broyde
and R Yitzchok Adlerstein

In case you haven't, there are the links.

I am not talking about the issue of abortion itself, but the question
of how does the existence of Noachide Law translate into political
imperatives for the observant Jew? And second, what if that mitzvah is
far too nuanced to realistically find legal expression -- do we still
have some kind of political imperative to minimize non-piquach-nefesh

I would love to get people's opinions here.

Here is what I took away from RMJB on this subject, in the form of
two snippets:
     I believe American Orthodoxy's relevant governing principle was
     articulated in 1989 by Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel of Agudath Israel
     of America in the related area of brain death:

        The principle of religious accommodation is one that has stood
        the American Orthodox Jewish community in good stead in a wide
        variety of secular legal contexts... *it is in the interest of the
        Torah observant community to combat secular laws that preclude
        individuals from following the guidance of their individual
        decisors*.[19] [Emphasis added.]

    Agudah did not invent this idea; Rabbi Moshe Feinstein wrote as much
    in 1977. Writing about proposed legislation regarding brain death, he
    first noted the need, at a minimum, for a conscientious or religious
    exemption clause in secular laws that mandated a particular view of
    life and death decision-making[20] but ultimately favored a broader
    view that governments ought not pass any such laws at all.
    Freedom in matters of personal conscience is a better alternative
    for America, American Jewry as a whole, and American Orthodoxy in
    particular, than one which suppresses people's liberty by enforcing
    a particular view regarding widely disputed moral issues such as
    abortion. Moreover, Halakhah permits but does not mandatethat policy,
    by not requiring Jews to seek enforcement of the Noahide laws. Within
    the ordinary ambit of secular law, Orthodox Jewry should seek to
    increase religious, social, and cultural freedoms even though this
    will lead to violations of Jewish or Noahide Law. The alternative
    reduces our communities' ability to function consistent with
    Jewish law.

RMJB does give arguments for why one would think we should be promoting
more people doing Hashem's Will, but dismisses them. (Considers the
Lubavitcher Rebbe's Noachide campaign a daas yachid.)

(Emphasis his.)

By which he means a stereotypical Litvak, not that real Litvaks tend to
be this way. E.g. he writes:
    The point here is a different one, perhaps best characterized by an
    oft-repeated teaching of Rav Soloveitchik, zt"l. He said that we have
    not one mesorah, but three. The one that gets the most attention
    is the mesorah of deed how we are to behave and act. We've put a
    huge amount of energy in fleshing out the requirements of halacha,
    and making them known to people. There is also a mesorah of thought:
    what ideas should provide the conceptual framework for the Torah's
    practitioners. Which ideas are essential, which are volitional and
    which are dangerous and wrong. This mesorah is there, but a bit harder
    to access, as it is not as well known, and not as sharply defined.

    Finally, there is the mesorah that is the hardest one to determine,
    although it is most definitely there. It is the mesorah of how we
    ought to feel and emote. Assuredly it exists, although many are
    unaware of that fact.

    It is there that we find that Hashem is not indifferent to the sins
    of non-Jews, or to their rejecting Him. There we find that those who
    love Him will feel the "tzaar of the Shechinah" when people trifle
    with His honor.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger                 It is a glorious thing to be indifferent to
http://www.aishdas.org/asp   suffering, but only to one's own suffering.
Author: Widen Your Tent                    -Robert Lynd, writer (1879-1949)
- https://amzn.to/2JRxnDF

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Message: 7
From: Joel Rich
Date: Tue, 5 Jul 2022 17:13:22 -0400
[Avodah] punishment for the wicked

So perhaps you can help me think this through? The Rambam in hilchot tshuva
(8:1) seems to imply that the punishment for the wicked is that they will
cease to exist - meaning to me that they will not participate in the world
to come. If this is so, it seems to me that Pascal's wager seems less of a
challenge. It would seem that the player could take enjoyment in this world
and only risk nonexistence (and thus not know what he missed out on) and
take his chances that reward in the world to come would be more pleasurable
but he'll never really feel that loss. Since he?ll never be aware of the
downside, how would you convince him not to take the immediate gain?
Perhaps this is the reason that other commentaries read into the Rambam
elsewhere that he did believe in eternal damnation?
Joel Rich
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Message: 8
From: Akiva Miller
Date: Fri, 8 Jul 2022 06:38:56 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Punishment

R' Joel Rich asked:

> I?ve often heard it said that one is better off getting punished
> in this world that in the world to come. Philosophically why
> should the sum total of punishment for any transgression be
> different depending on where one receives the punishment?

Excellent question. I don't really know. I suspect that it has something to
do with the nature of the two worlds being so incomparable that we are
deceived into thinking that their "sum totals" are equivalent. And yet,
there must be some sort of equivalence, or else the results would not be
fair, and Ground Rule #1 is that Hashem is *extremely* fair. Midah k'neged
midah, everyone gets *exactly* what they deserve.

But I don't want to let the question go unanswered, so I will offer this:

Suppose someone is in a situation where he has two choices: Choice A gives
short-term benefits, but it is not so great in the long term. Choice B will
be good in the long run, but not so much in the near future. It has been my
experience in life that in (almost) every case, one is better off aiming
for what is best in the long run. The Yetzer Hara tempts us with short-term
benefits, but we end up regretting them once they've passed.

So too, I suspect, regarding Olam Haba, which is of an eternal nature. Even
if there would be a valid equation in which the reward or punishment in one
world would match that of the other world, there is something advantageous
about having "worked off" all his sins *here*, so that there is little or
nothing left to be endured *there*.

And conversely, if I can leave all my reward in the "bank", and not make
any withdrawals until "retirement", how much better that eternal retirement
would be.

Akiva Miller
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