Avodah Mailing List

Volume 40: Number 52

Wed, 03 Aug 2022

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Ben Bradley
Date: Sat, 30 Jul 2022 20:32:49 +0000
[Avodah] Chidushim in sefer Chafetz Chaim

As a direct response to the Walder affair, I am learning sefer Chafetz
Chaim with a chevrusa with a specific agenda to work out the precise
heterim/chiuyvim of reporting aveiros according to the CC. (I am not
referring to criminal offences and the need to report to the police).
In the course of this, we've come across a fascinating diyuk made by the CC
in a footnote to Lashon Hara clal 10 halacha 10. He says that only
consistent transgression of mitzvos bein adam l'makom can take a Jew out of
the category of 'amisecha' which changes much about the way we relate to
him. But persistent transgression of mitzvos bein adam l'chaveiro does not,
not matter how frequent or blatant. This is entirely based on a diyuk from
R Yona in Shaarei Teshuva 221, which is very short and is about the halacha
of reporting an offense against someone in order to make good the loss
I have now looked at this a few times and am still taken aback by both the
implications of this diyuk and by the fact that it seeems, I think, to be
poorly supported by the words of R Yona.
If true it means that someone can never lose the din of amisecha no matter
how horrendous of consistent their treatment of other Jews, which is big
'chumra' in terms of ahavas yisroel, but equally a huge limitation being
able to widely report offences.

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Message: 2
From: Jay F. Shachter
Date: Mon, 1 Aug 2022 18:15:18 -0500 (EDT)
[Avodah] The Right Spiritual Level

In v30n20 someone wrote:

> ... the kedusha of EY might well be a "double edged sword."
> Many years ago I asked Rabbi Dovid Kronglass, ZT"L, who was the
> Mashgiach of Yeshivas Ner Yisroel, about moving to Eretz Yisroel.
> After all, I said, Orthodox Jews are interested in doing mitzvahs,
> and one can certainly do more mitzvahs in Israel.  He responded by
> pointing out that the mitzvahs that one can do in Israel are only of
> rabbinical origin at this time.  Furthermore, he went on, one has to
> keep in mind the following.
> The land of Israel has a special Kedushah (holiness). Therefore, if
> one does a mitzvah there, one gets more reward than if one does the
> exact same mitzvah here.  However, if one does something wrong, G-D
> forbid, in Israel, it is much worse than if one does the same wrong
> here.  "You just don't go to Israel," he told me. "You have to be on
> the right spiritual level before you go."
> Based on this I conclude that for those people who are not on the 
> right spiritual level it is "better" for them to remain in Golus.

This is unquestionably true, and we must analyze it for its

Now, it certainly cannot be the case that the qedusha of Israel has a
uniform effect on both mitzvoth and `aveiroth, multiplying both your
merits, and your demerits, by the same amount.  If that were the case,
then there could not be someone who is all right in Flatbush, but who
would not be all right in Israel, whereas the original poster ("OP")
clearly states that there can be someone who is okay in Flatbush, but
who would not be okay, if he or she were subjected to the increased
level of qedusha that prevails in Israel.  Thus: consider someone in
Flatbush whose merits are +5, and whose demerits are -4, leaving him
at +1, which is on the right side of zero.  If the qedusha of Israel
uniformly doubles both his merits and his demerits, then his merits
are now +10, and his demerits are -8, leaving him at +2, and he is
still on the right side of zero.  Similarly, anyone who would be on
the wrong side of zero in Israel, would also be on the wrong side of
zero, in Flatbush.

Therefore, if the quoted passage is true, which it unquestionably is,
it must be the case that qedusha has a stronger effect on demerits
than on merits, and that the graph of merit and demerits as a function
of qedusha, is bilinear.  Consider once again someone in Flatbush
whose merits are +5, and whose demerits are -4, leaving him at +1,
which is on the right side of zero.  If the increased qedusha of
Israel doubles his merits, but it triples his demerits, then, if he
were to subject himself to the qedusha of Israel, his merits would be
+10, and his demerits would be -12, adding up to -2, and he would now
be on the wrong side of zero.  In order to remain on the right side of
zero after moving to Israel, it is necessary for your merits to be
greater than 1.5 times your demerits.

Moreover, there are many people in Flatbush who, although they could
survive `aliya to Israel, would nonetheless be harmed by it.  Consider
a man in Flatbush whose merits are +20, and whose demerits are -13.
The ratio of 20 to 13 is greater than 1.5, and therefore this man
would survive `aliya to Israel, in the sense that he would remain on
the right side of zero.  But `aliya to Israel would harm him.  In
Flatbush, with merits of +20 and demerits of -13, he was rated at +7.
After `aliya to Israel, with doubled merits of +40 and tripled demerits
of -39, he is now rated only at +1.  This bilinearity, and its
implications, must be what Dovid Kronglass -- according to the version
of his advice, that is reported to us by the OP -- must have been
cautioning us about; and we must thank the OP for alerting us to it.

There are still more implications, which the OP -- who is a former
mathematics teacher in an engineering school, and who repeatedly tells
us that he is a mathematician -- will surely understand: anyone who
would be harmed, by moving to an environment with higher qedusha, will
be helped, by moving to an environment with lower qedusha.  It is the
same analysis as above, you just apply it in the opposite direction.
Thus, if the qedusha of the OP's house in Flatbush, is greater than
the qedusha of a house in New Orleans, then the OP will greatly
benefit, if he leaves his house in Flatbush, and moves into that house
in New Orleans, which I urge him to do, immediately.

All of the above is correct, and true, as true as the light of the
noonday sun, and we thank the OP, for being the bearer of that light.
But there is sadly, more to say, because in the generations since
Dovid Kronglass allegedly had that conversation with the OP, there have
been pernicious changes in the world -- changes which Dovid Kronglass
was blessedly spared from seeing in his lifetime -- such that, it used
to be permissible for people on a very high spiritual level, to go to
Israel, but now it is not permissible for anyone to go to Israel, even
people on a very high spiritual level.

I speak of the ingathering of the exiles, and I also speak of
demographic differences among the world's Jews.  Due to the great sins
of our generation, and the great sins of our parents' generation, in
the years since Dovid Kronglass's death in 1972, Jews all over the
world have been ignoring Dovid Kronglass's advice -- as it has been
reported to us by the OP -- and they have been immigrating to Israel
in huge numbers.  From all over the world, millions of Jews have
immigrated to Israel.  Moreover, the Jews who live in Israel are, and
have been, on average, more fertile than the Jews who have protected
themselves from the increased qedusha of Israel by remaining outside
of it (of which more will be said later, q.v.).  The result of these
two pernicious developments is that we are very close to seeing, in
our lifetime, something that the world has not seen in thousands of
years, not since the Assyrian conquest of the Northern Kingdom -- we
are very close to seeing a majority of the world's Jews, living in the
Holy Land.  We do not know exactly when this will happen, because we
do not know exactly how many Jews there are, outside of Israel.  It
may be years away, it may be months away, it may be weeks away, it may
be days away.  It may be when the next immigrant to Israel gets off
the plane, and kisses the earth.

The consequences are worse than grave; they are terrifying.  Once the
majority of the world's Jews are living in Israel, many commandments
which today are, thankfully, only Rabbinic, will become Scriptural.
The qedusha of Israel will rise to levels that have not been seen in
thousands of years.  The merit of keeping the commandments will be
greater, because they will be Scriptural commandments now; but the
demerit of violating the commandments will be greater too.  It used to
be, that Jews of sufficiently exalted spiritual levels, were permitted
to go to Israel.  But that was when all they had to worry about was
their own spiritual level.  That has changed.  Now you have to worry
about, not only your own spiritual level, but also, the spiritual
level of all the millions of other Jews who are already there, because
the next person who crosses over into Israel, could be the person who
tips the scales, the person who raises the level of qedusha for the
millions of Jews who are already living there, who are not on the
right spiritual level.  Prior to these demographic developments, it
was permissible to visit Israel for short periods of time, if your
goal was to persuade people to leave, but now you may not do even that.
The only `aliya to Israel that is now permitted, is an `aliya of
corpses, because corpses do not count, in determining whether the
majority of the world's Jews are living in Israel; only living Jews
count.  Therefore, Jews who never lived in Israel a day in their
lives, may continue to be buried there, and it would not surprise me,
if the OP himself has made plans along those lines.

We know that the foregoing analysis is correct, because we know of
many other things that increase the quantity of your merits, and also
increase the quantity of your demerits, such as having children.  When
you have a child, you increase immeasurably your occasions to do good,
and you also increase immeasurably your occasions to do harm.

You have probably heard that you will never have children if you wait
until you are fully ready to have children; that you will stop
ovulating, or your wife will stop ovulating, long before that happens;
that you must have a child even before you are fully ready, and if God
gives you a child, it means that God has chosen you to be that child's
parent, and that God trusts you, and has confidence that you can do
it, and the child will come, and you will feel overwhelmed, and you
will not know what to do, and you will do the best you can, and you
will not be a perfect parent, but you will raise your child more or
less as well as your parents raised you, who felt overwhelmed too, and
your parents didn't do that bad a job, overall.  And you will have
brought a nefesh yisrael into the world, which is an incalculable good.

Rubbish.  You may not have a child, unless you are on the right level.
For one thing, childbirth is painful, and you might snap at your
husband, who is only trying to be helpful, he is telling you to
breathe, and you need someone to remind you to do that.  And then the
child is born, and children need so much, and they look to you for
everything.  And babies cry.  And consider what might happen, if you
have not slept for four days, and your child will not stop crying, and
you would trade five years of your life for three hours of
uninterrupted sleep, and your child will not stop crying, and there is
no reason for it, you have nursed your child until your breasts are
sore and you have no milk left to give, and your child will not stop
shrieking, and you are yelling at your baby to be quiet, your child,
whom you thought you would never harm, your precious child, for whom
you would give up your life without a second's hesitation.  Are you
absolutely sure that that will never happen?  If you are not absolutely
sure that that will never happen, then you may not have a child,
because you are not on the right level.

But the best example of a thing that increases the magnitude of our
merits, and also increases the magnitute of our demerits, the example
par excellence, is the national tragedy that befell us at the foot of
Mount Sinai, when we were given the Torah.  We could have been a
nation like any other, had it not been for that tragedy.  The Crusades,
the Inquisition, the pogroms, the concentration camps and the gas
chambers -- none of it would have happened, if we had not been made an
`am sgulah, a separate nation.  And what is it that makes us a
separate nation?  The Commandments.  613 commandments, 606 more than we
need, each of which increases our opportunity for merit, if we obey it,
but which also increases our opportunity for demerit, if we disobey it.
If only Dovid Kronglass, or the OP, had been there when it happened,
either one of them could have prevented this tragedy from befalling
our nation, but they were not, and they did not.

I urge the OP to continue to post articles on this important topic.

               Jay F. ("Yaakov") Shachter
               6424 North Whipple Street
               Chicago IL  60645-4111
                       (1-773)7613784   landline
                       (1-410)9964737   GoogleVoice

               When Martin Buber was a schoolboy, it must have been
               no fun at all playing tag with him during recess.

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Message: 3
From: Prof. L. Levine
Date: Tue, 2 Aug 2022 12:28:52 +0000
[Avodah] Cutting Nails During the 9 Days

The following is from today's OU Kosher Halacha Yomis.

Q. Taz (551:13) writes that one should not cut their nails during the week
in which Tisha B?Av falls out (shevua she?chal bo). This year, the ninth of
Av coincides with Shabbos, and the fast of Tisha B?Av is observed on
Sunday. Which days are considered shevua she?chal bo?

A. As Tisha b?Av nears, we increase our public display of mourning. During
the Three Weeks, the custom of Ashkenazim is to refrain from taking
haircuts. Beginning Rosh Chodesh Av, we stop washing clothes. However, the
Mishnah (Ta?anis 4:7) teaches that the actual rabbinic prohibition against
taking a haircut or washing clothes is only the week in which Tisha b?Av
falls out (shevua she?chal bo). Since cutting nails is a less public
display of mourning, some poskim question whether there is any prohibition
at all, but Taz (551:13) maintains that it is permitted only up until
shevua she?chal bo. However, this year, because Tisha B?Av falls on Shabbos
and is pushed off until Sunday, Shulchan Aruch (OC 551:4) cites two
opinions as to whether there is a shevua she?chal bo this year. The first
opinion is that this year, there is no shevua shechal bo. Accordingly, the
only day that one may not cut their nails is Sunday (on which Tisha B?Av is
observed). The second opinion is that one may als
 o not cut their nails on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of the
 preceding week. However, on Thursday and Friday, it is permitted to cut
 one?s nails in honor of Shabbos. Rav Ovadia Yosef, zt?l (Yechaveh Daas
 3:39) writes that although some are stringent in this matter, the first
 opinion is the primary one. As such, this year, one may cut his nails
 until Tisha b?Av.

Another interesting application of this issue of defining shevua she?chal bo is the following:

Sefardim who have the custom to wash clothing and wear freshly laundered
clothing until shevua she?chal bo, may do so this year, according to the
permit of Rav Ovadia Yosef, zt?l for the entire week before Tisha B?Av.
However, this particular leniency is not relevant for Ashkenazim, since
they refrain from washing clothing and wearing freshly laundered clothing
beginning Rosh Chodesh Av, not only during shevua she?chal bo.

Professor Yitzchok Levine
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Message: 4
From: Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer
Date: Tue, 2 Aug 2022 15:00:19 -0400
[Avodah] Oneg

I was casting around for a good translation of Oneg, ???,
when all of a sudden it struck me...

I should have realized this years ago, and maybe you did,
but it only hit me this past Friday:

Oneg and enjoy are the same word!

The ?, ?, ? of Oneg are the same as the E, N, J of Enjoy!
Which captures precisely the difference between happiness as in Simchas 
Yom Tov, and enjoyment, as in Oneg Shabbos!


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Message: 5
From: Joel Rich
Date: Tue, 2 Aug 2022 17:52:59 -0400
[Avodah] milchama

The Rambam (Malachim 5:2) codifies the Mishna (Sanhedrin 20b) ?umotzi
lmilchemet hareshut al pi bet din shel shivim vechad? When studying this, I
wondered what criteria bet din would use to approve the war. I was
surprised to find that Rashi (Brachot 3b) {the court prays} and Maharsha
(Sanhedrin 16a) (they clarify halachic issues in war) do not see it as a
consent function. Do you assume that other authorities (other than
chidushei hararn who agrees there?s no consent function) think it?s a
consent function? If so, what are the criteria that Sanhedrin should use in
deciding whether to consent? Also why then is kibbush yachid so different
in result than kibbush rabim (see hilchot mlachim 5:6)
Joel Rich
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Message: 6
From: Joel Rich
Date: Tue, 2 Aug 2022 17:50:54 -0400
[Avodah] Maamarei Chazal

Looking for mamarei chazal making these points:

O, wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as others see us

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, Or what's a heaven for?


Joel Rich
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