Avodah Mailing List

Volume 41: Number 7

Mon, 23 Jan 2023

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Zev Sero
Date: Thu, 19 Jan 2023 19:20:57 -0500
Re: [Avodah] name change

On 18/1/23 23:03, Joel Rich via Avodah wrote:
> On Thu, Jan 19, 2023 at 12:11 AM Zev Sero wrote:
>> The only case I know where it was a total name change was not due to
>> illness.  The person simply wanted to change his name, so he did so.

> TY. Do you know if there was a formal procedure as there is when illness
> is involved? Rabbinic involvement in the decision/procedure?

The person was Rabbi Zalman Gaffney, currently of Tzefat.  He is a ger 
(the Gaffneys are a good Irish family), and when he converted he chose 
the name Avraham.  But he soon started to feel uncomfortable at the 
attention he would attract every time he was called to the torah, so he 
asked the Lubavitcher Rebbe whether he could be called ben someone else. 
  The Rebbe advised him that he could not change his father's name 
because it's not his, but his own name belongs to him and he had every 
right to change it if he wanted to.  So he changed it to Shneur Zalman, 
and has been known by that name for the past 55 years or so.  May he 
continue to use it in good health for many years to come.

As far as I know there is no formal procedure for a name change, whether 
for an illness or any other reason.  One simply announces it in public, 
e.g. by saying a mi sheberach for the person, giving him an aliya, or 
simply banging on the bima and announcing it.  Or I suppose one could 
place an ad in a newspaper.  Once it is in public use for 30 days, it's 
legal.  (Though if it's for an illness then it only sticks if it 
"worked", i.e. if the person recovered.)

It's my understanding that the common law is exactly the same.  A 
person's name is defined as what he is publicly known as, and all it 
takes to change it is to let the public know, and wait for them to start 
using it.  Deed polls are useful but not legally necessary, except in 
those jurisdictions where statutes have imposed such a requirement.

Zev Sero            ?Were we directed from Washington when to sow
z...@sero.name       and when to reap, we should soon want bread.?
                    ?Thomas Jefferson: Autobiography, 1821.

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Message: 2
From: Michael Poppers
Date: Fri, 20 Jan 2023 14:41:40 -0500
[Avodah] name change

RJR in response to RZS:
> Do you know if there was a formal procedure as there is when illness
is involved? Rabbinic involvement in the decision/procedure? <
When "Levi" was added in front of Rav Breuer *z'l'*s "Yoseif", the
procedure was quite formal.
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Message: 3
From: Akiva Miller
Date: Sat, 21 Jan 2023 20:36:52 -0500
[Avodah] An Escape Hatch

Most of the makkos affected every single Egyptian. There was no way to
avoid it. In many psukim, Moshe even warns Paro that it will affect "you
AND your servants AND your people" - Shemos 7:28, 8:17, 9:14, 10:6, etc.

Some would point to the first makkah, blood, as an exception, because -
according to the Medrash - water *was* available to the Egyptians, if only
they would buy some from a Jew.

It seems to me that there is an even clearer exception in the Hail. In
pasuk 9:19, Moshe is told to warn the Egyptians that the hail would affect
only what is outdoors; they must bring everything indoors where it will be

This struck me as unusual. What makes this makkah different, that such a
warning -- more than just a warning, he gave advice! -- was given? If
Hashem had chosen to do so, the hail could have come even indoors where the
roof would be of no help. It almost seems like a humanitarian gesture, as
if Hashem were signalling that He's not *totally* anti-Egypt; but if
so, then why only for this one makkah?

Does anyone talk about this aspect of this particular makkah?

(Incidentally, I found 9:20 curious: It seems that this advice (to bring
everything inside) was taken seriously by some of Paro's servants - but not
by any of the people. Apparently, when Moshe warned Paro about the makkos,
that information did not get further than Paro's inner circle.)

Akiva Miller
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Message: 4
From: Micha Berger
Date: Mon, 23 Jan 2023 15:49:08 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Yaakov's pragmatic (not philosophical) reactions

On Wed, Jan 04, 2023 at 05:11:54AM +0200, Joel Rich via Avodah wrote:
> Anyone comment on the parallels of Yaakov's pragmatic (not philosophical)
> reactions in Toldot (27:12) (maybe my father will find me out) and in
> Vayishlach (34:30) (maybe the locals will destroy me/us)?

It could be that he trusted his mother (and the navi she consulted) that
there was a net moral positive to deceiving his father. So, he only had
the fear that it wouldn't work anyway, and the positive outcome wouldn't
happen, only the moral negative of geneivas daas.

OTOH, at the end of his life, he leaves Shimon and Levi with a more
value-driven message about the attacks on Shechem and the sale of
Yoseif. Maybe he suspended judgment on the moral question until he learned
of the sale and realized he was dealing with "kelei chamas mesheiroseihem"
and not holy kana'us.

(R Matis Blum zt"l, Torah LoDaas, wrote something along those lines about
mechiras Yoseif informing Yaaqov's judgement of slaughtering Sechem in
my Bar Mitzvah derashah, which was parashas Pinechas.)

Chodesh Tov!
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

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Message: 5
From: Micha Berger
Date: Mon, 23 Jan 2023 15:19:01 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Women Davening

On Fri, Dec 30, 2022 at 02:18:39AM -0000, Chana Luntz via Avodah wrote:
> RMB writes:
>> The AhS discusses this (OC 89:1-...). Kedarko beqodesh when it's hard to
>> understand where the common practice came from, he tries figuring out whose
>> shitah (or combination of shitos) we must be holding like.

> Bit puzzled why you quote OC89:1 and presumably OC89:2 without referring to
> OC106:5-7.  

>> The AhS holds when the mishnah (Berakhos 3:1, on 17b) says that women are
>> peturos from Shema and Tefillin but are chayavos in Tefillah and Mezuzah, it
>> means only when davening in distress. Not the usual tefillas qavua.
>> Even according to the Rambam (Hil' Tefillah 1:2), the obligation on women
>> daily would not be 3 times a day nor any fixed siddur. Because that
>> derabbanan layer is shehazman gerama.

> Where does the AhS say this?  Rather It seems to me that his conclusion in
> OC 106:7 is as follows: ...

This relates to what you noted earlier, that I focused on OC 89 as RYME's
primary discussion of the topic. But you're right -- his discussion of women
while introducing the chiyuv was more of a tangent.

But look again at 86:1, starting at "lefichach". RYME gives shitas
haRambam and that ends with:
    Therefore, women and slaves are obligated in Tefillah, because it is
    a mitzvas asei SHELO hazman gerama.
    But the chiyuv of this mitzvah is like this: that a person is
    mishchanein umispalel every day, and tells of the praises of HQBH,
    and then asks for all of his needs that he needs to in a baqashah
    in a techinah, and then gives praise and thanks to H' for the Good
    which He was mashpia on him. Each according to their potential
    (koach). Ad kan leshon haRambam.

The chiyuv tefillah that falls on women is freeform, "kol echad lefi

More on this after the next quote, since I gave details I remembered from
learning 106:7, even though I didnt look it up for this post.

>> So, a woman could say a couple of sentences of her own devise, or from a
>> Tehillim or from a Tekhines Buch, and be yotzeit. Say Modeh Ani? Make
>> berakhos? The only real risk of missing their chiyuv to daven or qabbalas ol
>> malkhus Shamayim ("Melekh Chai veQayam...", "... Melekh ha'olam...") is if
>> they say it without qavvanah.

> This is the limud zechus of the Magen Avraham (as further expounded by Rav
> Artscroll)....

I think this is a misunderstanding of the AhS's approach to pesaq.
To RYME, this is not a "limud zekhus".

At times he has limudei zekhus, and he labels them as such.

A lot more often, something else is in play -- he actually holds that
common practice is an indication of what shitah became law. This is why
so many associate his pesaqim with "mimeticism".

Like here (106:7), where he offers "two teirutzim", and makes sure
to repeat them so you see there is an answer whether we hold like the
Rambam or the Levush. He does find the answer for Rashi or Tosafos's
shitah is logically a "dochaq", but "yeish leyasheiv" and "lehaRiv ve
haRambam *asi shapir*.

And so yes, unsurprisingly he reaches the same conclusion in OC 106:7
(in the closing parenthetic) as he already said in 89.

(BTW, speaking of learning 89 and 106... AhS Yomi is currently in OC 651,
with a siyum on OC scheduled for March 7th. Then we skip over shechitah
and tereifos to YD 86 and blood spots in eggs, followed by basar vechalav,

(In any case, shows you how long it's been since I was actively learning
the material under discussion.)

Chodesh Tov!
Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger                 The first step towards getting somewhere is
http://www.aishdas.org/asp   to decide that you are not going
Author: Widen Your Tent      to stay where you are.
- https://amzn.to/2JRxnDF                 - JP Morgan

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Message: 6
From: Micha Berger
Date: Mon, 23 Jan 2023 15:42:55 -0500
Re: [Avodah] why believe at all

On Wed, Dec 28, 2022 at 09:30:15PM +0200, Joel Rich via Avodah wrote:
> Perhaps the best we can hope for is weight of evidence, but if we hang our
> hopes on the incredible wisdom of Torah proof, we should be aware that
> there are others selling other incredible wisdom as well. I wish I had a
> better answer, but this is a subset of the "why believe at all" issue. I
> often think about Rav Lichtenstein's piece on the source of faith being
> faith itself...

I find a different source more convincing. The experience of observance
lends credibility to the Torah -- Tanakh, TSBP, everything it took to
get the halakhah I observe and the Torah I learn.

The way learning a halakhah in yerushah can explain something in hilkhos
Pesach's bal yeira'eh ubal yeimatzei.

Or the experience of a Shabbos.

By which I don't mean that this is an aesthetic judgment, a matter
of taste.

When mathemeticians find a proof "elegant" or "beautiful", more often
than not that agree. There is an aesthetic judgement being made, yes, but
before that there is the experience itself. The subject of the judgement.

The fact that one idea can explain something a human author clearly
didn't have in mind when framing it so often and so elegantly... These
are properties we expect from Truth.

The power of halakhah to address this Man's Search for Meaning... I mean,
who would have thought that avoiding a list of 39 activities with some
rigorous and sometimes non-intuitive defining features would be more
effective of a "day of rest" than resting the way I would have chosen
had I not inherited halakhah?

No, that's not a proof. But it's at least as strong of an argument as
any other I base my life on.

(I think ever since Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, philosophers in
general have veered away from believing this kind of thing even can
be proven. In parallel to the trends in the general population RJR
writes about.

What can we do for others?

Before I answer that, my own belief isn't dependent on what I can show
others. Even if I couldn't show anyone else that the sky on a clear day
is blue, I still believe it is blue. Not because I could start with first
principles and the math of Raleigh Scattering... I don't prove it. But
because I've seen too many clear days to question my own experience.

And if I were to some day hear that others usually see a green sky, would
I start by assuming it was wrong? Or would I demand a burden of proof that
the report is correct, and that it isn't the others who see things weird?

"Why believe?" and "How can others be brought to belief?" are distinctly
different questions.

And now on to that second question... All we can do is share Shabbos,
teach Torah, show them kashrus, hilkhos tzedaqah, dalet minim, kibbud eim,
and all the rest, and pray they experience them as we do.

And if they do, we wouldn't have proven Yahadus to them, but we would have
given them as much reason to base life choices on it as anything else.

Chodesh Tov!
Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger                 Life isn't about finding yourself.
http://www.aishdas.org/asp   Life is about creating yourself.
Author: Widen Your Tent               - George Bernard Shaw
- https://amzn.to/2JRxnDF

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Message: 7
From: Micha Berger
Date: Mon, 23 Jan 2023 15:58:00 -0500
Re: [Avodah] RLakish & RElozor - Is less than honest thinking

On Wed, Dec 28, 2022 at 11:17:52AM +1100, Rabbi Meir G. Rabi via Avodah wrote:
> Reb Micha also wrote that
>> The whole reason why someone who never did
>> shimush is an am haaretz or a bur is because real pesaq ALWAYS needs a
>> feel, and not just expertise.

> I think the Maharal has a different approach -- see Nesiv HaTorah end ch 15
> where he explains that blindly following the Pesak of great TCh is contrary
> to the purpose of the Torah and Creation...

We discussed this ad nauseum in the past, and you didn't convince me then,

He talks about not blindly following a pesaq, but his contrast is with
understanding the pesaq first. His objection is with the blindness, not
the following. This is why it's in the same discussion in the Maharal
as his low opinion of codification.

> I believe we may have discussed this earlier regarding R Ch Voloshiner's
> explanation [PAvos Ch 1] of becoming covered in the dust of the feet of
> one's teachers, which he interprets to mean WRESTLE with your teachers,
> RAISE THE DUST or have a 'dust up' with them [as we see the Torah describe
> YaAkov's fight VaYeOVek Ish Imo] if you have Qs about their ruling.

Which is also about understanding and challenging. RCV in particular is
more focused on about talmud Torah than pesaq.

In any case, here we do not know how much RL favored the conclusion he
reached over the alternative. If both made sense to him, but he thought
that one position was a bit more intuitive, it would also make sense to
trust his rebbe's shiqul hadaas over his own.

And the text here needn't even say that! He could have simply meant that
he would have double- and triple-checked his work had he known that the
rebbe he learned from reached a different conclusion.

BTW, this is an interesting codicil to R Yochanan's lament over losing
his talmid-chaver-sparring partner, and being left with yes-men talmidim.

I had far more notes to reply to this, but by the time I found a chance
to actually write tham up as a reply, Rt Chana Sassoon provided a response
that I prefered to my own thoughts.

Chodesh Tov!
Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger                 "As long as the candle is still burning,
http://www.aishdas.org/asp   it is still possible to accomplish and to
Author: Widen Your Tent      mend."
- https://amzn.to/2JRxnDF        - Anonymous shoemaker to R' Yisrael Salanter


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