Sunday 28 February 2010

Rabbinic Authority - Old Avodah Post

The Bes Din Hagadol (BDG) is derived form the shi'vim hazkeinim. The Bes Din in the Lishka was vested with the authority of Torah She'bal Peh
(See Rambam's Yad Hil. Mamrim 1:1)

The name Sanhedrin is a later (Greek) term for an older institution.

The Anshei Knesses Hagdola (AKG) is referred to at times as Ezra uveis Dino. I don't assume that Ezra was necessarily a contemporary of Shimon Hatzaddik any more than I assume Derek Jeter is a contemporary of Babe Ruth because he (plays) [played] in the House that Ruth Built. Ezra INSTITUTED this Bes Din, it survived as AKG for several generations. Ezra got the proverbial ball rolling.

Why Ezra?

Well he started Bayis Sheini. Therefore a Bes Din Hagadol in the lishka has to get off the ground somehow. Ezra probably appointed all 70.
But - the Anshei Knesses hagedola were 120! I dunno how that worked
exactly. After the first 70, there was {probably} turnover that included
50 successors. At some point there must have been a BDG w/o AKG, because
Shimon HaTzazddik was one of the last (circa 325 BCE when Alexander the
Great came to Yerushalyaim). Yet BDG continued.


re: the Greek term Sanhedrin, {like the term Senate and perhaps even
Soviet}, it is a term for a council that has authority. It is likely
that the Sanhedrin in the lishka was a HOLY Sanehedrin and that there were civil or secular "Sanhedrins" in parallel. (source: Professor Reiner at BRGS)

Personal Note:
Professor Rabbi Reiner is B"H alive and well and his granddaughter is engaged to our neighbor. I recently had a reunion at the engagement party.


Rich Wolpoe

Saturday 27 February 2010

Purim V

Originally published 2/27/10, 9:51 pm.
Kol ho'omer davar b'sheim omro meivi g'ulah l'olam Avot 6:6

I always wondered how that could work?
How does citing the proper source bring g'ula?

Shloymie: Rabbi Wolpoe - with all due respect. [WADR] you overlook the obvious

RRW: How so?

Shloymie: L'mashal - if Rambam says to behave a certain way, or to observe a certain dynamic, or to think along certain lines - we have to follow the Rambam.

RRW: So?

Shloymie: BUT if we can say b'sheim omro that the source is Aristotle we are freed from obeying! Since who is Aristotle to tell us how to think or behave?


Shloymie: This rescue from his strictures is a form of g'ulah

RRW: Any more?

Shloymie: You surprise me! L'mashal say R Yisroel Salanter minted thirteen middos of behaviour to emulate on a rotating basis.

RRW: Go on.

Shloymie: But if we were to l'mashal find out that those same middos were penned 100 years earlier by Benjamin Franklin in his Autobiography - it would change everything! Once we would know the sheim om'ro, we are no longer m'chuyyav to observe these middos - because they have an alien basis.

RRW: I see! So b'sheim Om'ro brings g'ulah by ad hominem attacking the source and side-stepping the wisdom or advice beig offered!.

Shloymie: Exactly! Now you got it Rabbi! V'nahaphoch Hu!

Freilichen Purim,

Friday 26 February 2010

Purim IV

Originally published 2/26/10, 5:20 pm.
It seems Hazal claim that Achashveirosh [XERXES] was a tippesh -  stupid.
I think - v'nahapoch Hu
In the first half of the Megillah the Jews suffer.
In the second half Haman and his allies suffer.
But all the while Achashveirosh is partying along having a merry ol time - and always running with the front-runner. This reminds me of Italy during WWI and WWII, always joining the side that's winning.
 Doesn't sound so stupid now, does it?
Have your own v'nahapoch hu this Purim.


If M'gillah is Talmud Torah...

I've seen several articles praising Q'riat Me'gillah as a form of public Talmud Torah.

If so - im kein - how do we understand
"M'vatlin Talmud Torah liqriat hamgilah?"

Frelichen Purim

Purim III

Originally published 2/26/10, 11:30 am.
New Humra: Olympic Glatt.

Traditionally Kosher Meat has been classified into a stratified hierarchy

  • Kosher
  • Glatt Kosher
  • Beth Joseph Glatt Kosher.

And now, in honour of the Vancouver Winter Olympics we introduce to the Podium:

  • "Olympic Glatt Kosher"

When inspecting the lungs the new procedure will be performed by an Olympic ice skater who will verify the smoothness of the lung by SKATING on it.
There is already a Machloqet as to how this is done

A. Rabbi Oh! No! says:
Use a Speed Skater.

B. Rabbi Lutz Says
Use a Figure Skater - should figure 8 out.

R Langenbrunner says
A Hockey Player should CHECK the lungs.

Within "A" some say
Short Track [kitzur b'diqah]
Others are mattir ANY Speed skater
Others mattir ANY Olympic Skater
Wome say women's figure skaters are not allowed because of mar'it ayin - no staring at their costumes.

Any lung smooth enough for ice skating will be deemed Olympic Glatt. Rejects will be tested for lesser forms of smoothness and sent DOWNHILL to lesser forms of Kosher before being disqualified.

Freilichen Purim,

Thursday 25 February 2010

Purim II

Originally published 2/25/10, 6:18 PM.
We are now observing Parshat Zachor in Yeshivat Machmirim min Hamachmirim.

Here is the description as transcribed by the Press Corps covering the Olympic Laining Tryouts...

In a 3.5 hour long ritual, Parshat Zachor will be read sufficient times so as to cover all the Halachic bases - a kind of Spring Training for Baaeli Q'riah.

First - the entire Zachor must be read in full twice - once with Zecher and once with Zeicher
Second - every halachic permutation for the proper Torah and Masoretic text must be accommodated. 

What good is Zachor with Zecher if the sefer is not correct!? Thus Ashkenazic scrolls, Rambam Scrolls, Chabad Scrolls, Mitnagged scrolls etc. must be supplied using every version of Sta"m Ashurit EG Beth Yosef and Arizal etc.

Third - every communal pronunciation must also be accounted for

  • Teimani
  • Moroccan
  • Syrian
  • Yekke
  • Spanish-Portuguese
  • Litvisher
  • Hungarian
  • Polish
  • Galician
  • Romanian
  • Modern Israeli
  • Etc.

Must also be lained in conjunction with all of the above.

The Ritual takes about 3.5 hours to read the 3 verses enough times to satisfy everyone. The amount of otyot read accumulates to 75,000 which matches the death toll in Persia on the 13th of Adar.

After the marathon laining is over, everyone is too tired to eat so a cup of wine is consumed for kiddush, and then the community then takes its Shabbat nap, giving this yeshiva of machmirim a head start on ad d'lo yada before the rest of the world rests.

Freilichen Purim,

Mishlo'ach Manot and Community Building

There is a growing tendency for people to send cards reflecting a donation to some charitable institution -- not even necessarily for matanot l'evyonim -- in lieu of giving mishlo'ach manot. This, to me, somewhat misses the point. Not to say that tzedakah is not a significant mitzvah but Torah is far from monolithic and each mitzvah has its own significance. There is a reason behind mishlo'ach manot and its significance may be becoming lost.

I wrote more on this in my latest Tribune article at

Rabbi Ben Hecht

Purim I

Originally published 2/25/10, 9:22 AM.
So if the Book of Esther is about Esther
And the Book of Ruth is about Ruth
Is the Book of Tanya about a woman named Tanya?
Freilichen Purim

Monday 22 February 2010

The case of the "Halachic Martinet"

Being overly fastidious by - EG literally sticking to text over menschlichkeit - can lead to undesired results.

Martinet - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Din/Halachah/Minhag/Humra. For the term "Etiquette" Below and see how this works

• In an extended sense, a martinet is any person for whom a strict adherence to rules and etiquette is paramount: martinets often use "etiquette" and other rules as an excuse to trump ethics, to the point that etiquette loses its ethical ground.

[EG] The Ugandan dictator Idi Amin was famously described as a "strutting martinet" by Time in 1977.[1]

Perhaps the term "chosid shoteh" may be an apt parallel term to the Halachic Martinet. In any event, let's not get so carried away with the technical aspects so as to sacrifice ethics, morals, or "menschlichkeit". The recent scandals in "frum" communities has taught us to know better than to head down that path.


Sunday 21 February 2010

The Rambam as seen by Rationalists, Hassidim, and Via his own Words

I'm not delving into any of the complexities here rather the basic POV, Hashqafah, or Weltanschauung when approaching the Rambam.

Do we bring in our agenda or see his writings as they are?

Arch Rationalists view the Rambam as perfectly logical and therefore - in their opinion - as antithetical to mysticism. To them the Rambam is like a Medieval "Bertrand Russell", who sees a merely mechanical mathematical world devoid of spirituality. His law is mechanical, and his philosophy is Aristotelian.

Evangelical Hassidim tend to see the open practice and preaching of "kabbalah" to the masses as certainly being consistent with the Arizal and feel somehow that the Rambam would go along with the program. After all Rambam discusses Angels and that knowledge of Hashem [gnosticism] is the highest ideal...

Via his own words
Centrists would acknowledge that the Rambam did have his feet on the ground. But they also take note of him having his head in the sky, too.

EG A careful read of Yesodei Hatorah will reveal a simple Maimonidean view of mysticism. Yet Rambam tips his hand that this is really a highly sophisticated subject when in 2:11 he points out that his simplistic structure are merely drops in the ocean. It is possible that Rambam knew this on faith but was not intimately familiar with the more sophisticated elements of Maaseh Merqavah. Possible, but unlikely. How deep the Rambam's knowledge was in these areas is far beyond my ability to judge, but it is a given that it was a profound level.

Furthermore, as above, the Rambam DOES preach that knowledge of Hashem [gnosticism] is the highest ideal, but he insists it is a private, intimate, and esoteric affair. Not only is this HIS judgment, rather Rambam quotes this as a Mitzvah of Hazal to teach this privately and only the "roshei p'raqim".

Whether the Rambam is your paradigm role model or not is irrelevant. The point of this post is to map the territory AS IT IS and to minimize - as much as humanly possible - any super-imposing of belief systems or prejudices upon the Rambam's own statements

I will BEH be embarking on a series on "Mapping the Territory".


Seeing Policies Everywhere 17

In Shulchan Aruch Orach Hayyim 440:2 we are told that for any Hametz that we are NOT obligated to destroy, - we should [still] construct a M'hitzah 10 t'fachim high lest we forget and come to eat it.

The Be'er Hagolah 5 attributes this advice to a Meimra of Rav.

Questions for contemplation:

A. Had this SAME harchaqah been issued by a Rishon such as Rashi or Rambam or Tosafot, would we perceive it any differently?

B. Or what if an Acharon such as the M'chabeir or the Rema or the Mishnah Brurah had been the first to issue this ruling - would it really matter?

Finally, what if we figured this out on our own? Would this have been an over-the-top humra, or just plain common sense?


Saturday 20 February 2010

Rugged Individualism: The Ups and Downs

Preface see
WikiAnswers - What is Rugged Individualism

«"Rugged Individualism" refers back to a speech made by Republican president Herbert Hoover in 1928 as his closing speech. It refers to a belief that individuals can succeed with minimal governmental aide. It is generally considered a belief of the Republican party in the 1920's.»

In Judaism the Defiant Individualist can be the hero, the role model the protagonist

On a Jewish Blog:

«Noah, Abraham, Moses, Caleb and Joshua all defied the consensus current in culture. God seems to have said said,"do what is allowed, don't follow the crowd."»

OTOH the Defiant Individual who questions leadership may fall into the role of others.

Think of Defiant Individualists such as
Zadoq and Boethus
Elisha ben Avuya
Anan Ben David
Shabtai Zvi
Abraham Geiger

Defiance can be used to stand up for Hashem against a corrupt society

And Defiance can be abused by licensing individuals to stand up to Torah Leaders to pursue a non-Torah agenda in Hashem's name


Friday 19 February 2010

Low Volume Hazzanim Need Not Apply

See Ben Ish Chay Trumah Year 1:1

A Qahal that appoints a low-volume Sha"tz has "hatat haqahal t'luyah b'tzavaram"
Because his voice will not carry past "arba amot"

Something to ponder in larger Minyanim when those in the back cannot hear the sha"tz clearly and there might not be room in the front

And even in smaller minyanim, the listeners have a right to hear the hazarat hasha"tz
And to respond amein, etc.


Thursday 18 February 2010

Seeing Policies Everywhere 16

I recently post this on the Avodah List

Here are some related concepts

A Halachah v'ein morin kein
B Shimush vs. Text
C The language of Halacha
D Da'as teireh
E Meta-Halachah

It just seems obvious to me that rabbinic Judaism does not always strictly conform to textual standards and that meta considerations take over at times

A Not intermarrying
B Not running coffeemaker on timer on Shabbos
C Kashrus agencies certifying defensively to avoid certain gray areas
D Not using dishwashers for both dairy and meat simultaneously

To someone in the field and seeing both texts and real-life mimetics all are hashkafically obvious EVEN when the letter of the law might be different.

Relying on the letter of the law is helpful at times and often necessary "bishat had'chaq" or "b'diavad". We need to allow for accidents, extreme urgencies, we need flexibility

As policies, such minimalism will IMHO undermine simple piety and z'hirut. It's a bad plan at the outset to look for loopholes

Loopholes are OK AFTER the fact [post facto]

Q'doshim Tihyu


Attitude of Gratitude - 1 Development

Developing an Attitude of Gratitude should be a "Piece of Cake" for an Observant Jew. After all, we wake up declaring: "Modeh ani l'fanecha!"

Thanksgiving is central to our prayers and our holidays. Our life-cycle events recycle this theme again and again. Saying "modim anachnu lach" at a minyan is up there with answering Bar'chu and "Y'ehei shmeih rabba"

But even a very good Jew can often use a "booster shot" in raising one's awareness, in raising one's consciousness.
The regular daily dose does meet the "minimum Daily Requirement", but sometimes we want to achieve "spiritual excellence" [kudos to R Yaakov Feldman] and minimums leave us in stagnant mediocrity unless we grow past it.

Nu - so how do we administer such a booster shot?

I'm glad you asked!

Some Tehillim have Gratitude\Thanksgiving as a theme
Hallel - 113-118 [esp. 118]
Hallel haGadol -136

To name a few

One may bookmark these and recite them as constant reminders.

How about some Brachot in Davening?

Besides the Modeh Ani - which was adapted from EloKai! N'shamah

There are other classics -

First Daily:
Elokay! N'shamah itself
Gomeil Hassadim Tovim
Modim d'Rabbanan
Nodeh L'cha
in Bentsching

Nishmat kol Chay [an expanded intro to Yishtabach]
Birchat Gomeil
[end of Hallel]

When you are obligated to say them, say them with extra kavvanah

When you are not obligated, one may merely contemplate upon one or more as a spiritual exercise.
EG take Elokay! N'shamah and read it later in the day w/o using the Sheim and Contemplate its theme.


Thursday 11 February 2010

Comparison: Aruch haShulchan vs. Mishnah Brurah

Litvisher Rabbonim and posqim like AhS because he taught one how to analyze a sugya and how to pasqen

Roshei Yeshiva liked MB better for yeshiva-leit - aiui because of the author's Mussar orientation.

Anyway it's like Rashi and Tosafot, IMHO you really need multiple approaches to see issues from varying perspectives.

And Ideally I would add the Kaf haChayyim to the mix and have a virtual Beth Din


I'm not such a big fan of s'farim that bring down the bottom line pisqei MB. The sefer's essential maaleh TO ME is what he says, and not so much how he pasqens on a given issue. And if one strips the context one loses the essence.

IOW, to me the MB's bottom line is not quite that important as is his lessons.


Shloymie: so whose bottom line IS important?

RRW: Good point! I'm not sure but I do like R Mordechai Eliyahu's approach of 5 authors VIZ.

R Y Karo
Ben Ish Chay
Kaf Hachayyim
SA Harav [via misgeret Hashulchan]

If I would add on - I would have also included. AhS and R Moshe Feinstein.


Talmud and Tosafot; Ambiugity and Complexity

A member of Avodah has posted:

«I often prefer non-Ashkenazi rulings, for all these reasons. I
remember studying one sugya, I forget about what, in which another sugya in the Gemara seemed to explicitly contradict it, saying the exact opposite. Tosafot offered several very elaborate oqimtot, but
the Rif simply pasqened by one of the two sugyot and ignored the other. The Ra'avad, commenting on the Rif, made a very tiny change in
girsa to the second sugya, making it agree with the first sugya that the Rif pasqened as halakhah. I very very very much preferred the Rif/Ra'avad solution to the Tosafot one; the Rif's solution resulted in one single very simple straightforward halakhah, while Tosafot's resulted in several elaborate and confusing oqimtot without a clear
bottom-line halakhah

Also in the sense of Occam's Razor from same poster:

«What I meant was, that I prefer the explanation of the Talmud, Rambam,
Shulhan Arukh, etc., that is the simplest, that explains the most number of laws and principles with the least amount of explanation or peratim. The more kelalim that can explain the greatest number of authoritative sources in the simplest way, this I will prefer.»

This is a common theme and one that had me confused until I was enlightened by Professor Irving Agus - more on that later.

The poster has made several pre-supposition.

1. The Bavli is the [primary] source for Halachah

2 The straightest read is the superior read [as per Sir Ockham]

3 The Talmud's read is usually the "straightforward" read.

4 Ambiguity is inferior to a single-minded read.

BEH we will elaborate on each pre-supposition [or premise] one by one


Wednesday 10 February 2010

Megillah - Why don't we say "Asher Heini" by day?

The Minhag as described by
Rema Orach Hayyin 692:1
is to say "Asher Heini" at night but not by Day

The reason given by Mishnah Brurah 7 and Ba'eir Hetev 3 in the name of the L'vush is because we have already said Piyyutim!

Now most congregations no longer say piyyutim. Wouldn't skipping "Asher Heini" during the day be the result of a "perfect mis-understanding"? IOW given the reason for skipping is no longer applicable shouldn't "Asher Heini" be restored to the day time?


Tuesday 9 February 2010

Just How Silent is T'fillah b'Lachash?

The Sh'moneh Esrai - or Amidah - is set up to be a T'fillah b'Lachash, a "silent meditation". The paradigm is taken from Hannah in Sefer Sh'muel I 1 - where her lips move w/o being audible. This most successful and heartfelt prayer was chosen by Hazal for emulation - particularly in the Amidah.

That the Amidah is primarily silent - seems to go without saying. Though - the truth be told - that some customs suggest raising one's voice a bit during the Yamim Nora'im and there have been rabbis who have davened quite audibly.

The Shulchan Aruch 101:2 suggests that the volume be loud enough so that one can hear one's own articulation with one's own ears, but NOT so loud as to disturb others.

The Ben Ish Chai in Parshsat Mishpatim disputes even this level and suggests total silence, with lips moving w/o any sound at all.


Here is how I see this dispute:

A The SA seems to take a Halachic approach that Amidah is prayer. Prayer requires articulation. Even Hannah moved her lips, suggesting after all that there was some minimal volume

B Ben Ish Chai is apparently following a more Qabbalistic approach. Those familiar with R Aryeh Kaplan's understanding of Amidah as the core to "Jewish Meditation" will readily see that total silence is "more meditation-like and less prayer-like". And in that case, an atmosphere of total silence would be preferable.

At any rate, proper decorum in shul during the Amidah is a MUST in order to create the proper atmosphere.


When is "muttar" l'chatchila? And when is it b'di'avad?

See Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Dei'ah 69:4

The SA ends with "Muttar"

How does the SA mean this?

Does the SA Mean
It is l'chatchila Muttar to salt only one side of a piece of meat?


Does the SA Mean
B'di'avad it's Muttar to use a piece of meat that has been salted on only one side?

The key here is the position or juxtaposition of the term M"uttar"


Monday 8 February 2010

Seeing Policies Everywhere 15

See Rema Yoreh Dei'ah 68:11 that even though we do NOT construe a kli sheini as m'vashel, nevertheless l'chatchila we do not singe off the hair [IOW we don't do m'liggah] in a kli sheini
Until the blood has been properly removed.

Exceptions are made for the sake of Guests or for Shabbat.

If this were absolute Halachah - such exceptions could be problematic.


Thursday 4 February 2010

The Halachic Slippery Slope

We yeshivishe trained rabbis and lamdanim can usually easily recognize a non-Orthodox T'shuva as having some kind of "Lefty" Agenda that has little to do with classic Halachic discourse.

Maybe you'll see an opinion such as
«It is better to not get married than to have a wedding that breaks a perfectly functional glass because "bal tashchit" is far worse than living without benefit of Qiddushin or K'tubah

When you see these kinds of T'shuvot, you know you have left the Frum reservation and have entered Left Out Field. Way out

But unfortunately, the Orthodox, the Observant, the Traditional, the Frum, etc. are not immune from this revisionist bug.

I'm not going to supply specifics, rather let's just say that I subscribe to a trickle-down model. And when we O's play smaller games, non-O's may play bigger ones and use slippery-slope arguments.

Now there is nothing we can do about the Halachic Literature that existed before the Jewish Reformation. We have to accept that as grandfathered in

However, in the vein of Hachamim Hizaharu b'divreichem, we should be careful to play within the accepted bounds of Halachic discourse whenever possible.

Exceptions may be made for "et laasot Lashem" but otherwise I advocate for a more "objective system".

«Won't you be putting posqim into a "strait jacket"? We might as well use a Bar-Ilan CD and an algorithm to produce Halachah

I'm not trying to make p'saq so formulaic that it can be computerized.

I'm just trying to see if we can set up a set of standards and conformities that will make various responsa have a similar look and feel, to respect similar authorities etc.


Seeing Policies Everywhere 14

I have been involved with debating some very touchy subjects re: the stated and unstated policies of various Kashrut Agencies and Administrators

In defense of some gray areas, I have raised some arguments that tended to support the agencies positions.

It seems several cyberspace colleagues have hostile positions towards those same agencies and therefore "went into a tizzie" re: my posts

They demanded that my arguments be compelling - rather than merely supportive. IOW it was not enough for them to see that sources tended to support those policies, rather the policies must flow strictly from sources that would dictate these positions. IOW Kashrut Agencies should have zero latitude to make a judgment call, nor should Rich Wolpoe support them unless there is no defensible alternative!

I really wonder how many individuals or institutions in Jewish life take such an absolute minimalist position. Does every Rabbi have to stick to the very LEAST required by Talmud or Shulchan Aruch?

I have suggested that the minimalists - assuming they are sincere - direct their energies to creating their own kashrut agency that will conform to their feelings and afford them the least restrictive policies on any given matter! After all in North America we have the freedom to start a new private enterprise and to give it a "charge" to follow the dictates of its owners or directors.

If Kashrut Agencies have indeed been over-stepping their bounds, then the marketplace will make these new and improved changes most welcome! And that would put pressure on existing agencies to re-think their positions.

OTOH, if the marketplace rejects such revisions, then railing against the agencies for having "good business sense" is simply futile and ultimately counter-productive.


Seeing Policies Everywhere 13

My Havruta and I were learning Hilchot Shabbat in Zichru Torat Moshe [ZTM] and Q'hilat Yom Tov [QYT]

In siman 52 on Miqach v'mimkar the QYT 1 states - and we do not do Qiddushin on Shabbat

Then comes policy
There is a famous t'shuva of Rema [number not available now] about an extraordinary case when the Rema made an exception.

Several criteria were elaborated to provide that exception.

The final line
"P'shita" that we should be cautious at the outset to avoid this situation - quoting Hayei Adam [same author as ZTM]

AFAIK, the Rema himself prohibited weddings on erev Shabbat and YT

And now we can summarize

No Qiddushin on Shabbat

• Policy: No Weddings before Shabbat or YT lest it extend into Shabbat

IR A harchaqah as a result of an incident - a maaseh shehayah.


Wednesday 3 February 2010

The Chinese Calendar

Originally published 2/3/10, 4:25 pm.
Although Beth Hillel and Beth Shammai dispute the New Years of trees - there is no disputing that Beth Sini has a calendar very much like our Hebrew Lu'ach.
Are the Chinese really one of the Ten Lost Tribes? Come to think of it, both Yerushalyim and China are well-known for their walls.
Read this Wikipedia Article on the Chinese calendar and see how many parallels you can find in regards to our own calendary.

Gung Hay Fa Choy,
Gong Tzi Fa Tsai,

Seeing Policies Everywhere 12

Re: Niqqur [trabering or porging]

Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Dei'ah 65:13

If a m'naqqer left and we do not know if he is an expert in Niqqur, and there is no expert around - it's muttar.

And [but] if it's possible to show it to an expert we do NOT rely on the m'naqqer.

To paraphrase Ronald Reagan: "Verify Verify Verify"

Relying on assumptions - as per Rema - is an option absent any other process of verification

This in Talmudic parlance is akin to
"Rubba d'leita kamman." A Majority not in front of us [aiui - in order to verify]

But when verification is possible/feasible -it's simply not policy to rely upon anything less.



Tuesday 2 February 2010

Seeing Policies Everywhere 11

See Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Dei'ah 64 re: Hilchot Heilev - as in unkosher fat.
See especially Halachot 16-19
Also Rema 21 about the tabbach doing Niqqur before the sale.

• How much is really Halachah mei'iqqar hadin?

• How much is policy?


Monday 1 February 2010

Seeing Policies Everywhere 10

Re: hag'alat keilim

Sources Rema O"Ch 452:2
Ba'er Heitev 14
[NB: citation from Shach from YD 95]
MB 20
Sha'ar HaTziyyun 23, 24

The Rema recommends "nahagu" never kashering an unkosher Ben Yomo
Pot? Why in case the water is less than 60 times that pot, it's a problem

This concern does not seem to be Talmudic. Nevertheless the Mishnah Brurah does treat this concern as a "gzeira" lest one mag'i'll a vessel in less than 1/60. A classic g'zeira formulation.

So mei'iqqar hadin as long as one has enough volume of water to make 60 times the problematic pot, it's OK to do hag'alah l'chatchilah.

However, the Rema presents us with a policy to not exploit this and to wait a day - at least l'chat'chila.


More on the Qabbalah of Mithnagdim

Yesterday I attended the YU-SOY book sale on Alumni Day. One of my goals was to purchase R Hayyim Volozhiner's work on Avoth titled "Ruach Hayyim"

In usual cosmic irony the computer had it located in the Mussar-Qabbalah section, but it was only to be found in the Mishnayoth section. Go Figure! ;-)

Anyway its haqdamah outlines the proper Mithnagduth approach to Qabbalah

My translation:
Though many of Rabbeinu's words are founded upon the Zohar and the writings of the Arizal
[Nevertheless] He would not preach the esoteric in public, [Rather] the words in "Ruach Hayyim" are explained in an idiom fit for all, and many of them [serve] as an introduction to the work "Nefesh haHayyim"

As we see again:
Mithnagdim DO Qabbalah,
And they do it ONLY as Nistar in private and not in public.

IMHO this is the proper balance in handling the esoteric, the Centrist approach. IE The "Arba nichnas l'fardes" approach; The Maimonidean approach to teaching Maaseh Breishith and Maaseh Merkavah.