Volume 39 Number 45
                 Produced: Fri May 23  6:03:21 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Can we say Rav Kook was wrong?
         [Binyomin Segal]
Candles While Travelling
         [Akiva Miller]
Modern Orthodoxy Definition (Chumras)
         [Binyomin Segal]
Paralysis in Halakha
         [Gil Student]
R. Kook and animal sacrifices
         [Shalom Carmy]
Rav Kook on sacrifices
         [Joshua Hoffman]
         [Joel Rich]


From: Binyomin Segal <bsegal@...>
Date: Wed, 21 May 2003 18:45:50 -0500
Subject: Re: Can we say Rav Kook was wrong?

Russell J Hendel asks:
> Rav Kook of course was a highly respected figure. So I guess this brings
> up the issue of whether we (laymen) are allowed to say that "he was
> wrong in stating that there will be no animal sacrifices in the time of
> the messiah". After all the daily sacrifices consist of sheep and they
> will be offered (in fact we pray for their restoration every day).

I think there are a few points to bring up.

First, I think it is obvious that we have a right to disagree with
someone. Of course, if it is a halachik ruling, we may, under certain
situations be obligated to follow their ruling anyway. But within the
bais medrash we can disagree. (Aside: This in fact relates to a comment
I made about intellectual rigor in the chareidi camp. I can be quite a
"mouth", and I discovered that in yeshiva, within the bais medrash, you
could disagree with anyone - even the rosh yeshiva - as long as you
spoke respectfully. And indeed your position would be considered and
evaluated on its merits.)

Next, there is clearly a difference between halacha and aggada. As a
general rule, we do not choose between differing opinions unless there
is a practical difference in terms of what we are required to do. That
means that if there is any opinion in Talmud which supports his
approach, he is justified in taking this approach. The Rambam you
mention is a good example. While I don't want to argue about the
Rambam's actual position, it seems clear that he felt one could posit
that sacrifices would not return and not be called a heretic (since he
does this in Moreh).

The real question is not whether we have a "right" to an opinion, but
rather whether our opinion is of any value. We can disagree with our
doctor. Some of us know enough about medicine so that our opinion is
valuable, some of us don't. The same is true in Torah and indeed in any
area of scholarship.

In general I would think that when we are talking about respected
scholars of any sort, the more obvious the question, the less confidence
one should have in the question. It seems unlikely that Rav Kook was not
aware of the question that Russel raises. He said the same shmoneh esrai
(and indeed wrote a commentary on it). If we respect his scholarship, we
must assume that he had an approach to deal with these criticisms. So a
more tentative approach would be respectful - something along the lines
of "I don't understand what he meant" or "I don't understand how he
could say this in light of xyz." On the other hand, if some evidence
comes to light that we know that scholar did not have, that is an
entirely different ball of wax. For example, I recall from my yeshiva
days a certain rishon (whose name escapes me) that had written about
talmudic topics even though he had only a rif and no actual
talmud. There were times when we relatively quickly concluded "he made a
mistake because he did not see the actual text."

As a final note, I will mention an experience of my own. In yeshiva, I
often heard shiurim in gemara that went more or less like this. Rav
Akiva Eiger asks the following question "x", and has no answer. There is
a possible answer to this question, "y". Then the shiur would be a
lengthy demonstration of why y did indeed NOT answer x and Rav Akiva
Eiger's question was still valid. After some years, I was in the shiur
of Rav Kilefsky z"l. I recall one time when he mentioned a question of
Rav Akiva Eiger, and then proceeded to answer it. And was satisfied with
the answer. I challenged him about this, "but Rav Akiva Eiger had no
answer." He was entirely unimpressed. His response was very simple.
"Rav Akiva Eiger asked a question, I gave an answer."



From: <kennethgmiller@...> (Akiva Miller)
Date: Thu, 22 May 2003 08:08:38 -0400
Subject: Re: Candles While Travelling

Regarding electric Shabbos candles, Gil Student wrote in MJ 39:41, <<<
However, the lightbulb must be incandescent and the glass must be
completely see-through. >>>

The Shmiras Shabbos K'Hilchasa 61:32 says that a frosted glass or a
fluorescent bulb may not be used for *Havdalah* (and that an
incandescent bulb with clear glass is the subject of dispute). My
understanding is that this is because for havdalah, one needs to see the
*fire* itself, not merely the light from it.

But for Shabbos candles, I've never heard of this requirement. Any kind
of illumination ought to be enough. It could be that other authorities
put these requirements on the Shabbos candles as well, but I suspect
that the Shmiras Shabbos K'Hilchasa does not, or he would have mentioned
it in both places (i.e., section 43:4) instead of just the one.

Akiva Miller


From: Binyomin Segal <bsegal@...>
Date: Wed, 21 May 2003 13:26:43 -0500
Subject: Re:  Modern Orthodoxy Definition (Chumras)

In a recent post, I may have been a bit less than clear.
>> The second point that Allen makes requires more complex analysis. As
>> Rabbi A Cohen points out in his recently discussed article, reliance on
>> daas torah in general suggests the very opposite world view as is here
>> attributed to the chareidi community. That is while the daas torah
>> philosophy attributed to the chareidi world suggests "even on the right
>> if it is left", Allen here is attributing the very opposite approach to
>> the chareidi world.

Allen requested clarification. And indeed, it is a bit vague.

In Rabbi Cohen's recent article about Daas Torah, he discusses what
occurs in a situation where a "daas torah" makes an error. (p92-99,
section entitled "Mistakes") In this section he posits that reliance on
a "daas torah" requires adherence to the principle of of "non-
objective" truth in halahcha. That is, "daas torah" as a principle
relies on the fact that there is no objective halachik answer, but
rather a process.

Further, and I may have read too much into the article, but I see an
implication that it is this reliance on a non-objective truth that makes
some people less willing to rely on "daas torah". That is, chareidim are
comfortable with this non-objective process and so rely on daas torah,
MO are not comfortable with it and so are less comfortable with daas
torah. So to restate my question:

Allen suggests that the chareidi impetus for chumrot of a certain kind
is based on their approach to an objective truth in halacha. Rabbi Cohen
suggests that their reliance on "daas torah" is based on their reliance
on a non-objective or process bound truth in halacha. (And of course the
same conflicting conclusions can be stated about MO.)

BTW, I did not mean to imply by this that Allen is wrong. Merely
pointing out the apparent? contradiction in hope of getting deeper
analysis and insight. I hope that clarifies.  Any comments?



From: Gil Student <gil_student@...>
Date: Wed, 21 May 2003 11:36:23 -0400
Subject: Paralysis in Halakha

Since Stan Tenen brought up the article by Prof. Sperber (Tradition,
Fall 2002) that I recently read, I'll use this as an opportunity to
let out some of the steam that has built up inside me.

Prof. Sperber suggests that the beginning of the end of creativity in
halachah was the Chasam Sofer, who argued that anything new is
forbidden. I know that Prof. Sperber understands the context of Chasam
Sofer's aphorism, so I am truly puzzled by his application of it to
this context. Chasam Sofer was extremely creative in halachah and
created so many important precedents that his responsa are
indispensable for any halachic decisor. Just one minor example, after
Pressburg had been devastated by war Jews were having trouble
rebuilding their homes because builders wanted to work on Shabbos and
Jews would not allow them to do so. The Chasam Sofer found a solution
to this problem utilizing amirah la'amirah. Is this the work of
someone paralyzed? There are so many more examples that Prof.
Sperber's claim seems outlandish.

But even the twentieth century had its share of creative poskim.
Anyone familiar with R' Moshe Feinstein's Iggeros Moshe knows how
creative the author was in his methodology. Just about every issue is
looked at through a fresh view with many surprising conclusions. From
in vitro fertilization to Conservative weddings, R' Moshe Feinstein
set many precedents based on his own creative understanding of Torah.

Even the Chazon Ish, who is known for his many chumras, was not afraid
to create a new precedent that he saw as true and necessary. Consider
his groundbreaking ruling regarding "wicked Jews" in today's world.
Someone who is mi-yir'ei ha-hora'ah (from those scared to rule) would
not make such a wide-reaching and unprecedented ruling.

There are many, many more examples. No, we don't see groundbreaking
rulings every day. Neither did those living in medieval times. But the
truly great poskim, and there are rarely more than a handful at a
time, are still performing their duties.

While I do not know Prof. Sperber and cannot guess his intentions, I
would speculate that others from whom I have heard the same complaint
are more concerned that the rulings *they want* have not been issued
rather than about general paralysis in halachah.

Gil Student

[I have only briefly met Prof. Sperber, but I have enjoyed reading his
classic works on Minhagim. Based on all that I know, I do not think that
Prof. Sperber is concerned about "rulings *they want* have not been
issued", but rather about "general paralysis in halachah". Mod.]


From: Shalom Carmy <carmy@...>
Date: Wed, 21 May 2003 14:10:53 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: R. Kook and animal sacrifices

> all its details. In addition in our Musaf prayer services of Shabbos and
> all the Holidays, we mention all the sacrifices brought on that day with
> the prayer that we be able to perform them. Is it possible that Rabbi
> Kook was referring only to private voluntary sacrifices where one would
> certainly have the option of bringing a flour offering instead of an
> animal sacrifice?

Not only is this the only interpretation known to me that makes sense,
but it is consistent with the Rabbinic teaching that "all sacrifices
will be abrogated except for the toda." Presumably sin offerings will be
unnecessary (see Tosafot on hattaot va-ashamot being hilkheta l'meshiha
in the sense that they are not practiced today and unlikely to be
practiced in the future). Private Shlamim and Olot are voluntary. The
Toda can be brought vegetarian.


From: <JoshHoff@...> (Joshua Hoffman)
Date: Wed, 21 May 2003 11:35:29 EDT
Subject: Re: Rav Kook on sacrifices

In a letter to Rabbi Chaim Hirshenson printed in the latter's Malki
Ba-kodesh, Rav Kook writes that it is proper to believe that, in the
time of Mashiach, the Beis HaMikdash will be restored and all the
sacrifices will be brought. As a kohein Rav Kook looked forward to the
reinstitution of karbanos at least as much as any other Jew, and was
known to have cried uncontrollably on Tisha B'Av, remarking to those who
didn't understand that for him it is different , because he is a
kohein. There is a statement from him on his Olat Reiyah, on the end of
shemoneh esreh, explaining 'veorvah, etc,' to mean that what in the past
was accomplished by animal sacrifices- the elevation of the animal- will
in the future be accomplished in mincha offerings, but will no longer be
necessary for animals, since the world will be filled with knowledge of
God and the animals won't need that elevation. However, this does not
specifically say that there will no longer be animal sacrifices in the
future, only that such sacrifices will not accomplish what they did in
the past. Moreover we have R. Kook's explicit words in his letter to
R. Hirscheson. If one wishes to explain what he writes in the sidddur to
mean that at some point there will no longer be animal scrifices, it
certainly doesn't refer to yemos ha-mashiach. Perhaps he means olam
haba. This issue has been discussed in print- in HaTzofeh, back in the
early 1980s( I don't have the precise information). Rav Goren understood
Rav Kook to mean that, indeed , animal sacrices will no longer be
brought in Messianic times, and proceeded to reject this notion for the
obvious rerasons. A Rav Kook follower( a Rav Shachar, I think, although
I don't recall exactly) responded, showing that R. Goren did not
understand R. Kook properely. I do not recall him citing the letter to
R.Hirshenson, but I think that R.Kook's clear formulation in that letter
should end any speculation as to his real view.


From: <Joelirich@...> (Joel Rich)
Date: Wed, 21 May 2003 17:39:18 EDT
Subject: Tachanun

<<  The rule only seems to apply to Shabbat and 'minor holidays'
 e.g. Chanuka, Purim, Rosh Chodesh. >>

The Bet Yosef gives the reason for not saying tachanun the mincha before
as that when the new moon wa sestablished by viewing, if witnesses came
in the late afternoon, both that day and the next were "mkudash" as the
new moon.  This explains erev rosh chodesh and I suppose could support
never saying tachanun the mincha before (the previous day has some
contact with next) but I'm not sure why only tachanun is affeceted.

Joel Rich


End of Volume 39 Issue 45