Volume 45 Number 94
                    Produced: Fri Nov 26  7:53:22 EST 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Administrivia - mj-tech list
         [Avi Feldblum]
Clothes of a Talmid Chochom
Dayan as partner of Hashem (was: Rashi and Ruach Hakodesh) (3)
         [Mike Gerver, Perry Zamek, Leah Perl Shollar]
Men on the women's side
         [Shimon Lebowitz]
Rashi (2)
         [David Prins, Leah Perl Shollar]
Tal u'Matar
         [Yehonatan & Randy Chipman]


From: Avi Feldblum <mljewish@...>
Date: Fri, 26 Nov 2004 07:34:21 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Administrivia - mj-tech list

Levanah Tenen [<meru1@...>] is handling the mechanics of maintaining
the mj-tech list (the outgrowth of their own private cc: list, which
also includes some people who are not on m-j but who are interested in
their approach to ideas).

As far as Levanah is aware, everyone who has asked to be removed from
their cc: list, has been removed.  People who want to be removed from
the mj-tech list should contact Levanah. As soon as she knows that
people want to be removed from the cc: list, they will be.  She also
apologizes in advance for any mistakes she may make while the mechanics
of maintaining the sub-list are still being worked out -- if people who
have been removed accidentally re-appear on the list, please let her
know and she will make sure they are dropped.



From: <Phyllostac@...> (Mordechai)
Date: Thu, 25 Nov 2004 04:16:23 EST
Subject: Clothes of a Talmid Chochom

>From: Leah Perl Shollar <leahperl@...>
>In fact, there is a halacha that a talmid chochom may not go
>out with torn, dirty, stained clothes, since he represents kavod
>haTorah.  And if he does -- he is chayav missa!
>This would seem to indicate that use of a mirror for the right reason is
>actually required.

The above is not entirely accurate.

There is a gemara that says that a talmid chacham that has a revav al
bigdo [al bigdo = on his garment. Mod] is chayav misa [Deserving of
death. Mod.]. It does not say that with regard to him having some
ordinary dirt or dust on his garment or if his clothes are torn - rather
a specific type of stain (I think it may be a greasy/oily type) is
specified. Perhaps what is meant is a stain that can be connected with
specific behavior / occurrence, which is improper for a talmid chochom.



From: <MJGerver@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Thu, 25 Nov 2004 02:14:57 EST
Subject: Dayan as partner of Hashem (was: Rashi and Ruach Hakodesh)

Noyekh Miller, quoting Perets Mett, writes in v45n89,

      "Chazal say that a dayon who judges honestly becomes a shutof to
      HKBH in the Creation".

      Am I the only reader of this list who finds such views at least
      questionable?  I sometimes get the feeling that the way some
      people think of gedolim is lehavdil elef havdoles comparable to
      the Roman Catholic tradition.

Noyekh seems to be understanding the quote as attributing some kind of
super-human powers to the dayan. But I think he's reading too much into
it. All it is saying, I think, is that case law becomes an integral part
of halacha, as it necessarily becomes an integral part of any legal
system, whether humanly or divinely legislated. Hence a dayan
necessarily becomes a co-author, with Hashem, of halacha, in the same
way that a secular judge becomes a co-author, with the legislature of
the place where he lives, of the laws of that place. This follows
logically from the judge's role in deciding court cases, and there is no
way to avoid it.

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel

From: Perry Zamek <perryza@...>
Date: Thu, 25 Nov 2004 09:57:53 +0200
Subject: Re: Dayan as partner of Hashem (was: Rashi and Ruach Hakodesh)

I think Reb Noyekh misunderstands the purpose of this statement. It has
nothing to do with infallibility (if it did, it would be phrased more in
terms of "HKBH grants him wisdom" or something similar). It is more an
encouragement to the judge to do his very best, seeing the praise that
accrues to those who judge truly.

There is a parallel text, BTW: Any judge who judges truly brings the
Shekhinah among Israel. (Sanhedrin 7a).

In any case, the proper understanding of "Dayan ha-dan din emet
la-amito" is, in fact, one who goes further than the letter of the
law. There is a nice passage in the Akedat Yitzhak, by Rabbi Yitzhak
Arama, that discusses this: This notion is what the Sages had in mind in
saying (Shabbat 10a), "All who give judgments that are completely and
truly correct [lit., 'true to their very truth' (din emet le-amito)]
become partners with God in the creation of heaven and earth," because
all mankind will thereby be maintained in the nature and manner in which
they were created, in accordance with their very essence.  Because of
this partnership, judges are called elohim throughout Scripture.

[Comment by Yaakov Weinroth:] The judge is, indeed, God's partner in
creating legal norms. The judge is referred to as elohim, because, in
the absence of man's process of refinement of the laws and rules, the
system would be deficient.

      Indeed, judges who always decide only according to the general
      rules, although they give a true judgment, [do not give a judgment
      'true to its very truth' and in fact they] destroy the world, as
      it was said (Baba Metzia 30b), "Jerusalem was destroyed because
      they gave true judgments," i.e., their judgments were based on
      general truth, which they did not adjust even when necessary; but
      they said, 'Let the law cut through the mountain' [i.e., Let the
      law be applied no matter how unjust the result]" This group is the
      most dangerous of all the types of harmful judges mentioned

These passages appear in "'And Moshe sat to Judge the People' from
Morning till Evening' - Limitations on the Law - Man, Principle and
Instance", by Yaakov Weinroth , published in "Justice"
(www.intjewishlawyers.org/pdf/Justice_31.pdf ).

Perry Zamek

From: Leah Perl Shollar <leahperl@...>
Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2005 23:17:11 -0500
Subject: Re: Dayan as partner of Hashem (was: Rashi and Ruach Hakodesh)

Noyekh: here's the reasoning on the maamar chazal, so you can stop feeling
the statement is questionable:

(parshas Yisro, perek 18, pasuk 13, dibur hamaschil "Min HaBoker ad
HaErev", sifsei chachomim Tes): "Since the world exists through din, in
as much as the mabul came to the world through the lack of justice and
judication between people [theivery, violence etc.,] as it says "And the
world was filled with violence", therefore, one who carries out true
justice and judication, actively causes the world to exist, and is thus
as if he is made a partner with HaKadosh Baruch Hu ..."

I hardly see this as the same as the RC tradition of praying to saints,
carrying statues of them in religious parades, or invoking their name.
(as for rationality, its fine, but it is limited to our dimensions and
experience.  But life occurs on other plances, including ruchnius ones,
not all of which as 'thoroughly rational' in our reality, although they
might be so in different ones.)

Leah Perl


From: Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...>
Date: Thu, 25 Nov 2004 10:04:12 +0200
Subject: Re: Men on the women's side

> This is naturally more common during the week. But obviously if a
> woman would choose to come - she'd be stuck!

I agree with your peeve!

Some years ago when I would come late (as was my wont....  but that is
another thread, isn't it?) to the weekday minyan in my shul, I would
find a woman praying outside because she would not walk in to the
occupied "women's section". Occupied by men of course.

I would go in and tell them they HAD to leave, but apparently no one
else felt the need to do so. That really upset/annoyed me.

I know that very few women come to weekday morning minyanim, but I still
believe their place is "theirs", and I see it as a sort of "theft from
the group" (as in gezel `aniyim or gezel hashevet - theft from all the
poor, or all the kohanim) to prevent them from being able to use their
place.  And of course, shuls that don't even keep a mechitza during the
week (an unfortunate custom I have seen) are even worse.

[To reassure those who worry about my lateness, the years since then
have been good for the minyanim in the neighborhood, and I now have no
trouble finding a minyan at ANY time, including "lie in time", the
modern version, long past the bnei melachim!]

Shimon Lebowitz                           mailto:<shimonl@...>
Jerusalem, Israel            PGP: http://www.poboxes.com/shimonpgp


From: David Prins <prins@...>
Date: Thu, 25 Nov 2004 18:11:28 +1100
Subject: Rashi

It is not clear to me what point Yaacov Fenster was trying to make
(v45i89) in relation to Rashi's commentary on Torah when he wrote:

>This brings to mind the weekly Parasha of Toldot from a week and a half
>ago.  In Chapter 28, verse 5, Rashi says "I do not know what it teaches
>us" about the words "Mother of Yaacov and Esav".

The Maskil l'David provides a brilliant insight on those words,
referring to the statement of Chazal that the majority of a woman's sons
resemble her brother.  From the contrasting characters of Esav and
Yaakov there is no "majority" to resemble Rivka's brother Lavan.  Yaakov
is about to go to Lavan, and wants to know what Lavan is like.  The
Makil l'David interprets the Rashi as Yitzhak saying to Yaakov, in
effect: "Rivka is the mother of Esav and Yaakov.  Because there is no
majority, I do not know what that teaches us about Lavan."

As I say, brilliant!

From: Leah Perl Shollar <leahperl@...>
Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2005 23:17:11 -0500
Subject: Re: Rashi

> From: Yaacov Fenster

> Samuel P Gorner wrote:
> >Noyekh Miller writes, "Great as he was, where is it written that [Rashi]
> >was infallible?"
> >This reminds me of the discussion we had here on mail-jewish in May 2002
> >regarding whether Rashi had Ruach Hakodesh ("divine spirit").  See the
> >archives at 36:31-47.
> >If Rashi on Chumash WAS written with Ruach HaKodesh, that would explain
> >its infallibility.
> This brings to mind the weekly Parasha of Toldot from a week and a half
> ago. In Chapter 28, verse 5, Rashi says "I do not know what it teaches
> us" about the words "Mother of Yaacov and Esav".


As one who teaches Peirush Rashi, I'd like to point out that your example
indicates that Rashi thought of a very good question here, but could not
find a satisfactory answer.

As to question of Ruach HaKadosh, I don't think that means he just sat down
and 'received' Divine Inspiration.

Any super-commentary on Rashi (Mizrachi, Gur Aryeh, Levush, Beis HaLevi,
Biurim, et. al.) are quite clear in how Rashi derives his questions, and
even some of his answers.  For example, this percentage is based on divrei
chazal, in places where he quotes two opinions each has something the other
lacks.  Even something as simple as "v'Unklus tirgem' versus 'vetirgumo'
(and various permutations of these words) each mean something different.
As I understand it, the point is that after putting in his moach and lev
into the questions, and attempting to arrive at an answer that satisfied his
stringent requirements, the answer ultimately came through Ruach HaKodesh.
One of my teacher's teachers used to say that people still receive 'ruach
HaKodesh' today.  When someone comes up with a chiddush, a vort, etc.,  this
too is Ruach HaKodesh (assuming that said chiddush doesn't contradict
halacha).  This is part of what is meant by 'vetain chelkaynu betoratecha'.
Moshe Rabbeinu was the greatest of all neviim, and yet he didn't know what
to do with the Bnos Tzlafchad.  I don't see that as proof that he lacked
nevua.  Emunas Chachomim does not mean that we believe in their
'infallibility' -- only Hashem is infallible.  It does mean that we place
our trust in their words and directives, and strive to live by their

Rashi's "I don't know what this means" is proof of his greatness, not a
means of proving he was fallible.

Leah Perl


From: Yehonatan & Randy Chipman <yonarand@...>
Date: Thu, 25 Nov 2004 10:04:35 +0200
Subject: re: Tal u'Matar

Bernard katz, in v45n82, says:

<<"South American Sephardic Jews do not say Tal U-Matar in Birkhat
HaSHanim at all". I have no reason to doubt this, but I wonder if anyone
who has first-hand knowledge of the current practices of South American
Sephardic Jews can confirm this. And what about Ashkenazic Jews living
in South America or elsewhere in the Southern Hemisphere? Do they insert
VeTen Tal U'Matar in Birkhat HaShanim?>>

Just a technical point: Sephardic Jews do not "insert" or "not insert"
"ten tal u-matar" during the relevant season.  They completely change
the text of Birkat Hashanim.  First, they change the opening words: in
summer they say "borkheinu..." and in winter "barekh aleinu."  Much more
impportant, they add a lengthy section, "urveh pnei tevel... etc."
making the blessing perhaps three times longer in winter than in summer.
In my opinion, this minhag is much closer to the origianl intention of
the mishnah in Taanit 1.1 which says that one "mentions rain" from
Shmini Ateret and "prays for rain" from a certain later date ("mazkirin
gevurot ha-geshamim".... "sho'alin al ha-geshamim").  How and why it
came about that Ashkenaizm suffice with adding only two words is an
interesting question, to which I've been unable to find an answer, at
least from a superficial reading of the relevant sugyot, Rif, Tur, and
Bet Yosef.  Any suggestions?

Jonathan Chipman


End of Volume 45 Issue 94