Volume 51 Number 83
                    Produced: Sun Apr  2  9:20:31 EDT 2006

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

An infant Captive
         [Russell J Hendel]
Shabbos desecrators are idol worshippers? (2)
         [SBA, David Charlap]
Two Dinim in Minyan (4)
         [Mark Steiner, Shoshana L. Boublil, Chana Luntz, Ben Katz]
Two Dinim in Minyan: An illustration
         [Mark Steiner]


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Mar 2006 21:47:07 -0500
Subject: RE: An infant Captive

Josh Backon summarized many good sources on the infant captive.

I however would like to supplement them: To understand the Rambams view
on the infant captive you must not only review the sources Josh cites
where Rambam discusses the infant captive, but you must also eg study
Murder 5 and 6 where the Rambam carefully defines NEGLIGENCE. (Recall I
disinguished between NEGLIGENCE and ACCIDENT--the Hebrew SHOGAYG does

Using this concept we can understand that EVEN where the infant captive
KNEW that he was Jewish and witnessed Jews perfoming commandments,
nevertheless, his Sabbath Descecration is NEGLIGENT---it is not
ACCIDENTAL...we do not regard him as helpless(=accident) but rather as
NEGLIGENT...the focal point here is that the infant captive has not
PRACTICED Judaism and consequently and sins he performs are acts of
NEGLIGENCE because he didnt have ingrained habits (And therefore
momentary laps emanate from lack of training).

I believe such a perspective also enriches the review of other Rishonim
on this topic. This topic is very vast but I wanted to emphasize that we
should always look at underlying reasons besides sources.

Russell Jay Hendel; http://www.Rashiyomi.com/


From: SBA <sba@...>
Date: Thu, 30 Mar 2006 01:12:57 +1000
Subject: Re: Shabbos desecrators are idol worshippers?

>From: David Charlap
>> Rambam - in Hilchos Shabbos "...The Shabbos is a sign between HKBH and
>> between us forever.  Therefore one who trangresses other Mitzvos is
>> included amongst the Rishei Yisroel. However one who descrates the
>> Shabbos publicly, is considered an idol worshipper in all matters..."
> Well, then, since I'm not 100% shabbos observant, I guess you believe I
> should start eating pork, working 7 days a week, and accept the local
> church's offers to pray to Jesus with them?  After all, if Rambam
> considers me an idol worshipper in all matters, then there's no point in
> my trying to keep any mitzvot whatsoever, right?

Wrong. While I am no posek, but I would say that one gets reward and
punishment for ones deeds - each one individually.  Doing more mitzos
give you more reward - and it works the other way to.

> Do you also believe that all those Chabad rabbis that want me to
> become more observant at my own pace are completely wrong?

Of course not. They too know of that Rambam but obviously agree with
what I write above.  And of course the hope and look forward to the day
when you will be a 100% Shomer Shabbos.

> I have many friends and relatives that have virtually abandoned
> Judaism specifically in response to people that share this opinion.  I
> don't think you realize the tremendous damage you are doing to all of
> Israel by telling people that they are worthless if they aren't 100%
> perfect.

I understand you very well. But our Torah is a Toras Emes.  Whether we
like it or not, the Rambam - who is recognised as the [one of] greatest
Halacha codifiers wrote as he did.

No doubt even in those days his words would have upset some.  But is
there any other way he could have written these laws?

How do you and your friends feel when they hear Krias Hatorah regarding
Shabbos desecrators "Mechaleleho Mos Yumos".?

This is read in EVERY shul - even Chabad ones.  


From: David Charlap <shamino@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Mar 2006 10:28:35 -0500
Subject: Re: Shabbos desecrators are idol worshippers?

SBA wrote:
> I understand you very well. But our Torah is a Toras Emes. Whether we
> like it or not, the Rambam - who is recognised as the [one of]
> greatest Halacha codifiers wrote as he did. No doubt even in those
> days his words would have upset some. But is there any other way he
> could have written these laws?

There is a world of difference between a single statement and practical

For instance, many rabbis will say that a person must be formally
declared a "mechalel shabbos" by a beis din before any of the follow-on
laws can be applicable.  You can't simply point to a person that comes
to shul in his car and summarily declare him "idol worshipper", and then
proceed to treat him as halacha would require you to treat such a person
(for instance, having him forcibly removed from the shul, having the
community refuse to socialize with his family, or boycotting his

You keep speaking in theory, while I'm talking about the real world.  If
I was visiting your community, would you advocate organizing a lynch-mob
to have me forcibly thrown out of the town?  After all, that's also what
halacha requires of an idol worshipper.

Repeatedly quoting a line from Rambam, as if that by itself is all the
justification you need to take the law into your own hands is wrong, and
creates a huge chillul hashem.

If this is not what you're advocating, then you should say so.

-- David


From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Mar 2006 18:03:01 +0200
Subject: RE: Two Dinim in Minyan

I apparently did not make myself clear in my opinion concerning minyan,
and I believe that my explanation is in line with classical halakha.
I'll try once more:

0. There is the concept of the rabbis institutionalizing a Torah mitzvah
and obligating us to perform it even in circumstances where the Torah
does not obligate us.  Tzedaka is a case like that: on Purim we give
tzedaka to evyonim which is certainly a mitzvah min hatorah, but not a
torah obligation (to give on Purim especially).

1. There is a general mitzvah of kiddush hashem, and prohibition of
hillul hashem, which goes far beyond the cases or obligatory martyrdom
mentioned by Chana.  This is clear from the gemara in Yoma where, for
example, talmidei hakhamim are required to avoid buying on credit which
is for them a hillul hashem.  If they exhibit supererogatory behavior,
the have fulfilled the mitzvah of kiddush hashem.  In many cases kiddush
hashem is not obligatory (certain cases of returning a lost item), and
can be overridden by other obligations a Jew has, but it is great
mitzvah nevertheless.  What is required of a Jew is a life devoted to
kiddush hashem.  In some cases, as in the three cardinal sins, it is

2. In many cases kiddush hashem or hillul hashem is done in public,
which is defined as an "edah" (community).  (Note, however, that the
Mishnah in Avot speaks of hillul hashem done in secret, a very important
topic which I can't go into here.)

3. What is called in the Mishnah "davar she-bikdusha" (kedusha, kriat
hatorah, barkhu) actually is the institutionalizing of kiddush hashem in
the liturgy.  The rabbis obligated us during the davening to actually
perform the mitzvah of kiddush hashem which is a mitzvah min hatorah.

4. The definition of "edah" for this purpose is nevertheless the same
concept as defined in the Torah itself.

5. If a Sabbath Desecrator is unfit to join in an edah, then according
to this line of reasoning, any group containing an SD cannot be used for
the purposes of kedusha, kaddish, and barchu, since the mitzvah of
kiddush hashem will not be accomplished.

6. Where there is a doubt here, we have to go lehumra, since the
question here is whether the mitzvah of kiddush hashem is being
accomplished or not.  The fact that the rabbis instituted the
requirement of saying kedusha etc., does not make the matter a safek

I hope this is clear, whether or not it meets with agreement.

From: Shoshana L. Boublil <toramada@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Mar 2006 18:49:15 +0200
Subject: Re: Two Dinim in Minyan

> From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
> The requirement of ten adult males for a davar shebikdusha is based on
> the eidah of ten spies excluding Calev and Yehoshua. This might indicate
> that we do not require ten exceptionally righteous individuals but it is
> difficult to extrapolate to include people who brazenly desecrate
> Shabbat as an act of rebellion against HKBH. Where one draws the line to
> include or exclude any individual is an exceptionally difficult matter
> and might well vary depending on the circumstances.

I must be missing something here.  Why on earth would someone who
"brazenly desecrates Shabbat as an act of rebellion against HKBH" want
to join a Minyan?

The fact that a person makes the effort to join a Minyan (in the
original case, he wasn't waylaid by someone, he chose to go to the site
where the davening was about to take place) shows that whatever his
background, history etc. -- at this point he is interested in praying to

Please don't leave common sense outside halachic discussions. 

Shoshana L. Boublil

From: Chana Luntz <Chana@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Mar 2006 22:50:56 +0100
Subject: Two Dinim in Minyan

> From: Martin Stern 
[Same quote as above. Mod.]

This however is precisely the extrapolation that Rav Moshe draws.

That is, he goes to some lengths to show that the spies where koferim
[heretics] of the highest order. In particular in the follow-on teshuva
in Iggeros Moshe Orech Chaim chelek gimmel siman 14 he begins by quoting
the gemora in Arechin 15 that when the meraglim said that "they are
stronger than us", what they were really saying was that HKBH was not
capable of allowing the bnei yisroel to conquer.  And he further quotes
Rashi there that on that sentence that in fact the meraglim were
speaking "klapei mayla" [against HKBH].  And Rav Moshe goes on, there is
nothing more b'farhesia than what the meraglim did, because they spoke
in front of Moshe and Aharon and all of the bnei yisroel.  And they
didn't just deny the powers of HKBH, they denied the Torah itself, and
further they attempted to lead the bene yisroel astray to similarly deny
the abilities of HKBH.

And there is more, go read the rest of the teshuva, but that will give
you a flavour of it.

And going back to the original teshuva in Orech Chaim chelek aleph siman
23 Rav Moshe says explicitly that the meraglim were "kofrin b'farhesia"
[public heretics] which is worse than mechallelei shabbas b'frahesia
which he again derives from Arechin 15 [Note the follow on teshuva is
entitled "in the matter of the spies in the response in Igeros Moshe
Orech Chaim chelek aleph siman 23, ie he was clearly respoinding to
people who could not believe his statement in the first teshuva].

Hence, not surprisingly in the teshvua in chelek aleph siman 23, which
is about including a mechallel shabbas b'farhesia in a minyan for
kedusha, Rav Moshe, unlike in other teshuvas (dealing with a cohen or
with aliyos), does not make reference to, nor feel the need to explain
why a mechallel shabbas b'farhesia today is not the same as an original
mechallel shabbas b'farhesia.  It seems clear that this teshuva applys
even where talking about those who brazenly desecrate Shabbat as an act
of rebellion against HKBH, ie the classic definition of mechalel shabbas

Now this is Rav Moshe's chiddush. And without Rav Moshe I would have
tended to agree with your "difficult to extrapolate" comment (although
it is worth reading the gemora in Arechin that he quotes).  (Note that
in an earlier post on our previous go round about this, I discussed some
of the other problems I have with this chiddush).  But it exists, and
given Rav Moshe's status within the American community, is probably the
basis on which many communities there operate, rather than relying on
some of the other understandings (even contained in his other teshuvas).

Chana Luntz

From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Mar 2006 11:16:17 -0600
Subject: Re: Two Dinim in Minyan

>From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
[Same quote as above. Mod.]

         Unless I misunderstood Mr. Stern, I disagree with the tone and
implication of what he writes above.  Mr. Stern seems to imply that the
spies were not "exceptionally righteous", and that someone who drives to
work on shabat is "an act of rebellion against HKBH".  I would argue
that convincing the Israelites not to follow Moshe and God into the land
of Canaan is quite an act of public rebellion against the Almighty, much
worse than leaving my house and going to work, minding my own business.

Ben Z. Katz, M.D.
Children's Memorial Hospital, Division of Infectious Diseases
2300 Children's Plaza, Box # 20, Chicago, IL 60614
e-mail: <bkatz@...>


From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Fri, 31 Mar 2006 14:43:59 +0300
Subject: Two Dinim in Minyan: An illustration

Since I see Avi hasn't posted my clarification on minyan, let me throw
in a possible illustration.  The Rambam, Laws of Shabbat chapter 29,
rules that kiddush (and havdalah) are Torah obligations, flowing from
the Ten Commandments (Remember the Sabbath day to kep it holy).  In his
classic Sefer Hamitzvot, the Rambam explains that the essence of kiddush
and havdalah is to mention the greatness of the sabbath (kiddush) and
its separation from other days (havdalah).  The Magen Avraham and many
others understand that to mean that praying the evening prayer on
Shabbat is already a fulfillment of this mitzvah.

At the same time, the Rambam rules that rabbinically one is obligated to
say kiddush over wine at the table.

Suppose, then, that someone is not certain he has actually "made"
kiddush ast the table, then according to the usual rules, he is exempt
(safek derabbanan).

But suppose he is sure that he said the kiddush, but left out all the
praise of the shabbat which the kiddush contains, leaving only the
shell, then he has not fulfilled his obligation.  Suppose, finally, he
is not certain he said the entire kiddush, but entertains the
possibility that he just he said the beginning and the end (Barukh
 ... veratzah banu; baruch atah ... medash hashabbat).  Then this doubt
invalidates the kiddush, so it seems to me, because the definition of
what kiddush is, is biblical (according to the Rambam, of course)--what
the rabbis did was institutionalize this kiddush, at the table.  May
Hashem guard me from error.

Mark Steiner


End of Volume 51 Issue 83