Volume 57 Number 41 
      Produced: Tue, 10 Nov 2009 16:49:19 EST

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Cameras and sensors 
    [David Tzohar]
English Meorot Hadaf 
    [Eli Turkel]
Is there a halachic concept of "take one for the team"?  
    [Elazar M. Teitz]
    [Russell J Hendel]
Naming a child "Shem" 
    [Avi Heller]
NOT stopping traffic on Shabbos 
    [Akiva Miller]
Photos of the Torah Dedication at the Maalot David Shul 
    [Jacob Richman]
The law of the land 
    [Carl Singer]
Why doesn't Avraham tell Sarah... (2)
    [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz  Stephen Phillips]
Why is Moses surprised ... 
    [Russell J Hendel]
Yitzchak's birth announcment 
    [Avraham Norin]


From: David Tzohar <davidtzohar@...>
Date: Tue, Nov 3,2009 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Cameras and sensors

Bernard Raab <beraab@...> wrote:

Here's a thought: Despite Einstein's famous objection to Quantum Theory that
> "G-d does not play dice with the universe", it is well-accepted today that at
> the atomic level, the level at which electricity operates, there is really no
> determinism. As with the grama switch, the response appears to be
> instantaneous, but the reality is that there is an indeterminate quality to
> all electric usage.

According to the Hazon Ish the melacha that one transgresses  by using
electricity has nothing to do with heat or fire but is boneh that is you are
in effect "building" a new physical construct every time you close an
electric circuit. Therefore there is nothing indeterminate or random about
electric usage.


From: Eli Turkel <eliturkel@...>
Date: Mon, Nov 9,2009 at 10:01 AM
Subject: English Meorot Hadaf

Meorot Hadaf has for several years a daily email shiur on the daf hayomi which
they have recently stopped.

If anyone has saved previous years please let me know as I am missing a few

Eli Turkel


From: Elazar M. Teitz <remt@...>
Date: Wed, Nov 4,2009 at 12:01 AM
Subject: Is there a halachic concept of "take one for the team"? 

David Curwin asked,
> If there was a scenario where a number of people were likely to unintentionally
> sin (shogeg), would it be permissible or required for one individual to sin 
> intentionally (mezid) to prevent it?
The Talmud states that "ein om'rim l'adam 'chatei k'dei sheyizke chaveircha,' "
we don't tell a person to sin in order for someone else to avoid sinning and its
consequence.  This is true even if the sin from which the one would be spared is
d'oraisa, a Torah prohibition, while the sin being done to prevent it is only of
rabbinic decree.
     The specific case is where A has stuck a dough to the inner wall of an oven
in order to bake it.  If the dough is allowed to remain long enough to bake, A
will have violated Shabbos.  If B removes it from the wall before it bakes, A
will not be guilty of chillul Shabbos, desecration of Shabbos.  However, by
rabbinic decree, removing the dough from the oven wall is prohibited.  The
halacha is that B may not remove the dough, leaving A a Shabbos desecrator.
     While not identical with the question posed, since it's one and one, not
many and one, the basic principle is that preventing sin cannot justify sinning.


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Tue, Nov 3,2009 at 11:01 PM
Subject: Kaporos 

Alex Heppenheimer in Mail Jewish Volume 57 Number 40 seems to misquote both me
and the Ramban. I would deeply appreciate it if people would check their
citations before posting and/or ask less aggresively.

I had indeed described the beautiful symbolism of the sacrifices and said that
interpreting sacrifices as a symbolic affirmation that the offerer had to die
and hence the animal dies in his place is pagan in flavor and contrary to Jewish
ideas. However I never directly attacked the Ramban.

Next: Alex refers to the Ramban's commentary on Chumash. I believe as shown
below his citation is out of context. Allow me to fully cite. The Ramban starts
by refuting the Maimonideean view of sacrifices as a concession to idolatry.
Ramban refutes this by pointing out that Noah and others offered sacrifices
before idolatry was prevalant. Ramban concludes that sacrifices as an antidote
to idolatry is unacceptable as a total explanation of sacrifices.

Ramban then goes on to offer THE DIRECTION TOWARDS an explantion of sacrifices.
He mentions how the animal parts - head, fat, blood - correspond symbolically to
aspects of the person such as his mind, desires and soul. In this context Ramban
does mention that "...he deserved to die but instead the animal dies" However
this statement is made contrastively to the refuted Maimonideean position. It
should therefore be seen as a FIRST ATTEMPT to fill in the gap. And why, you
ask, don't I accept it in full? Because, using the Ramban's method of testing
full consistency (as he did by seeing if all sacrifices addressed an idolatrous
culture), it is easy to see that e.g. a person offering a shelamim (peace
offering) to celebrate his wedding anniversay is clearly not seeing himself as
deserving to die (Indeed, how would his spouse feel about such a statement on
their anniversary). Similarly the women who brings a childbirth offering does
not affirm that she should have died (is that a way to start motherhood). 

So just as the Ramban did not accept the Rambam's position that sacrifices
addressed idolatry (and that couldn't be accepted because of the times
sacrifices were brought when idolatry was not present as when Noah brought
them), so too, the Ramban did not expect that his view that sacrifices were an
exchange of deserved death (since that view would only apply to sin offerings
and not to peace and other offerings). 

How then should we see the Ramban's opinions: We should see them as contrastive
to the Maimonideean view which he refuted. Ramban was OUTLINING THE BEGINNING OF
A NEW APPROACH TO SACRICIFES. And that new approach was built on by Rav Hirsch
whom Alex himself acknowleged as beautiful.

As to Alex's comments about Kapporoth: This email group has already cited many
authorities who disagree with Kaparoth. Thus while I was disagreeing with those
authorities who support it I did it on the basis of equally important
authorities who fought against it. I merely supplied additional reasons (from
the sacrifices) to oppose Kapparoth.

Finally I should explain to Alex what is really bothering me. What is bothering
me is Talmud Torah. How many people on this email list learn and are aware of
the details of Jewish sacrificial law. I would strongly suggest that if a person
believes that sacrifices affirm pagan values (such as that the offerer deserves
to die) then they are not motivated to learn sacrifices. 

Consequently this is not an academic question about respect for Ramban. It is
rather a relevance question for our personal learning. I repeat that  an article
of mine is coming out in the Jewish Bible Quarterly later this year or early
next year on the relevance of Sacrifices. I show how sacrifices mirror the whole
field of psychology and deal with issues of satisfaction with ones lot in life
and dealing with new situations. I show a one-one correspondence between how
secular psychology deals with these issues and how sacrifices can help us. For
example when you give people social advice - on their marriages, jobs, attitudes
etc. - do you routinely consult sacrificial law. If you don't you are missing
out on a grand opportunity to benefit from revealed prophecies about human
behavior. And you have violated the important commandment of learning all of
Torah including the sacrifice laws which are very relevant to our daily lives.

The above is a sketch of my answer to Alex: To recap: a) I never attacked the
Ramban, b) The Ramban IN CONTEXT seems to be suggesting a new approach to
sacrifices - there is no indication that his words were intended as final and
complete, c) Rav HIrsch took up Ramban's idea (for which we all thank Ramban)
and polished it in a useful manner, d) Sacrifices are one of the most relevant
parts of the Torah - they can be used to solve daily problems, e) However in
order to encourage people to learn we must provide attitudes about sacrifices
consistent with their relevance.

Russell Jay Hendel; Ph.d. A.S.A.; http://www.Rashiyomi.com/


From: Avi Heller <rabbiaviheller@...>
Date: Wed, Nov 4,2009 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Naming a child "Shem"

Friends of mine are expecting thier first baby, b'sha'a tova [loosely, with good
time --MOD] , in a few months and have become enamored of the name "Shem". The
more they -- and I -- look into it, we see that our tradition is almost entirely
positive about him and his role and his piety etc. As a direct ancestor of
Avraham and one of the founders of the bet midrash of Shem and Ever, he seems
like a likely candidate for namedom. However, I have not found anyone who has
ever known anyone named Shem. Perhaps it is because it simply means "name" or
perhaps it's a question of bad mazel for the name (i.s. it just never caught
on). Or maybe there's another reason. Can anyone  shed any light on this? Thanks



From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Tue, Nov 3,2009 at 10:01 PM
Subject: NOT stopping traffic on Shabbos

Carl Singer wrote:

> Back from 2 years learning in Jerusalem, my son told me that on
> Shabbos one doesn't cross the street in such a manner as to cause
> a driver to slow down or stop on their account -- the underlying
> presumption being that the (majority of) drivers, although not
> Shabbos observant, are Jewish - and our actions impact their
> driving actions.
> I heard recently that in Lakewood, NJ -- a similar ruling was
> issued re: a specific neighborhood.
> Comments?

I'm not sure what sort of comments you are looking for.

If a person crosses a Jerusalem street on Shabbos, and does so in such a manner
that he does cause a presumably-Jewish driver to slow down or stop on their
account, he is directly causing that driver to violate Shabbos more than he
would have otherwise. I can't imagine what arguments one might use to allow
deliberately crossing the street in such a manner.

Akiva Miller


From: Jacob Richman <jrichman@...>
Date: Mon, Nov 2,2009 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Photos of the Torah Dedication at the Maalot David Shul

Hi Everyone!

Tonight, November 2, I participated in the Torah dedication
at the Maalot David Shul in Ma'ale Adumim.

I took 170 photos of the dedication and posted them online at:

Enjoy the photos.
Have a good night,


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 8,2009 at 09:01 AM
Subject: The law of the land

If I might (re)start a thread:    Dina d'malchuta dina    (pardon the
transliteration [law of the land --MOD])

Of late I've heard some interesting interpretations / discussion of same.
Variants include:

1 - It applies to everything  (way too literal if you ask me)
2 - It doesn't apply - due to some disqualification of the government
3 - It applies only to business transactions
4  - It applies only to monetary transactions
5  - It  applies only to transactions between the individual and the
government (hence only to taxes.)



From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Wed, Nov 4,2009 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Why doesn't Avraham tell Sarah...

David Curwin wrote:
> If it is one story, I suppose it could be explained that Sarah was more
> surprised by hearing the news from the angels than she was when Avraham told
> her about the prophecy. But that just doesn't seem natural to me. It reminds
> me of another story where I have difficulty accepting a common resolution:
> In Shemot 32, Moshe is told by God about the sin of the Golden Calf. He asks
> for forgiveness for the people and receives it. But then when he goes down
> the mountain, he gets angry and breaks the tablets (and ends up asking for
> forgiveness a second time). Here it is said that seeing (the sin) isn't like
> hearing it - but it seems to me Moshe's reaction is one of someone
> encountering the sin for the first time. He seems genuinely surprised - as
> does Sarah!

The original prophesy to Avraham (at the command of the bris 17:19)
was indeterminate. It specified that at some (unknown) time in the
future, they would have a child, Yitzchak.  The prophesy from the
mal'achim ["angles" --MOD] was definite and specified an exact time. The first
prophesy occurred in the middle of the command for the bris milah and she could
have overlooked it in with everything else that was going on.

As far as Moshe and the calf, hearing about it could mean that he
would think to himself all the various possibilities for it not being
as bad as it could be. It was only when seeing it that the shock would
really affect him. Consider the stories of some of the gedolim [great rabbis
--MOD] upon first seeing chilul shabbos [desecration of the Sabbath --MOD] by a
merchant in Europe. They had heard of it happening, but seeing the event in
front of them caused a major reaction.

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz | Said the fox to the fish, "Join me ashore"
<SabbaHillel@...> | The fish are the Jews, Torah is our water
From: Stephen Phillips <admin@...>
Date: Thu, Nov 5,2009 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Why doesn't Avraham tell Sarah...

David Curwin wrote:
> At the end of Parashat Lech Lecha, Avraham is told by God that he and Sarah
> will have a son together - Yitzchak. In the beginning of Parashat VaYera,  the 
> angels come to Avraham and tell him about the upcoming birth of Yitzchak; Sarah
> overhears and is surprised. It would seem to me from this that Avraham did
> not tell Sarah about the prophecy he had only received shortly before. Why
> not? 

Perhaps because when someone tells you a piece of information one is not
permitted to reveal it to someone else (do we learn that Halacha [Law] from here?).

Stephen Phillips


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Tue, Nov 3,2009 at 10:01 PM
Subject: Why is Moses surprised ...

David Curwin in Mail Jewish Volume 57 Number 40 asks why Moses was surprised
upon discovering idolatry in his descent from the mountain given that he had
been told by God that the Jews were worshiping idols.

The answer is that Moses was surprised, not by the idolatry, but by the murder
of his nephew Chur. Rashi infers this from the strange Hebrew idioms in Ex32-18:
Anoth Gevurah, Anoth Chalushah and Anoth. The Hebrew word ANOTH refers to a mob
like refrain (such as might occur in a victory cry or such as might occur in a
communal singing). So the Anoth GEVURATH would refer to a VICTORY REFRAIN since
GEVRUAH means MIGHT. Similarly Anoth CHALUSHAH would refer to a MOURNING REFRAIN
since CHALUSHAH means WEAKNESS. It would follow that ANOTH (REFRAIN) by itself
would refer to a MOB TYPE HYSTERIA.

Based on the above translation of idioms we would translate Ex32-17:18 as
follows: Joshua heard the shattering voice of the nation and said to Moses 'A
war cry is in the camp.' [But Moses answered] That is not a VICTORY REFRAIN nor

Rashi suggests that Chur tried to stop them from making the idol and was killed.
Part of the reason for Rashi inferring this is that Chur was left in charge of
answering religious questions but was never heard from again. A second part of
the reason for inferring this is the explicit statement that there was mob
hysteria. I believe this viewpoint that Chur was murdered is further supported
by Aaron's "giving in to making the idol." Presumably violence erupted when
there was initial refusal.

In other words Moses did not see this as "just idolatry" but rather as the
traditional "idolatry-sex-murder" orgy associated with idolatry. It surprised
him that in just 40 days the degeneration had become some blatant.

Russell Jay Hendel; Ph.d. A.S.A.; http://www.Rashiyomi.com/


From: Avraham Norin <harbashan@...>
Date: Wed, Nov 4,2009 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Yitzchak's birth announcment

The question is not only why Avraham didn't tell Sarah, but also why does Hashem
have to announce to Avraham that he will have a son, if he already announced
this in Parshat Lech Lcha. As David considered,this can be explained by Rav
Breuer's thesis that the Torah relays parallel stories to focus on different
aspects of the event. 

The story of parshat Lech Lcha focuses on Hashem's granting a son to Avraham
because of the desire to make him the father of Am Yisrael, Avraham was chosen
not because of his deeds, but because of-in Rav Kook's terminology- he was the
father of Am Segulah.

The story of parshat Vayerah focuses on Avraham and Sarah good deeds-such as
hachnasat orchim-which merited them to have a son. In Rav Kook's terminology-
Yitzchak was the result of Am Hanivchar.

This also can explain why Hashem didn't mind Avraham laughing in Parshat Lech
Lcha, but he minded Sarah laughing in Parshat Vayerah.

Rav Breuer wrote many articles using this methodology of parshanut [explanation
or interpretation of the bible --MOD]. His students, such as Rav Yehuda Rock,
have continued analyzing the pesukim using this method. See the VBM website for
articles using this methodology (search Yehuda Rock), and Michlelet Herzog's
website for new books of Rav Breuer's articles on Sefer Shmot and (soon) Sefer


End of Volume 57 Issue 41