Volume 7 Number 25

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Avi Feldblum]
Shiur in Memory of Rav - R. Neuburger & R. Tendler
         [Anthony Fiorino]
Shiur in memory of Rav - R. Parnes
         [Anthony Fiorino]


From: mljewish (Avi Feldblum)
Date: Mon, 10 May 1993 11:42:56 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Administrivia

Hi all,

I take a weekend off and find about 50 submissions when I log in. Wow!
We seem to have some really good stuff in queue, and I know what I will
be doing tonight :-). 

Avi Feldblum
mail.jewish Moderator


From: Anthony Fiorino <fiorino@...>
Date: Thu, 6 May 93 16:22:03 -0400
Subject: Shiur in Memory of Rav - R. Neuburger & R. Tendler

Here are summaries of my notes from the last 2 shiurim.  They may not make
much sense, but I though the list might be interested.  Please forgive the
lack of translations, and the generally poor style of writing, and any
mistakes that I have made.  The shiurim are being taped by YU.

R. Yaakov Neuburger (Tues 5-4):

He first spoke of the Rav's approach to birkat hamitzvot, which was that
making a bracha matirs the performance of the mitzvah.  Thus, we
hold like the Rambam that in general, one cannot make a bracha after the
mitzvah is completed, against the Or Zarua, who holds that one can make a
bracha even after completing the mitzvah.  He said much more on brachos,
but I can't figure out my notes well enough to retell it here.

Then, he spoke of the Rav's approach to kavod shabbos.  R. Neuburger
quoted the Gra and beit halevi as saying that kavod shabbos is the
preparation which is done erev shabbos, while oneg shabbos consists of
those things done on shabbos.  Thus, the Netziv argues that kavod shabbos
is a hechshir mitzvah (preparation for a mitzva).  This is against the
view of the Rambam, who includes malava malka in the inyan of kavod
shabbos, and includes food preparation with oneg shabbos.  The Rambam
holds that kavod shabbos is not a hechshir mitzva, but rather a
mitzvah of its own, and that this mitzvah of kavod shabbos is a command for
us to make shabbos different from the rest of the week.  The Rav held that
the mitzva of kavod shabbos is connected with the idea of being m'kabel
sh'china.  Since hakadosh baruch hu makes shabbos different from the rest
of the week by being present with am yisrael on shabbos, we must be
prepared to welcome and accept the sh'china.  This explain how malava malka
is part of kavod shabbos -- just as one must be welcome the sh'china, one
must escort the sh'china out.  A raiya for this is that there is an inyan
of ituf on shabbos, which implies the presence of the sh'china.

R. Neuburger explained that the link between these two ideas is as follows
-- a person must prepare him/herself to accept kedusha.  But if hakadosh
baruch hu is always present, what does it mean to "prepare oneself to
accept kedusha;" isn't kedusha always present as well?  A major theme in
the Rav's though was that kedusha is brought by specific, limited human
actions and human yearning for kedusha.  Thus, we count towards kedusha or
in relation to kedusha (ie, sefirat haomer = counting towards matan Torah;
days of the week numbered with respect to shabbos).  One cannot simply
"wake up and be m'kabel sh'china;" rather, one must prepare to be m'kabel
sh'china.  Thus, a bracha matirs the performance of a mitzvah and is a
preparation for one to do a mitzvah and thus accept kedusha.  And
similarly, one must prepare to welcome the sh'china on shabbos.

R. Moshe Tendler (5-5)

R. Tendler said everyone got something different from the Rav's shiur -- some
remembered all the differeent gemaras the Rav would bring in when
discussing a sugya; others remembered the chiddushim.

R. Tendler disagreed a bit with the statement that the Rav was
authoratative but never authoratarian -- "The Rav didn't impose his will on
his talmidim like hakadosh baruch hu didn't impose his will at har sinai."
When the Rav gave a psak din, it was binding on all his talmidim -- for
instance, the Rav held with the Rambam against the Ramban on eruvin; thus
he would not carry within an eruv.  

When you learned in the Rav's shiur, you came out feeling like you learned
p'shat, and noone else had it.  R. Tendler said that when he was young
(before he was R. Moshe's son-in-law), he would go to R. Moshe's shiur on
Friday nights, and afterwards, he would approach him to discuss certain
points as if he was telling R. Moshe p'shat.  Later, R. Moshe asked him
how, growing up in America, he developed such conviction.  R. Tendler
answered, because the Rav said it was so.

The Rav said hakadosh baruch hu will determine "who is a Jew," but we can
determine "who is Jewish."  Conservatives are not Jewish, he said, because
thay do not believe in torah min hashamayim, and moreover, they do not
believe in the halachic process.

When the Rav said "I'm a malamed," it was not anivus but rather the
statement "I can teach Torah to another generation."  At the start of
shiur one year, he told his talmidim that they were going to learn nidah
again.  The students complained that they had learned it last year, they
didn't want to learn the same thing 2 years in a row.  The Rav said
forget everything you learned last year; now I know p'shat.  R. Tendler
connected this story with the Rav brushing up on the contemporary
biological understanding of menstruation in the interim.

The Rav's instructions to R. Tendler when the latter was accepting a
rabbinic post in Great Neck were that he should never buy a sermon manual,
but he should buy a midrash raba and he should never skip agadata in the
gemara; then, he said, you'll always have what to say to your baal habatim.

Hilchos aveilus, according to the Rav (according to R. Tendler), is a
display of the loss of social esteem.  Because all social esteem comes
from family, and when the family is torn you lose your social esteem. 
Thus, the outward signs of mourning reflect that -- it is the social
outcast who doesn't wash and sits on a low seat and who is not invited to
any social gatherings.  But the outward signs of mourning are only one
part of aveilus; there must be inner grief as well.  When the Rav was
sitting shiva for his brother, R. Tendler saw him learning a gemara, so he
asked him why.  The Rav said he was an istanus -- for a Brisker, not
learning is a tzar.  The issur of talmud torah during aveilus falls under
the issur of simcha, since for most people learning is a simcha, and to
not learn is the absence of simcha.  But for a Brisker, not learning isn't
simply the ansence of simcha, it is a tzar.


From: Anthony Fiorino <fiorino@...>
Date: Fri, 7 May 93 16:21:37 -0400
Subject: Shiur in memory of Rav - R. Parnes

My notes from R. Yehuda Parnes' shiur/hesped (thurs, 5-6).  As usual, I
apologize for any lack of clarity, poor grammar, ommissions, and for the
absence of translation.  Any and all mistakes are entirely my fault.  (By
the way, if no one is interested in these summaries, I'll gladly stop
providing them since they take up considerable time.)
[At a minimum, I know that I greatly appreciate what Eitan is doing.
Thanks for helping spread this Torah! Mod.]

R. Parnes' discussion was first, a bit of background on R. Chaim and the
Brisker method; he gave a few examples of Brisker Torah.  He also
discussed what distinguished the Rav's methodology from Rav Chaim's.

He described the Brisker derech as "vertical rather than lateral analysis"
or "definitional rather than distinctional analysis."  It is a
"definitional nuclear analysis" -- penetrating to the heart of a halacha.

The Rishonim expressed ideas in a more intuitive way, in a "soft
terminology;" they were closer to matan torah.  The Achronim engaged in
"computing and calculation" of halacha to work out inconsistancies.  Rav
Chaim extracted from the rishonim their intuitive grasp by introducing a
terminology which allowed understanding of the rishonim.  The Rav then
used this definitional analysis not only in learning, but to generate a
comprehensive, genuine Jewish philosophy rooted in halacha.

Rav Chaim did not need to rely on chumrot to be sure when poskening
halacha -- his methodology and brilliance allowed him to see to the heart
of the matter.  Thus, he did not need to rely on chumrot as a form of
insurance when issuing psak; he was confident in his ability to determine
the correct din.  The Rav was the same way when he sat on the RCA halacha

There is a story that the Beis halevi, Rav Chaim's father. once told some of
Rav Chaim's childhood Torah to Rav Israel Salanter, who commented that his
Torah would save learning from the maskalim.  The Rav also felt that the
precise, rigid methodology of the Brisker derech preserved learning in the
20th century.

Examples of the Brisker analysis:
the arba kosos on pesach night (from Rav Chaim, I believe):  there are 2
dinim in the mitzvah of the 4 cups: the first is an inyan of bracha shel
kos (the 4 brachos are kiddush, sippur yetziat mitzraim, birkas hamazon,
and hallel).  The second inyan is an independent din of sh'tias arba kosos,
related to the celebration of freedom.  Thus, in a case where a person has
no wine, one cannot be yotzei the din of shtias -- that is a specific
mitzva to drink wine -- however, one can use other liquids to be yotzei a
bracha shel kos.

the din of lo sachmod:  There is a difficult Rambam on this din; he says
that even if you took the item, you aren't chaiv mokos, because there is
no maaseh.  This is hard to understand, since there is clearly an action. 
But, it can be understood this way -- the lav of lo sachmod is like the
lav of lo sisavo, only it is more intense.  This coveting is so much more
intense that it compells one to actually take the object.  But the ikar of
the lav is still the coveting; the taking is merely an expression of the
intesity of the coveting.  Since the issur is really the coveting, the
Rambam can say there is no maaseh even in the case where one has actually
taken the item.

The Rav on the mitzva of k'siva sefer torah;  according to the Rambam, the
mitzvah is really only to write shira.  But, there is an inyan of not
writing a single parsha, so we write a whole sefer torah.  So the minchas
chinuch asks what is the mitzvah according to the Rambam --  to write
shira or to write a whole sefer?  According to the Rav, the Rambam holds
that both are true -- the "bottom line" mitzvah is to write a sefer torah.
 But the m'chayiv of the mitzvah of k'siva sefer torah is shira.  The
force behind the mitzvah of k'siva sefer torah is k'siva shira.

Finally, the Rambam says that sipur yetziat mitzraim is a mitzvah to be
m'saper in the time frame of leyel chamisha asar.  The Rav learned out
from the inyan of being m'kadesh shabbos that the mitzvah here is to be
m'kadesh leyel chamisha asar by being m'saper yetziat mitzraim -- the kium
mitzvah is being m'kadesh, while the maaseh mitzvah is being m'saper.

R. Parnes went on to state that while Brisker Torah is not infallible --
ie, they may come up with explanations that don't work -- the process is
infallible.  He once asked the Rav how he learned differently from Rav
Chaim, and he said 2 things: first, the Rav said he says Torah that Rav
Chaim wouldn't have said.  Rav Parnes didn't really understand what he
meant by this.  Second, the Rav said that while Rav Chaim only said Torah
on certain things, he said on everything.  R. Parnes noted that the Rav
applied Brisker lumdus not only to difficult Rambams, but to the whole
blot of gemara.

He also offered an explanation why the Rav would sit over a problem in a
gemara and not look at his notes from the year before (an anecdote related
by the Rav's son in his hesped).  Because in a way, the learning process
is more important than the result.  While looking at last year's answer
might be easier, it would lock one in to that teretz and thus compromise
the whole process.  The Rav was characterized by several features: he
rested on and built upon the Torah of his illustrious ancestors; he tended
towards conceptualization, not calculation; his linguistic ability
sensitized him to a conceptual approach; his study of logic and
epistomology (by the Rav's own admission) sharpened his thinking. (R.
Parnes made the point that this did not imply that the Rav brough secular
concepts into his learning; he was in fact very opposed to the
introduction of secular techniques into the learning process.  I assume
what they mean by "secular techniques" are things like
literary/histroical analysis.  This goes puts into context something R.
Tendler said, which was that the Rav never built a shiur on a girsa, or a
question of authorship.)

Eitan Fiorino


End of Volume 7 Issue 25