Volume 9 Number 18
                       Produced: Mon Sep 13 18:25:11 1993

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Aseret Y'May T'Shuvah (10 Days of Repentance): Prayers
         [Larry Weisberg]
         [Benjamin Svetitsky]
Spiritual Plane of Hazal
         [Eli Turkel]
Yeshayahu Leibovits
         [David Charlap]
Yitzchok arguing for redemption (2)
         [Shaya Karlinsky, Kibi Hofmann]


From: Larry Weisberg <WEISBERG@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Sep 93 17:44:35 IDT
Subject: Aseret Y'May T'Shuvah (10 Days of Repentance): Prayers

Being that last night Ashkenazim began saying S'Lichot, I thought I
would point out a few things related to our prayers for the next
few weeks.

1 - In the Sh'Mah Koleinu section:
     A) Amareinu HaAzinah Hashem.  Binah Hagigeinu.
        The word Binah is accented on the 1st syllable (the Bet),
        NOT on the Nun.  Here Binah is not a noun (understanding),
        but rather a verb, in the Tzivuy (command) forum.

     B) Al Ta'azvenu Hashem.  (pause!)  Elokeinu Al Tirchak Mimenu.
        rather than the common:
        Al Ta'azvenu Hashem Elokeinu .  (pause!) Al Tirchak Mimenu.
        Based on Psalms (38: 2nd last verse), where the same phrase is written
        in the singular form, with an Etnachta under "Hashem".

2 -     Psalms (130) - Shir HaMaalot which is said in Shacharit during
        Aseret Y'May T'Shuvah:
        Verse 6: Naphshi LaDoshem (pause!).  MiShom'rim LaBoker Shom'Rim
        NOT, as is commonly read:
                Naphshi LaDoshem MiShom'rim LaBoker (pause!). Shom'Rim LaBoker.
        There is an Etnechta under Hashem, not under the 1st LaBoker.  The
        explanation I heard is as follows:
                My soul (waits) for G-d, as the morning watchmen (the 1st
                "Shom'rim" refers to the watchmen) watch for/wait for/
                anticipate the morning (the 2nd Shom'rim refers to the
                action of watching or waiting).

I might add some others later in the week, as I think of them.

Larry Weisberg (<weisberg@...>)
P.S.  I didn't have a Tanach with TaAmei Mikrah while I was writing this.  I am
      pretty certain the place I mentioned have Etnachta's.  If not, then they
      are Oleh V'Yored, which denotes an even bigger pause.


From: Benjamin Svetitsky <bqs@...>
Date: Thu, 9 Sep 93 15:59:08 -0400
Subject: Measurements

This "shiurim le-humrah" business is quite foreign to me.  As far as I
know, you pick one method of ascertaining a shiur (whether it's a
minimum or a maximum) and stick to it.  I can offer counterexamples to
two claims made recently:

1) Due to a friend's preference, I built a sukkah once according to the
Chazon Ish's shiurim.  His "long amah" enabled us to make use of dofen
'akuma (technical details on request) in order to build a sukkah where
otherwise it wouldn't have been possible.  So here the Chazon Ish's
method allowed a kulah among humrot.  (My friend, by the way, had
authoritative advice on this point.)

2) I know for a fact that the Rehovot rabbinate publicizes the SAME
shiur for matza on Pesach (a minimum) as for eating on Yom Kippur (a

Ben Svetitsky      <bqs@...> (temporarily in galut)


From: <turkel@...> (Eli Turkel)
Date: Wed, 8 Sep 93 08:33:35 EDT
Subject: Spiritual Plane of Hazal

Menachem Kellner asks:

> It is a commonplace of contemporary Orthodox thought that Hazal existed
> on a spiritual/intellectual plane much higher than our own and that is the
> reason that their halakhic authority cannot be questioned. In connection with
> a course I plan to teach soon I would like to know if anyone can help me find
> pre-modern texts in which this idea is expressly found. I do not mean texts
> which teach "hitkatnut ha-dorot" (of which there are many) since such do not
> clearly make the claim I am interested in exploring.

    I don't know of any sources that say one cannot disagree with hazal
because they were on a higher plane. On the contrary we usualy "posken"
like the latter authorities because they knew of the arguments of the
earlier generations. Rambam in his introduction says that we cannot
disagree with the Talmud because all the Torah leaders in the
following generations got together and took this on themselves. A
similar arguemnt is given by the kesef mishne (R. Yosef Karo) in the
second chapter of hilchot mamrim. It is not clear if the Rambam means
that this was an actual historical event or just a conceptual consent.

    A similar argument was used by some for the next step and they
claimed that 200 rabbis got together to accept the Shulchan Arukh
and that is why we don't disagree with Rishonim. Note that there is
no such distinction between Rishonim and geonim and that Rambam and others
frequently disagree with geonim.

    In summary we don't disagree with the Talmud or Rishonim because they
were more spiritual but rather because we accepted a vow (neder) on
ourselves not to disagree. Of course, the reason for such a vow was that
we don't feel ourselves to be on their level but that is still basically



From: <dic5340@...> (David Charlap)
Date: Thu, 9 Sep 93 12:47:24 -0400
Subject: Re: Yeshayahu Leibovits

<mpkramer@...> (Michael Kramer) writes:
>In mlj 9:4, Eitan Fiorino referred to Yeshayahu Leibovits as "R.
>Leibovits."  Does he have smicha?  Whence?  I have always heard him
>referred to as "Professor Leibivits."

Did he say "R. Leibovits", or "Rabbi...".  Calling someone "Reb." is
fairly common in Yiddish literature as merele a sign of respect, and
does not imply smicha.  Perhaps this was the intended meaning.

Mind you, I have no knowledge as to whether Dr. Leibovits is a Rabbi
or not.


From: Shaya Karlinsky <HCUWK@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Sep 1993 22:57 IST
Subject: Yitzchok arguing for redemption

IN MJ V9#13 Chaim Schild asks:
>In Gemara Shabbos (89b), there is a discussion concerning a passuk
>where the net result is that Isaac argues for the redemption of the
>Jewish people whereas Avraham and Yakov do not.... Does anybody
>know of any commentary anywhere explaining this story ??

     The Maharal in Netzach Yisrael (Ch. 13) discusses this gemara
at length.  He asks [in amazement] how is it that Avraham and Yakov
[whose characteristics are chesed, kindness, and rachamim, mercy]
aren't the ones to defend the Jewish people when G-d comes with the
accusation that their children have sinned, and it was rather
Yitzchak [whose characteristic is din, strict justice] who is the
one to defend them, negotiate a deal for them, and ultimately use
his willingness to sacrifice himself as the means of saving them.
The section is not an easy one, and what I share with you is how I
have understood it.  It should go without saying that any
difficulties in understanding what I have written should be
attributed to my limitations in accessing the depth of the Maharal.
I welcome any additional insights.
     Avraham, as the one who began the Jewish nation, spent his life
"promoting" G-d as the creator of the world and man's responsibility
to follow His will.  From this perspective, when the nation became
steeped in violating the will of G-d, sanctification of G-d's name
required that they be eradicated, "yimachu al kidush shmecah'.  When
the Jews heard this, they turned to Yakov who was more attached to
the totality of the Jewish nation, through the difficulty he had in
raising his children (tzar gidul banim), hoping that Yakov would
find a way to ensure the justification and continuation of the
Jewish nation.  But Yakov, too, understood that once the nation
sins, it severs its  relationship with G-d, and should be wiped out.
     However, says the Maharal, the relationship between G-d and the
Jewish people is one that is eternal and cannot be severed.  It is
an imperative.  (This is a major theme in Netzach Yisrael,
introduced in Chs.10-12.)  Midat Hadin is the way to relate to
something as compelling and imperative: The precise way something
MUST be, with no deviation whatsoever.   It is this characteristic
of Yitzchak which ensures that even after sin, the imperative
relationship between the Jewish people and G-d remains intact.  And
the deeper we probe to the depth of the situation, the clearer the
imperative becomes.  So the depth of din, precise judgment of the
way something MUST be, led to the fact that the Jewish people could
not be wiped out.  For as a nation which in essence and at its root
has a connection with G-d, they have no connection to sin, and any
sins that they commit must be coincidental.  So their unique
relationship with G-d dictates that they should be exonerated of any
sin.  And if this isn't a complete dispensation, their relationship
with G-d should certainly dictate a partial exoneration - "palga
Alecha upalga alay" half on You and half on me, said Yitzchak, since
they are the children of both You and me.  And if You want to put
all the sins on me, says Yitzchak, the fact that I sacrificed myself
in totality to You (akeidat Yitzchak), having no existence in the
world separate from you, indicates a complete unity between Yitzchak
and G-d, ensuring a relationship between Yitzchak's children and G-d
that can never be severed.
     When the people wanted to attribute their "salvation" to
Yitzchak, he directed their eyes to the true source of the
salvation, the atonement due their inseparable relationship with
*G-D*.  The only credit due Yitzchak was that his characteristic,
din, was the vehicle to ensure that atonement.
     This is the main part of his explanation.  There is more, and
the insights that the Maharal has into midat hadin are very relevant
to Rosh Hashana, making it worth further study.  I hope I have given
some people the motivation to pursue it.
     I will add one insight that my father has observed in this
gemara.  Yitzchak was the only one of the Avot who had a
"delinquent" son that remained part of the family.  Avraham threw
Yishmael out of the house.  All of Yakov's sons were worthy of being
"shivtei kah", tribes of G-d.  Only Yitzchak kept Eisav as part of
the family, and in fact tried to give him a set of Brachot to unite
him with Yakov.  At the end of days, the state of Klal Yisrael will
be one of "banecha chatu," sinning children.  Neither Avraham nor
Yakov know how to deal with such a situation, since they never had
anyone who sinned and continued to be considered a son.  Only
Yitzchak will have the insights and value system that will enable
him to negotiate with G-d to maintain the integrity of Klal Yisrael
with these sinning children in our midst.  This is where Chazal
understood we would be in the (pre-?)messianic period.  Without
Yitzchak's spirited defense, it doesn't seem like we will make it to
the finish line...
     Hope this has been helpful.  Ksiva VaChasima Tova to all.


From: Kibi Hofmann <hofmanna@...>
Date: Thu, 9 Sep 93 14:15:12 BST
Subject: Re: Yitzchok arguing for redemption

In m.j. 9#13 Chaim Schild wites:

> In Gemara Shabbas (89b), there is a discussion concerning a passuk
> where the net result is that Isaac argues for the redemption of the Jewish
> people whereas Avraham and Yaakov do not.... Does anybody know of any
> commentary anywhere explaining this story ??

Not exactly a commentary, but there is an excellent book about Rosh Hashono
by Rabbi Matis Weinberg called "Patterns in Time: Rosh Hashana". This contains
a very deep investigation of the nature of Yitzchok Ovinu, his relationship
to Rosh Hashono and to the sense of humour (!). It contains an explanation
of this Gemara which on the surface of it looks like the original of an old
joke:(from memory - may be a little inaccurate)

Hashem goes to Avrohom at the end of days and says "Your children have sinned"
Avrohom says "Wipe them out for the sake of your name"

So Hashem goes to Ya'akov and says "Your children have sinned"
Ya'akov says "Wipe them out for the sake of your name"

Hashem says to himself "Old men and children have no answers" (or words to that
effect) so he goes to Yitzchok and says "Your children have sinned"

Yitzchok says "My children and not yours? Isn't there a posuk which says
they are the  firstborn children of G-d? And anyway how much can they sin?
If you count a normal life as 70 years, then they only can sin 50 years
from 20 up (since sins aren't counted in heaven below age twenty) to 70.
Take away half the nights - spent on sleeping and you are left with 25.
Take away another half for praying, eating and other "essentials" and they
only have 12 and a half years. If you can take that all then good,
if not then split it with me. And if you want me to take it all then remember
that I did offer myself on the altar to you!"

It's a very strange gemara and the explanation is complicated too, but the
book is well worth a read.

By the way, does anyone know if there are any new books in the "Patterns
in Time" series out? I got Chanuka and Rosh Hashana but then they seemed to
dry up.

Kesiva ve'Chasima Tova


End of Volume 9 Issue 18