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18.8.17

The New Moon and seeing is better than hearing.

It seems to me that  ראש חדש ought to be calculated according to the actual time of the מולד. One reason I have already mentioned comes from סנהדרין ד''י ע''ב that several אמוראיים say that  ראש חדש is not dependent on the court. This goes along with r the opinion of ר אלעזר בן עזריה  that if the court does not sanctify it on time, they sanctify it from heaven. But a further reason come from the fact that a person that murders in front of a court is killed because דלא תהיה שמיעה גדולה מראיה. That is, certain kinds of things do not depend on the court knowing them through hearing. If they know the facts from a more accurate source of information (e.g if they saw the events themselves), that is even better than hearing. There  in סנהדרין ע''ח ע''א where תוספות brings this it only says that seeing is better than hearing. But to me it seems the same idea applies.  You can see this from the מלחמות of the רמב''ן where the רמב''ן brings this idea about קידוש החודש specifically. [see האבי עזרי של רב שך  הלכות סנהדרין פרק י''ד ה''א where רב שך  brings these מקורות.]


נראה לי כי ראש חדש צריך להיות מחושב לפי הזמן בפועל של מולד. סיבה אחת כבר הזכרתי באה מסנהדרין ד''י ע''ב, כי כמה אמוראיים אומרים כי ראש חדש אינו תלוי בבית המשפט. זה הולך יחד עם דעתו של ר 'אלעזר בן עזריה כי אם בית המשפט לא קידשו אותו בזמן, הם מקדשים אותו מן השמים. אבל סיבה נוספת נובעת מכך שאדם שרוצח בחזית בית המשפט נהרג כי "דלא תהיה שמיעה גדולה מראיה". כלומר, סוגים מסוימים של דברים אינם תלויים בשמיעת בית המשפט מעדים, אלא בראיה. אם הם יודעים את העובדות ממקור מידע מדויק יותר, למשל אם הם ראו את האירועים עצמם, זה אפילו טוב יותר מאשר לשמוע. שם בסנהדרין ע''ח ע''א תוספות מביא את זה. אבל יש להעיר  שזה אומר כי ראייה טובה יותר מאשר לשמוע. אבל בעיני זה נראה אותו רעיון. אתה יכול לראות את זה מהמלחמות של הרמב"ן שבו הרמב"ן מביא את הרעיון על קידוש החודש במיוחד. [ראה האבי עזרי של רב שך הלכות סנהדרין פרק י''ד ה''א שבו רב שך מביא את המקורות של שלא תהיה שמיעה גדולה מראיה.
It seems to me that the new moon ought to be calculated according to the actual time of the conjunction. one reason I have already mentioned comes from Sanhedrin page 10 that several amoraim say that  the new moon is not dependent on the court. this goes along with r the opinion of R. Elazar Ben Azariah that if the court does not sanctify it on time , they sanctify it from heaven. But a further reason come from the fact that a person that murders in front on a court is killed because דלא תהיה שמיעה גדולה מראיה that is to say certain kinds of things do not depend on the court knowing them through hearing. if they know the facts from a more accurate source of information e.g if they saw the events themselves, that is even better than hearing. There in Sanhedrin 78a where Tosphot brings this, it only says that seeing is better than hearing. But to me it seems the same idea applies.  You can see this from the מלחמות of the Ramban where the Ramban brings this idea about Kidush Hachodesh specifically. [See Rav Shach's Avi Ezri הלכות סנהדרין פרק י''ד ה''א where Rav Shach brings these sourses.]
So in essence --the way it looks to me today is my major problems have been from simply not accepting the yoke of Torah and trust in God.
Even though there are for me lots of "קושיות" on this path, but I figure that the unscrupulous people that misuse the path of Torah do not present  a real question on it, and that ought to simply get back to the straight and narrow path.
That is more or less based on the Mishna in Pirkei Avot כל המקבל על עצמו עול תורה מעבירים ממנו עול מלכות ועול דרך ארץ The yoke of the government and the yoke of the way of the world is removed from him who accepts the yoke of Torah.

Not that this takes care of everything. Sometimes there comes a time when you stop praying and get up and do what needs to be done.


מה תצעק אלי דבר אל בני ישראל ויסעו 

 When the Jewish people were at the Red Sea and calling to God for help God said to Moshe Why do you call upon me/ speak to the children of Israel and tell them to MOVE

The entire religious world is basically a large bunch of cults. Even though they all claim Torah, there sadlly is little there that is kosher in any sense of the word.

My own approach is based on a statement of the sages אין יסורים בלא עוון. There are no troubles without sin. But when I try to figure out what exactly are my sins I do not get very far. Some things definitely seems to fit the bill  but they contradict other actions that also seem to fit the bill.

I have actually made a sort list on this blog a few times. But since I anyway have trouble identifying what exactly are my sins, I fall back to another statement of the sages. פישפש ולא מצא יתלה בביטול תורה One who has troubles should examine his deeds. One has examined his deeds and not found anything, should attribute the problems to lack of learning Torah.
[Essentially my sins seems to be leaving the straight path of Litvak Torah. I.e. the Gra's path.]



In any case what I think are the major causes of sin are that people join cults, and then their whole world view changes. Straight Torah no longer holds the charm it once did for people that join cults.
And the entire religious world is basically a large bunch of cults. Even though they all claim Torah, there sadlly is little in the religious world that is kosher in any sense of the word.



[The major issues for me are certainly Bitul Torah. For even when I got to Israel which was a great step up, I slacked off in learning Torah. I also did leave Israel eventually which I think was a terrible sin.]


17.8.17

straight Torah

The path of straight Torah is easy to stray from. Or perhaps better said-it was easy for me to stray from it. The major difficulty with sticking with straight, undiluted, unadulterated Torah  is not from enemies of Torah, but from its best friends. "Sure you should learn Torah, but if you come and join our group you will do it so much better! You get the true spirit, not just the words etc." The variations on this theme are endless. But the inner purpose if the same--to get the person out of  authentic Torah into something which seems to have so much more external spirit but is lacking the true essence.

What makes this hard is sometimes there really is something that is an important value--like going to Israel and serving in the IDF. It is just hard to make sense out of it all with so many cults out there.

It is perfectly possible to learn from Reb Nachman and say the Tikun Klali and even go to Uman for Rosh haShanah and not get involved in Breslov, but to remain in a straight Litvak yeshiva and to follow the path of Straight Torah--the Gra and Musar.

It is also possible to  appreciate the importance of "devekut" (attachment with God) and to stick with straight Torah.

But that is not what usually happens. it is just to easy to get caught up in bitul Torah. And Bitul Torah does not simply mean wasting time what could have been spent learning Torah. It also means anything that causes one's fervor for Torah to slacken and weaken.

One aspect of things was brought up to me -the fact that the Litvak path tends to be dry. People  can be interested in Reb Nachman for perfectly good reasons--as in looking for the inner meaning of life and the Torah.  That is not to say that in everything where people feel taste and and vibrancy is from the realm of Holiness. But I would have to say that in the case of Reb Nachman, it is true that he was a true tzadik and his lessons and ideas are valuable.

One of the difficult aspects however if that of בל תוסיף that is not to add to the commandments. This is prohibition in the Torah and it means that what the Torah forbids is forbidden and what the Torah commands to do must be do. You can not make up new rules and claim the Torah holds that way. And this is the practice of the religious world to transgress this on a constant basis.






There is some kind of inherent ambiguity about a הלכה in the רמב''ם נזקי ממון פרק ב. He holds if a string gets attached to  a chicken and it is walking around and breaks vessels, the owner of the chicken pays חצי נזק. And he brings a support for this view from בור המתגלגל ברגלי אדם ובהמה [a hole that is rolling around in a public domain by the feet of people or animals.
That proof seems to work against what the רמב''ם is saying for נזקי בור  are not obligated for damage to vessels.
If it is considered damage caused by רגל, then it would not be obligated at all in  public space.

How to answer this? The גמרא asks what does  צד השווה in the משנה come to include. רבא says בור המתגלגל ברגלי אדם ובהמה and it is learned from בור ושור. Is it possible the רמב''ם could hold once something is learned from צד השווה It would get the חומרא of both? In our case that would be an obligation in רשות הרבים  and also חייב על נזקי כלים?


יש איזשהו אי בהירות מובנית לגבי הלכה ברמב''ם נזקי ממון פרק ב. הוא מחזיק אם מחרוזת מחוברת לעוף וזה מסתובב ושובר כלי, הבעלים של העוף משלמים חצי נזק. והוא מביא תמיכה לחוק זה מבור המתגלגל ברגלי אדם ובהמה [בור המתגלגל במרחב ציבורי על ידי רגלי אנשים או בעלי חיים.] נראה כי הוכחה זו פועלת נגד מה שהרמב"ם אומר שנזקי בור אינם מחויבים לנזק לכלים. אם זה נחשב נזק שנגרם על ידי רגל, אז זה לא יהיה מחויב בכלל במרחב הציבורי. איך לענות על זה? גמרא שואל מה הצד בשווה מגיע במשנה לבוא לכלול. רבא אומר בור המתגלגל ברגלי אדם  והוא בא על ידי בור ושור. האם יתכן שהרמב''ם יכול להכיל משהו שנלמד מן הצד השווה לקבל את חומרא של שניהם? במקרה שלנו זה יהיה חובה ברשות הרבים וגם חיוב על נזקי כלים.
This would be not like the רא''ש nor the other opinion the רא''ש brings that when something is learned from צד השווה we go by the most lenient aspect.
However this might be the opinion of the רמב''ם and a support for this can be found in רב שך in the אבי עזרי רמב''ם נזקי ממון פרק א' ה''ח  where he brings the fact the גמרא learns כופר for רגל. There he brings the idea that the whole reason we learn מצד השווה is to tell us why each of the four אבות נזיקים needs to be written. But after they are written,  the rules that apply to each are not limited to what could be deduced from מצד השווה.

זה לא יהיה כמו הרא"ש וגם הדעה האחרת שהרא''ש מביא כי כשמשהו נלמד מתוך צד השווה אנחנו הולכים על הצד הכי קל. עם זאת, ייתכן שזו דעתו של הרמב''ם ותמיכה לכך ניתן למצוא אצל הרב שך באבי עזרי ברמב''ם נזקי ממון פרק א 'ח', שם הוא מביא את הגמרא שלומדת כופר עבור רגל ברשות היחיד. הנה הוא מביא את הרעיון כי הסיבה  שאנו לומדים את הצד השווה הוא לספר לנו למה כל אחת מארבעה אבות נזיקים צריכים להיות כתוב. אבל אחרי שהם כתובים, הכללים החלים על כל אחד מהם אינם מוגבלים למה שניתן להסיק מן הצד השווה.


There is some kind of inherent ambiguity about a halacah in the Rambam. [נזקי ממון פרק ב] He holds if a string gets attached to  a chicken and it is walking around and breaks vessels, the owner of the chicken pays 1/2 damages. And he brings a support for this view from בור המתגלגל ברגלי אדם ובהמה [a hole that is rolling around in a public domain by the feet of people or animals.].
That proof seems to work against what the Rambam is saying for נזקי בור [damage caused by one digging a hole in a pubic place] are not obligated for damage to vessels. considered
If it is considered damage caused by "feet", then it would not be obligated at all in  public space.

I am being short in this above paragraph because I am not sure how to answer this. The Gemara asks what does  צד השווה in the mishna come to include. Rava says בור המתגלגל ברגלי אדם ובהמה and it is learned from בור ושור. Is it possible the Rambam could hold once something is learned from צד השווה It would get the חומרא of both? In our case that would be an obligation in רשות הרבים  and also חייב על נזקי כלים?


16.8.17

המשנה בתרומה אומרת, המפריש מקצת תרומות ומעשרות מוציא ממנו תרומה עליו אבל לא למקום אחר. ר' מאיר אומר אף מוציא ממנו תרומה על מקום אחר.


If this משנה would only be talking about מעשר it would be simple. And if it was only talking about תרומה, it would also be simple. What makes it difficult to understand is the fact that it puts both together.
Let's say we were only talking about מעשר. And instead of his separating one tenth, he separated one twentieth. And we have the principle אין ברירה. That principle says for example if two children of an idolater inherit his wealth. But one son became a גר.  If we would say יש ברירה , then he could tell the other son, "You can take the idols, and I will take the other property."  And by that it would be revealed that even at first, the idols fell to the portion of the idolatrous son and the convert could take his own portion.  But if there is not retrograde choice, then he could not do so. He would have to take an even portion with the other son, and then the idols that fall to his portion he would have to destroy.

So in our case also. If we would say יש ברירה, then it would be simple to say he simply takes another one twentieth, and the stack of grain is fixed. If אין בררה then it is clear that  the stack of grain is mixed with טבל and חולין. And there would be no physical way to fix it. But he could take another twentieth and say this twentieth is the remaining part מעשר for what ever טבל is left in the כרי
If we were only talking about תרומה, then also it would be perfectly clear. The law of the Torah is   אפילו חיטה אחת פוטרת כל הכרי
Even one grain fixes the entire stack.



אם משנה הזאת רק היתה מדברת על מעשר הכל יהיה פשוט. ואם זו רק היתה מדברת על תרומה, הכל יהיה גם פשוט. מה שמקשה עלי להבין את זו הוא העובדה שהיא מכניסה את שניהם יחד. נניח שדיברנו רק על מעשר. ובמקום שהוא היה צריך להפריד עשירית אחת, הוא הפריד אחת מעשרים. ויש לנו העיקרון אין ברירה. העיקרון הזה אומר למשל אם שני ילדים של עובד אלילים יורשים את עושרו. אבל בן אחד הפך לגר. אם היינו אומרים יש ברירה, אז הוא יכול להגיד  לבן השני, "אתה יכול לקחת את האלילים, ואני אקח את הנכס הנשאר." ועל ידי זה היה מתגלה כי גם בהתחלה, האלילים נפלו לחלק של הבן  העובד אלילים והגר יכול לקחת חלק שלו. אבל אם אין ברירה לאחור, אז הוא לא יכול לעשות זאת. הוא יצטרך לקחת חלק שווה עם הבן השני, ואז האלילים הנופלים לחלק שלו הוא יצטרך להרוס. כך גם במקרה שלנו. אם היינו אומרים יש ברירה, אז זה יהיה פשוט לומר שהוא פשוט לוקח עוד אחת מעשרים, ואת ערימת הדגן הוא מתוקנת. אם אין ברירה אז ברור כי ערימת התבואה מעורבבת עם טבל וחולין. ולא תהיה שום דרך פיזית לתקן את זו. אבל הוא יכול לקחת עוד אחת מעשרים ולומר זו האחת מעשרים  היא החלק הנותר מעשירית על  הטבל הנשאר בכרי. אם רק דיברנו על תרומה, אז גם יהיה ברור לגמרי. החוק של התורה  חיטה אחת פוטרת כל הכרי. (אפילו גרגר אחד מתקן את הערימה כולה)








המשנה בתרומה אומרת, המפריש מקצת תרומות ומעשרות מוציא ממנו תרומה עליו אבל לא למקום אחר. ר' מאיר אומר אף מוציא ממנו תרומה על מקום אחר.

The Mishna in tractate Trumot says when one separates  truma and maasar {1/10} in part, he must separate truma from it but not for another place. R. Meir says also truma for another place.


It seems to me that if this mishna would only be talking about maasar it would be simple. And if it was only talking about truma, it would also be simple. What makes it difficult to understand is the fact that it puts both together.
Let's say we were only talking about Maasar. And instead of his separating 1/10, he separated 1/20. And we have the principle אין ברירה. (No choice). [That principle says for example if two children of an idolater inherit is wealth. But one son became a convert.  If we would say יש ברירה (there is choice), then he could tell the other son you can take the idols and I will take the other property.  And by that it would be revealed that even at first, the idols fell to the portion of the idolatrous son and the convert could take his own portion. ] But if there is not retrograde choice. then he could not do so. He would have to take an even portion with the other son, and then the idols that fall to his portion he would have to destroy.

So in our case also. If we would say יש ברירה then it would be simple to say he simply takes another 1/20 and the stack of grain is fixed. If אין בררה then it is clear that  the stack of grain is mixed with טבל and חולין.
If we were only talking about Truma, then also it would be perfectly clear. The law of the Torah is  is  אפילו חיטה אחת פוטרת כל הכרי
Even one grain fixes the entire stack.







15.8.17

Reb Nachman's thought is often presented as Eastern Mysticism. This started with Reb Aryeh Kaplan and continues. I think the reason this is done is to try to get people whose thoughts are already influenced by Yoga and eastern religions.
However there are differences. One aspect of the difference is simply the existence of good and evil.
In Torah thought, there is evil, and one must actively avoid it.

M own feeling about all this is more or less based on Dr. Kelley Ross's essay "The Dark Side of the Tao" in which he posits a difference between religions that have a conflict between good and evil with good eventually winning--  as opposed to religions that say there is no such conflict.

My own background in the Mir Yeshiva in NY indicates to me a more Musar based approach. But my main thought here is that I must have  a blind spot in which flaws in my own thinking and world view are not apparent to me -in the same way I see people in Eastern religious though (including Reb Nachman's groups) also seem to have a blind spot.

13.8.17

The approach of Reb Israel Salanter [the founder of the Musar Movement] as far as I can see as to consider learning musar [books of medieval Ethics] to be the best way to come to fear of God and good character. But one thing stands out in this whole thing. It is that coming to fear of God is a goal. Perhaps the highest goal. That was at least how I understood it. To some degree you can see this in the verse: אם תבקשנה ככסף וכמטמונים תחפשנה אז תבין יראת ה' ודעת א' תמצא Proverbs 2. "If you seek it like money and like a treasure you search for it, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and the knowledge of God you will find." As a goal we do find the the Five books of Moses the idea of the fear of God as being the highest goal.

However to the Rambam the fear of God is reached not in the conventional way but rather by learning Physics and Metaphysics--along with Torah.

At the time I was at the Mir yeshiva I took the approach of Reb Israel Salanter quite literally. I have to say this seems to have in fact resulted in the exact kind of results that he predicted. So I can not really say if my later approach is all that much better.
What leads to right decisions? This seems to be a subject of debate. In the famous speech of Pericles it was mentioned that  discussion always precedes right action.
That is to say that there is an infinite difference between right action and wrong action. The repercussions go on and on forever. But to be able to perceive the difference before action is taken is very hard. each course of action can be argued for and against. The only way the right choice is made clear is by discussion.

If this was the only thing I had learned from Pericles' speech, that would already be enough. For I have heard of many other approaches the supposedly lead to right action and by experience -my own an others-I have found this idea of Pericles to be the best.

[This idea was also mentioned by Reb Nachman when he says that in the future people will get together and discuss their issues and by means of that, the Truth will be revealed. This is exactly what Pericles said. Discussion always precedes right action.

12.8.17

רמב''ם laws of הלכות ממרים פרק ב' הלכות א'-ג' .

הלכות ממרים פ''ב ה''א ב''ד הגדול שדרשו באחת מן המידות כפי מה שנראה בעיניהם שהדין כך ודנו דין ועמד אחריהם ב''ד אחר לסתור אותו ה''ז סותר ודן כפי מה שנראה בעיניו שנאמר אל השופט אשר יהיה בימים ההם אינך חייב ללכת אלא אחר ב''ד שבדורך.
הלכה ב' ב''ד גזרו גזירה או תקנו תקנה והנהיגו מנהג ופשט הדבר בכל ישראל [ראב''ד-לא אפילו אליהו וב''ד הואיל ופשט איסורן בכל ישראל כדאיתא בע''ז] ועמד אחריהם ב''ד אחר ובקש לבטל דברי הראשונים ולעקור אותה התקנה ואותה הגזרה ואותו המנהג אינו יכול עד שיהיה גדול מן הראשונים בחכמה ובמנין

הלכה ג' בד''א בדברים שלא אסרו אותן כדי לעשות סייג לתורה כשאר דיני התורה אבל דברים שראו ב''ד לגזור ולאסור לעשות סייג אם פשט איסורן בכל ישראל אין ב''ד גדול אחר יכול לעקרן ולהתירן אפילו היה גדול
מן הראשונים
ראב''ד עיטור שוקי ירושלים בפירות קשיא עליו שהראשונים תקנוהו וריו''ח בן זכאי בטלה אחר החרבן מפני שנתבטל הטעם לראשונים ולא היה גדול כראשונים


It occurred to me that the ראב''ד is really saying something significant in the רמב''ם laws of הלכות ממרים פרק ב' הלכות א'-ג' . The thing that I noticed is that the רמב''ם's order goes  from most lenient to most strict. And the ראב''ד has the same thing but with the order moved two steps up.
What that means in plain עברית is this. To the רמב''ם the most lenient is things learned from the שלש עשרה מידות.  For that a later court can reverse the decision even if they are just a small court. The more strict level is  decrees of the sages. For that a later court can reverse the decree if it is greater in number an wisdom. The most strict level are גזירות תקנות ומנהגים made as a סייג to Torah that have been accepted. They can never be reversed. The ראב''ד's system starts with the last thing being the most lenient. He says that that ר. יוחנן בן זכאי reversed the decree to bring the ביכורים to ירושלים and not redeem them. The next level he explains in his comments on מסכת עדויות  where it says why are the words of the דעת היחיד recorded if the הלכה goes by the רוב? Because if a later court sees the words of the minority and agrees with them then it can change the decision if it is greater is number and wisdom.
The ראב''ד there says the later court would not reverse the decree unless the minority opinion was recorded. It comes out then that the later court can go against that majority because it is  a greater majority than the original court that ruled against the minority opinion.


Then the most strict is what is to the רמב''ם the middle level. That is decrees. There the ראב''ד says if it is נתפשט Then it can never be nullified.
Now you could say the ראב''ד is not disagreeing with the רמב''ם's division. But there is good reason to think that the ראב''ד is making the difference between הלכה ב and הלכה ג to be dependent on whether the decree has been accepted, not whether it is a fence to the Torah. You could argue this point  but for the time being let's just say that that is how the לחם משנה and רב שך both understand the ראב''ד.  That means that the ראב''ד is being strict in הלכה ב because as he says the decree was accepted in all Israel. That is why even a later court can not change the decree. And that means that in הלכה ג' where the ראב''ד is the most lenient that is because the decree was no longer accepted.  I mean to say that certainly the decree was once accepted. But when ר. יוחנן בן זכאי came around an the Temple had been destroyed it no longer was the custom to bring first fruits to Jerusalem. So he nullified the decree though he was smaller in wisdom and in number.
Not only that but it would seem like the רמב''ם would have to agree that once the decree was no longer accepted,  it was no longer in force.  For to the רמב''ם how was it possible for ה to nullify a decree when he was smaller in wisdom and number? It was not a case of the 13 principles which is the only case the רמב''ם would have allowed such a thing.


That means that the ראב''ד and perhaps the רמב''ם also are thinking that decrees have force only in so far as they are accepted throughout all Israel. Once they are ignored they no longer have validity because the whole reason for their existence is gone.

So what comes out from all this is significant. That is that the ראב''ד is thinking slightly different from תוספות. What תוספות holds is numerous places is that if the reason for  a decree is nullified the decree itself is nullified. This is like רבה in ביצה page ה' ע''א. What you see from the ראב''ד is that what is determinant if if the decree is presently accepted throughout  all Israel. Not if it once was accepted.  ר. יוחנן בן זכאי certainly did not reverse a decree that had never been accepted.  Or which was based on the 13 principles. Rather it was a decree that had once been accepted  and then was ignored Thus ר. יוחנן בן זכאי could nullify it even though he was smaller in number and wisdom.



ברמב"ם  הלכות ממרים פרק ב 'הלכות א' - ג'. הסדר של הרמב"ם הולך מן הקל ביותר לחמור ביותר. וגם לראב''ד יש את אותו הדבר אבל עם סדר שני צעדים למעלה. מה זה אומר בעברית פשוטה זה. הקל ביותר לרמב''ם הוא דברים הנלמדים מן שלש עשרה מידות. כי בית משפט מאוחר יותר יכול להפוך את ההחלטה גם אם הם רק בית משפט קטן. הרמה החמורה יותר היא גזירות החכמים. כי בית משפט מאוחר יותר יכול להפוך את הצו אם הוא גדול במספר חוכמה. הרמה החמורה ביותר היא גזירות ותקנות  שנעשו סייג לתורה שהתקבלו. לעולם לא ניתן לבטלן. המערכת של ראב''ד מתחילה כשהדבר האחרון הוא הקל ביותר. הוא אומר כי ר' יוחנן בן זכאי ביטל את התקנה להביא את הביכורים לירושלים ולא לגאול אותם. הרמה הבאה הוא מסביר בהערותיו על מסכת עדויות. המשנה שם אומרת מדוע דבריו של היחיד נרשמים אם הלכה הולך על לפי הרוב? הסיבה היא שאם בית משפט מאוחר יותר יראה את דברי המיעוט ומסכים איתם, אז הוא יכול לשנות את ההחלטה אם הוא גדול יותר הוא במספר וחוכמה. הראב"ד אומר שבית המשפט המאוחר לא יבטל דברי הראשונים, אלא אם כן נרשמים חוות דעת המיעוט. אז יוצא כי בית המשפט המאוחר יכול ללכת נגד הרוב הזה, כי הוא רוב גדול יותר מהבית המשפט המקורי שפסק נגד דעת המיעוט. זה בדבר שנלמד ע''י הי''ג מידות. אז החמור ביותר לראב''ד הוא מה שהוא לרמב''ם את הרמת הביניים. זה גזירות. שם אומר הראב''ד אם התקנה נתפשטה, אז לעולם לא תבוטל.  יש סיבה טובה לומר שהראב''ד עושה את ההבדל בין הלכה ב' והלכה ג' להיות תלוי אם הגזירה התקבלה, לא אם זה גדר (סייג) לתורה. אתה יכול להתווכח על הנקודה הזאת, אבל בינתיים נניח שזה נכון שכך רב שך והלחם משנה מבינים את הראב''ד. זה אומר כי ראב''ד הוא מחמיר בהלכה ב' כי כפי מה שהוא אומר הגזירה התקבלה בכל ישראל. לכן אפילו בית משפט מאוחר יותר לא יכול לשנות את הגזירה. ופירוש הדבר כי הלכה ג'  שלראב''ד היא הקלה ביותר היא תקנה שכבר לא מקובלת. אני מתכוון לומר כי בהחלט התקנה היתה פעם מקובלת. אך כאשר ר. יוחנן בן זכאי בא אחר שבית המקדש נהרס זה כבר לא היה מנהג להביא את הפירות הראשונים לירושלים. אז הוא ביטלה למרות שהוא היה קטן יותר בחוכמה ומספר. לא רק זה, אלא שנראה  שהרמב"ם יצטרך להסכים כי לאחר שהגזירה לא מתקבלת עוד, היא כבר לא תהיה בתוקף. עבור לרמב"ם כיצד היה ר' יוחנן בן זכאי יכול לבטל תקנה כאשר היה קטן יותר מן הראשונים בחוכמה ומספר? זה לא היה מקרה של שלש עשרה עקרונות וזה המקרה היחיד שהרמב"ם היה מאפשר דבר כזה. משמעות הדבר היא שגם הראב''ד ואולי הרמב"ם מחזיקים שגם לתקנות יש כוח רק במידה שהן מקובלות על כל ישראל. ברגע שישראל התעלמו מהן אין להן עוד תוקף כי כל הסיבה לקיומן נעלמה. הראב''ד מחזיק קצת שונה מתוספות. מה שתוספות  מחזיק במקומות רבים הוא שאם את הסיבה לתקנה בוטלת אז התקנה עצמה היא בטלה. זה כמו רבה בביצה דף ה" ע''א. מה שאתה רואה מהראב''ד הוא שמה שקובע הוא אם הגזירה מקובלת כיום על כל ישראל. לא אם היא היתה מקובלת פעם. ר יוחנן בן זכאי בהחלט לא ביטל תקנה שלא היתה אף פעם מקובלת. או שהיה מבוסס על שלש עשרה העקרונות.  זאת היתה זה תקנה שהיתה פעם מקובלת ולאחר מכן התעלמה. כך שר. יוחנן בן זכאי היה יכול לבטלה  למרות שהוא היה קטן יותר במספר חוכמה
It occurred to me that the Raavad is really saying something significant in the Rambam laws of Rebellious Judges. The thing that I noticed is that the Rambam's order goes like ABC from most lenient to most strict. And the Ravaad has the same thing but with the order moved two steps up so it goes like BCA.
What that means in plain English is this. To the Rambam the most lenient is things learned from the 13 principles of interpretation. [For that a later court can reverse the decision even if they are just a small court.] The more strict level is  decrees of the sages. For that a later court can reverse the decree if it is greater in number an wisdom. The most strict level is decrees made as a fence to Torah. That can never be reversed. That is A-B-C. The Raavad's system starts with the last thing being the most lenient. He says that that R.Yochanan Ben Zachai reversed the decree to bring the fruit fruits to Jerusalem and not redeem them. The next level he explains in his comments on tracate Eduyot  where there is one of the 13 principles of interpretation that a later court can reverse if it is greater in wisdom and number. The Raavad there says the later court would not reverse the decree unless the minority opinion was recorded. It comes out then that the later court can go against that majority because it is  a greater majority than the original court that ruled against the minority opinion.
Then the most strict is what is to the Rambam the middle level. That is decrees. There the Raavad says if it is נתפשט Then it can never be nullified.
Now you could say the Raavad is not disagreeing with the Rambam's division. But there is good reason to think that the Raavad is making the difference between halacha 2 and halacha 3 to be dependent on whether the decree has been accepted, not whether it is a fence to the Torah. You could argue this point  but for the time being let's just say that that is how the Lechem Mishna and Rav Shach both understand the Raavad.  That means that the Raavad is being strict in halacha 2 because as he says the decree was accepted in all Israel. That is why even a later court can not change the decree. And that means that in halacha 3 where the Raavad is the most lenient that is because the decree was no longer accepted.  I mean to say that certainly the decree was once accepted. But when R. Yochana came around an the Temple had been destroyed it no longer was the custom to bring first fruits to Jerusalem. So he nullified the decree though he was smaller in wisdom and in number.
Not only that but it would seem like the Rambam would have to agree that once the decree was no longer accepted,  it was no longer in force.  For to the Rambam how was it possible for R Yochanan to nullify a decree when he was smaller? It was not a case of the 13 principles which is the only case the Rambam would have allowed such a thing.


That means that the Raavad and perhaps the Rambam also are thinking that decrees have force only in so far as they are accepted throughout all Israel. Once they are ignored they no longer have validity because the whole reason for their existence is gone.

So what comes out from all this is significant. That is that the Raavad is thinking slightly different from Tosphot. What Tosphot hold is numerous places is that if the reason for  a decree is nullified the decree itself is nullified. [This is like Raba in Beitza page 5a] What you see from the Raavad is that what is determinant if if the decree is presently accepted throughout  all Israel. Not if it once was accepted.  R. Yochanan certainly did not reverse a decree that had never been accepted.  Or which was based on teh 13 principles. Rather it was a decree that had once been accepted  and then was ignored Thus R Yochanan could nullify it even though he was smaller in number and wisdom

To me this makes sense. I thought at first that if people would be more strict about Torah that that would make things better. But eventually I began to notice there was an inverse relation between strictness and menchlichkeit.








Reb Nachman is not the same as Breslov.

On the subject of Reb Nachman. The positive aspects were pointed out to me. That is that the real thing- authentic Litvak Torah- tends to be kind of flat. Especially for people looking for the meaning of life it does not tend to address issues that are foremost in people's-minds. Reb Nachman was a true tzadik and his approach is a very good synthesis between straight Torah {Gemara Rashi Tosphot} and the Arizal [Isaac Luria].
The drawback is the tendency to get involved in Breslov which is filled with insane people.
For me personally I was not lacking anything as a straight Litvak. Torah and marriage, Israel, devekut,... Getting involved in Breslov changed all that. It is like a door is opened to all kinds of other cults and bad stuff.
The other thing is there is even in the thought of Reb Nachman itself a tendency is to reject the balanced approach of the Rishonim (Rambam, Obligations of the Heart, Musar) of  synthesis between Reason and Revelation.  This is possible to find find in the words of Reb Nachman himself through quilt quotations.
This is not to minimize the importance of Reb Nachman's thought, but it does mean that it is highly advisable to avoid Breslov and all the cults that were put into excommunication by the Gra. Reb Nachman himself was not included in the excommunication, but getting involved with his books tends to open the door to lots of other pretty bad stuff.

Reb Nachman's system is is a synthesis of straight Litvak Torah, Gemara Rashi Tosphot, with the Ari.
 The Rambam's is a synthesis of Torah with Aristotle. The differences are significant and that leaves me wondering . 

music for the glory of God

9.8.17

Gemara Bava Kama 19a

The גמרא in בבא קמא י''ט ע''א is hard to figure out. רב אשי asks if a שינוי , that is doing damage in a different way than is common, applies to צרורות . An example would be if the animal kicked up stones that went and caused damage. The question is if you say שינוי (change) does apply then it would be only a fourth of the damage.
Normally if an animal walks and happens to knock pebbles that cause damage, the owner is obligated is half damage. But what if instead of walking the animal kicked the pebbles on purpose? Is that a further unusual circumstance and so the owner would be obligated only fourth.
The גמרא then asks why not answer it from the question of רבא who asked if העדאה warning applies to צרורות pebbles.
To me the questions seem independent. But clearly the גמרא is thinking that you could not ask about העדאה warning unless שינוי  applied. But even that to me seems hard to understand because let's say רבא had answered "No. There is no העדאה by צרורות". Then we would also not know anything about if שינוי applies.

One reason that is all seems hard to understand is that even העדאה did apply to pebbles, that would be because it would be considered in itself a שינוי. But that would not tell us anything if another kind of שינוי would be applicable.
רש''י understands that רבא was asking specifically on the issue of  a  fourth.  If העדאה to  בעיטה בצרורות applies? That would help to some degree but it still is curious that רבא does not mention anything about kicking בעיטה. He only asks if העדאה is applicable to pebbles, not to any specific case of pebbles. That would suggest his question was if an animal kicked pebbles three times  and the owner was warned each time, then after the last time, he might be obligated full damages.


הגמרא בבבא קמא י''ט ע''א קשה להבין. רב אשי שואל אם שינוי, (שהוא עושה נזק בצורה שונה מהמקובל), חל צרורות. דוגמה לכך תהיה אם החיה בעט את האבנים כשהלך והאבנים גרמו נזק. השאלה היא אם אתה אומר שינוי של שינוי חל אז החיוב יהיה רק כרבע מן הנזק. בדרך כלל אם חיה בהליכתה דופקת צרורות שגורמים נזק, הבעלים מחויבים  חצי נזק. אבל מה אם במקום ללכת החיה בעטה בצרורות בכוונה? האם במצב   שנסיבות יוצאות דופן נוספות אחת על השניה? אם בעלים מחויבים רק רביע? הגמרא אז שואלת למה לא לענות על השאלה של רב אשי מן השאלה של רבא ששאל אם העדאה (אזהרה) חלה על חצי נזק צרורות. מבחינתי השאלות נראות עצמאיות. אבל ברור שהגמרא חושבת שאתה לא יכול לשאול על העדאה אלא השאלה על השינוי נענתה.  גם  לי נראה קשה להבין כי נניח שרבא ענה "לא. אין העדאה  בצרורות". אז אנחנו גם לא יודעים שום דבר אם שינוי חל בצרורות. גם אם העדאה לא תחול על צרורות, זה יהיה כי זה ייחשב כשלעצמו שינוי. אבל זה לא אומר לנו כלום אם סוג אחר של שינוי יחול. רש''י מבין שרבא שואל ספציפית בנושא של הרביע נזק. אם העדאה  בבעיטה בצרורות חלה? זה יעזור במידה מסוימת, אבל עדיין מעניין כי רבא אינו מזכיר שום דבר על  בעיטה. הוא שואל רק אם העדאה שייכת לצרורות , לא במקרה הספציפי של שינוי בצרורות. השאלה שלו היתה אם חיה בעטה צרורות שלוש פעמים והבעל הוזהר בכל פעם, אז אחרי הפעם האחרונה, אם הוא עלול להיות מחויב מלוא הנזקים?


The previous blog entry is to show how I think the Rambam deals with this difficult Gemara.

The fact of the matter is the way that Rav Shach hints to over there in the Avi Ezri seems to be the only way to make sense out of this Gemara because as I mention in this blog entry here the way of Rashi and even Tosphot seems to leave more questions than they solve.

if an animal is in a public domain and kicks and causes damage

I was looking at the אבי עזרי of רב שך and did not understand him. But based on some things he says there I think this is how he understands the רמב''ם.


The רמב''ם in הלכות ניזקי ממון פרק ב' הלכה ה' והלכה ו' says:
היתה מהלכת ברשות הרבים ובעטה והתיזה צרורות והזיקה ברשות הרבים פטור ואם תפס הניזק רביע נזק אין מוציאין מידו שהדבר ספק הוא שמא שינוי הוא ואינו תולדת רגל שהרי בעטה, בעטה בארץ ברשות הניזק והתיזה רורות מחמת הבעיטה והזיקה שם חייב לשלם רביע נזק שזה שינוי הוא בהתזת צרורות ואם תפס הניזק חצי נזק אין מוציאין מידו

That is. if an animal  is in a public domain and kicks and causes damage by צרורות the owner is not obligated, but if the ניזק is תופס a רביע we do not take it from him. Also if the animal is in a private domain and kicks and the pebbles cause damage in a private domain, then if the ניזק is תופס חצי damages we do not take it from him. But at the very least, the מזיק is obligated רביע damages.
We see how the רמב''ם understood the סוגיא  in בבא קמא י''ט ע''א. He said that the question of רב אשי is this: Is  חצי נזק צרורות קרן התם? Or is it תולדות הרגל? The idea of the question is we know חצי נזק צרורות is הלכה למשה מסיני but is it תולדות הרגל or קרן התם.
We see the צרורות might not be confined to רגל from the law in the beginning of פרק כיצד הרגל that says חזיר שהיה נובר באשפה משלם חצי נזק שהוא צרורות דשן כמו שכתבו שם התוספות

Included in his question is the idea that if it is קרן התם the a שינוי of a שינוי would apply and if you would have צרורות with בעיטה it would be only a fourth נזק
But in any case it would be obligated  in a public domain. That is why the רמב''ם says if the ניזק is תופס 1/4 when it did the צרורות by means of kicking in  a public domain we do not take it from him.
If it would be תולדות הרגל the owner  would be פטור
The question of רבא is  similar. He asks if there is  a warning העדאה? That means also is חצי נזק צרורות קרן התם?. As far as that goes, it is the same question. But רבא does not include the idea of שינוי של שינוי



חיפשתי  אבי עזרי של רב שך ולא הבנתי אותו. אבל מבוסס על הדברים שראיתי שם, נראה שככה הוא מבין את הרמב''ם. רמב''ם בהלכות ניזקי ממון פרק ב' הלכה ה' והלכה ו' אומר: היתה מהלכת ברשות הרבים ובעטה והתיזה צרורות והזיקה ברשות הרבים פטור ואם תפס הניזק רביע נזק אין מוציאין מידו שהדבר ספק הוא שמא שינוי הוא ואינו תולדת רגל שהרי בעטה , בעטה בארץ ברשות הניזק והתיזה צרורות מחמת הבעיטה והזיקה שם חייב לשלם רביע נזק שזה שינוי הוא בהתזת צרורות ואם תפס הניזק חצי נזק אין מוציאין מידו. כלומר. אם חיה נמצאת בתחום הציבורי ועל ידי בעיטה גורמת נזק על ידי צרורות, הבעלים אים מחויבים, אלא אם ניזק  תופס רביע אנחנו לא לוקחים את זה ממנו. כמו כן אם החיה נמצאת בתחום פרטי ועל ידי בעיטות  בצרורות גורמת נזק ברשות הניזק, אז אם ניזק הוא תופס חצי נזק אנחנו לא לוקחים את זה ממנו. אבל לכל הפחות,  המזיק מחויב רביע נזק. אנו רואים כיצד הרמב''ם הבין את הסוגיא בבבא קמא י''ט ע''א. הוא אמר כי השאלה של רב אשי היא זו: האם חצי נזק צרורות קרן התם? או שזה תולדות רגל? הרעיון של השאלה הוא שאנחנו יודעים חצי נזק צרורות הוא הלכה למשה מסיני, אבל אם זה תולדות הרגל או קרן התם אינו ברור. אנו רואים שצרורות אולי לא מוגבלות להיות תולדת הרגל מן תחילת פרק כיצד הרגל שאומר חזיר שהיה נובר באשפה משלם חצי נזק שהוא צרורות דשן כמו שכתבו שם התוספות. מוכלל בשאלה שלו הוא הרעיון שאם הוא קרן התם שינוי על שינוי יחול, ואם החיה היתה  מבעטת בצרורות ועם הבעיטה גרמה נזק, שהמזיק יהיה חייב רק רביע נזק. אבל בכל מקרה זה יהיה מחויב בתוך מרחב ציבורי. לכן רמב''ם אומר אם הניזק תופס רביע אנחנו לא לוקחים את זה ממנו. אבל אם זה  תולדות רגל הבעלים יהיו פטורים. שאלת רבא דומה. הוא שואל אם יש העדאה בצרורות? כלומר, אם חצי נזק צרורות קרן התם? היא קרובה להיות אותה השאלה של רב אשי. אבל רבא אינו כולל את הרעיון של שינוי על שינוי.\

Why would the רמב''ם write that he is מחוייב in the domain of the ניזק  at least רביע of the damages. But if the ניזק is תופס a half we do not take it from him?
The reason is that whether it is תולדות רגל or קרן התם that makes no difference in the רשות הניזק. the מזיק is obliged in either case. The only thing that is in doubt is the question of רב אשי if there is שינוי על שינוי. So at the minimum the מזיק is obligated a fourth on the צד there is שינוי על שינוי. But there might not be שינוי על שינוי and therefore it would be regular חצי נזק


מדוע רמב''ם כותב כי הוא מחוייב בתחום של ניזק לפחות רביע הנזק. אבל אם הניזק הוא תופס חצי אנחנו לא לוקחים אותו ממנו? הסיבה לכך היא כי אם מדובר תולדות רגל או קרן התם אינו עושה הבדל ברשות הניזק. המזיק מחויב בכל מקרה. הדבר היחיד שמוטל בספק הוא שאלת רב אשי אם יש שינוי על שינוי. אז המינימום שהמזיק מחויב רביע על צד שיש שינוי על שינוי. אבל אם אין שינוי על שינוי יהיה מחוייב חצי נזק.ולכן על צד הספק לא לוקחים את זה ממנו אם תפס.





Rav Shach and Gemara Bava Kama 19a

I was looking at the Avi Ezri of Rav Shach and did not understand him. But based on some things he says there I think this is how he understands the Rambam.


The Rambam in laws of  damages 2:5 and 2:6 says

היתה מהלכת ברשות הרבים ובעטה והתיזה צרורות והזיקה ברשות הרבים פטור ואם תפס הניזק רביע נזק אין מוציאין מידו שהדבר ספק הוא שמא שינוי הוא ואינו תולדת רגל שהרי בעטה, בעטה בארץ ברשות הניזק והתיזה רורות מחמת הבעיטה והזיקה שם חייב לשלם רביע נזק שזה שינוי הוא בהתזת צרורות ואם תפס הניזק חצי נזק אין מוציאין מידו

That is if an animal  is in a public domain and kicks and causes damage by pebbles the owner is not obligated but if the ניזק is תופס a 1/4 we do not take it from him. Also if the animal is in a private domain and kicks and the pebbles causes damage in the private domain then the מזיק is obligated 1/4 damages and if the ניזק is תופס 1/2 damages we do not take it from him.

We see how the Rambam understood the sugia in Bava Kama 19a. He said that The question of Rav Ashi is this: Is  חצי נזק צרורות קרן התם? Or is it תולדות הרגל? The idea of the question is we know חצי נזק צרורות is הלכה למשה מסיני but is it תולדות הרגל or קרן התם

We see the צרורות might not be confined to רגל from the law in the beginning of פרק כיצד הרגל that says חזיר שהיה נובר באשפה משלם חצי נזק שהוא צרורות דשן כמו שכתבו שם התוספות


Included in his question is the idea that if it is קרן התם the a שינוי of a שינוי would apply and if you would have צרורות with בעיטה it would be only 1/4 נזק. But in any case it would be obligated  in a public domain. That is why the Rambam says if the ניזק is תופס 1/4 when it did the צרורות by means of kicking in  a public domain we do not take it from him.
If it would be תולדות הרגל the owner  would be פטור
The question of Rava is  similar. He asks if there is  a warning? That means also is חצי נזק צרורות קרן התם?. As far as that goes it is the same question. But Rava does not include the idea of שינוי של שינוי. That is to Rava it might one רגל or it might be קרן If it is foot then it would be obligated in a private domain the 1/2. But if it is קרן it would not be obligated in a private domain so the מזיק pays 1/4/

That is why the Rambam writes if it kicked in a private domain and the pebbles went and did damage in the private domain he might be obligated 1/2 damages. This is because the question of Rava does not have the idea of שינוי של שינוי in it, and also because the Gemara has this doubt that it might be תולדות רגל.
So I can see why the Rambam would say צרורות על ידי בעיטה ברשות הניזק would be 1/2 on the צד that it is foot and there is no שינוי של שינוי  but to say that it is clear he is obligated at least 1/4 is not clear to me. The reason is both Rava and Rav Ashi have a doubt if it is קרן התם which would be פטור ברשות הניזק

My own background from Beverly Hills to the Mir Yeshiva in NY. My Dad was not a movie star but an scientist highly valued by the USA. So they recruited him when they needed him for some secret project or other.. An they paid well so we ended up in Beverly Hills

I wanted to make clear my own background so as to not leave a wrong impression as far as my own upbringing is concerned. I wrote once about this but it was lost.
At any rate, I was raised basically as a conservative Jew. We went to Temple Israel In Hollywood and sometimes to Mount Sinai Synagogue. I went to Beverly Hills High School and learned Torah mainly on Shabat. My philosophical interests were fueled and ignited by a general atmosphere of the need to search and find the Truth.  So on the side I did my own philosophical reading. Eventually I concluded the Torah--that is the Oral and Written Law of Moses is correct and went to Shar Yashuv yeshiva in NY to learn Torah.
This means that there is an inherent question about the proper path. My parents were as people and a parents very great. But there were some things in Torah they were not doing. Specifically the very things emphasized by the religious world. Laws about food, nida, and Shabat.  But in other aspects of Torah they were much better than anyone in the religious world. That is in areas of menchlichkiet, being a decent moral, upright human being, honesty, loyalty, trustworthiness, reliability and so on.
[As far as the religious world goes I have found the emphasis on these three things Nida, food, and Shabat to serve as excuses for being backstabbers. So as far as that goes, I do have to admit the Torah does require care in these things Shabat, food preparation, and nida. But as Reb Israel Salanter noted--these are not the major obligations of Torah even though they are obligations.]
Among the very important lessons I learned in the Mir yeshiva and in Shar Yashuv were the ideas of trust in God to take care of my needs and to sit and learn Torah. That is working for a living is basically not needed if one accepts on himself the yoke of Torah. I went with  this idea for a few years and it really works! But after some time I lost this great ideal. But even if  can not do it I think it is important to relay the message to others that might be able to do this. I went with this while at the Mir but then went to Israel to accept an invitation to join the kollel of Rav Ernster in Meor Chaim in Safed. That was a great period in many ways, but I was not learning much Torah.
Then we went back to the USA and there everything fell apart as is the situation until today.
So I still try to learn Torah to some degree but alone and lonely.
There are lots of important lessons to learn here about the importance of learning Torah and avoiding cults. The main thing in Torah we already know is to avoid cults as it says in Deuteronomy when you go to the Land that God has promised this is the thing to do--destroy all the places of idols. I am not quoting it exactly but you can see for the verse that the major thing is to avoid cults.






8.8.17

The Gemara in Bava Kama 19a is hard to figure out. Rav Ashi asks if a שינוי ["a change," that is doing damage in a different way than is common] applies to צרורות ("pebbles"). An example would be if the animal kicked up stones that went and caused damage. The question is if you say שינוי (change) does apply then it would be only a 1/4 of the damage.

[Normally if an animal walks and happens to knock pebbles that cause damage, the owner is obligated is half damage. But what if instead of walking the animal kicked the pebbles on purpose? Is that a further unusual circumstance and so the owner would be obligated only 1/4]


The Gemara then asks why not answer it from the question of Rava who asked if העדאה "warning"applies to צרורות (pebbles).
To me the questions seem independent. But clearly the Gemara is thinking that you could not ask about העדאה (warning) unless שינוי (change) applied. But even that to me seems hard to understand because let's say Rava had answered "No. There is no העדאה by צרורות". Then we would also not know anything about if שינוי applies.

[One reason that is all seems hard to understand is that even העדאה did apply to pebbles, that would be because it would be considered in itself a שינוי. But that would not tell us anything if another kind of שינוי would be applicable.]
Rashi understands that Rava was asking specifically on the issue of  a 1/4--that is. if העדאה applies. That would help to some degree but it still is curious that Rava does not mention anything about kicking (בעיטה). He only asks if העדאה is applicable to pebbles[[not to any specific case of pebbles. That would suggest his question was if an animal kicked pebbles three times  and the owner was warned each time, then after the last time, he might be obligated full damages.
The way Rav Shach seems to understand the gemara in Bava Metzia about the oven of Achnai is that there are two levels. One is the objective halacha. That would be on the level of the Platonic forms. The other level is when the halacha comes down into this world. When t comes down into this world an added condition is needed that the majority should agree with it. אחרי רבים הטות. That is how he explains the Gemara about the oven in which even though the objective halacha was like R. Eliezer, still it is needed this extra condition of רוב- the majority of sages should agree.
This gives an idea of in another Gemara we have a case in which God said the halacha was one way and the yeshiva in Heaven said the opposite and they went to Raba bar bar Chana to decide which one was right.

[This seems clearly like Aristotle that there is some kind of connection between the Platonic forms and the individuals that embody them that is more subtle than just as a container for the form,]



For background: the oven of Achnai was not cemented together. Would it still have a category of an oven [that can become unclean]? R Eliezer said no. The Sages disagreed.  A voice came from heave and said R Eliezer is right. R. Yehoshua said: Heaven does not decide the halacah. The Torah says to go by the majority of sages.

[The questions here are many; especially since we know the sages can make mistakes as we see in the Torah a special sin offering they must bring in such a case.]

7.8.17

Music for the glory of God

Religious fanaticism leads to anything except good character.]

The basic idea of the Rambam and Saadia Gaon of  a synthesis between Torah and  Greek Thought is important but today a new synthesis would have to  take into account the insights of Kant and Hegel. Most people would rather that the Rambam had never attempted such a synthesis in the first place but that to me indicates a lack of faith in the Rambam more than true faith in Torah.

[The reasons why the synthesis is needed between Faith and Reason is clear to anyone who has observed communities that are based on faith alone, and reject reason. Religious fanaticism leads to anything except good character. Why this should be so is an open question, but a hint can be gained from the Rambam in his showing the intermediate step of Natural Law was necessary between the  "ravings of the Sabians" and the Giving of Torah. Also it is possible to suggest that Torah in its pure form is on the level of the Platonic forms that   the hit the ground of being --the individual. דרך ארץ קדמה לתורה. Another suggestion is it is a kind of Hegelian dialectical process. [I mean to say that being things need a ground of being to exist. Being itself. Platonic forms hit that ground and become individual things]



The goal would be to make full use of the Rambam and the  Ari, the Gra, and Kant and Hegel.
I  mentioned this a few times about 6 years ago. But today it seems all the more necessary.

I admit most of the work in this direction was already done by Dr Kelley Ross. However he does ignore important ideas of Hegel. But the main ideas are already in place. That is you would have to equate what is called immediate non-intuitive knowledge with faith.

Falsification is not how new ideas are discovered. It is an important part of the Kant Friesian system but does not explain the processes of reason. But neither does Dr Michael Huemer where reason simply recognizes universals. However Dr Huemer does have a kind of dialectical process in his system in which things that are recognize by reason can be defeated by other concepts that turn out to have more intuitively clear consequences. So in any case Hegel's dialectical process in fact seem to be at the root of all new advances in reason
But furthermore the dialectical process the way most understand it is confined to reason but there does not seem to be any reason to limit it in that range. It could easily work between conflicting areas of value as per the Kant-Friesian system

Even if I am not the man for this job clearly the job in need to be done. It is perfectly possible to get a good synthesis of Reason and Revelation  and to base it on the labors of predecessors like the Rambam -and also to have the sense of what to reject. [I think people are right for taking the Guide of the Rambam as the best guide to how to go about this. The purpose of this is that without it, authentic Torah is not possible. People go into a whole array of delusions they image are real Torah and you end up with the nightmare world of the religious.






6.8.17

extra degrees of strictness do not help to come to righteousness.

The most remarkable thesis of the Rambam is  the synthesis of Reason with Revelation which scandalizes people today as much as it did in his own days.  I would not have paid any attention to it if not for my encountering problems in the religious world in the most unpleasant  possibles ways.
This is what got me to thinking the strictly religious approach is highly unkosher and that something is really wrong. My first feeling was to go with the idea of the religious not being strict enough. That is I thought they were ignoring essential aspects of Torah while focusing on rituals. Eventually I gave up on that and simply decided extra degrees of strictness do not help to come to righteousness.

A lot of this was based more on observation more than on abstract principles.
My basic set of principles today is different than what I would have said at the time all this was going on.
Today my set of principles  would be (1) Learning Torah with making full use of the great Litvak Gedolim like Rav Shach and Reb Chaim Soloveitchik.
(2) Learning Math and Physics.
(3) The Rambam's approach of combining reason and Revelation but I would not stop at Aristotle as he did but also make use of the German idealism especially Hegel and Kelley Ross.
(4) Learning the Ari, Isaac Luria but avoiding the cults of the Sitra Achra which claim to be going by him.
(5) Bitul Torah  is an even more important concept than learning Torah. Bitul Torah negates the idea of doing things outside of learning Torah as having any great significance. It says that it is  a sin to be doing other things even you could be learning Torah. This concept comes from a verse in the Torah כי דבר ה' בזה ונכרתה הנפש ההיא מקרב ינה For he despised the word of God and that soul shall be cut off from among its people. And the Gemara in Sanhedrim explains that verse as referring to anyone who is able to be learning Torah and does not do so. However I should add the Rambam who considered Physics and Metaphysics as a part of the Oral Law.



5.8.17

This is in fact one of the drawbacks of the religious world which has in it too many groups that are simply Sitra Achra [Dark Side] cults trying to get themselves accepted as valid.

Some of the main ideas I have found most important in Torah I have found in the books of Musar from the Middle Ages, especially the emphasis there on good character. The trouble nowadays
 when people become religious usually their character deteriorates  exponentially.

So this approach of Reb Israel Salanter of combining learning Torah along with Musar makes a lot of sense to me. but besides that I founds lots of very important ideas about practical living in books of Musar.[The idea of learning fast in the אורחות צדיקים is one idea I used in Torah  and also in Physics.]
[Trust in God with no effort I also discovered in books of Musar and that certainly has been a help to when ever i have listened to it.]

It would be hard to put it all into words but some important idea I gained from my parents and teachers in high school. Other very important ideas from my teachers in yeshiva and still more from reading Musar and Dante, Plato and the Rambam.

It might be a good thing to try and consolidate it all. But the main thing I discovered was not what good ideas to adopt but rather the importance of learning common sense about what kinds of people to avoid and what kinds of groups and ideas to avoid.

This is in fact one of the drawbacks of the religious world which has in it too many groups  that are simply Sitra Achra [Dark Side] cults trying to get themselves accepted as valid.
Rambam laws of acquisition 20;14

So now that I have arrived at this conclusion that what matters here is רשות, not ownership, it is possible to raise a question on רב שך. He brings the תוספתא that says  המוכר פרה לחבירו ונגנבה זה אומר ברשוך נגנבה וזה אומר ברשותך יחלוקו and says that can not be talking about the רשות But rather the time of the קנין. To answer  this question let me just say if this teaching would be like the sages then clearly there would be no question that the seller would have to bring a proof that the theft happened after the sale. But this is סומכוס and so we are not discussing who has to bring a proof. The only question is the time of the sale in relation to the time of the theft.

אז עכשיו שהגענו למסקנה הזו כי מה שחשוב כאן הוא רשות, לא בעלות, אפשר להעלות שאלה על רב שך. הוא מביא את תוספתא שאומרת המוכר פרה לחבירו ונגנבה זה אומר ברשוך נגנבה וזה אומר ברשותך יחלוקו, ואומר כי לא ניתן לדבר על הרשות אלא הזמן של קנין. [כנראה שלא כמו שפירש את ההלכה ברמב''ם]. כדי לענות על שאלה זו, אני רק אגיד שאם הוראה זו תהיה כמו החכמים אז ברור שלא תהיה שאלה כי המוכר היה צריך להביא הוכחות כי הגניבה קרתה לאחר המכירה. אבל זה סומכוס ולכן אנחנו לא דנים מי צריך להביא ראיה. השאלה היחידה היא הזמן של מכירה ביחס לזמן הגניבה.
I have thought hard on the basic aspects  Nachman from Uman and my basic feeling is that his advice and ideas are very valuable. It is not that all the groups founded that go by his name are very good but that he himself had very important ideas concerning Torah.
The main problem is that people generally associate his name with the groups that the Gra put into excommunication.
 It is a problem that his good ideas get used to seduce and influence others to do bad stuff.

4.8.17

I have vision about the importance of learning Torah as the central focus. But it is like a star in the center of a constellation of related values..
Some people have related values but lack the central focus.

The basic way this works is in the context of an authentic Litvak yeshiva. In such a place the areas of focus become clear. 

What this weary world needs most is clarity of vision

What this weary world needs most is clarity of vision. The problem that most people get into is they find some value they can see is clear and good. Yet they are unaware that that value is connected to other values which are far from good or decent. No value is a value unto itself but is always connected to other values and often those other values are downright evil.
I could go on with many examples but I am sure you can provide your own examples since thss phenomenon is so widespread.


Most consciousness traps work in this way. They emphasis some good and true area of value but unseen with that area are other areas of values that are negative.
For this reason there really is no other choice but to be committed to simple learning Torah and doing what it says.--especially the Ten Commandments and to learn Rav Shach's Avi Ezri and to volunteer for the IDF.
As I think about Rav Shach's treatment of the Rambam, laws of Acquisition 20:14 and 15 I realize there is something deep and subtle going on there that I have not yet grasped. What makes the case of the exchange of animals a case where we consider the owner of the cow to have not yet taken possession of the חמור  even though the owner of the חמור has taken possession of the cow? It is true that the חמור has not yet come into his domain but he still owns it.

The answer to this question is that the essential thing here is it is the domain that matters, not ownership. This is like we see in the Rambam laws of Acquisition 22:9. if one has an object that he has given to another for safekeeping, he can still give it away or sell it because it is considered to be in his domain. But if the person he gave it to for safekeeping denies the whole thing, then the owner can no longer sell it of give it away because it is no considered any longer to be in his domain.
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 רמב''ם , ה'מכירה  פרק כ' הלכה י''ד והלכה ט''ו.  What makes the case of the exchange of animals a case where we consider the owner of the cow to have not yet taken possession of the חמור  even though the בעל of the חמור has taken possession of the cow? It is true that the חמור has not yet come into his domain but he still owns it.

The answer to this question is that the essential thing here is it is the רשות that matters, not ownership. This is like we see in the רמב''ם , ה'מכירה  פרק כ''ב הלכה ט . if one has an object that he has given to another for safekeeping, he can still give it away or sell it because it is considered to be in his domain. But if the person he gave it to for safekeeping denies the whole thing, then the owner can no longer sell it of give it away because it is no considered any longer to be in his  רשות.

 רמב''ם, ה' מכירה פרק כ" הלכה י''ד והלכה ט''ו. מה שהופך את המקרה של חילופי חיות מקרה שבו אנו רואים את הבעלים של הפרה  כמו שלא לקח עדיין ברשותו את החמור אף שהבעלים של החמור קנו  את הפרה?  נכון כי החמור טרם הגיע אל התחום שלו אבל הוא עדיין החמור של בעלים של הפרה. התשובה לשאלה זו היא כי הדבר העקרי הנה הוא הרשות שחשובה, לא בעלות. זה כמו שאנו רואים רמב''ם, ה' מכירה פרק כ''ב הלכה ט'. אם לאחד יש אובייקט שהוא נתן למשנהו למשמרת, הוא עדיין יכול לתת אותו או למכור אתו כי זה נחשב בתחום שלו. אבל אם האדם  שניתן לו למשמרת מכחיש את העניין, אז הבעלים כבר לא יכולים למכור אותו או לתת אותו כי הוא לא נחשב עוד להיות ברשות שלו.

So now that I have arrived at this amazing conclusion that what matters here is רשות, not ownership, it is possible to raise a question on Rav Shach. He brings the Tosephta that says  המוכר פרה לחבירו ונגנבה זה אומר ברשוך נגנבה וזה אומר ברשותך יחלוקו and says that can not be talking about the רשות But rather the time of the קנין. To answer  this question let me just say if this teaching would be like the sages then clearly there would be no question that the seller would have to bring a proof that the theft happened after the sale. But this is סומכוס and so we are not discussing who has to bring a proof. the only question is the time of the sale in relation to the time of the theft.


------------
 I am really not sure of what is going on in the רמב''ם and in רב שך. The way I understood the רמב''ם ה' מכירה כ:י''ד is when there is an exchange of animals and one is found dead that the seller of that animal has to bring the proof. That is different than in רמב''ם ה' מכירה כ:ט''ו in which an animal is found טרף  in which case the buyer has to bring a proof.  I thought and I think the reason for the difference is חזקת הגוף. The animal had חזקת כשרות until the last possible moment. In the case the גמרא brings in כתובות ע''ו י''ב the bride was found with a blemish and the father has to bring a proof it happened after the engagement. So there we do not go by חזקת כשרות and חזקת הגוף. Nor in the exchange of two animals do we go by חזקת הגוף that it was alive until the last possible minute. Perhaps it is possible to suggest a a reason for the רמב''ם  that is based on תוספות in נידה ב:ב that חזקת השתא cancels חזקה מעיקרא unless some other חזקה comes along to strengthen the חזקה מעיקרא? But then why would that not work for the טבח In ה' מיכרה כ:ט''ו

I had one or two more points to make today in reference to the ideas I rote own yesterday on Rav Shach's question on the Tosephta.
First of all I am really not sure of what is going on in the Rambam and in Rav Shach. The way I understood the Rambam [Laws of Acquisition 20:14] is when there is an exchange of animals and one is found dead that the seller of that animal has to bring the proof. That is different than in ch 20 law 15 in which an animal is found Treif [it had a puncture in its lung] in which case the buyer has to bring a proof.  I thought and I think the reason for the difference is חזקת הגוף. The animal had חזקת כשרות until the last possible moment. In the case the gemara brings in Ketuboth 76B the bride was found with a blemish and the father has to bring a proof it happened after the engagement. So there we do not go by חזקת כשרות and חזקת הגוף. Nor in the exchange of two animals do we go by חזקת הגוף that it was alive until the last possible minute. Perhaps it is possible to suggest a a reason for the Rambam that is based on Tosphot in Nida page 2b that חזקת השתא cancels חזקה מעיקרא unless some other חזקה comes along to strengthen the חזקה מעיקרא? But then why would that not work for the טבח In ה' מיכרה כ:ט''ו








On a side issue The Ketzot says in a case an object was stolen and it is not know if it was before or after the קנין the proof is upon the buyer. Rav Shach simply points out this is in contradiction to both the Rambam and Rav Joseph Karo-but like almost all other Rishonim like the Rosh and the Ran.

The final idea today is the Ari, Isaac Luria. To intend the intentions can be a long and difficult process. Therefore it is  a good idea to get either the small Sidur of the Reshash or the large one.

The small one seems good to me but I have heard that Rav Mordedchai Sharabi said there were some mistakes in it. I myself used the large one [which has the intentions of the Ari in expanded form by the Grandson of the Reshash.] If one is lacking the background for that I think the best idea is to learn  the Eitz Chaim of the Ari and Reb Chaim Vital.  When to do this? I think after having finished Shas twice. {That is what Reb Shmuel Berenbaum told me.} To do this learning however for me at this point seems to be pointless but I still can see its great value for people that are sensitive to that area of value.

[The Ashlag edition of  the writings of the Arizal are the best.] In any case when it comes to Kabalah, the Ashkenazim world is way too filled with the teachings of the Sitra Achra in disguise.






3.8.17

The תוספתא ב''מ פרק ג'  says המוכר פרה לחבירו ונגנבה זה אומר ברשותך נגנבה וזה אומר ברשותך יחלוקו This is clearly like סומכוס ממון המוטל בספק חולקים.  In the רמב''ם laws of מכירה כ:י''ד רב שך says clearly the argument is when the theft occurred before or after the קנין. This can not be they are arguing  in whose domain the animal was when it was stolen, because that would not be דררא דממונא. We need they should themselves be in doubt for there to be דררא דממונא
But then it should be a simple case of מי שנולד הספק ברשותו עליו להביא את הראיה. That is the question of Rav Shach
I would like to suggest a possible answer to this question based on the version of the גמרא in ב''מ page ק' that says אלא הא מני סומכוס. That is the גמרא there says that סומכוס says ממון המוטל בספק חולקים even when the animal there gave birth in the domain of the seller. Thus even when there is חזקת רשות we find that סומכוס still says his law.

התוספתא ב''מ פרק ג' אומרת המוכר פרה לחבירו ונגנבה זה אומר ברשותך נגנבה וזה אומר ברשותך יחלוקו. זהו בבירור כסומכוס, - ממון המוטל בספק חולקים. ברמב''ם הלכות מכירה כ:י''ד רב שך אומר בבירור הטענות הן בזמן הגניבה התרחשה לפני או אחרי קנין. זה לא יכול להיות שהם מתווכחים על התחום אשר החיה הייתה כשנגנבה משום שזה לא יהיה דררא דממונא. אנחנו צריכים שטוענים יהיו  בספק כדי שיהיה דררא דממונא. אבל אז רב שך שאול שזה צריך להיות שאלה פשוטה של מי שנולד ספק ברשותו עליו להביא את הראיה גם לבסומכוס. ברצוני להציע תשובה אפשרית לשאלה זו מבוססת על הגרסה של הגמרא בב''מ דף ק. שאומרת "אלא הא מני סומכוס". זוהי שגמרא שם אומרת כי סומכוס אומר ממון מוטל בספק חולקים גם כאשר החיה הולידה בתחום המוכר. לכן גם כאשר קיימת חזקת רשות אנו מוצאים כי סומכוס עדיין אומר החוק שלו.

I still am puzzled about some things here like the fact that the Tosephta seems to need to be explained as the question is when did the theft occur before or after the acquisition while in the Rambam Laws of Acquisition 20:14 and 20:15 the question is in whose domain did the problem occur.
The Tosephta (BM ch 3) says המוכר פרה לחבירו ונגנבה זה אומר ברשותך נגנבה וזה אומר ברשותך יחלוקו This is clearly like Sumchos ממון המוטל בספק חולקים.  Rav Shach says clearly the argument is when the theft occurred before or after the קנין. This can not be they are arguing  in whose domain the animal as when it was stolen because that would not be דררא דממונא. we need they should themselves be in doubt for there to be דררא דממונא
But then it should be a simple case of מי שנולד הספק ברשותו עליו להביא את הראיה
I would like to suggest a possible answer to this question based on the version of the Gemara in BM page 100 that says אלא הא מני סומכוס. That is the gemara there says that סומכוס says ממון המוטל בספק חולקים even when the animal there gave birth in the domain of the seller. Thus even when there is חזקת רשות we find that סומכוס still says his law.
Repentance involves the most simple level of what you are aware of and could be reasonably be expected to know better. But there is another level beyond the horizon of one's consciousness. Things that are so wrong that one is no even aware that they are wrong.

אין אדם מקנה דבר שלא בא לעולם.
One can not cause to acquire something that is not yet in one's possession. יבמות צ''ג.
ר. מאיר  says one can and this seems to depend on Aristotle's idea of the sea battle that will take place tomorrow.  Is it true now? Or is it true only when the sea battle takes place?


Though he can not cause it to be acquired now,  but it is true now that it will be acquired.
רב agrees with ר. מאיר if he says "מעכשיו". There is a three way argument between תוספות, the רשב''א and the רמב''ן what that means.

This way of mine seem to fit with how רב שך explains תוספות and the רשב''א.
See רמב''ם laws of מכירה כ''ב:ה''א

2.8.17

אין אדם מקנה דבר שלא בא לעולם.
One can not cause to acquire something that is not yet in one's possession. Yevamot 93.
R Meir says one can and this seems to depend on Aristotle's idea of the sea battle that will take place tomorrow. That is though he can not cause it to be acquired now but it is true now that it will be acquired.
Rav agrees with R. Meir if he says "from now." There is a three way argument between Tosphot, the Rashba and the Ramban what that means.


See Rambam laws of Acquisition 22:1


1.8.17

Serving in IDF (Israeli Defense Force)  is important from several angles. The major angle is the same reason why the Jewish community in Safed that was started by the disciples of the Gra organized a community protection force. It does not have to be any more profound than that. It also helps to know the important fact that both Reb Moshe Feinstein and Reb Aaron Kotler said in Israel "דינא דמלכותא דינא" (the law of the country is the law)
But it might be more profound that that.
But my claim is more simple. If all we had would be Reb Moshe and Reb Aaron Kotler that would be enough to establish the law.

My own feeling about this subject is mainly based on the little bit of reading I did about Jewish Communities during the Middle Ages. [That is in the Teshuvot of the teacher of the Rosh Rav Meir from Rotenberg]. Still there are troubles in Israel because of the Sephardim trying to get rid of the Ashkenazim. Not all but enough

31.7.17

The issue of Christianity comes up from time to time.  The basic approach I have towards this is based on Rav Avraham Abulafia--a mystic from the Middle Ages who said about Jesus some pretty positive things. Not that that makes the basic approaches of Christainity right,. but it does show a different side to the whole issue.

In other words--the problems are well known--Paul certainly opened the gates to an very anti Torah approach which was not the approach of Jesus at all. But on the other the general attitude that I have encountered is that one has to say and believe that Jesus was a bad guy, and that is the one and only thing that makes one kosher--that also seems wrong. It does not seem to reflect on a commitment to truth but rather to ideology.
Since it is clear that the Rambam holds the פטור of מתעסק בשבת is because מלאכת מחשבת אסרה תורה then how does he understand Abyee in Sanhedrin 62b? Abyee says one who bows down to a statue and he did not know it is an idol לא כלום הוא
I realize that to cleave to God is not as exclusive as having the right set of beliefs. But nor is it irrelevant to ones's beliefs.
The way I see it is that it is really in the realm of the Ding An Sich as Schopenhauer would put it. That is to say God is simply beyond pure Reason and reaching Him is possible but not by means of having a right set of beliefs. Cleaving to God is possible even with mistaken beliefs. And even with right beliefs one can be far from God.
The Rambam already in the Guide that people have no inherent sense of the Divine Law or Moral Law. We depend on the one time revelation on Mount Sinai. A Unique event in History.
That is there is no access by means of reason. But there is access by faith.

I feel there were great people that had basic belief in Torah and yet maybe had a few things off. Still i think there were connected with the Divine Realm. I do not think purity of belief is much of a proof or criterion for being kosher. The Sitra Achra has plenty of agents that can get through that  test.


My learning partner argued that one can be obligated a sin offering for מתעסק a mistake in the facts, only when there is הנאה pleasure. The normal case of a חטאת is when there is  a mistake in law, not in the physical facts.
Later I saw that this can not be the case to the רמב''ם as רב שך goes into  in laws of איסורי ביאה א:י''ב. What my learning partner suggested is in fact the opinion of תוספות and all other ראשונים but not the רמב''ם.
To make things short:
The רמב''ם in three places says the reason מתעסק בשבת is not obligated in a sin offering is because מלאכת מחשבת אסרה תורה. He does not say is is because he was not נהנה These places are ה' שגגות פרק ב' ה''ז פרק ז' הי''א and also in פירוש המשנה כריתות פרק ספק אכל. In all three places the  רמב''ם says the reason מתעסק בשבת is פטור  is because מלאכת מחשבת אסרה תורה and he says nothing about whether he was נהנה or not.
However נהנה even to the  רמב''ם can make one a מזיד in order to be obligated in lashes.


השותף ללמידה שלי טען כי אחד יכול להיות מחויב חטאת עבור מתעסק (טעות בעובדות), רק כאשר יש הנאה. המקרה הרגיל של חטאת הוא כאשר יש טעות במשפט, לא בעובדה הפיזית. רק אחר כך הבנתי שזה לא יכול להיות כן לרמב''ם כמו רב שך נכנס בזה בה' איסורי ביאה א: י''ב. מה שותף הלמידה שלי הציע הוא למעשה דעת תוספות והראשונים אבל לא הרמב''ם. כדי לעשות הדברים קצרים. הרמב''ם בשלושה מקומות אומר שהסיבה מתעסק בשבת אינו מחויב בחטאת היא משום מלאכת מחשבת אסרה תורה. הוא לא אומר שהוא משום שהוא לא נהנה. מקומות אלה הם ה' שגגות פרק ב" ה''ז, פרק ז' הי''א וגם בפירוש המשנה כריתות פרק ספק אכל. בכל שלושת המקומות האלה הרמב''ם אומר שהסיבה מתעסק בשבת הוא פטור היא משום מלאכת מחשבת אסרה תורה. והוא לא אומר כלום לגבי השאלה אם הוא היה נהנה או לא. עם זאת נהנה אפילו לרמב''ם יכול לעשות אחד למזיד כדי להיות מחוייב במלקות.
I saw that I had written something in my notes on Shas (Gemara. That is the Oral Law) in the name of my learning partner. He argued that one can be obligated a sin offering for מתעסק [a mistake in the facts,] only when there is הנאה pleasure.. That is the normal case of a sin offering is when there is  a mistake in law, not in the physical facts.
Later I saw that this can not be the case to the Rambam. Rav Shach goes into this in laws of איסורי ביאה א:י''ב. What my learning partner suggested is in fact the opinion of Tosphot and all other rishonim but not the Rambam.
To make things short:
The Rambam in three places says the reason מתעסק בשבת is not obligated in a sin offering is because מלאכת מחשבת אסרה תורה. He does not say is is because he was not נהנה (get pleasure.) ה' שגגות פרק ב' ה''ז פרק ז' הי''א and also in פירוש המשנה כריתות פרק ספק אכל in all three places the rambam says the reason מתעסק בשבת is פטור  is because מלאכת מחשבת אסרה תורה and he says nothing about whether he was נהנה or not.
However נהנה even to the Rambam can make one a מזיד in order to be obligated in lashes.
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30.7.17

a problem in the רמב''ם about laws of Passover הלכות חמץ ומצה ג:י''א.

The שאגת אריה and רב חיים הלוי deal with a problem in the רמב''ם but there is something unsatisfying about their answers. רב שך also deals with this question in  a way that seems to wrap up the issue completely.
The basic question is simple. Why does the רמב''ם say there are מלקות for owning חמץ on פסח against an open גמרא in פסחים  page צ''ה. בל אראה ובלימצא הם לאו הניתק לעשה. There are no lashes because owning חמץ has a correction, getting rid of it.

The basic answer רב שך gives is this. We have an argument between the sages and ר' יהודה about תשביתו. To ר' יהודה  that is by burning. To the sages it is in any way. רש''י says the argument is only before the time the leaven is forbidden and תוספות says after the time.
So the גמרא on page צ'ה to רש''י can only be to the sages and to תוספות it it is both to the sages and ר' יהודה.
The רמב''ם says תשביתו starts before the time of the prohibition הלכות חמץ ומצה ג:י''א.
So the correction starts before the time of the prohibition so the prohibition is not a לאו הניתק לעשה to the sages but it is to ר. יהודה if you go by תוספות. Simple. So the גמרא on page צ''ה  is going like ר. יהודה which is not the הלכה.

It could not be more simple. But the שאגת אריה and רב חיים הלוי gives answers why there are lashes to the רמב''ם which would work perfectly well on page צ''ה to be giving מלקות. However רב חיים הלויsays בל יראה is a positive and a negative command. Besides the question from where he would get this, if it would be true then on page צ'ה why is it considered a לאו הניתק לעשה?
The שאגת אריה answers it is two לאווין which is perfectly true, but then again the same question arises. Why would that not be so also on page צ''ה

בעיה רמב''ם על הלכות פסח הלכות חמץ ומצה ג: י''א. השאגת אריה ורב חיים הלוי עסקו עם בבעיה זו הרמב''ם אבל יש משהו מאכזב על בתשובותיהם. רב שך עוסק בשאלה זו בצורה שנראית לפתור את הבעיה לחלוטין. השאלה הבסיסית היא פשוטה. מדוע הרמב''ם אומר שיש מלקות בגין החזקת חמץ על פסח נגד גמרא פתוחה פסחים דף צ''ה. אל יראה ואל ימצא הוא לאו הניתק לעשה. אין מלקות משום שלבעלות בחמץ יש תיקון, תשביתו. התשובה הבסיסית של רב שך נותן היא זו. יש לנו ויכוח בין החכמים ור" יהודה על תשביתו.  ר" יהודה אומר הוא על ידי שריפה. הכחמים אומרים זה בכל דרך. רש''י אומר הטיעון הוא רק לפני זמן שהחמץ אסור והתוספות אומר לאחר הזמן. אז הגמרא בעמוד צ''ה  לרש''י יכול להיות רק לחכמים ולפי תוספות  הוא לפי חכמים או ר" יהודה. הרמב''ם אומר תשביתו מתחיל לפני זמן של איסור חמץ הלכות חמץ ומצה ג: י''א. אז התיקון מתחיל לפני זמן האיסור כך שהאיסור אינו לאו הניתק לעשה לחכמים אבל כן היא לר. יהודה אם אתה הולך לדעת תוספות. פָּשׁוּט. אז הגמרא בעמוד צ''ה הולכת כמו ר. יהודה אשר אינה ההלכה. זה לא יכול להיות יותר פשוט. אבל שאגת אריה ואת רב חיים הלוי נותנים תשובות למה יש מלקות לרמב''ם אשר תתעבדנה היטב בעמוד צ''ה לתת מלקות. ( רב חיים הלוי אומר בל יראה הוא עשה ולא תעשה.  אם זה נכון אז בדף צ"ה למה זה נחשב לאו הניתק לעשה? השאגת אריה עונה זה שני לאווין. זה נכון לגמרי, אבל אז שוב את אותה שאלה נשאלת. למה שלא יהיה כך גם בעמוד צ''ה?


הלכות חמץ ומצה ג:י''א.The Shagat Arye and Reb Chaim Soloveitchik deal with a problem in the Rambam but there is something unsatisfying about their answers. Rav Shach also deals with this question in a way that seems to wrap up the issue completely.

The Shagat Arye and Reb Chaim Soloveitchik deal with a problem in the Rambam but there is something unsatisfying about their answers. Rav Shach also deals with this question in  a way that seems to wrap up the issue completely.
The basic question is simple. Why does the Rambam say there are lashes for owning chametz on Pesach against an open Gemara in Pesachim page 95. בל אראה ובלימצא הם לאו הניתק לעשה. {No lashes because owning chametz has a correction--getting rid of it.}

The basic answer Rav Shach gives is this. We have an argument between the sages and R.Yehuda about תשביתו ["you must get rid of all leavened bread']. To R. Yehuda that is by burning. To the sages it is in any way. Rashi says the argument is only before the time the leaven is forbidden and Tosphot says after the time.
So the Gemara on page 95 to Rashi can only be to the sages and to Tosphot it is both to the sages and R Yehuda.
The Rambam says תשביתו starts before the time of the prohibition הלכות חמץ ומצה ג:י''א.
So the correction starts before the time of the prohibition so the prohibition is not a לאו הניתק לעשה to the sages but it is to R. Yehuda if you go by Tosphot. Simple. So the Gemara on page 95  is going like R.Yehuda. which is not the halacha.

It could not be more simple. But the Shagat Arye and Reb Chaim gives answers why there are lashes to the Rambam which would work perfectly well on page 95 to be giving lashes. Reb Chaim says בל יראה is a positive and a negative command. Besides the question from where he would get this, if it would be true then on page 95 why is it considered a לאו הניתק לעשה?
The Shagat Arye answers it is two לאווין which is perfectly true but then again the same question arises. Why would that no be so also on page 95

28.7.17

Music for the glory of God

Getting out of the rat race

There is something about the basic idea of accepting the yoke of Torah along with trust in God to provide that really works. This was a path I was on for only a few years until the evil inclination got the better of me. Still it is worth while making clear what it means

The basic idea is to learn Gemara, Rashi and Tosphot without having it in mind to use it as a means to make money. That is called Torah "Lishma"--Torah for its own sake.
Most yeshivas nowadays use Torah to make money, and so the higher blessing is obviously absent.

It is not a phrase that I have heard for a long time, but recently Moshe Rosten mentioned it to me: To get out of the "rat race." That reminded me a lot of what I think must have been my original idea in going to yeshiva to learn Torah. I think to  large degree I wanted to get out of the rat race and devote myself to the service of God.
And to a large degree I still think that must be for me a major motivating factor.
It is not that I succeeded so well, but I think that without my actually being able to put it in those terms, I must have been very upset at the idea of spending my life in pursuit of things of this world.
And to a large degree I think this was the motivating idea for a lot of people in the Litvak NY yeshivas.

The idea of escaping the rat race to be attached to God and his service by going to a NY Litvak yeshiva was my approach to escaping the rat race. But where I grew up, most people were thinking in those directions. And those that were serious went into Eastern religions.
But then I came to Israel and there the religious  world was functioning on a different wavelength. Religion was more like a mass movement, and conformity was the goal. Still for my seven years in Safed, I felt absolutely attached to God.
What I suggest for myself and others to regain this basic approach of seeing attachment with God as the ultimate goal  is by means of learning Musar [Mediaeval Ethics]

In most of the cases of people joining some religious cause to get out of the rat race--the ultimate end was disappointment --especially with eastern religions. In my own experience in the religious world my own feeling also is largely that of disappointment.  Not that the path is wrong but a lot of the people on the path are not there with the goal of escaping the rate race but rather to use Torah as means to get farther in the rat race than others.

So I can honestly say that my intentions were certainly affected by the larger mentality that was around in California at the time--the search for truth and meaning. But mine was more a kind of philosophical approach to Torah than a religious one. That could be a lack of awareness of a certain area of value.Though I certainly had some religious interest, but still it seems I was more in tune with the rational nature of Torah. The deeper spiritual aspects perhaps not. So when in fact I became somewhat attached to God, perhaps I simply was not prepared, and so jettisoned the whole thing.
So looking back on it all today, I would have to say that the Mir yeshiva was right--learning Torah (that is- the plain and simple Gemara Rashi and Tosphot) is the key to everything--all the good and all the light in all the worlds.
[I should mention that if I had been aware of the Rambam's opinion in the Guide and Mishne Torah that Physics and Metaphysics are a part of the Oral Law then I very well have added them to my learning session. But who knows? I might have felt not ready to take them up before doing Shas a few times. I anyway felt a tremendous surge of energy when I got involved in learning Gemara.


27.7.17

There is a prohibition in the Torah to add to the commandments. This comes up even in places were you would not expect it. The Rambam explains a priest can not add to the three blessings he is commanded to bless the Jewish people. The curious thing is that this is one a lot.People go to those who they think are holy to get a blessing. See the Ramban {Nachmanides} on Deuteronomy ch 4 verse 2. Even in the sidur we have  a father should bless his children on Friday night.
The Ramban explains the basic prohibition is not to make up mitzvot out of one's own heart. This idea of blessing people seems to be in this category.
To me it seems people make up their own mitzvot--all the time.

The questions here are a lot. First of all it is hard to know the definitions. Also we have the Ari giving lots of unifications and saying certain verses as corrections for sins. Reb Nachman also said to say what is called the tikun klali [psalms 16, 31,41,41,59,77,90, 105 137 150 as a general correction for sins.]
But none of that seems to be adding to any commandments. It is already a mitzvah to pray. That is in fact why we say the prayers and psalms.

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There is a לאו in the Torah to add to the מצוות. This comes up even in places were you would not expect it. The רמב''ם explains a כהן can not add to the three blessings he is commanded to bless the Jewish people. The curious thing is that this is one a lot. People go to those who they think are holy to get a blessing. See the רמב''ן on דברים פרק ד' פסוק ב' .
The רמב''ן explains the basic prohibition is not to make up מצוות out of one's own heart. This idea of blessing people seems to be in this category.


I admit this was a surprise to me. The reason most people including myself are unaware of this is the fact that it is mentioned there in the laws of the blessings of priests that a non kohen transgress the verse you but not strangers only at the time the regular blessing is supposed to be said. But from this Rambam we see  that means only to transgress that particular verse. But to transgress the general prohibition of adding to the mitzvot anyone including a kohen can be considered to transgress at any time-just by saying a blessing to another person.


In the laws in forbidden sexual relations  Rambam 1:22 we have that if there was קינו וסתירה (warning and then she went to a private area with the man she was warned not to go with) and then one witness comes and says he saw her sleep with another man not her husband, then she can not drink מי סוטה (the bitter waters) and if her husband is a priest and then has sex with her, he gets lashes for זונה (prostitute).[When the Torah forbids a priest to sleep with a prostitute it means a woman who has had any forbidden sexual relation (even a prohibition that comes from an  עשה), not the normal definition]
[The normal case is there is קינו וסתירה a warning and privacy and then her husband brings her to the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and she drinks the bitter waters. That is: water that is from the regular fountain in the Temple, and then the paragraph about the Sota is blotted out over it, and it is mixed with dirt from a special area in the Temple. She drinks it, and if she is pure, nothing happens, and if she is not pure then it has a bad effect. What is different in our case is one witness comes and says he saw her sleep with the other man. That makes it impossible to drink the bitter waters.]
Reb Chaim [Soloveitchik] says the reason is the prohibition of  זונה comes at the same time he has sex with her..
Rav Shach says this does not seem right for the fact that the very act of sex that makes her a זונה can not be the same one that causes him to get lashes for having sex with a זונה.
Though the proofs of Rav Shach are clear, still I wanted to suggest from where Reb Chaim might have gotten his idea. בור עשרה וזרק לתוכה חוליא פטור.
A person throws dirt in a small private domain on Shabat. Small  means the minimum size. Ten hand-breaths tall and four by four wide. He would normally be obligated to bring a sin offering. But in this case his throwing in the dirt is the same act which makes the private domain become less than the required size.

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In the רמב''ם הלכות איסורי ביאה א:כ''ב we have that if there was קינו וסתירה  and then one witness comes and says he saw her sleep with another man not her husband, then she can not drink מי סוטה (the bitter waters) and if her husband is a כהן and then has sex with her, he gets lashes for זונה .
רב חיים הלוי  says the reason is the prohibition of  זונה comes at the same time he has sex with her..
רב שך says this does not seem right for the fact that the very act of sex that makes her a זונה can not be the same one that causes him to get lashes for having sex with a זונה.
Though the proofs of רב שך are clear, still I wanted to suggest from where רב חיים הלוי might have gotten his idea. בור עשרה וזרק לתוכה חוליא פטור.
A person throws dirt in a small רשות היחיד on Shabat. Small  means the minimum size. עשרה טפחים tall and four by four wide. He would normally be obligated to bring a sin offering. But in this case his throwing in the dirt is the same act which makes the רשות היחיד become less than the required size.









the main goal and direction of Torah is to come to fear of God and good character.

The whole Musar Movement idea is not a bad idea but I think that today is is more likely to try to gain fear of God and good character based on home learning. That is to get the basic set of classical Musar [ethics] and to learn at home.

The whole idea of Reb Israel Salanter makes a lot of sense but I think there can not be any kind of mass movement that gets to what he was thinking about.

I mean to say he was right to notice that the main idea of Torah--the main goal and direction of Torah is to come to fear of God and good character. And the best way to achieve both goals is by learning the classical mediaeval books written by the Rishonim that deal with these issues. To me it is clear he was 100% right about this. But today the emphasis has to be on home learning.

[The disciples of Reb Israel Salanter wrote some very great musar books like the Madragat Haadam.]

26.7.17

Fake Torah scholars that are actually demons.

FOR ANYONE THAT WANTS TO KEEP TORAH THERE IS A STUMBLING BLOCK PLACE IN THEIR PATH--THE SO CALLED TEACHERS OF TORAH THAT TEACH TORAH OF THE SITRA ACHRA.
 The Gra tried to deal with this problem by putting his signature on the letter of excommunication that warned people about these fake scholars that are actually demons.

The trouble is that until this problem is taken care of there is really almost no way to keep Torah. The entire religious world is a den of the Satan and his minions. So one can try to keep and learn Torah by oneself. In fact nowadays that might be the only way. [Though I think of  few places that are still pure, like Ponovitch and the great NY Litvak yeshivas. But these kind of places are rare.]

This problem was noticed by the prophets and brought also in the Gemara. It is mentioned also in the Mishna as far as I recall. The place that I remember most vividly is towards the end of Tracate Shabat. There the sages said, "When you see a  generation that troubles are coming upon it, go and check the judges of Israel. For all troubles that come into the world only come because of the judges of Israel, as it says in the verse 'שופטיה בשוחד ישפוטו וגו "Its judges judge with bribes."

So we see this problem has been around ever since the time of the prophets and the Mishna. As long as there have been true prophets, there have also been  people that figured out ways of making money  and getting power out of Torah.

[Thus, keeping Torah sincerely has always been a personal project. ]