תקציר המאמרים באנגלית
Table of Contents
`Faith in God is Latent within the Nature of Creation` [Words of Introduction] / The Editor 3
About Love for Children and the Holiness of the Firstborn, Rationale ofMitzvot and the Evolution of Ethics: An Unpublished Article by Rav Kook / Rav Dr. Ari Shvat (Chwat) 4
Rav Elyashiv zt"l - Decisions in Economics and Agriculture / Rav Zeev Weitman 11
Responsa on Sabbath Matters in the Military / Rav Yehuda Zerahia Segal zt"l 25
Further to the Matter of the Torah Scroll Attributed to the Ra"N and Tsadi with a Reversed Yod / Rav Prof. Shlomo Zalman Havlin 27
Praying for Others to Repent / Rav Yisrael Isser Zvi Herczeg 42
"Clear away the iniquity of their sins" / Rav Nathan Kamnetzky 45
"It is not in Heaven" / Shimon Kalman 49
Components and Combinations in the Yizkor [Memorial] Prayers of the North Italian Ashkenaz [Germanic] Community / Dr. Meir Raffeld 63
The Custom of Adding a Special Harachaman [Supplication] inBirkat haMazon for Shabbat and Holidays / Rav Zvi Ron 67
Resentment between Rav Hisda and Rav Huna / Ariel Klein 74
Thoughts on the Akeda [Binding of Isaac] / Rav Eliezer Ben-Porat 77
Absorption and Extraction / Rav Dr. Israel Meir Levinger 85
More about the First Printing of the Tashbetz Responsa / Rav Yoel Catane 90
Responses and Comments
On the Time of Offering the Paschal Offering and on the Sanctity of
Intermediate Days of Festivals / Rav Avigdor Nebenzahl 92
On the New Edition of the Works of the Maharal - Rejoinder to the Critique / Yitzchak Yudelov; Reaction to the Rejoinder / Rav Dr. Eli Gurfinkel 93
In the Matter of the Definition of Tinok sheNishba' [captive infant, lacking Jewish upbringing] / Rav Avraham Yehuda Ross; Rejoinder / Rav Tuvia Katzman 97
In the Matter of the Printing of the New Edition of the Ha'ame Davar Pentateuch / Rav Dov Shapira 103
Editorial Review of Recent Torani Publications / Rav Yoel Catane 104
Rav Dr. Ari Shvat (Chwat): About Love for Children and the Holiness of the Firstborn, Rationale of Mitzvot and the Evolution of Ethics: An Unpublished Article by Rav Kook
Rav Ari Shvat, head archivist of Beit HaRav and senior college lecturer, makes public a previously unknown manuscript apparently intended for one of Rav Kook's most daring works, the Afikim BaNegev [Watercourses in the Desert] series. The style and content prove it to have been written in Boisk, and it contains exceptionally innovative suggestions for bringing modern man closer to understanding mitzvot. Rav Kook sees the mitzvot and natural anthropological evolution as two G-dly systems which coalesce to gradually raise the morality of mankind. Universal respect of the firstborn is a religious and anthropological answer to the challenge of averting infanticide among primitive man (whose youth viewed their first childbirth as a painful and unpopular burden of additional responsibilities), hastening and strengthening the evolution of man's love for children. Just as the individual can spiritually 'slip', similarly, even after the universal recognition of natural parental love, there is a continual need for mitzvot to ensure that man won't revert to his previous primeval level.
Rav Zeev Weitman: Rav Elyashiv zt"l - Decisions in Economics and Agriculture
Rav Weitman is widely known as the dynamic Rav of Tnuva, and years ago was the first Rav of Kibbutz Kfar Etzion. In both of these roles he was in constant contact with the great posek [halakhic decisor] the exalted Rav Elyashiv zt"l, who resolved his quandaries, at times leniently and at times stringently. Rav Weitman recorded his responses soon after they were spoken, and he presents eight topics among them to the readership of HaMa'yan. A) How to proceed with fires kindled by Arabs on Shabbat near Jewish settlements when lives are not threatened: may they be extinguished under the category of military tactics or settling the Land of Israel? B) May a beehive be introduced into orchards during the Sabbatical year to enhance fruiting? C) In accordance with the decisions of the Rav zt"l, Rav Weitman worked to enact a limited personal sale [of land to a non-Jew during the Sabbatical year] for the individual farmer, even though the Rav was opposed to the general heter mechira [sale to ameliorate restrictions on working the Land]. D) Method of organizing distribution of fruits by the rabbinic court [to avoid commerce in Sabbatical produce] within marketing networks. E) Kashrut [permissibility] of milk in view of common bovine surgical procedures [halakhically rendering the cow trefa, lit, 'torn']. F) Kashrut questions in the manufacture of cheeses and yogurt. G) Kashrut of milk from cows owned by Jews but milked by non-Jews. H) Supervision of milking to impart the status of halav yisrael [milked by a Jew] by means of computer operated cameras. Rav Weitman mourns the loss to the people of Israel of this great posek.
Rav Yehuda Zerahia Segal zt"l : Responsa on Sabbath Matters in the Military
Rav Segal zt"l (5694-5761 [1924-2001]) was a member of the municipal Rabbinate of Tel-Aviv and Rav of the Neve Shalom neighborhood. The Rav was known for his greatness in revealed and concealed Torah, and many sought his blessing and his advice. We print here for the first time his halakhic response regarding Sabbath laws in the military, which he addressed to a resident of his community, Rav Ehud Barzilai zt"l, who was at that time in military training on temporary leave from his studies at Yeshivat Mercaz haRav, just prior to his marriage. The response was found among the effects of Rav Barzilai, who served as a Ram [teacher] at the advanced Yeshiva in Mitzpe Ramon in the South until his passing about a year ago. It deals with questions of bearing arms on the Sabbath in an area without an Eruv [which permits carrying], and with problems involved in using a kitchen where Sabbath violation is suspected. In his response, the Rav clarifies the definitive [standard] halakhah, and urges the enquirer to consult the military chaplaincy who constitute the Mara d'Atra [presiding Rabbinic authority] of the Israel Defense Forces.
Rav Prof. Shlomo Zalman Havlin: Further to the Matter of the Torah Scroll Attributed to the Ra"N and Tsadi with a Reversed Yod
In 1936, news was published that Rav Yichya Dahan of Tiberias held an ancient Torah scroll said to have been written by the Ra"N [Rav Nissim ben Reuven of Gerona, died c.1374] and to have been presented to a synagogue in 1336, making it then just 600 years old. Rav Dahan passed away in 1963, and the scroll disappeared, only to be discovered in storage at the National Library in 1985. Following this rediscovery, Rav Prof. Havlin published a comprehensive article in Alei Sefer in which he was inclined to validate the attribution to the Ra"N. The identification arouses questions and arguments, providing a source for halakhot and important information on the style of lettering and the laws of writing a Torah scroll. The importance of the identification is evident principally in a point of difference between Sefarad and Ashkenaz in the shape of lettering, and an argument between the Hazon Ish and others. Recently, the National Library submitted the scroll for carbon 14 testing at the Radiocarbon and Cosmogenic Isotopes Laboratory of the Kimmel Center for Archeological Science at the Weizmann Institute. Tests indicate with 86.2% probability that the sample dates to between 1470 CE and 1680 CE, and not from the 14th century. In the article, Prof. Havlin discusses the shape of the letter tsadi and reveals the 'innovations' of the 'sofer of Minsk' [Abraham Hayim Shmolevitser] which was one of the principle sources of the Hazon Ish's opposition to the tsadi written with a reversed yod.
Rav Nathan Kamnetzky: "Clear away the iniquity of their sins"
In one of the stanzas of a piyyut [liturgical poem] recited on Kol Nidrei night, the poet beseeches: "Forgive the sins of the People created for Thy name's sake; clear away the iniquity of their sins by your munificent rains." How does rain clear away sins? The author cites the Tannaitic discussion in Sanhedrin 97b-98a as to whether repentance by the Jewish People is an absolute condition for the Messianic redemption. On this, Rabbi Abba declares that when the hills of Israel bloom, the Messiah will come. Based on verses in Ezekiel, the article explains that as a result of G-d's undeserved benevolence to them, the Jews will be sorry for having sinned; this will be a step in the direction of repentance, enough for them to be redeemed. Thus the rains which cause the hills to bloom will "cleanse" sins as well.
Shimon Kalman: "It is not in Heaven"
The principle derived from these words is that halakhic decisions should not be made based upon prophecy or other heavenly intervention. This is a broad subject that has ramifications in various areas of halakha and hashkafa [Jewish law and thought]. In this article Mr. Kalman, senior manager in an insurance company and an important lamdan [Torah scholar], has tried to define precise halakhic rules whereby a Beit Din [Rabbinical Court] is not permitted to hand down a ruling, even in a personal or specific case, based upon prophecy or other heavenly revelations. This is predicated upon the well-known question posed by the Maharam Chaviv [Rav Moses ibn Habib] that we do find the Sages deciding halakhot using such means, and the main answers given. We have seen that there are different approaches to the question of whether the rule that heavenly revelations cannot be employed in the halakhic process also refers to determining the facts underlying the halakhic decision or applies solely to the conceptual halakhic side; whether the Rabbinical Court can verify factual aspects using various forms of prophecy; and we have discovered on this matter opinions that lay down different heuristics. We have found that there are various opinions whether or not this principle applied to Moses' Rabbinical Court (which would provide an alternative answer to Maharam Chaviv's question), and it is possible that this in turn is dependent upon the different reasons given for the rule, "It is not in Heaven".
Dr. Meir Raffeld: Components and Combinations in the Yizkor [Memorial] Prayers of the North Italian Ashkenaz [Germanic] Community
Rav Aryeh Leibowitz, Deputy Director of the Moty Hornstein Overseas Program in Yeshivat Sha'alvim, presented in HaMa'yan 200 a page from an unpublished manuscript of a prayer manual of the Porto Synagogue in Mantua, Italy, which contains a unique series of yizkor [memorial] prayers, and tried to explain why the particular Rishonim [Early Authorities] mentioned in the prayer were chosen by the Mantua community to be memorialized. Dr. Raffeld, until recently Head of the Department of Talmud at Bar Ilan University, expands on the topic, and shows that the order of memorial prayers was apparently established in the wake of the First Crusade; in order to preserve the memory of the martyrs the names were punctiliously recorded, and these records became the collections and pamphlets which were carefully preserved by these communities from generation to generation. He demonstrates his assertion with citations from Mahzor Vitry [Record of Custom of Vitry], adduces exempla of remembrance of early members of other Ashkenazic communities, and explains why it is specifically these early authorities who merited remembrance in all the listings.
Rav Yisrael Isser Zvi Herczeg: Praying for Others to Repent
Rav Herczeg discusses a dispute between the Chazon Ish and Rav Moshe Feinstein as to why praying for others to repent does not contradict the principle that man has free will. He shows that their positions are found in the Rishonim [early authorities], and notes that the Mishnah in Kelim 2:2 must be understood differently according to each opinion.
Rav Zvi Ron: The Custom of Adding a Special Harachaman [Supplication] in Birkat haMazon [the Blessing after Meals] for Shabbat and Holidays
Rav Zvi Ron traces the origin of the custom of adding special 'Harachaman's to Birkat haMazon on Shabbat and holidays. The author demonstrates that the earliest references to these are in the time of the Rishonim [early authorities], where they are reported to be recited by individual rabbinic figures, but they were only formalized and widely said with the appearance of the first printed benchers [booklets of blessings] in the 1500s. These printed benchers ultimately determined which versions of these supplications are said today.
Ariel Klein: Resentment Between Rav Hisda and Rav Huna
Ariel Klein, student in the Yeshiva of Sderot, offers a new suggestion to explain the falling out which developed between Rav Hisda and Rav Huna in the wake of a - seemingly - innocuous question which the student Rav Hisda asked his teacher Rav Huna. He gathers details of the biographies of the two embedded within topical discussions in the Babylonian Talmud, and concludes that erroneous parsing and imprecise wording are liable to bring even great persons to unnecessary mutual antagonism.
Rav Eliezer Ben-Porat: Thoughts on the Akeda [Binding of Isaac]
This essay on the Akeda focuses on the teachings of Rabbeinu Nissim and Rav Hisdai Crescas who maintain that the Akeda teaches us about the eternity of the soul. Rav Eliezer Ben-Porat of Ottawa, Canada, explains that Avraham Avinu [Abraham our Father] would not have agreed to sacrifice his beloved son Yitzchak, if not for the promise of the afterlife. This is perplexing and raises a question regarding the purity of intent and idealism of Avraham. A possible explanation is offered by exploring the relationship between reward and punishment in the spiritual realm. Kierkegaard, in Fear and Trembling, views the greatness of Avraham, the Prince of Faith, as manifested in his belief in the absurd. In this essay, it is posited that Judaism does not demand the 'Kierkegaardian' leap of faith. Instead, God's beneficence combined with man's effort and good intent will yield a deep understanding that the ways of God are just and righteous. Another lesson learnt from the Akeda is the concept of the source of morality. Kant maintains that moral autonomy is based on the moral law innate in man. The Akeda teaches us that the sole source of morality is the word of God.
Rav Dr. Israel Meir Levinger: Absorption and Extraction
Absorption and extraction of the remains of food in metal and glass vessels is an interesting subject. The Halakha generalizes `Kevol'o kakh polto' ['as absorption, so expulsion']. Experiments were carried out with different metal and glass surfaces which were cooked in radioactive iodine solutions of lipids (lactalbumin), fats, fatty acids and carbohydrates (starch). The rates of absorption were as follows: metals (iron-copper combination) absorbed the most (70 units), then rust free iron (50), aluminium (30), duralex (10) and glass (2). Removal of the substances was accomplished by cooking in pure water or by rubbing with sand. The orders of magnitude of the rates of removal align in the opposite direction. The best rate of removal was from glass and the poorest from the iron-copper combination. This shows that ordinary metals absorb more than modern rust free compounds and aluminium, and that glass absorbs less than all metals and even less than duralex. That means that surfaces which absorb less also tend to release more readily. During the extraction cooking, 75% of the absorbed matter was removed within 30 seconds, implying that cleaning in hot water for a prolonged period has a diminishing influence on the extraction. This explains why Hag'ala [immersion to extract] is to be done by brief immersion in boiling water.
Rav Yoel Catane: More about the First Printing of the Tashbetz Responsa
Rav Catane, who was among the editors of the Responsa of Shimon ben Zemach [Shu"T Tashbets] in the framework of the activities of the Shlomo Aumann Institute at Yeshivat Shaalvim, reveals a number of details in the complicated process of the first printing of the Shu"T Tashbets in Amsterdam 1738-1741 and the reason for the failure of the attempt to print in Leghorn, Italy some years earlier, according to a passage in a letter of Rav Isaiah Bassan, the teacher of the Ramhal.
Responses and Comments
Rav Nebenzahl, Rav of the Old City of Jerusalem, responds to Prof. Kirschenbaum's article in the last Pesach issue concerning the timing of the Paschal offering, and to Rav Pinchuk's article about the basis of the sanctity of the intermediate days of the Festivals - in the opinion of the Rav we are speaking of the sanctity engendered by 'offerings' and not by the 'prohibition of work'. Mr. Yitzchak Yudelov, member of the staff of the National Library in Jerusalem, and among the editors of the new edition of the writings of the Maharal, responds to the criticism leveled at this edition in the previous issue by Rav Dr. Gurfinkel of Beit El, and the latter offers a brief rejoinder. Rav Ross takes exception to the stringent conclusion arising from Rav Katzman's earlier article which precludes applying the ameliorating category of tinok shenishba [captive infant] to secular Jews in our day, and Rav Katzman responds at length, distinguishing between a lack of basic faith in G-d and different errors in principles of faith. And Rav Dov Shapira, among the editors of the new edition of the Ha'amek Davar Pentateuch, categorically rejects the allegation that the editors of the Pentateuch altered, based upon their own judgment, the final version which the Natzi"v had prepared for printing, as claimed in the previous issue. Last but not least, a review of Judaica books by the editor Rav Catane.
HAMA'YAN Editorial Board wishes its subscribers, readers and all Am Yisrael, a good year blessed with Parnasa, redemption, the love of Torah and Yir`at Shamayim. כתיבה וחתימה טובה