mail-jewish Vol.66 #59 Digest

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Oct 29, 2023, 6:23:08 PM10/29/23
Mail.Jewish Mailing List
Volume 66 Number 59
Produced: Sun, 29 Oct 23 18:23:04 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

[Joel Rich]
Aruch Hashulchan Quote
[Micha Berger]
Blowing chatzotzrot [trumpets] at this time of trouble for the people (2)
[David Ziants David Ziants]
Fasting Priority
[Joel Rich]
Monetary Damages?
[Micha Berger]
Proof of God's Existence?
[Micha Berger]
When may the shatz begin?
[Martin Stern]


From: Joel Rich <>
Date: Wed, Oct 25,2023 at 12:17 AM
Subject: AI/Psak

To a maggid shiur:
Just a few thoughts on your recent AI/psak discussion.

In its current format ChatGPT will not have all the data on the poseik because
it will only include written responses not any of the discussions that led up to
those and not ones that were oral.

A more basic issue in the whole metaphysical context is what is consciousness
or sentience, how do we know the ChatGPT will not have hashra'at shechina.

There's also a longer-term issue concerning the joint AI/human component. Once
radiologists stop looking at thousands of scans in detail, and only look at the
questionable ones with ChatGPT, will they eventually lose their ability to read
scans much as I think many people have lost the ability to navigate because they
have Waze in their cars.

I think your concerns about getting ahead of the curve are really well founded I
can only imagine what the world will look like when you're my age.

Hashem Oz Lamo Yiten Hashem Yvarech Et Amo Bashalom

Joel Rich


From: Micha Berger <>
Date: Sun, Oct 29,2023 at 03:17 PM
Subject: Aruch Hashulchan Quote

Joel Rich wrote (MJ 66#57):

> Two (IMHO) great quotes from the Aruch Hashulchan (CM 149:22) discussing an
> individual having a chazaka in a mitzva (my rough translation)
> ...
> 2 Discussing the status of the chazaka of a former house minyan when a
> permanent shul is built "as it is known that multiple individual minyanim
> cause destruction in the city".

The rav of the shteibl down the street suggested a connection to the OTD [Off
the derekh] rate.

More fathers used to show more loyalty to a single shul. And a child grew up
with a real sense of belonging to that shul.

In a neighborhood (like mine) with many shuls, it is more common that dad davens
in the minyan factory on workdays, in the nearest shul Friday night and maybe
Shabbos afternoon, and gives his allegiance to a shul he goes to only once a
week -- Shabbos morning!

No social anchor of belonging to a shul and its community -- more go OTD.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger


From: David Ziants <>
Date: Tue, Oct 17,2023 at 08:17 AM
Subject: Blowing chatzotzrot [trumpets] at this time of trouble for the people

David Cohen wrote (MJ 66#58) in response to my question (MJ 66#57) concerning
blowing chatzrotzot, that this applies anywhere (i.e. also outside the Mikdash)
when there are times of trouble and quotes rishonim to support this. This is
the type of reply that makes me happy. He then references the Ritva on Taanit
14a, and the discussion of it in Igrot Moshe OC1:169 . I looked up the Igrot
Moshe, and it seems that his rationale for not encouraging the mitzva these days
is that we do not know the exact specifications of the silver chatzotzrot that
were used in the time of the Bet Hamikdash.

It seems (at least from what is shown on various educational media), that today
we do know how the silver trumpets looked - maybe from what is shown on some
Bar-Kochba coins and on other archaeological artefacts.


Did Rav Moshe Feinstein know this, and prefer to ignore (for whatever hashkafic
[Jewish outlook] reason), or was this not known before he wrote his responsum?



From: David Ziants <>
Date: Wed, Oct 18,2023 at 01:17 PM
Subject: Blowing chatzotzrot [trumpets] at this time of trouble for the people

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 66#58):

> R' David Ziants wrote (MJ 66#57), regarding the blowing of trumpets at the
> Kotel:
>> I appreciate that the staunch Yekkes on this list are probably very against
>> this sort of thing.
> As a "staunch Yekke", I cannot understand what David is trying to imply but,
> from his phraseology, it would appear to be derogatory. I would urge him to
> explain what he meant.

I know that Martin defines himself this way, and I certainly did not want to
offend him. Many communities and individuals have adopted "newer" customs, or
have renewed customs and laws which became lost over the centuries. This is
especially in Israel - and possibly the precedence started from the students of
the Gaon from Vilna, who introduced birkat kohanim every day as part of nusach
ashkenaz as well as other changes. My impression is that Yekkes are against this
sort of thing - although I understand that most Yekke shuls in Israel (but not
in the Galil) do birkat hakohanim everyday as this became the minhag hamakom
[custom of the place]. Their being against it is because of the philosophy that
we don't make changes to our Torah way of life, also in the cases when it is
felt that our parents, grandparents and recent ancestors were not doing things
in the perfect way.

On the other hand, there are Yekkes who are trying to influence the people in my
local shuls, when there is a nusach Ashkenaz shaliach tzibur, not to say vidui
and 13 attributes on Mondays and Thursdays and not to say Bar'chu at the end of
Shacharit (when there is no K'riat Hatorah) and Arvit, although the students of
the Gr"a also added this change. (When a Nusach Sepharad shaliach tzibur - they
have to let it go on any day.)

A well known, day-to-day example of this on the level of the individual, that I
can think of is techailet - the blue dye from the chilazon (a kind of a sea
snail) on one's tzitzit that the Torah mandates, but only over the last few
decades, researchers have managed to identify the correct creature and worked
out how to extract this. When I married, and received my woollen tallit gadol, I
requested it to be with techailet (although I must admit that I never got to
have this on my cotton or nylon tallit katan) and there are a lot of men in my
community who have it also on tallit katan - and youth who are following suite.
Maybe Martin does have techailet on his tztitzit - and in which case my
generalisation is completely out of place - so I really do apologise. But, my
feeling is that a Yekke would not go for this (and I know people from this
upbringing who are set against this).

I see the chatzotzrot blowing as a similar type of issue (and that b'ezrat
Hashem our tragedies and sorrows should come to an end speedily), and I
appreciate that there are halachic opinions who adopt the "not sure" approach,
like the Igrot Moshe, which is why I continue to question and learn.

Possibly a less intrusive example, on the level of a community. Since the war
started, in my shul they have opened the aron hakodesh (also on the days when no
tachanun) and have said Avinu Malkainu after the repetition of the amida and
before (tachanun and) kaddish. Would a fully fledged Yekke shul do this?



From: Joel Rich <>
Date: Wed, Oct 25,2023 at 12:17 AM
Subject: Fasting Priority

There's a halacha I've heard stated many times that its better to stay in bed
all day on Yom Kippur in order to be able to complete the fast rather than to go
to shul (t'fila b'tzibur et al) and have to have even a small break (ie
shiurim). How would you analyze a similar question on Tzom Gedalya?

Hashem Oz Lamo Yiten Hashem Yvarech Et Amo Bashalom
Joel Rich


From: Micha Berger <>
Date: Sun, Oct 29,2023 at 02:17 PM
Subject: Monetary Damages?

Joel Rich wrote (MJ 66#48):

> R A Lichtenstein wrote:
>> Thus, they have also said: He who chops down his plants, even though he is
>> not permitted etc? Also, the entire discourse about one who tells another
>> "Tear my cloak, break my vessel or my hand or my leg" (BK 92a) deals only with
>> the liability to pay or the lack of it. However, it is certainly prohibited and
>> the permission of one's fellow is of no avail with regard to this.
> IIRC there's a tshuva concerning jousting (Purim?) that holds one not liable
> for damages due to implied consent. Does this imply that the jousting itself is
> really prohibited?

Or maybe the reverse ... It shows that implied consent isn't "masneh al mah
shekasuv baTorah", and therefore it must be allowed!

Tir'u baTov!


From: Micha Berger <>
Date: Wed, Oct 25,2023 at 01:17 PM
Subject: Proof of God's Existence?

Joel Rich wrote (MJ 66#56):

> Some very interesting discussion (with pushback) concerning "knowing" that
> God exists.
> Rabbi Itamar Rosensweig

The concept of a Kuzari Principle aka The Kuzari Proof bothers me.

As I understand R. Yehuda Halevi, the point of the Kuzari cheleq 1 is that
philosophical proofs are of limited value and having a mesorah is a more sure
way of knowing.

(FWIW, R Dr Sholom Carmy thought my understanding had merit.)

Here are my two usual quotes, since they haven't been on-list in a number
of years. Friedlander's freebie translation, touched up:

1:13 The Chaver: That which you express is religion based on
speculation and system, the research of thought, but open to many
doubts. Now ask the philosophers, and you will find that they do
not agree on one action or one principle, since some doctrines can
be established by arguments, which are only partially satisfactory,
and still much less capable of being proved.

1:63: The Chaver: Certainly. He [Aristotle] exerted his mind,
because he had no tradition from any reliable source at his
disposal. He meditated on the beginning and end of the world,
but found as much difficulty in the theory of a beginning as in
that of eternity. Finally, these abstract speculations which made
for eternity, prevailed, and he found no reason to inquire into the
chronology or derivation of those who lived before him. Had he lived
among a people with well authenticated and generally acknowledged
traditions, he would have applied his deductions and arguments to
establish the theory of creation, however difficult, instead of
eternity, which is even much more difficult to accept.

Also, notice the framing. The King of the Khazars doesn't start by trying to
prove G-d. G-d and the idea that His Existence means something about how to live
are taken as givens. Religion is a given, the question is which kind of worship
- Christianity, Islam, whatever the Theist Philosophers are teaching, or Judaism.

A snippet of 1:1:
... Yet he was so zealous in the performance of the Khazar religion
that he devoted himself with a perfect heart to the service of the
temple and sacrifices. Notwithstanding this devotion, the angel
came again at night and repeated: "Your way of thinking is pleasing
to G-d, but not your way of acting". This caused him to ponder over
the different beliefs and religions, and finally become a convert
to Judaism together with many other Khazars. ...

Nowadays, the mesorah is so attenuated, I don't think R. Yehuda Halevi's
position still works. OTOH, since Kant, we have other ideas about justifying
beliefs. The nearest to R. Yehuda Halevi's is Reliabilism - trusting something
you got from a source that otherwise proved itself reliable. Or maybe the
first-hand experiences the religion creates. Not the aesthetics, but the
properties of the experience that one is making the aesthetic judgment of being
"elegant" or the like about. (The way mathemeticians manage to largely agree
about which proofs are beautiful.)

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger


From: Martin Stern <>
Date: Sun, Oct 29,2023 at 06:17 PM
Subject: When may the shatz begin?

Carl Singer wrote (MJ 66#58):

> Joel Rich wrote (MJ 66#57):
>> The SA (OC 55:6) discusses what to do if you have a minyan of exactly ten and
>> nine of them are waiting for the tenth to finish his amida so as to start
>> chazarat hashatz. While it's encouraged to wait, in a case of need the shatz
>> may begin his chazara. I didn't notice anyone saying that the singleton
>> should consider speeding up so as not to hold the minyan back.
> I have no sources -- but the minhag that I see and have seen for over six
> decades is that the Gabbai looks around and once he determines
> that SIX have completed their amida he signals the shatz to begin.

This is based on the requirement of "minyan or rov minyan". While we usually use
the word "minyan" to mean the people present for davening, it really means the
quorum of adult males which is TEN. Thus "rov minyan" means more than half of
them, i.e. SIX. It does NOT mean the majority of those present for davening, as
some slow daveners - or should I perhaps call them those who concentrate more
intently on their tefillot - would like to suggest.

Martin Stern


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