Thursday, August 3, 2017

Time Travel

This Sunday morning, I am flying from Melbourne to Los Angeles. My flight leaves Melbourne at 9:15am Sunday. The flight is long - over fourteen hours. And it arrives in Los Angeles at 6:30 am - on the same day.

I am traveling back in time! It's going to be the longest day of my life (unless we are speaking metaphorically, in which case we have to give precedence to days in which I was at Misrad HaPenim).

Halachically, it raises all kinds of interesting questions. Which tefillos do I davven? When do I davven them? Does Shabbos come back again briefly for me, and if so, do I make kiddush/havdalah? (See extensive halachic discussion on these issues at this link.)

Such questions, and the very concept of the International Date Line - and the question of where, halachically, to set it - potentially relate to the rationalist/mystic divide. According the mystical approach, halachic reality is a metaphysical reality which is "out there" and we have to discover it. There is a metaphysical dateline, and we have to try to figure out where it is. According to the rationalist approach, on the other hand, halachic reality is institutional. We create halachah, by the application of halachic principles to the best of our ability. Once created, it is what we created.

For further discussion on this point, as well as on the related topic of what Chazal and the Rishonim believed to be the shape of the world, see my post Rationalism and the International Dateline.

108 comments:

  1. Rabbi Slifkin, do you have a copy of Rav Zimmerman's "Agan HaSahar" handy? ;)

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  2. We create halachah, by the application of halachic principles to the best of our ability. Once created, it is what we created.

    How does this square with the mitzva of the Sanhedrin bringing a korban when it makes a mistake? If there is no God-desired set of halachot which we are aspiring to match as closely as possible using our intellect and the basic principles of Judaism, to what can we possibly be comparing the Sanhedrin's decision when we determine that the Sanhedrin was wrong and this other thing was right?

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    1. Because they can admit to mistaken reasoning or missing a precedent. Judges can change their minds. I haven't looked into the practicals of this, but Sanhedrin also changes membership, so they could also overrule themselves because later judges see things differently. This explanation would also be needed to explain the fact that an individual who "knows" that the Sanhedrin erred is prohibited from following its ruling in ritual matters.

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  3. There is a Halachik discussion as to where the (Halachik) date line is placed. The *International* Date Line refers to the one agreed by the international community.

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    1. There's actually no agreement. Each political entity decides which side of the line they are on and some have changed when political borders changes (e.g. Alaska). See here for examples.

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  4. This issue is different. Even mystical types may be rational because there is no mesorah for a dateline (no mention in Shas). I mentioned tonight that the Betzel Hachochmo is a prime source for these Halachos. I looked it up and his opinion would be that the rising of the sun causes a chiyyuv, as opposed to the 'name' if a day. Accordingly you have two Shachreisim on your way home.

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  5. The notion of the halacha being "out there", you probably know, is literally the exact same formulation that old (and outdated) legal philosophers used to say about the law. That it was "out there", and the Judges, by their legal scholarship, went out and found it. Few people believe that anymore. Most people today are called "legal realists", which recognize that law is created by men by the application of legal principles to the best of our ability.

    I am sure you're aware of this, given that it is, in all practical points, the same "debate", if it can still be called a debate, between what you call rationalists and mystics. If you're not aware of it, there's a vast amount of literature on the subject, some of which we studied in law school. It's all pretty boring, though.

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  6. I assume that you know what to do about the International Date Line or any such 'line' that you will cross whether it be the Chazon Ish line as you leave Australia, the secular line in the mid-Pacific, or the line crossing eastern Alaska. The rational position, as I see it, is the view of Rav Zvi Pesach Frank and Rav Isser Zalman Meltzer that there is no halachic 'date line' and that one follows the day count of the local Jewish community or one's own sunrise/sunset day count - if there is no established Jewish community. I would think that one would wait until one reached LA in the morning of the a same nominal day to avoid duplicating tefilot. If one had to fly on Tisha B'Av, or another major ta'anit, one would end the fast as soon as the sky was completely dark. However, the above is just for discussion purposes. I don't pretend to be able to judge for others.

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    1. ">The rational position...is that there is no halachic 'date line' and that one follows the day count of the local Jewish community."<

      Yes, agreed. The proof of that is that there is no Jewish community in the world, nor has there ever been one, in which Shabbos is kept on any day other than the local Saturday. Hawaii, Australia, Japan, etc, all keep it on the local Saturday. It does not speak well for the Mir yeshivah that they asked a "shailah" about this while temporarily located in Kobe, during WWII. There had been an established Jewish community there long before the Mir came, with thousands of other Jews, and they all kept Shabbos on Saturday. It was מיחזי כיהורא for the Mir yeshiva even to ask the question, not to mention הוצאת לעז על הראשונים. Unfortunately, these principles are often selectively employed, especially by the charedi/yeshivah world.

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    2. I think that is going overboard. The dateline question had been posed in the 19th century, but not resolved. While it is true that the first Jews in Kobe simply kept to the local Saturday, it is not illegitimate to ask the question (I don't know that it is ever illegitimate to ask a question anyhow). Perhaps the first inhabitants simply acted in ignorance, since this was a completely new issue. And Rav Herzog did not reply that this was a stupid question; he convened the Rabbis to discuss it. Perhaps I'm wrong, but I don't see in the accounts of that decision that you have local Rabbis of Kobe issuing a considered P'sak. The people did what was natural. The don't think that the notion of "הוצאת לעז על הראשונים" means that whoever gets there first is automatically right. It means that we when there are two ways of looking at things, we should give weight to the longstanding practice.

      I do think, that while it I'm not on the level to really state this, that that Chazon Ish should not have issued a P'sak independent of all the other Rabbis. This is the kind of issue where there needs to be some kind of majority rule so that people know what to do.

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    3. I agree with you david that such places may not have such great reliable traditions. i have recently seen a teshuva by ben ish chai about eggplant and orlah where he says the tradition of the people of bombay india dont count at all becuase it is unknown what scholars lived there and who was there to rely on. the same argument can probably be made about kobe. (and bear in mind we are talking about shabbos and yom kipper not nusach hatefillah.

      but your second point about the chazon ish, it is rather intersting as chazon ish writes in a letter that he everything he writes is derech limudo, and if someone relies on him he does not take responibility ! except byt the date line he sees fit to get involved and issue a ruling!

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    4. David, while DF may have overstated the case against the position that that 90 deg. longitude east of J'lem constituted an 'halachic' date line (crossing China and the western third of Australia), it need not reflect poorly on the Mir yeshiva in Kobe to have asked the question about when to observe Shabbat and Yom Kippur east of that dateline. Yeshiva people are geared to textual analysis. The first discussion of a date line by a Talmudic commentator was the putative resolution of an odd statement of the sages in T.B. Rosh Hashanah by R' Zerachya Halevi who introduced the idea of a date line into Talmudic discourse (the same idea was presented in a non-halachic context by R' Yehuda Halevi). He advanced the notion that the date line was 90 deg. east of Israel. While he is not one of the pillars of Halacha (much less R' Yehuda Halevi), his is apparently the only 'halachic' discussion on the subject by a Rishon. The fact that his explanation of the gemara leaves much to be desired (why would an Amora in Bavel living a few degrees east longitude from Israel consider that that the gemara was referring to someone living in the eastern end of Asia as 'lon' (us). Nonetheless, the Hazon Ish used that 90 deg line in his ruling for the Mir yeshiva, but made the rational adjustment that a contiguous territory must have the same date. Thus, all of Asia has the same day, as does all of Australia (since the western part is west of the above date line). However an island territory falling east of the line, like Japan, has a different day (as does New Zealand). I note that R' Herschel Shachter has the same viewpoint. However, as noted previously, R' Zvi Pesach Frank, the leading J'lem posek during the wartime, and R' Isser Zalman Meltzer, the leading J'lem rosh yeshiva had both argued against the idea of any halachic dateline.

      The rational position that I had argued was to disregard any date line in the determination of the day of the week. Jews who settled in the far corners of the world are expected to have kept track of the days when they journeyed since Shabbat and the calendrical observances were involved. Jews first settled Australia and Japan moving eastward from Europe and Asia, respectively. They didn't concern themselves with some 90 degree date line. They just counted days based on the sun and stars. Why should their count be superseded by some attempt at understanding a problematic statement of the sages? If Hawaii has an old Jewish community, they presumably came there from the Americas traveling west. The above argument would then hold for when to observe Shabbat there. The question arises about areas without an established, observant Jewish community. Do you use the local day, your own count of days from the start of your travel, or both? In any case, the dateline, however defined, is not directly relevant.
      The above is purely for discussion purposes rather than practical Halacha.

      Y. Aharon

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    5. Y. Aharon, I agree with everything you say. My comment above was that it was not improper for the Mir Yeshiva students to have asked the question. I do think, although I don't have the right to say anything, that the Chazon Ish should not have issued an individual p'sak in this case.

      I've heard Rav Schachter on this. He makes a number of statements that it is easy to take issue with. He repeats the assertion of the Chazon Ish that all Rishonim agree with his position that the dateline starts at the cost of China, while it is doubtful that any actually agree. He also states that Rav Tukachinski didn't know who the Chazon Ish was. I read Rav Tukachinski's account and that is not what he says. WADR, he seems to be overconfident on this topic.

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    6. Just to add one point. Reb Isser Zalman has no recorded pesak against the CI. He wrote a letter asking a question on the peshat the CI said regarding the dateline. He did not pasken at all.
      Shortly after his death, a known forger suddenly printed a letter, purportedly written in his final days. The same forger came up with a story from the CI on his final day. A pinch of salt is called for.

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    7. I can only offer the citations of some foremost near-contemporary rabbinic figures about the issue of an halachic dateline. I don't have access to these sources for verification. Rav Z.P. Frank's view that there is no halachic dateline is cited in his sefer, Har Zvi, OH 138. Rav I.Z. Meltzer's similar view is from an approbation to the sefer on the subject by Rav M.M. Kasher. An additional such citation is from the sefer of t'shuvot from the Radbaz 1:76. As I recollect from a lecture on the subject by Rav Herschel Shachter, he made no mention was made of any of these figures other than Rav Kasher who was simply dismissed as an authority. I also do not recollect a citation of Rav M. Feinstein, Rav S.Z. Auerbach, Rav Y.S. Elyashiv, and others who are said to have supported Rav Tukachintzky's view that the halachic dateline was 180 deg. from J'lem.

      Y. Aharon

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    8. Y. Aharon, he thinks that Rav Kasher forged that letter of Rav Meltzer.

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  7. I think there is a school of thought that believes that halachic reality is a combination of discovered and created.

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  8. It seems quite twisted to say that in the Far East where Jews kept mitzvos as well as Shabbos for centuries based on their local Rabbonim who decided Shabbos is the local Saturday, yet people in the very modern era while using modern technological tools thousands of miles away decided that those people are and were wrong.

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    1. Can we hear any source for these 'centuries' that people kept Shabbos on Saturday?

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    2. Jewish traders along the Silk Road which stretches from the Mediterranean Sea and Persia to China, Japan, and Korea.

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  9. Just make sure that your flight doesn't stop in Hawaii on the way (Some flights do), because it would be Saturday Afternoon in Hawaii and then you'd have all kinds of problems.

    As an aside I once met a Australian businessman who regularly traveled to New Zealand on a Sunday afternoon flight (he was a semi-regular regular at the Monday morning minyan in Wellington). In accordance with the Chazon Ish's view, in Summer if he flew on Sunday before Shkiya, as soon as the plain took off (and he was entering Shabbat as soon as he left Australia) he was careful not to do malacha until it got dark outside - although I don't think he made Havdalla again.

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  10. I think that there is different distinction, perhaps related to the distinction that you mention, that comes into play here. There is a claim by some that halacha (and specifically the corpus of Gemara and Rishonim) has an answer to every question. I've heard Rav Schachter say this explicitly on some recorded shiur. If you think that is true, then you will scrutinize the Gemara and Rishonim and try to derive the halacha from their discussions, even if they weren't completely knowledgeable of the facts. This comes up in both this issue and in the brain death issue where people try to figure out what Chazal would have said, even though the phenomena under discussion (person kept alive through artificial respiration) did not yet exist.

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  11. Lol @ the booth! Wishing you a most excellent adventure

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  12. A few hours after take off you cross back into Shabbos, according to all shittos of the date line. Do you know when the next sunset is?

    What did your rabbi tell you to do? Take muktzah out of your pocket? Make sure you use a non-Jew to open and close the bathroom door. I am genuinely curious. Some Rabbis say take sleeping pills to sleep through the shabbos period, although I can't agree with that one, that will make you groggy and sick.

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    1. A few hours after take off you cross back into Shabbos, according to all shittos of the date line. Do you know when the next sunset is?

      I don't think that it is "all shittos". There is position that you keep your personal 6+1 count until you are back in "civilization" and then take on their count. The "all shittos" that you refer to are all the ones with a dateline; not everyone agrees that there is one.

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    2. Thats why I wrote "shittos of the date line". Quite apart from the fact that is a posek long before the era of aeroplanes or when the date mattered for legal matters. Nowadays The aeroplane may well be 'civilisation' even according to those poskim. Legally if a baby was born or somebody died on board the legal dob or dod would be determined by the IDL.

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    3. Thats why I wrote "shittos of the date line".

      Fair enough.

      Quite apart from the fact that is a posek long before the era of aeroplanes or when the date mattered for legal matters.

      No true.

      Nowadays The aeroplane may well be 'civilisation' even according to those poskim.

      I don't know why it would be moreso than a ship.

      But I think that you miss the point. On the airplane itself, nothing happened. Those on the airplane will certainly not say that the day changed. The problem comes about when you arrive in a location where the inhabitants have experienced more or fewer sunsets than you have; that is when you have a contradiction to resolve. The people on the plane have all experienced the same number of sunsets, so they will agree on the day of the week. When he arrived in Los Angeles, he had experienced one more sunset since last Shabbos than those who stayed in Los Angeles.

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    4. People on the plane would very much say it mattered. As I wrote, if an event happened when the legal date mattered, such as a birth, death or a contract signed between two businessmen it would matter. As would the pilots log. That is the difference to a few sailors on a boat and when that teshuvoh was written i doubt dates had such legal significance. In any event again that is one posek out of many.



      In any event poskim write one should avoid taking such a flight or at least ensure no melocho is done and muktzah is removed the shabbos part of the flight. It is a sofek d'oreysah after all.

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    5. People on the plane would very much say it mattered. As I wrote, if an event happened when the legal date mattered, such as a birth, death or a contract signed between two businessmen it would matter.

      Actually, this isn't true at all. The pilots log would always be expressed in UTC (Universal Time Coordinated) aka GMT aka Zulu time. Where you are and what timezone you use to express a given time time are two completely different things. 8PM ET Monday = 3AM Israel Time Tuesday whether I'm standing in Baltimore, Haifa or anywhere else. Otherwise you could not have businessmen in different timezones agree on anything.

      I'll also point out that timezones themselves are somewhat arbitrary constructs. When it is noon today in ET (which is where I live), it is not really noon by either my Mean Solar Time, nor by the actual crossing of the sun across my local meridian. Yes, there may be a few oddballs who try to keep changing their watch over each timezone that their in, but most people just reset their watch one time (or nowawadays, they just wait until they can turn their phone out of airplane mode, and the phone auto updates to the local timezone).

      In any event again that is one posek out of many.

      More than one it seems.

      In any event poskim write one should avoid taking such a flight or at least ensure no melocho is done and muktzah is removed the shabbos part of the flight. It is a sofek d'oreysah after all.

      For some it would be a safek and for others a vadai one way or the other. I don't think that the Chazon Ish felt there was any safek at all.

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    6. Ok pilot might. But not businesman or birth or death days.

      The Chazon Ish would be one of those who hold no sofek, its shabbos. By sofek i meant sofek between the poskim who hold it is shabbos and those who hold it isn't until you land.

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    7. Ok pilot might. But not businesman or birth or death days.

      Please give an example. E.g. if you are trying to figure out which lien was placed first, then it makes no difference where you are on the globe.

      It's also unclear why you think that this makes any difference.

      The Chazon Ish would be one of those who hold no sofek, its shabbos. By sofek i meant sofek between the poskim who hold it is shabbos and those who hold it isn't until you land.

      The Chazon Ish is not a Amora or even a Rishon. You don't have to consider every opinion of every Acharon to be a safek. Especially in the case of R Slifkin, who belongs to a group where the Chazon Ish is not an authority especially as a singular opinion against authority of R Herzog and his gathering of authorities.

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    8. "The CI is not an amora or rishon"

      If you only want to consider rishonim then you have crossed back into shabbos.

      You can't have your cake and eat it. If you want to apply the acharonim that consider the trigger when you reach civilisation,then you have to reckon with the Chazon ish to.

      We don't do counting up, at the end of the day RNS has not got koach hachrohoh to decide against the CI, Rav Tushanesky etc and insist that it is not a sofek at all. It is a sofek in halocho between all the poskim, whether you wish to admit it or not. And it is a d'oreysah sofek.

      You do not have to count every acharon but the CI is a very important one. Rabbi Skifkin belongs to a group of how many exactly? Does he have a specific rabbi-talmud mesorah that permits him to ignore the CI and others who hold that he crossed the date line, to the extent that it is not even a sofek in his eyes?

      And as I have mentioned before, a plane in today's world may well count as civilisation anyway. I am not sure what example you want. I have given examples. Somebody born on a plane will have his legal birthday following the IDL. As will businessmen signing a contract. Planes these days are subject to laws and are civilised places. Unlike a few sailors when those teshuvous were written. So it is also a sofek whether those teshuvous are applicable.

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    9. Again. Its not just the CI. According to all the shittos that there is a date line (many acharonim and rishonim) they have all been crossed soon after take off.

      If you asked cabin crew what day of the week it is they would answer according to the IDL. If a contract of insurance was signed commencing one minute after minute on the date of signature at the place of signature, it would follow the IDL. A plane in the 21st century is a very civilised place and not comparable to a lone boat in the middle of the ocean.

      It is not clear how somebody (especially not a rav or a posek) can decide of his own accord and off his own back that it is not a sofek at all and decide to be machriah. That is not the way halocho has ever worked. At least concede it is a sofek d'oreysoh and avoid melocho and muktzah during that period. What's the big deal?

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    10. The Satmar Rav also held that there is no dateline:

      http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=15016&st=&pgnum=108

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    11. If you only want to consider rishonim then you have crossed back into shabbos.

      I don't agree. You have the Baal Hamoar and the Kuzari with a vague division of some kind somewhere between Israel and China, and then you have others not creating a dateline.

      You can't have your cake and eat it. If you want to apply the acharonim that consider the trigger when you reach civilisation,then you have to reckon with the Chazon ish to.

      No, you don't. There is no principle what we can't decide among Acharonim like there is with Rishonim (and even the Rishonim rule is not always adhered to). The Chazon Ish can be rejected (in fact he was rejected by the Rabbinic conference on the topic).

      We don't do counting up, at the end of the day RNS has not got koach hachrohoh to decide against the CI, Rav Tushanesky etc and insist that it is not a sofek at all. It is a sofek in halocho between all the poskim, whether you wish to admit it or not. And it is a d'oreysah sofek.

      This is wrong. Whether R Slifkin would do so or defer to others is up to him. But it is completely valid to follow the P'sak of an Acharon against others.

      You do not have to count every acharon but the CI is a very important one.

      He was a great Talmid Chacham and he is very important for the Ashkenazi Charedi world. He is simply not as important or not important at all for other camps. Just think about how the great Zionist Poskim + the Sefardi poskim count as zeroes in the Ashekenazi Charedi camp and you can understand how this is. In this particular case, it applies all the more as he ignored all of the other Rabbis on the topic and went out out his own with a very hard to understand P'sak.

      Rabbi Skifkin belongs to a group of how many exactly?

      I can't speak for him, but I think that he moved to the Zionist camp so that the Charedi poskim are no longer his poskim (although it is not symmetrical and the Zionist don't consider the Charedi poskim to be zeroes, they are also not bound by them in the way that the Charedim are).

      Does he have a specific rabbi-talmud mesorah that permits him to ignore the CI and others who hold that he crossed the date line, to the extent that it is not even a sofek in his eyes?

      I don't know, but if he has left the Charedi camp, then the answer would be that he has the right to. You agree, since the Charedim do that to all the other camps.

      Again. Its not just the CI. According to all the shittos that there is a date line (many acharonim and rishonim) they have all been crossed soon after take off.

      See above. No Rishonim have a dateline although some have a vague dateline area which not a single acharon agrees to.

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    12. If you asked cabin crew what day of the week it is they would answer according to the IDL. If a contract of insurance was signed commencing one minute after minute on the date of signature at the place of signature, it would follow the IDL. A plane in the 21st century is a very civilised place and not comparable to a lone boat in the middle of the ocean.

      You are still confused. If the insurance contract comes in to force one minute after it is signed, it makes no difference what timezone it was signed in.

      Also, you do understand that the zig-zag line that you see on the maps has no meaning other than to put the various contries and territories on side or the other. There is are universally agreed upon zig and zag points.

      Finally, I'm not expert, but ships have had their own rules for order for a long, long time including brigs for those who break the rules. Had they been "uncivilized", they would have a hard time getting anywhere.

      It is not clear how somebody (especially not a rav or a posek) can decide of his own accord and off his own back that it is not a sofek at all and decide to be machriah. That is not the way halocho has ever worked. At least concede it is a sofek d'oreysoh and avoid melocho and muktzah during that period. What's the big deal?

      There's no big deal. But I don't see why someone needs to follow the Chazon Ish and not Rav Zvi Pesach. Again, a argument among acharonim doesn't make a safek for everyone.

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    13. Thats why I wrote 'comes into force one minute from midnight on the day it was signed'.

      Why doesn't an argument among acharonim create a sofek for everyone? The only time it wouldn't if somebody asked his Rav to be machria for him. Or was a talmid of rav issur zalman or similar.

      And in something like this few Rabbis would accept they have the shoulders to be machria. Which is why all over the internet plenty of rabbis not associated in the slightest with the chareidi world write along the lines off, this is a sofek. With all that that entails including ideally not taking such a flight or if you have to avoiding melocho.

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    14. Thats why I wrote 'comes into force one minute from midnight on the day it was signed'.

      I'll assume that you mean one minute after midnight the day after it was signed in the location it was signed. That would really be a weird way to write a contract because it leave lots of things open, but it still has no dependency at all on what day it is. If the Sun was, for example. crossing the noon-time meridian at the time when you signed, then it would go into affect 6 hours and 1 minute later, regardless of the day of week or month of year.

      Why doesn't an argument among acharonim create a sofek for everyone? The only time it wouldn't if somebody asked his Rav to be machria for him. Or was a talmid of rav issur zalman or similar.

      It creates a Safek if you are not sure who is right. It doesn't create a Safek based on mere authority (and in any case each camp has its own authorities; e.g. you agree that Rav Schachter cannot create a Safek for Charedim). Certainly one should be cautious about over-valuing their own ability to judge.

      But I don't see how this is at all relevant. There was a meeting Rabbis and they overruled Chazon Ish. If authority is relevant, the Chazon Ish is overruled. If it is not relevant, then we can judge his position.

      Which is why all over the internet plenty of rabbis not associated in the slightest with the chareidi world write along the lines off, this is a sofek. With all that that entails including ideally not taking such a flight or if you have to avoiding melocho.

      Each Rabbi is entitled to his opinion, Charedi or not. What does this prove? And what exactly is your question? These kinds of issues are very fact specific. Are you seriously engaging the issues or in a Tzitis check?



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    15. Thats why I wrote 'comes into force one minute from midnight on the day it was signed'.

      I'll assume that you mean one minute after midnight the day after it was signed in the location it was signed. That would really be a weird way to write a contract because it leave lots of things open, but it still has no dependency at all on what day it is. If the Sun was, for example, crossing the noon-time meridian at the time when you signed, then it would go into affect 6 hours and 1 minute later, regardless of the day of week or day of month.

      Why doesn't an argument among acharonim create a sofek for everyone? The only time it wouldn't if somebody asked his Rav to be machria for him. Or was a talmid of rav issur zalman or similar.

      It creates a Safek if you are not sure who is right. It doesn't create a Safek based on mere authority (and in any case each camp has its own authorities; e.g. you agree that Rav Schachter cannot create a Safek for Charedim). Certainly one should be cautious about over-valuing their own ability to judge.

      But I don't see how this is at all relevant. There was a meeting of Rabbis and they overruled Chazon Ish. *If* authority is relevant, the Chazon Ish is overruled. If it is not relevant, then we can judge his position.

      Which is why all over the internet plenty of rabbis not associated in the slightest with the chareidi world write along the lines off, this is a sofek. With all that that entails including ideally not taking such a flight or if you have to avoiding melocho.

      Each Rabbi is entitled to his opinion, Charedi or not. What does this prove? And what exactly is your question? These kinds of issues are very fact specific (e.g. how do you judge "ideally"). Are you seriously engaging the issues or in a Tzitzis check?

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    16. Who are the non-chareidi poskim that have a clear opinion on the date-line which is not somwhere between Australia and LA?

      Quite apart from the fact that nobody seems to know who the 'MO poskim' are. By definition they dislike any sort of centralised authority and will simple ask their local Rav. Who, if he doesn't know the answer will often go straight away and work it from a chareidi shu't sefer. Plus the old bug-bear that as soon as an MO/Rabbi poskek paskens l'chumrah too many times, he is demounced as 'chareidisized'. People like R Gill Student and Rav Mordechai Willig have long ago been denounced at chareidised.




      As I wrote, the vast majority of the non-chareidi rabbonim who have an internet presence write that this a real sofek in halocho and are not machria.

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    17. If the Sun was, for example, crossing the noon-time meridian at the time when you signed, then it would go into affect 6 hours and 1 minute later, regardless of the day of week or day of month.

      Sorry I meant 12 hours and 1 minute.

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    18. "I'll assume that you mean one minute after midnight the day after it was signed in the location it was signed. "

      No. As I write on the day IT WAS signed. And it's not weird at all. When I take out an insurace contract, say for my car, it always starts at 00.01 on the date I took it out.

      Every Rabbi is entitled to his opinion. Yes, and as I wrote most are not machria. Those that are not members of the Rationalist Organisation of Rabbis tend to be more humble and defer to the fact that greater Rabbis then them could not decide, so how can they? We are not talking about a matter of life and death where a decision is needed.

      And who are all these non-chareidi poskim anyway? What are their seforim called? Non-charedi Rabbis seem to busy themselves with philosophy and abstract issues. Are there more than a handful? Who are non-chareidi counterparts to the Igros Moshe, Tzitz Eliezer, L'horos Nosson, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, sh't Chasam Sofer, sh't r akive eiger, sh't Minchas Yitzchok sh't btzel hachochmo etc et? Who are they and how many are they? Whenever I visit a non-chareidi yeshiva the otzar is still full of chareidi sh't seforim. Where are the others? Who are all these non- chareidi poskim you refer to?



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    19. Who are the non-chareidi poskim that have a clear opinion on the date-line which is not somwhere between Australia and LA?

      Rav Zvi Pesach preceded that distinction I think.

      Quite apart from the fact that nobody seems to know who the 'MO poskim' are. By definition they dislike any sort of centralised authority and will simple ask their local Rav.

      Not really. What is not accepted is Daas Torah concept as currently practiced where a single person is consulted for everything, both in halachah and in other matters.

      Who, if he doesn't know the answer will often go straight away and work it from a chareidi shu't sefer.

      If a Rabbi is not Chareidi, he will consult all kinds of Rabbis as he should. If he is, he will consult a smaller set of works acceptable to the Chareidim. E.g. see this description from Otzar: "Bnei Torah edition – 74,800 books: The complete Otzar HaHochma excluding 3,200 books with a world-outlook incompatible with the Hareidi sector."

      By the way what is your definition of Chareidi? Was R Moshe Chareidi? Was R Kook Modern? These labels don't work as you go back in the past.

      Plus the old bug-bear that as soon as an MO/Rabbi poskek paskens l'chumrah too many times, he is demounced as 'chareidisized'. People like R Gill Student and Rav Mordechai Willig have long ago been denounced at chareidised.

      That's an exaggeration, but centrist is probably centrist and not left-leaning. That doesn't make them right or wrong, but does leave them as attacked from all sides. It is also probably true in general that poskim of all stripes have historically been Meikil in one way or other, or they would not have been consulted as poskim.

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    20. No. As I write on the day IT WAS signed. And it's not weird at all. When I take out an insurace contract, say for my car, it always starts at 00.01 on the date I took it out.

      I don't think that this is generally true. Then you could get insurance after an accident. But, no problem. Then if you sign as the sun is crossing the noon meridian, then it comes into effect on 11 hours 59 minutes before you sign it. The dateline is again irrelevant.

      I don't think that there is any real contract like that though. It would either specify the timezone or say something like the timezone of the insured property or home address. It would never say 12:01AM of the timezone that you happen to be standing in when you sign. It wouldn't make a difference, as I mentioned above, but it never would happen. And as I mentioned above, the zig-zag line that you see on the maps is drawn by the mapmaker, not by any kind of international law.

      Every Rabbi is entitled to his opinion. Yes, and as I wrote most are not machria. Those that are not members of the Rationalist Organisation of Rabbis tend to be more humble and defer to the fact that greater Rabbis then them could not decide, so how can they? We are not talking about a matter of life and death where a decision is needed.

      Actually, with Kobe there was a concern for life and death since they were concerned with two people fasting. And the Chazon Ish did not respect the decision of the other Rabbis and went out on his own and gave a different P'sak from what all the other Rabbis agreed to. Presumably, he did this because he though each Rabbi needs to decide for himself according to his own opinion and ignore the decision of other Rabbis.

      I have nothing on the Chazon Ish, but his opinion is very difficult to comprehend and this is probably the reason that it was rejected. For example, he is forced to invent the possibility that the coast of China was different in Medieval times in order to have it be size hours from Jerusalem at the latitude of Jerusalem.

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    21. *********************August 21, 2017 at 2:09 PM

      I didn't bring up the distinction between chareidi and non-chareidi poskim - you did, when suggesting that RNS need not follow chareidi poskim.

      I agree there is no clear definition between chareidim and non-charedim and such terminology is not helpful.

      But at the end of the day you need to concede that 90% of the development of halocho and shu't seforim in this day and age comes from what the would be considered to the unsophisticated from being from the 'chareidi world'. I have not seen shelves and shelves full in any otzar of non-chareidi (using the term loosely) authors.

      The MO and non-chareidi press focus mainly on philosophical stuff.

      As far as otzar hachochmo, the main exclusion is Lubavitch texts and other hashakafic or historical texts. Not halocho. Did you actually research what is omitted? I did. They will tell you. Its 'outlook' not 'halocho'. They have many halachic seforim from the non chareidi world, but the halachic upshot is nearly identical to the chareidi outcome anyway. Open any book from a RZ rabbi on tzniyus and other than maybe minor quibbles over elbows or stockings for the lower leg, the rules will be pretty much identical to the chareidi view.

      Anyway we digress. You keep harping back to Rav Tzvi Pesach Frank. But you haven't addressed the main point. Unless somebody is a talmid of RTPF or has asked a rabbi who has paskend like RTZPF for him, or is a learned rabbi himself, he cannot just decide of his own accord to follow him. Not in something as important as shabbos. Which is why, again, all the rabbis I have seen concede that it remains a sofek.


      " It is also probably true in general that poskim of all stripes have historically been Meikil in one way or other, or they would not have been consulted as poskim."

      I disagree, I think that in the past a healthy posek would have a complete mix of paskening lechumrah and lekulah. Just like today.

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    22. I didn't bring up the distinction between chareidi and non-chareidi poskim - you did, when suggesting that RNS need not follow chareidi poskim.

      I agree there is no clear definition between chareidim and non-charedim and such terminology is not helpful.


      I don't agree with that at all. What I said was that projecting backward before the distinction came about makes no sense. There is definitely a distinction today. Here are two results:

      1) Charedim follow a hierarchy. So when the Indian wigs were made assur by Rav Elyashiv ztl, the local Chareidi posek who could not understand the p'sak could not go against it. I ask a non-Chareidi non-MO posek, he said that it was not an issue.

      When R S Kamenetsky goes on about his anti-vax stance, the non-chareidim ignore it, while the Chareidim they either foolishly go along or they have to find distinctions: "well this is not really halacha, etc.". This is actually an important case. For the non-Charedim, this is all just foolishness, while for the Charedim this causes all kinds of problems even though we know 100% that R Kamenestsky is wrong.

      2) Non-Chareidi poskim/thought are not considered by Chareidim. A non-Chareidi Rabbi will consider, say YU Rabbis and RZ Rabbis as well as Charedim. The Charedim will only quote other Charedim.

      But at the end of the day you need to concede that 90% of the development of halocho and shu't seforim in this day and age comes from what the would be considered to the unsophisticated from being from the 'chareidi world'. I have not seen shelves and shelves full in any otzar of non-chareidi (using the term loosely) authors.

      I believe that this is mostly correct.

      Open any book from a RZ rabbi on tzniyus and other than maybe minor quibbles over elbows or stockings for the lower leg, the rules will be pretty much identical to the chareidi view.

      But if you ask them about issues related to Zionism you will get radically different answers. Also there are other groups than the RZ.

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    23. As far as otzar hachochmo, the main exclusion is Lubavitch texts and other hashakafic or historical texts. Not halocho.

      My point here is just to show that the Charedim have certain limits that the other groups don't. And anyhow whose thought is off-limits will also not be quoted for p'sak even if they don't have to be censored from the HaHochma Chachmah. There is no version "excluding books with a world-outlook incompatible with the MO or RZ sector."

      Anyway we digress. You keep harping back to Rav Tzvi Pesach Frank. But you haven't addressed the main point. Unless somebody is a talmid of RTPF or has asked a rabbi who has paskend like RTZPF for him, or is a learned rabbi himself, he cannot just decide of his own accord to follow him. Not in something as important as shabbos. Which is why, again, all the rabbis I have seen concede that it remains a sofek.

      If one is in safek then one should treat it as a safek. My point is that there is no halacha or precedent that says that you have to treat the Shita of every Acharon as a safek. In particular, the Chazon Ish's Shita was actually rejected.

      " It is also probably true in general that poskim of all stripes have historically been Meikil in one way or other, or they would not have been consulted as poskim."

      I disagree, I think that in the past a healthy posek would have a complete mix of paskening lechumrah and lekulah. Just like today.


      I think that this is true both historically and today. Perhaps Rav Moshe's most important P'sak was to eliminate Mamzerus from the children of Reform and Conservative second marriages. Rav Ovadia's mattiring of the war Agunot was perhaps his most important P'sak. The great poskim have been ones who have had to deal with real world problems and find a way to resolve them within the framework of halachah. I think that this is a common observation, but I won't insist.

      Here is a side question I have for you. Shaytl's are accepted in both the Charedi and Centrist/Modern worlds among both Ashkenazim and Sefardim. However, Rav Elyashiv did not permit them; Rav Ovadia did not permit them; and the right-wing RZ AFAIK do not permit them. Why in you mind did this not create a safek when they were alive? The answer doesn't really impact this debate, but I'm curious as to what your answer would be.

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    24. *********************August 22, 2017 at 12:03 PM

      ") Charedim follow a hierarchy. So when the Indian wigs were made assur by Rav Elyashiv ztl, the local Chareidi posek who could not understand the p'sak could not go against it. I ask a non-Chareidi non-MO posek, he said that it was not an issue. "

      Incorrect. My very chareidi rabbi asks his mentor, rav wosner z'l who permitted until the metizus was verified. It is clear from this blog and others that the MO don't really understand chareidi society very well.

      My very chareidi Rabbi also heard directly from Rav Elyashiv, that unless he hears a psak directly from the mouth of Rav Elyashiv, to ignore it.

      Ditto the anti-vax thing. R S Kamenetsky does not speak for anybody but his own talmidim. 99.999% of chareidim vaccinate their children without feeling guilty or having to find distinctions. Again, you show that the MO don't really understand chareidi society.

      "issues relating to zionism" - Agreed, but that is hashkofo, not practical day to day halocho. When it comes to practical daily halocho in the real important things (ie not which shoelace to tie first), you would be hard pressed to count up differences of note. Even this blog, is all theoretical and philosophical. Very few differences in practical halocho. For example, you may find that the 'chareidi' poskim will not be happy about relying on a sefardi's mesorah to eat grasshoppers. But you will find plenty of non-chareidi poskim who say the same thing. However irrational this blog claims that practice is. And nobody permits, today, killing lice on shabbos lechatchila as a practical day to day matter. As for the age of the earth, or evolution, totally irrelevant for halocho.


      "And anyhow whose thought is off-limits will also not be quoted for p'sak even if they don't have to be censored from the HaHochma Chachmah". That is simply not correct. The nefesh hachayim'niks are quite happy quoting shulchan oruch harav. But the point is, as I have already made, those that have hashkofos that the chareidim do not hold off are not know as great halachik poskim. Its all hashkofo and philosophy. To the extent they issue a p'sak, you will usually find a 'chareidi' posek who says the same thing, so it's not too much of an issue.

      Chareidi dayanim in EY regularly use the law reports from the RZ dayanim of the state, by the way, for assistance. They do not dismiss them in the manner you suggest. They may disagree or may agree, but that is torah.

      Turning to sheitals, I wish my wife would not wear them, costs me a months salary after tax. But see my comments about rav Elyashiv above. If he ever said it (and a pashkevil or the claims of somebody that claims he asked him in a shiur do not count for much), what sort of sheitel was he talking about? The chasam sofer's horse brush sheitals, or the galmorous Brooklyn down to half the back wigs?

      There is a clear mesorah in my family and many other families to permit sheitals. Rav Elyashiv can't change that. So the sofek is irrelevant.

      Plus the prohibition on sheitals may only be d'rabbanan tniyus or from minhag. Nobody (never say nobody, I know) holds that a women with a sheital breaches the das yehudis or das moshe of going out without hair covering. If its only a minhag or a tzniyus issue, the sofek doesn't matter so much. The point about the date line is that, if one does melocho in that period, it is a sofek d'oryeysah.








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    25. "Charedim follow a hierarchy. So when the Indian wigs were made assur by Rav Elyashiv ztl, the local Chareidi posek who could not understand the p'sak could not go against it. I ask a non-Chareidi non-MO posek, he said that it was not an issue."

      Incorrect. My very chareidi rabbi asks his mentor, rav wosner z'l who permitted until the metizus was verified. It is clear from this blog and others that the MO don't really understand chareidi society very well.


      Ummm... I'm not MO and I live in American-Charedi society (Baltimore, MD). I speak and argue with Charedim in the flesh all the time.

      Your story doesn't contradict my point. You can try to work around Rav Elyashiv's p'sak (e.g. it wasn't final yet), but you can't dispute it directly.

      My very chareidi Rabbi also heard directly from Rav Elyashiv, that unless he hears a psak directly from the mouth of Rav Elyashiv, to ignore it.

      Yes, sometimes this is correct and sometimes this is one of the techniques to try to avoid a statement/p'sak you don't like. Here is one example where Mishpachah magazine wiggles around a ban of their publication by claiming that it was impossible that he could have banned them without consulting them (not that they contacted him and it was a mistake). Outside of Charedi society such a ban would be simply rejected.

      Ditto the anti-vax thing. R S Kamenetsky does not speak for anybody but his own talmidim. 99.999% of chareidim vaccinate their children without feeling guilty or having to find distinctions. Again, you show that the MO don't really understand chareidi society.

      Sorry, you have this wrong. Of course a vary large percentage of Chareidim (nothing is ever 99.999%, but very high) vaccinate because the opposite is child abuse. But when the schools in Lakewood want to make vaccinations mandatory to protect their kids, they are prohibited to do so based on R Kamenetsky and others against medical opinion. See for example here. When R Adlersteing wants to disagree, he has to write a 10 paragraph essay on why he is a allowed to say something that every simpleton knows is true. That is part of being Chareidi.

      "issues relating to zionism" - Agreed, but that is hashkofo, not practical day to day halocho. When it comes to practical daily halocho in the real important things (ie not which shoelace to tie first), you would be hard pressed to count up differences of note. Even this blog, is all theoretical and philosophical. Very few differences in practical halocho. For example, you may find that the 'chareidi' poskim will not be happy about relying on a sefardi's mesorah to eat grasshoppers. But you will find plenty of non-chareidi poskim who say the same thing. However irrational this blog claims that practice is. And nobody permits, today, killing lice on shabbos lechatchila as a practical day to day matter. As for the age of the earth, or evolution, totally irrelevant for halocho.

      Of course it has tremendous impact, but perhaps you don't feel that impact if you are part of the society. The most obvious is the rejection of pious converts because they don't recognize the Rabbi and Beis Din who converted them as valid Eidim. We know that this is the case because they sometimes ask for another Giur L'Chumra. If they thought that the convert was not keeping Mitzvos to the degree required, then they could not accept Giur L'Chumra. Instead the other Rabbis must be invalid witnesses and thus an invalid Beis Din. Secular education, the army, Shmitta are other areas that have tremendous impact.

      Delete

    26. Here is a story from a Chareidi Rabbi: He said that no serious Talmid Chacham wears Techeiles. He was obviously distingushing himself from Rav Schachter. When it was pointed out to him that Rav Belsky wore Techeiles, he had to backtrac, becuase Rav Belsky is recognized in the Charedi camp while Rav Schachter is a nobody.

      "And anyhow whose thought is off-limits will also not be quoted for p'sak even if they don't have to be censored from the HaHochma Chachmah". That is simply not correct. The nefesh hachayim'niks are quite happy quoting shulchan oruch harav. But the point is, as I have already made, those that have hashkofos that the chareidim do not hold off are not know as great halachik poskim. Its all hashkofo and philosophy. To the extent they issue a p'sak, you will usually find a 'chareidi' posek who says the same thing, so it's not too much of an issue.

      This isn't true, but it is beside the point. They are considered like reform rabbis.

      Chareidi dayanim in EY regularly use the law reports from the RZ dayanim of the state, by the way, for assistance. They do not dismiss them in the manner you suggest. They may disagree or may agree, but that is torah.

      Until Rav Elyahsiv, the Rabbinate was considered completely treif. Rav Elyashiv changed the playbook to instead take over the Rabbinate, so it is not surprising that within the context of the Rabbinate, they have to interact. I appreciate this example because it is interesting, but it doesn't disprove the point.

      Turning to sheitals, I wish my wife would not wear them, costs me a months salary after tax. But see my comments about rav Elyashiv above. If he ever said it (and a pashkevil or the claims of somebody that claims he asked him in a shiur do not count for much), what sort of sheitel was he talking about? The chasam sofer's horse brush sheitals, or the galmorous Brooklyn down to half the back wigs?

      Here are some references.

      Your distinction is (mostly) correct. Lots of poskim (including Rav Elyashiv) hold that modern Shaytl's are like not wearing a Shaytl at all since they make the person look like identical to not wearing a shaytl (they don't have to be glamorous). My wife worked in a doctor's office and no one that she didn't tell knew that she was wearing a wig and she was not wearing an expensive one at the time (although none are cheap). She has told me that frum women are often mistaken as younger than they are because of their hair.

      There is a clear mesorah in my family and many other families to permit sheitals. Rav Elyashiv can't change that. So the sofek is irrelevant.

      Yes, but the "mesorah" was on the old shaytl's. And how did the mesorah get started, since there have always been those who thought that shaytl's were no good. How did they ignore a clear Safek?

      Plus the prohibition on sheitals may only be d'rabbanan tniyus or from minhag. Nobody (never say nobody, I know) holds that a women with a sheital breaches the das yehudis or das moshe of going out without hair covering.

      The ones that prohibit say exactly this. Their idea is that the Issur is not a technical one of simply covering, but rather an Issur to walk around in a way that looks identical to a Penuyah. If you do walk around that way, it is Ervah according to them as she was walking around in a costume that made here look undressed (presumably this is Das Moshe).

      If its only a minhag or a tzniyus issue, the sofek doesn't matter so much. The point about the date line is that, if one does melocho in that period, it is a sofek d'oryeysah.

      They hold it is D'Oraysa, I believe.

      The real answer is that you have a right to ignore some Acharonim in favor of others.

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    27. Just one more thing. I'm not sure why are you objecting to what I'm saying about the Chareidi ideology. It is what it is; it could be good or it could be bad or somewhere in between (or both at the same time). You seem to want to defend Chareidi ideology by denying its existence. Today, at least, Chareidim have a exclusive, hierarchical, closed system. This is a feature, not a bug. It is what allows them (especially the Chasidim, but the Litvish too) to insulate themselves and preserve their ways better than other groups can do it. Of course you are right and the various members have ways of working around the difficulties of Charedism when it is not practical. There is lots of watered down Charedism (Charedi light) here in America (widespread use of the internet is one example). But that doesn't mean that the system doesn't exist and is not different from other Orthodox groups.

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    28. *********************August 24, 2017 at 12:23 PM

      If you are relying on Yeshivah World News and Ynet to report what somebody said Rav Elyashiv said, and quoting what a participant in a shiur said, I have nothing really more to say! In any event "represent ervah" "absolutely forbidden" could mean all sorts of things. And did Rav Elyashiv speak English? (rhetorical question)

      As for Rav Schwadron, similar.

      As for the rest of your response, I don't think you have added anything.

      The mesorah was on sheitals in general. Some modern day rabbis wish to distinguish between new and old sheitals. Fine. Agreed. But what exactly is a 'new sheital'? Are you really suggesting that up to the shoulder is ok, and below the shoulder is suddenly d'oryesah? My wife says that most women, perhaps not immediately, can tell the difference between real and a wig.

      How did the mesorah get started? We have covered that. Presumably my family and its community followed the rabbis that permitted.

      I have been consistently saying that if a person, or congregation has a rabbi (who is qualified to deal with the matter) or mesorah that permits him to follow one opinion, even in a d'oryesah, that is fine. But a simple ba'al habos should not decide for himself, however rational he feels the decision is. It obviously depends on the severity of what we are talking about, but I would consider shemiras shabbos as pretty high up on the list, perhaps not rationalists, but certainly "Is he shomer shabbos?" has for generations been an important question in day to day life.

      "The ones that prohibit say exactly this" - No they don't say 'exactly'. Maybe one or two, but I only consider a printed teshuvoh, from the rov himself, to be reliable. "Lots" - who are they? Even Rabbi Falk, who waxed lyrical about glamorous sheitels, does not claim 'lots' of poskim who say they equate to 'ervah' - in the real technical d'oreysha sense of ervah.

      "The real answer is that you have a right to ignore some Acharonim in favor of others." - Agreed, subject to the severity of the issue and whether you have a rav or mesorah to rely on. I wouldn't be too concerned about following an acharon who, for example, says for whatever reason it doesn't matter what shoelace you tie first these days, or skip most kinnos that are not understandable anyway. But shabbos, one hopes, is considered a little more significant than that.

      What would you feel about a ba'al habos who just decides for himself which 'time of death' opinion to follow and turns of a life support machine, perhaps having read a few articles on the internet or in a book of 'contemporary medical halachic questions' - there are loads of them - having decided for himself which one he prefers? Would your answer change, if he say studied those articles for a full six months? Would your answer change if he took the time to check up each original source? Just a thought experiment.

      Delete
    29. ". Of course a vary large percentage of Chareidim (nothing is ever 99.999%, but very high) vaccinate because the opposite is child abuse. But when the schools in Lakewood want to make vaccinations mandatory to protect their kids, they are prohibited to do so based on R Kamenetsky and others against medical opinion. See for example here"

      That is a complete distortion. The issue is over whether to prevent unvaccinated children from attending school. I can't believe you are actually using that as a proof for anything.

      " Here is one example where Mishpachah magazine wiggles around a ban of their publication by claiming that it was impossible that he could have banned them without consulting them (not that they contacted him and it was a mistake)."

      It was impossible to contact Rav Elyashiv. I am not sure what your issue is here. I suspect Mishpacha are correct. That's what happens in Israel the whole time.

      I am really not sure why you are turning this thing into a whole charedi v non chareidi issue anyway.

      I made a simple point which has nothing to do with chareidim v non-chareidim.

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    30. If you are relying on Yeshivah World News and Ynet to report what somebody said Rav Elyashiv said, and quoting what a participant in a shiur said, I have nothing really more to say! In any event "represent ervah" "absolutely forbidden" could mean all sorts of things. And did Rav Elyashiv speak English? (rhetorical question)

      As for Rav Schwadron, similar.


      Are you claiming that this was not his position? I think it is well know that it is; I'd like to see the evidence otherwise. I just used the first source that I could easily find. Would a video be better? BTW, the I agree that YWN is not by itself a reliable source. But the article provides a link to the audio shiur where he said it.

      As for the rest of your response, I don't think you have added anything.

      Just to summarize, you said that there were no halachic implications of the Charedi non-recognition of non-Charedim. I showed that this is causing Kosher Gerim to be rejected. Isn't that halachic?

      You claimed that everyone ignores the Charedi anti-vaxx silliness. But then I showed that the schools are actually following this silliness. Isn't that halachic and doesn't that disprove your point.

      BTW, I want to make clear that I'm not trying to generalize from anti-vaxx to say that everything Charedi is foolish or that there is no foolishness in non-Charedi Orthodoxy. It just helps to pick something that everyone agrees is foolish as an example: since it is so foolish, the only reason that it is given credence is Charedi ideology; non-foolish cases would not be so clear-cut.

      Some modern day rabbis wish to distinguish between new and old sheitals.

      Some modern day rabbis??? Rav Elyashiv and Rav Ovadia are "some modern day rabbis"?


      Delete
    31. Agreed. But what exactly is a 'new sheital'? Are you really suggesting that up to the shoulder is ok, and below the shoulder is suddenly d'oryesah? My wife says that most women, perhaps not immediately, can tell the difference between real and a wig.

      I think that the reasoning is pretty clear. According to this shitah, if you a trying to make the wig look like real hair and you succeed in general then you have violated the Torah obligation to cover your hair. This would be similar to putting on a dress that makes you look like you are naked. (Not sure what the hair length has to do with it.)

      And let's be honest, this is actually a pretty reasonable position. It's kind of odd to cover your hair as Ervah and replace it with other hair. The only reason to permit is that it is simply a technical obligation, and you fulfilled it even if you defeated the purpose.

      But whether you agree or not, it is one of the standard positions. So according to you, it should create a Safek D'Oraisa.

      How did the mesorah get started? We have covered that. Presumably my family and its community followed the rabbis that permitted.

      How could they? Safek D'Oraisa. And even if they did, maybe that was the old bad Shaytl's. Or maybe they should not have. Is there really a mesorah on turkey?

      I have been consistently saying that if a person, or congregation has a rabbi (who is qualified to deal with the matter) or mesorah that permits him to follow one opinion, even in a d'oryesah, that is fine. But a simple ba'al habos should not decide for himself, however rational he feels the decision is.

      Let's be honest; the Shaytl is permitted because halacha bends to the will of the people. My wife wants to go out with hair and since it is not absolutely prohibited, it is permitted. In the video, Rav Elyashiv says that there is no way to change it even though he thinks it is wrong.

      "The ones that prohibit say exactly this" - No they don't say 'exactly'. Maybe one or two, but I only consider a printed teshuvoh, from the rov himself, to be reliable. "Lots" - who are they? Even Rabbi Falk, who waxed lyrical about glamorous sheitels, does not claim 'lots' of poskim who say they equate to 'ervah' - in the real technical d'oreysha sense of ervah.

      In the sense that a married Woman's hair is Ervah? I think that is the reasoning. Why not?

      Delete
    32. What would you feel about a ba'al habos who just decides for himself which 'time of death' opinion to follow and turns of a life support machine, perhaps having read a few articles on the internet or in a book of 'contemporary medical halachic questions' - there are loads of them - having decided for himself which one he prefers? Would your answer change, if he say studied those articles for a full six months? Would your answer change if he took the time to check up each original source? Just a thought experiment.

      I think that it would be fine to decide to go to a Rabbi known to use accept total irreversible cessation of brain activity as death. The issue with deciding for yourself in these issues is only that you are not objective and that might be misapplying the criteria, not that you have to be Choshesh that brain death is not death. And if you understood the doctors well enough (because they can be confusing) and really understood that there was total irreversible cessation of brain activity, then I'm not sure why you would need to call the Rav, except to ensure that you are not blundering on the facts.

      Let's take something less fraught and less subject to error: Hallel on Yom Ha'Atzmaut. It absolutely makes sense to pick a shita based on your outlook, since all positions have support. In this case, going to your LOR makes no sense, IMO. He is just reporting his position. There are no circumstances to apply. You go to the Minyan that makes sense to you. (I suppose that if you are picking one side to make some kind of public statement, then maybe you should be deferring to decision to others because you are not acting L'Shem Shamayim).

      As a practical matter, the problem that people have is that they ask too much, not too little. I've personally seen people delay proper medical treatment on Shabbos to ask a Shailah. In one case, I told the person that if they didn't act, I was going to personally start up my car and drive the patient to the hospital myself.

      Delete
    33. ". Of course a vary large percentage of Chareidim (nothing is ever 99.999%, but very high) vaccinate because the opposite is child abuse. But when the schools in Lakewood want to make vaccinations mandatory to protect their kids, they are prohibited to do so based on R Kamenetsky and others against medical opinion. See for example here"

      That is a complete distortion. The issue is over whether to prevent unvaccinated children from attending school. I can't believe you are actually using that as a proof for anything.


      There is no distortion. This is exactly what I said: "when the schools in Lakewood want to make vaccinations mandatory to protect their kids, they are prohibited to do so based on R Kamenetsky and others against medical opinion". Mandatory vaccination means you can't come to school unless your kids are vaccinated. They do this silliness based on "Daas Torah". Again, this is both a feature and a bug of hierarchical decision making.

      " Here is one example where Mishpachah magazine wiggles around a ban of their publication by claiming that it was impossible that he could have banned them without consulting them (not that they contacted him and it was a mistake)."

      It was impossible to contact Rav Elyashiv. I am not sure what your issue is here. I suspect Mishpacha are correct. That's what happens in Israel the whole time.


      The newspaper controlled by Rav Elyahsiv himself forges editorials in his name? The ban was published in the Yated. But anyhow the point is that they couldn't just say "that is R Elyashiv's opinion; he is welcome to call us to discuss". They had to to instead "push him off with a reed". (I'll add that all these "forgeries" are again a symptom of the same strict heirarchy. Without that you would have no such phenomena).

      I am really not sure why you are turning this thing into a whole charedi v non chareidi issue anyway.
      I made a simple point which has nothing to do with chareidim v non-chareidim.


      I'm just trying explain why other completely kosher Jews can choose to ignore the Chazon Ish. They don't have the same concept of hierarchy (especially with respect to the Chazon Ish who was not the Rav of any community for which he had responsibility). In your PoV, considering the Chazon Ish anything less than at least a Safek is unthinkable. Outside your orbit, if the Chazon Ish says something that doesn't stand on its own, it can be disregarded from a halachah standpoint.

      Delete
    34. "I think that it would be fine to decide to go to a Rabbi known to use accept total irreversible cessation of brain activity as death. The issue with deciding for yourself in these issues is only that you are not objective and that might be misapplying the criteria, not that you have to be Choshesh that brain death is not death. And if you understood the doctors well enough (because they can be confusing) and really understood that there was total irreversible cessation of brain activity, then I'm not sure why you would need to call the Rav, except to ensure that you are not blundering on the facts."

      I agree with all that. But I would add that a 'local' rabbi would probably ask a recognised posek to decide for him - few local rabbi's would take this on their shoulders, if a practical case. But I cannot see the dateline and shabbos to be any less of an issue. Shabbos is very important too.

      Turning to Yom Hatzmaut, there is of course a difference between with a brocho and without. For reasons I have not fully understood, the rishonim, acharonim and poskim all treat 'brocho levotoloh' with a great degree of seriousness, as will be apparent to anybody who has learnt hilchos brochos and hilchos tefillah in depth. Different rules about repearing different things in combinations all come down to sofek brochos and shem hashem. But that is a digression.

      Rav Ovadyah is talking for sefardim, and he does not distinguish between new and old. He just bans sheitals. Not sure why you mention it.

      You keep mentioning rav elyashiv. I have covered that. Again, I don't kno
      what sort of sheital he was talking about 2) Does he consider it ervah d'rabonnon 3) He can't pasken for those that have a mesorah.

      "Let's be honest; the Shaytl is permitted because halacha bends to the will of the people." Completely disagree. Firstly the issue of wigs has been around since the time of the rishonim, where people were on a higher religious level. Secondly, sefardim seem quite happy with the prohibition (the religious ones, that is).

      Delete
    35. The shaytl thing was really a side argument, but you've got me interested enough to want to find Rav Ovadia inside. In the meantime, his argument in this video is very similar yours about the dateline, and Rav Ovadia was not an extremist in insisting on his positions: he permitted Sefardim eating non-glatt when they are at the house of an Ashkenazi.

      Delete
    36. Rav Ovadyah is talking for sefardim, and he does not distinguish between new and old. He just bans sheitals. Not sure why you mention it.

      I found looked up one place where he discusses it. It's Yabia Omer Vol 4 E"H #3 Section 3 and 4. He says that is a D'Oraisa matter. He is *not* paskening for Sefardim; he brings both Ashkenazi and Sefardi sources and makes no distinction, as he does by Glatt. By disregarding him as "merely" Sefardi, you are confirming my position: you are not treating a Shitah as a safek when it comes from "outside your camp".

      But I looked at Rav Ovadia because I knew that he would discuss the issue at length and make it clear whether he considered it a D'Oraisa matter. I see no reason why Rav Elyashiv would not consider it D'Oraisa, but I don't have a good way to track down his position.

      You keep mentioning rav elyashiv. I have covered that. Again, I don't kno
      what sort of sheital he was talking about 2) Does he consider it ervah d'rabonnon 3) He can't pasken for those that have a mesorah.


      I don't understand what kind of mesorah that you think that you have. Shaytl's at Sinai?

      But it makes not difference. R' Elyhashiv is quite clear in the video that his position is that those with a supposed Mesorah are mistaken and sinning, but there is nothing practical that he can do about it because everyone is sinning. If your theory that a leader of your group (according to you even if not a leader of your group) creates a safek, then you have a safek at least. And again, he is in a long line of Poskim that didn't never accepted the Shaytl.

      "Let's be honest; the Shaytl is permitted because halacha bends to the will of the people." Completely disagree. Firstly the issue of wigs has been around since the time of the rishonim, where people were on a higher religious level. Secondly, sefardim seem quite happy with the prohibition (the religious ones, that is).

      "Let's be honest; the Shaytl is permitted because halacha bends to the will of the people." Completely disagree. Firstly the issue of wigs has been around since the time of the rishonim, where people were on a higher religious level. Secondly, sefardim seem quite happy with the prohibition (the religious ones, that is).

      Can you explain your point about the Rishonim? I don't understand it.

      What is acceptable is obviously sociologically driven. Satmar and other Chasidim accept shaving their heads (which I think is quite horrifying). That doesn't mean that others would. Many Ashkenazim require the Shaytl. Rav Elyashiv says as much.

      Among Sefardim, I don't have the best experience, but I think that many who don't use Shaytl's cover their hair also leave a decent amount of hair uncovered when they do cover it.

      Delete
    37. I also mention Rav Ovadia to show that this was an almost universally agreed Shita among Rabbis accepted as authorities by the right wing of pretty much all streams back when both of them were alive.

      Now that Rav Kanievsky is the highest level Charedi Litvish posek, have you stopped shaving altogether? (That is mostly a joke, with some truth mixed in :).

      Delete
    38. In the UK vaccination is not mandatory. And no child can be excluded from school for not being vaccinated.

      On the other hand a child can be excluded from school for repeated failure to wear school uniform.

      Does that mean the UK values uniform above vaccinations?

      Delete
    39. *********************August 29, 2017 at 1:51 PM

      We keep going round in circles here. You haven't added anything.

      "I found looked up one place where he discusses it. It's Yabia Omer Vol 4 E"H #3 Section 3 and 4. He says that is a D'Oraisa matter. He is *not* paskening for Sefardim; he brings both Ashkenazi and Sefardi sources and makes no distinction, as he does by Glatt. By disregarding him as "merely" Sefardi, you are confirming my position: you are not treating a Shitah as a safek when it comes from "outside your camp"."

      Of course I consider it a definite sofek in halocho, . I don't need Rav Ovadyah for that. The question is what you do next

      . But firstly I am not convinced it is a sofek d'oreysah, and secondly my family has a mesorah to permit. I can go back four generations with photos, all wig-wearers. That is sufficient for me. There is no need to trace the mesorah back to har sinai (which seems to be the only point you have added). Ditto Rav Elyashiv. . I do not see any reason to worry about the new distinction between 'glamorous' and 'non glamorous' as impacting the mesorah.

      rav Elyashiv, in a worse case scenario, is merely following the mesorah of the osrim. I believe the rishonim discuss pe'ah nochris.

      Rav Kanievsky tells people not to wear watches - reason unknown. And I don't shave. Again, in real life chareidi land people do not ignore their personal rabbis in light of vague pronouncements coming from Israel. Maybe chasidim are different I do not know.

      But you have still not responded to my main point. Namely we have a machlokas d'oreysah with no clear hachro'oh and (presumably) no clear mesorah for the Australia to LA flyer to follow to follow. So who gives anybody the right to just be meikil in shemiras shabbos? Don't respond by asking me about Jews in Australia and NZ or whatever. They by now presumably have some mesorah (and we don't need to go into how that mesorah started - even if the local Rav asked a learned posek to be machria, that would be enough).

      Delete
    40. In the UK vaccination is not mandatory. And no child can be excluded from school for not being vaccinated.


      In the US, the rules vary by state, but vaccination is mandatory with some exceptions. When the exception process was abused in California resulting in disease outbreak, they changed the law and drove up the vaccination rates.

      The notion that an Orthodox Jew would claim a religious exception from vaccination is sad and absurd.


      On the other hand a child can be excluded from school for repeated failure to wear school uniform.

      Does that mean the UK values uniform above vaccinations?


      Is this one of those "boy, those goyim are dumb" questions? I don't know, but I assume, like every other civilized institution, they sanction those who violate the rules, but not those who don't violate the rules.

      The question on how to maximize vaccination rates is one of culture. Making something mandatory doesn't necessarily result in the highest compliance depending on the culture (in California, it did seem to help). Witness the war on drugs.

      Delete
    41. We keep going round in circles here. You haven't added anything.

      This is a catch all that allows one to avoid the issues.

      Of course I consider it a definite sofek in halocho, . I don't need Rav Ovadyah for that. The question is what you do next.

      But firstly I am not convinced it is a sofek d'oreysah


      But R Ovadia says that it is D'Oraisa. If the fact that there is a valid Shita automatically creates a safek, then it is a safek D'Oraisa, because if he is right, you are violating a D'Oraisa. I actually see no reason to think that R Elyashiv and others disagree with that.

      secondly my family has a mesorah to permit. I can go back four generations with photos, all wig-wearers.

      Meaning that somewhere along the line, they decided that it was OK to ignore the Safek D'Oraisa (there are Osrim going back to when Shaytl's started to become popular). Or else the better wigs available to everyone now creates a new issue in which case your "mesorah" is not applicable. You seem to be saying that you can't ignore a safek D'Oraisa, but your great-grandfather could.

      That is sufficient for me.

      Precisely my point. The great bulk of Poskim do not create a safek. You decided that your great-grandfather's opinion is good enough, so you are not in doubt which is absolutely acceptable. Exactly what I said. You should exercise the principle of charity and accept others when they say "It is sufficient for me".

      There is no need to trace the mesorah back to har sinai (which seems to be the only point you have added).

      There is no need because Mesorah has nothing to do with it.

      Ditto Rav Elyashiv. . I do not see any reason to worry about the new distinction between 'glamorous' and 'non glamorous' as impacting the mesorah.

      It is not a "new distinction". It is a new situation where the widely available Shaytl's look like real hair. (I don't know why you keep talking about glamorous and long hair.)

      But what you said it exactly right. While Rav Moshe (for example, because it is in writing) *does* make a distinction (although I believe he Matirs both ways; I need to look at inside), *you* use your own Daas to decide that this is not important and *you decide* that Rav Elyahsiv does *not* create a real safek. Now apply that principle in dealing with others.

      rav Elyashiv, in a worse case scenario, is merely following the mesorah of the osrim. I believe the rishonim discuss pe'ah nochris.

      The worst case for you is that he is saying that even that those who permitted before would Asser the modern wigs. That would obliterate your Mesorah rather than just putting a "safek" into it according to *your* claimed principle that a Shita creates a safek.






      Delete
    42. Rav Kanievsky tells people not to wear watches - reason unknown. And I don't shave.

      He also told multiple people I know not to shave (BTW that means not at all; no trimming, just let it grow indefinitely). He did this without asking how their spouses would take it, how it might affect their business, etc. I don't get it at all how he is considered a Litvish Posek (I want to make clear that he is a tremendous Torah giant who deserved respect for his Torah). But this is just a funny side point.

      But you have still not responded to my main point. Namely we have a machlokas d'oreysah with no clear hachro'oh and (presumably) no clear mesorah for the Australia to LA flyer to follow to follow.

      1) I showed that you don't actually practice this supposed principle of a Shita creating a Safek.

      2) I mentioned that there was about as a clear a hachro'oh against the Chazon Ish as you could get.

      3) I mentioned that that the Chazon Ish has no authority outside the Charedi grouping and the Charedi lite who follow along. You agree with in principle yourself in discarding Rav Ovadia as having no authority over Ashkenazim even when his p'sak doesn't have anything to do with a Sefardi tradition (in fact he was going against R Messas) and is exactly in line with the leading Ahskenazi Charedi Posek.

      (presumably) no clear mesorah for the Australia to LA flyer to follow to follow.

      There is actually a pretty clear Mesorah. Jews traveled all over the world without calculating their longitude and not concerning themselves about any line including Jews in Japan, Australia and Alaska who crossed various theoretical halachic datelines. There is a also a principle/mesorah that no halachah requires using modern technology to follow.

      They by now presumably have some mesorah (and we don't need to go into how that mesorah started - even if the local Rav asked a learned posek to be machria, that would be enough).

      This is especially silly. Effectively you say "we need not evaluate how we got here. What they do is valid; what R Slifkin does is invalid."

      I just also want to point out that R Slifkin never said he was doing melachah at the time you mentioned.

      Delete
    43. 1) No you haven't. I agree it causes a sofek. The question is what happens next.

      2) There may be a hachro'oh against the CI's precise deadline or maybe not. But there is still a dateline between Australia and LA according to everybody, except perhaps Rav Issur Zalman. As we have discussed.

      3) Agreed. But how does that help with the dateline?

      4) " Jews traveled all over the world without calculating their longitude and not concerning themselves about any line including Jews in Japan, Australia and Alaska who crossed various theoretical halachic datelines." - Yes, but nowadays we can calculate things, so that mesorah is not valid. Bit like Tefillin Gassos and p'shetos. For hundreds of years people used p'shetos, because the technology for gasos was not widely available. But the technology has now improved. Are you saying that there is a mesorah to only use peshutos? We can now use modern technology to enhance our practice of halocho and you claim a mesorah from the dark ages. That is also late saying never calculate zmanim from spherical trigonometry according to degrees, as the mesorah was always to go out and count three starts, or look for alos by sight, and there is no mesorah to use degrees. Not even the Briskers have come up with that one (never say never).

      We also don't know the religious level of all those travelers hundreds of years ago. We do know when learned people first encountered the question, they absolutely did seek advice from rabbonim.

      Delete
    44. "I just also want to point out that R Slifkin never said he was doing melachah at the time you mentioned." I never said he did meloch either. I was just curious as to whether he asked a sheila. Of course, being on the plane itself may be problematic, but agreed that is d'rabbonon.

      "This is especially silly. Effectively you say "we need not evaluate how we got here. What they do is valid; what R Slifkin does is invalid."

      I never said anything about invalid, but I don't see what is silly about what I said. Something being silly is not a cogent argument.

      I recap, you turned this into a chareidi/non-chareidi thing, not me.

      Sheitals have looked like real hair for 30 years now.

      "I actually see no reason to think that R Elyashiv and others disagree with that." - When did you last learn the sugyah b'iyun that you can say "I see no reason...."?

      "Meaning that somewhere along the line, they decided that it was OK to ignore the Safek D'Oraisa (there are Osrim going back to when Shaytl's started to become popular). Or else the better wigs available to everyone now creates a new issue in which case your "mesorah" is not applicable. You seem to be saying that you can't ignore a safek D'Oraisa, but your great-grandfather could. "

      No, I assume that at some point their Rav paskened it was fine. We pasken l'kulah in d'oreysohs the whole time - look at the machlokas remo and mechaber on glatt. I really don't see what you don't get here. Are you suggesting that no rav can ever pasken l'kuloh on a d'oreysah? Can you not see the difference between a rav and a ba'al habos?

      "You decided that your great-grandfather's opinion is good enough, so you are not in doubt which is absolutely acceptable."

      No, I assume the hetter came originally from a Rav. As I have been saying throughout. There was a time in our history where people actually listened and honored rabbonim and did not just do what they liked.

      "But R Ovadia says that it is D'Oraisa. If the fact that there is a valid Shita automatically creates a safek, then it is a safek D'Oraisa, because if he is right, you are violating a D'Oraisa." I

      Something that is a machlokas whether it is a d'oreysoh or a d'rabbonon does not become a sofek d'oreysah. As is evident from hilchos ta'aruvos.

      "The worst case for you is that he is saying that even that those who permitted before would Asser the modern wigs. That would obliterate your Mesorah rather than just putting a "safek" into it according to *your* claimed principle that a Shita creates a safek."

      As it seems clear (even according to you) that nobody knows what exactly Rav Elyashiv says and why, it certainly does not impact on my particular mesorah. Not that it would even if it was clear

      Delete
    45. PS I trim my beard.

      PSS My point on vaccinations was that a discussion over whether to exclude children from school is separate from vaccinations themselves.

      Delete
    46. "There is a also a principle/mesorah that no halachah requires using modern technology to follow."

      Where is this principle/mesorah brought down?

      When rabbonim sat down and discussed the date line, I don't believe any Rov said "Well, for thousands of years nobody had the technology to deal with it, so let's just ignore the whole problem". That's like saying "for 1000s of years, there was no real issue over time of death, somebody died and that was that - the chevrah kedisha did the mirror, feather test, whatever and if it was positive (or should that be negative) the chap wad dead. Let's not bother about any modern technology such as ECGs and EEGs brain stem death and and similar, because we have a principle that no halocho needs modern technology to follow. That is a very irrationalist approach.

      And nobody says "for hundreds of years that very visible black dot on your lettuce was not treated as an insect, because we can only tell it is an insect with a microscope." Now we now it is an insect, and it is visible with the naked eye (albeit as a black dot) we know it is an insect.

      Delete
    47. 1) No you haven't. I agree it causes a sofek. The question is what happens next.

      This is a verbal word game. If you can remove the Safek by deciding that that Rav Elyashiv is wrong, then the Shita doesn't create a Safek.

      2) There may be a hachro'oh against the CI's precise deadline or maybe not.

      There was basically the most definitive Hachro'oh that we are likely to have on any issue until Mashiach comes since there is no one like Rav Herzog any more who could get all the Rabbis together to decide an issue like this. If you don't recognize that one, then it just doesn't exist any more.

      But there is still a dateline between Australia and LA according to everybody, except perhaps Rav Issur Zalman. As we have discussed.

      I don't agree. BTW, as far as explicit statements, it is also Rav Tzvi Pesach and, of course, Rav Kasher. Implicit is the fact that concept someone was left out of Shas and Poskim.

      3) Agreed. But how does that help with the dateline?

      So no need for non-Charedi to be "Choshesh" for every Shitah of the Chazon Ish.

      4) " Jews traveled all over the world without calculating their longitude and not concerning themselves about any line including Jews in Japan, Australia and Alaska who crossed various theoretical halachic datelines."
      - Yes, but nowadays we can calculate things, so that mesorah is not valid.


      You are getting confused. There was never a principle "be careful about longitude; if you aren't sure, then consider it a safek." They just didn't consider it at all. No one mentions it until the 19th century for practical purposes. The fact that we can calculate something now doesn't mean that it has any halachic significance.

      Bit like Tefillin Gassos and p'shetos. For hundreds of years people used p'shetos, because the technology for gasos was not widely available. But the technology has now improved. Are you saying that there is a mesorah to only use peshutos? We can now use modern technology to enhance our practice of halocho and you claim a mesorah from the dark ages. That is also late saying never calculate zmanim from spherical trigonometry according to degrees, as the mesorah was always to go out and count three starts, or look for alos by sight, and there is no mesorah to use degrees. Not even the Briskers have come up with that one (never say never).

      1) There are those that oppose the tables. I'll dig up the source if I get a chance. I don't agree with them at all, but that is what they say.

      2) The tables are a way to get more precise readings of something that we always measured. So we look for stars, but if it was cloudy, then you had to wait until the doubt exited the heart. Now we can use the tables when it is cloudy (or there is light pollution). Nothing new was created. Longitude was never mentioned or measured in halacha to begin with nor did we have any way of measuring it.

      We also don't know the religious level of all those travelers hundreds of years ago. We do know when learned people first encountered the question, they absolutely did seek advice from rabbonim.

      Actually there was a community in Japan. Someone here mentioned in a comment Chabad in Alaska. They keep the regular day.

      More later...




      Delete
    48. "Actually there was a community in Japan. Someone here mentioned in a comment Chabad in Alaska. They keep the regular day."

      Presumably all those little Islands the plane flies over, follow the IDL. If you wish to use local custom as being machria, the airplane traveler has crossed back into shabbos. Exactly my point.

      "So no need for non-Charedi to be "Choshesh" for every Shitah of the Chazon Ish." - Again, it's not just the Chazon Ish. But I agree, nobody (even chareidi) has to be choshesh for every shittoh of the Chazon Ish. It all depends on what it is about. And as I have said, in my books, Shemiras Shabbos is up there near the very top of the list. And (I don't know why I have to repeat myself), if the CI shittoh relates to a d'oreysah (in shabbos these are relatively rare at the end of the day) and is is a sheila where there is no clear hachro'oh - ie all poskin of stature disagree, somebody should be choshesh for the CI, absolutely, unless his Rav can be machria for him, or his community/town has a clear custom.

      "The fact that we can calculate something now doesn't mean that it has any halachic significance."

      Why not exactly? Where do you get that principle from?

      " Jews traveled all over the world without calculating their longitude and not concerning themselves about any line including Jews in Japan, Australia and Alaska who crossed various theoretical halachic datelines."

      At the end of the day, this sheila has come up in the last 100 years, and it needs to be dealt with. You can't just ignore it on the basis of "nobody has dealt with it or seemed to be concerned about it in the past, so let's just stick our heads in the sand and assume it's not an issue". Certainly no rabbonim had that approach, as we know. We don't know why nobody addressed it in the past, but you can't prove anything from what we don't know. It could be that 99% of those travelers were not learned or worldly people and they didn't appreciate there was a problem. The remaining 1% may have kept two days shabbos, but this was not recorded. We don't know.

      " Longitude was never mentioned or measured in halacha to begin with nor did we have any way of measuring it."

      Who says that there was never a way of measuring it, anyway? Maybe the Rishonim could measure it? You are relying on "History of science" being accurate, which is of course a discussion on its own. If a small group of people knew how to do it, the historians of science may not have been aware of that.


      "This is a verbal word game. If you can remove the Safek by deciding that that Rav Elyashiv is wrong, then the Shita doesn't create a Safek."

      Where have I decided that Rav Elyashiv was wrong? What does 'wrong' mean in the context of a halachik dispute?


      Delete
    49. Planes from London to TA fly over various very old Jewish cemeteries in Israel. Or did. I am not a cohen, so it doesn't concern me and I don't know the current position.

      The point I am making is that when the sheila was first noticed and brought to the attention of the Rabbonim, who decided whatever they decided (and of course argued, as they do), nobody factored in your logic;

      "For around 50 years cohanim have been travelling from London to EY, not once was anybody concerned. This includes great Rabbis. Therefore it is clearly not an issue, and we can ignore it".

      That logic is simply not valid when approaching halocho.

      Delete
    50. "Actually there was a community in Japan. Someone here mentioned in a comment Chabad in Alaska. They keep the regular day."

      Presumably all those little Islands the plane flies over, follow the IDL. If you wish to use local custom as being machria, the airplane traveler has crossed back into shabbos. Exactly my point.


      I don't know that they are flying directly over any islands. But flying over doesn't create any problem because you don't go the island and don't meet anyone with a contradictory count. The plane is self-contained and the plane has the same sunset count as you. See below.

      "So no need for non-Charedi to be "Choshesh" for every Shitah of the Chazon Ish." - Again, it's not just the Chazon Ish. But I agree, nobody (even chareidi) has to be choshesh for every shittoh of the Chazon Ish. It all depends on what it is about. And as I have said, in my books, Shemiras Shabbos is up there near the very top of the list. And (I don't know why I have to repeat myself), if the CI shittoh relates to a d'oreysah (in shabbos these are relatively rare at the end of the day) and is is a sheila where there is no clear hachro'oh - ie all poskin of stature disagree, somebody should be choshesh for the CI, absolutely, unless his Rav can be machria for him, or his community/town has a clear custom.

      I think that we are repeating again, but let's try:

      You agree that not all Rabbis create even a safek for you. So probably (sorry for profiling, but you can fix my errors and retain the point), YU rabbis, Hasidic Rabbis (assuming you are litvish) and Sefardi rabbis don't have the same impact on you that Rav Elyashiv does or Rav Kanievsky does. IOW, when the authority of the CI in non-Charedim is like Rav Schachter to you. Interesting, but not binding. I overstate because I think that everyone knows and give some respect to the Chazon Ish whereas the Charedim in general consider YU to be treif. But you can get the idea of why an opinion of the CI can have little significance.

      But let's get a little more specific. You say that really the safek can be overridden by a hachra'ah. Let's investigate this a little more:

      1) You claim that Rav Herzog and all the other Rabbis who were asked were not qualified to make a Hachra'ah.

      2) But a local Rabbi can make a Hachra'ah.

      3) But a Rabbi (with Semichah) in general cannot make a Hachra'ah.

      What are your criteria here? They are unclear.

      Similarly, who can create a Safek for whom?

      1) Charedi for Centrist?

      2) Centrist for Charedi?

      3) Litvish for Chasidic?

      etc... Just give the basic rules.


      "The fact that we can calculate something now doesn't mean that it has any halachic significance."

      Why not exactly? Where do you get that principle from?


      You are shifting the burden of proof. Just because we can measure something that we cannot previously measure means it must be halachically significant? What is the basis of this? We can now count individual molecules of ink in the Torah scroll and measure them and the distance between them with an electron microscope. Is there any halachic significance to that? I don't think so, but I'm willing to be proven wrong.




      Delete
    51. " Jews traveled all over the world without calculating their longitude and not concerning themselves about any line including Jews in Japan, Australia and Alaska who crossed various theoretical halachic datelines."

      At the end of the day, this sheila has come up in the last 100 years, and it needs to be dealt with. You can't just ignore it on the basis of "nobody has dealt with it or seemed to be concerned about it in the past, so let's just stick our heads in the sand and assume it's not an issue". Certainly no rabbonim had that approach, as we know.


      You are misrepresenting the argument. The argument runs as follows: The practice has always been that when you want to know when Shabbos is, you count 6 sunsets that precede a day of Chol and then the 7th creates Shabbos.

      Nowhere in the Torah does it say anything about needing to change a day when you cross a line. Nothing in the Torah says that you need to create a line. And any line that you created was not detectable with the technology available in ancient times.

      Now we run into a problem. We can easily circumnavigate the globe. This means that two people can meet up and disagree on the number of sunsets. They will have two different days for Shabbos. This problem was noticed well after places all over the globe were settled by Jews.

      To bring this into sharper relief: Suppose that there was a 100 mile high wall somewhere in the Pacific that made such circumnavigation impossible. In that case, there would be no halachic problem because two people with different counts could never meet up (unless they went into orbit and that is a different problem). This would be true even if the wall zig-zagged all over the place. This would be true even if the wall was on the North American continent. No new principle at all would need to be created and no lines. Go over this and understand it well. It is essential to the analysis.

      So here is how to look at it with circumnavigation:

      1) We could say: OK, each person has his own personal Shabbos. But that seems wrong because Shabbos is a public ritual. Practically, it would lead to all kinds of issues. So let's discard that one.

      2) We could say: OK, the people that settle a location establish Shabbos for that location based on their count. That has the advantage that everyone following the Torah in the past was doing it correctly, we don't need to try to change the location of Shabbos in any location and no new lines or principles need to be created. Thus the Torah remains consistent historically, is not really missing any principles, and this becomes a new edge case, just like automation in Melachah or a myriad of other new phenomena. It is consistent with how someone lost in the desert without a day count deals with Shabbos.

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    52. 3) We can try to draw a new line and declare that those to the left are a day after those to the right. This has lots of disadvantages:

      A) It means that some part of the Torah seems to be missing since no one mentioned such a line before and the line would have been important even without the our new found circumnavigation ability. So it is not simply that we have a new case that did not exist before and we have to pasken. Instead, all prior torah scholars mistakenly analyzed the sources and didn't realize that there was a missing part of the Torah and in fact the Mesorah had a big hole in it. We always thought that determining Shabbos meant counting sunsets and we were totally wrong. We forgot to tell people going to Japan that they need to switch their count. Even before the possibility of circumnavigation, we were doing it wrong all along.

      B) It requires technology not available at the time of the giving of the Torah. The general principle is that the Torah was not given to the Ministering Angels and we should be able to fulfill it without new technology. Now it turns out to be false and the Torah was violate because the technology to fulfill it was not there yet. This is a huge Chiddush.

      C) Since there is no agreement on where this line should be, since there are no clear sources, it means that various parts of the world will now be in doubt as to when Shabbos is in many places. The Torah has a line but forgot to tell us where.

      So it is not that anyone threw their hands up. It is that we find a solution which is actually consistent with precedent and only applies to the actual new situation that came up (circumnavigation) and not to all prior situations in a way that was impossible to apply at Matan Torah.

      It be would be similar to a ruling that all microscopic organisms above a certain size would be considered Treif. That would mean that no-one before certain time in history could keep the Torah properly except by accident.

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    53. We don't know why nobody addressed it in the past, but you can't prove anything from what we don't know.

      This is a huge support for the no-dateline theory. According to that theory, they didn't address it, because the problem didn't exist before circumnavigation was practical. According the dateline theory (especially the CI theory), it was because they were making an error of omission and forgot a principle essential to keeping Shabbos properly.

      It could be that 99% of those travelers were not learned or worldly people and they didn't appreciate there was a problem. The remaining 1% may have kept two days shabbos, but this was not recorded. We don't know.

      It doesn't make a difference because no learned people had any dateline either (except maybe in theory the Baal Hamaor/Kuzari, but no one advocates for that dateline either, except may R Chaim Zimmerman). So if they were ignorant, then so was every Rabbi. This is again a huge problem with the dateline theory.

      The remaining 1% may have kept two days shabbos, but this was not recorded. We don't know.

      I think that is pulled out of a hat. Are we to imagine there was some secret dateline halacha that no one mentioned but was followed only by those in the know? That isn't want happened. All Jews everywhere, learned or not, counted days.

      "Longitude was never mentioned or measured in halacha to begin with nor did we have any way of measuring it."

      Who says that there was never a way of measuring it, anyway? Maybe the Rishonim could measure it? You are relying on "History of science" being accurate, which is of course a discussion on its own. If a small group of people knew how to do it, the historians of science may not have been aware of that.


      And maybe they could cure cancer? I'm not sure what you are suggesting. But to make it simpler, they made various statements about geography that don't match up to reality including the longitudes of the Eurasian landmass. I suppose that doesn't prove that they couldn't, but they certainly don't mention how.

      "This is a verbal word game. If you can remove the Safek by deciding that that Rav Elyashiv is wrong, then the Shita doesn't create a Safek."

      Where have I decided that Rav Elyashiv was wrong? What does 'wrong' mean in the context of a halachik dispute?


      I don't know. It was your theory about every Acharon creating a safek. Except when he doesn't.

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    54. "But flying over doesn't create any problem because you don't go the island and don't meet anyone with a contradictory count. The plane is self-contained and the plane has the same sunset count as you. See below."

      Who says this has any relevance ? What does 'self-contained' mean, why is it more 'self-contained' than a ship. You decided it doesn't create any problem on the basis of what exactly? No new arguments here. You are simply re-quoting one particular opinion. As I have already said, local custom on the plane follows the IDL. I have a family member who flies to that part of the world, and he says there is an announcement that the day has now changed. You keep switching arguments to suit.

      "1) You claim that Rav Herzog and all the other Rabbis who were asked were not qualified to make a Hachra'ah."

      I am not claiming that at all. I really do not know why you can't get it. All I am saying that Rabbis today do not want to be machria between various poskim of the last generation (as evidenced by all the internet sites ran by organizations, refusing to be machria and leavings things b'sofek). If somebody has a family tradition, or can find a qualified rav to be machria for him between the earlier poskim, that is understandable. Again, I do not believe a ba'al habos should be machria for himself. It is perfectly in order for the talmidim of Rav Herzog to follow him.

      I don't think you can compare Rav Shachter to the Chazon Ish.

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    55. Rav Elyashiv has no impact on me because a) Most of the psokim I hear from him are in minor d'rabbonon type things and b) Nothing you hear in his name is reliable c) I may have a mesorah to follow, or my Rabbi paskens differently.

      Is there really anybody that ignores all local rabbis and paskens soley on the basis of RCK and RE? I am not aware of such a person, other than their close talmidim.

      "What are your criteria here? They are unclear."

      Yes, they are unclear, but I think everybody with a bit of intellectual honesty knows that there are grades here. Semicha doesn't mean anything these days. And especially if the sheila involves the person himself.

      "You are shifting the burden of proof"

      Yes, ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, Proof lies on him who asserts. You made this chidush, you need to support it.

      You than wax lyrical re torah and ministering angels. That is precisely why the rishonim do try and establish a dateline!

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    56. "except maybe in theory the Baal Hamaor/Kuzari, but no one advocates for that dateline either, except may R Chaim Zimmerman)" You are again confusing one individual dateline per one person, with the general concept of a dateline. We have the ba'al hamor recorded as grappling with the problem. There could well have been others that have not made into print.

      Who said anything about a secret dateline? Not everything was written down, and not everything that was written down made it through the generations.

      You have not addressed this point;

      When rabbonim sat down and discussed the date line, I don't believe any Rov said "Well, for thousands of years nobody had the technology to deal with it, so let's just ignore the whole problem". That's like saying "for 1000s of years, there was no real issue over time of death, somebody died and that was that - the chevrah kedisha did the mirror, feather test, whatever and if it was positive (or should that be negative) the chap wad dead. Let's not bother about any modern technology such as ECGs and EEGs brain stem death and and similar, because we have a principle that no halocho needs modern technology to follow. That is a very irrationalist approach.

      And nobody says "for hundreds of years that very visible black dot on your lettuce was not treated as an insect, because we can only tell it is an insect with a microscope." Now we now it is an insect, and it is visible with the naked eye (albeit as a black dot) we know it is an insect.

      Delete
    57. “So here is how to look at it with circumnavigation”

      Fine, that is your rational view of the situation. And you may have poskim that agree, and you may have poskim that disagree. But you would be a brave man to decide, on your own, which ones to follow when it comes to something as fundamental as shabbos. Especially when it applies to you and you have your own negius.

      Delete

    58. C) Since there is no agreement on where this line should be, since there are no clear sources, it means that various parts of the world will now be in doubt as to when Shabbos is in many places. The Torah has a line but forgot to tell us where.

      The torah also forget to tell us how deal with zmanim above the arctic circle or where the sun doesn't set. Or whether one can say krias shema shel leiloh during an eclipse. No acharonim use that particular 'sevoro' of yours in any of their discussions on the matter. Or how to keep torah on a space station. Or how to deal with complex matters that have arisen due to modern medicine.

      The answer is that the poskim have to look in the torah one way or the other and find the answer. However convoluted the source, that is how we have generated halocho through the ages.

      I don't know why you are so against the idea that, for example, some learned traveler who was traveling to the Far East asked the Rashbo what to do, and his response is simply lost to us. Remember, there was no printing, no internet, no texting, no computers back then. From this lack of knowledge you build up a whole tower that the dateline cannot be a concern.

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    59. "2) We could say: OK, the people that settle a location establish Shabbos for that location based on their count. That has the advantage that everyone following the Torah in the past was doing it correctly, we don't need to try to change the location of Shabbos in any location and no new lines or principles need to be created. Thus the Torah remains consistent historically, is not really missing any principles, and this becomes a new edge case, just like automation in Melachah or a myriad of other new phenomena. It is consistent with how someone lost in the desert without a day count deals with Shabbos."

      Well, I think some poskim do compare it to the man in the desert scenario. I am not sure exactly what you bringing all the different shittos brings to the table re my particular point.

      But again, I would compare this to shabbos above the arctic circle when the sun either does not set or does not rise for most of the year. And from all the poskim that discuss it, not one says "well, it's never been brought up as an issue before, the torah forgot to tell us, so let every Jew do what he feels is right. We are not going to tell you what to do". Just keep night when the eskimos say its night. Or change days at Midnight, like the countries in the Arctic circle do. (I confess, I haven't looked at this for several years, but I don't think any posek says midnight Never say Never of course).

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    60. "But flying over doesn't create any problem because you don't go the island and don't meet anyone with a contradictory count. The plane is self-contained and the plane has the same sunset count as you. See below."

      Who says this has any relevance ?


      Because the dateline problem has to do with people meeting who have different counts. Please reread what I wrote and understand it. That is why it is a modern problem.

      "1) You claim that Rav Herzog and all the other Rabbis who were asked were not qualified to make a Hachra'ah."

      I am not claiming that at all. I really do not know why you can't get it. All I am saying that Rabbis today do not want to be machria between various poskim of the last generation


      OK, so you are saying the the people in Japan should have listened to Rav Herzog et al and in their decision in their generation. But somewhere in the passage of 70 years, that authority was lost and we have undecided what was previously decided?

      Nevertheless, current Charedi Rabbis can be Machria against the leading Ashkenazi and Sefardi Rabbis and permit Shaytl's.

      Your formula is still very unclear.

      I don't think you can compare Rav Shachter to the Chazon Ish.

      Who would you compare him to?

      You than wax lyrical re torah and ministering angels. That is precisely why the rishonim do try and establish a dateline!

      This statement makes me think that you ignorant of what the Rishonim actually said. The Yesod Olam says that the day starts in the east of the Eurasian land mass andends in the west because the rest of the world was uninhabited. He doesn't bring a halachah for this; he says that everyone agrees to this (meaning all people including Gentiles; not the Torah). He doesn't need a dateline and doesn't have a dateline. Do you see why if there is only an eastern hemisphere then no dateline is needed. If you can't then you need to study before we can proceed.

      The Baal HaMaor and Kuzari (for slightly different reasons) want to draw a dateline somewhere between Israel and China. This was for theoretical and not practical purposes. No one agrees with this position precisely for the reason that I mentioned: it would mean that those traveling east suddenly change days when crossing an imaginary line. The Yesod Olam heaps scorn upon the Ba'al Hamaor and Kuzari for that reason. Not just because the Torah doesn't say it, but because it is unreasonable. He also mentions the point about not know where the line is.

      "except maybe in theory the Baal Hamaor/Kuzari, but no one advocates for that dateline either, except may R Chaim Zimmerman)" You are again confusing one individual dateline per one person, with the general concept of a dateline. We have the ba'al hamor recorded as grappling with the problem. There could well have been others that have not made into print.

      No, we have the Ba'al Hamaor proposing a dateline to solve the meaning of a gemara (not for practical purposes) and the other Rishonim sharply disagreeing with him on the existence of such a line.

      Who said anything about a secret dateline? Not everything was written down, and not everything that was written down made it through the generations.

      I don't know what to do with this. Maybe they wrote screeds against datelines and it was lost?

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    61. When rabbonim sat down and discussed the date line, I don't believe any Rov said "Well, for thousands of years nobody had the technology to deal with it, so let's just ignore the whole problem".

      Please reread what I wrote. Those who advocated against a dateline did not ignore the problem. They just argued that the solution was not a dateline.

      That's like saying "for 1000s of years, there was no real issue over time of death, somebody died and that was that - the chevrah kedisha did the mirror, feather test, whatever and if it was positive (or should that be negative) the chap wad dead. Let's not bother about any modern technology such as ECGs and EEGs brain stem death and and similar, because we have a principle that no halocho needs modern technology to follow. That is a very irrationalist approach.

      I answered this already.

      There is a phenomena called death. They could measure it. We can measure it better to save lives, so we do.

      More importantly, we do override halachah for life/death but not for other areas. A sefer Torah is presumed kosher even if it has not been scanned by a computer. We scan them to avoid having to deal with problem when the inevitable mistake is found. But the Torah is presumed kosher without it. Life and death is treated differently.

      The phenomena called dateline neither existed as a concept in halacha nor was it measurable in ancient times.

      And nobody says "for hundreds of years that very visible black dot on your lettuce was not treated as an insect, because we can only tell it is an insect with a microscope." Now we now it is an insect, and it is visible with the naked eye (albeit as a black dot) we know it is an insect.

      Actually, there is a dispute about that for precisely the reasons that I mentioned. In fact the area of bugs on lettuce overall is a big dispute for the reason that I mentioned.

      “So here is how to look at it with circumnavigation”

      Fine, that is your rational view of the situation. And you may have poskim that agree, and you may have poskim that disagree. But you would be a brave man to decide, on your own, which ones to follow when it comes to something as fundamental as shabbos. Especially when it applies to you and you have your own negius.


      I have no negius. And in practice, as DF mentioned, there is no orthodox community that deviates from the local day measurement.


      Delete
    62. I don't know why you are so against the idea that, for example, some learned traveler who was traveling to the Far East asked the Rashbo what to do, and his response is simply lost to us. Remember, there was no printing, no internet, no texting, no computers back then. From this lack of knowledge you build up a whole tower that the dateline cannot be a concern.

      Because the Yesod Olam talks about it and says that it is obvious to everyone on earth (not just from the Torah): "The day starts in the east". They didn't know about the Western Hemisphere. They couldn't circumnavigate the globe. There was no problem to deal with and no question to ask.

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    63. “I don't know what to do with this. Maybe they wrote screeds against datelines and it was lost?”

      Exactly my point. You can’t prove anything from any lack of discussion. It could go either way. So what can you do with this? – I will tell you. Ignore history and start the discussions when the question did come up, as a practical matter, in the 1930s or whenever. And if and when man colonises space and we start asking what happens to Shabbos (or indeed many other things) surely you are not going to say the question can be ignored as it was never discussed in history?

      “OK, so you are saying the the people in Japan should have listened to Rav Herzog et al and in their decision in their generation. But somewhere in the passage of 70 years, that authority was lost and we have undecided what was previously decided?”

      Nothing was ever decided and nothing was ever undecided. Presumably the people in Japan had their posek to rely on. Doesn’t help our hypothetical traveller flying from Australia to LA on Sunday. On what grounds can he, by himself be machria? The Brisker Rav is reported to have said that although he considers the Ba’al Hamaor as being correct, he would not issue a pesak on something even Rav Elchonon could not decide. The Chazon Ish brings numerous rishonim that he believes supports his view. Other than Rav Issur Zalman and Rav Tzvi Pesach Frank, all believe there is a date line, or local custom determines the position. The latter will not help you re a plane. And what happens in Alaska, which changed days in 1867?

      “Nevertheless, current Charedi Rabbis can be Machria against the leading Ashkenazi and Sefardi Rabbis and permit Shaytl's.”

      Your formula is still very unclear.”

      Lost you there. It’s not current. Don’t you get it. The sheital argument is old. Even for sheitals that look like real hair - . Again, The concept of ‘leading Rabbis’ does not apply if one has a family mesorah or personal posek. Do you seriously believe that in Charediland no Rabbi ever argues with Rav Elyoshiv or the CI? It happens the whole time. Assuming it can be clarified what RE said, it is only one factor when paskening. Especially if other poskim such as RZSA argued with the Chazon Ish.

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    64. “Because the dateline problem has to do with people meeting who have different counts.”

      Only according to your particular analysis.

      "I have no negius."

      You very much have a negius towards 'rationalist judaism'. I raised a simple point about whether RNS was aware or concerned that he may have flown back into Shabbos and whether he had taken advice, and you turned a simple question into a whole chareidi v non chareidi thing. And brought irrelevant topic like sheitals into it.

      "And in practice, as DF mentioned, there is no orthodox community that deviates from the local day measurement."

      Again, according to that view you are flying back into shabbos.

      "There was no problem to deal with and no question to ask."

      You can't seem to decide whether the reason we don't find much in the early seforim about it because there is no date line or because it was never a problem because nobody circumnavigated the globe. You keep flipping from one to the other.

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  13. How is the more rational position miraculously aligned with the International Dateline? Does it not give you pause? Is rationalism a way of life? Or a way of rationalizing (pun intended) allowing the secular world and belief system to set the parameters and belief system?

    There is nothing less rational about the Chazon Ish's opinion and Kasher's idea that the Rabbis should decide on their own is based on specious arguments and half sources.

    Agan HaSahar knocked these arguments out of the park. He showed clearly the letzonus of those people. Some cholkim on the CI were not leitzim, but Kasher clearly was.

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    1. How is the more rational position miraculously aligned with the International Dateline?

      How is the basic practice of the entire Jewish world is miraculously aligned with the local day count (as DF points out above)?

      How is that when the star-k counts up the Shitos, they miraculously always get at half or more aligning with the international dateline?

      How is that miraculously the entire world uses a 7 day week and that Saturday is almost always a day off.

      The answer is that entire world does use a 7 day week (which does seem somewhat miraculous) which solves 90% of the problem. The size of the Pacific Ocean solves 90% of the rest.

      Or a way of rationalizing (pun intended) allowing the secular world and belief system to set the parameters and belief system?

      The Rationalist Rishonim did not consider "secular" knowledge to be "secular". They considered it knowledge. So to restate your question in different terms, is it rational to use knowledge to set the parameters and belief system? Yes it is rational. Will it sometimes result in error? Absolutely. Witness the enmeshing of the 4 elements into Jewish thought.

      There is nothing less rational about the Chazon Ish's opinion and Kasher's idea that the Rabbis should decide on their own is based on specious arguments and half sources.

      You leave out the honorific for Rav Kasher. This means that you probably aren't evaluating this objectively, but making it personal. That is a common source of error. You should try to eliminate that.

      The problem with the Chazon Ish is that he assumes (in this case) that our knowledge of geography was also known by the Rishonim. So he interprets literally some of their statements that the day begins off the eastern edge of Asia 90* from Jerusalem rather than what they intended: the day is going to start at the eastern edge of what they thought was civilization which they thought was 90* east of Jerusalem and end at the western edge. When you interpret their statements without the anachronism, then his claim that all the Rishonim support his position falls away.

      Agan HaSahar knocked these arguments out of the park. He showed clearly the letzonus of those people. Some cholkim on the CI were not leitzim, but Kasher clearly was.

      Ad hominem arguments are not valid or "rational". If you have "home run" arguments to quote, quote them.

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    2. You are circling the argument instead of dealing with it.
      The outside world had reasons for setting a dateline and their reasoning was done accordingly. The necessity for a halachic dateline is not the same as the necessity for an international dateline. It is highly suspicious that in some way the two reasonings miraculously aligned to create one dateline. It is certainly not a more rational approach.

      This need to ensure there is no difference between the Torah's guidelines and the secular ones, even when they are not attempting to solve the same issue, seems to be a bias, an unwillingness to subjugate a life to H-shem and His Torah.

      Kasher does not deserve an honorific for the foolishness he wrote about the dateline, suggesting the Rabbis get together and make one up. Rav Zimmerman quaintly asked "so why kill the mekoshesh? Why not temporarily move the dateline?"
      For in deptb discussion, learn Agan Hasahar. I haven't seen anyone close to his level of depth on this issue. And ftr, he was RY in a decidedly non Charedi Yeshiva and he was stoned by the Satmars and Briskers.

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    3. You are circling the argument instead of dealing with it.
      The outside world had reasons for setting a dateline and their reasoning was done accordingly. The necessity for a halachic dateline is not the same as the necessity for an international dateline. It is highly suspicious that in some way the two reasonings miraculously aligned to create one dateline. It is certainly not a more rational approach.


      You ignored my answer and my questions. I disagree that the secular and religious purposes are all that different. And the Yesod Olam does refer to the agreement of the entire world, not just agreement of the Jewish religious authorities in his assertion that the day begins in the East.

      This need to ensure there is no difference between the Torah's guidelines and the secular ones, even when they are not attempting to solve the same issue, seems to be a bias, an unwillingness to subjugate a life to H-shem and His Torah.

      Or the perhaps the need to always put a line between the Orthodox and the Gentiles and Reformers introduces a bias against any idea, no matter how good, that originated elsewhere.

      Also, you again ignore the approach of the Rationalist Rishonim. There is not such think as secular guidelines or secular knowledge. There is just knowledge.

      Kasher does not deserve an honorific for the foolishness he wrote about the dateline,

      Rav Kasher deserves an honorific for he amazing breadth of Torah knowledge and his written contributions to Torah. That you disagree with him is not grounds for disrespect.

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  14. There is a fascinating fundamentalist discussion in Artscroll on where the Talmud would have put the international dateline. It quite ignores the fact that Chazal thought the world was flat...

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    1. Probably some did and some didn't. The sphericity of the world was too well known.

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    2. According to the Baal HaMaor's explanation of the sugya of "18 hours" in Rosh HaShanah, Chazal knew that the world was a sphere.

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    3. The Baal Hamaor's explanation is most likely not the original meaning, so it is hard to take from there whether that Gemara implies a knowledge of the sphericity of the earth. However, I have to believe that the at least Tannaic discussions about determining the feasiblity of a new moon at any given time were done with that understanding because it was so basic to anyone looking at the subject.

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    4. It certainly fits the language of the gemara better than Rashi's explanation - I am not aware of another reasonable explanation of that gemara (not that I am such an expert...).

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    5. Sometimes a Gemara must remain obscure until Eliyahu comes to explain it.

      Generally, the Gemara is discussing visibility of the new moon. The most likely reading for the first Gemara is that one should discount any sighting of the moon which is less than (approx) 18 hours after the conjunction, so that the conjunction must occur before midnight if the moon is to be sighted the next evening. The record for a reliable sighting 15 hours and 32 minutes and there are probably many more false positives at that time, so the 18 hours would stand as a good rule of thumb.

      On the next part, it is hard to tell who "they" and "we" are, but you again see the notion of 18 hours in there. The six hour reference remains a bit obscure.

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    6. However, I would say that that Gemara on its own is good evidence because it implies that they were calculating the conjuction which means they understood astronomy. However, it is possibly that they were relying on the calculations of others and just expressing a rule of thumb.

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    7. David, I agree but would add that the gemara in Rosh Hashana 20b is both problematic from a physical standpoint and doesn't appear to correspond to Halacha - at least as formulated by the Rambam in hilchot Kiddush hachodest 1:3. He states there that the moon is invisible for approximately 2 days - about 1 day before (lunar conjunction) and about 1 day afterwards. The above gemara, on the other hand asserts that the moon is invisible for 1 day which is divided into 6 and 18 hours for viewers in Israel and Bavel. The Rambam elsewhere in Kiddush hachodesh states that the sages were not expert in astronomical observations and calculations, and had no accurate mesorah on the subject. Why, then, should the entire issue of the existence of an halachic dateline be dependent on how to interpret that gemara - besides the oddity of assuming that the 6 and 18 hours is switched between obervations in Israel and Bavel (the assumption of the Ba'al Hama'or that some theoretical Jew living at the eastern end of Asia is being referenced is hardly the evident meaning of the text)?

      A further point is the need to distinguish between the molad which is a calculation based on a mean lunar month and the astronomical lunar conjunction (called 'new moon' in the calendars) which takes into account the variable lunar period over the year. A review of the last 26 months shows that the difference (molad - conjunction) varies from -10.5 to + 15 hours. The delay between conjunction and the first visibility of the new lunar crescent is at least 1 day at the most favorable location on the planet and using a telescope to increase light gathering vis-à-vis the unaided eye. Hence the Rambam's observation accords with reality. If the molad advancement of 11-15 hours around Rosh Hashanna time in the last 2 years is typical, then the statement of the Amora about the moon's invisibility for 18 hours after the calculated molad is reasonable (just for that time of year), but not the statement about the last crescent of the old moon being invisible 6 hours prior to the molad.

      Y. Aharon

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    8. David, I agree but would add that the gemara in Rosh Hashana 20b is both problematic from a physical standpoint and doesn't appear to correspond to Halacha - at least as formulated by the Rambam in hilchot Kiddush hachodest 1:3. He states there that the moon is invisible for approximately 2 days - about 1 day before (lunar conjunction) and about 1 day afterwards.

      However, the Gemara's prior comment that the conjuction must occur before midnight (Chatzos) in order for the new moon to be visible in the next night does seem like a reasonable rule of thumb given that the record for naked eye observation is 15h32m. It would also imply that the period of invisiblity is longer. I would regard the later statements about 6/18 and them and us as obscure rather than definitely wrong.

      The Rambam elsewhere in Kiddush hachodesh states that the sages were not expert in astronomical observations and calculations, and had no accurate mesorah on the subject.

      I don't that is what he says. On the contrary, the Rambam thought that they could accurately predict (the to degree possible) the visibility of the new moon. He does say that his calculations come from the Gentile astonomers, while those of calendar council (Sod Ha'ibbur) would have come from Jewish sources. He also Darshans the word Sod to mean an important secret which indicates that he though it would be known by the elite among Chazal.

      Why, then, should the entire issue of the existence of an halachic dateline be dependent on how to interpret that gemara

      Of course you are right.

      The delay between conjunction and the first visibility of the new lunar crescent is at least 1 day at the most favorable location on the planet and using a telescope to increase light gathering vis-à-vis the unaided eye.

      I don't think that this is true. Reliable naked eye observations have been made much earlier than 24 hours (as early at 15 hours 42 minutes). Assuming that many, many trained observers were looking for the moon, you could get many sighting earlier than 24 hours (if sunset occured then) or at least you could not automatically ignore such testimony using a 24 hour rule of thumb. Thus, you need not resort to idea that they were talking about a month where the mean and true conjunctions differ by 6 hours.

      Using the most sophisticated telescope and camera setup, the new moon was actually recorded at 4.4 degrees of separation: http://lunarnetworks.blogspot.com/2013/07/earliest-possible-new-moon-captured-on.html.

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    9. Moreover, to be charitable to the Talmud, for practical purposes, if the moon is invisible for 24 hours, then it must also be invisible for 36 hours in any single location. So the 24 hour should perhaps be interpreted more like a "day". If last old moon visibility is on day 1, you cannot see the new moon until the end of day 2. If so, this suggests an interpretation of the gemara as follows:

      We, who base the month on the new moon, can see the new moon at the earliest 18 hours after the conjunction, and in that case the moon would be invisible to us the prior evening, 6 hours before that conjunction.

      They, who base the month on the first invisiblity of the old moon would consider the last sighting of the old moon to be valid only if it occurred 18 hours before the conjunction; in that case, 6 hours after the conjuction would be the invisibility of the old moon (and the beginning of the new month).

      I admit that this is speculative.

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    10. David, first an admission. I 'misremembered - as per W., a statement by the Rambam on the fallibility of the sages in astronomical matters. As you pointed out, he, in fact, assumes that the bet din qualified for Kiddush hachodesh would have made the accurate calculation of when the new moon could first appear (hilchot Kiddush hachodesh 6:1). His disclaimer appears elsewhere - possibly in his Guide. Whether or not the bet din could have made that complex calculation which is based on sky darkness as well as the motions of the moon and earth is debatable - but irrelevant to our difference. I will also admit that I didn't do a thorough search on the internet on first sightings of the new moon after lunar conjunction. I merely used one appropriate source. I had done a more thorough investigation some years ago but misplaced my loose notes. In any case, the issue is observations (in the absence of artificial light) at the latitude of Israel and Bavel rather than at arbitrary points on the globe providing a first sighting.

      Our difference, however, is on our understanding of the gemara in R.H. 20b. Your assume that the term 'chatzot' refers to midnight, whereas I assume that it refers to noon (as does Rashi). My assumption fits with the statements of R' Zeira then living in Judea that if the molad is before noon then the new moon can be seen right after sunset, and that corresponds to the 6 hour delay after the molad ascribed for those living there. After all, his statement is an explanation of the 'Tana'itlc sod ha'ibbur' distinguishing between nolad before chatzot or after. Moreover, the gemara later has Rava using 'chatzot laila' as a distinction between the rationales of R' Yochanan and Resh Lakish. Then 'chatzot' without the qualification would refer to noon.

      If the figure of 16 hours for the delay between 'true' lunar conjunction and the earliest visibility of the new moon is appropriate for the latitudes of Israel and southern Iraq, then the 6 hour delay of R' Zeira (in the name of R' Nachman of Bavel) could be rationalized - given that the advancement of the molad after lunar conjunction can be considerable - as I noted earlier. The rest of the statements of R' Zeira on this issue remain problematic, however.

      Y. Aharon

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    11. Y. Aharon, yes you are absolutely correct that my interpretation of Chatzos as midnight was done in order to make the statement square with reality. However, if we assume that the author of the statement assumed a sophisticated audience who knew the basic limits, then it would make sense for him to state it this way as a rule of thumb in a shorthand manner. I need to look again at the statement of Rava that you mention.

      I think that the Rambam did not assume that anyone could predict accurately exactly when the moon was visible because there are too many variable. However, he did assume that they could predict when it would be impossible and when it would be possible, and also the angles involved, in order to confirm the testimony. This corresponds with the statement of the Gemara here that value of these calculations are in being used to possibly contradict the testimony of the witnesses.

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  15. I wish to understand David, you wrote
    There is a claim by some that halacha (and specifically the corpus of Gemara and Rishonim) has an answer to every question.

    Isn't there by definition a halachik answer for a halachik question.
    From what you wrote further, I think you meant that there is a claim that the sources provide an answer for every halachik question. When I questioned Rav Shachter on this exact point, I understood him to say that the sources may provide an answer and as we have no other way of determining the halacha, we must base ourselves on the sources, namely the Gemara and the rishonim's explanations of the gemara.

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    1. Isn't there by definition a halachik answer for a halachik question.

      Danger Will Robinson: if you say that a statement is true "by definition", then that statement can't be saying anything about the real world. Statements about the real world are true by checking the real world. (Sometimes, we say "by definition" when we really mean "very easy to test", but it pays to be careful.)

      Is there an answer for every question? If by "answer" you mean an actual "answer", no. The Gemara leaves questions open. Also, some questions can be posed in halachic form, but aren't really. "Is the solar system heliocentric?" was debated by poskim, but it really wasn't a halachik question to begin with.

      From what you wrote further, I think you meant that there is a claim that the sources provide an answer for every halachik question. When I questioned Rav Shachter on this exact point, I understood him to say that the sources may provide an answer and as we have no other way of determining the halacha, we must base ourselves on the sources, namely the Gemara and the rishonim's explanations of the gemara.

      On the one hand this seems reasonable, but I think that in the end, it leads down the wrong path sometimes. Sometimes the Gemara simply doesn't say anything on the topic. Or it says something, but the premises were either completely different or mistaken. Either way, you end up trying to read entrails. With complete respect for Rav Schacter who is a very knowledgeable Talmid Chacham, it leads him into some pretty odd conclusions, like you could be a walking, talking human being while halachically dead, IIUC/RC

      Also, the Gemara really does contradict itself sometimes. When you the take the approach of trying to resolve everything from the Gemara as a unified whole, you get oddities.

      Going back to the dateline, IMHO, the Gemara did not conceive of the problem and does not address the problem. The Rishonim who started to talk about it, had a radically different conception of Geography than we do, and didn't really deal with it in a practical way. So trying to tie yourself back to sources in this case, may result in odd results, IMO.

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Chicken Wars: The Shiur

This Monday in Woodmere....(and also on Tuesday, at Beth Aaron in Teaneck):