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1.9.15

An answer to a question in the Rambam--in Hebrew

ראש השנה י''ד וט''ו
מבוא
 אני רוצה לענות על שאלה ברמב''ם. בקיצור רמב''ם מחליט הלכה כמו רבן גמליאל. ואז בפסקה הבא הוא מביא את הגמרא שאתרוג שהלך משנה השישית לשנה השביעית הוא טבל אפילו אם זה היה רק בגודל של זית בשנה השישית ולאחר מכן בשנה השביעית הפך גדול כמו כיכר לחם. התשובה שלי היא שהוא מתייחס לתקופה שבין ראש השנה של השנה השביעית עד ט''ו בשבט. זה מה שהוא מתכוון באומרו הוא פרי של השנה השישית שהלכה לשביעית.  כדי לעשות את זה ברור למה אני מתכוון תן לי להביא קצת רקע. (1) רבה אמר אתרוג שהלך משישית לשביעית אינו מחויב מעשר ולא ביעור. אבל שהלך מהשביעית שלמינית, היא חייב ביעור ( היינו החוקים של השנה השביעית). אביי שאל על זה.  ונראה  שאביי חושב שאנחנו הולכים לפי הזמן של חנטה וכך מהשישית לשביעית היא בעיה. בכל מקרה רבה עונה לו. רב המנונה אמר שאנחנו הולכים לפי הזמן של חנטה. רשב''י בשם רבי שמעון אמר השישית לשביעית והשביעית שלמינית אינו מחויב בשום דבר, כי אנחנו צריכים את זמן הגידול וזמן הלקיטה להיות במצב של חובה. הגמרא השיבה שרבה ורב המנונה הולכים כמו חמשת הזקנים שלשנה השביעית הולכים לפי חנטה. ואז  לרבי יוחנן אמר אתרוג שנכנס משישית לשביעית נחשב טבל--היינו מחויב מעשר.  (2) רבן גמליאל אמר לאתרוג הולכים לפי חנטה לשנה השביעית ולפי לקיטה למעשר. רבי אליעזר אמר שאנחנו הולכים לפי לקיטה לכל דבר.  רמב''ם החליט כמו רבן גמליאל. (3) הראש השנה לשנה השמיטה ונטיעה הוא היום הראשון של תשרי. לאילן הוא ט''ו בשבט. (4) לא ניתן לשתול 30 ימים לפני ראש השנה של השנה השביעית כי מוסיפים מחול על הקודש. ומשהו שניטע כשמגיע לשנה הרביעית אחרי ראש השנה אסור להשאיר. ראש שנה דף י'. העובדה המפתח  היא רש''י שם, בעמוד י' שמסביר את העניין. רש''י זו היא נקודת  המוקד. לדבריו, למרות שהעץ הוא בשנתה ה -4 בגלל ראש השנה עבר, עדיין פרותיה ערלים ואסורים לנצח כי ט''ו בשבט לא בא. (5) לכן כאשר רמב''ם כותב אתרוג שמגיע משישית לשביעית מחויב מעשר הוא מכוון  מא' תשרי ל ראש השנה לאילנות בט''ו בשבט. אז למרות שלמעשר הולכים לפי זמן הלקיטה, אבל עדיין  הוא לפני ט''ו בשבט והוא ככל אתרוג שהוא מודאג עדיין בשנה שעברה - זה שנה השישית.






Rosh Hashanah pages 14 and 15

Introduction.
 I want to answer a question in the Rambam. In brief the Rambam decides the halacha like Rabban Gamiel, and then in the next paragraph he brings the Gemara that a estrog going from the 6th into the 7th year is tevel even if it was only the size of an olive in the 6th year and then in the 7th year became as big as a loaf of bread.My answer is that he is referring to the period between Rosh Hashanah of the 7th year until Tu Beshvat.

 To make it clear what I mean let me try to bring some background information.

(1) Rabah said an estrog going from 6 to 7 is not obligated in tithes nor the laws of the seventh year.
But going from 7 to 8, it is liable to the laws of the 7th year. Abyee asked on this and it seems off hand that Abyee is thinking we go by the time of ripening and so from 6 to 7 is a problem. In any case Rabah answers him. Rav HaMenunah said we go by the time of ripening --period. The Rashbi in the name of Rabbi Shimon said 6 to 7 and 7 to 8 is not obligated in anything because we need the growth and the picking time should be in a state of obligation. The Talmud answers that Rabah and Rav HaMenunah are going like Rabban Gamiel and the Five Elders that for the 7th year we go by ripening.
The comes the two statements of Rabbi Yochanan which the Rambam brings. The estrog going from 6 to 7 is considered  tevel--obligated in tithes.

(2) Rabban Gamiel said for an estrog we go by ripening for the 7th year and by picking for the tithes,
Rabbi Eliezer said we go by picking for everything.

This Rabban Gamliel the Rambam decided like.

(3) The Rosh HaShanah for the 7th year and planting is the first day of Tishrei and for trees it is the 15th of Shevat.

(4) You can't plant 30 days before Rosh Hashanah of the 7th year because we add from the secular onto the holy. And something planted that reaches the forth year after Rosh Hashanah is forbidden forever. Rosh Hashanah 10.

The key fact is the Rashi over there on page 10 that explains this last statement. This Rashi is the focal point of everything I have written here. He says even though the tree is in its 4th year because Rosh Hashanah has passed, still its fruits are Orlah forbidden forever because Tu BeShevat has not come.

(5) Therefore when the Rambam writes the esrog comes from 6 to 7 is obligated in tithes he means the first Mishna that Rosh Hashanah for trees in Tu Beshavat. So even though for tithes we go by the time of picking, but still since it is before Tu Beshabat it is as far as the estrog is concerned still the last year--that is year 6 and thus obligated in tithes even though it in the 7th year as far as the laws of the 7th year is concerned.


31.8.15

Pantheism would be a great subject to into in detail because it is highly relevant nowadays. .

There has been a long progression in the attempt to change the Torah from Monotheism into Pantheism. It has only been Reform Judaism that has preserved the original faith of the Torah. I think this might be because Reform Judaism made the Guide of the Rambam to be a prime source of information about what the Torah is about.

I really have little against pantheism per se. Spinoza and the Upanishads have  a lot to say about this subject.
But I object to presenting the Torah as pantheism.

How can I show this? Well for one thing the Guide of the Rambam goes into detail about the idea that God made the world something from nothing. Now what people do to get pantheism from this is they change the meaning of those words. The problem with this is that words mean what they mean, not what you choose them to mean. Redefining a term with widespread understood usage to a specialized usage that is quite different doesn't make the usage legitimate scholarship. It marks the user as an incompetent scholar.

The path from Monotheism to Pantheism started in innocence. The Ari [Isaac Luria] got popular and from there it was a short  step from the idea of emanation into pantheism. It is not the same--but close enough for people to think they understood it well enough to start spouting out nonsense.

But to change Torah from Monotheism into Pantheism is not innocence. And you can see why the Gra would  have signed the Cherem [excommunication.](His name is the very first signature on that document.)
I guess this makes me the Grinch. For Pantheism has become in the minds of many people the most essential doctrine of Torah today. Speaking against it is like speaking against the deepest article of faith for many people.


People can get their feeling of numinosity [purpose and meaning] from all kinds of different places- many times not from good places. People can find their purpose and feelings of holiness in life from ideas that are from the Dark Side. They can believe so strongly that they can do even miracles from the Dark Side.







30.8.15

To learn Torah. It seems to me the best idea --if at all possible to to get a small Talmud Bavli, [Babylonian Talmud] and set of Musar [medieval Ethics] books and to learn at home.
It is not that this is the best way to go about it but rather that any other way seem to be unworkable.
Hillel's are more for fun activities. Synagogue are also for other things.

In Eastern Europe there was a concept of a place where people would go when they were off from work and be able to go in a sit and learn Torah, but today there are no such places. Yeshivas  are private, and certainly not anyone can walk in and sit and learn. So the old concept of  a "beit midrash" is largely extinct.


Now if you have a Hillel or a Reform Temple in your neighborhood in theory you could set aside a place inside for learning Torah alone. But that would depend on other people's desires. And you  don't want your learning Torah to be dependent on other people's desires.






29.8.15

If you look at the Metaphysics of Schopenhauer and that of Kant you see the essential difference between them is parallel to the difference between Plato and Aristotle.

To some degree we already know this with Schopenhauer since his claiming his system is that of Plato. But the thing is that it seems Kant and Aristotle are very close.

It is helpful to think about from where Plato and Aristotle were coming from. They both wanted to deal with the problem posed by Paramenides. What is must be and what is not can't be and so change is impossible. Plato answered this by the ideas and universals. Aristotle modifies Plato. He wants real existence to be the individual and the ideas only have existence in so far that they are in the individual. So he turns the ideas of Plato upside down. The whole reason for their existence Aristotle denies. He wants to go with change. But he also wants to preserve the universals in a certain way.

Kant also see the essential existing thing as the individual--the dinge an sich. The thing in itself.But it can change. And just like in Aristotle phenomena are in a certain way like universals in the way that they are attached to the dinge an sich.







There is a divide between Jewish people and Conservatives in the USA. Jews always vote for as close to Communism and Socialism as they can get. And our support of blacks can be interpreted as not so much a love of blacks, but more because they are enemies of white people.

So what I suggest to correct this situation is that people should learn Torah.
This will be helpful in two directions. One is that when Jewish people learn Torah, they will see that the Torah's values are not socialism, but rather identical with conservative values. On the other hand when Conservatives learn Torah, they will benefit by gaining a more consistent world view.