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25 Purim Answers

 

We recently explored R. Yerachmiel Zelcer’s encyclopedic treatment of the classic Chanukah question (link). We now have the opportunity to discuss his similar treatment of Purim. In his Ner Le-Mei’ah on Purim, he addresses R. Shlomo Alkabetz’s question, posed in Manos Ha-Levi, regarding the fate of Amalekites. We are commanded to destroy the nation of Amalek but how far must we go? Are there exceptions, loopholes by which Amalekites can convert from their cursed ancestry and even become Jews in good standing?

The Torah commands us to destroy the remembrance of Amalek (Deut. 25:19) as part of a permanent war against the nation (Ex. 17:16). The Mekhilta (to Ex. 17:16) states that, as part of this permanent state of war, God vowed not to accept converts from Amalek. However, the Gemara (Gittin 57b) states that Haman’s descendants (sons of sons) taught Torah in Bnei Brak. While this turn-about demonstrates the ironies of history and the ultimate victory over our enemy, it seems to violate the command to destroy the remembrance of Amalek. R. Shlomo Alkabetz pointed out this contradiction and sparked a literature offering creative resolutions.

R. Zelcer collects 100 answers, many he proposes himself based on others’ related theories. Most importantly, none escape his critical pen, although he is able to rescue most through further analysis of proofs and counterproofs. Below is my summary of 25 answers from Ner Le-Mei’ah on Purim, including chapter number and the name of R. Zelcer’s primary source. When he offers an answer based on a related theory, I provide the source of the theory and list Ner Le-Mei’ah as the source of the answer.

  1. They converted on their own [very problematic] (ch. 1, Manos Ha-Levi)
  2. Amalekites may convert to Judaism but may only marry other Amalekite converts (c2, Megillas Sefer on Semag)
  3. They were found as babies and were converted, and only later discovered they were Haman’s descendants (2, Megillas Sefer on Semag)
  4. The Rambam (Mishneh Torah, Hilkhos Issurei Bi’ah 12:17) ruled like the Gemara in Gittin, against the Mekhilta, that we may accept Amalekite converts (3, Chida in Pesach Einayim)
  5. If the Amalekite makes peace with the Jews and accepts the seven Noahide commandments, he loses his status as an Amalekite and may later convert (4, Chida in Ein Zokher; 17, Avnei Neizer)
  6. Haman was Mordechai’s slave (Megillah 16a) and a slave loses his ancestry (5, Tzofnas Pa’anei’ach)
  7. The mitzvah to blot out the memory of Amalek only applies when you can fully accomplish it (7, Yismach Moshe)
  8. They tricked the converting rabbis and their Amalekite ancestry only became known in the second or third generations (8, Shevus Yehudah)
  9. There is no impediment to accepting an Amalekite convert, just that God will not obligate it (8, Shevus Yehudah)
  10. The view that we may not accept Amalekite converts is a minority (8, Shevus Yehudah)
  11. They were Amalekite descendants through a female ancestor and tribal status flows through males (9, Tiferes Moshe)
  12. An Amalekite had an illegitimate child with a Jewish woman (11, Peri Tzadik)
  13. Haman was not an Amalekite [see this post] (12, R. Yerucham Fishel Perlow)
  14. After Sancheriv mixed the nations, we do not know with certainty whether those who claim to be descendants of Amalek really are (14, Tal Oros; 21, R. Chaim Palaggi in Einei Kol Chai)
  15. The text should read that descendants of Na’aman, not Haman, taught Torah in Bnei Brak (15, Margoliyos Ha-Yam)
  16. The Torah teachers in Bnei Brak were merely reincarnations (gilgulim) of Haman’s descendants but not physical descendants (19, Sheim Mi-Shmuel)
  17. The Torah teachers in Bnei Brak were reincarnations (gilgulim) of the positive aspects of Haman himself (20, Sheim Mi-Shmuel)
  18. We only refuse Amalekite converts after they begin fighting us (22, Chazon Ish)
  19. When we are unable to kill Amalekites, we may accept them as converts (24, R. Shimon Sofer in the name of R. Yosef Wald)
  20. The obligation to battle Amalek only applies when directed by a prophet (Griz). Perhaps the decision to accept Amalekite prophets was also directed by a prophet (27, Ner Le-Mei’ah).
  21. Haman’s mother was a maidservant so he does not obtain his father’s lineage (28, R. Tzvi Eisenstadt in the name of the Rogtachover)
  22. The mitzvah to destroy any remembrance of Amalek does not apply outside of Israel (Bnei Yissaschar in Rei’ach Duda’im). Therefore we could accept Amalekite converts outside of Israel (29, Ner Le-Mei’ah)
  23. We need a king in order to be obligated in destroying the remembrance of Amalek (Oneg Yom Tov). In the time of Purim, there was no Jewish king and therefore we could accept Amalekite converts (30, Ner Le-Mei’ah).
  24. Rachav converted even though she was a Canaanite because her soul was a reincarnation of Tamar (Chida in the name of the Arizal). Similarly, the prohibition to accept Amalekite converts only applies to Amalekite souls and not reincarnations (31, Ner Le-Mei’ah).
  25. The permission for an uncertain mamzer (safek) to marry into the Jewish people is based on a derivation from the word “kehal” which also applies to Amonites and Moabites (Sha’ar Ha-Melekh). This also applies to Amalekites so perhaps when Haman’s descendants came to convert, their lineage could not be definitively proven (36, Ner Le-Mei’ah).
 

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Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the founder, publisher and editor-in-chief of Torah Musings.

 
The opinions and facts here are presented solely by the author. Torah Musings assumes no responsibility for them. Please address religious questions to your rabbi.
 

48 Responses

  1. David Tzohar says:

    Aren’t we lucky that since Sennacherib mixed up the geneaology of the nations there are no longer any identifiable
    amalekites We no longer have the dilemma of whether or not to slaughter Amalekite babies etc.

  2. Hirhurim says:

    I hope to post on the moral issue later this week.

  3. joel rich says:

    26. the rabbis were trying to make a point that no one’s destiny is controlled by their fate?

    KT

  4. Joseph Kaplan says:

    “Aren’t we lucky that since Sennacherib mixed up the geneaology of the nations there are no longer any identifiable
    amalekites We no longer have the dilemma of whether or not to slaughter Amalekite babies etc.”

    My sense is that is exactly why the rabbis came up with the statement that Sanacherib did that. So AISI it’s not luck, it’s wisdom.

  5. Nachum says:

    Joseph: “The rabbis”? Tanach is pretty clear that he did such things, as are Assyrian records.

  6. Yirmiahu says:

    “Aren’t we lucky that since Sennacherib mixed up the geneaology of the nations there are no longer any identifiable amalekite”

    The Rambam mentions this with respect to the seven nations, as I recall, but it is conspicuously absent with regard to the Amalekites. Some have suggested that this is because the obligation continues, but I think it is pretty clear that Amalek was destroyed before Sennacherib making it a moot issue (on a physical level at least).

  7. Canuck says:

    Why do some of you have a problem with the commandment to wipe out the descendents of Amalek? Do you believe (or feel) it is an immoral thing to do? If so, based on what morality?

  8. Tal Benschar says:

    The Rambam mentions this with respect to the seven nations, as I recall, but it is conspicuously absent with regard to the Amalekites. Some have suggested that this is because the obligation continues, but I think it is pretty clear that Amalek was destroyed before Sennacherib making it a moot issue (on a physical level at least).

    I was thinking about this famous Brisker diyuk this weekend, and wondered whether one might not be able to make the opposite diyuk.

    The mitzvah of destroying the seven nations is to kill them off. So one might have thought that you have to pursue them individually. The chiddush is that you don’t — once their nationhood was destroyed, then that is it, even if someone is geneologically descended from the 7 nations.

    OTOH, the whole mitzvah of destroying Amalek is to blot out their name — timcheh es zecher Amalek. Killing them is just a way to get to that result. If they have been mixed up to the point where their nationhood has been forgotten (courtesy of Sancherev), then the mitzvah has been accomplished. There is no Amalekite nation today. That some goy, unbeknownst to anyone, might be geneologically descended from Amalek has nothing to do with the mitzvah.

    Perhaps the Rambam left it out because it is obvious — that is the whole nature of the mitzvah.

    (One nafka mina is whether one is permitted to take the spoils of war. One may as to the Seven Nations, because there is no requirement of blotting out their memory. As to Amalek, their property has to be completely destroyed, so that no one can say, this cow came from Amalek.

    This connects with my speculative question last week about whether if a non-Amalekite goy takes Amalekite property (as Ahaseurus did to Haman’s house) then the issur goes away.)

  9. Canuck says:

    Tal – I understand this post discusses reasons why the mitzvah is obsolete, or inapplicable today. Assuming these commandments are inapplicable today – how do modern orthodox Jews feel about parts of the Torah that seem to promote politically incorrect notions like genocide?

  10. Tal Benschar says:

    Just looked at the Rambam. My suggested pshat does not work with the Rambam’s lashon: וכן מצות עשה לאבד זרע עמלק in Hil Melachim 5:5. In 1:2 he similarly writes והכרתת זרע עמלק קודמת לבניין הבית Sure sounds geneological.

    Tal – I understand this post discusses reasons why the mitzvah is obsolete, or inapplicable today. Assuming these commandments are inapplicable today – how do modern orthodox Jews feel about parts of the Torah that seem to promote politically incorrect notions like genocide

    You should ask them. I suspect they feel rather uncomfortable.

  11. Canuck says:

    It’s understandable that observant Jews apologize for politically incorrect parts of the Torah, but they shouldn’t abandon the values of the Torah while doing so. In other words, we should agree that going to war with the Seven Nations and fighting to destroy Amalek are morally correct commands, even if they are no longer in force due to historical circumstances.

  12. Ariel says:

    The question is stronger if you assume the amalekite who reports to David about Shauls’s death was a convert.

  13. joel rich says:

    Or perhaps we might say that HKB”H paskined through history that these mitzvot would no longer practically be “in force” as society evolved but would be there to remind us that there is such a thing as unalloyed evil which must be destroyed.
    KT

  14. Tal Benschar says:

    The thing about the mitzvah of mechiyas Amalek that one should ask, even without PC considerations, is why is the mitzvah so exceptional? The general rule in the Torah is verachamav al kol maasav. There were other wicked nations, like Mitzrayim, Edom, Amon, Moav, yet each had some measure of rachamim. Even as to the Seven Nations, the halacha was they should be offered a chance to leave Eretz Yisrael, and if they could, they could do so unmolested. (Chazal say the Girgashim in fact took up the offer.)

    So the question is what is so singularly and uniquely evil about Amalek that it must be destroyed without mercy or exception? When you answer that, then I think you will be close to dealing with people’s moral issues.

  15. Holy Hyrax says:

    >I hope to post on the moral issue later this week.

    Rabbi Etshalom just had a lecture this past shabbat the morality of killing Amalek in particular amongst the larger question of the morality of war in Tanach. He was really concentrating on the text and nothing more; on why it says GOD will wipe out their memory and how far we have to go in that process and particularly which Amalekite tribe (since there were a few) and for what reason we went after them. I wish he wouldn’t give these lectures on Shabbat. Notes would have helped remember. He definitely stayed away from any sort of drash on the topic.

  16. Joseph Kaplan says:

    “to promote politically incorrect notions like genocide?”

    Being against genocide is not being “politically correct”; it’s being against evil. I don’t think we would look down at people who are against the Shoah as merely being “politically correct.” (Unfortiunately, the menaingless term “politically correct” not only adds nothing to a discussion but takes the meaning out of any discussion to make it an exchange of platitudes.)

    “Why do some of you have a problem with the commandment to wipe out the descendents of Amalek? Do you believe (or feel) it is an immoral thing to do? If so, based on what morality?”

    Yes, I beleive it would be immoral to kill descendants of Amalek today if they ahve done nothing wrong, because we have been taught, and feel it in our bones, that civilized, moral people do not intentionally kill others who have done nothing wrong. Do you teach your children differently? Did your parents teach you differently? Do you ever read about indiscriminate killing and not feel revolted, not understanding how people created in the image of God can do such things? The type of people who in our generation do that wither on a small scale like murderers or on a large scale like Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Idi Amin etc. — not a group I would, to say the least, feel comfortable being with or compared to.

    I understand the Torah said certain things and if we believe taht god commanded us to do what is in the Torah, then we do it. But it’s not a coincedence, I think, that certain things that go violate the conscience of most civilized people — e.g., killing Amalekites who have done nothing wrong, ben sorrer umorrer, ir hanidachat — have been effectively written out of the list of commandments , not by a bunch of liberal upper west siders, but by chazal.

  17. JOSEPH KAPLAN:

    “I think, that certain things that go violate the conscience of most civilized people — e.g., killing Amalekites”

    but wasn’t this was after the fact, when there were no more amalekites? or was the mitzva of timche tempered already when it really made a difference?

  18. JOSEPH KAPLAN,

    i mean as has been pointed out, whatever chazal did later on to render timche inoperative, tanach abounds with stories of genocide, and moreover, those (shaul, yoav) who fail to kill every last man, woman and child are punished. shaul very severely.

  19. Shalom Spira says:

    R’ Joseph Kaplan,
    Ye’yasher kochakha and thank you for your scholarly analysis. I agree with you that we all feel revolted at the prospect of killing an entire people today, but perhaps that is because we have no experience with Amalek. If and when Amalek exists, it is presumably a mitzvah to counter it, as per the gemara in Yoma 22b that Shaul ha-Melekh raised moral objections against eradicating Amalek, and the response Shaul ha-Melekh received by way of a Heavenly voice was “al tehi tzaddik harbeh”. Interestingly, though, RMF (IM CM 2:78) has suggested – similar to your analysis – that one is only obligated to wage war against Amalek when so commanded by an ad hoc prophetic command (as Shaul ha-Melekh received).
    http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=921&st=&pgnum=316
    [This would also correspond to answer no. 20 on the list (attributed to the Griz).] If so, the mitzvah to wage war against Amalek is very limited (to the point of being inoperative in the contemporary era where we lack prophets), as you indicate.

  20. i’ve been thinking about the genocide issue a lot recently. one queastion i have for opponents is what exactly is offensive? is it the violence, pain and suffering that accompanies genocide, or even merely the desire to eliminate a people wholesale.

    if you had the ability to snap your fingers and make every palestinian vanish into thin air, would that be offensive? or to travel back in time and do so with germany in the 1930s?

  21. Shlomo says:

    Yes, I beleive it would be immoral to kill descendants of Amalek today if they ahve done nothing wrong, because we have been taught, and feel it in our bones, that civilized, moral people do not intentionally kill others who have done nothing wrong.

    There are so many other things that “civilized, moral people” object to. Prohibiting mamzerim, agunot, or gays from marrying. Prohibiting women from giving testimony or leading prayers. Suppressing other religions. If “moral feeling” has a veto over performing a mitzvah, then what about all the other mitzvot that violate many people’s moral feelings?

    Do you ever read about indiscriminate killing and not feel revolted, not understanding how people created in the image of God can do such things? The type of people who in our generation do that wither on a small scale like murderers or on a large scale like Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Idi Amin etc.

    FDR and Churchill also did a great deal of indiscriminate killing (Dresden, Hiroshima). Sometimes unpleasant tasks, up to and including mass killing, can be necessary. I’m not sure I fully understand the necessity of exterminating Amalek at any point, much less today, but not everything that feels wrong IS wrong.

  22. Shalom Spira says:

    Also, a stylistic point (while agreeing fully with your overall thesis):

    The sentence “I understand the Torah said certain things and if we believe taht god commanded us to do what is in the Torah, then we do it.”

    would benefit from modification to:

    “I understand we believe that G-d commanded us to do everything that is written in the Torah. But we also believe that G-d gave Moses the Oral Torah, which is communicated to us by Chazal, who – in turn – informed us that the scope of the mitzvah of eradicating Amalek is extremely limited.”

  23. Joseph Kaplan says:

    “if you had the ability to snap your fingers and make every palestinian vanish into thin air, would that be offensive? or to travel back in time and do so with germany in the 1930s?”

    It may be my fault, but I’m not really sure what the question is. Are we talking about real living breathing people who, because of some action we take, suddenly disappear and those who knew them realize that they ahve disappeared? Or are we in a science fiction world making believe that they never existed? I’m not against hypothetical questions in general, but I would need to know the parameters fo this one before even thinking about a coherent answer.

  24. Joseph Kaplan says:

    “FDR and Churchill also did a great deal of indiscriminate killing (Dresden, Hiroshima). Sometimes unpleasant tasks, up to and including mass killing, can be necessary.”

    And there’s been lots of serious discussion over the years about the morality of these acts. They and their supporters were able to articulate a reason, comprehensible to human beings, as why it was proper to do so — i.e., it was necessary to end the war faster thus saving many lives. (I’m not taking a position on the merits of that reason.) If someone could articulate such a comprehensible reason for killing Amalekite babies (other than God told us to do so), then the analogy might, indeed, be apt.

  25. Canuck says:

    Joseph Kaplan – You completely misunderstood my question and my point of view. Since the tribe or nation of Amalek is extinct, consider a clearer question: Did King Saul acting correctly by refusing to kill Agag, King of the Amalekites? And, did the Prophet Samuel act badly by killing Agag in place of King Saul? The reason I ask is not to put people on the spot, but to discuss how we should relate to incidents and commandments in the bible that seem to contradict the 21st century zeitgeist. I think a Jewish answer would be to acknowledge that Saul did indeed neglect the commandment, and that act possibly enabled Haman (in Persia) and others later to plan for the extermination of the Jewish nation. It also brings to mind the saying – one who is merciful to the cruel, ends up being cruel to the merciful.

  26. ruvie says:

    Canuk – “Did King Saul acting correctly by refusing to kill Agag, King of the Amalekites?…”
    i think you are asking the wrong question – Saul received a direct command to do something and he failed on following hashem’s direct and specific orders. that’s not the question you mean to ask – i think. does everything hashem commands us by definition morally good because it is He who commands us or does He only commands us morally good commandments ? see plato for the same question.
    if you have a problem questioning Hashen’s commandments or orders please take it up also with avraham avinu and iyov. the understanding is that hashem is a moral and compaassionate God. gagin, in shemnot and devarim there is no talk of genocide or killing of babies but of a war.

  27. Canuck says:

    Ruvie – Thanks for the correction about King Saul having received a direct command to kill King Agag. However, my question would still be valid for a modern person, who may not accept the accuracy or legitimacy of a Divine command received through prophecy.

    Joseph Kaplan – The war against Amalek is theoretical, so it isn’t necessary to bring up emotional debates like the arguing about the justice in attacks on Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where many innocents were randomly and horrifically killed by the Allies in the second world war. It’s a tragedy when innocents are killed during war, but that doesn’t detract from the morality of a just war. It was cowardice on the part of pacifists in 1930s Europe which led to the massive destruction that soon followed. Seemingly, the tribe of Amalek was beyond redemption, and their destruction was necessary. Today, we need to draw lessons from this.

  28. ruvie says:

    shlomo – ” If “moral feeling” has a veto over performing a mitzvah, then what about all the other mitzvot that violate many people’s moral feelings?”

    do you think the rambam was influence but world morality of his day to interpret the mitzvah and sources differently – to that of a national issue (nation of israel as an entity) in times of war only not individual (like sefer hachinuch), to accept amalek converts, to offer peace instead of war? or believed in a compassionate God who could not morally ask us to commit these acts in the books of shmuel as an interpretation of the commandment in devarim?

  29. Canuck says:

    Shalom Spira – Thanks for reminding us that the scope of the mitzvah of eradicating Amalek is extremely limited according to the oral Torah.

  30. Shalom Spira says:

    R’ Canuck,
    You’re welcome! And I, in turn, thank R’ Joseph Kaplan who provided the insights.

  31. Joseph Kaplan says:

    Canuck,

    I wasn’t the one to bring up Dresden and Hiroshima; I was just responding to someone else’s comment about the bombing of those cities.

    I’m sorry I nisunderstood your question and position. Let me try to make mine clear. The Torah tells us what we are suppoosed to do, and no matter what it is, those who are faithful to it try to observe. There is no requirement to believe that everything in the Torah is moral; but believing it is immoral does not mean you shouldn’t observe. However, when we do believe that something in the Torah is, according to our understanding, immoral, we must be absolutely positive that it is what God told us to do. So since genocide is, I belive, immoral, we need to be opposed to it unequivocally unless we are absolutely positive God commanded us to do acts of genocide. In the times of the Bible, when God spoke to the Jewish people through prophets, one could be absolutely sure; Saul didn’t have to rely on a text that could possibly be interpretd different ways; he had Samuel speaking on God’s behalf. It’s much much more difficult today. That’s why I believe, and it’s nothing more than a strong feeling, that, as I mentined earlier, chazal effectively wrote out of the commandments certain commandments that seem to go against our sense of morality like Amalek and ir hanidachat. And, as much as I believe rabbis should work much harder to resolve cases of agunah, the unfairness and tragedy of agunah doesn’t rise to the level, in my mind, of the type of immorality I’m speaking about.

    I don’t expect you to agree with me on this (big surprise! :-)), but I would like you to understand where I’m coming from.

  32. Canuck says:

    Joseph Kaplan – I agree 100% with your analysis on Amalek. With my earlier questions, my aim was to get people thinking about the subject of Amalek, and to clarify the modern orthodox Jewish views of biblical morality. We all should (and I think do) abhor violence. We can debate the morality of wars, while understanding that they are sometimes necessary, and always tragic.

  33. Joseph Kaplan says:

    I’m so happy we agree (really)!

  34. Steve Brizel says:

    Joseph Kaplan wrote:

    “Yes, I beleive it would be immoral to kill descendants of Amalek today if they ahve done nothing wrong, because we have been taught, and feel it in our bones, that civilized, moral people do not intentionally kill others who have done nothing wrong. Do you teach your children differently? Did your parents teach you differently? Do you ever read about indiscriminate killing and not feel revolted, not understanding how people created in the image of God can do such things? The type of people who in our generation do that wither on a small scale like murderers or on a large scale like Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Idi Amin etc. — not a group I would, to say the least, feel comfortable being with or compared to.”

    I think that it is confusing to mention the wholly theoretical question of killing descendants of Amalek with the far more real question of fighting the ilk of “Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Idi Amin etc.”, and their followers,regardless of their age, who have intellectually and emotionally ingested the equivalent of a laced glass of Kool Aid. I would not lose sleep over the latter for a second.

  35. Joseph Kaplan says:

    Steve, you missed my point.

  36. R.W. says:

    However, the Gemara (Gittin 57b) states that Haman’s descendants (sons of sons) taught Torah in Bnei Brak.

    Some fanatical Chabadniks used to joke that this Gemara is referring to Ponovitz.

  37. Yeedle says:

    “They were Amalekite descendants through a female ancestor and tribal status flows through males (9, Tiferes Moshe)”

    Ummm, no they were בני בניו of Haman, male after male till Amalek himself.

    “Rachav converted even though she was a Canaanite because her soul was a reincarnation of Tamar. Similarly, the prohibition to accept Amalekite converts only applies to Amalekite souls and not reincarnations”

    Rch”l, I’m מוחה on the גילוי פנים בתורה שלא כהלכה. Is this to say that we are not מצווה to kill Amalkites, but those who have Amalkites’ souls? Next you’ll tell me we’re allowed to accept Moabites into Klal Yisrael, because only those wiht Moabite souls are banned, אתמהה!

  38. Nachum says:

    Tamar was a Canaanite too. :-)

    In fact, there are lots of Canaanites living peacefully and intermarrying with Jews throughout Tanach. Shaul ben Ha-Kenanit, Aravna Ha-Yevusi, Uriah Ha-Chiti, etc. etc. Yes, Midrash explains away most if not all of these. But talking p’shat…

  39. Nachum says:

    Oh, the group called “Phoenicians” by the Greeks (and “Punic” by the Romans) were, in fact, Canaanites. Shlomo was perfectly peaceful with a Phoenician king who ruled over what is, according to the Torah, part of Eretz Yisrael. He even helped build the Beit HaMikdash. (Shlomo even gave him land, although the Midrash is pretty critical of that.)

    What happened? Well, the non-Semitic Philistines happened, for one thing.

  40. Hirhurim says:

    Yeedle: Ummm, no they were בני בניו of Haman, male after male till Amalek himself.

    Correct. The commentaries say that the language Bnei Banav is lav davka.

    Rch”l, I’m מוחה on the גילוי פנים בתורה שלא כהלכה.

    That’s Chasidishe Torah. Apparently, you don’t like it.

  41. Yeedle says:

    “That’s Chasidishe Torah. Apparently, you don’t like it”

    No that’s not Chasidishe Torah. Chasidishe Torah [almost] never tries to limit halachic parameters based on kaballah. The slippery slope is so obvious here. Next thing I tell you is an Eishes Ish doesn’t mean literally an eishes ish but someone with the soul of an eishes ish.

  42. Hirhurim says:

    It obviously was meant as an explanation and not practical halakhah.

  43. Yeedle says:

    Gil, an explanation that runs counter to normative halachic יסודות, is called גילו פנים בתורה שלא כהלכה.

  44. Hirhurim says:

    Do you understand that you’re accusing the Arizal of this crime?

  45. Don-E says:

    Mentioning the Ner Le-Mei’ah at this time of year allows me to share the following observation about the Ner Le-Mei’ah (the Chanukah original) –

    The implication of the title seems to be that there is something noteworthy about having 100 answers to the question. This is odd because you would expect _any_ question to have at least one answer, so, at best, only the additional answers are a chidush. Thus, the title should more accurately be: Ner Le-99.

    One answer may be that since it wasn’t too strong a question to begin with, even the first answer is a chidush. There are several other answers brought down as well. I am considering publishing a book of them, but I can’t seem to think of a title…

  46. Steve Brizel says:

    Joseph Kaplan- In a certain sense, you are correct. I think that the term “genocide” is used indiscriminately to describe tribal conflicts that have been festering for decades and which erupt periodically-and which really pale by comparison with the actions of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, etc.

  47. Steve Brizel says:

    R Asher Weiss , in Minchas Asher Shemos: 71 on Purim, notes that
    R Y Emden ZL explained the Siman of Amalek in BB 46b to mean that we destrioy Amalek by bringing it into the Beis Medrash and working hard at understanding a Sugya such as Arev, Malveh, Loveh and Kabalan with respect to their being Muchzak as an antidote to Amalek’s distracting us from Limud HaTorah.

  48. Mordechai Tzion says:

    Anyone know where this sefer is available? Tried a few places but couldn’t find it. Only by author?
    Thanks

 
 

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