Complete Shavuos Handout #1 - Vaccines, Immunization and Inoculation A Halachik and Hashkafic History and its Connection to Sinai #2 - The Fascinating Minhag of Trees and Flowers in Shul on Shavuos #3 - Limud Kaballah? (And the 'Strange' Two-Word code Found in the Siddur by Each Day of Sefirah) #4 - A Perusal of Rav Elyashiv's Teshuvos #5 - Yom Tov Halacha May One Lower Their StoveTop Gas-Oven on YT? What About Yom Tov Mode Oven? Do All Agree? #6 -Secrets of Megillas Rus
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Article Published in AMI MAGAZINE in 2015 by this writer:

Shul Chronicles (#205)

Vaccines: A Selection of Its Halachic History

With the recent outbreak of measles (last year {2014} there were about 400 deaths per day), the subject and controversy surrounding vaccinations, while never quite dormant, once again resurfaced into the mainstream.

Potential contenders for the 2016 presidential race are being asked their views on the matter, and rabbanim are being asked by schools what, if anything, they need to or must do.

In this week’s column I will go through some of the halacha and history relating to vaccines. While a short column cannot do justice to this important subject, I hope it will at the very least serve to whet the readers’ appetitive and encourage the reader to research the matter in greater detail by perusing the source material provided at the end of this column.

I am keenly aware that many are quite passionate about this subject. Let me state that I am not a doctor. While I made the choice to vaccinate all my children right away, this column is simply to give a brief overview of some of the halachic matters this subject touches upon.

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The controversy (for lack of a better term) relating to vaccinations goes back some time.

The following was written by one of our American founding fathers:

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The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin:

In 1736 I lost one of my sons, a fine boy of four years old, by the smallpox taken in the common way. I long regretted bitterly and still regret that I had not given it to him by inoculation. This I mention for the sake of the parents who omit that operation, on the supposition that they should never forgive themselves if a child died under it; my example showing that the regret may be the same either way, and that, therefore, the safer should be chosen.

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Eight years before Mr. Franklin's death, Rav Yisroel Lipshitz was born. He would live to become the Rav of Danzig, and is best known today for his remarkable commentary on the Mishnah, Tifferes Yisroel. In this work, aside for explaining every Mishneh in a clear and detailed style, he also touches upon -often for the first time i a Rabbinic setting -many fascinating topics -such as the age of the universe, international date-line, dinosaurs, etc.

He also wrote regarding vaccinations.

First, let us look at his comments in Avos. There he not only mentions inoculation (using that very term, transliterated) but speaks to a fundamental question about Jews and Non-Jews in the Afterlife.

I have HIGHLIGHTED and UNDERLINED certain non-Jewish people he references, as we will also discuss them below, and some of the interesting Halachos that they caused to be discussed:

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Boaz to Avos Chapter 3

(א) אמר המפרש ואגב דאתא לידן, נימא בה מלתא שמצוה לפרסמו, דמימי נתקשיתי במאמר זה של חז"ל ביבמות [שם], דאמרי' התם אתם קרויין אדם ואין אה"ע קרויין אדם. דק' וכי ס"ד שחז"ל יאמרו על עכו"ם שיש לו צלם אלהים כפי שביררנו, שיהיה נחשב רק כבהמה. ותו, דא"כ מה זה דקאמר קב"ה והייתם לי סגולה מכל העמים. ואי כל העמים רק כבהמות הארץ המה, לא יהי' מאמר זה רק כאומר והייתם לי סגולה מכל הבהמות ומכל הקופים שדומין בתמונתם לאדם. ותו, דא"כ יהיה כל מעשיהם מעשה בהמה. שאינו בעלת שכר ועונש, והרי דבר זה סותר למה דקיי"ל חסידי אוה"ע יש להן חלעה"ב [כסנהדרין ק"ה ורמב"ם פ"ח ממלכים]. והרי גם לולא פה קדוש של רז"ל שאמרו לנו כן, כבר היינו יודעים דבר זה מצד השכל, דהרי צדיק ה' בכל דרכיו וחסיד בכל מעשיו. ואנחנו רואים כמה מחסידיהן שמלבד שמכירין יוצר בראשית. ומאמינין בתה"ק שהיא אלהית, ועושין ג"ח גם לישראל, וכמה מהן שהיטיבו ביותר לכל באי עולם, כהחסיד יענער שהמציא הפאקקענאימפפונג, שעל ידה ניצולים כמה רבבות בני אדם מחולי וממיתה וממומין, ודראקא שהביא הקארטאפפעל לאייראפא, שמעכב כמה פעמים הרעב. וגוטענבערג שהמציא את הדפוס. וכמה מהן שלא נשתלמו כלל בעה"ז, כהחסיד רייכלין שהערה למות נפשו להציל שריפת השסי"ן שנצטווה מהקיסר מאקסימיליאן בשנת רס"ב ע"י הסתת המומר פפעפפערקארן ש"ט עם הכומרים קשר של רשעים שלו. ורייכלין הנ"ל השליך נפשו מנגד, ובטענותיו הכריע לב הקיסר ליקח ציוויו הנ"ל לחזרה, ועי"ז רדפוהו רובו וימררוהו אייביו הכומרים ודחקוהו עד שמת בדוחקו ובשבירת לבו. וכי ס"ד שכל המעשים הגדולים האלו לא ישולמו לעה"ב לאחר הפרגוד ח"ו והרי הקב"ה אין מקפח שכר כל בריה. ואת"ל דאף אלו החסידים הנ"ל אע"ג שקיימו הז' מצות של בני נח [כסנהדרין נ"ו ב], אפ"ה אין דינם כגרי תושב, מדלא קבלום בפני ג' חבירים [כע"ז דס"ד ב]. ובל"ז ג"כ אין מקבלין גרי תושב רק בזמן שהיובל נוהג [כערכין כ"ט א]. אפ"ה מדלא עשו מעשה עשו. יש להם חלעה"ב [כע"ז ד"י]. עכ"פ ק' דהרי זה פשוט שגם היותר חסיד שלהן אינו מטמא באוהל, מדלא נקרא אדם. וק' שפיר אמאי, הרי יש לו צלם אלהים, וגם צדיק וחסיד במעשיו היה, ויש לו ג"כ חלעה"ב. א"כ למה לא יקרא אדם. אמנם עוד ק"ל אמאי שכתבו תוס' הנ"ל דעכ"פ מקרי האדם. ותמוה דאם אינן בכלל אדם איך יהיה נאות להן שם האדם בהא הידיעה. וכ"כ אמריי בש"ס [בגיטין דמ"ז ב], דבכלל והארץ נתן לבני אדם, נכללו ג"כ עכו"ם. ותמוה, דאם אבותיהן אינן בכלל אדם, איך יכללו הם בכלל בני אדם. אולם האיר ה' עיני, שדבר גדול אחז"ל בזה. דכשנתבונן היטב מעמד ישראל עכשו, ומעמד שאר האומות עכשו. נראה שיש ביניהן ב' חילוקים גדולים. דהנה אז כשהיו ישראל במצרים. היו כל באי העולם כישראל כשאר אומות, כיתומים ואין אב, בחשיכה אפילה שכנו כולם יחד. ולא ידעו את ה'. ולא פרעה בלבד אמר לא ידעתי את ה', אלא אפי' ישראל לא הכירו את אביהם שבשמים כלל(!!!), עד שהוצרך משרע"ה לשאל להקב"ה והיה כי יאמרו לי מה שמו מה אומר אליהם. ואפי' כשעברו אח"כ בים סוף, עדיין היתה האמונה רפופה בידם, והיתה ע"ז באותה שעה בחיקם. כמ"ש [סנהדרין ק"ג ב'] על פסוק ועבר בים צרה, שפסל של מיכה עבר בים. מזה מוכח שהיו אז משוקעים בכל טינופי תועבות נמרצות כמצריים וכמנהגיהם, ולא ידעו כלל מחיוביהם לה' ולחביריהם, ולעצמן. וכ"ש שהיו כן שאר האומות, שאפי' היותר נבונים מהם, כיוונים וכדומה. היו כל עבודתם תועבות נמרצות, לשור ולחמור יחדו, ולשאר חיתו יער ובהמות בהררי אלף, ומתפללים לצמחים ולאילנות לעץ ולאבן, להרים ונהרות, כאילו הם אלהות, גם בניהם ובנותיהם יזבחו לשדים וכל הרריהם העלו עשן מדם אדם. ויזכר אלהים את העולם כולו, ואת בריתו את אברהם עבדו, ויבחר בזרעו אחריו שיהיו הם ככהנים ומלמדין לשאר באי עולם. וירד ה' כ"י מן השמים בתוככי מצרים, ארץ החכמה בזמן ההיא, בין העם הגואל ומגואל, ויפתח בצבת עיניהם האטומים, בהכותו את פרעה ואת ארצו במכות גדולות ונוראות לעיניהם. ובהיותו מונח תחת השבט, שמעו הם שצעקו אליו מן השמים, למען תדע כי אני ה' בקרב הארץ [השגחה]. בעבור תדע כי אין כמוני בכל הארץ [יכולת]. למען תדע כי לה' הארץ [שכר ועונש]. אז פתחו הבנים הסכלים עיניהם, וראו מי הוא המנהיג לבירה (this is reminecent to Midrash regarding how Avraham discovered Hashem, beg, Lech Lcha). ומה שחסר להם עוד בידיעת ה' ודרכיו, הציצו המשכיליים ביתר עוז בקריעת ים סוף, אז הורו באצבע עליו, ואמרו זה אלי ואנוהו, ויאמינו בה' ובמשה עבדו. ועוד לא הי' די. עד שהתגלה עליהן בפום בי גדול במראה נפלאה ונוראה על סיני. ומבין להבות אש עד לב השמים חושך ענן וערפל השמיעם מצותיו חוקותיו ותורותיו, הכוללים כל חיובי האדם. גם למדם אח"כ סדורי הנהגות ישרות, בחלוק המחנות, ובנקיות, ודגלים, וחצוצרות התרועה. וכלי הקודש וכדומה. באופן שכל סבת הצלחתם בזה ובבא לא נודע להם מכח סכלם, רק ע"י הקב"ה בכבודו ובעצמו. אבל לא כן שאר האומות. דאף דאז בכל הזמן ההוא שקרב הקב"ה את ישראל להשלמתן, עדיין היו כל באי עולם הוזים שוכבים בתרדמת אולת ובתהום תועבות נוראות. עכ"פ כל מה שהשיגו אח"כ בסבות הצלחתם בזה ובבא, נתהווה להם ע"י הם עצמן, באופן שנוכל לומר הן עשו את עצמן. דהרבה שאבו ולמדו מתורת ה' באר הישראלי, בזמן הרב מאז ועד עתה. והרבה מחיובי האדם ומדרך המדות והמוסר, למדו ע"י אורך הזמן והטבע. ע"י שבקע עליהן אור השכל מעט מעט כאור נוגה הולך ואור. עד שכשנסתכל היום על היותר גרוע שבאומות, אפ"ה הוא מובחר יותר גם מהמוברר שבהן שלפני זה אלפים שנה שלא יגיע לקרסוליו. ורק בזמן רב, ובטרחה רבה עשו הן את עצמן. נמצא שיש לישראל ולהאומות האחרות, לכל א' מעלה לבדיית. 1 - המעלה לאומות על ישראל, שהן בבחירתם החפשית ובכח עצמן ממש עשו את עצמן, וזה וודאי יותר מעלה מאשר לישראל, שנמשכו בפאת ראשם בכח אלהים להשלמתן. ואין להם להחזיק טובה לעצמן, דמה שהפליא ה' להשלים אותן יד ה' היתה עמם בכל אלה, ורק בזכות אבותיהם. 2 - אמנם אעפ"כ יש מעלה לבדיית ג"כ לישראל דהאומות ע"י שכל מה שהשיגו לא השיגו רק בכח שכלם, לכן יש מצות רבות בתורה שמרוממים מאד משכל האנושי, ככל חוקי התורה, עדיין לא יעשום כי לא יבינום [עד אחרית הימים כשישפוך ה' רוחו על כל בשר]. ועוד דמשום שכל מה שהשיגו, לא השיגו רק בשכל אנושי, לכן מי ומי מהם שהתרשל מלפתוח עיניו באורך הזמן. עדיין הוא שקוע בטנוף תועבות הראשונות. כרוב תושבי אפריקא, וגם באזיען ואמעריקא יש אומות רבות הולכות עדיין בחשכה ועובדים אלילים אלמים וזובחים בניהם לשדים כאבותיהם מעולם. כי לא ידעו את ה' ואת תורתו לא הכירו. לא כן ישראל, הם שומרים כל חוקי התורה אף אותן שלמעלה משכל האנושי. וגם כל העם מקטן ועד גדול באמונתו יחיו, כסכל כבער מנעוריו יינק שדי תורת ה', והיא תכריחו לפתוח עיניו לראות דרך החיים. וזהו שאמר הכתוב ע ם זו יצרתי לי. ר"ל אני עשיתים, כמ"ש הוא עשנו ולא אנחנו, לכן תהלתי יספרו, אותי נאה שישבחו. ולא שיתפארו את עצמן בזה. וכן הוא אומר ועמך כול ם צדיקים דאפי' הסכלים שבהם לעולם יירשו ארץ החיים. כירושה בלי יגיעה. וכל זה מפני שהם נצר מטעי, שאני בעצמי יצרתיו אף עשיתיו, ומעשה ידיהם להתפאר. לפ"ז יש להם לישראל בעניין מעלתם והשלמתן, דוגמא לאדם הראשון. דכל אדם כשבא לעולם, הוא נברא חסר דעת, עד שהזמן והלימוד והשכל יתפתחו קמטיהם בו לעשותו איש. לא כן אדם הראשון בקומתו וצביונו נברא [ר"ה י"א א'] , ותיכף כשנפחו בו רוח חיים, הוה לרוח ממללא בהשכל ודעת, יודע חיוביו כולם. וזה, מפני שג"כ היה שוה במשפטיו עם ישראל, שהרי גם הוא היה יציר כפיו של הקב"ה בעצמו כמוהם. והנה כל שמקרה הבן ומעשיו, דומין למקריות ומעשה אביו, יקראוהו בשם אביו, כמ"ש בזאת יבוא אהרן אל הקודש, דר"ל כל כה"ג שמזרעו אחריו, וכ"כ להיות בריתי את לוי [מלאכי ב' פ"ד], דר"ל כל זרעו אחריו. וכ"כ ובקשו את ה' אלהיהם ודוד מלכם [הושע ג'] , דר"ל המלך שהוא מזרעו, וכ"כ ועבדי דוד מלך עליהם [יחזקאל ל"ז], שהכוונה על מלך המשיח שהוא מזרעו. וכ"כ נקראת אומתינו הקדושה בשם ישראל על שם אביהם, לא בלבד מפני שכל מטתו שלימה, ולא יצא ממנו שום אומה אחרת. כ"א גם מפני שכל מה שקרה לאבינו הזקן הזה. לסבול רדיפות ומרעין בישין מנעוריו עד ימי זקנתו. כ"כ רבות צררוני מנעורי יאמר נא ישראל וגו'. לכן נקראו על שמו. ולפ"ז אין נכון לקרוא לכל באי עולם בשם אדם, דאדה"ר היה נקרא כך מדנוצר מאדמה, אבל כל זרעו הרי מבשר ודם נוצרו. אבל רק ישראל נאות להם שם זה, לא בעבור כבודם, רק מדמקרותם והשלמתן השיגו מידי הקב"ה בעצמו כמו אדה"ר ולא מכח עצמן. ולפיכך כל מקום שנאמר בתורה אדם הכוונה רק על ישראל. כמו אדם כי יקריב, דמיירי רק בישראל, כדאמרי' [חולין די"ג ב'], מכם ולא כולכם. להוציא מומר. מכם, בכם חלקתי ולא באומות. ואצטרך בש"ס קרא אחרינא, דאיש איש לקבל נדרים ונדבות גם מאומות. אבל שם אדם. אין נאות להן, דהם בטרחה רבה עשו את עצמן, ואין דומין כלל בזה לאדה"ר. אבל כל מקום שכתוב בני אדם גם אומות העולם בכלל, שכולן בניו ונכדיו של אדה"ר הן כמונו. וכ"כ כל מקום שכתוב האדם בהא הידיעה וודאי זה אינו שם של אדה"ר. בהיה שם עצם פרטי שלו אדם. דהרי כל שם עצם פרטי לא יבוא לעולם בהא הידיעה, כמו דלא נוכל לומר האברהם היצחק והישראל, כ"כ לא נוכל לומר האדם על שם אדה"ר. אלא וודאי דבכה"ג פירושו [מענש] בל"א. ונקרא בהשאלת הלשון אדם. ובכה"ג וודאי גם האומות בכלל, שכולן הם בריאות שכליות עם צלם אלהים כמונו. היוצא מדברינו שמה שנקרא רק הישראלי אדם אינו להם שם של שבח כל כך, רק מעיד עליהם שלא הם בעצמן קלפו הקליפה הגסה מהלב האטום, אלא בעבור שהיו כחומר ביד היוצר ב"ה:

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Before discussing the amazing Hashkafic points with which he concludes - and before getting further into the subject of Vaccinations -Let us go through each of the three Gentiles the Tifferes Yisroel mentions, one by one:

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Above is an image of Sir Francis Drake. Many opine that he was Not the one to introduce Europe to the Potato.

"The first description of a potato by a European was published in 1601 from observing potato harvest in 1537. The author described them as a type of truffle. The first print reference to potatoes by name came from observations from another explorer around this same time.

Sir Francis Drake is often incorrectly credited with introducing the potato to Europe.

The first potatoes to reach Europe were brought by the Spanish by the 1570s, probably in the previous decade. They seem to have first been grown in Spain but were found in Germany, Italy, and Belgium by the late 1500s.

They were probably not first grown on the mainland, but on the Canary Islands off the coast of Spain - which is a pretty amazing point of entry for the potato to come to Europe, because that was the point of exit for the sugarcane that was taken to the New World by Columbus.

The potato slowly became a "plant of interest" around Europe according to the book Potato by John Reader. In 1596 they were described in one botany book, and in 1597 it was first illustrated by another botanist John Gerard.

Sweet potatoes were grown in Europe by the early 1600s and many accounts of potatoes confused regular and sweet potatoes - it makes for confusing research still.

Shakespeare refers to potatoes... around 1600...

9 ט

Published article from this writer:

The Katuffel Kerfuffle

Take a poll on what is the most common Chanukah food staple, and latkes would come in at number one.

However, fried potatoes are a very recent edition to Chanukah.

While most assume that potatoes were first brought to Europe either by the 16th century conquistadors, or by Sir Walter Raleigh, either way they only reached widespread use among European Jews during the mid 1700’s.

Indeed, the fact the most of Jews make the ha’adama blessing on potatoes (the blessing reserved for vegetables, as opposed to fruits) proves how late potatoes entered Jewish kitchens.

Briefly, some argue that the proper blessing should be shehakol, like it is for mushrooms. This is due to several factors of Jewish Law, and especially the fact that close to one thousand years ago the Aruch (an ancient book on Aramaic and Hebrew translations) uses an odd term to refer to these truffles: tartfulls (which many assumed was simply a transliteration of ‘truffle’).

Some asserted that the Aruch was referring to a kart’full, a term used in Yiddish for the lowly potato. While there are a number of reasons that most authorities argued with shehakol being the blessing for the potatoes, an important factor was the point that the Aruch could never have been referring to a potato, as he did not even know what they were back then!

10 י
11 יא

Above is a painting of the evil Maximillian I.

Below is an article from HAARETZ describing the events to which the Tifferes Yisroel was referring. It would seem that Rav Lipshutz was off by about seven years. However, the rest of the names and story seems to be very accurate:

12 יב

This Day in Jewish History / Holy Roman Emperor Orders All Jewish Books - Except the Bible - Be Destroyed

A Jewish apostate named Johannes Pfefferkorn persuaded Maximilian I that all Jewish books, except the Bible, must be destroyed.

On August 19, 1509, Maximilian I, the Holy Roman Emperor, issued his “Imperial Confiscation Mandate,” or “Padua Mandate,” which ordered the rounding up and destruction of all Jewish books in circulation other than the Hebrew Bible. The following year, the emperor was pressured to put a stay on his order, but not before the collection effort had begun. Although the practical effects of the boycott were limited, the political and theological drama that surrounded the ban had profound implications for both Jews and Christians.

A Jewish apostate named Johannes Pfefferkorn was the one who lobbied Maximilian, whose realm as emperor comprised most of Central and parts of Western Europe, to act against the Jews. In a succession of texts with names like “Confession of the Jews” and “How the Blind Jews Observe Their Easter,” Pfefferkorn (1469-1523) had argued that contemporary Judaism was a perversion of the original faith established in the Bible, and that Jewish moneylenders were intent on undermining Christian society.

The overall message of Pfefferkorn’s pamphlets was that Judaism needed to be destroyed. This mission was to begin with the Talmud. Encouraged by his sister, Kunigunde, who had been lobbied by Pfefferkorn, the emperor instructed the Jews of his dominion to deliver any books opposing Christianity – that is, all Hebrew books but the Bible – to Pfefferkorn, for burning.

The project of confiscation began in Frankfurt and in several other German towns, including Mainz and Worms, in the fall of 1509. By the following spring, it is known, for example, that 1,000 Hebrew books had been turned in by Jews in the Judengasse, the local ghetto, in Frankfurt. It was only the intervention of Duke Erich of Braunschweig that persuaded the emperor to suspend the roundup: The duke had borrowed money from Jews in Frankfurt to repay a debt to Maximilian, and had pledged his jewels as collateral. Afraid that he would lose his property, the duke asked the emperor to prevail upon the Jews to give him more time to pay off his debt, in return for which they would get their sacred books back.

The books were indeed returned to the Jews, in June 1510, but the emperor ordered that the volumes not be removed from Frankfurt until he had formulated a conclusive opinion on the question. To that end, Maximilian asked four universities and three individual scholars to weigh in with legal and theological opinions of the Jews’ holy texts.

One of the four scholars was Johann Reuchlin (1455-1522), a remarkable student of Greek and Hebrew, whose intellectual efforts gave a major impetus to the Reformation. Reuchlin was the lone respondent to defend the Jews and their teachings. Ironically, although Reuchlin wrote in confidence to the emperor, with distribution of his report limited to a small group, one member of that group was Johannes Pfefferkorn, who felt compelled to respond, publicly. Pfefferkorn attacked not only Reuchlin, but also upped the incitement against the Jews, by endorsing the charges of blood libel and host desecration. These charges included his “revelation” of a new host desecration case in Berlin, one that resulted in the execution of 38 Jews, and the banishment of all Jews from Brandenburg.

The irony is that Pfefferkorn’s attack, and the subsequent polemic that surrounded it, much of it focusing on Reuchlin, led to a spirited public debate over many of the issues that divided the Catholic Church and the emerging humanist movement in Europe at the time. Allies of Pfefferkorn in the Dominican order caused charges of heresy to be brought against Reuchlin. As the online catalog of an exhibition on Johannes Reuchlin presented last year at the University of Illinois (Curated by Professors Valerie Hotchkiss and David H. Price) , explained, the legal proceedings that ensued “reveal some of the most unstable fault lines in European intellectual culture, some of which would shift violently as the century progressed. Reuchlin’s writings and the chain reaction they touched off mark the first time in European history that some Christians undertook an academic study of Judaism and its history.”

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Reuchlin divided Jewish writings into seven categories, and argued that only books that specifically libeled Jesus should be considered heretical. This meant that not only the Hebrew Bible, but also the Talmud, the Kabbalistic work the Zohar, and the medieval commentators should be permitted. He and Pfefferkorn waged an ongoing war of “dueling pamphlets,” going back and forth with their public argument.

Reuchlin was acquitted of the heresy charges several times, but each acquittal led his Dominican enemies to appeal to a higher authority. Finally, in 1520, Pope Leo X ruled against him, and Reuchlin was ordered to be silent. In the meantime, however, Reuchlin had introduced the study of Hebrew into European universities, and he himself translated the Psalms into Latin.

In 1521, Pfefferkorn wrote to Reuchlin, condemning him for the major challenge to the Church that the Reformation constituted (Martin Luther published his 95 Theses in 1517), and lamenting that the pope had not silenced Reuchlin earlier: “Yes, Reuchlin, if the Pope had done this to you eight years ago, Martin Luther and your disciples … would not have dared to wish or contemplate what they are now publicly pursuing to the detriment of the Christian faith. Of all this, you alone are the spark and the enabler, to drive the holy Church into error and superstition.”

Reuchlin died the following year, having repudiated Martin Luther and his movement. But his legal defense of Judaism and, more significantly, his academic study of its essential texts helped to give Christian Europe, which was increasingly hostile to the Jews, direct access to their teachings and a better understanding of their culture.

A woodcut showing Johann Reuchlin (kneeling) and wringing his hands while Johannes Pfefferkorn stands by him in a master's robes. Wikimedia Commons

13 יג
14 יד

Above is an image of Johaness Guttenberg.

Aside for -and as Tifferes Yisroel makes mention - his invention causing so much Torah to be studied, he also introduced the world, and perhaps Halacha to the issue of Copyright Law.

Below (in small print so that one may peruse in their own time) four articles this writer published in this topic. The Highlighted portions will be the ones we will quickly peruse:

15 טו

“Steal This Article”

Copyrighting in Halachah

Part 1

The halachos of copyright begin with England’s current Prime Minister, David Cameron, something we will return at the close of this column.

The lack of clarity on the subject of copyrighting in halachah became obvious to me one day in shul. “What are you listening to?” I asked a bachur in the beis midresh one day.

Showing me his device, he demonstrated to me that virtually every song by every major Jewish singer in the past 30 years was contained on an object about the size of a credit card.

I wondered, “How long did it take you to put this together, and at what cost?”

He laughed. “I copied them straight from a friend’s device,” he explained nonchalantly.

This has become a common practice. One person uploads from his own CD collection, say, all of his Mordechai Ben David albums. So far so good (according to almost all poskim). He then passes them on to a friend. The friend adds his own favorite tracks and passes them on, until this young man in the beis midrash possessed—for free!—the entire repository of Jewish music, no doubt valued in the thousands of dollars.

Is this practice halachically sanctioned?

The challenge for rabbanim in seeking to convince the masses of this problem—which has only grown with the widespread use of the Internet—boils down to this: “Burning” music does not feel like theft. No one is pulling a mask over his face and holding up Eichler’s, chalilah. All he is doing is pressing a button.

“How bad could it be?” he may think to himself.

So why all the controversy? Is this not obviously theft?

While we will show that it is theft, or that it falls into other categories of issurim, it is by no means a simple matter.

The writers of the United States Constitution (1:8), l’havdil, were very careful in choosing their words when it came to this matter: “To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.” Beginning in 1978, copyright law became a federal statute that the states could augment if they wished.

While the United States has every right to create its own set of laws—thereby fulfilling one of the Sheva Mitzvos Bnei Noach—poskim cannot arbitrarily create laws. Short of a new takanah, they can’t decide on their own what is considered right and wrong; they must find a precedent in halachah, sources and/or comparisons, in order to say that something is forbidden.

Until the 1500s, issues such as copyrighting were not relevant for obvious reasons. Before the printing press, although one could steal an actual item—say, a book—there was no way to reproduce it except to copy it by hand. With the invention of the printing press, it suddenly became possible for someone to rip off years of hard work by selling the exact same product, with no time invested. Today, we all have a veritable printing press at our disposal.

Still, you may be wondering, wouldn’t that be a clear case of theft too?

Well, consider this: If one purchases a CD, a tangible item, fairly, how could anything he does with it be considered stealing? True, a great deal of work went into composing and recording the songs, which indeed gives it its value and is the reason the person purchased it in the first place. But once the CD is sold, doesn’t the purchaser retain the full right to do with it as he pleases?

The underlying question is this: While a person can sell an idea or a concept, does he actually own it? And if so, does he retain it even after selling a tangible item that contains that idea?

Rav Nathenson, the great gaon and rav of Lemberg, deals with this justification in his Shu”t Shoel U’meishiv. A case was brought to him by Person A, who expended great effort to compile a new edition of the Shulchan Aruch, adding commentaries like the Pischei Teshuvah to the page. Then another person bought this new Shulchan Aruch—and started publishing it himself.

Seeking to defend his actions, Person B explained to the Shoel U’meishiv that when he purchased these volumes, he purchased a tangible item, with which he then had the right to do whatever he wished…even copying them for sale!

Person B argued further that whereas the original publisher had only printed small editions of his work, he printed large volumes. Now, most people had large editions of the Shulchan Aruch in any case and were not about to buy a second set just for the added commentaries. Therefore, he argued, Person A had suffered no proven loss. (Oy, everybody turns into a groisse lamdan when defending themselves!)

Rav Nathenson was less than impressed. He states that a work’s original author maintains full rights over his original ideas or work even after the sale of that item. To treat his work otherwise would be at minimum hasagas gvul (encroachment). At most, the original author maintains ownership to the extent that he need not even claim damages in order to stop another from using his concept, just as I could tell someone not to use my jacket even though I can’t prove that he may damage it in the future.

Rav Nathenson goes on to explain that even though we find some sefarim limiting their own rights for ten or 20 years, this is not due to the halachah sanctioning “theft” after a particular date. It is because the author of such a work has decided voluntarily to forgo his rights so that his work will live on after he has earned his money back. He has chosen limited ownership in order to make sure his work will continue to be published after his death. If he held on to his rights indefinitely, who would publish his sefarim again, especially if he did not have children who were interested in undertaking the project?

This logic that Rav Nathenson brings to the decisions of past rabbanim in choosing to allow their works to be copied at some future point, is bolstered by a recent article in the New Yorker (October 24; ‘Are Copyright Laws Too Strict'). There they explain that nowadays many secular books and songs have languished, never to be reissued due to the fact that no one can figure out who the heirs are to these works. Fearing a lawsuit, publishing houses dare not risk reintroducing these sometimes-celebrated works to the public. Our chachamim, as Rav Nathenson explained, had the foresight to solve this problem by limiting their copyright.

The Chofetz Chaim’s wife, Rebbetzin Freida Kagan, wrote in her Yiddish introduction to her husband sefer Ahavas Chesed that even after his death, only she and the family would retain the right to publish his sefarim in any country. (It should be noted that the Chofetz Chaim did state in his tzavaah that the Mishnah Berurah could be published by others if they followed certain conditions, but this allowance seems to have been unique to that work; see Rav Weifish’s Mishnas Zechuyos Hayotzer.)

The Shoel U’Meishiv is far from the only person to discuss this issue. Many have tackled this subject as it has always been a matter of controversy.

It is likely that the practice of giving a haskamah (rabbinical approbation) to a sefer, which began in the fifteenth century, arose due to the fact that rival publishing houses often put out a first edition of a sefer only to reprint it and sell it themselves. (Others point out that the use of haskamos became a widespread practice because—due again to the printing press—it was now easy for anyone, even the unworthy, to publish works.)

Some assert that the first time the word “haskamah” was used in the context of copyright protection was around 1600, a few decades after the death of Harav Yosef Karo, in a letter written by rabbanim on his posthumously published Bedek Habayis. In the letter, they forbade others to publish his works.

However, the first known copyright warning– then titled as a “ksav das” - on a sefer that expressly placed a cherem on any individual who unfairly reproduced it came some 80 years earlier to a sefer written by Rav Eliyahu Bachur for his dikduk trilogy. Signed by three rabbanim, it declares a “cherem against one who extends his hand into the expenditures and hard work of his fellow man…”

And in case the reader thinks I have forgotten the opening line of this column - David Cameron is the great, great, great grandson of Rav Bachur.

All this is just the tip of the iceberg.

To be continued…

Shul chronicles 202

Copyright in Halachah, Part 2

Confounding-ly Confusing Copyright Conundrums

The halachos of copyrighting begin with Bill Gates, something that we will return to at the close of this column.

One of the most important works on the Gemara written in the past century was the Kehillas Yaakov, authored by the Steipler Gaon, zt”l. So clear were his methods of questioning and answering and so enjoyable his approach that some people used his work to prepare shiurim—not always making proper attribution.

A close talmid of the Steipler was visiting another city when he heard a local maggid shiur deliver a wonderful shiur on a certain Talmudic passage. Everyone marveled at this maggid shiur’s brilliance. Well, everyone except this student, who knew that every word had been taken directly from the Steipler’s work. The student was incensed. How could someone blatantly steal and use the Torah insights of others?

The student approached the Steipler and told him what he had heard. The Steipler smiled and said, “I don’t mind if he takes what I write and says it in his name, so long as he doesn’t take what he writes and say it in my name!”

When we began the subject of copyrighting in halachah last week, I mentioned that Chazal do not openly discuss the issue. However, when it comes to the discussion of Torah ideas, we have a braisa at the end of Pirkei Avos1 that urges us to state Torah thoughts in the name of the originator.

While the Tosefta2 seems to allow the surreptitious discovery, e.g. hiding behind someone who speaking privately in learning, of another’s Torah thoughts and ideas for the benefit of the multitude, it never sanctioned false attribution.3 Nevertheless, many poskim argue that when it comes to the copyrighting of divrei Torah, we must take a more lenient approach.

For instance, the Chasam Sofer,4 who generally took a strong position on copyrighting, argues that since one mustn’t charge for a mitzvah, once he has recouped his original investment for the publication of his Torah thoughts, he should not be strict about enforcing his proprietary rights. As the Gemara notes, “Just as I was taught the Torah for free, so shall you teach it for free.”5

This is a great illustration of just how confusing this issue can be. For while the Chasam Sofer was generally strict about copyrighting—due either to a special takanah or to encroachment—he was quite lenient about the use of original Torah material.

At the opposite end, the Beis Yitzchak, the Netziv and others were more hesitant when it came to establishing guidelines for copyrighting in halachah; their understanding of the treatment of spiritual material such as chiddushei Torah was more stringent which they felt should have special protection.6

The general concept of copyrighting in halachah is no less confounding; with various works once again offering opposing views. One of the outstanding works on this topic is a sefer titled Mishnas Zechuyos Hayotzer (“The Laws of Intellectual Property Rights”) by Rav Nachum MenashaWeifish, who urges a strict policy on copyrighting. Then there is another work, playfully titled Lo Kol Hazechuyos Shemuros (“All Rights Not Reserved”), which presents a more lenient position. In fact, in a fitting tribute to the latter author’s views, I found his entire sefer online for free!

The confusion doesn’t stop there. Even the classic modern-day works on Choshen Mishpat (monetary law) have different takes on this subject—for example, Pischei Hachoshen (Vol. 5, ch. 9) and Emek Hamishpat (Vol. 4).

Rashi7 tells us that there is virtually no topic in halachah without machlokes, and the issue of copyrighting is a classic example of this truth. As we explained last week, until the invention of the printing press, copyright issues were apparently not discussed, either in the Gemara or in the Rishonim. The creation of the printing press opened the door for the many halachic opinions, suggestions and proofs that followed.

Secular law had a similar struggle. It was not until 1710 that England issued what is known as the Statute of Anne, the first official governmental copyright law. Until that time there were only agreements made between publishers, a laissez-faire free-market solution to the problem.

While even some poskim found the free-market solution a viable one,8 in the case of England, the policy protected publishers at the expense of authors. It was for this reason that the English Parliament intervened.

All this makes copyrighting, and copyright infringement, a most interesting historical study, where we can actually follow the development of secular law along with, l’havdil, halachah. For example, right now there is a debate developing in both the secular legal world and the halachic world regarding digital and Internet copyright.

In fact, using the term “l’havdil” may be inapt in this instance, for, as we shall see, many poskim9 argue that there is no concept of copyrighting and intellectual property in halachah and that the only avenue of enforcement available from a halachic perspective is dina d’malchusa dina, the principle that we follow the law of the land. This means, in effect, that England’s 1709 Statute of Anne and America’s Copyright Act of 1976 would both be halachic developments, or at least have an impact on halachah.

This concept is not lost on frum lawyers who have a vested interest in this topic from the perspectives of both secular law and halachah. The journal Intellectual Property Quarterly (Issue 1, 2011) had a wonderful article by Daniel Unger titled “Copyright Enforcement by Praise and Curse: The Colourful Development of Jewish Intellectual Property.” And the bi-annual Theoretical Inquiries in Law published a fascinating discussion of this topic, “Is Copyright Property? The Debate in Jewish Law,” by Neil W. Netanel and David Nimmer. The authors reference a forthcoming book about the history of copyright in halachah, whose working title is From Maimonides to Microsoft.

Microsoft?! Not too long ago Microsoft petitioned a beis din in Bnei Brak, requesting a ruling on how halachah views copyrighting. The information was needed for a case before an Israeli court; Israel presently enforces copyright laws based on an amalgam of British and American laws.

Why did Bill Gates’ company care what a beis din had to say, and why is this matter at the crux of copyrighting in halachah? The answer will have to wait until next week, when we will go back to the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries and recount two fascinating stories that helped form copyright halachah today: the printing of the Maharam Padua’s Rambam, and the Slavuta Shas vs. the Vilna Shas, respectively. By the end of this series we will return to the Microsoft case.

NOTES

  1. The sixth chapter of Pirkei Avos is not part of the masechta proper but is a later addition taken from chapter 6 of Kallah and chapter 17 of Tanna d’Bei Eliyahu.
  2. Bava Kama, ch. 7.
  3. Rabbi Bleich, Contemporary Halachic Problems vol. II, p. 122.
  4. Shu”t choshen mishpat 79.
  5. Bechoros 29.
  6. See Emek Hamishpat, Vol. 4, simanim 17-23.
  7. Shabbos 139b.
  8. See Parshas Mordechai and Bava Basra 22; cf. Chasam Sofer, who rejects the idea that the invisible hand of the market will solve the issue of copyrighting.
  9. The Netziv, Beis Yitzchak, Rav Mordechai Benet in various haskamos and in his Parashas Mordechai.

Shul Chronicles 203

Three Stories

Copyright in Halachah, Part 3

The halachos of copyrighting begin with a Christian man named Marc Antonio Giustiniani, something that we will return to later in this column.

Before we get into that story, it would be helpful to take a chronological look at how copyrighting has been dealt with through the ages.

I. The Gemara

Many seek to prove that copyright protection exists naturally and implicitly within halachah based on preexisting halachic categories into which it fits, like gezel or hasagas gevul.1 Yet all point out that an explicit case of copyrighting per se is not discussed anywhere in Chazal.

To my mind, however, there is one incident that comes awfully close. The Gemara in Yoma 84 tells us of a disease that strikes one in the teeth and ends, sometimes fatally, in the stomach.2 Rav Yochanan was struck with this malady and went to a non-Jewish noblewoman who knew how to effect a cure. After paying for and receiving her tonic one Erev Shabbos, he asked her for the ingredients so that he could make it on Shabbos himself. She explained that she would not reveal this information because she would risk losing business if the secret became known to others. Rav Yochanan swore that he would safeguard the secret, and so she consented and revealed it to him.

Rav Yochanan then explained to her (for reasons we will not go into here) why he was not bound by his vow, and he immediately announced the formula for this secret concoction to his entire yeshivah.

Now, as it relates to copyright infringement (if it exists), it is worthwhile to consider that while the Gemara here, and in the Yerushalmi version, questions Rav Yochanan’s course of action in terms of his apparent false oath, it never mentions the fact that he stole, meaning that he stole the income she would have earned had her secret not been revealed money—which is essentially a violation of copyright!

While in modern parlance this was a (possibly permissible?) breach of “trade secret” protection and not a breach of copyright,6 in terms of a halachic basis they both share the same root (this may be true in secular law as well; see Duke Law Review, “Protecting Trade Secrets Through Copyright”).

The Gemara’s silence on this issue3 may support the many poskim who contend that halachah does not recognize copyright law (to be discussed, iy”H, next week). In fact, the Yerushalmi4 suggests that the noblewoman was inspired by what Rav Yochanan did with her secret formula and converted!

Now, one may say that little can be proven by this episode as far as copyrighting is concerned because, in the first place, a life was at risk; and in the second place, we are seeking a source for copyright guidelines between Jews, and this case involved Rav Yochanan, who was bound by halachah, and a noblewoman who was bound by other laws. Perhaps copyrighting, should it exist in halachah, would not affect our dealings with gentiles, in which case secular law would be the binding force.

Both of these points, however, are easily refuted. As for the first, the Shulchan Aruch5 rules that while one may steal to save a life, he must have in mind that he is obligated to pay the person back at a later time. Once again, in our gemara, while Rav Yochanan’s action is challenged for other reasons, the fact that he stole proprietary information, as well as the noblewoman’s future potential business—if indeed a halachic concern—was ignored!

As for the second point, if violating a copyright is, as some say, gezel,7 then why would the fact that this woman was not Jewish make any difference? Halachah is clear that stealing from a non-Jew is forbidden.8

II. Rav Yitzchak Alfasi (Rif)

The early rishon Rav Yitzchak Alfasi (d. 1033) tells the story of a man who stole his friend’s Torah notes, assuring him that he would return them as soon as he copied all of them!9 This sh’eilah is often cited as the first teshuvah relating to copyright law. While the Rif sides with the writer of the notes, there are any number of reasons to see this teshuvah as outside the purview of copyright.

As noted in Part 1, stealing a CD is different from copying one that one already owns. In this case, Person B actually stole a notebook belonging to Person A.

In addition, Rav Moshe Feinstein10 posits that when it comes to words of Torah, one has the right to say that his words—in this case notes—were not meant for public consumption since they might contain errors, or that they were meant for a particular audience. Rav Moshe himself did not allow his teshuvos to be translated out of concern that they would become accessible to those who would misinterpret them.

III. The Maharam Padua, Alvise Bragadini and Marc Antonio Giustiniani

Rav Meir ben Isaac Katzenellenbogen (d. 1565), known as the Maharam Padua, was one of the geonim of his time. Seeking to take advantage of the newly invented printing press, he decided to publish a new edition of the Rambam’s Yad Hachazakah that would include, among other additions, his own notes.

Most of the major publishers at that time were Christians11 who had served the Jews well with their publishing houses. Initially, the Maharam wanted the major publishing house of Marc Antonio Giustiniani to put out his Rambam. Before a deal was finalized, the Maharam decided that another non-Jewish publishing house, that of Alvise Bragadini, offered a better deal.

Giustiniani was none too pleased and responded by publishing his own edition of the Rambam, at a cheaper price…including the Maharam’s commentary!

Rav Moshe Isserles, the Rama, was asked to decide the case.12 In a much-celebrated teshuvah that discusses issues ranging from the relationship between the prohibition against stealing as one of the sheva mitzvos Bnei Noach’s and its prohibition in halachah, as well as halachic rulings that may result in animosity toward the Jewish nation, the Rama sides with the Maharam. He explains that even as a non-Jew, Giustiniani violated halachic fair business practices.

The suggestion that, say, hasagas gevul can be applied to non-Jews was challenged by the Rama’s contemporary the Maharshal.13

Eventually this famous protest of the Maharam led to the proliferation of haskamos and cheramim found in many sefarim that were published over the next few hundred years. Indeed, the Maharam led the charge for these haskamos, although it is unclear if this was before or after his Rambam went to print.

But all of the above pales in comparison to the painful battle over copyrighting that was to come—the nineteenth-century dispute over halachic copyright, a mêlée that hit the frum world like a storm.

Alas, this is a story that will have to wait until next week.

To be continued…

NOTES

  1. Chasam Sofer, Rav Zalman Nechemia Goldberg in Techumin Vol. 6, Noda B’Yehudah, et al.
  2. See Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim, siman 328.
  3. A common tool among poskim in deciding halachah; see, for example, Igros Moshe, Chosen Mishpat 2:66.
  4. Shabbos, Shemoneh Sheratzim.
  5. (Siman 359.
  6. As pointed out to me by Professor Nimmer of UCLA.
  7. See Igros Moshe 4:44:19, end.
  8. See Bava Kama 113.
  9. In his Shu”t HaRif, 133.
  10. Ibid.
  11. See my feature on the history of the chapter divisions in the Torah in Ami’s Shavuos 5774 issue.
  12. shu”t Rama, siman 10.
  13. Shu”t 36.

Shul Chronicles 200 (207)

Slavuta vs. Vilna

Copyrighting in Halachah, Part 4

The halachos of copyright begin with the battles of the chassidim and the misnagdim, something that we shall return to momentarily.

It is now time for us to return to, and conclude, the subject of copyrighting in halachah. But first, a brief recap of some of the important material we have covered thus far.

While the Torah forbids stealing and certain business practices deemed unfair, once a buyer purchases something, he retains full ownership. This means that he can, for example, lend his purchased sefer to a friend although the friend never paid any money to the author.

This all seemed simple enough, however after the invention of the printing press it suddenly became possible to copy and mass-produce a purchased sefer in a matter of days, apparently depriving the original author or publisher of untold profits.

Does one really have the right to do anything he wishes with an item once he has purchased it? Does halachah recognize copyright law?

In previous columns we gave background on some of the famous cases surrounding this issue, as well as some of the sources marshalled to address it. We also discussed how the secular world is dealing with these same issues.

One result of this problem was the practice of giving a haskamah, or rabbinic approbation, for a sefer, which served, among other purposes, to defend the copyright of the author.

This week we will turn to one of the more famous copyright battles, and we will also revisit the story of Microsoft asking a beis din in Bnei Brak for a ruling on how the Torah sees copyright law.

By the turn of the nineteenth century, the Talmud had been printed several times since the early Bamburg edition, largely unchanged. Most of the changes that did occur from one edition to the next had to do with comparative texts, commentaries and censorship. For example, many were so fearful of arousing the ire of non-Jewish censors that in some editions, every occurrence of the word “goy” or “min” (“nonbeliever”) was changed to “akum”—an acronym for “ovdei kochavim u’mazalos.” This term seemed far less likely to offend the neighbors because it referred to pagan beliefs and worship of the stars, which the gentiles of the time did not practice.

Remarkably, however, even the term “akum” was not a perfect shield; some Christians believed it stood for “ovdei Yushke u’Miriam” [Mary]!

Some censorship efforts led to bizarre readings. For instance, the word “min,” in addition to meaning “nonbeliever,” can also mean “type” or “species.” It has been reported that some editions of Shas1 were so imprudent about censorship guidelines that they would change “min kitniyos” (meaning “a type of legume”) to “akum kitniyos”! And sometimes entire sections of the Gemara were removed so as not to offend.2

At that time, it was forbidden even to own a Talmud in many cities, and when Rav Yonasan Eibishitz received permission to print one, he could not use the title “Gemara” or “Talmud.” Tractate Brachos, for example, was titled Hilchos Brachos. In Akiva Aaronson’s excellent People of the Book (Feldheim), he states that Rav Eibishitz received this permission in 1734, while he was in Prague. We should point out, however, that he did not arrive in Prague until some 20 years later. Indeed, 1734 was the year Rav Eibishitz, then 21 years old, assumed his first role as dayan in Brody, some 500 miles west of Prague. Most likely it was some time later when this edition was published.

Because of these difficulties in printing newer editions of Shas, there was widespread excitement when the Slavuta publishing house began printing its new editions of Gemara between 1801 and 1817. Although the Slavuta edition was not immune to some strange editorial decisions, the work that went into it was impressive.

The Slavuta publishing house was founded by the son of the holy Rav Pinchas of Koritz, who was a student of the Baal Shem Tov. His son, Reb Moshe Shapiro, along with his two children, Reb Shmuel and Reb Pinchos, built up a well-respected establishment that published many holy works to great acclaim. However, nothing they worked on was as daunting as printing the entire Shas.

Because of this, in addition to receiving blessings from some of the great Rebbes, such as the Baal HaTanya and Rav Levi Yitzchak of Berdicthuv, Slavuta also received haskamos that gave it a 25-year copyright protection. This meant that no one could print a newer edition of Shas until the Slavuta Shas had been on the market for 25 years. This was not simply a copyright on the work of Slavuta itself but covered anyone seeking to publish a full Talmud of his own.

So holy were these men that it is said they would dip their tools and the printing press in the mikvah before using them to publish pages of the Talmud!

But soon this printing, and the rival edition to follow, would reignite the battle between some chasidim and misnagdim, a battle that had largely faded. The new machlokes not only reawakened old conflicts but, as we shall see, served as perhaps the most important catalyst for teshuvos and opinions on copyrighting in halachah, drawing the attention of the greatest poskim of the generation.

In 1835, a few years before the Slavuta copyright would officially end, the Romm Publishing House (later, Romm Widow and Sons Publishing), headed by Reb Menachem Mann Romm, began printing its own edition of the Talmud in Vilna, which is known to this day as the Vilna Shas. It had even more improvements than the Slavuta Shas—for example, on the pages of the Rif—and began selling fast.

The Shapiros pointed out to the major poskim of the day that the Slavuta Shas was still protected by its 25-year copyright and that the Romm brothers had no right to publish a competing edition. Scores of teshuvos were written on this issue, which caused great rifts in the community.

The teshuvos discuss matters such as copyrighting and the right to prevent a publisher from working independently on similar material (Romm, after all, had not copied the Slavuta Shas). One of the Romm brothers’ arguments was that the Slavuta’s 25-year ban was intended only to protect its own first edition, which had already sold out; it was now 1835, and the Slavuta Shas was already in its third printing.

While the Chasam Sofer and others defended the Romms, it was only after Rav Akiva Eiger agreed that they had the right to publish their own edition of Shas that the initial machlokes was laid to rest.

Sadly, however, bitterness ensued. The Slavuta publishing house came to a tragic end, and the Vilna Shas, which became the more popular one, is still the standard edition used today.

And far from solving the complexities of copyright law, the issue only became more ambiguous. Notably, the Chasam Sofer (Shu’t 57 and 79, etc.) and Rav Mordechai Benet (d. 1830, Parashas Mordechai 7, 8) were strongly divided on the issue. Rav Benet rejected the theory that certain copyright infringements are in violation of hasagas gvul. He further argued regarding how far copyright protection, if it exists at all, should extend. Rav Benet advocated for a laissez-faire system, such as Ezra Hasofer’s allowance of free trade among merchants (Bava Basra 22), which would allow publishers to work out this issue among themselves. The Chasam Sofer (depending on which of his many teshuvos one reads –compare his teshuvos regarding the Vilna Shas to those regarding the Wolf Heidenheim siddurim; see Daniel Unger in ‘Intellectual Property Quarterly’), is much stricter, arguing that without some type of official protection, no one would invest the time and effort to publish sefarim (or, for that matter, musical albums).

Several years ago Microsoft wanted to put out Pashkivillim [(posters, often glued to the walls , and found most frequently today in charedi neighborhoods in Israel) forbidding the copying of its computer programs for free, thinking that this would stop what it believed to be mass infringement of its copyright protection among chareidim. The company turned to a beis din in Bnei Brak seeking the Torah view on copyrighting.

Amazingly, the beis din stated that until Microsoft showed that it represented Jewish interests, it would not issue a ruling. Steve Ballmer, the CEO of Microsoft until this year, and a Jew, was therefore named the disputant so that the beis din would hear the case! It is my understanding that the beis din did not respond as strongly on the matter as Microsoft had hoped. (See the forthcoming work, From Maimonides to Microsoft: The Jewish Law of Copyright Since the Birth of Print, Netanel/Nimmer, Oxford Press)

This series has been intended only to inform but not to give a comprehensive review of copyright law in halachah, about which entire sefarim have been written. One thing is certain, however—no one should think about copying intellectual property without first speaking to a moreh horaah, and without considering how he would feel if he were the producer of the work rather than the consumer.

NOTES

  1. See ArtScroll/Mesorah publication Avraham Yagel Yitzchak Yeranen.
  2. For example, Bava Kama 113b; see ibid.
16 טז

And now (after reviewing the Hashkafic, verbose yet brilliant views of Tiffers Yisroel) we return to Vaccinations:

17 יז

FROM THE WEBSITE OF THE NCBI:

For many centuries, smallpox devastated mankind. In modern times we do not have to worry about it thanks to the remarkable work of Edward Jenner and later developments from his endeavors. With the rapid pace of vaccine development in recent decades, the historic origins of immunization are often forgotten. Unfortunately, since the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, the threat of biological warfare and bioterrorism has reemerged. Smallpox has been identified as a possible agent of bioterrorism (1). It seems prudent to review the history of a disease known to few people in the 21st century.

Edward Jenner (Figure ​(Figure11) is well known around the world for his innovative contribution to immunization and the ultimate eradication of smallpox (2). Jenner's work is widely regarded as the foundation of immunology—despite the fact that he was neither the first to suggest that infection with cowpox conferred specific immunity to smallpox nor the first to attempt cowpox inoculation for this purpose.

Edward Jenner (1749–1823). Photo courtesy of the National Library of Medicine.

SMALLPOX: THE ORIGIN OF A DISEASE

The origin of smallpox as a natural disease is lost in prehistory. It is believed to have appeared around 10,000 bc, at the time of the first agricultural settlements in northeastern Africa (3, 4). It seems plausible that it spread from there to India by means of ancient Egyptian merchants. The earliest evidence of skin lesions resembling those of smallpox is found on faces of mummies from the time of the 18th and 20th Egyptian Dynasties (1570–1085 bc). The mummified head of the Egyptian pharaoh Ramses V (died 1156 bc) bears evidence of the disease (5). At the same time, smallpox has been reported in ancient Asian cultures: smallpox was described as early as 1122 bc in China and is mentioned in ancient Sanskrit texts of India.

Smallpox was introduced to Europe sometime between the fifth and seventh centuries and was frequently epidemic during the Middle Ages. The disease greatly affected the development of Western civilization. The first stages of the decline of the Roman Empire (ad 108) coincided with a large-scale epidemic: the plague of Antonine, which accounted for the deaths of almost 7 million people (6). The Arab expansion, the Crusades, and the discovery of the West Indies all contributed to the spread of the disease.

Unknown in the New World, smallpox was introduced by the Spanish and Portuguese conquistadors. The disease decimated the local population and was instrumental in the fall of the empires of the Aztecs and the Incas. Similarly, on the eastern coast of North America, the disease was introduced by the early settlers and led to a decline in the native population. The devastating effects of smallpox also gave rise to one of the first examples of biological warfare (1, 7). During the French-Indian War (1754–1767), Sir Jeffrey Amherst, the commander of the British forces in North America, suggested the deliberate use of smallpox to diminish the American Indian population hostile to the British. Another factor contributing to smallpox in the Americas was the slave trade because many slaves came from regions in Africa where smallpox was endemic.

Smallpox affected all levels of society. In the 18th century in Europe, 400,000 people died annually of smallpox, and one third of the survivors went blind (4). The symptoms of smallpox, or the “speckled monster” as it was known in 18th-century England, appeared suddenly and were devastating. The case-fatality rate varied from 20% to 60% and left most survivors with disfiguring scars. The case-fatality rate in infants was even higher, approaching 80% in London and 98% in Berlin during the late 1800s.

The word variola was commonly used for smallpox and had been introduced by Bishop Marius of Avenches (near Lausanne, Switzerland) in ad 570. It is derived from the Latin word varius, meaning “stained,” or from varus, meaning “mark on the skin.” The term small pockes (pocke meaning sac) was first used in England at the end of the 15th century to distinguish the disease from syphilis, which was then known as the great pockes (8).

VARIOLATION AND EARLY ATTEMPTS OF TREATMENT

It was common knowledge that survivors of smallpox became immune to the disease. As early as 430 bc, survivors of smallpox were called upon to nurse the afflicted (9). Man had long been trying to find a cure for the “speckled monster.” During medieval times, many herbal remedies, as well as cold treatment and special cloths, were used to either prevent or treat smallpox. Dr. Sydenham (1624–1689) treated his patients by allowing no fire in the room, leaving the windows permanently open, drawing the bedclothes no higher than the patient's waist, and administering “twelve bottles of small beer every twenty-four hours” (10).

However, the most successful way of combating smallpox before the discovery of vaccination was inoculation. The word is derived from the Latin inoculare, meaning “to graft.” Inoculation referred to the subcutaneous instillation of smallpox virus into nonimmune individuals. The inoculator usually used a lancet wet with fresh matter taken from a ripe pustule of some person who suffered from smallpox. The material was then subcutaneously introduced on the arms or legs of the nonimmune person. The terms inoculation and variolation were often used interchangeably. The practice of inoculation seems to have arisen independently when people in several countries were faced with the threat of an epidemic. However, inoculation was not without its attendant risks. There were concerns that recipients might develop disseminated smallpox and spread it to others. Transmission of other diseases, such as syphilis, via the bloodborne route was also of concern.

Inoculation, hereafter referred to as variolation, was likely practiced in Africa, India, and China long before the 18th century, when it was introduced to Europe (9). In 1670, Circassian traders introduced variolation to the Turkish “Ottoman” Empire. Women from the Caucasus, who were in great demand in the Turkish sultan's harem in Istanbul because of their legendary beauty, were inoculated as children in parts of their bodies where scars would not be seen. These women must also have brought the practice of variolation to the court of the Sublime Porte (4, 10).

Variolation came to Europe at the beginning of the 18th century with the arrival of travelers from Istanbul. In 1714, the Royal Society of London received a letter from Emanuel Timoni describing the technique of variolation, which he had witnessed in Istanbul. A similar letter was sent by Giacomo Pilarino in 1716. These reports described the practice of subcutaneous inoculation; however, they did not change the ways of the conservative English physicians.

It was the continued advocacy of the English aristocrat Lady Mary Wortley Montague (Figure ​(Figure22) that was responsible for the introduction of variolation in England (10). In 1715, Lady Montague suffered from an episode of smallpox, which severely disfigured her beautiful face. Her 20-year-old brother died of the illness 18 months later. In 1717, Lady Montague's husband, Edward Wortley Montague, was appointed ambassador to the Sublime Porte. A few weeks after their arrival in Istanbul, Lady Montague wrote to her friend about the method of variolation used at the Ottoman court. Lady Montague was so determined to prevent the ravages of smallpox that she ordered the embassy surgeon, Charles Maitland, to inoculate her 5-year-old son. The inoculation procedure was performed in March 1718. Upon their return to London in April 1721, Lady Montague had Charles Maitland inoculate her 4-year-old daughter in the presence of physicians of the royal court.

Lady Mary Wortley Montague (1689–1762). Photo courtesy of the National Library of Medicine.

After these first professional variolation procedures, word of the practice spread to several members of the royal family (11). Charles Maitland was then granted the royal license to perform a trial of variolation on six prisoners in Newgate on August 9, 1721. The prisoners were granted the king's favor if they submitted to this experiment. Several court physicians, members of the Royal Society, and members of the College of Physicians observed the trial. All prisoners survived the experiment, and those exposed to smallpox later proved to be immune. In the months following this very first trial, Maitland repeated the experiment on orphaned children, again with success. Finally, on April 17, 1722, Maitland successfully treated the two daughters of the Princess of Wales. Not surprisingly, the procedure gained general acceptance after this last success.

THE SPREAD OF VARIOLATION

In Europe, where the medical profession was relatively organized, the new methods of variolation became known quickly among physicians. Since there was also a demand for protection against smallpox, physicians soon began the variolation procedure on a massive scale. Although 2% to 3% of variolated persons died from the disease, became the source of another epidemic, or suffered from diseases (e.g., tuberculosis and syphilis) transmitted by the procedure itself, variolation rapidly gained popularity among both aristocratic and common people in Europe. The case-fatality rate associated with variolation was 10 times lower than that associated with naturally occurring smallpox. In the 1750s more European princes died of smallpox, giving further impetus for the use of variolation (3). Among those variolated were Empress Marie-Therese of Austria and her children and grandchildren, Frederick II of Prussia, King Louis XVI of France and his children, and Catherine II of Russia and her son. King Frederick II of Prussia also inoculated all his soldiers. In fact, variolation was widely practiced in Europe until Jenner's discovery.

The regular practice of variolation reached the New World in 1721 (9). Under the guidance of the Rev. Cotton Mather (1663–1728) and Dr. Zabdiel Boylston (1679–1766), variolation became quite popular in the colonies. Mather, a graduate of Harvard College, was always very interested in science and medicine. When a ship from the West Indies carried persons sick with smallpox into Boston in 1721, an epidemic broke out in Boston and other parts of Massachusetts. Mather wrote a cautious letter recommending immediate variolation. However, he persuaded only Dr. Boylston. With Mather's support, Boylston immediately started a variolation program and continued to inoculate many volunteers, despite many adversaries in both the public and the medical community in Boston. As the disease spread, so did the controversy around Mather and Boylston (12). At the height of the epidemic, a bomb was thrown into Mather's house.

To make their point, Mather and Boylston used a statistical approach to compare the mortality rate of natural smallpox infection with that contracted by variolation. During the great epidemic of 1721, approximately half of Boston's 12,000 citizens contracted smallpox. The fatality rate for the naturally contracted disease was 14%, whereas Boylston and Mather reported a mortality rate of only 2% among variolated individuals (12). This may have been the first time that comparative analysis was used to evaluate a medical procedure.

During the decades following the 1721 epidemic in Boston, variolation became more widespread in the colonies of New England. In 1766, American soldiers under George Washington were unable to take Quebec from the British troops, apparently because of a smallpox epidemic that significantly reduced the number of healthy troops (13). The British soldiers were all variolated. By 1777, Washington had learned his lesson: all his soldiers were variolated before beginning new military operations (14, 15). The success of variolation in the New World was not without effect on Europe. In fact, the rapid adoption of variolation in Europe can be directly traced to the efforts of Cotton Mather during the Boston smallpox epidemic in 1721. Although many British physicians remained skeptical even after Mather's success, the data he had published were eventually influential. Variolation was subsequently adopted in England and spread from there throughout Western Europe.

In 1757, an 8-year-old boy was inoculated with smallpox in Gloucester (4); he was one of thousands of children inoculated that year in England. The procedure was effective, as the boy developed a mild case of smallpox and was subsequently immune to the disease. His name was Edward Jenner.

EDWARD JENNER

Edward Jenner was born on May 17, 1749, in Berkeley, Gloucestershire, the son of the Rev. Stephen Jenner, vicar of Berkeley. Edward was orphaned at age 5 and went to live with his older brother. During his early school years, Edward developed a strong interest in science and nature that continued throughout his life. At age 13 he was apprenticed to a country surgeon and apothecary in Sodbury, near Bristol (16). The record shows that it was there that Jenner heard a dairymaid say, “I shall never have smallpox for I have had cowpox. I shall never have an ugly pockmarked face.” It fact, it was a common belief that dairymaids were in some way protected from smallpox.

In 1764, Jenner began his apprenticeship with George Harwicke. During these years, he acquired a sound knowledge of surgical and medical practice (10). Upon completion of this apprenticeship at the age of 21, Jenner went to London and became a student of John Hunter, who was on the staff of St. George's Hospital in London. Hunter was not only one of the most famous surgeons in England, but he was also a well-respected biologist, anatomist, and experimental scientist. The firm friendship that grew between Hunter and Jenner lasted until Hunter's death in 1793. Although Jenner already had a great interest in natural science, the experience during the 2 years with Hunter only increased his activities and curiosity. Jenner was so interested in natural science that he helped classify many species that Captain Cook brought back from his first voyage. In 1772, however, Jenner declined Cook's invitation to take part in the second voyage (4).

Jenner occupied himself with many matters. He studied geology and carried out experiments on human blood (17). In 1784, after public demonstrations of hot air and hydrogen balloons by Joseph M. Montgolfier in France during the preceding year, Jenner built and twice launched his own hydrogen balloon. It flew 12 miles. Following Hunter's suggestions, Jenner conducted a particular study of the cuckoo. The final version of Jenner's paper was published in 1788 and included the original observation that it is the cuckoo hatchling that evicts the eggs and chicks of the foster parents from the nest (17, 18). For this remarkable work, Jenner was elected a fellow of the Royal Society. However, many naturalists in England dismissed his work as pure nonsense. For more than a century, antivaccinationists used the supposed defects of the cuckoo study to cast doubt on Jenner's other work. Jenner was finally vindicated in 1921 when photography confirmed his observation (19). At any rate, it is apparent that Jenner had a lifelong interest in natural sciences.

While Jenner's interest in the protective effects of cowpox began during his apprenticeship with George Harwicke, it was 1796 before he made the first step in the long process whereby smallpox, the scourge of mankind, would be totally eradicated. For many years, he had heard the tales that dairymaids were protected from smallpox naturally after having suffered from cowpox. Pondering this, Jenner concluded that cowpox not only protected against smallpox but also could be transmitted from one person to another as a deliberate mechanism of protection. In May 1796, Edward Jenner found a young dairymaid, Sarah Nelms, who had fresh cowpox lesions on her hands and arms (Figure ​(Figure33). On May 14, 1796, using matter from Nelms' lesions, he inoculated an 8-year-old boy, James Phipps. Subsequently, the boy developed mild fever and discomfort in the axillae. Nine days after the procedure he felt cold and had lost his appetite, but on the next day he was much better. In July 1796, Jenner inoculated the boy again, this time with matter from a fresh smallpox lesion. No disease developed, and Jenner concluded that protection was complete (10).

The hand of Sarah Nelms. Photo courtesy of the National Library of Medicine.

In 1797, Jenner sent a short communication to the Royal Society describing his experiment and observations. However, the paper was rejected. Then in 1798, having added a few more cases to his initial experiment, Jenner privately published a small booklet entitled An Inquiry into the Causes and Effects of the Variolae Vaccinae, a disease discovered in some of the western counties of England, particularly Gloucestershire and Known by the Name of Cow Pox (18, 10). The Latin word for cow is vacca, and cowpox is vaccinia; Jenner decided to call this new procedure vaccination. The 1798 publication had three parts. In the first part Jenner presented his view regarding the origin of cowpox as a disease of horses transmitted to cows. The theory was discredited during Jenner's lifetime. He then presented the hypothesis that infection with cowpox protects against subsequent infection with smallpox. The second part contained the critical observations relevant to testing the hypothesis. The third part was a lengthy discussion, in part polemical, of the findings and a variety of issues related to smallpox. The publication of the Inquiry was met with a mixed reaction in the medical community.

Jenner went to London in search of volunteers for vaccination. However, after 3 months he had found none. In London, vaccination became popular through the activities of others, particularly the surgeon Henry Cline, to whom Jenner had given some of the inoculant (4). Later in 1799, Drs. George Pearson and William Woodville began to support vaccination among their patients. Jenner conducted a nationwide survey in search of proof of resistance to smallpox or to variolation among persons who had cowpox. The results of this survey confirmed his theory. Despite errors, many controversies, and chicanery, the use of vaccination spread rapidly in England, and by the year 1800, it had also reached most European countries (10).

Although sometimes embarrassed by a lack of supply, Jenner sent vaccine to his medical acquaintances and to anyone else who requested it. After introducing cowpox inoculation in their own districts, many recipients passed the vaccine on to others. Dr. John Haygarth (of Bath, Somerset) received the vaccine from Edward Jenner in 1800 and sent some of the material to Benjamin Waterhouse, professor of physics at Harvard University. Waterhouse introduced vaccination in New England and then persuaded Thomas Jefferson to try it in Virginia. Waterhouse received great support from Jefferson, who appointed him vaccine agent in the National Vaccine Institute, an organization set up to implement a national vaccination program in the United States (20).

Although he received worldwide recognition and many honors, Jenner made no attempt to enrich himself through his discovery. He actually devoted so much time to the cause of vaccination that his private practice and his personal affairs suffered severely. The extraordinary value of vaccination was publicly acknowledged in England, when in 1802 the British Parliament granted Edward Jenner the sum of £10,000. Five years later the Parliament awarded him £20,000 more. However, he not only received honors but also found himself subjected to attacks and ridicule. Despite all this, he continued his activities on behalf of the vaccination program. Gradually, vaccination replaced variolation, which became prohibited in England in 1840.

CONCLUSION

Jenner's work represented the first scientific attempt to control an infectious disease by the deliberate use of vaccination. Strictly speaking, he did not discover vaccination but was the first person to confer scientific status on the procedure and to pursue its scientific investigation.

Late in the 19th century, it was realized that vaccination did not confer lifelong immunity and that subsequent revaccination was necessary. The mortality from smallpox had declined, but the epidemics showed that the disease was still not under control. In the 1950s a number of control measures were implemented, and smallpox was eradicated in many areas in Europe and North America. The process of worldwide eradication of smallpox was set in motion when the World Health Assembly received a report in 1958 of the catastrophic consequences of smallpox in 63 countries (Figure ​(Figure55). In 1967, a global campaign was begun under the guardianship of the World Health Organization and finally succeeded in the eradication of smallpox in 1977. On May 8, 1980, the World Health Assembly announced that the world was free of smallpox and recommended that all countries cease vaccination: “The world and all its people have won freedom from smallpox, which was the most devastating disease sweeping in epidemic form through many countries since earliest times, leaving death, blindness and disfigurement in its wake”

18 יח

From Wikipidia:

The terms inoculation, vaccination, and immunization are often used synonymously to refer to artificial induction of immunity against various infectious diseases. However, there are some important historical and current differences. In English medicine, inoculation referred only to the practice of variolation until the very early 1800s. When Edward Jenner introduced smallpox vaccine in 1798, this was initially called cowpox inoculation or vaccine inoculation. Soon, to avoid confusion, smallpox inoculation continued to be referred to as variolation (from Variola = smallpox) and cowpox inoculation was referred to as vaccination (from Jenner's use of variolae vaccinae = smallpox of the cow). Then, in 1891, Louis Pasteur proposed that the terms vaccine and vaccination should be extended to include the new protective procedures being developed. Immunization refers to the use of all vaccines but also extends to the use of antitoxin, which contains preformed antibody such as to diphtheria or tetanus exotoxins. Inoculation is now more or less synonymous in nontechnical usage with injection and the like, and questions along the lines of "Have you had your flu injection/vaccination/inoculation/immunization?" should not cause confusion. The focus is on what is being given and why, not the literal meaning of the technique used

19 יט

Then as now there are risks related to vaccines. Flu vaccines carry a one or two in two million Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) risk. Some vaccines carry risk of allergic reaction. The measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, popularly known as MMR, has long been anecdotally tied to autism (the medical world, wit large strongly dismisses this last assertion).

Would halacha still sanction such inoculations?

For example, while the Salk polio vaccine carries no risk of contacting polio, it does not protect from giving small trace amounts to others; the Sabin polio vaccine however protects others as well, but indeed carries a small risk of infection in the one being immunized (about one in two million).

May one take such a risk?

Once again, we turn to the Tiferess Yisroel:

20 כ

Boaz to Yoma Chapter 8

(ג) ומזה נ"ל היתר לעשות אינאקולאטיאן של פאקקען, אף שא' מאלף מת ע"י האינאקולאטיאן עכ"פ שאם יתהוו בו הפאקקען הטבעיים הסכנה קרובה יותר, ולכן רשאי להכניס א"ע בסכנה רחוקה כדי להציל א"ע מסכנה קרובה. וראיה ברורה לדברי ממ"ש רב"י בטור ח"מ סוף סי' תכ"ו בשם הירושלמי דחייב אדם להכניס א"ע בספק סכנה כדי להציל חבירו מודאי סכנה, והרי ברואה חבירו טובע בנהר אינו מוחלט ודאי שיטבע אם לא יציל הוא. וכי לא אפשר שינצל ממקום אחר. ואם להציל חבירו יש חיוב להכניס א"ע בספק סכנה, מכ"ש שיהיה רשות בידו להציל את גוף עצמו ע"י הכנסו א"ע לספק סכנה. ואף לרי"ף ורמב"ם וטור שלא הביאו הך ירושלמי י"ל היינו מדס"ל כר' יוסי נדרים ד"פ ע"ב, דחייך קודם לחיי חבירו, אבל להצלת גוף עצמו, אע"ג שאינו חיוב רשאי.(see below from Tzitz Eliezar another source where Bavli Argues on this Yerushalmi) דהרי גם לרי"ף ורמב"ם י"ל דאע"ג דאינו חיוב למסור א"ע עבור חבירו עכ"פ רשאי הוא. ועי' עוד (אהלות ספ"ז) דבא"א שינצל הולד ע"י מיתת אמו, מותר להמית הולד כדי להציל האם, ולא חיישינן לחיי שעה של ולד. אמנם ק"ל א"כ האיך התפללה אמתא דבי רבי על רבי בחליו שימות כדי שלא יצטער ביסוריו [ככתובות ק"ד] והכי קיי"ל בכל חולה דמותר להתפלל שימות היכא דמצטער טובא [כר"ן נדרים ד"מ ע"א] ואמאי לא חיישי' לחיי שעה. ואי"ל דהתם במצטער טובא, צער גדול חמור ממיתה כחנניה משו"ע דאלמלא נגדוהו פלחו לצלמא [ככתובות ל"ב ב']-{error 33b}: ליתא דהרי הכא נמי מי שנפלה עליו מפולת, וימות תוך שעה ושתים, וודאי ע"י שיפרוק ממנו המפולת ממשיך כאיבו טפי ואפ"ה שרי, וק' מה באמתא דעבדה מעשה להתפלל שיתקצרו חייו, שרי, מכ"ש הכא דהו"ל להיות שב ואל תעשה לבלי לסלק ולפקח מעליו כדי שימות מהר. נ"ל דפקוח שאני, דבשהסיר מעליו האבנים וודאי הקיל יסוריו. אף שממשיכם טפי, אפ"ה טוב לו שימות לאט לאט ממה שיתקצר חייו וימות מיתה קשה תחת משא האבנים. אבל במעשה דרבי, אדרבה אם לא התפלל' היו היסורין מתגברין והולכין. ואפ"ה נ"ל בגוסס שמבקש שיטלטלוהו באמרו שמצטער בשכבו כך, אסור לטלטלו. דאין לדמותו לאמתה דרבי. דלא עשתה מעשה ממש, רק שהתפללה, משא"כ בגוסס שיעשה מעשה בידים אסור, מדמקרב מיתתו עי"ז. והרי כ"ש הוא מפקוח הגל. שעושין מעשה להיפך להמשיך יסוריו, כדי להאריך חייו. מכ"ש דאין עושין מעשה להקל יסוריו ולקצר חייו. וכן מצאתי בספר חסידים [סי' תשכ"ב] דאסור...

21 כא

But just how much risk does Halacha allow/demand we take upon ourselves?

22 כב

(יט) (יט) כדי להצילם - ומ"מ אם יש סכנה להמציל אינו מחויב דחייו קודם לחיי חבירו ואפילו ספק סכנה נמי עדיף ספיקו דידיה מודאי דחברו. אולם צריך לשקול הדברים היטב אם יש בו ספק סכנה ולא לדקדק ביותר כאותה שאמרו המדקדק עצמו בכך בא לידי כך [פתחי תשובה חו"מ סי' תכ"ו]:

23 כג

From Tzitz Eliezar 9:45:

24 כד
25 כה
26 כו

Article from Rabbi Ari Zakatunski:

The Radvaz (3:627) feels that according to the vast majority of opinions who do not require one to endanger himself in order to save another person. Not only is one not required to do so, one is not allowed to do so. He writes that one who places himself in Safek Sakana in order to save his friend is a “foolishly pious individual” and the potential risk out ways the mortal danger facing his friend. One is not allowed to endanger himself in order to perform a Mitzvah or in order to avoid a sin (except idolatry, murder, and sexual relations). Therefore, it is not permitted to endanger one’s self in order to avoid performing the sin of Lo Saamod Al Dam Re’acha. This ruling was also cited by Harav Yitzchak Weiss zt”l (Minchas Yitzchak 6:103).

Harav Moshe Feinstein zt”l (Igros Moshe Y.D. 2:174:4) disagrees with the ruling of the Radvaz. He explains that although normally one may not endanger himslef in order to avoid a sin, in this case one is permitted since his actions will lead to a Jewish person being saved. According to Harav Moshe zt”l the whole dabate is whether one is required to enter a Safek Sakana in order to save his friend. However, everyone agrees that one is permitted to do so.

Harav Ovadia Yosef zt”l (Yechava Daas 3:84) found a discrepancy in the writings of the Radvaz. In one response the Radvaz writes that one is not permitted to endanger himself in order to save his friend. While in another response he writes that one is required to enter a somewhat dangerous situation in order to save someone from a life threatening situation. Harav Yosef zt”l explains that there is no contradiction. If there is a 50%, or more, chance of death one is not allowed to save his friend. One is not allowed to perform an act with such a high risk of death, even in order to save his friend. If the chance of death is less than 50% one is required to save his friend. In this case the chance of death is so small that the reward of saving a Jew out ways the potential danger. He adds that the Radvaz, himself, seems to indicate such a distinction in one of the responses.

The Radvaz does add that there is no requirement to donate a limb in order to save another jew, even if donating a limb involves a small risk of death. He explains that the ways of the Torah are sweet and the Torah would never require someone to become mutilated and deformed. What if donating eyes could save a life, reasons the Radvaz, you would have half of Klal Yisroel missing eyes? The Torah cannot require such a thing. Although it is praiseworthy, the Torah would never require organ donation.

27 כז
וַיֶּחֱלֶ֣א אָסָ֡א בִּשְׁנַת֩ שְׁלוֹשִׁ֨ים וָתֵ֤שַׁע לְמַלְכוּתוֹ֙ בְּרַגְלָ֔יו עַד־לְמַ֖עְלָה חָלְי֑וֹ וְגַם־בְּחָלְיוֹ֙ לֹא־דָרַ֣שׁ אֶת־יְהוָ֔ה כִּ֖י בָּרֹפְאִֽים׃ וַיִּשְׁכַּ֥ב אָסָ֖א עִם־אֲבֹתָ֑יו וַיָּ֕מָת בִּשְׁנַ֛ת אַרְבָּעִ֥ים וְאַחַ֖ת לְמָלְכֽוֹ׃
In the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa suffered from an acute foot ailment; but ill as he was, he still did not turn to the LORD but to physicians. Asa slept with his fathers. He died in the forty-first year of his reign
28 כח

Ramban, Bechukasei

(א) ונתתי משכני בתוככם ...כי אני ה' רופאך והטעם בזה כי הברכות ההם אע"פ שהם נסים הם מן הנסים הנסתרים שכל התורה מלאה מהם כאשר פירשתי (בראשית יז א) והם אפילו ליחיד העובד כי כאשר יהיה האיש החסיד שומר כל מצות ה' אלהיו ישמרהו האל מן החולי והעקרות והשכול וימלא ימיו בטובה אבל אלו הברכות שבפרשה הזאת הן כלליות בעם והן בהיות כל עמנו כלם צדיקים ולכך יזכיר תמיד בכאן הארץ ונתנה הארץ לבטח בארצכם שלום בארץ מן הארץ לא תעבור בארצכם וכבר בארנו כי כל אלה הברכות כולם נסים אין בטבע שיבאו הגשמים ויהיה השלום לנו מן האויבים ויבא מורך בלבם לנוס מאה מפני חמשה בעשותנו החוקים והמצות ולא שיהיה הכל היפך מפני זרענו השנה השביעית ואף על פי שהם נסים נסתרים שעולם כמנהגו נוהג עמהם אבל הם מתפרסמים מצד היותם תמיד לעולם בכל הארץ כי אם הצדיק האחד יחיה ויסיר ה' מחלה מקרבו וימלא ימיו יקרה גם זה בקצת רשעים אבל שתהיה ארץ אחת כולה ועם אחד תמיד ברדת הגשם בעתו ושובע ושלוה ושלום ובריאות וגבורה ושברון האויבים בענין שאין כמוהו בכל העולם יוודע לכל כי מאת ה' היתה זאת ועל כן אמר (דברים כח י) וראו כל עמי הארץ כי שם ה' נקרא עליך ויראו ממך והיפך זה יהיה בקללות בעונשי הארץ שאמר (פסוק יט) ונתתי את שמיכם כברזל ועונשי החולי כמו שאמר (דברים כח נט) וחלאים רעים ונאמנים שיקולל המאכל ויחליא ויתפרסם הנס בהיותו תמיד קיים בכולם ...

והכלל כי בהיות ישראל שלמים והם רבים לא יתנהג ענינם בטבע כלל לא בגופם ולא בארצם לא בכללם ולא ביחיד מהם כי יברך השם לחמם ומימם ויסיר מחלה מקרבם עד שלא יצטרכו לרופא ולהשתמר בדרך מדרכי הרפואות כלל כמו שאמר (שמות טו כו) כי אני ה' רופאך וכן היו הצדיקים עושים בזמן הנבואה גם כי יקרם עון שיחלו לא ידרשו ברופאים רק בנביאים כענין חזקיהו בחלותו (מ"ב כ ב ג) ואמר הכתוב (דהי"ב טז יב) גם בחליו לא דרש את ה' כי ברופאים ואילו היה דבר הרופאים נהוג בהם מה טעם שיזכיר הרופאים אין האשם רק בעבור שלא דרש השם אבל הוא כאשר יאמר אדם לא אכל פלוני מצה בחג המצות כי אם חמץ אבל הדורש השם בנביא לא ידרוש ברופאים ומה חלק לרופאים בבית עושי רצון השם אחר שהבטיח (שמות כג כה) וברך את לחמך ואת מימיך והסירותי מחלה מקרבך והרופאים אין מעשיהם רק על המאכל והמשקה להזהיר ממנו ולצוות עליו ... שאין דרכם של בני אדם ברפואות אלא שנהגו שאילו לא היה דרכם ברפואות יחלה האדם כפי אשר יהיה עליו עונש חטאו ויתרפא ברצון ה' אבל הם נהגו ברפואות והשם הניחם למקרי הטבעים וזו היא כונתם באמרם (שם) ורפא ירפא מכאן שנתנה רשות לרופא לרפאות לא אמרו שנתנה רשות לחולה להתרפאות אלא כיון שחלה החולה ובא להתרפאות כי נהג ברפואות והוא לא היה מעדת השם שחלקם בחיים אין לרופא לאסור עצמו מרפואתו לא מפני חשש שמא ימות בידו אחרי שהוא בקי במלאכה ההיא ולא בעבור שיאמר כי השם לבדו הוא רופא כל בשר שכבר נהגו ועל כן האנשים הנצים שהכו זה את זה באבן או באגרוף (שמות כא יח) יש על המכה תשלומי הרפואה כי התורה לא תסמוך דיניה על הנסים כאשר אמרה (דברים טו יא) כי לא יחדל אביון מקרב הארץ מדעתו שכן יהיה אבל ברצות השם דרכי איש אין לו עסק ברופאים

29 כט

(א) ששה דברים עשה חזקיהו המלך על שלשה כו': ...ספר רפואות היה ספר שהיה ענינו להתרפאות בדברים שלא התירה תורה להתרפאות ... הספר והיה עושה כמ"ש בספר והיה מתרפא וכאשר ראה חזקיה כי בני אדם לא היו סומכין על הש"י הסיר אותו וגנזו... ולפי דעתם הקל והמשובש האדם כשירעב וילך אל הלחם ויאכל ממנו בלי ספק שיבריא מאותו חולי החזק חולי הרעב א"כ כבר נואש ולא ישען באלהיו נאמר להם הוי השוטים כאשר נודה לשם בעת האכילה שהמציא לי מה שישביע אותי ויסיר רעבתנותי ואחיה ואתקיים כן אודה לו שהמציא לי רפואה ירפא חליי כשאתרפא ממנו ולא הייתי צריך להקשות על זה...

30 ל

Rabbi Solaveitchik

"To live, and to defy death, is a sublime moral achievement. That is why Judaism has displayed so much sympathy for scientific medicine and commanded the sick person to seek medical help. Curing, healing the sick is a divine attribute reflecting an activity (rofe holim) in which man ought to engage.” (“Majesty and Humility,” p. 34)"

31 לא

וַיֹּאמֶר֩ אִם־שָׁמ֨וֹעַ תִּשְׁמַ֜ע לְק֣וֹל ׀ יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֗יךָ וְהַיָּשָׁ֤ר בְּעֵינָיו֙ תַּעֲשֶׂ֔ה וְהַֽאֲזַנְתָּ֙ לְמִצְוֺתָ֔יו וְשָׁמַרְתָּ֖ כָּל־חֻקָּ֑יו כָּֽל־הַמַּֽחֲלָ֞ה אֲשֶׁר־שַׂ֤מְתִּי בְמִצְרַ֙יִם֙ לֹא־אָשִׂ֣ים עָלֶ֔יךָ כִּ֛י אֲנִ֥י יְהוָ֖ה רֹפְאֶֽךָ׃ (ס)

He said, “If you will heed the LORD your God diligently, doing what is upright in His sight, giving ear to His commandments and keeping all His laws, then I will not bring upon you any of the diseases that I brought upon the Egyptians, for I the LORD am your healer.”
32 לב
אֶחָד הַגַּג וְאֶחָד כָּל דָּבָר שֶׁיֵּשׁ בּוֹ סַכָּנָה וְרָאוּי שֶׁיִּכָּשֵׁל בָּהּ אָדָם וְיָמוּת. כְּגוֹן שֶׁהָיְתָה לוֹ בְּאֵר אוֹ בּוֹר בַּחֲצֵרוֹ בֵּין שֶׁיֵּשׁ בּוֹ מַיִם בֵּין שֶׁאֵין בּוֹ מַיִם חַיָּב לַעֲשׂוֹת חֻלְיָא גְּבוֹהָה עֲשָׂרָה טְפָחִים. אוֹ לַעֲשׂוֹת לָהּ כִּסּוּי כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יִפּל בָּהּ אָדָם וְיָמוּת. וְכֵן כָּל מִכְשׁל שֶׁיֵּשׁ בּוֹ סַכָּנַת נְפָשׁוֹת מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה לַהֲסִירוֹ וּלְהִשָּׁמֵר מִמֶּנּוּ וּלְהִזָּהֵר בַּדָּבָר יָפֶה יָפֶה. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים ד ט) "הִשָּׁמֶר לְךָ וּשְׁמֹר נַפְשְׁךָ". וְאִם לֹא הֵסִיר וְהֵנִיחַ הַמִּכְשׁוֹלוֹת הַמְּבִיאִין לִידֵי סַכָּנָה בִּטֵּל מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה וְעָבַר בְּ(דברים כב ח) "לֹא תָשִׂים דָּמִים":

There is no difference between a roof or anything else that is dangerous and likely to cause death to a person who might stumble. If, for instance, one has a well or a pit in his courtyard — — he must build an enclosing ring ten handbreadths high, or put a cover over it, so that a person should not fall into it and die. So too, any obstruction that is a danger to life must be removed as a matter of positive duty and extremely necessary caution.

33 לג
אמר אביי לא לימא אינש הכי דתני דבי רבי ישמעאל ורפא ירפא מכאן שניתנה רשות לרופא לרפאות
Abaye responded and said: One should not say this, as it was taught in the school of Rabbi Yishmael that from the verse, “And shall cause him to be thoroughly healed” (Exodus 21:19), from here we derive that permission is granted to a doctor to heal. The practice of medicine is in accordance with the will of God.
34 לד
נתנה רשות לרופאים לרפאות - ולא אמרינן רחמנא מחי ואיהו מסי:
Permission was given to doctors to heal - and we do not say that god harms and heals.
35 לה
פרק ב׳.—ר׳ עקיבא פתח, אֱנוֹשׁ כֶּחָצִיר יָמָיו וגו׳ (תהלים ק"ג ט"ו) מעשה בר׳ ישמעאל ור״ע שהיו מהלכין בחוצות ירושלם, והיה עמהם אדם אחד. פגע בהם אדם חולה, א״ל, רבותי אמרו לי במה אתרפא. א״ל, עשה כך וכך עד שתתרפא. א״ל, ומי הכה אותי? א״ל, הקב״ה. א״ל, ואתם הכנסתם עצמכם בדבר שאינו שלכם, הוא הכה ואתם מרפאים, אינכם עוברים על רצונו?! א״ל, מה מלאכתך? א״ל, עובד אדמה אני והרי המגל בידי. א״ל, מי ברא את הכרם? א״ל, הקב"ה. א״ל, ואתה מכניס עצמך בדבר שאינו שלך, הוא ברא אותו ואתה קוצץ פירותיו ממנו. א״ל, אין אתם רואים המגל בידי, אילולי אני יוצא וחורשו ומכסהו ומזבלו ומנכשו לא תעלה מאומה. א״ל, שוטה שבעולם, [ממלאכתך] (צ״ל מימיך) לא שמעת מה שכתוב אֱנוֹשׁ כֶּחָצִיר יָמָיו (תהלים ק"ג ט"ו), כשם שהעץ אם אינו מנכש ומזבל ונחרש אינו עולה, ואם עלה ולא שתה מים ולא נזבל אינו חי והוא מת, כך הגוף - הזבל הוא הסם ומיני רפואה, ואיש אדמה הוא הרופא. אמר להם, בבקשה מכם אל תענישוני. הגוף הזה תולדותיו נתלין זה בזה וזה בזה, ואם אין זה אין זה, וכיון שהן מתפרקות אחד מחבירו הגוף נטוי למות, כמו שיש לבית ארבע צדדין אם מתפרק אחד מהן הבית נופל. וכל מה שברא, בתמורה בראו. אילולי מות לא היה חיים, ואילולי חיים לא היה מות, ואילולי שלום לא היה רע, ואילולי רע לא היה שלום. אילו יכנס אדם במדינה חציה שלום וחציה רע, היה הולך ברע ומכיר שלום, ואם מדינה אחרת כלה שלום, אם אין שם רע אין השלום ניכר. אם היו כל בני אדם טפשין לא היו ניכרין שהן טפשין, ואילו היו כל בני אדם חכמים לא היו ניכרין שהם חכמים. אלא גַּם אֶת זֶה לְעֻמַּת זֶה עָשָׂה הָאֱלֹהִים (קהלת ז' י"ד). ואילו היו כל בני אדם עשירים לא היו ניכרין שהם עשירים, ואילו היו כלם עניים לא היו ניכרין שהם עניים, אלא ברא עניים ועשירים שיהיו ניכרין זה מזה. וברא חכמים וטפשים כדי להבדיל זה מזה, וברא מתים וחיים כדי להבדיל בין זרע ושממה, ברא חן וברא כיעור, זכרים ונקבות, ברא אש ומים, ברזל ועץ, אור וחשך, חום וקור, אכילה ורעבון, שתיה וצמאון, הילוך וחגרות, ראיה וסמיות, שמיעה וחרישות, ים ויבשה, דיבור ואלמות, מעשה ובטלות, דאגה ורצון, שחוק ובכיה, רפואות וחולי, עם כל התמורות שאמר שלמה בקהלת: עת ללדת עת למות וגו׳, וכל זה להודיע גבורתו של הקב״ה, שכל דבר שברא ברא בשתים ובשתוף, וכי לא היה המקום יכול להוציא בנים בלא עריות ובלא גלוי ערוה? אלא הכל בשתוף ובתמורה, אם אין זכר ונקבה נזקקין אין הולד יוצא, אין זכר מוליד בלא נקבה ולא נקבה יולדת בלא זכר, ואין בית נבנה בעצמו ולא בית בונה בית אחר אלא בבנאי שיבנה, אין חרש עצים בלא קרדום ואם אין חרש [למה] קרדום, ואם אין קרדום אין חרש, ואם אין טהרה אין טומאה ואם אין טומאה אין טהרה. אמרו חזירים וכל מיני בהמה טמאה לבהמה טהורה: מבקשים אתם להחזיק לנו טובה, אילולי אני וחבירי שאנו טמאים לא נודעתם שאתם טהורים. אם אין צדיק אין רשע, אמר רשע לצדיק: מבקש אתה להחזיק לי טובה, לולי שאני רשע מאין היית ניכר. אילו היו כל בני אדם צדיקים לא היה לך יתרון. הרי אמרנו שיש לכל תמורה חוץ מדבר אחד: להודיע לכל באי עולם ברמז שהוא (הקב״ה) אחד ואין לו שני. וכמו כן הרוח שאין לה תמורה ולא שותף ואין אתה יכול לאחוז אותה ולא להכותה ולא לשורפה ולא להשליכה. ואם תאמר לנוד אתה יכול לאחוז אותה? לאו, כי אילו נפתח הנוד, ובא איש ואמר מה יש בו? ואמרת לו - הרוח, יאמר לך - מה היא, שחורה או אדומה לבנה או ירוקה? היאך היא נמכרת בשוק? אינך יכול להשיב לו תשובה, ואם אתה פותח פי הנוד היא הולכת לה ואין אתה יכול לראותה, אם שחורה או אדומה אם לבנה או ירוקה. ולא עוד, אלא נושאת בני אדם ונושאת השמים והארץ. מנין אתה יודע? ממראה עיניך, אדם נכנס לבית לפנים מבית ומערה לפנים ממערה, ומניף בבגדו והרוח יוצאת ואינך יודע מהיכן יוצאת ומהיכן באת, הא למדת שהרוח מלאה העולם. וכך היה המעשה ששאלה המלכות את ר׳ עקיבא, על מה העולם עומד? א״ל, על הרוח. א״ל, הראיני! א״ל, הביאו לי גמלים טעוני מלח, הוליכם בכל פנות הבית. אמר להם, מה אתם רואים? א״ל, גמלים טעוני מלח. אמר להם, הביאו לי חבל. הביאו לו חבל וכרך בצוואריהם, נתן החבל לשני בני אדם, אמר להם זה ימשוך מכאן וזה ימשוך מכאן, עד שחנקן. אחר שחנקן א״ל העמידו אותם. א״ל, אתה הוא חכם היהודים, אחר שחנקת אותם אתה אומר העמידו אותם?! א״ל, ומה חסרתם מהם כ״א הרוח, הא למדת שאין העולם עומד אלא ברוח שהיא מעולה ומשובחת. והיא היתה מראש, שנאמר (בראשית א' ב') וְרוּחַ אֱלֹהִים מְרַחֶפֶת עַל פְּנֵי הַמָּיִם. והם שני דברים שלא מצינו להם בריאה: הרוח והמים, והם היו מראש שנאמר ורוח אלהים מרחפת על פני המים, כלל העולם וכל אשר בו מצינו להם בריאה בששת ימי המעשה חוץ מן המים והרוח והחשך, שנאמר וְחֹשֶׁךְ עַל פְּנֵי תְהוֹם וְרוּחַ אֱלֹהִים מְרַחֶפֶת עַל פְּנֵי הַמָּיִם, עד שבא ישעיה ואמר יוֹצֵר אוֹר וּבוֹרֵא חֹשֶׁךְ (ישעיהו מ"ה ז').
36 לו
וְנִשְׁמַרְתֶּ֥ם מְאֹ֖ד לְנַפְשֹׁתֵיכֶ֑ם כִּ֣י לֹ֤א רְאִיתֶם֙ כָּל־תְּמוּנָ֔ה בְּי֗וֹם דִּבֶּ֨ר יְהוָ֧ה אֲלֵיכֶ֛ם בְּחֹרֵ֖ב מִתּ֥וֹךְ הָאֵֽשׁ׃
For your own sake, therefore, be most careful—since you saw no shape when the LORD your God spoke to you at Horeb out of the fire—
37 לז
הרבה דברים אסרו חז"ל מפני שיש בהן חשש סכנה וכל העובר עליהם ואומר הריני מסכן עצמי ומה לאחרים עלי או איני מקפיד בכך כתב הרמב"ם ז"ל דמכין אותו מכת מרדות ואין כוונתו דזהו רק איסור דרבנן דודאי יש בזה איסור דאורייתא אלא שאין לוקין עליו כהרבה לאוין שאין בהם מלקות [ב"י בטור יו"ד סי' קט"ז]:
38 לח
ואני תמה אודות מכת אבעבועות קטנות ההולכת בין התינוקות הנקרא בלאטר"ן בל"א בר מינן, למה אין נזהרין להבריח התינוקות ולצאתם מן העיר, ובודאי עתידים האבות ליתן דין על מיתות יונקי שדים שלא חטאו וגמולי חלב שלא פשעו שמתו בחולי זה, ולא חשו אביהם להבריחם. על כן כל איש ירא אלהים יהיה ירא וחרד על כל צרה שלא תבוא. וכל אלו הדברים שהם שמירת הגוף הוא בכלל האזהרה של (דברים ד, ט) השמר לך ושמור נפשך מאוד, והיא ג"כ מדרך ארץ לשמור הגוף שהוא תיק ונרתק הנשמה כדי שיהיה כסא לנשמה:
39 לט
וכך פירושו מה שאמרו (קידושין פב. ) 'טוב שברופאים לגיהנם'. פירוש, מי שהוא רופא ואינו בעל תורת אלקים עם זה, הרי כל ענינו שהוא מעיין בחמרי בלבד, לכך הוא בעל גיהנם. שאין ענין הגיהנם רק ההעדר והרע, ומפני שהחומר אין לו מציאות בפועל, והוא בכח בלבד, ודבק בו ההעדר, כאשר ידוע מענין החומר שאינו נמצא בפעל. לפיכך בעל הטבע, המעיין בענין החמרי שאין לו מציאות בפעל, הוא בעל גיהנם. שגיהנם אין לו מציאות בפועל גם כן, אבל הוא חושך וצלמות, וזה אינו מציאות נחשב כלל. ודבר ברור הוא כי בעל הטבע החמרית, אשר אין לו רק שמתעסק בחמרי, אשר החומר אין לו מציאות בפעל, הוא בעל גיהנם. וזה שאמרו 'טוב שברופאים לגיהנם', ופירוש זה ברור גם כן מאוד:
40 מ
ותניא כל עיר שאין בה עשרה דברים הללו אין תלמיד חכם רשאי לדור בתוכה בית דין מכין ועונשין וקופה של צדקה נגבית בשנים ומתחלקת בשלשה ובית הכנסת ובית המרחץ וביהכ"ס רופא ואומן ולבלר (וטבח) ומלמד תינוקות משום ר' עקיבא אמרו אף מיני פירא מפני שמיני פירא מאירין את העינים:
And it is taught in a baraita: A Torah scholar is not permitted to reside in any city that does not have these ten things: A court that has the authority to flog and punish transgressors; and a charity fund for which monies are collected by two people and distributed by three, as required by halakha. This leads to a requirement for another three people in the city. And a synagogue; and a bathhouse; and a public bathroom; a doctor; and a bloodletter; and a scribe [velavlar] to write sacred scrolls and necessary documents; and a ritual slaughterer; and a teacher of young children. With these additional requirements there are a minimum of 120 men who must be residents of the city. They said in the name of Rabbi Akiva: The city must also have varieties of fruit, because varieties of fruit illuminate the eyes.
41 מא
ואם רופא אחד - והסכימו כמה אחרונים [המגן אברהם בשם הב"ח וא"ר ע"ש] דהיינו דוקא אם שניהם שוים אבל אם אחד מהם מופלג בחכמה שומעין לדבריו בין להקל בין להחמיר דכיון דבמנינם שוים הם אזלינן בתר רוב חכמה:
Several ahronim agree that this is only is the two of them are equal. However if one is wiser we listen to that one's words, whether for leniency or stringency since when numbers are equal we follow the majority in wisdom.
42 מב
כל חולי שהרופאים אומרים שהיא סכנה אע"פ שהוא על הבשר מבחוץ מחללין עליו את השבת ואם רופא א' אומר צריך ורופא א' אומר אינו צריך מחללין ויש מי שאומר שאין צריך מומחה דכל בני אדם חשובים מומחין קצת וספק נפשות להקל: הגה וי"א דוקא ישראלים אבל סתם עכו"ם שאינן רופאים לא מחזקינן אותם כבקיאים [איסור והיתר הארוך]. מי שרוצים לאנסו שיעבור עבירה גדולה אין מחללין עליו השבת כדי להצילו עיין לעיל סי' ש"ו [ב"י בשם הרשב"א]:
Every illness that the doctors say is dangerous, even though it is external on the flesh, they desecrate Sabbath for it. And if one doctor says [the treatment] is necessary [to save the patient's life] and one doctor says it is not necessary, they desecrate [the Sabbath by treating the patient]. And there is someone who says that it does not require an expert, because everyone is considered a bit of an expert, and a doubt when a life is at stake is resolved leniently. Gloss: Some say this is specifically regarding a Jew [that a nonexpert is relied upon] but ordinary nonJews who are not doctors are not treated like experts. Someone whom they wish to force to violate a great sin they do not desecrate the Sabbath for him in order to save him [from the sin].
43 מג
רופא אחד אומר צריך. אם לא רצה החולה לקבל התרופה כופין אותו, חולה אומר צריך אני לתרופה פלונית ורופא אומר א"צ שומעין לחולה ואם הרופא אומר שאותו תרופה יזיקהו שומעין לרופא [רדב"ז ח"א ס"ו כ"ה]:
If the patient does not want the medicine, we force the patient to take it. If the patient says he requires a certain medicine, and the doctor says the patient does not need it, we listen to the patient. If the doctor says another medicine will work better, we listen to the doctor.
44 מד
רוֹפֵא אֵינוֹ יְהוּדִי שֶׁהוּא מַצְמִיחַ [מַרְכִּיב] אַבַעְבּוּעוֹת (בלאטרן אומפפען) לִילָדִים אִם יָכוֹל הַיִשְֹרָאֵל לְפַיְסוֹ בְּמָמוֹן שֶׁיַּעֲשֶׂה לְאַחַר הַשַׁבָּת יַעֲשֶׂה כֵּן. וְאִם לָאו, וּצְרִיכִין לַעֲשׂוֹת בַּשַׁבָּת, אַל יַחְזִיק יִשְֹרָאֵל אָז אֶת הַיֶּלֶד, אֶלָּא אֵינוֹ יְהוּדִי יַחְזִיקוֹ (כֵּן כָתוּב בְּסֵפֶר תְּשׁוּבָה מֵאַהֲבָה).
When a non-Jewish doctor comes to vaccinate children against smallpox, if the Jew can offer him compensation to postpone the vaccination till after Shabbos, he should do so. If not [i.e. the doctor adamantly refuses] and it must be done on Shabbos, in that case, the Jew should not hold the child, but let a non-Jew hold him.36Teshuva Mei’ahava 134–135. He adds that if a non-Jew is unavailable, a Jew may hold the child.
45 מה
כתבו הגדולים דכשאבעבועות שקורין פקי"ן פורחים בתינוקות ומתים – יש לגזור תענית. וכל אחד מחוייב להרחיק מן העיר בניו ובנותיו הקטנים, ואם לא עשה כן – הרי זה מתחייב בנפשם (מגן אברהם סעיף קטן ג בשם השל"ה). ובגמרא איתא: דבר בעיר – כנס רגליך (בבא קמא ס ב). אך האבעבועות הוי מחלה מתדבקת, ולכן החוב להרחיקם מן העיר.ועכשיו אין זה מצוי, כי זה כמאה וחמשים שנים המציאו הרופאים להעמיד לכל קטן וקטנה בני שנה או יותר קו"י פאקי"ן, ועל ידי זה נמלטים ממחלה זו כידוע. ועכשיו שכיחי בילדים מחלה שקורין דיפטערי"ט, והוא מין אסכרה שמחניק הגרון. ונראה לי שאם חלילה המחלה מתרבה בעיר – יש לגזור תענית.
46 מו
ס) כשיש חולי אבעבועות לילדים (שקורין בערבי גדר"י) א"צ להבריח בניו מן העיר יען דעכשיו בזה"ז עושין לו תרופה ע"י הרכבה של אבעבועות ויש רופאים מומחים ממונים ע"ז ודלא כשל"ה שכתב שצריך להבריח בניו מן העיר. שו"ת זרע אמת חי"ד סי' ל"ב. והגם שסיים שהוא משתמיט בזה ולא אומר לא איסור ולא היתר מ"מ אנן בדידן תלי"ת יש לנו רופאים מומחים ע"ז שעושין הרכבה ולא ניזוק אדם מעולם וכן מעשים בכל יום. זב"צ או' מ"א. ועתה נתחכמו יותר הרופאים שעושין זריקה ע"י מחט ביד הילדים ועי"ז אין מוציאין הילדים חולי אבעבועות הנז'.
47מז

שו"ת חיסון

הרב שלמה אבינר

ש: האם חייבים להתחסן?

ת: כן. ונשמרתם מאוד לנפשותיכם. "הרבה דברים אסרו חכמים מפני שיש בהם סכנת נפשות. וכל העובר עליהן ואומר: הריני מסכן בעצמי ומה לאחרים עלי בכך או איני מקפיד בכך, מכין אותו מכת מרדות" (רמב"ם, הלכות רוצח ושמירת נפש יא ה).

ש: במדינות מודרניות יש חירות הפרט לעשות כרצונו אם לחסן.

ת: א. החירות האמיתית היא לשמור תורה ומצוות. ב. אין לו חרות לסכן ילדיו שיחלו בגלל שלא חיסן אותם. ג. הוא גם מסכן אחרים שעלולים להידבק ממנו, ויש בזה משום דין רודף.

Teshuvot on Vaccines

Rav Shlomo Aviner

Q: Is one obligated to vaccinate?

A: Yes. 'For your own sake be careful' (Devarim 4:15). Many things were forbidden by the sages since they caused mortal danger. Anyone who violates this and says 'I am putting myself in danger, what do other care?' or 'I will be careful' We give him lashes [for violating a rabbinic commandment] (Rambam).

Q: In modern countries, we have some freedom to do as we wish with vaccinations.

A: 1) Real freedom is to guard the Torah and mitzvot. 2) You have no freedom to endanger children because you did not vaccinate them. 3) You also endanger others that are close to you, and there is in this the din of rodef (the pursuer).

48מח

אשר וייס

חייב אדם לחסן את ילדיו כיון שאין בחיסון סיכון כלל אלא על הצד המוזרות, ומאידך היעדר החיסון מסכן את הילדים בעצמם, וק"ו בן בנו של ק"ו כיון שהיעדר החיסון יש בו סכנה לרבים.

Asher Weiss

Likewise, in the present case, a person is obligated to vaccinate his children because vaccination is not dangerous at all, except in extraordinarily rare cases, whereas lack of vaccination endangers those very children. This is all the more certain given that lack of vaccination constitutes public endangerment.

49 מט

Letter signed by Rabbis Shmuel Kamenetsky, Shmuel Meir Katz, Binyomin Halperin, Matisyahu Salomon, Eliezer Dunner, Malkiel Kotler, Elye Wachtfogel, and Aaron Schecter

The Torah commands, ונשמרתם מאד לנפשותיכם. This Biblical commandment requires one to be very vigilant in caring for one's life, and to refrain from any action that may put his life or health in danger. The benefits and risks of vaccination is a much debated topic in medical and scientific circles. Although one may follow the opinion of most doctors and chose to vaccinate his children, the individual who has done his research has the obligation to act according to his knowledge. If his research has led him to understand that the risks of vaccination are greater than its benefits, and particularly when his view is supported by many medical doctors and researchers, the commandment of ונשמרתם מאד לנפשותיכם obligates him to shield his children from vaccines. This is even more so when a parent has reasons to believe that his children are sensitive to vaccines. To act otherwise would be a transgression of the above Biblical commandment.

Schools must honor the request for religious exemption from such parents, for it is entirely justified.

50נ

משה שטרנבוך

ראב"ד לכל מקהלות האשכנזים עיה"ק ירושלים ת"ו

סוף דבר כיון שהוכח שהחיסון מועיל למנוע התפשטות המחלה, מוטל על כל אב לחסן את בניו למנוע התפשטות המחלה – וכדין תורה ללכת אחר רוב המומחים, וכל שכן כאן דדעת רובא דרובא דרופאים ודעת משרד הבריאות שיש לחסן, וכמו כן רשאים הנהלת התלמודי תורה לדרוש שהילדים שלא חוסנו לא ייכנסו ללמוד בתלמוד תורה.

Rabbi Moshe Shternbuch

Published letter responding to the above

In conclusion, since it is proven that vaccines are effective to prevent the spread of disease, it is an obligation upon every father to vaccinate his children to prevent spread of the disease – as is the law of the Torah to follow the majority view of experts. Certainly here, where the view of the overwhelming majority of doctors and the boards of health that one should vaccinate, certainly then the administration of the schools may demand that those children that were not vaccinates not enter into the Talmud Torah.

51נא

החובה להתחסן

הרב אליעזר מלמד, רביבים

אומנם יכולים ההורים שאינם רוצים לחסן את ילדיהם לטעון, שאין הם מוכרחים ללכת אחר הרוב, שכן אם הם לבדם לא יחסנו את ילדיהם – לא יקרה דבר (ואף הם יוכלו ליהנות מהחיסון של האחרים…). אולם עמדה זו נשענת על תפיסה לא מוסרית, שכן אם כל אדם ינהג כך, האוכלוסייה לא תהיה מחוסנת ומחלות קשות ומידבקות ייהפכו למגפות.

עמדה זו כמוה כעמדה של אדם שטוען שאם הוא לבדו ישתמט מהשירות הצבאי, ביטחונה של המדינה לא ייפגע, שכן חייל אחד פחות לא ישנה את מצב הביטחון הלאומי (ואף הוא ייהנה מההגנה שיספקו אלה שכן יתגייסו…). אולם אם כל אדם יעדיף את ביטחונו ונוחותו האישית, מצבנו יהיה איום ונורא.

The Obligation to Vaccinate

Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, Revivim

Parents who do not want to vaccinate their children, however, can argue they are not required to follow the majority, for if they alone do not vaccinate their children, nothing will happen (and they too benefit from the vaccination of others…). However, this position is based on an immoral point of view, because if everyone behaves in this manner, the population will not be vaccinated, and serious and contagious diseases will turn into epidemics.

This position is the same as that of a person claiming that if he alone avoids military service, the security of the state will not be harmed, because one less soldier will not change the state of national security (and he too benefits from the protection provided by those who do enlist …). However, if everyone prefers his own personal safety and comfort, our situation will be dreadful.

52 נב

DAILY NEWS

Ultra-Orthodox Jews vaccinate, too: Stop blaming one community for the measles outbreak

By Dr. Daniel Berman and Awi Federgruen

A man walks past school buses near the Yeshiva Kehilath Yakov School in the South Williamsburg neighborhood, April 9, 2019 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. New York City has ordered all yeshivas in a heavily Orthodox Jewish section of Brooklyn to exclude from classes all students who aren't vaccinated against measles or face fines or possible closure. The order comes amid a recent outbreak of over 285 measles cases in Brooklyn and Queens, most of which have been concentrated in the Orthodox Jewish communities. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

In this year’s U.S. measles outbreak, parts of Brooklyn and Rockland County have experienced two-thirds of the reported 704 infections. The media generally blame an alleged low vaccination rate in these areas, each with a large percentage of ultra-Orthodox Jews.

Public health experts corroborate this message. Dr. Nancy Messonnier of the Centers for Disease Control testified to Congress: “I do believe that…most cases that we’re seeing are in unvaccinated communities.” Dr. Anthony Fauci, who heads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, declared:

“Coverage in a given community, when it falls below a certain critical level, you get the kinds of outbreaks that we’re seeing, particularly in places like New York City and the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn…. his is a relatively closed community, a Hasidic Jewish community in that area — that are not vaccinating their children at a rate that would provide that broad umbrella of protection that we call herd immunity…When you drop down to the 80s or even the 70s [emphasis added] or even lower, where it is now in that community, that’s exactly the explanation of why we’re seeing the outbreaks that we’re seeing.”

However, the New York State Health Department reports the average vaccination rate for measles among the nearly 200 Jewish K-12 schools in Brooklyn — mainly in Borough Park and Williamsburg — is 96%, six percentage points higher than the statewide average among private schools. In contrast, six other New York counties have a vaccination rate below 50%.

Moreover, the measles vaccination rate among Jewish school-age children is above the assumed 95% threshold required for “herd immunity,” i.e., protection of the community from sustained outbreaks.

What, then, explains the outbreak?

Regardless of the vaccination rate, some communities have characteristics that enhance and sustain epidemics. Population density and a community’s social mixing patterns are two critical determinants of whether an outbreak dies out or remains sustained. Orthodox Jewish communities are densely populated. Families have many children and interact frequently.

The vaccination rate of 95%, assumed to provide herd immunity, is derived from a basic model assuming the vaccine is effective 97% of the time, and that, in the absence of immunity an average infected individual transmits the infection to 12 others, the “basic reproduction number” (what we in medicine refer to as “R0”).

If, however, in a densely populated and highly interactive community, the average infected individual transmits measles to 24 others, then 99% of the community must be vaccinated in order to ensure herd immunity. If the average is 36, then even a 100% vaccination rate fails to ensure herd immunity. R0 estimates in the literature vary from 1 to 203.

Implicit in the current media coverage is the assumption that measles outbreaks should not occur anymore. But despite the fact that measles were declared eliminated from the United States in 2000, complete elimination may no longer be realistic.

Anyone born before 1957 is generally assumed to have complete natural immunity to measles, gained through childhood exposure to the virus. Today most rely on vaccination for their immunity, which is only 97% effective. Indeed, 13% of the typed 2019 cases were vaccinated.

Another obstacle to elimination is the persistence of “anti-vaxers” (though no evidence suggests that their presence among Orthodox Jews is above average). As long as there is a cohort of people refusing vaccination, together with a group which the vaccine fails to immunize, it will be extremely difficult to eliminate measles.

What remedies are available, then?

First, it is time to stop vilifying the Orthodox Jewish community when the data show their vaccination rates are as high as any. Continuing to blame this segment of the Jewish community — especially in the news media — is not only wrong. It actually jeopardizes the cooperation that is necessary to stem the outbreak.

Current recommendations are likely being revisited. In 1968, a single vaccine was believed to achieve lifelong immunity. However, from 1987 to 1992, a large outbreak infected many vaccinated young adults. The recommendation was then changed to administer two vaccine doses — the first at age one, and a second dose between the ages of 4 and 6. Upon review, the guidelines could perhaps change to recommend giving the second vaccine earlier, or even to administer a third dose.

Reducing measles here in the U.S. also calls for better international cooperation. From 2001 to 2016, 553 measles cases in the U.S. originated abroad. As of April 24 of this year, 170 countries have reported 112,163 measles cases to the World Health Organization — four times last year’s numbers. The trend calls for WHO to initiate a global vaccination campaign, similar to its successful campaign to eradicate the polio virus globally. This will, however, require large donations by first world governments and organizations like GAVI and the Gates Foundation.

Additionally, with the community’s cooperation and trust, the "identify, isolate and track” strategy, effective in containing the Ebola virus, could be implemented successfully.

Last but not least, anti-vaxers must be engaged respectfully instead of with derision or condescension. Some anti-vaxers’ concerns are, prima facie, reasonable. Their claim that vaccines are associated with autism is not. The only study ever claiming a relationship was fraudulent. And a new Annals of Internal Medicine study, once again, dispels any links.

Medical practitioners, especially, have a duty to provide clear explanations and to engage patients in joint decisionmaking. On the other hand, anti-vaxers must understand that their personal decision impacts others very significantly. We urge them to get vaccinated for the general good, as only very high vaccination rates prevent enduring outbreaks.

In summary, there is a worldwide and national surge in measles, disproportionately affecting the Orthodox Jewish community, even though its vaccination rate is similar to those elsewhere. Outbreaks are more likely in dense populations with frequent social mixing patterns. Blaming the Jewish community is therefore wrong, offensive and counterproductive by enhancing resistance and suspicion.

Vaccination rates should be maximized, nationally and globally, and the current vaccination schedule reevaluated. Finally, antivaxers should reevaluate the relative risks, understand that autism is a baseless concern, and consider the benefit vaccination provides to society.

53 נג

Rav Schwab Brings the idea (or Mashal) of immunization to Sinai and Mesorah....

54 נד

Shiur #2

The Fascinating Minhag of Trees in Shul On Shavuos

55 נה

These three pages of Handouts were found in BMA of Queens and were not created by this writer. I found them to be perfect to explain this Minhag.

56 נו
57 נז
58 נח
59 נט
60 ס

Shiur #3

Limud Kaballah and the Sefiros

61 סא

(כא) הוּא הָיָה אוֹמֵר, בֶּן חָמֵשׁ שָׁנִים לַמִּקְרָא, בֶּן עֶשֶׂר לַמִּשְׁנָה, בֶּן שְׁלשׁ עֶשְׂרֵה לַמִּצְוֹת, בֶּן חֲמֵשׁ עֶשְׂרֵה לַתַּלְמוּד, בֶּן שְׁמֹנֶה עֶשְׂרֵה לַחֻפָּה, בֶּן עֶשְׂרִים לִרְדֹּף, בֶּן שְׁלשִׁים לַכֹּחַ, בֶּן אַרְבָּעִים לַבִּינָה, בֶּן חֲמִשִּׁים לָעֵצָה, בֶּן שִׁשִּׁים לַזִּקְנָה, בֶּן שִׁבְעִים לַשֵּׂיבָה, בֶּן שְׁמֹנִים לַגְּבוּרָה, בֶּן תִּשְׁעִים לָשׁוּחַ, בֶּן מֵאָה כְּאִלּוּ מֵת וְעָבַר וּבָטֵל מִן הָעוֹלָם:

(21) He used to say: At five years of age the study of Scripture; At ten the study of Mishnah; At thirteen subject to the commandments; At fifteen the study of Talmud; At eighteen the bridal canopy; At twenty for pursuit [of livelihood]; At thirty the peak of strength; At forty wisdom; At fifty able to give counsel; At sixty old age; At seventy fullness of years; At eighty the age of “strength”; At ninety a bent body; At one hundred, as good as dead and gone completely out of the world.

62 סב

ועד כמה עד ארבעין שנין איני והא רבה אורי בשוין

And until when is it considered too premature for a scholar to issue halakhic rulings? It is until forty years. The Gemara asks: Is that so? But didn’t Rabba issue rulings, even though he lived for only forty years? The Gemara answers: It is permitted for a scholar who has not studied for so long to issue rulings when his knowledge reaches the level of the foremost scholar in his city and they are equals

63 סג

(לא) כל תלמיד חכם שדעותיו מכוונות אינו מדבר בפני מי שגדול ממנו בחכמה אע"פ שלא למד ממנו כלום: הגה ואין לאדם להורות עד ארבעים שנה אם יש גדול ממנו בעיר אף על פי שאינו רבו (ב"י בשם הר"ן וסמ"ק ורש"י פרק הנחנקין) .

64 סד

(ג) ... וּבֶן אַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה הִכִּיר אַבְרָהָם אֶת בּוֹרְאוֹ. כֵּיוָן שֶׁהִכִּיר וְיָדַע הִתְחִיל לְהָשִׁיב תְּשׁוּבוֹת עַל בְּנֵי אוּר כַּשְׂדִּים וְלַעֲרֹךְ דִּין עִמָּהֶם וְלוֹמַר שֶׁאֵין זוֹ דֶּרֶךְ הָאֱמֶת שֶׁאַתֶּם הוֹלְכִים בָּהּ וְשִׁבֵּר הַצְּלָמִים וְהִתְחִיל לְהוֹדִיעַ לָעָם שֶׁאֵין רָאוּי לַעֲבֹד אֶלָּא לֶאֱלוֹהַּ הָעוֹלָם וְלוֹ רָאוּי לְהִשְׁתַּחֲווֹת וּלְהַקְרִיב וּלְנַסֵּךְ כְּדֵי שֶׁיַּכִּירוּהוּ כָּל הַבְּרוּאִים הַבָּאִים. וְרָאוּי לְאַבֵּד וּלְשַׁבֵּר כָּל הַצּוּרוֹת כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יִטְעוּ בָּהֶן כָּל הָעָם כְּמוֹ אֵלּוּ שֶׁהֵם מְדַמִּים שֶׁאֵין שָׁם אֱלוֹהַּ אֶלָּא אֵלּוּ. כֵּיוָן שֶׁגָּבַר עֲלֵיהֶם בִּרְאָיוֹתָיו בִּקֵּשׁ הַמֶּלֶךְ לְהָרְגוֹ וְנַעֲשָׂה לוֹ נֵס וְיָצָא לְחָרָן. וְהִתְחִיל לַעֲמֹד וְלִקְרֹא בְּקוֹל גָּדוֹל לְכָל הָעוֹלָם וּלְהוֹדִיעָם שֶׁיֵּשׁ שָׁם אֱלוֹהַּ אֶחָד לְכָל הָעוֹלָם וְלוֹ רָאוּי לַעֲבֹד.

(3)... And, when Abraham was forty years old he recognized his Creator. After he came to this comprehension and knowledge he started to confute the sons of Ur of the Chaldeans, and to organize disputations with them, cautioning them, saying: "This is not the true path that you are following", and he destroyed the images, and commenced preaching to the people warning them that it is not right to worship any save the God of the universe, and unto Him alone it is right to bow down, to offer sacrifices, and compound offerings, so that the creatures of the future shall recognize Him.

65 סה

... א"ל לא קשאי כלומר איני בן חמשים שנה .

66 סו
ת"ר בראשונה שם בן שתים עשרה אותיות היו מוסרין אותו לכל אדם משרבו הפריצים היו מוסרים אותו לצנועים שבכהונה והצנועים שבכהונה מבליעים אותו בנעימת אחיהם הכהנים תניא אמר רבי טרפון פעם אחת עליתי אחר אחי אמי לדוכן והטיתי אזני אצל כהן גדול ושמעתי שהבליע שם בנעימת אחיו הכהנים אמר רב יהודה אמר רב שם בן ארבעים ושתים אותיות אין מוסרין אותו אלא למי שצנוע ועניו ועומד בחצי ימיו ואינו כועס ואינו משתכר ואינו מעמיד על מדותיו וכל היודעו והזהיר בו והמשמרו בטהרה אהוב למעלה ונחמד למטה ואימתו מוטלת על הבריות ונוחל שני עולמים העולם הזה והעולם הבא
The Sages taught: Initially, the Sages would transmit the twelve-letter name of God to any person. When the uninhibited ones who used the name disrespectfully increased, they would transmit it only to discreet members of the priesthood, and the discreet members of the priesthood would pronounce the name during the Priestly Benediction. They would conceal it by saying it during the sweet melody of their priestly brothers, so that it would not become publicly known. It is taught in a baraita: Rabbi Tarfon, who was himself a priest, said: On one occasion I ascended after my mother’s brother to the platform to give the Priestly Benediction, and I inclined my ear near the High Priest, and I heard him conceal the name during the sweet melody of his priestly brothers. Rav Yehuda says that Rav says: The forty-two-letter name of God may be transmitted only to one who is discreet, and humble, and stands at at least half his life, and does not get angry, and does not get drunk, and does not insist upon his rights but is willing to yield. There is no concern that such a person might reveal the name in a fit of anger or drunkenness. And anyone who knows this name and is careful with it and guards it in purity is beloved above and treasured below; and fear of him is cast upon the creatures; and he inherits two worlds, this world and the World-to-Come.
67 סז

(ד) חייב אדם לשלש למודו שליש בתורה שבכתב דהיינו הארבעה ועשרים שליש במשנה דהיינו תורה שבעל פה ופי' תורה שבכתב בכלל זה שליש בתלמוד דהיינו שיבין וישכיל אחרית דבר מראשיתו ויוציא דבר מתוך דבר וידמה דבר לדבר וידון במדות שהתורה נדרשת בהם עד שידע היאך עיקר המצות והיאך יוצא האסור והמותר וכיוצא בזה דברים שלמד מפי השמועה כיצד היה בעל אומנות ועוסק במלאכתו ג' שעות ביום וט' בתורה קורא ג' מהם בתורה שבכתב ובג' תורה שבעל פה ובג' יבין דבר מתוך דבר במה דברים אמורים בתחילת לימודו של אדם אבל כשיגדיל בתורה ולא יהא צריך ללמוד תורה שבכתב ולא לעסוק תמיד בתורה שבעל פה יקרא בעתים מזומנים תורה שבכתב ודברי תורה שבעל פה כדי שלא ישכח דבר מדיני התורה ויפנה כל ימיו לתלמוד בלבד לפי רוחב לבו וישוב דעתו: הגה וי"א שבתלמוד בבלי שהוא בלול במקרא במשנה וגמרא אדם יוצא ידי חובתו בשביל הכל (טור בשם ר"ת וע"פ ע"ל סי' רמ"ה ס"ו) ואין לאדם ללמוד כי אם מקרא משנה וגמרא והפוסקים הנמשכים אחריהם ובזה יקנה העולם הזה והעוה"ב אבל לא בלמוד שאר החכמות (ריב"ש סי' מ"ה ותלמידי רשב"א) ומ"מ מותר ללמוד באקראי בשאר חכמות ובלבד שלא יהיו ספרי מינים וזהו נקרא בין החכמים טיול בפרדס ואין לאדם לטייל בפרדס רק לאחר שמלא כריסו בשר ויין והוא לידע איסור והיתר ודיני המצות (רמב"ם סוף מדע ס"פ ד' מהל' יסודי התורה):

(4) One is obligated to divide his learning schedule into thirds: one third in Written Torah; that is, the twenty-four [books of the Tanach]; one third in Mishna, that is, the Torah She'b'al Peh, and the explanations of the Written Torah are included herein; [and] one third to Talmud, that is understanding and conceptualizing the end of a matter from its beginnings... When does this apply? At the outset of ones learning; however, when one grows in Torah and no longer needs to learn the Written Torah nor needs to constantly review the Torah She'b'al Peh, he may read as fixed times the Written Torah and the words of Torah She'b'al Peh, so that he doesn't forget one thing from the laws of the Torah, and avail the rest of his days to Talmud alone, to the extent of his abilities and ability to focus. [Rama gloss]: There are those who say that through Talmud Bavli, which combines Written Torah, Mishna, and Talmud, one fulfills his obligations for all [of the above]....

68 סח

(א) אבל לא בלימוד שאר החכמות. כגון ספרי הפילוסופים ותכונה וחכמת הקבלה וכיוצא בהן ואין לשון הרב מתוקן שכתב וזהו נקרא בין החכמים טיול בפרדס כו' משמע שכל שאר החכמות זולת הש"ס נקרא טיול בפרדס ואינו כן שהרמב"ם כתב בספ"ד מהל' יסודי התורה שעניני מעשה בראשית ומעשה מרכבה הם שחכמים קוראים אותו פרדס כמ"ש (בפ' אין דורשין) ארבעה נכנסו לפרדס ואף ע"פ שגדולי ישראל וחכמים גדולים היו לא כולם היו בהן כח לידע ולהשיג כל הדברים על בוריין ואני אומר שאין ראוי לטייל בפרדס אלא מי שנתמלא כריסו לחם ובשר ולחם ובשר הוא לידע האסור והמותר וכיוצא בהם משאר המצות ואף ע"פ שדברים אלו דבר קטן קראו אותן חכמים שהרי אמרו (בבבא בתרא דף קל"ד ע"א) דבר גדול מעשה מרכבה דבר קטן הוויות דאביי ורבא אע"פ כן ראויין הן להקדימן שהם מיישבים דעתו של אדם תחלה ועוד שהם הטוב' הגדולה שהשפיע הקב"ה לישוב העוה"ז כדי לנחול חיי העוה"ב ואפשר שיודעים הכל קטן וגדול איש ואשה בעל לב רחב ובעל לב קצר ע"כ ...ויש שכתבו שלא ללמוד קבלה עד שיהא בן ארבעים שנה כמ"ש בן ארבעים לבינה בשגם שצריך קדושה וטהרה וזריזות ונקיות לזה ורוב המתפרצים לעלות בחכמה זו קודם הזמן הראוי קומטו בלא עת כמ"ש כל זה בד' חכמי האמת:

69 סט
70 ע
71 עא
72 עב
(י) וַיִּרְא֕וּ אֵ֖ת אֱלֹהֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל וְתַ֣חַת רַגְלָ֗יו כְּמַעֲשֵׂה֙ לִבְנַ֣ת הַסַּפִּ֔יר וּכְעֶ֥צֶם הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם לָטֹֽהַר׃
(10) and they saw the God of Israel: under His feet there was the likeness of a pavement of sapphire, like the very sky for purity.
73 עג
(כו) וּמִמַּ֗עַל לָרָקִ֙יעַ֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר עַל־רֹאשָׁ֔ם כְּמַרְאֵ֥ה אֶֽבֶן־סַפִּ֖יר דְּמ֣וּת כִּסֵּ֑א וְעַל֙ דְּמ֣וּת הַכִּסֵּ֔א דְּמ֞וּת כְּמַרְאֵ֥ה אָדָ֛ם עָלָ֖יו מִלְמָֽעְלָה׃
(26) Above the expanse over their heads was the semblance of a throne, in appearance like sapphire; and on top, upon this semblance of a throne, there was the semblance of a human form.
74 עד
(ב) הַשָּׁמַ֗יִם מְֽסַפְּרִ֥ים כְּבֽוֹד־אֵ֑ל וּֽמַעֲשֵׂ֥ה יָ֝דָ֗יו מַגִּ֥יד הָרָקִֽיעַ׃
(2) The heavens declare the glory of God, the sky proclaims His handiwork.
75 עה

The Kabbalists point out that the same root work means both, book (sefer), count (siper), and recount (misaper)

76 עו
(יט) יְֽהוָ֗ה בְּחָכְמָ֥ה יָֽסַד־אָ֑רֶץ כּוֹנֵ֥ן שָׁ֝מַ֗יִם בִּתְבוּנָֽה׃
(19) The LORD founded the earth by wisdom; He established the heavens by understanding;
77 עז
(כ) בְּ֭דַעְתּוֹ תְּהוֹמ֣וֹת נִבְקָ֑עוּ וּ֝שְׁחָקִ֗ים יִרְעֲפוּ־טָֽל׃
(20) By His knowledge the depths burst apart, And the skies distilled dew.
78 עח

Divrei Hayamim 1 29:10-11

"וַיְבָרֶךְ דָּוִיד אֶת ה' לְעֵינֵי כָּל הַקָּהָל... לְךָ ה' הַגְּדֻלָּה (=חסד) וְהַגְּבוּרָה וְהַתִּפְאֶרֶת וְהַנֵּצַח וְהַהוֹד כִּי כֹל (=יסוד) בַּשָּׁמַיִם וּבָאָרֶץ לְךָ ה' הַמַּמְלָכָה (=מלכות) וְהַמִּתְנַשֵּׂא לְכֹל לְרֹאשׁ"

79 עט

"כַּף אַחַת עֲשָׂרָה זָהָב, כְּנֶגֶד עֲשָׂרָה מַאֲמָרוֹת שֶׁנִּבְרָא בָּהֶם הָעוֹלָם, וּכְנֶגֶד עֶשֶׂר סְפִירוֹת בְּלִימָה"

— מדרש רבה פרשת נשא פרק י"ד אות י"ב

80 פ
81 פא
82 פב

Shu't Rashbash 189

Furthermore, they don’t know what these ten Sefirot are; if they’re descriptions, or names, or influences that emanate from God…

If you say they are (just) names, then they (must not be) independent parts; but if they are independent entities then they are a multiplicity of parts, and if this is the case, the Christians claim there are three parts (to God), and these ones (publicizing Kabbalists) claim there are ten!

And if you say they are (descriptive) attributes, then why are these ones different than the other attributes which describe God? God taught Moses about 13, so why have they diminished from this number by 3?…And if Moses did not reach (the level to know the Sefirot), how could another reach (the level to know) them?

…And if you say they are influences…that is to say, angels…one who prays to them- if he says they are powers or influences- if this is the case, one who prays (to) and concentrates on them is a heretic, since anyone who prays to one of the angels is a heretic! And one who thinks (the Sefirot) are things unto themselves and different than God is a heretic!

And if you say they are attributes, they should tell us what difference there is from the other ones.”…students who have not learned enough, and who do not want to put in effort into legal topics, choose impatiently to glorify themselves with the knowledge of Kabbalah, in order to make themselves great before women and ignoramuses, and to take a crown for themselves with light words…and one who guards his soul will stay away from them.

(Translation by Y. Sprung)

83 פג

Version 1

  • Keter (Crown)
  • Hokhmah (Wisdom)
  • Binah (Understanding)
  • Hesed (Mercy)
  • Gevurah (Justice)
  • Tiferet (Beauty)
  • Nezah (Eternity)
  • Hod (Glory)
  • Yesod (Foundation)
  • Shekhinah (the feminine aspect of God) or Malkhut (Royalty)

Version 2

  • Chochmah - wisdom,
  • Binah - understanding,
  • Daat - knowledge,
  • Chessed - kindness,
  • Gevurah - strength,
  • Tiferet - beauty,
  • Netzach - victory,
  • Hod - splendor,
  • Yesod - foundation,
  • Malchut - kingship.
84 פד
ואמאי קרי ליה ספירות, משום דכתיב (תהלים י"ט ב) השמים מספרים כבוד אל:
85 פה
ומאי ניהו תורת אמת, דבר שמורה על אמיתות העולמים ופעולתו במחשבה והוא מעמיד עשרה מאמרות שבהם עומד העולם והוא אחד מהם, וברא באדם כנגד אותם עשרה מאמרות עשר אצבעות ידים, וכשהיה משה מרים ידו ומכוין במיעוט כוונת הלב באותה המדה הנקראת ישראל ובתוכה תורת אמת ורומז לו עשר אצבעות ידיו שהוא מעמיד את העשרה, ואם לא יעזור את ישראל לא יתקיימו העשרה מאמרות בכל יום ויום הלכך וגבר ישראל, וכאשר יניח ידו וגבר עמלק (שם) וכי היה משה עושה שיגבר עמלק דכתיב וכאשר יניח ידו וגבר עמלק, אלא אסור לו לאדם לשהות שלש שעות כפיו פרושות השמים:
86 פו
87 פז
88 פח
89 פט

Shiur #4

Lowering Flames on YT

(Shiur #5 and #6 will not have handouts)

90 צ
91 צא
92 צב
93 צג

Shiur #7 Secrets of Rus

94 צד
(א) וַיְהִ֗י בִּימֵי֙ שְׁפֹ֣ט הַשֹּׁפְטִ֔ים וַיְהִ֥י רָעָ֖ב בָּאָ֑רֶץ וַיֵּ֨לֶךְ אִ֜ישׁ מִבֵּ֧ית לֶ֣חֶם יְהוּדָ֗ה לָגוּר֙ בִּשְׂדֵ֣י מוֹאָ֔ב ה֥וּא וְאִשְׁתּ֖וֹ וּשְׁנֵ֥י בָנָֽיו׃ (ב) וְשֵׁ֣ם הָאִ֣ישׁ אֱ‍ֽלִימֶ֡לֶךְ וְשֵׁם֩ אִשְׁתּ֨וֹ נָעֳמִ֜י וְשֵׁ֥ם שְׁנֵֽי־בָנָ֣יו ׀ מַחְל֤וֹן וְכִלְיוֹן֙ אֶפְרָתִ֔ים מִבֵּ֥ית לֶ֖חֶם יְהוּדָ֑ה וַיָּבֹ֥אוּ שְׂדֵי־מוֹאָ֖ב וַיִּֽהְיוּ־שָֽׁם׃ (ג) וַיָּ֥מָת אֱלִימֶ֖לֶךְ אִ֣ישׁ נָעֳמִ֑י וַתִּשָּׁאֵ֥ר הִ֖יא וּשְׁנֵ֥י בָנֶֽיהָ׃ (ד) וַיִּשְׂא֣וּ לָהֶ֗ם נָשִׁים֙ מֹֽאֲבִיּ֔וֹת שֵׁ֤ם הָֽאַחַת֙ עָרְפָּ֔ה וְשֵׁ֥ם הַשֵּׁנִ֖ית ר֑וּת וַיֵּ֥שְׁבוּ שָׁ֖ם כְּעֶ֥שֶׂר שָׁנִֽים׃ (ה) וַיָּמ֥וּתוּ גַם־שְׁנֵיהֶ֖ם מַחְל֣וֹן וְכִלְי֑וֹן וַתִּשָּׁאֵר֙ הָֽאִשָּׁ֔ה מִשְּׁנֵ֥י יְלָדֶ֖יהָ וּמֵאִישָֽׁהּ׃ (ו) וַתָּ֤קָם הִיא֙ וְכַלֹּתֶ֔יהָ וַתָּ֖שָׁב מִשְּׂדֵ֣י מוֹאָ֑ב כִּ֤י שָֽׁמְעָה֙ בִּשְׂדֵ֣ה מוֹאָ֔ב כִּֽי־פָקַ֤ד יְהוָה֙ אֶת־עַמּ֔וֹ לָתֵ֥ת לָהֶ֖ם לָֽחֶם׃ (ז) וַתֵּצֵ֗א מִן־הַמָּקוֹם֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר הָיְתָה־שָׁ֔מָּה וּשְׁתֵּ֥י כַלֹּתֶ֖יהָ עִמָּ֑הּ וַתֵּלַ֣כְנָה בַדֶּ֔רֶךְ לָשׁ֖וּב אֶל־אֶ֥רֶץ יְהוּדָֽה׃ (ח) וַתֹּ֤אמֶר נָעֳמִי֙ לִשְׁתֵּ֣י כַלֹּתֶ֔יהָ לֵ֣כְנָה שֹּׁ֔בְנָה אִשָּׁ֖ה לְבֵ֣ית אִמָּ֑הּ יעשה [יַ֣עַשׂ] יְהוָ֤ה עִמָּכֶם֙ חֶ֔סֶד כַּאֲשֶׁ֧ר עֲשִׂיתֶ֛ם עִם־הַמֵּתִ֖ים וְעִמָּדִֽי׃ (ט) יִתֵּ֤ן יְהוָה֙ לָכֶ֔ם וּמְצֶ֣אןָ מְנוּחָ֔ה אִשָּׁ֖ה בֵּ֣ית אִישָׁ֑הּ וַתִּשַּׁ֣ק לָהֶ֔ן וַתִּשֶּׂ֥אנָה קוֹלָ֖ן וַתִּבְכֶּֽינָה׃ (י) וַתֹּאמַ֖רְנָה־לָּ֑הּ כִּי־אִתָּ֥ךְ נָשׁ֖וּב לְעַמֵּֽךְ׃ (יא) וַתֹּ֤אמֶר נָעֳמִי֙ שֹׁ֣בְנָה בְנֹתַ֔י לָ֥מָּה תֵלַ֖כְנָה עִמִּ֑י הַֽעֽוֹד־לִ֤י בָנִים֙ בְּֽמֵעַ֔י וְהָי֥וּ לָכֶ֖ם לַאֲנָשִֽׁים׃ (יב) שֹׁ֤בְנָה בְנֹתַי֙ לֵ֔כְןָ כִּ֥י זָקַ֖נְתִּי מִהְי֣וֹת לְאִ֑ישׁ כִּ֤י אָמַ֙רְתִּי֙ יֶשׁ־לִ֣י תִקְוָ֔ה גַּ֣ם הָיִ֤יתִי הַלַּ֙יְלָה֙ לְאִ֔ישׁ וְגַ֖ם יָלַ֥דְתִּי בָנִֽים׃ (יג) הֲלָהֵ֣ן ׀ תְּשַׂבֵּ֗רְנָה עַ֚ד אֲשֶׁ֣ר יִגְדָּ֔לוּ הֲלָהֵן֙ תֵּֽעָגֵ֔נָה לְבִלְתִּ֖י הֱי֣וֹת לְאִ֑ישׁ אַ֣ל בְּנֹתַ֗י כִּֽי־מַר־לִ֤י מְאֹד֙ מִכֶּ֔ם כִּֽי־יָצְאָ֥ה בִ֖י יַד־יְהוָֽה׃ (יד) וַתִּשֶּׂ֣נָה קוֹלָ֔ן וַתִּבְכֶּ֖ינָה ע֑וֹד וַתִּשַּׁ֤ק עָרְפָּה֙ לַחֲמוֹתָ֔הּ וְר֖וּת דָּ֥בְקָה בָּֽהּ׃ (טו) וַתֹּ֗אמֶר הִנֵּה֙ שָׁ֣בָה יְבִמְתֵּ֔ךְ אֶל־עַמָּ֖הּ וְאֶל־אֱלֹהֶ֑יהָ שׁ֖וּבִי אַחֲרֵ֥י יְבִמְתֵּֽךְ׃ (טז) וַתֹּ֤אמֶר רוּת֙ אַל־תִּפְגְּעִי־בִ֔י לְעָזְבֵ֖ךְ לָשׁ֣וּב מֵאַחֲרָ֑יִךְ כִּ֠י אֶל־אֲשֶׁ֨ר תֵּלְכִ֜י אֵלֵ֗ךְ וּבַאֲשֶׁ֤ר תָּלִ֙ינִי֙ אָלִ֔ין עַמֵּ֣ךְ עַמִּ֔י וֵאלֹהַ֖יִךְ אֱלֹהָֽי׃ (יז) בַּאֲשֶׁ֤ר תָּמ֙וּתִי֙ אָמ֔וּת וְשָׁ֖ם אֶקָּבֵ֑ר כֹּה֩ יַעֲשֶׂ֨ה יְהוָ֥ה לִי֙ וְכֹ֣ה יֹסִ֔יף כִּ֣י הַמָּ֔וֶת יַפְרִ֖יד בֵּינִ֥י וּבֵינֵֽךְ׃ (יח) וַתֵּ֕רֶא כִּֽי־מִתְאַמֶּ֥צֶת הִ֖יא לָלֶ֣כֶת אִתָּ֑הּ וַתֶּחְדַּ֖ל לְדַבֵּ֥ר אֵלֶֽיהָ׃ (יט) וַתֵּלַ֣כְנָה שְׁתֵּיהֶ֔ם עַד־בֹּאָ֖נָה בֵּ֣ית לָ֑חֶם וַיְהִ֗י כְּבֹאָ֙נָה֙ בֵּ֣ית לֶ֔חֶם וַתֵּהֹ֤ם כָּל־הָעִיר֙ עֲלֵיהֶ֔ן וַתֹּאמַ֖רְנָה הֲזֹ֥את נָעֳמִֽי׃ (כ) וַתֹּ֣אמֶר אֲלֵיהֶ֔ן אַל־תִּקְרֶ֥אנָה לִ֖י נָעֳמִ֑י קְרֶ֤אןָ לִי֙ מָרָ֔א כִּי־הֵמַ֥ר שַׁדַּ֛י לִ֖י מְאֹֽד׃ (כא) אֲנִי֙ מְלֵאָ֣ה הָלַ֔כְתִּי וְרֵיקָ֖ם הֱשִׁיבַ֣נִי יְהוָ֑ה לָ֣מָּה תִקְרֶ֤אנָה לִי֙ נָעֳמִ֔י וַֽיהוָה֙ עָ֣נָה בִ֔י וְשַׁדַּ֖י הֵ֥רַֽע לִֽי׃ (כב) וַתָּ֣שָׁב נָעֳמִ֗י וְר֨וּת הַמּוֹאֲבִיָּ֤ה כַלָּתָהּ֙ עִמָּ֔הּ הַשָּׁ֖בָה מִשְּׂדֵ֣י מוֹאָ֑ב וְהֵ֗מָּה בָּ֚אוּ בֵּ֣ית לֶ֔חֶם בִּתְחִלַּ֖ת קְצִ֥יר שְׂעֹרִֽים׃
(1) In the days when the chieftains ruled, there was a famine in the land; and a man of Bethlehem in Judah, with his wife and two sons, went to reside in the country of Moab. (2) The man’s name was Elimelech, his wife’s name was Naomi, and his two sons were named Mahlon and Chilion—Ephrathites of Bethlehem in Judah. They came to the country of Moab and remained there. (3) Elimelech, Naomi’s husband, died; and she was left with her two sons. (4) They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth, and they lived there about ten years. (5) Then those two—Mahlon and Chilion—also died; so the woman was left without her two sons and without her husband. (6) She started out with her daughters-in-law to return from the country of Moab; for in the country of Moab she had heard that the LORD had taken note of His people and given them food. (7) Accompanied by her two daughters-in-law, she left the place where she had been living; and they set out on the road back to the land of Judah. (8) But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Turn back, each of you to her mother’s house. May the LORD deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me! (9) May the LORD grant that each of you find security in the house of a husband!” And she kissed them farewell. They broke into weeping (10) and said to her, “No, we will return with you to your people.” (11) But Naomi replied, “Turn back, my daughters! Why should you go with me? Have I any more sons in my body who might be husbands for you? (12) Turn back, my daughters, for I am too old to be married. Even if I thought there was hope for me, even if I were married tonight and I also bore sons, (13) should you wait for them to grow up? Should you on their account debar yourselves from marriage? Oh no, my daughters! My lot is far more bitter than yours, for the hand of the LORD has struck out against me.” (14) They broke into weeping again, and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law farewell. But Ruth clung to her. (15) So she said, “See, your sister-in-law has returned to her people and her gods. Go follow your sister-in-law.” (16) But Ruth replied, “Do not urge me to leave you, to turn back and not follow you. For wherever you go, I will go; wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God. (17) Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus and more may the LORD do to me if anything but death parts me from you.” (18) When [Naomi] saw how determined she was to go with her, she ceased to argue with her; (19) and the two went on until they reached Bethlehem. When they arrived in Bethlehem, the whole city buzzed with excitement over them. The women said, “Can this be Naomi?” (20) “Do not call me Naomi,” she replied. “Call me Mara, for Shaddai has made my lot very bitter. (21) I went away full, and the LORD has brought me back empty. How can you call me Naomi, when the LORD has dealt harshly with me, when Shaddai has brought misfortune upon me!” (22) Thus Naomi returned from the country of Moab; she returned with her daughter-in-law Ruth the Moabite. They arrived in Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest.