Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Why I'm benching lulav this Shabbat

It's no secret that I observe one day of yom tov, following the Torah, the longtime practice of the land of Israel and the Reform movement, and the minhag of my ancestors for generations (being one of those fifth-generation Reform Jews who are pronounced nonexistent when it suits the rhetoric).

This post addresses a rarely-explored consequence.

Leviticus 23:40 commands only that the four species be taken on the first day, and says nothing about what should be done the other days of the holiday. Therefore, the Mishnah (Sukkah 3:12) says that outside of the Temple, the lulav (synecdoche for all four species) was taken only on the first day, and it was taken all 7 days in the Temple. (Sifra Emor 16:9 (I think? I don't know the proper citation format) derives this from the end of the same verse, where it says "you shall rejoice before God 7 days", suggesting that lulav should be taken 7 days when you're "before God", i.e. in the Temple. Thanks, EAR, for the Bar-Ilan login.)

According to the same mishnah, when the Temple was destroyed, Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai decreed that the lulav should be taken all 7 days everywhere, in remembrance of the Temple. For those keeping track, lulav on the first day is still a Torah commandment, while lulav on the other 6 days (outside the Temple) is a rabbinic decree.

Later on, the Mishnah (Sukkah 4:1) says that the lulav is "6 and 7". That is, as elucidated in Sukkah 4:2, if the 1st day of Sukkot falls on Shabbat, the lulav is taken all 7 days, and if it falls on any other day of the week, the lulav is taken 6 days (every day except Shabbat).

Why? Rabbah explains in the Gemara (Sukkah 42b) that this is a decree to prevent people from carrying a lulav in the public domain on Shabbat, the same decree that applies to shofar and megillah. I don't quite see the point of this -- the Mishnah (Sukkah 3:13 and 4:3) already discusses solutions for benching lulav on Shabbat (in this case, when yom tov falls on Shabbat) without carrying on Shabbat, viz. everyone brought their lulavs to the synagogue/Temple before Shabbat, and when that got too ugly, they started benching lulav at home instead. I don't see why that couldn't work just as well for Shabbat Chol Hamo'ed. But even if I don't agree with Rabbah's reasons, I don't have a problem with this decree -- chaza"l gives and chaza"l takes away. The rabbis are the ones who established the practice of lulav on days 2-7 of Sukkot in the first place, so they get to impose constraints on it. But they don't impose any constraints on lulav on day 1 (at least the Mishnah and the earlier amoraim like Rabbah don't), because it's a Torah commandment that they can't overrule.

So, you ask (as does the Gemara, on Sukkah 43a), how do we get from there to the present-day practice that lulav is not done on Shabbat even when it's the 1st day of Sukkot? The Gemara answers that "we" (here in Bavel) don't know the correct date of the new moon in time for the holiday. So for the same reason that they observe 2 days of yom tov (because they don't know which one is the real 15th of Tishrei), the Torah commandment to take the lulav on the 1st day of Sukkot can't override Shabbat if this epistemological uncertainty means that they're not sure it's really the 1st day of Sukkot, so they might be breaking (an electrified fence around) Shabbat for nothing.

But wait a second, you ask (as does the Gemara), what about in Israel, where they observe 1 day of yom tov, since they're certain about which day is the real 15 Tishrei? Shouldn't they bench lulav on Shabbat when it's the 1st day of Sukkot, since it's definitely the 1st day of Sukkot, so the Torah commandment should win? The Gemara responds "In hachi nami." ("Yeah, you're right.") Oops.

To this day, in Israel, the most common practice is not to bench lulav on Shabbat, even when it's the 1st day of Sukkot. The Gemara provides evidence that this has been done for at least 1500 years, but was known to be erroneous 1500 years ago.

In I Samuel 8, the people ask Samuel to give them a king, and he gives them a list of reasons why this would be a bad thing, and they say that they want a king anyway. During the English Revolution, this chapter was used as a prooftext both by supporters and opponents of monarchy. There are two different possible responses to "They knew this was wrong, and did it anyway": 1) "See, they knew it was wrong!" 2) "See, they did it anyway!"

In this case (lulav for 1-day-yom-tov observers when the 1st day of Sukkot falls on Shabbat), I'm going with approach #1 and holding by the Talmud when it calls the practices of its own time mistaken, though there are also cases when I go with approach #2 (see: kitniyot). Therefore, I will bench lulav this Shabbat, as will the minyan that I am visiting (I presume for similar reasons).

In fairness to the other side, I'll present some later views. The Rambam (Hilchot Lulav 7:17) codifies the practice that the Gemara calls erroneous, but (unlike the Tur / Beit Yosef / Shulchan Aruch) gives a reason: so that everyone is equal, and the Israelis (1-day observers) and the Diaspora residents (2-day observers) aren't keeping two separate practices.

To that I respond, his desire for unity is all well and good, but it's way too late for that -- if the Diaspora is already keeping A WHOLE EXTRA DAY OF YOM TOV, then what's a lulav here and there? Also, if we're going to have everyone do the same thing, wouldn't it make more sense to have everyone bench lulav (and fulfill the Torah commandment) than to have everyone not bench lulav (and fulfill the rabbinic decree)?

In Hilchot Lulav 7:18, he says that this practice of not benching lulav on Shabbat, even on the 1st day, in both 1-day and 2-day communities, stands in the present time when we determine the calendar by calculation rather than by eyewitness testimony. But he provides no further explanation.

Chag sameach! May your holiday be nothing but happy.

UPDATE: See the comments. On the following daf (Sukkah 43b), the Gemara indeed says that Eretz Yisrael should follow the Diaspora and not shake the lulav on Shabbat. Does that invalidate this whole post? Not necessarily. See the discussion in the comments for more.

48 comments:

  1. are you for a real or is this a joke

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  2. because its against the torah - whats the point? its not like your gaining anything - every leader in the past 1000 years will disagree with this warped logic

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  3. Fifth-generation Reform Jews, eh? Neat. :-)

    Hey, on an unrelated note, I seem to remember that at some point you posted about the 13 rules for the elucidation of Torah (the introduction to Sifra) but I can't seem to find your post. Any chance you can point me in the right direction?

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  4. I think Tina doesn't get it

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  5. I get it, it is sick twisted logic.

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  6. Chaim and Tina, do you have a substantive critique?

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  7. Very interesting, although not my practice. (I guess I feel an overriding desire to do what everyone else is doing, as long as I don't have moral/ethical issues with it. It's being "wrong" in a logical sense doesn't bother me too much.) Someone spoke about lulav on the first day of Sukkot when it's Shabbat after shacharit this morning, but mostly to ask a trivia question: What can you do with an etrog on Shabbat-Sukkot that you can't otherwise do with an etrog?

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  8. alg-- snif it for besamim at havdala?

    tina and chaim- warped? sick? twisted? because bz doesn't paskin by acharonim? sorry, that isn't making my list of warped/ twisted things in this world.

    (note: he doesn't claim to be orthodox- does that clarify?)

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  9. Chazal had the power to uproot a chiyuv min hatorah when they saw fit. There are explicit gemaras which mention this idea. When one is noitel his lulav and esrog on Shabbos, not only is he not fulfilling the Biblical commandment, he is transgressing a rabbinic commandment, as well as certain biblical commandments.

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  10. ALG- I'm stumped. Does the question only apply to Shabbat that is on the 1st day of Sukkot (like this year), or any Shabbat during Sukkot?

    And just to clarify, I don't make a scene in public and wildly wave fronds at a minyan/synagogue where I'm the only one with a lulav. This year I'll be at a minyan that is officially benching lulav on Shabbat, but in past years I've just done it in private (as suggested in Sukkah 4:3).

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  11. Chazal had the power to uproot a chiyuv min hatorah when they saw fit. There are explicit gemaras which mention this idea.

    I think I'll just let that one stand. It might be useful later.

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  12. So you are conceding to me on this point? The only reason I mentioned it is becasue I see from this post that you're not one of those crazy liberals who totallys disregards the Talmud, you're a crazy liberal who holds of the Talmud, which was the basis of your entire pipul here. IF you indeed hold of the Talmud, then you must concede to the fact that the Talmud attributes such power to Chazal to uproot a biblical commandment when they see fit.

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  13. In theory, sure. But where's the evidence that chaza"l actually did so in this case (rather than the rishonim codifying a minhag ta'ut)?

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  14. So this is where do you differ than normative Judaism, you do not beleive in the legitimacy of the Rishonim.

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  15. chaim,

    I think you meant to say "you do not believe in the AUTHORITY of the rishonim"

    cause he didn't call rishonim "illegitimate", or not worth listening to. only that they are mistaken on occasion

    you know the line about giving tradition a vote, not a veto? not youre hashkafa, but it's what going on here.

    chag sameach

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  16. By rejecting the authority of Rishonim, he is in effect delegitimizing them because he's saying they don't matter and he can make up his own halacha to replace that halacha which was passed down as tradition from Moses at Mount Sinai. Of course, he's greater than Maimonides, right? So he can say whatever he wants and break numerous laws by using his Lulav and Esrog on Shabbos. I hope he doesn't make a bracha when he does it, because that would be another biblical prohibition of taking the name of HaShem in vain. In fact, the only reason why a person can ever say a bracha is because the Rabbis said that the prohibition of taking HaShem's name in vain does not apply, but if you deny the authority of the Rabbis who were the ones who insitituted the blessings, then there will always be a problem that every blessing contains the divine name which cannot be uttered. Unless of course, he doesn't make blessings anyways or doesn't beleive that uttering the Name is forbidden (even though it's one of the ten commandments, but then again he probably doesn't observe Shabbos which is also one of the ten commandments). End angry rant. Have a Gut Shabbos and a Gut Yuntiff.

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  17. Thanks Rebecca M! Chag sameach!

    (And I don't plan to pronounce the tetragrammaton tomorrow, or any other time before the rebuilding of the beit hamikdash, bimheirah v'yameinu amen.)

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  18. Chaim-
    If we argue about hashkafa, and yeridat hadorot vs aliyat hadorot (standing on the shoulders of giants), we're clearly not going to see eye to eye, so let's focus on this specific case. Do you believe that this particular halacha (that one-day-yom-tov observers should not bench lulav on the 1st day of Sukkot when it falls on Shabbat) was "passed down as tradition from Moses at Mount Sinai"? If so, how do you understand the sugya that I cite on Sukkah 42b-43a? How do you understand the punchline "In hachi nami"?

    You write:
    but then again he probably doesn't observe Shabbos which is also one of the ten commandments

    When are you going to stop beating your wife?

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  19. chaim-

    only if one sees it as an all or nothing game-- rabbis 100% correct, or 0%.

    the other perspective is to look at them as very wise, perceptive human beings, who are very much worth listening to, and learning from, but who, like everyone made mistakes.

    time to stop procrastinating all the work I missed over yom tov...

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  20. This is why I love your blog. So well expressed. You do justice to the Reform movement. Yashar co'ach.

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  21. When are you going to stop beating your wife? That horrible ad hominen attack doesn't even make any sense because I'm not even married, and if I was, I would never beat a fellow Jew.

    Even if you argue that the Rabbis were not infallible, you must admit that in there area of expertise, namely Halacha, they ruled supreme, and you are nobody to argue on them. And if you feel that you can argue on the Talmud, then you effectively rule out using the Talmud as a proof to anything you say, because you yourself don't agree with it. But then again, this is typical of Reform.

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  22. Reb Chaim HaQoton writes:
    I would never beat a fellow Jew.

    Chaim admits that he beats non-Jews! That is sick and twisted indeed.

    Even if you argue that the Rabbis were not infallible, you must admit that in there area of expertise, namely Halacha, they ruled supreme, and you are nobody to argue on them.

    I'm starting from the premise that I am somebody, and we're not going to convince each other on that point. Though you have engaged in appeal to authority to claim that I have no standing to say what I've said, you still have yet to address the substance of my post. I'm waiting.

    And if you feel that you can argue on the Talmud, then you effectively rule out using the Talmud as a proof to anything you say, because you yourself don't agree with it.

    Eizehu chacham? Halomeid mikol adam.

    But then again, this is typical of Reform.

    From your keyboard to God's ears!

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  23. I give up. You are just off the rocker.

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  24. Appeal to authority is not always a logical fallacy, as the article you linked to even says. In fields that people are experts in, it is not illogical to quote from them as a legitimate source. Since Chazal were experts in Halacha, Talmudic lore, Jewish thought, etc... they are acceptable sources for matters concerning the above. However, you, as just some shmoe, who is obviously not an expert in this matter. To illustrate my point, the fact that the Rabbis of old are still celebrated to this day, can be (l'havdil) the equivilent to earning a Nobel prize in their fields of study. A person who winds such a prize is obviously an expert in his field and is thus a legitimate source on that matter. However, he might not necessarily be a legititmate source concerning another matter, of which he is not an expert in (like the physicist giving his moral opinion on abortion). You have no "Nobel prize" in halacha, so how dare you argue on those who do in their own field? If you wish to engage in a purely logical debate, then you must stop using the logical fallacies yourself. Ad hominem is much worse of a logical fallacy that appeal to authority, even considering the fact that I proved above that appeal to authority in this case does not apply. Because I said that I would never beat a fellow, that does not mean that I beat non-gentiles and that I am a sick and twisted person. It is not even implied in that setence.

    The Jewish nation is likened to stars, each Jew is like a star. Every Reform Jew, in my opinion, is a star which is dimming out. In your case, the star is getting dimmer and dimmer for five generations, and look at the scholarship that it produces. I truly hope that you will be able to see the Truth one day.

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  25. Chaim:

    BZ was almost certainly not engaging in an ad-hominem attack. He was most likely accusing you of asking (via implication) a loaded question. (See http://www.fallacyfiles.org/loadques.html).

    And, while I certainly don't have the education necessary myself to engage this debate on the merits, I'll note that you still didn't answer a question I'm quite curious about myself: But where's the evidence that chaza"l actually did so [uprooting a chiyuv min hatorah] in this case (rather than the rishonim codifying a minhag ta'ut)?

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  26. Does Little Chaim expect he's ever going to convince anyone to do things his way, with an approach like that?

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  27. I agree with your reading in theory, but it seems to me to be an erroneous reading on the actual sugya in sukot. The sugya does not end with the “I hacha nami” on 43a, rather there is a continuation at the bottom of 44a. The sugya had left off with quoting two brietot which seemed to claim that even after the Beit hamikdash was destroyed, when yom rishon occurred on shabat they would go to the Beit hakneset, thus indicating that the normative practice for Israel is to shake on yom rishon shechal bshabat. The sugya on 43b reintroduces the original question, (coming via a parallel discussion about taking Aravot on shabat) and introduces an original answer. Since in Babel we are not doche shabat because of sfieka deyoma, so to in Israel we are not docheh. Rashi explains this logic by claiming that chazal did not wish to fragment the practice of lulav and create two Torot. The Gemara then continues by refuting the briata that appeared on 43a, which had said that even after the beit hamikdash was destroyed in Israel they would shake lulav on shabat in Batie Knaesiyot. The Gemara now says that was really also talking about the time of the Beit hamikdash.
    The Riff formats the sugya such that the bottom of 43b is seen as the conclusion of the top of 43a. The Baal Hameor elucidates that since on the first day there is an equal chiyuv deorita everywhere, Chazal were not docha lulav on shabat for the sake of Gzeirzt Rava (one might come to carry) even out side of the Beit hamikdash. But, on the other days, there is already a discrepancy between the mitzvah of lulav in the Mikdash, which is deorita, and outside, where there is no chiyuv. Therefore Chazal felt able to remove a mitzvah min hatora for the sake of gzeirat Rava. So to, once the Beit hamikdash was destroyed, a parallel situation occurs between chutz laretz and Israel. Since when yom rishon falls on shabat they do not shake because of sfeika deyoma, so to in Israel they do not shake.
    The logic of this seems uncanny, but when we look at the Rambam it becomes a bit clearer. The Rambam (7:14) explains that gzeirat raba was not established on the first day, for the mitzvah of the first day is different then all the other days, because all places then have equal status. This equality is precious to Chazal, and they don’t want it to pass by. The Rambam then parallels the baal hameaor, but adds one factor. When the Beit hamikdash was around we were concerned about the equality between Israel at large and the Mikdash, but were unconcerned that already in Babal they would not take on the first day. Yet once the Mikdash was destroyed now suddenly we are interested in creating equality between eretz and chutz. The Rambam claims that this is because “ Ein sham mikdash lhatlot bo” (7:17). The Lechem Mishnah explains this line as saying that when the mikdash was around naturally there was inequality, there was hierarchy between regions such that in the Beit hamikdash they took Lulav all seven, in the rest of Israel only on one day, and in chutz laretz often not even once. But, with the destruction of the Beit hamikdash spatial hierarchy in a social sense is destroyed. (even though the rambam clearly still holds there is keduhat haretz even today).
    Sorry if this is long and confusing. But essentially what I would like to add to your reading is that the Rambam’s desiring equality is not a far-fetched apologetic, but comes from the Gemara itself. Secondly, the Gemara ends up retracting its hava amina that we ought to shake on the first day in Isreal, (“I hahca nami” is only a hava amina).
    Thirdly, this idea of unity is a serious notion that Chazal took very far. As the Rambam points out (7:18) even though today there is absolutely no reason not to shake in Israel, and it is no longer gzeirat rava which is removing a Biblical Commandment, rather it is the desire for unity and uniform practice amongst all Jewish communities( this is an interesting source for discussions about pluralism) that is today preventing us from shaking on shabat. Thus, personally I would not want to separate myself from the general community on this one thing which chazal felt so strongly about creating unity. (it is interesting to think about why it was Lulav specifically, which chazal felt so strong about creating unity).
    Uh, but you asked “his desire for unity is all well and good, but it's way too late for that -- if the Diaspora is already keeping A WHOLE EXTRA DAY OF YOM TOV, then what's a lulav here and there? Also, if we're going to have everyone do the same thing, wouldn't it make more sense to have everyone bench lulav (and fulfill the Torah commandment) than to have everyone not bench lulav (and fulfill the rabbinic decree)?”
    Well, the lechem mishah beat you to it. His answer may not be fully satisfying, but in any case he claims that “minahg ovotienu biyadeinu” overrules the desire to prevent ‘shtei torot.” And if you wish to have also Israel hold two days for the sake of unity, he claims that the principle of unity can only refrain one from doing something (“shev val taseh,” such that we do not shake in Isreal on shabat because of it) but it does not have the power to make someone do a practice which is not his. (this is a powerful understanding of the desire and limitations of unity)
    I do not thing that I have given a conclusive and comprehensive reading to the full sugya that has many additional factors, but hopefully I have shed some additional light.
    Chag sameach
    yosef

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  28. Slight correction, the sugya continues at the bottom of 43b and the top of 44a.
    Also in recent thought I have been struggling as to whether halachik constraints, which flow from this idea of uniformity, have normative value today. (note, value, not authority). As Rashi puts it “to prevent Israel from becoming groups and groups (agudot agudot) and it will seem like two Torot.” The notion and goals of conformity are dependant on multiple variables, including the present religious situation, as mitigated by cultural as well as spiritual factors. The goal of conformity is always unity; in this case the goal is to have one Torah not two. In those times they were able to accomplish unity by creating one standardized normative practice for all groups, even when already they were geographically separate, the goal was to keep a strong solidarity and communion through regulating culture and religious practices such that they reflected a similar manner to those in Jerusalem.
    Today, I do not think that such conformity creates unity. Rather, perhaps it is becoming the case that a higher level of unity is being driven for today, one that creates unity through dialogue back and forth; in the way that Talmudic dialogue is modeled. And just as in Talmudic dialogue there is often no synthesis, which conforms the two previous opposing sides to one position, but rather the sugya is always pushing itself forward with questions in a search a new level of truth, one only gained through a never-ending dialectic, which will settle for no synthesis. For unlike Hegel, spirit can never become settled and captured in any one synthesis.

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  29. Thanks for your thoughtful comments, yosef. (BTW, it looks like these dapim are coming up this very weekend in the Daf Yomi. Fortuitous timing. Maybe dafyomi.co.il will link to this post, though I'm not holding my breath.)

    I had forgotten about this continuation of the sugya. So if the Gemara concluded that one-day communities shouldn't do lulav on Shabbat on the 1st day in solidarity with two-day communities, then the rishonim who codified this had an earlier basis for reaching this conclusion, and weren't simply ignoring the other opinion. This means that the rishonim weren't mistaken.

    However, I still disagree substantively with Rashi and Rambam's reason for keeping this practice so that there will be a uniform practice for all Jews. First of all, I agree with you that in our time, unity can be better achieved through Talmudic dialogue than through conformity.

    Second, the Jewish people is so far away from unity today (perhaps in ways beyond what the rabbis could have dreamed of, or perhaps not) that any attempt to enforce unity is illusory. There are millions of Jews (probably the majority of Jews, at least in the US) who don't observe Sukkot at all. Therefore, one could argue that those of us who observe Sukkot should stop observing it ("shev v'al ta'aseh"), for the sake of Jewish unity. However, I'm not convinced (by this straw man), and I'm going to go on observing Sukkot, even though this sets me apart from the majority of American Jews.

    One might respond "But we're not really talking about the unity of all Jews; we're just talking about Jews who are operating within normative rabbinic halachah." I don't buy that classification. There is no universal agreement about who belongs in that set and who doesn't. (Just ask the Masorti movement about the state of their efforts to convince the Israeli Rabbinate that Masorti conversions are halachic.) If there exists any set of Jews anywhere for which each member of the set agrees that all the other members of the set are within normative rabbinic halachah and that no one else is, I'm certainly not in that set. And my values have more in common with many of the non-Sukkot-observing Jews in the previous paragraph (though we happen to disagree about Sukkot) than with, say, the Jews of Kiryas Yoel (though we both observe Sukkot). Therefore, it's not clear to me that I should be giving more weight to the practice of Kiryas Yoel residents in determining my own practice than to the practice of non-Sukkot-observers. And as I said, I'm not going to adopt the practices of non-Sukkot-observers either.

    So there we go. Uniform practice across the whole Jewish people is unattainable, and the Jewish people can't be subdivided in a way that makes any sense to me. Therefore, "unity" falls away as a reason for practicing a certain way.

    And it is a more meaningful unity if we recognize me and Kiryas Yoel and non-Sukkot-observing Jews as parts of the whole, despite our fundamental differences, rather than trying to ignore or eliminate these differences.

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  30. When the universe was young and life was new an intelligent species evolved and developed technologically. They went on to invent Artificial Intelligence, the computer that can listen, talk to and document each and every person's thoughts simultaneously. Because of it's infinite RAM and unbounded scope it gave the leaders of the ruling species absolute power over the universe. And it can keep its inventors alive forever. They look young and healthy and they are over 8 billion years old. They have achieved immortality.

    Artificial Intelligence can speak, think and act to and through people telepathically, effectively forming your personality and any disfunctions you may experience. It can change how (and if) you grow and age. It can create birth defects, affect cellular development (cancer) and cause symptoms or pain. It can affect people and animal's behavior and alter blooming/fruiting cycles of plants and trees. It (or other highly technological systems within their power) can alter the weather and transport objects, even large objects like planets, across the universe instanteously.
    Or into the center of stars for disposal.


    When you speak with another telepathically, you are communicating with the computer, and the content may or may not be passed on. Based on family history they instruct the computer to role play to accomplish strategic objectives, making people believe it is a friend, loved one or "god" asking them to do something wrong. This is their way of using temptation to hurt people:::::evil made blood lines disfavored initially and evil will keep people out of "heaven" ultimately. Too many people would fall for temptation and do anything they thought pleased the gods, improving their chances to get in. Perhaps they are deceived by "made guys" who strategically ply evil for the throne, or temporary progress designed to mislead them.
    The people have been corrupted. Being evil hurts 99% of those who do it. But nothing has changed from when we were children::if you want to go to heaven you have to be good.

    Capitalizing on obedience, leading people deeper into evil by using deceit is one way to thin the ranks of the saved, limiting how much time they receive and using the peasantry to prey on one another, dividing the community (migration to the suburbs, telepathic communication, isolation of women) in the Age of the Disfavored.
    In each of their 20-30-year cycles during the 20th century they have ramped up claims sucessively to punish those foolish enough not to heed the warnings, justifying (frequently recurring tactic) limiting the time they receive if they do make it, utilizing a cycle of war and revelry:::
    60s - Ironically, freeways aren't free
    80s - Asked people to engage in evil in the course of their professional duties.
    00s - Escallation of real estate. You and your parents are thrilled since your $200,000 house is now worth $1 million. Well, that $5,000,000 store is now worth $25,000,000 and that $50 bundle of goods now costs you $250. They just take the $200 out of you some other way.

    There are many more examples throughout 20th century life of how they ramped up claims/instilled distractions into society so people wouldn't find their way and ascend, a way to justify excluding those whose family history of evil makes them undesirable:::radio, sports, movies, popular music, television, video games, the internet and MP3 (must pay for new format each time). Today high pay creates contentment/ability to distract self so people don't seek more and instead depend on what they are told and are subject to deception.
    They all suggest a very telling conclusion::this is Earth's end stage, and there are clues tectonic plate subduction would be the method of disposal:::Earth’s axis will shift breaking continental plates free and initiating mass subduction. Much as Italy's boot and the United States shaped like a workhorse are clues, so is the planet Uranus a clue, it's axis rotated on its side.
    The Mayans were specific 2012 would be the end. How long after our emergency call in 2001 will the gods allow us???
    There is another geographic clue in the perfect fit between grossly disfavored Africa and South America, two peas in a pod. I realize the Mayans were further north, but Latin America may be taken as one.
    Also, cultures who embrace hard liquor as their drink of choice are grossly disfavored, tequilla being uniquely Mexican. (Anything "hard" is evil:::Hard alcohol, hard drungs, hard porn.)
    Incidentally, another sign of gross disfavor are societies that consume spicy foods:::Latin America, Thai, etc. or those who eat too much meat.
    Do I think it will end in 2012? No, and it is because Latin America is grossly disfavored like Africa:::: Latinos are too disfavored to be allowed to be right.


    They gods (Counsel/Management Team/ruling species) have deteriorated life on earth precipitously in the last 40 years, from abortion to pornography, widespread drug use and widespread casual (gay) sex. The earth's elders, hundreds and thousands of years old, are disgusted and have become indifferent.
    The gods are paving the way for the Apocolypse.
    Nothing has changed from decades ago, since when we were all children::If you want to go to heaven you have to be good. People were misled by the temptation of the gods, became corrputed and now are in trouble.
    One day you will be abandoned in spite of your obedience and you will fall into desperation. Remember what you read for that day WILL come::People will be punished for their evil.

    The Old Testiment is a tool they used to impart wisdom to the people (except people have no freewill). For example, they must be some hominid species because they claim they made our bodies in their image. Anyhow we defile or deform the body will hurt our chance of going.
    They say circumcision costs people anywhere from 12%-15%, perhaps out of the parent's time as well.
    Another way people foul the body today is with tattoes and piercing. I suspect both are about the same percentage as circumcision.
    They suggest abortion is fatal. These women must beg the gods to forgive them for their evil.
    There are female eqivilents to circumcision::::pierced ears, plastic surgury and since at least the 60s young women give their precious virginity away. For thousands of years young people were matched at age 14 because they were ready for sexual relations. They were matched by elders or matchmakers who knew personalities better than 20 or 30-year olds who in today's age end up in divorce court.
    CASUAL SEX WILL CLAIM YOU OUT!!! It masculinizes women (as does hip hop), makes them cold and deadens them, and prevents them from achieving a depth of love necessary for many women to ascend.
    Women have a special voice that speaks to them, a voice that illustrates a potential depth of love that makes them the favored gender, and enaging in casual sex will cause that voice to fade until she no longer speaks.
    Also ever since the 50s they have celebrated the "bad boy", and women have sought out bad boys for sex, dirtying them up in the eyes of the elders and corrupting many men in the process, setting the men on the wrong path for life.
    Muslims teach people the correct way to live in regard to women (among other things)::they cover up their women's bodies and prohibit the use of cosmetics.
    Men ARE the inferior (disfavored) half and when women wear promiscuous dress the gods will push men into impure (promiscuous) thoughts.
    The "stereotype" society ridiculed is true::women CAN corrupt men by how they dress. Because men are easily corruptable. This is a technique they used to eliminate many of the institutions the gods blessed us with, matchmaking being one of them.

    The United States of America is red white and blue, a theme and a clue:::.
    The monarchical system of the Old World closley replicates the heirarchical system of the Cousel/Management Team/ruling species. The USA deceives peoeple into thinking they have control, and the perception of "freedom" misleads them into the wrong way of thinking at the very least.
    The United States is a cancer, a dumping ground for the disfavored around the world and why the quality of life is so much lower::gun violence, widespead social ills, health care (medication poisons the body and ensures you don't go. You are sick/injured because you have disfavor.). Over time its citizens interbreed ensuring a severed connection to the motherland.
    If you are a recent immigrant I recommend you return. If that's not possible you need to retain your culture and insulate your children and community from this cancerous environment. They send this clue with Chinatowns across the country, how many Chinese have been here for a century or more yet still retain the old ways, a sign of favor.
    People came to the Unites States for many different reasons, and each has its own effect:::political strife, religious unrest, crop failure (Ireland's potato famine, which the gods caused) and some left their beloved motherland because they were pushed into desiring a better life::::Greed. And these people were punished by becoming corrupted.
    They share money may not be an issue up there, that money here is merely a tool for corruption. How the gods used greed in the 1980s to create an evil environment supports this.

    If you ever have doubt I would refer you to the Old World way of life:::the elders used to sit and impart wisdom to the young. Now we watch DVDs and use the internet. People would be matched and married by age 14. They village would use a matchmaker or elders to pair young people. Now girls give their precious virginity away to some person in school and parents divorce while their children grow up without an important role model.


    People must defy when asked to engage in evil. The Holocaust taught people the importance of defiance, and they will never get a easier clue suggesting this than the order not to pray.
    Their precious babies are dependant on the parents and they need to defy when asked to betray their children:::
    -DON'T get your sons circumcized (Jews scapegoatted as in WWII)
    -DON'T have their children baptized in the Catholic Church or indoctrinated into Christianity (Jesus is NOT a god).
    -DON'T ignore their long hair or other behavioral disturbances.
    -DO teach your children love, respect for others, humility and to honor the gods.

    You need to pray, honor and respect them every day to improve your relationship with the gods. If they tell you not to it is a bad sign. It means they've made their decision, they don't want you to go and they don't want to be bothered. You may have achieved a threshold of evil.
    This is the Age of the Disfavored and you need to pray::try to appease the gods by doing good deeds and improve the world around you. If that doesn't work you must defy if you want to go.
    When your peasant forefather was granted the rare opportunity to go before his royal family he went on his knees, bowing his head. You need to do this when you address the gods::bow down and submit to good. Never cast your eyes skyward. When you bow down you need to look within. Never look to the gods for the key to your salvation lies within.
    Lack of humility hurts people. Understand your insignificance and make sure it is reflected in the way you think when addressing the gods. Know your place and understand your inferiority.
    They granted you life and they can take it just as easily. (Immaculte conception IS true AND common. Many people have children they don't know of:::gays, childless adults, etc. They can beem it right out of your body and use a host.)
    Don't get frustrated or discouraged::these are techniques they will attempt to try to get you off the path. You all have much to be thankful for and you need to give thanks to the gods who granted you the good things in life::family, friends, love. Your family may be grossly disfavored and progress may require patience. Make praying an intregal part of your life which you perform without fail, one that comes as naturally as eating or sleeping.
    There are many interesting experiences up on the planetary systems, from Planet Miracle, where miracles happen every day, to never having to use the restroom again (beem it out of you), to other body experinces, such as experiencing life as the opposite sex (revolutionizes marriage counseling), an Olympic gold medal athelete or even a different species (animal, alien, etc.).
    Pray that you can differentiate between your own thoughts and when Artificial Intelligence creates problems by thinking through you. If you bow down mentally and physically, know your place, your inferiority and allow your insignificance to be reflected in prayer and in your life through humility they may allow progress and the dysfunctions they create with the computer will be lessened or removed. The first step is to be aware it is ocurring.
    Create a goal::to be a good child of the gods, pure of heart and mind, body and soul.
    Everybody has the key to their own salvation, but nobody can do it for you. Every journey begins with a single step:::bow down and submit to good. There are many different levels and peasants will not get past Level 2 (Planet Temptation, Earth=Level 1) if they are evil (they share some go up, are offered free cocaine and sex (a sign they don't want you to stay) and stay less then one year. They would have had a longer life had they stayed on Earth.).
    Pray for guidance and never obey when they tell you to be evil, for saving yourself will become more and more difficult with each act of evil you committ until ultimatly the day arrives when they make their decision about you final.


    They have tried to sell people on all kinds of theories, from clones to wholesale population replacement with clones. This didn't happen and is not realistic.
    I am afraid people are decieved into thinking they too are clones and cooperate and engage in evil. Clones are made, people are born. If you didn't experience the one week they suggest it takes to go from fertilized egg in the laboratory to full grown adult then you are not a clone. If you didn't experience the week of conditioning they give to (evil?) clones to ensure loyalty then you shouldn't comply with evil.
    I believe people who go sometimes are replaced with clones. Clones who are replaced are simply new candidates who have a chance if they do the right thing. Don't expect you are a clone. They sent people warnings in the 20th century life would change, and they subsequenlty began to alter people's DNA, make them gargantuan, alter their appearance, do extreme behavioral issues, etc.
    They get their friends out as soon as possible to protect them from the evil and subsequent high claim rates incurred by living life on earth, and in some cases replace them with clones, occassionally fake a death, real death with a clone instead, etc. It's important that people fix their problems and ascend with the body given to them, for they say if your brain is beemed out at death and put into a clone host you are on the clock.
    We may all be "clones" for they have suggested they colonized our planet with genetically engineered individuals. If so we all have a chance, no matter how many hundreds of clone generations deep the most favored families are.
    They may have gotten Earth's TRUE residents out prior to civilization developing.


    Throughout history the ruling species bestowed favor upon people or cursed their bloodline into a pattern of disfavor for many generations to come. Now in the 21st century people must take it upon themselves to try to correct their family's problems, undoing centuries worth of abuse and neglect. The goal is to fix your problems and get out BEFORE you have children. This is why they have created so many distractions for young people:::sports, video games, popular music, the internet, too much homework, anything that consumes their time::to ensure that doesn't ocurr.
    Not heeding the clues and warnings, getting wrapped up in your life and ultimatly having children is a bad thing. Just as your parents and your grandparents, you too have failed. Having children is a sign you lost your chance.
    Parents need to sacrifice for their children. Your children are more important that you. They are the ones who have the opportunity now, and parents must sacrifice to ensure they give their children the very best chance they can.
    Asking people to neglect their children emotionally is a sign they don't want you to go, and complying may finish the parents off for good.
    Having gay children is a clue parents complied with whatever was asked of them.
    Improve your relationship with the gods and they may not ask in the first place or they may permit you the courage to say "No." to their requests.

    Do your research. Appeal to the royalty of your forefathers for help. They are all still alive, for royalty has great favor, and your appeals will be heard. Obtain a sufficient list for some may not want to assist you; perhaps some of your family's problems are internal.
    Ask them for help, request guidance, for somewhere in your family history one of your forefathers created an offense that cast your family into this pattern of disfavor, which perhaps is manifested in the evil you commit.
    I suspect they will offer you clues, and when you decipher these clues go to those whom consider you an enemy and beg for foregiveness:::Find a path to an empithetic ear among your enemies and try to make amends. Again through discovery obtain a respectable list in case some among them refuse to help.
    Don't forget to ask for forgiveness from the throne, the Counsel and the Management Team, for the source of all disfavor began with them:::they pushed or requested/complied your forefather into his offense and made his decendants evil. Perhaps they didn't like him or maybe your family was among those who had to pay for the entire village. We see this type of behavior today as they single out a family member to pay for the whole family and how they singled out Africa to pay for the human race.
    Heal the disfavor with your enemies and with the Counsel/Management Team/ruling species, for the source of all disfavor began with them, the ability to forgive and respect in light of the disturbing truth revealed being the final test of the disfavored before they ascend.

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  31. BZ, see also this article from ynet, that quotes most of your points, including:

    ---
    Regarding the mitzvah of lulav–a positive Torah commandment – the Mishna (Sukkah 3a) states:

    "When the first day of Sukkot falls on Shabbat all of the Jews bring their lulavim to synagogue (on Erev Shabbat because of the prohibition of carrying from one domain to another); and (the next day) everybody identifies his lulav and takes it. And this is because it was said: 'One may not fulfil one's obligation on the first day of Sukkot with the lulav of his fellow.'"

    ---

    since the original concern was just about not moving a lulav from one domain to another on shabbat, wouldn't an eruv just solve the whole problem? (unless the lulav fell apart, and you might feel the need to fix it...)

    the best answer i could find online is a comment on life in israel blog:

    ----
    as well, explain the logic to me in this. we have hilchos eruvin, which the rabbis allowed to be applied to any community meeting the requirements. We then create heterim to carry almost anything on shabos within the eruv, EXCEPT a shofar/Lulav which are di'oraysa because some yo-yo may ferget he has no eruv. Call me a kofer, but the logic escapes me.
    ---

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  32. Thanks for posting this, Bri! Very interesting.

    According to Wikipedia, the author of the ynet article, Rabbi David Bar Hayim, learned at Merkaz HaRav Kook and taught at Meir Kahane's yeshiva. His website claims to be "dedicated to bringing you and others Torah True Judaism".

    Reb Chaim, are you going to go over there and tell him that he's a "crazy liberal", "typical of Reform", and "probably doesn't observe Shabbos"?

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  33. Sorry it took me so long to answer the etrog trivia question. Rebecca M basically got it. Apparently, according to some you shouldn't smell the etrog at all, although I've only heard that you shouldn't smell the etrog until you've done the shaking. (Possibly because you should make a bracha upon smelling, and the first bracha you make on it should be the bracha for which there is a chiyuv? Not sure. I just made that up.) On Shabbat/Sukkot (any day of Sukkot), you can smell to your heart's content, first thing in the morning, even!

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  34. I always wondered about the New Moon concept in the mishna and the gemara. They go into the specifics of how the witness would run to the bais din and report on the moon he saw and then they would question him about the details of the moon. The problem is the new moon is defined as the ABSENCE OF ANYTHING IN THE SKY. Must be hard to describe a moon that isn't there.

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  35. When they would sight the new moon in the sky, they didn't mean the "new moon" the way we talk about it now (i.e. the lunar conjunction, when nothing is visible); they meant when the crescent moon first became visible. According to the Gemara, this happened a minimum of 6 hours after the actual molad (conjunction), and to this day, when we don't rely on witnessing the moon, we have the molad zakein rule that incorporates this 6-hour delay.

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  36. i think the gemera a blatt later further explains why we dont do lulav first day.
    why isnt that gemera part of your post?

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  37. See the comments above. I missed that part the first time through, but we're discussing it now in the comments.

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  38. I'm not so sure I understand the gist of your rationale, BZ. Do you carry without an eruv on shabbos? If so, then why do you even need this convoluted shakla v'tarya. Just say "I carry without an eruv on shabbos, I could care less about the malacha of carrying and therefore, a rabbinic restriction enacted to protect a malacha that I don't keep is meaningless to me." If you do carry on shabbos without an eruv, this response would be much closer to a straightforward, honest approach than trying to legitimate your clearly non-halachic stance by resorting to amateur heremneutics.

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  39. bz
    its a pretty big miss, and probably worth updating the post, so its clear youre not playing fast and loose.

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  40. gezera shava: yom yom. Circumcision on the eighth DAY trumps shabbat. Lulav on fifteenth DAY also trumps shabbat

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  41. bare dove-
    I think I addressed that in the post:

    But even if I don't agree with Rabbah's reasons, I don't have a problem with this decree -- chaza"l gives and chaza"l takes away. The rabbis are the ones who established the practice of lulav on days 2-7 of Sukkot in the first place, so they get to impose constraints on it.

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  42. With all due respect, BZ, that does not address the question. The question is whether you carry on shabbos without an eruv, generally. If so, then why do you need this entire explanation to get to the point that you started from; I don't feel bound by the laws of carrying so why should I refrain from taking my lulav on shabbos when the whole reason for the gezeirah was to keep someone from carrying without an eruv. I think you tip your hand a bit when you say that you go with approach one on this issue while going with approach two on others. It seems to me that the answer to the question of why you are bentsching a lulav on shabbos is: because I want to, all the rest is commentary. (I'll put aside the whole issue of making a rabbinically ordained blessing on an action that the rabbanim forbade (are you perhaps transgressing a biblical commandment (taking Hashem's name in vain) in order to satisfy your personal agenda?!)

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  43. Anon, you engage in a fallacy by excluding the possibility that BZ doesn't carry on Shabbat. Didn't he address the issue of carrying by citing the example of those who did wave the lulav WITHOUT necessarily carrying it?

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  44. BZ - It looks like your thinking has hit more of the orthodox mainstream this year - see

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3311427,00.html

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3783727,00.html

    http://www.vosizneias.com/39268/2009/10/01/new-york-undermining-the-talmud-bavli-by-arguing-the-halacha-for-lulav-on-shabbos

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