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Another Side of Rav Teichtal

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  • David Hillel Nadoff
    [Please pray for a refuah sheleima b karov for Chaya Rivka bat Sheindl Sara, shetichyeh] APPPRECIATING RAV TEICHTAL AS LAMDAN AND POSEK A little more than two
    Message 1 of 5 , Mar 7, 2006
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      [Please pray for a refuah sheleima b'karov for
      Chaya Rivka bat Sheindl Sara, shetichyeh]


      APPPRECIATING RAV TEICHTAL AS LAMDAN AND POSEK

      A little more than two years ago, when this group was still just an
      idea, I discovered to my chagrin that several Torah venues (which I do
      not consider extremist) were unwilling to host a live chabura for the
      study of Eim Habanim Semeicha (EHS). At that time, several rabbanim
      whom I made aware of the problem advised me on how best to promote Rav
      Teichtal's teachings on Klal Yisrael and Eretz Yisrael among those
      unfamiliar with them. In addition to suggesting the formation of a
      diverse on-line community for that purpose, they also urged me to
      educate people as to what an extraordinary lamdan and posek Rav
      Teichtal was. HaRav Tzvi Hersh Weinreb was particularly emphatic on
      that point, and told me that he was acquainted with elderly Hungarian
      Holocaust survivors who informed him that Rav Teichtal's prestige as a
      posek in pre-war Central Europe can only be compared to the singular
      status that HaRav Moshe Feinstein later earned in the United States.

      Over the last two years, I have, be"H, had some modest success in
      developing a diverse online community for the study of EHS. However,
      I have done very little to raise the profile of Rav Teichtal as the
      world-class posek and lamdan that he was. There are two principal
      reasons for that. First, a couple of learned rabbanim undertook early
      on (bli neder) to write some posts on that subject for our Chabura,
      and I held out hope that one or both of them would be able to do so.
      That has not occurred to date -- an omission for which they are not to
      be faulted given the heavy burden of their regular rabbanut. Second,
      I am not qualified for the task, being neither a rav, lamdan, posek or
      particularly well versed in halachic literature myself. Explanations
      aside, however, it is quite distressing that, after two years, this
      Chabura has not really begun to do Rav Teichtal justice as a Talmudist
      and Halachist.

      I did not assume leadership of this Chabura out of any belief that I
      am especially qualified for the job. Rather, I felt compelled to act
      "b'makom she'ein anashim" (Avot 2:5), in order to fill a need that
      would not otherwise be met, to the best of my humble ability. In the
      same spirit, I feel I should now try to broaden the scope and,
      alongside EHS, begin sharing some of Rav Teichtal's enduring
      contributions to halachic literature. The following pertinent
      background on Rav Teichtal is drawn from his son's introduction to the
      first volume of Rav Teichtal's Mishneh Sachir.

      RAV TEICHTAL'S TORAH EDUCATION

      Rav Teichtal received his early Torah education from his father, Rav
      Yitzchak. By the age of 13, he had mastered vast portions of the
      Talmud with Rashi's commentary, in addition to acquiring a thorough
      knowledge of Tanach. After Bar Mitzva, he studied for a year under
      the Gaon Rav Shalom Vieder, the Av Bet Din of Niredhaz, Hungary, and
      from there moved on to Tarnow, Poland, where he learned in the
      renowned Kloiz of the Tzanzer Chasidim and acquired a reputation as a
      young prodigy. At age 15, Rav Teichtal left to study under the Gaon
      Rav Shalom David Unger, the author of Yad Shalom, and became his close
      disciple, as well as the editor of his writings and the tutor of his
      son. At age 20, Rav Teichtal began studies under the Gaon Rav Moshe
      Greenwald, the rav of Hust and author of Arugat Habosem. At age 21,
      Rav Teichtal was ordained as a rav and dayan by three great Torah
      leaders of the generation: the Gaon Rav Shmuel Rosenberg, Av Bet Din
      of Unsdorf and author of Be'er Shmuel; the Gaon Rav Avraham Yitzchak
      Glick, Av Bet Din of Tolsheva and author of Yad Yitzchak; and the Gaon
      Rav Mordechai Leib Winkler, Av Bet Din of Maad and the author of
      Levushei Mordechai. Sometime thereafter, Rav Teichtal married the
      daughter of the Gaon Rav Yaakov Yosef Ginz, Av Bet Din of Busermin and
      author of Harei Besamim. Continuing his studies with Rav Ginz, he
      also became a dayan there and assisted in the leadership of the
      community. (Following the untimely death of his first wife, Rav
      Teichtal married the daughter of the Gaon Rav David Friedman, Av Bet
      Din of Tzehlem.)

      RAV TEICHTAL AS RAV, ROSH YESHIVA AND AUTHOR

      In 1920, at the age of 35, Rav Teichtal assumed the prestigious
      rabbinate of Pishtian, Czechoslovakia, where he also established the
      renowned Yeshivat Moriah and raised many talmidim. In Pishtian, Rav
      Teichtal became acquainted with Torah dignitaries from all over
      Europe, who were drawn there by its famous healing springs, which were
      frequently prescribed for treatment of rheumatism and other maladies.
      Rav Teichtal formed lasting relationships and remained in long-term
      scholarly correspondence with many of the talmedei chachamim he met in
      this manner. As a result, he was able to keep very current on
      developments throughout the Torah world and up to date on the latest
      Torah literature.

      Since at least the age of 19, Rav Teichtal regularly committed his
      Torah insights to writing, and became a master of Hebrew language and
      style. As his fame spread, his writings grew to include she'alot
      u'tshuvot to the many halachic questions submitted to him from all
      over Europe, as well as regular correspondence with other poskim and
      talmedei chachamim around the world. The first volume of his responsa
      Mishneh Sachir was published in 1924, with glowing approbations from
      numerous gedolei hador, including the Gaon Rav Meir Don Plotzki
      (author of Kli Chemda) and the Gaon Rav Meir Arik (considered the
      posek hador, author of Teshuvot Imrei Yosher), with whom Rav Teichtal
      was very close. Although the first volume is more than 200 pages long
      and contains over 100 responsa on all four divisions of Shulchan
      Aruch, it represents only a small fraction of the material that Rav
      Teichtal had in manuscript at the time, but could not include due to
      the expense of publication. The second volume of Mishneh Sachir was
      printed and ready for distribution around 1942, when the entire
      edition was tragically destroyed by the Nazis while still in the
      warehouse. Fortunately (indeed, miraculously), the manuscript of
      volume 2 and a multitude of other writings Rav Teichtal had assembled
      for subsequent publication survived the Shoah. Following the war, a
      committee was formed for the publication of Rav Techital's writings,
      on which gedolim such as HaRav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach and HaRav Shlomo
      Yosef Zevin served. Through the efforts of that committee, several
      additional volumes of Mishneh Sachir have been published and the first
      volume has been republished.

      A TESHUVA REGARDING MULTIPLE MINYANIM ON PURIM

      Let us begin with a practical ruling mei'inyanei d'yoma that appears
      in the first volume of Mishneh Sachir, Sections 104 and 105. Rav
      Teichtal's narrow ruling is that a small hashkama minyan that
      regularly prays k'vasikin in a certain beit midrash, may not do so and
      hold its own reading of Megilat Ester on Purim, but must join the
      regular Purim minyan of that beit midrash in order to maximize the
      pirsumei nisah of kri'at hamegila. More broadly, Rav Teichtal states
      that a single beit keneset or beit midrash may not hold multiple
      minyanim for kri'at hamegila on Purim, but must consolidate them to
      maximize pirsumei nisah. However, he does not require that all batei
      keneset and batei midrash in a particular place combine their minyanim
      on Purim, or that a person who regularly prays in a small congregation
      attend a larger one on Purim.

      Rav Teichtal's ruling has important practical consequences, given the
      common practice in various communities of holding multiple minyanim on
      Purim morning to accommodate those who wish to pray k'vasikin, those
      who have to get to work, those who want (or, after a night's revelry,
      need) to sleep late, etc. Over the next few days, I will try to
      summarize Rav Teichtal's sources and reasoning on this subject in a
      series of posts, be"H.

      To get started, consider the Gemora at the beginning of Megila (3a):
      "Now that you have said the phrase `in every generation … and every
      city' (Ester 9:28)* is to be expounded, what does the phrase `every
      family' (ibid.) teach us? Rabbi Yosi Bar Chanina said, it is
      inclusive of the priestly and Levite families, who must forego
      (mevatlin) their [Temple] service and come to hear the reading of the
      Megila. For Rav Yehuda said in the name of Rav that kohanim at their
      service, levi'im on their platforms and Israelites at their stations
      must all forego the [Temple] service and come to hear the reading of
      the Megila. We also learned thus in a beraita … . The school of
      Rebbi relied on this [in ruling] that one must forego Torah study and
      come to hear the Megila, based on a fortiori argument from [Temple]
      service … ."

      Tosafot (dibur hamatchil Mevatlin) ask two questions on this Gemora:

      First, why would they have to forego the Temple service, given
      that there is ample time to perform it after Megila reading. Tosafot
      answer that since the time for performance of the morning Temple
      service begins at dawn and they delay it in favor of Megila reading,
      it is considered foregone (bitul).

      Second, what need is there even to delay the service, given that
      it can be performed at dawn and the kohanim, levi'im and Israelites in
      attendance at the Temple can then form their own minyan for reading
      the Megila. Tosafot answer that it is better to read the Megila with
      the whole community because it results in greater pirsumei nisah.

      [To be continued, b'ezrat Hashem]

      _______
      *The full verse reads: "And these days should be remembered and kept
      throughout every generation, every family, every province and every
      city; and these days of Purim should not fail among the Jews, or the
      memory of them perish from their seed."
    • David Hillel Nadoff
      [Please learn and pray for a refuah sheleima b karov for Chaya Rivka bat Sheindl Sara, shetichyeh.] As we noted in the prior post, Rav Teichtal writes in
      Message 2 of 5 , Mar 7, 2006
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        [Please learn and pray for a refuah sheleima b'karov
        for Chaya Rivka bat Sheindl Sara, shetichyeh.]


        As we noted in the prior post, Rav Teichtal writes in volume 1 of
        Mishneh Sachir (§§ 104, 105) that a single beit keneset or beit
        midrash may not hold multiple minyanim for kri'at hamegila on Purim,
        but must consolidate them to maximize pirsumei nisah of kri'at
        hamegila. Even a daily hashkama minyan that prays k'vasikin must join
        the regular minyan of its beit keneset on Purim in order to maximize
        pirsumei nisah. However, it is not necessary that all batei keneset
        and batei midrash in a particular place combine their minyanim on
        Purim, or that a person who regularly prays with a small congregation
        join a larger one on Purim.

        Rav Teichtal begins his analysis by pointing out that one might argue
        that a hashkama minyan may properly pray and read the Megila before
        the rest of the congregation on Purim based on the ruling in Rosh
        Hashana 32b that the principle of zrizin makdimin l'mitzvot (the
        punctilious perform a mitzvah at the first opportunity) takes
        precedence over the principle of b'rov am hadrat Melech (a multitude
        discloses the glory of the King). Rav Teichtal rejects that
        reasoning, however, based on the conclusion of Chatam Sofer in his
        work Torat Moshe (Parshat Tetzaveh). The Chatam Sofer writes that
        Gemara's preference for early mitzva performance over multitudinous
        mitzvah performance applies only where delaying a mitzvah in order to
        perform it with a greater number of people does not enhance the
        mitzvah itself, which remains qualitatively the same, but only adds
        the external enhancement of multitudinous performance. However, where
        multitudinous performance results in an enhancement intrinsic to the
        mitzva itself, the principle of b'rov am takes precedence over the
        principle of zrizin makdimin, and one should delay the performance of
        the mitzva in order to perform it with a larger crowd. Kri'at
        Hamegila is a mitzvah of the latter sort insofar as multitudinous
        performance enhances pirsumei nisa (publicizing the Purim miracle),
        which is of the essence of the mitzva of Mikra Megila. Based on the
        Chatam Sofer, one must therefore delay Kri'at Hamegila in order to
        maximize the number of participants in performance of the mitzva. Rav
        Teichtal adds that the Chatam Sofer's conclusion is in accord with the
        rulings of other authorities, including Rama (Orach Chayim 426),
        Chacham Tzvi (Siman 106), Maharam Shik (Orach Chayim 45, Even HaEzer
        1), Teshuvat Riva (Siman 46) and Teshuvat Nachlat Binyamin (Simanim
        13-15).

        Rav Teichtal turns next to the Gemara in Megila (3a) and Tosafot's
        comments there. As we have seen, the Gemara states:

        "… What does the phrase `mishpacha u'mishpacha/every family' (Ester
        9:28)* teach us? Rabbi Yosi Bar Chanina said, it is inclusive of the
        priestly and Levite families, who must forego (mevatlin) their
        [Temple] service and come to hear the reading of the Megila. For Rav
        Yehuda said in the name of Rav that Kohanim at their service, Levi'im
        on their platforms and Israelites at their stations must all forego
        their [Temple] service and come to hear the reading of the Megila. We
        also learned this in a beraita … . The school of Rebbi relied on this
        [in ruling] that one must forego Torah study and come to hear the
        Megila, based on a fortiori argument from [Temple] service … ."

        Tosafot (dibur hamatchil Mevatlin) ask what need there to delay the
        Temple service, given that it can be performed at dawn and the
        Kohanim, Levi'im and Yisraelim in attendance at the Temple can then
        form their own minyan for reading the Megila. Tosafot answer that it
        is better to read the Megila with the whole community because it
        results in greater pirsumei nisa.

        Rav Teichtal notes that a separate Kriat Hamegila after the morning
        service in the Beit Hamikdash would in fact result in significant
        pirsumei nisa. After all, 13 Kohanim participated in the morning
        Temple service, in addition to the Levi'im and Yisraelim present.
        Moreover, the morning Temple service is a constant mitzva (tadir), and
        Tosafot state in Shabbat 23b (dibur hamatchil Hadar) that a more
        constant (tadir) mitzva takes priority over another mitzva that can be
        performed afterwards, even if the other mitzva involves pirsumei nisa.
        Only where it is not possible to perform both mitzvot does the mitzva
        involving pirsumei nisa take priority over the constant mitzvah. (The
        halacha is decided in accordance with this Tosafot in Shulchan Aruch,
        Orach Chayim 684.)

        In the situation discussed by the Gemara in Megila, it is certainly
        possible to perform both the mitzva of the morning Temple service,
        which is constant, and the mitzvah of Kri'at Hamegila, which involves
        pirsumei nisa. As such, the morning Temple service should take
        precedence, and the question of Tosafot in Megila is reinstated –- why
        don't the Kohanim first perform the morning service and then read the
        Megila in their own separate minyan with the Levi'im and the Yisraelim
        present in the Temple, which would still achieve significant pirsumei
        nisa? And, if the scriptural phrase "mishpacha u'mishpacha" indeed
        teaches us that they must read the Megila first, then why don't we
        also learn from there that a mitzva involving pirsumei nisa takes
        precedence over a constant mitzva, even when it is possible to perform
        both, contrary to the ruling of Tosafot in Shabbat (and the Shulchan
        Aruch)?

        Rav Teichtal finds that his question is in fact raised by a number of
        later authorities (Beit Yitzchak, Turei Zahav and Shu"t Maharia), who
        answer that Tosafot in Shabbat only give a constant mitzva priority
        over a mitzvah involving pirsumei nisa where the degree of pirsumei
        nisa resulting from delayed performance of the latter mitzva is no
        less than the pirsumei nisa that would have resulted from its prior
        performance. However, where the degree of pirsumei nisa resulting
        from delayed performance of a mitzva would be less than the pirsumei
        nisa that would have resulted from its performance before a more
        constant mitzvah, it is considered as if prior performance of the more
        constant mitzvah makes performance of the mitzva involving pirsumei
        nisa impossible, since the latter can't be performed with the same
        degree of pirsumei nisa afterwards. In such an instance, Tosafot in
        Shabbat would agree that the mitzvah involving pirsumei nisa takes
        priority over a constant mitzvah. Tosafot in Megila thus answer in a
        consistent manner that Kriat Hamegila must precede the morning Temple
        service to maximize pirsumei nisa, i.e., avoid the diminution of
        pirsumei nisa that would result from prior performance of the morning
        Temple service, which would necessitate separate Megila readings by
        the community and those involved in the Temple service. And the
        scriptural phrase "mishpacha u'mishpacha" teaches the priority of
        pirsumei nisa over a constant mitzva under just such circumstances,
        but not under those discussed by Tosafot in Shabbat.

        [To be continued, be"H]

        _______
        *The full verse reads: "And these days should be remembered and kept
        throughout every generation, every family, every province and every
        city; and these days of Purim should not fail among the Jews, or the
        memory of them perish from their seed."
      • David Hillel Nadoff
        Chag Purim Sameiach! Please learn, pray and perform acts of lovingkindness for the refua sheleima of my daughter, Chaya Rivka Bat Sheindl Sara, whose surgery
        Message 3 of 5 , Mar 13, 2006
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          Chag Purim Sameiach! Please learn, pray and perform acts of
          lovingkindness for the refua sheleima of my daughter, Chaya Rivka Bat
          Sheindl Sara, whose surgery will begin at 11:00 a.m., Central Standard
          Time, on Purim day. We humbly acknowledge all of the Ribbono Shel
          Olam's kindnesses to us and pray that He bestow His yeshuot upon
          Chaya and upon all of Klal Yisrael on this holy day of Purim.


          --------------


          Before continuing with Rav Teichtal's teshuva, a quick review of the
          Gemara and Tosafot in Megila 3a is in order. The Gemara says: "Now
          that you have said the verse `in every generation ... and every city`
          (Esther 9:28) is to be expounded, what does the phrase `every family`
          (ibid.) teach us? Rabbi Yosi Bar Chanina said, it is inclusive of the
          priestly and Levite families, who must forego (mevatlin) their
          [Temple] service and come to hear the reading of the Megila. For Rav
          Yehuda said in the name of Rav that Kohanim at their service, Levi'im
          on their platforms and Israelites at their stations must all forego
          the [Temple] service and come to hear the reading of the Megila. ..."
          Tosafot ask two questions on this Gemara. First, why would they have
          to forego the Temple service, given that there is ample time to
          perform it after Megila reading? Tosafot answer that since the time
          for performance of the morning Temple service begins at dawn and they
          delay it in favor of Megila reading, it is considered foregone
          (batul). Second, what need is there even to delay the Temple service,
          given that it can be performed at dawn and the Kohanim, Levi'im and
          Israelites in attendance at the Temple can then form their own minyan
          to read the Megila? Tosafot answer that it is better to read the
          Megila with the whole community because it results in greater pirsumei
          nisa.


          --------------


          Let us return now to Rav Teichtal's Teshuva in Mishneh Sachir (Siman 104):

          Rav Teichtal concludes from the analysis presented in the prior post
          that the phrase "mishpacha umishpacha," as expounded by the Gemara,
          informs us that even if a group is large enough to make its own minyan
          for Megila reading, it must nevertheless join a larger minyan, if one
          is available. This follows from the fact that the Kohanim responsible
          for the morning Temple service are required to forego its performance
          and read Megila with the larger communal minyan, even though there are
          enough Kohanim involved to make their own minyan for Kriat Hamegila
          upon completion of the morning service. In fact, the Ran concludes
          from this that even a group of 100 men may not form a separate minyan
          if a larger one is available. (Megila chap. 1; quoted by Magen
          Avraham, Siman 690. Pri Megadim notes that Ran derives this from
          Tosafot in Megila 3a.) Therefore, members of a daily vasikin minyan
          (and certainly participants in a late morning minyan) must join the
          larger regular minyan in their Beit Keneset for Kriat Hamegila.

          Rav Teichtal reasons further that the rationale applicable to
          participants in a daily vasikin minyan (or a late morning minyan) is
          even more compelling than that applicable to Kohanim. This is so
          because the requirement that a small minyan join a larger minyan for
          Mikra Megila affects only the timing of performance of the mitzva, but
          it involves no preemption of any mitzva. By contrast, the requirement
          that the Kohanim delay the morning Temple service in favor of communal
          Kriat Hamegila does entail the preemption of one mitzva (Temple
          service) in favor of another (Megila). That preemption is all the
          more noteworthy given that the obligation to perform the Temple
          service, which commences at first light, begins *before* the
          obligation of Mikra Megila, which takes effect at sunrise.

          According to Rav Teichtal, that very distinction is actually the basis
          for the second question of Tosafot in Megila (3a) as to why the
          Kohanim should not first perform the morning Temple service and, upon
          its completion, form their own minyan for Kriat Hamegila. If the
          obligation to perform both mitzvot arose simultaneously, Tosafot's
          second question would not make sense. The Gemara and Tosafot (in
          answer to the first question) themselves establish that the verse
          ("mishpacha u'mishpacha") requires that Kriat Hamegila be performed
          first, even though that is considered a nullification (bitul) of the
          morning Temple service. That leaves no room for any suggestion that
          the order be reversed. Tosafot's second question must therefore be
          premised on the fact that the obligation of the morning Temple
          services arises before that of Mikra Megila. The commencement of the
          Temple service at the earliest opportunity would therefore not be
          inconsistent with the preemptive priority of Mikra Megila, because
          Mikra Megila would not yet have become obligatory and can still be
          performed after the Temple service. Tosafot's answer must accordingly
          be understood as a determination that the mitzva of pirsumei nisa
          through Mikra Megila is of such weight that the prospect of its
          diminution is sufficient to preempt the Temple service, even before
          the obligation of Mikra Megila takes effect. Maharam Shik (Siman 339)
          even goes so far as to say that the force of pirsumei nisa is so great
          that if the Kohanim mistakenly began the morning Temple service at
          first light on Purim, the service must even be interrupted for Mikra
          Megila. That is so despite the general principle that a mitzva, once
          begun, need not be interrupted, and the general principle that (ii)
          one engaged in the performance of a mitzva is exempt from other
          mitzvot. Rav Teichtal infers from the language of the Rambam
          (beginning of Hilchot Megila) that the Rambam concurs with Maharam
          Shik on this point, as the Netziv also observes (Haamek She'eila on
          Shiltot, Parshat Vayechi, Siman 34).

          [To be continued, be"H, before Purim 5767]


          --- In toratimecha@yahoogroups.com, "David Hillel Nadoff"
          <toratimecha@...> wrote:
          >
          >
          > [Please learn and pray for a refuah sheleima b'karov
          > for Chaya Rivka bat Sheindl Sara, shetichyeh.]
          >
          >
          > As we noted in the prior post, Rav Teichtal writes in volume 1 of
          > Mishneh Sachir (§§ 104, 105) that a single beit keneset or beit
          > midrash may not hold multiple minyanim for kri'at hamegila on Purim,
          > but must consolidate them to maximize pirsumei nisah of kri'at
          > hamegila. Even a daily hashkama minyan that prays k'vasikin must join
          > the regular minyan of its beit keneset on Purim in order to maximize
          > pirsumei nisah. However, it is not necessary that all batei keneset
          > and batei midrash in a particular place combine their minyanim on
          > Purim, or that a person who regularly prays with a small congregation
          > join a larger one on Purim.
          >
          > Rav Teichtal begins his analysis by pointing out that one might argue
          > that a hashkama minyan may properly pray and read the Megila before
          > the rest of the congregation on Purim based on the ruling in Rosh
          > Hashana 32b that the principle of zrizin makdimin l'mitzvot (the
          > punctilious perform a mitzvah at the first opportunity) takes
          > precedence over the principle of b'rov am hadrat Melech (a multitude
          > discloses the glory of the King). Rav Teichtal rejects that
          > reasoning, however, based on the conclusion of Chatam Sofer in his
          > work Torat Moshe (Parshat Tetzaveh). The Chatam Sofer writes that
          > Gemara's preference for early mitzva performance over multitudinous
          > mitzvah performance applies only where delaying a mitzvah in order to
          > perform it with a greater number of people does not enhance the
          > mitzvah itself, which remains qualitatively the same, but only adds
          > the external enhancement of multitudinous performance. However, where
          > multitudinous performance results in an enhancement intrinsic to the
          > mitzva itself, the principle of b'rov am takes precedence over the
          > principle of zrizin makdimin, and one should delay the performance of
          > the mitzva in order to perform it with a larger crowd. Kri'at
          > Hamegila is a mitzvah of the latter sort insofar as multitudinous
          > performance enhances pirsumei nisa (publicizing the Purim miracle),
          > which is of the essence of the mitzva of Mikra Megila. Based on the
          > Chatam Sofer, one must therefore delay Kri'at Hamegila in order to
          > maximize the number of participants in performance of the mitzva. Rav
          > Teichtal adds that the Chatam Sofer's conclusion is in accord with the
          > rulings of other authorities, including Rama (Orach Chayim 426),
          > Chacham Tzvi (Siman 106), Maharam Shik (Orach Chayim 45, Even HaEzer
          > 1), Teshuvat Riva (Siman 46) and Teshuvat Nachlat Binyamin (Simanim
          > 13-15).
          >
          > Rav Teichtal turns next to the Gemara in Megila (3a) and Tosafot's
          > comments there. As we have seen, the Gemara states:
          >
          > "… What does the phrase `mishpacha u'mishpacha/every family' (Ester
          > 9:28)* teach us? Rabbi Yosi Bar Chanina said, it is inclusive of the
          > priestly and Levite families, who must forego (mevatlin) their
          > [Temple] service and come to hear the reading of the Megila. For Rav
          > Yehuda said in the name of Rav that Kohanim at their service, Levi'im
          > on their platforms and Israelites at their stations must all forego
          > their [Temple] service and come to hear the reading of the Megila. We
          > also learned this in a beraita … . The school of Rebbi relied on this
          > [in ruling] that one must forego Torah study and come to hear the
          > Megila, based on a fortiori argument from [Temple] service … ."
          >
          > Tosafot (dibur hamatchil Mevatlin) ask what need there to delay the
          > Temple service, given that it can be performed at dawn and the
          > Kohanim, Levi'im and Yisraelim in attendance at the Temple can then
          > form their own minyan for reading the Megila. Tosafot answer that it
          > is better to read the Megila with the whole community because it
          > results in greater pirsumei nisa.
          >
          > Rav Teichtal notes that a separate Kriat Hamegila after the morning
          > service in the Beit Hamikdash would in fact result in significant
          > pirsumei nisa. After all, 13 Kohanim participated in the morning
          > Temple service, in addition to the Levi'im and Yisraelim present.
          > Moreover, the morning Temple service is a constant mitzva (tadir), and
          > Tosafot state in Shabbat 23b (dibur hamatchil Hadar) that a more
          > constant (tadir) mitzva takes priority over another mitzva that can be
          > performed afterwards, even if the other mitzva involves pirsumei nisa.
          > Only where it is not possible to perform both mitzvot does the mitzva
          > involving pirsumei nisa take priority over the constant mitzvah. (The
          > halacha is decided in accordance with this Tosafot in Shulchan Aruch,
          > Orach Chayim 684.)
          >
          > In the situation discussed by the Gemara in Megila, it is certainly
          > possible to perform both the mitzva of the morning Temple service,
          > which is constant, and the mitzvah of Kri'at Hamegila, which involves
          > pirsumei nisa. As such, the morning Temple service should take
          > precedence, and the question of Tosafot in Megila is reinstated –- why
          > don't the Kohanim first perform the morning service and then read the
          > Megila in their own separate minyan with the Levi'im and the Yisraelim
          > present in the Temple, which would still achieve significant pirsumei
          > nisa? And, if the scriptural phrase "mishpacha u'mishpacha" indeed
          > teaches us that they must read the Megila first, then why don't we
          > also learn from there that a mitzva involving pirsumei nisa takes
          > precedence over a constant mitzva, even when it is possible to perform
          > both, contrary to the ruling of Tosafot in Shabbat (and the Shulchan
          > Aruch)?
          >
          > Rav Teichtal finds that his question is in fact raised by a number of
          > later authorities (Beit Yitzchak, Turei Zahav and Shu"t Maharia), who
          > answer that Tosafot in Shabbat only give a constant mitzva priority
          > over a mitzvah involving pirsumei nisa where the degree of pirsumei
          > nisa resulting from delayed performance of the latter mitzva is no
          > less than the pirsumei nisa that would have resulted from its prior
          > performance. However, where the degree of pirsumei nisa resulting
          > from delayed performance of a mitzva would be less than the pirsumei
          > nisa that would have resulted from its performance before a more
          > constant mitzvah, it is considered as if prior performance of the more
          > constant mitzvah makes performance of the mitzva involving pirsumei
          > nisa impossible, since the latter can't be performed with the same
          > degree of pirsumei nisa afterwards. In such an instance, Tosafot in
          > Shabbat would agree that the mitzvah involving pirsumei nisa takes
          > priority over a constant mitzvah. Tosafot in Megila thus answer in a
          > consistent manner that Kriat Hamegila must precede the morning Temple
          > service to maximize pirsumei nisa, i.e., avoid the diminution of
          > pirsumei nisa that would result from prior performance of the morning
          > Temple service, which would necessitate separate Megila readings by
          > the community and those involved in the Temple service. And the
          > scriptural phrase "mishpacha u'mishpacha" teaches the priority of
          > pirsumei nisa over a constant mitzva under just such circumstances,
          > but not under those discussed by Tosafot in Shabbat.
          >
          > [To be continued, be"H]
          >
          > _______
          > *The full verse reads: "And these days should be remembered and kept
          > throughout every generation, every family, every province and every
          > city; and these days of Purim should not fail among the Jews, or the
          > memory of them perish from their seed."
          >
        • David Hillel Nadoff
          [Please learn, pray and perform acts of lovingkindness for the refua sheleima of Chaya Rivka Bat Sheindl Sara] Last spring, we began a series of posts intended
          Message 4 of 5 , Aug 17, 2006
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            [Please learn, pray and perform acts of lovingkindness
            for the refua sheleima of Chaya Rivka Bat Sheindl Sara]


            Last spring, we began a series of posts intended to showcase the
            author of Eim Habanim Semeicha (EHS), Rav Yisachar Shlomo Teichtal, as
            a lamdan and posek of the first rank.{1} The several responsa that we
            sampled from his Shu"t Mishneh Sachir demonstrate R' Teichtal's
            erudition, insight and originality in halachic analysis and
            decision-making, which were the basis for his extraordinary prestige
            and authority as a posek throughout Central Europe (and beyond) during
            the first half of the 20th Century.

            We have titled this message and the first message in this series,
            perhaps somewhat misleadingly, as "another side of R' Teichtal." It
            is important to recognize, however, that there is in fact no tension
            or dichotomy between R' Teichtal's work as a Talmudic scholar and
            halachic decisor, on the one hand, and his role as a leading exponent
            of Torah Zionism, on the other. He brought to both enterprises, to
            EHS no less than to Shu"t Mishneh Sachir, the same unwavering
            commitment to the Mesora, encyclopedic mastery of its sources and
            rigorous standards of reasoning and proof.

            In the Second Introduction to EHS (p. 38), R' Teichtal maintains that
            the determination of Torah truth regarding matters of redemption,
            including Yishuv Eretz Yisrael, warrants study and debate according to
            the standards of halachic discourse. In that regard, he quotes the
            dictum of the sages, "'The word of the Lord' - this is halacha; 'the
            word of the Lord' this is the [Messianic] end." (Shabbat 138b; Tana
            D'bei Eliyahu 16:11.) According to the commentary Tosefot Ben Yechiel
            on Tana D'bei Eliyahu (ibid.), this means that the rebuilding Eretz
            Yisrael and other matters pertaining to the end of days are
            fundamentally halachic issues that merit the same scholarly attention
            and analysis, with substantiation from Torah sources, as other areas
            of halacha. In other words, such matters must be ascertained by the
            time-honored halachic methodology of thorough source review, rigorous
            analysis and subjection to scholarly scrutiny according to traditional
            standards of argumentation, validity and proof.

            At one point (EHS, p. 368), R' Teichtal goes so far as to maintain
            that Yishuv Eretz Yisrael and related issues actually warrant
            application of the heightened halachic standards of dinei nefashot
            (capital cases). This is based on Rambam's ruling that deliberations
            concerning intercalation of the calendar (i.e., declaring a leap year)
            are subject to the strict standards of dinei nefashot because they
            involve a potential departure from the prevailing norm. (Rambam,
            Hilchot Kiddush Hachodesh 4:10.) R' Teichtal reasons that resolution
            of the issues before him in EHS likewise involves a potential
            disruption from the prevailing galut norms of passivity and
            complacency, and is therefore subject to the most rigorous halachic
            standards.

            It is precisely as a Talmudist and Halachist that R' Teichtal
            addresses us in EHS. He is thus able to say quite accurately: "Not a
            single thing that I have written in the present work is mere personal
            opinion. Rather, I have drawn on the well of living waters, a well
            dug by princes [per Bamidbar 21:18], the princes of the Torah, masters
            of the Talmud, Zohar and our other sacred texts. On the foundation of
            their words, I have erected the structure of this work that I present
            to you." (EHS, p. 368-9.) It is in this sense that we must
            understand a number of R' Teichtal's pronouncements in EHS. Consider,
            for example, the following passage (which we have previously examined
            in other contexts as well):

            "I confess the truth and acknowledge my sin. I too despised the
            effort to rebuild the Land based on what I heard from many other
            chareidim, which became embedded in my heart. I took no interest in
            this subject at all because I was preoccupied with study, teaching,
            composing Talmudic treatises and writing halachic responsa to those
            with questions concerning the word of the Lord. I delved into this
            halacha only after we were afflicted in this bitter exile, and God
            enlightened me to realize that I was mistaken, along with all the
            others who opposed this. I now concede and say, like Rava and other
            Talmudic sages, 'What I told you was mistaken.' [Eruvin 104a; Bava
            Batra 127a.] For the admission of error by rabbanim is praiseworthy
            (modim d'rabanan hainu shivchaihu). Thank God, I am not afraid to
            express publicly the truth that is in my heart. . . I will not recant
            my opinion, which is daat Torah, because of any contemporary gadol or
            rebbe, unless he engages me in debate in the way of Torah dialogue,
            with proofs from the words of chazal, and not mere visceral
            rationalizations (s'varot k'reisiot) – only then, if his words prove
            correct, will I concede." (EHS, p. 24; see also EHS, p. 333.)

            In this passage, R' Teichtal frankly acknowledges his previous mistake
            in rejecting the Shivat Tzion movement. More importantly, he
            attributes the error specifically to his failure to examine the
            subject as a halachic matter, on par with the more conventional
            halachic topics which preoccupied him, instead espousing uncritically
            the visceral opposition of the chareidim around him. Once R' Teichtal
            completed his exhaustive examination and analysis of the sources,
            arrived at conclusions that he considered daat Torah{2} and recorded
            his deliberations in EHS, he invited learned criticism of his views
            and was prepared to debate and reconsider them in light of valid
            halachic objections. However, he adamantly refused to be influenced
            by the strident knee-jerk negativity then in vogue or by naked appeals
            to the authority of gedolim or rebbes who failed to articulate any
            sound halachic justification for their opposition.{3} On this point,
            R' Teichtal invokes the admonition of the early authorities that
            conclusory expressions of disagreement are unworthy of consideration
            and a scholar may take issue with the reasoned conclusion of a
            colleague only on the basis of valid argumentation. (EHS, p. 38,
            citing Teshuvot HaMabit, Siman 116; see also EHS, p 369.) Elsewhere,
            he appeals to Maharam Shik's conclusion that one need not accept a
            position taken by a talmid chacham that is contrary to ones
            understanding of Chazal unless he demonstrates its validity by
            compelling analysis and reasoning. (EHS, pp. 45, 256.)

            It is our misfortune that the critical evaluation and debate that Rav
            Teichtal invited concerning his teachings in EHS has never occurred.
            Rabbi Berel Wein has observed that, while the religious Zionist
            community has enthusiastically embraced EHS, its intended audience,
            the non-Zionist yeshiva and Chasidic world, has almost reflexively
            ignored or rejected it out of hand. (Review of the English
            translations of EHS in Jewish Action, Summer 5761/2001.) In
            consequence, Rav Teichtal has been effectively "preaching to the
            choir" for the last 65 years and his views have not received the
            critical scrutiny that he contemplated and welcomed. While that does
            not detract one whit from the status of EHS as a masterwork of
            halachic, homiletic and hashkafic literature, it is certainly a
            significant loss to the Torah world, including the religious Zionist
            community. Perhaps our Chabura can contribute in a small way to
            facilitating the long-overdue dialogue that R' Teichtal invited, and
            thereby actualize the goal articulated in our mission statement, to
            "transcend the divisive politics of Orthodox sub-group identification,
            mitigate intolerance and encourage cheshbon hanefesh about our
            feelings and duties toward Eretz Yisrael and Klal Yisrael."

            _____________________
            {1} That series of posts is comprised of:
            >Another Side of Rav Teichtal (I) -
            http://groups.yahoo.com/group/toratimecha/message/261
            >Multiple Minyanim on Purim -
            http://groups.yahoo.com/group/toratimecha/message/262
            http://groups.yahoo.com/group/toratimecha/message/266
            http://groups.yahoo.com/group/toratimecha/message/267
            >Date references in Halacha -
            http://groups.yahoo.com/group/toratimecha/message/296
            >Communal Obligation in Halacha (Talmud Torah and Yishuv Haaretz) -
            http://groups.yahoo.com/group/toratimecha/message/271
            http://groups.yahoo.com/group/toratimecha/message/287
            http://groups.yahoo.com/group/toratimecha/message/292
            http://groups.yahoo.com/group/toratimecha/message/293
            http://groups.yahoo.com/group/toratimecha/message/353
            http://groups.yahoo.com/group/toratimecha/message/357
            http://groups.yahoo.com/group/toratimecha/message/366

            {2} R' Teichtal's usage of the term "daat Torah" in the passage under
            consideration (EHS, p. 24) is both instructive and, to our modern
            ears, unusual. In his view, the term "daat Torah" signifies the well
            researched and carefully argued conclusion of an independent Torah
            scholar, which nevertheless remains subject to challenge, debate and
            possible revision or rejection. For him, the term applies equally and
            univocally both to issues of halacha and hashkafa. By contrast, what
            passes for "daat Torah" in much of the Torah world is something quite
            different. Confined almost exclusively to the realm of hashkafa (in
            the broadest sense), it signifies a rabbinic proclamation issued with
            ominous finality (repelling inquiry and scholarly debate), which
            purports to be self-justifying (no source being cited or rationale
            articulated), and which arrogates unto itself an authority akin to the
            prophetic or the sovereign. (May Hashem speedily restore prophecy to
            His people and bring the renewed sovereignty of Israel into full
            conformity with His will!) In other words, daat Torah has morphed
            into something quite off the hallowed path that R. Teichtal refers to
            as "the way of Torah dialogue." For all his erudition and inspired
            insight, for all the prestige and authority that he enjoyed, R'
            Teichtal would have no part of such a conception and invited his
            opponents to join issue and clarify matters with him through learned
            discourse. See http://groups.yahoo.com/group/toratimecha/message/66

            {3} It is just this readiness to admit error and openness to informed
            criticism that led the great baal musar, R' Yosef Dovid Epstein, to
            identify R' Teichtal as an outstanding modern exemplar of intellectual
            honesty and personal integrity in the Torah world. (Mitzvat HaShalom,
            p. 623.)
          • David Hillel Nadoff
            [Please learn, pray and perform acts of lovingkindness for the refua sheleima of Chaya Rivka Bat Sheindl Sara] We saw in the prior post on this topic that
            Message 5 of 5 , Aug 21, 2006
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              [Please learn, pray and perform acts of lovingkindness
              for the refua sheleima of Chaya Rivka Bat Sheindl Sara]

              We saw in the prior post on this topic that having thoroughly
              researched and painstakingly argued the halachic rulings and hashkafic
              conclusions of Eim Habanim Semeicha, Rav Teichtal nevertheless
              welcomed scholarly scrutiny and debate concerning his findings, and
              remained open to modifying his "da'at Torah" based on valid objections
              of his peers. We contrasted R' Teichtal's use of the term "da'at
              Torah" in this context with the absolutist model of da'at Torah that
              holds sway in many contemporary circles.

              In this regard, it should be noted that chazal consider dialogue among
              Torah scholars and their willingness to learn from one another to be
              of the essence of da'at Torah. Consider the following dicta of the
              sages and the comments of Rashi and Rav Avrahm Hafuta** thereon:

              -1- "R' Yirmiya said in the name of R' Shimon Ben Lakish: Two
              Torah scholars who deliberate together* in matters of halacha, the
              Holy One, Blessed is He, is attentive to them, as it says, 'Then those
              who fear the Lord spoke (nidberu) to one another [and the Lord
              hearkened and heard it . . .' (Malachi 3:16.)] And `dibur' is
              nothing but `nachat,' [in the dual sense of leading and being pleasant
              or mild, which yields the derivative meaning of subduing,] as it says,
              `He subdues (yadber) nations under our dominion [Tehilim 47:4]."
              (Shabbat 63a.)

              Rashi explains that "deliberate together" means to engage in dialogue
              "in order to learn from one another." (Ibid.) Commenting on this
              passage, R' Hafuta observes: "This is just the opposite of accepted
              practice today among the Torah leaders, who do not conduct themselves
              in the way of truth according to our holy Torah. Each one of them
              wishes to reign supreme, and none of them is prepared to concede to
              his fellow. In practical terms, this is the foundation of discord.
              They are unable to lead the nation in this way, but instead destroy
              it. A leader is obliged to accept the truth from whoever speaks it
              and to have an inner perception of himself as part and parcel of the
              nation as a whole. However, when he conducts himself arrogantly, with
              an inflated ego, he necessarily stands alone and is incapable of
              leading the nation. Chazal thus teach us that the Divine Presence
              rests upon leaders who take counsel with and learn from one another in
              order to explore fully the matters before them. . ." (Reishit Da'at,
              Vol. I, pp. 205-206.)

              -2- "R' Ila'a Ben Berachya said: Two Torah scholars who live in
              the same city and do not deliberate together* in matters of halacha,
              one will die and the other will be banished [to a Refuge City], as it
              says [of the Refuge Cities], 'to flee there every murderer who kills
              his fellow without knowledge (mibli da'at)' [Devarim 4:42]. And
              `da'at' is nothing but Torah, as it is written, `My people are
              destroyed for lack of knowledge (mibli hada'at), [for you have spurned
              knowledge and I will spurn you from serving Me, seeing that you have
              forgotten the Torah of your God, I will also forget your children.'
              (Hoshea 4:6.)]" (Sota 49a.)

              Rashi explains that such scholars lack the ability "to teach one
              another and learn from one another," and that constitutes a lack of
              knowledge (da'at). R' Hafuta expands on this as follows: "We see
              that da'at, i.e., Torah, is actualized [by Torah scholars] through
              teaching and learning from one another. This implies that, absent
              such interaction, they do not achieve Torah, for their conclusions are
              Torah without da'at [which is a contradiction in terms]. As if that
              were not enough, according to chazal's explanation of the verse, it is
              clear that in the absence of such da'at of Torah between two Torah
              scholars, the one is considered to `kill his fellow without knowledge
              (mibli da'at)'! . . . Each of them indeed learned Torah on his own,
              but da'at Torah is nevertheless lacking, for it arises only from the
              clarification and refinement of the halacha through dialogue between
              two Torah scholars to arrive at the truth of Torah." (Reishit Da'at,
              Vol. III, pp. 70-71.)

              The talmudic passages quoted above may have been among R' Teichtal's
              sources for the open attitude he expresses in Eim Habanim Semeicha.
              That attitude is characteristic of his approach to halachic
              decision-making in general and is in evidence throughout his Shu"t
              Mishneh Sachir, which includes some of the vast correspondence that he
              conducted throughout his career with gedolim all over Europe.

              _____________________
              * The Hebrew/Aramaic word "nochin," translated here as "deliberate,"
              bears the dual implication of (i) pleasant or cordial dialogue and
              (ii) leading or guiding one another.

              ** Rav Hafuta is a contemporary gaon who has authored over 50 works of
              halachic responsa, talmudic commentary, biblical exegesis and Jewish
              thought. For biographical details and excerpts from his sefarim (in
              Hebrew), visit http://www.harav.net/
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