[Avodah] Kitniyot

Zev Sero zev at sero.name
Thu Mar 28 19:06:53 PDT 2013

On 28/03/2013 5:03 PM, Micha Berger wrote:
>> We aren't Christians. We insist on the reality that Hashem gave us the
>> >Torah at Sinai and that what we have now is that Torah. A legal system
>> >designed to change people is all well and good, though it's much more
>> >something you'd hear in a shul sermon than in any actual mar'ei mekomot,
>> >but there's no way the k'zayit was inflated in order to change people...
> I'm saying it's a legal process because it evolves as our culture does.
> You're saying that the historical size of an olive 2000 years ago helps
> "ha'adam nif'al lefi pe'ulaso" more than that continuity. Or than giving
> people the power to partner with G-d to find a means of redemption.

I think RLL is rejecting your idea that this is the purpose and criterion
of halacha.  That following halacha refines a person doesn't mean that's its

(Incidentally, over yomtov I read an interview with R Yoel Kahn in which he
said (if I understood it correctly) that it's a mistake to think that the
purpose of learning chassidus is to make one a better person.  The purpose,
he said, is simply that it is the underlying truth of the universe. Knowing
some of this truth will inevitably make one look at the world more clearly,
and therefore make better decisions, and therefore be a better person and
serve Hashem better, and if it doesn't have this effect then one hasn't
understood it properly, but that is merely a side-effect, not its purpose.)

>> That's a false dichotomy.  Prior to the arrival of a fact, the halakha
>> can be x, due to chazaka or approximation or error.  Subsequent to the
>> arrival of that fact, maintaining the halakha to be x in the face of the
>> contradictory fact is contrary to sense, and is bad halakha.
> Halakhah has rules of legislation. Apparently it is not a given that
> "corrected to match intended reality" is one of them.

One authority who would seem to support RLL's position is, ironically,
the Tzlach, who created the shiurim that we now know as "Chazon Ish".
He rejected the result of millennia of evolution, and doubled the
received shiurim, because he believed he was recreating the real
objective shiurim that Chazal instituted.  He thought that over the
years the shiurim had drifted and shrunk, and that he was restoring
them to what they should be, reflecting the reality of the eggs that
Chazal had measured.  Had he known what we think we do about Chazal's
chickens' eggs, he would not have promulgated his shiurim, and might
instead have gone in the other direction.  So it seems RLL is championing
his view, but with (what appears to be, or at least what she thinks is)
better information.

Zev Sero               A citizen may not be required to offer a 'good and
zev at sero.name          substantial reason' why he should be permitted to
                        exercise his rights. The right's existence is all
                        the reason he needs.
                            - Judge Benson E. Legg, Woollard v. Sheridan

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