[Avodah] ceremony in halacha

Micha Berger via Avodah avodah at lists.aishdas.org
Thu Sep 10 12:47:25 PDT 2015

On Fri, Aug 21, 2015 at 12:02:01PM +0300, Eli Turkel via Avodah wrote:
: RHS following RYBS insists there is no such thing as ceremony in Judaism.
: I am not sure I agree but in any case there are many things that appear as
: ceremony to the average layman. Some examples include (inyama de-yoma)

It's an intersting point, but relating it to RYBS's position just
confuses the matter. You're using the word "ceremony" in nearly
the opposite sense. And while you note that:
: I again stress that I am using ceremony in the way that most peopleview it.
: Of course RHS would counter that these are halachic constructs and not
: ceremonies. This is true in the halachic view but not in the popular view

This isnt' merely an answer, it's an indication that you're discussing
two different topics. There is no question, just a miscommunication.

Anyway, the contrast between the usages of the word "ceremony" interested

You listed a number of cases where a halachic legality can be accomplished
through something the lay-person considers meaningless ritual: pruzbul,
mechiras chameitz, heter isqa, ha'aramos, etc..

RYBS made that statement about ceremony in the sense of ritual in which
the person finds meaning, but lacks halachic structure.

The two examples that most readily leap to mind are (1) his disparaging
kiruv that focuses on white tablecloths and shiny Shabbos candelabra,
and (2) his modifying the minhagim of the Three Weeks and Nine Days
because leshitaso, the minhagim must follow the same forms as ones found
in hilkhos aveilus. I posted about this in Aug '08 at

I also noted in 2011 that RYBS's position that minhag must mirror halachic
structure is in opposition to the Brisker Rav's (his uncle's) shitah. RYZS
holds that one makes berakhos on minhagim that have a cheftzah shel
mitzvah (eg lighting a Chanukah menorah in shul), and that the Rambam
and Rabbeinu Tam don't argue about that. What they do argue about is
whether Chatzi Hallel is close enough to Hallel to qualify for a berakhah.

However, leshitas RYBS, there are no such minhagim that wouldn't require
a berakhah. If Chatzi Hallel didn't require a berakhah because it's not
close enough to the cheftzah shel mitzvah, it would be "ceremony", and not
a valid minhag. He therefore would have to reject his uncle's chiddush.

Neo-Chassidus is basically a MO rebellion to this kind of Halakhic
Man approach to Yahadus.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             When a king dies, his power ends,
micha at aishdas.org        but when a prophet dies, his influence is just
http://www.aishdas.org   beginning.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                    - Soren Kierkegaard

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