(c) 2000 Dr Hendel; 1st appeared in Torah Forum (c) Project Genesis

Date: Thu, 30 Jul 1998 12:02:23 -0400
From: rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu (Russell Hendel)
Subject: Re: Rainbows

Eliezer Wagner [tf4-21] disagreed with my approach that "requiring a
blessing for an occasion" implies that "the occasion is good".

Allow me to respond to his objections: There is an explicit law in Judaism
that certain Rabbinic prohibitions (connected with Toomah) can be ignored
in order to see (even a Non Jewish) King. So we see that seeing a King is a
desired activity. However,[Wagners] point that it doesn't supercede
Talmud Torah is correct.

Furthermore, with one exception, ALL other activities for which blessings
are said are "desirable activities". Indeed we say blessings for: eating,
smelling, Mitzvoth, seeing meteors, comets, beautiful trees, lightning,
oceans, lunar conjunctions, solar conjunctions etc.  In fact when a famous
comet passed by earth a few years ago many Jews were rushing to get a sight
of it in order to say a Blessing.

True, we bless God as the True Judge, on bad tidings--but these tidings are
BY definition BAD. All other "blessing related activity" is good.

It was Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch who explicitly advocated deriving Jewish
Philosophy from halacha. My reference to MOOSAR as "obscure" is not because
I want to criticize moosar but rather because MOOSAR by its nature is non
halachik--it is suggestive and not obligatory.

Russell Jay Hendel; PHd ASA