Avodah Mailing List

Volume 02 : Number 196

Thursday, March 18 1999

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Thu, 18 Mar 1999 16:59:29 -0600 (CST)
From: "Shoshanah M. & Yosef G. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Re: Binding Tefillo

On Thu, 18 Mar 1999 richard_wolpoe@ibi.com wrote:

> Q: Is Maariv - which was was nispashet during the time of the Rishonim -
> as obligatory as Shacaris? 

So far as I know the answer is yes (but not vis a vis women who were not
mekkable - i.e, among women it was not nispashta).


Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer
Cong. Bais Tefila, 3555 W. Peterson Ave., Chicago, IL, 60659
ygb@aishdas.org, http://www.aishdas.org/baistefila

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Date: Thu, 18 Mar 1999 17:04:47 -0600 (CST)
From: "Shoshanah M. & Yosef G. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Re: CI double dare - and an unreasonable charedi?

On Thu, 18 Mar 1999 Michael.Frankel@dtra.mil wrote:

> i had a feeling that was going to come back and bite me. just curious -
> was RYGB's "sheer nonsense" characterization meant to modify just the
> former reference to the CI or also the latter reference to himself - in
> which case is he rather protesting some perceived (but by no means
> intended)  wimpification and asserting his own claim to membership in
> that more prevalent species, the unreasonable charedi?(:-).

No, no, I actually like the appelation "Reasonable Charedi". The nonsense
refers to those who would brand the Chazon Ish as a right-winger. Which, I
am afraid, leads me to your next paragraph:

> hmm. hard for any of us kids to resist a double dare. but to at least
> continue the conversational thread. It is hard to get one's conceptual
> arms around the meaning which one might invest in the notion of
> "normative perspectives on pisaq" - so rather than treat that directly
> and then find we're discussing apples and oranges, let me frame the
> response around a specific question. does RYGB consider the CI's
> perspective on the utilzation of the "fifth" cheileq of SO for such
> matters as army service or (i think)  she'rus li'umi for girls to be the
> normative perspective of all gidolim from whatever hashkofic camp?  As a


This is not to say that there may not be other perspectives, but the CI,
in rendering this psak was utilizing the same fifth chelek of SO that R'
Moshe and R' Shlomo Zalman made much use of as well.

> if not quite contained in the usual 4 chaloqim.  If the latter, does
> RYGB think that there is some universal godole consensus on legislative
> powers of da'as torah? And does he think there's a consensus on its
> applicability to matters like sherus li'umi? 

Yes and yes. But let us not use the boogey man term of DT (I hope that's
an allowable RT). Let us call it, the Da'as that is inherent in an
individual that is full of the Chochma and Tevuna of Torah.


Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer
Cong. Bais Tefila, 3555 W. Peterson Ave., Chicago, IL, 60659
ygb@aishdas.org, http://www.aishdas.org/baistefila

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Date: Thu, 18 Mar 1999 17:11:37 -0600 (CST)
From: "Shoshanah M. & Yosef G. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Re: Yichezqel 29-32; reply to RYGB

On Thu, 18 Mar 1999 Michael.Frankel@dtra.mil wrote:

>  I shall remedy that by responding to the latter issue.  On the former,
> I don't think lack of response is an issue, as I recall the dor shi'vie
> sent in a peirush of one of the BB maymirim which, though ignored,
> seemed imho as viable as other alternatives.  In any event REC (and
> perhaps RCB?) sent in a more extended BB response - which RYGB blew off
> with a "we are not impressed".  I shall invite the same fate by

We were less impressed by RDG's pshat than even with REC's. But let us
leave that for another time, perhaps never, since we won't be changing
each other's opinions, will we?

> My summary response to this QED line is: sez who?, I certainly can.  But
> to expand on that a bit - what's going on in yichezqel 29-32 is a series
> of nivu'os against mitzrayim, apparently culpable as a faithless ally
> with negative character traits.  The only guy mentioned by name is
> nevuchadrezzar.  Nothing very surprising here.  yichezqel was probably
> brought over to bovel by nevuchadrezzar in the early shift about 11 or
> 12 years before the churbon in -586 (yup, I'm taking sides but lets pass
> on that for now) and was intimately and painfully familiar with
> nevuchadnezzar's subsequent career moves.  In the year -568 the same
> nevuchadnezzar launched a major invasion of Egypt, a fact well accepted
> by historians and documented in external sources.  While we are not
> cognizant exactly what the result of this invasion was, we do know from
> external sources that the conquest of Egypt was finally completed about
> thirty five years later by Cambysus.  Lulai dimistofinoh I would say

Stirke 1. (But keep trying.)

The Novi iterates and reiterates that Nevuchadnezzar will reap the spoils
of war - that, should, at least, indicate a Babylonian general - not a
Persian king a generation later. Sorry.


Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer
Cong. Bais Tefila, 3555 W. Peterson Ave., Chicago, IL, 60659
ygb@aishdas.org, http://www.aishdas.org/baistefila

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Date: Thu, 18 Mar 1999 11:44:13 -0500
From: richard_wolpoe@ibi.com
footnote to Mogen Dovid

>>On November 9, 1938, at the orders of Heydrich, the hexagram combined with the
colour yellow, earlier used to symbolize the Jews, was introduced to mark all 
those of Jewish birth.<<
Note: That was the date of Chrystallnacht!
Rich Wolpoe

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Date: Thu, 18 Mar 1999 11:17:41 -0500
From: richard_wolpoe@ibi.com
Chasam Sofer and Kitniyos

Wouldn't the suspension of Kitniyos by CS be a genuine Horoas Sho'o?  Coudn't 
d'oraiso and derbannons fall ino the same rubric? IMHO it appears that the CS 
was not so much afraid of the halachic suspension of Kitnniyos so much as the 
precedent it might set while engaged with a struggle with Reform.  And 
therefore, this case is no rayo that Rishonim weigh in less than do Chazal?

Rich Wolpoe 

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Date: Thu, 18 Mar 1999 22:00:35 +0200 (IST)
From: Claude Schochet <schochet@techunix.technion.ac.il>

The conversation re pi needs a dose of reality, I think. 

> I am no expert on the history of science but I do not believe    
>that a calculation of pi so accurate existed before the 20th century.   

Well, I'm not an expert on the history of science either, but when I heard
this gematria (attributed to the Talmud by the speaker I heard it
from) I went and found a book that talks about the history of pi. 
The mathematicians of 2000 years ago knew pi to several decimal places and
several hundred years ago they knew how to compute it to as many decimal
places as people were interested in seeing it (this latter comes from
using an infinite series expansion which converges rapidly to pi).
This same method is the basis of what is used nowadays to compute pi to
jillions of decimal places - it is just arithmetic to evaluate the series,
and computers can do arithmetic faster and more accurately than humans

So - my guess is that
Newton wouldn't possibly have been impressed by the accuracy of the
calculation of pi given by this gematria, since he already knew much
better estimates. Of course he was something of an eccentric when it came
to religion/science issues, so who knows what would have turned him on. 
The burden of proof is on the person who claims that Newton did this or
that, since he left an extensive written record behind him.

I would be happy to supply the formula for computing pi to anybody
interested. If you happen to be stuck in a classroom during a boring
lecture you can calculate approximations of pi with it.

By the way, there are two other pieces of information about pi that are
more important than its actual value:

a) it is irrational: that is, it is not of the form p/q where p and q are

even better-

b) it is transcendental. This means that no polynomial with rational
coefficients has pi as a root. (By contrast, the square root of 2 is
irrational but satisfies the equation x^2 -2 = 0. )

I would be very interested in any gematria that establish either of these
facts. You will note that knowing pi to any degree of accuracy does not
settle either 1) or 2). 

(Finally - something I know something about!)

Claude (Haim) and Rivka Schochet
Math Dept		04-834-6049 home (also works as fax)
The Technion		04-829-3895 office
Haifa, Israel 32000

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Date: Thu, 18 Mar 1999 20:31:22 -0500
From: Harry Maryles <C-Maryles@neiu.edu>
Achronim asTorah She Bal Peh

Shoshanah M. & Yosef G. Bechhofer wrote:

> TSBAP is more
> tricky. I assume it definitely includes everything up to "Rav Ashi
> v'Ravina sof Horo'oh" but I do not know how it extends betond that.
> Nevertheless, the understanding of Talmudic texts and opinions inherent in
> the study of Rishonim and Acharonim is likely TT l'kol ha'dei'os, but
> what, indded, would the struggle to understand a passage in the Ktzos that
> did not relate to Rishonim and Acharonim constitute? I think it still
> fulfills the mitzva me'divrei kabbala of "V'higeisa ba yomam va'lyla",
> i.e., to occupy oneself with thoghts that relate to Torah.

I find it difficult to understand how you can say that studying any 
portion of Achronim, like the Ketzos HaChoshen, does not qualify as 
legitimate study of Torah She Bal Peh. My understanding of Torah She 
BeKsav is that it includes any portion of Torah Neviim or Kesuvim, (as 
you have stated) and that Torah she Bal Peh study includes anything that 
relates to the understanding of Torah She Beksav, the Mishna, the 
Gemmorah, and any explanation (whether it be drush v'chidush or shailos 
and teshuvos) of Mishna or Gemmorah, which includes any and all Rishonim 
and Achronim.  I fail to see how the study of any portion of achronim 
would not qualify. 

Furthermore, as one poster pointed out, even this list may, at times 
qualify as legitimate Torah (sheb al peh) study.

Of course, one man's Torah study is another man's Batala.  If one who 
normally spends many hours in a Beis HaMedrash would, instead, spend 
time on this list it would probably qualify more as batalah than as 
Talmud Torah.


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