Avodah Mailing List

Volume 03 : Number 175

Thursday, August 19 1999

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1999 12:26:11 -0400 (EDT)
From: micha@aishdas.org (Micha Berger)
Subject:
Re: choosing 4 minim


Chaim Brown writes:
: I don't understand this thread - the mitzva is being notel lulav and esrog, 
: not buying or choosing a set.  You may feel emotional, but l'ma'aseh the few 
: hours spent picking out a set can be spent in ways that involve true kiyumei 
: mitzva.

The discussion wasn't about how to create emotion while shopping for lulav
and esrog, but rather how to be noteil lulav with kavannah. After all,
mitzvah einah tz'richah kavanah is a b'dieved -- and wouldn't even be true
if you hold that netilas lulav is part of Hallel. (Much like the Brisker
Torah about teki'as Shofar being part of Chazaras haSha"tz, and therefore
one with the mitzvah of tephillah.)

This preparation time may be (for some people) an important tool in enhancing
that kavannah.

BTW, I wonder about our usage of being "mikayeim" a mitzvah. We seem to use
it as a synonymn for being yotzei.

However, in davening we find, "lishmor vila'asos ulkayeim". /Sh-m-r/, kiyadu'ah,
refers to lavin, just as "la'asos" obviously refers to mitvos asei. So, what's
ulkayeim?

My first hava aminah was that "lishmor vila'asos" is the hishtadlus to do a
mitzvah, and "ulkayeim" is that the hishtadlus actually is allowed to succeed.
For example, hishtadlus alone is not going to guarantee kiyum of piryah
virivyah, as many couples know.

But looking at the sentence as a whole, we're asking for "binah li-" each of
these things. Kiyum is apparantly something in the hands of the person
himself.

My current theory is that we mean "kiyum" literally. "Establish", as in giving
the mitzvah some permanence. I think the tephillah is asking that we not only
have the binah to do the mitzvah but also to have it make a permanent rosheim
on ourselves.

Which ties back to the begining of this meander. If I'm right, then while
choosing a set may not be necessary to be yotzei the mitzvah, but are
an important part of kiyum hamitzvah. (At least, according to an earlier
usage of the expression.)

-mi

-- 
Micha Berger (973) 916-0287          MMG"H for 19-Aug-99: Chamishi, Seitzei
micha@aishdas.org                                         A"H O"Ch 358:17-23
http://www.aishdas.org                                    Pisachim 25a
For a mitzvah is a lamp, and the Torah its light.         Nefesh Hachaim I 9


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Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1999 11:31:21 -0500
From: Robert Swartz <rs@interaccess.com>
Subject:
Re: Proofs of G-d


Kurt Godel one of the most preeminent mathematicians and logicians of
this century has a simple ontological proof of the existence of G-d.
This proof is in his collected works.  Although the editors of the
collected works take pains to say that Godel did not believe it, they do
not have particularly compelling evidence for this position. The proof
is quite surprising and unusual.  Is there any traditional response to
ontological arguments?


Bob Swartz


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Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1999 12:39:10 -0400 (EDT)
From: micha@aishdas.org (Micha Berger)
Subject:
Re: Erroneous Psak


Chana Luntz <Chana/Heather@luntz.demon.co.uk> writes:
: b) the woman is going to mikvah after the end of the d'orisa period, but
: they are not keeping the shiva nekiim;

b1) Mumarim lihach'is
b2) Mumarim litei'avon

If I had to guess, b2 is the most likely scenerio under which a couple who care
about taharas hamishpachah to violate it. They intellectually want to wait,
but ta'avos intervene. Chana's deductions about their motivations assume the
couple aren't trying to refrain, and therefore "she is unlikely to be doing
any bedikas" don't really fit.

It also makes sense for them to observe every harchakah ever suggested, for
purely pragmatic reasons.

: If they will keep the din (just not more than the din) they are much
: better off than they were before.  If they have really done teshuva and
: they want, as a reminder of their previous failing, to keep some extra
: chumra - that is a different matter.  But in order to do that they need
: to know that it is a chumra...

According to the Rambam, if someone is nechshal in some way they ought to
go a bit from the sh'vil hazahav in the other direction. These chumros
are therefore part of solidifying the t'shuvah itself.

Second, I agree you have to know a chumrah is a chumrah. After all -- look
what happened when Chava didn't! That was the point I was trying for when I
said it should be the role of a Rebbe or mashgiach ruchani, but not a Rav.
Even if the two roles happen to be filled by the same person.

-mi

-- 
Micha Berger (973) 916-0287          MMG"H for 19-Aug-99: Chamishi, Seitzei
micha@aishdas.org                                         A"H O"Ch 358:17-23
http://www.aishdas.org                                    Pisachim 25a
For a mitzvah is a lamp, and the Torah its light.         Nefesh Hachaim I 9


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Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1999 12:47:46 -0400
From: richard_wolpoe@ibi.com
Subject:
Proofs of G-d


Esteemed listowner Micha:
From: micha@aishdas.org (Micha Berger)
Subject: Re: 
1- On the subject of "the Ramchal's proof", my point was that the Ramchal's
position was much closer to Rich Wolpoe's "G-d is to be experienced not to be
proved" than what 20th century popularizations did to make it a proof.<<

As a followup I'd like to share the following machshovo from the LOR of my youth
during one of his sermons.  (The story might be apocraphyl, I don't recall the 
details)....

There was a famous surgeon who was a skeptic, a non-believer.  He claimed that 
during the course of his career he had operated on every part of the human body 
and he never saw a human soul.  (IOW to prove there was actually no such thing.)

One member of the audience queried rhetorically: "Did you ever see a human 
thought?".  

Rich Wolpoe 

  


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Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1999 12:59:08 -0400
From: Michael.Frankel@dtra.mil
Subject:
More dam-dom


RMFeldman writes:
<I am in agreement with you that dam--an adjective--is different from dom, a
noun. However, what is your position with regard to my chakirah: <<Does it
mean (1) that the meaning of words changes (here, it clearly does), or (2)
that the concept/idea is changed (here, I'm not so sure--is there ultimately
any difference between innocent blood and blood of an innocent)?>> According
to (2) why is it mishaneh et ha'inyan? Kol tuv, Moshe >
I  too see little conceptual difference in the expressed sentiment - even
though the sentence-teitch meaning  has changed.  One has effectively
"merely" substituted the metaphor (innocent blood) for the direct nimshol
(i.e the innocent person).  Does that constitute a correctible error? (in
principle of course - setting aside for the moment my suggestion that "dam"
is in fact perfectly good and indeed very ancient ashqenazi pronunciation
for these qomotzed words), it beats me. I suspect that different posiqim
would provide a spectrum of responses.  On a nistar level, where (I reveal
no secrets that would require me to kill you by mentioning) I do not
operate, I would not be surprised to learn that "innocent blood" has more
cosmic resonances and that initiates would be aghast at the suggestion that
the "content" hadn't changed. 

Mechy Frankel					H: (301) 593-3949
michael.frankel@dtra.mil				W: (703) 325-1277


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Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1999 13:05:37 -0400
From: Michael.Frankel@dtra.mil
Subject:
Breuer's tanach


RDBannett writes: 
<Bar Ilan has already put out the Keter on CD with nikkud and t'amim. This
is Menahem Cohen's work not the Breuer edition. Breuer is based on majority
rule. Cohen is a copy of the Keter, with reconstruction where necessary.
Reconstruction is based on Cohen's analysis of the existent Keter as well as
other manuscripts.> 

I think this brief description may inadvertently short change the remarkable
work that R. Breuer has produced.  Indeed, your equally brief description of
Cohen's work (which I'm not familiar with) applies as well to R. Breuer.
To expand slightly on your description - it is true that R. Breuer relied on
a kind of majority rule, but there were major filters and extensive chaqiros
before one even got to vote - kinda like a prohibitively restrictive poll
tax .  Firstly, he did not simply count extant manuscripts.  he utilized
only five of the earliest and most miduyoq of extant codices.  Secondly, he
did not merely look at the textual girsoh, but also at the accompanying
mesoroh  - both of which were extensively analyzed.  It was from both of
these sources, text + mesoroh, pruned by, literally, a letter by letter
analysis - that he arrived at his "final" text.   And then two very
remarkable things occurred.   The first was the publication of the keter
aram tzovoh itself - which had not been available to the scholarly community
when Breuer began his work.  A comparison with the actual text of the keter
showed an extraordinary level of identity between the two - far exceeding
that of the "best" of the rest - the Leningrad codex.  The other quite
amazing thing is that the text Breuer produced from this complex and
seemingly eclectic methodolgy in fact reproduced a single existing  uniform
textual tradition - that of the yemenites.  (Breuer had claimed that his
version is absolutely identical with the yemenite, but in fact there are
some extremely minor stiyot. such as word breakup in two places (e.g.
potiferoh vs poti feroh), the "broken' vov, and i think the well known
poroshoh breakup in vayiqroh - see penkower's book for more on this).  It is
also Breuer's claim, which probably no one else has checked but which no one
has any reason to doubt,  that the yemenite text is by far the most miduyoq
of all - in the classical quantification of miduyoq as the measure of
agreement of any given text with its own marginal mesorah.  Breuer claims
that the yemenite torah text is in fact 100% compliant with its mesorah, as
compared to say the leningrad, which differs from its mesorah in just the
torah in over 100 letters.  Even the ben Asher text contains a few scribal
errors in this sense.  R. Breuer's text's bona fides has thus been validated
by comparison with the ben Asher text itself where available and with the
yemenite text, closest of all available traditions to the ben Asher text.
It would be interesting to know what alternate methodology Cohen may have
hit on to reconstruct the torah text which, after all, is almost entirely
missing from the keter.  it is hard to believe that Cohen's reconstruction
could have been any more rigorous than R. Breuer's,- 

Mechy Frankel					H:  (301) 593-3949
michael.frankel@dtra.mil				W: (703) 325-1277


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Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1999 12:58:10 -0400
From: Sholem Berger <bergez01@med.nyu.edu>
Subject:
The argument by design


I agree with YGB: this argument will go around in circles.  I don't think God's influence is evident in the workings of biology, but in the fates of peoples and individuals.  But if you hold that photosynthesis is an argument for God, who am I to deny it?  

To my specific taynes:

>Actually, if you think about it, this makes sense. What use does some
>organism have for chlorophyl if it doesn't have the system for using the
>energy it traps. On the other hand, how can such a system be of any use until
>it develops chlorophyl? If a system is a set of interconnected parts, how
>can it evolve? What value is there to have some of the parts if it requires
>all of them to work? This is just a rephrasing of the information problem
>we spoke about. There is information about how the parts interrelate that
>evolution does not explain.

This complaint was raised by Darwin's first opponents with regard to the design of the eye.  How could half an eye (or a half a wing, etc.) confer any advantage at all?  The answer is that parts of a system CAN be useful by themselves: rods and cones can give information without the entire complicated neuronal processing.  With regard to chlorophyll, we know that the molecule comes from somewhere else, that it was coopted into its current function.  Ditto for organelles.  We know of self-replicating molecules that could have preceded RNA without the whole proteinaceous superstructure common to later life.  Etc.

>But evolution is only part of the entire picture. Many of my examples
>of automata aren't living. Where did they come from? What generated the
>information they represent?

This question is necessary only if you consider information a quantity.  But it ain't necessarily so -- perhaps information is the epiphenomenon of a system's complexity.  E.g.: water freezes and turns into ice.  There's more order in the ice.  Is there more information?  You could see it that way, but it's not required.

Personally, I think consciousness might be the real God-related question in biology, but that's just me.

Sholem Berger


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Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1999 13:17:58 EDT
From: Yzkd@aol.com
Subject:
Re: Proofs of G-d, Warning!


In a message dated 8/19/99 9:07:51 AM EST, sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu 
writes:

> If this conversation is to be productive - and I am not so sure that it
>  can be, given some of our discussions in the past - then it is very, very
>  important that none of us criticize "proofs" that others hold to be valid.
>  That is a direct path to rifyon emuna. If this is to be a discussion that
>  is a chiizuk emuna, then we must limit ourselves to remarks like "this
>  works for me, it may work for you". Chachomim, he'zaharu b'divreichem!
>  
It is known that many were against the learning of Chakira, for the reason 
that the answer to a question may not be accepted by the learner as strong 
enough to undo the question that was raised, and he is left with Sfeikus in 
Emunah that otherwise he would not have had.

KVCT

Yitzchok Zirkind


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Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1999 13:22:43 EDT
From: Yzkd@aol.com
Subject:
Re: Proofs of G-d


In a message dated 8/19/99 9:30:17 AM EST, richard_wolpoe@ibi.com writes:

> It says Taamu u'Ru Ki To Hashem  
>  
>  Go Taste and See (also Feel and Hear) that Hashem is Good, proofs are 
merely 
> a 
>  game, a diversion from the experience...  
>  

Yodua the Diuk in Loshon HoRambam "Leida" vs. "Lha'amin" Shyesh Sham...

KVCT

Yitzchok Zirkind


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Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1999 12:30:29 -0500 (CDT)
From: Saul J Weinreb <sweinr1@uic.edu>
Subject:
Geneyvas Daas


A shaaleh.  If someone sends me an e-mail, I generally assume that it
would be geneivas daas to publicize it without reshus.  If that person
cc'ed it to three other people, do we apply the rule of chavrecha chavra
is leh, which would make it muttar to publicize?  I've asked him reshus
but he hasn't gotten back to me in a while.
Shaul Weinreb 


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Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1999 14:09:39 -0400 (EDT)
From: micha@aishdas.org (Micha Berger)
Subject:
Re: The argument by design


Sholem Berger writes:
: I agree with YGB: this argument will go around in circles.

Except that it's not an argument. It's a discussion amongst various people
who have the same conclusion (that there is a borei) about which indications
of the fact make the most impression on them. For example for you it is:
:                                                        I don't think God's
: influence is evident in the workings of biology, but in the fates of peoples
: and individuals.

Or, as you say later:
: Personally, I think consciousness might be the real God-related
: question in biology, but that's just me.

Exactly. Don't you think there's value to knowing what's important to other
people as well? Or to hone your position in your own mind by being forced to
articulate it?

I disagree with the other part of RYGB's post as well:
} can be, given some of our discussions in the past - then it is very, very
} important that none of us criticize "proofs" that others hold to be valid.
} That is a direct path to rifyon emuna.

People don't believe like that. No one has emunah because they found proof,
people find proof because they have emunah. That's what the whole subject of
"cognitive dissonance" is about -- people can't see or accept things that defy
beliefs in which they have emotional investment.

To quote my own aphorism: The mind is an incredible organ for justifying
conclusions the heart already reached.

BTW, this was demonstated recently in an email discussion with a former BT
r"l that I know from another forum. He was posting all about the mabul,
about history, about document hypothesis, and how all that lead him back
to kefirah. Truth is, though, what cracked were things like family issues,
feeling unfulfilled "chapping in" a quick shacharis, Shabbos being about
doing nothing all day as opposed to sanctity, the obvious hypocracy of his
financially unscrupulous neighbors. In short, he didn't get to a version of
Yiddishkeit that "worked for him".

(For people who have seen me in other fora: Two different people in two
different fora fit this description. Only one, though, took me up on my
offer to talk about it. There's only a 50:50 you know who I mean.)

This is why the key to kiruv is getting them to spend a Shabbos. To experience
Yahadus and see for themselves that it works.

Which leads back to my statement that the point of the opening of the Kuzari is
that Yahadus is based on experience, on history, on an existential foundation
-- and not philosophical argument.

Second, (and far more weakly) losing a proof isn't the same as being disproven.

:                               The answer is that parts of a system CAN
: be useful by themselves: rods and cones can give information without the
: entire complicated neuronal processing.  With regard to chlorophyll, we
: know that the molecule comes from somewhere else, that it was coopted
: into its current function.  Ditto for organelles.  We know of
: self-replicating molecules that could have preceded RNA without the
: whole proteinaceous superstructure common to later life.  Etc.

At some point this must break down. IOW, while there may be working autonoma
between nothingness and the human eye, you'd need to show that there's
nothing BUT working automata along the way. As I was trying to show, from
the perspective of information theory, each new interlocking system is
incredibly improbable. To happen regularly is lima'alah min hateva.

: This question is necessary only if you consider information a
: quantity.  But it ain't necessarily so -- perhaps information is the
: epiphenomenon of a system's complexity.  E.g.: water freezes and
: turns into ice.  There's more order in the ice.  Is there more
: information?  You could see it that way, but it's not required.

Then I didn't make my point clear. There exists an objective definition
of the information content of a system: the number of bits it would take
to describe that system with enough precision for that system to work. This
definition was given by von Neumann, one of the fathers of computer science,
and is part of the mathematical underpinnings behind the machine you're
reading this on. (Unless, like me, you usually read Avodah from printouts
while commuting.)

Information is not the same as order, or a lack of entropy. For example,
a crystal is very ordered. However, it's also low in information. The
description need only describe an arrangement of atoms, and the number of
times to repeat it. The crystal's "growth" merely changes the number. It's
a decrease in entropy with no increase of information content.

-mi

-- 
Micha Berger (973) 916-0287          MMG"H for 19-Aug-99: Chamishi, Seitzei
micha@aishdas.org                                         A"H O"Ch 358:17-23
http://www.aishdas.org                                    Pisachim 25a
For a mitzvah is a lamp, and the Torah its light.         Nefesh Hachaim I 9


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Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1999 13:56:15 -0400
From: meir_shinnar@smtplink.mssm.edu
Subject:
Civil discourse


I would like to return to the original thread - are there limits on discourse
within the dati community?   Rav Eidenson's remarks suggested that the
passionate defense of yahadut requires intemperance.  Furtheromre,  only gdolim
may criticize other gdolim, and therefore the discussion here is useless.  This
may relate to general issues on da'at torah and the value of the opinions of us
midgets, although I agree with remaining respectful.  

However, I would argue that while rhetoric is one thing, there are halachic
limits even for the defense of one's vision of torah. Certain modes and actions
of kanaut do ( legitimately) change one's assessment of the kanai, independently
of one's assessment of the underlying issue.  While the intellectual
contributions of all gdolim deserve respect, even if they are diametrically
opposed to our own derech, I think that the modes of kannaut (not the issue
about which they are kannai) can and should affect our appreciation of their
Torah and their stature.  

I would cite two sources - first the Rambam's Iggeret hashmad, especially his
discussion of Eliyahu.

Secondly, in a more halachic vein, there is a tshuvat harashba, brought down in
the bet yosef (Yore dea 243)  
    anyone who he is honored for his torah and another comes and denigrates(
(bizahu) he is as if he is denigrating (mevaze) torato that all worry for his
torah and honor him for it and this one does not respect it and denigrates it it
is as if he is saying that he does not worry about his torah.

However, one has to be very precise that that talmid chacham will be acting
properly holech benachat im habriyot umasao umatoan be'emuna imahen kedarkan
shel talmide chachamim ha lav hachi hu be'atzmo mevaze atzmo umevaze torato
umasni atzmo vetorato ve'ain acherim hayavim bichvodo.

Holech benachat im habriyot would seem to put severe limitations on the nature
of the rhetoric and associated actions.  The criteria is also unrelated to the
underlying gadlut bechochma of the talmid chacham.  The darche noam criteria
that we prize on avoda seems to be essential in judging the stature of the
talmid chacham himself.

With regard to criticizing other talmide chachamim, there are many shut that
such criticisms should be bezin'a (see for example Rambam hilkhot talmud tora
7:1 and shut rav avraham ben harambam 5) .  This may underlie the reluctance of
so many gdolim to criticize publicly (even if they might do it to their own
close talmidim) other talmide chachamim, and should govern us on avoda as well. 
However, it should not be taken as shtika kehoda'a.  Rather, the lack of
reluctance on the part of some to criticize other unquestioned talmide chachamim
(and even gdolim) reflects more on the criticizer.

Lastly, while  Jewish history is full of very heated rhetoric and kanaut, I
think that the nature of the rhetoric has changed.  It is one
thing for intramural debates to be heated.  There has been, on occasion,  cases
of turning to the nonJewish authorities against one's opponents (anyone think
that being mosser the ba'al hatanya was justified because of the threat of
hasidut??).  However, today, the fight is carried on much more in  non Jewish
and in the nonfrum arenas. Thus, regardless of one's opinion on 
zionut, it is hard to think of an equivalent, in   previous generations, to the
 demonstrations in front of the UN against Israel.  
Perhaps we need to be more vigilant in enforcing darkhe noam.

Meir Shinnar


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Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1999 14:53:00 -0400
From: "Clark, Eli" <clarke@HUGHESHUBBARD.COM>
Subject:
Bereshit Literalism -- View of a Non-Observant Jewish Paleontologist


A pro-creationist decision in Kansas is more than a blow against Darwin
BY STEPHEN JAY GOULD

The Kansas Board of Education voted 6 to 4 to remove evolution, and the
Big Bang theory as well, from the state's science curriculum. In so
doing, the board transported its jurisdiction to a never-never land
where a Dorothy of the new millennium might exclaim, "They still call it
Kansas, but I don't think we're in the real world anymore." The new
standards do not forbid the teaching of evolution, but the subject will
no longer be included in statewide tests for evaluating students--a
virtual guarantee, given the realities of education, that this central
concept of biology will be diluted or eliminated, thus reducing courses
to something like chemistry without the periodic table, or American
history without Lincoln.

The Kansas skirmish marks the latest episode of a long struggle by
religious Fundamentalists and their allies to restrict or eliminate the
teaching of evolution in public schools--a misguided effort that our
courts have quashed at each stage, and that saddens both scientists and
most theologians. No scientific theory, including evolution, can pose
any threat to religion--for these two great tools of human understanding
operate in complementary (not contrary) fashion in their totally
separate realms: science as an inquiry about the factual state of the
natural world, religion as a search for spiritual meaning and ethical
values.

In the early 1920s, several states simply forbade the teaching of
evolution outright, opening an epoch that inspired the infamous 1925
Scopes trial (leading to the conviction of a Tennessee high school
teacher) and that ended only in 1968, when the Supreme Court declared
such laws unconstitutional on First Amendment grounds. In a second round
in the late 1970s, Arkansas and Louisiana required that if evolution be
taught, equal time must be given to Genesis literalism, masquerading as
oxymoronic "creation science." The Supreme Court likewise rejected those
laws in 1987.

The Kansas decision represents creationism's first--and surely
temporary--success with a third strategy for subverting a constitutional
imperative: that by simply deleting, but not formally banning,
evolution, and by not demanding instruction in a biblically literalist
"alternative," their narrowly partisan religious motivations might not
derail their goals.

Given this protracted struggle, Americans of goodwill might be excused
for supposing that some genuine scientific or philosophical dispute
motivates this issue: Is evolution speculative and ill founded? Does
evolution threaten our ethical values or our sense of life's meaning? As
a paleontologist by training, and with abiding respect for religious
traditions, I would raise three points to alleviate these worries:

First, no other Western nation has endured any similar movement, with
any political clout, against evolution--a subject taught as fundamental,
and without dispute, in all other countries that share our major
sociocultural traditions.

Second, evolution is as well documented as any phenomenon in science, as
strongly as the earth's revolution around the sun rather than vice
versa. In this sense, we can call evolution a "fact." (Science does not
deal in certainty, so "fact"can only mean a proposition affirmed to such
a high degree that it would be perverse to withhold one's provisional
assent.)

The major argument advanced by the school board--that large-scale
evolution must be dubious because the process has not been directly
observed--smacks of absurdity and only reveals ignorance about the
nature of science. Good science integrates observation with inference.
No process that unfolds over such long stretches of time (mostly, in
this case, before humans appeared), or at an infinitude beneath our
powers of direct visualization (subatomic particles, for example), can
be seen directly. If justification required eyewitness testimony, we
would have no sciences of deep time--no geology, no ancient human
history either. (Should I believe Julius Caesar ever existed? The hard
bony evidence for human evolution, as described in the preceding pages,
surely exceeds our reliable documentation of Caesar's life.)

Third, no factual discovery of science (statements about how nature
"is") can, in principle, lead us to ethical conclusions (how we "ought"
to behave) or to convictions about intrinsic meaning (the "purpose" of
our lives). These last two questions--and what more important inquiries
could we make?--lie firmly in the domains of religion, philosophy and
humanistic study. Science and religion should be equal, mutually
respecting partners, each the master of its own domain, and with each
domain vital to human life in a different way.

Why get excited over this latest episode in the long, sad history of
American anti-intellectualism? Let me suggest that, as patriotic
Americans, we should cringe in embarrassment that, at the dawn of a new,
technological millennium, a jurisdiction in our heartland has opted to
suppress one of the greatest triumphs of human discovery. Evolution is
not a peripheral subject but the central organizing principle of all
biological science. No one who has not read the Bible or the Bard can be
considered educated in Western traditions; so no one ignorant of
evolution can understand science.

Dorothy followed her yellow brick road as it spiraled outward toward
redemption and homecoming (to the true Kansas of our dreams and
possibilities). The road of the newly adopted Kansas curriculum can only
spiral inward toward restriction and ignorance.

Stephen Jay Gould is a professor of geology at Harvard and New York
University. His most recent book is Rocks of Ages: Science and Religion
in the Fullness of Life (Crown; $18.95)

COPYRIGHT  1999 TIME INC. NEW MEDIA


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Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1999 21:58:41 +0300
From: D & E-H Bannett <dbnet@ibm.net>
Subject:
Re: Avodah V3 #170


R' Moshe Feldman asks: Is Breuer's chumash, which is based on keter
'aram tzova (at least starting in the middle of sefer dvarim), clearly
the most correct?

Rev Mordechai Breuer's Tanakh (not just chumash) is not based on the
keter because most of his work was done before he had access to the keter.
He followed the system of the RaMaH (R' Meir Halevi Abulafieh) who, when
he decided on the nusach that has since become the standard edition of
both Ashkenazim and Sefaradim with almost no change, took a collection
of the best sifrei Torah and decided spelling by majority rule, aharei
rabim le-hatot.

Harav Breuer took the best kitvei yad and the mikraot gedolot of Ben
Hayyim and did the same comparison and majority rule. Breuer later
compared his eclectic text with the keter and found his text to be closer
to the keter than any ketav yad.

BTW, to be exact, even though I'm not a Yekki, I think you'll find that
mish'arotekha in Ki Tavo is well past the middle of devarim.

I recommend Breuer's book on the keter to all who cannot understand why
the haredim are in an uproar. The Yoreh Deah (275) says interchanging
haser and malei is posel. Breuer brings facts. The Yemenite follow
the Rambam. Their sifrei Torah are according to the keter. Comparing
with Ashkenaz and Sefarad Torahs, there are eight spelling differences
chaser-malei, and one yachid-rabim that can be heard when reading aloud,
On six of them, all sources, kitvei yad and mesorot, back the Keter and
Yemenites. The other three cannot be definitely decided.

The idea that it is possible for there to be spelling differences is
frightening to the charedim despite Kedushin 30 where chazal admitted they
couldn't count letters because they didn't know the chaserim and yeterot.

The haredim feel the divinity of the Torah makes it impossible for there
to be spelling "errors".Yet everyone knows of daka with hei or alef and
it never causes anyone to passel a Sefer.. The other eight differences
were not commonly known.

Why does one not frighten but nine does?


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Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1999 12:21:39 -0700 (PDT)
From: Moshe Feldman <moshe_feldman@yahoo.com>
Subject:
Re: Avodah V3 #170


--- D & E-H Bannett <dbnet@ibm.net> wrote:
> Rev Mordechai Breuer's Tanakh (not just chumash) is not based on
> the
> keter because most of his work was done before he had access to the
> keter.
> He followed the system of the RaMaH (R' Meir Halevi Abulafieh) who,
> when
> he decided on the nusach that has since become the standard edition
> of
> both Ashkenazim and Sefaradim with almost no change, took a
> collection
> of the best sifrei Torah and decided spelling by majority rule,
> aharei
> rabim le-hatot.
> 
> Harav Breuer took the best kitvei yad and the mikraot gedolot of
> Ben
> Hayyim and did the same comparison and majority rule. Breuer later
> compared his eclectic text with the keter and found his text to be
> closer
> to the keter than any ketav yad.

Did this method also apply to ta'amei hamikra?  Did Breuer inject any
of his theories regarding t'amim into his tanach?
__________________________________________________
Do You Yahoo!?
Bid and sell for free at http://auctions.yahoo.com


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Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1999 21:14:12 +0100
From: Chana/Heather Luntz <Chana/Heather@luntz.demon.co.uk>
Subject:
Re: Erroneous Psak


In message , Carl M. Sherer <csherer@netvision.net.il> writes
>> a) the woman is going to mikvah after the 7 clean days, but they are
>> having relations before then;
>
>[snip] 
>
>> d) they had relations during the sheva nekiim in the past, but they now
>> wish/have done, teshuva.
>
>It was one of these two that he was discussing. My understanding 
>was that what he had in mind was a fruhm couple that had 
>succumbed to temptation and had relations during the shiva n'kiyim.
>
>> So how is "throwing the book" at them going to help.
>
>Because what he meant generally by throwing the book at them 
>was giving them as many harchokos as possible.

Sorry, I did misunderstand what you meant by chumros (This is probably
because, having married Sephardi, the chumros that spring to mind in
this area are those of the Ben Ish Chai (who appears to have tried to
out Ashkenazi the Ashkenazim) which most pointedly involves waiting
extra days - read Rav Ovadya on the subject (he does not approve!)).

> Harchokos in 
>Hilchos Nida are an area where the line between ikar hadin and 
>chumra tends to be quite fuzzy with very few exceptions (e.g. wife 
>pouring glass of wine for husband, wife washing husband's hands, 
>face and feet, wife preparing husband's bed). If you survey different 
>poskim as to whether different harchokos are ikar hadin or chumra, 
>I suspect that just about every posek will give you a different 
>answer. I think what he was saying was that in a case where there 
>is a fruhm couple that has succumbed to temptation, we have to 
>give them as many harchokos as possible to ensure that it does 
>not happen again.
>
>I think he also may have meant to include that in this particular 
>instance (i.e. in the month in which it happens, when they go to a 
>posek for guidance in how to count the seven clean days), the 
>posek should consider how long to require them to wait before 
>allowing her to start counting the shiva n'kiyim again. I'm not a 
>posek by any stretch, and I'm a little fuzzy on this part, but as I 
>understood it, there is some flexibility where the posek could tell 
>them that they only have to wait one day to start counting again, or 
>they could have to wait three days (six onos).
>
>> In the case of a)  and c) clearly the couple don't care about being over
>> an issur d'orisa chayav kares (until she goes to mikvah, she is assur
>> d'orisa), so why is a chumra going to change matters.  
>
>I deleted (c), because that's not the case I was talking about. As to 
>(a), it's unfair to say that any couple that has relations under the 
>circumstances described in (a) doesn't care. They do. The fact that 
>what they have done violates an issur d'oraysa doesn't mean they 
>don't care. They succumbed to temptation - they didn't set out to 
>violate Hilchos Nida.

Sorry, I obviously wasn't clear enough in my characterisation. ie by
having two categories, (a) and (d) I meant to separate out those who
"habitually" violate the 7 clean days (but because they live in a frum
environment keep up everything that might be obvious to the outside
world, eg to the extent of going to mikvah) as opposed to those who
succumbed to temptation - which I categorised as (d).

>
>At most it will
>> delay her going to mikvah meaning there will be even more occasions on
>> which they breach the issur (ie being machmir means that the Rav is
>> increasing the incidents of issurei d'orisa chayav kares!)
>
>In the case posited - where they really do care, but have 
>succumbed to temptation, I don't see that this is necessarily the 
>case. By adding extra reminders to make sure that the couple 
>stays apart, I think you are decreasing the possibility that they will 
>be tempted again. If you're talking about a couple that doesn't care, 
>you're right, they'll just breach the issur more, but how likely is a 
>couple like that to go ask a posek in the first place?

That was what I meant in my discussion of (a).

But even in the case of (d), while I understand now what you are saying,
and (unlike the cases I was thinking of) it doesn't strike me as bizarre
- it still strikes me as problematic.

Assuming they were taught hilchos taharas mishpacha before their
marriage, or up till then, they will be keeping (or have been told to
keep) a certain number of harchokos - either by this posek or another.
If the posek suddently tells them to keep more, it is going to be
obvious that they are chumros.  If he says they aren't, then he is
effectively stating that whoever taught them previously didn't know what
they were talking about. Do you really want to undermine their faith in
what they were taught in that way?

So again, the only solution I can see is to be up front about it and say
that these are chumras (although you could mention that there are other
opinions that hold differently) which the posek recommends in order to
decrease the possibility that they will be tempted again. 

But in fact, in relation to harchokos - certainly the attitude of my
taharas mishpacha teacher was to the opposite extreme - that is, it she
made it very clear that (excepting the obvious ones about dress etc
which I suspect fall into your category of everybody holds by them)
were only intended as a reminder of the situation.  (She was working
from notes that were prepared for general use by the Jewish Marriage
Council, and so were expected to be used in teaching women from frum to
non frum extremes).  The reason why this was made so clear was because
otherwise there was a fear (which I can see as legitimate) that one
might think - oh well, we muffed it, we passed a plate from one to the
other, since we failed to keep taharas mishpacha, we might as well have
relations (might as well get hung for a sheep as a lamb, as they say).

And i guess that is the other thing about the harchokos - speaking out
of my experience as a newly wed, that it is these type of harchokos that
one tends to muff up, not intentionally, but out of forgetfulness (well
the passing one is the worst - although this may have something to do
with the absentmindedness that afflicts both my husband and myself
(although in entirely different forms)).  I expect that with practice
one gets better at it.  But if we suddenly had to take on new ones, I
suspect that again there would be lots of failures before we remembered.
Now if it is just a reminder, well it is also a pretty potent reminder
every time one says "Sorry ,I wasn't supposed to do that" (ie it works
even when, or maybe especially when you fail - especially as I am quite
capable of not being aware I have a plate in my hands, because I am
concentrating on something else, eg the conversation, so I may then have
to apply the extra effort to work out what on earth is being referred
to).  But if it is treated as part and parcel of the issur d'orisa  -
then I can easily see a danger that failure at these harchokos, merely
through absentmindedness, will "prove" to the couple that they are not
capable of avoiding temptation, and why are they even bothering to fight
their yetza hora. Or, if they become too onerous, may likewise provide
fuel to the inclination to throw off the yoke all together, at least
during the heat of the moment.

Thus the position taken by this Rav appears to be predicated on an
assumption as to how the harchokos work and what they achieve, which
assumes that if some is good, more is better - which I am not sure is
necessarily the case.



>- -- Carl
>
>
>Carl M. Sherer, Adv.

Kind Regards

Chana

-- 
Chana/Heather Luntz


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