Avodah: Volume 4, Number 133

Sunday, November 14 1999

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
  1. The Jewish Bear
  2. R-L-Y-HALPERIN
  3. Netiquette
  4. Tzelem Elokim
  5. Re: Netiquette
  6. Down's syndome etc.
  7. Re: Yitchak had Downs Syndrome!?!
  8. Re: Avodah V4 #132: RYGB's response re: Focus on a Derech
  9. Re: Avodah V4 #131 HM's "History of Bnei Reuvain in Chicago"
  10. R. Avi Weiss' d'var Torah on Toldos
  11. Re: R. Avi Weiss' d'var Torah on Toldos
  12. Re: Avodah V4 #132: RYGB's response re: Focus on a Derech
  13. Trig - A waste of time?
  14. Re: Avodah V4 #132: archeology
  15. Tzelem Elokim
  16. Re: Tzelem Elokim
  17. RE: Tzelem Elokim

Date: Sun, 14 Nov 1999 10:13:00 +1100
From: SBA <s...@blaze.net.au>
Subject:
The Jewish Bear


From Shlomo B Abeles <s...@blaze.net.au>

DFinc...@aol.com wrote:
Subject: Re: The jewish bear (humor alert)

>>>shlo...@mehish.co.il writes:
<< He then listens more carefully to the bear's prayer: "...hamotzi lechem min haaretz" >>
>>Let's analyze this so-called joke carefully. Could a bear really be a Jew? I
>>presume the bear isn't circumcised.

( It must be getting close to Purim)     Efsher a female bear???

>>>When he is finished, he opens his eyes and is surprised to see the bear in
>>>front of him with his eyes closed,-- also praying. The man thinks to
>>>himself, "How lucky am I to be cornered by what must be the only Jewish
>>>bear in North America! We're mishpocheh - I'm saved!" He then listens more
>>>carefully to the bear's prayer: "...hamotzi lechem min haaretz"

Shouldn't that be a Shehakol? or maybe it's a sofek brocho and the bear washed for bread first....

SBA


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Date: Sun, 14 Nov 1999 1:57 +0200
From: RWER...@vms.huji.ac.il
Subject:
R-L-Y-HALPERIN


For the benefit of those who do not know him, Rav Levi
Yitzchak Halperin  is a  very special posek who specializes
in medical halachic issues.  Attending his weekly shiurim
for physicians, I  was overwhelmed by the depth of his
insights and knowledge.

__Bob Werman
Jerusalem


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Date: Sat, 13 Nov 1999 19:40:41 EST
From: Kenneth G Miller <kennethgmil...@juno.com>
Subject:
Netiquette


Recently, several people have brought extensive quotes from Avodah or
other sources, and then made short, pithy responses such as:

<<< With this I agree. >>>

<<< I think what [...] meant was self-evident. >>>

<<< I disagree. >>>

<<< I find it totally appalling. >>>

(All four are actual quotes from digests 4:131 and 4:132.)

E-mail is a new form of communication, and it is developing its own rules
of etiquette, popularly known as "netiquette". One common action which
netiquette frowns upon is called "trolling". "Trolling" is the act of
deliberately posting a controversial comment for the sole purpose of
sparking a reaction from others. (I suspect that the term derives from
the practice of fishermen who place lures in the water, hoping for a
bite.) I believe the reason why trolling is looked on unfavorably, is
that the comments are unproductive, and do not help anyone understand the
issue better.

I believe the above comments to be examples of trolling, although they
were quite possibly unintentional. My goal in this post is to ask
everyone to carefully consider their words before sending them out to the
world. If you want to express an opinion, that's fine, but please
*explain* WHY you feel that way. Especially in some issues which can
involve Lashon Hara, opinions are really irrelevant, or even forbidden.

For example, if someone says something, and you agree with it, or you
understand it, do you really think anyone else cares? The point has
already been made, and others have formed their own opinion about whether
or not to agree with it. If you have *additional* information to
strengthen the point, then by all means share it with us, but otherwise,
who cares what you think?

And if someone says something that you *dis*agree with, then it is even
*more* important to explain yourself when commenting, because otherwise,
it is simply plain old Lashon Hara, denigrating the person who you are
quoting. "He said xyz and I think that's ridiculous" -- Come on people,
let's grow up.

Akiva Miller

PS: One poster recently quoted Rabbi Riskin as the source for the comment
about Down's Syndrome. This was an error. It was said by Rabbi Avi Weiss,
who got the idea from Rabbi Saul Berman.





..

___________________________________________________________________
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Free software, free e-mail, and free Internet access for a month!
Try Juno Web: http://dl.www.juno.com/dynoget/tagj.



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Date: Sat, 13 Nov 1999 19:44:14 EST
From: Paws...@aol.com
Subject:
Tzelem Elokim


Gil Student wrote:
> According to the Targum, tzelem E-lokim is the ability to speak.

Sorry, Gil; Onkelos's famous "Ruach Memalela" is a comment on "Nefesh Chayah 
(Bereishis 2:7)," not on "Tzelem Elokim."

(Parenthetically, I have never seen "Ruach Memalela" taken literally, as 
"power to communicate verbally." There has always been some caveat involving 
intelligence, communicating abstract ideas, etc.)

[Bracketedly, I don't think R' Avi Weiss was saying, in any way, that 
Yitzchak had Downs Syndrome.]

Gut Voch,
Mordechai Torczyner
HaMakor! http://www.aishdas.org/hamakor Mareh Mekomos Reference Library
WEBSHAS! http://www.aishdas.org/webshas Indexing the Talmud, Daf by Daf
Congregation Ohave Shalom, Pawtucket, RI http://members.tripod.com/~ohave


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Date: Sat, 13 Nov 1999 18:54:24 -0600
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbech...@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Subject:
Re: Netiquette


----- Original Message -----
From: Kenneth G Miller <kennethgmil...@juno.com>
To: <avo...@aishdas.org>
Sent: Saturday, November 13, 1999 6:40 PM
Subject: Netiquette


> For example, if someone says something, and you agree with it, or you
> understand it, do you really think anyone else cares? The point has
> already been made, and others have formed their own opinion about whether
> or not to agree with it. If you have *additional* information to
> strengthen the point, then by all means share it with us, but otherwise,
> who cares what you think?
>
> And if someone says something that you *dis*agree with, then it is even
> *more* important to explain yourself when commenting, because otherwise,
> it is simply plain old Lashon Hara, denigrating the person who you are
> quoting. "He said xyz and I think that's ridiculous" -- Come on people,
> let's grow up.
>

Since I made two the of the four comments that RAM found objectionable, I
feel I must respond:

I disagree.

For the purpose of amplification, this time only, let me not that I found
none of the comments in question, including those other than my own,
inappropriate. Those made by others, I understood fine the first time
around. Those I made, were in order to highlight areas of disagreement in
the conclusion of a thread. There are times when one feels no need to
continue a conversation, but merely to note that we are at the end, this is
the summation.

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


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Date: Sat, 13 Nov 1999 21:48:34 -0500
From: "David Eisenman" <eisen...@umich.edu>
Subject:
Down's syndome etc.


I do not wish to comment on the d'var torah, but I would say that I find
it disturbing that the third/fourth hand recipient of a d'var torah
decides to publicly denigrate a person on a widely read e-mail list
instead of trying to clarify what was said with that person.  It would
be just as easy, and far more productive, to jot a note to Rabbi Weiss
at HIR.org and ask him what his intent was, rather than spitting off a
note to Avo...@aishdas.org and publicly castigate him on thirdhand
information.  Anyone who knows Rabbi Weiss knows that he is one of the
sincerest and gentlest people you could imagine, and I am certain that
it is impossible for anyone to properly convey his spoken message in any
medium.
E-mail is a wonderful tool and has added new dimensions to our abilities
to communicate.  Let us not turn this bracha into a klala.  Everything
the Chafetz Chaim said about the spoken word applies to our written
words as well.

Shavua tov.
David Eisenman


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Date: Sat, 13 Nov 1999 22:16:23 EST
From: DFinc...@aol.com
Subject:
Re: Yitchak had Downs Syndrome!?!


In a message dated 11/12/99 1:03:14 PM US Central Standard Time, 
gil.stud...@citicorp.com writes:

<< You raised an interesting question.  Do people with Down syndrome have a 
tzelem 
 E-lokim?  It depends on your definition of tzelem E-lokim.  Since there are 
 different degrees of mental incapacity from a variety of illnesses I will 
only 
 speak of symptoms and not diseases.
 
 According to the Targum, tzelem E-lokim is the ability to speak.  Thus those 
who
 cannot speak do not have a tzelem E-lokim.  What about people who are mute?  
I 
 don't know.  They have the ability to communicate through sign language but 
so 
 can certain animals.  For that matter, vocal communication has been studied 
in 
 dolphins.  Do they have a tzelem E-lokim?  I don't have any answers nor any 
 certainty about the preceding.  Would it be permissible to leave a mute 
person 
 unburied because it isn't "kilelas E-lokim talui?"  Probably not.
 >>

I do not understand this discussion. Is there any question of Hashem's great 
love for those born with Down's Syndrome? Do not such persons typically 
exhibit extraordinary capacities for joy, love, and empathy with others? 
Aren't these rare traits among the most difficult for the rest of us to 
acquire in our paths to holiness? Shouldn't we take all of this to heart in 
our own acceptance of these people? 

In this sense perhaps Hashem has granted people with Down's Syndrome 
extraordinary capacities for their own refined form of Tzelem Elokim. The 
cognitive deficits these people suffer are entirely beside the point. Perhaps 
Hashem is not as preoccupied with our petty intellectual strivings as we are. 
There's the old joke: Man (intelligently) makes his plans, and G-d laughs. If 
He laughs at those with Down's Syndrome, I suspect it is with joy, not the 
derision reserved for the rest of us.

David Finch 


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Date: Sat, 13 Nov 1999 23:56:12 -0500
From: Shlomo Yaffe <sya...@juno.com>
Subject:
Re: Avodah V4 #132: RYGB's response re: Focus on a Derech


 
In regards to this:

{4.Focus is not a bad thing: If one concentrates on ones own  derech and
> lives it and it leads someone to ever higher heights in Torah, Avodah
and
> Kiyum Mitzvos Be'hiddur, this is an absolute good.}

You wrote: 
{I disagree.} 
Why? I don't believe the Chasidei Ashkenaz would have become what they
did if they were not intensly focused on their derech - nor for that
matter would the Kotzker Chassidim become what they were and there are
many such examples in "Torah History" of intense focus on a derech
creating something that ultimately benefited all of Klal Yisroel.

 re: this:{Our Rebbe often pointed out that we must learn lessons in
Avodas Hashem
> from Minhagim and Tefilos that other Jews have even if we don't
practice
> them ourselves.}
you wrote: {Halevai.} 

Why Halevai? In my life (all of it) as a Chabadnik I have found this
dictum useful and enlightning and my Chaverim in Chabad have told me the
same. 

Whatever your experiences with individuals or prejudices picked up second
hand I believe you cannot clearly see a derech (as paracticed by it's
adherents) without looking at the broad picture.

If being Dan Lekaf Zechus is important for an individual, all the more so
for being Dan a whole group of your fellow Jews who are Shomer Torah
Umitzvos.

Shlomo Dov Yaffe 
sya...@juno.com


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Date: Sat, 13 Nov 1999 23:55:59 -0500
From: Shlomo Yaffe <sya...@juno.com>
Subject:
Re: Avodah V4 #131 HM's "History of Bnei Reuvain in Chicago"


After a long Droshoh on the history of Bnei Reuvain- from HM's point of
view. 
(I have heard  very different points on these issues from other
inhabitants of your fair city)-and I hope HM made sure not to let his
biases get in the way of a clear presentation to the Avodah group-
who might rely on HM because many don't live anywhere near Chicago.

HM then wrote

>>>>"It's hard for me to agree to the claim that Lubavitch
respects learning. It is obvious to me that the
Lubavitcher members of this main Shul, of Chabad do
not respect this Talmid Chcham, Poseik, and Zakein. 
They only respect themselves.">>>>

A sweeping condemnation of a whole group of Jews based on one Shul even
if (G-d forbid) everything he said is true?

And HM ignored my original points which are drawn from sefarim every
Lubavitcher respects! some of them being:
>>>>>Has anyone read the Baal Hatanya's Hilchos Talmud Torah or the 4th
and 5th chapters of Tanya that elevate the learning of Torah to the
highest possible calling a Jew can have! 
 
 Have you seen the detailed program for learning Talmud and Poskim that
is the core of the Fifth Lubavitcher/Chabad Rebbe's book to the students
of the Lubavitcher Yeshivah "Kuntres Etz Chaim"? 

Do you know that the highest honor- to this day- a bochur in the yeshivah
at "770" can attain is to be one of the "Shivas Kenei Hemenorah" and be
priviliged to give over a Pilpul in Gemara to the whole Yeshivah?>>>>

Shlomo Dov Yaffe


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Date: Sun, 14 Nov 1999 01:29:44 -0500
From: "Michael Poppers" <MPopp...@kayescholer.com>
Subject:
R. Avi Weiss' d'var Torah on Toldos


Now that GStudent has toned his criticism down, I'd like
to take another look at the text of the d'var Torah -- perhaps
another label is more suitable....
> There is something na?ve, almost simplistic, about our second patriarch
Yitzhak (Isaac) that jumps out of the Genesis narrative.  Indeed, in
virtually every chapter that describes his life, reaching a crescendo in
our
portion Toldot, he is portrayed as being reserved, nonaggressive, and even,
dare I say, slow. <
Perhaps Rabbi Weiss dares, but I would not.
> The first time we meet Yitzhak in the text, he is described as being
mocked
(metzahek) by his brother Yishmael (Genesis 21:9).  On the surface it seems
there was something funny about Yitzhak; when you looked at him, you would
laugh. <
I.e., ignore the prior use of this word in B'raishis 17 (NB 17:19) and 18
and its echo in 21:6 -- uses which, apparently deliberately, contrast
with 21:9; also ignore its use in other contexts (in this very sedrah,
B'raishis 26, as well as in 19 -- was Lot also funny-looking?! -- and 39
and in Sh'mos 32).  Needless to say, also ignore any midrashim or
commentary.
Solely pay attention to its use in 21:9.
> In the very next chapter, the chapter of the Binding of Isaac, (Genesis
22)
Yitzhak is absolutely compliant.  He goes to Moriah to be slaughtered
without
persistent argument.  He seems to agree with everything he's asked to do,
no
matter the consequences.

Later, we learn about the burial of Sarah (Genesis 23).  There, Yitzhak is
glaringly missing.  It's almost as if Avraham wants to spare Yitzhak,
Sarah's
own son, the grief of burying his mother.

In chapter twenty-four, a wife is chosen for Yitzhak without his input. The
text notes that Rivka (Rebecca) Yitzhak's wife, comforted Yitzhak as she
reminded him of his mother Sarah. (Genesis 24:67)  Once again Yitzhak is
depicted as one for whom key decisions are made and one, who felt
especially
attached to his mother. <
It's worthy to note that Yitzchak "disappears" from his position on
Har haMoriah until his si'ach basodeh, and there's at least one other way
to
explain why the Torah does this.  Rabbi Weiss is apparently
suggesting a psychological reading based, again, strictly on the text he
has chosen.  Some ignored p'sukim: 24:67 and 25:20 (keep in mind that
kichah
is reserved for a bar da'as), 25:21 (this type of prayer -- see Rav
SRHirsch
for details -- is quite the opposite of passivity, and Yitzchak is in a
position
to comfort Rivka because her situation was similar to that of his mother).
> In our portion, Yitzhak digs wells.   The Torah notes that they were the
ones
originally dug by his father.  (Genesis 26:18).  Here Yitzhak seems to lack
independence; succeeding in a business his father developed. <
Ask yourself, merely using the same chapter 26, why Rabbi Weiss
is *not* noting that Yitzchak is the leader of his family, that HKBH
is communicating directly with him, that he dealt directly with the king
of a nation, etc.  Shouldn't Rabbi Weiss leverage 26:7 in his "no
independence"
theory? or is the theory actually DOA?
> Finally, in the key chapter of our portion, Yitzhak is deceived.  Ya'acov
(Jacob) fools him as he takes Esau's blessings.  (Genesis Chapter 27) <
No one doubts that Yitzchak was deceived (but need I point out 27:33,
when he reacts to the news in such an "interesting" manner?).  Therefore?!
Shall we doubly apply to Esav whatever we wish to apply to Yitzchak, much
less consider the future actions of Lavan, Racheil, etc.?
> The upshot: Yitzhak is easy to deceive, he lacks individuality, is spared
grief, is compliant and is even laughed at. My dear friend, Rabbi Saul
Berman
points out that there is a common thread that weaves itself through each of
these characteristics - they are often found in those who have Downs
Syndrome. It should be pointed out that aged parents are more vulnerable to
having a Downs child.  Avraham and Sarah were elderly when Yitzhak was
born. <
Here's the clincher -- protestations to the contrary, Rabbi Weiss' last
sentence
implies that he's actually considering the possibility that Yitzchak indeed
was, and
did not merely possess the characteristics of one, afflicted w/
Down's...and, once
again, he's ignoring our m'sorah (which explains the miraculous nature of
Sarah's
maternity) in favor of pointing out a surface statistic.

How would I label this d'var Torah, whose nimshal re "those who are
physically
and mentally challenged" is a worthy one?  I dare use Rabbi Weiss' own
words:
"There is something na?ve, almost simplistic...."

All the best (including a good week) from
Michael Poppers * Elizabeth, NJ


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Date: Sun, 14 Nov 1999 00:45:09 -0600
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbech...@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Subject:
Re: R. Avi Weiss' d'var Torah on Toldos


Ribono shel Olam!

Forget the Down's Syndrome issue.

> Yes, the Dvar Torah is *totally appalling*.

> something naive, almost simplistic

> there was something funny about Yitzhak; when you looked at him, you would
laugh

> Yitzhak is absolutely compliant.  He goes to Moriah to be slaughtered
without persistent argument.  He seems to agree with everything he's asked
to do, no matter the consequences

> Once again Yitzhak is depicted as one for whom key decisions are made and
one, who felt especially attached to his mother.

> The upshot: Yitzhak is easy to deceive, he lacks individuality, is spared
grief, is compliant and is even laughed at. My dear friend, Rabbi Saul
Berman points out that there is a common thread that weaves itself through
each of these characteristics - they are often found in those who have Downs
Syndrome.

By the time you finish with this totaly appalling material, to say Yitzchok
Avinu had DS (r"l) is almost a limud zechus.

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


----- Original Message -----
From: Michael Poppers <MPopp...@kayescholer.com>
To: <avo...@aishdas.org>


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Date: Sun, 14 Nov 1999 00:47:29 -0600
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbech...@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Subject:
Re: Avodah V4 #132: RYGB's response re: Focus on a Derech


----- Original Message -----
From: Shlomo Yaffe <sya...@juno.com>
To: <avo...@aishdas.org>
Sent: Saturday, November 13, 1999 10:56 PM
Subject: Re: Avodah V4 #132: RYGB's response re: Focus on a Derech


> Why? I don't believe the Chasidei Ashkenaz would have become what they
> did if they were not intensly focused on their derech - nor for that
> matter would the Kotzker Chassidim become what they were and there are
> many such examples in "Torah History" of intense focus on a derech
> creating something that ultimately benefited all of Klal Yisroel.
>

But I don't believe that. What is the point of arguing about our relative
beliefs?

> Why Halevai? In my life (all of it) as a Chabadnik I have found this
> dictum useful and enlightning and my Chaverim in Chabad have told me the
> same.
>

You berated someone for telling LH, from your perspective, upon Chabad
Chassidim. You really want me to tell you why I say halevai?

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


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Date: Sun, 14 Nov 1999 18:05:52 +1100
From: SBA <s...@blaze.net.au>
Subject:
Trig - A waste of time?


--------------777318F991B001C49EAE6AC3
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

From Shlomo B Abeles <s...@blaze.net.au>

Michael.Fran...@dtra.milv wrote:
Subject: Re: Trig - a waste of time?

>>>>The remark by SBA <s...@blaze.net.au>'s anonymous friend is quite accurate. no trig at all is
required. .....The only >>>other approximation then required to replicate the mishnoh's calculation
is the usual (tanachic) substitution of pi equal to >>>three. but in no event is any trig called for
and thus the friend's final remark that <according to both Pythagoras and
>>>trig, it can be a lot less...> is somewhat puzzling.

Here is my friends response:

Trig can also be used. The angle between the horizontal radius and the line
that extends from the center of the circle through the diagonal of the
tefach al tefach is 45 degrees. Thus r/(r + sqrt2) = cos 45. Solve for r.

SHLOMO  B ABELES



--------------777318F991B001C49EAE6AC3
Content-Type: text/html; charset=us-ascii
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

<!doctype html public "-//w3c//dtd html 4.0 transitional//en">
<html>
From Shlomo B Abeles &lt;s...@blaze.net.au>
<p>Michael.Fran...@dtra.milv wrote:
<br>Subject: Re: Trig - a waste of time?
<p>>>>>The remark by SBA &lt;s...@blaze.net.au>'s anonymous friend is quite
accurate. no trig at all is required. .....The only >>>other approximation
then required to replicate the mishnoh's calculation is the usual (tanachic)
substitution of pi equal to >>>three. but in no event is any trig called
for and thus the friend's final remark that &lt;according to both Pythagoras
and
<br>>>>trig, it can be a lot less...> is somewhat puzzling.
<p>Here is my friends response:
<p><i>Trig can also be used. The angle between the horizontal radius and
the line</i>
<br><i>that extends from the center of the circle through the diagonal
of the</i>
<br><i>tefach al tefach is 45 degrees. Thus r/(r + sqrt2) = cos 45. Solve
for r.</i><i></i>
<p>SHLOMO&nbsp; B ABELES
<br>&nbsp;
<br>&nbsp;</html>

--------------777318F991B001C49EAE6AC3--


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Date: Sun, 14 Nov 1999 10:10:19 +0200
From: Hershel Ginsburg <gi...@netvision.net.il>
Subject:
Re: Avodah V4 #132: archeology


>Date: Fri, 12 Nov 1999 11:29:20 -0800 (PST)
>From: Moshe Feldman <moshe_feld...@yahoo.com>
>Subject: Re: Paraoh identity
>
>Check out today's Ha'aretz
>http://www.haaretzdaily.com/htmls/kat24_9.asp
>
>Excerpt:
><<Is there an alternative theory for Israeli archeology? Seven years
<snip snip snip>
>account of almost every discrepancy listed in Herzog's article. And

<snip snip snip>

Since the appearence of Herzog's article claiming (based on his
interpretations of archeological evidence and the lack of archeological
evidence) that the early biblical period (tekufat ha'avot thru sefer
shoftim (plus/minus)) did not exist and that later periods were exagerated,
there have been a number of letters in Ha'aretz from respected, academic &
professional archeologists from Hebrew U. Bar Ilan, and Haifa U. &
elsewhere debunking Herzog's ideas.  Although many of the responses were
from Dati archeologists, some were from Hiloni archeologists. Some pointed
out that Herzog has his political agendas, as an apparant sympathizer with
radical culture war secular humanism advocate Nimrod Aloni.

One of the more interesting substantive responses, appeared in the magazine
section of this past Friday's Ha'aretz (at least it was in the Hebrew print
edition -- I don't know about the english and/or internet editions) who
argues with Herzog based on his understanding of the alter or mizbayach
found on Mt. Eval and other digs in the Jordan valley area.  I believe the
author of the article, Adam Zertel (sp?) is a professor of archeology from
Haifa U., and is not dati.

I found all this interesting this past Friday morning while I climbed up to
one of the fortresses built by King Yotam(?) in the Gush Etzion area, as
described in Divrei Hayamim.

hg



=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

  Hershel & Susan Ginsburg               Internet: gi...@netvision.net.il
  P.O. Box 1058 / Rimon St. 27           Phone: 972-2-993-8134
  Efrat,  90435                          FAX:  972-2-993-8122
  Israel

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-


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Date: Sun, 14 Nov 1999 10:18:04 EST
From: MSDra...@aol.com
Subject:
Tzelem Elokim


Gil Student writes: 
<< According to the Targum, tzelem E-lokim is the ability to speak.  Thus 
those who
 cannot speak do not have a tzelem E-lokim.  What about people who are mute?  
I 
 don't know.  They have the ability to communicate through sign language but 
so 
 can certain animals.  For that matter, vocal communication has been studied 
in 
 dolphins.  Do they have a tzelem E-lokim?  I don't have any answers nor any 
 certainty about the preceding.  Would it be permissible to leave a mute 
person 
 unburied because it isn't "kilelas E-lokim talui?"  Probably not.
 
 The Alter of Slabodka says that the tezelem E-lokim is the ability to make 
 choices (bechirah chofshis - I also heard this from R. Shimon Romm in the 
name 
 of R. Yerucham in the name of the Ramchal but can't find the Ramchal).  If 
so, 
 those who are incapable of making decisions due to mental incapacity don't 
have 
 a bechirah and therefore are not betzelem E-lokim.
 
 Is it possible to say that they have a tzelem E-lokim which is hidden and/or 
 incapacitated.  This seems a more humane answer but does it make sense?  
Anyone have thoughts or sources on this? >>

The truth is, I find even the discussion of this question-- on a visceral 
level-- a very disturbing one.  Aren't/weren't there socities that thought 
this of those taht were less than perfect-- and what were their fates?  If a 
rasha who has been put to death by a Bet Din must be buried before nightfall 
because it is "killelas Elokim" ( and at that point he has not capacity to 
speak, to make choices, to do teshuvah, etc.), the tzelem Elokim must be more 
intrinsic.  A body may be handicapped, physical and intellectual ability may 
curtailed, but a NESHAMA is tehorah and unencumbered.    And weren't the 
shivrei luchos accorded a great place of honor?

Please, let us not continue this discussion-- the implications of such a 
debate and the potential consequences and misunderstandings by those who 
can't appreciate the purely intellectual gymnastics of this thread, may be no 
less than chillul Hashem.

Mark Dratch


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Date: Sun, 14 Nov 1999 11:00:42 EST
From: DFinc...@aol.com
Subject:
Re: Tzelem Elokim


In a message dated 11/14/99 9:18:18 AM US Central Standard Time, 
MSDra...@aol.com writes:

<< Please, let us not continue this discussion-- the implications of such a 
 debate and the potential consequences and misunderstandings by those who 
 can't appreciate the purely intellectual gymnastics of this thread, may be 
no 
 less than chillul Hashem.
 >>

Those who cannot appreciate the "purely intellectual gymnastics" of this 
discussion do not necessarily misunderstand them. Perhaps they understand 
more than the gymnasts themselves.

David Finch


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Date: Sun, 14 Nov 1999 18:14:51 +0200
From: "Akiva Atwood" <atw...@netvision.net.il>
Subject:
RE: Tzelem Elokim


> Those who cannot appreciate the "purely intellectual
> gymnastics" of this
> discussion do not necessarily misunderstand them. Perhaps
> they understand
> more than the gymnasts themselves.

But all it takes is a look at the Newsweek article we discussed last week
(or Ha'Aretz) to see how easy it is (and how attractive for some people) to
mis-represent an Orthodox point of view by quoting out of context.

Keep in mind that the archives of this list are indexed by all the major
search engines in the 'net.

Akiva

===========================
Akiva Atwood
POB 27515
Jerusalem, Israel 91274


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