Avodah Mailing List

Volume 04 : Number 154

Wednesday, November 24 1999

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Wed, 24 Nov 1999 11:49:36 -0500
From: Michael.Frankel@dtra.mil
Re: Pixels in G-d's Imagination

RMB wrote:
<He therefore subscribes to the Multi-Universe Theory. This is a theory
divised to resolve a philosophical problem in quantum mechanics. The basic
idea is that any event that physics can only dictate the outcome
probabilistically actually occurs in every possible way. The universe
"branches", one version for each possible outcome.>   

while not quite on the mark (imho - and with apologies to michah, but i'm
nitpicky about precision in such matters), loa zu haforum/haporum? to
expand.  i usually try to ignore the periodic outcroppings which conflate
this or that notion in modern physical thought with a jewish tradition since
i have my own take on these matters (e.g. i am not a big fan of the
aviezer/schroeder kind of approach) however I want to briefly comment here
because of a widespread confusion in the popular literature. the notion of
actual physical branching of the Universe is a later formulation due to
DeWitt. The alternative original theory which never seems to get mentioned
in popular expositions (rather confusing everett's version with dewitt),
actually relates to levels of perception - a branching of consciousness -
rather than the actual birioh of new olomos with every "measurement".     

<R Jack Love, an LOR in Passaic, believes this quite literally: that all of
beri'ah is HKBH's "dream". This might be associated with an idea mentioned
in the Aryeh Kaplan Reader (vol 1) that people exist in Binah...>
not having insight or eiseq binistoros, can't help wondering whether this
notion was propagated before or after he saw "The Matrix".  (-:), honest).

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

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Date: Wed, 24 Nov 1999 15:00:23 -0500
From: "Rayman, Mark" <mrayman@lehman.com>
Re: Avos (was Retraction)


My last post was in response to :

	Date: Tue, 23 Nov 1999 15:09:39 -0500 (EST)
	From: micha@aishdas.org (Micha Berger)
	Subject: Re: Retraction, etc. 

	Rich Wolpoe <richard_wolpoe@ibi.com> mentions an idea he does NOT
agree with:
	:                                               And it leads me to
believe that 
	: a 2nd strartificaiton is at play:

	: 1) Ramban is a Rishon he can critizce Avrohom
	: 2) RSR Hirsch is a Gaodl of the 19th century he can criticse
	: 3) R. Avi Weiss is a MO rabbi and he has the chutzpa even to
	: suggest that Yitachok Ovinu has the slightest defect in his mental
acuit, he 
	: ought to be attacked.

	In less absolutist terms, wouldn't it be correct to say that in
order for
	criticism of the Avos to be credible, the greater the criticism, the
	gedulah you expect to see behind it. By which, #3 has the greatest
	- -- by much -- and the least gedulah (RAW obviously doesn't pretend
to be a
	Ramban or even an RSRH) backing it. As such, the claim would be the
	outrageous. Except for the fact that it wasn't made; at least, not
by RAW.

	The use of absolute terms goes back to the gadol vs gedulah

Mark Rayman
Lehman Brothers  - GIS Market Data
212 526 1336

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Date: Wed, 29 Aug 1956 15:16:31 +0000
From: David Riceman <driceman@WORLDNET.ATT.NET>
Re: smells

Micha suggested that the heavy use of incense was to low standards of
public sanitation.  What about burning incense after meals (mentioned in
my post)? At havdalah (not mentioned but implied)?
  I had entertained the possibility that one could explain all examples
as generic Mediterranean culture.  The problem then is why did we retain
incense at havdalah but at no other place.  Does anyone smell hadassim
during kiddush nowadays? Shouldn't all or none be assigned normative
religious value?

David Riceman

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Date: Wed, 24 Nov 1999 16:17:41 -0500 (EST)
From: Sammy Ominsky <sambo@charm.net>
Re: smells

David Riceman wrote:

> incense at havdalah but at no other place.  Does anyone smell hadassim
> during kiddush nowadays?

Yes. Two branches if I've got 'em. One for 'shamor', one for 'zachor'.
Otherwise, I use ezov, like for havdalah.


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Date: Thu, 25 Nov 1999 00:06:50 +0200
From: Hershel Ginsburg <ginzy@netvision.net.il>
Pidyon Sh'vuyim

I normally don't like very long postings to Avodah, and usually try to
practice what I preach. I also don't know if posting whole articles to
the Avodah list is appropriate or is a major imposition on list
members.  However, the following two articles by Jonathan Rosenblum
which appeared in the Jerusalem Post describe a situation that raises
questions of Pidyon Sh'vuyim, and I don't use the term lightly.  The
following is taken from the end of the second article:

<fontfamily><param>Arial</param><bigger>"Those interested in helping
the Duhlberg sisters  should contact me at amechad@isdn.net.il



<fontfamily><param>Arial</param><bigger>The Mortara affair  revisited


On June  23, 1858, the papal police entered the home of Shlomo Mortara,
a Jewish  merchant living in Bologna, Italy, and removed the Mortara's
six-year-old son  Edgardo.

Six years  earlier, a servant girl in the Mortara household, fearing
that Edgardo was on  the verge of death, had sprinkled water on him.
When the local papal  inquisitor subsequently learned of this, he
declared Edgardo baptized and had  him seized. He would never return to
his parents.

While  the church no longer has the political authority to seize
children, an  Italian court in Genoa and the Italian attorney-general's
office have  recently applied a secularized version of the papal
inquisitor's reasoning.  Duty, they believe, requires them to "save"
two Jewish girls from being  raised as observant  Jews.

In 1991, Tali  and Moshe Dohlberg, native Israelis living in Genoa,
were divorced. Custody  of the couple's two children Nitzan, 6, and
Danielle, 2, was awarded to  Tali.

=46our years  later, Tali became observant and married a religious Jew.
That change enraged  her former husband and he challenged Tali's
continued fitness to retain  custody of their two daughters.

The court  ordered a psychological examination of Tali to determine
"the damage done to  the minors as a result of the religious choices of
the mother." In light of  the court's evident hostility to Orthodox
Judaism, Tali fled with her two  daughters to Israel.

 On April 29 of this year, the Israeli Supreme Court ordered Nitzan and
 Danielle returned to Italy for a custody decision by the Italian
courts. The  Israeli court expressed its confidence - naively, it would
turn out - that  the Italian courts would consider the welfare of the
girls and the damage  that would be caused to them by being uprooted
from familiar  surroundings.

The  subsequent custody proceedings in Italy, unfortunately, confirmed
Tali's  fears that adherence to an Orthodox Jewish life would be deemed
prima facie  proof of her parental incompetence. It was uncontested in
the Italian court  that the girls' strongly expressed preference was to
remain with their  mother, who had been their primary caregiver since
birth. Yet the very vehemence of the girls' wishes was used against
them and cited by Mrs.  Dohlberg's psychologists as proof of the
brainwashing to which they were  subjected by the "cult" into whose
clutches they had fallen.

Those same  psychologists informed the court that Orthodox Jews view
"exploitation and  abuse of children as legitimate'' and that Orthodox
parents, like drug  addicts, are incapable of expressing autonomous
love.  For good measure, they compared Orthodox Jews to everything from
Serbian war criminals to cult  members who kill their  children.

The Genoa  court apparently accepted these characterizations at face
value. It refused the local rabbi and former Israeli finance minister
Yaakov Neeman the right  to testify about Jewish belief or practice.
Many of the "findings" about  Judaism by Dohlberg's psychologists were
incorporated verbatim by the  court.

UPON the advice of  the Italian attorney-general, who intervened on the
side of Dohlberg, the  court entered a draconian decree virtually
severing the girls from their  mother and denying them any contact with
their past life. Tali is allowed to  speak to each daughter for no more
than ten minutes twice a week, and only in  Italian. Dohlberg tapes the

 The girls are permitted to see their mother only three times a month,
in a  location designated by Dohlberg and in the presence of people
chosen by him.  Again, all conversation must be in Italian. Tali and
her daughters last met  in room of six square meters, together with
four "observers" sent by  Dohlberg. The girls are denied the right to
speak on the phone or write to  anyone, besides their mother and
maternal grandparents, without Dohlberg's  explicit permission.

 Dohlberg has separated Nitzan and Danielle from one another. He has
forbidden  them to talk in Hebrew or to have contact with anyone in
Israel. He also  prevented the rabbi of Genoa from speaking to the
sisters or even to make  kiddush for them. The girls are afraid to talk
to anyone in the local Jewish  community for fear that such contacts
will be used as an excuse to cut off  their last ties with her=20

In one  surreptitiously written letter, Nitzan describes her father
forcibly taking  away her prayer book. When she continued to pray, he
yelled in her ear that  her prayers were worthless. Finally, she
writes," he grabbed my nose and  mouth in a frightening manner, slugged
me and pinched my mouth and nose and  this really hurt me."=20

 Not surprisingly, Antoinietta Simi, a prominent Italian psychologist,
who  examined Nitzan's letters to her mother, found that despite the
girl's  "excellent intellectual capacity in analyzing and relating to
the situation  effectively . . . the danger to her mental balance or
even her life, is real  and imminent.''=20

Nothing can explain the absolute power the Genoa court has granted
Dohlberg  over Nitzan and Danielle other than its disdain for Jewish
and Israeli life.  The court even instructed the girls' maternal
grandparents - secular Israelis  - to converse with them in English,
though they and the girls barely speak  any English.

 Remarkably, the court did not order an independent psychological
examination  of either parent. The only psychological exam was three
years old, and its  author herself had noted that it was incomplete and
inadequate for reaching  any conclusions on  custody.

Nevertheless  she termed the girls' relationship with their mother as
excellent, and  stressed the need for preserving an intensive
connection with Tali, their  primary parent. In the same preliminary
report, she described Dohlberg as  "immature," "narcissistic," prone to
"uncontrolled bursts of aggression."

In addition to its  failure to order a psychological evaluation of the
girls and their parents,  the court gave no weight to the universal
presumption that girls at this  crucial stage of development should be
with their mother, especially when the  mother has always been the
primary parent. Nor did it take seriously both  girls oft-reiterated
desire to be returned to their mother and  Israel.

Despite a  worldwide outcry, by Jews and non-Jews alike, Edgardo
Mortara never returned  to his parents. Let us hope that Italy proves
more responsive than the church  of those days.=20

The writer is a biographer and contributing editor to the 'Jewish=20
Observer.'(c) 1999 The Jerusalem Post  =20


</fontfamily><fontfamily><param>Arial</param> LIVES AT STAKE   WHERE'S


Two weeks ago world Jewry lost one of its towering moral figures Lord=20
Immanuel Jakobovits, the former Chief Rabbi of Britain. Six days before
his  passing, I had the privilege of talking to Rabbi Jakobovits for
the first  and only time.  Our subject: the inexplicably harsh custody
decree entered by a juvenile court in Genoa, Italy,  effectively
severing the relationship of two sisters, ages 13 and 10, with their=20
mother Tali

 The  Conference of European Rabbis, which   Rabbi Jakobovits headed,
had already strongly protested the court's  characterization of Tali's
Orthodox Judaism as a ``religious cult". And he was  particularly
shocked  that the  Italian court denied Tali all rights of
guardianship, without any psychological  examination of either parent
or of the girls and in the face of the girls_  clearly expressed desire
to remain with their mother

Rabbi Jakobovits told me  that just the previous evening he had spoken
to Rabbi Eliyahu Toaff, the Chief  Rabbi of Rome, to strongly urge him
to use all his connections on behalf of the  Duhlberg sisters, and that
Rabbi Toaff had undertaken to do so.   This week the widely respected
Rabbi  Toaff issued a statement that sent shock waves through Italy and
received  front-page coverage. He censured the ``bizarre" court
decision removing the  sisters from their mother and forbidding them to
communicate with her in  Hebrew. The court decision, said  Rabbi Toaff,
 creates the strong  suspicion of  ``an intolerant  attitude approach
to Jews in general and not just Orthodox Jews" and  ``stigmatizes the
life-style of the members of the Orthodox Jewish communities  living
around the world and particularly in Israel. . . ."  Rabbi Toaff=20
concluded by demanding the right to be heard in the court proceedings
in Italy  (where no expert testimony on Judaism was permitted) and to
visit with the  Duhlberg sisters.  =20

So far Congressman Benjamin Gilman, Chairman of the U.S. House Foreign=20
Affairs Committee, Senator Daniel Moynihan, Yaakov Neeman,  Malcolm
Hoenlein, executive director of  the Conference of Major Jewish
Organizations, Rabbi Raphael Butler, executive  director of the
Orthodox Union, and Professor Moshe Kaveh, president of Bar-Ilan
University, have all protested in communications to top Italian

Only one party has remained silent: the  State of Israel

A senior member of the State Attorney's  office sits on the U.N.
Commission on the Rights of the Child, and yet no  official protest has
been heard of the blatant violations of those rights by  Italy. The
Israeli silence has severely hampered efforts to return the sisters  to
their mother in Israel by creating the impression that Israel views
them as  better off in Italy

Italy has good reason to be particularly sensitive to public opinion:=20
Her U.N. Ambassador, Francesco Paolo Fulci, is chairman of the U.N.
Commission on  the Child. The U.N. Convention on the Rights of the
Child provides that a child  has ``a right to maintain personal
relations and direct contacts with both  parents on a regular basis."
Tali, however, has been granted the most minimum visitation rights and
all her conversations with her daughters must be in the  presence of
others and in Italian

The Duhlberg sisters are also deprived of their rights ``to freedom of=20
association " and ``privacy." They are allowed only to communicate with
those  permitted by their father, and have been completely cut off from
their past life  in Israel. Within Duhlberg's house, servants dog their
every step, even to the  point of standing outside the bathroom.
Outside the house, they are accompanied everywhere by guards. The older
sister is frequently confined by her father to  the house for days on
end. The sisters are separated from each other, and must  lock
themselves together in the bathroom to even exchange a few words in=20

The court order was explicitly designed to wean the girls from both=20
their Israeli and Jewish identity,   in contravention of the
Convention's protection of the child's  ``religious freedom" and
recognition of the importance of ``the traditions and  cultural values
of each people.=20

   There is another reason Israel should intervene forcefully. Duhlberg
 repeatedly lied to the Tel Aviv District Court and the Supreme Court.
But for  those lies the girls would not have been taken sobbing from
their mother and  sent to Italy.   Duhlberg  told the Israeli Supreme
Court that he would grant Tali the most liberal  visitation rights, and
that if the girls could not adjust to being uprooted from  their home
he would return them to Israel

 Most  importantly, he told the Tel Aviv district court that he had no
desire to  prevent the girls from being Orthodox, and that he observed
Jewish traditions  and prayed every day. (The Italian court also
described him as a ``pure Jew, who  observes the commandments.)

 Every word a lie. Far from being a traditional Jew, Duhlberg has been
a  devout Catholic for over four years  around the same time he
reopened custody  proceedings against his former wife. Indeed his
commitment to the Church lies  behind his efforts to bend the sisters
to his will against their wishes.  Duhlberg  has been baptized and
regularly attends mass and takes communion. The house in  which the
girls are imprisoned has crucifixes and Madonnas prominently=20
displayed. Duhlberg forces the girls to listen to readings from the New
 Testament and continually engages them in theological discussions, in
which he  denigrates Judaism. He has forbidden Rabbi Joseph Malmiliano,
the rabbi of  Genoa, to visit the sisters. =20

Duhlberg uses every possible means to break down the sisters_=20
psychological resistance.  He  repeatedly threatens the older sister
that if she does not comply with his  wishes, he will have her
committed to an insane asylum. After one court hearing,  he returned
home and told her, ``You have no more hope."=20

Duhlberg attempted to convince the girls that their mother offered to=20
renounce all custody claims for $10,000, causing the younger sister to
fear that  her mother had sold her for money. He also gave Tali_s
parents a copy of his  will, in which he declares that his daughters
have no share in his estate unless  they comply with his wishes, and he
has threatened the girls  that they will be left destitute. Upon=20
occasion, he has prevented the girls from receiving kosher food sent to
 them,  as a consequence of which  they went hungry for a prolonged
period. And he has tricked or forced them other  times into violating
commandments, which left them crying for days

If the Duhlberg sisters were backpackers injured climbing in Nepal, the
 State of Israel would move heaven and earth to make sure everything
possible was  done for them. Should it do anything less because they
are imprisoned against  their will in Italy and subjected on a daily
basis to psychological pressure to  give up their Judaism?

Those interested in helping the Duhlberg sisters  should contact me at
amechad@isdn.net.il =20



</center>                             Hershel Ginsburg, Ph.D.

         Registered Israel Patent Attorney and Biotechnology

                          P.O. Box 1058 / Rimon St. 27

                                  Efrat, 90435


              Phone: 972-2-993-8134        FAX: 972-2-993-8122

                         e-mail: ginzy@netvision.net.il


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Date: Wed, 24 Nov 1999 14:55:07 PST
From: "Alan Davidson" <perzvi@hotmail.com>
Non-Yechi wedding/Nach

Really Harry, you went to a Lubavitch wedding where they didn't say Yechi -- 
next you are going to tell me that there are folks withouts beards or black 
kippot who will only drink cholov Isroel Milk.

As for the issue of learning Nach, it is not that folks don't learn Nach (in 
Yeshivos it is taught all the time) -- it is more an issue of  what is 
considered important to know -- especially for Baal Teshuvahs.  Do you teach 
someone new to Yiddishkeit Nach or do you teach them Chumash, Gemorrah, 
Halacha, etc.?

Get Your Private, Free Email at http://www.hotmail.com

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Date: Wed, 24 Nov 1999 18:05:57 -0500
From: "Feldman, Mark" <MFeldman@CM-P.COM>
Hasidei Ashkenaz and Ba'alei HaTosafot

I finally got my hands on Dr. Haym Soloveitchik's article, "Three Themes in
Sefer Hasidim."

Here are some excerpts (connected to our recent discussion re Hasidei
Ashkenaz and Ba'alei HaTosafot):
p. 339:
<<...German Hasidism grew up alongside of a Halakhah triumphant.  And it is
against the backdrop of the tosafist movement that the Haside Ashkenaz must
be viewed.>>
<<It is in a good measure as a corrective to the growing intellectualism of
the time that the movement of the Haside Ashkenaz arose.>>
<<From a reading of the Rokeah [by R. Eleazar of Worms] one would never
suspect that an intellectual revolution was sweeping through the schools of
Ashkenaz.  It is a work in the tradition of the Sifrut debe Rashi and has
little connection with the world of the Tosafists.  This is not a
consequence of brevity or practical purpose, as is sometimes suggested.  The
Semak is no less a brief popular handbook. . . . R. Eleazar's work, however,
in no way reflects those of Raban, R. Ephraim, or Rabyah, nor does it seek
in any way to sum up their acheivements. . . .  To the author of the Rokeah,
the Talmud still means one thing, and it is this straightforward meaning,
together witht he traditions of the Rhineland and the rulings of its great,
that constitutes his Halakhic world.. . . [T]his would indicate that
alongside the great creative centers of Mainz, Bonn, and Regensburg there
existed a conservative circle, which while in no way opposed to
dialectic--indeed it could even break a dialectical lance if need be--never
really assimilated the achievements of the new pilpul or made them part of
its Halakhic Anschauung. . . .  The Haside Ashkenaz, I suggest, arose from a
group that still lived in a world of simple rather than multiple reference.
.. . .

From the days of Rabbenu Tam and R. Isaac of Dampierre, a French wave beats
upon the shores of the Rhineland, and in the second quarter of the
thirteenth century  it succeeds in inundating it.  R. Meir of Rothenburg is
in his thought and rulings no more German than French, and the same holds
for R. Mordecai ben Hillel.  As for R. Asher (Rosh), who would know of the
achievements of Raban and Rabyah if he took his instruction from the Piske
Ha-Rosh?  There is far more of Spain and Provence in that work than there is
of his German homeland. . . .  Germany as a distinct Halakhic culture ceases
to exist somewhere around the year 1230, and the lament of R. Eleazar of
Worms in his Sefer Ha-Hokmah that he has no one to whom to transmit his
esoteric traditions is only part of a wider phenomenon.  R. Judah He-Hasid
and R. Eleazar of Worms lived out their days watching the decline and fall
of Ashkenaz. . . .

Anyone reared upon the Tosafot of Dampierre would find the world of the
Rokeah woefully inadequate.  But challenge Dampierre and Rabyah the Pietists
could not. . . .  The sucess of the dialectic, however, was destroying the
very world that the Hasidic leadership represented. . .>>

Kol tuv,

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Date: Wed, 24 Nov 1999 19:01:46 -0500
From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@juno.com>
RE: Bible Criticism

I repeat my often cited suggestion (which seems to be 
always avoided) that the major problem with Bible
criticism is LESHON HARA.

LESHON HARA applies to PRODUCTS of a person as
well as to people itself. The TOrah is Gods product. It
would eg be leshon hara to say that a new sefer that
came out by eg The Rebbe had numerous contradictions
and whose real meaning contradicted its hidden meaning

The trouble with Bible criticism is they take a work of God
take a few quotes out of context and say the Bible is 
contradictory or what not. This is plain leshon hara.

Citing Rishonim who makes dichotomies between peshat
and derash is irrlevant. A rishon does NOT have the right
to insult the Torah/Chazal anymore than a Bible critic does. By the
term "insult" I mean not giving Chazal the benefit of the doubt
that they had simple grammatical rules governing their pshats.

Let me put it another way: If you believe that the so called
numerous midrashim emanate from peshat then you will
spend time until you find the grammatical rules governing them
If you believe they are derash you don't really 'care'---it is someones
opinion and YOU can't benefit...therefore no time is spent.

It is incumbent on all of us to spend time to unravel the grammar
by which these midrashim are made into pshat.

My rashi website (http://www.shamash.org/rashi/) is a good example
of this (NOT all material is my own...I frequently cite other acharonim/
rishonim who provide lists to defend things).

My favorite example is coming up this week so I cite it again
Rashi said on IM LAVAN GARTI that Yaakov observed all Taryag

Some people think he said this because GARTI=TARYAG. If you
believe this you are (as far as I am concerned) slandering Rashi
and slandering Chazal.  Indeed the only group of people who
base infrences of reality on wild numeric association are massively
psychotic people. How can Rashi be accused of this.

On the other hand if you observe that

and couple this with the fact that

>Yaakov lived with lavan for 20 years, had 2 wifes, and 20 children

Then we see that the statmeent "I INNED BY LABAN (GARTI" denotes
a feeling of uncomfortableness presumably because he was religious

Rashi's statement of TARYAG = GARTI is then just a mnemonic the
same as the  PRINCIPAL-PAL mnemonic.

The above explanatoin is due to the Rav. Such an explanation encourages
me to study other usages of GARTI and YSHAV and leads me to deeper
and richer understandings of Torah. It also leads to respect.

The only way to combat BIble criticism is to observe leshon hara...treat
God the same way you would treat Shakespeare---try and understand
the grammatical underpinnings of strange nuances.

I think the real trouble with Bible criticism is that some Jews seriously
some of the questions that they ask...we mst have emunah and we must
spend time studying.

Finally some statistics....Rashi only uses Gematria (on which I seem to
always have disagreements with other people) in .2% of the Rashis. You
can't really believe this was a SHITTAH of his...rather it was an amusing
numeric coincidence which helps people remember.

I am planning to cover the 12 (yes that is all there are, 12) Rashis with
Gematrias over the next few months on my Rashi website

As usual, anyone who believes they have a midrash to contradict this
is welcome to ask it

Russell Hendel; Phd ASA RJHendel@Juno.Com http://www.shamash.org/rashi/
Get the Internet just the way you want it.
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: Wed, 24 Nov 1999 22:51:11 EST
From: Kenneth G Miller <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
Quantum Mechanics (was: We are pixels in G-d's imagination)

R' Micha Berger explains an idea of R' Jack Love's:


He therefore subscribes to the Multi-Universe Theory. This is a theory
divised to resolve a philosophical problem in quantum mechanics. The
basic idea is that any event that physics can only dictate the outcome
probabilistically actually occurs in every possible way. The universe
"branches", one version for each possible outcome.

The connection to the notion that "existence" means being "imagined" by
the Borei is that HKBH couldn't possibly be contemplating only one
version of reality. After all, we think in the subjunctive all the time
-- of course Omniscience would include every subjunctive as well.
Therefore, HKBH is equally "contemplating" all these other possibilities,
and they are all equally real.

I have no idea what he does with bechirah chafshi.

<<<<< Ad kan R' Berger and R' Love

These are fascinating ideas, which I was first exposed to in "The
Uncertainty Principle and the Wisdom of the Creator" by R' Leo Levi
("Challenge", pp 296-305), and expanded on in several articles in
"Encounter" and "Fusion". (All three books are published by Feldheim.)

I think the "Multi-Universe Theory" is an excellent way to reconcile the
uncertain nature of quatum mechanics with the centuries of deterministic
philosophies which preceded it. Whatever can happen does happen, and
everything fits together nicely. From this perspective, Bechirah Chafshis
is like any other quantum event: If a person can choose freely between A
or B, then two multiverses result, one in which he chose A, and in the
other he chose B. In each of those multiverses, he will reap the
appropriate reward or punishment of the choice which he did choose.

Unfortunately, that viewpoint is so consistent with determinism that I
don't see much room for HaShem in there. There's a different philosophy
that I prefer: There is only one universe, each quantum event is resolved
only one way, and each free-willed choice rhas only one result. I will

Einstein disagreed with quantum theory. He is quoted as saying that "G-d
does not play dice." Of course, this is correct. HaShem does not play
dice, allowing some other power - chalilah! - to decide how the dice
fall. Rather, to continue the metaphor, HaShem *is* the dice. Any time an
*apparently* random quantum event can occur, HaShem decides exactly when,
where, how, etc, it does so.

Quantum physics is the interface between the spiritual world and the
physical one. With quantum physics, things *tend* to follow the laws of
nature as we understand them, but exceptions will occasionally happen,
and *without* violating those laws. This, I suggest, I how Hashgacha
Pratis manifests itself within the physical world. When HaShem feels (for
whatever reason, and according to whatever shitah) that His involvement
with the world should be less obvious, then quantum events occur as the
physicists would expect. But when Hashgacha Pratis is called for, He can
manipulate quantum events without violating the laws of nature.

For example, under normal circumstances, the water molecules in a barrel
are constantly moving and changing, with their electrons flying from one
atom to the next, and all the subatomic particles being created and
recreated from the quarks and such which they are made of. And the
quantum laws of probability dictate that on a macroscopic level, the
water will remain water. Usually. But it is also possible --- extremely
unlikely but still possible --- that the particles which make up the
water might spontaneously rearrange themselves to become blood. This
might even happen in one spigot of the barrel, but not the other, where
the water remains water.

I've seen (but won't pretend to understand) theories which even explain
how matter might be created spontaneously, apparently ex nihilo, within
the laws of quantum physics. This might enable one to pour large amounts
of oil from a single pitcher, and perhaps even Maaseh Bereshis itself. If
these things are possible, then something like fiddling with the random
motion of a sea's water molecules so as to provide a dry path (or a dozen
of them) would be a piece of cake.

[In the following paragraph, I use the term "mind/soul". I have chosen
this deliberately, to aviod getting bogged down in the semantics of
nefesh, neshama, ruach, etc. I hope that you will understand my meaning
from context.]

Getting back to Bechira Chofshis. The problem with determinist philosophy
is that the actions of my arm are controlled by the nerves leading to it,
which are controlled by the nerves leading from the brain, which are
controlled by various interactions within the brain, and if we only knew
enough about the brain we would see the exact chemical and electrical
activity which end up forcing my arm to go this way instead of that way.
This leaves no room for free will. But if a mind/soul (which is not part
of the physical world) can interface with the quantum events within the
brain, then the choice freely made by that mind/soul will ulimately
result in the arm moving according to that choice.

I have contemplated these ideas for many years, but this is the first
time that I've tried to bounce them off of other people who might be
interested in them. I expect that I've made some errors, but hope that
they were minor. Most of these ideas developed from the three books that
I mentioned at the beginning (especially the Leo Levi article), and on
Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan's "Handbook of Jewish Thought", section 6:65, 8:8, and
3:33 (not 3:23, as is mistakenly printed there).

Akiva Miller

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