Avodah Mailing List

Volume 13 : Number 047

Tuesday, July 13 2004

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Sun, 11 Jul 2004 00:24:30 +0200
From: Saul Mashbaum <smash52@netvision.net.il>
Subject:
Rov d'leita kaman


The Chochmat Adam, in Binat Adam, Shaar Kavua ot 16 discusses directly
the question of "rov chanuyot" and "rov basar". He is quite definitive
that what we follow is the majority of meat, not necessarily the majority
of stores. He has several interesting proofs for his position. (This
appears on page 44 of the edition of Binat Adam, I have, Shilo, 1970).

R Shimon Shkop quotes the Binat Adam in Shaarei Yosher, Shaar 4, chapter
9. He discusses the Binat Adam's position at length; he disagrees, and
attempts to refute the BA's proofs. The chapter is full of explanations
of fundamental concepts in rov (d'ita/d'lecha kaman), karov, and rov deot
b'dayanim I found learning this perek both fascinating and frustrating,
since it is hard to understand.

For those interested in the topic, both these sources (much more likely
to be in your library that the sources cited so far) are "must reads" :)

Saul Mashbaum


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Date: Sun, 11 Jul 2004 15:34:30 +0300
From: Eli Turkel <turkel@post.tau.ac.il>
Subject:
Rov -Chazakah


Can someone please explain the difference between ruba de-lesa mikaman
and chazakah.

Thus, for example, the gemara says there is a chazakah that a borrower
will not completely deny a loan (kofer ha-kol). Is this based on
statistics? It cannot just be the "nature" of people because the gemara
says that in later generations we no longer rely on this chazakah but
require a kofer hakol to take a shvuat heset.

Chazakah is tricky because there are many different types of chazakah.
However, one type of chazakah seems to me to be very close to rov and
statistics.

Eli Turkel,  turkel@post.tau.ac.il on 7/11/2004
Department of Mathematics, Tel Aviv University


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Date: Sun, 11 Jul 2004 00:39:26 EDT
From: Ohrchama@aol.com
Subject:
Re: Gestation of wolf,lion,bear,leapord,elephant,and monkey


I wrote
: "that this Gemara is an example where it would be very difficult to say
: that the science of the Gemara is always right, as some in the  Yeshiva
: World including the Chazon Ish, seem to hold....

RMB responded:
: AIUI, the CI doesn't quite say the science in the gemara is always
: right.
: Rather, that the power to pasqen granted the 2,000 years of Torah gives
: those pesaqim authority independent of the accuracy of the assumptions
: under which they were made. IOW, it makes no different whether it's
: right.

I wasn't referring to that particular statement of the Chazon Ish. In the
statement about the 2,000 years of Torah he explains the Rambam (10'th
Perek Shechitah) who writes that a defect in an animal which Chazal say
is Trefah, is not affected by the fact that our Doctors say that the
animal can live. He explains that where the Teva changed, the laws of
Treifos were given according to the Teva of the 2,000 years of Torah,
i"e time of Chazal.

I was however, referring to a different statement of the Chazon Ish. In
a letter (Kovetz Igros-Volume One-Letter 15) he basically wrrites that
the expression of any doubts in the words of Chazal,whether in Halacha
or Agada, is Heresy which would make such a person a Kofer in the words
of Chazal, whose Shechitah would be a Nevelah, who would be Posul for
testimony,etc.

Kol Tuv,
Yaakov Goldstein


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Date: Sun, 11 Jul 2004 11:39:06 +0300
From: Zoo Torah <zoorabbi@zootorah.com>
Subject:
Tachash


<<1. Tachash is a chaya teme'ah.>>

According to Talmud Yerushalmi, Shabbos 2:3, it is a kosher animal.

<<2. The giraffe already had a perfectly good Hebrew name (zemer).
   Is it likely that an animal which wasn't native to the area would
   have not just one but *two* Hebrew names?>>

The lion has seven names in Tanach. Plus, it is by no means clear that the
zemer is the giraffe, that's just one opinion.

Just to clarify (and I was not sufficiently clear on this in my book
Mysterious Creatures) - I am not claiming that the tachash is definitely the
giraffe - just that according to certain opinions in the Yerushalmi and
Midrash, it seems to be the giraffe. According to other opinions, it is
goatskin, black leather, ermine, etc.

Nosson Slifkin
www.zootorah.com


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Date: Sun, 11 Jul 2004 23:34:54 +1000
From: "SBA" <sba@iprimus.com.au>
Subject:
Re: mermaids and camels


From: Zoo Torah <zoorabbi@zootorah.com>
> Nishtaneh hateva is not as easy an answer to use as people think. ...
> I think the idea of camels
> mating backwards is probably likewise not something that can be accounted
> for by nishtaneh hateva.

But that is how the Ben Yehoyodo explains the problem.

SBA


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Date: Sun, 11 Jul 2004 13:41:38 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Subject:
Re: Rov -Chazakah


On Sun, Jul 11, 2004 at 03:34:30PM +0300, Eli Turkel wrote:
: Can someone please explain the difference between ruba de-lesa mikaman
: and chazakah.

In the aforementioned article in Tradition RMK suggests the difference
is quantitative, not qualitative. Chazaqos where the definition of which
set we mean to take the rov of is well determined, and the majority
is definitive, have greater reliability and are therefore considers
"chazaqos [disvara]".

-mi

-- 
Micha Berger             When we long for life without difficulties,
micha@aishdas.org        remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary
http://www.aishdas.org   winds, and diamonds are made under pressure.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                        - Peter Marshall


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Date: Sun, 11 Jul 2004 13:41:36 EDT
From: Joelirich@aol.com
Subject:
Re: Rov -Chazakah


In a message dated 07/11/2004 9:40:57 AM EDT, turkel@post.tau.ac.il writes:
> Can someone please explain the difference between ruba de-lesa mikaman
> and chazakah.

In a related question, is karov the same as rov, just redefining the
sample space to exclude anything not close by?

KT
Joel Rich


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Date: Mon, 12 Jul 2004 11:22:02 EDT
From: Joelirich@aol.com
Subject:
Indian sheitels


In a message dated 7/12/2004 10:07:50 AM EDT, Yaakovwise@aol.com writes:
> ... a rumour circulated the vort that Rav Eliashiv has withdrawn his
> issur. Does anyone have further information as my wife's bargain basement
> $300 bargain basement Bnei Brak Indian sheitel is awaiting an answer. I
> can see the box trembling with excitement on my morning room window ledge.

I do not know if this is true but, if it were, are there circumstances
that the "bet din"/Posek would be responsible for the financial loss
incurred by those who destroyed their sheitels ? I know the gemora
deals with this issue but don't know how it has been employed lmaseh
over the years.

KT
Joel Rich


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Date: Mon, 12 Jul 2004 12:00:51 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Subject:
Re: Is yenem "equally right"


R Gershon Dubin wrote:
> It is a TIDE philosophy to ascribe particular significance to the pursuit
> of chochmah bagoyim, but it is simply wrong to say that anyone who does
> not subscribe to this philosophy is an adherent of the derech of RShB"Y.

I think that concern with chokhmah is more TuM than TIDE.

BTW, my son's HS (run by talmidim of R' Chait) offers limudei qodesh and
limudei chokhmah.

-mi


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Date: Mon, 12 Jul 2004 12:06:59 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Subject:
Re: Divine knowledge of future righteousness


R Daniel Eidensohn wrote:
> Rashi (Sotah 2a): The gemora asks: How could it be that a personís
> spiritual level determines whom he will marry? We know that a personís
> spouse is determined before he is born when it is not known what his
> spiritual level will be when he grow up? If you want to say that obviously
> everything is revealed to G-d. But we also know that everything is in
> the hands of Heaven except for fear of Heaven. ...

> If I am reading this correctly, Rashi is asserting that not only is it
> not predetermined whether a person will grow to be righteous or wicked -
> but even G-d doesn't know this aspect of the person?

How do you see this in this Rashi? I do not see a discussion about lack
of foreknowledge at all. Rashi takes hakol tzafui as a given, and is
asking about how the bas qol about who will marry who doesn't mitigate
"vehareshus nesunah".

HQBH knows his spiritual level, but doesn't control it. Therefore Hashem
couldn't predeclare who the person would marry based on merit. The first
time around it's predetermined, but not because of merit. Any subsequent
marriages are sechar va'onesh -- and not predetermined.

-mi

-- 
Micha Berger             Until he extends the circle of his compassion
micha@aishdas.org        to all living things,
http://www.aishdas.org   man will not himself find peace.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                        - Albert Schweitzer


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Date: Mon, 12 Jul 2004 12:17:11 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Subject:
Re: Disputing Previous Generation and Halachah L'Moshe MiSinai


hlampel@thejnet.com wrote:
> "Significant" is a relative term. Even the smallest difference in halachah
> or theory is significant....

What I'm calling "significant" is a difference in machshavah, not
halachah.

Here's how I see it. The RSO gave us the Torah with myriads of
derashos. The tannaim sought overarching rules to explain many derashos in
one fell swoop. Hillel found 7 rules, R' Aqiva found 19, R' Yishma'el 13.

It's kind of like Brisker lomdus. We find patterns in things rishonim say,
and then attribute these rules (pe'ulah vs chalos; gavra vs cheftzah)
to the rishonim. The rishon never articulated these concepts; we're
finding things implied in his words that quite like he never thought of.

R' Aqiva taught that the Torah was medayeiq in lashon well beyond that of
benei adam. Therefore, when looking for the "lomdus" behind the derashos,
he found them in textual details.

R' Yishma'el, OTOH, saw the Torah primarily in terms of what information
is being communicated. Communication was to benei adam, so it's belashon
BA. Therefore, when he formulated his overarching rules in terms of
the ideas communicated.

The purpose of the TSBP being primarily in its syntax or in its
semantics was my "significant difference".

But it's all reverse engineering. A machloqes over VIDC doesn't change
the shitas harishonim. And a machloqes over the middos doesn't change
the derashos themselves.

(I got this idea from something RSM said about diqduq being
reverse-engineered from the text; not a set of dinim one should impose
on the text. I invite him to clarify on its own thread.)

This is akin (but probably not identical) to RSRH's statement about the
various collections of middos being different categorizations of the same
peratim. I understood RSRH to be speaking about lumping together various
detailed rules into categories of rules. However, there is nothing in
his words (that I reread so far) ruling out the notion I'm proposing.


The following other halachic impact is masteiber to me, for which I'm
seeking frum sources:

I think the talmidim ended up with two "toros", thus producing our
two schools of medrashei halakhah. And when that became unmaintainably
diverse, we put and end to it by stopped making new derashos. This would
play out at the same time as the mishnah, the 2nd generation after R'
Aqiva, and had some role in why we needed the mishnah.

-mi

-- 
Micha Berger             Until he extends the circle of his compassion
micha@aishdas.org        to all living things,
http://www.aishdas.org   man will not himself find peace.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                        - Albert Schweitzer


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Date: Mon, 12 Jul 2004 10:40:26 -0400
From: "Yosef Gavriel & Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <rygb@aishdas.org>
Subject:
Re: VIDC [Voss Iz Der Chilluk]


At 06:48 AM 7/6/2004, RER wrote:
>> In Orach Chaim #318 we learn that several Rishonim hold that ein bishul
>> achar bishul b'lach. Yet several Acharonim (see Chavas Da'as Yoreh
>> De'ah 94:4) hold that in the case of basar b'chalav there is bishul
>> achar bishul. VIDC?

>Meleches Shabbos is about creating a new status - Meleched
>Machsheves. Once cooked is cooked forever.

>In Bosor Beholov is both the action of cooking and anything which has
>been cooked together which is disallowed.

Is it indeed the case that a quantifiable increase in quality cannot be
considered a meleches machasheves? Then VIDC between bishul and mesakein
manah (not saying you're wrong, you're probably right, just needs a bit
of fine-tuning).

At 04:07 PM 7/7/2004, [Micha] wrote:
>Ein bishul achar bishul is defined by the melakhah of bishul, which in
>turn is defined by whether it's a melakhah, a world-changing (mideOraisa:
>world-improving) act.

>Basar bechalav is a question of whether the object's heat causes mixing;
>actual change-of-state should be secondary.

That would seem to be the case vis a vis the issur of the substance. But 
what about legabei malkos?

YGB  


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Date: Mon, 12 Jul 2004 15:53:47 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Subject:
Re: VIDC [Voss Iz Der Chilluk]


On Mon, Jul 12, 2004 at 10:40:26AM -0400, RYGB wrote:
: That would seem to be the case vis a vis the issur of the substance. But 
: what about legabei malkos?

My instinct is that the issur is causing change of chalos. Therefore,
if that's the case WRT the issur of the substance, why wouldn't it be
the case WRT the issur of the pe'ulah?

It may have to do with the machloqes over AID. RMF makes the reverse
of the link I'm suggesting. There the question is whether the change
of chalos is only when there's a pe'ulah assurah. I was taking it for
granted that the pe'ulah is assur only when there's a change of chalos.

-mi

-- 
Micha Berger             It isn't what you have, or who you are, or where
micha@aishdas.org        you are,  or what you are doing,  that makes you
http://www.aishdas.org   happy or unhappy. It's what you think about.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                        - Dale Carnegie


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Date: Wed, 30 Jun 2004 15:25:31 -0400
From: "Gil Student" <gil@aishdas.org>
Subject:
Re: Tanur shel achnai - how could a bat kol not be emes


The Shenaton Mishpat HaIvri, no. 1 (or 2?) has a long article going
through the various different explanations of this passage.

Gil Student
gil@aishdas.org
www.aishdas.org/student


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Date: Mon, 12 Jul 2004 22:10:31 +0200
From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
Subject:
Re: Divine knowledge of future righteousness


Micha Berger wrote:
>How do you see this in this Rashi? I do not see a discussion about lack
>of foreknowledge at all. Rashi takes hakol tzafui as a given, and is
>asking about how the bas qol about who will marry who doesn't mitigate
>"vehareshus nesunah".

>HQBH knows his spiritual level, but doesn't control it. Therefore Hashem
>couldn't predeclare who the person would marry based on merit. The first
>time around it's predetermined, but not because of merit. Any subsequent
>marriages are sechar va'onesh -- and not predetermined.

I can understand your objection "How do you see this in this Rashi?" But
on the other hand I don't see that you have explained Rashi either. If
we take it for granted that G-d does know the moral future of each one
of us. Then why is it a problem for establishing our zivug based on that
knowledge. There is no need for the bas kol to announce whether he is
going to be a tzadik but simply who he is going to marry. If I understand
you correctly you are asserting that Rashi says that the announcment of
a zivug based on merit undermines free will. therefore only the second
marriage - after he has used his free will to become a tzadik - can be
based on his spiritual status.

I think my understanding fit better - except that it places Rashi in the 
company of the Ralbag,

Daniel Eidensohn


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Date: Mon, 12 Jul 2004 19:51:07 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Subject:
Re: Divine knowledge of future righteousness


On Mon, Jul 12, 2004 at 10:10:31PM +0200, Daniel Eidensohn wrote:
: I can understand your objection "How do you see this in this Rashi?" But 
: on the other hand I don't see that you have explained Rashi either. If 
: we take it for granted that G-d does know the moral future of each one 
: of us. Then why is it a problem for establishing our zivug based on that 
: knowledge...

In the question, Rashi set up conflicting assertions (1) hakol galui lefanav,
(2) hakol biydei Shamayim chutz meyir'as Shamayim.

His answer isn't to deny the applicability of "hakol galui lefanav"
(hakol tzafui) (as the Ralbag would), but rather he reasserts "ein zeh
biydei Shamayim" (hareshus nesunah).

See also Rashi on the mishnah in Avos 3:16 (Hakol tzafui).

-mi

-- 
Micha Berger             A cheerful disposition is an inestimable treasure.
micha@aishdas.org        It preserves health, promotes convalescence,
http://www.aishdas.org   and helps us cope with adversity.
Fax: (270) 514-1507         - R' SR Hirsch, "From the Wisdom of Mishlei"


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Date: Tue, 13 Jul 2004 02:04:05 +0200
From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
Subject:
Re: Divine knowledge of future righteousness


Micha Berger wrote:
>His answer isn't to deny the applicability of "hakol galui lefanav"
>(hakol tzadui) (as the Ralbag would), but rather he reasserts "ein zeh
>biydei Shamayim" (hareshus nesunah).

I think I am getting a clearer view of your point - what does it mean that
"ein zeh biydei Shamayim". I am saying that it means according to Rashi
that G-d doesn't know and you are saying that it means that man must
have free will in the matter. You are saying that the announcement of
the Bas Kol some how would interfere with his free-will if it the zivug
were based on spiritual status. I simply don't understand what the Bas
Kol has to do with man's free will. Therefore I don't see why the person
can't be predestined to marry a woman who fits his spiritual status the
first time around. Why should a tzadik have to marry a second time in
order to have the correct spiritual mate? I did find that the Tosfos
HaRosh seems to agree with you because he says that the bas kol would
announce that a certain wicked man was marrying a wicked women and then
people might think it was a gezera to be wicked. I simply don't see how
this is indicated in the gemora. [The Chasam Sofer 7:34 says that zivug
rishon is the one you were to marry when you were born but zivug rishon
is the one you end up deserving to marry because of one's deeds but that
it doesn't refer to first and second marriage.]

         Daniel Eidensohn


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Date: Tue, 13 Jul 2004 08:30:56 -0400
From: Kenneth G Miller <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
Subject:
Avodah Zara L'Maaseh


A current discussion on Areivim focused on whether there might be some
tv shows which might be totally devoid of objectionable content. The
example of certain nature and wildlife programs (specifically, the ones
by National Geographic) came up. The response was that although these
shows are totally clean of arayos, Avodah Zara does come up occasionally.

R"n Kayza Zajac wrote <<< For example, I watched a very interesting
piece on wolves. However it was interwoven with discussion of the Native
American history of the same area, and their views on the land and on
wolves. Much of the latter is a real AZ problem. A culminating piece
showing some sort of religious ceremony in honor of the earth and wolves
is CERTAINLY a problem. >>>

A few other people cited the funerals of Presidents Kennedy and Reagan
as examples of where watching television can expose one to Avodah Zara.

R' Avi Burstein asked <<< Is it actually forbidden to hear about religious
ceremonies of other cultures? ... Would viewing actual footage be worse
than just hearing descriptions? Would it matter if it was an in-depth
description, or just a passing reference ... Are we not allowed to be
knowledgeable about the religious customs of non-Jews? >>>

I have similar questions.

Recent decades have spawned many seforim on esoteric halachic topics,
but I can't recall any dealing with the practical aspects of dealing
with the religion of the non-Jews around us. Plenty of seforim teach
what to do if you want him to turn on your lights on Shabbos, but how
many teach what to do if he invites you to his wedding?

Sometimes it feels like Avodah Zara and sex are similar, in that in
both cases, when we are young we are told absolutely nothing more than
"Stay away!", and the main difference is that when we get older, certain
limited information about mutar sex is taught, while AZ remains totally
off-limits.

At first, I wrote the preceding paragraph in a somewhat joking and
sarcastic manner. But then I thought about "lo sasuru acharei 'lvavchem
v'acharei eineichem", and how these are the two specific areas addressed
by that pasuk.

And I realized that maybe we ARE supposed to remain totally ignorant of
Avodah Zara, for fear that it might tempt us.

Can this be? Would we be better off not knowing who Jesus or Buddha were?
Whoops! I just mentioned the name of an Avodah Zara. Is that mutar? Maybe
it's mutar only in months named after Babylonian gods, like Tamuz? :-)

Anyone know of any recent seforim which explore these things from a
halacha l'maaseh view?

Akiva Miller


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Date: Tue, 13 Jul 2004 07:02:20 -0700 (PDT)
From: Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
Subject:
Evolution


Danny Schoemann <dannyschoemann@hotmail.com> wrote (from Areivim):
> The major objection to evolution, as I am aware, is the quest to assign 
> everything to fate / happy accidents / fluke. It's when evolution is used to 
> deny Hashem existence that we get bent out of shape and call it kefira.

This is correct. If one wants to explain existence and does not believe
in a Creator one needs to resort to randomness.

The reason to believe in the theory of evolution is that there are facts
already in evidence and new facts are constantly being discovered to
support that theory. One cannot simply discount those facts by saying God
created the world to LOOK that way. Those answers are far too simplistic
to satisfy any rational individual. Besides, why would God fool us with
such major indicators such as dinosaur bones and the like?

If you believe in a Creator the way I do then it is perfectly logical
to synthesize scientific discoveries and fact with belief. There is
absolutely no contradiction between science and Halacha. If there seems
to be, it is only because we lack sufficient information to reconcile
the religious and scientific aspects under consideration.

The one thing about the nature of science is that there are no
absolutes. That is to say that science will always concede its error when
new discoveries are made which refute older "facts" or theories. The idea
of absolutes is more of a philosophical or theological concept than it
is scientific. So, as much evidence as there is to support the theory
of evolution, it is theoretically possible at some point to disprove it
and replace it with a new or better theory. But that does not mean we
discount what we know now. To the best of mankind's knowledge, some form
of evolution has and is taking place and to deny it is to close one's
eyes and mind to the many discoveries and facts that seem to prove it.

HM


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Date: Tue, 13 Jul 2004 19:00:30 +0300
From: "Danny Schoemann" <dannyschoemann@hotmail.com>
Subject:
RE: Evolution


RHM writes:
>If you believe in a Creator the way I do then it is perfectly logical
>to synthesize scientific discoveries and fact with belief.

And then:
>There is
>absolutely no contradiction between science and Halacha.

Finally:
>The one thing about the nature of science is that there are no
>absolutes. That is to say that science will always concede its error
>when new discoveries are made which refute older "facts" or theories.

Here's my dilemma. As science "changes its mind" we find proof in the
Torah to back the new findings.

Is that because "everything" is in the Torah - including nonsense,
or are some generations "cheating"?

Both answers leave me with the feeling that we should stick to the text
with its classical interpretations, and wait for science to catch up...

[Email # -mi]

R' Josh kindly provided [on Areivim -mi] some evolution-related Torah
sources - he are my reactions after looking them up.

>    That's why R. Yitzchak of Akko, a disciple of the Ramban, wrote 750
>    years ago that the world was created 15 BILLION years ago. (to be
>    exact: 15,340,500,000)

Can't figure out how to find a sefer written by him. Any clues?

>    That's why the Midrash states that God created universes and destroyed
>    them.

Actually that may be a proof against evolution. The medrash clearly
states "and destroyed them" - making it difficult to explain evolution -
a gradual/sudden change from one species to another (or whatever).

>    That's why the gemara in Chagiga 13b states that there were 974
>    generations BEFORE Adam.

I didn't find that. All I found (13b at the bottom) was that He wanted
to, but instead planted these generations after Adam -- and they are the
brazen fellows amongst us (14a top).

>    That's why there are many midrashim noting that the first week of
>    Creation lasted eons of time (see: Anafim on Rabbenu Bachya's Sefer
>    Ikkarim 2:18; Breshit Rabba 9).

Actually, from the bits I read, I came to the opposite conclusion. He
had created one instance of a world before ours (ours is version Bet,
hence the big Bet of Breishis). After 6,000 years He created a new world
in a mere 6 days - seemingly of 24 hours each, as "time was created
earlier". This would explain fossils, but not evolution.

I also got the impression that the author wasn't excited about the whole
idea, but was trying to justify/kasher them. Then again, I had the sefer
open for about 20 minutes...

>    That's why the biblical day is 1000 Divine years which is equivalent
>    to 365,200 earth years, and the midrash indicates that the world is
>    42,000 Divine years old.

Hmmm - I couldn't look that one up either. :-) (Strangely enough, a few
weeks ago I decided to read the weekly parsha in the Medrash after shul on
Shabbes, so I will eventually find it.)

>    That's why the Midrash in Breshit Rabba 14 mentions in the name of
>    Rabbi Yehuda that man was born with a tail.

Actually it says he was created with a tail and then "chazar bo" - He
changed His mind because of Kevodo. Doesn't say how long he had the tail,
could have been in the mud-stage. Though, once again, I have no problem with
post 6000 year evolution.

>    That's why the Midrash Tanchuma Genesis 6 states that people born
>    before the time of Noah had webbed fingers.

So? So we see that evolution took place recently.

>    That's why Breshit Rabba 23 states that in the days of Enosh the faces
>    of men became APE LIKE.

...as a punishment. Therefore we no longer have a tzelem Elokim. This
answers the question "why do apes seem to have a Tzelem Elokim?".

I appreciate the sources, but I don't see them as great tools for teaching
classical evolution to the masses.

>    Josh

 - Danny, getting wiser all the time. :-)


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Date: Tue, 13 Jul 2004 11:34:27 -0700 (PDT)
From: Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
Subject:
RE: Evolution


Danny Schoemann <dannyschoemann@hotmail.com> wrote:
> Here's my dilemma. As science "changes its mind" we find proof in the
> Torah to back the new findings.

> Is that because "everything" is in the Torah - including nonsense,
> or are some generations "cheating"?

> Both answers leave me with the feeling that we should stick to the text
> with its classical interpretations, and wait for science to catch up...

This is not the way I see it at all. 

There is one absolute truth (without getting into issues of Elu
veElu). Only God knows exactly what that truth is. God gave us the
Torah in order to find out what exactly that truth is. There are many
categories of truth. There is for example Halachic truth and there is
existential Truth. The Torah's truth in a Halachic sense was given to Man
by way of the Torah. God through His great kindness passed on to Mankind
the concept of Lo BaShamayim He and allowed Man to determine the exact
nature and practice thereof subject to the rules interpretation such as
in the Shalosh Esreh Midos SheHaTorah Nidreshes Bah.

Existential truth is a little bit harder to find but is inherent in the
Torah which is after all the word of God. Many people find such truth in
the study of the spiritual rather than physical world through the study of
Nistar but I find this type of study totally unsatisfying in that there
are far too many meatphysical "givens" such as the concept of "Sephiros"
or of God's "contraction" which... as a rational being who is neither
on the spiritual nor intellectual level of a GRA... I cannot understand.

In my opinion and in our day, the only real way to find the Truth of
existence is through the study of the physical universe. The truth of
nature is best determined through scientific discovery and our rational
capacity to examine it honestly and draw appropriate conclusions.

This, too, is a means of finding Truth provided by God... not directly
through His written or oral law but through His great gift to mankind,
the intellect. It is my contention, therefore, that it is impossible to
discover anything concrete or otherwise that is in contradiction to the
Torah. What seems like a contradiction is probably a misunderstanding
of either the science or the Torah... or both.

Flowing from this, it is a bit easier to understand why science can
"change its mind" and why it did not before nor does not now contradict
the Torah. As science progresses and becomes more sophisticated and as
new methods of discovery or more precise measurement becomes possible,
new discoveries are made which may change our understanding of nature
and/or existence. We then take this new discovery and try and understand
it in the light of Torah. Perhaps we were wrong in our previous Torah
conclusions of the now disproven theories or "facts" but that does not
mean that the old interpretations were anti-Torah... they were just wrong.

HM


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