Avodah Mailing List

Volume 13 : Number 060

Friday, August 6 2004

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Thu, 5 Aug 2004 14:38:11 -0400
From: "Noah Witty" <ewitty@worldnet.att.net>
Subject:
tisha baav and tshuva


"I believe RYBS once said that even though a piyut on asarah haregu
malchut is said on both tisha ba-av and yom kippur they are intrinsically
different. On Tisha Ba-av it is said as avelut like the other piyutim
on destructions. On yom kippur it it is said as misah of tzaddikim is
a kapparah."

Actually, I heard Rav YBSoloveitchik say that in the middle of the
Avodah, **we take off our shoes** (an odd and almost humorous choice of
words for a discussion of Yom Kippur davening!) **and mourn for the 10
(yes, nit-pickers, 8 out of 10) harugei malchus.** As a precursor to the
piyyutim on YK for the bais hamikdash we do not have, why can't there
be an element of 'aveilus.

Lurkers who can supplement my incomplete memory are invited ot pipe up!

Moreover, see tefillas Zakka on the reason for not wearing shoes on YK.

Noach Witty


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Date: Thu, 5 Aug 2004 14:24:21 -0400
From: "Noah Witty" <ewitty@worldnet.att.net>
Subject:
Height of people in chumash


I am thankful to HKB"H to have enabled me to see another pshat in Og's
eres. There are Rishonim on the verse who interpret the word " 'arso"
to mean "his fortress."

This pshat places the Mishkan-erecting, high-jumping, axe-swinging,
ankle-breaking Moshe Rabbeinu deep in the Land of Midrash and Aggadata.

There ought to be a discussion of the extent to which Midrashic/Aggadic
material is used for the purpose of deciding and determining halakha
both by Rishonim and codifiers and by acharonim.

Noah Witty


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Date: Thu, 5 Aug 2004 16:16:20 EDT
From: Zeliglaw@aol.com
Subject:
Re: Cleaning up the world


[RDE:]
> Just asked Rav Michel Shurkin about this. He asked Rav Soloveitchik
> about the status of goyim. The reply he got was "There are three things
> for which I don't have a clear hashkofa - goyim, irreligious Jews and
> secular studies.

WADR to R Eidenson and R Shurkin, there is much in RYBS's own writings
that contradicts each of these three areas . Look at Ko Dodi Dofek,
Chamesh Drashos, Halachic Man , The Lonely Man of Faith Confrontation and
R Rakkafet's book for a start. Kol Dodi Dofek and Chamesh Drashos set
forth RYBS's position on Zionism which obviously implicated the limits
of working with secular Jews. Halachic Man and The Lonely Man of Faith
show the vastness of RYBS's mind in his use of secular source material
such as Kiergegard . R Rakkafet's book clearly shows that RYBS may have
delineated between Limud HaTorah and college study. However, RYBS did not
denigrate its importance. R Shurkin's sefarim are wonderful. However,
the shaar blatt presents RYBS solely as th Rav of Boston , as opposed
to being the RY of RIETS and the chairman of the RCA Halacha Commission .

Steve Brizel
Zeliglaw@aol.com


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Date: Thu, 5 Aug 2004 21:00:26 GMT
From: "Gershon Dubin" <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
Subject:
Height of people in chumash


From: Zoo Torah <zoorabbi@zootorah.com>
<<I have difficulty understanding why so many sources state that an
average person is three cubits tall.>>

Isn't there a Tosefos(?) that say that this is without the head?

Gershon
gershon.dubin@juno.com


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Date: Thu, 5 Aug 2004 21:11:53 GMT
From: "Gershon Dubin" <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
Subject:
nichum aveileim in Shul on Friday night


From: "Avi Burstein" <avi@tenagurot.com>
<<I'm not following this thread so closely, so this might not be what
you're talking about, but in Breuer's shul, they do have an aveil walk
down the aisle in shul on Friday night to give everyone a chance to
say haMakom.>>

This is done in Rav Dovid Cohen's shul as well. As for the timing
perhaps the fact that "bekoshi hitiru" means that it is still a heter.
The nusach is changed on Shabbos for a heker but given that it's mutar
perhaps that's why people are not so makpid on the exact timing.

Gershon
gershon.dubin@juno.com


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Date: Thu, 05 Aug 2004 17:27:04 -0400
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Subject:
Re: Sanhedrin


"Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org> wrote:
> As for the possible loss of halachic authority when the Sanhedrin left
> the lishkas hagazis, here's a possible data point.... The move happened
> around the same time batei Hillel veShammai needed a bas qol to tell
> them to hold like Beis Hillel.

Did it really? The move happened 40 years before the churban. Didn't the
BS/BH split go on till well after the churban? Wasn't R Akiva of BH,
and R Eliezer of BS? AFAIK, R Eliezer didn't rise to prominence until
after the churban, and R Akiva didn't even start learning until shortly
before the churban.

-- 
Zev Sero
zev@sero.name


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Date: Thu, 5 Aug 2004 19:33:59 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Subject:
Re: Sanhedrin


On Thu, Aug 05, 2004 at 05:27:04PM -0400, Zev Sero wrote:
:> As for the possible loss of halachic authority when the Sanhedrin left
:> the lishkas hagazis, here's a possible data point.... The move happened
:> around the same time batei Hillel veShammai needed a bas qol to tell
:> them to hold like Beis Hillel.

: Did it really? The move happened 40 years before the churban. Didn't the
: BS/BH split go on till well after the churban? ...

It seems like you assume the bas qol ended the plurality of schools.
However, Rav Eliezer's opinion is dismissed because he's a Shamuti in
the tanur shel achna'i story. IOW, he was a Shamuti AFTER eilu va'eilu
made it clear that third parties should not to hold like his school.

-mi


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Date: Thu, 05 Aug 2004 00:35:43 +0200
From: Eli Linas <linaseli@netvision.net.il>
Subject:
Evolution and Creationism


                                                 Bs"d
Hi all,

On another forum whose digests I receive, a poster pointed out a
fascinating site: <http://evolution-facts.org>. This site "contains a
fabulous amount of scientific data disproving evolutionary theory," and
indeed, purports to be the most comprehensive such site on the web. Here's
one quote from the main page: "'The evolutionary establishment fears
creation science, because evolution itself crumbles when challenged by
evidence. In the 1970s and 1980s, hundreds of public debates were arranged
between evolutionary scientists and creation scientists. The latter scored
resounding victories, with the result that, today, few evolutionists
will debate. Isaac Asimov, Stephen Jay Gould, and the late Carl Sagan,
while highly critical of creationism, all declined to debate.' -- James
Perloff, Tornado in a Junkyard (1999), p. 241." Although I am quite the
scientific layman, the site seemed to me to be quite the eye popper. The
chapter about evidence for a young earth was fascinating - click on the
"Evolution Cruncher" table of contents and go to chapter four. I would
be very interested to read comments and opinions on this site and the
information therein.

Kol tuv,
Eli


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Date: Thu, 05 Aug 2004 17:36:31 -0400
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Subject:
Re: Baruch Sheamar


Joelirich@aol.com wrote:
> The M"B brings down (51:1) that this was a takannah of anshei knesset
> hagdola based on a petek from shamyim. I always assumed this was a well
> known medrash but am unable to find a trace of it. The yichaveh daat
> has a tshuva (3:3) which seems to imply disagreement as to who was even
> mtaken baruch sheamar.

> Anyone have any info on this or where the M"B got it from?

The Taz traces it to Or Zarua, via Tolaat Yaacov.  The Baer Hetev
cites Sefer Hechalot via the Tur.


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Date: Thu, 5 Aug 2004 17:46:21 EDT
From: Yzkd@aol.com
Subject:
Re: Height of people in chumash


In a message dated 8/5/04 5:09:38 PM EDT, gershon.dubin@juno.com writes:
>> average person is three cubits tall.

> Isn't there a Tosefos(?) that say that this is without the head?

In a few places see Shabbos 92a <http://www.e-daf.com/Shabbos/92a.gif>
Eiruvin 48a <http://www.e-daf.com/Eruvin/48a.gif>
Pesachim 109b <http://www.e-daf.com/Pesachim/109b.gif>

Kol Tuv,
Yitzchok Zirkind


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Date: Thu, 05 Aug 2004 19:28:20 -0400
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Subject:
Re: Height of people in chumash


Zoo Torah <zoorabbi@zootorah.com> wrote:
> There is an oft-cited Gemara (Berachos 54b) which states that Moshe was
> ten cubits (approximately fifteen feet) tall.

That isn't the only source. It's also mentioned with regard to Moshe
putting up the mishkan, which was 10 amot high, the same as his height.
I don't think anyone will suggest that the height of the mishkan was
not literally 10 amot.

> But if Og wasn't several hundred cubits tall, how tall was he? The Torah
> states that his bed measured nine cubits long. Rashi states that these
> were nine of Og's cubits. The commentaries on Rashi explain that Rashi
> is saying this to reconcile the verse with the Gemara. But a person who
> is nine of his own cubits tall would be hideously disproportionate -
> his arms would stretch only as far as the elbows are on a normally
> proportioned person!

Yes, this is obvious. But why is it a problem? If one accepts the
premise of a person of such abnormal height, why would one assume that
he was normally proportioned? Indeed, it's always been my understanding
that Og was not human, that he and his race, the Nefilim/Refaim, were
not descended of Adam and Chava. Perhaps they were of extraterrestrial
origin, but in any case I see no reason to assume that they had human
proportions, or indeed looked at all like humans.

In any case, as I pointed out earlier in this thread, who says his bed
has any relation at all to his size? Perhaps the point is that he had
an enormous bed even after taking his size into account. IOW the pasuk
is saying that not only was Og well known to be a giant, but he had a
bed which was more than twice as long as he was tall.

> (Every person is approximately four cubits tall, in his own cubits. This
> is easy to demonstrate. Stretch out your arms - the distance from
> fingertip to fingertip is the same as your height. Now bend your arms at
> the elbow and bring your fingertips to touch - you'll see that they just
> about meet. This means that your cubit - the distance from fingertip to
> elbow - is one-quarter of your height.

Hmm, performing this experiment, I seem to be about 4.4 of my cubits.
Maybe I'm doing it wrong, but I don't think so.

> I have difficulty understanding
> why so many sources state that an average person is three cubits tall. I
> just noticed that Encyclopedia Talmudis has extensive discussion on
> different types of cubits, so I'll look there.)

I recall a gemara in Shabbat, or a tosefot there, suggesting that the
3-amot measurement is only until the shoulder.

> There's one further point to take in consideration - way back in history,
> people were generally much shorter - see how small are the suits of
> armor in old British castles!

Misham raayah? In medieval Europe people were smaller, but how is that
a proof to how tall Jews were in the middle of the 3rd Millenium?

First of all, medieval Europeans weren't that much smaller than us.
The proof from the suits of armour is a fallacy, because real suits
of armour, that were actually used by full grown men in war, were worn
until they were no longer fit for use, and then melted down. The armour
on display in castles was either made specifically for display, or was
made for boys in training. The average 12th-18th century Englishman
was about 170cm tall.

Second, medieval Europeans were not only shorter than modern ones, they
were also shorter than their 1st-millenium (CE) ancestors. When Europeans
crowded into cities and suffered from inadequate nutrition, they lost
a few inches, and when they emerged from those conditions they gained
them back. In the course of the 20th century they are making enormous
gains in height, while Americans are not growing, on average, at all.
There is no reason to suppose that well-fed Egyptian slaves, living
in a warm climate and getting plenty of exercise, were shorter than
modern Europeans.

> The only remaining difficulty with all this is why Rashi and other
> commentaries seem to take the Talmud in Berachos quite literally. Perhaps
> they didn't, and they were just following the principle of playing out
> an allegory to its fullest, a concept discussed by Ben Yehoyada to the
> Gemara in Zevachim 113b about the re'em.

But Rashi in chumash doesn't do agadah, unless it's necessary to the
simple meaning. If he says beamat ish means Og's amot, he must mean it
literally, and be forced to this translation by a difficulty with the
pshat, not by following some allegory in the gemara, that the 5-year-old
he's writing for hasn't learned yet.


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Date: Thu, 05 Aug 2004 17:58:01 -0400
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Subject:
Re: Kidush Hachodesh


> ... Hillel, the Nasi
> (prince), grandson of Rabi Yehudah the Nasi ... He and his Beit Din ...
> sanctified in advance all the new months to be observed in accord with
> their calculation, and the sanctity of Rosh Chodesh therefore adheres
> to every Rosh Chodesh, when it arrives in accord with our calendar.

AIUI, this is a machloket rishonim, and the Rambam holds that kiddush
hachodesh cannot be done in advance; rather, our months get their
sanctity from the act of someone in Eretz Yisrael doing the calculation.
We just have to assume that in all of EY, every month, there is at least
one person who actually does the calculation.

> If the Geonim disagreed about which day was Rosh Chodesh, that does not
> prove that the calendar <<< was never fixed in our sense of a computer
> program >>>, it only proves that some details may got a bit lost in the
> transmission through the doros. 

AIUI, the disagreement was over the precise definition of the rule of
molad zaken; does it apply when (molad > noon) or when (molad >= noon).
Since this only matters when Molad Tishri is exactly at noon, and this
only occurs once in 26K years, it's understandable that a doubt could have
arisen about it, and when that once-in-26K-year event actually happened,
there was no universal agreement on what the original rule was. Far from
implying that there was no fixed program, it implies that there was,
but that one tiny detail, which had not been relevant for centuries,
got forgotten. That year, Jews split, and different communities kept
yomtov on different days, and there was a lot of bitterness, but since
it all resolved itself the next year, and it isn't going to happen again
(at least not unless Moshiach is delayed another ~25K years, in which
case we'll have far bigger problems) it's not really relevant to us.
AFAIK we *still* don't know the answer, and nor do we have to.


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Date: Thu, 5 Aug 2004 19:55:51 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Subject:
Re: minhag avoteichem


On Wed, Aug 04, 2004 at 10:07:04PM -0400, Kenneth G Miller wrote:
: Unfortunately there is no source given for that statement, but it answers
: my question very well. How else can we observe Yom Tov properly? Someone,
: at some point, *must* have been mekadesh our months long in advance.

: If the Geonim disagreed about which day was Rosh Chodesh, that does not
: prove that the calendar <<< was never fixed in our sense of a computer
: program >>>, it only proves that some details may got a bit lost in the
: transmission through the doros. Rather, our observance of Yom Tov proves
: (to my understanding) that it *was* <<< fixed in our sense of a computer
: program >>>.

However, the machloqes revolved around whether the power to declare
the month had to reside in EY, or could be in the hands of the ga'on.
I don't see how that fits a machloqes over which day someone else
was meqadeish as rosh chodesh. It would be straight birur, like any
other machloqes.

As for the source of the preset calendar, see footnote 1 in RAZZ's
article at <http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/vol03/v03n033.shtml#19>.

My assertion was gleened from footnote 5 and the text around it.

-mi

-- 
Micha Berger             When you come to a place of darkness,
micha@aishdas.org        you don't chase out the darkness with a broom.
http://www.aishdas.org   You light a candle.
Fax: (270) 514-1507        - R' Yekusiel Halberstam of Klausenberg zt"l


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Date: Thu, 5 Aug 2004 20:25:40 -0400
From: "David Cohen" <ddcohen@verizon.net>
Subject:
RE: minhag avoteichem


R' Akiva Miller wrote (in reference to the suggestion that Hillel II was
mekadesh all of the future months in advance):
> Unfortunately there is no source given for that statement, but it answers
> my question very well. How else can we observe Yom Tov properly? Someone,
> at some point, *must* have been mekadesh our months long in advance.

See Sefer ha-Mitsvot: `Aseh 153 and the Ramban's comments thereon.

The Ramban adopts the "advance kidush by Hillel II" approach, while
the Rambam holds that it's today's inhabitants of Erets Yisra'el that
are doing it. This seems consistent with the Rambam's position that
a consensus of the contemporary chakhamim of Erets Yira'el has the
authority of a Sanhedrin (as per Hilkhot Sanhedrin 4:11).

As for how this relates to the dispute between R' Sa`adyah Ga'on and R'
Aharon ben Me'ir, I refer you to the excellent articles written by list
members R' Yosef Gavriel Bechofer and R' Ari Zivotofsky, which perhaps
one of them would be kind enough to share.

One of the interesting things that I learned from RYGB's article is
that R' Sa`adyah Ga'on actually had a third approach to this question.
He held that the fixed calendar was really halakhah le-Mosheh mi-Sinai,
and that the practice of "confirming" it with witnesses was just
a takanah in reaction to the Tzedukim, who doubted the astronomical
accuracy of the mesorah. How exactly this jives with "ben bi-zemanan,
ben shelo vi-zemanan, en li mo`adot ela elu" (Mishnah Rosh ha-Shanah 2:9),
I don't quite understand, though.

 -D.C.


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Date: Fri, 06 Aug 2004 01:11:41 +0200
From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
Subject:
Re: Cleaning up the world


Zeliglaw@aol.com wrote:
>[RDE:]
>>Just asked Rav Michel Shurkin about this. He asked Rav Soloveitchik
>>about the status of goyim. The reply he got was "There are three things
>>for which I don't have a clear hashkofa - goyim, irreligious Jews and
>>secular studies.

>WADR to R Eidenson and R Shurkin, there is much in RYBS's own writings
>that contradicts each of these three areas...
>                               Kol Dodi Dofek and Chamesh Drashos set
>forth RYBS's position on Zionism which obviously implicated the limits
>of working with secular Jews. Halachic Man and The Lonely Man of Faith
>show the vastness of RYBS's mind in his use of secular source material
>such as Kiergegard. R Rakkafet's book clearly shows that RYBS may have
>delineated between Limud HaTorah and college study. However, RYBS did not
>denigrate its importance....

Perhaps I wasn't clear enough. I thought it was obvious to all of us
that Rav Soleveitchik thought deeply about these issues - in fact I
can't imagine anyone having the slightest doubt his profundity and
erudition. "Clear hashkofa" means that he did not reach closure in his
own mind about these topics. Thus there is absolutely no conflict between
what I quoted and the writings you cited. Thus "there is much in RYBS's
own writings", "obviously implicated the limits", "vastness of RYBS's
mind in the use of secular source material" etc., reinforces rather than
contradicts what Rav Shurkin heard directly from Rav Soleveitchik. Or
perhaps you feel that it is an insult to a gadol to assert that in his
own mind he wasn't satisfied with his understanding of some aspect of
yiddishkeit? If the latter, I can provide much evidence to the contrary.

Daniel Eidensohn


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Date: Fri, 06 Aug 2004 01:11:41 +0200
From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
Subject:
Re: Cleaning up the world


Zeliglaw@aol.com wrote:
>[RDE:]
>>Just asked Rav Michel Shurkin about this. He asked Rav Soloveitchik
>>about the status of goyim. The reply he got was "There are three things
>>for which I don't have a clear hashkofa - goyim, irreligious Jews and
>>secular studies.

>WADR to R Eidenson and R Shurkin, there is much in RYBS's own writings
>that contradicts each of these three areas...
>                               Kol Dodi Dofek and Chamesh Drashos set
>forth RYBS's position on Zionism which obviously implicated the limits
>of working with secular Jews. Halachic Man and The Lonely Man of Faith
>show the vastness of RYBS's mind in his use of secular source material
>such as Kiergegard. R Rakkafet's book clearly shows that RYBS may have
>delineated between Limud HaTorah and college study. However, RYBS did not
>denigrate its importance....

Perhaps I wasn't clear enough. I thought it was obvious to all of us
that Rav Soleveitchik thought deeply about these issues - in fact I
can't imagine anyone having the slightest doubt his profundity and
erudition. "Clear hashkofa" means that he did not reach closure in his
own mind about these topics. Thus there is absolutely no conflict between
what I quoted and the writings you cited. Thus "there is much in RYBS's
own writings", "obviously implicated the limits", "vastness of RYBS's
mind in the use of secular source material" etc., reinforces rather than
contradicts what Rav Shurkin heard directly from Rav Soleveitchik. Or
perhaps you feel that it is an insult to a gadol to assert that in his
own mind he wasn't satisfied with his understanding of some aspect of
yiddishkeit? If the latter, I can provide much evidence to the contrary.

Daniel Eidensohn


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Date: Thu, 5 Aug 2004 19:45:10 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Subject:
Re: Cleaning up the world


On Tue, Aug 03, 2004 at 04:46:10PM -0400, Zev Sero wrote:
: Not that it doesn't matter at all, but that it doesn't affect the state
: of the world. The work of tikkun olam ( = berur hanitzotzot) doesn't
: depend on them, and isn't helped by their righteousness or hindered by
: their wickedness.

Except that they too are part of the beri'ah. While they can't clarify
nitzotzos outside themselves, the fact that they can improve themselves
means they can participate in birur nitzotzos of those that comprise
themselves.

...
: On the contrary. There is a huge obligation of tikun olam in terms of
: encouraging the moral development of goyim. But that obligation is
: entirely on us, not on them. A goy has to worry about his own moral
: development, and has no mitzvah to educate his neighbour. A goy can be
: a Noach, and when the flood comes he will build his tevah and be saved.
: He doesn't have to care about his neighbours' behaviour, or try to improve
: them and prevent the flood. But Avraham's mission is different, it's not
: just to perfect himself but to perfect the whole world. The nitzotzot
: that are among the goyim must be retrieved, not by the goyim but by us.
: Which is why 'the Jews were only exiled among the goyim in order that
: converts be added to them'.

Since I'm replying anyway, I want to make the converse explicit -- I
found it an epiphany. (Of course, one man's epiphany is another's
"So?")

It's not just that a non-Jew can be a Noach. It's that Noach, by choosing
to only be concerned for himself, could not have been the first of the
avos. Avraham merited a beris beyond that of Noach because he showed
himself to posess this critical middah.

-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: Thu, 5 Aug 2004 20:29:56 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Subject:
Nisyonos


In his column in Toras Aish for this week <ihttp://tinyurl.com/43jnn>, R'
Dov Kramer (CC-ed) writes:
> [2] The "others" that the test is supposed to inform can be other humans
> (Rambam, Moreh Nevuchim 3:24); the administering angels? -- so that they
> can understand why we are more precious to G-d than they are (Sefornu,
> Beraishis 22:12 and Devarim 8:2); or Gd's attributes? -- so that His
> attribute of mercy can't claim that the person deserves more, and His
> attribute of strict justice can't demand a harsher sentence (Chizkuni,
> Shemos 16:4). Why the angels and/or G-d's attributes would need "proof"
> rather than trusting G-d's decision is a separate issue, beyond the
> scope of this piece. where he might be tempted to sin.

Obviously the Rambam couldn't say that Hashem's midos required
convincing. According to him, they don't exist -- a middah is either a
statement of absence or a description of man's perception.

According to the Kuzari there are also (or perhaps this is split off of
the second categories) middos of the relationship of the Borei and the
beri'ah. Relationships can have attributes that do not inhere in either
of the things they relate.

The Rambam has to explain middas harachamim as being a description of
man's perception of a Divine Act -- G-d acted in a way that had a person
done it we'd attribue it to his being merciful.

To R' Yehudah haLevi, middas haRachamim could be a real "thing", a
feature of the relationship.

My question is whether that's different, deep down, than a mal'ach.
Is the difference between speaking of middas harachamim and middas hadin
and speaking of Micha'el (miyimini) and Gavri'el (mismoli) only one of
terminology and imagery?

I am inclined to say that it is, but I don't know. I certainly don't
know the Sefornu's and Chizkuni's positions on this subject.

A person's state changes when his potential for greatness is realized. If
nothing else, his bechirah point moved, and he now has more potential! But
also (or is this the same thing), he's now *aware* of his own ability,
which itself is a change.

Therefore, informing the nivchan will itself change his relationship to
din and rachamim. It "awakens" din or rachamim, Gavri'el or Micha'el, as
appropriate. I would think that's the informing of which Sefornu and the
Chizkuni speak, even if they don't take it to the second step and say so.

-mi

-- 
Micha Berger                 Time flies...
micha@aishdas.org                    ... but you're the pilot.
http://www.aishdas.org                       - R' Zelig Pliskin
Fax: (270) 514-1507      


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Date: Fri, 6 Aug 2004 00:13:09 -0400
From: "" <hlampel@thejnet.com>
Subject:
Height of people in chumash


RNS, zoorabbi@zootorah.com posted on: Aug 4, 2004, regarding the topic
raised by Prof. Eli Turkel:
>                             ...it comes as no surprise to discover
> that Rashba explains that this Gemara is not to be taken literally
> and is trying to convey a deeper meaning.

Several years ago, at the "Ask The Gedolim" session of the Torah U'Mesorah
convention, Rabbi Mayir Birnbaum asked how such Midrashim should be
taught. Rav Svei answered that rebbeim should stick to the Midrashim
cited by Rashi, who [usually] writes those which are al pi p'shat. He
then added, we should also realize that they are not all meant to be
taken literally.

Rav Bessler, who was the m.c., then commented he was happy to hear the
Rosh HaYeshiva say this, because he had a machlokess with his chavrusa
over taking literally the Midrash that Og's head reached the sun. He
argued you couldn't say it was literal, because then his head would have
burnt off, and secondly, where on earth could he be buried, if he was
so large?

Upon which Rav Svei, shlita and, libadel may'chayyim l'chayyim, Rav
Pam zt"l (and also maybe Rav Henoch Leibowitz,zt"l), could not contain
their laughter!

Also, besides the Rashba, the Rambam had very harsh words against those
who take such fantastic sounding Aggadta literally (as for example, in
his Hakdama L'Perek Helek), including those which contradict reality and
those which contradict the plain meaning of the Torah. I would caution
those who take literally Midrashim speaking of worlds being created and
destroyed millenium before Creation to bear this in mind, too.


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Date: Fri, 06 Aug 2004 09:54:54 +0300
From: Akiva Atwood <akiva@atwood.co.il>
Subject:
RE: Evolution and Creationism


> scientific layman, the site seemed to me to be quite the eye popper. The
> chapter about evidence for a young earth was fascinating - click on the
> "Evolution Cruncher" table of contents and go to chapter four. I would
> be very interested to read comments and opinions on this site and the
> information therein.

We can start with the hammer on the home page -- a quick google finds
several sources which have analysed the hammer and shown it to NOT be an
ancient hammer (it probaly dates from the mid-to-late 19th century). NOT
a good start.

So I went to the Young Earth page -- So far, after about 10 minutes with
google and various textbooks I own, I've easily disproven every claim
I've bothered to look at.

Other pages are worse (yes, I'm a masochist :-) -- they are filled with
flawed scientific reasoning and very incorrect mathematics.

IN short -- I wouldn't use this site to argue with anyone knowledgeable
in the sciences.

Akiva

--
"If you want to build a ship, then don't drum up men to gather wood,
give orders, and divide the work. Rather, teach them to yearn for the
far and endless sea." - Antoine de Saint-Exupery


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Date: Fri, 6 Aug 2004 12:53:15 +0200
From: Lior Gradstein <lior@gradstein.info>
Subject:
Re: Evolution and Creationism


On Thursday 05 August 2004 00:35, Eli Linas wrote:
> Although I am quite the
> scientific layman, the site seemed to me to be quite the eye popper. The
> chapter about evidence for a young earth was fascinating - click on the
> "Evolution Cruncher" table of contents and go to chapter four. I would
> be very interested to read comments and opinions on this site and the
> information therein.

My personal opinion, is that this site is full of half truth, and even
lies. About the page you're asking for comments, I'd say a college student
has the necessary knowledge to tell that all of these arguments are false.

Let me show you for the first 6:

1 - Star clusters: Gravity law is making them stick together.

2 - Large stars: The text doesn't tell *what* star they're talking
about. What we see in the sky is not the present, but the past, as these
stars are far away, and light takes time to come up here. So if you look
at a star that is 1 million light years, it means you're looking at how
the star looked like 1 million years ago. Another simple explanation is
the fact that some small stars collides to form bigger stars, or even
from non-stars (if their weight is high enough)

3 - High energy stars: The energy radiated of some stars is much
higher than others (Wolf-Rayert and not Wolf-Rayfert as written
in the text. Is this deliberate to prevent someone from looking
for information on Google?). The reason is that these stars are
at the end of their lives. That means that their nuclear core
(where there's the highest concentration of energy) is very close to
their borders, which generate a lot of extra energy. Have a look at
http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/ask_astro/answers/980603a.html

4 - Binary stars: The stars are moving, so if they're at a correct
distance, one star can be catched by another star's gravity. So I don't
see any reason against having a young star, and an old star orbiting
around each other.

5 - Hydrogen in Universe: Fred Hoyle said exactly the opposite:
"his theory that a cubic yard of vacuum could be the condition
required to create a single atom of hydrogen....ergo, infinite space
is continually creating large clouds of hydrogen which, in turn,
form and fuel the suns as they travel through it." (quote from
http://www.gwillick.com/Spacelight/hoyle.html)

6 - Solar collapse: The author(s) of the website argue that the Sun is
shrinking rapidly, which would not allow the Sun to be older that a few
50000 years. They base themselves on work from John A. Eddy dating from
1836-1953. Looking for information, I found that the paper saying this
was never published, and that their data were wrong. Secondly, today's
more precise measurements obsoletes their data completely. For references,
look on <http://www.don-lindsay-archive.org/creation/quote_eddy.html>

Ok after this one I stopped. My conclusion is that these website authors
are not honest, even lying (come on can't anyone make just a google search
to cross-check information?), so I cannot trust anything they wrote.

As a conclusion, what I'm saying is that this website has just been
collecting false arguments and is not even close to a good debate about
evolution/creationism.

Lior


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