Avodah Mailing List

Volume 14 : Number 001

Saturday, September 18 2004

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Tue, 14 Sep 2004 17:01:15 -0700 (PDT)
From: Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
Re: Eiruv Tavshilin

Hakhel Bulletin <hakhelusa@yahoo.com> wrote:
> Reviewed by HaRav Yisroel Belsky, Shlita
> If using an egg, it should be unpeeled as there
> is danger in leaving an egg unpeeled overnight. 

This is incorrect and I believe it is probably a typo. What RYB must
mean is: there is danger in leaving an egg PEELED overnight.

The Gemmarah tells of certain things that fall into the category of
Sakana if left overnight and then eaten. One such item is a peeled onion,
another is a peeled egg... not an unpeeled egg. So if using an egg for
an Erev Tavshilin, one should NOT peel it but leave it unpeeled for
storage until use.


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Date: Wed, 15 Sep 2004 08:50:27 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Samuel P Groner" <spg28@cornell.edu>
R' Aqiva and the rock

Since we're on the topic of the story of R' Aqiva and the rock, has anyone
ever seen anywhere an explanation that the story of R' Aqiva and the rock
parallels Yaakov Avinu's encounter with another rock, in parashat vayetze,
when he lifts the "even me'al pi ha-be'er"? Each story involves an "even"
and a "be'er". In the story of R' Aqiva, according to Avot d'Rabbi Natan
(where the R' Aqiva story is cited) R' Aqiva makes his first kal v'chomer
(if this water over time can break the mighty rock, then I over time
... ) and begins the process of transforming himself from a shepherd
into a talmid hacham. Yaakov Avinu, an "ish tam yoshev ohalim" until
he gets to his rock (and according to the midrash straight out of many
years at yeshivat shem v'ever), performs an act of strength by lifting
the rock from the be'er, the kind of act that a shepherd will often need
to do, and begins the process of transforming himself from an ish tam
yoshev ohalim into a shepherd. And, strikingly, each transformation is
in order to marry -- according to the gemara, R' Aqiva's future wife
agrees to marry him only if he will change from being a shepherd into
being a talmid chacham, and Lavan agrees to allow his daughter to marry
Yaakov Avinu only if Yaakov transforms himself into a shepherd. And, of
course, the last parallel should be obvious by now -- the names. Yaakov
and Akiva are strikingly similar names, and each of their respective
wives for whom they transformed themselves have the same name: Rachel.

I've never seen any of this written up, but I'm sure I'm not the first
one to see these -- transformative moment, at an even with a be'er,
from talmid chacham to shepherd or vice versa, in order to marry Rachel,
by two men with strikingly similar names.


Ketiva v'chatima tovah to all,
Sammy Groner

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Date: Wed, 15 Sep 2004 13:51:09 -0400
From: "Shinnar, Meir" <Meir.Shinnar@rwjuh.edu>
Re: Torah as allegory

RDE cited RYBS as holding that the traditional Jewish position does not
need to be defended against science

I think that we have to differentiate two issues, and I am not sure that
RYBS can be extended to cover both of them. Much of classical religious
philosophy was concerned with the logical proof - that religion was
consistent with, or could be demonstrated on the basis of "scientific"
or philosophic proof. It is clear that he is not bothered by that issue.

However, the main issue under discussion is not the possibility of
miracles, or of revelation. Rather, it is the issue that science had
demonstrated to its own satisfaction (even if not to those of areivimites)
that the world has a certain history, where certain events happened,
and there is no evidence that other cataclysmic events proposed by a
literal understanding of tanach happened - which there should have been.
One can argue that there is no limitation to the power of hashem, who
is limited only by his will - and therefore the scientific evidence
is irrelevant (one secular philosopher who makes this argument quite
cogently is Leo Strauss).

The main theological problem that is raised by this is that this argument,
while internally consistent, has implications about hashem's relationship
to this world, and the reliability of our intellect and senses - and
these implications contradict major portions of the mesora. Therefore,
the problem with saying that the world was created 5765 years ago to
look like it was 15 billion years ago, from a theological perspective,
are the theological implications - about hashem's interactions with
the world and the power of human reason - which are (IMHO) inconsistent
with the mesora. The issue is not whether we are true to the mesora -
but that a naive mesora unaware of those issues is not available to
use - and the question is our response. A mesora that holds that the
world was created 5765 years ago, and made to look as if it is older,
is fundamentally different than a mesora that held that the world was
created 5765 years ago, with reliable historical traditions about it.!
There is no explicit source in hazal for the first version, just as there
is no explicit source that it is allegory (although explicit sources in
the rambam, contra others, that allegory can be used to explain it)

It is not clear from what is cited that RYBS would not have held that
these issues do not need to be dealt with.

Meir Shinnar

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