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Volume 16 : Number 050

Thursday, December 8 2005

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Tue, 6 Dec 2005 19:20:45 -0500
From: "S & R Coffer" <rivkyc@sympatico.ca>
RE: Fossil Fuels and exploding stars

On December 6, 2005, Harry Maryles wrote:
> So when we see an exploding star today that was 100 million light
> years away from earth, we are seeing something that never really
> happened? Because as you know the speed of light is constant. That means
> the "explosion" that we see from a planet that never existed is only
> light that was created to look like an exploding star that from 100
> million years ago? And this fake exposion wasa created only 5766 years
> ago? at a distance of 5766 light years away?

> This makes more sense to you than to say the star was 100 million light
> years away from earth?

Why don't you ask a better kasha. How can we see any stars at all that are
further than 5766 light years away (whether they exploded or not)? One of
the possible terutzim is that since starlight is something HKBH wanted
us to observe, he created the light "on the way". This approach fits in
nicely with Ezra Wax's explanation of a fully mature world. Alternatively,
there are other methods of explaining the discrepancy of observable
phenomena at distances exceeding 5766 light years by means of questioning
the c (of E=mc squared) of light during the insipient stages of creation
i.e. the first few seconds.

Simcha Coffer

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Date: Tue, 06 Dec 2005 23:28:33 -0500
From: Avodah - High Level Torah Discussion Group <avodah@aishdas.org>
Re: Age of the Universe (and Rabbi Miller Shlit"a re Bell's theorem and EPR)

Jonathan Ostroff wrote:
>I spoke to Rabbi Miller Shlit"a this morning and he said that, according
>to our mesora, Dr. Schroeder's approach to time during the 6 days of
>creation is also wrong!

Uh-uh. What you say he told you (below) is that a specific point of the
Schroeder approach is incorrect - to wit, his incorporation of human
evolution into his approach. This is true, and it is a problem I have
with Schroeder as well. He did not tell you that the application of the
theory of relativity to the time of Sheishes Yemei Bereishis is incorrect.


>It is true that, unlike the approach of R. Slifkin, at least Dr. Schroeder
>and Prof. Aviezer take the genesis account as a "historical fact". But
>their acceptance of billions of years of regular days and nights on
>planet earth as amoebas evolve into ape-like hominids and hominids into
>man, is totally unacceptable. After all, the Talmud Sanhedrin that Rabbi
>Miller quotes describes how Adam was created in 12 hours from the dust of
>the earth without any genetic precursors (Adam and Chava had no hominid
>parents c"v).

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Date: Wed, 7 Dec 2005 03:58:31 -0800 (PST)
From: Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
Re: Fossil Fuels and exploding stars

Ezra Wax <ezrawax@gmail.com> wrote:
> On 12/6/05, Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com> wrote:
>> So when we see an exploding star today that was 100 million light
>> years away from earth, we are seeing something that never really
>> happened?

> It happened during the sheishes yemei bereishis, when the laws of nature
> were different.

Or... maybe as Dr. Schroeder says the perspectives are different.
Einstein Showed us that as ytou approacu the speed of light, time speeds
up for you , so for example when traveling a distance of 1,000,000 years
relative to the motion on earth, the "light speeder" (i.e. the Big Bang of
Creation) only traveled a distance of an hour realtive to himself. In fact
if you want this could be what is meant by Nishtaneh HaTeva. Th nature
of time does appear to change at speeds approaching the speed of light.

I can accept that.


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Date: Wed, 7 Dec 2005 11:44:55 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Toriah on the Fossil Record

A friend wrote me the following. I agree with his arguments. Since it
was written by one of our list members and pointed to on Areivim, I was
motivated to share and discuss with the chevrah (with his permission,
of course). It is slightly edited to keep personal things personal.


On the Toriah website there are some astonishing articles about
science. One of the simplest proofs that the earth is much more than
5766 years old is that dinosaurs clearly did not live at the same
time as people or modern animals, in light of the fact that all of the
thousands of dinosaur fossils found all over the world occur in layers of
rock that do not contain fossils of modern life. One article at Toriah
(<http://toriah.org/science/evolution/dinosaurs.htm>) claims to refute
this with a single example -- and yet it is disturbingly flawed in its
reasoning. It begins by noting that some dinosaur fossils discovered
in Alaska had a "fresh" appearance and were initially confused for
bison bones:

"We note that fossils of dinosaurs can form rapidly, that their bones
are discovered on or near the surface, that the bones look fresh and
could even be confused with bison or cow bones (both large mammals)."

But the authors of Toriah then follow this up with this sentence:

"This means that dinosaur bones (ancient reptiles) and large mammals
are found in the same layer."

Yet this statement completely does not follow from the previous one! The
fact that certain dinosaur fossils were initially mistaken for bison
bones, and were exposed when the rock was worn away, does not mean
that dinosaur bones are actually found in the same layer of rock as
bison bones!

Dinosaur bones have never been found in the same layer as modern mammals.
This alone proves that the world is much more than 5766 years old.

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Date: Wed, 7 Dec 2005 12:30:28 -0500
From: "S & R Coffer" <rivkyc@sympatico.ca>
RE: A of the U, again

On December 5, 2005, RYGB wrote:
> The one who did, Rabbi Miller, rejected RNS's mahalach that metaphorizes
> most of the first few perakim in Tanach. We have been down that road
> before, v'ein kan mekomo. But in the few words in which he does address
> the issue, he clearly and explicitly places himself in the Schroeder
> camp - to wit, that the time of the Sheishes Yemei Bereishis is not our
> time.

Schroeder doesn't say that. Schroeder claims that from Hashem's viewpoint,
six literal 24 days of time passed but from our perspective, billions of
years passed and both are correct. I had a long talk with Rabbi Miller
last night in an attempt to clarify his shita in this matter. What I
understood him to say is that there is no parallel between the chukey
hateva today and the chukey hateva of MB so it is impossible to assign
any length of time which is based on current laws of physics to MB
with any authority. All we know is that MB occurred in six days, that's
all. It certainly didn't occur over tens of billions of days and nights,
regardless of perspective.

> While I still find that the TY's approach is medaber al libi
> yoser, that is a minor difference.

Not minor at all. According to the TY, the world is currently 26,766
years old. Essentially you do not really "fardin" anything with this
approach as Torah and science are still at loggerheads. Evolution was
still Lamarckian in the TY's times. Natural selection, a mechanism that
requires eons of time, was not yet proposed. And if you are referring
to Aryeh Kaplan's siluf of this concept, it requires a cholent of the
TY who didn't hold of the livnas haSapir's calculation who didn't hold
of rYdm'A's cheshbon (meiras einayim al hatorah or R' A Kahn's source
which aligns rYdm'A with the Sefer haKana's calculation), of the opinion
of rYdm'A's misrepresented words elsewhere in a manuscript. I definitely
wouldn't characterize this as the "TY's approach".

Simcha Coffer

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Date: Wed, 7 Dec 2005 21:39:25 +0200
From: Eli Turkel <eliturkel@gmail.com>
origin of the universe

> See <http://toriah.org/science/big-bang/big-bang.pdf> where I argue in
> detail that big bang cosmology (like all other dating methods for the
> universe) is not only speculative but suspect.

Interestingly the quotes from famous scientists are mainly from those who
oppose the big bang and instead believe in a steady state ie infintely
old universe. No one of those quoted claim a young universe!

I strongly recommend the book "Big Bang: by Simon Singh. It is clear
that many scientists strongly opposed the big bang theory because they
refused to believe that there was a beginning to the world! Contrary
to what is claimed by some here the big bang won out because of its
scientific merit NOT because it was a favorite theory.

As many books discuss there are still many open questions about how
things developed. However, none of these support a universe of less than
billions of years.

Eli Turkel

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Date: Thu, 8 Dec 2005 15:53:13 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Literalism and billions of years

The dispute is not issue of literal vs allegory. Many people read an
old universe in the very words of the chumash.

For the "yom doesn't mean day" people: There are pesuqim that use "yom"
to mean "era". The word has other literal meanings.

Of course Schroeder fans have no problem -- they use relativity to show
that a literal day is also a literal something else. The only "allegory"
they use (e.g. placing the sun in the sky rather than creating it)
are things Rashi considers "peshat".

Time before the week: There is no pasuq that says that "yom echad" and
"yom sheini" et al are from the begining of time, which is why most
mequbalim amongst the rishonim actually assert an old universe.

The only people who one could say would need to assert it's allegory is
my small camp, who see in the Maharal and REED's words a statement that no
literal comprehension is possible. Thus, what we understand of the literal
history is oversimplified to the point of uselessness, and only allegory
is available to us. Again, not dismissing that the literal meaning is
true, rather insisting that it's true in a way we can't understand. But
that mehalakh has to dismiss scientific results on the same grounds.

R Eli Turkel wrote to Areivim:
> Schroeder use of relativity actually answers only a small part of the
> problem.
> Once earth was formed everyone agrees that the expansion of the universe
> has slowed down sufficiently that relativity would not have an affect on
> time scales. Hence, wustions of dinosaurs etc still exist

His theory is that the RSO wrote Bereishis 1 from the frame of reference a
moment after the big bang, the energy level at which individual things
emerged. The dilation is dominated by general relativity's gravity effects,
not special relativity's uniform motion effects.

Therefore, while time in earth's frame of reference slowed down as the
universe got bigger and the mass-energy density declined, Hashem's "day" did
not. So, dinosaurs existed for millions of years as time is measured on earth,
but a blink of an eye as time is measured in that "yehi or" frame of

What R' Schroeder needed to address separately is the timing of astronomical
objects and of birds.

On Wed, Dec 07, 2005 at 11:15:38PM +0200, Eli Turkel wrote [also to Areivim]:
:                        [I]t may be believing that that the world is
: billions of years old may (or ,ay not) be apikorsus but it definitely
: is not wrong.

The Rambam makes the (obvious, to my mind) point that the truth could
never be apiqursus. He used it with the example of what would happen has
Aristotle's "proof" that the universe had no begining were valid. I'm
not sure I'm interested in depating with RMShinar again about how the Rambam
feels we should deal with cases where mandatory belief seems false. But
all contradictions must come from misunderstood science or misunderstandings
of the Torah.


Micha Berger             Nothing so soothes our vanity as a display of
micha@aishdas.org        greater vanity in others; it makes us vain,
http://www.aishdas.org   in fact, of our modesty.
Fax: (270) 514-1507              -Louis Kronenberger, writer (1904-1980)

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Date: Tue, 06 Dec 2005 23:24:03 -0500
From: Avodah - High Level Torah Discussion Group <avodah@aishdas.org>
Re: Just curious...

Daniel Eidensohn wrote:
> Baruch haShem we agree that Rav Tzadok asserts that kabbala rejects the
> concept of Yichud HaShem of the Rishonim and that one who now asserts
> the view of the rishonim on this matter he is asserting kefirah. However

Sorry. I don't see it. I see that he says that some unnamed kadmonim
were kofer in the extremities of their placing Hashem beyond any hint
of hagshamah, but that's it.


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Date: Tue, 6 Dec 2005 23:46:41 -0500
From: "S & R Coffer" <rivkyc@sympatico.ca>
RE: Just curious...

On December 6, 2005, Daniel Eidensohn wrote:
>>He doesn't. He only calls the Yichud Hashem part kefira. The mareh makom
>>is Sefer haZichronos, mitvah #3

> Baruch haShem we agree that Rav Tzadok asserts that kabbala rejects the
> concept of Yichud HaShem of the Rishonim and that one who now asserts
> the view of the rishonim on this matter he is asserting kefirah.

I have no choice. I have to agree. He states it clearly. :-)

> However
> he is also asserting that HP is a consequence of the reality of Yichud
> HaShem. Once you understand that HP is not the result of a king ruling at
> a distance but that G-d is everywhere - it is inherent that HP can not be
> limited to Man as the rishonim asserted but it must apply to everything. I
> simply don't understand how you can detach his beginning critique of
> the rishonim - and all their philosophically derived hashkofa - with
> his conclusion that now we must accept the kabbalistic viewpoint. 

Because when he discusses HP, he also is critical but IIRC, not as
critical as the Yichud Hashem part. Normally I research all my sources
before speaking but in this case I am too tired to start picking apart
a R' Tzadok so I'm going from memory here. My impression is that the
quantity of Rishonim that, in R' Tzadok's opinion, misrepresented Yichud
Hashem, is not nearly as great as the quantity of Rishonim that erred in
HP. Practically ever Rishon discusses HP so it is far more difficult to
sweep their opinion away with verbiage such as kefira. Also, being wrong
in HP is not necessarily kefira whereas being wrong in Yichud Hashem
is a snif of being aware of metzius Hashem and can thus be referred to
as kefira. Again, all this is the current impression I have in my mind
from the last time I learned R' Tzadok so I may be wrong. I'm sure you'll
correct me if I am. :-)

Simcha Coffer

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Date: Wed, 07 Dec 2005 11:36:21 +0200
From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
Re: Rishonim and Chazal (was One Opinion)

S & R Coffer wrote:
>I should have read #2 more carefully before posting however I believe
>RJO meant to extend his klal to all apparent disputes between Chazal
>and Rishonim. IOW, regardless whether the apparent dispute involved
>conflicting interpretations in pshat, or a conflict in drush, or one
>side was pshat and the other drush, principle #2 would apply. That is
>why I feel this Ramban is a perfect example of this principle although
>the way it is stated above, your following statement

>>There is no such thing is this Ramban.

>Is correct.

Once you acknowledge that the Ramban in rejecting view of the medrash -
concerning the timing of historical events - you can not be saying that
he is offering peshat versus the derasha of chazal. In addition he can
not be offering an alternative view. This is in accord with Rashi Kesubos
57a. Eilu v'eliu does not apply to historical events.

>>In addition his statement regarding Rashi - is not taking permission
>>from Rashi. He is simply speaking in a very respectful tone saying just
>>as Rashi can produce an analysis which differs from a particular medrash
>>so can he.

>You're nitpicking. Besides, here's *your* translation from Shevel "But
>since in certain places Rashi minutely examines Midrashic traditions and
>for the same verses also takes the trouble to explain the simple meanings
>of Scripture, he has thus given us permission to do likewise". I said
>exactly the same thing.

When the Ramban rejects the view of chazal regarding the month the Ark
came to rest - he can not be saying that the words of the medrash are
true and that his are also. The Ark did not come to rest for the first
time in two different months! Thus there is a problem of understanding
how this introductory paragraph relates to what he actually is doing
in his commentary. According to you he is following in the footsteps
of Rashi - no more and no less - and is only offering an alternative
reading. It is obvious from his words, however, that he is **rejecting**
the conclusions of chazal. According to your understanding - how can
he be saying what you are insisting he means and then turn around and
reject the views of chazal in this medrash?!

Ramban also rejects the views of chazal concerning the length of the
Egyptian exile. He is not saying from some perspective both views are
correct. Similarly when talking about the rainbow. He does not say that
the rainbow occurred first after the malbul like chazal say and that it
also preexisted the malbul since the Greeks have shown it is a natural
phenomenon. He says we are forced to accept the views of the Greek
scientists that the rainbow always existed - and thus he is rejecting
the view of chazal.

In sum. Ramban had a very high regard for the words of Chazal. However,
there were some statements of chazal that he disagreed with after careful
thought. When dealing with historical reality you can not interpret the
Ramban to be saying that a unique historic event happened at multiple
times!. Thus you can not apply the concept of different perspectives
whether you call it peshat versus derash or derash versus derash. This
is a violation of Eilu v'Eilu as is understood by Rashi. Ramban is
actually disagreeing with the validity of Chazal on these occasions.

Daniel Eidensohn

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Date: Thu, 8 Dec 2005 10:15:33 -0600
From: "Gershon Seif" <gershonseif@yahoo.com>
hashkafa 101 - some thoughts and questions

Last night I was teaching someone the first perek of mesilas yisharim. I
explained that when we are little kids we think that our journey through
olam hazeh (OHZ) to olam habaa (OHB) is like going into an arcade/game
room where you earn tickets and cash them in for prizes at the end. If
you do aveiros, you get "bad" tickets which cancels out some "good"
mitzvah tickets. But that's not right at all. Rav Chaim Volzhner writes
at the beginning of Ruach Chayim, that actually we are experiencing
OHB as we go through life in OHZ. We develop our neshomos through
passing tests. We tarnish our neshomos by failing tests. When we die,
the neshama gets to fully experience all the growth, and failures,
that already occurred in OHZ.

The talmid looked a bit puzzled, and after a few question I realized that
he didn't understand that "he" and his neshoma, are one and the same. He
somehow thought that they were different entities. I explained that there
are different parts of the neshoma. As I was taught, the brain is a tool
for the neshoma to interface with this world. He asked me what happens
with one's personality when we die. Do we retain our personalities
and our sense of humor? Do we interact with other neshomos? How about
neshomos from other generations? How can we share reference points with
neshomos from other generations? Does Avraham Avinu get to hear about
today's youth and iPods?

Then he brought the idea of yisurim. We've all learned that suffering
is a kapara. How exactly does that work? How does that fit in to the
general game plan of a neshoma improving itself by good choices? Perhaps
an adult will accept some yisurim as Hashem's judgment and that humble
acceptance will be the point of growth. But what about other yisurim,
such as an infant, or an adult who has Alzheimer's or is in a coma? Does
anyone have a good pshat in how this helps the neshama?

Thoughts? Comments?

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Date: Wed, 7 Dec 2005 06:37:51 +0200
From: Akiva Atwood <akiva.atwood@gmail.com>
Re: jewish

> I am looking for source material on opinions whether the Jewish neshamah
> is intrinsically diffrent from that of the non-Jew. The early sources

Check out the first few chapters of Tanya.


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Date: Tue, 6 Dec 2005 23:13:58 -0800 (PST)
From: Gershon Seif <gershonseif@yahoo.com>

> According to certain authorities we have to believe that Moshiach is
> coming today.

> The difficulty many have with that idea is how can one believe that
> Moshiach will come today if he didn't come yesterday and the day
> before. These people will say that it is ridiculous to believe something
> like that.

Perhaps RYGB or someone else that learned Eruvin B'iyun, can help me out
here. I recall learning a Meiri somewhere in Ervin but I don't remember
where, that states that l'gabei whatever halacha that sugya was talking
about, beeas Moshiach is a milsa d'lo schicha. Do you know where I can
find that?

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Date: Tue, 06 Dec 2005 23:13:25 -0500
From: Shaya Potter <spotter@yucs.org>
RE: TIDE and TuM

On Tue, 2005-12-06 at 19:02 -0500, S & R Coffer wrote:
> The Rambam then goes on to say that it is assur to wear a begged that is
> *miyuchad* to goyim. A tie is not miyuchad to goyim just as pants, shirts,
> jackets and any other universally accepted form of dress are not miyuchad
> to them. You can be sure that R' Moshe would never wear jeans though.

what's the fundamental difference between a tie and jeans? How does
something become "universally accepted" that implies at some point it
wasn't universally accepted.

Did sephardim wear ties 100+ years ago? Did ashkenazim?

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Date: Wed, 07 Dec 2005 10:23:25 +0200
From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
Re: TIDE and TuM (Wearing a suit or tie)

On December 6, 2005, Harry Maryles wrote:
>A tie is absolutly a convention of modern "gentile" society and definitely
>not a Jewish one. It became Jewish because this is the way men dress
>up... ALL (or most) men, not just Jews and not just non-Jews. You still
>think all non-Jewish Culture isn't "allowed"?

Rav Moshe has a tshuva dealing with the issue of Jew coming to America
from Europe and whether it is permitted for him to wear modern western
clothing. IM YD I #81 page 142.. The issue of chukas akum is also
discussed at length IM YD IV #11 page 168. In Yad Moshe the topics are
found on page 95-96 See also YD IV #12 where he discusses Thanksgiving.

Of historical interest, I heard that there were two groups of chassidim
who fought over this issue. They ended up putting each other in cherem
as to whether wearing a tie was assur or not.

Daniel Eidensohn

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Date: Wed, 7 Dec 2005 04:05:37 -0800 (PST)
From: Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
RE: TIDE and TuM

S & R Coffer <rivkyc@sympatico.ca> wrote:
>> Do you wear a suit? a Tie? Did R. Moshe?

>> Do you think R Moshe would have worn a tie if there was even a taint of
>> Issur invloved... historical or otherwise? ...just because it seeped in?

>> A tie is absolutly a convention of modern "gentile" society and definitely
>> not a Jewish one....

> Rambam Hilchos Avodah Zara Perek 11 Halacha Aleph. (my translation)
> "We do not walk in the ways of the goyim and do not imitate them, not
> in their mode of clothing, nor in their hairstyles and other similar
> accoutrements....
> The Rambam then goes on to say that it is assur to wear a begged that is
> *miyuchad* to goyim. A tie is not miyuchad to goyim just as pants, shirts,
> jackets and any other universally accepted form of dress are not miyuchad
> to them. 

Why are these Beggadim not M'yuchad to Goyim? Because Jews started
wearing them. Any time there is a mass Jewish acceptence of a non-jewish
mode of dress or any thing else, it ceases to be Chukas HaGoy. That
makes anything in non Jewish culture eligible for us as long as it is
not an object or action of Issur. R. Moshe would never have worn the cap
so famously worn by the Chafetz Chaim either. It proves nothing that R
Moshe didn't wear a piece of clothing that some one else does.

I do not remember seeing his Teshuva Assuring Blue Jeans.


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