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Volume 16 : Number 054

Saturday, December 10 2005

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Fri, 9 Dec 2005 16:12:55 -0500
From: "S & R Coffer" <rivkyc@sympatico.ca>
RE: a few final Slifkin comments

On December 7, 2005 Melech Press wrote:
> In fact, it is hard to see how it could not be apikorsus to assert that
> one MUST believe that the world is 5766 years old. Such a statement
> would fall into the category of "Hachchoshas magideha." Chazal have
> stated that Maaseh Breishis is a sod. It is clear that anyone asserting
> that the relevant pesukim can ONLY be understood in their literal meaning
> is denying that the pesukim embody a sod, since any fool can read them
> literally. This assertion is much more serious apikorsus than anything
> that Noson Slifkin ever said.

There is pshuto shel mikra in MB and then there is the sod of MB. Chazal
did not mean to call the physical reality of MB a secret. When you stand
up (or sit, whichever) tonight and declare that Hashem created the world
in six days, there's no secret to it. It means kipshuto.

> Additionally, it is difficult to understand how questioning a factual
> matter can make one an apikorus. Error in fact is not hora'ah - one does
> not bring a par he'elem dovor on an error in fact, one does not become a
> zoken mamre on an error in fact, etc. Factual errors are in the class
> of ta'us, according to Chazal, not hora'ah. While I understand that
> one might try to distinguish between hora'ah and belief, I'd be hard
> pressed to defend the distinction.

I have actually made a similar point before. But making a taus in MB is
a pretty bad thing because it is associated with the ikkar of Metzius
Hashem and according to the Sefer haIkkrim, is the positive representation
of that ikkar.

Good Shabbos
Simcha Coffer

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Date: Thu, 08 Dec 2005 22:49:26 -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:
>He specifically said that Dr. Schroeder is wrong on the *time* of Sheishes
>Yemei Bereishis --- there were no billions and billions of days (or years),
>as all we know is that it occurred in six days regardless of perspective. 

>Please read my post again.

WADR, your post is not acceptable as evidence. Only the document produced
by RSM himself is, at this point, acceptable as indicative of his POV.

And there he takes on a Schroederian approach.

It is not necessary to postulate billions and billions of day-night days
in order to accomplish billions of years. Indeed, it is not possible to
do this in any event, since there were no "day days" before Wednesday
in any event. Drop the day-night days from Schroeder and you have RSM.


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Date: Fri, 9 Dec 2005 00:17:31 -0500
From: Ezra Wax <ezrawax@gmail.com>
Re: Age of the U, Again

On 12/8/05, Shinnar, Meir <Meir.Shinnar@rwjuh.edu> wrote:
>  The world was created in six days. However, the laws
> of physics today don't apply, so we have no knowledge of what the word
> day means.

I think that your tone ridicules the opinion of Rav Shlomo Miller,
and I think that that is inappropriate.

I would imagine that there is an absolute frame of reference where if you
were in it you would experience an hour as taking an hour. A day takes
twenty four hours independent of the sun and independent of a world that
is inhabitable. There is an evening and a morning also independent of the
sun. It only requires light and dark. That's why you have an evening and a
morning at the end of the first day, because light and dark were created.

Now that you have six twenty four hour days in which to create the
world, you can try to figure out what was created when. Scientists try
to figure out how the world was created without looking at the Torah. But
that assumes that there is enough information to make a decision without
the Torah, but there might not be.

You usually cannot recreate a moment in history without some written
documentation about what happened. We have lots of stories of the past
that we only know from one written source. You can't find archeological
evidence for it and you would never know about it otherwise.

The Torah is telling you something scientific about the world. There is
an absolute way of determining day and night without the sun, and there
is an absolute way of telling time. It's not relative. The sun and moon
are there only for our benefit so we too should know what time it is.

Kol Tuv,

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Date: Fri, 9 Dec 2005 13:12:04 -0500
From: "S & R Coffer" <rivkyc@sympatico.ca>
RE: Age of the U, Again

On December 8, 2005, Meir Shinaar wrote:
>>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.

> To summarize: The world was created in six days. However, the laws
> of physics today don't apply, so we have no knowledge of what the word
> day means. But we still insist it occured in six days, and saying that
> the days were billions of years is clearly epikorsut, even though we
> state that we don't know what the word day means in that context...

> This seems incoherent - an attempt to preserve the statement (world
> created in six days) while eliminating the terms from any meaning.
> For statements to have content - the words must have meaning. It is one
> thing (and this position is in some ways quite analogous to this position)
> to state that as we don't understand what the words in ma'aseh breshit
> (bara, or, yom, etc) mean, everything is a sod. It is another to argue
> that it is a sod, but that a particular understanding of that clearly
> contradicts. Perhaps RSC can explain.

I'll try. Rabbi Miller is very much aware of the shittos of some of the
Rishonim that the six days of MB were literal 24 hour days and as such,
would be very comfortable if in fact this was the case. However, since
Chazal do say that the final chukey hateva were not established until
the shvisa (termination of creative process) associated with Shabbos,
(sheamar l'olamo dai), he wishes to reserve judgement in the sense
that even if the 24 hour periods were somewhat different than our 24
hour periods in some inexplicable way (in other words, not like these
Rishonim), that would not translate into trillions of days and nights as
Schroeder claims. Rabbi Miller's ra'aya is from the Gemara "alu shnayim
lamita, v'yardu arba'a". All this means is that processes were speeded
up during the period of ma'aseh Bereishis. This doesn't mean that there
wasn't a real Adam or a real Chava or a real kayin v'hevel or a real
layda etc. It simply means that a process that normally takes nine months
was accelerated and compacted into the "space" of one hour. So, just
as this occurred with laydas Kayin v'Hevel, so too, conjectures Rabbi
Miller, it could have happened with the very essence off time which is
also a physical beria. Perhaps time itself was somehow compacted on that
day. Does he actually visualize this phenomenon? Without any real frame
of reference I don't see how a human being can visualize such a thing
(although he has a tremendous grasp of abstract physical theory so who
knows). His point is merely that it is impossible to postulate length of
time during MB by comparing it to the present parameters of time because
they may have differed so any authoritative statement regarding this
issue which is made by comparison must necessarily go for nought. But
whether it is like the Rishonim (24 literal hours) or like Rabbi Miller,
one thing is clear; MB was not trillions of regular days and nights.

Simcha Coffer 

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Date: Fri, 9 Dec 2005 13:26:28 -0500
From: "S & R Coffer" <rivkyc@sympatico.ca>
RE: Toriah on the Fossil Record

On December 7, 2005, Micha Berger forwarded:
> 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.

Then how were they found on the surface? Dr. Currie (101 Questions about
Dinosaurs) gives many examples of such finds. You know what the secret is?
Evolutionists will never admit that they are wrong. Instead of conceding
that mammals lived together in the same period as dinosaurs, they will
claim that in this case the geological column was somehow inverted and
the lower layer was over-thrust onto higher layers. They are willing to
overturn thousands of square miles of shale and limestone just to support
their shkarim although there isn't even the slightest evidence that these
mineral deposits somehow advanced from lower levels in the column. I have
many quotes from leading evolutionary geologists to support this claim.

Simcha Coffer  

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Date: Sun, 11 Dec 2005 04:37:10
From: "Dr. Josh Backon" <backon@vms.huji.ac.il>
Length of Maaseh Breshis has no impact on halacha

One would think that with the explicit passuk KI SHESHET YAMIM ASAH ....
one would be required to believe in a literal 144 (human) hour length
of MB.

But look in Sefer haChinuch 32 on "shorshei ha'mitzvah". [she'ha'olam
nivra b'shiva yamim chalukim"]. Note, there is no mention that a YOM
is equal to 24 hours. It could easily refer to a TEKUFA. Had the Sefer
haChinuch insisted that we must believe that a day = 24 hours, I would
concede. But he doesn't and the Baal Sefer haChinuch was very exact and
precise in his wording.

The only HALACHIC matters that deal with zeicher" are: yetziat mitzraim
(with regard to tzizit, tefillin, mezuza) [Minchat Chinuch # 21] and
zeicher amalek. No zeicher of 144 hours of MB.

When we make a bracha OSEH MAASEH BRESHIS on hearing thunder (gemara
in Brachot 59a) [Orach Chayim 227:5] there's no mention anywhere that
we have to believe in a literal 144 human hour period. Nor is there any
mention of this in the Aruch haShulchan. Think about it: had there been
a requirement to believe in 144 human hours, the bracha we say would be
a bracha L'VATALA if we didn't believe in an exact 144 hours. Do you have
a special girsa "Oseh maaseh breshis b'me'ah arbaim v'arba sha'oht" ? :-)

MAASEH BRESHIS is supposed to be a SOD (that's why we learn in Chagiga 11b
EIN DORSHIN ..). If it's literal (144 human hours), where's the SOD ???

All we are required to believe is that Hashem created the world (Rambam
Hilchot Yesodei haTorah 1:1, 2:9). Nowhere on Shemos 20:11 or 31:17 is
there any chiyuv to believe in a literal 144 human hours. If there is,
show me a source.

Incidentally, open up a Shas (Chagiga) to the peyrush of the YAAVETZ
(it's way at the end) of Daf 16a. He specifically mentions PHYSICAL worlds
being created and destroyed by the RBSO before being satisfied with ours
(as per the Midrash) and this was not allegorical.


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Date: Fri, 9 Dec 2005 03:26:17 GMT
From: "Elazar M. Teitz" <remt@juno.com>
Re: TIDE and TuM

> Also, there are colours, such as black, that are inherently Jewish due
> to their modest nature.

Since when? Outside of chassidic circles, until the very recent past black
was worn by rabbonim only. In European yeshivas, in Israeli yeshivas and
in American yeshivas, black garb was virtually unknown for bochurim,
with black hats even rarer, and even rabbonim and rashei yeshiva did
not all wear black other than on Shabbos and "dress-up" occasions.
(My rashei yeshiva in Telz, Rav Gifter and Rav Boruch Sorotzkin, wore
brown and gray on weekdays.)

 From the fact that black was to be worn by "haro'eh sheyitzro misgabeir
alav," it would seem apparent that it was _not_ the norm to wear black
in the days of Chaza"l. Indeed, if black were inherently Jewish, would
the pasuk have said "B'chol eis yihyu b'gadecha l'vanim," even if it
isn't intended to be taken literally?

Is there a source for the claim about black's inherent Jewishness?
It sounds more like an ex post facto justification for current chareidi
sartorial standards.


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Date: Fri, 9 Dec 2005 00:23:33 -0500
From: "Samuel Svarc" <ssvarc@yeshivanet.com>
NJ Culture

From: Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
>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.

This doesn't follow logically. Was there a "mass Jewish acceptance"
of the entire Non-Jewish culture?


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Date: Fri, 9 Dec 2005 08:38:42 +0200
From: "Shoshana L. Boublil" <toramada@bezeqint.net>
Clothing and fashion (was Re: RE: TIDE and TuM)

From: "S & R Coffer" <rivkyc@sympatico.ca>
>> Why are these Beggadim not M'yuchad to Goyim?  Because Jews started
>> wearing them.

> Wrong. They are not meyuchad to goyim because clothing is a human
> accoutrement, not a national one. 

The members might find the information in the following URL fascinating:

To quote just a sentence:
"At that time, the traditional Croatian military dress included
a picturesque scarf tied around the neck in a manner which is very
similar to the style in which the necktie is worn today. In 1618...."
Some of these soldiers were stationed in Paris, and impacted on the
fashion scene there.

> Staple clothing is
> uniform to all classes of humanity however, within the various
> classifications of clothing, there are styles and colours that make the
> clothing conspicuously associated with a certain group or culture. Also,
> there are colours, such as black, that are inherently Jewish due to their
> modest nature. 

And yet the G'mara discusses Davka white as the preferred color of the
clothing of Talmidei Chachamim.

I also can't figure out why black is modest. It has a bad impact on many
people, as it can cause depression. Hashem gave this world a wonderful
pallette of colors. We should appreciate Hashem's gifts.

>The Rambam requires a Jew to dress conspicuously Jewish which
> is partially the animating force behind the black hat / shtreimel / kappota
> etc. minhagim of certain Jews.  

Which is weird as it was the dress of the polish noble at the time.... 

I've always wondered about this ma'amar b/c the truth is the for centuries
Jews have been dressing like their neighbours, with minor variations,
mostly having to do with Tzni'ut (except for those cases where by law
they were forced to wear a hat or insignia marking them as Jewish).

>> I do not remember seeing his Teshuva Assuring Blue Jeans.

> I'm not saying that they are assur but they definitely label you.

Only among those groups who made it a point to not wear jeans.  

Shoshana L. Boublil

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Date: Fri, 9 Dec 2005 03:51:16 -0800 (PST)
From: Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
Re: NJ Culture

Samuel Svarc <ssvarc@yeshivanet.com> wrote:
> R' HM:
>>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.

> This doesn't follow logically. Was there a "mass Jewish acceptance" of
> the entire Non-Jewish culture?

No one said anything about mass acceptance of an entire non-Jewish
culture. Only those things which are neutral, which are a great many
things. Mada does not mean "all". No one said anything about adopting the
lifestyle of "Hollywood". However, if one wants to buy a fancy chandelier,
or a nice car, why not? There may be some reasons not to buy a chandelier,
but Lo Seilechu isn't one of them.


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Date: Fri, 9 Dec 2005 13:40:18 GMT
From: "kennethgmiller@juno.com" <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
Re: *miyuchad* to goyim

R' Sholom Simon asked:
>>> But when they (e.g., ties) first started,
>>> weren't they miyuchad to goyim?

Maybe they were, and maybe they weren't. Do you have any reason to think
one way or another?

(According to Wikipedia, at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Necktie, today's
neckties are descended from the cravat, which was an innovation of the
Croatian military in the 1630's. Sounds pretty nonsectarian to me.)

Akiva Miller

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Date: Fri, 9 Dec 2005 11:23:18 -0500
From: "S & R Coffer" <rivkyc@sympatico.ca>
RE: Dress Code (was TIDE and TuM)

On December 8, 2005, Harry Maryles wrote:
> Where does the Torah talk about ties? Ties are most definitely not
> an invention of the Jewish people.

How do you know? Besides, it makes no difference as we shall see shortly.

> It is Meyuchad to Goyim.

You are mistranslating the word "meyuchad" as used by the Rambam. Most of
the man made objects found here on earth were made/invented by non-Jews
but that doesn't mean that they are meyuchad to goyim. The halachic term
meyuchad here means "conspicuously associated with", not "invented by".

> Chukas HaGoy is tied to the relationship they have with Avodah Zara.

It happens to be brought down in Hilchos AZ because the worst way (and for
many generations the most attractive one) a Jew can be midameh himself
to a goy is in the field of AZ. However, the Rambam obviously does not
hold like you because he states that the reason we don't follow the
chukey haGoyim is due to our fundamental differences in knowledge and
general attitudes. Look in Hilchos Deos of the Rambam for the proper
attitudes a Jew must adopt. They do not have to do with AZ. Besides,
the Rambam goes on to say that we need to dress conspicuously Jewish. In
this regard, there are many Jews that do not fulfil this injunction. All
they would have to do is take off their yarmulke and they would look no
different than Mr. Murphy saddling up to the marble top for a shot. We
are banim laMakom. Princes simply do not emulate the commoners in their
mode of dress.

To sum up, the halachos of chukey hagoyim are not limited to fears of
transgressing AZ and are rather injunctions against similarities to goyim
in all aspects of their culture like dress, haircuts, mannerisms etc.,
as the Rambam explicitly says, and have their source in the fundamental
havdala between a Jew and a goy.

[Email #2 -mi]

On December 9, 2005, Sholom Simon 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.

> But when they (e.g., ties) first started, weren't they miyuchad to goyim?

Meyuchad means "conspicuously associated with". In other words, an article
of clothing or a colour that goyim wear specifically to represent an
aspect of their culture or ideals. As such, ties where never worn by
goyim to advertise goyish ideals.

Simcha Coffer

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Date: Sat, 10 Dec 2005 20:16:07 -0500
From: "S & R Coffer" <rivkyc@sympatico.ca>
RE: Dress Code (was TIDE and TuM)

On December 6, 2005, Shaya Potter wrote:
> 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.

Boy, I'm getting a lot of queries about the above paragraph. When I said
"universally accepted" I merely meant that it goes into the geder of
clothing for mankind without having a colour or fashion that is particular
associated with a non-Jewish ideal. This is what the Rambam means by a
begged hamiyuchad lo'k.

Simcha Coffer

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Date: Thu, 8 Dec 2005 22:36:15 EST
From: Yzkd@aol.com
Re: Being exposed to minus

In a message dated 12/8/05 4:09:52pm EST,  kennethgmiller@juno.com writes:
> I do not understand. To me it sounds like circular logic. How does
> writing the name in kisvei kodesh magically remove an issur d'Oraisa?

R' R'uvaim Margoliyas in his Margoliyas Hayam (Sanhedrin 63b Ois 10)
brings the Yireim who says that since it is mentioned in Torah it was
certainly Bottul, however he brings sources that ask on this, he brings
from the Sh'iltos that since it became permited to read it in Torah it
became Muttar, he brings other sources, including what he writes in his
Mkor Chesed on Sefer Chassidim # 427 WRT elilim that were already Bottul,
among the many sources he brings the Tiferes Yisroel on A"Z 1:1 ois 8.

Kol  Tuv,
Yitzchok Zirkind

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Date: Fri, 9 Dec 2005 15:02:37 +0200
From: "D&E-H Bannett" <dbnet@smile.net.il>
RE: Being exposed to minus

As a continuation of the threads on what constitutes AZ and the issur or
heter of using names of AZ, I think it is time for another round of the
oft repeated thread of AZ names in common use. Perhaps we should limit
ourselves to set days, e.g, Woden's-day, Thor's-day, or Freya's day. Or,
for those who don't like Scandinavian AZ, perhaps Sun's-day or Moon's-day
are a bit more heavenly. Or, perhaps, we should limit the discussion
to certain months. I like Tammuz as the weather is warmer. Tammuz has a
well established masoret from the times of Yechezkel and is a well-known
middle-Eastern AZ.

Shabbat Shalom,
David (who does not wear a tie except when absolutely necessary during
trips to chu"l)

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Date: Fri, 09 Dec 2005 16:32:12 -0500
From: mlevinmd@aol.com
Being exposed to minus

On the question of whether or not we are allowed to speak the name of a
modern avodah zara, R' SBA cited and asked: <<< Shmos 23: "veshem elohim
acherim lo sazkiru lo yishoma al picho" I understand that that refers
to a meisis. But would it also be a reason as an issur to mention the
name of an AZ? And don't we freely say Baal Pe'or? >>>

R' Yitzchok Zirkind answered <<< AZ that's mentioned in the Torah is
Muttar. >>>

and R' Simcha Coffer answered <<< That's because the halacha is that
any AZ that is written in the Tanach is permissible to say and any AZ
that is not written in Tanach is assur to say as per your pasuk above. >>>

I see a gigantic difference between these these two answers: RSC alerts
us to the fact that there are some AZs whose names appear in Navi
which had not appeared in Chumash. Some examples appear in Melachim 2,
17:30-31. Surely these names were not merely written by the Navi, but
have also been spoken by Jews in the process of learning those pesukim
over the centuries. But these names are *not* ones which had appeared
in Chumash, and so should have been assur to pronounce!

I would suggest that since it is assur to mention AZ and the halacha
requires that we change the name L'Gannai, the names of AZ in Tanach may
not be exactly the names that we used by AZ worshippers and that is why
they are permitted. For an example, see commentaries to Yishaya 46

M. Levin

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