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Volume 16 : Number 057

Wednesday, December 14 2005

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Tue, 13 Dec 2005 01:31:45 -0500
From: yzkd@aol.com
Re: Simanim from Yaakov to Rochel

From: H G Schild <hgschild@hotmail.com>
> Who brings what various opinions there are on the idenity of the simanim
> that Yaakov gave to Rochel that she passed on to Leah on the wedding nite?

The Meam Loez brings from the Eicha Rabsi that Rocjel gave Simonim to
Yaakov, in Yalkut Ruveini he brings what the simonim that yaakov gave
to Rochel are.

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Date: Wed, 14 Dec 2005 16:24:35 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Age of the Universe (and Rabbi Miller Shlit"a re Bell's theorem and EPR)

:> Relativity was not only experimentally proven, but it stymied early
:> efforts at GPS.

: Proving one aspect of relativity does not prove the fundamental theory
: true...

I misspoke, and later RET did the same.

The issue in question is not one of theory, but of experimental data.
Time runs slower on GPS satelites, the space station, etc...

So, unless time during ma'aseh bereishis was MORE acutely defined than
after, it would seem that one can set up a frame of reference in which
ma'aseh bereishis took billions of years.

:       Just as Newton was proven true countless numbers of time and was
: superseded by relativity, so too Einstein will be superseded by a more
: fundamentally true theory that will be compatible with sheishes yemei
: bereishis. I don't know what the theory is, but just like I believe that
: mashiach will come, I believe that a true theory will come.

I do not. I believe that teva is HQBH's wisdom, and therefore can't
be understood by man. Instead, we will get ever-closer approximations,
but never the truth.

In a later post he writes:
: The Torah is telling you something scientific about the world....

But I thought all aggadita is either mussar or machashavah. As in the
Ramchal cited by RSC.


Micha Berger                 Life is complex.
micha@aishdas.org                Decisions are complex.
http://www.aishdas.org               The Torah is complex.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                                - R' Binyamin Hecht

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Date: Tue, 13 Dec 2005 23:25:06 -0500
From: Avodah - High Level Torah Discussion Group <avodah@aishdas.org>
Re: Simanim from Yaakov to Rochel

H G Schild wrote:
> Who brings what various opinions there are on the idenity of the simanim
> that Yaakov gave to Rochel that she passed on to Leah on the wedding 
> nite?

To the best of my knowledge, only the Arizal expresses an opinion.

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Date: Mon, 12 Dec 2005 22:06:08 +0200
From: Eli Turkel <eliturkel@gmail.com>

Ezra writes
<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.>

The only minor point is that this goes against the theory of Einstein
which has been verified experimentally many times that time slows down
as one approaches the speed of light and that gravity fields also have
an effect.

We are not talking now about the distant past but physical experiments.
Is the Torah teaching us that these experiments are all lies?

Eli Turkel

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Date: Mon, 12 Dec 2005 22:12:37 -0500
From: "Zvi Lampel" <hlampel@thejnet.com>
RE: Length of Maaseh Breshis has no impact on halacha

Dr. Josh Backon"" backon@vms.huji.ac.il posted on Sun, 11 Dec 2005 :
> 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.

Certainly; especially since the Ramban emphasizes that the 7 days of
creation were 24 hour days. And he says that as far as what we must
believe is concerned, we don't need all the details in Braishis, only
the fact stated in the Asseress HaDibros that the world was created IN
SIX DAYS. I should think the Assress HaDibros is an authoritative enough
source of necessary beliefs. And the Rambam says the first day as well
as the following ones was timed by one revolution of the sphere. And
many other rishonim also obviously assume that a day is a day, not a
tekufah. Not one suggests it was a tekufah. In a previous post I showed
that Rashi, Ramban, Rambam, R. Saadia Gaon (who says that a professed navi
who claims that Hashem took ONE YEAR, rather than six days, to create the
world, is a navi shekker), Ibn Ezra, Sforno, Kuzari all take the pesukim
kepeshuto except for when they obviously are not meant literally, such
as in anthropomorphic references to Hashem, or hyperboic expressions, or
obvious metaphors. I have since found a statement by Avraham ben HaRambam
(in Sefer Milchamos Hashem) that also states his strong stand (which he
attributes to his father as well) that the world is young and has existed
for only several thousand years since Creation (not just since Adam).

> ...Had the Sefer haChinuch insisted that we must believe that a day =
> 24 hours, I would concede.
On the contrary. If he thought "yom" did not mean day, he would have
to have said so. "Elohim" can mean angels. Are we to accept that any
source that mentions "brayshis bara Elo-him" without specifying that
it means Hashem, could be taken to be allowing the thought that the
angels created the universe? And anyway, if the Sefer HaChinuch would
have said that we must believe the days were 24 hours, who says by
"hour" he means an hour? A "Sha'ah" can mean "time." Who says anything
means anything? Rambam and Sefer Ikkarrim both teach us that we are to
understand the Torah's words in their primary meanings unless the result
is irrational or contradictory to the fundamentals of Judaism. Of course,
there are those who would insist that the latest claims of scientists are
enough cause to radically reinterpret the Torah, and conclude that they
had it all wrong. But please see R. J. Ostrov's ecxellent posts showing
that the evidence, by admission of the proponents of old-world theories
themselves, is not really compelling. The evolutionists won't agree to a
young world, of course; but neither did the Aristotelean world reverse
its opinions upon publication of Moreh Nevuchim. The Rambam, you see,
merely proposed a fringe, scientifically un-mainstream approach.

My apologies if my tone is too cynical. No offense meant.

Zvi Lampel

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Date: Mon, 12 Dec 2005 15:13:24 -0500
From: "S & R Coffer" <rivkyc@sympatico.ca>
RE: Massecheth Atziluth

On December 12, 2005, David Riceman wrote:
> Does anyone know the date and place of composition?

The title page in my copy (I have the one with the perush of R' Yitzchok
Eizik Chaver, a talmid of a talmid of the Gra) says "Maseches Atzilus -
v'hu brahysa b'chochmas hakabala l'chachamim kadmonim bizman Dovid
haMelech a"h"

Simcha Coffer

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Date: Tue, 13 Dec 2005 11:24:43 -0500
From: "David Riceman" <driceman@worldnet.att.net>
Re: Massecheth Atziluth

From: "S & R Coffer" <rivkyc@sympatico.ca>
> The title page in my copy (I have the one with the perush of R' Yitzchok
> Eizik Chaver, a talmid of a talmid of the Gra) says "Maseches Atzilus - v'hu
> brahysa b'chochmas hakabala l'chachamim kadmonim bizman Dovid haMelech a"h"

How could "chachamim kadmonim bizman Dovid haMelech a"h" cite Sefer 

David Riceman 

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Date: Tue, 13 Dec 2005 11:32:07 -0500
From: "S & R Coffer" <rivkyc@sympatico.ca>
RE: Massecheth Atziluth

On December 13, 2005, David Riceman wrote:
> How could "chachamim kadmonim bizman Dovid haMelech a"h" cite Sefer
> Zechariah?

I'm going to take the same position I do as pertains to Zohar. Most of
the concepts found in MA are from Chachmim kadmonim like Ya'areshyah ben
Yoseph (see Milachim Aleph 8) but perhaps the milaket lived later, IOW,
as late as the last historical figure mentioned in the sefer.

Simcha Coffer

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Date: Mon, 12 Dec 2005 17:08:11 -0500 (EST)
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Being exposed to minus

Feldhamer, Stuart wrote:
> From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
>> We find the term Yeshu mentioned in the rishonim. The Gra poskens that a
>> person who became an AZ and died - it is permissible to mention his name.

> Yeshu is even mentioned in the Talmud Bavli...

Yeishu is simply Aramaic for "Yehoshua", AIUI. And a minor variant on
the name of the founders of bayis Sheini (whose name is also associated
with oso ha'ish.

There are up to four people (living in different centuries) called Yeishu
that the consors removed from our gemara. Are any of them actually the
one they deified?

Last, when were the ma'amarim in the gemara in relation to when they
decided he was not only messiah, but also deity? Perhaps the words we're
reading simply predate his being made into an AZ?


Micha Berger             Man is equipped with such far-reaching vision,
micha@aishdas.org        yet the smallest coin can obstruct his view.
http://www.aishdas.org                         - Rav Yisrael Salanter
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Date: Mon, 12 Dec 2005 18:36:58 -0500
From: "S & R Coffer" <rivkyc@sympatico.ca>
RE: Being exposed to minus

On December 12, 2005, kennethgmiller@juno.com wrote: 
> Where do we find any room in that pasuk to distinguish between one kind
> of avodah zara and another, such that the issur only applies to some
> AZs and not to others?

Let me ask you a shayla. The pasuk says "basukkos teyshvu shiv'as yamim"
but the pasuk doesn't tell us what a Succah is. Translated it means a
hut but the halacha is that this hut must have a minimum of three walls,
be no higher than twenty amos, no lower then tem tfachim, possess a roof
which is 1)made from material that comes from the ground, 2) has not
been processed, 3) is currently detached from the ground, 4) and must
be sufficient in quantity to produce a shade that would be considered at
least 51% in relation to the amount of sun said roof is allowing in. Now,
where is their any room for any of this in this pasuk!?

Another example. The Torah states "vzavachta shelamim v'achalta sham"
Now the question arises, in which way must I slaughter my shelamim? Are
there any rules that govern this zvicha? Well, as it happens, it must
be done in one continuous motion such that any hesitation of longer
then approx. six seconds in the middle of the zvicha invalidates the
shechita, I must not apply any downward pressure on the knife, I cannot
insert my knife into the middle of the neck and cut upwards, I cannot
take the trachea and manipulate it above the oesophagus and cut these
items "out of order", I must have a perfectly smooth knife such that no
tearing of the above-mentioned items occurs during slaughter and I must
cut at least 51% of both the oesophagus and trachea. Now, where?!? Where
in this pasuk do I find any of this information?

The teretz is that the Torah was given to us in two parts and the second
part, TSBP, records all these laws. Thus, when Hashem taught Moshe the
pasuk "basukos teyshvu shiv'as yamim" and Moshe memorized the pasuk and
taught it to bney Yisrael, he also told them that Hashem informed him
that when He said "succos" He meant 3 walls, less than twenty amos etc.

According to Rav Yochanan in Sanhederin 63:, when Hashem taught the
pasuk of "lo yishama al picha" to Moshe, he informed him that if the
name of the AZ was part of kisvey haKodesh, this rule does not apply.

This is as clear as I can possibly be. I hope I haven't talked past you
this time.

> Suppose we would have asked this to Moshe Rabenu -- "Does this really
> apply to *every* AZ?" -- what do you think he would have answered?

He would have answered that it applies to every AZ that is not inscribed
in a prophetic canon i.e. kisvey haKodesh.

> In any case, regardless of *how* it becomes muttar to speak the names
> of the AZs who are named in the Chumash, how does that get extended to
> include Navi?

I'm not sure what you're asking. You are assuming that the heter is
only chumash related but you have no right to make this assumption. I
already supplied you with the mareh makom in the Rambam which says
"kisvey haKodesh" not "chumash" and now I've supplied you with the source
Gemara. Please look these sources up.

> Here's another way of phrasing my question:

> In this lasted post, RSC says:
>>>> The issur d'oraysa *is* not to enunciate shmos of AZ not found
>>>> in the canon.

> What Hebrew word or concept are you translating as "canon"? Does it
> appear in the Chumash?

Canon = Kisvey haKodesh = Tanach

> Sefer Melachim Beis 17:30 mentions an Avodah Zara named "Nergal". In the
> weeks and years prior to the writing of Sefer Melachim, was it muttar
> or assur to speak that name? If muttar, why? Pending your response,
> I'll presume it was asur.

Your assumption seems reasonable to me.

> In the immediate years after the writing of Sefer Melachim, it was not
> yet in Tanach; the decision of what to include in Tanach was made much
> later. In the interim, was it mutar or assur to say the name "Nergal"? If
> you say it was muttar, then would it also be muttar to say the name of an
> AZ which appears in a modern-day book? What's the difference between an
> AZ which appears in the Encyclopedia Britannica, and an AZ which appears
> in a pre-canonization Sefer Melachim?

None. I think you're right. I think that before Yirmiya wrote Milachim,
it was assur to speak the names of AZ that were subsequently canonized
in Milachim.

> If it was assur (d'Oraisa, by the way) to say the name "Nergal" even
> after Sefer Melachim was written, and became muttar when Chazal decided
> to include Sefer Melachim in the Tanach, then how did this Issur D'Oraisa
> change? 

Chazal didn't canonize Tanach. The canon was sealed by the Anshey Knesess

Did the Torah anticipate future Kisvei Kodesh?

Apparently so.

> Where do we see this in the pesukim?

Don't know. Will try and do some research bl'n

I hope I was clearer this time.

Simcha Coffer 

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Date: Mon, 12 Dec 2005 22:23:46 +0200
From: Danny Schoemann <doniels@gmail.com>
Q on Parshas Shemos

> My daughter is now learning Parshas Shmos and stumped
> her teacher with this one.
> The teacher told them that Moshe Rabbeinu spent 7 days debating with
> HKB"H before agreeing to go to Par'oh (I presume it's a medrash).
> She asks, "Who was watching his sheep?"

The Torah Shlemah on Shmos 3:3 (67) brings in the name of the Midrash
Avkir: And Moshe said "Let me please turn aside and see [this amazing
site, why isn't the bush being consumed by the fire]", he said this to
the shepherds with him, and they didn't see what he saw. Similarly we
find by Avrohom and Doniel [that they saw something "in public" while
nobody else saw it.]

In the footnote RMMK z"l claims it's also mentioned in the Yalkut Shimoni
here (I didn't see it) and also in the Lekach Tov (which I don't own).

Point being - he wasn't alone.

 - Danny

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Date: Mon, 12 Dec 2005 22:27:25 +0200
From: Danny Schoemann <doniels@gmail.com>
Dina in a Box

If I read the Sifsei Chacomim properly, he says that Dina married Iyov and
converted him - thus we know she had this "kiruv" ability and therefore
Yaakov was punished for not giving her to Eisav.

 - Danny

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Date: Mon, 12 Dec 2005 16:18:39 -0500 (EST)
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: RSRH on Eisav's chinuch

On Mon, Dec 05, 2005 at 10:25:51PM -0500, S & R Coffer wrote:
: I only know of two times the Ramban criticized the Avos without invoking
: Chazal. .... Regarding Sarah, I didn't research it but perhaps there is a
: source out there somewhere for this : Ramban. I don't think this one example
: is sufficient enough to state that the Ramban would disagree with R' Aharon's
: principle.

IIUC, there are two examples, one of which "perhaps" can be waved away.

However, even one example proves the Rambam held it was mutar. The rarity
shows the threshold of proof the Ramban requires before criticizing the
Avos on his own, but the existence of any case at all wouldn't occur if
he held it was assur.


Micha Berger             Man is equipped with such far-reaching vision,
micha@aishdas.org        yet the smallest coin can obstruct his view.
http://www.aishdas.org                         - Rav Yisrael Salanter
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Date: Mon, 12 Dec 2005 16:20:44 -0500 (EST)
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: On minds and brains

On Sat, Dec 03, 2005 at 11:52:47PM -0500, S & R Coffer wrote:
:> The individual is ne'etzal from HQBH. Thus, your neshamah is His Light,
:> after it passes through a slide that blocks some of the Light to make
:> a particular image. The gashmi is at a lower level, further from the
:> Source of atzilus. Thus, a single beam of light, passing through different
:> olamos, could be your neshamah at one level, and your brain at another.
:> Brain activity would therefore be a physical "shadow", or perhaps, the
:> image of the slide on the screen, of the very same light as the neshamah.
:> The structure of the brain and its physical events is just the physical
:> implementation of the soul as it is manifest in olam ha'asiyah.

: Fascinating but not kabbalistically sound. The brain and all of its
: activity is considered the seat of the neshama and as such cannot be
: ontologically identified with the neshama itself...

This sentence is simply your conclusion stated as a given.

In any case, did you think I was suggesting that the neshamah ceases
functioning when the brain does? Obviously I wasn't identifying the
two. I'm am suggesting that they are different "slices" of the same
"ray of light". Thus the activity of the neshamah leaves its "shadows"
in the activity of the brain.

(This notion of "shadow" or "projection" is complicated by the fact that
the brain experiences time, but there's a machloqes whether the neshamah
achar misah does, and if it does, the nature of the experience.)

As a mashal (meant as a metaphor, NOT an example -- I'm not arguing
for AI!):

At the level at which brains exist, processes require an implementation
in chomer. The implementation is not the process. One can (in theory)
make a computer that operates with ones and zeros made of light, or of
flows of water, or billiard balls as much as one can do so using voltage
levels and chips.

At the level at which neshamos exist, tzuros do not require
chomer. (C.f. the Rambam's discussion of mal'achim as tzuros beli
chomer.) Thus, the process could exist in its pure state.

The brain, using ion and chemical concentrations to run a process
could therefore be an implementation of something that truly exists
in a pure form even without the brain. And when divorced of the brain
(achar mei'ah ve'esrim) that pure form would run faster and free of
elements that introduce a failure rate. But the brain's activity isn't
an effect of the neshamah as much as an implementation of it.

This would make the neshamah logically prior, but not causally prior.

:                                                   Also, bechira occurs
: at the level of ruach in the nefesh whereas the neshama itself, which
: is joined to the nefesh at the level of yechida she'binefesh attached
: to nefesh she'binishama remains entirely uninvolved in decision making
: other than attempting to influence the outcome by means of the neshama
: shebinefesh i.e. conscience. The id of a person is actually the ruach
: shebinefesh which struggles between nefesh she'binefesh i.e. physical
: instinct and neshama shebinefesh i.e. conscience. Neshama is a purely
: spiritual entity that is only attached to us at its lowest level,
: nefesh. ... (culled from Drush Or haChaim of the Tiferes Yisrael, Tanya,
: Ramchal, Gra, R' Chaim Volozhin and Rav Dessler)

But the Ramchal and Gra (and his talmid, RCV) are choleiq on this issue!
According to the Ramchal, consciousness and bechirah reside in the nefesh.
According to the Gra, they define the ru'ach. In the Tanya, Naran is not
the major division, rather it's the Naran of the nefesh beheimis vs the
Naran of the neshamah E-lokis. I have no idea how you culled a coherent
picture from this variety of sources.

As the Gra describes them, I would consider the id the nefesh
shebaru'ach -- the gashmi desires that one brought into the ru'ach
through hergeil, and therefore pollutes (tum'ah, as the opposite
of taharah's purity) the conscious bechirah-making process. As per
<http://www.aishdas.org/asp/2005/11/point-of-decision.shtml>. But I do
not recall the Gra nor the Ramchal speaking in these nesting terms of
X shebe-Y.


Micha Berger             "The worst thing that can happen to a
micha@aishdas.org        person is to remain asleep and untamed."
http://www.aishdas.org          - Rabbi Simcha Zissel Ziv, Alter of Kelm Fax:
(270) 514-1507

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Date: Mon, 12 Dec 2005 17:12:29 -0500 (EST)
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
RE: Moshiach is coming today

R SCoffer wrote:
> On December 6, 2005, Ezra Wax wrote:
>> According to certain authorities we have to believe that Moshiach is
>> coming today.

> Which authorities?

I do not know if he said we /must/ believe the mashiach is coming today,
but the CC famously prepared for the possibility. I assume we all know
the story of his packed suitcase, and of the time someone said "He's
here!" and the CC was disappointed to learn the "he" was a delivery man,
not the melekh hamashiach.

>> 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.

> I think so too. The mitzvah is to wait i.e. yearn for mashiach to come,
> not to believe he is coming today.

This is what it would seem from the pasuq quoted by the Rambam (and
paraphrased by the author of Ani Ma'amin): Im tismahmeiha, chaqei
lo. There is an awareness of the reality that he is tarrying.

Also, the rabbanim who told R' Aqiva that grass would grow between his
toes first... But perhaps they were a special case since they could have
had enough information mei'achorei hapargod to know that he wasn't coming
in their generation. Mah she'ein kein the people of our generation.


Micha Berger             Man is equipped with such far-reaching vision,
micha@aishdas.org        yet the smallest coin can obstruct his view.
http://www.aishdas.org                         - Rav Yisrael Salanter
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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