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Volume 16 : Number 123

Tuesday, February 7 2006

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Tue, 7 Feb 2006 10:06:54 -0500
From: "Moshe Y. Gluck" <mslatfatf@access4less.net>
RE: Rape- Sources?

I (MYG) wrote:
> Well, the guy is killed. 

To which R' Mark Dratch answered:
> not if she's a single woman!

R' Dratch is forgetting the question I responded to, namely, "And
nowhere does it speak of consequences for the rape of a married woman
(except whether or not she is subsequently forbidden to her husband)."


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Date: Tue, 7 Feb 2006 14:27:32 EST
From: T613K@aol.com
Re: Rape- Sources?

In  Avodah V16 #121 dated 2/7/2006 R' Mark Dratch wrote:   
> 1. I am not including the chumash as a source because:
> a) there is no disctinction in the Torah's death penalty for the married
> woman scenario between consensual and nonconsensual sex... so is it
> because it's rape or because its adultery.

It is true that when the Torah prescribes the death penalty for a man who
has relations with a married woman, it does not give additional penalties
for rape over and above the penalty for consensual sex. What additional
penalty could it give once it has stipulated death?! Well, I suppose you
could whip the man -- or fine him -- before executing him, but I think
that in halacha, if a person incurs two penalties for the same act,
he is only given the more severe of the two. (I'm not sure about this,
though, or about anything else that follows below.)

> b) the punshment does not apply to the rape of a single woman.

It is true that raping a single woman does not incur the death penalty
but I just don't know how you can read the Torah and still be wondering
whether rape is forbidden.

> c) no where does it say that it's forbidden-- is it a sex crime?
> assault? theft? it's not there and it's not not clear.

It could be multiple crimes, depending on what exactly the guy did.
If he beat the girl or otherwise assaulted her he has to pay all
the specified fines for any assault -- damages, doctor fees, etc.
If he kidnapped her he is subject to the death penalty (I think).
If he coerced her by threatening bodily harm -- and took her to a
secluded place -- I think that that would be considered kidnapping.

> 2. As for the fine-- that may also come to compensate for financial
> damage and not as a punishment for a crime. So maybe there is financial
> damage to the father in terms of the dowry that he can collect.

You are not wondering whether rape is forbidden, but whether it is
a civil or a criminal offense. I think maybe it depends on the
circumstances, and in some cases it might really be a civil offense.
As others have mentioned in this thread, "rape" isn't always rape --
it may be seduction with varying degrees of coercion and consent.

To give a possibly unrelated example, I once read of a teshuva to the
following shaila from a couple of centuries ago: a very foolish woman
had a boarder who -- while her husband was away on business -- persuaded
the woman that he (the tenant) was the father of Moshiach and that G-d
had told him that she was the mother of Moshiach, and that Moshiach
would be born from their holy union. She believed him and acquiesced.
You can imagine the commotion that ensued when the husband got home and
found out what had happened. The shailah was, could she afterwards go
back to her husband? The answer was, yes, what had happened to her was
a form of rape. What should be the penalty for that? (I don't know
the answer, actually -- death I assume, but the bais din in Poland
probably did not have that power. But my point was that the boundary
between consensual and non-consensual sex may be unclear at times.)

As for paying damages to the father -- I don't think it's a matter of
compensating him for damage to his "property" but possibly compensating
him for the expenses he is going to incur by having to support a daughter
who may not find a husband so easily after what happened. I think that
when you read legal texts in a dry legalistic way it is easy to lose
sight of the fact that in most families, fathers love their daughters
and don't think of them as "property" but want to take care of them as
best they can.

> And if  it is a crime, why allow the rapist to marry his victim?

What that does is it forces him to pay her upkeep FOR THE REST OF

It seems to me that if that happens once in a generation, that would be
sufficient deterrent to all other would-be rapists. It wouldn't even
have to happen, it would just have to be /taught/ to the boys in Gemara
class or in the parsha.

Why she would want to marry her rapist is another question -- and if
she doesn't want to, she doesn't have to -- it's up to her, not up
to the rapist, to decide that -- but that question has already been
answered by others. Depending on her circumstances, she may not have
any other marriage or work options and this will be a way for her to
be supported. Or the "rape" may have been a seduction and she may end
up marrying a paramour whom she really doesn't mind marrying at all.
That too would be quite a deterrent to most teenage boys BTW. If they
knew that by talking a reluctant girl into sex they would risk having
to get married at 15 and having to keep that wife until death, I think
the rate of premarital sex would go way way down.

 -Toby Katz

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Date: Tue, 7 Feb 2006 16:56:58 -0500 (EST)
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Rape of Dina

MSDratch@aol.com wrote:
> As for a developing ethic that exceeds what the Torah commanded at Sinai
> based upon devloping moral sensitivities, see, for example, the words of
> Rav Kook that follow. He argues that the Torah, at times, "speaks against
> the evil inclination" and allows things that ultimately will be forbidden.

The fact that you contrast ethic with "Torah *commanded* at Sinai"
(emph mine) caught my eye.

There are three things:
1- Dinim that require or prohibit specific behaviors
2- Dinim that require specific attitudes and values (Hil' Dei'os,
vehalakhta bidrakhav, qedoshim tihyu, etc...) which then may call for
particular acts to be done or avoided based on context and the person's
development in that area.
3- Other ethics.

There is no proof that category three actually is desirable. IOW,
developing moral sensitivities is in category 2. It does not exceed what
the Torah commanded. And, in fact, I would question any value that can't
be mapped to one of the moral imperatives of the Torah.


Micha Berger             The trick is learning to be passionate in one's
micha@aishdas.org        ideals, but compassionate to one's peers.
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Date: Tue, 7 Feb 2006 17:19:16 -0500 (EST)
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Slavery

R Zev Sero wrote:
> You can't sever a rosh ever. But you are allowed to physically discipline
> a slave; I'm not sure that you're not allowed to inflict permanent
> injuries, so long as they don't affect a rosh ever. (Though it makes
> sense to me that any injury or severe beating should be assur lechatchila,
> if only through a kal vachomer from tzaar baalei chayim....)

According to dinei tokhachah, one is allowed to hit another Ben Yisrael in
order to discipline them -- if it were in a context where such discipline
would work. What leads you to believe this din is different?


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Date: Tue, 7 Feb 2006 09:36:34 -0500
From: "M Cohen" <mcohen@touchlogic.com>

see http://www.meorot.co.il/archive/en338.pdf

R' Gamliel's Navigational Tool

The Gemara tells us that R' Gamliel had a tool which he used to measure
the two thousand amah boundary of Shabbos, both on land and by sea
(see Rashi).

The Gaonim (cited in Meiri, here; Teshuvos HaGaonim 28, 314) explain
that his tool was a narrow tube. When looking directly downwards through
a tube, one can only see his feet. As he raises the angle of the tube,
he can see farther away.

An object was placed at an exact distance of two thousand amos from
the holder of the tube. The tube was slowly raised until it could see
the bottom of the object, but no farther. R' Gamliel marked the angle
that the tube was held in order to view this object. From then on, he
was able to determine the distance of any object, by holding the tube
at the same angle. This method was only effective when viewing objects
on a straight plane.

In his commentary to the Mishna, the Rambam seems to suggest that the
tool was more complicated than this. He writes that there is no need
to explain at length the specifics of this tool. Those familiar with
trigonometry, the study of triangles and the proportions between their
sides and angles, will surely understand how these principles are
applied in navigation. Those unfamiliar with trigonometry, will not
fully understand how R' Gamliel's tool worked.

There are six parts to any triangle: three sides and three
angles. According to the calculations developed by mathematicians, in
almost all cases any three parts whose measures are known can be used
to find the measures of the other three parts, if at least one of the
known parts is a side. It was such a computation that R' Gamliel used
in determining the distance to the t'chum Shabbos.

Based on the Talmud Yerushalmi (Eiruvin 4:2), some suggest a third
possibility of how R' Gamliel's tool worked. As we know, the closer an
object is, the larger it appears. It therefore takes up a larger portion
of our field of vision. A building on a distant skyline takes up only
a small part of our view. When we stand face up to it, it blocks our
sight entirely.

R' Gamliel had a tube with a simple piece of glass at its end, which did
not magnify his vision. On this glass, he made markings equally distant
from another. For the sake of explanation, let us say that they were
one millimeter apart. When an object was distant, it would cover only
one marking, a small part of his view. When it drew closer, it would
cover many markings, a larger part of his view.

When using such an instrument, the length of the tube also determines
how many markings will be covered by a distant object. To demonstrate,
hold your hand adjacent to your face, with fingers separated, and look
at a distant object through the crack between two fingers. Slowly, draw
your hand away from your face, and you will see that the same object may
be seen through all the cracks of your hand. Similarly, with a shorter
tube, the glass is closer, the markings appear larger, and the object
viewed at a distance appears to equal only one of them. With a longer
tube, the glass is farther, the markings appear smaller, and the object
viewed appears to equal many of them.

R' Gamliel would then use this tool to measure the boundary of the t'chum
Shabbos. He would take a pole that he knew to be one meter tall, place
it a distance of one thousand meters, and note that it appeared to equal
one millimeter on his glass. He could then calculate that the object in
sight was at a distance of exactly one thousand times the length of the
tube. This simplified measuring the boundary. Rather than drawing strings,
and counting their lengths, an object of known height could be sighted
from afar, and its distance calculated based on how large it appeared in
relation to the markings on the glass (See "Physics in Jewish Sources",
p. 15).

In previous generations, the Romans would build towers of set heights
next to their ports, in order to help the navigators on incoming ships
measure their distance from shore

Mordechai Cohen

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Date: Tue, 7 Feb 2006 17:12:31 -0500 (EST)
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Rabban Gamliel's tube

R Shmuel Weidberg wrote:
> In Eiruvin daf mem gimmel omud beis it describes a tube that Rabban
> Gamliel had that could see exactly two thousand amos, and if something
> was farther away it would be invisible. Can anyone describe the optics
> of this tube and give an accurate assessment of its margin of error?
> Was such an instrument known by the goyim as well? Is there a web site
> that addresses these issues?

It sounds like Rabban Gamliel had a tube with a pinhole at one end. The
tube kept the pinhole the right distance from your eye to have objects
2,000 amos away in focus.

Details about would require knowing more about the pinholes than we do.

Mention of pinhole optical devices like that one (I don't know if this
one in particular, but certainly the science was there) date back to the
writings of Mo Ti (Motty? <g>) in China from around 500 BCE. Aristotle
also wrote about it. Ibn al Haitham (known as "Alhazen" to the West),
a contemporary of Rabban Gamliel, used the pinhole camera (a pinhole
used to project an image on a wall) to study light.


Micha Berger             The trick is learning to be passionate in one's
micha@aishdas.org        ideals, but compassionate to one's peers.
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Date: Tue, 7 Feb 2006 14:18:30 +0200
From: "Shoshana L. Boublil" <toramada@bezeqint.net>
Re: the Mabul

From: T613K@aol.com
> In Avodah V16 #119 dated 2/6/2006 R'n Chana Luntz writes:
>> On the other hand, the other approach is to try and minimise the
>> number of miracles involved (based on an understanding that part of the
>> glory of Hashem's creation is that everything was pretty much set from
>> breishis.... and therefore it is appropriate to understand the mabul as
>> something that was part and parcel of laws of nature as we know them....
>> But following that approach means you end up with concepts like a local
>> flood.... 
> This approach is the one that seems most reasonable to me, but it still
> leaves some questions. When you talk about the "known world," for example
> - -- known to whom? To all the people alive at the time of the mabul?
> That would not just be people around the Mediterranean then. Even though
> the "known world" as late as the 14th century (known to Europeans that
> is) did not include Australia -- there WERE people in Australia --
> or were there? How did they get there? How long have humans been in
> Australia? Were they part of the sin, were they part of the flood?
> And what about Indians in the Americas, were they around before the flood?

While I don't have accurate information concerning all the questions,
I collect native folklore and there is a very interesting phenomenon.
Many nations, including some from South America (for example) have a
folktale that talks about a flood that comes as a punishment to mankind
and a single surviving family.

Others have variations on the theme, that includes a figure that comes
to the people and teaches them laws (aka 7 Mitzvot of Bnei Noach).

Hawaians, for example, have a fable that claims that they came by boat
from Islands probably around the phillipines.

In short, you can find fantastic information while examining folklore.

Shoshana L. Boublil

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Date: Tue, 7 Feb 2006 11:34:20 -0500
From: "S & R Coffer" <rivkyc@sympatico.ca>
RE: Emunah, Perakim and the Mabul

On February 5, 2006, Micha Berger wrote:
> On Tue, Jan 31, 2006 at 09:47:29PM -0500, S & R Coffer wrote:
>: I agree with most of what RMB has stated thus far but I disagree with the
>: above. Ovadia would have found precisely the same "set of writings" but
>: would have interpreted it differently than one influenced by scientism. I
>: mention scientism because, as RMB points out, the Torah cannot contradict
>: the imperatives of the beriah. It is merely our lack of understanding
>: that causes apparent contradictions to surface.

> That's a totally different position than the one I was advocating.

> I'm saying that according to the understanding of nissim of the Maharal
> and REED, different people experience different realities. The person
> who sees justice as more real than gravity, will actually experience a
> universe in which moral law holds sway at the expense of physical law.
> This person will experience nissim, whereas other people would live in
> a reality where nature holds sway.

I don't see the above sources the same way as you (surprise surprise
:-) Rav Dessler never claims that certain people live on an entirely
miraculous plane. Even R' Chanina ben Dosa who was milumad benissim
(mi she'amar lashemen vi'yidlok...) lived in a reality where teva
"held sway". As R' Dessler explains, there is a spiritual reason for oil
burning as opposed to vinegar (as everything else in the beriah) however
the kedusha of RCBD's Shabbos superseded this consideration. The reason
RCBD was zocheh to this, and other miracles, is because he related to
all of teva as a manifestation of Hashem's ratzon and thus there was no
difference to him between oil burning and vinegar burning. As far as neis
and teva goes, RCBD surpassed the limit of bechira in this aspect and thus
Hashem had no reason to withhold miracles from him, where necessary. This
does not mean to say that RCBD lived on a miraculous plane his whole life.

> I was suggesting that we don't dig up evidence of nissim for the same
> reason we don't experience nissim. That doesn't mean nissim didn't happen
> for people who did (and will) live on that plane.

I'm not sure what you mean. Are you implying that we can't find evidence
for any of the nissim which occurred in the past, like, for instance,
the assara makos, because we have never experienced a neis? Why? Why do
we have to live on a miraculous plane to discern evidence of the hanhaga
of neis?

> Once you believe that empirical reality needn't be consistent, it's
> impossible even in theory to show a contradiction between the empiricist's
> results and the Torah. One reflects the teva experience of reality,
> the other, the neis.

You are compromising the attempts of kiruv (not that this has to be a
consideration but I am merely being 'machnis' you 'bidvarim'). Much of
kiruv richokim (not to mention kiruv kirovim) is based on demonstrating
that the Torah is perfectly in concert with empirical evidence. I
don't see why you feel the two are exclusive. I agree that the laws
which governed MB were different but once Hashem set teva in motion
(although, according to some shittos, he is constantly renewing reality),
there is no reason to say that two separate planes exist. Even R' Chaim
Volozhiner, who tytches "roim ess hanisham v'shom'im ess ha'nir'a" as
living on a different plane only means to say that klal Yisrael related
to teva differently, not that teva didn't actually continue to exist
for them. They still had bodies and were still subject to laws of nature
(although temporarily exempt from death). It was an issue of perspective,
not reality (I'm getting a feeling of deja vu).

Obviously, I agree that it is possible for a person to surpass the
limitations of teva, like Moshe Rabbeinu on Har Sinai, but this is an
exception to the rule, not the rule. Also, don't bring me a ra'aya from
the Ramban in parshas Bo. He means that we exist above teva because teva
follows the spiritual reality (when we are zocheh to be on that madrayga)
not that there is no teva or that teva is a different plane.

Simcha Coffer 

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Date: Tue, 7 Feb 2006 16:44:44 -0500 (EST)
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
RE: Emunah, Perakim and the Mabul

R Zvi Lampel wrote:
> But the Torah /does/ utilize the phrase "kol haaretz" in posuk 8:9 --
> "ki mayyim al pnei kol haaretz" -- if that will be convincing.

I agree with your maskanah, but even so I don't think anyone could bring a
ra'ayah from "ha'aretz" even with a "kol". The word could mean "country"
or "region", so one can't prove "all of what?" However, the references
I already gave, including "kol hashamayim" are less ambiguous.

But I find this whole line of reasoning specious. The question isn't being
posed to Tzeduqim. Therefore, our ability to invent our own peshatim
should be irrelevent. The only question is whether the idea fits Torah
as a whole, including TSBP. Which is why:
> Interpretations given by Chazal or Rishonim are not crackpot
> interpretations. Adaraba. It is through Chazal, and how rishonim
> understand Chazal, that we are guided to the correct approach towards
> pesukim -- as opposed to through "interpretations" that fly in the face
> of Chazal and rishonim...

Later, you write:
> We have the principle that "ain mikreh yotzai miday peshuto." When, on
> the face of it, a Midrash or Chazal contradicts the peshat of a posuk,
> different rishonim tolerate different degrees of leeway one has in
> conforming the peshat to the Chazal before concluding the the Chazal
> was never meant to be taken literally.

I disagree with your interpretation of this quote. After all,
we have miqra'os (ki Yad al keis Kah) that are excluded from simple
translation. The question is whether peshuto is an issue of history vs
allegory. I wouldn't assume they're the same chiluq.

> Regarding the Mabul, the Rishonim find Chazal's statement about the
> unique situation in Eretz Yisroel to be at odds with the peshat....

Why? Even with "kol", calling 99.5% "kol" is within normal lashon, no?

>     (This addresses RCL's last observation in her post regarding
> the liklihood of EY being flooded "in a truly global flood." I.e.,
> according to the Ramban, it was.)

The Ramban says the world was flooded, but in the quote in question it
just shows that the Ramban assumes that areas that would flood into EY
were flooded, which is far less than the whole globe.

> WADR, it is deceptive to phrase it that the Midrash, as analysed by
> the rishonim, "suggests a not entirely global flood" that "fails to
> destroy at least two humans." -- It doesn't suggest the survival of "at
> least two humans" outside of Noach's family, but of /only/ two-- "and
> [fails to destroy] an entire country."...

In fact, the use of the word palit to refer to Og implies that being
an escapee of the flood was a notable quality, not something true of
most people.

Second, I wonder if Og was human anyway.

Last, what about the halachic impact? Do these purported peoples of
non-flooded areas have permission to eat meat? IOW, which beris are they
bound by -- the one with Adam, or the one with Noach? (And if the latter,
why?) For that matter, those of you who feel there are non-Adamite humans
alive today, are they subject to ANY of Hashem's berisos?


Micha Berger             The trick is learning to be passionate in one's
micha@aishdas.org        ideals, but compassionate to one's peers.
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Date: Tue, 7 Feb 2006 10:18:33 -0500
From: "S & R Coffer" <rivkyc@sympatico.ca>
RE: Creation & allegory

On February 6, 2006, Daniel Eidensohn wrote:
> Lisa Liel wrote:
>> The Rambam "seems to assert" in the Moreh that there won't be korbanot
>> l'atid la-vo. That's a direct contradiction to the laws of korbanot
>> in the Yad. It's not a contradiction. The Moreh contains apologetics.
>> You have to consider the intended audience.

> I am disturbed by your confident dismissal of an apparent contradiction
> in the Rambam by simply asserting that the Moreh Nevuchim contains kiruv
> Torah or apologetics. That is not the way we were taught to approach the
> Rambam in yeshiva. Are you claiming that the Rambam wrote explanations
> he knew to be false in order to remove doubts of confused people?

Are you claiming that the Moreh contains no apologetics at
all? Apologetics in this context does not mean false. It means "not
the best possible answer". If I make the following assertion "wives are
beneficial because they serve dinner" the statement may be true although
it certainly falls short of an accurate portrayal of the general benefits
of "wives". OTOH, dinner may happen to be a very important element to a
prospective "chasan" so in order to induce him to be mikayem the mitzvah
of getting married a shadchan might resort to highlighting the culinary
abilities of the prospective kallah.

Simcha Coffer  

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