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Volume 16 : Number 133

Wednesday, February 15 2006

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Wed, 15 Feb 2006 00:23:41 -0500
From: "Aryeh Englander" <iarwain1@earthlink.net>
Re: Mabul

Here is an article I just saw by a noted historian that promotes a local
flood: http://user.tninet.se/~oof408u/fkf/english/flood.htm

Major points:

- Mesopotamian chronology is not a problem (at least for the date he has -
  I guess it's the accepted Christian one - of c. 2500 BCE for the Mabul;
  for us, it presumably would also not be a problem, especially if you add
  186 years for the Persian period) - see the article for exactly why the
  chronology is not a problem.
- Geologically, there seems to have been a major Mesopotamian flood
  around 3500 BCE
- Harim hagevohim could mean "high hills"
- Just like in this view "kol hashomayim" means as far as Noach could
  see, so too harim hagevohim means the high hills that Noach could see -
  the Zagros and Caucasian ranges were over the horizon.
- Harei Ararat could mean the high hills in the beginning of the Ararat
  (= Urartu for you history mayvins) region, which may have extended quite
  far south.

As he notes, the hill regions of southern Urartu are about 300 -500
meters above sea level. This would mean that the Mabul was at least that
high. A quick glance at my atlas shows that this is certainly feasible -
a flood in Mesopotamia less than about 500 meters above sea level would
cover the entire area of Mesopotamia and Northern Syria, perhaps even
connecting the Gulf to the Mediterranean, but it would not have spread
west over the Syrian Desert, north into modern-day Turkey, or west over
the Zagros. We're talking a huge area here - it's maybe a thousand miles
from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean coast and at least about 250
miles wide at the narrowest point.

Problems I noticed:
- How does a flood that is geologically dated to 3500 BCE help us with
  a flood occurring a thousand years later? I guess you'd need to check
  out the geology to see what can be fiddled around with. [If anybody
  besides me is actually interested in doing that research, you should
  probably check up on the presumed flooding of the Black Sea as well,
  perhaps that can also be tweaked to fit a date for the Mabul.]
- Does anybody know of any reliable source that harim can be taken to
  mean high hills?
- It says that the water took a long time to go down. That means that
  the flood couldn't have just been local, or it would have washed quickly
  back out to sea. Instead, you'd have to posit that the whole world's sea
  levels rose by at least 300 meters. This would have covered much of the
  world, not just Mesopotamia. So we're back to a basically global flood
  again. [Note that this problem becomes diminished the lower you put the
  height of the Mabul. I'd guess that if you say the Mabul was only 150
  meters high, then the problem disappears because you're only left with
  extensive global coastal flooding. But then you're back to the problem
  of harim and Harei Ararat.]

Aryeh L. Englander

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Date: Wed, 15 Feb 2006 12:44:07 +0000
From: Chana Luntz <Chana@kolsassoon.org.uk>
Re: Mabul

RMB writes:
>> On this view one just has to treat the whole episode as completely
>> miraculous and outside of history - although I note that you do seem
>> to need what might be called "follow up" miracles which are presumably
>> within history, such as what I call the "airlifted animals" miracle.

> Actually, it looks like RSRH folded in the airlifting of animals with
> the haflagah. That part of creating new languages is the creation of
> new environs, new experiences, and therefore differing perceptions of
> the world.

I am no RSRH expert, bu I am rather surprised to hear you say this.

The airlifting animals situation involves a fairly dramatic change of
physical reality (either airlifting them in, creating pathways through
all of the waters of the world linking islands a la krias yam suf,
or destroying such land bridges that previously existed without a trace).

Most people would have understood the changes involved in the creation
of new languages and perceptions as taking place within human beings -
basically a tinkering with the mystery of what enables us to talk and
think. They seem rather dramatically different, and I am surprised that
RHSH in particular would want to link them together

> Allegory is different than other creativity in only one way -- we have a
> TSBK statement that says X. Therefore, it's always an example of creating
> a new shitah when there is no silence.

I think though that you are missing something of the subtlety of the
approach that refers to hatorah dibra b'lashon bnei adam.

Let's take a person from the dor hamabul as the mesorah has always
understood such a person. If you were to ask them to describe "kol
ha'aretz" would they have included Australia and England and South America
(for example)?

Yes true an angel would have included these places, and yes from our
modern perspective of probably knowing more about the physical world
and having spread out more widely we would unquestionably include these
places - but would a member of the dor hamabul, or a person who stood at
matan torah have ever understood these terms to mean what we understand
them to mean?

So how is it exactly that the mesorah understood these terms? In divine
terms (knowing what we know today) or in terms of the people to whom
the experience happened and/or the people to whom the Torah was given?

If you say the latter, then the fact that *today* we might describe the
area covered by the flood as a region of all the land masses of the world,
might well be irrelevant if that is not how the dor hamabul would have
described precisely the same areas from their perspective.

> Chana Luntz wrote in a later post:
>> I think you are confusing two different issues - the dating of human
>> beings and the global nature of the flood....

> This still poses a problem with accepting archeological findings, as
> Egypt, China, Mesopotamia and many other cultures have records that --
> *IF* dated correctly, imply a continuous presence since before the tower
> and flood.

Yes, that's right, that is what I said above. The dating of human beings
is an issue - the point being it is an issue whether or not you posit a
global flood - it is a creation issue in any event, which is why I see
no point in discussing it in the context of the flood.

If you say the world is under six thousand years old, you have a problem
with this dating whatever you posit about the flood.

If you say the world is more than six thousand years old, then you have
a range of options, which I then attempted to list: 
> Of course, I still do not understand why one has such buy-in to the
> methodology. Belief in yetzi'as Mitzrayim and matan Torah requires
> questioning the reliability of current archeological methodology. So,
> once one is in for a penny, why not go in for the whole pound? How does
> one accept the scientific argument as authoritative in one context but
> not the other?

Agreed, which is why option one in my list if you held the world was more
than 6000 years old was still to challenge the archeological findings
ie regarding the dating of human beings.

On the other hand, in the interests of trying to set out the alternatives,
there are others: the second option I gave was to push back the dating
flood (if you say that yes there was a flood, even a global flood, but
it happened 200 million years ago, I don't think you have a problem with
archeological findings of human settlement, although you may have with
explaining the genealogy between Noach and Avraham).

Chana Luntz

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Date: Wed, 15 Feb 2006 09:36:55 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Mabul

On Wed, Feb 15, 2006 at 12:44:07PM +0000, Chana Luntz wrote:
: RMB writes:
:> Actually, it looks like RSRH folded in the airlifting of animals with
:> the haflagah. That part of creating new languages is the creation of
:> new environs, new experiences, and therefore differing perceptions of
:> the world.

: I am no RSRH expert, bu I am rather surprised to hear you say this.

I reached this conclusion reading his commentary on Ber' 11:1-9. I invite
you and Avodah's readership at large to check for themselves and comment
if they think I'm streching it.

: Most people would have understood the changes involved in the creation
: of new languages and perceptions as taking place within human beings -
: basically a tinkering with the mystery of what enables us to talk and
: think. They seem rather dramatically different, and I am surprised that
: RHSH in particular would want to link them together

I can see one arguing about whether RSRH was invoking miracle, but this
part is explicit. RSRH does not see the creation of safos as languages
as of mindsets, and that is caused by differing flora, fauna and climates.

I will wait take more time commenting on the rest of your post.


Micha Berger             One who kills his inclination is as though he
micha@aishdas.org        brought an offering. But to bring an offering,
http://www.aishdas.org   you must know where to slaughter and what
Fax: (270) 514-1507      parts to offer.        - R' Simcha Zissel Ziv

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Date: Tue, 14 Feb 2006 22:11:37 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: TSBP: Its change of sequence over time

On Sat, Feb 11, 2006 at 11:00:10PM -0500, rabbirichwolpoe@aol.com wrote:
: About a zilllion years ago I posted that TSBP was learned as a commentary
: to the Torah Shebichsav "Mechilta/Sifrei style" iuntil Rebbe and his
: predecessors re-sroted TSBP by tractate etc.

I agree with your comment about the styles, however, the books themselves
pretty much coincided. The midrashei halakhah are devei R' Yishma'el or
devei R' Aqiva. This is the same R' Aqiva who started the mishnah project,
followed by R' Meir (stam mishnah) and finally Rebbe.


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Date: Wed, 15 Feb 2006 18:31:37 +0200
From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
Re: Creation & allegory

Zev Sero wrote:
> I'm sorry, I'm just not getting something.  Rashi's explanation seems
> very simple to me (which is as it should be, since it's supposed to be
> understood by 5-year-olds), and I don't see what more is needed, or what
> makes you think that Rambam is saying something different.  Rashi says
> that the sun was created on the first day (Rambam clarifies that it was
> at the first moment), but not put into the sky until the 4th day, and
> the same goes for the plants, birds, animals, etc, which were created
> at the first moment, but didn't emerge until the appropriate time.
> What's the problem with that?  And where does anyone say that the light
> created on the 1st day is in any way connected with the astronomical
> bodies that were put into place on the 4th day?

Whether a 5 year old feels he understands Rashi is irrelevent to the
issue of whether his commentary contains profundiites not grasped by
that 5 year old.

Look at the Abarbanel 5th question in Bereishis, look at Gur Aryeh to
Bereishis 1:14.

Regarding your last question - how do you understand the gemora which
states that the light was created on the first day but was not put in
place until the fourth?

You might also look at the Malbim to 1:14 where he asserts that the sun -
which was created on the first day - did not have light. Light was also
created on the first day. He asserts that it was this light which was
gathered together and placed in the sun on the 4th day.

Daniel Eidensohn

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Date: Sat, 11 Feb 2006 21:59:47 -0500
From: "Cantor Wolberg" <cantorwolberg@cox.net>
Yisro "The Object Of The Whole Torah Is That Man Should Become A Torah Himself" Baal Shem

Next week's portion is "Yisro." There are six sidrot named after
individuals, three of whom were not Jewish and three of whom were
Jewish. Four were righteous people and two were wicked.

The non-Jewish were Noach, Yisro (who became a convert to Judaism)
and Balak. The Jewish were Sara, Korach, and Pinchas.

The righteous were Noach, Sarah, Yisro and Pinchas. The wicked were
Korach and Balak.

For those interested in g'matria, the following may catch your attention:

The g'matria of Noach is 58. The word "chayn" [58] is what Noach found
in the eyes of HaShem.

The g'matria of Sarah is 505. The word "V'la-a-voseinu" [505] would
relate to Sarah as the first of the 4 Matriarchs.

The g'matria of Yisro is 616. The word "HaTorah" is also 616. Yisro
was the father-in-law of the most important prophet who received "The
Torah." Also, Rashi informs us that Yisro had seven names -- Re'uel,
Yeser, Yisro, Chovev, Chever, Keini, and Putiel. He was called Yeser
(addition) for he advised Moshe in the matter of the judicial system,
thereby adding on to "The Torah." When he converted and fulfilled the
Mitzvos the letter "Vav" was added to his name, hence the name Yisro.

The g'matria of Korach is 308. The word "kivro" [308] means "his burial
place" (or his grave). Korach talked himself right into "his burial

The g'matria of Balak is 132. The word "avono" is also 132. In thinking
of Balak, we can only think of "his iniquity" (in the collective sense).

Richard Wolberg

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Date: Wed, 15 Feb 2006 14:56:13 +0000
From: Chana Luntz <Chana@kolsassoon.org.uk>

 bjk1@pipeline.com wrote on areivim:
>I see recently someone posted on a blog about a problem of buying produce from 
>Israel in Chutz L' eretz.  When stuff is exported to the US there is no one 
>taking off trumos and maashros is that indeed the case? The blog where I saw 
>that this problem mentioned seems to be a very new blog 

The article on blog in question states as follows:
>Tevel from Israel 

>There are several kashrus websites that warn that Israeli produce sold in the 
>States is tevel. The Israeli exporter does not take truma and maaser on 
>produce that is exported. There are also processed foods that are sold in the 
>States made from tevel.

>I don't understand the American Rabbis that warn against eating tevel, and 
>say take truma and maaser from any Israeli produce.

>Wouldn't the correct thing be to warn against buying tevel in the first 
>place? If American Jews buy tevel, what would induce the Israeli exporter, or 
>Israeli manufacturers to take truma and maaser themselves? If it became clear 
>that Israeli produce wasn't being bought, only because it's tevel, it would 
>certainly bring about a change.

>Whether you agree, or not, that not buying Israeli produce is the safest way 
>to make certain that you are not eating tevel, at least be aware that eating 
>tevel carries an onesh karet. Therefore, before eating Israeli produce, one 
>has to make sure that he/she takes truma and maaser.

>That is if it's even permissable to have truma in chutz la'aretz.

A commentator on the blog named Moshe then argued that:
> I disagree. Most of the purchasers of exported produce are non-Jews, so 
> there is no need for Israel to take terumot and ma'asrot for them. 

This sounded like a great topic for a bit of shabbas research, so I
went off to have a look to see what I could find as a result of which,
comments are as follows:
>at least be aware that eating tevel carries an onesh karet.

I don't think that is true b'zman hazeh certainly for Sephardim, and I
would say for Ashkenazim as well.

The Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah in siman 331 si'if 2 states that terumos
and ma'asros b'zman hazeh are d'rabbanan "afilu b'makom shechaziku bo
olei bavel".

Note that the reason for this is is given explicitly in the Shulchan
Aruch there that the pasuk says "ki tavou" mashma "be'ius kulchem v'lo
be'ius m'ktzaschem"

Not surprisingly therefore Rav Ovadiah Yosef holds in that the obligation
to tithe today even in eretz yisroel is d'rabbanan (see Yabiat Omer
chelek 6 Yoreh Deah siman 28).

As kares is a punishment for violation of the d'orisa prohibition of
tevel, it seems to me therefore that this statement is clearly incorrect
for Sephardim.

The Rema on the Shulchan Aruch there adds in siman 331 si'if 2 that there
are those who disagree and say that even today in eretz yisroel you are
chayav d'orisa (citing the Tur [who cites Rashi]) but "ach lo nohagu ken".

(note that the Shach explains those who disagree and say trumos etc are
d'orisa today as applying the pasuk only to chala and not to terumos
and ma'asros).

However other meforshim such as the Tzvi L'zedek on the side of the
Shulchan Aruch quote the Sefer Charedim as bringing "harbei geonim"
as also holding like Rashi and the Tur, that it is a min hatorah today
in eretz yisroel - and that therefore "yesh l'chachmir k'kol hani geonim".

[Note by the way that there is a Mishna L'melech (perek 7 of Hilchos
Terumos halacha 17) who holds that when the rabbis enacted trumos and
ma'asros, they enacted them like the di'orisa prohibition, and hence
that trumos d'rabbanan ought to be treated like a d'orisa for matters
such as going in a safek l'chumra. Arguably that gives another reason
for going l'chachmir even if you indeed held it was d'rabanan. (ROY in
Yabiat Omer chelek 6 Yoreh Deah siman 28 argues against holding like
this Mishna L'melech for various reasons, and quotes "rov achronim"
(including ashkenazi achronim) as rejecting this Mishna L'Melech)
butthat is all by the by].

But even if one wants to say that one should l'chatchila go l'chumra on
the basis that there are weighty opinions who hold that trumos u'ma'asros
b'zman hazeh is d'orisa, it seems a stretch to go on to say that if
in fact a person ate tevel, ie once we are in the bideved situation he
would be chayav kares given the psak of the Rema that "lo nahagu ken".

> Most of the purchasers of exported produce are non-Jews, so there 
> is no need for Israel to take terumot and ma'asrot for them. 

I don't think this makes any difference. The Rambam hilchos terumos
perek 1 halacha 13 clearly states that peros that a Jew sold to a non-Jew
after "shebo'u l'onas ha'masros", there is rabbinic obligation to take
terumos u'masros "af al pi shenigmaran ha'akum" and Rav Kook (Mishpat
Cohen hilchos terumos u'ma'asros siman 31 and again in siman 50) states
unequivocally that this continues to hold. One of the concerns is indeed
that the non Jew will then go on to sell to them to a Jew, but we appear
to be talking about a rabbinic enactment here, hence whether or not
about rov purchasers from the non Jew are Jews or non Jews should not
make any difference.

Hence to the extent that the Rabbanut are taking terumos and ma'asros for
all the produce of eretz yisroel, why should the fact that they are sold
to a non Jew put them in any different situation? Unless you want to say
because this is a vadai d'rabbanan, whereas there are these chashashos
that maybe stam tevel is is d'orisa. Still the whole taking of trumos
u'ma'asros by the Rabbanut is pretty bideved, so it seems odd that they
would do it only to be machmir for a shita that the Rema explicitly says
"lo nahagu ken" if they would not do it for a d'rabbanan obligation.

Of course it is always possible that the reason why they do not take (if
in fact they do not) is because the produce is exported before it reaches
the stage where trumos and ma'asros become required, and after that it is
in the hands of the non Jew, but that gets us into what appears to be the
more interesting issue which is what is the situation in chutz l'aretz:

The mishna in Chala (perek 2, mishna 1) has a machlokus between R'
Akiva and Rabbi Eliezer which states that "peros chutz l'aretz shenichnas
l'aretz chayavin b'chala yezei m'kan l'sham Rabbi Eliezer mechayav u'Rabbi
Akiva patur" and the Kesef Mishna brings that the Yerushalmi gives the
reason of Rabbi Akiva as being because the Torah says "ha'aretz asher
ani meyvi eschem shama" "shama atem chayvin be'en peros ha'aretz be'en
peros chutz l'aretz" "shamaya atem chayavin v'ei atem chavyin b'chutz
l'aretz", and it is clear from everybody that we posken in such a debate
like R' Akiva.

Hence the Rambam in Hilchos Terumos perek 1 halacha 22 states:

"Peros eretz yisroel shyetze hutza l'aretz pturin min hachala, u'min
haterumos u'min hama'asros shenemar asher ani mevi eeschem shama.
V'im yezei l'suriya chayvin m'divrehem"

and very similar language is used in the Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah,
siman 331, si'if 12, without any dissent from the Rema.

The Shach there si'if katan 20 states that this is "afilu m'peros shel
eretz yisroel d'i m'peros shel chutz l'aretz pshita d'ha chova karka he".

So far it would seem, so clear.

BUT, it turns out there is a Mishna L'Melech, on this Rambam (ie hilchos
terumos perek 1 halacha 22) which states that the mishna in chala and
the Rambam are only talking about a case where the produce is exported
before it reached the status of being chayav in terumos and ma'asros
(hamachlokus zeh haya davka kshehitchayev b'chutz l'aretz"). But that
if exported afterwards it indeed does have the status of tevel, and is
chayav in trumos and ma'asros.

And Rav Moshe (Iggeros Moshe Yoreh Deah chelek 3 siman 127) after bringing
the mishna in chala, the Shulchan Aruch and the Rambam on peros in chutz
l'aretz this concludes "l'dina harei kol ha'achronim sovrim k'chiddush
ha Mishna L'Melech she'byezei l'chutz l'aretz achar m'revach v'chen kol
pri acher shenitchayav b'trumos u'masros chayavin b'chutz l'aretz v'cha
issur tevel"

Unfortunately however, Rav Moshe does not say who "kol ha'achronim" are.

The only person on the page of the Shulchan Aruch who appears to even
bring the position of the Mishna L'melech is the Tzvi L'tadok (although
he does not quote his explicitly). As mentioned the Shach does not
(and surely if he held by it he would have brought it in the si'if katan
referred to above), nor can I see it in the Gra (who does not appear to
comment on this portion of the si'if at all).

The Sde Chemed in his index headings under Teruma only even discusses
"tevel b'eretz yisroel b'zman hazeh u'bchutz l'aretz b'zman habayis"
- which is interesting because the implication that there is nothing
to discuss in chutz l'aretz b'zman hazeh, although I may be reading too
much into it. I could not find anything in Mishpat Cohen on topic, or in
Minchas Shlomo (he does not appear to refer to this si'if of the Shulchan
Aruch). And again I could find nothing in Yachave Daat or Yabiat Omer
(I was hoping the latter would give me an insight into whether or not
"kol haachronim" included Sephardi achronim - and in any event, the
usual exhaustive citations that are ROY's trademark).

Certainly if you read the Kesef Mishna on the Rambam there in hilchos
ma'asros perek 1, (which for some reason in my edition is labelled
as si'if katan 23, even though it is clearly on halacha 22), at least
by implication he seems to reject the chiddush of the Mishna L'melech
(he discusses the position of the Ra'avad, there who clearly argues on
the Rambam and is not that different in this regard) which leads me to
speculate that Sephardi achronim might not be so tempted to follow the
Mishna L'Melech - especially if they take a ROY like, "we always follow
Maran" approach.

So, this is where, I stuck.

Are there other poskim that disagee with Rav Moshe on the subject of
holding like the chiddush of the Mishna L'Melech? Could the Rabbanut in
fact hold contrary to Rav Moshe and this be the reason why they do not
take terumos and ma'asros in respect of exports (if in fact they do not)?

Have people traditionally been doing some poskening on the basis of
safek d'rabbanan l'kula and sfeik sfeikos where the situation is unclear
(eg maybe the produce was exported before it was chayav in trumos
u'masros and maybe the Rabbanut took (although that you should be able
to establish) and maybe the halacha is not like the Mishna L'melech and
maybe if terumos and ma'asros in eretz yisroel are only d'rabbanan then
the rabbis were not metaken such on produce exported to chutz l'aretz
into the hands of a non Jew)?

Any further thoughts or information anyone.

>That is if it's even permissable to have truma in chutz la'aretz.

Well as far as I could see in this whole discussion including on the
mishna nobody objected to truma being in chutz la'aretz - so that at
least would not seem to be a problem.

Chana Luntz

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Date: Wed, 15 Feb 2006 10:29:27 -0500
From: "Dubin Avrohom \(Abe\) P" <Abe.Dubin@buckconsultants.com>
Tal Umotor

We begin saying Tal Umotor on December 4, sometimes December 5.
Halachically, the time for beginning is 60 days after the Tkufas
Tishrei. It is generally understood that the Tkufos fall on the solstices
and the equinoxes. Therefore, Tkufas Tishrei falls on the autumnal
equinox, which is September 19 or 20. Has anyone ever seen a source
for beginning on December 4 that ties to the 60-day rule? Although I
don't see why it should be relevant, even if you factor in the 11 day
gap between the Julian and Gregorian calendars, you will not get to
December 4.


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