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Volume 28: Number 237

Wed, 23 Nov 2011

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Eli Turkel <elitur...@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 22 Nov 2011 10:08:26 +0200
[Avodah] order of mishnayot

REMT says

<<The p'rakim date back at least to the time of the amora'im.  In Bava
M'tzia 35a, Rava says that he was learning from Rav Nachman, "upirkin
Hamafkid hava."  The individual mishanyos would appear to be the decisions
of printers; apparently, each perek consisted of a single mishna, as is the
case of the first perek of Sanhedrin as printed in the standard Bavli.  In
many places, what are different mishnayos of a perek in all printings are
referred to in the g'mara as "reisha" and "seifa," indicating that they are
parts of the same mishna.>>

Nevertheless the order of some perakim is different between our gemarot and
that in the mishnayot.
Note that in theory this would affect the order of a stam mishna mishna
versud a machloket (I dont know if
any such case occurs in practice)

Eli Turkel
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Message: 2
From: Eli Turkel <elitur...@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 22 Nov 2011 10:23:56 +0200
[Avodah] reality

<<in general, whenever Chazal make a scientific statement, they are not
talking about the observable universe but rather the "real" universe. What
we - and the scientists - see is only a graphic user interface, so to
speak. The real world - the real sun, real moon, real earth - is not
observable by current scientific means. Chazal were talking about the real
world when they spoke. I'd recommend this Shiur    [  link  available
there]  for a full treatment.

Therefore, the Jewish sages were talking about the "real" universe, which
indeed behaves exactly as the Chachmei Yisroel described. The non-Jewish
scholars were arguing with limited information, i.e. with what their
scientists could see on the "outside," GUI world. We agree that on the
outside, it would appear the way they say. But the Chachmei Yisroel saw
deeper, they saw into the real world and there, their description is

Many of the conflicts between modern science and the science of chazal
actual halacha. So this line of thought claims that halacha depends on the
world and not the observable world. I note that no rishon gives this answer
this is not the general approach of achronim. Tosafot says that nishtane
Instead he could have said that "real cow" gives birth later than our
physical cows.

In addition since much of what is science in Chazal is identical to Greek
science of the day
it appears that the Greeks knew more about the "real world". They  both
knew that
the circulatory blood system is not "real" and there are connections
between the eye and the heart or
between the lungs and the heart that modern anatomy hasnt discovered yet.

Eli Turkel
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Message: 3
From: T6...@aol.com
Date: Mon, 21 Nov 2011 23:04:16 -0500 (EST)
Re: [Avodah] Sand and stars

I wrote:

>> Today we know that there are in fact MORE stars in the  universe than 
are grains of sand on earth!  The numbers are  staggering, truly  
mind-boggling, numbers that even the greatest genius  cannot really grasp.  
 There are 
somewhere between two billion and  four billion stars in our galaxy  alone, 
and this Milky Way galaxy is  only one of BILLIONS OF  GALAXIES! <<

I made a mistake and thereby vastly UNDERcounted the number of stars in the 
 universe.  I should have written that there are TWO HUNDRED BILLION stars  
or more in our galaxy.  I have even seen estimates of four hundred billion  
and six hundred billion.  
Now I am sure that everyone here can easily visualize the difference  
between a mere two billion and two HUNDRED billion.......
Just in our galaxy alone.
Can you, by the way, picture the DISTANCES involved -- knowing that there  
are billions of galaxies?!  If light travels at 186,000 miles a second, it  
takes light from our sun eight minutes to reach earth.  The sun is 93  
million miles away.  Eight minutes to go 93 million miles.  OK, now,  there are 
visible galaxies that are so far away that their light left them not  eight 
minutes ago and not eight years ago, but a MILLION years ago!  Every  eight 
minutes that light traversed another 93 million miles, and it still took a  
million years to reach us. Who can possibly grasp such distances and such  
numbers?  And there are galaxies that are visible to the Hubble telescope  
that are much, much further away than a million light-years.  Many of the  
stars we see are actually entire galaxies consisting of hundreds of millions of  
Have a look at this, for instance:  

This is why I have said in the past that the more science one knows, the  
greater the appreciation of  "mah gadlu ma'asecha Hashem" and "mah rabu  
ma'asecha Hashem."
PS If anyone is worried about the idea that light left some  of those 
galaxies millions of years ago and has been traveling towards  us for millions of 
years, here are a couple  of ways to think about  it:
A. Bereishis may be talking about our planet and not about the entire  
universe, which may have been created long before our earth.  (Rashi  himself 
points out that there was already water on the first day, but that the  Torah 
never says when the water was created.)
B. Another possibility is that the universe was created with the light from 
 the stars already enroute, AS IF it had been emitted millions of years  
ago.  That's another way of saying that the universe was created LOOKING  like 
an old universe.  Just a possibility.

--Toby  Katz


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Message: 4
From: David Cohen <ddco...@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 22 Nov 2011 11:16:33 +0200
[Avodah] Chillul HaShem and Davening on Airplanes

R' Yitzchok Levine pointed out that the gedolei haposekim object to
minyanim on airplanes due to concerns of chilul haShem.

I am not sure that this is analogous to the cases that were previously
under discussion.  Here, the chilul haShem is not caused by our very
peformance of a mitzvah that the onlookers consider strange or unrefined,
but rather by the fact that it disturbs the other passengers in the small,
closed space of the airplane.  A better analogy would be making a minyan at
a public gathering where lots of NJ onlookers might see the "strange"
practice that might not necessarily increase their respect for the Torah,
but it wouldn't actually get in anybody's way or disturb anybody.

-- D.C.
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Message: 5
From: Ezra Chwat <Ezra.Ch...@nli.org.il>
Date: Tue, 22 Nov 2011 11:36:58 +0200
Re: [Avodah] Division of Mishnayos

From: Yisrael Dubitsky
Sent: Tuesday, November 22, 2011 11:26 AM

Replying to (Avodah 22.11.11 v28n236 #5) R Elazar Teitz's assertion that
"The individual mishnayos would appear to be the decisions of printers":

In the generations initially following RI Ha Nassi's canonization of
The Mishna, there is already an awareness of subdivision of chapters
into mishnayot, then called "Halakhot". This is evident in Beratha
Kinyan Tora (commonly known as Pirkei Avot chap. VI) "Ha-lomed pereq
ehad o Halakha ahat". Yerushalmi in a number of places specify a text
unit called "hilkhita", such as in Berakhot II 6 we hear from Shmuel:
"that Hilkhita which is at the beginning of the chapter", indicates that
the subdivision is accepted and known. (See RYN Epstein, Mavo LeNusakh
HaMishnah, 5708 pp. 999-1000)

In the 10-11th century complete Mishna manuscript in the Kaufmann
collection (http://kaufmann.mtak.hu/en/ms50/ms50-coll1.htm), not only
are the chapters subdivided into numbered mishnayot, but some of these
"Hilkh[ot]" are counted at the end of each chapter, like the masora
counts psukim at the end of each parshah.

In Rambam's preparatory drafts of perush ha-Mishnah we see short phrases
of mishnah signified by an overline, that are clearly not diburei
ha-mat'hil, rather the words that start a new mishnah. (Hopkins,
Maimonides Commentary on Tractate Shabbat, Jerusalem 2001; Chwat &
Sabbato, Yeshurun XV (Nissan 5765), pp. 15-30). Rambam follows this
example in Mishneh Torah, as he mentions in the introduction, after
stating his intention to imitate the literary scheme of the Mishnah,
he justifies the subdivision into Halakhot: "And each chapter I will
[sub]divide into smaller Halakhot so that they should be [easily] arranged
(=memorized, digested) by heart". (The numbering of the halakhot in MT
is not the Rambam's own numeration per se; in his drafts he signaled
a subdivision by three dots, but it was a printer's convention to add
the numberings. Hence, differences in where the halakhot division and
numbering often varies by edition; see Kafih and Frankel editions for
common differences).

Dr. Ezra Chwat, Yisrael Dubitsky
The Department of Manuscripts/
Institute of Microfilmed Hebrew Manuscripts
E.J. Safra Campus, Givat Ram POB 39105,
Jerusalem 91390, Israel
Tel: 972-2-6586232 fax: 972-2-6584606
blog: Giluy Milta B'Alma: http://imhm.blogspot.com

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Message: 6
From: David Riceman <drice...@optimum.net>
Date: Tue, 22 Nov 2011 09:19:02 -0500
Re: [Avodah] reality

RSN (citing someone):

<<in general, whenever Chazal make a scientific statement, they are not 
talking about the observable universe but rather the "real" universe.>>


<<Chazal don't speak of reality as it is, but reality as we are able to 
experience it directly.>>

See the beginning of the sixth Be'er in Be'er HaGolah (in Rabbi 
Hartman's edition try p. 145). The Maharal's formulation is that Hazal 
spoke, not about the laws of nature, but about the divine laws which 
induce the laws of nature.

Compare the Ramban on Shoftim 18:9.

David Riceman

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Message: 7
From: "Chana Luntz" <Ch...@kolsassoon.org.uk>
Date: Wed, 23 Nov 2011 11:14:53 -0000
[Avodah] Chillul HaShem and Davening on Airplanes

> At 11:41 AM 11/17/2011, R. Meir Rabi wrote:
> >N)     I believe that R ShZA, discouraged or prohibited people forming
> a >Minyan on a plane, due to concerns of ChH. I understood that this was
> true
> >even when all the J were davening in that Minyan and all the other
> >passengers were NJ. If I understand R Zev correctly, he would insist
> that
> >this is a KH.

And RYL quoted inter alia RHS:
> "However, it is still not proper to gather a minyan together near the
> washrooms, disturbing all the other passengers and the stewardesses.
> As much as various Torah giants of our generation have expressed
> their opposition to such minyanim on airplanes[2], their message has
> not yet been accepted."

> 3) quotes Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (Halichos Shlomo, page 75), Rav
> Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe Orach Chaim vol. 4 siman 20), Rav
> Ovadiah Yosef, and Rav Shmuel Wosner all objecting to minyanim on
> airplanes that disturb other passengers

The thing is that there is another aspect that is going on in a plane the
people appear to be barely cognisant about.  The plane is and remains the
property of the airline.  They may sell you a licence to sit in your seat
for the duration of the flight, such licence including reasonable access to
the common areas (such as the passage ways to the bathrooms), but the
property rights remain with the airline.  Holding a minyan on an aeroplane
is really not that different to barging into my house and insisting on
holding a minyan in my playroom, despite the fact that I own my house, and
the playroom is designated for the use of my children.  It is a form of
trespass, a property infringement, and would be even if I granted access to
all ten of you to use the bathroom.

Now of course, if the plane were to be chartered by some frum organisation,
and they included in the contract that between the hours of X and Y,
minyanim would be held in the back of the plane, then the crew would
understand that part of the contract under which they were operating
included allowing for such minyanim, would arrange to schedule their meal
serving and whatever around such minyanim and would not regard such minyanim
as "disturbing" them from their work.  Nor would the passengers object,
since they would have agreed to fly on such terms.  Indeed, they may well
have been attracted to fly with this charter because of advertisements
regarding the presence of minyanim on the flight.

But that is not what happens with a regularly scheduled flight.  Nor is this
a case of ze nehene v'ze lo chaser, because as RHS points out, the other
passengers and stewardesses are disturbed and prevented from doing what they
might reasonably be expected to be allowed to do (such as going to the
bathroom, serving the dinners etc).  So basically what you have is a form of
property theft, the appropriation of the space at the back of the plane
against the wishes of the owners and others to whom the owners have granted

So any davening in such a minyan would seem to be a mitzvah haba b'averah,
and thus, given that it is done in front of non Jews and non frum Jews,
would constitute a chillul Hashem.  What it says is that frum Jews are not
careful about the property rights of others (think Lot versus Avraham).

> YL



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Message: 8
From: "Rich, Joel" <JR...@sibson.com>
Date: Wed, 23 Nov 2011 09:47:13 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Chillul HaShem and Davening on Airplanes

So any davening in such a minyan would seem to be a mitzvah haba b'averah,
and thus, given that it is done in front of non Jews and non frum Jews,
would constitute a chillul Hashem.  What it says is that frum Jews are not
careful about the property rights of others (think Lot versus Avraham).

> YL



However I have been on ContinentaL (United) flights which have the galley
in the rear where the flight attendants have allowed for a minyan out of
the other passengers way as long as it doesn't interfere with meal times.
There have been cases though that in that situation the captain has turned
on the seat belt sign due to turbulence and I encouraged the other
minyanairres to go back to their seats due to the chillul hashem issue.
(majority ignored me :-))
Joel Rich
distribution or copying of this message by anyone other than the addressee is 
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Message: 9
From: "Shoshana L. Boublil" <toram...@bezeqint.net>
Date: Wed, 23 Nov 2011 17:09:00 +0200
Re: [Avodah] Bat issues

> Date: Tue, 15 Nov 2011 12:16:40 -0800
> From: Saul.Z.New...@kp.org
> Subject: [Avodah] bat issues

> http://www.rationalistjudaism.com/2011/11/bat-responsa.html
> some modern  torah  approaches  to  realities  of  today's science,  in
> this  case  bat  reproduction

[SLB writes] I read the article and propose a different solution - learn the

Female bats use a variety of strategies to control the timing of pregnancy
and the birth of young, to make delivery coincide with maximum food ability
and other ecological factors. Females of some species have delayed
fertilization, in which sperm are stored in the reproductive tract for
several months after mating. In many such cases, mating occurs in the fall,
and fertilization does not occur until the following spring. Other species
exhibit delayed implantation, in which the egg is fertilized after mating,
but remains free in the reproductive tract until external conditions become
favorable for giving birth and caring for the offspring. In yet another
strategy, fertilization and implantation both occur but development of the
fetus is delayed until favorable conditions prevail. All of these
adaptations result in the pup being born during a time of high local
production of fruit or insects. 
(from Wikipedia, so pls if this incorrect - notify them).
Now here is a scientific description of chicken reproduction:

The sperm live inside the female reproductive system and each time an
ovulation occurs (every 24-26 hours in good egg producers) the egg can
become fertile. (http://www.ruleworks.co.uk/poultry/reproduction.asp)

So, a specific element of the reproductive process is the same for chickens
(egg laying) and bats (nursing mammals).
In essence, using terminology from the time of Chazal (and not modern
scientific jargon) the majority of animals, do not have delayed
fertilization. This is a unique situation. Both reproductive methods are
similar, and different from regular mammal fertilization.

If you look at the information, it sounds like Chazal actually had a pretty
good idea of the correct reproductive system of bats.

Shoshana L. Boublil

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Message: 10
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Wed, 23 Nov 2011 12:44:37 -0500
Re: [Avodah] hasehm??

On Sun, Nov 06, 2011 at 10:55:57AM -0800, Harvey Benton wrote:
: does Hashem have feelings??


1- Having different feelings would require change / time

2- They are attributes that could be split off from the essence, and thus
ascribing them to G-d would defy Yichud haBorei.

3- They are features of the human condition that at times get in the
way of the most productive choice; it's like asking if HQBH could catch
a cold.

: (eg, i am with you in your tzar?? {mekor??)

"Imo Anokhi betzarah" is from Tehillim 91:15.

But like all anthropomorphications of the Deity, it is not describing
Hashem as He is. Rather, it is Hashem as He shows Himself to us as an
example to emulate.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Man is a drop of intellect drowning in a sea
mi...@aishdas.org        of instincts.
http://www.aishdas.org                         - Rav Yisrael Salanter
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Message: 11
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Wed, 23 Nov 2011 13:15:21 -0500
Re: [Avodah] other inyanim (like buddhism)-nirvana??

On Wed, Nov 09, 2011 at 12:49:27PM +0000, kennethgmil...@juno.com wrote:
: R' Harvey Benton asked:
: > they hold we have gilgulim (and we do as well) perhaps thier
: > exact numbers of gilgwhat does buddism expound and is it
: > azara??

: There are many such things which are common to many religions. My
: approach is to ignore them.

In general I agree, but in the case of gilgulim...

It is interesting to note that in Emunos veDei'os 6:8, R Saadia Gaon
rejects a concept R' Ibn Tibbon translated to "haataqah". (I don't know
the Arabic original.) RSG's description: "the soul of Reuven will return
to Shimon, and then to Levi, and then to Yehuda. Many of them say that
there are times when the soul of a human enters an animal and the soul
of an animal enters a human, and many other such matters of madness and
confusion." (Translation from Ibn Tibon's Hebrew by Amitai Halevi.)
And RSG describes people who believe such things as "people who are
called Jews", who bought into a belief that isn't from the mesorah and
did indeed originate in those other religions.
(See <http://www.daat.ac.il/daat/mahshevt/kapah/6b-2.htm#8> for R' Yosef
el-Qafih's [Kapach's] translation.)

See also the Iqarim, 4:29, who writes, "umikan yatza lachakhmei haqabalah
daas hagilgul" then gives a philosophical basis to their belief. But
continues "aval ein zeh nachon"!
(See text at <http://www.daat.ac.il/daat/mahshevt/ikarim/d11-2.htm#2>.)

And also numerous old threads.

In any case, the relevent bit in revisiting this topic is simply that
according to RSG, if not RYAlbo (the Iqarim), the answer to RHB's general
question might be RAM's, but not when speaking of gilgul in particular.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             When a king dies, his power ends,
mi...@aishdas.org        but when a prophet dies, his influence is just
http://www.aishdas.org   beginning.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                    - Soren Kierkegaard

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Message: 12
From: Yaacov Shulman <yacovda...@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 23 Nov 2011 21:33:40 +0200
[Avodah] brachot and going from room to room, and a new

A new scientific study may be relevant to the idea that when a person
changes rooms he makes a new brachah on food: in short,

"Entering or exiting through a doorway serves as an ?event boundary? in the
mind, which separates episodes of activity and files them away."

The whole article is to be found at

Yaacov David Shulman
Translator; Editor; Ghostwriter
Specializing in Torah and literary texts
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