Avodah Mailing List

Volume 04 : Number 396

Saturday, February 26 2000

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2000 10:38:55 EST
From: Tobrr111@aol.com
Teffilah Lishalom HaMidina

I am looking for sources on the practices of Gedolim and Rabbonim with regard 
to the Teffilah Lishalom HaMidina. I would like to find sources on both 
sides, both pro and against. I am not looking for the attitudes of Gedolim 
and Rabbonim towards Zionism in general - the positions of the Gedolim are 
generally pretty well known - but rather specifically with regard to the 
Teffilah. I would prefer written sources, but if anyone knows the positions 
and practices of various Gedolim, I would be interested in hearing even if it 
was never written. (I am interested in ANY Gadol who addressed this topic, 
from Satmar to Meimad and anywhere in between.)
Toby Rubinson  

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Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2000 10:59:11 -0500
From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
Chilonim/Charedim, Problems and Solutions

> Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2000 03:54:22 -0800 (PST)
> From: Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
> Subject: Re: Chilonim/Charedim, Problems and Solutions

<<I believe the "Caveman" comment was taken out of context by R. Svei.
Dr. Lamm never meant to imply a perjorative to those who learn Torah full
time. >>

	I am aware of this.  However,  either Rav Svei had an agenda,  which is
a possibility;  however,  I fail to understand why YU was at the top of
his "hit" list at the time.  Plenty else for him to hit on,  as he did in
previous and subsequent years.

	If not,  it simply shows,  for Dr. Lamm,  that  "chachomim hizaharu

	For the record,  the term "sonei Hashem" was also quoted,  I believe
from a Rabbenu Yonah,  and Rav Svei's phrasing was,  in quoting the RY, 
that   "someone who does X is a sonei Hashem".  While Rav Svei apparently
 *was*  attacking Dr. Lamm,  still he left open the possibility that if
the glove does not fit,  etc..  
	My bottom line remains the same:  enough blame to go around.


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Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2000 10:24:22 -0600
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: miracles and flood (redux)

On Fri, Feb 25, 2000 at 10:28:20AM -0500, meir shinnar wrote:
:                     Do we understand that the ultimate  miracle and
: manifestation of hashem;s hesed is the creation of a natural order,
: which man can understand (at least partially), and is indeed commanded
: to understand, and that violations of natural order, while possible to
: hashem, are few, and serve specific puroposes?

I find this to be an empty question? The question is "How few?" and 
"Which specific purposes?"

The mabul is described in the text of Torah as miraculous. It was traditionally
assumed this story is both historical, and serves as an allegory to teach a
lesson. The lesson could be taught without the historicity.

The same could be said of any other miracle. I don't see how a non-Deist can
attempt this argument.

: Accepting the flood as pshat is (IMHO) incompatible with the first
: position, as it mocks our ability to derive conclusions from the natural
: order.

No, it stresses the possibility of G-d breaking that natural order. We can
derive whatever we want from *natural* events. The mabul wasn't one, though.

So, my first point is that there's no conflict UNTIL one presumes that
nature applies -- then we have a problem with masorah. It would seem more
logical to chuck the assumption, not to engage in parshanut that runs
outside of masorah.

(You also have a historiographical problem: Why do so many cultures "remember"
this non-existant mabul?)

: However, the first pole is still firmly within the mesora, and attempts
: to preserve it are attempts to preserve the mesora rather than denigrate
: it.

And yet.... there is no basis from within masorah to apply this idea to the
mabul. Extending a philosophical principle to overturn the traditional way
of understanding a pasuk is in and of itself problematic.

Second point: it's halachically problematic to engage in parshanut that
contradicts masorah.

: Lastly, RYGB and R Berger have posited in the past that the Rambam's use
: of allegory has to be limited to ma'ase breshit.

Actually, what I said was that the Rambam's use of allegory is limited to
places where allegory was used by masorah. This happens to be limited to
very few cases: Bereishis, the Merkava and Iyov are the only ones that come
to mind.

Masorah isn't invented, it's transmitted. The understandings we have are
as old as the text. It's one thing to use a one of these ideas to resolve
a new problem, it's another to overturn pre-existing ideas to do so.
The latter is denial of masorah in a way the Rambam in Hil Teshuvah 2:9
would classify as kefirah. (Not that I'm convinced it's lihalachah, nor
would I classify someone whose beliefs logically imply kefirah, but hasn't
actually taken that second step himself.)

:                                                                To bring
: a recent gadol, Rav Kook's letter about extending allegory to gan eden
: assumes as muchl(although we have been down this road).

As we've discussed in the past, R ZY Kook's letter doesn't say that. He
extends Ma'aseh Bereishis (MB), but he does not assume (as others, such as the
Maharal, do) that MB is allegory.

I argued that RZYK's reason for enlarging the concept of MB until parashas
Lech Licha was based on a fundamentally different concept of MB than the one
that lead the Maharal to accept the position of allegory. The Maharal defines
MB as the creative events which are incomprehensible to man because they are
too different from post-MB events, from our experience. He therefore assumes
it is allegorical, since we can't understand the historical version. RYZK
defines MB as being that which is before Jewish history.

The position you're trying to take is a peice from each, and it's a tarta

:                                    There, he argues that the
: Aristotelian position is against basic Torah principles, and must be
: rejected, while the Platonic position is not, and so one could
: allegorize creation if necessary.

.... And you assume that if he would allegorize Bereishis, he would allegorize
anything? The fact that he wouldn't be the first for one, but would for the
other is irrelevent?

:                     However, discussions of historicity are, at least to
: me, quite peripheral to our avodat hashem.

Agreed. But questions of the relationship between masorah and understanding
the text are not. I'm hearing an implication that the belief in a literal
mabul was invented. But that's not what masorah is.


Micha Berger (973) 916-0287          MMG"H for 22-Feb-00: Shelishi, Sisa
micha@aishdas.org                                         A"H 
http://www.aishdas.org                                    Pisachim 118b
For a mitzvah is a lamp, and the Torah its light.         

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Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2000 11:37:38 -0500
From: MPoppers@kayescholer.com
Re: Halachah and ...

Thanks for expanding on your thoughts, Micha.

> Yaakov ish tam yosheiv ohalim. <
"Yes, but."  As we all know, Ya'akov maintained this state
for only the first part of his life, the part before his mother
apparently pushed him into a confrontation with Eisav, the
other side of the "sadeh" coin; with the need for B'rocho in
matters both spiritual and material; with the Outside World.
Ultimately, the B'chira was passed on to his many children,
in whom one can speculate that various spiritual and material
aspects of "har," "sadeh," and "bayis" are interspersed.
> While TIDE looks at an external DE, including mentchlach because of its
impact on others, mussar looks at DE as a means of improving the self. <
Per se, I do think the "DE" in TIDE emphasizes the outside world;
however, the "T" encompasses all.
> Chassidus is very much Yitzchak's field. <
For those who think TIDE is a dry & boring outlook
(i.e. all the simchah is in Chassidus), check out Rav Hirsch's
comment on "v'ho'yiyso ach someach."

All the best (including wishes for a great Shabbos!) from
Michael Poppers * Elizabeth, NJ

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Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2000 11:52:57 -0500 (EST)
From: jjbaker@panix.com
Chilonim/Charedim, Problems and Solutions

 From: Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
> - --- Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com> wrote:  

> > 	It was wrong IMHO that Rav Svei called Dr. Lamm a
> > sonei Hashem;  but was it right for Dr. Lamm to characterize the RW
> > yeshivos as cavemen?  Plenty of blame to go around.
> I believe the "Caveman" comment was taken out of
> context by R. Svei. Dr. Lamm never meant to imply a
> perjorative to those who learn Torah full time. If I
> am not mistaken, Dr. Lamm was simply talking about the
> famous Gemorrah im Brachos, and comparing them to R.
> Shimon Bar Yochai(RSBY) (I think that's who it was)
> who, after emerging from a cave where he learned Torah
> L'Shma for many years was so indignant about the lay,
> non-learning world of the farmer he saw, that his gaze
> at the farmer consumed the farmer in flame.  G-d told
> him to go back into the cave and mellow out. (or
> something like that).
OTOH, it does also have resonances with Plato's Cave: that the people
in the cave only see what goes on in the outside world as a set of
silhouettes projected on the wall by the light in the cave-mouth.
Only when they come outside do they truly understand the way the world
works, that people are three-dimensional.  The knowledge in the cave
is theoretical and limited, only knowledge gained by experience is

See <http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/text?lookup=plat.+rep.+514a>

This resonates with the shul-rabbi/rosh-yeshiva dichotomy,
that the roshei yeshiva can't pasken for baalei batim inasmuch as their
knowledge of Torah's application is limited by their ivory-tower 

That applies equally to RSBY in the cave after the first 12 years:
he (or was it R' Eliezer?) didn't know how to deal with the ordinary
Jewish farmer, having been immersed in the Torah-only world of the
cave for so long.  Only when he slipped up, and meditated on his
boo-boo for another year, did he realize that people are three-
dimensional, and need to be treated as such.
> Comparing Yeshivalite to RSBY is a far cry from
> calling them "Cavemen" in the perjorative sense.

Yes, it is a far cry from calling them "Cavemen" in the sense of
"uncivilized primitives", but it does point out real philosophical
differences between the YU/RIETS ideal and the Torah-Only ideal.

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Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2000 12:28:11 -0500
From: "David Glasner" <DGLASNER@ftc.gov>
Re: skepticism, deism, science

Claude Schoceht wrote:

The main goal of science is to understand nature and, specifically, to be 
able to predict the future. Such predictions must be fairly 
specific (I drop a ball off the Empire State bldg and can predict in 
advance when it will hit the ground). The mathematical theories that are 
constructed each have limited scope. One theory works for matter at the 
quantum level, another theory describes chemical reactions, another DNA. 
Nor does the scientist believe that 
the theory "really" describes the real world - it is simply an 
abstraction which is useful. [For instance, the kinetic theory of gases 
has as its base assumption that each molecule is shaped like a tiny 
sphere. We know this to be wildly false, but nevertheless the theory does 
describe what happens to gases.]

This seems to be an instrumental interpretation of science that is fairly
common.  It is also a good way for believers to try disarm some of the 
threatening implications of science for their belief systems.  (See below for
a specific example.)  But I don't think that it is a correct way to think about
science.  Science is not just an elaborate machine for generating 
predictions about the future.  It does try to explain and (in a certain sense)
describe a real world that is out there.  And science tries to find 
explanations and descriptions that are objectively true, though in fact all
it can ever do is identify where explanations and descriptions are 
(or seem to be) objectively false.  Now for my example.  Galileo refused to 
accede to the demand of the Church that he characterize the heliocentric
theory as merely an instrument for generating predictions of planetary
motion.  Had he been willing to do so, the Church would have happily left
him alone.  But his point was that the earth really does revolve around 
the sun, not the other way around, and he wouldn't compromise on that
issue of principle.  To make his case, he didn't just compare his predictions
with those of the Ptolomeic theory, he provided an elaborate explanation to
explain why we should disregard our everyday experience that convinces
us that the world is flat and stationary and instead accept the Copernican
view that it is round and moving in space.  In fact, the Copernican theory
was so inadequate as an instrumental tool that for a century or longer the 
old Ptolomeic epicycle theory was cranking out predictions as good or 
better than the new heliocentric theory.  To be sure, not all scientific 
theories provide completely realistic explanations for reality.  The 
computational demands for constructing such theories may simply be 
too great to compensate for the small gain in realism.  But scientists 
generally do prefer a more realistic theory to a less realistic one (I am 
now using "realistic" in a very loose way) if the more realistic one is 
theoretically tractable and seems to have the potential to generate
predictions no less accurate than the unrealistic one.  But I seem to be
drifting off into another cyber-mailing list.

Using miracles to help describe nature has a long history of course. The 
trouble with using them in science is NOT that the scientist doesn't 
believe in miracles. The trouble is that you can't predict them (by their 
very definition, they are outside of nature). Hence any theory which 
includes miracles in its basic structure is unuseable. (Would you like to 
depend on a theory of design for airplanes that had miracles built in? 
Bet you'd think twice about flying in such a plane.) The most a scientist 
can say about a miracle in the past is that he doesn't understand it. 
(For instance, the changes in physical laws involved in making "the sun 
stand still" are incredible). But, after all, why should a scientist 
understand a miracle better than anyone else, and why does a frum Jew 
care one way or the other about how a miracle fits into scientific theory?

As a methodological principle, scientists cannot accept miracles or other
"ad hoc" explanations for observed phenomena.  Those are the rules
of the game of science.  But a good scientist should be willing to 
acknowledge the distinction between a methodological principle (all 
phenomena are governed by laws of nature, laws of nature are constant) 
and an objective statement about reality.  A scientist may believe in the 
truth of his methodological principles, but can no more prove the truth of
those principles than a believer can prove the existence of a Deity.  In
the end we believe what we believe.  The most we can do is try to 
talk to each other in a civilized way (both scientists and believers 
sometimes fail to do so) about some of the reasons for our beliefs.  
Obviously, there are also reasons for our beliefs that run deeper than 
our capacity to articulate, which is why such discussions may also 
make us more than a little bit uncomfortable.

David Glasner

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Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2000 13:13:43 EST
From: Joelirich@aol.com
Re: skepticism, deism, science(long)

FYI - think about  Hamechadesh bchol yom tamid maaseh bereshit as well as the 
gemora that says bracha is only found in those things that are hidden from 
the eye.

Shabbat Shalom
Joel Rich

> ONCE.  By GEORGE JOHNSON.   02/22/2000  New York Times News Service  c.
> 2000 New York Times Company   (
> The Science Times)  Appalled by the weird implications of quantum
> mechanics , the rules that explain the workings of the tiny particles that
> make up the universe, Albert Einstein used to stroll the streets of
> Princeton wondering why the moon wasn't smeared all over the sky.  After
> all, the moon is made of these particles, and quantum theory holds that
> until it is observed, a particle doesn't have a definite position. It
> remains suspended in a mathematical limbo: a state of pure potentiality
> consisting of all the possible positions it could conceivably occupy.  Do
> you really believe, Einstein once asked a younger colleague, that the moon
> exists only when you look at it?  Einstein had come face to face with the
> fundamental paradox of quantum mechanics : why the laws that apply so
> precisely to the subatomic realm do not appear to carry over into the
> domain of everyday things.  "According to quantum mechanics , a bottle of
> Coke should be able to exist in a superposition of two locations, both
> here and there," said Dr. Wojciech H. Zurek, a theorist at Los Alamos
> National Laboratories in New Mexico. "We do not see such states. Ever.
> Bottles are either here or there. What eradicates quantum weirdness?" And
> could the solidity of reality really be dependent on the presence of
> observers?  Some physicists believe they are coming closer to an answer
> with a phenomenon called decoherence, in which the particles themselves
> constantly "observe" one another, eliminating the quantum fuzziness and
> yielding the familiar world of solid objects.  In recent weeks this
> theoretical notion received what might be its strongest support yet.
> Experimenters at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in
> Boulder, Colo., observed decoherence in action. They used laser beams to
> gently manipulate an atom, essentially putting it in two places at once.
> Then they measured the breakdown of this perplexing state of existence
> more methodically than ever before.  Dr. Seth Lloyd, an associate
> professor in the department of mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts
> Institute of Technology and an expert in quantum theory, called the work
> an "experimental triumph."  "Certainly no experiments have been done
> previously that so carefully and thoroughly examine the decoherence
> process," he said. "The results confirm to a high degree of precision the
> theoretical predictions of the last 20 years."  Though other groups have
> measured decoherence in the past, the Boulder experiment is the first to
> systematically observe how quickly quantum ambiguity is resolved when a
> particle is exposed to different kinds of environments.  "This is indeed a
> significant piece of work," said Dr. Gerard J. Milburn, head of the
> physics department at the University of Queensland in Australia. Milburn's
> calculations about how quickly quantum fuzziness gives way to tangible
> objects were borne out by the demonstration. "This is the most definitive
> experimental validation of these predictions to date," he said.  In pure
> isolation, sealed off from the influence of its surroundings, a particle
> is represented by a mathematical device called a quantum wave function:
> all of the particle's possible states (its position or momentum, for
> example) cling together in a condition known as quantum superposition. In
> traditional interpretations of quantum mechanics , it is the act of
> observation that causes this wave function to "collapse," forcing the
> particle to choose one state or another.  Physicists have tried to
> discourage mystics by emphasizing that the observer need not be a
> conscious being: an electronic detector or a photographic plate will do.
> It is the collision with the rock-solid world that resolves the particle's
> ambiguous existence.  But many physicists find this explanation
> dissatisfying. They would like quantum mechanics to be a completely
> self-contained theory, with no need to invoke any kind of outside
> measurer. After all, if quantum mechanics is taken to its logical extreme,
> the universe itself can be described by a wave function, all its possible
> histories hovering together in superposition. By definition, there can be
> nothing outside the universe, no external observer or measurer to conjure
> up this particular universe from the plentitude of possibilities.  Maybe
> all it takes to collapse the wave function, Zurek and his colleagues
> propose, is for a particle to undergo some kind of tiny disturbance, to
> come into contact with other particles. The delicately balanced
> superposition in which all the possibilities stick together, or "cohere,"
> would come unglued. It would "decohere." Then the particle could assume a
> particular position.  Or, as Zurek has described it, "the watchful eye of
> the environment" - the particles and waves that pervade creation - is
> constantly making measurements, banishing quantum ambiguity and conjuring
> up hard-edged reality, the familiar world dominated by the commonsensical
> laws of classical physics.  There would be no need for a curious observer
> or even a measuring instrument to solidify Einstein's moon or to put
> Zurek's Coke bottle on one side of the table or another. The decoherence
> caused by the jiggling of an object's own atoms and the particles around
> it would be enough.  To dramatize the problems of applying quantum theory
> to the classical world, the Austrian physicist Erwin Schrodinger devised
> his famous thought experiment in which the fate of a cat is tied to that
> of a single subatomic particle. In one version, a photon (a particle of
> light) is fired at a half-silvered mirror, giving it a 50-50 chance of
> reflecting back or sailing through. If the photon passes through the
> mirror, it strikes a photoelectric detector, activating a circuit that
> breaks a vial of poison and kills the cat. If the photon is reflected away
> from the detector, the cat is spared.  Schrodinger argued that until the
> box was opened and the outcome of the experiment was registered, the
> photon would linger in a superposition of the two possible paths it could
> take, leaving the cat in the uncomfortable position of being
> simultaneously dead and alive.  Decoherence suggests why this is not worth
> worrying about. Each atom in the cat is tied into a complex environment of
> other atoms that constantly interact, spiriting away the quantum effects.
> More specifically, the theory predicts that the speed at which quantum
> superpositions collapse, giving rise to what theorists call
> "classicality," depends on how far apart the alternate possibilities are
> in something called Hilbert space. Put more colloquially, it depends on
> how different they are. A Coke bottle on one side of a table is far
> removed from a Coke bottle on the other side, and a live cat is very
> different from a dead one. Hence, the superpositions - the bottle both
> here and there, the cat both dead and alive - almost immediately go away.
> To observe decoherence in action, the researchers in Boulder trained their
> sights on the "mesoscopic" realm - between the submicroscopic world, where
> particles can hover indefinitely in superposition, and the macroscopic
> world of objects, where superpositions disappear too soon to be noticed.
> In the experiment, reported Jan. 20 in Nature, Dr. David Wineland and his
> colleagues trapped a charged atom inside an electromagnetic field. Using
> laser pulses, the researchers coaxed it into a "cat state" in which its
> outer electron simultaneously had two opposite "spins." It was as though a
> tiny sphere were rotating clockwise and counterclockwise at the same time.
> Laser beams were then used to nudge apart the two states separating them
> by about 100 billionths of a meter.  The experimenters had created weird
> superpositions like this before. This time, though, they went on to see
> what would happen if the "cat state" was exposed to various disturbances
> in the form of electrical fields. As predicted by decoherence theory, this
> interaction with an environment rapidly forced the superposition to come
> undone and the atom took its place in the world. How fast this happened
> depended, as theory predicted, on how far the two superpositions were
> separated.  "We hope these kinds of experiments may shed some light on the
> inconsistencies between what quantum mechanics predicts and our everyday
> experience," Wineland said. He also noted that a deeper understanding of
> decoherence could help scientists build experimental quantum computers.
> In these theoretical devices, all the calculations needed to solve a
> problem would be performed simultaneously in quantum superposition. The
> result could be extremely powerful machines that crack problems now
> considered impenetrable. But first scientists would have to learn how to
> control decoherence, keeping the superpositions from collapsing before a
> calculation is done.  Decoherence has also been measured in other
> laboratories under entirely different conditions. In 1996, Dr. Serge
> Haroche and his colleagues at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris
> created cat states by putting an electromagnetic field into a
> superposition in which its waves were simultaneously in different phases -
> reaching their crests and troughs at different times. Then they upset the
> quantum balancing act by sending an interloping atom - a "quantum mouse" -
> through the field. They too found that the larger the separation between
> the alternate quantum states, the faster decoherence came into play.  "In
> all of the cases studied, decoherence behaves as predicted by theory,"
> Zurek said. "What is best, they confirm the prejudice of theorists (like
> yours truly) that quantum theory can explain this emergence of
> classicality without any modifications (which have been invoked by other,
> more desperate but no less reputable theorists)."  The University of
> Oxford physicist Roger Penrose, for example, has proposed that the mystery
> of how classicality arises cannot be completely understood without
> radically overhauling quantum theory and uniting it with Einstein's
> general theory of relativity - one of the biggest challenges facing
> physics.  Even if decoherence succeeds in solving the problem of
> Einstein's moon, a central mystery will remain: the theory may explain why
> people do not see the weird quantum state in which the Coke bottle is on
> both sides of the table. But nothing explains why, when the superposition
> collapses, the bottle ends up on, say, the left side rather than the
> right.  As some physicists see it, decoherence must cause the universe to
> somehow split in two, spawning this world, where the bottle is on one
> side, and another, parallel world where it is on the other. According to
> this "many worlds" interpretation, all the different ways history might
> have unfolded coexist in superposition.  Some physicists, like Dr. David
> Deutsch at Oxford, insist that these parallel universes are as solid and
> real as our own. Others, like Lloyd, believe they should merely be thought
> of as abstract possibilities - things that did not occur.  "The criterion
> for things being real ought to be that we're able to get information about
> them," Lloyd said. "The alternatives in the other worlds are inaccessible
> and therefore unreal. I really got up this morning and fried an egg for my
> daughter and myself. There is another world where my daughter and I had
> cereal.  "The cereal world is in the wave function of the universe, but
> it's not real in the sense that any information I'm going to get will
> falsify the hypothesis. All the information says we had eggs. Look at my
> cholesterol level!"  Is there another universe where he is picking a
> milk-sogged Cheerio from the end of his spoon and wondering how anyone
> could possibly think he had eaten eggs? As far as this Dr. Lloyd is
> concerned, it does not really matter.  Copyright (c) 2000 The New York
> Times Company.

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Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2000 12:37:35 -0600
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: skepticism, deism, science

On Fri, Feb 25, 2000 at 12:28:11PM -0500, David Glasner wrote:
:           Science is not just an elaborate machine for generating 
: predictions about the future.  It does try to explain and (in a certain sense)
: describe a real world that is out there.  And science tries to find 
: explanations and descriptions that are objectively true, though in fact all
: it can ever do is identify where explanations and descriptions are 
: (or seem to be) objectively false.

According to the Britanica
the case isn't so open-and-shut. There is a spectrum of ideas from realist
(as you are describing) to phenomenalist. It should be noted that most of
the founders of Quantum Mechanices agreed with the Copenhagen Interpretation
of their theory, which is a phenomenalist philosophy.

All that is a bit tangential to the Jewish issue. As I see it, there's a
cultural phenomenon involved. We live in what RYBS described as an Adam
I oriented culture -- focussing on being able to understand and control
nature. The Western literati therefore do not with to be viewed as

(What members of other religions think their fundamentals tell them to do
certainly isn't helping. However, some of this is caused by the first issue:
religious crazies are branded "fundamentalist" because it was already a
pajorative term.)

We O Jews are fundamentalists. There are matters that none of us would
assume a skeptical stance on. Our application of Occam's Razor is with
the understanding that a mistake in masorah is a LARGE assumption, greater
(and therefore on the wrong side of the razor) than saying that current
Egyptological theory is wrong (for example).

The question is how far on the fundamentalist - skeptic axis one feels
comfortable on. And, how much of that axis is to be included within the
O tent.


Micha Berger (973) 916-0287          MMG"H for 22-Feb-00: Shelishi, Sisa
micha@aishdas.org                                         A"H 
http://www.aishdas.org                                    Pisachim 118b
For a mitzvah is a lamp, and the Torah its light.         

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Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2000 12:44:50 -0600
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: skepticism, deism, science(long)

On Fri, Feb 25, 2000 at 01:13:43PM -0500, Joelirich@aol.com wrote:
: FYI - think about  Hamechadesh bchol yom tamid maaseh bereshit as well as the 
: gemora that says bracha is only found in those things that are hidden from 
: the eye.

Winding down my work week in preparation for Shabbos, I'd like to share the
following idea from R' Chaim Davis <rabbi@koshersupermarket.com>.

How can we give eidus to ma'aseh bereishis? After all, none of us were there.
Yet, we are required to give testimony to it.

Each Shabbos you get a neshamah yeseirah. This N"Y is a new creation, something
produced yeish mei'ayin. Therefore not only does accepting the eidus create
this N"Y, but it also provides direct experience of creation -- thereby
justifying the testimony itself.


Micha Berger (973) 916-0287          MMG"H for 22-Feb-00: Shelishi, Sisa
micha@aishdas.org                                         A"H 
http://www.aishdas.org                                    Pisachim 118b
For a mitzvah is a lamp, and the Torah its light.         

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Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2000 16:21:44 EST
From: TROMBAEDU@aol.com
Re: Chilonim/Charedim, Problems and Solutions

In a message dated 2/25/00 11:54:42 AM Eastern Standard Time, 
jjbaker@panix.com writes:

<< OTOH, it does also have resonances with Plato's Cave: that the people
 in the cave only see what goes on in the outside world as a set of
 silhouettes projected on the wall by the light in the cave-mouth.
 Only when they come outside do they truly understand the way the world
 works, that people are three-dimensional.  The knowledge in the cave
 is theoretical and limited, only knowledge gained by experience is
 complete.  >>

Of course, this is not correct pshat in Plato. Platos cave represents his 
idea of forms, the ideal thing, and our inability in the non-educated state 
of Philosophy to perceive the true version. We are only able to see the 
temporal world version of the form.  For instance, he would say that there is 
an ideal horse. When we look at a horse, we are seeing a representation of 
the ideal, but not the ideal itself. Those are the people in the cave. When 
we study philosophy, and truth, we prepare ourselves to be able to perceive 
the true versions of things. The more educated, the better idea of the form 
is available to us.


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Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2000 10:40:12 -0500
From: "Stein, Aryeh E." <aes@ll-f.com>
re: diyukkim

Here's one more diyuk that I recently saw (from R' SZ Auerbach):  Near the
end of Modim in Shemona Esrai, we say "V''al nifl'oesecha v'tovosecha
shebechol ais erev v'voker v'tzahariyim ha'tov...."  According to Artscroll,
there is a period/pause after "v'tzahariyim."

According to R' SZA, the phrase "erev v'voker v'tzahariyim" relates back to
"Nodeh l'cha, oo'nasaper t'hilasecha..." and does not relate to "shebechol

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that this is the "right" way
<g>....all I am doing is pointing out what RSZA held.

In the same sefer (Halichos Shlomo) I saw a question that never occurred to
me before:  In shemona esrai and in benching, we say "Oseh Shalom
bimrovav...v'imru amen."  Who exactly are we talking to when we say

(FWIW, Halichos Shlomo is a new sefer (highly recommended by yours truly)
about RSZA's opinions on "halachos and halichos" related to tefila.  I just
started learning it, and I have already come across several instances where
he "disagrees" with R' Henkin (WRT whether children should say a "short"
benching when there are time constraints) and with the MB (WRT saying
tachanun after shkia and WRT having sugar with your coffee prior to
shacharis) and with R' Moshe (WRT a woman's chiyuv of kiddush on Shabbos
morning before her husband comes home from shul). 

Kol tuv and Gut Shabbos,

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Date: Sat, 26 Feb 2000 23:48:01 -0500
From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>

One last word on this:  my father showed me that the Mesorah (edition
Netter) says that all the Mordechais in the Megila are shva,  except two
which are chataf kamatz,  and that the Sefaradi seforim have all shva.

Gershon Dubin

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