Avodah Mailing List

Volume 12 : Number 042

Saturday, November 8 2003

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Thu, 6 Nov 2003 18:24:16 +1100
From: "SBA" <sba@iprimus.com.au>
Ziknah and illness (was: Zaknus and Illness

From: Kenneth G Miller <>
> <<< Al Tashlichenu L'eis Ziknah, Kichlos Kochenu Al Tazveinu. >>>

> ...Rav Teitz suggested that this sounds a little apikorsish, as if we
> are asking HaShem not to abandon us later on. Are we so confident that
> we can take care of ourselves in the present?

> The way I remember it, he offered a different punctuation: <<< Al
> Tashlichenu L'eis Ziknah Kichlos Kochenu, Al Tazveinu. >>> (Do you see
> the comma is moved two words down?)

My Selichos Hameforosh brings the Rashi on Tehillim:
"...Al Tashlicheinu milfonecho - af im nihyeinu zekeinim bechatoim,
klomar, shechotou harbeh..."


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Date: Thu, 6 Nov 2003 15:47:26 +0200
From: Eli Turkel <turkel@post.tau.ac.il>
bathroom reading

> Do we differentiate between "They believe in God" (JPost), "God-d*mn"
> (modern novel), and "In the beginning God created..." (Printed tanach)?

> Can one read a printed tanach in the bathroom?
> Does the language matter?

I believe there is a psak from R. Chaim David Halevi zt"l (chief rabbi
of TA) forbidding bringing anything in Hebrew letters to the bathroom.
He interpreted Ktav Ashuri as including modern Hebrew letters even with
a completely secular content.

Prof. Eli Turkel,  turkel@post.tau.ac.il on 06/11/2003
Department of Mathematics, Tel Aviv University

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Date: Thu, 6 Nov 2003 22:59:13 +1100
From: "SBA [reply to sba@iprimus.com.au]" <sba233@optusnet.com.au>
Discussion re segulas

Discussion re segulas of Sandeko'os and Netilas Yodayim with extra water:

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Date: Thu, 6 Nov 2003 08:36:36 -0600 (CST)
From: gil@aishdas.org
Re: question on leshon ha-Rambam

Yisrael Dubitsky wrote:
> Specifically, in his hakdamah to MT, as well as to Sefer Kedushah, as
> well as to Hil Isure Bi'ah... when enumerating the mitsvot he is to
> discuss he writes "she-lo *lavo al* ha-em...al eshet av" but concerning
> the others it is "she-lo li-ve`ol..."

Actually, from what I saw the Rambam does not do this in Sefer HaMitzvos
or in the list of mitzvos at the beginning of Mishneh Torah. It is
only in Sefer Kedushah and Hilchos Issurei Bi'ah that he makes this
distinction, which makes it even more curious.

Gil Student

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Date: Thu, 06 Nov 2003 12:23:38 -0500
From: Yisrael Dubitsky <Yidubitsky@JTSA.EDU>
Re: question on leshon ha-Rambam

At 08:36 AM 11/6/2003 -0600, gil@aishdas.org wrote:
>Actually, from what I saw the Rambam does not do this in Sefer HaMitzvos
>or in the list of mitzvos at the beginning of Mishneh Torah.

You are referring to his full enumeration of the 613 (specifically lo
ta`aseh 330ff); but immediately after that enumeration in his Hakdamah he
goes through each of his 14 major categories and enumerates the mitsvot
in each. It is to that enumeration that I referred in my post.

Yisrael Dubitsky

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Date: Thu, 6 Nov 2003 10:19:14 -0500 (EST)
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Kullos & Chumros was: Rabbi Yosef Bechhofer & Eruvin

>> Other examples where Chazal actively hunted for qulos: agunos,
>> mamzeirus, hefseid merubah (which in a way includes the previous
>> two), and aveilus. If anyone can help create a complete list, I'd
>> appreciate it. I started collecting these to prove to a C email
>> friend that these are the exception, and that in general the
>> halakhic process is not about hunting for qulos qua qulos nor
>> chumros for their own sake.

> The problem with C might be simpler put.
> Objective Halachah should yield about a 50-50 breakdown over the
> longterm. Lemashal Thsuvos of R. Moshe introduced many kulos and
> many chumros. Certainly, a deviation from 50-50 is possible, some
> poskim are probably 60-40 one way or the other.

I don't see how this is a different formulation. The problem for which
I was compiling a list was to determine that "ko'ach deheteira adif"
was never used the way C takes it.

BTW, it's only /a/ problem. There are deep hashkafic ones as well.

> There has to be a max somewhere, where the underlying agenda
> overwhelms objectivity.

However, in the cases in my list, one is supposed to pursue an agenda.
Or, to put it another way, greater halachic concerns force an agenda
on these particular dinim.

> Micha is correct that legabei Agunos we have a tradition to be
> meikel. But I am disappointed that O poskim have been unable to nail
> a solid solution using the above models...

How quickly do you expect halakhah to move? How many farmers went into
poverty because they couldn't secure a loan and the heter iska wasn't
promulgated yet? Historical events never seem as far apart as
contemporary ones.

The agunah problem only became accute when the notion of kehillah
collapsed. Around 75 years ago, most centers of population had batei
dinim with the power to deal with mesarvei get.

> There is also a danger I se among O's is to accept a Method when an
> O poseik uses it but to reject the same method in the hands of a C
> poseik.

Which gets us to the "Rabbis, Rebbetzins and Halachic Advisors" threads.
A C legal decisor is no poseiq. Aside from the procedural issues, the
non-procedural ones are perforce impacted by the hashkafic
differences. While a "gadol" has accumulated better intuition for what
pesaq "fits" along the course of his learning, a product of C has
/less/ than the O masses.

> We have a Massorah to do X
> Due to dilligent research an O poseik shows that al pi the Gmara X
> is really a bit flawed and the Halacha should be X' instead.
> Meanwhile, said O poseik ingores post-Talmudic decision making that
> either accepted X or pree-supposed X to make other decisions

You've met poseqim who are willing to 2nd-guess the gemara on issues
other than metzi'us? I think such willingness is part of the
epistomological issue I raised a couple of weeks ago. It's a shift
away from trust in the chain of mesorah.


Micha Berger             A cheerful disposition is an inestimable treasure.
micha@aishdas.org        It preserves health, promotes convalescence,
http://www.aishdas.org   and helps us cope with adversity.
Fax: (413) 403-9905         - R' SR Hirsch, "From the Wisdom of Mishlei"

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Date: Thu, 6 Nov 2003 10:26:44 -0500 (EST)
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Emanation and Panentheism

Daniel Eidensohn wrote:
> Just came across an article that might be of interest to this
> thread. "Total Nature" and Particular Nature" on the identification
> of G-d with Nature by Alexander Barzel Daat 17 pp67-80 summary found
> in journal:

> "When R' David Nieto - in his sermon delivered in ...London 1703 -
> identified G-d with nature, the listeners were shocked. He was
> called upon to explain his "heretical" drasha, but instead, he
> reaffirmed his argument, relying on the Scriptures and other well
> known sources. Problem was now presented before Chacham Tzvi and he
> together with two other rabbinic authorities of his time justified
> Nieto's identification. In spite of the fact that this event occured
> in the span of one generation from Spinoza's statement, "deus sive
> natura" not one of the documents mentioned it and all the disputants
> refer to traditional rabbinic
> sources. The author of this paper interpreting the Responsum #18 of
> Chacham Tzvi shows further roots in Jewish thought of the identity
> of the dispute. Nieto and Chacham Tzvi distinguish between the
> "particular Nature" the very heat of a particular dish, the rain on
> this very soil, the corporal defect of a particular individual...
> and the "Total nature" or Nature as totality. Nieto declared that
> his intention was to identify G-d with the Totality of nature i.e.
> with the Totality of Providence and Lawfulness. There are only two
> not three levels: not G-d and Nature as Totality and particular
> occurrences of nature, but G-d i.e. Nature as Totality and the
> particular occurrences of nature. Chacham Tzvi justified his
> argumentation and added more sources. The Supreme Order of Nature,
> the Totality of Lawfulness is G-d that is Providence."

I can't make out if the CT ends up asserting panentheism or is on a
totally different direction -- a universal HP. The latter is what
would be meant if "teva", meaning here particular Nature, is from HQBH
directly. Universal HP means H's action is everywhere, not that
necessarily that He is the actual "everywhere" in question.

I'm curious to know how non-panentheists understand the sheim "haMaqom".


Micha Berger             A cheerful disposition is an inestimable treasure.
micha@aishdas.org        It preserves health, promotes convalescence,
http://www.aishdas.org   and helps us cope with adversity.
Fax: (413) 403-9905         - R' SR Hirsch, "From the Wisdom of Mishlei"

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Date: Thu, 06 Nov 2003 14:57:32 -0600
From: Elly Bachrach <ebachrach@engineeringintent.com>
ban on torah b'shem the gr'a

R' H Shachter once mentioned in shiur that the beis din of vilna
banned people from publishing torah in the name of the gr'a without
prior approval.

He said it in connection with the (I think well known) piece regarding the
ben haahuvah and ben hasnuah of parshas Ki Seitzei. The gr'a is quoted
as explaining the pesukim to be referring to a case is one where the
ben hasnuah was conceived first, but the ben haahuvah was born first.
The pesukim are telling us that conception is the deciding factor,
and therefore the benhasnuah is the bechor.

I have been told that the netziv (haemek davar) refutes that the gr'a
said this.

Does anyone have resources on either this particular piece, or on the
ban R' Shachter mentioned?

Thanks in advance

Elly Bachrach
Engineering Intent http://www.EngineeringIntent.com

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Date: Thu, 6 Nov 2003 18:29:07 GMT
From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
Re: Islam, Xianity, and Us

"Danny Schoemann" <dannyschoemann@hotmail.com> wrote:
> RGD wrote:
>> Interesting also that Moslems come from Yishmael, the pesoles of middas 
>> harachamim, and Christians from Esav, the pesoles of middas hadin.

> Hmmm... care to explain that sentence? I can't figure out what it means...

Avrohom was midas hachesed, giving to others, whose "down side" is over
indulgence in self. This came out in Yishmael and his tendency to zenus.
Yitzchok was midas hagevura, self-control, whose down side, control over
others, was manifested in Esav until ultimately we come to Yaakov who
is the bechir ha'avos.


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Date: Thu, 06 Nov 2003 13:29:38 -0500
From: Zev Sero <zsero@free-market.net>
Re: Islam, Xianity, and Us

Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com> wrote:
> Interesting also that Moslems come from Yishmael, the pesoles of middas
> harachamim, and Christians from Esav, the pesoles of middas hadin.

Ibn Ezra (at the end of vayishlach, IIRC) disputes both commonly-beleived

Zev Sero                    Security and liberty are like beer and TV.
zsero@free-market.net       They go well together, but are completely
                             different concepts.		- James Lileks

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Date: Thu, 6 Nov 2003 19:47:09 -0500
From: "R Davidovich" <rdavidovich@cox.net>
Re: nusach Ari

From: Eli Turkel <turkel@post.tau.ac.il>
> There have been several similar comments by others on Nusach Ari. None
> of them answer the question of the Nusach of the Beracha of Barech Alenu
> in the Amidah. Nusach Ari of Chabad follows Askenaz Minhag of saying
> Barecj Alenu all year round. However, the seforim from the Ari school
> seem to follow the Sefardi minhag od saying Barchenu and Barech Alenu
> in different seasons.

I thought I did answer it.

<<<Rather, what the Chabad siddur does is apply the Arizal's kabalistic
emendations to Nusach Ashkenaz. Those aspects of the Ari's siddur
that were based on sefardic custom were not incorporated into the Baal
Hatanya's siddur.>>>

To make it clearer: It was the view of the Chassidim who applied the
Kabbala of the Ari to Nusach Ashkenaz, the Baal HaTanya among them,
that "Barcheinu" and "Bareich Aleinu" were variations based on other,
non-Kabbalistic issues. They did not alter the Ashkenaz Siddur unless
it was for Kabbalistic reasons.

The Baal Hatanya seems to have made some other changes based on
grammatical and Talmud-based reasons, such as the inyan cited in Pesachim
that the phrase immediately preceding the chasima of a bracha arucha
share the theme of the chasima.


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Date: Thu, 06 Nov 2003 20:43:19 -0500
From: "Yosef Gavriel & Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.it.northwestern.edu>
Historical Timeline Redux

Well, I am just about at the end of Herodotus' history, and have reached
tentative conclusions. I just did a web search to see if anyone else
noticed what I did. Lo and behold:


Herodotus does not mention the Jews

For those who have read Herodotus's "Histories".

When Herodotus was writing in the mid fifth century B.C. he was the
first true historian the world had ever seen (read). He made every
effort to travel the known world and made copious notes about all
kinds of obscure peoples from the farthest known peoples in the western
Mediterranean, Italy, Greece, Africa, Asia Minor, the Middle East, India,
ect... ect... ect...

He interviewed the people of the areas and thoroughly researched his
information. Though his methods and conclusions have been questioned by
modern historians, he remains the first of his kind for that epoch.

Yet, Herodotus never once mentions a race of people called Israelites,
Jews, Hebrews, ect... How is it that in 500 B.C., at the twilight of the
purported Kings of Israel, albeit sometime the Babylonian and the Persian
exchange of power in the area, Herodotus has never heard of a race of
people in the middle east that would be linked with the Israelites / Jews.

Many take this as proof positive that Flavius Josephus concocted much
of the history we presently take as gospel concerning Israel's role and
prominence in the Middle East.

Something to think about...

Ad kan.

There can be only one conclusion drawn that does not blow all Jewish
history up: That Herodotus lived at the period of Galus Bavel, when
Chazal tell us there was period that EY was Judenrein. Since they did
not exist as an independent people in their own land, Herodotus was not
aware of them as an independent entity.

We know very little about Herodotus, but we place him in the mid 400's
(see <http://www.herodotuswebsite.co.uk/>). That is very close to our
tradition of Galus Bavel in approximately 420 BCE. Certainly nowhere
near 586.

QED :-)


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Date: Thu, 6 Nov 2003 23:22:17 EST
From: Phyllostac@aol.com
Rav Aharon Feldman shlit"a letters - critique and comments

From: "Sholom Simon" <sholom@aishdas.org>
> ... The correct way, imho, to respond to Jewish homosexuals,
> is with the commpassion demonstrated in the "Letter to
> a Homosexual Baal Teshuva", by Rabbi Aharon Feldman. See
> <http://www.jerusalemletter.co.il/archives/March24,1998/homow.htm> ...

(in another post) 

> Nevertheless, to those who did object to his original
> letter, he wrote a follow up which appears at
> <http://www.jerusalemletter.co.il/archives/Jun22,2000/friends.htm>

>> The correct way, imho, to respond to Jewish homosexuals, is with the
>> commpassion demonstrated in the "Letter to a Homosexual Baal Teshuva",
>> by Rabbi Aharon Feldman. See
>> <http://www.jerusalemletter.co.il/archives/March24,1998/homow.htm> <

R. M. Poppers -
> That letter certainly represents one way of responding, but to call it
> "the correct way"?

R. Simon -
> What I meant "correct" was not necessarily that all his answers and/or
> conclusions were correct -- but that it was "correct" to respond with
> compassion. The letter is full of compassion and sympathy, and completely
> devoid of things like "yuck" that we have seen on our list.

WADR, the letters from Rabbi Feldman are disappointing and not
representative of mainstream haredi thinking, despite the fact that he
may dress in haredi garb and the position he occupies now as a RY of a
RW Yeshiva chashuva, and his position(s) in the past in EY, etc.

I think that he has unfortunately accepted too much of the propaganda
from the MZ lobby, albeit presumably unwittingly (just like some
people on this list recently did when they kept on using the word
'homophobic', one of the MZ lobby's most potent weapons, which
they use to paint anyone opposed to them as phobic (having / being
driven in their opposition to their agenda by phobia [a non-logical
fear/dread], as opposed to holding a logical position). How can he
say, e.g., that "Although many such deliberate hedonists do exist,
my letter was addressed to those homosexuals who completely lack
an attraction for the opposite sex. (Most homosexuals lack this
attraction; many have an attraction for men as well as for women.)"?

How can he know how those people think / feel deep down / inside ? The
Rambam tells us (in hilchos geirushin - re 'makkin oso ad sheyomar rotzeh
ani) that a Jew wants to do the rotzon Hashem deep down - just sometimes
things get in the way - but to say that some 'completely lack will to
do it' ?? How can that be stated with such certainty, no less by a RY ?

There is good reason why these pieces of Rabbi Feldman did not appear in a
mainstream haredi forum - e.g. the JO - where he has appeared in the past,
e.g. (the first piece rather appeared in the JA - an MO publication).

I write this as an admirer of other work of RAF (e.g. 'The Juggler and
the King'). I think he has seriously messed up here (presumably with
fine intentions) and should be called to task for it.


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Date: Fri, 7 Nov 2003 01:29:19 -0500 (EST)
From: Ariel Jacob Segal <asegal@wam.umd.edu>
Mabul--Black Sea Flood--Lashon Kitzur--Early Paleontology


Hi all. WRT the ongoing Mabul debate, I heard of a concept that might
resolve a chronology discrepancy btw the Mabul and the Black Sea Flood
thousands of yrs earlier. I heard this from 2 MO rabbis (talmidim of R'
Lichtenstein shlit"a) and 1 Litvish Rav who has considered scientific
issues carefully. The concept is: Bereishis btw the beginning and Avraham
Avinu is written in a "lashon kitzur," or in very compressed terms.
Avraham Avinu onwards, pshat gives us a reasonable account of physical
reality (Avraham had a wife named Sarai, he lived x yrs, he went to x
places). Before this, it is virtually impossible to exactly match up
physical reality to pshat, and to try to get physical reality from the
literal pshat is absurd.

What is the source for this concept in our literature?
In addition, I wanted to add some historical context. Many people seem
to think that early geology and paleontology were used as weapons
against the Torah's authenticity R"L. However, many of the greatest
of the early (approx. 1790-1850) figures in this field were deeply
devout (usually Protestant, though later Catholic scholars contributed
to geosciences). They truly struggled to reconcile their discoveries
w/Bereishis [and a lot of them had an excellent command of Hebrew, but
not TSBP]. It would be instructive to look at their solutions to see how
early scientists tried to be true to both their faith and science. [Albeit
their methodology may be utterly non-Torahdik, as it were].

Three names come to mind...William Buckland (1784-1856) of Oxford,
author of the first journal article about what would later be known as
dinosaurs; Adam Sedgwick (1785-1873) of Cambridge, discoverer of many
well known geological periods such as the Devonian (age of fish); and
Edward Hitchcock (1793-1864) of Amherst College, Massachusetts. All of
these men were clergymen and believed in the completely divine origin
of the Bible (this differed from our ikkarim, of course, but the pt. is,
that they saw the need for reconciliation).

Here is some info about them from websites:

from <http://www.grisda.org/bclausen/papers/co48.htm>

William Buckland was one of the most accomplished and popular English
geologists of the early nineteenth century. He graduated from Oxford in
1805, took holy orders, and became a professor of geology at the same
university. He twice served as president of the Geological Society and
in 1845 became dean of Westminster.

Buckland sought to harmonize his geological findings with Scripture, and
in so doing his geology has been disparagingly characterized as a form of
antiquated science in the service of supposed religious truth. From the
Kirkdale Cave in England he described a variety of vertebrates, including
hyena, elephant, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, bear, and fox. He integrated
his cave paleontology with diluvialism, which attributed a variety of
geological surface phenomena to the waters of Noah's Flood as described
in his Reliquiae Diluvianae; or, Observations on the Organic Remains
Contained in Caves, Fissures, and Diluvial Gravel, and on other Geological
Phenomena, Attesting the Action of an Universal Deluge (1823). In this
work Buckland treated the deluge as the last of a series of catastrophes,
although later he abandoned this interpretation. Historians have argued
both that Buckland was a catastrophist who perpetuated the conservative
theological opinion and also that he was drifting away from biblical
literalism toward interdenominational tolerance.

Buckland wrote one of the Bridgewater Treatises designed to extol the
"power, wisdom and goodness of God, as manifested in the creation". His
Geology and Mineralogy Considered with Reference to Natural Theology
(1836) pointed out the evidence from geology as well as biology, for
design by an all-wise Creator. He gave the sloth, both living and extinct,
as a prominent example of design, with descriptions based on a megatherium
skeleton found near Buenos Aires in 1789. He denounced organic evolution
and opposed the concept of transmutation of species as non-empirical.
Various groups of the animal kingdom occurred simultaneously in the
oldest fossiliferous deposits, and so could not have descended one from
the other. Buckland's treatise provided evidence for the existence of
God and indicated His unity by showing the unity of anatomical plans
between fossils.

Here is a quote taken from, of all places, mail-jewish :) , by Sedgwick,
after he and Buckland had initially tried to find evidence for a
global flood thru erratic boulders and gravel scattered in the northern
hemisphere (which science holds to have been transported by glaciers):


    Having been myself a believer, and, to the best of my power,
    a propagator of what I now regard as a philosophic heresy ... I
    think it right, as one of my last acts before I quit this Chair,
    thus publicly to read my recantation.

    We ought, indeed, to have paused before we first adopted the diluvain
    theory, and referred all our old superficial gravel to the action of
    the Mosaic Flood. For of man, and the works of his hands, we have
    not yet found a single trace among the remnants of a former world
    entombed in these ancient deposits. In classing together distant
    unknown formations under one name; in giving them a simultaneous
    origin, and in determining their date, not by the organic remains we
    had discovered, but by those we expected hypothetically hereafter to
    discover, in them; we have given one more example of the passion with
    which the mind fastens upon general conclusions, and of the readiness
    with which it leaves the consideration of unconnected truths.

Finally, here is info abt. Hitchcock: [full disclosure: I did a senior
undergrad thesis on Buckland and am doing a masters' thesis on Hitchcock]:

STILING, Rodney L., History, Seattle Pacific Univ, 414 Alexander Hall,
3307 Third Avenue West, Seattle, WA 98119, rstiling@spu.edu.

The evolving interpretations of the Genesis Flood in pre-Darwinian 19C
American geology as illustrated in the life and career of Edward Hitchcock

The encounters of religious faith and scientific endeavor are often
portrayed as interactions and struggles between camps, so to speak,
or parties or interest groups. But sometimes the encounter takes place
within the mind of a single thinker, where the ideas wrestle with one
another in an effort to form an integrated whole. This has always been
difficult in a context of change, but especially so in an environment
of rapidly expanding scientific knowledge and changing theory.

Edward Hitchcock's various roles as pastor, professor of chemistry and
geology, Amherst College president, published field geologist (headed
first state geological survey in US - Massachusetts, 1830-1833) and
nationally recognized professional (first president of the Association
of American Geologists and Naturalists,1842; this organization becomes
the AAAS in 1848) position him as a classic indicator this historically
interesting geological and theological question: are there geological
marks of the Genesis Flood visible on the earth?

 From the 1820s to the 1840s, Hitchcock's use of new scientific
information and an accommodationist approach to faith-and-science issues
are exemplified by his employment of four (4) successive geological
interpretations and models of the Genesis Flood during his career, each
designed to be as faithful as possible both to the biblical text and the
rapidly changing developments in geology in mid-19C America. So the
historical question becomes: did Hitchcock succeed in his efforts to
keep faith and science in harmony? If so, at what cost? If not, why not?


OK....I apologize if this is lengthy, but I just wanted to give some of
the historical background and precedent for this debate.

IF one adopts the "lashon kitzur" position, might it not be possible to
say that it seems quite "suspicious" that a)harei Ararat in Armenia near
the Black Sea is mentioned in Torah [again, maybe NOT the current Mt.
Ararat, also called Agri Dagh and Demavend, but lower mtns somewhere
in Turkey/Armenia]; b)that there was an advanced pre-Black Sea Flood
civilization in this region which was utterly devasted if Pitman + Ryan
are correct [thus accounting for Tubal-cain's metallurgy]; c)that this
occurred before the founding of Sumer/Egypt etc. about 2000 yrs later?

Possibly...the chronology problem can be obviated by "lashon kitzur"
if this idea has a legit source in the mesorah...and ID the mabul w/
the Black Sea Flood.....thus making the mabul very much real, but very
much partial and local, albeit terrifying [P + R estimate that the
Mediterranean burst into the Black Sea after rupturing the Bosporus
land bridge and making it a strait w/ the volume of 200 X Niagara Falls
each day, enough to cover Manhattan to a depth of 1/2 mile]. This wd.
indeed have seemed to Noach to be the end of the world. Is it heretical
to say that Hashem chose to record this take on the Mabul for its mussar
points, and did not describe in depth the actual physical reality?

Shabbat Shalom, Ariel Segal

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Date: Fri, 7 Nov 2003 03:55:58 -0800 (PST)
From: Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
Re: Mabul as historical event.

Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org> wrote:
> As for the archeological evidence... I wish things were as simple as RHM
> suggests. However, there is not only a lack of evidence of the mabul,
> there is evidence of continuity. Of cultures that ran from before the
> mabul well past the end of the haflagah with no discontinuities.

I suppose the most famous of these older continuos cultures is the
Chinese culture.

OK, how DOES anyone explain that?



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Date: Fri, 7 Nov 2003 11:03:36 -0500 (EST)
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Mabul

Zev Sero wrote:
> I don't know if this has been covered yet, but my zeide, R Zalman
> z"l, told me that he believed that when the chumash says the flood
> covered the entire earth, it means the *inhabited* part of the
> earth, which, at that time, was basically the Fertile Crescent.

> That's why the teva came to rest on the mountains of Ararat, not on
> the Himalayas. And that's why the debris washed down to Bavel and
> not somewhere else. And that's why the flood mostly bypassed Eretz
> Yisrael - most of EY was not inhabited.

If Noach were aware that much of the earth, or even an area the size
of Israel, were not flooded, how did the Yonah prove the flood was
over? He could have simply drifted to the edge of the flooded area.
Now, one could argue that he didn't know it was over, and the qorban
was to thank Hashem for giving him a new place to settle. Or, that he
wasn't aware of the alternative, since he didn't know the flood was

> If this is so, then there can be bristlecone pines and huon pines
> that are older than the flood, and even ones that are older than
> creation (just as Adam was 20 years older than creation).

One needn't look in a botony book to deal with this question.
Immediately after the flood there is an olive tree. Noach knew the
tree was under water during the flood. Yet, it didn't wash away, it
didn't die from overwatering and too little light. There is something
odd going on WRT continuity being pointed to by the pasuq itself.


Micha Berger                 Life is complex.
micha@aishdas.org                Decisions are complex.
http://www.aishdas.org               The Torah is complex.
Fax: (413) 403-9905                                - R' Binyamin Hecht

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Date: Fri, 7 Nov 2003 11:17:16 -0500 (EST)
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Mabul

R' Nosson Slifkin wrote:
> An interesting essay from Aish HaTorah
> suggesting that the Mabul was very localized:
> <http://www.aish.com/societyWork/sciencenature/Will_The_Real_Homo_Sapiens_Please_Stand_Up$_.asp>
> The many comments that follow it are also very interesting.

In it, R' Noson Weisz argues that not all homosapiens descend from
Adam, thereby creating two genetically identical but spiritually
distinct species.

One he calls "stone age man", who has a static culture. The other is
Adam, which the Maharal defines as a progressive being. As opposed to
beheimah -- "bah mah", it is what it is.

(Or, in existentialist terms, a beheimah is something whose essense
preceeds its existance. What it is can be fully known from its design.
Adam is a dynamic being. Our essences constantly change, our existance
therefore preceeds our essence.)

So, this salvages Zev's zeidi's suggestion. Adam only inhabitted the
fertile crescent.

None of which helps address the physical evidence of continuity of
"Adamic" cultures even in Mesopotamia through the period in question.
I also think he abuses the Ramban, who speaks of humans pre-Enosh (who
have the Tzurah) vs those post-Enosh rather than suggesting non-Adamic

But I'm happier with this epistomological approach. We're looking for
answers from within mesorah. Looking at the Maharal and (in other
parts of the article) the Rambam and Ramban for an approach that fits
the external data. There is a resolution to the conflict of data that
will not require chucking any of it.


Micha Berger                 Life is complex.
micha@aishdas.org                Decisions are complex.
http://www.aishdas.org               The Torah is complex.
Fax: (413) 403-9905                                - R' Binyamin Hecht

Go to top.


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