Avodah Mailing List

Volume 14 : Number 081

Monday, February 14 2005

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2005 13:19:55 -0500
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Re: Torah and Science

Micha Berger wrote:
> IOW, the din isn't based on biology but how biology works. The reason I
> would assert this is related to my previous post. The din isn't based on
> the physical state of the mezuzah, but how we're capable of perceiving
> that state. Which, IMHO, ties back to halachah's role in implementing
> "his-haleik lefanai vehei samim", which is about how the po'el nif'al
> lefi pe'ulaso, and not facts that can't impact the po'eil.

> Check up on the "Ta'am and Taste" thread. I'm sure people who read it
> once would prefer I not subject them to it again.

In the gemara Kiddushin 66b cited in that thread, it's clear that the
gemara assumes that everything done before the mikveh became pasul is in
fact tahor, and everything done after it became pasul - even though
nobody knew about it - is tamei, and the gemara's only question is what
to do since we don't know when this happened.  There's no suggestion that
our ignorance of the psul should affect the din.  How is a short mikveh
different than a mezuzah with an unknown psul?

I've already cited the examples of tzedakah and korban, where it's also
clear that a person does not get the schar mitzvah if it didn't work out,
even though he did all he was expected to.  The example of tzedakah is
particularly striking, since the gaba'im are *required* to spend some of
the money they collect lefarnes aniyei aku"m, and yet the person whose
money was used for this purpose did not fulfil the mitzvah, and does not
get the sechar.  And the sechar of tzedakah is much the same as that of
mezuzah; "tzedakah tatzil mimavet", "chet'ach bitzdakah perok", etc.

Zev Sero

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Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2005 12:43:56 -0500
From: Tim Meushaw <meushaw@pobox.com>
Re: That which is not prohibited...

[This was a reply to a post of mine on scjm that I think beautifully
describes the role of mitzvos in Avodas Hashem. Reposted here with the
author's permission. -mi]

On 2005-02-11, Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org> wrote:
> On Thu, 10 Feb 2005 23:15:47 +0000 (UTC), [some 3rd part] wrote:
>: I am very simplistic - you tell me the goal and I will get there. What is
>: the goal of halachah?

> Chasidim would say that mitzvos give you the tools to connect to G-d.
> Misnagdim would say that they give you the tools to perfect oneself.

>: Answer ... it makes you righteous  ... except it does not and the posters
>: here say it does not ....

> But they're only the tools. The Vilna Gaon notes the statement in the
> talmud that the Torah is compared to water, IOW, that water is often
> used in Tanakh and talmudic literature as a metaphor for Torah. The
> Gaon comments that water only helps plants grow. If you have a beautiful
> garden, it will cause flowers or vegetables to grow. If you have a field
> of weeds...

Reading your response, I thought a good comparison to [third party]'s
example could be, instead of what's the goal of halachah, to be what's
the goal of textbooks?

Changing his answer around: "They make you smart ... except they do not
and people say they don't."  Books are also a tool.  Just having them
doesn't cause you to get smart, you have to APPLY yourself to it, to
want to become smart, and use the tools to bring yourself there.  I can
have all the books in the world, but if I keep them on a shelf and never
read them, all they'll do is collect dust and take up space.

So too with halachah; if you don't put any effort in to it, you're never
going to become "righteous"; you'll just be going through motions.  It's
like kavanah; you can either read through the prayers by habit, just
trying to get done quickly so you can get to work, or you can
concentrate on what you're saying and look for a meaning that applies to
you.  The purpose of all the rules in halachah would be to give
opportunities for such advancement.

Shabbat shalom,

Timothy A. Meushaw

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Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2005 15:12:45 -0500
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Re: Mezuzah

"Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org> wrote:
> 1- Is a person who did everything kedas ukedin but kelapei shemaya
> galya the mezuzah/miqvah/whatever isn't kosher actually an oneis?

What else could he be?  Lo nitna torah lemal'achei hasharet.  OCD is
not a mitzvah.

> 2- How can "keman de'avad lo amrinan" apply, since he actually was avad?

What he did was not a mitzvah.

>>> (WRT the gemara in Kiddushin 66a,

My typo, it's 66b.

>>> I don't really think it's relevant,
>>> but if one insists that it is, then a pasul mezuzah is clearly like
>>> a short mikveh...

> Would you then say that someone whose mother relied on the miqva's
> chazaqah but the miqvah in actuality lacked 40 se'ah be a ben nidah? If
> so, why wouldn't we make her go back, for yichus sake, not even in a
> case of ika rei'usa?

I'm not sure what you mean here. The conclusion of that gemara, and the
halacha, is that when a mikveh is discovered to be short we do consider
all the people/things that were tovelled in it to have been tamei.
Even though nobody did anything wrong - the gemara doesn't say how long
ago the last measurement was, or imply that there was any negligence
involved. The only point the gemara considers even potentially relevant
is that the psul was objectively verifiable, so it's nothing like a
ben grusha, and we don't even have to seriously consider whether it's
actually possible to learn from ben grusha to other cases.

>>> or a baal mum, rather than like a ben grusha, since
>>> the psul is there, waiting to be revealed by a careful examination,
>>> rather than depending on eidim. OTOH a mezuzah which was written out
>>> of order would be like a ben grusha, since the psul is not determinable
>>> from examining the object itself...

> And a mezuzah that lost a letter while being rolled up after checking?

The same as a kohen who became a baal mum while getting dressed after
his last physical, or a mikveh that became pasul a minute after its
last measurement. It's still objectively verifiable, and therefore
not like a ben grusha. (Remember, though, that I don't concede that it
matters whether it's objectively verifiable or not. I think that, had
this distinction not existed, the gemara would have rejected the limud
from ben grusha anyway. But as it is, there's a clear distinction,
so it doesn't have to consider the matter any further.)

> My argument is that the mitzvah does not require a physically kosher
> mezuzah, but rather a mezuzah with a chezqas kashrus. That the kashrus
> of a mezuzah is in the chazaqah, not the reality. The ben gerushah is
> no parallel.

I'm a bit confused here. *I'm* saying the ben grusha is no parallel.
The avodah of a ben grusha, before his status was discovered, is kosher;
this seems to be a gezerat hakatuv, but there's at least a hava amina in
the gemara that we can extend this heter to similar cases, where a psul is
discovered that was not objectively verifiable. Above, I gave an example
of a mezuzah to which this hava amina would apply: if we discover that
the mezuzah was written out of order; that *would* be like a ben grusha.
Personally, I don't think it would be kosher even then, because I think
the whole limud from ben grusha remains a hava amina, and is not actually
endorsed by the gemara. But if I'm wrong about that, then such a mezuzah
would be considered to have been kosher until the truth was discovered,
and its owner would receive the schar of protection until that time.

But a mezuzah with a physical psul that is discoverable by a careful
enough examination is *not* like a ben grusha, it's like a baal mum or
a short mikveh, and therefore it's completely ineffective, even though
everyone sincerely believes that it's kosher. The mitzvah is not being
fulfilled, even though the owner's thoughts and actions are exactly the
same as they would be if it were kosher, just as a person who tovels
in a short mikveh is tamei even though his thoughts and actions are the
same as they would be if it were kosher, and just as a korban done by a
baal mum is pasul and must be redone, even though both the kohen's and
the donor's thoughts and actions are the same as they would have been
had the mum not existed.

> Then there's the third (which was historically the first) issue:
> Is it the mitzvah alone, or does the cheftzah itself produce
> shemirah? Which even if you could show has no nafqa mina lema'aseh,
> has huge hashkafic impact.

Yes, it's relevant to hashkafa. And for the record, my personal belief
is that it's the mitzvah that protects, not the scroll itself. I just
can't see how a magical scroll on your door at home can protect you
when you're thousands of miles away. And I certainly don't see how the
magical hypothesis can possibly work for tzedakah. The protection that
tzedaka gives *has* to come from the mitzvah. To say that the coin you
give is imbued with magical protective powers when you give it to an ani
miyisrael (but not to anybody else), and it retains those powers even
after the ani spends it, just boggles the imagination. Maybe I read
too much fantasy, but I have a certain picture of how magic can work,
and I can't imagine the mechanics of a magic that would explain this.
It's much much simpler to say that there's no magic going on, but Hashem
protects those who give tzedaka, and He knows where the money went, even
if the owner himself doesn't. And once you say that, Occam's razor says
that it's more logical to suppose the same mechanism protects those who
put up kosher mezuzot on their doors (and He knows whether the mezuzah
is in fact kosher), rather than multiplying entities by supposing that
the protection of a mezuzah works by some other mechanism, such as magic.

Zev Sero

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Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2005 15:12:54 -0500
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Re: Plastic keilim in the mikdash

"Ein aniyut bimkom ashirut". Plastic still has a certain negative cachet;
no matter how fancy and hi-tech, it's still not "oleh al shulchan

Zev Sero

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Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2005 21:26:01 GMT
From: "kennethgmiller@juno.com" <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
Re: Singing in Shower

R' Ari Zivotofsky wrote <<< Thus, playing devil's advocate I can argue
that because the tzo'a sits there until flushed it takes on the status
of a regular beis kisei and not a beis kisei haParsi. >>>

Granted that the tzoa does sit there until flushed, which is far longer
than until it rolls out of the beis kisei haParsi. But on the other hand,
it gets covered in water immediately, even slighty faster than how long
it takes to roll out of the BKhP.

Some may object to the above, because the tzoah is sometimes submerged
only partially. Okay, but the BKhP wasn't teflon(r) was it? Surely a
mashehu remained without rolling away?

Akiva Miller
Not taking sides, just raising ideas

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Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2005 16:37:13 -0500
From: MPoppers@kayescholer.com
Re: Torah and Science and Jewish vs. Secular chronolgy

Lisa replied (to Ilana, I think it was):
> If Chazal can be so wrong about so basic a thing as the broad outlines
> of our history, and for no good reason

Why do you keep beating this straw man? The other tzad, at least as far
as I've tried to express it as per RSSchwab's quite-unvague hava amina,
isn't that they were unintentionally wrong but that they deliberately
didn't publicize the entire story.

LL continues:
> When Chazal say that they know what that chain was, it certainly is.
> It goes to their reliability in general.

Again, I think you're incorrectly reducing the words of CHaZaL to their
literal meaning. Is it really inconceivable to you that there were other
members of that "chain" who simply weren't noted in the Mishna for good
reason(s)? Is there no room to read between the Mishnaic lines just
because no Talmud is attached?

Akiva replied to Micha:
>> What's the ra'ayah that this is not the case with the SOR? Yes it looks
>> like a history book, but it would be out of character to think it's
>> history for history's sake rather than their thoughts about history
>> repeated as meshalim for other things?

> ...will we suggest (chalilah) that Adam was not an individual who lived
> 930 years....it is difficult for me to imagine that the dates and ages in
> the SOR are not meant literally

I think how literally we should understand any particular aspect of
SOR depends on a few factors, including all of the Biblical text and
Rabbinical exegesis as well as any ma'amarai CHaZaL which may shed light.
The Adam example is not the same as the Rivka example I gave earlier in
this discussion, and the question is whether it's also not the same as
the Bayis Shaini-era chronology.

Shabbas Shalom to all! from
 - Michael Poppers via RIM pager

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Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2005 16:32:59 -0600
From: Lisa Liel <lisa@starways.net>
Re: Torah and Science and Jewish vs. Secular chronolgy

At 03:37 PM 2/11/05, MPoppers@kayescholer.com wrote:
>Why do you keep beating this straw man?  The other tzad, at least as far 
>as I've tried to express it as per RSSchwab's quite-unvague hava amina, 
>isn't that they were unintentionally wrong but that they deliberately 
>didn't publicize the entire story.

Tomayto, tomahto. I actually think it's worse if they intentionally
deceived us. Better incompetance and ignorance than deceit. But better
yet, a valid tradition that doesn't require us to label our sages liars.

I don't recognize their right to tell deliberate untruths to us.
"Not publicizing" is one thing. That's what was done with Niglah.
But publicizing falsely? I'm simply not interested in any religion like
that. Chotamo shel HaKadosh Baruch Hu Emet.

In the Conservative movement, they have an idea that while Hashem didn't
actually give the Torah at Sinai, He did inspire us to write it. I have
the same kvetch there. If Hashem inspired us to write that He revealed
the Torah, then He inspired us to lie. I have no interest in such a
religion. And it's the same thing here.

The word emunah is related to the word emet. I believe it was the Church
father Tertullian who said, "Credo, quia absurdum". "I believe *because*
it is absurd". In Judaism, I think we're supposed to use our minds.

What's ironic is that I've seen people here suggesting that using
our minds requires that we accept the conclusions of contemporary
scholarship when they say the Persian period lasted 208 years.
But the same contemporary scholarship says that there probably were
no such people as King David and King Solomon, or that if there were,
they most certainly were nothing like they are portrayed in Tanach.
There was no Solomonic Empire stretching from the Nile to the Euphrates.
The mercantile joint venture with the Phoenicians has as much historicity
to it as Cinderella. Records of Philistines at the time of the Avot
are anachronisms. Joshua destroyed Ai? Heh. In fact, according to
contemporary scholarship, it was at the time of Joshua that Ai was
*rebuilt* after laying in ruins for almost a thousand years.

I understand those who insist that we accept all the conclusions of
contemporary scholarship. Refusing to do so makes people think that we're
a bunch of primitive ignorami who might as well be charter members of the
Flat Earth Society. It's true. There are people who will think that.
And it takes a certain amount of determination to stand up and say,
"And yet, it was 52 years". But this is seriously ridiculous. R'
Schwab came up with a theory for "what do we do if we absolutely,
positively, concretely, cannot find any way that our tradition could
have been true". My answer is "leave". But that hasn't happened, and
I think it unlikely that it ever will, so it's kind of moot. Build a
time machine, go back and look. That's proof. Interpretations of
contemporary scholars... it's not.

>LL continues:
>>When Chazal say that they know what that chain was, it certainly is.  It 
>>goes to their reliability in general.

>Again, I think you're incorrectly reducing the words of CHaZaL to their 
>literal meaning.

There's nothing figurative about Chazal's thinking about our chronology.
They were quite clear that Ahasuerus reigned *before* Darius. There are
implications to that fact. They were very clear that Haggai and Malachi,
for instance, did not live almost a century apart. None of this is
told as aggada. It's not like "arba nichnesu l'Pardes". And if you
take a step back, you'll have to admit that were it not for the current
interpretations of contemporary scholars, you would never in a billion
years have even suggested that there might be anything "figurative"
about Chazal's chronology.

>Is it really inconceivable to you that there were other members of that 
>"chain" who simply weren't noted in the Mishna for good reason(s)?


>Is there no room to read between the Mishnaic lines just because no Talmud 
>is attached?

What does Talmud being attached have to do with anything?

Shabbat Shalom,

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Date: Sat, 12 Feb 2005 21:03:05 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: It recently became kefira

On Wed, Feb 09, 2005 at 04:02:49PM -0500, bdcohen@optonline.net wrote:
:> But that's not someone who accepts the ruling of beis Hillel, but chooses
:> -- qua personal lifnim mishuras hadin -- to also do what beis Shammai
:> said. In that case, he's not defying halachic practice, but using a
:> rejected position as a suggested "qadeish es atzmekha" while recognizing
:> it's still "mah shemutar lakh".

: But that does not really answer my issue -- it just gives a sevara on
: why someone would think to do so, i.e. fufill both shitot.

I think I wasn't clear. The person isn't accepting a rejected shitah.
He isn't saying that halakhah requires both. Rather, he accepts the
normative shitah as being *it* and in addition does (or avoids) something
else for extrahalachic reasons.

: But if, as posited originally, minority opinions, or, better, rejected
: opinions, are not to be considered normative any longer, is it not
: actual kefirah to follow such a position, evn if it's in addition to
: the accepted one.

There are two very basic differences: First, in your example,
the person is doing both. Even if you ignore my chaqirah, he isn't
rejecting normative pesaq. He's not doing B instead of A, he is doing
both A and B. Second, the halakhos under discussion are those affected
by a definition of kefirah, whereas your example is about some other
mitzvah. And yes, if you follow a now-rejected pesaq, you'd be violating
that other mitzvah.

A closer parallel would be a pesaq that even though many Ashkenazim
used to eat mei qitniyos, to do so today would be be violating the
minhag because eating mei qitniyos has been univerally rejected. (And
the question of whether or not the claim about rejection is more open
for the original case than WRT mei qitniyos.)

On Thu, Feb 10, 2005 at 02:45:18PM -0500, kennethgmiller@juno.com wrote:
: In a personal discussion with Rav Ahron Feldman (current RY at NIRC) in
: my Ohr Somayach days, he explained...
: There are several practical results of this situation, as he explained
: it to me: (1) Because of the pasuk "acharei rabim lehatos", we have
: permission to rely on the majority view, even though we are not sure it
: to be the correct one. (2) Because we not sure which view is correct,
: it is meritorious to fulfill both, when feasible. (3) Because we not sure
: which view is correct, we can rely on the minority view, b'shaas had'chak.

: (My use of the word "correct" above might not have been the best choice.
: "Authoritative" might be better. There are probably even better words,
: but I hope you get what I mean.)

I don't get it, I could use help.

A literal translation of eilu ve'eilu would mean they're both correct.

OTOH, problem is that RAF is saying that without nimnu we don't have
the authority to select one over the other. So, how could one be the
"authoritative" position -- the point is the absence of authority?

Gut Voch!

Micha Berger             None of us will leave this place alive.
micha@aishdas.org        All that is left to us is
http://www.aishdas.org   to be as human as possible while we are here.
Fax: (270) 514-1507            - unkown MD, while a Nazi prisoner

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Date: Sat, 12 Feb 2005 21:15:20 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Torah and Science and Jewish vs. Secular chronolgy

On Thu, Feb 10, 2005 at 02:25:34PM -0500, kennethgmiller@juno.com wrote:
: What's the ra'ayah that this is not the case with the Chumash?...

The Rambam, Maharshah, and others, tell you that the default assumption
WRT maamarei chazal is that they're giving meshalim, without consideration
of historicity (or lack thereof). However, TSBK's default is that ein
davar yotzei miydei peshuto -- one would require a proof from TSBP to
defend assuming ahistorical allegory.

One of the Maharsha's arguments for assuming that chazal spoke in allegory
is the inappropriateness of writing down TSBP outright.

Gut Voch!

Micha Berger             I slept and dreamt that life was joy.
micha@aishdas.org        I awoke and found that life was duty.
http://www.aishdas.org   I worked and, behold -- duty is joy.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                        - Rabindranath Tagore

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Date: Sat, 12 Feb 2005 21:05:09 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: "iyyei hayam" (was "Torah and Science and Jewish vs. Secular chronolgy")

On Wed, Feb 09, 2005 at 06:31:20PM -0500, MPoppers@kayescholer.com wrote:
: Al-regel-achas thought: B'reishis 10:5 (and Yirmiyahu 2:10, and Y'chezqeil 
: 27, and Tzefaniah 2:11, and...) tell me "iyyei" means something more like 
: "groups" (perhaps with a connotation of distance).  The "island" 
: translation for "iyyei hayam" comes, I think, from phrases like that in 
: Esther 10:1, where this phrase is joined to/contrasted with "aretz," and 
: like that in Y'shayahu 11:11, where it is apparently representing a 
: faraway overseas place.

It would seem, therefore, that "iyei hayam" in Esther and Yeshaiah refers
to an archipelago.

Gut Voch!

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Date: Sat, 12 Feb 2005 21:10:47 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Singing in Shower

On Thu, Feb 10, 2005 at 04:05:20PM +0200, Ari Zivotofsky wrote:
:>I don't see how a flushed toilet, once flushed, is more of a problem
:>than a beis hakisei haParsi. I doubt they had traps, and they certainly
:>didn't have water blocking the odor.

: There is a major difference.

: At least theoretically, in a beis kisei haParsi the wastes are never
: present - they immediately roll away. In a modern flush toilet they sit
: there until flushed. And the status of a beis kisei is not determined
: (solely) by its present state....

Thanks for pointing our that last sentence. I didn't think of the status
being determined by anoything other than current state. I took it for
granted that a gerah shel re'i was never odorless.

However, I think you are very much underestimating the odor of Persian
bathrooms. First, your "theoretically" is far from what I expect was
the reality. I don't want to get too scatalogical, but I doubt all the
disposal was immediate. Second, odors can travel diagonally.

Gut Voch!

Micha Berger             Spirituality is like a bird: if you tighten
micha@aishdas.org        your grip on it, it chokes; slacken your grip,
http://www.aishdas.org   and it flies away.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                            - Rav Yisrael Salanter

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Date: Sun, 13 Feb 2005 14:15:05 EST
From: RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com
Re: Gedolim who attended college

In a message dated 2/3/2005 12:43:33pm EST, llevine@stevens.edu writes:
> Readers may be surprised to learn that the Rema had an honorary
> doctorate!

I'm not familiar with thisfact. 
However, I did learn that Cracow was one of the main cultural centres
of Europe when the Rema lived there, and that it had one of the older
colleges/universities, etc.

Rema lived in a relatively progressive society and had a positive point
of view towards secular studies..

Kol Tuv,
R. Rich Wolpoe

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Date: Sat, 12 Feb 2005 21:48:57 -0500
From: "Moshe & Ilana Sober" <sober@pathcom.com>
Re: Torah and Science and Jewish vs. Secular chronolgy

> Emunah is emunah.  Blind faith is something altogether different. Hashem
> doesn't expect us to take the provenance of the Torah on blind faith. ...
> I accept that we have
> this chain, because the records we have about it are consistent, and it is
> far more difficult for me to believe that an entire nation of Jews could
> have been fooled that way.

> A person needs to be able to say, "I
> just can't accept what Chazal say here as literally true" WITHOUT
> questioning kol haTorah kulah.

> Why does a person need to be able to say that?

me again:
> This is getting interesting.

A few points about emunah.

1) I assume we're in agreement that "blind faith" - emunah peshutah -
is one legitimate derech. I think it is quite likely the best one to
start out with, at least assuming you're starting as a child. Whether
one should ideally "progress" to a more intellectually sophisticated
version or not is a matter of debate.

2) Even among those who don't have such emunah peshutah, there are
different legitimate approaches. For example, there are those whose belief
is firmly grounded in rational arguments for the existence of the G-d,
provenance of the Torah, etc. Such people do mitzvot because they believe,
and they believe because they are rationally convinced to do so. I think
this is the position that you are describing when you say "I accept that
I can't eat barbecue baby back ribs for one reason, and one reason only.
And that is that we have an unbroken chain of transmission of the Torah,
all the way back to Sinai and Hashem. I accept that we have this chain,
because the records we have about it are consistent..." You are correct
that, for this particular configuration of emunah, chronological arguments
that undermine Chazal's description of the chain of transmission can be
a serious challenge.

3) Then there's another approach. Some people are Orthodox because they
want to be Orthodox. Either they were born into it, or they became frum
because they experienced the special qualities of Shabbos, family, Torah
study, etc and want to live their lives that way. Obviously, such people
don't think that belief in G-d and Torah is counter-rational, but they may
not think these things can be proven one way or the other. They see that
Torah is good, they want to do mitzvot, they believe what the Torah says
they should believe, and from a rational perspective it's enough that
Judaism is logically plausible and consistent - it doesn't have to be
proven. For such people, the most serious challenge is when some element
of Torah - let's say, a statement of Chazal about science or medicine -
seems impossible to accept logically. So the chain of tradition in and
of itself is LESS important for them than for the first group. But if
they find the chain of tradition historically implausible, their faith
can be shaken. These people need to know that such ma'amarei Chazal
can be taken non-literally, enabling them to believe in Torah without
accepting what they consider to be untenable.

4) All this brings us back to the RNS controversy - his books
are spiritual lifesavers for some people and perhaps dangerous for
others. Looks like the chronological question is similar. For some people,
a literal interpretation is an essential cornerstone of emunah. For
others, a literal interpretation is a threat to emunah. Which leaves us
with an interesting educational problem. Obviously, one solution is what
you are suggesting: demonstrate that Chazal's position is indeed plausible
from an objective historical perspective, thus removing the threat to
emunah posed by implausible rabbinic statements by making them plausible.

Shavua tov,

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Date: Sun, 13 Feb 2005 18:13:42 EST
From: Ohrchama@aol.com
Torah & Science

>> RDL's answer is that the difference in science is irrelevent. Whther
>> kinim physically have eggs, or they have microscopic eggs, the eggs
>> have no halachic mamashus.... My rebbe thereby entirely
>> preserves the point that chazal is making, not just the pesaq

> No, RDL is saying that chazal weren't discussing the biology, but the din.
> Therefore, when they say they have no eggs, they are denying halachically
> significant eggs.

While I do not agree that this Pshat can be the intention of the Gemara,
as I previously pointed out, I will not argue it any further.

What about the Mishna in Chulin 9:6 or Gemara 126b that discusses the
mouse which is half flesh & half earth?

Does that not prove that Chazal believed in spontaneous generation? Are
you going to say there too the svara of "The din isn't based on the
physical state of the mezuzah, but how we're capable of perceiving it."
When something was perceived a certain way due to superficial observation
& sloppy science, I find it very difficult to except that Halacha should
be based on that.

Yaakov Goldstein

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Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2005 16:28:41 -0500 (EST)
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Pakod Pakadti

a. adereth wrote:
>> "But what if everyone knew the siman, but it was fulfilled in a totally
>> unforeseen (and miraculous) way? Such as someone who couldn't say
>> /p/ saying "paqod paqadti" clearly."

> If Aharon was the one actually communicating "pokod pakaditi" (which he
> seems to have been, Shmos 4:16, v'diber hu l'cho el ho'om; 4:30 vayedaber
> aharon es kol had'vorim asher diber hashem el moshe etc.) then where is
> the miraculous aspect?

I repeated a devar Torah that I honed in response to RGD, who had
recalled hearing something similar to the original. So, I looked up the
source. The Yalqut Shim'oni (64) who points out that Mosheh, being aral
sefasayim, couldn't pronounce "BU"MaF", the letters formed with the lips,
and therefore "paqod paqadeti" could only have been said bederekh neis.

This only strengthens the qushya, as one can't simply answer "Micha

BTW, Rabbeinu Bachya (4:12) quotes Rabbeinu Chananel that it was the
tongue-and-teeth letters that Moshe Rabbeinu couldn't pronounce.


Micha Berger             For a mitzvah is a lamp,
micha@aishdas.org        And the Torah, its light.
http://www.aishdas.org                   - based on Mishlei 6:2
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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