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Volume 16 : Number 056

Wednesday, December 14 2005

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Sun, 11 Dec 2005 22:49:00 +0000
From: Chana Luntz <chana@KolSassoon.org.uk>
Re: midvar sheker tirchak

In message , "Kohn, Shalom" <skohn@Sidley.com> writes
>My reference was to the gemara in Kesuvot (17a) re: Beis Shammai
>saying that one should be honest in praising a kallah because of midvar
>sheker tirchak, while Beis Hillel allows stretching the point mipnai
>darkei hashalom. But Beis Hillel would not seem to disagree that in
>other contexts, falsity is not permitted. As I noted originally,
>I was not suggesting this le-halacha, but only in terms of proper
>approach. Doubtless those who stretch the truth le-shaim-shamayim
>(e.g. ArtScroll hagiographies) feel there is a countervailing value.
>Others may have a view, however, of whether anything but Shalom is a
>sufficient counterweight to the requirement of Emes.

In addition I would note that the Chinuch certainly understands that to
keep away from any falsehood is a part of the Torah prohibition, and that
that part is not just incumbent on dayanim, but on all, including women -
(see Mitzvah no 74). It is worth seeing inside his description of why
this issur is so fundamental and why the Torah used the term "rechuk"
which it did not use for other prohibitions, as well as his description
of the abominable nature of sheker, and how this prohibition is linked
to the midah of Hashem as emes and the requirement for imitatio Dei.

Chana Luntz

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Date: Sun, 11 Dec 2005 16:13:52 -0500
From: "Jonathan Ostroff" <jonathan@yorku.ca>
Re: Rabbi Miller Shlit"a on "mahus hazman"/Dr. Schroeder

In Vol. 16, 54, Rabbi Rabbi Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer wrote:
> WADR, your post is not acceptable as evidence. 
> Only the document produced by RSM himself is, at this point, 
> acceptable as indicative of his POV.
> And there he takes on a Schroederian approach.

Rabbi Miller Shlita"s own words are posted at
<http://toriah.org/misc/RNS/Rabbi-Miller-Mahus-Hazeman.pdf>. He clearly
states that there is absolutely no comparison ("ayn shum dimyon") to
what he wrote and to the approach of Dr. Schroeder.

I can fax you the page with his handwriting (for your own personal use
only), or even better, please be so kind as to confirm the correctness
of this text with RSM himself.

With best regards,
Jonathan Ostroff

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Date: Sun, 11 Dec 2005 19:02:33 -0500
From: "Jonathan Ostroff" <jonathan@yorku.ca>
String theorist admits we don't know what we are talking about (Rabbi Miller Shlit"a re Bell's theorem)

In a recent letter, Rabbi Shlomo Eliyahu Miller Shlit"a quoted Bell's
theorem and the problems of non-causality as an indication that current
fundamental theories are incomplete and in need of radical change (see
previous quote from Roger Penrose). The new theories that will be needed
to resolve all these anomalies and paradoxes may point us in an altogether
different direction than the current speculations over origins. String
theory is the current great hope of scientists searching for a theory
of everything (See Brian Greene's "Elegant Universe"). However, Nobel
laureate David Gross admits that string theory is in trouble:

Nobel laureate admits string theory is in trouble. 10 December 2005, New
Scientist Print Edition. "We don't know what we are talking about." That
was Nobel laureate David Gross at the 23rd Solvay Conference in Physics
in Brussels, Belgium, during his concluding remarks on Saturday. He
was referring to string theory - the attempt to unify the otherwise
incompatible theories of relativity and quantum mechanics to provide a
theory of everything. Gross - who received a Nobel for his work on the
strong nuclear force, bringing physics closer to a theory of everything -
has been a strong advocate of string theory, which also aims to explain
dark energy. "Many of us believed that string theory was a very dramatic
break with our previous notions of quantum theory," he said. "But now
we learn that string theory, well, is not that much of a break." He
compared the state of physics today to that during the first Solvay
conference in 1911. Then, physicists were mystified by the discovery
of radioactivity. The puzzling phenomenon threatened even the laws of
conservation of mass and energy, and physicists had to wait for the
theory of quantum mechanics to explain it. "They were missing something
absolutely fundamental," he said. "We are missing perhaps something as
profound as they were back then."

Readers may be interested in Peter Woit's (Mathematics, Columbia
University) discussion of Leonard Susskind (Felix Bloch Professor
in theoretical physics at Stanford University since 1978, considered
the father of string theory) new book Cosmic Landscapes. In the book
Susskind writes: "During the 1990s the number of possibilities grew
exponentially. String theorists watched with horror as a stupendous
Landscape opened up with so many valleys that almost anything can be found
somewhere in it. The theory also exhibited a nasty tendency to produce
Rube Goldberg machines. In searching the Landscape for the Standard
Model, the constructions became unpleasantly complicated. More and more
"moving parts" had to be introduced to account for all the requirements,
and by now it seems that no realistic model would pass muster with the
American Society of Engineers - not for elegance in any case."

Woit quotes the cosmologist George Ellis, writing recently recently in
Nature that:

"Physicists [such as Susskind] indulging in this kind of speculation
sometimes denigrate philosophers of science, but they themselves
do not yet have rigorous criteria to offer for proof of physical
existence. This is what is needed to make this area solid science,
rather than speculation. Until then, the multiverse situation seems
to fit St Paul's description: "Faith is the substance of things hoped
for, the evidence of things not seen." In this case, it is faith that
enormous extrapolations from tested physics are correct; hope that correct
hints as to the way things really are have been identified from all the
possibilities, and that the present marginal evidence to the contrary
will go away."

KT ... JSO

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Date: Sun, 11 Dec 2005 22:32:14 -0500
From: Avodah - High Level Torah Discussion Group <avodah@aishdas.org>
Re: Rabbi Miller Shlit"a on "mahus hazman"/Dr. Schroeder

Jonathan Ostroff wrote:
>Rabbi Miller Shlita"s own words are posted at
><http://toriah.org/misc/RNS/Rabbi-Miller-Mahus-Hazeman.pdf>. He clearly
>states that there is absolutely no comparison ("ayn shum dimyon") to
>what he wrote and to the approach of Dr. Schroeder.

I get it!

Schroeder attempted to explain the six days al pi chukei ha'teva
ha'nohagim bzh"z - i.e., the theory of relativity. Rabbi Miller says it
is not necessary to come on to that mahalach - ingenious as it may be -
as the A of the U is indeterminate in any event, as the processes of
Sheishes Yemei Bereishis did not follow current patterns. For all we
know, then, it is billions of years k'peshutan, without resorting to
relativity - or five minutes. Mir kehn nisht vissen.

This is a much bigger chiddush than Schroeder, but fine by me!


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Date: Sat, 10 Dec 2005 23:49:54 EST
From: Yzkd@aol.com
Re: Moshiach

In a message dated 12/8/05 4:08:41pm EST,  gershonseif@yahoo.com writes:
> Perhaps RYGB or someone else that learned Eruvin B'iyun, can help me
> out here. I recall learning a Meiri somewhere in Ervin but I don't
> remember where, that states that l'gabei whatever halacha that sugya
> was talking about, beeas Moshiach is a milsa d'lo schicha. Do you know
> where I can find that?

I do not wish to usurp RYGB, I also do not claim to be Boki in Meiri on
Eiruvin, but intersetingly enough there is the famous Sugia in Eiruvin
43b WRT a Nazir the day that Ben Dovid comes, while Tos. there has 2 ways
of learning, the Meiri Al Asar learns like the first Pshat in Tos. that
Ben Dovid can come any day, and he says Gdolei Hamchabrim ruled that
way too. In the footnotes he brings the Rambam Hil. Nzirus 4:11, (even
though the Avnei Nezer in his Tshuvos O"C # 66 says that the Rambam can
be learned like the second Pshat in Tos).

See also Margoliyas HaYam on Sanhedrin 22b Ois 17 who brings many sources
that we do say Mheira Yiboneh Beis Hamikdosh, also ibid Ois 9 he brings
from the Turei Even (author of Shagas Aryei) that Achishena has no limit
"uBchein Anachnu Mchakim Bchol Yom Sheyovo", there is also the source
mentioned in another post Nkudas Hakesef Y"D 102, (there is also the
famous Chasam Sofer).

In any case I enclose a quote from the Mabit in his Sefer
Beis Elokim Shaar HaYesodos Perek 50, please point to:

Kol  Tuv,
Yitzchok Zirkind

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Date: Mon, 12 Dec 2005 11:07:40 EST
From: Yzkd@aol.com
Re: Q on Parshas Shemos

In a message dated 12/10/2005 9:12:19pm EST, rivkyc@sympatico.ca writes:
On December 7, 2005 Shimon Motagu wrote:
> According to the Ramban on 2:23, RMAH spent around 60 years on the run
> from Pharaoh without going into any inhabited towns, and only arrived
> in Midian a few years before Hashem spoke to him. Ayen Sham.

I did and you're right. I guess it could have also been Yisro's daughters
like Shoshana mentioned. Thanks for the mareh makom.
However in the Pirkei Drabi Eliezer Perek 40 (and other Medroshim),
it says that Moshe RA"H shepherded Yisro's sheep for 40 years.

But LAN"D WADR (and many times children come up with the best Klotz
Kash'yes) where does it say that he argued for 7 days straight, it could
have been a few seconds or minutes per day (and there were other shepherds
in that area too).

Kol Tuv,
Yitzchok Zirkind

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Date: Mon, 12 Dec 2005 12:06:05 -0500
From: "H G Schild" <hgschild@hotmail.com>
Simanim from Yaakov to Rochel

Who brings what various opinions there are on the idenity of the simanim
that Yaakov gave to Rochel that she passed on to Leah on the wedding nite?

HG Schild

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Date: Mon, 12 Dec 2005 10:17:00 -0500
From: "S & R Coffer" <rivkyc@sympatico.ca>
RE: Plato (was Rambam on reinterpreting ma'aseh breshit)

On December 8, 2005, Meir Shinaar wrote:
> >No such Rambam. What the Rambam actually states is that chidush is not
> >more niskabel al hasechel than kadmus. But now that we have a kabala
> >through nevua, we definitely must interpret MB in terms of chidush
> >regardless of our personal opinions. (Moreh chelek beis perek 16)

> However, he specifically states here that reinterpreting a la Platonic
> kadmut does not interfere with ikkare emuna, and therefore, if it was
> logically proven, he would reinterprete psukim in that sense. HOwever,
> as it has not been logically proven, he does not reinterprete them -
> there is no reason to.

> Therefore, he specifically says that he would reinterprete them if kadmut
> (in the platonic sense) was proven. 

Because, as you state above, Plato's shita is perfectly in concert with
all of the Torah's dictates other than yesh mayayin. But Rambam would
never reinterpret the psukim to mean kadmut like Aristotle no matter
what. In fact, perek 26, the one immediately following the one you
quoted, categorically rejects kadmut despite the fact that R' Eliezer
haGadol seemed to imply it (no this is not a place where rishonim argue
on Chazal...The Rambam basically says that he did not merit to understand
the words of R' Eliezer).

Since we are on the topic of Plato, I'd like to express a question I
have always had on the wording of the Rambam. In perek 13, the Rambam
deals with the three different shittos. Here's my translation of
his explanation of Plato's shita. "And therefore they [Plato and the
philosophers which follow his approach] conclude that there exists an
eternal substance, eternal like Hashem, which doesn't exist without Him
and He doesn't exist without it". So far so good; this is unapologetic
Platonic kadmus. But then the Rambam contradicts himself. He goes on
and says as follows: "And they [these philosophers] do not claim that
this substance possesses the same level of reality as Hashem but rather
He is the cause of its existence and it is, for example, like material
in the hands of a craftsman..." This seems to negate the idea of kadmus
in Plato's words, especially the "cause of its existence" line in the
Rambam. I have never had a satisfactory answer for this question.

Simcha Coffer

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Date: Sun, 11 Dec 2005 18:50:07 -0800 (PST)
From: Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
RE: Dress Code (was TIDE and TuM)

S & R Coffer <rivkyc@sympatico.ca> wrote:
> On December 10, 2005, Harry Maryles wrote:
>> But going to a classical
>> music concert or seeing a Kosher movie is not Chukas HaGoy.

> I disagree. Especially about the movie part. And equally so if there are
> women singing in the classical concert such as opera. But even without
> that, the SA talks about "achsadraos" and other gatherings of goyim. Just
> curious...how would you respond to that?

I wasn't talking about concert of singers. But there are Heterim for
going to concerts of women singing in a theater performance(or opera)
according to some poskim, if their voices are heard only through the
amplification system and you cannot see their faces, which is usually the
case in theaters unless you have front row seats. I remeber when Fiddler
on the Roof first came to Chicago back in the sixties. IIRC there were
day school fundraisers selling tickets to those shows. I know that not
all poskim would agree but there are some who are Matir.

As for Achsadros, I do not recall where that is in the SA. Just off the
cuff, I would say that gatherings that are not specifically designed
for non-Jews and where there is a liklihood of Jews being there as well
would not qualify as a prohibited place to go.


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Date: Mon, 12 Dec 2005 13:54:24 GMT
From: "kennethgmiller@juno.com" <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
RE: Being exposed to minus

I asked:
>>> I do not understand. To me it sounds like circular logic. How
>>> does writing the name in kisvei kodesh magically remove an
>>> issur d'Oraisa?

R' Simcha Coffer answered:
>>> What's the problem? The issur d'oraysa *is* not to enunciate
>>> shmos of AZ not found in the canon. Once it enters Tanach, the
>>> issur naturally disaptes.

Somehow, we seem to be talking past each other, neither of us
understanding the other. Let me try yet again.

Two starting caveats: (a) Some posters have said that the names which
appear in Tanach are actually slightly modified from the true name of the
avodah zara; I can accept that idea, but RSC seems to be saying something
different. (b) Perhaps the original poster who wrote "kisvei hakodesh"
actually meant "Chumash", but here RSC explicitly wrote "Tanach", and
I am interpreting that to mean "even the parts of Tanach which are not
in the Chumash".

Let's go back to the original post in this thread, on Dec 2 2005, in
which R'SBA wrote:
>>> Shmos 23:13 - "veshem elohim acherim lo sazkiru lo yishoma
>>> al picho" I understand that that refers to a meisis. But
>>> would it also be a reason as an issur to mention the name
>>> of an AZ?

And RSC answered on Dec 4:
>>> That's because the halacha is that any AZ that is written in
>>> the Tanach is permissible to say and any AZ that is not written
>>> in Tanach is assur to say as per your pasuk above.

Where do we find any room in that pasuk to distinguish between one kind
of avodah zara and another, such that the issur only applies to some
AZs and not to others?

Suppose we would have asked this to Moshe Rabenu -- "Does this really
apply to *every* AZ?" -- what do you think he would have answered?

I had suggested a svara, that since we are required to learn the Chumash,
we see an implicit hetter from HaShem Himself regarding the AZs whose
names are in the Chumash that He wrote. (But I'm having second thoughts
about that svara now; since there's no chiyuv d'Oraisa on reciting every
single pasuk aloud, perhaps the psukim which contain the names of AZs
are assur to read aloud. I'm obviously wrong on this, but I'm asking
what the correct svara is.)

In any case, regardless of *how* it becomes muttar to speak the names
of the AZs who are named in the Chumash, how does that get extended to
include Navi?

Here's another way of phrasing my question:

In this lasted post, RSC says:
>>> The issur d'oraysa *is* not to enunciate shmos of AZ not found
>>> in the canon.

What Hebrew word or concept are you translating as "canon"? Does it
appear in the Chumash?

Sefer Melachim Beis 17:30 mentions an Avodah Zara named "Nergal". In the
weeks and years prior to the writing of Sefer Melachim, was it muttar
or assur to speak that name? If muttar, why? Pending your response,
I'll presume it was asur.

In the immediate years after the writing of Sefer Melachim, it was not
yet in Tanach; the decision of what to include in Tanach was made much
later. In the interim, was it mutar or assur to say the name "Nergal"? If
you say it was muttar, then would it also be muttar to say the name of an
AZ which appears in a modern-day book? What's the difference between an
AZ which appears in the Encyclopedia Britannica, and an AZ which appears
in a pre-canonization Sefer Melachim?

If it was assur (d'Oraisa, by the way) to say the name "Nergal" even
after Sefer Melachim was written, and became muttar when Chazal decided
to include Sefer Melachim in the Tanach, then how did this Issur D'Oraisa
change? Did the Torah anticipate future Kisvei Kodesh? Where do we see
this in the pesukim?

Hmmm... Now that I think of it, if we take the issur against publishing
Torah Sheb'al Peh as a Torah-based prohibition, then, yes, indeed, there
must be hints in the Torah about future Kisvei Kodesh, or else it would
have been assur to publish Navi and Kesuvim.

So I guess my real question is: Where does the Torah hint at future
Kisvei Kodesh?

Akiva Miller

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Date: Sun, 11 Dec 2005 22:14:07 -0500
From: "S & R Coffer" <rivkyc@sympatico.ca>
RE: TIDE and TuM - Wearing Black

On December 11, 2005, Yitzchok Levine wrote:
> The following is from <http://www.manfredlehmann.com/sieg269.html> and
> was written by Dr. Manfred Lehmann. He came to Ner Yisroel in August 1941.

> "There were some seventy students when I arrived. At that time there
> were no black hats, not even beards, nor any chasidim, among the
> students. The Lithuanian influence, especially by the mussar teachings
> of the Mir Yeshiva, dictated that any outer demonstrations of frumkeit
> (piety)like black clothes, peyes, etc.were signs of gayve (haughtiness)
> and had to be shunned. Hence the emphasis on light-colored suits and
> hats and clean-shaven faceseven among the oldest talmidim."

The above paragraph is the key to understanding the apparently anomalous
dynamic that characterizes the differences in dress code between bachurim
and Rabbeim/Roshey Yeshiva in the late 19th century and early 20th
century Lithuanian Yeshivos.

R' Avigdor Miller explains that the proponents of mussar instituted a
takana that bachurim could not grow beards (or wear long black frocks)
because this was a sign of chashivus and there needed to be clearly
delineated lines between mashpia and mushpa. Like Rabbi Miller says,
"as soon as a bachur wore a beard, he became a big shot"...he was no
longer amenable to accept instruction from his Rabbeim. This situation
was indigenous to Lithuanian yeshivos. In chassidishe yeshivos, this
imperative was not followed. Today, there is no hakpada either which way
(in litvishe yeshivos).

I suspect that today the black hat "movement" (which could possibly be
seen as ignoring the institutions of mussar in this field although, for
the most part, upholding the beardless approach for unmarried bachurim)
is a means of creating a minimum barrier between us and the goyim and at
the same time proudly fulfilling the idea of "v'avdil eschem min ha'amim
l'hios li". As it happens, we make a bracha on a hat every day..."oter
Yisrael b'sifara"...As banim lamakom, we wear crowns like any prince would
(cap, velvet, knitted, borsalino, shtraimel...whatever...)

Simcha Coffer

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Date: Mon, 12 Dec 2005 08:35:01 -0500
From: "David Riceman" <driceman@worldnet.att.net>
Massecheth Atziluth

Does anyone know the date and place of composition?

David Riceman

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Date: Tue, 13 Dec 2005 09:33:55 -0500
From: MPoppers@kayescholer.com
Re: RE: Slifkin ban

In Areivim PDA Digest V16 #104, RnSB wrote:
> One of the greatest things about Torah has always been the philosophy
> behind it that it was given by Hashem. Hashem by definition, knows all.
> If [H]e didn't Assur something, and perhaps even permitted it, then it
> we should truly believe in Him and not be so quick to assur new things.

What does such a position say about the CS ("chadash asur min haTorah") or 
those who accept such a restriction?  (As a non-Hungarian, I recommend 
Micha's take on that and much more -- see 
 -- but also see RGS' he'arah at 

 From a Hirschian perspective, as my rebbe, RSEDanziger, explains in his
"Moreshes Tzvi" article, hQbH gave us the chayyim, the chomer, the raw
material, and the Toras Chayyim, the blueprint for telling us what we can
use, shape, and be m'qadaish (as well as how to do so) and what we cannot
...but then the question becomes what chomer is unusable. RSED quotes
from a t'shuva to RSSchwab z'l from RAYBloch [the Telzer RY] z'l' in
support of saying that the answer very much can depend on the person
and his circumstances; additionally, he quotes from RSGaon (haqdamah
to Chapter 6 of Saifer hawEmunos v'haDaios) in support of saying that
so long as we base ourselves on the "Ataw Hawr-aisaw lawDa'as" of Toras
H', there is no eesur in engaging with the opinions of those who oppose
the Torah and in reading, studying, and dwelling on thoughts that are
fundamentally problematic to our hashqafos. (He then utilizes the words
of Rav Sa'adia to explain an apparent contradiction in RaMBaM between
his Hilchos Avodah Zarah [Chapter 2] writings and his pairush on the
"shaqaid lilmod mah shetashiv es apiqores..." mishna in Avos.)

All the best from
Michael Poppers * Elizabeth, NJ, USA

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Date: Mon, 12 Dec 2005 19:36:09 GMT
From: "Gershon Dubin" <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
Re: Simanim from Yaakov to Rochel

"H G Schild" <hgschild@hotmail.com> wrote:
> Who brings what various opinions there are on the idenity of the simanim
> that Yaakov gave to Rochel that she passed on to Leah on the wedding nite?

I heard a peshat (forgot who was quoted) that he taught her the halachos
of nida, chala and hadlakas haner, on which he was going to "farher"
her, and she taught them to Leah. This had the added benefit of not
having Leah feel second rate, since she didn't realize that she was
taught this as a simon, only as "kallah class"


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