Volume 12 Number 86
                       Produced: Tue Apr 26  7:14:48 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Awaiting Moshiach
         [Shmuel Weidberg]
Cooking Parve and Basar Be'halab
         [Moshe Shamah]
Correction on "Mitzvah of Living in Eretz Yisrael"
         ["R. Shaya Karlinsky"]
Gd providing false proof
         [Mitch Berger]
Hidden Codes predictions
         [Mike Gerver]
Mitzva of living in Israel
         [Saul Djanogly]
Traffic Laws and Health Regulations in Halacha
         [Eric Safern]


From: Shmuel Weidberg <shmuel@...>
Date: Sun, 24 Apr 1994 17:01:16 -0400
Subject: Re: Awaiting Moshiach

>> How would you translate the twelfth "ani ma'amin"? (The famous
>> one about mashiach.)
>>  ..ve'af al pi sheyismame'ah - and even though he tarries
>> im kol zeh achakeh lo      - with all that I'll wait for him
>> b'chol yom                 - every day
>> sheyavo                    - that he will come
>> Does this mean we expect him to come today? If so, what is the part
>> about 'sheyismame'ah'? Does it mean every day I wait?

I have heard from my Rebeim that achakeh lo means that everyday I look to 
see is he here yet. Like when waiting for a bus you look down the street 
to see if the bus is coming. Even if you don't expect the bus for another 
half hour - maybe it'll come early. Here to the Mitzvah is to want 
Moshiach to come and to await him anxiously, not to naively believe that 
he'll be here in a second and if I don't think he'll be here in a second 
I'm an apikores.

   -----Shmuel Weidberg, Toronto, Ontario-------------------------


From: <MSHAMAH@...> (Moshe Shamah)
Date: Fri, 22 Apr 1994 14:20:36 -0400
Subject: Re: Cooking Parve and Basar Be'halab

Regarding the position of Shulhan Arukh (the Mehaber) on cooking parve
items in a clean, ben yomo meat pot with the intention to eat the parve
items together with dairy (or vice versa):

Shulhan Arukh states (YD:95:1): "Fish cooked in a clean meat pot are
allowed to be eaten with dairy."  Some interpret this as only when the
parve was already cooked in the meat pot is it permissible in the first
instance to eat it with dairy but not to cook it so intentionally (cited
by Fiorino).

However, its probable Shulhan Arukh had nothing against cooking parve
with intention to eat with the opposite number.  The formulation "Fish
cooked" may not mean only bediabad (if it happened) - he may have
written it so to include the continuation of the halakha: "but if the
pot wasn't washed well and what was stuck to its surface is more than
1/60 of the fish, it is prohibited to eat them with dairy."  The Gemara
often says this about a Mishnah.

More important is that in his Bedek Habayit, the Mehaber explicitly
states that it is permitted in the first instance to cook parve in a
clean meat pot to eat with dairy.  This is published in all standard
editions of the Bet Yosef at the end of the siman.

Some say that the Mehaber may have changed his mind in the few years
between Bedek Habayit and Shulhan Arukh.  But considering that he
explicitly stated the permissible position and Shulhan Arukh is not
clearly and necessarily a reversal, it is probable he didn't reverse


From: "R. Shaya Karlinsky" <msbillk@...>
Date: Sun, 24 Apr 1994 20:48:07 +0300 (WET)
Subject: Correction on "Mitzvah of Living in Eretz Yisrael"

     Not practicing what I usually preach ("Always look up a source
inside, _especially_ when someone else tells it to you"), I relied on
something I had heard from a very reliable source to include in my
posting on the Mitzvah of Living in Eretz Yisrael.  Had I looked it up
myself, I wouldn't have misinterptreted what he had said.  This lapse
caused a mistake in my posting about the Mitzvah of Living in Eretz
Yirsael.  I would like to thank Yaakov Shachter <jay@...> for
pointing it out to me, and I would like to correct it.
     The Kaftor VaFerach (Ch. 5?) relates that he heard from a descendant
of the Rambam that the signature on some of the Rambam's letters (akin to
our e-mail signatures) indicated that he viewed his living in Egypt as
being a daily  violation of three prohibitions.  In fact, this seems to
be related exclusively to the three times the Torah (Shemot 14:13;
Devarim 17:16 and 28:68) forbids us to live in Egypt, according to the
Yerushalmi Sukka 5:1.
     I trust that this error doesn't change the substance of my posting,
nor undermine the other sources quoted which indicate that the Rambam was
of the opinion that there is a Mitzvah to live in Eretz Yisrael.

Shaya Karlinsky 
Darche Noam / Shapell's
Jerusalem, Israel


From: <mberger@...> (Mitch Berger)
Date: Fri, 22 Apr 94 10:12:08 EDT
Subject: Gd providing false proof

In v12n73 Sam Juni <JUNI@...> comments:
>       C. I personally find the idea of G-d actually sending us a
> misleading false prophesy (in contrast to G-d not interfering with a
> messenger who decides to falsify a prophecy, or with a person
> fabricating one) perplexing.  If G-d actually sends us a false prophet,
> does the Bais Din execute him even if he is an accurate reporter of his
> message? The idea of G-d sponsoring actual miracles just to deceieve and
> test the audience is incongruous. I believe that the Talmud (Sanhedrin
> 90a) rejects this notion explicitly.

I am reluctant to reopen the creationism/evolution debate, but this point is
new to me, and directly bears on the debate.

In Challenge, the Lubavitcher Rebbi shlit"a states that the world must be
literally as old as the Torah states. He addresses the question of aged
dinosaur bones, and argues that just as Adam was formed fully grown, so
the earth was formed fully aged. (Actually, its a machlokes [disagreement]
whether or not things were made fully grown, but thats a different tangent.)

Couldn't we argue that according to such literalism, any proof of an old
universe would be "G-d sponsoring actual miracles just to deceieve"?

| Micha Berger       | (201) 916-0287 | On Torah, on worship, and |    |  |   |
| <mberger@...> |<- new address  |   on supporting kindness  |    |  |   |


From: <GERVER@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Mon, 25 Apr 1994 3:00:28 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Hidden Codes predictions

Rabbi Freundel asks in v12n44 whether the "hidden codes" can be used to
predict future events, which is always a good way to separate real
miracles from conjuring tricks. As discussed previously, Witztum et al
(to be published) claimed to find certain statistically significant
correlations (on the 7 or 8 sigma level) between the names and yahrzeit
dates of famous rabbis, living between 800 and 1800 CE, listed in an
encyclopedia of gedolei Yisrael, using the text of Genesis. Rabbi
Freundel asks whether these correlations could be used to predict in
advance when living famous rabbis would die, and suggests that getting
10 of them right in a row would be pretty convincing evidence that there
is something there.

Even if the results reported by Witztum et al are true, they could not
be used to make the kind of predictions Rabbi Freundel has in mind. For
one thing, the correlation between name and date for any particular
rabbi is not very strong; knowing his name, one could only say that he
is about twice as likely to die on some dates than other dates. If he
does die on one of the more likely dates (which are about half the dates
in the year), this by itself is not statistically significant. The
statistical significance only comes when you look at a sample of a few
dozen rabbis.

Then there is the question of whether there is any reason to think that
the correlations would apply to all rabbis listed in the encyclopedia,
let alone to rabbis living today. The sample used by Witztum et al is by
no means randomly chosen. They were chosen from the small fraction of
rabbis listed in the encyclopedia whose yahrzeit dates are known, and
these yahrzeit dates are heavily weighted toward memorable dates, e.g.
rosh chodesh, chanukah, chol ha-moed. The fraction of rabbis whose dates
are remembered varies greatly depending on which century they lived in,
and which names were popular also varies greatly from century to
century.  None of this explains the correlations they found, which still
seem very surprising. But it is far from clear that the correlations,
even if they are real, are correlations between the names and yahrzeit
dates of all famous rabbis or all people. They could just be
correlations between dates that were especially memorable, and names
that were especially popular in periods when most yahrzeit dates were
forgotten. If that's the case, there is no reason why it should work for
predicting future deaths, even if a large enough sample were taken. I
repeat, this does not make their results less surprising, but it could
mean that there are no new correlations to be found. One could continue
to check more names from the encyclopedia, of course, which Witztum et
al say they did, getting positive results.

Finally, if the living rabbis knew in advance which dates they were more
likely to die on, according to the codes, then it is hard to be sure
that this knowledge would not influence the date on which they die.  It
is well known that people's psychological state has a strong influence
on exactly when they die if they are suffering from a serious illness.
Someone might want to die on a date predicted as more likely, or might
want NOT to die on such a date, but in either case you could not be very
confident that the results, either positive or negative, meant anything.

Mike Gerver, <gerver@...>


From: <saul@...> (Saul Djanogly)
Date: Thu, 21 Apr 1994 06:27:02 -0400
Subject: Re: Mitzva of living in Israel

Reb Moshe Feinstein at the end of responsa 102 Igrot Moshe Even Haezer
raises this issue.  He says that the mizva of yishuv Eretz Yisrael is
optional(Kiyumit) rather than obligatory (chiyuvit) i.e if you live
there you are performing a mitzva but you are not obliged to settle
there. Otherwise it would be completely forbidden for Jews to live in
the diaspora.  Reb Ovadya Yosef in Yabia Omer disagrees and says it is
an obligatory Mitzva.

There must be an historical parallel between the refusal of most of
Babylonian Jewry to join Ezra and that of our own generation. Why did
they not go?

saul djanogly


From: <esafern@...> (Eric Safern)
Date: Thu, 21 Apr 1994 14:50:23 -0400
Subject: Traffic Laws and Health Regulations in Halacha

Eli Turkel (<turkel@...>) makes an interesting suggestion:

He says we should accept as halachically binding those "laws whose
purpose is to increase the good to the general community...[and] do not
violate any halachic principal."

These are viewed as a sort of 'superset'(my word) of halacha which "in
many cases would be approved by halacha but are not in 'Shulchan

The problem is, IMO, some secular laws, like health regulations and
traffic laws, *do* violate important Torah guidelines - and may not
always benefit society.

The principles I am thinking of are

1) Meizid/Shogeig

2) Lo Nitna Torah Le Malachai HaShareis

In other words, under Jewish law, ignorance of the law *is* an excuse,
and laws which are impossibly difficult to keep *do not* exist!

By contrast, here in America, any one-horse town by the side of the road
can put up a 15 MPH sign, and post a cop directly under the sign 24
hours a day.  So I'm driving down Route 66 at 55 MPH, and suddenly I
have a $150.00 ticket!

This is not law enforcement, this is local revenue enhancement.  But
according to Eli's argument, 95% of the people driving through are
*guilty* of a crime, *whether they are caught or not*, and must do
teshuva!  Should they bring a korban (bimehare beyameinu)?

The same point applies to health regulations.  Bureaucrats everywhere
don't care if a new regulation is impossible to keep.  So it's not
unusual to find a regulation which 85% of the people violate, but only
5% get caught!  Chazal knew not to do this, because situations like this
lead to grave disrespect for the law.

This is exactly what R' Karlinsky says later in the same issue, "[a
Gadol] doesn't publicly declare things that the community will not or is
not able to listen to."

For example, in NYC businesses in store fronts are legally required to
keep the sidewalks perfectly clean.  Good idea, right?  Removes some of
the government's job, and gives it to the private sector.  Everyone
likes clean sidewalks.  The problem is, inspectors write tickets if they
find *anything* on the street.  The only way a businessman can avoid a
ticket is to keep an employee outside all the time!

Instead, he tries to keep the sidewalk reasonably clean (twice a day?)
and if he gets a ticket anyway, he pays it as part of the cost of doing
business, since it's cheaper than hiring another employee.

So, does he have to do teshuva for the ticket?


End of Volume 12 Issue 86