Volume 13 Number 17
                       Produced: Fri May 20  0:27:57 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Gedalyah Berger]
Coming millenium
         [David Charlap]
Kitniyot (the never-ending topic)
         [Elhanan Adler]
         [Director of Chabad Lubavitch in Cyberspace]
Lecha Dodi
         [Fred Dweck]
Lecha Dodi in Tzefat
         [Jack Reiner]
Less Dangerous Substances
         [Eric Safern]
Rabbi Yosef Lipovitz
         [Saul Djanogly]
Retroactive Prayer
         [Rick Dinitz]


From: Gedalyah Berger <gberger@...>
Date: Fri, 13 May 1994 16:02:51 -0400
Subject: Circuits

Eli Turkel wrote in #10:
>   finish a building. Chazon ish seems to disagree mainly because 
>   electricity is "not natural" (for a circuit - not in nature). He also
>   claims that the water and pipes are seperate entities while the
>   electricity and wire are not (I don't understand that physically).

Why not?  The water and the pipe are indeed separate entities, while the 
electrons which comprise the current are part of the crystal structure of 
the metal wire; if (even just the conduction band) electrons were not 
there, the material would be completely different (if it would remain 
solid at all).  A pipe is a pipe, water or no water.

Kol tuv and a gutten Yomtov,

Gedalyah Berger
Yeshiva College (physics major) / RIETS


From: <david@...> (David Charlap)
Date: Fri, 13 May 94 11:48:49 -0400
Subject: Coming millenium

Etan Shalom Diamond <ed16+@andrew.cmu.edu> writes:
>...is there anything in Jewish tradition regarding this matter?  I
>think there is something about the world reaching 6000 years...

The only reference to millenia I know of regards a prediction for
Moshiach to arrive - the year 6000 is predicted.  This having to do
with the Jewish cycle of sevens - six days of work, followed by
shabbat; six years of harvest, followed by shmitta, etc.  This theory
then claims "six millenia of labor and hardship, and the seventh will
bring moshiach".

[This was also mentioned by others, and I have often heard it. I once
found a Gemarah that was almost what people quote, but with a
significant difference. The Gemarah I remember is that the world was
created in 6 days, followed by one day of rest, the world will then
exists for 6 "days" followed by a "day" of the war of Gog and Magog, and
then there will be the period of Moshiach. I do not remember where this
Gemarah is. If anyone knows of either where this gemarah is, or the
sources for the more common statement made above by David, please post
it to the list. Mod.]

Mind you, our calendar's 6000 may not be 6000 years since the
Creation.  During the time of the kingdom in Judea (I think shortly
after Shlomo's reign), kings started renumbering the calendar in terms
of how many years since the current monarch's reign began.  When this
practice ended, and we returned to the years-since-creation calendar,
it might not have been braught back entirely right.  Some believe it
could be off by as much as 250 years!  So any prediction (IMO) isn't
accurate to anything more than a 500 year window centered on the
predicted date.

(Of course, if the calendar does have a +/- 250 year discrepancy, it
means 5750 - four years ago - was the start of the time window for the
moshiach-at-6000 prediction.)


From: <ELHANAN@...> (Elhanan Adler)
Date: Tue, 10 May 1994 11:36:11 -0400
Subject: Kitniyot (the never-ending topic)

David Charlap said:

>I think, at this point in the discussion, that it is imperative that
>someone locate the original text of the gezeira, to find out if a
>reason is given, and what that reason is.

First of all, there are different opinions as to whether kitniyot is a gezerah
(formally enacted) or a minhag - different poskim used different terms. In
general, the earlier poskim use the term minhag. 

Rav Moshe Feinstein, in his teshuvah on peanuts (Igrot Moshe, Orah Hayyim III,
63) says kitniyot is a minhag and not a formal gezerah ("en zeh davar
ha-ne'esar be-kibuts hakhamim ela shehinhigu et ha-am le-hahmir"). 

Apparently the earliest known source for Ashkenazim not eating kitniyot
is the Sefer Mitsvot Katan of R. Yitshak mi-Korbeil (12th century
France). He refers to it as an old minhag ("davar shenohagim bo ha-olam
issur mi-yeme hakhamim kadmonim"). *He* doesn't know the reason for the
minhag! He suggests possible reasons (such as mar'it ayin in forms where
it may look like hamets) but doesn't know for sure.

As an example of minhag/humrah/gezerah gone wild: Rav Zvi Pessah Frank
(former Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem) in his book Mikra'e kodesh notes that
people who don't eat peanuts roasted in the shell are being more
stringent with peanuts than with wheat! (It is permitted to eat whole
grains of wheat roasted in their outer shell).

* Elhanan Adler                   University of Haifa Library              *
*                                 Mt. Carmel, Haifa 31905, Israel          *
*                                 Tel.: 972-4-240535  FAX: 972-4-257753    *
* Internet/ILAN:          <ELHANAN@...>                          *


From: Director of Chabad Lubavitch in Cyberspace <yyk@...>
Date: Tue, 10 May 1994 11:25:52 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: L'Chaim

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From: Fred Dweck <71214.3575@...>
Date: Fri, 13 May 1994 22:06:31 -0400
Subject: Re: Lecha Dodi

The reason for facing West, in the last verse of Lecha Dodi is from
Kabbalah.  For those who can understand without further explanation, it
is because the Shechina is in the west, and the position of the Sefira
of Malchut is West.  Shabbat belongs to Malchut, so therefore we face
West to welcome her, and Shabbat.

 From a Peshat level, since the sun sets in the West, then it is
understood that Shabbat enters where the sun sets.

Fred E. Dweck 


From: Jack Reiner <jack@...>
Date: Tue, 10 May 1994 11:06:41 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Lecha Dodi in Tzefat

> In v13n1, <RGOLDFINGER@...> (Rivka Goldfinger) writes:
> When I returned to Tzefat for Shabbos last year, I remembered the incident
> and watched to see what the Rabbi in the Shul I was at did (it was the 
> Ari-Ashkenaz, but I'm not sure who the rabbi was).  All of the men turned to
> the west, and then turned to the right until they faced Yerushalayim, in
> this case south.  I didn't ask anyone specifically about this, but since
> Lecha Dodi was written in Tzefat, I assumed that they have some idea of 
> What they are talking about.

I am confused (so what else is new :-) ).

If Tzefat is north of Yerushalayim, then one is facing south when facing 
towards Yerushalayim.

To face west, one would turn 90 degrees to the right and to then return to
facing south one would turn 90 degrees to the left.  

I understood Rivka's description to be the opposite:  turn from south to
west by turning to the left, and afterward  "turned to the right until they 
faced Yerushalayim, in this case south."  The only way I can reconcile this 
is to turn 270 degrees.

Can someone help explain this?

Jack Reiner
<jack@...>           #include <standard_disclaimers.h>


From: <esafern@...> (Eric Safern)
Date: Wed, 11 May 1994 17:02:22 -0400
Subject: Re: Less Dangerous Substances

<david@...> (David Charlap) writes:
>>1) You say "hard" drugs 'destroy a person's ability to judge right
>>   and wrong.' This is one of the legal definitions of insanity.
>>This seems to me a dangerous statement.  Under Western jurisprudence,...
>My concern is not with American law.  I never said a halachic argument
>is valid in a secular court.

I was simply pointing out a possible halachic contradiction between saying
someone doesn't know "right and wrong," which might make him a 'shoteh,'
and saying he is liable for damages.  I imagine one could argue that
he wilfully and negligently made himself a shoteh.

>Similarly, I never said we should use American law to determine halacha.
>Nevertheless, I stand by my statement - many recreational drugs are
>mind-altering.  And a person under the influence has no control over his
>actions.  When a person on PCP gets angry, he can not prevent himself
>from causing severe damage and injury to himself and others around him.
>I don't care what "western jurisprudence" thinks - this isn't about
>American laws, it's about right and wrong.

Let's forget western law.  What about alcohol?  By your arguments,
alcohol should be assur as well.

BTW, am I the only one who is amused at the fact that this thread can
be abbreviated as LDS - which is the 'dyslexic' way of writing... :-)

While I'm on the subject, isn't this list called MJ?  Hidden message? ;-)

Sorry - it's been a long day!


From: <saul@...> (Saul Djanogly)
Date: Sun, 15 May 94 05:07:51 GMT
Subject: Rabbi Yosef Lipovitz

I  have  just  finished learning  Rabbi   Yosef Lipovitz's commentary on
Megilat Rut entitled Nachalat Yosef.

I think it is a truly outstanding work.It is one of the only sefarim
that I have encountered in which one feels as if the author comes alive
and is guiding one personally (Sefer Hachinuch is another one that comes
to mind).  His deep sensitivity, psychological, sociological and
historical insight and above all lovingkindness really shine through.
Though based on the approach of Rabbi Finkel,the 'Alter of Slobodka' (do
his writings which I don't know have the same quality?), whose pupil he
was, it is much more than just a traditional Mussar work and has a
freshness and breadth of vision that really speak to the modern 20th
century Jew. In short highly recommended!

Does anybody know anything more about Rabbi Lipovitz. (I've seen the
short profile in 'From Slobodka to Berlin' and the short biography by
Rabbi Katz at the back of Nachalat Yosef). Did anybody know him
personally?  Have any of his other writings been published recently?
Are there any other Rabbi Lipovitz fans out there?  I would love to hear
from you,

saul djanogly


From: tekbspa!<dinitz@...> (Rick Dinitz)
Date: Fri, 13 May 1994 14:45:35 -0400
Subject: Re: Retroactive Prayer

Frank Silbermann wrote:
> ...how does changing the past differ from any other violation of
> natural law?

 Perhaps it differs in that we have no evidence (either from empirical
observation, or from Jewish writings) that it is possible.

 I don't recall any miracles in which God changed the past.  We read
that the sun stood still, but not that time ran backwards.  Midrash
tells us that Moshe was permitted to see R' Akiva expound Torah, but
even this extraordinary event did not alter what had already happened.

 While I can't (and won't) argue that the KBH _couldn't_ change the
past, our experience (and the experience of chazal) is that it has
never yet happened.  This seems to teach us that God is extremely
reluctant to change the past.

 (Of course, we might also conclude that our experience teaches us
falsely.  It could be that God erases and rewrites the past quite
frequently, yet all this activity is entirely hidden from us.
However, I don't know of any Jewish source that makes such a claim.)

 Kol tuv,
Copyright 1994, Rick Dinitz


End of Volume 13 Issue 17