Volume 14 Number 93
                       Produced: Mon Aug 22 18:05:20 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Autistic Children
         [Warren Burstein]
Bechira Chofshis
         [Abe Perlman]
Chazon Ish and Retarded Children
         [Barry Freundel]
First Selichot questions..
         [Barry Siegel]
Hakol tzafui vihareshus nisunah
         [Barry Parnas]
HaShem's Omniscience and Man's Free Will
         [Bennett Ruda]
Jewish Racism
         [Ira Rosen]
Racial Slurs
         [Barry Freundel]


From: <warren@...> (Warren Burstein)
Date: Sun, 21 Aug 1994 13:15:09 GMT
Subject: Re: Autistic Children

Nicolas Rebibo writes of articles in a French publication about
facilitated communication.  As I do not read French, I am unable to
get the answer to the following important question myself, and hope
that Nicolas or some other Francophone will be able to provide the
answer - was any attempt made to find out if it was the autistic child
who was learning Gemara, or was it the facilitator who was doing the

A simple test would be to tape a pair of shiurim on totally different
subjects (make sure there's no overlap, a non-trivial task when it
comes to Gemara).  Give both the child and the faciltator a set of
headphones and play them different shiurim.  Don't tell either of them
that the other person is listening to a different tape.  Ask the child
to type out a description of the shiur.

I live in Israel and will delighted to travel to Bnei Brak to assist
in such an experiment.

 |warren@         bein hashmashot, in which state are the survivors
/ nysernet.org    buried?


From: Abe Perlman <abeperl@...>
Date: Sun, 21 Aug 94 21:05:27 EDT
Subject: Bechira Chofshis

Mitchel Berger <aishdas@...>  writes:

>The continuation of existence is part of ma'aseh bereishis, and the act
>of creation is sill la'asos -- to do, in the present tense, going on
>around us.  This might also be the Ramban's intent when he says that
>miracles don't represent G-d changing His Mind, or a dissatisfaction
>with the natural order, because they were written into ma'aseh
>bireishis.  The creative act applies no less to day eight than it does
>to the day we crossed Yam Suf -- both instants were created in the same
>act, both events were part of His same timeless "instant" (for want of
>a better word), both equally represent "asher bara Elokim la`asos".

      It is interesting to note the following.  Rav Yaakov Emden asks
regarding the wording in Al Haneesim ,"Omadto Lohem B'ES Tzorosom" (You
stood by them at the time of their trouble).  It should have said
"Omadto Lohem B'Tzorosom" (You stood by them in their trouble).  What is
the significance of the word B'ES (at the time of)?  He answers that
what is considered to us as nature is only nature because it occurs over
and over again constantly but nature in itself is just as much a miracle
as the supernatural.  In heaven the supernatural is also nature.  There
is a type of supernatural even by heavenly standards.  That is miracles
which were not read into the plan of creation at the time of creation.
The example which he offers of such a miracle is the miracle of the
light of the Menora by the miracle of Chanuka.  He says this miracle
only occurred as a result of the decision of the Chashmonoim to light
the Menora despite the scarcity of the oil.  Therefore, this miracle
could not have been planned ahead of time because it would in that way
disturb the possibility of there being a voluntary act here of lighting
the Menora despite the scarcity of the oil.  In short, Rav Yaakov Emden
is postulating that miracles that result because of man's actions are
not pre-planned (Although not neccesarily un-foreseen).

Mordechai Perlman  <abeperl@...>


From: <Dialectic@...> (Barry Freundel)
Date: Mon, 22 Aug 1994 02:20:31 -0400
Subject: Re: Chazon Ish and Retarded Children

Several years ago I tried to find the claimed statement of the Chazon
Ish that retarded children have nishamot to G-d and could not find it
even through Chazon Ish experts in Bnei Brak. As this was discussed
recently here does anyone know the source?


From: Barry Siegel <sieg@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Aug 94 8:37:26 EDT
Subject: First Selichot questions..

I have a couple of questions regarding the practice of saying "the first
Selichot" on Saturday night/Sunday morning at midnight (ie. 1:00AM
daylight savings time)

This is indeed a nice custom. I believe the source for it is that the
gates of Rachamim [mercy] are opened then and we rush to get our teshuva
[repentance] prayers through as early as possible.  Does anyone know how
far back this custom of saying the first night of selichot at midnight

If one looks this up in the Shulchan Oruch - Orech Chaim it does not
mention midnight. It implies the "morning watch" - which usually refers
to the last third of the night which is closer to 4:00 - 5:00 AM.

I have talked to some older folks who grew up in Europe and they say
that in the old country they said the first selichot in the morning.
Their morning went like this :
     - they went to the Mikvah at 4:30 AM
     - said Selichot from 5-6:15 AM with a cantor
     - then went home for breakfast and then went to work.

In modern day U.S.A., since we generally don't work on Sunday, did the
selichot get moved back to midnight?

What is the custom in Israel today since most Israeli's work on Sunday?
Are their also first selichot services before the normally scheduled
Sunday morning prayers?

Has anyone heard of other widespread customs of when to say the first
selichot prayers?


Wishing all a meaningful selichot and K'tiva V'chasima Rosh Hashana
Barry Siegel  (908)615-2928   <sieg@...>	 Edison, NJ  USA


From: <BLPARN@...> (Barry Parnas)
Date: Mon, 22 Aug 1994 10:06:35 -0400
Subject: Re:  Hakol tzafui vihareshus nisunah

I don't see what the problem is.  G-d is outside of time and space.
There is no future, present, or past for Him.  His knowing the future is
not like our knowing (based on experience and logic).  The statement
highlights and describes the difference between G-d and man.  It is a
statement of fact, not an invitation to solve a problem.  Barry Parnas


From: Bennett Ruda <teacher@...>
Date: Sun, 21 Aug 1994 07:44:57 -0400
Subject: HaShem's Omniscience and Man's Free Will

On the subject of G-d Pre-Knowledge vs. Free Will, Sam Juni wrote:

SJ> In a recent post, Mitch Berger ponders the question "Why do we need to
SJ> do anything, if G-d knows what we will do?  He proceeds to give a fairly
SJ> good explanation.  I think there is an easy short-cut to his argument.

SJ> Since G-d is not bound by time, we can assert that G-d knows what you
SJ> (will) do only because you (did) do it in the future. Hence, you have a
SJ> perfect choice of how to act, but G-d will "see" your actions and know
SJ> about them (in "your") past.

This reminds me of R. Rakefet's demonstration that G_d's preknowledge
does not contradict Man's free will: we can watch over and over the tape
of the 1986 World Series, and know exactly how Bill Buckner will react
to Mookie Wilson's soft grounder. This does not take away from how
Buckner could have handled the ball at that moment. Likewise, (lehavdil)
HaShem's knowing what I am going to do does not interfere with my
choices of what I am going to do in life.  Of course unlike baseball, in
life we do not go on strike... even though we are soon going to be
getting our salary cap for the coming year.

On the topic of HaShem's knowledge, I recall a class at Columbia where
the professor claimed that among the various methods the Inquisition
used to uncover heretics was to pose the following question:

Does G_d laugh?

Think about it...

On the basis of this simple yes-no question the Inquisition would either
set the person free or put him on the rack. The correct answer is that
in fact G_d does not laugh. The proof is the nature of laughter. We
laugh at a joke or story because of the punch-line. It is
unexpected. (In the book, Peter's Quotations is the anonymous line:
"Incongruity is the springboard of laughter).  We do not see it
coming. However, G_d is omniscient... He knows all the punchlines (so to
speak) and to say He laughs is to say He is surprised by the ending... a
direct denial of G_d's omniscience.

There is a Gemorah in Bava Metziah 59b "Lo BaShamayim He" where HaShem
does laugh at the refusal of the chachamim to accept His psak and says
"My sons have defeated me...my sons have defeated me" I did see
somewhere that there is an opinion that the laugh is a mocking laugh [My
sons (really think they have) defeated me?!...]

Of course we all know there are stories and jokes we have heard over and
over and still laugh at (that is why there are M*A*S*H reruns). So
basically all the story proves is that the inquisitors had no real sense
of humor.

Bennett J. Ruda         || "The World exists only because of
SAR Academy             || the innocent breath of schoolchildren"
Riverdale, NY           || From the Talmud
<teacher@...> || Masechet Shabbat 119b


From: Ira Rosen <irosen@...>
Date: Fri, 19 Aug 94 11:25:43 EDT
Subject: Jewish Racism

As a response to Robert Klapper's query about racism in orthodox
circles, I, sadly, must agree.  For a group who has had so many
tragedies occur based on racism (anti-semitism) the orthodox community
seems to tolerate racism against other groups (eg. african americans)
far too well.  I'll cite three incidents that have occurred in my
lifetime to illustrate this phenomenon.

	1) When I was in yeshiva, a rabbi of mine made a racist joke
during shiur.  During the morning break, I told him that if he told a
joke like that again I would stand and walk out of class.  Later that
morning, he did it again.  As I stood and aimed toward the door, he told
me to stay, said he was soory, and said that he wouldn't do it again (he
didn't during the rest of the year).  After shiur I again voiced my
displeasure, and when he explained it was only a joke and that waords
don't hurt, i told him (quite bluntly, though trying not to disrespect
him too much despite my rage) that Hitler started with words and ended
up killing six million members of my religious community.

	2) At an engagement party for a friend, a rabbi, respected by
the chatan and kallah, made a racist joke during his d'var torah.  I
walked out.  When queried later (I had to wait for my wife before I
could leave) by a variety of people, I explained myself, and other than
my wife (who respected my action) all the others (mostly yeshiva guys
who learned with the chatan) wrote off what the rabbi had said as either
humor that couldn't hurt or as truth.  At my wife's prodding, I later
sent a letter to the rabbi, I have received no response concerning the
issue though I do see him on occaission.  I have decided to no longer
shake his hand when he presents it to me despite the fact that it may
cause him some embarassment, until he addresses this issue.

	3) At a shiva call, quite recently, I got onto the topic of
children's television with another guest.  He told me that he did not
allow his chilren to watch Sesame Street be cause its attitude was too

No one can give me a good reason to slur other races.  I'm sorry if your
mother/sister/cousin/in-laws etc. were robbed/mugged/shot/annoyed
etc. by someone of a particular race, you hav no right to put down that
entire community.  The world views the Jews as money grubbing, media
controlling, power hungry, large nosed individuals with horns (OK - not
the whole world - but these ARE the stereotypes expressed in jokes about
Jews) based on the fact that Jews lent money/were in league eith
satan/killed their god etc.  these are not acceptable reasons to insult
MY religion.

It seems that the orthodox community IS short sighted in the area of
race relations.  In terms of halacha, if nothing else (and there may be
issues od lashon ha'ra - but i don't know if this applies to slurring
non-jews, AND the halachot of lashon ha'ra seem to be ignored by may
Jews anyhow) racist talk is certainly a chillul hashem.

				Ira Rosen


From: <Dialectic@...> (Barry Freundel)
Date: Mon, 22 Aug 1994 02:20:35 -0400
Subject: Re: Racial Slurs

In response to R. Klapper on using racial slurs . How can one square such
activity with the Mishnah Sanhedrin 37A


or this From Baba Metziah 58B
Abaye asked R. Dimi: What do people avoid in Israel? - He replied: putting
others to shame. For R. Hanina said: All descend into Gehenna, except three.
'All' - can you really think so! But say instead: All who descend into
Gehenna  reascend, excepting three, who descend but do not reascend, : He who
commits adultery with a married woman, publicly shames his neighbour, or
fastens an evil nickname upon his neighbour. 'Fastens an evil nickname - but
that is putting to shame! -  Even when he is accustomed to the name.

or Avoth 1:12


End of Volume 14 Issue 93