Volume 15 Number 31
                       Produced: Sat Sep 24 23:38:00 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Age of the Universe
         [Ronnie Schreiber]
Appliances for Kosher Kitchen
         [Aleeza Esther Berger]
Approval for First Communal Eruv in UK
         [Rafael Salasnik]
Commentary on the High Holiday prayers
         ["Neil Parks"]
         [Janice Gelb]
Hamotzi and Women
         [Jonathan Goldstein]
Hoshanot Oddities --- Any Explanations?
         [Arthur Roth]
Near-Death Experiences
         [Nadine Bonner]


From: <RonnieS153@...> (Ronnie Schreiber)
Date: Wed, 14 Sep 94 01:31:46 EDT
Subject: Age of the Universe

Concerning the age of the universe, I'd like to point out that in a
Shavuot shiur on Biblical chronology and the age of the universe,a
couple of years ago, R. Shmuel Irons, Rosh Kolel of the Detroit Kolel,
cited a number of legitimate Jewish sources that indicate that the six
days of Beresheet may have been longer than 24hrs@.

I also recall that R. Dovid Gottlieb of Ohr Someach responded to a
question vis-a-vis the six days of creation vs. what the natural
sciences claim to be the age of the universe. He said (and I apologize
to him if I'm misquoting - this took place on Shabbat so I have no
notes) that we believe that Adam HaRishon was created 5700 (or so) years
ago, and that Adam HaRishon is not synonymous with Homo Sapiens. That
there may have been Homo Sapiens around for quite some time before
Adam. That our definition of Adam is a creature with certain spiritual
qualities, not just a bipedal hominid with a big brain.

OTOH, my friend and teacher R. Yosef Lange tells me that those who say
that the 6 days of creation were not six 24 hour days are gravely

I don't have a problem with this stirah. Why? Because the time it took
for HaShem to create the world and all that fills it is not an issue
that makes or breaks my faith. If He took 144 hours to do it, well,
that's pretty impressive. And if He took 10 billion years, well, the
scope of that is also pretty impressive. My take on the situation is
that Jews have less of a problem about the age of the universe vis-a-vis
the natural sciences than many Christians because we accept both the
concept of the Torah not always being taken literally and the concepts
of Shivim Panim L'Torah [70 facets to the Torah] and Eilu v'Eilu. Since
many Christians are rigidly locked into a literal reading of the text
anything that questions that literal reading is a direct challenge to
their faith. We don't have that problem.

Ronnie Schreiber


From: Aleeza Esther Berger <aeb21@...>
Date: Tue, 13 Sep 1994 18:35:32 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Appliances for Kosher Kitchen

This raises a larger issue of advances in technology making it more 
difficult to observe, or, to put it a different way, making the 
observances seem very archaic.  Are we in danger of being left 
behind,both figuratively and literally, (e.g. when   
the hotel has magnetic /electric keys?  Has the key topic been discussed 
on mail-jewish? What happens when all hotels have this? What happens when 
all but kosher hotels and hotels in Israel have it, and all the robbers 
know to go to those hotels?) I am simply trying to present the potential 
problems (when other technological advances we cannot even imagine will 
exist) in an extreme way.

Aliza Berger


From: <Rafi@...> (Rafael Salasnik)
Date: Fri, 23 Sep 94 15:25:53 GMT
Subject: Approval for First Communal Eruv in UK

British    Jewish    Network  -  UK branch of Shamash
- Creating awareness of the internet in the community
- Helping organisations & individuals to participate in the Jewish internet
- Creating/maintaining a quality communal electronic information database

Shabbat in North-West London could soon be dramatically changed with
government approval of the first communal eruv in the UK.

After a several year political and legal battle, the first communal eruv
in Britain received the final government go-ahead on Wednesday 20
September (2nd day Sukkot). The eruv will cover the North-West London
suburbs of Hendon, Golders Green and Hampstead Garden Suburb.

The campaign, under the auspices of the United Synagogue (Orthodox), was
given impetus by the increasing number of people who have lived or spent
time in cities which have an eruv. Those particularly penalised have
been women with young children and the disabled. The campaign against
was partly from right-wing Orthodox circles, with some genuine Halachic
concerns about the proposed eruv, but mostly from powereful opposition
came from some non-orthodox and some non-Jewish individuals who either
misunderstood or misconstrued the purpose of the eruv.

The process required a decision from the local (Barnet)
council. Although it should have been an administrative rather than a
political decision, there was a political campaign against the eruv. An
appeal was made to the government department responsible for local
government. An appeal was heard and it is on the basis of that appeal
that John Gummer, the Secretary of State for the Enviroment, gave his

Some of those opposed have accepted the verdict, but there may still be
a legal challenge. In any event it will be at least several months
before the eruv is in place. Other areas with large Jewish populations,
who have been awaiting this outcome, may now make their own application.

Rafi Salasnik


From: "Neil Parks" <aa640@...>
Date: Thu, 22 Sep 94 13:36:46 EDT
Subject: Commentary on the High Holiday prayers

Have just been reading a fascinating new book called "Prayer and Penitence" 
by Rabbi Jeffrey Cohen, who is the rabbi of the largest Orthodox shul in 

It is an interesting and insightful commentary on the Rosh Hashana and Yom 
Kippur prayers and "piyutim" (liturgical poems).

Do yourself a favor and read this book between now and next Rosh Hashana.  
Then next year on the High Holidays you will daven with much more 
understanding and kavana (concentration).

NEIL PARKS  <neil.parks@...>


From: <Janice.Gelb@...> (Janice Gelb)
Date: Thu, 22 Sep 1994 09:02:19 +0800
Subject: Eruvim

In mail.jewish Vol. 15 #26 Digest, Yechiel Pisem writes:
> There is a problem with Nosson's practice of using an Eruv only
> "B'dochek" (in extreme circumstances).  If one decides not to use the
> Eruv and then doesn't for 3 Shabbosos, he is no longer allowed to use it
> without a "Hatoras Nedorim".  Good thing it isn't yet 3 Shabbosos since
> Erev Rosh HaShanah.

I wish I had Nosson's original post, because I don't really understand
this logic. Seems to me there are only three possibilities if there's
an eruv in your neighborhood:

1) You don't believe eruvim should be used at all

2) You believe eruvim can be used but your particular eruv isn't 
   legally acceptable

3) You believe eruvim can be used and your particular eruv *is* 
   legally acceptable

Under situation 1, you can't use the eruv even b'dochek. Under
situation 2, same thing: having a non-kosher eruv is the same as not
having one at all. Under situation 3, you could use it all the time.

I suppose the situation Nosson is in is one in which he doesn't believe
eruvim should be used but if they *could* be used the one in his
neighborhood is acceptable. I still don't understand how that covers
using one b'dochek though: if you don't think eruvim are acceptable,
carrying b'dochek is the same as deciding to be m'chalel Shabbat
b'dochek, imho.

As for Yechiel's point, what if you decide not to use the eruv for
three consecutive Shabattot because you don't think it's being checked
properly but then you discover a responsible person has taken over
checking it? Would you still need a "Hatoras Nedorim" to start using 
it again?

Janice Gelb                  | (415) 336-7075     
<janiceg@...>   | "A silly message but mine own" (not Sun's!) 


From: <sch@...> (Jonathan Goldstein)
Date: Thu, 22 Sep 1994 11:48:29 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: Hamotzi and Women

Where can I find sources that discuss whether or not it is
permissable for a woman to make Hamotzi at a meal where there
both women and men?

Jonathan Goldstein           <sch@...>      +972 3 5757578


From: <rotha@...> (Arthur Roth)
Date: Thu, 22 Sep 1994 09:55:46 -0500
Subject: Hoshanot Oddities --- Any Explanations?

The following table gives the order of hoshanot for the first 6 days of
the one that is always said on Shabbat.  (The specific hoshanot that
correspond to each number are not important for forming the questions
that I pose below, though they are undoubtedly important for answering
these questions.)

day of
Succoth      Order of Hoshanot (1st 6 days)

  M          1   2   3   6   4   *
  T          1   2   3   4   *   5
  Th         1   2   *   3   4   5
  Sat        *   1   3   2   4   5

The basic pattern is clear: Days 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6 each have a particular one
that "belongs" to that day whenever it is NOT Shabbat, and Day 4 is generally
a "make up" day on which we say the one whose "normal" day falls on Shabbat
that year.  There are two obvious exceptions --- one of them appears very 
strange while the other is much easier to "accept".

ODD EXCEPTION: When Succoth begins on Monday, "5" is displaced by
Shabbat.  The usual rule would imply that we should say "5" on Day 4.
But we do not actually say "5" that year at all, instead substituting
"6", which is not said (except of course on Hoshana Rabba) in ANY other
year on any of the first six days of the chag.  Anybody know why?

 OTHER EXCEPTION: The usual rule when Succoth begins on Shabbat would be
* 2 3 1 4 5.  Instead, we do * 1 3 2 4 5.  My guess here is that there
* must be a reason for "1" to always be the first one said on a weekday
* (confirmation and reason, anyone?).  In that case, "1" displaces "2"
* on Day 2 (Sunday), leaving "2" for the eventual "make up" day.

To give proper credit, these questions were posed to me by a friend, Ben
Katz, who is not an M-J subscriber.  (Actually, Ben showed me a table
like the one above and asked for my reaction, so that the same questions
occurred to me independently, but Ben deserves the credit both for
having noticed them first and for being responsible for the fact that I
formulated the questions in my own mind as well.)


From: <n.bonner@...> (Nadine Bonner)
Date: Sun, 18 Sep 94 14:41:00 UTC
Subject: Near-Death Experiences

  The literature on near death experience is so far from obscure that I
am amazed Warren Burstein needed a listing.  I'm sure Betty J. Eadie
expects people to believe her experience as her book "Embraced by the
Light" has been on both the NY Times and the Publishers Weekly best
sellers list for the last year and a half.  It has been number 1 on the
non-fiction list for months.  Dannion Brinkley's "Saved by the Light" is
now creeping up on the NY Times list, but hasn't made it to the top 10
yet.  Dr. Michael Sabom wrote "Recollections of Death: A Medical
Investigation" (Harper & Row) in 1982.  It contains detailed
documentation and footnotes, including references to articles in JAMA
(Journal of the American Medical Association) on the topic.
  In short, anyone can go to the library and look up "Near-Death
Experiences" in the Guide to Periodical Literature and find a wealth of
  Nadine Bonner


End of Volume 15 Issue 31