Volume 15 Number 50
                       Produced: Mon Oct  3 23:58:33 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Creation and Evolution
         [Stan Tenen]
Ethrog jelly
         [Lon Eisenberg]
Mizmor L'david and L'david Mizmor
         [Mordecai Kornfeld]
         [Frank Silbermann]


From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Fri, 30 Sep 1994 17:54:52 -0700
Subject: Creation and Evolution

In M-J Vol 15 #39, you asked a question regarding creation and  evolution.

If the creation story in B'reshit is not to be taken SOLELY as literally
true, then we must also consider the other levels of meaning, Remez,
Drash, and Sod, also.  When we look at all levels of the creation story,
we find that the simplest literal meaning can be misleading.

As I mentioned in earlier postings, B'reshit is only understood to be in
the past tense and to be describing normal linear time in the simplest
literal translation.  When the other levels are included in our
understanding, it is just as correct to understand the creation story in
B'reshit as happening in the present, right now, and continuously, and
endlessly.  B'reshit can them be understood as a "kernel of
consciousness" that grows into Adam's reality.

Adam, Alef-Dalet-Mem(final) means, letter by letter:

Alef: ALL, All Consciousness, The Great Consciousness; in general; 
Dalet: Dispense and disperse, DiLuTe, DiLaTe, and what happens at a 
DeLTa (where a metaphoric river divides and disperses as it merges with 
a metaphoric sea.)
Mem-final: great expanse (the universe), the sea.

So "Adam" appears to refer to All Consciousness Dispensed and Dispersed
into the universe.  This implies that we, "Adam", are intended to be the
means by which (at least part of) Hashem's Universal Consciousness is
dispersed in the world; we, humans, are intended to "connect heaven and
earth", so to speak.  This is entirely parallel to the teaching that the
Hebrew letters are the only connection between Chochma (wisdom) in our
minds with Binah (understanding, rationality) in the world in that we
are the unique lifeform of Hashem's creation that speaks - and reads and
writes - language.  (Elephants, cetacea and some birds can likely speak
real language, but none can read and write.  A very few primates, like
Koko the gorilla, can be taught to read and write.)

What does this all imply?  Simply that your questions are excellent,
because they point to difficulties which need explanation.  However,
there is no direct answer to these questions because they may be based
on a "flattened" understanding of the meaning of the text and, thus may
not properly apply to Torah.

The order of creation is not (need not be, should not be) the order of
the simple understanding of those things created because the simple
understanding, by itself, is not complete.  There certainly is an
organizing principle being laid down in the creation story, but it is
far broader and more general in application than merely to historical
creation.  It is more likely a topologically minimal universal
description of ALL possible self-organizing systems than it is only a
model of historical creation.  It is more likely to apply OUTSIDE OF
TIME, eternally and endlessly, than it is to have happened in the past.

The letter level of B'reshit (Sod) complements, enhances, and completes
the story (Pshat), hint (Remez), and discussion (Drosh) levels.  So, in
my opinion, the answer to your questions is to be found by examining the
deeper levels of Torah.  Otherwise, in my opinion, you will only find
what the academic scholars derisively call "apologia" - rationalization
by those already committed to a particular viewpoint.  There is nothing
wrong with believing the Pshat, period (alone, as our sages shave
etranslated it, just by itself.)  But it isn't appropriate to expect
more than rationalization to justify it. Although it (seemingly
scientific or rational justification for the story level of Torah) has
become increasingly fashionable even among Torah and science trained
individuals, this, in my opinion, implies a misunderstanding of what
Torah is all about.

When you find justifications and rationalizations for the simple meaning
- ALONE - of Torah , suspect that while they may be curious and
interesting they likely are not scientifically meaningful.  Truth is
only Truth when it is the Whole Truth. Partial truth, like the Pshat
alone, can lead to misunderstanding.

It is easy to understand this in another context.  All the Abrahamic
faiths profess to believe in the Hebrew Bible, but except for Judaism,
the other faiths, not having Talmud, consider only the literal
(translated) meaning to be the whole meaning.  This leads to their
translating Torah in ways that are inconsistent with Jewish
understanding.  The Written Torah without the Oral Torah is not the
Torah.  Likewise, the story of creation in B'reshit without the "oral"
teachings in Talmud and Kabbalah that go with it does not tell what
Hashem is really doing.  Good Shabbos, Stan


From: Lon Eisenberg <eisenbrg@...>
Date: Sun, 2 Oct 94 11:35:23 -0400
Subject: Ethrog jelly

Steve Weiss wrote:

>regarding recipes for etrog jam -- since this year is shmitta one should
>not really derive any hana'ah (benefit) from the etrog (presumably
>produce of eretz yisrael).
>so save those etrog recipes for next year!!!!!! :)

This is incorrect.  There is no prohibition of deriving benefit from produce
of Shemittah, only doing business with it.  It is a micwah to eat produce of

Yes, there may be a problem with sending the produce out of Israel, but I
believe that most posqim would agree that is is okay to do so if it is sent
to Jewish communities there (the real problem is mistreatment of these holy
items).  Nevertheless, now you have it, whether or not it should have been
sent to you, so treat it properly.  Since you are allowed to eat it in any
way that it is normally eaten (such as making jelly from it), do so.  Just
be aware that its time of bi`ur (when you must take it out of your house and
declare it hefqer [ownerless]) is when no more ethrogim are on the trees (I'm
not sure of the date when this occurs).

Lon Eisenberg


From: Mordecai Kornfeld <yoy@...>
Date: Mon, 3 Oct 1994 02:36:27 +0200
Subject: Mizmor L'david and L'david Mizmor

The following questions were posed earlier on Mail-Jewish:

1. Why do we recite L'david Mizmor (LM) when returning the Torah to the ark 
after reading it, any day except for Shabbat morning? And why do we read 
Mizmor L'david (ML) when returning it on Shabbat morning?

2. If both are appropriate to the return of the Sefer Torah, why choose ML 
only for Shabbat morning? What makes it especially appropriate for that time?

Here are some answers:

1. LM is obviously the appropriate Mizmor for the occasion of the return
of the Torah to the ark, according to what Chazal tell us (Shabbat
30a). It was this piece that Shlomo Hamelech said as he brought the Aron
with the tablets to the Mikdash, to stay behind the Parochet.

ML too is Torah-appropriate, as it discusses the giving of the Torah to
the Bnai Yisroel on Mount Sinai (Zevachim 116a, and literally dozens of
Midrashim, which relate the seven Kolot of the Mizmor to the 7 (yes, 7)
Kolot of Matan Torah, and compare them in numerous other ways). It does
not relate, however, specifically to the return of the Torah to the
ark.(--see also Siddur Otzar Hatfillot)

2. I suspect that LM, being the more appropriate one, was used for all
usual occasions, while ML was reserved for Shabbat morning only, because
it was especially appropriate then. The reason it is more appropriate,
is because it mentions the 7 "Kolot" -- sounds or thunders -- that honor
Hashem.  We are told (B'rachot 29a) that it is for these 7 "Kolot" of ML
that we say 7 B'rachot in the Shabbat Shmone Esrei. Obviously, the 7
days of the week, of which Shabbat is the 7th, must also play a part,
and be hinted to in these 7 "Kolot". Perhaps, too, the Mizmor belongs to
Shabbat more than other days, since the Torah was given on Shabbat. This
is why Chazal connected it to the Shabbat Shmone Esre.
         It is not unreasonable to assume that the 7 Aliyot Latorah on
*Shabbat* morning are also related to the theme of these 7 Kolot, of ML.
(Although Chazal in Megilla 23a relate the 7 Aliyot to other things, it
would appear that they are looking for a reference in that Gemara, that
addresses the 7 Aliyot of Shabbat in the context of the 5 of Yom Tov and
the 3 of Chol.  When looked at unto itself, though, the 7 Aliyot are
undoubtedly related to the 7 Kolot, I would surmise.)

        Since Shabbat morning is the only time in the year that we call
up people for 7 Aliyot Latorah, it is appropriate for us to recite ML
upon returning the Torah to the ark after Kriyat Hatorah, although it
addresses only the more general theme of Matan Torah, and not the
specific theme of the return of the Aron Hakodesh to its place. (The
Shabbat afternoon Kriya has 3 readers, only. It isn't actually a Shabbat
reading, as much as a way of not being without Torah for three days,
just as Mon. and Thurs.'s readings, in accordance with a Takana of Ezra,
in Megilla.)

    Mordecai Kornfeld         | Yeshivat Ohr Yerushalayim| Tel: 02-522633
    6/12 Katzenelenbogen St.  | D.N. Harei Yehuda        | Fax: 02-341589
    Har Nof, Jerusalem, 93871 | Moshav Beit Meir, Israel | US:718 5208526
               Author, <parasha-page@...>


From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Mon, 3 Oct 1994 08:28:50 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Re: Racism

Shaul Wallach:		Vol15 #36 Thu Sep 29 12:10:14 1994
>	I find the whole discussion on racism quite distasteful and
>	disturbing, mainly for the reason that most of the participants
>	take the modern liberal value that "racism is bad" as the axiomatic
>	starting point and use it as their yardstick to judge the Torah
>	and their fellow Jews.

I don't think you can assume the axiom "racism is bad" was derived from
modern liberalism.  One may assume this to be a Jewish value; otherwise
those of us with extensive Jewish educations would have been taught
racism in school.

Cantor (w/smicha) David Neumark told me that when he was in the Brisker
Yeshiva, some boys studying the curse of Noach made snide remarks about
the local Blacks.  As he put it, "The Rov BLEW HIS TOP!  He shouted,
reputation, I think it's safe to accept "racism is bad" as an axiom.

>	... we are commanded to pursue all courses of action which lead
>	to the sanctification of the Name in this world and to the good name
>	of the Jewish people.  And we must do all this without worrying
>	whether Jews are superior to non-Jews or not.

That certainly condemns the behavior which motivated this thread.

>	If, in fact, some Jews do see themselves as "superior" to others,
>	or believe, for example, that blacks should be enslaved because
>	Ham was cursed, then it is highly inappropriate to reveal this
>	in a public forum such as mail-jewish. To do so is a great slander
>	and a Hillul Hashem, because many of these same Jews actually
>	perform acts of kindness towards non-Jews and Jews alike.

Perhaps the identities of the miscreants were insufficiently shielded.
It was not necessary to identify the specific movement to which they
belonged.  But I see no point in trying to hide the fact that Jews sin.

Also, I am uncomfortable with the idea of "keeping secrets."

A) In the long run, it doesn't work, and perhaps not even in the short
   run, now that everything is being translated into English.  There
   _will_ be rejectors of Yiddishkeit and they _will_ report what they
   perceive as Torah's shortcomings.

B) If we keep secrets, the secrets the gentiles _suspect_ us of keeping
   (see "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" & the blood libel) will be far
   more damaging than any actual secrets.

>	In Benei Beraq I know an elderly Jew from San`a in Yemen
>	who worked as a mason in the court of the king, the Imam Yahya.
>	His son told me yesterday that once he saved an Arab girl
>	of noble ancestry - a Sharifeh - from drowning. ...
>	The son told me also that the mother (his own grandmother)
>	had the job of taking care of the royal family's summer home,
>	because she could be entrusted not to steal anything from it.
>	Now did my friend's father and grandmother regard the Arabs
>	as equals of Jews?  Whether they did or not, I'm sure they
>	didn't let the royal family in San`a know.  But by their deeds
>	they certainly sanctified the Name in the eyes of the Arabs.

Perhaps, with the humility which befits a descendent of Yacov, they left
it to G-d to decide who is greater.  If, in their hearts, they believed
themselves to be greater, but were discreet, then these would examples
of goodness motivated by wisdom, not by fear of G-d.

Of course, we should welcome goodness regardless of the motivation.

Frank Silbermann	<fs@...>
Tulane University	New Orleans, Louisiana  USA


End of Volume 15 Issue 50