Volume 15 Number 52
                       Produced: Wed Oct  5 20:58:15 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Comment re Eruvin
         [Zvi Weiss]
Conservative teshuvah
         [Charles Arian]
Creation and Evolution
         [David Neustadter]
Hebrew Word Nes
         [Binyomin Segal]
Hungarian Fanaticism
         [Ira Rosen]
Judaism and Vegetarianism
         [Shimon Schwartz]
Meaning of the Hebrew Word "nes"
         [Yechezkel Schatz ]
Time of Bi'ur for Etrogim
         [Joseph Steinberg]
Women and Misheberachs for sick
         [Shaul Wallach]
Womens Obligation to Learn Torah
         [Binyomin Segal]


From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Tue, 4 Oct 1994 08:29:50 -0400
Subject: Comment re Eruvin

Shaul Wallach minimizes (or appears to minimize) the "social effect" of
eruvin allowing people (incuding women -- a fact that Shaul appears to
forget) to "get out and mix".  I would refer people to the Netziv at the
beginning of Kedoshim where he explicitly states that a major purpose of
eruvin is the "shalom" that is engendered by allowing people to [easily]
get out....



From: Charles Arian <CARIAN@...>
Date: Tue, 04 Oct 94 01:56:42 EDT
Subject: Re: Conservative teshuvah

[There were a few submissions asking about this comment of Marc's, I
hope this reply of Charles will at least partially clear things
up. Mod.]

Marc Shapiro writes:
 . . . (witness the infamous Conservative teshuvah permitting homosexual

Just a reminder that this teshuvah was presented to the Law Committee of
the (Conservative) Rabbinical Assembly and got 1 vote out of the 25
members. So it does not constitute a normative Conservative position
and is not available to be relied upon by RA members.

Rabbi Charles Arian


From: David Neustadter <david@...>
Date: Tue, 4 Oct 1994 15:27:34 +0200
Subject: Creation and Evolution

In response to Stan Tenen's article in M-J Vol 15 #50:

There are a number of issues mentioned in this article that I disagree
with, but I'm going to hold off on the details because I'd really like
to first get a feel for where you're coming from.  If you wouldn't mind
addressing a few issues:

1) what is the source for the meanings that you quote for the letters
aleph, delet, and mem(final)?  Do these letters have the same meanings
in the words "dam" (dalet-mem(final)), and "Im"(aleph-mem(final)), and
if so what is the significance of these words?

2) what is the source of the terms 'letter', 'story', 'hint', and
'discussion' as translations of sod, pshat, remaz, and drash?

3) you say that "When we look at all levels of the creation story, we
find that the simplest literal meaning can be misleading."  Do you say
this from your own personal experience, or is this a theory?  Do you by
any chance know of answers to the questions that I asked based on deeper
meanings of the creation story?

4) I would greatly appreciate an explanation of the following passages
from your article:

> B'reshit can them be understood as a "kernel of consciousness" that grows
> into Adam's reality.


> ... a topologically minimal universal description of ALL possible
> self-organizing systems ...




From: <bsegal@...> (Binyomin Segal)
Date: Mon, 3 Oct 1994 23:28:40 -0600
Subject: Hebrew Word Nes

From: Jonathan Katz

>While at the Bible museum in Israel, I came across a fact which, though
>I must have "known" before, I have never really given much thought to.
>Apparently, the word "nes" (nun-samech) NEVER (and I have checked on
>this a little bit) means "miracle" in the Torah, or the Tanach for that
>matter.  "nes" can mean two things in the Torah (both deriving from
>different roots, I presume). One is "flag" or "pole" or something along
>those lines. The other is in the sense of "running away" (i.e. Lanus
>(lamed-nun-vav-samech)).  My question is: does anyone have a theory of
>when/how the word "nes" came to mean EXCLUSIVELY "miracle", as it does

When I read this note last nite before bed it reminded me of a similar
situation. And then on thinking about it (as I fell asleep) I realized
they were very possibly related.

It seems the word teva meaning nature does not appear in tanach
either. It appears meaning stamped (like a coin - matbeah) in tanach
somewhere and appears meaning stuck (tuba bayam)

The person with whom I discovered this was a BT who had gotten a PhD in
philosophy. He told me (and we checked this out with a few rabbis who
seemed to think this might be true) that the whole concept of "a natural
order" is really a Greek invention. Till then everyone was always sorta
open & ready to go with it. The Greeks invented the concept of a
"natural law". And Hebrew used teva to indicate it (presumably to point
out that it was formed that way ie stamped like a coin by Hashem)
Presumably the Greeks would have had to create the idea of miracle (a
violation of "natural law") - we can guess that nes came to be used that
way because it held up the banner of Hashem's presence.

Certainly by the time of the mishna the term nes/miracle was common.

What bears thought here is that in the Jewish system - at least
theoretically - nature and miracle are really not very far apart. "He
who tells oil to burn will tell vinegar to burn". It seems reasonable
that only to respond to the greeks did hebrew need words like nes and



From: Ira Rosen <irosen@...>
Date: Tue, 4 Oct 94 11:27:59 EDT
Subject: Hungarian Fanaticism

	I have been following the discussion of how to write Hashem's
name in english tangentially, but the recent postings mentioning
'Hungarian fanaticism' peaked my interest.
	My great-grandfather, Rav Alter Shaul Pfeffer (I quoted a
t'shuva of his once before) was both born in Hungary and was rather
observant (a 'Hungarian fanatic'?).  He answered a question (Vol 3 of
his Sifrei Tshuvot, "Avnei Zikaron") regarding what must be done with a
sign that was made containing a word in a foreign language (not hebrew)
referring directly to Hashem (using a word that was a direct
representation/translation of Hashem's name in Hebrew).  He was strict
in his response, not allowing the letters to be removed from the sign
for other uses (I don't have his t'shuva in front of me, as I am not at
home, so I cannot at the moment give many more details).
	The upshot of his opinion seemed to be: If a word is written as
a direct translation/represntation (vague - I know) of a hebrew name of
Hashem, one must be careful when diposing of the written material.
'Hashem', for example, is a translation of a word meaning 'The Name',
this, I feel presents no problem os disposal as it is not a
representation/translation of any of Hashem's actual names.  One could
then examine, "god, God, and G-d," using the same set of rules: god
represents no individual deity; God, used in Jewish circles means
Hashem, and is the 'best' English translation of his name, so there may
be a disposal problem; G-d is a representation of the english
translation/representation (twice removed), and seems to me to pose
little problem.  I attempt to stick to my Hungarian great-grandfather's
fanatic tshuva, and use the second generation representations (if you
know that no one questions a particular way of doing things, and it's no
skin off your nose - why not?)


From: <schwartz@...> (Shimon Schwartz)
Date: Tue, 4 Oct 1994 12:21:05 +0500
Subject: Re: Judaism and Vegetarianism

> From: <engelson@...> (Shlomo Engelson)
> ... note that the Gemara records that there were
> physicians dedicated to the care of the Kohanim in the Temple, who
> evidently had a greater than normal share of health problems, in all
> likelihood due to eating large quantities of roasted meat.

There were additional factors leading to their ill health.  Specifically,
they spent substantial time walking barefoot on an unheated stone floor,
often amidst animal parts and blood.  The floor was rinsed periodically,
but not necessarily continuously.  WRT the meat consumed, I don't know
if the amount consumed had as much effect as the manner of preparation.
Was it cooked sufficiently?  Might it have been contaminated by bacteria 
before it was eaten?


From: Yechezkel Schatz  <lpschatz@...>
Date: 4 Oct 1994 09:22:05 +0200
Subject: Meaning of the Hebrew Word "nes"

Bill Budnitz writes:
>In response to Jonathan's question as to the origin of the word "nes",
>he is correct in finding that the biblical context where the word is
>used is not miracle, as we use it today. In fact it is used to mean
>"banner", as in v'so nes lekabetz. The word for test, "nesoyon", also
>shares the same root. 

That is not very accurate.  The root for nes is: Nun,Samech,Samech,
while the root for nisayon is Nun,Samech,Yud(Heh).  True, however, that
these two g'zarot (families of roots) are many times similar in meaning
and even sometimes evolved one from the other.


From: Joseph Steinberg <steinber@...>
Date: Tue, 4 Oct 1994 09:47:04 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Time of Bi'ur for Etrogim

Lon Eisenberg wrote:

: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). 

The generally agreed upon date is the end of Shvat (Which i believe is 31 
Jan 95).



From: Shaul Wallach <F66204@...>
Date: Tue, 04 Oct 94 10:36:32 IST
Subject: Re: Women and Misheberachs for sick

     In Vol. 15, No. 27, Aliza Berger voices her inablility to
understand why women should not be allowed to submit names of the
sick for whom to say misheberachs. The problems of saying misheberachs
at all on Shabbat and holidays, from the point of view of wordly
needs and Torach Zibbur (burdening the public) have already been
discussed by others and there is no need to repeat them here. It
also goes without saying that a woman's prayer in private, such as
the one Aliza herself offered, is no less desirable than the men's
prayers in public, and we need only recall that our Rabbis derived many
halachot from Hannah's prayer.

     However, once we accept the custom of women attending services
at the synagogue, and of saying misheberachs at all, I see no a priori
reason why women should be left out. Surely a woman could give her
husband, father or other relative the name of someone for whom to
say the prayer. If this is not feasible, and if the congregation
objects to having women saying names out loud in public, then she
could easily prepare a slip of paper before Shabbat with the name
of the person written on it and hand it over to one of the men on
the other side of the partition without saying anything out loud.
(If there is an `eruv in the community and she relies on it, then
she can bring it with her on Shabbat, and if not, then she can bring
it on Friday afternoon before Qabbalat Shabbat.)

      In summary, there seem to be a number of alternative means
available to give women their full oppurtunity to offer prayers for
the sick, whatever the occasion be.




From: <bsegal@...> (Binyomin Segal)
Date: Tue, 4 Oct 1994 00:17:18 -0600
Subject: Womens Obligation to Learn Torah

I notice that a number of people take as axiomatic that until the chafetz
chaim's ruling (based on the negative influence of modern society) there
was no torah education for women.

This just aint so. what is true is that until then there was no _formal_
education. however (though i know some will say im being nostalgic & dont
have a realistic picture) it seems clear to me that women in the european
shtettle were educated. they knew halacha, they knew tanach and medrash
(tzena urena was not written for men) and it would seem that many of them
knew how to read.

Further, though gemara was/is not seen as something to teach women,
halacha is clear that women are _OBLIGATED_ to learn halacha. the bais
yosef (SA OC somewhere) paskens that women are required to say bircas
hatorah. generally the bais yosef holds (and this is the sephardic
custom) that women do not make brachos on mitzvos that they are not
obligated to do. the mishna brura therefore points out that the Bais
Yosef holds women are obligated to learn torah ie halacha.

the chofetz chaim's psak was important because:
1 there was a well established tradition not to have formal classes
2 with schools comes fund raisers and the jewish community was VERY poor

the chofetz chaim's point was that the community is now responsible to
use their resources to teach women (as opposed to moms teaching
daughters) because the societal influence was such that either mom didnt
know enough or was ineffective in transmitting against a backdrop of

I think also it should be pointed out that although clearly the man's
learning has always taken precedence which has led to very little
learning on the part of women in poor communities in wealthy communities
(historically) it seems clear that women learned - privately - but they


End of Volume 15 Issue 52