Volume 15 Number 67
                       Produced: Tue Oct 11  4:53:28 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Breishit Questions:
         [Stan Tenen]
Do we _need_ the secular perspective?
         [Frank Silbermann]
Fireproof safes for Sifrei Torah
         [Marshall F. Katz]
Magnetic and Electric Door Cards
Not Wearing a Watch on Shabbat
         [Jerrold Landau]
Pesach in the Southern Hemisphere
         [David Steinberg]
Seeking Politically conservative Jews
         [Binyamin Jolkovsky]
The Real Hallachic Zeno
         [Sam Juni]
The Ultimate Curse  15 #13
         [Neil Parks]


From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Thu, 6 Oct 1994 18:33:45 -0700
Subject: Breishit Questions:

Barak Moore asks about "shamyim" and "rakia."

Shamyim refers to the spiritual (Shin= "shining" spirit) source of 
(Mem=source of) personal conscious (Yod= "hand" conscious of or pointing 
to) expanse (Memfinal= expanse.)  This is "mind-space."  It is an 
abstract, pre-physical "space" of consciousness.

Mem final is the expanse that
Yod consciously points to
      Yom therefore means sea. (expanse of wave-action -consciousness- 
we can point to.)
Mem means from or source of;
      Mayim, therefore means water. (what comes from the sea)
Shin refers to spiritual shining;
      Shmayim, therefore refers to the spiritual analog of water - our 
fluid mental space.

Rakia refers to the physical canopy of the sky-heavens.  It is that 
which "molds" or models the sky. (Rakia can also refer to molding or to 
Resh (rushing, reaching, radiating "head"), 
Qof (copy of - this is what assures us that rakia refers to the 
physical.  It is a mechanistic copy of the spiritual just as Qof, monkey 
consciousness, is a mechanistic copy - an "aping" - of human 
Yod (pointing to or conscious of); 
Ayin (an eye, seeing)  
So rakia is what our head (resh) and eyes (Ayin) copy (Qof) and mold or 
point to (Yod - points to).  The Ayin has significance as a "well-
spring" also, but that is too complex to go into here.

There are many other possible interpretations.  There are based on Meru 
Foundation's findings about the structure and meaning of the letters of 
the Hebrew alphabet.  The letter meanings are come from a logical matrix 
that appears to assign the same meanings as are traditionally given, but 
with greater precision and on a topologically universal level.

Stan Tenen				P.O. Box 1738
Meru Foundation			San Anselmo, CA 94979
<meru1@...>		(415) 459-0487


From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Thu, 6 Oct 1994 07:23:18 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Do we _need_ the secular perspective?

Not being frum-from-birth, my secular education is much stronger than my
Jewish education.  For someone like me, it would be a terrible waste to
ignore my secular knowledge when learning Torah.  Apparent
contradictions between Torah vs. secular values lead to the most
interesting insights.  Through further digging in _both_ Torah and
secular learning I sometimes discover that the outside world _once_
accepted the Torah value, but that the current secular value is merely a
recent trendy experiment.  Such a discovery increases my positive
influence over others, as I can cite both Torah and arguments of earlier
secular authorities to those who are not yet committed to Torah.

Other times I am able to dig up sources which indicate that the
conflicting "Torah value" I heard from friends was actually a
misunderstanding of Torah -- that solid Torah sources exist which agree
with the secular value.  In such cases, my secular learning does indeed
enhance my Torah learning, keeping me from grievous error.

Still, there are cases in which the conflict is genuine.  Such issues to
be worthy of the most intense study, as they help me understand the
fundamental differences between the two world views.  This understanding
sharpens my intuition in Torah learning.

In an article on marriage (V15 #51) Shaul Wallach writes:
>	When the Jew sincerely devotes himself to living by the Torah,
>	in which everything in his life is governed by the halacha,
>	he will need have no recourse to "psychological matters,"
>	because his whole personality is governed by the Torah.

And in adding two numbers, if I am _truly_ governed by the addition
algorithm I will have no need to check my work -- the algorithm always
yields the correct answer.  But because I tend to make errors I need to
check my work.  Similarly, because I tend to misunderstand the Torah I
am taught, I always check it against the secular knowledge I have, and,
in case of disagreement, seek clarification of both.

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


From: <MarshK@...> (Marshall F. Katz)
Date: Fri, 07 Oct 94 16:15:55 EDT
Subject: Fireproof safes for Sifrei Torah

Would anyone sending e-mail to Naftoli Biber in response to his request for
information on fireproof safes for Sifrei Torah, please include me in the

I am on the board of a synagogue currently under construction and we have
just begun to consider this issue. 


Marshall F. Katz
Wesley Hills, NY


From: <bailey@...>
Date: Thu, 6 Oct 1994 15:59:24 
Subject: Magnetic and Electric Door Cards

> Steve Weiss:
> I would be interested in any sources for responsa on this issue. Also,
> how can you tell the difference bvetween a key which is only magnetic
> and one which is electric? Thanks!

A magnetic card contains a magnetized strip that aligns magnetic
tumblers into the exact positioned needed to open the door. It is
essentially the same as a regular housekey, i.e., it uses no
electricity. It looks like a thick plastic credit card. They also make a
kind that looks like a credit card sized piece of Swiss cheese: the
tumblers fit into the holes. Same idea.

The elctric variety work on the same principle as an ATM card; an 
electric reader identifies the card as the one that activates the 


From: <LANDAU@...> (Jerrold Landau)
Date: Fri, 7 Oct 94 14:53:43 EDT
Subject: Not Wearing a Watch on Shabbat

In a recent post, Janice Gelb indicates that she was under the
impression that the practice of not wearing a watch on Shabbat observed
by some people has to do with the spirit of the day rather than hilchos
eruvim.  How can not wearing a watch have help the spirit of the day.
One can be out on a walk and miss mincha, a shiur, etc., if one is not
wearing a watch.  I believe that the reason that some people do not wear
a watch has to do with hilchos eruvin.  For a woman, a watch is a
tachshit (ornament or piece of jewelry), and therefore is considered an
article of clothing.  For a man, a watch is not considered a tachshit,
and therefore cannot be worn when there is no eruv.  I'm not sure about
expensive men's watches.  Many men would consider an expensive watch to
be a piece of jewelry.  Anyone know the halacha in this case?

Jerrold Landau


From: David Steinberg <dave@...>
Date: Fri, 7 Oct 1994 17:54:30 +0100
Subject: Pesach in the Southern Hemisphere

It would seem to me that Pesach is defined relative to the seasons in 
Eretz Yisroel not the seasons where you are.  That being the case the 
fact that someone is on the North Pole in the middle of an ice storm does 
not take away from the mitzvah of achilas matzah (eating matzah). 

The alternative would have people in different parts of the world 
observing chagim at different times.

This reminds me somewhat of the debate about Jewish Time.  The question 
arises as to when to observe shabbos and yom tov if you are EAST of 
Israel.  There is one opinion (sorry, this is from memory and I don't have 
sources available) that shabbos begins first in Israel and then 
moves west.  An analgous question would be when to observe shabbos on a 
space station.  

Dave Steinberg


From: Binyamin Jolkovsky <foyer@...>
Date: Fri, 7 Oct 1994 15:14:43 -0400
Subject: Seeking Politically conservative Jews

I would like to interview poltically conservative Jewish
20-somethings. If you would liked to be interviewed, or know of someone
who would, I can be contacted either via e-mail (address above) or at
1212-889-8200 x 432. (I will call you back immediately!)


Binyamin L. Jolkovsky


From: Sam Juni <JUNI@...>
Date: Fri, 07 Oct 94 00:10:46 EST
Subject: The Real Hallachic Zeno

David Charlap (15:53) views the fly/train version of Zeno's paradox as
"trivial to understand", and asserts that the "real" Hallachic paradox
is closer to the Liar's Dilemma, of the genre  "Can G-d create an immo-
vable object?"

Yes, all of us know that the train will meet the station eventually and
crush the fly.  That does not make the problem trivial.  The formulation
entails the following questions:
  a. Is there a "last trip" of the fly before it stops moving?
    b. Is the trip in a specific direction?
    If both of these are answered in the affirmative, the paradox sets
in, in a SEQUENTIAL mode, since any "last" trip must result in a space
between the fly and the train or a spece between the fly and the terminal
thus allowing for yet another trip.  The actual solution then involves
questioning the translation of instantaneous changes in velocity into a
mechanical model, which I do not see as simple or intuitive at all.

The essential feature of the formulation is the sequence, not the recur-
sive interrelationships of two events.  The paradox type suggested by
David would distil to the Hallachic situation where one effects a con-
secration on condition that that the consecration be invalid. Here the
illogic would serve as the focus for resolving the paradox. Such illogic
is not a feature in the fly/train scenario.

In fact, there was an earlier sequential-type translation of Zeno's
paradox which was almost as relevant to Hallacha, but did not contain
the recursive aspect. Briefly, it referred to the story of the hare who
challenged the tortoise to a race, even granting him a head start.  The
confident hare apparently does not join the race immediately, confident
of his ability to run the course very quickly. He decides to take a brief
nap first, but ends up sleeping through the entire race. (The moral of
the story is not to nap when there is work to do, or that slow work beats
no work, or something like that.)  Zeno's problem with the story challen-
ges the moral of the story, claiming that even had the hare begun to run
immediately when the race started, he never could have gotten past the
tortoise. Reasoning is as follows: Consider the moment when the race
starts  -- The position of the tortoise (T-1) at that moment is further
than the position of the hare at that moment (H-1).  At the moment when
the hare reaches T-1, the tortoise is now further ahead (T-2) than the
hare is (H-2 which is really T-1). These two sentences can be repeated ad
nauseum. The argument can then be stated as follows:
     1. In order for the hare to overtake the tortoise, it must first
        pass the position where the tortoise had been earlier.
     2. Whenever the hare passes the position where the tortoise was
        earlier, the tortoise is already ahead of the hare.
     3. Go to #1.
Here, too, the illogic of the paradox is not its solution. The solution
lies in the non-problem of repeating the loop infinitely, in spite of its
psychological evoking of feelings of tiredness or futility; ultimately,
a finite entity can be conceptualized as reducible to an infinite number
of subdivisions (so long as one doesen't fall asleep) without challenging
the legitimacy of the finite entity. Despite the lack of sequential
recursiveness to hare/tortoise version, I do not see its resolution as
intuitive at all.


From: Neil Parks <aa640@...>
Date: Thu, 6 Oct 94 13:33:21 EDT
Subject: Re: The Ultimate Curse  15 #13

>: Hayim Hendeles <hayim@...>
>When referring to an exceedingly wicked person, the custom is to mention
>the individual's name followed by the phrase "Yimach Shemo Vzichro" (may
>his name and memory be obliterated). 
>I was wondering if someone could explain the significance behind this
>ultimate curse. While other languages resort to profanity, or expressions
>sanctioning blatant and horrible curses, in Loshon Hakodesh (G-d's
>Holy Tongue) it is sufficient to "obliterate" the name.  ...

Pirkey Avos (Ethics of the Fathers) says that the crown of a good name is 
more valuable than the crowns of priesthood and royalty.

 From that statement, I derived the following:

When we leave this world at the end of 120 years, our memory is what lives 
on.  Those who have a lasting influence on future generations are not truly 

To say that someone's name and memory should be obliterated is therefore to 
wish that they will have no afterlife, and they will have no influence on 
future generations.


End of Volume 15 Issue 67