Volume 16 Number 5
                       Produced: Mon Oct 24 22:53:39 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Emunah and Viewing History
         [Barry Parnas]
Eruvim and Watches
         [Warren Burstein]
harmful things
         [Daniel Levy Est.MLC]
Ona'ah / Interest
         [Zvi Weiss]
R Schach and the Rav zt"l
         [Shalom Carmy]
         [Elie Rosenfeld]
Repeating Words
         [Jonathan Katz]
         [Binyomin Segal]
Safe Aron Kodesh
Single Fathers
         [Mordechai Torczyner]


From: <BLPARN@...> (Barry Parnas)
Date: Fri, 21 Oct 94 09:28:11 CST
Subject: Emunah and Viewing History

I want to call attention to the perception of our understanding of the
world through our relationship to Torah and our essence as Jews.
J. Burton wrote an article in MJ Vol. 15 #94 dealing with scientific
knowledge and Torah knowledge, much of which I agreed with.

>Would the world be such a dreadful place if we had the humility to admit
that between what we know through observation and deduction on the one hand,
and what we know by emunah on the other, there is a vast gap (of both Torah
and Mad'a) that we just don't understand?  We _know_ about the dinosaurs,
and we _know_ (in a very different way) about Gan Eden.  Does anyone seriously
suggest that HKB"H can't cope with both of them, without bending one or the
>other out of shape?

In reconciling the disagreements between carbon-14 dating of events in
the past and the Torah's description of history, he uses the word
"emunah" to describe our relationship to history described in the Torah.
I do not think that emunah can be a proper relationship to the Torah.
Either the events described in the Torah are true or they aren't.  There
is no room for belief-emunah.  A person knows that a speeding truck is
going to kill them if they walk in front of it on the freeway; he
doesn't believe it will kill.  There's no room for belief- emunah in
events which are as physical as we are.  And the flood, Amalek, the
giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, etc. are all physical events in the
past with consequences for the future.

I realize this observation could be considered semantic, and perhaps it
is.  but, I am not so sure that people do not make a distinction with
things which are "really" true and things that the Torah says.  For
Avraham Avinu, Hashem was a reality for which he would sacrifice his son
Yitzchok and walk into a river up to his nostrils.  He knew.  He knew,
he did not believe.  We need to know Torah the same way we know driving
a car.


From: <warren@...> (Warren Burstein)
Date: Tue, 18 Oct 1994 10:31:06 GMT
Subject: Re: Eruvim and Watches

Shimon Schwartz writes:

>I remember reading an opinion (Sh"Shabbat keHilcheta?) that an issue arises
>if the watch malfunctions: one might come to take it off and carry it.
>The consequence is that, absent an eruv, one should only wear a watch that 
>is so beautiful that one would wear it even if it were to stop working.

I have a digital watch that occasionally winds up in the wrong
setting, e.g stopwatch, which I think is identical to a malfunction as
one cannot tell the time with it.  Even though I live within an Eruv,
if I notice it in that state on Shabbat, it never occurred to me to
take it off and put it in my pocket, because it's less likely to get
damaged when strapped to my wrist than sitting in a pocket that it can
fall out of.

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


From: <daniel@...> (Daniel Levy Est.MLC)
Date: Mon, 24 Oct 94 03:31:39 -0500
Subject: harmful things

Regarding the use of language by Jeremy Nussbaum and later Cooper and
Frank that "God has permitted harmful things" is tricky and needs
further consideration, in my opinion.  Overall, considering it is
forbidden to hurt oneself, harmful things seem to be forbidden.
However, some mitzvot may entail bodily harm. (In a sense commanding
harmful things.)

Daniel Levy Est.MLC


From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Wed, 19 Oct 1994 11:17:34 -0400
Subject: Ona'ah / Interest

I did not intend to really enter this discussion BUT...
1. The definition of Interest and its prohibition in terms of
   speculation (as given by Seth W.) appears totally untenable from a
   Talmudic view.  The Gemara repeatedly defines "interest" as "Agar
   Natar" -- the reward provided for "Waiting" while someone else used
   the money of the lender.  It seems that Chazal were NOT concerned
   with "speculation" In fact, one of the ways to MITIGATE the
   prohibition of interest is to structure the whole matter as a
   business transaction involving a degree of risk assumed by the Lender
   to a greater extent than the Borrower (Cf. the discussion in Aizehu
   Neshech about the case where the borrower provides "sweat equity" and
   the lender CANNOT split everything 50-50 because otherwise, the
   lender is STILL getting "benefit" from the borrower in terms of the
   exertion of the Borrower... this is a complex topic which is too
   lengthy for this posting).  Anyway, the whole discussion including
   the "permitted" cases seem to focus solely on the fact that I (the
   lender) am being paid for allowing someone else to use my money.
   Note further that CHAZAL apparently never considered money per se to
   in- flate or deflate.  Rather, it is the value of EVERYTHING ELSE
   that changes while the mone stays constant...
2. The halacha states that if I EXPLICITLY tell someone that I am
   overcharging what I am selling (or that I am offering an artificially
   low price for what I am buying), then there is no prohibition of
   Ona'ah.  this would seem to make clear that Ona'ah is strongly based
   upon issues of value and DECEPTION.  It is the fact thatv I have
   TRICKED someone that makes Ona'ah so loathsome.  Setting a high price
   is always my right as long as I am "upfront".  The Talmud describes
   elsewhere a case where the price of birds for Korbanot went
   sky-high... There was a response from CHAZAL to bring down the price
   -- but it was not by declaring the sellers guilty of Ona'ah.
3. The example of shooting someone and then "offering" to take them to
   the Hospital breaks down because CHavala (Wounding a person) is
   prohibited entirely apart from the monetary aspect involved.  The
   Torah does not allow one to wound a person merely because the
   assailant will make restitution.  Shooting a person is prohibited
   PERIOD.  Just as Robbery is prohibited, so is Chavala.  BTW, the
   restitution described is not complete either.  The Torah mandates --
   in addition to Medical bills, the costs for Tza'ar ["Pain"], Shevet
   ["Lay-off Time"], Nezek ["Costs for PErmanent Damage"], and Boshet
   ["Costs for Same incurred" -- if any].  All in addition to Ripuy
   ["actual medical costs"].  There are some other flaws in this example
   but I will stop here as I believe that the point has been made.



From: Shalom Carmy <carmy@...>
Date: Mon, 24 Oct 1994 09:56:12 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: R Schach and the Rav zt"l

I would like to know where R Schach prohibits study of halakhic works by 
R Kook and R Soloveitchik.

According to an individual who is in a position to know, R Schach, no 
more than ten years ago, "looked forward avidly" to any new publication 
by the Rav.


From: <er@...> (Elie Rosenfeld)
Date: 24 Oct 1994   9:38 EDT
Subject: Repeating

Once again we are repeating, repeating in m.j. this favorite topic of
mine! :-)

Chazanim that repeat words have always bothered me, more for "gut" reasons
that strictly halachik ones.  (As others have noted, Rav Moshe frowns on
the practice but doesn't blanketly forbid it.)  The question is invariably
asked as, "what's wrong with repeating?"  My question has always been the
converse: What's _right_ about it?

If one needs to repeat words to fit a tune, isn't that saying that the
words are subordinate to the tune?  That it doesn't matter all that much
what you're really saying, as long as it sounds pretty?  To me, this
doesn't beautify the prayer so much as reduce it to a performance.  And
besides, there are so many beautiful tunes for every part of the davening
that _don't_ require repeating.  This is true even of most of the very
tunes in which chazanim usually repeat -- the same tune can be adapted
to avoid repetition.  So why "cheat" when there's absolutely no need to?

And all this is besides the issue of tircha d'tzibbura [wasting the
congregations' time], which is a real, live halacha, believe it or not!
(I have a fantasy that if I ever become a pulpit Rabbi, for my very first
sermon I will get up and say "I am Rabbi Rosenfeld, and I am very machmir
[strict] in tircha d'tzibbura" -- and then sit down.)

Elie Rosenfeld


From: Jonathan Katz <frisch1@...>
Date: Mon, 24 Oct 1994 10:30:34 EDT
Subject: Repeating Words

>>>From: Jonathan Katz <frisch1@...>
>> 2) In general, prayers are repetitive...

Philip Ledereic "explained" why we repeat words when it comes to
kedusha. However, I believe that two problems still remain:
1) I agree with the idea behind Philip's explanation, but it still doesn't
solve the problem for me. We are saying "higher, and higher" - this is
repetitive, even if we mean to show that it's higher than the rest of the year.
2) There are many other instances of repetition. The primary one that comes
to mind is Hallel - where we are SUPPOSED to repeat words.

Jonathan Katz
410 Memorial Drive, Room 241C
Cambridge, MA 02139


From: <bsegal@...> (Binyomin Segal)
Date: Wed, 19 Oct 1994 12:00:46 -0600
Subject: Roles

Janice Gelb questions the ability to generalize about women's & men's
roles. Her problems are, 1.the exception will be treated poorly as they
either have to do something they can't or are looked at as weird for not
doing it. 2.It suggests that a divorced husband is unable to raise his
family well.

The gemara tells us that just as each person's face is different, so their
thoughts are different. We all see that there is an infinite variety of
faces, yet there are certainly trends that bear description - 2 eyes &
ears, 1 nose &  mouth. This idea that the physical suggests spiritual
similarities and differences can be expanded to men/women. Certainly men &
women have much in common - both physically & spiritually, but there are
also differences. Yet the differences are not black and white - they are
more shades of grey. We have all seen men that natuarally sound or look
"feminine" and women that sound or look "masculine" - similarly we can find
men that have some binah, or women who have daas. The description of
"women" or "men" is a generality, a direction. The "average woman" has more
binah than the "average man", etc.

Consider - Why did Hashem create male & female at all? Why not a single
sex. Every satisfactory answer that I've ever heard includes the assumption
of meaningful differences (non-physical). If those differences are there,
it is clear that they should express themselves in the life the Torah
expects from each.

Hashem does not play tricks on His creations if He arranged (or allows to
happen) that someone should be in a certain situation (say divorced with
children & no spouse), it is His responsibility to insure that the
parent/children survive. Of course this is not the best scenario - and the
children loose out if they are missing either parent. That may be - in the
long run - the best thing for those children and that spouse.

Imagine a math genius marries. The mathmetician has a lucrative position to
support the family nicely. The mathmetician dies, and the now poor spouse
approaches the employer and asks for a job. Would that spouse be insulted
if they only got a secretarial position for which they barely qualified?
Would they demand the salary the mathmetician got? I'm sorry to insult you,
but bottom line - each spouse - man & woman - brings unique advantage into
the marriage. Giving either up may sometimes be the only option - but it is
a sacrifice, the other spouse will indeed be "handicapped" (or spousely



From: A.M.Goldstein <MZIESOL@...>
Date: Mon, 24 Oct 94 09:29:37 IST
Subject: Safe Aron Kodesh

A short while ago, someone asked about a safe aron kodesh--ark for the
Torah scrolls.  Recently Zomet--the institute for halakha and technology
located in Jerusalem (<ZOMET@...>) --had an
announcement of having developed and now offering such a safety aron
that meets all requirements for yomtov and Shabbat.


From: Mordechai Torczyner <torczynr@...>
Date: Thu, 20 Oct 1994 12:48:10 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Single Fathers

Janice Gelb writes, re the "Binah Yeseirah" discussion:
>2. What does this say for men who, due to divorce or death of a spouse,
>are the sole parent of their children? That due to a lack of binah they
>cannot possibly be as good a parent as a female? ...
>to say that if a mother is missing a father is automatically incapable or
>severely handicapped in raising his children by virtue of being male I
>think is an insult.

     Why should this be insulting? People are born with different abilities,
 and yes, some of those abilities are sex-dependent. Does anyone honestly
 believe that the two genders are equivalent in all matters? Is it insulting 
 to declare that males will never be able to nurse an infant as well as a 
 female can?
     This reminds me of the battle over female firemen, and the argument that
 holding women to the physical standards of men is discriminatory. To quote
 the oft-heard but still valid response, If I Chas V'Shalom am ever trapped
 in a burning building with a 200-pound beam lying across my chest, I want
 the male who was required to bench-press 200 pounds to come in and save me.
 What good will the 98 pound woman do for me?


End of Volume 16 Issue 5