Volume 16 Number 10
                       Produced: Tue Oct 25  7:54:41 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Creation and Science
         [David Charlap]
Ma'aser and Retirement Planning
         [Hillel Eli Markowitz]
Opera and musical careers
         [Steve Albert]
Science & Religion
         [Stan Tenen]
Science and Creation
         [Yechezkel Schatz]


From: <david@...> (David Charlap)
Date: Mon, 24 Oct 94 12:20:54 EDT
Subject: Re: Creation and Science

<sethg@...> (Seth Gordon) writes:
>Here is a quote from Adam Sedgwick's 1831 presidential address to
>the Geological Society:
>    For of man, and the works of his hands, we have not yet found a
>    single trace among the remnants of a former world entombed in
>    these ancient deposits. ...

No kidding.  Tradition teaches that the entire world was wiped out,
and that not a trace of it should remain.  It would do more to
disprove the Flood theory if we had found remains of a civilization
earlier than that date.

>For instance, the class of teleostean fishes (comprising virtually
>all contemporary types of fish) are found only in strata dating from
>the late Triassic (about 200 million years ago, according to
>paleontologists).  How could a Flood conveniently leave these
>fish--who differ widely in shape, swimming speed, and habitat--at the
>top of the pile, while leaving other, faster fish beneath them?

Simple.  If you believe in an absolute literal interpretation of
Genesis, the world didn't exist 200 million years ago.  Therefore,
anything you find that seems to exist from that era never really
existed, and what you're seeing now (fossils) is all there ever was -
created as you see them today.

Trying to argume against fundamentalist creationism is futile, because
your basic axioms are being challenged.


From: <HEM@...> (Hillel Eli Markowitz)
Date: Sun, 23 Oct 1994 10:16:45 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Ma'aser and Retirement Planning

> >From: <CHERYLHALL@...> (Cherly Hall)
> When one assess their income for purposes of ma'aser what does one
> include? I know what I have done. Taxes, FICA and 401k deferred
> compensation have been excluded from my calculation on the premise I
> have not received these funds,

The response I received from asking was to use my net pay in these
calculations. The following is from the Baltimore Eruv list summary on 
the matter.   Note that United Way contributions directed to valid 
tzedakah via payroll deduction would be income for the calculation but 
paid for from maaser.  Some companies do "match" a percentage of these 
funds so it would pay to do so.  Otherwise, it would be better to send 
your own check each time as United Way takes "administrative costs" off 
the top (20% in my area) but that is another subject.

Not Liable

1: All shoppers coupons; all discounts; all refunds; all life insurance 
dividends; credit card purchase rebates

2: Non monetary gifts and non monetary inheritences

3: Insurance reimbursements which are less than losses plus current years 

4: FICA and all income taxes

5: Automatic pension contributions [I read this as 401k - hem]

6: Monetary gifts given for the expressed purpose of buying a specific 
item or service, etc.

7: Proceeds from the sale of second hand property sold without profit

8: Home grown vegetables or fruit

9: Received payments for child support

10: Found items other than money

11: Perquisites such as employer paid insurance programs, company car, 
etc. [I would say that the employer part of your medical premium falls 
under this category - hem]

12: Reimbursement for actual expenses

13: Monies held in trust for boys under bar mitzvah (13) or girls under 
bat mitzvah (12).

Deductions from Income Include:

1. Estimated tax payments, self-employment tax

2. "Balance Due" on tax forms

3. Income tax penalties; alimony payments in excess of Chiyuvei Kesuva 
[halachic requirement of the kesuva - hem]

4. Job related expenses such as transportation, child care, etc.

5. Bad loans (in real dollars) to rich people [I guess to poor people 
would actually mean you have given tzedakah from maaser - hem]

6. Losses (in real dollars) from the sale of any property

But *DO NOT* Include:

Real estate tax on one's home, non business expenditures for sales tax, 
excise tax,gasoline tax, personal customs duties, unreimbursed casualty 
and theft losses, and medical expenses.

|  Hillel Eli Markowitz    |     Im ain ani li, mi li?      |
|  <H.E.Markowitz@...>   |   V'ahavta L'raiecha kamocha   |


From: <SAlbert@...> (Steve Albert)
Date: Mon, 24 Oct 1994 16:28:24 -0400
Subject: Opera and musical careers

   Jules Reichel (MJ 15:#90) asked why R. Lichtenstein (as cited by Marc
Shapiro) says we shouldn't encourage women to have careers in opera, and
asks why it should be any worse to use the human voice in opera than in
 As the spouse of a concert pianist, now getting her doctorate and
working with various singers, etc. at school and elsewhere, let me
 **(1) It is virtually impossible to have a professional, classical,
musical performance career while being shomer shabbos, at least outside
Israel.  Too many performances are on Shabbos, Yom Tov, etc.  My wife
discussed this with a senior partner in one of the major international
musical management agencies, who happens to be shomer shabbos.  The
advice: "It *can't* be done."
 **(2) For a woman, there are certainly issues of Kol Isha.  Even if you
want to dismiss these, not everyone will, and a view which said "Women
should avoid opera careers because of Kol Isha" certainly deserves
respect as legitimate, even if you disagree with it.
 **(3) I may get some flack for this, but I really wonder whether
getting up and singing in front of hundreds or thousands of people is an
appropriate career for someone who is enjoined otherwise to behave
modestly.  I don't see how making your living by being the center of
attention of thousands of people as you sing could be considered modest.
(I'm NOT saying women need to stay at home, but I don't think all
careers are equally appropriate, and I really question whether "opera
singer" is consistent with Jewish modesty.  Doctor, lawyer, teacher,
computer programmer, nurse, teacher, salesclerk, factory worker, etc., I
have no problem with; ; putting oneself on display and showing off one's
voice every day, however, doesn't seem right to me.)
 **(4)  The comparison with chazzanim is flawed, for several reasons:
  (a)  Gender DOES make a difference here.
  (b) Not everyone thinks highly of chazzanim who think they're
performing at the opera.  Personally, if the *focus* shifts from the
words to the music, I think it's time for a new chazan.  The chazan is a
sheliach tzibbur, not an entertainer, and if he distracts from rather
than enhances the prayers, he's (IMHO) in the wrong line of work.
  (c) Most important, context matters.  Just because a singer's voice
can be used to beautify prayer doesn't mean that every use of that voice
is equally good.  That same voice could sing Shacharit, lull a baby to
sleep, speak lashon harah, insult others, order someone to commit
murder, or give comfort to the sick or mourners.  It could entertain for
the shul's annual dinner, or at a brothel in Nevada.  My point is that
the beauty of the voice doesn't justify all uses.  Opera is certainly
not in the same category as lashon harah (though my musically
unsophisticated ear has sometime made me wonder!  ;-) ), but the beauty
of the human voice doesn't necessarily mean that opera is a fitting
career for a young, observant Jewish woman.
     (5) Despite my own tin ear, I don't mean to condemn opera.  (In
fact, I seem to remember hearing that R. Shimshon Refael Hirsch used to
attend the opera.)  But there are certainly good reasons for some to
hold, as R.  Lichtenstein apparently did in what Marc Shapiro reported,
that young Jewish women should not be encouraged to take up a career as
opera singers.  Steve Albert


From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Sun, 23 Oct 1994 22:51:09 -0700
Subject: Science & Religion

Dan Weber in m-j Vol 15, #95, 21 October 1994 says:
"We do not, as religious Jews, need to turn science on its head with 
convoluted reasoning to justify Torah. ...."  

I agree completely.

But, if we are going to compare what we discover in the world of secular 
science to what we see in Torah, we must remember to make the proper 
comparison.  The "science of Torah" is NOT in the stories of the Hebrew 
Bible, it is in the deeper levels in the text.  And we cannot compare 
the seemingly physical descriptions in Torah with the physical data 
gained by science.  Torah is primarily a spiritual document.  Even if we 
wish to understand from the stories alone, we still cannot confuse the 
map and the territory.  A map is a "graven image".  It is not the 

Spiritually speaking this is even more true.  The physical descriptions 
in Torah, such as phrases that we translate "the hand of Hashem" do NOT 
refer to a physical "Hand of G-d."  That is not a Jewish perspective.  
The "Hand of G-d" is not a thing but a process.  The hand of G-d refers 
to Hashem's intervention in our world.  Creation and everything else is 
projected by the "Hand of G-d" PROCESS, not by the "Hand of G-d" THING.  
(As I posted earlier, there  was a "hybrid" of Judaism and Roman 
paganism that actually worshipped an effigy of a human hand.  This is 
certainly NOT what Torah is referring to.)  Likewise, the mention of 
Yomim, "days", etc. can only refer to our current physical intervals of 
time METAPHORICALLY just like the "Hand of G-d" is a metaphor and NOT a 
physical reality.

In my opinion Dan is correct in saying that we are intended to be "co-
creators with HaShem."   Hashem projects ALL THERE IS with "His" 
metaphoric "Hand" and we project our consciousness into our objective 
physical reality with our physical hands.  

R. Aryeh Kaplan, quoting R. Moses Maimonides, from Maimonides' Guide to 
the Perplexed:
  'The pious were therefore particular to minimize the time when they 
could not reflect on God's name.  And they cautioned others, saying, 
"Let not your minds be vacant from reflections on God."  In the same 
sense, King David said, "I have set God before me always, He is at my 
right hand, I shall not be moved"   (Psalms 16:8).
  'What he meant was, "I do not turn my thoughts away from God -- He is 
like my right hand, which I do not forget for even an instant because of 
the ease of its motions.  Therefore, I shall not be moved -- I shall not 
fall."' From Aryeh Kaplan, Meditation & The Bible, Copyright 1978, page 
10.  Published by Samuel Weiser, ISBN 07728-364-8.

It is by means of the process represented by the human hand that Hashem 
extends Himself into physicality.  - Not that He needs us, just that we 
are in fact the means He chooses to employ.  We find ourselves within 
this means; we cooperate and co-create best when we walk "the way" 
called Ha-lacha, when we bind Tefillin on our hand and on our heart and 
on our mind.......

In my opinion.
 Stan Tenen,
 Meru Foundation


From: Yechezkel Schatz <lpschatz@...>
Date: 23 Oct 1994 19:12:38 +0200
Subject: Science and Creation

 Re all the postings in response to my initial posting:
 I will admit that I am biased in my point-of-view.  On the one hand I
have a historical record given in the book of B'reishit, and on the
other hand I have the calculations made by scientists.  I prefer the
historical record on which my religion is based.  In the same way, many
scientists are out to prove that there is no G-d, or to undermine the
credibility of the bible.  We are all human beings.  That is why we must
analyze theories and hypotheses, and not criticize free thinking.
 I am not very good at philosophizing.  I don't quite see the point in
such questions as "what does it make a difference?" or "can't we live
with the contradictions?".  I agreed with every word written by Dan
Weber, but I still see nothing wrong with offering ways to solve the
 One legitimate approach to explaining the contradictions is by
reinterpreting the passages in B'reishit.  I don't care for the way it's
done.  Though I feel our understanding of the story of creation should
be influenced by scientific findings, I don't think we need to rush and
bend and distort the words in B'reishit, before we carefully check how
scientists reached their conclusions.

 When we try and calculate the age of the world based on scientific
phenomena, we assume 3 things:

1) That we know the initial amount of whatever it is we are analyzing,
at the time of creation.
   * The calculations based on the isotopes mentioned by Bobby Fogel are
based on the quite arbitrary assumption that none of the final product
existed at the time of creation.  There is no way to prove that
assumption.  I find it ridiculous.

2) That we know the rate of the scientific phenomenon, and that this
rate is constant.
 * Though for physical phenomena such as radioactive decay this is, of
course, true (et chataai ani mazkir...), we cannot assume this for such
phenomena as the formation of stalactites.

3) The integrity of our sample - no contaminations, no loss of sample.
 *I have previously discussed the flaw in this assumption regarding C-14

Other questions on the topic have been brought up on mail-jewish, and I
say again: many can be explained by the mabul.  My typing is pretty good
and I have experience in translations, but I still have no urge to type
a whole chapter from my father's book into the computer.  The fact that
scientists in the 19th century had abandoned this mode of thinking, does
not necessarily mean it is wrong.  Perhaps by reinterpreting various
p'sukim in B'reishit (as my father does) we might find additional data
to help us explain scientific findings in light of the biblical


End of Volume 16 Issue 10