Volume 16 Number 25
                       Produced: Mon Oct 31  8:39:41 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Modern Orthodox... What is it?
         [Aryeh Blaut]
         [Lon Eisenberg]
Parshat Toldot, D'var Torah/Toast
         [Irwin Keller]
Pig at time of Moshiach
         [Chaim Schild]
Rachel's Descendants
         [Adina Sherer]
         [Binyomin Segal]
Science and Earth Age, Another Misunderstanding!
         [Bobby Fogel]


From: Aryeh Blaut <ny000592@...>
Date: Fri, 28 Oct 94 00:10:56 -0800
Subject: Re: Modern Orthodox... What is it?

>>From: Dmitry Khaikin <dkhaikin@...>
>I would just like to ask a simple question: What is modern orthodox? I
>have heard this term several times and have no idea what that means... Who
>would people call "a modern orthodox"? Is this reffering to (as much as I
>hate to use these definitions...) "kipah srugah"? Would Yeshiva University
>be called modern orthodox?

The above question posted by Dmitry Khaikin reminds me of a story I 
remember hearing in the name of the Malbim (I think I saw it in the Art 
Scroll Hagada):

A certain non-religious person went to him and asked:  "Rabbi, I don't 
understand how a bright person like yourself lives in the past.  Why 
don't you get with the times?

The Malbim answered that in reality, he (the Malbim himself) belonged to 
the group that is modern.  How so?  In the Torah it says that our 
father's worshiped idols (they worshipped what & how they pleased).  
Then Hashem came along and revealed Himself and His Laws (the Torah) 
thus creating a "modern" people.  You (the person posing the question)
said the Malbim, "serve your own desires, this is like Terach.  Therefore, 
in fact, you are the one who isn't modern.'

Aryeh Blaut


From: Lon Eisenberg <eisenbrg@...>
Date: Sun, 30 Oct 94 10:25:43 -0500
Subject: Opera

I am not surprised that R. Hutner liked opera (according to Shalom
Carmy) or that R. Shimshon Rephael Hirsch attended the opera.  Although
qol 'ishah [hearing a woman singing] is a real issue according to
halakhah, I believe that the application of its halakhoth have been
greatly inflated (as have many other things these days).

Admittedly, according to the `Orukh HaShulhan, hearing a woman singing
seems to be prohibited; however, according to the Mishnah Berurah
(75:3), this isn't so:

Mehaber: "Yesh lizaher mishmi`ath qol zemer 'ishah besha`ath qeriath
shema`."  [One must be careful not to listen to a woman singing at the
time he says "Shema`".]  The Rema adds: "weaphilu b'ishtho abhal qol
haragil bo 'aino `erbhah." [even to his wife, but a regular
(non-singing) voice is not "nakedness"/lewdness.]  Mishnah Berurah:
zemer 'ishah. 'aphilu penuyah abhal shelo' besha`ath qeriath shema`
shari 'akh shelo' yekawen lehanoth mizeh keday shelo' yabho' liday
hirhur [woman singing: even an unmarried woman, but when not at the time
of "Shema`", it is permitted, as long as he isn't listening for the
purpose of being aroused]

It seems like the prohibition against listening to a woman singing is
during the recital of Shema`.  Yes, it is also inappropriate to go to
the nightclub to hear the sexy lady sing; however, going to the opera
does not seem to fall under the prohibition of "qol 'ishah" (nor does
having your female guest singing "zemiroth" [Shabbath songs] at your
Shabbath table).  CYLOR


From: Irwin Keller <keller@...>
Date: Sun, 30 Oct 1994 21:02:18 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Parshat Toldot, D'var Torah/Toast

I am attending my nephews Bar Mitzvah, Parshat Toldot G-d willing this coming
Shabbat. I have been asked to give a toast and thank G-d I have many nice
things to say about the family as they are very special people. I would like
to take the liberty of folding in a small D'var Torah, and although there are
many beautiful resources available on the Parsha, i would appreciate any
thoughts or help to make it a little more specific to the Simcha. The Bar
Mitzvah is Moshe Baruch. The father is Shlomo Tzvi. I was wondering if there
was any connection in the Parsha either through Yitzhak or Yaakov to Moshe
(other than the obvious historical connection)? Any and all help would be
greatly appreciated.
Please reply to:<keller@...>


From: SCHILD%<GAIA@...> (Chaim Schild)
Date: Mon, 31 Oct 1994 08:27:44 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Pig at time of Moshiach

The source for Pig becoming kosher when Moshiach comes via the
association of Chazir/Chazar Pig/Return is quoted in my copy with
references of the Or HaChaim in his commentary to Shemini (Vayikra
11:3). It is quoted as coming from Rabbenu Bachya who brings it from the
Midrash Tanchuma.



From: <adina@...> (Adina Sherer)
Date: Sun, 30 Oct 94 22:51:20 IST
Subject: Rachel's Descendants

I hate to add to Shaul's problems, but:
>      Thus when it was said that Ya`aqov's marriage with Rachel produced
> "little of lasting value", the intention was not to point out any "lack"
> or to "lessen the greatness" of Rachel or her descendants. It was only
> to show that in the long run it produced less than his marriage with
> Leah. The inner message is that one should keep his sights long and not

Wait a minute.  What about Mashiach ben Yosef?  What about the fact that
before Mashiach ben David can come and rebuild the Temple, a prior
requirement is that the nation of Amalek ( what ever that means today,
and there's a whole discussion just waiting out there about the purpose
of creation and the Jewish nation and the struggle between us and them
for the greater glory of G-d) be wiped out, and ONLY BY a descendent of

I think it was the Maharal, but I'm not sure, who wrote a very nice
analysis of this in something about Purim or Chanukah, Ner Something?  (
help me out here ) talking about how Rachel's traits of modesty and
humility and selflessness were exactly the antidote to Amalek's traits,
and how her sons exemplified this, (with a little work - no one is born
perfect!) and these traits were the ideal that all Jews should strive to



From: <bsegal@...> (Binyomin Segal)
Date: Sun, 30 Oct 1994 22:18:22 -0600
Subject: Roles

Janice Gelb concludes a post about roles:
>I do believe that physical requirements where they are applicable to 
>a specific job should be taken into consideration. But I don't see 
>where biology or physical requirements come into play when discussing 
>being a shaliach tzibbur, serving as a witness in court, etc

Perhaps the ideas we have tried to express have not been clear. When I
mentioned the rabbinic idea of faces/thoughts, it was to indicate not only
the idea of differences, but also the idea that the physical world
parrellels the spiritual world. The similarities/differences in physical
appearance also reflect a deeper spiritual similarity/difference.

Similarly, I would say that it is not merely chance that a particular
person is born male or female. The physical suggests certain spiritual

This does not mean that every woman is more nurturing than every man any
more than it means that every man is physically stronger than every woman.
In both cases they are trends.



From: <bobby@...> (Bobby Fogel)
Date: Tue, 25 Oct 1994 18:03:02 +0000
Subject: Science and Earth Age, Another Misunderstanding!

I must say that reading the give and take on the topic of scientific
dating of the earth/universe is quite frustrating for me.  As a
geochemist, I approach this topic with no small understanding of the
scientific methods used to detemine the age of the earth.  As a frum
Jew, I approach this topic with a fairly decent knowledeg of the Torah's
account of creation and many of the midrashim surrounding that account.
What is most frustrating is the blatant demonstration of the lack of
scientific knowledge and understanding of this topic.  I have previously
stressed that the age of the universe is not retrieved from Carbon-14
dating, yet, until my posting there was a uniform acceptance of C14 as
the method by which scientists have determined the age of the earth to
be 4.55 billion years.

What is of interest here, is that if someone showed a similar lack of
knowledge of Torah on this matter he/she would be shouted down as not
being equipt to discuss the matter for lack of basic knowledge.  For
instance, if one stated that ADAM was created on the second day of
creation or that the sun was created on day one or for example that the
Torah speaks of an Akaydat Yaakov, versus an Akaydat Yitzchak, most
M.J.ers would suggest that this person be sent back to his aleph bayz
before continuing on with this topic.

Well, to a scientist familiar with geochronology (the dating of rocks)
this is EXACTLY what many of the statements sound like.  In fact, the
statement that C14 dates materials back to billions of years is, in
scientific terms, is like saying that hashem rested on the eighth day.
Yes, the main point of REST is still trapped by this statement,
(equivalent to stating that C14 dates rocks to billions of years) but
the specifics are wrong.  What is of importance here is that the
specifics of the scientific method are being criticized even though
these specifics are incorrect in the minds of many of those doing the

Part of what started off this latest thread was a posting by Yechezkel
Schatz regarding his fathers book's discussion of the error in C14
dating.  When pointed out that this was the incorrect method by which
the age of the earth is determined Yechezkel writes:

>   * 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.

Once again I must point out a very basic misunderstanding of
geochronlogy that this statement embodies.  The isotopic systems
discussed here are Rubidium-Strontium (Rb-Sr), Uranium-Lead and
Potasium-Argon.  The calculation of rock ages from theses systems ARE
EXISTED AT THE TIME OF CREATION" as Yechezkel states.  The dating of
rock via the Rb-Sr method for instance, involves the decay of 87Rb to
87Sr by beta particle decay.  The half life of 87Rb being 4.9 X 10**10
years.  A rock is dated by seperating its component minerals and
measuring the 87Rb and 87Sr content in each mineral, or, dating several
"whole rocks samples" of the same rock.  The results can be fit to a
line such that
                  87Sr = 87Sr(initial) + 87Rb X Slope where
87Sr(initial) is the initial concentration of 87Sr before any decay took
place and "Slope" is an expression involving time. (In practice all
three parts of this equation are normalized to, 86Sr, a non-radioctive
form of strontium measured in the rock at the same time.)  This
equation, therefore boils down to the simple y= mx +b equation for a
line we all had to memorize in 9th grade.  Accept here the "m" can be
translated into time and "b" can be translated into the initial content
of the "final product" in Yichezkel's lingo.  Thus, when all the data
to the existance of no "final product " is made here.  In fact,
Yichezkel is correct that it would be a rediculous assumption to assume
that none of the final product existed at the time of creation.
However, he is incorrect stating that scientist's make any such
assumption!  In fact one of the wonderful things about the method is
that one can retrieve scientific "error" on the rock being dated.  If
the data do not fit the line well then the "error" on the age AND the
initial concentration of the final product will be high, meaning "Dont
Take This Data Too Seriously" on the other hand if the data fit
extremely well, the error on the age will be low meaning "Take This Data
Very Seriously."

>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.

Forget about the age of stalagtites.  They really have very little to do with
the scientific age of the solar system.  No such assumptions are use for
dating moon rocks and meteorites so.....................

>...........many scientists are out to prove that there is no G-d, or to
>the credibility of the bible.  We are all human beings.  That is why we must
>analyze theories and hypotheses, and not criticize free thinking.

Yes, perhaps there are scientists out to proove this, although I have
not met any since they are more interested in their research than the
existence of G-d. Yet even though "We are all humans beings" does not
mean that our opinions on topics are all of equal value.  Yes, I can
spew forth theories on brain surgery, yet i am not a brain surgeon and,
I assure you, my opinion on the intricacies of this topic (not the
ethics of it) is close to worthless.  One can "Free Think" on the
scientific cause for the age of rocks being longer than that given by
the simple reading of the Torah, yet I assure you that the topic is
advanced enough (like brain surgery) that the objections being raised
have been dealt with in quite sophisticated maner.  Yet, to this point
on M.J.  I have yet to here one objection that doesnt show some degree
of scientific naivity.  One of the reasons why scientists do not give
much head to creationists is precisely this lack of understanding the
nuts and bolts of the method being used that creationists display.

Please do not get the message of this posting wrong.  I am not saying
that unless you are a scientist you should not discuss these things or
come up with your own theories.  However, I believe this must be done
from the standpoint of knowledge.  What does one gain otherwise?  Rambam
approached Torah with the scientific understanding of his day. This is a
good approach for us to emulate.

"Deay Chachma L'nafshecha, V'he Kesser L'roshecha"

bobby fogel


End of Volume 16 Issue 25