Volume 16 Number 34
                       Produced: Sat Nov  5 20:18:37 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Bees on Mustard
         [Arthur J Einhorn]
God is a Bayesian and Other Insights
         [Mechy Frankel]
Induction and "binyan av"
         [Jeff Mandin]
Modern Orthodox -- Aliza Berger
         [Cheryl Hall]
Postscript re drip coffee on Shabbat
         [Constance Stillinger]
Shlomo Carlebach
         [Steve Bailey]
Sifrei Torah - New vs. Used
         [Ed Bruckstein]
Women working ....
         [Zvi Weiss]


From: Arthur J Einhorn <0017801@...>
Date: 04 Nov 1994 11:54:11 GMT
Subject: Bees on Mustard

Does anyone have an explanation of the effects of bees on mustard and
vice versa as discussed in Baba Basra 18?
Aron Einhorn


From: Mechy Frankel <frankel@...>
Date: Fri, 4 Nov 1994 14:01:39 EST
Subject: God is a Bayesian and Other Insights

I've been away from the net for a while and wanted to make a few brief
yet fully disjointed comments on a potpouri of issues gleaned from the

1.  Talmudic Induction: the sorts of examples of such which have been
offered up by different respondents do not, it seems to me, bear the
slightest relationship to true mathematical induction. The latter is a
well defined and precise if-then proof methodology of which the
proferred examples fail to conform with any of the required "ifs".  On
the other hand the examples do focus on the concept of chazaka, which is
more closely akin to statistics (especially true of my friend and
neigbor Sheldon Meth's example which referenced a discussion of
requirements for a "shor mooad") but perhaps not mainstream statistics
either - since robust statistical inferences based on such a sparse data
set (three points) should give any classical practitioner of the
frequentist persuasion pause. Bayesians (though not a statistician, I
count myself as an adherent of this sect) however leap in where
frequentists fear to tread.  Hence my conclusion that H"K'B'H is a

2. Shofar: Someone correctly mentioned shofar on Shabbas being
impermissable because of the ancillary fear that it may be carried
through a public domain. I would only add that the source text may be
found in gemara Rosh Hashana 29b which also includes a discussion by
Rava which specifically excludes shofar from the category of "melocha"
which is impermissable on Shabbas, identifying it rather as "chachma"
which category is permissable on Shabbas.

3. Significant Figures and Age of the Earth: Without rehashing the age
of the earth back and forth, I was struck by one correspondent's
consistent employment of three significant figures to describe the earth
as 4.55 billion years old.  The implied precision conveyed tickled my
funnybone and struck me as yet another clear anecdotal validation of
Augustine's Law #IV (no, not THAT Augustine) which describes the
relationship of implied precision to actual precision. For the amusement
and edification of mail-jewish readership I herewith reproduce
Augustine's Law #4 with validating data points: LAW # 4: "The Weaker the
Data Available Upon Which to Base One's Position, the Greater the
Precision Which Should be Quoted to Give That Data Authenticity".
Examples as follows:

a) # of protons in hydrogen atom =1 (1 significant fig., Source- Handbook of
Chem and Physics)
b) Probability of Rain in Seattle = .95 (2 sig. figures, Source- US Weather
Bureau, 5/11/78)
c) estimated inflation rate for 1987 = 9.45%,(3 fig., US Army RFP, 1979)
d) departure of last flight from Atlanta to Wash=10.43 PM (4 sig figures,
Official Airline Guide) 
e) Pobability of space shuttle frag hitting someone on ground = 1 in 166,667 (6
significant figures, GAO Congressional testimony)

Of course counter examples, such as pi or the fine structure constant,
do spring to mind but the inverse confidence-length scale quoted above
does seem to find wide application.

4) BIG Pressures: I see that the suggested Carbon 14 decay rate change
has been pretty much properly beaten into a pulp already so without
revisiting the issue I'd like to note Joshua Burton's citation of the
diamond anvil cell spectroscopists who have achieved extremely large
experimental pressures- limited by the material strength of the diamonds
(even diamond surfaces will give way when you get somewhere past two
megabars). I can personally attest to the fact that very much larger
pressures yet in controlled scientific experiments have been routinely
achieved dynamically, albeit utilizing rather unique loading sources.

Mechy Frankel                                       W: (703) 325-1277
<frankel@...>                                 H: (301) 593-3949


From: Jeff Mandin <jeff@...>
Date: Wed, 2 Nov 94 19:04:29 -0500
Subject: Induction and "binyan av"

Sam Juni writes:

>Regarding induction, I'm not sure the following fits the tab, but here they
>come anyway.
> a. A woman whose husbands died several times is considered a killer.
> b. An ox who gores three times "graduates" to higher payment ratios.
> c. A person who turns deaf  is tested for sanity by a presentation of three
>    true/false question which, if passed by head motions, constitute proof
>    of sanity.

These are examples of scientific induction.  Mathematical proof by induction
consists in proving something true for n=0, and then proving that if it 
holds for n=x it must hold for n=x+1.  It follows then that the proposition
holds for all n.

The gemara's method of "binyan av" is an interesting contrast:  given
that something is true in one domain (eg. a bill of divorce can be
delivered by an agent - Kiddushin Ch. 2), we assume that it is true 
in all other domains (eg. an item that effects marriage can also be 
delivered by an agent) unless we demonstrate a good reason _not_ infer 
from one realm to the other.


From: <CHERYLHALL@...> (Cheryl Hall)
Date: Thu, 03 Nov 1994 07:17:47 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Modern Orthodox -- Aliza Berger

Actually Aliza touches on something here I've been beginning to wonder about
for a long time since I've been on the list. I need a scorecard, or handy
reference list of all the subgroups that are commonly referred to. Which are
synomonous, which are mutually exclusive and do any of them really have a
narrowly circumscribed box. Besides Modern Orthodox, Centrist Orthodox,
there are Ultra-Orthodox, Haredi, Dati, black-hat, yeshivische, et al......

If you ask I don;t think I know anymore where I fit! 

Cheryl Hall
Long Beach CA USA


From: Constance Stillinger <cas@...>
Date: Thu, 3 Nov 1994 11:05:52 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Postscript re drip coffee on Shabbat

I thank those of you who replied, both on mail.jewish and in email.  I
finally got in touch with my LOR, who said he knows people who make
drip coffee on Shabbat, but he sees no reasoning that would permit it.
He feels the sticky issue is whether the hot water on the dry coffee
grounds halachically constitutes cooking (as most of my respondents

So I'm looking forward to trying out a coffee concentrate this


Dr. Constance A. (Chana) Stillinger        <cas@...>
Research Coordinator, Education Program for Gifted Youth
Stanford University      http://kanpai.stanford.edu/epgy/pamph/pamph.html


From: <RSRH@...> (Steve Bailey)
Date: Thu, 3 Nov 1994 02:49:57 -0500
Subject: Shlomo Carlebach

I was happy to read the posting of Moshe Koppel re:Shlomo Carlebach z"l. I
too was surprised that there was no comment on mj, since I would infer that
many subscribers were influenced by his music in some way. Although I was
never a "chassid" of his, I have always been moved by his music. Unlike most
of the yeshiva groups whose music is trite and uninspiring to the more
"mature" audiences, Shlomo had a Divine gift for singing in the language of
the n'shama. The famous dictum: (I'll skip the transliterated Hebrew) "Words
coming from the heart (of one) enter into the heart (of the other)" applies
to Reb Shlomo, zichrono l'vracha.

Steve Bailey
Los Angeles


From: Ed Bruckstein <bruckstn@...>
Date: Fri, 4 Nov 1994 10:01:31 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Sifrei Torah - New vs. Used

A question about the difference between buying a new and used Sefer
Torah was asked.

I had occassion to ask a Posek this question recently in similar
situation.  He explained that when writing a new Torah, one is
introducing Kedusha into the world: the world now has a new Torah.  When
buying a previously written Sefer, one is not introducing any new
Kedusha.  He concluded that the introduction of Kedusha is on a much
higher plane, and when possible, one should endeavour to commission the
writing from scratch rather than acquiring a pre-written one.


From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Thu, 3 Nov 1994 09:16:23 -0500
Subject: Women working ....

 I would like to point out that the "justification" for Haredi women working
 outside the home as being the only way to keep Haredi men out of the IDF
 is somewhat faulty.  The notion that the attempt to induct men into the IDF
 was in order to strip off their religiosity may be a Haredi view -- but it
 appears inconsistent with the facts of the matter.
 At the establishment of the Medina, the country was under attack and in an
 extremely perilous position.  No less a person than Rav S. Y. Zevin ZT"L
 wrote an article (subsequently translated in TRADITION) where he URGED
 B'nei Yeshiva to serve in the Army -- especially because of those
 perilous times.  Rav Zevin apparently was not concerned that the Army
 would "corrupt" the religiosity of the men who served.  In fact, he
 points out that as early as the Establishment of the State, the Army
 was willing to do what it could "to meet the special needs" of the
 Observant Community.  While it is not the point of this posting to discuss
 whether B'nei Yeshiva should serve or not -- an issue that
 relates to "Torato Umnato" and other factors -- to explain that the 
 exemption for men (who "sit and learn") was primarily to keep Haredi
 men out  of the army is an insult both to Kavod HAtorah (that the reason
 to "sit and learn" is just to stay out of the army) and to the efforts of
 the IDF, itself.
 It is TRUE that there are HORRIBLE stories of the attempts made to
 assimilate "innocents" into the secular society BUT it does not mean either
 that the IDF was deliberately "used" for that NOR does it mean that people who
 serve were put at major risk -- as a given.

 Has Shaul SPOKEN to anyone FRUM who has served in IDF -- either in a 
 "Hesder" Unit or in a "regular" unit?  Is he aware of the RESPECT that is
 given to the FRUM soldiers who are sincere in being observant even to "the
 point of a yud" even as they fulfil their military duty (and also have
 a big part in the Mitzva of Pikuach Nefesh in protecting a LOT of Jews)?

 Additionally, it is not only in Israel that the "little woman" works outside
 of the house.  Try Lakewood, NJ... Or, try the Beit Midrash at RJJ (in Edison)
 -- where there are people who -- for a LIMITED TIME -- continue in 
 the Beit Midrash and then "move" out into other positions.  All of these are
 instances of "women working outside the home".  I wish to emphasize that I
 have no doubt that these are all "N'shei Chayil" and I have NO criticism of
 them.  However, it is faulty and grossly inaccurate for Shaul Wallach to
 attempt to "defend" the "ideal" (of a woman not working outside of the home)
 by distoring the issue of service in the IDF as he has done.

 The fact is: If a husband is "sitting and learning" in Kollel, it is almost
 MANDATORY -- unless one has wealthy parents/in-laws -- for the spouse to 
 work to support the household as the kollel stipend will not suffice.  It is
 ALSO the case in the "secular State" of Israel that a woman working to support
 her husband in such a situation is usually entitled to special "tax" treatment
 in recognition of her status.

 I repeat my original thesis.  Instead of using selected source material to
 look for a "utopia", we should be consulting our poskim as to the best way
 to handle our current situation WHATEVER that may be.  If it means that a
 woman is working outside the house, then she will have to be aware of the
 halachot, etc. involved.  If a man is working outside the house in a "mixed"
 environment, then HE will have to be aware of the various halachot....

 If we all do this, then [I hope] we can all participate in creating a society
 that is truly one that is "Mekadesh Hashem".



End of Volume 16 Issue 34