Volume 16 Number 54
                       Produced: Tue Nov 15 18:07:24 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Adult Education Teachers Groups
         [Seth Magot]
Alternate mail.jewish archive is down
         [Marty Olevitch]
Anthropomorphism:  God, Induction, and Beyeseans
         [Seth Weissman]
Hotel Keys
         [Stephen Irwin Weiss]
Kamatz Katan question
         [Art Werschulz]
Obtaining a copy of Sanctity of the Synagogue
Urbanism in the Talmud
         [Hune  Margulies]
Used sifrei Torah
         ["Freda B. Birnbaum"]
Z'manei T'filla
         [Mark Rayman]


From: <MAGOT@...> (Seth Magot)
Date: Mon, 14 Nov 1994 10:18:53 EST
Subject: Adult Education Teachers Groups

    I teach Adult Education classes in Mishnah and Torah.  Are there 
any teaching organizations/groups in the Long Island area for adult 
education teachers?  

Seth Magot


From: Marty Olevitch <marty@...>
Date: Mon, 14 Nov 1994 09:36:24 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Alternate mail.jewish archive is down

Due to a disk failure, the mail.jewish archive at arthur.wustl.edu is
now inaccessible. Unfortunately, arthur is an old machine, little used,
so I don't know when or if it will be back online. If I can find another
location for the archive (or if arthur returns to service), I will (bli
neder) let the list know. If anyone was actually using arthur, let me
know. That could influence me to make more effort to restoring the


Marty Olevitch				Internet: <marty@...>
Washington University			UUCP:     uunet!wugate!wuphys!marty
Physics Department, Campus Box 1105	Bitnet:   <marty@...>
St Louis MO 63130 USA			Tel:      (314) 935-6285


From: Seth Weissman <sweissman@...>
Date: Mon, 07 Nov 94 10:29:52 EDT
Subject: Anthropomorphism:  God, Induction, and Beyeseans

Recently, regarding the discussion on induction, Mechy Frankel wrote
that God is a Beyesian.  Last year, I spoke in my synagogue on the
application of human terminology, labels, and limitations to God.  This
is an example of that practice.

Most of us are already familiar with the term anthropomorphism, which is
derived from two Greek words, anthropo or man/human, and morph which
means shape or form.  Anthropomorphism is defined by the Webster's
College Dictionary as "an interpretation of what is not human or
personal in terms of human or physical characteristics."  While Judaism
accepts God as non-corporeal, we find reference to God's physical
characteristics in the Torah and Midrash.  These instances are typically
explained as anthropomorphic.  Since we cannot conceptualize the divine,
we unavoidably speak of God using incomplete, inaccurate and imprecise
human terms.

Jewish and secular philosophers recognize that the problem extends
beyond anthropomorphic terms.  We commonly attribute human-like emotions
to God, despite our insistence that this practice is inappropriate.
This, the "ascription of human feelings to something not human," is
called anthropopathism.

That's as far as the dictionary takes us, and for most of us, that's far
enough.  We (as Orthodox Jews) deplore the use of human characteristics
to define, explain, and explore God, but we nevertheless continue to do
so.  We make reference to God "getting angry," and "outstretching his
arm," and feel almost ashamed of our limitations that preclude any
better way to talk about God.

Unfortunately, I assert that this is not far enough.  We inadequately
attribute human-like intellectual properties, and mistakenly accept them
as legitimate.  In addition to the obvious quantitative difference
between perfect/complete information and incomplete information, there
is a qualitative difference.  Suppose a finite being, say Adam, knows
1000 facts out of a set of, say, 10 million truths about the universe
(for the purposes of the logical proof, it makes no difference if we
assert the existence of only a finite amount of facts about the universe
that could be known, or if we allow for an infinite set of facts that
could be known).  Adam then has incomplete knowledge and then attempts
to create a system for learning about the unknown.  This systematized
way of learning about the world may include Bayesean updating,
statistical reasoning, induction, deduction, and other forms of
scientific reasoning.

So, knowledge of the existence of unknown information results in the
development or formalization of a method of acquiring that information.
This is equally true in a situation where there is only one unknown
thing to try to learn about, and in a circumstance where there is an
infinite universe to discover.  Human ways of thinking impel us to grow,
learn, and explore.

God, however, knows all.  This precludes the possibility of God's
inducing anything about the universe.  God cannot be a Beyesean, God
cannot use statistical reasoning.  When we talk about God using human
thought processes, we are using anthroponuistic terms (I coined the
phrase, do you like it?), from the Greek term nous, or knowledge.

Some examples:

1) God asking Adam and Eve "Where are you." When Rashi explains that God
was asking the question to give Adam the chance to repent, he is
explaining the use of anthroponuistic terminology.  Unfortunately, Rashi
describes God as choosing a strategy designed to provoke a reaction in
Adam.  This is another anthroponuism, but as I said, the use of
anthroponuisms is unavoidable.

2) After the Egel (Golden Calf), God "withdrew his face from Israel,
lest in his anger he come to consume them."  Philosophers question the
nature of identity.  Is a newborn the same person as the adult woman 35
years later?  (as Tevyeh sings in Fiddler on the Roof, "Is this the
little girl I carried?")  In law, the statute of limitations is in part
an acknowledgment of this question.  The 88 year old man is not the same
person he was 74 years ago when he shoplifted a comic book.  For some
crimes, there are limits on how long after the crime the offender can be
brought to justice.  Philosophers focus on the difference in memories
between the child and the adult, the teenager and the old man.

Economists grapple with the same issue, the question of identity, but
call it time-inconsistency.  We focus on how tastes, desires, dreams,
and preferences change over time.  Before going to bed at night, I want
to get up early and go to minyan.  In the morning, when my wife gently
calls me to get up, I don't want to leave the comfort of my bed.  That's
what alarm clocks are for.  They are an attempt by me (the night-time
me) to manipulate the future-me (in the morning) into getting out of
bed.  In effect, I treat my future-self as a different person, someone
to be controlled and manipulated into doing what the today-me wants
(i.e., getting out of bed).

God's "keeping his distance" (an anthropomorphic concept) serves the
function of an alarm clock.  God treats his future-self (whatever that
means) as an entity to be controlled and prevented from doing what he
might do in anger (anthropopathic language).  This type of strategic
thinking and planning for the future contradicts our conception of an
indivisible God.  This is anthroponuism.

Part of what attracted me to this issue is the Kabbalistic conception of
the four realms of the world: the physical, the emotional, the
intellectual, and the spiritual.  We, as humans, attribute physical
properties (anthropomorphism), emotional reactions (anthropopathism),
and intellectual patterns or perspective (anthroponuism) to God.  I have
not coined a phrase for the attribution of human spiritual properties to
God because I see the spiritual realm as the realm where we define
ourselves as having (hopefully) divine properties.  In the spiritual
realm, we imitate God, rather than describe God as being human-like.  I
must admit that several friends disagreed with my characterization of
spirituality, pointing to the midrash describing God's tefillin.

On an aside, the three non-physical realms appear in the Freudian
framework of psychology.  The id corresponds to the emotion, the
instinct without thought, the ego describes the intellect, the
rationality that attempts to strategically determines when and how to
achieve the desires of the id, and the superego is the conscience, the
force of human spirituality.


From: Stephen Irwin Weiss <sweiss@...>
Date: Thu, 6 Oct 1994 00:25:15 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Hotel Keys

[Sorry for the age of this posting, I am in the process of working
through the backlog, either sending stuff out or letting the authors
know that I will be dropping the old postings. Mod]

Bravo to Jules Reichel for stating the kasha so beautifully. This is
exactly the point.

As for me, my p'sak remains do NOT use any electric/magnetic/optical key
on Shabbat.

Maybe Tzomet will one day make our lives easier. Kol Hakavod to their
efforts. Meantime, teh best thing to do is ask ythe hotel management to
allow yo to manually lock your door. In some hotels this option is still
available IF YOU ASK. Otherwise choose a different hotel!

Rabbi Steve Weiss


From: Art Werschulz <agw@...>
Date: Mon, 14 Nov 1994 14:56:02 -0500
Subject: Kamatz Katan question


In Acharei Mot (Lev. 17:10) there is a word yud, ayin, mem, daled.
The vowels appearing are kamatz with a meteg under the yud, kamatz
under the ayin, patach under the mem.

The second kamatz is clearly a kamatz katan (more properly, a chataf
kamatz).  However, there seems to be a disagreement between (e.g.)
Siddur Rinat Yisrael and Michael Bar-Lev's "Baal HaKriah".  According
to the former, the first kamatz is not a kamatz katan, whereas the
latter says that it is.

Somewhere I had learned that with two consecutive instances of kamatz,
with the second being a kamatz chataf (and hence pronounced as a
kamatz katan), the first is a kamatz katan *unless* it has a meteg.
This rule (if I have learned it properly) would seem to state that
the first kamatz in the word in question should be a kamatz gadol.

Can anybody help resolve the contradiction between the Siddur Rinat
Yisrael and "Baal HaKriah"?  Thanks.

  Art Werschulz (8-{)}  
  GCS/M (GAT): d? -p+ c++ l u+(-) e--- m* s n+ h f g+ w+ t++ r- y? 
  InterNet:  <agw@...>
  ATTnet:    Columbia U. (212) 939-7061, Fordham U. (212) 636-6325


From: <smith.1045@...>
Date: Thu, 6 Oct 1994 14:00:30 -0500
Subject: Obtaining a copy of Sanctity of the Synagogue

The book, Sanctity of the Synagogue, can be obtained from Artscroll/Mesorah
Publications, Ltd., 4401 Second Avenue, Brooklyn, NY  11232.  Phone number,
1-800-Mesorah, FAX 718-680-1875.  I don't know the exact price, but it is
around $9.99.  I order directly from them all the time since we don't have
a Jewish bookstore in Columbus.


From: Hune  Margulies <hm64@...>
Date: Mon, 14 Nov 1994 18:21:04 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Urbanism in the Talmud

I am currently engaged in research concerning ethics and values in urban
affairs. Roughly, urbanism deals with issues such as housing policy,
environmental protection, neighborhood structure and the like. Some
studies of ethics in or off urbanism have been conducted in the past, but
what I'm looking to do is something of a biggr nature. I am working on a
typology of ethical intervention in public policy in general and urban
affairs specifically. As I am not orthodox, I found it difficult to
navigate through Talmudic texts on the subject. There is quite a bit on
ethical discourse, but it's hard to find ethics applied to urban issues. 
Is there any general guidance or specific information you can send me
concerning either: general principles of urbanism (with the understanding
that cities in the Talmudic periodic were very different in size and scope
than today's, however, principles of shared settlement were most likely
developed by the Rabbis of then) or applied ethics in this field. I know
that in Bar Ilan, Prof. Shilhav thought a course on the matter. I don't
know how to contact him by e-mail, but the material he gave me last summer
in Jerusalem were mostly related to urban design, not public policy. I
will be thankful if someone can point me in the right direction. Even
though I mention the Talmud, later midrashic or other rabbinic sources
will do as well. Thanks to all in advance. Hune Margulies,
<hm64@...>, (718) 549-8255 Fax (718) 549-2425


From: "Freda B. Birnbaum" <FBBIRNBAUM@...>
Date: Sun, 13 Nov 1994 20:45:59 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Used sifrei Torah

In finally catching up on back issues, I note that in V16N37, Warren
Burstein asks:

>If everyone endevors to buy new Sifrei Torah, what is to become of the
>old ones?

I know a couple of women's davening groups who would be happy to acquire

Freda Birnbaum, <fbb6@...> or birnbaum@israel.nysernet.org or even
<fbbirnbaum@...>, but NEVER AGAIN anything.bitnet...


From: <mrayman@...> (Mark Rayman)
Date: Mon, 14 Nov 94 09:58:51 EST
Subject: Z'manei T'filla

Does anyone know where I can get z'manei t'filla or at least sunrise and
sunset times on-line?

Please respond by email.
If there is interest, I will post a summary of the responses I receive.

Moshe Rayman


End of Volume 16 Issue 54