Volume 17 Number 7
                       Produced: Mon Dec  5 11:31:11 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

8 days
         [David Kramer]
Abaye and Rabbah
         [Eli Turkel]
Aliens and Artichokes
         [Pinchas Roth]
Cholent Lovers
         [Norman Schloss]
Facing  Eretz Yisroel
         [Michael Shimshoni]
Generational Diminution
         [Mordechai Torczyner]
Playing Telephone with Oral Law
         [Art Kamlet]
Scientific Truths
         [Ralph Zwier]
The Curse of the Artichoke (2)
         [Shaul Wallach, Steve Wildstrom]
Women singing at the Shabbos table.
         [Claire Austin]


From: David Kramer <davidk@...>
Date: Mon, 5 Dec 1994 14:40:34 -0700 (IST)
Subject: Re: 8 days

Ari Shapiro writes (V17#4):
>  Countless answers have been given, the Baalei Mussar offer the
>  following.  They say that in reality the fact that oil burns is a 
>  miracle.  We just call it nature but we should realize that oil burns
>  because Hashem said so just as we are only alive because of the   
>  kindness of Hashem.  Therefore to bring out this point channuka is an 
>  extra day saying that what happens in our everyday life is as big
>  a miracle as the oil lasting for 8 days.

As an addendum to this I heard years ago from R. Mordechai Willig - that
this realization - understanding from the miracle that the everyday
occurences are also 'miracles' - is achieved through 'Bina' - "mayvin
davar mitoch davar" (understanding something through understanding
something else).  This could be what is hinted to in Maoz Tzur - "bnei
*bina* yemai *shmona* kav'u..".

[ David H. Kramer                     |  E-MAIL: <davidk@...>   ]
[ Motorola Communications Israel Ltd. |  Phone: (972-3) 565-8638  Fax: 9507 ]


From: <turkel@...> (Eli Turkel)
Date: Mon, 5 Dec 94 14:11:46 +0200
Subject: Abaye and Rabbah

    David Charlap asks about the relationship between Abaye and Rabbah.
It turns out to be not a simple as I thought. The Gemara in Kiddushin (31b)
states that Rabbi Yochanan and Abaye both had their fathers die before they 
were born and their mothers passed away when they were born (Rav Yochanan
considers this good as they are then not burdened with the difficult mitzvah
of honoring one's parents - further explanations anyone?). Furthermore whenever
Abaye quotes worldly wisdom from his mother he meants the nurse that brought
him up. The Gemara that I quoted in  Rish Hashana 18a states that both Rabbah
and Abaye were decendants of the Cohen Ely and Rabbah lived for 40 years
while Abaye lived for 60 years. It seems that the first one to mention that
Rabbah is the uncle of Abaye is the Arukh (rishon lived about the year 1000
a little before Rashi - quoted by Rashi). I have not seen the Arukh inside
but I presume putting the stories together that Abaye's father (Kailil) was
a brother to Rabbah. Furthermore, the Ran to Nedarim (54b) states that
Rabbah brought up Abaye in addition to being his main teacher.



From: Pinchas Roth <roth@...>
Date: Mon, 05 Dec 94 16:26:00 PST
Subject: Aliens and Artichokes

Jonathan Katz asks (V17 No4):
>What is the Jewish view of the possibility of (intelligent) life on other

Rabbi Norman Lamm wrote an article called "The Religious Implications of
Extraterrestrial Life", originally in Tradition and reprinted in his
"Faith and Doubt" and in "Challenge". It's interesting, though I suspect
the science in it is a bit old.

In the same number, Hayim Hendeles asks why artichoke seems to be
translated as thorn elsewhere. According to the World Book Dictionary,
the artichoke plant is "a plant somewhat like a thistle, with large
prickly leaves". The diagram there also looks like a thornbush.

Pinchas Roth <roth@...>


From: <nschloss@...> (Norman Schloss)
Date: Mon, 05 Dec 1994 08:02:58 -0600
Subject: Cholent Lovers

Everyone loves to eat cholent but we all dread the inevitable cleaning of
the pot.Heard a great cooking tip that I tried out last Shabbat. Take a
Reynolds Roast-inbag ( I used the Turkey size) and simply line your crock
pot with it. No fuss and no mess. Enjoy !!


From: Michael Shimshoni <MASH@...>
Date: Mon, 05 Dec 94 09:26:29 +0200
Subject: Re: Facing  Eretz Yisroel

Martin (Moishe) Friederwitzer asked:

>This week in Halacha Yomit we are going to learn about the Halachos of
>facing towards the land of Israel during Shemona Esrei. How far West does
>one have to be in order to face West. If one was in Hawaii does one face
>East or West? I am not planning any trips but was curious. Thanks

Without taking any trips either but just looking at a globe I see that
Honolulu's latitude  is about 158W  while Jerusalem's is  35.5E.  This
would indicate that while in Honolulu one should turn west rather than
east for the  shorter route to Jerusalem.  Actually, as  we are living
on something like a sphere, one  should really turn in Honolulu almost
towards north for  the shortest ("great circle") route.   I am unaware
if such  considerations are used,  and if  those praying in,  say, Los
Angeles turn north east.

 Michael Shimshoni


From: Mordechai Torczyner <torczynr@...>
Date: Mon, 5 Dec 1994 08:50:36 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Generational Diminution

	It would seem to this reader that any attempt to analyze the
intellectual talents of earlier generations vs. those of our own, would
have to be based upon an examination of their writings and our own, the
only parallel, unbiased playing field which is available.
	Even granted that the scholars of our day do not spend the same
amount of time on Talmudic scholar as those of yore [although the advent
of electric lights, better living conditions, and longer life spans,
makes me hesitant to agree with that assumption,] can anyone out there
state that their own incisive analysis of text, over the huge tracts of
tractates that our ancestors covered, can match those of the Ritva, the
Rashba, the Rif, etc? How about Rashi and Tosafos? These lived only 700,
800 years ago; how about the Geonim?
	If we do not have the vast field of knowledge which these great 
figures had when they established halachic verdicts, how can we challenge 
them on the basis of our own 'wisdom'? 


From: <ask@...> (Art Kamlet)
Date: 2 Dec 1994  12:12 EST
Subject: Playing Telephone with Oral Law

<Keeves@...> (Akiva Miller) writes:
>In MJ 16:96, David Charlap (<david@...>) mentions the game
>of Telephone as an analogy to the transmission of the Oral Torah ...
>In the game of telephone, individuals speak to individuals. There is no
>means of verification, no way to weeds out the errors in transmission. I

The very first game of telephone tag:

G-d to Adam:    Don't eat the fruit of that tree.
Adam to Eve:   (unrecorded)
Eve to Serpent: Don't eat or touch the fruit of that tree.

Art Kamlet   AT&T Bell Laboratories, Columbus   <ask@...>


From: Ralph Zwier <zwierr@...>
Date: Sun, 4 Dec 1994 08:01:14 
Subject: Scientific Truths

Whilst many mj-ers are having their say about the lofty truths of
whether the Earth goes round the sun or vice versa, and others are
concerned with small world of lice-eggs, I have a question, the answer
to which will help *me* to understand the Torah attitude to scientific

Apple juice can be mixed with flour and the resultant mixture *never*
can become Chametz (leavened). You may eat this as Matzah Ashira during
Pesach (in theory). Add a little water to said mixture and the result is
*worse* than a mixture of flour and water, which will become Chametz
after 18 minutes.

Apparently the Halacha holds that pure apple juice contains no water!
Does this mean that an observant Jew must reject the "truth" of science
on this issue? Do we say that Science has not really "proven" that apple
juice contains water? On the other hand maybe we accept that apple juice
does contain water, and therefore we ought be more stringent and
prohibit any mixtures of fruit juice and flour Bizman Hazeh during

I would be very interested to hear any resolution of this apparently 
trivial contradiction between science and Torah, because it would 
help me understand some of the issues regarding the age of the 
universe, and the motion of the planets etc..

Ralph S Zwier
Double Z Computer, Prahran, VIC Australia       Voice +61-3-521-2188
<zwierr@...>                        Fax   +61-3-521-3945


From: Shaul Wallach <F66204@...>
Date: Mon, 05 Dec 94 17:11:44 IST
Subject: The Curse of the Artichoke

     Hayim Hendeles wonders about the identification of the Dardar in
Gen. 3:18 with the Qinaras mentioned in Kil'ayim 5:8.

     First of all, there seems to be no question that the Qinaras is
indeed the artichoke. Thus, the Rambam in his commentary to Kil'ayim 5:8
translates the word as Qinaria, which seems to be derived from the Latin
scientific name Cynara scolymus for the artichoke. Similarly, Rabbeinu
Ovadia Bartenura gives the Arabic Kharfush, which can easily be
transposed to Kharshuf, the modern Arabic word for artichoke.

    But how is the Dardar identified with the Qinaras in the first
place? Prof. Yehuda Felix, in his book `Olam Ha-Zomeah Ha-Miqra'i
(Masada, Ramat-Gan, 1968), gives on p. 206 the source as the Midrash
(Bereishit Rabba 10): "Dardar is the Qinaras which is made Darim Darim";
that is, of many "inhabitants", or "generations" if we read it as Dorim
Dorim. This is clearly a play on words. Elsewhere we find the Dardar in
the Mishna (Shevi`it 7:1, "Hohim we-Dardarim"), where the Rambam
explains them as kinds of thorns.

    The Targum Onkelos on Gen. 3:18 renders Dardar as Atdin. The Atad,
as Prof. Felix (ibid. p. 134) explains, is a shrub of the genus Lycium
or (following the Septuagint) Rhamnus, which in English is called the
buckthorn. It is mentioned in the Mishna (Shevi`it 7:5), where the
Rambam explains, "and it is a kind of thorn that bears hard black seeds
like peas which are edible."

    A third alternative comes from R. Sa`adia's Tafsir which renders the
word in Arabic as Dardara. R. Shalom Qorah in his commentary Newe Shalom
cites the Rambam above but explains a little differently: "a tree whose
leaves are filled with thorns." The Modern Arabic word Dardar is used
for the elm tree, which indeed fits this description.

    In summary, as Prof. Felix observes, it is possible that the Torah
did not have any one thorny species in mind but rather used the
expression to designate the various thorny plants as a class.



From: Steve Wildstrom <swild@...>
Date: Mon, 05 Dec 94 11:14:20 EST
Subject: Re: The Curse of the Artichoke

     In MJ 17:4  Hayim Hendeles <hayim@...> wrote:

>The Mishna In Kilaim 5:8 refers to a "KINRAS". The Baartuneru explains 
>that this is the "dardar" referred to in the Torah, where G-d tells Adam 
>in Genesis:3 that as a result of his eating from the forbidden tree 
>"Kotz V'dardar tazmiach lach" - usually translated as thorns and 
>However, Rabbi Kahati in his commentary on the Mishna translates Kinras 
>as "artitchoke". And, for whatever it is worth, Jastrow translates the 
>word the same way.
>Now if this is correct, G-d is punishing Adam by telling him: the thorns 
>and artichokes will abound. Doesn't sound right - or am I missing 

     Fortunately, my botany is better than my Hebrew. The artichoke is a 
     member of the thistle family. If you look at a thistle bud before it 
     breaks into bloom--I guess most of us will have to wait until next 
     summer--you'll notice that it closely resembles an artichoke. And if 
     the artichoke were allowed to bloom, the fuzzy "choke" would turn into 
     thistledown, the seed-carrying achenes.

     On a not-quite-relevant point, an extract of a closely related plant, 
     the cardoon, is used as a vegetable-based substitue for cattle-derived 
     rennet in cheesemaking.


From: Claire Austin <CZCA@...>
Date: Sat, 03 Dec 94 20:36:57 EST
Subject: Women singing at the Shabbos table.

Ari Shapiro wrote:

>Therefore the singing of female guests at the Shabbos table would be
>prohibited.  NOTE: Nowadays every pnuya is considered a niddah and
>would be prohibited.

Whatever one holds by in this matter I myself feel very uncomfortable in
the situation where female guests (that would be me) are prohibited from
singing at the Shabbos table while at the same time the wife of the man
of the house (no other men being present) does sing the zmiros along
with her husband.  "Discomfort" is a very big understatement of how I
feel in such situations.

Claire Austin


End of Volume 17 Issue 7