Volume 17 Number 50
                       Produced: Mon Dec 26 15:16:42 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Administrivia - Computer Codes in the Torah
         [Avi Feldblum]
Administrivia - Travel and Kosher to Announcements and Requests
         [Avi Feldblum]
Computer Codes in the Torah
         [Avi Feldblum]
Generational Decline
         [Yitzchok Adlerstein]
Rabbi Henkin, in Bnai Banim
         [Shimon Lebowitz]
Separate Even Unto Death
         [Dov Shapiro]
Shahak story
         [Warren Burstein]
Zedek vs Chochma
         [Leah Zakh]


From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum>
Date: Mon, 26 Dec 1994 14:15:23 -0500
Subject: Administrivia - Computer Codes in the Torah

Several years ago, I don't remember exactly, but I'd guess about 2, we
started a discussion on this topic which kind of degenerated because
those that were skeptical or simply unsure asked for the detailed
evidence and the response was that a paper has been written, and
submitted, but cannot be released until it is published. The paper was
first submitted, as I understand the timeline here, in 1990. The paper
has had a long trek, but as was reported here last week, has finally
been published. I saw a copy of it today, and it should be generally
available shortly, if it is not yet in your local math/statistics
library. Copies will also be available from Aish Hatorah in a week or
two, and I am trying to find out if we can get an electronic copy to put
up in our archives (if anyone on the list can help with that, please let
me know, I know we have several Discovery people on the list).

In light of the above it appears to me that the previous interdiction on
this topic is no longer in effect. While I was planning to write this
note since I received notification of the publication of the article, I
will freely admit that having just come back from a 2 hr lecture by
Rabbi Mechanic as part of a Father and Son day at JEC in Elizabeth, I
personaly found the discussion "mind-blowing". For those in the New
Jersey/New York area who are interested, my shul, Ahavas Achim in
Highland Park, NJ. will be having a one day Discovery Seminar on Jan. 8
(see my posting in Travel and Kosher section or call me
908-247-7525). I have a few points and questions that I'll post as a
regular submission.

Avi Feldblum
mail-jewish Moderator
<mljewish@...> or feldblum@cnj.digex.net


From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum>
Date: Mon, 26 Dec 1994 14:31:10 -0500
Subject: Administrivia - Travel and Kosher to Announcements and Requests

 Over the last half year or so, I have pulled out a selection of
submissions from the "regular" mail-jewish editions and they have been
going out with the heading "Kosher and Travel". This was started by
people posting requests/announcement about what is kosher in city X, I'm
going to be traveling to city Y where is there a minyan, and similar
such postings. As they say in "gemorah lashen" (idiomatic talmudice ?)
"hatzad hashave benehem" - the common denominator is that they were
either announcements of information or requests for specific information
that do not lead to discussion. As such, many such submissions that that
have come in that fall in that category get placed there, even if they
are not Kosher or Travel related. Examples include announcements of
Singles weekends, lecture series, new book publications etc. 

In light of that, I believe that the current title can be
misleading. The correct description would be Jewish Announcements and
Requests, I think. As such, I will modify the title line of the issues
from Kosher and Travel to M-J Announcements and Requests.

A few people have also asked if these issues could be archived. I will
look into that over the next few days.

Avi Feldblum
mail-jewish Moderator
<mljewish@...> or feldblum@cnj.digex.net


From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum>
Date: Mon, 26 Dec 1994 15:01:17 -0500
Subject: Computer Codes in the Torah

As I mentioned above, I just listened to Rabbi Mechanic describe the
Computer Codes in the Torah work. I personally found it quite
fascinating. There are (at least) three issues here. 

One is a series of questions that begin with "why". Rabbi Mechanics
point was that he viewed that outside the parameters of what they are
trying to present. That falls in the domain of Jewish philosophy,
Kabbalah or something. (Since that falls in the range of the "soft"
portion, it is the one we could speculate to no end on here :-). )

The second is the rigorous statistical analysis using a priori selection
criteria and including all false findings etc (and someone with the
proper statistical background could present this better than I). This is
the subject of the paper that has been published. It is rather "dry"
from a "content" perspective, but critical to establish the validity of
this methodology. As I mentioned above, I will try and find out if we
can get an electronic copy, if not I will find out if there is an
address you can call or mail to get a paper mailed copy. I would greatly
enjoy if someone who understands the paper could try and summarize it
for the list.

The third is the most fascinating to me. It is the content based codes
that have been found. The two types I found very interesting are the
minimun skip distance co-incidence codes and the 7/49 skip type
codes. In the minimun skip distance co-incidence codes, one looks for
that place in Bereshit (or the whole Torah) where some word occurs with
a minimum skip distance. That the word is found in the Torah in this
manner is of no surprise. You expect to find almost any word at all in
this way. That is just an effect of statistics of moderate numbers. The
interesting thing occurs when you then look for a related word/concept
and you find that it's minimun skip distance occurance coincides with
the first one. So finding each word in of itself is not an event of
note. The finding of the two (or more) words, each having their minimum
skip occurance in the same area, I found of interest. In a few cases
that he presented, it was not just two words, four, five or
more. Discussion of some of this is something that I suspect many people
may find interesting.

One question that I have is: Rabbi Mechanic kept referring to the use of
"super-computers" to do the searching. The basic idea of needs to be
done to do these searches is quite simple. Writing the correct algorithm
to actually carry out the search is obviously another matter. I don't
know if the current researchers have made public that information, but I
would guess that there are quite a few people out here that could write
such an algorithm. What level of hardware is really needed to try and
either confirm their results or obtain new results? For example, could
you run the program to find the minimum skip distance occurance of the word
"RMBM" in the text of Bereshit using a 90 MHz Pentium, with 16 Meg
memory or a Sparc 20 with 32 Meg memory? I would guess that the answer
is yes, so the probably more important question is: how long would such
a search take? a minute, hour, day, week? Does anyone have any idea?

OK, those are some of my thoughts on this topic.

Avi Feldblum
mail-jewish Moderator
<mljewish@...> or feldblum@cnj.digex.net


From: <yitzchok.adlerstein@...> (Yitzchok Adlerstein)
Date: Sun, 25 Dec 94 19:55:55 -0800
Subject: Generational Decline

For those interested in material regarding the assumption of  the
inexorable decline in the power of Torah scholarship through the
passage generations, I offer two off-the-beaten-track sources.  One
is fairly modern, the other from the Rishonim.

The Malbim to Koheles 7:10 offers three reasons why previous
generations were greater than more recent ones, mixing rational and
meta-rational arguments.  The Ran in his Derashos (pgs. 127-128)
offers a long development, based on the notion that the Shefa Eloki
[Divine Influence] must of necessity become attenuated by serial
passages through the physical.

Ayain sham! [See there! Mod.]


From: Shimon Lebowitz <LEBOWITZ@...>
Date: Sun,  25 Dec 94 21:53 +0200
Subject: Rabbi Henkin, in Bnai Banim

Aliza Berger (or Aleeza, as in her email address) writes:

>The upshot is, I appeal to the mail-jewish membership to make sure that
>their synagogues are open to women every day.  I could carry around with
>me the responsum in the book "Bne Banim" by Rabbi Henkin, which says that
>if only a few women are present, a mechitza isn't required.  By the same
>token, a man entering the women's section once in a while is all right.

As I sit right behind Rabbi Henkin in shul, i decided to ask him to clarify
this for me. I printed out Aliza's posting as-is, for him to read. He
asked that I post his translation of the responsum mentioned. Any response
directed to him thru me will be delivered (he as yet has no email address).

----------------- forwarded from Rabbi Henkin --------------------

Responsa Bnai Banim vol 1. no. 4

        (page 16) "I was asked about a synagogue which has a proper ezrat
nashim in the balcony, but also a bench in the men's section for elderly
women who can't walk up the stairs....in my opinion it is forbidden, but
b'dieved and as a transitory occurrence individual women do not render the
tefilla invalid. On a few occasions in Bet Shean in synagogues which had no
ezrat nashim because women customarily did not attend, one or two women
entered and sat down at the side and it was impossible to prompt them to
leave, or we were in the middle of the tefilla, and I permitted the prayers
to continue."

Also see page 20, par.1
-------------------------- end of forward -------------------------
Shimon Lebowitz                   Bitnet:   LEBOWITZ@HUJIVMS
VM System Programmer              internet: <lebowitz@...>
Israel Police National HQ.        IBMMAIL:  I1060211
Jerusalem, Israel                 phone:    +972 2 309-877  fax: 309-888


From: <dshapiro@...> (Dov Shapiro)
Date: Sun, 25 Dec 94 23:17:22 CST
Subject: Separate Even Unto Death

        There is an old joke that goes something like this:
        A Jew is rescued after spending 10 years on a desert island.  His
rescuers are surprised to find that he has built two identical structures
on opposite sides of the island.  When asked as to the purpose of these two
structures, the Jew replies, "One's the shul I go to, and the other's the
one I wouldn't be caught dead in!"
        Unfortunately, it appears that a segment of the Orthodox community
in Chicago, has taken this joke to its furthest extreme.  I am referring to
a brand new section of Waldheim Cemetery, (the main Jewish cemetery in
town) called "SHEVET LEVI," that is to be for the sole use of "frum" Jews. 
I, along with a number of my friends, are quite concerned by the
ramifications of this bold new division in Klal Yisrael and have been
planning a demonstration in opposition.  Specifically, we are concerned by
two inevitable consequences.  The first is the   message this new section
sends to non-frum Jews.  (i.e. you are not Jewish enough to be buried with
us!) and the resulting animosity.  I have already witnessed dozens of such
reactions from many of my non-frum friends.  The second problem is how does
one determine which Jews are "frum" and which aren't "frum?"  Is there
anyone who truly believes that such a determination would not be based more
on bias and influence that on halachah.  I'm sure that any number of you
know influential members of the community that act "frum" in public but in
private act quite differently.  Corruption of the system is inevitable.
        I would welcome any halachic opinions on the matter.  Is there a
halachic precedent for such a separation?  Additionally, if there is such a
precedent, what qualifies a person as "frum" in this regard?  I would
appreciate any information about this matter as I have had quite a bit of
diificulty in locating any halachot that deal with the issue.

Thank You!

Dov Shapiro 


From: <warren@...> (Warren Burstein)
Date: Sun, 25 Dec 94 9:59:38 IST
Subject: Re: Shahak story

Elhanan Adler writes:
>(I believe the story was later proven to be false)

Proving the story false is just what I'd like to do.  Can someone
help me do that?  Shahak (or whoever quoted him) is already at fault
for not mentioning Rav Unterman's decision, but it would be even a
better argument against them if the incident turned out not to have
happened at all.

 |warren@         an Anglo-Saxon." -- Stuart Schoffman
/ nysernet.org


From: Leah Zakh <zakh@...>
Date: Sun, 25 Dec 1994 16:56:27 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Zedek vs Chochma

Recently Mr. Kurtz asked in a post whether a case of "al tihe zadek, 
tihie chacham" appears in TaNaCH. Off the top of my head the parsha of 
Levi and Shimon in S'chem would fit this catagory. Yaacov's 
objection was based on the fact that his family was small in numbers 
and it was not smart to agrivate the local population. Levi and Shimon 
answered with: "KeZona Yaase at achoteinu". When I learnt the Parsha 
I remember someone noting that Bnei Yaacov have the last word in the 
story, and thus it can be argued that they are in the right.
Leah Zakh.

You can reach me at <zakh@...> or


End of Volume 17 Issue 50