Volume 18 Number 12
                       Produced: Thu Jan 26 10:16:35 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Burning bush rocks
         [Ezra L Tepper]
Choice of Vowels
         [Meylekh Viswanath]
Did Aristotle Recant/Renounce His Writings?
         [Howard Reich]
Isaac Newton
         [Mike Gerver]
Israeli food outside Israel
         [Eli Turkel]
Israeli produce - a correction
         [Warren Burstein]
: Singles wearing a talit at Oheb Zedek in NYC
         [Jay Denkberg]
Shaatnez Tzitizit
         [Jeremy Nussbaum]
Single Men Wearing Talit for Aliyah
         [Chaim Sacknovitz]


From: Ezra L Tepper <RRTEPPER@...>
Date: Tue, 24 Jan 95 07:52:18 +0200
Subject: Burning bush rocks

I remember reading, perhaps on soc.religion.jewish, about rocks from
Mount Sinai that contain an inclusion resembling the shape of a bush
(the _sneh_). The miraculous aspect of these rocks that if one smashes
them into pieces, each one retains the image of the bush, I imagine in
a smaller version.

There were also reports that the rocks have been examined scientifically.

Perhaps some one has some citation that I could check.

Many thanks for any help,

Ezra L Tepper <rrtepper@...>


From: Meylekh Viswanath <PVISWANA@...>
Date: Thu, 26 Jan 1995 09:17:01 EST5EDT
Subject: Re: Choice of Vowels

Yechezkel Schatz <lpschatz@...> in the context of 
the pronunciation of the word 'Moshzar' writes:

>  Yes, it is a kamatz katan, and therefore pronounced mosh-zar.  The verb
> is a conjugation of Binyan Hof`al = Hoof`al.  There are two alternative
> ways to l'naked (choice of vowels) for the first syllable, kamatz katan
> and kubutz.

I have nothing to add regarding the word 'moshzar.'  However, I have a 
suggestion regarding the use of the word "l'naked" in English.  Since 
"l'naked" by itself would usually be translated 'to vowel-point(?)' or 'to 
choose the vowel (according to Yechezkel's version), one would 
according to that logic, write:

There are two alternative ways l'naked (for) the first syllable.

However, it seems undesirable to leave  out the important English word 
'to,' which is why Yechezkel made it

There are two alternative ways _to_ l'naked (for) the first syllable.

There is an alternate solution, which has been arrived at in a related 
Germanic Jewish language, viz. Yiddish.  The solution is to use the 
auxiliary verb 'to be' and the present participle of the verb in question.  
Thus, Yechezkel's sentence would be written:

There are two alternative ways _to be menaked_ (for) the first syllable.

Posters may wish to consider this solution, which is very flexible.  Thus, 
you can write, 'he was menaked,' 'he will be menaked,'  and 'he is 

Meylekh Viswanath, Rutgers University
Graduate School of Management, 92 New St, Newark NJ 07102
Tel: (201) 648-5899  Fax: (201) 648-1233  email: <pviswana@...>


From: Howard Reich <0006572811@...>
Date: Wed, 25 Jan 95 19:57 EST
Subject: Did Aristotle Recant/Renounce His Writings?

A friend was struck by a letter he came across that Aristotle 
purportedly sent to his student, Alexander the Great, in which he 
describes having found (the Jewish) religion in his advancing years and 
renouncing/recanting either all or most of his previous teachings.  My 
friend would like to know whether anyone can shed any light on whether 
the letter is legitimate.  While I have shortened the letter in the 
interest of brevity, its full text appears in the third chapter on 
Parshas Yisro in Me'om Lo'ez (The Torah Anthology) By Rabbi Yaakov Culi, 
as translated by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, in Volume 6 at page 154f.  The sole 
reference that is cited is Shalshelet Kabbala.  

 ... I am eternally grateful to Him for getting me away from the 
 foolishness to which I had devoted my life.

 All my life I delved into philosophy to explain all natural phenomena 
 in a logical manner.  I wrote many books on these subjects.  Finally, 
 in the twilight of my life, I had the opportunity to engage in a 
 conversation with a Jewish sage.  It did not take me long to recognize 
 his great wisdom, and he led me to understand how great is the Torah 
 that was given on Mount Sinai.

 ... I realized how foolish I had been for not realizing how G-D can 
 manipulate the laws of nature, and that much of what happens in the 
 world is directed by G-D.

 Realizing all this, I decided to devote myself to exploring the wisdom
 of the Torah.  It did not take me long to realize that the Torah is
 based on true foundations, while the axioms of philosophy are purely

 Therefore, my dear student Alexander, If I had the power to collect all
 the books I have written, I would burn them.  ...

 Therefore, my son, Alexander, I am writing this letter to tell you that
 the great majority of my theories regarding natural law are false. ...

Any help provided would be most sincerely appreciated.


From: <GERVER@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Thu, 26 Jan 1995 0:09:28 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Isaac Newton

Stan Tenen, in v17n66, says:
> Newton is said to have claimed that his discoveries of the laws of
> motion ("Newtonian mechanics") and the inverse square law of gravitation
> came from his study of "Egyptian metaphysics", the then-current term for
> Kabbalah.
> Can anyone confirm any of this? Is there any part that is clearly not
> possible or that we know to be untrue?

Dan Goldish recently lent me a reprint of an article by his cousin Matt
Goldish, titled "Newton on Kabbalah," published in James E. Force and
Richard H. Popkin (eds.), The Books of Nature and Scripture, p. 89-103,
Kluwer Academic Publishers, Netherlands, 1994. Matt Goldish is doing his
thesis on Newton's attitude toward the Jews, and this article makes use
unpublished manuscripts of Newton's that have only recently become
available to scholars.

The conclusion the article is that Newton strongly disapproved of
Kabbalah, which he understood to imply that G-d created the universe out
of pre-existing primordial matter, rather than ex nihilo, and that He
did not create the universe directly, but indirectly through the
spherot, which Newton believed to be "derived from deified men, and
 ... identical with the ancient pagan worship of antideluvian

Although the article does not discuss Newton's laws of motion and
gravitation, it seems unlikely that they are based on Kabbalah if Newton
disapproved of Kabbalah. Also, Newton's discovery of the laws of motion
and gravitation occurred early in his life, and I think (although I'm
not completely clear on this) that it was only later that he became
interested in Kabbalah.

For anyone interested in investigating this further, Matt Goldish's
article has 76 footnotes, full of references to other scholarly works on
this topic, which should keep you busy for a while.

Mike Gerver, <gerver@...>


From: <turkel@...> (Eli Turkel)
Date: Mon, 23 Jan 95 20:22:21+020
Subject: Israeli food outside Israel

    Leah Zakh writes

>> Also ALL Israeli produce requires Parshat Trumot and Maaserot unless 
>> it has a hechsher that already separated them.

    Michael Broyde replies
>> I believe that posting is without any foundation in
>> halacha, and is simply wrong .

    Neither of these approaches is quite right. The latest issue of Ohr 
haMizrach has a lengthy article on the requirement of taking terumah from 
Israeli produce intended for outside of Israel. This article is by
Rabbi Broyde and so I am a little confused why he was so strong
against Leah Zakh. In summary there are basically three opinions

1.  a. These don't need to have Terumot or Maasarot taken out   or
    b. Those buying them abroad need not check for a Hechsher

   There is a lengthy responsa by Rabbi Liebes in Beit Avi (1:85,86) based
   on the Shulchan Arukh and Maharsham. This opinion is also held by
   Rav Issar Zalman Melzer in a letter. Similar opinions are in Mishpat
   Cohen (Rav Kook), Sheurim Mezuyannim lehalacha, eretz zvi,Rav Malka.
   This is the position of the chief rabbinate of Israel.

   In addition Rav Ovadiah Yosef brings several doubts:
   A: maybe the produce comes from Eilat which is not "in Israel"
   B: maybe Terumot was also taken out
   C: maybe it is Arab produce

    Since Terumot today is only rabbinical and in addition Terumot applies
to citrus fruit and to vegetables only rabbinically one can be lenient.

2. Rav Moshe Feinstein and Rav Aharon Kotler felt that Israeli produce does 
   require Terumot and Maaserot even abroad. (The letter of Rav Meltzer 
   disputing this position was written to Rav Kotler his son-in-law).

3. Rav Weiss (Minchat Yitzhok 1:84,85) brings also the lenient opinions
   but says that Chazon Ish argued with Maharsham and so there is a safek
   (doubt) and so one should take out Terumot without a beracha. I assume
   that this is the opinion of the Badatz in Jerusalem.



From: <warren@...> (Warren Burstein)
Date: Tue, 24 Jan 1995 13:10:15 GMT
Subject: Re: Israeli produce - a correction

Dr. Jeremy Schiff writes that the two opinions "most common amongst
the God-fearing community here in Israel" are "Strong Heter Mechirah"
and "No Heter Mechirah."

Am I correct in reading into this that there is a variety of Heter
Mechirah other than "Strong", which is acceptable to someone other
than the "God-fearing community"?  If so, I'd like to know about it,
as I only know of one sort of Heter Mechirah, if there is more than
one I need to know.

 |warren@         bein hashmashot, in which state are the survivors
/ nysernet.org    buried?


From: <Jay.Denkberg@...> (Jay Denkberg)
Date: Wed, 25 Jan 1995 13:58:26 +0100
Subject: Re : Singles wearing a talit at Oheb Zedek in NYC

I'm not sure of the halacha regarding a tailit in general.

However OZ (Oheb Zedek in NYC) was founded over 100 years ago and its
minhag was that every man, single or otherwise should ALWAYS wear a
talit. Through the years that minhag has been lost/modified so that
(perhaps out of respect for the original minhag) you wear a talit for an

The transformation of the minhag occured over time starting around 15-25 
years ago.

As recently as 10-15 years ago the president of OZ would wear a top hat on 

Jay Denkberg


From: <jeremy@...> (Jeremy Nussbaum)
Date: Tue, 24 Jan 95 12:30:17 EST
Subject: Shaatnez Tzitizit

> >From: <jeremy@...> (Jeremy Nussbaum)
> If not universal, it's at least a majority opinion that tzitzit w/o
> tchelet is midrabanan.  Why one can go out on shabat with tzitzit is an
> interesting question, and my recollection is that the mitzvah d'rabanan
> was instituted k'ein d'oraita, the rabbinic command was instituted along
> the same lines as the Torah command.

Pardon my responding to my own post, but I'd better eat my tzitzit...
words quickly.  My recollection was wrong, and the majority and perhaps
universal opinion is that tzitzit w/o tchelet is d'oraita.  There is a
disagreement on whether tzitzit for non wool/linen garments is d'oraita
or d'rabanan for chinuch (education), and it could be that I remember a
discussion about that.  Anyway, as penance I will post a summary of
tzitzit issues regarding d'oraita/d'rabanan and t'cheilet issues.  I
apologize for the misinformation.

Jeremy Nussbaum


From: Chaim Sacknovitz <chaim@...>
Date: Tue, 24 Jan 1995 17:29:09 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Single Men Wearing Talit for Aliyah

Regarding Shimon Schwarz's question about single men donning a Talit for
an Aliyah, please refer to Mishna Brura 18:5.  The minhag for a Shatz to
wear a talit is based on the idea of Kevod Hatzibbur.  One could extend
that idea to all who participate in some Kibbud, suc an an aliyah or

Chaim Sacknovitz


End of Volume 18 Issue 12