Volume 19 Number 12
                       Produced: Mon Apr  3  6:44:01 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Educational Lessons From the UK - Inquiry
         [Mechy Frankel]
Electronic\Magnetic codings of Hashem's Name 18 #64
         [David Charlap]
Gays and my responsibilities
         [Hayim Hendeles]
Ipuwer and Velikovsky
         [Mechy Frankel]
Pornography on the Internet (2)
         [Barry Kingsbury [ext 262], Rena Whiteson]
Response re "Homoerotic Poetry" and "Gay Rabbis"
         [Stan Tenen]


From: Mechy Frankel <frankel@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Mar 1995 17:06:04 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Educational Lessons From the UK - Inquiry

Our local jewish weekly carried a brief article last week describing a
school in the UK (I've forgotten which city, but not London) which is
supposed to have expelled four students for the sin of owning parents
who attended a lecture by R. Riskin. Subsequently, two of the four were
said to have been re-admitted after their parents did teshuva (charata
al ha'avar vekabala al ha'asid) by aknowledging their guilt and signing
pledges of future correct thinking torah loyalty which would certainly
be incompatible with attending future lectures by wrong thinking
apikorsim (ok ok, so I'm paraphrasing a bit). Given the laughable
standards for accuracy of our local journalistic tradition, I am
compelled to inquire - did some version of this in fact happen as
described/at all?

Mechy Frankel


From: <david@...> (David Charlap)
Date: Sun, 12 Mar 95 20:14:18 EST
Subject: Re: Electronic\Magnetic codings of Hashem's Name 18 #64

>>>: Reuven Weiser <rweiser@...> said:
>>3) Can one bring a computer with the Name on his hard drive into a bathroom?
>>4) Can one bring a computer with the Name on the screen onto a bathroom?
>>I'm sure you can think of many other permutations. To me, imho, it would 
>>seem that while on screen or being played there would be inherent 
>>Kedusha, but while it is merely coded in magnetic form, which is for the 
>>most part arbitrary, it would be no different from any other non-holy 
>>combination of magnetic particles. Any thoughts? Thank you.

I disagree.  The image on a computer screen is merely a projection.  It
is not writing.  In fact, it flickers in and out of existance 60 times a
second (perhaps a bit faster on some monitors.)  If you aim a camera at
your monitor and set it to a frame rate that's faster than the screen's
refresh rate, you'll see the screen flickering on and off.  Perhaps
displaying the Name on a screen is forbidden altogether then?

A parallel question would be: Suppose you have a photographic slide
(perhaps a transparency) with God's Name on it.  You project it on a
screen.  Can you turn off the projector?  Must you take precautions to
be sure that the bulb never goes dark (by providing backup bulbs)?  Is
it an aveira to walk in front of the screen?

With the computer screen, the principle is similar.  Only then, there
is no original slide either.


From: <hayim@...> (Hayim Hendeles)
Date: Wed, 22 Mar 1995 10:24:00 -0800
Subject: Re: Gays and my responsibilities

>On Mar 9, 10:47, Chaim Shapiro wrote:
>> >I am concerned about my obligations in dealing with the Gay
>> Lesbian and Bisexual Alliance (GLBA).  In accordance with University
>> policy the GLBA has a right to a charter and funding when requested.
>> What am I supposed to do?  Do I follow University policy and vote to
>> grant them full rights and privleges, or do I actively oppose and vote
>> against them?  Or may I remove myself from the proceedings and abstain?
>If you were a judge ruling on a case in which someone had done
>something against halacha but not against the law, you would be
>expected to rule according to the law.  Similarly here (in my opinion),
>I believe you should be voting according to University policy rather
>than according to halacha. 
>Evelyn C. Leeper 

Suppose we take an extreme case - you were a judge in Nazi Germany in
the 1930's, judging the murder of a Jew which (I assume was) permissable
according to German Law. Would you then make the same statement, that
you should follow the official policy rather then Jewish Law?  I think

Granted, this case under discussion is not quite as black and white as
that of Nazi Germany. But I am not certain I could make a distinction
between the two. According to Jewish Law, the acts under question are
immoral, and thus perhaps I am obligated to stand up against this
immorality and not allow such a lifestyle to be promoted.

I am not certain I agree with this reasoning myself; only that there may
be another side to this issue. As usual, consult your LOR.

Hayim Hendeles


From: Mechy Frankel <frankel@...>
Date: Wed, 22 Mar 1995 16:48:31 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Ipuwer and Velikovsky

1. Ben Rothke inquired about the Ipuwer papyrus quoted by R. Avigdor
Miller in some of his writings. While I have little familiarity with the
latter, the Ipuwer papyrus is a hieratic script document written by an
egyptian scribe of that name which apparently describes a series of
calamitous events which befell the land in his time (apparently Old
Kingdom). Some of Ipuwer's descriptions have a surface similarity to the
torah's descriptions of the ten plagues, e.g.  a great darkness etc. The
details don't really quite mesh. There is also, inevitably, scholarly
controversy whether he was describing real events, or just having
visions, or perhaps readying his submission for his class in Expository
Writing 101 at Aswan U.

2. There is a more extensive description of the papyrus in the vastly
entertaining book "Worlds in Collision" by I. Velikovsky first published
about 1950 and where, I suspect, R. Miller may have drawn his
information. It was of course a small part of Velikovsky's grand thesis
that the Ipuwer papyrus was an actual contemporary secular eyewitness
account of the events surrounding the Exodus and his description is that
of an enthused advocate of that perspective.  Some of the parallels are
in fact quite striking (assuming that Velikovsky, totally untrained in
the relevant disciplines, chose an accurate translation) e.g. the
purported description of the death of a pharoh, possibly involving a
whirlpool (my memory is a bit hazy here, I read these a long time ago)
in the suggestively named place "pi-khiroti" (while Shemos places the
splitting of yam suf near pi-ha-khiros").

3. By coincidence, the latest issue of Jewish Action which arrived last
week (I think that must be an OU magazine, I know I didn't subscribe to
it but it seems to show up regularly, although I can't off hand remember
why) contained an article purporting to date the tanachic period which
also referenced the Ipuwer document. Upon inspection it turned out to be
a credulous re-hash of another of Velikovsky's entertaining theories
first described in his book Ages in Chaos (and continued in "Ramses and
His Times", and "Peoples of the Sea") reconstructing all of ancient
history using a unique and unconventional chronology whereby the
standard egyptian royal timeline (against which other ancient
chronologies are calibrated) is "proven" to be littered with "ghost"
dynasties, double counting, etc. it is quite impossible to do justice to
the author's thesis with this sort of thumbnail sketch, but it is all
quite enjoyably original and quite utterly rejected by the vast majority
of the entire scholarly world (which doesn't of course mean its wrong,
but should at least make the Jewish Action suspicious that they may be
pushing the flake's eye view of history). The interested reader should
have no trouble obtaining any of these volumes for themselves, though
booksellers seem about evenly divided on displaying Velikovsky's books
in the science or New Age sections.

4. Since we've segued over to Velikovsky, it might be of interest to
note that his book, after being initially accepted for publication, was
utlimately rejected by his first would-be publisher, McMillan - a
publisher mainly of scientific textbooks - following the threat of an
organized boycott of McMillan by all "reputable"
scientists. Particularly active in this in this book censorship and
surpression jihad was the Harvard astronomy mafia led by Harlow Shapely,
who, amusingly enough in his role as a prominent scientific spokesman"
for the scientific establishment of his day, was given to frequent
preaching and writing about the wondrous objectivity, commitment to
airing of new ideas, and generally logical and unemotional superiority
with which scientists approached things (as compared, by implication,
with the rest of the prejudiced or hormone driven populace). McMillan, a
scientific publisher, was vulnerable to such bullying, though they may
have regretted it later when it zoomed to the top of the best seller
lists under a general publisher. In any event the whole business was an
amusing and enlightening commentary on the social structure of the
scientific community, their instinctively violent and negative reaction
to new ideas by "outsiders", and (it would pain me to say, if I also
didn't think it was very funny) the astonishing capacity for mealy
mouthed hypocrisy even by scientists. I believe a number of highly
instructive sociological retrospectives on the scientific community
response to the Velikovsky phenomenon were later published in behavioral
science magazines in the aftermath of all that.

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


From: <barryk@...> (Barry Kingsbury [ext 262])
Date: Wed, 22 Mar 95 10:46:52 EST
Subject: Re: Pornography on the Internet

While you have correctly heard that a large amount of bandwidth is used 
within USENET for transmitting pornography, this means very little. Because
picture files are large, they take considerable bandwidth. This means if
you are measuring total contents as a percentage of bandwidth, then
you would assume that a lot of pornography is being sent across the

A better measure is the number of messages that are being sent.

Many people confuse the internet with usenet. The internet contains a
variety of services such as e-mail, ftp, telenet, wais, archie, veronica, 
gophers, the Web, IRC, MUDs, listservrs as well as  usenet. Most of the
pornography is within the Usenet alt.sex.hierarchy. 

If you compare the amount of messages within the alt.sex hierarchy to 
the number of messages on the internet, the proprotion used for pornography
is seen as very modest (if I dare use that term in this discussion).

The "net" fights censorship in many, many ways--and they are probably
correct in saying that no censorship should exist on the net. However,
it is equally correct to ask your internet provider to exclude all 
postings from the alt.sex hierarchy.  That is, the anarchic net
philosophy maintains that people have the right to post pornography. 
They also maintain that you have a right not to receive it. 

Barry Kingsbury

From: <rena@...> (Rena Whiteson)
Date: Wed, 22 Mar 95 12:23:34 MST
Subject: Pornography on the Internet

>From: Gad Frenkel <0003921724@...>
> While there is clearly a tremendous amount of junk that appeals to man's
> basest nature to be found on the Internet, it's important to undersatnd
> all things in their context.  Most of the objectionable material is in
> the form of pictures, which require much more bandwidth than does text
> material such as this. So the fact (if it is a fact) that pornography
> uses a large percentage of Internet bandwidth, does not mean that the
> Internet is largely used for pornography.

This is certainly true.  In addition, I think it is important to understand
that to find pornography on the internet one must actively search for it.
It is not forced upon anyone.  I've been on the internet for many years
and have *never* encountered pornography, though I've no doubt that it is
out there.

Rena Whiteson


From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Wed, 15 Mar 1995 08:43:18 -0800
Subject: Response re "Homoerotic Poetry" and "Gay Rabbis"

Response to the posting of Mordechai Horowitz in Volume 18 #85, Tuesday,
March 14 on "Gay Rabbis", and to [Batya] & Yisrael Medad on "Medieval
Homeoerotic poetry".

As those who are familiar with my postings know, I cannot read Hebrew,
nor any other language but English, and thus I am not familiar with the
poems Mordechai Horowitz posted in their original language.  Therefore,
what I'm about to say MUST be considered highly speculative.

My experience with so-called love poetry, whether heterosexual or
homosexual, whether in Rabbinic, Christian or Islamic sources, is that
the object of the poem is _not_ another person, but some aspect of G-d.
The detailed discussions in the poetry do not allude to qualities of the
human being, but to Kabbalistic descriptions of the meditational process
that leads to prophecy.

For example, in Mordechai's list, it says, at the end of poem 2, "thus
half of her hand is like ruby, half quartz."  In my opinion, this is not
a reference to a lady's (or a man's) hand, but rather to the "Hand of
G-d".  My research indicates that a topological metaphor of G-d's Hand
is the source for the letters of the Hebrew alphabet.  The model that
generates this hand does come in two halves, and without going into
detail here, it is not unreasonable for them to be described as "half of
her hand is like ruby, half quartz".  Something similar, of course, has
been said with regard to Solomon's "Song of Songs", and is undoubtedly
true for a large range of other similar poetry.  In my opinion, it is
the loss of Kabbalistic knowledge, and the loss of a living meditative
path handed down from teacher to student that has obscured and distorted
our view of religious "love" poetry.

When we re-discover the Kabbalistic models and meditative principles we
will re-discover the true meaning of this poetry and we will not be
tempted to consider the possibility that some of our sages engaged in
inappropriate sexual activity, or even the public discussion of it.
This is an example of why it is necessary for Torah Jews to study
Kabbalah, and to endeavor to regain a full understanding of the portions
of Talmud that are now mysterious to us.  Kabbalah is the science of
consciousness in Torah.  Without an appreciation that this level exists,
we run the risk of not only misinterpreting the "love" poetry of our
sages, but in my opinion, many other of their vital teachings as well.



End of Volume 19 Issue 12