Volume 20 Number 32
                       Produced: Sun Jul  2 23:19:29 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [E. Dardashti]
Calendar, et al.
         [Zvi Weiss]
Codes in the Torah
         [Zale Tabakman]
Electricity in Israel on Shabbos
         [Jan David Meisler]
Mazel Tov-Engagement Announcement
         [Norman Tuttle]
Mezuza at kids height
         [Ed Bruckstein]
Mixed Marriage Ceremony
         [Gedaliah Friedenberg]
Ride Wanted to Mail-Jewish Picnic
         [Mike Gerver]
Sand Grain and Dust Grain Number
         [Mike Gerver]
Short People and Mezzuzot
         [Moshe Hacker]
Transportation to M-J picnic from NYC
         [Freda B Birnbaum]


From: <DARDASHTI@...> (E. Dardashti)
Date: Sat, 1 Jul 1995 23:10:54 -0400
Subject: Re: Avot

With regard to the Avot(ZT"L) and the question wether the were perfect
or not let me share with you a true story that I heard from Reb Polanski
regarding his father a tzaddik and a revered figure in the Haridi
community in Yerushalayim some eighty years ago.  A loud figure in Mea
Shearim had managed to make a nuisance of himself to the point that the
saintly Rabbi Polanski (ZT"L) called him a putz in public.  The loud
character proceeded to call Rabbi Polanski to the the Beyt Din in Mea
Sharim with a demand for a public apology.  Witnesses were produced who
testified as to the truth in the loud character's claim.  The beyt din
turned to revered rabbi, who in turn did not deny the charges and
informed to the court that he had spoken the truth in the same spirit
that the chumash and Torat Yisrael speaks the truth.  For evidence he
read from the verses that showed the avot as they were and not as
saints.  Rabbi Polanski (ZT"L) claimed if the truth could be told about
the avot in the torah, why not about others.


From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Fri, 30 Jun 1995 11:04:34 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Calendar, et al.

Without getting into the whole debate abuot Chazal and Science, I would 
like to point out that the Chida in the Birchei Yosef (I think) comments 
that Chazal ALWAYS knew that Shmuel's value for the length of the year 
was less accurate than Rav Ada's.  However, Chazal CHOSE to follow 
Shmuel's value because the calculations were much simpler.  And, -- as 
long as a Beit Din was relying upon witnesses for Kiddush Halevana anyway 
-- it would be possible to "correct" the calendar subtly so that it would 
not get too "far out of whack".  It is interesting to add that -- 
supposedly -- the mathematical model of the Luach that we use is 
"reputed" to only go up to the year 6000 -- presumably because by then 
Mashiach will be here and we will not be using the model (at least not 
for anything more than a verification check on the witnesses...).

Also, our saying Tal Umatar 17 days later (because of the inaccuracy in 
the calculation of the Tekufa) probably does not directly affect the 
rains in Aretz -- the Gemara stated that the interval was chosen to 
ensure that all travelers from the Diaspora would be safely at home when 
they returned from J-m for their Aliayh leregel...  Obviously, Chazal felt 
that assuring the physical comfort of these travelers was no less 
important than praying for rain for Aretz.  In the same vein, 
perhaps,following Chazal is no less important than praying for rain for 
Aretz.....  In Aretz, itself, Tal U'Matar is not dependent upon the Tekufa.



From: <zale@...> (Zale Tabakman)
Date: Thu, 29 Jun 1995 20:11:37 -0400
Subject: Codes in the Torah

I have a non-religous Jewish friend who is interested in the Torah

Does anybody know of a book or a WWW site with some details about them.

He has an extensive computer science background and thus is
particularlary interested in the techniques of the codes.



From: Jan David Meisler <jm8o+@andrew.cmu.edu>
Date: Fri, 30 Jun 1995 13:52:44 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Electricity in Israel on Shabbos

Shmuel Himelstein indicated that the Heter for using electricity in
Israel on Shabbos is from the fact that the electricity needs to be used
anyway for reasons of Pikuach Nefesh (hospitals, etc.).  Is this really
the reason?  
(I am not trying to say Israelis shouldn't use electricty on Shabbos,
I'm just wondering about the reason here.)  I vaguely remember that the
Mishna Brurah seems to indicate that if a person needs to cut something
from a tree for a sick person, he is only permitted to cut the amount he
needs, no more.  If that is the case, then only enough electricity
should be generated for the hospitals.  Also, if Mr. Himelstein's point
is correct, wouldn't the following be true:  If a person needs to be
driven to a hospital, and the car is going the same direction as I would
like to go on Shabbos, I could get a ride as well, even though I don't
need it for Pikuach Nefesh.  The car is already going that way for the
"proper reasons".



From: <ntuttle@...> (Norman Tuttle)
Date: Fri, 30 Jun 95 16:22:36 -0400
Subject: Mazel Tov-Engagement Announcement

   I am delighted to announce the engagement of Nosson Tuttle (myself) to
Rivkah D'vir of Boro Park.  I hope that this will inspire all the participants
and friends of the Mazel Tov singles organization which I direct and all of
the other readers of this electronic message to continue to strive in
performing the mitzvot, with all of their means.  The engagement VORT will
IY"H take place in Monsey (New York state) at Yeshiva Kol Yaakov on 29 West
Maple Ave, on July 9th from 1pm until 3:15pm (afternoon).  Those who need
directions can call (914)352-5184.  A hearty Mazel Tov and thanks for all
your Brachot on my behalf!

Nosson Tuttle (<ntuttle@...>)


From: Ed Bruckstein <bruckstn@...>
Date: Fri, 30 Jun 1995 10:14:39 -0400
Subject: Re: Mezuza at kids height
Newsgroups: shamash.mail-jewish

The book entitled "Reb Yaakov" about Rav Yaakov Kaminetzky, ztl,
discusses that Reb Yaakov was once visiting a Yeshiva, where he found
the mezuzos were positioned at a height that kids could reach them.  He
told them that in essence the doors are now Mezuza-less, as they were
not in the right position.  Instead, Reb Yaakov suggested, place a
stepstool near the door, so they can reach the Mezuza in its proper


From: Gedaliah Friedenberg <gedaliah@...>
Date: Fri, 30 Jun 1995 15:37:23 -0400
Subject: Re: Mixed Marriage Ceremony
Newsgroups: shamash.mail-jewish

in v20n26 "Anonymous" writes:

>For discussion purposes, I should like thoughts and sources on this
>question: Should I attend the marriage ceremony of my niece who will be
>marrying a goy, but the wedding ceremony will be performed only by a
>Reform rabbi?  Should I acknowledge the event in any way, like a gift or
>even a card?

This is a *major* question which must be addressed to a compotent
halachic authority because EVERY case has to be judged on its merits.

When my mother recently re-married in a Reform ceremony (to a Jewish
man, unlike your situation of an intermarriage), I was certain that it
would be OK for me to attend the wedding, all things considered.  Just
to be safe I asked my Rav, who had to refer me to one of the biggest
poskim in America (Rav Feurst of Chicago) because the nature of this
issue (attending non-frum Jewish weddings) is complex.

Only after a lot of questions and a few restrictions did R' Feurst
give me a heter to attend my own mother's wedding, based on Shalom
Bayis and Kibud Av v'Aym (maintaining a peaceful house and honoring
one's parents) since my mother was really upset at the mere suggestion
that I would not attend her wedding.

Call a compotent Rav.  If you do not know who to call in your area,
send me mail and I will put you in touch with someone.



From: <GERVER@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Tue, 27 Jun 1995 21:18:34 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Ride Wanted to Mail-Jewish Picnic

I'm thinking of going to the mail-jewish picnic July 9, if I can first
finish some work that has to be done the day after that. I'll probably
take the Amtrak train down from Boston, which I find is a good place to
get work done. Can someone give me a ride to the picnic, in Highland Park,
from an Amtrak station near there, probably Metro Park? I'd also consider
sharing driving from Boston if anyone wants to do that, but can't promise
at this point that I'll be able to go.

Mike Gerver, <gerver@...>

[If you get an Amtrak train that stops in New Brunswick, then there will
be no problem, as it is about 1 mile from the train to my house and
therefore real easy to pick you up. But I know more of the trains stop
in Metro Park and not New Brunswick, so anyone able to pick Mike up?


From: <GERVER@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Sun, 2 Jul 1995 4:25:02 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Sand Grain and Dust Grain Number

In my postings in v20n08 and v20n16, I noted that the number of stars 
in the sky was about equal to the number of grains of sand on the shores
of the sea, as they should be, since both numbers are said to be equal 
to the eventual number of Avraham's descendents in Gen. 22:17. (My best
estimate for the stars was 1.e+21, and for the grains of sand 1.e+20.)
In response to this, Chaim Hendeles sent me a private message asking if
I could estimate the number of particles of dust on the earth, since
Hashem also promises Avraham, in Gen. 13:16, that his descendents will
equal this number. (I would like to thank Chaim for that suggestion,
and also to absolve him of any responsibility for the time wasted on
this, since he specifically asked me not to waste too much time on it!)

I have made an estimate of that, and it also comes out to about 1.e+21.
But it only works if "ha-aretz" in Gen. 13:16 is understood to mean
"Eretz Yisrael" rather than "the Earth." This is not an unreasonable
interpretation, since in the preceding verse, the word "ha-aretz" is
used and clearly refers to Eretz Yisrael. Also, you have to count only
loose dust grains on the surface of the earth, not packed down soil, and
not sand in deserts. I admit that this arbitrariness in interpreting
"afar ha-aretz" makes the coincidence of numbers less impressive.

Before getting to the details of how I made the estimate, I'd like to
speculate on the meaning of the odd wording used in Gen. 13:16. The
text says "...if a man can count the dust of the land, he can also
count your descendents." Taken literally, this is an empty promise,
since a man cannot count the dust of the land, and a conditional
sentence with a false premise is always true! This bothers Rashi,
who says that it means "Just as it is impossible to count the dust,
so he will not be able to count your descendents." But then, why did
the Torah use the wording it did, and not simply say what Rashi said?
Maybe it is saying that when the time comes that it will be possible to
count (or estimate?) the number of dust grains, technology will be
advanced enough that it will be possible for Avraham's descendents
literally to be that great in number. As I pointed out in v20n08, you 
could probably support 1.e+20 or 1.e+21 people if you colonized every 
suitable planet in the galaxy. (Of course, we would not want to colonize 
planets that already have native intelligent life forms, but there are
only 18,000 of these, which must be a small fraction of all the colonizable
planets in the galaxy; see my posting in v17n34 on "Other Life in the
Universe" :-).)

To crudely estimate the number of dust grains, take the area of Eretz
Yisrael, about 2.e+10 square meters, assume the dust is an average of 
10 cm deep (remember I'm only considering loose dust, not packed down
soil, and not deep sand dunes), and the dust grains are cubes 1.e-4 meters
in diameter, with a packing factor of 50%. Then there would be 1.e+21
dust grains.

Mike Gerver, <gerver@...>


From: Moshe Hacker <HACKERM@...>
Date: Fri, 30 Jun 1995 10:44:07 EST
Subject: Re: Short People and Mezzuzot

What I remember learning in yeshiva is if you are not tall enough to
reach the mezzuza, then touching the door post that the mezzuza is
attached to is just as good.



From: Freda B Birnbaum <fbb6@...>
Date: Sun, 2 Jul 1995 13:18:29 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Transportation to M-J picnic from NYC

I've checked out a few leads privately on transportation from NYC to
Highland Park next Sunday, and now I'm going public.  Is anyone going to
the picnic from the Washington Heights or upper West Side areas who
would have room for two gas-and-tolls-sharing passengers?  (They being
me and my husband.)

Freda Birnbaum, <fbb6@...>


End of Volume 20 Issue 32