Volume 22 Number 56
                       Produced: Tue Dec 26 23:08:14 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

born without sin
         [David Lilienthal]
Death of Babies
         [Mordechai Perlman]
Four Hours without Food
         [Mike Gerver]
Psalm 51:7
         [Baruch J. Schwartz]
Shir Hakovod
         [Mordechai Perlman]
         [David Hollander]
Tal U'matar/Correction
         [Jerome Parness]
Tal Umatar
         [Bert L. Kahn]
Tehilim 51:7
         [Shlomo Katz]
Torus,Torah & Kabbalah
         [Jerome Parness]
Tower Air Crash
Tower Air incident
         [Shlomo Katz]
Yosef's "Test" for his Brothers
         [Arthur Roth]


From: <lili1079@...> (David Lilienthal)
Date: Tue, 26 Dec 1995 12:35:19 +0100 (MET)
Subject: Re: born without sin

John Bell, A.S.Kamlet, and Baruch J. Schwartz have written about Psalm
51:7 and the Christian doctrine of original sin as purportedly reflected
in Psalm 51:7 "Indeed I was born in iniquity, and in sin did my mother
conceive me."

It is interesting to read the apologetics. Chas vechalila that any
thought present in Christianity could also be found in Judaism. On the
other hand, why not just acknowledge that they did not get this from a
stranger either? The idea of original sin is present also in the
midrash.  Generally it is refuted, but why the need to refute it if it
was not present as an idea? The difference is that in Judaism this idea
did not become an accepted teaching, while in Christianity it became a
basic doctrine (even if that is being questioned by many Christians
these days).  The pasuk in the psalm just shows that the idea was there;
what is wrong with that. There are many ideas that were present and
which were not accepted later, such as "an eye for an eye", "ben sorer
omoreh", "until the third and fourth generation."

David Lilienthal


From: Mordechai Perlman <aw004@...>
Date: Sun, 24 Dec 1995 17:04:28 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Death of Babies

On Fri, 22 Dec 1995, Yeshaya Halevi wrote:
>          I am having difficulty understanding the words of  Rav Yaakov
> Weinberg, shlita, the Rosh Yeshiva in Baltimore (Ner Israel), as quoted by
> Elozor Preil <EMPreil@...> (Elozor Preil):
>         << He (Rabbi Weinberg) said that... a murderer has free choice
> to pull the trigger. If his intended victim is completely innocent of
> any sin (for which he deserves death), a miracle will save him.
> Otherwise, the free will of the criminal will prevail.>>
>           In this sicko world children of all ages are murdered, as are
> _babies_.  They are sinless.  Unless one accepts the idea of geelgool
> (reincarnation), where these innocents incurred guilt in a previous
> life, how would Rav Weinberg's words explain the murder of such complete
> innocents?

	Actually, for the death of babies, one need not come on to the 
explanation of Rav Weinberg.  Chazal have already stated that children 
who die young are granted the special privilege of Hashem teaching Torah 
to them personally.  Exactly what that's supposed to mean, I haven't the 
faintest but it sounds pretty good.  That's as far as the child's account 
goes.  As far as the parents' account goes, the Sifri states that 
children below the age of maturity may die because of their parents' sins.

A Lichtige un a Lustige Chanuka	
				Mordechai Perlman


From: <GERVER@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Sun, 24 Dec 1995 3:06:52 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Four Hours without Food

The way Uri Benjamin describes the situation (in v22n46), it sounds as
if it is clear that the halacha is not to eat the food, and the only
argument in favor of eating it is that it smells good.

But is it so clear what the halacha is in this case? If his relative
hired a kosher caterer primarily to allow him to eat there, and if he
would notice that he wasn't eating and would be offended, or perhaps
embarrassed that he hadn't met high enough standards of kashrut, maybe
this would be a greater aveira [sin] than eating the food? Especially if
you have no serious reason to doubt the reliability of the caterer, but
just don't want to take chances? Maybe you even want, on some
subconscious level, to offend the host, because you are annoyed that he
expected you not to mind the other questionable points (tzniut, chuppah)
as long as he used a kosher caterer, and you want to make him as
uncomfortable as he made you? (I'm speaking from personal experience
here, I hope your motives are purer than I'm afraid mine have sometimes

I like the quicksand analogy. Only when you turn around to hike back
through the woods, make sure there isn't any newly formed quicksand
covering the trail back, too!

I know people who have been advised by their rabbis to eat the food, in
situations roughly comparable to this one. If you anticipate being in
this situation, don't take chances! CYLOR!

Mike Gerver, <gerver@...>


From: Baruch J. Schwartz <SCHWARTZ@...>
Date: Fri, 22 Dec 95 14:42:43 IST
Subject: Psalm 51:7

A. S. Kamlet asks about the Christian doctrine of original sin as
purportedly reflected in Psalm 51:7 "Indeed I was born in iniquity, and
in sin did my mother conceive me." In general, substantiation for
Christian doctrine from the Hebrew Bible is a matter of dogmatics and
interpretation, and often the Christian reading is so obviously based on
preconceived notions and foregone conclusions that no amount of
disucssion of the peshat of the verse is likely to peruade. Medieval
commentators, such as Rashi and especially Radak, were devoted to
refuting Christian interpretations of Biblical verses not only for the
purpose of responding to the Christians themselves (what Rashi calls
lit-shuvat ha-minim) but also, and perhaps primarily, in order to
fortify their fellow Jews and prevent them from being convinced, God
forbid, that the Christians were right. There is much literature on this
matter, and the sources in Rashi, Radak, Rashbam, Joseph Bechor Shor and
others are easily accessbile and numerous.
 As for the verse you mention: a detailed discussion of its peshat (the
historical, contextual meaning, as opposed to the one "read into" it by
later exegetes) can be found in: Meir Weiss, The Bible from Within,
translated by Baruch J. Schwartz, Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1984, pages
119-126 (the entire chapter, beginning on page 100, may be of interest).

Baruch J. Schwartz
Tel-Aviv University
Bible Department


From: Mordechai Perlman <aw004@...>
Date: Mon, 25 Dec 1995 23:06:33 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Shir Hakovod

On Mon, 25 Dec 1995, Eli Turkel wrote:
>     Mordechai Perlman in discussing An'im Zemirot says
> >> this is the view
> >> of many g'dolim which discontinued the custom of saying the Shir Hayichud
>                                                                --------------
>     Mordechai is mixing up shir ha-kavod (anim zemirot) with shir ha-yichud
> (what many people recite on Yom Kippur eve). Thus, in fact shir hayichud
> is usually recited only once a year.

	Actually, I'm not.  I merely quoted the words of the Shela 
Hakodosh who equates the recitation of the two.  I'm quite aware that 
Shir HaYichud is said only on the night of Yom Kippur.

				Mordechai Perlman


From: <David_Hollander@...> (David Hollander)
Date: Tue, 26 Dec 95 11:08:36 EST
Subject: Smoking

There are a couple of interesting items on smoking, probably pipes, in
Taamei haMinhagim.  See the index in the back under Eishun and Tabak.  I
also recall once hearing that much of the harmful effects of smoking
come from the pesticides currently used, which was probably not a
consideration 200 years ago.


From: Jerome Parness <parness@...>
Date: Tue, 26 Dec 1995 13:40:47 EST
Subject: Tal U'matar/Correction

As per the reminder by Steve White (thank you), I erred in stating that
the latest Yom Kippur can fall is Oct 5th. Rather, it is the latest Rosh
Hashana will fall.  One then has the lunar calendar being responsible
for the beginning of tekufat tishrei, and the 60 days of the solar
calendar to the beginning of rains in hutz la'aretz.  Steve also
mentioned that we do say Tal U'matar on the 5th of Dec. in the year
preceeding a solar leap year, as we did this year, which would then
explain both aspects of the minhag.  In other words, we begin saying Tal
U'matar, not at the end of the first half of the season before the
spring, but the beginning of the second half.  Hence, we say Tal U'matar
on the 61st day after the latest possible beginning of tekufat tishrei
in the year preceeding a solar leap year so that it falls on the
beginning of the second half of the tekufah that agriculturally requires


From: <bilk1@...> (Bert L. Kahn)
Date: December 25, 1995
Subject: Tal Umatar

The starting date changes due to the difference between the Julian and 
Gregorian calendars. When the world changed from Julian to  Gregorian 
calendars in the 1700's I believe the Jews did not because the shift 
resulted in the calendar jumping forward a number of days. Every 
century or so the number of days between those two calendars changes 
and we adjust our Tal Umatar starting date accordingly because the 
world uses the Gregorian calendar and we do not. The definitive source 
is a short article written by Sender Leib Aronin. If Mail Jewish will 
provide me its fax number I will attempt to obtain the article and fax 
it to Mail Jewish. Chaim Twerski who recently contributed an article 
could also attempt to obtain the article from Mr. Aronin's son.

[At this point, I have neither the time to type an article in, nor a
scanner to scan in and check. If someone would like to get permission
from the author and do it, I would be happy to put it up on the archive
area. Mod.]


From: Shlomo Katz <YEHUDA@...>
Date: Mon, 25 Dec 95 15:41:12 EDT
Subject: Tehilim 51:7

 Re: The meaning of Tehilim 51:7, see Yoma 69b which says that when the
Sages " killed" the "yetzer hara" (desire) for adultery, chickens
stopped laying eggs.  Thus one sees that there is some measure of sinful
desire necessary for ordinary procreation.  This is what King David
referred to.  (This is not my thought, but I forget where I saw it.


From: Jerome Parness <parness@...>
Date: Mon, 25 Dec 1995 15:58:02 EST
Subject: Torus,Torah & Kabbalah

Stan, you are right.  I admit it, but someone like myself, despite a
rather wide ranging scientific background, can not fathom the three
dimensional complexity of the presumed mathematical relationships
between the letters in Bereshit without seeing the pictures.  Despite
this formidable lack on my part, I have a basic problem with the premise
of your entire argument... to the best of my knowledge the Torah was NOT
given or written in Ktav Ashurit, as modern Hebrew is known, but in Ktav
Ivri, or ancient Hebrew letters.  Ktav Ashurit, if I remember correctly,
was not introduced to Israel until some five hundred to seven hundred
years after the presumed time of Matan Torah - i.e., some time around
the Assyrian invasion of the fertile crescent from what is now Northen
Iraq/Persia.  Even if Assyrian traders reached Israel before the actual
invasion, it is clear from the historical record that Ktav Ashurit is a
relatively late development in the history of the Jewish people.  The
fact that it has been the dominant form of transmission of Torah since
the time of its introduction is immaterial to accepting the inherent
kabbalistic nature of the presumably G-d given letters, if we are to buy
your thesis.
	I know that the gemara refers to the letters of Ktav Ashurit as
holy, etc, various discussions... but that, I interpret as a statement of
the relative importance of the transmission of Torah and its values in
the alphabet that was known to all after the Exile.  This is not a
statement of historical truth, that this is the alphabet used by G-d,
Moshe and Yehoshua in the writing of the Five Books of Moses.


From: <FriedmanJ@...>
Date: Fri, 22 Dec 1995 01:57:10 -0500
Subject: Tower Air Crash

Seems to me that's very self-serving for Satmar. And I could almost see
another Moshiach problem developing. Maybe one of the OTHER passengers
was a lamed vov or someone Hashem has plans for and it was in that
hidden person's zechus that the plane didn't blow up?  As people, we
sure as heck can't interpret this in anyway. Only God knows why He/She
didn't want anyone on board killed.


From: Shlomo Katz <YEHUDA@...>
Date: Mon, 25 Dec 95 15:31:16 EDT
Subject: Tower Air incident

Thank G-d there were no serious injuries in the Tower Air incident.
Regarding David Charlap's attempt to start a discussion about the
meaning of this, note that "Tower Air" in Hebrew is "Migdal Avir."  The
Talmudic expression "mig dal haporeach ba'avir" means very abstract and
not related to anything.  Perhaps this is a hint that we should not get
carried away in looking for the significance of this incident.  (No
disrespect intended to the Rabbi Teitelbaum referred to by David
Charlap, especially if he means the Satmar Rebbe, shlita.)


From: <rotha@...> (Arthur Roth)
Date: Sun, 24 Dec 1995 01:40:18 -0600
Subject: Yosef's "Test" for his Brothers

   Yesterday's leining contained the well known incident in which Yosef
requires his brothers to bring Binyomin to him in order to prove that
they were not spies.
   Now suppose they had been real spies and indeed did not have a little
brother, as they had claimed.  In that case, they would simply have
brought anybody at all who was willing to pose (for pay, if necessary)
as their brother.  If Yosef had been a stranger to them (as he was
leading them to believe), he would not have known the difference.  In
fact, he might not have known the difference anyway, because just as the
brothers did not recognize Yosef in Egypt due to his young age at the
time they sold him, Yosef would surely not have recognized Binyomin (who
was even younger at the time they were separated) for the same reason.
   Of course, Yosef knew who they were and never meant for it to be a
real test.  He just wanted to see Binyomin (and perhaps even keep him in
Egypt).  But in order for the brothers to find him believable, wouldn't
his actions have needed to seem logical in the context of the role that
he was playing for them?  Any ideas?


End of Volume 22 Issue 56