Volume 23 Number 12
                       Produced: Sun Feb  4  9:19:54 1996

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [David Hollander]
Dinosaurs and the Tif'eres Yisro'el
         [Micha Berger]
G_d's Omnicience vs. Free Will
         [Zvi Weiss  ]
Hashem, Control and Creation
         [Eliyahu Teitz]
Judaism and Islam
         [Yaacov-Dovid Shulman]
More on Kushner's arguments
         [David Olesker]
Omnicience and Free Will
         [Rose Landowne]
Omniscience and Free-will
         [Micha Berger]
The nature of God, and free will
         [Roger Kingsley]
Women working in Restaurants
         [Harry Weiss]


From: <David_Hollander@...> (David Hollander)
Date: Wed, 31 Jan 96 14:52:36 EST
Subject: Chants

A couple of months ago there was a thread on Jewish chants.  The New
York Times of Sunday 7-Jan-96 had a review in the Arts and Leisure
section, page 30, of a new CD "Chants Mystique: Hidden Treasures of a
Living Tradition (Polygram Special Markets 314 520 340-2; CD), a survey
of Hebrew liturgical music.


From: Micha Berger <aishdas@...>
Date: Fri, 2 Feb 1996 07:44:15 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Dinosaurs and the Tif'eres Yisro'el

I have wondered for a while now something about the Tif'eres Yisro'el's
position on dinosaurs. (That they lived in earlier worlds that were
created and destroyed before this one.)

What persists between one creation and the next? Clearly the TY assumes
that the individual universes were not created ex-nihilo, as we find the
remnants of the dinosaur world in ours. In fact, the planet earth is
still around from that earlier world, since the bones are found within
our planet.

Presumably, Gen 1:1 then refers to the ex-nihilo creation of world #1.
Then, a bunch of worlds are silently created and destroyed.  Verse 2
starts with the assumption that there is a planet, and it is covered in
water. In fact, when we look further, we see that earth is not created,
but revealed when the water is gathered into seas (1:9,10).

This system falls apart where most unifications of science and creation
falls apart, on day 4. Current theories are VERY far from saying that
the sun, moon and stars post-date the earth. And now, the TY adds that
the dinosaurs walked on a planet with no sun? Or perhaps _a_ sun, but
not ours?

Last, what about the mabul (Flood)? How was the destruction between
vv. 1 and 2 different than the mabul? In both cases the planet itself,
space and time, etc... survived. Why is this considered the same
universe as Adam's but not the same as the dinosaurs.

Micha Berger 201 916-0287        Help free Ron Arad, held by Syria 3255 days!
<AishDas@...>                     (16-Oct-86 -  5-Oct-95)
<a href=news:alt.religion.aishdas>Orthodox Judaism: Torah, Avodah, Chessed</a>
<a href=http://haven.ios.com/~aishdas>AishDas Society's Home Page</a>


From: Zvi Weiss		 <weissz@...>
Date: Thu, 1 Feb 1996 19:11:55 -0500 (EST)
Subject: G_d's Omnicience vs. Free Will

> From: Aaron H. Greenberg <greenbah@...>
> > From: Bennett Ruda <bruda@...>
> > Whenever I hear people discuss the apparent paradox of how G_d can be
> > omnicient yet we have free will, I think about the explanation that I
> > heard Rabbi Aaron Rakefet give when I was in the Kollel in BMT. Just
> > look at the 1986 World Series. We can rent a video tape and watch how in
> > the 6th Game, in the 9th inning, Mookie Wilson's single dribbles past
> > Bill Buckner at first. We rewind the tape and watch it over and
> > over...knowing (omniciently?) exactly what will happen. Yet this
> > knowledge in no way interferes or affects the outcome -- Bill Buckner
> > will never get Mookie out.  Is it not possible to imagine then that
> > HaShem too could be equally aware of exactly what will happen without
> > that knowledge affecting what we do.
> This not a logical analogy.  The 1986 World Series is in the past, we
> could not possibly have know it was going to happen in advance, if we
> knew in advance then we could have affected the outcome.  This does not
> answer the parodox in the least.

It *is* a "logical analogy" because for G-d, there is really no such 
thing as "Time"... Thus, for G-d, there is no "past" , "present", 
"Future" as we know them.

> Question: Why do we insist on having a paradox?  God's omnicience of the
> present is part of our thirteen principles of faith, but our future
> thoughts and actions aren't necessarily included.  Can God create a
> world with beings that he cannot know with 100% accuracy what they will
> do next despite the fact that he has complete knowledge of the current
> state of the system?  Why not?

See above where it seems that it is logically not possible to 
distinguish between "past" and "future" vis-a-vis G-d.  Also, please look 
at the Rambam in the "Peirush Hamishnayot" for the Chapter of Chelek in 
Sanhedrin where there is a much fuller discussion of these "principles"
-- I believe that the above point of view is not supportable accoridng to 
the Rambam's formualtion there.


From: <EDTeitz@...> (Eliyahu Teitz)
Date: Thu, 1 Feb 1996 13:23:57 -0500
Subject: Hashem, Control and Creation

A recent poster wrote:

<< However, do we not all say, every morning without fail, the passage in
davening, towards the end of the blessing of Yotzer Ohr, "Ham'chadesh
B'tuvoi B'chol Yoim Tomid Maasey V'reishis" (that He in His goodness
constantly renews each day the work of the beginning).  Surely this
declaration forces one to decide in favour of a certain viewpoint,
otherwise one is simply declaring something he does not believe, or
doesn't know the meaning of his prayers. >>

Rather than point fingers at those who do or do not know the meanings of
our prayers, let me just say the following:

The statement that HaShem creates the world anew each day does not show
in any way that HaShem is controlling anything.  All it shows is that
HaShem exists in a timeless environment, and therefore from His
perspective, He is constantly creating the universe ( since there is no
future or past, only present in timelessness, everything is
simultaneous).  This in no way impacts on the manner with which HaShem
interacts with our universe.  ( I am not taking sides in that
discussion, merely pointing out that the phrase quoted proves nothing ).



From: <YacovDovid@...> (Yaacov-Dovid Shulman)
Date: Thu, 1 Feb 1996 19:39:21 -0500
Subject: Judaism and Islam

A friend just told me that his brother is converting to Islam.  My friend
reports that his brother claims that whereas Judaism has been distorted by
the rabbinic tradition, Mohammed marks a return to a pristine Torah in the
authentically prophetic tradition.  At any rate, does anyone know of
polemical texts dealing with Judaism vs. Islam?


From: <olesker@...> (David Olesker)
Date: Fri, 2 Feb 1996 11:44:36 +0200
Subject: More on Kushner's arguments

On Sat, 27 Jan 1996, Ralph Zwier <zwierr@...> wrote
in answer to one of my posts
>From: <olesker@...> (David Olesker)
> ...
>3) Hence, in the act of creation, He would have understood that His
>actions would inevitably have lead to the creation of a San Andreas
>fault, and inevitably to the San Francisco earthquakes.
>4) Hence God _is_ responsible for loss of life ...
> ,,,
>I cannot see that Point 4) follows from Point 3). G-d KNOWS that the
>loss of life will occur, but please remove the word "inevitably" from
>the post, since Man has free will, and any particular person makes
>choices about where he/she will be at any particular moment. So while
>Hashem knows that Ploiny will be there, He did not (necessarily) put
>Ploiny there. 

Sorry for not making the point clearly. Although HaShem doesn't make
Ploiny go to the place of the disaster, He does make the disaster take
place in the place where Ploiny will have freely chosen to be.


From: <ROSELANDOW@...> (Rose Landowne)
Date: Thu, 1 Feb 1996 21:45:56 -0500
Subject: Omnicience and Free Will

About the videotaped baseball game:  It works with the future too. 
       You can know  part of someone's future, yet not have any control over
it, so Hashem can know all of  everyone's future, yet choose not to control
       You're on the Express train.  You don't pass a local for  many
stations.  You know that the people you see waiting for the local at the
stations you pass will have to wait a long time for a train. They don't know
it. ( They are wondering if a local is just around the bend. )  You know
their immediate future.  You have not, however, caused it.  
Rose Landowne


From: Micha Berger <aishdas@...>
Date: Thu, 1 Feb 1996 13:57:24 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Omniscience and Free-will

R. Akiva, in Avos 3:19, says "All is seen, but freedom is given", so he
clearly felt that there was an apparent paradox between Omniscience and

The question, as I see it is, "If G-d knows now what it is I will choose
to do later, then doesn't that mean that my future decision is already

A variety of answers are given by the Or Samei'ach.

- If we don't understand what it means by "G-d knows", then how can we
  even discuss the effects of G-d knowledge?

  I think this resolution is based in the Rambam's idea that
  "Attributes" of G-d either describe what He isn't, or how His actions
  appear to us. In this case, "Omniscience" means that His "knowledge"
  is different in kind than ours so it has no limitations.

- Hashem sees the past and future in the same way. If it doesn't bother you
  that He knows that past yet we can have free will, His knowledge of
  the future shouldn't bother you either.

  This resolution, IMHO, say something about how we think about time and
  causality. We get used to thinking that early events cause, and
  therefor to some extent determine and constrain, later events. So, if
  Hashem knows something now, we assume it must restrict my ability to
  choose later. But WRT G-d, the sequence of events is a non-issue. Our
  future decision could effect (kaveyochol) His current "knowledge". His
  knowledge, although earlier in time, is an effect, and not a cause.

Despite the number of Chazal who've discussed the question, my own resolution
was the conclusion that the question is meaningless.

Hashem does not know NOW what I will decide LATER. This language assumes
that He experiences this moment along with me. G-d is timeless, He has
no "now". We can't ask the question, because there is no "when" associated
to Hashem's knowledge. Asking if Hashem knows now what I will decide later
is about as meaningful as asking for the mass of the number three, or
the color of justice.

Micha Berger 201 916-0287        Help free Ron Arad, held by Syria 3255 days!
<AishDas@...>                     (16-Oct-86 -  5-Oct-95)
<a href=news:alt.religion.aishdas>Orthodox Judaism: Torah, Avodah, Chessed</a>
<a href=http://haven.ios.com/~aishdas>AishDas Society's Home Page</a>


From: Roger Kingsley <rogerk@...>
Date: Sat, 03 Feb 96 21:05:38 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Re: The nature of God, and free will

Robert Kaiser wrote (in v23#07)
> 2) Omnipotence:  God is capable of all things, and any limitation 
> on His capabilities is impossible.
>	This ones gets tricky.  For one, God can not do all things. 
>  For instance, God cannot make an object so heavy that he can't 
> lift it.  He can't make one equal two, and so on.  All these things 
> are logical definitions, and so provide (reasonable) constraints.

    I am afraid that this is faulty philosophy.  It is not a limitation
on God's omnipotence to say that He cannot perform a logical
contradiction, because such a thing is not an action.
    Let me try to explain.  If I take the sentence "The fog drove the
ball from the middle of the year to the previous bookshelf", it is (I
think) a perfectly good, grammatical sentence.  However, It is no
limitation on my understanding to say that I do not understand it,
because it is totally devoid of any possible meaning.  Equally, it would
be no limitation (lehavdil) on God's understanding to suggest that He
does not understand it.  This sentence is entirely outside the set of
comprehensible sentences.
    In the same way, inability to perform an action which it is
impossible to conceive of, which cannot possibly exist, is not a
limitation on omnipotence.  It is entirely outside the set of meaningful
actions.  So this is no constraint on God's omnipotence, and no good
example of such a constraint.
    We believe that God's omnipotence is not constrained.  His choice of
when and how to act - whether by letting the normal mechanisms of the
world take their course, or by direct - apparently miraculous -
intervention - or whether by something between the two - is equally
unconstrained.  Sometimes His choices are very hard to understand, but
that is hardly surprising.

Roger Kingsley


From: <harry.weiss@...> (Harry Weiss)
Date: Wed, 31 Jan 96 18:59:53 -0800
Subject: Women working in Restaurants

Leah Gordon asks about women working in restaurants.  I have never heard
of any restriction.  Like Leah I have also eaten in numerous glatt
kosher (or Chalav Yisroel) restaurants.  These included restaurants
under every reliable supervision in the Los Angeles Area I have seen
women working in every one of them except for one (La Pizza in
N. Hollywood which only has two employees who I think are both owners).
The fancier ones seem more likely to have male waiters, but I am sure
that is not for religious reasons.  If the supervising agencies do not
have a problem (and Leah also said it was not the mashgiach who made the
rule) I would guess the reasons would be something other than halachic.



End of Volume 23 Issue 12