Volume 23 Number 28
                       Produced: Thu Feb 29  0:04:34 1996

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Bashing "Gedolim"
         [Mechy Frankel]
Bugs in vegetables
Cain, Hevel and their twins
         [Al Silberman]
Eruv Construction
         [Stan Sussman]
Miscellaneous questions
         [Mark Farzan]
Noahide Laws
         [Edward Goldstein]
Rav Soleveichek Article on Eyin Harah
         [Mayer Adler]
Shiluach Ha'Kan
         [Israel Rosenfeld]
         [Menachem A. Bahir]
Twin daughters in Tanach according to Jewish sources
         [Elimelekh Polinsky]


From: Mechy Frankel <"FRANKEL@GD"@hq.dna.mil>
Date: Thu, 15 Feb 1996 17:53:47 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: Bashing "Gedolim"

Enough already. Catching up with old issues I was appalled to come
across some recent, regrettable, instances of "gedolim" bashing.

Firstly, a poster referred to Roger Penrose, who is pushing some
admittedly highly speculative ideas related to the origins of
consciousness and its connections to the physical universe as a person
who "has lost the respect" of the scientfic community.  This is wildly
inappropriate and overdone (with the exception of a couple of biologists
of Edelman's stripe who probably don't understand him in the first
place) and betrays a lack of appreciation of who Penrose actually is,
one of the world's great presently practicing mathematicians and
mathematical physicists (also a former rebbe of mine) What most people
don't realize, & even most physicists tend to forget (from
overfamiliarity with the mechanics) is that almost every modern
calculation contains a step which is the moral equivalent of "and then a
miracle occurred " (& the wave function collapsed - except for the
Everett-Wheeler crowd, but they have their own problems) . It is only a
very few, generally exceptional physicists who attempt to deal with the
really hard fundamental problems.  Penrose is one of this elite.

Wigner's "friend" is not a "half baked idea" as suggested by another
poster, but an utterably unavoidable consequence for the majority of
physicists who generally subscribe to the Copenhagen interpretation -
(by the way, without any real agreement on what that actually is.) After
all, if you can simply ask your "friend" afterwards what he saw during
the cat's life&death superposition, his own consciousness which is now
reporting a single event must have turned some somersaults of its
own. This is bizaare, in the sense of unexpected until pointed out, but
hardly half-baked.

So, guys, a sense of proportion please & consider carefully who you're
talking about.

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


From: Anonymous
Date: Wed, 21 Feb 1996 00:50:24 -0500
Subject: Bugs in vegetables

I have asked our moderator to post this anonymously because I did not
ask my rabbi's permission to use his name, and enough of you out there
know me and could figure out who he is.

His opinion on checking vegetables for bugs makes an awful lot of sense
to me, but it appears to be a minority view. (On the other hand, maybe
he is *not* such a minority, now that it has become public that Bodek
and the others don't actually check every single leaf.) Personally, I
have never found a bug of any kind in my lettuce except for one ant that
was about a centimeter long.

My rabbi divides bugs into three categories:

A) Some bugs are so big that even with the naked eye you can tell that a bug
is there. Everyone agrees that you have to get rid of these.

B) Some are so small that you cannot see them even with a magnifying glass.
Everyone agrees that you do *not* have to worry about these.

C) The problem is if you see a tiny speck of something with the naked
eye, but you can't tell whether or not it's a bug unless you look at it
with a magnifying glass.

Category C are the things about which there seems to be a dispute. There
seem to be a lot of rabbis who say that you have to get rid of
these. But my rabbi points out that if these really are problematic,
then how did anyone even drink a glass of water in previous centuries?
Nowadays the city filters everything out of the tap water, but that was
certainly not the case in the past. There was a certain small amount of
dirt in just about everything. Does every grain of dirt need to be
examined to be sure that it is not a bug?

Based on the above, my rabbi has a very simple rule about checking
vegetables: "Look at it," he says, "and what you can't see, isn't

My question (with all due respect to the rabbis who disagree with mine)
is, "Why do you disagree? What is the argument in favor of checking even
for such small items? If a glass of well water has some dirt in it, do
we need to check it for bugs? I do understand that the halacha requires
us to check for bugs, but did the rabbis of the Talmud go so far as to
soak each leaf and hold them up to the light one by one? Have the bugs
of recent generations gotten *that* much smaller?"


From: <asilberman@...> (Al Silberman)
Date: Mon, 19 Feb 1996 08:52:19 -0500
Subject: Cain, Hevel and their twins

>In #16 Al Silberman writes:
>>In Bereishis Rabbah 22:
>>"R' Yehoshua Ben Korcha said two went up to bed and seven descended; Cain
>>and his twin sister and Abel and his two twin sisters."
>Meaning Abel and his sisters were triplets, or that they were quints, or what?

In Bereishis 4:1 we read (JPS tr) "And the man knew his wife Chava and she
conceived and bore Cain, saying I have gained a male child with the help of
G-d. She then bore his brother Hevel."

The gemara in Sanhedrin 38b elaborates on the sequence of events on that
first Friday. "In the eighth hour two ascended to the bed and four
descended." The plain reading of the gemara would be interpreted as saying
that Cain and Hevel were twins and were born together in the eighth hour.
The Mizrachi (on the posuk) does in fact interpret the gemara this way.
Tosfos however, relying on the Midrash in Bereishis Rabbah (BR 22)
interprets the two newly born as being Cain and his sister. The Avos de R'
Nosson in Chapter 1 brings down both opinions (4 descended and 7 descended)
side by side. Most commentators maintain that there is no dispute that Cain
had one sister and Hevel had two sisters. The dispute is only on the timing
of the births whether they were all born together or separately. (There is
a gemara in Yevamos 62a which implies that Hevel had only one sister but
see the Yefeh Einayim in Sanhedrin - in the back of the standard editions.)
The Midrash in BR 22 goes on to prove that they were all born together
because the posuk does not say that Chava conceived and bore Hevel only
that she then bore Hevel. We see from this Midrash that although it
maintains that Cain and Hevel were born together it enumerates Cain and his
sister separately from Hevel and his sisters. For the reason for this we
need to go to the Pirkei de R" Eliezer (PDRE). PDRE is considered to be the
oldest extant Midrash.

PDRE in Chapter 21 expounds on the verse in Bereishis 4:1 quoted above.
Before quoting chapter 21 an introduction is required from chapter 22.
There PDRE discusses the posuk in Bereishis 5:3 which says (JPS tr) "When
Adam had lived 130 years he begot a son in his likeness after his image and
he named him Sheis." From this PDRE deduces that Cain was not a child of
Adam nor was he in his likeness or image. Hevel WAS in Adam's likeness and
the posuk is telling us that Sheis was like Hevel and unlike Cain. For an
explanation of this we now go back to chapter 21 where PDRE says "A woman
is similar to a garden where the sprout depends on the type of seed sown.
First the rider on the snake came unto her (Sam'el AKA Satan - the snake in
the story being used as a metaphor) and she conceived Cain. Then Adam came
unto her and she conceived Hevel. That is what is meant by Adam knew his
wife Chava - what did he know? - He knew that she was already pregnant. And
when she saw his likeness that it was not earthly but heavenly she said I
have borne a child through an angel" (translation mine with emendations
from Rishonim). See the Targum Yerushalmi on the posuk (erroneously
labelled Yonason - as I have previously posted) "Adam knew that Chava was
coveted by an angel and she conceived and gave birth to Cain and she said I
have had as a husband an angel of G-d" (tr mine). The result was that Cain
was not an offspring of Adam.

The Zohar in Bereishis 36b says (Soncino translation) "When they begat
children, the first born was the son of the (serpent's) slime. For two
beings had intercourse with Eve and she conceived from both and bore two
children. Each followed one of the male parents and their spirits parted
one to this side and one to the other and similarly their characters."


From: Stan Sussman <SSUSSMAN@...>
Date: 28 Feb 1996 08:28:08 PST
Subject: Eruv Construction

We are in the middle of the process to erect an Eruv for our community
in Palo Alto and Stanford University, CA.  Soon, we will be approaching
city authorities to obtain the necessary approvals and permits. It would
be very helpful to us if we could reach groups that have already gone
through this in other communities, so that we could benefit from their
experiences. We are interested in copies of relevant newspaper articles,
letters, etc. We would appreciate a response from Eruv contacts, so that
we can follow up by mail or phone.

Also, is there an up-to-date "Eruv Database" that provides basic
information (including lay and Rabinnic contacts) on existing Eruvim? If
one doesn't already exist, we are prepared to create and maintain an
electronic Eruv database on our Palo Alto Jewish community web site. Any
information/comments on this would be greatly appreciated.

Please respond to <eruv@...>


From: Mark Farzan <FMF@...>
Date: Tue, 27 Feb 1996 10:00
Subject: Miscellaneous questions

I'd like the following questions answered:

1) Why at the end of Haftarah for Parsha Mishpatim the name of Itzhak is
spelled with a "seen" instead of "tzadi".

2) What is considered a "Hebrew" name when naming a baby boy at his brit
mila. Are biblical names (as found in Tanach) the only halachically
permitted ones ?. For example, is Hertzel considered a Hebrew
name?. What are allowable situations to change a person's name. ?

3) I'd like to get some opinions on the use of MJ (or similar mailing
lists) on company time and resources. I believe there are a large of
number of posters (including myself) who use MJ from company's
connection to Internet.  What are the halachic points in these
situations ? Does anyone have a company E-Mail policy they'd like to

Faramarz Farzan


From: <ed@...> (Edward Goldstein)
Date: Wed, 28 Feb 1996 18:27:16 -0500
Subject: Noahide Laws

I have a non Jewish friend who I think would be interested in the book
you referred to.

Would you please tell me the name of the, publisher etc. so I can get it
for him.

As a matter of fact, I think I might be interested in reading it too, even 
though I, of course. am Jewish. 

Thanks in advance, 

Ed G.


From: <nosedoc@...> (Mayer Adler)
Date: Tue, 27 Feb 1996 23:46:18 -0500
Subject: Rav Soleveichek Article on Eyin Harah

I heard that Rav Soleveichek wrote an article regarding eyin horah.Does
anyone know the referance for this?


From: <iir@...> (Israel Rosenfeld)
Date: Tue,  27 Feb 96 13:54 +0200
Subject: Re: Shiluach Ha'Kan

>From: <adina@...> (Carl Sherer)
>Aharon Manne writes:
>> The Sefer HaHinuch explains the law of sending away the mother bird
>> ("shiluah ha-ken") as an educational discipline, to teach us the quality
>> of mercy.  Here, it seems, we are commanded to imitate HaShem ("rahamav
>> al kol ma'asav" - His mercy extends to all His creation).
>I've always had trouble reconciling this with the Gemara's statement
>in Brachos that someone who davens "al kan tzipor yagiu rachamecha"
>(that Hashem has mercy on the bird's nest) is silenced (meshatkin osso
>in the words of the Gemara) because Hashem's mitzvos are gzeiros (decrees)
>for which we are not supposed to seek reasons.
>Anyone have any ideas?

In the introduction to the Sefer Hachinuch, the author states explicitly
    that the aim of the sefer is to explain to young people what
    *they* gain from each mitzva.
The sefer does not explain why Hashem *gave* the mitzva.
    Concerning that, the introduction says:
    Ein daat hanotzar masig kavanat yotzro -
    the understanding of the created cannot comprehend
    the intentions of the creator.
Therefor, *we* learn mercy from shiluach ka'kan,
    *we* cannot comprehend why Hashem decreed it.

Behatzlacha rabba and Happy Purim!



From: <tjvmab@...> (Menachem A. Bahir)
Date: Wed, 28 Feb 1996 07:58:37 -0700
Subject: Re: Tefillin

I have a question for the readers of mail-Jewish.
Does any one know where I can get a pare of Tefillin like my great
grandfathers? His Tefillin had a Bayit with a square of the four sections
for the parchments that was one inch by one inch by one inch.Please help me
as soon as possible!
My e-mail is <tjvmab@...>
Founder, The Jewish Vegan Lifestyle;e-mail: <tjvmab@...>
        mail address:5515 N. 7 Street,ste.5-442
                     Phoenix,Arizona 85014


From: <mpolinsk@...> (Elimelekh Polinsky)
Date: Sun, 25 Feb 1996 12:26:07 -0800
Subject: Twin daughters in Tanach according to Jewish sources

Midrash Talpiyot p. 112-113 (Jerusalem-Bnei Brak repr. of Warsaw 1875
edition) says Basya bas Paroh and Zipporah bas Yisro were twin sisters.
He says this is based on a Zohar we do not have.

Elimelekh Polinsky


End of Volume 23 Issue 28