Volume 25 Number 08
                       Produced: Thu Oct  3  6:43:24 1996

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Can G-d Generate a random number?
         [Richard K. Fiedler]
Commandments women are free from: Rambams list:Rav Hirsch's reasons
         [Russell Hendel]
         [Jay F Shachter]
The Macarena
         [Michael Lipkin]


From: <dfiedler@...> (Richard K. Fiedler)
Date: Sun, 11 Aug 1996 18:59:16 -0500
Subject: Can G-d Generate a random number?

I would like to know if G-d knows all which would imply that he can not
generate a random number and thus is limited by his own complete
knowledge or if it is possible that G-d can generate a random number and
not know what this number will be before hand.

Furthermore does G-d know the value of pi or is it as irrational for H-m
as it is for us mortals.

And lastly can G-d be surprised?

    Dick Fiedler    <dfiedler@...>
    Skokie Il   (847) 329-9065 Fax (847) 329-9066       /\
    Efrat Israel  (02) 9932706  Fax (02) 9932707    \--/--\--/


From: <rhendel@...> (Russell Hendel)
Date: Sun, 21 Jul 1996 20:46:41 -0400
Subject: Commandments women are free from: Rambams list:Rav Hirsch's reasons

There have been a flurry of MJ on which commandments women are freed
from and why. In particular [Gelb, V 24 #69] mentions 2 popular
theories: (a) women are closer to time and hence need less time bound
mitzvoth, (b) women must bring up a family and hence it is impractical
to do time bound mitzvoth.

I would like to briefly summarize Rav Hirsch's theory and
comments. First however I take explicit note that the Rambam in Sefer
hamitzvoth at the end of the "DO" commandments lists the 60 commandments
that people are obligated to do nowadays under ordinary circumstances
and lists the 14, women are exempt from.  I reiterate this list below.

Briefly: Rav Hirsch first notes that the usual way of explaining why
women are exempt from mitzvoth---because it is a "do" that is time
bound--- has more exceptions than cases it explains.

Rav Hirsch suggests instead that a women is free from a commandment if it has
the following four attributes:
A) It is symbolic  B) It occurs periodically  C) The purpose of the symbol is
to maintain our strength while living in a world with opposite values D) women
have not traditionally participated in this maintaining of strength mentioned
in D).      Let me give examples:

1) TZITZITH (nUM 15:37-41, esp 15:39) strengthens men against the sexual
temptations of the business world (since women usually are not there
they don't need this extra symbolic reminder (though if they are there
they are allowed (=encouraged) to wear them). 2-3)Similarly TEFILLIN OF
HAnd and head strengthen us against the temptations of the outside
world(e.g. Deut 11:16) 4) Perhaps CIRCUMCISION also should be listed as
a Mitzvah designed to fight "temptations of the flesh" (Gen 17:11) to
which men are exposed more than women.  5) SHOFAR apparently reminds us
not to get caught in the thickets of life (GEN 22:13) towards which men
are exposed more than women. 6) LULAV reprimands us to be accepting
towards all "types of people" (the hard worker-- the lulav, the
outstanding person--the ethrog, the tramp--the aravah..etc) and men are
exposed in the business world to precisely this multiplicity, 7) SUCAH
reminds us that we do not build our own house and protection but rather
God does Lev 23:43--an obvious statement to men--the house builders. It
is unclear to me why 8) SEFIRAH is in this group.

I point out that if a particular woman(as happens) nowadays is in the
business world then according to Rav Hirsch she needs the extra
protection of these Mitzvoth and should do them.

Finally I note that 9) Talmud Torah 10) Keriash Shemah (=talmud torah)
and 11) Writing a Sefer Torah are Talmud torah commandments (women are
exempt but not for the above reason).  Similarly for 12) Duchanin and
13) Reproduction-and-land Conquest (Gen 1:28) --women are exempt because
men are suppose to represent the community in matters of conquest and
social organization. The 14th Mitzvah listed by the Rambam is Deut 24:5.

I also point out (to explain clause D above) that e.g. if women helped
encourage men to withstand temptations of the outside world (as happened
in the exodus from egypt then they must commemorate that
participation--and hence women are obligated in Matzah etc).

I close by noting that many people think Rav Hirsch created more
problems than he solved (but I think there are at least components of
truth in his theory).

I apologize if in attempting to cover so much ground in one posting I
obscured some details which are important to some people

Russell Hendel, rhendel @ mcs . drexel. edu 


From: <jay@...> (Jay F Shachter)
Date: Thu, 26 Sep 1996 06:49:36 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Tashlikh

A few weeks ago (or maybe it was months) a message appeared on
mail.jewish that criticized the way the Tashlikh ceremony is commonly
observed.  Specifically, the author of the message disapproved of the
contact among male and female Jews which attends the Tashlikh
ceremony, and he recommended performing Tashlikh privately, and at a
time other than the customary occasion, the afternoon of Rosh HaShana.

I have had a response to this message in mind since the day I read it,
but I have delayed writing until the day after Rosh HaShana, so that I
might behold the people of Israel with my eyes, and bless them from my

Like several other contributors and readers of mail.jewish, I live in
the West Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago.  The North Shore channel
of the North Branch Canal runs near our neighborhood, and the bridges
over this creek at Peterson Avenue, Lincoln Avenue, Devon Avenue
(where I live), and Touhy Avenue are all near areas that are densely
populated by Jews, by mid-Western standards.  On Rosh HaShana
afternoon, from early afternoon until close to sunset, there is a
continuous stream of Jews to and from these bridges, heavier than the
stream of water underneath them.  As you walk toward these bridges to
do Tashlikh you are joined by your neighbors, and the closer you get
the more Jews you see.  Boys, girls, men, women, the elderly,
toddlers, infants in strollers -- they are all there.  Maybe I forget
from one year to the next how many there are, but it seems that there
are more every year, especially the infants in strollers.

I wonder at the man who wrote the article to which I am responding.
Even if your intention is rebuke, how can you gaze out at this crowd
without being overwhelmed with love, without saying, "Hashem Elokey
avoteikhem yosef `aleykhem kakhem elef p`amim vivarekh etkhem,
ka'asher dibber lakhem"?  If you have lived in this neighborhood for
thirteen years, as I have, occasionally you will see a young man or
woman whom you last saw as a baby, now all grown up, and when you do,
how can you avoid murmuring, with moist eyes, "Elokim yohnkha, bniy"?

Jews, God bless them, need livelihood, peace, health, good matches,
and they want to be pious and good.  They have just spent the morning
and early afternoon praying to their Creator, and He is still seated
on His throne of justice, looking down at them.  Now they are with
their own kind, neighbors, friends, strangers.  They are talking to
each other.  Everywhere there is amity and love.  They are rejoicing
in one another's good fortunes, showing one another the babies that
have been born the past year, helping the children find Tashlikh in
the prayer book, or perhaps just watching the crowd with pride and
joy, standing, surrounded by beautiful, curious, breathing, laughing
flesh.  There is no anger or arrogance to be seen on anyone's face,
but only smiles, and there is nothing but kind words on everybody's
lips.  No idiom in the English language, a language which I know well,
can convey exactly my feelings on this occasion.  The Yiddish word
"kvell" comes to mind, and if you understand Yiddish you understand my
sense, but the word cannot be translated.

But there is one person who stands at this scene, and does not kvell.
What is bothering the person who wrote the article to which I am
responding?  What is bothering him?  Is he worried that the men and
the married women are going to meet, and arrange adulterous couplings?
If this is what worries him, then there is nothing I can say to him,
because he and I live on different planets.  Is he worried about the
men and the unmarried women, that they will talk to each other, and
enjoy it, and enjoy even that they are talking to members of the
opposite sex?  Is this wrong?  If Miriam Cardona and Shlomo Meursault,
who know one another to say hello but have never spent much time with
each other, should meet at Tashlikh, and talk, and realize that they
like each other's company very much, and realize that it would be a
very good thing if they could be in one another's company always,
intimate partners for the rest of their lives -- is this not good?
On Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year, the maidens of Jerusalem
used to go out to the vineyards and dance while the boys watched them
and chose the ones they wanted to marry.  The beautiful ones would
call out, "set your eyes on beauty!" while the ones from
well-connected families would shout, "consider the family".  This is
not just some wild thing that our grandmothers and grandfathers used
to do, it is a practice cited with approval by the president of the

What is it that worries this man?  Does he worry that the boys and
girls who meet at Tashlikh are going to pair off for grope sessions in
the thick bushes that cover the steep banks of the creek?  Does he
worry that the thoughts of Betty Jones and Hazel Klein and Sue Wilson
that the boys will take with them to their beds that night will induce
them to masturbate?  These people are Jews!  I am acquainted with Orah
Hayyim 529:4, but the site of the Tashlikh ceremony is not a deserted
riverbank, or an isolated picnic spot.

If the author of the article to which I am responding feels that he
cannot handle conversation in a public place with female women of the
opposite sex without losing his immortal soul, then let him do his own
Tashlikh alone, at some other time.  I encourage him to do so.  But
for him to find fault with the people whom I saw yesterday afternoon
can only mean that he hates his father, hates his mother, hates his
wife, hates his children, hates his brothers, hates his sisters --
and, yes, his own life also -- and this may make someone a good
Christian, but it does not make him a good Jew.

			Jay F. ("Yaakov") Shachter
			6424 N Whipple St
			Chicago IL  60645-4111


From: <Michael_Lipkin@...> (Michael Lipkin)
Date: Thu, 12 Sep 96 15:37:29 EST
Subject: The Macarena

Everyone has probably heard of "The Macarena".  In case not, it's a
Spanish song with a strong beat to which there is an exremely popular
line dance.  The dance and song have become popular at Jewish simchas.
"The New York Times" recently published a translation of the song.  I
was pretty taken aback to see what many frum Jews have been dancing to.

Take a look...

Here are the Spanish lyrics to the original Los Del Rio version of
               "Macarena," and an English translation:


               Dale a tu cuerpo alegria Macarena
               Que tu cuerpo es pa darle alegria y cosa buena
               Dale a tu cuerpo alegria Macarena
               Ehhh... Macarena!

               (Give your body pleasure, Macarena
               Your body is for receiving pleasure and good things
               Give your body pleasure, Macarena
               Ehhh... Macarena!)

               Macarena tiene un novio que se llama
               que se llama de apellido Vitorino
               y en la jura de bandera del muchacho
               se la dio con dos amigos

               (Macarena has a boyfriend whose name is
               whose last name is Vitorino
               and while he was serving in the armed forces
               she gave it to (made love with) two of his friends)

               Macarena suena con el Corte Ingles
               y se compra los modelos mas modernos
               le gustaria vivir en Nueva York
               y buscarse un novio nuevo

               (Macarena dreams about Corte Ingles (an expensive
               department store)
               where she'd buy the latest fashions
               she would like to live in New York
               and find a new boyfriend)

               Macarena Macarena Macarena
               que te gustan los veranos de Marbella
               Macarena Macarena Macarena
               que te gusta la movida guerrillera

               (Macarena Macarena Macarena
               you like the summers in Marbella
               Macarena Macarena Macarena
               you like to play with fire)


End of Volume 25 Issue 8