Volume 25 Number 14
                       Produced: Tue Nov 12  6:44:04 1996

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

A Question on Ki Setze
         [Adina and Carl Sherer]
Between man and man
         [Lisa Halpern]
Can G-d calculate PI, catch a cold, etc.
         [Jerrold Landau]
Dogma in Judaism (2)
         [David Charlap, Seth Kadish]
Help with mechitzah (partition)
         [Shlomo-Zalman Jessel]
Mazal Tov
         [Marc Meisler]
YomHaTorah Online
         [Cohen Laurent]


From: Adina and Carl Sherer <sherer@...>
Date: Thu, 31 Oct 1996 22:57:15 +0000
Subject: A Question on Ki Setze

David Charlap writes:

> <Keeves@...> (Akiva Miller) writes:
> >
> >In Ki Setze (Dvarim/Deut. 22:23-27) the Torah teaches about two
> >situations where a betrothed woman has sexual relations with a man other
> >than her husband. In one case, where the incident occurred in a city,
> >the Torah tells us to presume that if the woman had protested, someone
> >would have rescued her, and so we presume that the woman had these
> >relations willingly, and so both she and the man are put to death. In
> >the second case, where it happened in a field, the presumption is that
> >she did protest, but no one heard her, and so she is held innocent and
> >only the man is put to death.
> The other thing that bothers me is that we have seen many situations
> where people were attacked in public, and they did cry out, and nobody
> came to their rescue anyway.
> Does the halacha account for the likely scenaro where a woman would be
> raped in the city, and she cried out, and nobody came to help?

It sure does, at least according to the Rambam.  The Rambam in 
Hilchos Na'ara Bsula 1,2 says "Any woman who has relations in the 
field *is presumed* to be raped and has all the laws of a woman who 
was raped until witnesses come and testify that she had relations of 
her own free will.  And any woman who has relations in the city *is 
presumed* to have been seduced because she did not cry out, unless 
witnesses testify that she was raped, such as if [the rapist] pulled 
out a sword and told her 'if you scream I will kill you'." (Free 
translation of Rambam and emphasis mine).  Where I used the words "is 
presumed" the Rambam used the word "chazaka" which means a 
presumption albeit not an irrebuttable one.

-- Carl Sherer

Please daven and learn for a Refuah Shleima for our son,
Baruch Yosef ben Adina Batya among the sick of Israel.  
Thank you very much.

Carl and Adina Sherer


From: <ohayonlm@...> (Lisa Halpern)
Date: Sun, 10 Nov 1996 20:26:33 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Between man and man

Are there any mitzvot that are between man and man that have brachot?
What about engagement/marriage brachot, public reading of the torah, and
shabbat candles (shalom bayit)?
Lisa Halpern


From: <landau@...> (Jerrold Landau)
Date: Mon, 11 Nov 96 17:06:07 EST
Subject: Can G-d calculate PI, catch a cold, etc.

There has been a great deal of discussion of how to deal with the
questions of the ability of G-d to calculate PI exactly, catch a cold,
create a rock that is too heavy for Him to lift, etc.  This reminds me
of a conversation I had many years ago with a family friend.  This man,
was a staunch Catholic, and we were discussing religion.  He asked me
"If god wanted to have a son, why couldn't he?"  (I used small g, and
the full name here, because such a question obviously does not refer to
the Jewish G-d.)

This question, of course, represents a misunderstanding of what G-d is
all about.  It is trying to impose a limited human concept upon the
infinite G-d.  It is trying to impose structure upon a G-d who is simple
in composition and intrinsically structureless (see the Ramchal's Derech
Hashem for elaboration on that concept).  Only creatures that work
within the physical realm have children, catch colds, and lift rocks.
It's not that G-d cannot do these things -- rather it is that these
things are all a function of physicality, and G-d is beyond physicality.

Of course, the Torah often uses anthropomorphisms in describing G-d (the
hand of G-d, G-d's anger, G-d's face, etc.).  But we must understand
these as attempts to describe G-d's actions in human terms, and not
descriptions of G-d's essence.

Jerrold Landau


From: David Charlap <david@...>
Date: Mon, 11 Nov 1996 01:06:44 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Dogma in Judaism

Ronald Cohen <cohen@...> writes:
>Chapter 3 of Rambam's Hilchot Teschuvah raises some issues I have not
>seen discussed much.  It follows parsha Helek in Sanhedrin 10:1 and his
>commentary there as well.  Paragraph 6 says "The following individuals
>do not have a portion in the world to come.  Rather they are cut off and
>they are judged for their great wickedness and sins forever and ever:
>cause the many to sin, those who separate themselves from the community,
>those who proudly commit sins in public, those who betray Jews to
>gentile authorities, those who cast fear upon people for non-religious
>reasons, murderers, those who do lashon hara, and one who extends his
>foreskin so as to appear uncircumcised."  Emphasis is added for those
>that involve thought or faith.
>Now I always heard contrasts between Judaism and Christianity, say, that
>(observant) Jews serve G'd and follow the mitzvot, whereas all that
>matters to Christians is faith.  Here though it seems, at least as far
>as olam haba goes, what matters is faith and not actions, also.  I also
>heard growing up the statements that Judaism does not have Dogma.
>Clearly that is not so, but where did the modern idea come from that
>Jews are free to form their own opinions on things like resurrection,
>etc.  Do any gadolim argue against this statement of Rambam and the
>Mishna, that seems to put many modern Jews outside the bounds of
>acceptable Jewish thought?

I think there's a misunderstanding here somewhere.

First of all, it is not true that Judaism is a religion with no
basis in faith.  If it was entirely founded on logic, then it would
be a science and not a religion.  There are certain basic principles
of Judaism which must be taken on faith, for instance:
	- the fact that God exists
	- that there are no other gods
	- that God gave the Torah (both written and oral)

and others.  These can not be proven logically (although there is
a lot of circumstantial evidence.)

Rambam codified a list of 13 such principles that define what Judaism
is.  This list, however, is not the final word.  Other great rabbis have
made other lists with more or less entries.  In those cases, the
differences can be derived.

For instance, the belief in the Messiah can be derived from other
beliefs.  If you believe God is all-powerful and that the words of the
Prophets are from God, then a belief in the Messiah is a logical
derivation, since God's prophets delivered the messianic prophecies.

Where there is freedom of opinion is where the Torah (written and oral)
is not specific.  In those cases, individual opinions are OK as long as
they don't contradict the Torah.  Of course, the Torah is pretty big, so
it's best to discuss individual ideas with a rabbi before putting faith
in them or teaching others - since it is likely that you would not know
everything that your opinion may involve.

From: <skadish@...> (Seth Kadish)
Date: Tue, 12 Nov 1996 06:30:25 GMT
Subject: Dogma in Judaism

        1.  In reply to Ronald Cohen's query on Rambam's formulation of
dogma in Hilkhot teshuva: Rather than a direct reply here, which would
necessarily oversimplify the topic and repeat someone else's work, I
refer Mr. Cohen and other interested readers to an important book by
Menachem Kellner of Haifa University.  See Dogma in Medieval Jewish
Thought (Oxford University Press, 1986).  [Also translated into Hebrew
under the title "Torat ha-Ikkarim", Sifriyat Eliner, Zionist Federation,
        Among other things in this book, Kellner directly addresses
Cohen's problem when he carefully compares all of Rambam's formulations
of dogma throughout all of his writings (including the passage in
Hilkhot Teshuva), taking care in his analysis of what the term "ikkar"
actually meant to Rambam.
        Aside: I have found Kellner's book to be a great help in
enriching adult Torah Study groups on "Sefer ha-Ikkarim" and other works
of medieval Jewish Philosophy.

        2.  In reply to Sol Schimmel's query on the dogma of "Torah
me-Sinai" versus academic biblical scholarship (which I also saw several
times, in different formulations, on the "H-JUDAIC" list):
        A personal quip: It rubs me the wrong way that Schimmel seems
interested in the problem only from the perspective of the sociology of
Traditional/Orthodox Jews, and not at all in terms of people who have
tried to come to grips with the problem directly on its own merits.  It
is no secret that there has long been tension between academic
scholarship of Bible/Judaism versus traditional Jewish belief.  But it
has been equally true that, ever since the beginning of modern academic
scholarship of Judaica, there have been outstanding academic scholars
who also adhered to traditional assumptions and belief systems, and who
attempted to bridge the gap and show how it is possible to live in both
        Most recently, there have been a number of articles published
dealing with the relationship between traditional/Orthodox Judaism and
academic Bible scholarship.  (Is Schimmel even aware of these?)  I refer
him and other interested readers to the following:
        a) Shalom Carmy, "A Room with a View, But a Room of Our Own,"
Tradition 28:3, Spring 1994.
        b)Shalom Carmy, "To Get the Better of Words: An Apology for
Yirat Shamayim in Academic Jewish Studies" in The Torah U-Madda
Journal, Vol.  Two, 1990 (published by Yeshiva University).
        c)Moshe Bernstein, "The Orthodox Jewish Scholar and Jewish
Scholarship: Duties and Dilemnas" in The Torah U-Madda Journal, Volume
Three, 1991-1992.
        d)There was an "Orthodox Forum" a few years ago entirely devoted
to the issue of academic Judaic scolarship in Orhodox Judaism.  A number
of the papers deleived were apparently devoted to Bible scholarship.
These "Forums" are usually later published by Jason Aronson, though I am
unaware as to whether this one has appeared in print yet.  (I would be
grateful to anyone who mkight be able to let me know as well.)  In any
case, if Schimmel wants some well thought-out responses to his queries,
he would do well to contact the participants in that conference.

[Note: The first two authors referenced are mail-jewish participants who
have written submissions for mail-jewish in the past. Mod.]

Seth Kadish


From: Shlomo-Zalman Jessel <mss@...>
Date: Tue, 29 Oct 1996 12:55:24 +0200
Subject: Help with mechitzah (partition)

  Our shule here in Israel wants to build a new mechitzah.  We want a
certain kind of one-way plexiglass, and so far haven't been able to
locate it in Israel.  Most manufacturers offer a kind of one-way glass
whose transparency depends on the lighting, angle and reflections in the
room.  We want something that is only one-way, regardless of lighting

Does anybody know of a shule in Israel that has this?  Then I could ask
THEM where to get it?  That would our my first choice.

Second choice would be a place in or near Toronto.  Does anyone know a
shule there that has this?  We have shlichim going there this month.

Last resort would be anywhere else in the world.  I've heard reports
that this particular type of glass has been sighted in Detroit.  I'll
also be checking the Lubavitch place in Sydney, Australia.

Recieved next day- Mod.
  The search for the perfect plexiglass mechitzah (yesterday's posting)
has resulted in some good leads.
   One person has mentioned to me a kind of screen (reshet )which he saw
in Baltimore.  Apparently, it is black on one side, gray on the other.
One can't see through it if looking from the black side, but one could
when looking through the gray side.  Apparently, this is a cheaper way
to achieve the desired effect.  Does anyone know about this
screen/netting.  I don't think I've ever seen such a thing.

   Thank you, and be well.

                   S.Z. Jessel
                   Matityahu, Israel  


From: <mmeisler@...> (Marc Meisler)
Date: Sun, 3 Nov 1996 13:34:42 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Mazal Tov

We are pleased to announce the birth of our daughter, Esther Miriam,
born on October 27, 1996 and weighing 6 pounds, 15 ounces.  All family
members are doing well.

Marc and Sara Meisler


From: Cohen Laurent <cohen@...>
Date: Thu, 31 Oct 1996 12:10:05 +0100
Subject: YomHaTorah Online

Yom HaThora est Online

Le site de Yom HaThora annonc'e sur les affiches
est enfin disponible sur 
Soyez les bienvenus sur ce site ainsi que le 3 Novembre
au Bourget!

Le projet cyberthora, cybercafe dedie a la Thora est l'un des projets
phares de la journee.  Son but est de presenter un panorama des sites
sur le Judaisme et Israel a la communaute et montrer qu'internet permet
de joindre les communautes du monde entier ou presque.
Cela se fera a l'aide du texte d'introduction:
Tous vos commentaires sur ces pages sont les bienvenus.

Nous avons encore besoin de personnes connaissant netscape
pour aider les visiteurs a surfer a partir de l'un des 10 
postes de notre stand, ce dimanche au Bourget.
Si vous avez quelques heures a nous offrir merci de nous contacter
au plus vite en laissant un numero de telephone ou vous serez
joignable  vendredi matin ou samedi soir a
Eric        <seboun@...>           et  
Laurent     <cohen@...>

Merci, et a dimanche,
Laurent Cohen

ps: Merci de me repondre directement et pas a toute la liste!


End of Volume 25 Issue 14