Volume 29 Number 76
                 Produced: Fri Sep  3 12:17:57 US/Eastern 1999

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Explaining Yesh Me'Ayin to a 6 year old - Words and Context
         [Stan Tenen]
Fundamentals of Faith
         [Isaac A Zlochower]
Publications and objectivity
         [Kenneth H. Ryesky, Esq.]


From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Sun, 29 Aug 1999 09:47:24 -0400
Subject: Re: Explaining Yesh Me'Ayin to a 6 year old - Words and Context

In m-j Vol. 29 #65, Richard Wolpoe brings up a very good point.

One of the reasons why we don't now discuss these matters too much is
because there's so much disagreement as to what our sages really meant.

Words like "eternal", "out-of-time", "timeless", "instantaneous," etc.,
are not clearly translated, because in many cases nobody really knows
which shade of meaning is most appropriate.

This is particularly a problem in Hebrew and Aramaic, where the same
word can have different meanings.  But let me make the point in English.
For a person depending on translations, what they come to believe the
word "cleave" means depends entirely on context, and on the particular
translation.  After all, "cleave" can mean both "come close together,"
and "cut apart."  (The actual meaning of the root splits in both
directions: "cleave" really implies adjacency, and that includes coming
together and cutting apart.)

This is even more true when dealing with concepts that are troublesome,
even when we do know the language.  Time is one of the greatest
mysteries of human existence.  One person's understanding of "eternal"
could well be another person's understanding of "out of time."  Who's to
say which is right?

My work is not based on the traditional teachings of our sages (although
I have Torah experts who go over my work to make sure I'm not completely
off base), but rather, on a logical investigation of the
letter-sequences in B'reshit.

When I say that the Name YKVK is usefully compared to a Dirac delta
function, and the Name Elokim usefully compared to the Fourier transform
of the Dirac delta function, I obviously didn't get that from reading
Rashi.  <smile> On the other hand, I am claiming that these definitions
are (ultimately) consistent with Rashi.

Since the language and metaphor I've developed must be internally
consistent, the names and labels I use are meaningful in the context I
use them.

In order for what our sages said to be understood as they intended it,
and in order for what I say to be understood as I intend it, context is
necessary.  Only a careful examination by Torah and technical scholars
can really sort out the language and standardize it so we can all
understand it without ambiguity.  I'd very much like to see this happen.

I'll interline a few comments on Richard's message below that might help
to bridge the language gap.

>In fact the YKVK seems to indicate the permanent or Eternal Presence of
>G-d, simlar to G-d's Revelation at the burning Bush as EHYEH - I WILL BE
>(sometimes translated as I AM) indicating the ever-present nature of

The resolution here is simple.  From a mathematical perspective, the
Dirac delta function is outside of time, instantaneous, and has no
duration in time.  But from a spiritual perspective, this isn't the
whole story.  Mathematicians and scientists like to isolate events and
study them separately, and the Dirac delta function is truly defined as
instantaneous.  But that's not the whole story, because when used to
model the meaning of the YKVK Name, that instantaneous function must be
repeated endlessly and eternally.  Kind of an "eternity of instants."  I
chose to write about the instantaneous nature, because that's the
mathematician's perspective, which I was trying to present.  Math, after
all, doesn't make metaphor.  We do.  The mathematicians have the tools,
but our sages know how to use them, and in the case of time, to string
them together.

>The non-sacred term Elohim refers to a Court, E.G. Elohim Lo sekallel
>(translated by Korein as: Thou shalt not revile the judges) Exodus

Yes.  This is correct.  But it's another example of a metaphor getting
away from us in translation.  The reason the Name Elokim refers to a
Court is because a Court is one way to describe a surrounding expanse.
It's a whole continuum of features.  If we think of this Court as
time-like, rather than space-like, then we can see it represents a whole
continuum of time.  There's no conflict here.  In fact, the idea of the
Name Elokim referring to a Court was one of the ingredients that went
into my understanding that the Name Elokim represents an eternity of
time.  Technically, the Fourier transform of the Dirac delta function
produces an expanse of all possible frequencies, extending over all
time.  The "extending over all time" is the timely-court referred to.

>I would lean towards YKVK as G-d forever, and Elokim as judge, ruler,

Again, this is a problem of semantics and definition.  I tend the other
way, because of the usual meanings of the words.  YKVK is usually
translated "Lord" (based on a root, "adin," meaning "pedestal"), and a
lord "lords-it-over" his court from a singular position high above, on a
high pedestal.  A temporal lord rules his court.  A temporal lord stands
in judgement, and is commander-in-chief.  (Diagrammatically, the Yud
represents the Will of Hashem, and the Vav, the high pedestal or spine.)

The masses of the court spread out widely, and while individuals may
vary, the sea of individuals is constant and quasi-eternal.  I identify
this with the Name Elokim because I pick up on the Yud-Mem ending of
Elokim as referring to an expanse.

That's also why I identify the Name YKVK with the singular Judge, and
the Name Elokim with the expanse of the court and kingdom.

Lords make decisions, and decisions come in yes/no units, just like the
Dirac delta function.  In fact, it's Hashem's partial vacating of His
Will that allows us our free will by which we make discrete decisions.
(And each of our decisions is in the image of Hashem, also a Dirac delta

I could go on, but this would be a seminar in itself.  If anyone would like 
to know more about the geometric metaphor laid out by pairing the letters 
at the beginning of B'reshit, please get in touch with me directly.

Meru Foundation   http://www.meru.org   <meru1@...>


From: Isaac A Zlochower <zlochoia@...>
Date: Tue, 31 Aug 1999 00:26:57 -0400
Subject: Fundamentals of Faith

I believe that a number of reasonable answers have been given to Joseph
Adler's question on the reason for the lack of explicit mention of the
messiah (mashiach) and resurrection/after-life (olam haba'a) in the
torah.  I, particularly, agree with David Medinets' suggestions, but
would like to expand upon them.  It is a cardinal principal and constant
theme of the torah that the world was created for a purpose.  The torah,
furthermore, assures us that this purpose will be ultimately fulfilled.
One way or another, the Jews will fulfill their destined role and
mankind will come to recognize their own role and connection to G-D.  At
that time, peace will reign, and all the world will flock to the Holy
Land to learn about G-D and mankind's destiny.  They will visit the
place where G-D's glory is manifested (the Temple) and will observe the
close relationship between G-D and His people who were chosen to be
teachers and religious guides. The mechanism for achieving this state of
affairs is not delineated in the torah, other than to state that G-D
will collect His people who had been scattered over the earth in a long
exile.  Although there are intimations of Jewish repentance, there will
also be a Divinely arranged removal of the barriers that separate us
from G-D (Deut. 30:1-7).  In particular, there is no mention made of a
charismatic figure who will become king and effect this transformation.
This is understandable since it is within our own capacity to effect a
messianic transformation of the world if we are sufficiently motivated,
wise, and are strongly supported by G-D.  The torah does not necessarily
require the election of a king.  The more evident meaning of the verses
(Deut. 17:14-15) refer to a situation where the people take the
initiative and seek to appoint a king "like all the nations around me".
In such case, they are commanded to appoint a king whom G-D will select
(through a prophet), and are forbidden to appoint a gentile as king.  If
there is no prophet and G_D has not indicated a choice, then appointing
a king is optional.  This is the view of Rabbi Nehorai and opposes the
view of Rabbi Yehudah who declares appointing a king to be a
commandment.  This dispute is mute, however, in view of G-D having
chosen first Saul (in anger), then David and his descendants as kings.
The prophets (Isaiah 11) assure us that a direct descendant of David
will fulfill the function of charismatic leader who will gather in his
people in the Holy Land, and bring them and all peoples to a proper
recognition of G-D.  This annointed (the meaning of mashiach) king is
not waiting in heaven ready to come down when the signal is given - as
implied by some medrashim, but will be born in the normal way to real
people with a father of Davidic descent.  If this individual develops
his innate capabilities and G-D decides that the time is right, then the
messianic process will start, analagous to Moshe being sent to liberate
his people from slavery in Egypt and to bring them to the promised land
after having taught them the torah.  Moshe did not fully succeed in his
mission but the expected scion of David will.

Resurrection is, at best, only hinted at in the torah, but is a
necessary article of belief.  Without resurrection of the dead, G-D's
supervision of the world could not be truly considered just.  Those who
suffered and died young never had the chance to develop their potential
in this world.  The benefits that they may have in the world of souls
can not erase this fundamental injustice.  Only by bringing them back in
this physical world under the more ideal conditions that will ultimately
exist can they truly grow, and only then will justice be fully served.
That is why Maimonides who cares little about the physical world, and
believes that the resurrected state will be temporary, must still accept
the idea of physical resurrection.  This idea of resurrection and the
nature of the torah obligations of resurrected people is too shadowy and
paradoxical a state for the torah to dwell on.  The torah is meant as a
guide for flesh and blood people with all their built in emotions and

Have a good year,



From: Kenneth H. Ryesky, Esq. <khresq@...>
Date: Mon, 30 Aug 1999 13:05:18 -0400
Subject: Publications and objectivity

Stuart Wise's post on publications and objectivity (29:69) begins with
the comment "I can't help noticing that any publication in which
religious people are involved in tend to be less than objective."

I would submit that no publication is truly objective, and that every
publication has its agenda.  It inherently is neither a positive thing
nor a negative thing, it is simply a fact of life.

Example: The Wall Street Journal is a very reputable daily newspaper,
which tends to report matters in what many if not most people would
agree is generally an "objective" manner.  Thus, an article in the Wall
Street Journal about the Dow Jones Industrial Average would evoke few if
any cries of inaccuracy, inobjectivity or unfairness.  But the fact is
that the Wall Street Journal is owned by Dow Jones (a fact which, to be
sure, the Wall Street Journal makes no attempt to conceal in any
manner).  While the content of that Dow Jones article in the Wall Street
Journal is likely quite accurate (indeed, the WSJ takes pains to verify
the accuracy of its material), the publication's vested interest in Dow
Jones cannot help but affect, in some manner, the placement, prominence
and frequency of its articles regarding the Dow Jones Industrial

Every publication has its agenda, and the items in the publication will
somehow, in some manner, reflect the publication's agenda.  I have not
done any analyses, formal or otherwise, regarding the various
publications of American Lawyer Media, a publishing concern with which
Mr. Wise is professionally involved and which puts out diverse
publications including the New York Law Journal, the National Law
Journal, the Legal Intelligencer, and other valued, reputable and
reliable sources of information for the legal profession.  Without in
any way impugning the worthiness of any American Lawyer Media
publication (indeed, I personally consult and rely upon such
publications on a regular basis), I am sure that the portrayals of
certain news items in those publications can be found to be tied in with
the publishers' agendas, and, therefore, "inobjective".

And just as the so-called "religious publications" tend to portray
religious Jews in a certain light, the so-called "secular" publications
go to the opposite extreme.  In that regard, my wife and I recently
expressed our concerns about how religious Jews are portrayed in the
media to the presidents of the respective Catholic institutions from
which we hold academic degrees [I would be pleased to e-mail a copy of
our letter to anyone in the discussion group who requests it from me on
an off-list basis].

Again, every publication has its agenda, and therefore, no publication
can be said to be entirely objective.

Moreover, I have long shared Mr. Wise's concern about the news items in
many publications following the advertisers.  I do not think it is
peculiar to the so-called "Jewish-owned publications" and I must agree
that it can tarnish the reputation of the publication which does it.

Like Mr. Wise, I would also welcome discussion on the halachic aspects
of these issues.

Kenneth H. Ryesky, Esq.
P.O. Box 926, East Northport, NY  11731
516/266-5854 (vox), 516/266-3198 (fax)
E-mail:  <khresq@...>


End of Volume 29 Issue 76