Volume 35 Number 26
                 Produced: Fri Jul 27  5:43:33 US/Eastern 2001

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Avi Feldblum]
Chas v'Shalom; Chas v'Chalila
         [Yisrael & Batya Medad]
         [Gershon Dubin]
A functional Approach to Talmid vs ^Talmidim
         [Russell Hendel]
Gerald Schroeder
         [Ed Werner]
Holocaust Archive
         [Robert Israel]
         [Akiva Miller]
Tax System
         [Robert Tolchin]
Torah & Sefer Yehoshua
         [Stan Tenen]


From: Avi Feldblum <mljewish@...>
Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2001 05:22:08 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Administrivia

Good morning, all

Just a couple of quick notes. First, the PayPal system for making
subscription payments online has been tried out by a number of people and
is working. Thanks to all of you who have used it. Another example of the
wonders of our new technologies. Also, for those using conventional checks
in Israel, I had the address incorrect in some of the information (the Web
page was right, but the Welcome message was wrong). The correct address
there is:

Dr. M.S. Feldblum
10 Rachel Hameshoreret
Petach Tikveh, Israel

Avi Feldblum
mail-jewish Moderator


From: Yisrael & Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Sun, 22 Jul 2001 22:08:41 +0300
Subject: Chas v'Shalom; Chas v'Chalila

Bob Werman suggests a nice/neat hermeneutic but there is a difference
between "meaning" and "translation".  My dictionary defines Chalila as
originating from the root Chalal which is invalidating (lo achalal briti
 - Psalms 89:35) and the phrase of Chalila v'Chas as being an expression
of refrain from doing or a warning or negation in the sense of "no way".
Chas v'Chalila is a synonym meaning "don't even think about it"

Yisrael Medad

> If chas veChallila and chas veShalom mean the same [they do], do we
> conclude that Challila and Shalom are identical?
> Since Challila means far away, do we conclude that shalom occurs when
> people are separated?


From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Sun, 22 Jul 2001 12:32:38 -0400
Subject: Chas-Vechallila

        The intent of these two expressions is idiomatically equal,
which does not mean that they themselves are.  This syllogy does not

        The word chalila, alone, was used by Avraham Avinu in his
negotiations with Hashem over Sodom.  It means, as Rashi there explains,
that to do X (in this case destroy Sodom) would be chulin, or unholy
thing to do.  Same usage later when the brothers of Yoseph defend their
not having stolen the silver cup from the palace.

        I don't know when chas was added, nor the origin of the
expression chas veshalom, although I am under the impression that it is
a latecomer.



From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Mon, 23 Jul 2001 00:40:09 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: RE: A functional Approach to Talmid vs ^Talmidim

At least 4 people comment on the TALMIDAY CHACHAMIM vs
the TALMIDIM CHACHAMIM issue in v35n10 (Savitz,Gevaryahu,
Sero and Szpilzinger).

I would use a functional approach. Recall that our 
appelation and treatment of sages mirrors respect
for the Mesorah which started at Moses. Thus e.g.
institutions like Semichah or the number of Judges
on a court have their origin in what Moses did 
(See Rambam Courts, 4:1 or 1:3)

But going back to Moses we see he is called the
father of all SAGES (CHACHAMIM). Therefore the correct
term is either TALMID CHACHAM(Single student) or 
TALMIDAY CHACHAMIM (Plural student),

Russell Hendel; http://www.RashiYomi.Com/mj.htm VISIT MY MAIL JEWISH ARCHIVES


From: Ed Werner <edwerner@...>
Date: Sun, 22 Jul 2001 21:37:48 +0800
Subject: Gerald Schroeder

In Vol 35 #15, Bernard Raab referred to the work of physicist Dr. Gerald
Schroeder. Bernard, I wouldn't call Schroeder's writings "a serious
effort to reconcile the 'scientific' age of the universe with our
biblical 5700 years" - see the reviews of his books at
http://www.nctimes.net/~mark/bibl_science/ for the reason why. Besides,
Schroeder's thesis contradicts a major element of our tradition -- the
Jewish calendar -- since the latter obviously requires the 6th day of
the Creation to be 24-hours-long in earthly terms (see the Tosafot on
Rosh ha-Shanah 8a-b, s.v. le-tekufot). 

As for the Gemara in Zevakhim - first, it says that _only_ Eretz-Yisrael
was spared the Flood, and second, it plainly says that, according to
both opinions, the Flood brought about a violent abruption of the human
population on Earth, except Noah and his family plus Og the king of
Bashan. As I have written earlier, all contemporary civilizations whose
traces have been recovered by archaeologists continued to exist all
through the Flood years without anything resembling total annihilation
(in the cases of Egypt and Mesopotamia there is even textual evidence of
cultural continuity). 

Regarding "kol ha'aretz," Genesis 7:19-22 reads: "The waters were very
powerful over the earth, and they covered all the high mountains which
were under all the heavens... All that has a breath of the spirit of
life - everything on dry land - died." "All the high mountains which
were under all the heavens" and "dry land" (kharavah) are unmistakably
terms of what we nowadays call "planetary science" (as opposed to an
abode of this or that particular culture). 

Finally, there is a great deal of sense in stating that "the flood story
must be understood in the cultural context of its time." The problem -
for me at least - is its veracity, on a par with many other stories in
the Torah. On the other hand, I'm not much bothered by the question of
veracity of the Gilgamesh story :-) 



From: Robert Israel <israel@...>
Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2001 01:02:13 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Holocaust Archive

<KARIEBANTERS@...> wrote:

| I was told there is a computerized Holocaust archive accessible to the
| public which lists individual towns & names...does anyone know the web
| address?

You might be referring to The JewishGen Yizkor Book Necrology Database
at http://www.jewishgen.org/databases/yizkor/
This has a searchable index to over 105,000 names which are listed in
121 different Yizkor books from various communities in different
countries of Europe that have been translated and indexed.  You might
also try
which has a searchable index of titles of over 1000 Yizkor books,
most of which have not yet been translated or indexed, but you can
get a list of libraries and archives that have these Yizkor books.

Robert Israel                                <israel@...>
Department of Mathematics        http://www.math.ubc.ca/~israel
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z2


From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Sun, 22 Jul 2001 16:13:58 -0400
Subject: Re: non-Jews

In MJ 35:20, Beno Freedman writes: <<< There is a Biblical commandment to
love the "ger" as yourself...  I assume this means what is known as a ger
toshav, a resident non-Jew living among Jews, or at least "observant of
the Noachide laws," ie. a civilized one and non-idolator. (I don't think
this could refer to the "ger tzedek," or convert, at least on a simple
"p'shat" level.) >>>

It always pays to look things up. I was about to respond that this verse
is clearly talking a regular convert, and I wanted to ask why one would
think that it isn't. So I looked it up, and found that Torah
(Lev. 19:34) writes, "Love him as yourself, for you were gerim in
Egypt..." Obviously, we were residents in Egypt, and not converts, so it
seems reasonable that the verse is indeed talking about a non-Jew who
resides among the Jews, and *not* a regular convert.

I looked in Rashi, who merely says that this ger used to be an
idol-worshipper and now learns Torah, but is otherwise unclear about
what kind of ger the verse speaks of. And the Torah Temimah gives two
quotes from the Gemara which presume that the pasuk refers to a regular
convert, but does not offer any explanation of how that fits with the
Torah's explanation that "you were gerim in Egypt." Does anyone else
have an answer?

Beno Freedman also asks: <<< The haftara we read every public fast..
mentions that non-Jews will also be rewarded if they only "adhere to the
covenant and keep the Sabbath."  Here, there is no question that this
refers to true non-Jews. >>>

This verse, Isaiah 56:2, addresses itself to "enosh" and "ben adam",
which I generally translate as "person" and "human", respectively. I
recall a gemara that says "adam" refers specifically to Jews, but I
think "ben adam" is different. Can anyone explain why Isaiah chose to
use these words if he was speaking to Jews?

And <<< it would seem that the same "ger" mentioned earlier is also
*obligated* to keep the Sabbath, as we quote in kiddush... This seems to
me also to be speaking of a non-Jew who lives among Jews but is not a
slave. >>>

The source is not merely Kiddush, but Kiddush itself is based on the Ten
Commandments, specifically Exodus 20:10. The Ramban there explains that
this does indeed refer to a "ger toshav", but only insofar as forbidden
by the Torah to do work on Shabbos for *us*. He *is* allowed to work for

<<< So why is it said... that non-Jews who keep the Sabbath are
deserving of death? >>>

According to the Torah Temimah, the Talmud (Sanhedrin 58b) derives the
"deserving of death" concept from Gen. 8:22 ("... day and night will not
rest."), but he admits that going from "day and night will not rest" to
"non-Jews deserve death if they do rest" is pretty complicated. If
you'll be satisfied with something a bit simpler, the Talmud (Betza 16a)
excludes non-Jews from observing Shabbos (although no penalty is
mentioned) based on Ex. 31:17: "It is an eternal sign between Me and the
children of Israel..."

Akiva Miller


From: Robert Tolchin <tolchin@...>
Date: Sun, 22 Jul 2001 12:59:48 -0400
Subject: Tax System


Jews are not treated fairly by the tax system since Jews have many expenses
that the population at large does not have, e.g. lots of kids, yeshiva
tuition, talesim, tefilin, meat for Shabbat dinner, lulav, etrog, sheitels,
shtrimels, etc. As a result, it is permissible for a Jew to under-report his
income for tax purposes to equalize himself with the rest of the population.

This proposition was articulated in the name of an unnamed rabbi by a
yeshiva student who visited my shul last Shabbat.

What thinks the mail-jewish community on this one?

--Bob Tolchin


From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Sun, 22 Jul 2001 08:48:10 -0400
Subject: Re:  Torah & Sefer Yehoshua

>From: Warren Burstein <warren@...>
> >From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
> >As physicists have known since Einstein, time is not an absolute or
> >invariant parameter, but depends on the observer's "frame of reference".
> >Schroeder claims and purports to show (I am not qualified to judge with
> >what success) that 5700 years in G-d's frame of reference is equal to
> >roughly 15 billion years of Earth time.
>It seems to me that there is a contradiction between attributing a frame of
>reference to God and the statement in Hilchot Yesodei Hatorah 1:11 that God
>has no physical attributes.

I'd like to say that I really appreciate Warren Burstein's comment here.
He has put his finger on the problem with interpretations of B'reshit
and other issues of science and Torah.  All of these discussions, when
they involve _things_, are necessarily inappropriate.  Things are always

Likewise, as Warren Burstein points out, we have to be careful not to
subtly attribute physical properties to God.  This is a different sort
of idolatry of things, because these physical properties are things that
we're comparing or attributing to God.

The only approach to analysis of stories like those in B'reshit must be
relational, and not thing-oriented at all.  Only topological
relationships are truly universal and invariant throughout all
conditions.  In other words, they're condition- and thing-independent.
This is the level that is not inappropriate to associate with God,
because God is also neither condition- nor thing-dependent.

I've submitted it before, and some on mail-jewish may have seen it
before, but here again is what I think is a sound approach to analysis
of B'reshit.

[In "The Laws of Form," mathematician G. Spencer-Brown proposes the
"mark of distinction" archetypally distinguishing INSIDE from OUTSIDE as
a definition of maximal contrast. Mathematicians have shown that all of
formal logic can be derived from Spencer-Brown's "mark of distinction."

The following is from G. Spencer-Brown, "Laws of Form," (New York, E.P.
Dutton, 1979), from Brown's "Introduction: A Note on the Mathematical
Approach," pp. xxix(_emphasis added_):

  "The theme of this book is that _a universe comes into being when a
space is severed_ or taken apart. The skin of a living organism cuts off
an _outside_ from an _inside_. So does the circumference of a circle in
a plane. By tracing the way we represent such a severance, we can begin
to reconstruct, with an accuracy and coverage that appear almost
uncanny, the basic forms underlying linguistic, mathematical, physical,
and biological science, and can begin to see how _the familiar laws of
our own experience follow inexorably from the original act of

"Although all forms, and thus all universes, are possible, and any
particular form is mutable, it becomes evident that _the laws relating
such forms are the same in any universe._ It is this sameness, the idea
that we can find a reality which is independent of how the universe
actually appears, that lends such fascination to the study of

[Note: In Hebrew the letter that most represents this "mark of
distinction" between inside and outside is Bet, the first letter of the
Hebrew text of Genesis. It appropriately establishes, by definition, the
first logical distinction possible.  --Tenen]

Read Spencer-Brown's claims carefully.  They're both totally free of
idolatry, and in his word, "inexorable."

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


End of Volume 35 Issue 26