Volume 35 Number 49
                 Produced: Fri Sep 21  6:43:45 US/Eastern 2001

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Lottery: Prohibited vs Invalidation of Witnesses
         [Russell Jay Hendel]
         [Stan Tenen]
The Orphaned Concept of Nazaritism
         [Russell Jay Hendel]
         [David Deutsch, David S]
Request for Meqorot
         [Ben Katz]
Shabbos Mevorchim for Tishrei
         [Barry S Bank]
Tishrei and Shabbos Mevarchim
         [Yossie Abramson]
Try TT (Talmud Torah): Superior to TM !!
         [Russell Jay Hendel]


From: <rhendel@...> (Russell Jay Hendel)
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 23:11:37 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: RE: Lottery: Prohibited vs Invalidation of Witnesses

Eli Turkel in v35n43 responds to Janet Rosenbaum who asked about the
permissability/prohibitedness of playing the lottery.

Eli does correctly give the 2 issues: (a) That gambling is not a
CONSTRUCTIVE act of civilization; (b) ASMACHTAH, the gambler did not
REALLY intend to lose.

I believe however further distinctions must be made to clarify this.
Allow me therefore to supplement what he said with sources and further

(a)SOURCES: A good starting point is Rambam Laws of Theft and Lost,
Chapter 6 Paragraphs 7-11 and Witnesses 12:1.

(b) 1-TIME-GAMBLING vs PROFESSIONAL-GAMBLERS: Rambam mentions >People
who ALWAYS gamble< in Witnesses 12:1. A professional gambler may NOT be
a witness. However Rambam makes it clear in the laws of theft that even
gambling once is prohibited! (Jonah touches on this issue in v35n44)

The reason it is prohibited is because sales require COMPLETE INTENTION
to give the item. If complete intention is lacking there is no sale For
example I cannot sell my next car to you because I dont currently have
it--I therefore do not have COMPLETE intention to sell. Similarly even
if I am the house and would LIKE some people to win, nevertheless on any
particular gamble I have no COMPLETE intention to sell and therefore the
sale is not valid.

It is possible that an exception is made for charity (even if I dont win
I dont really mind that my money goes to charity vs the house) but this
is a very vague permissability.

Much more could be said but I will suffice with the above for now (and
encourage the thread continues)

Russell Jay Hendel; Visit my mail jewish archives


From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Fri, 07 Sep 2001 15:13:29 -0400
Subject: Meditation

There is no other ("Aher") source for Jewish meditational exercises that
does not run the risk of Avoda Zora, even though ad hoc meditations (and
various personal interpretations of the writings of our Talmudic and
Kabbalistic sages) can be safe and helpful preparatory exercises when in
the hands of a humble person rooted in Torah knowledge and a strong
sense of Yirat Hashem.

And, while ordinary (TM-like) preparatory exercises can help to quiet
the mind and focus concentration (and have modestly positive
consequences for mental health and effective living), they cannot
approach the profound depth reached by our sages of kabbalah.

Real Jewish meditation - beyond the preparatory levels - involves life
and death matters as expressed in the story of Rabbi Akiva and the three
who attempted to reach PaRDeS.  (The story is in Mishna Ain Dorshin,
Hagigah, BT).

I am suggesting that the explicit - step by step - instructions for the
meditational exercises that lead to PaRDeS (the meditational "Orchard",
a.k.a. Gan Eden) is specified by the sequence of letters in B'reshit.
This meditation leads to what modern researchers refer to as an
"ego-death and rebirth" experience.  (This level of experience is only
safe and available to persons who, like R. Akiva, "enter in peace" and
are otherwise fully prepared.)

The inappropriate externalization of this ego-death and rebirth
experience into the physical (read "idolatrous") world is the source of
the so-called "hero's journey" in many other faiths.  (And, yes, I'm
suggesting, in particular, that a physical externalization of the PaRDeS
meditation is the source of the story of the Christian hero - but that's
_another_ story.  <smile>)

The letter-text of B'reshit carries the "step by step" instructions in
its sequence of letters.  This is the Sod level of Torah, "S" in pardeS.

It is easiest to understand how the sequence of letters in B'reshit can
specify an explicit mental exercise by noticing that a mental exercise
is like a dance in the mind and, therefore, it can be preserved and
learned by similar means.  Arthur Murray Dance Studios, I am told, used
to literally paint footprints on the ballroom floor so that students
could learn to dance by merely stepping into the footprints.

For the mental exercise, instead of footprints (which are in the
physical world and thus suited to physical dancing), B'reshit uses
letters.  But not any kind of letter can be used.  Canaanite letters (or
English/Latin) or ad hoc letters cannot easily be visualized in the
mind, so they cannot serve as mental "footprints" to be stepped into in
order to learn the intended meditational (mental) dance.  But when we
put something on/in our hand - like Tefillin - we can immediately "see"
it in our mind's eye.  I am suggesting that a specially shaped
meditational Tefillin strap bound on our hand can produce 2-dimensional
outlines of not only Shin, Dalet, and Yod, but _all_ of the letters.
The Maccabean period, fluid form of the Merubah Ashuris letters, which
match more recent samples of Rashi-Nachmanides style writing, can all be
seen - in 2-dimensional outline - in the specially shaped meditational
Tefillin strap that I am suggesting.  (The special shape is by no means
arbitrary: It derives directly and unambiguously from a topological
interpretation of B'reshit 1.1 and a geometric interpretation of the
Sh'ma and Sefer Yetzirah.)

A chart of the letters as they are generated by the specially shaped
Tefillin strap bound on a hand that is making naturally meaningful
hand-gestures can be seen at: <www.meru.org/Gestures/Atbashgest.html>,
and for universality, also see <www.meru.org/3220lecture/contents.html>.

Because we can all immediately (naturally and universally) visualize
what is in our own hand in our mind's eye, a person wearing these
meditational Tefillin and gesturing to present the sequence of letters
in B'reshit would also - automatically - see the letters of B'reshit in
their mind.  Moving from one letter to the next would constitute the
meditation-dance that I am suggesting leads to the PaRDeS experience.

It is important to remember, however, that the actual _shape_ of the
letter cannot be the object of the meditation.  Each mental "step" is
the natural meaning of the gesture that produces the letter shape, not
the image of the shape.  The shape is vital to the universality of the
gesture for communicating with other people. (Yes, the gestures that
produce 2-dimensional outlines of the Hebrew letters are universally
recognized, even by people who have never heard of Hebrew.)  But the
shape of the letter is still possible to mistake/mis-use as an
idolatrous image.  However, the natural meaning of the process
underlying the gesture has no particular image. ( - Although the process
may also have a natural, universally evocative, sound. - )

The letters of B'reshit then serve as memory aids for the sequence of
feelings that actually make up the PaRDeS meditation.  This is serious
Jewish meditation, it should only be attempted by those who meet the
standards set out in Ain Dorshin.  It is not available from TM. <big

Good Shabbos.

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


From: <rhendel@...> (Russell Jay Hendel)
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 23:12:16 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: RE: The Orphaned Concept of Nazaritism

Leona Kroll in v35n43 brings the chapter of the Nazir as proof that we
shouldnt abstain from pleasure. >I'm sure someone will correct me if i'm
wrong (again), but the idea of whether a person should take a vow to
refrain from permissable things, whether one is punished for not
enjoying things, etc- isn't there a great deal of discussion about this
re: the nazir, and isn't a nazir required to bring a sin offering davka
because he took a vow to abstain from permissable things?<

Actually this was answered in v34n40: THE ORPHANED CONCEPT OF
NAZARITISM. In it I explained that e.g. if a friend of mind committed
adultery and broke up her marriage then,the Talmud concludes I might
want to become a Nazir. Why? Because I am aware of my own vulnerability
AND IN SUCH A CASE NAZARITISM is to be ENCOURAGED (Otherwise the person
might sin also!). Rav Hirsch explains that the Nazarite grows his hear
long to symbolize withdrawing into his inner self in order to renew his
spiritual outlook on life.

Russell Jay Hendel; http://www.RashiYomi.Com/mj.htm
Visit my Mail Jewish Archives


From: David Deutsch, David S <dsd3543@...>
Date: Thu, 13 Sep 2001 16:07:48 +0100
Subject: RE: Ralbag

	In mail-jewish Vol. 35 #45 Andrew Klafter wrote:
> There were many Medieval period rabbis who believed that HaShem had
> a physical body

Really? Who for example?



From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Fri, 14 Sep 2001 12:27:37 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Re: Request for Meqorot

>Can anyone identify examples, whether in Tanach or later material, of
>women who never had any children but who nonetheless made their marks on
>the lives of their communities and, especially, who had high-quality,
>loving, caring, relationships with others, including marriage?
>Thank you in advance for any citations.

      Many women in the Bible are famous in their own right, perhaps
because geneologies of women seem to be of less importance to the Bible
than male geneologies.  Two obvious examples are Miriam and Esther (the
former of whom, according to the chumash, never married or had children,
the latter of whom, according to the megillah, at least did not have any
children at the time she helped save the Jews of Persia).  Others would
be the judge Dedorah who was married, but again, we know of no children.
And we know no biographical information about Huldah the prophet, to
whom the sefer haTorah found in Josiah's Temple renovation was brought
for authentication, or Yael who slew Sisera.  I am sure there are many
others.  These are just a few that come to mind.

Ben Z. Katz, M.D.
Children's Memorial Hospital Division of Infectious Diseases
2300 Children's Plaza, Box # 20, Chicago, IL 60614
Ph. 773-880-4187 ; Fax 773-880-8226


From: Barry S Bank <bsbank@...>
Date: Fri, 14 Sep 2001 16:14:01 -0500
Subject: Shabbos Mevorchim for Tishrei

> Why do we not bentsch Rosh Chodesh for Tishrei? The answer I always
> hear is "HaShem Himself blesses this month." Somehow I find it
> unsatisfactory and wonder if anyone knows a better reason.  Bill
> Bernstein

> From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
> The verse in Tehilim refers to the day on which the shofar is
> blown as "bakeseh", the hidden day, which the Gemara interprets as the
> day on which the moon is hidden. Aside from the astronomical reality
> that the moon is not visible on Rosh Hashana, the understanding is also
> to downplay the "Rosh Chodesh" aspect with respect to the Rosh Hashana
> aspect of the holiday.

The first part of Gershon Dubin's answer is that of the Magen Avraham
(417:1) and the L'vush (581:1).

My understanding is that the reason for announcing the new month is to
inform the community which day of the coming week is Rosh Chodesh.  With
regard to Tishrei, such an announcement would be superflouos since
everyone knows when Rosh Hashanah is.  This is the reason given by the
Sha'ar HaTziyon (417:2).



From: Yossie Abramson <yossie@...>
Date: Sat, 8 Sep 2001 21:19:36 -0400
Subject: Re: Tishrei and Shabbos Mevarchim

> From: Bill Bernstein <bbernst@...>
> Why do we not bentsch Rosh Chodesh for Tishrei?  The answer I always 
> hear is  "HaShem Himself blesses this month."  Somehow I find it 
> unsatisfactory and  wonder if anyone knows a better reason.
> Bill Bernstein
> Nashville TN

The reason why no Rosh Chodesh bentching takes place is because in the
time of the Beis Hamikdash, there was no Chodesh "bentching" for Tishrei.
Since the first day of the month is Rosh Hashonah, Bais Din would be
closed, people wouldn't be able to travel to give testimony on the new
moon so people wouldn't know about it until later. Plus, people won't
know when to celebrate Ros Hashona.


From: <rhendel@...> (Russell Jay Hendel)
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 23:13:14 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Try TT (Talmud Torah): Superior to TM !!

In v35n41-44 several discussants: Robin Schwartz,Leona Kroll, Michael
Savitz, Akiva Atwood, Yeshaya Halevi, Joshua Lee Velvel Lipsker deal
with the thorny issue of TM. Many useful ideas have been mentioned
including some excellent sources(Thanks for the web sites, Velvel).

I would just like to add two more concepts sone of which seems to have
already been brought up by Joshua Lee.

First I would like to emphasize that EVEN if TM was permissable,
nevertheless PROPER Talmud Torah is MORE of a stress relaxation
technique than TM.  We should not have to go to other cultures (Whether
permissable or not) to gain something which is sitting in our own

In its simplest form Talmud Torah requires my learning SOMETHING I
UNDERSTAND on a regular daily basis. Such intense concentration when
done in a regular manner has all the benefits (and more) of TM including
reduced heart beat, lower blood pressure, a happier outlook etc. (If you
dont believe me take your pulse before and after learning for a week and
you can see a difference). We do not believe in repeating phrases -- we
believe in a HOLISTIC approach to learning involving the whole mind,
including READING (Torah), RECITATION (Mishnah) and UNDERSTANDING
(Talmud). As such TT (Talmud Torah) is superior to TM in that it
develops 3 components of the mind!!!!

A second point is that if TM is idolatrous then using it in its original
form would be prohibited (even if you change the Mantras). Idolatry is a
very serious prohibition that transfers to many other areas.

Russell Jay Hendel; http://www.RashiYomi.Com/mj.htm
Visit my Mail Jewis ARchives


End of Volume 35 Issue 49