Volume 38 Number 10
                 Produced: Mon Dec 23 21:16:50 US/Eastern 2002

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Article on Science Experiments in Talmud
         [Russell J Hendel]
         [Eli Turkel]
The making of a Gadol
         [Judy and Paul Shaviv]
The Making of a Godol
         [Bill Bernstein]
         [Michael Kahn]
Muktzeh me-hamat Hesron Kis
         [Danny Skaist]
New vs Old Versions of Seforim
         [L Kaplan]
The Rambam on Kollel
         [David Riceman]
Same Words in Nach with different spellings
Standing for the Choson and Kallah
Torah Measurements
         [Ken Archer]
         [Michael Kahn]


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 15 Dec 2002 23:21:36 -0500
Subject: RE: Article on Science Experiments in Talmud

David Yehuda Shabtai v37n99 asks

>I am looking to find various scientific experiments recorded in the
>gemarah, or any time in which chazal did not know a fact and went out,
>observed nature or experimented to arrive at their conclusions.
>So far I have Niddah 30a-b, Bekhorot 45a and Yerushalmi Challah 1:1.

That (scientific experiments in the talmud) is one of the goals of my
article TOWARDS A DEFINITION OF TORAH (Proceedings of the AOJS, Vol

In this article I cite several dozen scientific experiments.  I also
classify 5 methods by which Torah and Science interact.  Finally I offer
an OPERATIONAL approach to the Torah-Secular dichotomy (I show how
science can be mechanically converted to Torah).

As a simple example I record an ingenious experiment that shows that
ants have no social structure (And hence the verse in proverbs GO TO THE

Due to the kindness of a fellow mljewisher I will soon have all my
articles on PDF. So if you want a copy of this article simply send me an
email (If you want a hard copy include your actual address).

Russell Jay Hendel; P.hd. http://www.Rashiyomi.com/


From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Wed, 18 Dec 2002 10:33:51 GMT
Subject: Haskamot

> Haskamos for the sefer include those by Rav Sheinberg nd Rav Alyashiv,
> shlita.

Without addressing the issue haskamot on a sefer do NOT mean that the
rabbi who gave the haskama read the work or in any way approves what was
written. The haskama usually says that the author is a nice guy


From: Judy and Paul Shaviv <shaviv@...>
Date: Tue, 17 Dec 2002 22:03:24 -0500
Subject: The making of a Gadol

[While it can be argued that the posting below oversteps the bounds of
the list in some of it's details, I have decided that as a whole it is
worth sending along to the group. Mod.]

The whole sorry incident is yet another example of the tendency of
contemporary Orthodoxy not to tolerate supposed non-conformity in any
way - in dress, behaviour, thought, writing or anything else. Any
deviation, real or supposed, from an increasingly - some might say
impossibly - narrow "norm" results in immediate exclusion. In fact, as
was demonstrated both in this incident and in other recent incidents,
the accusation alone is enough to trigger condemnation. Apparently, we
cannot tolerate discussion, and we cannot tolerate individualism.

This spiral of intolerance masquerading as piety is making the
traditional community inacessible to all but a tiny number of people. It
is pricing Yiddishkeit out of the market, both spiritually and -
increasingly - even financially. It is also making it deadly dull. The
title 'Gadol' will surely be fully earned by the first rabbinic
leader(s) to take a stand against this ultimately self-destructive
foolishness.  As a young man, I was a fierce defender of
"Orthodoxy". Now in middle age (!), I have never felt more alienated
from the Orthodox community.  Is there an end to this madness?

In exasperation, but also in great sadness,

Paul Shaviv


From: Bill Bernstein <bbernst@...>
Date: Wed, 18 Dec 2002 08:58:03 -0600
Subject: Re: The Making of a Godol

Has anybody else been as bothered by this whole incident and the
discussion on MJ as I have been?  Marc Shapiro's interesting post has me
even more disturbed than ever.  Perhaps if I list what bothers me it
will help the discussion along.

1) There are dozens, maybe hundreds of truly distorting books and
articles about Orthodoxy and Judaism floating around, yet prominent
rabbis chose to focus on this particular book.

2) The author of the book has seen his work trashed without any kind of
hearing or, based on Mr. Shapiro's post, even any foreknowledge of the
event.  Is there a greater kind of loshon hora than this?  Could there
be any more damage done to a man's reputation, not to mention financial
status?  Don't all authorities agree that the first step of tochacha
(rebuke) is done privately?

3) Those issuing the "cherem" apparantly never bothered to read the
book, or in some cases probably couldnt since the work is in a language
they dont know.  What then did they rely on?

4) If someone signs a letter but doesn't wish it publicized and doesn't
retract what the letter said, what is the status of his comments if the
letter is anyway made public?

5) Is all of this noise and maneuver intended to increase the Torah
public's respect for rabbinic authority?  It seems like a strange way to
do it.

6) What is the purpose of all the disingenuous anonymity, e.g."I wont
identify the people on the book's cover", a group of 3 rabbis whom I
will not name, a certain 'buch' (beis shuruck chof) titled "The Making
of a Godol" (this from the Hebrew in the Yated announcement), etc.?  It
would seem that the antidote to falsehood is plain speaking, not

7) What were the objections to the book anyway?  Is it disrespecful to
point out how someone learned from experiences and grew?  Is it loshon
hora to say that someone read a certain kind of literature?  Is the role
of biography and history in Judaism merely to tell amusing stories with
no real relationship to how people actually behave?

The seeming violations of elementary derekh eretz that we all learn from
Pirkei Avos and other sources is overwhelming to me.  Worse than that,
this seems not like one isolated incident but more like the outgrowth of
a sick attitude in at least some segments of Orthodox society.  But I
would welome open discussion on the matter.

Bill Bernstein
Nashville TN


From: Michael Kahn <mi_kahn@...>
Date: Wed, 18 Dec 2002 01:18:47 -0500
Subject: Re: Marijuana

Frank Reiss asked:
>Is there any view whether using Marijuana when one is in a country where it 
>is a legal item is going against any Halacha?

Reb Moshe has a tshuva where he prohibits the using of drugs because he
interprets the commandment of "Kedoshim Tihyu", to be holy, as requiring
one to always be in control of ones faculties. I don't know where the
tshuva is and I'm not sure if I ever saw it but it's actually pretty
well known.  Perhaps someone with a Yad Moshe could find it. It's
amazing how Reb Moshe covered virtually all subjects.

Regarding the question posed asking how the Rambam could say that anyone
can be like Moshe Rabainu; Reb Elchonon actually discusses this in the
back of Kovaitz Haaros (the sefer is on Yevamos but there is a section
in the back devoted to Agadatah Gemorahs) on pg. 140, siman 7:9. He
writes that of course no one has the ability to reach Moshe Rabainu's
level in Torah knowledge or in righteousness. Rather, he explains that
the Rambam is saying that everyone has the ability to use his abilities
in serving Hashem (kochos) to ones fullest degree possible just like
Moshe Rabainu did. I think someone (I don't have that email anymore)
posted a similar answer previously.

This vort reminds me of the vort said in the name of Reb Zushia who
said, "Hashem will not ask me why I wasn't Moshe Rabainu, He'll ask me
why I wasn't Zushia!" Simmilarly the Alter of Slabodka used to say
"People think if only I had the brains of the Shaagas Aryeh, and the
tzidkus of "(I don't remember which tzadik)" I could serve Hashem. But
this is wrong. Hashem wants us to serve him with our brains, and our


From: Danny Skaist <danny@...>
Date: Wed, 18 Dec 2002 08:06:24 +0200
Subject: Muktzeh me-hamat Hesron Kis

> From: Perry Zamek <jerusalem@...>
>If I recall correctly (not having a Shmirat Shabbat here in the office),
>Muktzeh me-hamat Hesron Kis is defined as an item which has such value
>that one would be careful not to use it for any other purpose.
>Credit cards, although they are more durable than paper money, would
>probably fall into the same category, since one would be careful not to
>use it for purposes that might lead to them being invalidated (e.g. bent
>or cracked). CYLOR.

Muktzeh me-hamat Hesron Kis is something that has a primary use that you
can't do on shabbat, AND is kept in a special place when not in use.



From: L Kaplan <lawrence.kaplan@...>
Date: Wed, 18 Dec 2002 17:14:09 -0500
Subject: Re: New vs Old Versions of Seforim

> From: Michael Kahn <mi_kahn@...>
> >Carl Singer wrote of:
> >...people who have old (shall we say original) versions of seforim find
> >that newer editions have conveniently removed or revised items that
> >would be not be politically correct today.  This practice trashes
> >legitimate scholarship.
> Could you please give an example of such a thing.

Here are just two examples I came across recently.

1) In one of the Hebrew translations of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch's 19
Letters (the one published by Netzach, if I remember correctly), Rav
Hirsch's lengthy and severe criqtique of the Rambam in Chapter 18 is

2) See David Assaf's recent book, The Royal Path:  The Life and Times of
Rabbi Israel of  Ruzhin, pp. 13-15, where many examples are brought. Just
the most egregious: when Moses Shoenfeld, the well known Haredi journalist
and translator, translated Aharon Marcus' German work on Hasidism into
Hebrew  in 1954, he, as he indicated in the introduction, softened or
omitted entirely some of Marcus' more forthright judgements. When the
edition went out of print and was republished in 1980, the publisher further
censored the work and, as Assaf indicates, omitted 15 pages (!) dealing with
the notorious Zanz-Sadagora controversy regarding Bernyu, the third son of
Rabbi Israel.

Lawrence Kaplan


From: David Riceman <driceman@...>
Date: Wed, 18 Dec 2002 15:08:35 -0500
Subject: The Rambam on Kollel

> >Avi Feldblum writes:
> I cannot comment on the preference, but as for not giving to the man who
> chooses to sit in Kollel and has 10 children and then go out to the
> jewish community to say they are obligated to support him, the Rambam
> (in his commentary on Pirkei Avos) is pretty clear that he has no
> standing in asking for community support.

I don't think that's true.  The Rambam certainly doesn't think the
Kollel guy is doing the right thing.  He doesn't say that the fact that
he could earn a living removes the obligation of tzedaka (though it may
reduce his priority for a donor with a budget).

David Riceman


From: Mendy <mendy4@...>
Date: Thu, 19 Dec 2002 10:28:14 -0500
Subject: Same Words in Nach with different spellings

I am wondering if anyone has an idea as to why "Hadad" is spelled in two
different ways in the very same pasuk, once "Hadad" and once "Adad" -
even if in Hebrew alef, hey, ayin can be interchangeable, isnt it more
than a bit strange to change the spelling, [especially of a NAME which
would logically seem to defy kri and ktiv and such issues], intra-
pasuk!? [the pasuk is in Melachim I, 11/17.]

Thank you.


From: Ari <aweintra@...>
Date: Tue, 17 Dec 2002 21:28:47 -0500
Subject: RE: Standing for the Choson and Kallah

I heard b'shaim R' Yaakov Weinberg zt"l (Rosh Yeshiva, Ner Yisroel of
Baltimore) that the minhag to stand is to honor the chosson as he is a
"holech la'asos d'var mitzvah" (one who is on his way to do a mitzva). I
don't recall whether he applied this to the kallah as well (but this
could be the reasoning of those rabbanim who do not stand for the kallah
as they may hold that she is only "hechsher mitzva").

BTW, the minhag in most places I've been is that tachanun is not said
_on the day of the chuppah_ in the presence of the chosson. I was
recently in a shul where the much-respected mora d'asra (a widely
accepted posek) told the baal tefilla to skip tachanun in the presence
of a chosson whose chuppa would be after tzais hakochavim that day.



From: Ken Archer <keyarch@...>
Date: 12/19/2002
Subject: Torah Measurements

i'm looking for tora measurements for length, weight, and volume.

the lengths come in ama, tefach, etzba. values for either one is ok
since they are in a specific ratio to each other.

weights come in kikar, shekel, geira. values for either one is ok since
they are in a specific ratio to each other.

values for volume come in (amongst others) eifa, se^Ňah, hin, asirit
haeifa, kav, lug. values for either one is ok since they are in a
specific ratio to each other.

what are the ratios between kezayit, beitza, and kosevet (is this agreed
upon or are there various opinions on this), and how do these relate
(what is their ratio) to a lug?

i would appreciate sources for the information on the above if possible.

i'm looking for halachic values. i know there are various opinions about
these values, what are the minimum and maximum values for the above and
who are the sources for them. is there any website that summarizes them?

also any recomendation for seforim (in hebrew or english) that summarize
or discusses them.



From: Michael Kahn <mi_kahn@...>
Date: Wed, 18 Dec 2002 02:49:19 -0500
Subject: Re: Yosifun

Who was Yosifun? From what I have heard he was not the same person as
Yosifus, or Joseph Flavius.  Any information would be apreciated.


End of Volume 38 Issue 10