Volume 41 Number 75
                 Produced: Tue Jan 13  7:08:09 US/Eastern 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Asarah Biteves
Original Sin (3)
         [Tzvi Briks, Chana Luntz, Stan Tenen]
Reuvain's status?
         [Nachman Yaakov Ziskind]
Sock it to me (3)
         [Perry Zamek, Akiva Miller, David Riceman]
Source for no-doubt-on-Prophecy
         [Russell J Hendel]
         [Mimi Markofsky]


From: <Skyesyx@...> (Eli)
Date: Tue, 06 Jan 2004 12:40:05 -0500
Subject: Asarah Biteves

I am aware that the Chief Rabbinate of Israel designated 10 Teves as
Holocaust Memorial Day.  Does anybody know why they chose 10 Teves and
not any of the other fast days?



From: <Brikspartzuf@...> (Tzvi Briks)
Date: Mon, 5 Jan 2004 09:08:57 EST
Subject: Re: Original Sin

Yahadut and Kabbalah teach us that the greatest process is the Tikun
process, the rectification process.  Humankind, especially Klal Yisrael,
has been appointed the capacity to rectify defects in the ongoing and
unfolding creation process.  This is not a stagnant stain, but a
cooperative process of correction that the Kadosh Baruch Hu imparted to
Am Yisrael.  In the Ari'zal's literature it is called Nahama Deechsufa,
bread of shame, and our purpose is to remove it.  Not the sloganeering
of Christianity or Christian dogma, but performing Yahadut with all of
the Mitzvot Deoraita and Derabanan, are the rectifiers.

Tzvi Briks  

From: Chana Luntz <Chana@...>
Date: Mon, 5 Jan 2004 13:51:13 GMT
Subject: Original Sin

Nathan Lamm writes: 

>A problem with accepting ideas of original sin in Jewish 
>thought is that the concept leads much further, to 
>fundamental differences in the worldview of Christianity and 

I agree that "original sin" is a Christological concept and, as
understood by Christianity, is different from any Jewish world view.

But the original poster was not necessarily discussing original sin as
understood by the Christians (nor did he even, as I recall, use that
term), he discussed a concept regarding "what happened to Adam HaRishon"
(to keep it as neutral as possible), which others on this list jumped to
label Christological and then utilsed the label original sin (a term
that bears with it unmistakeable Christian connotations).

But while unquestionably not everybody understand things this way, there
are reasonably mainstream, non kabbalistic, Jewish understandings which
are not that far from what has been discussed.

For example, take a look at what is set out in Derech Hashem by the
Ramchal as to the nature of Adam HaRishon before and after the eating of
the eitz hadaas [tree of knowledge].

The Ramchal is unquestionably contrary to the Christian position which
you describe below:

> If we are born stained for a reason we have nothing to do with, says
> Christianity, there's nothing we can do on Earth to correct it.

In contrast, according to the Ramchal, our whole job is to improve
ourselves, but this is all *despite* the fact that the chet of Adam
Harishon made our lives immeasurably harder by changing the nature of
who we were created to be.  It is not difficult to apply to the words of
the Ramchal the language you have used above, namely that "we are born
stained for a reason we have nothing to do with" and hence the battle is
a much more uphill battle than it was for Adam HaRishon (who was created
more evenly balanced).

I would not use the term original sin, because it carries with it the
Christian connotations that you have identified, ie

>The religion (Protestantism more than Catholicsm) thus tends to
>discount experiences in this world, writing it of as evil, corrupt, and
>irreparable. This is quite the opposite of Judaism's view:

And no question the Ramchal's view, the whole point of writing mussar
works is to help people to improve and repair,

However while:

> We are born pure, and only corrupt ourselves- and thus can improve.

The ease with which we corrupt ourselves, and the difficulty with which
we struggle to improve are not the same as they were as per Adam
Harishon pre chet.  And that, if the world had gone "to plan" if you
like, there would never have been any of us, just Adam Harishon having
made the correct choices in Gan Eden.

I am not saying that this is the only Jewish world view on such matters,
but I don't think you can discount the view of the Ramchal as

Nor can you necessarily discount a view which says that if you are a
person of the qualities of Avraham, Yitzchak and Ya'akov, you can fix a
particular midah (improve your nature so much, despite the uphill
battle) that sliding back to the original situation becomes unlikely or
more difficult (not only for that person but for that person's
descendants and possibly for the whole world).  In other (more secular)
words, if we can see further if we stand on the shoulders of giants -
can we not be said to be able to act better, because we stand on the
foundations laid by giants?



From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Mon, 05 Jan 2004 09:58:50 -0500
Subject: Re: Original Sin

>From: Ben Z. Katz <bkatz@...>
>Here I find myself disagreeing with both Mr. Cooper and Shalom (a
>  To believe that Judaism has never been influenced by surrounding ideas
>is ludicrous.  Even haredim are influenced to some degree by the outside
>world, altho they try as hard as they can to minimize it (there is now
>charedi at least one charedi website, ladaat).  There are many
>neoPlatonic and neoChristian ideas in kaballistic thought.  That is why
>many eschew that approach.

Dr. Katz is correct that "that is why many eschew that approach."

But the entire claim is wrong.

It is easy to demonstrate that all of the pillars of Greek (Platonic,
neo-Platonic, etc.) geometry and philosophy are directly deducible from
the letter-text of B'reshit. Christian ideas are, of course, derived
from our ideas.

The academic and rabbinic scholars who depend for their learning
exclusively on literary metaphor believe as you wrote, and that appears
to be the only sensible explanation for what appears to be the use of
neo-Platonic, Christian, and other similar outside sources. When you
read our texts exclusively in literary metaphor and leave out the
geometry, it shouldn't be surprising that when some geometry shows up,
it seems out of place and added-on from other sources.

If anyone would like, I can send a set of graphics and some draft
explanations that show precisely how the "Greek" tetractys triangle,
"Greek" 3-4-5 Pythagorean triangle, the so-called "Golden Proportion,"
the "same and the different," the "one and the many", and all of the
other necessities of philosophical mathematics derive directly from the
beginning of B'reshit and the Sh'ma.

As long as geometric metaphor is overlooked, our heritage will be
ascribed to others.

Be well.



From: Nachman Yaakov Ziskind <awacs@...>
Date: Mon, 5 Jan 2004 16:07:25 -0500
Subject: Reuvain's status?

A quick question on behalf of a friend of mine from Lakewood: 

Bearing in mind Rashi's commentary on the eighth posuk of Parshas Toldos
("[For] Yaakov was conceived from the first drop and Eisov from the
second. Go and learn this from a narrow tube, insert two stones, one
behind the other.  ..." from
http://www.tachash.org/metsudah/b06r.html#ch25), according to the
opinion that twin girls were born with each of the shevatim, how does
Rashi explain (on posuk "Reuvain, you are my firstborn, you are my
strength, and the beginning of my manhood; superior in rank and superior
in power") "beginning of my manhood" to be "A reference to his first
drop [of seed] for [prior to this] he had never had a nocturnal
emission."  (http://www.tachash.org/metsudah/b12r.html#ch49).

If Reuvain had a twin sister (obviously not an identical twin, as they
are always the same gender), he could not have been *both* the firstborn
AND the first drop, according to Rashi's logic above ...

Nachman Yaakov Ziskind, EA, LLM         <awacs@...>
Attorney and Counselor-at-Law           http://ziskind.us


From: Perry Zamek <perryza@...>
Date: Mon, 05 Jan 2004 08:41:25 +0200
Subject: Re: Sock it to me

Avi Feldblum wrote:
><snip> The halacha is written from the point of the person being asked to
>daven. If that person says that he cannot lead the services until he puts
>on a pair of socks, then he is disqualified from leading the services. It
>is not unreasonable to conclude that if the shul requires one to don a
>pair of socks prior to leading the congregation, it may be forbidden to
>daven with that shul.

I don't think we can extend the halacha that far. The case of a "person
[who] says that he cannot lead the services until he puts on a pair of
socks, [being] disqualified from leading the services" is because this
individual is demonstrating his membership in a [heretical] sect which
forbade praying barefoot. (In passing, I think that the examples in the
mishnah that discusses this are prototypical - any such unusual demands
by the individual as a "prerequisite" for prayer or leading the service
should be looked at with suspicion.)

However, where the congregation has a standard of dress that it imposes
on the shaliach tzibbur, it is reasonable to assume that it is based on
k'vod hatzibur (the honour/respect due to the congregation). Thus, for
example, I understand that many shules in the US require someone getting
an aliyah to the Torah to wear a jacket, even if they are wearing a

The problem arises when there is no formal statement of requirements,
and then incidents such as that described by David Waysman might occur -
the gabbai or someone else decides that a certain form of dress is
inappropriate, even though nothing has been said about it previously. Of
course, if the previous LOR had ruled accordingly, then there is no
point of argument.

I would, however, raise a different issue - after someone has been asked
to daven as shaliach tzibur, is it appropriate/respectful to then ask
him not to do so (I am assuming that no obvious objection exists)?


From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Mon, 5 Jan 2004 09:16:25 -0500
Subject: Re: Sock it to me

David Waysman asked <<< ... one is to dress as one would before a
monarch. If this is the case, how might informal dress ever be
considered to be appropriate, even in the heat of a Melbourne or
Jerusalem summer ?  >>>

I've had a similar difficulty with this halacha. On the one hand, we are
told to wear our best when we go to speak to the King Of Kings, which
happens several times a day, every day of the year. On the other hand,
we are also told to dress extra-special for Shabbos, even better than
that on Yom Tov, and (IIRC) even better than that on Rosh Hashana and
Yom Kippur. This sounds contradictory, but I can see two ways to resolve
the contradiction:

1) We can wear our Yom Kippur clothes (with leather shoes) for every
Shmoneh Esray, and change to other clothes for work, school, whatever. I
have not ever noticed anyone do this.

2) If we take "dress as one would before a monarch" literally, and dress
like that for a Tuesday mincha, I really don't know how I can improve on
that for Shabbos. I suspect that it was never intended to be taken that
literally, and we *don't* have to wear our *best* for davening, as long
as it is *respectable*. Halacha recognizes that the limits of
respectability will vary depending on the culture and weather, and it
could easily be that sockless sandals are acceptable in some
communities, but not others.

Akiva Miller

From: David Riceman <driceman@...>
Date: Tue, 6 Jan 2004 15:31:02 -0500
Subject: Re: Sock it to me

Avi Feldblum wrote:

<<As a similar issue came up in a shul where David Riceman and I were both
davening, David showed me at the time that it would appear to be a serious
halachic issue with a shul that would do what David W. just described
above. The halacha is written from the point of the person being asked to
daven. If that person says that he cannot lead the services until he puts
on a pair of socks, then he is disqualified from leading the services. It
is not unreasonable to conclude that if the shul requires one to don a
pair of socks prior to leading the congregation, it may be forbidden to
daven with that shul.>>

  I would describe it as a frivolous halachic issue.  The sources are
Megillah 24b, OH 53:18.  Incidentally there are aharonim who believe
that it's assur to daven unshod (there's a synagogue in Milwaukee I
won't attend in the summer because it's their local custom); the issur
Avi mentioned seems to be aimed strictly at those who differentiate the
Shliah Tzibbur from anyone else.

David Riceman


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 4 Jan 2004 17:19:46 -0500
Subject: Source for no-doubt-on-Prophecy

Charles Halevi (v41#61) asks if part of the Akaydah test was Abraham
doubting whether the voice he heard was Gods. The Rambam answers this in
the Moreh Nevuchim: There is never any doubt when you have a prophetic
revelation (In fact if I remember correctly the Rambam uses the Akaydah
as proof) (A similar point was made by Gershon and Shalom(without citing
the Moreh) in v41#66,#67) 

Russell Jay Hendel


From: <AUNTIEFIFI@...> (Mimi Markofsky)
Date: Mon, 5 Jan 2004 15:50:27 EST
Subject: Tehillim

Does anyone know of a text that would teach the lay-person how to say
tehillim?  The Artscroll series does not have very specific information
for those who don't already know how and which items to say.  Thanks for
the input.

Mimi Markofsky (<Auntiefifi@...>)


End of Volume 41 Issue 75