Volume 46 Number 73
                    Produced: Tue Jan 25 21:20:39 EST 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

The ban on Rabbi Slifkin's Books (4)
         [Stan Tenen, Bernard Raab, Y. Askotzky, Paul Mendlowitz]
Beauty in Marriage (2)
         [Matthew Pearlman, Bernard Raab]
Calendar question (2)
         [Robert Sherer, Yisrael Medad]
Calendar question (latest Rosh Hashana) (2)
         [Mike Gerver, Perets Mett]
Conservative Judaism as Avoda Zara
         [Orrin Tilevitz]
The Fifth Plague
         [Meir Possenheimer]
Population Explosion in Egypt
         [Mike Gerver]
request for article by Rav Steinsalz
         [Yitschak Maser]
Shidduch rules (2)
         [Andy Goldfinger, Art Werschulz]
Shocked !
         [Andy Goldfinger]


From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2005 15:02:39 -0500
Subject: Re: The ban on Rabbi Slifkin's Books

At 08:26 PM 1/24/2005, Harry Zelcer wrote:
>The target of the campaign is Rabbi Nosson Slifkin, an ultra-Orthodox
>author known as the "Zoo Rabbi," best known for his books and tours
>relating to his research on animals in the Bible. He also has written on
>wider questions regarding science and the Torah. In particular,
>Slifkin's critics object to his assertions that "the Sages were mistaken
>in certain scientific matters" and "that the world is millions of years
>old."  According to a literal reading of the Bible, Slifkin's critics
>argue, the world was created in six days and is only 5,765 years old.

As a counter-argument, I would like to offer R. Hillel Goldberg's
excellent article titled "Genesis, Cosmology, and Evolution" (Jewish
Action, Summer 2000).  Here is a choice quote from R. Goldberg:

      "The only readers who take the Torah both literally and
unidimensionally - who are fundamentalists - are non-Hebrew readers. The
simplicity ascribed to the Biblical account of creation within Western
culture is not and never has been a part of the intellectual heritage of
even the most Orthodox Jewish believers. . . . The only text that counts
is the original, whose Hebrew is multi-layered in a way that is alien to
the English language."

Rabbi Goldberg's complete article is available at
http://www.ou.org/publications/ja/5760summer/genesis.pdf .


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2005 23:52:38 -0500
Subject: The ban on Rabbi Slifkin's Books

>From: Harry Zelcer:
>The target of the campaign is Rabbi Nosson Slifkin, an ultra-Orthodox
>author known as the "Zoo Rabbi," ...

I believe that the designation of R. Slifkin as "ultra" is in error. He
appears to be unquestionably an MO rabbi.

It is very unfortunate that the haredi rabbis have chosen to aggresively
pursue anti-intellectualism and anti-modernism as an organized program.
Interestingly, this intellectual estrangement now coincides with the
increasing political estrangement between the haredi and dati camps in
Israel. It seems that these two streams are undergoing an increasingly
disagreeable divorce, which is very sad.

In many ways, this corresponds to the schism between fundamentalist and
centrist Christianity (l'havdil of course) in the teaching of Darwinism
vs. creationism in the public schools of some states. But even among the
creationists, only a very small minority continue to insist that the
world is only 6000 years old. BTW, current estimates for the age of the
Earth are some 5 billion years, not "millions", as reported in the
Forward article.

b'shalom--Bernie R.

From: Y. Askotzky <sofer@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2005 09:54:10 +0200
Subject: The ban on Rabbi Slifkin's Books

As I have not read his books and the fact I am not anywhere near the
caliber of those condemning the book I cannot and would not express any
opinion pro or con. I suggest reading the following articles to get a
perspective from a few angles:

kol tuv,
Yerachmiel Askotzky, certified sofer & examiner
<sofer@...>  www.stam.net  1-888-404-STAM(7826)  718-874-8220

From: Paul Mendlowitz <mendlowitz@...>
Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2005 20:43:59 -0800 (PST)
Subject: The ban on Rabbi Slifkin's Books

I am in contact with him. If in fact his views coincide with daas
torah,I will sponsor his book The Science of Torah.  Perhaps his works
are not be be included in a yeshiva curriculum, but a ban against emes
is wrong regardless of who says so.

Paul(Feivel) Mendlowitz
Los Angeles


From: Matthew Pearlman <Matthew.Pearlman@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2005 09:13:33 -0000
Subject: Re: Beauty in Marriage

<Rabbihg1@...> says "The Torah is describing the essence of things,
not merely relating an interesting narrative. The Avos are also referred
to as 'Merkavah'..."

Where does the Torah describe the Avos as Merkavah?


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2005 23:52:29 -0500
Subject: Re: Beauty in Marriage

>From: <Rabbihg1@...>:
>The Torah is describing the essence of things, not merely relating an
>interesting narrative. The Avos are also referred to as 'Merkavah' -
>their lives reflect G-dly traits, and each of the Avos are
>manifestations of Divinity in this world.

If the phrase "manifestations of Divinity" is meant as a variant of
"b'tzelem-Elokim", then it applies to all of G-d's creatures. If you
mean something more, which applies only to the Avot, then this implies
that the Avot were not simply "basar v'dam", which would be the most
shocking thing I have read yet on Mail Jewish.

b'shalom--Bernie R.


From: <ERSherer@...> (Robert Sherer)
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2005 13:07:20 EST
Subject: Calendar question

    Shmuel Himelstein asks (Volume 46 #72) how often Rosh Hashonah has
occurred on October 4 as it does this year. The answer is found in
Arthur Spiers's Comprehensive Hebrew Calendar. Between 1899 and 2100,
Rosh Hashonah has fallen (or will fall) on October 4 in 1910 and
2035. October 4 is not the latest date for Rosh Hashonah. It fell (or
will fall) on October 5 in 1929, 1967, 2043 and 2062.

        Robert Sherer 

From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2005 21:27:38 +0200
Subject: Calendar question

Shmuel Himelstein wrote and asked:
>I see that this coming Rosh Hashanah will occur on October 4, later than
>I ever remember it falling. Does anyone know how often Rosh Hashanah can
>fall that late, and what factors need to be in effect for the date to be
>so late?

Well, the simplistic answer is that with this current year being one
with a Second Adar, and Seder night being on the Motzei Shabbat late in
April, everything gets pushed off.

Of course, all you really need to do is flip through the booklet "120
Years" and see for yourself.  Or, ask Phil at Torah Tidbits, he's just
wild about calendar statistics.

Yisrael Medad

From: <MJGerver@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2005 17:46:10 EST
Subject: Calendar question (latest Rosh Hashana)

Roughly speaking, it falls that late once every 19 years. The exact date
in these years can vary by about plus or minus 1 day, though, since Rosh
Hashana can only fall on certain days of the week. In addition, the
range of dates that Rosh Hashana can fall on, which currently is Sept. 6
through October 5, is itself slowly creeping later, by 1 day every 217
years, if I am remembering the number correctly. (It's certainly about
that, but I didn't verify the exact number just now.) This is due to the
fact that 235 halachic months (the time from one molad to the next) is
not exactly equal to 19 Gregorian years. So eventually Rosh Hashana (and
any other given day in the Hebrew calendar) will fall on a later day
than it has ever fallen before, in the Gregorian calendar. However, it
has already fallen on October 4 before, 19 years ago, and even on
October 5, 38 years ago, so it isn't setting any records this year.

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel

From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2005 22:33:09 +0000
Subject: Calendar question (latest Rosh Hashana)

Rosh Hashono falls in October in the 1st and 9th years of the machzor
(19-year cycle)

9th-year dates are later than 1st-year dates. Here are the last few-

5747   	4 Oct
5728   	5 Oct
5709  	4 Oct
5690  	5 Oct

In each of the preceding years, as also this year, the 8th day of Pesach
is in May

The explanation is that during the eleven-year period spanning the 17th
to the 8th years of the cycle, there are five leap years and only six
non-leap years.

Perets Mett


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2005 10:56:42 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Conservative Judaism as Avoda Zara

Martin Stern writes that in calling Conservative Judaism "avoda zara",
the Igrot Moshe "was merely following the long-standing Jewish polemical
tradition of using phrases with such overtones to denigrate groups which
have broken away from Jewish tradition."

That may well be true.  The problem, though, is that this polemical
statement is used as the basis of a halachic opinion, that entry into a
conservative synagogue is forbidden, just as entry to a pagan temple
would be forbidden.  By contrast, to my knowledge entry into a house of
worship of a religion that is not avoda zara--a mosque, say--would not
be forbidden.  Is the entire responsum then only a polemic, and if so
what is it doing in a collection of responsa?


From: Meir Possenheimer <meir@...>
Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2005 00:18:20 -0000
Subject: The Fifth Plague

Matthew Pearlman writes:

> The fifth plague is traditionally known as "dever". I have a fundamental
> problem with this, but I have not found anyone who discusses this, and I
> would be grateful if anyone has any pointers.
> The term "dever" appears many times in the Tenach and is a generic term
> for death and destruction. Indeed, it is even used just before the
> seventh plague to refer to the general destruction of the last few
> plagues; and similarly in the preamble to the plagues (Shemot 5:3). It
> is certainly not restricted to an animal disease as in the fifth plague.

Harav Yaakov Zvi Meklenburg zt"l discusses this very point (HaKesav
veHaKabala, Shemos 9:14. and concludes that "dever" does, in fact, refer
to Makas Bechoros (the killing of the firstborn).  He explains the use
of the term earlier than the tenth plague as meaning that by right,
Paraoh should have had the ultimate punishment of Makas Bechoros already
then and did not deserve to be given the "grace" of the lesser plagues.


From: <MJGerver@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2005 17:56:49 EST
Subject: Population Explosion in Egypt

Michael Mirsky asks, in v46n72,

      Who says there were only 11 million in Africa?  Sounds
      awfully low to me.

I believe the total population of the world has been estimated at about
150 million at the beginning of the Common Era. So it would have been
even lower at the time of the Exodus. 11 million for all of Africa
sounds about right. The population of the world didn't reach 1 billion
until about 1650 CE, and didn't reach 2 billion until about 1900.

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel


From: Yitschak Maser <semaser@...>
Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2005 15:56:35 +0100
Subject: request for article by Rav Steinsalz

Does anyone have a reference for an article written some years ago by
Rav Steinsalz on the hermeneutical priciple of "im ayno inyan"?

He mentions this work in his article on talmudic logic which appears in
Sefer Higayon, edited by Koppel and Merzbach (page18).

An intriguing concept -- any comment on it by MJers?
Kol toov

Yitschak Maser
Montpellier, France


From: Andy Goldfinger <Andy.Goldfinger@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2005 09:34:23 -0500
Subject: Re: Shidduch rules

When I was in search of a shidduch, I also had rules and criteria I
would use.  For example, when entering a car, I would open the passenger
door for the young lady, and then observe whether or not she reached
across to unlock the driver's door for me as I walked around the car.

I remember going out with one potential shidduch who failed every one of
my tests.  EVERY ONE!

We have now been happily married for 32 years.

-- Andy Goldfinger

From: Art Werschulz <agw@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2005 13:52:43 -0500
Subject: Re: Shidduch rules


Shoshana L. Boublil <toramada@...> wrote:

> My mother sent me to Chazal: Adam Nikkar BeKoso, Kisso Ve'Ka'aso (a
> person is known from his cup, his pocket and his anger).
> ... deletia ...
> If he is angry at me during the shidduch - see how he manages his
> anger.  Sometimes a guy can become angry b/c of someone else during the
> date, again you have a chance to see how he reacts when he's angry. 

I think it was Rabbi Telushkin who said that it's not too hard for one
to treat his date properly.  OTOH, observe how he treats the waiter.  If
he mistreats the waiter (or the coat checker, etc.), that means that
he's likely to mistreat anybody he doesn't feel a need to impress.

Art Werschulz
Internet: agw STRUDEL cs.columbia.edu


From: Andy Goldfinger <Andy.Goldfinger@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2005 08:05:51 -0500
Subject: Shocked !

Chaim Tatel give a reference to the Yahoo leining group:

The group is: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Leining/

When I accessed this link I was indeed brought to the proper Yahoo page,
but the page also included a box with three (presumably paid)
advertisements for "Messianic" Jewish groups!  Is there some way we can
contact Yahoo and get them to remove this advertising?

-- Andy Goldfinger


End of Volume 46 Issue 73