Volume 46 Number 74
                    Produced: Wed Jan 26  5:52:15 EST 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Avi Feldblum]
The ban on Rabbi Slifkin's Books (2)
         [Bernard Raab, Bernard Raab]
Beauty in Marriage (2)
         [Anonymous, Heshy Grossman]
Calendar question
         [David Cohen]
Population Explosion in Egypt
         [Michael Poppers]
Proselytizing Ads
         [Kenneth H. Ryesky]


From: Avi Feldblum <mljewish@...>
Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2005 05:40:57 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Administrivia

Hello All,

I recently recieved the following private email from a list member, and
as I think it has more general application, I have taken the liberty to
quote from it here.

> I am not sure if there are any general rules about this, but I find it
> a little irritating that some members of the list do not give out
> their name, but hide behind a pseudonym.  (I am not talking here of
> people who, for a particular post, wish to remain anonymous).

I'm not sure either whether there is any general rule either. We have
the following cases that I can think of:

1) The email message I get has an email address and Full Name in the
From: line. In this case, which is probably the majority, the software I
have puts the Full Name in the table of contents at the start of the
issue, and the From: line is as received.

2) The email message comes with a request for the message being
anonymous.  In this case, I remove the From: line (as well as the GMT
offset information from the Date: line), remove any signature
information as well as the request for anonymity.

3) There are a fair number of members who have their email clients
configured (on purpose or not) to not include real name information, but
they sign their submission with a real name. In such cases, when I am
editing the issue, I will add their real name to the From: line,
regenerate the issue and their real name will show up in the table of
contents. If you ever find your real name mis-spelled, it is usually
from this type of situation.

4) There are users who have a "English" (or other language) name in the
From: field, but on mail-jewish identify themselves by a "Jewish"
name. I will often edit the From: line to change their listed name to
what they use in their signature of the submission.

5) The subscriber does not have any real name information in my
subscriber database, and the From: line does not contain any useful Real
Name identifier information. In some cases, the Real Name field may only
be a first name. There are a few such people on the list, and in general
thier psuedonym / First Name is what is likely to appear in the table of
contents and the From: line

6) The final case (and this is the case which triggered the private
email to me) is one where I have the subscribers Real Name in my
subscribers list, but it is not found anywhere in the email message. So
it is not truely "anonymous" in the sense that their is a valid email
address, but they have also not signed their message, so I do not know
if they want their real name on the message and just did not bother to
sign the message, or if they prefer to not explicitly have their names
on the message. In today's world of Internet Search, if you ahve your
name listed, then if someone does a Google (for example) search on you,
your submissions to mail-jewish will show up. In the cases of people who
submit on a regular (or semi-regular) basis and usually sign their
names, I will go ahead and add their real name to the message. However,
in other cases, I'm not sure whether I should look them up and add their
real name or let it go out with no real name.

OK, so if you are a poster to mail-jewish in this last catagory, I would
appreciate hearing your opinions. In the meantime, if your email client
does not put your real name in the From: field, and you DO want your
submission to have your real name in the table of contents and for
people to be able to reply / refer to you by name, please sign your
submission (either top or bottom) and I will make the edits to but it

Avi Feldblum


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2005 01:59:41 -0500
Subject: RE: The ban on Rabbi Slifkin's Books

>From: Stan Tenen:
>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."

It seems that the Gedolim who banned R. Slifkin's books never read R.
Goldberg's article. And you can be certain that they read the Torah in
Hebrew, not in an English translation. So much for R. Goldberg's thesis.

b'shalom--Bernie R.

From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2005 01:43:19 -0500
Subject: The ban on Rabbi Slifkin's Books  

>From: Paul Mendlowitz:
>I am in contact with him. If in fact his views coincide with daas
>torah, I will sponsor his book The Science of Torah. 

Who decides? It seems that dozens of Gedolim have already spoken. Are
you prepared to oppose them? The saddest aspect of this entire affair,
IMHO, is that it appears evident that the vast majority of the rabbonim
who support this ban have never read any of R. Slifkin's books. Don't
they realize how much damage that are doing, not to R. Slifkin, but to
themselves by such an action?

b'shalom--Bernie R.


From: Anonymous
Date: Sun, 27 Mar 2005 22:58:38
Subject: Re: Beauty in Marriage

I have followed the posts about beauty in a spouse with some sad
feelings.  Perhaps the correct wording is "physical attraction", since
beauty is quite subjective.

I do not understand why it is revolutionary to suggest that spouses
should be attracted to each other.  Even if someone thinks they should
be "above" this -- what about the spouse?  Should a person be deprived
of the personal satisfaction that comes from knowing that one's spouse
is attracted to him or her.  I know of such marriages, and both spouses
report significant levels of pain and loneliness -- at some very basic
level feeling unlovable and undesirable.

The daughter of a Lakewood-offshoot kollel told me that her mother
explained that physical attraction is one of the cues Hashem gives a
person to help them find their bashert.  If the guy is nice, and well
mannered, but you are not attracted -- or even repelled -- then he is
not for you.  (Clearly the same is true for the prospective chosson).

As for the flap over Rochel and Yaakov -- the Torah's description of
their meeting is clearly one that we would categorize as "instant
attraction."  Quite different from the love that is shown between
Yitzchak and Rivka which grows as the marriage does.  Mostly the second
example is held up as the model for students to follow, but in truth,
the first exists as well.  I think people are uncomfortable with this
idea, but since attraction is more complex than simply externals, it is
not unreasonable to beleive that a "soul connection" results in
attraction.  If both are truly halves on one soul, then there has to be
some attraction that helps them find the other half.

A rebbetzin in my community told me some years after her husband (the
Rosh Kolel) had passed away that she was throwing out all of his "love
letters" from over the years (her words).  I asked her if it wasn't hard
to do, and she said it was, but she didn't want her kids reading all the
"mushy stuff" after she was dead.  When I said something to the effect
that then her kids would know how much their parents loved each other,
she laughed and said they knew that already.

Hashem created us as basar vedam [lit. flesh and blood,
i.e. human. Mod.], not malachim [Angels].  For us to pretend to be
oblivious to the physical world is not only silly, but in some way, sad.
What is they physical here for, if not to use for good?  And what could
be more good than bringing together a couple in marriage, and keeping
them together, happy, and feeling loved and desired?  Isn't a marriage
supposed to mirror the union of Hashem and BN"Y [people of Israel]?  How
can that concept make any sense to a person if he or she is in a
marriage without any desire or passion?  There is nothing there for them
to relate to.  Rabbi Akiva said Shir HaShirim is kodesh hakadoshim [Holy
of Holies] -- it speaks in terms that should mean something to us.  If
the longing for the beloved is not something we feel, then this sefer
Tanach is a riddle.  The mashal [parable] means nothing if we do not
understand or relate to it.


From: <Rabbihg1@...> (Heshy Grossman)
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2005 23:16:08 EST
Subject: Re: Beauty in Marriage

>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.

Sorry for the shock. I should have written 'manifestations of Divine
traits'. Thank you for the correction.

But no, the Avot were not simply 'basar v'dam'. Rabbi Avraham ben
HaRambam, quoting his father, cites a tradition going back to the time
of the Gaonim (either Rav Saadia or Rav Hai, I don't recall), that for
one to even see Moshe Rabbeinu was a level of prophecy. While the Avos
were 'also' Basar v'Dam, the Torah is describing much more than just
that, and the substantive reality of the Torah is spiritual, rather than

Heshy Grossman


From: David Cohen <ddcohen@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2005 21:33:10 -0500
Subject: Calendar question

Shmuel Himelstein wrote:
> 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?

This holiday cycle (that includes Nisan 5765 and Tishrei 5766) is the
latest of our 19-year calendar cycle.  The last time that Rosh Hashanah
fell this late was, in fact, 19 years ago, on October 4, 1986.  19 years
before that, Rosh Hashanah was on October 4, 1967.

Now, if you have a VERY long-term memory, you are in fact correct in
saying that it didn't used to fall this late.  The average length of the
solar year that is implied by our Jewish calendar system (and attributed
to Rav Adda) is ever so slightly longer than that which is implied by
the Gregorian calendar.  The cumulative effect of this discrepancy is
that the Jewish calendar system is moving forward in the Gregorian
calendar by 1 day every 231.374 years.

This is all explained very well by the following page on Remy Landau's
excellent Hebrew calendar Web site:

As you can see there, the first time that Rosh Hashanah ever fell on
October 4 was in 1834 CE.  You can also see that 2089 CE, just 84 years
from now, will be the last time that Rosh Hashanah will fall as early as
September 5.



From: <MPoppers@...> (Michael Poppers)
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2005 23:52:17 -0500
Subject: Re: Population Explosion in Egypt

In M-J V46#71, IBauman wrote:
> The instructor, whose name escapes me, asked how is it that several
million Jews could leave the continent of Africa whose total population
then only equaled 11 million without some comment by independent observers
at the time?  In fact, how could anyone have tried to stop them?  It gets
worse when we try to factor in the medrash that says that 80% of the
population of Jews died during the plague of darkness.  The total
population of Jews would then supercede the rest of the people of Africa,
much less Egypt.  They could then simply walk out unchallenged. <

Walk out unchallenged?!  That instructor would undoubtedly feel that the
slaves in the pre-Civil War American South, who greatly outnumbered their
owners, could also have simply walked away.  Perhaps that instructor would
also lead a squadron of soldiers armed only with bricks against a single
soldier armed with a machine gun, on the theory that the opponent's bullets
would eventually run out.

All the best from

-- Michael Poppers via RIM pager


From: Kenneth H. Ryesky <khresq@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2005 22:19:08 -0500
Subject: Proselytizing Ads

> 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?

A few days ago I saw similar ads from Google on the website of the
Jewish Exponent (the Philadelphia Federation weekly newspaper).  They
were replaced by different Google ads when I returned to the same page a
few minutes later.  The ads apparently rotate around, and the Google
engines apparently get hooked on the word "Jewish" (unless the
advertisers have given false and deceptive info to Google in order to
intentionally have their ads shown on these pages).

-- Ken Ryesky
E-Mail:  <khresq@...>


End of Volume 46 Issue 74