Volume 51 Number 86
                    Produced: Mon Apr  3  6:33:21 EDT 2006

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

The Berg Zohar
         [Moshe and Elise Kranc]
delayed remarriage "to be expected"?
         [Freda B Birnbaum]
Hiking on Shabbat
         [Mike Gerver]
Megillah chapters: A Modest Proposal
         [Seth & Sheri Kadish]
Portable Eiruv for Camping (2)
         [Harold Greenberg, Aliza Berger]
Slifkin - censorship and critique (4)
         [Natan Slifkin, Mark Steiner, Ari Trachtenberg,
Tinok Shenishba
         [Steven White]


From: Moshe and Elise Kranc <mekranc@...>
Date: Fri, 31 Mar 2006 18:41:54 +0200
Subject: The Berg Zohar

I am chairman of my synagogue in Jerusalem. Two weeks ago we received a
surprise gift (literally) at our doorstep - the Berg translation of the
Zohar from the Kabbala Center (I believe this is Madonna's rebbe). I've
asked a rav what to do with this gift, but I haven't received an answer.
So, while I'm waiting for an answer, I'm curious: Has anyone else
received such a "gift"? Gotten an answer from a rav about what to do
with it? (Meanwhile, this huge box is sitting in the back of my station
wagon, waiting for some resolution - very bad for gas mileage :-)

Kol Tuv,
Moshe Kranc


From: Freda B Birnbaum <fbb6@...>
Date: Mon, 3 Apr 2006 00:23:13 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: delayed remarriage "to be expected"?

>> Why in the world would it "be expected" that she remain unmarried?? It 
>> seems that someone waiting anxiously for a divorce would want to 
>> remarry relatively quickly (assuming she found someone she liked).

and the response:

> It sounded as if he made the assumption that someone who had that much 
> trouble, as well as someone who has to take care of young children, 
> would be extra cautious.  Thus, she would take longer than someone 
> without children and/or had not had the difficulties spoken of in her 
> previous marriage.

There also may be an element of caution involved: sometimes women who
have teenage daughters wait until they are out of the house before
remarrying and bring an unrelated male into the household.  This might
be especially so if the man has male children.

Freda Birnbaum, <fbb6@...>
"Call on God, but row away from the rocks"


From: <MJGerver@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Thu, 30 Mar 2006 19:44:27 EST
Subject: Hiking on Shabbat

Isaac Balbin makes a very good point when he writes, in response to my
earlier posting,

      There is of course an infraction of Shelo Yehei HiLuchecho B'Chol
      K'HiLuchecho B'Shabbos (Ones "mode of walking" on Shabbos should
      be different from the week) . This is of course based on a Pasuk
      in Nach.

Walking through the woods, or through a mountain meadow, is one of the
greatest pleasures there is. But usually, when people go on multi-day
camping trips, or even day trips, they are carrying a heavy backpack,
and hurrying to get to certain point before dark, so they miss much of
the enjoyment. Hiking on Shabbat, with no backpack, and no hurry
(because you cannot go outside the tachum anyway), allows you literally
to stop and smell the flowers, not to mention admiring the view,
noticing the plants, animals, rock formations and clouds, or just
feeling the sun and the breeze. It reminds you of why you really wanted
to go hiking in the first place.

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel


From: Seth & Sheri Kadish <skadish@...>
Date: Thu, 30 Mar 2006 15:16:42 +0200
Subject: Megillah chapters: A Modest Proposal

Unlike Jonathan Swift, this really is just a modest proposal.

We are getting close to Pesach, when the Ashkenazim among us read Shir
ha-Shirim publicly just once a year (Sepharadim chant it is shul every

In many communities, the reading of this and the other megillot (besides
Esther) is often divided amongst several readers, usually using the
chapter divisions (which unfortunately are particularly poor in Shir
ha-Shirim).  Even where the megillah is read by a single person, a
widespread custom is to emphasize the end of each chapter.

I have recently updated "A Guide to Reading Nevi'im and Ketuvim" and it
now contains a special page for the Five Megillot, with a new suggestion
for their division when read in shul. So if you are the sole baal koreh,
you now have an alternative to the chapters. If you are the gabbai, you
have an alternative too: You can give this page to the one/several
people who will be reading the megillah.

The "Five Megillot" page offers an alternative to the chapter divisions
not only for reading megillot in shul, but also for private reading and

The updated version of "A Guide to Reading Nevi'im and Ketuvim" (along
with the "Five Megillot" page) may be found here:


Chodesh Tov,
Seth (Avi) Kadish
Karmiel, Israel
http://www.seforimonline.org/seforim7.html (#169-172)


From: Harold Greenberg <harold7@...>
Date: Sat, 01 Apr 2006 21:43:30 +0300
Subject: Portable Eiruv for Camping

Eli Adler asked:

>This summer I hope to take the family camping in the Canadian Rockies
>in a motorhome.  How can I setup a quick simple but kosher eiruv for
>the immediate camping area.  What materials to prepare etc...

A cousin made exactly that trip.  He found that fellow campers hung
their wet laundry on the eruv to dry.  After explaining to them that it
has a religious purpose, they removed their laundry from it.

 Harold Zvi Greenberg
 Eilat, Israel

From: Aliza Berger <alizadov@...>
Date: Thu, 30 Mar 2006 13:36:29 +0200
Subject: Portable Eiruv for Camping

Mike Gerver wrote:

> If you leave it exposed on the ground, so that animals are likely to eat
> it before Shabbat, I would think that might invalidate it, since there would
> not be a chazaka that it was still there when Shabbat began. Not that
> suspending it from a tree is any guarantee that animals won't eat it. I
> remember the squirrels in my parents' backyard doing amazing acrobatic feats
> to get at the birdseed in the supposedly squirrel-proof birdfeeder they had
> suspended from a tree.

1) Isn't it altogether unsafe to leave food out, which might attract
bears to the camping site?

2) Someone mentioned a Hebrew book put out for soldiers on shabbat in
the field - Is anyone aware of any English books? My nephews in the Cub
Scouts might be interested.

This topic is bringing back memories. I remember hearing stories at Camp
Moshava-Bnei Akiva, which I attended 25 years ago, about "the good old
days" when they had the "shmutz" (campout) over shabbat and learned so

Aliza Berger-Cooper, PhD
English Editing: www.editing-proofreading.com
Statistics Consulting: www.statistics-help.com


From: Natan Slifkin <zoorabbi@...>
Date: Sun, 02 Apr 2006 17:24:48 +0300
Subject: Re: Slifkin - censorship and critique

Most of R' Mechy Frankel's criticisms of my work "The Science of Torah"
were entirely accurate, barring one that was based on a misunderstanding
of what I wrote due to an ambiguity in my presentation. I am grateful
for his interest and expertise, and I will be correcting a few sentences
accordingly, regarding aspects of physics; but most of the sections on
which he commented have anyway already been removed or otherwise altered
for the new edition of the book (mostly because I came to the same
conclusion regarding them as R' Mechy!). The new edition will be
released this summer, b'ezras Hashem, under the title "The Challenge Of
Creation." People can write to <orders@...> to be notified
when it is published with details of how to purchase it.

Natan Slifkin

From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Sun, 2 Apr 2006 17:07:57 +0300
Subject: RE: Slifkin - censorship and critique

I'd like to wish a yasher koach to Mechy Frankel on his defense of
truth, even it damages "our" side of the argument.  I would also point
out that another Orthodox scientist and Torah scholar, the late (and
greatly lamented) Reuven Rudman z"l, had similar qualms about Slifkin,
and other contemporary authors who reconcile science with religion,
which he voiced to me, not long before his untimely death.  I believe he
had even prepared an essay on this general subject, which I hope appears

Readers may remember that I made similar comments about Reb Nosson
Kamenetzky's banned book (The Making of a Godol).  The regrettable ban,
aside from the intrinsic wrong it was, and the laughing stock it made of
the rabbis who promulgated it, made rational discussion of the contents
of the book itself almost impossible, or almost irrelevant.  Yet, in my
opinion, the book does contain several flaws which members of the Kotler
family could be justifiably angry over, even according to the standards
of most readers of mail-jewish (most of whom, I assume, were rooting for

R. Kamentezky has issued an "improved" edition of his book, but from my
sources in the Yeshiva world, he has not succeeded in redeeming himself
in their eyes.

From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Sun, 02 Apr 2006 22:38:08 -0400
Subject: Re: Slifkin - censorship and critique

Without having read any of Slifkin's books and not being a physicist ... 
I just have some brief comments:

> p. 43 the ratio of the longest to the shortest EM wavelength is
> infinity, not 10 to the 25th.

In theory ... yes.  However, one can divide the size of the (observable)
universe by the Planck length to get a practical ratio (roughly 10^61 or

> since infinity is a quite large number indeed

Infinity is not generally considered to be a number ... but your idea
here is clear.

> chaos is completely deterministic, if difficult in practice to
> calculate.

Again, in principle you might be right.  However, if your experiment is
based on initial conditions that *cannot* be properly measured (ala
Heisenberg), it would seem to me that the the result of the chaotic
process is not deterministic (possibly probabilistic).

From: <chips@...>
Date: Sun, 02 Apr 2006 12:22:14 -0700
Subject: Re: Slifkin - censorship and critique

I have read a few articles and one of the books. While I did not agree
with everything he wrote and concluded I failed to see at any point what
was wrong philosophically [hashkafa] with anything that R. Slifkin
wrote. In fact, I didn't read anything which seemed to even approach
being anti-Torah.

I am just puzzled and befuddled as to why people have a problem with the
books. It seems to be almost a Luddite reaction to discussing Torah and
science together. Have they learned nothing from the history and words
of the RAMBAM? Or is the RAMBAM considered to be of no consequence to
Torah Jews according these people who reject R. Slifkin's work?



From: <stevenj81@...> (Steven White)
Date: Tue, 28 Mar 2006 18:55:19 -0500
Subject: Re: Tinok Shenishba

In MJ 51:77, Dr. Josh Backon (<backon@...>) provides
definitions of "tinok shenishba" and "apikorus" at some length.  Yet, in
the same posting, in the only spot where "mechalel shabbat b'farhesia"
was discussed, the lenient opinion seems to have been glossed over quite
substantially.  Please let me address a couple of points.

1.  Defining "tinok shenishba" as someone who knows NOTHING (she'eino
yode'a ... KLAL).  One had better be careful before s/he assumes that
Rema really means NOTHING-NADA-EFES-ZILCH.  If you take that to its most
literal extreme, then a Jew who sees Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, Chanukah
and Passover (sic) on his/her printed secular calendar, and knows they
are Jewish holidays, doesn't qualify.  But I'm sure that most reasonable
people would say that the line is not that extreme.  Accordingly, there
is some less extreme line than "someone who knows NOTHING AT ALL."

2.  Concerning "mechalel shabbat b'farhesia," I don't think you can
automatically assume that opening a business is always going to involve
less severe chilul shabbat than driving a car.  The minute that the
storekeeper writes something down, he's got a Torah-level violation.
And if s/he required a light in the business, the chance is nearly
certain that kindling the light would be a Torah-level violation.  (In
comparison, today, if the lights are fluorescent then the violation
_might_ be rabbinic.  That's another discussion, and I'm not looking to
start it.)

3.  Better, then, to note that the authorities he discusses there concede
that one wouldn't even call that kind of violation "b'farhesia," but
rather "b'tzin'a."  And, indeed, with the exception of the Mishna Brura,
all of the authorities cited in Dr. Backon's paragraphs on APIKORUS are
either explicitly or implicitly assuming that there is normative Torah
behavior in the community, and that it is being uprooted by this "MIN." 
The very word MIN implies that there is willful defiance of the Torah
going on.  And as I said in an earlier post in this thread, I think that
"b'farhesia" traditionally implied this willfulness.  Hence, Binyan Tzion
and Melamed l'Ho'il calling it "b'tzin'a" -- technically, it's just as
public, but there is not public defiance.

4.  Finally, I must echo what David Charlap wrote in that same issue: "I
have many friends and relatives that have virtually abandoned Judaism
specifically in response to people that share this opinion.  I don't
think you realize the tremendous damage you are doing to all of Israel
by telling people that they are worthless if they aren't 100% perfect."
(Direct quote, and I am not directing the "you" at Dr. Backon
specifically.)  I would add that I also know plenty of people that have
abandoned Judaism because they were so poorly taught in yeshiva.  In
either case, whose fault is that?  Not, I daresay, the fault of the
person who left Judaism.

Steven White
Highland Park, NJ


End of Volume 51 Issue 86