Volume 6 Number 45

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

APS conference in Seattle
         [Daniel Lerner]
B'rachot of Shma
         [Zvi Basser]
Foreign words in Responsa
         [Aryeh Frimer]
Intellectual Proofs for the Validity of Torah
         [Tova Roth]
Number of letters in the Torah
         [Hayim Hendeles]
Parsha question
         [Zara Haimo]
Shabbat in Moscow
         [Danny M. Wildman]
Theft and Survival (2)
         [Abi Ross, Richard Schultz]
Torah mi-Sinai
         [Eli Turkel]


From: <dml@...> (Daniel Lerner)
Date: Fri, 19 Feb 93 10:40:10 MST
Subject: APS conference in Seattle

"What are those black boxes and straps?"

I'm going to the American Physical Society conference in Seattle, March
22-26, and, because funding is tight, I am looking for a roommate for
the hotel room, preferably someone who won't be alarmed by the sight of
tefillin in the morning.  Also, any information about where to obtain
kosher food in Seattle will be helpful.

Dan Lerner, <dml@...>, (505)665-1355, FAX (505)665-3493


From: <fishbane@...> (Zvi Basser)
Date: Fri, 19 Feb 93 17:58:51 -0500
Subject: Re: B'rachot of Shma

Regarding the blessings of shma one should realise that many poskim rule
that the blessings are integral to the shma and not separate praises
attached to the shma (which is the view of hai gaon and the rashba).
Kaf hahayim tells us to say the shma whenever the blessings are recited.
Many poskim say the blessings fulfill two functions-- one of praise but
also act as a blessing for performing the commandment of the shma. Meiri
goes so far as to say that if one is in the desert and doesnt know ahava
rabba by heart he must make the blessing-- likro et hashma [to recite
the Shma - Mod.].  The Shulchan Aruch probably belives that the
blessings are blessings for commandments as he will not allow
interuptions for amen between ahava rabba and the shma and in the kesef
mishna proclaims that if you don't lose the blessings as the talmud
say-- you even get the reward for shma -- even though the time for shma
of the rabbis has past. I still do not know what he makes of-- the
talmuds --"one is like a man who reads the torah". clearly the rama and
mogen avraham do not see any chance of reciting shma after the 3rd hour
and understand the blessings to be for praise and allow interuptions of
amen between ahava rabba and the shma. The problems of understanding how
the rishonim learned these sugyas are difficult.

While we are talking about blessings, it seems from rishonim and
acharonim that a woman who has given birth should bench gomel in a
minyan.  However, many poskim say "lo nohagim" and indeed it is not the
custom here to do this. The Talmud and Shulchan Aruch say it should be
done and many acharonim wonder why it is not. Does this mean we should
do it or should not do it?  I once saw a teshuva talking about a
community where the husband would recite it and the author wondered how
somebeody could recite a blessing which was not his obligation. It seems
today no one says it-- but perhaps we should..  I dont know..  Does
anyone have some thoughts about this?

zvi basser


From: Aryeh Frimer <F66235@...>
Date: Fri, 19 Feb 93 12:30:57 -0500
Subject: Re: Foreign words in Responsa

Regarding Steve Friedel's  infoquest as to the meaning of the word Taqa
in Resp. Rav Pealim vol 3, H.M. # 8. I possess a book  called  "Luach
ha-Mafteichot al Rav Pealim ve-Sod Yesharim" which digests this teshuva
(responsum) and replaces Taqa with "Bad" which means cloth. The Author
of the Luach is R. Eliyahu Yair Bakshi, published 5748 and comes with a
haskama of Rav Ovadya Yosef.


From: <tova@...> (Tova Roth)
Date: Fri, 19 Feb 93 12:39:24 -0500
Subject: Intellectual Proofs for the Validity of Torah

Rabbi Chait of Yeshiva Bnei Torah in Far Rockaway has lectured on the
subject of the proof of Sinai and written a paper on the subject.

If anyone would like a copy of the tape or the paper please send email
to <tova@...>


From: Hayim Hendeles <hayim@...>
Date: Fri, 19 Feb 93 10:40:41 -0800
Subject: Re: Number of letters in the Torah

>>From: Elie Rosenfeld <er@...>
>A recent topic dealt with the discrepancy between the number of
>letters/words in the Torah as given in the Gemara, and the number we
>actually have today.  Eli Turkel gave the specific numbers as listed in
>the Torah Shelayma.  He determines that our current Torah differs from
>the Masorah by 9667 letters.
>Simple arithmetic shows that this equals almost two incorrect letters
>per verse.  This sounds fairly reasonable, given that the Gemara itself
>states that we are unsure as to haser and maleh (words that can be
>written either with or without a "vav").  But wouldn't the discrepancy
>significantly impact the current research being done on hidden codes in
>the Torah?  If I understand correctly, the codes depend on messages
>appearing every "N" characters.  If the current text differs from the
>original one (the one in which the patterns were presumably placed) by
>even one character, any patterns which span the word with the
>missing/extra character should be invalid.  And our Torahs are
>apparantly off by almost two characters per verse!  So even patterns
>with the smallest of "skip lengths" would be affected.

DISCLAIMER: The following is my 2 cents only - not based on any
authoritative knowledge.

I find it difficult to believe (if not impossible) that our Torah's
differ from those in the time of the Talmud by 2 letters per verse.

First of all, the Talmud is filled with derashot (expositions(?) - I
don't know how to translate this) on the pesukim, where each and every
single letter is significant - were we to be off by 2 letters per
verse, then many of these derashot would be incomprehensible to us.
This would have been noted long ago. Yet, one can learn the Talmud
with our Torah today, and find very little difficulty in matching
up the derashot with our pesukim. (There are some cases where the
Rishonim (early commentators) have already explained some apparent
discrepancies - but these are not germane to this discussion.)

I recall a Reshash on the relevant passages in the Talmud (Kiddushin)
where these numbers are mentioned, and - if I recall correctly - he has
some difficulties with the actual text --- i.e. there is reason to
suspect that the numbers printed in our versions of the shas may be

Thus, given the choice between our Torah's being completely wrong,
vs. one number printed in a questionable manuscript, I would either
opt for the latter, or assume that this is just another of the Aggadic
passages which may not be taken literally.

As far as the Codes research is concerned, I have read the formal
paper written on the subject, and based on my understanding of it,
I believe the following to be true: The probabilities they have
arrived at, are definitely significant statistically. There seems
to be no question about that. Furthermore, in all the control
experiments where they used either random or modified versions of
the text, the numbers produced are statistically normal.

Assuming the above, there are 2 conclusions you can draw from this:
1) The codes that were found are not accidental
2) Any sort of random perturbation will reduce the significance
   of the results - obviously the more perturbations, the more 
   statistically normal results. Accidental changes are more likely
   to produce statistically normal results, than significant results.

Thus, if anything, the Codes research would support the thesis that
any discrepancies between our text and that of Moses are minimal.
Nonetheless, it does not require the 2 texts to be exactly identical.

Hayim Hendeles


From: <Zara.Haimo@...> (Zara Haimo)
Date: Fri, 19 Feb 93 10:13:41 PST
Subject: Parsha question

A couple of weeks ago, in a weekly parsha class I attend, we had an
interesting, but unresolved discussion about one verse.  God said he
will make "lechem min hashamayim" (bread from the heavens - Shemot XVI
4).  This closely parallels the form of the hamotzi blessing where we
say "lechem min haaretz" (bread from the earth).  Does anyone have any
thoughts about a connection between the two or know of any discussions
of a connection between the two in any commentaries?


From: <dmw2@...> (Danny M. Wildman)
Date: Fri, 19 Feb 93 13:02:05 -0500
Subject: Shabbat in Moscow

On behalf of my wife, who will be in Russia for the Shabbat after
Pesach: Where does one stay/eat/daven in Moscow? Any pointers to the
local Rabbi, etc. ?

Danny Wildman


From: Abi Ross <ROSS@...>
Date: Sat, 20 Feb 93 13:17:05 -0500
Subject: Re: Theft and Survival

Regarding the question of Nelson Pole about theft in a survival situation.
There is an explicit discussion in the Talmud bavli about the issue. In Bava
Kama daf 60,b it is said that David hamelech asked if it is allowed to save
himself with someone elses money without his permission. Tosafot ad loc.
explain that it is allowed to do so, and the question concerns only whether
one has to repay what he took.There are many other sources to be added,
including responsa. If interested in further information, please contact me.
Abi Ross

From: <schultz@...> (Richard Schultz)
Date: Fri, 19 Feb 93 09:54:27 -0800
Subject: Theft and Survival

<R0731@...> (Nelson Pole) writes:

> My wife claimed that in the Talmud, one is authorized to steal if ALL
> other means of suviving were unavailable.  

Might she be thinking of the Talmudic dictum that a man who fails to teach
his son a means of making a living teaches him to steal?

					Richard Schultz


From: <turkel@...> (Eli Turkel)
Date: Thu, 18 Feb 93 17:23:29 -0500
Subject: Torah mi-Sinai

      David Sherman asks about the finding of the scroll in Tanach.  The
usual explanation is that in the days of hezekiah the book of Devarim
(Deuteronomy) was found in the Temple. The scholars (ie Sanhedrin) had
always studied it but it was not familiar to the common people and the
King. As a consequence when the King found the original he was very



End of Volume 6 Issue 45