Volume 62 Number 26 
      Produced: Tue, 29 Jul 14 01:56:54 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Belief in science (was Darwinian Evolution and Dinosaurs) 
    [Leah S. R. Gordon]
Boys Meeting Girls | Girls Meeting Boys (2)
    [Eliezer Berkovits  Carl Singer]
Darwinian Evolution and Dinosaurs 
    [Martin Stern]
Different types of inhabitants? (2)
    [Martin Stern  Martin Stern]
Is there an obligation to serve in the Army? 
    [Rabbi Meir Wise]
Kosher Supervision Standards 
    [Orrin Tilevitz]
Tachanun Erev Rosh Hashana 
    [Martin Stern]


From: Leah S. R. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Wed, Jul 16,2014 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Belief in science (was Darwinian Evolution and Dinosaurs)

Martin Stern and Ari Trachtenberg discuss (MJ 62#25) a previous description, per
Reuben Freeman (MJ 62#24), of belief in science as whether one is prepared to
risk life/limb trusting e.g. that gravity or Bernoulli will hold.

Not to get too far afield, but in fact I take a related text for study with my
physics students that sort of gets to this - there is a scene in _Contact_
(Sagan), not in the movie but in the book (which I discovered inadvertently when
a kid tried to cheat on the assignment ;) ).  In the scene, Ellie and the
Reverend go to visit a science museum and see the Foucault Pendulum.

Ellie is known to be an atheist, representing "Science" per Sagan, while the
Reverend represents "Religion".  On their date, there is a sort of test for
Ellie:  she holds the pendulum bob at her face, then release it and tries not to
move when it comes back.  Of course, by conservation of energy, it won't hit
her.  She flinches, and feels really bad about it because she feels she should
have "believed" but her instinct prevailed to get out of the way of a heavy
object flying at her head.

However, my students and I delve into the issues here - Science isn't a system
of beliefs like that.  The pendulum really didn't hit Ellie, and wouldn't have,
independent of whether she "believes" in it.  Her instinct is based on what
often happens in the world, that if something is moving toward you, you have to
get out of the way if it could hurt you - these instincts did not evolve/develop
in a world of tethered objects....

Furthermore, I truly believe that it is a false dichotomy between Science and
Religion - they're not trying to fight over the same territory, even. But
obviously, Carl Sagan and others were fascinated with this issue....

--Leah S. R. Gordon


From: Eliezer Berkovits <eb@...>
Date: Wed, Jul 16,2014 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Boys Meeting Girls | Girls Meeting Boys

Michael Feldstein wrote (MJ 62#25):

> I've got a novel idea...how about mixed seating at weddings and allow these
> young men and women to (gasp!) talk to each other?
> Did you know that Rav Moshe Feinstein's daughter had mixed seating at her
> wedding.  And Rav Ahron Soloveitchik actually met his future wife at a mixed
> seating wedding?

My response:

I read this too on Harry Maryles' blog Emes VeEmunah:


who says R. A Kotler and R. Y Kamenetzky likewise had mixed seating at their own
children's weddings.

Curiously enough, I recently found R Moshe Sternbuch discusses the same in his
Teshuvos VeHanhogos (Vol II, Siman 651, pp. 516-517): 


In particular see his conclusion criticising 'various American Rabbonim who were
lenient in this.'

I wonder if he was aware of the conduct of the above Gedolim in this issue.

Elliot Berkovits

From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Wed, Jul 16,2014 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Boys Meeting Girls | Girls Meeting Boys

I thank the 2 responders (MJ 62325) to my previous post.  Of course the answer
is to let them congregate during the now omnipresent "shmorg" and sit together
at the dinner.

As an aside (and I may have sent this many years ago), it should properly called
"family seating" (not referring to the Singles)

My Mother recalls in pre-war Poland that an aunt sent her Mother, my Grandmother
a bolt of cloth with which to sew dresses for my mother and her siblings. The
entire family traveled to the wedding - and they sat together as a family -- in
an era before cars were common one didn't just leave home in late afternoon to
attend a wedding then return the same evening.

What an absurdity - to go to a simcha with your spouse and essentially drop him
/ her off at the door only to retrieve them for the ride home.  Not eating
together / not speaking together, etc.



From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, Jun 20,2014 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Darwinian Evolution and Dinosaurs

Orrin Tilevitz wrote (MJ 62#22):

> 4. More than once -- from Martin, perhaps, or from Eliezer Berkovits -- I have
> seen the question whether Chazal talked about dinosaurs. Of course they
> didn't. They also didn't talk about North American warbler species or bird
> species that are unique to New Zealand. Does anyone question their existence,
> or that they may be taught to children?

AFAIK nobody has made such a suggestion on Mail Jewish, certainly neither
myself nor Eliezer. Perhaps Orrin has seen it from someone else somewhere
else and attributed to one of us in error.

Martin Stern


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, Jul 16,2014 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Different types of inhabitants?

Dov Bloom wrote (MJ 62#25):

> In answer to Martin Stern (MJ 62#24):
> Since ahaz is pointed with a zakef, a disjunctive accent (mafsik), the
> accentuation rules say a two word syntactic unit preceded by zakef ending with
> silug  always gets tipcha siluq and not mercha siluq... So the short answer
> is because of the zakef, yoshvei gets a tipcha.  Probably the reasons are
> musical.

I think this may answer most of my problems if, by this, Dov means that the
rules of the ta'ami k'ra 'force' the mercha to be replaced by a tipcha for
musical reasons, so that the latter is not a 'real' disjunctive in the case
of a two word syntactic unit.

I noticed that there seems to be a similar rule regarding the situation when
there is a two word syntactic unit between a zakef and an etnachta in which the
expected munach (equivalent to the mercha before a sof pasuk) is also replaced
by a tipcha.

> The harder question is why is the zakef not on chil as we would expect?
> The abberant accentuation of chil ahaz is discussed by scholars.

This 'conflict' between 'musical balance' and 'punctuation' makes a lot of
sense and may help understand many other apparently problematic situations. 

On the other hand a consideration of why a particular sequence of ta'amim is
used in a particular pasuk rather than some other possible one might throw up
interesting conclusions. Does anyone know of any commentator who takes this

Martin Stern

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, Jul 18,2014 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Different types of inhabitants?

Sammy Finkelman wrote (MJ 62#25):

> Martin Stern wrote (MJ 62#24):
>> there seems to be a glaring discrepancyin the Shirah (Shem. 15) we say each
>> morning.
>> In verse 14 we have the phrase "yoshevei pelashet [inhabitants of Philistia]"
>> and in verse 15 "yoshevei kenaan [inhabitants of Canaan]".

> Yoshevei pelashet = people living in these scattered settlements (linked only
> by coming from the sea, but not any stretch of continguous territory on land)
> Yoshevei kenaan = inhabitants of the land of Canaan in general

This is an interesting idea but I think that it is incorrect. The construct
form "yoshevei" must be followed by a noun and not an adjective. So, if
"Pelashet" is an adjective, one would not expect to read "yoshevei pelashet"
but, rather "yoshevim pelishtim" or "yoshev pelishti".

Martin Stern


From: Rabbi Meir Wise <Meirhwise@...>
Date: Wed, Jul 16,2014 at 04:01 AM
Subject: Is there an obligation to serve in the Army?

In response to Bill Bernstein (MJ 62#25):

The fact that more Jews fought on the German side than the English side in the
First World War is hardly relevant and doesn't set a halachik precedent.

Your correspondent seems to have forgotten that nearly all countries, including
the UK exempted theological students even during World War Two.

The reality is that the IDF Chief of Staff has said that he doesn't want 20,000
yeshiva boys to turn up. He doesn't have the budget for them whilst he is
cancelling planned airforce training manoeuvres and not calling reservists for
training (this was before the present crisis).

I have nephews in the army who tell me that the waste is incredible. They throw
out year old computers in order to get new ones to use the budget allotted. I
saw this in the metropolitan police in London. Many state organisations do this.
There are no checks.

It's high time that Israel had a professional army like the US whom it wants to
ape in every other sphere.

King David was an excellent warrior as well as a psalmist. For every soldier he
had at the front, he had a Torah scholar at the back. According to this we need
more yeshiva boys not less! 

Below you will find quotes from major Gedolim, including Rav Kook, Rav Herzog
and others who opposed drafting yeshiva students.

To serve or not to serve. 

USA. As of 31 December 2013, 1,369,532 people were on active duty in the armed

As of 31 December 2010, U.S. armed forces were stationed in 150 of the world's
192 countries.

Population 309,000,000

Israel 7.9,000,000 

Military of Israel
Active personnel	176,500
Reserve personnel	445,000

You can work out the percentages!

The National Service (Armed Forces) Act 1939 was enacted immediately by the
Parliament of the United Kingdom on the day the United Kingdom declared war on
Germany on 3 September 1939, at the start of the Second World War.  It
superseded the Military Training Act 1939 passed in May that year, and enforced
full conscription on all males between 18 and 41 resident in the UK. It was
continued in a modified form in peacetime by the National Service Act 1948.

By 1942, all male British subjects between 18 and 51 years old, as well as all
females 20 to 30 years old resident in Britain, were liable to be called. Only a
few categories were exempted:

British subjects from outside Britain and the Isle of Man who had lived in the
country for less than two years

Northern Ireland


Persons employed by the government of any country of the British Empire except
the United Kingdom

Clergy and theological students of any denomination

Those who were blind or had mental disorders

Married women

Women who had one or more children 14 years old or younger living with them.
This included their own children, legitimate or illegitimate, stepchildren, and
adopted children, as long as the child was adopted before 18 December 1941.
Pregnant women were theoretically liable to be called up but in practice were
not called up.

The Talmud, Makkot 10a, states "R. Yehoshua b. Levi said: What is the meaning of
the [Psalmists] words, Our feet stood within your gates, O Jerusalem (Psalms
122:2)? What helped us to maintain our firm foothold in war?  The gates of
Jerusalem - the place where students engaged in the study of Torah!"


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Wed, Jul 23,2014 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Kosher Supervision Standards

I was forwarded the following (redacted) email, from someone who is looking for
supervision for a new chain of restaurants. I am curious about the List's reaction:

"I connected with ______ again from _______ today. He is super nice and will be
very easy to work with. Below are some bullet points we discussed. Please ask
your orthodox friends if there is a different Kosher certification organization
they prefer, otherwise I will proceed with ____.

- All vegan foods are kosher by their nature

- We can serve wine. They do not need to be kosher because we drink them, not
cook with them

- We don't need ingredients to be kosher

- Used equipment and or pots and pans are fine you just "kosherize" them by
turning up the heat to kill anything or clean them well. 

- Vegetables and fruits need to be washed well. 2X with a little salt in the
water to get rid of bugs. So they recommend using a basin or tub to really soak
and rinse.

- To start he needs a VERY general list of ingredients such as all purpose flour,
lentils, fresh fruits and vegetable, etc.

In a couple of weeks I can arrange to meet him at our ice cream co-packers and
he can see how they are cleaning the ice cream maker. He is quite confident that
there will not be an issue."


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, Jul 16,2014 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Tachanun Erev Rosh Hashana

Roger Kingsley wrote (MJ 62#25):

> Martin Stern wrote [MJ 62#24]:
>> Yisrael Medad  wrote (MJ 62#23):
>>> In reply to my response (MJ 62#21), Martin Stern (MJ 62#22) fears that
>>> I misunderstood what he wrote. He confirms that
>>>> Obviously Rosh Hashana is a chag (as I wrote) but no part of Erev Rosh
>>>> Hashanah is, not even in ITS afternoon, which was the point of my comment.
>>> I can only quote the Mishneh Brurah, para. 581:3, note 22:
>>>> because it is as other erev chag [days].
>> That we do not say tachanun in the morning on an erev chag is incidental to
>> other considerations:
>> 1. We do not say it the whole of Nisan which includes Erev Pesach
>> 2. We do not say it from Rosh Chodesh Sivan which includes Erev Shavuot
>> 3. We do not say it after Yom Kippur which includes Erev Succot
>> There is no similar reason for Erev Rosh Hashanah.
> This is all quite correct.  However, when both the Mishne B'rura and the
> Aruch Hashulhan (581:12) give precisely the same reason for not saying
> tachanun on the morning of Rosh Hashana, I think that we must just take it
> at that.   There may be no better reason for the minhag than that Rosh
> Hashana should not be singled out.

I fear that both Roger and Yisrael have missed my point. Of course Erev Rosh
Hashana is an erev chag but what I thought I had made clear (though
obviously this was not the case) is that it does not act as a chag in its
own right and require the omission of tachanun on the day preceding it. In
this it appears to differ from every other erev chag but that is for the
reasons I gave above - that there is no equivalent reason for omitting
tachanun during Ellul.

Martin Stern


End of Volume 62 Issue 26