Volume 63 Number 93 
      Produced: Sun, 12 Aug 18 13:27:54 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Advanced Talmud Study for Women (3)
    [Stuart Pilichowski  Carl A. Singer  David Tzohar]
Al naharot bavel 
    [Michael Poppers]
An Epistemological Fallacy 
    [Orrin Tilevitz]
Another kedusha desidra problem 
    [Martin Stern]
Berakhah hasemukhah lechavertah 
    [Ralph Zwier]


From: Stuart Pilichowski <stupillow@...>
Date: Sun, Aug 5,2018 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Advanced Talmud Study for Women

Joel Rich wrote (MJ 63#92):

> Should advanced Talmud studies for women be a high priority goal for Modern
> Orthodox communities or an option? (i.e. do we push for it for all but those 
> who resist or have it as an option for the motivated?) Why? What about for
> men? What is the state of play today?

If we already have advanced studies for women in every field under the sun -
from the arts and humanities to the sciences and hi-tech - what possible reason
would one have for blocking women, no matter how few, who want to pursue Torah
studies on an advanced level?

Stuart Pilichowski
Mevaseret Zion

From: Carl A. Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Sun, Aug 5,2018 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Advanced Talmud Study for Women

In response to Joel Rich (MJ 63#92):

My thoughts such as they are:

1 This should begin as an individual not a community initiative -- if women wish
to pursue, Kol haKoved -- Secondarily, the community should support positive
initiatives within the limits of its resources.

2 Adjectives serve both to define AND TO SEPARATE  -- thus terms like "modern
orthodox" can unfortunately cleave the Torah Observant community into camps.  So
too with myriad other terms.

Carl Singer
(A Poylisher Yid)

From: David Tzohar <davidtzohar@...>
Date: Sun, Aug 5,2018 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Advanced Talmud Study for Women

In response to Joel Rich (MJ 63#92):

I recently heard a talk on this subject at Yeshivat Machon Meir given by Rav
Shlomo Aviner SHLIT"A (rosh yeshiva of Ateret Cohanim and Rav of Bet El). Rav
Aviner was a talmid muvhak of Rav Tzvi Yehuda Hacohen Kook ZTZ"L). It is
possible that the shiur can be found in the video archive of Machon Meir but I
will try to sum up what he said.

First it must be clear and pashut that there is no chiyuv [obligation] for women
to learn torah lishmah [solely for the sake of learning torah] (see Orot HaTorah
of HaRaya Kook ZTZ"L). On the other hand women are obligated to learn all of the
halachot that are relevant to them, such as shabbat, kashrut, taharat
hamishpacha, kiddushin, gittin etc. but this does not require advanced talmud
study. Aderraba [on the contrary] women with the time and inclination to learn
should concentrate on learning what they need to know halacha lema'aseh
[practical application]. Women should also learn "emunah" such as RIHA"L,
MAHARA"L and of course torat Harav Kook and Harav Tzvi Yehuda (all ZTZT"L).

Rav Aviner did not go so far as saying that it is forbidden for women to study
talmud although he suggested that this possibly is the meaning of the dictum in
the gemara "hamelamed bitto torah melamdah tiflut". Therefore advanced talmud
study for women is definitely not a priority.

Joel then asked "what about men?"   IMHO since men ARE obligated to study torah
lishmah this includes advanced talmud study for those who have the time,
inclination and ability.

David Tzohar


From: Michael Poppers <the65pops@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 7,2018 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Al naharot bavel

Joseph Kaplan asked (MJ 63#92):

> Joel Rich asks (MJ 63#91):
>> To quote IIRC R' Asher Weiss - all Jewish tzarot are one big one, the lack of
>> the beit mikdash. Thoughts?
> My thought is a question. What aspect of the beit hamikdash is being referred
> to when one speaks of its lack as the major Jewish tzarah? The building and/or
> its destruction, animal sacrifices, the sanhedrin, the exile connected to its
> destruction, all of the above, some of the above, none of the above. Or to put
> it another way: what would actually be better for the Jewish People if a third
> beit hamikdash would appear and why?

Not just from "V'asu li miqdash v'shachanti b'socham" -- a phrase [Ex 25]
introducing the various aspects of Temple construction, saying that Hashem is
"in our midst" via the Mishkan/Miqdash/Temple -- but also from "ki eineni
b'qirb'chem" -- a phrase [Dt 1] read in Shul just before 9 Av, recounting that
after the sin of the spies, Hashem warned us not to go to war against the
Emorites, when He would not be "in our midst" -- I think it is reasonable to
suggest that the revelation and manifestation of God's presence is what we again
seek with the rebuilding of the Temple, may it occur ASAP in our time.

All the best from
Michael Poppers
Elizabeth, NJ, USA


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Thu, Aug 9,2018 at 05:01 PM
Subject: An Epistemological Fallacy

Ari Trachtenberg wrote (MJ 63#92):

> Orrin Tilevitz wrote (MJ 63#91):
>> Evolution is an established fact.

> With all due respect to Orrin, I do not think that even one word in the 
> opening sentence is well-defined:
> "evolution" - from what point? in what manner?

Martin Stern, to whose post (MJ 63#90) I replied, used the phrase Darwinian
evolution. I shortened that to evolution because, inter alia, Darwin hadn't
heard of DNA, but I meant only what Martin meant "the scientific concept of
evolution as is taught in schools.

> There are a number of evolutionary anomalies that are still open

I'm not going to get drawn into a discussion of the nuances of evolution
(although I should point out that one of the articles Ari cites is not by a
scientist with credentials in the field and has in turn been cited, primarily if
not exclusively, by non-scientist intelligent design advocates) because I am not
a scientist and also because it doesn't matter. Science is messy, and sometimes
the science text books need to be revised, but that's not a reason not to teach
scientists' best current understanding of how the world works, or to teach
religious doctrine in the guise of science.

> "established" - science does not function based on an establishment or a
> preponderance of the experts (in contradistinction to halacha), in part 
> because there are no annointed experts (recall Feynman's famous quote that 
> science is the belief in the ignorance of experts). One of the underlying 
> premises of science is that anyone can successfully promote an intelligent 
> position that is supported by the known evidence.

Actually, science functions based on a consensus of scientists credentialed to
determine such things, which coalesces, if at all, as evidence for one theory or
another accumulates. In the case of evolution, there's been a consensus that it
is correct for some 150 years, even if the precise contours of the theory have
changed. Lay people, and scientists who are not credentialed (the typical
science professional who advocates intelligent design or creation science isn't
a geneticist or evolutionary biologist) don't count. And while anyone can
promote an intelligent scientific position that supports the known evidence,
whether it's intelligent and supports the known evidence is ultimately to be
decided by credentialed scientists. 

> "fact"- there are no facts in science - only evidence based on the unprovable
> axioms of science (reproducibility, uniformity of underlying laws, etc.).

Of course there are, if by facts you mean theories that have been proven with
reasonable certainty based on available evidence. That the earth is warming,
rapidly, is a fact, all evidence supports it. Any remaining anomaly has gone
away, and no credentialed scientist disagrees, although some ignorant
politicians do. There is close to a consensus that this warming is
anthropogenic. Two climatologists, whose motives have been questioned, disagree.
But even these climatologists have an alternative scientific theory. There is no
scientific theory alternative to evolution.

And yes, uniformity of underlying laws is an unprovable assumption. Omphalos, by
Philip Henry Gosse, argues (to paraphrase an article in Wikipedia) that for the
world to be "functional", God must have created the Earth with mountains and
canyons, trees with growth rings, Adam and Eve with hair, fingernails, and
navels, and that therefore no empirical evidence about the age of the Earth or
universe can be taken as reliable. The problem is, by this logic, that the world
existed yesterday, or a second ago, is an equally unprovable assumption.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Aug 12,2018 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Another kedusha desidra problem

In the kedusha desidra we find (Ps. 22:4) "Ve'atah kadosh yoshev tehillot
Yisrael [And You are holy enthroned by the praises of Israel]" followed by
(Is. 6:3) "Vekara zeh el zeh ve'amar 'kadosh, kadosh, kadosh ...' [And they
call one to another holy, holy, holy ...]". I find it difficult to see the
connection between them since the latter refers to the angelic hosts and
not the Jewish people.

Can anyone explain this strange juxtaposition?

Martin Stern


From: Ralph Zwier <ralph@...>
Date: Thu, Aug 9,2018 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Berakhah hasemukhah lechavertah

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 63#92):

> Generally where a set of berakhot arukhot (ones that have a final phrase
> beginning "Barukh") are connected, for example the shemoneh esrei or birchat
> hamazon, only the first begins with the word "Barukh" and the remainder
> 'depend' on the "Barukh" at the end of the preceding one - a rule known as
> berakhah hasemukhah lechavertah.
> There are several situations where this rule is also applied even when there
> is an intervening passage e.g. barukh she'amar / yishtabach before and after
> pesukei dezimra, birkhot keriat shema and those before and after hallel. The
> usual explanation is that these sets of berakhot are not disconnected by the
> intervening passage(s) to which they apply.
> In view of this 'explanation', why do the berakhot after the haftarah start
> with "Barukh" and not 'rely' on the one before its recitation?
> The only explanation I could think of was that, unlike the three other
> occasions, the haftarah varies from week to week and might therefore be
> considered a break - but I don't find this entirely satisfactory. Can anyone
> shed any light on the matter?
I think that his suggested answer is a good one.

The Ritva asks his question and he answers it very cryptically: "Min BeMino
eino chotzetz". As long as the psukim are about the theme of the beginning
bracha they do not constitute an "interruption" which would warrant a second
full Baruch. However in the reading of the Torah (and haftorah) the theme of
the psukim may have nothing to do with the theme of the bracha and they
constitute a chatziza, warranting a full bracha after the psukim.
He did not raise the issue of why are the berachot on the Megilla not modelled
after the berachah on Hallel. ie we say a full Baruch .... on completion of
the megillah. I don't know the answer.
The issue also comes up during asseret yemey teshuvah where some people (not
my nusach) put shir hamaalot mima'amakim in the body of (right at the end)
psukey dezimra before yishtabach. In my siddur it is put after yishtabach
before kaddish and one of the reasons is, that it is not shira and zimra and
shevach. But if a person wants to put another chapter of tehillim which IS
shira and zimra and shevach that would be ok.

Ralph Zwier
Double Z Computer
+61 3 9521 2188 Telephone
+61 3 9521 3945 Fax


End of Volume 63 Issue 93