Volume 63 Number 96 
      Produced: Tue, 21 Aug 18 11:42:33 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

A problem with Rabbeinu Tam's bein hashemashot  
    [Robert Israel]
An Epistemological Fallacy 
    [Martin Stern]
Another kedusha desidra problem 
    [Haim Snyder]
Braying in Shule 
    [Carl A. Singer]
Kohanim / Aliyah (4)
    [Martin Stern  Orrin Tilevitz  Chaim Casper  Perets Mett]


From: Robert Israel <israel@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 20,2018 at 01:01 AM
Subject: A problem with Rabbeinu Tam's bein hashemashot 

Dr. William Gewirtz wrote (MJ 63#95):

> Anyone who has watched both horizons in Israel from sunset until 
> almost 45 minutes after sunset can attest to the changing conditions. 
> While in northern France both horizons are still changing almost one hour 
> after sunset during some seasons of the year, in Israel anyone looking 
> towards the eastern half of the sky around one hour after sunset will see 

I think it's not so easy these days to reproduce the night sky conditions they
had back then, either in northern France or Israel, except maybe in the far
depths of the Negev. Unless you're many miles away from towns and lit highways,
you'll have the glow of electric lights to contend with. Look up "Light pollution".

Robert Israel                                          <israel@...>
Department of Mathematics (emeritus)       http://www.math.ubc.ca/~israel 
University of British Columbia                      Vancouver, BC, Canada


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Aug 19,2018 at 04:01 PM
Subject: An Epistemological Fallacy

Orrin Tilevitz wrote (MJ 63#95) in reply to my critique of evolution as
currently presented (MJ 63#94):

> One does not believe in evolution as one does in religion. If one has an
> infection, seeing a medical doctor is fundamentally different from seeing,
> say, a rabbi, a chiropractor or a reflexologist. The former is a decision
> based on science. The latter is based solely on faith. Prayer is an adjunct,
> not an alternative. Evolution is science. Martin's alternative explanation is
> faith ...

There is a fundamental error in this 'logic'. Medical advice is based on
contemporary evidence. Evolution is based on its extrapolation over a long
period of time.

> Professor Doering, OBM, who taught us organic chemistry, once said in class
> that if the experiment does not bear out the hypothesis, there must be
> something wrong with the experiment. He was joking.

In view of the history of science, this is a case of "many a true word said in

> In hard science, if the data contradict the hypothesis, you look for another
> hypothesis, even if sometimes it takes time for this to happen...

Absolutely true! but the way opponents to the 'gospel truth' of evolution are
treated, it seems that its proponents are so convinced that they are not making
much effort to find an alternative.

> Surprisingly, Martin challenges not evolution's purported randomness, which
> atheists cite to champion the notion that it excludes any role for a deity,
> but instead the implicit assumption that rules governing physical processes
> are unchanged. 

This is not quite the point I was making which was that small inaccuracies in
current assumptions become magnified over time. What may be undetectable now
could lead to errors in predictions - the longer the period of prediction, the
larger these may be. Thus the evolutionary narrative is, by its very nature,
less reliable than medical advice.

> Now, the (assumed) constant speed of light underpins how the distance
> to faraway bodies such as black holes, and therefore the age of the universe,
> is computed. If the speed of light were once much greater than it is now, then
> the universe is much younger than computed by scientists, perhaps exactly 5779
> years old this coming September. Is Martin's challenge of evolution a stalking
> horse for a challenge of modern cosmology and cosmogony as well, and shorthand
> for saying that the creation story must be read literally?

I fear Orrin is here falling back onto the rhetorical device known as 'poisoning
the well'. While his first sentence is correct, the second, though conceivable,
is unlikely and, therefore, his third claim is completely unfounded. There are
many internal problems with the Biblical text which make its literal reading
unconvincing but that is irrelevant - it is not a fundamental article of faith
that the world is exactly 5779 years old. What really matters is that it came
into existence through the will of the Almighty. How this happened is almost
certainly unknowable for us finite mortals.

> BTW, I have read that scientists have begun to question whether certain
> physical constants were different in the past, but the difference here, a
> factor of some 2 million, seems a bit much, to this layman anyhow.

Such questioning is evidence of the true scientific approach. I agree that "a
factor of some 2 million, seems a bit much" but that is irrelevant as I
explained above. However when he is making an unwarranted assumption when he
writes of those who challenge the currently suggested cosmogony that 

> their challenge is intended to show the primacy of religion, not to 
> safeguard the integrity of science, so they have a conflict of interest;

This is a rhetorical attempt to denigrate opponents by attributing to them
unworthy motives - not a scientific approach by any stretch of the imagination.

Martin Stern


From: Haim Snyder <haimsny@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 20,2018 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Another kedusha desidra problem

Martin Stern (MJ 63#95) wrote: 

> Haim Shalom Snyder wrote (MJ 63#94):
>> In response to Martin Stern (MJ 63#93):
>> ...
>> 2) The prayer is called kedusha desidra. The verse "Vekara zeh el zeh ve'amar
>> 'kadosh, kadosh, kadosh ..." is the first response in the kedushah. Later we
>> also find the verse "Vatisa'eini ruah va'eshma aharai ra'ash gadol 'baruch
>> kevod Hashem mimekomo'" which is the second ...

> Haim makes the point that these are complete verses. Since we have the rule
> that we may not split verses, surely it is incorrect for the tzibbur to
> pause after saying "Vekara zeh el zeh ve'amar", as if it were part of the
> verse "Ve'atah kadosh ..." 

However, that rule has a number of exceptions, including the regular kedusha.
There, the second response is just the last 4 words of the 11 word verse
"Vatisa'eini ruah va'eshma aharai kol ra'ash gadol baruch kevod Hashem
mimekomo". Another exception, and one that is more flagrant since it changes the
meaning, is the 13 midot, ending with the word "Venakeh".

His suggestion of not saying it at all and relying on "shomei'a ke'oneh" is what
the Shulhan Aruch (OH 125:1) says to do with the beginning of kedusha. However,
the only minyan that I know of (and I admit that my knowledge is nowhere near
complete) that the congregation doesn't say N'kadesh is in the Hurva in
Jerusalem, which follows Nusach HaGra strictly.


Haim Shalom Snyder


From: Carl A. Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Sun, Aug 19,2018 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Braying in Shule

I admit a priori that this is rather mundane -- but I'm sure it impacts on many.

I've an old friend who complained that his shule had many "Prayers" but not
many "Payers" -- clearly in reference to the Shule's finances.

Prayer / Payer / Brayer -- we have someone who with great kavoneh tends to bray
during davening  -- he's seldom in synch with our ba'al tephillah -- but he's
loud and quite frankly never on key.  [Lest the ACPCA get on my case, I
apologize if I've demeaned the musical talent of donkeys.]

Suggestions, please?

Carl A. Singer


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Aug 19,2018 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Kohanim / Aliyah

Stuart Pilichowski wrote (MJ 63#95):

> The only ones entitled to get an aliyah on a fast day, specifically Tisha B'Av
> - are those fasting.
> In a small minyan of, say, 12-15 people with only one Kohen - who's in his
> 80's in poor health - still healthy enough to duchen everyday, but can't be
> fasting - should he be declined the aliyah? Isn't it so very embarrassing and
> in poor taste not to get the aliyah? Doesn't this override the strict, literal
> halachah? Doesn't the poor Kohen's self-esteem and dignity matter at all?

Presumably Stuart has a specific case in mind that he has to deal with in
practice where the kohen is put out when he is passed over. Might I suggest
therefore that he takes him aside and tries to explain the situation and assure
him that it in no way reflects on him personally.

I always understood that one assumes everyone is fasting at shacharit unless
they inform us otherwise but that one should always ask anyone before giving
them an aliyah at minchah.

BTW, I believe a kohen who is not fasting should not duchan at minchah but I may
be wrong (we in chutz la'aretz do not duchan anyway except on Yom Tov at mussaf
so I have never met the problem in practice). Perhaps others can confirm this or
let us know that I am mistaken.

Martin Stern

From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Sun, Aug 19,2018 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Kohanim / Aliyah

In response to Stuart Pilichowski (MJ 63#95):

This does not answer Stuart's question directly and I haven't looked up the
halacha, but in our little minyan in Brooklyn, where we have 3 kohanim, rarely
all in shul at the same time, it is not unusual 

(i) for one kohen -- sometimes, the only kohen -- to decline the aliya because
he doesn't feel well enough to stand up for it, 

(ii) for the rabbi, who is a kohen, to decline the aliya even if he's the only
kohen so that we can call 3 yisraelim, or 

(iii) for the third kohen, an elderly chassid, to decline the aliya on fast day
when he's had to eat by the time of mincha.

Why not ask him, "have you eaten?" If he says that he hasn't, I can't think of
any reason to disbelieve him.

From: Chaim Casper <info@...>
Date: Sun, Aug 19,2018 at 08:01 PM
Subject: Kohanim / Aliyah

In response to Stuart Pilichowski (MJ 63#95):
I draw the readers' and Stuart's attention to She'arim M'tzuyanim b'Halakhah by
Rav Shlomo Braun, zz"l, 124:12.   (This sefer / book is a commentary by Rav
Braun on the Kitzur Shulhan Arukh where he discusses side issues and even takes
issue with some positions of the Kitzur.  It is well worth the investment to add
this to your library).  There, he quotes Rav Yosef Karo, zz"l, who rules in the
Shulhan Arukh that Anneinu is not said during the Amidah if there aren't at
least ten daveners who are fasting.

The Birkhei Yosef and the Shaarei Tshuvah say this ruling applies only on
private fasts that individual communities have accepted upon themselves but the
four fasts (Tisha b'Av, Zom G'dalia, 10 Tevet and 17 Tamuz) are all Rabbinically
ordained and hence if there are only six fasting and the rest of the minyan are
not, they would say Anneinu and read the Torah ("Vayehal Moshe" from Parshat Ki
Tisa [Shemot 32:11-14 and 34:1-10], the standard fast day Torah reading).  

>From there, Rav Braun quotes the Hatam Sofer, Rav Moshe Sofer, zz"l, who held
that even if no one is fasting, then Anneinu and the Torah reading would be said
because these four fasts are part of our mesorah (tradition) for those days.  
Rav Braun concludes by quoting others who hold that at least three of the men
attending should be fasting for Anneinu and the Torah reading to be said. 
It would seem that the Hatam Sofer would say that a Kohen who is not fasting
could get an aliyah on a fast day as the day itself is the reason we are saying
Anneinu and reading the Torah.  That is the operational halakhah for the fast
days.  We are not necessarily doing those things because there are 3, 6, 10 or
more men fasting.  
Since we are rapidly approaching the month of Tishrei, let me wish everyone a
Shanah Tovah u'Metukah, a good and sweet year, and allow me to ask for
forgiveness if any of my previous posts offended anyone.
B'virkat Torah,
Chaim Casper
North Miami Beach, FL

From: Perets Mett <p.mett00@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 20,2018 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Kohanim / Aliyah

In response to Stuart Pilichowski (MJ 63#95):

Self-esteem? Dignity? What on earth is he talking about. There is nothing
embarrassing about a person who is ill not fasting. If the kohen (or anyone
else) is in poor health he is NOT ALLOWED to fast. There is nothing to be
embarrassed about doing the correct thing.

The krias hatorah on a fast day is for those who are obliged to fast. It is no
more embarrassing to be a non-faster on a day when one is not allowed to fast
(through ill health) then it is for me to be denied the first aliya because I am
not a kohen.

Perets Mett


End of Volume 63 Issue 96