Volume 64 Number 71 
      Produced: Fri, 03 Jul 20 11:38:52 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Bible criticism (2)
    [Martin Stern  Martin Stern]
Bo'i ve-Shalom (2)
    [Michael Poppers  Steven Oppenheimer]
Electronics redux 
    [Joel Rich]
    [Joel Rich]
Saying Uva L'Zion in yehidut (2)
    [Martin Stern  Len Moskowitz]
Yehareig velo ya'avor 
    [Len Moskowitz]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Jun 28,2020 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Bible criticism

Orrin Tilevitz wrote (MJ 64#70):

> ...
> (3) Someone in this ongoing discussion mentioned "proofs" by archaeologists.
> My impression is that there are two types of Biblical archaeologists: those
> whose goal is to prove that the Tanach is true, and those whose goal is to
> prove that it is false, the latter generally by failing to find things that
> the archaeologist says ought to be there if the Tanach were true. My personal
> view is that neither is looking for the "truth" and that they are equally
> intellectually dishonest.
> ...

Presumably he is referring to what I had written (MJ 64#69):

>> For example, one cannot deny what the archaeologists find but that does not
>> compel one to accept the historical reconstructions that they deduce from
>> them.

Orrin's observation that people are often motivated to 'find' objects that fit
their preconceived opinions is likely to be true but that does not necessarily
mean that they have not actually found them.

We both obviously agree that the "proofs" made by archaeologists must be taken
with a proverbial grain of salt but that does not mean that the artifacts etc.
which they actually find can, similarly, be dismissed out of hand. Where these
appear to contradict the Torah, we have to explain why their findings do not
necessarily do so.

On the other hand their not having found things claimed "that ... ought to be
there if the Tanach were true" is no proof whatsoever - that could well be
because they have chanced to look in the wrong place and might find them at a
later date.

Incidentally, when we talk of Torah min Hashamayim, we are specifically referring
to the Torah in the sense of the Chumash. We do not ascribe the same level of
Divine revelation to the rest of Nach so any findings that appear to contradict
the accounts in it are not relevant to the argument (though they still have to
be considered and hopefully rebutted).

This is, unfortunately, a common 'red herring' used by those who wish to dispute
this fundamental doctrine. A typical example of this is the argument that one
can find evidence, on stylistic grounds, that the book of Isaiah contains
writings by at least two distinct authors. Even if that were true, it would be
irrelevant to the authorship of the Torah.

Martin Stern

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, Jun 30,2020 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Bible criticism

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz wrote (MJ 64#70):

> In response to Joseph Kaplan (MJ 64#69):
> Unfortunately, the basic arguments of the so called "Bible Critics" usually
> assume the results that they are looking for. As a result, it is often obvious
> that they are not looking for the truth, but are attempting to discredit the
> Torah.

They do not assume the results per se but make a basic assumption from which
the desired reults inevitably follow: that the Torah is a human composition that
can be analysed according to the same literary principles as any other ones.
This is the 'poisoning of the well' fallacy I pointed out (MJ 64#65) - and there
can be no greater discredit of the Torah than to deny its Divine provenance.

The words of Asaf that we say every Tuesday morning in the shir shel yom (Ps.
82:5), could well apply to them:

"They do not know, nor do they understand, they wander about in darkness [when]
all the foundations of the world are shaken [by their undermining of the Torah,
its blueprint (Ber. R. 1:1)]".

To link with another current MJ thread, Uva L'Zion, perhaps the passage towards
its end might have had those who think like them in mind:

"Blessed is our G-d who has created us for His glory and separated us from those
who have gone astray, who has given us His Torah and planted everlasting life in

But we can have confidence that, eventually, the truth will prevail when, to
paraphrase another passage we say every weekday just before it (Ps. 20:9):

"They will be bowed down and fall - but we will rise up reinvigorated"!

Martin Stern


From: Michael Poppers <the65pops@...>
Date: Sun, Jun 28,2020 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Bo'i ve-Shalom

David Olivestone wrote (MJ 64#69):

> There are differing minhagim about which way to face during Bo'i ve-Shalom, 
> the last stanza of Lecha Dodi. Many congregations turn 180 degrees, i.e., to the
> back, presumably because that's where the shul doors were usually located in
> earlier times. Others turn to where their own shul doors actually are. Here in
> Jerusalem, many have the custom of turning to the west, regardless of the
> location of the doors. Besides Mishnah Berurah, who seems to prefer the west
> option, what other sources discuss this and how do they pasken?

The following recent Hakirah article (V27), entitled "Is it Permissible to Turn
One's Back to the Hekhal or Kotel During Qabbalat Shabbat?", may be of interest:


From: Steven Oppenheimer <steven.oppenheimer@...>
Date: Sun, Jun 28,2020 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Bo'i ve-Shalom

In response to David Olivestone (MJ 64#69):

Regarding which direction to face, many gedolim in Europe including Rav
Soloveitchik, the Rav, turned to the door as explained in Nefesh HaRav page 157.

Steven Oppenheimer, D.M.D.


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Wed, Jul 1,2020 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Electronics redux

I've posted a number of comments over the years relating to the delicate dance
between poskim and their communities. IMHO (for a long while), as
micro-electronics becomes more embedded in society, the result will be
micro-halachic justified allowances where Shabbat is not compromised (even as
the definition of compromised changes with time. (data points - R Moshe -
timeclocks, refrigerators ...)   Your thoughts?

Joel Rich


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Wed, Jul 1,2020 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Poskim

R' Moshe Feinstein stated that he became poseik hador because people kept coming
back to him. If they hadn't liked his answers, maybe he would not. Could be same
for R' Asher Weiss? So we get the poskim we like?

Joel Rich


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Jun 28,2020 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Saying Uva L'Zion in yehidut

Haim Snyder wrote (MJ 64#70):

> Since the coronavirus pandemic, in all of the instructions that I have read
> about how to pray by oneself I don't recall anyone who discussed saying Uva
> L'Zion in the morning prayer.
> It is referred to by the siddur as K'dusha d'Sidra. According to Rabbi Dr.
> Elie Monk in his book "World of Prayer" page 184, "It is said to have been
> joined to the Shacharis in order to enable latecomers to recite the K'dusha."
> If so, then it might be considered, like the regular K'dusha, as something
> that requires a minyan in order to say it.
> The practice of reading those verses aloud, with the Sha"tz saying the
> introductory words, to my mind, reinforces the idea that they are considered
> as requiring a minyan to be said.

Though there is some logic in Haim's suggestion, I have never heard anyone
suggest that the kedushah desidra is something that requires a minyan. But
"Lo shamati eino rayah [That I have not heard something is no proof that it
is not the case]". 

His logic would also apply to the kedusha deyotzer, included in the first
berachah before kriat shema and that certainly is always said, with or without a
> In my siddur, which goes according to the Vilna Gaon, the two verses
> containing the responses to the K'dusha are written with their cantillation.
> Note that both of them are written as complete verses, as opposed to the
> second response in the K'dusha said as part of the reader's repetition.

Actually neither of the responses "kadosh, kadosh, kadosh ..." (Is. 6:3) and
"baruch kavod ..." (Ez. 3:12) are complete verses. Admittedly, the first part of
the first verse is said by the shatz and so the tzibbur, on the principle of
shomei'a ke'oneh [listening can be halachically equivalent to saying], could be
argued to have said the full verse. However even this is not the case for the
kedusha deyotzer.

> This enables reading them with their cantillation here (which makes it
> learning, not praying) thus precluding the need for a minyan.

I don't see why this makes their reading 'learning' as opposed to 'praying'
but it certainly does no harm for those able to cantillate them, though most
Jews probably are unable to do so.

There is one situation somewhat similar to this and that is the saying of
the 13 middot "Hashem, Hashem Keil rachum vechanun ..." in selichot (and
before tachanun in some minhagim) which does require a minyan. In many
siddurim, it says that they should not be said when davening alone unless
one can say them with the proper cantillation which makes it equivalent to
'reading' as opposed to 'praying'.

That such a rule is not stated for the kedushah desidra would seem to
indicate it does not require a minyan at all and the accepted custom is that
it may be said when davening alone.

Martin Stern

From: Len Moskowitz <lenmoskowitz@...>
Date: Sun, Jun 28,2020 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Saying Uva L'Zion in yehidut

In response to Haim Snyder (MJ 64#70):

And what about the k'dusha d'yeshiva in the birkhote kri-yat sh'ma?

Len Moskowitz
Teaneck NJ


From: Len Moskowitz <lenmoskowitz@...>
Date: Sun, Jun 28,2020 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Yehareig velo ya'avor

Joel Rich wrote (MJ 64#68):

> If a Ben Noach [Noahide, i.e. non-Jew] is being forced to abrogate one of his 7
> mitzvot, does he have a requirement to give up his life rather than comply? 
> Presumably he is not directly covered by vechay bahem [you shall live in 
> them]. If, in general, he doesn't have to give up his life for them, is murder, 
> whose exception for Jews is based on a logical inference, an exception for him.

There is an opinion in the the G'mara that the shiv'a mitzvote b'nei No-akh are
optional nowadays, and not obligatory (Bava Kama 38a and Avoda Zara 2b - 3a).

Hence, there is no need for them to give up their lives to avoid violating them.

Len Moskowitz
Teaneck NJ


End of Volume 64 Issue 71