Volume 9 Number 33
                       Produced: Thu Sep 23  8:10:43 1993

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Evolution vs. Creation (2)
         [Frank Silbermann, Leah S. Reingold]
Ha'Azinuh - Taamei Mikrah
         [Larry Weisberg]
New List -  Judea Magazine
         [Mark Amiel]
Prayerbook on Disk?
         [Motty Hasofer]
Rogachover Gaon (2)
         [Ezra Bob Tanenbaum, Norman Miller]


From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Wed, 22 Sep 93 15:53:26 -0400
Subject: Re: Evolution vs. Creation

In Vol. 9 No. 30 Hayim Hendeles criticizes scientists' confidence
that life on earth developed via _some_ (unknown) mechanism of evolution
as being motivated by atheism:

>	Since modern day science does not and cannot posit the existance
>	of a Creator,

In scientific terms, that is.  Science can only work with what we know
(or think we know).  It provides no facilities for reasoning about
that which is unknowable (e.g. the Unknowable).

>	then the fact that we are here proves that evolution must have
>	occurred whether or not I know the underlying mechanisms.

This was certainly not Charles Dawin's motivation (as a religious man
he was quite disturbed by the hostility he received from religious leaders).
He merely posited it as an educated guess after examining and comparing
the variety of life.  Later examinations of geological traces
have all been compatible with that conclusion, though these traces
offer little clue as to the mechanism.

>	Refusal to present evolution as a "fact" implies the possibility
>	of a First Cause beyond the realm of science - which of course is
>	scientific heresy.

I think it's rather more like their presentation of Einstein's Theory of
General Relativity as fact.  Here, too, we are baffled as to what might
be the mechanism, but the theory is remarkably consistant with our

>	But unfortunately, G-d is not a factor in contemporary theory.
>	And therefore, I vehemently object.

Neither was G-d a factor in the theory developed to reconstruct events
leading to the Lockerbee airplane crash a few years ago.  Yet, we trust
it enough to conclude who did it and how, despite the unprovable
assumption that the laws of nature as we know them also applied on that
airplane during that flight.

Since G-d's ways are not our own and beyond our comprehension, it is
unclear how scientists _could_ factor G-d into their theories.

>	Let me preface my remarks, by stating that if one were
>	to believe that the Creator used evolution as His chosen
>	mechanism for creating man, I would have no qualms against him.

I'm glad you're letting Prof. Charles Darwin off the hook.  Not everyone
is as liberal as you.

Frank Silbermann	<fs@...>
Tulane University	New Orleans, Louisiana  USA

From: <leah@...> (Leah S. Reingold)
Date: Wed, 22 Sep 93 17:20:11 -0400
Subject: Evolution vs. Creation

Hayim Hendales writes:

>P.S. As an aside, Scientific American had an excellent article about the
>origin of life, in the Feb. 1991(?)/1992(?) issue - which is a major,
>serious problem for which there are no known generally accepted answers
>as to how it happened. The article begins with the statement which
>everyone agrees on, that the odds of life beginning by accident are
>equivalent to that of a tornado going through a junkyard and fully
>assembling a 747 jetliner. So how did life begin?

This point illustrates the way in which Evolutionism and Creationism can
be wedded in the minds of modern religious Jews.  I believe that the
remarkable coincidences inherent in the scientific formation of the
world could have been possible only with some other force.  While some
scientists posit outer-space aliens, I am inclined to suggest divine

(Of course, one scientific alternative is that the universe is so
gigantic that the small probability poses no conflict with our
reality--there must simply be billions of other, failed, world-creation
systems out there.)

In spite of our religious beliefs, however, it would be foolhardy to
state that Creationism has as much "proof" as Evolutionism.  There is a
great deal of scientific evidence that natural selection and evolution
take place.  For example, certain land masses contain indigenous animal
species that are very similar to (but not identical to) those in
unconnected continents.  If one believes the well-established geological
theory that earth's land has broken apart and shifted over time, then
this evidence implies that some original animal species developed in
slightly different ways in different places after a large land split.

Creationism in its purest form (i.e. the world was created, step by
step, over the course of a week, and has been around for about six
thousand years) has no evidence to support it except for people's
beliefs and religious texts.

In no way, however, are Jews bound to believe that the time scale
discussed in the Torah is the same as our own.  It is easily conceivable
that a "day" in Bereshit is equivalent to several million years.  Why
not; that would help explain the curiously long lifetimes attributed to
biblical figures.

--Leah S. Reingold


From: Larry Weisberg <WEISBERG@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Sep 93 10:03:11 IDT
Subject: Ha'Azinuh - Taamei Mikrah

(Sorry I didn't get this post in BEFORE last week, but better now than waiting
for next year).

In last weeks Torah reading (Ha'Azinuh: 32:5), the proper reading (i.e.,
phrasing) is:
   Shichet lo, lo.  (big pause).  Banav Mumam.
rather than the more common:
   Shichet lo, (big pause).  Lo Banav Mumam.
This is because in terms of the Ta'Amei Mikrah (Trup, Cancellations), a Tipcha
is a bigger pause than a Tvir.

   The Trup is divided into Meshartim (servants, those that lead into the
trup following) and Maphsikim (pauses).  Amongst the pauses, there are
3-4 levels.  In any case, the Tipchah belongs to a group which represents
a bigger break than a Tvir.  Knowing the hierarchy makes "punctuating" the
Pasuk possible, hence leading to a better understanding.

   In the case above, the wrong pauses lead to an incorrect interpretation
of the Pasuk (and, quite possibly, in such a case the Baal K'Riah should
be told to go back and re-read the Pasuk).

  As it is translated in the Koren TaNa"CH, the pasuk means:
"Not his the corruption, but the blemish of his sons."
This translation is due to the second "lo"  (the one with the Aleph, meaning
no or not) refers to the first half of the phrase (Shichet lo), rather than
the second half (Banav Mumam).

  If one reads the pasuk: Shichet lo, (big pause).  Lo Banav Mumam.
the meaning would be "His the corruption, but the blemish is not of his sons"
clearly incorrect.

Larry Weisberg (<weisberg@...>)


From: Mark Amiel <amiel@...>
Date: Wed, 22 Sep 93 18:13:48 -0400
Subject: New List -  Judea Magazine


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From: Motty Hasofer <mottyh@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Sep 1993 10:28:01 +1000 (EST)
Subject: Re: Prayerbook on Disk?

 My LOR has asked me to try and find a siddur(prayerbook) on disk. I do not
know if any exist. He wants to be able to print out parts to give to Jews
from Russian backgrounds and also those new to the shul service. Nussach
is not important. If anyone knows of such a disk or from where it can be 
obtained, please answer me directly or post to MJ. 

I am also looking for a transliterated siddur if such a thing exists. I
conduct a service in Melbourne Australia in which a majority of the
participants do not read hebrew. I have transliterated some prayers for
communal singing and recitation but a printed version would be easier to
use if it exists.

I have posted the question of Prayerbook on disk to the baltuva, Jem and
Soc. Culture Jewish and the response was that none seems to exist.

Gemar Chasimah Tova to all.

 Motty Hasofer


From: <bob@...> (Ezra Bob Tanenbaum)
Date: Wed, 22 Sep 93 18:13:41 -0400
Subject: Rogachover Gaon

Two more stories about the Ragechaver Gaon:

He reputedly had the entire Shas (Talmud) memorized and would review
it in his head while traveling. It is said that he reviewed the
entire Shas every few months, so there was no place in the Talmud
which was not fresh in his mind.

Once the Chafetz Chaim went to meet him and told the Ragechaver Gaon
that he was a shopkeeper. The Chafetz Chaim was very modest and did not
like to take credit for his learning and he really did own a grocery.
After discussing certain topics together for a few hours the Ragechaver
Gaon said that the Chafetz Chaim's knowledge was not so bad for a
Baal HaBayis (shopkeeper).

Ezra Bob Tanenbaum	1016 Central Ave	Highland Park, NJ 08904
home: (908)819-7533	work: (908)615-2899
email: att!trumpet!bob or <bob@...>

From: Norman Miller <nmiller@...>
Date: Wed, 22 Sep 93 17:20:04 -0400
Subject: Re:  Rogachover Gaon

Apropos the Rogachover Gaon and his famous postcards, Gershom Scholem
once spoke of a 19th (?) C. German rav who wrote his commentary in a
code consisting of dots.  His disciples later made a stab at decoding.
Does anyone know who this might have been?

Norman Miller 


End of Volume 9 Issue 33