Volume 9 Number 71
                       Produced: Wed Oct 27 17:10:02 1993

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Bar-Mitzva At the Kotel
         [Malcolm Isaacs]
Creation, Torah and Shabbos Braishis
         [Michael Shimshoni]
         [Seth Ness]
Evolution vs. Creation
         [David Charlap]
Growing during shmitta
         [Josh Klein]
Lechem Mishna (2 loaves)
         [Andy Jacobs]
London Jewish life
         [Ruth Bauer]
         [Michael Broyde]
Sara and Hagar
         [Gary Levin]


From: <M.Isaacs@...> (Malcolm Isaacs)
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 1993 13:52:54 +0000
Subject: Bar-Mitzva At the Kotel

I am teaching a boy in preparation for his becoming Bar-Mitzva on a
Shabbat in February.  The boy wishes to read Maftir/Haftarah at the
Kotel, in a small family group.  His family will be arranging the meal
etc, but I need to find out what arrangements are necessary for a BM at
the Kotel.

Do I need to reserve a Sefer Torah?  Is this possible?  Do I need to
reserve a Bimah?  Is there anything else I need to do that I've not
mentioned here?


NB:  By Kotel, I mean the Wall, not the Yeshivah!


From: Michael Shimshoni <MASH@...>
Date: Sun, 24 Oct 93 12:42:35 +0200
Subject: Creation, Torah and Shabbos Braishis

Pinchas Edelson in his discussion of  Creation etc., a discussion I do
not  wish to  join, brings  as  one of  his arguments  for taking  the
creation as *literal truth*:

>Also we write shtaros (documents) saying that this is the year 5754
>from the creation of the world.

I was  told that the  reason one writes in the ketuba  after  the date
something like "laminyan she'anu monim kan" (according to the counting
we follow here),  that in case our calendar counting  is not "correct"
in some absolute  sense, the wedding is still valid.   Thus using this
year 5754, does  not, by itself, exclude a  different understanding of
how and when creation occurred.

Michael Shimshoni


From: Seth Ness <ness@...>
Date: Sun, 24 Oct 93 13:28:02 -0400
Subject: Evolution

just two points,
1. there are thousands of transitional fossils.
2. there are many instances of observed evolution-speciation.

Seth L. Ness                         Ness Gadol Hayah Sham


From: <dic5340@...> (David Charlap)
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 93 13:11:45 -0400
Subject: Re: Evolution vs. Creation

Kibi Hofmann <hofmanna@...> writes:
>David Charlap shows a distinction between the Theory of Relativity and
>the Theory of Evolution (v9#40):
>> Unfortunately, this can't be done for evolution, since man hasn't
>> existed long enough to actually observe soemthing evolve from one
>> species to another.  So it is doomed to remain a theory.
>This is true as far as it goes, but a further point can be made: Even if
>mankind hung around long enough to observe evolution happening, this
>still wouldn't prove that the variety of species in existence NOW had
>come about by process of evolution.

Almost.  Although the "missing links" are (for the most part) still
missing, the underlying principles of natural selection are very real.

For instance, there is a species of crab (near Japan) whose back bears
the image of a Samurai warrior.  This happened because, for the last
thousand years or so, Japanese fishermen would refuse to eat a crab
whose back pattern resembled samurai warrior.  So all the
non-samurai-back crabs got eaten, and the others were thrown back, to
reproduce and spread their genetics.  Today, it is very rare to find any
crabs of this species that do not have this impring.

The original image could have appeared through almost any means -
probably through random chance, since the species has fossils millions
of years old, and thousands of different back-patterns existed at one

>The real difference between evolution and relativity as theories is that
>relativity can be (and is) used to predict phenomena and is thus
>testable and useful in a physical sense. Even if relativity was proved
>wrong tomorrow (not very likely, I know) it would be nothing more than
>an honest mistake made by people searching for a facet of the truth. In
>addition, relativity does not intrude into the metaphysical world by
>attempting to make guesses about what has occured in the past.
>Evolution makes no predictions and can never be tested. It can also, by
>that same token, never be disproved, since any incongruous fact will be
>absorbed and fitted in somehow to the new new revised really correct
>theory of evolution.Since it can't predict anything it serves no
>scientific purpose - it is merely a tool to support a metaphysical
>arguement about the existence of G-d.

Again, I don't think you're right here.  Natural selection makes very
definite predictions.  A species that can not survive will die off and
be subsumed by another.  We see it in Australia, where the rabbit
population explodes out of control, due to lack of predators.  We see it
in the southern United States, where killer bees are replacing
"ordinary" bees in the natural life cycle.  We see it in the warm waters
that surround many nuclear plants - the cold-water fish died off and
warm-water fish now live there.  This is all part of natural selection.
Evolution is simply natural selection on a much larger scale.

True, we can't explain our own past.  But that's because fossol records
are woefully incomplete.  But it can (and does) make predictions.  I can
use it to predict that the Panda will almost certainly become extinct no
matter what man does, since it's digestive system is incapable of
properly processing it's preferred diet.  I can't predict what new
species will arise in a given environment, but when random chance
creates them (mutations happen every day), I might be able to predice
which of these new species will survive.  (As a blatantly obvious
observation, the mule will never survive as a species because it is

Man's selective breeding of animals is actually an instance of applied
evolution!  Every time a horse breeder carefully chooses the mare and
stallion to produce a foal with the traits he wants, hw is (in effect)
guiding his own small piece of the evolutionary process.  (Perhaps this
is why the Torah forbids cross-breeding of animals....)

In short, you make many valid points, but just as scientists should not
eliminate God from the equations so easilly, creationists shouldn't jump
to the conclusion that there is nothing of merit in evolutionary theory.


From: Josh Klein <VTFRST@...>
Date: Sun, 24 Oct 93 10:45 N
Subject: Growing during shmitta

There seems to be a concept that observing shmitta means not growing any
agricultural produce at all for an entire year. This is absolutely not
the case: the g'mara is full of examples of l'ookmei and l'avroyei; that
is, what one is allowed to do to maintain plants and trees that were
growing before shmitta so that they can be used *during and after*
shmitta. Otherwise, there would be no fruit from trees at all during the
*eighth* year (such fruit have kedushat shvi'it, of course). In any
event, Eli Turkel is mistaken in stating that Hafetz Hayim, Shaalvim,
and Komemiyut "completely keep shmitta" by not growing crops. The latter
does indeed pay farmers not to grow (like farm subsidies in the US), but
orchards are not allowed to wither away. For that matter, large areas of
land are sown before Rosh Hashana of shmitta with wheat that will be
harvested before the grain reaches 1/3 size (Hava'at shlish).  Such
products are not liable for trumot and ma'asrot, nor are they sfichin as
far as shmitta goes. The harvested wheat is then made into silage for
cattle.  There is also biennial cotton, sown in the spring of the 6th
year, that if treated properly will yield a crop also in the shmnitta
year. SInce it's not for food purposes, it's permitted to use the fiber,
although of course all the agricultural activities associated with the
crop have to be appropriate for shmitta.

Finally, I'd like to point out that for years there has been a separate
'heter' for etrogim for export. Such fruit are grown by religious Jews
almost exclusively, many of whom wouldn't dream of holding by 'heter
mechira'.  Nonetheless, etrogim somehow slip through the net of
'kedushat shvi'it' and are exported, and a nice profit is made, too
(etrogim with kedushat shvi'it in Israel are sold at pretty much uniform
prices by otzrot bet din). The reasoning behind the 'heter' for export
seems exclusively economic, and I hear rumours of the heter being
rescinded or at least revamped. This year, I hear that those who are
'makpid' will get etrogim from Italy, Greece or (with peace at hand...)
Morrocco. Some suggest that the etrogim in Israel could be grown by
Arabs. This isn't as strange as it sounds, since after all, most of the
lulavim that are considered 'mehudar' in Israel come from El Arish,

Josh Klein VTFRST@Volcani


From: dca/G=Andy/S=Jacobs/O=CCGATE/OU1=<DCAALPTS@...> (Andy Jacobs)
Date: 26 Oct 93 04:58:15 GMT
Subject: Lechem Mishna (2 loaves)

  At Shabbos meals, I was told, we have Lechem Mishna (2 loaves) to
remember the two portions of Mana that Hashem gave us on Fridays while
we were in Sini.  I believe we are also supposed to have Lechem Mishna
at Yom Tov meals.

This raises a few questions.  1) Did we receive two portions of Mana
before Yom Tovim (because the human court declared when they would be,
and for Rosh Hashanah the Mana would have to arrive before it had been
declared)?  2) If so, did we receive 3 portions if Yom Tov was a Friday
or Sunday?  3) If not, were we allowed to collect it (the Mana fell
outside the camp), and why are we required to have Lechem Mishna at Yom
Tov meals?

 - Andy


From: Ruth Bauer <S04B66@...>
Date: Sun, 24 Oct 93 04:28:45 -0400
Subject: London Jewish life

Please send me anything you have about London Jewish life (or Glasgow or
Brighton (if Jewish life exists there).  Thank you very much.

[I don't know that we have anything of the sort on London etc life in
the archives, but if one of our UK members want to send Ruth his/her
address so she can ask directly of you, please do so. Mod.]


From: Michael Broyde <RELMB@...>
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 93 22:58:19 -0400
Subject: Re: Pronunciation

   One of the writers, when discussing "proper" prononciation missed the
crucial fact that prayer can be (at least biblically) fulfilled in any
dialect, including a misspronounced version of Hebrew, providing that
the person understands the langugue.  Prononciation thus only matters
according to halacha when comprehention is lacking.


From: Gary Levin <levin@...>
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 93 14:20:31 -0700
Subject: Sara and Hagar

Let me post this question. After reading the Torah portion of Lech-LeCha
and the story of Sara and Hagar. Has anyone ever read that perhaps the
Torah calls Hagar because she was the Gerah (convert) Ha-Garah or
perhaps Ha-Gar for short ?

It would fit with Torah law that Sara may have considered Hagar as a
fitting wife for Avraham due to her observance and not soley for her
reproductive qualities.


End of Volume 9 Issue 71