Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Interesting Posts and Articles #24

  1. CrownHeights.Info has an interesting cartoon, in which a cow and a duck protect a Jew from influences such as pork, shaatnez, and electric shavers, while the Jew says that it is not because he does not want them, but because Hashem prohibited it, on the basis of a particular Rashi. I made a comment or two there. Rashi does not mention shavers, or rather razors, in this context:
    And I have distinguished you from the peoples, to be Mine If you are separated from them [through your observance of Torah], you will be Mine, but if not, you will belong to Nebuchadnezzar and his ilk. Rabbi Eleazar ben Azariah says: How do we know that a person should not say, “I find pork disgusting,” or “It is impossible for me to wear a mixture [of wool and linen],” but rather, one should say, “I indeed wish to, but what can I do-my Father in heaven has imposed these decrees upon me?” Because Scripture says here, “And I have distinguished you from the peoples, to be Mine”-your very distinction from the other peoples must be for My Name, separating yourself from transgression and accepting upon yourself the yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven. — [Torath Kohanim 20:128]
  2. A New York Times Article which puts forth Wright's claim the criticism is an attack on the Black Church, rather than on him. He may be correct. Not that people are not legitimately horrified by his words, or perhaps correctly link it with statements Obama himself has made and which his wife has made to cast them as non-patriotic in the classical sense. But some of the ideas he put forth are apparently prevalent in that community. And one can see even from certain Reform temples how political ideology can supplant religion in a house of worship. Coming from an activist background, it might well be that many black churches are indeed houses of radical and racist rhetoric. If this is the case, that is part of structured religion should not give it safe haven from criticism. Anyway, here is a transcript of Wright's speech to the National Press Club.
  3. In Tunisia, a 20-year-old woman claims she was raped on the telephone. And they believe her! Read for details.
  4. Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths translates a teshuva from Rav Belsky from 2003 forbidding Consegrity. Rav Belsky says he has done due diligence in researching this. Not knowing anything about it, I wonder though if Christian references are original to it or were added to the original basis, just as Jewish people make their own twists. Regardless, see all of what he writes.
    He also writes, "
    In the gemara, midrashim and ancient works, even to this day, many stories are told of "miracle workers" who have healing powers. It has always been so. The powers of tuma and the sitra achra are not imaginary; they are real; it is only that the holy Torah has commanded us to distance ourselves from them and not to use them to heal ourselves."
  5. It is fitting that discussions of shaving in gemara Nazir take place during Sefiras HaOmer. See the posts at DafNotes.
  6. HaEmtza on "Matza Brawl" in the Jerusalem Post.


Lion of Zion said...

i left this comment for you on the chabad website, but i don't know if it will be approved so i am leaving it here as well

from what i understand, not shaving/trimming a beard is very important to chabdniks. it's not something you can appreciate from an intellectual or halakhic perspective (if i may say so to you), because that's not what's at work in this instance.

the permissibility of using an electric shaver (or any other method for removing facial hair) is only incidental to the point that is being made in the cartoon. thus the shaver in the cartoon is not a statement against shavers per se, but rather a statement of the importance of an untrimmed beard (the shaver is only a symbol). so citing rav moshe is pretty irrelevant as far as they are concerned. (what you need to show is that one does not have to grow a beard altogether, not that one may use a shaver should he choose to remove it. and for this purpose, the photographs from pre-war yeshivot say more than any teshuvah one can cite.)

anyway, i remember reading a good article on shavers in techumin (early 90s?), but i'm not sure how relevant it is today since shaver technology has changed.

Lion of Zion said...

and now this:

joshwaxman said...

and what the first anonymous comment there said. this is part of the Eretz Yisrael/America divide.


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