Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Interesting Posts and Articles #47

  1. The Jerusalem Post has an interesting article about the arod, which is a poisonous snake, and Rabbi Chanina ben Dosa, who was a Tanna.
  2. I recently encountered this blog, Sfas haNachal. Some interesting posts. Here is the second one on kabbalah red string.
  3. Rav Shlomo Zalman Aurbach sits next to a lady on a bus.
  4. Hirshel Tzig has scans and discussions about Rav Shach's conversation with two seminary girls. (They should learn to make good kugel.)
  5. Frankincense's calming effects.
  6. The Amazon tribe previously unknown turns out to be a hoax, and a publicity stunt. A while back, DreamingOfMoshiach tried to use this as an "absence of evidence" proof that the river Sambatyon with the ten lost tribes is real:
    Till today 'intelligent' investigators mocked us, the Jewish nation, that we believe without a doubt that the lost 10 tribes are living in exile, on the other side of the Sambatyon and are also waiting for Moshiach so they can return to our Holy Land. Investigators always claimed that such tribes do not exist. They claim that since satellites are placed in every corner of the world, they are able to photograph anything unique. Their second claim is travelling around the world is easily accessible and therefore, every hidden corner has been investigated and according to them, nothing is hidden.
    These photographs prove that an unknown tribe has been living undisturbed for thousands of years totally disconnected from our modern world; regardless of the many people that investigated the Amazon for years, and despite all the modern satellite equipment.

    Now investigators admit that there is a possibility that there are more
    unfounded tribes living in our world undisturbed and are completely disconnected from our modern world.
  7. Granting rights to captured terrorists. From International Herald Tribune:
    Mohammed met his captors at first with cocky defiance, telling one veteran CIA officer, a former Pakistan station chief, that he would talk only when he got to New York and was assigned a lawyer–the experience of his nephew and partner in terrorism, Ramzi Yousef, after Yousef’s arrest in 1995.
  8. "My Skirt Is My Korban Todah," at BeyondBT. I disagree with the idea that
    "tsnius is the penultimate women’s mitzvah, the point of her ultimate testing."
    and not only because "penultimate" means next to last. It seems very male-centric, and defining a woman's value and righteousness specifically by how she impacts men around her. And it is negatively focused -- her primary role in life is to not be a temptation, a bor bereshut harabbim. What if I said that because men are aggressive beings, a man's tafkid in life, and his ultimate mitzvah, is to not murder people?! I would propose "chessed" as a good candidate for an ultimate mitzvah.
  9. DixieYid translates an article which sets out that machlokes does not really exist. I consider this part of the modern (and ancient) trend of harmonization. But yes, machlokes does exist.

    An excerpt:
    First, one must understand that it is impossible for there to be an opinion that there not be Hashgacha Pratis on any created thing, because if were the case, these would not be in the hands of Hakadosh Baruch Hu, but only in the hands of "nature." But who created this "nature" that we speak of? Hashem!
    This is a line of argument, preceding a harmonization, but it is conceivable that people (such as Rambam) could dispute this argumentation.

    He posts this as a followup to a previous post claiming there was no real dispute between Rambam and Baal Shem Tov about whether hashgacha pratis applies to all, and that Rambam holds of hashgacha pratis (rather than just "hashgacha") on every detail of creation, something Rambam explicitly argues against. See ThanBook on this, and see the comment thread. Three particular conments of interest, not having to do with the specifics:
    Rabbi Micha Berger:
    I have been tenaceous in my argument against Dixie Yid's original post because I am extremely unhappy with this habit of fitting rishonim to what we want them to say. We do it for "frum" reasons, academics do it for their reasons, but both are engaging in the same intellectual dishonesty.

    For those of you who don't believe HKB"H is involved in our lives, it is okay for us to say nowadays, "koichi veoitzem yadi..?"

    These days it seems that the people I know that are afraid to say that Hashem controls every minute detail are the ones that treat Yidishkeit as a burden.

    A Simple Jew:
    Anonymous: YOU just hit the nail on the head.

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