Thursday, September 11, 2008

Interesting Posts and Articles #71

  1. Achas LeMaalah asks about a real of apparent contradiction of midrashim, one which states that people were worried about marrying Rus since she was a Moabite, and then Boaz paskened Moavi velo Moavit; another which states she came from Balak (and according to some sources, patrilineally descended); and a third which states that Balak was really from Midian. If he was from Midian and Rus was a descendant, why should anyone think a prohibition should apply? He is going to offer an answer. In the comment section, I suggest that (a) they might be contradictory midrashim; (b) or that from the words of the pasuk, Balak is obviously included, and so he was considered a Moabite, having joined the Moabite people before the prohibition kicked in. Perhaps one can also come up with a slightly farfetched harmonization that since they did not yet know Boaz' diyuk of Moavi velo Moavis, they were worried about matrilineally descended Moabites as well...

    He follows up with his answers here.

  2. The development of the gasoline pump, over at Wired.

  3. Rabbi Dr. David Berger issues a clarification. The Village Voice erroneously attributed to him a statement that Judaism in general has a certain theological belief:
    "Judaism says that in every generation, there is a righteous person that connects the world to the divine energy," he explains. "If there is no leader, the world would actually cease to exist. So the fact that the rebbe has died and that the world continues to exist is a conundrum to them, and it leads them to believe that the rebbe must not have died. But even people who believe he did die find this to be a challenging question." They resolve it, he adds, by opining that we're living in strange times, or that the rebbe is still providing the divine connection from his grave.
    Such that people were now claiming that even he now admits to the legitimacy of this position. Daas Torah asked him for a clarification, and he notes he clarified in a comment at the newspaper's website:
    “I am quoted as saying the following: ‘Judaism says that in every generation, there is a righteous person that connects the world to the divine energy. If there is no leader, the world would actually cease to exist.’ I said this about Lubavitch hasidism, not about Judaism as a whole.” Ad kan.
    And he continues to clarify at length. Read it all.

    In the comment section of that post, someone bring up a Teshuvot Radvaz as support for looking at a picture of the Rebbe, or Baba Sali, prior to prayer. (And perhaps during?) But I would not that the teshuva explicitly is talking about a connection while the two are alive. And it seems to be used in the context of learning Torah. Anyhoo, in a subsequent post, he cites another teshuva from the Radvaz that shows the Radvaz was against making images.

  4. has an article debunking several smears against Palin.

  5. "Idiots" at the Checkpoints, at A Soldier's Mother.

  6. Muslims believe Chava is buried in Saudi Arabia, but there is of course no Biblical basis for this assertion. An interesting read. And it shows how fake kevarim can crop up, something that we should be wary of. But then, there is this:
    Asked if he had heard of any other final resting place for Eve, {William} Dever said, "No. There are tombs of Abraham all over the place, but I don't honestly know in Israel or the West Bank or Jordan of any Eve tomb in these places."
    He is obviously unfamiliar with the midrashim and traditions placing Adam and Chava in maarat hamachpela. And in the very same tomb as Avraham, which Dever presumably knew about. Perhaps they should have consulted a different expert.

  7. Carbon dating flawed ... past 150 million years ago.

  8. Wolfish Musings and Emes veEmunah on Rav Twersky's pullout, under pressure, from a task force on sexual abuse. Both wonder at the motivations of the people who pressured him to resign. Please note that this is not that I am saying that it is a good thing he resigned, but if I might venture my guess as to their motivations, I might add to the list the possibility of concern that some other members of the task force would act irresponsibly, and that having this rabbinic impremateur of Rav Twersky would then prop up those actions. Much like the Rabbinic membership in the Awareness Center, and subsequent resignation.

  9. Middah Keneged Middah for Bar Lev? (hat tip: Shirat Devorah, from Arutz Sheva)
    Monday morning, the preparations began for demolition of a house owned by Southern District Police Commander Uri Bar-Lev. The house is to be demolished due to safety issues that arose because of a softening of the land it was built on.


    Marzel came to the site to witness the preparations. “I came to see a miracle that hasn’t happened in the land since the time of Korach,” he explained to IsraelNN TV’s Yoni Kempinski. Korach is the biblical character who, along with his house, sunk into the earth after challenging the authority of Moses.


    Bar-Lev himself, who owns a much larger house adjacent to the structure being demolished, seemed not particularly troubled. He approached the IsraelNN TV cameraman and recommended returning the next morning for better footage, as the bulldozers and tractors won’t arrive till then.
    I wonder, though, at this type of public reaction and rejoicing. This would seem to be a peshat-level application of the recommendation in Mishlei 24:17:
    בִּנְפֹל אויביך (אוֹיִבְךָ), אַל-תִּשְׂמָח; וּבִכָּשְׁלוֹ, אַל-יָגֵל לִבֶּךָ

  10. A guest poster at Dreaming Of Moshiach notes that Hurricane Ike is short version of the name Isaac, and we can then connect it to Yitzchak and thus to Akeidas Yitzchak, where a ram was sacrificed in his place, symbolizing the shofar. And wonder of wonders, the path of Hurricane Ike looks just like a shofar! See the image.

    The problem with this assertion, to my mind, is that many, many projected paths of hurricanes are curved in exactly this way. Do a Google image search for hurricane projected path and you will see. For example, Hurricane Hannah; Hurricane Dean; Hurricane Rita; and Hurricane Katrina. Furthermore, it seems quite likely to me that the widening, which is what makes it look more like a shofar, is not the actual hurricane widening. Remember that these are pictures of the projected path. (See the note on this and other images that it is a projected path, rather than the actual path.) The further you guess the position in the future, the more uncertainty there is, for the hurricane can veer slightly to the left or the right. They therefore show it widening, to cover a larger and larger possible area, with the actual hurricane somewhere within that area.


Akiva said...

On #10 - Oh stop debunking everything, you're taking all the fun out!

Seriously, at a time when the gedolim have banned concerts of all types (including charitable and regardless of proper separation), MP4 players, cell phones that can text message, the study of non-secular subjects in yeshiva, vocational or professional training for adults, music with more than a 2 beat count, the internet (regardless of level of filters), any book that discusses any gadol Torah or any of the rishonim with less than perfect wisdom - insight - middos - scientific knowledge - past knowledge - future knowledge, any book that raises any question about anything in the Gemora - including sheep growing from the ground - mice from mud - lice from sweat - and birds that dissolve into ashes and reform in fire...

is it any surprise that when all forms of critical thinking are banned that the people turn to pseudo-mysticism and implement pseudo-chumrot that instead of guarding kedusha just stifle?

Soccer Dad said...

My father who studies such things, says that according to Muslims Avraham is buried in Saudi Arabia too. However at the Wiki site it says that he was buried in Chevron.

But you wonder where they got the idea that Chava was buried in Arabia. Look at how they interpret the Akeida. Talk about "yotzei midei p'shuto."


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