Monday, September 22, 2008

Interesting Posts and Articles #75

  1. German scientists discover live ant of species they claim is 120 million years old.

  2. Chaptzem has an interesting letter from someone who thinks riding motorcycles is not appropriate Jewish conduct, and would like rabbonim to ban them so that he does not have to explain to his 7-year old that others have different values from the ones they hold. In general, the Chaptzem readership does not take kindly to his suggestion.

  3. Thanbook has a post on Chabad, the Rebbe, and God, and the different views from inside and outside Lubavitch.

  4. At A Jewish Thought, how a yeshiva in Israel persuades a kid that he is obligated to return for shana bet, and then withdraws the scholarship and thus his opportunity to attend when his family comes to Israel -- while imperiously refusing to even discuss the matter. I can understand that approach partly, but will not explain here why.

  5. The invention of emoticons, Sept 19, many years ago, via Wired:

    1982: At precisely 11:44 a.m., Scott Fahlman posts the following electronic message to a computer-science department bulletin board at Carnegie Mellon University:

    19-Sep-82 11:44 Scott E Fahlman

    From: Scott E Fahlman

    I propose that the following character sequence for joke markers:


    Read it sideways. Actually, it is probably more economical to mark things that are NOT jokes, given current trends. For this, use:


    Assuming I am reading this correctly, it would thus seem that the frowny was not initially envisioned as a sad emotion, but rather the negation of the smiley, so as to show things are not intended as jokes.

  6. Overlawyered links to an interesting post -- how after a train accident, lawyers put up a whole bunch of Google ads to try to grab clients. Thus, a bunch of sponsored links from the words "Metrolink train accident attorney lawyer Los Angeles."

  7. An interesting question. If someone does not believe in Torah min haShamayim, or Torah miSinai, can they get an aliyah and thus make birchas haTorah? I would have to look in context, but the application of Rav Moshe's teshuvah about an individual making a bracha for himself might not be applicable, if we are dealing with someone who is making the blessing on behalf of the tzibbur. I don't know, and have not yet read that teshuva. But I've wondered about this very question in the past.


moshe said...


I went through Thanbooks post, and I think I understood what he wrote. However, even after understanding what he wrote, davening to the Rebbe is still heretical, at least based on how the Rambam formulates the 5th Ikkar, and how he explains the development of Avodah Zara in Mishne Torah.

One can start nitpicking here - but let's just cut the baloney: the chabadnikim are praying to a human being, which is a BIG problem for Judaism. It doesn't matter how you dress it up. To quote some politicians:
"A pig with lipstick is still a pig" :-)

joshwaxman said...

I agree, and I think he agrees as well...

Kol Tuv,

thanbo said...

Yes and no, see my response there.

thanbo said...

Regarding belief in TMH and brachot, Igros Moshe has some noted teshuvot on the subject. See IM III:21, II:50-51.


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