Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Interesting Posts and Articles #148

  1. On The Main Line reports on the mixed reviews that Kuzari Sheni gets: negative from Moses Marcus, and positive from Rav Chaim Kanievsky. You can read the sefer online for free, over at HebrewBooks.org.

  2. The Seforim blog has an article in Hebrew about Chillul Hashem in the eyes of non-Jews.

  3. Balashon has blogged about omer. Now he blogs more about sheaves.

  4. My father-in-law was telling me that he was considering having birchas hamazon on a kos, given that even though we say it is non-obligatory, those why say this still would maintain it a hiddur. This echoes an Aruch Hashulchan. My gut reaction is to not be in favor of it, and perhaps I will explain in another post why. But for now, here is an article by Rabbi Ari Zivitovsky in the 2000 Jewish Action about it.

  5. Kankan Chadash explores the meaning of nashim daatan kalos.

  6. From the Mashiach is Coming blog:
    I just listened to an interview in Hebrew of a soldier who fought in Gaza and said that the image of Rachel Imeinu saved him and a number of other soldiers from death. He reported that they were about to enter a house, when an image appeared before him and told him not to enter the house because there was death inside. When he asked her who she was, she responded by saying she was Rachel Imeinu. The soldiers discovered threads and munitions and realized the house had been boobytrapped.
    Subsequently, the soldier told his story to some Rabbis who said that he had merited to see the Gilui Hashchina - a revelation from G-d and that he should publicize his story.
    You can download the audio in Hebrew. The story begins about 10 minutes into the audio.
    It does not seem to be the same soldier from the video. As I discussed in an earlier post, unfortunately I do not find that that other eyewitness testimony to be believable. Because a less dramatic story, in which the woman did not mention any specific danger in the house and in which she did not identify herself as Rochel Imenu, was told to Rabbi Lazer Brody shortly after the incident. And Rabbi Brody was the one who first suggested that it was Mama Rachel. I do not know why the soldier is exaggerating the truth, or making this up, but that seems to be the case. And the rabbis who do not look into it and help spread the fake version of the story are probably partially responsible.

    In this particular instance, it also does not seem believable. I did not listen to this one myself -- I am having trouble playing the audio. But check out LifeInIsrael for a summary, and a different link, and check out the comment section. A quote:
    He describes the whole thing, though he cannot say where in gaza he was and what unit he is in. From what he says it sounds like she was not really simply an old woman walking by. Rather, she was some spiritual, or ghostly, form. he says she was not set on the ground, was more of a figure, did not seem to have arms or legs, and he could not see her face. The poor guy says he has not been able to sleep a restful night since he saw her. He went to many rabbonim, including Rav Ovadya Yosef, who told him that the time has come to tell the story, as he witnessed a miracle. She told the soldier she came because of the prayers of so many jews, so from above they sent her down to save them.

    The soldier refuses to say whether others saw her or not in other such instances. He says he saw her, but was not at the other sightings, so he cannot say what happened there.
    From the fact that others are making things up about this, and from the "problems" with the story, I don't believe this version for an instant.

  7. Yeranen Yaakov gives over the Mabit on later geulah dates.


Jeremy said...

I look forward to seeing what you have to say about the birkat hamazon issue. If you actually get to it, please be sure to deal with it in context of the greater issue- namely, when do we reject the way we've been doing things all along because it seems a better way exists.

This seems to be a case where there's no trade-off. What do you lose by making the bracha over a kos? Aside from the way it's always been done, of course.


Joe in Australia said...

Making birkhat hamazon on a kos is expensive and (since we use undiluted wine) does not suit our lifestyle, where people generally do not drink wine for breakfast or before driving. But I have a solution for this - R' Moshe Feinstein strongly discourages the hypothetical use of milk or sweetened tea for kiddush or havdala. But (as I recall) he mentions that the requirement for birkhat hamazon is less strict. Perhaps we should be saying birkhat hamazon over a cup of tea or coffee? There certainly seems no social cost to this, and making a brakha on a cup after the meal doesn't even involve a brakha levatala. So at the worst it's just an extra cup of tea or coffee!


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