- A new blog by Eli Gurevich, posting a regular translation and commentary on the Tosefta. Check it out.
- Wolfish Musings muses about the propriety of listening to secular music with Biblical tie-ins in the bathroom. There was something similar back in 2005, about a chumra, or psak given over the airwaves, not to sing Hebrew in the shower.
- Because of bureaucracy and an error in calculation (in which school days were 5 minutes too short), students in one school in California will have an extra 34 days of school.
- Another tzedakka organization transforming charity into segulah. This time as "insurance" against accidents, guaranteed by Dovid Hamalech. Chaptzem has the flyers, and the discussion pro and con. (h.t. RationalistJudaism)
- Hirhurim considers woman slaughterers in "a loose translation of notes from lectures by R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik."
- A 2 million dollar fine for file sharing. Yikes.
- Bizarro considers Rapunzel, and proper hair care.
- A patch of highway "adopted" by neo-Nazis. In response, it might be renamed after Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel.
- Torah Ideals reprints an article (did he write it himself?) from Hamodia on the mystical power of Amuka. Some excerpts:
After a year of shidduchim without a single likely prospect, I had accosted my Rosh Yeshiva in a moment of frustration and demanded asegulah guaranteed to hasten the process of finding a wife.
The Rosh Yeshiva replied without a second thought. “Go to Amuka,” he said. “Go as soon as possible.”
He lit a cigarette and strolled over to where Yechezkel and I were waiting for the storm to pass. “Shalom aleichem,” he said.
“Aleichem shalom,” we responded together.
“How did you get here?” he asked, looking around.
“We walked,” Yechezkel answered.
“Gevaltig!” he cried. “If you walk, it is guaranteed to work. Girls, ten minutes.”
The girls had settled down to reciting Tehillim, as Yechezkel and I had begun to do on our arrival. I couldn’t help but look them over, imagining that I might be married to one of them in a year’s time. Then, as my gaze wandered, I noticed that Yechezkel himself had returned to his own prayerful meditation. Right, I thought; back to business....
Does the segulah really work? I can only speak from my own experience. Yechezkel met his wife two weeks later. He was married two weeks before the yahrtzeit of Yonason ben Uziel, which falls on the 26th of Sivan.
And me? After hiking back to Tzefas, Yechezkel and I caught a bus to Yerushalayim that afternoon. I met my wife the next night. We were married the first week in Adar, less than two months after my visit to Amuka.Some things I found remarkable was the idea that if you walked, it was guaranteed to work. Also, that saying the tehillim in order to perform the segulah was considered more "business" than considering several girls who are marriage-minded and also of similar hashkafic status that they are also utilizing this segulah. As has been attributed to Rav Yaakov Kaminetzsky, "Dee beste segula is tzu zay’n maidlach." No, I don't think Yonasan ben Uziel is interceding from beyond the grave to make these shidduchim. It is a combination of Hashem's guidance, one's own efforts, and luck and chance. So how did it work for these fellows? Don't dismiss the psychological impact of a guaranteed segulah on a person. One is more likely to subsequently view the girl one meets soon after as his bashert, since this was just after the guaranteed segulah. And attitudes are reflected by others, and so the girl might well reciprocate the attitude and feelings. Also, it does not work for everyone. All you need is 1000 people to go to Amuka who are actively in the shidduch parsha, and 5 who get engaged or married close enough after to wrongfully associate the two actions. The 955 do not write to Hamodia about how they performed this segulah and it did not work. Only one of the five will go to the trouble of writing an inspirational article. And so the segulah is bolstered. Yes, I would like to see a controlled study. :)