Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Interesting Posts and Articles #174

  1. Dixie Yid quotes the author on Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh on why stringencies have increased:
    Every posek or opinion in Chazal speaks and paskens according to the root source of that person's soul, and this is the ratzon Hashem because He created those people from their own specific source for a Reason and caused the rules of psak to accomodate a wide variety of results...

    Because the generations have decreased in holiness and purity since Creation,and because permittedness (koach d'heteira) is rooted in purity/holiness and forbiddenness is rooted in tumah/impurity, as the world has descended to greater impurity, the power of forbiddenness has increased, as we have seen.

    This is obviously G-d's will because it is the product of His infinitely exact providence.
    This is one way to approach the phenomenon, to acknowledge that it exists and declare this trend to be Hashem's will. Of course, such an approach is an alternative to understanding the sociological forces at play in this shift in methodology or conclusion. And it undermines chances of countering this trend, after recognizing it, for it is, after all, Hashem's will.

    One could, for example, point out that there is a modern trend (patterned perhaps after the personal approach of Chasidei Ashkenaz?) of trying to satisfy every position, rather than being machria in favor of one position. This is exemplified by the methodology of the Mishnah Berurah (and IIUC, not necessarily the Aruch Hashulchan). And in order to satisfy every position, in many instances of machlokes, one will be compelled to adopt the more stringent approach. And as time goes on and as new acharonim have different takes on new and old situations and sources, one will be compelled to select the more stringent of them. Perhaps this approach is justified, in certain instances, but over time it will only lead to greater and greater straight-jackets. And there is a place for adopting chumros, but there is also the Talmudic criticism of one who adopts the chumros of both Bet Shammai and Bet Hillel -- a fool walking in darkness.

  2. Life in Israel on the cigarette that sparked the violence at the Shabbos protests.

  3. And via Life in Israel's roundup, someone's reaction to receiving a tznius pamphlet in RBS.

  4. Rationalist Judaism continues his analysis on the Rambam's view of reasons for mitzvos, which contrasts with that of the Netziv.

  5. At Beyond BT, on shidduch dating for a shy guy. The following paragraph struck me:
    Everyone knows that the biggest rule in shidduchim (besides serious davening) is that one must have someone with whom to consult. In BT yeshivas, a guy is fortunate if he makes that vital connection with a rebbe with whom he feels comfortable. If the guy feels the rebbe understands him, then he’ll take the leap of trust in the rebbe’s judgment, even if it seems that he personally would do the opposite of what the rebbe says. People do make mistakes, but a guy must trust someone, and as my Rosh HaYeshiva once said, one has siyata d’shmaya when he listens to his rebbe.
    It does certainly pay to have a trusted mentor against whom one can bounce off ideas and thoughts, but the girl is not marrying the rebbe. I am not certain that this bittul hadaas is entirely appropriate here. I would say that "A guy is fortunate if he makes that vital connection with a girl with whom he feels comfortable. If the guy feels the girl understands him, then he'll take the leap."

    To go against your own gut and follow the rebbe's judgement, when the rebbe did not go on the date, and the rebbe is not the one who will love the girl and have the girl love him, seems misdirected. But yes, bring supernatural siyata dishmaya into this, and make this into a case of the already overextended Daas Torah! This seems incorrect to me. And how is the girl to feel? The purpose is to create a loving relationship between two people, and is it really his love when he gives up the decision-making power to his rebbe? If the girl knew that it was the rebbe who was proposing, would she accept? And is someone who is not mature enough to make his own decision of who to love and marry really ready to marry?

  6. On the Main Line has an extensive summary and review of The Search Committee by Rabbi Marc Angel. A worthwhile read. His conclusion:
    I must say that despite some problematic portrayals and misperceptions of the yeshiva world, the book succeeds in accomplishing what it sets out to do, which is to analyze a big divide in contemporary Orthodoxy, and to take a side.
  7. At parshablog, I continue analyzing the latest gentile number-of-teeth dvar Torah, showing a likely path of falsely deducing that dad means teeth. And it's a funny one!

  8. Shirat Devorah believes that the shadow in this video is actually Michael Jackson's ghost:



    It isn't. I don't know whether it is a shadow, or CNN's airbrushing out of someone walking across the hallway at this inopportune moment, spoiling the shot.

2 comments:

Freelance Kiruv Maniac said...

"Perhaps this approach is justified, in certain instances, but over time it will only lead to greater and greater straight-jackets. And there is a place for adopting chumros, but there is also the Talmudic criticism of one who adopts the chumros of both Bet Shammai and Bet Hillel -- a fool walking in darkness."

This talmidic criticism is being quoted out of context.
See what I wrote to Akiva in the comments to this post:
http://fkmaniac.blogspot.com/2009/06/few-broadsides-by-chaim-b.html

joshwaxman said...

so you say.
regardless, it was not in fact the general rule that people adopted the stringencies of all positions and established that as halacha. what percentage of instances in the gemara do we have a machlokes and, rather than being machria, we adopt both just to be safe?
(we do see it on occasion as a midat chasidut, such as in terms of the order of putting on shoes and then lacing...)

kt,
josh

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