Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Interesting Posts and Articles #178

  1. Rationalist Judaism takes note of the timtum halev letter noted earlier. And an active comment section.

    What is the difference between rationalists saying that X, Y, and Z are forgeries and non-rationalists saying that A, B, and C are forgeries? Why should the former be scholarship and the latter a lack of intellectual integrity, in the main? I do believe that there is a difference.

    In part, because it is used as part of an arsenal of apologetics, where if they cannot creatively reinterpret a source, they claim it a forgery. In part, because there are good reasons to suspect a forgery. And in part, because in certain kabbalistic circles, pseudonymous writing can be established (by various precedents) to be fairly common.

  2. Shearim reacts to this cartoon from Haaretz:

  3. The Yeshiva World on another Shabbos of protests and clashes in Yerushalayim.

  4. Shirat Devorah reprints an article about war and peace, related.

  5. The Sun reports on an interesting lawsuit:
    A WOMAN is suing an Egyptian hotel claiming her daughter got pregnant - from using the swimming pool. Magdalena Kwiatkowska's 13-year-old returned to Poland from their holiday expecting a baby. Magdalena believes the teenager conceived from stray sperm after taking a dip in the hotel's mixed pool. She is now seeking compensation from the hotel.
    Highly unlikely. Then again, halacha gives credence to the story in the Alphabet of Ben Sira, in which Yirmeyahu's daughter becomes pregnant from him in a similar fashion.

  6. Rafi G. of Life In Israel wonders why Israeli police still keep initially insisting on autopsies on chareidim, when they know it will be undone by chareidi protests.

  7. On the Main Line on America in the Bible.

  8. It turns out the social security numbers are predictable.

  9. Apparently, the Yated this past week criticized both the authors of Hirhurim and vesom Sechel. One point I disagree with:
    Surely Miriam, Devorah and Hulda were well-versed in every area of Torah and halakha and provided instruction and guidance to Am Yisrael in their time. All of these women must have received a thorough education in Torah Shebichtav and Torah Shebal Peh and were certainly counted among the premiere Torah authorities of their age.
    I am not so sure of this. Yes, it is nice to say in order to encourage and inspire teenage girls. And some have flimsy support. E.g. Miriam in Rashi and Targum on Michah 6:4; and Devorah in Tosafot about the requirements to be a judge; and I don't know about Chulda. But my sense of these figures are not in line with this. We know Miriam was a prophetess, in that Hashem spoke to her, and that she led the woman in song at the Yam Suf. But how do we know that she was the general spiritual and legal guide for women of her time? Devorah was a shofetet, which often means savior/ruler. Yes, the people came to her for mishpat, though she seems to respond by calling for Barak to wage war. If it indeed means judgment, then I would posit that it is by means of her prophetic ability. Ad haElokim yavo devar shneihem. And Chulda, at least in her Biblical role, acts as a prophetess. But not every prophet or prophetess must be the same as the talmid chacham of the generation.


Rabbi Joshua Maroof said...

My statements were based upon a combination of the texts of Tanakh and the midrashim/mefarshim on the texts. Rashi on the passage in Micha states that while Moshe educated the men, Miriam taught the women.

Devorah is clearly referred to as a judge, and the sources in Torah Shebal Peh consistently construe her as an halakhic authority.

Hulda is described in Melakhim as yoshevet biyirushalayim bamishneh, which is interpreted by most commentaries, and the Targum, as in the house of study.

E-Man said...

You forgot Devorah, she was a judge too. No?

joshwaxman said...

while i was aware of some of this (i'll check into chulda), do you honestly believe that historically this was the case, and that this is peshat in the psukim?


Rabbi Joshua Maroof said...

By Devora there is no question in my mind that it is peshuto k'mashmao.

In terms of Miriam and Hulda, while I could entertain alternative possibilities with regard to the specific pesuqim, I think that it is generally understood that a significant portion of a prophet's job is to instruct the people, hence necessitating knowledge of Torah. Not to mention the Rambam (and Hazal's) view that nevuah presupposes profound knowledge.

joshwaxman said...

fair enough.
personally, i don't think that is the general meaning of shofet as it is used in sefer shofetim.


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