Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Interesting Posts and Articles #202

  1. Hirhurim on the seder and the symposium, and the suggestions that the parallels are not necessarily as meaningful as is typically understood.

  2. Rationalist Judaism, in an interlude in his series reviewing Chaim BeEmunaso, explains why he bothers to respond to the sefer. Does anyone take it seriously?

    His answer is that some people are indeed taking it seriously, and gives examples.

    I would add to this that I, as well, agree that something is poorly researched or deceptive can still be taken quite seriously, especially if the intended reader is not an expert and will not look up the sources himself, in context. I found, when critiquing a certain tznius book, that many of the purported sources don't say what the author claimed they did without some extreme kvetching. But people don't often look up sources. And in this instance, where he actually provides the citation, but modifies it by omitting words or rearranging them, people might think the source has been provided and not look it up. Especially once it has all these major rabbinic endorsements. And even if they do look it up, context is key, and that context might be what e.g. Rambam says in a different source, which lends a completely different interpretation to the source at hand.

    What about the fact that the author of this book is a minor figure, and surely these prominent rabbonim didn't actually read the work in great detail? This strikes me as no excuse, in this particular instance. While this may be true in general, this particular work sets out to show that there is only one allowable hashkafah, and in doing so sets out to ban and declare heretical other hashkafot, and those granting approbations knew this. If so, granting a haskamah to this book is somewhat akin to signing a ban or a kol koreh. And they should have learned to be responsible in their approbations, especially given the history involved here and the fact that this is, in effect, a polemic. If they read it and it is wrong, that means something. But if they couldn't be bothered to read it before endorsing it, and it is still wrong, then that is quite meaningful as well.

  3. The latest xkcd comic. Very true. Make sure to hover over the image to see the alt text.

  4. Life In Israel's interesting post roundup. One of his links is to Material Maidel's identification of the latest shidduch question, about how many hair coverings are worn by the mother when lighting Shabbos candles.

  5. Shirat Devorah still thinks the world will end this year, and so we should prepare.

  6. Vos Iz Neias on how a Beit Shemesh man was arrested from attacking "immodestly dressed" women.

    See this comment there, for the general situation regarding "immodest dress":
    while we were there, there were a number of violent incidents against women. These were not women with exposed midriffs- it was usually middle aged religious women whose cars were attacked. while these women were not covered up wrist-to-ankle, they certainly had long skirts and reasonablae-length sleeves. I personally know a number of the women involved; one is a well-know doctor in the community. This was not an issue of modesty- scantily-clad teenagers were not involved.
    Though another commenter says that in this particular case, it was two secular women wearing bathing suits, and that multiple people threw garbage at them.

    I don't know what he would consider immodestly dressed, but no matter what, this fellow does not have the right to physically attack people like this. It is good that he was arrested; and hopefully this will have a positive impact on the general situation.

    And of course, check out the comments, some of whom are real crazies, just like this fellow.

  7. Wolfish Musings on the Kennedy curse.

  8. At parshablog, Good middot make good neighbors.

  9. The haunted ham, in the Ghostbusters video game.

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