Monday, August 31, 2009

Interesting Posts and Articles #204

  1. Astrophysicists find an "impossible" planet, and have some theories about it.

  2. At Daat Torah, two posts explaining on a halachic basis why we should not act in accordance to the position in the Meshaneh Halachos, firstly the Beis Yosef that insistence on only Torah law would destroy society, and secondly Igros Moshe that Torah law is used as long as society functions properly. I am reminded of how the humility of Rabbi Zechariah ben Avkolus helped destroy the Beis Hamikdash.

  3. At Rationalist Judaism, Rabbi Slifkin puts out three more posts in his series critiquing Chaim BeEmunasam. In part eight, he discusses how the work deals with the view of Rav Shamshon Refael Hirsch, that Chazal can err in science. The work relegates the position to a footnote, possibly in order to more effectively hide it, and in that footnote claims it to be a forgery, an untenable position which Rav Moshe Shapiro has stepped back from.

    In part nine, he discusses mathematical errors. The work claims that even statements the gemara rejects or calls an error are in reality true. When Tosafot in Sukkah called a statement by Rabbi Yochanan an error in interpreting a statement by the Sages of Caesaria, the work claims that Tosafot did not mean to really call it an error. And gives an alternate explanation of the gemara by the Gra. But Rabbi Slikfin shows that this was indeed what Tosafot (and others) were saying, and how others, including various rishonim and the Gra, understood this to be what Tosafot was saying.

    In part ten, he discusses how the work treats the gemara about the Sun's path at night, by selectively citing only the view of Rabbenu Tam, but ignoring the many Rishonim and Acharonim who say that Chazal had erred, and ignores those Acharonim who interpret Rabbenu Tam differently that the desired way.

  4. Life in Israel has a picture of a funny poster depicting a segulah for happiness. As well as an excerpt from an interview with the co-owner of BeChadrei Chareidim, and the outing of the Burqa Lady's abuse.

  5. Emes veEmunah on the motivations for photoshopping the Chaim Berlin photo.

  6. At parshablog last week, I posted on an interesting Rambam, who quoted a gemara and a pasuk in Ki Teitzei, seemingly incorrectly, by making the wrong instance of naarah malei. I decided to assume that it actually was malei, and showed how one could then reinterpret the gemara differently, consistent with this. Then, other questions on the Rambam also disappear. As Dr. Marc Shapiro pointed out in the comment section, we know the Rambam's masorah -- it is the same as the Aleppo Codex, which is almost exactly that of the St. Petersburg Codex and the text of the Teimanim. We see he refers to the Aleppo Codes in setting up the halachot of a sefer Torah. And I agree; but am not convinced that it is the case that in every instance Rambam bothered to consult the Codex. The Rambam himself noted the reason to appeal to the Codex was because of many disputes in these things. So there might have been some local texts this way, and the Rambam did not necessarily think to consult the Codex for something so "obvious". Of course, I might be biased by my having come up with the creative explanation.

    At any rate, I spotted the following sefer at, Torah Or lehaRambam, by Chaim Neuhausen, which goes through about 300 instances of Rambam citing pesukim wrong, and trying to determine the cause. He does not offer an explanation of this variance, that I can see. But this might be an interesting sefer for me to consult in the future.

  7. Orthonomics critiques financial advice from Lazer Beams.

  8. At Revach, a cute vort on Ki Tavo, from the Belzer Rebbe, explaining how the pasuk (according to a midrash cited by Rashi) which mentions the Bet Hamikdash first, and then giving us the land, is in line with a Targum Pseudo-Yonatan on Yisro. I post on this Targum here.

  9. The Jewish Worker considers the application of ועשית ככל אשר יורוך to Gedolim.

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