- The Muqata has a sign from the New York City Health Department, in Yiddish and English, instructing people to wash their hands with soap, then wash again and say Asher Yatzar. I think this is necessary because otherwise people think that the ritual hand-washing is sufficient for the swine flu.
- Aish HaTorah on honoring abusive parents. An excerpt:
It must be noted, however, that psychological and emotional factors have weight in the equation. If parents are abusive or the relationship is a toxic one, children are not obligated to tolerate pain or suffering. They may provide for their parents’ needs from a distance or through others. Subjecting oneself to unnecessary punishment is not mandated, indicated or desirable from a Torah perspective.
The Talmud relates the instance of one of the great Sages who had a mentally deranged mother. It describes the abuse she subjected him to even in public settings. On one occasion, he was holding forth to an august body of scholars and his mother strode into the study hall and lashed out at him in front of the entire assemblage. The rabbi did not flinch or react. Clearly, he did not take it personally. He waited for her tirade to end and gently and lovingly escorted her out.
- At the Seforim blog, a review of Minhagei Lita. To excerpt, and give a taste of the tone of the critique:
The author apparently spent eight years in Telshe Yeshiva in Lithuania, between 1930-38. It does not appear, according the brief biography at the end of the book, that the author went anywhere other than Telshe. See id. at 101-02. He makes no mention of visiting more established and larger Lithuanian cities of Vilna, Kovno, or Mintz for example. Indeed, in his introduction, he provides that he is "not so presumptuous and foolish to claim knowledge of all or even most of the area of Lithuanian avodah." Id. at 4. But, throughout the book, the author fails to remember this disclaimer. Instead, for example, the author asserts that "the minhag in Lithuania was to beat the Aravos," id. at 48, or that the neither "in the Telshe Yeshivah or anywhere else in Lithuania," id. at 50, did they repeat to the two readings of the zekher. How the author knew that these customs were uniform throughout Lithuania is unclear.
This is not the only piece of his own advice the author ignores.
- Do these Orthodox behaviors indicate the Orthodox Jews don't believe in the power of prayer? E.g.:
90 percent of the congregation comes late If you had an important meeting with someone far more important than you would you dream of shuffling in long after the start time? Of course not. The fact that the majority of nearly every Orthodox Jewish congregation arrives late to shul tells us something important about how the services are really viewed - at least by the latecomers.I am not persuaded. Maybe for some. But let us say that you have a regular meeting, 3 times a day, with the same important individual. And it is a group meeting, and people typically "waste" the first portion of the meeting anyway.
- Rechovot on a service for writing the perfect dvar Torah.
- At Revach, the Debriciner Rav on using an electric dryer for netilas yadayim.
- The burqa lady petitions the Red Cross. Just like certain people demonstrated in front of the UN on behalf of the Münchhausen mother. I understand working within the legal system to defend someone you think innocent, but this feels to me like a betrayal. I understand why Rafi G. wonders whether it is mesirah.
- HaEmtza on the tyranny of the majory imposing chumros on the public.
- A settlement in the flying imams case.
- Here at parshablog, what to do when the masorah opposes the Zohar, on the spelling of a word in Lech Lecha.