Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Interesting Posts and Articles #229

  1. Wolfish Musings about an incident in Israel in which chareidi women discover that working at a call center for the government is not in keeping with their tznius dictates:
    “She answered a call that was supposed to go to a pharmacy,” recalls Rav Idan. “On the other end of the line was a man of about 60, who wanted advice on pills designed to increase virility. He asked her what it does. Because she was unfamiliar with the product he had to explain it to her and then proceeded to ask detailed questions. Only when she realized what he was referring to did she hang up on him.”
    It does seem plausible that this is a result of a culture clash rather than deliberate provocation by elderly Israeli men.

  2. In a province of Indonesia, a ban on tight trousers for women. While I can sort of appreciate the logic behind this, I am glad to live in a country which is not a theocracy. What is your ideal? For example, would you like Eretz Yisrael to be run in accordance with your particular religious standards, whatever they may be? What is lost?

  3. HaEmtza has a problem with people praying at Rachel Imeinu's tomb. But this is a problematic practice (IMHO) with a nice long history and a strong halachic defense. Also, a post calling for boycotting the Toldos Aharon Rebbe and the Toldos Aharon Yitzchak Rebbe, who are in America fundraising.

  4. Life In Israel about how the boycott of Hadassah is done on the backs of the little people:
    A 16 month old baby in Jerusalem - from Mea Shearim and the family is an Eidah follower/member - got burned by a pot of boiling water. Horrible burns - second degree over 20% or so of his body. The best hospital to care for such an issue, and the one recommended by the paramedics at the scene, is Hadassah Hospital. They are also the only ones in Jerusalem with a burn unit, and therefore the only ones capable of best treating serious burn patients like this.

    The father refused to allow his kid to be taken to Hadassah because of the ban on the hospital.
    Though it seems to me that if they, the hamon am as well as the leadership, truly believe that Hadassah staff are Nazis who conduct experiments on chareidi children, it is sensible for them not to want to be taken there. It doesn't seem, based on the summary of the father's refusal, that this is the reason in this case, but this is second-hand. Even if so, it is ultimately the fault of the leadership for convincing people of this.

    And he also relates that
    A story was going around recently about a Lubavitch couple who went childless for 28 years after their marriage, at which point they had a baby, and this was 20 years after they received a bracha and a dollar from the Lubavitcher Rebbe. They were crediting the Rebbe's bracha 20 years earlier as the reason for the successful birth.
    and wonders how in the world they know to relate the 20-year old event with the result.

  5. Dr. Marc Shapiro on the current false claim that Rabbi Gorelik never taught gemara at YU. As well as a partial justification for calling the sefer Meshaneh Halachos. In terms of the former:
    In the latest issue of Or Yisrael (Tishrei, 5770), p. 255, Heller publishes a letter in which he corrects what he had earlier written. He was contacted by Gorelik’s son, R. Mordechai Leib Gorelik... Apparently it bothers Gorelik that his colleagues might think that his father actually taught Talmud at YU. So he told Heller the following, and this is what appears in Or Yisrael: R. Yerucham Gorelik never taught Talmud at YU, and on the contrary, he thought that there was a severe prohibition (issur hamur) in both studying and teaching Talmud at this institution, even on a temporary basis, and even in order “to save” the young people in attendance there. The only subject he evertaught at YU was “hashkafah”... Yet in the end, it isdistressing to realize that the rewriting of history might actually work. In fifty years, when there are no more eyewitnesses alive to testify to R. Gorelik’s shiurim, how many people will deny that he ever taught at YU?Any written record will be rejected as a YU-Haskalah forgery, or something that God miraculously created to test our faith, all in order to avoid the conclusion that an authentic Torah scholar taught at YU.[6] I have no doubt that the editor of Or Yisrael, coming from a world far removed from YU, is unaware of the facts and that is why he permitted this letter to appear. I am certain that he would not knowingly permit a blatant falsehood like this to sully his fine journal.
    And Hirhurim has the text of the letter,
    אמנם זה עתה שמעתי מבנו של הגאון ר' ירוחם זצ"ל ה"ה ש"ב הגאון רבי מרדכי לייב גארעליק שליט"א שר' ירוחם גארעליק זצ"ל מעולם לא לימד שם גמרא כלל ואדרבה הי' סבירא לי' שאיסור חמור הוא ללמוד או ללמד גמרא בישיבה יוניברסיטה אפי' לשעה קלה ואפי' ע"מ להצילם, ועל אף שבידוע פעל רבי ירוחם זצ"ל רבות בכדי להציל את התלמידים דשם ולהוציא יקר מזולל, מ"מ לא עשה זאת ע"י שיעורים בגמרא אלא אך ורק ע"י שיעורים בהשקפה בלבד עכת"ד.

    as well as firm written proof that Rabbi Gorelik indeed taught gemara at YU.

  6. Hirhurim on how to pronounce vekovei / vekoyei.

  7. Material Maidel on secular college vs. the Stern / YU route. An excerpt:
    I think you can tell the difference between someone who went to a secular college versus someone who chose the YU/Stern/Touro route. Having a conversation with someone in Group 2 feels like talking with someone still in high school, who only knows about the world from what Mommy, Daddy and their Morahs have taught them. Because let's face it - YU is basically just an MO high school for older kids. Same people, same cliques, same ideas.

    People I know in Group 1 are a far more mature lot. They've been 'exposed' to people of other cultures and opinions. Which is not a bad thing, no matter what your Rebbe has told you.
    I don't really agree. There are likely serious and mature people in each.

  8. Here on parshablog, teva and the teiva. And the source for not using a fork.


Yosef Greenberg said...

1. Regarding the ban in Indonesia, while I agree that its a slippery slope, and I try not to hold other people to my religions standards, there still would be *some* benefit to some of these laws in my hypothetical Jewish state.

Same sex marriages come to mind.

I'll try to blog about it tomorrow.

2. On you're Ha'emtza note; You wrote about it in the past, but, IIRC, you weren't so defensive then. Contrarian?

Calling for the boycott. Is it lashon horah?

Hillel said...

R' Waxman,

Re Kever Rachel, I was surprised that nearly everyone at the Harry Myles blog assumed that Rachel is buried at kever rachel, and the question is one of avodah zarah or the like. I was under the impression she was not buried there (or at least it is difficult to claim she is). I'd appreciate your take on the question.

To reproduce my comment from the Myles blog:

I was under the impression that it was virtually undisputed that the only thing we know for certain about Kever Rachel is that Rachel is not buried there.

To claim that she was buried south of Jerusalem makes many, many pesukim (and other primary texts) extremely difficult to understand. See, e.g., Yirmiyah 31:14-16, I Shmuel 10:1-6, even Bereshit 35:19 and 48:7, which refer only to Beit-Lechem (implying the one in Binyamin, see Nechemiah 7:26) and not the one in Yehudah, which is almost universally referred to as Beit-Lechem Yehudah (see numerous places in Shoftim). Additionally, various medrashim talking about Rachel either weeping for her children as they leave or rejoicing as the return to Jerusalem from Bavel make no sense if she is buried south of Jerusalem. Did the Babylonians courteously march their prisoners south just to fulfill the medrash, then make a u-turn to bring them to Babylonia?

Finally, as Yitzchak Etzshalom notes, there were excavations at a place North of Jerusalem called 'kubur banu Isra'il' which yelided "five identical stone structures, measuring about 50 feet by 10 feet", consistent with a burial shrine.

Anyway, if there's strong textual reason to believe Rachel was buried South of Jerusalem I'd be interested to learn of it, but have heard nothing to date justifying that identification.


joshwaxman said...

contrarian, certainly. :)

but also because there what i am doing is acknowledging that there are sources interpreted by some one way, and yet saying that one should not hold that way. but if one is not going to attack the rather strong foundations and precedent, then it seems to me more difficult to criticize the practice...

re: lashon hara -- i'm certainly not issuing a pesak. but i think it may be leToeles. for example, if this quote is accurate:
"The rabbi of the Toldos Aron group (to which the woman arrested for abusing her son belongs) announced today at a demonstration in Kikar Shabbat that the members of his group should continue fighting the woman's arrest "until the last drop of blood."
then i think it might be a very valid question as to whether we should be supporting such institutions; and whether such a strong message, in this current economic environment, can help improve the spiritual climate. as malachi says, וישב מצרף ומטהר כסף...


Yosef Greenberg said...

"but if one is not going to attack the rather strong foundations and precedent, then it seems to me more difficult to criticize the practice..."

Good point. A mention of all sides to an argument is always a good idea.


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