- According to reports in the New York Post, the chassan who died shortly after his marriage committed suicide, because he had been sexually abused earlier in life, and because he was therefore not able to cope with certain aspects of marriage. From the article:
"I know Motty, and I know he didn't jump. It was an accident," one said. The rabbi who spoke at his funeral called reports of suicide "wickedness."In a comment on one of the jewish news sites, someone related that his rebbe, who knew the family, dismissed the "lashon hara" that it was a suicide, saying that there are all sorts of spurious speculations, such as that he jumped, that the mafia killed him, that she pushed him (at which point the whole class laughed).
My thoughts on the matter: Firstly, it is none of our business. This was a terrible tragedy, regardless of what happened. And the family does not need these rumors and speculation, whether or not it is true. And given the stigma that unfortunately attaches to suicide and victims of sexual abuse, such can even be harmful to other members of his family. And I can understand the urge to change the truth, if indeed the truth was changed. As the midrash states on parshat Vayera, for the sake of Shalom Bayis, even Hashem deviated from the truth.
On the other hand, the changing of the truth in this area, and the labeling of those who say the actual truth as purveyors of lashon hara, particularly in this area, is troubling, and therefore deserves attention. If he did commit suicide, then it would be because of him being deeply troubled about something. He was certainly not a rasha for this. Rather, he was not in his right mind at the time. Casting the possibility of it as lashon hara betrays that people think of it as something shameful, and a stigma, which is quite unfortunate. Also, if he did it for the reasons given, then the culture of cover-up in this area, and the excessive concerns about lashon hara, are troubling. Rather, if it was true, then the person who abused him years back was to a large degree responsible. And we should publicize his case, as well as the abuser, as a murderer via grama. And maybe we could help people understand how serious this sort of abuse is, and how it should not be swept under the rug.
And see Emes veEmunah's take on it.
- According to Vos Iz Neias, the "Sanhedrin" is warning against H1N1 (swine flu) vaccines. I am not a medical expert. However, a pesak is only as good as its input. I'll say this about chareidi Gedolei Hador, and I will say this about the Sanhedrin. And in this case, it seems that the "Sanhedrin" was driven to their psak by the faulty conspiracy theories of a conspiracy theorist, Dr. Daisy Stern, who thinks that this is all a plot. To cite her words:
In this paper I am presenting overwhelming evidence, gathered from as many sources as I was able to find in the short time available to me, that the H1N1 INFLUENZA PANDEMIC of 2009 has been planned for a long time; that the 1918 Pandemic influenza virus was deliberately reconstituted in a lab, for the express purpose of creating a need for influenza virus vaccines; that the vaccines create a huge financial bonanza for the companies manufacturing them; that the majority of those companies have a very dark, Nazi past ; that they are interconnected ; that the vaccines are very unsafe, and in fact are experimental drugs with very serious problems; that whoever receives these vaccines will be an unwitting guinea-pig; that there are very dangerous side-effects to be expected from these vaccines, even many deaths; that the surreptitious lacing of the vaccines with live infectious agent and/or anti-fertility vaccines is a very real possibility, considering the history of a majority of the companies manufacturing those vaccines; that this plan was engineered by the WHO and the UN; that it is being financed by mostly private non-profit organizations that heavily subsidize the UN; that the goal is WORLD CONTROL AND EUGENICS, DEPOPULATION OF THE PLANET - eliminating "undesirables" - to about 9/10 of its current population; and that this plan, put into effect on July 7th , 2009, received the full blessing and guidance of Pope Benedikt XVI who demanded a UN "with teeth" and a NEW WORLD ORDER, in his encyclical CARITAS IN VERITATE, released to the world at the exact same moment as the decision was made to inoculate the whole world.... and that only select people will be able to receive the real antidote to the H1N1 influenza virus, a monoclonal antibody jointly manufactured by the Burnham Institute, the Dana Farber Institute, and the CDC.
No, this is not a plot of the New World Order, to depopulate the planet of undesirables. If the Sanhedrin truly believes this, then they are shotim, or at the least are so misguided about science and the world that their pesakim in such matters should be disregarded.
On the other hand, there was other testimony, from another doctor, about how the type of vaccine differs from the one offered in the US. I don't know enough to evaluate that. But perhaps if they are basing themselves on that only, their words have more credence. However, the Sanhedrin here is offering no pesak, and are not experts in this matter, that they should be a bar hachi in this matter at all.
- The Muqata has a bit of back-history on the Intel Shabbos issue. My take on it is as follows. Whatever the merits or demerits of the particular case, this fits into the general trend of certain chareidim flexing their muscles with street protests which inevitably turn violent, in order to try to compel secular Israelis to accord with the halacha. Despite the hope I have that more people keep halacha, there is a broader concern I have for religious (and non-religious) pluralism, and coercion by a bunch of violent crazies. This manifests itself in street protests, but also in tznius squads, beating up women for sitting on the wrong area of the bus, and death threats for mixed seating pizza stores. And these protests do not decrease chillul Shabbos (the Jewish workers would be watching TV at home anyway), do not increase ahavas chinam, and hurt the Israeli economy. They are stupid and counterproductive.
- Vos Iz Neias has a video in which Elior Chen's victims speak out.
- Gamespot on how a visually impaired gamer is suing Sony online.
- Fink or Swim on a giant plot hole in an episode of "The Good Wife"; I spotted the same problem. And his take on the episode in general. And Emes veEmunah on that same episode.
- The Rebbitzen's Husband on cantors behaving badly, in which Aruch Hashulchan tries to defend the dubious contemporary practice,
- Rationalist Judaism promotes a shiur he will be giving on Chazal and Flat-Earthism. This is the second part.
In this part, I will be reviewing how various authorities over the ages dealt with it.
- Here at parshablog, check out my Toldos sources, useful for preparing the parsha.