Monday, January 11, 2010

Interesting Posts and Articles #245

  1. A comment, purportedly by Rav Batzri's son, accuses the Rabbi Daniel Eidensohn, of the Daat Torah blog, of lying about Rav Shternbuch's rejection of the dybbuk as mental illness (and of putting the dybbuk in niddui):

    הרב יצחק בצרי
    כבר בורר שאתה לא הולך על פי דברי גדולי ישראל בגלל אתה מקיים
    בלוג, ולא רק בלוג סתם אבל בלוג מלא אם שקר ולשון הרע. עכשיו גם בורר שאתה  שקרן. הכל שרוצה לדעת את האמת צריך רק ללכת לישיבתנו ישיבת השלום איפה הם
    יכולים לראות הפסק דין עם חתימת הרה"ג שטרנבוך שליט"א שהוא נתן לאמהרה"ג
    המקובל הצדיק יסודי עולם דוד בצרי שליט"א. תגיד לנו הרה"ג שטרנבוך שליט"א
    נתן לך רשות לשקר בשמו

    on the basis of a letter proving that he did indeed put the dybbuk in niddui. Such that not only does he go against the Gedolim, by running a blog, but he is a liar. Daat Torah responds that Rav Shternbuch's response is that this is a forged document. Then, in the comment section, suggestions that the comment itself is a forgery! Subsequent info showing that this is the case.

  2. A Mother In Israel has an ongoing series of posts about marriage in the religious Zionist community. (See part one, on dating readiness; part two, on meeting the one; and part three, on genetic testing.) Regarding the last, she speaks about Dor Yeshorim:

    I once heard Professor Ari Zivotovsky on the topic of genetic defects (any errors are my own). He explained that the religious Zionist or modern Orthodox community has the biggest problem with genetic testing. In the charedi community, shadchanim (professional matchmakers) are in control and don’t consider a match before getting genetic approval from Dor Yesharim...  
    Dor Yesharim works like this: The organization approaches high school and yeshiva students, take blood samples, and run tests for a variety of genetic diseases...  
    Individuals do not receive the results of their tests. Instead, they get a personal number. When a suggestion is made, someone must call Dor Yesharim with both code numbers, and an answer is given within a few hours as to whether they are compatible or not.  
    Why not just let individuals test themselves? After all, if they are old enough to get married surely they should be able to handle knowing their genetic status. It all comes down to a stigma.
    And the post continues. Check the post out, as well as the comments. Stigma, though, for being a mere carrier, is likely to be a greater problem for the chareidi community, not necessarily the religious Zionist community. On the other hand, it is likely much cheaper than independent testing for two individuals.

    Here are the flaws I see with Dor Yesharim, and why it is better to go with individual testing. (1) You know the results yourself, and can thus decide what you want to risk or not. (Especially since not all the diseases they test for are fatal; or if certain costly precautions could be taken.) (2) Bad experience -- when calling up to find out what tests they do, in order to do it independently, the person on the phone refused to disclose this, for why should they encourage "competition". It could be that the people manning the phones are just idiots, but still! (3) I overheard some idiot in YU saying how he was getting his friend's Doe Yesharim number to tell his kallah. The kallah would never know. This is a drawback -- there are idiots in the world who will take advantage of the anonymity. (4) If you do independent testing and discover you are not a carrier for disease X, then there is no need to do a similar test on your future spouse. (5) Similarly, if you and your spouse have been tested and are not carriers, then you know that regarding all children as well. That is how I did it.

    One think I've been thinking of recently is that instead of going for these costly and painful multiple genetic tests, you could instead get your entire genome. A website like will take a saliva sample and give you access to your entire genetic code. All for about $500, or less. And they have tools on their website that lets you run your own queries on the data; and they have the Ashkenazic battery of genetic diseases available. And then you have the data, and can do your own searches for other things -- e.g. the kohen gene, tendency towards heart disease, etc., so that you can make other informed life choices.

    The "problem" is that it is incompatible with Dor Yesharim, since the latter does not share carrier information. So if you want to marry someone who already went through Dor Yesharim, one of you will need to do the other's test.

  3. Useful intelligence lost from the underwear bomber because they decided to treat it as a law enforcement issue?

    "He was singing like a canary, then we charged him in civilian proceedings, he got a lawyer and shut up," Slade Gorton, a member of the 9/11 Commission that investigated the Sept 2001 terror attacks on the US, told The Sunday Telegraph.
    "I find it incomprehensible that this administration is treating terrorism as a law enforcement issue. The president has finally said that we are at war with al-Qaeda. Well, if this is a war, then Abdulmutallab should be treated as a combatant not a criminal.

  4. At Rationalist Judaism, revisionist rationalists.

    This sort of historical revisionism is well known amongst traditionalists. But I discovered a fascinating new example of it amongst people who, one might expect, would be very different. Here we find someone claiming that Chazal themselves did not believe in demons (as actual entities), and here he claims that Ramban and all the other Rishonim did not believe in them either.

    This is not only untenable, but absurd...

  5. The Muqata about how the labor party wants you dead:

    According to the Israel National Center for Child Safety and Health, wearing a bicycle helmet reduces the risk of head and brain injuries by 88 percent.

    The reasons given by Yehimovich and other supporters of the bill for the repeal include the following:

    * Wearing a helmet is "uncomfortable"
    * Wearing a helmet causes the rider to "not feel free"
    * Wearing a helmet "requires dragging the helmet around"
    * Wearing a helmet "interferes with hairdos"

    I don't know. Sounds more to me like a conservative appeal against intrusive government. Many things are bad for people -- sodium, cigarettes, fatty foods, unprotected intercourse with strangers -- yet we don't expect the government to prohibit them under penalty. Besides for the idea that the 88% figure may be based on faulty science.

  6. FailedMessiah has an archive of the spoof Artscroll work.

  7. Yachdus gives some reasons to suspect deliberate ventriloquism in the recent case of dybbuk.

    For example:

    • When he says krias shma, he has to stop in order for the dybbuk to start.
    • When the dybbuk speak he shakes "like a leaf", in order to divert attention from his slightly moving mouth.
    • The dybbuk said KS very fast, in order to be able to gloss over the harder syllables.

  8. Life In Israel reports on new pashkevilim in Bnei Brak to report those with short skirts.

1 comment:

Z said...

This is off topic and a week late but can you point me to any source explaining the simple sense of the pasuk ויעש להם בתים?


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