Monday, September 20, 2010

Interesting Posts and Articles #285

  1. At Life In Israel, videos about how to pick the arba minim such that they are kosher. And a "miracle" from Rav Chaim Kanievsky.
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  2. Mother In Israel on a sign urging modest dress in Petach Tikvah, and why it bothers her. One misguided (IMHO) commenter advises:

    Don’t feel threatened if you feel that you do your best in your modesty level (for the time being). It’s something you need to be comfortable with too or you might throw it out of the window one day when fed up.
    I think that this commenter unwittingly hits upon the very problem with the sign -- the assumption that there are "levels" of modesty, and that women dressing in accordance with a certain "level" are not yet reaching the truly best "level" of tznius. This is just not so. For example, shok be'isha erva, and the shok is either the calf or the thigh. For those who maintain it is the thigh, a woman may wear a knee-length skirt and need no stockings covering the lower leg. And this is the community tznius norm, in some communities. Women who conform to this halachically-based tznius norm are not dressing immodestly. And in keeping with the halachot of tzniut as defined by their poskim and their community, they are at tznius.

    It is not that they are tznius "at their level". Just because other communities follow different piskei halacha such that they reach other conclusions, or just because they developed different communal norms does not mean that those other communities are keeping a better, higher level of tznius. Rather, both communities are following halacha and are tznius. It is not that women with less draconian measures of tznius will some day attain a higher spiritual level and accept the "better" levels of tznius, and the only reason that they don't now is that it is too much for them.

    We wouldn't say that Ashkenazim are keeping a "higher" level of kashrut on Pesach than Sefardim because they don't eat kitniyot. We don't say that mitnagdim are keeping a "higher" level of tefillin by wearing it on chol haMoed Sukkot. The same applies, in many cases, to tznius.
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  3. Rav Herschel Schachter on the conversion controversy.
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  4. This week's Haveil Havalim, at Kvetching Editor.
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  5. Zchus Avos has a response to a post at Matzav -- Uman for Rosh Hashanah and Feel Good Judaism.
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  6. DovBear on demons in the Talmud. The question is, is the existence of demons a matter of theology or zoology? If the latter, then saying that they erred by following contemporary scientific consensus does not seem problematic.
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  7. Rationalist Judaism on Futile and Misleading arguments.
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  8. Rav Ovadia Yosef slams chareidi women who are wearing sheitels. He is entitled to his opinion, but this is an old dispute.
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  9. Honestly Frum has a reaction to a post responding to a Matzav piece arguing that it is time to put kiruv on ice. And in the comment section, the original author responds.
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  10. Here at parshablog, video of the tornado in Kew Gardens Hills, from my apartment complex. And how the Chasam Sofer may well have a position on the authorship of the last twelve pesukim of the Torah remarkably similar to that of Ibn Ezra.

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