Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Interesting Posts and Articles #300

  1. Rabbi Eidensohn's book on child/domestic abuse is going to be sold in Eichler's of Flatbush. Shkoyach!
  2. A review of Torah UMaddah at Hirhurim:
    Rabbi Lamm offers six models for Torah Umadda: Rationalist (study to understand God’s world), Cultural (the best of secular culture helps us appreciate Torah), Mystical (everything is sacred), Instrumental (study what helps you understand Torah better), Inclusionary (the world is Torah), Chasidic (sanctify studying the secular). No soul, I suspect, can be attracted to all six. Every reader will reject one or another as insufficiently or overly spiritual, too weak or too strong, or for other subjective reasons. With the added effect of Rabbi Lamm’s passionate prose, one can hardly read the book without experiencing strong emotions. This book is powerful stuff.
  3. Yeranen Yaakov on achdus:
    The two things that should unite us all are the Torah and Eretz Yisrael. But unfortunately, there are those who disrespect both. 
  4. Remember that Matzav report about Rav Elyashiv refusing to "pasken" that mashiach should come?
    Rav Klein, during a recent visit to Maran Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, asked the centenarian gadol to pasken that Moshiach should come. Rav Elyashiv politely refused, stating, “We cannot pasken [that the geulah should come], but rather, we should believe in and anticipate [the coming of the geulah].”
    A reaction, at Mystical Paths:
    And thus was another opportunity lost. 
    Why?  Why can they not pasken that the geulah should come?  
    Why???  Because we won’t believe it?  Because they can’t pasken when they believe the klal won’t listen?  
    If the pashkevilim (the announcement posters in religious Jewish neighborhoods) are to be believed, the gedolim have no problem paskening on almost any issue – clearly including many that the klal are going to ignore.  Whether or not one should advertise on a particular web site, or go to the concert of a particular religious musician in a religious forum with religiously organized seating, whether a charedi school should be banned for teaching a class in science and english, whether the specific features of a cell phone are allowed or not. 
    Every little thing down to not only what’s an appropriate level of dress but the actual size, shape and color of the garments can bear the signature of Daas Torah and pronouncements in the name of the gedolim and poskim of the generation. 
    My take on this is that this is a chassidish or Lubavitch thing. See this video, in which the Lubavitcher Rebbe attempts to get Rabbi Moshe Stern, the Debriciner Rav, to "pasken" that the redemption must already come, based on the Talmudic statement that all the end times have passed. Rabbi Stern shrugs, and after given the Talmudic reasoning, says "for the hand to write, the mind must know how to say it." And see this video, where he attempts to persuade Rabbi Yochanan Sofer, Av Beis Din of Erloy, of the same, with a bit more talmudic reasoning. Rabbi Sofer evades this by saying that the Rebbe has already paskened, and we all agree with the Rebbe, and surely the Heavenly court must immediately agree.
    I think the reason for this evasion by various poskim is NOT that they don't want moshiach to come, or that they think the people will not follow, as Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths suggests. Rather, they more likely consider it ridiculous to pasken something like this. Pesak is reading the sources, understanding metzius, and determining what the proper halachic course is to take. But you cannot pasken reality. Sure, there is a gemara that sometimes pesak can impact reality. For an example from Kesubos, a beis din decides to add a leap month, and so a girl is not three years and a day, but under three years old, and there are physical ramifications to this. But that does not mean that one can generally pasken reality into being. We say in Bavli that we follow the Sanhedin even if they say on right that it is left. (The Tosefta, or Yerushalmi, has a different version that only if they say right is right and left is left do we follow.) So what if Beis Din decides to "pasken" that the sun will rise in the West tomorrow. The beis din below paskens, and so the beis din above follows. Will the sun rise in the West instead of the east? No. The beis din simply erred in their pesak.
    This is an important point, that certain things are not open for pesak, and reality is one of them. Rav Kanievsky maintained that Jews and gentiles have a different number of teeth. Someone recently published a lengthy article maintaining that this was the truth, based on a number of Rishonim and Acharonim who said likewise. But one cannot pasken reality. Similarly, I remember telling my chavrusa in Yoreh Deah of new evidence demonstrating the extreme likelihood that Rav Yonasan Eibeshitz was indeed a closet Sabbatean kabbalist. His response was that the rabbonim had already paskened that he wasn't. But one cannot pasken reality.
    Pesak is not some magic formula that causes reality to change, in the misnagdish mindset. This counter to the worldwide pesak by Chabad rabbis that the Rebbe was beChezkas mashiach.
    Aside from this, there is also the belief that is improper to try to force Hashem's hand in this manner.
    But anyway, there is a much easier approach that getting Rav Elyashiv to issue a "pesak". Simply have Rav Aryeh Z. Ginzberg call up Rav Chaim Kanievsky and give him a shpiel about how much we need mashiach. Finally, have him ask whether Rav Kanievsky would like mashiach to come. Rav Kanievsky would then give a two-word answer: bevadai, bevadai (certainly, certainly). People could then print up kol korehs claiming that the pesak of Rav Kanievsky and "all the gedolim" is that moshiach should come. If we are expected to all follow pashkevils without question, then certainly the yeshiva shel maalah should follow it as well.
  5. Shirat Devorah posts in defense of geulah bloggers.
  6. A Mother In Israel wonders about the physical, social and developmental impact on placing veils on little girls.
  7. This is amusing: Pac-mecium:

  8. At the Cool Jew, pulling the mike away from a rapper.
  9. More on the Jewish music front. Kol Korehs put up against Mordechai ben David, not for performing before a mixed audience, or even men and women separated by a mechitza. For performing for an audience of solely women!
  10. And at a R' Amnon Yitzchak event:
    A riot broke out on Monday evening during a lecture by Rabbi Amnon Yitzhak in the Jewish community of Emmanuel in Samaria, after his opposers played music during his lecture. Rabbi Yitzhak's followers sprayed tear gas at the rioters in response.

    Rabbi Yitzhak stopped the lecture due to the riot and left, News Agency 24 reported.
  11. Here at parshablog, see what I have to say about Kefar Kanya and the authenticity of the Zohar.


Yehoshua said...

"Rabbi Yehoshua Sofer, Av Beis Din of Erloy"

Rabbi *Yochanan* Sofer, no?

joshwaxman said...

yes. thank you.

Hillel said...

Any chance R' Eidensohn's excellent works will be re-edited or reorganized? There's a lot of great material in Vol I and reference material (original and translated) in Vol. II, but the works are not very user-friendly, and they desperately need better layout and editing (and spellchecking!)

Mike S. said...

How on Earth can anyone "pasken" when the geulah will come? The gemara (Sanh. 99a) describes it as (acc. R. Yochanon) "God revealed it to His heart (as it were) but not to His limbs." Or God hasn't revealed it to the angels (Resh Lakish) Does anyone think modern Rabbis, however great, are the equal of those two? If one could "pasken" that the geulah should come, does anyone imagine the Tannaim and Amoraim wouldn't have?


Blog Widget by LinkWithin