Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Interesting Posts and Articles #311

  1. Haveil Havalim from last week, and from this week.
  2. The Cool Jew notes that Rabbi Heller blasted a recent Tzivos Hashem concert, and has an interview with the organizer. See also Blog In Dm about this.
  3. ThanBook that parts of the Zohar may not be from Rashbi, but from later Amoraim, based on a selection of Zohar. I am not so sure that this is even so controversial. Consider the following quote from the Zohar -- 569. And, Tannaim and Amoraim, HEAR: the extra Nefesh on the Shabbat is for the whole of Yisrael together, just one -- and here as well --The next commandment is properly to sacrifice the sin offering: Tannaim and Amoraim, you have come from the aspect of the attributes of the Holy One, blessed be He. -- I suppose one could dismiss this as Amoraim (even in the context of Tannaim) meaning something else. And the various named Amoraim who post-date Rashbi are also quite evident in the Zohar. But I thought this is a one of the standard explanations, that this was a text in development and that some insertions were of a later date, by Amoraim. But indeed, there is a maximalist position that I have seen asserted. Answers I've seen offered include that this, and any anachronism, is not problematic, because Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai wrote it with ruach hakodesh; or that Rashbi visited these Amoraim (or later) after his death, much like Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi, and taught them Torah.
  4. Rabbi Fink on a Jerusalem Wedding.
  5. Hirhurim on what is a Jewish belief:
    In a post on the Seforim blog (link), Prof. Marc Shapiro writes:
    Today it must be admitted that Judaism and Christianity share a belief in the Second Coming of the Messiah. While this is an obligatory belief for Christians, for Jews it is, like so many other notions, simply an option. The truth of my statement is seen in the fact that messianist Habad is part and parcel of traditional Judaism, and, scandal or not, most of the leading Torah authorities have been indifferent to this.
    To which R' Student writes:
    Just because some Jews believe it, and believe that Judaism teaches it, does not make it a Jewish belief in anything other than a sociological sense. It is as much, or as little, a Jewish belief as is liberalism.
    As I recall, this is something akin to a dispute between Dr. Shapiro and Dr. Berger, whether a daas yachid somewhere in Jewish history makes something an (acceptable) Jewish belief. And it is a descriptivist vs. prescriptivist approach.
  6. At Beyond BT, why are BTs willing to blow up familial relationships?
    Based on some recent posts and comments on BT Martyrdom, it seems that many BTs get tremendous spiritual pleasure from blowing up familial relationships. 
    What are the reasons for this willingness to cut oneself off from their families with these acts?
  7. Daat Torah with a translation from R' Shalom Schwadron, that the Torah is always right in conflicts with perceived reality.
  8. Hirhurim with a review of a new book on Esther.
  9. At Jerusalem Kosher Newschodosh updates:
    On Dec 21 we announced that we had received a p’sak from HaRav Elyashiv that stated that wheat bran and oat bran have no problem of Chodosh, even if they come from Chodosh grain. 
    It turns out that the p’sak was based on the incorrect assumption that such bran today is basically produced for animal food. When it was explained to HaRav Elyashiv that such bran is very commonly used for human food, he stated that bran coming from Chodosh grain should be treated as Chodosh. 
    Therefore, where oat bran is listed as an ingredient, the usual packing cutoff date of Jul 26 should be used and for wheat bran Aug 9, as has been used in the past in the Guide.
    Thus, it is not just expert knowledge of halacha, but a firm grasp of the metzius, the reality on the ground. And everyone, to the most chareidi, agrees to this. So what about the strong probability that oats are not one of the five grains? Well, Rav Elyashiv does not agree to that, so it is not an issue. See here for a brief overview of the issue:
    From R. Chaim Jachter, Gray Matter volume 1, p. 239 n. 1:
    oatsSome question exists regarding the identification of the Gemara’s “shibolet shu’al” as oats. Rav Yosef Efrati (Mesorah 13:66-71) notes Professor Yehudah Felix’s claim that shibolet shu’al could not possibly be oats, and Rav Efrati vigorously disputes this claim. He cites Rav Yosef Shalom Eliashiv as supporting the view that shibolet shu’al is undoubtedly oats (the view accepted by almost all Rishonim). Ezra Frazer reports that Rav Aharon Lichtenstein does not flatly reject Professor Felix’s claims, but he believes that one should continue to treat oats as shibolet shu’al, absent absolute proof that shibolet shu’al is something else. Rav Hershel Schachter has told this author that in case of great need one may use oatmatzah at the Pesach seder. In general, Rav Schachter wrote this author that one should try to eat other mezonot foods together with oat products to avoid any doubt regarding the berachotbefore and after oats.
    Not everyone agrees, see R’ Michael Broyde’s comment, made over ten years ago.
    This excerpt from R’ Jachter caused quite a stir on a blog called Hirhurim a few years ago – see all 58 comments.
    See here for a more complete discussion of Felix’s objections to oats.
    R’ Efrati’s argument is explained here. I like his ending:
    The response concludes with a quote from Rav Moshe Feinstein …that another 1000such [logical] proofs [such as those offered by Felix] would not change the tradition.Also Rav Eliashiv decided that shibbolet shual is oats for all laws in the Torahwithout any kind of doubt.
    Good enough for me.
  10. At Mystical Paths, PANIC! Or not. As a followup to this post about Jews attacked in England, and sparked in part by one of my Nir Ben Artzi posts.
  11. Here is a cute video of twin baby boys having a conversation:

  12. The 2011 edition of the Absolut Haggadah, at their new website. I'll have to check to see what they changed for this year. In the meantime, you can read my review from 2010.

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