Thursday, March 03, 2011

Rava vs. the delusional tractor driver, Nir Ben Artzi

I must confess. I am faced with a dilemma. Every week, we lain from a sefer Torah in shul. This laining is in general rabbinic in nature, but still, this is the proper thing to do. And on March 19th, we lain parshas Zachor, which according to many is a Mitzvah deOraysa. Why? The pasuk:

יז  זָכוֹר, אֵת אֲשֶׁר-עָשָׂה לְךָ עֲמָלֵק, בַּדֶּרֶךְ, בְּצֵאתְכֶם מִמִּצְרָיִם.17 Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way as ye came forth out of Egypt;



According to the gemara in Megillah 18a:

קראה על פה לא יצא וכו':
מנלן אמר רבא אתיא זכירה זכירה כתיב הכא והימים האלה נזכרים וכתיב התם (שמות יז, יד) כתב זאת זכרון בספר מה להלן בספר אף כאן בספר וממאי דהאי זכירה קריאה היא דלמא עיון בעלמא לא סלקא דעתך (דכתיב) (דברים כה, יז) זכור יכול בלב כשהוא אומר לא תשכח הרי שכחת הלב אמור הא מה אני מקיים זכור בפה:
Or, in English:
2) ONE MUST READ FROM A MEGILAH WRITTEN IN ASHURIS
(a) (Mishnah): If one reads by heart, he didn't fulfill the Mitzvah.
1. (Rava): We learn this from a Gezerah Shaveh "Zekira-Zekira"; the Torah said to write the remembrance of Amalek in a Sefer.
2. Question: How do we know that "Zekira" mentioned in the Megilah is reciting it - perhaps it suffices to think about it!
3. Answer: "Remember, don't forget" - forgetting is in the heart, "remember" must be coming to say that we must recite it.
The assumption of Rava appears to be that reading of parshat Zachor is from a sefer Torah, something written, because of the pasuk in Shemot 17:4:
וַיֹּאמֶר ה אֶל מֹשֶׁה כְּתֹב זֹאת זִכָּרוֹן בַּסֵּפֶר וְשִׂים בְּאָזְנֵי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ כִּי מָחֹה אֶמְחֶה אֶת זֵכֶר עֲמָלֵק מִתַּחַת הַשָּׁמָיִם.
(As with many gemaras, there may be several ways to understand this.) So, it seems like it should be a good thing to read zachor from a sefer Torah.

But on the other hand, according to a delusional and ignorant tractor driver who likely thinks he is mashiach, we are to collect all our sifrei Torah and send them to Eretz Yisrael:
All the Jews and all the communities in the world, collect the Sifrei HaTorah and bring them to Eretz Yisrael urgently, urgently! They will strike the synagogues of the Jews all over the world. Don't play games with the hints of HKB"H.
Yes, he couples it with a call to personally come to Eretz Yisrael as well. But people didn't heed his previous calls, just as they did not heed the similar calls of the autistics, for many many years, that destruction was imminent. What about this instruction, which is surely easier?

Should I collect the sifrei haTorah from my shul and send them to Eretz Yisrael? After all, a former tractor driver, who everyone calls "HaRav" or "Rabbi" even though he has not demonstrated scholarship and has no semicha, has said so! Who should I listen to, Hashem or a delusion tractor driver claiming he speaks for Hashem?

Also, how 'urgent' is this call? If a year passes and all shuls are not destroyed, will anyone concede that this was stupid, insane advice? What about in ten years? Twenty? Or will we use the cop-out which regularly enables such nonsense, that we cannot definitively establish it as false, because prophecy of negative events can always not come true due to teshuva.

Meanwhile, Shirat Devorah sees a plausible fulfillment or parallel in the saving of Sifrei Torah from a collapsed shul in New Zealand, as reported by Arutz Sheva. Personally, I don't think "they will strike" refers to earthquakes. And these sifrei Torah were saved. And this prediction was made today, 27 Adar Aleph / Mar 3rd, while the Arutz Sheva story occurred "A few days after last week’s calamitous earthquake", where the earthquake occurred on Feb 22. We'll see. But I see no reason to trust the delusional ramblings of an ignoramus, just because people would like to believe that the sky is falling.

13 comments:

Devorah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
joshwaxman said...

indeed. thanks!
:)

Devorah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

what's the problem here? Can't a Yid scream from the top of a mountain - "come home" "come home" - and why ain't the gadolim saying to stay away like Josh

here I wanta sing now..

Loudly but tenderly, the Shofar is sounding
Calling for Yidden to repent
Tekiah, Shevarim, Teruah, and tekiah
Awaken, you sleepers.... repent
Return, return,Yidden that are slumbering, return
Loudly, but tenderly, the Shofar is sounding
Awaken, you sleepers...repent

Why should you tarry?
The Day of Redemption is approaching
Search your actions and return in penitence
Forsake the sins you are committing, regret and confess them
For HASHEM has mercy and pardons.

Return,
return,
Yidden that are slumbering,
Loudly, but tenderly, the Shofar is sounding
Awaken, you sleepers....repent.

Anonymous said...

you write: Also, how 'urgent' is this call? If a year passes and all shuls are not destroyed, will anyone concede that this was stupid, insane advice? What about in ten years? Twenty? Or will we use the cop-out which regularly enables such nonsense, that we cannot definitively establish it as false, because prophecy of negative events can always not come true due to teshuva.

In 1993, Americans laughed at a gang of stupid Muslim terrorists who had tried to blow up the World Trade Center using a Ryder rental van, and then actually tried to get their deposit back on the van. 8 years later a gang of terrorists not all that much smarter than them hijacked four planes with box cutters and knocked down both towers, killing 3,000 people. And suddenly it wasn't funny anymore.

sultanknish.blogspot.com

10rainbow said...

whats wrong in being a tractor driver and speaking Torah. you have a problem with it. and whats wrong in asking to bring the sifrei torah home or for jews to come home? the anisemitism is so high, every where, israel is the home of the jews, why and get stabbed or killed and get blamed for everything that goes wrong in the rest of the world? if a pan am murderer can lie he has cancer and get scot free while jonathan pollard is there with no sign of hope to come out, whats wrong in a tractor driver or anyone in asking their people to come home. i dont understand why jews would want to behave like gentiles do, running each other down in public blogs .

Anonymous said...

I well remember after challenging you for one of your remarks last year, you accused me in this forum of motzei shem ra on you. And I publicly apologized after suffering untold agmus nefesh for criticizing you in public. Well, why are you one year later saying such unspeakable, ugly things about another Jew?

joshwaxman said...

Anonymous:
"Can't a Yid scream from the top of a mountain - "come home" "come home""

sure. go and do that. what nir ben artzi is doing is much closer to being a NAVI. his words are ambiguous as least, and he purports to KNOW that things are going to happen. this is closer to being a NAVI SHEKER, which is assur. he is probably in the clear though, likely being a shoteh.

"and why ain't the gadolim saying to stay away like Josh"
there are plenty of 'Gedolim' across the world who are NOT suddenly making aliyah. and those who live in Israel are not doing so because of the say-so of a delusional tractor driver.

10rainbow:
whats wrong in being a tractor driver and speaking Torah. you have a problem with it.
what was the TORAH content in these insane ramblings? Please point to a SINGLE Torah content. That it is religious in character does not count. Why do you call this speaking Torah?!

and whats wrong in asking to bring the sifrei torah home or for jews to come home?
Er... this was the very point of my post. What's wrong is that if we bring the sifrei Torah 'home', we cannot lain parshat Zachor, a mitzvah deOraysa. That, my friend, is Torah content. Sifrei Torah belong with the Jews who need them.

Anonymous:
I have no idea who you are, since like many obnoxious commenters I encounter, you use "Anonymous". But this is not motzi shem ra, which is a FALSE accusation. I am telling it like it is, and warning the public from following a navi sheker and a likely false mashiach. Rav Shlomo Amar brought him to Beis Din to prevent him from bringing his false messianism, and also declared that he is not just a talmid that is not ra'uy lehoraah, but he is an am haaretz gamur who knows absolutely nothing. is he also being motzi shem ra? was Rambam, when he criticized the false mashiach in Yemen? what about those who opposed the delusional, likely manic-depressive Shabtai Tzvi?!

kol tuv,
josh

Anonymous said...

I had a dream of Nir ben Artzi. He invited me into, his house for a meal. The people in his house included some secular teenage skate rats.

Nir ben Artzi was gracious and humble. After the meal, I left, and realized that he didn't feed me any bread!!

I think this dream means that NBA is a really nice man with good intentions and in genuinely inspired and inspiring, but he is not the person to get TORAH from.

But most importantly, he is friendly and has ahavat Yisrael.

As far as his predictions, he is not saying anything new that he should be excoriated for.

joshwaxman said...

an interesting dream, but with all due respect, i don't consider random dreams to signify much. to cite one position in Berachot 55b-56a:

R. Samuel b. Nahmani said in the name of R. Jonathan: A man is shown in a dream only what is suggested by his own thoughts, as it says, As for thee, Oh King, thy thoughts came into thy mind upon thy bed.37 Or if you like, I can derive it from here: That thou mayest know the thoughts of the heart.38 Raba said: This is proved by the fact that a man is never shown in a dream a date palm of gold, or an elephant going through the eye of a needle.39 The Emperor [of Rome]1 said to R. Joshua b. R. Hananyah: You [Jews] profess to be very clever. Tell me what I shall see in my dream. He said to him: You will see the Persians2 making you do forced labour, and despoiling you and making you feed unclean animals with a golden crook. He thought about it all day, and in the night he saw it in his dream.3 King Shapor [I] once said to Samuel: You [Jews] profess to be very clever. Tell me what I shall see in my dream. He said to him: You will see the Romans coming and taking you captive and making you grind date-stones in a golden mill. He thought about it the whole day and in the night saw it in a dream.

This was likely your impression about Nir ben Artzi even before your dream.

I don't know enough about him to know about his level of Ahavas Yisrael, but please don't think that my challenging him here stems from a lack of Ahavas Yisrael. Rather, it is an assessment, based on news reports, as well as the picture at the top of the post, that he is meshugga! You really cannot see this?

As for his predictions matching those of others, I excoriate those others! The autistics who say similar things are not really saying those things, but rather are being unwittingly used by foolish people who believe that they are "facilitating" their communication. Rabbi Amnon Yitzchak says similar things, but he is scaring the public with falsehoods, and previously predicted the apocalypse on a date which didn't arrive. He *should* be excoriated.

But perhaps Nir ben Artzi should not be excoriated. After all, he is just a meshuggena saying what he believes. The fools who *follow* the meshuggena are more at fault, I think. Also, his handlers, but they were *already* exposed as kidnappers and thieves who made off with the donation money, assuming I understood recent news stories correctly.

kol tuv, and shabbat shalom,
josh

Anonymous said...

I just want to say one or two more things. Naturally, I will continue to remain anonymous. I do not want to be personally subjected to your harsh words. I was looking at one of your other blogs where you use words like "morons" and "nudniks". In this blog you use words like "imbecile" and "meshuggena".
In the former blog you refer to no one in particular. Not so in this blog where you target a specific individual. Open any Halachot Shmiras HaLashon and see for yourself what needs correction. And to all you readers, Sefer Chofetz Chaim (Art Scroll Series) Day 107 teaches that it is not permissible to believe such information even if the statement was made - as the blogger believes, for toeles.

joshwaxman said...

"Naturally, I will continue to remain anonymous. I do not want to be personally subjected to your harsh words."

I cannot force you to reveal your identity, obviously. However, I suspect that there are more than one person posting here as Anonymous. As such, it makes it more difficult to identify who is saying what.

I ask that people post at least using a pseudonym. That allows such tracking of who says what. It also allows someone, across multiple blogs, to build a reputation, so as to know whether your words are the words of a smart person or not. Otherwise, you are just some random nudnik.

Rav Shlomo Aviner (not Amar as I wrote above) is not an anonymous nudnik, so we can weigh what he says in light of his reputation. He said: ""ניר בן ארצי אינו תלמיד חכם אלא עם הארץ, עד עצם היום הזה. כמו כן, אינו המשיח, ואינו מבשר המשיח, ואינו בעל רוח הקודש", כך פתח הרב שלמה אבינר את "גילוי הדעת" הראשון שלו בעניין. ברשימות הבאות מוסיף אבינר ומבהיר ש"אין מדובר בתלמיד קטן שלא הגיע להוראה, אלא בעם הארץ גמור שלא למד מאומה", וש"לצערנו כת משיח השקר ניר בן-ארצי הנם הוזים".

To roughly translate:
"Nir ben Artzi is not a Torah scholar but rather is an ignoramus, until this very day. So too, he is not mashiach nor an announcer for the mashiach, nor is he one who possesses ruach hakodesh... We are not speaking about a small student who has not reached the level of being able to rule, but rather of an ignoramus who has not learned anything... To our pain, the messianic cult of Nir ben Artzi, they are hallucinating.""

joshwaxman said...

Are we permitted to believe him, or are we obligated to disregard this as lashon hara?

"In this blog you use words like "imbecile" and "meshuggena"."
Where did I use the word 'imbecile'? I did use shoteh and meshuggenah, and I intended them not as mean-spirited name-calling, but in a technical way. I do believe, based on his presentation and based on uncontested news reports, that he is in fact a meshugenna. That is my, admittedly subjective, assessment.

"Open any Halachot Shmiras HaLashon and see for yourself what needs correction."
Why don't you point be to a specific page? Unfortunately, people are often to *overeager* to over-apply things they read in halacha seforim, and are improperly 'medameh milsa lemilsa'.

What are people not 'forbidden' to believe? The publicly available, *published* information about his handlers who originally discovered and promoted him? his own words, that he was persuaded by his abductors that his abduction and suffering at their hands was for the good of klal yisrael? This is public knowledge, and as such, different rules likely apply.

Please refer to a publicly accessible work. For example, the Chofetz Chaim's Shemirat HaLashon is available on HebrewBooks.org:
http://hebrewbooks.org/40542

Referring to an Artscroll 1-minute presentation:
http://www.artscroll.com/Products/LADH.html

is rather unhelpful, since not everyone has the printed work. The page you refer to HAPPENS to be accessible online. But are you really relying on this without considering the footnotes and seeing whether the case precisely matches? Also, that same page says that "one may act upon such information on the possibility that it might be true (172)." Why didn't you mention this as well, in your summary of Day 107? I would be satisfied with this level of 'vigilance'.

Meanwhile, I don't believe for an instant that the Chofetz Chaim would consider, for example, the Rambam's opposition to the false mashiach of Yemen to be lashon hara. Or, that the Chofetz Chaim thought that the Chofetz Chaim was speaking lashon hara when speaking against the evil Zionists -- "In my opinion it is clear that the Zionists are from the offspring of Amalek" -- nor he think that people were forbidden to believe what he was saying. When large segments of klal Yisrael are being led off the proper derech by a public figure, it is indeed the role of rabbis to speak up, rather than let people foolishly follow lunatics in matters of halacha and theology.

kol tuv,
josh

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