Sunday, May 15, 2011

Interesting Posts and Articles #314


  1. Scientists create all-female lizards, which clone themselves via parthenogenesis, in a lab.
  2. Moriya has a message of mussar to all the Israeli Jews:
    I personally can't stand the aliyah pushers. I also can't stand the group of navi sheker hailing from Israel who wish evil on the diaspora. They don't realize how many Israeli Jews live and work in the Diaspora, either by tele-commuting or by globe-trotting.  They don't realize that many Israeli families are made up of split families - spouses working outside the land to support their families staying in the land, for long periods of time. They also don't realize how much spiritual troubles the Israeli Jews are in and are not doing enough kiruv to help their Israeli brethren do teshuva. Sure, there are kiruv organizations, notably, for the Hebrew-speaking Israelis, which I admire, and, for the Anglos, and many small starving kiruv organizations in smaller communities, and rabbis of local communities, whose messages of teshuva go on deaf ears.
    And so on.
  3. A list of tested segulos for parnassa, health, shidduchim, etc.
  4. At Hirhurim, the lost letter of Rav Soloveitchik, on brain death.
  5. A New York Times Magazine article on the secrets of a mind-gamer. And about intensive vs. extensive reading. Nowadays, with the rise of printed books, it is no longer critical to memorize so much information. But in ancient times, there were known tricks, which were taught. Thus,
    Virtually all the details we have about classical memory training — indeed, nearly all the memory tricks in the competitive mnemonist’s arsenal — can be traced to a short Latin rhetoric textbook called “Rhetorica ad Herennium,” written sometime between 86 and 82 B.C. It is the only comprehensive discussion of the memory techniques attributed to Simonides to have survived into the Middle Ages. The techniques described in this book were widely practiced in the ancient and medieval worlds. Memory training was considered a centerpiece of classical education in the language arts, on par with grammar, logic and rhetoric. Students were taught not just what to remember but how to remember it. In a world with few books, memory was sacrosanct.
    Perhaps this is something which should be taught in yeshivot today. It would be quite an achievement to regularly have students who could memorize masechtot. HebrewBooks has Nofet Tzufim, by Rabbi Yehuda Messer Leon, is greatly based on the Rhetorica. I wonder if it includes this aspect of it.
  6. Barack the Magic Suit, a political fairy tale.
  7. .
  8. Joe Settler suggests that they have discovered an ancient murder victim, Cain:

  9. At On the Main Line, the great wives and wigs controversy of 1890.
  10. At Life In Israel, why Rav Elyashiv decided not to adopt the latest chumra / hiddur, namely black on black tefillin straps:
    Rav Elyashiv responded, supposedly, that while it is a very good and important hiddur, he himself does not want to iplement it in his own set of tefillin. The reason being that if he gets such straps, everyone around the world will say that rav Elyashiv is makpid on davka using tefillin that is completely black on both sides. They will think that tefillin that does not have the back side black is not kosher, chas v'shalom. As well, people will run to switch their straps and that will be an unnecessary expense that will have been caused. He therefore said he wants to keep his original, black-on-one-side, straps.
    See also the comment section, as to whether this newfangled chumra will even help.
  11. Discover the wisdom of mussar.

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