Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Interesting Posts and Articles #256

It has been a while since these roundups, and so some of these links are slightly aged. Not too much, though.

1) Haveil Havolim has started up again. It is a nice roundup, and you get to check out interesting posts on blogs you don't usually follow. They also now have a FaceBook group. Here is #343, #344, and #345.

2) Rabbi Lazer Brody tells over a warning he was reluctant to share in the past:
Many people have written and asked what was the third thing that Rabbi Yehuda Zev Lebowitz said before he died to Rav Shalom Arush. I didn't want to repeat it. But, this past week, Rabbi Nir Ben Artzi said the same thing in his weekly shiur in Hebrew; "There will be a sharp increase of shock in the world and severe hatred of the Jews!" The main points of the shiur are translated to English at Rivka's Bat Aliyah blog.
Meanwhile, if you don't plan to make aliya in the near future, do two things:
1. Start praying every day that you and your family will be able to make aliya;
2. Do what you can to spread emuna - that way, you are Hashem's shaliach (emissary) wherever you are.
Rav Lebowitz ob"m, Rav Nir Ben Artzi, and the autistics have all said the same thing. No one can say that they didn't know.
In terms of the last statement, that "know one can say that they didn't know", I am not sure that this is really true. What if you are walking down the street and a lunatic, frothing at the mouth, says to you that the aliens are coming, that Obama is a secret Muslim alien from Krypton is disguise, that he is Napoleon, and also that Hashem told him that it is going to rain today. And then, it rains that day, and you neglected to bring your umbrella. Could you say that you didn't know?

It is foolish to believe the autistics, for reasons I have elaborated on in the past. (In short, the facilitated communication that they do is not within the autistics' control, as even scientific proponents of facilitated communication have made clear. They are Ouija boards being deliberately or non-deliberately exploited. Other autistics, depending on the case, might either be real or not real.) And if Rabbi Lazer Brody believes the autistics are really talking, then he is either ignorant or foolish.

Rav [sic] Nir Ben Artzi is not a rabbi, but rather a self-declared psychic. And his concrete "predictions" have failed in the past, and his "successes" are fairly easy for any intelligent person to duplicate. (See here.) If Rabbi Lazer Brody believes that Nir Ben Artzi is really a psychic, then he is either ignorant or foolish. Indeed, a lot of Rabbi Brody's beliefs are of a similar nature, it seems to me.

Now he is telling me about a deceased hidden tzaddik, who said the same thing, though not within a specific timeframe. I don't know how to evaluate such claims. During his lifetime, he was hidden. And now he is not living, to be able to converse with him and evaluate if he is for real. So I don't know that I would consider this as more than a doubt.

It is a simple equation. For R' Lazer Brody, it is 5 + 5 + 20 = 30. For me, it is -10 + -10 + x, where x is an unknown.

Here is Shirat Devorah's take:
I'm inclined to believe the last words of a tzaddik, such as Rabbi Lebowitz zt"l, especially as they were said prior to his passing, although I don't think he pinpointed a date, whereas ben Artzi has said it will happen this week.   Ben Artzi has often been incorrect both with events and timelines - he is able to see things, but so far has not been able to give accurate dates for his visions, which caused many people to dismiss him outright.  I guess we'll just have to wait and see.  On the bright side, to date, most of his negative predictions have not come to pass. 
It is interesting that Nir Ben Artzi has made a prediction of a specific date, something not said by Rabbi Lebowitz.

3) Shul Politics on the kindness of seat eviction.

4) A practice that seems to be spreading as folk-religion. Doing "Chatzos". That is, being completely ready for Shabbos on Friday at Chatzos. It is a nice idea, and it has it merits. But there are aspects of it that I dislike. Here are their rabbinic sources to bolster this.

5) Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is coming out with a book on Kosher Jesus. Some takes on it. From Hirhurim, Fink or Swim, and On the Main Line.

6) At Revach: Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, Tzitz Eliezer, & ybc"l Rav Elyashiv - Reporting Abuse If The Child May Be Placed In A Non-Jewish Home.

7) Check out Hands on the Parsha. The most recent post is on Bo.

8) A new blog is out, called Tagin in Exodus. An excerpt from the first post, to give a sense of the purpose:
MS Bodleian 202 is valuable, for it is a commentary on Exodus, from the school of the Hasidé Ashkenaz, which comments on the meaning behind these graphical features of the text. It is attributed to Eleazar ben Moshe Ha-darshan.

I know of no other such commentary, certainly not of this scope. (Mind you, the commentary comments on many other features of the text, too -- the bit about the graphical features is only a small piece of it. And if I feel like it, I might include some of the non-graphically-based comments on this blog, too.)

Each week, I hope to present some piece of this, related to the weekly parasha.
Sounds fascinating.

9) Here at parshablog, check out the Beshalach posts.


Laura said...

What do you dislike about "doing Chatzos"?

joshwaxman said...

this is too complex to explain in a comment. perhaps I'll elaborate more in a post...


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