Sunday, March 11, 2012

Interesting Posts and Articles #367

1. At Hirhurim, Contemporary Amalek. Ancient support for the following idea:
 R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik quotes his father as explaining that, as regards the mitzvah to battle against it, Amalek is a status and not necessarily a nationality. Even after the dispersal and loss of national identity, someone who acts like Amalek — attempts to destroy the Jewish nation — acquires the status of Amalek and becomes a target of this commandment. R. Soloveitchik specifically applied this to the Nazis.
2. An Aspiring Mekubal considers the following miracle story:

Moving on, so the story was that the Shemen Sasson looked like an angel as he walked the earth and even grew several inches every Friday.  This story was of course reported to someone from someone else who heard it from one of the Talmidim of Rav Kaduri, who witnessed this with his own eyes.
He finds some problems with the story, including that Rav Kaduri arrived in Eretz Yisrael after the Shemen Sasson's death, and that eventually, the Shemen Sasson would be enormously tall. And he does not like the phenomenon. In the comment section, that he does believe many other (improbable) miracle stories.

I think the particular story is defensible. Rav Kaduri could have told over the story from someone who witnessed it, and the talmidim simply assumed that he had witnessed it himself. And he could have stood taller on Friday after having his bath, or in anticipation for Shabbos, or for some other reason. People don't have to take the story so darned literally.

There is a rabbi in Queens who absolutely looked difference every Friday night. His beard positively glowed light green. Eventually, someone asked him about it, and it turned out that this was the effect of the soap he used on erev Shabbos to wash his beard; he was unaware of it.

But people make up stories, or consciously or subconsciously elaborate upon stories, or take things literally that were intended as illustrative guzma, for a number of reasons, including some that are cultural.

3. Did Obama have Breitbard killed because he knew too much? No, he didn't. Here is the promised revelation.

4. I didn't realize that Shmarya was covering the story, but he has been. At Failed Messiah, some posts about whether Deborah Feldman lied in her memior, Unorthodox.

5. And at Frum Satire, a guest post: Dear Deborah Feldman: It took your lies to realize my truth. This from a secular person who decided to become religious because of the lies in the book.

I call bull. The anonymous (by S. Simon) piece reads like it was written by a frum person, probably FFB, pretending to have been secular, in order to paint religious Judaism in a positive light. Not that I am saying that Judaism isn't positive, mind you. But this,
 The ignorance you speak of: cover -ups, radical beahvior, extremism, and lies, exists ten fold in the Secular world – so you have just made me realize how badly I need to better my life and become Orthodox ( in fact I may publish a book one day called “Orthodox” the scandelous rejection of my secular life. I will include just how many in my family slept around, how many kids in my class were raped, how much drugs and alcohol I’ve been exposed to, etc.- and nobody secular would jump up and defend my “story” because A. It would be no big deal.and B.there would be nothing to defend- since its a life we all know too well. 
e.g., was just over the top.

6. At Life In Israel, Lakewood Gvirim Have Had Enough Of Drunk Collectors On Purim.

7. At Mystical Paths, whether Biblical Warrior Arts are kosher.
Surely you have better things to do with your time.
     Without commenting on this man or his system, know that when you spend your time involved in martial arts, you gain a militant headspace, and you walk around all day long looking for trouble to strike. You will have to watch out for yourself!
     When you spend your time remembering G-d, you gain a spiritual headspace, and you walk around all day long looking for Jews to help…and G-d watches out for you!
     Which way would you rather spend your day?
They are talking about the ridiculous Abir Warrior (TM). Read all about him here. See also the Talk page of that Wikipedia article, where they discuss the authenticity of the picture of the Habbani Jewish bodyguards he claims were his ancestors.

8. The Jewish Worker wonders how R' Elyashiv is doing.

9. At JDN, מהם הגדרים בטיפול פסיכולוגי על פי ההלכה?
פסק הלכה עליו חתם הגאון רבי יצחק זילברשטיין שליט"א, ואליו הצטרפו מרנן גדולי ישראל שליט"א, קובע לראשונה סייגים ברורים ומחייבים בכל הנוגע לטיפולים פסיכולוגיים • העיתונאי בנימין רבינוביץ' שוחח בעניין עם ד"ר מיכאל בונצל מנהל המערך הפסיכיאטרי במעייני הישועה
At Daat Torah, noting the report and translating it to English: Rav Zilberstein - cautions & restrictions of psychotherapy involving male therapists & female clients:
This psak Halacha written by Rabbi Yitzchak Zilberstein, Shlita, and signed  by the great sages of Israel and very important rabbis and judges, shlita, states for the first time, clear and binding boundaries with regard to psychological treatments, and states that is "a duty on the therapeutic manager to look after the separation" between therapist and patient of the opposite sex. Furthermore "If that is not possible it is necessary to consult with the rav of the hospital as to what to do in each particular case."
From the comment section, here is Daas Torah's take on it:
it is wrong and goes against the accepted view of gedolim up till now. It is part of the problemtaic trend of separating the sexes in the name of tzniyus and avoiding bad thoughts - to the degree that men and women are prohibited from having any interaction.

In addition Rav Zilbersteins "teshuva" is not a teshuva in the traditional sense of the word. He just shows that the rabbis were concerned about the consequences of men and woman interacting and therefore he says they should go to same gender therapists. He does not address the previous discussion of the issue found in Igros Moshe, or Tzitz Eliezer but simply pulls the rabbit out of a hat. The conclusion has nothing to do with the sources he brings.

Furthermore Dr Bunzel seems intent are developing a Shulchan Aruch for psychotherapy for Jews all over the world - based on Rav Zilberstein's edicts. Rav Zilberstein is not a world class posek. If Dr. Bunzel wants to use him that is his business but he has been agressively marketing this and for some reason there are other rabbis's who have signed on to the letter - no explanation is given nor is it known what they were told the letter was all about. It really is just about a directer of a psychiatric unit in Bnei Brak wanting to know about gender separation of therapist. It is also not clear that Rav Zilberstein and Dr. Bunzel have the same agenda.

I will soon post Dr. Klafter's critique and things should be clearer.
And here is Dr. Klafter's critique. My take: I don't know enough about the topic to say one way or another, but I don't really trust Rav Zilberstein's take on this. He is the one who advised Rav Chaim Kanievsky that Jews indeed have a different number of teeth than gentiles, and praised a girl who cut herself for the sake of tznius.

10. Here at parshablog, posts so far for parashat Vayakhel.


Jr said...

Can you offer your opinion on the "contemporary amalek"? Ever since I heard of this, I have found it very troublesome that people take it seriously. Are we supposed to believe that such a huge chiddush is to be revealed only By rav Chaim or his son from a diyuk kal in the Rambam. Shouldn't there be a stronger mesorah for such an earthshattering chiddush.

I listened to rav bar Chaim from machon shilo ( is that his name, I forget) who also holds like the Soloveichiks, but he adds that it is based on darshinan taama dikra, which makes it better. He proves this from a different Rambam, but it still doesn't sit well with me. any thoughts?

Zeir sham said...

Y sofer ( born white ) claims to be a decendent of the hasam sofer and the baal shem tov

Adam Zur said...

He said: Amalek is a status and not necessarily a nationality.

what does this mean? he wants it to be a mitzvahs to fight the enemies of Israel? right? But that already is a mitzvah. self defense is in the category of milchemet mitvah,
and from what i can can tell the actual definition of amelek is clear. Is he trying to make a halacha based on a nice vort?


Blog Widget by LinkWithin