Monday, May 21, 2012

Interesting Posts and Articles #368

1. Rabbi Fink's thoughts about the Internet asifa -- "I was fooled":
I was led down a path of fantasy and imagination. I was told that the rabbis won’t be banning the Internet at this event. After all, the slogan was “We can’t live with it, we can’t live without it”! There are going to be vendors teaching people about Internet filters at the event! So I believed in this myth. I believed that the new approach was going to be different. I believed they were going to advocate responsible Internet use. I believed that the standards would be subjective. I bought a bridge.
Related, a guest post at Rationalist Judaism: The Internet Asifa: A Great Kiddush Hashem.

2. Mekubal points out that the 60 Days To Redemption is misciting rabbis and kabbalists to say things they never said.
My first thought was, “This is interesting I’m a student of the Rav and have heard nothing like this.”  So after shiur I asked Rav Benayahu.  His response was, “זה לא אמת אף פעם לא אמרתי “ This isn’t true, I never said this.  The Rav was quite upset and said whoever was saying this had to be crazy, as was committing the aveirah of Genivat Daat.  The Rav also asked me if I could contact this person and ask them to remove his name and that of Yeshiva Nahar Shalom from his website.
3. At Revach, R' Shlomo Zalman Aurbach about new clothing during sefira.

4. At Wolfish Musings, considering the fins and scales proof.

5. At Hakirah, A Letter to Almeda: Shadal's Guide for the Perplexed.

6. Life in Israel on the Tefillah of the Shalah, the latest and greatest segulah / tefillah.
Today's segulah is to say the prayer written by the Shlah Hakadosh for parents on behalf of their children. The segulah is to say this prayer on erev Rosh Chodesh Sivan. I actually said the tefillat ha'Shlah today while on Har HaBayit - while one cannot bring prayer books up on Har HaBayit, cellphones are allowed, and I was able to access the "Tefillat HaShlah" easily with an Internet connection. Yes, there is reception on Har HaBayit. Take that, Asifa people!
7. Divrei Chaim on the famous urban legend, or perhaps true story, of "where's the beef"?
A man flying somewhere by plane gets up to wash after his kosher sandwich is brought to him by the steward. As he makes his way back to his seat, it dawns on him that his fleishig sandwich is now basar she'nisalem min ha'ayin (the halacha is that meat left unattended around non-Jews may not be eaten). Despite his hunger, the man does not eat the meal. Seeing that he has made no move to eat the sandwich, his non-Jewish neighbor in the next seat inquires as to whether he is going to eat his food. The man offers some explanation about not really being hungry and tells the neighbor that he can have it. The neighbor then confesses that he has never many Jews and was curious as to what the kosher meal tasted like, so he switched the sandwich with his own. 

Aren't Chazal brilliant, coming up with this law of basar she'nisalem min ha'ayin? Even when you think there is no danger, the halacha is smarter than you are, isn't it? 

I really, really dislike stories like this. 
And he explains why -- that in such a case, it would have actually been permitted to eat it, etc., etc. I heard it as happening to the son of a specific rabbi, X. That does not make it a non-manufactured story, but if it did actually happen, then it could be that the person was not actually aware of the halacha. And that others were inspired by this, and popularized the story.

Maybe. People create "inspirational" stories all the time, which are neither halachically nor theologically correct. Consider the following one I recently saw, about the power of "Amen", from a recent issue of the Queens Jewish Link.

To not eat or drink unless someone is there to say Amen to your bracha does not seem to me to be halachically grounded. Rather, it is part of the fetishization of this new word of power, Amen. And just think, had this girl not done this, then her classmate would have died of cancer! And this is known via a quasi-prophetic dream, so we know that it is theologically true. This is sick and misguided, IMHO. It is a creation of a folk religion. Rashbi said that the best of women engage in witchcraft. I would say that this is specifically the best of women, as they invent ritual and theological effect, in non-deliberate fashion. This because they are not given a proper and effective outlet.

8. Here on parshablog, check out my posts on parashat Bemidbar.

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