Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Interesting Posts and Articles #377

1. At COLLive, I Am "The Tznius Lady", from a misguided woman who thinks she is doing mitzvos while really regularly doing aveiros:
This may surprise you, but I asked for the job of tznius lady. I told Bais Rivkah that someone needed to stand in front of their doors and tell mothers that they couldn’t enter if they were not dressed according to Jewish law, and I offered to do the job. My family was not excited about this.

Many women would get angry at me. They’d yell at me and give me dirty looks (one woman even spat at me). When I was done, I’d sit in my car, shaking and sometimes crying. One woman yelled at me, “How dare you tell me what to wear?”

I answered her calmly, “I dare because I have been employed by Bais Rivkah, so this is my job...
Yet, it was her idea to create the position and to do this job. (She was already a teacher at the school.) That the school was misguided and followed her advice also is not to their credit, but still, she is not in the clear here. There is also this:
I spoke to a woman who teaches in one of our schools. I asked her not to wear dark- colored nail polish. She was not happy that I had called her. She said to me, “If you would just stick to the black-and-white areas we wouldn’t have such problems with tznius. It is because you pick on things that are in the grey areas, that’s why we are losing the girls.” I was almost crying.

I said to her, “Are you telling me that from a teacher in one of the Rebbe’s mosdos I can only ask for the basic halachos of tznius? Are you telling me that the girls in school don’t deserve role models? Do they have to see their mechanchos with very long sheitlach and dark nail polish?”
The problem with this is that the "grey areas" are subjective. That Mrs. Tznius Lady believed dark-colored nail polish is not tznius is her right. But she shouldn't impose it on others, since others may correctly see this grey area not as black but as white.

Also, I see that Mrs. Tznius Lady is wearing a wig with no hat. She would probably be surprised to know that according to her kindred spirits, other kanoim, everyone, all Ashkenazim, should not wear sheilets. See for example here.

After writing this, I noticed Garnel also addressed this article.

2. At Vos Iz Neias, Israel's richest rabbis become savvy businessmen. And related, at Yeranen Yaakov, Rabbi Mutzafi on charlatans:
How could it happen that impostors and charlatans have infiltrated among us - total ignoramuses who don't know how to explain one verse in the Torah or a Se'if in Shulhan Aruch. They are idol-worshippers: one draws lots, a second opens Mezuzot, a third reads Ketubot, a fourth - the soles of shoes, a fifth - the coffee mud, a sixth - letters with Lego, and the list is long. They are all idol-worshippers, who attribute to the stars, constellations, numbers, and letters powers - just not to the Torah and not to the Creator of the world, as if to say that if the Creator wanted to, He could not change the Mazal of the person, even if he had bad Mazal [ח"ו]. Because if it is like them, why do Teshuva? They could just change a letter or some other idiocy and solve all the problems. 
3. At Rationalist Judaism, great rabbinic wisdom in response to the following query:
What is the significance of a Shabbat candle that went out three times? - Revital, Petach-Tikva
4. At Matzav, a contingent to visit the kever of Rabbi Yaakov Yosef:
Davening at his kever is a proven method to be poel yeshuos, according to Kesher.
5. An Aspiring Mekubal on the Nachalaot nightmare -- a rabbinic coverup:
I just received this link in my email.  It claims to be a site carrying various letters from various esteemed Rabbis in Nachalaot.  The short of it is this.  While we all agree that having so many children with physical signs of rape is horrible.  What is worse is possible motzei shem ra, hysteria, and supposed vigilante justice(I would agree that vigilante justice is bad).  So we should all forget about all the bad things that happened.

For example, from one of the letters:
To our distress, particular individuals have risen up and done acts without the approval of the committee, such as publicizing in the media and on the Internet and the like, and embarrassing people without any investigations or inquiries of a Halachic authority, and without any Halachic permission, even to the extent of bloodshed, May Hashem Have Mercy.
The anonymous blogger who is posting this is one of the accused pedophiles. From the sidebar of his blog:
Hello, I am one of the many people that have been accused of Pedophilia in Nachlaot. There has been so much misinformation printed by the media and bloggers. I started this site in order to print the truth about what is really going on in Nachlaot.
Meanwhile, Shmarya no longer believes that there is a pedophile ring in Nachalaot. In a post about an elderly woman beaten up under suspicion of being part of a pedophilia ring:
The men believed Vorst to be part of an alleged pedophile ring allegedly operating in the Nachlaot neighborhood of Jerusalem. 

But the ring does not appear to exist.

Instead, rumors started by a neighbor of Vorst combined with what may have been one or two isolated incidents of pedophilia committed by other neighbors, combined to create a panic that has consumed the neighborhood. After police were slow to react to the initial rumors of sexual assaults against children there, parents and untrained social workers corrupted and destroyed evidence as they coached children to admit abuse that may not have taken place.
8. Also, Mekubal gives up the online fight regarding agunot. (See here and here.) As he writes:
Bringing this back to the Agunah debate(at least the one that rages on the internet).  I have found that this is overpopulated by folks who can’t read Hebrew and who have little to no actual training in halakha.   Yet they all have an opinion on what the halakha books say on Agunot.  We are told that there is only one B”D in the whole world that has the halakha correct(what utter nonsense) and all must bow before it’s decisions. 
I fully appreciate that Rav Gestetner can quote a great many sources to back his position.  In the above example both the Shakh and the Taz quote a great many sources to back their respective positions.  Ability to quote sources does not, by weight of sources alone, make one’s opinion correct.   If it did, halakha wouldn’t be about logic, it would be about math.  Add up those who are for, compare it to the numbers of those against, whichever side had the most would be correct.  Yet halakha does not work that way.
Throughout the countless hours I 
spent
 wasted on debating the Agunah issue, one thing became clear, the camp that wanted to ensure that women remained agunot, never wanted to deal with the texts(whether that was because they couldn’t or didn’t like what they found there I don’t know).  So discussion simply becomes pointless.  What you have is not people who are interested in seeing what the sources have to teach us about an issue, but want to impose their views upon said sources and thus force the sources to agree with them.  Yet another reason for the white flag above.
Related, this xkcd comic:
Argument Victory


1 comment:

Moshe said...

Re: The rabbinic "coverup" in Nachlaot

So far, it seems that *all* of the involved authorities are dismissing the massive "pedophile ring" as being little more than fears of parents. Police, social workers, Rabbis - all of them. The parents involved keep on spreading the blame - the police botched the investigation, the Rabbis are covering things up etc.....

Maybe the police, Rabbis and social workers are actually correct, and it is simply a number of hysterical parents? This is not to say that there were no cases of abuse - rather, the hundreds of abused children by a Christian pedophile missionary gang is a gross overestimation.

I was told about this pedophile group yesterday by my wife, who heard it from a neighbor. My wife was fearful for the well being of our children - after looking into this I see no reason to take more than the usual safeguards (see Rabbu Yakov Horowitz's excellent lecture on how to talk to your children).

Let's keep this in proportion, safeguard our kids, and not cause unnecessary psychological trauma to the youngsters in our neighborhood and to ourselves.

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