Sunday, July 27, 2008

Interesting Posts and Articles #58

  1. "Offensive" advertising for Telma breakfast cereal ripped down. And the blame goes to the chareidim. However, there is no hard evidence that they did it. The advertising is said to be modest, but does show a woman's face, which the chareidim might well be against. On the other hand, we do not get to see the ads in question.

  2. Meanwhile, we see that charedim are indeed against provocative billboards. My Machberes column this week is full of "Tznius News," about efforts to change advertising through legal means.

  3. Yeshiva World News reports that Shas pushed through Knesset the Yeshiva Ketana law, which gives funding to yeshiva ketanas, even though they do not meet state standards at teaching secular subjects. The article does not delineate exactly what they are not teaching, but it is unfortunate that they think it is a good thing to raise a bunch of ignoramuses. Torah study is important, but so is a knowledge of mathematics and biology. See this article over at HaAretz as well.

  4. Getting to know all about you....
    "I too come from a frum home (chassidish) and never associated with a male until my marriage. I actually found the idea of not really knowing my chassan until marriage thrilling. After we married we had the chance to connect in such a deep way and to talk about things I had never discussed before with anyone.
    The relationship exclusively between just the two of us made it so dear. I already loved telling him about myself during our sheva berachos."
  5. At "New Scientist" a video interview with neuroscientist Chris Frith on "How we don't really use reason." He describes an experiment in which people are asked to choose the more attractive of two women, from photos. And in 20% of the cases, they then present the photo they did not choose and ask why they chose that one as more attractive. And the people come up with plausible reasons.

  6. Over at Lion of Zion, a discussion of the merchah kefulah.

  7. Preparing physically for the Tisha BeAv fast.

  8. And finally, a letter to the editor in the Jewish Press:
    I have recently done my own, unscientific, study of the behavior of people in shul and have come to the following conclusion: There is no such thing as tefillah b’tzibur in our shuls. What we have are gatherings of yichidim, individuals, who are all davening in the same location but who appear to have no idea that they are supposed to be part of a congregation.
    In fact, our communities appear to be obsessed with the question of how each individual can improve his or her davening without giving a moment of thought to the question of the tzibur. Why did Chazal place such emphasis on tefillah with a minyan if all we are worried about is our own individual tefillah? Granted that at Borchu and Kaddish one can hear the entire shul answer. But what about during Psukei D’zimra?

    While you are saying Ashrei or one of the other parts of Tehillim, what is being said by the people around you? What about during the brachos of Krias Shema? If you pay attention, I think you’ll notice the same thing I did. We are not a tzibur – at least not when it comes to tefillah.

    I am not so convinced that it would be a good idea to have everyone daven every single part of davening in synch. As noted on the Web Yeshiva blog by Rabbi Chaim Brovender, the definition of tefillah betzibbur is specifically Shemoneh Esrei, and not kaddish and barchu, though one needs a minyan to say them.

    And while I privately lein Shema to myself, when I occassionally daven Friday nights in Etz Chaim, and everyone together leins out loud the first paragraph of Shema, I find that it disturbs my concentration and thus kavana. There are benefits to contemplation, and prayer, at one's own pace. The same I find true for Carlebach minyanim in which they sing together all of kabbalas Shabbas. As such, I think it would be awful for my concentration to institute this for psukei dezimra as well.

    Indeed, Chazal talk of spending an hour before tefillah {=Shemoneh Esrei} meditating in order to put oneself in the proper frame of mind. I think that psukei dezimra does an admirable job towards that end, but would not, so much, if it were coordinated as a tefillah betzibbur.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


You say (or sing) Kabbolas Shabbos? That's a surprise! Are you makpid on the 7 mizmorim, or do you sometimes add one or leave one out so that you should not be suspected of being a heretic?

Re: The Yeshivos Ketanos:
What they are not studying is math, english and ezrachut (civics?). These are subjects that can lead to Kefira, CH"v. English is assur from the times of the Rabbonim who assered it with a Cherem. Math might lead to heresy and civics is simply nonsense.


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