Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Interesting Posts and Articles #103

  1. I've heard much of this already, but this is interesting stuff:

    The Rabbi Israel D. Rosenberg Educational Institute of Cong. Etz Chaim of Kew Gardens Hills Proudly welcomes as SCHOLAR-IN-RESIDENCE For Shabbat Vayishlach, December 12-13 RABBI DR. YAAKOV ELMAN Of Yeshiva University
    Dr. Elman’s presentations will be:

    Friday night, 8:00 pm: Modern Orthodoxy: The 4th Century Version
    At the home of Deena and Larry Rabinovich 144-33 72nd Dr.

    At Seudah Shlishit (following Mincha at 4:00 pm):
    Middle Persian Language and Wordplay in the Talmud Bavli

    Motzaei Shabbat, 8:00 pm
    Tzaddik V’ra Lo—The Problem of Suffering According to Rava and Rav Yosef
    Suggested donation $5.00

    For more information: 718-380-9510

  2. Hirhurim links to a Lion of Zion post, about Sforno's Jewish Work Ethic. But the comment section is mostly about how to write Seforno in English.

  3. WolfishMusings, BlogInDm, and Yeshiva World News link to a YNet article about Chareidi complaints about a new CD -- that the singers were raised from the dead to perform it.
    According to Rashi, what might have caused the confusion was the fact that old, low-quality vinyl tracks have been cleaned up and now sound as if they had been recorded recently. Another possible reason for the misunderstanding may have originated in the advertisements for the new CD saying “The great masters of Chazzanus come to life.”


    One of the tracks that must have triggered some confusion among listeners combines into one track three separate performances of the same song by three different cantors.
    While there are probably some who would actually beleive this and be confused, and while there is some degree of superstition in the Chareidi community, I really do not see it plausible that they really thought this. Rather, the complaints were:
    "How is it that the cantor knows to wait for the orchestra? There must be some sort of spell here – is this séance? Does the Halacha allow tampering with the voices of the dead?"
    That last sentence is key, and all the rest might well have just been their way of expressing it. These voices don't belong to you, and what gives you the right to digitally manipulate their art in this way. How is it that the cantor knows to wait for the orchestra.

    It seems more than likely to me that (a) this is a bid by a company to attract attention to its product and thus maximize profit; (b) if the complaints are reported accurately, they were likely not "flooded" with complaints; (c) since the complaints are being reported second-hand, and to a news source that has made fun of Chareidim in the past for sensationalist purposes, the complaints are not necessarily being reported accurately.

    So the question might not be whether Chareidim are gullible enough to believe a CD was made via seance, but rather whether the rest of us, due to our own biases, are gullible enough to believe an advertising gimmick and slanted reporting that Chareidim, at large, believe this.

  4. As I mentioned in last roundup, via HaMercaz, R' Cunin saying that "they will understand that it is the Rebbe who runs this world until he comes to take us out of Galus now." As I said then, "Presumably, this will be explained as צדיק גוזר והקדוש ברוך הוא מקיים. But regardless, it gives us misnagdim (and perhaps many chassidim) the heebie jeebies -- to ascribe divine attributes to a venerated yet deceased human being, while connecting to belief in his messiah-ship."

    The update here is that this was now picked up at two sites with pretty active comment sections -- DovBear and Emes veEmunah. So you can see the discussions and justifications. I knew there would be justifications -- in this case, e.g., tzaddik yedod Olam, and that a Rebbe acts as a conduit, etc. And that if you have a problem with it, it is because you do not understand the vocabulary, or because you are not well-grounded in certain kabbalistic and chassidic concepts. Perhaps this is indeed true, or perhaps this is a further, improper extension. And the problem perhaps is that each stretch is just another extension of something which was problematic to begin with. Kabbalah was initially opposed, chassidus was initially opposed as heresy, and each extension can be grounded in previous ideas, even as they themselves were iffy stretches.

  5. Technology review discusses Zoetrope, which lets you see a web page over time, and how it changed.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It just boggles the mind how someone can defend a statement that says anybody but G-d runs the world! I mean what do we say in davening every single day?! The amount of cognitive dissonance and intellectual cartwheels that needs to be done is astounding. It just goes to show that people can rationalize anything if they have some sort of emotional stake in the matter.


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