Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Interesting Posts and Articles #118

  1. Eruv Online, with a part 2 on the Stamford Hill Eruv Imbroglio. I am no expert in the halachic dispute, but the following quote seems quite descriptive of other situations involving polemics:
    However, the most glaring example of the modus operandi of the anti-eruv cabal is the purposeful omissions of the majority of the sources who are lenient. What they have done in this kuntres is cherry pick a few of the poskim who seem to be stringent regarding a particular issue, while conveniently omitting the fact that the majority of poskim disagree with them. Moreover, they misunderstood most of the poskim who seem to be stringent and purposefully neglected to mention that all of these poskim would allow an eruv for alternate reasons.
  2. Life in Israel has two interesting posts, one about an 11-year old making the rules on a bus, by yelling at the women; and another about a psak about voting during shiva.

  3. Balashon has a post about shaked in honor of Tu Bishvat.

  4. On the issue of the confrontation over music at the wedding, Child Ish Behavior has a unique interpretation of the accusation of idolatry based on a Zohar on this week's parshah -- that Rabbi Schorr's objection was to the song Hentalach, because one should not be raising one's hands willy nilly. I think such an interpretation is farfetched. But then again, in my post on the subject, I gave my own interpretation to the accusation (idolization of the singer). And Blog In Dm has a very good point-by-point response to my post, where one such point is his take on what the Avodah Zarah accusation is -- a claim of idolatrous influences on the music, namely voodoo music. And this seems extremely plausible. Just in passing, I would say that I agree with much of his response, but one must realize that I was in turn responding to specific things that specific bloggers and commenters were saying.

    Thus, what was on my mind was e.g. this statement by one blogger:
    Even if something had been problematic with Lipa’s singing, which according to everyone there was absolutely not, was it necessary to be mevayesh Lipa berabim, in front of hundreds of people?
    (Selective bolding my own, though in the original, the entire paragraph was bolded.) I was thus responding to the idea that nothing would justify such a response. That even if he thought it was terrible, and was correct, it would be an absolute sin to respond in public to this, because embarrassing someone in public is worse than murder.

    Therefore, to respond to a few responses by Blog In Dm:
    This is irrelevant, unless one can identify a legitimate complaint. In this case, as I'll show, Rabbi Waxman has not identified one.
    I have deliberately not identified one because I don't personally believe there is one. I do not subscribe to the same assumptions as Rabbi Schorr, and believe he is in error. However, he does have these mistaken assumptions, and if that blogger and others want to argue lishitaso, that "even if" there is a problem, such actions are unjustified, then I will analyze it from that perspective and see if it is borne out.
    As I understand it, the kallah's father asked Lipa to switch songs, which he did, from "Hentelach" to the chassidic "Amar Rabbi Akiva." So this point is not relevant, with regard to Rabbi Schorr's outburst.
    Blog In Dm knows the facts better than me. That was why I said "If, as the commenter at Life of Rubin notes, the father of the bride, who is close with Rabbi Schorr, asked Lipa to stop singing, that absolutely is relevant." I was arguing within a specific depicted scenario, and in response to a specific response that dismissed it as irrelevant given within that same comment section. See there.
    Appropriate kannaus is in response to actual sin. Here, even if someone has an issue with people's response to a singer, the singer has not committed a sin, and there is no halachik justification for publicly shaming him.
    Just because I like responding, arguing from a purported perspective I am attributing to Rabbi Schorr: Unless, perhaps, he feels that the singer encourages such a response and revels in it, making a scene and stealing the spotlight. Amar Rabbi Akiva is singing a song. Hentalach is catering to your fans with your signature song, when it is the chassan and kallah who should be in the spotlight.
    Perhaps Rabbi Waxman is unaware that Rabbi Schorr is one of the people behind last year's ban. In other words, the public siding with Lipa here is a direct result of their knowledge of Rabbi Schorr's anti-halachik behavior in that episode too.
    Yes, I was aware of that. And of course that is why the public is siding with Lipa. But putting forth this specific response frames the present incident is a very ingenious way. Classic NLP.
    Sometimes, people need to take sides. The argument to be dan lekaf zechus has often been used to perpetuate avlos.
    True enough, on both counts. And while I do not have the musical background or time to really analyze Rabbi Luft's treatise, I did link prominently to Blog In Dm's series fisking it. My post was more along the lines of how one goes about arguing. Because it looked like everyone else had the arguing taken care of. Does one suddenly call Rabbi Schorr merely Schorr? Does one deny that such reactions, in specific extreme cases, indeed historically and halachically have had a place in Judaism (e.g. publicly shaming someone who refuses to give his wife a get)? On the other hand, how do you effectively take a stand on this, without turning this into an intellectual exercise on the one hand, and without taking a false or problematic position on the other? Perhaps point out the trend of immediately jumping to kannaus and treating it as a positive trait. Or pointing out that the underlying analysis of the situation and halacha is incorrect, and that there is a trend of such incorrect analyses, perhaps caused by the same attitude which results in the kannaus. I don't know the answer. Others probably do.

    Meanwhile, here is a comment, written upon a post on the subject at Wolfish Musings:
    ] I'm going to overlook for the moment the fact that Rabbi Schorr chose to make this stand in the middle of someone's wedding,

    But you can't because that's a big enough aveirah right there.

    ] I'm also going to overlook the fact that he chose to publicly embarrass Lipa, which is all bad enough

    But you can't because there are enough gemaras out there that note that publicly embarrassing someone is worse than murder.

    ] What I don't want to overlook is the fact that he publically accused another Jew of avoda zara -- idol worship.

    I don't know who this Rav Schorr is, and frankly I don't care. What I would like to know is the response of the crowd. Was it: "Oh, well Rav Schorr is a big rabbi so what he did is okay?" or was there outrage? Did someone stand up and shout out "How dare you commit three major aveiros in public like this? How dare you call yourself a rav?"
    I am amazed that people don't spot the irony in this, if they don't. Let us say someone did stand up and shout out at Rabbi Schorr "How dare you commit three major aveiros in public like this? How dare you call yourself a rav?" Would that person not be committing the same three purported aveiros, by doing this at a wedding rather than quickly trying to make shalom, publicly embarrassing Rabbi Schorr, and publicly accusing him of three major aveiros? If someone shouted this out at Rabbi Schorr, then someone else would have to turn around and shout at him in turn, veAin ledavar sof. Indeed, by recommending this approach, one undermines the claim that such conduct in a public venue is unjustified. Rather, it comes down to whether you agree that there was some underlying issue in the first place.

    Meanwhile, Chaptzem has a satirical defense of Rabbi Schorr.

    And meanwhile, Dixie Yid linked approvingly to my post about this incident, but several commenters felt that linking to the post in defense publicized the controversy and so was in itself lashon hara, prompting him to eventually take it down. He now has a post about this meta-blogging issue.

  5. Mystical Paths on "the most entertaining elections ever."

  6. An awful story about an abortion gone bad, and maybe the slippery slope in action.

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