Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Interesting Posts and Articles #155

  1. At Daas Torah, two gedolim, one unnamed and one who is Rav Elyashiv, on an abused child vs. a suicidal parent. (Read it, and the comments, first.) I don't like the situation, and I don't like some of how it is being handled. But then I am not privy to all the details. On the one hand, not giving a hot meal every day, particularly if she is poor, is not neglect. But threatening suicide marks the parent as more unstable and thus more likely that she is really abusing. And if the child is abusing herself (with bitings), then she might still need to be removed from the parent for the sake of psychological intervention. If the threat of the mother's suicide is deemed real, they could temporarily commit her and keep her in a padded cell until she is deemed healthy enough. But I agree with Nachum Klafter's comment. And there is indeed something here that reeks of lo taamod al dam reiecha.

  2. At Israel National News, the IDF developing a mouse, keyboard, and touch-screen which operate via grama.

  3. Emes veEmunah on a news story (and video) on an old issue, mehadrin buses. But an American seminary girl there for a year imposing her values on another culture, even though her cultural values here are right? In the comment section, Miriam Shear reports on her recent experiences on the #2 bus. An excerpt:
    I picked up the #2 at Har Tzion. The bus was completely full except for 1 seat in the very back row. Boys - whom I later verified through one of them were all in Kita Vav (making them approximately 11 - 12 yrs old), were seated in the back row with the empty seat in the middle. I sat down. The boys - on each side of me - began screaming at me at the top of their lungs, waving their arms, putting fingers in my face that I could not sit there; that this was not tzniut; that I should "get out of here". And here's the terrifying part: They were kippa sruga from a yeshiva I actually had interviewed for my own son.
    but there is more.

  4. Perhaps related, Lion of Zion discusses choosing a yeshiva which fosters good midot.

  5. Life in Israel has an anonymous (though not to him) guest post on Chareidim, and molestation, in courts.

  6. On the rationalist front, I have a post discussing rejecting evolution because of Darwinian attitudes, and whether those saying this have enough background in the subject to accurately describe those Darwinian attitudes. And at Rationalist Judaism, Rabbi Slifkin has part iii of the Sun's path at night, and whether when people use the term masorah they mean what they think they mean. And Hirhurim about a rationalist trend in Rashi, where Rashi says "I don't know" rather than the famous non-rational yet literal peshat.

  7. The Jerusalem Post on leprosy as opposed to tzaraas.

  8. Shirat Devorah beats me to the issue of limited rabbinic approbations for facilitated communication contrasted with what the autistics are presently doing, which is way over the line. A worthwhile read. Perhaps I'll post more on this topic in the next day or so.

  9. Moshiach is Coming has a post noting an article on hand-washing to prevent swine flu and other disease, and how many teachers in Israel are somehow unaware of this. She takes this as a reason to promote netilas yadayim. However, the government guidelines are different from those of netilas yadayim, and include using soap. A while back, there was a shigella outbreak in Boro Park and Williamsburg in large part because people merely washed ritually rather than hygenically.

  10. See my own blogging on facilitated communication, namely the first and second problem with FC, via the website of Galia, an autistic.


Yosef Greenberg said...

On 6: It seems that iether Rashi or the Gemara were Mystics, actually.

joshwaxman said...

well, it depends what the gemara means, no?

i do think it quite plausible that the tanaim or amoraim subscribed to some angelology and demonology. the question is what we do with that, if we are not willing to reinterpret that? one can say we are compelled to accept it, or one can say that regardless we regard it as not real.


Yosef Greenberg said...

I never learned Moreh, but from what I saw in the SHU"T Maharam El Ashkar it seems that the Rambam is metaretz every mention of malachim in the torah as Nevuah and so on.

It seems more and more that it is the Rambam reinterpreting the Torah in a way that Chazal (and most Achronim) didn't want to. (As opposed to many Rishonim.)

joshwaxman said...

yes, my inclination as well is that Rambam engaged in too much reinterpretation. reinterpretation is "useful" in that way since you can pretend you are not arguing. (others would likely argue with me.)

but i think i am more in the second class of fools detailed in rambam's intro to perek chelek in his perush hamishnayos, though i would agree with him in terms of much of aggadah.

btw, i think ralbag's approach to understanding malachim is neater and possibly truer. he takes sightings of angels as nevuah, but also (with good basis and compelling argument) explains many instances of malach hashem as a human prophet of Hashem. the malachim who saved lot? humans. the malach who appeared to manoach? pinchas.

but shmuel hanagid and others may give us the right to interpret the Torah in such a manner against Chazal, and still lay claim to being non-heretics. (others, such as ran, may well argue.)


Yosef Greenberg said...

I would love to put myself in the third class, but have yet to interpret everything to my understanding. (Maybe I should learn Moreh.)

On a side note: I found in the teshuvos harambam that he writes instruction how to write a "kame'ah" that give power with authorities based on that sod of seven days in a week.

He writes that Yosef and Esther used this as well.

So we see here a side of the Rambam that doesn't totally agree with the *current* Rambam approach.

This needs further investigation.

joshwaxman said...

sounds interesting, and indeed worthy of investigation, if people have not already done so. i'm not sure that even if so, rationalists will be bothered. the structure is not such that one needs follow a rishon in all his positions...


Yosef Greenberg said...

I checked again. Its printed in teshuvos Harambam but notes that it is only "attributed" to him. So it might not be his.


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