Sunday, July 05, 2009

Interesting Posts and Articles #172

  1. In the "Clarification" post at Hirhurim, a good question in the comment section:
    "I don't pretend to know enough to begin to offer an opinion on the issue of the historicity, or lack thereof, of the Zohar. However, it strikes me as incorrect to deny its influence in Hashkafa, Minhagim and even Halacha."

    Steve's comment raises a really interesting question. Let's assume, as the academics and rationalists including Steve's favorite a/r RD S Leiman have established, that the Zohar dates from the 13th century and was not written by RSHBI. And let's further assume that it did have an influence on Hashkafa, Minhagim and even Halacha because people erroneously thought it came from RSHBI and not some 13th century forger. What does that say about the Hashkafa, Minhagim and even Halacha based on the forgery?
  2. DovBear notes a comment by Ramban which makes use of erroneous contemporary science, and uses this to praise Ramban for being willing to rely on contemporary science.
    Instead, I note simply that he was pleased to cite "medical books" and "doctors" as his authorities; thus, he isn't claiming to have acquired medical knowledge via the study of Torah, but through consultations with the (mistaken) experts of his own time and place.
    True. And see the comment section. I discussed a different part of this Ramban on Chukas in the context of its being used as a prooftext for homeopathy.

  3. Avakesh notes that there are differences in Hashkafah, and tries to explain it:
    Many of us have had the experience of encountering tamlideu chachamim who not only hold different opinion than we on many matters but hold opinions so outrageous and so different that it is hard to believe that they derived it from the same Torah. This is true in many debates in halacha where one says it is permitted and another that is forbidden and come to radically opposed conclusions. It is also so in regard to basic hashkafa where it is not uncommon to find that one group holds something good and desirable and another group views it to be bad and outside the pale. Why is it so and shouldn't we attempt to understand it.
  4. Eruv Online presents the kol koreis vs. Rav Moshe's teshuvas, on eruvs. He highlights some important parts.

  5. The JPS blog announces an Illustrated Children's Bible, with a nice preview on Google Books.

  6. At Kumah's blog, the difficulties of moving to Eretz Yisrael:
    Many people (including our Rebbeim) have told us moving to Israel would be a mistake. That we (as charedi) wouldn't fit in with Israeli charedi, but that the other side would be too "modern" for us, and for our kids. My husband is Israeli, so that would definitely be a big plus to fitting in, but there would be many issues with our kids and schools. For example, most likely we would want to send our kids to a charedi school, but we wouldn't fit in, so then we would have to change also, so they'd fit in. And that Israeli kids in schools usually don't want Americans to mingle with them, so they have separate classes. And Israeli charedim don't like how the American charedim come and have barbecues and stuff. (Just superficial stuff, but to illustrate that it might be hard to feel accepted.)

    I know your daughter is young, but where do you plan on sending her to school?

    It's intimidating hearing our Rabbis tell us this, but I also feel that if G-d wants us (and the entire Jewish people) there, He will make it work.

    Any thoughts?
    and check out the response.

  7. Finally, we get to know what tznius is all about. At least according to authentic Judaism.

  8. Did the Chazon Ish violate lo taamod al dam reiecha? Did Chazal? This as a followup to whether it was important how the Chazon Ish knew urology. At parshablog.

  9. I am not the only one who took note of Rav Elyashiv's question whether anyone still listens to letters from the Gedolim. See Emes veEmunah, as well as SerandEz. Anyway, best quote at Yeshiva World, to my mind:
    It always amazes me how strong of a hold the יצר הרע has on the rationalization of people who can’t seem to accept the words of Gedolim. For example, had the Chofetz Chaim ZT”L put an איסור on telephones because of all the Loshon Harah that it causes, besides the Bitul Torah, everyone would have been up in arms on how out of touch he is. Yet, he and all the Gedolim going back to Avrohom Avinu, as well as any frum Ben Torah, has accomplished infinitely more then those who decry them. Believe it or not, they did it with out email, text messaging and all the works of the שטן.

  10. See in the current Five Towns Jewish Times the article Shmu the Activist. An excerpt:
    As we cleaned up the graffiti, Goldie and I were accosted by various members of their community. They had complaints about dress, television, and many other issues. We agreed that they had a right to be concerned, but asked what justification they had for the spray-painting behavior. On the whole (with one exception) they agreed that such behavior was inappropriate. I asked them why they don’t do anything to stop such people. No answer.

    There was one fellow who answered differently from all the rest. This man came over to me as I was painting over the sidewalk and asked me why I was making such a mess of the sidewalk. Incredulously, I responded that it was not I who had made the mess, it was his friends who had made it and I was just cleaning it up. He responded to me, “Oh no—this message is supposed to be here” and then walked away.
  11. The Fourth of July edition of Haveil Havalim, hosted at A Time of the Signs.

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