Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Interesting Posts and Articles #194

  1. Matzav has an article on Peshkevilin as a successful form of communication. This part of it seemed off, though:
    In the Jewish tradition, the pashkevil actually dates back even farther than that. The Babylonian Talmud (Sukkah 29A) warns against “kotvei plaster” (those who write wall notices). Yet while in the secular communities we see fewer and fewer such posters, they are alive and well in the haredi community.
    But the gemara's reference to kotvei plaster:
    ובשביל ארבעה דברים מאורות לוקין על כותבי (פלסתר) ועל מעידי עדות שקר ועל מגדלי בהמה דקה בא"י ועל קוצצי אילנות טובות
    would seem to be discussing forged documents, rather than wall notices.

  2. JNUL put up Kaftor vaFerach, an interpretation of difficult midrashim and aggadot, by Rabbi Yaakov Luzzato. Already available in various editions at The purpose:
    an attempt to defend talmudic aggadot attacked by the Christian censors as anti-Christian. Luzzatto explained the aggadot according to Rashi, the tosafot, Solomon b. Abraham Adret, and R. Nissim, citing also parallel readings in the Jerusalem Talmud, Midrashim, and kabbalistic works, giving them allegorical meanings.
  3. Mystical Paths on whether or not to go to Uman this year, with a fascinating story. Smart move, disabling comments on this one. :)

  4. A mermaid spotted off Haifa? Perhaps a dolphin, perhaps a publicity stunt. And Matzav's take on it. Are they kofrim for disbelieving in the possibility of mermaids, when Rashi on Bechorot 8a clearly refers to it? ;)

    Indeed, one chareidi paper takes it seriously, writing in part (h.t. Jameel):
    אך לא, הדג הזה קיים בהחלט. כבר במקורות הקדמונים ביותר מצאנו שיש דג שחציו אדם וחציו דג, או חציו אשה וחציו דג, וכמה וכמה הלכות נאמרו לגביו.

    מה שכתוב בתורה שכל נפש החיה שבמים שקץ הוא לכם, אמרו בתורת כהנים שמרבה את הסילונית. רש"י פירש שסילונית הוא אותה בריה שחציו דג וחציו אדם, והראב"ד אף הוסיף שסירונית (או סילונית) היא חיה שחציה אדם וחציה דג, ומנגנת כאדם. וכן חז"ל דרשו בטומאה: "אדם כי ימות באהל", ולא סילונית.

    וכן מצאנו בגמרא בבכורות, שהזכירה דולפינים, ולפי אחד הפירושים בגמרא שם זה "בני ימא", או כמו שפירש רש"י, אותה חיה שחציה אדם וחציה דג. ולפי האמור שם בגמרא, החיות הללו יכולות להתרבות כבני אדם או כדגים.
    You can read all about this topic in Rabbi Slifkin's book, Sacred Monsters.

  5. Rationalist Judaism publishes a response to Rabbi David Bibi's article in the Jewish Star. And Rabbi Bibi replies in the comment section, with some clarifications of his intent in the article and in using that story of the cut-up goat. Thoughts about the article as well at Emes veEmunah. And at parshablog, I try to trace the origins of the story, and get as far as a Jewish convert to Christianity, who seems to have gotten the story from Arabic sources.

  6. Avakesh reviews an English translation of Onkelos, as a Modern Orthodox Artscroll.

  7. The extinction of the quagga, and perhaps the subspecies' resurrection.

  8. I consider the idea that if you sin too much, you come back as a never-ripening fruit.

1 comment:

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

The Bat-Yam Mermaid craze continues. Not only is there a million Shekel bounty to find it, but now the Bat Yam municipality erected a statue of a mermaid to lure the one from the land.


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