Sunday, August 16, 2009

Interesting Posts and Articles #195

  1. Via Something weird from the animal kingdom. Follow the first link below and scroll to the bottom.

    Experts at the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust filmed females releasing unfertilised eggs so their tadpoles could feast on them.

    The tadpoles are seen in a feeding frenzy at the back of the mountain chicken frog mother in a scene likened to a clip from the Alien movie.

  2. People often arrive on parshablog searching for the weirdest things. For example, often people searching for XXX combined with other search terms, from certain countries, end up on Shadal's Vikuach al Chochmas Hakabbalah, on the antiquity of trup.

    Today, it was a vicious yet mystically inclined person, searching for a segulah to kill somebody. I've heard of one such segulah -- get an apple blessed or incanted over by a kabbalist, write the target's name (Ploni ben Mother's Name) on it, and toss it into the ocean, and the person will be dead within a week. No, I didn't make this one up. But you need to seek the right kabbalist.

  3. Speaking of Kabbalists, Vos Iz Neias notes an article in the Forward about a popular kabbalist operating in the US. And Avakesh comments on this as well.

    I don't know about the integrity of this particular kabbalist, but I do know from trustworthy sources that some of the kabbalists who come to Kew Gardens Hills are charlatans and con-artists. And that when some rabbis tried to oppose them or tell people not to give them oodles of money, they received threats of physical violence. So people should not assume that just because the rabbis are silent about these guest kabbalists from Israel, their shtika should be considered hodaah.

  4. Honestly Frum notes an article at YNet about how they are trying (and partially succeeding) in creating separate sides of the street for different genders in Geulah, for some streets. I can somewhat understand this, as these streets are so narrow that there is really only room for one person to walk, and this might lead to compromised tznius. But on the other hand, if it is because the streets are so narrow, perhaps a better solution, and a safer one, would be to make each side of the street one-way. Regardless, this is a cultural war which is being waged in thousands of small ways, so even if this might make sense, I am not sure it is a good thing to cede this ground.

  5. A bunch of interesting posts at the Muqata. An Ashkenazi rabbi wins a position reserved for an Ethiopian, but the details of the story make this sound right and good. But Shas is protesting. And a health-alert to stop kissing mezuzas in public places because of swine flu. I also heard that famous retort in the name of Rabbi Gorelick, to a student who was often late for shiur but piously either left out his tzitzit or else kissed the mezuzah as he entered the class. And yet another mashiach announcement.

  6. Arutz Sheva on a wonderful development, if it proves to work out -- a tablet-based treatment of diabetes, rather than insulin shots.

  7. Vos iz Neias with an article on lashon hara in the information age.

  8. Hot Air on how a book on the Mohammed cartoons does not include the cartoons, and why.

  9. At parshablog, I finish my discussion of whether Ran is an apikores by his own definition, and suggest that what Ran is condemning is not arguing with a few or may midrashim, but rather the drastic new approach which allegorizes all of the narratives in the Torah, as referring to philosophical concepts.

    And I offer a followup to the tale of Yirmeyahu and Plato in Egypt, or perhaps in Yerushalayim, tracing the story a bit more to see if Rema actually does discuss it in his Toras HaOlah.

  10. Rabbi Gil student offers an explanation, and defense, of Rabbi Ari Enkin's writing style.

  11. Rationalist Judaism on frum biases in arguments on evolution, and by extension Rashi's purported corporealism.

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