Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Interesting Posts and Articles #224

  1. Life In Israel contrasts how everyone claims you cannot argue with Rav Elyashiv about ascending Har Habayis, yet many of the same are comfortable differing from him about wearing sheitels.

  2. Hirhurim on "who are the people in your Modern Orthodox neighborhood?" As he writes, one need not be so cynical, and there are positive reasons people are Modern Orthodox.

  3. Vos Iz Neaias on an attempt to ban underage drinking, and how Chabad opposes it.
    Yet Chabad argues that at underage drinking rarely leads to intoxication at its functions. In recent years Chabad educational institutions introduced a prohibition against young people drinking more than a revi’is (less than 3.5 ounces) at farbrengens.

    Chabad Spokesman Mendi Brod said the proposed legislation should be changed. “I suggest an exception be made to permit drinking alcohol in limited quantities, in educational or religious frameworks and under the supervision of a responsible adult.”
    Are we talking about 3.5 ounces of wine, or of whiskey?

    Many years ago, drinking was not really a problem in Israel, but rather it was a problem which was imported together with Russian Olim. And I can understand why the Israeli government is looking to take steps to curb it. On the other hand, places like France do not have really big problems of alcoholism, because they learn how to drink responsibly, under the guidance of adults.

    I also see how there might be room to permit underage drinking under the guidance of a parent for religious purposes. Otherwise, there is an encroachment upon freedom of religion. In the time of the Prohibition, Jews were permitted to drink wine for ritual purposes, such as kiddush. Why drinking alcohol, and minors drinking alcohol, at a Fabrengin is a good idea is beyond me, and I disagree with it, but perhaps it should not matter what I feel.

  4. Hirhurim on the idea of the Biblical account of creation as polemic, and why it is not popularly found in Orthodox texts. In the comment section, S. asserts that this idea is mostly Shadal's innovation.

  5. Life In Israel's Interest Post roundup.

  6. Dr Gerald Schroeder on the Origins of Life.

  7. It's turtles all the way down. At Mystical Paths, how to respond to a 9 year old who asks who created Hashem. It reminds me of the story:
    A well-known scientist (some say it was Bertrand Russell) once gave a public lecture on astronomy. He described how theearth orbits around the sun and how the sun, in turn, orbits around the center of a vast collection of stars called our galaxy. At the end of the lecture, a little old lady at the back of the room got up and said: "What you have told us is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise." The scientist gave a superior smile before replying, "What is the tortoise standing on?" "You're very clever, young man, very clever", said the old lady. "But it's turtles all the way down!"
    If one argues that everything must have a First Cause, then God must also have a First Cause. So if telling a child about a Creator, it is actually a fairly good question about whether God has a Creator.

    I don't know that I agree with the answer provided at Mystical Paths, but still I like that he provided an answer, and did not just attack the question or questioner:
    You have to answer children on their level, in ways that they can understand.

    For instance, you could answer, “Imagine two characters in a comic book having a conversation. One of the characters asks the other, ‘How did you get here on this page?”

    “And the other character answers, ‘Charlie, the artist, is drawing me. That is how I am here. And you know what? Charlie, the artist, is also drawing you. That is how you are here, too.’

    “The other character stops and thinks for a moment, and then he asks, ‘But, who is drawing Charlie?’”

    The obvious answer is, Charlie is not drawn; he is the one who is doing all of the drawing.

  8. Here at parshablog, not referring to one's father by name. And how the Torah is not a science book.


Menachem Mendel said...

Who said that the French drink responsibly? They have one of the highest alcoholism rates and death by alcohol-related liver disease in the world. See here and here.

joshwaxman said...

thanks. good point. i don't know where i saw the opposite idea. (though i think they blame the modern phenomenon on binge-drinking imported from Britain...)



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