Sunday, November 22, 2009

Interesting Posts and Articles #237

  1. Chiming in again to the discussion of the Toldos Avraham Yitzchak Rebbe, whether to donate tzedaka non-locally, and whether to support such groups if besides being anti-Zionist, they are behind the some of protests in Yerushalayim causing massive chillul Hashem and which don't reflect our values (such as no compulsion in religion), the Five Towns Jewish Times editor Larry Gorden met with the Toldos Avraham Yitzchak Rebbe and reported on the interview, making him out to be quite the Zionist, seemingly as part of an effort to reform him in our eyes (and make us think that the Jewish Star folks are talking out of their hats):
    “What it comes down to, very briefly, is that the government violates Shabbos and sanctions this desecration,” the Rebbe said clearly and calmly in Yiddish. “If there would not be this violation of Shabbos, we would have absolutely no problem with the State of Israel.”
    As Vos Iz Neias reports, certain anti-Zionist Jews took issue with portraying the Rebbe in such an unfavorable light, and they (in all likelihood) falsely accused Mr. Gordon of making it up:

    The publication of these words in the Rebbe’s name caused an uproar in anti-Zionist communities throughout the New York area and elsewhere. Dozens of people wrote to the Five Towns Jewish Times website and other sites where the story was republished, declaring unequivocally that the Rebbe must have been misquoted. Our own organization, Jews Against Zionism, received incredulous phone calls and emails asking us to get to the bottom of this.

    We contacted the Rebbe’s wife, who told us as follows: 1) It was not the Rebbe who spoke to Gordon, only she. The Rebbe was present at the meeting but did not say anything. 2) The Rebbe and the Rebbetzin were not aware that this was an interview, much less with a Zionist newspaper. Had they known this, they would not have agreed to speak to Gordon, lest he misrepresent their views. They were under the impression that Gordon was just another one of hundreds who come to speak with the Rebbe. 3) She did not make the statement quoted in the article. She did speak against those demonstrators who throw stones, saying that the Rebbe was strongly opposed to that. On that point Gordon quoted her correctly. 4) The Rebbe has decided not to fight the newspaper for misquoting him, or to issue a denial, because these Zionists are impossible to deal with, and even a denial will not help.

    And so on and so forth. At the bottom of the article, Larry Gordon responds. In part, he writes:

    1. At least one other person was in the room when I conducted the interview with the Rebbe and Rebbitzen. The comments that were made in response to a series of questions can be independently verified.

    2. Both the Rebbe and Rebbitzen were made aware, in my presence, that our conversation was, in fact, for a newspaper interview. A copy of the paper was shown to both of them.

    3. All statements or comments attributed to either the Rebbe or the Rebbitzen were carefully transcribed and are accurately quoted. Considering the circumstances they are in, I can understand the rationale in not fully revealing to this group some of the things that were said. It's probably important to note that after several remarks the Rebbe or the Rebbitzen asked that a specific remark not appear in the article. That request was honored.

    Finally, many of these parties appeared on Zev Brenner's radio show on Motzaei Shabbos. You can listen to the recording of it here:
    RABBI CHAIM DOVID ZWEIBEL Meyer Fertig of the Jewish Star on giving money to anti Zionist groups LARRY GORDON of the five towns Jewish times on his meeting with the Toldos Aharon Yitzhak Rebbe which is disputed by Yirmiyahu Cohen of the anti Zionist Natr{una?}

  2. New fossils reveal a world full of crocodiles.

  3. Hirhurim on whether blogging is tzniusdik.

  4. Vos Is Neias on the tragic case of a baby in Israel who is brain dead. Now, Israel's health minister ordered a hospital to keep the baby alive, against the opinion of the hospital's staff, in accordance with the law and the chareidi family's wishes and religious beliefs.

    While I don't know enough about the matter, I think that the law is the law, and it should not always be up to the doctors to make the decision. This is respect for the family and the patient's rights. It does not seem like too much of a big deal.

    Meanwhile, it is a big halachic dispute about whether brain death constitutes halachic death, and therefore whether withdrawing life support constitutes retzicha. And I can understand and appreciate the halachic and moral arguments for and against. What concerns me, though, is comment #16:
    Number 6 - Lo Alaynu but if R"L it was your child whould you pull the plug? How dare you think the family in this case should. I personally know this family. They did not give up nor will they. It is their daughter. Their adorable little wonderful beautiful delicious cute baby girl. A Neshoma. A breathing heart. They cry, they Daven, they have gone to our greatest gedolim who have told them not to C"V pull any plug and have told them they too will Daven for her.
    The rather strong implication from someone purportedly close to the family is that they believe that this brain death is potentially reversible, such that they haven't given up hope. And when consulting with Gedolim, who are guiding them spiritually and halachically, they were told the same, and that they will daven for her. That is, it seems like they are also operating on a similar assumption, that brain death is potentially reversible.

    It could be that the doctors are utilizing a particular definition of brain death, and that in this instance it is possible. (See here for a definition of brain death, and misconceptions about it; and how it is different from coma or persistent vegetative state.) Or else it is possible that the rabbis involved don't understand the metzius before issuing their pesak. For two obvious reasons, I hope for the former.

  5. Ishim veShitot considers Resh Lakish on the joys of marriage -- "tav l'meisiv tan du mil'meisiv armalo".

  6. Life In Israel on the results of the hafganot.

  7. A Mother In Israel hosts the latest Haveil Havalim.

  8. Rationalist Judaism follows up on the yeridas hadoros post with one about lumping together all positive attributes together, and assuming in certain instances that if one is present, the other is present.

  9. And here at parshablog, my own response to that yeridas hadoros post, and how it relates to whether Avraham muzzled his camels. Also, how Rivkah Imeinu was just big for her age. And a shocking correction in the New York Times Magazine.

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