Thursday, December 23, 2010

Interesting Posts and Articles #293

  1. This week's Haveil Havolim. And last week's.
  2. We didn't start the fire, from Latma TV:

  3. Over at Lazer Beams, a purported midrashic source connecting the Haifa fire andthe imminent arrival of moshiach. I don't think that this is what the source means. Neither does Yeranen Yaakov, as far as I can tell by his translation in the comment section.
  4. Speaking of kvetches, here is an assertion that Rashi predicts mashiach in 2011. This put Rav Chaim Kanievsky on the level of Rashi. Rav Kanievsky has reportedly said that כל מה שאומרים בשמי הוא שקר. See my survey here, as well as Yeranen Yaakov's take and Rabbi Katz's spirited defense of his position and motivation.
  5. A Jewish doctor refuses to operate on a Nazi patient.
  6. Ishim veShitos points to an 'interesting' quote from Rabbi Abadi, in an interesting exchange in general:
    On this note, I would like to address some very disturbing issues. Those Apikorsim in our generation that say that Zohar is not legitimate, and that Kabbalah does not exist, this is exactly what the Rambam is referring to.
  7. The Jewish Worker and Cross Currents on Rav Matisyahu Solomon's statement that Kupat HaIr tactics are gezel gamur. In opposition to what one commenter recently wrote, Kupat HaIr does not only collect money on success. They seem to run two parallel campaigns. One, documented in their 'miracle stories', is people in dire straits who pledge money to Kupat HaIr on condition that everything turns out alright. They thus hope to get pledges from people in such situations. But parallel to that, they make gimmicks, in which they take advantage of some made up or kvetched-from-Jewish sources segulah, such as X number of tefillot at the Kotel and Kever Rochel by 10 talmidei chachomim, where to take advantage of this, you need to first pledge, and these folks will daven on behalf of people who have already donated via credit card, mentioning them by name. It is the latter, presumably, which deprived these girls of their life savings.
    With all due respect to Rav Chaim Kanievsky, I disagree that there is nothing wrong with his endorsement, so long as all he is saying are reiterations of Chazal's statements about the power of tzedaka. That is not the way such statements are hyped in the glossy pamphlets, and even if it is technically not lying, it seems to go against the spirit, at least, of midvar sheker tirchak as well as eizehu chacham, haroeh et hanolad and chacham, einav berosho. When confronted with the reality of the way people are actively being misled, one should  not continue on in this way.
  8. We are told to judge others favorably, to be dan lekaf zechut, where possible. I have not always done this in all instances. A recent example was that an Anonymous commenter made a comment, and an interesting suggestion, in earnest and, annoyed by certain other anonymous commenters (whose over-the-top accusatory comments I did not approve under moderation), I responded in annoyance. It is difficult to read tone from plain text, and I read the snarky comment instead of straightforward suggestion. This is something I need to work on, and remind myself from time to time.
    Something to drive this point home is the recent People's Court episode, where at the end the judge accused the frum Jewish litigants, Mendy and Heidi of running a scam. If you haven't seen it, you can get the essence by viewing the first few minutes and the last few minutes.

    This was covered at many Jewish blogs, and it was difficult to reserve judgment. At Vos Iz Neias, Rabbi Yair Hoffman provides the other side of the wig story, in which it would appear that the judge jumped to a hasty conclusion and created courtroom drama rather than justice. In this followup, an interview with Georgi or Georgi wigs.

    It is good to remind yourself that you don't have access to all the information to be able to judge, and that sometimes people are not articulate enough to present their side in the most convincing manner.
  9. Another example was the self-described Modern Orthodox girl who appeared on Tyra Bank's America's next top model. There is a distinct lack of tznius at the end of this video, so watch out, and skip the very end!

    It appears that she was willing to drop Shabbos at the drop of a hat. But as it turns out, it was likely the result of editing of answers to increase the drama. This is typical of such 'reality' TV shows.
  10. Life In Israel has an interesting quote from Rav Chaim Kanievsky:
    Regarding names that are made up, Rav Kanievsky was asked about the name "Shira" for a baby born on Shabbos Shira. Rav Kanievsky responded "and if she was born on Shabbos Para would you name her "Para"???"
    True enough, but I wonder if Rav Kanievsky is aware of the meaning of Leah (Akkadian and Biblical Hebrew for 'cow'), parallel to Rachel (sheep) and Rivkah (fattened cow?). Shabtai was historically a name for a baby born on Shabbat. But this naming for the parsha reminds me of an unfortunate story someone told me a while back, when I was considering a name for my own kid. A man was looking for a name for his daughter, born on Shabbos parashas Mishpatim. He consulted his rabbi, asking for guidance in choosing a name, preferably from the week's parsha. The rabbi looked and looked through the sedra, and finally suggested (based on Shemot 22:17) Mechasheifa. The fellow looked horrified. "Chas veShalom!" he exclaimed. "My mother in law is still, Baruch Hashem, alive!"
    I'll be here all week.
  11. Here at parshablog, two positions within Chazal over whether the incident with Reuven and Bilhah is to be taken at face value. And looking at the repercussions for Reuven, in light of Divrei Hayamim and the Code of Hammurabi. And some thoughts on the practice of saying liyshuascha kivisi Hashem in the aftermath of a sneeze.

1 comment:

Hillel said...

Rabbi Waxman,
Naming a kid can be a pretty tricky business. My wife, for instance, vetoed my brilliant idea of having twin boys, naming the first one "Isaiah" and the second one "Deutero-Isaiah".
(I, too, will be here all week...)
KT, and merry nittel nacht,


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