Sunday, January 30, 2011

Interesting Posts and Articles #301

  1. On the Main Line regarding intellectual honesty, and the original Judeo-Arabic expression of the Rambam of hearing the truth from whomever says it.
  2. This week's Haveil Havolim.
  3. Life In Israel brings a strange fellow named Nir ben Artzi to our attention. Shirat Devorah asks for more details about him, and his messianic claims. My impression is that the guy is a delusional am ha'aretz, who is being manipulated by unscrupulous and criminal handlers (who allegedly recently kidnapped him for several years and made off with a lot of money in donations). I also love it how he is suddently HaRav Nir ben Artzi, when he has no semicha. I am not in favor of stripping the honorific 'rabbi' from those I disagree with. But the flip side is that you don't get to appoint yourself HaRav. Here is what Rabbi Shlomo Aviner had to say about him, in my rough translation:
    "ניר בן ארצי אינו תלמיד חכם אלא עם הארץ, עד עצם היום הזה. כמו כן, אינו המשיח, ואינו מבשר המשיח, ואינו בעל רוח הקודש", כך פתח הרב שלמה אבינר את "גילוי הדעת" הראשון שלו בעניין. ברשימות הבאות מוסיף אבינר ומבהיר ש"אין מדובר בתלמיד קטן שלא הגיע להוראה, אלא בעם הארץ גמור שלא למד מאומה", וש"לצערנו כת משיח השקר ניר בן-ארצי הנם הוזים". 

    To roughly translate:
    "Nir ben Artzi is not a Torah scholar but rather is an ignoramus, until this very day. So too, he is not mashiach nor an announcer for the mashiach, nor is he one who possesses ruach hakodesh... We are not speaking about a small student who has not reached the level of being able to rule, but rather of an ignoramus who has not learned anything... To our pain, the messianic cult of Nir ben Artzi, they are hallucinating."

    שיאו של המאבק בבן-ארצי הגיע ב- 22 לפברואר 2000. אז, בהכרעת בית דין רבני, על פי תביעה של הרב אבינר, נפסק שעל בן-ארצי אסור להכריז שהוא המשיח, או שמתגלה לו ידע מהשמיים, או לתת דיאגנוזות רפואיות (שהרי הוא היה בראשיתו הילר), או לחרוץ גורלות בענייני זוגיות (כפי שנהג), ואף שיורה לקרוביו שהוא אינו המשיח.

    "in a Feb 2000 compromise from the Rabbinical court {brought by Rav Aviner and Rav Yigal Kaminsky}, it was ruled that it is forbidden, upon ben Artzi, to announce that he is mashiach, or that knowledge is revealed to him from Heaven, or to give medical diagnoses, or to cast lots in the matter of shidduchim (as he did), even if he tells his krovim that he is not mashiach."
  4. Hirhurim on newly published uncensored teshuvot of Rav David Tzvi Hoffman, where they print his controversial teshuva:
    The “offending” responsum answers a question regarding swearing in court while bareheaded, as was standard secular protocol at the time. In his response, R. Hoffmann recalls the teaching job he held as a young rabbi in Frankfurt. Students learned secular studies bareheaded in the school founded and headed by R. Samson Raphael Hirsch. When R. Hoffmann went to visit R. Hirsch for the first time and failed to remove his headcovering, R. Hirsch berated him because other staff members may interpret it as a sign of disrespect. R. Hoffmann compared this with the strict views of Hungarian rabbis, who particularly forbade students in school to study bareheaded. R. Hoffmann concluded that litigants should request permission from the judge to swear while wearing a hat but if the judge refuses, they may swear bareheaded.
  5. Rav Moshe Shternbuch that palm-reading is not the problem; palm reader mekubalim are the problem:
    A self proclaimed Mekubal came to town claiming to read palms. Rav Moshe Shternbuch (4:196) was asked if it is incumbent on people to take a stand against him. 
    He answered that the Zohar says that from the palm of a hand one's Mazal can be seen. Although we say Ein Mazal L'Yisroel, we all have Mazal but as Yidden we are not tied to it and with great zeechusim we can break ourselves free of it. Therefore palm reading definitely can reveal things about the future, which can be a very impressive feat. 
    On the other hand, says Rav Shternbuch, often times a Mekubal can err and become a laughing stock, thereby instead of being Mikarev people with his palm reading he may end up making a bad name and bitter taste for real tzaddikim. Therefore even if a Mekubal knows this Chochma he will receive greater reward for abstaining from it than by using it. However one cannot say that it is assur to do. 
    However if this "Mekubal" charges high fees for this "service" and fools naive people, then it should be stopped. If he only reads palms and give brachos then we cannot stop him. Rav Shternbuch says that he saw an entire sefer written by the reknowned Mekubal Rav Yaakov Hillel against Mekubalim who have made a business out of it. These people have no intention of davening for their petitioners and tell them that giving money is the answer to their woes. 
    At the end he writes that we are fortunate to go innocently with Hashem and do not force others how to act. We allow everyone to choose their own path, as long as it doesn't go against our Holy Torah.
    Well, that is one approach. How can a chareidi gadol condemn palmistry if the Zohar talks about it? And so he takes a correct approach and warns, correctly, that many mekubalim are con-artists, and that anyway, it is better to follow tamim tihyeh im Hashem elokecha.
    Meanwhile, we need not even grant that palmistry is real, without even asserting that the Zohar is a forgery. I mean, sure, we can assert this readily, in which case that a forged kabbalistic work grants credence to superstition is no problem at all. The author of the Zohar was misled, and we need not follow him in this error.
    But let us grant the authenticity of the Zohar, by Rashbi. Realize that there are many scientific statements in the Talmud that we ignore. Either because "nishtaneh hateva" or because they were based on the science of the day. Well, forehead reading and palm reading were regarded as scientific disciplines back then. That does not make them correct.
  6. Esser Agarot on Rabbi Ben Haim's take on Chabad Messianism.
  7. Rabbi Josh Yuter is profiled in Tablet Magazine.
  8. A chastity squad member is sent to prison. Kein yirbu!
  9. According to a report at Bechadrei Chareidim, gedolim in Eretz Yisrael are once again honoring Rabbi Leib Tropper. From an English translation:
    Translation of the report:

    "The Voice is the Voice of Yaakov. Gathering with the Rav. After a long absence, Rabbi Leib Tropper arrived in Israel. He got chizuk (encouragement) from Gedolei Yisroel and met with tens of alumni of Yeshiva 'Kol Yaakov'. Photographer Yosi Pormansky

    By Shmuel Klein.


    [Photo: Rabbi Tropper lectures]

    Tens of people gathered motzei Shabbos Shira in a bais medrash in the Bucharan section Jerusalem with the founder of yeshiva 'Kol Yaakov' Monsey, Rabbi Leib Tropper from New York.

    It's hard to believe that all the participants at the event, bnai Torah in full, are baalei teshuva. One was a doctor, another a sportsman - and so on. All had been far from Torah and mitzvos. Until they got to yeshiva 'Kol Yaakov', where their Jewish spark was ignited.

    Two events brought Rabbi Tropper to visit Israel: He came to visit the fresh grave of his father Rabbi Yehuda Tropper z"l who died about two months ago and upon the completion and publication of the sefer [book] of the 'Taharas Yisroel' with the added commentaries of Rabbi Tropper.

    Rabbi Lipa Yisraelzon, grandson of Rav Elyashiv, affirmed before the students, as one who has accompanied Rabbi Tropper on his Israel trip, on the warm connections he has merited in the homes of Gedolei Yisroel.

    So, on his trip, Rabbi Tropper came to the homes of Gedolei Yisroel. Aside from the Halachic questions that he placed before Gedolei Yisroel, he received their blessings for his holy work.

    At the main lecture Rabbi Tropper conveyed, that he expanded the importance of prayer as preparation for greeting our righteous Moshiach."
    Also, in the sixth comment there, we have this:

    כשביקר כאן, הוזמן לסעודת שבת בבית הגר"ח 
    חיים 11:32 25/01/2011
    ואכן אכל אצל שר התורה הגר"ח קניבסקי שליט"א ודיבר עמו בלימוד 
    וכיבדו עד מאד
    כך שמעתי מבני הבית של הגר"ח  
    That is, that he was invited to Rav Chaim Kanievsky's Shabbos seuda and spoke with him in learning and that he (meaning Rav Kanievsky, I think) accorded him great honor. So this commenter heard from members of Rav Kanievsky's household.  
    Reactions at Emes veEmunah and Rationalist Judaism.
  10. Here on parshablog, As easy as falling of a ladder, part one and part two.


Devorah said...

Gedolei Yisroel honoring Tropper.... rabbis impeding the redemption again. That's all we get these days. It's no wonder some find the need to believe in an am ha'aretz such as Nir ben Artzi.

Chaviva Gordon-Bennett said...

Thanks for including HH!

joshwaxman said...

it also goes to show that some Jewish leaders are not so discriminating with whom they associate. see how people are taking Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu's sitting in attendance of Nir ben Artzi, even when he is pulling his shtik, as evidence that Nir ben Artzi is a great talmid chacham.


Tamir said...

6. Esser Agarot on Rabbi Ben Haim's take on Chabad Messianism.

The link you gave sent me to a "Page not found" page. did you mean: "Two Rabbis On Messianism" ?

joshwaxman said...

thanks. i think he changed the post, or title, or something of that sort. but indeed, that would appear to be the correct link.

it is now corrected.

thanks again,


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