Thursday, November 03, 2011

Interesting Posts and Articles #248

1) It appears that those neutrinos did NOT travel faster than light. See Rationalist Judaism's analysis back before the debunking.

In shul last week, I overheard a conversation. Someone was relating that while the scientists were so amazed that something could travel faster than light. Meanwhile, this is a known phenomenon (to some in the frum community?) regarding eclipses, that 30 minutes prior to our experiencing the eclipse, ants are closing up their ant holes. Thus, they know about it before us, which must be that they are detecting something which comes to them before the light reaches us.

I don't know that ants actually do this. And if they do, the Sun is on average 8.3 light-minutes away from earth, not a full half hour. But he could not see why this was not a proof. The obvious answer is that there are actual things happening besides blotting out the sun, which occurs during an eclipse. Perhaps a change in gravity, for instance. And the ants can be detecting that.

2) I see that I am mentioned favorably (at first), in the Ima Mother forum. Someone was asking about contact information for someone who casts lead. Another poster referred to my blogpost warning against this superstitious practice. And then, this reply:

[person] wrote:
I'm only listing this in case you wish to be more informed about the practice, and don't realize the possible halachic problems with it.

"pouring lead" a pagan practice

Rebetzin Miller has a haskama from R' Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg, who I imagine would be as aware of possible halachic problems as any random blogger, yet doesn't seem to have a problem with it.
The thing is, I would NOT necessarily imagine that Rav Scheinberg would be aware of possible halachic problems as any random blogger. My post points out that this superstition is also common among the Pennsylvania Dutch. Is he an expert on the practices of the Pennsylvania Dutch? Well, am I? Of course not, but I have access to Google. Does Rav Scheinberg have Internet access? I would guess not.

Part of pesak is knowing metzius. And why in the world would you think Rav Scheinberg knows random bits of metzius like this? Consider the following, from Jerusalem Kosher News, a chodosh update:
On Dec 21 we announced that we had received a p’sak from HaRav Elyashiv that stated that wheat bran and oat bran have no problem of Chodosh, even if they come from Chodosh grain. 
It turns out that the p’sak was based on the incorrect assumption that such bran today is basically produced for animal food. When it was explained to HaRav Elyashiv that such bran is very commonly used for human food, he stated that bran coming from Chodosh grain should be treated as Chodosh. 
Therefore, where oat bran is listed as an ingredient, the usual packing cutoff date of Jul 26 should be used and for wheat bran Aug 9, as has been used in the past in the Guide.
One needs to know the metzius.

Of course, it is also possible that even had he known the metzius, Rav Scheinberg would maintain that it is a well-established Jewish tradition, and that the gentiles got it from us. There is a huge sociological component that feeds into how one evaluates such information. Consider this teshuva in Beer Moshe, in favor of a bunch of old wives' tales, establishing them as real minhag. If one researches these superstitions, one finds them based not in holy ideas, but rather borrowed from superstitious non-Jewish neighbors. There is a reason the Tosefta labels a bunch of practices as darkei Emori. The Jewish women were engaged in such practices. And so Chazal needed to tell them that it was wrong.

3) At the Seforim blog, an essay regarding the controversy of succah on Shmini Atzeres.

4) At Matzav, a 21-year old bas yisroel writes in to protest their posting a picture of Rebbetzin Kanievsky accompanying news about her death. Naturally, they illustrate this post with a picture of Rebbetzin Kanievsky. Heh.

5) At Hirhurim, Rav Soloveitchik vs. the Chazon Ish.

6) Elder of Zion with an interesting post about Saddam, Israel and the Bomb. And Pokemon.


Anonymous said...

Mrs miller is rav sheinbergs family member

Anonymous said...

*"I'm a Mother" forum.

Warren Burstein said...

I haven't found anything about ants' behavior before eclipses, but if there is such a phenomenon, I'd see if what happens is that ants notice the dimming of the sun's light earlier in the partial phase than humans do, and they just think the sun is setting.

I've watched eclipses with a pinhole projector and early during the partial phase, nothing is noticeable without the projector. It doesn't seem to be getting darker, and unless you're using a pinhole projector or other apparatus for observing an eclipse, the sun is too bright to notice that some of it is obscured by the moon.


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