Monday, August 05, 2013

Interesting Posts and Articles #388

First, some catch-up, since it has been a while.

1) Did the Avos keep the Torah? At Aspaqlaria:
A consequence of the rise of the liberal movements is that maximalist hashkafic positions are pushed in some circles so as to avoid their mistake of compromise. Another consequence which feeds this is a focus on studying halakhah to the exclusion of machashevah. (There are other consequences too, but I’ll stick with the relevant ones.) Between these effects, people see Rashi and think that anyone who holds a position embraced by R’ Shimi Bar Chiya, rishonim of both sides of the qabbalah-scholasticism divide, and the Rama is watering down their Torah.
More recently (relatively speaking — going back 110 years or so), a different position emerged — siding like Rav Ashi, but assuming that he didn’t mean that they literally followed every detail.
Rav Chaim Volozhiner writes (Nefesh haChaim 1:21) that the avos were in tune with the needs of their souls, and could see the spiritual impact in all the worlds by their actions, and were thus able to intuit the Torah. And then he concludes that this is why Noach and the avos were not given the Torah. Because, for example, Yaaqov could not marry two sisters nor accomplish the spiritual / metaphysical repairs thereby had the prohibition been commanded already. According to R’ Chaim Volozhiner, “kept the entire Torah” refers to accomplishing the goals of the entire Torah, not that each law of each mitzvah was observed.
But is this position so new? I think that Rav Chaim Volozhiner's interpretation is indeed the simple peshat in the Rashba (see here), which in turn has its basis in Midrash Rabba.

2) Hirhurim on baby wipes on Shabbos. Note the rewriting of history in part 4:
4) Did He Retract?
However, R. Neuwirth, the author of Shemiras Shabbos Ke-Hilkhasah, is reported to have said that R. Auerbach continued permitting babywipes entirely toward the end of his life (link). Therefore, R. Neuwirth retained this ruling in later editions of his book. R. Eliezer Melamed (Harchavos Peninei Halakhah, Shabbos 14:6:4 n. 2) quotes from Or Ha-Shabbos that R. Auerbach’s descendant, R. Ch[aim?] Goldberg, a noted Torah scholar, testified that R. Auerbach permitted the use of babywipes shortly before his passing.
I suggest that, despite the esteem in which we hold the authors of Orechos Shabbos, we cannot accept this posthumous report of a retraction because: 1) it is questionable because they did not hear it directly from R. Auerbach, 2) we have contradictory testimony, and 3) the same reason that the Noda Bi-Yehudah‘s son gave (link)–the testimony, in this case indirect, is insufficient to remove a presumption.
4) DovBear on idiots and jerks.

Now, newer stuff.
5) At Morethedoxy, a guest post by Rabbi Yitzchak Blau, about whether the documentary hypothesis is necessarily so compelling. This is in response to various posts by Rabbi Zev Farber and others on E.g.:
Context affects which details appear:  Professor Marc Brettler says that Vayikra 23 portrays Sukkot as an eight day festival whereas Devarim 16 only has a seven day celebration.  Actually, Vayikra 23 knows of a seven day Sukkot festival (see Vayikra 23:34) but also adds another celebration on day eight.  Since the Devarim passage is primarily interested in the three times a year we travel to the mikdash, there is no need to mention Shmini Azaret which does not call for another journey.
And whether the people advancing such views are reshaim (no), and whether these views are incompatible with Orthodoxy (yes):
I would like to close with a couple of personal notes.  If someone is intellectually convinced of the DH, this does not make them evil and they are not necessarily involved in a sinister plot.  For all I know, the authors contributing to are very fine human beings and I have no interest in saying derogatory things about them.  Yet we can still strongly disagree with them and conclude that their views are incompatible with Orthodoxy.
You can see some of my recent posts on this topic, here, here and here.

6) Some Neturei Karta guy offered to spy for Iran. Which sparked criticism of Neturei Karta, for example in this opinion piece at Matzav. In defense of Neturei Karta, note this sentence:
(I understand that the man convicted of offering to spy for Iran recently became religious and was not raised in this environment. My point is being made on a more general level.)
I think this is an important point. Neturei Karta has some pretty over-the-top positions, and have made public overtures which are indeed offensive.

However, within a group, I would imagine that people intuitively know how to distinguish between rhetoric and what they would actually do. So they might talk of Zionists being terrible, but that does not mean that they would actually murder a Zionist. Someone coming new into this community might not be able to make this sort of distinction between rhetoric and action.

Meanwhile, different people speculate what this "spy" might have offered the Iranians. For instance, at Failed Messiah, this comment by Barry:
When this unnamed Neturei Karta chossid walked into the Iranian embassy in Berlin in 2010 he sold them the following information:-
a) one should not completely close up the opening of a window (or door) so that the sheidim should be able to go out. One is permitted to close up a window if he makes a little hole in the wall covering the opening.
b) One is not allowed to remove an oven from its place since doing so is putting himself in danger. The reason is because sheidim are underneath an oven and when one moves the oven one is starting up with the sheidim.
c) One should not cut ones fingernails on a new moon even if its a Friday because of the danger and otherwise not to cut fingernails in order but rather in the order 42531 for the left hand and 24135 for the right
Here is a video of the Iranian spymaster's reaction on being given a statement of account showing that 5 million dollars was paid for this information
From a comment at Kikar Shabbat:
הנה תקציר השיחה של המחבל איש נטורי קרתא שהגיע לשגרירות איראן והציע שירותי ריגול

 ?שלום, כאן זה שגרירות איראן-


 .אני חרדי ישראלי שרוצה לרגל עבורכם-

 ?הו, כמה נפלא. אם כך תוכל לתת לנו מידע על הצבא=

 .לא שירתתי בצבא-

 ?אוקיי. אז אולי בתחום התעשייה. היכן אתה עובד=

 .אני לא עובד-

 .אז אולי תוכל ללמד אותנו על הכלכלה הישראלית. שיטת המיסוי למשל=

 .אני לא משלם מיסים-


 .אני לא לומד איתם-


 .לא, אני לא קונה כשרות שלהם-


 !לא נחשף. הכל אצלם זה תועבה-

?אוקיי. תקשיב, רואה את הדלת החומה בקצה המסדרון=


 זה שגרירות צפון קוריאה. תנסה אצלם=

(נלקח מבעולם של חרדים)

No comments:


Blog Widget by LinkWithin