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Religious Zionist Rabbis Choose Chief-Rabbi Candidate
Getting real about solving the Haredi challenge
Spotlight Hits ‘Jews’ of Fabled Timbuktu
Is Judaism a religion, race or culture?
British Jewish population is concentrating, statistics show
Haredi Power on the Brink
A description of the internet* from 1889
J Harris: Purim Newsletter
OU Passover Guide
R. A Meir: The Obligation to Sleep on Purim
Is There a “Most Preferred” Tzedakah for Purim?
Why ‘Jew’ and ‘Goy’ Are Not Scrabble Words
SALT Friday

Charities grapple with Washington’s fiscal chaos
Secret Documents Reveal How the Israeli Government Handled the Sabra and Shatila Massacre
Israeli group files lawsuit asking Interior Ministry to recognize converts
Identifying Achashverosh and Esther in Secular Sources
1 in 9 Jews gets married abroad
The Origin of Ta‘anit Esther
On Israel paying rabbis
R Shafran: Abusive Journalism
Haredi schools ordered to apply standardized tests
Official: Inmates Claim To Be Jewish For Meals
Religious Zionists vie for post of Israel’s chief Ashkenazi rabbi
Orthodox Jewish divorce spurred by technology, some say
Sexual abuse led to suicide bids
SALT Thursday

Supreme Court Interferes In Chareidi Chinuch
The Rabbanut: A Necessary Evil?
‘What if a Female Pilot Falls Captive?’
The other women of the Wall
Yesh Atid initiates Knesset Torah study group
Revel To File For Bankruptcy
Turning the Key to the Great Houses of Lox
Let’s Turn Jewish Practice Into Something Competitive
Kosher Meat Sales Surge in UK in Wake of Horse Meat Scandal
Nine months after Israeli court ruling, non-Orthodox rabbis still fighting for equal pay
SALT Wednesday

Happy Copernicus Day
Yair Lapid’s Religion
Organs and statistics
Bennett pays a visit to prestigious haredi yeshivot
Toilet paper coupon clash
It’s Party Time After Shul. Mixed Drinks, Clear Message
Purim Perils: His View Is His Own
New Yiddish Dictionary Explores Intracacies of Language
NY State Grants Operation Approval For Orthodox Women’s EMT Group
SALT Tuesday

Jewish abuse documentary didn’t tell the whole story
The Postmodern Conservatism of the Chief Rabbi of France
Is Britain ready for (another) Jewish PM?
Just How Orthodox Are They?
How Many American Jews Are There?
Historic rivals unite to save Jewish history
NY group gets OK to bury holy items
Police arrest man who ordered woman to back of bus
NYC Sues Williamsburg Stores Over Tznius Signs
SALT Monday

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Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the founder, publisher and editor-in-chief of Torah Musings.

 
The opinions and facts here are presented solely by the author. Torah Musings assumes no responsibility for them. Please address religious questions to your rabbi.
 

91 Responses

  1. mycroft says:

    “how some high-profile Orthodox synagogues are drawing large crowds to their Shabbat morning services with expensive booze and elaborate catering at kiddush will prove embarrassing enough to tamp down this trend. But I don’t think so.”

    Sadly tend to agree-whatever happened to simple kiddushes. I knew a Rabbi who when seeing Simchas Torah kiddushes get out of hand-asked personally the Chasan Torah of that year-who gave over $50K a year to that schul over a quarter century ago to make a simple kiddush. That stopped those extreme kiddushes. The Rabbis have to get involved and it can be done on a personal level.

  2. Hirhurim says:

    Mycroft: When I was first married, my father-in-law’s shul (an Agudah) made a rule of no hot kiddushes (or something like that). It lasted a few weeks until the rabbi caved to the enormous pressure and reversed the rule.

  3. joel rich says:

    R’ Gil,
    Similar result in west orange many years ago (not the f-i-l part)
    KT

  4. GIL/R. Joel:

    what’s the problem with a hot kiddush? i don’t understand what is wrong with some oily kugel and chollent (medical objections aside)?

    i don’t like that standard kiddushes have become so fancy, and there is enormous pressure and expectations on those who would like to mark a particular occasion or share a simcha with the shul. but that’s a different issue from providing some light food after shul to encourage social engagement.

    now is it embarassing that in some shuls people care more about the kiddush (or the general social atmosphere) than the davening? of course, and unfortunately this is not uncommon (and so it is in my shul). but the emphasis on the kiddush is only a symptom of the scourge, not at all the cause of it.

    and not that i generally accept the answer of “it’s not only a jewish problem,” but don’t churches also have after service socials, etc.? (and remember the everyone loves raymond episode where ray joins the ushers and discovers they volunteer so they don’t have to sit through the service)

  5. honestly, if one were to remove on one hand the social expectation of shul attendance (peer pressure, nagging wives, etc.)and on the other hand completely eliminate any social aspect from davening (insisting on complete decorum without exception, no kiddushes, no youth groups, etc.), what do you think this would do to attendance? how many people really come only for religious reasons?

    in my own shul there are men who stay in the lobby the entire morning, and some who come in and literally never open a siddur. they openly say that they come to shul for social reasons and/or becaues they have to. blame this on the day schools, the parents, the rabbis, etc. but the poor kiddush?

  6. ruvie says:

    abba’s rantings – i wonder if this afflicts all in the orthodox spectrum or some more than others – is it just in america?. I rarely see this when davening in yerushalayim.

  7. RUVIE:

    do you mean is this davka an american problem vs. israel, or galut vs. israel? i don’t know anything about galut shuls aside from america, and i really haven’t davened in that many israeli shuls, but off the bat i would say there are 3 major differences between israel and the galut that could affect the shul atmosphere:

    1) israelis actually understand what they are saying. i don’t mean every single yom kipur piyut, but the basic davening is basically comprehsible. for many american jews, they might as well be davening in greek. why should someone want to sit through 2-3 hours of something that is incomprehensible. (on a personal note, my hebrew is very good, relatively speaking. but i still find that because it isn’t my native language, i still need to pay extra attention while davening in order to internalize what i am saying, otherwise very easy to space out while moving my lips. and for various reasons, some beyond my control, this often doesn’t happen.)
    2) i could be wrong, but i feel that in israel you are more likely to interact with those in your community outside of shul, so social interaction isn’t limited to the shul. here, if you only go to shul on shabbat, you can literally go an entire week without interacting with people in your community. people do need social outlets, and so in the absence of any other, it becomes the shul (where your commmunity and nagging wife expects you to go in any case)
    3) on average, shabbat morning in an israeli shul is much more streamlined. (i’m not sure why this is. perhaps a reflection of general israeli utilitarianism? or the fact that to a certain extent, in america, shabbat morning in shul is the central jewish and/or religious experience of the week, and hence we make a bigger deal out of it and draw it out; if i had to guess, i’d say that in a land where jews are a majority, there isn’t a need for that once-a-week dramatic reinforcement of particularist identity.)

  8. Hirhurim says:

    abba: The issue with the hot kiddush was the cost.

    In my limited experience in a shul in a largely non-religious neighborhood in Israel, there was a huge social aspect including food but it was all inexpensive–pita, chumus, etc.

  9. emma says:

    I basically support regular hot kiddushes in communities where there are lots of people who can’t or don’t feed themselves properly otherwise. Beyond that, though, it’s not just a symptom of the problems with worship, but of the serious problems with conspicuous consumption and wastefulness that dog our communities in many areas.

  10. RUVIE:

    does it affect equally across the ortho spectrum? i’m not sure. my first instinct would be to accept a tochecha that this is more of a problem in MO shuls. but i’m not sure if it seems worse in MO shuls because they are generally larger (at least in my experience) and so the problem is hence amplified and seems worse (5 guys talking in 30-man shtibel doesn’t seem as bad and is much less disruptive than 45 people talking in a 300-person shul, but the percentages are still the same.)
    i have been in quiet MO and RW shuls, and also in terrible shuls of both. the worst, by far, i’ve ever been in, was a basement shtiebel in boro park (but they were incredibly open to me beyond my wildest imagination, and i actually did go back there a few times.)

  11. EMMA:

    i don’t object to conspicious consumption or wastefulness. people who have money should be able to enjoy it and spend it as they please (and of course share it with us in the form of fancy kiddushim! :) )

    my problem is with the peer pressure and social expectations this causes in our small but multi-class communities. (this all goes back to an old post by gil on the kid with ripped pants in his shul.)

  12. “Once Popular, ‘Appetizing’ Shops Have Almost Disappeared”

    no they havne’t disappeared, but ones that exist today aren’t kosher (actually i’m not sure if the ones the article refers were kosher either). brighton beach has many of appetizing stores (as do other areas in brooklyn with heavy russian concentrations.)

  13. “Revel To File For Bankruptcy”

    whew. i thought you meant BRGS.
    who cares about a casino? why is this a link?

    “‘What if a Female Pilot Falls Captive?’”

    i don’t understand the question. what is the difference between a pilot and any other solider? (and aren’t pilots much less likely to be take captive than soldiers on the ground?)

  14. Hirhurim says:

    Abba: A little joke link about Revel

  15. GIL:

    ok, ok. when i first saw the headline i was very upset. it would not have been the first time brgs threatened with closure.

    now that you bring it up, i do wonder what happened to the revel (really tuska) oil fortune.

  16. emma says:

    “i don’t object to conspicious consumption or wastefulness. people who have money should be able to enjoy it and spend it as they please (and of course share it with us in the form of fancy kiddushim! :) )”

    was this entirely or only sort of tongue in cheek? it seems to me the torah objects to both conspicuous consumption and waste… (by waste i mean not just that money could be better spent, btw, but that lots of food gets thrown away.)

    “my problem is with the peer pressure and social expectations this causes in our small but multi-class communities. (this all goes back to an old post by gil on the kid with ripped pants in his shul.)””

    Well, yes, the whole point of conspicuous consumption is to show what you have, and it is intimately bound up in a corrupt culture where everyone is expected to do the same and is judged by how much they can show. In a multi-class community the rich people, too, need to think about what kind of expectations they are setting. (speaking as a relatively rich person, btw, i consciously low-balled the fanciness of my son’s bris, for example, because i believe strongly that it has to continue to be acceptable to serve bagels and lox and not have waiters and hot food and all that…)
    Actually, i believe in general conspicuous consumption has been shown to be more of an issue in relatively homogenous communities. Poor people know they can’t compete with rich people, so they don’t try. But lower-middle class people feel that perhaps they can, and therefore should, stretch to compete with the upper middle class, say. Frum communities are sometimes a bit different because ppl have an unrealistic sense of homegeneity, perhaps.

  17. Scott says:

    Don’t be broiges about Gil’s joke about brgs. Just revel without a cause.

  18. joel rich says:

    Supreme Court Interferes In Chareidi Chinuch

    Interesting use of the word interferes (as in department of education interferes in NYC board of education)

    KT

  19. EMMA:

    tongue in cheek wrt sharing their wealth with us in the form of fancy kiddushim. but in general it is their money and they are entitled to spend it as they please, as distatseful as it might seem to us.

    and why do you think the torah objects to all that food being thrown out? we don’t live in a society with limited food resources. people aren’t starving somewhere because you ordered one tray too much of chollent. (yes, even though we aren’t diverting food resources, it would still be nice to donate leftover food to the poor. but i was told by someone in my shul that city harvest, etc. won’t take kiddush food because it isn’t safe. no not because the chollent will clog poor people’s arteries, but because it isn’t handled under safe conditions as per health dept., e.g., left out too long. so is there really any baal tashchis in throwing out that food?)

    mazal tov on your son’s bris.

    i didn’t understand you last paragraph. but what i see in typical jewish communities are wide income gaps, and not just at the outliers which people understand as such, but spread relatively even across the board. so while a community might have a rich people that everyone looks at with jealousy and strives for their lifestyle, it is understood that this isn’t the norm. my feeling is that in the jewish community the standard of the norm is indeed set by the wealthier. it isn’t just about something to strive toward. it is the expected norm.

  20. emma says:

    “tongue in cheek wrt sharing their wealth with us in the form of fancy kiddushim. but in general it is their money and they are entitled to spend it as they please, as distatseful as it might seem to us.”

    What is the source of this “entitlement”? If one is “entitled” to give less money to charity due to various technical workaround (after-tax income, tuition, whatever) does that mean there is no moral valance to the choice? Is there no concept of tznius? Of making others feel bad? Of considering the consequences of your actions?

    “and why do you think the torah objects to all that food being thrown out? we don’t live in a society with limited food resources. . . . ”

    First, globally, overconsumption by the rich (which includes nearly all americans, by global standards) is or will be, arguably, the cause of problems for people in poorer places. Specifically, our capacity to feed everyone meat indefinitely without putting pressure on the food supply for the poor is, in fact, limited. Also, some resources are limited in the classical sense. Fisheries, for example. Second, would you see something wasteful in killing two cows to eat their tongues and throwing the rest out? What if you really like tongue? Knowingly putting on a huge show where you order too much just to make sure you won’t run out sounds like bal taschis to me. Once the food is there it may be ok to throw out but who says you should order it to begin with?

    “mazal tov on your son’s bris.”
    a while ago, but thanks :)

  21. EMMA:

    “In a multi-class community the rich people, too, need to think about what kind of expectations they are setting”

    and the people who aren’t rich need to be responsible and realistic, and grow up.

  22. emma says:

    re: conspicuous consumpttion, see literature on expenditure cascades such as:
    http://blogs.reuters.com/chrystia-freeland/2012/03/22/trickle-down-consumption/

    “A draft study by two University of Chicago economists that is attracting a lot of attention in the academy supports this view. Marianne Bertrand and Adair Morse coined the term ‘‘trickle-down consumption,’’ and in their paper of the same name they find that higher spending, bankruptcy and self-reported financial distress all increase if you live in a community with higher income inequality, compared with one with lower income inequality.”

    I was thinking of a study I had read a while ago that found the opposite: more spending on visible consumer goods in more homogenous communities. But I guess maybe there is a machlokes here…

  23. emma says:

    “and the people who aren’t rich need to be responsible and realistic, and grow up.”

    that’s not what chazal said about funerals…

  24. emma says:

    listen, each individual/family bears ultimate responsibility for making responsible decisions, but that doesn’t mean there is no place for third parties to think about the larger effects of what they are doing.

  25. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    Gil: Good joke. First I thought, it’s a bit too early for the Purim issue. Then you had me scared for a minute.

  26. ruvie says:

    interesting – who says women do not rebel on the get issue:

    http://www.metro.us/newyork/news/2013/02/19/orthodox-jewish-divorce/

  27. EMMA:

    “globally . . .”

    i knew you were headed in this direction. and i’ll have to stop you there. i’m not so sophisticated as to understand how our consumption keeps the masses in poverty. all i know with certainty is there is no macro sequellae from that extra tray of chollent. as far as the general point, then to what extent do we (americans) need to change our behavior? to the extent we are on par with the poorest of the world?

    “that’s not what chazal said about funerals”

    true. or the dresses of the maidens of jerusalem on yom kippur and tu be-av.

    “there is a machlokes here…”

    not necessarly. the economic stressor in multi-class jewish communities isn’t (or perhaps isn’t just) the striving for typical “consumer goods” (which is what you specified). it’s the big ticket items, like housing, tuition (schools and more importantly camps), simchas, vacations, etc. this is where our unreasonable expectations cause real problems.

    “a while ago, but thanks”

    never too late to hear besoros tovos or to offer good wishes.

    “order too much just to make sure you won’t run out sounds like bal taschis to me”

    come to my shul. no matter how much one orders, the vultures make sure not to leave any scraps at the serving tables! (actually the bigger problem evident at kidushes isn’t the baal tashchis but the complete lack of civlity exhibited by people who act as if they haven’t eaten in a month and won’t again eat for another month.

  28. Hoffa Araujo says:

    One problem identified with hot kiddushim is that those eating at the kiddush fill up and when they get home, don’t have room to eat their Shabbos lunch seudah. That is reason for such takkanos I have seen, and for an aufruf/bar mitzvoh, hot food is limited only to potato and lukshen kugels.

    Another issue I find that is that at a fancy kiddush, while on the men’s side, men are served schmaltz/matjes herring mit kichel, cake, kugel and cholent with soda, on the women’s side there are salads, fresh fruit, water, and other healthier foods. I sometimes see men having their kids sneak them stuff from the women’s section. I guess are assumed to like heimishe foods (which they usually do).

  29. emma says:

    “EMMA:

    “globally . . .”

    i knew you were headed in this direction. and i’ll have to stop you there. i’m not so sophisticated as to understand how our consumption keeps the masses in poverty. all i know with certainty is there is no macro sequellae from that extra tray of chollent.”

    fair enough. The question is whether there is any ethical imperative not to behave in a way that is unsustainable if everyone does it.

    “the economic stressor in multi-class jewish communities isn’t (or perhaps isn’t just) the striving for typical “consumer goods” (which is what you specified). it’s the big ticket items, like housing, tuition (schools and more importantly camps), simchas, vacations, etc. this is where our unreasonable expectations cause real problems.”

    perhaps i misspoke on “visible consumer goods.” this economic theory includes big-ticket items, as long as they are visible. It purports to explain, for example, the increase in the average home size despite lack of increase in average family size, for example. (though there are contrary views on that question.)

    “come to my shul. no matter how much one orders, the vultures make sure not to leave any scraps at the serving tables!”

    I have less of a problem if the food actually gets eaten. Though if people then go home and eat another full meal it still seems like bal tashchis to me…

    “(actually the bigger problem evident at kidushes isn’t the baal tashchis but the complete lack of civlity exhibited by people who act as if they haven’t eaten in a month and won’t again eat for another month.”
    The drive to consume, without thinking, at the kiddush is i think related to the drive to consume a lot in making the kiddush to begin with…

  30. emma says:

    “One problem identified with hot kiddushim is that those eating at the kiddush fill up and when they get home, don’t have room to eat their Shabbos lunch seudah. ”

    This is obviated, technically, by those shuls that also put out rols. But there is a bigger issue, then, of undermining the family seudah as an important religious and cultural institution.

  31. Tal Benschar says:

    “but in general it is their money and they are entitled to spend it as they please, as distatseful as it might seem to us.”

    Well actually, no, the Torah and halakha don’t view it that way. Hatzneah leckes im Elokecha extends to showing off wealth.

    And in any event, even if someone is “entitled” to spend his or her money “as they please,” that does not mean that a shul or other Jewish institution has to agree to be part of it. As an institution of the tsibbur, the shul is likewise “entitled” to set the standard of what it believes is appropriate to take place on its premises and in public.

  32. “This is obviated, technically, by those shuls that also put out rols.”

    we always wash and bench when possible.

    “But there is a bigger issue, then, of undermining the family seudah as an important religious and cultural institution.”

    for us lunch is generally a quick meal anyway. i need my shluf. (friday night is the big family meal here).

    “I have less of a problem if the food actually gets eaten.”

    i didn’t say it gets eaten. but the serving trays all get emptied out to the bottom

    “Though if people then go home and eat another full meal it still seems like bal tashchis to me”

    i don’t know about baal tashchis but what about shemor nafshecha?

    the lack of civility i mentioned was a reference to pushing, shoving and grabbing on the lines. kids lacking all respect for their elders, and the legendary elderly who brusquely push aside men a third their age and twice their size. as if they are going to starve to death.

  33. emma, what about the idea that one has to support a person with tzedeka equal to their former status, lifestyle and comfort?

  34. emma says:

    halacha recognizes/assumes that some people will live more comfortably than others. that doesn’t mean it countenances those people showing it off.

  35. just ftr (if it matters), i think there is a difference (although may not always perceptible to others, and sometimes its a fine line) between enjoying one’s money and showing off.

  36. emma:

    if you want to talk about baal taschis, what about mishloach manos?

  37. emma says:

    you won’t here an argument from me there.

  38. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    charedi shuls have just as elaborate kiddushin as MO. in fact, it is said that when a new rebbe moves into town, he must give a good (hot) kiddush to attract (the “proper”) crowd.

    in maerica, one is identified by his shul. in israel, its just a place one goes to daven — paraphrasing r rakeffet. extend that to a kiddush. also, pitot, salatim, etc are respectable fare for a kiddush in israel. maybe not in tzfon tel aviv …

    extreme waste in throwing out food — the “good samaritan laws” in nj (and ny) are inadequate to protect caterers from potential liability. though teaneck has “shearit haPlate” that colects such food and donates it to …

    someone who donates to an institution has the right to specify where it goes to, if the institution is willing. extend that to a kiddush.

    2. whatever did happen to the revel oil business? (r belkin was bad off either. both married into $.)

  39. Nachum says:

    MMY: Re the oil business. The Rockefellers muscled in and it went under, and R’ Revel had to get a salary from YU for the first time. (And became a full-time president.)

  40. MMY:

    “in maerica, one is identified by his shul. in israel, its just a place one goes to daven”

    agreed. this goes back to what i wrote above that in ameica shul is much more important for religious and social identity/activity.

    as far as kidushim in israel vs. us, unless things have changed over the years, from what i remember in general shabbat meals are much simpler.

  41. IH says:

    Regarding ‘What if a Female Pilot Falls Captive?’ — it’s too bad they seem to have stopped teaching the Chana Senesh story. Last year, I watched the beautiful film telling her story, Blessed is the Match (trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GzHz4y3fGE), which then inspired me to go to Har Herzl for the first time in many years and visit her grave. Yehi Zichra Baruch.

  42. jo says:

    I find it ironic that none of the religious parties thought of bringing Torah study to the Knesset.

  43. avi says:

    “I find it ironic that none of the religious parties thought of bringing Torah study to the Knesset.”

    Bayit yehudi isn’t a religious party?

    However, ofcourse you can’t have a religious party suggest a Torah class. That would be seen as religious coercion.

  44. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if Ahmed Tibi will present divrei torah.

  45. j meyer says:

    On the identification of Esther and Achashverosh the linguistic analysis was very weak and the dating system used was not the one I was taught in Yeshiva. The first bais hamikdash was still around until 423 BCE. That provides us with some major issues with the results of the linguistic analysis. Any answers anyone? That 163 year difference in the calendars really really makes relating the events of Purim to secular events a major struggle.

  46. Nachum says:

    J. Meyer: Of course it’s generally accepted that the First Beit HaMikdash was destroyed many decades before the date you cite. Once you get past that, things get a lot easier.

  47. Steve Brizel says:

    Abba is correct-Mishloach Manos borders on Baal Tachshis because of the amount of pure junk sent and the fact that Pesach is around the corner. IIRC, R Asher Weiss questions why so many perform Misloach Manos by a shaliach, which R Weiss notes is a chumra nowhere found in Shas or Rishonim, and suggests that just inviting someone for Seudas Purim with the understanding that the guest is contributing thereto is an eminently fine way of fulfilling one’s chiyuv.

  48. Nachum says:

    IH: Professor Elman, as you’d expect, picked up on this years ago. It seems to be a native Persian practice that got picked up by both Iranian Shi’ism and the Bavli.

  49. moshe shoshan says:

    Mishloach Manos borders on Baal Tachshis

    Steve- “borders”?
    I assume when people who dont follow the baalei hamesorah do then it really is baal tashchis.

    Moshe

  50. moshe shoshan says:

    I dont know how avi shaffren can complain about abusive journalism, when he not only refuses the right of response to his blog posts but could not even bring himself to provide a link to the forward article he was attacking.

  51. Nachum says:

    Moshe: The funniest part is the one word he leave out of the headline. I mean, really?

  52. Hirhurim says:

    Moshe: R. Shafran doesn’t blog. This is just a syndicated an old-fashioned essay that he sends out to his mailing list (that I’m on). That’s why there’s no link and no comments.

  53. joel rich says:

    R’ Gil,
    I think the issue is more that Cross Currents posts the essays without allowing comment – it’s their website so I suppose they can do what they want, I don’t read the pieces since there is no allowance for a conversation.
    KT

  54. j meyer says:

    Nachum: How does one ‘get past’ an issue like this. Seder haOlam is clear and derives it from Pesukim. Secular system says that the Persian Kingdom lasted much longer than allowed for by ShO and has evidence worth paying attention to. Weigh those two together and you still have to go ShO. When was the world created? Not so long ago according to the Torah. But there is evidence worth paying attention to that it was a long long time ago. Are we also supposed to just ‘get past’ this snag. How does one do it? Some day we will need to justify such decisions – how do we answer the question.

  55. IH says:

    Some wonderful footage of Purim in Tel Aviv ha’K’tana of the early 1930s: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LpnqdxvuDPU

  56. Nachum says:

    J Meyer: I really don’t see the question. It’s not so hard to get past these issues and admit that secular history and science are pretty solid here.

    The pesukim in question, by the way, come from the end of Daniel, where not even the author himself knows what’s going on.

    Of course, someone who is willing to accept that the universe is 5773 years old will have no problem erasing about 150 years.

    Gil: I think he publishes some these pieces in some journal as well.

  57. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    “I think he publishes some these pieces in some journal as well.”
    agreed, as do many other “op ed” columnists. nothing wrong with that, thus no commenting. (try commenting to the nytimes op ed page.) though i wouldnt call them journals.

    O jewish divorce — should say facebook, not technology. now you dont have to read the article.

    yesh atid knesset torah study — they should be ashamed of themselves. not learning (aguda approved) daf yomi. (sarcasm)

    rabbi pay in israel — even O rabbis (of various stripes) have funny pay systems. suffice it to say, only those with proper protexia get the pay.

  58. Steve Brizel says:

    Abba wrote:

    “for many american jews, they might as well be davening in greek. why should someone want to sit through 2-3 hours of something that is incomprehensible. (on a personal note, my hebrew is very good, relatively speaking. but i still find that because it isn’t my native language, i still need to pay extra attention while davening in order to internalize what i am saying, otherwise very easy to space out while moving my lips. and for various reasons, some beyond my control, this often doesn’t happen.)”

    Perhaps, this issue can be approached via a simple but vital suggestion-suggest a Biur Tefilah class. There is no shortage of excellent works on Tefilah in Lashon HaKodesh and English.

  59. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    steve b — such programs only have minimal impact. the real soultion is long term — make sure every yeshiva / day school student is well versed in real hebrew (even what is called conversational hebrew will do.) this applies to MO and charedi. no diff; both are functionally illiterate in real hebrew.

    start a biur tfillah class in shul (or other institution.) ten, twenty ppl will come the first few classes, eventually it will whittle down to five.

  60. Scott says:

    I’m happy to learn that the British Jewish population is concentrating, especially according to the opinion that mitzvos tzerichos kavanah.

  61. IH says:

    Given Artscroll and Koren Sacks siddurim, it is hard to believe that Biur T’filla classes are the solution. My sense is that many who go to shul out of obligation (to halacha or community) simply don’t particularly like davening or appreciate its structure and rhythm.

  62. Nachum says:

    Here’s a suggestion: Start Shabbat morning davening somewhat earlier- no later than, say, 8:30, or even much earlier- and finish in an hour and a half, which believe it or not can be easily done without being inordinately fast or skipping anything. Boredom, solved.

    The human brain can concentrate for about two hours. That’s why movies are that length. Nor is this new- Shakespeare’s plays are about two hours long.

    “Religious Zionist Rabbis Choose Chief-Rabbi Candidate”

    This is, of course, quite inaccurate. One of the two chardali candidates invited his supporters to a meeting where, naturally, he won the vote. Interesting in and of itself, but ultimately meaningless.

  63. STEVE:

    i agree with MMY (and IH) re. biur tefilla class.

  64. IH says:

    For those interested in knowing their Y-DNA markers (e.g. if they carry the Cohen-Modal-Haplotype), FamilyTreeDNA is offering a special promotion for a few days, charging a one-time $39 instead of the usual $99. If you Google, you will find the link.

    It’s not egalitarian — you have to be male :-)

  65. Steve Brizel says:

    MMY and IH-who said that Biur Tefilah must be taught either from ArtScroll or R Sacks? There are wonderful Sefarim and English language works on Tefilah that should be the basis of any such shiur.

  66. HAGTBG says:

    Thank you for linking to the OU Passover Guide where it now appears the OU has adoped its third policy in three years concerning quinoa. Now it treats it as kitniyot:

    http://oukosher.org/passover/guidelines/food-items/kitniyot-list/

  67. Hirhurim says:

    Now it treats it as kitniyot:

    I understand what you’re trying to say but I don’t think the words you used are particularly accurate

  68. HAGTBG says:

    How so? The treat it like peanuts. Do you see peanuts anywhere? Safek or not safek – who cares if they don’t allow it either way????

    I don’t keep their historical Passover Guides but I am convinced each year they say something different then the year before (and generally stricter). Four years ago, quinoa was fine and the commonplace, at least in the MO community and, as I understand it, in hotels. Even last year, there was one brand for Pesach. Now, nothing. If you go to the page on quinoa specifically they say you can ask your local Orthodox rav but they allow no products themselves and are full of vague warnings that the plant might have wheat taint the quinoa production. They are trying to kill quinoa on Pesach.

  69. IH says:

    Now it treats it as if it were kitniyot, if you want to nitpick.

  70. Hirhurim says:

    They say it is a safek because of debate. Peanuts are also a matter of debate. I know Yeshivish Ashkenazim who eat peanuts on Pesach.

  71. HAGTBG says:

    They say it is a safek because of debate.

    So what? It’s how they deal with the “safek” that’s the problem.

    You know they could say it was a safek and mark it with the half-moon K or something to distinguish it, if they wanted to allow the many people who have no problem with quinoa to have access to it.

    Instead, they prevent it from being certified altogether.

    With peanuts they stopped certifying peanut oil (which everyone used 50 years ago – even those who felt peanuts themselves were kitniyot) because they claimed there was no longer enough of a market. For quinoa they aren’t even pretending.

  72. Hirhurim says:

    They actually have a specific FAQ in the guide for Quinoa. Take a look at it. It says to ask your LOR and to make sure it is not milled with grains.

  73. HAGTBG says:

    Yes Gil (see my comments above). They leave you no tools to actually find quinoa.

  74. Hirhurim says:

    OU Passover Guide, p. 93

  75. HAGTBG says:

    Gil, they say its a safek but then strip the consumer who has no problem with quinoa of any assistance in finding some, either in certification or advice.

  76. HAGTBG says:

    Gil, its known that the Israel Rabbanut engaged in an organized and planned 15 year drive to change the standards of various certifications, slowly, slowly each year. So that in the end it was much stricter then the beginning. I have no idea if there is an attempt to phase out quinoa here.

  77. Really? says:

    Star-K Kashrut Certification for Quinoa:

    http://star-k.org/cons_quinoa.htm

  78. joel rich says:

    r’gil,
    i have no knowledge of the ou’s thinking on the issue. i can say it will be another data point quoted in thye street when people say the ou is looking over its right shoulder and by others who say it’s market driven (no incentive to be lenient as long as ok and cof k aren’t noticably more so)
    K

  79. Hirhurim says:

    All I said was that HAGTBG was imprecise in his language. I think it has now been clarified what the OU is saying.

  80. Shalom Rosenfeld says:

    I’d heard whether quinoa was categorically kitniyos was a machlokes among the OU’s current poskim. Peanuts, RMF said it was simply a matter of local custom. R’ Gil when you say peanuts a machlokes, do you mean “different minhagim in different places”, or “RMF held they weren’t unless you had a local minhag otherwise”, while other poskim held they absolutely were? (Yes I know R Yitzchak Elchanan was matir the oil but assumed peanuts themselves were kitniyos, okay Kovno’s one data point.)

    (Funny how caraway has, over the last 400 years, gone from “not kitniyos” to “not kitniyos, just check it well” to “don’t rely on your wife to check it, check it yourself” to “eh best not to use it” to “kitniyos with an asterisk” to today’s “just plain kitniyos.”)

  81. Hirhurim says:

    Joel: If the OU is correct about the difficulty in finding Quinoa that is not processed on the same equipment as chametz, that seems like an important non-political issue. If it is not true and they are just saying it to appease the right, then I agree with you that it is just politics.

  82. joel rich says:

    R’Gil,
    yes-and I also don’t know what the truth is, but as they say, sometimes impressions are more important than fact.
    KT

  83. emma says:

    “don’t rely on your wife to check it, check it yourself”

    really? sigh.

  84. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    RMF did not say peanut oil (not peanuts) is local custom, as much as he said in lubyan (?sp) where he grew up, it was used. but nowhere else was it used. so in america, we used it, cause it RMF’s town, alone, it was used.

    steve b — i did not advocate artscroll or koren (or other books). though i happen to like r sacks. waiting for it to come out in nusach sfard (actually, i think it did come out.)

    just pointing out lack of popular interest in such classes. my shul actually started one, using r munk’s book; the litvish teacher ignores specifics of yekke minhag, even after i pointed out to him that frankfurt / bruers minhag is considered “correct”, and is considered proper study, whether or not we actually follow it.

    quinoa, others — all hotels all over the world are no longer non shmura matza, non potato strach exclusively (except some florida and hudson valley). same machmir tendency. why should quinoa, etc be any different? peanut oil, too.

  85. Nachum says:

    “waiting for it to come out in nusach sfard (actually, i think it did come out.)”

    It did indeed. I wondered what the market was. :-)

 
 

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