Comments for Torah Musings Fri, 03 Jul 2015 20:12:40 +0000 hourly 1 Comment on Daily Reyd by micha Fri, 03 Jul 2015 20:12:40 +0000 We live in a society that so values people making their own decisions that they can no longer recognize when something is fundamentally immoral.

And in non-O circles, post-denominalism is a growing phenomenons. Again, valuing giving each person the room to do there own thing.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have an Orthodox society in which we gave people room to find their own way to follow the Torah and mitzvos without expecting conformity to this approach or that one? Kind of like a post-movement denominationalism?

This comes with a positive side…

PS: The key issue that divides MO from chareidim is the approach to modernity. MO sees the modern as that which we are supposed to sanctify, with a few exceptions where society went awry. Chareidim see the modern as a challenge to classical Judaism, with some exceptions where the new is actually usable.

(One considers the contemporary world the field on which the game is played, the other sees it as a player for the opposing team.)

Both strategies are based on the idea that we need a single blanket policy regardless of which element of western civ and which person we are talking about. A considered weighing of pros and cons by each person about the individual decisions they make in the world would eliminate the meaning of being in one camp or the other. And would maximize both growth as well as protection from challenges.

Comment on What To Do About A Yarmulke #Fail by Gabriel Gross Fri, 03 Jul 2015 14:44:12 +0000 “Rav Shlomo Luria (Responsa Maharshal, no. 72) concluded that wearing a yarmulke is only a custom not a law” –
If you read the teshuva inside, this statement seems like somewhat of an understatement.

Comment on Daily Reyd by Moshe Shoshan Fri, 03 Jul 2015 12:07:00 +0000 Micha
Well said. What we need is an Orthodoxy that that can fill the gap between the right and the left and can remained truly engaged in contemporary society, rather than simply accepting or rejecting it.

Comment on Do Pesukei DeZimra Have To Be Said In Order? by Avi Shevin Fri, 03 Jul 2015 05:59:49 +0000 1) Dikduk nitpick: The word ויברך is better transliterated as Vyvarech. The Shva beneath the Yud is Nach (silent), changing the Patach beneath the Vuv from the usual ah sound to ai, as in the word Chai.

2) Part of the first part of Hodu is from Divrei Hayamim, not the parallel Pesukim in Tehillim. Witness the spelling of Yitzchak as ישחק.

3) The second half of Hudo, from the Pesukim of Romemu until the end, was added during the Middle Ages, in response to the Crusades/Pogroms of the time.

Comment on The Modern Orthodox Jew and Gay Marriage by njn Thu, 02 Jul 2015 19:56:19 +0000 Dear Reb Gil,
I follow your website a lot and usually am in general agreement with your writings. But I was shocked to read some of your article about the legalization of “gay marriage” and some of the positive?! I understand, that the majority of your article you conclude with a torah perspective. But you start with the following sentence”Modern Orthodox Jews are rightly confounded in finding the correct response to the recent Supreme Court decision affirming gay marriage as a constitutional right”
I could not disagree more. Modern orthodox jews should not be confounded, confused or perplexed. They should be outraged! There is nothing redeeming about the highest court in the land undermining basic family structure. The RCA and Aguda’s response was one of outrage and dissapointment. Rabbi Carmy, that you linked to, said we should do teshuva. Reb Gil, there is nothing positive in this! Lovingly share in their moment of glory?!

Comment on The Convert Problem by Avi Shevin Thu, 02 Jul 2015 09:51:53 +0000 I have been fortunate to know Gerim who have fit in well and had little or no trouble finding spouses. One, who is my wife’s age (about 7 years my junior) is teaching in the Smicha program at my Shul, and is married to the daughter of a Rabbi in America.

However, I have heard the same stories we all have, of Gerim having trouble in the Charedi Shidduch world because of their (lack of) Yichus. Does this booklet comment on that directly?

Comment on Daily Reyd by micha Wed, 01 Jul 2015 17:03:17 +0000 I think that R’ Avi Weiss’s version of the history is more accurate than R’ Gordimer’s. Mod-O did change, leaving a vacuum that was filled by OO. So now, instead of having one movement, we have two — one centered to the right of the MO of my youth, the other, to the left.

But R’ Herschel Schachter’s attitude to secular knowledge as a primary value is far different from R JB Soloveitchik’s.

In addition, MO lost tolerance for non-compliance. Which was great for the core MO, as it increased observance. But it meant that many no longer felt at home in our shuls. They either went elsewhere, in particular C was in its hayday, or nowhere.

So there is a real need for a more open Orthodoxy.

But the people who gravitated to R’ Weiss’s OO are those who felt less at home in the new MO. So they are increasingly accumulating the the O-lite Jews who are looking for the Orthodoxy that requires the least investment in order to qualify sociologically.

And more centrally, they get the left half of the Rav’s legacy, the ones whose ideologies don’t fit RWMO.

So one movement becomes two — one to the right of the old, the other to the left.

The difference between my perception and RAW’s is that I consider the “slide to the right” of the ’80s through the turn of the millennium a good thing, and therefore much of the counter-reaction less so.

Whereas R Weiss…

Comment on Halakhic Jews and Modern Time by micha Wed, 01 Jul 2015 16:57:47 +0000 Time used to be a natural cycle: I wake up at dawn, go to sleep at sundown, farm in the spring, hunker down in the winter, etc… Davening on proper time and the calendar of holidays fit that natural rhythm. Celebrating how Hashem sustained us in the midbar on Sukkot and celebrating Chag haAsif are one.

Then they invented the watch. Time became a dimension, with definite evenly spaced points. The farmer leaves for the office, picks up his day planner and schedules meetings based on watch-time.

Then we get the telephone, then email, messaging… Less and less of our day follows the line we planned in advance. We are increasingly living from responding to one event to responding to the next. The events are no longer interruptions, emergencies, but the dominant theme in how we experience time.

Comment on Halakhic Jews and Modern Time by micha Wed, 01 Jul 2015 16:43:58 +0000 By the way, the weather adds more variability than the leap second.

Sunset is not when the sun is parallel with the horizon. There is refraction, the same effect that makes a spoon that is half-stuck into a class of water look bent. When the sun is a little below the horizon, it is still visible, because its light is bent as it enters the atmosphere. The shallower the angle, the more the bending. So, the light from the top of the sun it bent than less light from the bottom, which is why the sun looks like an oval at these times.

So, sunrise is slightly before the sun is physically at the horizon, and sunset, slightly after.

How much before and after would actually depend on humidity and air pressure.

So, even if you had a chart that took into account your altitude, and (if you hold it’s relevant) the altitude of the lands to your east and west, you still couldn’t know haneitz or sheqi’ah to the second in advance.

Comment on Halakhic Jews and Modern Time by Nachum Lamm Wed, 01 Jul 2015 12:44:25 +0000 Very good piece.

I remember seeing a chart of Shabbat times from the late 1700’s (probably from England). The times were all approximations- without precise clocks, what would it matter? So you round down and you’re safe.