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OU Earthquake Emergency Fund
My Mother-in-Law, the Accused Spy
Benedict’s ‘Jesus’ and the Jews
The Origin of Ta‘anit Esther
Interview: Mordechai Dzikansky – Terrorist Cop
The Other Rosenbergs
Tribefest draws 1,200 young Jews to Las Vegas
Plan to register converts for marriage bypasses rabbis
Councilman Greenfield Disputes Rabbi Levin’s Claim
Israeli rabbis launch initiative to marry gay men to lesbian women
SALT Friday
Chief rabbi slams recent trend of ‘rabbi letters’
On the Demise of Conservative Judaism… Maybe
Recognizing Shame On International Agunah Day
Hebrew (Charter) School
Norman Podhoretz – The Pugilist
Rabbi Weinreb: Courtesy and Confidentiality
Hurva Synagogue is home to first wedding since 1948
Report: Future of Jewish studies at risk
Rav Herzog – The Rebbe of Sinn Féin
Identity = ?
SALT Thursday
Conservative Movement’s College Kids Mobilize
Man of the People of the Book
The Rabbi and the Rebellion
Silent No More
Amar’s c’tee on IDF conversions calls for end of course
New Science Labs Remain Unused, Without Teachers (YU student to the rescue)
OU Issues Purim Safety Alert
The Curious Jew: Spiritual Self-Destruction, Gay Pride & Identity
SALT Wednesday
The Pollard Spy Case, 25 Years Later
Food Justice and Flaum Appetizing
Rav Nebenzahl: Call off Jerusalem food festival
Survey aims to measure the changing Jewish vote
Jewish Texts Lost in War Are Surfacing in New York
When Opinions Get Personal (critique of Hirhurim comments)
SALT Tuesday
Israeli robots invade New York
Living among Orthodox Jews
What were the rabbis thinking?
Breaking Tradition, Rockland JCC Will Open On Saturdays
Bollywood once had a Jewish connection
The Happiest Man in America is an observant Jew
SALT Monday
Last week’s news & links
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About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of TorahMusings.com, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student serves on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America. He also serves on the Editorial Boards of Jewish Action magazine, the Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society and the Achieve Journal of Behavioral Health, Religion & Community, as well as the Board of OU Press. He has published five English books, the most recent titled Search Engine volume 2: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts -- Jewish Leadership, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

212 comments

  1. 1) the happiest man isn’t necessarily Orthodox – just observant.

    2) R Finkelman’s piece seems right to me. I think he left out the concern the rabbis probably had that religious people would look like hypocrites – which is great irony in the context of the letter.

    3) I think the JCC thing isn’t that bad. I bet they don’t realize that exercising like that is assur d’oraisa on Shabbos, or if they do, don’t realize what that means. Otherwise they wouldn’t bother with the lack of phone calls.

  2. Gallop says Orthodox, NYTs says Kosher keeping. It’s a stira

  3. Mareh Mekomot courtesy of Google on the observant Jew in the NYT article:

    http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2003/Sep/20/il/il30a.html
    http://shaloha.com/aboutus/

    וכל נתיבותיה שלום

  4. regarding JCC open on shabbat:
    i obviously think it’s the wrong policy for a jewish institution to remain open on shabbat.
    but most people i know wouldn’t never even consider donating to or becoming active in a JCC or federation-type organization. so why do we care if it opens on shabbat?

  5. Abba-Check out the Ys in Forest Hills,and Boro Park. I think that the frum community participates in programs in both facilities-which are closed on Shabbos.

  6. STEVE BRIZEL:

    “I think that the frum community participates in programs in both facilities”

    where did i question if frum jews participate in Y programing? what i stated is that frum jews–as far as i know, please correct me if you think i’m wrong–don’t generally donate to federation causes (including Ys) and are not active in them (i mean in a leadership capacity, not in the gym). i.e., if we can’t bother to write them a check for $18 once a year, what right do we have to make demands on them?
    now if you’re a dues-paying Y/JCC member and you’re upset about being open on shabbat you have the right to cancel your membership, and if enough members do this the Y/JCC might make a business decision that it should remain closed on shabbat. but otherwise why should they care what we think? and what right do we have to make demands on them?

    “Check out the Ys in Forest Hills,and Boro Park.”

    i don’t know anything about the Y in forest hills. i do know about the Y in boro park. what about it?

  7. Rafael Araujo

    “Rabbi Schaktman received his Rabbinic Ordination from the New York campus of the Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion in 1989.”

    I guess this Mr. Wong is not Orthodox.

    I wonder how the media defines “observant”?

  8. “I wonder how the media defines “observant”?”

    Overgeneralized, just as Orthodox Jews define non-Orthodox Jews…

  9. Rafael Araujo

    Right, so they “overgeneralized” in this instant. This guy is a member of a Reform temple, for crying out loud.

  10. There aren’t a whole lot of Orthodox shuls in Hawaii. If the guy says he keeps kosher, I’m willing to cut him a lot of slack.

  11. Rafael Araujo

    Right, but there are Orthodox shuls in Hawaii and he choses not to daven there. That’s telling.

    Sorry, but while I would agree that membership in an Orthodox shul certainly doesn’t prove a person is a Shomer Torah U’Mitzvos, one who is a member of a Conservative or Reform Temple is almost certainly not.

    Just speculation: it could be that his wife, who appears to be Jewish (I doubt he is a proper ger tzedek al pi halochoh) would not accept the halachic requirements of conversion of the Orthodox and so they joined the Temple, which would accept them.

  12. Rafael Araujo

    Please excuse my spelling errors.

  13. NACHUM:

    i don’t know about today, but ten years ago in honolulu there was a chabad minyan friday evening and shabbat morning in a hotel. the only kosher restaurant was a vegeterian chinese place with the chabad hashgacha. there was also a consevative shul (“sof maarav” a la yehuda halevi)
    on kuai there was zilch
    i was told at the time there was a shabbat morning minyan on the big island (but i don’t recall it being ortho?)
    don’t know about maui or the smaller islands

  14. RAFAEL:

    “there are Orthodox shuls in Hawaii”

    besides that chabad minyan, where are there ortho shuls in hawaii?

  15. What’s this I read? “Israeli Robots Invade New York, Living Among Orthodox Jews.” 😉

  16. “Just speculation: it could be that his wife, who appears to be Jewish (I doubt he is a proper ger tzedek al pi halochoh) would not accept the halachic requirements of conversion of the Orthodox and so they joined the Temple, which would accept them.”

    We call this “dan l’chaf zechus” right? Oh, I forgot, that only applies to those who dress Orthodox…

  17. MiMedinat HaYam

    there is a “traditional” synagogue unaffilliated (or similar) run by someone supposedly orthodox on maui. supposedly kosher food, etc. assume everyone drives there, etc. (face it — thats the program thoroughout the us / the world)

    and chabad on oahu, in the waikiki district.

    nothing else, for us.

    2. dan rather (before his final actions leading to being banished from establishment tv news) said he considers himself “observant”, so that terms doesnt reallly mean much. i presume he considers himself observant cause he subscribes to the world wide perception that jews value liberalism and “tikun olam” as jewish values. without getting into a political debate, lets just leave it at that they are irrelevant to “jewish values”. and he is an active member of a C synagogue (the one where the rabbi was caught using his discretionary fund for personal purposes (jeopardizing the temple’s tax exempt status) in dc.

    3. the bollywood (jewish) actress earned more than the governor of that province (referring to last week’s discussion).

    4. jcc / y’s admit non jews to membership / facilities. and there are plenty of them. even if they are / arent open on shabat.

    and they have unusual rules to comply with token shabat observance. like you must pay before friday nite, etc.

    an out of town jcc in a community i lived several years ago had separate hours for men and women one day a week to accomodate observant jews (but was still open on shabat). it didnt work out — nobody came those hours.

    of course, boro park (the old country for me), passiac (closing soon for lack of $), and queens (i guess) have a captive constituency. but charedim in rockland county wouldnt dare patronize such an institution.

  18. MiMedinat HaYam

    according to a comment on http://blogs.forward.com/the-shmooze/135914/, he converted. with no leads on the “quality” of his conversion. call the local chabad rav at http://www.chabadofhawaii.com/. he’s probably getting many calls on this, so dont be too embarassed.

  19. And while you’re tzizis checking, find out if the Chabad rabbi is a Meshichist. 🙂

  20. Geez, people, it’s a cute story about a real human being. Whatever happened to people’s manners and common sense?

    I really think the gemara’s definition of someone who converted “among the akum” applies here in any event, which would actually make him a halakhic Jew, believe it or not.

    MiMedinat, I really don’t think that Dan Rather is Jewish. 🙂

  21. Rafael Araujo

    “We call this “dan l’chaf zechus” right? Oh, I forgot, that only applies to those who dress Orthodox…”

    Oh boy! Who said anything about dress? Oh…you did, sorry.

    The guy’s name is Wong, he is of Chinese descent, and he is a member of a Reform temple! People, I don’t understand those here trying to stretch things to somehow say that this is guy is actually a Shomer Torah U’Mitzvos. If only Chareidim received such favourable judgments from of you here.

    IH – if you lived in a place where there was only a Reform temple, would you become a member and attend there? What heter would there be? You don’t! You daven at home b’yechidus. Just plain ole’ common sense.

  22. וכל נתיבותיה שלום

  23. The Sonny & Joe’s brand of hummus products is also Flaum and is even more widely distributed. Kol ha’kavod to Uri L’Tzedek.

  24. Rafael — would you become a member in the shul that Flaum owner Moshe Grunhut davens in if that were the only Orthodox synagogue in town?

  25. Lawrence Kaplan

    By the way, the author of the Flaum article, Yael Greeberg, was a student of mine.

  26. “Jewish Texts Lost in War Are Surfacing in New York”

    extremely disappointing, to say the least. a big let-down from the title.

    first of all, there is simply no drama to the story, as the “recovered” books discovered in new york aren’t even the actual copies that are missing in frankfurt.

    as to substance, big deal.
    i’ll bet that most (if not 99.9%) of these wissenschaft titles are already in other academic libraries, probably in multiple copies, and relatively easily accesible to the (extremely very) few who actually need these resources.

    this isn’t the DSS or the cairo genizah, or even the italian genizah. just a collection of old german books that LBI didn’t even realize was there because no one uses them anymore.

  27. just to clarify my previous remark before i’m criticized for not appreciating the needs of academic jewish studies researchers: we’re not speaking here of mss. and archival materials, but rather of secondary and bibliographic literature that has largley been repeated in many other places and already earned a place in the standard narrative or it has been been revised/suplanted/dismissed. look at the footnotes in today’s academic publications and evaluate the relative use of original wissenschaft literature. unless one is working in historiography, few spend their time waddling through wissenschaft literature (which explains why so many–most?–graduates of american phd program in jewish studies are functionally illiterate in academic german)

  28. I agree that it’s kind of a weird non story, but when was the last time you saw Aron Freimann’s name mentioned in the New York Times?

    For some strange reason the article did not include this link, even though it refers to it

    http://www.judaica-frankfurt.de/

  29. MiMedinat HaYam

    dan rather claims to be jewish. (and is a member of the C cong in DC.)

    2. i wish to invite mr greenhut owner of flaum’s to my shul. (by the way, the flaums store on lee ave is separately owned, dating back many years.)

    and, as a commenter there says, why is this (jewish) org only targeting (chassidic) jewish owned businesses?

    while you’re at it, how about opposing advertising non kosher stores in a predominantly jewish neighborhood? (also note that the “moslem” quarter was predominantly jewish before 1948; it was called that because those moslems that livedin the old city, lived there at the time. and the armenian quarter refers to a (mostly) one block compound located in that “armenian quarter”.)

    or maybe target the edah hacharedit, as many commenters here want to (which i would agree to).

  30. MiMedinat HaYam

    the yutablet hirhurim critique:

    i hate to pull adult vs student claims, but we commenters here at hirhurim are loooking at the big picture of orthodox jewish society in criticizing the author, while the yubeacon editor is looking to protect the (original) author.

    and, as was pointed out, the author may still be a little confused about herself. or she is being evasive. “Perhaps because the author is unnamed, the commenters felt more inclined to reveal all they felt about her and her writing.” but she wanted to make a social statement that her statements seek to advance an agenda that we (or at least most of us) reject, and as such, made herself an open target for “proper” criticism. i guess unlike the first article, which was not in the hirhurim purview, and its possible improper criticism.

  31. Tough crowd. Both NY Times articles were beautiful. The Times never said that Mr. Wong was Orthodox. That was Gil’s error. It said he was “observant,” and indeed Mr. Wong reports that he observes kashruth.

    As to whether he’s Jewish, we may say he isn’t, his Reform rabbi says he is. Mr. Wong certainly considers himself Jewish. It’s not the Times’ job to challenge his belief.

    The article is a bit cryptic, but the point seems to be that being religious adds to happiness. Mr. Wong is religious, and he reports being very happy. End of story.

    As for the Wissenschaft article, it’s worthwhile simply for introducing us to Mrs. Strauss. I suppose that the Leo Baeck Institute pitched the article and the Times caught it. I’m glad it did.

  32. Response to the YU Beacon on opinions getting personal:

    I would agree with you that name-calling and degradation are never apropos, even in anonymous fora. I cannot comment on the “home” article and aftermath as I did not see that one. But I did see the “no answers” article and I read the comments on Hirhurim. In this case, I disagree with you. While I sympatize with anyone who is going through personal struggle, the concepts of the writer only getting counsel from those sympathetic to the gay cause is direct from her own writings. As such, her search for answers were, in fact, intellectually dishonest. So attacking the commenter because you don’t like their tone or content does not mean they are wrong or even insensitive. The writer surely opened the door with her own story.

    If she was writing with the sole hope of having other members of the Orthodox Jewish community world-wide pat her on the keppi and say it’s ok to be gay, perhaps she needs a little guidance in how the Orthodox think. Would she also expect only sympathy if her story was that she was poor so she has taken up with a band of thieves? Are we supposed to say ok to that, just because she deemed it only relevant to her search for answers that the people she sought guidance from were Bernie Madoff and Charles Rangel, instead of, perhaps a halachic authority?

    Many people are tired of being expected to shut up and abide by the latest attack on Torah. No – not everybody “is doing it” and perhaps, what this person is really looking for is what kind of reaction she elicits. If everyone poo-poos it and says “oh well – different strokes..” how likely is she going to be to seek an honest answer? But if there is some resistence to her stray thoughts, maybe – just maybe she will reconsider and start searching in the right places.

    The Jewish concept of Areivus requires us to look out for our fellow Jew, and this does require sensitivity. But it also requires at times saying something to someone that they may not wish to hear. She reached out by writing. Why do you smear all those that wrote back by accusing them of callousness? I read it differently – that they were reaching back to her – not with a pat on the back but with a hand up to help her see over the wall she has constructed around herself.

  33. SCOTT:

    “I suppose that the Leo Baeck Institute pitched the article and the Times caught it.”

    this article belongs in the newsletter that YIVO sends to its members, not in the NYT.

  34. obviously i meant LBI, not YIVO.

  35. Sunday, March 27
    Cong. Beth Aaron, 950 Queen Anne Rd., Teaneck, N.J.

    8:00 PM – Rav Hershel Schachter – What is Orthodox?
    8:45 PM – Rav Mordechai Willig – What is Not?

    R’Gil, Perhaps get them to discuss post-orthodox (or is R’ Willig discussing that :-))
    KT

  36. Rafael Araujo

    “Rafael — would you become a member in the shul that Flaum owner Moshe Grunhut davens in if that were the only Orthodox synagogue in town?”

    You are avoiding my question. Can a religious Jew daven in a Reform temple? Should a Jew be a member of a Reform temple? How can even think your theoretical is analogous?

  37. MiMedinat HaYam

    pitching the article — the times seems to be on a jewish topics kick, the past few months. thus, gil has more to cite from them. (perhaps they’re trying to regain circulation from that market. and / or advertising from that market.)

    and they definitely do take “pitches”.

    2. unfortunately, RHS seems to repeat his various public shiurim. (note he always refers to his notes when introducing a new topic. perhaps this will be a new subject to repeat later.)

  38. I’m sorry, but that response to the criticism of the bisexual Stern girl item is idiotic.

    a) No one here said anything that approached “vitriol”. Indeed, I challenged one of the writers for the paper to come up with a comment that could be represented as such. Her response after multiple requests: “I’d prefer not to have a discussion on this matter.”

    b) Where was there homophobia??? There was not a single comment that reflected homophobia. Yet the commentators here are accused of it (no, not their comments, themselves; we’re told “the comments express… a small amount of homophobia”). I can’t think of a better example of an ad hominem – isn’t that what the writer is complaining about?

    c) And the most important point: how can you expect to have something written in a public venue and not have it discussed publicly??? How can you expect to run through your life-story and general worldview and not expect it commented upon in public??? Does the writer expect commentary to be exclusively positive? That’s how literature works: you write, people talk about it. If you don’t want people to consider and discuss your personality, why on Earth are you putting the contents of your personality on full public display???

    I’m not sure what to make of it, but it’s clear our defensive writer is completely delusional.

  39. MiMedinat HaYam

    “perhaps they’re trying to regain circulation from that market. and / or advertising from that market.”

    when did NYT lose jewish circulation and jewish advertising revenue?

  40. Rafael — I have on occasion davened in Reform shuls and, while not my cup of tea, I have no issue with doing so. And I could never imagine your extreme position as being Ratzon ha’Shem (and, yes, I know on whom it is based).

    Whether the self-proclaimed defenders of the faith accept it, or not, the vast majority of Jews are not Orthodox. And, therefore, nor are their synagogues. I advocate Ahavat Yisrael in its broadest form. Every Jew is precious and every Kahal is Kadosh, irrespective of whether they meet your tzizis check or not.

    I rather suspect you have not a clue about what Reform Judaism is about. See: http://ccarnet.org/Articles/index.cfm?id=44

  41. Rafael Araujo

    IH – I see. So, as I suspected from your comment history, you in fact have no redlines when it comes to Judaism (even though I might be excluded as I am on the right of the Orthodox spectrum).

    Re: Reform Judaism. I don’t have to get a clue. Reform Judaism is an aberration from traditional Judaism and is non-halachic, as you would so aptly put it.

  42. every Kahal is Kadosh

    So you’d rely on their hechser and eat shellfish were it served? Or do you have a tzizit check of your own.

  43. Red lines: you mean like R. Elchonon Wasserman refusing to set foot in RIETS which his supporters claimed was “a nest of atheism and Apikursus”?

    See also: http://seforim.blogspot.com/2009/09/marc-b-shapiro-thoughts-on.html regarding Chabad Messianism.

  44. HAGTBG: Just to understand your point: if the Kahal violates Choshen Mishpat, it’s ok with you; but, if the Kahal violates Yoreh De’ah, then it’s not?

  45. IH: What Kahal says that Choshen Mishpat is not binding? That is, other than a Reform synagogue that does not believe that halakhah is binding.

  46. Does anyone know or is aware of whether Flaum’s sought to enjoin the NLRB findings or appealed the same, and the results? The article merely related the NLRB’s findings for those readers who are Mdakdek about only buying something with a union label or manufactured by union employees.

    That fact is an increasingly rare phenomenon in the US as the success of unions in many sectors has led to many employers ceasing manufacuring, and paying only union medical and retiree benefits, while allowing American Jews to be downsized and shipped overseas where the same products are manufactured without the benefits of union membership or other laws that protect either union members or the American buying public. It is easy to boycott non union products or other merchants whose views don’t meet the criteria of those who former Mayor Koch called “limousine liberals” in the Peoples Republics of certain academic and media centers on the East and West Coast.

    However, such boycotts ignore the real issues such as whether due to the pendulum swinging so far from management to unions due to the political clout of unions, excessive regulation and environmental extremists and their junk science fears about global warming, that the US has ceased to be a manufacturing leader and essentially a service driven economy and driven by public policies underscored by a hostility to the greatest means for social mobility-the automobile.

  47. Gil: sorry, but your comment is non-sequitor. I asked about those who violate Choshen Mishpat, irrespective of whether they consider it binding or not.

  48. IH wrote:

    “I have on occasion davened in Reform shuls and, while not my cup of tea, I have no issue with doing so. And I could never imagine your extreme position as being Ratzon ha’Shem (and, yes, I know on whom it is based).

    Whether the self-proclaimed defenders of the faith accept it, or not, the vast majority of Jews are not Orthodox. And, therefore, nor are their synagogues. I advocate Ahavat Yisrael in its broadest form. Every Jew is precious and every Kahal is Kadosh, irrespective of whether they meet your tzizis check or not.”

    Please see RYBS’s strongly worded halachic and hashkafic objections to praying in such an environment.

    Ahavas Yisrael does not mean “everything goes”, and that Hashkafic and Halachic differences are ignored. I would suggest that Ahavas Yisrael dictates cooperation on issues of Klapei Chutz, but always mandating the right to differ on issues of Klapei Pnim. I would agree that every Jew is Kadosh-but I would not say that any and every heterodox place of Jewish worship is a Beis Haknesses nor would I describe what takes place there as Avodah SheBalev or davening.

  49. “However, such boycotts ignore the real issues such as whether due to the pendulum swinging so far from management to unions due to the political clout of unions, excessive regulation and environmental extremists and their junk science fears about ”

    Power of unions-since 1970 median real income in the US has remained essentially flat-while income for the top has expanded immensely.

  50. IH: No, you asked about the Kahal not individuals who attend the synagogue.

  51. Steve: As indicated, I am aware of RYBS’s objections. They were of a time and context; and. we are in another time and context.

    It seems to me that the position of 5% to 10% of American Jews believing they have a monopoly on Judaism is as misguided as the European gedolim who forbade those who asked them to emigrate to safety in the years before the Shoah.

    In respect to your views of what takes place there, how on earth would you know?

  52. Gil: the Kahal is a collection of individuals. A shul whose individuals turns a blind eye, is a Kahal who turns a blind eye.

  53. HAGTBG: Just to understand your point: if the Kahal violates Choshen Mishpat, it’s ok with you; but, if the Kahal violates Yoreh De’ah, then it’s not?

    You mentioned to Gil non-sequitors. How is this not one?

    But why not tell me what you are talking about?

    Gil: the Kahal is a collection of individuals

    You implied that the individuals, when aggregated, became something more. That they were “kadosh.”

  54. Guys, I’ve lost you. Let’s go back to the principle: any community of Jews who congregate to share their Judaism are, in my view, a Kahal Kadosh.

    That their criteria are different than yours is irrelevant.

    If you choose not to enter such a Kahal: a) it is your problem, not theirs; and, b) you should be honest about your criteria.

    As HAGTBG suggested that one should not daven their because they don’t keep kosher, I simply asked whether by that criterion, one should daven with business cheats.

  55. “their” obviously should be “there”

  56. IH wrote:

    “Steve: As indicated, I am aware of RYBS’s objections. They were of a time and context; and. we are in another time and context.

    It seems to me that the position of 5% to 10% of American Jews believing they have a monopoly on Judaism is as misguided as the European gedolim who forbade those who asked them to emigrate to safety in the years before the Shoah”

    IH-Please provide some proof backing up each of the above otherwise unsupported assertions.I hate to break it to you, but as R Yaakov Emden ZL pointed out to a Galach who quoted the Pasuk of “Acharei Rabim Lhatos” to R Emden ZL, the adherence to Torah, Avodah and Gmilus Chasadim has never been viewed as dependent on a majority’s adherence for its veracity. The ability of any Jew to embrace a life based and rooted in Torah, Avodah and Gmilus Chasadim is one of the key elements of a simple Mitzvah-Teshuvah. Denying or rationalizing away that potential for any Jew is IMO tragic.

    Yes, many Gdolim viewed emigration to the US as exhanging spiritual safety for physical safety and viewed secular Zionism with a similar skepticism, for which Klal Yisrael sustained heavy losses. Yet, the historical record is that many Gdolim voted with their feet and did in fact arrive in the US and Israel. I shudder to think what would have happened if that generation of Gdolim had stayed in Europe, a choice which we can look back at with the benefit of hindsight only, as opposed to thinking that we can comprehend the decision making process of those Gdolim and Admorim who stayed as the captains of their ships.

    OTOH, viewing heterodox movements as completely misguided and unauthentic expressions of Yiddishkeit and taking stands rooted in the sanctity of the synagogue and bans on interdemominational ecumenical theological dialogue led to a revived Orthodoxy while R and CJ are wallowing and surviving by only via such stratagems as patrolineal descent and walking away from any pretense of adherence or respect for Halacha.

  57. Sorry for getting into the middle of a conversation. I disagree with IH but don’t want to make a big deal over *how* observant this guy is. Who cares?

  58. IH wrote:

    “As HAGTBG suggested that one should not daven their because they don’t keep kosher, I simply asked whether by that criterion, one should daven with business cheats”

    The above comment presumes that heterodox Jews adhere to CM far more than either MO or Charedi Jews. I hate to break it to you, but one can find violators of CM in any Federal penitentiary of every Jewish denomination. That has nothing to do with whether one can step foot in a heterodox house of worship.

  59. Steve — the first rule for a auccessful business executive is: don’t believe your own PR. Want to try again?

  60. “make a big deal over *how* observant this guy is. Who cares?”

    Precisely right!

  61. IH wrote:

    “Steve — the first rule for a auccessful business executive is: don’t believe your own PR. Want to try again”

    I stand by what I wrote-it is not PR.

  62. Mycroft wrote:

    “Power of unions-since 1970 median real income in the US has remained essentially flat-while income for the top has expanded immensely”

    One of the well known trade offs of working at any union shop, especially for members of public employee unions, is that while your income never can compete with the private sector, there are numerous fringe benefits such as pensions, etc, that don’t exist for smaller private sector employees.

  63. Let’s go back to the principle: any community of Jews who congregate to share their Judaism are, in my view, a Kahal Kadosh.

    I do not know what you meant when you said:

    “community …who congregates” Is that different then stam Jews who congregate.

    “share their Judaism” What does that mean?

    “Kahal Kadosh” Then again, will you eat the shellfish?

    As HAGTBG suggested that one should not daven their because they don’t keep kosher, I simply asked whether by that criterion, one should daven with business cheats.

    If there is a shul where the congregation is known to be accepting of fraud I agree. Its the same thing. Now identify a shul that thinks its okay to commit fraud the way the Reform think there is zero wrong with eating shellfish (except possibly for vegetarian/environmental reasons). Tolerance is not the same as acceptance.

  64. I have to agree with Gil that this discussion of whether Mr. Wong is Orthodox/observant/Jewish is really silly. I just don’t care.

  65. Rafael Araujo

    “HAGTBG: Just to understand your point: if the Kahal violates Choshen Mishpat, it’s ok with you; but, if the Kahal violates Yoreh De’ah, then it’s not?”

    So the owner of Flaum is a Kahal? If what is set out in the Greenberg article are true facts, which have yet to be proven, you are implicating every member of his shul/bais medrash/shtieble for violating Chosen Mishpat? Talk about casting a wide net!

  66. Rafael Araujo

    “I have to agree with Gil that this discussion of whether Mr. Wong is Orthodox/observant/Jewish is really silly. I just don’t care.”

    I agree. I don’t care what Mr. Wong does in his spare time and I am glad he is a content and happy person. The problem is that the NYTimes presents Mr. Wong to the public as an observant Jew, which I believe can argue he is not. The real problem is the Times, not Mr. Wong.

  67. I agree with Rafael Araujo and R Gil that the discusssion re Mr. Wong is observant is meaningless.

  68. The New York Times can’t really be expected to use the Orthodox definition when using the term observant. The article is relevant to this blog because it highlights the acceptance by many Jews of Jewish status being a voluntary choice (hence the term Jew-by-choice), with mitzvah observance and Torah study as options rather than requirements.

  69. Canuck-The NY Times knows all too well the difference between Orthodox Judaism and viewing Judaism as a matter of choice in its news and feature columns.

  70. Steve Brizel: Thanks for commenting. Do you think the NY Times was being disingenuous in using the word observant to describe that non-Orthodox Jewish convert, as a way to undermine Orthodox (i.e. traditional) Judaism? Or, was the writer simply following the zeitgeist in allowing Jews (and /or converts) to self-define their status and level of observance?

  71. Canuck wrote:

    “Steve Brizel: Thanks for commenting. Do you think the NY Times was being disingenuous in using the word observant to describe that non-Orthodox Jewish convert, as a way to undermine Orthodox (i.e. traditional) Judaism? Or, was the writer simply following the zeitgeist in allowing Jews (and /or converts) to self-define their status and level of observance”

    Given the track record of the NY Times on how it evaluates cultural-religious issues, its stances on the Zeigeist in America, the cultural wars in America and its well documented record on issues re American Judaism, Israel and Orthodoxy, I have no doubt that the writer was writing in Timespeak and trumpeting the “right” of American Jews and would be converts to “self define their status and level of observance”

  72. “Please see RYBS’s strongly worded halachic and hashkafic objections to praying in such an environment.”

    But also see the value as a gathering of Jews in such places of Jewish community in tthe Ravs letter to the president of Rabbi Shubow’s congregation-a Conservative congregation- thanking him for helping bringing Judaism to a part of Boston that hadn’t had yet.

  73. “Mycroft wrote:

    “Power of unions-since 1970 median real income in the US has remained essentially flat-while income for the top has expanded immensely”

    One of the well known trade offs of working at any union shop, especially for members of public employee unions, is that while your income never can compete with the private sector, there are numerous fringe benefits such as pensions, etc, that don’t exist for smaller private sector employees”

    The income of all workers below the top 1% or so has been essentially flat in real terms since 1973. The vast majority of such workers whose incomes have remained flat have been NON unionized private sector employees. The US has a higher percentage of its income residing in the top percentages of earners as many kleptocracies.

  74. “Do you think the NY Times was being disingenuous in using the word observant to describe that non-Orthodox Jewish convert, as a way to undermine Orthodox (i.e. traditional) Judaism? Or, was the writer simply following the zeitgeist in allowing Jews (and /or converts) to self-define their status and level of observance?”

    The State of Israel essentially folows the Times-it lets in as citizens non-Orthodox converts. The CR won’t recognize them. Of course, now the CR effectively won’t recognize the vast majority of Orthodox converts converted over the decades-but that is just the fallout of the latest Rabbinic political games.

  75. ‘I shudder to think what would have happened if that generation of Gdolim had stayed in Europe, a choice which we can look back at with the benefit of hindsight only”

    The Rav who ARRIVED in the US BEFORE the NAZIS came to power would had more influence and established wo competition an open Orthodoxy-faithful to Halacha but open. Of course, there were gdolim who would call exit papers “asher yatzar paper” and theo of course a year later take advantage of it.
    Lets compare the numbers of schuls before those gdolim arrived, the intermarriage rate etc

  76. ” Now identify a shul that thinks its okay to commit fraud the way the Reform think there is zero wrong with eating shellfish (except possibly for vegetarian/environmental reasons).”
    If by the schuls actions they act as if there is nothing wrong with fraud they believe there is nothing wrong with fraud.

  77. “viewing heterodox movements as completely misguided and unauthentic expressions of Yiddishkeit and taking stands rooted in the sanctity of the synagogue and bans on interdemominational ecumenical theological dialogue led to a revived Orthodoxy”

    Most of the so called revival is due to immigrants who wouldn’t know an ecumenical theological dialogue if they were attending it.

  78. Re Tobins article about Pollard. Pollard merely exacerbated the suspicion of Jewish dual loyalties.THe suspicion existed way before Pollard.

  79. Addendum:What about those who specifically went back to perish with their communities
    Whether you consider their foresight incorrect or otherwise,look how they took responsibility.

  80. Look, it’s very obvious what happened with the Times piece: The Gallup poll said “Orthodox.” The Times went looking. Obviously, it’s difficult if not impossible to find an over-65, well-to-do, business owning, married with kids, Asian-American men in Hawaii that’s also an Orthodox Jew. So they fudged a bit and came up with “observant.” It’s amazing that they found even that. And yes, Virginia, you may like it or not, but there *are* observant Reform and (especially) Conservative Jews out there. Some are even more observant than many “Orthodox” Jews. (I know many myself. Left-wing Orthodox are almost by definition very observant, like it or not.) This is especially true in the eyes of the completely secular Jews who make up the majority of American Jews (and Jews at the Times): Don’t eat pork? Voila, you’re “observant.” I suspect that Mr. Wong, as a convert, may be much more observant than that. Kol HaKavod to him.

    Perhaps this is one reason why non-Orthodox Judaism has never really taken off in Israel (and Reform and Conservative Jews tend to be pretty observant here, for several reasons): Since about three-quarters of the Israeli population is, at least, “observant,” they view these movements as being somewhat less so. I think much of the non-Anglo portion of them is made up of previously completely secular Russians and kibbutniks for whom it’s a step up. For your typical masorti Israeli who lights candles and says kiddush Friday night, not so much.

  81. Time for amateur-psychologist Nachum:

    IH: Did you have a Charedi education? I ask because of the way you parrot anti-Zionist propaganda, here and elsewhere. Perhaps the axiom that right-wing education produces the best left-wingers is true after all. Better than the alternative, which seems to be dumping it all.

    mycroft: Did you grow up a Democrat? Is the answer obvious based on your home location? I ask because while I won’t call you a communist, you certainly seem to buy into the whole Marxist thing pretty extensively.

  82. Food justice case-was the NLRB decision appealed?

  83. “mycroft: Did you grow up a Democrat?”
    It might surprise you but I grew up with the attitude of al tivtiku bindivim.
    ” Is the answer obvious based on your home location? I ask because while I won’t call you a communist, you certainly seem to buy into the whole Marxist thing pretty extensively”
    It might surprise you but my belief that people will tend to act in a way that is in their economic interest was one that formal education taught me-both undergrad and grad.Nachum empirically economic models of behavior are pretty accurate-BTW isn’t that what the conservatives claim. It is not something that I learnt at home.

  84. “c y on March 9, 2011 at 1:39 am
    Addendum:What about those who specifically went back to perish with their communities”

    That is an explanation which I think is incorrect. It is intended to make the Rabbi/Gadol but in reality it doesn’t. See eg case of
    Rav Elchanan Wasserman-if he thought that the Nazis were going to exterminate hisstudents he would have been duty bound to try to find them passports, visas etc to a safe location. The plain fact is that almost no one perceived the danger-even in those in Germany. The Sreidei Eish even after Kristallnacht advised his talmidim not to leave Germany!!!!
    Hindsight is 20/20 vision-but the reality is that massive extermination was not perceived as a realistic possibility until it was too late.

  85. Nachum: LOL, but I’d suggest you stick with your day job 🙂
    Kippa Sruga: MO, BA.

  86. BTW, in the ’70s I don’t recall any MTA boys in Bnei Akiva; and the only black-hat looking guys at the Israel Day Parade were the NK counter-demonstration. At least that is my memory…

  87. NACHUM:

    i don’t know about “amateur-psychologist Nachum” but your comment about why reform/consevative hasn’t succeeded in israel is interesting. is that your chidush?

  88. “URGES PARENTS TO LOOK OUT FOR SYMPTOMS OF TEENAGE DRINKING”

    a) where i live even pre-teens partake in the drinking (but i guess the OU doesn’t exactly have a captive audience here anyway)
    b) where i live the legal age for drining is 21 (unless purim inebriation qualifies as sacramental consumption?)

  89. Abba: Just thought it up, but it fits with what many say.

  90. For more on “The Rabbi and the Rebellion”, I note there is a Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morris_Jacob_Raphall

    “The learned sage delved deep into the Hebrew Bible – citing the books of Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Job and even Exodus – before concluding that “slaveholding is not only recognized and sanctioned as an integral part of the social structure … [but] the property in slaves is placed under the same protection as any other species of lawful property.”

    Is consistent with my response to Steve B’s defense of his anti-gay politics by quoting Mikra and Chazal.

  91. “One can read into the Bible almost any interpretation of morality, Mr. Gomes liked to say after coming out, for its passages had been used to defend slavery and the liberation of slaves, to support racism, anti-Semitism and patriotism, to enshrine a dominance of men over women, and to condemn homosexuality as immoral.”

    From the Obit of Harvard theologian Rev. Peter J. Gomes in the NYT last week: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/02/us/02gomes.html

  92. Actually, this “happiest man” shtick has been tried before. In 2003, USA Weekend magazine searched for the happiest man and found him in Virginia Beach, VA. His name is J.P. Godsey, and he has since capitalized on the title by writing a book, giving speeches, etc. He’s very different from Mr. Wong, though USA Weekend went about looking for him in a similar way, using research about happiness. Don’t worry, he’s not Jewish and doesn’t claim to be.

    Obviously, the attempt to single out one person as the happiest is absurd, as Mr. Wong realized. It’s meant to call attention to social science research about what makes for a happy life (and to call attention to a particular organization, in this case Gallup). People should take in that spirit, and not get up in arms about it.

  93. Link to Curious Jew is broken.

  94. Interesting how the heading above the OU article (Intoxication is not a Mitzvah) misrepresents the article. (The article says that bodily harm via intoxication is not a mitzvah.)

  95. The R’ Steinsaltz piece was amazingly frank. I would love to see an essay on his harmonization divergent opinions question and wonder whether thequestion is fairness or is it what HKB”H wanted.
    KT

  96. IH,

    You ignore biblical verses. Morris Raphall quotes them literally.

    Neither is a valid approach to Torah. We believe in Torah she’bichtav, which means we cannot ignore biblical verses and we believe equally in Torah she’baal peh, which means we must interpret those verses appropriately, based on the tradition of Chazal.

  97. “He made translations from Maimonides, Albo, and Herz Wessely; conjointly with the Rev. D. A. de Sola he published a translation of eighteen treatises of the Mishnah”

  98. Mycroft wrote:

    “But also see the value as a gathering of Jews in such places of Jewish community in tthe Ravs letter to the president of Rabbi Shubow’s congregation-a Conservative congregation- thanking him for helping bringing Judaism to a part of Boston that hadn’t had yet.”

    I have the read the above letter in its entirety and RYBS’s bottom line was that he could and would not accept an invitation to attend a dinner at that C synagogue because it legitimized an otherwise ersatz brand of Judaism.

  99. Mycroft wrote:

    “One of the well known trade offs of working at any union shop, especially for members of public employee unions, is that while your income never can compete with the private sector, there are numerous fringe benefits such as pensions, etc, that don’t exist for smaller private sector employees”

    The income of all workers below the top 1% or so has been essentially flat in real terms since 1973. The vast majority of such workers whose incomes have remained flat have been NON unionized private sector employees. The US has a higher percentage of its income residing in the top percentages of earners as many kleptocracies”

    WADr, your post did not address my post re the cost of union benefits, especially in the public sector.

  100. Mycroft wrote:

    “Most of the so called revival is due to immigrants who wouldn’t know an ecumenical theological dialogue if they were attending it.”

    Really-who founded NJOP, YU’s CSD, and NCSY? Minimizing the stands against mixed seating and ecumenical theological dialogue, which were led by RYBS, himself an immigrant from Germany and Lithuania, is another instance of revisionism at work.

  101. “The R’ Steinsaltz piece was amazingly frank.”

    Joel: In what way? Artscroll has since also seen the value in democratizing Jewish learning also. And, also, “harmonization of divirgent opinions” if I understand what you mean correctly.

    I continue to be moved by the short video that was made to kick off The Global Day of Jewish Learning this past Autumn:

  102. Mycroft wrote:

    “The Rav who ARRIVED in the US BEFORE the NAZIS came to power would had more influence and established wo competition an open Orthodoxy-faithful to Halacha but open. Of course, there were gdolim who would call exit papers “asher yatzar paper” and theo of course a year later take advantage of it.
    Lets compare the numbers of schuls before those gdolim arrived, the intermarriage rate etc”

    Let’s not quibble over facts-RYBS himself mentioned that on more than one occasion during the 1930s, he thought that he should have stayed in Europe, rather than leave right before Hitler Yimach Shmo vZicro came to power, because of the lack of observance that he encountered upon reaching America. Numbers of shuls and intermarriage rates are but one factor-how about the numbers of Shomrei Torah UMitzvos who were educated beyond that of a Cheder level education? The notion that Orthodoxy pre 1930s was superior is IMO an urban myth unsuppported by any historical evidence. Even in such precincts as the UWS , the Upper East Side , and other neighborhoods in the Bronx, Brooklyn and the Lower East Side, pre WW2 Orthodoxy was fighting a losing battle and perceived to be a dying community.

  103. Mycroft wrote:

    “Of course, there were gdolim who would call exit papers “asher yatzar paper” and theo of course a year later take advantage of it”

    I think that the evidence is that R Y Hutner , RMF, R Y Ruderman and RYK, Zicronam Livracha, as well as R Y Schneerson ZL, all arrived in North America years before the outbreak of WW2.RAK escaped after the outbreak of WW2, and arrived in June 1941. I think it is safe to say that the view of the US as a “treife medinah” and being spiritually dangerous was not subscribed to by any of the aforementioned Gdolim who simply voted with their feet, regardless of the well known views of REW, and saw that the handwriting for European Jewry was on the wall.

  104. Mycroft wrote:

    “The Rav who ARRIVED in the US BEFORE the NAZIS came to power would had more influence and established wo competition an open Orthodoxy-faithful to Halacha but open”

    In the long run, this is what the RIETS/YU/OU world has always stood for, thanks to RYBS’s views-being Orthodox, being open, never being afraid of projecting its Hashkafa, providing kosher food to American Jews and helping Jewish youth identify as proud members of their faith while interracting with the secular world and realizing that are lines of demarcation. OTOH, Elu v Elu Divrei Elokim Chaim and Kinas Sofrim Marbeh Chachmah, and expecting that one Hashkafa within the Mesorah satisfies everyone strikes me intellectually and spiritually arrogant, and assuming that only MO is a valid Hashkafa, a POV that I find equally repugnant as viewing only the Charedi POV as hashkafically valid.

  105. IH,

    His support of slavery was based on biblical translation. There is no evidence he had deep Torah knowledge. He went to Hebrew grammar school in Sweden and then university in England.

    Knowing how to translate is not knowing how to learn (this is true in any area, but is especially true in Torah).

    You can translate a mishna into 27 languages and you still won’t understand it properly unless you look at a gemara. Similar for a passuk.

  106. IH wrote:

    “The learned sage delved deep into the Hebrew Bible – citing the books of Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Job and even Exodus – before concluding that “slaveholding is not only recognized and sanctioned as an integral part of the social structure … [but] the property in slaves is placed under the same protection as any other species of lawful property.”

    Is consistent with my response to Steve B’s defense of his anti-gay politics by quoting Mikra and Chazal.”

    Yasher Koach to Former YU’s riposte to this comment. OTOH, one cannot deny that the Torah, Chazal and Rishonim deplore homosexuality and homosexual behavior and characterize the same as “toevah”, which the Torah uses elsewhere to condemn inappropriate business dealings and which Rambam in Hilcos Tefilah uses to condemn a person who attempts to daven when he should be taking care of his need to use a bathroom.

    OTOH, as opposed to Parshanut, history is always an exercise in hindsight. That’s why we regard Lincoln and Churchill as heroes, and great people who took the necessary risks and said what had to be said to inspire their peoples, despite their mistakes as leaders. Like it or not , rabbanim pre 1917 condemned and praised socialism in Tsarist Russia . Many German Jewish leaders, including the SE, and the leaders of the community in Frankfurt, viewed Hitler as a better alternative than Communism. Only hindsight tells us that a historical POV was correct.

    I recall marching in the Israel Parade in the early 1970s and MTA always marched. Perhaps,BA was not so popular in MTA because it was perceived as militaristic, and emphasizing one very important mitzvah, namely Yishuv EY, at the expense of punctilious observance in all of the mitzvos, even within MO and YU circles.

  107. IH wrote:

    “It seems to me that the position of 5% to 10% of American Jews believing they have a monopoly on Judaism is as misguided as the European gedolim who forbade those who asked them to emigrate to safety in the years before the Shoah”

    Perhaps, according to your POV, according to one view in the Midrash quoted by Rashi, the 80% of the Jewish community that perished in the plague of darkness was right and the 20% who left Egypt, crossed the Red Sea and received the Torah were wrong in accepting Malchus Shmayaim and the Torah?!

  108. Former YU: The Rabbi wrote a treatise on the issue of slavery. You are making an assumption of its content based on a quotation in a NYT article. I don’t know one way or the other; but, in the context it would have made little sense to quote Talmud. The point I was trying to make is that he clearly was learned in TSBP irrespective of what quotations he used for the non-Jewish American public he was addressing.

    Steve B: thank you for finally conceding that one can’t use the word Toevah to demonstrate that the sin of homosexual acts are immoral (a Christian concept imported into Orthodoxy). That was my point in our earlier debate.

    And thanks for correcting my memory on MTA at the Israel Day Parade, but MTA was a lot less “black” in those days too — so perhaps both our memories are congruent.

  109. “according to one view in the Midrash” — you’re joking, right?

  110. >I think that the evidence is that R Y Hutner , RMF, R Y Ruderman and RYK, Zicronam Livracha, as well as R Y Schneerson ZL, all arrived in North America years before the outbreak of WW2.RAK escaped after the outbreak of WW2, and arrived in June 1941. I think it is safe to say that the view of the US as a “treife medinah” and being spiritually dangerous was not subscribed to by any of the aforementioned Gdolim who simply voted with their feet, regardless of the well known views of REW, and saw that the handwriting for European Jewry was on the wall.

    They were young men, not leaders of European Jewry.

  111. S wrote:

    “They were young men, not leaders of European Jewry”

    According to MOAG, all of the Gdolim that I listed were considerd the outstanding Talmidim of the Alter of Slabodka,except for RYBS and RMF

  112. IH wrote:

    “Steve B: thank you for finally conceding that one can’t use the word Toevah to demonstrate that the sin of homosexual acts are immoral (a Christian concept imported into Orthodoxy). That was my point in our earlier debate”

    Wrong again. The Torah explicitly uses Toevah to condemn homosexuality and improper business practices as horrific Torah prohibitions and condemns the same consistently as such. Rambam uses Toevah to illustrate how disgusting it is to daven when one should be attending to one’s need to go to the bathroom.

  113. >According to MOAG, all of the Gdolim that I listed were considerd the outstanding Talmidim of the Alter of Slabodka,except for RYBS and RMF

    I repeat, they were young men, not leaders of European Jewry.

    The best guys in the Ponovezh kollel are not the leaders of Jewry, nor are the best 40-50 year old rabbis (or 30, in the case of a R. Hutner).

  114. IH wrote:

    “that the sin of homosexual acts are immoral (a Christian concept imported into Orthodoxy). ”

    Proof please? Please provide one source within Chumash, Chazal and the classical Mfarshim that supports the above premise.

  115. S wrote;

    “I repeat, they were young men, not leaders of European Jewry.

    The best guys in the Ponovezh kollel are not the leaders of Jewry, nor are the best 40-50 year old rabbis (or 30, in the case of a R. Hutner).”

    Dismissive rhetoric based on the pre-war stature of the Talmidei Chachamim that I mentioned is a historically irrelevant factor,
    The bottom line is that they saw the writing on the wall and knew that the time was up.

  116. IH wrote:

    “And thanks for correcting my memory on MTA at the Israel Day Parade, but MTA was a lot less “black” in those days too — so perhaps both our memories are congruent”

    I hate to break it to you, but MTA was never “black” and never has been in terms of its students or faculty. The only difference is that its top Rebbes learned and were stars in one of RIETS’s Kollelim, and that it is no longer the only option for a MO yeshiva high school boy’s education. There is a buyer’s market of choices in LI and NJ that MTA competes with for the market of parents and their sons.

  117. IH wrote:

    “The Rabbi wrote a treatise on the issue of slavery. You are making an assumption of its content based on a quotation in a NYT article. I don’t know one way or the other; but, in the context it would have made little sense to quote Talmud. The point I was trying to make is that he irrespective of what quotations he used for the non-Jewish American public he was addressing”

    Please provide proof that Raphall “clearly was learned in TSBP”, in the sense set forth by former YU. Merely cherry picking sources in Tanach to support the peculiar institution of American slavery strikes me as illustrative of being ignorant of how the TSBP views the subject in its entirety.

  118. >Dismissive rhetoric based on the pre-war stature of the Talmidei Chachamim that I mentioned is a historically irrelevant factor,
    The bottom line is that they saw the writing on the wall and knew that the time was up.

    You characterized them as prescient gedolim. No kidding, millions of Jews left Europe in the 60 years before WWII. These relatively young men, future leaders in American Orthodoxy.

    >Please provide proof that Raphall “clearly was learned in TSBP”, in the sense set forth by former YU.

    As for Raphall, the whole world may have discovered him in the NY Times yesterday, but he is a known quantity and was “learned in TSBP,” and any implication to the contrary is patently based on nothing whatsoever.

  119. IH wrote:
    ““according to one view in the Midrash” — you’re joking, right”

    Absolutely not. See Rashi’s comments on who survived Makas Choshech and who didn’t. Acccording to your POV, the 80% were no different than the 20% who experienced Yetzias Mitzrayim and Kabalas HaTorah, despite the fact that the Midrash tells us that the 80% perished during Makas Choshech.

  120. S wrote:

    “You characterized them as prescient gedolim. No kidding, millions of Jews left Europe in the 60 years before WWII. These relatively young men, future leaders in American Orthodoxy”

    Your figures would be correct for the latter portion of the 19th Century and pre WW1 America. The critical issue is-How many Jews left Europe and arrived in the US after the immigration laws were tightened in the early 1920s?

  121. S wrote:

    “As for Raphall, the whole world may have discovered him in the NY Times yesterday, but he is a known quantity and was “learned in TSBP,” and any implication to the contrary is patently based on nothing whatsoever”

    Raphall was known to anyone familiar with American Jewish history. How about some hard evidence as to if and where he actually studied TSBP and under whose tutelage and influence?

  122. >How about some hard evidence as to if and where he actually studied TSBP and under whose tutelage and influence?

    He was secretary of Rabbi Solomon Hirschel of London and editor of the Hebrew Review and Magazine for Rabbinical Literature, where he published many translations of rabbinic texts. He was also co-translator of 18 massekhtos of the Mishnah. He was a modern, Orthodox rabbi, and in the mid 19th century this meant Shas and Posekim, since there was no AJ Heschel or bagels and lox to fill your belly with.

    There is no cause to turn him into a Karaite am haaretz just because you don’t like his conclusions.

  123. S wrote:
    “He was secretary of Rabbi Solomon Hirschel of London and editor of the Hebrew Review and Magazine for Rabbinical Literature, where he published many translations of rabbinic texts. He was also co-translator of 18 massekhtos of the Mishnah. He was a modern, Orthodox rabbi, and in the mid 19th century this meant Shas and Posekim, since there was no AJ Heschel or bagels and lox to fill your belly with”

    The first sentence of your quoted post can be found in Wikipedia. Who was R Hirschel? Where did he learn and whom did he consider his influences? With your considerable interest in Jewish history, it would be interesting to know whether R Hirschel was a Talmid Chacham, a Maskil or a Reformer, especially given the intellectual and spiritual revolutions that swept thru Western Europe long before Raphall moved to the US. Merely saying that R Hirschel was a MO rabbi meely imports contemporary terms into a question of history. As far as Raphall’s historical conclusions are concerned, he would hardly be the first rabbinical figure, Orthodox or otherwise, to make historical and political prognostications that in hindsight seem wrong.

  124. >The first sentence of your quoted post can be found in Wikipedia.

    Surprisingly, that doesn’t make it false, or irrelevent.

    >Who was R Hirschel?

    His daughter married R. Akiva Eger’s grandson, if that’s sufficient shorthand for a-pillar-of-the-19th-century-European-rabbinate.

    R. Hirschel was not modern! Raphall was.

  125. S wrote:
    His daughter married R. Akiva Eger’s grandson, if that’s sufficient shorthand for a-pillar-of-the-19th-century-European-rabbinate.

    R. Hirschel was not modern! Raphall was.”

    If R Hirschel was a talmid in any way of R Akiva Eger,that would be interesting. Instead, we now know that his daughter married into the Eger family. Assuming that Wikipedia is correct, which I think is an important caveat in any type of research, it would be nice to know now how loyal Raphall was to R Hirschel. Merely claiming that Raphall was MO or Modern is not awfully informative.

  126. >If R Hirschel was a talmid in any way of R Akiva Eger,that would be interesting

    No it wouldn’t. Both he and the Chasam Sofer produced talmidim who did not remain Orthodox. The fact that Hirschel was meshadech into this family, though, is actually meaningful regarding his standing in the rabbinic world.

    Hirschel’s father and rebbe was R. Tzvi Hirsch Lewin, ab”d of London, Halberstadt and Berlin.

    As for whether or not Raphall was “loyal” to his Orthodoxy, as a matter of record he was. Since you acknowledged already being aware of who he was, then you already know that he was not a Reformer.

  127. S-Now that we know who R Hirschel and R Raphall’s backgrounds, my point re rabbinical statements about historical movements is unchanged. History is only valid in hindsight-as has been proven by the Litvishe Rabbanim who opposed or supported socialism or by Raphall.

  128. “IH on March 7, 2011 at 9:58 pm
    And while you’re tzizis checking, find out if the Chabad rabbi is a Meshichist.”

    And if the Chabad Rabbi is one then what

  129. “your post did not address my post re the cost of union benefits, especially in the public sector.”

    Have you compared the salaries of unionized and non unionized workers in the public sector I haven’t. BTW-a simple comparison would not be appropriate-one would have to compare the specific jobs and skills of both groups.
    I am waiting for your attack on the strongest unions-although not called unions-practice groups associated with hospitals. How are they different than unions?

  130. “That’s why we regard Lincoln and Churchill as heroes, and great people who took the necessary risks and said what had to be said to inspire their peoples, despite their mistakes as leaders”
    I certainly regard them as heroes-of course the POTUS doesn’t -remember he returned the bust of Churchill from the Oval Office as one of his first acts.

  131. “”Of course, there were gdolim who would call exit papers “asher yatzar paper” and theo of course a year later take advantage of it””

    Steve no contradiction with your: “RAK escaped after the outbreak of WW2, and arrived in June 1941”

  132. ” It is easy to boycott non union products or other merchants whose views don’t meet the criteria of those who former Mayor Koch called “limousine liberals” in the Peoples Republics of certain academic and media centers on the East and West Coast.”

    For starters how many Teamsters,Steelworkers, UAW workers are from the East and West Coast. I have been in all 48 states of CONUS-it might surprise you Steve that the so called limousine liberals are your attack on those who disagree with you. I haven’t found much sympathy at all in the neighborhood where I live for sanitation workers, railroad workers etc-despite the fact that the vast majority earn far more with easier working conditions than those workers do.

  133. MiMedinat HaYam

    R Y Schneerson was not a talmid of alter of slasbodka, but you’re point is made.

    the belzer rebbe had crowds seeing him off on his “secret” escape from hungary / balkans, as he was telling his chassidim to stay in europe, in midst of the war.

    in sum, the “gedolim” were terrible politicians, active in politics, bnut unsuccessful (for various raesons), yet their followerrs (chasssidim and mitnagdim) did / did not stay. unlike today, when there is almost god-like veneration (chassidim less so that mitnagdim), climaxing in one particular group (whose chassidic practices are practically, if not actually, litvish).

    4. r hirschell was chief rabbi of england. 100% orthodox.

    this r rapahell was rabbi of bnai jeshurun, “bj”, in pre onservative days. (yes, a breakaway from spanish portugese, dating back to 1825. the first breakaway shul in america.)

  134. STEVE BRIZEL:

    i can understand why people who need to fit 19th c. figures into 21st categories are confused about raphall, but how does someone doubt where r. hirschell belongs?

    “how about the numbers of Shomrei Torah UMitzvos who were educated beyond that of a Cheder level education?”

    and how typcal do you think it was in interwar europe for jewish children to have more than a cheder level education? (if even that much)

    MiMedinat HaYam

    “the first breakaway shul in america”

    in new york, not in america. rodeph sholom in philadelphia dates to the 1790s (under a different name). iirc there was also strife in early savannah between ashkenazim and sephardim resulting in a schism. and in 1825, the same year as BJ’s founding, in charleston the Reformed Society of Israelites seceded from beth elohom, but i don’t remember which came first.

  135. “In 1733, soon after James Oglethorpe, a wealthy Englishman possessed of ‘a strong benevolence of soul,’ began to settle Georgia as a philanthropic venture for the rehabilitation of unfortunate debtors, Jews came to Savannah. That same year, they organized the third synagogue in America — Mikveh Israel which like its predecessors was Sephardic in ritual. The following year, a group of German Jews arrived in Savannah and joined the congregation. But they left it after a few years to create their own synagogue – the fourth in North America and the first to be founded by Ashkenazic Jews.

    Around 1745, the fifth Jewish Congregation on American soil, also named Mikveh Israel was launched in Philadelpha. Pennsylvania offered a congenial atmosphere for the Jewish colonists because its charter guaranteed religious freedom not only to Christians of all denominations, but to everyone who ‘acknowledged One Almighty and Eternal God.’ A synagogue building was constructed in 1782, when the Philadelphia congregation was enlarged by the influx of Jewish patriots from New York and other areas occupied by the British.

    […] By 1750, the Jewish community of Charleston, South Carolina, attained sufficient numbers to organize the sixth synagogue in the American colonies. The called it Kahal Kodesh Beth Elohim Unveh Shalom. Three quarters of a century later, the first attempt at Reform in America originated in this congregation”.

    Source: Rudavsky’s Modern Jewish Religious Movements

  136. “More than half a century elapsed from the time the Sephardic Mikveh Israel was established in Philadelphia until an Ashkenazic synagogue, Rodeph Shalom, was launched in that city. Though it was not formally organized until 1802, Rodeph Shalom had started as early as 1795 as a minyan. Unlike other Ashkenazic congregations, it did not originate from a split in an older congregation, but it grew out of the natural desire of the Ashkenazim to worship in accordance with their own ritual, rather than to follow the Sephardic ritual of Mikveh Israel. The founders of the new synagogue were Dutch, German and Polish Jews.

    In New York City, the first Ashkenazic synagogue, Bnai Jeshurun, was formed in 1825, two centuries after the establishment of the Sephardic Shearith Israel. The new congregation was founded mainly by English, German, Polish, and a few Dutch Jews, who withdrew from the earlier Sephardic congregation in protest against policies and practices they deemed objectionable. Once a precedent of secession was created, it continued. In 1828, Congregation Anshe Chesed was launched by a group that left Bnai Jeshurun. In 1839, a contingent of Polish Jews seceded from both Bnai Jeshurun and Anshe Chesed to form a new congregation, Sharey Zedek. This process of proliferation was a result both of the increase in Jewish population in the city and of the difference in background of the immigrants, who felt more comfortable among their own countrymen. A similar pattern was followed in other cities.”

    Source: Rudavsky’s Modern Jewish Religious Movements

  137. I think we’re missing an important point in the discussion on slavery. R’ Raphall may have been a talmid chacham. But if he wasn’t an am ha’aretz, he was certainly being a willing one in this case, and for a political cause:

    1. The Torah, let’s be honest, certainly does allow slavery. I’m not sure why Steve is so anxious to dispute this, or why IH thinks it’s such a great “chap.” More on this below. But what it does *not* talk about is any sort of racial component (or even ethnic: After all, Hiram king of Tzur was an ethnic Canaani, and he built the Mikdash. The land for which was provided by another member of the Seven Nations. Another member of whom was a general of David’s.) to slavery.

    2. The idea that Ham is somehow the ancestor of black Africans is a Christian one, and has no real source in Judaism. There are mentions of dark skin, to a certain extent in an actual black (i.e., burned or the like) sense, but neither Egyptians nor Canaanites are sub-Saharan Africans. The pasuk in Noach was used to justify black slavery. Neither the Torah nor Chazal make a big deal about Noach’s curse in any event, not using it to justify slavery. (And, of course, seeing a need to justify something speaks to being uncomfortable with it.) Indeed, where actual Africans come up, they’re treated pretty well in Tanach and Chazal. (The Rambam is a much different story.)

    3. I see no reference made to any Jewish sources apart from a few stray pesukim. No mention of what Chazal or Rishonim had to say on the matter.

    4. The real am haratzut comes shining through in his attempt (again, clearly political) to somehow tie Jewish ideas to slavery to the South in 1861. There’s simply no comparison.

    As always, rabbis are well served by staying out of politics.

    Again, that said, there’s no question the Torah permits slavery. To compare it to homosexuality as IH seems so eager to do is, of course, a complete fallacy. Jewish tradition is quite unequivocal on the latter, as indeed was human civilization until the 1960’s and even today, outside some rarefied urban enclaves. As any clear thinking individual can see, it’s a perversion of nature and of thousands of years of civilization and Jewish religion. Unfortunately, it’s got some fanatical and loud proponents these days, who, among other things, have an uncanny ability to take over message boards and mailing lists.

  138. “many Gdolim viewed emigration to the US as exhanging spiritual safety for physical safety and viewed secular Zionism with a similar skepticism, for which Klal Yisrael sustained heavy losses. ”
    spiritual safety of Europe-a myth. The maximum amount of people enrolled in ALL European Yeshivot NEVER exceeded 4000.
    I beleive there were more Bundists in the Polish Parliament than members of the Agudah. The vast majority of Europe switched from traditional Judaism within 50 years of the Haskalah.
    Even Spain of the 100 years before 1492 the majority of Jews left yahadus volountarily.

  139. “that while your income never can compete with the private sector, there are numerous fringe benefits such as pensions, etc, that don’t exist for smaller private sector employees.”
    Smaller private employers never competed with large private employers as to benefits-most extreme example people who work for physicains, individual lawyers etc will get essentially zero benefits-minor exception if they are forced by various rules about anti-discrimination against top heavy plans-but the insiders usually find away around it.

    ““But also see the value as a gathering of Jews in such places of Jewish community in tthe Ravs letter to the president of Rabbi Shubow’s congregation-a Conservative congregation- thanking him for helping bringing Judaism to a part of Boston that hadn’t had yet.”

    I have the read the above letter in its entirety and RYBS’s bottom line was that he could and would not accept an invitation to attend a dinner at that C synagogue because it legitimized an otherwise ersatz brand of Judaism.”

    I have read the letter in its entirety-the Rav refers to the mixed seating that he could not give his legitimization to mixed seating. Context one can’t forget the letter was sent during the height of the time of his fight against mixed pews-time of his famous psak not to enter a mixed pew synagogue to hear shofar. It is problematic to what extent the Rav would have held that psak today since the battle over mixed pews is over. Of course, the Rav wouls still holdthatmixed pews are assur the question would he still have paskened to miss shofar doraisa in a place where one couldn’t daven -but shofar does not require a minyan.

  140. “The R’ Steinsaltz piece was amazingly frank.”

    Joel: In what way?
    ================================
    about the interplay with artscroll and others who had less than positive interactions.
    KT

  141. “As always, rabbis are well served by staying out of politics.”

    Agree with Nachum.

  142. “joel rich on March 10, 2011 at 5:33 am
    “The R’ Steinsaltz piece was amazingly frank.”

    Joel: In what way?
    ================================
    about the interplay with artscroll and others who had less than positive interactions.
    KT”

    “This was the same year that he released his first English volume of the Talmud. Steinsaltz suspects that some Orthodox leaders wished to discredit his Talmud because ArtScroll, which the establishment admired, was to start publishing its own English translation — an “imitation” — the following year.”

    If one reads some of the writings of McGill colleague of Prof Kaplan-Prof B B Levy on Art Scroll one could easily get enoght info to agree with Steinsaltz that the economic interests of friends of those Orthodox leaders could influence those leaders actions.

  143. NACHUM:

    “The real am haratzut comes shining through in his attempt (again, clearly political) to somehow tie Jewish ideas to slavery to the South in 1861. There’s simply no comparison.”

    its been a while, but i don’t recall raphall saying there is a comparison. to the contrary. he concludes by calling on the south to hold to the biblical ideal of benevolent slavery. his contemporaries ignored this conclusion while running around citing (and frequently reprinting) his sermon to show that the old testament (as testified to by the keepers of the book) supports slavery. that should be the point of historical interest. not whether or not one individual jew ostensibly supported slavery (in age, lets remember, when most americans weren’t abolitionsts anyway). rather that this was just one more example of christians using jews (or rather the bible as interpreted by the jews) as the measure of morality. (another classic example was temperance, when again they wanted to know what jews did)

  144. “As any clear thinking individual can see, it’s a perversion of nature …”

    Don’t you think you should try to cover up your arrogance just a bit? Or, perhaps, you’re proud of it?

  145. And did he really think his advice would be taken, and that they wouldn’t take him out of context and trumpet that?

  146. I’m actually pretty happy I’m straight, to be honest. And pretty proud that I’m not easily swayed by what the bien pesants tell me to think.

    As to Torah and civilization, it’s all there to read. As to nature, look at a picture of two sets of genitalia and tell me what’s going on there.

  147. NACHUM:

    “And did he really think his advice would be taken”

    he didn’t deliver the sermon to give advice. rather, his opinion was solicited and he pronounced it.

    “and that they wouldn’t take him out of context and trumpet that?”

    he spoke the truth as he understood it. maybe he didn’t never anticipated that it would receive so much attention. (after all, in those days there were no blogs to spread these things overnight 🙂 )
    and there was no strong concensus in the north in favor of abolitionism and i think you might be reading too much into the fact that he wasn’t an abolitionists. yes, it would be nice to look back and be able to point to him as an abolitionist, yet he wasn’t. just like his neighbors. so while it’s hard for us to appreciate it from our 21st c. perspective, his call for benevolent treatment of the slaves still lent his sermon an air of progressivism, at least by contemporary standards

  148. >As to nature, look at a picture of two sets of genitalia and tell me what’s going on there.

    Do you think that all that men and women do is fit their interlocking puzzle pieces together?

  149. Nachum, while I am not really interested in entering this debate, I am continually surprised by your repeated assertion that all civilizations have always frowned on homosexual behavior. This is simply not true. First, ancient greeks. but it wasn’t just them. There are similar, completely socially and culturally acceptable forms of old-man-young-boy sexuality in some contemporary, extremely conservative societies (e.g., afghanistan. perhaps not unrelated to the complete unavailability of women…) and i find it hard to believe it has not always been so.

  150. Anonymous: Yes, if they’re engaging in sexual intercourse, that’s certainly what they’re doing. Otherwise they’re very close friends of the same sex, a concept the prevalence of homosexuality has diluted.

    Emma: It was widespread. It was never officially condoned.

  151. Nachum: oh it was definitely officially condoned in Ancient Greece, no question. I know very little about Ancient Greece, but read Plato’s Symposium sometime (which is how I found out about this particular historical tidbit) and tell me it wasn’t officially condoned. Now I’m sure your response will be “yeah, that’s why we fought against Hellenization!” But that’s the way interpretation works…

  152. From wikipedia:

    “Given the importance in Greek society of cultivating the masculinity of the adult male and the perceived feminizing effect of being the passive partner, relations between adult men of comparable social status were considered highly problematic, and usually associated with social stigma.”

    Pointing to ancient greece is like pointing to the Catholic church as a support for homosexuality, since in Greece men in their 30’s and 40’s had relationships with teenagers (12-17). Also, those same men were married to women. There was no conception of homosexual identity, only homosexual tayva.

  153. The coincidence of Mirsky’s piece on Identity and the ongoing discussion of homosexuality reminds me of a book by the Jewish, Gay, Greek Classicist Daniel Mendelsohn called “The Elusive Embrace: Desire and the Riddle of Identity”. NYT Review: http://www.nytimes.com/books/99/07/04/reviews/990704.704leart.html

    On the continued fascination with the tribulations of the Conservative movement, it is worth observing that even today, it has more than twice the number of self-identified Jews who currently affiliate than does Orthodoxy: 549K people vs. 211K Jews. In other words, they can half again and still have more self-identified members than all of disparate Orthodoxy.

  154. This idea that people have to define our sexual norms due to what past societies said…well, it just doesn’t make any sense to me. I don’t know why Nachum doesn’t just say it straight out: Judaism hates homosexuality and in principle puts the non-celibate homosexual man to death, therefore he thinks on the same lines. Morality is to be defined for him by the Torah, so what’s it matter what other societies thought? Just say you’re being mevatel daas; what other societies thought is superfluous for you, the Torah-True Jew.

  155. MiMedinat HaYam

    “For example, the Rabbinical Council of America demands that each couple marrying under its auspices sign the prenuptial agreement of the Beth Din of America designed to prevent get-refusal. But where are the rabbis of other communities? ”

    many leaders of the rca (including the one who drafted the pre nup), will not require a pre nup to do a chuppa ve’kiddushin. so why harp on others? let alone those who claim its halachically problematic? let alone those who claim its not valid in several states (and the truth is, its never been legallty tested , even in new york state)

  156. Well, sure. But I’m trying to appeal to as many people as possible. And why can’t Torah be in consonance with logic and history? And why can’t logic and history contribute to Torah?

  157. Your focus seems to have been history, not logic. And if you were aiming for logic, I think you missed.

  158. Just to observe there are other religious/societal taboos that Jews have long quietly dealt with in a humane manner despite the less forgiving halacha. The classic example being suicide. “he didn’t commit suicide, he was sick,” or “he didn’t commit suicide, he fell out of a window”.

    Given that there have been suicides amongst gay orthodox Jews, due to the way in which they have been treated, perhaps this example is a helpful way to think about the issue.

  159. Mycroft wrote:

    “I have read the letter in its entirety-the Rav refers to the mixed seating that he could not give his legitimization to mixed seating. Context one can’t forget the letter was sent during the height of the time of his fight against mixed pews-time of his famous psak not to enter a mixed pew synagogue to hear shofar. It is problematic to what extent the Rav would have held that psak today since the battle over mixed pews is over. Of course, the Rav wouls still holdthatmixed pews are assur the question would he still have paskened to miss shofar doraisa in a place where one couldn’t daven -but shofar does not require a minyan”

    I think that your post is revisionism without any proof. As far as Shofar is concerned, how about Chazaras HaShatz for Musaf RH? Does not that require a minyan?

  160. >As far as Shofar is concerned, how about Chazaras HaShatz for Musaf RH? Does not that require a minyan?

    That’s icing. You were yotze with the first sets of kolos before mussaf.

  161. “For example, the Rabbinical Council of America demands that each couple marrying under its auspices sign the prenuptial agreement of the Beth Din of America designed to prevent get-refusal. But where are the rabbis of other communities? ”

    The RCA does not demand this. They recommend this. YCT is the only institution that demands that all its students use the prenup in their own weddings and the ones they officiate.

  162. “strongly urge” http://www.rabbis.org/Prenuptial_Agreement.cfm

    In my view, it should be “demands”. How many more tragedies as described in http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Op-EdContributors/Article.aspx?id=203305 are needed?

  163. IH:

    “In my view, it should be “demands”.”

    why, has it proved effective?
    (i think in principle it’s a good idea and people should do it, but does it really matter?)

  164. “why, has it proved effective?”

    While it’s still a bit early, I have been told that there have not been any cases of divorcing couples with a prenup where the husband refuses to give a get. Not clear cut proof, but enough of a positive indication that there seems to be no downside to requiring it.

  165. Abba — the possibility exists that even with a Pre-Nup signed, it will be contested in court. But, without risk of censure, an officiating Rabbi can choose to proceed without one: probably due to pressure from the engaged couple (or their parents).

    After all, who wants to contemplate such a scenario when they are being married. Case in point: Aharon Friedman and Tamar Epstein were married in 2006 — six years after the קול קורא!

    It seems hard to believe the tragedy that has unfolded would have happened had an RCA Pre-Nup been signed. Without the RCA demanding the Pre-Nup be signed, there will be more such cases for sure.

  166. “Steve Brizel on March 10, 2011 at 8:28 pm
    Mycroft wrote:

    “I have read the letter in its entirety-the Rav refers to the mixed seating that he could not give his legitimization to mixed seating. Context one can’t forget the letter was sent during the height of the time of his fight against mixed pews-time of his famous psak not to enter a mixed pew synagogue to hear shofar. It is problematic to what extent the Rav would have held that psak today since the battle over mixed pews is over. Of course, the Rav wouls still holdthatmixed pews are assur the question would he still have paskened to miss shofar doraisa in a place where one couldn’t daven -but shofar does not require a minyan”

    I think that your post is revisionism without any proof.”
    I just stated the logic of why it is at least somewhat likely that the Rav would not pasken the same way today. I believe in confidentiality- thus, I am stating the logic of this position. Even though this idea from maybe 2 years ago or so is not my own original idea-it is not fair to quote an individual by name for a position that he did not state publicly. Since many hirhurim writers clearly look up to this person-if any heard this person say it publicly I’d appreciate it if they would say it..

    ” As far as Shofar is concerned, how about Chazaras HaShatz for Musaf RH?” Yes-although the Musaf tekiot are the ikkar tkiyut-quite clearly one is yotzeh the tikiyot doraisa by the first 30. As one who years ago would sometimes blow the 30 for those who were unable to make it to schul-30 is clearly enough doraisa. Remeber the Ravs original psak was that the person could not enter the Conservative synagogue even for the couple of minutes to hear the shofar even wo davening.
    Does not that require a minyan?Chazares hashas requires a minyan-tkiyas don’t as anyone who has blown for sick people knows.

  167. “Anonymous on March 10, 2011 at 9:14 pm
    >As far as Shofar is concerned, how about Chazaras HaShatz for Musaf RH? Does not that require a minyan?

    That’s icing. You were yotze with the first sets of kolos before mussaf.”
    Essentially agree one is yotze doraisa with the fisrt set before Musaf-of course for us the ikkar kolot are the ones in Chazaras hashatz-thus I would not have have used the word icing.

  168. Mycroft 3/10 5:41, Nachum

    “The Tzitz and The Choshen”

  169. Kol ha’Kavod to Rabbi Seth Farber and ITIM for maintaining a sanity check, congruent with halacha, on the excesses of the religious right in Israel.

  170. “Israeli rabbis launch initiative to marry gay men to lesbian women”
    This link is broken.

  171. IH wrote:

    “Just to observe there are other religious/societal taboos that Jews have long quietly dealt with in a humane manner despite the less forgiving halacha. The classic example being suicide. “he didn’t commit suicide, he was sick,” or “he didn’t commit suicide, he fell out of a window”

    Of course, the Talmud and Poskim refer to such conduct as HaMaavad Atzmo LDaas, and many Poskim, most noticeably the CS, went out of their ways, to find leniencies to allow for hespedim,kevurah and aveilus, in such cases, because of the mental stress or worse that led to such conduct.

  172. Mycroft wrote:

    “That’s icing. You were yotze with the first sets of kolos before mussaf.”

    One is Yotzei on an individual rabbinic level, not on a Torah level. It is assumed that Maclchiyos, Zicronos and Shofaros are Min HaTorah when recited Al Seder HaBrachos in Chazaras HaShatz.

  173. JOSEPH KAPLAN:

    “I have been told that there have not been any cases of divorcing couples with a prenup where the husband refuses to give a get.”

    was your informant implying that he thought some of these cases would have become ugly had there been no threat (even if not made directly) of invoking the prenup?

  174. Steve Brizel on March 11, 2011 at 1:48 pm
    Mycroft wrote:

    ““That’s icing. You were yotze with the first sets of kolos before mussaf.”

    One is Yotzei on an individual rabbinic level, not on a Torah level. It is assumed that Maclchiyos, Zicronos and Shofaros are Min HaTorah when recited Al Seder HaBrachos in Chazaras HaShatz.”‘
    According to you assumption how were people Yotzei Torah obligation during bayit rishon.
    We treat those during vtkiyos shmonei esrei as the ikkar-but yom truyah to satisfy all the shitos does NOT require more than 30.

  175. Mycroft wrote in part:

    “According to you assumption how were people Yotzei Torah obligation during bayit rishon.”

    There is a Baal HaMaor in Sukkah that states the Ikar Tekias HaShofar was on the Korbanos Musaf. The Talmud assumes that Tkios Al Seder HaBrachos is Min HaTorah and functions in the place of a Korban and that hearing the same is as if one is in the Beis HaMikdash.

  176. Mycroft wrote:

    ” haven’t found much sympathy at all in the neighborhood where I live for sanitation workers, railroad workers etc-despite the fact that the vast majority earn far more with easier working conditions than those workers do”

    Let’s look at the effect of unions first in the private sector, the fact that beyond the right to collective bargaining and work conditions, many industries that were dominated by unions such as steel, auto and coal simply don’t do anything more than pay pension benefits. In the public sectors, NY ( can anyone else vouch for other states), we have a Taylor Law that theoretically limits strikes by public employees, who know that their benefits, which are non-contributory in nature, and who have probably better pensions that most in the private sector, are paid for the public, despite the fact that the public has to tolerate archaic work practices, the inability to terminate and poor responses that generate private based options that perform the same needs faster and better-such as Hatzalah.

  177. MiMedinat HaYam

    i can think of many ways to challenge a pre nup in court. and i know of at least one case where its was completely inneffective.

    among ways to challenge the pre nup — its a religious issue (with various arguments there), it has absolutely NO disclosure (of financial or legal issues), its signed under time and mental (upcoming ceremony) pressure, its signed by only one side (the original version; i’m sure the later version is “inadvertently” signed by only side), its notarized by the officiating rabbi (i’m sure the parties dont realize its to be a notarized, therefore important document), its just one of many documents signed at the wedding.

    2. a prenup would not help the particular case cited above. the parties agreed to go to a bet din. the problem is the fact that the (ex) wife indicated to the bet din she will not comply with the bet din. accordiong to press reports — the forward article.

    3. i was once a witnesss to a prenup. the officiating rabbi had a prenup written since he (correctly) saw the marriage will not last. the problem is the (ex) wife –foolishly — undid the pre nup by going to court instead of complying with the terms of the prenup.

    4. there is a recent trend of (mostly yeshivish) couples (!proudly!) marrying without a license (and i assume no pre nup.) they dont realize the license protects them in various rights.

  178. MiMedinat HaYam

    “but if there are ‘lapses’ once every few years, they don’t see this as a betrayal”

    some marriage!

    and the claim that these couples are full fledged homosexuals is dubious. full fledged homosexuals see hetersexual activity (such as marriage and intimacy) as distgusting (much as we see them / their activity as disgusting) and are flamboyant about their homosexuality.

    2. if these works, then its an argument for “reparative therapy” or similar therapy (which i guess this is a form of.)

  179. “was your informant implying that he thought some of these cases would have become ugly had there been no threat (even if not made directly) of invoking the prenup?”

    Who knows. His sense was that since the parties had signed the prenup the default was to go along with its terms. Had there been no such default, it might have been different. Again, i’m not saying this is conclusive; but it’s an interesting fact,

    As for MMHY’s ways of challenging the prenup. He’s right; one can challenge them on all those grounds. But, IMO, only the first one (entanglement with religion) has any real chance of success.

  180. > full fledged homosexuals see hetersexual activity (such as marriage and intimacy) as distgusting

    Did you read it? These couples treat their marriage as a platonic friendship, and have kids via artificial insemination.

    Life may be second rate this way, but as a heterosexual man are you saying that it would be literally impossible to be lifelong roommates with a really good male friend of yours, with home you shared children whom you both raise (and are biologically yours)? Luckily you never had to do this, but I can’t imagine what I described would be impossible.

    This is what’s happening here. It’s not great. It’s not a normal marriage. But it’s a way for two consenting adults who want to remain Orthodox Jews to have a real family.

  181. MeMedinat, up until recently, the huge pill all of us were supposed to swallow (as per Dr. Kinsey) was that no one was purely hetero or homo, we were all on a scale of sorts.

    Now we’ve swung to being told that gays are gays, period, no scale. Odd.

  182. The Talmud assumes that Tkios Al Seder HaBrachos is Min HaTorah. This is far from obvious–The Rav ZT”L taught this but it was a bit of a chiddush and many other acharonim don’t understand it that way. (For example see Aruch Hashulchan)

  183. Mike S-if one assumes that Tefilah operates in the place of a Korban, and that Chazaras HaSDhatz is in the place of Korban Tzibur, then the assumption of the Talmud in RH that Tekios Al Seder HaBrachos is Min HaTorah is hardly a Chiddush.

  184. MiMedinat HaYam:

    “there is a recent trend of (mostly yeshivish) couples (!proudly!) marrying without a license (and i assume no pre nup.)”

    as i understand it, it is illegal to get married in new york without a license and any rabbi who performs such a wedding is guily of a misdemeanor. (can any lawyers out there comment?)
    in new jersey as per 37:1-15
    see here http://law.justia.com/codes/new-jersey/2006/d96e/d996.html
    and in new york as per Domestic Relations – Article 3 – § 17
    http://law.onecle.com/new-york/domestic-relations/DOM017_17.html

  185. “Mike S. on March 12, 2011 at 8:46 pm
    The Talmud assumes that Tkios Al Seder HaBrachos is Min HaTorah. This is far from obvious–The Rav ZT”L taught this but it was a bit of a chiddush and many other acharonim don’t understand it that way. (For example see Aruch Hashulchan)”
    Agreed

    “Steve Brizel on March 12, 2011 at 9:13 pm
    Mike S-if one assumes that Tefilah operates in the place of a Korban,”
    acting in the place of a korban is not a korban

    “and that Chazaras HaSDhatz is in the place of Korban Tzibur,”
    why RH Chazaras Hashatz has an entirely different flavor to it than CS the rest of the year. It is the ikkar Shmoneh Esreis private. -thus BTW those who take a long time to finish their private SE and miss the beginning of CS are probably engaging in false zidkus. It also makes it extremely problematic for leviim to leave during shofarot to wash hands of kohanim-they miss Ikkar SE.
    Still Chazarat hashas is not Korban Zibbur.

    “then the assumption of the Talmud in RH that Tekios Al Seder HaBrachos is Min HaTorah is hardly a Chiddush.”

    Certainly a chiddush something min Hatorah which couldn’t have happened before churban bayit rishon!!!

  186. “Let’s look at the effect of unions first in the private sector, the fact that beyond the right to collective bargaining and work conditions, many industries that were dominated by unions such as steel, auto and coal simply don’t do anything more than pay pension benefits.”
    ” in 2005, it was estimated that 40% of the nation’s energy came from petroleum, 23% from coal, and 23% from natural gas.
    Check the following http://www.eia.gov/mer/pdf/pages/sec6_3.pdf
    which will show that we export more coal than we import”
    “U.S. Steel has multiple domestic and international facilities.[22] Of note in the United States is Clairton Works and Edgar Thomson Works, both members of Mon Valley Works and just outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Clairton Works is the largest coking facility in North America. Edgar Thomson Works is one of the oldest steel mills in the world. The Company acquired Great Lakes Works and Granite City Works, both large integrated steel mills, in 2003 and is partnered with Severstal North America in operating the world’s largest electro-galvanizing line, Double Eagle Steel Coating Company, at the historic Rouge complex in Dearborn, Michigan.

    U.S. Steel’s largest domestic facility is Gary Works, in Gary, Indiana; Gary is also home to the U.S. SteelYard baseball stadium.

    U.S. Steel operates a tin mill they acquired in East Chicago now known as E.C. Tin after L.T.V. went bankrupt. U.S. Steel operates a sheet and tin finishing facility in Portage, Indiana. known as Midwest Plant acquired from the National Steel bankruptcy. U.S. Steel operates Fairfield Works in Fairfield, Alabama (Birmingham), employing 1500 people, and still operates a sheet galvanizing operation at the Fairless Works facility in Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania, employing 75 people.

    U.S. Steel acquired National Steel and subsequently operates Great Lakes Works in Ecorse, Michigan, Midwest Plant in Portage, Indiana, and Granite City Steel in Granite City, Illinois. In 2008 a major expansion of Granite City was announced, including a new coke plant with an annual capacity of 650,000 tons.[23]

    U.S. Steel operates a pipe mill, Lorain Tubular Operations, in Lorain, Ohio.

    U.S. Steel operates two major taconite mining and pelletizing operations in northeastern Minnesota’s Iron Range under the operating name Minnesota Ore Operations. The Minntac mine is located near Mountain Iron, Minnesota and the Keetac mine is near Keewatin, Minnesota. U.S. Steel announced on February 1, 2008 that it would be investing approximately $300 Million in upgrading the operations at Keetac, a facility purchased in 2003 from the now-defunct National Steel Corporation.[24]”
    See URL http://www.uaw.org/sites/default/files/12_30VehicleGuide-101015.pdf
    for a list of union made cars in the US/Canada

    Thus, “many industries that were dominated by unions such as steel, auto and coal simply don’t do anything more than pay pension benefits” is a major exaggeration to put it mildly.

  187. And outside the Mikdash?

  188. “as i understand it, it is illegal to get married in new york without a license and any rabbi who performs such a wedding is guily of a misdemeanor. (can any lawyers out there comment?)”
    Agreed it is illegal to perform a wedding in NY wo a license-it is my impression most of the world has similar rules-thus if ones Rabbi is from NY and one wants him to mesader kiddushin in Detroit or Jerusalem one would have to get local clergy (Rabbi)-a NY Rabbi is unlikely to be licensed in the other state,

    ” But, IMO, only the first one (entanglement with religion) has any real chance of success.”
    Courts avoild like the plague anything that would require them to determine what religious law would hold-the reason why the 2 Rabbis who betrayed confidences given to them couldn’t be sued.

  189. “Nachum on March 13, 2011 at 12:26 am
    And outside the Mikdash?”

    Agree with Nachums comment.

  190. Mycroft,
    In many jurisdictions, a Rabbi who is registered elsewhere can get permission to do a wedding even if he is not local.

  191. MYCROFT and MDJ:

    according to NYS domestic relations law 3-11b: “Registration of persons performing marriage ceremonies in the city of New York. Every person authorized by law to perform the marriage ceremony, before performing any such ceremonies in the city of
    New York, shall register his or her name and address in the office of the city clerk of the city of New York.”

    source: http://public.leginfo.state.ny.us/LAWSSEAF.cgi?QUERYTYPE=LAWS+&[email protected]+&LIST=LAW+&BROWSER=EXPLORER+&TOKEN=38889080+&TARGET=VIEW

    i don’t know what the story is for the rest of NYS or if there is another article that mentions getting permission as MDJ described. i did see that the officiant need not be a NY resident, but as i understood he still needs to be registered.

    in any case, the question of whether an unlicensed (or unregistered clergyman) is different from the (illegal) practice that mimedinat hayam mentioned of a rabbbi performing a wedding for a couple who themselves did not recieve a marriage license.

  192. “i did see that the officiant need not be a NY resident, but as i understood he still needs to be registered.”
    It makes sense-most professions do not require residence to be licensed in the state.In somecases it required a supreme court ruling in a Vermont? lawyer wanting to practice in NH? where the court IMHO correctly sruck down a residency requirement despite the language “officer of the court” in lawyers description. It is clear that judges etc can be restricted by residence.

    “in any case, the question of whether an unlicensed (or unregistered clergyman) is different from the (illegal) practice that mimedinat hayam mentioned of a rabbbi performing a wedding for a couple who themselves did not recieve a marriage license”
    A clear violation of the law.

  193. “MDJ on March 13, 2011 at 2:20 am
    Mycroft,
    In many jurisdictions, a Rabbi who is registered elsewhere can get permission to do a wedding even if he is not local”

    As can happen where lawyers sometimes can get permission to appear on an individual case. It is my im,pression that usually the formal Rabbi who will register the marriage will then be from the brides side. Groom side mesader kiddushin why is the marriage taking place in the other state-where bride lives thus there exists local clergy to take care oflegal matters.

  194. Mycroft wrote :

    “why RH Chazaras Hashatz has an entirely different flavor to it than CS the rest of the year. It is the ikkar Shmoneh Esreis private. -thus BTW those who take a long time to finish their private SE and miss the beginning of CS are probably engaging in false zidkus. It also makes it extremely problematic for leviim to leave during shofarot to wash hands of kohanim-they miss Ikkar SE.
    Still Chazarat hashas is not Korban Zibbur.

    “then the assumption of the Talmud in RH that Tekios Al Seder HaBrachos is Min HaTorah is hardly a Chiddush.”

    Certainly a chiddush something min Hatorah which couldn’t have happened before churban bayit rishon”

    Wrong again. Tekios al Seder Habrachos in Musaf is Min HaTorah. Whatever happened prior to Churban Bayis Rishon is purely of historical interest and is almost irelevant from a Halacha LMaaseh POV. Most shuls,minyanim and yeshivos take enough time that either everyone is in fact finished or those who aren’t nod with their hands for the Shliach Tzibur to begin. If one assumes that Tefilah of a Yachid is akin to a Korban Yachid, there is no reason to assume that Chazaras HaShatz aka Tefilas HaTzibur is not akin to a Korban Tzibur. See Hilcos Shofar 2;7 as to the obligation of the Tzibur to hear Tikos Al Seder HaBrachos.

  195. Mycroft-neiher of your links,one of which showed no info as to the source of the information and the second link, which was a UAW link, which I would hardly consider the most objective, on the subject of union produced products in the US, impressed me as being helpful on the issue at hand-the amount of money earned for products produced versus the amount of money paid for union benefits. One wonders why the UAW would not provide information as to the amount of money its retired and current members received from the auto companies.

  196. Mycroft- see Noraos HaRav, Volume 9, Pages 28-30, for a detailed explanation offered by RYBS in the name of R Chaim ZL based on Hilcos Tefilah 9:3, that standing during Chazaras HaShatz is required all year round, and that Chazaras HaShatz is offered on behalf of the entoire Tzibur. Thus, since Chazaras HaShatz is related to the entire Tzibur, each member of the Tzibur must remain standing in the posture required for Shemoneh Esreh. While RYBS noted that many other Rishonim reject the Shitas HaRambam and do not require the Tzibur to remain standing during the Chazaras HaShatz, R Chaim ZL maintained that all Rishonim agree that Chazaras HaShatz of Mussaf of RH is recited by the Shaliach Tzibur on behalf of the entire congregation because of the obligation of hearing Tekios Al Seder HaBrachos has a special Kiyum HaMItzvah that is obtained by merging Shofar with Tefilah. In contrast, one who listens to the sounds of the Shofar withjout so integrating the Shofar within the text of the Malchiyos, Zicronos and Shofaros satisfies the basic Mitzvah of Shofar, but lacks the special Kiyum HaMItzvah obtained by merging Shofar with Tefilah. . That is precisely why the Shitas HaAruch that one recites Tekios during the Tefilah Blachash was rejected by Rov Rishonim, and especially by Rambam, Ramban.

  197. Mycroft wrote in part:

    “Certainly a chiddush something min Hatorah which couldn’t have happened before churban bayit rishon”

    There are Chiddushei Torah galore that didn’t exist before Churban Bayis Sheni that we adhere to and which are discovered constantly by Talmidei Chachamim.

  198. “Steve Brizel on March 13, 2011 at 1:15 pm
    Mycroft-neiher of your links,one of which showed no info as to the source of the information”

    1st link is a gvoernment link-you can tell by the gov
    Check the following http://www.eia.gov/mer/pdf/pages/sec6_3.pdf
    You don’t trust government statistics on coal mined, imported, exported etc?

    “”and the second link, which was a UAW link, which I would hardly consider the most objective, on the subject of union produced products in the US,””
    You don’t trust the UAW on listings of products priduced in North America-they are tryingto encourage people to buy US and you believe they will list a product not made by UAW workers or not list a product made by UAW workers-you stated “, many industries that were dominated by unions such as steel, auto and coal simply don’t do anything more than pay pension benefits”
    All that I was attempting to show was that steel, coal and auto are doing far more than paying pension benefits for workers. BTW assuming arguendo that a company was currently only paying out its deferred compensation benefits (eg pensions)-what woukld be wrong with a company liquidating and first paying out is obligations of payroll and deferred payroll, bondholders and then payingthe residual claimants the stockholders.
    You ahve written much else that is at least arguable from an economic standpoint but Hirhurim is not the place to discuss secular economic issues.

    ” impressed me as being helpful on the issue at hand-the amount of money earned for products produced versus the amount of money paid for union benefits.”

    So labor gets paid for its work-only professionals deserve to get paid?
    “why the UAW would not provide information as to the amount of money its retired and current members received from the auto companies.”
    start reading 10-Ks if you are interested in that sort of detail for publicly help corps.

  199. Steve Brizel on March 13, 2011 at 1:51 pm
    Mycroft wrote in part:

    ““Certainly a chiddush something min Hatorah which couldn’t have happened before churban bayit rishon”

    There are Chiddushei Torah galore that didn’t exist before Churban Bayis Sheni that we adhere to and which are discovered constantly by Talmidei Chachamim”

    Are you implying that there are mitzvot doraisa that were never observed before Bayis Sheni?

  200. “In contrast, one who listens to the sounds of the Shofar withjout so integrating the Shofar within the text of the Malchiyos, Zicronos and Shofaros satisfies the basic Mitzvah of Shofar, but lacks the special Kiyum HaMItzvah obtained by merging Shofar with Tefilah. .”

    “satisfies the basic Mitzvah of Shofar,”
    agreed-so what are you disagreeing with me about.

  201. Mycroft-

    1)The Dinei Torah obviously certainly existed-Chidushei Torah were certainly not discovered because TSBP was by no means close to being developed during Bayis Rishon. There are many Chiddushei Torah that affect how we fulfil and perform Dinei DOraisa that were never discovered or observed Kodem Churban Bayis Rishon .

    2) one of the many lessons of RH is that we are never to be content with doing a basic mitzvah, but in trying to do it Bslemusha to demonstrate Ahavas HaShem.

  202. “There are many Chiddushei Torah that affect how we fulfil and perform Dinei DOraisa that were never discovered or observed Kodem Churban Bayis Rishon . ”

    We must follow the way Chazal say to do a mitzvah-but if one does a mitzvah certainly the only way possible wo intending to not follow Chazal certainly one is yotzeh the mitzvah.

    “one of the many lessons of RH is that we are never to be content with doing a basic mitzvah, but in trying to do it Bslemusha to demonstrate Ahavas HaShem.”
    But if one deos the mitzvah one does the mitzvah.

  203. Mycroft wrote:

    “We must follow the way Chazal say to do a mitzvah-but if one does a mitzvah certainly the only way possible wo intending to not follow Chazal certainly one is yotzeh the mitzvah.

    “But if one deos the mitzvah one does the mitzvah

    Not Bshlemsusha and in many instances you are have not even fulfilled the Mitzvah on a Bdieved level-see Rishonim on Sukkah and Pesachim who maintain that if one does not follow how Chazal prescribe how to do a Mitzvah as interpreted by the Chachmei HaDor that one has not even fullfiled such Mitzvos as Sukkah and Sipur Yetzias Mitzrayim Bdieved.

  204. In response to Mycroft-Why just be “Yotze Zain”? The notion of fullfilling Kol HaShitos or fulfilling a Mitzvah
    Bshlemsusha has Talmudic antecedents. In many instances by being just “Zotze Zain”. you are have not even fulfilled the Mitzvah on a Bdieved level-see Rishonim on Sukkah and Pesachim who maintain that if one does not follow how Chazal prescribe how to do a Mitzvah as interpreted by the Chachmei HaDor that one has not even fullfiled such Mitzvos as Sukkah and Sipur Yetzias Mitzrayim Bdieved.

  205. “Bshlemsusha has Talmudic antecedents. In many instances by being just “Zotze Zain”. you are have not even fulfilled the Mitzvah on a Bdieved level-see Rishonim on Sukkah and Pesachim who maintain that if one does not follow how Chazal prescribe how to do a Mitzvah as interpreted by the Chachmei HaDor that one has not even fullfiled such Mitzvos as Sukkah and Sipur Yetzias Mitzrayim Bdieved.”
    Clearly that is not how shofar is treated lemaaseh in 2011 North America-are you aware of anyone who would tell someone not to blow the 30 kolot wo SE to one who did not hear shofar.

  206. “In response to Mycroft-Why just be “Yotze Zain”? The notion of fullfilling Kol HaShitos or fulfilling a Mitzvah”

    Which is why we blow 30 for one who can’t attend a sch7ul-probably one would be yotzeh with much less-but to satisfy all shitot we blow 30

  207. Mycroft wrote:

    “Clearly that is not how shofar is treated lemaaseh in 2011 North America-are you aware of anyone who would tell someone not to blow the 30 kolot wo SE to one who did not hear shofar”

    Really-I tend to doubt that comment-name one shul where a rav does not remind his Baale Batim not to talk fromTekias Dmshushav until the end of Musaf.

  208. Mycroft wrote:

    “Which is why we blow 30 for one who can’t attend a sch7ul-probably one would be yotzeh with much less-but to satisfy all shitot we blow 30”

    First of all, a person who can’t attend a shul on RH is as clear a case of a Bdieved or Shaas Hadchak-in whioch case,the 30 represent the bare minimum whuich a Yachid can fulfil the individual Mitzavh. Such a person by definition by no means fulfils his role in being part of a Tzibur that hears Tkios Al Seder HaBrachos.

  209. MiMedinat HaYam

    regarding marrying without a license — yes the rabbis are violating the law. who cares?

    2. unconastitutional to require residency in a state to get a license. discrimination against citizens of another state. yet, many states do it all the time. (ups wine deliveries, milk sales in new york starte by a nj dairy (farmland dairy; nys still refuses to give them a license to sell milk, but are enjoined by fed ct order from doing anything against farmland.) out of state hatzalah members are forbidden to do their volunterr work in nys state, since nys does not recognize their emt credentials, etc, etc )

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