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A Tale of Beggars and Minyans
Beit Shemesh residents decry ‘haredi only’ neighborhood
Public diplomacy against shechita laws
Share and share alike: Boulder’s Jewish community at work
National-religious rabbis slam gender segregation
Be the Miracle: Watch well your words
Retired Judge to Media: Use Common Sense
Israeli doctors withdraw from fertility conference over exclusion of women
Yisgadeil Veyiskadeish Shemei Rabboh
SALT Friday
Report: Hareidi Soldiers Told to Clean Women’s Restroom
Prominent NJ rabbi gets 5-year prison term for hiding $1M in massive corruption case
Local Support Grows for ‘Chained’ Woman
Raising More Tolerant Children
Beit Shemesh: Dialogue Is The Only Solution
Nefesh Head Backs Away From ‘Torah Declaration’ On Gays
Hamodia Publisher Calls On The Charedi Community To Rise Up Against Religious ‘Fanatics’
On Feminism and Fanaticism: A Female Charedi Attorney’s Perspective
New York – The Shechita Wars
SALT Thursday
Scholars offer new explanation for rare Temple artifact in Jerusalem
Looking Good For Rabbi Aryeh Stern As Next Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Of Jerusalem
Banned! Israel May Outlaw Weird Names
For the Glove of the Game
New Words Coined To Exclude Women
Haredi Orthodox children attacked in Jerusalem
IDF to supervise rabbi-soldier meetings
Beitar Illit store offers men-only counter
Haredi soldier warns: We’ll leave IDF over women’s singing
Everyone is fighting a different battle
SALT Wednesday
R. Yehuda Levin supports husband who refuses to give get (video)
Sorcerer for the Goose and Gander
Scrolls raise questions about Afghan Jewish history
R Robinson: The Curse of Violent Extremism – from the 10th of Tevet to Bet Shemesh
Where do Israeli haredim stand on haredi violence?
Haredim reject Beit Shemesh division plan
The Living Torah Museum Comes To Lakewood
Are These Not Jewish Children?
The Events in Beit Shemesh: A Hareidi Resident Speaks
The Human Spirit: What do religious women want?
Working Men
SALT Tuesday
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 of New Jersey, 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 and as Director of the Halacha Commission of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. He also serves on the Editorial Board of Jewish Action magazine and 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.

440 comments

  1. The one recent article about the Beit Shemesh situation that expressed a different line of thought than the myriad others is:

    IH on December 31, 2011 at 6:21 pm
    A more nuanced analysis:

    http://www.haaretz.com/weekend/week-s-end/ultra-orthodox-extremism-is-a-reaction-to-growing-reform-in-the-community-1.404544

    “Economic distress alone is enough to push the ultra-Orthodox to reform, which in turn damages the supreme ultra-Orthodox value of separatism, “the pure cruse of oil.” The change in values is keeping the rabbis awake at night. The more openness there is, the more they seek to close things off.”

  2. Gil – following up on the discussion we were having Wed & Thurs about RYBS’s Confrontation in the context of Nostra Aetate, see: Prof. Wilkes’ short, but thoughful and nuanced essay: http://www.jnjr.div.ed.ac.uk/Primary%20Sources/contemporary/wilkes_soloveitchik.html

  3. The article about the proposed division of Beit Shemesh leaves out the original (and likely real) objection, offered by none other than Eli Yishai himself in what was probably an unguarded moment of absolute honesty: Charedim don’t want their own city because, as they don’t pay taxes (and don’t work), the city would have no services and no way of supporting itself.

    Yishai tried to cover this up, but facts are facts, and there it is in a nutshell: The Charedim are perfectly happy to move into a mixed city, benefit from the taxes paid by people they despise and the services provided by a State they ignore, so long as they get to dictate how long the sleeves of the eight year old daughters of those supporting them are. Lovely! I ask, what do we, the honest working taxpayers not sexually aroused by prepubescent girls, get out of the deal?

  4. IH: I have to be honest, I never got the point of theological dialogue:

    Christian: Jesus is the Messiah, son of God, part of a trinity.

    Jew: That is all nonsense.

    [Crickets.]

    And…then?

    A friend recently quoted Eliezer Berkovits to me: Something along the lines of, “Jews are under no obligation to dialogue with Christians. The only thing they need to tell Christians is, ‘How about not killing our children anymore?'”

  5. Oh, one more thing: I’m glad that R’ Deutsch is under constant consultation with the “gedolim” about his museum. I guess it’s safe then. 🙂

    Lord, what a sorry state we have descended to. We visited the Bible Lands Museum last week and for some reason felt no obligation to ask a she’ela first. But we’re funny that way. 🙂

  6. Nachum — I mostly agree with you about interfaith theological dialogue in today’s world. But, that is because we have the luxury of the heavy lifting that was done by others in the 1950s and 1960s which is the nub of my disagreement with Gil (who disagreed with Prof. Wyschogrod that prompted the discussion).

    That said, note this article in the current issue of The Economist: http://www.economist.com/node/21542162 about Muslims and the Koran.

  7. IH: I still don’t see what the “heavy lifting” *was*. It wasn’t “theological dialogue” that got them to stop saying we killed Jesus, not if the word “dialogue” is taken in its usual meaning.

  8. Nahum — you don’t think that a Papal re-interpretation of New Testament p’shat was theological to them?

  9. IH, Nachum doesn’t think it was a “dialogue”

  10. Avi — The historical records indicate it was both dialogue and negotiation (even if RYBS choose not to play).

  11. In addition to the link at 8:46am above, also see: http://www.ushmm.org/research/center/presentations/features/details/2005-12-07/ particularly:

    But when the second session of the Council ended with no action on the declaration, criticism was more common, and behind this criticism could be sensed a mistrust of the Church’s motives. A suspicion that theological dialogue was a honeyed approach to conversion. And simple resentment over the prospect of some 2,500 bishops debating the extent of Jewish culpability in the death of Jesus. Before the Rabbinical Council of America in February 1964, Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik, the leading spokesman for Orthodox Jewry, attacked the proposed declaration as nothing more or less than evangelical propaganda. And he also discouraged religious dialogue with Catholics, and indeed with all Christians. Of this charge, that the absolving of Jews of a crime that they never committed was condescending, […]

  12. RE: “Working men”

    I can’t remember who told me this, but someone said that the Hi Tech sector likes to employee Haredi women because they can convince them to quit when they get pregnant and not pay maternity leave.

  13. How is that “dialogue?” It’s not as if the Jews changed anything:

    Jews: Stop saying we killed Jesus! We don’t care theologically, but it’s caused all these deaths!

    Pope: It may be a theological point for us, but OK.

  14. Nachum – was it you who generated a whole post from R. Adlerstein in response to your comment on the contribution of Charedim? I’m trying to envisage how the comment thread there avoids ending up into a ‘my gadol is bigger than your gadol’ contest, in which everyone gets annoyed and nobody wins. Perhaps Cross Currents’ stringent censorship rules will dictate the outcome of that one.

  15. Just a reminder, while violence is an important issue, the broader issue is compulsion amd lack of acceptance of alternative approaches.
    KT

  16. yawn. i want to read more about the afghan genizah.

  17. Abba — if it turns out there are some significant chidushim from the Afghan genizah, will the non-academic Orthodox community treat it differently than the Cairo genizah or the DSS.

    History indicates that anything inconvenient will be dismissed as irrelevant (or worse).

  18. Actually, dialogue itself is the problem because there is an expectation of corresponding Jewish theological change.
    http://www.ccjr.us/dialogika-resources/documents-and-statements/analysis/286-dabru-emet-berger

  19. In his recent sefer Chemdah Tovah (p. 296), Rabbi Dov Halperin claims the Satmar Rav, R. Yoel Teitelbaum, was נוטה לכפירה.

  20. It’s not as if the Jews changed anything

    But, they did. That’s the point. If not for the dialogue and negotiation by the non-Orthodox that went on despite RYBS, the Pope changed the theology of the Catholic churn in respect of how the New Testament verses that implicate the Jews of deicide were interpreted. This was a theological change by the Catholics that had (and continues to have — note the Fox LatAm brouhaha) an impact on Jews.

  21. Abba’s Rantings: Yawn.
    “The expert in ancient Persian languages said the scrolls included … hitherto unknown scholarly works by the medieval sage Rabbi Sa’adia Gain.” isn’t that exciting? I meant we know R. Sa’adia was a prolific writer, but I can’t wait for these works to be published!

  22. IH: “History indicates that anything inconvenient will be dismissed as irrelevant (or worse).”

    The expert in the article states that it seems this was a karaite community. So this should have the same din as the dead sea scrolls.

  23. R’ Gil,
    Can you provide some context to the Ora protest video involving R. Y. Levin?
    Thanks.

  24. Nachum,
    Dialogue, n. … 4. A discussion intended to produce an agreement.

  25. Actually, dialogue itself is the problem because there is an expectation of corresponding Jewish theological change.

    So, for example, if in the eventual theological dialog that will happen between mainstream Orthodox Islam and mainstream Orthodox Judaism, we may be asked to concede theological interpretations in respect of the other that lead to Torat haMelech in exchange for them conceding theological interpretations in the Koran and Hadiths in respect of the other?

    Would that be so terrible? After all, we’ve been modifying our texts for years in respect of the other (usually out of fear).

  26. IH:

    “will the non-academic Orthodox community treat it differently than the Cairo genizah or the DSS”

    who cares? don’t be a joy kill.
    let me sit back and enjoy this find.
    they’ll be plenty of time of polemics later on.

    YEEDLE:

    funny you mention saadia gaon. i’d love for some of his works with trop to show up.

  27. David: That’s a long, ongoing dispute and every reputable person I know who has been involved — including Rav Schachter and Rav Belsky (separately) — has concluded that the husband is entirely in the wrong. I didn’t know Yehuda Levin was involved until I saw the video.

  28. I did (albeit quickly). My question about Islam/Jewish dialogue 1t 11:44am stands.

  29. has concluded that the husband is entirely in the wrong.

    entirely? What does that mean. About the get, yes. However, no one gets off clean in this matter.

    I agree with R’ Levin that it was disgusting of Ora to protest outside of the house and place of business of third parties. This wasn’t a protest of the husband. It was a protest of his uncle and, later, his mother. Neither withheld a get and I sincerely doubt Ora has any clue what they tell the husband behind closed doors. It was just to pressure him by harassing other innocent people he happens to love. Unfortunately, it was not Ora’s least ethical act in this matter.

  30. To be clear, Gil, I have already stated that I am not a big fan of ongoing current interfaith dialogue (beyond maintaining relationships for times of need).

    There are pivot points though that must be negotiated when they arise. Nostra Aetate was one — which in turn led to some other breakthroughs. The big one for the future will be the rapprochement between Orthodox Judaism and Orthodox Islam (when the time is right) will be another.

  31. HAGTBG: You are right. “Entirely” is an overstatement. But everyone I know has concluded that the husband must give a get immediately.

    I’m OK with applying indirect pressure.

  32. IH: I assumed that was a joke. The dangerous people in Orthodox Judaism and Islam (the latter being vastly more numerous) are not the people who will ever enter a dialogue.

  33. Gil,
    I’m still confused.
    Is the ORA case linked above involving R. Y. Levin the Tamar Friedman Epstein case?
    (Here: http://getora.org/PDF/Fact%20Sheet%20Rally.pdf)
    If so, what does this have to do with Flatbush?
    Thanks.

  34. Yes, it’s the Friedman Epstein case. They were apparently protesting in Flatbush.

  35. Gil — No joke. The silent majority leadership will, in due course, eventually need to formally and unequivocally negotiate a mutually-tolerant theological view of the other irrespective of the p’shat of their respective texts. Perhaps this will be assisted by http://www.economist.com/node/21542162

  36. Indirect pressure isn’t the issue. The issue is the direct pressure applied to innocent people in order to try to apply that indirect pressure. They were yelling “Shame on you” not on the husband but on these other people. They could also try to get these persons fired to pressure the husband. Are you okay with that? Where does it stop? Should everyone who knows him be ruined so that a bit more leverage might be brought to bear?

  37. HAGTBG: Would you object if they picketed the husband’s home or place of work?

  38. No. Though I don’t believe it will help and may do the opposite of that (much the same as what the 1/1 rally).

    And neither R’ Kaminetsky nor R’ Belsky should have ever sat on that beit din as they were both nogeah b’davar.

  39. still waiting for my comment to be posted on C-C to R” YA:

    No one I’ve spoken to (all of them products of charedi yeshivos) has come up with a good solution.

    ===========================================
    Given their/your connections to the chareidi world, perhaps you mjght get the question kicked upstairs to the gedolim (einei hakahal) for their respons(es). I imagine that their are those even within the community who must harbor some doubt? Is our torah learning protects the nation enough to carry the day?
    KT

  40. without reference to the specific case at hand, are there situations where one is justified in withholding a get?

  41. “IH: I assumed that was a joke. The dangerous people in Orthodox Judaism and Islam (the latter being vastly more numerous) are not the people who will ever enter a dialogue.”

    The Rabbis of Tekoa feel differently.

  42. MiMedinat HaYam

    in this particular case, the (baltimore) bet din has NOT issued a “give a get” order. (in fact, they wish to rule for more (practical) visitation for the husband, and assurances that the visitation order will be complied with after the get is given. the wife indicates she will not abide. and get ora’s actions are against the wishes of the baltimore bet din and the (MO and charedi) rabbanim of baltimore.) i hope r gil does not delete the info in parens.

    2. this museum’s principal foolows “the gedolim” because a: that’s his market b: he wants to be / thinks he is a godol (look into his bio, which requires some background i wont get into here)

  43. MiMedinat HaYam

    the afghani “scrolls” may not be karaite, but pre rabbinic (or rather just pre another era of halachic development) which few academics know how to evaluate.

    the comparison of how it was found is too dramatic, too much like DSS. hope that is all there is to doubt.

    if the israeli antiquities or similar orgs want to buy it, shouldnt we be discussing the appropriateness of spending $ on this, rather tahn on, say “modern” education, and maybe even maternity leave?

  44. MiMedinat HaYam: the Silver Spring/DC rabbinate obviously disagrees with your understanding of the situation, as they previously said as long as it was in baltimore’s jurisdiction, they would follow Baltimore’s lead. As they are following the seruv, they obviously don’t feel its in Baltimore’s jurisdiction anymore.

  45. The wife refused to take the matter back to Baltimore. So there was no movement for many months because there was no actual request for a get. Then Baltimore, pretty much on its own initiative withdrew their jurisdiction. Baltimore failed to inform the Vaad of DC that they had withdrawn jurisdiction, so that the DC Vaad could claim jurisdiction. Then very soon after Baltimore jurisdiction was withdrawn, the UO beit din took the matter on the wife’s request. They sent a single summons and when it did not get a response from the husband, issued the seruv. Once there was a seruv from a beit din, the DC Vaad enforced it.

    To me it looked like someone wanted to make sure, for whatever reason, that the UO would end up with the matter. Not sure why or even if and the rest can only speculate.

  46. Don’t confuse issues with details of the back-and-forth. The bottom line is that every respectable rav involved, including those who spent many hours with the couple or just the husband trying to mediate, has said unequivocally that the husband must give a get.

    R. Shmuel Kamenetsky 1: http://getora.org/PDF/RHS%20%20RSK%20re%20Epstein-Friedman%20with%20translation.pdf
    R. Shmuel Kamenetsky 2: http://getora.org/PDF/Letter%20from%20RSK-%20December%208.pdf
    Agudas HaRabbonim (including R. Yisroel Belsky): http://www.getora.org/Seiruvim/Aharon%20Friedman%20seruv.pdf
    R. Hershel Schachter signed onto all of the above.

  47. Since when is R Yehudah Levin considered a Bar Hachi on any Torah or Halachic issue other than his political stances?

  48. MiMedinat HaYam

    hagtb — by UO,, i assume you mean rca.

    actually, the former exec dir of the o-u, formerly a rav in baltimore is (or was, at last quote) on the husband’s side.

    the balto bet din was given jurisdiction since dc / ss has no bet din, and farms out its work to them (common practice among batei din, when they agree). when they saw the wife will not abide by its decision, they stepped out (as batei din are wont to do, to save the honor of the bet din, at the expense of the psak, not exactly a respectable practice.). the husband obviously wants the balto bet din to issue a psak, but the bet din wont since they see it wont be complied with.

    the phila rav mentionrd above is deferring to a (now and before the marriage) resident. not exactly an unbiased source. and thus, AH follows that, but only in absence of a bet din.

    RHS is violating an RCA policy on not getting involved in outside cases.

    the basic issue is that the wife will not give visitation till two hours before shabat, which means major problems with driving to / from phila from silver sorings with a small child. and shows no interest in accomodating a problem she created (by moving to phila, from the family home in ss.)

    didnt want to get into details, but you insisted.

    should the father give up his relationship with his daughter for this reason? its his call, either way; not up to us, or outside rabbonim to dictate.

  49. Gil, no one here is arguing that a get should not be given. However,if you really want to get into it:

    R’ Kamenetsky is (a) a long-time friend of her family, (b) a person whose institutions are recipient of her family’s largesse, (c) the person who officiated at the parties wedding and was the one who did not require a prenup, (d) a person who issued psak on the very matter before he was on the UO beit din and (e) her fiercest rabbinic advocate. Are there no other rabbis in the US he believed pursued justice? For each of those reasons he should have had others sit on the UO beit din.

    R’ Schachter -well none of the above applied to him. However, he also issued a letter on this matter almost one year ago -well before the seruv that left me flabbergasted, essentially making R’ Kaminetsky an oracle of G-d on the matter. Here is Ora’s translation:

    “If the sage Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky instructed that it is proper to pressure the husband to divorce his wife, then this wise elder has issued his instruction, and one cannot question his intruvtion, because, if so, one has to judge ever [sic] single beit din that has stood from the time of Moshe until now. It it a mitzvah to listen to words of the Sages,because we uphold a fundamental principle in Jewish law and philosophy of believing in the Sages, since we always rely on them because, presumably, the sage received Divine assistance in issuing proper instruction. As the verse states, “The secrets of God are for those who fear Him,” unless it becomes absolutely clear that has erred.”

    Similarly, about a year and a half ago, Ora first held a rally against this same uncle and mother based on R’ Kaminetsky’s psak -before R’ Schachter had given any statement about this matter or signed unto R’ Kaminetsky.

    While I believe that R’ Schachter fundamentally sides with the wife, I can not believe his reliance here on someone else’s position, someone who is involved in the matter.

  50. By UO I mean the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the United States and Canada. A group that is not known for their mainstream Orthodox views.

  51. the balto bet din was given jurisdiction since dc / ss has no bet din, and farms out its work to them (common practice among batei din, when they agree). when they saw the wife will not abide by its decision, they stepped out (as batei din are wont to do, to save the honor of the bet din, at the expense of the psak, not exactly a respectable practice.). the husband obviously wants the balto bet din to issue a psak, but the bet din wont since they see it wont be complied with.

    None of the above is true. DC and Silver Spring have their own Vaad and beit din. The parties jointly agreed to use the Baltimoire beit din. Later, the wife tried to get the DC Vaad to issue a seruv but they could not get involved because of Baltimore jurisdiction. The rest is as cited above.

  52. Rav Schachter has spent dozens of hours — at least, more likely over 100 — on this divorce. He isn’t relying on anyone else.

    I’ve spoken to other people who have also spent dozens of hours trying to mediate.

    This divorce has gone through multiple batei din. You can’t plausibly claim that every beis din and every rav involved is biased.

  53. I believe I have only claimed one beit din was biased. I believe that everyone involved believes Baltimore acted very incompetently here though its possible the wife’s side believes Baltimore is biased.

    Personally, I think most any competent beit din would want this matter done and a get would therefore be at the forefront of that. However, I think the wife feared that a beit din might mandate something concerning her daughter that she did not want to risk.

    I am sorry if you dislike the quote, but R’ Schachter wrote it and Ora translated it. Since he wrote it for public distribution I assume he meant it.

  54. And let me amend. I do not claim they are biased. I claim they have the appearance of it.

  55. For one thing, Israeli haredi condemnations of violence are not delivered the same way as condemnations in the non-haredi world. They are generally directed inward, not outward; they tend to be delivered not in statements to the press but as words of Torah to followers; they are often spoken not in English or Hebrew, but in Yiddish; and they are expressed less as a reaction to current events than as calls for dignified behavior by Torah-observant Jews.

    In other words, they are vague and not forceful. Which makes an interesting contrast with the condemnations of “secular” or “immodest” behavior – which are invariably loud, explicit, in Hebrew, and pasted to every wall.

    In all the conflicts involving haredi violence in Israel, from the British Mandate period until today, violent haredim were always a small minority, and I believe that the vast majority feel uncomfortable about them.

    How can the majority of charedim oppose violence, when the gedolim don’t oppose it? I’m willing to believe that groups like Sefardi charedim and Chabad with their own rabbis oppose violence, but for everyone else, their theology proclaims otherwise.

  56. Abba’s asks without reference to the specific case at hand, are there situations where one is justified in withholding a get?

    I assume you mean to ask where a man is justified in withholding a get, since this question is addressable only to the male half of any divorcing couple. Indeed, that is the moral problem for Orthodoxy in modern society.

  57. Rafael Araujo

    No, women can withhold as well and so its applicable to both parties. The heter meah rabbanim is being abused, however, to get around the women’s refusal to accept, but really, in theory, the heter meah rabbanim should be extremely difficult to obtain.

  58. IH: There are cases where a woman refuses to accept a get.

  59. Rafael Araujo

    HaModia had an article about the abuse of Heter Meah Rabbanim by an unnamed Dayan in its Inyan Magazine a few months ago.

  60. Rafael Araujo

    Here is the link to the Hamodia article:

    http://vcjewishcenter.org/www1/Holiday/abuse_heter_meah.pdf

  61. Gil — only in theory, AFAIK. In any case there is a difference between not accepting and not offering at all.

  62. Rafael Araujo

    In what way is it different? The result is the same. Who cares how that result (cannot effect divorce) is reached.

  63. Joseph Kaplan

    “should the father give up his relationship with his daughter for this reason? its his call, either way; not up to us, or outside rabbonim to dictate.”

    This is, AISI, the crux of the problem — “it’s HIS (emphasis added) call.”

    And look where the situation is at. The husband supposedly is withholding the get in order to have the visitation rules changed. Well, it seems he’s been unsuccessful for quite a long time. So at the present time, is it really anything other than spite; since you’re not doing what I think you should, I’m going to ruin your life and let your biological clock tick away.

    As most who follow this blog know, I’m pretty big on male-female equality, but on this issue they’re really are serious differences. That doesn’t excuse a woman who refuses to accept a get; she should be pressured the same way a man should be pressured. But the results of the immoral conduct of either party withholding/accepting a get are simply not the same.

    I find it extremely sad that a couple who were once married can be so vincitive and cruel to one another. (That’s probably one reason I never pracxticed matrimonial law.) but I find it even sadder that our halachic system, which many believe is the word of God, can’t — or possibly won’t — do anything about it.

  64. Rafael Araujo

    You’ve just made up a chiluk that, to say the least, is dochek and has no bearing on a refusal to divorce scenario.

  65. Joseph Kaplan

    BTW, when I tried to use the link Gil posted on thiis issue, it was not available.

  66. Re the ‘sorcerer’ post. I note that Philologos is under the impression that the torah only decrees the death penalty for a witch (machsheifa) and not for a sorcerer (mechasheif). While the torah explicitly mentions ‘mechasheifa lo tichye’, it also enumerate various magical acts as capital crimes regardless of their perpetrator (“If a man or woman practices ‘Ov’ or ‘Yidoni’, they shall be put to death..” -Lev. 20:27). Presumably, the torah explicitly addresses a ‘machsheifa’ since such sorcery was more common (diber hakatuv behoveh). Anyone have a citation from Mishn eh Torah?

  67. Rafael Araujo

    Joseph, if you practiced family law, as I have, you see the following (I have only represented non-Jews in these proceedings):

    1) the system is biased in favour of women (as it should be in most cases, but not all)
    2) women can be just as vindictive as men when it comes to issues like division of property, child support and custody, spousal support (what you call alimony)

    I should also point out that while there are remedies available in the secular system, its not very good in obtaining relief against recalcitrant spouses, women or men.

  68. IH:

    “I assume you mean to ask where a man is justified in withholding a get, since this question is addressable only to the male half of any divorcing couple. Indeed, that is the moral problem for Orthodoxy in modern society.”

    sheesh. i just asked a simple question.

  69. RAFAEL:

    “In what way is it different? The result is the same.”

    it is very different in who has the power to initiate.
    of course one could respond that the woman has the same level (if different type) of power because she can refuse to accept and complete the transaction. but it still different because there is a workaround for the man (and if he does remarry without the get, it is still considered a valid marriage and is not the same level of trangression?)

  70. In what way is it different? The result is the same. Who cares how that result (cannot effect divorce) is reached.

    As a practical matter, there is no halachic workaround if a man withholds the offer of a get; as opposed to a woman not accepting the offer.

    On the moral plane, let’s look at a less emotive commercial transaction. The nature of a transaction in which no offer has been made, it seems to me, is substantively different than one in which an offer was made and rejected. When no offer is made, there is a denial that a transaction is even negotiable between the parties — and arguably a denial of the legitimacy of the other party altogether.

  71. sheesh. i just asked a simple question.

    Ah, but the simple question got no response 🙂

  72. Rafael Araujo

    IH – sorry, but that semantics. As for the workaround, yes there is. However, while I believe it is being abused, it really should only be an option in the most extreme cases, thereby effectively putting men and women on the same plane.

    However, I want to be clear that halochoh cannot be changed and the Heter Meah Rabbonim merely reflects the fact that the Torah gave the husband the power to initiate. We can’t change that.

  73. RAFAEL:

    “while I believe it is being abused”

    the option is exists, it is legitimate and it is used. the extent to which it is abused is irrelevant le-ma’aseh.

    “thereby effectively putting men and women on the same plane.”

    as long as the option of heter meah rabbanim exists, even if not abused, they are not on the same plane.

    “Heter Meah Rabbonim merely reflects the fact that the Torah gave the husband the power to initiate”

    and the crucial fact that men can also conclude as well as initiate.

  74. Rafael — the distinction is not so much semantics as legal/commercial theory. It is material in the real world.

    In regard to your second point, do you tolerate the rule of (civil) law to broken, e.g. by beating up a recalcitrant husband, to maintain the viability of the halacha as is the practice some some Charedi communities?

    And is it morally acceptable for there to be women who are prevented from remarrying or having children because of a recalcitrant husband without any halachic recourse. [Sadly, a friend of my mother fell into this category approx 35 years ago].

  75. 2nd para got jumbled. It should read:

    In regard to your second point, do you tolerate the rule of (civil) law being broken, e.g. by beating up a recalcitrant husband, in order to maintain the viability of the halacha, as is the practice in some Charedi communities?

  76. RAFAEL:

    “I want to be clear that halochoh cannot be changed”

    this may be so and i won’t dispute you on this point. but the implication then is that halacha isn’t perfect and is unable to resolve every situation.

  77. Thinking out loud: what would have happened in this case, if the alleged shabbat visitation issu (due to the civil divorce settlement) had the sexes been reversed?

  78. IH: The visitation time is a non-issue. The wife will allow the husband to take the child before Shabbos.

  79. Abba: the implication then is that halacha isn’t perfect and is unable to resolve every situation

    I never heard anyone claim to the contrary.

  80. So, how many men are walking around unable to move on with their lives because the (coincidentally male) Rabbis can’t figure out a halachic solution? And how many women?

  81. IH: There are no decent statistics on either men or women because definitions are so vague

  82. Well I personally know one such woman. And that is one too many.

  83. “Hirhurim on January 3, 2012 at 5:39 pm
    Abba: the implication then is that halacha isn’t perfect and is unable to resolve every situation

    I never heard anyone claim to the contrary”

    Halacha like any legal system follows general justice-it need not equitable for each person-thus the son of Shimon Ben Shetach can be executed on clear false testimony which the witnesses wantedto recant because of keven shehegin shuv ano chozer umaggid. American law people have been executed because of lawyers missing filing deadlines.

  84. IH: Again, it depends on definition. I knew quite a few women who could not get a get immediately but eventually got it after they worked out details of post-divorce life. Some claimed she was an agunah but others denied it because the husband was willing to give a get. I’m not sure how to define an agunah.

  85. “the system is biased in favour of women (as it should be in most cases, but not all)”
    what is “bias” if it “should be””? That sounds like “fair” to me.

  86. “I’m not sure how to define an agunah.”
    I’m not either. I will only say this: I have known at least two women who never received a get from men whom they had separated for all practical purposes years prior, had no remaining connection to (including support as far as I could tell), and lived in different countries than. If that’s not an agunah I don’t know what is. I have never met, nor heard of, a man in a similar situation. Which doesn’t mean he doesn’t exist, of course.

  87. r’ slifkin’s upcoming article in wednesday’s jerusalem post was posted on his blog; decent analysis and who he thinks gets it wrong.

    http://www.rationalistjudaism.com/2012/01/everyone-is-fighting-different-battle.html

  88. Rafael Araujo

    To be fair, the term agunah in more recent halachic litaerate refers to the situation of the withholding of a get. The classic meaning is where the husband is missing and the women cannot remarry as a result since his situation is unknown.

  89. Rafael Araujo

    ruvie – is that a challenge ( ie.who thinks he gets its wrong)?

  90. Rafael Araujo

    emma – bias is a neutral term. Bias can be good and it can be bad. There are cases where the bias in favour of the women is a negative bias, the result of the judicial system’s tilt towards women on issues of property, child support and child custody.

  91. Rafael is correct in one aspect-IMO, one should not rush to compare classical cases in the ShuT literature of husbands lost at sea or in wartime with husbands who wilfully refuse to give a get despite being commanded to do so by a Bet Din. The Heter Meah Rabbanim , at least in RYBS’s eyes, gave the husband an unfair advantage in addition to the Gezeras HaKasuv of VKasavah Lah Sefer Krisus.

  92. Rafael Araujo

    “Well I personally know one such woman. And that is one too many.”

    That’s not statistics, as far as I can tell (and I’m not a statitician).

    “Rafael — the distinction is not so much semantics as legal/commercial theory. It is material in the real world”

    Its not any theory. First of all, I would argue that your analogy to contract law is incorrect. We are not dealing with a contract. Second, in contract law, the contract creates the relationship. No offer, no acceptance, no contract, hence no relationship. Here, there is a relationship in place already that you are ending. Not offering just continues the contractual relationship already in place (by the kesubah).

  93. rafael – why not? it wasn’t meant that way but if you wish tear apart. i am happy to see of late many articles written – including shockingly haaretz – that didn’t accuse the usual suspects and rehash the usual bs. this is not one isolated event by some small group of extremist. one can draw lines between between disparate events (including usa) and come to some conclusions that are worthwhile to consider as oppose to the usual – they are extremists why smear our whole community? type of analysis.

    if you disagree – please state your case.

  94. MiMedinat HaYam

    since (some) seem to exchanging stories — what about a woman who for fifteen years refuses any and all discussions of a get (seruv, etc issued against her — its worthless against a woman; ORA will not take the case), then the child becomes 18, and she’s willing to accept, but on her terms.

    is she (her husband) an aguna (agun)?

  95. Y. Aharon –

    Sanhedrin 67a:

    תנו רבנן מכשפה אחד האיש ואחד האשה א”כ מה ת”ל מכשפה מפני שרוב נשים מצויות בכשפים

  96. From the Hamodia article on Heter Meah Avreichim abuse issue:

    The get left with beis din is fraught with
    halachic questions of validity, practical
    concerns, and procedural hurdles.
    Because the heter meah Rabbanim was
    procured in an impermissible fashion,
    many Poskim will not allow a woman to
    remarry based on the get left with the beis
    din pursuant to the heter.
    In some cases,
    when the wife contacted the facilitator to
    arrange for receipt of her get, the
    facilitator claimed he “forgot” where he
    put the get (though he was willing to
    “remember” for an additional fee).
    The kesubah money, if delivered, is
    often significantly less than the
    prevailing rate. Thus, the situation
    therefore morphs into one in which the
    husband has a “heter” to get remarried but
    the woman is an agunah until the
    husband gives her another get.
    The situation becomes, ironically, the
    very situation that prompted Rabbeinu
    Gershom to institute the cherem. The
    husband, armed with a heter meah
    Rabbanim, is now free to remarry, while
    the wife cannot remarry until she
    receives a get. Instead of the husband and
    wife being on equal footing, the majority
    of the leverage swings to the husband. In
    return for another get, demands can now
    be made for money, custody of children,
    and whatever other concessions the
    husband wants (perhaps, in a particularly
    cruel twist, repayment of the money the
    husband paid the facilitator for the heter
    meah Rabbanim).

    =================================================

    My question is, if poskim won’t recognize such gittin and allow the woman to remarry, then why do they recognize such heter meah rabbanims and allow the men to remarry? And if they don’t recognize them, then if a man can get married with one anyway, why can’t the woman get married with such a get anyway?

  97. ““Some rabbis say that it is better to die [in poverty] for the world of Torah study, but this is not our way,” he says sadly”

    I disagree -but assuming the Rabbis who advocate that are also living in poverty they are acting in a praiseworthy manner.

  98. Rafael, sorry, what do you mean by bias? that the woman is more likely to get what she asks for (or closer to it)? if something like that then i understand your original comment i guess, although it’s still possible that rather than “biased towards women” it’s that women on the whole are making more reasonable demands – in line with your statement that the bias is often appropriate. (no evidence for that, just another explanation of the same data.)

  99. emma on January 3, 2012 at 6:19 pm
    “I’m not sure how to define an agunah.”
    “I’m not either. I will only say this: I have known at least two women who never received a get from men whom they had separated for all practical purposes years prior, had no remaining connection to (including support as far as I could tell), and lived in different countries than. If that’s not an agunah I don’t know what is. I have never met, nor heard of, a man in a similar situation. ”

    Apparently womens game maybe to withhold visitation rights and hide the child from the father-my schuls pre Mincha Shabbos Afternoon gemarrah shiur for the past few years has been Sanhedrin-just last week we were learning the Gemarah on what are the elements of kidnapping and the Rabbi raised the question of women hiding their kids from their husbands-why yes or why not assur from aseret hadibrot.
    G

  100. “Let us hear again Torah leaders, like the Gedolim of recent generations – the Rav Moshe Feinsteins, the Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbachs – who hated extremism and insisted that Judaism was a perfectly normal, peace loving religion.”

    Is it true that gdolim of the past generation were more tolerant?
    Really? RAK? Rav Elchanan Wasserman? etc

  101. mycroft, as much as a kanoi one wants to make Rav Elchanan Wasserman out to be (and he was), his son married the daughter of a leader of Mizrachi. (just an interesting tidbit)

  102. mycroft, i won’t deny that extortion and vindictiveness during divorce takes many forms. it’s actually an interesting question why/whether get extortion should be treated differently. The answers are basically, i think,
    (1) it shouldn’t – to the extent beis din can control other forms of abuse they should, but gittin are most often in their purview or
    (2) it’s different because it favors men (whereas either parent is equally physically able and legally prohibited from kidnapping, say).
    on (2), the question is whether this is in fact true after cherem derabenu gershon. i’d say probably since, tachlis, there are more “outs” for men (fraudulent or otherwise) and women still have a higher risk (mamzerus, etc). but yes, if your point is that eliminating get extortion would not make divorces all pretty you are correct. if your point is that get extortion by men “evens out” other forms of extortion primarily used by women, i think that is false – in a secular context where no gittin are at issue both sides still have plenty of ways to be nasty.

  103. YEEDLE:

    ““The expert in ancient Persian languages said the scrolls included … hitherto unknown scholarly works by the medieval sage Rabbi Sa’adia Gain.” isn’t that exciting? I meant we know R. Sa’adia was a prolific writer, but I can’t wait for these works to be published!”

    i just watched the report on israel channel 2. one interviewee showed what he descibes as a commentary on yeshayahu and goes into disucussing how most of saadia gaon’s perush has come to down to us in a truncated form, etc. as if to say this very perush could be rasag’s. i’m just not sure how much of his statement is assertion and how much is conjecture.

  104. Well, I had another performance last night and didn’t log on. Cross-Currents! Wow. Responding there. But on interfaith dialogue:

    “Actually, dialogue itself is the problem because there is an expectation of corresponding Jewish theological change.”

    My problem indeed. I’m just saying that what IH is calling “dialogue” doe *not* involve Jewish theological change.

    “It’s not as if the Jews changed anything

    But, they did. ”

    See above. They changed *Catholic* theology. I don’t see them having change a bit of Jewish theology.

    “we may be asked to concede theological interpretations in respect of the other”

    Ah. I see. Still, what would that be? Stating that Muslims (or, a bit more problematically, Christians) are B’nei Noach? Nu, not such a big deal. As you said, we’ve conceded this already, sometimes out of fear. On the other hand, saying that they are legitimate? Not only is it a problem, but it’s illogical- religion (OK, Western monotheistic religion) by nature does not accept other interpretations.

    In any event, Jews have proven themselves perfectly capable of being peaceful with other religions despite not conceding a drop of theology (or the limited interpretation I just said). Maybe because it’s because we’re small, but whatever. It’s the Christians and, now, the Muslims who have a lot to prove and do here, not us. Why should we be obligated to change at all, or even dialogue (in any sense more than “tell them what we think”), as I cited R’ Berkowitz?

    “The Rabbis of Tekoa feel differently.”

    With all due respect, they tend to the delusional.

  105. “The violent zealots are drawn largely from the Edah HaHaredis, a community of anti-Zionist haredim that is particularly strict even by haredi standards and has strongholds in Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh. The Edah is closely aligned with the Satmar Chasidic sect.

    Haredi support for fighting a culture war against secularism extends beyond the Edah HaHaredis, but most haredim who espouse such views won’t go so far as to become defenders of the faith themselves. Haredim often invoke a classic metaphor to describe this approach: You may not want to live with a cat, but you need cats around to eat the mice if you want to prevent infestation.

    This week, the “infestation” is the presence of a new Modern Orthodox girls’ school, Orot, adjacent to a haredi neighborhood of Beit Shemesh. At other times, it has been the mixing of sexes in Orthodox neighborhoods, the operation of parking lots or roads on Shabbat in haredi neighborhoods, and attempts by women to pray with the Torah at the Western Wall.

    Similar behavior can be found in certain Islamic societies and fundamentalist Catholic and Protestant communities, Friedman said, noting that a key difference with haredim is that any violence is relatively limited in scope, not involving serious injury or death.”

    Isn’t that the hashgacha that many seminaries/Yeshivas demand their kids eat from while in Jerusalem?

  106. “sp on January 3, 2012 at 10:23 pm
    mycroft, as much as a kanoi one wants to make Rav Elchanan Wasserman out to be (and he was), his son married the daughter of a leader of Mizrachi. (just an interesting tidbit)”
    and Rav Schachs son was a Mizrachi memeber/so what look at people not who their parents were or who their children are. Most obvious example Moshe Rabbeinu.

  107. “However, he never lost sight of that one single truth which was in the forefront of all of his actions: “Are these not Jewish children?””

    Interesting comment.

  108. “The Rabbis of Tekoa feel differently.”

    With all due respect, they tend to the delusional”

    Nachum-what is different in Tekoa than from communities a few kilometers away?

  109. “podium. The de facto segregation had nothing to do with religion. But in a country where the vast majority of educators are women, there should never be a prize ceremony or panel of experts where no woman is deemed important enough to take part”

    There is also something reverse that has happened when you have a knowledgeable woman often -women treat them as greater than they really are. It can even be the case where both husband and wife are very knowledgeable and both publicly lecture where the wife is better knoiwn than the husband. There have been a couple of cases where I have heard both husband and wife at different times and IMHO the husband was much more knowledgeable but the wife lectures more often.

  110. Joseph Kaplan

    “Halacha like any legal system follows general justice-it need not equitable for each person-thus the son of Shimon Ben Shetach can be executed on clear false testimony which the witnesses wantedto recant because of keven shehegin shuv ano chozer umaggid. American law people have been executed because of lawyers missing filing deadlines.”

    The difference is that American law can be changed when such inequities are found; we are told that halacha cannot. So the inequities in halacha are much more serious and, indeed, problematic.

  111. r’ feuerman from nefesh takes his name off the torah declaration – will others follow and has RHS’s position been clarified?

    http://www.thejewishweek.com/news/short_takes/nefesh_head_backs_away_torah_declaration_gaysmo

    most interesting comment:
    Feuerman decided to ask that his name be removed from the document ….although he “[agreed] with the general intent of the Torah Declaration, the parts that imply all forms of homosexuality are absolutely treatable with our current knowledge base [do] not adequately convey the complex clinical dimensions of this matter.”

    does anyone think that other mental health professionals will follow from that list or they have a ethically challenged position as a professional?

  112. Interesting. His name has not been removed (just checked).

    There seem to have been 2 additional signatures since the discussion we last had, btw. The total is now 159 signatories, including R. Feuerman.

  113. If/when RHS reconsiders his signature on the Declaration, perhaps he should also reassess his response on the OU Kosher Webcast of 14 December — to a she’ela from one of the OU’s mashgichim — that “to have the women sit [in] a separate section on the bus [is] not such a bad idea”.

  114. The news I’m seeing from Israel seems to confirm the general Charedia narrative that this is a war against their community.

  115. gil – the question is does the hareidi public buy it? i wonder if the comments on the hareidi blogs by the hamon am confirm what their tightly controlled media say?

  116. I mean the news from the non-Charedi media seems to confirm it.

  117. “The news I’m seeing from Israel seems to confirm the general Charedia narrative that this is a war against their community.”

    is? was? will be?

    What we basically have here is that the Romans have been brought in, and now whats going on has nothing or little to do with what happened.

  118. Avi: Is. Meaning, the general public is responding with a fury and doing anything in its power to hurt Charedim politically and socially. For example, the IDF is in the process of destroying a decade’s worht of work of bringing Charedim into the army. It is short-sighted and destructive to the country. This is a cultural war and I understand better why Charedi leadership did not want to take a large public role.

    You can argue that it only turned into a cultural war because the Charedi leadership didn’t take a larger public role. But that may or may not be true, and history should have a voice in that evaluation.

  119. We are too close to it, but history shows that hubris and overreach inevitably lead to a backlash. I expect that the process is now as Rambam states in Hilchot De’ot 1:3.

  120. IH: I agree. But it’s a cycle of overreach and backlash on both sides.

  121. Gil — perhaps, but in modern society majorities rule with minority rights. If the Charedim did not accept the State’s money — while spitting at its other citizens — you would have a better case.

  122. If there is a cultural war, there are certainly two sides, both of whom are doing the battling. If the current disgust of the chareidi community by some parts of Israeli society is a cultural war, isn’t the chareidi’s demand on the general public, including the DL community, for segregated buses, no pictures of women, denigration of work, violent “Shabbos” demonstrations also a cultural war? My sense (and it is no more than that — I’d be interested what Israelis who are on the scene think), is that there would be much less of a cultural war against chareidim if the chareidim were more tolerant, and not so demanding and harshly critical, of others. There’s lots of blame to go around, but ISTM that plenty of it falls on the chareidim’s shoulders.

  123. Rumor is that Asher Lipner also asked his name to be removed from the Torah Declaration.

  124. In postive news:
    http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/scholars-offer-new-explanation-for-rare-temple-artifact-in-jerusalem-1.405361

    “‘People have been saying the ancient sages fantasized everything about the Temple. But … they knew what they were talking about. For me, this is uplifting. The sages of the Mishna, my guys, win out,’ Naeh said.”

  125. Rumor is that Miriam Adahan also asked for her name to be removed.

  126. Joseph: If there is a cultural war, there are certainly two sides, both of whom are doing the battling

    We agree on this. But I now understand better why the Charedi leadership treated the Beit Shemesh protests as part of a war, even though they opposed them — which is what they explicitly said.

  127. MiMedinat HaYam

    ruvie (and i guess r gil) — if its a licensing issue, that gives a whole other perspective, whichshould be explored.

    “and Rav Schachs son was a Mizrachi memeber/so what look at people not who their parents were or who their children are. ”

    actually rav scach was a mizrachist, tikll .. i guess the greass was greener on the chasredi side ..

  128. gil – “But I now understand better why the Charedi leadership treated the Beit Shemesh protests as part of a war, even though they opposed them — which is what they explicitly said.”

    can you explain? who exatcly is “they ” opposed they and where did “they” explicitly” said ? do you not think the silence of the leadership in general has hurt their image? whether in their own community or outside(not that hey would care what others think )?

  129. While I was laid up in a hospital bed for more than one week after major emergency surgery, I saw the NYT coverage from Ramot Beit Shemesh and the demonstrations of the Sikarim. IMO, the picture of a 8 year old girl who had been verbally terroized and the misappropriation of concentration camp like regalia were horrible setbacks for Torah Jewry and a terrible Chilul HaShem-regardless of one’s hashkafic background. When even R Elyashiv is a victim of their acts of terror and hooliganism, we can and have to do more than shrug our shoulders ala Egla Arufah.

    The bottom line is for all of us to collectively condemn their actions as beyond the pale while not allowing their shenanigans to be seem as representing the mainstream Charedi world, which, IMO has long acclimated itself to the presence of a secular Jewish state which allowed the the Charedi world to rebuild itself and IMO, which has led to the downplaying of the classical anti Zionist tracts of prior generations.

  130. mycroft: there’s a difference between shidduch and what the children become. Especially in europe.

  131. Ruvie: The Charedi leadership in Beit Shemesh said publicly that they opposed the protests but would not go too far in opposing it because there is a cultural war going on. The leadership was not silent. They spoke about it within their community.

    Not that I agree with their position or their lack of public statement. But from afar, it is too difficult to determine what is the right way to proceed.

  132. It ia very important to underscore the fact that what we call “yeshivishe” and “chasidishe” communities in the US IMO are vastly different than their counterparts in Israel for one four lettered reason called “work”. In the US, you can be yeshivishe and enjoy a good income, and even go on vacations, etc, while raising a family in the community of your choice. Even Chasidim in the US work-take a ride to Walmart in Monticello or Woodbury Commons on any Sunday and you will see many Chasidishe families shopping. The equivalent communities in Isarel, IMO, in many instances, simply have not caught up to the same communities in ChuL.

  133. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4170388,00.html This link nis hardly news. At least one pizza stand in Bayit Vagan had separate gender hours when we visited our daughters in Israel during their years in Michlala.

  134. “the general public is responding with a fury and doing anything in its power to hurt Charedim politically and socially.”

    Given the lack of public statements by the Charedi leaders to the chilul HaShem in RBS, that is completely understandable.

  135. I submitted the following comment to the Jewish Week article on the homosexuality declaration:

    The scientific standard for any treatment of any condition is that it is shown to be effective compared to some other treatment. There is actually a Biblical example of this, in the first chapter of the Book of Daniel. Today we would add the condition that the comparison groups be sufficiently similar and that the investigators not bias the outcome by steering participants whom they think would be likely to respond better to the experimental arm. Furthermore, the study should be large enough that the results can be deemed to be generalizable.

    The fact is that there has been no such study that shows that any reparative therapy is effective. Generally studies have shown minimal if any change from such therapies. Furthermore, the advocates of such therapy, such as JONAH, have not conducted such a study even though they appear to be well funded. There also some evidence that such therapy may harm some individuals.

    This is simply the standard that would apply to any other type of therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy for treatment of depression. It is the same standard as applied to medical devices or drugs. That 25 persons might claim the therapy worked is irrelevant; those same 25 persons might have had the same outcome after doing nothing. Without the randomized study with a balanced comparison group, you don’t know. The annals of medicine are full of examples of anecdotal success that later were proven not to be better than doing nothing.

    This has nothing to do with Torah observance, this is simply a fact. I cannot see how a Torah-observant Jew could knowingly promote a treatment for which there is no evidence for efficacy, a lot of evidence for lack of efficacy, and some evidence for harm.

  136. News Flash – actions (and tactics) have consequences. HKB”H will imho hold those of us who claim to represent him to a higher standard.
    KT

  137. WADR, I think that R Gil is correct with his assessement of the problems within Charedi nachal.IMO, it is incorrect to attract Charedi young men into the IDF with assurances that their unique religious needs will be met, and then incrementally, present them with scenarios which contradict those assurances. Again, WADR, linking hooligans in Meah Shearim and Ramot Beit Shemesh to the unique needs of members of Charedi Nachal, is a simplistic view of the situation.

  138. IMO, it is incorrect to attract Charedi young men into the IDF with assurances that their unique religious needs will be met, and then incrementally, present them with scenarios which contradict those assurances. Again, WADR, linking hooligans in Meah Shearim and Ramot Beit Shemesh to the unique needs of members of Charedi Nachal, is a simplistic view of the situation.

  139. “But I now understand better why the Charedi leadership treated the Beit Shemesh protests as part of a war, even though they opposed them — which is what they explicitly said.”

    But ISTM that was exactly the wrong way to fight. Sometimes the best offense is a good defense, and that they would have done much better had they taken a firm public stand stand early against the extreme nature of the protests (screaming at and frightening the children, disrupting classes by loud noises etc.). Had they done that and then strongly condemned the spitting incident, they would be in a much better position now.

    And while some of this may be 20-20 hindsight, not all of it is. I remember that when the RBS dispute first flared when the school year started, there were pleas to the chareidi leadership to condemn the extreme aspects of the protest, but those pleas were rebuffed. As a result, the chareidim are in a much weaker position in the “cultural war” if that is, indeed, what it is.

  140. IH wrote:

    “Gil — perhaps, but in modern society majorities rule with minority rights. If the Charedim did not accept the State’s money — while spitting at its other citizens — you would have a better case”

    Think of the above comment as addressed to any minority group in the US, which accepts what we quaintly call “entitlements” from the government, who populate no small percentages of our local, state and federal penitentaries, and who certainly vote in the polls. The same would certainly be viewed as racist in the usual quarters. IMO, the above comment is a stereotypical commment that borders on self hatred-Again-lumping all Charedim together with hooligans in Meah Shearim and RBS is demagoguery writ large.

  141. ” For example, the IDF is in the process of destroying a decade’s worht of work of bringing Charedim into the army. It is short-sighted and destructive to the country. This is a cultural war and I understand better why Charedi leadership did not want to take a large public role.”

    WHAT!? You seem to have read this article backwards. The Charedi Leadership is in the process of destroying the work the IDF did, by forcing the rabbis who work for the IDF to resign!

  142. Joseph: It could be the Charedi leadership has been burned so many times that they assumed that objecting publicly would have yielded the same result or maybe even worse. News agencies don’t necessarily report (accurately or at all) or remember what religious leaders say. I haven’t been observing for long enough to know. Or it could be that they are using an old and failed strategy.

  143. I think people fail to remember that they kicked a Rabbi out of Shas for even suggesting that they work together for the Nachal Charedi units…

    Amazing how the Charedi “leadership” are able to act agressive, claim to be a victim, and then use the outrage from that claim as proof of them being victims! And then “reasonable” people fall for that BS as if the “gedolim” were right all along. What a fraud!

  144. steve b. – please read r’ slifkin’s comments of late about the common thread in these events and from his viewpoint some of the underlying causes. i believe many are coming to the same conclusions outside the hareidi community.

  145. MiMedinat HaYam

    “IDF to supervise rabbi-soldier meetings” — but do university professors / leftist groups need an escort, too?

    merkaz harav yeshiva rav to be next rabbi of yerushalayim — and rav elyashiv opposes this, but not the RBS matter.

  146. Don’t forget the requirement of listening to kol ishah.

  147. Ruvie-One should never confuse Charedi hooligans who are accountable to no halachic authority with the leadership of the mainstream Charedi world. Any analysis predicated on the same IMO fails to aid in the discussion of the issues.

  148. The news I’m seeing from Israel seems to confirm the general Charedia narrative that this is a war against their community.

    In the past week the charedi leadership in Israel overall did not clearly condemn this violence and barred haredim from getting a secular education. The IDF barred people from walking out of female performances and the Israel government ordered the long sought after crackdown concerning those harassing others concerning their own religious scruples. (I assume you don’t think there is organized violence against haredim). Because of the singing, that is your idea of a war? Please.

  149. I believe we have here the need for equivalence. Obviously its just as bad/despicable that a charedi child gets beaten/harassed as a MO one as a secular one as an Arab one. I think some were somewhat suspicious that the sudden surge in charedi children getting attached was to claim equivalence as opposed to genuine attacks.

    But I think to claim kol isha is a “war?” In a week of spitting, Holocaust garb rallies, posters calling Israeli police Nazis, garbage can burnings etc. … A need for equivalence where there is little of it.

  150. LongTimeReader

    joel rich on January 4, 2012 at 10:51 am
    News Flash – actions (and tactics) have consequences. HKB”H will imho hold those of us who claim to represent him to a higher standard.
    KT

    Are you talking about Beit Shemesh or those trying to pull their names off of the Declaration?

  151. “People have been saying the ancient sages fantasized everything about the Temple. But … they knew what they were talking about. For me, this is uplifting. The sages of the Mishna, my guys, win out,” Naeh said.

    I think the other guys had some Mishna in Shekalim, so why/how is he turning this into a “my guys win” thing?

  152. Steve b. – all the events can be looked at with some common causes as oppose to the usual they are just extremists and not hareidim. That common statement is no longer believable and events are outgrowth of something that is more systematic …. Not owning responsibility is itself a problem. Hey reap what they sow….. Lets hoping this can be used a a turning point – but I fear things will get much worse before there is any detente. Refuah sheleimah.

  153. Ruvie-there is a superb article in Haaretz ( available at Jewish Ideas Daily)re change within the Charedi world which profiles R S Pappenheim. Must reading for anyone interested on the issues.

  154. Ruvie wrote in part:

    “all the events can be looked at with some common causes as oppose to the usual they are just extremists and not hareidim”

    Thanks for your Bsoros Tovos-I am not a fan of historical or political events being dictated by causes, as opposed to the actions of great people. We have been reading for years about extremists in all segments of Israeli society. I have confidence that the extremists in all segments thereof are just that-noisy extremists who reflect noone’s views except their own.

  155. http://www.jidaily.com/K3o For those interested in the Haaretz article re the Charedi world, and change therein.

  156. LongTimeReader -both
    KT

  157. http://www.ou.org/harmony
    Live Webcast: Asara B’Tevet

    Announcing a Live Webcast
    Asara b’Tevet 5772: A Time to Focus on Harmony

    KT

  158. http://www.ou.org/harmony For those interested in a meaningful Asarah BaTeves.

  159. Steve –
    “One should never confuse Charedi hooligans who are accountable to no halachic authority with the leadership of the mainstream Charedi world. Any analysis predicated on the same IMO fails to aid in the discussion of the issues.”

    Actually Steve, any analysis that fails to take into account the lack of leadership in the charedi world fails to aid in the discussion of the issues.

  160. Tzvi-Leadership IMO should never be confused with the inability to control hooligans who engage in acts of a criminal nature. Such phenomena exist in all societies.

  161. No, but leadership should also never sit on its hands in the face of hooliganism either.

    Especially a leadership that is not shy about condemning any small deviation from their own way of life. That way they won’t give the impression that they don’t care or actually are happy with the hooliganism.

    On the other hand if they are happy with the hooliganism, then they are well served by being quiet.

  162. Tzvi-can leaders end crime, drug abuse and the like in any society? I don’t think that issues revolving around perceived deviations from communal standards have any relevance to people who are not beholden to any communal authority. IMO, the Sikarrim are anarchists.

  163. A very wise man I know has a theory on this whole mess:

    Why has it been blown up into the great brouhaha that it has?

    Let’s remember that there is some very serious stuff going on with Iran.

    There has also been some under-reported meetings between Netanyahu & the PA lately.

    Nothing like cover to keep everyone’s eyes off of the real story.

    (Even is that’s not why the story exploded, once it has, it provides perfect cover for other matters more vital to Israel’s interests.)

  164. Steve b. – you seemed to behind a few days on this discussion and not understanding it – your comments do not make much sense given the details of the last few weeks.

  165. Steve b. – please read last week thread before commenting – it would be helpful to the discussion not to rehash everything.

  166. Moshe Shoshan

    Gil,
    your continuing policy offering strained apologetics, which in many cases I cannot beleive you yourself beleive, for even the most absurd and indefensible actions and statements of Charedi leadership, is not beneficial to reputation of the the Orthodox world.

  167. Steve – Not that I have anything against the fellow, but it is perfectly clear that Pappenheim, despite his yichus, represents nobody but himself. There’s not exactly swathes of R. Ahrelach commencing post-gradaute study in his wake.

  168. Moshe Shoshan: Believe it or not, some people have different experiences and views than you. Being closer to the matter, you might be more familiar with some of the detailed statements and you might also be more emotionally offended. I ask myself what I would do if I were a Charedi leader and what it would accomplish. Denouncing hooligans publicly will not provide a positive image to the world because Haaretz will ignore it. All it would do is set me as a target for hooligan violence. I would call the mayor and chief of police and demand that they move the protests sufficiently far away so they don’t hurt the girls and arrest anyone who gets out of line, and then wait for the protesters to get bored. That’s what I would do if I were a Charedi leader. I would also call up the yeshiva principals and insist that they expel the children of any hooligans, although those schools probably would not react positively because the principals would be scared for their families’ physical wellbeing.

  169. HAGTBG: I believe we have here the need for equivalence… But I think to claim kol isha is a “war?” In a week of spitting, Holocaust garb rallies, posters calling Israeli police Nazis, garbage can burnings etc.

    In a cultural war, small things carry large significance. Kol Ishah is not about a halakhah. It is about a change of attitude. Instead of welcoming Charedim into the IDF, they are now trying to force them out. Instead of lashing out against extremists, the IDF is lashing out at moderates. All Charedim are too blame, even 18 year old boys trying to change themselves and the system. The IDF just gave them all the finger.

  170. Gil – It’s not about Haaretz; it’s about the rest of the frum community. The Belzer rebbe managed perfectly well to denounce the extremists without risking anything. Anyone who needed to hear heard about it. What would it cost the Degel moetzes to put a small moda’ah up in Yated Ne’eman? Nothing.

  171. Moshe Shoshan

    Steve
    May you have a full and speedy recovery. Refuas hanefesh urefuas haguf. Any thing that keep you off Hirhurim for so long must be very serious 🙂

  172. If it’s just for internal purposes, it doesn’t accomplish anything. What did the Belzer Rebbe accomplish?

  173. Gil, it’s a good thing you’re not a charedi leader then. Unfortunately, the charedi leadership does think like you – or at least gives the same excuses you do. Maybe Haaretz will pick it up? It can’t hurt to try. And Haaretz is far from the only game in town.

    To most reasonable non-paranoid people it is quite evident that the only reason they haven’t commented, is because they are not so unhappy with the situation.

  174. To the extent there is a culture war, the key segment to watch is the Dati Leumi amcha.  

    There is a strange phenomenon I have long observed about the Dati Leumi mainstream to make excuses for Charedi demands until it reaches their backyard.  And even then, their criticism is kept local to their own backyard.  This is a strategic mistake.

    Until the national Dati Leumi community In Israel stops making excuses for the fundamentalists, the fundamentalist Charedim will keep winning battle by battle.  Has the “ad kan” moment arrived for them?

  175. Gil, the Belser Rebbe accomplished that reasonable people of good will saw that there is one charedi who is sane and not a soneh yisroel.

  176. Tzvi: I used to think like you but now I’m reaching the conclusion that such a position is naive. I think the only effective measures they can do (and should do) is radically change Charedi attitudes. Charedi rabbis should enroll their daughters and granddaughters in the RBS school and should sit in women’s sections on Mehadrin buses. That would get the media’s attention and send a strong message.

    IH: The Dati Leumi public realizes that, by and large, to the secular public all religious people are the same.

  177. I think the Belzer Rebbe accomplished a lot. First of all, he made it clear to his ‘oilem’ that there are red lines, and that certain things should not be entertained – from the acts of many in the ‘regular’ Charedi kehilla in Israel (not in this context), I think that message would have some to’eles. Secondly, it affirms to all other frum Jews where the Belzer rebbe stands on this. Perhaps you couldn’t care less, but wondering whether a given gadol supports violence or not does affect my evaluation of him. There are other ‘big’ rebbes whose attitudes towards violence in general is not so obvious – their chassidim seem to be engaged in strategic violence an awful lot – would it make no difference to you whatsoever to know that such rebbes reject violent means, whatever the end?

  178. Moshe Shoshan

    ” Such phenomena exist in all societies.”

    Actually, Steve, they don’t.

    Most societies dont produce so many adults who regularly engage in such anti-social, misanthropic behavior.

    Most societies are not controlled by a group a gangsters and fixers.

    Most societies dont have policies that encourage poverty and idleness.

    Most societies dont make a virtue of of extremism.
    etc. etc.

    These problems and others like them are a direct result of generations of policy and ideology of Chareidi Rabinnic leadership.

    As for claims of Chareidi incitement- “tol korah me bein einecha”

  179. to the secular public all religious people are the same.

    False (in Israel, which is what we are discussing).

  180. Gil,

    I’ll assume you’re joking with your last suggestion.

    Do you think that if enough charedi rabbonim condemned the violence it wouldn’t make the news?

    By their silence they are responsible for the fact that millions of Israelis will never even think about a religious lifestyle as a sane alternative. And who can blame them?

  181. Moshe: I agree with that last comment of yours. Hopefully more about it tonight, based on RAL’s Chanukah sicha.

  182. Tzvi: Even if it made the news, it would be twisted against them. Something like Charedi leaders aren’t protesting enough or are so weak that no one cares. The media is genuinely against them.

  183. Kol Ishah is not about a halakhah. It is about a change of attitude. Instead of welcoming Charedim into the IDF, they are now trying to force them out.

    It works both ways though doesn’t it? I can see why a charedi man would want to leave an event during kol isha. And I can understand why a secular woman singing would be offended by large groups of people walking out of her performance and, might over time, feel second class.

  184. Gil,

    That’s not what happened with Belz. A simple straightforward condemnation of violence (without four paragraphs about tznius attached) would go very well. Don’t be swayed by Flatbush-shteeble paranoia.

  185. HAGBTG: If the IDF leadership cared they would have found a creative solution that addresses everyone’s concerns. How about no singing at mandatory events? Or allow soldiers to avoid events with singing but require written essays from them?

  186. How about no singing at mandatory events?

    No national anthem then? Only men do it? Only do it in a group?

    Or allow soldiers to avoid events with singing but require written essays from them?

    What is the function of these events in the first place?

  187. Tzvi: I can’t find a report on the Belzer rebbe’s condemnation on the English websites of Haaretz, Yediot Acharonot and Jerusalem Post. Am I searching incorrectly?

  188. HAGTBG: Again, if they cared they would find a solution. Play the national anthem on the piano or use a standard pre-recorded version that everyone finds agreeable.

  189. How about no singing at mandatory events?

    No national anthem then? Only men do it? Only do it in a group?

    I thought that the national anthem is always sung in a group. (Personally, I have a bigger issue with singing Hatikvah than with kol ishah, but that’s my personal issue.)

  190. This blog is the first I heard that the Belzer rebbe made any kind of statement about the recent events in Beit Shemesh. So one wonders how many other statements were made or not made and where they were or were not reported.

  191. Gil — The army is the army. There were a lot of things my nephew who just got out didn’t like, and some he even found objectionable. Too bad.

    If the purpose is a state-funded affirmative action vocational training program, then lets stop pretending and create/run it as such. Otherwise, conscripts do not get to vote on what they find objectionable.

  192. IH: This is different because it is a religious issue. The IDF assured these Charedim that they should reject their deferments and instead enlist because their religious needs would be met.

  193. Gil — The army is the army. There were a lot of things my nephew who just got out didn’t like, and some he even found objectionable. Too bad.
    . . .
    Otherwise, conscripts do not get to vote on what they find objectionable.

    The persons in question were exempt from conscription so long as they were learning full time. That was a lawful exemption. I understand you don’t like the law, but, to turn a phrase “Too bad,” the law is binding, until it is changed.

    These persons were then assured that if they gave up their exemption and signed up with the IDF, their religious lifestyle would be respected. Acc. to the Air Force rabbi who just resigned, there was a detailed written protocol about that, which was significantly changed at the last minute.

    In other words, the IDFs assurances have now turned out to be a lie.

    I don’t know what they call that in Israel, but in most civilized countries the word is “fraud.”

    I realize that it is only Charedim we are talking about, who have no rights, certainly when it stands in the face of Zionism, but one must call a spade a spade.

    So next time IH tries to lecture anyone about ethics and morality, remind him of his support of fraud by public institutions. Very ethical, very moral.

  194. S: Precisely. The American Jewish media is not engaged in the Israeli culture war, at least not to the same extent as Israeli media.

  195. This is different because it is a religious issue. The IDF assured these Charedim that they should reject their deferments and instead enlist because their religious needs would be met.

    It is a chumra issue, which AFAIK was not a pre-negotiated “religious issue”. If you have evidence this was a reneging of a deal, let’s see it.

  196. IH: It is not up to you to decide what is or is not a chumra. In my book, this is ikar ha-din.

  197. And its not up to you, Gil, to speculate on the terms of the agreement between the IDF and the Chareidi leadership that closed the deal.

  198. “S: Precisely. The American Jewish media is not engaged in the Israeli culture war, at least not to the same extent as Israeli media.”

    I dunno, you put in מבלז בית שמש into Google and several results about this, specifically, pop up, and that wasn’t even a terribly targeted search.

  199. Moshe Shoshan

    IH-
    not so simple. to the chilonim we are all “dosim”. Ultimately this is not really a bi-polar conflict, and the DL community needs to position itself carefully.

  200. In other words, the IDFs assurances have now turned out to be a lie. I don’t know what they call that in Israel, but in most civilized countries the word is “fraud.” I realize that it is only Charedim we are talking about, who have no rights, certainly when it stands in the face of Zionism, but one must call a spade a spade.

    I assume there were certain concession made concerning the day to day life of the charedim re: kosher, Shabbat, prayer, unit structure, general fraternization with females that were probably not of inconsiderable expense to the army.

    We are talking here about an event that happens how often? Are we not specifically talking about group events involving more then Nahal Haredi, where either one group or another gets their sensibilities hurt or, as Gil would like, a tightly choreographed event so that the army can hear the national anthem but not sing it. Are we going to say the whole endeavor is fraud if this event comes up only every few months?

  201. IH “It is a chumra issue”

    While I agree that much, if not most, of what characterizes Chareidi life is chumra, clearly they did not agree to a type of IDF service which will fundamentally alter them from being Chareidim into another type of Jew. I don’t see how it could be argued that for Chareidim to be able to quietly tolerate sitting in a room with women singing their fundamental religious identity would already have to be altered.

    I am reminded of the beard issue which came up almost 60 years ago in the US. A soldier, who was Chabad, was forced to shave off his beard. He tried to fight it on ground’s of religious discrimination. Eli Ginzberg writes in his biography of his father that his father was asked for a legal opinion, and he wrote that Judaism does not recognize sects, and that according to halacha a man may shave his beard. (The coda is that Eli Ginzberg helped the soldier be allowed to grow his beard, despite what his father wrote.) Louis Ginzberg may have been correct in some platonic sense, but surely he was wrong that Chabad Chasidim are “allowed” to shave their beard. Similarly, Chareidim are not “allowed” to listen to a woman sing, and it is not believable that they agreed to such a thing if there was an agreement that their religious principles would be respected.

  202. Moshe — not in my experience outside of J and the Anglo shetlach. In the mixed Israeli company my family is among, “Dosim” is reserved for black hats.

  203. S. — a deal was done. If the IDF reneged, this would have been clear for all by now. And the issue of women’s singing in army events is not exactly new news.

  204. Gil,

    Actually there are quite a few nedia references to the Belzer Rebbe’s denouncement of violence in Israeli secular media. For instance:

    http://www.iba.org.il/bet/?entity=809709&type=1

    http://www.iba.org.il/bet/iba.aspx?type=simple&entity=809709&lang=hebrew

  205. “, clearly they did not agree to a type of IDF service which will fundamentally alter them from being Chareidim into another type of Jew. ”

    Actually, I was too hasty. I did not mean that the IDF most definitely violated their agreement. Equally, or even more likely, is that every conceivable religious issue could not have been foreseen or discussed in advance. However, what should have been arranged is a procedure for when an unanticipated religious issue arises, along with a method of authenticating that it is an actual religious issue, which both sides would be comfortable with, rather than an excuse to get out of something. Failing to do that, it was and is inevitable that disagreements and misunderstandings would occur. That said, I definitely am of the opinion that it is not so simple as “it’s the army, tough” since clearly they did not join the army with the understanding that they would be forced to listen to women sing and the like. Whatever solution there is, it cannot be to prevent women from singing at such events anymore than they could or should be compelled to wear skirts.

  206. For those interested ( and check out R Eisenman’s superb new book), see the annexed link.http://ahavasisrael.org/torah/the_short_vort/the_short_vort_hi_yankel_1_4_12/

  207. S. — I hear you. The cynic in me thinks that both sides were corrailed into doing something to which they were fully committed and the miscommunication is the result.

    Again, pardon my cynicism, but this isn’t really about the army at all. It is about vocational training for the subset of Charedim who realize they need to earn a living but don’t have the skills. And it was placed into the army context both to make a statement (by both sides) and because that is where there is funding for such an endeavor.

    Fixing this requires more honesty all around.

  208. typo: corrailed into doing something to which they were NOT fully committed — obviously.

  209. Moshe Shoshan wrote in part:

    “Most societies dont produce so many adults who regularly engage in such anti-social, misanthropic behavior.

    Most societies are not controlled by a group a gangsters and fixers.

    Most societies dont have policies that encourage poverty and idleness.

    Most societies dont make a virtue of of extremism.
    etc. etc”

    Moshe-thanks for your kind words. Without going into details, let’s just say that there are profound Hashkafic principles in the Bracha of Asher Yatzar.

    I would hesitate in classifying the Sikarim as being representative of Charedi society, especially in the US. They represent a substrata who, but for their attire, are common thugs, who know how to maniplulate public opinion and the media.

  210. For those interested in a superb work that shows how a rav can be a Mkadesh Shem Shamayim-see the amazing translation of the memoirs of R Y M Lau. It is truly an extraordinary proof of what it means to live a life dedicated to Kiddush HaShem.

  211. The Belzer rebbe did not speak about Beit Shemesh. He just said that violence is not our way and to focus on building up instead of destroying.

    And Tal, did Zionists steal your pacifier or something?

  212. Moshe Shoshan

    Steve
    I agree, American Chareidim are a different kettle of fish. Never the less they identify themselves as belonging to the same community and do have so achrayus.

  213. Moshe Shoshan-The American Charedi media is non Zionist, very pro Israel, and IMO, reflects a community that has many priorities other than fighting secular Zionism. Think also about Ask OU, which conducts Kashrusb seminars in every major Charedi oriented community in North America. Having recentlty been the beneficiary of Hatzalah and the Satmar bikur Cholim’s great efforts, IMO, mutual appreciation, as opposed to the eschatological achievement of mutual recognition, is a fact of life between the Charedi and MO worlds in North America. Only in Isarel does one find extremism of a nature that the Netziv decried in the introduction to Sefer Breishis.

  214. Moshe: This why people do think it is at all obvious that main stream chreidim are really so far away from and opposed to the kanoyim

    He is voicing — in horribly offensive terms — the perception of a cultural war. I’m not sure he’s so wrong. I can say that I wish they weren’t Charedim, at least in the sense that he means it, because I want them to serve in the army and get jobs. I suspect that most of the secular world wants that, as well.

  215. Gil — since you keep using the phrase, can you articulate specifically what “culture war” you think is in progress?

    When answering, please keep in mind these state — http://tinyurl.com/7rhxlua — about the religious behaviors of the 38.5% of Israeli adults who identify as Mesorati’im plus the 41.4% who identify as Cbiloni’im.

  216. Joseph Kaplan

    “Acc. to the Air Force rabbi who just resigned, there was a detailed written protocol about that, which was significantly changed at the last minute.”

    Before we start throwing accusatioons of fraud around could we have a bit more detail about this claim? What exactly was in the original protocol? What was changed? And when was it changed? Did the Chareidim who gave up their deferments know about the change before thaey gave them up? If no, did they try to get their exemptions back because of the change? Without that info (for a start), the charge of fraud is baseless.

  217. Abba's Rantings

    STEVE BRIZEL:

    “mutual appreciation . . . is a fact of life between the Charedi and MO worlds in North America”

    baloney

  218. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4171181,00.html

    “Minister for Religious Services Yakov Margi on Tuesday adopted a halachic ruling stating that there is no reason women should not be allowed to give eulogies during funerals, despite different customs forbidding this act.

    Following the decision, Religious Services Ministry Director-General Avigdor Ohana is expected to issue a memo binding all Chevra Kadisha organizations.”

  219. “Abba: the implication then is that halacha isn’t perfect and is unable to resolve every situation

    I never heard anyone claim to the contrary”

    Obviously-but we are required to follow the results of the halachik process-but halacha being ruled on by mortal human beings is not perfect-but still we believe God requires us to follow the chachamim of each generation.

  220. For those interested in the Air Force rabbi saga, see the first video clip here: http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-4171493,00.html

  221. The IAF Shachar program seems to have a website separate from the official government/Tzahal sites: http://sites.google.com/site/shacharisblue/

    All indications, unfortunately, confirm my earlier cynicism about the nature of this “army service” being a thinly disguised vocational training for the subset of Charedim who realize they need to earn a living but don’t have the skills.

    The threats about Charedim leaving the program to protest seem empty in light of this context…

  222. existentialist

    Women and men must have equal rights and roles in all public and private matters. Any other arrangement is gender discrimination at best and sexual harassment at worst. If Jews sanctioned such behavior in the past based on religious texts or rabbinic opinions, those should be vitiated and abandoned. There is no alternative to that course of action in the 21st century. To say that God sanctions bad behavior is a disgrace to God.

  223. Abba-see my discussion re mutual appreciation between the Charedi and MO worlds at Beyond BT.

  224. abba's rantings

    STEVE:

    “Abba-see my discussion re mutual appreciation between the Charedi and MO worlds at Beyond BT.”

    how can i read it without a link?

  225. Gil — Continuing the discussion on RYBS’s Confrontation, I stopped by the library to read Prof. Kimmelman’s October 2004 article in Modern Judaism that you recommended. It confirms the points I have been making.

    While there, I found an even more interesting, for our purposes, October 2009 article that focuses entirely on RYBS’s role, which I strongly recommend you read: http://mj.oxfordjournals.org/content/29/3/351.extract

  226. MiMedinat HaYam

    “Charedi rabbis should enroll their daughters and granddaughters in the RBS school and should sit in women’s sections on Mehadrin buses.”

    they can just send their daughters to teach in orot, etc for a whole semester. just like the gerrer rebbe sent his daughter to teach in that radical girls schools in krakow in the 1920’s (thus establishing the legitimacy of the bais yaakov movement.)

    actually, maybe they should also give a shiur in merkaz harav (just like we discussed here that RHS should give a shiur in lakewood.)

  227. Well, MeMedinat HaYam, the two cases don’t match at all. Who would take who?

    IH, those observance numbers are very interesting! To make it clear, that survey is of *non* Datiim. I wonder how it breaks down between Masorati and Chiloni, though.

  228. Moshe Shoshan:

    There is no way in the world that Rav Shteinman is aware of what happened in Ramat Beit Shemesh. Had he seen the video, you would be hearing very different words from his mouth.

    Don’t believe me?
    Go to Bnei Brak with your laptop and show him the TV report!
    Please!

  229. The two stories about R’ Steinman and R’ Elyashiv are actually connected, and tell us one of two things- take your pick:

    Either neither cares a bit about all that’s been going on the last few weeks, as they clearly have the *ability* to condemn things and have just as clearly decided not to condemn anything other than what they said.

    Or their access to news is nonexistent, filtered through handlers who themselves don’t care, and R’ Steinman has no idea that modern kids are being harassed daily and R’ Elyashiv has no idea who R’ Stern is and cares only for politics.

    To be dan l’kaf zechut, I’d choose the second, but neither is too savory.

  230. Sorry, the bit about politics perhaps belongs in option A. I’m just very offended on behalf of R’ Stern, a first-rate talmid chacham, mechanech, and mensch.

  231. Moshe Shoshan

    gil
    called secular Israelis the “eruv rav” and sugested that only chreideim are real Jews. He had nothing bad to say about the kanoyim. As far as I am concerned this makes him at least a passive supporter of the kanoyim. I know this is very hard for you to accept. But I think that unless a clarification is issued, it makes no sense to argue that R. Shteinman strongly condemns these kanoyim or the eidah, which has been trivializing the Holocaust (good way to get the Israel public to hate you)

  232. Seems to me that the Askanim and Kanoim are the Eruv Rav, as are the “Peace Now” subset of Chilonim.

    But who cares who is the eruv rav?

  233. Baruch Alster

    On moderate haredi reactions to the kanna’im, see the report on ROY in Ynet:
    http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-4171441,00.html

  234. “IH on January 3, 2012 at 5:31 pm
    Thinking out loud: what would have happened in this case, if the alleged shabbat visitation issu (due to the civil divorce settlement) had the sexes been reversed?”

    DIVORCE IS A SAD TIME-THERE IS TOO MUCH LEAKING OF ‘FAULTS’ IN PUBLIC BOTH BY PARTIES AND RELATIVES. GOD FORBID SOMEONE HAS A DIVORCE WITH SOMEONE WHO IS CONNECTED WITH IMPORTANT FAMILIES-THE PERSON WILL HAVE LASHON HARA SPREAD ABOUT THEM.

  235. “Moshe Shoshan on January 5, 2012 at 2:22 am
    gil
    called secular Israelis the “eruv rav” and sugested that only chreideim are real Jews. He had nothing bad to say about the kanoyim. As far as I am concerned this makes him at least a passive supporter of the kanoyim. I know this is very hard for you to accept.”
    vERY HARD TO ACCEPT-PLEASE ELABORATE WITH PROOF.

  236. I’m not the only one to point out that much of the non-Charedi “defense” of these travesties comes from a feeling of “very hard to accept.”

  237. Lawrence Kaplan

    Gil: Rav Shteinman’s statement is even WORSE than Moshe Shoshan maintains. Not only does Rav Shteinman say that ALL hilonim are
    Erev Rav and that they hate Haredim with a pure hatred, but he says that precisely those hilonim who helped devise new work programs for Haredim and sought ways to help them integrate into the army (Nahal Haredi) really hated the Haredim all along, wished by deceptive kindness(a la Esav) to do away with Haredism, and now have revealed their true face. The moral he draws is to build even higher walls between Haredim and hilonim and reject any integration of Haredim into broader society, thus reenforcing the recent statement of Rav Elyashiv. And this is from the same Rav Shteinman who not so long ago approved of or at least gave his permission for Nahal Haredi. I guess he’s done teshuvah. The recent lecture of Rav Lichtenstein seems, alas, all too relevant here.

  238. Gil,

    If by culture war you mean sinas yisroel then that doesn’t make it any better. Not to go all pomo on you, but your godol is my rasha merusha.

  239. This morning’s comments seem to be circling back to the thesis articulated by Yair Ettinger in Ha’Aretz last Friday (see post #1 in this thread, or RNS’ blog, or JWD):

    “There may be another explanation behind the ultra-Orthodox rabbis’ exhortations about the unseen hand reaching for the ‘cruse of pure oil.’ Are the rabbis – and the Sicarii – sensing dramatic internal changes within ultra-Orthodox society itself?

    This is not the first time Rabbi Elyashiv has denounced higher education, but it’s unlikely that he has ever before issued such a sweeping prohibition of participation by the ultra-Orthodox in any kind of framework beyond Torah study. The rabbi is denouncing vocational training, ultra-Orthodox colleges and military and civil service because their initiators “acknowledge openly that the aim of all these trends is to alter the spirit and essence of the ultra-Orthodox public and to introduce all kinds of aspirations, national and ‘enlightened,’ of which our forefathers never conceived and to promote integration with secular and sinful people.

    A broader reference to current events can be found in the remarks of another Lithuanian rabbi, which also appeared in Yated Neeman. Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach wrote, “The spirit of rapprochement with the general [secular] public is causing the great hatred.” It is generally believed, or at least said, that the answer to hatred is reconciliation and dialogue. Actually, the Lithuanian leadership believes the answer is distancing and separatism.”

    http://www.haaretz.com/weekend/week-s-end/ultra-orthodox-extremism-is-a-reaction-to-growing-reform-in-the-community-1.404544

  240. in a sicha from har etzion this am on parshat veyachi by RAL on “Judge Every Person Favorably”

    does anyone here think that the rwmo would extend what is written below or more (difference of opinion with respect associated with it) to the lwmo in our lifetime?

    “This idea has ramifications for our relations with secular Jews, as well as Reform and Conservative groups. Along with the justified and necessary opposition to their views, is it not proper that we refrain from rejecting outright the possibility that they are truly motivated “for the sake of Heaven”? Must we always insist on accusing all of them of acting out of personal interests, and viewing only ourselves as acting “for the sake of Heaven”? This approach is neither true nor healthy. “Judge every person favorably” (Avot 1:6).

  241. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204368104577136253309226604.html?mod=WSJ_hps_editorsPicks_2
    From Back of the Bus, Israeli Women Fight Segregation

    Because they made up a relatively small percentage of the population, they were allowed to avoid army service and oversee schools that shed elements of state curriculum, and lobbied for public subsidies that enabled graduates to continue religious study rather than pursue jobs.

    ….

    With Haredi birthrates double the average Israeli family, ultra-Orthodox Jews are poised to surge from around 10% of the country’s population. Economists say the status quo, where most Haredi men don’t work, will eventually drag down the economy because the government won’t be able to afford the rising cost of so many men staying out of the workplace.

    KT (see my comments on Daas Torah on that post – the objective issue applies here imho)

  242. Some of the logic in this discussion IMO has been predicated upon the always troublesome assumption of guilt by association. IOW, while we like to blame the Charedi community and leadership for the actions of hooligans, would we use such logic re MO re texting on Shabbos of RZ for the attitudes of the hilltop youth?

  243. Some of the logic in this discussion IMO has been predicated upon the always troublesome assumption of guilt by association

    Steve — I don’t follow. Can you offer an example of such logic in this discussion?

  244. Yes Steve, we would. We do blame the short circuits in our communities on the mistakes we make. It may be true that like the Chareidim we find it hurtful when true criticism comes from outsiders, but certainly internally we do not pretend that everything is great and can’t be improved. It seems like half of the discourse within modern orthodoxy is identifying problems.

  245. ruvie: does anyone here think that the rwmo would extend what is written below or more (difference of opinion with respect associated with it) to the lwmo in our lifetime?

    Everyone RWMO whom I know thinks the LWMO are acting li-shmah. That doesn’t mean they aren’t completely wrong and damaging.

  246. The powerful editorial by the editor of Hamodia and the public statement by Rav Ovadya Yosef which is reported in the Israeli media should suffice to end the claims that there is no need nor value in the rabbinic leadership in the Haredi world publicly criticizing the kanaim . If Daas Torah has meaning then it has to be expressed.

  247. Ruvie quoted the following excerpt from RAL’s Sicha:

    ““This idea has ramifications for our relations with secular Jews, as well as Reform and Conservative groups. Along with the justified and necessary opposition to their views, is it not proper that we refrain from rejecting outright the possibility that they are truly motivated “for the sake of Heaven”? Must we always insist on accusing all of them of acting out of personal interests, and viewing only ourselves as acting “for the sake of Heaven”? This approach is neither true nor healthy. “Judge every person favorably” (Avot 1:6)”

    The above excerpt WADR to RAL, prompted the following questions and observations:

    1)which R and C groups-those that RAL recalls from the 1960s or today’s decidedly different, and far more detached from Halacha than the R and C of the 1960s?

    2) Even on issues of Klapei Chutz, which RYBS posited as the sole basis of cooperation, the next generation of heterodox clergy have decidedly far more LW views on Israel than their predecessors.

    3) How can one rationalize the following:
    “Along with the justified and necessary opposition to their views, is it not proper that we refrain from rejecting outright the possibility that they are truly motivated “for the sake of Heaven”?Such an approach IMO posits an almost idyllic view of heterodox movements, which RAL himself rejected in his response to RYG in the YU Judaica book.

  248. “On Feminism and Fanaticism: A Female Charedi Attorney’s Perspective”
    I find the adoption of “charedi” by americans sort of interesting – I don’t believe may americans self-identified as such 20 or 30 years ago (perhaps yehsivish or chassidish), though my recollection may not be representative.
    In any case, I can pretty much guarantee that there is no such thing as a “female charedi attorney” in the eyes of many israeli charedim; if you are an attorney, and especially a female one, you are not charedi. (I recall my cousin telling me that a woman who drives “it’s like you’re not charedi!”) That said I actually appreciated the article, though have many (predictable) quibbles.

  249. STEVE:

    ““Abba-see my discussion re mutual appreciation between the Charedi and MO worlds at Beyond BT.””

    link please. otherwise how do you expect me to read it. refuah shelema

  250. Ruvie-may I suggesr that you see Emes LYaakov on Parshas Vayechi 49:1 for further insights into the meaning of Achdus in Klal Yisrael?

  251. Abba-FYI-http://www.beyondbt.com/2006/10/19/how-the-charedi-and-modern-worlds-can-learn-to-appreciate-each-other/

  252. steve b – RAL wasn’t talking about the 1960s and he is usually current on what goes in the good old usa which he visits 2 -3x a year. he is not a hareidi rosh yeshiva after all. see the sicha for yourself:

    http://vbm-torah.org/archive/sichot72/12-72vayechi.htm

  253. Beit Shemesh: Dialogue Is The Only Solution

    Is this comedy hour? The only “solution” is to arrest anyone who does not behave according to the law and send them to long prison terms. And ignore their screaming “Nazi” or any other narishkeit.

    The should also get rid of the joke of a mayor they have.

  254. “1)which R and C groups-those that RAL recalls from the 1960s or today’s decidedly different, and far more detached from Halacha than the R and C of the 1960s? ”

    Reform was far, far more detached from halacha in the 1960s. As for Conservative, while it’s true that in the 1960s there was still a large laiety who grew up Orthodox, or had Orthodox grandparents and in that sense were more traditional, it could be argued that the committed Conservative laiety is more halachic now than they ever were.

    I think the point is, he’s not talking about halacha at all. Not all Jewish values are embodied in, or only in, halacha. There is Tanach, there is Aggadah, there is mussar, there is mesorah. There are many sources of Jewish values and concerns that you need not frame solely in terms of halacha.

  255. s. -” Not all Jewish values are embodied in, or only in, halacha. There is Tanach, there is Aggadah, there is mussar, there is mesorah. There are many sources of Jewish values and concerns that you need not frame solely in terms of halacha.”

    agree. but there is this viewpoint among some in orthodoxy (including mo)that everything is under purview in halacha (or its lens) – even though sometimes halacha does not define all the parameters (maybe just the floor or not even).

  256. “agree. but there is this viewpoint among some in orthodoxy (including mo)that everything is under purview in halacha (or its lens) – even though sometimes halacha does not define all the parameters (maybe just the floor or not even).”

    I know it. I was addressing that. My impression is that this is Steve’s view, and therefore what RAL said about R and C makes no sense to him, or at the very least it somehow has to apply to a different R and C from the one we see and know today. My contention is that it makes sense, because of what I wrote, and my impression is that R. Aharon Lichtenstein would not disagree with me.

  257. In Prof. Kimelman’s Edah article that Gil recommended regarding Confrontation , is an interesting passage that, to me, seems relevant to the “culture war” within the Israeli Charedi community (italics in the original):

    While stressing that “the community of Israel must always be mindful of the mystery of its uniqueness,” he goes out of his way to identify the verse that would normally support such a position—“There is a people that dwells apart, not reckoned among the nations” (Num. 23:19)—with “the gentile prophet Balaam” (p. 4), as if to say that only a perverse interpretation of Scripture would circumscribe the meaning of the uniqueness of Israel to dwelling apart.

    “As physical isolationism is no longer a socio-political reality, so spiritual isolationism, for R. Heschel, is no longer a moral option.”

    http://www.edah.org/backend/journalarticle/4_2_kimelman.pdf

  258. Heschel was wrong

  259. Ami’s Cover Story: The Eidah and Toldos Aharon Speak Out: “We’re Under Siege By Extremists”.

    Leftist Hiloni extremists or Skirikim? (I’m not gonna pay 4.50 to find out the answer). If it’s the former, there’s nothing new to the claim. If the later, my question is: are they really under siege, or is this apologetia?

  260. Ruvie-I read the Sicha and I stand by the points that I raised with respect to the same. WADR, AFAIK, RAL’s visits to the US are for recruiting , fundraising, and a shiur in YU as well as communities with Gush alumni. WADR, I would suggest that his analysis of the current R and C movements is marked by a nostalgia of the C and R movements that he recalls, as opposed to the facts on the ground-which are a CJ dominated by egalitarianism and an almost complete detachment from Halachic norms, and a RJ which views liberal politics as its raison de etre, and which is decidedly far left on many issues re Israel. I would suggest that the Mesorah of TSBP and Halacha are the crux of Jewish values and that while Tanach, Aggadah, Musar supplement the same, such values can never be used improperly to supplant the coveneant between HaShem and Klal Yisrael which , the Talmud in Gittin tells us,is rooted in TSBP.

    S-if you want to see committed traditional adherents of CJ, look at Ramah and Federation offices. I would maintain that the notion of committed observant CJ in terms of Shmiras Shabbos, Kashrus and Taharas HaMishpacha is almost nonexistent outside of those circles.

  261. STEVE:

    thanks for the link
    i’m sitting with my son in the hospital and as i’m nitpicking at your article (not to take away from the overall thrust) two chasidim come over to me to inquire if they can do anything for him. so while i stand by my nitpicking, i couldn’t bring myself to click on “post comment.” i hope you’re happy with yoursef 🙂

    i will say that the merits of your article aside, it in *no* way supports your statement that “mutual appreciation . . . is a fact of life between the Charedi and MO worlds in North America.” it is prescriptive for how to achieve that mutual appreciation, but in no way it is descriptive of a current state of attitude.

  262. Re the Haredi soldiers in a woman’s class…

    Sounds like someone in that chain is really upset with the news and taking it out on the haredi soldiers.. which is a real shame. From the last sentence, it sounds like the officer is being punished for doing that though.

  263. Abba-I stand by the article as my observations of mutuak appreciation.

  264. Heschel was wrong

    Gil — you’re entitled to your beliefs, but the facts some 50 years later prove him to be correct — not just between Jews and Christians, but amongst Jews.

    The more I read here and elsewhere, the more Yair Ettinger’s analysis in Ha’aretz seems correct. The “culture war” to which you refer is not between secular and religious, it is an intra-Charedi dispute brought about by the economic necessity of integration despite the “Da’as Torah” that has increasingly isolated them: both physically and spiritually.

  265. STEVE:

    just to make sure we’re on the same page, you think your article is descriptive rather than prescriptive?

  266. “Everyone RWMO whom I know thinks the LWMO are acting li-shmah. That doesn’t mean they aren’t completely wrong and damaging.”

    Really. How come I seem to recall the words “agenda” and “kefirah” (the latter not from you, Gil) and not “lishma” used in all the attacks on LWMO. But it would be nice if it were true.

  267. I must admit that I have not studied the topic raised by “Hareidi Soldiers Told to Clean Women’s Restroom” — is there a halacha that a man is not allowed to do so?

    Was this a joke (a kosher form of toilet humor :-))?

  268. I remember reading Confrontation as a teenager when it first came out and being blown away. I had heard about the Rav all my life mainly from my father was a faithful attender at his yahrtzeit and other major lectures but also as a student at MTA, and this was the first time I got a glimpse of what my father and others were talking about.

    That said, ISTM that with respect to Vatican II, IH is right that history has proven R. Heschel right. There have been, AFAIK, no negative effects of R. Heschel’s participation in the discussions the Rav thought he should not have participated in, and the positive results of a Catholic Church teaching its adherents to treat Jews properly is quite apparent. The issue of interfaith dialogue is quite nuanced, and IMO the Rav was clearly right in many of the points he made in his essay and the follow up letter to the RCA. But although his fears of what might result from participation in Vatican II might have been justified then, history has taught us, I think, that in this case those fears were not justified.

    It’s important that the Rav wrote such a marvelous essay that lays down important principles in the context of a breathtaking theological analysis. But it’s equally important that R. Heschel took his responsibilities as a leader seriously and acted as he did.

  269. IH,
    I think the problem is that these BRs were in the women’s quarters, and they were told they would never have to go into those quarters (presumably because there are — usually– women there).

  270. Abba-I think that my article is descriptive of the facts on the ground. It is not a pie in the sky view of the way that things should be,

  271. Joseph Kaplan and IH- RYBS viewed Vatican II as a heter for Shmad in a 20th Century style which was based on abolishing the unique differences between various faith communities.See Community, Covenant and Committment at Pages 247-252, 257-267. Given the skyrocketing intermarriage rate, IMO, RYBS was correct. FWIW, the subject of Confrontation IMO strikes me as irrelevant to the hooliganism in RBS and Meah Shearim.

  272. Joseph: How come I seem to recall the words “agenda” and “kefirah” (the latter not from you, Gil)

    Having an agenda is not a bad thing. It means you have certain goals, in this case based on what they consider to be the right thing. I grew up among egalitarians and have great respect for them (I went to school with and even dated the older daughter of the recently deceased Prof. Paula Hyman). That’s just not an agenda I support.

  273. IH: you’re entitled to your beliefs

    That was my only point. You have your beliefs and your repetition of them does not make them any truer.

  274. Joseph Kaplan

    Gil: are you saying that agenda=lishma. If so, I’ll never object to agenda accusation again. 🙂

  275. Agenda can be positive or negative. A personal agenda is often negative. A li-shmah agenda is positive.

  276. 164 Shiurim from the Rav, now online. http://www.box.com/shared/7vpxhzhg2ekrid9e5fb4/1/129360005 what a wonderful collection. I think the Rav should’ve sticked to Yiddish.

  277. Joseph Kaplan

    “Given the skyrocketing intermarriage rate, IMO, RYBS was correct.”

    this, of course, is a factual question that neither you nor I are qualified to opine on. That said, my non-qualified opinion is that the skyrocketing intermarriage rates have absolutely nothing at all to do with Vatican II and therefore are irrelevant to the discussion.

    “FWIW, the subject of Confrontation IMO strikes me as irrelevant to the hooliganism in RBS and Meah Shearim.”

    I don’t think anyone disagrees or said differently. It’s a separate, and unrelated, discussion.

  278. Joseph Kaplan

    “I think the Rav should’ve sticked to Yiddish.”

    Not if he wanted to be understood by his talmidim and the hundreds/thousands who flocked to his lectures. But I remember hearing my father and father-in-law, both of whom had a wonderful command of and ear for Yiddish, rave about the Rav’s Yiddish.

  279. Ruvie wrote in part:

    “RAL wasn’t talking about the 1960s and he is usually current on what goes in the good old usa which he visits 2 -3x a year”

    Then why does RAL refuse to get involved in issues facing MO in the US? Visiting the states for recruiting and fundraisng,a shiur, and a yeshiva dinner IMO entitle RAL to the allegiance of his talmidim and alumni, but hardly constitute IMO familiarity with the facts on the ground. That logic is akin to saying that all issues of Halacha and Hashkafa be directed to Talmidei Chachamim in Israel, when, in fact, there are Talmidei Chachamim in the US who are far more familiar with the American scene and do not view R and C with a view that IMO is reminescent of the way that some scholars view Communism or the way that “the lost cause” was viewed by some residents of the Deep South whose ancestors fought for the Confederacy.

  280. Joseph Kaplan wrote:

    “this, of course, is a factual question that neither you nor I are qualified to opine on. That said, my non-qualified opinion is that the skyrocketing intermarriage rates have absolutely nothing at all to do with Vatican II and therefore are irrelevant to the discussion.”

    Read the pages that I quoted and then, if you wish, we can continue the discussion.

  281. http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/israeli-doctors-withdraw-from-fertility-conference-over-exclusion-of-women-1.405662

    I wonder if Pete Townshend was prescient in 1971 asking the question “who’s next” or perhaps he was just riffing off John Donne’s “ask not for whom the bell tolls”
    KT

  282. “Not if he wanted to be understood by his talmidim and the hundreds/thousands who flocked to his lectures.”

    Back then, most of the hundreds understood Yiddish.

    “But I remember hearing my father and father-in-law, both of whom had a wonderful command of and ear for Yiddish, rave about the Rav’s Yiddish.”

    Yes, he was a very eloquant speaker in Yiddish.

  283. R Gil’s comment re R DR A J Heschel is IMO correct-RYBS understood the difference between Klapei Pnim and Klapei Chutz, and the need to build a strong MO in the US that would offer a profound and deep message to American Jewry that one could be a college educated person and a firmly committed Torah observant Jew. R Dr Heschel’s quoted comments by IH are proof that he rejected “spiritual isolationism” as a “moral option”. At the risk of sounding triumphalistic, RYBS not only saved MO from sliding into CJ in thought and practice,but was a pivotal person in the creation of the MO world of today. IIRC, there is a two volume bio of R D A Heschel which describes how R D Heschel was not so favorably viewed by his colleagues at JTS and in which R D Heschel bemoaned the emphasis on Halachic precision with respect to Shemiras Shabbos.

  284. “Back then, most of the hundreds understood Yiddish.”

    Until that changed, which was probably in the 1960s. True, the older crowd still understood it, but not the younger one.

  285. “IIRC, there is a two volume bio of R D A Heschel which describes how R D Heschel was not so favorably viewed by his colleagues at JTS”

    Don’t take this out of context – it’s because they thought he was a Chossid, not a Maskil.

  286. Lawrence Kaplan

    Joseph: Edward Kaplan (a very nice fellow by the way, but no relation) in his very fully documented and generally favorable biography about Rabbi Prof. Heschel has in volume 2 of that biography some very negative things to say about his involvement in the process leading up to the declaration about the Jews in Nostra Aetate. If anything, Prof. Heschel’s involvement actually seemed to hinder the process. The main figure in getting the declaration about the Jews through was, IIRC, Cardinal Bea. On the other hand, one of the main sources for the negative evaluation of the role of Prof. Heschel was a highly placed Jewish community functionary (I forget his name) who attended a very high level meeting alongsside Prof. Heschel, and his testimony may be biased. The matter still requires further clarificaiton. That said, it does seem to be the case that Prof. Heschel’s later reminiscences about the critical role his meetings with Pope and other Church officials played seem to be exaggerated. I do not wish to pronounce on the role inter-faith dialogue played in the issuance and final wording of the declaration, but my sense is that the declaration’s coming about as it did and when it did resulted primarily, as Prof David Berger has stated, from an inner heshbon ha-nefesh on the part of the more liberal elements of the Catholic Church.

    Steve: Your contention that it is Nostra Aetate that has led to shmad strikes me as ridiculous. It is not the Church’s missionizing (which is minimal) that, as the Rav feared, has led to assimilation and inter-marriage, but, as my brother correctly said, the very open secular climate. This seems to me to be a davar pashut. I’m really glad, though, to see you’re so much better that you are able so quickly to–ke-darkekha ba-kodesh–antagonize so many of your old sparring partners at the same time.

  287. steve b – its nice to see by your remarks that you have fully recovered. your comments and observations (if you can call them that) at this time are not worth responding to.

    for those interested in RAL view on daat torah you can download via itunes his 3 part shichot in english aon that topic: go to podcats on itunes and type in kmtt – starts on 11/13/2010 for 30:38 minutes.

  288. Rafael Araujo

    Reb Gil – do you want to provide a link to R’ Gershon Edelstein’s remarks at Ponevich? He stated that hatred at the secular reaction/incitement against the Chareidi tzibbur is sinas chinom and it is our aveiros that causes this and we have to look at ourselves because we are guilty of causing these problems.

  289. Lawrence Kaplan, my impression is that if the Rav said that theological dialog would lead to peace in Israel then Steve would claim that Nostra Aetate caused there to be peace in Israel. I think that’s sort of what is going on.

  290. Rafael Araujo

    From R’ Gershon Edelstein’s shmooze:

    זהו העניין שעלינו ללמוד ממה שרואים את ההסתה
    שיש כעת, שזה מעורר אותנו להתחזק במידות הטובות,
    כל אחד בעצמו וגם להשפיע על אחרים, זהו הרמז מן
    השמים, וידוע שכל דבר שיש בעולם וכל ידיעה שאדם
    יודע זה מן השמים בתור ניסיון או חינוך בשבילו,
    וכשאדם רואה או שומע דברים הרי אלו ניסיונות שצריך
    להתגבר עליהם, או שמן השמים נותנים לו חינוך לתקן
    את מעשיו, לפי הבנתו ושימת לבו על הדברים.
    וכשיש הסתה בדרך הטבע זה גורם לשנוא את
    המסיתים, אבל זוהי שנאת חינם, כי מן השמים יש סיבה
    להסתה, והם יש להם נגיעה בזה, אבל אנחנו סובלים
    מפני שאנו אשמים וצריכים לתקן את החטאים שגרמו
    לזה, וגם אם הם לא היו מסיתים היו הקשיים באים עלינו
    מצד אחר, כי החטא הוא הגורם ולא ההסתה, ועל מה
    הכעס והשנאה? נכון שהם אנשים שיש להם בחירה, אבל
    זוהי סיבה לרחם על המסיתים ולא לשנוא אותם

  291. shaul shapira

    I know I’m late weighing in on this, but I remember reading an angry guote a couple of years ago from General Elazar Stern that Charedim have no excuse for not joining the army now that with Nachal Chareidei, “They have Badatz food, and don’t see a woman for miles”. That would point to very strict halachic accomadations.
    (General Stern is also hated by the DL community for actively enforcing the disengagement, but that’s separate story.)

  292. shaul shapira

    Also R Gil, I personally would love for you to repost part of the “religious zionism debate.” And my feeling from these comments is I’m not the only one.

  293. “IIRC, there is a two volume bio of R D A Heschel which describes how R D Heschel was not so favorably viewed by his colleagues at JTS”

    Don’t take this out of context – it’s because they thought he was a Chossid, not a Maskil.

    As I’ve mentioned before, my younger sister has fond memories of R. Heschel as the candyman at the Gerrer shteibel. Also, it is worth quoting Prof. Kimelman comparing the background of the 2 Rabbis:

    Rabbis Heschel and Soloveitchik had much in common: Both were scions of illustrious eastern European families. R. Heschel, a direct descendant of the Apter Rav, was related to many of the great rebbes from the circle of the Maggid. R. Soloveitchik, a direct descendant of the Beis Halevi, was related to the giants of Lithuanian Talmudic scholarship. Both were child prodigies who in their twenties broke with family tradition and started their general education in Warsaw only to continue at the University of Berlin—1925 for R. Soloveitchik, 1927 for R. Heschel—where both earned their doctorates in philosophy in the early 1930s. Indeed, in their dissertations both thanked the same neo-Kantian professor of philosophy, Max Dessoir. R. Heschel and R. Soloveitchik met first in Berlin9, and, later, in New York. […]

    Both were masters of the full gamut of the Jewish tradition. They not only knew Bible and its exegesis, the full panoply of Rabbinic literature, Jewish medieval philosophy, Kabbalah, Hasidism18, Musar, and modern German Jewish thought, but also articulated illuminating reformulations of much of them. Indeed, their mastery of the depth and breadth of the Jewish tradition along with much of the rest of the Western intellectual tradition and Christian theology may be unparalleled amongst twentieth century theologians.

  294. maybe they are not all circling the wagons in the hareidi community: less of the usual apologetics from j. rosenblum: since hareidim (according to their leaders insistence) do not have tv or access to internet – i wonder how many saw the channel 2 report?

    http://www.cross-currents.com/archives/2012/01/05/learning-from-shimon-and-levi/

  295. Larry Kaplan-thanks for your kind words. while the refuah is underway, it is by no way complete. See the pages that I cited from R Helfgott’s book of letters. RYBS clearly viewed Vatican II as shmad 20th Century style.Nothing in the letters of RYBS refer to the “very open secular climate”, but rather the ability of American Jewry to maintain ” sense of dignity” and an “awareness of Jewish historical continuity”, which RYBS viewed as not possessed by Jewish political leaders in America ( Community, Covenant and Committment, Page 251).

  296. Rafael Araujo

    Shaul Shapira – just for the record, the soldiers who left when the female soldiers started singing were DL soldiers.

  297. In R. Yigal Sklarin’s Oct 2009 article in Modern Judaism, is this very illuminating historical record.

    Summarizing the first draft of what was to eventually become Nostra Aetate from Cardinal Bea’s Council, R. Sklarin summarizes: “While the original form of the draft contained a clear statement that the Jews as a people bore no responsibility for deicide, the new draft had deleted all such references. Sources said that the decision came from the highest levels of the Church and was based on a combination of theological and political considerations to palliate the conservative minority and the Arab world”. This caused much angst in the Jewish community and “As a response to the new draft of the Schema on the Jews and to the reaction of the Jewish community, Rabbi Soloveitchik wrote [‘‘Schema: Statement and Analysis,’’ The Jewish Horizon, Vol. 28, No. 1 (September to October 1964), p. 4.]:

    Those who are perturbed now, should have realized before that the theological ‘‘dialogue’’ was bound to become a theological monologue on the part of the Church, which is not ready to depart from her basic interpretation of Jewish history. Instead of complaining bitterly against the Church [for approving a schema that was not as liberal as many Jews had hoped for], they [those Jews who participated in theological ‘‘dialogue’’ with the Catholic Church] should say ‘‘nostra maxima culpa’’—in plain Hebrew, chatanu (we have sinned) for rushing in where angels fear to tread. The Church is within her rights to interpret our history in her own theological-dogmatic terms. We are the ones who have transcended the bounds of historical responsibility and decency by asking for theological documents on the Jews as ‘‘brethren’’ in faith instead of urging the Church to issue a strong declaration in sociological-human terms affirming the inalienable rights of the Jews as human being.

    I am very little concerned over the response of the Jewish community to the evangelical appeal contained in the new draft. The Jew, tenacious and totally committed to his past, with faith in his glorious eschatology, will reject this appeal with dignity . . . . What hurts me is that for the first time in our history the Church was, because of naïve and equivocal statements, led to believe that in the interests of good will we are ready for some revision of our historical attitudes and commitments. The situation does not call for hysteria and readiness to incur martyrdom. All it requires is common sense, responsibility, dignity and particularly a moratorium on theological ‘‘dialogue’’ and pilgrimages to Rome.

  298. IH-see Community, Covenenant and Committm,ent at Pages 264-265. The quoted language has been available for any interested reader since the above referenced book of letters was published seven years ago.

  299. Steve — yes, mentioned in the footnote. The article is focused on developing a comprehensive view or the Rav’s views regarding Vatican II.

  300. The point is that approx. a year after RYBS wrote this Nostra Aetate was promulgated with what Cardinal Bea was not able to delivier on his own (contra Lawrence Kaplan on January 5, 2012 at 2:57 pm).

  301. Joseph Kaplan

    “See the pages that I cited from R Helfgott’s book of letters. RYBS clearly viewed Vatican II as shmad 20th Century style.”

    The issue is not how the Rav viewed Vatican II; the issue is whether history has accepted or rejected that view.

  302. Lawrence Kaplan

    IH: Indeed, you are right–up to a point. The original draft “On the Jews,” written under the direction of Cardinal Bea, was voted down. However, a year later, the draft, only slightly revised and abridged and with a clear repudiation of the deicide accusation, was included as the concluding part of what was now a larger Encylical on relations with the non-Chrisitian religions. The question is what changed between the first vote and the overwhelming passing of Nostra Aetate. From my reading, it seems tha Jewish-Christian interfaith dialogue had little to do with it. By I am no expert,and may very well be wrong.

  303. Prof. Kaplan — thank you. I was but a toddler at the time and certainly no expert myself. But, see pp. 5-6 of Prof. Kimelman’s Edah paper. Even without the 1972 NBC interview, the evidence is in favor of R. Heschel’s impact.

  304. Lawrence Kaplan

    IH: Edward Kaplan, however, argues that Prof. Heschel in that interview gave himself undue credit which is not borne out by the contemporary evidence.

    IIRC, Sklarin’s article takes issue with Kimmelman on a number of points. But let me reread it.

  305. Sklarin’s issue is different — i.e. “Although Kimelman and [Edward] Kaplan’s presents Rabbi Soloveitchik’s involvement, participation and reaction to the Second Vatican Council as contradictory or vague, in truth Rabbi Soloveitchik’s engagement with the Vatican was very clear and definitive.”

  306. Lawrence Kaplan

    IH: Yes, you are right on this. I just quickly reread Sklarin’s article. It deals only with the Rav’s views on the issue, and in a footnote he states that he will not deal with Prof. Heschel’s.

    That said, Prof. Heschel’s claim in his 1972 interview that the Pope on his urging crossed out the paragraph expressing the hope for the conversion of the Jews appears to have no basis at all. Prof. Heschel’s memory was faulty here and simply misled him.

  307. Prof. Kaplan — see pp. 5-6 of Prof. Kimelman’s Edah paper. Even without the 1972 NBC interview, the evidence is in favor of R. Heschel’s impact.

    “In May, 1962, R. Heschel responded to Cardinal Bea’s invitation to submit proposals … condemn all false teachings, such as that
    which holds the Jewish people responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus and sees in every Jew a murderer of Christ. […]

    According to Eugene Fisher, executive secretary of the Secretariat for Catholic-Jewish relations, National Conference of Catholic Bishops, R. Heschel’s efforts ultimately had such a transforming effect that by 1967 he was able to write that “The Schema of the Jews is the first statement of the Church in history—the First Christian discourse dealing with Judaism—which is devoid of any expression of hope for conversion.”

  308. for those that think the beit shemesh situation is an aberration and not symptomatic of bigger issue in the hareidi gestalt – see r’ slifkin’s latest missive: it seems he is speaking to those here and cross currents: most interesting line:

    And violence is itself just one part of a spectrum of problematic behavior. Other forms of problematic zealotry and intolerance are vastly more widespread. There are simply countless examples of harassment of people who don’t toe the Charedi line, in cities from Kiryat Sefer to Bayit Vegan to Beitar to Bet Shemesh – and I presume that there is also no shortage of such stories in the US.

    http://www.rationalistjudaism.com/2012/01/its-not-aberration.html

  309. Am I the only one who often sees previous weeks News & LInks when I open up Hirhurim and have to News Posts on top to access current weeks News & Links?

  310. I might be a Neanderthal, (Heck, I don’t even have a cell phone!) but I liked the older format better…

  311. “Hirhurim on January 3, 2012 at 5:38 pm
    IH: The visitation time is a non-issue. The wife will allow the husband to take the child before Shabbos”

    I know nothing about this case-but in general there is too much arguing in the public sphere about sad dirty laundry in times of divorce. There are usually 2 sides to each issue.

  312. “Also R Gil, I personally would love for you to repost part of the “religious zionism debate.” And my feeling from these comments is I’m not the only one.”

    I think any debate from before 2005 is pointless. The facts on the ground have changed, and it is now clear that if it’s not true now, that it will be true very soon that Israel has more Jews than any other country. This changes the debate significantly.

  313. http://www.jpost.com/NationalNews/Article.aspx?id=252335

    Sad another Israeli politician indicted-Olmert-especially sad to Hirhurim readers is the indictment of another former Mayor of Jerusalem-Lopianski who probably was the best poster child for chareidi chiloni cooperation.

  314. “I think any debate from before 2005 is pointless. The facts on the ground have changed, and it is now clear that if it’s not true now, that it will be true very soon that Israel has more Jews than any other country. This changes the debate significantly”

    Why/How?

  315. See
    http://www.ccjr.us/dialogika-resources/themes-in-todays-dialogue/conversion/573-berger09june29

    for a relatively recent statement by both Dr. Berger and Rabbi Fabian Schoenfeld on dialogue.

  316. also re dialogue
    see Rav Shalom Carmy in
    http://www.firstthings.com/article/2007/01/duel-over-dualism-41

    “I cited Rabbi Soloveitchik’s remark (about Jews and Christians discussing the meaning of imago Dei) in the course of lamenting the fact that many Jews, including some who take their religion seriously, fail to appreciate the fruitfulness of discussing such matters with Christians while at the same time remaining insensitive to the dangers of uncritically accommodating secular perspectives on the human condition. I am sorry if I failed to make this sufficiently clear.

    I have no intention to insinuate, in the absence of evidence, that theological statements by serious, intelligent religious individuals are the result of “bargaining.” Nonetheless, I believe that certain social and institutional frameworks generate pressure in this direction. One hopes that Dr. Fisher is not oblivious to these risks.

    Insofar as Dr. Fisher agrees with me that much can be accomplished within the constraints advocated by Rabbi Soloeveitchik, the primary area of disagreement between us is rhetorical. I am suspicious of grand words pitched higher than the reality they describe. For me, therefore, the word “dialogue,” with its elevated Buberian associations, implies a level of achieved mutuality that one may aspire to, but must be wary of presuming. Indeed, I believe that Buber’s sharp dichotomy between I-Thou and I-It encounters is misleading as phenomenology. Likewise I am reluctant to employ the powerful image of marriage in describing the relationship between the Catholic Church and the Jewish People.

    In a difficult world, I take comfort in the positive moral and intellectual contributions of Jews and Christians helping one another. As Dr. Fisher rightly concludes, we bear a great responsibility together”

  317. “Why/How?”

    Halacha changes.

  318. ““When an individual takes an oath to be a licensed professional they are obligated to adhere to their professional code of ethics. These ethics require an understanding of and being sympathetic to the cultural, religious and ethnic diversity of the patients being treated. …

    “But to impose one’s own values or beliefs on another,” Salamon continued, “is not only unethical it often has a significantly negative impact on treatment outcomes.””

    Not getting into any specific action-but can a licensed professiona; according to halacha treat someone in a way that would go against the Torah for a Jew of for a non Jew violate one of seven Noachide Laws?

  319. “avi on January 6, 2012 at 6:10 am
    “Why/How?”

    Halacha changes.”
    What halacha has changed in the past 6 years?

  320. “Halacha changes.”
    What halacha has changed in the past 6 years?”

    You misunderstand.

    When the Majority of Jewish people are living in Israel, halacha changes.
    Back in the 60s, Israel had some 20% of the Jewish population. Now it has 49%. (That is what changed in the past 6 years) It wasn’t obvious, until recently that Israel is the largest Jewish community in the world, or would be that way at all.

  321. mycroft: An indictment is not a conviction. They deserve their day in court.

  322. For those interested in how RHS spends his time at the OU West Coast Convention, please see the annexed link. http://www.ou.org/westcoast_2011/

  323. IH-the letters in the book that I cited and Confrontation, IMO, represent the best place for any researcher to begin his or his work, as opposed to a “Kli Sheni” such as the forum held at Boston College in 2003.

  324. IH wrote:

    “According to Eugene Fisher, executive secretary of the Secretariat for Catholic-Jewish relations, National Conference of Catholic Bishops, R. Heschel’s efforts ultimately had such a transforming effect that by 1967 he was able to write that “The Schema of the Jews is the first statement of the Church in history—the First Christian discourse dealing with Judaism—which is devoid of any expression of hope for conversion”

    So what else is new? RYBS viewed the changes in the schema as irrelevant.

  325. interesting critique – with some valid observations – of the dl and mo communities protesting hareidim from left leaning shaul magid:

    http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/atheologies/5548/the_hypocrisy_in_protests_against_ultra-orthodox_in_israel/

  326. “the letters in the book that I cited and Confrontation, IMO, represent the best place for any researcher to begin his or his work, as opposed to a “Kli Sheni” such as the forum held at Boston College in 2003.”

    Steve — From R. Sklarin’s article:

    “thank you to Dr. David Berger, Dr. Michael Dobkowski,
    Rabbi Menachem Genack, Dr. Jon Jucovy, Professor Leslie Newman,
    Rabbi Dr. Jacob J. Schacter, Menachem Butler, and Rabbi Aryeh
    Leibowitz for their helpful comments and suggestions on the earlier
    drafts of this article. Thank you to Dr. Norman Lamm for his encouragement in the publication of this article.”

    It is copyrighted material, but available to NYPL (and other library) patrons at no cost: http://mj.oxfordjournals.org/content/29/3/351.extract

  327. IH wrote:

    ““thank you to Dr. David Berger, Dr. Michael Dobkowski,
    Rabbi Menachem Genack, Dr. Jon Jucovy, Professor Leslie Newman,
    Rabbi Dr. Jacob J. Schacter, Menachem Butler, and Rabbi Aryeh
    Leibowitz for their helpful comments and suggestions on the earlier
    drafts of this article. Thank you to Dr. Norman Lamm for his encouragement in the publication of this article”

    Reviewing drafts, as well as, providing comments and suggestions of any article for publication is part of the process of peer review. It should never be viewed as a substitute for the author’s own research into and conclusions derived from the relevant source material or a fig leaf for an author to hide behind based on his or her inability to read and comprehend the same. FWIW, of all the individuals listed, any reader familiar with RYBS’s writings would easily identify only three notable talmidim of RYBS therein, together with a current professor at YU.

  328. I don’t understand why people are so insecure that hakarat hatov is denied to R. Heschel in regard to what was achieved in Nostra Aetate. RYBS made mistakes; this was one. If you can’t deal, so be it.

    This morning, I was reading the October 2011 Modern Judaism article on the history of The Jewish Forum which provided a stark reminder of what was achieved:

    While The Jewish Forum did reach out to sympathetic Christians, it felt that anti-Semitism and other injustices had to be dealt with before Christian-Jewish dialogue could truly take place. As it stated in 1953:

    The work of promoting the spirit of brotherhood to which The Jewish Forum is dedicated is of paramount importance. The situation, however, cannot be satisfactory until the spirit of injustice and violence is under control.

    In the forties and fifties, the journal criticized the Roman Catholic Church and accused it of anti-Semitic activities. The Jewish Forum wrote that the use of New Testament source material caused anti-Semitism, that passages in certain text books used in Catholic high schools and colleges ‘‘reek with prejudice against the Jew’’ and it urged that Catholics make their preaching about love effective. Anti-Semitism and restrictive immigration laws were linked.

    In the fifties, The Jewish Forum thus opposed the McCarran-Walter Act, which it asserted contained ‘‘discriminatory, oppressive, ruthless immigration and citizenship laws,’’ saying that it was ‘‘out of harmony with the spirit of Americanism.’’ The Jewish Forum felt this act to be the work of a congress ‘‘riddled with anti-Semites.’

  329. Steve, those named in acknowledgements at the end of an article (or, usually, the beginning)generally have nothing to do with peer review, as those reviewers are anonymous. Those are the people who read the paper before it was published and contributed their expertise/experience to making it better/more accurate. As for “only” three notable students, what do you want?!

  330. Note also the moving target explaining why Christian-Jewish dialogue was not appropriate.

  331. IH wrote:

    “I don’t understand why people are so insecure that hakarat hatov is denied to R. Heschel in regard to what was achieved in Nostra Aetate. RYBS made mistakes; this was one. If you can’t deal, so be it”

    What was achieved=a photo opportunity in Rome on the front page of the NY Times? RYBS viewed the entire process as a waste of Jewish communal energy, and stated repeatedly that any Jew who was proud of his or her identity as a Jew did not need the approval of the RCC to live a life as a committed Jew. IMO,in this area of endeavor, R D Heschel’s efforts bordered on Chanifah

  332. Query to Prof Kaplan and any other expert on the Rav-to what extent can one attribute part of the Ravs cautioin in dealing with Catholics due to his antipathy towards the Kennedys which it appears goes back to at least Joe Kenneddy-JFKs father. Is it possible thatthose who were younger and lets say knew JFK who to the best of my knowledge even from his days as Representative from the Boston area from the 40s had good relationshipswith the Jewish community and could not be charged as an anti-semite.

  333. IH wrote:

    “RYBS made mistakes; this was one. If you can’t deal, so be it”

    WADR, only someone who seemingly worships every utterance of RDH and especially his view of RYBS could make such a statement.

  334. “Hirhurim on January 6, 2012 at 9:15 am
    mycroft: An indictment is not a conviction. They deserve their day in court.”

    Agreed-of course an acquital does not equal not having done anything wrong in US terms it simply meants that there was no legally admissible evidence that stated the person did the action beyond a reasonable doubt. An acquital just means not proven BARD.
    I am not an expert on the case from Jerusalem but enough has come out over the past few years to see that something rotten was going on there.

  335. What was achieved was more than a photo opportunity – it was a radical shift from centuries of official Church policy. How is that in any way bordering on chanifah?

  336. “mycroft on January 6, 2012 at 10:30 am
    “Hirhurim on January 6, 2012 at 9:15 am
    mycroft: An indictment is not a conviction. They deserve their day in court.”

    Agreed-”
    And of course a conviction does not mean that the person did the activity-indictments just require less of a probability that the person did the action than convictions

  337. James-As long as the RCC denies our right to build Bayis Shlishi, and our metaphysical and religious rights to the Land of Israel, engaging in “I’m OK, you’re OK” Karaoke like declarations IMO is a photo op that borders on Chanifa. Please read or reread Confrontation.

  338. Pinchas Lipschutz’s article is a perfect display of what ails the chareidi world. After retelling a few gedolim stories about compassion he writes:
    “The Maskilim who had been battling traditional Judaism for years, saw Zionism as a vehicle with which to continue their war. The Maskilim effectively used the new movement to battle religion.
    What is transpiring today in Eretz Yisroel must be understood as another chapter in that ongoing, awful, century-long tug-of-war.”

    Years of intimidation culminated in the inability of 8 year old girls to walk to school and the imposition of radical tznius chumras and he thinks this is an attack on Judaism by the “Maskilim” and “Zionists”.

  339. After rereading Professor Kimmelnan’s article about RYBS and R D A Heschel, the following query cannot IMO be avoided-who accomplished more and had more of an impact on his disciples and community?

  340. “After rereading Professor Kimmelnan’s article about RYBS and R D A Heschel, the following query cannot IMO be avoided-who accomplished more and had more of an impact on his disciples and community?”

    Rav Aharon Kotler accomplished more.

    See? This is silly. It’s possible to appreciate someone or something without having to knock it down because it’s not as good as the other thing in someone’s possibly subjective opinion about it.

  341. Steve — You don’t get it. I don’t — to use your language — worship the utterances of any human, dead or alive. I learn from everyone and accept the truth from whatever its source.

    On RDH, I relate to the story Prog. Kaplan told a few weeks ago in response to an uncharitable comment of yours:

    Lawrence Kaplan on December 12, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    Well, Steve, once in the early 1980s I had an appointment to meet with the Rav in Boston, and as I was entering his home in Brookline (he lived with the Twerskys) Rabbi Hartman was just finishing meeting with him and leaving. So much for the Rav not meeting with RDH. After RDH left, the Rav asked me “So, do you know him?” I answered “Of course I know him.” The Rav then asked “So, what do you think of him?” I gave an evasive, non-comittal answer. “He’s a great speaker. Very controversial” or something to that effect. The Rav then thought for a moment and said, “He’s a searcher. Could use more discipline. I like him.” As many people who know RDH have said to me when I told them that story, that’s about as concise, incisive, and accurate an appraisal of RDH as any.

  342. about RYBS and R D A Heschel, the following query cannot IMO be avoided-who accomplished more and had more of an impact on his disciples and community?

    They were both very charismatic teachers. A far as I know, R. Heschel’s disciples haven’t spent the years since his (too early) death arguing about what he did or didn’t say, believe, do, etc.

  343. Years of intimidation culminated in the inability of 8 year old girls to walk to school and the imposition of radical tznius chumras and he thinks this is an attack on Judaism by the “Maskilim” and “Zionists”. – James

    I believe that he is referring to the attacks by Chilonim on the Chareidi community. Not DL.

    In any event, what does tznius have to do with RBS? That’s just a pretence used by the extremist meshugenehs to expand their circle of influence. The conflation of mehadrin buses with events in RBS and DL/Chareidi soldiers in the IDF is problematic.

  344. from shaul magid – which i link to before: problem where does one draw the line ?

    The haredim are not the (only) problem; they are simply a mirror that reveals a problematic face of Judaism. Protesting the actions of the Beit Shemesh haredim could be an opportunity to subject the traditional practice of Judaism to the same critique. Ultimately, the haredim are living according to the standards they believe are true, as unappealing as they may seem to us. Can the modern religious protesters say the same?

  345. “Rabbi Shaul Shimon Deutch, the founder of the Living Torah Museum, explained that the Boro Park location focuses on items from the Tanach, the Fallsburg location focuses on items from the Mishnayos, and the Lakewood location focuses on items from the Gemarah.”

    I assumed that Lakewood would focus on items from Gemarrah-but Tanach is kosher enough for Boro Park?

  346. Rafael – “In any event, what does tznius have to do with RBS? ”

    I don’t know, but the Agudah seemed to conflate the two in their “condemnation.”

  347. Rafael Araujo- Could be- wasn’t really my point. (I do remember reading an article in english Yirael Hayom, where a member of Nachal Chareidi complained that he had joined the army after having been promised he wouldn’t have to go through these things.)

  348. ” Beneath the surface understanding of the story lies a reminder that our own revered gadol hador was a gift to the generation brought about by the middah ofvatronus, by a chastened woman remaining calm and peaceful”

    Nice mussar-problem is that no one knows how God operates-or doees he follow the Rambam who essentially holds that GOdrarely gets involved in individuals-of course one has to take that with the Ravs implicit caveat-the reason why logically one has to have an olam haememt once one accepts that there is a just Godis that this world does not make sense it is clearly not just unless there is an olam haemet to make things clear.

  349. Larry Kaplan wrote:

    “Well, Steve, once in the early 1980s I had an appointment to meet with the Rav in Boston, and as I was entering his home in Brookline (he lived with the Twerskys) Rabbi Hartman was just finishing meeting with him and leaving. So much for the Rav not meeting with RDH. After RDH left, the Rav asked me “So, do you know him?” I answered “Of course I know him.” The Rav then asked “So, what do you think of him?” I gave an evasive, non-comittal answer. “He’s a great speaker. Very controversial” or something to that effect. The Rav then thought for a moment and said, “He’s a searcher. Could use more discipline. I like him.” As many people who know RDH have said to me when I told them that story, that’s about as concise, incisive, and accurate an appraisal of RDH as any”

    Larry Kaplan-However, R Rakkafet reports that RYBS had a clearly less favorable view of RDH as mentioned in your story

  350. IH wrote:

    “Steve — You don’t get it. I don’t — to use your language — worship the utterances of any human, dead or alive. I learn from everyone and accept the truth from whatever its source”

    Really? Your POV and links are relentlessly and invariably LW, and your hashkafic presentations and attempts to twist Halacha like a pretzel are equally representative of a LW egalitarian agenda. IIRC, one of the press organs in the FSU was called “Pravda”, which IIRC , also purported to present the truth. Learning “from everyone and accepting “the truth from whatever its source”, aside from its misquoting of Rambam in Shemoneh Prakim, who views the same as limited to Hashkafa, as opposed to Halacha, shows IMO a distinct inability to distinguish between Kodesh and Chol, let alone indicate that you have a Mesorah from anyone on such issues.

  351. Gil,
    Please see Steve’s last comment, just above. Do you still think everyone you know is dan LWMO l’kas zechus?

  352. IH wrote in response:

    “about RYBS and R D A Heschel, the following query cannot IMO be avoided-who accomplished more and had more of an impact on his disciples and community?

    They were both very charismatic teachers. A far as I know, R. Heschel’s disciples haven’t spent the years since his (too early) death arguing about what he did or didn’t say, believe, do, etc.”

    That IMO is a complete dodge of a legitimate question. AFAIK, no one in the MO world denies RYBS’s stances on mixed seating, the sanctity of the synagogue, ecumenical theological dialogue, his view of Halacha as the beginnings of all discussions on what constitutes the Jewish view on any subject, superb shiruim and drashos, especially on subjects that were previously not the subject of Lomdus, and his Harbatzas Torah for MO and the Charedi world. Again, the question stands unanswered-who accomplished more on his disciples and community?

  353. MDJ-I stand by my comment of 1:10 PM. Viewing someone who by his own actions and writings who is beyond the pale of even LW MO as representing a legitimate hashkafic action represents IMO an inability to distinguish between what is and beyond legitimate hashkafic discourse.

  354. Larry Kaplan-IIRC, you once mentioned on this blog, RYBS’s view of R A J Heschel. Would you care to reiterate the same for the benefit of the readers?

  355. MDJ: Fine, every rabbi I know. Although I don’t think IH is the best example of LWMO.

  356. RUVIE:

    “interesting critique – with some valid observations – of the dl and mo communities protesting hareidim from left leaning shaul magid”

    he has one possibly valid observation in his accusation of MO/DL hypocrisy: that MO/DL didn’t stand up when the non-orthos were being marginalized.

    the rest of his examples that i saw in my quick read aren’t relevant. the ineaqualities of the MO/DL world that he describes are purely internal issues and have no effect on those not part of the MO/DL commnity. if you’re not MO/DL, who cares that MO/DL don’t let women (he should note “for the most part”) say kaddish? how does this effect anyone else?

    the reason MO/DL are so vocal now isn’t because they care what the haredim do, but because the haredim seek to impose it on others.

    (now if i wanted to ascribe an agenda to what i think are false claims of hypocrisy, i’d also have to ask why he published this piece in that forum.)

  357. Ruvie wrote;

    “the rest of his examples that i saw in my quick read aren’t relevant. the ineaqualities of the MO/DL world that he describes are purely internal issues and have no effect on those not part of the MO/DL commnity. if you’re not MO/DL, who cares that MO/DL don’t let women (he should note “for the most part”) say kaddish? how does this effect anyone else?

    the reason MO/DL are so vocal now isn’t because they care what the haredim do, but because the haredim seek to impose it on others”

    Ruvie-which MO/DL communities donot permit women to say Kaddish? Perhaps, if MO and DL developed Talmidei Chachamim, Rabbanim and Mchanchim as as well as professionals, it would not have to worry about Charedi halachic and hashkafic standards being imposed in its communities and schools.

  358. abba’s rantings – don’t disagree. just said he had some valid – or i should say interesting – observations that we sometimes do not realize how we look to others. he is conflating too many things but he is an interesting character (very unorthodox views in general – unorthodox not in a religious way either).

  359. RUVIE:

    my earlier comment on prof. maggid’s article didn’t make it through so i’ll respond now to your last comment:

    “Protesting the actions of the Beit Shemesh haredim could be an opportunity to subject the traditional practice of Judaism to the same critique.”

    the MO/DL critique here is not of the haredi world’s traditional practice of judaism, but rather its attempt to impose it on others.

    maggid gives a list of gender inequalities in the MO/DL world, but these are all ritual and hence internal. we don’t seek to impose these standards on others, certainly not with haredi tactics.

    i’m surprised prof magggid doesn’t realize this distinction.
    (if i wanted to read an agenda into his article i’d also have to ask why he published it in that forum.)

    on the other hand he could be right in one charge of MO/DL hypocrisy: silence as non-orthos were/are being marginalized.

  360. RUVIE:

    i guess it did make it through. ignore my second comment then.

  361. RUVIE:

    “very unorthodox views in general – unorthodox not in a religious way either”

    yes
    it would have been interesting had he gotten the YU job

    STEVE:

    that was me, not ruvie.

    “which MO/DL communities donot permit women to say Kaddish?”

    in my own impression (yes, i’m sure you have your own KGH-informed impression that differs) women don’t generally say kaddish. perhaps i misstated when i wrote they aren’t permitted, when it may be more of a social reality than a halachik one (or a combination thereof). but the point is women generally don’t say kaddish. and when they do it is generally only because there is no man to say it. so the even here the inequality remains.

    “if MO and DL developed Talmidei Chachamim, Rabbanim and Mchanchim as as well as professionals, it would not have to worry about Charedi halachic and hashkafic standards being imposed in its communities and schools.”

    you actually have a valid point (with reservations), but what does it have to do with my original comment?

  362. Abba – doubtful about yu position since he has simcha from jts. His political views are too extreme even for me in general.

  363. Joseph Kaplan

    “which MO/DL communities donot permit women to say Kaddish?”

    I know personally there are certainly MO shuls in the NY Metro area where the MO rabbi tells women who ask him that they should not say kaddish and if a woman does say kaddish they are very annoyed although they won’t absolutely forbid it. I have heard that there are such shuls where the rabbi does actually forbid it but I don’t have first hand knowledge (though I believe it to be true).

  364. Lawrence Kaplan

    Steve: There is no doubt in my mind that the Rav had a greater impact on the MO community than Prof. Heschel on the Conservative community. I fail to understand why IH finds it difficult to admit such an obvious fact. That said, the writings of Prof. Heschel, in my view, are an important resource for all thinking and believing Jews. In any event, this has nothing at all to do with the stances of the Rav and Prof. Heschel vis-a-vis interfaith dialogue.

    Steve and IH: I am still not sure how influental the interventions of Prof. Heschel were on the issuing of the Jewish section of Nostra Aetate, despite what Eugene Fisher said. Indeed, Prof. Heschel’s comment in response to the initially revised version, which dropped the exoneration from deicide and expressed the hopes for Jews ultimately becoming Christians, that he would rather go to Auchhwitz than convert seems to me to have been, while understandable, overwrought, given the context, and did not seem, not surprisigly, to meet with a very favorable response from Church circles. Nevertheless, in my view the Rav’s fears that Nostra Aetate might lead to a wave of shmad seem, to me at least, to have proven to be unfounded. One can respectfully disagree with the Rav without being a follower of R. David Hartman.

    As for the Rav’s view of R. Hartman: All I know is what the Rav told me that one time. I cannot say anything about what he may have told other people on other occasions.

    Finally, Steve, if you are able to so actively comment and get so many of us annoyed, despite, as you note, your not having yet recovered fully, one can only imagine what is in store for us when, as we all hope, you will speedily, with God’s help, recover all your former strength snd vigor.

    Shabbat shalom.

  365. Joseph Kaplan

    “Again, the question stands unanswered-who accomplished more on his disciples and community?”
    Who cares? And why is it relevant to this discussion. Let’s assume that the Rav accomplished more. That still doesn’t mean he was right and R. Heschel was wrong wrt Vatican II. And the accomplishments of Vatican II wrt the Jewish community seem to me, at least, to be undeniable. The amount of anti-semitism by Catholics directed against Jews, verbal as well as physical, has decreased dramatically. And ISTM that some, if not much, of that is a rsult of the changes the Catholic church instituted as a result of Vatican II what they teach about the Jewish people. So the fact they they still don’t support the building of bayit shlishi or anything else simply means there’s a way to go. But it’s not an all or nothing world. There have been many positive changes. What R. Heschel’s exact role in that was I’ll leave to experts but it seems he had some role in something that resulted in much good for the Jewish People.

  366. Lawrence Kaplan

    Prof. Magid applied for a position at Revel, which, in theory at least, is non-denomenational. I tend to think, though, that his left-wing political– and religious–positions did not help him. As for his being ordained by JTS: Let’s remember that Prof. Arthur Hyman received semichah from JTS. Of course, that was a long time ago under different circumstances.

  367. Lawrence Kaplan

    I want to let readers know that, despite any appearances to the contrary, my brother and I did NOT coordinate our latest responses. I agree with my brother that, on the whole, the results of Nostra Aetate have been positive for the Jews.

  368. Lawrence Kaplan — the only evidence you have produced for denying hakarat hatov of R. Heschel is a second-hand quote from a biography that you yourself admitted was suspect. You can’t even bring yourself to recognize his European Orthodox smicha.

    I pointed you to 2 pages in the article Gil recommended that makes the claim of his game-changing role credible (that you have twice ignored).

    If you have any credible evidence, please share it with us. And, with respect, I find it rather ironic given that one of your landmark pieces of work is about revisionism.

  369. “Steve Brizel on January 6, 2012 at 10:40 am
    James-As long as the RCC denies our right to build Bayis Shlishi, and our metaphysical and religious rights to the Land of Israel,”

    Every Jew outside of Israel who does not move to Israel, to vote in the political process to assert the right of Bayis Shlishi is guilty of the above. Why should the RCC say anything if the Jewish people won’t say anything? (Same goes for every Jew in Israel who refuses to vote for the parties that share that sentiment)

  370. Steve: “which MO/DL communities donot permit women to say Kaddish?”

    I heard a shiur from Rav Willig on YUTorah in which he says that his shul does not permit women to say kaddish, but something like “i mean, i guess if she said it quietly who would know?” Well, that would have to be pretty quiet, and is true of any non-MO shul as well. In any place, what would happen if a “brazen” women said kaddish out loud anyway? who knows, but most mourning women don’t want to find out…

  371. On p. 296 of the biography Lawrence Kaplan cites, Edward Kaplan writes (bold emphasis mine):

    Abraham Joshua Heschel became an inspirational symbol of the Jewish involvement in helping to formulate Nostra Aetate. The shortcomings of his secret audience were buried, while his major role (especially at the early stages) entered the historical record with the deliberate cooperation of the Vatican. Heschel soon emerged as an honored Jewish critic of the church and a unique spiritual resource for progressive Christians (Protestants and Catholics) seeking to advance the momentum of renewal.

    Thus, even E. Kaplan’s revisionist history concedes R. Heschel played a major role. But, then he throws doubt on his whole enterprise by resorting to a conspiracy theory; if R. Heschel and the AJC were so unimportant to the outcome – as E. Kaplan argues – his claim of “deliberate cooperation of the Vatican” is risible.

    http://tinyurl.com/7h6ks28

  372. On the recent discussion of the Modern Hebrew translation of the Tanach, Ya’akov’s Blessings in this week’s parsha will be a good testing point, particularly the bracha for Yoseph (Gen 49:22-26). And, apropos, of Moshe Shoshan’s recent Tradition article, this is also an example of where understanding the p’shat depends on Midrashic sources. R. Aryeh Kaplan’s “The Living Torah” nicely summarizes many of sources for our understanding of the words in his notes. And a careful reading of trsnalation and notes of Alter vs. Fox vs. NJPS vs. Hertz is fascinating as well.

  373. i should ammend my previous comment that I am not sure where I heard what I wrote – it might have been reported by someone else in R. Willig’s name, but I am pretty sure it was regarding his shul and that the shiur is on YUTorah.

  374. Emma, when it comes to hearsay “pretty sure” doesn’t count, factually.
    If you are quoting someone its always good to be precise.

  375. Steve b – “Ruvie-which MO/DL communities donot permit women to say Kaddish? Perhaps, if MO and DL developed Talmidei Chachamim, Rabbanim and Mchanchim as as well as professionals, it would not have to worry about Charedi halachic and hashkafic standards being imposed in its communities and schools”

    Mo and dl world have their talmedei chachamin. Nobody is worried about chareidi standards – many of which are nonsense in the beit shemesh and other issues. If you have read its the coercion and imposing on others outside their sect that is the issue. If they want to be extra pious – if that is even the right word here- let them be as long as they leave others alone. Is that so hard for you to understand and twist into we don’t have talmedei chachamin? Also, it was Abba’s comment.

  376. minyan lover, you are of course correct that it would be better if i had a better memory. (thanks for rubbing it in!)
    the essential point that there are most certainly “MO/DL communities [that] do not permit women to say kaddish” is most certainly true.

  377. “Steve Brizel on January 6, 2012 at 1:00 pm
    Larry Kaplan wrote:

    “Well, Steve, once in the early 1980s I had an appointment to meet with the Rav in Boston, and as I was entering his home in Brookline (he lived with the Twerskys) Rabbi Hartman was just finishing meeting with him and leaving. So much for the Rav not meeting with RDH. After RDH left, the Rav asked me “So, do you know him?” I answered “Of course I know him.” The Rav then asked “So, what do you think of him?” I gave an evasive, non-comittal answer. “He’s a great speaker. Very controversial” or something to that effect. The Rav then thought for a moment and said, “He’s a searcher. Could use more discipline. I like him.” As many people who know RDH have said to me when I told them that story, that’s about as concise, incisive, and accurate an appraisal of RDH as any”

    Larry Kaplan-However, R Rakkafet reports that RYBS had a clearly less favorable view of RDH as mentioned in your story”

    I am surprised by Prof Kaplans story because by the 1980s it had been over a decade that Rabbi Hartman openly questioned Orthodox fundamentals eg onethat I personally saw that he refused to accept an aliyah when theTorah reading was about serror et hamidyanim because God couldn’t have said such barbaric ideas. On the other hand I have never found any factual inconsitencies by Prof Kaplan in his works. One can agree or not with his analysis but I find him a very credible source. Rav Rakeffet is extremely accurate IMHO on his books about Rabbis Revel and Silver.

  378. Most people would say that I don’t come from a chareidi background-but personal info my fathers parents died before my mothers mother-my mother was an only child my mother did not say Kaddish but my father did for his mother-in-law. Whem my father-in-law passed away who was also not chareidi he left only daughters and none of them said Kaddish. I am not sure that in normative MO-it is common for women to say kaddish. On the other hand if a women wants to it is probably not appropriate to make a stink-I once attended a chareid minyan for mincha lunchtime in an office building and a women came wanting to say Kaddish-she offered to stand outside-since not a regular schul the person who gave the shiur before mincha stated will just make a little separation and she’ll say kaddish. Next day in the shiur he was asked about it-look Iwould prefer not for women to say Kaddish but she came to say it-nothing technically wrong-don’t make an issue over it.

  379. “Lawrence Kaplan on January 6, 2012 at 3:32 pm
    I want to let readers know that, despite any appearances to the contrary, my brother and I did NOT coordinate our latest responses. I agree with my brother that, on the whole, the results of Nostra Aetate have been positive for the Jews”

    I agree for whats its worth.

  380. Israeli high school students rank below average among developed countries on international tests.

    from

    “http://articles.boston.com/2012-01-06/news/30598432_1_international-tests-israeli-government-oecd”

  381. “I am not sure that in normative MO-it is common for women to say kaddish.”
    It is not common, in the sense that the majority of women do not say kaddish for parents in “normative MO,” whatever that is. Steve’s assertion seemed more about whether it would be permitted for those who do want to say. I believe most MO shuls in America would “allow” a woman to say kaddish, at least to the extent of no one official telling her to stop/not come back. Whether she would actually be comfortable doing so is different. I have no info on Israeli DL.
    My experience confirms mycroft’s story that one can find acceptance in unexpected places, and, I would add, lack of acceptance in surprising places as well.

  382. Emma, my point had nothing to do with your memory. All I said was that when it comes to hearsay “pretty sure” doesn’t count. And If you are quoting someone its always good to be precise. In fact imprecise quotes about rabbis or synagogues and purported specific practices practiced therein are not factual and essentially worthless in my uber humble opinion.

  383. Ok, well then take it as an invitation to someone who actually has more info (say, because they live in riverdale) to help me out…
    what i said doesn’t have a ton of probative value as it stands, i grant, but “essentially worthless” is a bit much… (here we get to the ironic fact that people who are more sure of themselves, whether or not justified, are generally considered more “credible” than people who are honest about what they don’t know.)

  384. “Abraham Joshua Heschel became an inspirational symbol of the Jewish involvement in helping to formulate Nostra Aetate. The shortcomings of his secret audience were buried”

    “secret audience”

    Many meetings are/were held between Jewish leaders over the years including Orthodox Rabbis with various non Jewish figures both political leaders and non political leaders including important non Jewish clergy-many of which the terms that were agreed upon before hand that they not be publicized.

  385. It looks like the hareidim and the settlers both would like to see the end of democracy in israel: common goals? Future political alliance? Will the DL community disassociate from the settlers?

    http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/dismantle-israeli-democracy-says-settler-leader-katzover-1.406035

  386. ” I am not sure that in normative MO-it is common for women to say kaddish.”

    To get from zero to normative you have to go through a transitional period (which is what happened wrt, e.g., bat mitzvah and women learning TSBP). The transitional period is where some parts of MO are now with respect to women saying kaddish. Whether it will ever transition to normative is a question I’ll leave to prophets.

  387. lawrence kaplan

    IH: Your charge that I cannot bring myself to recognize Abraham Heschel’s European semichah is insulting and absurd. If you will reread my first comment in ths thread, you willl see that I referred to him as Rabbi Prof. Heschel. FTR, I do not belive that everyone who has semichah, including myself, should be referred to as “rabbi,” unless they function as a rabbi. When R. Slifkin was critcized for referring to me as Prof. Kaplan and not as Rabbi Kaplan while referring to Moshe Meiselman as Rabbi Meisleman, I wrote to say that I entirely agreed with Rabbi Slifkkin. My impression, for what it is worth, is that R. Prof. Heschel served more as a Professor than as a rabbi. Indeed, I recently saw a press release from JTS, where Chancellor Eisen consistently refers to Dr. Heschel. I may be wrong, but this has nothing to do with my supposedly not recognizing his semichah. I would remind you that I wrote that “Prof. Heschel’s writings are an important resource for all thinking and believing Jews.” Not exactly a negative evaluation.

    Re R. Prof Heschel and Nostra Aetate: I never denied he played important role. I said I was not sure. The “second hand quote” you refer to is not seond hand at all, but extensive quotes from the archives from the CONTEMPORANEOUS reports of Zecharyah Shuster who was the AJC’s man in Europe. In his reports Schuster says that the impression Heschel made in his audience with the Pope was very negative. Perhaps one amy question Schuster’s judgement, but to refer to his reports as a second hand source is simply wrong.

    As for the two sources Kimelman quotes: The article by
    Eugene Fisher is from the 80s or 90s, considerably after the eventa in question. And even if Schuster exaggerated, Prof. Heschel’s claim in 1972, the second source, that the Pope in his audience with him crossed out the portion of the schema referring to the hoped for conversion of the Jews is exceptionally hard to accept. That Pope Paul VI of all people, that icy diplomat, wpuld act so emotionally and precipitously on such a senstive issue– really! And , of course, this interview was the first time anyone ever heard such a claim made.

    I accept Edward Kaplan’s point about R. Prof. Heschel’s role at an earlier stage. Unlike IH, I do not, however, see any conspiracy theory. Once Nostra Aetate was passed, what point was there in bringing up old sore points. Remember that Edward Kaplan is a great admirer of Heschel. He has no axe to gring. Moreover the Vatican II archives are still sealed, and so there is a lot we still do not know.

    When I made errors and they were pointed out to me by IH, I did not hesitate to concede the point. But R. Prof. Heschel is clearly IH’s hero,and he evidently cannot brook anyone questioning his hero, just as Steve Brizel cannot brook anyone saying something good about him. Neither brooks any dissent nor displays any uncertainty. Indeed, they are mirror images of each other. I alas was caught here in the middle.

  388. “Many meetings are/were held between Jewish leaders over the years including Orthodox Rabbis with various non Jewish figures both political leaders and non political leaders including important non Jewish clergy-many of which the terms that were agreed upon before hand that they not be publicized”

    BTW those who tend to get the most publicity tend not to be the ones who attend non-publicized meetings.

  389. “My impression, for what it is worth, is that R. Prof. Heschel served more as a Professor than as a rabbi. Indeed, I recently saw a press release from JTS, where Chancellor Eisen consistently refers to Dr. Heschel”

    Maybe they just have the YU disease that referred to 3 consecutive Presidents as Drs Revel, Belkin and Lamm-all to the extent that they will be known outside of being a YU administrator will be as very knowledgeable Rabbonim.

    “Eugene Fisher is from the 80s or 90s”
    A historical question-it is certainly possible that Dr Fisher along with John Cardinal O’Connor and William Cardinal Keeler were certainly among the most pro Jewish among Catholic
    American officials in the US. Were they selected to deal with Jews because of their diplomatic skills or were they really by their close and friendship with Jews representing their own beliefs or were they representing mainstream Catholic beliefs of the latter part of the 20th century.

    “That Pope Paul VI of all people, that icy diplomat, wpuld act so emotionally and precipitously on such a senstive issue– really”

    I tend to agree-the Vatican and Popes do not operate that way-they do not shoot from the hip. Vaticans caution so carefully that people who could would compare Vatican pronouncements in the English translation with the original Latin.

  390. Joseph Kaplan on January 7, 2012 at 10:42 pm
    ” I am not sure that in normative MO-it is common for women to say kaddish.”

    “To get from zero to normative you have to go through a transitional period (which is what happened wrt, e.g., bat mitzvah and women learning TSBP). The transitional period is where some parts of MO are now with respect to women saying kaddish. Whether it will ever transition to normative is a question I’ll leave to prophets.”

    Joe I don’t disagree. I was not arguing for or against women saying kaddish I was merely staing my judgement of the present state of MO women saying Kaddish.

  391. “It looks like the hareidim and the settlers both would like to see the end of democracy in israel”
    Don’t disagree

  392. IH:

    Just a note that the Hertz translation is, in fact, the old JPS one. (It was originally, in the five-volume edition, the King James Revised, presumably altered to Jewish standards, but changed very shortly after in the one-volume we all know.) The same translation was/is used in the Soncino Bible set and other editions. Of course, the notes are original.

    Steve:

    I told R’ Rakeffet Prof. Kaplan’s story about the Rav and R’ Hartman, and he didn’t seem to feel there was any contradiction.

  393. Re: the beggars piece. All the beautiful language in the world can’t disguise that he’s trying to pretty up a pretty ugly picture. Twenty-dollar bills for people who can fly across the world and tell fantastic stories about self-imposed poverty?

    Re: Lipshutz: My eyes started to glaze over early on. As with all Charedi apologists, a simple condemnation would have done. As it is, it’s entirely possible that he’s trying to make charedim look like the victims of the violence here.

  394. “I tend to agree-the Vatican and Popes do not operate that way-they do not shoot from the hip. Vaticans caution so carefully”

    BTW-it is my impression that the Catholic church in general acts that way-a story from a Jesuit who I once heard say that one of his jobs is to interpret pronouncements from Rome and how he goes about interpreting them-they;ll put in a lot of “ecclesiastical bolerplacte” and most of a stawtement will do that he just xs out that language and might be left with one sentence or so that one can determine what it means.

  395. Prof. Kaplan — thank you for your note. Perhaps I overreacted to your reversion from R. (in the Kimelman article we were discussing) to Prof. It is a pet peeve of mine that many (e.g. Gil) are not willing to use the Rabbi title on people who became associated with non-Orthodox institutions. My unreserved apologies for casting this aspersion on you incorrectly.

    Regarding R. Heschel: actually, he is not — as you assume — a particular hero of mine. As I have stated before, at this stage in my life, I find the philosophies of both Rabbis Heschel and Soloveitchik to be too weighted down by the (then fresh) post-Shoah angst to be relevant for our times.

    That said, a look at Amazon’s top 100 Bestsellers in Jewish Theology is interesting: http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/books/12597/ref=pd_zg_hrsr_b_1_4_last

    Finally, Edward Kaplan may be a great admirer of R. Heschel — but, the section I read on Vatican II in Google Books culminating on the page I quoted is neither impressive biography nor convincing in my view. I could understand the Vatican staying silent after the fact; but E. Kaplan asserts their “deliberate cooperation” which, sorry, does sound like a conspiracy theory. E. Kaplan is not helped by the generous amount of backchair psychoanalyzing of R. Heschel either (see p. 274 bottom through p. 275 top).

    To sum up, if I may, our agreements are:

    1. The results of Nostra Aetate have been positive for the Jews.
    2. With 20/20 hindsight, R. Soloveitchik’s jeremiads against were wrong (particularly the cites 1963 text)
    3. R. Heschel & R. Tanenbaum had a significant impact, at least in the early stages of Cardinal Bea’s Council

    I am not sure whether we agree/disagree that R. Heschel was probably the originator of the removal of the deicide charge, as well as addressing the issue of proselytization (ref: Kimelman).

    Where we disagree is whether the eventual victory of Cardinal Bea in 1964 – after failure in 1963 – was due to the Jews, or would have happened anyway irrespective.

    —-

    Nachum – Indeed regarding Hertz and OJPS which is why I omitted OJPS from the list. But, you are right to make it explicit.

  396. lawrence kaplan

    IH: I accept and very much appreciate your apology. I certainly have no objection in principle about referring to individuals associated with non-Orthodox instituions by the title of rabbi. I think your summary of where we agree and where we disagree is accurate. I emphasize that I did not assert anything categorical about R. Prof Heschel’s role in Vatcan II, though I tend to think that the ultimate vicoty of Cardinal Bea in 64 was not due to the Jews in general and to Prof. Heschel in particular.

    You, indeed, in your thoughtful response have differentiated yourself from Steve Brizel.

  397. JERRY:

    “Not thrilled with the obviously ideological title, but still interesting.”

    2 important facts not stated in the article but put this siddur into some context wrt to its polemical point:

    1) it is a manuscript. hence one must be extremely cautious about making sweeping generalizations. one does not learn anything about an entire society’s attitude toward women from one manuscript document.

    2) most importantly, also not indicated in the article is that the colophon to this siddur indicates that it was commissioned by a choson for his kallah. this was specifically a woman’s siddur. (and all the bircos hashachar were altered to reflect this fact.) it has nothing to do with consevative-style egalitarianism as suggested in the article.

    all this is not to say that this isn’t an important and fascinating historical document. and yes there are other interesting early documents that deal with women (e.g., certifying one as competent in shechita and nikkur)

    but still, it is completely erroneous to cast this siddur as an early Conservative-style egalitarian text and moreover to draw wider implications based on it. the only question is whether the error in presentation is haaretz’s or julie schoenfeld’s. and whether it is based on ignorance or not.

  398. JERRY:

    do you have a link to the hebrew version of that haaretz article. i wonder if it got skewered in the translation?

  399. “I told R’ Rakeffet Prof. Kaplan’s story about the Rav and R’ Hartman, and he didn’t seem to feel there was any contradiction”

    Not necessarily a contradiction but entirely different feelings appear.

  400. “lawrence kaplan on January 8, 2012 at 10:09 am
    IH: I accept and very much appreciate your apology. I certainly have no objection in principle about referring to individuals associated with non-Orthodox instituions by the title of rabbi”
    Certainly the Rav also referred to non Orthodox Rabbis as Rabbi-I believe there are at least a couple of examples in Helfgotts book-I certainly recall his referring to Rabbi Shubow as Rabbi.

  401. ” Israel charged five Jewish settlers on Sunday with orchestrating a riot in an army base in the West Bank in a bid to foil plans to dismantle illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory.

    The December 13 rampage sparked outrage in Israel where the conscript military is a revered institution and a symbol of unity. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged a swift crackdown against the perpetrators”

    there are at least 3 groups in Israel that essentially don’t accept the general narrative of Israel-the aravim, the chareidim and the mitnachlim-together they are probably close to 40% or so of the population-what does it say for a country when such a high percentage does not accept the basic narrative of the country.

  402. Interesting post – informative too- by brill on the state of biblical scholarship with an interview with prof. Carr:

    Very valid point to the frummies- “The reason for this interview is because if the religious community wants to respond to Biblical criticism, then it should know what it is talking about. It has to stop create homiletics about repetitions and thinking that it answers anything at all. ”

    http://kavvanah.wordpress.com/2012/01/08/interview-with-david-m-carr-current-state-of-bible-scholarship/

  403. Are you going to do a post on the new Milin Havivin? David Fried, who has a Hebrew article is a real talmid chacham and will be a force in Open Orthodoxy if he chooses to go in that direction

  404. Shim: No, I didn’t see anything particularly interesting there other than the annoying misspelling in Prof. Sperber’s title. Never heard of David Fried but I appreciate his writing a traditional Torah journal article.

  405. “How about the claim that Obama has thrown Israel under the bus vis-à-vis the Palestinians? That’s not going to make all that much of a difference. It turns out the two groups of voters most concerned about Israel (American Jews and evangelical Christians) likely already have a pretty clear sense whom they’ll be voting for in November.”

    from

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/01/06/fighting_words?page=0,1

    sad why Israel is not a real priority for any political party.

  406. from the article on heter meah rabbanim,

    “But simply signing because someone else
    signed is not what Rabbeinu Gershom
    intended and is not proper conduct
    (unless, of course, the beis din that issued
    the heter meah Rabbanim is known to be
    one with an impeccable reputation)”

    what is that “unless..” based on? my understanding is that all 100 rabbanim who sign have to come to an independent conclusion and cant rely on the beis din, whether its reliable or not. if they can rely on that beis din, what would be the point of 100 signatures, just take the beis din’s word!
    a strange aside in an otherwise worthy article.

    btw, re the final point in the article:
    “Harav Yosef
    Shalom Elyashiv, shlita, ruled that if
    someone remarries based on an improper
    heter meah Rabbanim, in addition to the
    cherem against the polygamous husband,
    there is also a cherem against the
    signatories of the heter meah Rabbanim. In
    light of these serious consequences, one
    should sign a heter meah Rabbanim only if,
    after careful contemplation and due
    diligence, one arrives at the conclusion
    that the heter is appropriate.”

    anyone know what the basis of rav elyashiv’s position is?

  407. “Very valid point to the frummies- “The reason for this interview is because if the religious community wants to respond to Biblical criticism, then it should know what it is talking about. It has to stop create homiletics about repetitions and thinking that it answers anything at all. ”

    http://kavvanah.wordpress.com/2012/01/08/interview-with-david-m-carr-current-state-of-bible-scholarship/

    Apologetics is always a risky enterprise.

  408. I hate how Israelis (and it seems like the American Olot of Beit Shemesh have assimilated enough to follow suit) think they understand American culture and imitate it, and wind up just looking stupid. That was not a flashmob. There was nothing spontaneous about it, there was no public venue that was mobbed (unless you think some empty square in the town with all of 10 people not participating is a public venue), it simply bears no resemblance whatsoever to the original flashmobs. What it was was some 200 or so American women looking for an excuse to do some cheesy 80’s line-dance in public. The only reason this is getting any attention at all is because the media has decided to distract Israeli society with this latest cause for “truth and justice and the Jewish way”. It’s pathetic.

  409. “Harav Yosef
    Shalom Elyashiv, shlita, ruled that if
    someone remarries based on an improper
    heter meah Rabbanim, in addition to the
    cherem against the polygamous husband,”

    A cherem against someone who acted in good faith?

    “there is also a cherem against the
    signatories of the heter meah Rabbanim.”

    I’d like to see a cherem against lets say hypothetical Chareidi Rabbis who sign a heter meah Rabbonim on behalf of a scion of a well known descendant of world class gadol. Waiting…..

  410. ” it simply bears no resemblance whatsoever to the original flashmobs.”

    Apparently, you don’t know how flash mobs really work…
    Oprah did a nice segment on them, and they are coordinated, and are not spontaneous.

  411. “http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4173013,00.html”
    COULD LAPIDS ENTERING POLITICS CAUSE A CHANGE IN POLITICAL POWER OF HAREIDIM?

  412. mycroft that story you linked to is hilarious. You would think with way Lapid has covered political news that it would be clear that he is entering politics to make more money from corrupt deals 🙂

  413. It appears by crusade here did not go unheard.

    http://www.jewinthecity.com/2012/01/whats-in-a-name-a-call-to-re-brand-the-extremists-in-israel-from-ultra-orthodox-to-sikrikim/?mid=570

    Thank you to all the people who are participating in this endeavor.

  414. You mean, avi, thanks to all the people still avoiding making difficult decisions by pretending they’re not part of the problem.

    Ms. Josephs, on the other hand, is perhaps suffering from what I’ve observed in many modern, liberal, western Jews (all Orthodox!): An inability to believe that, yes, people can be that bad. This affects how the West deals with the Muslim world as well: “The Muslim Brotherhood is moderate! There are only a few crazies!”

  415. Nachum,

    Do you know anybody who participates in the thuggery?