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R Yaakov Neuberger: Unity
Human Rights and Religious Wrongs
The Kavod Of A Bas Yisrael
Modern Orthodox organ-donor campaign slammed
Young single woman wages legal battle against mikveh ban
Chief rabbi makes Kiddush at kibbutz
Kars4Kids Charity Accused in Tuition Feud
SALT Friday
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Egyptians: No pilgrimage to Rabbi Abuhatzeira’s tomb
Teaneck High School Reaches Out to Local Jewish Community
The Best of Times, The Worst of Times for Women Conservative Rabbis
Beit Shemesh Mayor Faces Possible Law-Suit For Libel Over AMI Magazine Interview
Innovative New Chumash To Be Used By US Military
Justices Recognize ‘Ministerial Exception’ to Job Discrimination Laws
SALT Thursday
Police: Flatbush “Hate” Firebombings Were Insurance Scam, Not Anti-Semitism
Eda Haredit denounces state ‘oppression’
When Women Can’t Even Say Thank You
Haredi school discrimination ruling postponed
Doctors ordered to pull out of gender-separated conference
No men in next gynecology conference
Jewish Education on the edge: It’s time for new terminology
Talmudic Investing: An Asset Allocation Strategy Of Biblical Proportions
The Jewish Imperative For Child Adoption
Chabad Rabbi Donates Kidney
Homosexuals in the Orthodox Community
IDF: No coercion of haredi soldiers
Surprise! ‘Häagen-Dazs not kosher
More suspected pedophiles arrested in haredi Orthodox neighborhood
In Fiery Speech Noted Rabbi Says Charedi Extremist Should Shave Their Beards
Temple Menorah Stamp Affirms Jewish Claim to Land
SALT Wednesday
Eida Chareidis Letter Authenticated
Obama names an Orthodox Jew as his next chief of staff
Every Polish Town Had Own Holocaust
Are you a descendant of King David
Can religious women bridge IDF rifts?
Rabbi Dov Lior – A Quintessential Jewish Patriot
Rabbi seeks OK to put synagogue on his Englewood property
D.C. settles rabbi’s special-election lawsuit
SALT Tuesday
Israel Plans New Rules on Exchange of Prisoners
A ray of sunshine for embattled Beit Shemesh
Tzohar head against bill promoted by own group
Rabbi urges troops to defy orders (I would)
Poll: 51% say ‘kosher buses’ legitimate
Steven Greenberg insists he’s Orthodox
RCA says he’s not
Sweden recognises new file-sharing religion Kopimism
Ban on new CD
On the Hebrew pronunciation controversy in England of 1952
Caroline Glick: Is Israeli society unraveling?
Nachlaot Pedophile Crisis: At Least 100 Victims
SALT Monday
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About Gil Student

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

456 comments

  1. I don’t know where Caroline Glick gets her statistics from, but it’s simply not true at all that 50% of charedi males are being drafted into the army at age 18. I’d be surprised if it’s even 5%.

  2. As far as I can tell, Charedi men “serve” in one of two frameworks. Nachal Charedi, which is mamash army, but attracts very small numbers; or, Shachar Kachol (http://sites.google.com/site/shacharisblue/ — check out the ashkenazis) which appears to be purely vocational training under the auspices of the IAF. Calling it “army service” seems PC to me, based on the evidence I have seen thus far.

    —–

    Jeremy Sharon reports in “A Ray of Sunshine for Embattled Beit Shemesh”:

    Speaking about the recent tensions, Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky said the only solution was dialogue.

    “We are one people and cannot keep ignoring one another… At the end of the day, all the different communities and segments of the Jewish people and of Israeli society must learn to communicate with one another,” he said.

    Whereas, Yair Ettinger recently reported:

    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.

    Which is the more honest assessment?

  3. Yesterday, I attended a 92Y lecture by R. Sid Schwartz (bio: http://www.clal.org/clal_faculty_ss.html). He presented a thought-provoking summary of the attitudes of Generation Y that inform their disconnection with institutional Jewish life in the US:

    1. Unlike their parents & grandparents, they were not personally shaped by the tragedy of the Shoah, the birth and heroic era of Israel and the struggle to free Soviet Jewry;
    2. They distrust establishment leadership (a societal trend which has hardened since Watergate);
    3. They won’t apply to Israel a lower moral standard than they apply to any other country;
    4. While they understand historical anti-Semitism academically, they have not felt it and have no persecution complex;
    5. They live in a society in which a marketplace for spirituality exists, based on individual choice rather than (born) tribe.

    Obviously, he then has views on how to remedy this, but I thought the problem statement was interesting enough to share here. Some may argue it is not relevant to the sub-segment of Generation Y raised Orthodox, but I’m not so sure…

  4. BTW: On my ashkenazis aside at 9:40, I was seeing something that doesn’t exist (perhaps influenced by the parallel thread :-)). Shachar (Shiluv Charedim) is Blue (Air Force). English, not ashkenazis.

  5. The Ban doesn’t seem to be on MBD, but on an album by another singer.

  6. The ban is on Beri Weber’s new disc “Thank You Hashem” – not on MBD. The ban states that the new disc is a “mix of holy and secular, in the manner of Haskalah rachmana litzlan”.

  7. “▪ Steven Greenberg insists he’s Orthodox”

    Greenberg has lots of things to say and all you see is his insistence that he’s still Orthodox.

  8. Yeedle: I saw it all. That’s all I chose to emphasize.

  9. “They won’t apply to Israel a lower moral standard than they apply to any other country”

    Well, that sums it up. Of course, they’re willing to apply a *higher* standard to Israel than to any other country.

    No, that’s wrong. They’re willing to apply a higher standard to Western countries than to Third World ones. And there’s the whole answer in a nutshell. Why are they disengaged? Because their parents did too good a job raising them as apathetic postmodern humanists all to willing to blame religion, their own group and country, and the West, and with no interest in their own heritage.

    “(I would)”

    A world of meaning in two words.

  10. “I saw it all. That’s all I chose to emphasize.”

    If he’ll declare himself as “neo-orthodox” or “conservadox” will that make you happy? What will that change regarding the issues he raises in the article?

  11. The issues require separate treatment. In my opinion, he is doing a disservice to Orthodox homosexuals by creating a policy backlash. Things have been changing but he’s gone way too far.

    If he would call himself Conservative, he’d be considered too strict. By calling himself Orthodox, he’s seen as a savior.

  12. I agree with Nachum’s comment. Young Jews who lack a Jewish education essentially are culturally assimilated vis a vis their Jewish background, history and the covenantal relationship between HaShem and Klal Yisrael. But for the events that led to the Holocaust and the creation of the State of Israel, one can find many prominment secular Jews of the 19th and 20th Century who voiced similar views such as Rosa Luxemburg and Tony Judt.

  13. By calling himself Orthodox, he’s seen as a savior.

    Interesting choice of word, considering (from the article)

    I was recently told that in a single New York City psychiatric clinic there is a suicide attempt by a gay Orthodox person yearly. Sadly, the healthiest of these young people, having read the tea leaves years earlier, decide that they will have no life in the Orthodox world and are no longer frum by the time their parents find out.

  14. Steve — I don’t think anyone disputes that Jewish education is essential. That has been known to be part of the solution set for years.

  15. Gil,

    Did you find it odd while reading the YNet article on soldiers being urged to leave Kol Isha events, the article was surrounded by at least two ads featuring bikini clad women?

    Talk about irony . . .

  16. IH-Let’s be real-Charedi Nachal is army service for Charedim who wish to serve therein. Shachar Kachol IMO combined military service ( see the uniforms, etc). Would you prefer that no Charedim serve so that you can continue to bash all Charedim?

  17. Steve — Funny how you’re so anti-PC on other matters. If you have any evidence that Shachar Kachol is anything more than an affirmative action vocational training entitlement program funded out of the Defense Ministry’s budget, please provide it.

    I have nothing against it, but let’s be honest about what it is and what it isn’t.

  18. IH wrote:

    “Steve — I don’t think anyone disputes that Jewish education is essential. That has been known to be part of the solution set for years”

    In the Federation-non Orthodox world? proof please-I see no evidence of any emphasis on Torah Avodah and Gmilus Chasadim, let alone attempting cradle to grave textual fluency in the Federation-non Orthodox world. Without such an orientation, all other attempts at “Jewish continuity” are IMO ersatz, for lack of a better description.

  19. IH: Believe it or not, sadly, suicide attempts by young gay people are not limited to the Orthodox Jewish world.

    David: I hadn’t noticed.

  20. IH-Military training with a vocational component is a wonderful idea for Charedim who are interested-are you against the idea-yes or no?

  21. Steve — A good place to start is: http://www.peje.org/.

  22. Military training with a vocational component is a wonderful idea for Charedim who are interested-are you against the idea-yes or no?

    Yes. Even the entitlement program as it currently exists, as previously stated.

  23. Sorry, I misread your negative phrasing. I am in favor of such programs — even the entitlement program as it currently exists, as previously stated.

  24. Hirhurim on January 9, 2012 at 10:35 am
    The issues require separate treatment. In my opinion, he is doing a disservice to Orthodox homosexuals by creating a policy backlash. Things have been changing but he’s gone way too far.

    — I agree with you completely. But shouldn’t you be blaming those reacting to him and enacting the policy backlash as much as him, if not more so???

  25. “I have nothing against it, but let’s be honest about what it is and what it isn’t.”

    Why? Is it really such a bad thing if a bunch of Chareidim sneak into some skills and the job market through the back door? Isn’t that ultimately better for them and for Israel than loudly pointing out “We know you’re faking.”

  26. IH quoted this excerpt:

    “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. ”

    I would suggest that one should look at the works of R Y Neubert, R Nevenzal and R ZN Goldberg, for more of the bridge building legacy of RSZA. It is no secret that some in theb Charedi world have atempted to deny the same.

  27. Believe it or not, sadly, suicide attempts by young gay people are not limited to the Orthodox Jewish world.

    Nu? And does that absolve us?

    שכל המאבד נפש אחת מישראל מעלה עליו הכתוב כאילו איבד עולם מלא וכל המקיים נפש אחת מישראל מעלה עליו הכתוב כאילו קיים עולם מלא
    http://he.wikisource.org/wiki/%D7%A1%D7%A0%D7%94%D7%93%D7%A8%D7%99%D7%9F_%D7%9C%D7%96_%D7%90

  28. S. — because it the issue has been politicized (by the Charedim).

  29. Steve, who cares what RSZA’s legacy was when discussing his son?

  30. “S. — because it the issue has been politicized (by the Charedim).”

    So what is this, getting them back?

  31. Jon-WADR, when I want to know what RSZA thought on any issue, including Charedi relations with the greater Israeli world, the Talmidei Chachamim that I mentioned are who many would consider as having greater access to and awareness of the same.

  32. IH-Peje is a nice umbrella group, especially for community schools, but IMO, it would be a misnomer to say that Peje encourages Torah, Avodah and Gmilus Chasadim and cradle to grave textual literacy.

  33. Abba's Rantings

    IH:

    S. is correct
    who cares how they get into the workplace. just get them there. would you prefer that it is done in some haredi-only techinical college in geula? so they get to play soldier and put on a uniform. big deal. that’s not the worst thing in the world either. maybe this will help them identify with other israelis, maybe they’ll even get to meet other israeli this way and maybe it will embolden other haredim who want to put on a uniform for actual service to do so

  34. IH-The issue of military service has long been a political issue, but IMO, claiming that the Charedim solely are responsible again reeks of Charedi bashing. Such a statement simply ignores the undeniable fact that neither all men should either be in the IDF or learning full time. You seem to begrudge the fact that such programs exist in the first place.

  35. IH: Nu? And does that absolve us?

    It speaks to the causes and potential solutions to the problem. Greenberg’s assumption that becoming more like the non-Orthodox will prevent suicides is questionable. Maybe it’s a social issue and not halakhic. Maybe it’s part of American culture.

  36. IIRC, there have been vocational programs for Charedi men and women for some years now that have been profiled in the Charedi and secular media. What differs such programs from Touro’s programs both in the US and Israel?

  37. Maybe it’s a social issue and not halakhic. Maybe it’s part of American culture.

    Does it matter (even if there were a shred of evidence). I am merely observing that your choice of the word saviour was apt. If R. Greenberg’s public statements save a single (Orthodox) Jewish life, כאילו קיים עולם מלא

  38. On the contrary. Suicide is a sin just like doing the homosexual act, so why would an Orthodox homosexual choose suicide over the other option? (of course I’m referring to the Orthodox problem with homosexuality, namely, the transgression of Halach. I’m not referring to the broader issue of being accepted by family/community etc.)

  39. S. ,Abba and Steve – First, I was not advocating any action, rather just for discussion amongst those of us who are actively commenting one way or the other on the situation and the posted articles.

    That said, one needs to look beyond the heat of the moment. There is a vicious cycle at present. The Charedi powers refuse to provide the required curriculum that provides their community with basic skills who then become stuck and taxpayer funded affirmative action programs are needed to remedy the problem caused by the Charedi recalcitrance.

    It seems to me, this is not unlike the US experience with affirmative action for US minorities in which we learned the hard way that little changes until the elementary and high school skills required are addressed at their source. [Hence my pushback to Steve B who is bipolar depending on whether the target group is “his” or not].

    I would also add that, thus far, the Israeli “Secular Left” media have not publicized the facts; nor the Israeli “Secular Left” politicians. But, I expect this will change if the Charedim continue to politicize Shachar Kachol.

  40. Abba's Rantings

    “STEVE:

    “In the Federation-non Orthodox world? proof please-I see no evidence of any emphasis on Torah Avodah and Gmilus Chasadim”

    This and another comment here make give the impression that you feel Orthodoxy (perhaps even with RW orthodoxy as the model?) has a monopoly on “gmilus chasadim.” Or worse yet that it is mostly absent altogether in the non-Orthodox world.

    I’m sure this isn’t what you meant. I assume that when you started to type in “Torah, Avodah” then “gmilus chasadim” just flowed naturally, even though it doesn’t belong in your accusation. You then made the same error in a later comment. Please correct your statement.

  41. Abba's Rantings

    IH:

    i think we’d all agree here that the haredi education system needs a major a overhaul from the ground up. but
    1) that’s simply not going to happen right now for all the usual reasons. so in the meantime why not at least help some of the adults play catch up?
    2) hopefully this experience will enable some of these adults to realize their parent’s follies and not follow in their footsteps with their own children.

  42. Abba — Im lo achshav, aimatai?

    By politicizing the issue, the Charedim have paved the way for a political quid pro quo. Affirmative action for N years, where N is calculated by a future generation that will have been properly educated with the required core curriculum.

    The status quo is not sustainable; and, the number of years required to fix the situation too great to hold off.

  43. Abba's Rantings

    GIL:

    “Believe it or not, sadly, suicide attempts by young gay people are not limited to the Orthodox Jewish world.”

    irrelevant.
    you can have one problem with more than one cause (or worse yet, synergistic etiology).
    unfortunately your reasoning “it happens by the goyyim also” is used to excuse other problems in klal.

  44. Abba's Rantings

    GIL:

    what i meant in my conclusion is unfortunately your reasoning “it happens by the goyyim also” is used to excuse other problems in klal when in fact there is an additional ortho-specificic layer in the etiology
    (needless to say, this shouldn’t be an excuse even when there no jewish-specific etiology)

  45. Abba: I didn’t mention goyim.

    I believe we can reduce teen gay suicides without permitting Torah prohibitions.

  46. Abba's Rantings

    GIL:

    “I didn’t mention goyim.”

    perhaps i misunderstood you. you wrote, “suicide attempts by young gay people are not limited to the Orthodox Jewish world.” then you wrote, “Maybe it’s part of American culture.” to me this sounded like you were saying that there really isn’t a specifically jewish (=orthodox) cause of the issue.

    “I believe we can reduce teen gay suicides without permitting Torah prohibitions.”
    1) i’m listening
    2) is anyone here talking about permitting torah prohibitions?

  47. MiMedinat HaYam

    charedi education — recent personal stmt by rav elyashiv that ALL education aimed at charedim is NG. and the ponevich RY stmt (as well as separate bus lines, etc.) that attempts at reconciliation, etc only increases interaction with the general public (chiloni and DL) so they ( = “gedolim”) want absolutely NONE of it. complete separation is their ideal. (and no / little kiruv, and throw out the OTD children, cousins, etc.) (OTD = DL and chiloni. and nachal charedi, etc.)

    suicide — is only against halacha post crusades. presumably, provided it was with proper knowledge, etc.

  48. gil – ” In my opinion, he is doing a disservice to Orthodox homosexuals by creating a policy backlash.”
    who in your opinion is doing a service to orthodox homosexuals so we can contrast the two?

    “By calling himself Orthodox, he’s seen as a savior.” to some he may be a role model but everyone would agree that he led the way from a different way of thinking on this issue of many years ago. he sees himself as orthodox and i would assume to most he is orthodox living an unorthodox lifestyle because of his situation which many would understand (not all) in the the mo community therefore he has acceptability to a certain degree – as an orthodox jew.

  49. Jonathan Berger

    Steve wrote (10:56 a.m.):

    “In the Federation-non Orthodox world? proof please-I see no evidence of any emphasis on Torah Avodah and Gmilus Chasadim, let alone attempting cradle to grave textual fluency in the Federation-non Orthodox world.”

    I’m in my eighth year of working in non-Orthodox day schools, in both the Schechter and “community school” worlds. Steve, I’m not sure what you would accept as proof, but I assure you that most Jewish Day Schools (including each of those where I’ve worked) strive to do exactly what you fear they don’t. Our students learn a lot of Torah (bichtav and be’al peh), our Tefillot are as full of ahavah and yir’ah as we can make them, and there is real and significant Gemilut Hasadim. We certainly attempt to foster cradle-to-grave fluency in Jewish texts.

    No school is perfect, and there are certainly flaws in the non-Orthodox day school world, but your specific fears are ungrounded.

    Now, as to the original beginning of this thread, I am stunned by the idea (if I understand previous comments correctly) that those who “won’t apply to Israel a lower moral standard than they apply to any other country” must somehow be the products of a poor Jewish education. Isn’t it at least possible that Torah study would lead one to conclude that God wants more of us somehow? In discussing the Mitzvot B’nei Noach, don’t Hazal assume that the Matan Torah could not have diminished the scope of our moral obligations (specifically re. Lo Tirtzah)? A little more credit, please, to the subjects of Rabbi Schwartz’s talk referred to by IH.

  50. S: “Why? Is it really such a bad thing if a bunch of Chareidim sneak into some skills and the job market through the back door? Isn’t that ultimately better for them and for Israel than loudly pointing out ‘We know you’re faking.'”

    That’s a fair point. But I think what some find objectionable is then turning around and using this program to say “see, Charedim put in their service just like anyone else.”

    Of course, you could say the same thing, I suppose about Hesder programs, and maybe that’s an important conversation to have. But I think the differences between the two are immediately apparent. Maybe others disagree.

  51. Abba's Rantings

    JONATHAN BERGER:

    presumably steve brizel would respond that the whatever torah and avodah is taught in the non-ortho world is a watered down and almost meaningless distortion (or even perversion). yet i’d like to see him wiggle out of his outrageous claim that gemilus chasadim is lacking.

  52. YU Sponsored video of Prof. Schiffman introducing the Discovery Times Square DSS exhibit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_9VS6ld51g. Seems to be kosher enough for a YU Alumni Affairs fundraising event (see link in the YouTube video text).

  53. Jonathan Berger-thanks for your comments-I know more than a few graduates of community schools and they all tend to say that their Torah knowledge that they gained therein varies from teacher to teacher, based upon the hashkafic orientation of the teacher and his or her approach to the source material of the curriculum.As far as the Schechter schools are concerned, are you not aware of the fact that the same have had financial problems on a massive scale especially in communities where one would have thought that CJ’s best and most committed would have been most naturally attracted?

    I specifically take issue with the following excerpt:

    “I am stunned by the idea (if I understand previous comments correctly) that those who “won’t apply to Israel a lower moral standard than they apply to any other country” must somehow be the products of a poor Jewish education. Isn’t it at least possible that Torah study would lead one to conclude that God wants more of us somehow? In discussing the Mitzvot B’nei Noach, don’t Hazal assume that the Matan Torah could not have diminished the scope of our moral obligations (specifically re. Lo Tirtzah)?”

    WADR, your POV can lead to the POV that Isarel should be judged by a harsher view than North Korea or Iran and negates the basic and bedrock perspective that HaShem wants all of us to love and fear HIm by our performance of the mitzvos, both on a Torah and Rabbinic level, and refraing from thiose prohibitions that Rambam incorporates in Sefer Kedusha, and to study Torah because the same shows that no issue is immune from a Torah POV.

  54. IH wrote:

    “It seems to me, this is not unlike the US experience with affirmative action for US minorities in which we learned the hard way that little changes until the elementary and high school skills required are addressed at their source. [Hence my pushback to Steve B who is bipolar depending on whether the target group is “his” or not”

    Would you want to be treated or operated on by a physician whose sole basis for adnission to medical school was affirmative action? I would not and see no basis for the comparison of affirmative action with programs designed to bridge a cultural/political gap for Charedim.

  55. For those interested in why Gmilus Chasadim without Torah is inherently flawed, see the many comments of the Netziv , especially in contrasting Yosef and Yehudah.

  56. Jonathan Berger wrote inn part:

    “Steve, I’m not sure what you would accept as proof, but I assure you that most Jewish Day Schools (including each of those where I’ve worked) strive to do exactly what you fear they don’t. Our students learn a lot of Torah (bichtav and be’al peh), our Tefillot are as full of ahavah and yir’ah as we can make them, and there is real and significant Gemilut Hasadim. We certainly attempt to foster cradle-to-grave fluency in Jewish texts”

    Jonathan Berger-could or would you vouch for the abilities of your students to explain any pasage of the Ramban’s commentary on the Torah, and to make a leining on any Talmudic passage and the relevant commentaries or to explain any Halacha based on its roots in the Talnud and trace how it is explained in Rishonim and Acharonim? How many of your students have been inspired to make a siyum on any portion of Torah Shebicsav and/or TSBP?

  57. “Jonathan Berger-could or would you vouch for the abilities of your students to explain any pasage of the Ramban’s commentary on the Torah, and to make a leining on any Talmudic passage and the relevant commentaries or to explain any Halacha based on its roots in the Talnud and trace how it is explained in Rishonim and Acharonim?”

    Not so many people graduate from yeshiva high schools able to do that.

  58. “This year, the number of religious women enlisting in the IDF is expected to be up from last year by nearly 25%, reaching a total of 1,500 soldiers, according to the army’s human resources branch.”

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4169564,00.html

  59. Steve b.- “For those interested in why Gmilus Chasadim without Torah is inherently flawed, see the many comments of the Netziv , especially in contrasting Yosef and Yehudah.”

    I suppose that gmilut chesed with Torah has produce such great results in the ultra orthodox world of late? Inherently flawed? How parochial of you.

  60. STEVE BRIZEL:

    “For those interested in why Gmilus Chasadim without Torah is inherently flawed, see the many comments of the Netziv , especially in contrasting Yosef and Yehudah.”

    please elaborate.

    ““Jonathan Berger-could or would you vouch for the abilities of your students to explain any pasage of the Ramban’s commentary on the Torah, and to make a leining on any Talmudic passage and the relevant commentaries or to explain any Halacha based on its roots in the Talnud and trace how it is explained in Rishonim and Acharonim?””

    are you kidding?

  61. Steve: “could or would you vouch for the abilities of your students to explain any pasage of the Ramban’s commentary on the Torah, and to make a leining on any Talmudic passage and the relevant commentaries or to explain any Halacha based on its roots in the Talnud and trace how it is explained in Rishonim and Acharonim?”

    Don’t make me laugh!

  62. “Steve Brizel on January 9, 2012 at 7:49 pm
    For those interested in why Gmilus Chasadim without Torah is inherently flawed, see the many comments of the Netziv , especially in contrasting Yosef and Yehudah”

    It goes wo saying that one can’t be a good Jew wo gemilus chasadim.

  63. “Rabbi urges troops to defy orders (I would)”
    The following question is not a challenge, just a clarification. (I think I agree with you.) What if the group of singers is, say, 90% male and 10% female, and there are no female solos? One can’t really identify the female voices when they’re all singing together.

  64. “Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, one of Religious Zionism’s most prominent leaders, is calling on IDF soldiers to walk out of any military events – both formal and informal – featuring women performers, thus violating new instructions approved by the General Staff forum.

    “A soldier ordered to listen to a female singer during a live performance as part of a ceremony must lave. Now that this has become a public issue, he should do so openly with his head held up high,” the rabbi wrote in an article published by religious weekly Besheva.

    Major-General Orna Barbivai, IDF’s most senior female officer, rushes to defend women’s rights following tensions with rabbis demanding religious troops be exempt from listening to women perform

    “Despite the media attack on the ‘exclusion of women’ because of the refusal to listen to women’s live performances, and despite the General Staff’s decision, and although there are military rabbis who say the army’s orders precede everything – Halacha still stands and is obligating as always.””

    Query-should the same analysis apply to Jewish troops in non Israeli armies-must they walk out in the middle of female singing.
    Does a frum Jew who goes to a stadium and hears the national anthem sung by a female -mustthey walk out?

  65. “Steve Brizel on January 9, 2012 at 7:54 pm
    Jonathan Berger wrote inn part:

    “Steve, I’m not sure what you would accept as proof, but I assure you that most Jewish Day Schools (including each of those where I’ve worked) strive to do exactly what you fear they don’t. Our students learn a lot of Torah (bichtav and be’al peh), our Tefillot are as full of ahavah and yir’ah as we can make them, and there is real and significant Gemilut Hasadim. We certainly attempt to foster cradle-to-grave fluency in Jewish texts””

    Dayeinu if all our kids had that experience-obviously one would hope that all our kids could do what Steve wishes they could but not everyone is realistically capable of doing anything close to what Steves challene to J Berger.

    “Jonathan Berger-could or would you vouch for the abilities of your students to explain any pasage of the Ramban’s commentary on the Torah, and to make a leining on any Talmudic passage and the relevant commentaries or to explain any Halacha based on its roots in the Talnud and trace how it is explained in Rishonim and Acharonim? How many of your students have been inspired to make a siyum on any portion of Torah Shebicsav and/or TSBP?”

  66. “Would you want to be treated or operated on by a physician whose sole basis for adnission to medical school was affirmative action? ”

    I frankly am more concerned with what the student knows and has the practical ability to apply when he leaves medical school.
    Of course, much more important to me is the physicians integrity in doing what is best for the patient and not for himself.

  67. “I know more than a few graduates of community schools and they all tend to say that their Torah knowledge that they gained therein varies from teacher to teacher, based upon the hashkafic orientation of the teacher and his or her approach to the source material of the curriculum”

    I iknow more than a few grads ofYeshiva HS who cansay the same thing-whatthey learn depends on their Rebbe. Is the Rebbe one who puts people to sleep, or even RIETS-does the Rebbe of first year RIETS class even bother to learn the names of his students.
    R Mendel Zacks used to give oral bechinot in the middle of the year to students of various shiurim-he was going through one shiur -the rY would ask students from his shiur to go nesxt to face R Zacks-this RY goesto someone in the BeisMedrash and tells thestudent to go next-not realizing that the student wasn’t even in his shiur!

  68. “If he would call himself Conservative, he’d be considered too strict. By calling himself Orthodox, he’s seen as a savior”
    There are probably more famous musmachim who were ordained Orthodox but no longer believe in classicla Yahadus but memrely keep their “affiliation” asorthodox in order to be more widely known-as a Conservative Rabbi who would care-its standard beliefs.

  69. If Steven Greenberg was not a rabbi and was not public about his theology, but he still openly described himself as gay and domiciled with his partner and adopted child, would you still take exception if he described himself as Orthodox?

    If an Orthodox rabbi took part in a private commitment event that did not invite media attention, would that Rabbi no longer be Orthodox?

    I’m trying to figure out where you see the fault line.

  70. “or to explain any Halacha based on its roots in the Talnud and trace how it is explained in Rishonim and Acharonim”

    wo Encyclopedia Talmudit I doubt too many YU grads could do that for many Halachot.

  71. “If Steven Greenberg was not a rabbi and was not public about his theology, but he still openly described himself as gay and domiciled with his partner and adopted child, would you still take exception if he described himself as Orthodox?”

    Assuming domiciled equals toevah activities yes-I similarly would answer the question the same if one replaced gay with mechallel shabbos-one can be a friend of Orthodoxy but one is not Orthodox if one intentionally violates Shabbos.
    If the two were sharing an apartment as roommates that would be adifferent question-similar to roommates in the YU dorm.

  72. Steve,

    The choice of the Ramba”n’s peirush is strange. That is a deep and difficult work. I heard the Rav ZT”L darshan from that peirush often in my youth, and I can hear some of those lectures again off the web. And even with the benefit having heard them in person, plus another 35-40 years of Torah learning plus being able to listen repeatedly now, I often still feel as though I don’t fully comprehend what either the Ramba”n or the Rav were saying.

    Likewise your other criterion. I suppose if you mean can you translate and at a simple level explain the Gemara and the main Rishonim, the Rambam , Shulchan Aruch and the main nosei keilim at a simple level, yes, some ofthe best students coming out of both community schools and yeshivot can do that at an elementary level. At a more serious level is what gedolim like R. Chaim Brisker, and R Akiva Eiger struggled to do, and often unsuccessfully. At least in the sense both that there are times when they are dissatified with the best explanation they can find, and in the sense that many other great scholars disagreed with their explanations.

  73. “Rabbi urges troops to defy orders (I would)”
    ========================
    you would defy or urge others to do so? on your own or based on a psak you’ve gotten?
    KT

  74. you would defy or urge others to do so? on your own or based on a psak you’ve gotten?

    I would walk out even if a posek told me I don’t have to. No one is going to force me to compromise my religion, especially if they know I am compromising and enjoy watching me do it. I won’t go to work without a yarmulke, either, even if it hurts me financially.

  75. It seems that eidah Haredit claims that protesters and spitters are inzera ” beloved” folks and not some splinter rebel rousers. I wonder if there will be a grass root campaign for major food producers to drop badatz as a hasgacha? will agudah and other rabbis acknowledge this fact and correct previous statements?

    http://www.jpost.com/Headlines/Article.aspx?id=252960

  76. Not withstanding Gil’s principled words on kol isha, the fact is that Dati Leumi Jews have been listening to female singers since the inception of the state, particularly in times of war.

    This past week, we lost Yaffa Yarkoni the “wartime singer” — http://www.haaretz.com/weekend/week-s-end/striking-a-different-tune-1.405805 — and one easily also thinks of Naomi Shemer (or more precisely Shuli Natan singing ירושלים של זהב. And women singers were part of each annual Israeli Israel Song Festival and Chassidic Song Festival.

    Female singers in the army date back to 1948 and, in so far as I am aware, were not raised as an issue by DL/MO until very recent years. If someone has facts to the contrary, please correct any mistakes (noting that Charedi poskim are not relevant to the point I am making about Dati Leumi/MO soldiers).

  77. On the more general issue of defying orders, there is a fine line between conscientious objection and mutiny. As I understand it, that line is drawn around the loss of life – and the soldier who disobeys an order must feel strongly enough that they are willing to serve the time in jail if the courts do not concur with their decision.

    It is interesting to note, that Gil’s words if originated in Israel, might fall under some of the Rightist “traitor laws” under consideration.

  78. “As I understand it, that line is drawn around the loss of life”

    No, it isn’t. In 1948, two religious cooks in the IDF refused to cook meals on Shabbat because it wasn’t פיקוח נפש. While they were put in prison, many in Knesset defended their right of refusal – including die-hard secularists. The latter argued that if they are to insists on freedom of conscience and religion for “free-thinkers”, then they must extend the same courtesy to religious Jews. The cooks were eventually released.

  79. R M Besdin ZL, the dean of JSS, where I first was exposed to organized Torah learning of any fashion, emphasized that exposure to and gaining literacy in basic Jewish texts such as Chumash with Rashi, Ramban, Sforno. Ibn Ezra, Siddur/Machzor, Mishna, Talmud and Halacha in their original sources were properly the focus of an “it , and not about it” based Jewish education.The Mossad HaRav Kook and Machon Yerushalyim editions of Ramban enable anyone interested to delve into Ramban, which none less gthan the CS viewed as important as Rashin as a commentary. I remain strongly convinced of the propriety of such a method, as opposed to tranlations-which deserve to be considered a “kli Sheni” at best, or R”L, Methadone for the Jewish intellect-once you are hooked on the translation, you will not become a Ben or Bas Torah, let alone a Talmid Chacham or Isha Chashuvah.

    The Ramban is a deep and profound commentary-and as RYBS pointed out, it is far more significant to our Hashkafas Olam than the MN ( See The Rav on the Parsha, Sefer Breishis, at Pages 3-5). I also recall R D D Berger describing that when his children were entering elementary school, his concern was whether they would be able to read and understand Ramban on Chumash. Ramban on Chumash is a basic building block in so many aspects of a Hashafas HaYahadus beginning with our rights to the Land of Israel, Jewish historical trends, how one should observe Mitzvos, etc,

  80. IH: Female singers in the army date back to 1948 and, in so far as I am aware, were not raised as an issue by DL/MO until very recent years

    Is that because people who cared could easily excuse themselves? I’d like to hear what rabbis who served in the IDF in the past did in such situations. Did R. Meir Goldwicht (to pick on one person unfairly) listen to women singers while in the army? Did R. Shlomo Aviner?

  81. Obviously, Gmilus Chasadim is an important element of one’s Jewish identity. However, our committment to the Chukim, Shabbos, Moadim, and the Mitzvos, especially those which are marked by a Birkas HaMitzvah ( Asher Kidshanu BMitzvosav Vzivanu), delineate our covenant with HaShem.

  82. Mycroft wrote:

    “Dayeinu if all our kids had that experience-obviously one would hope that all our kids could do what Steve wishes they could but not everyone is realistically capable of doing anything close to what Steves challene to J Berger”

    My point is that the same is the birthright of every Jewish child, regardless of his or her ability. Exposure to the text , even for a student who is at best a reluctant reader, can have very beneficial results to the student, well beyond gaining literacy therein.

  83. Gil,

    Different times. Back then you were lucky if you somehow stayed religious after your left the IDF. Many young religious Jews wore caps instead of kippot specifically to mask who they were.

  84. aiwac — thanks for the cook incident. Interesting. But, I take issue with your laxness point; some have done the homework and concluded there is no issur.

    Gil — I don’t know and a good research question for those who feel strongly on the issue.

  85. Back then you were lucky if you somehow stayed religious after your left the IDF.

    You’ve said this before, aiwac, but I think you are exagerating and using self-selected sources. There are many people who remained Dati’im after the IDF. Also, during the early years (say 1945 to 1955) there were other factors that caused people to stop being Dati so it is disingenuous to blame it on the IDF (or its forerunners).

  86. IH,

    Some, yes. Most, no.

  87. “Female singers in the army date back to 1948”

    I believe you are mistaken here. I seem to remember some pasuk in Tanach about the women singing for the soldiers.

  88. Well done, Avi 🙂

  89. As to the question about R. Aviner, the answer seems clear here:

    http://www.jpost.com/NationalNews/Article.aspx?ID=238180&R=R1

  90. “There are many people who remained Dati’im after the IDF.”

    Many more left.

    “I think you are exagerating and using self-selected sources.”

    I don’t think Rav Yehuda Amital is a bad source. I also have studies carried out by the Religious wing of the Education Ministry who had an interest in seeing the success of their methods.

    “Also, during the early years (say 1945 to 1955) there were other factors that caused people to stop being Dati so it is disingenuous to blame it on the IDF (or its forerunners).”

    Granted, the IDF was not entirely responsible, but it was no help at all either. This was a time when you had to fight tooth and nail just to ensure you got minimally kosher food and weren’t forced to unnecessarily violate Shabbat. It’s hard for most to wage that kind of war.

    I’m not trying to bash the IDF, but people need to realize that it wasn’t always “dati-friendly”.

  91. Aiwac: Even in the 70s and 80s?

  92. I was talking about the 1950s. I don’t have information for the 1970s and 1980s; I’m assuming things started to improve with the Hesder yeshivot and renewed sense of purpose among religious youth. The IDF had an interest in attracting and maintaining them and so were willing to make compromises.

  93. avi: I seem to remember some pasuk in Tanach about the women singing for the soldiers

    I’m not sure whether you are joking or serious. Are we now paskening based on verses that can be interpreted in multiple ways?

    As to the question about R. Aviner, the answer seems clear here

    I didn’t see R. Aviner commenting about what he did when he was in the IDF or that he ever faced the issue. IH made the claim that religious soldiers always listened to women singing. I’m not sure that is true.

  94. BTW,

    Yishayahu Leibowitz complained about this kind of stuff in the 1930s, too (ie, the Haganah). I don’t think you can call him a “right-wing ideologue”.

  95. Gil,

    You posted the same link four times.

  96. Look at it this way-the “early years” were the cultural and intellectual high water mark of secular Zionism, with the Charedi world having gained its right to autonomy via BG’s meeting with the CI, and the DL/RZ community being far more willing to accomodate on issues of Halacha that it many, but certainly not all, from within its ranks would view as probematic today. Obviously, the history of how accomodating the IDF has been to Halacha is complex, but I think that the story is neither one of complete hostility nor complete reasonable accomodation. To the extent that the IDF is accomodating to Halachic sensitivities, IMO, one can trace the same to the efforts of R S Goren ZL and the hesder yeshivos.

  97. Just to play Devil’s Advocate against myself, here’s an interview with religious Tanakh Professor Uri Simon (emeritus), where he says that most of his classmates in religious school (this is in the 1940s, I think) considered religion to be an outdated matter for the older generation. So the IDF wasn’t the only issue, for sure.

    http://www.itu.org.il/Index.asp?ArticleID=1883&CategoryID=563&Page=1

  98. Steve,

    I’m not saying the IDF was anti-religious, just indifferent. Rav Goren certainly succeeded in making the IDF “dati-friendly” over two decades, but he would not have succeeded if he didn’t have the full, unequivocal backing of the evil secularist DBG. The latter even supported R. Goren against the heads of the army when necessary. So we have both a devout Rabbi and a declared atheist to thank for the IDF becoming a place where a religious Jew can rest easy.

  99. If R. Aviner was able to avoid listening to women sing in the IDF when he was a soldier, he would have said so, and told current soldiers to not listen, and to leave. Since he did not say that, but instead said that its ok to sit and hear but not listen, then that is what he did in the Army as well.

  100. IH wrote in part:

    “This past week, we lost Yaffa Yarkoni the “wartime singer” — http://www.haaretz.com/weekend/week-s-end/striking-a-different-tune-1.405805 — and one easily also thinks of Naomi Shemer (or more precisely Shuli Natan singing ירושלים של זהב. And women singers were part of each annual Israeli Israel Song Festival and Chassidic Song Festival”

    who can ever forgetירושלים של זהב ? That being said, the songs may very well have ben Chasidic in origin, but women singing before a mixed audience were not.

  101. AIWAC-your 10:01 point is correct re DBG, but the bottom line is that BG respected the views of both the CI and R S Goren ZL with respect to Charedi communal autonomy and Halachic observance in the IDF.

  102. Steve,

    The historical importance of the meeting between BG and the CI is greatly exaggerated. The arrangements that allowed the Charedim autonomy have more to do with prosaic political deals made before and after the establishment of the state than any “great meeting”.

  103. Steve,

    Exactly my point. Not every secularist (or, dare I say, non-Orthodox religious) Jew is anti-O. We need to keep that in mind when we discuss other groups in Am Yisra’el.

  104. i suspect the presence of many religious soldiers, hesder and otherwise, has fundamentally changed the danger, perceived or real, of the IDF, certainly relative to normal interaction that occurs in society. That said, if one demands that the army adopt strict religious standards, and does not see any strongly positive obligation to serve, there will be plenty of issues to raise constantly about the IDF. The fact that frum hesder students are not raising these issues, might tell you something.

  105. “Is that because people who cared could easily excuse themselves? I’d like to hear what rabbis who served in the IDF in the past did in such situations. Did R. Meir Goldwicht (to pick on one person unfairly) listen to women singers while in the army? Did R. Shlomo Aviner?”

    I agree no one has done any work on the history of this issue. Not just what frum soldeiers did but how have the rashei yeshivot hesder poskined? Was there any dialogue with army on this issue.

    Both RAL and R. Amital z”l as far as I know, tend to humra on kol isha, at least by MO standards. Whathave they said.
    R. Goldwicht z”l could never be accused of being a softie halakhicly- did he have any thing to say?

  106. “Are you a descendant of King David”

    Do people actually believe this stuff?

  107. For a reality check on the overall context of the IDF around the period of independence, I recommend Benny Morris’ book 1948. Judging the issues of Dati vs. Secular outside of the context of contemporaneous history is highly misleading. Moving into the period beyond, note this description of the reality of life in which budgeting decisions for army food were made:

    . The Israeli economy all but buckled under the strain of fighting a war and seeing its population double in three and a half years. Food and all consumer goods were severely rationed for both longtime residents and newcomers. An egg equalled six olives, and Israelis could go weeks without seeing an egg or a piece of chicken. It was an indication of conditions in Israel’s first years that the AJC Committee Reporter. In September 1949 carried an announcement that beginning September 12, CARE, under an agreement with the Israeli government, would be providing kosher food package service to that country. Two packages would be available: baby food and adult food. Each cost ten dollars, which covered all costs including guaranteed delivery. The packages would be admitted to Israel tax-fee and ration-free, but under the tzena, or the prevailing austerity program, individuals in Israel would be limited to the receipt of one kosher care package monthly.

    .

    From Let us prove strong: the American Jewish Committee, 1945-2006. Marianne Sanua, Brandeis 2007, p. 55

  108. avi: If R. Aviner was able to avoid listening to women sing in the IDF when he was a soldier, he would have said so, and told current soldiers to not listen, and to leave

    Ridiculous logic. Someone should just ask him.

  109. IH,

    I’m also talking about the period post-tzena, when the economy was getting better. Again, I’m not saying that the IDF was anti, just indifferent.

  110. abba's rantings

    STEVE BRIZEL:

    “R M Besdin ZL, the dean of JSS, where I first was exposed to organized Torah learning of any fashion . . .”

    in a typical manner, you completely avoid someone’s specific critique of your comment by deflecting toward a completely irrelevant tangent. shkoyach.

    let me spell it out for you. you outlined what you considered the achievements of the typical graduate of an orthodox day school (in comparison to a schechter grad). a number of comments pointed out how ridiculous your list is because most ortho grads would flunk by your high standards. mike objected in general but by way of illustration mentioned the ramban. so you respond with your appraisal of the ramban’s worth? wadr the ramban doesn’t need your imprimatur. in any case the worth of his perush (which i don’t think anyone here would doubt) is not the issue, but rather days schools grads’ comprehension of it. you claim they are fluent in it and the other sources you mention. we think this is a joke.

  111. aiwac — I know. I am happier with your more modulated position since your comment of 9:58am. But, the context of the transition from the yishuv to Medinat Yisrael is crucial context to understanding the debate.

  112. I assume there’s quite a bit of research at BIU in Hebrew. I’d recommend getting in touch w/Asher Cohen or Eliezer Don-Yihya to learn more.

  113. I saw this link in one of the discussions at Cross-Currents. Those who defend and denounce both the DL and Charedi worlds might IMO gain a lot from the presentations of R M Taragin and R J Rosenblum.
    http://www.sinai-indaba.co.za/

  114. aiwac — if that was directed at me, this is not a particular interest of mine; and I have no lack of knowledge from primary sources. I objected to your initial exagerated statement which has since been modulated.

  115. IH,

    I think the cultural context is more important than the economic one. The majority of the world thought religion was on its way out, and the yishuv was no different. At most, they pitied it as one would pity something that’s dying anyway. I believe BG said something along the lines of yeshiva students being a one-generation affair at this point. Boy, was he wrong.

    The secularism of the age was far more militant and anti than it is today. This is especially true in the kibbutzim, where many of the military and political leaders came from.

  116. abba's rantings

    STEVE BRIZEL:

    “For those interested in why Gmilus Chasadim without Torah is inherently flawed, see the many comments of the Netziv , especially in contrasting Yosef and Yehudah.”

    i don’t have access to the netziv or in case know where in it to look. please tell us what he says.
    i’m astounded you really believe that non-ortho jews don’t engage in gmilus chasadim.

  117. aiwac — to be clear, I raised the economic context only in respect of the issue raised about kosher food in the IDF in those early years. I fully agree the cultural context is key, although I would use neither DBG nor CI as a barometer of Dati attrition in the period we’re discussing.

  118. Abba wrote in part:

    “let me spell it out for you. you outlined what you considered the achievements of the typical graduate of an orthodox day school (in comparison to a schechter grad). a number of comments pointed out how ridiculous your list is because most ortho grads would flunk by your high standards. mike objected in general but by way of illustration mentioned the ramban. so you respond with your appraisal of the ramban’s worth? wadr the ramban doesn’t need your imprimatur. in any case the worth of his perush (which i don’t think anyone here would doubt) is not the issue, but rather days schools grads’ comprehension of it. you claim they are fluent in it and the other sources you mention. we think this is a joke”

    I think that anyone who thinks that day school as defined by K_8 is a sufficient basis for a Jewish education IMO is incorrect. Let me be absolutely clear-my intent in my post was referring to a K-12 education, not K-8.

    Simple yes or no-do you think that attaing textual literacy in classical Jewish texts is an attainable or desirable goal either for a community school or Schechter grad ? If not, why not? Would you view such a goal as a desired goal by the end of high school? If not, why not?

  119. Steve — I personally know MTA grads who couldn’t meet your standard (even if we relaxed your view of core curriculum). You’re barking up the wrong tree as everyone has pointed out.

  120. Abba-see the Netziv’s commments in Parshas Vayechi, where he contrasts Yosef and Yehudah. Please don’t misconstrue my comment-I merely said that Chesed without a foundation of Torah is not a premise that is of lasting duration or one which delineates a Jew qua Jew.

  121. Ok. I’ll bite: what does the Netziv commment in Parshas Vayechi, where he contrasts Yosef and Yehudah? Can you demonstrate your own standard of being able to educate others with the knowledge you have attained?

  122. “I think that anyone who thinks that day school as defined by K_8 is a sufficient basis for a Jewish education IMO is incorrect. Let me be absolutely clear-my intent in my post was referring to a K-12 education, not K-8.”

    I doubt anyone else here was talking about K-8. Steve, the vast majority of 18 year old yeshiva graduates can do none of the things you mentioned in your original comment. This is a widely-known problem.

  123. Why is it so hard to see that in the early years of the State of Israel, a state founded by socialists with communist/Soviet sympathies that the IDF and Israeli society in general was adverse to religious Jews and didn’t particularly care for their needs?

  124. IH wrote:

    “I personally know MTA grads who couldn’t meet your standard (even if we relaxed your view of core curriculum). You’re barking up the wrong tree as everyone has pointed out”

    I also know many MTA grads who are prominent Talmidei Chachamim. Anecdotal evidence IMO proves nothing. However, with respect to yopur point, after 12 years, many students have never had a chance to explore such sources in any depth, let alone profundity. For many, Limudei Kodesh is a bunch of tests to be passed, just like Limudei Chol. Why else do you think that so many MO high school grads ( and many Charedi high school grads as mentioned by R Meiselman in an interview with Mishpacha), even in this economic climate, spend at least one year learning in Israel-to help them at least gain skills in and appreciation for Limud HaTorah, which all too often has to compete with secular subjects, extra curricular activities, and the visicitudes of teen age life in the 21st Century.

  125. i suspect the presence of many religious soldiers, hesder and otherwise, has fundamentally changed the danger, perceived or real, of the IDF, certainly relative to normal interaction that occurs in society. That said, if one demands that the army adopt strict religious standards, and does not see any strongly positive obligation to serve, there will be plenty of issues to raise constantly about the IDF. The fact that frum hesder students are not raising these issues, might tell you something – Dr. bill

    Hesder students are raising these issues – hence, their recent walk out on the female IDF soldier singing.

  126. Rafael,

    You’re way off base. The dominant party, MAPAI, was socialist but virulently anti-Communist.

  127. IH-The Netziv comments that Yehudah combined Chesed and Torah, while Yosef personified Chesed only, and stresses that the Chesed only orientation of Mishkan shiloh was one of the reasons for its downfall, whereas the Makom HaMikdash has eternal Kedusha-even in its fallen state.

  128. aiwac – in the ’58 elections, Maki was elected to 6 seats. Their influence only began to shrink in the ’60’s.

  129. and MAKI was never even considered as a potential coalition partner. They were a bane to both MAPAI and the more left-wing parties.

  130. “Ridiculous logic. Someone should just ask him.”

    Do you read his weekly Shuts?

    His words are normally very harsh and open about these things.

  131. IH-I see no need to detail my support of Harbatzas Torah both within my community, on line and for organizations that do the same on a national or international level. That being a given, I do not count readers of the Roundup, attendees at NCSY events or at a shiur. I do believe that working in support of the same enables the dissemination of Torah observance and values.

  132. Steve, the Netziv is making a homily to raise the prestige of Torah. You can’t prove your homily by citing another homily. As far as I know, in our tradition Yosef is also a tzaddik.

    Yes, I get the point: Judaism doesn’t want people to just be “good people” without the Torah. So there is a temptation to denigrate being or doing “good” without Torah, as you have done. Perhaps the reality of people being good without Torah challenges Judaism’s contention that one need’s the Torah to be good. That’s something for philosophers to wrestle with. In the meantime, people who are “good” even without Torah, are still good and doing good, homily or no homily.

  133. abba's rantings

    STEVE BRIZEL:

    “I think that anyone who thinks that day school as defined by K_8 is a sufficient basis for a Jewish education IMO is incorrect.”

    you are deflecting again. stop it. this isn’t the issue.

    “Let me be absolutely clear-my intent in my post was referring to a K-12 education, not K-8.”

    let me be asolutely clear, i (and i’m sure the other who objected to you) also wrote with reference to k-12.

    “Simple yes or no . . .”

    again you are deflecting. this has nothing to do with what you originally wrote and to what we are objecting to. why do you do this?

  134. S-I reject your comment on the Netziv-BTW-do you learn Netziv from the old edition or from the edition edited by R Cooperman ? WADR, Netziv is merely positing that Chesed without Torah cannot survive, lacks boundaries and cannot serve as a long term basis for Jewish identity without Shmiras HaMItzvos. Like it or not, we are defined as a people by our covenant with HaShem, which is rooted in the fact of Asher Kidhanu Bmitzvosav Vzivanu.

  135. Abba-why should the issue be defined by what you believe are the narrow boundaries for discussion on such an important topic-namely Jewish education and literacy?

  136. S-I reject your dismissal of the Netziv as homily or to be more blunt-“yeshivishe pshetlach: to be learned during Kabalas Shabbos.

  137. abba's rantings

    STEVE BRIZEL:

    “see the Netziv’s commments in Parshas Vayechi . . .”

    for the 3rd time, i don’t have access to the netziv. why can’t you just tell us what he wrote? how about instead of 2 more long paragraphs that don’t actually respond to anything we commented to you, you instead tell us what the netziv writes.

    “Please don’t misconstrue my comment”

    coming from you?

    “I merely said that Chesed without a foundation of Torah is not a premise that is of lasting duration or one which delineates a Jew qua Jew”

    actually you wrote, “”see the Netziv’s commments in Parshas Vayechi . . .”

    for the 3rd time, i don’t have access to the netziv. why can’t you just tell us what he wrote? how about instead of 2 more long paragraphs that don’t actually respond to anything we commented to you, you instead tell us what the netziv writes.

    “Please don’t misconstrue my comment”

    coming from you?

    “I merely said that Chesed without a foundation of Torah is not a premise that is of lasting duration or one which delineates a Jew qua Jew

    you never said that. and just to remind you what you originally wrote, “In the Federation-non Orthodox world . . . I see no evidence of any emphasis on Torah Avodah and Gmilus Chasadim”

  138. Steve “S-I reject your comment on the Netziv-”

    What, it’s not a homily?

    “WADR, Netziv is merely positing that Chesed without Torah cannot survive, lacks boundaries and cannot serve as a long term basis for Jewish identity without Shmiras HaMItzvos.”

    I understand. That’s what I said.

    “S-I reject your dismissal of the Netziv as homily or to be more blunt-”yeshivishe pshetlach: to be learned during Kabalas Shabbos.”

    A “homily” isn’t a dirty word.

  139. abba's rantings

    STEVE:

    sorry for that garbled comment, the point being you originally wrote, “In the Federation-non Orthodox world . . . I see no evidence of any emphasis on Torah Avodah and Gmilus Chasadim”
    how did i misconstue this?

    now that i refreshed the browser i see you finally shared your knowledge of the netziv with us. (thanks!) if you feel this netziv should serve as a foundation for knocking down the gmilus chasadim of the non-orthodox community, so be it. i have nothing to add to S.

  140. Steve — since you raise R Meiselman’s interview, he contradicts the very point you’ve been making:

    When I deal with most products of today’s yeshivos, I have to assume they’re not proficient in independently learning a Mishnah Berurah, so I have to teach them how to read a Mishnah Berurah. I have to assume the only seforim they’ve seen in mussar and machshava are ArtScroll books, and so I have to get them exposed to primary sources. Many of them are not equipped to go through things inside.

    But, perhaps your metric is an 18 year old being able to parrot his Rav in the corpus you consider important.

  141. By the way, Steve, were your daughters able to meet the standard you have shared with us? Or is that a male-only metric in your mind?

  142. Netziv is merely positing that Chesed without Torah cannot survive, lacks boundaries and cannot serve as a long term basis for Jewish identity without Shmiras HaMItzvos..

    Hmm. Don’t the empirical facts of Reform Judaism (as you see it) disprove this?

  143. IH wrote:

    “Netziv is merely positing that Chesed without Torah cannot survive, lacks boundaries and cannot serve as a long term basis for Jewish identity without Shmiras HaMItzvos..

    Hmm. Don’t the empirical facts of Reform Judaism (as you see it) disprove this”

    I think that Netziv is 100% on the mark in this respect. There is precious little that distingusihes RJ today from the Democratic Party in ideology.

  144. S-Let’s be real-you chmapion Pshat. Therefore, at least IMO, a homily from your perspective is mere Drush.

  145. abba's rantings

    STEVE:

    “Abba-why should the issue be defined by what you believe are the narrow boundaries for discussion on such an important topic-namely Jewish education and literacy?”

    anyone who knows me in real life or from blog comments knows that i am very interested in discussions about jewish education/literacy. i was not trying to shut you up here or otherwise define the conversation. the ideal content of a jewish curriculum, what is attainable, etc. are all important subjects and should be discussed.
    but i find it very frustrating when you (and you do this all the time) say A, then someone questions your A with B, and you respond with C that may be very interesting (and even 100% correct!), but completely irrelevant in the context of responding to B. do you understand why i find this frustrating? sometimes i feel as if you have no real interest in making a coversation, but rather in running around and tossing out random comments. of course you’re entitled to do this–there are no “rules” here. but perhaps i should know better than to waste my own time responding to you.

  146. Abba-FWIW, I do not toss out random comments, but I do believe that a conversation based on assumptions that are viewed as a given , but which, may very well, lack a sufficient basis or which are predicated on highly questionnable assumptions, should not be accepted automatically as the ground rules for the same.

  147. …was certainly textually literate in the curriculum of her schools

    I infer from your dodge they could not meet your metric:

    to explain any pasage of the Ramban’s commentary on the Torah, and to make a leining on any Talmudic passage and the relevant commentaries or to explain any Halacha based on its roots in the Talnud and trace how it is explained in Rishonim and Acharonim? How many of your students have been inspired to make a siyum on any portion of Torah Shebicsav and/or TSBP?

    Of course, students at Shechter would also graduate textually literate in the curriculum of their school.

    Reasonable people can disagree about what the core curriculum should be, but your favored corpus is not shared by all halachic Jews, nor all Orthodox Jews. Please stop ramming it down our throats in a bullying manner.

  148. So I am not misconstrued, please do share with us a paraphrase or relevant quotation from your preferred Acharonim; but, don’t assume everyone has studied the Netziv or the CI or listened to audios of RYBS, RHS, et al. And don’t assume we ascribe the same importance as you, ipso facto, to their words.

  149. Steve b. – people objected to: “I see no evidence of any emphasis on Torah Avodah and Gmilus Chasadim… ” specifically the gmilut chesed part – I wondered how you would know anything or see it in that community – non orthodox? I do not think there is any less evidence of gmilut chesed in that community than ours- if you do please provide evidence.

    “For those interested in why Gmilus Chasadim without Torah is inherently flawed” – the inference is that their performance of the mitzvah is flawed – not sure if you meant that as well. One assumes no matter where you are on the religious spectrum a mitzvah is a mitzvah.

  150. abba's rantings

    STEVE:

    IH asked you a specific question. are your own daughters jewishly literate by the same standards that you criticize non-ortho schools for lacking? it required a simple yes or no repsonse (btw, “none of your business” would have been perfectly acceptable). but once again, you can’t answer a simple and direct question simply and directly.

  151. “Netziv is merely positing that Chesed without Torah cannot survive, lacks boundaries and cannot serve as a long term basis for Jewish identity without Shmiras HaMItzvos..

    Hmm. Don’t the empirical facts of Reform Judaism (as you see it) disprove this?

    I think that Netziv is 100% on the mark in this respect. There is precious little that distingusihes RJ today from the Democratic Party in ideology.”

    Well that is just silly. Reform Judaism today is much further to the left ideologically than the Democratic Party is, and the Democratic party does not have any “Jewish Identity”

  152. you would defy or urge others to do so? on your own or based on a psak you’ve gotten?

    I would walk out even if a posek told me I don’t have to. No one is going to force me to compromise my religion, especially if they know I am compromising and enjoy watching me do it. I won’t go to work without a yarmulke, either, even if it hurts me financially.
    —————————————————-
    Very interesting presumption of the emotions of those giving the orders. In the case you posited, one might say that the cohesion of the army takes precedence over one’s own gut feeling not to do something that is permitted to him by his poseik.
    Unfortunately this is not a real life question for either of us so I’ll leave it at that.
    KT

  153. “and MAKI was never even considered as a potential coalition partner. They were a bane to both MAPAI and the more left-wing parties”

    But a significant part of the Israeli population were socialist, and socialism, whether anti-Soviet or not, and many in the populace were sympathetic to the Soviet Union at that time, shared a dislike, if not hatred, for religion in general. Its not hard to figure out that these anti-religious would manifest themselves in expressions of same towards religious IDF soldiers.

  154. Steve “S-Let’s be real-you chmapion Pshat. Therefore, at least IMO, a homily from your perspective is mere Drush.”

    Not “mere Drush.” Drush. There’s nothing wrong with drush. But it’s not the intended meaning of the part of the Torah in question. It is the Netziv’s hashkafah read into the Torah, and you agree with him. I’m not against drush or homilies – I just realize that some people see things differently.

    To recap, you expressed the view that gemillas chassadim is not to be found, or not really to be found, among non-Orthodox Jews. In support you cited the Netziv. Is this supposed to change other people’s minds or end the conversation? It’s not a checkmate. It’s a particular hashkafah – your hashkafah. Others disagree and see what you are saying as an attempt to undermine anything Jewish about non-Orthodox Jews, even things they do which are neutral or positive, such as chessed, even if they are doing it out of a sense of Jewish obligation or values which they have internalized. It is your prerogative to dismiss it, but others, such as me, will not ignore that people who feel very inspired by the Torah’s commands to support the weak, to have mercy, give charity, etc. cannot be regarded as lacking in even gemillas chassadim.

    As I acknowledged, there is tension between the fact that people do good even without Orthodox Judaism, and that Orthodox Judaism teaches that Jews should do mitzvos and study Torah in an Orthodox manner. I will let the philosophers sort it out; but I cannot accept as a solution to this conundrum that when non-frum Jews do chessed, it isn’t real.

  155. I note the ostensibly authenticated text of the pashkvil from the rabbinic leadership of the Edah Ha’hareidis that was posted in Vosizneias and reposted here. Given that said leadership appears to be supporting the hooligans in Meah Shearim and Bet Shemesh ( said hooligans could be considered their ‘shock troops’), what does the ‘oilam’ here intend to do?

  156. Y Aharon, I have already told my children that should they send my grandchildren to charedi mosdos they are running a very real risk of becoming sonei yisroel, and if that happens, they will not be welcome in my house.

  157. Attaining some basic textual literacy in classical rabbinic texts is a reasonable goal for a high school graduate. And I think most graduates of both yeshivot and community high schools meet it. And they can probably translate most of the words, explain what difficulty in the text or Rashi and/or ibn Ezra inspires a comment and give a zeroeth order explanation. However, your standards, of fully understanding the Ramba”n’s peirush is one a great many well learned Orthodox Rabbis don’t reach (especially the more mystical aspects); I doubt any high school kid does. This does not lessen the worth of the peirush; Ramba”n didn’t write it as a high school exit exam.

    Your other standard, being able to trace any halacha from the Gemara through the Acharonim is a very high standard indeed. Have you ever met or heard of a Talmid Chacham who never found a shita in the Acharonim he wasn’t puzzled by? As I pointed out, even the most respected of Rabbinic scholars, like R. Akiva Eiger and Rav Chaim Brisker had kashas in hachaic opinions of the Rishonim an dAcharonim they couldn’t resolve to their satisfaction or that of their colleagues. It is an absurd standard for high school graduates. Anyone who really meets that standard meets the Ramba”m’s criterion for reviving true s’micha.

  158. That’s pretty messed up, Tzvi.

  159. The should have read “Have you ever met or heard of a Talmid Chacham who never found a shita in the Acharonim he was puzzled by?”

  160. s. – “but I cannot accept as a solution to this conundrum that when non-frum Jews do chessed, it isn’t real.”

    in defense of steve he said flawed – isn’t real would imply that it didn’t happen. the question remains (unless i missed the answer before) what is flawed and how it is empirically flawed. also, does the netziv really say that – exactly where in the netziv is the quote (or is he reading into it?- just asking)

  161. abba's rantings

    RUVIE:

    the original comment was “I see no evidence of any emphasis on . . . Gmilus Chasadim.”

    as far as it not being rooted in the torah, or perhaps rather our mesorah, well of course it isn’t. they’re not orthodox. does this make everything they do flawed?

  162. RE: Mike at 1:43 p.m.: I would be pretty amazed to meet either a yeshiva or high school graduate with an understanding of an Ibn Ezra – especially the dikduk based ones.
    As an interesting aside to the ongoing conversation, many here may not be familiar with the fact that – in addition to learning masechtos from beginning to end – learning halocho from Shas to rishonim to achronim to SA was a distinct facet of the Chasam Sofer’s derech halimud in the Pressburg yeshiva. That derech is still carried on in Satmar UTA where “sugyos” are printed – seforim which bring together all the relevant gemoros on a sugyo, the relevant rishonim and achronim, and relevant sifrei halocho where the sugyo may have a ramification.

  163. Rafael and Steve are doing some very similar things:

    Rafael says, “They were all communists!” He is told they weren’t. “Maki had six seats!” he then says. It is pointed out that that is irrelevant. “But they were still all socialists!” He says.

    Steve says, “There’s no gemillat chassadim there!” He is told there is. He then says, without admitting he was wrong, “Well, it doesn’t count is there’s no Torah!” This is so outrageous that in responding, people sort of forget how outrageous his first statement was and forget it, focusing on the new one. It’s an interesting debating tactic.

  164. MiMedinat HaYam

    “Does a frum Jew who goes to a stadium and hears the national anthem sung by a female -mustthey walk out?”

    in america, not. since they kill the singing (voice and lyrics). ?in israel?

    steve b — the CS instructed his descendants (me included) to learn chumash with ramban. it was basic to learning torah. no mention of rashi, but rashi is “part” of chumash.

    even though CS traced his ancestry to rashi, and since rashi traces his ancestry to david hamelech, thus i am also a descendant of david hamelech (through my mother — does that count?). but i assume somebody convinced this philanthropist to give $ to him / fund a machon of this type.

    and your comment that textual proficiency was not as important as understanding via a translation reeks of artscroll. perhaps in jss, but not in a world class yeshiva (where i believe artscroll should be banned).

    and simcha — satmar yeshiva is not exactly known for high level of talmud torah (i.e., not exactly a world class yeshiva. of course, i’m sure there are some world class talmidei chachim there, but they are a minority.)

    this is besides the fact the majority are the ones who support the badatz, etc. the young ones. the older chassidim are more realistic.

  165. Years ago, Jewish Action had a piece- a symposium- on what were good works to introduce Judaism to newcomers. There were what you’d expect- Wouk, Telushkin & Praeger, Aryeh Kaplan, Avigdor Miller (I think from R’ Mayer Schiller), etc. etc. They began with a quote by Baruch Lanner (still in good graces), who said that the Rav once told him, in relation to this question, “Chumash with Rashi and Ramban.”

    I mentioned this to my father, who is a great learner, a musmach of the same Rav, and who studies Ramban every week (although lately he’s citing Rashbam to me more), and his response was, basically, “Huh? The Ramban is *not* a basic text for beginners.”

  166. MiMedinat HaYam

    the only reason mapai was anti communist was because there was a communist party consisting of (mostly) arabs, with which they couldnt affiliate with (the arabs didnt want to affilliate with them, either.)

    note — even today, shimon peres is still long time vp of the “internationale”, the worldwide communist group.

  167. Nachum – thanks for putting words in my mouth. I didn’t say everybody were communists. What I did say, if you actually read my comments, was that Israel at that time was a socialist society with a strong pro-Soviet bent. In the end, that kind of leftist atmosphere is a recipe for anti-religious sentiment. If you disagree, please explain.

  168. Not true. MAPAI disassociated with it long before it became an Arab majority party. The Stalinist purges and the virulent anti-Zionism/anti-Semitism that came from Moscow ruined communism for a lot of people, including more left wing parties like Hashomer Hatza’ir. Look up “The Prague Trials” of 1952 sometime.

  169. MiMedinat HaYam

    regarding DSS and yu, i found http://yu.convio.net/site/Calendar/1820083907?view=Detail&id=103141. no personal comment on appropriateness. or its priciness.

  170. Rafael – “strong pro-Soviet bent”?! Israel was pro-West pretty early on. Read Uri Bialer’s work on Israel’s political orientation. Israel did do some “non-aligned” posing but it didn’t last long.

    As for “pro-Communist bent” in society, maybe among MAPAM members & co (who garnered about 15 mandates at their height), but not among the majority of society. Keep in mind the many, MANY people who voted for the General Zionists, Mafdal, Herut and the Liberal parties. Also, many of the MAPAI voters were not ideological socialists but simply supported Ben-Gurion and the party that won the war of Independence and set up the country.

  171. MiMedinat HaYam

    hashomer hatzair is a youth group, not a political party affilliated with mapai / mapam (think bnei akiva and mizrachi; and even bnei akiva is / was pretty independent of mizrachi. ditto betar and gachal / “revisionists”; though i dont think betar existed before 1948, the others did.)

  172. IH wrote in part:

    ” And don’t assume we ascribe the same importance as you, ipso facto, to their words”

    I would never make that assumption, especially given the sources that you tend to cite.

  173. Of course Beitar existed before 1948. You might even say it predates the Revisionists as a movement.

    Gachal is descended from Herut, which arose from Etzel, not from the Revisionist Party (Tzohar) itself.

  174. Betar existed long before 1948. It was established in 1923, IIRC.

    Hashomer Hatzai’r also had a political party (and a political faction in one of the more left-wing parties – MAPAM, I believe).

  175. MiMedinat HaYam

    you’re right — meir kahane hy”d was a member of betar in his youth

    and zev jabotinsky passed away at camp betar in 1940 in upstate ny.

  176. MiMedinat HaYam

    herut descended from gachal (its an acronym of several splinter parties, as is mapai and mapam and many of the others.) it consisted, basically, of etzel and lechi survivors.

  177. Gachal was a political merger between the Herut party and the Liberal party (formerly General Zionists). While many of the key positions were held by Etzelniks, it was also staffed by more moderate “civilians”.

  178. Descent from King David:

    If you trace back anyone’s family tree the number of slots for ancestors doubles each generation. Of course, after a while, multiple slots are filled by each ancestor, as the number of ancestor slots gets bigger than the size of the relevant population. King David lived roughly 3000 years ago; say, 100 generations. 2^100 is a very large number–it is bigger than the the number of people who have ever lived by a ratio far larger than that of the US national debt to the price of a single paper clip. The chances are overwhelming that every single Jew who is not a recent convert from a population that has not mixed with Jews at all (or descended entirely from same) is a descendant of King David. Same for every Gentile in any area where there was any mixing with Jews, between King David’s time and, say, 1000 years ago. probably at least North Africa plus all of Eurasia west of the Himalayas and South of the Arctic. Of course what is true of King David is also true of any other Jew of the period who has descendants. And probably any Gentile of the period who has descendants, except that it is pretty likely that mixing out was more common than mixing in. But the 2^100 number is so big that that probably doesn’t matter.

  179. Larry Lennhoff

    Mike S:

    Is there a difference between ‘descended from King David’ (as in King David was my 250th-great uncle) and ‘directly descended from King David in the male line’? If not, why aren’t we all kohanim?

  180. The more Jews have their DNA tested and added to the FamilyTreeDNA database, the greater the understanding we will have of present day Am Yisrael.

  181. Tzvi, it’s important to maintain some control over one’s anger. What is at issue here is the Edah Hachareidis, not Hareidim as a whole. While I strongly disapprove of the direction that Hareidi or yeshivish Orthodoxy has taken, I would certainly not disown any non-violent adherent. The violent and the instigators of violence are a separate category. In my eyes, they are resha’im regardless of position or veneration by the gullible masses. However, even resha’im remain Jews and we have a responsibility to them.

    Having duly noted my concern with your reaction, especially since it may lead to a family rift, let me advance my own reaction. I would boycott the Edah (Badatz) hashgacha since such hashgacha is a key element in their income. I would also counsel anyone not to send their boys to J’lem Brisk yeshivot since they are part of Edah and subscribe to the hatred for all Zionists and those who differ from them. Other elements in the Edah such as the Toldos Aharon people should also be shunned.

  182. “Is there a difference between ‘descended from King David’ (as in King David was my 250th-great uncle) and ‘directly descended from King David in the male line’? If not, why aren’t we all kohanim?”

    For starters, David ha Melekh was not a kohein.

  183. I would boycott the Edah (Badatz) hashgacha since such hashgacha is a key element in their income.

    I was thinking along the same lines. Seems unlikely to happen though.

    I would also counsel anyone not to send their boys to J’lem Brisk yeshivot since they are part of Edah and subscribe to the hatred for all Zionists and those who differ from them.

    None of this is true. Shame for the hotzaas shem ra.

  184. ““This year, the number of religious women enlisting in the IDF is expected to be up from last year by nearly 25%, reaching a total of 1,500 soldiers, according to the army’s human resources branch.””

    Does religious for this purpose include a follower of Heschel?

  185. “Descent from King David:

    If you trace back anyone’s family tree the number of slots for ancestors doubles each generation. Of course, after a while, multiple slots are filled by each ancestor, as the number of ancestor slots gets bigger than the size of the relevant population. King David lived roughly 3000 years ago; say, 100 generations. 2^100 is a very large number–it is bigger than the the number of people who have ever lived by a ratio far larger than that of the US national debt to the price of a single paper clip. The chances are overwhelming that every single Jew who is not a recent convert from a population that has not mixed with Jews at all (or descended entirely from same) is a descendant of King David. Same for every Gentile in any area where there was any mixing with Jews, between King David’s time and, say, 1000 years ago. probably at least North Africa plus all of Eurasia west of the Himalayas and South of the Arctic. Of course what is true of King David is also true of any other Jew of the period who has descendants. And probably any Gentile of the period who has descendants, except that it is pretty likely that mixing out was more common than mixing in. But the 2^100 number is so big that that probably doesn’t matter”

    AGREED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  186. Y. Aharon,

    I am not trying to cause a family rift. So far B”H, it is advice only likely to be relevant to one of my children and I wanted to give him food for thought before he needs to decide where to send his kids. If they go to charedi mosdos and are not sonei yisroel (and my son did and is not) I have no problem with them. And Tal, what Y. Aharon said about Brisk is most definitely true. My son has told me things that the roshei yeshiva there said that would make even your hair stand on end (I hope).

  187. Yes. There is a huge difference between directly descended from King David (or anyone else) and being descended in the male line. It is easier to see looking at ancestors than descendants since we all have one parent of each sex, whereas descendants come in more combinations. If you are a male, of all 2^100 slots for your 100th generation ancestors only one is your ancestor in the direct male line (your father’s father’s father’s … father) all the rest are in mixed (i.e. some male, some female ancestors) lines. Likewise, if you are female, you have one ancestor in each generation in the direct female line (your mother’s mother’s …. mother) and all the rest are in mixed lines.

    Of course for, descendants there is more variability as any given person can have any combination of sons and daughters.

    Thus, for example, one of my great grandfathers has at least 200 living descendants, but not one descendant in the direct male line as he had 5 daughters and 1 son, and the son’s only child was a daughter.

  188. By the way, being descended from someone other than in the direct male line does not mean the person was your great great … uncle. it just means that somewhere along the line the descent goes through a daughter (and mother). Thus you (assuming you are a man)are in the direct male line from your paternal grandfather, but not from your maternal grandfather (baring incest that makes both of them the same person); likewise, a woman is in the direct female line from her maternal, but not her paternal, grandfather

  189. Er, the last word in my last post should have been grandmother, not grandfather.

  190. FASCINATING LINK TO DISCUSSION OF WHAT HAVARAH TO USE-THANKS FOR THE LINK.

  191. abba's rantings

    MMY:

    “hashomer hatzair is a youth group, not a political party affilliated with mapai / mapam (think bnei akiva and mizrachi; and even bnei akiva is / was pretty independent of mizrachi. ditto betar and gachal / “revisionists”; though i dont think betar existed before 1948, the others did.)”

    come on, these youth movement were all but officially linked to their respective political parties.

    of course betar existed before 1948. that was how begin got to be the head of etzel. he was previously the head of poland betar.

    NACHUM:

    “You might even say it predates the Revisionists as a movement”

    not as an independent organization. jabotinsky didn’t break away from the WZO until 1935. but certainly as an ideology it predated betar

  192. “asked Rabbi Yair Hoffman to reach out to his contacts within the Eida Chareidis to verify the accuracy of the Kol Koreh and to see what is behind ”

    HOW ABOUT MY CONTACTS? Probably many of us have close relatives involved in the eiah chareidis

  193. ‘even today, shimon peres is still long time vp of the “internationale”, the worldwide communist group.’

    Wrong and wrong.

    Here is a list of member parties of the Socialist International, of which Shimon Peres was once a Vice President:

    http://www.socialistinternational.org/viewArticle.cfm?ArticlePageID=931

    And their current Presidium, including all Vice Presidents:

    http://www.socialistinternational.org/viewArticle.cfm?ArticleID=11

    Shimon Peres is not there. And I don’t see any communist parties among their members.

    It only took 5 minutes to find their web site and look this up. I think we should be more careful when we accuse a President of Israel of having communist connections. It is motzi shem ra.

  194. ‘ “strong pro-Soviet bent”?! Israel was pro-West pretty early on.’

    Which is pretty amazing considering that it was Stalin HaRasha who ran guns to the Haganah through his puppet Klement Gottwald HaRasha, while the west was doing nothing (most of it), slapping an arms embargo on the new Jewish state (the US), or having its officers lead an army that was trying to destroy it (the UK’s officers lead the Jordanian Arab legion). Most of us would have gone over to the folks supporting us against potential extermination; it is a tribute to Ben Gurion and the rest of Israel’s leaders that they did not do that.

  195. “Which is pretty amazing considering that it was…”

    The early zionists had a strong faction from Russia, and they wanted to get to Israel as quickly as possible because of how evil the Russians were behaving towards Jews. Unlike the Jews from Europe, the Jews from Russia did everything they could to not be associated with Russia.

  196. “Tzvi, it’s important to maintain some control over one’s anger. What is at issue here is the Edah Hachareidis, not Hareidim as a whole”

    YAharon,
    It IS about the entire chareidi world, when not a single chareidi leader has out right condemned the chareidim or the Holocaust trampling protesters and not a few seem to be supporting it. When the entire chareidi world takes the position that they are the sole victim of all this, I see a deep problem inthe way the entire chareidi world relates topeople who are not unserers.

    BTW refusal to implement responsible policies for child abuse is another reason not send your child to a chareidi institution, regardless of the other options.

  197. that should be “condemned the kanoyim”

  198. “but rashi is “part” of chumash”

    Most important perush but not pshat-see Rashbam on Rashi where he writes that if Rashi had it over he would have written a more pshat perush.
    Targum is the requirement to learn with Torah-basically a pshat on everything.

  199. “In the case you posited, one might say that the cohesion of the army takes precedence over one’s own gut feeling not to do something that is permitted to him by his poseik.”
    One can’t join an army if one is going to do what one even if they beileve it is religiously obligated-of course an army should try and make arrangements that it considers possible to enable those of minority religious beliefs to serve. But ultimately if one is going to make ones own decisions of proper attitude and behavior one can’t be in the Army.

  200. I would walk out even if a posek told me I don’t have to. No one is going to force me to compromise my religion, especially if they know I am compromising and enjoy watching me do it. I won’t go to work without a yarmulke, either, even if it hurts me financially.

    First off, I think this all comes from the narrative that the function of this decision is to humiliate the haredi. What evidence for that actually exists? It validly could be about maintaining company unity (since women are member of the company too and some “may” want equal treatment as the men). This view of Gil’s comes from the same place as the idea that if everything isn’t perfectly acceptable to the haredim (or any party with pretty extensive requirements) then there was “fraud,” even if the incidents in question come up only every couple of months (for all I know it comes up every day or once every three years but it seems to me Gil doesn’t know either) and even if the “breach” here is actually permitted (as Gil said it wouldn’t matter).

    What if there was a female general in the IDF? Would the haredi have the right not to listen to her orders?

    And lets say the function was to make others enjoy your humiliation. What was the link between that and whether or not to wear a yalmulke, even if it causes you financial harm to do so? What humiliation in that circumstance exists?

  201. BTW, the fact that the Eidah comes out in defense of the Sikari of course blows out of the water the idea that this is some small fringe group. We are talking about a significant component of the haredi leadership – the “da’at Torah” – backing the so-called Sikari as bona fide respectable haredi. In other words, the violence is sanctioned at least retroactively.

    As I once posted to Cross-Currents, which was not posted, if 150 families in beit Shemesh are Sikari we are talking about 4% of the charedi there (as Cross-Currents posted there were 40,000 charedi in Beit Shemesh and I looked up that the average charedi couple in Israel has somewhere around 8 children [10 person family * 150 = 1,500. 1,500/40,000 = 3.75%]) That’s just the Sikari themselves before we start talking about the segments that back them … and now the Eidah backs them.

  202. Shachar Ha'amim

    Zev Farber’s article represents the end of the the ban on plural marraige There is no outlet in marriage for the desire to have multiple partners, or for a desire that the other spouse does not wish to fulfill. For example what happens if a spouse has a termendous desire to engage in sado-masochism. Would it be better to have such person “stay in the closet” and surrepitisously visit underground quasi-illegal “clubs”? will we say “oness rachmana patre” and allow the woman to have another man come with whips and chains and do whatever it is she wants him to do?

  203. Farber writes:

    “Homosexual congress is not a moral violation; it is purely a violation of a religious prohibition,”

    On what authority does he write this? The Torah is pretty clear that it’s a moral violation. (Let’s ignore the fact that his “distinction” doesn’t really exist in Judaism.)

  204. The most troubling part of that Forward piece was:

    “He clicked his tongue a few times, then, with a waive of his hand”

    (I don’t mean the typo.) Wow. Even as they’re being sent to the back of the bus, they’re not even fit to be talked to.

  205. Zev Farber’s viewpoint will be the wave of the future for LW Orthodoxy and those who will push more and more for complete acceptance of homosexuality in the near future. I shudder at the thought.

    As for his pointing to nature as an example, since my days I heard this claim by one of my university profs, I have a simple and logical retort: there may be what appears to be homosexual behaviour in animals. However, you put a male with a female of the same species in heat together, and the male will be attracted and will mate with the female. Would we say that this proves that animals are in fact bi-sexual?

  206. Could someone provide a link to R Z Farber’s article?

  207. I found the link to R Farber’s article. Am I the only person bothered by what IMO is the inherently contradictory argumentation that I am quoting:

    ” Homosexual congress is not a moral violation; it is purely a violation of a religious prohibition, one that is the inevitable consequence of the person’s psychological and even biological makeup. If God overlooks the inevitable, so should we”

  208. I’m seeing a trend that the news as reported doesn’t help anybody, makes people upset, and the people who are truly affected by the story see that the story is false and only have the pain of dealing with it and explaining to their friends and family why it’s false.

    It’s really scary how bad reporting can directly affect people’s jobs and ability to do what they’ve been doing for years.

  209. SH – I don’t pretend to understand the psyche of people with different sexual preferences, but I would guess that in the cases you raise, there IS still a ‘normal’/permissible outlet for sexual fulfilment. And if not, if it causes no harm to others (such as the spouse), perhaps indeed a way can/should be found to help such a person a la RZF.

  210. Investment advice – may be similar to talmudic medical advice – use at your own risk?

    Machon Puah – Not sure that separate but equal works when trying to push forward- often it’s the give and take that sets off the most creative progress

    Not saying thank you – Remember R’YBS on “rov hatishbachot” vs. “kol hatishbachot” – one who doesn’t say thnk you to bassar v’dam will eventually not say so to HKB”H
    KT

  211. Just saw the Häagen-Dazs not kosher article, and that’s just another example of bad reporting.

    I have seen many products in Israel that say “Chalav Nochri” and contain a Rabanut Hechsher.

    Whatever the truth behind the story is, the article isn’t telling us.

  212. Here’s the comment I sent Morethodoxy after reading R. Farber’s article on homosexuals.

    I wonder if they’ll publish it?
    _____________

    Rabbi Farber, I personally see the Halachic struggle of the homosexual the same way I see the Halachic struggles faced by everyone over their sexual desires.

    I am very troubled by your use of “Onnes Rachmanah Patrei”.

    Consider the following cases:

    A) A man and woman are infatuated with one another & bellieve they each other’s soul mates. After years of dating, they are conviced that niether will ever be able to find a fulfilling relationship with anyone else. The problem is that they are Arayot to one another (choose the relationship). They decide to follow their hearts and become a couple. Should we tell each party “Eizehu Gibor, HaKovesh Et YItzro”, and there is no way for them to be together, and no way to view them being toether as anything less than a violation of the Torah for which they will be held responsible? or do we apply the rule of “Onnes Rachmanah Patrei” to them should they decide to create a family together?

    B) A husband and wife have a beautiful Halachic marriage. For reason “Y” though, the wife has not been able to exit he status of Nidah for over a year, and it does not look likely that she will for another year or two (I can come up with a few scenarios how this could be). They decide to follow their hearts and resume being intimate with each other. Should we tell each party “Eizehu Gibor, HaKovesh Et YItzro”, and there is no way for them to be sexually active without violating the Torah for which they will be held responsible? Or does the rule of “Onnes Rachmanah Patrei” apply to them?

    C) A guy and girl meet in high school & are in love. The more time they spend together the deeper they feel for one another. It’s not long until their hormones are pushing them to be sexually active. As marriage at this point in their lives is totally out of the question, what do we tell this young couple? Should we tell each party “Eizehu Gibor, HaKovesh Et YItzro”, and there is no way for them to be together, and no way to view them being toether as anything less than a violation of the Torah for which they will be held responsible? or do we apply the rule of “Onnes Rachmanah Patrei” to them should they decide to become sexually active?

    In sum, I think a homosexual is no different than any hetrosexual who must struggle with avoiding sexual unions which the Torah forbids.

    One may answer that the homosexual has it worse than the couple in case C) because according to the Torah, he can never act on his desires, but he’s got the same struggle as those in A) and B).

    Applying “Onnes Rachmanah Patrei” to the homosexual will have consequences on every hetrosexual striving to keep his/her libido in check (when required) as well.

    Are you prepared for those unintended consequences?

  213. “Machon Puah – Not sure that separate but equal works when trying to push forward- often it’s the give and take that sets off the most creative progress”

    They have been pushing forward for the past 12 years without any women speakers. It doesn’t mean they leave out content from women or don’t allow women to attend. Because of them, Israel has a reputation for it’s fertility treatments. Talk about shooting yourselves in the foot.

  214. Can someone explain this “eda charedi letter authenticated” article to me?

    The last line of the article says:
    “Privately, members of the Eida Chareidis once again reminded this author that the Eida Chareidis has no spokesman and that anyone claiming such a position is misrepresenting things.”

    The top of the article says:
    “VIN News asked Rabbi Yair Hoffman to reach out to his contacts within the Eida Chareidis to verify the accuracy of the Kol Koreh and to see what is behind it.”

    Now, I can’t tell if the “firstly” in the next paragraph is a result of the investigation or a claim by the author before the R. Hoffman reached out. However, we are told that Rabbis asked that certain sections of the letter not be posted… Which sections were that? The parts that praised the Sikirim?

    It then says ” Some Rabbonim did not want the Weissfish section of the letter put in because they disagreed with it and only signed the letter on the condition that this be taken out. This was ignored by those who put out the letter.”

    So how in the world is that “Authenticated”??? It’s the very opposite of Authenticated!

  215. Yes, Steve, I made the same exact point.

    Well, Ephraim, they published it. But they have a way of deleting comments, I’ve learned.

  216. Ephraim – nice response. Let us know if your response is posted or whether you receive a response. I expect the respone will be along the lines of distinguishing that heteros have a permissible outlet or that the scenarios you proposed are for short term abstinence and not for a lifetime.

  217. Thanks Nachum for the confirmation.

  218. All three of you are ridiculous. Why did you think it was plausible that Morethodoxy would censor their comments?

  219. Nahum:

    Farber writes:

    “Homosexual congress is not a moral violation; it is purely a violation of a religious prohibition,”

    On what authority does he write this? The Torah is pretty clear that it’s a moral violation. (Let’s ignore the fact that his “distinction” doesn’t really exist in Judaism.)

    Excellent points. The distinction is contrived.

    A friend of mine once pointed out to me that you see from the fact that homosexuality is forbidden to Bnei Noach that the Torah views it as a human issue, not a Jewish issue. Same as adultery, murder or idolatry, unlike, say, Shabbos or Kashrus. One can be one of the Chassidei Umos ha Olam and still eat pork, but not if you engage in homosexual acts.

    Ephraim:

    Another excellent post. There are many other examples of people who for various reasons will not be able to marry.

    I know someone whose mother verbally abused him terribly, and he has been in and out of therapy since. He has one failed marriage, and it is highly doubtful he will ever remarry.

    I know another person who in college contracted a brain tumor and then became blind. He has for obvious reasons never been able to find a shidduch.

    Would anyone think that ones rachamana patrei applies to these people?

    (This is not to say that their situations are not a rachmones.)

  220. “A friend of mine once pointed out to me that you see from the fact that homosexuality is forbidden to Bnei Noach that the Torah views it as a human issue, not a Jewish issue”

    How do you see that it is forbidden to Bnai Noach?

    Also, if this is the case, then how do Orthodox Jews get off complaining about premarital sex and the like in general society, which is definitely not forbidden to Bnai Noach?

  221. rafael – ” those who will push more and more for complete acceptance of homosexuality in the near future.”
    what is your solution on a community level to the issue of orthodox homosexuality – the closet?

    remember – he said:”In short, there should be no social penalty in the Orthodox world for being a non-celibate homosexual Jew.”
    that is not acceptability of a stated aveirah for he states its an oness for public policy (my addition of public policy).

    he says emphatically:

    “To be sure, calling something oness does not make the action halakhically permitted; it is not. Moreover, adopting the oness principle does not mean that halakha recognizes same sex qiddushin (Jewish marriage) – it does not.”

    to misrepresent that i think is unfair. see the article in full:
    http://morethodoxy.org/2012/01/11/homosexuals-in-the-orthodox-community-by-rabbi-zev-farber/

  222. FTR, the “Torah Declaration” maintainers, are willing to add names, but not subtract them. In the last week, ”Yitzchok Caller
    Author and Director of Yeshivas Bein Hazmanim. Lakewood, NJ” was added; but, despite his public request that was reported on Hirhurim, Rabbi Simcha Feuerman remains listed and counted.

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

  223. “Would anyone think that ones rachamana patrei applies to these people?”

    If they hired a prostitute to relieve themselves of their sexual tension or just feel another warm body next to theirs, who would blame them, honestly? Maybe God, maybe not. But would you judge them?

  224. nahum – i too wonder how he would write this: “For the believing Orthodox Jew, homosexual congress is a religious offense, akin to eating shrimp or driving on the Sabbath.”

    without citing some sources to prove his point. he should have expanded on why it is not a moral issue.
    if secular morality to certain degree no longer views this an abomination then is it a moral issue? what is the definitive proof that this is a religious moral issue ? can it be a combination to a certain degree?
    is it that pashut to all – if so please see r’ rapoprt book on judaism and homosexuality – he is no lwmo.

  225. “How do you see that it is forbidden to Bnai Noach?”

    Because the Torah says so? It says that the Canaanites (not Jewish!) were vomited out of the land because of these practices. It doesn’t approve of Egyptians (also not Jewish!) doing them either.

    Oh, and that little thing called Torah Shebeal Peh. Pretty explicit there.

    “Also, if this is the case, then how do Orthodox Jews get off complaining about premarital sex and the like in general society, which is definitely not forbidden to Bnai Noach?”

    Practical arguments? Just because it’s not a mitzvah bnei Noach doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Do you think non-Jews should smoke?

    “what is your solution on a community level to the issue of orthodox homosexuality – the closet?”

    Well, Lordy, how did Judaism survive lo these four thousand years without a “solution” to this pressing issue?

  226. “if secular morality to certain degree no longer views this an abomination then is it a moral issue?”

    Define “secular morality.” Is it whatever is au courant in the Harvard faculty lounge? Is Rick Santorum not part of “secular morality?” Who is to say that “secular morality” is anything but immorality (or amorality)? Perhaps being *opposed* to homosexuality is the moral position? And why should we care what “secular morality” says anyway? “Secular morality” says it’s wrong to tell people what to eat.

    “what is the definitive proof that this is a religious moral issue”

    Our religious tradition. If you don’t believe in that, we’re talking past each other.

    “if so please see r’ rapoprt book on judaism and homosexuality – he is no lwmo.”

    Well, he saw the need to write a book on it. I don’t.

  227. ephraim -” In sum, I think a homosexual is no different than any hetrosexual who must struggle with avoiding sexual unions which the Torah forbids.”

    yet the other examples all have an outlet for sexual activity. so is it really analogous?

    “..it has never been suggested or implied in traditional sources that the prohibition of homosexuality be limited to those cases where it impinges on one value or the other. it is undeniably the case that homosexual PRACTICES when fostered by a married man or explored by a hetrosexual single stand in the way of the realization of the primary values of the family unit and procreation that the torah seeks to promote.”

  228. nahum -““what is the definitive proof that this is a religious moral issue”

    Our religious tradition. If you don’t believe in that, we’re talking past each other.”

    just looking for the sources – not arguing otherwise (as yet). i would think if its clear cut and dry you will follow with sources that are not disputed. i am an am haaretz so point the way. i just think it may not be so simple and definitive (even though we may have been taught this way when we were younger).

    it will depend how you deal with to’evah – as the opposite or contradiction of piru u’revu

  229. I actually think my wife would be upset if I told her I was a heterosexual:

    Hesh: I’m a heterosexual.

    Hesh’s wife: Which means?

    Hesh: I’m attracted to women.

    Hesh’s wife: WHO ARE THEY????

    Not that Hesh’s wife would actually say this, but it speaks to the broader point that the Torah asks to follow a “higher authority” when it comes to sexual behavior than a simple psychological definition of “sexuality”, whatever that means.

  230. rafael – ” those who will push more and more for complete acceptance of homosexuality in the near future.”
    what is your solution on a community level to the issue of orthodox homosexuality – the closet?

    ruvie – I expected such a response. Why do liberals, of whatever religious allegiance, always raise the closet or nothing as the two possibilities? Tell me – if its between the closet and open and flagrant violation of a Torah prohibition, which do you choose?

    “yet the other examples all have an outlet for sexual activity. so is it really analogous”

    Ruvie – you see I predicted your response before you made it 🙂 I’m just psychic.

  231. “If they hired a prostitute to relieve themselves of their sexual tension or just feel another warm body next to theirs, who would blame them, honestly? Maybe God, maybe not. But would you judge them”

    Let them do what they want. However, don’t make it into public Torah policy, contrary to an issur d’oraisa.

  232. Aren’t you folks tired of talking about gay people, the orthodox credentials of random people, and who is or isn’t in some box you’d like to label them with?

  233. nahum – “And why should we care what “secular morality” says anyway? “Secular morality” says it’s wrong to tell people what to eat.”

    i assume there should be a ? at the end. no, its a chok and not a moral issue – or do i misunderstand your comment?

    “Who is to say that “secular morality” is anything but immorality (or amorality)? ”
    rav moshe on homosexuality – its an affront to humanity – all the nations consider it an abomination.
    its one of his arguments.

  234. rafael – are we having a discussion or acting like a child? oh well – i was looking for the sources from nahum on the morality issue and don’t understand how the article can switch from moral to religious without explanation. i guess its pashut to you.

    avi – it seems never – i try to respond to the arguments not the topic in general. it seems we are out the children phase. but please feel free top chirp in.

  235. should read – in childish phase – my error.

  236. “from moral to religious without explanation.”

    Sounds like the difference between “logical mitzvot” and “chukim”

    I wonder if a halacha in the past has ever shifted from “logical” to “Chok” over the years… Now THAT would be an interesting discussion! 🙂

  237. For clarity, I mean Mishpatim and Chukim.

  238. FWIW, I sat in on a very impresssive chaburah given by R Burnstein of Puah at RIETS’s Gruss Kollel which dealt with differentiating different kinds of marehs at various stages of Hilcos Nidah ( hefsek taharah, Shivah nekiyiim, etc). I don’t how know how many other mosdos give chaburos and provide shimush in such an an important area of Halacha.

  239. Avi – don’t forget eidut. The categories are simplifications in end and not all the time clear cut in which mitzvot go where. Also, depends how you categorize them: rational, logical or reason given.

  240. Ruvie, I’m not quite sure what you mean by eidut. However generally, Mishpatim are laws that could be derived in some way without revelation. Today we would call these Moral laws. Chukim are laws which would (could?) not be derived and are only given because of revelation. Today we would call those rituals or Religious laws.

    Clearly, in some people’s minds, at least one law(category?) has shifted from Mishpat to Chok in the past 20 years. My question is if any other laws in the past have as well, or if this concept of shifting would have to be proven in some way.

    Would sacrifices have been something which was an obvious mishpat to earlier generations but later generations would have to call Chok?

  241. Lawrence Kaplan

    For the Rambam –see the end of Hilkhot Meilah– all the laws of sacrifices are Hukkim.

  242. Reb Gil or anyone else – unrelated to news topics, but do you know why hebrewbooks.org is under construction. I am preparing a shiur and yesterday the site was up but today’s its not 🙁

  243. “They have been pushing forward for the past 12 years without any women speakers”
    i thought they did have female speakers in the past…

  244. “For the Rambam –see the end of Hilkhot Meilah– all the laws of sacrifices are Hukkim.”

    Well yes, he is a later generation, as is the Talmud for that matter. But were sacrifices for the generation of the desert maybe an obvious mishpat? Just throwing out the question.

  245. Nahum – ““what is your solution on a community level to the issue of orthodox homosexuality – the closet?”

    Well, Lordy, how did Judaism survive lo these four thousand years without a “solution” to this pressing issue?”

    Its obvious not about survival. What does a community do? Or do you want to throw them out of orthodoxy? Can we create space within Halacha and if so are we compromising ? Is it so hard to see that.? And if you are a rabbi, how do you approach the issue from a community and shul perspective ? Is there a middle ground between condemnation and total acceptablilty of an issur? And if so, how do you get there – especially if you believe it’s biological? Are these not fair questions to grapple with- worthy of reflection and debate?

  246. “i thought they did have female speakers in the past…”

    My information is based on this:

    http://lifeinisrael.blogspot.com/2012/01/machon-puah-responds-to-attack.html

  247. R. Farber appears to mean only that it is not a “moral” issue in the sense that it is bein adam lamakom and not l’chaveiro, and that we should therefore reserve our moralizing for sins in the latter category.

    Yes, the idea that Biblical religion differentiated between religion and morality is hard to support. Nonetheless, clearly by the time of the Nevi’im there was strong criticism directed to those whose piety did not extend to how they treated their fellow person.

  248. The resolution of a case we’ve discussed here, that had some nuanced details I don’t remember from the previous reports:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/12/us/supreme-court-recognizes-religious-exception-to-job-discrimination-laws.html

    “Ms. Perich had taught mostly secular subjects but also taught religion classes and attended chapel with her class.

    ‘It is true that her religious duties consumed only 45 minutes of each workday,’ Chief Justice Roberts wrote, ‘and that the rest of her day was devoted to teaching secular subjects.’

    ‘The issue before us, however, is not one that can be resolved with a stopwatch,’ he wrote.”

  249. MJ wrote:

    “R. Farber appears to mean only that it is not a “moral” issue in the sense that it is bein adam lamakom and not l’chaveiro, and that we should therefore reserve our moralizing for sins in the latter category.”

    Why should we make such a delineation, and where is such an idea rooted in Tanach, Chazal, and Rishonim? Whatever happened to Kedoshim Tehiyu and Avizurahu D Arayos?

  250. MJ wrote in part:

    ” Nonetheless, clearly by the time of the Nevi’im there was strong criticism directed to those whose piety did not extend to how they treated their fellow person”

    One could argue that many of the ideas in the Neviim were set forth to explicate many Torah laws- for example, see Ramabam Hilcos Shabbos 30:1.

  251. The link in question mentioned:

    “Jerusalem – The letter released yesterday by the Eida HaChareidis that was signed by the leading Rabbis of the Eida Chareidis caused some serious consternation among Bnei Torah throughout the world. VIN News asked Rabbi Yair Hoffman to reach out to his contacts within the Eida Chareidis to verify the accuracy of the Kol Koreh and to see what is behind it.

    Firstly, it should be noted that the letter is authentic, and all the Rabbonim whose signatures appear on the letter were contacted. This being said, as in numerous letters that are issued by organizations –certain requests made by Rabbonim for paragraphs and or clauses to be removed – were not honored and their signatures were appended to this version, nonetheless”

    Given what we know about how, why, and the means by which pashkvilim are disseminated-what is the basis for the conclusion that the same is “authentic”, as opposed to being photoshopped or worse? The link in question made no reference to signatures on an original document or any other proof, other than a reference to the poster and an unsupported claim that the signatures were authentic. How about some additional proof?

  252. ““i thought they did have female speakers in the past…”

    My information is based on this:

    http://lifeinisrael.blogspot.com/2012/01/machon-puah-responds-to-attack.html

    Avi, my information was based on articles that I can’t find at the moment. But I find it hard to believe the head of pua says it was X way before and that’s false, so I accept that. It could be the other articles were also based on truth in that this conference has always been male speakers only, but pua has other conferences where women can speak. Anyway, bah, it’s a sad commentary on the state of affairs that men won’t come if women speak…

  253. “Ashdod Rabbi Yosef Scheinen has apparently not heard of Major-General Orna Barbivai, late Deputy Inspector General Ahuva Tomer and the Israel Air Force’s five new female pilots and navigators – otherwise it would be difficult to explain his remarks on womanhood.

    The rabbi stirred a row Tuesday during a change of command ceremony at the city’s police station, when he said that women cannot be in charge of a police station as this was a ‘masculine role’.

    After the ceremony he explained, ‘God created women gentle.'”

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4174006,00.html

  254. Avi – eidut see ramban on devarim 6:20
    כ כי-ישאלך בנך מחר לאמר מה העדת והחקים והמשפטים אשר צוה יהוה אלהינו אתכם:
    There are 3 categories – matzah, Shabbat, Tefilin, mezuzah are all eidut according to ramban. You would have not known without revelation but ether are rational and given meaning to by the Torah as testimony of hashem’s wonders he did for us.

  255. And from בחדרי חרדים: http://www.bhol.co.il/article.aspx?id=36655&cat=1&scat=1

    My editorial comment is that here we see the standard apologetics, mouthed by so many, come home to roost (penultimate paragraph).

  256. Ruvie wrote:

    “There are 3 categories – matzah, Shabbat, Tefilin, mezuzah are all eidut according to ramban. ”

    The above is a correct paraphrasing of the Ramban at Devarim 6:20, because the performance of these actions which are rooted in their being a Zecer, to HaShem’s wonders serves as testimony in them. I would add that Acilas Matzah, Kiddush on Shabbas and Kvias Mzuzah all require a Birkas HaMitzvah because our performance of the same are actions which illustrate that we were commanded to do so, not becuase of any rational basis to do so. See also Ramban’s definition of Chukim and Mishpatim therein.

  257. “I wonder if a halacha in the past has ever shifted from “logical” to “Chok” over the years… Now THAT would be an interesting discussion! :)” -avi
    similar questions raised in http://text.rcarabbis.org/our-writers-respond-chukim-mishpatim-and-a-framework-for-the-rabbah-debate-a-response-to-rabbis-rothstein-and-helfgot/.

  258. MiMedinat HaYam

    Nachum on January 11, 2012 at 9:32 am
    ” … Wow. Even as they’re being sent to the back of the bus, they’re not even fit to be talked to.”

    actually, as r gil notes above, they dont know / are afraid to say anything, even thank you. it goes both ways. both ways screwed up.

    2. dont worry about machon puah, they will be changing their name next week from a female name to a male name, to appease the charedim. (they are /supposedly/ a MO / DL org that gained trust of charedim (obviously due to the nature of their work.)

    though some may argue a close (rashbam type) reading of this week’s parsha does not necessarily mean the name is feminine.

    nevertheless, rashi is considered basic torah (though you do not have to necessarily agree with the rashi.)

  259. Ih-I agree that the comments had no bearing on the ceremony at hand. Yet, one cannot deny the fact that the penultimate paragraph merely stated what any Bas Mitzvah knows.

  260. “How many of your students have been inspired to make a siyum on any portion of Torah Shebicsav ”
    Tangential question siyyum on part of Torah shebechtav

  261. abba's rantings

    MYCROFT:

    “Tangential question siyyum on part of Torah shebechtav”

    you can make a siyyum if you learn a sefer of tanach be-iyun

  262. abba's rantings

    AVI:

    “Aren’t you folks tired of talking about gay people, the orthodox credentials of random people, and who is or isn’t in some box you’d like to label them with”

    yes

  263. Nahum – nu… Some sources that morality is a slam dunk no question asked issue of homosexuality. Is that morality a Jewish one or humanity? The question is also what category does this act fall into – mishpat or chok – that may give a clue to the morality issue.
    See bavli yom a 67b. Are all sexual relations illicit or not in the same boat? Are there differences between illicit relations that some wil be in mishpatim – cohabitating with your neighbor’s wife – and others chukim?arenthere sexual relations unique to am yisrael and those for all humanity- and how do we differentiate between them ? ( see rambam’s shomeneh perakim. And are all illicit sexual relations in the no achieve law ipso facto moral ones? It seems many do not think so. Just because one can give logical rationale to chukim do not make them automatically a moral imperative.

  264. A friend of mine had a funny letter (as is his wont) in the Jerusalem Post: If they don’t want women to speak at the conference…wait until they find out what male gynecologists do for a living!”

    (For the record, both the Rambam and Ramban were gynecologists.)

  265. “yet the other examples all have an outlet for sexual activity. so is it really analogous? ”

    If sexual intercourse is the be-all and end-all. I thought love was.

    “it will depend how you deal with to’evah ”

    As Rush Limbaugh (who, by the way, seldom speaks of religious or “moral” issues) is fond of saying, the Left does not seem to realize that *words have meaning*. (That is, indeed, the whole philosophy of Derrida, etc.) “Toevah” means “toevah.” What’s so difficult?

    “Its obvious not about survival. What does a community do? Or do you want to throw them out of orthodoxy? Can we create space within Halacha and if so are we compromising ? Is it so hard to see that.? And if you are a rabbi, how do you approach the issue from a community and shul perspective ? Is there a middle ground between condemnation and total acceptablilty of an issur? And if so, how do you get there – especially if you believe it’s biological? Are these not fair questions to grapple with- worthy of reflection and debate?”

    My question was, simply, how Judaism got along all these years (presumably people had homosexual inclinations before 1963, Philip Larkin notwithstanding) without such policies, approaches, reflections, debates, and “middle grounds.”

    Speaking of 1963, the decline in family life since then would seem to prove that these matters are not, in fact, chukim. See what The Atlantic (and even Candance Bergen!) said about Dan Quayle once the furor had died down (and Bush was safely out of office, if I can be cyical).

    Maybe it’s just because I’m conservative, but I think it boils down to a belief that not everything new is good. (The twentieth century is a good proof of same.) Acceptance of homosexuality (which is limited anyway) is very, very new.

  266. Why should we make such a delineation, and where is such an idea rooted in Tanach, Chazal, and Rishonim? Whatever happened to Kedoshim Tehiyu and Avizurahu D Arayos?

    The delineation between those two categories of mitzvot is pretty clear in the nevi’im and chazal. I think its reasonable to claim that as a matter of public discourse we should direct communal efforts to eradicating the socially destructive effects that come from laxity in mitzvot bein adam l’chaveiro and leave the others as between man and God. I don’t see the relatively small number of men who live with other men in long term relationships as socially destructive to the MO Jewish community any more than people who drive to shul or only keep kosher at home.

    I think the “keep it in the closet” and out of my face response is a complete cop out. It says that not only do we not have a theologically satisfying answer, if you want to act in a socially responsible way by entering a monogamous relationship, we would rather you leave the community altogether.

  267. My question was, simply, how Judaism got along all these years (presumably people had homosexual inclinations before 1963, Philip Larkin notwithstanding) without such policies, approaches, reflections, debates, and “middle grounds.”

    I’d like to hear your own answer, and how that answer is relevant for today.

    Acceptance of homosexuality (which is limited anyway) is very, very new.

    Therefore you don’t have to deal with it? You can decide not to accept it and all the problems go away? This is magical thinking right up there with “it can’t be biological because God wouldn’t create people who couldn’t be happy living in the yeshiva velt.”

  268. “As Rush Limbaugh (who, by the way, seldom speaks of religious or “moral” issues) is fond of saying, the Left does not seem to realize that *words have meaning*. (That is, indeed, the whole philosophy of Derrida, etc.) “Toevah” means “toevah.” What’s so difficult?”

    Nachum, don’t talk about things you know nothing about. As anyone who has paid any marginal attention to language can tell you, words DO NOT have inherent meanings. There are a number of different theories of meaning out there, but NONE of them allow “‘Toevah’ means ‘toevah'” to make any sense at all. Indeed, the completely elementary observation that words do not have inherent meaning was made LONG before Derrida – in fact, it was made by Cratylus, who preceded Plato.

    What just about every theory of meaning has determined is that a word’s meaning is tied to its *use*. Since the use of the word “to’evah” today is, necessarily, far removed from its use in Biblical times, there is a difficult, and likely insoluble, interpretive question regarding those portions of Tanakh that use it. So that is, in fact, what’s so difficult.

    I strongly recommend you find a better source for political arguments than Rush get-married-four-times-then-rant-about-the-sanctity-of-marriage Limbaugh.

  269. ” Acceptance of homosexuality (which is limited anyway) is very, very new.”

    But that is because of new information. (i.e. maybe it’s biological)

    “similar questions raised in http://text.rcarabbis.org/our-writers-respond-chukim-mishpatim-and-a-framework-for-the-rabbah-debate-a-response-to-rabbis-rothstein-and-helfgot/.”

    Emma, thanks for the link. The only mitzvah that I see mentioned which might actually have shifted is “Kashrut”. But did that shift ever actually happen or was that just the am-haretz assumption based on non-Jewish assumptions?
    While we can speculate about slavery, sacrifices, and Amalek, are there any mitzvot which have clearly shifted since say, the time of the Gaonim or Rambam?

  270. Wow, there’s a lot of hatred out there. Last things first: You may not have noted my parenthetical comment that Rush Limbaugh rarely discusses “social” issues. You’ve probably never listened to him. Regardless, if someone tells the truth, you take it. And this is undoubtedly true. “Toevah” clearly means “something very, very bad” in context. That no one thought to challenge this until, oh, 1990 or so is very telling. You can rattle off all the Greek philosophers you want, but the sky remains blue no matter how much you try to twist language.

    MJ, what makes you think that homosexuality isn’t a bein adam l’chavero issue? I think of Asimov’s “zeroeth law” here as well.

    How did Judaism get along all these years? I personally believe (thoughtcrime ahead!) that there wasn’t as much homosexuality, in the sense that people were not defined as “homosexuals.” Those who liked engaging in such acts seem to have been comfortable being more bisexual. And those precious few who may have had a strong and sole desire for the same sex felt they were sinning and, perhaps, confided in a spiritual guide. They didn’t issue public statements, internet or no.

    My belief that lots of the to-do (thoughtcrime ahead!) is artificially created has a lot to with my ideas about your second question. Short answer, yeah.

  271. Regarding Toevah, I don’t quite understand why it’s not possible to derive it’s meaning from tanach? The word is used in many situations ranging from cheating in business, eating certain foods, to sexual immorality.

    Certainly people can figure out a link that connects all those situations. Also we are lucky that Hebrew has root words which mean precise things. This link for example makes a very good case that “Toevah” means “Taboo” or more accurately, things which are not allowed for you to do even though other people do it.

    http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/sexandgender/2826/does_the_bible_really_call_homosexuality_an_%E2%80%9Cabomination%E2%80%9D

    Another translation which has the same vain is “”that which we find morally outrageous about other cultures” http://alberich10.blogspot.com/2006/01/abortion-and-toevah.html

    Seems very uncomplicated to me.

  272. “Toevah” clearly means “something very, very bad”

    Or it means something “taboo” which is itself a word that defies translation. In any event, the word Toeva does not translate into a halakhic/legal category so its relevance seems limited. The fact that one issur is called toeva, or zima or sheketz or chamas, and another is not means what? We don’t know.

    MJ, what makes you think that homosexuality isn’t a bein adam l’chavero issue? I think of Asimov’s “zeroeth law” here as well.

    Because it’s not. I’m sorry did Asimov now invent ahalakhic category called “harm to humanity writ large?” if so, how does it relate to homosexuality.

    I personally believe (thoughtcrime ahead!) that there wasn’t as much homosexuality, in the sense that people were not defined as “homosexuals.”

    Right. Nor were people defined as heterosexuals. Therefore what?

    Those who liked engaging in such acts seem to have been comfortable being more bisexual.

    How could you possibly know this?

    Short answer, yeah.

    Yeah, you don’t have to deal with it because you’re not gay. Shkoach. Problem solved.

  273. ” but the sky remains blue no matter how much you try to twist language.”

    I hate it when people try to use this as an example. Today, the sky is grey. Tonight it will be pink and purple. Later it will be black. Sometimes, when its really bright out, the sky looks outright white. When I look towards the city, the sky is yellow. The only color I think I haven’t seen the sky is green.

  274. This link for example makes a very good case that “Toevah” means “Taboo” or more accurately, things which are not allowed for you to do even though other people do it.

    The word Taboo comes from pacific islanders who used it to refer to classes of prohibited social behaviors. They apparently had no understanding why these behaviors were prohibited, other than the fact that they were “Taboo”. The definition is therefore a closed circle. Using it as a translation of Toeva is meaningless, except from the outside perspective of an anthropologist whose sees these cultural practices as being roughly equivalent and uses the term in that sense. How could the term then inform our reaction to homosexuality?

  275. “The word Taboo comes from pacific islanders who used it to refer to classes of prohibited ”

    That is discussed in the article. Taboo in the language of pacific islanders has a different meaning that the word as used in American society. According to Wikipeida:
    “A taboo is a strong social prohibition (or ban) relating to any area of human activity or social custom that is sacred and or forbidden based on moral judgment, religious beliefs and or scientific consensus. Breaking the taboo is usually considered objectionable or abhorrent by society. ”
    Or if you want a more formal meaning..
    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/taboo

    As for homosexuality, I’m a bit tired of discussing it, so I’m not going to respond to that. Let people respond to a halachic Taboo as they wish to respond.

  276. OK Avi, so what light does using the word “Taboo” shed on the exact meaning of Toeva? None.

  277. “OK Avi, so what light does using the word “Taboo” shed on the exact meaning of Toeva? None.”

    Huh? How does it not shed any light? Toeva is something which other cultures do, which Jews do not. How does that not shed any light on the subject?

    Personally, I think it speaks strongly as to the non-Jewish influence of mercantile practices onto Jews, and to the spread of Jewish practice to non-Jews. If false weights are labeled as Toeva and not Chamas, that tells us something very interesting IMO. It means that (as we know from the Talmud) the non Jewish world was in the habit of falsifying weights and “let the buyer beware.” We see how in some areas during the time of the Talmud, many Jews picked up this practice as well. We also see, that as Jews were major trading partners throughout the western world, the practice went away, showing profound influence of Jewish thought on the non-Jewish world over time.

    If Chamas was used to describe this instead of Toeva, it would just seem natural and no greater lesson could be learned.

  278. To correct my previous comment: The difference in translating Toevah as Taboo instead of Abomination, which I think I mistakenly confused with the meaning of Chamas as well. I think the word I was looking for was sheketz.

  279. “The survey’s respondents were also asked about the way to handle acts of violence by haredi extremists.

    Thirty-seven percent said the ultra-Orthodox society does not wish to deal with them, 33% said it was incapable of dealing with them, 4% believe it is dealing with them properly, and 26% said the Israel Police was responsible to deal with them rather than the haredim. The rest (3%) had no opinion on the matter.

    An analysis of the findings shows that most haredim (62.5%) view the police as responsible for dealing with the extremists. ”

    The most common answers in other sectors were that the haredi society avoids dealing with its extremists (44% of seculars) and that it is incapable of dealing with them (34% and 42% of traditional and religious Jews, respectively

  280. Fascinating video from recent kashrus conference with lively discussion about Reb Moshe’s shitta on chalav stam:
    http://matzav.com/video-cholov-akum-nowadays

  281. Nahum- “If sexual intercourse is the be-all and end-all. I thought love was.”
    Love is 19th century romantic notion – has nothing to do with Judaism ( foreign concept). Said by r’ steinsaltz to 400 singles at Friday night davening many years ago in manhattan. He said klal yisrael need children not love. I guess pru u’revu is the purpose of sexual intercourse and maybe one of the underpinnings of why the homosexual act is a to’evah ( but maybe only for heterosexuals – not sure about that).

  282. “My question was, simply, how Judaism got along all these years”

    Nahum – same can be said of slavery, progenitor, polygamy, concubines, women not leaving the house and status in society, and probably many other things we no longer think are acceptable ( too early to flesh them all at but you can come up with your own list). Therefore, your point is what…?

  283. Nahum- “Toevah” clearly means “something very, very bad”

    See nedarim 51a also rashi there on the gemera. The Talmud seems to believe that the word is a notarikon for foeh ata bah – you go astray . What that means is debatable – see ran, tosafot, rosh etc. when I made my comment originally I had no idea how complicated the morality side of the issue is. Also, found the view of the chatam sofer on incest also bewildering – the prohibition of incest is based on the ” mysteries of the Torah” – fascinating that he labels is a chok – a calls bevel the reasons given by philosophers).

  284. “Love is 19th century romantic notion – has nothing to do with Judaism ( foreign concept). ”

    I really wish I could find the source of what I heard on the radio once. However, the main thing they were saying was that during the 19th century there were people who were arguing that marrying for love was a terrible idea. It would lead to increased divorce, cause many children to be born out of wedlock, and lead to forbidden marriages.

    The people at the time said that those were silly slippery slope arguments, and they obviously lost the debate. But it’s interesting how when proven correct, nobody “cares” anymore. The horse has left the barn and nobody wants to bring it back.

  285. Correction: toeh ata bah

  286. “Also, found the view of the chatam sofer on incest also bewildering – the prohibition of incest is based on the ” mysteries of the Torah” ”

    That is really amazing. Anybody know when they discovered that siblings getting married caused genetic diseases?

    This would appear to be a situation of a mitzvah switching categories from chok to mishpat.

  287. Well, marrying siblings was very accepted in the ancient world, at least among kings. As a professor of mine pointed out, the depictions of Egyptian royalty aren’t off- they really looked that freaky. Dozens of generations of marrying your sister will do that. (European royals of five hundred years ago got that way just from marrying cousins.)

    “Love is 19th century romantic notion – has nothing to do with Judaism ( foreign concept).”

    This is a common trope among post-modernists. It’s utter nonsense. It’s like these people have never cracked open a Tanach or Shakespeare. (R’ Steinsaltz has written a whole *volume* on love in Tanach, for goshsakes.)

    “but maybe only for heterosexuals – not sure about that”

    If you’re going to talk about modern inventions, the concept of “heterosexuals” is a pretty obvious one. It’s certainly not a Jewish concept. Oscar Wilde was not a “homosexual” in the modern sense- he was a human who liked to engage in sexual acts with men. (And had two kids with a wife he very much loved and like to engage in sexual acts with as well. Go figure.)

    “slavery, progenitor, polygamy, concubines, women not leaving the house and status in society,”

    None of which are required by Jewish law. Abstaining from homosexual acts is.

    Oh, and the sky being blue? Of course it is. Come on.

  288. Sorry, Oscar Wilde was a man. And a human.

  289. Looks like the idea of incest being wrong for genetic reasons wasn’t around till 1900. Anyone know the logic of the philosphers that the Chatam Sofer was rejecting?

  290. Avi – see ketubot 7b in chatan sofer commentary – mahadura batra. He seems to be commenting to rambam, Sefer chinch- mitzvah 190 and Ibn Ezra – immediate relatives like a sister are readily available and live close to each other- same house- and thos would provide for an opportunity for over indulgence in libidinal pleasure – I don’t get it. See ramban critique of this as well on vayikra 18:6. Also saadya has a different reason. Also, the maharsha points out issues and problems to giving rationales to the prohibition of incest.

  291. Nahum – ” It’s utter nonsense.”. – sorry it seems I left out an important word. Marrying for love is a 19 th century notion and a foreign non Jewish concept. My error for not being clearer. Btw, the word אהבה- may not have the same meaning in the bible as it does in modern Hebrew. But I assume you know that.

  292. Nahum -“None of which are required by Jewish law. Abstaining from homosexual acts is.”

    Good point.. Especially since it is a gezarat hakatuv. can’t think of any biblical issurs that we ignore off hand. But teaching women Torah she pel peh is Talmudic – till we explain it away.

  293. Ah! *Marrying* for love. Well, people certainly did that before the 19th Century as well. If anything, it diminished then and then reappeared.

    Women learning Torah…good point there! Not exactly d’oryata, but hey.

  294. “Ah! *Marrying* for love. Well, people certainly did that before the 19th Century as well. If anything, it diminished then and then reappeared.”

    I don’t believe you are correct.

    http://www.stephaniecoontz.com/books/marriage/chapter1.htm

  295. ” can’t think of any biblical issurs that we ignore off hand.”

    Don’t eat meat near Jerusalem unless you are giving a sacrifice, and don’t add or subtract to the Torah, are two that bother me.

    You likely won’t know about the first one, because our tradition has learned for that to only apply to animals designated for Karbanot in the first place.

  296. Maybe it’s just because I’m conservative, but I think it boils down to a belief that not everything new is good. (The twentieth century is a good proof of same.) Acceptance of homosexuality (which is limited anyway) is very, very new.

    So is acceptance for minorities, including Jews, very new. Not to mention women.

    Nachum’s comment, though, strikes at the nub of why we keep going around and around here: the conflation of politics, morality, theology, halacha.

    For those who believe there is no distinction among these there is nothing to discuss; and for the rest of us, we need to delineate among these if we’re trying to have a conversation in which we try to articulate our point of view to others (rather than just venting).

  297. ” Campaign to destroy Puah is part of a cultural war between the Jewish people and the State of Israel”

    Where is this idiocy coming from? Are the people protesting against Puah not Jews?

  298. Avi — perhaps it starts with Puah’s response? I read the Hebrew version in e-mail, but I now see the response in both Hebrew and English translation can be seen at http://lifeinisrael.blogspot.com/2012/01/machon-puah-responds-to-attack.html

  299. IH, that article was written by the director of Puah. Regardless of the correctness of the pressure he is getting to cancel, or the response to the announcement of the women’s conference, the State of Israel is run by the Jewish People. The pressure he is getting, both good and bad are from Jews. The idea that there can be a war between the State of Israel and the Jewish people today is pure idiocy.

    Maybe if Puah would have women speakers, it would force the Charedim to find reasons to allow women speakers, since the conferences are so important? Maybe creating a situation which makes Haredim happy but the majority of the Jewish people unhappy is the war on the Jewish people by the Charedim?

    Maybe the headline should really be, “Campaign to keep Puah’s status quo is part of the cultural war between the Haredim and the Jewish People”?

  300. Avi — it seems to me the director of Puah is raising the cultural war issue in his response, which is why I answered your question using it.

  301. IH, the link you posted he says very reasonable things, for a person trying to give their side of a story and win “hearts and minds”.

    “But there are people for whom unity among Israel bothers them. They are not prepared that we should “fold” to the haredi public. They interpret this desire as weakness. So they fight against us.”

    “The attack was organized well by publicists: They approached all…”

    “Yes! Machone PUAH symbolizes life and the continuation of life of the nation of Israel and there are those who wish to destory all it symbolizes.”

    There are “some people”, “publicists”, “enemies of the nation of Israel”… All very nice rhetoric.

    In contrast to that headline which says the Jewish people are fighting the State of Israel.. which is complete idiocy.

  302. Concerning Puah, seems to me there are a couple of issues:
    (i) Religious freedom versus that this discriminates against female experts (both in terms of prestige and access to new business markets … do we really believe all these doctors are there without any financial motive of getting their name out there to a community that very much uses these services.)
    (ii)Whether the Israeli government should financially support an organization that discriminates against women, which Puah unapologetically does. Israel is not this year.
    (iii) Whether private associations can/ought penalize members from speaking at conferences that provide an advantage to some of its members at the expense of others. I think they can but not clear to me here why they ought, given the alternative is infertility and pain to some.
    (iv) Whether cutting Puah off completely from official resources is in the state interest. Not clear to me that this makes sense.
    (v) Whether Puah should change a policy that meets the demands of a minority of its members but is viewed as discriminatory by broader society. That is for Puah to decide and they have.

  303. to which I would add:

    (vi) Whether Puah should frame this controversy in the cloak of a “cultural war”, which it seems to have done in R. David’s letter.

  304. HAGTBG,

    PUAH has basically insinuated itself in Israel’s over-funded IVF program as the only way to have a child through IVF that is halakhicly certified as yours and not a potential source of mamzerut. They then turn to the government and say: look at how we facilitate the use of reproductive technologies, without us all these dati people would not, give us money.

    Nothing in Israel involving rabbis, the government, and the flow of large amounts of money is straightforward.

  305. “(i) Religious freedom versus that this discriminates against female experts (both in terms of prestige and access to new business markets … do we really believe all these doctors are there without any financial motive of getting their name out there to a community that very much uses these services.)”

    How is that affected by who does a presentation? Everyone who is qualified is allowed to attend (man or woman) They can network and share information, just not be the person who stands in front of the crowd.

    The rest makes sense though.

  306. “as the only way to have a child through IVF that is halakhicly certified as yours and not a potential source of mamzerut.”

    Maybe in some circles, but not in all religious circles.

  307. How is that affected by who does a presentation? Everyone who is qualified is allowed to attend (man or woman) They can network and share information, just not be the person who stands in front of the crowd.

    The people who are presented as the experts will be treated as the experts. Will you tell people to go to that random doctor you met in the hall or the expert doctor who was esteemed enough to be designated as a panelist to the the entire conference?

  308. abba's rantings

    “Fascinating video from recent kashrus conference with lively discussion about Reb Moshe’s shitta on chalav stam:
    http://matzav.com/video-cholov-akum-nowadays

    yes, a fascinating video. r. genack’s response was really great (starting at 39:50) and worth watching. he didn’t mince words in taking issue with the nirbater rav. especially when he proclaims that the story about rav moshe throwing up after mistakenly drinking cholov stam is “stupid” and anyone who beleives it is an “idiot”

    but just to note, the OU does have an OU-cholov yisroel hechsher.

    a question: r. genack (and r. belsky who followed) basically said that it would be irresponsible for a large kashrus org to insist on cholov yisroel because this would make it much more difficult for people to keep kosher. why not the same logic with non-glatt meat? or is cholov stam/cholov yisroel not analagous to non-glatt/glatt?

  309. abba's rantings

    RUVIE:

    “see ketubot 7b in chatan sofer commentary – mahadura batra. He seems to be commenting to rambam, Sefer chinch- mitzvah 190 and Ibn Ezra – immediate relatives like a sister are readily available and live close to each other- same house- and thos would provide for an opportunity for over indulgence in libidinal pleasure – I don’t get it.”

    there seems to be a related ibn ezra in this week’s parsha (2:1 “bas levi”) although i don’t understand it 100%

    wrt a comment above that ibn ezra has a lot of dikduk and really isn’t so simple, this week ibn ezra is particularly rich in dikduk comments. one who learns all the ibn ezras this week will learn an incredible amount of dikduk.

  310. “Will you tell people to go to that random doctor you met in the hall or the expert doctor who was esteemed enough to be designated as a panelist to the the entire conference?”

    Definitely not the panelist, they likely think too highly of themselves and will charge too much. They also tend to be the people doing the reading, and not the doing.

  311. Can someone clarify what is the prohibition for a man to hear/see an expert, who happens to be a woman, speak about medical issues?
    KT

  312. avi – see ibn ezra, yesod mora no. 7 – the nature and purpose of commandments

  313. Joel Rich: See the Story with Bruria (איזה ללוד) for an answer. These Chareidi Rabbis are trying to minimze hearing women, seeing women as most as possible. See also Derekh Pikudekha, Mitzvas Lo Taaseh 38 (שלא לבוא על א”א) how he bleeds over how the matzav has changed since Talmudical times, and how men must try to minimize contact with strange women whenever possible.

  314. abba's rantings

    RUVIE:

    do you like yesod hamora? i’m in the middle now. very interesting. i just discussed a few aspects with the translator.

  315. Lawrence Kaplan

    Yeedle: I always thought that Beruriah was being sarcastic. I know most mussar sefers think she was being serious.

  316. R’ Yeedle,
    OK, but I still would like to know the issur in this particular case (presumably “al tarbeh” implies a non-total exclusion, where would it be more appropriate than exchanging life saving/generating information?)
    KT

  317. avi- not that familiar and not on my current reading list in the next decade. that said sone can see many of ibn ezra’s philosophy in his commentaries. he is refreshing and similar to the rambam. that being said reasons for commandments esp. chukim that the medievalist try to explain is simply not productive of mental speculation for me. morality and ethics in the modern world seems a current theme to me.

  318. abba's rantings

    RUVIE:

    “not that familiar”

    well apparently familiar enought cite “yesod mora no. 7”!

    “he is refreshing and similar to the rambam”

    yes, yes, yes!

    (btw, i’m not avi)

  319. yeedle – “These Chareidi Rabbis are trying to minimze hearing women, seeing women as most as possible.’

    i think you should include writing that they exist. an example – my wife’s aunt passed away this past year. her husband was a well known rav (deceased) and author – beis yaakov/williamsburg and rav of the agudah shul) and in her obituary in hamodia (english israeli version i think) list her sons and sons in law – rav here ram there- but not one name or mention that she had 4 or 5 daughters. i guess pastnisht. where is that pedestal?

  320. I thought the issue about not hearing them speak or be in charge of anything has something to do with the argument why women can’t be rabbis. I.e. women can’t be “leaders” because of Kavod Kehila or something similar.

  321. abba's rantings

    RUVIE:

    “i think you should include writing that they exist”

    i’ve told this story before, but i’ll tell it again. a few years ago i was at a shiur and the (yemenite) rav was giving musar about separating the sexes, even for shabbos meals. someone asked him, “kevodo harav, but were women separated like this back in yemen?” the rabbi though for a second and responded, “in yemem there were no women.” and he continued on with the shiur.

  322. abba's rantings

    AVI:

    you are conflating issues of serara and kevod hatzibbur.

  323. abba – my apologies. but i jest in my knowledge. r’ rapoport’s book on homosexuality – an authentic orthodox view – has excellent and lengthy footnotes that i have quoted liberally from (as well as look many up). the credit is not mine.
    still waiting for someone to chirp in on the morality part. quite interesting on illicit sexual relation views – reasons that is – of the medievalists and others. when nahum made the comment i assume it would be cut dry and obvious to find the morality in it. like everything else is not so pashut. also, the fact that its part of the noachide code mean its automatically a moral or ethical based issur? are all noachide code laws based on morality only or exclusively?

  324. “Innovative New Chumash To Be Used By US Military”

    As a commenter at VIN pointed out, it seems that they were purchased by the Aleph institute, which is a Lubavitcher organization based in FL, not by the USG. Not surprisingly, the Lubavitcher org. preferred it, as it the product of a fellow Lubavitcher.

    The Chumash may be a good work, but they shouldn’t attempt to imply that it has the haskomo of the USG, to the exclusion of other similar products. I don’t know if VIN was duped into running it that way or if it was more like a paid advertorial.

  325. or is cholov stam/cholov yisroel not analagous to non-glatt/glatt?

    Chalav stam is derabanan, for one thing.

  326. reb harry m. on r’ farbers article: seems even handed –

    “This is not to say that there are no ameliorating circumstances in the eyes of God. Ultimately it is up to Him. But the sin is not forced upon him. It is committed willfully. A choice was made and as acknowledged by Rabbi Farber homosexual sex is still a sin explicitly forbidden by the Torah. Furthermore an attitude like this will certainly be seen by homosexuals as a virtual Heter for behavior.

    However in light of my understanding of the reality of the fixed nature of sexual proclivities – I do agree that there should be no social penalty for those who are attracted to members of the same sex even if we think they act on it. We are not God’s accountants. As long as they do not flaunt it as a lifestyle thereby turning an Aviera into a Mitzvah – we should not judge them.”

  327. “PUAH has basically insinuated itself in Israel’s over-funded IVF program as the only way to have a child through IVF that is halakhicly certified as yours and not a potential source of mamzerut.”

    From reading their weekly column in the OU’s Torah Tidbits, I almost get the feeling that they’ve created the issue. This is even more troubling if they benefit.

  328. MiMedinat HaYam

    ” because this would make it much more difficult for people to keep kosher. why not the same logic with non-glatt meat? or is cholov stam/cholov yisroel not analagous to non-glatt/glatt?”

    argument in israel for rabbanut hashgacha that (most of us) dont use.

    and sfardim must use “chalak”, though you should know that glaat is not really “chalak”, but rather “meat known as glatt in the united states” whatever that means. (it apparently means hashgacha temidit by shomer shabat person, no shabat violations, soaked and salted within 72 hours, i guess some sort of proper nikur that others here claim is not really required as completely as done here in the us, etc.)

    2. any definition of toeva must include its “distgusting” nature in the definition.

    i note r greenberg now claims it was an orthodox ceremony by an orthodox rabbi http://forward.com/articles/149114/?p=2

    3. romantic love of marrying for love is a 19th century (?victorian?) innovation, that existed to a (small) degree beforehand. (example of avot — yitzchak — not exactly, yaakov and rachel — yes, yaakov and others — no, avraham and keturah — not according to rashi.)

  329. abba's rantings

    MMY:

    “nd sfardim must use “chalak”, though you should know that glaat is not really “chalak””

    in the US chalak is marketed as “bet yosef” meat

    SHLOMO:

    “Chalav stam is derabanan, for one thing.”

    please clarify.
    one interesting thing that r. genack mentioned is that chadash is much more important than cholov yisroel (iirc because of deoraysa vs. derabanan issues). i think he said he personally keeps CY so his kids will eat in his house but that he is machmir with chadash on principle.

  330. R. Genack doesn’t keep chalav yisrael in general. I used to share the chalav stam samples he received, as we were among the few in the office who would eat them.

  331. abba's rantings

    GIL:

    i meant to write that he keeps it personally at home only, but chadash alwasy. i think he mentions the non-CY samples in the video as well.

  332. MiMedinat HaYam

    abba — extend my definition of glatt to : “meat marketed as bet yosef in the united states”.

    actually, i guess the definition should not limit to the us, but to all over the world (dont know about israel).

    as for the name you mention — i was at a political fund raiser once where i took upon myself to tell the rabbi’s children (hopefully, they told their father) what cakes they could and could not eat (irrespective of chaddash) due to the nature of the caterer and my having arrived much earlier and clarified. (the hors doureves were not “marketed in america as glatt”, with many of the issues mentioned.)

    does he insist on CY at touro? (RMF’s heter for chalav stam does not apply to educational institutions. see end of the first of the tshuvot.)

  333. MiMedinat HaYam

    conservative women rabbis: “I still feel uncomfortable wearing tefillin,” Rabbi Peretz said. “All my images of people wearing tefillin still are male images. No matter how I put my tefillin on, they always seem to fall off. The whole idea of being girded in leather feels very male. And also, like anybody else, I’m concerned about how I’ll look for the rest of the day. I want to look professional, and tefillin always flatten my hair.”

    they fall off? girded in leather? feel male? flatten my hair?

    or not interested in mitzvot / ritual?

    “Synagogues often don’t want to hire younger women – they might have children! – but they don’t want older women either, Rabbi Suskin continued. “You can’t be sexy – but you must be sexy. It’s a double bind – if you’re young you might come across as too flirty; if you’re motherly you’re not sexy enough. You’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t. But – that wasn’t my experience.”

    same pblm O women face in the general job marketplace.

    2. teaneck high school — i actually advocate such a move, but a: it wouldnt work out, and b: teaneck is not the place.

    the school board obviously fears competition from the nearby charter school movement, and wants to prevent it from encroaching on their high school.

    let the O crowd out the open house, then await an offer from the school board to (partially, but substantially) subsidize MO schools (as a cost effective, politiczlly expedient move, subject to certain restrictions.). let the lawyers / politicians work out the (supposed) first amendment issues. its a canard, and never been really litigated. anticipzte a ten year legal battle, but start the legal battle now, so our grandchildren can benefit.

    (by the way, school boards already subsidize tuition at out of district schools for certain reasons. and r gil already mentioned that all teanecks yeshivot are located out of the city limits for certain reasons.)

  334. It seems to me that the director of an organization that aims to be helpful to people and is dependent on the good will of the medical profession and general public should not be issuing a highly polemic and inflammatory essay. The headline about how there is a cultural war between the Jewish people and the ‘state’ is taken from this sentence in the text. “The current battle is no less than a cultural war between the Jewish people and the State..”. It would seem that R’Burstein is more interested in cozying up to his Hareidi rabbinic audience than to the professional medical people who are key elements in the enterprise. If he was, instead, reacting out of anger to the flak received from his policy of excluding women speakers, that is equally irresponsible for someone in his position.

  335. “I used to share the chalav stam samples he received, as we were among the few in the office who would eat them.”

    That’s kind of troubling on a few levels.

  336. It seems to me that the director of an organization that aims to be helpful to people and is dependent on the good will of the medical profession and general public should not be issuing a highly polemic and inflammatory essay. The headline about how there is a cultural war between the Jewish people and the ‘state’ is taken from this sentence in the text. “The current battle is no less than a cultural war between the Jewish people and the State..”. It would seem that R’Burstein is more interested in cozying up to his Hareidi rabbinic audience than to the professional medical people who are key elements in the enterprise. If he was, instead, reacting out of anger to the flak received from his policy of excluding women speakers, that is equally irresponsible for someone in his position. Sad to say, it appears from the article that he may be more interested in expanding the Hareidi population and power than in concern about infertile couples in distress.

  337. Sorry about that second post. It does have an additional line, but was basically issued because I believed that the 1st didn’t go through.

  338. abba's rantings

    MMY:

    “the school board obviously fears competition from the nearby charter school movement, and wants to prevent it from encroaching on their high school.”

    1) the hebrew charter schools so far are all focused on elementary school.
    2) in any case, i don’t think teaneck hs or es is has to be worried about losing students to a charter school.

  339. conservative women rabbis: “I still feel uncomfortable wearing tefillin,” Rabbi Peretz said. “All my images of people wearing tefillin still are male images. No matter how I put my tefillin on, they always seem to fall off. The whole idea of being girded in leather feels very male. And also, like anybody else, I’m concerned about how I’ll look for the rest of the day. I want to look professional, and tefillin always flatten my hair”

    Lol! Leonard Nimoy and the greasy velt of the LWMO disagree.

  340. Joel Rich: “OK, but I still would like to know the issur in this particular case”

    I don’t think that they think there’s a particular issue here, they just apply the general rule of minimizing contact with women.

    ” (presumably “al tarbeh” implies a non-total exclusion, where would it be more appropriate than exchanging life saving/generating information?)”

    If there can be male presenters why would they need females (besides for not offending them)?

    As an afterthought, and I think this has been mentioned above by Avi and incorrectly refuted by Abba, there’s the issue of Kevod Hatzibur. Just like there’s a Halakhah that women may not get an aliya, or that women shouldn’t be Shlihot tzibur. This has nothing with Serarah, but with the Talmudic view that women appearing before men is not kevod hatzibur.

    Prof. Kaplan: “I always thought that Beruriah was being sarcastic.”

    Is the statement אל תרבה שיחה עם אשה sarcastic? IIRC this is what Bruriah said.

  341. “ll teanecks yeshivot are located out of the city limits for certain reasons.”

    Just true about teh elementary schools. there are 2 yeshiva high schools in Teaneck.. As for reasons, I don’t recall Gil ever suggesting any and I doubt that any of us know any reasons.. My guess (no more than that) is that it was a question of what facilities were available at the time, but who knows?

  342. Re Puah. And what if the Chareidim say next year that they don’t want women to attend at all because it’s not tzniusdik? A few years ago I would have thought this a purely hypothetical question, but in light of segregated buses, separate sidewalks, no pictures of women etc. etc. I don’t think it’s improbable. Keeping women experts out of presentations is outrageous and his over the top hysterical article is a blemish on an organization that, as far as I know, had a stellar reputation until this issue has erupted. But I guess we should be grateful that at least until now they let women attend. So maybe we should be quiet and teh Chareidim won’t make any further demands to kow tow to.

  343. 5:19 was me.

  344. As was 5:25. (It’s been corrected.)

  345. Re Hebrew pronounciation-I’ve always found it interesting that modern Zionism adapted Havarah Sefardit which is comparatively closer to how they pronounced in Bavel while Shkenazis was closer to pronounciation in Israel.

  346. “a question: r. genack (and r. belsky who followed) basically said that it would be irresponsible for a large kashrus org to insist on cholov yisroel because this would make it much more difficult for people to keep kosher. why not the same logic with non-glatt meat?”

    The Rav believed in non glatt-Morrison&Schiff was non glatt.

  347. Re
    “The Jewish Imperative For Child Adoption”

    Of course the kids will generally be converted and then be told like all other converts who converted decades later prove your converted properly. There is agreat amount of onaas hager around.

    I recently was informed about the following scenario-someone apparently was converted close to 50 years ago-judging by the name before converted which seems a classical Jewish name it is likely they were brought up Jewish but an Orthodox Rav would demand conversion. Now the person who was converted daughter wants to make aliyah and they are being challenged as to the validity of a conversion half a century ago by their parent. Of course, what an Orthodox Rav should probably advocate as prudence the reverse of what some Reform Rabbis have often advocated for generations that their divorcees get a Orthodox get even if they don’t believe in it-so that we all should be able to marry each other-thus an Orthodox ger should probably be converted lechumra by a Reform/Conservative Rabbi so that they would be able to make aliyah which they can’t if converted by an Orthodox Rabbi.

  348. Lawrence Kaplan

    I think Beruriah is tacitly criticizing the statement “al tarbeh sicha im ha-ishah” through what is in her eyes a reductio ad absurdum. However, the musar seforim’s taking Beruriah seriously here just goes to show that, as David Shatz points out, one person’s reductio ad absurdum is another person’s ein hachi nami.