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Thousands in Jerusalem protest racism against Ethiopian Israelis
From Portsmouth Virginia to Telz: The Legacy of Rabbi Mordechai Gifter
Ironies Behind A Stunning Synagogue
Ultra-Orthodox Jews and the Modesty Fight
Dutch decision on chief rabbi suspension criticised
Rabbis step in as matchmakers on new Jewish dating sites
SALT Friday
Israel’s Chief Rabbinate freezes plan to help determine brain death
HODS Celebrates First 10 Years
Rabbi: Don’t open tap on Shabbat
Jack Lew and the Power of Shabbat
Online Global Community Of Sabbath Hosts And Guests
New Brooklyn Missionary Hub to Target Lubavitchers
R. Melamed: It Is a Big Mitzvah to Serve in IDF
SALT Thursday
Judge upholds Ind. school voucher law, rejects claims it unconstitutionally supports religion
Building tolerance – even for haredim
Israel cracking down on admissions screening at ultra-Orthodox girls schools
Israel seeks to end ancient African Jewish custom
Crowd Sourcing The Sermon
Beit Shemesh And Torah Sages
Amsterdam chief rabbi suspended for gay stance
R. Eliezer Melamed: Stop IDF draft
Zero Interest in Ever Visiting Israel
Gentile inmate should get kosher meals, appeals court rules
SALT Wednesday
R Levanon Denies Report of Resigning
Ultra-Orthodox teens accost U.S. immigrant boy in Beit Shemesh
New bill seeks to scrap local religious council
PM plans to extend Tal Law for 5 years
EU rabbis urge religious freedom in Egypt
On Teaching Talmud and Marital Aids
Haredim trade IDF for police service
Day School Numbers Not So Bad
Chasidic History: Belz Sends Delegation To Graveside Of Satmar Rabbis To Ask Forgiveness
SALT Tuesday
Building Bridges to Save a City and a Nation
R Elyakim Levanon quits over IDF policy banning boycotts of events with women singers
JTS to Establish Polonsky Digitization Lab
R Ovadiah Yosef rabbi prays for Mubarak’s acquittal
WJC to honor pro-Israel Christian leaders
The Secular Press Is Out Of Control
Yiddish-Japanese Dictionary
Mirsky: Gender Trouble
R E Feldman: The Volume That Speaks Volumes
R Wein: The Reason For The Silence
Israel Faces Crisis Over Role
Kolbrenner: Can We Talk?
SALT Monday
Last week’s news & links
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About Gil Student

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

282 comments

  1. “On the other hand, the media is out of control. The esoteric phenomenon of women’s exclusion – which must be condemned and exists only in the margins or outside the camp – has been making main headlines throwing the haredi public to the dogs.”

    This is belied by the many facts discussed here. I don’t know whether this spin is due to a culture of victimhood or an attempt to deflect the internal problems of the Charedim into an alleged culture war — or some of both — but, it ain’t working anymore. The more the Charedim push this button, it seems to me, the more they drive previously sympathetic people away.

  2. Yehudah Mirsky’s piece adds an insight we have not explicitly discussed here, the sociological grouping of “Haredim and Hardalim”:

    “Both Haredi and Hardali countercultures seek to maintain the crucial gender divide while dissolving Israeli society’s boundaries between the religiously public and private, between religious and mundane.”

    [I also welcome his silver lining, described in the final 4 paragraphs]

  3. Yehudah Mirsky’s article is a welcome respite to both Haaretz’s ritualized condemnation of all things religious and the reflexive defense of the Charedi world.

  4. Regarding Emanuel Feldman’s piece, is my memory of Machzor Rinat Yisrael (ca. 1970) incorrect? I recall it being for Israel only — and that they never published a set “l’vnai chul” as they did the siddur.

  5. Emanuel Feldman, e tu with the media? I’m reminded of Chris Rock…

    It’s surprising R’ Feldman has never encountered a machzor exclusively for Israel before. There are so many out there, and been out for so many years. Of course, they are not from “kosher” publishing houses.

  6. Rinat Yisrael sticks stuff at the end. Some (Kol Peh) try to have brackets to accomodate Sukkot musaf. Koren’s newest siddur is davka only for Israel. The Mikdash Machzorim are for Israel only. Etc. etc.

  7. Try this link if you want to see how at least one Charedi person has evolved in his views. http://www.jidaily.com/z3wgC

  8. For those interested in the historical roots of some Jewish intellecuals contemporary anti Zionism when Israel “failed” to become the socialist utopia of their fervently held dreams, see the annexed linkhttp://www.jidaily.com/vhZyf

  9. Re R. Emanuel Feldman’s spiel about the “elite opinion leaders” in Israel – does he not realize that the way people get information and form opinions has changed entirely? Are opinions in Israel still made by “elites”?

  10. Huh. I was just commenting to the wife last night how lots of Charedim jumped on the Zionist bandwagon in 1948 only to retreat for various reasons in the years following.

  11. “Re R. Emanuel Feldman’s spiel about the “elite opinion leaders” in Israel – does he not realize that the way people get information and form opinions has changed entirely? Are opinions in Israel still made by “elites”?”

    Pretty much. The method of getting opinion to the people who make decisions, is still very limited.

    Gallop poll isn’t often running around Israel, and when it is, the results are not trusted because of poorly worded questions.

  12. The JTS announcement is fantastic news, especially:

    “Once it’s up and running, the lab will make possible the digitization of The Library’s remarkable collections far into the future. The entire project will be completed in less than two years.”

    Even with the initial caveat and the inevitable schedule slippage for any such project…

  13. “Pretty much. The method of getting opinion to the people who make decisions, is still very limited.”

    I’m not talking about whom the politicians listen to (although of course that’s vitally important). Does the man on the street really depend upon Ha’aretz to tell them how to think? Are blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube videos, internet forums, etc. not an important factor in how Israelis form opinions nowadays?

    When R. Feldman spoke of their influence, he didn’t make the distinction between the public’s view and the politicians.

  14. Speaking of JTS digitization, it should be noted that a very flawed but very valuable effort is already online

    http://hebrewmanuscripts.org

  15. Nachum-see Hatekufah HaGedolah by R MM Kasher ZL for the names of prominent Talmidei Chachamim who supported voting for a united religious front in the early years of the State of Israel. See also one of the works of R S Wolbe ZL who describes the religious disillusionment of Charedim with the State of Israel.

  16. ” Does the man on the street really depend upon Ha’aretz to tell them how to think? Are blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube videos, internet forums, etc. not an important factor in how Israelis form opinions nowadays?”

    Ah, that is a good question. There is certainly a digital divide in Israel. I was at a twitter conference in Israel, and when asked how many people actually use twitter, the hands were about 20% of the room. Mind you, this was a conference about twitter, and using twitter to improve your company and /or social action.

    The few times I have talked to people, they do seem to still get most of their information from the Radio and Television or news sites on the internet.

    I also feel that most of Israel information online is in English not Hebrew. So it’s also hard to tell.

    I’ll also add, that Israeli websites have a reputation of being very poor, as if they are there just for someone to look them up on the internet, and not to be actually used. Though I also feel that is changing.

  17. So the hype about the Hebrew Wikipedia is just that?

  18. Re: The Secular Press is Out of Control

    From the article: Shimon Breitkopf, an editor in the popular Behadrei Haredim website, … [stated] “It’s a crime mixing between the ‘kosher’ buses and the Beit Shemesh affair, which involved violence – a disgraceful thing, and no rabbi will tell you otherwise.”

    But, in fact, the ‘kosher’ buses themselves involve intimidation. R’ Natan Slifkin of Beit Shemesh: “HaModia reported a claim that nobody has ever been forced to sit at the back of a Mehadrin bus. But I’ve seen it with my own eyes! I usually drive, but on one occasion where I had to use the bus, I witnessed a man in charedi attire barricade the front of the bus to prevent religious girls boarding (they could not board at the back, because it was too crowded). Countless people have witnessed such things. How can they report such a blatantly false claim?”
    http://www.rationalistjudaism.com/2012/01/we-love-you-and-pity-you-plus.html

    Bretikopf goes on: “Many haredi spokesmen have been explained in the media again and again that these are weeds, a group of perverts and lunatics who do not reflect the haredi public in any way.”

    But, in fact, this is no group of weeds but a significant portion of the charedi leadership and, presumably, their followers. Again, R’ Slifkin: “2) Someone else claimed that “there hasn’t been any violence” in Bet Shemesh/ Ramat Bet Shemesh “except for by a few thugs a few months ago.” I wish that were true, but it’s not. There have been many, many incidents of violence against non-charedim over the last few”

    Or how about the fact that the Eida -the most famous Badatz- backs the so-called Sikarim, as was linked here last week: http://www.vosizneias.com/98547/2012/01/10/jerusalem-eida-chareidis-letter-authenticated/

    Or that, in fact, the Eida may have financially backed the Sikari:
    http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/news/General+News/114844/Some-Eida-Defendants-Remain-In-Custody.html

    Or that the Satmar Rav has allegedly supported the Sikari as well [I don’t understand the excerpt in this link and the site owner is anti-Charedi]: http://failedmessiah.typepad.com/failed_messiahcom/2012/01/satmar-rebbe-attacks-belzer-rebbe-over-violence.html

  19. My non-intellectual non-dati Israeli relatives are avid readers of Yediot (sof shavua) and Walla (http://www.walla.co.il/) and Hebrew Ynet online.

    The notion that people depend on the media to “tell them how to think” is condescending and ludicrous.

  20. Why is moderation on?

  21. Also, the free (Hebrew) newspapers are popular: Yisrael ha’Yom which leans right. [I should note both my comments are in response to Avi 11:34am]

  22. R. Wein asks what it will take for the rest of the community to face down the extremists. Actually, seems to me it is quite easy. Major rabbis and community would simply have to stand up and say that if the violence doesn’t stop, they will stop trusting Edah Haredis hechsher. The violence would stop immediately. It’s all about the money.

  23. I see Yisrael ha’Yom also has an English version online:
    http://www.israelhayom.com/site/today.php

  24. “S. on January 16, 2012 at 11:39 am
    So the hype about the Hebrew Wikipedia is just that?”

    Depends what you mean. Israel is more than just Tel Aviv.

    There is a strong digital divide in Israel, and I’m amazed sometimes as to what tech information many Israelis don’t know. (Even when they work in the high tech industries, or have their own internet companies)

    “My non-intellectual non-dati Israeli relatives are avid readers of Yediot (sof shavua) and Walla (http://www.walla.co.il/) and Hebrew Ynet online.”

    All of those are Media News sites, and not places where non-mainstream news or opinions are given. Like facebook or YouTube would be. And you don’t have to be an intellectual to be computer savy.

    Hebrew forums, where people talk to each other are still lacking on the net. I’ve tried to use them to get to know people in my area, and they tend to go to English sites instead.

    One of the people I was working with, was asking me if I knew any English speaking computer folks for an SEO job for an Israeli website. I suggested that a Hebrew speaker might be a better fit for the job (it’s an all hebrew website), and their response was that if they don’t know English, they don’t know the internet.

  25. “I see Yisrael ha’Yom also has an English version online:”

    IH, you are missing the point.

    Blogs, facebook, youTube, twitter, and numerous other sites I’ve never heard of. This is where “independent” views from the “street”, rather than the “elite” are formulated and shared. And in Israel society, those sources are greatly underused except for a few small sectors.

  26. So what’s the upshot? Is R. Feldman’s comment about elite opinion makers relevant, or still relevant, in Israel? Or is it true but maybe with an asterisk?

  27. “So what’s the upshot? Is R. Feldman’s comment about elite opinion makers relevant, or still relevant, in Israel? Or is it true but maybe with an asterisk?”

    I’m saying that a study would have to be done on it. Anyone who can comment here, likely is in the wrong social circles to know for sure.

    So I’m guessing it likely needs and asterisk, but maybe that’s just my hope and bias speaking.

  28. “For example, Israelis celebrate only one day of Yom-tov instead of the normative Diaspora two days. And of course, on the day after Yom-tov in Israel, Diaspora Jews are still celebrating the last day of Yom-tov. Machzor publishers historically made valiant efforts to address everyone’s prayer needs within one volume, but with this new publication the wide net is no longer necessary.”

    Read more: http://www.cross-currents.com/#ixzz1je0EnfxN
    Under Creative Commons License: Attribution”

    It is my recollection that Birnbaum, 1960 or so RCA Siddur etc were written for galut-I don’t recall optionsfor those who live in Israel.
    The same way we have different siddurim for Sfard Ashkenaz etc we have/had different siddurim for Israel/galus

  29. MiMedinat HaYam

    rabbi wein — treading on dangerous turf at the end.

    based on what her says, charedim should join the army, etc.

    ROY — american charedim will tell him to daven for rubashkin. he better come out with a press release. (didnt mubarak negotiate a release during those 18 days?)

    last nite on 60 minutes — r dr shiffman on that DSS exhibit (approvingly). and emir of quatar shaking hillary’s hand. if he can, why cant charedim?

  30. “The same way we have different siddurim for Sfard Ashkenaz etc we have/had different siddurim for Israel/galus”

    For individual yomtovim?

  31. MiMedinat HaYam

    “For individual yomtovim?”

    why next year, artscroll will come out with separate volumes for each hakafa on hoshana rabba / simchat torah / etc.

    and for each ushpizin, each diff dairy dish, some other excuse for pesach.

    they have a captive market, who believes in everything they sell.

  32. MiMedinat HaYam

    re ROY: rav goren would often speak about his good personal relations with sadat, dating back to his days as rav tzvai, Assigned to recover bodies in egypt held territories in the 1950s. his contact in egypt was an obscure general named sadat.

    he clearly implied, when speaking of it, that he was subsequently used for other confidential discussions.

  33. I’m confused about the sarcastic remark. There is no diffrence in davening betweeen Israel and Galut for the number of days regarding Rosh Hashana or Yom Kippur. So a machzor that makes that difference must be for Sukkoth or Shavuot or some other individual yomtov.

    I’m not aware of machzors like that for Israel only.

  34. “Religious zealotry has a long history in Israel. In the 1920s and 1930s, Abraham Isaac Kook was dismembered in effigy, denounced as a Christian missionary, and doused with buckets of water in the streets. Rhetorical violence is a staple of Haredi discourse; indeed, it has become an art form.”
    From Gender Trouble

  35. Avi — On the media thing, I think you’re projecting Americanisms. The Israelis of which I was speaking spend hours talking face-to-face about all the things Americans tend to do online. But, ’nuff on that.

  36. Steve, I’m not sure if you’re agreeing with me. Of course I meant them. I just mean that you’re disapproving of the (disgusting) Arendt for turning against Israel when it wasn’t perfect to her standards. Why can’t we criticize the charedim for doing the same exact thing, albeit that they have different standards?

    Avi, of course there are Israel-only machzorim. I already posted what I think R’ Feldman meant. His larger point, though, is terrible. Any blaming of “the media” is, basically, a dodge around the real issue.

  37. Conspiracy theories on “the media” have become all the rage, I see.

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4176432,00.html

    I guess its another indication of Israel becoming middle-Eastern in culture 🙁

  38. The Hareidi apologists never miss an opportunity to renew their collective persecution complex. Actually, I wonder if that itself is the definition of hareidi apologia.

  39. “Avi — On the media thing, I think you’re projecting Americanisms. The Israelis of which I was speaking spend hours talking face-to-face about all the things Americans tend to do online. But, ’nuff on that.”

    Completely misses the point of what online social media does.

    Online social media makes the opinions of the 10%(20%?) sound like the opinions of the 80%. This happens because people who are not able to feel comfortable to share their views with the people around them, find groups online who share their views. They then feel empowered, which they did not feel before and go about in every social sphere telling their message, until people feel its a mainstream view, or they get threatened by it, and push strongly against that view.

    It’s that type of environment which allows the non mainstream media (Which is always aiming to please the majority) and the non-elite ideas to gain popularity and be exposed to everyone.

    As for the conspiracy theories about the media, that’s been going on in Israel for ages, and it’s popular in America as well in certain circles. As for the author of that article, looking at past writings, he has been equally apocalyptic.

  40. “But I must add one more point. I have been stunned at the venom with which people have written about these “left wing” and “anti-religious” groups. Have those critics ever taken the time to actually talk to representatives of these groups? ”

    From Building Bridges

  41. Nachum wrote in part;

    “Steve, I’m not sure if you’re agreeing with me. Of course I meant them. I just mean that you’re disapproving of the (disgusting) Arendt for turning against Israel when it wasn’t perfect to her standards. Why can’t we criticize the charedim for doing the same exact thing, albeit that they have different standards’

    Nachum-outside of the NKites who went to Teheran and were roundly criticized by the Charedi leadership in Isarel and the US for doing so, name any Charedi leader who supports BDS. Charedi disagreement with secular Zionism, at least in the US, is as R Wein calls it-a failure to leave the easy realm of the martyred victim. I would suggest that the American yeshivishe community, is strongly pro Israel without attaching theological importance to the state. One is hard pressed to see in the American Yated, Hamodia, Mishhpacha, etc, almost any references to the anti Zionist rhetoric of either REW or the SR. The American yeshivishe world really is more concerned about what could be best as issues such as chinuch, etc. that are concerned with the facts on the ground than in ideologically tinged issues.

  42. “IH on January 16, 2012 at 3:32 pm
    Conspiracy theories on “the media” have become all the rage, I see.

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4176432,00.html

    I guess its another indication of Israel becoming middle-Eastern in culture :-(”

    MIDDLE EASTERN?-ONE OFTEN READS BLOGPOSTS BY AMERICANS REFERRING TO
    the prejudice of th most reliable media sources.

  43. “I would suggest that the American yeshivishe community, is strongly pro Israel without attaching theological importance to the state”

    If one mant by pro Israel-pro state of Israel disagree -if one emans that would prefer that Jewish residents of Israel not be harmed I agree.

  44. Steve Brizel
    I’m impressed how you are so certain of your analysis of American Hareidi theology. Sadly, you are off base.
    In my corner of Hareidi World, all I hear,ad nauseam, is about the wascally bad secular media.

  45. Harediman-We get Mishpacha and Yated, and from what I see from the issues raised therein, especially the letters to the editors and the panel discussions, chinuch and similar issues seem to be of far more importance than the secular media. Mishpacha likes to push the envelope in its editorial and news coverage. Two prime examples are an interview with RHS and a very recent interview with Jacob Birnbaum, one of the pioneers of SSSJ-Student Strugle for Soviet Jewry, which advocated public demonstrations, a tactic that was the subject of much dispute during the 1960s and 1970s. The American Yated carries columnists on Israel and American politics whose POVs are strongly against any withdrawal and who are neo conservative in their political orientation. The American Yated also carries Nachum Segal’s weekly interview with Malcolm Hoenlein. I would argue that while the American Charedi world certainly has no love for the secular media, the fact that many of its adherents interact with the secular world, work, and have secular education, has moderated their ideological stance. I firmly believe that on the ground that the Charedi and MO worlds in the US appreciate each other’s strengths and have learned from each other in many ways that I discussed at Beyond BT.

  46. Mycroft-I would not use the term conspiracy theory re the media. I would use the term “herd mentality” in terms of media members having the same POVs on political and cultural issues, which, at least in the US, Bernard Goldberg, a former CBS reporter documented quite well in two books on the issue.

    Mycroft also wrote:

    “If one mant by pro Israel-pro state of Israel disagree -if one emans that would prefer that Jewish residents of Israel not be harmed I agree”

    AFAIK,there are pro Israel PACs in Monsey and Lakewood.The officers and members may not recite Tefilah Lshlom HaMedinah, etc, but they certainly are actively pro Israel, as opposed to merely hoping in classical Charedi code that no harm occurs to Achenu Bnei Yisrael BEretz Yisrael. For more proof in this regard, see the website and activities of Honest Reporting, a media watch and advocacy group founded by a rebbitzen in Kiryat Sefer.

  47. “I would argue that while the American Charedi world certainly has no love for the secular media, the fact that many of its adherents interact with the secular world, work, and have secular education, has moderated their ideological stance.”

    Moderated from what? From twenty years ago? Fifty? I don’t see how anyone could argue that the American yeshivishe are more moderate now than ever. It’s drifting rightward.

  48. “Mishpacha likes to push the envelope in its editorial and news coverage. Two prime examples are an interview with RHS”
    A nice interview with RHS-of course Mishpacha really used the interview as an attempt to deligitimize less chareidi students of the Rav.

    “and a very recent interview with Jacob Birnbaum, one of the pioneers of SSSJ-Student Strugle for Soviet Jewry, which advocated public demonstrations,”
    Unlike certain more famous personnel Jacob Birnbaum and Glen Richter deserve praise for being pioneers in the SSSJ and their activist movement. How much they in practice made a difference is a question that needs serious objective historical scholarship-but nio doubt for pure heats and pushingthe issue they deserve our great praise and thanks.

    “a tactic that was the subject of much dispute during the 1960s and 1970s. The American Yated carries columnists on Israel and American politics whose POVs are strongly against any withdrawal and who are neo conservative in their political orientation.”
    consistent withIsrtaeli chareidis who have sucgh political views of course they use their seats not forthose issues but for parochial issues.

    …. “I would argue that while the American Charedi world certainly has no love for the secular media, the fact that many of its adherents interact with the secular world, work, and have secular education, has moderated their ideological stance.”
    I tend to agree-BTW much of what are referredto as American Chareidi is in fact psudo chareidi and really MO Jews-the Agudah in some respect is an MO organization-they are involved in the world -lobbying etc they don’t merely say T3ehillim or learn daf yOmi.

  49. Mishpacha reflects its own attitudes and is trying to open the eyes of the Hareidi World™. Unfortunately, the average Hareidi has no contact and has disdain for the MO World™. The ruling class may have appreciation for each other. The machers need and use each other. the guys on the street don’t anything about MO except for pardon me “JB” and now thanks to the magazines RHS.
    Hareidi World™ is not soft and cuddly, quite ferocious actually. The brunt is not taken by cute 8 year old MOs in Bet Shemesh but rather by cute 8 year old girls in your local Hareidi neighborhoods. the only difference is that most Harediikids™ are not aware and no one is coming to their defence. More to come.

  50. Mycroft-the WP article indicated that Benny Katzover was speaking for himself, and the decidedly and admittedly radical “hilltop youth”, which Mispacha profiled this week. Between you and I, since Mishpacha gave such prominence to the hilltop youth, who view themselves as the radical vanguard of the RZ world,one wonders if as a matter of editorial balance we can expect to read an article dedicated to the Mesiras Nefesh of the demonstrators in Meah Shearim.

  51. “there are pro Israel PACs in Monsey and Lakewood.
    both Monsey and Lakewood believe it or not have someMO pockets remaining. I agree much of what is considered American chareidi is not chareidi it is merely putting on trappings of chareidi-black hat etc

    The officers and members may not recite Tefilah Lshlom HaMedinah, etc”
    what does tfillah leshlom medinah mean-especially “reshet smichat..” Many MO Rabbonim were opposed to that formulation.

  52. “Mycroft-the WP article indicated that Benny Katzover was speaking for himself, and the decidedly and admittedly radical “hilltop youth”,”

    I have been familiar with him for decades IMHO-Katzella is a leader of settlers.

  53. “US, Bernard Goldberg, a former CBS reporter documented quite well in two books on the issue.”

    Believe it or not I sometimes see Goldberg on the FNC show hosted by one who you can never find taking a pro Israel position.

  54. Agudah is MO. They have no constituency except for “sheiner yidden”. Hasidim don’t know what Agudah is and the Yeshiva velt mocks the Agudah.

  55. Th irony is that the American Hareidi world thinks they are one with the Israeli version.

  56. Hareidiman-as long as American Charedim work, and live lives that evidence disposable income, they will always be decidedly more modern than Charedim in Israel.

  57. Charediman-Like it or not, money talks, and speaks volumes in the Charedi world. Am Haaratzus in the Charedi world, especially in the generation that has been raised on the ArtScroll Charedi catechism of Halacha and Hashkafa IMO is no substitute for Lomdus, Dikduk BMitzvos , awareness of Jewish history or Chesed-whether Chesed Bgufo or Bmamomo.

  58. Hareidim in US ore more modern. Culturally they relate to the right and not to the left. When they go to Israel, they stop at Toldos Ahron and not Gruss Kollel.

  59. Steve Brizel on January 16, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    Charediman-Like it or not, money talks, and speaks volumes in the Charedi world. Am Haaratzus in the Charedi world, especially in the generation that has been raised on the ArtScroll Charedi catechism of Halacha and Hashkafa IMO is no substitute for Lomdus, Dikduk BMitzvos , awareness of Jewish history or Chesed-whether Chesed Bgufo or Bmamomo.

    Don’t understand the point.

  60. “a very recent interview with Jacob Birnbaum, one of the pioneers of SSSJ-Student Strugle for Soviet Jewry, which advocated public demonstrations, a tactic that was the subject of much dispute during the 1960s and 1970s.”

    One of the things I found telling about the interview was that the interviewer (who I assume was speaking for the magazine) praised Birnbaum for his courage in advocating and leading such demonstrations but somehow neglected to mention that the chareidi (although we didn’t call them that then) leadership were strongly against such demonstrations.

  61. As to the interview with R’ Schachter, the interviewer infamously went out of his way to try to paint both him and the Rav as being anti-Zionists, as if that was the major barrier to getting them into the magazine.

  62. Shachar Ha'amim

    I think that what Rabbi Feldman meant to suggest in the Machzor piece was that it is significant that an “american” publisher which has essentially moved the core of its operation to E. Israel has decided to publish an E. Israel only machzor.

    There have been plenty of E. Israel only machzorim and siddurim published in the last 64 years – and even in the many years of E. Israel printing prior to 1948. If you’re going to publish a Hebrew only machzor it would be pretty silly to make it chu”l only – or even to have chu”l insertions within the main body text. The overwhelming majority of people in chu”l who would come to synagogue on yomim tovim and yomim noraim are functionally illiterate in Hebrew and need a transaltion of some sort. The UK has had their basic English translated paryerbook for over a hundred years. Artscroll captured the American market. Why would any Hebrew only publication even try to get into those markets?

  63. “the FNC show hosted by one who you can never find taking a pro Israel position.”

    Some people forget that not only are many on the left not pro-Israel but many on the right are not pro Israel

  64. Commenting on your own posts, mycroft? 🙂

    By the way, I loved you on “Sherlock” this week.

  65. Katzover is not Ketzaleh, by the way.

  66. “The fact that Israel now has enough Jews to justify the publication of machzorim for Israelis alone demonstrates that in Israel there exists today a critical mass of davening Jews — i.e., religious Jews, both haredi and non-haredi. This mass is constantly increasing in size — the haredim exponentially, and the non-haredi Orthodox at a rate far beyond the rest of the country. A leading demographer estimates that within one generation the haredi population alone will constitute fully one-third of the entire Israeli population, without even counting the other Orthodox Israelis.

    Read more: http://www.cross-currents.com/#ixzz1jiCbBHQj
    Under Creative Commons License: Attribution”

    It may happen as long as secular Israel supports such a system-paying people welfare for attending Kollel, accepting non following of Israeli compulsory education rules, tolerating major Jewish group not being part of Kllal eg military-all could change if CHareidim become a major force and appear to becoming a greater force.

  67. “Nachum on January 17, 2012 at 5:39 am
    Commenting on your own posts, mycroft? :-)”
    I thought of something relevant while rereading all posts from the past 12 hours or so.

  68. ” 1952. That same year, he earned his Masters of Arts degree from Johns Hopkins University,[6] having earlier completed a Bachelor of Science degree at that university.[1]

    In 1971 Feldman earned his doctorate in religion from Emory University.[7]”

    Rabbi Feldman certainly has secualr education.

    “Nachum on January 17, 2012 at 5:41 am
    Katzover is not Ketzaleh, by the way”
    Thanks for correcting my misunderstanding-I had heardthe second name a couple oftimes decades ago.

  69. “Nachum on January 17, 2012 at 2:07 am
    As to the interview with R’ Schachter, the interviewer infamously went out of his way to try to paint both him and the Rav as being anti-Zionists, as if that was the major barrier to getting them into the magazine.”
    I thought the article certainly had elements of trying to revise the Rav to be essentially a chareid RY-somewhat in the manner of RMM take on the Rav.

  70. Mycroft wrote:

    ” the interviewer infamously went out of his way to try to paint both him and the Rav as being anti-Zionists, as if that was the major barrier to getting them into the magazine.”
    I thought the article certainly had elements of trying to revise the Rav to be essentially a chareid RY-somewhat in the manner of RMM take on the Rav”

    That may have been the intent of the interviewer, but hardly the intent of RHS, whose views are decidedly different than those of RMM.

  71. Well, of course, but we’re *talking* about the magazine, which you have trumpeted as not-so-bad on Zionism, *not* R’ Schachter, who has no problem referring to himself as a Zionist.

    In a related story, linked above, let’s see what we have:

    -Belz breaks with Satmar and leaves the explicitly anti-Zionist camp (Edah) to join the wishy-washy anti-Zionist camp (Aguda).

    -This leads to a break between the two. Satmar does not take it well, to say the least.

    -Just last week, one of the Satmar rebbes condemned the Belzer Rebbe for being less than enthusiastic about all the charedi violence of the last few weeks.

    -Now, of all times, Belz sends a delegation essentially “admitting” guilt and taking the initiative to patch things up.

    To sum up:

    -After weeks of protest from charedi apologists, the Edah made it pretty clear last week that they stand with the goons.

    -Now, even elements of the Aguda seem eager to join the Edah.

    -Apologists on this blog insist that the mythical charedi center isn’t so bad on these issues.

    Nice. Or am I missing something?

  72. Nachum, you are the one who has it right. The Hareidi center sympathizes with the Eda. On the satmar sites, Belz is called the left of the lefts and 100% zioni and reb Ahron is 50% zioni and believe it or not a hater of Reb Yoelish’s shittah.
    Belz and Satmar rebbetzins are sisters, this is family kissing and making up. Also the Belzer is not well and he is concerned about the future due to the weakness of the Dauphin . He has made peace with Rav Eliyasiv and the merry Litvaks and with the Machnovker who is his cousin and a pretender to the Belzer throne.

  73. Nachum you are missing nuance.

  74. r’ yeedle,
    please provide it.
    KT

  75. MiMedinat HaYam

    “but somehow neglected to mention that the chareidi (although we didn’t call them that then) leadership were strongly against such demonstrations”

    because they wanted the russian jews to become lubavitchers or satmarer or otherwise charedi (deopending on the objector. and there were / are satmar russian jews.) but definitely not irreligious.

    also (major factor), it interfered with their underground programs.

  76. “Apologists on this blog insist that the mythical charedi center isn’t so bad on these issues.

    Nice. Or am I missing something?”

    There are 2,000 Charedim in the Israeli Army.
    30 of them left over these issues.

    I’ll let you do the math.

  77. “-Now, even elements of the Aguda seem eager to join the Edah.”

    Belz isn’t ‘elements of the Aguda”. They are not mainstream Aguda AT ALL!
    They are not eager to join the Edah, rather, he is eager to make peace with his brother-in-law R. Aron Teitelbaum. The other half of Satmar, headed by R. Aron’s younger brother, R. Zalman Leib not only rejects Belz’s attempts at peace, but the now paint R. Aron’s half as if they “sold their soul to the Satan by agreeing to peace.
    Before I continue, let me explain the situation with the Edah. When Satmar divided in two, a big power struggle started over who should have the influence and control over the Edah. The power-struggle still goes on. R. SC Papenheim, who spoke out against the yellow-star protest, was doing so on behalf of R. Aron’s Satmar. R. ZL’s Satmar reacted by publishing a paper signed by the Edah heads that no one can speak for them. Now that Belz is making peace with R. Aron’s Satmar, this will cause a bigger rift between the Edah and R. Aron’s Satmar, which will force the Edah to either make peace with Belz or alienate themselves from R. Aron’s Satmar. I’m not sure how this will end, but Belz’s move actually is forcing the Edah to choose between admiting that it’s on the extremists’ side, and toning down their extremism.

  78. Avi, those numbers are encouraging. Of course, to even be in the army in the first place means they’re on the fringe of charedi society. Many of the Nachal Charedi soldiers (the actual charedim, not the chardalim who are there for a frummer unit) literally have no place to go home to- their families have cut them off.

    MeMedinat- sure, that’s what they claimed when they turned out to have been wrong.

    Yeedle- whew! So they fabled Satmar split figures into this! I suppose it’s a good thing the rebbe is buried on Aron-land. I await those who know more to confirm or deny this, though.

  79. “Steve Brizel on January 17, 2012 at 8:56 am
    Mycroft wrote:

    ” the interviewer infamously went out of his way to try to paint both him and the Rav as being anti-Zionists, as if that was the major barrier to getting them into the magazine.”
    I thought the article certainly had elements of trying to revise the Rav to be essentially a chareid RY-somewhat in the manner of RMM take on the Rav”

    That may have been the intent of the interviewer, but hardly the intent of RHS,”

    Agreed.

  80. IH: “Kol ha’Kavod!”

    for changing from pants to (green) skirts? 🙂

  81. “Of course, to even be in the army in the first place means they’re on the fringe of charedi society. Many of the Nachal Charedi soldiers (the actual charedim, not the chardalim who are there for a frummer unit) literally have no place to go home to- their families have cut them off.”

    I would have guessed is what you wrote Nachum-are there any sources that state your logical comments.

  82. “As to the interview with R’ Schachter, the interviewer infamously went out of his way to try to paint both him and the Rav as being anti-Zionists”

    I didn’t read the interview. But if that is typical of what they publish, I’m not particularly inspired to read the magazine — ever! What re-invention of history!

  83. “Some people forget that not only are many on the left not pro-Israel but many on the right are not pro Israel”

    Ron Paul got 21% of the vote in the Iowa Caucuses, and 23% in the New Hampshire Primary. I think we may have quantified the degree to which the Right is anti-Israel.

    Interestingly, Paul won both the counties surrounding Postville. The accusations of anti-Semitism by the Rubashkin camp may actually have a basis in fact.

  84. “Unfortunately, the average Hareidi has no contact and has disdain for the MO World™.”

    I know a lot of charedim and I have not sensed any “disdain” for me even though I’m a bit on the Left of MO. I’m just an observant Jew to them.

    Admittedly I don’t know any charedim in Meah Shearim or Ramat Beit Shemesh.

  85. “Ron Paul got 21% of the vote in the Iowa Caucuses, and 23% in the New Hampshire Primary. I think we may have quantified the degree to which the Right is anti-Israel.”

    Most of his support has nothing to do with Israel. His supporters are from a libertarian wing of the party to whom Israel is not on the radar.

    “Interestingly, Paul won both the counties surrounding Postville. The accusations of anti-Semitism by the Rubashkin camp may actually have a basis in fact.”

    Mixing cause and effect?

  86. “Ron Paul got 21% of the vote in the Iowa Caucuses, and 23% in the New Hampshire Primary. I think we may have quantified the degree to which the Right is anti-Israel.

    Interestingly, Paul won both the counties surrounding Postville. The accusations of anti-Semitism by the Rubashkin camp may actually have a basis in fact.”

    What rubbish, Ron Paul is very pro Israel, and the far right in Israel LOVE him. Many many Israelis are hoping that Ron Paul wins the election, or if not him than his policies.

    As far as the military sector, it means that more Israeli goods will be purchased from America since they will have to get the money to buy American military products without the foreign aide bills.

    I’m happy to see the resignation of the RY was false, it sounded too surreal and stupid to me.

  87. I know a lot of charedim and I have not sensed any “disdain” for me even though I’m a bit on the Left of MO. I’m just an observant Jew to them.
    =======================================
    R’ charlie
    does this manjfest itself by them eating at your home? engaging in philosophical give and take..etc. (ie tachlis)
    KT

  88. “Nachum on January 18, 2012 at 3:26 am
    “Ron Paul got 21% of the vote in the Iowa Caucuses, and 23% in the New Hampshire Primary. I think we may have quantified the degree to which the Right is anti-Israel.”

    Most of his support has nothing to do with Israel. His supporters are from a libertarian wing of the party to whom Israel is not on the radar.”
    In general I agree with the caveat that Libertarians in general would not be in favor of spending money on any foreign country including Israel.

    ““Interestingly, Paul won both the counties surrounding Postville. The accusations of anti-Semitism by the Rubashkin camp may actually have a basis in fact.”

    Mixing cause and effect?”
    One who is exposed to the Rubashkin behavior and the Lewin attacks on the judicial system as part of his duties of defense attorney for Rubashkin will at least tend to have less philo Semitic feelings.

  89. “What rubbish, Ron Paul is very pro Israel, and the far right in Israel LOVE him. Many many Israelis are hoping that Ron Paul wins the election, or if not him than his policies.”
    If so, Israelis know even less aboutUS than I imagine

    “As far as the military sector, it means that more Israeli goods will be purchased from America since they will have to get the money to buy American military products without the foreign aide bills.”
    Without American foreign aid-a large porportion of requires purchase of American products Israel would purchase fewer American goods.

  90. “joel rich on January 18, 2012 at 5:34 am
    I know a lot of charedim and I have not sensed any “disdain” for me even though I’m a bit on the Left of MO. I’m just an observant Jew to them.
    =======================================
    R’ charlie
    does this manjfest itself by them eating at your home? engaging in philosophical give and take..etc. (ie tachlis)
    KT”

    Agreed and remember when Chareidim have the power they treat MO as illegitimate-to the extent that they prevent aliyah of those who are children of converts who converted with normal MO conversions even half a century ago.

  91. What AIPAC doesn’t tell you is that money to Israel comes with severe strings attached. Ron Paul has stated this plainly.

  92. That AP story is something of half a story. There are, in fact, kessim who are ordained Orthodox rabbis; there is at least one Orthodox rabbi who combines Ethiopian traditions into his practice. (He’s married to an Ethiopian woman, as it happens.) Haaretz had a nice writeup a few months ago.

  93. The disdain is not on a personal level. It happens within the Hareidi camp as well.

  94. Charlie,

    Ask anyone in Israel about the meaning and intent of the word “mizrochnik” to a Charedi Jew…

  95. http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=254131

    I often think of R’ Lichtenstein’s remarks on people who are closer to “the hashgacha” then he.

    KT

  96. “http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=254131

    I often think of R’ Lichtenstein’s remarks on people who are closer to “the hashgacha” then he.

    KT”

    Yishai claims that isn’t what he said. What he said is that haughtiness and arrogance lead to the failure of the Lebanon war.

    As a rule, it’s best to not believe what newspapers report about what people say unless it’s in writing and part of some important piece of legislation, or you saw and hear the person speak yourself.

  97. I don’t get the Beit Shemesh article. Firstly the “oral tradition” was that R’ Chaim opposed Agudah forever, but even so, once it exists and functions in a way R’ Chaim opposed, why is the Beit Shemesh case the one in which it determines he was right but not in other situations?
    KT

  98. R’ Avi,
    You can find the direct quotes here:http://lifeinisrael.blogspot.com/2012/01/eli-yishai-appointed-god-spokesman.html

    He may have not well articulated what he meant ut he said what he said.

    KT

  99. As has been pointed out, a lot less people were learning full time in 1967 than in 2006.

  100. Funny that the only issue that the “Torah Sages” are so reticent about is the Beit Shemesh issue. I don’t recall them being reluctant to speak about many other issues that have nothing to do with them.

  101. abba's rantings

    some funny things in that article on ethiopian jews, including

    “But the rabbis still put their foot down when it comes to marriage. To be legal, weddings must be presided by state-recognized rabbis and include mainstream Jewish practices, like exchanging rings and stomping on a glass.”

  102. abba's rantings

    GIL:

    “R. Eliezer Melamed: Stop IDF draft”

    completely misrepresents what he said

  103. “You can find the direct quotes here:http://lifeinisrael.blogspot.com/2012/01/eli-yishai-appointed-god-spokesman.html

    That direct quote does not tell us the timing between the main bulk of the paragraph and the last sentence. That last sentence could have been a closing line, like “and may the temple be built speedily in our days.”

    Those who learn Torah and those who serve the public, may not be the same people!

    And of course, we are assuming that the transcription is even accurate.

  104. “completely misrepresents what he said”

    There seems to be a lot of that going around lately.

  105. “like exchanging rings and stomping on a glass.”

    Ha!

    The last bit of that letter (?) to the Jewish Week is hilarious.

  106. “Israel seeks to end ancient African Jewish custom”

    Assuming the facts are as the article states, this is shmad and is outrageous.

  107. Eh, not so much, as I posted above.

  108. Referrring to the rings and the glass? Yes, that’s a joke. But euthanizing their religion isn’t.

  109. S: Assuming the facts are as the article states, this is shmad and is outrageous

    Big assumption.

  110. “Big assumption.”

    It’s a big assumption that the rabbanut isn’t going to acknowledge the kessoch [sic?] in the future? That sounds plausible. Again, I’d need to know if this is true, but it’s a BIG assumption? Sounds like the rabbanut.

  111. interesting insights the religious divide in israel:
    Israel faces up to religious extremism
    Yossi Klein Halevi • Globe and Mail

    “Increasing numbers of Israelis are taking responsibility for their Judaism. Non-Orthodox prayer and religious study groups are spreading. Israeli artists, especially musicians, are drawing on Jewish tradition for inspiration. For the first time, new forms of non-Orthodox Israeli Judaism are emerging.”

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/opinion/israel-faces-up-to-religious-extremism/article2305648/?utm_medium=Feeds%3A%20RSS%2FAtom&utm_source=Opinions&utm_content=2305648

  112. It may not be Orthodox, but it ain’t Reform or Conservative either.

    S.: Based on what I’ve read in Israeli sources, it’s a lot more nuanced than that. There aren’t really any new kessim being trained. Some are actually getting Orthodox semicha. There are efforts afoot to make an Ethiopian “Shulchan Aruch” that will enable them to live halakhically (or Rabinically, if you like) while still retaining all their customs. I don’t think this is any more outrageous than a lot of things the Rabbanut does, and maybe a lot less.

  113. MiMedinat HaYam

    if their shechita isnt valid, and their gitten invalid (though not an issue), what else is not per our standards (and besides that rav who married an ethiopian, why is there a deliberate effort to keep their customs / halachot secret, like the mormons and the druse)?

    and if they want to marry us / we want to marry them, (some sort of) rabbanut has a right to interfere. (granted, the rabbanut is too politicized to be the proper authority, but there is no other right now.)

    and nachum, that ethiopian shulchan aruch is not to enable them to live (our) halachically, its just their halachot. it might dispense with korban pesach, as a practical matter, but will it dispense with plural marriages?

    2. yes, the berach moshe is buried in upstate KY, per emergency order of a NYS supreme court justice the night he died, ordering cooperation. (of course, completely unconstitutional, but practical.)

  114. Anyone catch the other “stop bashing the charedim” letter in the JW? The one with this priceless quote…
    Forced marriages are anathema to Orthodoxy, and have been since Rachel was asked if she was willing to marry Isaac.

  115. The line I heard in the name R. Chaim about aguda is that it was supposed to be “litvische Torah mit Yekkische gelt” and it ended up as “Yekkische Torah mit Litvische gelt”.

  116. “Himself the son of a respected kess, Hadana long ago traded the shash, the white turban of his father’s tradition, for the black suit and fedora of ultra-Orthodox Jews.”

    It is a repeated cycle of history that the 1st generation of immigrant parents try hard to assimilate into the broader society of the new country. It is the 2nd or 3rd generation who grow up missing a substantive ancestral identity who seek to recover it.

  117. Ploney Almoney

    Some thoughts on “Crowd Sourcing the Sermon”:

    Why do young rabbis need to be “trendy,” “engaging,” and “dynamic”?

    Why the need to pander to the social media hype and “crowd source” a sermon?

    Does being on Facebook bespeak the stature of the position of rabbi?

    Are today’s rabbis leading or following?

    Are they trying to hard?

  118. MiMedinat HaYam

    amsterdam chief rabbi suspended — if its for a halachic issue (or at least what many, if not the local community, consider a halachic issue) its a problem.

    cracking down at admission policies at schools — note similar article in haaretz that they are cracking down at admission to “elite” (chiloni) kindergarten in tel aviv, too. but that is the iriyah (municipality) and they are getting another one year waiver. the idea if reserving a %age of slots for “appeal” candidates is interesting. note many charedi girl schools discriminate against children of charedi american olim, too.

  119. “why is there a deliberate effort to keep their customs / halachot secret, like the mormons and the druse)?”

    I think you’ve made this claim before, and I’ve already said there’s no basis to it. Ethiopian Jewish practices are very well documented and have been for centuries.

    “and if they want to marry us / we want to marry them, (some sort of) rabbanut has a right to interfere. (granted, the rabbanut is too politicized to be the proper authority, but there is no other right now.)”

    Due to a ruling of R’ Ovadia (non-Ashkenazi solidarity, but backed up by previous poskim), Ethiopians are free to marry anyone. The Jerusalem Rabbinate, at least, is run by Shas, so there’s no problem. This is one place where it pays to be charedi- a scientific-minded MO would probably insist on giyyur l’chumra.

    “and nachum, that ethiopian shulchan aruch is not to enable them to live (our) halachically, its just their halachot. it might dispense with korban pesach, as a practical matter, but will it dispense with plural marriages?”

    You know not of what you write. This shulchan aruch is meant to have them practice normative halacha while living with their traditions, much as all other Jews do. And plural marriage is illegal in Israel anyway.

  120. Oh, by the way, korban pesach is legal- the Samaritans do it every year.

    Re: Holland. I like the am haaratzut of equating milk/meat times to giluy arayot.

  121. Ploney Almoney

    Nachum,

    Korban Pesach is legal anywhere BUT the Temple Mt. Just ask Rabbi Yehudah Glick and his goat. Actually, you can’t ask the goat as the police put the goat to death for not having proper documentation on hand.

  122. “It almost goes without saying that the New York Times would find a travel writer on Jerusalem who brings some heavy-duty baggage to the topic.”

    Hmmm. Here’s the previous such article:

    http://travel.nytimes.com/2011/06/12/travel/near-jerusalem-visits-to-abu-ghosh-ein-karem-and-ein-sataf.html?pagewanted=all

  123. Yossi Klein Halevi has a piece in The Globe and Mail today which adds a dimension to the Israel Charedi discussion:

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/opinion/israel-faces-up-to-religious-extremism/article2305648/

  124. “Re: Holland. I like the am haaratzut of equating milk/meat times to giluy arayot.”

    No, they’re just makpid on taaruvos, and see that he is not the right fit.

  125. Halevi writes: “Increasing numbers of Israelis are taking responsibility for their Judaism”

    Increasing is a vague term. Has it, or will it ever, reach a sizable portion of the population?

  126. Well, of the roughly 80% of Jews in Israel who do not identify as Dati’im or Chareidim, the observance of certain benchmarks is not insignificant: http://tinyurl.com/7rhxlua

    e.g. 42% always make kiddush on Friday evenings and 33% are careful to eat only kosher food to a very great extent.

  127. For those interested, R D A Brill posted this link of a shiur and Qs and As by RYBS to a group of Orthodox mental health professionals given on 4.25.78.http://www.jidaily.com/8aRs

  128. MiMedinat HaYam

    holland — it seems they want a full time chief rabbi, too. if he only flies in twice or so a year. (note — the chief rabbi of poland actually lives on the upper east side. western galicia / krakow — west side. russia — switzerland. norway — KBY.)

    but dont bring up a halachic issue as your reason, unless you want to score points with dutch / EU politics at the same time. that taaruvah is improper.

    2. nachum — i did not mean marrying them is not halachically permissible. i mean many (validly) oppose it for (what they consider to be) halachic reasons (unlike holland, where the opposition is not halachic.)

    3. there are very valid reasons for considering korban pesach permissible (even required) today. in yerushalayim only. but not in ethiopia. ditto, if you must, plural wives. but permanently banishing the divorced wife??? (i wont get into the niddah hut. and what are their timelines for that?)

    what other halachot do they have or not have? do they reheat soup (like teimanim?) no muktzah, no eruvim? tfillin? no formal tfillah system. one day yom tov (ok, not a issue in israel.) torah learning (of what sort, since no talmud, no meforshim. i dont even believe they have a masorah for sefer torah.)

    hardly a type of observance one would want to marry into, when considering questionable personal status, and possible return to original customs by second / third generation.

    4. stats on israeli ritual observance. proves my point — most israelis are mesoratiyim (old definition). (but what do the parens by FSU tfillin mean?)

  129. MiMedinat HaYam

    and the bias of that NYT reporter shows — abu ghosh is christian arab, not muslim. (though i think they’re not too observant of that, either.)

  130. MMhY — All Google reference I see indicates the article is factually correct about Abu Ghosh.

  131. For those interested in the views of the NYT towards the Jewish community, its coverage of the Holocaust and Israel, see the following linked article from the Columbia Journalism Review.
    http://www.cjr.org/feature/the_times_and_the_jews.php?page=all

  132. IH-re the author of the penultimate NYT article that you referred to, I would suggest that his overall track record re Israel and Jewish related issues would lead any reasonable reader to classify him as having liberal-left views on the peace process and a view towards a Charedi brother that was not marked by tolerance or understanding towards why his brother became a BT. http://www.joshuahammer.com/

  133. Steve — you can suggest whatever you like, but is there anything incriminating in that article that meets the charge made by David Harris that I quoted?

  134. Some Israeli tell me what “real” purpose does the local religious council serve?

  135. For those interested, R D A Brill posted this link of a shiur and Qs and As by RYBS…

    Steve — do you agree with this paragraph from there:

    He [RYBS] uses the word mesorah to refer to the continuity of the Jewish people and to the chain of scholars of the mesorah. He does not use it as a body of knowledge or a specific teaching. The Mesorah community extends from Avraham to messiah and offers a sense of calming sense of eternity that transcends the individual. Being part of the mesorah offers a deeper reality that unites past and future. We are joined as part of a covenantal community of every Jew who was in the past and those who have yet to appear. (similar to LMF)

  136. “Melamed went on to say that the general consensus among rabbinical religious authorities was that the ban on listening to a women sing is as serious as mixing meat and milk”
    Really?

  137. “Some Israeli tell me what “real” purpose does the local religious council serve?”

    I’m not sure what you mean by “real”. However our local religious council does several things.

    1. prints calendars with zmanim and locations of Mikvot
    2. certifies kosher food in the general area.
    3. provides help with establishing beit knesests as the population grows.
    4. lifecycle events
    5. ensures that public events are able to be attended by religious Jews.
    6. Organizes parades and events for Purim and chanukah, Yom Hatmzmaut and other religiously significant days where malacha is allowed.

  138. Ploney: I know full well about R’ Glick. I’ve been up to the Har HaBayit with him a number of times.

    Good one, Fred.

    Oy, MeMedinat:

    Lots of Ethiopians are completely religious. You see lots of Ethiopians in kippot and long skirts around, davening with tefillin, learning, etc. etc. The ones who aren’t religious don’t strike me as being particularly anti-Talmud. For what it’s worth, I’ve never seen a quote by a kes, for example, saying that they were *opposed* to halakha. What we’re talking about is mostly what we’d call minhagim. (Of course, until modern times, they didn’t have anything d’rabbanan.)

    Michael Melchior is rav of a congregation in Talpiot, in Jerusalem. Where’d you get KBY from?

    Abu Ghosh is actually Circassian, a Muslim ethnic group from Russia (from the Caucasus region, still a lot of them there) that came to Israel centuries ago. There are Circassians in other parts of Israel, very loyal citizens of the State, serving in the IDF as well. There are others- Palestinian Arabs, Christians and Muslims, I think- in Abu Ghosh as well, but it remains known as Circassian Muslim. The Israeli government sells all its chametz to a resident every year.

    I can’t quite see why David Harris is so exercised. It wasn’t a perfect article, and maybe could have done without the opening bit, but so what? He never wanted to visit Israel for obvious reasons having to do with Jewish hang-ups, he went, he had a good time, and the tone of his article encourages others to come. It could be worse.

    “Some Israeli tell me what “real” purpose does the local religious council serve?”

    They decide what money gets spent on mikvaot, eruvin, kashrut, batei knesset, etc. etc. Our local mikva has been closed for years for “repairs”- I wish our religious council cared. (It’s not like there aren’t two other three others nearby, but this would be *really* convenient. In fairness, they’ve been renovating a lot of local ones; halevai we’re next.)

  139. “IH on January 18, 2012 at 8:14 pm
    For those interested, R D A Brill posted this link of a shiur and Qs and As by RYBS”

    Thanks for the reference here isthe url

    http://kavvanah.wordpress.com/2012/01/15/rav-soloveitchik-speaks-to-mental-health-professionals-1978/

  140. “I’m not sure what you mean by “real”. However our local religious council does several things”
    Thanks Avi for the answer.

  141. “They decide what money gets spent on mikvaot, eruvin, kashrut, batei knesset, etc. etc. Our local mikva has been closed for years for “repairs”- I wish our religious council cared. (It’s not like there aren’t two other three others nearby, but this would be *really* convenient. In fairness, they’ve been renovating a lot of local ones”

    How many local ones are near you-I am aware that at least relatively recently there were ones in Bakka and Rechavia-how many other public ones are you aware of?
    akka and Rechavia -h

  142. Rechavia has been shut for repairs for a while. Nachlaot, Katamon, Bakaa, Musrara, lots of others.

  143. I’m guessing there are some in the beit medrash who will not agree with R’ Tucker’s drasha.
    KT

  144. On taps and their pumps, I suspct the “problem” is more widespread than imagined — particularly in private residences where there isn’t the indirection excuse of shared infrastructure. [FWIW I raised the question in the debates about use of electrical appliances on Shabbat].

  145. I can’t quite see why David Harris is so exercised. It wasn’t a perfect article, and maybe could have done without the opening bit, but so what? He never wanted to visit Israel for obvious reasons having to do with Jewish hang-ups, he went, he had a good time, and the tone of his article encourages others to come. It could be worse.

    And for those who got the hardcopy, the full “above the fold” half was a fetching photograph of two college students on Kikar Zion with the new ha’Mashbir and Rechov Yafo as the background.

  146. R’IH,
    I thought about that as well (pun) but the description in the article is far from clear on how the system works. It makes it sound like there is a direct cause and effect each time a tap is opened.
    KT

  147. abba's rantings

    “New Brooklyn Missionary Hub to Target Lubavitchers”

    it doesn’t seem like lubavitchers are really their primary targets if their center is on coney and ave p

    “But the movement’s latest push to reach out to Orthodox Jews . . . raised eyebrows even among professionals who are highly experienced in counter-missionary work.”

    let them waste their money on orthodox jews. they will not be successful. the much bigger threat is to the large russian population in the vicinity of the missionaries’ center. they see a storefront with a mogen dovid and some hebrew letters and a “rabbi” with kippah and they think its an authentic shul. (there already are a few of these in the neighborhood.) but then again who cares, the russians aren’t frum anyway.

    “In one of its newsletters, the organization presents an analysis of the two largest Chassidic groups, Lubavitch and Satmar, and outlines why their followers would make ideal recruits to “Hebrew Christianity.””

    hah! let’s see what happens when they try to missionize actively in williamsburg

  148. Yes, as “a serious student of Talmud”, I disagree with R’ Tucker’s drasha. His statement borders on kefira for the following reason:

    He seems to reject the authority of the gemara on two levels.

    1) Obviously, the traditional way to learn Gemara (and I believe the correct way) is that R’ Sheshes made a statement that was not written down at the time it was said. The edittors of the gemara did not hear R’ Sheshes say it and it was passed down orally until the time the gemara was written. The talmidim then discuss the meaning of the phrase and it was patently obvious that R’ Sheshes was not advocating an issur deoraysa. R’ Sheshes is assumed to have been talking within a clearly defined tradition that prohibits issurei deoraysa absent pikuach nefesh and allows for issurei derabbanan. A parallel to today’s news would be if someone quoted today’s BBC headline “US rejects Keystone XL Canada oil sands pipeline” without any further statement. Now on one level it is true but in context it is a temporary cancellation with the expectation that the pipeline backers will re-apply after the election. Someone 100 years from now who sees the pipeline built and does some thinking/research into 21st century US politics will understand election cycles and how statements made in the context of election cycles should be understood.
    R’ Tucker in claiming that the gemara’s understanding is a distortion of R’ Sheshes undermine the entire exercise of Torah Shebaal peh and gemara study.

    2) In leading to my second point, I often am befuddled by those who study academic Talmud as much of what they study and find inetresting makes no logical sense to me. UNLESS like R’ Tucker you advocate for psak halacha to follow the purported “true” meaning of the amora as opposed to the “distortion” of the editors. If you do advocate such a thing, as he does in this piece, then you are in effect rejecting the editors of the Talmud as the arbiters of authentic Jewish halachik tradition.

    Beyond all this the piece is ignorant beause the majority of things he might be called to do are derabbanan (except according to the Chazon Ish) since they would probably just involve electronic communication.

    p.s. I am not passing judgment on whether or not it is appropriate for Mr. Lew to do even issurei derabbanan on Shabbos, just the parameters of the shayla.

  149. IH asked:

    “He [RYBS] uses the word mesorah to refer to the continuity of the Jewish people and to the chain of scholars of the mesorah. He does not use it as a body of knowledge or a specific teaching. The Mesorah community extends from Avraham to messiah and offers a sense of calming sense of eternity that transcends the individual. Being part of the mesorah offers a deeper reality that unites past and future. We are joined as part of a covenantal community of every Jew who was in the past and those who have yet to appear”

    why not?

  150. IH wrote in part:

    “Steve — you can suggest whatever you like”

    It is your prerogative to deny the historical record. Just don’t make up facts justifying its presently and patently biased POV or that of Haaretz.

  151. R’Zuck,
    That’s what I suspected 🙂
    Of course another explanation which wouldn’t violate your axiom that the editors of the bavli are the arbiters of authentic Jewish halachik tradition could be that R’ Sheshet meant exactly what R’ Tucker thinks he did but that was inconsistent with the halachic conclusions that the editors of the bavli had reached so they reinterpreted the statement to be consistent with their halachic conclusion.
    KT

  152. Joel – Unless I missed your sarcasm, your “other” explanation is exactly what R’ Tucker meant and is exactly what R’ Zuck believes borders on kefira.

    Personally, I wish the Bavli would have just said “Rav Sheshet could say it but we can not”:)

  153. I agree that Tucker’s approach is entirely unacceptable within Orthodox halakhic discussion. I believe that even Prof. Halivni would reject such a halakhic deduction.

  154. Lawrence Kaplan

    A M Zuck: I disagree with your first point, but agree with your second one. It is standard procedure for later legal authorities rather than rejecting outright a radical or unacceptable legal view of an eminent earlier authority to modify or reinterpret it. I cite the Netziv: “Derekh ha-Gemara le-akem peirusho shel ha-Mishnah kedei le-ukma al ha-pesak.” “It is the way of the gemara to distort the meaning the Mishnah to make it accord with the pesak.” Why can’t the Stama de-Talmuda do the same for Amoraic statements.

    The problem with R. Tucker’s view is that he rejects the final and authoritative view of the Gemara as codified by all the standard authorities, and follows halakhah le-maaseh what he believes to be the original meaning of R Sheshet.

  155. Lawrence Kaplan

    Joel Rich: I now see that we both made the same point writing at about same time. I agree with Gil that Prof. Halivni would strongly reject R. Tucker’s halakhic conclusions. I would just drop the “even.” I am disappointed in R. Tucker’s article. I thought he had more respect for the halakhic process.

  156. My first point goes to the heart of academic Talmud study and whether or not it is acceptable. I am not familiar with the Netziv quoted by Rabbi Kaplan, but the distinction between the Mishna (or the BBC in my example above) is that each of those made an independent statement. There is absolutely no evidence that R’ Sheshes did. The only report of the statement is from those very same editors who had defined parameters in mind when they recorded the first statement and as such it is hard to claim that there is an actual “legal view of R’ Sheshes” independent from the understanding of the editors. The shkla v’tarya of Talmud study is based on such logical exercises of writing a statement and then, only subsequently, proving the only coherent meaning of it. Thios is different from the Mishna or a halacha in the Rambam, which of course must be understood in context, but were designed as independent legal statements that could in context stand on their own.

  157. Tucker studied at JTS and is the son of a prominent clergyman in the Conservative movement, so not surprising if his approach is not in line with the traditional Orthodox one. He also is a stepson of Joe Lieberman, who recently came out with a quite interesting book about Sabbath observance (though some positions he takes there are questionable), which is unstated but relevant. Tucker and Lieberman are taking very similar positions. But Lieberman is not a Rabbi or poseik.

  158. R Tucker wrote in part:

    “It seems Rav Sheshet is sensitive to the need to take statecraft seriously as a value in and of itself. Without control of the Land of Israel, argues Rav Sheshet, there can be no sovereign, independent Jewish society that will truly stand for the values of Shabbat and Judaism more broadly. Just as the preservation of life supersedes Shabbat because Shabbat is meant to be a lived mitzvah, one that cannot be fulfilled in death, so too, for Rav Sheshet, acquiring control of Jewish space is a prerequisite for creating a Jewish world that can model Shabbat in all of its fullness”

    WADR, isn’t the above a misstatement if not a misreading of the basis of the heter of Amirah LAkum BMakom Mitzvah D Rabim, as set forth by Tosfos in the first perek of Gittin?

  159. P. — Rabbi Tucker also studied at Yeshivat Ma’ale Gilboa for 3 years and his smicha is from the Rabbanut.

  160. I had read R Tucker’s discussion of R Sheshet not as making an Halakhic psak, but as a meta-Halakhic idea of how to conceive of the relationship of Jews in malkhut to their constituents even on Shabbat. I am quite sure that R Tucker would not suggest that Mr. Lew never follow Shabbat at all in his new position, but was more suggesting a frame of mind to use when balancing the issues and requirements of the most important man in the world/all world/US citizens with Hilkhot Shabbat.

    To never compromise Shabbat in any way would probably be a dereliction of Mr. Lew’s duties, and would require him to have turned down the position. I think Rabbi Tucker is further saying that Mr. Lew need not have turned down the position.

  161. Who knows what “the historical” R’ Sheshet had in mind? It’s possible it is exactly what the editors of the Bavli stated, it’s also possible that the oral tradition they recieved had this specific quote without any associated context.

    As to the “academic study” (I dislike this term because it has become a pejorative in certain circles), I’m a simple country actuary who dabbles a few minutes in learning when I have time but it seems to me that trying to understand the context of a statement could offer useful information.Using this case as an example, if we knew r’ sheshet meant what he said literally, it might shed light on the importance at least one amora put on yishuv eretz yisrael (much like r’hs says that the din of not saving a nochri should help us understand better the kedusha of shabbat). Further analysis might shed light on the halachic processas to why the editors rejected this approach,
    Just saying
    KT

  162. I have two questions:

    1. I have heard this Gemara cited in defense of a halakhic position of not giving up land to Arabs. I wonder if R’ Tucker, having elevated this opinion to canon, would take it at its literal sense and oppose any land for peace deal with the Palestinians. 🙂

    2. I wonder if R’ Tucker would have put in this effort if the president was a Republican. 🙂

  163. MiMedinat HaYam

    rabbi e tucker is the son of sen lieberman’s ex-wife’s current husband, not a step son. if not for that, he definitely should have mention the senator’s book on shabat. or rather, the editor should have put in a disclaimer.

    and his father is, basically, the “posek” for conservative jewry (whatever that means; i believe the title is chairman of the halachic committee of the RA ( = C version of RCA).)

    nevertheless, his analayis is basically flawed, and shows weak “talmudic” skills (as discussed above) which reflects on his “yeshiva”.

    2. why didnt the builders in bnei braq put cisterns (tanks on roofs) like in yerushalayim and many other cities internationally?

    second, there are gravity (and compressed air / gas / liquid) powered pumps available for many years that have no shabat problems. easy solution — please send me royalties.

    3. ethiopians — i did not say they are non halachic currently. i say their imported halachot / minhagim are too secretive, besides not meeting our current standards. and i fear a future “return to old ways” trend in a generation or two, as mentioned here by others.

    4. the missionaries in flatbush — this is an old story. they seem to have raised $ to replace their old storefront type location. dont think they have much success rate, but russians in brighton bch (and r dr berger’s comment in his book that the meshichists are leading many BT’s to the missionaries.)

    5. belz — they seem to be on a campaign to bring together (many) parts of the jewish community. first, (quasi) supporting the DL in bet shemesh, now (a faction of) satmar. maybe they should be applauded, but its half hearted.

  164. MMHY: No, Ethan Tucker’s mother, now Hadassah Lieberman, was previously married to Conservative rabbi Gordon Tucker. I don’t know that he is “the” posek but he is a prominent halakhist in the Conservative movement. Ethan probably did not mention Sen. Lieberman’s book because it may seem to some overly commercial. Or he may just not have been able or wanted to fit it in. (I normally would have edited out the comment but am allowing it because it relates to potential bias in a public article)

    I don’t think his analysis shows weak Talmudic skills. It shows a different methodology that he is, apparently from this article, even willing to use in a halakhic context. That does, indeed, reflect his training.

  165. “son of sen lieberman’s ex-wife’s current husband, not a step son”

    Not correct. Wikipedia says he is a stepson.

  166. That does, indeed, reflect his training.

    Yeshivat Ma’ale Gilboa is not to your taste???

    And with apologies for being blunt, but for someone who won’t disclose who gave him smicha, I think it is chuzpadik not to recognize R. Tucker’s Rabbanut smicha.

  167. IH: I don’t know enough to have an opinion, neither positive nor negative, about Maaleh Gilboa. I meant JTS.

    I am fully willing to disclose who gave me semikhah just not on the blog. E-mail me if you want to know. Charlie Hall did and can attest that they are highly respected.

  168. MiMedinat HaYam

    i stand corrected on the relationship (gotta ask my friend in white plains).

    which accounts for his possibly not mentioning the book. but the forward editor should have mentioned it.

    since you forwarded me to wikipedia, and his father bio came up first, i note the following (regarding the elder tucker’s term as dean of jts):

    “He recruited some students who did not have a strong background in rabbinic texts but were instead interested in political activism. As Dean, he revamped the curriculum, significantly deemphasizing the focus on Talmud.”

    which might reflect on his son’s analysis (and his son’s “yeshiva”).

  169. MeMedinat, Google and Wikipedia are your friends. For my part, I’ll just repeat, for the umpteenth time, that there’s nothing secret about Ethiopians, and we’re talking minhagim here.

  170. Lawrence Kaplan

    MMHY: R. Gordon Tucker is a MEMEBER of the Conservative Committee for Law and Standards, NOT its Chairman. To refer to him as THE Conservative movement’s posek is nonsense. Moreover, his proposed takkanah on homosexuality was voted down.

    R. Gordon Tucker’s area of expertise is Jewish thought. By contrast, his son’s areas of expertise are Talmud and rabbinics.

    R. Tucker, fils, is is much more “conservative” (small “c”) than R. Tucker, pere. All this is well known.

  171. These two statements, make me think that R. Tucker isn’t really talking about Shabbat or Lew, but something else entirely.
    “Sometimes the categories of pikuah nefesh — the authorization to violate Shabbat in order to save a life — are applied creatively and broadly. But this skirts the issue: Are Jews authorized and empowered to do the 24/7 things that are required for a modern society to function? Should we really say that Jews, at least in a gentile, diasporic government, may have to be among the represented, but not among those who represent?

    Read more: http://www.forward.com/articles/149840/#ixzz1jwS38hO5” …
    “It seems Rav Sheshet is sensitive to the need to take statecraft seriously as a value in and of itself. Without control of the Land of Israel, argues Rav Sheshet, there can be no sovereign, independent Jewish society that will truly stand for the values of Shabbat and Judaism more broadly. Just as the preservation of life supersedes Shabbat because Shabbat is meant to be a lived mitzvah, one that cannot be fulfilled in death, so too, for Rav Sheshet, acquiring control of Jewish space is a prerequisite for creating a Jewish world that can model Shabbat in all of its fullness.

    Read more: http://www.forward.com/articles/149840/#ixzz1jwRfonLY

  172. Lawrence Kaplan

    Nachum: As you know, we are far apart on political issues. But your first question in your 1:47pm post was “a hit, a palpable hit.”

    AM Zuck: One can debate the issue as to whether the Gemara’s interpretation of R.Sheshet represents his original meaning or not. Certainly, this is not an issue of kefirah. What is very problematic, though I would hesitate to call it kefirah, is asserting that once one has determined that R. Sheshet’s original meaning differs from that attributed to him by the Gemara, one can then go back to that original meaning halakh le-ma’aseh.

  173. abba's rantings

    IH:

    “Yeshivat Ma’ale Gilboa is not to your taste???”

    why should it be to his taste?

  174. the description in the article is far from clear on how the system works. It makes it sound like there is a direct cause and effect each time a tap is opened.

    R’ Joel — To be clearer, I have a feeling that many single family homes have systems that work similarly — i.e. direct cause and effect — particularly given the “greening” of plumbing to not be be wasteful of water.

  175. Irresponsible of the “tap” article’s author, who presumably has some kind of yeshiva education, to say that a gramma would be punished by stoning.

  176. Dear All,

    I thank all of you for engaging with the piece I wrote. I am sorry about a few things: 1) That perhaps I may have articulated things in a way that was unclear or misleading. 2) That things turn ad hominem in these discussions so quickly. 3) That in a world in which my contact information is readily available at all, people jump so quickly to assumptions and attacks in such a public forum. Why not just write me and ask me what I meant?

    I feel I need to offer some response to some of what was said here, but I invite any of you interested in engaging further to write me at [email protected].

    Lawrence Kaplan and others have correctly identified my basic argument about Rav Sheshet, which I thought was clear: I am arguing that his view was indeed that one is permitted to write a bill of sale on Shabbat when purchasing a portion of Eretz Yisrael from a Gentile is on the line. I maintain that this is the original meaning, and that the gemara’s backing off of that is not a historical revision of the statement as offered, but a substantive objection to accepting that as normative. I think the implications of R. Sheshet were so shocking to the stama de-gemara here, that it was impossible to imagine that he said it. I further maintain that if, despite this shock, a version of R. Sheshet was preserved that suggested otherwise, the more shocking version is likely authentic and original, from a historical perspective. (@AMZuck–there is nothing inherently more stable about a written culture than an oral one; in fact often the oppostite is true.)

    Now, as far as the question of halakhah lema’aseh: I was not and would not advocate going back to the plain sense of R. Sheshet in a sugya like this. That approach is everything that is wrong, in my view, with using academic methods to think about halakhah. Just because historical sensitivity enables us to give respect to R. Sheshet by full y understanding his view does not mean we should hold any less lofty the honor of the stama de-gemara. The goal is to hear *all* of those voices and to emerge with an appreciation for all the different views. I would never advocate a simple heter to perform an av melakhah just because one was in public office. (@AMZuck: I think it quite likely that physical writing would come up, so aside from not appreciating being attacked as ignorant, I think you are just incorrect.) I thought I made that sufficiently clear in the following sentence:

    “I am sure Jack Lew will find ways to avoid all unnecessary meetings on Shabbat and will be in a position to avoid certain concrete physical tasks like writing that have been core elements of Shabbat observance for millennia.”

    We live in a post-stama de-gemara world and we cannot therefore just glibly permit issurim de-oraita in the name of yishuv ha’aretz or other comparable values. [Though I am far from the first to think about this; Yeshayahu Leibovitz wrote about this in depth decades ago.] I was trying to raise the volume on R. Sheshet for understanding the broader value context in which a person might be in non-Shabbat environments for work and value their presence there. Without R. Sheshet, one can easily emerge from that Gemara assuming that the observant Jew’s task is to avoid all areas of responsibility that might conflict with Shabbat. I was suggesting that R. Sheshet’s worldview pushes us to think about the observant Jew’s job as being willing to be present in such spaces of responsibility—even on Shabbat—while still striving to minimize any blatant hillul Shabbat in the process. That strikes me as the fullest synthesis of the insights of *both* R. Sheshet and the stam in Gittin. (Thanks to joel rich for his comments in this direction.) I would hope that anyone hearing this clarification would agree that this is neither kefirah nor particularly controversial, any more than saying that R. Yehudah’s position on melakhah she’einah tzrikha legufah—even if not formally followed—helps us understand why there is reluctance to classify such melakhot as being simply derabbanan for purposes of various leniencies on Shabbat. Having the fuller picture helps us not just with practical decisions but also with the motivational frame that should guide us more broadly. (AJ got this exactly right.)

    I won’t comment further on the familial relationships involved—you all seem to have sorted that out on your own. I will only note that I included mention of both my stepfather and his book, and the editor cut it!

  177. R’ Tucker,
    I think you ignored my core critique (probably b/c I was rude for which I apologize). I see no basis to analyze an “independent” statement of R’ Sheshes as our only context is that prsented by the “stam”. Here a statement is recorded by the stam and then through shakla v’tarya is interpreted. The “stam” almost always uses a post-recordation analysis to explain a statement. Thus, absent another source for the statement I see no basis to analyze it independently of the gemaras understanding. Your analysis makes no sense precisely because of the oral tradition. When the stam decided to include the statement he was not trying to re-invent the wheel and do independent analysis. He was relying on an oral tradition that had transmitted the statement. That tradition provides the context and meaning. When he recorded it in written form the gemara tries to convey the shakla v’tarya as would be involved in an oral transmission where a statement is made and chalenged as in a chavrusa context(in contrast to simply codifying the tradition).

    Also, why assume physical writing is necessary in this day of ipads, computers et. al.

  178. Lawrence Kaplan

    Rabbi Tucker: I very much appreciate your thoughtful, lucid, and measured reply. I am glad and relieved you clarified that you do not advocate going back halakhah le-ma’aseh to the plain sense of R. Sheshet in this sugya. I am not sure that point emerged sufficiently clearly in your original article, despite the sentence you cite(you yourself intimate as much in the beginning of your post), and, again, I appreciate the clarification. I do believe, however, that your discussion of the implications of the need to hear and synthesize all the voices in a sugya needs further fleshing out, particularly regarding the relationship between values and more technical aspects of halakhah, and I look forward to reading more of what you have to say about this.

  179. AM Zuck: I assume the entire gemara, in its final form, was entire oral and was only committed to writing during the time of the Geonim, in the 8th century or so. There is of course some scholarly debate about that, but I am proceeding from that assumption. So the entire exchange would have been oral. You are right that we have no independent corroboration of R. Sheshet’s “original” meaning in this case, but: 1) We find this pattern in a number of other cases, where an earlier statement is “modified” by the gemara and an original confirming the earlier version is preserved elsewhere. Happy to follow up individually with examples. 2) In a culture where it is so unimaginable that one would do something, the preservation of a statement that seems to allow for that very thing ipso facto has some ring of authenticity to it. Why would anyone in that culture ever generate such a statement unless it was actually said?

    Now, in this case, perhaps I am wrong. Perhaps this is like many other cases of “salka da’atakh” in the gemara, where the gemara is really just clarifying the obvious truth of the statement itself, but just clarifying that its surprising idiom should not lead us astray. [Best example of this is Rav Huna on Kiddushin 20a.] Indeed, there is an interesting parallel here in Yerushalmi Moed Katan 2:4 that cites a baraita that permits writing a bill of sale on Shabbat and explicitly limits this to making the Gentile do all of the actual physical melakhah as well as the handling of the money. Does this show that this was R. Sheshet’s original meaning? Perhaps. But it might euqally be the case that he is advocating something further than this and that the baraita in the Yerushalmi reflects a process similar to what we see unfolding in the stama de-gemara in the Bavli.

    Either way, I think the basic point remains the same: there is a strand of thinking that articulates the permissibility of acquiring land in Eretz Yisrael on Shabbat in bold terms and then a strand that is careful to scale that back in practical terms, and I am advocating the same dynamic around observant Jews and public office: strong support for their being there and assuming responsibility and strong support for them finding ways to do that such that physical melakhot are avoided.

  180. For objections to this approach to the Talmud, see this post (from 7 years ago!): https://www.torahmusings.com/2004/12/academic-study-of-talmud-2/

  181. For objections to this approach to the Talmud, see this post…

    Gil — it would be helpful (at least to me) if you could be more specific about your objections to R. Tucker’s clarifying comments on his use of the Talmudic passage.

    Let’s not miss the opportunity for continued dialogue le’shem shamayim.

  182. op-ed in the ny times friday edition on beit shemesh and modesty by r’ dov linzer:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/20/opinion/ultra-orthodox-jews-and-the-modesty-fight.html?_r=1

  183. R Linzer’s well stated arguments would carry even more weight if he stated that one of the cardinal rules of contemporary fashion is “less is more”, and/or clothing that accentuate what is considered to be the female physique.

  184. very nice picture of R’ Gifter , didn’t realize he remained clean shaven.
    KT

  185. Steve — see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D%C3%A9colletage for some historical context.

  186. Shaul – The “Nishmas Avraham” post has rolled off the home page, but apropos of the discussion you were having with several of us on Modern Hebrew, please note (from: http://seforim.blogspot.com/2012/01/rabbi-david-hoffmann-zl-by-eliezer-m.html):

    His Hebrew style is rabbinic, and it too is not weighed down by flowery expression (though occasionally it does show the influence of Haskalah writing). But his Hebrew style is plodding, apparently unable to express modern ideas. Hebrew’s major effort in recent times has been the adaptation of the language to modern concepts, the expansion of word usages, and the substitution of archaic usages with modern ones. He never acquired this level of Hebrew (though we should not think that he opposed the recent effort towards linguistic adaptation). He did not write much in Hebrew. For the most part, he wrote in Hebrew only when he composed halakhic responsa, notes, and a handful of commentaries. For the sake of being recognized by Gentile scholars, Wissenschaft Des Judentums sacrificed Hebrew on the altar of foreign language. German Orthodoxy committed a comparable sin by abandoning Hebrew in order to level the playing field between Orthodox Judaism and Liberal Judaism.

  187. very nice picture of R’ Gifter , didn’t realize he remained clean shaven.
    KT

    Rav Gifter zt”l also had a “chup”!

  188. Rabbi Dov Linzer: “Put more plainly, the Talmud says: It’s your problem, sir; not hers.”

    care to share the source, anyone?

  189. Lawrence Kaplan

    It’s Rabbi Linzer’s extrapolation from the sources he cites re looking at a woman’s finger and hanging clothes.

  190. R’ Tucker,

    I think you could have made the same point in your article without implying that issurei deroraysa are muttar even absent pikuach nefesh. Even the maskana of the gemara is a chiddush in stating that issurei derabbanan are permissible to acquire the land absent any immediate need of Shabbos, but rather in pursuuit of a different value. Thus, what I still see in your article is a degrading of the significance of the talmudic mesora and of issurei derabbanan in general.

    Also, I am not an expert in academic Talmud, but even if the complete gemara as we (more or less) have it was not finished before the 8th century, significant parts were written earlier and without an independent source I do not understand the claim of an indepenednt R’ Sheshes.

  191. Nothing wrong with the piece from Rabbi Linzer, sure wish he wouldn’t have published it in the NYT. As liberal minded as he sounds to himself and our community, he also sounds nuts to the outside world. Seems like an awful lot of publicly-aired dirty laundry towards what end? Letting the world know that the spitters don’t represent all orthodox Jews? If that’s even necessary, there’s less damaging ways to do it. So what”s the point? A public shot at anyone who still takes tznius seriously?

  192. ltr – “A public shot at anyone who still takes tznius seriously?” you jest unless separate sidewalks, elevators, sitting on buses and spitting on girls is.

  193. No, of course not. But the message can’t just simply be against the reshaim in Beit Shemesh, but maybe it’s against anyone who asks women to take any responsibility for it – I don’t know. What do you think he was trying to accomplish?

  194. @ltr: Last Saturday, the NY Times printed a cover story on this whole issue. I’m happy that someone has put the issue into context for NY Times readers and come to the defense fo the Torah.

  195. LTR – “What do you think he was trying to accomplish?”

    how a religious jew should look at the issue since the ny times printed that article. readers must wonder if all religious jews who follow the talmud and its successors believe in this – as a religious issue.

  196. r’ linzer’s op-ed emanated from a blog post on the tzinut from 3 weeks ago with detailed analysis of sources:

    http://rabbidovlinzer.blogspot.com/2012/01/torah-from-our-beit-midrash-tzniut.html

    excerpt:
    The true solution is that these statements are not absolutes, but change based on historical and societal contexts. Hence, in the time of the Gemara, even the lower leg and lower arm where usually covered and for a married woman to uncover her lower arm in public, or for a man to gaze at a woman’s lower leg, would be unacceptable. But when societal norms change, so did the parameters of what is normally covered and what cannot be male-gazed upon. Hence, in Shulkhan Arukh, OH (75) one will not find any mention of the shok or the zro’a. Rather, both regarding body parts (except for the actual genital areas), and regarding women’s hair, or (singing) voice, the concern is only with what is normally covered in modest society.

    The upshot of all of this is that a true approach to tzniut, in addition to focusing on modesty in all ways for men and for women, and in addition to directing men to control their male gaze, would also reject the quantification of the concept of tzniut and the objectification of women’s body parts towards this end.

  197. That’s great for his blog, or Tradition or Milin Havivin or Hakira etc. Why bring it to the NYT?

  198. Lawrence Kaplan

    LTR: Don’t you get it? As David and Ruvie have said, because the NYT already covered this issue.

  199. Find the disconnect:
    Rabbi Aryeh Ralbag was relieved of his duties on Monday after signing an online rabbinical statement decrying same-sex marriage and suggesting that homosexuals should seek therapy to overcome their inclinations.

    Moscow’s Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, who is president of the Conference of European Rabbis, said: “In recent weeks we have seen two disappointing extremes at different ends of the Jewish spectrum.

    “In Israel, an insular and self-absorbed community showed no respect for anyone falling outside of their bubble and in Amsterdam, a community that is too concerned with what their secular peers believe, has penalised their Chief Rabbi for restating the Torah’s opposition to same-sex unions.

    KT

  200. “penalised their Chief Rabbi for restating the Torah’s opposition to same-sex unions.”

    No, they penalized their Chief Rabbi for falsely suggesting that there is some kind of therapy that can treat homosexuality.

  201. “Charlie Hall did and can attest that they are highly respected.”

    I do so attest.

  202. “falsely suggesting that there is some kind of therapy ”

    Minor correction: Maybe there DOES exist some kind of therapy that “treats” homosexuality (whatever that means). But there does not exist one that has been shown efficacious as of today by the standards of modern medicine and psychology. To imply otherwise is to mislead whomever is listening to you.

  203. Thank you R’ Gil for the link to your post. In reviewing it I will note that you mention (in a critical way) that the methodology is to find earlier manuscripts or accpunts of a particular statement that ignore the bavli’s interpretation and extrapolate that their is a different meaning to the statement. I think the key in R’ Tucker’s piece as I have mentioned is that there is no independent statement or text that has a stand alone statement allowing the violation of issurei deoraysa in the context of kibbush ha’aretz. So, to claim that is what R’ Sheshes meant is a stretch even within the academic methodology. My little familiarity with that sort of study (which I also felt was deathly boring) always produced separate girsaos. Here no such text has been mentioned. Furthermore, as far as I know there is no rabbinic text that authorizes chillul shabbos deroraysa absent pikuach nefesh and the some in the academic community claim the opposite that even pikuach nefesh was a heter of the Chashmonaim.

  204. MiMedinat HaYam

    r charlie – i dont know if we want to bring this up again, but

    the treatment “success rate” for sexual addiction (whatever that is), child sexual molestation, and other such treatments are in the low teens, compared to the claimed 30% for “reparative”. so far, haven’t seen how that treatment is done.

    alcoholic and drug abuse treatment also basically appeals to religious (and / or secular) values. just like reparative therapy does. so much for “abusive” type of treatment.

    of course, the rate depends on initial motivation, etc. but that applies to hetero and SSA treatment equally, and i presume, how strongly religious and secular values are held by the patient.

    2. r tucker — we agree that the book should have been mentioned by the editor, if not by you, which you did.

    by the way, clarification — your institute is called “machon hadar”, not “yeshiva”. so one aspect of previous criticism is invalid.

  205. “very nice picture of R’ Gifter , didn’t realize he remained clean shaven.”

    The photo on the page is of the reviewer, not the subject.

  206. MiMedinat HaYam

    thats not a picture of rav gifter. thats the “kosher bookworm” columnist.

    i google image’d him and got http://www.jewsagainstzionism.com/rabbi_quotes/gifter.cfm. not exactly an appropriate site, but perhaps he held some sort of views of the type. i wont get into that here.

    by the way, does the book admit he went to yeshiva college?

  207. Ruvie wrote in part:

    “The upshot of all of this is that a true approach to tzniut, in addition to focusing on modesty in all ways for men and for women, and in addition to directing men to control their male gaze, would also reject the quantification of the concept of tzniut and the objectification of women’s body parts towards this end”

    Ruvie and all others interested in the issues raised by R Linzer-guess which issue of a particular magazine has historically sold more issues than any other issue on an annual basis for many years? Can anyone name one magazine devoted to women’s fashion and related issues that does not engage in treating the same as a means for women to be treated as objects with respect to their bodies?

  208. R Gifter ZL, in a well known speech and reaction to an address of Yivadlenu LChaim Tovim, R D N Lamm on “Centrist Orthodoxy”,. mentioned that he attended YC, and RIETS, but then went on to sharply criticize R D Lamm’s thesis. My skimming of the book revealed that the author mentioned in a very oblique way that R Victor attended YC/RIETS, and that he suggested that a certain talmid attend YU. It should be noted that the book does not mention, as was noted by R D M Shapiro in his book on R D S Lieberman ZL and the Orthopox world, that R Gifter ZL , while certainly no fan of RSL ,and someone very opposed to the views of RSL, corresponded on Torah related topics with R D Louis Ginzberg ( see Pages 31-32, and footnotes 114 117). Of course, one does not expect or rely upon historical accuracy in an ArtScroll published hagiography.

  209. R’p
    Yadati bni, yadati. Tongue was firmly planted in cheek.
    KT

  210. Steve —

    In 1963, then-Managing Editor Andre Laguerre was looking for a cover that would make the magazine noticeable during the winter months when football had ended and baseball had yet to begin. He asked his editors to send him memos with good ideas, and that’s just what he got from Fred Smith: put a pretty girl on the cover in a resort that relates to sport. The first cover hit newsstands in January, 1964, as a five-page supplement.

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/34828908/The_Business_Behind_the_SI_Swimsuit_Issue

    And your point?

  211. Of course, one does not expect or rely upon historical accuracy in an ArtScroll published hagiography.

    LOL. The humor is a welcome addition to your style sheet, Steve…

  212. Lawrence Kaplan

    IH: I appreciate many of the links you provide. But the point of your last 2:25pm post could have been made without the link. Speaking about not Tzeniusdik! I do not think Gil would approve.

  213. The link is about the business, but shows images of the subject which some may find offensive. I should have made that explicit.

  214. Charlie: Come on. R’ Goldschmidt is absolutely correct in ascribing their motivations. This didn’t happen in the Netherlands for nothing.

    Steve: So women aren’t modest. So what? Are you spitting on women in the New York subways? You’re taking the prize for non-sequitors.

    Why’s everyone so offended at IH’s link? It’s a nice Jewish girl. 🙂 (Her draft evasion is another story. Give me Esti Ginzberg any day of the week.)

    MeMedinat: It treats it the usual way, talking about “Yeshivas Rabbenu Yitzchak Elchanan” (I imagine most Artscroll readers have never heard of that name and don’t realize it still exists), how he was “uncomfortable” there and left, yada yada. See also R’ Scheinberg, R’ Miller, etc.

    I’m pretty firmly opposed to all this gender separation business. For the latest outrage, see http://www.kipa.co.il/now/47383.html . (Summary: There’s a memorial service for the Fogel family, hy’d, on Sunday. One parsha sheet- the one published by Machon Meir- actually blurred out the face of Ruth Fogel in the ad submitted to them. I’m just surprised they didn’t blur out the baby’s face, as has been done. Feldheim, come to think, left only the baby photo on the cover of “The Bamboo Cradle.”) But there’s a place for everything. The New York Times is not one of them, unless your social and political identity is tied to approval from that newspaper.

  215. “Certainly, this is not an issue of kefirah”
    Probably a much overused word.

  216. “alcoholic and drug abuse treatment also basically appeals to religious (and / or secular) values. just like reparative therapy does. so much for “abusive” type of treatment.”

    The success rate of 12 step programs is very questionnable-testimonials from the few who have stayed through them to “success” is not the relevant figure-it is the percentage who ever entered a 12th step meeting and never succeeded with them.

  217. On the discussion of the academic study of talmud: I wonder why folks would reject ANY useful methodology (academic study includes more than one methodology) that would enable them to better understand the text of the gemera and its differences with other rabbinical texts. Is it influenced by ideology ? Or that it’s non traditional and written by professors including women?

  218. IH is correct about the history of the issue and magazine in question, But I tend to doubt that the resort per se has anything to do with sports and if anyone was interested, the images therein ilustrate what is meant by “less is more”.

    Nachum-Absolutely not. My point is that Pritzus and Tznius are a two way street that are not solely dependent on testosterone levels.

  219. IH wrote;

    “Of course, one does not expect or rely upon historical accuracy in an ArtScroll published hagiography.

    LOL. The humor is a welcome addition to your style sheet, Steve

    In all seriousness, that is why we have one such volume in the house which my wife won at a Chinese auction. Full disclousure-I bought HaRav MeBrisk ( re R Velvel ZL) and a similar volume re R Baruch Ber ZL. I recently saw a two volume set on R Tzi Pesach Frank ZL that was interesting, but most of these works are hagiographical in the worst sense of the word.

  220. To be clear: the academic study is founded on the distinction between two literary strata of the talmud- meimrot of the amorain ( which are very brief) and the stam anynomous part of the talmud ( shaklla v’tarya etc.). The literary style of the two are different as well chronologically separate.

  221. Re Racism against Eithiopians -they were let into Israel as Jews-as compared to cases such as one I just found out about 10 days ago-where a daughter of a giyores from about 50 years ago won’t get permission to immigrate to Israel. The daughters first and last names sound very Jewish and the mother who apparently was migayer a half a century ago smells like someone who was brought up Jewish but then needed a conversion-guess based on name when converted.
    Of course, Racism is bad against all-but one can at least argue that much less checking was done on “Jewish” aspect than is now being done againstthose who were migayer half a century ago by Orthodox Rabbis.

  222. Re article about Elkins Park Synagogue-
    Does anyone seriously believe that majesty of edifice makes a difference to frequent worshippers at any synagogue?

  223. The issue is not recognizing layers but saying that the later layer was wrong. In the linked post from 7 years ago I did not reject all academic study, certainly not from manuscripts. I’m not a big believer in literary evidence of textual layers. Sometimes it’s obvious but usually not.

  224. saying that the later layer was wrong.

    It must be my lack of scholarship, but I don’t recall seeing any such claim in the little “academic Talmud” to which I have been exposed.

    In this particular case, R. Tucker on January 19, 2012 at 8:27 pm states: “Just because historical sensitivity enables us to give respect to R. Sheshet by fully understanding his view does not mean we should hold any less lofty the honor of the stama de-gemara. The goal is to hear *all* of those voices and to emerge with an appreciation for all the different views.”

  225. “The Conference of European Rabbis has criticised Amsterdam’s Orthodox Ashkenazi community for suspending its Chief Rabbi over his views on homosexuality.

    Rabbi Aryeh Ralbag was relieved of his duties on Monday after signing an online rabbinical statement decrying same-sex marriage and suggesting that homosexuals should seek therapy to overcome their inclinations”

    how is he related to

    “As the son of esteemed Rabbi Jehoseph Ralbag, Rabbi Aryeh Ralbag is the “posek” (issues rabbinical rulings) and Head Kashruth Coordinator of Triangle K. He was born in New York City and studies at the world famous Lithuanian Chevron Yeshiva – Hebron Rabbinical College, in Jerusalem, where he received Semicha (rabbinical ordination) Yore Yore Yodin Yodin. In 1975, Rabbi Ralbag received further Dayanus Semicha from the Yeshiva, Badatz of Ashkenazim Perushim in Yerushalayim, Roshei Yeshiva, Dayanim and Rabbonim. The list of those who gave him Semicha include Rav Moshe Chevroni, Rav Eliezer Platchinsky, Rav Ovadia Yosef, Rav Avraham Rosenthal and, the most essential for him, his grandfather, HaRav Aron Yehuda Arak.
    Rabbi Ralbag was Rabbi of the city of Amsterdam and its Beth Din (ecclesiastical court) from 1975-83. ”
    which is copied from
    http://trianglek.org/about.html
    For the record my quoting the trianglek.org website like quoting any website does not necessarily mean that I agree with every word in that website or any other websitethat I quote.

  226. So, perhaps the silver lining is that Triangle-K certified meat — sold at Trader Joe’s — will now be accepted as kasher (which is not the case at present) 🙂

  227. “The issue is not recognizing layers but saying that the later layer was wrong.”
    ? Wrong I think is the wrong word. But you also object to recognizing layers from your post. Sometimes academics can show the later layer to be amended (limited or expanded more than the original intent)by the redactor – sometimes it is not convincing other times it is.

    “In the linked post from 7 years ago I did not reject all academic study, certainly not from manuscripts. I’m not a big believer in literary evidence of textual layers. Sometimes it’s obvious but usually not.”
    That post was vague and unconvincing. Quoting saul lieberman from 1940 about methodology that began to develop many decades later is disengenous.
    it is when it’s not obvious that you need many methodologies to figure things out – source criticism is just one of them. The scholarship in the last 20 years has been quite substantial especially analysis on aggaditta by rubinstein and others; Ellman and secunda on Sassanian period of the bavli. I can understand not liking all of scholarship but dismissing it I do not. I would expect a real critique.

  228. The problem with Ethan Tucker’s use talmud criticism, is not that there is any thing problematic in his method per se. I highly doubt that he believes that the Stamma s’Gemarra is wrong here. Very few Talmud scholars, and almost no young ones think in these terms. Though I have not looked up the sugya, buthis reading seems quite rerasonable. The problem with his article as I see it is

    a)he suggests that his reconstruction of the development of the sugya might have halakhic ramifications. I dont see how this could be the case with out setroying the halakhic system.

    b)For the life of me I cannot find the relevance of this sugya to the question of high level officials in a non- JEwish government in chu”l being mechallel shabbos for their jobs.

  229. ” done. Feldheim, come to think, left only the baby photo on the cover of “The Bamboo Cradle.”) ”
    Isn’t that book over 20 years old?

  230. Forgive me for asking – but how is talmud criticism relevant to halacha? As far as I know, Jew accepted it en bloc and didn’t separate it into tiny bits.

    I agree with R. Shoshan – arguing that the academic “textual archaeology” has halachic ramifications opens up one heck of a Pandora’s box.

  231. Lawrence Kaplan

    Moshe Shoshan: If I understand R. Tucker correctly, his point is that “hearing” the voice of R. Sheshet alongside that of the Stama di-Gemara influences not the technical halakhah, which follows the stama-di-Gemara, but our understanding of the spirit of the halakhah and the values underlying it. Precisely because of that, this mode of understanding can be applied to Jack Lew. Also remember this was a news article, not a responsum. Still, as I indicated in my post responding to Tucker, he nees to work out more carefully the implications of his approach. I did like the fact, however, that for Tucker academic Talmud is not just an antiquarian execie, but has implications for our religious understanding.

  232. Not to be misunderstood, my post earlier has no opinion on r’ Tucker’s analysis of the sugya in question (i have not looked at closely). academic study of Talmud and its methodologies IMHO is separate from the halachik system. Use of different methodologies including those employed by Talmud academics can be useful in understanding ( or render different ones than previously recognized) many sugyot. Btw, some yeshivot in israel have been using some of these techniques recently as well as r’ weider at yu ( separating layers etc.).
    I see very little difference here to the use of techniques but tosafot in trying to harmonize all sugyot across the Talmud that differed from rashi and the geonim.

  233. Mycroft- later edition.

  234. The issue for me is not the understanding but whether there are PRACTICAL implications. IMHO, it is very dangerous to argue this without undermining large chunks of psak.

  235. http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/01/publisher-regrets-suggesting-that-israel-assassinate-obama/

    Why no one in todays age can think out loud about public issues. One must assumethat everything one says or writes will go viral.

  236. Aiwac- I was responding to Gil’s post of :
    “For objections to this approach to the Talmud, see this post (from 7 years ago!): https://www.torahmusings.com/2004/12/academic-study-of-talmud-2/.

  237. Menken’s piece in C-C (comments locked), on the other hand, takes the cake. He takes the example of Newt Gingrich (in whose case no one denies the sordid facts) to attack the Israeli media for publicizing discrimination against women without realizing that he’s, first, using a multiple adulterer as his “hero,” and, second, admitting the truth of the stories. I wish the man would cease pretending to represent American conservatives, as he’s basically a buffoon.

  238. Ruvie,

    Fine, but the issue still stands. Even if talmudic textual archaeology was as accurate as physics (which it isn’t), we’d still have a very serious structural problem in the event we decided it has practical application to present-day halacha. So the debate between you and Gil is essentially moot.

  239. Aiwac – I think it has practical application if a posek decides that a critical surya to a psak could be understood differently via this methodology and change the chain to psak halacha. I am not sure if all those stars can be aligned but not a baki in this area but it’s a possibility ( is it the same as the use of the brisker method that was innovative when it started and did it upend Halacha? People did protest it at the time and later as foreign to Judaism . Is that true here as well? Or is too early to tell?)

  240. ruvie,

    I don’t think that’s a fair comparison. Sometimes methods win out, other times – no. Just because one system was denounced but eventually accepted doesn’t mean others will. Don’t forget that many shitot were already rejected in the gemara itself.

    Also, a posek would have to do it – NOT an academic. The latter can at most make a factual argument about layers, not make the decision about consequences.

    IMHO, even if we do start to adopt such methods, it should be on a case-by-case basis as is the wont of halacha for most of its history.

  241. Aiwac – agree 100%. Academics are academics not poskim. I wonder if any posek in the last 50 plus years can be accused of using new methodologies in understanding sugayas in the gemera? Sridei aish and the influence of his time in Berlin seminary and it’s modern methods?

  242. Ruvie,
    There are so many things that need to change before truth is allowed to become part of the halachic process, wherever it might come from.

    I only hope that it happens quickly and soon. The fact that people can pretend that they need to wait for the Moshiach to move to Israel, or that blurring the faces of women in publications is correct halacha, proves the point. Getting into methodology which comes from people who don’t keep shabbat, is an area that our generation does not seem to be mature enough to handle.

  243. Ruvie wrote:

    “On the discussion of the academic study of talmud: I wonder why folks would reject ANY useful methodology (academic study includes more than one methodology) that would enable them to better understand the text of the gemera and its differences with other rabbinical texts. Is it influenced by ideology ? Or that it’s non traditional and written by professors including women”

    Ruvie-see RYBS’s shiur on Gerus where RYBS very forcefully denounced such methodologies as well many of the shiurim and drashos given at RIETS”s Chag HaSemichas. IMO, the answer to your last two queries is inherent in the questions-the proponents cannot be seriously considered as Baalei Mesorah, and should not be considered as such. IIRC, R Weider, in an interview with Kol HaMevaser, was quite critical of using academic and literary based techniques in the context of a shiur.

  244. “Why no one in todays age can think out loud about public issues. One must assumethat everything one says or writes will go viral.”

    Public and widely distributed magazines, are not a place for people to “think outloud”. There are plenty places in today’s world to think outloud, a well circulated magazine is not one of them.

  245. Avi wrote:

    “Why no one in todays age can think out loud about public issues. One must assumethat everything one says or writes will go viral”

    Excellent post. Especially the weeklies that pass for the media in the Torah observant world, and which present survey type articles on Halachic issues and which tend to ignore discussing the issues in our communities are no substitute for actually delving into the sources via a chavrusa and/or a shiur.

  246. Steve — I will defer to the experts, but I think that what we call “Academic Talmud” in this discussion largely post-dates RYBS. See, e.g. http://www.jewishideasdaily.com/content/module/2011/1/27/main-feature/1/talmud-the-back-story

  247. IMO, the answer to your last two queries is inherent in the questions-the proponents cannot be seriously considered as Baalei Mesorah, and should not be considered as such.

    Your use of “Mesorah” (as per your usual MO) does not seem congruent with:

    Steve Brizel on January 19, 2012 at 11:08 am

    IH asked [Steve — do you agree with this paragraph]:

    “He [RYBS] uses the word mesorah to refer to the continuity of the Jewish people and to the chain of scholars of the mesorah. He does not use it as a body of knowledge or a specific teaching. The Mesorah community extends from Avraham to messiah and offers a sense of calming sense of eternity that transcends the individual. Being part of the mesorah offers a deeper reality that unites past and future. We are joined as part of a covenantal community of every Jew who was in the past and those who have yet to appear”

    why not?

  248. “Your use of “Mesorah” (as per your usual MO) does not seem congruent with:”

    How does his use of “mesorah” differ? What do you think “scholars of the mesorah” means?

  249. Avi — “He does not use it as a body of knowledge or a specific teaching.” Steve does.

  250. BTW, I only engaged in this “Mesorah” discussion with Steve because he posted the link in “Steve Brizel on January 18, 2012 at 6:03 pm”.

  251. Steve Brizel on January 22, 2012 at 10:48 am
    Avi wrote:

    “Why no one in todays age can think out loud about public issues. “One must assumethat everything one says or writes will go viral”

    Excellent post. Especially the weeklies that pass for the media in the Torah observant world, and which present survey type articles on Halachic issues and which tend to ignore discussing the issues in our communities are no substitute for actually delving into the sources via a chavrusa and/or a shiur”

    I of course when writing the original comment meant not just written works but anything that could be reasonabley expected to be uploaded into cyberspace-thus any shiur, mussar schmooze etc given by any
    Rabbi, RY etc that is recorded byanyone should be assumedto be given publicy and assumedthat ones words will go viral. Obviously, the more important the Rav. RY etc is the more diligence they haveto take even when speaking off the cuff.

  252. Mycroft — Your observation may or may not be valid about a thinking out loud comment, but in this specific case it was a publisher writing in a newspaper column. This is simply not comparable to an off-the-cuff oral comment.

    On the broader issue, I think it is a good thing to hold leaders accountable for what they say. Words matter. Everyone is entitled to change their mind, or make mistakes; but people in leadership positions should also admit those occurances when they occur.

  253. “Joel Rubin”, “Ploughshares Fund”, and repeated references to “neo-conservatives.” ‘Nuff said.

  254. Steve b. – if you want to criticize the methodologies please do and be specific. Otherwise, using the RAV to argue about methodologies that began in the late 70s and 80s and later is a waste of both of our times. On Balei mesorah argument – we have been here done that too (btw, one can argue that those who burned the rambam’s book rejected him as a baalei mesorah too).
    On r’ weider – from one of his students describing his shiur of separating different strata of amoraim – it just sounded like it. I could be wrong but wouldn’t be surprise if he called it something else so not be accused of this heresy. Hamayvin yavin.

  255. Nathaniel Helfgot

    One of the commentators posted an excerpt from Rabbi Linzer’s original more thorough blog post on the issues of tzniut and hirhurim.

    R. Linzer asked me to share with the readership that: “he realized that he misstated the case regarding the zro’a, which is unquestionably the upper arm. He has since corrected this on the blog posting, and he has provided the sources for shok being the calf.”

  256. “IH on January 22, 2012 at 12:48 pm
    Mycroft — Your observation may or may not be valid about a thinking out loud comment, but in this specific case it was a publisher writing in a newspaper column. This is simply not comparable to an off-the-cuff oral comment.”

    tO A DEGREE i AGREE WITH YOU-BUT MOST BLOGGERS DO NOT DISTINGUISH TOO MUCH BETWEEN WHAT THE RAV WROTE FOR PUBLICATION AND WHAT HE SAID IN OFF THE CUFF COMMENTS.

  257. There seems to be a change in the orthodox world on their over all view of hareidim/hasidim involve actively or passively in for

  258. There seems to be a change in the orthodox world on their over all view of hareidim/hasidim involve actively or passively in recent events: in this case any respect to the Satmar rebbe is being rescinded – no matter what hesed/piety is attributed:

    http://haemtza.blogspot.com/2012/01/patron-saint-of-extremists.html

    Is this a beginning of a sea change?

  259. “Is this a beginning of a sea change?”

    One can only hope.

  260. Haaretz’ title, “Thousands in Jerusalem protest racism against Ethiopian Israelis”, unwittingly shows the problem. They aren’t just Ethiopian Israelis, they are Ethiopian Jews.

  261. “Does anyone seriously believe that majesty of edifice makes a difference to frequent worshippers at any synagogue?”

    It does for me. I get more inspired in a beautiful majestic beit knesset than in an ugly cluttered steeble.

  262. ‘ compared to the claimed 30% for “reparative”. ‘

    Those claims have not been validated in properly controlled intervention studies.

    I can point you to a drug that reduces the rate of Alzheimer’s disease by as much as 60% in observational studies. I once met someone who insisted that it should be marketed as a preventive. Fortunately, those of us with cooler heads insisted on properly controlled randomized intervention studies. The drug proved worthless.

    Until the proper study is done, reparative therapy must be deemed unproven.

  263. “alcoholic and drug abuse treatment also basically appeals to religious (and / or secular) values. ”

    I know a lot of agnostics who are members of Alcoholics Anonymous.

    “The success rate of 12 step programs is very questionnable-testimonials from the few who have stayed through them to “success” is not the relevant figure-it is the percentage who ever entered a 12th step meeting and never succeeded with them.”

    What really matters is the success rate compared to alternatives. I’m not as familiar with the addictions literature so I will pass on this discussion.

  264. Charlie, Haaretz is not going to write “Jews,” and if anything, it shows they’re even less racist. (I.e., they’re including Arabs.)

    Ruvie, you mean using the word “Savoraim” instead of “Stammim?”

  265. “Ruvie on January 22, 2012 at 8:55 pm
    There seems to be a change in the orthodox world on their over all view of hareidim/hasidim involve actively or passively in recent events: in this case any respect to the Satmar rebbe is being rescinded – no matter what hesed/piety is attributed:

    http://haemtza.blogspot.com/2012/01/patron-saint-of-extremists.html

    Is this a beginning of a sea change”

    It is my impression that the Satmer Rebbe expresses mainstream Chareidi viewpoints-others for money from the medinah just aren’t as vocal,

  266. “The success rate of 12 step programs is very questionnable-testimonials from the few who have stayed through them to “success” is not the relevant figure-it is the percentage who ever entered a 12th step meeting and never succeeded with them.”

    What really matters is the success rate compared to alternatives. ”
    Due to the anonymity of the programs one can’t really test the effectiveness of the programs.
    Testimonials of the few who keep to the program are emaningless-one does not know the alternatives-BTW if it a disease how does attending meetings help fix a disease-if one stated they were getting rid of childrens cancer by attending meetings rather than medical treatment they’d be be arrested for child neglect. What disease gets treated by accepting as gospel 12 steps that a recovering alcoholic and his wife wrote down to equal one a month that are copied essentially from a prior evangelical group theOxford group.o

  267. Steve

    What ever the Rav though about academic approaches to talmud and I dont think you are in a position to have an opinion on the matter, The sereidi aish and RSZ Hoffman clearly favored these methods. so lets call it a machlokes haposkim and settle it at that.

    Moshe

  268. Women’s aliyot challenge in the UK:

    http://www.thejc.com/node/62288
    http://www.thejc.com/blogs/simon-rocker/should-batmitzvah-girls-be-called-torah

    I don’t think the LBD will fall into the trap of responding.

  269. Moshe Shoshan-obviously RYBS, the SE and R T Hoffman ZL disagreed on academic Talmud. RYBS’s POV is well stated on the shiur that I mentioned and in the shiurim/drashos printed in Divrei HaRav. Claiming that RYBS’s views are obsolescent is IMO no different than any advocate claiming that academic Talmud can tell us “Chiddushim” that were unknown to the Rishonim.

    IH-I see no conflict between RYBS’s usage of Baalei Mesorah in the quoted excerpt from the 1978 address to mental health professionals with any of his prior usages of the term. I think that it is manifestly clear that RYBS did not regard academic scholars as Baalei Mesorah -even if they were great scholars.

  270. Ruvie wrote:

    ” – if you want to criticize the methodologies please do and be specific. Otherwise, using the RAV to argue about methodologies that began in the late 70s and 80s and later is a waste of both of our times. On Balei mesorah argument – we have been here done that too (btw, one can argue that those who burned the rambam’s book rejected him as a baalei mesorah too).”

    Noone is talking about burning books -what we are talking about is one’s views towards TSBP. Viewing TSBP from without,and using tools unknown to Chazal, Rishonim and Acharonim, as opposed from with within, remains the proverbial line in the sand that will always divide the residents of the Beis Medrash from the practitioners of academic Jewish studies, especially when the residents of the academy refuse to discuss where Yiras Shamayim begins and ends and where they feel free to disregard Mesorah and insist on verification of Halachos or rationalizing of Halacha in line with their own POV, as opposed to Aggadic passages, which IMO, have always constituted a red herring, and which the Rishonim viewed as non-binding.

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