News & Links

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

R. Shmuley Boteach runs for Congress
Follow the Ethical Guidelines
Create Tax for Jewish Education
Yeshiva U. ranks as fourth most popular U.S. college
OU has found solution to Orthodoxy’s problems: Houston
Occupy Oakland chapter votes to support BDS
Ex-haredim to sue State for damages
R. Wein: The Frier Complex
Rabbi Menachem Youlus Says He Lied About Saving Torahs
Magen Tzedek Certification Program is Officially “Open for Business”
What Else Does the Bible Teach About Capitalism?
Kippah-Wearing Student Told to Prove Religion
What Happened to the Moshiach Campaign?
SALT Friday
New issue of The Klal Perspectives Journal
Hear, O Friends of Israel
The challenge of haredim
Rabbis work to verify Jewish status
Chief rabbi of Amsterdam is reinstated
Beit Shemesh parents: Police are working, courts are not
Kosher Innovations Releases Shabbos Toilet Paper
The Spit Felt ‘Round The World’
Oprah Goes Orthodox (Sort Of)
New from OU Press: R. Norman Lamm on Purim
Rav Edelstein Stands Firm in Support of IDF Soldiers
In Brooklyn Redistricting, Eggs In One Basket
SALT Thursday
R. Sacks: ‘God loves diversity’
R. Metzger calls for strike over appointment crisis
Jewish groups sign on to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
Reb Nachman’s synagogue available for Uman pilgrims
JONAH and the Netherlands
What’s So Jewish About Test Prep?
New Dati Leumi Hashgacha – Badatz Orot
SALT Wednesday
The lost Aryeh Kaplan II
R. Efrem Goldberg interviews Mayim Bialik
New Orthodox group puts Israeli women at its head
Spertus Institute reinvents itself
Meshi-Zahav: Haredi leaders must speak out against zealots
‘Appoint non-Orthodox Jerusalem rabbi’
Beat it, rabbi
SALT Tuesday
Re Parashas Ha-Man
SOY Seforim Sale Calendar
The lost Aryeh Kaplan
Sundance Town Goes Kosher
Rabbis: Stay away from Internet
Local rabbi assesses risk, donates kidney to help stranger
What the Bible Teaches About Capitalism
IDF Rabbinate: Accept Women’s Singing
Proposed ‘Super Jewish’ Senate District
Haredi sector cutting wedding costs
SALT Monday
Last week’s news & links
Rules: link

About Gil Student

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

461 comments

  1. Haredi sector cutting wedding costs
    ===================================
    Should be an interesting case study -supply and demand vs. government regulated prices.
    KT

  2. The IDF Rabbinate has it right; and the last 3 paragraphs of the short Arutz Sheva article are spot on as a summary.

  3. Thanks for the link, kaplan fan. The last few minutes — from the 7 min point through the end — is particularly interesting given the development of “spirituality” in all Jewish denominations in the intervening 32 years.

    Having watched it, I was curious about his influence on the Bhu-Jews and found http://tinyurl.com/7znmxfn

  4. Aryeh Spero’s WSJ article was the most intellectually dishonest paean to capitalism I have read in a long time. Shemitta and Yovel? Leket, Shikkha and Peah?

  5. James,

    I got just one word for you: Prouzbul.

  6. “Aryeh Spero’s WSJ article was the most intellectually dishonest paean to capitalism I have read in a long time.”

    The part I found particularly humorous was this idea that the Judea-Christian morality is really big on personal responsibility.

    Not only is Christianity a religion which states that one man was able to absolve the sins of everybody else, and all you need to do is accept his sacrifice to nullify your own sins, but Judaism states that all of Israel is responsible for one another.

    One of the lines I used to tell people when they asked me why I was making Aliyah, was that if America was going to increase it’s socialist nature, and I am going to find myself living in a Socialist state, I might as well be in one where the beneficiary of the policy will be fellow Jews and seems to be fulfilling a mitzvah.

  7. Another thing that bugs me… Since when did socialism == communism?

    Reminds me of my frustration over the latest Economist cover which asked about State owned Capitalism (the type that exists in China and Brazil and other up and coming economies)… and I had to ask myself, isn’t that traditionally called fascism?

  8. Communism is socialism on steroids (in much the same way that libertarianism is capitalism on steroids).

  9. Huh? Libertarianism is a political philosophy based on capitalism, is is not an economic one…

    If communism is socialism on steroids, then socialism is watered down capitalism 🙂

  10. “▪ Rabbis: Stay away from Internet”

    They may be right, but it is a lost battle.

  11. “Haredi sector cutting wedding costs”

    hasn;t this been tried already?

  12. “If communism is socialism on steroids, then socialism is watered down capitalism :)”

    I prefer the robust kind.

  13. Michael Rogovin

    The IDF rabbis have, IMHO, made a very good call, balancing the conflicting values, applying chumrot and kulot where appropriate. Remember that being machmir on one value means being makil on something else.

  14. MiMedinat HaYam

    $600 for a set of mishna? again, yediot / idiot. but you should be able to find a set of shas for less. gotta check the soy seforim sale.

    2. judaism / capitalism. didnt rabbi dr aaron levine, z”l write about this (several times.)

    3. super jewish district — just another stategy to minimize the jewish vote. how about out and out govt tuition grants on behalf of yeshiva students (k-12)? thats prob the number one item we are looking for from state govt. not a press release every year about how they invest state pension money in israel bonds (which they prob shouldnt, since its below market. or is it?)

    how about a super jewish congressional district? not a dysfunctional state seat.

  15. The YU Seforim Sale event calendar reminds me that one of the biggest London Jewish cultural events will overlap, Jewish Book Week 2012: http://www.jewishbookweek.com/2012/programme.php

  16. Aiwac,

    I limited my examples to the Torah because that was the focus of Spero’s article. Nonetheless, the Prozbul is a terrible example of capitalism. It was designed to “fix” a “flaw” in the Bibilical economic worldview in light of certain realities that existed at the time.

    I limited myself to the Torah but if you look at the Talmud, Spero’s argument completely falls apart. The Talmud was one of the most socialist enterprises in the history of the world. Kuppa and Tamchui are socialist. Hasagat Gevul is anti-competitive. Onaah is a form of price controls.

  17. In that case, I’m glad we didn’t model our economy on the Torah.

  18. ‘It was designed to “fix” a “flaw” in the Bibilical economic worldview in light of certain realities that existed at the time.’

    Heter Iska is another example of ‘flaw fixing’, and thank God for it.

  19. “The Talmud was one of the most socialist enterprises in the history of the world”

    Yet as Milton Friedman correctly pointed out, Jews thrived where there were open markets and trading opportunities.

    “Kuppa and Tamchui are socialist”

    True, but today they need not be coercive. Look at the Charedi communities for an example of this.

    “Hasagat Gevul is anti-competitive”

    …and this was undermined repeatedly, eg, the cancellation of the “maarufia” monopoly in the Middle Ages in Western Europe. Granted, they also had a “Jewish immigration policy” meant to keep competition at a reasonable level, but that’s a far cry what you’re talking about.

  20. Aiwac,

    You keep making my point. We are not dsicussing the ideal economic system (though, if we were, I would probably not come down on your side). The question is what the Bible (or Talmud) teaches about capitalism. My point is that the Bible does not advocate for a capitalist economic system. Neither does the Talmud.

    Now, you can appeal to “efficiency”, “propriety”, or any other “virtue” to support capitalism. Just dont claim that the society you are trying to build is rooted in the teachings of the Bible or Talmud.

  21. Prozbul was not meant to fix a flaw in the Torah (G-d forbid), but to fix a flaw in a nation where people would not make loans to those in need in a year leading up to the Sabbatical year, knowing that these loans would shortly be annulled.

    James – The Torah surely opposes socialism. Perhaps you meant to suggest that the development of the Talmud was a highly democratic exercise by the Jewish people?

  22. The Kehilla system was much closer to European Socalism than to American Capitalism. And it certainly bore no resemblance to any fantasy of Ayn Rand.

  23. “Just dont claim that the society you are trying to build is rooted in the teachings of the Bible or Talmud”

    James,

    I am not. I’m just saying that if you are correct it’s a good thing we don’t follow the Torah and Talmud on that anymore and that good works are voluntary and not compulsory.

    “The Kehilla system was much closer to European Socalism than to American Capitalism”

    Yes, but the Jews relied on free trade and markets to be able to maintain that system – just like the more efficient forms of European socialism.

    “And it certainly bore no resemblance to any fantasy of Ayn Rand”

    I was talking about Friedman, not Rand. I’m sure you’re aware of the differences.

  24. Ayn Rand is a red herring. Paying dues to a community so it could maintain communal property like synagogues and mikvaos, and perhaps distribute charity, does not make for a socialist society. In those kehillas in Europe, Jews lived privately owned homes, worked in privately owned workshops or factories, and many engaged in the trade of goods. Interestingly, the brilliant author Joseph Roth in “The Wandering Jews” wrote that “Of all the world’s poor, the poor Jew is surely the most conservative.”

  25. Canuck, good points all.

  26. Effectively defining socialism as Marxism, and alien to Capitalism, is also a red herring. Nu?

  27. The Torah and socialist thought may share some values. One big difference is that the Torah isn’t coercive. Another huge difference is that the Torah charity you are supposed to give is between a tithe and a chomesh — that is nothing like European socialist states which take away up to 40% of your income. Even in America a lot of the upper middle class are paying over a chomesh in taxes. I think that the biggest difference is that under the Torah system you have discretion about where to dispose of your charity. The Gemara even talks about the fact that you get a benefit by choosing which kohen you want to give truma to/which kohen you want to be buddies with. In a socialist state, most of the money is lost in a great bureaucratic machine. It is just plain inefficient.
    Although it is true that Ayn Rand advocated the “ethics of selfishness,” libertarians are a diverse bunch, and plenty of them are religious, do chesed, and tithe. What sets libertarians apart is that they feel that it is not the role of the state to intrude into their private lives.

  28. IH,

    Define Marxism.

  29. MeMedinat, I’m still wondering about “Passover books.” A new chumrah? 🙂

    Wow. 100 million dead (not including victims of the National form of Socialism), and people still think it’s a good idea.

  30. aiwac — I don’t participate here to argue secular politics. In real life, today, “socialism” is European Socialism (which also happens to be Capitalist) and is very close to traditional models of Jewish governance going back to at least the time of the Tana’im.

  31. IH,

    Fair enough. I just think the American model is better for everyone. Just because the previous generations used a particular model doesn’t mean it’s the best system – the free-wheeling and incredibly liberal communities in the US which you praise so often are thanks to a non-coercive “free market” in religion and communities (see, e.g. Johnathan Sarna on the “democratization of synagogues”).

    “In real life, today, “socialism” is European Socialism (which also happens to be Capitalist)”

    …and that’s working out SO well (Greece, Portugal &c). Sorry, couldn’t resist.

  32. IH on January 30, 2012 at 9:12 am
    “The IDF Rabbinate has it right;”
    Source please? Or is this another de facto amcha decision? (I’m not saying they’re wrong- I think R Moshe has Shut in Chelwek Aleph that’s pretty lenient but the article doesn’t say very much.)
    “and the last 3 paragraphs of the short Arutz Sheva article are spot on as a summary.”
    The third to last paragraph says we can’t have a train of soldiers leaving the event for fear of offending the bereaved. Well, whatever happened to excusing them in the first place?
    And the last paragraph insinuates that we’re at war. Talk about getting all hysterical. And who has time to sit there listening to Hativah in the middle of a war? (Nort to mewntion clean a women’s room.)

  33. Shaul — Look online and you will find support for the statement: “There is no ‘clear cut’ Halakhic ban on listening to women’s singing”.

    For a start, here’s a general statement from someone who regularly participates on Hirhurim:
    http://judaism.about.com/od/orthodoxfaqenkin/f/kolisha.htm 🙂

  34. For those interested, a series of links to relevant halachic articles can be found at: http://www.jofa.org/social.php/ritual/dailypractic/kolishah

  35. The real issue isn’t whether socialism is better or worse than capitalism (we all have our opinions). The real issue is what does the Torah have to say about this, especially for an ideal Jewish society? Some people haveclaimed the Talmud endorses socialism – presumably prescribing state control of many areas of our lives. I don’t accept that, but I believe those who do will tend to read the Torah with a statist lens.

  36. והנה טוב מאד: זה יצר רע. וכי יצר הרע טוב מאד? אתמהא! אלא שאלולא יצר הרע, לא בנה אדם בית, ולא נשא אשה, ולא הוליד, ולא נשא ונתן. וכן שלמה אומר: כי היא קנאת איש מרעהו

  37. Canuck,

    The main issue is the how the help to the poor is done (voluntary or coercive) and who handles the money (private charity or government bureaucrats). Shmita and Yovel were communal, but I believe (correct me if I’m wrong) that Leket, Shichcha and Pe’ah were more a matter of voluntary commitment.

    It’s also a question of what services are publicly run and what restrictions there are on wages and prices.

  38. IH- Thanx very much. R Enkin does not provide very much in the way of sources, but the jofa link has been very fruitful. I plan to read R Cherney and R Henkin’s articles tonight. It was well worth starting up with you for that!

  39. The real question to me is less about socialism versus capitalism per se. It is more about statism versus a free society in general. This includes economic freedom (which, of course, the Torah has more of than modern socialist societies or even the U.S.).

    This ties in to the current kol isha brouhaha. The fact that some rabbi are demanding that we rely on appointees of the secular state for a psak, as opposed to relying on rabbis we trust and respect, is statism for you, and clearly against the spirit of the Torah. It really makes me shudder to think how much religious liberties are being eroded in Israel right now.

    Maybe I shouldn’t be bringing this up, but the same group which is currently urging that everyone should bend to the psak of the state regarding kol isha kept the whole Rav Elon affair hushed for a decade. Their excuse? All of the victims who approached us were technically adults at the time of the acts, and according to Israeli law, Rav Elon did nothing wrong. Their solution? Change Israeli law. Forget about Jewish law. Forget about individual responsibility. When rabbis start displaying signs of “statist sheepism,” which is clearly not a Torah value, it is time to start worrying.

  40. aiwac – Figuring out how to truly help the poor is just one issue to deal with, before the Torah’s laws can be more fully and properly implemented in a modern Israel. But, it’s a good start.

  41. And, helping the poor should include developing a strong economy where more people can have better economic and social opportunities.

  42. Canuck,

    In my opinion that needs to be the main element – including the removal of restrictive laws and regulations.

  43. “Yeedle on January 30, 2012 at 12:37 pm
    “▪ Rabbis: Stay away from Internet”

    They may be right, but it is a lost battle.”

    It’s an old problem. The Gedolim don’t like the internet… and the internet don’t like the Gedolim. I’ll go with the Gedolim. (As soon as I’m done typing.)

  44. I wonder if there was similar protest against print technology?

  45. Btw, I wouldn’t say that Shmitta and Yovel were communally enforced obligations. Dirabanan, a poor person still had an obligation to ask for permission to pick hefker from the field of the balabus — and in that case, the balabus could say no. Of course, it would be assur for him to do so. But the fact remains that an individual’s observance of these halachos end up being left up to him across the board.

    Also, thinking about that machlokes, it is significant that the psak ends up going with the side which is concerned about preserving the ethic of private property rights (i think bais hillel), and not with the side more concerned with maintaining the “purity” of shmitta.

  46. When liberals claim that the Torah supports their ideology, they are bombarded by claims from the right that they are making liberalism their religion rather than Judaism. Now we have the same claim from the right. But if the ideologues would get their noses out of their ideology for a moment it should be clear that Torah values and ideology are closest to — you guessed it, Torah values and ideology. It contains, as demonstrated by the back and forth comments, strains of both liberalism and conservatism; socialism and capitalism. The attempt to shoehorn Torah into current economic or political values and ideologies is futile, whether from the right or the left.

  47. Idk. I think it is pretty obvious that secular statism, which can be manifested either as fascism or as some degree or other of socialism, often practically limits full halachic observance, eg. the kol isha situation, the Rav Elon situation, one of the above commenter’s situations that above 20% of his income is going to bureaucracies as opposed to Jewish charities he supports, etc.

  48. http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/women-to-be-among-leaders-of-new-orthodox-rabbinical-group-1.410083

    “Several of Beit Hillel’s founding rabbis are active in existing groups, such as Tzohar. But Tzohar, these rabbis say, has chosen to remain neutral on issues dividing the national-religious camp.

    While Beit Hillel prefers to stress its positive positions, the group’s founding reflects the growing rift within the religious-Zionist sector.”

  49. “Canuck on January 30, 2012 at 7:48 pm
    aiwac – Figuring out how to truly help the poor is just one issue to deal with”
    The Torah does not equal capitalism nor does it equal socialism-it is its own system. Unbridled capitalism sheli sheli and shelchah shelchah -midas Sdom.

  50. “Joseph Kaplan on January 30, 2012 at 8:34 pm
    When liberals claim that the Torah supports their ideology, they are bombarded by claims from the right that they are making liberalism their religion rather than Judaism. Now we have the same claim from the right. But if the ideologues would get their noses out of their ideology for a moment it should be clear that Torah values and ideology are closest to — you guessed it, Torah values and ideology. It contains, as demonstrated by the back and forth comments, strains of both liberalism and conservatism; socialism and capitalism. The attempt to shoehorn Torah into current economic or political values and ideologies is futile, whether from the right or the left”
    Agreed.

  51. “Joseph Kaplan on January 30, 2012 at 8:34 pm
    When liberals claim that the Torah supports their ideology, they are bombarded by claims from the right that they are making liberalism their religion rather than Judaism. Now we have the same claim from the right. But if the ideologues would get their noses out of their ideology for a moment it should be clear that Torah values and ideology are closest to — you guessed it, Torah values and ideology. It contains, as demonstrated by the back and forth comments, strains of both liberalism and conservatism; socialism and capitalism. The attempt to shoehorn Torah into current economic or political values and ideologies is futile, whether from the right or the left.”

    Agreed 100%,

  52. Mycroft, you are mixing up moral instructions regarding charity with state-enforced redistribution of wealth. So are many of the people here. It’s not like capitalists are opposed to charity- indeed, it’s well-known that the more capitalist the society, the more charity is given. (Conservatives tend to give more than liberals too.) The Torah in a million years wouldn’t imagine a state with a trillion and a half dollar budget. See Shmuel’s speech to the people about kings for a good example.

  53. Rav Lichtenstein’s essay on Da’at Torah has been translated:
    http://www.zootorah.com/RationalistJudaism/DaatTorahLichtenstein.pdf

  54. “The Torah in a million years wouldn’t imagine a state with a trillion and a half dollar budget.”

    If that’s the case (and I’m not sure it is; wasn’t in any parsha or mesechta I learned in my years in yeshiva), wouldn’t it be similarly true that the Torah couldn’t have imagined anybody earning $50 billion a year? (But I think neither is true; just another example of squeezing personal ideology into Torah.)

  55. True enough. So we can see what works and what doesn’t, irrespective of the Torah.

  56. “Nachum on January 31, 2012 at 6:15 am
    True enough. So we can see what works and what doesn’t, irrespective of the Torah”

    What works-shows ones personal preferences-does one accept a society that has a greater GDP that all goes to the top 1% and everyone else is starving inthe street? A hypothetical example-works and doesn’t is intertwined with what one assumes is ones goal-everyone having an adequate lifestyle or any the elite having a great lifestyle-same amount of resources used.

  57. Anywhere where a person with a low paying job can’t see a doctor, but if they quit their job they can, has serious problems.

    And to be honest, anyplace that has taxes, isn’t truly capitalistic, and has some socialism mixed into it, as that is exactly what taxes are.

  58. anyplace that has taxes, isn’t truly capitalistic, and has some socialism mixed into it, as that is exactly what taxes are.

    A very nice argument for anarchists and those that posit a mixed economy is necessary. Similarly, I salute your assumptions that reject a specific interest group controlling the government (which would mean there is no collective control). Taxes, alongside the army, are a means of maintaining power/control. (Or do you prefer the government simply print the money it needs and cause equal inflation for all… unless, like Ron Paul, you prefer the dollar to be linked to a single commodity.)

  59. “(Or do you prefer the government simply print the money it needs”

    The only thing I prefer is that people recognize reality, and stop playing emotional games with economic theories.

    There are certain things in life in which the community should be responsible. If there is a deficiency from the community’s responsibility, then people who think they can do better should not be prevented from doing so. But that doesn’t mean the community should cease to exist, or that one is better than another. As can be seen in countries such as Somalia, Anarchy does not produce desirable results.

    In theory, the government can function without collecting taxes, in the same way that any business functions. They can only give out services to people who pay for them. If you want a ballot to vote in the election, then buy it. 🙂

  60. And in case it was not clear, I would not want to live in a place where people had to pay for every individual service they needed/wanted. And I also would not want to live in a place where everything was free.

  61. will this ever happen in the the U.S.? better than the rabbah controversy – i wonder if RAL has opined?

    http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/new-orthodox-group-puts-israeli-women-at-its-head-1.410083

  62. mycroft,

    I’ve conceded that the Torah/Jewish tradition might have a different socio-economic view than my own. I just think that free-market capitalism works better.

    “What works-shows ones personal preferences-does one accept a society that has a greater GDP that all goes to the top 1% and everyone else is starving inthe street”

    Such phenomena are far more prevalent in dictatorships, old-style feudal monarchies &c. In a free-market society, most normal people are far more likely to be able to achieve a manageable standard of living.

    For me, Israel is the best example – privatization has done far more good here than harm; innumerable goods and services such as long-distance telephone calls (and cellphones), cable TV and many food items are now within the reach of the ordinary citizen. Before tuna fish was a luxury item.

  63. “In a free-market society, most normal people are far more likely to be able to achieve a manageable standard of living.”

    Perhaps, but my family in England are able to spend 2-3 weeks each year traveling to various parts of the world. It means that they not only have the time off, but the extra cash to do so, and they are not particularly wealthy.

  64. avi,

    That only strengthens my point.

  65. Mayim Bialik makes me proud.

  66. abba's rantings

    AIWAC:

    “For me, Israel is the best example – privatization has done far more good here than harm”

    a lot of the articles i read seems to indicate that all the gaps in israel (income, education, etc.) grow only wider and wider. i have no idea if this has anything to do with privatization (which i am inclined towards), but it’s not a pretty picture

    yes, cable tv, cell phones, new cars and tuna fish are now ubiquitious, but many families still struggle to pay school book fees

  67. i wonder if RAL has opined?

    Given who is running this new organization, it seems most likely that he was consulted. In either event, in his statement on women rabbis I think he made it pretty clear that he was fine with this sort of thing.

  68. abba,

    So privatize those. Surely it’s a good thing that so many kinds of food are readily available to everyone at lower prices.

    Regarding gaps – such articles almost always talk only of the people on the lowest rung and people on the highest. They never talk about all the people in the middle who are the overwhelming majority. SO I don’t put much stock in them.

    The issue is whether people have greater opportunities in work and consumption of goods and services than under Israel’s more socialist economic regime. I believe the answer is an unequivocal YES.

  69. BTW,

    Education is still largely a government monopoly in Israel, so you can’t blame privatization.

  70. Worth reading: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2011/nov/24/rising-israel/?pagination=false

    According to a 2010 report published by the OECD, Israel has the fifth-highest level of inequality in the thirty-four-nation organization. It has the highest poverty rate of any OECD country, and ranks twenty-fifth among developed countries in health care investment.

  71. IH,

    OK, but does that statistic include the Charedim, many of whom deliberately choose a lower standard of living to raise large families and learn Torah?

    As for health care, I’ve spoken to professionals who think we actually have a very good system comparatively speaking (though that’s obviously not decisive evidence).

  72. moshe shoshan – agree. just wish the americans would follow this model.

  73. The article is worth reading and, I think, is fair. Israel lobbied hard to join the OECD, so let’s not cherry pick their benchmark statistics. Compared to the US, Israeli healthcare is superior from what I can tell. But, the US has atrocious performance using OECD stastics — see the capitalist Jamie Dimon’s view in: http://blogs.wsj.com/health/2009/01/12/jamie-dimon-wall-street-titan-to-health-care-pundit/ and follow the link “twice as much as the average OECD country”.

  74. IH,

    I have no doubt that the OECD is detailed and tries to be fair. However, I do not belong to the club of “the solution to rising inequality is higher taxes and more regulations and laws”. I believe the best solution for reducing poverty is to remove barriers to work and setting up businesses (which are quite onerous; I once saw that Israel is at the bottom of the list of countries in ease of establishing a business).

    Rich people can always bypass the regulations and clerks with a team of lawyers. People in the lower and middle classes, on the other hand, get strangled. Removing the barriers would allow more people to move up.

    One such thing which should be promoted in Israel is online education, which is terribly underdeveloped here.

  75. aiwac — but, what is the trend of inequality and how does it relate to the privatization of Israel’s previously state-owned assets?

  76. IH,

    You’re referring to the fact that the rich get richer because they acquired previously state-owned assets, yet you don’t refer to the benefit to the public at large.

    Again, take a look at the phone companies. Once, phone and internet were state-owned and inefficient monopolies which charged exorbitant amounts of money. Now, long-distance calls and internet connections are within reach of pretty much every household who wants them for personal or work purposes.

    What’s more important – that the public at large now has more and cheaper opportunities and services, or that people who are already rich are making more money?

  77. Aiwac, the whole point of socialism is to be unhappy that people are making money. 🙂

  78. Nachum,

    …and the point of free-market capitalism is to maximize the opportunities of everyone to do so.

  79. aiwac — you’re making an ideaological argument, while I am pointing to observers of reality. I have worked as a capitalist all my life and am proud of the things I achieved to make more and cheaper opportunities and services available.

    That said, the rising levels of inequality — both in Israel and in the US — are a real and serious problem with significant moral consequences. If your eyes are open, it does not take a lot of effor to see many dyed-in-the-wool capitalists raising questions about its limits.

    Back to healthcare, as Jamie Dimon said:

    “You could argue that it’s unethical” that nearly 50 million Americans are uninsured, . . . “At a minimum it’s not humane.”

    That strikes me as a more Jewish position than R. Spero’s tendentious Op-Ed.

  80. IH,

    I was pointing specifically TO reality, just the positive side of it. I believe that the positive outweighs the negative and you have not disproven my assertion. I deeply resent your claim that because I made a different calculation than yours, then I must somehow be blind to reality. It’s very condescending.

    “That said, the rising levels of inequality — both in Israel and in the US — are a real and serious problem with significant moral consequences. If your eyes are open, it does not take a lot of effor to see many dyed-in-the-wool capitalists raising questions about its limits.”

    This is true – and many more think that increased government intervention will just make things worse. I am one of them, and I base myself not on blind ideology but on history. Countries with free-markets have traditionally been much better off than countries without them. Your beloved socialist European countries are all either cutting back on their unsustainable welfare states and work regulations or collapsing from debt.

    Does that mean it’s a utopia? Of course not. It means it is like Churchill’s assessment of democracy – the worst system, except for all the others that have been tried.

    “You could argue that it’s unethical” that nearly 50 million Americans are uninsured, . . . “At a minimum it’s not humane.”

    1) It never ceases to amaze me how this number keeps getting increased more and more.

    2) I don’t see why this fact should mean forcing everyone, including people on the lower and middle class levels, who HAVE health insurance to suffer even greater costs, regulations and possibly worse care. The non-poor have rights, too, you know.

    3) You’re ignoring the large amount of young people who choose not to have health insurance so that they can live it up.

  81. BTW, this:

    “That said, the rising levels of inequality — both in Israel and in the US — are a real and serious problem with SIGNIFICANT MORAL CONSEQUENCES”

    Is also an ideological statement.

  82. “avi,

    That only strengthens my point.”

    How does the fact that people in England can afford more leisure time than people in America strengthen your point?

    Also, the fact that people have health insurance or do not have health insurance is a complete red herring. The question is do they have access to the health care they need? In America, if you don’t have a high paying job, you can’t get access to health care. You have to be unemployed, or get the insurance through your well paying job.

    The OECD numbers for health care only talk about expenses, not results. When it comes to health care, the facts are very straight forward. The more socialized the system, the better the health care for the average population, and the worse the health care for the fringe cases. The more privatized the system, the worse health care you have for the average person, and the better for the fringe cases. The reason for this should be obvious. The more fringe the case, the less competition and the more you can charge for the cure.

  83. “When it comes to health care, the facts are very straight forward. The more socialized the system, the better the health care for the average population, and the worse the health care for the fringe cases.”

    I’d like to see numbers and/or sources to back that up. I haven’t heard good things about the British NHS.

    “In America, if you don’t have a high paying job, you can’t get access to health care. You have to be unemployed, or get the insurance through your well paying job.”

    I find that very hard to believe. The higher-paying may get better health care, but that doesn’t mean people don’t get any necessarily.

  84. Here are my two cents on the discussion of capitalism versus socialism: Big government is a cause of unfair income disparity. It goes without saying that in socialist economies, those in power grab jobs, money and privileges for themselves and their friends. But, it also happens in our mixed economic system of crony capitalism – where special interests with political connections (whether businesses or unions) obtain government granted privileges at the expense of others (e.g. bailouts. subsidies, tax deductions). So, everywhere we look, we can find unfair income inequalities.

    However, a rising tides lifts all boats. So, if some have higher incomes because they produce more of what others are freely willing to buy, this is fair and good for society. From a Jewish point of view, I believe we should discourage class warfare, while encouraging charity and modest living.

  85. “With the contemporary stress in the yeshivos on the learning of Gemara to the exclusion of almost everything else … and the great stress on “lomdus”, some recent seforim have followed the trend of harmonizing Torah Shebichsav with Torah Shebaal Peh to the extreme. …These modern seforim will treat the possuk like a piece of Gemara, ignoring possible theological or philological explanations, and only answer using lomdus. This lomdus can be taken to such extremes that it is often very similar to the pilpul commentaries on the Torah of the 17th century. These seforim basically spend a long time trying to answer a question in any possible way, without trying to actually fit the explanation into the passuk in any way.” – Was Avraham Avinu a Lamdan, seforim blog

  86. Yeedle: I thought the essay was pretty weak

  87. “”Are these kinds of explanations part of the “Seventy Faces of Torah”? Do the authors of these explanations themselves think there is any truth to the explanations they are presenting? … I think that a similar question has to be asked on many Chassidic explanations, as well as the common “vort.” Did the authors of these explanations really think this was a possible explanation of the text? I think not. In fact, many times authors will write that their explanation is “בדרך צחות”. So why do they bother writing them? There are two possible explanations. First of all, even if the explanation is not true, the parts leading up to it are. …The vort is a fun way to teach people the intermediate parts. In addition, they will be able to remember the intermediate parts more easily, since they are logically connected to an interesting end. A second possible explanation for why the authors wrote such explanations is that there is an underlying moral message (assuming there is an underlying moral message). As with the first explanation, the vort is an enjoyable, and therefore effective, way of getting across a moral lesson.” – ibid

  88. And what about when those same authors don’t write “בדרך צחות”?

  89. “Yeedle: I thought the essay was pretty weak”

    in what sense?

    “And what about when those same authors don’t write “בדרך צחות”?”

    That’s the best limud zchus he has.

  90. I always understood R. Yizchak Zeev Halevi al haTorah to be just a springboard for nice chiddushim in halacha, not *real* interpretations of the passuk.

  91. in what sense?

    Analysis, bibliography and historical perspective. No mention of midrashim, rishonim and early acharonim!

    That’s the best limud zchus he has

    How about taking them at their word?

    I always understood R. Yizchak Zeev Halevi al haTorah to be just a springboard for nice chiddushim in halacha, not *real* interpretations of the passuk

    You could be wrong.

  92. Canuck,

    Once again, good points all.

  93. aiwac you can find the data all over the place. I last paid attention to the details in 2004.

    http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/08282009/profile2.html

    http://articles.nydailynews.com/2009-08-23/news/17930526_1_health-care-universal-coverage-primary-care

    Regarding not getting health care if you are employed:

    If you have a job but no insurance you can be refused health care.

  94. “Compared to the US, Israeli healthcare is superior from what I can tell.”

    Not quite. My American roomate had to go to three different Meuchedet clinics before they diagnosed the bronchitis he knew he had. I had similar although less extreme issues. I was eventually told that if I want an accurate diagnoses the first time around, I’d better go to a private American doctor. And of course you have to hope there’s no doctor’s strike in the hospital you want to visit.

  95. MiMedinat HaYam

    avi: “Compared to the US, Israeli healthcare is superior from what I can tell. ”

    superior, perhaps, in availabilty (if your employer’s health ins is decent), but not superior in terms of quality of care, and in terms of bureaucracy.

    or, in other words, maybe superior for routine (or minor) care, but not for specialized care. ppl from all over the world come to new york (and other us cities) for their medical care. king(s) of saudi arabia, japanese (where cancer does not exist; patients are told they are fine, go home; the preimer of japan came to us for cancer treatment; it does not exist in japan). israelis come to us for treatment (perhaps the schnorrer system is better in the us — joke). but they do (also europe, where there is more alternative and not yet fda approved treatments — a whole other issue i wont get into, but israelis, and israeli doctors, seem to prefer such alternates; also, many were trained in europe.)

    communism: see http://seforim.blogspot.com/2008/03/rabbis-and-communism-by-marc-b.html (modified on a technical detail by http://seforim.blogspot.com/2009/10/some-assorted-comments-and-selection.html). of course written in the authors inimitable rambling (those rambles are great!) style.

    3. ?passover books?

    4. kehilla system is the equivalent of (r dr aaron levine z”l’s) lighthouse case — its a necessary service, that all must pay for. talmidei chachamim pay if its to their benefit, otherwise they dont pay too much, etc. (though this qualification is was abused).

    besides, this nowhere near approaches the 10% high taxation limit discussed in nach.

    5. there is a fallacy that “hasagat gvul” is a halacha. it is VERY rarely properly applicable, but over the years, there has been a tendency to claim it, in too many cases.

    perhaps a good topic for a post, r ari or r gil.

  96. And just to clarify, we *paid* for our insurance.

  97. avi,

    you specifically said that only people with well-paying jobs can have health care.

    As for your sources, here’s the other side of the ledger:

    http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=14037

    http://www.cato.org/pubs/catosletter/catosletterv3n1.pdf

    http://www.ncpa.org/pub/BA649

    http://www.hoover.org/taskforces/health-care-policy/books

  98. Also, I should point out the obvious:

    More jobs and wealth means more money for health insurance all around. So a lot of those uninsured could become insured in a few years given the opportunity.

    Growth and deregulation is the answer, not taxation and rationing.

  99. MiMedinat HaYam

    aiwac — by rationing , do you mean ‘bama’s ethicist, ezekiel emanuel? (rahm’s brother)

  100. No, I mean the rationing of various forms of health care and services that tend to come with government run health care:

    http://www.forbes.com/2009/07/21/rationing-health-care-opinions-contributors-scott-atlas.html

    You can’t get something for nothing, folks.

  101. ” not superior in terms of quality of care”

    By objective measures of health outcomes, Israel is superior to the US.

    ” The more socialized the system, the better the health care for the average population, and the worse the health care for the fringe cases.”

    Not necessarily. Dr. Steven Hawking is about as fringe a case as one can possibly find. He gets all of his health care from the UK NHS.

    “I haven’t heard good things about the British NHS.”

    I’ve met some of the NHS decision-makers. They are very careful ONLY to pay for treatments that are proven to be both efficacious and cost-effective. As a result their health care costs are much lower than in the US, and they get similar outcomes. The US will be moving towards this system because health care costs have to be controlled lest the rest of the economy get destroyed.

    “ppl from all over the world come to new york (and other us cities) for their medical care. king(s) of saudi arabia, japanese (where cancer does not exist; patients are told they are fine, go home)”

    There is a simple reason people come to the US for care for rare diseases from places like Israel: To specialize in the care of a rare disease, you need to have enough cases to become a specialist. There is an Israeli couple living in my neighborhood who have a child with an extremely rare medical condition. In Israel there might be one or two new cases of it in a year. But in NY there is a specialist most of whose career is in treating that condition. Remember that the population of NYC alone is greater than the number of citizens of Israel.

    Regarding Japan, Japanese citizens are the healthiest and most long lived in the world — but mainly to to extremely low rates of heart disease (about 40% the mortality rate of the US). They do indeed get cancer and it is treated there:

    http://www.jcancer.jp/english/cancerinjapan/

    Japan’s cancer mortality rates are higher for some cancers than the US, but lower than others:

    http://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/world-health-rankings

  102. abba's rantings

    gil,

    thanks for linking to those fascinating posts on r. aryeh kaplan

  103. “rationing of various forms of health care and services that tend to come with government run health care”

    Rationing comes with private health care in the US. Ever have to argue with an HMO?

    And rationing does not automatically come with government run health care. My wife is a primary care physician and all her patients have New York Medicaid. In 6 1/2 years of treating Medicaid patients, the number of times that NY Medicaid has refused to cover a treatment she has recommended is still zero.

  104. See also http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2009/jul/02/the-health-reform-we-need-are-not-getting/

    Nearly a half-century ago, Stanford economics professor Kenneth Arrow, later a Nobel laureate, convincingly argued that medical care cannot conform to market laws because patients are not ordinary consumers and doctors are not ordinary vendors. He said that sick or injured patients must rely on physicians in ways fundamentally different from the price-driven relation between buyers and sellers in an ordinary market. This argument implied that, contrary to the assumptions of antitrust law, market competition among physicians cannot be expected to lower medical prices. And since physicians influence decisions to use medical services far more than patients do, the volume and types of services provided to patients—and hence total health costs—need to be controlled by forces other than the market, such as professional standards and government regulation.

  105. “By objective measures of health outcomes, Israel is superior to the US”

    To quote Thomas Sowell, there is a difference between health care and medical care. Health care is what you do for yourself – eat right, do exercise &. Medical care is what doctors do.

    The fact that Americans do worse than Israelis in general health is not necessarily proof of better MEDICAL care.

    “Regarding Japan, Japanese citizens are the healthiest and most long lived in the world — but mainly to to extremely low rates of heart disease (about 40% the mortality rate of the US)”

    Exactly my point. General health does not prove anything about MEDICAL care of doctors and hospitals.

    “Rationing comes with private health care in the US. Ever have to argue with an HMO?”

    The difference being that I can leave an HMO and go to another one. I can’t “opt out” of a government mandate.

    “They are very careful ONLY to pay for treatments that are proven to be both efficacious and cost-effective. As a result their health care costs are much lower than in the US, and they get similar outcomes. The US will be moving towards this system because health care costs have to be controlled lest the rest of the economy get destroyed”

    Why must the government, rather than a group of HMOs each competing with each other, decide for EVERYONE what is efficacious and cost-effective?

    BTW, see here:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/249938.stm

    http://www.historyextra.com/feature/painful-truth-about-rationing-nhs

    “And rationing does not automatically come with government run health care. My wife is a primary care physician and all her patients have New York Medicaid. In 6 1/2 years of treating Medicaid patients, the number of times that NY Medicaid has refused to cover a treatment she has recommended is still zero”

    The long waiting lines for innumerable medical procedures in places with government-run health care would seem to argue against this. Medicaid and Medicare costs are both spiraling out of control in the meantime.

  106. abba's rantings

    CHARLIE HALL:

    “And rationing does not automatically come with government run health care. My wife is a primary care physician and all her patients have New York Medicaid. In 6 1/2 years of treating Medicaid patients, the number of times that NY Medicaid has refused to cover a treatment she has recommended is still zero.”

    NY medicaid is probably the best “insurance” available. but it also bankrupting the state. it will eventually be reigned in (as the state has already done with other health care programs). there is no choice.

  107. Here’s one discussion of how to bring down medical costs without a government takeover:

    http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=1472

  108. The OECD benchmark data for 2004 as published in a 2006 article by Paul Krugman in the NY Review of Books: http://tinyurl.com/8y6h2mk

    It compares the following across 4 countries:

    Health spending per capita, 2002; Private share of spending;
    Life expectancy; Infant mortality
    Physicians, Nurses and Beds per 1000 people.

  109. IH,

    According to the stats (from 2004, prior to the huge crash), the US is comfortably in the middle for average health stats. There’s also no reference to waiting list issues or comparison of different states and areas…

    Informative, nonetheless.

  110. aiwac — that is a charitable read. We spend more than 2x and have worse life expectance and greater infant mortality.

    See Dr. Gawande’s New Yorker piece and its followup for an empirical comparison of different states and areas.

    Politics aside, the question is how should our texts and halacha inform how we deal with these issues.

  111. “We spend more than 2x and have worse life expectance”

    AGAIN, life expectancy has more to do than with just medical care.

    “Politics aside, the question is how should our texts and halacha inform how we deal with these issues”

    I respectfully disagree. On matters of pikuach nefesh, the only question that counts is the most effective way to preserve life that doesn’t collapse from debt or ration elective procedures ad infinitum.

    In my opinion, that means the less government and regulation, the better.

  112. AGAIN, life expectancy has more to do than with just medical care.

    aiwac — the point of benchmarking is to compare metrics across a set of like entities. While life expectancy has more to do than with just medical care, those other factors are also present in Canada, France and the UK. In any case, infant mortality is directly medical in the countries being compared.

    Incidentally, this type of benchmarking is used in the corporate world all the time and is taken for granted as a legitimate methodology. I have heard more than a few CEOs swear by it.

  113. “While life expectancy has more to do than with just medical care, those other factors are also present in Canada, France and the UK”

    Yes, but to what degree? What’s the proportion? Without more information this tells me nothing.

    “Incidentally, this type of benchmarking is used in the corporate world all the time and is taken for granted as a legitimate methodology. I have heard more than a few CEOs swear by it”

    I’ve no doubt. It’s still too partial to be truly informative.

  114. Since you raise telecommunications…

    In the mid-90’s when AOL (America Online) was buying dialup modem service for its exploding base of consumers, it developed such a metric to measure its portfolio of service providers (including itself). Because AOL controlled the software client on the consumer side, they were able to count abnormal disconnects of a consumers from their telephone line. They knew full well that many such abnormal disconnects were due to consumers not logging out from the software client, but just shutting down their PC or turning off the modem.

    But, that didn’t matter, since there was no reason to believe that the consumers on one service provider were doing it any more than those on another service provider. With very few exceptions, they were right: by benchmarking to a quantifiable metric – even one that was flawed – they were able to coax incremental performance increases from their service providers, simply by looking at those dialup numbers that had higher deviations from the expected average metric. This not only helped them quickly identify problems (e.g. 1 bad modem in a bank of 100) but they had a management objective of improving the trend of the entire system over time, while lowering cost, which is what allowed them to scale their dialup business successfully (until Broadband changed the game).

  115. “superior, perhaps, in availabilty (if your employer’s health ins is decent), but not superior in terms of quality of care, and in terms of bureaucracy.”

    No, I mean quality of care and bureaucracy. Everyone will have different experiences, but I went through a lot of medical issues before and after Aliyah. The differences between the two systems were astounding to me, and I felt amazed that I had no idea what I was missing.

    When it comes to colds and flus and bronchitis, I have heard many Americans complaining that Israel doesn’t treat them seriously enough and doesn’t treat them quickly enough. But that sounds to me like a different idea of when drugs are needed and when they are not. All in all, for 40 shekels a month, I’m amazed.

  116. IH,

    I didn’t say benchmarks aren’t a good, if flawed method. I just think that when it comes to human beings’ health they should be broader.

  117. “Yes, but to what degree? What’s the proportion? Without more information this tells me nothing.”

    aiwac, no offense, but the way you are going on about nitpicking every single detail, sounds like you are ignoring the main picture here. America spends the most amount of money in the world for health care, and gets the same results as countries which spend a quarter of that amount. By any definition of the term, this is an inefficiency in the market.

  118. You’ve ignored infant mortality. Nor, have you come up with any reasonable explanation a metric of life expectancy in the US should have any significant flaw vis a vis life expectancy in Canada, UK and France.

    Also, give the professionals some credit (even if its inconvenient to your leanings).

  119. I also find it interesting that links I found on this issue range from 2002 to 2011, and they all say the same thing. And I remember hearing the same thing on the radio once in 1999.

  120. “Also, give the professionals some credit (even if its inconvenient to your leanings)”

    Well, here’s the opinion of the “professionals” at the CDC for the infant mortality rate:

    http://www.cdc.gov/omhd/amh/factsheets/infant.htm

    “aiwac, no offense, but the way you are going on about nitpicking every single detail, sounds like you are ignoring the main picture here. America spends the most amount of money in the world for health care, and gets the same results as countries which spend a quarter of that amount. By any definition of the term, this is an inefficiency in the market”

    OK, but is government necessarily the solution? I already posted a number of studies that argued for different types of palliatives.

  121. “Meshi-Zahav: Haredi leaders must speak out against zealots”

    I think Meshi Zahav is one of the most interesting characters in Israel. I used to read his weekly articles in one of the Charedi Chinamon’s in Israel. While he’s clearly changed his nutty views he sttil has a very Chareidi overall viewpoint on things. Does anyone know where I can get more info on him? (hebrew or english)

  122. ““Rationing comes with private health care in the US. Ever have to argue with an HMO?”

    The difference being that I can leave an HMO and go to another one. I can’t “opt out” of a government mandate.”

    Big deal; so you go from one ins co that denies coverage to another. The only people who can think medical care is not rationed now are those who are rich enough to pay for anything they think they need. Otherwise, the care that the ins co denies is, in effect, a rationing of that care. And I don’t see why rationing by an ins co is better than rationing by government. But what I also don’t understand sre those who argue “no rationing” but also decry the spiraling costs of medical care. Isn’t one of the purposes of rationing to reduce costs by ensuring that treatment is provided only for those who truly need it?

  123. “OK, but is government necessarily the solution? I already posted a number of studies that argued for different types of palliatives.”

    And have any been proven to actually work in practice, or are these just theories of what should be done according to Capitalistic orthodoxy?

    When it comes to health/medical care/systems, Socialized systems are more efficient than capitalistic ones for life expectancy and infant mortality.

    “The difference being that I can leave an HMO and go to another one. I can’t “opt out” of a government mandate.””

    Actually you can. In most countries like England and Canada, private hospitals and clinics exist for the rich who want things that the government won’t provide, or won’t provide in a way that they like. Israel as well.

  124. OK, but is government necessarily the solution?

    Why is it so important for you to believe that it isn’t possible for government to be the most efficient solution? The preponderance of empirical evidence indicates it is.

  125. “Big deal; so you go from one ins co that denies coverage to another”

    ALL of them provide EXACTLY the same kind of coverage and deny the same treatments?! If that’s the case why does the Israeli system (which is praised here) have four HMOs and a number of insurance providers? By your logic, there should be only one.

    Look, I don’t doubt that there are inefficiencies in the system. I don’t doubt that there are serious problems that need fixing (BTW, I found this very informative even though “it doesn’t jive with my leanings”: http://www.stanford.edu/group/siepr/cgi-bin/siepr/?q=/system/files/shared/Health_care_document.pdf).

    I still don’t think that a single government-run system is the best option. If we refer to the Israeli method – you have Government FINANCE, but not government ADMINISTRATION (at least as far as I know). Also, there are private options for those who want it.

    BTW, even for those who want government-run health care – you still need a robust, growing free-market economy to finance it…

  126. avi,

    “And have any been proven to actually work in practice, or are these just theories of what should be done according to Capitalistic orthodoxy?”

    Yes. See here for more:

    http://www.city-journal.org/html/17_3_canadian_healthcare.html

  127. BTW,

    I know this may sound strange, but I find this discussion very invigorating and informative :). It’s even fun.

  128. Its posible I’m skimming to fast, but I’m not seeing data of a more effecient system..

  129. avi,

    Move slowly…:)

  130. “It’s an old problem. The Gedolim don’t like the internet… and the internet don’t like the Gedolim. I’ll go with the Gedolim. (As soon as I’m done typing.)”

    “The Gedolim”
    How does one determine who is a gadol? Is there circular reasoning involved.

  131. Since government got involved in medical services, costs have skyrocketed. Partly, that’s because when third parties foot the bill, there is little incentive for patients or doctors to economize. Because there is a seemingly limitless demand for medical service, it must be rationed either by increased prices or reduced supply. There is no magic wand that can provide free medical care forever, especially with an aging population and a declining tax base.

  132. The utilitarian rationale for small government, which aiwac is advocating right now, happens to be true. I personally prefer Bastiat’s rights-morality construct: if one individual doesn’t have a right to take away the fruits of my labor to give to others in need (ala Robin Hood), a big organization appointed by a bunch of individuals (aka government) doesn’t have that right either. Those individuals can only confer to the larger body the rights that they have themselves.

    That larger body simply has no right to take away 40% — or 30 or 15% — of my income. If it forces me to hand over my income through violence, that is just plain old stealing.

    It is true that the Torah mandates that we should care for others and give charity. It is also true that the Torah mandates that we should respect private property. Unfortunately, liberals are too prone to forgetting that gezel is an aveira just as much as tzedaka is a mitzva.

  133. Canuck,

    It’s the same thing with open-ended insurance. People misuse that which they THINK is free, thus driving up the costs for everyone else.

  134. Ronald Reagan wisely said that “Government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem.”

  135. Car insurance is a good model for medical insurance. We don’t expect our car insurance policy to pay for our regular auto maintenance, like oil and filter changes, or even to pay to repair minor damage; this insurance typically only pays for major damage. These facts, along with competition from insurance companies, ensures costs are minimized.

    In a similar way, medical insurance should not cover routine checkups, or vaccines, or even for basic drugs. It should only cover major accidents illnesses, above a predetermined price, negotiated between insurer and customer. Competition will minimize costs. For those too poor to afford insurance, perhaps doctors and hospitals will be willing to work pro bono, or private charities will fill the void. I know that this solution is politically unlikely, to put it mildly. But, why is it that people can get their pets an MRI within a few days, at a low price, but for people, it costs many times more, or requires months of waiting in line?

  136. Since government got involved in medical services, costs have skyrocketed.

    What do you mean by this? Costs in the aggregate, or per capita? How do you account for those who simply died due to lack of care in the past when access to pedestrian medicine would have prolonged their lives by years?

    Partly, that’s because when third parties foot the bill, there is little incentive for patients or doctors to economize. Because there is a seemingly limitless demand for medical service […]

    As Dr, Gawande wrote in The New Yorker:

    In 2006, McAllen cost $14,946 per enrollee, which is the second-highest in the United States and essentially double El Paso’s cost of $7,504 per enrollee. Analysis of Medicare data by the Dartmouth Atlas project shows the difference is due to marked differences in the amount of care ordered for patients—patients in McAllen receive vastly more diagnostic tests, hospital admissions, operations, specialist visits, and home nursing care than in El Paso. But quality of care in McAllen is not appreciably better, and by some measures, it is worse. Indeed, studies have shown that the care for patients in the highest-cost regions of the country tends to go this way—with more high-cost care across the board, but less low-cost preventive services and primary care, and equal or worse survival, functional ability, and satisfaction with care. The cause that I found locally was a system of care that was highly fragmented for patients and often driven to maximize revenues over patient needs.

    For those not familar with him, he is a Harvard/Brigham surgeon who also writes for The New Yorker on Medicine.

  137. Car insurance is a good model for medical insurance.

    Wrong. See: IH on January 31, 2012 at 2:52 pm.

  138. Dr. Gawande has a lot of good suggestions, but apparently his study of the two towns is a bit inaccurate:

    http://www.texmed.org/template.aspx?id=7871

    Before you jump on me for not taking ideological rivals seriously, I should say that I think much of what Dr. Gawande has to say regarding improving the efficiency of medical teams &c is great stuff. I do read alternate sources and try to separate what seems to me to be the wheat from the chaff.

  139. aiwac — the link I provided was to Dr. Gawande’s response to the criticism you posted.

  140. “His credentials, too, are impeccable: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenneth_Arrow

    IH,

    Why are we making “arguments of authority”? I know you’re better than that.

  141. IH,

    “aiwac — the link I provided was to Dr. Gawande’s response to the criticism you posted”

    I don’t see any link.

  142. “Stanford economics professor Kenneth Arrow, later a Nobel laureate, convincingly argued that medical care cannot conform to market laws because patients are not ordinary consumers and doctors are not ordinary vendors.”

    Even Friedrich August Hayek seemed to think that there was a role for government in this. But he would be dismissed today as a RINO.

  143. “those other factors are also present in Canada, France and the UK.”

    Yes, and the biggest preventable cause of death in developed countries is cigarette smoking. Been to France recently? Its smoking rates are MUCH higher than in the US. Yet French people live longer and are healthier. France may in fact have the best health care system in the world; interestingly, Israel has a very similar system.

  144. Charlie,

    There’s a world of difference between “a role for government” and direct government administration of the whole edifice.

  145. “The difference being that I can leave an HMO and go to another one.”

    ROTF!!! Good luck trying that if you have a pre-existing condition.

  146. “Yes, and the biggest preventable cause of death in developed countries is cigarette smoking”

    What about obesity? From what I’ve seen so far, American’s are much worse off in that department than Europe.

  147. “ROTF!!! Good luck trying that if you have a pre-existing condition”

    ANY pre-existing condition or just a propensity for Huntington’s?

  148. “Why must the government, rather than a group of HMOs each competing with each other, decide for EVERYONE what is efficacious and cost-effective?”

    Actually, France and Israel have precisely the system you suggest: A group of HMOs that together cover the entire population. It is a good system and should have been considered here. But there were two political problems: (1) A lot of people like their current employer-based health insurance, and (2) A lot of people like Medicare.

  149. It’s interesting that the 2 proponents of getting the government out of medical insurance in this dicussion, live in countries where they will never be denied basic medical care due to lack of funds.

    Since moving back to the US from such a country, my private (supposedly efficient) medical insurance premium has risen 20% per year and I have received notice it will go up 20% again next year.

    Quoting from the conclusion of the NYRB article linked above “As bad as they already are, things will have to get still worse before major reform becomes politically possible. […] But sometime in the not-too- distant future, health expenditures will become intolerable and fundamental change will at last be accepted as the only way to avoid disaster.”

  150. “NY medicaid is probably the best “insurance” available. but it also bankrupting the state. it will eventually be reigned in (as the state has already done with other health care programs). there is no choice.”

    True. But a major reason for the high cost are the mandates that special interests have forced on it. And one of the most expensive mandates is the one for assisted reproductive technology, which was aggressively pushed by the frum community. Would you approve of taking away the right for a poor frum couple to conceive children via in vitro fertilization at public expense?

  151. “ANY pre-existing condition or just a propensity for Huntington’s?”

    In most of the US, ANY pre-existing chronic medical condition makes you uninsurable.

  152. IH,

    I didn’t say “get the government out”. I’m against single-payer, government RUN medical insurance – ie, “socialized medicine”. There is a very big difference between that and the multi-option system Israel has.

    Charlie, according to this article, it isn’t just the mandates that are bankrupting Medicaid, it’s the non-transparency and inefficiency:

    http://www.city-journal.org/2009/nytom_medicaid.html#dg

  153. “When it comes to health/medical care/systems, Socialized systems are more efficient than capitalistic ones for life expectancy and infant mortality.”

    Also for costs. Medicare has by far the best medical loss ratio in America. Medicaid is second. And the US spends far more on health care than any other country in the world.

    This of course is cognitive dissonance for those who have replaced worship of HaShem with worship of free markets. But those are the facts and there are a number of reasons; here are some:

    (1) There are huge economies of scale in health insurance. The thousands of private health insurers in the US will never be as efficient as one large government insurer.

    (2) Government insurers have no underwriting or marketing expenses, nor the need to pay dividends to stockholders, nor the need to provide executives with more than civil service levels of compensation. Each one of these individually is small, but put together, they add up.

    (3) Government insurers do not need to maintain reserves; the government is the reserve.

  154. IH,

    I agree that costs are spiraling out of control. But I’ve seen lots of suggestions from people who are not Randian monsters for reducing costs that don’t involve government administration of the health system.

    This includes not only deregulation (allowing getting insurance from out of state) but also giving citizens “vouchers” (funded by a very specific tax) for an insurance of their choice so that they’re not tied to employers.

    Another good suggestion was making medical education more efficient so that there are more doctors doing better and less wasteful work. There were also suggestions about how fees are paid and so on.

    Even if you argue that government regulation is necesarry for this, that still doesn’t add up to a government takeover. The government would serve as an umpire between companies, not the boss.

  155. ” I’m against single-payer, government RUN medical insurance – ie, “socialized medicine”. ”

    Well the UK is one of the few countries in the world with that model. In Canada, each PROVINCE has a separate system. Obama did not go with that model; instead there is a mandate on most Americans to purchase private insurance.

    As I indicated, I thought that the French or Israeli model was better, but that was not politically possible.

  156. “The Gedolim”
    How does one determine who is a gadol? Is there circular reasoning involved.

    I define a Gadol as anyone whose opinion you feel bound to follow and would feel very guilty ignoring. I wasn’t saying there has to be such a person in your life. There happen to be such peple in mine.

  157. MiMedinat HaYam

    my broker had a client who was declined insurance cause the wife’s last pregnancy was ceaserian. he offered to decline maternity benefits (it wasnt an issuie at that stage in life) but the co still declined.

    a NYS law now forbids decling for BRAC (or whatever it is — breast cancer genetic propensity, for ashkenazic jews).

    2. if you’ll give tuition assistance to black hat yeshivot, why not fertility treatments? (i know; they claim its only legitimate yeshivot. in a couple of years, it will extend to rinky dink yeshivot, too.) (though some protestant seminaries always qualified for such assistance.)

    i would prefer k-12 tuition assistance (prob through vouchers.)

  158. “This includes not only deregulation (allowing getting insurance from out of state)”

    There are thousands of insurance companies in the US and most market in most states. State lines are not an issue.

  159. “i would prefer k-12 tuition assistance (prob through vouchers.)”

    NY State Constitution explicitly forbids this, as to the State Constitutions of 37 other states. An attempt was made to repeal the prohibition in 1967 but it got 28% of the vote in a statewide referendum.

  160. “Another good suggestion was making medical education more efficient so that there are more doctors doing better and less wasteful work. There were also suggestions about how fees are paid and so on.”

    I don’t understand what you mean here.

  161. IH – Obviously, the US mixed medical system costs more overall or per capita than a socialized medical system, like in the Canadian provinces and territories, but service is generally better in the US. Rationing occurs no matter what, whether it’s government doing it, doctors, or patients. From an individual patient’s perspective, he usually prefers someone else to pay (although at the cost of increased taxes and/or reduced salary if he works), and he may be better off personally if he isn’t working or if he is relatively old. Young people and future taxpayers are correspondingly worse off, because they are paying into a public system that is likely not to be there in twenty to thirty years. I knew some people would scoff when I suggested private insurance models (e.g. auto and pet insurance). BTW, the welfare state crowds out private charity, reducing our opportunities to do kindness and justice on a personal level.

  162. “non-transparency and inefficiency”

    There is indeed a big problem with this. Not infrequently my wife has had to re-do patients’ tests that were done by a hospital because the hospital refuses to release the test results to her primary care clinic. She no longer refers patients to one hospital that is particularly bad at this.

    But there is a HUGE amount of resistance to easily transferable electronic medical records. We pay for our resistance both in cost and in quality of care.

  163. “This of course is cognitive dissonance for those who have replaced worship of HaShem with worship of free markets”

    That’s a low blow. I haven’t used the standard “Jews who replaced religion with liberalism” chestnut here throughout this entire debate and did my best to stay on topic. Not cool.

    “There are huge economies of scale in health insurance. The thousands of private health insurers in the US will never be as efficient as one large government insurer”

    The same argument has been made for nationalization of economic branches. This generally increased inefficiency, corruption and waste.

    “Government insurers have no underwriting or marketing expenses, nor the need to pay dividends to stockholders, nor the need to provide executives with more than civil service levels of compensation. Each one of these individually is small, but put together, they add up”

    That may be, but government services suffer from other issues like permanent tenure for inefficient bureaucrats, millions of complex regulations and forms and most of all – a complete dependence on tax money. It is also very difficult to get things done, try new ideas or innovate when you’re the only game in town and you’re responsible for EVERYONE.

  164. “BTW, the welfare state crowds out private charity, reducing our opportunities to do kindness and justice on a personal level.”

    Not true in the case of health insurance. If you look at the aggregate cost of health insurance in any developed country, the idea that private charity could make more than a tiny contribution is preposterous.

  165. “a NYS law now forbids decling for BRAC (or whatever it is — breast cancer genetic propensity, for ashkenazic jews).”

    Sheldon Silver is REALLY good at looking out for the interests of Jews. 😉

  166. “Beat it, rabbi”

    What in tarnation???

  167. “What about obesity? From what I’ve seen so far, American’s are much worse off in that department than Europe.”

    Hard to compare without taking into account smoking, which reduces weight. The chainsmokers on the Champs-Élysées were pretty thin. That said, diabetes is indeed a huge health problem in the US and getting worse.

  168. See here on the states’ problems:

    http://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/miarticle.htm?id=7157

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203550604574360923109310680.html

    “NY State Constitution explicitly forbids this, as to the State Constitutions of 37 other states. An attempt was made to repeal the prohibition in 1967 but it got 28% of the vote in a statewide referendum”

    Why is this a good thing?

    “Another good suggestion was making medical education more efficient so that there are more doctors doing better and less wasteful work. There were also suggestions about how fees are paid and so on.”

    I don’t understand what you mean here.”

    See here:

    http://www.stanford.edu/group/siepr/cgi-bin/siepr/?q=/system/files/shared/Health_care_document.pdf

  169. The people I know in Israel HATE the medical system and frequently lament about the better care in the US.

  170. “There’s a world of difference between “a role for government” and direct government administration of the whole edifice.”

    True, but the Affordable Care Act does not provide for direct government administration of the “whole edifice”.

  171. R. Gil,

    Could you elaborate on what they complained about?

  172. Very long waits for needed treatments

  173. “The long waiting lines for innumerable medical procedures in places with government-run health care would seem to argue against this.”

    There are long waits for innumerable medical procedures in the US. If you have a pre-existing condition, your wait is until you are old enough for Medicare, or until you die, whichever comes first.

  174. ‘“The long waiting lines for innumerable medical procedures in places with government-run health care would seem to argue against this.”

    There are long waits for innumerable medical procedures in the US. If you have a pre-existing condition, your wait is until you are old enough for Medicare, or until you die, whichever comes first.’

    OK, I’ll bite – where are there MORE waiting lines: government-run health care or insured treatments?

  175. “Very long waits for needed treatments”

    If Israel spent as much as did the US on health care, there would not be such waits. But the voters, through their elected officials, decided to spend money on other things.

  176. ‘If Israel spent as much as did the US on health care”

    We’re a rich country. We’re not THAT rich.

  177. BTW, and I know I’m repeating myself, this only reinforces the need for a free market to pay for the health care.

  178. “where are there MORE waiting lines: government-run health care or insured treatments?”

    Definitely the US. There are more uninsured people in the US than the entire population of Canada!

    But the entire assumption here is flawed: A lot of the waits are for treatments where rapid treatment has NOT been shown to make much of a difference. For example, in the UK, you can’t get a mammogram from the NHS until you are 50. Well, it turns out that there is no benefit to mammography prior to then. And the UK experienced the same 30% drop in mortality ascribed to breast cancer as did the US after mammography was introduced. The US also massively overscreens for prostate and colorectal cancer. The statistics to back me up on this, but most of the US Medical Industrial Complex is against me here. HMOs in competition with each other don’t work to cut these costs because of the massive public pressure to cover worthless procedures. Only where there is a government agency laying down the law have costs been contained.
    This is one place where the “invisible hand” fails.

  179. “Car insurance is a good model for medical insurance.”

    And car insurance is now mandatory in 48 US states for anyone owning a car.

  180. “We’re a rich country. We’re not THAT rich.”

    True. And if you adopt the US healthcare model you may become poor again!

  181. Charlie,

    “HMOs in competition with each other don’t work to cut these costs because of the massive public pressure to cover worthless procedures”

    If HMOs won’t so this, why would politicians – who are beholden to the public to get elected – do otherwise?!

    You yourself mentioned the mandate in NY which was voted in by politicians. There are other states with such mandates.

  182. “This is one place where the “invisible hand” fails”

    Should I read this as a concession that it succeeds elsewhere? 🙂

  183. “That may be, but government services suffer from other issues”

    Medicare’s medical loss ratio is only about 2%. Most private insurers have a medical loss ratio of 10% to 20% for group policies, higher for individual. The data clearly show that whatever “other issues” the government plan has are dwarfed by the magnitude of the issues that private insurers have.

    Junk the entire US system and make everyone eligible for Medicare and you’d save the country a few hundred billion dollars annually. But that isn’t politically possible.

  184. Charlie,

    What is a medical loss ratio?

  185. Nudging this a little to Jewish issues, Dr. Gawande also wrote a though provoking piece: Letting go – What should medicine do when it can’t save your life?

    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/08/02/100802fa_fact_gawande?currentPage=all

  186. “Should I read this as a concession that it succeeds elsewhere? :-)”

    Not a concession at all. Markets work pretty well for most things. That is one reason why I’ve never been a socialist. But as both Arrow and Hayek pointed out (and you can’t get two people much more different than them) they don’t work for health care. I have to call ’em as I see ’em and it is very clear from the evidence that universal health care, mandated by the government, works better than the US system in every developed country where it has been tried.

    The same also applies to public transportation, and possibly for electric power — but their makes a true free market impossible. Education is a more interesting case; there actually does exist a country with almost no government run schools and it does pretty well — but the regulations on the private schools are very draconian.

  187. “What is a medical loss ratio?”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loss_ratio

  188. “If HMOs won’t so this, why would politicians – who are beholden to the public to get elected – do otherwise?!”

    Because politicians have other things they’d like to spend money on. Just look at Israel — they could increase funding for health care, but instead they generously fund yeshivot! (That is a stark example, but it is a fact that the country *could* divert money from yeshivot — or anywhere else — to the health care system if the voters demanded it.)

  189. I was actually using an inverse medical loss ratio in my example. My 2% would be the Wikipedia article’s 98%, for example.

    The Affordable Care Act puts limits on the Medical Loss Ratios of insurers that wish to participate in the Exchanges — mandating that 80 to 85% of premiums be paid out in claims. As I pointed out, Medicare manages to pay out about 98%. The private sector just isn’t as efficient, for the reasons I gave.

  190. Charlie,

    An article available in the Wikipedia entry you sent me argues that “medical loss ratios” aren’t the clear-cut benchmarks you claim them to be:

    http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/16/4/176.full.pdf

  191. Charlie – I believe Americans typically give more to charity than do people in more developed welfare states; there, people have less disposable income, and have been conditioned to let government deal with societal problems. A doctors office or hospital in Canada is usually a far less friendly place than its American equivalent. Patients, at least in Quebec, are viewed as burdens, not as customers. Corruption (e.g. bribes or using personal connections to get ahead in line for medical services), and neglect of patients without strong advocates is sadly all too common. Thankfully, the courts have recently allowed private clinics to operate (mainly for MRIs and some surgeries), freeing up some public money.

  192. “There are other states with such mandates.”

    Indeed, and the special interests, well meaning though they are, get the mandates enacted with no concern as to the relative value of one type of coverage vs. another, or even if the mandated coverage is beneficial or not.

    But then again, there is a family in my neighborhood that has two kids that would not exist were it not for the assisted reproductive technology mandate. $200K of medical expenses, but their out of pocket cost was about $500.


  193. “If HMOs won’t so this, why would politicians – who are beholden to the public to get elected – do otherwise?!”

    Because politicians have other things they’d like to spend money on. Just look at Israel — they could increase funding for health care, but instead they generously fund yeshivot! (That is a stark example, but it is a fact that the country *could* divert money from yeshivot — or anywhere else — to the health care system if the voters demanded it.)’

    Actually, they do both. Recently pre-12 dental care’s been placed under government coverage. The problem of political patronage and pork still remains in force.

    “Education is a more interesting case; there actually does exist a country with almost no government run schools and it does pretty well — but the regulations on the private schools are very draconian”

    What country is that?

    “universal health care, mandated by the government, works better than the US system in every developed country where it has been tried”

    Didn’t we just agree that a directly government-run (as opposed to indirectly regulated) system is a bad thing?

  194. ” I believe Americans typically give more to charity than do people in more developed welfare states;”

    True. The total charitable giving in the US in 2009 was $304 billion. That is a lot of money, but the entire cost of the Medicaid program alone — which doesn’t even cover all poor people — was about $373 billion in. Defund every single church, school, and social service agency by redirecting charity and you still don’t come close to what is needed for health care. The numbers just don’t add up.

  195. At an all-you-can-eat buffet, people want to take advantage. But at a certain point eating more becomes unpleasant. (Just another little mint, sir?)
    The appetite for health-care never reaches that point. If it will save my life or a loved one’s, I don’t care if it costs $10,000 or $10-million. I want it covered and administered, yesterday.
    Basically, I want infinite health-care.
    But health-care costs money, and infinite money is not available. This forces health-care systems to have budgets. And when demand exceeds the budget–always, in other words–every system, government or private, uses “rationing.” Just without that name, or the whole ‘rational’ thing.

    Avi: “In most countries like England and Canada, private hospitals and clinics exist for the rich”

    Here in Canada private clinics are largely illegal, because instead of “rationing,” our politicians’ favourite health-care scare-tactic sound byte is “two-tier system.”
    Ours is just as vacuous and counterproductive as yours. The rich still go to private clinics, but the private clinics are in the US (along with their concommitant medical and economic benefits).

  196. ‘But then again, there is a family in my neighborhood that has two kids that would not exist were it not for the assisted reproductive technology mandate. $200K of medical expenses, but their out of pocket cost was about $500.’

    Yes, but that’s $200K (probably tens of millions) that could have gone to life-saving procedures and reduced costs across the board. You can’t use the ‘one example of person benefiting’ without taking into account the people who don’t.

  197. “A doctors office or hospital in Canada is usually a far less friendly place than its American equivalent.”

    Depends on where you are. True for suburban clinics in wealthy areas but a lot of urban clinics are really awful. I know because my wife has worked in many. The docs and other health care workers try to do a good job but the conditions are really difficult.

  198. “The rich still go to private clinics, but the private clinics are in the US.”

    In Texas, the health care system is so bad that many Americans go to clinics and hospitals in Mexico. This despite really stringent restrictions on malpractice awards.

  199. “Yes, but that’s $200K (probably tens of millions) that could have gone to life-saving procedures and reduced costs across the board. You can’t use the ‘one example of person benefiting’ without taking into account the people who don’t.”

    No argument from me. But the frum community wants the extra kids and Sheldon Silver got what we wanted.

  200. “That’s a low blow. I haven’t used the standard “Jews who replaced religion with liberalism” chestnut here throughout this entire debate and did my best to stay on topic. Not cool.”

    My apologies. I’ve had too many conversations who insist that private health insurance is more efficient in spite of all the evidence to the contrary — which in fact is all the evidence that exists. It is just really difficult to relate to such dogmatists.

    As I’ve pointed out, the disadvantages for private insurance is inherent. It isn’t that they are deliberately stealing. They just have necessary expenses and a lack of economy of scale that the government plans have. Are we so committed to free markets as an ideology that we will continue to penalize the rest of society indefinitely?

  201. Thank you for the conversation — have to go to a synagogue board meeting to help figure out how to pay off a mortgage!

  202. “Are we so committed to free markets as an ideology that we will continue to penalize the rest of society indefinitely?”

    I’m committed to free markets because in most cases they work the best (the exceptions being the obvious – police, military, courts &c). While I am not entirely persuaded by your arguments, I acknowledge that you make a good case and I learned a great deal from this discussion (I learned more about health care than I ever cared to know :).

    Good luck with the mortgage.

  203. DaveDaytona – In 2005 that the Supreme Court of Canada struck down Quebec’s provincial ban on private medical clinics. I’m not sure if anything goes, but certainly there are now quite a few private MRI clinics, and clinics where surgeries are performed; also private insurers can now offer plans, but many others simply pay out of pocket. Are you sure this isn’t allowed in other provinces? Before, those with money, including many politicians, would simply go to private hospitals in the US or elsewhere.

  204. “I still don’t think that a single government-run system is the best option.”

    That may or my not be true; a lot depends on definitions. But my point was focused on the argument, baseless IMO, that there will be rationing of medical care under the health reform law and that there’s no rationing now.

  205. I think a major problem with Obamacare is that it’s unconstitutional. But, it also does nothing to reduce rising medical costs. Am I wrong?

  206. Joseph, fair enough. Let me rephrase, then:

    The argument of conservatives is that there will be far more rationing – of treatments, drugs and care – under a government-run system than one in which there are multiple private insurances. Charlie has made some good arguments against this, but I’m still agnostic.

  207. Re medical care in the US and Canada, perhaps an issue that should be discussed is where can one seek competent medical treatment of an emergency nature that would require major surgery on a holiday weekend?

  208. Steve Brizel – As a non-resident visitor or tourist to Canada, you can use your own insurance for emergency medical care. Doctors and hospitals in Canada will see you, with little or no wait, because your insurance provider will likely reimburse them at a higher rate than the provincial government would. If you’re uninsured, you’re responsible for payment. At a private medical clinic, where available, you’ll pay quite a bit less than the American rate.

  209. Steve – you could also buy travel and emergency medical insurance through Blue Cross or similar insurance company. For travel in Canada, this is likely to be inexpensive.

  210. you’ll pay quite a bit less than the American rate.

    Well you get 20% just for cutting out the middleman 🙂

  211. Last round before I hit the sack (on efficiency of insurances):

    http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa642.pdf

  212. “A new national-religious rabbinical group that will include women in its leadership as equals is to be launched on Wednesday.

    The group, to be known as Beit Hillel, already has 110 rabbis signed up, along with 30 women who are considered Torah scholars.”

    curious what is the definition of Torah Scholars

    “It was founded by congregational rabbis in the central region, who say they represent the silent majority of the national-religious population that is frustrated and alarmed by creeping extremism and the deterioration of women’s status in the sector. ”

    Is it a yeshiva/rabbis in the field difference?
    Beit Hillel is granting participating women equal voting rights and influence in the organization.

    “We cannot remain silent anymore; we have to state our position clearly,” said Oshra Koren, the director of the Raanana branch of Matan, an institute of advanced Torah study for women based in Jerusalem.

    She and a group of 10 rabbis who lead Modern Orthodox congregations formulated the plan after receiving persistent calls from congregants to do something.

    “The need for such an organization has been evident for some time,” Koren said. “But the frustration grew following the recent events involving the exclusion of women.

    “The big push came when women who know my views urged me to express them publicly,” she said. “People are thirsty for guidance from our leadership on all public issues and news events, and they are frustrated that there has been no clear, balanced and nuanced statement on these questions, as if we are distancing ourselves from religious-Zionist values.”

    The organizers note that unlike rabbinic groups in the Hardal (Ultra-Orthodox-nationalist ) stream, in Beit Hillel congregational rabbis will set the tone, rather than yeshiva heads, who, the founders say, are less in tune with the needs of households and families.

    The women involved are either educators in post-secondary Torah programs for women who are seen as Torah scholars in their own right, or are rabbis’s wives who are influential in their congregations and communities.

    Founding conference

    Tomorrow there will be a founding conference in Netanya, at which members will decide how to implement the founders’ manifesto, which states that members, “encourage women’s empowerment, oppose discrimination and racism, support democracy, see themselves as an integral part of Israeli society and are loyal to the State of Israel and its institutions, including the IDF, the police, and the courts.”

    “The conference will be addressed by Rabbi Yuval Cherlow of the Petah Tikva hesder yeshiva, Science and Technology Minister Daniel Hershkowitz and Rabbanit Malka Bina, the founder of Matan and a pioneer in promoting advanced Torah study for women.

    A first step will apparently be to establish a beit midrash that will examine the halakhic issues relating to women’s roles in public positions and in the synagogue.

    “It can’t be that women, who do everything in every field, have no [religious] standing,” Koren said. “Women must be partners in the halakhic discourse.”

    Several of Beit Hillel’s founding rabbis are active in existing groups, such as Tzohar. But Tzohar, these rabbis say, has chosen to remain neutral on issues dividing the national-religious camp.

    While Beit Hillel prefers to stress its positive positions, the group’s founding reflects the growing rift within the religious-Zionist sector.

    “To our great sorrow, religious Zionism is already split,” said Rabbi Chaim Navon, rabbi of the Shimshoni congregation in Modi’in. “But only one faction’s voice was being heard. We are the voice of the other part, that hasn’t been sufficiently heard.” ”

    Most of the names seem to be associated with Matan-is the organization much more widespread than that?

    More on this topic

  213. “I still don’t think that a single government-run system is the best option. If we refer to the Israeli method – you have Government FINANCE, but not government ADMINISTRATION (at least as far as I know). Also, there are private options for those who want it.”

    I don’t know but in Israel doesn’t the government select every year what is covered in the basic-approved drugs , procedures etc-? Can some Israeli explain if I’m inthe right ballpark and how I am wrong ifI am.
    Don’t the various HMOs select forextra fees what they will cover beyond basic.

  214. IH – You’re right that there is no private sector middleman in Canada between the medical doctor and the provincial governments who pay them for their services, and provinces can simply set prices for medical services and cap doctors incomes; but we live with public bureaucracies, shortages, and doctors who emigrate after having been trained at taxpayer expense. Also, doctors prevent foreign trained doctors from becoming accredited. For the US to follow Canada’s lead, Americans would need to pass tort reform, and pass through the constitutional hurdles, and re-elect a Democratic Congress. It’s not my battle, but you should realize that nothing is free, and when government is involved, things get done inefficiently, and don’t work out as promised.

  215. “Canuck on January 31, 2012 at 9:29 pm
    Steve Brizel – As a non-resident visitor or tourist to Canada, you can use your own insurance for emergency medical care. Doctors and hospitals in Canada will see you, with little or no wait, because your insurance provider will likely reimburse them at a higher rate than the provincial government would”

    I believe most US insurers have lists of “preferred providers” for insurance in various countries-certainly ours has for Israel-we’ve always taken the info as a precaution in ourtripsto Israel. I suspectthere are far more names for Canada.
    True emergencies are covered by my insurance outside the country.

  216. “Also, doctors prevent foreign trained doctors from becoming accredited.”
    There should be the same licensing examinations for foreign trained doctors as US trained doctors-BTW I’d say the same thing for all licensing exams,attorney, CPA, etc. If reason for exam is knowledge let everyone pass the same exam.

  217. Now I think Steve possibly wasn’t asking about insurance for Canada, but wanted to know about availability of high quality emergency units throughout the US and Canada. But, it’s good to keep in mind that one should check one’s insurance coverage before traveling between the US and Canada. Canadians in particular, need supplemental insurance when traveling to the US, because the provinces reimburse at a much lower rate than is charged by American providers. The US medical industry is crying out for reform. Which approaches to take is the big question, and it’s difficult to form any consensus.

  218. mycroft – I believe Canadian and US trained doctors can generally get licensed in both countries as long as they pass the appropriate state or provincial exams. For Quebec, a French language proficiency test is an extra requirement. M.D. diplomas from most other countries are generally not recognized, and other requirements are used to limit who can be accepted into a residency program.

  219. Canuck — I think you may be conflating two different issues: government-managed (single payer) insurance and government-managed delivery of health care.

    If the private insurance market is as efficient as you and aiwac claim, the doctors should be compensated less not more per average patient.

  220. “And car insurance is now mandatory in 48 US states for anyone owning a car.”

    Funny thing is.. in California only 30% of people who are required to get car insurance actually do. I’m really concerned about the US health care system after insurance becomes mandatory for all Americans, and only 30% actually buy it. With cars, you can revoke the car if they don’t pay insurance, but what do you do if someone refuses to buy health insurance?

    “The people I know in Israel HATE the medical system and frequently lament about the better care in the US.”

    I know many people who complain. But they are complainers and they have not suffered anything other than a hurt ego. Those who had valid complaints, got their surgeries or treatments earlier, after talking to the doctors.

    ” I believe Americans typically give more to charity than do people in more developed welfare states;”

    That is because Americans are typically more religious than people who live in Europe. The more religious the society, the more charity that is given. The less religious the society, the more people assume that the government will provide for those who need charity. Also, it should be noted that religious institutions count as charity, whether they directly help the poor and sick or not.

    “Should I read this as a concession that it succeeds elsewhere? :-)”

    I don’t think anyone here is arguing that the “invisible hand” doesn’t work in most instances. It just doesn’t work for some things, such as health care, or police and fire protection. In situations where the “loss” is not morally acceptable, the “invisible hand” will not work.

  221. “I don’t know but in Israel doesn’t the government select every year what is covered in the basic-approved drugs , procedures etc-? Can some Israeli explain if I’m inthe right ballpark and how I am wrong ifI am.
    Don’t the various HMOs select forextra fees what they will cover beyond basic.”

    You are wrong and not so wrong. 🙂
    I pay for the Extra gold standard, highest form of health insurance available to me. I get charged 40 shekels a month, for these extra benefits.

    When it comes to drugs, its based on the owner of the Pharmacy. Some drugs are paid for by the government, some by the various Kupot. Other places you have to pay full price for the drug you want, but I’ve never seen them as expensive as they are in America. They also have completely different drug names in Israel. I’m not sure what relationship Teva has with the Israeli government though.

  222. “Canuck on January 31, 2012 at 10:29 pm
    mycroft – I believe Canadian and US trained doctors can generally get licensed in both countries as long as they pass the appropriate state or provincial exams.”

    My point is that anyone should be able to take a standard exam-the test should not be registering in any school but an exam including practical that is availableto anyone-paying tuition to a school should not bethe primary test-having the requisite knowledge should be.

  223. ” I believe Americans typically give more to charity than do people in more developed welfare states;”

    “That is because Americans are typically more religious than people who live in Europe. The more religious the society, the more charity that is given. The less religious the society, the more people assume that the government will provide for those who need charity. Also, it should be noted that religious institutions count as charity, whether they directly help the poor and sick or not”
    One test is do Americans give more to social welfare charities-religion is not Zedakah maybe harbatzat torah-Zedakah is helping the poor.

  224. “Israel
    > Pct. population with postsecondary education: 45%
    > Avg. annual growth rate (1999 – 2009): N/A
    > GDP per capita: $28,596 (12th lowest)
    > Pop. change (2000 – 2009): 19.02% (the highest)”

    Avi:Is post 18 sitting in a Yeshiva/seminary included as postsecondary education?

  225. “One test is do Americans give more to social welfare charities-religion is not Zedakah maybe harbatzat torah-Zedakah is helping the poor.”

    That test was done once. I can’t remember where I read it though, but that’s where I got the idea from. It showed that most American charity went to churches not social welfare. (Though it was skewed slightly after the Bill and Melinda gates foundation was created)

  226. ‘I know many people who complain. But they are complainers and they have not suffered anything other than a hurt ego. Those who had valid complaints, got their surgeries or treatments earlier, after talking to the doctors’

    avi,

    I know of cases that were not mere kvetching. I like the Israeli system, but it’s far from perfect.

  227. IH,

    Everyone from libertarians to socialists agree that the present US healthcare market is inefficient. The debate is on how to fix it.

    BTW, I have to say I was a little surprised to learn that the overwhelming majority of people in the states get their insurance via an employer rather than on their own (an employer buying insurance gets tax breaks that an individual buyer would not). That’s something that should be corrected whatever your political persuasion. The same goes for mandates. The more states require insurances to provide (whether the customer wants them or not), the more expensive insurance will be.

  228. http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/the-jewish-press-wont-be-silenced/2012/01/31/

    “Following the publication of this op-ed, a number of Jewish Press advertisers were approached and threatened. They were told to stop advertising with the Jewish Press.

    The Jewish Press won’t give in to threats and we won’t be silenced.”

  229. abba's rantings

    “Is post 18 sitting in a Yeshiva/seminary included as postsecondary education?”

    i was also wondering if that got israel that high on the list.
    in any case russian aliyah also a big boost

  230. “Avi:Is post 18 sitting in a Yeshiva/seminary included as postsecondary education?”

    I would assume not. The OECD likely has very strict rules for their categories. I imagine having an accredited degree is one of them.

    “Everyone from libertarians to socialists agree that the present US healthcare market is inefficient. The debate is on how to fix it.”

    I have seen no such debate. The only debate I have seen is about how and when people can get health insurance. The underlying problems are not being addressed at all.

  231. I’m not sure what did it, maybe it was this health care debate or the Kosher Jesus and women’s pictures posts, but yesterday this blog received the most pageviews it has received since I started tracking with Google Analytics a year and a half ago (and pretty close to the most unique visitors).

  232. “I’m not sure what did it, maybe it was this health care debate or the Kosher Jesus and women’s pictures posts, but yesterday this blog received the most pageviews it has received since I started tracking with Google Analytics a year and a half ago (and pretty close to the most unique visitors).”

    Congrats. Out of curiosity, how many page views was it?

  233. avi,

    That’s not the case with the material I’ve seen so far – from both the right and the left.

  234. Canuck wrote in part:

    “Now I think Steve possibly wasn’t asking about insurance for Canada, but wanted to know about availability of high quality emergency units throughout the US and Canada. But, it’s good to keep in mind that one should check one’s insurance coverage before traveling between the US and Canada. Canadians in particular, need supplemental insurance when traveling to the US, because the provinces reimburse at a much lower rate than is charged by American providers. The US medical industry is crying out for reform. Which approaches to take is the big question, and it’s difficult to form any consensus”

    Let’s assume, that R”L one did not have such coverage and was faced with the need for emergency medical treatment and major surgery? Who would foot the bill ,and who would render such treatment on a holiday weekend?

  235. “That’s not the case with the material I’ve seen so far – from both the right and the left.”

    I likely wasn’t clear enough. I meant what is being debated for the possible laws and changes that might actually take place.

  236. Steven,

    Are you planning on getting sick then?

  237. Out of curiosity, how many page views was it?

    According to Google Analytics — 8,319
    According to WordPress Stats — 8,934

  238. avi,

    From what I understand, the implicit intention of proposals from the right and the left is also to bring down costs.

  239. “From what I understand, the implicit intention of proposals from the right and the left is also to bring down costs.”

    I think the intention is to have people feel comfortable and feel safe regarding health care. Cost or more accurately, possible financial ruin, is just part of that.

  240. LongTimeReader

    Wow. Who would have thought that with all of the Rabbinic & communal groups to pipe in with their statements, the Jewish Press would be the responsible voice of Modern Orthodoxy. I don’t read it regularly but either it or I must have grown since my youth when I considered it a rag.

  241. >Let’s assume, that R”L one did not have such coverage and was faced with the need for emergency medical treatment and major surgery? Who would foot the bill ,and who would render such treatment on a holiday weekend?

    Doctors work on call. Don’t you have insurance Steve?

  242. MiMedinat HaYam

    “Sheldon Silver is REALLY good at looking out for the interests of Jews.”

    he’s even better in interests of teacher unions (and labor in general), which is why he wont allow a school voucher program, like i was advocating.

    2. on that subject, the vast majority of medical care is spent on the last (month) of life. i’m not advocating dont treat (i did bring up opposition to ezekiel rahm) but $200,000 for assisted reproductive technology vs 2,000,000 for (questionable) treatment of last (month) of life.

    2a. and thats prob why medicare recipients like their insurance. also cause of aarp, etc lobbies.

    3. blaine amendments do not stand up to federal laws, such as 1964 CRA and 14th amendment, among other issues overiding nys (and 37 other, you say) state constitutions.

    4. us travel insurance does not charge diff for diff countries (though sometimes domestic travel is cheaper than international, and they might consider canada as domeestic.)

    5. there must be some background on why the JP printed that article. we dont know yet (we might never know.) and i dont think its the raising / comparing the agunah issue.

    irrespective of the article itself.

    6. new badatz — i like the name they chose. hopefully, they’ll succeed. but opposition from rabbanut? sounds like the reporter wants to make an improper comparison, to belittle the hashgacha.

    7. just like the reporter (prob editor) for huff post misstated the JONAH stmt. we know it wasnt that.

  243. Joseph Kaplan

    “the vast majority of medical care is spent on the last (month) of life. i’m not advocating dont treat (i did bring up opposition to ezekiel rahm).”

    Ezekiel Rahm doesn’t advocate no treatment

  244. MiMedinat HaYam

    ezekiel rahm — advocates palliative, not active treatment.

  245. MMhY — I would be interested in a reference for that assertion. I think you mean he advocates a choice. As does the Dr. Atul Gawande in the New Yorker piece linked in IH on January 31, 2012 at 7:44 pm.

    For those who don’t have the time for a New Yorker article, here is a summary: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128828629

  246. 2:37 was IH

  247. abba's rantings

    MMY:

    “5. there must be some background on why the JP printed that article. we dont know yet (we might never know.) and i dont think its the raising / comparing the agunah issue.”

    i’m not sure what you meant at the end here, but there was most certainly internal background wrt JP’s involvement in aguna fight

    LTR:

    “Wow. Who would have thought that with all of the Rabbinic & communal groups to pipe in with their statements, the Jewish Press would be the responsible voice of Modern Orthodoxy. I don’t read it regularly but either it or I must have grown since my youth when I considered it a rag.”

    i’m not the biggest fan of JP, but the fact is that it does tackle controversial subjects.

  248. MiMedinat HaYam

    the JP is like rashi. there is not one word that doesnt have a reason for being there (sometimes they just want an ad, i’ll admit; nothing wrong with that. even the nytimes does that.) usually, its part of their agenda (not necessarily evil.)

    next time read the JP with a more critical eye. (not necesaarily intellectual eye, but critical eye.)

    they had a reason for that op-ed.

  249. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4183849,00.html

    “Experiencing trouble proving that you’re Jewish? Shorashim center moves heaven and earth in bid to help people whose religion is questioned by Rabbinate. Organization’s new Moscow office inaugurated last week”

  250. Joseph Kaplan

    “ezekiel rahm — advocates palliative, not active treatment.”

    I would also be interested in a citation supporting this. I know that when the health reform law was being debated, lots of claims were made by opponents of the bill about ER’s position on providing medical care. So I went ahead and found and read the article that he wrote upon which all the claims were made and it turned out the claims were completely false and a twisting and misrepresentation of what he wrote.

  251. Q: Do the political small-government Conservatives agree with http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4183601,00.html?

  252. On the R. Ralbag hullabaloo, do the voices that endorse him vis a vis Amsterdam, now also endorse his Triangle-K kashrut in the US?

  253. “There is a difference between issuing a statement asserting the traditional Jewish view on homosexuality, and offering one’s own theory about “illness and cure.” The Bible condemns the act as an abomination, as it does eating bacon. Plain and simply put, it is forbidden. That’s where the scope of any Rabbi’s position should begin and end. If psychotherapists believe that sexual orientation can be altered, that is their remit. It’s not for Rabbis to go publically endorsing such a position, which is essentially saying, not only are you gay but you’re also mentally unstable. That’s crossing the line into condemning the person, not just the act.

    Chief Rabbi Ralbag should not be relieved of his position for taking a religious stance on a traditional biblical position. That’s plain ludicrous. However, his sensitivity, and by extension his ability to reach out to his wider constituency, in endorsing a controversial statement regarding homosexuals, must surely be called into question”
    Agreed.

  254. Q: Do the political small-government Conservatives agree with http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4183601,00.html?

    I know that http://settlersofsamaria.org/ agrees with that position.

  255. Oops, I only read the headline and thought it was a different article that I saw that blog discussing in the past. The settlersofSamaria website thinks that religious services should be privatized.

  256. http://english.themarker.com/fischer-israel-s-ultra-orthodox-must-start-working-1.410515
    ==============================

    “The Emperor’s New Clothes” –

    A vain Emperor who cares for nothing but his appearance and attire hires two tailors who are really swindlers that promise him the finest, best suit of clothes from a fabric invisible to anyone who is unfit for his position or “just hopelessly stupid”. The Emperor cannot see the cloth himself, but pretends that he can for fear of appearing unfit for his position; his ministers do the same. When the swindlers report that the suit is finished, they mime dressing him and the Emperor then marches in procession before his subjects, who play along with the pretense. Suddenly, a child in the crowd, too young to understand the desirability of keeping up the pretense, blurts out that the Emperor is wearing nothing at all and the cry is taken up by others. The Emperor cringes, suspecting the assertion is true, but holds himself up proudly and continues the procession, deciding never to be so vain again and to take his position more seriously

    the reisha is current state , hopefully the seifa is future state.
    KT

  257. http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/jerusalem-dig-uncovers-earliest-evidence-of-local-cultivation-of-etrogs-1.410505
    =========================================
    and prior to the importation what was in use?
    KT

  258. “and prior to the importation what was in use?
    KT”

    Is there any evidence that it was ever not imported?

  259. “So I went ahead and found and read the article that he wrote upon which all the claims were made and it turned out the claims were completely false and a twisting and misrepresentation of what he wrote.”
    Which doesn’t surprise me one bit.

  260. Moshe Shoshan

    avi,
    It is almost impossible to prove that something did not happen. However, citrus fruits are not native to the Land of Israel, They require too much water.

  261. abba's rantings

    GIL:

    please delete the link to the klal journal so no one else wastes their time reading through it.
    even dr. pelcovitz’s article was disappointing. not one word of data. everything in relative terms. x more likely than y. y less likely than z. this information is completely useless.

  262. “avi,
    It is almost impossible to prove that something did not happen. However, citrus fruits are not native to the Land of Israel, They require too much water.”

    And yet Jaffa was famous for it’s oranges. 😛

    But my point was that the etrog, even today, has possibly always been imported to Israel. It could go back before the Jews even came here. Trade routes always existed for various types of fruits and vegetables. There is no reason to believe that even when it was cultivated in Israel, that it wasn’t also imported.

  263. Rafael Araujo

    The Shabbos toilet paper from Kosher Innovations for a couple of years already. What’s the chiddush?

  264. Abba – The contributions I read seemed to consist of rabbis whingeing that people were not submitting to their authority enough. I suppose the first part of finding a solution to problems is to work out where we went wrong in the first place.

  265. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4184081,00.html

    “Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs encourages minorities, members of GLBT community to act as its unofficial envoys abroad”

  266. Abba: So far, I’ve only read Mrs. Press’ contribution and I found it excellent.

  267. http://www.rabbiwein.com/Jerusalem-Post/2012/02/677.html

    “The underlying motive for all of this Charedi bashing is that the Israeli public, including the divergent sections of it – religious, traditional, secular and Charedi light, is tired and disgusted at being a frier. It has had it with supporting a large and growing section of the Israeli population that it feels is being supported by the general public while itself contributing next to nothing to the general good and welfare of society.”

  268. To me the journal just represents a restating of the attitudes that created the mess in the first place. For example:

    “Some would recommend that yeshivas sort and track early on. The yeshivas in America can rightly take pride in their outstanding success in building a strong community of serious Torah learners. Are we now to ask them to change their mission to produce solid baalei batim (homeowners)? That sounds absurd, unfair and certainly detrimental to the best interest of the Torah-committed world.”

    Chas ve’shalom that the typical male should be brought up with the idea that he will have to work one day. And the whole ‘chas ve’shalom’ at the beginning about couples resisting rabbinic browbeating (echoed in R. Dovid Wieinberger’s comments – which are basically verbal intimidation in and of themselves) to have more children than they are capable of handling isn’t exactly promising.

  269. “Are we now to ask them to change their mission to produce solid baalei batim (homeowners)?”

    I feel like throwing up.

  270. Why? A person, baal habayis, or not, should have the mindset “I want to be serious Torah scholar.” One should always have high-minded goals. If that results in talmidei chochomim who are baalei batim, then that’s exactly the point. I know plenty of baalei batim who work, earn a nice parnossoh, but who main focus is limud haTorah. I hope nobody wakes up and says “my goal is to be a baal habayis”, whatever that means.

  271. Because by not having a mission to produce solid baalei batim which, for argument’s sake we will say is the case in general, countless kids are destroyed.

    Believe me, I get the idea of aiming high. What is needed is balance.

  272. There is balance. I see it more and more. North American Chareidim, as much as MO like to portray them as sliding to the right, are, in fact not so much. NA Chareidim are nothing close to the Israeli chareidi community, not the least bit.

  273. Maybe there is, maybe there isn’t. I hope so. I was reacting to her words.

    Her whole piece didn’t make me throw up. She has some valuable remarks about the value of frugality, for instance.

  274. The N. American Chareidim are most certainly sliding to the right. Norms of even ten years ago are already gone up in smoke. There are already numerous yeshiva high schools which don’t even offer the possibility of a high school diploma. In my day there were barely any such places, and only two or three guys on average didn’t graduate. I’m not saying there was anything like a good secular education or an appreciation for it, but it certainly was expected that you would go to class and graduate.

  275. But do we really need a new magazine to tell us that we shouldn’t spend beyond our means? People have been saying this forever, and if it hasn’t made a difference until now, I don’t see why the fact that Klal Perspectives said it is going to make any difference.

  276. Sorry for not aggregating all the comments in one-

    But I agree with you that the situation here is very different than in Israel for many reasons, and as obscurantist as it could get here it will never come close to the situation and its problems there.

  277. “Why? A person, baal habayis, or not, should have the mindset “I want to be serious Torah scholar.” One should always have high-minded goals. If that results in talmidei chochomim who are baalei batim, then that’s exactly the point. I know plenty of baalei batim who work, earn a nice parnossoh, but who main focus is limud haTorah. I hope nobody wakes up and says “my goal is to be a baal habayis”, whatever that means.”

    I strongly disagree. In fact, after my year in Yeshivah I left thinking that I would make a great baal habayit, and being a Torah scholar is not my cup of tea. And I still feel that way. I can’t learn all day and not produce something or work in the world. I have greater respect for construction workers than PHD students. (This likely comes from the fact that I’ve ever only known 3 people in construction but hundreds who were / are Phd students)

    Being a Torah scholar is not “aiming high”, it’s vanity and a desire for power. Aiming high would be aiming for whatever you excel in, and along with way, learning as much Torah as you can.

  278. “But I agree with you that the situation here is very different than in Israel for many reasons, and as obscurantist as it could get here it will never come close to the situation and its problems there.”

    I hope you are assuming here that America would never create a system which would fund their desired lifestyle, but I’m not so sure that is true anymore.

  279. “People have been saying this forever, and if it hasn’t made a difference until now,”

    They have been saying it forever, but have they been saying it recently? Apparently the answer is yes, because of this magazine and the article about wedding prices. So my next question is, where they saying it 5 years ago?

  280. “I hope you are assuming here that America would never create a system which would fund their desired lifestyle, but I’m not so sure that is true anymore.”

    American Chareidim are American and Americanized and that comes with the good and the bad. America can’t and won’t cut deals with Chareidi fixers who hold the keys to the government to subsidize such a lifestyle, and other things besides.

  281. I think this discussion might touch on one of the differences between MO and chareidim in the US, with the MO seeing as an important value developing a community of hopefully well adjusted people who are involved in the many aspects of the world around them (business, culture, politics etc.), are shomrei mitzvot and spend time learning Torah — IOW a ba’al habayit. They admire those who have the ability and desire to be talmedei chachamim and think it is important to have such people as part of their community, but don’t consider trying to make everyone fit into that category a top priority.

  282. abba's rantings

    GIL:

    “Abba: So far, I’ve only read Mrs. Press’ contribution and I found it excellent.”

    the only interesting point in the article is that it’s not a question of mother staying at home or working but the quality of the time mother is with the child. other than this was a lot of rambling and back peddling. everytime you thought she was being revoltionary there was a “but.” so that when you get to the end and she calls for a discussion of the economic underpinnings of the community one is left wondering exactly what she is talking about.
    agreed with S about her comment “Are we now to ask them to change their mission to produce solid baalei batim (homeowners)?”
    but disagree with him wrt people needing to re-learn what it mean to be “frugal.” she laments that “living poor is not an option.” yes, i think people need to understand to live within their means, but she seems to be arguing for creation of a culture of poverty as a laudable goal. let her take a 50% pay cut and show her students how she lives poor.

  283. abba's rantings

    and i didn’t understand r. weinberger’s concerns that jewish women in the workplace find themselves in difficult and compromising positions. as opposed to jewish men in the workplace?

  284. I don’t think what she means by “poor” is what you mean by poor, but point taken.

  285. “I think this discussion might touch on one of the differences between MO and chareidim in the US,”

    If Gd wanted us all to do be doing the same thing, and follow the exact same behavior, we would all be created with the same face.

  286. I disagree with the premise that the only interesting thoughts and valid conclusions are those that entirely overturn the status quo.

    I thought Mrs. Press’ most interesting comment was about the stress of stay-at-home mothers.

  287. “and i didn’t understand r. weinberger’s concerns that jewish women in the workplace find themselves in difficult and compromising positions. as opposed to jewish men in the workplace?”

    Men, as you know, are not rudely hit on and treated as a certain type of object 🙂

  288. abba's rantings

    GIL:

    “I thought Mrs. Press’ most interesting comment was about the stress of stay-at-home mothers.”

    really? what’s the chidush?

  289. abba's rantings

    AVI:

    “Men, as you know, are not rudely hit on and treated as a certain type of object :)”

    really? i guess you’re just not as good looking as i am! 🙂
    but seriously, i’m not going to get involved in a discussion re. who is more likely to get hit on, but suffice to say it is silly for r. weinberger to pretend that this is a one-way street.

    and he too thinks the solution is doing with less. what about the famlies that are doing with little already? what are they supposed to do? and for his own congregants how can do with less, what does he really want them to do? does he think they should sell their homes and leave 5T?

    i will say kudos to him for mentioning family planning (i think he was the only one?). although i;m not sure what he considers family planning, but at least he recognizes there is a role for it in consultation with a rav

  290. Dr. Pelcovitz’s article was great! Who cares that he didn’t include hard data? He gave sources and made excellent and important points.

  291. Summary I gave someone who asked: economics is the study of the allocation of scarce resources to unlimited demand. As individuals, families and communities we seem to have a problem agreeing on allocation priorities.
    Kt

  292. He gave sources and made excellent and important points.

    I’m a little puzzled. I scanned Dr. Pelcovitz’s article and then looked up the Press Release for the paper cited in his first 2 footnotes: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/ssw/news/jul10/maternity.html

    “Study finds first-year maternal employment has no ill effects on child cognitive and social development outcomes”

    As with any text, those interested should look up the mareh mekomot.

  293. http://www.economist.com/node/21543488

    “Mr Beer has designed something better. His charity, United Hatzalah, co-ordinates a group of 1,700 volunteers scattered around Israel. All are trained in basic first aid. And each has a GPS-enabled smartphone revealing exactly where he or she is.

    Anyone who sees an emergency can call a central number (1221 in Israel). A smartphone app (a small programme installed on a modern mobile phone) instantly alerts the nearest first aider, […]”

  294. I thought Dr. Pelcovitz’;s article was…interesting too. Important considerations, but a lot of missed opportunities in my opinion. For example, all those points about what to look for in a day care environment (positive discipline, talking to kids, etc) seem like evidence-based ways to treat kids, in a daycare setting or at home. but if parents are still using the threatening, controlling, etc, that he criticizes, will we blame daycare when the kids have the problems described? also surprised not to see data (which i believe exist) on one-on vs. group substitute childcare.

    I was somewhat unhappy that he discussed women working instead of “workig outside the home.” the idea of a mom whose primary duty is mothering was limited to a short (but recent) period in history. just look at the mishnah – a woman cooks, cleans, spins, and watches the kids at the same time (and cooking was a lot harder then). she wasnt spending time on the floor helping her kids do puzzles. mostly she was making sure they didnt get hurt while they ran around with other kids and/or helped her. and if she had enough money to get help, she would outsource at least some childcare, like wealthy women have for basically ever.

  295. abba's rantings

    GIL:

    “Who cares that he didn’t include hard data?”

    i care
    take for example “The finding that full-time mothers are at times at
    greater risk for depression should not be taken lightly.”

    well the operative factor would be how much greater risk? 2%? 20%? you don’t think there is a difference?

    “He gave sources”

    so? i didn’t claim he fabricated his assertions. just that he didn’t give enough information. he expects readers to look up all the sources to get that information?

  296. abba's rantings

    GIL:

    i took another look article. my criticism stands. i also noticed something else curious: “Although based on relatively small levels of statistical significance”
    i admit i have no idea how it works in social sciences, but in medicine, statisitical signifigance is generally a requirement in order for study results to be used for consideration in making a recommendation. so are his studies really relevant to be cited?

  297. “The real question to me is less about socialism versus capitalism per se. It is more about statism versus a free society in general. This includes economic freedom (which, of course, the Torah has more of than modern socialist societies or ”

    The Torah does NOT emphasize rights as capitalism does it emphasizes responsibility,

  298. “America can’t and won’t cut deals with Chareidi fixers who hold the keys to the government to subsidize such a lifestyle”

    Of course it does. Or it subsidizes it as a result of other policies.

  299. “Different viewpoint than Rabbi Spero about Judaism and capitalism

    http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/02/what-else-does-the-bible-teach-about-capitalism/?hp

    Well I’m embarassed, the law against interest and overcharging didn’t even occur to me! I just kept thinking about mandatory tzedakah and taxes to the temple along with yovel and shmitah.

  300. ““Although based on relatively small levels of statistical significance”
    i admit i have no idea how it works in social sciences, but in medicine, statisitical signifigance is generally a requirement in order for study results to be used for consideration in making a recommendation. so are his studies really relevant to be cited?”

    Roughly the same-probably medicine uses the idea of statistical significance and 2 SDs from the mean too much. A hypo an acne medicine that cures 99% of the time but kills 1% of its patients would be unacceptable-while a hypothetical late stage cancer drug that could cure 95% of the time and patient left with no symptoms but kill 5% of thetime would be worth a fortune.

  301. “Nachum on February 3, 2012 at 12:49 am
    “America can’t and won’t cut deals with Chareidi fixers who hold the keys to the government to subsidize such a lifestyle”

    Of course it does.”
    Tend to agree see Kiryat Joel, Boro Park, Williamsburg etc.

  302. “what are they supposed to do? and for his own congregants how can do with less,”

    Don’t pay membership dues to schuls and don’t pay Day School tuition -I suspect for many that amount is bigger than the lesser earning spouse earns.
    I don’t suspect that is the suggested answer by any Klal Perspective writer-but religion is a discretionary good.

  303. “Don’t pay membership dues to schuls and don’t pay Day School tuition -I suspect for many that amount is bigger than the lesser earning spouse earns.
    I don’t suspect that is the suggested answer by any Klal Perspective writer-but religion is a discretionary good.”

    Thank Gd my parents didn’t follow your advice, and instead bought used cars, cheaper housing, and less entertainment.

  304. abba's rantings

    MYCROFT:

    “A hypo an acne medicine that cures 99% of the time but kills 1% of its patients would be unacceptable-while a hypothetical late stage cancer drug that could cure 95% of the time and patient left with no symptoms but kill 5% of thetime would be worth a fortune.”

    that’s not what statistical signifigance is about (at least not statistically speaking)

  305. I can’t understand the impressions I am seeing here about the new issue of Klal Perspectives. I’m finding the articles wonderful and don’t see where the extremely cynical reactions are coming from.

  306. Rafael Araujo

    Anything even pseudo-Chareidi is cause for cynicism here. You didn’t know that?

  307. Perhaps an interesting excercise after you finish – what is the action plab?
    Kt

  308. I haven’t yet read any of the articles in Klal Perspectives but I did look at the Table of Contents and noticed something I considered interesting. In the first issue, as I recall, there was only one article by a woman; all the others were by males who were rabbis (maybe one wasn’t a rabbi). In this issue there were 5 articles by males and 8 by women. I understand that the topic of this issue is one that some would consider a “woman’s issue” and that might be the reason. It will be interesting to see, I think, if there are future issues of this journal whether the treatment of woman as full participants in communal discussions will continue or if this second issue is simply an anomaly.

  309. Perhaps the cynicism is due to the sense that the journal seems to be dedicated to re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. For example, the serious economic problems in the frum community in a large part result from the fact that yeshivos are not interested in producing loyal balabatim together with rabbinic attitudes to contraception, yet change to either of these is greeted with a ‘chas ve’sholom’ by this journal. It’s probably better to do nothing than to think you are solving a problem by dealing with its side-effects.

  310. Anon: Meaning, they don’t agree fully with me so I will just dismiss them.

  311. “…the serious economic problems in the frum community in a large part result from the fact that yeshivos are not interested in producing loyal balabatim together with rabbinic attitudes to contraception, yet change to either of these is greeted with a ‘chas ve’sholom’ by this journal”

    The journal is dealing with a very specific issue, one that plagues both the yeshivish and modern orthodox community. The present role of the mother within the family is a challenging role, and i applaud Klal perspectives for attempting to deal with it.

  312. “Tend to agree see Kiryat Joel, Boro Park, Williamsburg etc.”

    I don’t know about Kiryat Joel, but the Chasidim in Boro Park and Williamsburg work. If they qualify for government assistance, that’s their prerogative. If they lie about their income to do so, that’s wrong. Furthermore, they are a drop in the bucket of the population. As bad as it may be it’s nothing like in Israel, and their voting influence concerns their own district, not the ability of the Federal and State governments to be able to govern at all. Who ever heard of Kiryat Joel bringing, threatening, or having the power to bring down a government? Furthermore, they do not try to influence foreign policy or expect their politicians to govern in a religiously coercive way. In fact more than one non-Chasidic Orthodox Jew has marveled at their disinterest in supporting politicians who hold symbolic policies that are allegedly close to Orthdox hashkafa. If these are examples of how bad it can get in the US, we’re still leagues away from the situation in the Holy Land. This isn’t lost on Israelis either, who lately have taken to wistfully eyeing American Chareidim. I know the situation is more complicated than they realize, but they are right: it is different.

  313. The present role of the mother within the family is a challenging role, and i applaud Klal perspectives for attempting to deal with it.
    ========================================
    I think the point is it is extremely difficult to deal with it on an individual basis without dealing with it on a community basis yet no one in power really suggests dealing with it practically on a community basis.
    KT

  314. Not trying to be cynical but the YU statistic is very interesting – it measures Attendees/Acceptees. I’m wondering why anyone would apply to YU as a safe school.

    KT

  315. “Anon: Meaning, they don’t agree fully with me so I will just dismiss them.”

    Huh? He gives a reasonable answer why people are expressing “cynicism” about the articles in this magazine.

    I for one understand why the yeshivish sector does not want to give up what it feels is a hard-fought, beautifully crafted and longed for result of decades of challenging labor. But it came with a cost and pretty much everyone realizes that the bill is coming due very soon and there’s not enough to pay it. So I understand why no one wants to start striving for solid baalebatim, as that seems like the time to destroy, not to build. But there may be no choice. Some of the writers seem to realize that, but has anything new been proposed? Or, as Anon said, is it a lot of rearranging chairs?

  316. Huh? He gives a reasonable answer why people are expressing “cynicism” about the articles in this magazine.

    His reason is just a matter of opinion. He thinks 1) the problems are too big for the proposed solutions and 2) therefore any small attempts to solve them are meaningless. Aside from my disagreeing with both points, I don’t see that as a reason to nitpick like some here have done.

  317. Gil — it’s your blog and your perogative, but it’s interesting that you “nitpick” articles with whom you disagree, but then complain when others “nitpick” articles with which you agree.

    Seems to me that what’s good for the goose, should be good for the gander.

  318. I thought that the essays all discussed the issues confronting the observant family. Merely because the essays didin’t discuss family planning therein does not mean that Poskim address the issues in a more substantive manner on a case by case basis.

  319. Similarly, is your use of “charitable” and “disrespectful”.

  320. “His reason is just a matter of opinion.”

    Of course.

    We nitpick because that’s what we do. I never heard of people not nitpicking articles that claim to be about seeking and offering solutions to big problems. If we didn’t nitpick, we would be ignoring, and wouldn’t that be worse?

  321. Source of cynicism = Reading something intended for a different audience. Not that much seems new to “outsiders,” and a lot of the trappings cause eyerolling. (For example, Mrs. Press being “uncomfortable…but say it i must” to say that she sees no patterns of the kids of working moms being dysfunctional or any worse off. This is really such a taboo?)

  322. Emma, you are spot on. I would say that the articles push boundaries maybe a centimeter, and that seems woefully inadequate. But of course if you push an inch you’re a maskil, so I guess it has to be more incremental.

  323. I also agree with Emma.

  324. I want an eventual Shmuely Boteach and Trump presidential ticket. Now that would be quite a circus!

  325. Another reason why “uncomfortable…but say it i must” and the like is induces so much eye-rolling is because in fact a lot of true insiders see the problems, the way things really are, etc. but everyone is afraid of everyone else because no one knows who agrees with them in their heart of hearts and who is going to jump down their throat and denounce them as a dangerous dissenter. This seems to artificially slow down progress.

    The only one who seems more or less unafraid is R. Yaakov Horowitz, although I suspect that one fine day he’s going to find himself on the wrong side by having pushed too hard without enough caveats and gentle “I’m probably wrong, but perhaps”s.

  326. Klal’s stated Raison d’être is “to facilitate a broad-based conversation about the most pressing contemporary issues” in “Torah communities”.

    I think Emma is correct, but that also means agreement that this publication is a Charedi publication not appropriate for many MO.

  327. Lawrence Kaplan

    Ema: Congratulations. You got S and Gil to agree with each other!

  328. I don’t know why you are so sure people are afraid of being denounced. Maybe they legitimately do not want to shake things up too much out of concern that it will cause more problems than it fixes.

  329. People have told me so privately. Besides, even if they had not, is it really plausible that every sort of public figure or pundit in the yeshivish world is of one mind about the best approach to problems?

  330. “but that also means agreement that this publication is a Charedi publication not appropriate for many MO”

    a charedi publication with Rabbis Billet, Goldberg, and Weinreb!? With Drs. Pelkovitz, and Abby Lerner?!

    Then who is the modern orthodox community?

  331. S: The whole point of this journal is to voice alternate opinions, and it is doing so!

  332. But, for a Charedi readership (else Emma’s point doesn’t compute).

  333. Perhaps I should say sociologically Charedi readership, to be more accurate.

  334. All I can say is that you would not see this kind of publication in the Israeli Chareidi world. Again, this speaks to the gulf between the Israeli and NA Chareidi olamos. Or, if this appropriate for NA Chareidim and not more MO, as IH puts, it shows how far to the left MO really is. 🙂

  335. gil – i think its an attitude of not being allowed to speak about in public and that only our gedolim should be involve. that seems to be changing with this publication – which is a good thing (even though obvious to all)

  336. R’ Ruvie,
    Hence my analogy to the king has no clothes. but in that society you still need a gadol to kasher changing the facts on the ground (e.g. chofetz chaim/beit yaakov)
    KT

  337. Lawrence Kaplan: 🙂

    IH, I would not describe the intended audience, of which the “cynics” here are mostly not members, as either “chareidi” or “sociologically chareidi.” I am thinking about how to articulate what I think it is.

  338. Emma — Thoughts welcome. Perhaps the sociological segmentation Dr. Shick uses for the School Census is appropriate: Chassidic, Yeshiva-world, Centrist Orthodox, Modern Orthodox?

  339. “that’s not what statistical signifigance is about (at least not statistically speaking)”

    I assume you are using “classical statistics” for your analysis-for better or worse implicit in my critique is a belief in a Bayesian methodology.

  340. MiMedinat HaYam

    r boteach — he announced (interest) over a year ago. he’s next door neighbor with his opponent, but the article is wrong in saying rothman opposed the libya campus issue next door to both of them — rothman as mayor made a deal, which they libyans attempted to violate last year, and rothman did nothing about it, even when formally asked to clarify his position.

    but the local community leaders will support, cause a: he’s bringing in the $, and b: he’s a classical liberal, though a j streeter.

    houston — not exactly a hospitable place for rabbis. surprised the OU got involved. they must have gotten a grant / donation. now they’ll go around saying they solved the tuition pblm, by telling ppl to move to houston.

    suing ex schools — a good pr move, but dont try it here in america. you (charedim) know the school stinks when you send your child there.

    i’m surprised you didnt mention http://forward.com/articles/150733/ instead of something about meschichists.

  341. RE Frier Complex:
    Rabbi Weins piece is very accurate-of course I would say that one ex Chicago Lawyer Rabbi Wein should warn Israelis of the futility of trying to make a frier out of the other ex Chicago lawyer who lives in 1600 Penssylvania Avenue.

  342. Joseph Kaplan

    “but the article is wrong in saying rothman opposed the libya campus issue next door to both of them — rothman as mayor made a deal, which they libyans attempted to violate last year, and rothman did nothing about it, even when formally asked to clarify his position.

    but the local community leaders will support, cause a: he’s bringing in the $, and b: he’s a classical liberal, though a j streeter.”

    It’s amazing how many things MMHY got wrong in his attempted smear of Cong. Rothman.

    First, he’s not a J Streeter. See “http://washingtonjewishweek.com/main.asp?SectionID=57&SubSectionID=76&ArticleID=14593

    As for Cong. Rothman’s involvement with the Libyan mission, see http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rep-steven-rothman/the-libyan-un-ambassadors_b_412041.html and http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/29/nyregion/29libya.html?ref=stevenrrothman.

    And as for MMHY’s comment about $, well, it’s always about $ with MMHY, which says more about him and his concerns than about those he’s commenting on.

  343. On Shabbos I happenedto pick up an old Tradition and reread Moshe Koppel’s Yiddishkeit without Ideology
    A Letter to My Son from Summer 2002-it was worth rereading.

  344. An interesting read that will be challenging on multiple levels for some, but worth reading: http://www.haaretz.com/weekend/magazine/change-of-heart-1.410878

  345. “but the local community leaders will support, cause a: he’s bringing in the $, and b: he’s a classical liberal, though a j streeter.”

    Huh?????

    “Democrats in the redrawn 9th, which includes the heavily Jewish communities of Passaic, Clifton, Englewood, and part of Teaneck, will have to decide between Rep Bill Pascrell, who supports and is supported by the far-left J Street, and Rep Steve Rothman, who has been recognized as one of the Jewish state’s staunchest friends in Congress and has, in fact, been publicly condemned by J Street for his strong pro-Israel positions.”

    http://jewishvoiceandopinion.com/pdf/201201.pdf

    (Jewish Voice and Opinion is not exactly a left wing publication.)

  346. http://www.haaretz.com/weekend/week-s-end/the-making-of-history-good-old-days-in-eretz-israel-1.344180

    “Natan Baron, a veteran journalist and researcher of the history of the courts in Israel, writes in the latest issue of the journal Cathedra (published by the Yitzhak Ben-Zvi Institute ) that the importance of this affair goes beyond the personal stories of the people involved: It has a place in the history of society, politics and the press here.”

  347. http://www.amazon.com/Third-Reich-Ivory-Tower-Complicity/dp/052176243X for those who wonder how “the best and the brigtest” in the 1930s appeased evil, I would highly recommend the book referenced in the above link.

  348. For those interested in seeing how one can be an unrepentant self hating Jew until his death, see the annexed review in tomorrow’s NYT’s Book Review.http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/05/books/review/tony-judt-reviews-his-lifes-journey.html?ref=books
    FWIW, we knew someone with Lou Gehrig’s disease. Her life as a Rebbitzen, librarian, a Baalas Chesed , Shadchan and someone who demanded that anyone who met her avoid pity for her situation should be contrasted with Judt’s well documented willingness to tolerate nationalism and statehood for all peoples but the Jewish People, and to judge Israel far more severely than Iran or North Korea.

  349. Steve — while I strongly disagreed with much of Tony Judt’s politics, your derogatory stereotyping of him says more about yourself than about him.

    For a more nuanced critique, see: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2011/feb/10/tony-judt-distinctions/?pagination=false

  350. IH, my reaction when reading that terrible piece was, “Well, I’m glad this kid Bondi has it *all figured out.*” Yes, that’s sarcasm you hear. He wants to avoid labels? Boo-frickety-hoo.

  351. Re: The second piece. It’s fascinating, but I note it’s a neat trick that he was a “prominent Aguda member” in 1912. 🙂

  352. Wikipedia confirms for me that one of Houston’s neighbors is Galveston. A hundred years ago, the Jewish establishment attempted a plan to move the poor Jews of New York there. The OU should watch its step. 🙂

    That was a joke. The sadder, more obvious commentary I’ll leave to others.

  353. “Nachum on February 5, 2012 at 12:40 am
    Wikipedia confirms for me that one of Houston’s neighbors is Galveston. A hundred years ago, the Jewish establishment attempted a plan to move the poor Jews of New York there. The OU should watch its step. 🙂

    That was a joke. The sadder, more obvious commentary I’ll leave to others.”
    I don’t understand the joke-Galveston Plan to maove poor Jewsthere-Jews were there at time of catastrophic hurricane.

  354. I find it hard to believe that the OU is saying that the solution to the crisis in NY is for Jews to move to Houston. If that as their suggestion they would have just suggested moving to Israel, where education is seemingly free. (obviously it’s not, but in comparison it feels like it!)

    What was done in Houston can be done in other cities in America as well.

  355. Avi,

    OU suggest moving to Israel?

    Absurd! Outrageous! Never!

    – The Dude, Jerusalem

  356. “OU suggest moving to Israel?”

    I hope you are joking. Torah Tidbits which is sponsored by the OU regularly makes such suggestions and they offer services to help people in Israel make that transition. http://www.ouisrael.org/programs/

  357. I disagree with the idea that the OU should promote only aliyah and not other options for those unable or unwilling to move to Israel. The Israeli intolerance on this issue that is frequently on display here is not a good advertisement for the country.

  358. Lawrence Kaplan

    I’m with Gil on this.

  359. IH,

    Meh. I’ve heard Bondi’s shtick a hundred times. Definitions win out, whether he likes it or not. They don’t disappear, they just change or increase in number.

    The Ein Prat project, by contrast, is an important and very positive development.

    One question though – Heschel really thought that the treatment of African-Americans was WORSE than the Nazis?! I mean, yes it was terrible but this sounds to me like hyperbole.

  360. “I disagree with the idea that the OU should promote only aliyah and not other options for those unable or unwilling to move to Israel. The Israeli intolerance on this issue that is frequently on display here is not a good advertisement for the country.”

    Please forgive people who are intolerant of people who willingly and boldly state that they do not wish to follow Halacha, and think that Orthodox institutions should help persuade people to continue to break halacha.

  361. I agree, aliya is not the solution for everyone. But I think the OU has to present it a serious option.

  362. aiwac, I never underestimate the political foolishness of people. Some of Heschel’s marching buddies (e.g., King) got pretty ridiculous at that point too. Heschel’s daughter is pretty transparent in what she’s trying to do, but Bondi is being disingenuous in denying that Heschel was what he was. (Or, indeed, that he himself is what he is.)

  363. Nachum,

    How is Bundi being disingenuous? He seems to be a pretty transparently post (anti?)-denominational.

    One note, though:

    I’m sick and tired of halacha being the great punching bag of the Jewish unifiers. We can have legitimate debates about the role of halacha and/or whether it should be changed and how. Yet from people like Bondi, I get the impression that if only halacha would go away, everything would be swell.

  364. “I’m sick and tired of halacha being the great punching bag of the Jewish unifiers. We can have legitimate debates about the role of halacha and/or whether it should be changed and how. Yet from people like Bondi, I get the impression that if only halacha would go away, everything would be swell”

    What you are tire of, is what makes other people view these positions as disingenuous. Being anti-denominational, while attacking Halacha, is really just another way of promoting one denomination over another with a new label.

  365. “on February 5, 2012 at 7:20 am
    “OU suggest moving to Israel?”

    I hope you are joking. Torah Tidbits which is sponsored by the OU regularly makes such suggestions and they offer services to help people in Israel make that transition. http://www.ouisrael.org/programs/

    I don’t believe it is the function of the OU to help Aliyah-its function is Jews in North America. I know about the Israel Center-have gone to an occasional program-I read Torah Tidbits pretty regularly-if in Israel the hard copy in galus Mrs e-but I don’t see the OU advocating as an organization nor should it. It is the function of other organizations to do that.

  366. “Hirhurim on February 5, 2012 at 7:39 am
    I disagree with the idea that the OU should promote only aliyah and not other options for those unable or unwilling to move to Israel. The Israeli intolerance on this issue that is frequently on display here is not a good advertisement for the country.

    Lawrence Kaplan on February 5, 2012 at 7:44 am
    I’m with Gil on this”

    I’m even stronger than Gil or Prof Kaplan on this-there are many organizations whose function is to or should be to promote Aliyah-NBN, AACI, JA, Mizrachi etc-the OUs mission is Jews in North America.

  367. GIL:

    “I disagree with the idea that the OU should promote only aliyah and not other options for those unable or unwilling to move to Israel.”

    i’m not at all a proponent of aliyah for financial reasons, but i do think that any OU campaign to encourage resettlement outside the NY metro area should also provide an aliyah option as well. if the OU is telling families to pick up and start from scratch in another region, aliyah should be presented as an option.
    i’m not saying that the OU should push aliyah exclusively. but it should be on the table.
    as far as houston, my friend’s brothers are living there (temporarioly though) and are happy. main financial benefit is cheaper housing. tuition is not a steal there either. and yes, it’s 77 degrees in february, but what about august?

  368. “the OU says it wants to . . . possibly move some jobs to Texas from the OU kosher supervision operation.”

    i think this would be a big step

    btw, high school costs almost 19k. it’s less than new york are MO day schools, but how is this “affordable”?

    MYCROFT:

    this is a focussed program for houston and that’s fine. but you don’t think it’s crazy to host a fair showcasing many out of town communities but not israel?

  369. “Kippah-Wearing Student Told to Prove Religion” – A bit misleading to me. It seems from the article that all the principal wanted was some kind of verification that the kid was wearing it as part of his religion and not just making something up to justify breaking the rules.

  370. Avi: Please forgive people who are intolerant of people who willingly and boldly state that they do not wish to follow Halacha, and think that Orthodox institutions should help persuade people to continue to break halacha.

    See Iggeros Moshe, Even HaEzer vol. 1 no. 102

  371. “See Iggeros Moshe, Even HaEzer vol. 1 no. 102”

    So you think the OU should be giving people ways to stop wearing Tzizit?

  372. “See Iggeros Moshe, Even HaEzer vol. 1 no. 102”

    There are many optional mitzvot, or mitzvot that only apply in certain circumstances. But it’s not the way of Jews who follow halacha to search for every out of doing a mitzvah that they can. As others have said in the past, nobody kicks the sukkah on their way out of it.

  373. IH wrote in part:

    “Steve — while I strongly disagreed with much of Tony Judt’s politics, your derogatory stereotyping of him says more about yourself than about him”

    I stand by my analysis of Tony Judt, which is based on my reading of his infamous screeds in the NYRB and the NYT op ed page. Only a LW rag such as the NYRB would be considered to have a more nuanced view than the review in the NYT Book Review, itself hardly a hospitable place for views not approved by the LW liberal thought police.

  374. Avi: Good, we’ve made progress. You went from breaking halakhah to not being the way of Jews who follow halakhah. Now think about the status of an optional mitzvah when there are considerations to the contrary, such as shalom bayis, kibud av or chinukh ha-banim.

  375. “You went from breaking halakhah to not being the way of Jews who follow halakhah.”

    What’s the difference?

    ” such as shalom bayis, kibud av or chinukh ha-banim.”

    Bad examples in this case.

  376. The interview with Dror Bondi can be boiled down to the following excerpted statement/assertion:

    “”In English, when you say ‘religious’ you mean someone who has a connection with God in some way. In Israel a ‘religious’ person is someone who belongs to a sector that observes halakha. We’ve crowned halakha as the new god. This was a posttraumatic Haredi reaction, after the Enlightenment, after the Holocaust – come, let’s focus on halakha. But it’s not Jewish.”

    First of all, the Talmud itself states that since the destruction of the Temple, HaShem’s presence in this world is only realized via the Halacha ( Mi Shecharav Beis HaMikdash Ain Lo BaHakadosh Baruch Hu Ela Daled Amos Shel Halacha Bilvad.).The portability of TSBP and the ongoing creative nature of TSBP as found in any volume of the Talmud and their commentaries as indicative of the various places of exile of the Jewish People is clearly indicative of this fact.Only a person who aat times bemoans detail to Halacha and who uses comments as fetishim, etc, would view a critique of Halacha as merely a “new god” RL is indicative of a profound lack of awareness of the ongoing vitality of Halacha and TSBP, and its applicability to all endeavors of human life. Such a tiresome critque merely echoes the POV advanced by many herein as to why one should learn Talmud, especially Seder Nezikin and Seder Nashim-to which the answer is as RYBS stressed, that the Torah deemed the same as having the same sanctifying experience as learning about the Avodas Kohen Gadol on YK. FWIW, I recall reading a review of a bio of R D Heschel in which he wondered whether HaShem really cared about our adherence to Halachic details such as opening a refrigerator when such an action on Shabbos would cause a light to go on. I think that it is obvious that much of the POV profiled in the linked article is consistent with a antinimomian view towards Halacha which one can find in early RJ, which borrowed from supercessionist views of Halacha in early Christian thought.

  377. I hate to see us go down this road again. One would think the ou include israel as an alternative for people thinking of moving out of te “high cost” areas would not be a divisive suggestion that requires us to relitigate the galut/Iareal issue.
    KT

  378. ““”In English, when you say ‘religious’ you mean someone who has a connection with God in some way. ”

    Among American Orthodox Jews “religious” is an idiom which means “Orthodox Jew” (or any other religious person of any other religion), but excludes non-Orthodox Jews.

    In any case, Steve, do you not agree that it is *possible* to fetishize halacha, just as it is possible to fetishize “spirituality” or anything? See Yoma 23b “ללמדך שקשה עליהם טהרת כלים יותר משפיכות דמים.”

    I take it that you come down hard on anything that has a whiff of antinomianism, because you feel that it is a necessary corrective. Those who come down hard on nomianism feel the same way. A necessary corrective.

  379. S-The statement in Yoma 23b ( and IIRC, the Yerushalmi also) compares misplaced priorties with respect a Issur Mim HaTorah as opposed to an Issur Drabanan BaMikdash. IMO, that is not related to all being Mdakdek bMitzvos, which should never be confused with either being reflexively Meikil or Machmir. I do object to tems such as fetishizing halacha which question the premise of sweating the details, which IMO is antinomian, and which reflects a supercessionist critique of Halacha in Christian theology which was adopted by RJ.

  380. Re the OU and Israel, the OU Center in Israel and the educational programs,encouragement and assistance that it provides many American Olim speak volumes as to the OU’s views on Aliyah. OTOH, the OU is committed to the issues of Kashrus, Kiruv/chizuk, political advocacy on Israel and related issues affecting its membership and providing services for its synagogues’ members on a communal and personal level. I don’t think that the Mitzvah of Aliyah , despite its being an important mitzvah, should prevent the OU from providing its vitally important services to the American Jewish community.

  381. >Avi: Good, we’ve made progress. You went from breaking halakhah to not being the way of Jews who follow halakhah.

    He should have been more precide. Breaking halacha according to the vast majority of poskim, past and present, and relying on a teshuva in igrot moshe that has very few actual sources to back it up – which suffers from a severe logical shortcoming (tzitit is a mitzva kiumis?? If you are wearking a four cornered garment in daytime, it most certainly is a chiuv!!), and all the time making a chidush that I have never seen in classical sources (not entirely true, someone once showed me the same opinion written in the name of R’ Shmuel Salant in an issue of HaLevanon from the 19th century, but that source was equaly poor in its halachic argumentation).

    I found this teshuva of R’ Moshe so perplexing, that I went so far as to write letters to R’ Moshe’s children asking them to please justify this psak in an halachically satisfying way (I was more polite than that in my letters) but, 8 years later, I am still waiting for a response. I also asked one of the Roshei Yeshiva in YU (whom I know Gil greatly respects) to make sense of this teshuva, and his response was that R’ Moshe writes in the hakdama that a moreh horaa should only pasken from the book if he understands and is convinced by the halachic arguments of the teshuva, and that this teshuva simply does not meet that threshold in any way.

    Yes, there are halachicly valid reasons why a person may not have to make aliya, but it is hard to make a convincing case that the starting position, before all the excuses are made, should be anything BUT aliya.

  382. >such as shalom bayis, kibud av or chinukh ha-banim.”

    Shalom Bayis I can understand, although I think effort should be made to convince the spouce that the halacha should be followed by both parents

    Kibud av seems a halachic non-starter. It is not one of the main three reasons one may leave the land and therefore probaly not enough to be mevatel the mitzva any more than you would be allowed to eat non-kosher or break shabbat because of kibbud av.

    Chinuch is a tricky one. theoretically, once would be allowed to leave the land to learn Torah. But I am highly skeptical that a person would not be able to find an appropriate solution for their children here in Israel as long as they do the groundwork ahead of time – this is assuming the children are young. People who are facing this decision with teenagers … I would have to say that it is probably a better decision to wait until they are out of the house before you make aliya. Aliya is VERY traumatic for teenagers and the results are often VERY bad.

    All these are valid discussions, but to invoke R’ Moshe’s mitzvah kiumis cheapens the entire discussion and makes Aliya into a mere lifestyle choice, no different than Houston. It IS different, it is a mitzva haShekula keneged kol haTorah.

  383. “The statement in Yoma 23b ( and IIRC, the Yerushalmi also) compares misplaced priorties with respect a Issur Mim HaTorah as opposed to an Issur Drabanan BaMikdash”

    Then it should have said איסור מן התורה instead of using emotionally laden language like שפיכות דמים. The Gemara gives the mistaken impression that their warped priority was in attention to tuma vetaharah over murder rather than confusing halachic categories.

    Maybe the father should have asked the poskim first; the Lishchas Hagazis wasn’t very far away from the Mizbeach.

  384. This rav disagrees with you, both on equating the following of R. Moshe Feinstein with violating halakhah and that R. Feinstein’s view should not be included in the consideration of making aliyah against a parent’s wishes: http://www.vbm-torah.org/archive/halak63/12aliya-parents.rtf

  385. >I do object to tems such as fetishizing halacha which question the premise of sweating the details, which IMO is antinomian, and which reflects a supercessionist critique of Halacha in Christian theology which was adopted by RJ.

    Rav Kook, Ikvei HaTzon, p. 140:

    We must make it easy for our children to explicitly find in all areas of life the exalted ideals that come from keeping the Torah and its commandments.
    The Torah should not be “the word of the L-rd, law by law, line by line, a little here, a little there” (Isaiah 28:13). The Torah should be a commandment that is all-inclusive and living, established and faithful—that brings the light of life and the halo of glory to each of our children and to the whole of our people.
    Our faith must be filled with wisdom and knowledge.
    Our awe must contain glory and honor of the G-d of Israel, of G-d Who is awesome in beauty.
    This is one with the greatness of life and the light of joy demanded from each individual whose soul dwells in that light, and from the entire nation that is strong and desires life.
    “Children of Zion, be glad; rejoice in the L-rd your G-d” (from Isaiah 33:6).

    This is the most holy service of Torah in these generations. The most outstanding scholars—in particular, those who find within themselves a talent and inner ability for ethical and poetic teachings, for exalted thoughts in the highest areas of wisdom—are forbidden to suppress and restrain that praiseworthy endowment. They must broaden and expand it. Each day, with their knowledge, wisdom and talent, they must present broad and suitable teachings.
    Such people particularly must devote to such teachings the majority of their talents. They should not be concerned that this dedication will diminish and simplify their study of practical Torah. It may limit them to study the clear halachah and its simple explanation, to clarify each matter as it comes, calmly and unhurriedly, with a broad overview of the given halachah and the basic theory behind it.

    But it is from this that true brilliance comes—of its own, and when required—without the great toil of extended casuistics.
    The majority of casuistics is intended only for those who otherwise lack the ability to slake their thirst for the breadth of Torah and the strength of intellectual freedom.
    A little casuistics is always pleasant and reasonable, good and fine, even for those who are most occupied with their exalted spiritual progress.
    But the basic business of these sensitive souls must be “to open the eyes of the blind, to deliver the prisoner from the jail, to bring forth from the dungeon those who sit in darkness” (Isaiah 42:7).

  386. >This rav disagrees with you, both on equating the following of R. Moshe Feinstein with violating halakhah and that R. Feinstein’s view should not be included in the consideration of making aliyah against a parent’s wishes: http://www.vbm-torah.org/archive/halak63/12aliya-parents.rtf

    Don’t know that Rav, but he is just making the same assertion that R’ Moshe made, but in R’ Moshe’s name. Of course, someone can rely of R’ Moshe if they want, who am I to say otherwise? But an intelectually honest person who wants his halachic observance to be based on a search for truth and not a mere search for authorities who are mattir … such a person would have a much harder time relying on Rav Moshe, especially when R’ Moshe himself is pretty clear that one should be convinced by the halachic arguments and not blindly follow his book.

    I suggest you look at the book MeAfar Kumi by Tzvi Glatt hy”d and the short essay in the back of R’ Avraham Shapiro zt”l which expicitly targets R’ Moshe’s position on this topic.

    In any case, I don’t disagree that there are valid reasons not to make aliya, I just think that American’s in general, and those who adduce R’ Moshe’s teshuva in particular, lack a sensitivity to the importance and scope of this great mitzva, treating it as a individualistic lifestyle choice and not seeing it as the great national and spiritual call of our era – that is what I am lamenting, not the details of when one is pattur from the mitzva.

  387. Chardal-we have been through the above referenced quote from RAYHK, RAL’s critique of the same, and you quoting R Y Ariel that RYBS’s views represent the Toras HaGalus-a curious comment that seemingly ignores that the overwhelming majoirty of TSBP was developed in venues other than the Land of Israel. Merely quoting RAYHK on the issue of the role of Halacha and Derech HaLimud IMO does not add noticeably to the discussion. While we are on the subject, I wonder how RAYHK would view his famous drasha at the groundbreaking for HU if knew that HU would become the worlds’ intellectual center of advocacy for such self hating Jewish trends as a binational state, post Zionism and BDS. Would the same be wishful thinking or evidence of a dream that went wrong?

  388. we have been through the above referenced quote

    And we have been through your “sweat the details” mantra as well, Steve. We each find our own way, which was the point of posting the article about Dror Bondi.

  389. IH-Anu Amelim VHem Amelim, Anu Raztim Vehem Rotzin, Etc,

  390. Chardal and IH-I stand by my comment re RAYHK’s comments at the groundbreaking of HU, especially in light of the documented role of HU’s faculty in advocating the trends that I noted, and their exportation of the same to Europe and North America.

  391. >Chardal-we have been through the above referenced quote from RAYHK, RAL’s critique of the same, and you quoting R Y Ariel that RYBS’s views represent the Toras HaGalus-a curious comment that seemingly ignores that the overwhelming majoirty of TSBP was developed in venues other than the Land of Israel.

    It was R’ Shaul Yisraeli, tz”l.

    Yes, that it is historically true that much of the Torah shel beAl peh deveoped in the exile, and yet the same rabbis wrote in the midrash “BaMachshachim Hoshivani, zo torata shel bavel”. Much of the deveolopment of the halacha as we know it is exilic halacha, and as such is not necessarity always appropriate for a renewed nation in its land. R’ Yisraeli, (and R’ Kook), were basically making the point that the return to the land demands a new manner of thought and psak.

    >Merely quoting RAYHK on the issue of the role of Halacha and Derech HaLimud IMO does not add noticeably to the discussion.

    I agree, neither does Quoting R’ Soloveitchic.

    >While we are on the subject, I wonder how RAYHK would view his famous drasha at the groundbreaking for HU if knew that HU would become the worlds’ intellectual center of advocacy for such self hating Jewish trends as a binational state, post Zionism and BDS.
    Would the same be wishful thinking or evidence of a dream that went wrong?

    First of all, most of that list is jusk bunk. It is not the leader of any of these things. It is a university that is very open and has in it things that are good and things that are bad – it also had good and bad things during R’ Kook’s lifetime and he never backtracked on what he said. R’ Kook realized that we live in a gray world, and sometimes good comes out of bad … and that sometimes, the uncompromizing demand for total Torah purity can itself lead to very great evils.

    As far as the Hebrew U is concerned. Having been an avid consumer of their academic product, I think I can honestly say that they have produced more scholarship that enhances Torah learning and thought in any given decade than YU has produced over its entire existance – you may not appreciate or agree with much of it, but if it had only produced Scholem and his students, dayeinu. If it had only produced (and still producing) the HUBP, dayeinu. etc. etc.

  392. “Chardal and IH-I stand by my comment re RAYHK’s comments at the groundbreaking of HU, especially in light of the documented role of HU’s faculty in advocating the trends that I noted, and their exportation of the same to Europe and North America.”

    That’s a bait-and-switch. You yourself wrote “while we’re on the subject [of Rav Kook] . . .” Even though we were not really on the subject of Rav Kook per se, the point is that we certainly were not on the subject of Was Rav Kook Ever Wrong About Other Things? Even if he was wrong about HU – and this is debatable!, referring to it does not discredit the text quoted by Chardal. Probably every great rabbi was wrong about something. Where was Rav Kook’s error in that quote? It has nothing to do with Hebrew U. Apparently the sole reason you brought it up was to discredit Rav Kook and thereby dismiss the quoted piece.

  393. >IH-Anu Amelim VHem Amelim, Anu Raztim Vehem Rotzin, Etc,

    Iroincally, R’ Kook advocated we do not recite this during a sium:

    http://seforim.blogspot.com/2011/05/hadaran-who-is-going-down-to-pit-of.html

    >Chardal and IH-I stand by my comment re RAYHK’s comments at the groundbreaking of HU, especially in light of the documented role of HU’s faculty in advocating the trends that I noted, and their exportation of the same to Europe and North America.

    You can stand behind narishkeit, but it is still narishkeit. And stop using lead ins like “documented role” No one documented any such thing. One professor or two saying crazy things does not condemn an entire institution – only children thing that it does. What do you think, that Israel should be a state without universities??? do you really think that is possible? Do you think R’ Kook would say: “in 90 years, some professor would say outlandish things so therefore we should not establish a university??”

    Forget the list I made above, it is worth it just for the doctors, lawyers, engeneers, and scientific research that go on there. I really have no idea where you are comming from, its like you are on a different planet. And what does the HU speach have to do with a quote for eder hayakar that I pasted above about the need to balance halachic minutia with general themes? Just because it from R’ Kook?? Would you be more comfortable if I quoted the Zohar or the Shela saying basically the same thing??

  394. Re Yeshiva U ranks as fourth most popular college I receivedthe following from one of the Baker Street Irregulars:

    “Yeshiva U. ranks as fourth most popular U.S. college” Based on the ratio of enrollees to those admitted, Harvard ranks 1, Brigham Young ranks 2, Stanford ranks 3, and YU ranks 4.
    Translating this ratio into an index of popularity is just silly. Does anyone really think that if a bunch of YUHS students were given a choice between YU and Yale, that a majority would choose YU? So why then does YU have a higher ratio of enrollees/admitted than Yale? The answer is simple: a lot of those admitted to Yale also get admitted to Harvard or Princeton, and turn down Yale for Harvard or Princeton. Very few of those admitted to YU also get admitted to Harvard or Princeton.”

  395. Steve,

    I’m far from an unequivocal exponent of academic Jewish Studies. Yet even I think you’re going WAY overboard in your condemnation of HU, both in terms of Zionism, attitude towards Jewish tradition in scholarship &c. If anything, HU is much more conservative and respectful (regarding the Bible as an historical source) than, say, TAU.

  396. abba's rantings

    GIL:

    “Now think about the status of an optional mitzvah when there are considerations to the contrary, such as shalom bayis, kibud av or chinukh ha-banim”

    i thought the concensus is that aliyah is doche kibud av (particularly if it is a situation of parental desires rather than needs)?
    but in any case, what’s the difference? my impression is the reason the majority of us don’t make aliyah has nothing to do with shalom bayis, kibud av or chinuch ha-banim. but they do provide good excuses.

  397. Chardal -Have you read Hazony and any of the recent issues of Azure. HU has served as the intellectual spawning grounds of binationalism ( Magnes, Buber, etc), post Zionism and BDS. While TAU and Beer Sheva both have faculty members who represent these trends, HU was and remains the incubator for the same.

  398. Chardal-Take a look at Marc Shapiro’s articles re censorship in the writings of RAYHK. A fair conclusion can be drawn therefrom that R Zvi Yehudah Kook and the Nazir Zicronam Livracha edited much of the writings of RAYHK from some decidedly radical overtones.

  399. S-why is it that RAYHK gets a free pass here and elsewhere as to the contents of his writings and his conclusions?

  400. Chardal-RAYHK’s reading is a fascinating chidush, but can you tell me if the same is followed in any RZ institution at a Siyum?

  401. Steven,

    The scholars Hazony mentioned had a negligible effect on both the political scene and the attitudes within the university. For every Buber, there was a Kloizner.

  402. Chardal wrote:

    “Yes, that it is historically true that much of the Torah shel beAl peh deveoped in the exile, and yet the same rabbis wrote in the midrash “BaMachshachim Hoshivani, zo torata shel bavel”. Much of the deveolopment of the halacha as we know it is exilic halacha, and as such is not necessarity always appropriate for a renewed nation in its land. R’ Yisraeli, (and R’ Kook), were basically making the point that the return to the land demands a new manner of thought and psak”

    By dint of whose authority? Suggesting that “Torasa Shek Bavel” be jettisoned merely because of changed historical circumstances IMO implies that the Galus is over-a contention that many would suggest is not necessarily so.

  403. “S-why is it that RAYHK gets a free pass here and elsewhere as to the contents of his writings and his conclusions?”

    When we’re talking about Hebrew U, let’s discuss it. But as I recall we were talking about halacha, religosity, Heschel, etc. and not Hebrew U as an incubator of post-Zionism.

  404. AIWAC-Kloizner ( Klausner) was clearly a Daas Yachid in his views at HU. Hazonhy documents fairly well the development of binationalism and post Zionism at HU and Israel’s universities, which are wonderful places of higher learning, but which are as intolerant as American universities in their allowing diverse POVs among faculty members.

  405. Steven,

    Really?! Urbach was a post-Zionist? Cassuto was a post-Zionist?

  406. Chardal wrote:

    “As far as the Hebrew U is concerned. Having been an avid consumer of their academic product, I think I can honestly say that they have produced more scholarship that enhances Torah learning and thought in any given decade than YU has produced over its entire existance – you may not appreciate or agree with much of it, but if it had only produced Scholem and his students, dayeinu. If it had only produced (and still producing) the HUBP, dayeinu. etc”

    do you really consider Scholem, his students and the HUBP a Cheftzah Shel Torah in any way, shape or form?

  407. Steven,

    It certainly isn’t as destructive to Torah as you think…

  408. “do you really consider Scholem, his students and the HUBP a Cheftzah Shel Torah in any way, shape or form?”

    It’s a university, not a yeshiva.

    You’ve got a problem with the HUBP? Gee, the most competent textual scholars try to put out a Tanakh. A tragedy.

  409. Aiwac-http://www.biblicalexegesis.org/blog/?p=254Can you vouch for the views of the main contributors of HUBP vis a vis Torah Min HaShamayim and Torah miSinai, regardless of whether they are personally Torah observant?

  410. Steven,

    I was referring to the scholarship itself of HUBP, which has no bearing whatsoever on the TMS debate.

  411. “Can you vouch for the views of the main contributors of HUBP vis a vis Torah Min HaShamayim and Torah miSinai, regardless of whether they are personally Torah observant?”

    What does that matter? The question is their expertise and competence. They are not sofrim and the HUBP is not a Torah scroll.

  412. S and Aiwac:

    University geared scholarship works from wholly different criteria than Amitah Shel Torah and Torah Lishmah.

  413. “University geared scholarship works from wholly different criteria than Amitah Shel Torah and Torah Lishmah”

    But this is nusach scholarship; it has nothing to do with the tough stuff.

  414. But it’s a university. It’s a university. It’s a university. Not a yeshiva. It wasn’t meant to be. It doesn’t pretend to be. Rav Kook didn’t think it would be. It’s also not a lemon, a unicorn, or a planet. It’s a *university*.

  415. “make aliyah has nothing to do with shalom bayis, kibud av or chinuch ha-banim. but they do provide good excuses.”

    Of all the excuses, those are the worst ones.

    It says that a person who wants to move to Israel but their spouse doesn’t, they can divorce them.

    You can’t do Kivud Av, by ignoring a mitzvah. Hashem, your true Av ranks higher.

    Torah Education in Israel is cheaper and better than in the states.

  416. “In any case, I don’t disagree that there are valid reasons not to make aliya, I just think that American’s in general, and those who adduce R’ Moshe’s teshuva in particular, lack a sensitivity to the importance and scope of this great mitzva, treating it as a individualistic lifestyle choice and not seeing it as the great national and spiritual call of our era – that is what I am lamenting, not the details of when one is pattur from the mitzva.”

    I just discovered from an OU article, that apparently there was an agreement between the Israeli government and US politics at the time to not encourage Aliyah from America, out of fear of questions of “Dual loyalties”. That position was broken after 55 years, and that is why the Jewish Agency now helps Nefesh B’Nefesh.

  417. moral orthodox

    Steven Brizel
    S-The statement in Yoma 23b ( and IIRC, the Yerushalmi also) compares misplaced priorties with respect a Issur Mim HaTorah as opposed to an Issur Drabanan BaMikdash.

    Whlle Steve has had many outrageous comments here in the past, the notion that hazal were concerned about misplaced priorities of drabanan vs d’oraita rather than about the lack of respect and priority to human life (because after all, halachs is the only issue) is something that rises to a new level. Steve manifests such an utter lack of moral sensitivity that is a far stronger condemnation of him and his teachers than anything that can be said by us (although it does require condemnation – shtika kehoda’a).

    While antinomianism is a problem , Steve points to a novel problem of our time – the avoda zara of halacha ( a novel religion unknown to hazal and ba’ale hamesora) that not only does not use moral considerations, but has led to the death of moral instincts in its adherents, ve’al ele ani bochiya….

  418. “Do you think R’ Kook would say: “in 90 years, some professor would say outlandish things so therefore we should not establish a university??””
    Just as if some RY says some outlandish things no one would say don’t establish the Yeshiva.

  419. Moshe Shoshan

    “University geared scholarship works from wholly different criteria than Amitah Shel Torah and Torah Lishmah”

    I think that the Seridei Eish, R. Shaul Leiberman, RY”N Epstein, Harav Ezra Zion Melamed, Daniel Goldshmidt and Benjamin De Vries zichroneihem le’bracha, would beg to differ. But what would they know?
    Or did you mean that it works from wholly different standards than what you are familiar with from your experience?

  420. “By dint of whose authority? Suggesting that “Torasa Shek Bavel” be jettisoned merely because of changed historical circumstances IMO implies that the Galus is over-a contention that many would suggest is not necessarily so”
    It is worth reading Brody’s Yale Un Press book on Geoni9m-in it he shows unti lSaadiahs time it was not clear by a longshot that Bavel was thecenter of Rabbanus rather than EY.