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by Joel Rich

From a recent Gush VBM: Studies conducted among radically conservative religious communities that exist alongside a modern and liberal society (such as the Amish sect in the US) have indicated common characteristics in their perceptions of isolation and have developed parameters for measuring the extent and depth of the isolation that is maintained. (me-anyone know where to find such studies? But of course they don’t apply to us, we’re different)


I am really getting a complex – my posts to Cross Currents every so often seem to require a great deal of review, they stay in cyberspace well after later posts appear. I think there’s a conspiracy against me, perhaps it’s because I know the secret of the grassy knoll where Jimmy Hoffa is buried and Elvis still lives?


Update-My response to this link follows but the moderators apparently felt it wasn’t worthy of being posted:

It’s difficult to draw a lesson from point 5 without seeing the data that it is based on.

I have my doubts about any uniqueness implied in point 4 since the media in the US as a whole seems to have an abundance of informants on any issue that would grab public attention

Regarding point 3, I assume the board of the newspaper finds the editorial work acceptable, that is the correct address imho for any complaints.

For point 2, see coment on point 5.

Acharon, acharon chaviv – if the allegations are true, don’t blame the messenger. From my reading of the comments etc. it seems as if Rav Bina has been a hero to x% with his methods and a not so much a hero to y%. I wonder why the community hasn’t outwardly done the obvious calculations -1. are the methods outside the bounds of halacha/hashkafa? If so, even if x=100%, they are not acceptable. 2.assuming the methods are within bounds, what is the acceptable trade off of x versus y as a community? can we minimize y by seeing what types of students tend to end up there?

As the rebbi who had the most positive influence on me (but others not so much) taught me – the Rambam taught him “You must accept the truth from whatever source it comes”
KT


  • Rabbi Dr. Jacob J Schacter -Panel on The Life and Teachings of Rabbi Soloveitchik

    Rabbis J.J. Schachter, Shatz, Rosensweig and Ziegler discuss R’YBS and R’Ziegler’s new book on his philosophy.
    I really resonated to R’Ziegler’s comment on how upon reading R’YBS he felt R’YBS was talking directly to him.
    Discussion of the uniqueness of R’YBS especially regarding being totally authentic with great creativity grounded in the beit medrash but addressing the modern world.
    He wanted students not “chasidim” and emphasized everyone needed to find his own way home (e.g. R’A Lichtenstein on aliyah).
    Buy the book if you have any philosophical bent – I’m partially through it and think R’ Ziegler did a great job so far.!

  • Rabbi Asher Weiss- Parshas Beshalach: ‘Hachono for Shabbos’

    What length must you go to in a life threatening situation to do as much before Shabbat as you can knowing you will have some chillul shabbat anyway (e.g. IDF, hospitals). Various parallel cases analyzed – e.g. must you take a job to have money to repay a loan? (no), to do a mitzvah? (yes).
    Frequent application – woman in 9th month, should she rent place near the hospital for Shabbat? General rule – it’s not a requirement especially if there will be chillul shabbat of some kind in any event.
    Money quote “obviously there’s no limit to insanity” (husband wanted wife induced so could give birth of King David’s Yahrtzeit)

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz -Ten Minute Halacha – Know When to Fold ‘Em – Folding a Tallis on Shabbos

    Possible prohibition of folding of talit on Shabbat – is it because you are “pressing” it or just that it’s an extra tircha (bother). Apparently it’s also considered a segulah to fold a talit right after the Sabbath (perhaps for being late for a movie?).
    The spectrum runs from the Mishneh Brurah saying not to do it on Shabbat to the Aruch Hashulchan saying it’s ok nowadays (details at 11)
    BTW – another good Shabbat topic would be – you gotta know when to walk away and when to run.

  • Rabbi Jeremy Wieder -Is There a Basis in Halakhah for Environmentalism?

    Chazal states the world was created for man (persons?). Even so, there are many decisions which require trade-offs amongst men (persons) over time and space (e.g. mortgaging kids future, people who live near nuclear plants vs. other electricity users).
    The laws of neighbors (hilchot schainim) deal with trade-offs amongst individuals, other halachot deal with community needs vs. individual rights. Interesting that the “source” of dina dmalchuta (government right to regulate) and hilchot schainim seems to be “common sense”.
    Closes with Choni story of intergenerational responsibility – especially nice since tied to natural resources.

  • Rabbi Nosson Slifkin-Dinosaurs and the Development of the Universe

    Dinosaurs, age of the universe, science and torah (what a surprise topic for R’NS).
    Torah was trying to teach monotheism, not science. We can learn lessons of humility and long term focus from dinosaurs.

  • Dr. Yael Ziegler-Journeys, Wells and Marriages Hidden Patterns in Biblical Stories 2-5-12

    Identifying repetitive patterns and other literary analysis techniques can tease out deeper meaning in Tanach. Example analyzed include avot, Moshe and Ruth

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Ten Minute Halacha – The Candy Dish Problem Part 1

    A real cliff hanger – can the vaad give a hechsher to a store that sells prefilled candy dishes? Toveiling the dish by the store doesn’t work (not Kli Seudah for them) and most people won’t take the candy out and toveil them (so lfnei Iver or mesayeah?). The one time use leniency doesn’t work (the dish is not meant to be disposable) and the R’Moshe “could you do it without it” doesn’t work l’chatchila. As R’ Lebowitz later notes, there may be bigger issues facing klal Yisael J. I’m not sure why it wouldn’t be enough for the stores to say CLOR on tevilla needs (we recently had some heimish nondairy whipped cream in a shpritz can which said in small print – consult your clor (or something like that in frumspeak) concerning using this product on shabbat.

  • Rabbi Moshe Rosenberg-Teaching Values Through Popular Literature

    Basically reach kids however you can. Harry Potter can teach dealing with loss, resilience, simcha (joy) despite adverse circumstances, student/teacher relationships, death and defeating evil. (me – really more about being relevant to the kids you seek to influence)

  • Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky-Tu B’Shvat – Mitzvos Ha’tluyos Ba’aretz

    Interesting hava aminah (preliminary thesis) that all mitzvoth are “better” in Israel. Then discussion of agricultural mitzvoth and where they are applicable – include challah, bikkurim, trumah, maaser and chadash.

  • Rabbi Michael Taubes -Motzei Shabbos Parshas Beshalach Zemiros on SHabbos

    Looking for sources in all the wrong places? Not so much in early sources but later sources emphasize importance. Then conflicting opinions concerning using HKB”H’s name in zmirot.

  • Rabbi Hershel Schachter-Dina Demalchusa Dina

    See Below

  • Rabbi Hershel Schachter -Dina Demalchusa Dina 2

    In 2 parts. R’HS on partnership rules applying not withstanding Dina D’malchuta (minority must follow majority).
    Government has halachic function when it comes to defining currency.
    Debate between the Shach and Chazon Ish as to whether there’s any area that halacha doesn’t inform on ( it might surprise someone that this is one of my favorite meta issues) but all agree if the general practice is to follow local law in monetary issues, then that’s what applies.
    Discussion of when you can go to secular court and that local ordinances apply (e.g. rent control, minimum wage, bankruptcy) even between 2 bnai brit.

  • Rabbi Asher Weiss- Parshas Yisro: ‘Shvisa of Ktanim’

    What is the nature of the prohibition of preventing children from violating the Sabbath? Is it that the parent can’t even be aware of the violation, can’t have it done in his presence or can’t ask for it to be done? Is it specific to Shabbat (pasuk says your children) or general prohibition. Classic case is child carrying home tallit on Shabbat for parent when no eruv.
    Does not apply to adult children, applies to animals in the time zone they are in.

  • Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner -Living close to Gd: Sefer Chasidim 1

    First in a series on Sefer Hachasidim. Here reviews what we know (think we know) about R’Yehuda Hachosid and the goals of chasidei ashkenaz 1) asceticism; 2) Torah learning as a way to draw close to HKB”H; 3) martyrdom as a desirable end.

  • Rabbi Hershel Schachter-Segulas, Superstition, and the Ayin Hara

    R’HS is not a big fan other than the Talmudically sanctioned asking a child what pasuk he learned. Then a list of “no goods” and some rational explanations for certain segulot. Prayer is good!

  • Rabbi Hershel Schachter-Stories and Yesodos

    four stories . Ein Od Milvado, on the brisker rav on emunah;. The Steipler’s bracha for r’hs AND hatzlacha in learning and children 3. Mann showing, Hashem is the true source of parnassah. The Ketores and being a Sandek as segulah for wealth

  • Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz-Ten Minute Halacha – The Candy Dish Problem Part 2

    R’Asher Weiss disagrees with Minchat Yitzchak – R’AW holds store could toveil (ritually immerse) the dish (even though it’s kli sechorah [trading goods]), it’s just they are not required to (but if they did, it “works”).
    Several theories as to why bottles/cans might not need tvilah; (important note – when poskim use several reasons to allow something, the applicability of only 1 in another case may not be sufficient to allow in another case [me – but if the original authority didn’t state this, it’s hard to know which way he’d rule in other cases]). Differing authorities propose different possibilities – think about if they apply by the candy dish:
    1. Your opening the can makes it a kli (but before that not, thus made by ben brit).
    2. The consumer doesn’t intend to make it into kli (it remains kli sechorah).
    3. The kli is batel (immaterial) to the food.
    4. The consumer only intends to buy contents, no intent to make kinyan (take ownership) of the plate.
    5. Consumer isn’t required to empty the container, it’s a shev v’al taaseh = no active use.
    6. It’s not an eating kli, it’s for storage.
    7. Consumer must empty, but no rush (so you “empty” it when people take candy).
    Another approach – companies are not people – therefore, it’s not a kli of a non-ben brit and thus doesn’t need tvilah!!! (R’HS doesn’t make a bracha on tvilat keilim in general due to this company issue!)

  • Rabbi Michael Taubes-Parshas Yisro Kiddush Over Schnapps on Shabbos Day

    Review of Friday night and Shabbos morning Kiddush. When does the requirement of Kiddush set in? must everyone drink? Use of chmar medinah (national drinks vs. wine)? If use whiskey, how much do you need?
    Most authorities are against using whiskey, but since so many do it, there are many who are lomeid zchut (give tenuous explanations).
    Me – mind experiment – imagine if only M.O. folks used whiskey for Kiddush…..

  • About Joel Rich

    Joel Rich is a frequent wannabee cyberspace lecturer on various Torah topics. A Yerushalmi formerly temporarily living in West Orange, NJ, his former employer and the Social Security administration support his Torah listening habits. He is a recovering consulting actuary.

    6 comments

    1. Consumer must empty, but no rush (so you “empty” it when people take candy).

      R. Yitzchak Abadi paskens this way (Ohr Yitzchak Vol. II YD 17:7). He also cites Maharil Diskin who pretty much says the same thing. Also, Rabbi Abadi brings the svara that the kli is batel to the food (in 17:6) from R. Moshe, but he rejects it.

    2. “Dinosaurs, age of the universe, science and torah (what a surprise topic for R’NS).
      Torah was trying to teach monotheism, not science. We can learn lessons of humility and long term focus from dinosaurs.”

      I think it’s basically a summary of what he writes in TCOC.

      “Debate between the Shach and Chazon Ish as to whether there’s any area that halacha doesn’t inform on ( it might surprise someone that this is one of my favorite meta issues)”

      Let me guess: Shach says there is, Chazon Ish says there’s not. According to the position that there is not – can it be that halacha has no say on the definition of death since chazal didn’t know about brain death?

    3. 1. Your opening the can makes it a kli (but before that not, thus made by ben brit).

      Meta issue – if you use this as a heter here, then you will have a problem opening bottles on Shabbos, because you will be making a kli on Shabbos.

      This is an interesting point to illustrate that what looks good in one situation can have strong implications in a completely different area.

    4. r’yeedle,
      your guess is correct. it also leads to the question is there only 1 thing at every point in time that maximizes my doing the ratzon hashem function?
      KT

    5. This is an interesting point to illustrate that what looks good in one situation can have strong implications in a completely different area.
      ===========================
      yes – and v.v.! the search for consistency over a seemingly infinite set of data points can be a real challenge when the underlying function is not clearly defined (i’m feeling very actuarial today :-))
      KT

    6. The Amish do not “live alongside a modern liberal society”. They live in totally exclusive, segregated communities. By contrast most Charedi communities both in Israel and abroad live alongside secular or non-Jewish communities.
      Shasdaf- According to most poskim you do not make a kli when opening a bottle,both plastic screw top and crown pressure types. There is a machloket on bottles with metal screw tops.(see the lengthy discussion in Shmirat Shabbat lehilchita.)

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