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R Meir Soloveichik in WSJ: United We Stand for Religious Freedom
Kosher Bookworm: Ten Commandments and Counting
Nude images hung in religious J’lem neighborhood
New project to integrate Haredim in higher education
High School Changes Headwear Policy After Kippah Incident
Multiplying an Endowment
A Moral Case For Brit Milah
My Big Black Hat Family Wedding
A Decade Of Prayer For The U.S. Military
Good Enough To Eat, Ritually And Ethically
Iconoclastic Israeli rabbi seeks backing from NJ Jews
SALT Friday
Conservative rabbis seek business skills
Iconoclastic Israeli rabbi seeks backing from NJ Jews
In God They Trust?
No, Israel Isn’t Turning Into An Iran-Style Theocracy
For traditional musicians, alternatives to the Friday night concert abound
Hareidi Soldiers Forced to Hear Lecture Given by Female Soldier
Lessons From Beit Shemesh: Some Slow Progress
Rav Druckman: I’ve Signed 50,000 Conversions
Orthodox Jews mount appeal for eruv in Sydney
Birth control fights return to campaigns, with Jews in key posts
New From OU Press: “Majesty and Humility: The Thought of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik”
SALT Thursday
From New Year to Arbor Day
Animals as Leaders: How a Dearth of New Leaders is Dooming Modern Orthodoxy
Does Modern Orthodoxy Need Leaders?
Former IDF Rabbonim Gather & Condemn Chief Rabbi Rafi Peretz
Why I Filed Title VI Complaint
An Atheist Who Nurtures Orthodox Jewish Kids
Eda Haredit raises money to sue police
“Kabbalah for the Masses” Comes to Israel
Sara Hurwitz: From Behind the Veil of Tzniyut
SALT Wednesday
State Department warns travelers to dress modestly in Jerusalem
When a Family’s Struggle Goes Viral
Pregnancy Brings Out the Superstitions
Ascetic Hassidism
Archbishop against Obamacare over sterilization and birth control
In Las Vegas, Making Sure the Caucuses Accommodate
Rabbis oppose marriage amendment
Strange Case of Daleds
SALT Tuesday
Orthodox Inreach
Orthodox Judaism and exercise
Same-Gender Science
Got kosher milk?
Making Day School Affordable
10-year sentence is stretched to ‘indefinite’
Religious soldiers file complaint over treatment
Yiddish making a comeback at US colleges
Is There a Jewish Concept of Beauty?
SALT Monday
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About Gil Student

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

434 comments

  1. Gil, I just want to say, it’s a great group of links today. O for the time to read them all…

  2. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/06/nyregion/some-churches-hope-albany-will-act-to-allow-renting-school-space-to-pray.html

    “The issue of using public schools for religious services has been a matter of debate for decades. Because of a recent federal court ruling that upheld a city policy of not allowing religious services in public schools, dozens of congregations throughout New York have been told that they must move; next Sunday will be the last time they will be allowed to rent space in schools for services.”

  3. Lawrence Kaplan

    The title of the article is Same-[edited] Science.

  4. I am deeply disturbed by the Meir Gorodetzki case described in “10-year sentence is stretched to ‘indefinite’”. For a democratic Jewish State to allow a clerical court to imprison someone for life because of clerical inability to resolve a halachic problem is unconscionable.

  5. IH, who says Israel is “democratic”? Which country is? Israel is democratic under its own definition, much as the United States is.

    In any event, they *are* solving the problem.

  6. Nachum — they haven’t solved anything, per the article. The wife remains without a get and possibly will for the rest of her life.

  7. Even if some think “Same Sex Science” is more empirically proven than it is, so what? The evangelical Christian author is just prevaricating in regard to the public square debate. What’s new here that has not been previously discussed ad nauseum?

  8. IH,

    There is no halachic solution to this particular problem save sending a couple of roughnecks to ‘beat it out of him’.

  9. Regarding the same-sex article, I think the author makes a good point in challenging the ‘immutability’ of SOME types of homosexuality.

  10. aiwac — that is an excuse. There must be a halachic solution, but we need a Gaon who is willing to step out of the pit that RYBS created in 1975 to lead the way.

    If there is “no halachic solution to this particular problem” then halacha does not stand the test of time; and, I’m unwilling to believe that is the case.

  11. Regarding the same-sex article, I think the author makes a good point in challenging the ‘immutability’ of SOME types of homosexuality.

    Again, so what? How does this change the public-square debate on same-sex marriage?

  12. ‘There must be a halachic solution’

    Translation: “When there is a Rabbinic will, there is a halachic way?”

    ‘If there is “no halachic solution to this particular problem” then halacha does not stand the test of time’

    Plenty of legal systems contain exceptional cases that result in injustices, and no matter how much you tweak them, injustices will occur. No-one seriously argues that THEY have not stood the test of time. Your statement is simple hyperbole.

  13. IH,

    It has nothing to do with ‘same-sex marriage’ and everything to do with the acceptability of homosexuality as permanent and untouchable.

  14. aiwac — “other legal systems” don’t claim to be God’s will.

  15. IH,

    It’s God’s will in the hands of humans. As such, we can only approach it, never achieve it entirely.

  16. And when we stop trying to approach God’s will — i.e. by giving up on a halachic solution to an injustice — then we failed.

  17. IH,

    “And when we stop trying to approach God’s will — i.e. by giving up on a halachic solution to an injustice — then we failed”

    Only if we accept the prevalent view in academia that halacha is whatever you want it to be and has no real integrity. I assume you do not hold to this view.

  18. IH, God is perfect; humans are not. By definition, any system He devises will run up against difficulties because of that fact.

    Man-made laws, on the other hand, can be endlessly tweaked to allow for human failings, but, as human made laws applied to humans, they have an extra strike against them that God’s laws don’t.

    Of course, it’s been repeatedly pointed out that the conviction that human beings can be perfected is what separates the Left from the Right today.

    As to the homosexual question, I think National Review put it best close to twenty years ago: For the first time ever, an actual study (not Kinsey’s “ten percent” fantasy) was made, and the results as reported in this piece- about 1%-2% of the population can be called “homosexual”- were reported. Of course, National Review said, people are opposed to this study. Because when numbers are that low, it’s a lot easier to say that there’s something…*abnormal* about it.

    The author, as it happens, makes a good point regardless: That in treating homosexuality as a disease, religious conservatives are already conceding what may be their best case against it.

  19. I intentionally changed the title of the article because some readers’ filters cannot access the blog due to certain words.

  20. Nachum,

    OK, but even 1-2% is thousands of people (even in our own community), and we can’t ignore their plight. Not everyone can change even according to the linked article. How do we accommodate them without abolishing the issur karet?

  21. How do we accommodate them without abolishing the issur karet?

    “Only if we accept the prevalent view in academia that halacha is whatever you want it to be and has no real integrity. I assume you do not hold to this view.”

    🙂

  22. IH,

    Then it’s not God’s word or halacha, just an empty conventionalist set of changing social mores.

  23. aiwac — I was merely pointing out the inconsitency in your own comments this morning. Why do you feel we must find a halachic accomodation in one moral issue, but you’re quick to give up hope on the other moral issue? I would prefer a thoughtful reply to a quick one-liner.

  24. I was talking about social accommodation, not halachic accommodation. I don’t think that there is a halachic solution either to homosexuality or a truly recalcitrant husband. I’ve seen some of the proposed solutions and they don’t pass the smell test.

  25. Incidentally, the meta-issue is discussed in Dror Bondi’s talk in 13:45–15:45 Modern Jewish Philosophy (II) that I found last night as a result of our discussion on that topic: http://www.vanleer.org.il/eng/videoShow.asp?id=613. Dror Bondi starts at 44:40 (and Prof. Kaplan follows at 1:05:40).

  26. Shalom Rosenfeld

    Rabbi Fischer:

    “By not certifying this kind of [OU-D] dairy product, the Chief Rabbinate is, in essence, saying that the vast majority of Western olim do not really keep kosher.”

    Couldn’t they just be saying that minhag hamakom is not to rely on R’ Moshe’s heter?

  27. But yes to allow gelatin? Seems a bit strange to say the least.

  28. Random side fact:

    The term “meta-halacha” was first coined in the 1950s by Eliezer Goldman, a relatively unknown philosopher in the KT movement. He is generally considered to be an oracle for LW Israeli religious academics alongside Leibowitz.

  29. “Man-made laws, on the other hand, can be endlessly tweaked to allow for human failings, but, as human made laws applied to humans, they have an extra strike against them that God’s laws don’t.”

    ISTM that man-made laws are, in this regardm better than God’s laws exactly because they can be tweaked to solve problems while the claim by some is that God’s laws can’t be so tweaked and thus, as in cases of agunot, the problems remain. That’s the problem I have with aiwac’s argument tha “Plenty of legal systems contain exceptional cases that result in injustices, and no matter how much you tweak them, injustices will occur.” But each time you tweak it a problem is solved. Idf others remain then you continue to tweak. You might not reach perfection but you improve; with halacha, according to this analysis, we can’t improve.

    However, although I might agree with IH on the issue of the need for halacha to find a solution and the ability of it to do so, I disagree with his calling the specific decision on the article “unconsionable.” What is truly “unconsionable” is the man’s (I won’t call him a husband) ruining his former wife’s life by refusing to give her a get. This evil man deserves whatever he has received and more.

  30. Joseph,

    In some matters, we can’t solve issues via law and in some cases we can’t. BTW, in many cases laws meant to solve one problem create another, so it’s not always a straight line of improvement.

    One interesting example of a pro-aguna argument that might thus be created is the מאיס עלי argument. Even if this were accepted – how do we determine that the מאיס עלי statement is בתום לב? Divorces tend to be filled with wild and vicious accusations in both directions, often due to ulterior motives. So while it may solve some of the aguna problems, it might also lead to an acceleration in divorces and family break-ups. There are always trade-offs – with God’s law no less than man’s law.

  31. Sorry, first sentence should say:

    In some matters, we can solve issues via law and in some cases we can’t.

  32. “But yes to allow gelatin? Seems a bit strange to say the least.”

    Isn’t strange at all really.

    Israel never had the problem with people using pig geletin which gives geletin it’s historical bad name. But it does have a problem with wanting to keep Jewish owned farms and milk sources.

    I find the idea that R. Moshe’s psak can be used outside the United States a strange and novel concept, when it was the situation in America specifically that allowed him to rule that way.

  33. A random thought just occured to me… are there any technicalities of slavery that would allow an agunah to be chained to the court and then freed?

  34. “Only if we accept the prevalent view in academia that halacha is whatever you want it to be and has no real integrity. I assume you do not hold to this view.”

    I just saw this past Friday over at the Rationalist blog that this was R. Moshe Feinstien and R. Shlomo Zalman Aurbach’s view. See the discussion between Yitzy7 and me http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=6906205856510467947&postID=3382935401536097181

  35. “minhag hamakom”

    I don’t really go for this “minhag hamakom” thing, especially in countries made up of immigrants. If we had “minhag hamakom” in Israel, we’d be reading the Torah every three years.

    aiwac: The KT movement was what?

    Joseph: I meant to say that if the laws are made by humans, there will always be problems with them. Of course, you can solve one problem, but there will be problems in other areas at least. Of course, that doesn’t even include the likelihood that the solution will not be perfect or even good or may bring up other problems.

    avi: The circumstances in America can be (and are) true in other places as well, including France, from where H-D gets their milk for their Israel products.

  36. Sorry, it should read KD = Kibbutz Dati

  37. Yeedle,

    That discussion refers to natural reality, not to legal procedure. The latter, esp. if it’s de’orayta, is much harder if not impossible to change.

  38. “avi: The circumstances in America can be (and are) true in other places as well, including France, from where H-D gets their milk for their Israel products.”

    Perhaps they are, perhaps they aren’t. There are certainly cultural differences between companies in the US and companies in France. You would need someone to look into the facts and decide, something Rav Moshe never did. (because the situation didn’t come up)

  39. “What’s new here that has not been previously discussed ad nauseum?”

    Nothing.

  40. “You would need someone to look into the facts and decide”

    If the European HD ice cream has a hechsher from a kashrut agency, I would presume that someone did exactly that.

  41. In a creative interpretation of the law, the judges ruled that it is Gorodetzki himself who is restricting his own freedom, as well as that of his wife, and that he holds the keys to his personal liberty.

    Very odd. His jail term is essentially one for contempt. In US law, it has long been the case that one who refuses a court order can be jailed indefinitely until he agrees to comply. Such a person is said to “hold the keys to his own jail cell.” (This is an order of civil contempt — meant to coerce obedience to the Court’s order. Criminal contempt is meant to punish for disobedience. It is only the former that the person can avoid by complying.)

    As for IH’s silliness, I don’t know why people bother to respond. Clearly coming from a different hashkafah about what halakha is.

    But in any case, there IS a very simple solution, it’s right there in the gemara. Makin oso ad she yomar rotzeh ani o ad she tezei nafsho. Problem is that it does not fit with Western sensibilities. For that halakha does not have a solution.

  42. Moshe Shoshan

    I think the same sex attraction article should be required reading for all Rashei Yeshiva. Whether you agree with his conclusions or analysis (I don’t), he fundamentally argues for intellectual honesty on both sides. He notes that position taken by many leading Rashei Yeshiva at REITS and other leading yeshivos, that Homosexuality is *always* curable is intellectually untenable and hence immoral.

  43. R. Shoshan,

    “Whether you agree with his conclusions or analysis (I don’t)”

    So what’s your take?

  44. Rambam seems to agree with aiwac:

    “It is also important to note that the Law does not take into account exceptional circumstances; it is not based on conditions which rarely occur. Whatever the Law teaches, whether it be of an intellectual, a moral, or a practical character, is founded on that which is the rule and not that which is the exception; it ignores the injury that might be caused to a single person through a certain maxim or a certain divine precept. For the Law is a divine institution; and [in order to understand its operation] we must consider how in nature the various forces produce benefits which are general, but in some solitary cases they can cause also injury. This is clear from what has been said by us as well as by others. We must consequently not be surprised when we find that the object of the Law does not fully appear in every individual; there must naturally be people who are not perfected by the instruction of the Law, just as there are beings which do not receive from the specific forms in nature all that they require.”

    -Guide 3:34

  45. Moshe Shoshan

    aiwac

    (I am assuming that “R” here stands for “reb” and not “Rabbi” other wise you have mistaken me for the late Rav Moshe Shoshan ZT”L, a noted Mekubal from kiryat gat)

    I dont like the idea of “The articulation of a thoughtful, caring, theologically rich, and pastorally sensitive understanding of sexual brokenness grounded in our various religious traditions” I dont think it will come to much good. We should stick to the illness paradigm- which integrates well into a halakhic perspective, and should force us to face homosexuality empirically. We should make clear to the wider world that all psychiatric diagnoses are rooted in the values of the patient and the wider social context in which patient and clinician operate. If Homosexual acts are OK it not a disease, if they are not it is. Just like the diagnosis Kleptomania is only valid if you think stealing is wrong and in some societies schizophrenics are called prophets.

  46. Moshe,

    My apologies, I though you were ordained (not that that matters).

    Fair enough re: homosexuality. It seems to me to be a sensible attitude. However, that doesn’t mean therapy NEVER works, at least as per the article. The same is true, of course, of many other illnesses.

  47. Dov — I don’t think the issue being discussed qualifies as a condition that rarely occurs. This is an issue that has tormented the Modern Orthodox community for decades.

    My objection was to aiwac giving up hope that it can be changed. It can, and eventually will — as has historically been the case. Halacha adapts: slowly and with great care, but we have always managed to bridge any gap between sociological reality and halachic reality on moral issues.

  48. Actually, I’m reminded of something every law student is taught: “Hard cases make bad law.” Of course, in today’s age of “X’s Law” and people to point to during State of the Unions, that’s gone.

  49. However, that doesn’t mean therapy NEVER works, at least as per the article.

    As the RCA Declaration states: “On the subject of reparative therapy, it is our view that, as Rabbis, we can neither endorse nor reject any therapy or method that is intended to assist those who are struggling with same-sex attraction. We insist, however, that therapy of any type be performed only by licensed, trained practitioners. In addition, we maintain that no individual should be coerced to participate in a therapeutic course with which he or she is acutely uncomfortable.”

    Do you disagree with this, aiwac?

  50. Joseph Kaplan

    “In some matters, we can solve issues via law and in some cases we can’t. BTW, in many cases laws meant to solve one problem create another, so it’s not always a straight line of improvement.”

    I don’t disagree, aiwac. But this is too serious a problem to fit into the “can’t” category.

    ““It is also important to note that the Law does not take into account exceptional circumstances; it is not based on conditions which rarely occur.”

    I don’t disagree with this too (as if I could disagree with the Rambam). But, unfortunately, I don’t think agunah fits into the “rarely occurs” category.

  51. “The legal scholar Glanville Williams questioned the adage’s usage in 1957, writing that “It used to be said that hard cases make bad law – a proposition that our less pedantic age regards as doubtful. What is certain is that cases in which the moral indignation of the judge is aroused frequently make bad law.”

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

  52. IH,

    No, I don’t disagree with the RCA statement.

  53. Joseph,

    I don’t know of any anti-aguna halachic mechanism that can be taken seriously. The הפקעת קידושין argument has been floated and demolished a number of times, even without the infamous RYBS speech of ’75. The same goes for קידושי טעות.

    You can’t just say “this is bad, we need to break the system”. You need an halachic mechanism, and right now there are none.

    Understand that I agree with you that this is a horrible injustice. But I will not “break down every law in England” to get to that Devil (A Man for all Seasons).

  54. URGENT UPDATE

    Jewish world unites to pray for the recovery of Rav Elyashiv Shlita.

    http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/news/General+News/117060/Tehillim-Hotline-For-Maran-Rav-Elyashiv.html

  55. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4176281,00.html

    “Mea Shearim residents outraged after young man receives permission from 100 rabbis to remarry before divorcing first wife”

    “Pashkevilim denouncing him and his new wife have been posted on walls across the haredi neighborhood, including pictures of the woman.”

  56. Are Meah Shearim residents every HAPPY?

  57. shaul shapira

    “Are Meah Shearim residents every HAPPY?”

    Yes sir. You should’ve seen the signs up after the world creamed Israel about the flotilla.

  58. shaul shapira

    Re the Agunah issue: How is this this more prevalent than all the Jews in love with non-Jews who don’t want to convert?
    I believe that was the essence of R Norman Lamm’s letter to Noah Rosenfeld after his infamous editorial about being photoshopped out of a Mamonidies school pic.

    (Lest you think I’m insensitive- my parents helped chip in to buy a Get off the jerk that was married to my cousin, but them’s the rules.)

  59. Joseph Kaplan

    “Re the Agunah issue: How is this this more prevalent than all the Jews in love with non-Jews who don’t want to convert?”

    I don’t get the comparison.

  60. shaul shapira

    “I don’t get the comparison.”

    That there isn’t always something that can be done for someone who’s quality of life depends on it. Sometime we run up against a brick wall called Halachah.
    As an aside, I wonder how people would react if beis din executed a person known to be innocent like they did with R Shimon Ben Shetach’s son?

  61. http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/amsterdam-s-chief-rabbi-zigzags-on-homophobic-views-causing-outrage-among-liberal-jews-1.411252

    “A week after apologizing for signing a controversial document describing homosexuality as “an illness” that can be “healed,” Amsterdam’s chief rabbi seems to have retracted his apology.”

  62. 8:24pm was IH

  63. Like igt or not, I agree with Tal’s view on the criminal contempt sentence. The court’s rationale is wholly consistent with the purpose of such a sentence-the defendant holds the keys to his being released, not the court. Unless one considers writing Vksav Lah Sefer Krisus out of the Toprah via gimics such as Hakkaas Kiddushin, we have to realize that Agunos are called by husbands who act improperly, not by dint of the Halacha, and that at least in the US, we should ensure that the RCA PNA be used as a matter of course within the MO world.

  64. “Agunos are called by husbands who act improperly, not by dint of the Halacha”
    guns don’t kill people…
    (sorry, couldn’t resist)

  65. Just to check: all those who support the indefinite jailing of Meir Gorodetzki in Israel for not giving his wife a get, would also support the same treatment for Capitol Hill Staffer Aharon Friedman here in the US. Correct?

  66. Steve, whether or not you’re right that people kill people, not halacha, don’t rabbis have a responsibility to at least keep on exploring the issue? Hafoch ba, vehafoch ba, dekula ba. If they take your attitude then nothing will ever change. Sometimes very smart people solve intractable problems. I will not get into whether or not Rabbi Rackman already solved it though.

    IH, as far as I can tell, apart for those who argue that the whole agunah issue is basically phony, most people in frum society support coaxing gittin by assault and battery, so I doubt there’d be too much opposition to jail. I for one don’t see why working out a halachic solution isn’t even more preferable to having a class of beater uppers among us, but that’s just me.

  67. Of course, this Meir Gorodetzki has been in jail for 10 years already, so his halchic wife is unlikely to ever receive a get even if he remains in jail for the remainder of his life. But, a bunch of other people will feel like they’ve done something.

    For tha assault and battery crowd, is it halachically permissible to kill him? That at least will allow the chained wife to remarry.

  68. S.,

    Then suggest something.

  69. aiwac — isn’t that for Gil’s exalted “Great Scholars” to work out? That’s what they get paid for, so to speak.

  70. Lawrence Kaplan

    Saul Shapira: You’re joking, right. An agunah cannot marry ANY person in the world, period. Nor can she have sexual relations with anyone without violating the issur of eishet ish. And you compare this to a man in love with a non-Jew who refuses to convert??? You’re joking, right?

  71. “That there isn’t always something that can be done for someone who’s quality of life depends on it. Sometime we run up against a brick wall called Halachah.”

    I still don’t see it. One is the intended intention of the law; i.e., halacha doesn’t want Jews to marry non-Jews. No bet din will ever decide that a Jew can do that. The other is not intended but rather is a misuse of the law; i.e., halacha does not want a husband to have the power to ruin his former wife’s life and often a bet din will find that way but it is argued that it has no power to do anything about that misuse. I think it’s a bog difference that makes the two noncomparable.

    “Unless one considers writing Vksav Lah Sefer Krisus out of the Toprah via gimics such as Hakkaas Kiddushin, ..”

    Unless one considers writing shmita or no-interest loans out of the Torah through gimmicks like heter mechirah or pruzbul…

    “Just to check: all those who support the indefinite jailing of Meir Gorodetzki in Israel for not giving his wife a get, would also support the same treatment for Capitol Hill Staffer Aharon Friedman here in the US. Correct?”

    Not sure what you mean. Can’t happen here because of separation of church and state. But if not for that, sure would. (Israel doesn’t have the same rules about separation that we do.)

    “Then suggest something.”

    Hafka’at kiddushin 6 months after civil divorce if a husband refuses to give a get. Do it 2 or 3 times and then you’ll almost never have to do it again because you will have taken the husband’s leverage away, and without leverage there’s no reason to refuse to give a get.

  72. “I wonder how people would react if beis din executed a person known to be innocent like they did with R Shimon Ben Shetach’s son?”

    If the United States is any example, probably not much. Texas and Georgia have in recent years executed people who were most likely innocent of the crimes for which they were executed. The politicians responsible have suffered no consequences.

  73. “that doesn’t mean therapy NEVER works”

    The standards for a medical or behavioral intervention “working” is not a anecdote or even a collection of anecdotes about it working, but evidence from properly controlled studies with comparison groups (this has been the gold standard for over 2500 years) and randomized assignment to intervention of interest or comparison (the gold standard for 60 years).

    In the case of reparative therapy, we don’t have that evidence, and its advocates aren’t doing such a study.

    [Note: The first intervention study with a comparison group can be found in the Book of Daniel, first chapter.]

  74. Moshe Shoshan

    but we have always managed to bridge any gap between sociological reality and halachic reality on moral issues.

    IH- perhaps “usually” but not “always”. The halakha going back at least to the rishonim seems to have come to terms with the fact that some aguna’s cases (in the traditional sense of the word)are intractable.

  75. “Just to check: all those who support the indefinite jailing of Meir Gorodetzki in Israel for not giving his wife a get, would also support the same treatment for Capitol Hill Staffer Aharon Friedman here in the US. Correct?”

    No, because, first, it has to be a Jewish court, and, second, the US does not have an established religion. If it was possible? Sure, let him sit.

    “Texas and Georgia have in recent years executed people who were most likely innocent of the crimes for which they were executed.”

    “Most likely” is a wonderful phrase. There has never been proven, in American history, a case where someone innocent was executed. The study was done by anti-death penalty activists who were shocked by the results, particularly that it was true even of all cases before 1900. The most you can say is that someone’s conviction *may* have been thrown out for tainted evidence or something.

  76. A funny Ralbag anecdote: I took out a chocolate bar yesterday and said to my better half: “Isn’t living in Israel great, where the Rabbanut accepts Triangle-K?” (There wasn’t an actual Triangle-K on the package, but it had his name with the Rabbanut’s isshur.)

    She: “Yes, but they won’t accept the OU. Go figure.”

    Pause.

    She: “Wait a second…isn’t he the one in that Holland story?”

  77. “infamous RYBS speech of ’75. ”

    “Infamous”?

  78. Joseph Kaplan

    “There has never been proven, in American history, a case where someone innocent was executed.”

    In your heart of heart, Nachum, do you believe that every African-American convicted and executed in a Southern state in America’s history was guilty; i.e., that NO such African-Americans were truly innocent?

  79. Joseph Kaplan

    Or, Nachum. let me ask this. Since DNA testing has been used, there have been a number of convicted criminals, sentenced to death and on death row, who, through DNA testing, sometimes obtained over the strong objection of the prosecutors, who have been found to be innocent. (Not technicalities; innocent.) Otherwise, many of them would have been executed. Do you think the American system of justice was so much better before DNA testing that there were no such cases then? Or do you believe that such cases arise only where DNA evidence is available and that there are no such cases where DNA evidence is not available? I’m not talking about what’s been proven; just trying to find out what you believe.

  80. “Hafka’at kiddushin 6 months after civil divorce if a husband refuses to give a get. Do it 2 or 3 times and then you’ll almost never have to do it again because you will have taken the husband’s leverage away, and without leverage there’s no reason to refuse to give a get.”

    You can’t just make up halacha to solve a social problem. If you are already ripping halachos out of the shulchan aruch, why don’t you encourage women to not bother with a get at all?

  81. ” Since DNA testing has been used, there have been a number of convicted criminals, sentenced to death and on death row, who, through DNA testing, sometimes obtained over the strong objection of the prosecutors, who have been found to be innocent. (Not technicalities; innocent.)”

    The gemora talks about people who are wrongfully punished for the act they are accused of, and the Gemora makes clear that when this happens it is because they are guilty of some other act which they were not caught doing. In a non-corrupt Justice system, we can rely on the outcome of the courts.

    Now if Southern States are corrupt is an interesting question. Does a situation of an impersonal bias count as corrupt or not. I.e., if the defendant owned land that the Judge wanted, then that is clearly corruption. But if the Judge just doesn’t care about people who are different from him, does that count also?

  82. A halachic solution with legs will appear when one of the younger “Great Scholars” has a daughter or granddaughter who becomes chained outside of Israel. אין חכם כבעל נסיון

  83. Joseph — On the jailing issue, is your support due to anger or due to justice? I fully agree with you that any such a man is a despicable SOB, but what law has he broken — the whole issue is that he has a legal right to withhold the get, whether we like it or not.

    And if the purpose is to “convince” him to give a get, after refusing for 10 years from jail, do you really think another 10 years (or 30) will “convince” him.

    Meantime, nothing has been solved beyond “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” — i.e. if she’s not free, neither is he. Do you really believe the civil justice system should be used for anger management? And the bigger issue, are you really ok with a clerical court (increasingly run by fundamentalists) being able to jail someone for life, for contempt, when no civil law was broken?

  84. Joseph,

    Prouzbul and the like are monetary issues, solved by changing around the ownership. Get is an issur/hetter matter. Stop mixing apples with oranges. I’ve yet to hear of the Rav who argues that a KNOWN mamzer can be allowed in the community, for instance.

  85. “the Gemora makes clear that when this happens it is because they are guilty of some other act which they were not caught doing. In a non-corrupt Justice system, we can rely on the outcome of the courts.”

    This is really scary. What does this mean? That we don’t have to hand-wring after-the-fact, or that we don’t need to even think about the possibility that reform is required?

  86. aiwac — is there a “KNOWN mamzer” Are there known suicides buried in Jewish cemeteries? Etc.

  87. IH,

    I’m sure such a thing has already happened. If he had come up with a radical solution, we’d have heard of it.

  88. No, but there are known mamzerim.

  89. ps. i will concede that in some sense Avi is right – often juries convict because they get the feeling someone is not a nice guy, whether or not there is enough evidence regarding the particular crime for which he (or she) is on trial…

  90. emma,

    The issue isn’t whether it’s required but whether it’s possible. Thus far, the advocates for such have mostly just banged on the table or offered solutions that don’t apply.

  91. Emma,

    “This is really scary. What does this mean? That we don’t have to hand-wring after-the-fact, or that we don’t need to even think about the possibility that reform is required?”

    Neither. If something makes the court system more just, then Hurrah, let’s do it! And if someone is able to prove that a person was wrongfully convicted, then they almost have an obligation to prove it.

    It just means that after that after a ruling has been made, people can sleep with a clear conscious.

  92. Joseph Kaplan

    “You can’t just make up halacha to solve a social problem. If you are already ripping halachos out of the shulchan aruch, why don’t you encourage women to not bother with a get at all?”

    Kol hamekadesh adaita derabbanan mekadesh.

  93. Joseph Kaplan

    “The gemora talks about people who are wrongfully punished for the act they are accused of, and the Gemora makes clear that when this happens it is because they are guilty of some other act which they were not caught doing. In a non-corrupt Justice system, we can rely on the outcome of the courts.”

    Are you saying, with a straight face, that this is true in the courts of the United States? That it’s okay that people inncoent of murder were, infact convicted of that crime and, possibly executed for it, because they were surely guilty of some other crime?!?

  94. Joseph Kaplan

    “On the jailing issue, is your support due to anger or due to justice? I fully agree with you that any such a man is a despicable SOB, but what law has he broken — the whole issue is that he has a legal right to withhold the get, whether we like it or not.”

    Justice, especially since the keys to teh jail are in his hand. And if it’s part of the legal system then he is breaking the law; e.g., a bet din has decreed that he should give a get.

    “And if the purpose is to “convince” him to give a get, after refusing for 10 years from jail, do you really think another 10 years (or 30) will “convince” him.”

    Don’t be so pessimistic.

    “Meantime, nothing has been solved beyond “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” — i.e. if she’s not free, neither is he. Do you really believe the civil justice system should be used for anger management?”

    There is here, I believe, a tremendous deterrent value in such imoprisonments, especially if they were done more often.. So it’s a lot more than anger management.

    “And the bigger issue, are you really ok with a clerical court (increasingly run by fundamentalists) being able to jail someone for life, for contempt, when no civil law was broken?”

    It’s not the “bigger” issue, it a different, separate and new issue which is an interesting one that I’d have to think about.issue

  95. Joseph,

    I refer you to the debate on the issue between R. Riskin and the Garzen in Techumin 22 and decide for yourself who won out in that argument.

  96. Joseph Kaplan

    “Prouzbul and the like are monetary issues, solved by changing around the ownership.”

    Okay, let’s take pruzbul. I know it’s also a monetary issue but it has nothing to do with “changing ownership.” I just drafted, together with a rabbi, a pruzbul document and, quite frankly, it was a lot of malarkey from beginning to end and said all sorts of things that simply weren’t true; i.e., that they were partners and the issue was profits when all the secular documents made it crystal clear that they were not partners and it was interest and nothing else. Talk about gimmicks!

  97. Hafka’at Kidushin is applied when there was legal impropriety either in the kiddushin or the get. I don’t know of any case when there was a proper kiddushin and no get. Perhaps you can enlighten me.

  98. Joseph — my fault then: the last issue is the one that bugged me and prompted my initial comment yesterday.

  99. Joseph Kaplan

    “It just means that after that after a ruling has been made, people can sleep with a clear conscious.”

    Nice to let people have a good sleep. Unfortunately, the family and friends of the innocent person who has been executed won’t be able to sleep as soundly, although their consciouses will truly be clear. And as for the innocent person who has been executed, well, I guess we don’t really have to worry about his/her sleep or conscious.

  100. aiwac — since you’re in educational mode, why is R. Gershom’s out for polygamy (special permission of 100 rabbis in 3 countries) applicable to men, but not women? [prompted by the coincident news of http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4176281,00.html)

  101. Joseph,

    …and people who were wrongly sent to jail for long periods of time, sometimes gang raped, this is good?

  102. IH,

    One assurs the mutar, the other is matir the assur.

  103. “Are you saying, with a straight face, that this is true in the courts of the United States? ”

    If you were to go to court in the United States, would you feel comfortable that the correct and Just conclusion would be made?

    If yes, then yes, if no then no. Baruch Hashem, I’ve never had to deal with the United States courts to know. Though I have heard that it really all depends on the Judge you get. And each Judge should likely be seen as a completely different legal system 😛

  104. “Unfortunately, the family and friends of the innocent person who has been executed won’t be able to sleep as soundly, ”

    And the family and friends of a guilty person who has been executed can sleep soundly!?

  105. One assurs the mutar, the other is matir the assur.

    Doesn’t seem that clear to me. Can you point me to a proper analysis of this?

  106. IH,

    I don’t understand what’s unclear. You and I both know that it is far easier to assur the mutar than undo an issur. This is especially true with a clear-cut, explicit d’orayta, when it’s sometimes downright impossible. This is why the RW has a much easier time of it than the LW in general.

  107. “Doesn’t seem that clear to me. Can you point me to a proper analysis of this?”

    R. Gershom’s ruling has an “out”, 100 rabbis. But there is no such “out” once you make something forbidden permitted. You can’t undo that which you allowed, but you can (later) allow that which you prohibited, if you really need to. Same principle as an Eruv really.

  108. aiwac — if one glosses over details, one sees what one wants to see.

  109. What details are there that would help your case? Please enlighten me. To me it seems very clear cut and unequivocal.

  110. I would like to see a proper shiur or article answering my serious question: why is R. Gershom’s out for polygamy (special permission of 100 rabbis in 3 countries) applicable to men, but not women? [prompted by the coincident news of http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4176281,00.html%5D

  111. Joseph Kaplan

    “…and people who were wrongly sent to jail for long periods of time, sometimes gang raped, this is good?”

    No, this is, of course, terrible. But at least in such a case, the innocently convicted person can be released from jail when the rtuth is uncovered and have some sort of life. It doesn’t make up for what happened but it’s something. With execution, it’s absolutely final. Since life isn’t perfect, if such finality can lead to completely uncorrectable results, isn’t it better to leave some opening for correction; i.e., life without parole?

  112. הפה שאסר הור שהתיר. ר’ גרשום לא כתב את התורה.

  113. Joseph Kaplan

    “If you were to go to court in the United States, would you feel comfortable that the correct and Just conclusion would be made?”

    In my, admittedly limited, experience, most courts in the US try to do the right thing. And I’m told by people with much more experience tahn I, juries take their job very seriously and also try to do the right thing. But sometimes, good intentions notwithstanding, they fail. But I don’t knwo how any of that is really relevant to using a genarah to say, as I beleive you did, that if an innocent person is convicted it means that he/she was guilty of soemthing else.

  114. aiwac — as with many things, the solution will eventually be found when unpicking assumptions people have glossed over for years. I remain optimistic that as the years pass from 1975, a “Great Scholar” will find such a solution (at least for the vast majority of cases).

  115. ” With execution, it’s absolutely final.”

    Once a person has been raped, that is also final. You can not undo a rape. And it will be with that person forever.

    ” But I don’t knwo how any of that is really relevant to using a genarah to say, as I beleive you did, that if an innocent person is convicted it means that he/she was guilty of soemthing else.”

    Because it’s a mitzvah for even non-Jewish societies to set up courts and create systems of Justice, and Gd is Just.

  116. IH, why would a women being married to more than one man at once ever be allowed?

  117. “at least for the vast majority of cases”

    Even if so, that still leaves a small number of cases that can’t be solved.

  118. BTW, I’ve always believed that גט על תנאי is a good direction, but that was widely rejected…

  119. Joseph Kaplan

    “‘With execution, it’s absolutely final.’

    Once a person has been raped, that is also final. You can not undo a rape. And it will be with that person forever.”

    True. But what’s teh alternative? That we abolish jails? That would lead to anarchy. So we understand we live in a perfect world and do the best we ca. But with respect to the death penalty there is a viable alternative. So if we allow executions we’re not doing the best we can.

    “‘But I don’t know how any of that is really relevant to using a genarah to say, as I beleive you did, that if an innocent person is convicted it means that he/she was guilty of soemthing else.’

    Because it’s a mitzvah for even non-Jewish societies to set up courts and create systems of Justice, and Gd is Just.”

    Odfg course, and we s]hould set up such courts as societies have done for millenia. But although God may be just, even with good intentions, human courts are not always just. Inno]cent people get convicted and sent to jail and executed just like innocent people get hit by cars or get cancer and die. So in the latter cases, we do our best to change things; have safety laws, do medical research etc. We don’t throw our hands up and say God is just so it’s okay. All I’m saying is that in a system of justice we should do the best we can to ensure that innocent people are not treated unfairly. We won’t always be successful but we should do our best. Allowing capital punishment isn’t doing our best.

  120. Since we’re veering into broader territory, there was a thought provoking article in the NYT Magazine a few weeks ago: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/15/magazine/judith-clarks-radical-transformation.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

    […] Sheila Ryan, a former N.Y.P.D. investigator who spent 10 years at Bedford for killing the man she claimed raped her, told me that when she first met Clark in prison in the 1980s, she wanted nothing to do with her. “I thought, My God, you’re responsible for killing cops, and here you are laughing?” But she has changed her mind. “She is truly remorseful and sorry for what happened,” she said. As Elaine Lord, the former Bedford Hills superintendent told me, prisons should rehabilitate, not just warehouse. And Clark is a model for what’s possible in prison. “She is not the person who was involved in that crime,” Lord said. “She’s a different person. We have a right to be angry at them, but it doesn’t change anything. There has to be an end.”

  121. “True. But what’s teh alternative? That we abolish jails? That would lead to anarchy.”

    How would abolishing jails lead to anarchy?

    There are lots of things you can do that are good alternatives to jails. House arrests, fines, indentured servitude, exile, lashes, rehabilitation programs etc.

    We certainly aren’t doing the best we can now.

  122. IH,

    I fail to see why one should rehabilitate murderers.

  123. aiwac — I agree that Yigal Amir should never be released from prison and that it was just to execute Eichmann.

  124. IH,

    So why should we rehabilitate other people like them?

  125. aiwac — If you read the article, you will note the woman discussed was not a murderer.

  126. “and that it was just to execute Eichmann.”

    I’ve heard an opinion once that executions act as a form of Kapparah, and executing is too good for people like Eichmann.

  127. IH,

    Yes, but she’s a pretty rare exception (albeit a very, very touching one). Far too many criminals fake rehabilitation just to get out early. It’s not that simple.

  128. aiwac — you’re correct that its not simple. But, it becomes even more complicated when clerical courts are given powers to bodily punish.

  129. Incidentally,

    The Mafdal were known for their opposition to the death penalty; it was one of the few successes in inserting משפט עברי into the Israeli legal system.

  130. “I would like to see a proper shiur or article answering my serious question: why is R. Gershom’s out for polygamy (special permission of 100 rabbis in 3 countries) applicable to men, but not women? ”

    The Torah allowed polygamy for men, not women.

    The apparent purpose of the herem was to prevent men from forcibly divorcing their wives. If a man can just marry a second wife, that’s a pretty good motivation to not deal with the issue at all. Since you can’t divorce her against her will, just toss the old wife aside without a divorce and marry another. Forbidding polygamy forced the man to confront the issue, without being able to just divorce her against her will and remarry, or just push her aside and marry another. At least that’s what I think it was about.

  131. IH,

    Unlike you, I don’t think “clerical courts” are by definition lacking in judgment and common sense. After all, clerical courts operated for much of our history. They could mete out bodily punishment, incarceration and in extreme cases, even the death penalty. You’re going to tell em that they were ALL fanatics who never used discretion?

  132. abba's rantings

    NACHUM:

    “The most you can say is that someone’s conviction *may* have been thrown out for tainted evidence or something.”

    “tainted evidence” doesn’t bother you?
    and please respond to the DNA comment

  133. aiwac — who said “clerical courts” are by definition lacking in judgment and common sense?

    But, according to your own arguments, they are constrained by their view of halacha (which, agav, may not be yours).

  134. I always pronounce it as “dales”. The looks I get, even from my own children….

  135. I believe the discussion, where some are criticizing what appears to be injustice in halacha, or in non-Jewish legal systems, is masking the real question of why G-d allows this to happen. The only satisfying answer, in my opinion, is to accept that these events are guided by Divine Providence, and that G-d will sort this out behind the scenes.

  136. S. – see: http://tinyurl.com/85tppxg (Chapter 4 in Avraham Grossman’s 2004 “Pious and rebellious: Jewish women in Medieval Europe”)

  137. “S. – see: http://tinyurl.com/85tppxg (Chapter 4 in Avraham Grossman’s 2004 “Pious and rebellious: Jewish women in Medieval Europe”)”

    What am I looking for?

  138. More granularity on your response of 10:25am. It’s not so pashut.

  139. Of course it isn’t. It’s also not so pashut that Rabbenu Gershom had anything to do with it. But we do have the reality of the series of takkanot.

  140. The only satisfying answer, in my opinion, is to accept that these events are guided by Divine Providence, and that G-d will sort this out behind the scenes.
    ===================================
    but even then one has to figure out which he wants us to sort out and which he wants to handle himself.
    KT

  141. “But, according to your own arguments, they are constrained by their view of halacha (which, agav, may not be yours).”

    And Judges are constrained by their view of civil law, which, agav, may not be mine.. Whats the difference here?

  142. “I believe the discussion, where some are criticizing what appears to be injustice in halacha, or in non-Jewish legal systems, is masking the real question of why G-d allows this to happen. The only satisfying answer, in my opinion, is to accept that these events are guided by Divine Providence, and that G-d will sort this out behind the scenes.”

    I don’t think that’s the question at all. AIUI, we haven’t been discussing the Divine; we’ve been discussing what humans can/should do, if anything, to alleviate injustices built into systems, like courts and jails, created and managed by humans. Your answer, if ever satisfying, comes into play, IMO, only after people have done the best they can.

  143. “I believe the discussion, where some are criticizing what appears to be injustice in halacha, or in non-Jewish legal systems, is masking the real question of why G-d allows this to happen”

    Don’t open that Pandora’s Box. We’ll never hear the end of it.

  144. Avi — the difference is that the State of Israel has delegated dina d’malchuta on these issues to clerical courts for all Jews in the country irrespective of their affiliation.

    If they can jail someone for life, why shouldn’t they also be able impose other bodily punishments?

  145. As a practical matter, 10 years in prison hasn’t softened this Meir Gorodetzki, so perhap its time for lashes. Would any of you object if Shas were able to get a bill passed through the Knesset that allowed the Rabbinical court to impose lashes until he submits?

  146. I object to clerical courts being delegated authority by the secular State for any bodily punishment, including imprisonment. These clerical courts are free to use societal pressure, but not State authority to enforce matters of their religious code. I wrote this generally because the same issue exists for other religions under Millet law in force in Israel.

    The irony here is that this despicable man has neither violated secular law, nor halacha.

  147. “of THEIR religious code”

    אין לנו חלק ונחלה עמהם?

    FYI, many aguna activists have actually been pressing for these kinds of measures.

  148. “Your answer, if ever satisfying, comes into play, IMO, only after people have done the best they can.”

    One can always improve, and systems can always get better.

    “The irony here is that this despicable man has neither violated secular law, nor halacha.”

    He most certainly has violated halacha. Some pun is coming to mind about burdening someone’s donkey, and causing needless oppression, but I won’t go there. If he wasn’t violating any halacha, the court would not be allowed to beat him until he changes his mind.

    “Avi — the difference is that the State of Israel has delegated dina d’malchuta on these issues to clerical courts for all Jews in the country irrespective of their affiliation.”

    Again, the State of Israel applies its laws to all members of the State, even if they don’t believe the State should exist. So again, what’s the difference?

  149. >I don’t think that’s the question at all. AIUI, we haven’t been discussing the Divine; we’ve been discussing what humans can/should do, if anything, to alleviate injustices built into systems, like courts and jails, created and managed by humans. Your answer, if ever satisfying, comes into play, IMO, only after people have done the best they can.

    We can never do enough to ensure perfect outcomes in legal cases. So, this is a never ending problem. So, there’s always a feeling that injustice was done. Changing law often introduced unintended consequences. Who are you angry at when you see injustice in law? With Jewish law, do you blame the legislator(s)?

  150. For those who have more faith in secular law than in Jewish law, you are putting your faith in systems that change in time and place, and where injustice has been far more common than justice. Putting your faith in man is never a good idea. I sense anger in these arguments about unfair laws, unfair courts, etc. etc. Who are you angry at?

  151. shaul shapira

    Professor Kaplan- No, I am not joking, no I am not. Although perhaps I should have used a better example. My point was (an is) that there are certain situations where Halachah dictates against what we would feel ought to be. Whether it’s opposing releasing terrorists to save Shalit (a separate question) or using results from immorally performed experiments. Our emotional prejudices don’t always coincide with the Din. Do you believe there ever existed a case of an Agunah that truly could not get remarried Halachically even though she really really wanted to? Do you believe there are cases where we have to die rather than commit a certain act? Either you do or you don’t. We can nitpick about R Rackman or anyone else’s Heter. The question is whether we accept that such a thing as a total Halachik impasse exists. IH said he can’t- I’m saying that I can.

  152. shaul shapira

    “State Department warns travelers to dress modestly in Jerusalem”

    Nothing especially new here. I was looking through the El Al tourist booklet on a flight two years ago and they had Meah Shearim as a tourist destination. The rules stated were “dress modestly and keep picture taking to a minimum”

  153. MiMedinat HaYam

    J 755am “not bother with get — should read not bother with chuppa vekiddushin.

    IH 817am “great scholars” — these issues have cropped up with daughters and grandaughters, etc, and the (family affected) “gedolim” remained unanimous that the current system stands. of course, they resorted to the “extraneous measures” that was in place before till the mid 1990’s (i refer to the front page of the nypost, when it was stopped by the brooklyn DA) by MO and charedi rabbonim.

    j kaplan 902am — pruzbul / partnership / secular legal documents did not match — i assume you mean heter iska. one of the requirements of heter iska is that the secular legal documents must comply. thus, using the standard blumberg forms would overcome the heter iska. (of course, there are four (or so ) diff heter iska’s.)

    maybe you can sell your specially drafted forms to blumberg?

    civil contempt — i am surprised at all the lawyers here. in the us, continuing civil contempt requires a judicial determination that continuing incarceration will lead to compliance. and the general consensus is that (at some point — 10 years for sure) continuing incarceration will NOT lead to compliance.

    and the article states the fear isnt that he’ll comply, but that he’ll abscond and they wont be able to find him. not exactly grounds for incarceration.

    this particular case — i see that his mehadrin food was taken away from him. he now has to eat OU food. (i guess not haagen dazs) not exactly an encouragement.

    take away his “yechi” yarmulka, maybe. but forbid his children from visiting is also not proper (assuming they want to visit, but it shouldnt be part of the contempt judgement.)

    student has to prove he is jewish to wear a yarmulka — signs on atlantic ave (arab neighborhood in brooklyn) say “kufi” ( = moslem “yarmulka”) not sold to non moslems. indicates either religious headwear or gang headwear.

    haagen dazs — if its made in france, how does the ou get into this? and wasnt there an issue a few years back that OU standards in israel are not up to OU levels standards in america?

  154. MiMedinat HaYam

    “keep picture taking to a minimum” for a proper donation, you can take as many pictures as you want.

    either way, its an old story. (in meah shaerim. in state dept, thank hillary and the yated.) these travel warnings, by the way, are politically motivated all the time. the state dept is notorious for not helping us citizens abroad, all the time. unlike other countries, which go out of their way to help citizens.

  155. shaul shapira

    “for a proper donation, you can take as many pictures as you want.”

    Not neccesarily. You think rich prutzas don’t get bleached? It’s a matter of PRINCIPLE.

  156. Joseph Kaplan

    “We can never do enough to ensure perfect outcomes in legal cases.”

    True, but we caqn make things better.

    “So, this is a never ending problem. So, there’s always a feeling that injustice was done.”

    Sometimes you can actually fix a problem. And when you do fix one, the feeling of injustice, at least with respect to that problem, goes away.

    “Changing law often introduced unintended consequences.”

    True, but that not a reason not to try. It only means you have to be very careful in what you do and understand that sometimes, no matter how careful you are, there might be unintended consequences.

    “Who are you angry at when you see injustice in law? With Jewish law, do you blame the legislator(s)?”

    I blame those who I think have the power to fix the problem but don’t.

  157. Joseph Kaplan

    “pruzbul / partnership / secular legal documents did not match — i assume you mean heter iska.”

    You’re right; that’s what I meant. Sorry.

  158. MiMedinat HaYam

    shaul s — i meant you can take as many pix as you want, if you donate. improper dress will get you thrown out, either way. two separate concepts.

  159. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4185803,00.html

    “National religious schools to launch new program aimed at teaching teens about intercourse, contraception and premarital relationships”

  160. Yeah, I jokingly commented on facebook that this is a guaranteed method to ensure abstinence (it being a bagrut requirement and all).

  161. Joseph – Thanks for your comments. I expect you’d agree that law and justice are not the same. Law can’t solve every problem, or eliminate every unfairness or injustice. In our secular legal systems, I believe we need fewer laws, not more. And, when laws are unclear, they should be re-written. Endless additions and changes to the law only help lawyers; they don’t further the cause of justice.

    Who has the power to fix the problem with Jewish laws you are referring to? If they have the power, why don’t they use it? What about the agunah, whose husband has gone missing? Is there a solution to her problem that would allow her to remarry? If there is no solution, is that a problem with the Torah or with the rabbis or none of the above?

  162. Re Orthodox Inreach-Truth must be paramount in dealing with people-at least some ofthe Kiruv movement deals with misleading info-long term it is disastorous. Keep people inside treatthem better,be truly interested in them-we have a product to sell.

  163. Yes, my daughter in high school is studying an extremely deceptive and ignorant kiruv book. I try to minimize my wisecracks about the book but I can’t entirely eliminate them.

  164. “A funny Ralbag anecdote: I took out a chocolate bar yesterday and said to my better half: “Isn’t living in Israel great, where the Rabbanut accepts Triangle-K?” (There wasn’t an actual Triangle-K on the package, but it had his name with the Rabbanut’s isshur.)

    She: “Yes, but they won’t accept the OU. Go figure.””

    Because Ralbag associates with Chareidi – nothing else matters to the Chareidi Rabbinical establishment-thus all his actions have ben accepted as opposed to the vast majority of YU musmachim.

  165. “Yes, my daughter in high school is studying an extremely deceptive and ignorant kiruv book. I try to minimize my wisecracks about the book but I can’t entirely eliminate them.”

    Why not go through it with her, show her the problems so that she is not deceived, and complain to the school that they are providing a poor education? I can understand avoiding a flippant tone, but it sounds like you’re fine with her and her classmates being taught from this text.

  166. Why not go through it with her, show her the problems so that she is not deceived

    Absolutely

    and complain to the school that they are providing a poor education?

    No, that’s not the way things work here.

  167. Why are they teaching a kiruv book at all?

  168. MiMedinat HaYam

    “No, that’s not the way things work here”

    thats cause you still live in brooklyn.

    signed, a former brooklynite.

    either way, why are they teaching her about kiruv? why not get a real kiruv professional to teach the kiruv unit? there are plenty of them around. charedi and not.

    as for agunot. why is there no call to solve the pblm of (a quasi friend of mine) who had a stroke (in his 40s) and his wife is now an agunah with two kids? (?no halachic will?) is it only the business disputes that are at issue? ron arad and the others we are saying a mi sheberach for? (even the bedouins have that pblm, but of course, women are unimportant to them.) did any agunah org’s storm the state dept to have info released, to hold up the $ the us gives the plo?

  169. Inreach. It’s been all the rage for the past few years. The Aish/Discovery/Gateways people have been speaking all over Brooklyn, Lakewood, etc.

  170. “Inreach. It’s been all the rage for the past few years. The Aish/Discovery/Gateways people have been speaking all over Brooklyn, Lakewood, etc”

    Wow. Things must be really bad if that’s the case.

  171. Or people are believing the kiruv professionals’ hype despite the lack of corroborating data

  172. “Or people are believing the kiruv professionals’ hype despite the lack of corroborating data”

    In which case they’re going to be burned badly.

  173. MiMedinat HaYam

    i wont argue about corroboratting data, if they also present OTD data (though i admit the definition of OTD means diff things to diff ppl, such as going to yu for charedim, and not necessarily texting on shabat.)

    i assume https://www.soyseforim.org/events.php#feb22 is just a topic for you to discuss the success of hirhurim / torah musings, etc. not necessarily texting.

  174. i assume https://www.soyseforim.org/events.php#feb22 is just a topic for you to discuss the success of hirhurim / torah musings, etc. not necessarily texting.

    ???

  175. MiMedinat HaYam

    feb 22 7:00pm-11:00pm

    “Texting on Shabbat,” lecture with Rabbi Gil Student 8pm

    https://www.soyseforim.org/calendar.php
    https://www.soyseforim.org/events.php#feb22

    call it a plug for your presentation. you deserve it. if it wouldnt be thursday, you’d get a good crowd.

  176. Joseph Kaplan-In contrast to the Torah’s requirement that a husband freely agree to divorce his wife, it can be argued that the Heter Pruzbul and Heter Mecirah obviate Rabbinic prohibitions ( unless one assumes that Pruzbul and Mecirah work to nullify Shemitas Kesafim and Shemitas Karka on a Torah level, which AFAIK, is at best one opinion, and a decidedly minority view, among the Rishonim).

  177. “if its made in france, how does the ou get into this?”

    The OU has mashgichim all over the world. Haagen-Dazs’ owner, General Mills, has lots of products under OU supervision.

  178. “Would any of you object if Shas were able to get a bill passed through the Knesset that allowed the Rabbinical court to impose lashes until he submits?”

    Take the guy to Singapore?

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

  179. “it can be argued that the Heter Pruzbul and Heter Mecirah obviate Rabbinic prohibitions”

    “It can also be argued” that they, as well as Heter Iska, are all “gimmicks,” a word you brought into this discussion, used to obviate established halacha.

  180. Lawrence Kaplan

    Gil: I’m curious. Seriously. I do not mean this sarcastically, but want to know. What is the upside of your daughter’s school?

  181. She is getting a better education, in both secular and kodesh subjects, than I got at Frisch — at half the price. No Gemara, but she is able to read and understand mefarshim on Chumash that I could not at her age. She has many open-minded teachers and some close-minded ones. The administration is pretty open-minded. All in all, I wish I could send my sons to that school.

  182. Lawrence Kaplan

    Thanks for the full and informative answer.

  183. Joseph: I didn’t answer earlier, sorry. Of course, the South would be an exception, but I think if you eliminate lynch mobs and murderous slave owners, sure, they at least had a pretense of fair trials. Like I said, the authors of the study were shocked too, but thinking it over, it isn’t too outrageous to say this.

    Of course, remember that before 1900 or so, people could be executed for a lot less than they are today (rape, theft, etc.). It was justice under their terms.

    So limit it to post-1977, when they began executing again. Believe me, if anyone innocent was executed, we’d have heard about it. As to DNA, that’s all well and good, but it’s not such a clear thing as its proponents (especially my alma mater) like to make out. Lots of times people were involved or the like.

  184. “To cover the shortfall, the school reached out to families that could afford it and asked them to donate the difference between the old tuition and the new one. And since the donation would be tax deductible, the school asked the families to tack on the money they would have been paying in tax on that gift.” From Forward day school article

    As long as there is no requirement to donate and won’t bar the door to children whose parents won’t donate appears OK. BTW-that is why schul memberships,seats etc are deductible because the schul does not bar the door to those who don’t pay-if they would then the membership etc would not be deductible as Yeshiva tuition is not deductible.

  185. For those interested in Lithuanian shtetl life, I just received an e-mail from YIVO about a new book: http://thelastbrightdays.com/TLBD/TLBD.html

    “In the 1930s, Beile Delechky was a young woman growing up in the Jewish shtetl of Kavarsk, Lithuania, where she and her brother Moishe were the unofficial town photographers. Just three years before the city’s Jewish inhabitants were destroyed by the Nazis in 1941, Delechky left Kavarsk for America, bringing with her hundreds of photographs.”

  186. “Does Modern Orthodoxy Need Leaders?”

    Seems to have completely forgotten about the whole “Chasidut” thing which happened before the 1800s…

    “Why I Filed Title VI Complaint”

    It’s a shame that Universities don’t have any standards of “facts” anymore.

    “Eda Haredit raises money to sue police”

    Where is the money coming from?

    “”Kabbalah for the Masses” Comes to Israel”

    All that information, and not a single line about the fact that the Kabblah center teaches that each person is their own Gd, and other fun pieces of avodah zara? The article makes it sound like other Orthodox rabbis are just jealous.

    “Animals as Leaders: How a Dearth of New Leaders is Dooming Modern Orthodoxy”

    There are no leaders in the entire world, why would there be leaders in modern Orthodoxy? I know of many leaders I look up to, but plenty of other people don’t.

    “From New Year to Arbor Day”

    Finally a nice article 🙂 (Or I’m just too ignorant to know better)

  187. http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/three-quarters-of-beit-shemesh-first-graders-will-attend-ultra-orthodox-schools-next-year-1.411748

    “A total of 2,500 children will enter ultra-Orthodox institutions; only 625 children are registered at non-ultra-Orthodox institutions.”

  188. Incidentally, Gil, without diminishing your past issues with Ha’aretz’s reporting on issues of religion, I think Yair Ettinger’s reporting on Charedi issues there has been salutary.

  189. LongTimeReader

    – Frisch is giving its students a much better education than it did when you were there too.

    -Pruzbul, heter iska, heter mechira, mechiras chametz etc. are all examples of haaramos. There are rules about when you can and can’t use them, and even if you can, you need a viable mechanism to get around the law. You can’t just go Shabbos (or Kiddushin) ahin Shabbos Aher… When there is a Rabbinic will there is a motivation to find a halachik way. Sometimes (see the famous Rav story with the baal theshuva Kohen), you can’t find it.

  190. “Eda Haredit raises money to sue police”

    “Where is the money coming from?”

    Superstitious millionaires in Lawrence.

  191. The Badatz Hechsher is a major money-maker.

  192. “The Badatz Hechsher is a major money-maker.”

    That’s not fundraising though.

  193. MiMedinat HaYam

    “Pruzbul, heter iska, heter mechira, mechiras chametz etc. are all examples of haaramos. ”

    but all these ha’aramot require a shtar that is legally (civil) enforceable. add to that the shtar known as “ketuba”. specifically ruled not to be enforceable. and when you add to it the RCA PNA (which one may reasonably argue conflicts with the ketuba, halachically and civilly) (and despite claims to contrary, ruled unenforceable in new jersey; never a ruling in any other jurisdiction; perhaps it works by threat of enforcement. more likely, true incidents of agunot are exteremely rare.))

    it is very easy to write a new ketuba that will be civilly and halachically enforceable. but for some unknown reason, ashkenazim consider the text to be sacrosant. (and sfardim kill the text with completely unenforceable clauses.)

    pruzbul prob doesnt need a civilly enforceable shtar. exception.

  194. “ashkenazim consider the text to be sacrosant”

    Why?

  195. MiMedinat HaYam

    badatz — the article doesnt say fundraising. it says allocation of $ (ot NS. i assume their books are in dollars. meaning superstitious millionaires in lawrence, and $ laundering).

    MO leaders — charedim will soon need specific leaders, too. they are splintering, too. just like the article claims on MO. though i dont think the MO are splintering like the article claims. and short of YU / RIETS, the Rav was not universally accepted as an exclusive MO leader in his day, and even in his day, talmidim tried to interpret (via ha’aromot like tactics) his words.

    we have to read about IDF rabbonim criticizing in a charedi publication? (though i agree with the unwritten implication.)

    kabbalah center — he was in israel to arrange his biggest donor’s upcoming concert tour, which will start in tel aviv. today’s news reports.

    maharat — trying to take advantage of the RBS incidents to her advantage.

    what is the rav’s baal tshuva kohen story (unless its the kohen grusha reasoning? which applies to agunot, too.)

  196. “Does Modern Orthodoxy Need Leaders?”

    Yes, but it doesn’t need “gedolim”.

  197. MiMedinat HaYam

    long time reader — the contracts have to be secularly enforceable. they arent.

    i heard the same story with the rav regarding a grusha. same point.

    2. the para “What can we do? That is the halakha … We surrender to the will of the almighty. On the other hand, to say the halakha is not sensitive to problems and is not responsive to the needs of people is an outright falsehood. The halakha is responsive to the needs of both the community and the individual. However, the halakha has its own orbit, moves at a certain definitive speed, has its own pattern of responding to a challenge, and possesses its own criteria and principles. ”

    note previous paragraph extends this to an eishet ish without a get.

  198. I don’t get the headline “Animals as Leaders” ..what is that all about? I don’t even know what that is supposed to mean. And the article itself doesn’t address the title at all. Anyone know what the headline is supposed to mean?

  199. MiMedinat HaYam

    from http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4186798,00.html

    “How can it be that a soldier receives NIS 360-700 a month, while a yeshiva student gets NIS 900? How can a country whose civil bodies are constantly raising funds for the education system allow regular state school classrooms to have an average of 28 students … whereas an ultra-Orthodox pupil has an average of 20 children in his class?”

  200. I assume something got mangled and it is some kind of reference to the sheep/ shepherd metaphor the article employed. Can’t make out what may have been intended though.

  201. ruvie,

    This is an old story. The stories of Jewish academics, in both the soft and hard sciences, who send their kids to “black hat” schools to protect them are legion.

  202. R’ Ruvie,
    I suppose at some level I have always thought of this (if the %’s of those helped vs. hurt are as lopsided as implied in some posts) as a metahalachic issue – are we willing to sacrifice the few for the many? – in war we do it all the time, yet we won’t give up one life from a surrounded city to save 1000’s. Which is the correct paradigm in these kinds of situations?
    KT

  203. Lawrence Kaplan

    I’m with aiwac here. What else is new? It’s called the discount theory of Judaism. The irony is that all the surveys disprove the notion of increasingly lax morals.

  204. Prof. Kaplan,

    What surveys? And what morals are we talking about?

  205. Joel,

    The first thing that we must always take into consideration whenever discussing the matter is this:

    A certain percentage of the next generation will leave the fold in some way. That’s not a possibility, it’s a certainty. It happens in other religions and among political movements, and it will happen by us. There is no way to ensure 100% compliance, and the more one strives for it, the more damage will be caused.

    Rather than aim for a “perfect score”, it is better to figure out how to ensure those that remain will be spiritually and morally strong. Not just in an intellectual sense, but also emotionally.

  206. Joseph Kaplan-Name one Posek within MO who does not view Hafkaas Kiddushin based attempts at helping agunos as a gimmick. OTOH, the other Heterim that we have been discussing are all well rooted within Halacha, and I would certainly not classify the same as examples of gimmicks.

  207. Someone wrote the following:

    “Pruzbul, heter iska, heter mechira, mechiras chametz etc. are all examples of haaramos”

    The Acharonim distingush between what is a permissible use of a harama-to avoid an Issur or to avoid fulfilling a mitzvah-that is part of the reason why there RYBS and RMF disagreed as to whether Meciras Chametz worked for Chametz Mamash and B’en.

  208. Did someone’s comment get deleted?

    Avi: You think the money doesn’t go into one pot?

  209. Aiwac wrote in part:

    “A certain percentage of the next generation will leave the fold in some way. That’s not a possibility, it’s a certainty. It happens in other religions and among political movements, and it will happen by us. There is no way to ensure 100% compliance, and the more one strives for it, the more damage will be caused”

    would you agree that without attempts at Kiruv/Chizuk, the percentages of those who will leave the fold would be far greater? Let’s face reality-there is no one derech for Kiruv/Chizuk that is Shaveh LChol Nefesh. That’s why , as I mentioned at Beyond BT, there are a a range of Kiruv groups with different POVs out there that attract different people.

  210. “would you agree that without attempts at Kiruv/Chizuk, the percentages of those who will leave the fold would be far greater?”

    What would you consider Kiruv/Chizuk?

  211. For a very small list, I would consider the range of Kiruv in the US to include Chabad, MJE, NJOP, OU.NCSY, Aish, and Ohr Sameach.Community Kollelim, if one has read R D A Ferziger’s articles, play a major role in Kiruv/Chizuk throughout the US.(Regardless of Chabad’s messianism, Chabad remains a major port of entry, especially out of town, for many people exploring Judaism. )Hopefully, YU can use its Mechinah Program to attract BTs whose orientation was what R M Besdin ZL called “it and not about it” and its own kollelim in various communities as a means of Chizuk/Kiruv, as another port of entry.

  212. I thought that the two Beacon articles ignored the fact that MO, for the most part, has , at least in the OU, been lay driven and organized, with the staff implementing the program and goals with substantial lay and volunteer input. When one looks at the OU Board ( a listing which is contained in any issue of JA or OU Luach), there are many promiment rabbinical and lay leaders. The future of such organizations depends on the next generation’s willingness to get involved, work and support the organization’s goals on an individual, communal and national goal.

  213. Steven,

    I don’t know for sure; I’m not a sociologist. I do know that if the hard-core, yeshivish Charedi world is investing so much on inreach, then there must be a serious problem.

  214. Aiwac-the hard core yeshivish world is investing in inreach because, at least for men,since their Hashchalas Gemara shiur, the importance of the study of Talmud leaves little room for study of Chumash with the major Mafarshim on an adult level, Jewish history, explaining why we observe Shabbos, the Moadim and the Yamim Noraim, a survey of classical Baalei Machshavah, Chasidus and Musar, or even a textually rooted shiur in Biur Tefilah.

    In KGH, we see al sorts of signs for darshanim, etc, but R N I Oelbaum and R D SZ Leiman attract wide audiences for their shiurim, and we try to arrange for substantial shiurim on the major legal holidays. Halevai that R Asher Weiss who is in the Five Towns and Far Rockaway next Shabbos would spend a Shabbos in KGH.

    Far too many speakers whose ads appear either in the Charedi media or in store windows unfortunately tend to be Elmer Gantry like Darshanim and Magidim,whose topics are all too often on subjects such as Lashon Hara and Tznius, and really don’t touch these issues other Al Pi Derech HaMusar, whose content IMO borders on fluff-especially for educated women. When Yated columnist R A Birnbaum bemoans drashos that focus on the evil of secular Zionism, I think that there is proof that the yeshivish community is not interested in so much in ideology based drashos , but rather in issues that affect their day to day lives.

  215. Lawrence Kaplan

    aiwac: I don’t remember the exact reference, but a recent extensive survey (I believe I read about it in the NY Times) showed that in terms of both drinking and pre-marital sexual relations teenagers today are considerably more conservative than those of say 20-25 years ago.

  216. Joseph Kaplan

    “Name one Posek within MO who does not view Hafkaas Kiddushin based attempts at helping agunos as a gimmick. OTOH, the other Heterim that we have been discussing are all well rooted within Halacha, and I would certainly not classify the same as examples of gimmicks.”

    I’m not interested in an argument from authority. Saying that all poskim consider this a gimmick while they don’t consider the others a gimmick, without an argument why that is the case doesn’t, IMO, mean very much.

  217. gil – can you explain why my comment was deleted in regards to gary rosenblatt’s observation on the comments that came forth on their article on a certain yeshiva and its rabbi in israel?

  218. r’ joel – “Which is the correct paradigm in these kinds of situations?’ – we are discussing the issue of a certain reflections of an article that appear in a certain publication recently on children in yeshiva in israel – (original comment deleted)

    you raise an interesting point. if what happens there would happen in your local yeshiva how do you think the parents respond? is the damage worth it ? is there damage that would not have happened anyway – and who picks up the pieces? as a community is this an individual family by family issue or a community issue? i don’t know what the appropriate response except that parents should be aware of what goes on before sending anyone there.

  219. ruvie: As I wrote last week, I don’t allow links to allegations. You responded that I wasn’t consistent about that, which is probably true. But I am trying to be.

  220. Joseph Kaplan

    “the RCA PNA (which one may reasonably argue conflicts with the ketuba, halachically and civilly) (and despite claims to contrary, ruled unenforceable in new jersey”

    Can you please give us a citation to the NJ case. Thanks.

  221. aiwac – “The stories of Jewish academics, in both the soft and hard sciences, who send their kids to “black hat” schools to protect them are legion.”

    i think parents have a see no evil attitude that is shameful. people do send their kids to yeshiva that are to the right of their hashkafa hoping they will end up in the middle later on. its really sad when they don’t realize what they are being taught. but here in this case the haskafa to my knowledge isn’t to the right of religious mo – just the methods that are being question not what they are taught.

  222. gil – i wasn’t interested in the allegations this time but the comments and the observations of the comments – which i think is important (but its your blog and your rules – no objection there). i also surprise of what was written on the authors facebook page – which goes to the issue on how should rabbis behave in public in circumstances like this. i though it was insightful.
    btw, not i that responded you were inconsistent – its your blog and i respect that.

  223. “i think parents have a see no evil attitude that is shameful”

    Ruvie, I tend to be more charitable. It’s no different from other means of sheltering – eg, “helicopter parenting”, excessive worrying about health &c. They just want their kids to stay frum. The fact that they don’t believe their own educational system can provide this is indeed a sad lack of faith but I don’t know to solve it.

    BTW, I’ve come across just such an attitude of religious scholars of the Biblical period…(ie, don’t talk about it in school!).

    Prof. Kaplan,

    It’s still pretty prevalent (esp. on college campuses), to say nothing of how wholesale sexual license is endorsed by a large part of television media.

    Steven,

    But what of the timing? Why now? The post-Holocaust yeshivish world has been around for 50+ years!

  224. Aiwac asked:

    “But what of the timing? Why now? The post-Holocaust yeshivish world has been around for 50+ years”

    I heard or read that R M Solomon commented that we should be fighting today’s battles as opposed to yesterday’s wars. Secular Zionism and college study for the sake of an education were the battles that the yeshiva world previously fought, and IMO,lost on both fronts-simply because Touro’s arrival kashered secular education al taharas hakodesh, and because , at least in the US, of a de facto recognition of the importance of the existence of the State of Israel, even though the yeshivish world attaches no theological importance to the same. I would argue that an educational system that places a premium on Talmud study and Tznius for each gender results in the neglect of serious study on an adult level of the subjects that I previously mentioned.

  225. ruvie: Also not for here. I don’t think we should be discussing individuals’ specific actions.

  226. Lawrence Kaplan

    aiwac: The issue raised was not about how lax society’s morals are. The claim was made about society’s INCREASINGLY lax morals. That does not seem to be the case. OTOH, your point about TV is well taken.

  227. abba's rantings

    “not i that responded you were inconsistent”

    i had responded as such.
    but again, it’s gil’s blog and he can be as inconsistent as he pleases.

  228. abba's rantings

    (and i do think that in this case we are dealing here with something much stronger than “allegations.” even his supporters don’t deny the “allegations.” the debate seems to focus on the propriety of the behaviors detailed in the allegations.)

  229. r’ruvie,
    you allude to another issue I’ve thought a lot about as a follow on to the one I mentioned. If a community decides the “price” is worth it, does it in any way bind those parents who have to pay the price?
    KT

  230. Gil – “ruvie: Also not for here. I don’t think we should be discussing individuals’ specific actions.”

    ??? Was that another delete? What is the also- it seems this is a community issue – sending kids to yeshiva in israel to frum them up ( from the parents perspective) and the supervision of what goes on and possible abusive behavior ( as well as writing on someone’s facebook page) – can we not discuss shameful behavior without using names? Perplexed unless you know something here.

  231. MiMedinat haYam

    i guess i’m missing out on the deletes, but didnt someone write a book about this phenomenon, and wasnt it published by a blog respected publisher?

  232. Joseph Kaplan

    MMHY: Perhaps you missed my earlier request. I’m looking for a citation to the NJ case you referred to about the RCA PNA.

  233. Joseph Kaplan

    Gil, I’m not sure I understand your rule. Gary wrote an article quoting a posting by a teacher in our community on the facebook page of a college student. What if the teacher had written that in a letter to the editor? Are we not allowed to discuss that. How is this so different? This isn’t a case of allegations that haven’t been proven (whatever that means); it’s a case of discussing a specific and undisputed public action. As many others have said, your blog, your rules. But I’m having trouble understanding the rule.

  234. Joseph Kaplan-R Gil stated the rule quite clearly-

    “As I wrote last week, I don’t allow links to allegations. You responded that I wasn’t consistent about that, which is probably true. But I am trying to be”

  235. abba's rantings

    STEVE BRIZEL:

    joseph kaplan’s point, which you missed, is that there is no “allegation” here. even his defenders don’t dispute this. the debate isn’t over what he did or didn’t do, but rather the propriety of what he did.

  236. Ruvie: Feel free to discuss the issue in general without specifying any individuals or institutions.

    Joseph: It is nearly impossible to discuss the Facebook without discussing the allegations. I don’t know that they are uncontested. I don’t trust the Jewish Week and lack the time to conduct my own investigation. I’m sure people will discuss this elsewhere but I have a responsibility for what is discussed here.

    Mycroft: I don’t link to every article that interests me. I decide what I think is appropriate. You apparently don’t understand the judgment used in deciding which links are appropriate for this blog. Please stop posting links to articles in the comments section.

  237. Joseph Kaplan

    Gil, You think the long quotes in the article, put between quotation marks were invented? Your rule makes less and less sense as you keep trying to explain it. If i didn’t know better, I’d think you have something to hide or coverup. As it is, I think you’re trying to do what you think is the right thing, but, unfortunately, you’re not.

  238. Joseph: Please reread my response above.

  239. ““How can it be that a soldier receives NIS 360-700 a month, while a yeshiva student gets NIS 900? ”
    Agree with question-but on a technical basis does Israel supply food for soldiers-if so there is a possible explanation.

  240. MiMedinat HaYam

    mycroft — agree, to a degree. but chayalim bodedim are a big pblm, from what i understand. (american troops are also treated shabbily. according to 60 minutes, many military families are on food stamps. top brass, however, make big bucks; when they retire, it goes up plenty again.)

    j kaplan — unreported decision. if you’ve dealt with dayanim, they will tell you. but there’s a certain way to ask; they’ll obfiscate (dayanim always do. its a terrible thing to say, but its true.)

  241. The observations from the article:

    1. “do what you have to do to ensure that our sons remain observant, even at the risk of losing a few along the way to emotional distress.”
    2. “The question becomes, can we look at ourselves in the mirror when tolerating only a little abuse?”
    3. why Modern Orthodox parents and institutions “encourage day school graduates to attend institutions that not only are unsympathetic to Modern Orthodoxy but determined to undermine it.”
    4. applies the term “cognitive dissonance” in observing how some Modern Orthodox Jews send their children to schools that offer a more rigid worldview, often teaching students to avoid intellectual encounters with modernity.
    5. these parents see a society around them with increasingly lax morals and feel it is better to put their children in an environment with fewer choices, even with the attendant risks.
    6. “They’re looking for magic,” he says, expecting the year in Israel to suddenly transform their child into an adult firm in his or her religious beliefs.
    7. was a kind of Talmudic boot camp where “tough love” is doled out for the good of the students.
    8. It’s about parents taking greater responsibility for their children’s emotional as well as spiritual growth, and it’s about a community determining whether it wants to create strong, independent and morally confident young men and women willing and able to grapple with the complexity of blending tradition and modernity. Or not.

    Number 3 is not applicable in this case. The yeshiva doesn’t undermine anything in the mo,community that I am aware of. It encourages it’s students to attend the college of their choice – yes the ones that no-jews attend too ( but I am sure shana bet is push).
    Two issues – where is the borderline between appropriate and inappropriate behavior of educators and does the community have a say? That is the major issue in this case – all the others may be associated issues of the year in israel and the mo community but not with this yeshiva.
    Item 8 – is an issue worthy of discussion.

  242. abba – why should there be a difference? but the community may have a say in private institutions they donate to – colleges have their own legal guidelines. should there be two standards and what will be the difference or gray area? corporeal punishment?

  243. anecdotally, i hear a significant number of this coming year’s ramaz graduates are opting for the bar-ilan option. this past year hebrew u. started a gap year program that i heard disintegrated in mid year (at least most if not all the girls left in jan.)
    more and more students and parents are selecting non-yeshiva options. is this a trend that will continue? do people realize that 24/6 intensive learning of gemera is not for everyone? options like bar-ilam, shalem and working on kibutzim are becoming viable in the mo community. just interesting.

  244. P’ Kaplan,

    Your comment on “lax morals” is very vague and undefined. However, I suspect it has to do with the amount of pre-marital sex. However, the laxity in morals in today’s society is more a function of hyper-sexualization and the “hook-up” culture that has become prevalent on college campuses and increasingly in (even frum) high schools. There is a counter-reaction to this culture which leads to increased celibacy from those who won’t succumb to the culture and could lead a social scientist to claim that this generation has higher morals, but those involved in the culture are more debased. This is not the forum for the discussion but see the research of Lisa Wade. Also, for a current events view read about “Sex Week” at Yale and the counter-theme of “True-love Week”.

    Ruvie,
    Significant number if not the vast majority of Ramaz graduates have never attended one-year yeshiva programs and have often gone straight to secular colleges. On the contrary, is some of those students are attending Bar-Ilan that would be an improvement. The only news is if the number attending yeshivas dropped.

  245. Wow, the Beacon is scraping the bottom.

  246. RE:YU Beacon-I am not sure how accurate the article about lack of young MO leaders is. It is likely that there are fewer young MO Rabbonim due to the change in RIETS afternthe passing of the Rav. People getting Smicha in the past25-30 years simply don’t have a role model for that.
    I am not going in to the names and reasons that the writer used as examples of leaders-but glaring example of missing R N Lamm strikes outwho if he had never been President of YU would have been a young leader-he is between the ages of Rabbis Klapperman and Lookstein. In his 30s R Lamm was founding editor of Tradition.
    There is also possibility that the writer who I suspect was not even alive during some of his heroes active holding of positions is romanticizing “All the Modern Orthodox leaders of the previous generations were respected by their communities, and their communities held a deep affection for them. These leaders asserted themselves with ideas, opinions, and visions that advanced not only Modern Orthodoxy, but Judaism as a whole”

  247. Joseph Kaplan

    MMHY, If you wouldn’t mind, could you please scan and send me a copy of the decision. My email is penkap AT panix DOT com. Thanks.

  248. Joseph Kaplan

    ” re: facebook “posting,” the article actually says it was a “message.” the former are public (depending on settings) but the latter are akin to email – just between two or more specified individuals. so the quotes are not independently verifiable by us right now. though it would be rather scandalous if they were invented.”

    Thanks, emma, for the explanation. Facebook is not my thing. Personally, I’d be willing to bet my retirement fund that the quotes are accurate. (As of this morning there were 28 comments and none denied the quotes.)

  249. Joseph: One guy claimed he made the whole thing up, but it may be a joke.

    Regarding the “decision””: If it’s unreported, it doesn’t count. I think we have some fabulism going on here.

  250. I asked you not to discuss specific individuals. Omitting his name is still discussing him.

  251. gil – i did my best to describe the situation as you requested. obviously not good enough and hence the deletion again. its your blog and censor if you wish (i tried to discuss the issue and its circumstances). hard to do that without some background – oh well this issue is worthy of discussion especially item number 8 on the my list.
    shabbat shalom

  252. gil – my only request is if you delete something – show it being deleted.

  253. re In Gd they trust article…

    “Similarly, though they eat kosher food, they don’t approve of the rabbinate’s policy of withholding kashrut certificates from restaurants that are otherwise kosher but remain open on Shabbat.”

    Statements like this, to me show a complete lack of understanding of the situation. People think that if a place is kosher it should be kosher, and they don’t like non-kosher issues influencing if a place is kosher or not. This is the “sephardic” Mesorati practice of being observant in pillars, and not in layers. Someome might be very machmir in Kashrut, but very relaxed regarding Shabbat.

  254. Practical: Who’s gonna supervise on Shabbat?

  255. ruvie: i did my best to describe the situation as you requested

    No, you described this specific situation without mentioning a name. I asked you to talk about the issue in general. Defaming someone based on allegations is improper even if you don’t use a name. We know who you are talking about.

    gil – my only request is if you delete something – show it being deleted.

    Sorry, too complicated. There’s a delete button and I use it.

  256. So now hearing women *talk* is no good? Lord.

  257. abba's rantings

    NACHUM:

    “Practical: Who’s gonna supervise on Shabbat?”

    the same people who supervise factories, hotels, catering halls, dunkin donoughts, etc. on shabbat

  258. Joseph Kaplan

    “Joseph: One guy claimed he made the whole thing up, but it may be a joke.”

    I saw that but didn’t take it seriously.

    “Regarding the “decision””: If it’s unreported, it doesn’t count. I think we have some fabulism going on here.”

    While it wouldn’t be binding, it might count as an indication of how a court would view the PNA. But that would depend on what the court said. So I’m resreving decision until I see the decision if MMHY sends it to me.

  259. “the same people who supervise factories, hotels, catering halls, dunkin donoughts, etc. on shabbat”

    And all those places will be staffed by non-Jews?

  260. Nachum: So now hearing women *talk* is no good?

    How are the female soldiers dressed?

    Regardless, the IDF promised these soldiers certain standards and are now going back on those promises. The entire Charedi community is watching this closely and learning not to trust the IDF leadership.

  261. Regardless, the IDF promised these soldiers certain standards and are now going back on those promises.
    ====================================
    while I think the no women lecturers requirement is unnecessary and counterproductive, I have to agree with R’Gil that if you commit to something you have to live up to it.
    KT

  262. “So now hearing women *talk* is no good? Lord.”

    Didn’t you know that women are the Devil? 😛

  263. How was she *dressed* Gil? Come on, she was a soldier, she was in uniform. Of course, anti-IDF types like Yaakov Mencken are convinced that female Israeli soldiers wear miniskirts, and they’re entitled to their fantasies, but facts are facts.

  264. Nachum: If she was in an IDF uniform (i.e. pants), perhaps with the sleeves rolled up and a button open, then I can further understand why Charedim would object to having to look at her for a long period of time while she lectured them. They have certain standards which they were told they would not have to compromise in the IDF. If the IDF demands religious compromise, they should make that clear to all who choose to enlist.

  265. I have to say that on the one hand, the fear of listening to a female lecture is just ridiculous. OTOH, the IDF seems to be doing a lot of “davka” lately…

  266. There’s been a lot of talk about what the IDF “promised.” Were the promoses oral or in writing. If the former, did anyone here actuallu hear them and if so can they tell us exactly what was promised. If in writing, does anyone have them and if so can we be given the actual promise language.

  267. Joseph,

    That’s what you do when you want to get OUT of a promise.

  268. aiwac, I may be slow this morning but I don’t get your comment.

  269. Lawrence Kaplan

    Joseph: I guess I’m slow too.

  270. “Joseph: I guess I’m slow too.”

    People only ask for the details of a promise, when they are trying to get out of it.

  271. “Nachum: So now hearing women *talk* is no good?

    How are the female soldiers dressed?”

    Oh please, you know the issue is that the woman has a higher authority than the man she is instructing.

  272. Avi: you know the issue is that the woman has a higher authority than the man she is instructing

    I don’t believe that is the problem with a one-time instructor but I allow for being wrong on this.

  273. No details, but apparently there are detailed guidelines:

    http://www.nahalharedi.org/nahal_haredi_working_with_the_israeli_army.php

    Nahal Haredi has well-defined recruitment guidelines as outlined by both the IDF and Ministry of Defense and subsidizes many of its recruitment activities.

  274. “People only ask for the details of a promise, when they are trying to get out of it.”

    Or intelligent people who are trying to determine if there is truth to claims that are being made.

    “No details, but apparently there are detailed guidelines”

    Great. So do can of those who have accused the IDF of violating the “promises” give us the specific guideline(s) that have been violated.

  275. ““People only ask for the details of a promise, when they are trying to get out of it.”

    Or intelligent people who are trying to determine if there is truth to claims that are being made.”

    Ok, still not getting his point.

    If I make a promise to someone, and the other person thinks I promised to do X, but I only technically said Y and Z (Where X might be implied from Y and Z), then a normal person would still feel bound by X even though it was listed, because of good faith. If you are try to avoid doing X, then you would argue, “but I only said Y and Z”.

    So in this case, there is a general understanding of a promise that Charedim can be in the army without breaking their understandings of Halacha or the understandings of the community that they come from. Only if you are trying to go back on that level of acceptance, would you look at the details of said promise.

  276. Lawrence Kaplan

    Avi:If the army and the Haredim only agreed to a “general understanding” both parties were fools asking for trouble, whch I highly doubt to be the case. As Gil pointed out, I am sure is rhe case, there were detailed guidelines, which, of course, could still leave room for ambiguous situations.

  277. Prof. Kaplan,

    Whatever understandings they arrived at in the beginning regarding women are now moot because of the public pressure and outcry about women. What that means for the future of Haredi enlistment is not clear.

  278. Joseph Kaplan

    “So in this case, there is a general understanding of a promise that Charedim can be in the army without breaking their understandings of Halacha or the understandings of the community that they come from.”

    The trouble with “general understandings” is that the two sides to those understandings often have very different ideas of what the understandings are. I don’t know if you ever bought a house or entered into a business partnership with someone, but if you did my guess is that you didn’t have a “general understanding” with the buyer or the partner as to the terms of the transaction; you had a detailed contract that spelled those terms out so there would be no dispute later as to what the understanding was. And, in my experience (which is pretty extensive in this area), when people do have “general understandings” because, for example, “I’ve known him for 20 years; I trust him,” it’s more likely than not that the relationship will end badly if not in litigation. So, it’s not only people who want to get out of obligations who ask for specifics; it’s intelligent people who have experience in dealing with others.

    To give an example about the issue we’re discussing. You say that “there is a general understanding of a promise that Charedim can be in the army without breaking their understandings of Halacha or the understandings of the community that they come from.” Well, does that include that they could wear their normal regalia, including black hat, and not an army uniform? Does it mean that they can learn 10 hours a day because that is what they believe halacha demands? Does it mean giving them 2 hours to daven because that’s what they need for proper kavannah? My guess is that most of those reading this discussion would say “no,” but why would it be outlandish for someone to claim: well, that’s their and their community’s understanding of halacha. But when you have detailed guidelines, that that’s what you follow. Everybody knows the rules; misunderstandings are greatly reduced.

    So, I actually do get the point; I just don’t agree with it. I therefore renew my request, if anyone knows, what the actual guidelines say about these issues so we can have a better understanding of which side, if any, broke any promises.

  279. If I may propose a brief interview I recently did with Dr. Shai Secunda for my blog as part of the link bank:

    http://aiwac.wordpress.com/2012/02/08/orthodoxy-and-academic-talmud-qa-with-shai-secunda/

  280. aiwac, I get the feeling- just a feeling, mind- that most of these issues are caused by chardalim. The charedim in the IDF are already in cherem, many cut off from their families, many in the IDF as a “last chance.” I get the feeling many of them don’t care.

    I also get the feeling the IDF may be pushing buttons because of what’s going on in Bet Shemesh and on buses.

  281. ‘I also get the feeling the IDF may be pushing buttons because of what’s going on in Bet Shemesh and on buses’

    I just said that.

  282. aiwac – nice interview (read it the other day). do you know of any articles that give a detailed review of the state talmud scholarship in the last 30 years – where it was, what has been rejected and why etc

  283. r’ aiwac,
    Do you disagree with everything Shai Secunda said?

    I think “If the goal is towards understanding Hazal as they were and not as some twentieth century rosh yeshiva conceived of them, then academic Talmud is a great way to get there. I hasten to add that I think there is value to understanding that hypothetical twentieth century rosh yeshiva – but it is an endeavor separate from understanding the Talmud.” is certainly true. I wrestle with why there is no percieved value to uncovering what chazal really thought.
    KT

  284. aiwac — your followup post (The Darker Side) was well below your analytic skills. The interview was (and is) deserving of a more thoughtful response.

  285. IH,

    The follow-up post regarded a comment, not the interview itself. I thought I made that clear.

  286. Ruvie,

    No idea. Sorry.

    Joel,

    I’ll be writing up a proper response some time next week. I certainly agree with the passage you quoted.

  287. Just as a prelude:

    I disagree with the argument about gemara ed. in high school suffering because of anti-intellectualism. I think there are different factors involved.

    I also think that much of what gets done in academia is more of a “hechsher mitzvah” for understanding than the mitzvah itself.

    Those are two of my main quibbles.

    It was a lot of fun doing this, though. I’d like to get the chance to do more such Q&As.

  288. “was well below your analytic skills”

    I’m flattered you think so highly of me. 🙂

  289. Sorry, aiwac- missed that you’d made the point.

  290. By the way, I suppose if you told a Bet Shemesh hooligan spitting at some girl that his actions were exacerbating tensions in the IDF and could potentially lower charedi participation, he’d say, “Good!”

    As Alfred Pennyworth says in The Dark Knight, some people just want to see the world burn. R’ Rakeffet says there are rich “charedim” in Belgium who increase donations every time some idiot in Meah Shearim gets into trouble or (to be specific) some Sephardi girl gets kept out of a school. They just want to see Israel burn.

  291. Nachum,

    How dare you insult the Joker!!!!!

  292. aiwac – “I also think that much of what gets done in academia is more of a “hechsher mitzvah” for understanding than the mitzvah itself.”

    learning text is learning – talmud torah. does not matter how you do it or with what tools or whether it was done before that way (otherwise brisk, hasidic and other modes should be put in the same boat).

  293. Ruvie,

    There’s a big difference between talmud torah and objective analyses and deconstruction of texts. Not saying academia doesn’t contribute, but these are two different animals.

  294. aiwac – if you are learning, studying, or analyzing text does it really matter how you do it as long as you do it? i am perplexed that you would differentiate for limud torah. its all good as they say – but maybe not your cup of tea like the brisker derech was when introduced.

  295. Ruvie,

    OK, let me try a different tack – for me, academic study is what you do in university. Talmud Torah is what you do in the Beth Midrash. Academic research takes place in a university. You can bring it into the Beth Midrash to assist Talmud Torah, but its primary incubator lays outside.

    I hope that makes sense.

  296. Ruvie — I think that is telegraphed in aiwac’s question about “pitfalls”.

  297. As with Academic Bible Scholarship, aiwac seems to be simultaneously fascinated and terrified by Academic Talmud. While this has been a subtext in many of the discussions we’ve had on Hirhurim, it is plainly framed in his question to Shai Secunda:

    Although not as difficult as dealing with academic Bible study, many believe that academic study of Talmud, Rishonim and Achronim contains very serious pitfalls to a committed Orthodox Jew.

    What are those pitfalls? How may one overcome or deal with those pitfalls? Lastly, in your experience, what is more common among Orthodox students with regards to faith and attitude towards halacha – crises, no change, or an increase in religiosity?

    With Secunda’s answer, perhaps aiwac now has a vehicle to more thoughtfully articulate his attraction/repulsion dilemma.

    [I would not have made this comment here, were it not for aiwac opening the discussion to the post on his blog. My comment is direct and pointed, but is not intended to be disrespectful; quuite the contrary actually!]

  298. “As with Academic Bible Scholarship, aiwac seems to be simultaneously fascinated and terrified by Academic Talmud”

    Actually, academic Talmud in and of itself doesn’t bother me in the slightest; what bothers me is the kind of irreverant, disrespectful attitude I mentioned in “The Darker Side”. I was happy to learn that Secunda doesn’t share this attitude.

    My issue isn’t the scholarship itself. It’s the fact that many who are exposed to it become cynical, bitter and haughty towards the whole edifice. That was the point of my question.

    “As with Academic Bible Scholarship”

    Everything except for Higher Criticism doesn’t bother me; quite the contrary. In particular, I find the comparison of the Bible to other ancient Near East civilizations to be fascinating and enlightening.

    “perhaps aiwac now has a vehicle to more thoughtfully articulate his attraction/repulsion dilemma”

    Nah. I’ll save that for my therapist…:P

  299. aiwac – my point was simple . you diiferentiate between the learning or studying done in academic talmud and one that is done in the beit midrash. my understanding that they are both limud torah with no qualification.
    my comment cam after you statement of :

    “I also think that much of what gets done in academia is more of a “hechsher mitzvah” for understanding than the mitzvah itself.”

    maybe i misunderstood this quote. i assume the mitzvah is talmud or limud torah which is not limited to talmud. you seem to qualify academic talmud as “hescher mitzvah” which my assumption – not sure what you mean here – is a lower level or maybe not really the mitzvah of “lasok bedivrei torah” that we say every morning. that is why i commented. maybe you can explain what i misunderstood.

  300. aiwac — ok, but a reminder that the very first verbal tussle we had here was your major stated concern about increasing the functions women could perform in shul was that it might lead to “male flight”.

  301. “my understanding that they are both limud torah with no qualification”

    That is not the case. Beth Midrash study comes with certain assumptions about the Torah, the purpose of the study and a religious sense of fulfillment. University study CAN be such, but it rarely is. I don’t know many religious Jewish Studies scholars who really approach academic study in such a frame of mind and don’t just pay it lip service. This is not a mark against academia; it’s how the university SHOULD conduct itself – in an objective and detached manner. But Talmud Torah, it ain’t.

    ‘maybe i misunderstood this quote’

    Think the critical editions of Rishonim and Achronim which are often in the Beth Midrash itself. Someone pored over manuscripts to ensure that he would publish the most accurate account. This work certainly made better Talmud Torah possible, but I don’t see it as Talmud Torah in and of itself (at the very least, most people would find such work unbearably dull). The same goes for pretty much every form of textual-critical scholarship. It can be one of the foundations, but it’s not the building.

  302. IH,

    מה עניין שמיטה להר סיני?

    What does a contemporary sociological phenomenon have to do with academic humanistic study of texts?

  303. Beth Midrash study comes with certain assumptions about the Torah, the purpose of the study and a religious sense of fulfillment.

    That is highly aspirational. Reality is far more pedestrian.

    מה עניין שמיטה להר סיני?

    Personality shapes how we respond.

  304. “That is highly aspirational. Reality is far more pedestrian”

    Yes, but in my experience in both worlds, one is far more likely to succeed in this aspiration in the Beth Midrash than in the academy. But that’s just me.

    “Personality shapes how we respond”

    Maybe yes, maybe no. But “male flight” is a well-documented phenomenon in both non-Orthodox Jewish and non-Jewish denominations that have embraced egalitarian attitudes. So my point about the dangers involved stands regardless of my persona.

  305. ‘one is far more likely to succeed in this aspiration in the Beth Midrash than in the academy’

    Which, BTW, is why I believe that מחקר should be brought into the בית מדרש for the purposes of תלמוד תורה. Rav Yehuda Brandes is an excellent example of someone who has done so with great success.

  306. aiwac – “But Talmud Torah, it ain’t.”

    i would like someone to opine on the halachik dimension here (not looking for opinions). did the rabbis differentiate in this mitzvah? i can see it denigrate in you learning isn’t talmud torah from the hareidi world to the mo world. but that is not the topic. does one who engages in academic talmud study or research also mikayam the mitzvah of limud torah or lasuk bidivrei torah?
    reb gil ?

  307. “i can see it denigrate in you learning isn’t talmud torah from the hareidi world to the mo world”

    I don’t understand this sentence.

  308. aiwac – disregard it. your approach to what is limud torah for the mitzvah to be accomplish is the question.
    that remark of mine was that i could see some folks in some circles questioning other folks learning because its not frum learning.

    the question stands as an halachik question – whether your statement is correct from that viewpoint. i do not think so but can be wrong. i wonder when avraham groosman pored over al those sheilot v’teshuvot of the middle ages – is that not limud torah or whem haym solvetchik did the same in analyzing the wine merchant business? is one attitude meaningful in fulfilling this mitzvah?

  309. Ruvie,

    I didn’t say that it CAN’T be like that. There are certainly people who are mekayem the mitzva that way (and Grossman and Secuna are among those people). I’m just saying that that’s not its main purpose and goal.

    Most people don’t do academic study of the Jewish past in the frame of mind and aspirations of Talmud Torah, whereas everyone who goes to the Beit Midrash goes in that frame of mind, even if they don’t succeed. It’s a question of initial goals and objectives.

  310. aiwac -“Most people don’t do academic study of the Jewish past in the frame of mind and aspirations of Talmud Torah….It’s a question of initial goals and objectives.”

    my point is so what? you implied in your remark “hecsher mitzvah” some less than limud torah. i am asking an halachik question pertaining to your statement. its really simple : is it or is it not the same limud torah when dealing with fulfilling the mitzvah? if it is then your statement is incorrect or a biased opinion. i can understand that one’s intentions may be different between the two categories – its immaterial to the question of fulfilling the mitzvah or not.

  311. Ruvie,

    Calm down.

    ‘you implied in your remark “hecsher mitzvah” some less than limud torah’

    I pointed specifically to manuscript redaction and editing in that light. I stand by that statement.

    Other forms of study are different (such as study of realia, comp. religions of the time &c), but Secunda was referring primarily to textual criticism.

  312. MiMedinat HaYam

    1. who will supervise the kashrut on shabat? — those (american) businesses that open on shabat and are supervised are not jewish owned (supposedly.) of course, israeli and american standards are different. even OU israel standards are not Ou american standards, though they looked into it a few yaers ago, they didnt come out with a real clarification.

    2. the unreported case is not technically binding, as mentioned, but its clear there is a pblm the RCA chooses to deny (just like they deny the complete halachic acceptability of it. not so clear. many accept, many oppose, many chamge their minds overtime, like RNZG whom PNA advocates cite allthe time, but neglect his disclaimers.)

    ask the rca about the securities litigator case in bergen county, which the RCa client lost. (the case was later settled favorably to both sides. it was an overblown issue of immediate aguna; when cooler heads prevailed, it was settled quickly.)

  313. Re link about Modern Orthodox leaders referring to Sen Leiberman-during the 2000 campaign Lieberman would state, that he was an observant Jew, not an Orthodox Jew..

  314. Okay, the singing thing I get. Humra? Inflexible? Disrespecful? Arguably. Still, kol isha is at least a legitimate halakhic issue. But talking? Since when is there any halakhic problem with listening to a woman TALK?

    “No, Israel Isn’t Turning Into An Iran-Style Theocracy.” Well, obviously. In Iran women are allowed to talk. This is more like Saudi-style theocracy.

    Speaking of Iran, why bother with nukes? Just find out where these Nahal Haredi jokers are stationed, and send in a women’s brigade.

  315. Joseph Kaplan

    ” the unreported case is not technically binding, as mentioned, but its clear there is a pblm the RCA chooses to deny (just like they deny the complete halachic acceptability of it. not so clear. many accept, many oppose, many chamge their minds overtime, like RNZG whom PNA advocates cite allthe time, but neglect his disclaimers.)

    ask the rca about the securities litigator case in bergen county,”

    I don’t want to ask the RCA about the securities litigator case; don’t change cases. You made a claim about a certain case and I asked you for a copy of it. What can/should I infer from the fact that you haven’t emailed me a copy?

  316. ‘“male flight” is a well-documented phenomenon in both non-Orthodox Jewish and non-Jewish denominations that have embraced egalitarian attitudes.’

    It is not seen in the charismatic evangelical churches such as the Assemblies of God who have been ordaining female clergy in large numbers for a century.

    “Who’s gonna supervise on Shabbat?”

    Lots of kosher restaurants in America are open on Shabat, not to mention almost every food processing factory certified by the major kashrut agencies. If we can deal with it, so can Israel.

    “hearing women *talk* is no good?”

    Correct. Here is the Tanaitic source:

    “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.” – NT 1 Timothy 2:12.

  317. ‘It is not seen in the charismatic evangelical churches such as the Assemblies of God who have been ordaining female clergy in large numbers for a century.’

    Even if so, it’s the exception that proves the rule.

  318. Charlie, those are, ahem, charismatic evangelical churches, whose members are “turned on.” What’s the story in “mainline” liberal Christianity?

    Oh, right: They’re just dying.

    I do think that LWMO will fare better here than Conservatism or Reform did, because the membership is a self-selecting group of people serious about Judaism. On the other hand, it will probably never grow to be more than a fringe for the same or similar reasons.

    “Lots of kosher restaurants in America are open on Shabat, not to mention almost every food processing factory certified by the major kashrut agencies.”

    “Lots” of restaurants? Really? Name two or three. (Not those Indian places on the East Side.)

    As to said above (this is addressed to MeMedinat as well), one problem Israel has is less non-Jews to run the place on Shabbat, and I suppose more Jews to pay for their food on Shabbat.

  319. ““Lots” of restaurants? Really? Name two or three. (Not those Indian places on the East Side.)”

    Why are the Indian places exempt?

    Does coffee bean count as 1 Restaurant or 830?

  320. Re Religios soldiers file complaint on IDF-How much of this apparent tension is due to either heightened sensitivity on one side-or fundamental fear on the other side of a potential IDF problem and thus being extra vigilant of testing following orders is an interesting question.

  321. “I do think that LWMO will fare better here than Conservatism or Reform did, because the membership is a self-selecting group of people serious about Judaism.”

    This, of course, is the critical point that is missed by those who point to the studies to argue that allowing women positions of power will drive Orthodox Jews out of shul.

    “On the other hand, it will probably never grow to be more than a fringe for the same or similar reasons.”

    Perhaps; time will tell.

  322. ““Lots” of restaurants? Really? Name two or three. (Not those Indian places on the East Side”

    Aren’t the “kosher” “Dunkin Donuts” open on Shabbos?

  323. OK, chains, yes. But it’s hardly high gourmet there, and everything tends to be from a central location.

    Avi, there are some Indian vegetarian places in New York that have hechsherim that are not widely accepted. On the other hand, R’ David Horowitz once gave a Kollel Yom Rishon shiur about a trip to Japan by YU students. He said that in the case where the owner of the place is “kosher” for his *own* religious reasons (Hindu, Buddhist, maybe Muslim?), he has more ne’emanut.

  324. abba's rantings

    “A Moral Case For Brit Milah”

    very, very weak.

  325. abba's rantings

    ” learned that the medieval church and state demanded that Jews wear black at all times”

    baloney

  326. abba's rantings

    “Concern for the safety of our military men and women and gratitude for their sacrifice is expressed weekly in more than 600 Jewish congregations throughout the country that recite a special prayer composed and implemented a decade ago.”

    i was once in a shul in west orange that recited a prayer for the US military and the gabbai listed those killed in duty the previous week. i thought it was very moving. but don;t recall ever being to any other shul that recites this prayer. it’s not a bad idea, especially for all the frum jews who are generally war hawks. of course we’d never send our own kids to fight the wars we clamor for. the least we can do is a 2-minute prayer once a week.

  327. R’ Abba,
    When/Why were you in WO (the vilna of essex county?) We still do it and those of us of a certain age remember when channel 5 would scroll down the losses of Viet Nam. A small price to pay to remind us who is paying the price of our freedom.
    KT

  328. Chuck Colson and R’ Meir – boy does HKB”H have an ironic sense of humor.
    KT

  329. and what is sad, even though I’m sure there are good reasons for it, the article couldn’t come up with a Jewish example parallel to the catholic hospitals or the prison fellowship.
    KT

  330. MiMedinat HaYam

    “Here is the Tanaitic source:

    “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.” – NT 1 Timothy 2:12.”

    isnt in pirkei avot? (not necessarily halachic)

    2. all those kosher DD, other stores (and i’m pretty sure the indian places) etc etc are owned by non jews. same with food manufacturing business (supposedly.) but some carvels that participate in the “kosher pgm” are owned by jews. dont know how the (unnamed major agency) rationalizes those.

    nachum — yes, israel (and chicago) is different.

    (one posek of a local vaad told me i can buy bagels in the jewish owned bagel shop as long as its not motzei shabat. the ingredients are kosher (he checks, unofficially; he himself buys), no oil pblms, take a piece for chalah on your own, and his bagels are so good, he never leaves overnite, so shabat is not a pblm. chometz is.)

    3. the securities lawyer is that case. i cant email you the case, for client’s privacy reasons.

  331. An obvious solution is to get employers out of the healthcare insurance business…

  332. and for all you actuaries out there you might be interested in doing a better job than Secretary Sebelius why it won’t cost insurance companies (rather than faith based organizations BTW what about self insured plans) more to pay for contraceptive coverage? I suppose that’s why all insurance companies forced clients to provide such coverage as a cost savings device?
    KT

  333. On the verses in 1 Timothy, see the annotations in: http://tinyurl.com/6qvzfln which notes the Bavli analogue to the NT context.

  334. MiMedinat HaYam

    joel rich — hatzalah, jewish family svc, bikur cholim orgs, kosher meals on wheels, many federation pgms, kosher sr citizen pgms in nyc,

    i think thats a mix of O and secular jewish orgs that get $ from federal (filtered to local agencies) and state pgms. not to mention major jewish hospitals of completely secular jewish management.

  335. “IH on February 10, 2012 at 2:12 pm
    An obvious solution is to get employers out of the healthcare insurance business…”

    Good God! Something I agree with IH about!

  336. “joel rich on February 10, 2012 at 11:08 am
    and what is sad, even though I’m sure there are good reasons for it, the article couldn’t come up with a Jewish example parallel to the catholic hospitals or the prison fellowship.”

    Actually, Jews have been incredibly generous in creating and funding hospitals in America. There are many hospitals named Jewish Hospital, or Mount Sinai, or something like that throughout the country.

    The main differences are that (a) the Jewish community is not organized the same way as the Catholic Church is, so the hospitals are not associated with a religious organization and (b) the hospitals are not particularly “religious” (in the sense of feeling bound by religious dogma or law) and hence there is less chance for friction with the law of the land.

  337. “the securities lawyer is that case. i cant email you the case, for client’s privacy reasons.”

    This type of case is absolutely meaningless, no matter what it says, to anyone other the parties involved. Raising it in the discussion was simply to cast unsupported and unverifiable aspersions on the RCA PNA. Meaningless.

  338. MiMedinat HaYam

    joel r — in our new jersey, there are no (real) insurance plans. everything is (effectively) self insured. and there are no (real) individ plans.

    solution (like IH / tal say) get rid of the front loaded commission the agent / broker makes (its a legacy of life ins; why does it still exist in life, i dont know).

    of course, it wont work — everyone will complain “my employer wont give me ins anymore.” imagine the teachers unions on that one!

    2. tal — but the jewish management of those hospitals are always comletely secular jews. not even the O maimonides in BP is religious jewish managed (though many doctors are).

    historical note — mt sinai in manhattan (and others) was formed for the sole reason that jewish doctors couldnt get jobs (quotas, etc against jews). not necessarily to provide medical care.

  339. MiMedinat HaYam

    re 2 above — i dont mean the secular jews are improper. i mean just that they do not act in accordance with our jewish values. (liberalism is not a jewish value. it may be a value, but not a jewish value.)

  340. “In the face of intense criticism, including denunciations by Catholic priests in Sunday sermons, Barack Obama announced insurers would have to pay for free contraception when church-run hospitals, charities and universities refused to do so.”

    http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/101f0d64-5400-11e1-8d12-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1m0qD9mKW

  341. MiMedinat HaYam

    what about a church insurance co? (lutherans have that, part of their investment “mission”)

  342. The Catholic church serves the physical needs of those who are not necessarily Catholic or religious.

    Secular Jews serve the physical needs of those who are not necessarily Jewish or secular.

    Orthodox organizations by and large only serve Orthodox Jews’ physical needs, while many Orthodox Jews enjoy (and in Israel demand) that their physical needs be supported by secular Jews and non-Jews.

    Many Orthodox Jews have what my Republican friends would call an “entitlement mentality.”

  343. MiMedinat HaYam

    actually, the ny catholic church has a family oriented health ins co. heavily federally subsidized (i think its the tobacco settlement $)

  344. “what about a church insurance co? (lutherans have that, part of their investment “mission”)”

    I don’t think Lutherans object to providing contraception.

  345. MiMedinat HaYam

    observer — though i agree with your stmt, few non jews need kosher food, or jobs for jewish doctors. ditto brac research, tay sachs, etc.

    the board of mt sinai hospital, for over 100 years refused to have a kosher kitchen. r spirn (jewish chaplain) only convinced them just before he left, and since he left, they emasculated his position of jewish chaplain.

    the name “jewish childrens hospital” in denver is always followed by the words “not a jewish hospital”

  346. Hatzalah is not only about Shabbos. Its also about not having to wait for an ambulence to go to the emergency room. Why doesn’t it serve everyone?

    Where are the orthodox hospitals that serve everyone?

    Where are the orthodox shelters for battered women that take in everyone?

    Where are the orthodox drug programs that help everyone?

    Have you ever heard of an orthodox charity organization whose pitch is that they are going to provide services for jews and non-Jews alike?

  347. For the record, Hatzalah serves everyone who calls.

  348. But does Hatzalah ever promote their services to non-Jews as well?

  349. re: black hat wedding and the photo therein. is it just that my world is “broadening” as it were or are opaque deck-tichels becoming more common? can we possibly believe that rivkah covered her eyes with a towel? is this in general part of the “the more fabric on a woman the better” trend?

  350. ‘This, of course, is the critical point that is missed by those who point to the studies to argue that allowing women positions of power will drive Orthodox Jews out of shul’

    No, as IH will undoubtedly point out, in my original discussion with him I specifically argued that the problem was whosesale integration in the MO communities, not the self-selection of a minority.

  351. “of course we’d never send our own kids to fight the wars we clamor for”

    My shul in Queens has a number of sons in the US military. FYI.

  352. “What is certain is that cases in which the moral indignation of the judge is aroused frequently make bad law”

    Is it Justice Holmes who stated words similar to that anyone who engages in equity is guilty of sloppy legal thinking.

  353. “Nachum on February 11, 2012 at 12:53 pm
    “of course we’d never send our own kids to fight the wars we clamor for”

    My shul in Queens has a number of sons in the US military. FYI”

    Currently has a few serving active duty in the US military as combat soldiers?

  354. “Hirhurim on February 10, 2012 at 3:58 pm
    For the record, Hatzalah serves everyone who calls.”

    raiti paam hamisparim shelahem bivrit al dvarim kesherim.

  355. abba's rantings

    NACHUM:

    “My shul in Queens has a number of sons in the US military. FYI.”

    in combat, or as chaplains, stateside doctors, etc.?
    in any case, do you think your shul is typical?

  356. “Nothing could be further from the truth. The Catholic Church’s teaching on contraception (not to mention abortion and surgical sterilization) has been clear, consistent and public. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’s decision would force Catholic institutions either to violate the moral teachings of the Catholic Church or abandon the health-care, education and social services they provide the needy. This is intolerable.

    And while most evangelicals take a more permissive view of contraception, they share with Catholics the moral conviction that the taking of human life in utero, whether surgically or by abortifacient drugs, violates the basic human right to life. Evangelical nonprofits such as Prison Fellowship would therefore also have to choose between violating their consciences or paying fines that would ultimately destroy their ability to help the people they are committed to helping.

    Even worse than the financial impact is the breach of faith represented by Ms. Sebelius’s decision. Her notion of an “appropriate balance” between religious freedom and “increasing access” to “important preventive services” stands the First Amendment on its head.”

    Misleading doubletalk the Do the Catholic Institutions when they receive federal aid state that they only admit Catholics, hire only Catholic staff?
    Of course not. Nothing stopping a ture sectarian institution from doing what it wants -but one can’t have it both ways claim to be a religious institution while demanding government aid as a nonsectarian instiutution. BTW-I believe the original plan wasdumb politically but that odes not take away from the misleading arguments sproutedabout freedom of religion.