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Agudath Israel gets surveillance cameras
When Rabbis Muzzle Sex Crime Victims, What’s a Prosecutor to Do?
Why Reb Nachman of Breslov Is So Relevant Today
Israelis from FSU very connected to religious ritual
AG reluctant to prosecute ‘King’s Torah’ authors
Interfaith dialogue nothing new for Jews
R Y Horowitz: What’s the Deal with These Protestors?
Rabbis Side with Catholics, Urge Obama to Drop Mandate
R. Shimon b. Tzemach Duran’s Encyclopedia
SALT Friday
Full video of Internet Asifa
Open Orthodoxy: The Next Generation (And The RCA)
Will New Hebrew School Model Help Or Undermine Synagogues?
Ultra-Orthodox council may abolish discriminatory wedding officiation rules
Staying Awake Shavuot Night
The Ten Commandments of America’s Jews
Sleepless on Shavuot
Religious Zionist rabbis: The awakening
Prosecutor Seeks to Force Rabbis to Report on Abuse
Haredi politician’s failure to shake hands riles female Belgian minister
Rav Lichtenstein takes on R Benny Lau (Hebrew)
Steinsaltz Talmud available in English
R Maroof Review of Koren English Talmud
SALT Thursday
Haredi Event On Internet Dangers Draws Thousands Of Participants (I’m quoted)
Yeshiva College Overhauls Curriculum
Lakewood Yeshiva Ban On Internet at home (unless needed for income and approved by a senior rabbi and only when filtered) or on telephones (even if filtered)
R Shalom Carmy: Liberalism and Judaism ($)
Study: Jewish identity key to successful absorption in Israel
R Steinsaltz: If Passover is the question, Shavuot is the answer
When Rabbis Start Educating the Soldiers
Orthodox Insist Abuse Claims Go to Rabbis
Brooklyn congregation wins $250,000 preservation grant
What Women’s Media Needs to Know About Chassidic Women
(F)rum Runners
R Meir Soloveichik: Morality, Not Theology
Ethiopian chief rabbi welcomes Torah’s translation
Steinsaltz Talmud available in English
Non-Orthodox movements continue making inroads in Israel
R YY Schochet: Should the Internet Be Banned? Read It Here…Online!
SALT Wednesday
Italy’s Torah Day limited to men
The Asifa and Centrist Orthodoxy
YU Shavuot-to-Go
Why Orthodox Jews should stay out of the same-sex marriage debate
Day in the life of a frum dairy farmer
Drs. Jones & Pelcovitz: Keeping Our Children Safe Online
Teach children to be their own Internet filters
Orthodox conversions in Israel down dramatically, study shows
Jewish bookstores writing new chapters in competition with Internet
Netanyahu receives grandfather’s letter to Rabbi Kook
Excruciating details emerge on Jewish ghettos
Masterful Coalition Building Of Specific Charedi Blocks Filled Citi Field
Female reporter sneaks into Asifa
Tilting at Windmills? My attempt to make sense of the Asifa
SALT Tuesday
I Want to Say Thank You, But Cannot Find the Words
Rabbi Yonason Sacks Appointed Rosh Yeshiva At Landers
Super Frum Internet Filter
Funniest Tweets From Citi Field Anti-Internet Asifa
At 40,000-person rally, Haredi Orthodox rabbis decry dangers of Internet
Don’t Be Intimidated By The Internet
The Asifa is Done: I Was Fooled
At Least 50 Thousand Haredim Assemble to Decry Dangers of the Internet
Ultra-Orthodox Jews Hold Rally on Internet at Citi Field
Haredi Draft Could Cause Gender Issue
Should one recite Hallel on Jerusalem Day
OU’s ‘Torah Tidbits’ turns 20
Abuse Among the Orthodox: Bad News, Good News
From Circumcision To Molestation, How the Ultra-Orthodox Place Children At Risk
Catholics must accept Vatican II, including on Judaism, cardinal says
SALT Monday
Prior news & links posts
Rules: link

About Gil Student

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

278 comments

  1. Though there is no evidence that such abuse occurs more frequently among the Orthodox than in other populations…

    I have never understood this. If sexual abuse occurs at the same frequency among the Orthodox than in other populations, this is an existence proof that the edifice of halachic fences to guard against the sexual yetzer ha’ra don’t work. Sometimes too much is just as bad as nothing.

  2. http://lifeinisrael.blogspot.com/2012/05/rav-shteinmans-bet-shemesh-speech-makes.html#comment-form

    Hard to know what to make of this. One senses the speaker feels there is a life and death struggle between Torah only and anything else.
    KT

  3. IH: No, it means that on the margins the fences don’t work. The question is the effect on the mainstream.

  4. The rally in Citi Field on Sunday was sponsored by a rabbinical group, Ichud Hakehillos Letohar Hamachane, that is linked to a software company that sells Internet filtering software to Orthodox Jews.
    =====================

    Is this true?
    KT

  5. Gil — Sorry, but I don’t understand your statistical analysis. If the percentage of X in the Orthodox population, is the same as in other populations; then being Orthodox is not significant for X.

    What am I getting wrong?

  6. Oh, I see the different in our views. I don’t see the distancing of genders as a measure to prevent just adultery and other deviances. It is to prevent good and normal people from straying even minimally — hirhurim assurim. That is the comparison you need to make with the general population.

  7. Is there any evidence to support that any of those sexual X’s are less prevalent in the Orthodox community than in others?

    Based on the available evidence, isn’t it reasonable to assume they are not?

  8. Further, Gil, isn’t it possible the belief that this edifice of fences must work a contributing factor to the “denial and worse”?

  9. IH,

    I don’t see what one has to do with another. Halacha doesn’t dictate biologically driven sexual deviance.

  10. biologically driven sexual deviance.

    ???

  11. Pedophilia and the like.

  12. Oh, I wasn’t aware these were proven to be biologically driven. If they are, then perhaps homosexuality is also biologically driven, no?

  13. Perhaps adultery also?

  14. In the Yeshiva Ketana in R’ Eisenman’s home town IIUC there is no mention of Yom Haatzmaut or Yom Yerushalayim.
    KT

  15. IH: That’s all speculation

  16. Abba's Rantings

    “Should one recite Hallel on Jerusalem Day”

    i think there is a good reason to celebrate a 6 Days War Day, but not davka Jerusalem Day.

  17. Took a quick look at the LCM schedule – they apparently have at least 1 history and 1 literature course. Anyone know what text’s they use?

    Most important factoid – Irv Bader teaches Phys. Ed. !!!! (good to see the heroes of my youth are still active)

    KT

  18. I mean late for Yom Ha’atzma’ut.

  19. I have never understood this. If sexual abuse occurs at the same frequency among the Orthodox than in other populations, this is an existence proof that the edifice of halachic fences to guard against the sexual yetzer ha’ra don’t work. Sometimes too much is just as bad as nothing.

    Sometimes I wonder whether you really don’t understand these things or are purposelly acting as a leitz.

    The gedraim enacted by the TOrah and extended by Chazal are meant to deal with normal, healthy sexual desire between the genders. In this area, yes I believe it is clear (although I know of no statistical study) that the incidence of zenus and adultery are less in the Orthodox population than in the general population.

    Sexual abuse, OTOH, deals mainly with pedophiles and other abusers who have serious psychological issues (whether genetic or created by the environment is irrelevant) and who generally act in a predatory or manipulative manner. As any expert will tell you a child abuser or other sexual predator is not simply a normal person with too much sex on his mind, he is someone deeply disturbed and dangerous. The general gedarim of the Torah and Chazal are not designed to deal with that situation.

    Finally, I don’t know who you are quoting, but all the person said was there is no evidence that there is a higher incidence of abuse among the Orthodox. The rate may well be lower or higher, the person simply does not know.

  20. Tal,

    Very good rebuttal. The problem, though, is not the rate of incidence but the very, very low rate of catching predators in the UO community.

  21. There was no mention of Yom Yerushalayim in R’ Eisenman’s own shul.

  22. The interesting fact about R’Sachs going to Lander College is that R’ Daniel Lander is also taking the RY title. Why? What does that mean? Will there be stronger integration between Ohr hachaim and Lander College?

  23. Aiwac — I don’t disagree with what you are saying, but that is not what IH said.

    As for what you are saying, it seems to me that way to deal with it is first to recognize that child abuse is a form of sickness. Most rabbonim, unless they are trained in psychology, are not trained in that area and at least need expert guidance to deal with it. I think most rabbonim, if someone came to them and said, “My child seems to be suffering from depression, what should I do?” would direct the person to a competent (probably frum) psychologist. Same thing should happen if someone suspects their child is being abused.

  24. R’ Former YU,
    I noticed they said tachanun, but I thought at least in years past they did say hallel at at least one minyan on Yom Haatzmaut. Am I misremembering.
    KT

  25. Abba's Rantings

    “From Circumcision To Molestation, How the Ultra-Orthodox Place Children At Risk”

    article leaves a bad taste

    (the complaint that chasidim flaunt the law by driving in the rain without headlights is a new one. weiss fancies himself an investigative reporter. instead of relying on an anonymous tipster who knows this to be true because he “drives all over the city,” how hard would it have been to spend an afternoon in boro park during a rainfall and see if its true)

  26. Abba's Rantings

    “I Want to Say Thank You, But Cannot Find the Words”

    i understand the premise of people who for various reasons don’t follow the RZ way of acknowledging/supporting the state but claim they do so in their own way. however, i don’t understand what “in their own way” translates into. my impression is generally it translates into nothing.
    e.g., the memorial siren is goyyish. the jewish way is to learn mishnayos etc. fine. so how many yeshivos have a seder dedicated le-iluy nishmasam?

  27. I did not daven there, and only heard about some of the minyanim (they have 9 on Sunday mornings). It was not noted on their calendar.

  28. “The gedraim enacted by the TOrah and extended by Chazal are meant to deal with normal, healthy sexual desire between the genders. In this area, yes I believe it is clear (although I know of no statistical study) that the incidence of zenus and adultery are less in the Orthodox population than in the general population.

    Sexual abuse, OTOH, deals mainly with pedophiles and other abusers who have serious psychological issues…”

    From an old news and link.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/10/nyregion/ultra-orthodox-jews-shun-their-own-for-reporting-child-sexual-abuse.html?_r=2&pagewanted=all

    “Mordechai Feinstein, 19, helped prompt the ruling by telling the Crown Heights religious court that he had been touched inappropriately at age 15 […]
    Mr. Feinstein, who is no longer religious, is starting a campaign to encourage more abuse victims to come forward. […]

    “The community is a garden; there are a lot of beautiful things about it,” Mr. Feinstein said. “We just have to help them weed out the garden and take out the things that don’t belong there.”’

    Pity it took a formerly frum to realize that.

  29. I had an essay published on the lack of any measurable effect of being the community that aspires to follow the Torah on the number of menuvalim and other criminals we produce.

    Watering the Weeds” is titled after a mashel from the Vilna Gaon’s Even Sheleimah. The Torah is compared to water, you can use it to nourish the plants in your garden. But if we don’t weed our gardens first, that water only helps us grow bigger and stronger weeds.

    Aside from the Gra, I quote a few gemaros, contrast the Gra and R’ Chaim Voloczhiner’s positions, and unlike many essays on this kind of topic, I try to end with positive suggestions rather than just identify problems for us to play “Ain’t It Awful” with.

  30. 1) “The Asifa is Done: I Was Fooled”

    Interesting article. I can’t wait to read the rest. What’s odd is that some of my Charedi friends took last nights asifa as being a tepid endorsement of the internet provided it’s got safeguards. I guess it’s a matter of perspective.

    2) For those celebrating yom yerushalayim as a yom tov sheni shel chu’l, here’s (I think) a very nice rendition of yerushalayim shel zahav that doesn’t even involve Naomi Shemer’s kol ishah.

  31. Oh, that link:

  32. shaul Shapira,

    “Interesting article. I can’t wait to read the rest. What’s odd is that some of my Charedi friends took last nights asifa as being a tepid endorsement of the internet provided it’s got safeguards. I guess it’s a matter of perspective.”

    I attended the asifa last night. Purchased tickets at the last minute and didn’t get in to citifield but watched and listened from AA stadium. I also read the above article and wasn’t while I would not go so far as to say that the author and I must have attended different events, he certainly walked away with a different perspective than I and the others who shared the train with me on the way home.
    It’s true that there were some extreme statements made over the course of the evening, but that was SO NOT the overall theme and definitely not the only message or even the dominant message. There were a few themes that were repeated multiple times throughout the evening:
    1 – We must listen to the gedolim who are warning against indiscriminate and irresponsible use of the internet.
    2 – No question that if one must use it for business purposes that he may, but if he does not need it in his home, try to avoid it.
    3 – Don’t be irresponsible with children and assume that even if there is a filter that they are safe. they’re not and one must be very responsible when it comes to technology.
    4 – Filters are part of the solution, but not the entire solution.
    5 – It’s not only porn – it’s the time-wasting, lashon harrah, and lack of tzniyus that are also problematic.
    6 – Even small steps in the right direction are precious and should be taken even if one is not capable of giving it up entirely or taking total control of a problem that he may have with the internet.
    7 – This is a huge challenge and not one that will easily be overcome but it’s not too late to try to be responsible about internet use.
    So, yes, there were some who took a more extreme approach, but what I wrote was said and repeated multiple times but multiple speakers. No one who was there that I spoke to felt that it was a repeat of the “internet ban” approach or that anyone who has is was being told that he’s headed to hell. It was an effort to be positive and encouraging about change rather than threatening hell and brimstone.
    Do I think it was the most productive event it could have been? Not by a wide margin. I can think of five things that could and should have been done differently and which would have immeasurably improved the event and experience, but there is much to be proud and positive about and it’s a shame that Rabbi Fink didn’t pick up on that. I walked away with much to contemplate [and I’ve been using the internet personally and professionally for 11 years and intend to continue both] and real inspiration to make some critical changes. I am not alone either.

  33. MiMedinat HaYam

    “e.g., the memorial siren is goyyish. the jewish way is to learn mishnayos etc. fine. so how many yeshivos have a seder dedicated le-iluy nishmasam?”

    rav meir kahane hy”d used to say (i heard it several times from him) that yeshivish swould complain that he was wrong. did they do anything for russian jewry (or arab attacks)? no. but when their RY were on the plane, “they closed the gemaras and said tehilim.”

    hallel – i was in a shul on yom haatzma’ut mincha that said tachanun. i urged some friends to walk out during tachanun, pointing out that various RY (RYK, for one) walk out during hallel on pesach nite. as the article alludes to.

    also, the chatam sofer celebrated frankfurt purim (forget the exact name) even when he lived in pressburg. special maariv liturgy, in main shul, dress up like yom tov, festive meal.

  34. Mark: How do your 7 points in any way match up with the speech by Rav Wosner, by far the most important speaker of the night?

  35. Rav Wosner was by far not the most important speaker of the night. Maybe the most “chashuv” but not the most important by a long shot. I speak a fluent yiddish and couldn’t understand anything that he said without straining and the same goes for many others around me. In fact, in AA where I was, a large part of the crowd went outside to daven Maariv when he spoke because it was so hard to hear and understand and there was no image to connect it to other than a still image. They should have videoed him ahead of time.
    The most important speaker of the night according to everyone I spoke to was Rabbi Wachsman. He spoke three times and in English and reiterated his points again and again. All my siblings and relatives who were there agreed that he was the hit of the evening if there was one.

  36. So you agree that Rav Wosner’s message was nothing like your description of the event but you couldn’t hear it.

    Saying that the words of a major posek, a true Gadol BaTorah, were less important than R. Wachsman’s is surprising and implausible.

  37. I said that I had to strain to understand him, not that I didn’t hear it. And yes, his message which was difficult to understand and hear may have been somewhat different than the themes I underscored above, but they were definitely not what carried the evening. Not by a long shot. He spoke for 20 minutes and was hard to hear and understand whereas Rabbi Wachsman spoke three times for a total of 45 minutes. It wasn’t even close.
    It’s not about who’s a bigger gadol. It’s about whose words carried greater emphasis and weight. Ten out of ten attendees could probably tell you what Rabbi Wachsman said. I doubt if more than two out of ten could tell you what Rav Vosner said.
    In my office today, not one person mentioned Rav Vosner or the Dzibui Rav. All they talked about was Rabbi Wachsman and to a lesser degree, Rav Matisyahu and the Skulener Rebbe who was also almost impossible to understand. He, at least, had a Meturgamin who repeated his words for the benefit of the crowd.

  38. Mark: I appreciate your perspective. I was wondering how some people might see it as a success and what I’ve been hearing from those who think so is that they ignore the speakers whose message they do not like. That’s a perfectly valid reaction.

    Personally, I listened to R. Wachsman and could not get past that he didn’t have anything good to say about the internet. That does not sit well with me.

  39. It’s not about ignoring their message so much as it is understanding that they weren’t speaking to us in the first place. The fact is that there were many different hashkafos at the asifah. The fact that I’m labeled Chareidi, doesn’t make my hashkafah in any way similar to that of the Chassidim who were there. I would never listen to their rabbonim on almost anything and they wouldn’t listen to mine.
    I knew going in that there would be speakers who didn’t represent my basic hashkafah path but I didn’t care because I also knew that the one or two that would, might have something inspirational to offer and they certainly did. The others were good for those who look to them for guidance.
    Personally, I was at first somewhat disappointed by the lack of a unified message but when I thought about it, I realized that it was unfair to expect that. The fact that they got all those groups under the same roof [or open air] and found speakers that everyone could listen to without feeling slighted, was a massive accomplishment. How do you choose between Skver, Belz, Satmar, Bobov, and the many others who would all go crazy if a Rebbe other than their own was chosen? The answer is to take a Rebbe from Antwerp and a Dayan from Montreal. Brilliant. Will they tailor their message to fit a specific tone or theme? No way. That’s what Rabbi Wachsman was for and that’s why he spoke three times.
    Incidentally, his words were punctuated by sporadic applause quite a few times; a sign that he was reaching the crowd. No other speaker merited that reaction.

  40. http://www.vosizneias.com/106687/2012/05/21/queens-ny-masterful-coalition-building-of-specific-charedi-blocks-filled-citi-field

    “The Dzibo Rav Rabbi Yechiel Meir Katz was a special speaker invited from Montreal. He spoke with emotion about the previous work of those orthodox leaders who came to America and planted Charedi life on these shores. “Under their leadership, especially the Satmar Rav television was banned from charedi homes, we must do the same with the internet. Rabbi Katz urged the gathering.

    The crowed also heard from Sekulener Rebbe Rav Yisrael Portugal who asserted that many terrible illnesses are a result of the use of the defiled internet and television. “Before hearing about a shiduch one should inquire if the family uses internet, we must put an end to the internet before it puts an end us” the Rebbe warned. 
    Harav Shmuel Vozner, considered to be one of the most important halachic poskim of our generation, spoke via telephone hook-up from his home in Israel, reading out a list of strict rules regarding the use of the internet.  Among them he ruled that it is strictly forbidden to have any sort of internet in the home even if filtered, unless one has a clear dispensation from a competent Rav. “It is halachically forbidden for anyone to even enter a house that has unrestricted internet” Rabbi Vozner declared.
    Rav Vozner also declared that it is forbidden for any charedi operated school to accept any boy or girl from a home that has internet. “The internet is like a germ, and could be easily transmitted from one child to another” the Rav warned.

  41. Seriously Mark, I have trouble believing that you actually wrote what you just commented. The logic is quite convoluted.

    But to follow through on that logic, I would never listen to a thing R. E Wachsman would say so I guess I had no need to attend. Oh wait, didn’t he say that the declarations at the Asifah was binding on all of Klal Yisrael?

  42. I agree that you wouldn’t have had anything from attending. No one there spoke to you or any MO people of which I saw very few.

  43. Not just MO. Moderate Charedim also. I got letters from three yeshivos encouraging/demanding my attendance.

  44. Gil — Why do you care so much about strictures the Charedi community wants to impose? You’re not Charedi, as you’ve explained.

  45. I don’t like judging people by their mode of dress but from what I could see in AA, there were not too many Moderate Charedim. Almost everyone I saw looked either Chassidish or Yeshivish. I can count on one hand the number of people that I saw who were not wearing a black hat or a white shirt. There were some, but not many. It could be it was different in Citi Field but I don’t know because I wasn’t there.

  46. I wonder what Yeshivos sent those letters because I have kids in three different Yeshivos/BY’s in Brooklyn and didn’t get a single letter asking us to attend.

  47. I’m not doubting you – I’m just wondering why yours sent them out and ours did not.

  48. Sure there were moderates. Half my neighborhood went.

    E-mail me and I’ll tell you which Yeshivos. [email protected]

  49. Ah. Perhaps EJ has the answer to my query of 11:10pm over on http://haemtza.blogspot.com/2012/05/cheeseburgers-anyone.html

    “The lines are being drawn. The divisions are being sharpened. The group most affected are RWMO, the fellow travelers of charedim, who believe they can both identify and not identify with charedim, who feel entitled to criticize because deep down they are part of the chardi world. They are the group that is being pushed away. This is especially painful to those who thought they were exempt from charedi criticism. Interesting times.”

  50. what was their reaction? Did they appreciate it or feel like no one spoke to them? If yes, who?

  51. They thought it was useless but they generally don’t understand Yiddish so didn’t catch the offensive parts.

    I’m literally parked in front of one of these moderate yeshivos right now, waiting for a rafting trip to return.

    IH: I’m pretty much the only RWMO in the neighborhood. Maybe one or two others but that’s it. I’m thinking of legit moderate Charedim.

  52. I ask this in all honestly: Is my not being charedi the only reason I’ve never heard of R’ Wachsman before? How well-known is he?

  53. R’ Eisenmann’s article really troubled me. *That* is the only complaint he has against Religious Zionism? That’s the worst it can do; that changed his whole outlook? Let me respond:

    1. People sing all sorts of things. We used to sing “Yamim al yemei melech” when R’ Norman Lamm walked into a chagiga. We didn’t think he was a melech- come on.

    2. How is he so sure Navon isn’t a tzadik? Lots of non-religious Jews (especially those who’ve dedicated their lives to Klal Yisrael) are tzadikim. Heck, lots of non-Jews are.

    3. How does he know he’s not religious? Lots of Sephardim don’t wear kippot. Over half the Knesset members are shomer Shabbat, but maybe “only” 30-40 wear kippot (or the female equivalent).

  54. S. provides an interesting first hand analysis of the asifa (or at least part of it).

    http://onthemainline.blogspot.com/2012/05/tilting-at-windmills-my-attempt-to-make.html

  55. http://530nm330hz.livejournal.com/437268.html

    Review, with pictures, of the new Koren-Steinsaltz English Talmud. Now with color pictures and print!

  56. Oh, you already had it. Never mind.

  57. The only RWMO in the neighborhood? When Kingsway is a few blocks one way, and that shul where we had the Aishdas melave malka right there? There are plenty of MO in your neighborhood, you just may not be as aware of them. I learn with an MO traffic-court judge who lives on E 29th near N. He’s RW on american politics, don’t know about religious politics.

  58. Catching up on a stack of magazines, I came across the NYT Ethicist feature “The Meat You Eat: Readers put their ethics where their mouths are” published earlier this month. The winning entry, it seems to me, is of Jewish interest in several respects — not least of which is the final sentence: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/06/magazine/the-ethicist-contest-winner-give-thanks-for-meat.html

  59. Abba's Rantings

    MARK:

    prospect 100% sent out letters. i’m almost certain that ahavas torah did so as well.

  60. chaim berlin and tiferes yisroel also sent out letters

  61. Abba's Rantings

    MARK:

    gil’s active online activty is well known and he is responsible for placing this michshol in our midst on a daily basis. maybe his kids’ schools singled him out on purpose to encourage him to attend the asifa?

  62. Mark

    What you dont seem to grasp is that even those who take moderate stances still think the internet is evil. This is a crippling position. More and More the internet is a crucial part of the fabric of modern society. If you think it is evil, you are pushing for a radical retreat from the modern world. If they succeed they will be the new Amish. Thr Amish get heteirim to use assur technology for parnusa too.

  63. R. Wachsman will be lucky if 10% of the people there toss out their smartphones. The other 90% were given no guidance and were told by Rav Wosner that their kids should not be allowed into yeshivos. What a wasted opportunity to give meaningful guidance, especially since the internet is becoming more intertwined in daily life every day in ways we can’t even imagine.

  64. For one rav’s take on the Asifa, read the following linked account.
    http://finkorswim.com/2012/05/20/the-asifa-is-done-i-was-fooled/
    Then ask yourself if you would prefer to be in Gan Eden with R E Wachsman or R”L Gehenom with advocates of the internet for downloading Torah shiurim, as R GIl quoted RHS.

  65. IH wrote at Haemtza:

    “The lines are being drawn. The divisions are being sharpened. The group most affected are RWMO, the fellow travelers of charedim, who believe they can both identify and not identify with charedim, who feel entitled to criticize because deep down they are part of the chardi world. They are the group that is being pushed away. This is especially painful to those who thought they were exempt from charedi criticism. Interesting times”

    IMO, that is a simplistic way of how R Gil, myself and many others view such issues. We admire the best in both the Charedi and MO worlds, yet we refuse to allow the extremists in both worlds dictate hashkafically and halachically unfounded ideas that are not part of our Mesorah. See my prior posts on this issue both here and at Beyond BT.

  66. Abba's Rantings

    GIL:

    “I’m pretty much the only RWMO in the neighborhood”

    i know these demarcations have been debated here ad nauseum and I’m not looking to rehash it (IH: stay away 🙂 ), but could you please just clarify in the context of your specific comment what you consider the difference btw RWMO and haredi (or RW or yeshivish or whatever)

  67. Nachum-R E Wachsman is a well known Charedi darshan and ideologue.
    While I did not attend the Asifa, I attended a SRO Hachnasas Sefer Torah in honor of R N I Oelbaum, a wonderful rav, darshan, Posek, Mchaber Seforim Minchas Chen on Hilcos Teshuvah, Haggadah and Sugyos HaShas, and ShuT ,and world class Talmid Chacham, whose main priority is that his shul is a Makom Torah on a 24/7 basis and whose shul kicks off the Selichos season with shiurim by a RIETS RY and R Oelbaum. Lots of people talk about Achdus in a “my way or the highway” style-R Oelbaum talks the talk and walks the walk of Achdus.

  68. Abba's Rantings

    STEVE:

    i’ve always wondered if he is related to r. olbaum who published a book of teshuvos in hungary in the late 40s?

  69. For another take on the Asifa, see R Eisenman’s short vort.
    http://ahavasisrael.org/torah/the_short_vort/2844/
    R Eisenman’s views championing the victims of abuse IMO rival that of R A Levin ZL, who also cared for a sector that would have been otherwise neglected.

    Abba-I am not sure if R N I Oelbaum is related to in Hungary. I do know that both Hamodia and Mishpacha had lengthy interviews with R Oelbaum.

  70. Moshe,

    I grasp that point. Whether or not it’s a crippling position is a matter of debate and I’m honestly not sure where I stand on that. People said the same thing about television and those who were against it came out on top. The mainstream yeshivah I attended in Brooklyn in the 70’s had kids the majority of whom had televisions in the home. Out of my class of 35, not more than five did not have one, myself included. I’m not in regular contact with all of them any longer, but I highly doubt if even five of them have a television today. Most live in Lakewood and are learning, in Chinuch, or working but strongly affiliated with the yeshivish world.
    The internet is going to be a much greater challenge because it’s not only entertainment but the way we do business and many other aspects of life [health etc.] so I don’t predict that type of success. But that is why they didn’t say not to have it. The overriding theme of the evening was to have it but to use caution and be responsible. Time will tell if they win or lose this battle.
    What I think you do not get is how differently you think about this issue than they do. I don’t mean that in a critical way, but in a realistic way. They’re in different worlds than you [and I in some matters] and that’s why I conceded to Gil that this asifah would not have benefited the average MO Jew who is on a different wavelength. Even a RWMO Jew would take little from it. MO Jews will have internet and attend secular college and have televisions and they’ll have to forge their own means of avoiding the pitfalls of those mediums if they feel the need to do so.

  71. Hirhurim wrote: “R. Wachsman will be lucky if 10% of the people there toss out their smartphones.”

    10%?
    4,0000 people?
    I’ll bet that not even ONE person will do so.

  72. Mark wrote:

    “They’re in different worlds than you [and I in some matters] and that’s why I conceded to Gil that this asifah would not have benefited the average MO Jew who is on a different wavelength. Even a RWMO Jew would take little from it. MO Jews will have internet and attend secular college and have televisions and they’ll have to forge their own means of avoiding the pitfalls of those mediums if they feel the need to do so”

    Like it or not, Charedim, as do many MO, also lack the ability to make Havdalah. Many years ago, I met someone who I respect greatly who was proud of the fact that her family did not have a TV. I thought that she lived in a different planet. Today, I think that the level of garbage that is marketed as entertainment should compel one either to not own a TV or being extremely careful and judicious as to what, when and how often the same is used. MO has been debating and discussing the pros and cons of secular universities and the degree of exposure to secular media, etc for decades, with many eschewing or limiting their exposure to the same, opting to send kids to Israel to learn for a year after high school, and developing Talmidei Chachamim of stature who are products of YU and RIETS. Unfortunately, the Charedi world views such personae as no different that their stereotypically negative and patronizing view of the MO,, as ignorant and all too willing to seek halachic shortcuts that justify their lifetsyle.

  73. I know a few people who’ve already removed the internet from their homes since the asifah. Personally I’ve added a filter to the router that we use at home so that not only our computers [which have long been filtered] but everything that attaches to it will be filtered. I didn’t know about this option until someone mentioned it on a message board discussing the asifah. It’s free and supposed to be very easy to use http://www.opendns.com/home-solutions/parental-controls/

  74. Abba's Rantings

    SHLOMO:

    “I’ll bet that not even ONE person will do so”

    they should have put bins by the exits so people could throw out their phones as they left. or maybe a cash for phones program.

    MARK:

    “People said the same thing about television and those who were against it came out on top.”

    i really don’t think that battle was truly won. imho all it did was push it underground. i remember (20 years ago) when a particular store in boro park would keep appliance cartons so ppl could sneak in tv as an a/c, etc.
    today as well plenty of homes have tv even though kids are in no-tv schools. most people i know with kids in these schools do have tv. either they hide it or they’re in a position that they aren’t worried about repurcussions (i’m sure many people don’t have tv, like the people you know in lakewood, but i guess i associate with a lower class.) and of course today with the internet the absence of a tv means nothing, as everything can be watched online.

  75. AR,

    Winning is not defined by no one at all having a tv. It is defined by a sizable number of people who do not have one and it is an undeniable fact that this is the case. That’s why those who want one have to hide it. You can spin it any way you want, but that’s the reality. Many more families don’t have one today than in the past.

  76. “I know a few people who’ve already removed the internet from their homes since the asifah. ”

    That’s not surprising. I think the interesting question is, in a year how many of those will not have it back?

  77. Did the person who supplied this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96NYxV2VLU8discard the means of supplying the same?

  78. re: internet, does “business purposes” include shopping? will kids get kicked out of yeshiva if their baby brother’s diapers arrive in an amazon box? i am legitimately trying to figure out the parametrs here…

  79. also, tachlis, is this going to make it harder for, say, cousins from different streams to play with each other (if the MO ones have internet at home), or are the people who will take the no-internet thing that seriously already wary of their less frum family members for other reasons (eg TV, dress)?

  80. For those interested, see the linked review http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2001/dec/22/society.philosophy, and the book in question. I think that anyone who has ever studied a blatt Gemara and has even a passing familiarity with the Net, can see that the Tanaim, Amoraim and Rishonim, especially Rashi and Tosfos, as well as many of the Gdolei Acharonim were working from a set of “links” which they expected the average student to have a working familiarity.

  81. MiMedinat HaYam

    what i dont understand is that if its “assur” (like tzniut) how can it be allowed for business (is one allowed to work in an untzniut pool / spa)?

    either dont buy airline tix anymore, or hire a “shabbas goy” to do it for you, and pay an additional fee.

    emma (tachlis) — “they” (now) prefer your children not play with their MO cousins. (just like my cousins (whom i played with as a child; even the female cousins) children dont play with my children)

    BTW, every chassidishe store in williamsburg, KY, etc uses the internet to price out their purchases. and they’re much more sophisticated than amazon (let alone selling for amazon).

  82. MiMedinat HaYam

    twenty years from now, ppl will be saying “i attended the asifa”. (Or we will be saying “i did not attend.”)

    that is the only significance of this event.

    2. rav oelbaum (or is it his father?) has several tshuvot in igrot moshe. dating back to his toronto days.

  83. See and listen to RHS’s views re the net.
    http://www.torahweb.org/audioFrameset.html#audio=rsch_120207

  84. MMhY,
    “that is the only significance of this event.”
    not unlikely, but i think it takes more than 2 days for that to become clear.
    I’ve had similar thoughts re: my own cousins. Part of it is the natural distance with each generation. But part is the social distance. our parents growing up in the 30s-40s were “all the same” and diverged later. sigh.

  85. MiMedinat HaYam

    emma – also (in my, and others, case) holocaust survivors.

    its not “diverged later” (as a natural process) but current (separatist) pressures leading to …

    significance of attending — agudist literature always discusees the great “kenessia gedolah”s held in europe (though the truth is, many factions boycotted; even the chofetz chaim, NOT a separatist, refused to attend due to criticism (lashon harah) of rav kook). likewise, agudah is creating the myth of the “asifa” (as well as the siyum hashas. their annual conventions are a similar nonspecific attempt, but they are designed to be elitist, so that is not simple for them.)

  86. Some points people don’t seem to be adressing:

    1) *One* of the themes R Elya Brudny and others stressed was that there can’t and won’t be a single standard for everyone.

    2)R Wachsman acknowleged there can’t just be an attempt to toss out a vital piece of people’s lives unless you have something to replace it with.

    3) There are many Charedim today who’s grandparents own/owned TV’s. Their parents didn’t, and they wouldn’t get near a PBS evening newshour program.

    4)A quick glace at comment threads on places like Matzav will often reveal that aside from any pernicious stuff going on, these people severely need to get a life. Throwing out their internet connection for a while would probably do a lot of good on a whole host of fronts. (Don’t worry- child molestation will continue to be duly reported online without them)

  87. “Why Orthodox Jews should stay out of the same-sex marriage debate”

    Yawn…Rehashing the same old argument. What did he write that is new?

    He writes “Same-sex marriage should not be a religious issue for Orthodox Jews, because it does not threaten Orthodox Judaism.”

    Is he against all regulations against polluting the environment too perhaps? Well, such major moves such as legalizing homosexual ‘marriage’, exploding longstanding bedrock traditional morality, send out shockwaves and shake the foundations of the world. Aftershocks and tremors continue for years from the giant fault lines, and are felt far and wide. They pollute the environment spiritually and affect us all. Mr. Levin, FYI, you do not live on an island in Toco Hills. You are affected by your environment.

    Evidently you think that the the homosexuals can drill holes under their seats in the ship of state of our great country, but it won’t affect you, as you have one of your own. I prefer to sail with no holes in the hull however.

  88. Abba's Rantings

    MORDECHAI:

    i don’t think it’s “wrong” for the OU/YI (which is what is mentioned in the article) to get involved in the debate (whether it’s prudent is a different matter). but i do think it’s “wrong” for those further to right (and who tend to be the most vocal and forceful). they take pride in their insularity and relate to the secular govenment as if it is the czar and americans in general as if they are cosacks. so now davka with this issue they care about the larger civil society and feel the need to inject their moral weight?

  89. Abba's Rantings

    “Italy’s Torah Day limited to men”

    headline is misleading. the article implies that women could attend at all sites with the exception of rome. the complaint is that women were excluded as organizers.

  90. MiMedinat HaYam

    netanyahu letter — who killed chaim arlozoroff? was an old canard against the “tevisionists” jabotinsky supporters.

    over fifty years later, it turned out arlozoroff (number two in the labor party hierarchy) just returned from a visit to berlin, where he met with nazi george goebell’s wife (an old girlfriend) in berlin, seeking her help in having the newly in power nazi’s help jews. of course, not only didnt it work, but we now know the nazi’s had him assasinated on the tayelet in tel aviv.

    a prelude to another incident off the tayelet 16 years later, anniversary in a few weeks.

  91. Who organized this Italy thing?

    “Nachum-R E Wachsman is a well known Charedi darshan and ideologue.”

    As the old saw goes, if you have to say he’s “well known,” he probably isn’t. 🙂 But OK.

    That VIN article is really depressing. They lied to increase sales, and are proud of it? It was deemed unacceptable to have someone (Charedi) who speaks “modern” (he’s a Sepharadi, for goshsakes) Hebrew? And, funniest of all, it’s on the internet!! Long ago, I realized that “Da’as Torah” means “Doing what I like and claiming I follow ‘the gedolim.'”

    Abba, ’tis a good point, but the Aguda makes all sorts of statements. I’d rather they davka *stick* to religious matters like this.

    Oh, Lord, MMY:

    “George” Goebbels? Ha!

    It had nothing to do with “helping” Jews. It involved getting the Nazis to allow Jews to convert their goods before getting out of Germany, thus benefiting both sides. Naive and a bit too helpful to the bad guys, it earned Revisionist enmity, although they didn’t kill him. “We now know”?? He was killed by Arabs, nothing too unusual back then. Please cite any sources for any of your claims. (“Old girlfriend”? That’s a new one.)

    At the very end of R’ Leiman’s shiur on the subject he brings up Stavsky, the Altalena, and Rabin, both in ’48 and ’94. Reminds one of Pirkei Avot.

  92. Sorry, I meant “nothing to do with helping Nazis.”

  93. There are lots of theories about the Arlozorov Affair. Suffice to say that Stavsky is not high on the suspects list of historians except for committed anti-Revisionists (and that’s an understatement).

  94. A friend of ours attended the video presentation for women. She was horrified by the content and extremist views of the speakers, who spoke both in English and Yiddish, and who despite the organizers promising considered rabbanim that the messages would be in English and constructives, as opposed to being negative bombasts and harrangues, which, unfortunately was the case.

  95. My question on reading the Forward article is whether or not Zweibel and Shafran are being disingenuous. Firstly, are they actually concerned about people relying on the Aruch Hashulchan and secondly, do they sincerely believe that the method they propose is the most effective way to deal with this problem? I can’t evade the sensation that the answer is negative on both counts.

  96. Having sex through a sheet is actually prohibited by Torah
    ====================
    Source?
    KT

  97. Shalom Rosenfeld

    תני רב יוסף “שארה” — זו קרוב בשר. שלא ינהג בה מנהג פרסיים שמשמשין מטותיהן בלבושיהן מסייע ליה לרב הונא דאמר רב הונא האומר “אי אפשי אלא אני בבגדי והיא בבגדה” — יוציא ונותן כתובה:

    (Kesubos 48a)

    Though presumably she could be mochel.

  98. R’SR,
    Far from a Torah prohibition but perhaps she was taught that as a geder (much like thick stockings duraita?)
    KT

  99. MiMedinat HaYam

    nachum – was error. not the comedian. joseph goebbels (#2 in nazi hierarchy).

    see rabbi wikipedia for current details not known publically till past decade.

  100. The Lakewood Declaration regarding Internet applies only to their avreichim, not to the general public — even Lakewood’s Ba’alei Batim.

    While they certainly sound within their rights to make such a psak for their own institution, it contradicts Rav Wosner’s psak and Rav Wachsman’s determination that, post-Asifa, Rav Wosner’s psak is binding upon ALL of Klal Yisroel.

    At minimum, Lakewood should have declared that no school in Lakewood is allowed to accept any child with internet in the home — even the children of ba’alei batim and even an internet connection sanctioned by the senior Rabbonim of Lakewood Yeshiva.

    Where is their Kavod HaTorah to contradict that which was established at the Asifa they so heavily promoted?

  101. The real challenge is the difficulty( at least this is what I, as an outsider, percieve) the community is having dealing with ambiguity -http://www.quora.com/Philosophy/Why-are-most-people-uncomfortable-with-ambiguity

    “Ambiguity can be understood as difficulty connecting the ambiguous situation to previously formed concepts. Performing the processing necessary to make connections is costly in time and energy. Time and energy are the currency of life. That processing will involve changing previously formed concepts, to some degree. Those concepts are what have kept the individual alive up to that point. It is dangerous to unnecessarily change those concepts.

    Many of these concepts are acquired through cultural and social interactions, so a culture can resist the of changing concepts or lack concepts to aid in the process changing concepts, which will be reflected in the individual.”

    Try comparing community responses with this:

    http://www.financialpost.com/executive/hr/joint-venture/story.html?id=2611910

    KT

  102. R. Rich:

    “Having sex through a sheet is actually prohibited by Torah
    ====================
    Source?”

    where is this question coming from? is there a link i missed?
    in any case, i always wondered if the sheet story (true or not) is an outgrowth of the idea that should only be megale tefach during sex

  103. “Far from a Torah prohibition but perhaps she was taught that as a geder”
    Her original statement “prohibited by the torah” was presumably not using “by the torah” to mean “Deoraita.” she means what others mean when thay say “judaism believes.”
    in general i find it kind of sad that many of the female apologists for certain halachot end up unknowingly exposing their own ignorance by showing that they only know some sources (second hand, at that), not others (eg megaleh tefach…).

  104. R’ Abba,
    it’s in the women/media/chassidish link
    KT

  105. on the link: What Women’s Media Needs to Know About Chassidic Women -http://www.xojane.com/relationships/hasidic-women-sex

    interesting analysis of said article and comments too:

    http://finkorswim.com/2012/05/22/dear-chaya/

  106. i just read the article. i stopped taking it seriously after the first paragraph:

    “Hi. I’m Chaya, and I am a Chassidic Jewish woman. I am also a media professional with a degree in Women’s Studies from a large, very liberal university (magna cum laude, baby!)”

    she is obvioulsy happy to be able to show that is so worldly despite being chasidish, except that i’m willing to bet
    1) she was able to get a women’s studies degree from a large very liberal university and become a media professional because she didn’t grow up chasidish
    2) her own daughters will never have the opportunity to get a degree in women’s studies from a very liberal university and become a media professional (unless she means publishing a community jewish newspaper, internet site, etc.)

    (in general this is one of my objections to chabad and other BT groups for adopting famous BTs as their poster boys)

  107. Lubavitchers saying to the general public “I’m Chassidic” is highly misleading. They don’t represent the vast majority of Chassidim. Their lifestyle and attitudes are totally different.

    I’m not saying it as a criticism because I have much more sympathy with Lubavitch attitudes than more mainstream Chassidim (Satmar, Bobov, etc.). But the entire article is ridiculously misleading because it doesn’t address the people to whom the public refers when they say “Chassidim”.

  108. Which public? Outside of Brooklyn and their parnassa in certain areas of Manhattan, Lubavitch probably is the most visible “Chassidim” to the public.

  109. Even so, the criticisms about Boro Park Chassidim do not necessarily apply to Lubavitchers. And when Lubavitchers respond by saying that they don’t have such problems, they only generate more confusion.

  110. Most of the world considers any Jew with a black hat to be “chasidim”

    Only us Jews like to make smaller and smaller boxes.

  111. avi: Agreed. But saying “How can you criticize Chassidic attitudes to women when I have complete freedom?” when in reality the criticisms are all on target for non-Lubavitch Chassidim is extremely misleading.

  112. IH

    “Which public? Outside of Brooklyn and their parnassa in certain areas of Manhattan, Lubavitch probably is the most visible “Chassidim” to the public.”

    Does that really matter? I’ve also noticed a tendency among some Chabad men (and women too, evidently) to use “Chossid” and “Chassidim” as a synonym for “Chabad Chossid.” This is their right, but they have no right to not be called on it. In this case, while she is obviously motivated by an admirable desire to counter what she perceives as untrue and negative assertions that are not true, in effect she winds up scoring her points on the backs of other women who definitely are, or at least definitely feel, stifled and trapper (and if they feel it, then they are).

  113. Plus from reading, it appears she is a BT. Her perception of choice as opposed to a “born frum” may be completely different.

  114. “Took a quick look at the LCM schedule – they apparently have at least 1 history and 1 literature course. Anyone know what text’s they use?”

    I believe one literature course uses this text: http://www.amazon.com/Norton-Anthology-Western-Literature-Volume/dp/0393926168

  115. It doesn’t seem like anyone’s talking about the new volume of R Hirsch’s writings. It’s got some juicy stuff (from a Charedi POV) like the letters on Agaddah and praise for Schiller.

    http://www.feldheim.com/collected-writings-of-rabbi-samson-raphael-hirsch-volume-9.html

  116. MiMedinat HaYam

    r gil — you may be quoted (again) in the jewish press, but someone else will mention your quoting him. (and nothing new there, so why are you quoting / citing his site?)

    r meir solovechik — i’m a big fan of his (prez of yu in a few years), but he ignores that mormons publically embrace their religion. if he’s using the speech as a springboard to the proper jewish view, ok; but he’s using a bad “nimshal”.

    $250,000 for a stained glass window? talk about taking advantage of a grant for other purposes. (common fundraising trick.)

    rabbis educating soldiers — the military rabbinate shirked away from their job of educating chayalim a number of years due to weakness of the military rabbanut (post goren who was highly highly respected by the brass), and due to claims of “kfiya datit”. instead, other groups do the outreach, with vatying success. as the article points out, no one in the military is complaining, just outsiders.

  117. “as the article points out, no one in the military is complaining, just outsiders”

    Actually the secularist חיל חינוך has been engaged in a turf war with the Rabbanut almost from the beginning of the State. But, yeah, the idea that everyone will suddenly become lunatic fundamentalists because of the רבנות צבאית is a hard secular nightmare/fantasy and nothing more.

  118. MiMedinat HaYam

    aiwac — yes.

    actually there is an on again, off again internal battle within tzahal. the old hashomer hatzair kibbutznikim that were the “historical” base of the army is now giving way to DL types, and they dont like it. this is prob just another manifestation of that fight. thus the downgrading in rank of rav weiss (rav ronsky’s predecessor) and rav ronsky, etc etc. (not downgrading, but not giving them the “traditional” rank for rav harashi tzvai.)

    2. yc curriculum — it took them six years to do this? and no details of these new courses, just titles. more details, please. sylabus, texts, etc.

  119. Some rabbanim who attended a pre Asifah meeting were assured that the tone of the speakers would be constructive and that there would be no talk re bans and their consequences. I wonder what the CI, whose views against expelling students are well known, would think of expelling or refusing entry to students whose homes had internet access.

  120. Just curious-does the ban in Lakewood also include the usage of a Bar Ilan CD and similar research engines?

  121. Steve — the Bar Ilan CD predates the mass-market Internet as we know it today, so I don’t think 5:50pm is on target:

    While the project officially began in 1963, the first version in its most identifiable commercial form was released 20 years ago in 1992 as a CD that not only compiled major Jewish works, but also included a powerful search engine ideal for most classical Jewish text research.

    http://thetalmudblog.wordpress.com/2012/05/20/revolution-or-an-evolution-a-review-of-bar-ilan-responsa-project-20-guest-post-by-josh-yuter/

  122. Steve wrote: “Some rabbanim who attended a pre Asifah meeting were assured that the tone of the speakers would be constructive and that there would be no talk re bans and their consequences.”

    Steve — Assured by whom?

    Are you saying that the whole thing ran off the rails, with everyone worried about filling the seats and nobody putting any thought into what would actually be said?

    Is it jsut a matter of the thing getting hijacked by he Chassidic machers who got the seats filled?

  123. Shlomo-Think about R Pam ZL, and how he intereded on behalf of R N Lamm, at a recent Siyum HaShas. The rhetoric that flowed from the Asifa about losing one’s portion in OLam Habaah ( think in comparison about RYK’s comments about Chazal having set forth specific criteria as to what aids and delays the Geulah), viewing the assembled crowd as defining Klal Yisrael despite the absence of many other Shomrei Torah UMitzvos and their Baalei Mesorah, curious comments about the color of shirts, and comments about expelling students or not letting in students from parents with web access ( one wonders what the CI would have said)IMO is proof that there was an excessive concern about a sellout, as opposed to some Sechel HaYashar about the contents of the message, and that very little, if anything, of a constructive manner was said, despite ample evidence that the key elements of the entire Asifah were ironically available on Youtube and other similar venues.

    The more that I think about the Asifah, the more convinced that little, if any, concern, was given to constructive suggestions on how to deal with the web. That’s one of the reasons I provided links to the views of RHS and R M Willig and their suggestions on the subject yesterday.

  124. Shlomo-see what one rav said about the assurances that he received:

    “The askanim I spoke with assured me that the Asifa would not ban the Internet. I explained that there is plenty of reason for skepticism regarding the opinion of the great rabbis when it comes to Internet. After all, every single public statement on the Internet was that the Internet must be banned. Then they tried to coerce the schools to disallow any child who had Internet in the home to attend any of the yeshivas and Beis Yaakovs. So I said, forgive me for being skeptical.

    I was led down a path of fantasy and imagination. I was told that the rabbis won’t be banning the Internet at this event. After all, the slogan was “We can’t live with it, we can’t live without it”! There are going to be vendors teaching people about Internet filters at the event! So I believed in this myth. I believed that the new approach was going to be different. I believed they were going to advocate responsible Internet use. I believed that the standards would be subjective. I bought a bridge”

  125. As an interesting illustration of just how recent (and how rapid) the Internet mass market has been, AOL – which was the leading provider of consumer Internet dialup service – grew from 900,000 customers in June 1994 to 6,200,000 customers in June 1996. At its peak, in 2002, it had over 26 million customers.

    For a society that believes “Chadash Assur min ha’Torah” it is interesting how quickly the Charedi world de-facto adopted this new means of communication.

  126. What does the Bar Ilan CD have to do with the internet???

  127. IH: For a society that believes “Chadash Assur min ha’Torah” it is interesting how quickly the Charedi world de-facto adopted this new means of communication.

    Perhaps the community is more thoughtful than a slogan.

  128. IH and R Gil-My mistake. The Bar Ilan CD has nothing to do with the net.

    shlomo-I doubt that all of the rabbanim who attended were molified by the assurances of wheoever they met with, and that they approved of what can be viewed as over the top and not very constructive rhetoric, but instead attended as a matter of showing their solidarity that the problem existed.

  129. interesting article on what caused a major car accident by major rabbis: the internet
    http://www.bhol.co.il/Article.aspx?id=41136

    הגר”ח והגראי”ל: האסון בטבריה – “בגלל האינטרנט”
    מקורביהם של הגראי”ל שטיינמן והגר”ח קנייבסקי סיפרו להם על התאונה בה נספתה משפחת אטיאס • הגראי”ל הגיב: “אין קושיות למה זה קורה” • הגר”ח: “בגלל הכלי הטרף”

    “בימינו, לא חסר חטאים כאלו ה’ ירחם, ובפרט עם האינטרנט, ואין קושיות למה קורה רח”ל אסונות כאלו. ואף בני תורה ששומרים את עצמם”, הוסיף, “עדיין חסר את ה’רוח’ ואווירה ציבורית חזקה, לחומר האיסור, ואם היתה אווירה חזקה וברור אצל כל אחד ואחד ‘שהדבר אסור’, ממילא ה’ משפיע שגם המון העם היו מתרחקים מזה”.

    גם הגר”ח קנייבסקי התבטא אתמול בפני מקורביו: “מה שמחזיקים את הכלי הטרף – זה גרם לאבדון בעם ישראל. צריך להוציא את זה מהבית”.

  130. That’s really disgusting.

    Dollars to donuts this is the work of the same “askanim” who made the rally (or close relations), but that only makes it more disgusting: That “gedolim” are so easily manipulated and/or know nothing of it.

    But I’m not willing to be so charitable: I can very easily see the “gedolim” of today saying such disgusting, ridiculous, un-Jewish nonsense. Seven members of a family (nebach, not a charedi one) are killed in a freak accident, there’s one little girl who survived, and statements like that are how they think they can make things better?

    I can’t wait to see the headlines of the secular papers tomorrow, by the way.

  131. nachum – reminds of some of the pronouncements of rav ovadia yosef many years back (e.g. katrina). is this any different – except blaming jews for other jews’ troubles? we all what to know why bad things happen to good people (since we believe that hashem is responsible for even every leaf that falls from the tree- this is their answer. i prefer the aggadah’s answer – menahot 29b – zoo torah zoo secharah? shtok.

  132. Ruvie — don’t forget mezuzot in Ma’alot..

  133. The Yated piece on the evils of YCT is the second article this week that shows how important a force it is becoming. The first is the prominence of YCT in: http://www.thejewishweek.com/special_sections/36_under_36

    Also interesting is the attack on R. Marc Angel, which strangely doesn’t mention he is a former President of the RCA.

    I guess if the Internet doesn’t rile the troops, those lefties who will bring about the end of Orthodoxy might… Hey ho.

  134. Yes, but the Yated happens to be right about Farber. If he represents the next generation its bad news.

  135. Moshe — if you know of a coherent and objective critique of him, please post a link. The Yated polemic is neither.

  136. IH: “Activists” (or troublemakers, take your pick) are usually a self-selecting group, and lauded by those of a similar mind.

    As Rabbi Rakeffet says, a good way to shut up Orthodox Jews all in favor of the latest trendy leftist nonsense is to tell them how they’re driving people to charedim. I don’t know why I’m not allowed to be a reasonable, moderate minded Modern Orthodox Jew without being forced into buying into all the extremist leftist positions.

    Ruvie: Sure, it’s just as disgusting to say the same things about non-Jews. You won’t see me defending that either.

  137. IH: R’ Rakeffet devoted much of his last shiur of the year to Farber.

    The Commentary article led me to another by Yanklowitz, natch. Now *there’s* a perfect example of someone who checks all the boxes.

  138. As Rabbi Rakeffet says, a good way to shut up Orthodox Jews all in favor of the latest trendy leftist nonsense is to tell them how they’re driving people to charedim.

    That is fear mongering. And past its sell-by date.

  139. Maybe it’s fear-mongering. It’s also quite true. Contrary to what you may experience in your bubble, most Orthodox Jews (and, indeed, most Americans) don’t buy into all the nonsense about (to take the most obvious example) normalizing homosexuality. Go on enough about how to be MO means to accept that, and lots will throw up their hands and get that black hat.

    Personally, I’m glad I’m able to choose my own path. Alas, many people don’t want to (or can’t).

  140. and lots will throw up their hands and get that black hat.

    And disconnect their Internet connectivity 🙂

  141. Yeah, they’ll do it as soon as all those people at the “asifa” do it (i.e., never). 🙂

  142. “I don’t know why I’m not allowed to be a reasonable, moderate minded Modern Orthodox Jew without being forced into buying into all the extremist leftist positions.”

    You’re a great guy. But you are a Kahanist. Ergo, you are neither reasonable nor moderate, nor non-extreme.

  143. On a technical level I hear R’ Aviner’s argument concerning not staying up if it impacts kavanah etc. (although I suppose one could pull out the “who has kavanah in our generation” card) – especially for serious learners like R’YSE who never waste a moment. However for more run of the mill folks (me included) imho there’s something to be said for the statement being made to oneself (and family and community) of putting oneself out for a brief period of time for the chashivut of torah learning(and seriously learning, not eating the snacks all night)

    KT

  144. good review by r. maroof on the koren talmud. it hits all all aspects of the edition, but one thing is missing. how is the translation itself?

  145. http://professional.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304840904577422074030275122.html?mod=WSJPRO_hpp_MIDDLE_Video_second#printMode
    At the Neighborhood Trader Joe’s, a Run on Chocolate Chips
    Race Is On to Stockpile After New Version Has Its Kosher Credentials Downgraded

    Front page of the WSJ!
    KT

  146. Joel: I decided not to link because it’s old news to us

  147. Hmm. How long until Trader Joe’s “kosher” (Triangle-K) meat issue hits the front page of the WSJ?

  148. “IH and R Gil-My mistake. The Bar Ilan CD has nothing to do with the net.”

    Well, that’s not entirely true. Depending on your subscription/institutional affiliation, you may be able to use Bar Ilan online, as opposed to from a physical CD.

  149. “Moshe — if you know of a coherent and objective critique of him, please post a link. The Yated polemic is neither.”

    Even without the Yated critique (one man’s polemic is another man’s critique) his words speak for themselves.

  150. “At the Neighborhood Trader Joe’s, a Run on Chocolate Chips
    Race Is On to Stockpile After New Version Has Its Kosher Credentials Downgraded”

    aren’t the chips are in all likelihood still parve

  151. R’ Abba,
    For sure, but doubtful anyone with clout will say so out loud! (ah for the good old days when we just looked for pure vegetable shortening on the label!) BTW I’m not sure this is great publicity for us (especially when it competes with Iran Nukes for page 1)
    KT

  152. The real isssue is whether the RCA is planning in the near or distant future to admit YCT grads such as R Farber as members. Despite the fact that the article quotes R Farber’s own writings, the article provides no solid proof that such a process is being contemplated or is underway. Unfortunately, the tone of R Farber’s sociological observations illustrate why “Chachamim Hizaru BDivreichem”.

  153. steve b. – good question. better question if a graduate of yct that also has smicha from the rabbanut in israel will they accept him? so far, no one has applied with that criteria – not yet but that will be the the first test. also, rabbi farber’s view is not the same as r’ linzer’s in all matters.

  154. To Steve’s point: https://www.torahmusings.com/2007/03/rabbi-zev-farber-yeshiva-chovevei-torah_23/ Although, personally, I think R. Broyde’s more genteel style of discussing controversial issues has a mixed record.

  155. Ruvie-I would suggest that R Linzer and R Farber both deal in apologetics, and that the reader can choose which makes more or less sense, depending on their POV. As far as YCT grads with rabbanut smicha, I would suggest that the presence of any connection with YCT by any would be applicant constitutes a “third rail” which would cause many in the RCA to think long and hard, if not outrightly dissaprove of the same.

  156. IH-Actually, R Broyde deserves a huge Yasher Koach for being able to discuss controversial issues in an intellectually honest fashion-even if he earns brickbats from the left and the right.

  157. Steve — You like to quote Saroyan. YCT is am increasingly important part of the young Rabbinate and the RCA will become the next Agudas Ha’Rabonim if it does not accept its graduates. It’s just a question of timing and face-saving process.

  158. Santayana, that is 🙂

  159. where can i see the actual articles of Rav Lichteinstein and R Lau that you referecne today ?

  160. IH-Time will tell. so far, there is no huge ground swell for the admission of YCT grads, regardless of whatever smicha they have in addition thereto, to the RCA.

    At the present, YCT grads can be found on college campuses,as chaplains in some facilities, in some out of town MO shuls, and as rabbinic interns in some prominent LW MO shuls in NY.

    The present bottom line shared by many aside from myself is that whether in comparison to musmachim of RIETS or talmidei chachamim of any other yeshiva,here or in Israel, that YCT’s graduates lack the requisite degree of high level training in Talmud or Halacha, and Shimesh Etzel Gavra Rabbah to be considered Bnei Torah, let alone the august title of Talmidei Chachamim. Merely passing the exam of the Rabbanut, for which one can get the equivalent of cliff’s notes at Virtual Geulah, does not transfer a YCT grad into a Talmid Chacham.

  161. steve b. – “Ruvie-I would suggest that R Linzer and R Farber both deal in apologetics, and that the reader can choose which makes more or less sense, depending on their POV.”
    how are they different than other orthodox rabbis (that is apologetics which all use) – i would think you go by the sources and the severa – nu? it has less to do with a point of view than fundamental reasoning and rabbinic sources. the same could be said above the rav – which it was – on his views that differed from the agudah.

  162. steve b. – “does not transfer a YCT grad into a Talmid Chacham.”
    you must be confused with this formula: rabbi = talmid chacham. since when does the title of rabbi equates to the level of a talmid chahcham? and not every talmid chacham has to be a rabbi.

    btw, i am told that the rabbanut test is much harder than what qualifies here to be deemed a rabbi – can anyone confirm that.

  163. Steve — Last I checked, RCA membership was not limited to Talmedei Chachamim, nor I suspect would many of its members be called by that appellation.

  164. Harry Maryles picks up on something I don’t recall anyone here noticing about yesterday’s Orthodox Insist Abuse Claims Go to Rabbis link.

    http://haemtza.blogspot.com/2012/05/mesirah-and-making-right-call-on-sex.html

    Central to the issue for the Aguda is mesirah, the prohibition in Jewish law against informing on a fellow Jew to the authorities. This religious principle flourished in Eastern Europe in centuries past, when many Jews lived in insular enclaves under often hostile governments. But Zwiebel said the notion that mesirah doesn’t apply in modern-day democracies, where there is a fair criminal justice system, is “a minority view” among top rabbis in the ultra-Orthodox world. “The majority view is, there is a prohibition against mesirah,” Zwiebel said.

    Well spotted!

  165. Ruvie asked:

    “how are they different than other orthodox rabbis (that is apologetics which all use) – i would think you go by the sources and the severa – nu? it has less to do with a point of view than fundamental reasoning and rabbinic sources. the same could be said above the rav – which it was – on his views that differed from the agudah”

    Look at YCT’s approach and especially that of its head with respect to Mesorah.

  166. Steve — please define “Mesorah” as you’ve used it at 12:05pm

  167. Ruvie wrote:

    “you must be confused with this formula: rabbi = talmid chacham. since when does the title of rabbi equates to the level of a talmid chahcham? and not every talmid chacham has to be a rabbi.

    btw, i am told that the rabbanut test is much harder than what qualifies here to be deemed a rabbi – can anyone confirm that”

    First of all, most talmidei chachamim from most yeshivos ranging from RIETS to the right do not enter rabbanus, or a related field such as chinuch or chaplaincy. Many are learning Lishmah in the purest sense of that term. RIETS, as opposed to other yeshivos, has tracks for rabbanus, chinuch and chaplaincy, and the Smicha granted is Yoreh Yoreh to all who progress successfully with the obvious fact that some msumachim are great Talmidei Chachamim and others are not such great Lomdim . OTOH, I know of many wonderful talmidei chachamim who learned in RIETS on a high level , are professionals, and who are Kovea Itim LaTorah on a daily basis and who can learn as well, if not better, than others who have been learning full time for years. Even if one “aces” the Rabbanut test, the question remains one of Hashkafah-is the degree from YCT a third rail or not?

  168. IH wrote:

    “Steve — please define “Mesorah” as you’ve used it at 12:05pm”

    See RHS’s discussion re Mesorah in the past issues of Jewish Action.

  169. I am hopeful that R. Schachter’s article was not intended to be as self-serving as the way in which you have read it. Now, again, what did you mean by: “Look at YCT’s approach and especially that of its head with respect to Mesorah.”

  170. IH-If you think that I can define and expound on Mesorah better than RHS, you are quite mistaken.I stand by both references.

  171. I am not asking you to expound on RHS. I am asking you what you meant by: “Look at YCT’s approach and especially that of its head with respect to Mesorah.”

  172. While waiting for the rain to stop, a passage in Peter Schjeldal’s review of Barnes in the current New Yorker caught my attention:

    This special character of the Barnes is germane to debates about “reception theory” in art history and “relational aesthetics” in performance-based art. Those dry terms skirt a widespread dissatisfaction with the modernist dogma of art’s hermetic autonomy […] The notion that art and life are somehow separate has worn out.

    It seems to me this is germane to the discussion about YCT and RWMO “mesorah” as Steve has framed it.

  173. IH-take a look at the following linked article http://www.shma.com/2003/01/creating-an-open-orthodox-rabbinate/.

  174. Steve — please stop the inneuendo by URL. If you have something to say, then say it. My question stands.

  175. IH-If you don’t wish to read before commenting, that is your prerogative. Please don’t insinuate that the documented views of Gdolei Talmidei Chachamim, as opposed to the equally documented views of those wallow in apologia for Torah, should not be considered by anyone interested. To suggest otherwise is to dictate that the conversation proceed solely by your POV.

  176. I did read your links of 12:18pm and 1:37pm, but I still have little clue what you mean by “Look at YCT’s approach and especially that of its head with respect to Mesorah”.

    Between those links, the only conclusion I can reach is that you think that any MO who does not consider their Rav Muvhak to be RHS — and and aim to produce Rabbinic clones of him — is unworthy. Please correct as needed.

  177. IH wrote:

    “the only conclusion I can reach is that you think that any MO who does not consider their Rav Muvhak to be RHS — and and aim to produce Rabbinic clones of him — is unworthy. ”

    Actually, a clear and unbiased reading would lead the average reader to conclude that Aseh Lcha Rav Ukoneh Lcha Chaver is obligatory on all of us-providing that the rav in question is one of the Chachmei Hamesorah.

  178. Nu? So, why were you so bashful. By the by, do you agree with your Rav Muvhak that “to have the women sit [in] a separate section of the bus [is] not such a bad idea”?

  179. interesting recap – and some inside baseball behind the scenes commentary – of the asifa fro r’ y. adlerstein on cross currents (his associate there – r’ kobre- was the pr point man for the event).

    i am wondering if these lines make sense: “Many walked away from the event with a firm psak in hand: no internet at home under any circumstances;”
    followed later in same paragraph – “They understood that not all morei hora’ah are of one mind, and that this psak does not necessarily bind them.” aslo, “You can’t reject that psak unless and until you come up with something that will work better.”

    is this the way it works in the hareidi world? its assur but well maybe not or maybe yes if you find another solution? is there halachik terminology for these circumstances?

  180. forgot the link:
    http://www.cross-currents.com/archives/2012/05/24/citifield-a-scorecard/

    also a line that caught my eye? is the RCA referred to as centrist RCA – was it ever mo RCA. and does this idea work halachikaly or is it mussar?

    “…a committee with the centrist RCA convened to issue guidelines about digital technologies. The suggestions included formulations that most people on the right would see as proper and practical, including treating an unfiltered computer the same way a male would treat an unrelated woman according to the laws of yichud. There are ideas that can be considered, short of bans.)”

  181. Ruvie-listen to R Willig’s discussion re proper net usage that I posted recently.

  182. steve b – wadr – can you just say one or two lines to make your point. is there a difference between the net and the tv on proper usage? watching porn on either is not permissible – do i need to block tv channels in general?

  183. The linked article by R Adlerstein contained a great link to an online interview with Eytan Kobre-who set forth in intelligent and coherent form the major issues and impact that technology has on our ability to be Ameilim BaTorah. Even if you didn’t go the Asifa or were not happy with the message, the Atlantic interview with Kobre is a must read.

  184. Ruvie asked:

    “do i need to block tv channels in general?”

    I tthink that we should all have the sechel hayashar to realize that much of TV is toxic in nature, if not utterly an exercise in Bitul Zman, and that, if one has a cable provider, certain channels should not be subcribed to in the first place.

  185. “Moshe — if you know of a coherent and objective critique of him, please post a link. The Yated polemic is neither.”

    1) As Rafael noted, the Yated does not intend to provide an intellectual critique of OO. It’s point is simply to let people know what this movement is preaching. As an (admittedly very crude, but the only one I can think of off hand) analogy, there’s a group of missionaries roaming lakewood the past couple of days. The mesasage askaninm (sorry to use the A word) have been trying to get out, is that these people should not be confused for what they are not. They aren’t explaing why we reject christ’s divinty.
    Similar point here. The hope is that the ‘amcha’ are right wing enough that they will recoil at this kind of heresy and pressure their ‘pulpit rabbis’ not to give credence to YCT.

    2)’Coherent and objective critiques’ don’t ussually fit in blog comments.
    Here are just two links. I’m sure IH’s technological knowledge can provide more ‘ad link’

    http://www.traditiononline.org/news/article.cfm?id=104825 (It’s also in his book.)

    http://openorthodoxy.blogspot.com/

  186. R. Gil, have you come across R. Dr. Norman Solomon’s latest book on Torah Min Hashamayim?

    http://www.littman.co.uk/cat/solomon-torah.html

    It certainly sounds interesting; I wonder to what degree this rabbi, who has certainly served in an orthodox capacity, retains his orthodoxy as he grapples with these issues.

  187. My impression is that R. Eytan Kobre just repeated a few common criticisms of the internet without noting that they are hotly disputed and that they can be easily combated by moderating usage.

    For crying out loud, they are stopping to print the phone book. That’s just the beginning. How is anyone going to be able to get by without the internet? Rather than discussing strategies of dealing with the internet, the Asifa just banned it. Aside from the Yiddish, it was a colossal waste of time.

  188. Based on the PR, my impression is that Dr. Norman Solomon’s book places it outside of Orthodoxy. But that is just based on the PR and not on a careful read.

  189. I thought that R Eytan Kobre mentioned in articulate fashion the following concerns:

    1) the overly easy access of improper media imagery into our homes that previously required the spending of money and sneaking into our homes;

    2)the impact of the web on indepth thinking and reading, let alone Ameilus BaTorah

    3) the balancing of the availability of much positive information that enhances Torah life on line with the overly easy access to what can only be called Avi Avos HaTumaah.

  190. All of a sudden Eytan Kobre is “R”? Every Tom, Dick, and Harry who’s a spokesman for a charedi movement is “R”?

  191. “Based on the PR, my impression is that Dr. Norman Solomon’s book places it outside of Orthodoxy. But that is just based on the PR and not on a careful read.”

    J and Reb Gil – you may want to view the following link, where Dr. Solomon provides his views on the same subject as his book.

    http://www.mucjs.org/sherman01.htm

  192. “how is the translation itself?”

    I’ve recently been wondering how to judge that, and how many of us could.

    “The hope is that the ‘amcha’ are right wing enough”

    Or that some of these things are so blindingly obvious that there’s no way to really explain them. Up until a couple of years ago, gay marriage wasn’t even mentioned, outside of gay activists assuring us that they didn’t really want it. (We now know that they’re liars.) Up until a couple of decades ago, civilized people knew that homosexuality was immoral and unnatural. Nothing’s really happened to change that idea, but that hasn’t stopped OO (00?) from jumping on the bandwagon.

  193. Nachum,

    This is what happens when one accepts the idea that halacha is empty conventionalism.

  194. From same link:

    “The precise formulation of my own reconstruction of the Torah min ha-Shamayim concept will be given in the lecture. I shall argue for the clear separation between historical studies of Bible and Talmud on the one hand, and theological construction on the other. Historical scholarship must in principle be accepted, and on that level moral and other critiques, where justified, should not be resisted. From an historical point of view the notion of Moses sitting on the mountain and taking verbatim notes must be rejected. Nevertheless, the “divine dictation” image may be utilised as what anthropologists would refer to as a “myth” (in a very different sense from the ordinary use of the word), that is, a concept which focuses the relationship of God, Torah and Israel. The error lies not in the claim that God revealed the Torah, written and oral, to Israel at Sinai, but rather in the insistence on a literal, historical interpretation of what is in reality a transcendent image, not an historical statement.”

  195. Dr. Solomon wants to have his cake and eat it too. 🙂

  196. Rafael,

    Kind of like someone else, whose last name is a traditional Ashkenazic food…

  197. Rafael – I’d ordered the book, and having opened it upon its arrival, I can see that you’re right. It seems like he has been through a similar metamorphosis to the author of the ‘Godol Hador’ blog (albeit reaching slightly different conclusions), but in slow motion due to his struggles mostly occurring during the pre-internet era. The lack of references to l’affaire Slifkin, Kugel et al are revealing.

  198. Kishke? Cholent? Patchah? Verenikes?

  199. Nachum: You’re right. I thought Eytan Kobre has semikhah but it seems he doesn’t according to Cross Currents: http://www.cross-currents.com/the-writers/

  200. My impression is that Dr. Norman Solomon believes in some sort of “continuous revelation” so that the Chumash has the same prophetic status as later books of the Bible. I’m not sure if he goes as far as Dr. Louis Jacobs and claims that the Chumash has mistakes. But even if he doesn’t, that view is beyond Orthodoxy. But I haven’t read the book so I have to reserve judgment.

  201. He is a lawyer. As Nachum knows, that must count for something. 🙂

  202. Rafael,

    “Kishke? Cholent? Patchah? Verenikes?”

    You know someone named Cholent? That’s awesome! 😛

  203. Gil – his online writings aren’t enought of a basic preview/summary of what you’ll find in his book? Also, isn’t continous revelation an idea common in Conservative Jewish thought?

  204. Gil,

    You’re fairer than many give you credit for…

  205. “You know someone named Cholent? That’s awesome! :P”

    Yes. He’s from France 🙂

  206. Rafael, I’d say the ToC is pretty indicative of where he’s aiming:

    http://www.littman.co.uk/cat/solomon-torah.html

  207. Gil – Having perused the book I can definitively state that he is way, way, out of Orthodoxy. I don’t mean to sound like I’m waging an inquisition, and I can’t but respect the sincerity with which he conducted his investigations, but a spade is a spade.

  208. I don’t mean to sound like I’m waging an inquisition, and I can’t but respect the sincerity with which he conducted his investigations, but a spade is a spade.

    Torquemada digging a ditch. The power of mixes metaphors.

  209. Last post should have read “mixed metaphors.”

  210. ““Kishke? Cholent? Patchah? Verenikes?””

    What, no blintzes? It IS almost Shavuos.

  211. “Having perused the book I can definitively state that he is way, way, out of Orthodoxy”

    In fairness to him, he’s right that the challenge still needs to be addressed, even if his conclusions can’t be accepted.

  212. Tal,

    I’m a sworn carnivore. The only milchig foods I adore are pizza and cheesecake.

  213. IH,

    Are you doing a doctoral dissertation? It seems like you’re compiling a database of discussions and links.

  214. Nope and nope.

  215. Shame. I’d love to read such a study.

  216. I have mixed feelings about r zev farber but the quotes re: flintstones were unfairly taken out of context. he was discussing what had happened when a nonreligious individual came to an ortho shul and apparently got the message that women are invisible. in that context (pov of an outsider) talking about it the way he did makes a lot more sense.

  217. I agree with Emma. He was making a comparison with the Flintstones, not an equation. That said, I still find his article objectionable.

  218. aiwac – I’m not sure there’s much new to be said from either side. At this point it’s a matter of deciding which meta-theory makes the most sense to you and going with it.

  219. right. when there are so many legitimate points of criticism it is unseemly to manufacture more by distortion.

  220. What concerned me the most is his put down of the Water Buffalo Lodge. That place was way cool with the shtreimlach, bones on cape, and secret handshake. I’m suprised Joe Rockhead hasn’t lodged a complaint.

  221. Aiwac – FTR and as a public service.

    I had not heard of Rabbi Dr Norman Solomon before the link was posted, but I was curious. I was struck by the wording on the posted book webpage that “He has been rabbi to Orthodox congregations” but which did not claim that he was Orthodox (a question implicit in J.’s original comment of 3:38 pm).

    Rafael’s link at 4:40pm then added another piece of information – R. Solomon’s CV was a link. You would have seen there, again, no claim to Orthodoxy beyond his Rabbinical Appointments to Orthodox congregations and that his ordination was from Jews College in 1961.

    So, the obvious Google search to conduct was “Norman Solomon Louis Jacobs”. No need to invent something new.

  222. Wasn’t trying to – I was discussing the book.

  223. IH

    “YCT is am increasingly important part of the young Rabbinate and the RCA will become the next Agudas Ha’Rabonim if it does not accept its graduates”

    surely you jest

  224. BTW, here it says he considers himself “skeptical Orthodox”, whatever the hell that means:

    http://www.jewishideasdaily.com/content/module/2012/5/15/main-feature/1/eitherorthodoxy

  225. Abba — yes, just as I did when explaining the importance of the Internet in the early ’90s.

    aiwac — read closer: “who whimsically claims to belong to the ‘skeptical Orthodox.'”

  226. IH,

    “who whimsically claims to belong to the ‘skeptical Orthodox.’”

    Whimsical or not – no-one forced him to make that kind of affiliation. Regardless, I was focusing on what he was saying in the lectures and the ToC of his book. How he defines himself is secondary to me in this case.

  227. MiMedinat HaYam

    ashkenazi food — my hungarian mother NEVER made kugel. and she made real cheescake (with farmer cheese. not cream cheese. not even a little. and real crust. ok, you can buy the crust ready made nowadays.

    yct — i assume the rabbanut checks out its smicha candidates, not just passing an exam.

    and the pres of the RCA specifically said (at a hirhurim sponsored event; when he was inaugarated) that he will try to get yct musmachim into the rca.

    shaking hands — this minister is an agitator (as well as an algerian berber muslim.) will she make the same criticism of her muslim friends refusing to shake her hands? and where is her diplomatic passport? perhaps the belgian govt should revoke it. (though this incident happened in belgium (i presume), it has implications to diplomacy.) of course, we are not belgians to complain, but as “social integration” minister (read political correctness minister) is she the one in charge of banning shechita in belgium?

  228. Another upcoming book on a similar topic is: http://www.yoramhazony.org/phs/ (what can we learn from the 3 blurbs :)).

    —–

    MMhY — the answer to your question (“will she make the same criticism of her muslim friends refusing to shake her hands?”) is in explicit in the very short article.

  229. IH: I already have the galleys to the book. Nothing similar.

  230. Aiwac wrote:

    “Rafael, I’d say the ToC is pretty indicative of where he’s aiming:
    http://www.littman.co.uk/cat/solomon-torah.html

    I would concur. The major, if not the complete premise, of the book, is what the author considers his debunking of Torah Min HaShamayim , Kabalas HaTorah, Maamad Har Sinai and the unity of Torah Shebicsav and TSBP.

  231. i think that someone may have posted this link, but I think that if this is the theme of the book, then R Gil’s comments of a preliminary nature are correct vis a vis his assessment of the same being beyond the pale of Orthodoxy:

    “The precise formulation of my own reconstruction of the Torah min ha-Shamayim concept will be given in the lecture. I shall argue for the clear separation between historical studies of Bible and Talmud on the one hand, and theological construction on the other. Historical scholarship must in principle be accepted, and on that level moral and other critiques, where justified, should not be resisted. From an historical point of view the notion of Moses sitting on the mountain and taking verbatim notes must be rejected. Nevertheless, the “divine dictation” image may be utilised as what anthropologists would refer to as a “myth” (in a very different sense from the ordinary use of the word), that is, a concept which focuses the relationship of God, Torah and Israel. The error lies not in the claim that God revealed the Torah, written and oral, to Israel at Sinai, but rather in the insistence on a literal, historical interpretation of what is in reality a transcendent image, not an historical statement”

  232. Nachum-I also stand corrected in using the term “R” before Mr. Kobre’s first name.

  233. yct — i assume the rabbanut checks out its smicha candidates, not just passing an exam.

    bad assumption

  234. Kobre is being disingenuous, his words are far from the facts on the ground.
    None of the speakers had anything good to say about the Internet.

  235. Kobre is disingenuous. The reality is different than what he says. None of the speakers said that the Internet can be used for anything but business.

  236. Sorry for the double comment

  237. An interesting addition to the discussion about same-sex marriage http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/24/marriage-meaning-and-equality/

    “Marriage used to be generally understood as an unequal partnership, with the wife being subordinated to her husband, whereas now — at least in law and in most of mainstream culture — marriage is viewed as a partnership of equals. In general, the social meaning of marriage must change whenever such changes are necessary to avoid injustice […]”

    Nachum, in particular, do you accept the argument set-up I quote above regarding the change in traditional heterosexual marriage?

  238. Howard Slugh’s piece (Rabbis Side with Catholics, Urge Obama to Drop Mandate) is an excellent explanation of why Orthodox Jews should stay out of this debate. It would be madness — and “bad for the Jews” — if each employer had the right to proscribe medical benefits on the basis of the employer’s religious beliefs!

    “In these circumstances the regulation would require an Orthodox Jewish employer to break the law, violate his conscience, or shut down his business. The government should not force this choice upon any American.”

  239. Social meanings aren’t dictionary meanings. Dictionary meaning of “marriage” is “man and woman,” just as much as the sky is blue.

    One can certainly argue that marriage and society has certainly suffered as a result of some of the changes it’s undergone. And that they are making things more favorable to their argument by mixing the unrelated “law” and “culture,” two very different things (to non-leftists, at least). And by trying to imply something about homosexuals, whose lifestyle is immoral and unnatural.

    But hey- you and your side are all excited that gays can marry. Just admit it and move on, so long as you admit that you’re going against everything Orthodox Judaism stands for. Deal?

  240. “It would be madness — and “bad for the Jews” — if each employer had the right to proscribe medical benefits on the basis of the employer’s religious beliefs!”

    Why? You don’t believe in free markets and people being free to do what they want with their money?

    Oh, right.

  241. Nice. What about the free market for employees — in the face of our unemployment reality — if you’re going to go down that path…

    Given that Orthodox Jews are a tiny minority, this will backfire spectacularly since their nuance will be lost in a sea of binary conviction.

  242. IH: The RCA has had a pretty good run of late. They were due for something like this. Unfortunate.

  243. The way to resolve the employer-employee health benefits issue, as has repeatedly been stated here and elsewhere, is to get employers out of the business of providing health coverage. Health insurance should be something that each individual purchases from his funds — as other forms of insurance are. Perhaps with a tax deduction for the employee.

    That is a free market solution — the choice is in the hands of each family what kind of insurance to buy and what it covers. Employer pays you a salary, and after that it is none of his business what you purchase with it.

    (THe likely outcome is that insurance comapnies will offer different plans, some with and some without contraceptive coverage. Apart from the religious aspect, this contretemps illustrates a fundamental political/economic problem with how we operate. Those who want something — in this case, contraceptive coverage — have a stronger interest in using the government to force employers to provide it. Guess who pays for it? Everyone with insurance. Since their costs only go up incrementally, they have far less incentive to oppose it.)

  244. Since there are few times when Tal and I agree, I will amplify this is one. Unfortunately, moving away from the employer-based system is as likely to be enacted as a single-payer system, so we are where we are.

  245. To put more meat on it: the current system effectively provides a government subsidy to employers since the tax exemption of the health benefit is calculated into “total comp”. Moving away from the employer as middleman would likely require salaries to be increased to fill the gap when the “total comp” benefit is removed.

    Employers do not want to pay that bill and employees will not accept a drop in their “total comp”.

  246. Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach, all!

  247. This also illustrates another hole in Slugh’s argument. The employer is not subsidizing the insurance, they are simply a player in the shell game of “free market” health insurance we have created in which employers and insurance companies get an artifical cut of the business.

  248. MiMedinat HaYam

    IH and tal (and nachum, chag sameach and shabbat shalom) — why just health ins? why not auto ins, and homeowners ins (and while we’re at it, my home mtg too) should all be employer provided perks. using the reasoning of health ins. the added tax breaks will be minimal.

  249. Should have been: shell game of “free market” health insurance care we have created in which employers and insurance companies get an artifical cut of the business between patient and provider.

  250. Let me just amplify one point. There is a basic difference between insurance and coverage. Insurance, by definition, is a mechanism to hedge against risk by pooling it. Most homeowners don’t expect to have a fire in their house — there is only a risk of that happening. If it happens, though, it can be financially devastating. Fire insurance allows a homeowner to pool his risk with thousands of other homeowners, through the insurance company. In the unlikely event a fire happens, then the homeowner is covered. Of course, the insurance company tacks on a charge for its administrative costs and to make a profit. The point is, however, that what you are paying for is large coverage to hedge against an unlikely event.

    Coverage, OTOH, means that you are paying in advance for something you expect to use. It does not involve hedging against any risk.

    Health insurance today contains both components. There is an insurance aspect in case someone gets into a major accident or has a major illness. Most people don’t expect that to happen, but they want to be covered just in case.

    But there is also a coverage aspect. Most people do expect to go to the Dr. periodically, for checkups and minor illnesses, and that is especially so if you have a family. That part is not insurance, it is simply pre-paying for coverage.

    The problem is, because everything is pooled, and because the two items are blended, it is very easy for those with an agenda to pressure the legislature or Congress to require certain things to be covered — even if they are not hedging of risk.

    Contraceptives is a perfect example. For those who use them, there is a certainty that they will incur that expense. No risk-hedging involved. By requiring employers and insurance companies to cover that, the govt. in effect is forcing everyone who has insurance to subsidize use of contraceptives by those who want them.

    Whether that is fair or appropriate I leave to your judgment.

  251. MMHY: I am not sure what you are asking. I am advocating making health insurance like the other forms. If you are asking why it is different, that is for historical reasons going back to the Great Depression. (Basically wages were frozen, so to work around that the govt. allowed employers to provide fringe benefits, principally health insurance. The govt. also enacted laws to strongly encourage employers to do so, since nationalized healthcare was politically non-viable.)

  252. Tal — I am not sure your chiluk is as pat as you claim. There is an interplay between the two in healthcare: e.g. smoking has a corollary effect on lung cancer; contraceptives have a corollary effect on unwanted pregnancy and abortions.

    No one plans on lung cancer or unwanted pregnancy, but if it happens, they need coverage.

  253. MiMedinat HaYam

    tal — i was being sarcastic. i agree with you.

    though i personally prefer a catastrophic health ins pgm (a pgm with say, a $10,000 to $50,000 or higher deductible.) thus, the free market will force doctors, hospitals to lower their prices, since everyone has to bargain with their providers, since it comes out of their private pockets.
    politically, it wont fly, since a: ppl are used to being babied around by their ins companies, b: politicians stuck their nose in too far, c: entrenched policies and entrenched bureaucracies. but it solves the religious mandate issues, since they rarely reach five figures.

  254. nachum, i think the point is that 150 years ago the “dictionary meaning” of marriage would have been man+woman+hierarchy as much as the sky is blue. it was definitional that married woman did not own property and the like. That has changed.

  255. MiMedinat HaYam

    huff post “muzzle victims” — “Should Native American tribes be allowed to decide whether one of its members should be exempted from prosecution for a criminal offense?”

    actually, native american tribes legally do exempt themselves from criminal prosecutions. sex abuse, wife abuse, and alcoholic abuse (often combined) are not prosecuted / officially tolerated in many native american tribes (they have their own legal system; sounds like “batei din”.). while there is a legal / historical reason for this, why aren’t other groups (like charedim) not similarly exempt? possible 14th amendment issue, which would extend to all americans. any civil rights attys interested?

    interfaith dialogue — this article is just one person’s opinion / analysis. (and the jewish standard prefers to publish its preferred interpretation.)

  256. MiMedinat HaYam

    emma — “married woman did not own property and the like”

    neither did married men. a simple pc of property wasnt really worth much.

    if they did own, we see elaborate ketubot ( = pre nup), which text rabbis today consider sacrosant, unchangeable wording. not historically valid.

  257. i was speaking in the context of the original article, which was about secular “marriage.” which was inseparable from coverture. i don’t mean “were not wealthy landowners,” i mean ” did not hold legal title to things.”

  258. MMhY, my impression is that some of the tolerance in native american justice is externally imposed – ie, the feds don;t let them impose lng jail sentnces (so a lot of drug dealers go to reservations on purpose).
    are you actually suggesting that american society as a whole should want to replicate the “self- rule” of native americans with other communities? because it’s been workin gout so well for them…

  259. Will anyone be mourning the upcoming anniversary of the original k’fiyah datit mitachtit hahar? (sham te”hey k’vuras’chem etc.)
    It would take a special combination of belief in the actual event along with the courage to criticize it.
    Perhaps someone who stands along the clearly demarcated line between Left Wing Open Orthodoxy and Right Wing Union for Tradtional Judaism could get it done and then write a creed about it.

    It could even be published on the Morethodoxy blog- The orthodoxy that anyone can edit.

  260. ▪ Interfaith dialogue nothing new for Jews

    Is that where the child molestation came from?

  261. “Why Reb Nachman of Breslov Is So Relevant Today”

    A significant portion of what she writes relates to most of orthodox Judaism in general, as opposed to just Hassidism, or the Breslov version thereof.

    “Breslov has attracted such diverse seekers as Elie Wiesel, Matisyahu, Shuli Rand (of Ushpizin fame), and numerous others—artists, musicians, scientists, lawyers, athletes, and scholars.”

    If you want to drop names you can put together a number of celebrities that have been attracted to Lubavitch, Orthodox Judaism in general, or some other subgroup thereof, as well, without too much difficulty. I don’t think Wiesel and Matisyahu particularly qualify/identify as Breslovers, more than say with Matisyahu, the Karliner and Lubavitchers, who he has associated with at certain stages, before moving on. Some or many contemporary seekers sample or experiment with various groups or schools, but do they hang their hat there or just pass through or occasionally visit?

    “Breslov is often cited as the body of Hasidic thought most essential to our times.”

    Where? By who? Breslovers?

  262. MiMedinat HaYam

    emma — note that (most, definitely those that “abuse” their self rule) reservation courts only apply to their “members” ( = 1/16th indian blood qualifies; and your baby is now subject to indian courts, not nys family court system, and they will definitely award custody to an alcoholic drug abuser indian over a respectable “white” family, of a baby found anywhere in the us (or the world, via hague convention)), and their criminal jurusdiction only applies to crime on the (mostly poor, no economy) reservation. (except, of course, the two casinos in connecticut. financed by malay$ian money funneled through that malaysian who $pon$ored bill clinton’s “teas.”)

    no, my point is that if they are allowed to have an independent court system, why cant charedim, or say, al sharpton? (yeasm, there’s a historical / legal reason, but i’m talking about “fairnesss” and philosophically.)

  263. MiMedinat HaYam

    regarding women owning property, even in nys, there were (some)restrictions on married women owning property, and their husband’s selling it, till the 1960s. (thus, title companies are still (trying to) check for that when insuring a title.)

    i was really trying to point out, that at least among jews, there was substantial protection for women in their ketubot, that rabbonim today do not want to countenance.

  264. ‘the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA), the largest organization of rabbis in the United States, approved a resolution recognizing that the Health and Human Services (HHS) regulation that mandates employers provide access to contraceptives, abortifacient drugs, and sterilizations forces many employers to “violate the injunctions of their religion.” ‘

    The regulation does no such thing. It dumps the problem on the insurers if the employers don’t want to cover them; because contraception is cheaper than pregnancy, the insurers aren’t upset.

    But there is a jurisdiction that DOES such a thing: Massachusetts. The law was signed by Mitt Romney.

    “the choice is in the hands of each family what kind of insurance to buy and what it covers”

    This is a nice idea in theory. But unfortunately, it probably won’t work very well. There are three reasons: First, there are huge economies of scale in health insurance. Medicare’s loss ratio — the ratio of claims paid to premiums received — is about 98%; the best private insurer can only do about 90%. That is five times the inefficiency. And the insurers were apoplectic over the Affordable Care Act’s insistence on requiring loss ratios of 80-85%. It isn’t entirely their fault. Medicare does not have expenses for underwriting, marketing, investment management, executive salaries, or shareholder dividends. Each one individually is small but added up they matter. And bigger insurers — Medicare is the largest in the US — can spread fixed costs over a larger number of plan participants. The second reason is that a huge fraction of Americans would not be able to afford the coverage, so they would require subsidies. The Dole-Chafee plan of the early 1990s floundered on this very point. The third problem — not unique to this idea — is that no system would work as long as people have the right to choose not to be covered at all; their uncompensated care costs would continue to get dumped on the rest of us. Understand this and you understand why every other developed country in the world has a system with a small number of payers — France and Canada each have about a dozen; Israel four; the UK one — and cover everyone at a small fraction of the cost of healthcare in the US, achieving better outcomes in the process.

    “If you are asking why it is different, that is for historical reasons going back to the Great Depression.”

    Actually it was World War II, not the Depression.

    “No one plans on lung cancer or unwanted pregnancy, but if it happens, they need coverage.”

    And preventing the cancer or pregnancy is cheaper than the event itself. That is why insurers cover things like smoking cessation medication and contraceptives.

    ” the free market will force doctors, hospitals to lower their prices”

    Prices for most medical care is driven by cost, not demand. There is, as the economists would say, little elasticity. And when you are in the emergency department after having had a stroke, you aren’t in a position to negotiate fees — or to even consider going to another hospital!

  265. “You don’t believe in free markets and people being free to do what they want with their money?”

    I believe in HaShem and His Torah. Which includes many, many restrictions on free markets. We are NOT free to do what we want with our money.

  266. “surely you jest”

    It is no joke — while RIETS grants semichah to far more young men, the number who actually pursue careers in the rabbinate is similar.

  267. Charlie: Moral law. Government coercion. Again, hard for a liberal to understand, but there is a difference. You can give charity all you want, as long as it’s your money.

  268. CHARLIE HALL:

    “while RIETS grants semichah to far more young men, the number who actually pursue careers in the rabbinate is similar”

    surely you jest

  269. Mordechai-

    Check out R Aryeh Kaplan for a polymath’s appreciation of Rebbe Nachman:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aryeh_Kaplan

  270. It may be more than purely coincidental that the Asifa was held on the same day as Yom Yerushalayim. However, I have spent Shabbos and YT on numerous occasions in communities where one can count on one finger shuls that commemorate either Yom HaAtzmaut and/or Yom Yerushalayim. One detects a POV that such commemoration either is reserved for RZ/MO, reiteration of some classical arguments against supporting Zionism and/or Israel, but, even more tragically, a basic lack of appreciation of the fact that the presence of a sovereign Jewish state, even a state with secular Zionism as its political underpinnings, has led in no small part to the fact that more Jewish men and women are learning Torah in Israel than at any other time in Jewish history. I previously gave a mashul about a young man on a date who blamed the shadchan for his conclusion that the date was “not shayach” for him. It is unfortunately true that the above allegory is an operative fact especially when the restoration of Jewish sovereignty and the conquest of Ir HaKodesh are passed over in at best silence, and at worst, contempt for the importance of the same.

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