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The Chained Wife
Growing Up in a Rabbi’s Shadow
Life in British Mandate Palestine
Time To Rethink the New York Jew
Nod to Change as Jacobs Takes URJ Reins
Rabbi: Organ donations OK without dead’s consent
Over 80% religious boys have visited improper websites
R S Burg: The View From Pennsylvania Avenue
African migrants and Orthodox apathy
New CDC Data May Not Show Risk Due To Metzitzah B’peh
Controversial Rav Hirsch Letters Published
R H Goldberg: Winning the battles and losing the war
SALT Friday

Grand Opening for New 770 in Washington
R Y Rosenblatt: Installing My Internet Filter
Catholic-Jewish dialogue – a new era
Rabbi Proposes Beit Din Decide Organ Donations
Kuwait Institutes Death Penalty for Blasphemy
Breaking down barriers for deaf Jews
Israeli Chief Rabbinical Council OKs eulogies by women
Lakewood Girls School under Attack for Controversial Letter on Modesty
Is Spider-Man Jewish?
R Aviner: In Defense of the Chief Rabbi of Tzahal
The Real Jewish Fight on Campus
RYGB: Conference Call Shiur: The Internet Asifa and RSRH
SALT Thursday

RCA Facing Leadership Challenge
Jewish Action Summer 2012 (5772)
R Lookstein: A Cause, And A Lesson
Intermarriage And The NY Jewish Community Study
Reform Judaism has obligation to change
The Haredi Spring
Rival Owners, Sacred Text
New York Proposes Consent Waiver for Circumcision Ritual Associated With Herpes
Reading the Talmud in Amman
Will The Next Great Gathering Be A Show of Unity?
Jewish-Orthodox Sexual Abuse Cases and Ultra-Media Bias
Freedom of “worship” vs. “religion”
SALT Wednesday

NYC Jewish population growing again, comprehensive study shows
Jewish Cemetery Head Earns Fat Salary
Female rabbis slowly gaining recognitions
Rabbinate eases wedding regulations for Tzohar rabbis
R’ Ovadia Yosef: It Is Forbidden To Expel Children From Yeshiva
Don’t read this on your phone! (from ‘Haredi Elvis’ Lipa Schmeltzer)
Jewish politicians Denounce Charles Barron as an Enemy of the State of Israel
SALT Tuesday

Israeli rabbinical court rejects conversion by Bnei Brak’s most important ultra-Orthodox court
Daf Yomi gathering unites Jews of all stripes
The Tal Law and Jewish Law – In Conflict?
Athens’ Jewish school, the community’s jewel, imperiled by Greek economic crisis
Sex abuse trial of NY ultra-Orthodox counselor splits community
Bagels, Yiddishisms, and tikkun olam
Tzohar and Rabbinate in historic agreement
Haredi girls compete to be entrepreneurs
Rabbis Aren’t Always the Enemy
What Ancient Texts Can Teach Us About Technological Change
Dishonest Kiruv! The Building of Responsible Jewish Outreach Movements
Koren Siddur – Nusach Sefard
Poll shows Finchley’s Ephraim Mirvis is favourite for Chief Rabbi role
CDC: 11 infants contracted herpes due to controversial Jewish circumcision practice
Of course Zuckerberg didn’t ‘like’ Judaism — why should he?
SALT Monday
Prior news & links posts
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About Gil Student

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

377 comments

  1. Flatbush Asifa. Were you there Gil? I’d like to hear your thoughts.

  2. I thought the Flatbush Asifah was productive and useful, although I disagree with some points and feel they left out some important issues. I hope to post my own take on the subject within a week.

  3. For example, internet is allowed for business but not for socializing or entertainment. Is downloading a shiur allowed? Reading a devar Torah? Looking up museums for a family trip? I understand that no speech can cover everything but they published community guidelines that omit this middle category.

    I disagree with the prohibition on social media.

    And I am less confident in the effectiveness of mobile filters than they are.

    I agree with the general message that porn is absolutely forbidden and people should be embarrassed not to have a filter. But there is much more to discuss beyond that in terms of proper internet usage. Some of these issues were discussed briefly but I think should have been given more emphasis. But this a minor critique. In general, I think the gathering was responsible and useful.

    I tweeted the whole thing, although my data connection was spotty.

  4. R’ Avi Shafran wrote a piece carried by JTA about how “Daf Yomi gathering unites Jews of all stripes”? The majority of JTA readers will never open a gemara (nor their husbands). The word “Orthodox” is missing; and in that venue, it’s a glaring error. But there is a psychological point to be made if few O readers notice that we’re ignoring the overwhelming majority of Jews (92% in the US) in the same sentence in which we laud “unity”.

  5. Fischer’s piece on Zuckerberg, of course, makes the classic mistake of assuming that every Eastern European Jewish immigrant to the US (and every Sephardi immigrant to Israel) was pure and holy and seriously frum. It was those evil Reform/Zionists who did them in.

    Of course, that’s not true.

    (Of course, he ignores the question of where the Reform and Zionist Jews came from.)

  6. There isn’t much difficulty about the Rambam’s line about exemptions: As is well-known, he ends of every section with a bit of moral instruction that is not strictly halakhic. The halakha he’s giving is about Leviim; the bit after is aggadic, so to speak. Also note, of course, that he never actually *says* that such a person is exempt from any human action.

  7. Nachum,

    But those advocating for exemptions and kollel funding cite this Rambam. It’s important to address it.

  8. Lawrence Kaplan

    See the Radbaz.

  9. Radbaz comments that he will rely on Hashem and not the community.

    How does that work exactly? Unexplained deposits in his bank account?

    If we make the comparison to the Tribe of Levi, who lived off tithes – then by extension this individual who wants to be a “conceptual Levite” would be supported by the community.

    I think we can all agree it is a difficult Rambam. Radbaz’s explanation doesn’t seem too compelling given the context.

  10. Lawrence Kaplan

    He will work for a living, but God will somehow ensure that he wil not have to work too hard. Th bottom lineis is that the Rambam Hilkhot Talmud Torah sharply condemns aynone who relies on the community for support.

  11. “Koren Siddur – Nusach Sefard”

    Interesting that the Koren website labels it as “Sepharad”.

    I assume, since it is described here as “Nusach Sefard”, that it is Hassidic Sfard, not Sepharadi nusach Sepharad. Correct me if I am wrong. But some people might be confused if they see it labeled as Sepharad.

    The O-U Press page states “It is the only Orthodox siddur that includes: prayers for the state of Israel, its soldiers and national holidays, and a halakhic guide for visitors; prayers following childbirth and upon the birth of a daughter; a modern translation and transliteration, and citations of modern authorities.”

    Coming to a shtiebel near you soon then? How many shtieblech that daven nusach Sfard say the tefillah limedinas Yisroel though? A pretty small percentage I would guess. I assume they just want to get a nusach Sfard version out there for those who would request it, but are not counting on making significant inroads in that market.

  12. “He will work for a living, but God will somehow ensure that he wil not have to work too hard.”

    Where do you see that in the language of Rambam or Radbaz?

    I agree that the passage in question is difficult to understand given Rambam’s comments to Avot and his Hil. Talmud Torah, as the author of the article notes.

  13. I just don’t think Radbaz does a great job at reconciling the contradiction.

  14. SHIMMY:

    that teshuva from rav moshe re. draft vs. yeshivah is very short but says a lot. very interesting.

    (as an aside, i once asked here if anyone can tell me to what extent he was consulted by israelis. obviously here is an example.)

  15. “Israeli rabbinical court rejects conversion by Bnei Brak’s most important ultra-Orthodox court”

    Sweet, sweet schadenfreude – and yet another reason to dismantle the Rabbinate.

  16. “Koren Siddur – Nusach Sefard”

    Actually makes perfect sense, since many Dati Leumi Israels daved “Nusach Sefard” (at least the version that R. Goren tried to institute in Tzahal). It will be interesting to see which version of “Nusach Sefard” they choose and/or how they show the different versions in the name of “textual accuracy”.

  17. R. Avi Shafran opens by saying that “More American Jews will converge this summer on a single spot of real estate than at any time in American history.” He must forget the pro-Israel march on Washington on April 15, 2002, which was attended by more than 100,000 Jews. I’m not terribly surprised that he would not remember, though, since the Agudah, for whom he was working at the time, chose not to participate. [I will report back on August 2 regarding which one was a more inspirational demonstration of Jewish unity.]

  18. HESH:

    “Actually makes perfect sense, since many Dati Leumi Israels daved “Nusach Sefard””

    not too many dati leumi israelis will be using this (it is hebrew-english)

    “at least the version that R. Goren tried to institute in Tzahal”

    i’ve never heard that r. goren’s nusach achid is the reason that nusach sephard predominates in israel

  19. He also forgot the historic rally for Soviet Jewry in December 1987 when Premier Gorbachev was in Washington for a summit, where over 200,000 Jews attended.

    But maybe he didn’t forget: the Agudah withdrew its support once it was announced that Perter, Paul and Mary would perform.

  20. I am pretty sure it pre-dates R’ Goren. I believe that one of the main reasons Nusach Sefard is so prevalent in Israel is that Bnei Akiva was established by people who daven nusach sefard and as such Bnei Akiva yeshivot all daven nusach sefard as does KBY, which was/is the first hesder yeshiva.

    In contast, in the US the Litvish influence (through YU) made nusach ashkenaz more prevalent.

  21. “He must forget the pro-Israel march on Washington on April 15, 2002, which was attended by more than 100,000 Jews.”

    he must forget the annual salute to israel parade

    “I believe that one of the main reasons Nusach Sefard is so prevalent in Israel is that Bnei Akiva was established by people who daven nusach sefard”

    i thought it was in general a matter of geography, i.e., most israelis came from places in europe that davened nusach sefard?

  22. So, it looks like outside of Hirhurim others preach the same message that I do. From the linked Bagels, Yiddishisms, and tikkun olam:

    Over the years, Orthodoxy has taken a few lessons from more progressive movements of Judaism. […] I would implore the Orthodox community to continue to do this, and the more conservative streams of Orthodoxy to engage in this exchange as well. […] allowing one’s movement to be influenced by other, more Orthodox streams of Judaism in ways that don’t violate their own principles will benefit the Reform and Conservative Movements in the way that these practices benefit Orthodoxy. Jewish diversity is only valuable if we all cash in on it; it’s strictly detrimental if it only serves to divide us to the extent that we’re more concerned with being disassociated with the other than with using one another’s strengths to be the best versions of ourselves.

    Amen.

  23. IH-
    ‘Over the years, ORTHODOXY has taken a few lessons from more progressive movements of Judaism.’

    You mean there is such a thing?

    https://www.torahmusings.com/2012/06/news-links-99/

  24. “So, it looks like outside of Hirhurim others preach the same message that I do.” Korach had both of you beat by around 3000 years.

  25. Cross pollinated comment from DT:

    http://daattorah.blogspot.com/2012/06/convert-of-r-karelitz-rejected-by.html

    Rabbi Michael TzadokJune 11, 2012 1:31 PM
    The title and the stub are a bit misleading. First the lady tried to have her “Jewishness” recognized by the Netanya court using forged documents.

    When she was found out she went to the Karelitz court and tried to pull the same scam. They, lacking the resources of the state, insisted on a Giur L’Chumra.

    The lady then went back to the Netanya court to register a marriage with a Kohen. When they declined her because she was a gioret, she tried to insist that the giur l’chumra was essentially a de-facto recognition of her Jewishness.

    The Netanya court did decide to challenge the Karelitz Badatz on the giur l’chumra but that was only because the lady did it with forged documents, and with held that fact and that she had already been denied by the Netanya B”D on account of those forged documents.

    Suddenly the story sounds a lot less sensational. I’m guessing(admittedly this is only a guess) that the Karelitz Badatz isn’t going to mind so much, since the lady’s first act was to try to violate halakha by registering to marry a Kohen.

  26. Tal Benschar on June 11, 2012 at 3:35 pm
    “So, it looks like outside of Hirhurim others preach the same message that I do.” Korach had both of you beat by around 3000 years.

    Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.

  27. Actually, in the case of Korach, the best disinfectant proved to be a really deep hole and fire from heaven. 🙂

    I think Abba is right about Sephard in Israel. The largest pre-state Aliyah came from Poland, and especially outside the (German and, earlier, Gra settled) big cities, they predominated, including on the kibbutzim, with their outsized influence, etc. Most survivors after the war were Sephard-davening as well. Hence the prevalence of the Nusach in Israel, again outside of the larger batei knesset and/or the larger cities.

    As to Koren, they may have something here. After all, how many shteiblach have English siddurim at all- and yet, Artscroll’s done quite well with their Sephard editions? As to the Medina bits, you never know: Lack of saying them can often be a matter of rote, in that the siddur doesn’t have it. If Korens start popping up in (obviously only some) shteiblach, you may see an occasional tefillah for Israel or Tzahal. Hope so…

  28. Agreeing with Korach, are we now?

    Maybe you can get together with RDH and write about how heroic Korach was and how cruel Moshe Rabbenu was.

  29. My last comment (4:18) was directed at IH, not Nahum.

    BTW, the original quote was from an article written by Louis Brandeis in 1913. You can read it here:
    http://www.law.louisville.edu/library/collections/brandeis/node/196

    It has nothing to do with plurality or learning from heretical sects. Its main argument is that business interests, when offering their deals to the public, need to give full disclosure. That argument was the basis for the major overhaul of securities laws enacted in the United States in 1933 and 1934.

  30. Tal – “Agreeing with Korach, are we now?’

    it would seem many a jewish philosopher/gadol in a way did. from r’ yeduda halevi to the maharal to rav kook.

    see r’ y. ebeyshutz on the pirkei avot section that claimed that korach’s and moshe’s argument was lesham shamayim.

    have we gotten a little nasty lately?

  31. It’s just the all too common noxious mix of fundamentalism and arrogance. There are plenty of Tal’s across all ism’s.

    Justice Brandeis was in later life both a Zionist and a passionate defender of free speech with the rationale that hate speech is best combated by exposing its ugliness for all to see.

  32. As Anthony Lewis summarizes in Freedom for the Thought We Hate (p. 162):

    The great statement of reasons for allowing even the most noxious speech was made by Brandeis in his opinion in Whitney v. California: “Discussion affords ordinarily adequate protection against the dissemination of noxious doctrine,” he wrote. And, “the fitting remedy for evil counsels is good ones.”

    So, in that spirit I would like to go back to the point made by Ms. Widen in the piece Gil to which Gil linked:

    Jewish diversity is only valuable if we all cash in on it; it’s strictly detrimental if it only serves to divide us to the extent that we’re more concerned with being disassociated with the other than with using one another’s strengths to be the best versions of ourselves. Jewish thought and Jewish law are only valuable when they’re presented honestly and with all of their complexities; otherwise, it’s just a bunch of bagels and Yiddishisms.

    Tal included (to the extent he can control his yetzer ha’ra and have a civil discussion).

  33. IH: Most people who know me actually think I am a polite and nice person. I also have the honesty of using my real name, not psuedonyms when I blog. Not to mention the honesty of quoting things accurately, unlike your cute little tricks like you did with the Hartman book.

    In your case, the nastiness is what the gemara calls leitzanusa de avodah zara. You come onto an Orthodox blog, and advocate decidedly heterodox views. Others here may agree to debate you on your own terms, I won’t. What you advocate, in the end, leads to wholesale destruction of the Torah. Exhibit A, you have no problem with homosexuality or same-sex marriage.

    As Harry Truman once said, If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.

    (I am reminded of a story the Chasam Sofer once told. Someone asked him to give a haskamah to a work that contained heresy. When he refused, someone argued, yes, but it has redeeming virtues. So he replied with the following story.

    There was once a small town, which had a small kehillah of pious but simple Jews, and a rov. A young, pious girl became very sick. They called in a Doctor, who said she must eat pork or she will die. The girl refused — “I’d rather die than do that.” Everyone tried to persuade her, to no avail. Finally they called in the Rov, who said, “I pasken that you are obligated to eat the pork to save your life. If you don’t do that, you will be doing a terrible sin of suicide!”

    So the girl relented. OK, her relieved parents said, let’s go down to the local gentile butcher and buy some pork. “Hold it,” said the girl. “I may have to eat pork, but at least make sure it is shechted properly.”

    The parents were taken aback, but what could they do? So they went out, bought a pig, took it to the shochet, and asked him to shecht it. At first he thought the request bizarre, but after much explanation, he agreed.

    So they shechted the pig, and brought some pork to the girl . “DId you check the lungs as we do for a cow?” Again the parents were taken aback. But what could they do. So they went back and had the shochet check the lungs. Sure enough, they had a lesion which in a cow would require a sheilas chacham. So they took the lungs to the local rav, explained the whole situation, and asked him if it were kosher.

    The Rov check the lungs, and tried to speak. “Akkkk,” was all that came out. He tried again. Again,”Akkkk,” was all that came out. “What’s the matter?” the parents asked.

    Answered the Rov, “if you brought me such lungs from a cow that had been shechted, I would have paskened kosher.” I wanted to say, “Kosher.” But I could not get the words out — “I just cannot say kosher on a pig.”

    Said the Chasam Sofer, like the Rov in the story, I just cannot say “kosher” on a work that contains heresy, even if it has other, redeeming virtues.)

  34. “Agreeing with Korach, are we now?’

    it would seem many a jewish philosopher/gadol in a way did. from r’ yeduda halevi to the maharal to rav kook.

    Ruvie — I don’t know what in the world you are taking about. In what way were the gedolim/philosophers like Korach?

  35. Lawrence Kaplan

    Tal: Ruvie is referring to a well known line of Yeshaya Leibowitz who asserted that all the figures mentioned agreed with Korach re the intrinsic sanctity of the Jewish people ( contra Moshe, Maimonides, the Meshech Hokhmah, etc., for whom holiness is a goal not a grant.

  36. Tal — I have no problem with the heat, but I remain civil. Pseudonym none withstanding, I have provided more autobiographical information for others to evaluate my position than you have. Your arrogance betrays you, though.

    In any case, the quote came from an article Gil chose to post. Is Ms. Widen also indulging in leitzanusa de avodah zara?

  37. Ah, yes. you accused both Ms. Widen and me of being modern-day Korachs (“Korach had both of you beat by around 3000 years”). So, taking your apologetica at its word, are you accusing Gil of leitzanusa de avodah zara for posting a link to her article?

  38. I have no problem with the heat, but I remain civil. Pseudonym none withstanding, I have provided more autobiographical information for others to evaluate my position than you have. Your arrogance betrays you, though

    1. Many of your posts are not that civil, you should try reading them. Not to mention manipulative dishonesty, at times.

    Sometimes I am not sure if you are simply being dense or dishonest. For example, Steven Brizel wrote that Hartmann had left Orthodoxy years ago. You replied that although he quit the RCA, that is only an American organization, and he is a rabbi in ISrael.

    Really, who cares about the RCA. Steve’s rather obvious point is that Hartmann’s views are beyond the pale and take him out of Orthodoxy. You want to debate that point, fine. (Although from the link discussed on the other post, it is really painfully obvious.) But that Hartmann did or did not maintain his RCA membership is an utter non-sequitur.

    2. Why do you think your autobiographical information allows others to evaluate your position? Your ideas are valid or invalid on their own. If I told you my life history, would that somehow validate my views?

    Maybe you have an issue with objective truth. I am not a psychologist and am in no position to analyze you even if I were. But frankly, whether the Orthodox world should be open to learning from the Heterodox movements is a question I think can be addressed without knowing either your or my biographies.

    3. Arrogance means self-aggrandizement. I don’t know anything in my posts where I praise myself or aggrandize my self. I do have a firm conviction about the basics of the Torah — the ikkarei emunah. Ideas that undermine them I reject out of hand. I know you would prefer wishy-washiness, but some of us are firmly committed to these basics.

    In any case, the quote came from an article Gil chose to post. Is Ms. Widen also indulging in leitzanusa de avodah zara?

    “Leitzanusa de avodah zara” refers to the permission to mock and scorn idolatry, where normally mocking and scorning are not allowed. Eliyahu did so at Mt. Carmel when he confronted the Neviei ha Baal.

  39. arrogance:
    overbearing pride evidenced by a superior manner toward inferiors.”

    Quoting one of my interlocutors: if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

  40. So, taking your apologetica at its word, are you accusing Gil of leitzanusa de avodah zara for posting a link to her article?

    It’s not an apology. Look at my last post for an explanation. Nothing to do with Gil’s posting.

  41. While you’re looking up arrogance in the dictionary, look up apologetics.

  42. IH: If you want to all adherence to the fundamentals of faith arrogance, then call it that. Nu, so I am arrogant. So sue me.

  43. While you’re looking up arrogance in the dictionary, look up apologetics.

    Confirming yet another Chazal, kol ha posel be mumo posel.

  44. The NY Jewish Demographic study is being released tomorrow. The NYT has a preview it seems:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/12/nyregion/new-yorks-jewish-population-is-growing-again.html?hp

  45. I guess all this back and forth ad hominem debate is better than further advocacy of kefirah. Sure is a waste of time, though.

  46. BTW, apropos of nothing, I just paid a parking ticket I got last week on-line at the NJ State website for such payments. VEry smooth, took 2 minutes. Remarkable how efficient government is when they are taking your money.

  47. Tal – IH: If you want to all adherence to the fundamentals of faith arrogance, then call it that. Nu, so I am arrogant. So sue me.

    It’s not the adherence that is slightly disturbing. It’s the self assurance that you are 100% right and everyone else who does not toe the line a kofer in a narrow view of what is acceptable. It seems you do not accept disagreement to the the possibility of a broader view that may be acceptable to others in orthodoxy – which begs the question of who made you a decider with your definitive statements [ that is where the arrogance is so noticeable].
    Wasn’t it r’ moshe who called the chizkuni – or was it the mesech hochmah- a kofer since he regarded his views how the Torah was given – via numerous kelaf over 40 years in the dessert- beyond the pale? Does anyone today agree? So much for cs story – nice for the shtetl Jews of yesteryear. Meaningless today.

  48. Ruvie, the story is pretty meaningful when the news tells us of a lesbian couple in Jerusalem (who I happen to have met, so I can attest to the truth of the report) who, after their play-acting “marriage,” are covering their heads and keeping the laws of niddah. At least in the story, the girl was halakhically obligated to eat the pork. Here we have two children, really, playing at “marriage” and putting OU ketchup on their cheeseburger, making a mockery of halakha and minhag.

  49. I have to ask if anyone has any facts about the top link regarding the rejected conversion… All I see is a something which makes no sense protected behind a paywall.

  50. “BTW, apropos of nothing, I just paid a parking ticket I got last week on-line at the NJ State website for such payments. VEry smooth, took 2 minutes. Remarkable how efficient government is when they are taking your money.”

    I recently had to get my driver’s license renewed. In and out in under 10 minutes. Remarkable how efficient government is when they are providing you a service.

  51. “I have to ask if anyone has any facts about the top link regarding the rejected conversion… All I see is a something which makes no sense protected behind a paywall.”

    Copy a sentence from the article and paste it in google. One of the first hits should get you the full article; it did for me.

  52. Nahum – one person’s heresy is sometimes another’s orthodoxy. Wasn’t it the cs or misneh berura’s son that relates that their father refuse to install electricity and have lights in their shul – lest one thinks we are talking about Shabbat – it was for during the week hence emphasizing chadash assur min hatorah.

    I don’t know if it’s a mockery but it’s not the norm. Would you rather they eat treif and mehalel Shabbat too? Can you at least feel for them in their particular situation.

  53. BTW, an unwillingness to engage heresy intelectually and on universal grounds (which includes entertaining the possiblity that the currently heretical position is tomorrow’s great truth) is a sign of great weakness and goes against the tradition of the great Jewish philosophers.

    One need only consider the great heresies of the past which are now taken for granted by many orthodox Jews: Gilgulim, Panentheism, Emanationsim, etc, etc…

    Even Maasu haBonim, Haita leRosh Pina often applies to the heresies of the past finding their proper place in the faith community. Tal’s close minded attitude regarding investigations and debates that don’t take ikkarim dogma as their starting point goes against this great tradition.

  54. “t’s not the adherence that is slightly disturbing. It’s the self assurance that you are 100% right and everyone else who does not toe the line a kofer in a narrow view of what is acceptable. It seems you do not accept disagreement to the the possibility of a broader view that may be acceptable to others in orthodoxy – which begs the question of who made you a decider with your definitive statements [ that is where the arrogance is so noticeable].”

    Ruvie, I don’t think that only my views are acceptable. I do think that after a certain point, you are beyond the Pale and your views are unacceptable.

    Do you seriously contend that, for example, David Hartman can by any stretch of the imagination be called “Orthodox?” Read the links above and let me know. IMO, calling him that is laughable, and defending that position with references to his RCA membership is patently dishonest.

  55. BTW, an unwillingness to engage heresy intelectually and on universal grounds (which includes entertaining the possiblity that the currently heretical position is tomorrow’s great truth) is a sign of great weakness and goes against the tradition of the great Jewish philosophers.

    I don’t know if you noticed, but this is not a philosophical work, it’s a blog. If I had a mind to, I could spend all day debating the philosophical issues, although at this point in history it’s a waste of time.

    The Orthodox community accepts certain things as basic — God, Torah min ha Shomayim, etc. Like the Tseddukim of old, there are those who want to reject those, but hide their rejection in a mantle of pseudo-Torah. (The Rambam made this very point about the Tsedukim, their true motivation was assimilationist, but they could not get away with saying that openly.) When I see such deception, I am going to call the person on it.

  56. “I don’t know if it’s a mockery but it’s not the norm.”

    I don’t know what you mean by that. What *is* the norm? (Well, apart from heterosexuality.)

    “Would you rather they eat treif and mehalel Shabbat too?”

    Of course I wouldn’t want them to eat pork. But you miss my point: The laws of niddah and headcovering are davka laws that apply to married people, and these women, despite what they may want to think, *are not married.* As they are doing things that specifically emphasize and, indeed, try to normalize what is, in fact, an outright violation of halakha and a perversion of nature, then, yes, it is a mockery.

    “Can you at least feel for them in their particular situation.”

    What difference does that make? I feel for someone who has a compulsion to eat pork too. I feel for someone who has voices in his head. How should that affect my views?

  57. I’m with Tal on this. My take-away from the article is confirmation of what I’ve been saying for a long time — the demise of RW Conservative continues to send/keep people with non-Orthodox views into the Orthodox community because there really isn’t any other place for shomrei mitzvos. They are sociologically Orthodox but theologically heretics.

    I don’t think we have to kick them out but when setting policy and selecting leaders we have to recognize the diversity, being inclusive regarding membership and exclusive regarding leadership. We want to have guests in our community, but they have to be honest about who they are. The author of this article is honest.

  58. “In your case, the nastiness is what the gemara calls leitzanusa de avodah zara. You come onto an Orthodox blog, and advocate decidedly heterodox views. Others here may agree to debate you on your own terms, I won’t. ”

    I tip my hat to you. You are a yachid in this regard and to be greatly commended.

  59. Gil: I appreciate the agreement. Perhaps I can learn from your more calm demeanor. Are you referring to the “Bagels, Yiddishisms, and tikkun olam” article?

  60. Good take, Gil.

  61. So much for cs story – nice for the shtetl Jews of yesteryear. Meaningless today.

    Why is it meaningless? Is there no such thing as heresy today? Just because there might be a dispute about a marginal case does not mean that there is nothing beyond the Pale.

    Are the books of Richard Dawkins arguing against belief in God acceptable for an Orthodox Jew? (I don’t mean to read in the sense of da ma she tashiv, I mean to hold of.)

  62. The link about the conversion should have led with this paragraph, not the one quoted in the link:

    “The ruling, which was issued on May 14 and is being reported here for the first time, did not formally invalidate the woman’s conversion. Instead the panel indicated that the Haredi court had made an error: it had relied on forged documents as evidence that the woman was probably Jewish and allowed her to make do with what is known in Judaic law as giyur l’humra – a quick and lenient conversion, performed as a stringency on the off chance that she wasn’t actually Jewish.”

    This is why I never trust headlines or snippets of articles.

  63. We want to have guests in our community

    Perhaps you need to change your about link to read “RWMO Torah study” to be clear about who belongs and who is a guest. Perhaps something like:

    The Hirhurim-Musings blog is intended only for the interchange of ideas for the purpose of RWMO and Charedi Torah study, promoting enlightened conservative public policy and/or the refinement of RWMO and Charedi character.

    It would be more honest given Hirhurim on June 12, 2012 at 7:36 am

  64. “June 12, 2012 at 7:36 am”

    “A date which will live in infamy . . .” or “famy,” depending on your POV.

  65. Is there no such thing as heresy today?

    Jews don’t have a good track record of identifying heresy. In the last few hundred years, for example, both Chassidism and Zionism were considered heresy by normative Orthodoxy.

  66. IH: One thing I am curious about in your last post:

    “promoting [strikeout: enlightened] conservative public policy”

    Since when has Gil or anyone else here limited what is acceptable in terms of public policy? While you and I agree on what should be done in terms of health care, I don’t think that someone who believes that we should have European style socialized medicine is a heretic or beyond the Pale. You can be Orthodox, even Ultra-Orthodox, and think that is the best public policy. Heck, I am sure there are many in the Ultra-Orthodox community who would welcome that policy with open arms.

  67. So the salary of a cemetery head is link-worthy, but the net worths of various miracle workers in Israel isn’t?

  68. Tal — I agree that “conservative” is imperfect, but it is more precise than “enlightened”.

    BTW, in case you missed it: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/10/opinion/sunday/the-gops-gay-trajectory.html

  69. IH: Are you this guy’s son?

  70. nachum – ” As they are doing things that specifically emphasize and, indeed, try to normalize what is, in fact, an outright violation of halakha and a perversion of nature, then, yes, it is a mockery.”

    while i agree with you that they are trying to normalize something that halachikally does not apply to them – i question the accuracy of “an outright violation of halacha” – they are doing something that does not apply to them but on its own is not assur. i think they giving themselves markers to remind themselves of their self chosen status. and if they want to go to the mikveh to differentiate times of sexual pleasure – well so be it. they are working with a religious terminology for themselves to feel connected to their religious experience which is orthodox in the general. are they saying this is halachikally mandatory ( i haven’t seen the article – is there a link?)? is this mockery? please stop with the nonsense of perversion of nature since we know of homosexuality throughout nature and stick with the homsexual act (you are firmer ground there)

  71. Tal: Yes, the bagels story.

    IH: I don’t assume that all LWMO are heretics, just that there are some heretics among them. See R. Hayyim Angel’s article in the latest issue of Tradition in which he politely, and allowing for a little wiggle room which he essentially discards, takes down R. Moshe Shamah’s Torah commentary as heresy (without using that explosive language). The article is really a case study in how to criticize strongly but respectfully.

  72. Nachum: Yes. The cemetery-worker is paid by the community at large.

  73. The section on Orthodox Jews in NY starts on p. 211 of the Comprehensive Report (linked at 8:52am).

    In terms of Households:

    Hasidic 50,000 7%
    Yeshivish 23,000 3%
    Mod Orth 55,000 8%
    Orth Subtotal 129,000 19%
    Non-Orthodox 565,000 81%
    Total 694,000 100%

    “We asked respondents who were Orthodox, “Do you most closely identify with Modern, Hasidic, Yeshivish, or some other type of Orthodox?” In addition to these answers, we received an assortment of other terms that were volunteered by the respondent. Among the more common were “Other Orthodox” (that was eventually grouped with the Modern Orthodox); “Haredi, Agudah, Litvish/Lithuanian” (subsumed under Yeshivish Orthodox); and “Satmar, Bobov, Belz, Chabad, or Lubavitch” (placed with the Hasidic group). The term Haredi is used to refer to the Hasidic and Yeshivish groups together and in contrast to the Modern Orthodox, consistent with respondents’ self ascribed identities.”

  74. Lawrence Kaplan – Thank you for explaining my comment to tal. i would add – although y. lebowitz doesn’t – t’ tzadok ha-cohen of lublin who held that korach was justified in his claims and they were accepted and certain sections of halacha were set according to them: items that were originally only for priests were expanded to all (e.g. sgaving one’s head, second tithe, and tzizit-shaatnez). would you agree?

  75. “takes down R. Moshe Shamah’s Torah commentary as heresy”

    On what basis?

  76. Ruvie: By violation of halakha, I was referring to their homosexual acts, not to the mikva or head covering which, of course, are perfectly fine in and of themselves.

  77. Nachum — whose son? [my father has been dead for many years]

    Gil — Should you not also assume that there are some heretics among self-identified RWMO and Charedi? I certainly do, assuming your definition of heretic from previous discussions. I have not read R. Hayyim Angel’s critique, but have no quarrel with strong, but respectful criticism. Respectful is key, though.

  78. Aiwac: On what basis?

    An explicit, lengthy discussion in the commentary on the non-Mosaic authorship of large sections of the Pentateuch, including some occasional explanations based on later authorship of certain passages than others. I’ve been deciding whether to discuss this for a while but didn’t want to accuse of heresy someone whom R. Ovadiah Yosef explicitly declared not to be a heretic.

  79. Without prejudice to R. Hayyim Angel’s article that I have not read, one should point out: http://www.jewishideas.org/events/where-yeshiva-meets-university

  80. “An explicit, lengthy discussion in the commentary on the non-Mosaic authorship of large sections of the Pentateuch”

    Interesting. I was under the impression that ABC considers ALL of the Pentateuch to be post-Mosaic by at least a number of centuries. Is this an attempt to “split the difference”?

  81. Am I the only one who finds their smily face icon creepy?

  82. GIL:

    “I don’t think we have to kick them out but when setting policy and selecting leaders we have to recognize the diversity, being inclusive regarding membership and exclusive regarding leadership. We want to have guests in our community, but they have to be honest about who they are. The author of this article is honest.”

    i think this is a good formulation. if only we took the part of being inclusive regarding membership more seriously.

    “but they have to be honest about who they are”

    honest with themselves or to others?

  83. NACHUM:

    how do you feel about women accepting the mitzva of benching lulav and esrog?

  84. Tal – “I do think that after a certain point, you are beyond the Pale and your views are unacceptable.”
    i assume you mean me personally. can you be specific of where i am beyond the pale? will you admit that certain red lines are different for those in orthodoxy? that throughout history terms such as heresy have been reversed in hindsight – today’s heretic can be perfectly acceptable later on? and sometimes once a heretic always a heretic – like the early frum christians but not chabad/lubavitch.
    or take my example of r’ moshe view on the chizkuni – heretic- beyond the pale.
    i have not read RDH extensively so i can’t really opine one this post ortho person (i think that is a fair category for him but i leave it up to the Brills of the world to figure that out). also, that is why i prefer to discuss Kugel which i think is representative of many an orthodox jew as oppose to RDH.

  85. “There are plenty of Tal’s across all ism’s.”

    That’s rich! From the king of ism’s.

  86. Re the Charles Barron Article

    People need to pay attention to this – the election is June 26th and the district is approximately 20% Jewish (includes Brighton Beach, Sheepshead Bay, Mill Basin, etc). There are 360,000 registered voters in the district; in the last election (before redistricting), 28,000 turned out for the primary. If Jews in the District vote, the right guy will win; if they dont, we will have a one of the most anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli congressmen ever representing a district that is 20% Jewish.

  87. And now a word from a pseudonymous ex-CJ Charedi 🙂 I prefer substantive discussions with mutual respect, but if you want to roll in the mud…

  88. Joseph Kaplan wrote:

    “Copy a sentence from the article and paste it in google. One of the first hits should get you the full article; it did for me”

    I have a question.

    Did he ask a Rav if he could do so? More broadly, is such action legal?,ethical? moral? lefnim meshuras hadin? etc.

  89. “also, that is why i prefer to discuss Kugel which i think is representative of many an orthodox jew as oppose to RDH”

    Not really. Kugel puts his positions out in the open bluntly and without any diplomatic language. Your typical O Jew (and even nominally O scholar) who was burned by ABC tends to be much more circumspect and opaque about it.

    BTW, I’ve always found it curious that Kugel’s audience is still primarily American even though he’s been a Professor at Bar-Ilan for several years now…

  90. Ruvie,

    Also, many O Jews who accept some or all of ABC tend to work under assumptions which Kugel calls “apologetics”. So, no, I don’t think Kugel is typical.

  91. “but if you want to roll in the mud…”

    Takes us back to Tal’s CS story about eating pork, doesn’t it 🙂

  92. aiwac — you raise an interesting point. Has anyone summarized the top theological issues for MO/DL contrasting Israel vs. US?

  93. Kugel is typical? Unless we assume that everyone acting like an OJ is really a closet ABC’er and really, deep down, thinks Torah Min Hashomayim is bunk chv’sm.

  94. r’ gil – “… there really isn’t any other place for shomrei mitzvos. They are sociologically Orthodox but theologically heretics.”
    i think the line is fuzzy these days especially when it comes to torah min hashamayim issue and appropriate changes in halacha that we see happens in the prism of the evolution of halacha (partnership minyans) – i don’t think either are beyond the pale but recognize the slipperly slope (which can be applied to All forms of orthodoxy especially hasidim).

    that is why i brought Kugel (as oppose to RDH). a few years back in a conversation on Kugel with a well known respected (especially here) rabbi who said – he is a nice guy and all that but he is not orthodox which i said i wasn’t sure but he certainly acts like one. a few months later, i happen to relay the conversation to r’ menahem leibtag who said he finally finished Kugel’s book – we have talk about kugel over the years – and said that the rabbi is right he is not orthodox he is actually hareidi.

  95. I often wonder why names (“Orthodox” “non-Orthodox” “heretic”) take up so much space that could better be used for discussing the ideas at issue. But since “Is he (it’s almost always a he) Orthodox?” seems to be the game of choice recently, I thought I’d play too and chime in with a few of my ground rules.

    1. Self identification is necessary but not sufficient. That is, if you say you don’t believe in God and eat pork on Yom Kippur, you’re not O no matter what you call yourself. OTOH, if you call yourself a Conservative rabbi, you could be a lamed vavnik but you’d be a C l”v, not an O one.

    2. Shomer mitzvot. Can’t expect 100%; that’s what Yom Kippur and teshuvah are there for. So let’s posit Shabbat, Kashrut, yom tov, tallit and tefillin for men and some tefillah. I’d add taharat hamispacha, but who really knows what goes on behind anyone’s closed bedroom doors. Learning Torah and sending kids to O yeshivot are helpful in getting the applicant into the club but not dispositive.

    3. Belief is more difficult. I mean, how can you stop thinking about elephants once the topic is brought up. So I would suggest belief in God and acceptance that God revealed the Torah (Chumash) to the People of Israel as the basic requirements. Other areas like how halacha has/could be developed over the years? You may be right, may be wrong, but you’re still in.

    Clearly, I like the broad tent approach. Obviously, others have much tighter rules. Feel free to tell us yours.

  96. aiwac – ” Your typical O Jew (and even nominally O scholar) who was burned by ABC tends to be much more circumspect and opaque about it.”

    fair point. but their thought process is close to kugel regarding torah min hashamayim – that is why i think that category is much larger. there are those that accept both kugel’s position and chazal and just remain conflicted – i know that sounds odd but i have heard it too many times. but you are correct – they keep it to themselves or to a few friends.
    what is ABC exactly?

  97. ruvie: Kugel’s book–specifically his last chapter–is absolutely not Orthodox and R. Leibtag was either being facetious or reading it in a creative way. There are red lines.

    I know a wonderful rabbi/academic who insists that Kugel is totally kosher but doesn’t know what to do about the book and assumes it was poorly written. That’s a nice theory but irrelevant. Kugel’s disposition is a side story. Acceptance of Torah Mi-Sinai is relevant.

  98. ABC = academic biblical criticism

  99. “pseudonymous ex-CJ Charedi”

    Pot, kettle.

    Abba:

    Waving a lulav is not an averah. Quite the opposite. Being in a same-sex relationship is.

    “but who really knows what goes on behind anyone’s closed bedroom doors”

    I wouldn’t cut that slack to public same-sex couples.

  100. “ruvie on June 12, 2012 at 9:58 am
    Tal – “I do think that after a certain point, you are beyond the Pale and your views are unacceptable.”
    i assume you mean me personally. can you be specific of where i am beyond the pale?”

    Ruvie, chas ve shalom. I used the word “you” in the generic sense of “one.” I don’t like writing witht he word one, it comes out soundy stuffy. I once saw an interview of Prince Charles when he was like 21, and he kept saying “one” when referring to himself and sounded utterly asinine. (Maybe not to British ears.) The comment was meant generically, not personal.

  101. r’ gil – he was serious but i understand your point. R’ leibtag’s point was as long as he accepts chazal definition of halacha (torah) etc he is 100% kosher. the last chapter of kugel’s book is poorly written but everything else was great from my point of showing how chazal and early interpreters viewed the text and how mbs (modern biblical scholarship – better than abc as a description of the discipline me thinks) juxtaposed to the former view the same text.

  102. Nachum — that was the point (and hence the emoticon).

    Gil — We’ve discussed Kugel’s last chapter before and I don’t recall your ever coming up with a slam dunk quotation provided in its full context.

    [FWIW, I am not a fan of Kugel’s analysis for precisely the reason R. Leibtag gave: to wit, the text has no theological meaning in itself; theological meaning comes entirely from Rabbinic interpretation, irrespective of what the words actually say].

  103. Shomer mitzvot. Can’t expect 100%; that’s what Yom Kippur and teshuvah are there for. So let’s posit Shabbat, Kashrut, yom tov, tallit and tefillin for men and some tefillah. I’d add taharat hamispacha, but who really knows what goes on behind anyone’s closed bedroom doors. Learning Torah and sending kids to O yeshivot are helpful in getting the applicant into the club but not dispositive.

    I think you also have to differentiate between a mumar le teavon and a mumar le hachis. Big difference, IMO, between someone who accepts the Torah in principle and is simply tempted to violate it, and someone who decides he can simply do without. One of my rebbeim in Israel once pointed out that the difference between Ashenazi and Sephardic secular Israelis is that the former think they have outsmarted teh Torah, while the latter just do aveiros.

  104. After the section on Orthodoxy in the NY Demographic Study there are sections on Russian Jews, Syrian Jews and LGBTs — all with an Orthodox correlation. Interesting stuff and more than one surprise for me.

  105. “R’ Ovadia Yosef: It Is Forbidden To Expel Children From Yeshiva”

    Article reminds me of something I once heard from R. Shraga Feivel Paretzky, z”tl, who was the bochen in YU. He said to me, “When I determine whose shiur to put a boy in, I feel that I am like the Sanhedrin judging dinei nefashos.”

    Chaval al de avdin ve lo mishtakchim.

  106. ih -“the text has no theological meaning in itself; theological meaning comes entirely from Rabbinic interpretation, irrespective of what the words actually say].”
    i would say that is a very good summary of what he believes – we bring meaning to the text and its impossible to figure original intent. hence, chazal interpretation with regards to halacha is what he believes in (still doesn’t make sense to me but he is a good tap dancer in person but not that great on the written page).

  107. r’ gil – “Acceptance of Torah Mi-Sinai is relevant.”
    yes. i would venture to say that what this means is being redefined by many in our generation. including some in the hareidi camp as well. but orthodoxy does redine stuff through the ages – it just time to be accepted. i know conceptually people would like to believe everything including the whole oral torah was given at sinai – but many orthodox rabbis through the ages have tweaked what that means already – hence the precedent.

  108. ruvie: i would venture to say that what this means is being redefined by many in our generation. including some in the hareidi camp as well

    Yes, most of this is heresy.

  109. Gil – Inasmuch as there are varying degrees to which one can accept ABC, what would you make of someone who believes in any of the following:

    The Torah was originally given in Phoenician script (the archeological record indicates that the Paleo-Hebrew script only existed from the 10th Century BCE).

    Daniel was written in the Hasmonean era.

    Koheles was written hundreds of years after King Solomon (as indicated by the presence of Persian loan words among other things, with Persia only emerging from obscurity in the sixth century BCE).

    ‘Al naharos bavel’ was written during (or after) the Babylonian exile.

    That there can be factual mistakes in Nach (e.g. that the date of the destruction of Ai may well be wrong etc.) – as R. Chaim Navon seems to say here: http://www.herzog.ac.il/vtc/0068915.doc

  110. Yes, most of this is heresy.

    Aren’t you concerned that your big tent of heresy, renders the concept meaningless?

  111. r’ gil – “Yes, most of this is heresy.’ – to early to tell. history will decide with 20/20 hindsight. the precedent is there for today’s heretic in becoming yesteryear’s tzadik. and the reverse as well – shabatai tzvi anyone?

  112. Anon – most people assumptions is that only chumash matters and not the rest of the bible with heresy – though i am no expect on this matter. it all begins and ends on the 5 books of torat moshe. there is wiggle room for the rest in orthodoxy – or at least some parts of it.

  113. Anon: We really should focus on the Pentateuch

    IH: Aren’t you concerned that your big tent of heresy, renders the concept meaningless?

    No, quite the opposite. Broadening the concept beyond recognition renders it meaningless.

    ruvie: to early to tell. history will decide with 20/20 hindsight

    I find that relativism troubling.

  114. The first statement relates to the Pentateuch. Is it kosher?

  115. I don’t think the script matters, especially since there are different views within Chazal about the original script.

  116. In other news: http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/news/General+News/130071/Rav-Chaim-Kanievsky%3A-Rav-Shteiman-Is-The-Manhig-HaDor.html

    This is more politically significant than many Americans will realise. It is intended as a rebuff of R. Shmuel Auerbach and his camp.

  117. I’m not quite sure what words to use to express my bewilderment at the idea that leadership of the generation belongs to a single individual who can pass it over to another.

  118. Well it’s a good job you’re not a chassid or an Israeli Litvak then.

  119. r’ gil – “I find that relativism troubling.’
    that doesn’t mean there is no view that is not heretical. just that we see through history the absolute lines do change (but of course not all lines). i am not comfortable with those that want to declare others as heretics – i think it says more about them than the heretics. i am certainly not knowledgeable to judge. we are all relativists just some of us deny it.

  120. ‘Al naharos bavel’ was written during (or after) the Babylonian exile/

    I am reminded of a famous vort (which Litvaks usually quote in the name of a Rosh Yeshiva, and Chassidim quote in the name of some rebbe), that when a certain Rov was told over a Chassidiche maaseh, he reacted, “I am not an apikorus if I don’t believe that to be true. However, someone who says it could not have happened is an apikorus.”

    I don’t think that it is heresy to say that that chapter of Tehillim was written after the First Churban. But I do think it is heresy to say that it is impossible that it was written before.

  121. just that we see through history the absolute lines do change (but of course not all lines).

    I think part of what history does is separate out the wheat from the chaff and clarify what the facts are. Someone above quoted an early work charging the Chassidim with heresy. The truth is that Chassidus was a complex movement. I believe it was one of the Lubavticher Rebbes who said that if it were not for the Misnagdim, then Chassidus would have gone completely off the derech. The fact that today Chassidim are accepted is more a function of the changing nature of Chassidus and the corrections done along the way than a changing of lines.

  122. Lawrence Kaplan

    Gil: Moshe kibbel Torah mi-Sinai u-mesarah lihoshua. I guess the Haredim don’t believe the chain of tradition ended with Rav Ashi.

  123. Ruvie,

    Kugel’s position is straight Leibowitz (only Leibowitz was even harsher). The Tanach is just a bunch of literary books, some of them second-rate, if one is not a Shomer Mitzvot. The acceptance of the Torah is based on the acceptance of the Toshba and so forth and the Tanach contains no inherent kedusha other than what Chazal gave it &c &c.

    I find it surprising that you don’t know anyone who accepts more middle ground positions like Knohl, Kaufmann or even Simon. At least in Israel, many more people know these scholars than Kugel.

    IH,

    The question of the historicity of the Tanach (archaeological debates and so forth) is a much bigger deal here than questions of authorial composition. Also, ABC has been known of for quite a few decades here (remember, R. Breuer published his article in Hebrew in 1960!), so Kugel would merely be joining an already existing group of known O Bible critics (Knohl, for example) and would not be a “bolt from the blue” like among Americans.

  124. Tal – But I do think it is heresy to say that it is impossible that it was written before.
    anything is possible including miracles and nevuah. it is just all the evidence points in the other direction so its no a good probability. scholarship cannot take into account the possibility of that in dating texts – just like saying intelligent design is science – it isn’t. believe what you like just don’t call it scholarship.

  125. Ruvie,

    I should point out that I’m not trying to personally attack you or anyone else personally and am trying to confine myself to ideas, not people. I am not God’s accountant or judge. Please don’t think otherwise.

  126. aiwac – although i have not read those authors (any links you can provide) i assume by gil’s definition they would be all heretics (no problem in going the divinely inspired route). but the dating will be difficult for all (an assumption – please correct me) to the time moshe was in the desert. so do all believe it was given by hashem on mt sinai or chorev while in the desert for 40 years? do all believe there are NO ammendations to the text – nothing from ezra or whomever?

  127. anything is possible including miracles and nevuah. it is just all the evidence points in the other direction so its no a good probability. scholarship cannot take into account the possibility of that in dating texts – just like saying intelligent design is science – it isn’t. believe what you like just don’t call it scholarship.

    Ruvie, you are getting to the nub of the problem. Belief in Nevuah IS an ikkar in emunah. If one denies it one is an epikorus.

    Now I understand that “scholarship” simply discounts the possiblity. That’s the planted axiom. That’s why “scholarship,” at least as applied to something like Tanach, is not very fruitful for an Orthodox Jew, IMO — it starts with an assumption that we reject.

    We have a tradition that Tehillim, like all of Tanach, was written be ruach ha Kodesh. That means it is possible that David ha Melech wrote it, including that Chapter, many years before the events occurred. You want to argue for some theological reason that such would not happen, that is one thing. It is quite another, IMO, to categorically reject the possiblity of nevuah, and then, surprise surprise, come out with a “scholarly” conclusion that the Chapter in question was written later.

    (That’s my general issue with ABC. THe whole enterprise starts with an assumption, and then purports to use “scientific” methods to prove the starting assumption. It’s like using Euclidean geometry to prove that two parallel lines never meet.)

  128. “aiwac – although i have not read those authors (any links you can provide) i assume by gil’s definition they would be all heretics (no problem in going the divinely inspired route)”

    Probably (except for Simon), but the point is they have much more reverance for the Tanach as a Divine book than Kugel.

    “so do all believe it was given by hashem on mt sinai or chorev while in the desert for 40 years?”

    No. A big chunk was written down at the end of the sojourn at Arvot Moav.

    “do all believe there are NO ammendations to the text – nothing from ezra or whomever?”

    Of course it’s possible there were historical additions (not legal ones) here or there. Didn’t you read the the Tzofnat Paneach on Ibn Ezra?

    But all this is pointless because AFAIK, ABCers are anonymous in rejecting ANY Mosaic authorship, which is why I find R. Shamah’s positions strange.

  129. aiwas – didn’t think that at all on your comments. i am rather thick skinned anyway – also an am haaretz so sometimes i don’t recognize an insult but none taking. on kugel: i think he positioned mbs in a way that people who are not in this field found readable and understandable – not an easy thing to do (marc bretler came out with a book with a similar title that never took off).
    also, maybe in the field complain that kugel is neither original or a big deal in the field. i am reminder of a story that a friend relayed about moshe greenberg who couldn’t comprehend why kugel was popular at all – ma hu chidash? my answer was – he put it in a nicer envelope for the public who did not care or relate to the field before. plus harvard does carry soem cache – he did have the most popular class at harvard period.

  130. “but the dating will be difficult for all (an assumption – please correct me) to the time moshe was in the desert”

    Indeed. Dr. Alter already pointed this out back in the day. But dating is a very fickle thing and tends toward the speculative, which is why I don’t put much stock in it in either direction.

  131. My familiarity with Dr. Israel Knohl is mainly from R. Mordechai Breuer’s response that his position is heretical: https://www.torahmusings.com/2009/01/torah-from-heaven/

  132. I’m still not sure that once one accepts nevuah the traditional authorship of ‘al naharos bavel’ is easy to accept. What happened to it during the intervening period? How was bechira maintained? Saying there was an accepted tehila that was written b’ruach ha’kodesh which clearly told the Jewish people that they were on their way to Bavel sooner or later seems to render much of Nach enigmatic to say the least.

  133. “also, maybe in the field complain that kugel is neither original or a big deal in the field”

    He doesn’t seem to have many published scholarly articles to his name on RAMBI (and most are Second Temple Era stuff). I also read the notes from his lecture at YU and was very far from impressed.

    I dunno. Maybe it’s the attraction of a Leibowitz-type Professor with a big black Kipa being irreverent that attracts people.

  134. “ABCers are anonymous in rejecting ANY Mosaic authorship”

    I think you mean “unanimous.”

  135. Tal-
    There are good theological reasons to say that God does not reveal texts which are written as if they were composed centuries later discussing events that had not yet happened. Hence, I think a statement that Al naharos bavel could not have been written by David hamelekh is perfectly acceptable in the context medeival rationalist philosophy and those who follow in its footsteps.

  136. NACHUM:

    “Waving a lulav is not an averah”

    is covering your hair and going to mikva if you’re not (halakhically) married?

  137. I’m still not sure that once one accepts nevuah the traditional authorship of ‘al naharos bavel’ is easy to accept. What happened to it during the intervening period? How was bechira maintained? Saying there was an accepted tehila that was written b’ruach ha’kodesh which clearly told the Jewish people that they were on their way to Bavel sooner or later seems to render much of Nach enigmatic to say the least.

    All valid points, but all are what I would call “theological” not “scholarly” arguments.

  138. Moshe Shoshan: I don’t disagree. Hence my statement “You want to argue for some theological reason that such would not happen, that is one thing.” See also my post at 12:43.

  139. Tal – i think you misunderstand. neuvah is a position taken on tehilim because you can’t expalin al naharot to be written by david unless you go to the neuvah route – its a position of apologetics and not of methodology of any kind. you need these tools because you are stuck with an absolute with no other possibilities. when new evidence comes along who must dismiss with any or all the tools at your disposable (hence apologetics ) no matter how improbable it may be.

    “We have a tradition that Tehillim, like all of Tanach, was written be ruach ha Kodesh.”

    yes, of course. does that mean kohelet was written by shlomo and no other possibilities regardless of text, wording or context(philosophy) of what was written. if one book is shown to be incorrect by chazal in authorship does that question all (or at least some)? do we know more about authorship now than before? what do we do with that knowledge – discard it because of a tradition? do people- scholars in jewish studies but not bible or chumash stay silent on these matters because they don’t want their credentials to be labelled apikorus? i think there is a big difference between the 5 books and the rest but then that means there is a breech of the castle of tradition.

  140. pardon the amaratzus question, but what does it mean to beleive that sefer tehilim was composed by dovid hamelech when some are ascribed to him, some to others and some to no one at all?

  141. As I understand it, he was the collector of some and composer of others. Or, maybe I am incorrect on this. R’ Yitzchok Sender, in his sefer Ohel Rivka, has a whole section delineating the different shitos as to why there is difference between Neviim and Kesuvim and the internal compositions of both.

  142. I dont think R. Leibtag is being facetiousness. He is making a serious point. However, that does not mean the R. Leigrag doesnt judge the book to be kefirah.

  143. R’ Aiwac,
    Interesting – seems to be saying change has to be percieved as coming from within – where have I heard that before?
    KT

  144. You don’t have to declare everyone you disagree with heterodox to disagree with them. RSRH disagreed (quite strongly) with R Tzvi Kalischer on Zionism, R ZB Bamberger on Austritt, Shir on his relationship toward Frankel, and the ‘Right Wing’ on Torah only- but never declared any of them heterodox. (He even passed on R Kalischer’s Drishas Tzion to Baron Rothschild as RTK requested.)

    What he could not tolerate was Frankel’s denial of the oral law, which he saw as suicidal for Judaism. He ridiculed the idea that dogma could keep a non-divine tradition alive. Hence his printing of R Gottlieb Fischer’s epistle and his all out attack on Graetz’s positive-historical halacha. (See CW volume 5)

    Ultimately, even Shir had to agree with him on the basic dividing line between in and out of O.
    http://www.hakirah.org/Vol%208%20Landerer.pdf

  145. “seems to be saying change has to be percieved as coming from within”

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the Devil is in the details.

  146. In the last go-around on the Bible Scholarship and Heresy discussion not that long ago, there was some relevant first-hand information from some who have studied it recently in an academic setting. If memory serves, they clarified a few points about the field as presently taught that differs from some of the assertions being repeated.

    ——

    I crashed the UJA Leadership Meeting on the NYC Demographic study this afternoon and wanted to share two points that may otherwise be lost in the story:

    1. There has been a significant rise in poverty (150% of the federal threshold) and near-poverty (151% – 175% of the federal threshold) since the 2002 study:

    11% of Jewish Households are on Food Stamps and 8% on Medicare (p. 94).

    Of the people in this demographic, 42% are in Orthodox households, excluding Russian speakers and seniors (p. 91).

    2. During the Q&A, a woman representing NCSY asked whether future data cuts would size intermarried couples where the mother was Jewish from those where the mother was not Jewish. Response was: yes, but we already know that intermarried couples where the mother is Jewish have a statistically higher rate of children being raised Jewish. (this from memory).

  147. For those interested in Prof. Uriel Simon’s nuanced view of the subject of the historicity and provenance of the Tanach, check out this book (the last two essays):

    http://www.ybook.co.il/htmls/page_7988.aspx?c0=13939&bsp=21623

  148. “If memory serves, they clarified a few points about the field as presently taught that differs from some of the assertions being repeated”

    If memory serves, this had more to do with the fact that scholarship has little to no confidence in the ability to clearly determine the “sources”, resulting in not one DH but a whole mess of them. This doesn’t solve the basic questions of dating and provenance, though, since now it’s even further in doubt.

  149. Not my memory, aiwac, but I do remember your trying to fit these comments into your curve. Anyway, it’s in the archives for any interested party.

  150. “Not my memory, aiwac, but I do remember your trying to fit these comments into your curve”

    Methinks you’re doing the same and projecting. Wouldn’t be the first time.

    IIRC, his professor said something along the lines of: “The only thing less likely than the Documentary Hypothesis is Divine Authorship”.

  151. Ok, so I’ll repeat what Robert Alter writes:

    It is small wonder that the Documentary Hypothesis, whatever its general validity, has begun to look at though it has reached a point of diminishing returns, and many young scholars, showing signs of restlessness with source criticism, have begin exploring other approaches – literary, anthropological, sociological, and so forth – to the Bible.”

    And as my Christian Greek Classicist friend put it “it is a dead hand which has also laid its chilly touch on branches of classics – particularly Thucydidean scholarship. Its worst feature is the pseudo-certainty its proponents bring to the subject, whereby their ultimately unprovable and methodologically flawed hypotheses are put forward as proven facts. I expect this also infuses NT scholarship. I will be interested to see if the scholarship manages the orality-literary interface well, which is likely the key to it all: probably a very complex interaction in the early Church.”

  152. IH,

    So why does Kugel have such contempt for the literary enterprise?

    http://www.jameskugel.com/apologetics.php

  153. IH,

    I can only hope you’re right. Time will tell.

  154. ” I don’t think that someone who believes that we should have European style socialized medicine is a heretic or beyond the Pale.”

    Rabbi Dr. Moshe Tendler has publicly said that universal health care is a Torah mandate.

    “If Jews in the District vote, the right guy will win; if they dont, we will have a one of the most anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli congressmen ever representing a district that is 20% Jewish.”

    Barron is every bit as bad as his detractors say. Koch’s comparison to a snake was apt, although the political commentator Howard Graubard suggested that it was unfair to snakes! But Barron is opposed to same sex marriage! Watch for an endorsement from “Rabbi” Yehudah Levin, who has in the past campaigned for another anti-Semite, Patrick Buchanan.

    “sending kids to O yeshivot ”

    A lot of religious families are sending their kids here rather than to SAR:

    http://kinneretdayschool.org/

    The reasons I hear are (1) better instruction in Hebrew, and (2) lower cost. It is also in a more covenient location for most of the Riverdale O community.

    ” It’s like using Euclidean geometry to prove that two parallel lines never meet.”

    As a high school student I spent months trying to prove just that. But that was nothing compared to my attempt in junior high school to build a perpetual motion machine.

  155. “But that was nothing compared to my attempt in junior high school to build a perpetual motion machine”

    Discussions here often feel like Groundhog Day, if that’s what you mean…

  156. aiwac — as far as I can tell, the primary consumers of DH (e.g. Friedman’s Who Wrote the Bible, ve’chu) are Orthodox Jews who see it as the forbidden fruit. Kinda ironic, but the way of the world.

  157. “Kinda ironic, but the way of the world”

    Not really. Someone once told me that Orthodox feminism often draws on schools of feminism which have since been bypassed or replaced. We’re always latecomers to the party.

  158. One last takeaway from the UJA Presentation this afternoon. A curious change between 2002 and 2011 in terms of rituals:

    the classic American Jewish rituals of Seder, Chanukah Candles and fasting on Yom Kippur are all down from 2002 to 2011.

    But, keeping a kosher home and lighting shabbat candles are up!

    (p. 114)

  159. IH,

    Both the NY and Chicago studies are fascinating, but what of the substantial Jewish population that is more isolated and not concentrated in the NE, LA or Chicago? Are they as varied or are they dropping like flies?

    Also, why is the birth rate among C and R Jews so low? I would think it would be less expensive for a C/R Jew to live a Jewish life, by their lights.

  160. ““Kinda ironic, but the way of the world”

    Not really. Someone once told me that Orthodox feminism often draws on schools of feminism which have since been bypassed or replaced. We’re always latecomers to the party”

    Not to mention all the young torah umada fans who are still talking about the scholarship that was current when the Rav was their age…

  161. “Also, why is the birth rate among C and R Jews so low? I would think it would be less expensive for a C/R Jew to live a Jewish life, by their lights”

    It is a parochially orthodox view to assume that people are not having kids because of cost. The C/R birth rate is low in large part because sociologically they have manay characteristics of low-birthrate groups (highly educated women, higher incomes, eg). To the extent the rate is lower than that of demographically comparable households it would be interesting.

  162. Emma,

    This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It means the new ideas get tested in the real world first before we discuss them and deal with them.

  163. “The C/R birth rate is low in large part because sociologically they have manay characteristics of low-birthrate groups (highly educated women, higher incomes, eg)”

    This doesn’t console me.

  164. “Emma,

    This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It means the new ideas get tested in the real world first before we discuss them and deal with them.

    To some degree. But If you are stil talking about theories and approaches that other people have critiqued without engaging those critiques, you run the risk of sounding foolish. Not to mention that quoting a rabbi who quotes kant is different than quoting kant himself.

  165. “But If you are stil talking about theories and approaches that other people have critiqued without engaging those critiques, you run the risk of sounding foolish”

    Meh. We’re talking about things meant largely for internal consumption so there’s not much risk of that.

    “Not to mention that quoting a rabbi who quotes kant is different than quoting kant himself”

    Maybe. But people still study Moreh Nevuchim more than they study Aristotle proper.

  166. “Meh. We’re talking about things meant largely for internal consumption so there’s not much risk of that.”

    I honstly thought that “Existentialism” was the latest greatest contemporary philosophy until my second year in college or so, when i discovered that the rest of the world had, in fact, moved on. The fact that internal consumption” is so isolated is exactly what I am talking about.

  167. “people still study Moreh Nevuchim more than they study Aristotle proper”

    which people? frum people, yes. but it would be foolish to claim expertise in either aristotelian philosophy or rambam without studying aristotle himself. listen, it’s ok for laypeople to rely on experts to filter Big Ideas, but it’s not OK for those laypeople then to turn around and pat themselves on the back for being philosophers.

  168. “I honstly thought that “Existentialism” was the latest greatest contemporary philosophy until my second year in college or so, when i discovered that the rest of the world had, in fact, moved on. The fact that internal consumption” is so isolated is exactly what I am talking about”

    I dunno about the states, but here there’s plenty of philosophical discussion. There’s lots of PO-MO in Rav Shagar’s books, though he’s not the only one. R. Dr. Michael Avraham has also done a lot to bring philosophy to the Orthodox reader.

  169. “listen, it’s ok for laypeople to rely on experts to filter Big Ideas, but it’s not OK for those laypeople then to turn around and pat themselves on the back for being philosophers”

    Who do you know who pretends to be that?

  170. On birth rates, there is a large variance within Orthodoxy too, with MO much closer to the non-Orthodox population.

    On the other hand, I remain skeptical of any prediction of denominational affiliation based on birth rate. The % of Orthodox remained at 19% between 2002 and 2011 despite all the babies born. And see the chart on the bottom of p. 124 that measures Current Denomination against Denomination Raised.

  171. i just saw an email about this year placements for YCT graduating class and new placements. 7 pulpits and a couple with 500 families (4 or 5 in the rabbi position). includes chief rabbi of helsinki (is there a minyan there?) one even head of a day school in california.
    imagine if they would one day push out r’ weiss and put someone more centrist in- what would happen.
    does YCT have legs?

  172. “On birth rates, there is a large variance within Orthodoxy too, with MO much closer to the non-Orthodox population”

    You mean the high end of the non-O population. I would want to know what the average is for the non-O population before I accept this statement.

    “On the other hand, I remain skeptical of any prediction of denominational affiliation based on birth rate. The % of Orthodox remained at 19% between 2002 and 2011 despite all the babies born. And see the chart on the bottom of p. 124 that measures Current Denomination against Denomination Raised”

    The fact remains that the high O birth rate is helping the overall Jewish population maintain itself and grow, regardless of affiliation. Would be nice if the non-O sectors picked up the slack and had more children.

  173. >”Rabbi Dr. Moshe Tendler has publicly said that universal health care is a Torah mandate.”

    If R. Tendler said that, he’d be a victim of rhetoric. There’s zero obligation in the Torah to establish “universal” nationwide government-provided health insurance.

  174. aiwac, israel is (ironically?) better in this regard. the problem in the us is realted to the obsession with the rav not as a model for how to engage secular scholarship, but as a model for the secular scholarship with which one should engage (usually second hand).

  175. “imagine if they would one day push out r’ weiss and put someone more centrist in- what would happen.
    does YCT have legs?”

    i got the same email 🙂 i don’t understand your question though. do you take these placements as indication that yct does or does not have legs? and what does that have to do with becoming more centrist? (the question of what would happen w/o R Weiss is interesting and will presumably become le-ma’aseh in the foreseeable future as he becomes less active)

  176. “Discussions here often feel like Groundhog Day, if that’s what you mean…”

    That was a great movie. I mean, Bill Murray at his best!

  177. “There’s zero obligation in the Torah to establish “universal” nationwide government-provided health insurance.”

    I’m just repeating what he said. The shiur is available on yutorah.org. (It was a small part of a shiur on a different topic.)

  178. I honstly thought that “Existentialism” was the latest greatest contemporary philosophy until my second year in college or so, when i discovered that the rest of the world had, in fact, moved on.

    Does “Existentialism” have any philosophical resonance for most MO who came of age in the 21st century?

  179. emma – someone last week told me (at a shiva visit) that it was their best placement to date without any details – he is a nogeah b’davar. i wonder if people believe that. and yes i believe my hypothetical is actually happening and wonder what that means for its future.
    legs? i think so – just not sure of its acceptance in the mo world (jc rabbinic intern last year was a yct student). just a couple years ago richard joel pursued aggressively every prospect from yu that was interested (saying there is no future there etc. and dangled many a carrot).

  180. ih – “Does “Existentialism” have any philosophical resonance for most MO who came of age in the 21st century?”
    better question- does the rav’s philosophy in ish halacha resonate today with most in the mo world anymore and if not what is replacing it?
    in a conversation with a certain rabbi he claimed that it doesn’t with him anymore nor with many others – a certain rabbi who claimed to be also good a the brisker derech as well came out with a line that is not what it use to be (sorry but i would love to explore this in depth but its above my pay or understanding grade these days).

  181. Lawrence Kaplan

    Emma: Actually existentialism, after fading in the 70s and 80s, had a revival in the 90s. See David Cooper’s very fine book, Existentialism: A Philosophical Reconstruction (or some such title). Many manuscripts of Heidegger and Sartre were published and existentlialist themes penetrated into the general philosophical literature, e.g, the works of Charles Taylor and Hubnert Dreyfus.

  182. Lawrence Kaplan

    Ironically enough, one of the staunchest advocates and defenders of the DH, understood as dividing the Pentateuch into four sources, but saying nothing about the dating of the “sources” or their temporal order, is Baruch Schwartz who is a strict shomer mitzvot.

  183. “Ironically enough, one of the staunchest advocates and defenders of the DH, understood as dividing the Pentateuch into four sources, but saying nothing about the dating of the “sources” or their temporal order, is Baruch Schwartz who is a strict shomer mitzvot”

    Once again – Kugel ain’t unique. Though I have to question how he justifies staying in that particular limbo.

  184. ” Though I have to question how he justifies staying in that particular limbo”

    This refers to Schwartz.

  185. Could it be the compartmentalization of their lives? Living a Torah life of mitzvos while thinking like an academic, not trying to fuse the two together or acknowledge the other?

  186. “Could it be the compartmentalization of their lives?”

    Probably. That’s what most frum academics seem to do.

  187. Rafael — yes, that is what Kugel says in the sentences preceding the ones that Gil has quoted in the past (p. 681):

    My own view, therefore – though others may disagree – is that modern biblical scholarship and traditional Judaism are and must always remain completely irreconcilable. Individual Jews may, for one reason or another, seek to speculate about how different parts of the Bible came to be written or about the historical circumstances and original purposes of its various components, but none of this speculation can have any part in traditional Jewish study or worship; indeed the whole attitude underlying such speculation is altogether alien to the spirit of Judaism and the role of Scripture within it. Nothing in the present volume is intended to suggest otherwise.

  188. Given recent discussions about the alleged Secular Humanist theology of Reform Judaism, it is worth quoting from an article by a Reform Rabbi featured in today’s JID:

    “We need to have a clear religious faith that we can convey to our young people in a way that is compelling and convincing. I have always believed that a liberal theology that overemphasizes personal autonomy is a recipe for disaster. So, too, is an exclusive focus on Jewish ethnic identity at the expense of Jewish religious belief.

    […]

    We can hope that Mark and Priscilla Zuckerberg will find a friendly Reform synagogue and become involved in its activities. We can hope that his declaration of atheism was or is a part of youthful rebellion that will fade with time. (Some may argue that his atheism is not a barrier to Jewish communal involvement, but I do not share that view.) We just have to wait and see.”

    http://forward.com/articles/157074/losing-zuckerberg/?p=all

  189. Aiwac – ““Could it be the compartmentalization of their lives?”
    Probably. That’s what most frum academics seem to do.”

    I askeda bible scholar (at a major university) Friend and relative on how he dealt with the issues And his being religious. He responded that he has seen 5-6 ways – some of them asking others personally. He summed it subsequently in an email:

    1. Nehama Leibowitz: Total rejection of Documentary Hypothesis.
    2. Rav Mordehai Breuer: “Documents” are in fact different aspects of divine revelation (e.g.: P=middat ha-din; J=middat ha-rahamim)
    3. Rav – I have edited the name here of this hareidi well known yerushalmi rabbi and talmudist: Accepts Documentary Hypothesis, but thinks that Am Israel isn’t yet ready to understand this.
    4. Rav Soloveitchik and Yesha’ayahu Leibowitz: There is no real relevance in Tanah, but in what the Rabbis made of it.
    5. Franz Rosenzweig: “R”(edactor)=Rabbenu
     
    I would add a 6th that we dscussed verbally – a well known bar ilan professor (I forgot the name) who would not discuss this in front of his family: at university he is 100% professor at home the issues are never discussed – compartmentalizarion to the nth degree. The list is a copy and paste from his email. This discussion was in 2009.

     

  190. Ruvie,

    You accidentally included the name you tried to take out…

  191. Ruvie, I think we’ve done this to death. I didn’t learn anything new from the latest round and I doubt anyone else did either.

    Let’s get back to more fruitful territory:

    I was wondering whether the C/R leadership tries to encourage or support a pro-family policy in light of their congregations’ rather low birth rate?

  192. R’ gil – please delete the rabbi’s name in e above post. My apology for this duplication.

  193. Tal Benschar wrote:

    “The Orthodox community accepts certain things as basic — God, Torah min ha Shomayim, etc. Like the Tseddukim of old, there are those who want to reject those, but hide their rejection in a mantle of pseudo-Torah. (The Rambam made this very point about the Tsedukim, their true motivation was assimilationist, but they could not get away with saying that openly.) When I see such deception, I am going to call the person on it”

    However, when aiming one’s intellectual and spiritual arguments, the arguments aimed at the head always have more substance.

  194. The NYT article about the greater NY demographic picture of the Jewish community was fascinating, but IMO could have used a far more expansive search of the Orthodox community-limiting the same to Brooklyn despite the obvious rapid growth of Orthodox communities in Queens, the Five Towns, Teaneck-Bergenfield, Passaic-Clifton, Edison-Highland Park-West Orange, Monsey and Lakewood strikes me as a very small survey.

  195. Larry Kaplan wrote :

    “Ironically enough, one of the staunchest advocates and defenders of the DH, understood as dividing the Pentateuch into four sources, but saying nothing about the dating of the “sources” or their temporal order, is Baruch Schwartz who is a strict shomer mitzvot”

    Larry Kaplan-would you answer Amen to any Birkas HaMitzvah recited by Baruch Schwartz?

  196. Implications?

    http://menachemmendel.net/blog/?p=5923

    “Ezra Chwat of the Institute of Microfilmed Hebrew Manuscripts has posted at Giluy Milta B’alma about the conclusions of research into the manuscripts of Hilchot ha-Rif that were done in preparation for a new edition that will be published by Maor in their edition of the Talmud. To be blunt, and possible extreme in the use of language, the printed editions of the Rif are practically worthless if one wants to know what the Rif actually wrote and what text was used by the Rambam and most Rishonim.”

  197. R’IH,
    I think we’ve discussed similar issues before in the context of the Rambam himself.
    KT

  198. The Nachal Charedi program has been subjected to some criticism on this blog. Here are one parent’s thoughts on his son’s induction ceremony. http://www.cross-currents.com/archives/2012/06/11/walden-ponder/#comments

  199. IH-see the discussion in Tadition years ago about newly discovered manuscripts between R D S Leiman re the CI’s views on newly discovered manuscripts.

  200. Steve & R’ Joel — this sounded like it was on a different scale hence my question.

    “The post includes numerous examples of: 1. Intentional changes. 2. Defective copy. 3. Additional passages that corrupt the resulting decision. 4. Extracted passages that corrupt the resulting decision.

    Chwat writes that just in Tractate Shabbat 2,411 differences were found between the printed editions and the manuscripts. In the last chapter of Moed Katan there were 377 differences and in the last chapter of Pesaḥi’m 207 differences.”

  201. Regarding the question of what Jewish theological/philosophical books have resonance today, I find it helpful to look at the Amazon Best Seller list from time to time:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/books/12597

  202. A bit late, but let me explain a theological issue with certain nevuot (this is aside from the fact that a secular Bible scholar would want to avoid supernatural explanations): Their specificity. In other words, even though Moshe, for example, speaks of galut, he never mentions the words “Bavel” or “Rome.” Shmuel tells Shaul that he will lose his kingdom; he doesn’t mention the name “David” because he hasn’t met him yet.

    On the other hand, “Al Naharot Bavel” certainly is specific; so too is Yeshayahu’s reference to Koresh and Daniel’s spot-on description of Hellenistic history (up to a point). When faced with such issues, there’s a simple problem: That of bechira. If we accept that a navi living two hundred years before the fact could name a Persian king, then God exists, as sure as if we saw the sea split. This is troubling enough that even classic mefarshim explain away the words “Yoshiyahu shemo” at the beginning of Melachim as a later insertion (which is fine, as according to everyone, the book was written much later). If we have other evidence- linguistic, etc.- that something is late, it just bolsters it. (Note what is in Neviim and what is in Ketuvim here, as well.)

    Again, the Torah, of course, is very non-specific. It never even mentions Yerushalayim. (The Samaritans have Shechem in theirs, but that’s their problem.) Now, you could argue that this non-specifity is deliberate- I can think of modern equivalents- but it gives us less to worry about.

  203. IHL I guess if the Rambam used the correct Rif, people will have less problems with it. But this is a long-standing question. Obviously, some refuse to accept “correct” readings if, say, the Shulchan Aruch relied on incorrect ones.

  204. R’nachum,
    the – once the s”a paskined based on it, it’s too late baby school(at least with regard to already paskined cases).
    KT

  205. “Steve Brizel on June 12, 2012 at 10:11 pm
    IH-see the discussion in Tadition years ago about newly discovered manuscripts between R D S Leiman re the CI’s views on newly discovered manuscripts”

    Halacha lemaaseh not so sure-see eg practical halacha based on Kapach edition of Rambam and are Conservative Rabbis minim or apikorsim-different answer if folllow the standard set or Kapach version.

  206. Again my question — probably prematurely — was related to scale. It’s like the old philosophy course interaction about the essence of a car (you start knocking out components and asking if it is still a car).

    There will also be the canonization issue if more and more Shas are published using the critical edition.

  207. Lawrence Kaplan

    Re the Hazon Ish and newly discovered manuscripts: for the most recent and complete discusion, see Benny Brown’s biography.

  208. shachar haamim

    I wonder if Rabbi Lookstein gave some thought to the fact that perhaps if NYC were more like the UK or France it would be “easier” for those marching in the parade to realize and actualize their Zionist ideals and the yearnings of Jews throughout history for over 2000 years.

  209. The Chareidi Spring article was fascinating – in an Alice in Wonderland kind of way – reminds me of The Jefferson Airplanes White Rabbit :
    When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead
    And the white knight is talking backwards
    And the red queen’s off with her head
    Remember what the dormouse said
    Feed your head, feed your head

    KT

  210. shachar haamim

    and it’s absolutely astounding that in the message of the president of the largest religious Jewish organization in the USA about “what can we as individuals do to strengthen and support our homeland?” there is not even one mention – not even indirectly – about permanently realizing the yearning and vision of religous Jews for 2,000 of returning to the land and developing the land and strengthening the land by ensuring that more Jewish families will be born and raised in the land. no one teeny tiny sentence.
    amazing!!

  211. “We asked respondents who were Orthodox,…The term Haredi is used to refer to the Hasidic and Yeshivish groups together and in contrast to the Modern Orthodox, consistent with respondents’ self ascribed identities.”

    Ah, yes; that (yet) again
    https://www.torahmusings.com/2012/06/news-links-99/comment-page-7/#comments

    Do they use the same formula to decide who’s Jewish? Can a Gentile (from both parents) declare himself Jewish if he identifies as such? What if he goes to mikva before engaging in ‘non-tradional marriage’?

  212. IH on June 12, 2012 at 9:13 am
    “… I have not read R. Hayyim Angel’s critique, but have no quarrel with strong, but respectful criticism. Respectful is key, though.”

    Right. Except when it isn’t.

    https://www.torahmusings.com/2012/04/news-links-92/comment-page-1/#comments

    IH on April 17, 2012 at 2:32 pm
    “In the New Square sentencing article:

    “Gribetz said growing up in New Square is all about religious education and honoring the grand rebbe — 18 year-olds need written permission to leave the community and there is no television, internet or newspapers allowed.

    They described Spitzer as an 18-year-old with the emotions of a 14-year-old.”

    Was the defense stating that most 18-year olds in New Square have the emotions of a [non-isolated] 14-year old? Or that Spitzer in particular suffers from that diagnosis?”
    ——

    https://www.torahmusings.com/2011/11/sexuality-and-jewish-tradition/comment-page-1/#comments

    IH on November 30, 2011 at 10:09 am
    “There was no misreading (on my part). Although one must say that RAL’s prose is, umm, dense.”
    ——-

    And you seemed remarkably unperturbed when Illiterate Blathering-Babushka vented her feminist spleen at R Adlerstein. It was left to R Gil to complain in the comments section.

    http://seforim.blogspot.com/2011/12/blessed-art-thou-o-lord-our-god-ruler.html

    Either you don’t read your own comments very carefully or there are multiple authors and an incompentent redactor behind blogger IH.
    Or is it that your views continue to evolve ‘within their own framework’?

  213. I recently learned that “hasidic Jews” are officially a favored minority for US government affirmative action purposes. Interesting- I wonder how one can become a “hasidic Jew.”

  214. split in the rca already? never thought that there is much of a difference between r’ dratch and r’ freundel – then again there is no leadership to speak of that the common man can point to.

  215. As for identifying heresy, I think RSRH has been pretty accurate.
    http://daattorah.blogspot.com/2012/05/torah-is-word-of-g-d-no-need-to.html
    “Rav S. R. Hirsch (Judaism Eternal vol 2 page 216): Let us not deceive ourselves. The whole question is simply this. Is the statement, “ And G‑d spoke to Moses saying,” with which all the laws of the Jewish Bible commence, true or not true? Do we truly believe that G‑d, the Omnipotent and Holy, spoke thus to Moses?…
    This is the alternative; there is no other course open. If Judaism has been established by G‑d then it is destined to teach the age, but not to let itself be taught by the age.”

    That was in the 1800’s

    Here’s distinguished clergyman Gordon Tucker a hundred years later calling the same bluff.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexuality_and_Conservative_Judaism

    “When someone says, “What can we do? The Torah is clear on the subject!”, what is being said amounts to a claim of infallibility and irrefutability for the text of the Torah. And that claim ultimately rests on the assumption that the words of Leviticus (and, of course, those of the other four books of the Pentateuch) express directly and completely the will of God. (Indeed, treating a text as infallible on any basis other than on such an assumption would surely count as a form of idolatry.) But that assumption (that the Torah is the direct and complete expression of God’s will) is one that, for all its currency in parts of the Jewish world, is not accepted in our Conservative Jewish world.”

    There’s only so long C Judaism will continue to be able to tantz oyf beyder Gay chassunos. See R Avi Weiss’s 1997 paper for more.

    Also worth reading RSRH’s recently published Naftulei Niftalti for his take on Reform.

    For those interested in Halacha and real life as it manifested in the Langer case, R Shlomo Wolbe has a great essay in Bein Shei’shes Le’asor in response to PM Golda Meir’s accusations of cruelty. I might add that his tone is quite civil, thus making it appropriate for genteel folks such as IH as well.

  216. “For those interested in Halacha and real life as it manifested in the Langer case”

    It still galls me that that’s all most people know of Rav Goren. That and his escapades on Har Habyit.

  217. Joel Rich – I still can’t quite grasp how the social reality described in the Charedi spring article came into existence in the first place. As far as I am aware, a society which demonises people who go out to work is not only unprecedented in Jewish history, it is unprecedented in human history.

    Just to bring home the Alice in Wonderland nature of the culture we’re discussing, there are schools in which the melamdim’s children are not accepted – because they are designated for children of ‘full-time bnei Torah’. I understand the urge to rebuild after the holocaust, the fantastically narrow perspective of many of the Israeli gedolim who ascended the greasy pole of rabbinic supremacy, the absurdly twisted incentives presented by conscription and the welfare system and the awful model of group-warfare enmeshed in the Israeli social fabric, but ‘afilu hachi’ – lunacy and dysfunction on this scale is enough to take one’s breath away.

  218. re: NY population study

    I understand that the NY population’s discussion of intermarriage defines it as a Jew marrying a non-Jew who does not convert. Has any study looked into the halachic intermarriage rate. It might be substantially higher, since I know many people who limit themselves to marrying Jews but use a totally non-halachic standard, not to mention that all Reform and many (most?) Conservative conversions are invalid. But maybe it would be lower, since I’m sure that many people who marry halachic non-Jews are themselves halachic non-Jews.

  219. “Illiterate Blathering-Babushka” — is this a new typology? An IBB for short?

  220. Gotta love the word choices in a “news” article
    highly unusual development — some are calling it an insurrection — being challenged by an upstart group
    KT

  221. “Regarding the question of what Jewish theological/philosophical books have resonance today, I find it helpful to look at the Amazon Best Seller list from time to time:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/books/12597

    Looks more like a school study list than a list of books that “resonate”

  222. “Haredi Spring”

    The simple answer to the problem is a possuk: וְהַכֶּסֶף, יַעֲנֶה אֶת הַכֹּל
    (Koheles 10:19)

    Sooner or later the secular Israelis will stop funding the kollels. Then they will have no choice but to turn to the baalei batim. Suddenly, they will not be the enemy. (Which is roughly what you now have in America.)

    BTW, I was under the impression that Chassidim, even in EY, do go to work. Is that wrong?

  223. Tal,

    “BTW, I was under the impression that Chassidim, even in EY, do go to work. Is that wrong?”

    You’re not wrong.

  224. r’ joel – its unprecedented that is for sure in its history. upstart? hardly – its not like they are young turks. but is it mutiny on the bounty? all hands on deck.

  225. Depends which chassidim and what work; I would say they work more than the Litvishe but less than their counterparts in Chutz La’aretz. The ‘baalebatish’ culture of say, Satmar chassidim in the US is far less prevalent in Israel. Whereas it seems Litvakes in the US suffer (or at least used to) from ‘chassidim-envy’, in Israel it is mostly the other way round, and this has influenced employment patterns. This combines with the fact that the original chasssidish community in Israel was one which was supported by the ‘chaluka’ system, whereas there was no such historical model in the US.

  226. “Sooner or later the secular Israelis will stop funding the kollels. Then they will have no choice but to turn to the baalei batim. Suddenly, they will not be the enemy. (Which is roughly what you now have in America.)”

    To my mind the cognitive dissonance in the american charedi system (especially the litvishe world) in this regard is so much worse than in the Israeli world. The Israeli writers who are writing these pieces on the ‘new charedim’ (makor rishon had a feature piece on this a few weeks ago – this english piece seems to be modeled on it) are just picking up the “official” line of the TOV and Poalei Aguda spokesmen who are pushing the “we want to be like the American charedim” model.
    Let’s not forget that it is the American system which created the cheder which doesn’t accept the children of the melamed. It is the American system which pays lip service to the “pas bemelch toychal vemayom bmsure tishteh” but encourages fantastic levels of conspicuous consumption in the charedi community at levels not even close to what is found in the equivalent Israeli community.

  227. Shachar: The piece is a translation of the Hebrew version which was in Yisrael HaYom’s weekend magazine section. But a bunch of people are talking about it.

  228. Nahum – sure. But I’ve been hearing about the return of Poalei Aguda almost since the time the movement died completely two decades ago. It’s very hard to imagine the “new haredim” taking an independent line on anything. the authoritarian nature of charedi society and culture just won’t permit. There are also raw power politics at play which affects many – if not most – things in charedi life. take for example the “marriage strictures” of gerer chassidim. 90% of gerer chassidim would gladly get rid of them. so would the rebbe. everyone in ger knows that they destroy the fabric of family life and are amongst others, the causes for the higher divorce rate amongst gerer chassidim than others, and for the higher level of “eltereh bochurim” in ger. but the directives stay in place because of a power structure and power that was given to certain individuals – which even the current rebbe can’t undo.
    when Binyomin Mintz of Poalei broke with the Aguda and brough Poalei into a goverment with Mapai, Mizrachi, Hapoel HamiZrachi and the general zionists, the power brokers in Aguda (mostly Gur) put him into an early grave.

  229. The most influential rabbis in israel per Forbes – not to be confused with the richest: interesting as ROY is number one. No mention of RAL since he was -is – the go to guy for many in the dl community and has been more public abouthis views in the last few years.

    http://www.forbes.co.il/rating/list.aspx?en6v0tVq=EF

    Some dead ones are listed too.

  230. Ruvie on June 13, 2012 at 12:28 pm
    The most influential rabbis in israel per Forbes – not to be confused with the richest: interesting as ROY is number one. No mention of RAL since he was -is – the go to guy for many in the dl community and has been more public abouthis views in the last few years.

    http://www.forbes.co.il/rating/list.aspx?en6v0tVq=EF

    Some dead ones are listed too.

    This is an utterly ridiculous list as exhibited by the fact that R. Motti Elon is included on it.

  231. shachar haamim – All I can say is thank God for golus. At least here the goyim hold us back from our most self-destructive tendencies. What will happen when these people are in charge?

  232. Strangely, R. Yuval Cherlow is on the list but not R. Aharon Lichtenstein.

  233. I don’t find that strange at all. R. Sherlo is far more influential ‘on the ground’, whether through the thousands of people he reaches through his internet shu’t, his involvement in politics or even his contributions to issues ‘al seder hayom’ than Rav Lichtenstein.

  234. I thought the Charedi Spring article was fascinating, and confirmed that many Charedim work, and do not share the views of the extremists in their communities, and wish that their communal leaders would condemn the self-defeating activities and actions of the extremists. I would suspect that if one conducted a study of the American yeshiva world, which is centered in Lakewood, one would find that many yeshiva world oriented Bnei Torah work,as opposed to the Israeli yeshiva world, and that the American edition of the Yated is a far more open work than its Israeli counterpart.

  235. I would agree that the Siyum HaShas has shown a studied reluctance, to allow Gdolei Talmidei Chachamim who are not part of the Charedi yeshiva world or Chasidishe communities to do anything but accept a belatedly offer of a seat on the dais, which presents a misleading definition and impression of who learns Torah, and more specifically, the DY. That being said, I would suggest that one read R Shafran’s comments in light of the famous comment of R Saadyah Gaon that we are only a nation because of our committment to the Torah-and that the presence of so many Jews, hashkafic differences temporarily put to the side, who subscribe to that statement, should be the point that is underscored in the build up to the Siyum.

  236. Re the Forbes link re influential rabbis in Israel-the list included neither R Y Neuwirth , R A Nevenzal nor R A Z Weiss-all of whom are very influential Talmidei Chachamim in their own right.

  237. Yu talmid – I found that interesting and disturbing if true. But I would ask those in israel how good the list is. Remember when newsweek or whichever publication publishes the most influential rabbis In America people complain. Usually there are many hits but also some debatable misses.

  238. As one commenter on Harry’s post put it, a lot of the siyum has to do with fundraising for the Aguda. Why should they share it? A lot also has to do with furthering hashkafic goals not shared by the MO. So why would they be welcome? Of course, if they were honest, they would market it as that.

    Interesting that the “rich” and “influential” lists share a bunch of names- seven of the twelve richest are on the list, although one extended family makes it not at all, nor does one cultist.

    J., how does golus enter into it? The state of Israel has a government that does a mostly-good job of running things.

    By the way, you should see the photos in the original Hebrew Yisrael HaYom piece. (Go to last Friday’s magazine on the website.) Clean-shaven people, for example. You get a bit of a feeling that a velvet kippah is most of what makes them “charedi.”

  239. R’ Joel – “Gotta love the word choices in a “news” article
    highly unusual development — some are calling it an insurrection — being challenged by an upstart group”

    Another website gave a synopsis of what he thinks is behind it. YI rabbis with a certain allegiance/students to a certain rwmo rabbi. Should be interesting for future headlineseither way.

  240. Nachum – The fact that the situation in Chutz La’aretz has not reached the level described in the linked article is a perfect example. And I don’t see much progress on either the abuse or MBP issues in Israel; indeed it is to Israel where molesters flee in the knowledge that not much will happen to them there. Most positive developments on these fronts have been imposed from the outside.

  241. “Nachum on June 13, 2012 at 9:37 am

    I recently learned that “hasidic Jews” are officially a favored minority for US government affirmative action purposes. Interesting- I wonder how one can become a “hasidic Jew.”

    Nachum – that is not new. I would guess it is 20-30 years already. The Williamsburg Hassidim, ODA, a fellow by name of (R.?) Zvi Kestenbaum, lobbied for that I believe. That gives them advantages in bidding for gvt. contracts for example.

    I recall asking years ago that it discriminated against Litvaks. The answer given was that if a Litvak has a beard he is considered a Hassid for that. 😉

    This is a relatively unknown and unreported aspect related to the growth of the Hassidic community, as reflected in the population study discussed earlier. The gvt. assistance that they have learned to tap into, which was not available in the past, e.g. before the last few decades. Much, if not all, of course is related to the growth of the welfare state in general and redresses for other minorities, which they have used for their benefit as well.

  242. Nachum – Also, the broader point is that Israel currently has bayit sheni-esque divisions between social groups, as attested by the poison dripping from the pages of both Ha’aretz and Yated Ne’eman. This unresolved tension is likely to be the most serious threat to Israel’s continued viability over the coming decades. Compare that to chutz la’aretz, where differing denominations mostly avoid stepping on each other’s toes too much, and even if they did, the authorities would be there to stop things getting out of hand.

  243. J-perhaps the alternativee to the extremes portrayed in both the Israeli edition of Yated and Haaretz are reading the same with a huge dose of salt and/or realizing that most Israelis, regardless of whether they read Yated or Haaretz, are not ideological caricatures waiting with quotes at the email of a reporter.

  244. J.: Child molesters are tried in Israel. It’s not as if Kings County has what to brag about in that area. It’s also not as if various groups don’t repress their members and fight viciously with each other in America- they sure do. I really think you’re exaggerating.

    L., I knew it went back to the eighties. Personally, I think all such preferences are horrible, but this one really galls me.

  245. “Another website gave a synopsis of what he thinks is behind it. YI rabbis with a certain allegiance/students to a certain rwmo rabbi.”

    Care to give us a hint, Ruvie, how we can find it. Thanks.

  246. Ruvie: Which story are you referring to?

  247. From the picture here, it seems that “Haredi Spring” is all about kugel.

    http://www.algemeiner.com/2012/06/08/the-haredi-spring-counters-widespread-myths-in-israel/haredi-israel-2/

  248. j. kaplan and nachum – the RCA leadership challenge or mutiny. right vs whatever is left. check out failed messiah but i do not think r’ gil would allow me to post it – is mere speculation or knowledge behind the scenes ( i really don’t know)? actually i was surprise if that person has anything to do with it. but they must have consulted him since its unprecedented to the org’s history. also, Dratch is rabbi lamm’s son in law.

  249. Ruvie-speculation, like talk, is cheap.

  250. ruvie: Failed Messiah is often wrong. R. Barry Freundel and R. Steve Pruzansky, both mentioned in the article in The Jewish Week, are hardly R. Shachter’s men. And OU Kosher had nothing to do with any perceived rightward shift at the RCA. If anything, OU Kosher is more distant today from the RCA than it was 20-30 years ago because it has earned an independent reputation that is better than the RCA’s.

  251. Neither is R. Dov Fischer.

  252. Lawrence Kaplan

    Was I the only one who was surprised to see the article describe the RCA as the rabbinic arm of the OU? Was this just an innocent mistake?

  253. i find the whole rca thing puzzling. is freundel so much to the right of dratch – aren’t they both middle of the road rabbis. many yi rabbis involved -usually to the right of your average rca rabbi. is the issue yct being accepted – is it a haskafa issue or yu politics? if r’ weiss moves to the side and another major respected rabbi takes his place – what then?
    what are the issues of dispute – women, yct what else? – that warrants an uprising that is unprecedented? is the leadership of the rca out of touch with its membership? if the the uprising succeeds what are the consequences?

  254. Lawrence Kaplan

    I agree with ruvie. It’s a puzzlement. Particularly R. Freundel’s
    involvement makes it hard to believe its mainly a right-left fight. I think that failed Messiah tried to fit the matter into his general ideological pigeonhole.

  255. it could be R. freundel is a figurehead in this revolt since all the others seem to be to the right of him (r’ pruzansky etc). but that is pure speculation on my part. the only issue out there is yct and the role of women in synagogues (is the latter a real issue? i am not sure).

  256. Lawrence Kaplan

    Gil: I am not saying whether you are right or wrong, but as an employee of OU you ought not to be making invidious comparisons between a unit of the OU (even though you work for a different unit) and the RCA.

  257. I haven’t worked for the OU in over a year.

  258. Larry Kaplan-AFAIK, R Gil is gainfully employed in the private sector. Would you appreciate it if anyone incorrectly asserted that because you were acknowledged as being of help in one of RDH’s books that you were biased or that because you have fond memories of RER ZL from your youth and adolescence that you had a conflict of interest ?

  259. Glatt some questions

    It’s unclear from the article — if the alternate slate is voted in by the RCA members, does that mean that Rabbi Dratch is voted out as well? Or is that a separate vote? I also find it strange that there was no alternate President candidate going against Rabbi Goldin. If the alternate slate does get voted in, how would you feel if you were Rabbi Goldin and you had to work with several rabbis who didn’t like your hashkafic outlook, didn’t like your choice for executive director, and didn’t like your choices for board members. Doesn’t make for a very good working relationship. What a messy situation…

  260. Spending some more time on the NYC Demographic Study, there are two interesting tables on p. 124 that examine current and raised denomination of Jewish respondents with Jewish parents.

    Of those who were raised Orthodox,
    64% remain Orthodox
    17% currently identify as Conservative,
    7% currently identify as Reform
    <1% currently identify as Reconstructionist
    12% currently identify as No Denomination

    Of those who currently identify as Orthodox,
    88% were raised Orthodox
    5% were raised Conservative,
    2% were raised Reform
    5% were raised as No Denomination

    For the 2nd list, a future cut of the data should be able to segment that down to Chassidic, Yeshivish and MO.

  261. Lawrence Kaplan

    Gil: I am sorry for my error and for relying on outdated information and apologize.

    Steve Brizel: You should learn from Gil how to correct someone. Your analogies are ridiculous. Obviously, it would never have occured to me to charge Gil with bias on the grounds that he had once worked for the OU.

  262. IH- does it give an age breakdown with that? My thought is that ‘raised orthodox’ used to include some who defined it as ”when we went to Shul it was an orthodox one and my family kept kosher at home’ . Nowadays it is usually defined as ‘we went to orthodox Shul every Shabbat and had 12 years of day school education’.

  263. Noam — not in the report, but it should be possible for them to run that report and I would hope the various Orthodox representatives to the program will request that analysis.

    That said, my sense is the data feels right when looking at the tables in their full context — meaning the same analysis from the perspective of each movement. BTW, they can also cut it by zip code, I think, and correlate with their behavioral questions, etc.

    My understanding from the presentation yesterday is that the next two reports will be Poverty and Neighborhood-granular Geography.

    Finally, it should be noted that currently identify as Orthodox could also just mean we go to an Orthodox shul every Shabbat and xxx. I don’t think there were any heresy-hunting questions 🙂

  264. It looks like the Jewish Week just pulled the RCA article.

  265. Elamite – its on the front page of the print version I received at home. Plus it’s still on the front page of website.

  266. Correlate the names in the Jewish Week piece with:
    http://orthodoxrabbis.wordpress.com/2011/12/05/hello-world/

    Failed Messiah may be more right than wrong in extrapolating from the available data.

  267. Was I the only one who was surprised to see the article describe the RCA as the rabbinic arm of the OU?

    http://reports.internic.net/cgi/whois?whois_nic=rabbis.org&type=domain

    Domain Name:RABBIS.ORG
    Registrant Name:OU Network
    Registrant Organization:OU Network
    Registrant Street1:11 Broadway
    Registrant Street2:14th Floor
    Registrant City:New York
    Registrant State/Province:New York
    Registrant Postal Code:10004

  268. Further: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rabbinical_Council_of_America

    “The Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) is one of the world’s largest organizations of Orthodox rabbis; it is affiliated with The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, more commonly known as the Orthodox Union, or OU.”

  269. And http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Union_of_Orthodox_Jewish_Congregations_of_America states:

    “…the OU, along with its related rabbinic arm, the Rabbinical Council of America…”

  270. OK, Steve, “RER” is a new one for me.

  271. Two interesting articles on the NY Jewish population study:

    http://www.thejewishweek.com/editorial-opinion/gary-rosenblatt/community-pulling-apart

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/06/13/welfare-reform-not-for-the-orthodox.html

    It’s a shame that MO isn’t willing to get its hands dirty by taking a (public) stand on the charedi welfare issue. They seem far less reticent in Israel.

  272. Rabbi Emanuel Rackman.

  273. In israel noncharedim feel personally burdened. In the us theeffect on the whole system is relatively small so it is more abstract.

  274. It’s that and the fact that in Israel they have more confidence in their own path.

  275. http://www.vosizneias.com/107925/2012/06/14/west-bank-ex-israeli-soldier-seeks-palestinian-citizenship

    Israeli Jew seeks to renounce Israeli citizenship, become a Palestian resident and live in a refugee camp!

  276. On the dating of Tanach discussion, the new issue of BAR was in my post mailbox the other day and noticed an article by (Orthodox) Mitchell First titled Can Archaeology Help Date the Psalms?

    http://www.bib-arch.org/bar/article.asp?PubID=BSBA&Volume=38&Issue=4&ArticleID=10

  277. How is that balanced? You are equating an former terrorist who abandoned hate and murder of Jews to a self-hating Jews who wants to join in the “resistance” against the Zionist state?

  278. Your moral equivalency is sickening, frankly.

  279. You missed the point and the emoticon. Ah well…

  280. RAFAEL:

    you missed IH’s point
    in any case i hope israel lets him renounce his citzenship and deports him to gaza. israel will be better off. if only more of his ilk would follow suit.

  281. 2011 rockower awards for excellence in jewish journalism: i found the comments interesting.
    Excellence in News Reporting
    First Place
    The Jewish Week, New York, NY
    “In Lakewood Abuse Cases, ‘A Parallel System Of Justice’” by Hela Winston
    http://www.thejewishweek.com/news/new_york/lakewood_abuse_cases_parallel_justice_system

    Comments: Thoroughly reported, well-written story about an important problem and pressing moral issue. Kudos to the writer and her publication for bravery, and for handling story in such a professional manner.

    Second Place
    The Jewish Week, New York, NY
    “Tragedy in Borough Park Puts Shomrim Under Scrutiny” by Hela Winston
    http://www.thejewishweek.com/news/new_york/tragedy_borough_park_puts_shomrim_under_scrutiny
    Comments: Very good examination of the role of shomrim’s parallel law enforcement system, and how the interplay of politics covered for the group’s

  282. IH – my apologies for my rush to judgment.

  283. That’s was really uncharacteristic of me, wouldn’t you say? 🙂

  284. BTW, I see that both the NYC and Toronto municipalities are struggling with silly bans on things. As most of you may know, Bloomberg wants to bag large bottles of soda. I just read others are proposing additional bans on large popcorn containers and that the ban doesn’t go far enough.

    Here in Toronto, in a suprise vote last week, our City Counsel banned plastic bags. Now, a well-known left wing counsellor has proposed a ban on bullets, as a result of terrible gang shooting that occured here almost 2 weeks ago.

    With politicans like these, who needs enemies?

  285. I’d just like to point out that Spider-Man’s address places him in Forest Hills *Gardens* (the actual house is occupied, believe it or not, by a man named Peter Parker and his wife, and their neighbors are the Osbornes), which was traditionally closed to Jews. (Not so much anymore.) On the other hand, his house as usually shown seems to be more in regular Forest Hills.

  286. “For the 2nd list, a future cut of the data should be able to segment that down to Chassidic, Yeshivish and MO.”

    The H source in IH prefers to eschew labeling people.

    IH, DR Stadlan- I wasn’t born then, but DR Koppel was. His view accords with what my parents have told me. http://u.cs.biu.ac.il/~koppel/ideology.pdf

    “Another type of dangerous ideological rhetoric is peddled by those who will remind you that “there are many true paths in Judaism”. They are probably not on any of them. Their apparent open-mindedness is usually a cover for the doctrinaire and arrogant conviction that Yiddishkeit as we know it is primitive, unenlightened, and provincial and desperately in need
    of the civilizing influence of whatever intellectual fashion is sweeping college campuses
    (which, they will try to persuade you, is what Yiddishkeit really was supposed to be all
    along). Given the choice between those who understand Yiddishkeit but have drifted, or even bolted, away and those who bastardize Yiddishkeit, always choose the company of the former. Ultimately, it’s the location of the anchor that matters.”

    And Yes, I agree with his critiscm of the right.

  287. First to corect my terrible lead to the last comment.

    aiwac-
    It’s not all I know, and R Goren would likely agree with the thrust
    of the essay. R Wolbe predicted elsewhere that eventually he would fall out with the government because he could never agree to the rest of their agenda. Shalom Friedman’s bio of him points out how he alienated the Mizrachi (among many others) later on for his refusal to consider the Golan Heights part of EY despite the great and holy reasons to do so. Hebrew Wiki has a very good article on the case. Feel free to add relevant info.

    R Gil- Mind editing out previous comment intro?

  288. “R Wolbe predicted elsewhere that eventually R Goren fallm out with government because he coul;d never agree to the rest of their agenda”

    He was right. Rav Goren felt that the Chief Rabbi was essentially just a senior clerk of the Ministry of Religion with no real independence. I think he may have even been anti-Rabbanut.

    “Shalom Friedman’s bio of him points out how he alienated the Mizrachi among others later”

    He was meant more for military than civilian life. R. Goren was one of those brilliant individualists who “did not work well with others”, which might explain why he is almost totally forgotten today. Shame.

    As for other info, I know mostly about his time in the army. Generations of religious soldiers owe him a great debt. He went to bat for them at a time when the overwhelming majority of IDF commanders were either indifferent or hostile to their needs. Ironically, it was thanks to BG’s support that he was able to win those battles.

  289. It would be, like, totally awesome if some of the open minded ones among us could bring their beloved uncertainty to bear on this article from Ha’maayan. It touches on many issues raised on this blog recently.

    http://www.daat.ac.il/daat/kitveyet/hamaayan/bikoret-2.htm

    Does anyone know who the DL Rabbi he’s talkng about is?

  290. Shaul,

    You mean Prof. Lev?

  291. Re letting rabbis be in charge of organ donations.

    My first reaction was “over my dead body.” Upon reflection, I realized I needed a different way of expressing that.

  292. “Grand Opening for New 770 in Washington”

    Nice to see which is the most important story for top billing. 😉

    “Lakewood Girls School under Attack for Controversial Letter on Modesty”

    An nice illustration of what can happen when Yeshivish people delude themselves and assume that Chassidic texts fit and represent them and their hashkafah.

  293. Gil, thanks for the link to the latest OU magazine.

    I think this article on Jewsih communities in small towns across the US is worth of a post of its own:

    http://www.ou.org/jewish_action/06/2012/the-story-of-mahanoy-city-the-disappearance-of-a-jewish-community-in-a-small-american-town/

  294. This OU link answers my question about Jewish communities outside the big areas…:(

  295. The Wikipedia article asserted:

    “For many years the OU, along with its related rabbinic arm, the Rabbinical Council of America, worked with the larger Jewish community in the Synagogue Council of America”

    It is correct that the OU and the RCA worked together in the SCA. However, the RCA, while being involved as part of the part of OU Kashrus, was hardly the “related rabbinic arm” of the OU for all purposes and issues.

  296. Larry Kaplan-you claimed that R Gil should refrain from commenting re the developments in the RCA because of your then mistaken impression that the same implied a conflict because R Gil was still working for the OU. Unfortunately, your response indicated that while you were all too willing to attempt to intimidate R Gil from saying anything on obsolete information, which IMO would have been as equally inappropriate as claiming that you or anyone might be biased because of one’s past.

  297. Steve — obviously, if Wikipedia and The Jewish Week are not factual, then it should be corrected. Are you aware of any publicly verifiable information that negates the assertion the RCA is the rabbinical arm of the Orthodox Union?

    I was surprised that the RCA domain (Rabbis.Org) was registered to the OU, but perhaps this is just an outsourcing deal.

  298. My understanding is that the OU and the RCA have long been sister organizations, the OU being the communal wing rung by laymen and the RCA being the rabbinic wing. I believe that the RCA has a kashruth commission which officially oversees the OU’s kosher program or makes certain decisions or sets halakhic policy or something like that. To some extent, the RCA is the rabbinic arm of the OU but not in the sense that the OU is the parent and the RCA is the subsidiary. They are supposed to be equal, perhaps with the RCA a little more important. Of course, the world has change 100 times since that arrangement was established. But I believe it is still true on paper and a few remnant practices.

  299. IH-The issue of whether Wikipedia is a factual tool of reference ala the Encyclopedia Brittanica or any other such work is hardly settled, and depends on who is writing any entry therein. If I were a teacher or professor, I would certainly advise my students not to cite Wikipedia as proof of anything stated therein. The JW is a newspaper, and like all media, should be taken with a large dose of salt as to bias and accuracy on any issue, and persons asked to provide comment therein.

  300. OU Kosher is not mentioned in The Jewish Week (or the relevant parts of Wikipedia) and is a separable issue.

    Either the RCA is legally & financially independent of the OU, or it isn’t. If it is independent, The Jewish Week should print a correction and the responsible RCA & OU people should correct the Wikipedia entries.

  301. OU Kosher is not separable because it is part of the OU.

    But regardless, there is a longstanding financial relationship between the two organizations, which is public record and mentioned in books on the organizations. However, having a financial relationship does not equate to the RCA being an arm of the OU.

  302. However, having a financial relationship does not equate to the RCA being an arm of the OU.

    No, but having both a legal and a financial relationship would.

  303. The OU Kosher issue becomes an issue of speculation due to lack of transparency. Meaning, in the absence of information to the contrary it is reasonable to assume that a significant portion of OU’s operational budget comes from OU Kosher revenues. And, it is further reasonable to assume that OU Kosher wields political power in organizational decision making as a result of the impact of this revenue.

    If the RCA derives significant funding from OU, this leads to the type of speculation seen on Failed Messiah.

  304. Lawrence Kaplan

    Steve: I do not understand your 5:21 post. I mistakenly criticized Gil, for which I unqualifiedly apologized, because of what I mistakenly believed to a PRESENT bias. I certainly do not say that Gil cannot now praise the OU because he worked for it in the past. You are twisting yourself into a pretzel to try to find some grounds to criticize me. Well what else is new?

  305. MiMedinat HaYam

    the RCA bet din’s letterhead specificially states (now; nothwithstanding any past) that it is “sponsored” by the OU. it is fair to say that sponsorship means $$$)

    the RCA cant be involved in kashrut anymore, since it is too unwieldly (they cant even agree on an executive director; let alone policy issues) an organization to act quickly and decisively on halachic and policy issues.

    so it has been “outsourced” internally, to RHS and R belsky (who actually leave most decisions to the kashrut staff. it is fair to say they are competent, though we may or may not have reservations on specific issues.)

    IH 6:45 — there still is a substantial fungibility in personnel to justify your statements.

    the domain name is prob registered to the OU, because of the relationship between its original web developer, and the OU. (to further prove IH 645, on an executive board level.

  306. Re RCA-the election for first vp has always been known as the election for P 2 years later. This is certainly not the first contested 1st VP election. Maybe the first one in the Internet age.

  307. MiMedinat HaYam

    lakewood tzniut letter — reminds me of the story of BY girls who gave their lives for tzniut in WWII. since proved completely false (but dont tell that to BY administrations.)

  308. “Hirhurim on June 14, 2012 at 6:04 pm
    My understanding is that the OU and the RCA have long been sister organizations, the OU being the communal wing rung by laymen and the RCA being the rabbinic wing. I believe that the RCA has a kashruth commission which officially oversees the OU’s kosher program or makes certain decisions or sets halakhic policy or something like that. To some extent, the RCA is the rabbinic arm of the OU but not in the sense that the OU is the parent and the RCA is the subsidiary. They are supposed to be equal, perhaps with the RCA a little more important. Of course, the world has change 100 times since that arrangement was established. But I believe it is still true on paper and a few remnant practices”

    For what its worth I essentially agree-of course a major financial change happened a little bit over 50 years ago when the RCA transferred the OU profits to the OU from themselves-the RCA used to support 5? Israeli Yeshivot from profits of the OU-Hadarom and a few others.
    I have no inside knowledge of the books but it is very likely that profits from OU/OU kosher etc would have gone up multiple times since the 50s.

  309. MiMedinat HaYam

    BTW, the rav (who lives in KGH) of the RCA kashrut commission (i believe that is the name of the RCA division; it is / was basically a one man commission; inactive for many years, presumably per mycroft 7:38pm) is also an executive of the OU. talk about conflict of interest.

  310. Question for Messrs. Brizel and Kaplan:

    Is this all really necessary?

  311. IH: No, but having both a legal and a financial relationship would.

    I’m not sure I understand. The Jewish Week’s language implied that the RCA is a subsidiary of the OU. A legal and financial relationship between the two, both of which I believe exist, do not make the RCA into a subsidiary of the OU. They are equal partners.

    Regardless of OU Kosher’s influence (or not), the two organizations are still equal.

    I agree with MMHY regarding the domain name. I know the former OU employee who at the same time did some IT work for the RCA. He probably caused this.

    But I disagree with MMHY regarding a conflict of interest between the member of the RCA kashrut commission and his association with the OU. First, his association with the OU is honorary (as most is). And second, the kashrut commission isn’t supposed to be an auditor. It is supposed to decide on halakhic policy. Conflicts of interest don’t come into play between the two orgs. Aderaba, the stronger the connection the better.

  312. A legal and financial relationship between the two, both of which I believe exist, do not make the RCA into a subsidiary of the OU. They are equal partners.

    What is this legal and financial relationship of equal partners, then?

  313. Actually, I think I wrote too quickly. My impression from reading is that the OU is supposed to be obedient to the RCA, its halakhic guide.

  314. Lawrence Kaplan

    HG: I unfairly criticized Gil based on a mistaken impression, and as soon as my error was called to my attention forthrightly apologized. That, indeed, should have been the end of the matter.

  315. Granted.

    But my question still stands.

  316. “the RCA bet din”

    I believe- I could be wrong- that it’s technically an independent body sponsored by both the RCA and the OU.

    “Maybe the first one in the Internet age.”

    Ha! Good point.

    “who gave their lives for tzniut in WWII”

    Sure, it almost certainly didn’t happen, but let’s stress that they gave their lives (in the story) for a lot more than “tzniut.”

  317. This morning’s Yisrael HaYom gives an entirely different take on the organ donation story. As they put it, this Rav is essentially saying that halakhically one is *obligated* to donate organs, even if there’s no donor card and even if the person and/or his family is explicitly opposed. Therefore, he wants a bet din in each hospital (which would accept brain death) to rule whether the person is halakhically dead, and, if so, their organs would be taken. Agree or not, it’s almost 180 degrees from what was reported.

  318. That’s good to know, Nachum, but even as a strong supporter of organ donation after brain death I;m still opposed. First, it’s another power play; we, the rabbis know what’s best so we decide. Second, what happens if the makeup of the hospital bet din changes so that anti-brain death rabbis comprise the majority. The decision whether to donate organs is a very serious one and should be made by the adult involved, not by unrelated people who don’t trust adults to make adult decisions.

  319. The article linked as “Over 80% religious boys have visited improper websites” has the headline “Record number of religious girls surfing sex sites”

    “Research indicates that percentage of religious teenaged girls who visit online porn sites is higher than that of non-observant girls their age; ‘It seems that because the religious girls feel it’s forbidden, they want it more'”

  320. “This morning’s Yisrael HaYom gives an entirely different take on the organ donation story. As they put it, this Rav is essentially saying that halakhically one is *obligated* to donate organs, even if there’s no donor card and even if the person and/or his family is explicitly opposed. Therefore, he wants a bet din in each hospital (which would accept brain death) to rule whether the person is halakhically dead, and, if so, their organs would be taken. Agree or not, it’s almost 180 degrees from what was reported”

    Interesting… Because reading the Ynet article, that was EXACTLY the impression I got. What made you think it was reported in the opposite direction?

  321. “That’s good to know, Nachum, but even as a strong supporter of organ donation after brain death I;m still opposed. First, it’s another power play; we, the rabbis know what’s best so we decide. ”

    I’m sorry, but when it comes to halacha, the Rabbis really do know what’s best, so they get to decide. If Rabbis get into the hospitals that don’t know the halachot, then that should be dealt with the same way that rabbis who don’t know marriage or conversion halachot are dealt with.

  322. The link to controversial Rav Hirsh letters published, caused my anti-virus to pop up and warn me that the link was malicious. 🙂

  323. If Rabbis get into the hospitals that don’t know the halachot, then that should be dealt with the same way that rabbis who don’t know marriage or conversion halachot are dealt with.

    In the Israeli context, I think you just proved Joseph’s point 🙂

  324. “African migrants and Orthodox apathy”

    blah, blah, blah.
    tachlis, what does he think should be the orthodox position on african migrants in israel?

  325. Avi: It was my impression from the Arutz-7 version. As you say, Ynet, Jpost, and Yisrael HaYom agree that it’s different.

    Joseph: I don’t know if I agree myself. Just pointing out the difference.

  326. re: ynet and improper website

    Perhaps part of the discrepancy comes from religious girls having a broader definition of “sexually oriented website” than secular girls do. E.g. Cosmo, Glamour, Maxim, FHM, Dr. Ruth, Dan Savage.

  327. Just Visiting — While possible, that seems unlikely given the research was conducted by “Dr. Yaniv Efrati of Bar-Ilan University, who used the statistical research to examine religious youths’ sexual conflict” … “Efrati, a former yeshiva homeroom teacher and counselor”.

  328. I changed the title to the 80% figure because I find that most troubling. Although it does not tell us how frequent the viewing was (once but never again or once a week or every day).

  329. Guest post opportunity? I gather this is related to his dissertation: “Dimensions of the Intra-personal Sexual Conflict in the Virtual Era Among Adolescents and its Relation to Ego Identity, Psychological Symptoms and Well-being”.

    http://www.biu.ac.il/Academics/phd_eng/tashass/Educat.htm

  330. IH – It doesn’t matter who the researcher is, only how the questions in the poll were worded (I couldn’t tell from a quick read of the article). If the questions were worded broadly, e.g. “Have you visited a sex-oriented website” or even a “porn site”, my friends and acquaintances would only answer yes if they had visited a straight up XXX site. But I could see sheltered girls saying yes based on their viewing a Cosmo article about “457 new positions your man will love” or something like Scott Brown’s infamous photo spread.

  331. Just Visiting — see the immediately preceding comment. It is evident this is not some amateur research to generate headlines.

  332. IH – I went to the link. I did not find a link to the study or methodology or a list of the questions.

  333. The OU’s caption to the picture in the R S Burg: The View From Pennsylvania Avenue article is simply delicious.

  334. Arusi is setting a trap for himself. Who needs the rabbis? As a group in Israel, they certainly have not facilitated organ donation. If the niftar or the family does not need to consent, then the hospitals/doctors will end up being the deciders. (Personally I am a little uncomfortable with this – but would rather trust the medical establishment than the rabbinic one, sad to say).

  335. I changed the title to the 80% figure because I find that most troubling.

    Interesting. Men have been drawn to lasciviousness since time immemorial and their is no lack of frank discussion about this among Chazal.

    Are there Rabbinic sources that discuss women being drawn to lasciviousness, or is this a new phenomenon?

  336. R’JK,
    I LOL at it – but then realized that if my filter had been up to par, none of the oNon orthodox rabbis would be in my mental picture. I also thought the article was a bit of a puff piece (e.g tuition crisis is not limited to special needs)
    KT

  337. Re 80% of all boys looking at sexual websites, and 15-30% of girls.

    I can only conclude that this means that 20% of boys are female, and 15-30% of girls are male. It’s interesting that the ying/yang numbers are a bit off 🙂

    Or was there some other reason for this news article?

  338. Or was there some other reason for this news article?

    “Efrati, a former yeshiva homeroom teacher and counselor, points out the gap between how religious educators believe that they address the issue of sexuality and what really takes place.”

  339. “Men have been drawn to lasciviousness since time immemorial”

    So have women, though usually in more subtle ways.

  340. Lawrence Kaplan

    Joseph: Years from now it will be used as evidence that the nefarious MO were ordaining women rabbis! BTW, anyone know who the two women were?

  341. MiMedinat HaYam

    if organ donations can be made against even the family’s wishes (try that in the US) based on a (dubious) in house bet din, people will avoid such hospitals. (ethics panels in Us hospitals didnt work, at least on this issue.)

    2. “The Forward faulted organizations like ORA for focusing their efforts on recalcitrant husbands, rather than stubborn rabbis. ”

    while the forward point was another “blame the rabbis / torah” argument, the fact is ORA will not act against attorneys who advocate measures they oppose from others.

    and it now turns out they went after certain family members for facilitating visitation, not for the get issue.

  342. MMHY: and it now turns out they went after certain family members for facilitating visitation, not for the get issue

    What do you mean by “facilitating visitation”? They went after family members who violated the siruv and encourage his recalcitrance.

  343. If you want to keep a copy of the OU picture and caption, better take a screen shot right away. It’s being changed.