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Please forgive my unexpected connectivity issues while I travel. Regular posting may be disrupted.
German Jewish leadership to begin training rabbis as circumcisors
What Was Driving Force Behind Jewish History?
Why Don’t Girls Wear Kippahs At Camp Ramah?
A Woman’s Spirituality, Measured by Hosiery
Are Day School Vouchers the Answer?
“Rabbis for Obama” Blur Church and State Unreasonably
Survey: Fewer people believe in God
Israeli Rabbis Prove Religion Works Better than Diplomacy in the Middle East
R Asher Lopatin to succeed R Avi Weiss at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah
R Meir Soloveichik to Bless Republican National Convention
German Jews slam Israeli minister, chief rabbi for interfering in circumcision dispute
SALT Tuesday

More religious students in Israeli schools than ever before
Turning an Eye on Jews of Shanghai
In the New Orleans area, a synagogue dedication, community rejuvenation and Orthodox-Reform bonds
Satmar and the Internet Asifah
R Melamed: How to Teach Gemara
Tzohar seeking change ahead of Chief Rabbinate elections
Rabbinate tarnishes Torah’s reputation, in life and death
Say ‘I don’t’ to the rabbinate
The God of Independent Minds
American Academy of Pediatrics Endorses Circumcision in New Statement
Swedish solidarity ‘kipah walk’ unites Jews, non-Jews
SALT Monday

Prior news & links posts
Rules: link

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the founder, publisher and editor-in-chief of Torah Musings.

145 comments

  1. Reuven Spolter

    From Rav Melamed:

    “The Daf Hayomi brought that atmosphere back to life – the oral study of Torah – live study , not the perusal of dry words devoid of passion.”

    I don’t study daf yomi, but from what I’ve seen, it seems to be exactly the opposite of what he’s describing. There might be passion, but it’s the passion to get through the daf at the grinding pace. Rav Melamed himself says,

    “It is not what is written there that is the main point, it is the study and debate that characterize oral study. The content is the main thing, not the text; the text is only an accompaniment to the study.”

    In daf yomi, all there’s time for generally is covering “what’s written.” There’s never any time at all for discussion of ideas, and there’s very little room for discussion of the issues that arise from the daf.

    The real problem is, that most high school teachers already try to teach the way he recommends, and most kids still hate gemara. It’s worth wondering also whether the people learning daf yomi today are mostly people who never learned gemara at all, and hated it in high school, or whether they’re the people who really did learn when they were young, and now only learn the daf, and not any more deeply than that (for whatever reason).

    Finally, his suggestion of covering tens of pages in a year, and hundreds over high school, is precisely what happens in many Israeli schools to cover the required Bagrut exams here in Israel and…you guessed it, kids still hate Gemara.

    Maybe Gemara really isn’t meant for every kid in high school?

  2. R’ES,
    You might be interested in the discussion in the comments of the last audioroundup. I would agree that the analogy to daf yomi is one that might be questioned.
    KT

  3. While I generally like R Spolter’s well thought columns and Divrei Torah, I disagree with his conclusion in part-but solely as to when Gemara should be started in high school. Like it or not, without an exposure to an and appreciation of TSBP, one will never understand why HaShem established a covenant with Klal Yisrael.

  4. steve b. – ” without an exposure to an and appreciation of TSBP, one will never understand why HaShem established a covenant with Klal Yisrael.” why not – tanach is not good enough?

    also, exposure to does not automatically lead to aan appreciation of tsbp. by tsbp do you mean specifically gemera? and if so, why not other tsbp – why does that get denigrated by many these days as not as important as gemera?

  5. Steve,
    First of all, thanks for the compliments. Always appreciated. I’m not sure that a brief introduction to Gemara would be a bad thing, but the vast majority of orthodox schools schedule a huge amount of Gemara for most young men. That makes sense in a limited yeshiva system designed for budding scholars. But it most certainly does not make sense in a system designed for the masses. It’s not that radical for everyone to get basic grounding in Judaic Studies, which includes Gemara (perhaps exposure to basic Sugyot and how they work), but for many students, Gemara is difficult, arcane, and let’s face it, boring. I taught Gemara Brachot to a bright group of 7th graders, and by the middle of the year, a bunch of them started asking me, “Can’t we learn something else? We’ve been learning about Shemoneh Esreh all year long!”
    Are we really doing them a service by forcing them to spend hours a day studying something that gives them a bad taste in their mouths? Would we not be helping them more by grounding them in Chumash, Machshevet Yisrael, Halachah, Agadah – by giving them the choice to choose what area they find most compelling in the vast library of Jewish literature?
    We need to begin to grow more sophisticated about the Judaic training of our youth. It will only serve them – and us – in the long run.

  6. שנא את הרבנות
    At least the rabbinate helps Jews to fulfill one dictum of Hazal.

  7. Some statistics to better inform the linked More religious students in Israeli schools than ever before:

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4273603,00.html

  8. It’s not always appropriate to compare a 40 minute daf yomi shiur to some other, deeper form of learning. The alternative to the daily Daf yomi is often… nothing. My guess is that at least some of those who have now started daf yomi did not switch from some other learning. They created a new learning slot in their day.

  9. Shalom Rosenfeld

    R’ Meir — “Solly” — is a *great* nephew of RYBS, no? (Which son of R’ Aharon is his father?)

  10. R’SR,
    R’ Eliyahu Soloveitchik.
    KT

  11. R Spolter-thanks for your kind response. Perhaps, the MO and RZ world should take a close look at the Zilberman method, which emphasizes building blocks of Torah knowledge based on the Mishnah in Avos, which has an age related curriculum for Tanach, Mishnah and Gemara.

    Ruvie-Like it or not, TSBP, is the basis of the covenant between Klal Yisrael and HaShem.

  12. “Like it or not” does not an argument make.

  13. “MiMedinat HaYam on August 27, 2012 at 4:05 pm
    please post — and listen tomorrow nite http://blogs.forward.com/forward-thinking/161771/soloveichik-to-give-gop-invocation/
    Apparently changed to :”Rabbi Meir Y. Soloveichik, 35, will deliver the opening prayer on Tuesday, taking the stage in Tampa, Fla., right after the national anthem. “-which of course is no longer during TV coverage.
    “http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/28/nyregion/new-york-rabbi-to-give-opening-prayer-at-gop-convention.html?_r=2&ref=todayspaper”
    also of interest:
    “A registered Republican who occasionally writes for Commentary Magazine, Rabbi Soloveichik said that he probably got on the radar of convention organizers because he has several friends affiliated with the Romney campaign.”
    “Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, the Roman Catholic archbishop of New York, will deliver the closing prayer of the convention on Thursday night, right after Mitt Romney accepts the nomination….Each of the convention’s three days will be opened and closed with a blessing by a cleric: while they are all conservative, they represent a variety of faiths, to extend the party’s reputation beyond white and Protestant. Also delivering prayers will be a Hispanic evangelical Christian, a Sikh, a Greek Orthodox archbishop and two Mormon leaders.”

    I remember from the days when I used to watch conventions that Rabbi Feldman gave a closing benediction on prime time in the Carter convention-Daddy King-MLKs father- also gave one at that convention.

  14. Ruvie-Like it or not, TSBP, is the basis of the covenant between Klal Yisrael and HaShem.

    One would think that d’var Hashem – which has a higher kedusha halachikally – via the tanach would be all you need and not the arguments of abbaye and rava. Please try to make a better argument for your case than that, if you can.

  15. One would think that d’var Hashem – which has a higher kedusha halachikally – via the tanach would be all you need and not the arguments of abbaye and rava

    Perhaps for a Karaite but we Rabanites believe the Oral Torah complements the Written Torah. One without the other is incomplete.

  16. Hirhurim – please retread steve b. comment and my response – you obviously didn’t get it (based on your comment).

  17. Re: Survey: Anshel Pfeffer, in Haaretz, simply pointed out that 106 Jews out of 14 million, with none in Israel, are hardly representative. And, of course, “secular” in Israel doesn’t mean what it means in the US.

    Re: Germany: What is the “Orthodox Rabbinical Seminary of Berlin”?

  18. An SAT-like analogy: The publicized Rabbis for Obama are to rabbis as Obama is to a president.

  19. Possible explanation of historicaly high Jewish IQ’s?
    KT

    Today’s WSJ:
    http://professional.wsj.com/article/TPFCDRA00020120828e88s00006.html

    FEW LAW STUDENTS look back fondly on taking the Law School Admission Test, but those who spend a lot of time studying for it may see benefits beyond higher scores.

    Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley Department of Psychology and U.C.’s Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute have found that intensive LSAT study alters the brain, reinforcing circuits and helping bridge the gap between its right and left hemispheres.

    “The fact that performance on the LSAT can be improved with practice is not new,” said graduate student Allyson Mackey, the lead researcher. “What we were interested in is whether and how the brain changes as a result of LSAT preparation—which we think is, fundamentally, reasoning training. We wanted to show that the ability to reason is malleable in adults.”

    The researchers conducted magnetic resonance imaging of the brains of 24 college students and recent graduates, both before and after they spent 100 hours studying for the LSAT over three months. They also scanned the brains of 23 young adults who did not study for the LSAT.

    The scans revealed increased connectivity between the frontal lobes of the brain among the first group, and also between the frontal and adjoining parietal lobes—parts of the brain associated with reasoning and thinking.

    In essence, the LSAT takers showed stronger connections between the part of the brain tasked with deductive reasoning and the part that handles spatial cognition— the ability to tackle everyday tasks.

    “Our data is consistent with the idea that, while reasoning is left hemisphere-dominant, with training you learn to compensate; if you are not very good at reasoning, you start bringing in the right side,” Mackey said.

    Training in reasoning skills may even increase a person’s IQ score, the researchers theorized.

    “A lot of people still believe that you are either smart or you are not. And, sure, you can practice for a test, but you are not fundamentally changing your brain,” said UC Berkeley associate professor Silvia Bunge, with Kirstie Whitaker a co-author of the report, “Experience-dependant plasticity in white matter microstructure: Reasoning training alters structural connectivity.”

  20. Ruvie-see Rambam at the end of Hilcos Megillah where Rambam states that but for the transgressions of Klal Yisrael, Tanach would have conisted of Chumash and Sefer Yeshoshua. TSBP is always presumed to be complimentary of Torah Shebicsav. Further, noone assumes that Neviim and Ksuvim are on the same level of “Dvar HaShem” as Chumash or TSBP, inasmuch as the acceptance of TSBP began with its receipt and transmission by Moshe Rabbeinu.

  21. Nachum-see Gittin 60b.

  22. Re the Forward blog note re Kipot at Camp Ramah, I recall being seated with my wife at a family simcha with a C clergyman and his wife, who mentioned that CJ was edging towards “adopting” such customs. However, I mentioned privately to my wife that she did not mention whether CJ was working on having its membership of all ages work on fulfilling the mitzvos that they were already obligated in, as opposed to accepting customs and obligations that they had not been previously obligated in.

  23. Gil Troy’s column in the JP was excellent, but should have noted that at least one signatory on “Rabbis for Obama” ( Lynn Gottlieb-I am not sure if she is a R or C clergyperson) was noted on JTA yesterday as being a BDS supporter.

  24. R Gil-Jeffrey Goldberg at Bloomberg ( coupled with a link to an article by Ron Rosenbaum at Slate) has a very worthwhile discussion about what is the latest form of Holocaust denial, namely what in some quarters is called “Holocaust obsession.”

  25. IH-Perhaps there are more Charedim ( as well as Chardalim) and Moslems among the next generation of Israelis simply because of a demographic fact of life because there are simpy more of the above sectors than the secular Isareli aka “kelev vyeled” sector.

  26. abba's rantings

    STEVE:

    “However, I mentioned privately to my wife that she did not mention whether CJ was working on having its membership of all ages work on fulfilling the mitzvos that they were already obligated in, as opposed to accepting customs and obligations that they had not been previously obligated in.”

    i basically agree with you, but note that a very similar critique can be leveled at orthodoxy as well.

  27. J-the letter in question does not shed light on the issue, and confuses permisssible areas of interfaith ecumenical dialogue as set forth in writing in Confrontation with dispensing with elements of Jewish belief such as a covenantal relationship between Klal Yisrael and HaShem, or water down the same, that noone has the authority to extend to another faith community, for the purposes of gaining allies for the cause of the State of Israel or other worthy causes, regardless of why and when another faith community may have reevaluated its previously held views of long standing re the Jewish People. I am dismayed and dissapointed that R D Alan Brill was one of the signatories to the letter.

  28. MiMedinat HaYam

    yes, it was before prime time: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0q7oLSHv-bs

  29. “without an exposure to an and appreciation of TSBP, one will never understand why HaShem established a covenant with Klal Yisrael”

    What does “exposure” and “appreciation” mean? Anyone who keeps Shabbos and kosher is exposed to TSBP to some extent, even if indirectly. If “exposure” and “appreciation” require learning gemara in high school, then what about communities where women don’t learn gemara ever? Do you believe those women “will never understand why HaShem established a covenant with Klal Yisrael”?

  30. Just visiting-One cannnot deny that men are obligated to study not just Halacha LMaaseh, but even the rejected opinions, IOW, the ins and outs of TSBP. I know that RYBS permited women to learn Talmud, but IIRC, if you look in the book of letters edited by R Helfgott, the emphasis is that men an women in high school be exposed to TSBP. IIRC, and I welcome others to comment, the Talmud curriculum in Maimonides focused on Brachos and Seder Moed. That being the case, the traditional view is that men need to study TSBP, whereas women, whose Zcusim saved the Jewish People in Sefer Breishis and in Mitzrayim, who did not participate either in Chet HaEgel, Chet HaMeraglim or act as if they could care less about having ownership rights in the Land of Israel, do not need to study TSBP to have a close relationship with HaShem.

  31. “TSBP is always presumed to be complimentary of Torah Shebicsav. Further, noone assumes that Neviim and Ksuvim are on the same level of “Dvar HaShem” as Chumash or TSBP, inasmuch as the acceptance of TSBP began with its receipt and transmission by Moshe Rabbeinu.”

    Nobody has ever said that tsbp is not complimentary. You, however, have elevated it to the equavilant of Davar Hashem and Chumash and dvar Hashem written down by neviim as secondary to Talmud – btw, tsbp is that Talmud bacli only or yerushalmi and midrashei Halacha and aggadah too)?
    Do you believe that very word of whichever gemera was verbally given to moshe at har Sinai?

  32. Steve b. – “Ruvie-Like it or not, TSBP, is the basis of the covenant between Klal Yisrael and HaShem.”

    Some written proof please. One would assume that Brit Avraham, brit avot, Brit Sinai etc…. Is the BASIS of our relation with Hashem. How do you get to TSBP as the basis? Which TSBP ? Or is it only Talmud Bavli? Maybe you and gil can bring some sources to this idea? Or is revelation a second handmaiden to tsbp at best – lifei your posts?

  33. Steve – you did not answer my question. Instead you moved the goalposts to “hav[ing] a close relationship with HaShem.”

    Are you saying that women who don’t study gemara have a close relationship with HaShem, even though they do not understand why he established the covenant with Klal Yisrael? Or that women automatically understand why HaShem established the covenant with Klal Yisrael, while men cannot understand without sufficient exposure to and appreciation for TSBP?

  34. shachar haamim

    the piece on vouchers completely ignores the fact that more government money thrown at a privatelr run education system drives tuition prices up – not down.

    look at higher education costs in the USA over the last 3 decades. Look at YU as an example…

  35. “Oy vey: http://www.thejewishweek.com/editorial-opinion/letters/rabbi-hershel-schachter-distorts-christian-jewish-relations

    Looks like they need to get their facts checked themselves.

    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/Flash.aspx/233992#.UD3mD9YgegA

    Having received such mail myself, I can attest that it isn’t just bibles, it’s actually bibles with pamphlets attached trying to missionize.

  36. Ruvie-Bris Avos and Bris Sinai comprise the events in the Torah which created the Jewish People and their unique relationship with HaShem as individuals and as a covenantal community. However, see Gittin 60b as to TSBP being the basis of the covenant-then think about what was the nature of the Kabalas Luchos Shniyos -a willing acceptance of TSBP, which , as the Beis HaLevi and Meshech Chachmah, could have been given simultaneously with Luchos Rishonos, but which wasn’t, and as result of the Chet HaEgel precipitated a near divorce R”L between HaShem and Klal Yisrael, or worse. As RMR pointed out in one of his Divrei Torah, our responsibility in Elul is to reconnect as a nation and as individuals in the same manner as Moshe Rabbeinu reconnected Klal Yisrael to HaShem via the acceptance of the Luchos Shniyos and TSBP. Then take a look at the Kidmas HaEmek of Netziv-I think that anyone contends that every word of Shas was given to Moshe Rabbeinu, but rather the methodology and means of interpretation ( Midos of R Yishmael, Midos of R Eliezer, etc) and that as Netziv points out, whenever the Chumash refers to “Chukim and Mishpatim”, that refers to the methodology and tools as well as means of deciding Halachic disputes that comprise TSBP were certainly transmitted from the time of Moshe Rabbeinu . Once one accepts the premise that what constitutes TSBP is a redaction of the discussions that was done in many cases as an aid for memorization, as opposed to a book in the purest literary sense, and that TSBP was never meant to be written down in its most pure form, then one understands that TSBP is the guide to understanding Torah Shebicsav, especialy given the fact that Torah Shebicsav is very vague in so many ways, such as how we observe all of the Yamin Noraim and Sukkos ( and many other Halachos as well throughout the Torah, which only TSBP provides the basis for our observance)-you cannot find the halachic definitions of how one properly observes any of the Chagim in question explicitly in Torah Shebicsav, but many Halachos that constitute a Chiyuv and/or Kiyum Min HaTorah are discussed in the Talmud. In many sugyos, one finds that Chazal prefer to derive a Halacha that is Min HaTorah from their means of interpretation such as a Kal VaChomer rather than rely on a Gzeras HaKasuv.

  37. Just visiting asked:

    “Are you saying that women who don’t study gemara have a close relationship with HaShem, even though they do not understand why he established the covenant with Klal Yisrael? Or that women automatically understand why HaShem established the covenant with Klal Yisrael, while men cannot understand without sufficient exposure to and appreciation for TSBP”

    My answer is affirmative to both-women instinctively understand the close relationship between themselves and HaShem and men need to sweat the details to understand the same.

  38. abba's rantings

    “If “exposure” and “appreciation” require learning gemara in high school, then what about communities where women don’t learn gemara ever?”

    and what about communities where historically gemara wasn’t studied even by most men?

  39. For those interested, see the following link re the recent tumult in Germany re potential threats and bans to Bris Milah. http://www.jidaily.com/3602d?utm_source=Jewish+Ideas+Daily+Insider&utm_campaign=f99d6e2e71-Insider&utm_medium=email

  40. For those interested in why feminists now view committment and marriage as a hindrance to women’s careers, see the annexed article, which has language and pictorial content of a nature of an inappropriate nature, http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/09/boys-on-the-side/309062. Then see last week’s NYT Book Review by a review by the same author re a book about one aspect of campus life at Yale. Once again, I would suggest that anyone who thinks that he or she can exist either without a Torah observant social network or mentors in such a den of immorality should at least think twice. The former article IMO is yet another example of the incompatibility of at least the aspect of feminisn depicted therein with Torah values.

  41. When you read articles such as the above article, and one sees many obviously single people in the course of one’s workday, one has to wonder how many people who choose or are stuck in such a lifestyle of a long duration, will ever have a marriage, children or become grandparents. Isn’t there more to life than doing what is socially convenient so that one can make a ton of money in one’s career?

  42. Check this out on R. Meir soloveitchik

    http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/110309/gop-conventions-rabbi-in-chief

    Move over Boteach, Solly is in town!

  43. Steve b. – “Ruvie-Bris Avos and Bris Sinai comprise the events in the Torah which created the Jewish People and their unique relationship with HaShem as individuals and as a covenantal community. However…”

    Why do you need the however….you agree with my point. The rest of your stuff are nice derashot but does not justify your elevation of tsbp to Chumash. Your argument has to do with how do we know what to do from the Torah – so dinim and Halacha is of the utmost importance (equal to revelation). Based on your logic why isn’t the shulchan arukh or arukh hashulchan on a higher madragah than the talmud since they can better tell you what to do on the Yamin noraim – because that is according to you why tsbp is of the utmost importance – tanach is vague – hashem’s words aren’t good enough. So it seems that dinim – knowing what to do or Halacha lemaseh is the pinnacle of learning. I fail to understand your logic or reasoning. At least you retreated from your original position.
    Please answer what you mean by tsbp.

  44. TSBP, means the corpus of Mishnah and Gemara, togther with Braisos, Tosefta,and Midrash Halacha. In all seriousness, the SA and Poskim represent the codification of TSBP, but the day to day application of TSBP requires knowing not just what is written in SA, but knowing how to apply the same to any halachic inquiry in any generation-that ongoing process, whether Lkula and LChumra, in any Beis Medrash is the dynamic process of TSBP, as appeared to the codification of Halacha or the proliferation of Sifrei Halacha on any and all subjects. It is not that Torah Shebicsav is vague, but rather the Torah Shebicsav itself provides that TSBP is the built in mechanism of understanding Torah Shebicsav.I must reiterate that neither Gittin 60b nor why the Yamim Noraim represent Kabalas Luchos Shniyos are mere drashos, but are fundamentals of Yahadus.

  45. By the by, since Steve is fond of quoting Avot 1:1 in support of his maximalist view of TSBP, does anyone have a view on the recently published פרקי אבות לפי פירוש “רוח חיים” של ר´ חיים מוולוז´ין by ישעיהו ליבוביץ (http://www.booknet.co.il/prodtxt.asp?id=57386&perur=2&t=313&c=645)?

    I found a slightly damaged copy for 20 NIS and bought it without question at that price, but I’m too backlogged to open it at present.

  46. Steve,
    The problem with the view of judaism the you present, is not its content. it is pretty standard for where you come from and I even agree with a lot of it. But the confidence in which you present it as THE authoritative interpretation, to the extent that you use terms from the Rav as if they were given on har sinai, anbd dismiss all who do not fall in line with your particular understanding of covenant, revelation and mesorah as well as pshat in the chumash, is galling and thoroughly undermines the legitimacy of you positions.

  47. In his now widely available public lectures the Rav himself qualified that he was presenting a personal theology, not “laying claim to any theological validity.” The fact that people cite him now as if he was handing down the official theology of centrist Orthodoxy is sadly ironic.

  48. interesting article of a teen going otd – i wish there were more details on exactly what questions and what answers did not work for him:

    http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-life-and-religion/110594/taking-off-my-tefillin

    i wonder if his reasons are the ones other hear in the mo world.

  49. OK, I’ll say it: Wow, eighteen years old and he’s gotten it all figured out.

    I thought the same thing when Harry Maryles quoted some commenter as saying that the greatest “Orthoprax” threats are James Kugel and a well-known (on the blogosphere) blogger who’s barely past high school. Say what you want about Kugel, but come on: That’s not even apples and oranges, it’s etrogim and rocks.

  50. OK, I’ll say it: Wow, eighteen years old and he’s gotten it all figured out.

    Actually, I had the opposite reaction. The writing was so shallow as to be almost empty of content. He compared tefillin to a toy. So, surprise, the toys he found fascinating at 13 he finds boring at 18.

    Taryag mitzvos as amusing party favors. Now I have heard everything.

  51. To me, the most disheartening thing about that pantyhose article was not the busybody (even there, the fact that there’s a society in which such things happen was sadder), but that there is a rabbi- presumably knowledgeable in the Fifth Shulchan Aruch- who did *not* say “Stop being such a yenta. You were just over on Lashon/Hara and/or Rechilut and made me over in it as well. Maybe *you* need to do teshuva, and for Lo Tachmod (one of the Big Ten) as well. Go home, do teshuva, stop thinking about other women, don’t talk about this to anyone, stop being such a nudnik, and don’t bother me again.” Instead, he calls the husband and somehow news gets all over the neighborhood. Lovely.

  52. Tal: R’ Aryeh Kaplan wrote almost a whole book to respond to that attitude.

    The article is kind of silly, by the way- who gets tefillin at eight? He doesn’t even seem to know what the mirror is for, even today. Was he religious? Was he not?

  53. Let me correct the parenthesis above- “that there’s a society that encourages such things.”

  54. Tal: R’ Aryeh Kaplan wrote almost a whole book to respond to that attitude.

    R. Kaplan’s book is a great book, but even without it most people have a deeper understanding of tefillin than he seems to.

  55. Tal – I would agree. I wish he had details or some meat to what did not work and why. It was nicely written and more emotional than anything else. He reason I posted it was the reasoning – intellectually I didn’t work for him.

    So my question is: in the mo world do young adults that go otd do so (in the majority) because of intellectual challenges or not? And is it different in the yeshivish/charedei world? I am sure there are those in both worlds that do but I am more interested in what the majority do or changing trends.

  56. IIRC thinking you know everything and don’t trust anyone over 30 (or maybe it’s 20 now) is SOP for teenagers. Anecdotally OTD in teens is less often existential, it is more often hormonal (not just of the sexual nature)
    KT

  57. “He reason I posted it was the reasoning – intellectually I didn’t work for him.”

    Don’t see much evidence of intellectual reasoning in his article. Psuedo-intellectual, perhaps.

  58. Carping about his pseudo-intellectuallism is an excellent strategy for keeping people in the fold (not). For every such 18 year old, there are peers, parents, siblings and cousins who are impacted by how others respond –and not just the 18 year old.

  59. Tal- I would take at his word. Belittling him is also to a certain degree childish.

    Joel R. – I would say anecdotally I see more intellectual reasoning. Otoh, I remember in the OTD book that 75% who left believe in Torah misinai…. so I am wondering what others see in their communities- of course some are blind or have preconceived. notions and can’t see what is in front of them.

  60. Moshe Shoshan-I merely present what I have heard from my RY, who were talmidim of RYBS, as well as that of RYBS’s writings, shiurim and drashos that I have gone through on my own. Bris Avos, Bris Sinai and Kabalas Luchos Shiniyos and TSBP IMO are hashkafic fundamentals, and those who minimize their importance , deny the binding nature or view the actions of a Torah observant Jew as no different than a member of another faith cannot answer the question that such a POV presents-if such a POV is correct, why should anyone be a Shomer Torah Umitzvos?

  61. IH-I think that the Mishnah Avos 1:1 has always been and remains the blueprint for Jewish continuity. The Ruach Chaim on that Mishnah points out the differences between Moshe Rabbinu, Yehoshua Ben Nun and Zkenim, but also stresses the overarching importance of Limud HaTorah, as well as that which a Talmid Vasik is Mchadesh was transmitted to Moshe at Sinai. It is helpful for anyone who learns this commentary on Avos to also consider going through at least Shaar Daled of Nefesh HaChaim, which can fairly be called a guide to how to become someone whose avocation is Amelus BaTorah.

  62. “Tal- I would take at his word. Belittling him is also to a certain degree childish”

    YOU called him intellectual. I simply pointed out that I see no evidence of that. If Orthodoxy does not work for him, it’s a free country. Just spare me the drivel about how you (I mean he, not you) have figured out how a 3000 year old religion is false.

  63. Steve — see the description of the book at http://www.booknet.co.il/prodtxt.asp?id=57386&perur=2&t=313&c=645 to see what I was asking.

  64. Tal- please read carefully my comment. He is no intellectual – I said intellectually the answers didn’t work for him.

  65. He is also not quite as smug as you make out. He knows people change their minds, and that he might change his.

  66. That said I’m not sure why the essay is publishing-worthy.

  67. From the link “What was driving force behind Jewish history”

    “They also demonstrate that war-related massacres only account for a fraction of the Jewish population declines from 70 to 700 C.E. and from 1250 to 1400 C.E., and cast serious doubt on the theory that widespread conversion to Christianity and Islam during these periods was motivated primarily by anti-Jewish discrimination….Botticini and Eckstein suggest that illiterates were regarded as outcasts in Jewish society and that a substantial percentage chose to escape denigration and social ostracism by embracing Christianity and Islam, where illiteracy remained the norm…Jewish cultural norms required the maintenance of synagogues and schools, and presumed that families would forgo years of their sons’ potential earnings to keep them in school. When urban economies collapsed, as they did in Mesopotamia and Persia as a result of the Mongol conquest, the practice of Judaism became untenable, and the result was widespread defection through conversion to Islam…In an age where steep day school tuition has (unintentionally) become a form of birth control in modern Orthodox circles and contributed to sluggish enrollment rates among the non-Orthodox, Jewish practice is once again in danger of becoming unsustainable. American Jewish assimilation is often understood as a function of Jewish apathy, but perhaps part of the problem is that Judaism is pricing itself out of the market…”

  68. As in our great jewish tradition – the reinterpretation of past views- this time the Rav via r’ riskin. Creativity is still alive.

    http://kavvanah.wordpress.com/2012/08/31/rabbi-riskin-responds-to-his-rabbinic-critics/

  69. Emma. -the article for me was a jumping board to the broader issue of why people are going otd in the mo world. Although lacking substantive details to evaluate it is still worthy of discussion since we really do not have many stats these days. Also, finding out what intellectually doesn’t work for many would lead to solutions by rabbinic leaders ( one could only hope).

  70. Mycroft – “Jewish cultural norms required the maintenance of synagogues and schools, and presumed that families would forgo years of their sons’ potential earnings to keep them in school.”

    Yes they were learning in the Mir back in the day till they were in their late 20s expecting their parents to support them with many kids. First show there were many synagogues and schools in years 70 to 400.

  71. http://professional.wsj.com/article/SB20000872396390444914904577622153696305504.html#printMode
    Bill Bans Gay-Conversion Therapy
    Article Comments more in Politics & Policy | Find New $LINKTEXTFIND$ »
    smaller Larger facebooktwittergoogle pluslinked ininShare0Email Print Save ↓ More

    smaller Larger By GEOFFREY A. FOWLER
    SAN FRANCISCO—California’s state legislature on Thursday passed the nation’s first law banning professional psychological therapy aimed at turning gay and lesbian youth straight.

    The legislation, which will next go to Gov. Jerry Brown for review, prevents licensed psychologists and therapists from seeking to change the sexual orientation of children under 18.

    The practice, called gay-conversion therapy or reparative therapy, hits on a sensitive cultural issue in an election year during which gay rights have emerged as a flashpoint in some states. California’s legislation would apply only to licensed psychologists and professional therapists, not to counseling offered by religious or community groups.

    California state Sen. Ted W. Lieu, the bill’s author, said the conversion treatments were tantamount to child abuse. “These attempts are quackery, and this kind of psychological abuse of children must stop,” said Mr. Lieu, a Democrat.

    He cited a 2009 report by the American Psychological Association that gay-conversion therapy often fails, as well as anecdotal evidence that it can lead to depression and even suicide.

    KT

  72. “Yes they were learning in the Mir back in the day till they were in their late 20s expecting their parents to support them with many kids. First show there were many synagogues and schools in years 70 to 400.”

    Just about every excavated town in Israel shows a synagogue in the central square.

  73. avi – from what dates….and i am sure schools too.

    yes by the late 5th and early 6th century almost every every town had a synagogue (or a church). dating synagogues seem to be controversial (and israeli scholars seem to date differently than others).

  74. avi – i was referring to post destruction and the a few centuries henceforth.

  75. MiMedinat HaYam

    “Just about every excavated town in Israel shows a synagogue in the central square.”

    was that a synagogue or a bet mderash (for learning)? seems to be (something) but not necessarily a bet medrash (or not much of a bet knesset as we know it. perhaps a knesset in the sense of a gathering place.)

    “Yes they were learning in the Mir back in the day”

    all the litvish yeshivot in the interwar period — numbered 10 – 20 students. mir, actually, was pretty big — about 40 – 50 (?cause they had a good number of foreigners — dutch, americans, and prob some yekkes?) the hungarian yeshivot, OTOH (not necessarily what we today call chassidic, including what would today be called MO) numbered several hundred, and were located in almost every town of somewhat jewish populstion, as opposed to lita which did not have much more than a handful, but those few towns / yeshivot are idolized today.)

    gay therapy law — how about those psychologists (esp in SF) that advocate “reinforcing” a gay lifestyle? i guess that would be legal. inequity.

    further, the real effective therapy would probably involve “encouraging” heterosexual behavior through experiences that would amount to (forms of) prostitution, esp if the patient is underage. not acceptable in our (and christian) circles.

    and the article ends with “as well as anecdotal evidence that it can lead to depression and even suicide.” hardly supported by the scientific (and legal) community.

  76. “more government money thrown at a privatelr run education system drives tuition prices up”

    That has not happened in the three US States with longstanding voucher programs: Maine, Vermont, and Connecticut. Reason: The schools receiving the voucher students are prohibited from charging the students any tuition or fees. They also have to follow all state mandates. The programs are very popular and by all accounts a success.

  77. Ruvie on August 31, 2012 at 6:22 am
    “Mycroft – “Jewish cultural norms required the maintenance of synagogues and schools, and presumed that families would forgo years of their sons’ potential earnings to keep them in school.”

    Yes they were learning in the Mir back in the day till they were in their late 20s expecting their parents to support them with many kids. First show there were many synagogues and schools in years 70 to 400”

    I was citing quotes from from the link “What was driving force behind Jewish history”-What he wrote seemed reasonable to me-I am not an expert on history of synagogues but it is my impression that tour guides show remnants of schuls from that time period.

  78. “On excavated Israeli synagogues: http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/ancient-cultures/ancient-israel/jewish-worship-pagan-symbols/

    All well and good but the conclusions are WAY off.

    The Zodiac has importance in the Talmud, and other literature of the era. To suggest that the Zodiac in Judaism is unheard of outside these Synagogues is just plain out wrong.

    http://ohr.edu/2394

    “ruvie on August 31, 2012 at 9:31 am
    avi – i was referring to post destruction and the a few centuries henceforth.”

    I don’t know the exact details of the archaeology, but the Galil became the center of Jewish life after the Churban in Israel. It’s mostly in the Galil that I’m aware of the towns and cities with the synagogue in the center of the town.

    These towns and villages were mostly wiped out by the middle ages I believe.

  79. “The Zodiac has importance in the Talmud, and other literature of the era. To suggest that the Zodiac in Judaism is unheard of outside these Synagogues is just plain out wrong”

    I assume the Main Building of YU -where the BM is -still has the zodiac in the floor of the main entrance. It was there in my days.

  80. For a review of the various theories, see The Zodiac in Ancient Jewish Synagogal Art: A Review by Prof. Rachel Hachlili (Jewish Studies Quarterly, 2002).

    Also, to note the Hammat Tiberias mosaic was vandalized earlier this year: http://www.jpost.com/NationalNews/Article.aspx?id=271844

  81. Those who worry about Christian proselytizing in Israel, should probably be more worried about:

    http://www.haaretz.com/misc/article-print-page/pay-and-you-will-be-saved-the-stringent-code-of-kabbalah-laam.premium-1.461750

    “Tomer Persico, an expert on new religious movements in Israel who has been monitoring the organization’s activity for some years and writing about it on his site ‏(tomerpersico.com‏), estimates that it currently has 50,000 local followers.”

  82. Avi – “but the Galil became the center of Jewish life after the Churban in Israel. It’s mostly in the Galil that I’m aware of the towns and cities with the synagogue in the center of the town.”

    I think that is correct. The issue is the dating of the structures. The major blow to the early dating is the discovery of coins beneath the floor of a typical Galilean synagogue in capernaun from the 4th and 5th century- the coins that is -( a common find) making the dating after the latest coin. It’s seems that between 70 and the 4or 5th century there is a lack of synagogues for whatever reasons – there is much speculation on that recently.

  83. “I assume the Main Building of YU -where the BM is -still has the zodiac in the floor of the main entrance. It was there in my days.”

    Still there in my day (it’s a brass inlay and would be pretty difficult to remove), although covered with a rug most of the time. I don’t think this is a “cover up” but rather for protection, as they davka *uncovered* it on important occasions.

    MTA put it on the cover of their yearbook in the early 90’s with R’ Ahron Soloveichik’s blessings. I imagine most of the students had no idea what it was. 🙂

    It’s not just a zodiac, by the way: Aquarius is the Greek god Neptune and Virgo is rather explicitly nude.

  84. http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/yoav-and-ayala-get-married-again-1.461870

    “Yoav and Ayala had a beautiful civil ceremony in Washington, D.C., in late June, at the residence of the Israeli ambassador, Michael Oren. Michael is Yoav’s father. So it turns out that the son of Israel’s ambassador to the United States could not be married in Israel by the rabbi of his choice because that rabbi belongs to the Reform movement.”

  85. “So it turns out that the son of Israel’s ambassador to the United States could not be married in Israel by the rabbi of his choice because that rabbi belongs to the Reform movement.”

    That is, of course, an outright lie. Anyone can get married by a Reform rabbi in Israel- as the article makes clear they did, indeed. It just won’t be recognized by the state. Cue the world’s smallest violin.

    By the way, why didn’t they just have the reform rabbi marry them in Washington? And if they had a ceremony in Israel, as they did, why did they bother having one in Washington, instead of just signing some papers in a clerk’s office? Was something trying to make a statement? The violin gets smaller.

  86. “Proper Performance of Mitzvas Bris Milah By Rabbi Moshe Zuriel”

    http://5tjt.com/?p=6165

  87. LongTimeReader

    On the Camp Ramah article, the question about yamulkes for girls is a pretty good one for Orthodox Jews too. I assume that the minhag for head covering started in shul where women were scarce, but I haven’t found a great answer.

  88. Nachum
    Technically it may be illegal to conduct an unrecognized marriage ceremony in Israel. Of course like most laws in Israel, it is not enforced.

  89. “On the Camp Ramah article, the question about yamulkes for girls is a pretty good one for Orthodox Jews too. I assume that the minhag for head covering started in shul where women were scarce, but I haven’t found a great answer.”

    Ah the doily!

  90. “I think that is correct. The issue is the dating of the structures. The major blow to the early dating is the discovery of coins beneath the floor of a typical Galilean synagogue in capernaun from the 4th and 5th century- the coins that is -( a common find) making the dating after the latest coin. It’s seems that between 70 and the 4or 5th century there is a lack of synagogues for whatever reasons – there is much speculation on that recently.”

    You should only find coins when the place became destroyed or stopped being used. If the synagogue was in use from the year 0 to the year 500, I would only expect to find coins from the year 500. Seems a silly “major blow”

  91. Avi – it’s more complicated than that.talk to the scholars. This is not treasury money – its low denomination bronze coins underneath the floor of the synagogue ( intentionally left there).
    “in most cases, archaeologists have not hesitated to draw the obvious conclusions : the synagogue was constructed after the date of the latest coin in the deposit.”

    Add to that the nabratein synagogue that was dated earlier but archaeologist had to change their minds after the discovery of an inscription indicating construction in 562ce. Plus Israeli archaeologist regarded early synagogues of gischala and horvat Shema actually being built much later. It seems no one talks about synagogues of the 2nd and 3rd centuries any longer ( even the ones that upheld the synagogue as central to Jewish life post destruction I.e. Israeli archaeologist),
    Doesn’t seem silly- call tour local archaeologist to see why your statement doesn’t work.

  92. Avi – I am not implying that there were no synagogues prior to the 4-5th century. But that it seems the concept of every town a synagogue is not till much later – 5th century. That begs the question of the marginal importance post destruction of the need or the effect of it on Jewry til later.
    Yes, it goes against the grain on how we think of the synagogue today. It is less important of the origin of the synagogue as to its diffusion through out every town.

  93. Avi – in case i wasn’t clear – we are talking about foundation deposits that are underneath the floor of the synagogue which is placed there upon construction – not treasury deposits (which some synagogues in jewish history have that run 1000 years in coinage dating and has no reference to the date of construction).

  94. IH-remember the allegations of the family business of a Democratic VP candidate and former Congresswoman from Queens? Politicians nor the supporters, regardless of the party, are not necessarily paragons of moral virtue, even if some are ritually observant.

  95. Ruvie wrote:

    “As in our great jewish tradition – the reinterpretation of past views- this time the Rav via r’ riskin. Creativity is still alive.”

    For the following reasons, I was wholly unimpressed by R Riskin’s comments that were posted both on his interfaith dialogue website and in the JW. Again, it pains me as a person who once regarded R Riskin as a rebbe and viewed R Riskin as a model for any MO rav to build a community and engage in kiruv and chizuk to have to write the following comment which is rooted in Erachin 16b that a talmid can issue words of rebuke to a rav.

    “Creativity” in hashkafa or halacha, does not mean that one claims without solid arguments and proof that Confrontation either does not apply or that it is being applied, despite R Riskin’s many stories that he is working by his own instincts with respect to the same. Stories about German nuns IMO cannot dispel the reality of Germany giving academic awards to American Jewish supporters of BDS, widespread feelings in Germany of having paid their collective dues for the Holocaust, or engaging in debates designed to lead to the banning of Bris Milah in the country, which R Lau pointed out, was hardly concerned about the lives and blood of Jewish children in the 1930s and 1940s. Even if Pastor Hagee is a great Ohev Yisrael and one of the Chasidei Umos HaOlam, one cannot assert in a grueome hashkafic error that such views elevate those who practice such views as sharing the Bris Avos and Bris Sinai, which they never accepted at any time in history. Moreover, R Riskin never explained, rationalized or sought to qualify his conclusion at Yale that the only differences between Jews, Hindus, and Moslems were their rites of practice. Trotting out advocates of interfaith ecumenical dialogue to condemn RHS’s comments re R Riskin’s deviations from RYBS’s guidelines and not viewing the same as Psak, when in fact, anyone from the OU and RCA engaged in interfaith discussions, viewed Confrontation as much as Psak as a word of the MB, IMO, is a conclusion without a shred of opinion or fact to support the same.

  96. “Politicians nor the supporters, regardless of the party, are not necessarily paragons of moral virtue, even if some are ritually observant.”

    What does the late Geraldine Ferraro have to do with this? She wasn’t Jewish, nor is her widower.

  97. “Cue the world’s smallest violin.”

    I personally know two unquestionably Jewish couples whom the rabbinate would not allow to get married in Israel. If *I* am aware of this problem, this must be the tip of the iceberg.

  98. IH seemed to be claiming that the persons accused in the linked article were self appointed persons of a high moral stature. I merely responded that neither politicians nor their supporters , regardless of their degree of rituak observance, were persons entitled to such a presumption.

  99. Steve — your Brisker methodology is quite impressive to deduce all that meaning from the single word “charming” 🙂

  100. IH_R B Wein has often commented that one should never confuse the tenents of being a Torah observant Jew with how it is practiced in reality , especially by those who are ethically challenged.

  101. For those interested in the issues surrounding MBP, the linked article http://www.hakirah.org/Vol%203%20Sprecher.pdf is a must read. I think that nuance, as always is a guding consideration. In an ideal world, I think that any would be parent of a Rach HaNimol should sign a consent form before allowing MBP and that there should be a list available to the consumer as to which Mohelim practice, insist on or refuse to perform MBP. I don’t think that bans of MBP or Kol Korehs that MBP is an intrinsic portion of Mitzvas Milah serve any constructive purpose, or aid the discussion.

    When you read the linked article, and especially the footnotes, one can easily conclude that Gdolei Acharoniom disagree as to whether MBP is an integral portion of the Mitzvah of Bris Milah. Yet, one can argue that with the rise of potential bans on Bris Milah from “human rights” advocates and pseudo scientifically based arguments both in Europe and the US, defense of Bris Milah may require defending those aspects of a Mitzvah Min HaTorah which are either posssibly rooted as a Din Midrabanan or a Minhag, ala the manner a Jew ties his or her shoe laces, even if one is personally imposed to MBP. IIRC, none less than RYBS articulated such a basis for opposing mixed pews during Tefilah. That issue deserves as much consideration as insisting on municipal and state regulation of all mohalim in what has not been demonstrated to be a miut hamaztui-namely mohalim being the cause of infectious diseases in newborn males.

  102. damning article about Judaism today…

    http://viewpoints.utj.org/?p=1338

  103. “Avi – in case i wasn’t clear – we are talking about foundation deposits that are underneath the floor of the synagogue which is placed there upon construction – not treasury deposits (which some synagogues in jewish history have that run 1000 years in coinage dating and has no reference to the date of construction).”

    Gotcha, that wasn’t clear. I thought you were talking about coins found in the “drainage” system or the like.

  104. Charlie: You’re mixing apples and oranges. No one said this couple couldn’t marry each other. (And I’d like to know details of your couples. There’s always something, even if it’s unreasonable.)

    “That issue deserves as much consideration”

    No, it doesn’t, not when a) lives are at risk, and b) when the practice actually *endangers* the image milah as a whole.

  105. “avi on September 4, 2012 at 2:57 am
    damning article about Judaism today…

    http://viewpoints.utj.org/?p=1338

    Thanks for the link-found the article interesting.

  106. The feature in JID today is worth reading:
    http://www.jewishideasdaily.com/

  107. shachar haamim

    I thought a bit about the story written in “▪ A Woman’s Spirituality, Measured by Hosiery” – – taken in the cotext of this blog, the story might be viewed as an attempt to show how “silly” or “superficial” the standards in the chassidishe community are.
    However the litvishe – and even the modern yeshivish – world have their own silliness in this context. I could re-write that story a hundred times over for different actual events that I witnessed or know about which took place in modern yeshivish type settings.

  108. Steve,
    Confrontation was not a psak, it was a piece of theology that comes out against “theological dialog”but gives not real parameters for this term. Clearly the Rav though it was permissible to talk to a minister about kirkegaard or a priest about Aquinas. nThe Rav did paskin that it was assur to particpate in Vatican two, but here too it is difficult to extrapolate from this unique xase to others.I dont like what R. Riskin is doing but it is very different from what the Rav prohibited at Vatican 2.

    In short, the Rav’s psak forbidding interfaith dialog is far far from clear cut. The only people who can talk about the rav’s positions on new cases are people like David Berger, who consulted with the Rav regularly about interfaith affairs. everyone else should stop ponitifcating

  109. R’IH,
    Interesting read-how would he respond to
    http://harpers.org/archive/2012/07/hbc-90008707 (i.e. Ivan was basically correct)
    KT

  110. R’ Moshe,
    If we stop pontificating we’ll jhave to shut down 🙂
    KT

  111. MiMedinat HaYam

    ” It’s seems that between 70 and the 4or 5th century there is a lack of synagogues for whatever reasons ”

    first of all, tefillah as we now know it (shmonah esreh) did not exist till later anshei knesset hagedolah period. and was not “mandatory” (whatever that meant) till well after the churban (lets say, 4th or 5th century). combining that with concepts such as “smicha geulah le’tfillah”, etc (and “tfillah betzibur”) makes “early” batei knesset more of a knesset — gathering, rather than formal tfillah as we now know it. thus, differences in synagogue structure, etc. till, lets say, 4th or 5th century. (even though all of above is mentioned in the gemarah, even in tannaitic times.)

    2. “– and even the modern yeshivish – world have their own silliness in this context. ”

    some would say forbidding marrying a non jew is “sillines in this context.” (let alone cohanim or other issues.) (or even requiring a formal “get” procedure. i’m not talking about the “controversies” of gitten. i mean the procedure alone.)

  112. Yasher koach, Steve, for the link to that well researched and referenced article opposing MBP by Dr. Sprecher. I disagree, however, with your reservations about applying such opposition in today’s world. The defence of MBP carried on by Hareidi figures, particularly, the polemical ‘kol koreh’ issued by a Satmar askan and allegedly signed by 200 rabbanim, will only undermine the integrity of this vital mitzvah. Why, for example, would non-religious Jewish parents submit their infant son to a brit performed by an Orthodox mohel – given their disgust and fear of the oral suctioning at the open wound? They may not appreciate that MBP is a Hassidish and now Yeshivish custom that was once rare in other circles. The proposed ruling by the NYC Board of Health that mohalim intending to do MBP must first obtain the written consent of the parents is so modest a proposal that no rational person should object [The domino argument against admitting any change in practice appears to be more self-serving or paranoic than rational]. If anything, the adamant and vituperative position taken publically by the MBP advocates will only advance the arguments of those who consider brit milah to be an outmoded, if not, barbaric custom. Moreover, there is ample historical evidence of poskim and communities who eliminated MBP for health reasons. There is no evidence that this lead to imposed restrictions on brit milah. Above all, how can poskim and parents allow such an optional procedure when there is adequate evidence that it can cause permanent harm or death – even if the incidence is improbable? I would argue that both parents and shul rabbonim should prohibit a mohel from conducting MBP on their son or in their shul. Under no circumstances should a mohel who has been involved in infecting an infant with the HSV-1 virus be allowed to continue this practice. If mohalim are required to be tested and certified as a result of the lack of community action – so be it.

  113. “first of all, tefillah as we now know it (shmonah esreh) did not exist till later anshei knesset hagedolah period”

    The Anshei Knesset HaGedolah was much, much earlier, but you’re missing a preposition there, so I’m not sure if I’m reading you right.

    By the way, some of the Hebrew versions of Ben Sira (200 BCE) contain an outline of Shemonah Esrei.

  114. MiMedinat HaYam

    Anshe Knesset HaGedolah was not around by 200 BCE (hashmonean period), so (some version of) shemonah esrei was around by then.

    regarding coins under the floor (or whatever), it reminds me of those archaeologists who discovered an ancient theater outside Caeseria. how did thdy know it wass a theater? very simple; the back rows were full of “gari’inim”.

  115. the back rows were full of “gari’inim”

    Yes but were they Badatz garinim? And if so, whose?

  116. lawrence kaplan

    Steve: Moreover most poskim state that suction via a pippeette is MBP.

    I think the hysterical Haredi opposition to the very modest and reasonable proposal is both gravely tactically and morally muistaken. Re slipery slope: See how the Rav handled the issue of humane slaughtering.

  117. Nachum- you make a good point. So it is net resting that the synagogue was of marginal importance to most Jews til the 5th century approx. especially if people were concerned with public prayer.

  118. Moshe Shoshan wrote in part:

    “The only people who can talk about the rav’s positions on new cases are people like David Berger, who consulted with the Rav regularly about interfaith affairs.”

    Why don’t you compare my posts on this issue with the comments of R D D Berger at the BC Symposium? I have been relying on R DD Berger’s views on this subject throughout this discussion,

  119. Y Aharon and Larry Kaplan-In an ideal world, we would see some nuanced discussion on Mitzvas Milah and MBP. Neither bans on MBP, however done, nor Kol Korehs, constitute an approach to the issue.

  120. Y Aharon and Larry Kaplan, and anybody else interested in the MBP discussion-is there any way of knowing in advance whether mohel always, sometimes, or refuses to do MBP? IOW, is there a directory or checklist of some sort available?

  121. Moshe Shoshan-Although you did not request this link, I think that it is must reading for anyone who is interested in the interfaith ecumenical dialogue and the vitality of RYBS’s guidelines which have served as halachic and hashkafic guidance for the RCA and OU.
    http://www.bc.edu/dam/files/research_sites/cjl/texts/center/conferences/soloveitchik/Berger_23Nov03.htm

  122. _”R B Wein has often commented that one should never confuse the tenents of being a Torah observant Jew with how it is practiced in reality , especially by those who are ethically challenged.”

    Who does R B Wein define as ethically challenged?
    I think it is very relevant if ethically challenged people are honored by our Rabbinic leaders or gdolim. How about a hypothetical gadol who tolerates ethically challenged behavior for the benefit of his institution?

  123. STEVE BRizel:

    “is there any way of knowing in advance whether mohel always, sometimes, or refuses to do MBP?”

    just ask the mohel in advance. (that’s what i did.)

  124. “Steve Brizel on September 4, 2012 at 9:17 pm
    Moshe Shoshan-Although you did not request this link, I think that it is must reading for anyone who is interested in the interfaith ecumenical dialogue and the vitality of RYBS’s guidelines which have served as halachic and hashkafic guidance for the RCA and OU.
    http://www.bc.edu/dam/files/research_sites/cjl/texts/center/conferences/soloveitchik/Berger_23Nov03.htm

    See ” But it is critically important to recognize that the incommunicability of the ultimate religious commitment is not the totality of Rabbi Soloveitchik’s argument. The very fact that he goes beyond that point lends credence to the view that he did not mean it as an all-encompassing delegitimation of any theological discussion. If he did, there would have been little reason to go further….Rabbi Soloveitchik worried that theological dialogue would create pressure to “trade favors pertaining to fundamental matters of faith, to reconcile ‘some’ differences.” He argued against any Jewish interference in the faith of Christians both on grounds of principle and out of concern that this would create the framework for reciprocal expectations… I have already emphasized my understanding that Rabbi Soloveitchik was not asserting the categorical impossibility of all theological communication. Persuasive anecdotal evidence indicates that he worried about the lack of qualifications for such dialogue among most Orthodox rabbis…deal with theological issues in conversation with Christians. Discussions of anti-Semitism, which Orthodox representatives consider kosher and even essential, lead to the most sensitive issues involving sacred Christian texts. For pragmatic reasons, Orthodox Jews want Christians to understand the theological importance that Judaism assigns to the land of Israel . ..”

  125. ” The only people who can talk about the rav’s positions on new cases are people like David Berger, who consulted with the Rav regularly about interfaith affairs. everyone else should stop ponitifcating”

    On close calls it is very to say what the Rav would have ruled. Dr. Berger would certainly have a very good guess but it is often difficult to tell what the Rav would have done in close calls.

  126. “Anshe Knesset HaGedolah was not around by 200 BCE”

    They were finished by 200 BCE.

    Ruvie:

    The Gemara basically assumes that people daven b’yechidut.

  127. “Moshe Shoshan on September 4, 2012 at 11:30 am
    Steve,
    Confrontation was not a psak, it was a piece of theology that comes out against “theological dialog”but gives not real parameters for this term.”
    thus one has to determine what the Rav meant by seeing what the Rav permitted or did not permit in the at least 2 decades of his active leadership on the issue-ending by the early 80s.

    “Clearly the Rav though it was permissible to talk to a minister about kirkegaard or a priest about Aquinas. nThe Rav did paskin that it was assur to particpate in Vatican two, but here too it is difficult to extrapolate from this unique xase to others.I dont like what R. Riskin is doing but it is very different from what the Rav prohibited at Vatican 2.”
    Tend to agree.

    “In short, the Rav’s psak forbidding interfaith dialog is far far from clear cut.”
    That the Rav forbade interfaith theological dialogue of the sort of negotiations to try and change ones other beliefs and doctrines is clear as Dr Berger wrote “worried that theological dialogue would create pressure to “trade favors pertaining to fundamental matters of faith, to reconcile ‘some’ differences.”-how much further he meant by his prohibition is an open question. Dr. Berger for example certainly gives one room to argue that much of the Ravs prohibition is a pragmatic one-see Dr. Berger “Persuasive anecdotal evidence indicates that he worried about the lack of qualifications for such dialogue among most Orthodox rabbis” notice words “most Orthodox rabbis” For what its worth I’ve heard what Dr Berger stated from a living Rabbi who was quite close to the Rav appears to be Dr Berger’s source who stated to me -but even more expansive as to the skill sets that Rav believed were needed toengage in theological dialogue.

    “The only people who can talk about the rav’s positions on new cases are people like David Berger, who consulted with the Rav regularly about interfaith affairs. everyone else should stop ponitifcating”
    Anyone who can back up their position with arguments such as what the Rav permitted in practice and what he did not permit can add much to the discussion-there are few if any around generally as qualified as Dr Berger for this task but certainly there are a few living who could add a perspective on the issue.

  128. MiMedinat HaYam

    nachum — “The Gemara basically assumes that people daven b’yechidut” or chazzan alone out loud (similar to what you said the Rosh brought into Spain and … but diff reasons). most people were considered incapable or whatever.

    shimon hatzadik mi’sheyarei AKH, was pre greek period. (he met alexander the great on his way to persia / afghanistan, per end of menachot.) yes, well before 200 BCE.

    2. if you want a directory of mohalim who do / dont, just require a disclosure stmt by the mohel (as opposed to a consent form by the parents). within a short period, these disclosures will be up on the internet, as a public service. (and prob more constitutionally acceptable.)

  129. In a Sepher which will be published soon on the Sephorim blog, it says that the custom in Israel during the geonic times was to say the Shemona Esrei outloud. And the custom in Bavel was to say it quitely.

    Clearly, even as late as the geonic period there were different methods of Tefila.

  130. Mycroft-I suspect that many honorees are not chosen by rabbinic leaders, but rather by lay leaders.

  131. Mycroft-Like it or not, in the absence of RYBS, either by choice or default, we look to those most familiar with how RYBS looked at prior instances of interfaith ecumenical dialogue related issues such as R D Berger or how those who dealt with RYBS recall the same and their views .

  132. “Steve Brizel on September 5, 2012 at 12:39 pm
    Mycroft-I suspect that many honorees are not chosen by rabbinic leaders, but rather by lay leaders”
    A Rabbinic leader wouldn’t tolerate treif at his institutions dinner why should he tolerate honors of crooks?

  133. Mycroft-$ talks or as Chazal put it-Hakesef Koneh es Hakol.

  134. Mycroft–Hakesef Koneh es Hakol, or to put it bluntly -$ talks

  135. “Steve Brizel on September 5, 2012 at 12:56 pm
    Mycroft-Like it or not, in the absence of RYBS, either by choice or default, we look to those most familiar with how RYBS looked at prior instances of interfaith ecumenical dialogue related issues such as R D Berger or how those who dealt with RYBS recall the same and their views”

    I look to those who are most familiar with the Rav and dialogue-Dr Berger is certainly one of them-among those who have written on the topic I find Prof Brill to be worth reading. By the nature of the passage of time probably most who were active with the Rav during the 60s-time period of Confrontation- are in the yeshiva shel maalah. Dr Berger I believe was graduating Yeshiva College when Confrontation was being published which is a few years after the Rav first gave the speech.

  136. “Steve Brizel on September 5, 2012 at 10:04 pm
    Mycroft-$ talks or as Chazal put it-Hakesef Koneh es Hakol.”
    Steve:
    You properly read everything through Chazal -but you are quoting the simple text of koheles vehakeseph yaneh et hakol.

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