Monday, June 28, 2010

Interesting Posts and Articles #265

  1. This week's Haveil Havalim, hosted at A Time of the Signs.
  2. Daat Torah gets a subpoena notice from Google.
  3. BBC has how an Ancient Egyptian city, of the Hyksos, was found via radar.
  4. In the Emanuel case, recently the Slonimer Rebbe said:

    The Rebbe adds that if he really thought the judges believed there was truly discrimination at Emanuel’s Beis Yaakov, he would act differently, but this is not the case. “But since I have no doubt whatsoever that their words are baseless, this is simply a battle of emunah against k’fira, between the koach of kedusha and the koach of tuma, the sitra achra – a battle that we all knew would come near the end of days”.
    “And in a battle of Kiddush Hashem, even if they stand us before a firing squad, there will be no compromise. Hashem is our King and we will continue in his path until our last breath”.
    This captures, for me, a major theme in this whole case. Right or wrong, the Sefardim thought that there was no merit to the Slonim segregation, believing it to be simple discrimination against Sefardim. Meanwhile, the opposing camp demonized the Sefardim as simple troublemakers. And whether or not there was discrimination, the assumption now is that the evil Zionist judges are just trying to impose kefirah and state standards on the school, and don't believe them to be really bothered by discrimination. Everyone believes the other party to be evil and malicious. I think that this is not the case, but in arguments like this, people are not used to viewing it from the opposing party's perspective.

  5. At any rate, they reached a compromise, and so the fathers were released. It does not strike me as much of a compromise. It seems more like the Emanuel parents won. They will start their own independent school next year. And in the last three days, both Sefardi and Ashkenazi girls will attend a seminar together on Ahavas Yisrael. But this is not regular school. It is a gathering for all the four schools in the neighborhood, is not regular classes, and just all groups will attend. I would guess they reached this "compromise" because the Sefardim didn't want the bad press and pressure from not reaching a compromise and having the fathers, and then the mothers, locked up for longer.
    Meanwhile, Rav Yaakov Yosef's take on the situation. He claims it was indeed discrimination. One interesting excerpt:
    “Apparently in these things, the Satan didn’t suffice with sending an emissary but decided to attend to things himself. We asked several times to speak with the Slonimer rebbe. They arranged a meeting for us, but each time, it was cancelled at the last moment. Apparently, they were afraid that if we would meet with the rebbe and explain certain things to him, maybe the rebbe would open his eyes and would realize who are those surrounding him, and apparently, they’re very afraid of that.”

  6. At Cross-Currents, Harvard and Chareidi racism:

    People who tell television cameras that there is no prejudice against Sefardim in the haredi world because we study Rambam play the rest of Israeli society for fools.
  7. Two religious MKs attacked in Meah Shearim for cooperating with the Zionist regime.
  8. At Revach and repeated at the Lakewood Scoop, wearing a hat for davening -- is it more important than davening with a minyan?
    The Mishna Berura says that a person should wear a hat during Davening because it is not the practice to appear in front of prominent people without a hat. Rav Chaim Kanievsky Shlit’a says that if a person will miss Davening with a Minyan if he insists on wearing a hat, it is better to Daven without a Minyan with a hat than to Daven without his hat with a Minyan. Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach argues and he holds although one should make every effort to Daven with a hat, he should not give up Davening with a Minyan for it. (Alon Ahavas Shalom)
    Check out the comments in both places. The Aruch Hashulchan makes it clear that this requirement is only where they wear hats in the streets. And this appears the implication of the Mishnah Berurah as well. There are other factors of double-covering during Shemoneh Esrei, or atifa during it, which are brought up in the comments, which are not what people make of them. But here is not the place to elaborate.
  9. Life In Israel notes that the Emanuel parents who were imprisoned will daven for you in exchange for your money. Now that they have been let out, I suppose the deal is not still in effect.
  10. At Rationalist Judaism, Rabbi Slifkin introduces a new edition of the Challenge of Creation, which has been out of print.
  11. Hebrew Books introduces a new IPhone and IPad application.


Anonymous said...

meir says
While not wishing to give an halachic opinion on the matter. I think it depends on the person.If he never misses a minyan and i mean properly davenning with a minyan starting with everybody else etc. then if he hasnt got his hat he should still daven with minyan. Otherwise he shouldnt use this excuse for getting out of davening with minyan (similar to someone who eats treifo knowing it to be wrong because the beth din allows it cannot be yoitse with their korban.
I have other questions for you but you dont have a special question box so i have to use this comment.
you talk about demons i seem to remember in the introduction of the ein yaakob that they were more prevalent in babylon.

I am sure you will be able to answer it or at least provide me someone who does.
I read continuously in mishapach and other papers how each rov and godol try to outdo the other on the special needs children that the chidren are great and the parents even greater.
(i believe demons come into it as well).
i dont have to tell you or your readers what 9 midos are. i seem to remember a pele yoiets that the woman is more to blame.
It is a gemoro and shulchan oruch.
Which says that these parents have sinned and this is their (just) punishment. It is not often one finds this, a real mido cneged mido punishment fully spelled out.
These rabbonim now make them into the biggest tsadikim are being machnif them an even bigger aveiro.
It is not that i dont have pity on them but that doesnt change the facts.
Now your blogs are full of the idea that torah changes today.
Is this also included. Has modern science disproved the 9 middos.
Or more likely some very great rabbi has such kids so the gemorro must be wrong or talk about different (fish) child illnesses. i have much more to write about this and you already understand my drift, but i think its about time that this question was fully brought open to the public and i am sure if they would realise the severity of the nine middos less of these children would be born.

joshwaxman said...

in terms of hat, i move in circles where in general, people don't wear a hat *except* for davening. not on the street, and certainly not to meet important people. as such, neither Mishnah Brurah nor Aruch haShulchan would say there is an obligation for a hat. there would then be no question that he should not miss the minyan, imho.

in terms of "children at risk", i'm going to answer in a scattershot fashion. you have to be careful about how to understand the gemara and how you define "children at risk". the gemara says that X causes Y. it does NOT say that in case of Y, X caused it. and according to the Steipler, it is not even that X ALWAYS causes Y. it is a statistical likelihood, such that if you know X, then look out for Y, but if it not there, then fine and the person is not pagum. yitzchak avinu had a child who went off the derech. chizkiyahu hamelech, a tzadik, had menasheh. this was not necessarily because of something wrong he did.

"children at risk" also does not (necessarily) mean autism. nor learning disabilities, which we now understand more about. and just because a kid has specific learning disabilities such that the system will fail him does not mean that he has bad character traits. i would never think to "judge" the parents for the difficulties of their children.

(and most likely the correct girsa in the gemara is "ben nidui" rather than "ben niddah", given the context.)

i am actually going to touch on something similar to this topic soon, in a post on Pinchas, regarding Putiel, from whom Pinchas was descended.

i would also note that it seems that this idea, that the parents thoughts at the time of conception would influence the character of children, stretches back to the "science" of Plato and Aristotle. (see here, for example.) maybe aristotle and plato got this from Chazal, or maybe they arrived at this conclusion independently. or maybe Rabbi Levi, in Nedarim 20b, got the idea from contemporary science attached it tangentially to a pasuk, and taught a scientific or homiletic lesson.

I don't know that modern science has "disproved" it. Nobody has done such a test. But I do suspect that it may indeed have been based on faulty contemporary science and attitudes, and that such an experiment would disprove the hypothesis.

i would also note that people who do these things mentioned in the gemara are probably lousy people in general, and the impact of the home environment could readily cause problems.

kol tuv,

Anonymous said...

meir says
I did not say children at risk. i used special needs. I thought it was self understood that that means abnormal children including autism.
going off the derech has nothing to do with abnormality and the gemoro does not discuss them.
the proof from yitschak is usually an excuse for parent who dont bring their children up properly. The medrash on vayikra says that avrohom considered himself to blame for yishmael.
i had no intention of combining these two problems. In my opinion they have no connection.
What i really meant to ask is why today no one believes in the gemoro you quotes. no one meaning rabbonim when someone approaches them about the problem they reply be happy you are such a great tsadik etc. and you have been chosen for such a great neshomo.
i find this תנחומין של הבל
why not tell them the truth and that they should do tshuvo.

joshwaxman said...

from the way rishonim and acharonim talk about Bnei Niddah, as a pegam mishpacha, it seems that they understand it as character flaws rather than as genetic abnormalities.

"What i really meant to ask is why today no one believes in the gemoro you quotes."
many chareidim do believe in that gemara, and this has unfortunately caused marriage problems for Baalei Teshuva as Bnei Niddah (rather than niddui).

"no one meaning rabbonim when someone approaches them about the problem they reply be happy you are such a great tsadik etc"
applying this gemara to an individual is rather fraught with danger, i think.

firstly, this could well be choded be-kesheirim. secondly, who knows the reason for Hashem's actions? we are not Chazal, and do not really know what the gemara means when it said what it said. (for example, i would disagree with your reading of this.) thirdly, if not true, such an accusation, blaming the victim, will be incredibly hurtful. and finally, this is not something that *would* work anyway in terms of kiruv. they would be incredibly offended.

(others have proofs that Internet causes cancer, as it is the same gematria; or that lettuce, chasa, has the same gematria as autistim.)

these rabbonim don't disbelieve in the gemara, as many would consider it real and think about halachic ramifications. they would just disagree with your reading and application of the gemara. this has nothing to do with the religiosity of these rabbonim.

there are, meanwhile, practical things which increase the risk of autism. for example, the age of the father. men over 40 are nearly 6X as likely to father an autistic child than those under the age of 30. so is advanced maternal age. and this has nothing to do with the 9 traits in the gemara. perhaps the greater incidence of autism in the frum community is because of refraining from using birth control, as they maintain that it is not halachically acceptable.

"why not tell them the truth and that they should do tshuvo."
frankly, you don't know that they have sinned. any more than Iyov's friends accused him of sin based on his symptoms.

kol tuv,

Anonymous said...

meir says
first of all the midrash is in shmos at the very beginning and it says that isaak was to blame for eisov. this excuse today is no more. parents are to blame for their children period.
you have gone on about bnei nidda from people who knew not otherwise in other words shoigeg. i dont think the gemoro refers to them. i certainly didnt.
i mean normal frum people who have handicapped children.
if the gemoro tells us specifically the reasons for hashems actions why not believe it.
is it so far fetched.
i am of he opinion anything in the gemoro what is understandable is believed and correct and this certainly is.
no the reason why our community has a greater incidence of problems is precisely this. the goyim dont have a tora we do and get punished accordingly.
another more simple reason yidden stay together when they shouldnt because a get is so difficult and afterwards have these children.,
goyim run at the first opportunity.
choshed biksharim against an open and clear cut gemoro that is a new one.
i know its very unpalatable and very distressing what i am saying but that shouldnt cause so called rabbonim to drey the whole matter up and make them into tsadikim.
i would also add if there was any other reason why parents had handicapped children the gemorro wouldnt choose the nine midos because that would cause choished biksharim.
i am sorry that i sound forceful on this but i dont like to see the common attitude of rabbonim of changing all gemoros to suit themselves.
there are many instances of this and it did not exist in previous times. the idea of so called daas tora never existed. it was either written there or it wasnt. just because he is considered a godol doesnt give him any more daas tora than anyone else. like the saying there is no jewish pope.

yes he may understand a gemoro better but he still has to bring proof from it. this is todays malaise that any rov can say what he wants usually in hashkofo matters without providing any proof just that he has said it or perhaps dreamt it.
there is a story of the satmar rebbe he went to israel and another rebbe there answered him that in heaven they said the medina is right. he answered in yiddish it sounds better 'in himmel fleein inz beider gleich'.

joshwaxman said...

"if the gemoro tells us specifically the reasons for hashems actions why not believe it.
is it so far fetched."

what precise word or phrase in the gemara says handicapped?!

"no the reason why our community has a greater incidence of problems is precisely this. the goyim dont have a tora we do and get punished accordingly."
autism is up even for gentiles. and science is discovering why.

"choshed biksharim against an open and clear cut gemoro that is a new one."
choshed beksheirim against a particular *interpretation* of a not-clear-cut gemara by a blog commenter.

the stepler knew how to read a gemara, and he understood as character flaws. are you confident you know how to read the gemara better than the steipler?


Anonymous said...

meir says
the gemoro lists a few handicaps
blind deaf etc.
the stepler knew how to read a gemara, and he understood as character flaws. are you confident you know how to read the gemara better than the steipler?

this is common practice today, when one doesnt keep the gemoro or shulchan oruch one says this godol also never kept it.
considering that the steipler did write seforim, if he thought the gemoro was anything other than the simple pshat he would have said so.
Why he didnt as you put it keep it in practice, he may have had his reasons but one of them was certainly not the pshat in the gemoro was wrong.
This is usually a chasidishe way of doing things. they keep very little of the tora and say the rebbe understood it all differently. or he was in heaven and found out the truth.
i was at a chasuna and i asked questions and recieved the same kind of answers that is how rav moshe did it that is how rav ahron did it. but they both wrote tshuvos and seforim if they decided the shulchan oruch was wrong or a different pshat why didnt they print it there.
So i surmise, anything that can be understood simply, has to be kept as it says. whatever any godol did.
and if you want to argue with my conclusion please bring me proof from written tshuvos to the contrary considering that you also agree that that is the simple pshat and not from unsubstantiated stories. this was never the way by jews to pasken from stories. every story in the gemoro is fully analysed and never taken at face value. the gemoro often says 'miklolo' it was learned and then goes onto say that that was the reason for it to be mistaken. why go one better than the gemoro?

joshwaxman said...

"the gemoro lists a few handicaps
blind deaf etc.

yes, in a *different* statement regarding specific conduct during intercourse. (e.g. looking at a specific place, conversing, anal sex.) and later on, amoraim dispute this and say that certain of these are entirely permissible.

but another statement says בנים שאינן מהוגנין, which is often translated as "degenerate children."

it is YOUR application of one of these statements to the one about traits. another interp could be that they would get something akin to the traits.

"considering that the steipler did write seforim, if he thought the gemoro was anything other than the simple pshat he would have said so."
he did. kehilat yaakov. likutim, Vol. 2, No. 23.
to summarize part of his position, summarized by Rabbi Weinberger:
R. Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky, known as the Steipler Gaon discussed this issue in his Kehilat Yaakov89 and reached the conclusion that according to halacha it is absolutely permissible to marry a child of parents who did not observe these law. He bases this heter on two major points:

1. It appears that when Chazal determined that bnei niddah are “corrupt and sinners,” etc., they were making a general statement that in most cases the ben-niddah will possess these negative characteristic traits. Those bnei niddah who even slightly exhibit such qualities should by no means be considered acceptable candidates for marriage into Orthodox families. However, when we encounter bnei niddah of exemplary character we must assume that they are exceptions to the rule. Free choice is one of the fundamental principles of Judaism and certainly even a ben-niddah can overcome his “genetic” predisposition and thereby rid himself of this stigma. In other words, the Steipler suggests that the pegam of a ben-niddah is not a din – an absolute halachic classification – but rather a statistical likelihood. The indication that a particular individual has succumbed to his predisposition is that he or she behaves in a way which betrays characteristics of chutzpah, rebelliousness, etc. If, however, none of these “warning signals” have surfaced, then the person is not considered pagum as far as his or her eligibility as prospective mate is concerned.

if you want others who say this, then:
. Weiss in Minchat Yitzchak (Vol. 7, No. 107) substantiates the Steipler’s approach with a statement of the Maharsha (B.B. 109b). See also R. Yitzchok Isaac Leibes, Resp. Beit Avi (Vol. 4, No. 144) who writes: “It is difficult to say that as a result of their father’s sin a permanent blemish remains upon these children who are Baalei Teshuva. If G-d has brought upon them a spirit of holiness to repent sincerely, it must be that the blemish has been completely removed.” R. Ovadiah Hadaya cites numerous sources in Kabbala which concur with this line of reasoning (Resp. Yaskil Avdi, Vol. 1, No. 3). See R. Menashe Klein, Resp. Mishne Halachot (Vol. 7, No. 213) who attempts to prove from the Rambam, Meiri and Ran that all of the sons are “rebellious and sinners.” The Steipler did not respond to this claim, and I believe it is obvious that the Steipler agrees that all bnei niddah have a certain negative predisposition. He simply claims that it can be overcome.

"other than the simple pshat"
just because YOU read the gemara a certain way, it doesn't become the 'simple peshat'!

i also know how to learn gemara, and i find your reading LESS plaussible!


Anonymous said...

meir says
i do not possess these tshuvos but the simple answer is that these people are shoigeg the gemoro refers to maizid. i originally wrote this.
you are going on about nidda. this was not what my posts were about. Again let us say blind and deaf does any tshuva say the gemoro is wrong on this or has a different pshat.
i say again that anyone who is blind or deaf can blame their parents. and they are not tsadikim for having such children.
i have exhausted this topic and it being a taanis have found time to reply all day to it. its easier than learning. so i eagerly await another topic and i thank you for replying all the time to it. i wonder do you have a large readership since no one else ever responds.

joshwaxman said...

"i do not possess these tshuvos but the simple answer is that these people are shoigeg the gemoro refers to maizid. i originally wrote this."
irrelevant how YOU decide to teitch this up. rav moshe and the steipler also knew how to learn gemara. probably has to do with how they understand "pegam", not as punishment, but a (spiritual) flaw which automatically attaches.

"you are going on about nidda. this was not what my posts were about."
you said 9 traits! that is on amud beis, while the physical flaws, not the the 9 traits, were on amud aleph!

i went on about niddah because it is one of the nine traits, which is the one which was discussed.

"Again let us say blind and deaf does any tshuva say the gemoro is wrong on this or has a different pshat."
blind and deaf are not autistic. i don't know, but i do know that the gemara itself rejects it, and other gemaras reject it. for example, Rabbi Kahana crept under the bed of Rav Shemaya and heard him talk and laugh before he had intercourse. didn't rav kahana know this gemara about physical repercussions?

indeed, the gemara ends up paskening that many of these are entirely permitted, and poskim pasken this way. why the punishment is it is entirely OK?

i have a somewhat large readership but a relatively inactive comment section.


Anonymous said...

meir says
i did want to wind up this post.
but i cant let this pass. The gemoro itself says that certain discussion is muttar and most likely that is what rav did. but that doesnt mean the gemorro changes and allows all discussion as your post seems to indicate.
the mesivta gemoro brings the tshuvos you mentioned. But it is tora and everyone has a right to it not just the gedolim you mentioned and i am not put off by them unless i know the reason. He also brings a biur halacha that if the woman does not know she is an oveil she is muttar.
i am quite aware of the difference between an ovail and a nidda. but it does show to a certain extent that these what i call punishments only apply by a maizid. if it was true that it is a spiritual flaw then even an unknowing ovail would be included. As an aside the new oz vehodor mishne berura miss this siman out.
i must also add the shulchan oruch misses out the punishments of blind and dumb but just quotes the din. maybe there is something in that. But the biur halacha does quote the punishments.

joshwaxman said...

i'll quote the gemara more explicitly.

on amud aleph:
אמר רבי יוחנן בן דהבאי, ארבעה דברים סחו לי מלאכי השרת: חיגרין מפני מה הויין? מפני שהופכים את שולחנם. אילמים מפני מה הויין? מפני שמנשקים על אותו מקום. חרשים מפני מה הויין? מפני שמספרים בשעת תשמיש. סומין מפני מה הויין? מפני שמסתכלים באותו מקום.

then, on amud beis:
אמר רבי יוחנן: זו דברי יוחנן בן דהבאי. אבל אמרו חכמים: אין הלכה כיוחנן בן דהבאי, אלא כל מה שאדם רוצה לעשות באשתו – עושה. משל לבשר הבא מבית הטבח, רצה לאוכלו במלח – אוכלו, צלי – אוכלו, מבושל – אוכלו, שלוק – אוכלו; וכן דג הבא מבית הצייד.
אמר אמימר: מאן מלאכי השרת? רבנן; דאי תימא מלאכי השרת ממש, אמאי אמר רבי יוחנן: "אין הלכה כיוחנן בן דהבאי"? הא אינהו בקיאי בצורת הוולד טפי. ואמאי קרו להו מלאכי השרת? דמצייני כמלאכי השרת.

rabbi yochanan says that the halacha is NOT like Rabbi Yochanan ben Dehavai.

it is not a trivial thing to judge people in this matter, and i would reiterate my warning.

kol tuv,


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