We, Yidden: G-d’s Chosen People!!

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    Avi K

    1. More Torah learning is conducted in English and Hebrew. There is probably even more in French than in Yiddish. In any case, one can learn German, which is an important world language, along with Hebrew, and understand most of Yiddish. The only value I can see in learning Yiddish is if one wants to read Yiddish literature in the original.
    2. Actually, it’s a German word, Knödel. It found its way into both English and Hebrew.


    Many Yiddish words have entered the English lexicon.

    Yiddish is spoken by hundreds of thousands of Yidden today around the world. About half of them speak it as their first language.


    My heavens the myopia! French jewry is a fraction of the hundreds and thousands of chasidim who speak yiddish as their first language. Add that to yerushalmis and Americans who give shiur in yiddish(like my own rebbeim) and you have at least half if not more of the Torah world speaking yiddish.

    Aside from tzena urena and a few others, there isn’t much yiddish literature of value. And those have all been translated.

    Avi K

    Ujm, how do you define “spoken”? If someone knows a few words here and there does he speak a language? I don’t know where you get your statistic for the first language but there are approximately 15.2 million Jews in the world (I saw 14.8 million and 15.8 million on different sites and took the average). That means that 100K is a whopping 2/3%. Even if we accept the high estimate of 1 million we get less than 7% – and many of those are very elderly people from the former Soviet Union.

    Avira, are you kidding? What about all the yeshivot where English and Hebrew are the languages of instruction?

    Avi K

    As for Yiddish words entering English and Hebrew, both languages also absorb words from other languages. Examples are “bodega” in English and “balagan” (Russian for a circus that stays in one place) in Hebrew.


    A few examples of how ben yehudah sr”y used modern Hebrew to secularize judaism – bitachon means trusting hashem, yet in israel it means military security. Kibutz galiyos always meant the end of galus, now it is used for immigration; keren kayemes, the term in the mishnah for the rewards of olam haba, became used for the Jewish national fund. Chashmal, a type of angel, was used to become the word for electricity by yehudah leib gordon sr”y…it would be like calling medication “refael”, it’s like saying that we used to believe in angels, now we have science. Agada in torah means a true story, in hebrew nowadays it means a legend…

    I can give tons more examples if necessary

    ☕️coffee addict

    “Chashmal, a type of angel, was used to become the word for electricity by yehudah leib gordon sr”y“

    Doesn’t it mean lightning (which was how electricity came about)?


    balagan is probably original Persian and then Turkish before Russian, but it did find a home in Israel!

    bitachon, kibutz – you are mixing up the word core meaning and context: I presume Baal worshipper will have bitachon in their idol.

    agada = true story – I think Rambam will put this in the first category of those who repeat words of Sages respectably, but do not understand science. Again, the way people use it reflects their attitude, not unique to Ben Yehudah

    Chashmal – you have a point here. In defense, Septuaginta translates Chashmal as elektron (amber), suggesting an easy translation of electricity, that was derived from elektron. This was a trend common to all nationalistic language devlopers. See French academy that defends the language by forcing translations of English terms.

    But a bigger picture – while early Zionists had a choice between Yiddish, Russian, and Hebrew – and chose Hebrew for ideological reasons – think what would happen in 1950s when Jews from Arab countries came to Israel – they might have either stayed in their countries and end up under Saddam/Assad/Ayatollahs, or came to Israel and either have to learn Yiddish or created a multi-lingual society where people understand each other even less than now.

    Avram in MD

    Avi K,

    “1. More Torah learning is conducted in English and Hebrew.”

    So? Being third doesn’t make something moribund.

    “There is probably even more in French than in Yiddish.”

    I think you may be unfamiliar with the Chasidic and Chareidi world. Spend some time in Brooklyn or certain parts of E”Y and you will hear a lot of Yiddish.

    “2. Actually, it’s a German word, Knödel. It found its way into both English and Hebrew.”

    At this point I can’t tell if this is all one big joke to you and you’re messing with me, or if you are blinded by sinas chinam to the point of cognitive dissonance. In a post earlier in this thread you used your favorite insult: calling Yiddish pidgin German. Then here you seemingly forget that. Of course Yiddish has a lot of German cognates. קניידלעך is Yiddish, and you said a Yiddish word. And it hasn’t really found its way into English. Most Americans call them matzo balls.

    And if you say how is it sinas chinam – after all you’re just down on a language – but it is indeed just a language, and since you seem to like both German and Hebrew, it’s not the sounds of the language that bother you, it’s the speakers. Hundreds of thousands of your fellow Jews speak Yiddish, and may need to be reminded occasionally with a smile that other Jews may not. Maybe even remind them in Yiddish. You lose nothing, and increase achdus that way.

    Avi K

    Avira, “bitachon” means security of any kind. “Kibbutz galuyot” means “the ingathering of the exiles”. “Keren kayemet” means that the principal will continue. You are confusing the meaning and the application. Some Hebrewwords changed over time as with every language. Forexample,a gabbai was a collector (from ligvot) and a chazzan was a President of a synagogue. He had to forsee (lachazot) its needs.

    BTW, one erev Shabbat Ben-Yehuda wentto ask Rav Kook about the menaings of some words in the Gemara. Rav Kook told him that it was time forhim to do teshuv and he said “Maybe”. The next day he died. Dying on erev Shabbat is considered a good sign because the neshama first goes to Gan Eden (Ketubot 103b. According to the Arizal (Shaar ha-Gilgulim, Preface 23) it is spared chibbut hakever because Shabbat cleanses it. It should be even more so if one dies on Shabbat itself.


    AAQ – the “Septuagint” on nach is not chazal; it is used by Christians. The targum shviim was only on chumash.

    If they called military defense “bitachon hatzvaah” or something, then I would not have objected to that extent. They used the singular word that jews had used for millenia exclusively referring to trusting hashem to refer to their new god, the army(more on that on a different thread).

    Neither the rambam nor any other remotely religious jew ever considered agados chazal as legends. There is a machlokes if we interpret “some” as mesholim. A moshol is not a legend. A legend is a folk story, an untrue tale like abe Lincoln and the cherry tree. A moshol is a trueism, a parable meant to teach a lesson. However the term agada is not translatable as legendary; it is from magid, hagada, which means relating or retelling a story. In doing so, the zionists were trying to marginalize chazal.

    Kibutz galiyos… if they wanted a word for immigration, they could call it just the misrad haklitah, which is an actual office of absorption and immigration. But to use a term that always referred to bias hamoshiach exclusively is to undermine that belief and say that, like hertzl sr”y said, our redemption is through zionism and statehood r”l.

    Ben yehudah and his ill repeatedly wrote of their intentions and kept no secret of it – go look at their writings, instead of imbibing mother’s milk of zionist legend (agada!) without actual research.

    Avi – I teach sefardi kids. They live in a sefardi neighborhood. Most of them think, myopically (but they’re kids… that’s normal) that almost the whole world is sefardi, and not just sefardi, but their type of sefardi. Many look down on ashkenazim and have epithets for them as well. I often meet them years later to see them in hats and jackets, “talking in learning” like everyone else. People grow up and see the world; it would do you well to put down the Uzi for a day or two , leave the settlement or moshav and see the rest of the Torah world.


    And what is the source of that story? Rabbi kook wrote that all the zionist leaders would do teshuva in his time…almost none did. This is fanciful wishful thinking that is pervasive in the dati leumi community…pictures of ben gurion as a “national jewish leader” adorn homes, while he was a murderer of his own people…

    Avi K

    1. Hashem works through shlichim.
    2. “Klitah” is absorption. First the person immigrates then he becomes part of the society. You really should learn English and Hebrew.
    3, Everyone thinks that everyone is, or should be, like them. Sometimes it is good. For twenty years a jew could walk alone and unarmed in any Arab area. They knew what they would do if c”v the situation were reversed and assumed that Jews would also. One of the most difficult things for new olim to internalize is that things here are not always done as in their home countries. For instance, I was surprised, albeit pleasantly, to learn that here all ATMs service all the banks. In New York, my Citicard was only good at a Citibank machine.

    Reb Eliezer

    You can use an ATM card in another bank but they chatge a fee.


    Also – adolf eichmann died on a Friday…im sure he’s in gan eden…. please; it seems dati leumi only take out the kabalah seforim when they’re desperate…. when they arent busy trashing on kabalistic teachings lf tznius, prishus, havdala from goyim and emunas chachamim


    Avira, and what is do great about Sephardic kids assimilating into black hats? What would be wrong with them wearing turbans and learning Ben Ish Hai? Ironically they are wearing black hats for opposite reason that you do: to be like others around them..

    But it seems the main contention point is your view that nonreligious Jews building a Jewish society in eretz Israel is a pure evil… Understandable perhaps when seen through the lenses of multiple bitter battles of european history, but maybe we need to take a bigger view, as Chafetz Chaim did when he refused to go settle in petach tikva: I will have to visit eida and Rav Kook, and I’ll have to go to one of them first and then the other will not learn Mishna Berurah. I’d rather see Mishna Berurah in EY than be there myself.

    Bonus question: where in Petach Tikva he was supposed to live?


    AAQ – they’re still very much sefardi; they meticulously keep sefardi minhagim and mesorah, and the yeshiva dress is just that – because they are bnei Torah. That’s how sefardi bnei torah dress in eretz yisroel too.

    If someone wanted to revive the old sefardi bnei Torah way of dressing, then great! My point was that they dropped their goyishe dress that is common in the uneducated elements

    What is the source for the chofetz chaim having to see rabbi kook? His students, as recorded by several including the son in law of rav yerucham gorelik, witnessed him belittle rabbi kook in grand fashion when he saw the latter praise the mechalelei shabbos soccer players. The former was eating breakfast and stopped when he heard, he banged on the table “kook muck shuck!!!” Ask any fallsburg magid shiur; rav abba gorelik related the story from his fathee rav yerucham all the time.

    Rabbi kook has had a major PR job done to him over the years. The charedi world erased him from his once-had prominence, and the dati leumi world has reinvented him as a universally accepted figure.

    Neither are true. He was initially held in very high esteem until his many aberrations were discovered and disseminated. Not least among them was his copying and pasting of 19th century Hegelian philosophy into Judaism. His acceptance and praise of anti religious murderers also was considered chanifa.

    His statements that Rembrandt was a “tzadik” despite his not being a “7 mitzvos” follower and his numerous nude paintings… His vegetarianism and “compassion” which somehow was greater than all the tzadikim before him who ate meat, only served to buttress his growth into a divergent figure, not representative of normative judaism.

    This change was made largely under the leadership of the chazon ish, who forbade his hashkafa books. See sefer maaseh ish for many details about this.

    Rav Hutner famously removed rabbi kook’s picture from his sukkah, despite having learned by him.

    These issues I’m sure have been discussed here a lot. Thankfully we have Gedolei Torah who are without these controversies, so why cling to the messianic speculations of people whose predictions have never come to pass? (I’m referring to his stated assurance that all the secular leaders of Israel would do teshuva)

    Admittedly some gedolim defended him by saying that his ahavas yisroel made him go too far with the secular people, and this might be true. It also might be true that he was swept up in haskalah (he definitely studied secular philosophy), a lot of possibilities remain, but none substantiate his position of adding nationalism to a religion that has for millenia maintained its nationhood solely due to Torah and nothing else.


    I today, once again, feel proud to be a Jew. Superior to all others. Something I wish to proudly and loudly proclaim!


    missed the reply from Avira> they meticulously keep sefardi minhagim and mesorah, and the yeshiva dress is just that – because they are bnei Torah. .. My point was that they dropped their goyishe dress that is common in the uneducated elements

    I know of Sephardi Rabbis who explicitly teach their community to meticulously follow the general community, such as using Asheknazi Eruvim (that some Chasidim would not using their understanding of “Sefard”) – and dress like the Ashkenazi Bnei Torah.

    And how is their Goyishe Turban is worse than a Goiyishe Kapota or a German suit? We all pick up things, sometimes worthy, sometimes not.


    A possible piece of evidence – a 1928 letter, a pretty late period. Maybe you can trace this and verify whether the letter and the translation I am quoting below are genuine:

    from Rav Aharon HaKohen .. Author of the book ‘Avodat HaKorbanot’ Son in law of the Gaon Israel Meir HaKohen Shlit”a author of the book Chafetz Chaim and Mishna Brura.

    I know that my master and teacher, the Chafetz Chaim Shlit”a – who honors and is very fond of the honorable Gaon Avraham Yitzchak HaKohen Shlit”a and whose heart was greatly sickened when he heard of the persecutions against [the Rav] – did not come out with public rebuke regarding this, saying that silence regarding such matters and the reduction of their publicity is [the proper way] to repair them – [that is] to lessen and reduce their value. (nevertheless, no one dares utter words of disparagement against our teacher Rav Avaraham Yitzchak HaKohen Shlit”a in front of our master[, the Chafetz Chaim,] and he would turn his eyes with contempt from any posters

    However, when I recently saw that a periodical that has appeared – which arrogantly dares to call itself “meeting place of the sages” – wrote horrible, cursed, and blasphemous words against our teacher Rav Avaraham Yitzchak HaKohen Shlit”a – [words which] are forbidden to even put in print – I find it a holy obligation in my soul not to be silent (as is explicit in the Rambam הלכות ת”ת פ”ו הל’ יא-יב). [This is because] someone who disparages a Torah scholar has no portion in the world to come, and is in the category of one who “despises the Word of Hashem” (כי דבר ה’ בזה), and we are obligated to banish him.


    AAQ – that’s precisely my point; there’s no difference between sefardi-yeshiva dress and ashkenaz-yeshiva dress; if a community of sefardim decided that they’re all going to look like the ben ish chai, gezunterheit! We all took a certain mode of dress, the same way we took goyishe languages, and made it our own that we can always be recognizeable as Jews. Especially bnei torah, who the rambam exhorts to dress with even greater distinction. In poland, you were able to tell a yid a mile away…in some Litvishe yeshivos, they weren’t makpid on looking different, because they were so completely separate from goyim, spending their entire time in the beis medrash, that they barely even encountered a non-jew.

    Especially in America, rav moshe writes that we need to look different; it may not be a halacha according to some, but it is a great tool, and those who dress goyishe usually are indistinguishable from their non jewish counterparts in many other ways aside from their dress.


    Possibly stand corrected: an online source that I can not fully vet mentions the story of R Kook potential visit to two communities as sourced from Yated Neeman (undated) and it says that this is what Hazon Ish replied to someone saying that he heard the rumor of Ch. Ch coming to EY. That explains why I read this in Hazon Ish Hagada …


    That letter can’t be true, because we have eye witness testimony from several students that the chofetz chaim rebuked and mocked rabbi kook’s name when he saw the newspaper article regarding rabbi kook’s praise of chilul shabbos by the “holy” soccer players


    > That letter can’t be true, because we have eye witness testimony

    I am not a big expert on Israeli politics and Rav Kook and I understand that both sides are prone to exaggerate. Is there something in Ch Ch SIL bio that makes you suspect that he is not saying the truth? Or are you claiming that the letter is a forgery? Maybe you can look into that given that this is a documentary evidence that directly contradicts your body of knowledge.


    Litvishe Yeshivot – a good point that their regular clothes were due to self-confidence. Possibly also because Lithuanians did not represent a cultural challenge the way Poland or USA do.

    A good idea to look at Rambam! In Deos 5:9, he is saying this about clothes:
    clothing should be attractive and clean… no stains ..not wear regal garb,.. nor the dress of the poor which shames its wearers, but attractive garments of the middle range.
    flesh should not be visible … should not drag on the ground
    dress as befits [his income] (not more or less)

    I don’t see anything here about being different from others – respectable and middle class. British suit sounds good – if you can afford it.


    Offtopic, but why I have Rambam open on Halakhot Deos – on a need to work:
    דֶּרֶךְ בַּעֲלֵי דֵּעָה שֶׁיִּקְבַּע לוֹ אָדָם מְלָאכָה הַמְפַרְנֶסֶת אוֹתוֹ תְּחִלָּה. וְאַחַר כָּךְ יִקְנֶה בֵּית דִּירָה. וְאַחַר כָּךְ יִשָּׂא אִשָּׁה. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כ ו) “מִי הָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר נָטַע כֶּרֶם וְלֹא חִלְּלוֹ”. (דברים כ ה) “מִי הָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר בָּנָה בַיִת חָדָשׁ וְלֹא חֲנָכוֹ”. (דברים כ ז) “מִי הָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר אֵרַשׂ אִשָּׁה וְלֹא לְקָחָהּ”. אֲבָל הַטִּפְּשִׁין מַתְחִילִין לִשָּׂא אִשָּׁה וְאַחַר כָּךְ אִם תִּמְצָא יָדוֹ יִקְנֶה בַּיִת וְאַחַר כָּךְ בְּסוֹף יָמָיו יְחַזֵּר לְבַקֵּשׁ אֻמָּנוּת אוֹ יִתְפַּרְנֵס מִן הַצְּדָקָה. וְכֵן הוּא אוֹמֵר בַּקְּלָלוֹת (דברים כח ל) “אִשָּׁה תְאָרֵשׂ” (דברים כח ל) “בַּיִת תִּבְנֶה” (דברים כח ל) “כֶּרֶם תִּטַּע”. כְּלוֹמַר יִהְיוּ מַעֲשֶׂיךָ הֲפוּכִין כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא תַּצְלִיחַ אֶת דְּרָכֶיךָ. וּבַבְּרָכָה הוּא אוֹמֵר (שמואל א יח יד) “וַיְהִי דָוִד לְכָל דְּרָכָו מַשְׂכִּיל וַה’ עִמּוֹ”:

    The way of sensible men is that first, one should establish an occupation by which he can support himself. Then, he should purchase a house to live in and then, marry a wife. [This order of priorities may be inferred from Deuteronomy 20:5-7], which states: “Who is the man who has planted a vineyard, but not redeemed it…;” “who is the man who has built a house, but not dedicated it…;” “who is the man who has betrothed a woman, but not taken her [to wife]…”

    In contrast, a fool begins by marrying a wife. Then, if he can find the means, he purchases a house. Finally, towards the end of his life, he will search about for a trade or support himself from charity.

    [This is also implied by the order of] the curses mentioned [in Deuteronomy 28:30]: “You shall betroth a woman…, you shall build a house…, you shall plant a vineyard;” i.e., your behavior will be disordered so that you will not succeed in your ways. However, in regard to blessing [I Samuel 18:14] states: “And David was thoughtful in all his undertakings and God was with him.”


    Who knows how many times we need to remind people that the halacha, for the past 600 years, has NOT been like the rambam vis a vis tzedaka/learning. The radvaz on the rambam says torah would have been forgotten if we followed this rambam. Also, the Ran in nedarim says that the minhag in bavel was to get married tirst and then learn, because the women supported the husbands. The situation was different in EY because the women were weaker and unable to work that much.

    Rav Moshe says it’s ARROGANCE to want to keep gadol haneheneh meyigaas kapo in our times.

    It is indeed foolish to jump the gun and get married without any financial plan, be it your own work, your parents’, in laws, wife or whatever.

    Anyways, where did you see that letter? If it were known to be directly from the chofetz chaims son in law, ill of course accept it but we’d simply have to see if this was before or after the soccer player incident. There could be a multitude of reasons why tzadikim do things, but we do know that rabbi kook went from being very esteemed to being erased trom history by the Torah world, and there were several steps and events that caused this. There was the soccer incident, the university speech where he said ki mitzion taytzay torah in a place where they teach api(courses) (one of my old original quips from my yeshiva days). Then there was the banning of oros mayofel, and the famous kol koreh from the rabbonim of yerushalayim. A lot of things happened in the middle and it was a tumultuous time in klal yisroel where communication and spread of news wasn’t very available.

    I wouldn’t be at all surprised if gedolim initially defended him, as he was one of the prized volozhiner talmidim. In those days the haskalah claimed a lot of casualties…my grandfather unfortunately was one of them. He was a promising talmid of rav shimon shkop but fell prey to zionism and haskalah in university; boruch hashem my family came back, but there are countless people who could have been but sadly weren’t.

    In “hador vehatekufah”, a very prominent rosh yeshiva in Switzerland who is in his 90s writes that rabbi kook was known at a certain point as a “kayliker”, a person who went “Kal”, modernishe, and was forced to take up rabbonus in England because of that. Was this the way he was seen elsewhere? No. It takes time for people to figure it out and the Torah world took a good few years to see his shortcomings and to discern that his hashkafa was Hegel, not Judaism.


    Also, regarding distinction, i was referring to a rambam about the ways of talmidei chachamim “and their students”, where he says that they are distinct. The rambam does not, to my knowledge, hold that it is a halacha to dress jewish, but many others do, and that has been the mesora in most jewish communities. The naharik in 88 is a famous source for this discussion, and he’s quoted by the rema in shu”a.


    The English phrase “Chosen people” was coined originally by anti-Semites, it’s never found directly in the Torah (Am HaNivchar, Goy HaNivchar, or something similar). They would use it to convince people to hate Jews “Look at these Jews! They think they’re so much better than us!”. Non-frum religious Jews reclaimed the term sometime after the European Churban to use it as a mark of pride.

    So while I don’t disagree with these statements, I’m very leery of using the term in general to describe the Yidden.

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