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Rabbis are many wonderful things. They are not police officers. They don’t know how to investigate crimes. They don’t know how to collect and preserve evidence. They don’t even know what constitutes a crime.
Police officers are not educated in halacha. They can’t teach Gemara. They don’t officiate at weddings or perform brises. They don’t convict people of crimes. But they are trained to recognize and investigate possible crimes, collect evidence, preserve it, and give it to the District Attorney who determines whether criminal charges are appropriate according to the laws of the State.
Reporting a disturbance or something which you believe might be a crime is your civic duty as an American citizen. It doesn’t mean a person is guilty. That isn’t your call or the police officer’s. It is the only way the Justice system can determine if there might have been a crime and carry out its legal duties to investigate criminal activity.
Is it permissible in general to lie to get something you aren’t entitled to?
Is it permissible to break the laws of the country you live in for personal gain?
Is it permissible to steal?
VM – seriously. If a rabbi can solve things like the theodicy, the problem of evil, the challenge of science and the balance of faith, reason and evidence in three hours I want to meet him. He’s Rabbi Hillel’s smarter brother 🙂
It’s for a good cause. If it hadn’t been for that thousand dollars he would not have qualified to enter the marathon, and the other three thousand he’d raised would not have gone to Chai Lifeline. At the very least it has reduced suffering, comforted the sick and possibly saved lives.April 1, 2010 5:51 pm at 5:51 pm in reply to: How To End Some Torah/Science Disputes — Agree on Definitions #682343
Volvie, There’s nothing there about how it makes as much sense to say the Sun goes around the Earth as vice versa.
The whole point of the theory is that there is an absolute frame of reference. The speed of light is a constant no matter what you are doing. The difference between Special Relativity (SR) and General Relativity (GR) is that the former holds in inertial, non-accelerating frames of reference. GR unifies SR and gravitation as well as a number of other fascinating mathematical advances. SR is very well established. GR still quite a bit less so.
Any high school physics student can tell you the Earth and Sun both rotate around their common center of gravity which is located an infinitesimal fraction away from the center of the Sun.
In GR all reference frames are equally valid. This is derived on a non-inertial reference frame.
Too much of anything is bad. Spare time can be good if it gives you a chance to rest and to find productive, elevating ways of filling it.
Sorry Dovv, can’t help you there. LA and NYC are two places I avoid like the Plague.
The West coast is a big place. Where were you thinking of going? NoCal? SoCal? Oregon? Washington? What sort of things do you enjoy?
When would warts be an emergency?
If you’re a frog and are attracting amorous toads
Dude, reality check. The human brain is not perfect. It forgets all sorts of things. That’s just how it’s put together. Only a few freakish outliers have perfect memories, and even then it’s only for certain things. Unless neuroscience and genetic engineering advance way past anything we can imagine everyone will always forget things they’ve learned. And if that happened we wouldn’t be human any longer.
So study. Remember what you can. And don’t beat yourself up about it. This is the way the Lord made you. If it’s a sin to have an imperfect body then we might as well pack it up because everyone is going to gehennom.
d a, nothing has ever gone wrong for me. My wife sometimes doesn’t have enough iron and is deferred until she does. And since she has tiny veins sometimes they have to poke a little to find them, but nothing serious.
Old joke, vaguely on-topic…
There were two neighbors who absolutely hated each other. No matter what they were always at odds, always trying to snipe at each other. Finally the Almighty got tired of this and sent an angel to one of them.
The angel said “Greetings, mortal. The Most High has granted you a wish. Whatever you want you can have. But whatever you get your neighbor gets twice as much.”
“Anything I get that nudnik gets double what I do?”
“That’s right, mortal.”
“I want I should donate a kidney!”
Yanky55, I was thinking more of things like cancer or injury than hypertension or other common renal failure.
Mods, please give my email address to koma.
A kidney? I haven’t done that although I’ll be back on the donor list again. Thats’ a lot more involved. It’s major surgery, and you don’t have a spare if something goes wrong with the one you have left.
I gave blood for many years until a bout of cancer put me on the forbidden list. As of this week I am five years cancer-free and can donate once again. There will be a special blessing next week when I give thanks for having been passed over by Azrael this time around.
The first time I was a little nervous because of fear of the unknown. After that it was no big deal.
Why do I do it? Quite simply, it saves lives. Every time you do it it saves lives. This isn’t the 1900s where they went looking for family members to donate in special operations. The system absolutely depends on a stable, predictable supply of blood. If that exists the hospitals will have what they need when they need it. If they don’t they will be able to get it from nearby in minutes. If people don’t participate in blood drives that will not happen. The blood will not be there when it is needed. People will die. When someone needs blood there isn’t time to go door to door asking everyone if they have the right type and then to get them to the clinic and then screen the blood and then type and cross-match it and… well, you get the idea.
Another reason I give – a bit more selfish – is that I may need it some day. If people don’t support the system it will collapse.
No and no.
They aren’t “excuses” and they don’t ruin Pesach.
mesheemes2, the polygamist Mormon communities solve the mismatch very simply. They throw out most of the boys in their mid to late teens for imagined sins.
Koma, All sorts of questions since you’ve already done this…
Did you find your oven was adequate for one family? I’m guessing most people get a little over-ambitious about the size. “Why sure. You should be able to roast the whole fatted calf in there” 🙂
What did you use for a door? Sheet iron filled with vermiculite? Cast iron? A firebrick and clay block?
One brick thickness or two for the walls? Mortared arch or self-supporting for the vault? Dampered chimney?
You’re right about the stick-to-the-wall breads. Best just to have a dedicated tandoor for that. Until then take the blowtorch to the regular oven once a year.
boredstiff, I suggest you work if you want to be in that office next month
Koma, didn’t wash their hands?!?!?! That’s supposed to be drilled into all food service workers until it’s as much a reflex as breathing.
When I have a little more money I’ll be building a brick oven in the backyard. MLOR says since it gets hotter than a self-cleaning oven and stays there long enough it can be kashered for Pesach. Or I suppose I could just whip up some thermite, coat the inside, toss in a match and duck 🙂
Pizza -> bread -> roasted meats -> cholent (for shabbos)
and this time of year
Matzoh -> calcined herbs (not for food) -> meat -> stew
Thanks for the heads up, koma. My family includes Ashkenazim and Sephardim so even thought it might not be entirely correct we have a family tradition of eating both sorts of food. And, with all due respect, the Sephardim really are better and more adventurous cooks 🙂
That’s always hard. It really depends on the person you are talking to, and finessing it takes a lifetime of experience. That’s why the Talmud – I forget which passage – says that the forties are the decade where you gain understanding and the fifties the decade where you give good advice. But that aside, I can only offer a little general advice.
Open your heart. Really listen. Try to drop down to the level of what the mystics[*] call “The Hidden Conversation” the things they’re trying to say outside of the actual words. It’s not easy, but even making the effort works. Try not to project what you think they’re saying onto it, but – don’t know how to say this – shut off the chattering part of your brain and be quiet inside so you can hear what their soul is saying, not just their lips.
Don’t try to force someone to talk when he or she doesn’t want to. People who are already in pain recognize this and react poorly to it. Be sympathetic. Let them talk when they want to. In other words, comfort and invite rather than trying to force or manipulate, especially when the grief is fresh. Sometimes they’ll say they don’t want to talk, and they might not at that moment. But if you take what they say seriously and allow the warm and loving side of your soul to come through it will encourage them to talk when they are ready.
You are obviously a kind and compassionate person. That’s why you want to help people feel better. One of the hardest things to learn is that sometimes you can’t help all you would like. You can only help as much as you are able.
[*]Yes, I have non-Jewish friends including Sufis, Buddhists and former Catholic monks. They all use the same term “Hidden Conversation” that I learned from a very wise rabbi. It must reflect some common thread of understanding of the human soul.
Poster, President Obama has already lowered taxes for 97% of Americans. According to the Congressional Budget Office and the Government Accountability Office this will lower the deficit. The same Republicans who loudly demanded CBO and GAO scores are now reduced to blubbering “Lies!” as Limbaugh and Rove did in the past week. But they have no numbers or data to back up their shrieks.
The same Republicans who said – and I quote directly from Dick Cheney – “Ronald Reagan proved deficits don’t matter” are being utterly dishonest here. After President Clinton lowered the deficit and lowered the national debt they undid all of the reforms, spent like drunken sailors, raised taxes on the middle class and lowered them for the top 1% raising the national debt from 1.5 trillion to 8.3 trillion in eight years. But now that someone has taken tiny halting steps towards throwing a sop to the bottom 99% they are shrieking about the deficit. And Glenn Beck is bawling his little eyes out on cue. And their useful idiots the Tea Baggers are threatening to murder the President.
I must also note that we do not have competition even within the insurance industry. In most States the majority of health insurance is sold by the subsidiaries of three companies which have already been convicted of colluding to keep prices high. They effectively have monopoly pricing.March 22, 2010 6:37 am at 6:37 am in reply to: Health Care Reform Bill Got Passed, What's the CR's take on it? #681980
There’s already another thread on this topic. I answered in a little depth there. To summarize, it gives way too much to the goniffs in the insurance and pharma industries But with any luck it will be the next step towards a rational health care Beveridge or Bismarck Model system like those enjoyed by every other developed country.
If the Administration hadn’t already cut a deal with the insurers and the drug companies and if Rep. Grayson weren’t right about the Republicans – whose policy for the non-wealthy sick really is “die quickly” – we might have gotten something good. But it’s a first step.
Sm29, the people who did that were unmannered louts, completely lacking in common decency. If someone gives you a sincere gift, especially one for that purpose, it’s the depth of bad behavior. They might as well have slapped the givers in the face and spit in their eye. And it’s a waste of perfectly good food.
I’ve been given treif food by ignorant but well-meaning friends. I thank them sincerely and quietly pass it on to a needy Gentile later. That is the only proper response. I might explain later that while I thank them for their kindness my religion has a number of restrictions which don’t allow me to eat it, even though it looks and smells delicious.
To answer your question, no. The world has not come to an end.
We’ve taken three steps forwards towards a rational health care program.
And we’ve taken two steps back by caving in to the murderous goniffs who run the pharma and insurance industries. Our so-called “free enterprise” health care system is heavily funded by the taxpayers through massive deductions for employer-provided health care.
Even before the recession a little over half of all bankruptcies were due to overwhelming medical costs. And at least 45,000 Americans die every year due to lack of medical coverage. We pay, on average six to eight times what Europeans do for exactly the same drugs coming off exactly the same assembly line. Every one of these things is unthinkable anywhere else in the industrialized world.
All other developed countries some variation on the Beveridge or Bismarck systems.
Under the Beveridge model the government is the sole insurer. Everyone pays into a common fund. The government pays the doctors and clinics directly. Most doctors and hospitals are owned by the government
Under the Bismarck model there are insurance companies. But they are non-profit by law. They cannot deny coverage to anyone. They are heavily regulated in every aspect of their business. Those who cannot afford health insurance are subsidized by the government
The United States is the only country with lightly-regulated private insurance companies which can deny or arbitrarily set rates and decide what will or will not be covered. We pay more for and get less health care than any developed country. Under our “free market” system insurance is already heavily subsidized by the taxpayer. The VA, Medicare and pretty much any government-run system in the world have about 3% overhead and 2% lost to waste and fraud. The private insurance industry averages 35% overhead and profit and about 10% waste and fraud according to its own accounts.
Under the law the US just passed we have private insurance companies with very little regulation and no government control over rates. It will probably be slightly better than what we had before. It will still be far worse than what any European nation, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, most of South America, Israel or a growing number of others has.
I make my own with supervised grain. I usually make two sorts, the classic round crunchy matzoh and Sephardic ones which are pretty much the same as chapatis – flat, flexible, cooked a little differently.
An excursion into food history came up with some interesting facts. What we call matzoh today isn’t what matzoh was a few hundred years ago. Certainly not what Hillel made his famous sandwich out of. That would have been more like the Sephardic version. Some time back the crust was considered a delicacy. The process for making matzoh was changed so that the good stuff became the whole thing.
And why do I do it? Taste or chumrah? Neither. I do it for enjoyment.
I feel for you. We’ve had almond moth, grain moth and weevil infestations over the years. They can be a real pain to get rid of.
We got some very good advice from the local Agricultural Extension Service. The circular they sent us had a lot of really good advice.
First thing, all grains, flour, nuts and seeds have insect eggs and larvae. Even if you can’t see them or the eggs don’t hatch before you use the stuff up, they’re there. So you have to do two things, prevent them from hatching and prevent the infestation from spreading.
To prevent the eggs from hatching either use the stuff up fast or kill the eggs.
Killing the little buggers
If you already have an infestation go through everything. Throw away anything that has insects OUTSIDE. Lots of people just toss it in the kitchen trash and forget that bugs will leave the waste bin. Go through your cupboard and pantry.
We found that vacuum cleaner and shop vac did a great job of sucking the little monsters up and smashing them into tiny pieces. Check the ceilings and corners. Moths especially go for the ceiling. Clean out the cupboards. Vacuum the insides. Wash off all the food containers to get any eggs.
Enjoy your new eye-hand coordination. You will be catching bugs out of the air for the next few weeks.
Reducing the Plague
Insects are very efficient at turning your food into more insects. Deny them access to food. If they have food deny them access to your kitchen. Glass jars with good lids and sealable food-plastic storage containers keep them in if they hatched inside or out if they hatched somewhere else.
If you live somewhere warm encourage geckos to take up residence in your house. They are almost as good at turning bugs into geckos as moths are at turning flour into moths.
I’m picturing a shtriemel built around a bike helmet 🙂March 17, 2010 8:16 am at 8:16 am in reply to: What Newspaper / Magazine do You Read / Trust Most? #681666
Trust for what?
For the latest Infosec news I trust SANS, Cryptogram and CERT.
For Economics I usually turn to J.E.T.
For the latest about frogs and snakes I’d read Acta Herpetologica.
And what do you mean by “trust”? I trust some outlets to be honest but unreliable. Others can be trusted to have a consistent editorial bias.
You’d have to have one heck of a slide rule to get that kind of precision.
vas1820, play is good. Play is how children explore and build up their notions of how the world works. As a very wise person said “Play is the work of children.”
But part of that experimentation is finding out what the acceptable limits are. There is some play which crosses the line of what is healthy and right. For instance, if kids were playing “Cossacks whipping Jews” or “Klansmen lynching Blacks” anyone with a heart or brain would put a stop to it. If play is excessively or repeatedly or increasingly violent that’s not just for pretend. It’s a warning sign that something else is wrong.
BH, I wouldn’t personally be a customer at your lounge. But I whole-heartedly support the entrepreneurial spirit you show. If you’re filling a need which others aren’t more power to you.
Sometimes it’s not a matter of “burning off” aggression. Sometimes it’s a matter of learning how to use if effectively and appropriately. In another life I spent about ten years teaching women’s self defense, martial arts and basic firearms safety and marksmanship. There’s an appropriate level of comfort with violence and aggression which makes a kind, law-abiding person capable of fighting or defending herself when appropriate. Think of it as driving on the highway. Go too slow, and you’re a danger to yourself and others. Go too fast, same thing. The tricky part is getting people into the right range. You can go just as wrong either way.
Students who were never permitted to roughhouse as kids and ones who weren’t made to stop both presented challenges. Girls who grew up with older brothers were right in the groove 🙂
…a lot of things under the hood in Windows 7 which are real improvements
Install Win7 now. XP isn’t getting updates anymore. Pretty soon all support for it will be gone. There are a lot of things under the hood which are real improvements.
Inquisitivegirl, you are in good company. Women have been complaining about men’s emotional immaturity, sense of entitlement and complete insensitivity for the whole of recorded history.March 11, 2010 1:53 am at 1:53 am in reply to: The Laboratory II – Try Your HTML & ASCII Art Experiments Here #1053975
Very, umm, cutting edge 1978
So girl’s should be more outgoing and vivacious.
But she’s disrespectful if she speaks before being spoken to.
She’s got poor shidduch prospects if she’s “quiet”.
But she has the most to lose in the ongoing crisis if she steps out of line.
No matter what she does, she’s in trouble unless she’s a mind reader.
Depends how much money and effort you can invest. Rosetta Stone is fantastic.
One of the things children do in play is experiment with controlling their environments. Play with toy weapons and acting out conflict is part of that exploration. And to a certain degree it’s healthy and natural. If it’s allowed to go too far it can lead to inappropriate uses of violence.
It doesn’t matter if you forbid anything that looks like weapons. A rag doll can become a nuclear missile in a child’s imagination.
A teacher from whom I learned a great deal is the famous Massad Ayoob, one of the foremost trainers of elite law enforcement and military personnel in firearms and defensive tactics. His daughters could have all the squirt guns they wanted as long as they were shaped like animals. And they could whack away at each other with Nerf swords.
Anything that looked like a real weapon was to be treated like a real weapon which meant safety-first, by-the-numbers training. Any time they wanted to do that Mama or Poppa would take some time to give a lesson or practice session. After a certain age they could fire any real firearm in the house which they could safely handle. Again, under supervision. And they had to completely strip and clean it afterwards. The forbidden allure of handling a gun gets old really fast when it means an hour of hard work with patches, bore snakes, toothbrushes, oil and Hoppe’s Number 9.
The Ayoob household is a little different than yours or mine. But the same principle applies. Any toy weapons must be distinctly toys, nothing like real tools. And anything which looks or acts like a real weapon must be treated as if it were one.
And if the really are interested? Well, Lord knows we Jews have to rely on ourselves. If you have a natural Shomer Yisroel, then get him or her proper training. It could save Jewish lives down the road. And that’s a Good Thing(tm).
“To Be a Jew” and “To Pray as a Jew” aren’t bad introductions.
And for the love of all that’s Holy, never EVER complain to the Almighty that you’re bored. Cautionary tale here….
An old Turkish friend of our family won’t let anyone say the “B” word in his house. He was visiting family in Turkey a few years ago in a village so far up in the mountains they had to bring in daylight twice a week by donkey train. After a few days of this he got tired of it.
No sooner were had a heartfelt “Oh, G-d, I am so bored” left his mouth than the police knocked on the door. Some German tourists had been robbed. Nobody in the village spoke German. They didn’t speak Turkish. But they did speak English, and he was the only English-speaker around.
So nothing would do but he had to go along with the police. They chased the robbers (who had the Germans’ sportscar) over unimproved mountain roads in a rickety police Fiat for four days. Didn’t catch them. But he did end up with a bunch of premature gray hairs. And he wasn’t bored.
So if your spare moments lack excitement make your own. Remember that sometimes prayers ARE answered. And if you can’t think of anything worthwhile to do with the time you’re given Someone may decide to help you out with that little problem.
Make your own cheese. It’s cheaper than buying it. It’s fun. It’s tasty.
Hang up a heavy bag and go a few rounds with it every night. Good for the body. Good for the brain.
Volunteer with a charity or for a political cause.
Cast pewter on your stove.
Make a built-in bookcase.
Plant kitchen herbs in a window box.
Brew wine or beer, well not beer around Pesach.
Dance with your spouse.
Man yeshivas are banning these things. They are incredibly addictive and a waste of time.
That’s why we call them “crackberries”.
The lock-code doesn’t allow any access to the phone until it is entered.
For something a little more flexible look in the iPhone app store under “parental control”. There’s everything from a kid-safe browser to ways of locking down selected lists of applications. No kids have access to my phone, so I haven’t investigated them.
arc, thank goodness it wasn’t invented at Florida State 😉
Let’s hope Gleukos gets its certification soon. It’s a much better product – higher in potassium, lower in sugar and sodium.