Forum Replies Created
November 30, 2021 12:01 am at 12:01 am in reply to: Chasimas Hatalmud: How did it come about? #2035921
There is plenty of evidence that Rebbi wrote down the Mishnah. Primarily, the mesorah of the Rishonim (e.g. the Rambam) that Rebbi wrote it. And although Rav Sadya Goan is ambiguous, the better reading (IMHO) is that he supports the Rambam’s mesorah.
But my point was that you see that there was a proto-Mishnah that was organized to a substantial degree before Rebbi. Not just by topic but in specific wording. There are machlokisim within a mishnah about what the stam portion of the mishnah means. That means the Tanayim–in generations before Rebbi–were operating off the same text.
So it could be that Rebbi simply organized/composed a universal wording incorporating the disputes of the recent generations. But then his work wasn’t all that innovative. He was just continuing a process that Rabban Gamliel (and others) had done in previous generations. But if you say that he wrote it down, changing Torah Shbal Peh to being written, it was truly monumental and worthy of reputation Rebbi has in our mesorah.November 29, 2021 4:28 pm at 4:28 pm in reply to: Chasimas Hatalmud: How did it come about? #2035755
Ravina and Rav Ashi organized the Bavli. Ravina died a good number of years after Rav Ashi. There was some minor editing afterward (what we call the Rabban Savaroi). There are some academics that argue for more extensive editing after Ravina and Rav Ashi but that isn’t based on any science. It’s not something they “found.” It is based on rayos from Shas (and is not very persuasive).
To answer the OP. The theory that made the most sense to me is that there was an earlier proto-Gemara that was composed (but not written) with specific language to remember. I’ve seen it argued that Abaya and Rava composed the proto-Gemara. But every scholar in every town had comments and a mesora on every aspect of the Mishna and the proto-Gemara. Rav Ashi and Ravina gathered as many chachomim as they could to create a final version of explanations and comments on the Mishna. They edited these together to form Talmud Bavli.
The generations immediately after them wrote down the Talmud Bavli (along with some further edits) and shipped copies to Jewish communities far and wide.November 29, 2021 4:28 pm at 4:28 pm in reply to: What do you do to earn a living #2035753
Aren’t you President of the Galaxy?November 29, 2021 4:18 pm at 4:18 pm in reply to: Chasimas Hatalmud: How did it come about? #2035757
I’m not starting a new thread (too lazy). But I disagree with the claim that there was no Sefer Mishnayos.
I think the evidence shows that there was a text of Mishnayos (a proto-Mishnah) before Rebbi. If Rebbi didn’t actually write down the Mishna, then what was his innovation?November 18, 2021 10:29 am at 10:29 am in reply to: Black Ethiopian Jews #2030315
1) They are in the same location in Ethiopia, they match the description of those sources, and we can track their basic history from that time. There are also no other candidates. There’s no other group in that part of Africa even claiming to be Jewish. If you say the Beta Israel are some new group, then you need to explain what happened to the Jews of Ethiopia and where their replacements came from.
2) The Islamic sources that I have seen cited are from the 16th and 17th centuries. The Ethiopian Jews are called Falashas (which the Beta Israel are still called by the Ethiopian gentiles) in these sources. There are Christian sources going back to the 4th Century. Around the 12 century or so, after the rise of the Ethiopinum empire, the Christian sources also begin to refer to the Beta Israel as Falasha.
3) I found it online here at http://www.ybz.org.il/_Uploads/dbsAttachedFiles/Article_110.8.pdf It was published in an Israeli academic journal called Te’uda. The letter is from 1862. But references earlier communications. As for how I know it is the same people, there’s no other candidates. How do you know that current Chasidim are descendants of the Talmidei Baal Shem Tov and their followers? Maybe all the chasidim got wiped out in 1870 and new people arose (out of nowhere) and started pretending that they were always chasidim.November 17, 2021 6:08 pm at 6:08 pm in reply to: Black Ethiopian Jews #2029944
You are just ignoring the evidence you don’t like. They are not “heretofore uknown” (unlike the Lamba), they were known to the broader Jewish community from the Radbaz, Benjamin of Tudela, and Eldad HaDani. (And it was known that there was an a Jewish community in Kush from Tanach). Additionally, there are numerous references to them in Muslim and, especially Christian sources. They had wars, over hundreds of years, with their Christian neighbors. This is isn’t just some oral tradition that doesn’t match up with other evidence. It is an oral tradition that fits in with the rest of the documentation we have.
We have a letter that was sent by a leader of the Beta Israel in 1850 (or so), in Hebrew, to Jerusalem asking for help to emigrate to E”Y. That’s 170 years ago.November 17, 2021 2:16 pm at 2:16 pm in reply to: Black Ethiopian Jews #2029819
That’s just wrong. The Old Testament is a translation of Tanach. It isn’t heretical the way the New Testament is. The Alexandrian Jewish community used the Greek translation for generations.
Why is your standard “clearly documented” over oral testimony? In halacha we accept oral testimony over documents. The Torah sh’bal peh was oral for over a thousand years.
There is plenty of documentation, however, of the group’s history and identification from Christian and Muslim groups that interacted with them (including descriptions of their persecution, forced convervions, burning of seforim, etc.). Additionally, there is the writings of Eldad HaDani, Benjamin of Tudela, the Radbaz, and some secular Jews that visited them in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. There are also letters that the Beta Israel community sent to Jewish communities in Europe and Jerusalem in the mid-19th century describing their communities and their plight.
I’ve seen the Radbaz and one of the 19th century letters. For the rest, I am relying on other people’s articles citing these sources.November 17, 2021 10:01 am at 10:01 am in reply to: Giving Your Child an English Name #2029619
There are two reasons to give your kids secular names:
1) Jews should always be concerned that we may need to escape from our current host country. To do this, it would be helpful to be able to pass as non-Jews. A secular name on your passport can be the difference between life and death.
2) It makes things much easier for your kid if they have to work in the secular world.November 17, 2021 9:50 am at 9:50 am in reply to: Black Ethiopian Jews #2029617
You are very quick to judge people that went through persecutions you never went through. If the Christians in Ashkenaz burnt all of the Sifrei Torah and chumashim and said that no one is allowed to use any holy books accept those approved by the Church, would the Ashkenazi Jews have just stopped studying Torah or would they have used the Christian approved ones?
I also note that you haven’t responded to many of my other points. Do you concede that the Beta Israel do have a strong claim of being Jewish and they are at least a safek (such that we have a chiyuv to save them, love them, etc.)
I don’t know why I wrote shevat instead of Sivan in my post yesterday. I apologize for the confusion. They celebrated Shavuos on the 12 of Sivan. I looked up a couple more of their practices. They do not lain haftorah. They are tovel for keri. But it is not clear if this is because of takanos Ezra or because the Torah requires it for eating taharos.
Another interesting thing I found was that their married women covered their hair. Which is not something Karaites do or did.November 16, 2021 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm in reply to: Black Ethiopian Jews #2029010
IIRC, they do not have Chanuka at all. Some had a version of Purim but some did not (perhaps because of fear of the Christian population) and their holier people fasted three days before Purim. They have a full Tanach in Ge’ez which is not Hebrew but is a semitic language. However, I believe that their Tanach is the same as the Old Testament used by Ethiopian Christians. And there was definitely a period where they were not allowed to have other, non-Christian approved, books.
They keep one day of Yom Tov. And count Shavuos from the last (7th) day of Pesach, not the first day of Pesach. So their Shavuos is on the 12 or 13 of Shevat. They celebrate it as both a harvest festival and Matan Torah.
I need to look up if they have haftorah or takanos Ezra.November 16, 2021 9:26 am at 9:26 am in reply to: Black Ethiopian Jews #2028896
You asked me to explain those that hold it is a safek so I explained the “not Jewish” side of the safek. But there is also the “Jewish side” of the safek. There are two other traditions for the origin of the community: (a) they are descendants of Jews that went to Egypt and then Ethiopia after the destruction of the 1st Bais Hamkidosh (and they were supplemented by further immigration during various persecutions in Egypt and Yemen); (b) they are descendants of Shevet Dan and others of the aseres hashvatim who were exiled there during Bayis Rishon. These two traditions match better with other Jewish sources that reference the existence of a Jewish community in Africa.
For example, the posuk says in Yeshayah (11:11): וְהָיָ֣ה בַּיּ֣וֹם הַה֗וּא יוֹסִ֨יף אֲדֹ’ שֵׁנִית֙ יָד֔וֹ לִקְנ֖וֹת אֶת־שְׁאָ֣ר עַמּ֑וֹ אֲשֶׁ֣ר יִשָּׁאֵר֩ מֵֽאַשּׁ֨וּר וּמִמִּצְרַ֜יִם וּמִפַּתְר֣וֹס וּמִכּ֗וּשׁ וּמֵעֵילָ֤ם וּמִשִּׁנְעָר֙ וּמֵ֣חֲמָ֔ת וּמֵֽאִיֵּ֖י הַיָּֽם. This is describing the return of Bnei Yisrael from their golus in the times of Moshiach. It lists the places that Bnei Yisrael were exiled to during, or immediately following, Bayis Rishon and includes Kush. There are various other pesukim that reference a Jewish community in Kush or Jewish going to golus to Kush. It makes sense that the Beta Israel would be their descendants.
Moreover, it isn’t clear at all that their conversions weren’t halachically valid. The Gemara says that a person can convert, accept ol malchus shamayim, without much knowledge of the details of mitzvos. The Beta Israel had mikvah and mila. So why wouldn’t their conversions be valid?November 16, 2021 9:26 am at 9:26 am in reply to: Black Ethiopian Jews #2028879
Where are you getting the idea that “Most Ethiopians who came to Israel are practicing Christians.” That isn’t true at all. The vast majority are practicing Jews.
Only very recently have any of the Falasha Mura come to Israel and many of them have renounced their Christianity and returned to living as jews.November 15, 2021 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm in reply to: Black Ethiopian Jews #2028783
In the 19th century, there was a sizable group of Ethiopian Jews that gave in (like the maranos of Spain) and converted. So they were shunned by the main Ethiopian Jewish community but also never fully accepted by the Ethiopian Christians. They were not part of the Ethiopian Jews that the State of Israel rescued from Ethiopia in the 1980s and 90s.
Recently, some have this group have tried to move to Israel (presumably for a better quality of life). Is that what you are referring to?November 15, 2021 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm in reply to: Black Ethiopian Jews #2028779
How do you explain the poskim that rule that they are Jews or the poskim that rule that they are a safek and should only have geirus l’chumra?
1. I don’t know the rationale of those that hold that there is no tzad that they are Jews at all. Every posek I have seen on the issue holds that they are at least a safek.
2. IIRC, those poskim mostly hold that although the Beta Israel believed themselves to be Jewish it is not clear whether (a) the founders of the community were actually Jews (according to one tradition they are descendants of a son of Shlomo HaMelech with the Queen of Sheba and Shlomo slaves) or (b) the conversions they conducted over the years were halachically valid. To put it in context, the DNA studies indicate that 50% of the early female Ashkenazi Jewish population was not Jewish. We presume they did proper conversions k’halacha and so we are all Jewish. But the Beta Israel may not have known the proper requirements for conversion and never properly converted their wives.
3 & 4. This question applies to all Jewish communities everywhere. The Beta Israel have long oral traditions and are referred to in Christian writings throughout these periods. There were numerous wars, edicts and other official Ethiopian Empire acts against the Beta Israel. There’s no reason to thing there was some kind of great switcheroo. I can’t personally ascertain the veracity of any of these writings. But I don’t have any reason to doubt them.November 15, 2021 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm in reply to: Black Ethiopian Jews #2028749
I have no idea what happened with the quote I tried to put in from Encylopedia Britannica. But it disappeared and the rest of what I wrote was italicized so it looked like the quote that didn’t make it in. Here is the actual quote from Encylopedia Britannica:
“Although the early Beta Israel remained largely decentralized and their religious practices varied by locality, they remained faithful to Judaism after the conversion of the powerful Ethiopian kingdom of Aksum to Christianity in the 4th century CE, and thereafter they were persecuted and forced to retreat to the area around Lake Tana, in northern Ethiopia. Coming under increased threat from their Christian neighbours, the disparate Jewish communities became increasingly consolidated in the 14th and 15th centuries, and it was at this time that these communities began to be considered a single distinct “Beta Israel.” Despite Ethiopian Christian attempts to exterminate them in the 15th and 16th centuries, the Beta Israel partly retained their independence until the 17th century, when the emperor Susenyos utterly crushed them and confiscated their lands. Their conditions improved in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, at which time tens of thousands of Beta Israel lived in the region north of Lake Tana.”November 15, 2021 7:17 pm at 7:17 pm in reply to: Black Ethiopian Jews #2028684
I’m getting my information from the writings of Ethiopian Jews discussing their tradition of their history. When Christianity took over Ethiopia in the 4th Century (CE), the Beta Israel refused to convert and were involved in various wars with the new Christian Kingdom.
This persecution and refusal to convert repeated itself from that time through the 19th century (just like in Europe). From about the year 1400 onward there is a lot documented persecution by the Ethiopian empire (I would post links if it were allowed). The Christian Ethiopian empire conducted forced baptisms, massacres, forced Jews into slavery, and forbade Jews from owning land at various times. This is quote from the Encyclopedia Britannica:
I would recommend the book From Sinai to Ethiopia by Rabbi Sharon Shalom. In their he discusses how the Ethiopian Jews had their seforim destroyed and many were lost to history. He compares Ethiopian Jewish practice with halacha in numerous areas.
I’m not aware of any group in ancient times that steadfastly claimed they were Jewish for even hundreds of years to the point of being willing to be slaughtered or sold into slavery rather than convert to Christianity. What group, ancient or modern, can you name?
I’m not saying that all of the Ethiopian non-Jewish population has Jewish genes. I’m arguing that it is likely that the people closest to them geographically, whom the studies compared them to, had a large mixture of Jewish genes. That doesn’t mean their Jewish, just that they had some Jewish ancestors. Halacha doesn’t follow genes.November 15, 2021 4:36 pm at 4:36 pm in reply to: which jewish community to live in #2028597
Cincinnati, OHNovember 15, 2021 3:04 pm at 3:04 pm in reply to: Black Ethiopian Jews #2028592
Jews from all the groups you mentioned have taken on superficial racial characteristics of the countries that they lived. Ashkenazi Jews are lighter-skinned than Jews from Sepharad, who are lighter-skinned than Jews from Morroco, who are lighter-skinned than Jews from Yemen. Indeed, there are Teimani Jews with skin just as dark as Ethiopian Jews.
The DNA argument, even if you give it halachic credit, is tenuous at best. They don’t say that Ethiopian Jews don’t have Middle Eastern DNA, they say that they don’t have any more ME DNA than the surrounding population. But a lot of the surrounding population claims descent from Jews as well (they just converted to Christianity) and we don’t know what percentage of the original Beta Israel population was born Jews and what percentage were converts.
The Ethiopian Jews went through tremendous persecution over the millenia. The Church did not let have books other than the OT and (IIRC) they were not permitted to be written in Hebrew. It is for this reason that they lost 95% of their Torah shel bal peh. But they were not Karaites. They had some Oral Law and kept traditions (like muktzah and harchakos) that were not kept by Karaites.
The Beta Israel community sacrificed for thousands of years to keep their connection to Judaism in an extremely hostile environment. Thousands, maybe millions, died al kiddush Hashem. It seems very unlikely to me that they would have had the fortitude and hashgacha to withstand such pressures if they were not genuinely Jewish klapi shmayim galia.October 14, 2021 12:30 am at 12:30 am in reply to: Rabbi Moshe Tendler AH #2015830
Where are you getting that from the Ramban? He is saying that when the posuk uses the word “knowing” it is referring not to literal knowledge but to Hashem’s hashgacha. For most people this is general hashgacha. But for the righteous the hashgacha is over every prat. Hashem is constantly guarding the righteous.
According to this Ramban, when a person experiences hashgacha pratis over a small issue it is a wonderful sign. A smile from shamayim that the person is doing the right thing in life.
Yes, Rishonim need interpretation. But the interpretation can’t be that we just don’t hold from these Rishonim unless we have major Rishonim against them. The Ramban repeats this opinion in multiple places and explains a bunch of pesukim according to this shita.
Note, believing that things “just happen” is not the same thing as this Ramban. Hashem set up a briya with rules. And there is definitely hashgacha klalis on all people. But if a person is not zoche they are subject to the rules of the briya as Hashem created them.
This mehalech leads to people striving to get close to Hashem. To keep the mitzvos. Because they want הנה עין ה’ אל יראיו.October 14, 2021 12:30 am at 12:30 am in reply to: Rabbi Moshe Tendler AH #2015831
1) It’s not that we can’t follow Rishonim unless acharonim go the same way. It is that we don’t change the accepted psak based on the writings of a Rishon that were only re-discovered after the psak/hanhagah was accepted.
2) We typically follow rov Rishonim in halacha but not all Rishonim are equal. The Shulchan Aruch went with the Rif, the Rambam, and the Rosh and followed the rov of those three. The Rama held that Tosfos, and others, should be included too. But everyone agrees that the “shita lo noda l’mi” doesn’t impact halacha.
3) While we follow rov Rishonim, m’ikar hadin. We can be meikel like minority opinions or be machmir like minority opinions in certain situations.
And of course, there are plenty machlokesim among acharonim.October 13, 2021 5:34 pm at 5:34 pm in reply to: Rabbi Moshe Tendler AH #2015704
I didn’t say the RambaM was clear, I said the RambaN was clear. He says it in multiple places. And it is not just him. Most Rishonim hold that hashgacha pratis is limited in some way, either just to tzadikim, just to humans, or just to humans.
Your Gemara in Chulin is a good raya. I will need to look up how the Ramban and other rishonim that hold that hashgacha pratis is limited to tzadikim explain that Gemara.
Your raya from the Rambam in Hilchos Taanis is not a good raya. The Rambam is discussing the tzibur. When bad things happen to a tzibur, that is always hashgacha–at least hashgacha klalis.
I don’t think going by what you were taught as a child is a good measure of Toras Emes. Part of the mesorah is that you grow up and learn seforim inside and understand the nuances and machlokesim. No amount of sifrei kabalah or chasidus can override rov Rishonim. Moreover, the Ramban learned kabbalah and still wrote what he wrote.
I don’t think your explanation of Rav Elyashiv’s position is accurate. Of course a person can rely on Rishonim–especially for hashkafah. Slifkin didn’t have any Rishonim supporting the parts of his views that got his books banned. He had some Rishonim who said superficially similar things in different circumstances. The fact that Rishon says that Chazal could make a mistake (something that is obviously true because they are human), doesn’t give Slifkin grounds to say that they made a bunch of mistakes on specific issues.
We aren’t dealing with obscure Rishonim, or texts that were found recently in this case. These are amudei oilam, meorei hagolah. The mesorah, rests upon the shoulders of the Ramban and the Rambam. You can’t mach avek with them because it doesn’t fit with the Nefesh HaChaim or the Baal Shem Tov.October 13, 2021 2:11 pm at 2:11 pm in reply to: Rabbi Moshe Tendler AH #2015578
The Ramban is quite clear. I don’t need an online presentation to read it:
כי ידיעת השם שהיא השגחתו בעולם השפל היא לשמור הכללים וגם בני האדם מונחים בו למקרים עד בא עת פקודתם אבל בחסידיו ישום אליו לבו לדעת אותו בפרט להיות שמירתו דבקה בו תמיד לא תפרד הידיעה והזכירה ממנו כלל כטעם לא יגרע מצדיק עיניו (איוב לו ז) ובאו מזה פסוקים רבים כדכתיב (תהלים לג יח) הנה עין ה’ אל יראיו וזולת זה
There are many other Rishonim that discuss the issue also (I don’t remember them off-hand). I understand that many interpret the Ramban, Rambam, and others to mean differently than what they appear to say. But the Netziv and Rabbi Tendler are not meshubad to such an intepretation.
Where do Chazal say that a person doesn’t stub their toe without it being announced min hashomayim?
But nothing I wrote, nor the Rambam and Ramban wrote, contradict the statement: “Everyone agrees that nothing happens without it being caused, whether directly or indirectly, by Hashem, as there is no power besides him, no reality besides him either.”
Of course, you statement is correct. But the key is the directly vs. indirectly. If Hashem sets up and sustains a world that operates according to certain rules and those rules cause an event to occur, Hashem has caused that event, indirectly. But that event may not reflect any judgment that person(s) effected specifically deserved that outcome.October 13, 2021 9:51 am at 9:51 am in reply to: Rabbi Moshe Tendler AH #2015518
How does that Netziv contradict the Rambam’s ikrei emunah?
The Ramban holds that only tzadikim are zocheh to hashgacha pratis (Breishis 18:19) even after Avraham. And the Rambam holds that the level of hashagacha fluctuates according to the level the person is on (in the Moreh, don’t remember where).
The Netziv, if anything, ascribes even more hashgacha than the Ramban and the Rambam himself.October 11, 2021 4:07 pm at 4:07 pm in reply to: Please explain Ivermectin #2014708
I am not a scientist and certainly not a pharmacologist. I have no idea what mechanisms Ivermectin proponents propose or the double-blind studies I have seen indicate that it doesn’t work (so there probably isn’t a real mechanism).
However, your argument is profoundly unscientific. The idea of science as a different field of study from philosophy is that it starts with observation and only then looks for the mechanisms to explain that observation.
For example, Newton observed gravity by seeing things fall and the movement of the planets and realizing that mathematically they could be calculated the same way. But Newton did not have any explanation of how objects attracted each other. (Indeed the mechanism of gravity is controversial to this day) It did not matter, however, because he, and we, can consistently observe gravity happening.
This has been the case with many medications as well. The proposed mechanism is only arrived at after the medication is observed to work. For example Penicillin was discovered and used as an antibiotic for years before a theory of its mechanism was proposed.
Ivermectin doesn’t work. But if studies had shown that it did, its mechanism could be worked out later.October 7, 2021 5:22 pm at 5:22 pm in reply to: Out of Town – Chassidish community options? #2013393
Montreal has a large Chasidish community. Almost every chasidus has a shul in Montreal.October 7, 2021 5:21 pm at 5:21 pm in reply to: Rabbi Moshe Tendler AH #2013389
What Rabbi Tendler said does not contradict the Rishonim and Acharonim. There is no isur for women to learn Gemara. They are b’geder einah metzuvah v’ose:
אִשָּׁה שֶׁלָּמְדָה תּוֹרָה יֵשׁ לָהּ שָׂכָר אֲבָל אֵינוֹ כִּשְׂכַר הָאִישׁ. מִפְּנֵי שֶׁלֹּא נִצְטַוֵּית. וְכָל הָעוֹשֶׂה דָּבָר שֶׁאֵינוֹ מְצֻוֶּה עָלָיו לַעֲשׂוֹתוֹ אֵין שְׂכָרוֹ כִּשְׂכַר הַמְצֻוֶּה שֶׁעָשָׂה אֶלָּא פָּחוֹת מִמֶּנּוּ
(Rambam, Hilchos Talmud Torah 1:13)
People confuse the halacha about teaching girls Torah with a prohibition on women learning Torah for themselves.
See the Perisha on Y”D 246.August 16, 2021 5:49 pm at 5:49 pm in reply to: Why can’t we TALK??? #2000474
I don’t know (but I suspect) that natural immunity is more robust than the vaccines in preventing future illness. However, it is also the case that someone who has had the disease before will increase the level (or chances) of their immunity by taking the vaccine. The question is whether the risk of taking the vaccine is greater than or lesser than the increased protection of the vaccine.
I don’t think that the data is clear on this issue. But I suspect that there is a substantial difference between people in their 20s and 50s on this. And a person’s health otherwise matters also.August 16, 2021 3:16 pm at 3:16 pm in reply to: Why can’t we TALK??? #2000406
It would depend on the individual circumstances. For teenagers, I would generally agree.
Basically it is matter of calculating risk. Covid-19 for teenagers is extremely low risk. And these teenagers already have substantial immunity and we already know that they can beat it. On the other side there have been some reports of heart inflamation for teenagers from the vaccines. It is a question of risk guesstimates and math.August 16, 2021 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm in reply to: Why can’t we TALK??? #2000346
I missed your comment about Polio. Polio was more dangerous but not nearly as dangerous as we typically think. A large majority of cases had no symptoms. And the vast majority of symptomatic cases were minor. But unlike today, there wasn’t mass testing for positive cases so people focused on the serious symptomatic cases.
Regardless the risk of the Covid-19 vaccine is far lower than the risk of the disease.
I think the push for the vaccine universally is quasi-medical. They don’t have a good means of determining who had the disease in the past and they don’t want to encourage people to try and seek infection to get natural immunity.August 16, 2021 11:25 am at 11:25 am in reply to: Why can’t we TALK??? #2000301
No Jew is “pro-death” in the sense of a conscious decision to push positions that they believe will increase death. No Jew.
The issue is what is the best the way to decrease death. I think that the best way to decrease death is to have every person–who does not already have natural immunity–get the vaccine.
I also think that my position is objectively correct. It is position supported by the best evidence. I think that anti-vaxxers are objectively wrong and their position will lead to more death. However, I am certain that they think my position will lead to more death. Anti-vaxxers aren’t pro-death, they are just wrong.August 12, 2021 6:32 pm at 6:32 pm in reply to: My friend just died #1999447
She had cancer. It could be that she died from a reaction to the vaccine, it could be not. But it is also the case that she was at very high risk of dying from Covid too.
I can tell you this: the vaccine isn’t killing “so many.” There might be some people that have had allergic reactions or other deadly side effects but they are extremely rare. Covid is far more likely to kill someone than an adverse reaction to the vaccine.
Anecdotally, I don’t know a single person who had a serious adverse reaction to the vaccine (the worst was sick for a few days). I know half-a-dozen people that died from Covid. And many more people have gotten the vaccine than have gotten Covid.August 12, 2021 6:28 pm at 6:28 pm in reply to: Why can’t we TALK??? #1999443
Why is this vaccine different from prior vaccines that were introduced in the middle of a pandemic? (Like Polio)
The only difference is that in hindsight it is obvious to you that the vaccines ended Polio so it was worth it. But when the vaccines were new, no one knew the long term ramifications. But they knew the downside of Polio.July 15, 2020 6:03 pm at 6:03 pm in reply to: The Supreme Court #1882606
Someone in Monsey,
I don’t think you understood Gorsuch’s opinion correctly. He was treating “sex” in the statute to refer specifically and only to biological sex.
The decisions the Supreme Court makes are usually extremely difficult cases. (The obvious cases do not usually get to them.) Each side is usually represented by very, very good lawyers. If you read each side’s brief, they are extremely persuasive. The idea that a layman can read a couple of news articles about the case and have an educated position on who was right and who was wrong is silly.
In 90+% of SCOTUS cases, I could make a persuasive argument why each side is right. These cases aren’t obvious. They aren’t easy. The Justices are all giants in their field. People should have a little humility.July 15, 2020 6:01 pm at 6:01 pm in reply to: Jeffrey Epstein – part 2 #1882604
Most Republican legislation has contained an exception for the life of the mother. That being said, the Republican position is still not in line with many Rishonim and Poskim. Although Rav Moshe paskens like the Rambam on abortion (prohibiting except to save the life of the mother), there are other poskim that will rely on other Rishonim (Rashi, Tosafos) where there is some great tzorech (e.g. the child will be severely disabled; the mother will be under severe pyschological stress; mamzeirus) even if the mother’s life is not at risk.
I don’t want the US or state governments paskening that shailah. I want the parents and their posek paskening that shailah.July 15, 2020 6:00 pm at 6:00 pm in reply to: Jeffrey Epstein – part 2 #1882601
In the times of Chazal, they required people to give tzedaka and they assessed how much an individual was required to give based on their income/wealth. Moreover, they also forced people to contribute to public works (like walls and wells) also according to their income/wealth. Look at the Mishna and following Gemara in Baba Basra 7b.
בעא מיניה רבי אלעזר מרבי יוחנן כשהן גובין לפי נפשות גובין או דילמא לפי שבח ממון גובין אמר ליה לפי ממון גובין
And Tosafos there writes: לפי קירוב בתים הן גובין. פירש. ר”ת ונותנין עניים קרובים יותר מרחוקים וכן עשירים קרובים יותר מעשירים רחוקים אבל עשירים רחוקים נותנין יותר מעניים קרובים דלפי שבח ממון נמי הן גובין:July 15, 2020 5:02 pm at 5:02 pm in reply to: The black hat. #1882597
The Mishna Berurah is specifically talking about in his times where people did not go out in the street or meet with respectable people without a hat on. ובזמנינו צריך להשים בעת התפלה כובע בראשו כדרך שהולך ברחוב ולא בכובע הקטן שתחת הכובע כי אין דרך לעמוד כן לפני אנשים חשובים
Nowadays (and in the times of the Shulchan Aruch) it is not the norm to wear a hat in the street or when meeting with prominent people. Therefore, a hat is not required by davening. A kippah is sufficient.
If you are a person that is already yeshivish enough to have the custom to wear a hat in the street and when meeting choshuve people, then you have to wear it by davening too. But I doubt someone wearing a black hat in the street is asking whether they should also wear it by davening.February 7, 2020 2:03 pm at 2:03 pm in reply to: Mitt Romney is now persona non grata #1829893
There are two broad schools of thought but there are many more subdivisions within those schools. What you are calling “Constructionist” is typically called “Originalist” when applied to the Constitution (as opposed to ordinary statutes). I am an Originalist. Which means that I interpret the Constitution as it would have been understood by an objective reader at the time it was ratified. (Note, however, that even Originalists will occasionally have to engage in Construction where they seek to apply the Constitution in area where it is vague or ambiguous.)
The other school, Living Constitutionalists, don’t maintain that they have a right just to read in whatever they want. Rather they believe that interpretation of the Constitution can and should change where the society as a whole has changed. But even living Constitutionalists would require evidence that societies mores have changed regarding the matter before them. It is possible to make the argument, that from a living Constitution perspective (assuming State Constitutions match this) impeachment requires a statutory violation. But this argument is not that strong because ultimately there is no check on the Impeachment power (other than voters). Therefore, whatever Congress and 2/3ds of the Senate say is impeachable becomes removable. Because practically it does not require a crime a Living Constitutionalist would not be inclined to read the requirement of a statutory crime into the text.February 7, 2020 11:34 am at 11:34 am in reply to: Mitt Romney is now persona non grata #1829797
Where did you get the idea that the era of Rishonim ended in 1400? The Abarbanel is widely viewed as a Rishon and he was born after 1400. The two dates I have seen as the cut-off for Rishonim is the expulsion from Spain in 1492 or the publishing of the Shulchan Aruch in the 1560s.
I mean no personal offense but you are writing about things of which you no very little. You are reading the phrase “High Crimes and Misdemeanors” the way someone would read it today, not the way it was understood at the time it was written. (l’havdil, it is like reading the Torah without the Oral Tradition). The writings from the Constitutional convention, the Federalist Papers, and the political nature of impeachment make clear that actual statutory crimes are not necessary. Alan Dershowitz’s argument that the behavior has to be “crime-like” (although he concedes it does not need to be a statutory crime) is plausible.
It should be noted, however, that at the time of ratification, common law crimes still existed. Common law crimes were crimes made up by Judges for actions that they felt should obviously be criminal (like murder or theft). So your scenario is not that far off the actual state of the law at the time the Constitution was written.February 7, 2020 8:47 am at 8:47 am in reply to: Mitt Romney is now persona non grata #1829752
Klugeryid and Reb Eliezer,
Bilaam was an individual after Matan Torah. So I think that example satisfies both of you. I don’t see why Ninveh being a large number of people should matter. If one non-Jew can’t do teshuvah, then 1000 non-Jews also couldn’t do teshuvah.
As for where the Seforno got his pshat, the Seforno is a border-line Rishon. It may be a mesora he got from his rabbeim. Or it might just be muchach from the posukim. Why would Hashem keep hinting to Bilaam to turn back and not go to Balak? Bilaam’s going wouldn’t hurt the Yidden because Hashem was going to make Bilaam say berochos not klalos anyway.
Another example of an individual is Yishmael on whom Rashi says (at the end of Chayei Sarah): יצחק וישמעאל. מִכָּאן שֶׁעָשָׂה יִשְׁמָעֵאל תְּשׁוּבָה וְהוֹלִיךְ אֶת יִצְחָק לְפָנָיו, וְהִיא שֵׂיבָה טוֹבָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בְּאַבְרָהָם : This is also before Matan Torah but I don’t see why that should matter. If we know teshuvah existed for non-Jews before Matan Torah mehechi taisi that they lost it. Hamotzi m’chaveiro alav haraya.February 6, 2020 8:22 pm at 8:22 pm in reply to: Mitt Romney is now persona non grata #1829658
There are many sources. For example, Rashi at the beginning of parshas Noach explains that the purpose of the Teyva was to get the dor hamabul to do Teshuva: עשה לך תבת. הַרְבֵּה רֶוַח וְהַצָּלָה לְפָנָיו, וְלָמָּה הִטְרִיחוֹ בְּבִנְיָן זֶה? כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּרְאוּהוּ אַנְשֵׁי דוֹר הַמַּבּוּל עוֹסֵק בָּהּ ק”כ שָׁנָה, וְשׁוֹאֲלִין אוֹתוֹ מַה זֹּאת לְךָ, וְהוּא אוֹמֵר לָהֶם עָתִיד הַקָּבָּ”ה לְהָבִיא מַבּוּל לָעוֹלָם, אוּלַי יָשׁוּבוּ:
The entire Navi Yonah was sent to Ninveh to get the goyim there to do teshuvah (which is why we read it on Yom Kippur).
By Bilaam, the Seforno explains that Hashem made his donkey speak to get Bilaam to do teshuvah: ויפתח ה’ את פי האתון נתן בה כח לדבר כענין ה’ שפתי תפתח. וכל זה היה כדי שיתעורר בלעם לשוב בתשובה בזכרו כי מה’ מענה לשון גם לבלתי מוכן כל שכן שיוכל להסירו מן המוכן כרצונו וכל זה כדי שלא יאבד איש כמוהוFebruary 6, 2020 6:57 pm at 6:57 pm in reply to: Mitt Romney is now persona non grata #1829636
1. Non-Jews can do teshuva just like Jews.
2. Non-Jews being chayiv on pachos m’shava peruta is only if the owner is makpid. Office owners (for most of Romney’s career he was one of the owners) are typically mochel such small takings.
3. I’m not sure what you mean by “saint” (a christian concept) but I have not seen anything about Romney that indicates that he is dishonorable or corrupt in any way.January 22, 2020 4:08 pm at 4:08 pm in reply to: A rebbe iz Atzmus uMahus vos hot zich areingeshtelt in a guf #1825249
Of course not. Those people weren’t saying that they were a chelek elokai mimal. Those people were saying that they were gods independent of Hashem–the very opposite of the Rambam that the only true existence is Hashem.January 21, 2020 11:39 am at 11:39 am in reply to: A rebbe iz Atzmus uMahus vos hot zich areingeshtelt in a guf #1824704
I don’t think it occurred to the Lubavitcher Rebbe that people would specifically seek to interpret his words in a bad way.
To a degree it does apply to the all of Klal Yisroel. The Rebbe in his speech based the idea on the kabbalistic concept that Yisroel v’Oraisa v’Kidsha Barich Hu, chad hu. On some level all of Klal Yisroel has a unity with Hashem.
My understanding of the Rebbe’s idea (I am not a Chabadsker so take this with a grain of salt) is that there are layers of gashmius built up upon everything physical that masks the Hashem-stuff underlying it. Our aveiros and taivos create barrier between us and Hashem. A great tzaddik and talmud chacham, however, has a much smaller barrier and greater connection to Hashem. His physical is less physical than an ordinary person–and therefore more like Hashem. Thus, instead of a being a chatziza between a Jew and Hashem he is a bridge.
Mashul l’ma hadavar domeh. If a person is going to the mikvah and they have mud on them, the mud is a chatziza between them and the water of the mikvah. But if the person is wet from a shower and they go into the mikvah, the outside water is not chotzetz. On the contrary it connects to the mikvah better.January 17, 2020 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm in reply to: A rebbe iz Atzmus uMahus vos hot zich areingeshtelt in a guf #1823805
The Lubavitcher Rebbe didn’t say it about himself but about his father-in-law, the previous Rebbe.
There are definitely ways to interpret the Rebbe’s words that are not apikorsus at all. Why assume a bad interpretation?
Hashem is the only thing that has real existence. As the Rambam writes at the beginning of Mishnah Torah:
יְסוֹד הַיְסוֹדוֹת וְעַמּוּד הַחָכְמוֹת לֵידַע שֶׁיֵּשׁ שָׁם מָצוּי רִאשׁוֹן. וְהוּא מַמְצִיא כָּל נִמְצָא. וְכָל הַנִּמְצָאִים מִשָּׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ וּמַה שֶּׁבֵּינֵיהֶם לֹא נִמְצְאוּ אֶלָּא מֵאֲמִתַּת הִמָּצְאוֹ
אִם יַעֲלֶה עַל הַדַּעַת שֶׁהוּא אֵינוֹ מָצוּי אֵין דָּבָר אַחֵר יָכוֹל לְהִמָּצְאוֹת
וְאִם יַעֲלֶה עַל הַדַּעַת שֶׁאֵין כָּל הַנִּמְצָאִים מִלְּבַדּוֹ מְצוּיִים הוּא לְבַדּוֹ יִהְיֶה מָצוּי. וְלֹא יִבָּטֵל הוּא לְבִטּוּלָם. שֶׁכָּל הַנִּמְצָאִים צְרִיכִין לוֹ וְהוּא בָּרוּךְ הוּא אֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לָהֶם וְלֹא לְאֶחָד מֵהֶם. לְפִיכָךְ אֵין אֲמִתָּתוֹ כַּאֲמִתַּת אֶחָד מֵהֶם
וּא שֶׁהַנָּבִיא אוֹמֵר (ירמיה י י) “וַה’ אֱלֹהִים אֱמֶת”. הוּא לְבַדּוֹ הָאֱמֶת וְאֵין לְאַחֵר אֱמֶת כַּאֲמִתָּתוֹ. וְהוּא שֶׁהַתּוֹרָה אוֹמֶרֶת (דברים ד לה) “אֵין עוֹד מִלְּבַדּוֹ”. כְּלוֹמַר אֵין שָׁם מָצוּי אֱמֶת מִלְּבַדּוֹ כְּמוֹתוֹ
Because Hashem’s existence is the only true existence, everything else in the universe is simply a manfestation of Hashem. Our bodies, the trees, the buildings, the planets, etc. are all made up–ultimately–of Hashem. This is the concept of אֵין עוֹד מִלְּבַדּוֹ that the Brisker Rav himself used to escape from the Nazis.January 14, 2020 10:36 am at 10:36 am in reply to: Who should be called Rabbi? #1822618
Rav Moshe, in teshuvos, when referring to Reform or Conservative Rabbis would spell out the word “rabbi” as if it was an english word–something like “רעבבי”
I view “Rabbi” as a title we use when interacting with the secular world. It should be used to denote some position of religious authority, whether in a shul, yeshivah, kashrus org., etc.
Internally, I prefer to use Rav and I use that for anyone that I would feel comfortable relying on for a halachic decision.December 24, 2019 11:56 am at 11:56 am in reply to: Portable Mivkeh #1813562
Maybe you could attach something to the walls of the tub to make it big enough to hold 40 sa’ah of water, but the water is still coming in the from the regular faucet.
Now, there are those that hold that water that comes in from regular plumbing is not sh’uvim but if that is what you are relying on, then you can probably use the hotel pool too (as long as you confirm that they do not fill the pool with a hose).December 17, 2019 11:28 am at 11:28 am in reply to: Portable Mivkeh #1811421
A portable mikvah creates problems of mayim shuvim. For it to be kosher, you would have to make a hole in the container to be mevatel it as a kli, then attach the “portable” mikvah to the ground and reseal the hole.November 20, 2019 4:15 pm at 4:15 pm in reply to: Should a bochur have a beard? #1802717
I simply meant that he has both options available to him. He should follow his netias neshoma. Being machmir is not always avodas Hashem. Every chumrah has ramifications that need to be weighed before being taken. Additionally, taking on a chumrah without learning the sugya and having a netiya towards the shittos that are machmir is not avodas Hashem–it is amaratzus.November 20, 2019 3:11 pm at 3:11 pm in reply to: Should a bochur have a beard? #1802688
“K’ayn ta’ar” means “like an actual ta’ar but not an actual ta’ar.” Some have argued that some modern shavers are halachically “ta’ar.” Which is why people bring shavers to a Rav to check out. The spinning blade shavers never get super close though.November 20, 2019 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm in reply to: Should a bochur have a beard? #1802603
I think you misunderstood what I wrote. The Shulchan Aruch (and Rama) hold that it is mutar. There are other opinions that argue and hold patur aval asur. There is nothing wrong with relying on the Shulchan Aruch and shaving.