catch yourself

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  • in reply to: Response to Lior #1036935

    catch yourself

    Gavra –

    I don’t know who Joe is or why you thought that I am he; I most certainly am not.

    I noticed that you don’t have a response to my point. Offhand dismissal of a cogent point is a favorite technique of successful debaters, but it does not prove anything.

    I don’t know to which Israeli Rosh Yeshiva it is that you refer; nor did you deign it necessary to provide any context to the statement he supposedly made. All I can say is that I never heard any such divisive rhetoric from my own Rebbeim (in well known Yeshivos, none of which are mentioned in your most recent post). On the contrary, many of my friends from Yeshiva are now working as lawyers, doctors, accountants and in many other occupations. Some are selling insurance or mortgages; others are laying tiles and fixing pipes. Some spent several years in Kollel before finding a job; others spent only one or two years in Beis Medrash after High School.

    Far from being considered “second class citizens”, all of them are highly respected in their communities (and most live in Lakewood) as B’nei Torah with great integrity and commitment to values. All this with the encouragement and support of their Rebbeim. Some of them happen to be their Rebbeim’s own children, whose fathers pushed them “out of the Beis Medrash” with both hands.

    The fact is that there is a lot of ignorant and hateful talk which gets in the way of the truth.

    We can have a debate about the issues, but not with inflammatory arguments. That’s not a debate, it’s a fight.

    in reply to: Jokes Are Not Funny #1036963

    catch yourself

    I suppose that’s a possibility, but it did not seem that way to me.

    Either way, it’s an incredibly closed minded thing to say.

    My main point remains in any case. Too many people make comments such as that one with religious references – on both “sides of the aisle.” Even when the joker means no harm, even when the joker is saying it in a self-deprecating way, there is lasting damage. Often, the damage is irreversible.

    [Also, I just want to note that I did not see SIDI’s “It’s Not A Joke” thread when I started this one – had I seen it, I would simply have posted there.]

    in reply to: Response to Lior #1036933

    catch yourself

    Lior –

    I always thought a red herring was a completely unimportant detail which is brought up to obfuscate an issue. The claim that “in certain circles” it seems that they believe the entire nation should be in Kollel is far from a red herring. It is a deliberate and vicious misrepresentation of the position of the Gedolei Yisrael who are the leaders of said “certain circles”, which is intended to undermine the authority of Torah leadership.

    The only way I am able to give the benefit of the doubt to those who spew this vitriolic rhetoric is to assume that they have been misled by others as to the belief system of “certain circles”. It is possible that they do not consciously intend to undermine the Gedolim; they do not realize that the reason this claim appeals to them is that by undermining the authority of Torah leadership, it frees them from what they perceive to be a restrictive lifestyle.

    In any case, it is a dangerous assertion which necessarily alienates a great number of people. No wonder the resentment…

    in reply to: singing during davening #1036843

    catch yourself

    Any gabbai who insists on people davening exactly according to halacha will end up being the chazzan about 85% percent of the time, and gritting his teeth for (almost all of) the other 15%…

    Perhaps you can improve the situation somewhat by getting people to learn the halachos of tefillah. I think you are best off focusing on the most important issues (such as kavod hatefillah, amein yesoma/chatufa and other cut and dried halachic issues) before even mentioning things like fast vs slow songs (which, after all, is a matter of taste – us pure Litvaks prefer to sing Hallel to the tune of Eicha :).

    in reply to: Real philosophical question #1036791

    catch yourself


    (from the Merriam-Webster dictionary)

    blissful (adjective):

    1: full of, marked by, or causing bliss

    2: happily benighted <blissful ignorance>

    Which brings us to answer the philosophical question, as well.

    benighted (adjective):

    1: overtaken by darkness or night

    2: existing in a state of intellectual, moral or social darkness: unenlightened

    [example: the poor benighted souls who do not know the joys of reading]

    “Ignorance is bliss” does not mean that the ignorant are blissful in the first definition. It does not mean that they experience “complete happiness” (which is the definition of bliss). It means that they are happily unconcerned with their problems because they are simply unaware of them.

    Would you say that a person who is suffering from cancer but does not know it is experiencing complete happiness?

    Both of the individuals you describe are in a position either to experience complete happiness or not. This is a matter of personality and perspective. If the question was whether complete happiness which is founded on ignorance of one’s true situation can be considered complete happiness, I think there is little doubt that this happiness is fool’s gold.

    If the question was simply who is having more fun right now, I suppose that could be the ignorant and blissful individual. However, I would hardly consider that a philosophical question.

    in reply to: Getting kids to listen to you #1037248

    catch yourself


    I know it’s a little bit off topic, but before you belittle it, the “no-marking-tests-with-a-red-pen” attitude is currently the prevailing attitude among mechanchim, and with good reason. Not that there was a problem with how our Rebbeim dealt with us; times have changed. Society has changed. Children today are different from children a generation ago. Why the dismissive attitude?

    The problem with dictionary definitions is that they do not always convey connotation. I personally do not think that in this case there was a problem with the usage of those terms, but it is important to consider the full meaning and flavor of a word, and not just to go with the dictionary.

    in reply to: Rebbes Affectionate with Children #1055914

    catch yourself

    Eftachbchinor –

    Perhaps things are different for a woman teaching in a girls’ school. As a Rebbe, I am painfully aware of the need to maintain a zero-touch policy. I work very hard to communicate my love to my students without touch, but there is no way to compensate completely for the lack of touch. Nevertheless, in today’s world there is no other way. One never knows when some witch-hunting warmonger will attempt to use each pat on the shoulder as a weapon to destroy a Rebbe’s life, and ruin his students in the process. These people have little time or concern for what is right; they care only for what gratifies their need for revenge against some real or imagined abuser.

    The sad reality is that there are people who assume that the only reason a person would want to teach is that he is a pedophile.

    Hashem yishmereinu!

    in reply to: Getting kids to listen to you #1037244

    catch yourself

    1) Respect your children. Talk to them in a way that communicates high esteem. This does NOT mean empty artificial comments. It means talking in a way that shows you recognize and appreciate that they are not your little robo-slaves, that they are intelligent and capable people, that they are mature enough to make decisions for themselves. Respect and responsibility go hand in hand – give one, and they will accept the other.

    2) Offer choices instead of making demands. Never give a choice you can’t live with (i.e., “You can either wear that skirt or go to school with no skirt”). Allow the child to make the decision, in your time frame, but with no added pressure or advice. Show by your attitude that they are in control of this decision, and either way is fine with you.

    (Read Parenting with Love and Logic)

    in reply to: Response to Lior #1036919

    catch yourself

    Sam – I wish I could agree that “noone” complains about Community Kollelim, but that is sadly not the case.

    JF – As a proud alumnus of multiple Community Kollelim, I am appalled at the situation you describe. I think that in the Kollelim of which I was a part, as well as in the Kollel in my current community, your husband (and you!) would have felt quite welcome. These are well known “Lakewood Kollelim,” where the Kollel members learn together two sedorim each day, and night seder is reserved for learning with the community.

    Shiurim, chavrusas, social gatherings and other community events, as well as good old fashioned hospitality, should be the bread and butter (and meat and potatoes) of any Kollel that portrays itself as a community Kollel.

    You sound like exactly the type of family that any Kollel would love to have as part of its community.

    in reply to: Response to Lior #1036914

    catch yourself

    It is important to note that this conversation does not apply equally to all kollelim.

    Many kollelim (most notably, nearly all of the ones in what are colloquially, [and rather small-mindedly] referred to as “out of town communities”) actually pay a significant salary. While rarely enough to live on without supplementary income, this salary is definitely on par with that of many other jobs.

    In my community, the most needy families (which put the greatest burden on the community) are not the kollel families, but families of unsuccessful businessmen.

    What I have observed firsthand, and heard from longstanding members of various communities which are fortunate enough to host kollelim, is that a kollel is a tremendous positive force within a community in a myriad of ways. While it is obviously true that the kollel and its members rely heavily on the rest of the community for support, any fair minded individual should recognize that it is a symbiotic relationship.

    Finally, I will mention that although I have had this debate many times, I have never heard this complaint from someone who did not have a personal enmity for “black hatters.”

    in reply to: I'm not a kid #1036439

    catch yourself

    PM and JF: My point was simply that often our feelings about (and response to) the actions of others are colored by our own perception of reality, which in turn is largely controlled by our personal attitudes.

    I was not “demanding” that people have a certain attitude; I was suggesting that people work to develop that attitude for their own benefit.

    Nothing “wrong” with calling up an older single as “habachur…”; My feeling was that he would feel uncomfortable, as if his single status were being highlighted.

    There is no question that we should always strive to be more considerate of the sensitivities of everyone around us. At the same time, people with sensitivities would benefit themselves by remembering that the people around them are not angels.

    in reply to: I'm not a kid #1036431

    catch yourself

    Having learned in a Yeshiva in Givat Shaul, I used to daven at Zupnik’s Shteiblach quite often. I remember the last surviving “Diskin Yasom,” then a man of over eighty years old, being honored (and accepting…) with gelilah on a regular basis.

    For what it’s worth, as a former gabbai, I must say there is no malice intended, and I certainly hope that I never offended anyone in any way, either by not extending a kibud, or by extending “the wrong” kibud. I think (and hope) I speak for all gabbaim when I say that a gabbai views his position as an opportunity to be m’chabeid other Jews, not chas v’shalom the opposite!

    For the record, I believe that most (all?) gabbaim make every effort to deal with “older singles” as well as all people in a sensitive way (i.e., I would never call an older single, “habachur…” – he would be the same “Reb…” as his friends from high school). Keep in mind that by no fault of their own, older singles (and younger ones for that matter) have fewer occasions which entail receiving kibbudim than married men do. This may in fact be the origin of the minhag to offer gelilah to singles; there was a motivation to make sure that they would not be overlooked.

    I agree that in general people “gotta relax.” Just knowing that everyone around you is (usually) trying to do the right thing in the best way they know how should help you realize that no slight was intended.

    catch yourself

    I am more than happy to haggle over the specific details of the mashal (see below), but simply by entering into the conversation, I think you have conceded that the song is not “questionable.” The point of the song was to illustrate the struggle of internet addiction, and the unlikely combination of fortuitous circumstances and Gevura that would be required to win the battle. I think the message is correct and the point was well made.

    To the extent that it is necessary to discuss (are we really nitpicking the lyrics of a Destiny song?), I think that the situation in which Moishe found himself allowed for no other solution. As eftachbchinor points out, sometimes it’s necessary to take drastic measures.

    I agree that in a less pressured situation it would be reasonable to cancel your internet service, or even just call TAG; Moishe, however, has only a moment to make a choice that can save his life. I think he makes the right call, don’t you?

    catch yourself

    If I were suddenly to realize that I am allergic to peanut butter, I would immediately throw out any and all vestiges of the (delicious) stuff from my house. The problem, of course, is with me, not with peanut butter; however, this is a necessary precaution.

    There is no question that the problem is with the user, not with the PC. What is a user with a problem to do? I think Moishe Online has it right; in his circumstances, throwing the PC through the window was the necessary course of action (and it sure beats throwing the user through the window…).

    in reply to: Books for Recently Divorced #1033420

    catch yourself


    The fact that the decision was made that a divorce is necessary does not mean that it is not a painful ordeal.

    Divorce, in many cases, is like amputation; required, but still plenty painful.

    There is absolutely no contradiction in a divorced person grieving over what they have been through. In fact, I daresay that this is the more normal condition.

    YaacovDovid –

    Take heart. There IS light at the end of this (very dark) tunnel. Enough of my friends and family have been through this for me to say that BubbieTex knows best – don’t rush into something that could put you in an even worse situation…

    in reply to: Play on words #1033888

    catch yourself

    Maybe he meant ??? with a ??? ??????, as in ???? ?? ?????. The “guest” (in this interpretation, the ???? ???? collecting ????) hopes to explain to the ??? ???? in a convincing way why he should contribute to this particular cause. The ??? ????, for his part, is warm and welcoming, as in the ????.

    in reply to: If you think the R word is offensive you are retarded #1199756

    catch yourself

    Randomex: I thought you weren’t going to come back 🙂

    I agree wholeheartedly…that is exactly the attitude we should have towards any and all speech which could reasonably be expected to make other people uncomfortable.

    in reply to: If you think the R word is offensive you are retarded #1199742

    catch yourself

    Randomex: Thanks! I didn’t think my post deserved such careful dissection.

    To respond to your points:

    Sorry about the “them”; I sometimes mix up me pronouns 🙂

    For the record, MR (Mentally Retarded) is still very much in use as a medical diagnosis. Although it often presents together with DD (Developmental Delay), the two are not synonymous. MR, DD and MR/DD are three separate diagnoses.

    People who make use of rhetoric in debates do not typically discriminate; they use retarded as well as stupid, crazy, asinine and many other words which have the general meaning of lack of intelligence.

    In response to the point of an earlier post that the problem with retarded is offensive intent, I was simply pointing out that the offensive intent in the use of the word retarded is no more or less than in the use of any other insult. I have already made clear my opinion that no offense should be taken by the clinically retarded or their families.

    I do think there is a clear difference between the meaning of “hurt” and that of “offend”, especially when you consider connotation.

    Even in the definitions you cite, this is somewhat apparent.

    To offend, as you say, is to insult. To hurt, as you say, is to cause [somebody] emotional pain.

    By hoisting my trophy high in the air after winning a major competition I may hurt the recently vanquished, but I can not be said to have offended him.

    My point in this context was that although I do not believe that retarded is an offensive term, its use nevertheless can be hurtful to those whose lives are drastically affected by clinical retardation, and that we should be considerate of this fact. I think that my original analogy to the word cancer expresses this rather clearly.

    Ubiquitin – There is a clear difference between using the word retarded (which actually does mean a lack of intelligence), and imposing that meaning onto the name of an individual. The former is a legitimate (albeit unkind and potentially hurtful – see above) use of language; the latter is highly offensive.

    One last thing: This entire thread should be recognized as an academic argument. Whether or not a particular term is offensive is completely beside the point. As Randomex points out, our mandate is to conduct ourselves in a refined manner. ANY term used in an insulting way is unbecoming to a member of the Am Hanivchar. Contrary to popular opinion, it is not okay to insult other people. Regardless of the particular words used, this is most certainly prohibited by Halacha as Ona’as Devarim. If you disagree with someone, you should be able to find a civil way of expressing this fact.

    in reply to: If you think the R word is offensive you are retarded #1199698

    catch yourself

    Not all offensive intent is created equal.

    The use of a term such as retarded to refer offensively to another person (usually to someone with whom I disagree, but can not effectively explain why they are wrong) actually should not be offensive to the clinically retarded any more than the use of the term weakling is offensive to the clinically weak.

    The intended offense is not to the “real” retarded – it is to the person whose arguments I find so preposterous that I would label them (him?) so irrational as to be “retarded”.

    The fact that some people who have clinically retarded relatives can be hypersensitive to the use of the term nevertheless does not confer “offensive word” status on the term. (Notice “some people” – I have close family members who are clinically retarded, and have no problem with the way the word is used).

    I think we all agree that the word cancer ( as in, “talking in shul has spread like a cancer”) is not offensive. At the same time, I think we all appreciate the value in choosing a different word when cancer patients are nearby.

    The only question is, to what degree must we be wary of the possibility that an affected individual may be hurt (not offended!) by its usage in a particular setting? (in the CR, this is very likely…)

    This is very different from, for example, the N word, which has evolved into an offensive term with a very negative connotation.

    Just ask Joe Biden about such words.

    As an aside, I do think that rape is the correct translation of me’anes. As PBA pointed out, although the definition of “minor” is different in Halacha from US law, the definition of “consent” is about the same. We find many times (as in Parashas Ki Savo) where explicit terminology in the Torah is masked as an expression of the refined mode of speech which we are expected to employ. I do not think there is anything “wrong” with using the word rape, but that it is uncouth in mainstream “yeshivish” culture (there you go using offensive words again…).

    As a Rebbe in an upper elementary classroom, I would never use the word rape. I want to model what I consider to be refined behavior. I do not shy away from teaching any topic, but it is important to teach at all times with the goal of training students to be B’nei Torah.

    in reply to: If you think the R word is offensive you are retarded #1199661

    catch yourself

    Chofetz Chaim defines Avak Lashon Hara as a statement which can be understood in a way that it would be lashon hara.

    I think this explains the Gemara which famously says that

    ???? ???? ???? ???.

    No matter what you say, somebody, somewhere is going to be insulted.

    Just be considerate of people who have reasonable sensitivities based on their personal situation, and don’t worry about the people who take umbrage at the use of any term which could conceptually be viewed as offensive.

    in reply to: Im Going to Uman.I will pray for you there. #1038456

    catch yourself

    ????? ???? ?????? ?-??? ????? ????? ???? ????”?

    This is the reason not to go to Uman.

    Makom Kavua is worth more than anything else.

    The ???? is quoted by Meforshim to the Ein Yaakov (on the above referenced Gemara in Berachos) that although Avraham Avinu had already discovered that the entrance to Gan Eden was at the Me’aras Hamachpeila, Yitzchak Avinu davened at Be’er Lachai Roi because that was his Makom Kavua.

    Enough said.

    in reply to: Does anyone have a source for this? #1034129

    catch yourself

    ???? ??? ????? [???”?] ?? ????? ????? ?????? ???? ?????

    I think it’s obvious that the concept of ????? ????? is one that is far more complex than we can possibly understand, and it should not be too hard to make peace with one more question on the topic.

    The fact that we have heard such statements repeated by our own Rebbeim should be enough for us to recognize that they are well grounded in ??”?.

    In this particular case, I think it is the simple ??? in many statements of ??”?.

    ?? ??? ????? ????? ????? ??? ???

    ??”? ?? ????? ?? ????? ?? ???

    ????? ?? ????? ?? ??? ?? ????? ???

    These are some examples that come to mind offhand, and I am sure that there are many more and stronger sources.

    in reply to: Is it ever proper to withhold a get? #1032143

    catch yourself

    Lior –

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought that ??? ???? ????? ???? was the reason that she has no credibility to state that she has committed adultery, thereby becoming prohibited to live with her husband. In other words, even if she claims to have no desire to divorce, but that divorce is required as a matter of Halacha, the husband is under no obligation to believe her claim.

    This does not imply that when she asks for a get because she no longer wants to be married that it would be denied her on the basis of ??? ???.

    To be sure, I am not saying that in fact a woman (or man, for that matter) has the right to cancel a marriage due to lack of interest; I am simply showing that this position can not be disproved on the strength of the ??? rule.

    in reply to: Tehillim request for baby #1029533

    catch yourself

    There are people whose actual name is Faigy.

    The parents probably knew what they were doing.

    in reply to: Does anyone know mekubalim in NY? #1029381

    catch yourself

    Learn Rav Yaakov Hillel’s sefer ???? ????. He clearly shows exactly where all of this segulah chasing belongs in the perspective of a Torah Jew.

    I doubt that: 1)The Poskim I referred to would appreciate having their names posted here, and 2)You would take my word for their opinion even if I did tell you their names.

    By all means, find whoever you consider to be leading Poskim, and get their opinion firsthand, like I did.

    Let me know what you find.

    Of course, I agree that there is a problem with going to a Mekubal even if they are “real”. The point here is that this is not the approach to life that is recommended by HKB”H in the Torah. It is a way of life that is not really even sanctioned in the Torah.

    It happens to be that the problem is usually compounded by the corrupt exploiters who cause terrible harm while taking people’s money.

    The Chofetz Chaim, with all of his legendary ???? ?????, was famously reluctant to grant berachos because of the fear that the supplicant would “take it easy.”

    Oh and by the way, Mod-29, I have dealt with many of the famous shadchanim and none of them ever contemplated taking money up-front. The ones who do should be avoided like the plague. Do not even engage them in friendly conversation – it can be very costly.

    in reply to: Is it ever proper to withhold a get? #1032077

    catch yourself


    I feel your pain. You need a supportive Rav, who is not afraid to fight your case, and who is experienced enough not to be fooled by the other party’s presentation.

    I wish you much hatzlacha, and may Hashem champion your cause.

    That said, I agree with Navi’s (refreshingly dispassionate) comment. The fact is that there are cases where the wife is the one manipulating the situation (and the tendency on the part of ignorant observers to assume that the husband is evil). There are cases (some with which I am intimately familiar) where the wife and her family are guilty of horrific psychological abuse of the husband, starting with the wedding day and continuing through divorce negotiations. In these cases, responsible Rabbonim have advised the husbands that they are under no obligation to grant a get.

    This is a serious matter which needs to be adjudicated by wise, experienced, caring Rabbonim (and without the corruption of certain “To’anim” who care about nothing and no one other than their own bank account).

    U’macha Hashem Elokim dim’a me’al kol panim.

    in reply to: Does anyone know mekubalim in NY? #1029370

    catch yourself

    @ Francorachel3:

    Person has problem. Person goes to mekubal. Mekubal takes large sum of money up front, and advises ridiculous solution. Person (with brain firmly turned off) follows inane (or worse) advice, and has nothing to show for it but an invoice from Mekubalim ‘R’ Us.

    Person needs shidduch. Person contacts shadchan, who takes nothing, but offers possible shidduch(im). Person thoroughly researches prospective match(es) before meeting. Shadchan gets paid only if shidduch is successful.

    You ask, “What’s the difference?” I ask, “What’s the similarity?”

    As far as the segulah craze, a very serious case can be made that the current practice among many people is barely distinguishable from avodah zara. That is not hyperbole or rhetoric; it is the sober opinion of many leading poskim. It’s time to put an end to “Vending-machine Judaism” and start recognizing that Hashem controls us, we don’t control Him.

    in reply to: Does anyone know mekubalim in NY? #1029362

    catch yourself

    Don’t put your hope in these people. Daven, be ????? in your performance of Mitzvos, and, if you need advice, talk to your Rav. He is (most likely) very experienced, and has your best interests at heart.

    If you need professional help, by all means, get a good social worker or psychologist.

    Do not waste your time and money chasing the quick fix. It is a scam.

    This is not to say that all Mekubalim are evil swindlers. But then again, I never heard of Rav Yisrael Elya Weintraub zt”l, or lhavdil bein chayim l’chayim, Rav Yaakov Hillel shlita, cooking lead soup…

    in reply to: You have two cows #1106710

    catch yourself

    Feminist: You have two cows. You do not allow them to produce milk or care for their calves, instead forcing them to plow the field alongside the bulls.

    Nonconformist: You have two cows. You paint all of their black spots white, and all of their white spots black. The cows insist that they not be assumed to be behaimos just based on their looks.

    in reply to: Ki-naidel #1117823

    catch yourself

    Bichlal, all of our food is prepared in a


    in reply to: Ki-naidel #1117822

    catch yourself



    k-offee (with k-ream)

    K-it k-at

    k-ucumber (even though Rashi indicates that it’s not such a great food; maybe that’s only the earthly version)

    maybe this is why we had the k-car

    in reply to: school yard bullying #1027541

    catch yourself

    “Zero Tolerance” needs to really mean ZERO tolerance. It is a problem that schools are not assertive enough about enforcing this stated policy.

    In both of my school careers (as a student and as a teacher)there were times that I was the victim; I was never the bully. I have never seen an instance of the bully being a “teacher’s pet.”

    I wouldn’t say that I (as a teacher) resent the bully among my students. Like all students, this child has a problem that it is my job to help him solve. It happens to be that this particular issue is one that precludes me from allowing him to interact with other students in a normal way. If, as a teacher, I am going to succeed with this student, it is imperative that I establish and cultivate a relationship with him that is based on respect and appreciation. Everybody (even the bully) has positive aspects which can serve as the foundation of such a relationship.

    Baruch Hashem, I have been able to help bullies of various degrees overcome their problem and reintegrate into the normal school social system.

    in reply to: Really "Creative" Names #1027092

    catch yourself


    How many names did Moshe Rabbeinu have?

    The practice of naming a child with more than one name is one that has been highly popular for hundreds of years. Anyone with a rudimentary familiarity with the names of Mechabrei Sefarim knows this.

    There are plenty of areas in which the people of our generation need to grow – this is not one of them.

    in reply to: Conformity for its own sake #1026927

    catch yourself

    I think it was Calvin (friend of Hobbes, not the philosopher) who pointed out the irony of ads such as:

    “Express yourself – Wear Jordache Jeans”

    The nonconformist is as far from the individualist as is the conformist.

    Anyway, most of the people that I know who complain about the need to conform in the frum community have no problem conforming to many other “communities”. They simply resent the burden of being required to follow certain rules.

    News Flash: Halacha is a constant value, whether you wear a white dress shirt or a T-shirt, or, for that matter, no shirt at all.

    in reply to: Changing a rabbi through a text on the third date #1026913

    catch yourself

    It all depends on how drastically you got the Rabbi to change.

    in reply to: school yard bullying #1027537

    catch yourself

    Daniel Q’s point, the importance of which can not be overstated, was that often the best way to protect your own child’s physical and emotional well-being is by eliminating the problem through peaceful means rather than hostile ones. In helping the bully change their situation and self image, you are removing the threat in a more profound and lasting way than with a baseball bat.

    Not to impugn Daniel’s generosity of spirit, this approach demands not generosity, but rationality and objectivity.

    Simply put, if you will act in a goal-oriented way, and your goal is the protection of your child, you will often find yourself helping the bully.

    On a side note, as Daniel alluded, the halacha of yeihareig v’al ya’avor does not actually apply to halbonas panim; the Gemara indicates that “mutav”, it is preferable, (based on Tamar and Yehuda), but this directly indicates that it is not required.

    Once more, I will point out that even in a small recreation area with a small number of children, it is impossible to supervise all actions of all children for every second of recess. This is true whether or not the supervisor is shmoozing. As a Rebbe who supervises recess on occasion, I can tell you that nobody understands this better than the bullies. They are shrewd enough to make sure that their actions take place under the radar.

    in reply to: Shas vs Chumash #1026905

    catch yourself

    If someone isn’t going to learn Chumash anyway, they may as well learn Aruch Laner…

    in reply to: Conformity for its own sake #1026920

    catch yourself

    Twisted –

    Obviously, we can not rely on chitzoniyus, and presentation is no substitute for introspection and self-improvement. The Torah value in all of this is of course as a complement to, not as a surrogate for, “chovos halevavos.”

    It is the sad truth that there are some for whom our community is no more than a social club; had these people been born in different circumstances they most likely would live largely the same lives in different clothing. Don’t let these people get you down on the community in general.

    in reply to: school yard bullying #1027529

    catch yourself

    Even if every Rebbe or teacher stays with their class to supervise recess, the fact is that they can not hover over the shoulders of all (or any) of their students for the duration of the recess break. Zero tolerance is a necessary policy (which schools do need to implement and enforce better) which will deter most bullying, but no school policy can absolutely protect against all bullying.

    This is not altogether a bad thing, since bullying does exist in all levels of society, and it is not terrible for kids to have some exposure to it, provided that the school does not allow it to get out of hand by having a zero tolerance policy.

    in reply to: Walking around with hat and/or jacket #1026470

    catch yourself

    Those of us who have not yet reached the level of ??? ??? ????? would do well to follow the advice of ??”?, along with all of the ??????? ??????? ????? ???? (not to mention the likes of “7 habits”, et al): If you want to be identified as a member of the community of ????? ?? ????, dress the part. Like it or not, there is a general mode of dress in that community (note I did not say a specific dress code!) If you don’t want to, fine, it doesn’t bother anyone who does. But don’t dissuade other people from doing what even you ultimately recognize as the proper thing to do!

    in reply to: is my pot pareve? #1026633

    catch yourself

    Depends…if you live in Colorado, it’s fleishige keilim…anywhere else, we apply ein issur chal al issur, and it is pareve

    in reply to: Conformity for its own sake #1026916

    catch yourself

    “The clothes makes the man.” Face it; this is a fact of human nature, both on the part of the one wearing “the clothes” (by which I refer to all modes of outward presentation), and on the part of the observer.

    There is nothing wrong with the fact that a person is identified by the way he or she chooses to present himself or herself to the world.

    The argument that it is judgmental and morally incorrect to make assumptions about a person based on that person’s clothing, etc. is a specious one; we all do this on a constant basis.

    This does not mean that I only respect people who I identify as similar to myself; it means that there are people who I identify as similar to myself.

    For those people who are above human nature and exercise perfect control over themselves as an expression of their spiritual standing, such trappings may well be unnecessary. For us mere mortals, however, it is important to keep in mind that “??? ???? ??? ????????.”

    In the words of the wisest of all men, ???? ???? ???.

    in reply to: Rabbinic Titles #1024760

    catch yourself

    For some perspective about titles, I like to refer to the following halacha:

    A person whose father has gone OTD r”l should be called for an aliyah using his grandfather’s name (i.e., yaamod Yaakov ben Avraham). If, however, he is well known in the community and changing the way he is called to the Torah will embarrass him (presumably by highlighting the fact that his father is not religious), Shulchan Aruch rules that he may be called with his father’s name. The Mishnah Berurah comments that “at the very least titles such as Moreinu should not be used.”

    I think this speaks for itself about the usage of even the most revered titles in centuries past.

    (and perhaps it was to this comment of the Mishnah Berurah that Rav Elyashiv [quoted above] referred)

    Anyway, like “Thank you,” a title is a very subjective thing which can be used with both the most shallow and the most profound meanings, depending on the context. Fact is, when we say “Harav Hagaon Reb Shloime Mechel, assistant night seder sho’el u’meishiv,” noone thinks we are equating the subject with the Vilna Gaon. Nor, for that matter, is the title Gaon used in quite the same way to refer to the Vilna Gaon as to Rav Sherira Gaon.

    I know a veteran gabbai who calls his congregants with their titles (Dr. Ploni ben Ploni esquire) – it’s part of what he does to make the davening more entertaining for many of the people who (sadly) would not stay inside otherwise.

    in reply to: Misspoken #1024731

    catch yourself

    What do you mean?

    in reply to: Daas Torah #1076504

    catch yourself


    Just for the record tautology is not the same as circular reasoning.

    Tautology means unnecessarily repeating an idea.

    “Daas Torah” is like “normal” – something for which there IS an absolute value, (“derech hamemutza”, whatever that is) but which people like to define subjectively.

    in reply to: Confusing Halacha, Minhag, Chumra, Shtus #1206368

    catch yourself

    Forget the Halacha, Minhag and Chumra. I’m just here for the shtus.

    Shtus: Thinking that it is the husband’s responsibility that his wife overworked herself in cleaning for Pesach, then forced herself to prepare a lavish meal that she knew there would not be time to eat, but served it anyway, and refuses to sit for Hallel because she’s too tired and won’t go to sleep with dishes in the sink.

    in reply to: If Jewish writers are so good, why don't they publish secular? #983552

    catch yourself

    Syag –

    You are right. I was wrong to post that comment.

    At any rate, as eclipse has said, the authors are probably better than they seem.

    I imagine, also, that writers have gotten better since the last time I checked.

    And, after all, I am no professional linguist – just a voracious reader.

    I join you in requesting the post be taken down, and I apologize to all the writers out there – I definitely painted with too broad a brush.

    As part of my teshuva, I hereby renounce my membership, and will bli neder refrain from posting ever again.

    As it says – syag lchachmah….shetikah

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