catch yourself

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  • 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

Viewing 29 posts - 451 through 479 (of 479 total)