catch yourself

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  • in reply to: Phrases that are offensive to our fellow creatures #1042676
    catch yourself

    The only word for people who seriously go for this sort of thing is “asinine.”

    in reply to: Stupid things people have said to you #1043019
    catch yourself

    [Visiting a patient in the hospital, two days after the removal of a brain tumor] “So…how big was it?”

    in reply to: Potatoe chips #1042056
    catch yourself


    Depends who you ask…this is a long standing debate between Merriam-Webster and Dan Quayle.

    in reply to: Chinuch dilemma #1039366
    catch yourself

    Lesson learned: “Patching” does not work (at least not for these children). I am not fanatically opposed to corporal punishment (AT HOME – obviously absolutely unacceptable by anyone other than parents!), but it needs to be very well thought out. In most cases, the best reason not to use corporal punishment is that it is ineffective. This is because it is usually not the result of a proactive and thought out parenting plan, but a reactive way of trying to force children to act in a certain way.

    I don’t see what there is to be gained by responding to this incident in a vacuum. The three year old probably has heard, “if you…then I will…” countless times from his parents, and is simply following their example. Let this one slide. The focus needs to be on cultivating the appropriate respect on the part of the parents.

    This father needs to engage in a long-term plan to reestablish his parental authority, without resort to hitting his children. Don’t pretend to have all the answers; read some parenting books, develop your personal method of parenting, and be relentlessly consistent about its implementation.

    in reply to: What should a Rebbe do #1039155
    catch yourself

    Care to elaborate on that?

    in reply to: What should a Rebbe do #1039151
    catch yourself

    This is not about mussar. It is about when and how we allow situations to develop which present us with a choice between two evils.

    Generally speaking, people make compromises and “choose between the lesser of two evils” only when, fundamentally, they consider both “evils” acceptable choices. This was the point of the analogy to a lawyer. For the lawyer, this choice simply does not exist – he must be on time, and he must wear a tie.

    Here is another analogy: A bachur in yeshiva may want to choose the lesser of two evils: Skip breakfast (thereby compromising his ability to learn) or come late to seder (so he can eat). The fact is, he should wake up earlier. Several years later, the same individual (now married with children, and not afraid he might be asked to do gelilah) will never have a problem waking up on time for the early minyan. All that changed is whether his new situation allows for the choice to exist.

    Obviously, there are exceptional cases where it is impossible to avoid such a situation; these, however, are few and far between. Most often, the choice only arises because the person’s value system allows this to happen. ????? ?? ?????.

    If a Rebbe comes late or without a tie several times in his career, that’s probably due to circumstances beyond his control. [Incidentally, in such a case, I would probably go without a tie]. If it happens often enough that he wants to know what to do next time, that’s probably because one or both of these things is not important enough to him.

    Not mussar; just objective analysis.

    in reply to: What should a Rebbe do #1039142
    catch yourself


    My response was not meant as mussar. The point is that if it is not an option to be late, and it is not an option to come without a tie, he will figure it out. The answer to the question really is that these are both not acceptable options.

    One more thing – Does this Rebbe then go and give his talmidim the classic “Omeid lifnei haMelech” speech on how to present and conduct themselves during davening? [You know, “If you would have a meeting with the President…”]

    ivory –

    It’s obvious from the question that he is the type of Rebbe, going to the type of place, where he would normally be expected to come on time with a tie…

    in reply to: What should a Rebbe do #1039137
    catch yourself

    He should go early with a tie. How should a lawyer show up to an important court case – early without a tie, or late with one?

    One of the premier mechanchim of our generation put it this way –

    “When it comes to a Rebbe’s timeliness, the rule is:

    Better never than late!”

    I think it is obvious that a Rebbe must project the respect he has for his students and his position, certainly no less so than any other professional. You need to be on time. You need a tie.

    in reply to: Im Going to Uman.I will pray for you there. #1038482
    catch yourself

    Personally (linguistic preferences of English Language teachers aside), when someone quotes a Maharsha (or most other meforshim), I check the source to see whether I understand it the same way. I encourage you to do the same.

    The reconciliation with common practice is my own; I did not see anyone address the issue. If you find someone who does, please let me know.

    I do not know whether Gedolim are or were careful not to daven mandatory tefilos at mekomos hakedoshim. In case not, I would venture to say that it is no worse than any other trip. The problem, then, would exist only in case of traveling specifically for purpose of davening a mandatory tefila at that place. This is a bit contrived, I know, but at the moment I do not see another way out.

    in reply to: Theological Conundrum (read at your own risk) #1090158
    catch yourself

    If you recognize the truth of the Torah, you know that it really is not a choice. You are Hashem’s creation, His slave. You owe Him your existence, and He demands your compliance with His Law.

    This is the reason to serve Him ??? ?? ??? ???? ???. You are to serve because that is who you are; you are to have a slave mentality, which means that you are not to have the capacity of thinking about personal gain. There is to be no such thing as personal gain in your world.

    If you (like nearly all other people) are not yet at the level where you can completely identify with this ideal, you are encouraged to serve Him ?? ??? ???? ???.

    in reply to: Shabbos Project results #1191726
    catch yourself

    I suspect you understood exactly what I meant; nevertheless, I don’t mind explaining.

    Fact: Many people credit Kiruv organizations with introducing them to Judaism and making them frum. (Although I am not, and never have been, employed by any such organization, I know many such people personally, just from my own community; if you don’t, feel free to do some research). It is simply not true that no one ever became frum because of a kiruv organization.

    Yes, what you say is true, that Hashem gives everyone their opportunity to recognize the truth. Why do you think that the organization’s efforts were not the way He chose to reach out to these people? Why do you assume that, had they not been receptive to the organization, they would have been given another chance, and that they would have capitalized on it? In any case, we are not allowed to operate on the assumption that “Hashem takes care of it” when it comes to helping others. We are to assume that our efforts are necessary and critical, even as we recognize that ultimately Hashem will see to it that everyone gets what they need.

    Plainly put, we can not think about “how would it have happened, if it had not happened the way it did.”

    The assertion that “no one ever became frum because of a kiruv organization” necessarily discourages people from contributing to kiruv organizations. This would obviously compromise the organizations’ ability to bring back as many people as they otherwise would be able to do. Therefore, the assertion is an attack on the neshamos of those who would potentially be excluded from kiruv efforts because of lack of funds.

    in reply to: Theological Conundrum (read at your own risk) #1090137
    catch yourself

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

    This is more or less how Rav Chaim Volozhiner explains the Mishna (as I remember it):

    Obviously, we are required to serve Hashem whether we like it or not. As our Creator and Master, He has total rights over what we do, and we must obey.

    If a person can not motivate himself to serve Hashem without thought of reward and punishment, then he should serve based on that motivation (????? ????? ??? ????).

    This is not someone who can rightfully be called an eved at all. Hopefully, be’ezras Hashem, he will eventually reach the level of serving simply because it is what Hashem “wants” (????? ??? ???? ?? ????).

    On a deeper level, one may argue that Hashem “wants” to reward us, so serving with thought of reward should qualify as lishma.

    In fact, this is true, but only if the thought of reward is purely intended to satisfy Retzono Yisbarach. For most people, this is not possible.

    There were some “Avadim” (slaves who served because it satisfied their Master’s Will) who were able to incorporate thought of reward into their service in this way. Outstanding individuals such as Moshe Rabbeinu, Avraham Avinu and David Hamelech were ????? ??????? ?? ??? ?? ??? ???? ???.

    The Mishna cautions us not to try to emulate their example, since for most people it would be counterproductive. Of course, we should strive to be Avadim (slaves, who serve not out of any thought of personal gain, but because they must obey their Master), but we should be content with the status of ????? ??????? ?? ??? ??? ?? ??? ???? ???, which is the lower of the two.

    in reply to: Im Going to Uman.I will pray for you there. #1038467
    catch yourself

    Learn the Maharsha that I referenced in my earlier post in this thread. Of course we know that people travel (including, by the way, Avraham Avinu, the paragon of Kove’a Makom L’tfilaso). The point is that by having a set place to daven, one expresses the fact that HKBH is All-Powerful, and above any sort of influence whatsoever. This is why the Gemara says “Elokei Avraham Be-ezro.” The G-D of Avraham (who was the first one to teach about the omnipotence of Hashem) will help a person who davens in a way which expresses this idea.

    Traveling out of necessity is one thing; traveling so as to daven in what is considered a particularly auspicious place undermines the message of Avraham Avinu.

    Again, I want to stress that this is not me talking – it is the Maharsha.

    [It would seem that this applies only to mandatory tefillos, as we know that all Gedolei Hadoros were (and are) in the habit of davening al kivrei Avos and at the Kosel.]

    in reply to: Im Going to Uman.I will pray for you there. #1038459
    catch yourself

    I said catch yourself, not trick yourself…

    in reply to: Shabbos Project results #1191718
    catch yourself

    Cherrybim –

    “Show me one person who became frum as a result of a kiruv organization/project who would not have done it without the organization’s involvement. That person does not exist.”

    Of course, it is impossible to know with certainty that a specific individual would never have become frum had they never had contact with a particular organization.

    That said, there are many people whose original contact with Judaism was through a Kiruv organization, and who credit the organization with starting them back on the path to being Frum. Many of these completed the journey with those same organizations.

    Your assertion that no such individual exists is flat out wrong, and is a dangerous attack on the neshamos of thousands of as-yet not frum Jews.

    in reply to: Response to Lior #1036941
    catch yourself

    Just wondering…

    Did my own previous posts in this thread also sound like the infamous Joseph?

    in reply to: Response to Lior #1036940
    catch yourself

    Gavra –

    I must acknowledge that (due to my own ignorance) I misunderstood your previous post.

    I thought that you were avoiding the issue by acting as though my argument did not deserve a response.

    In fact, you were ignoring me under the (mistaken) impression that I was a well known troll, who in fact would not deserve a response.

    See how far a little bit of ignorance can go? 🙂

    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.

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