Forum Replies Created
January 7, 2013 8:56 pm at 8:56 pm in reply to: Inadvertently taking extra merchandise – halacha #918165
Zahavasdad, if they really want to, they can do it very conveniently with, say, English translations of the Talmud which in our days are promptly available. We should keep discussion on topic: the OP is in Asia, he buys at a shop, and storing his shopping at home, he finds himself with an extra item along with whatever he meant to buy.January 7, 2013 8:07 pm at 8:07 pm in reply to: Inadvertently taking extra merchandise – halacha #918159
Oh come on. I may be a yukel but I had never heard the word yukel before. Kol HaKavod to Asians who read here and who are fluent in yiddish, they sure are smart enough to frame the discussion. BTW I just asked someone and i was told budhu means naive, it is not flattering but not an insulting word either. It is more like “naive” or “foolish” than like “stupid” or “idiot”. The lady with the strawberries, assuming she did not fill a basket which had been half-emptied by previous thieves (in which case it is proper to ask an employee to do, or go to the cashier) is outright geneiva, why do some feel the need to badmouth and post something totally unrelated? She is a bad woman and stay away from her.January 7, 2013 4:56 pm at 4:56 pm in reply to: Inadvertently taking extra merchandise – halacha #918149
Akuperma, shoplifting?! Theft??!! there is not even the shadow of shoplifting. The clerk gave an extra lid which passed unnoticed, or at least, so thinks TheBearIsBack. The OP doesn’t even care for the lid, but it’s now in his possession. He is totally willing to give it back in the case it’s proper to do so (suppose a very contrived scenario in which the lid is really owned by a yid who did not give up on it and it ended up there?) He is willing to give it back to the nonjew if appropriate. BUT, what you probably don’t realize is that, if he does want to give it back (say he wants to show the shop what a Yid is like and make a kiddush Hashem) it’s not just a matter of a few seconds or a few cents, here is what likely he has to do. Go to the closest internet cafe, open some random webpage, ask around who speaks some english. Ask who is willing to do you a favour, and request that they write “Dear shop owner, this was in my bag by mistake, I only realized at home. I did not use, is clean. I return. Pleasure to buy at your shop. Thank you.” Make sure they understand what you have told them. Take the paper and thank for their bother, and pay something to the boy. Pay the internet shop for the service you did not want nor care for. Go to the shop with your piece of paper, go to the cashier and hand out the lid and the paper. Watch the employee call someone else to make sure they understood and watch the three or four of them discuss (in the meanwhile, unpaid time flies). And then who knows? May be it turns out that there is a SPECIAL, buy large container with lid, get small lid for free, the lids which were unavailable the previous month and customers were mad, so the manager suggested “special offer”!!!
OK if someone wants to do – fine – but I don’t think you can say that keeping the lid amounts to shoplifting.
TheBearIsBack please explain what is a yukel. I’d keep the lid and enjoy it.January 6, 2013 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm in reply to: Inadvertently taking extra merchandise – halacha #918136
TheBearisBack my apologies but sometimes over the internet it is hard to figure out what’s behind a post.
Since this is not a beis midrash but, after all, a coffeeroom, I’ll take the liberty to write. I am female, I go shopping 🙂 I was taught that even people who have deities etc. normally we don’t treat like ovdei avodah zarah as long as they have some idea (possibly very distorted) that good is different from bad and that good is preferable to bad. Thus, if we see a pagan nazi y”sh etc etc, but for just about everyone else (hindu, catholics etc) we stop, try to help and call 911 even in the middle of nowhere. For a mistake like that or extra change, and where the mistake is absolutely not ours, I believe we keep and say nothing. We can return the extra item or extra money or offer to pay the lid, if doing so gives monetary gain (e.g. expected discounts in future) or good-name gain which is larger than the price of the lid (or extra change, or whatever). I believe it is assur to return the lid to the nonjew, regardless of their religion or lack thereof, because it makes us feel good to do so.January 6, 2013 6:25 pm at 6:25 pm in reply to: Inadvertently taking extra merchandise – halacha #918128
“This is a serious halachic discussion – I’ve decided what I am going to do anyway, but I’m interested in what halachic sources say I should do.”
So, why do you ask?January 6, 2013 4:02 pm at 4:02 pm in reply to: stuttering problem for shidduchim #919909
Let’s face it, she won’t be perfect either. But she will be perfect to you. You will be the perfect one for her. Dont worryJanuary 6, 2013 11:42 am at 11:42 am in reply to: Dealing with an Atheist "Convert" #917640
zahavasdad, apologies, I did not notice the date and that your post is one year old.January 6, 2013 2:47 am at 2:47 am in reply to: Dealing with an Atheist "Convert" #917639
FWIW (I don’t presume to be giving useful advice, it is a very delicate matter) if it were me, I would not go out of my way to seek this person. But should it happen that I speak to him, I would ask how he deduces, say, from the assumption that God does not exist, which is an abstract idea, statements such as “eating shrimp is fine” or “stealing is fine”. He is likely to reply that he does not think at all that stealing is fine – because it hurts another human being, or something like that – OK awesome you’ve found many points of agreement, same applies in regard to not hurt another human being etc. As for seafood and sausages, he may say that he likes that food (stay silent, let him draw his conclusions, that he is seeking to justify something he had already decided to do) or maybe he says that he tasted them and they are awful and will never eat again (that’s not the best, but better than some), or maybe he will say why should I refrain? It’s told to us in the Torah, but the Torah was not written by God…. oh wait, which God? let him get into confusion. To such remarks, just reply the discussion should not involve God which we can not prove or disprove, that whoever wrote the Torah appear to you pretty bright and smart and he is free to disagree but has to support his point. Always bring back the discussion to concrete situations and keep asking whether he can prove that a life with the “pleasant” aveirot he lists (tell him to list them) is more fulfilling than one without. From time to time also keep telling him that you greatly respect decent atheists and that the same respect is taken for granted in return.
I don’t think it will change his outlook but I do think it will help him feel he is being taken seriously, it may make him think (and possibly change his mind about some very minor details, but who can weigh a seemingly small mitzva) and given the situation with his son, it is very important that he does not go “out to battle” against the observant people, if you can convince him the world is wide enough for all sort of people, life for his son will be much easier. Be Hatzlacha.January 3, 2013 8:37 am at 8:37 am in reply to: What did the dirty diaper-throwing individuals hope to accomplish? #917398
they’re gangs of ODT kids who dress like they used to, and among other things, they harass cars driving on Shabbat.December 30, 2012 5:59 pm at 5:59 pm in reply to: iPod Repair – Looking for a Recommendation #916917
I would recommend getting an ipad / ipod which can be jailbroken and thus it’s possible to install filters for security and protection from garbage which on mobile devices is even worse than on computers. You can ask someone to do for you and it should not cost more than a token amount. Obviously make sure the person who sets it up is available in the future, and keeps your root password, for any changes you may want to do to the device.December 30, 2012 5:08 pm at 5:08 pm in reply to: Jews forced off Jet Blue Flight #916242
Flight attendants are overtired, overworked, rude (that’s the only way they can do their job, sort of, and land us safely in those overfilled metal cans), and sometimes they can be plain racist. With some airlines it gets even worse, for the passengers as well as for the employees. Politely ask someone to exchange seats (and expect problems when the crew bring your special meals).
DaMoshe have you run out of nice decent nonjews who know manners and who do their utmost best to be respectful, that you need to defend the indefensible? A racist waitress who unloads her hatred for the jewish people, especially those who insist on living like jews instead of entering the melting pot, upon someone (your family) who were particularly nice with her? And during work, no less? Yes, I believe what you say, that she was polite and nice to you and your family. Does it take so little to blind you?
We all know educated, elegant, polite African-Americans who are successful doctors or lawyers, and I am sure we all at some point heard some of them elaborate upon how much they despise the african-american “culture”. Not the same thing by a far cry: the african-american mindset, where crime and prison is an adulthood rite, is unacceptable to decent humans of whatever skin color, while the frum culture is unacceptable only to antisemites. Yet, does that mean it’d be appropriate to say “Wow, you guys are nice! Usually African-American customers are pretty disgusting to me, but you guys are different.” Had the waitress said so to a table of elegant African-American upscale professionals who went to Ivy League colleges, what do you suppose would happen? how do you suppose they would react? Notice, this is regardless of the sad fact that there are plenty of criminals, addicts and bums among african-americans, which inevitably translates into prejudices.
But I am more interested about how you would react. Would you find it acceptable, had you been out for dinner with a dark-skinned colleague (jewish or nonjewish, african-american or not; but dark-skinned and thus assumed to be an african-american by a waiter) and had your waiter spitted out the same rant about some imaginary or real rude afro-american customers? Or would you have been insulted and offended and enraged, despite your (I assume) white complexion? If your son were to tell your muslim colleague who comes for dinner “you are so nice, but the rest of Arabs are disgusting”, would you be proud of him? Is that how you teach your children? If not, if you teach them like all of us, that there are many arab terrorists (ie, not rude people who however pay premium $$$$ for their lunch, not even small thieves or pushers, but despicable beings who blow up or butcher R”L children and old ladies and pregnant women and then celebrate and dance) and yet this is no reason to insult our fellow human and they should be respectful — why is it suddendly fine, and actually, worth rebroadcasting in a positive light (!!!), when Jews are insulted?
I also wonder why does the waitress who takes issue with kosher customers, happen to serve most of them? Do all of the “nice” waiters in that restaurant take issue with kosher customers and she is the most junior? Or is there another reason? Either way, an interesting tidbit to ponder.
Oomis, if some hypotetical jew deserves mussar for supposedly having been rude to a waitress who makes mistakes in orders (and whom we entrust with the kashrut of our food, because you surely realize that wraps and seals protect against ovens used for nonkosher food, against accidental mistakes, and against nonjews touching the foods they should not touch, but double wraps are helpless against deliberate actions, done out of hatred and spite), I wonder what is in store, for a jew who is told by a waitress “you are nice and different, but the rest of *you* are disgusting” and who not only promptly assumes that “bad jews” went to dinner there, but proceeds to post a rant on a website. I would not want to be upon his pedestal. Nor would I want to be upon yours.
DaMoshe: did you see those hypotetical jews (actually, they could have been Muslims, vegetarians, buddhists, people that cut down on pork for medical reasons, people allergic to shellfish, people who like something among the kosher entries on the menu….) behaving inappropriately? I was under the impression you didn’t. If you saw the scene, and if it seemed to you those hypotetical frum jews were rude to the waitress, why did you not talk to them in a gentle manner? I was under the impression you only heard the tale of the waitress, which you promptly and unconditionally believe and report, despite the fact she did not get your own order right, thus it’s not far-fetched to imagine she made some “innocuous” mistake in other orders. Even if there was some unpleasant discussion, you have no idea what happened. Say the lady brought a dish of meat and then decided to “help” and unwrap it, accidentally touching it with her (hygienically clean) hands in the process? Say the jew made a scene in front of all the clientele, and of course had the meat thrown in the trash, lest it is served to the next unsuspecting customer, possibly some am haaretz or someone not-so-observant who nevertheless keeps kosher, but won’t check carefully the seals and will trust the waitress? Would that jew have been rude? When we sit down in a kosher restaurant which is not owned by G-d fearing jews, don’t we rely on the laws of the land, which don’t allow fraud and which the nonjews are and should be scared of? They must be afraid that any “innocuous” or “inconsequential” kashrut violation will wreak havoc upon their life, and if they are not afraid, we can’t eat in there, can we? Is that not the crux of the famous teshuvot in this regard, those we all rely upon? And, even to a nonjew it is forbidden to sell treif food presenting it as kosher.
One last consideration. Maybe this waitress who knows better than judaism and better than Torah R”L will receive an order for kosher food from a table with not-so-modestly dressed ladies. She will go in the kitchen and ask, “is there by any chance some unwrapped kosher food? There’s an order, but they are not religious jews, so we don’t have to follow their stupid stringencies”. Suppose the customers are nonjewish and their clothing are none of our business, but one of them is severely allergic. What do you say?
The only person lacking derech eretz is the employee. I would have left no tip and talked to management.
I have no idea if she had had whatever discussion with some jewish-looking customer (who could have been anyone asking for kosher food, actually) and if so, whether the customer was right (I notice there was some mistake in your order, so she doesn’t appear to be the epitome of professionality), or whether the waitress was. Let us assume, for the sake of discussion, that some customer was rude to her. This is no reason to call an ethnical group “pretty disgusting to me”. The lady would never dare making such a comment about African-Americans, would she. If she did, she would be made to regret it sorely — and she would fully deserve whatever unpretty consequences would be coming to her.December 27, 2012 7:41 pm at 7:41 pm in reply to: Some notes about what it means to be truly poor… #1001014
We give a little bit to those who ask, we don’t check to their stories, and cut conversation short, lest we induce them to lie. If they don’t really need the money, BH. But you are suggesting we give 20-30$ every day to anyone who asks? Did you give out money like that, when you were well-off? If so, how many times were you taken advantage of?
Most people will gladly write checks when someone we trust talks to us. Let me tell you an interesting fact of life: only a small fraction of those who truly need and deserve help, will ask for it. Lots of people will do the impossible, beg for work everywhere and cut every expense, even essential ones, but do not ask, and if ever they receive any help it’s because some kind soul, usually by chance, stumbles upon their predicament and becomes aware. If you feel insulted by two dollars, to the point you basically curse those who open their wallet (likely for the umpteenth time in the day), I am very sorry, but I can not help it. One last thing: I happen to see people who are in desperate need themselves and yet open their wallet and give a dollar to a fellow jew.November 19, 2012 8:27 am at 8:27 am in reply to: Going off the Derech #1182586
He is not the sort of boy I would be comfortable with knowing he has a weapon, is he.
The Torah of truth does not advice that children should be rewarded if they do wrong and does not suggest we forbid the permissible. You can keep following that path and you can be sure things will not improve.
For all the curious readers, I have children. They are golden and they are smart, even though, of course, far from being even close to their teachers, let alone being compared G-d forbid to the Rishonim, to whom even the gedolim of our generation can’t compare.November 7, 2012 12:42 am at 12:42 am in reply to: Going off the Derech #1182550
WOW This is a public thread, I think, correct me if I am wrong, and it is my very humble opinion that no one should have to give explanations and excuses for following it. It looks like you did not notice, but plenty of readers have been restraining themselves, as there is a mitzvah to be silent when our words of truth will not be well-received. It did not occur to you that perhaps I am possibly aware that the facts are, let me not say different, let me use an understatement and say more complicated, as opposed to how you represented things here?
@interjection, I assume you have read the whole thread as it was posted, if you did not yet, please do.November 4, 2012 2:05 pm at 2:05 pm in reply to: Going off the Derech #1182533
I would imagine a number of people besides Ana Mia have noticed that the thread is problematic on many levels. Some, in fact, posted their doubts some months ago, while others kept their doubts to themselves. It is my opinion that moderators should have closed the discussion a long time ago.October 31, 2012 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm in reply to: Heartwarming, inspiring stories of Jewish community #1023310
In my very humble opinion, every Jewish story is inspiring and something to learn from, even the ones we don’t like. Did you finally get the chance to talk to a Rabbi? I hope he took some time to talk to you and paid attention (as opposed to phoning, texting, checking email etc), if he didnt, please consider he has loads of things to do, not enough time, not enough money, not enough power, and heartbreaking stories that flood him every day. This is true whatever Rabbi you talked to.October 31, 2012 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm in reply to: Suicide (R"L) #901807
Perhaps you can also have someone talk to the family and insist he is brought to kvura as soon as possible. Do you know if the family is trying to, or even if they are willing, to give him a jewish burial? Even if your Rabbi did not personally know him, he will help; you are willing to ask the CR, and no one here knew the man; you no doubt can ask your rabbi the same question. It is a complicated issue.October 31, 2012 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm in reply to: Shocking Study of Modern Orthodox OTD Rate #941577
Hmmm….. MOs have a Rabbi and they treat him like that?October 16, 2012 9:47 am at 9:47 am in reply to: Sensitive infomation to be relayed reagarding shidduchim #899702
Is it not quite self-evident that “Sheva Brachos” was a joke? I am starting to realize how the most absurd slander against haredim does not seem to get questioned.September 30, 2012 4:28 pm at 4:28 pm in reply to: Going off the Derech #1182358
Dear WOW we have tried to tell us our thoughts and opinions for whatever little they were worth, but at this time, the situation is way too complex and delicate to dare speaking. Your son may need one kind of approach or the opposite kind of approach. No one can advice unless they know him very well.
Chag Sameach to you all, gmar chatima tova.September 28, 2012 3:37 pm at 3:37 pm in reply to: WORLDWIDE JEWISH SIMULTANEOUS PRAYER FOR GUEULA #897924
Two millions protestors according to the organizers, a few hundreds according to police.September 28, 2012 3:30 pm at 3:30 pm in reply to: Post-fasting tips #1186002
Syag Lchochma – thank you for the laugh!
No one mentions bread with salt and vodka?September 28, 2012 3:22 pm at 3:22 pm in reply to: please pass along; cars being TOWED from toys r us parking lot!! #1017362
TY shein, done 🙂September 27, 2012 7:58 pm at 7:58 pm in reply to: please pass along; cars being TOWED from toys r us parking lot!! #1017357
RachelB, I am very sorry to hear and thank you for the heads-up; is there an address people can write and complain? I’ll do it.September 21, 2012 12:20 am at 12:20 am in reply to: inspiring Rosh Hashanah story #897180
Are you suggesting she said (the post does not say “shouted”) shana tova with a smile through a thick window? A timid person who the previous days did not dare talking to them, nor knocking on the door, would now shout through the window at people (men) who are praying?
The story is no less beautiful if some details were embellished or misunderstood (I have not accused Aurora of being false; perhaps those people are conservadox, who have been very nice and kind and who did a big mitzva, and were dressed for yom tov, and Aurora is not expected to be able to discriminate, but readers are). The story is cheapened if we force reader to accept all details even when they don’t add up.September 20, 2012 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm in reply to: inspiring Rosh Hashanah story #897177
I have not said it is impossible, I just said that doubts arise.
Of course people can go away, especially if they live in some place without a big community, but religious jews would go to a retreat with some famous rabbi and where they don’t have to cook, they would hardly rent a house on the beach front for the ten days, and in Ocean City. Which, for those who have never been to NJ, is a place where alcoholic beverages are forbidden (!!! on yomim tovim !!!) and which is entertainment-oriented and not suited to the ten-days mood. I have read your theories, but they seem to me doubtful. Only the men go out and do tashlich, without women and especially without the children? And how can it be tashlich, given that according to the original post they did this each morning and every afternoon? OK, perhaps they had just finished davening, fair enough. But is it usual that a group of male religious jews would talk to a woman who is alone on the beach? They would return the greeting (in Israel possibly not even that). Moreover, she says that only one of them approached her at first. And one more thing, she was picking shells and garbage. Kol Ha Kavod (honor to you) and thanks to Aurora for cleaning the beach (perhaps it could have waited till after Yom Tov). But the orthodox jews don’t invite her indoors where she will be able to wash?September 20, 2012 9:24 am at 9:24 am in reply to: inspiring Rosh Hashanah story #897168
more_2 has noticed what we all noticed, if these are “orthodox jewish men”, there are halachot about praying outside when a building is available. Not to mention it is “uncommon” to go on vacation for the high holidays, rent a house on the ocean front (and clean it up: when?) especially for someone that ordinarily lives in NY/NJ, have children play on the beach on yom tov, etc etc. But they must consider themselves very holy, if they have no need of a minyan for Rosh Hashana, perhaps they feel they were sealed the previous year already?
I did not want to ruin the warm fuzzy feeling, and I was taught that not everything we think needs to be said, but let it be a reminder to use a grain of salt or two, in regards to what we read. Especially on the internet.September 20, 2012 3:20 am at 3:20 am in reply to: Where to start becoming Jewish when family roots discovered #991182
I apologize for having to spell it out, but we are taught that eating pork, a cheeseburger, and some treif beef cooked with butter, is less severe a transgression than cooking kosher meat into, say, a metal pot we put on the fire and which we used in the same way a few hours ago with dairy, then washed it with standard dishwashing liquid; and is less severe than eating vegetables which contain even one bug which would be eaten in its entirety. Your point about “mistakes with keilim” has nothing to do with this particular situation. The issue is not making sure the food is kosher, at this time. Whatever kosher meat (same with wine) the original poster may buy and cook properly and in a kosher pan, will be problematic for an observant person to eat, because of having been handled (sorry to have to spell this out too). But we are discussing a completely different point, that is to say, how to minimize the problems for the original poster, who wishes to improve her observance but at this time is not going to have someone help kasher her kitchen, nor is she going to have someone explain her the laws (and explain the basics to her family, as they have to cooperate).
The Rishon LeZion (who, by the way, speaks about “davening” i.e. attending their “services” or whatever, while you recommend not to socialize at all with those people – which is not what the Rabbi said) is referring to observant jews who are in some remote place and would like to pray with a minyan for Rosh Hashana, and all over the town there is one minyan only and it’s at the “reform meeting-place”. The original poster is in a very different situation; the correct approach is to ask a question from a Torah scholar, explaining her situation and asking for advice.
And, back to the main point, Aurora is in the legal profession and in fact she is, if I understand well, some sort of public prosecutor. What will she do when a jew (it’s irrelevant how abhorrent) is in front of her? (possibly being accused of one of the usual blood libels). It’s not a far-fetched fantasy or nightmare, as there are many jews in her town. Ready now: I have read your comments on nonjewish courts elsewhere in the CR; fair enough, but now you have to explain how it’s possible to act according to halacha, for a jewish prosecutor (who grew up unaware of being jewish) in the middle of nowhere, with no support, no connections, with no Rabbi to ask questions, with no background in Torah education. Not only that, but even if she somehow had a Rabbi helping her make the right decisions, she will encounter many problems in her workplace: it would be hard already in NYC or Israel, but being alone against everyone is extremely difficult. I don’t have good suggestions for Aurora, but it is my opinion that she should talk to a Rabbi without further delay, because none of us are qualified to give advice in such a delicate situation.September 19, 2012 7:58 pm at 7:58 pm in reply to: Where to start becoming Jewish when family roots discovered #991180
regardless of how abhorrent a reform jew may be, the halacha regarding moser is in full force.
Please also do not misuse the words of the Rishon Le Zion since I don’t recall people advising Aurora to go to the “building” the reforms use, in fact I recall posters clearly recommending not to go. In addition, the Rabbi is obviously referring to people who are definitely jewish for all halachical purposes. Aurora needs to go to a Rabbi and clarify her status, and then all decisions will be easier. Incidentally, even in the event someone were non jewish, the conduct outlined in the beginning of my post would be a very serious problem.
A Rabbi might tell someone not to worry about dishes and cutlery, but what about pots? My humble advice to someone who wants to buy kosher meat, is not to touch anything in the kitchen for a full day (go to the restaurant) before buying kosher meat for the first time, and get a new pot for it. It’s not my place to teach, but if someone advises to cook kosher meat in the pot previously used with butter (assuming we believe it ever happened, because I have never seen a jew who was so unintelligent) that person would be some huge am haaretz and arrogant boor. That person should have answered “I do not know”.September 16, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm in reply to: Going off the Derech #1182283
Shana Tova to you and your family as well…. sorry I don’t write more, I am in a hurry as usually 😉September 15, 2012 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm in reply to: Where to start becoming Jewish when family roots discovered #991171
we can chat with you and give you whatever little support we can, and we are happy to, but nobody can give you serious help on the internet, you have to contact a reputable orthodox rabbi with experience in this kind of problems, tell him the facts you know about your family, and let him sort everything out. You are in a very complex situation: first you have to prove, according to jewish law, that you are jewish (the rabbi will explain you how this can be done), then after jewishness is established there are other subtleties, which I am not sure it’s appropriate to discuss on the cofferoom nor do I feel I should dare in my ignorance to discuss. These are very delicate questions that have to be addressed by a rabbi who knows all the facts.
I am sure you will have no problem in finding a husband who is as passionate as you are about cats: as others have said, there are many such people, even though they are not the majority, but you need only one husband.
readynow, I grew up with a very clear sense (not perfect, but yet) of what is forbidden and what is permissible, and I have the strong impression it is the same for you, as well as for those people you mention, that they learned in a few days. One thing is a person who grew up frei and his/her parents made him/her aware of all the laws but ignored or mocked them (some laws, anyway, as there are frei yidden who risked a lot on their neighbour’s behalf), and he/she now wants to become observant, fair enough. But here, the problem is that Aurora does not know what to do. She was previously eating nonkosher meat, which is forbidden, no question. Suppose she now makes an effort and buys kosher meat and cooks it in a pot with milchig taste (not spoiled) – is this any less forbidden? or is it a *more* serious transgression? Are we helping this person, or what? And, judaism goes well beyond the kitchen. You realize that Aurora is in a very delicate job, and nobody here is qualified to comment about it and about the halachic ramifications. However, due to the fact she mentioned living in a town with conservative and reform “synagogues”, we can infer there is a significant jewish community in her town, be it unaffiliated, affiliated to non-halachic groups, or even intermarried / baptized / whatever but still jewish. This makes it very important for a rabbi to get involved and to explain what Torah law says.September 13, 2012 6:54 pm at 6:54 pm in reply to: Where to start becoming Jewish when family roots discovered #991167
I had the impression that aurora77 is in her late 30s, because she is an established attorney (if I recall correctly). Should she wait to seek her soulmate? possibly, but let a reputable Rabbi say so, no one of us is qualified to give this advice which potentially may be regretted for a lifetime.
Also, there are issues beyond the observance, because her status is not completely clear, if I understood correctly, and correct me if I am wrong.
Aurora77 maybe we look nosey with all those questions about your private life, please forgive us, we are trying to help.September 13, 2012 3:11 am at 3:11 am in reply to: Did Neil Armstrong really land on the moon?? #896897
Neil Armstrong was confronted with the recording, having always maintained he said “a man”, and he admitted in TV he did not hear it either. He still insisted being sure having pronounced it.
Decades later, someone deconvolved the soundtrack (remember there is about 2 seconds delay and sound transmission was nothing like hifi) and claimed the “a” was there. I am not sure if anyone did a serious analysis of the voice processing, which would likely be inconclusive.September 13, 2012 2:59 am at 2:59 am in reply to: Where to start becoming Jewish when family roots discovered #991162
This question should be asked to a rabbi or anyway to someone smarter than me. But would it be helpful to put this issue aside, or would it make even more difficult for you and your other half to meet each others?September 13, 2012 2:31 am at 2:31 am in reply to: Where to start becoming Jewish when family roots discovered #991159
there is no such thing as a second-class jew. Or as the Lubavicher Rabbi (Chabad) said it, there are jews who do mitzvot (commandments), jews who do more mitzvot, jews who do even more mitzvot. You should keep that in mind, whatever you decide to do in the future.
I think you should focus on finding a jewish spouse. I know it is difficult in a place which does not have a big community and most people are reform / conservative / unaffiliated. But if you think fast forward 30 years, this will have enormous impact on your life and shape your future.
Have you thought of asking someone to come and help you and kasher your kitchen?
It’s very hard to give advice about shabbos without knowing you and what you find difficult, but perhaps you can post questions, many people try to answer and give different viewpoints and suggestions, hopefully you will be able to find some little piece of advice that suits you.September 13, 2012 1:34 am at 1:34 am in reply to: Where to start becoming Jewish when family roots discovered #991154
ready now, try to imagine how she approaches it
She doesn’t have timers, she does not even think about a timer, even if she has the idea and thinks timers can be useful she still would not know if it’s permissible, she might not be used to sleep with the lights on, she might wake up and switch off the light and then feel bad about it and not sleep….September 12, 2012 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm in reply to: Where to start becoming Jewish when family roots discovered #991152
First of all, allow me to say I am heartbroken about your mother’s health issues and I wish her a complete recovery. I know words are empty when someone has serious problems, yet I care.
I think maybe you should ask someone in person and everything would be much easier. It’s not difficult to observe Shabbat for someone who wants to, while 200 years ago it was. But your situation is different, because you don’t know the rules and how to do. Also I would not discount the comment of zahavasdad, which asks you if you plan to get bored in the house for the whole day, possibly in the dark or in the cold. It is my opinion you have to think of the seemingly simple problems, because they are important in the long run, and make the difference in committment.
Are there other jews where you live? Consider that older people are likely to have had some sort of jewish education, also secular jews with secular parents used to; someone who is aware of the basic laws could give you suggestions. Take everything with a pinch (or a handful) of salt, it goes without saying; but you seem to be completely alone, which is tremendously difficult.
I have not understood why you are not asking a rabbi, and if it is your choice, or contingent problems (all of those can be easily solved).
The other thing I have not understood is what your mother thinks about all of this.September 11, 2012 2:54 am at 2:54 am in reply to: So does anyone play WOW here? #932361
I once attempted to pretend I was a wow enthusiast, but people did not take me seriously. Someone even said a joke in my face, it was about a workoholic who had found a good excuse for his evenings and nights in the office 😛September 11, 2012 2:41 am at 2:41 am in reply to: kosher foods at Whole Foods #896915
I try to outline a few basic points.
Meals should be either meat, or dairy. That means no meat is allowed anywhere close to dairy, not in cooking, not in serving, and viceversa. Meat also includes poultry. Meat (and poultry) needs to be kosher certified because it must be slaughtered and prepared in a specific way and by an observant jew.
For dairy, the cheese has to be kosher certified, but with milk or butter, you can rely upon the regular ones.
As I mentioned, you can eat fish in a meal with meat, but there are restrictions. You can’t cook them together and you can’t eat them together. If you wish to do that, you have to cook separately, then you eat the meat dish, then you eat something else (vegetables, eggs, bread) and then you eat the fish. You can also do the reverse order. There is no restriction with fish and dairy.
You don’t have to buy certified fish, but you need to be able to recognize kosher fish, because not every fish is. Or you can make a list of fish you ordinarily buy and have someone read it.
Eggs can be eaten with milk or with meat. Same with vegetables. When you buy them canned, the easiest thing is to search for kosher certified, which in fact are no more expensive than competitors. If you buy them raw and clean them, you have to check for insects and parasites. There are guidelines that you can find on the websites of reputable kosher certification agencies. You can also find on the internet plenty of discussions about the kosher status of coffee-based beverages. To tell you the truth, I only drink black coffee.
There is one more item which would require kosher certification, that is wine, grape juice, wine vinegar. The beers and liquors, as long as they are made from kosher ingredients (e.g. there is some tequila which includes a nonkosher, and disgusting, ingredient) do not require certification. Soft drinks, you can usually find them certified. Mineral water and sparkling mineral water does not require certification, but there are brands who have certification anyway.
There are restrictive rules on Pesach but that’s many months away 🙂
The other thing you should know, is that your kitchen cookware, dishes, etc. will eventually need to be rearranged, because it can absorbe nonkosher taste or it can create a forbidden mixture of milk and meat. Perhaps you should ask someone to do that in person, because it is difficult to explain over the internet.
Also, of course, nonkosher food (e.g. for the cats) has to be prepared separately and care should be taken when you use and store the food, the pots, etc.
I wish you much success!September 9, 2012 9:53 pm at 9:53 pm in reply to: kosher foods at Whole Foods #896911
I don’t think you can rely on the internet, for example fish is pareve, but you can’t eat it with meat, much less cook them together. Also it would be very hard to make your kitchen kosher without asking for help. However, many people would be happy to help you for free.
For the time being, perhaps you could tell us what you ordinarily eat, and may be we can give some advice.
Most food of vegetable origin is intrinsically kosher, but it is important to make sure it is free of insect and parasites.September 9, 2012 8:50 pm at 8:50 pm in reply to: blessings for animals (in particular, pets!) #895979
To Aurora77: If you are planning to own other pets in the future, and you would like them to have that surgery, you have to ask a question, with all the details. You can no doubt ask it from Rabbi Amar and in the same letter, you can also ask for clarification of his previous rulings. You can also discuss the alternate procedures that were mentioned, which involve removing blood supply and thus have organs atrophize: it is my understanding they are intended for use in the very specific situations I outlined, in order to minimize violation in those cases in which it’s permissible to do. But of course I am no rabbi and I would never presume to teach. On the other hand I can tell, because I have seen people do it, that cats and dogs, and other animals which are kept for utility (bulls, horses, etc) or as pets, can have a long, healthy and happy life without being subjected to the surgery.
To The Chassidishe Gatesheader: I am sorry, I did not write the Torah. And the reason I would never willingly help in neutering or spaying pets is not that I find it cruel, it is that it’s forbidden. Moreover, I was taught we ask a question from our Rabbi and then we do what he tells us. I am willing to believe that’s exactly what you did, and that you were told you are allowed to spay and neuter all your cats, both males and females. But this does not completely help, because that’s not how I was taught. So, when I see a sick or wounded stray cat and I know I have the option, say, of making a phone call, you bet I won’t be calling anyone. I could tell stories about how a chiloni veterinarian agreed to something (and money was paid to secure that), then some person talked the vet into doing the surgery without notifying anyone, using a load of lies about it being permissible and a kindness to animals. I wonder if you would have an excuse for that, or if you find it as repulsive as I do.September 9, 2012 2:41 pm at 2:41 pm in reply to: blessings for animals (in particular, pets!) #895972
Thank you all for the suggestions and kind words. Also thank to Aurora for the very interesting article.
I have heard about answers which permit in some cases to remove reproductive organs from animals (having nonjews do it), but, correct me if I am wrong, this was done under two conditions:
– the animal had a disease which would cause it to suffer and die, were the surgery not performed
– the animal’s owner would suffer great distress and/or financial loss
But those leniencies are not applicable generically. Most animals are not neutered because they have an ovarian or testicular cancer, but because their owners would like to. Most animals in a shelter don’t even have an owner, the shelter has taken animals which were either in the streets or whose owners wanted to get rid of them for whatever reasons (I am not discussing legitimate reasons vs superficial reasons, just the fact that owners no longer want to keep them).
There is no obligation to allow animals to reproduce, we may avoid it by keeping it apart from other animals or via hormonal treatment, but it’s not so straightforward. These pets, even when alone, make noise at night and disturb their owners, who might eventually bring them in for surgery. And the hormonal treatments, which I have paid for and taken care of it via sympathetic veterinarians writing the prescription, means that people are harassed and told they are causing disease to the animals (?! human females take the pill too…), while the surgery would “magically” eliminate diseases and give long life (yeah I know it’s pocket lining, but that’s what they are told – sometimes in public and in front of their children or other people). It’s a problem when someone who cares for a pet is insulted like that, because most will give in, or alternatively, get rid of the pet by letting it out in the streets. Those few who don’t, I am sorry to say, will one day find out that surgery had been done.
Perhaps people like you should consider setting up an animal shelter and clinic, one that does not spay or neuter under any circumstances (it should not accept animals with the sort of diseases I mentioned before: these cases are very rare, let the owners ask their posek). Or at least, flood with letters the shelter you donate to or where you volunteer. If it’s possible to set up a no-kill shelter, then no doubt it’s possible to set up one which respect our beliefs. It would also provide a living for people who would like to become veterinarians or veterinary technical/sanitary assistants and who would be excellent professionals, but in the current system, can not. The very existence of people like that, out in the open, would mean a lot and make a lot of difference.September 9, 2012 12:25 am at 12:25 am in reply to: blessings for animals (in particular, pets!) #895968
first of all, thank you for sharing your amazing story, and I wish you a lot of success and happiness.
Please be aware there is no prohibition to own an animal who has been neutered or spayed. I am sure you would never had done that, had you been aware of the prohibition and had the animal been yours. You have nothing to regret.
On the other hand, according to most authorities, the prohibition also applies to nonjews, and so, we can’t give the cat to the nonjew and have the nonjew do the surgery for us, and we can’t even ignore the issue in the case we have no interest in taking back the dog or cat and the nonjew will keep it and we never see it again. This is one part of the problem, but – fair enough, one could find people who will not do. Most jews including chilonim are disgusted by the very idea, also there are nonjews (namely hindus) who have similar prohibitions and will not do. But then the second part of the problem kicks in: in western countries, veterinarians do not think this is appropriate, and will basically force upon the person, or even do it without their knowledge at the first opportunity and charge it to some or some other “animal welfare charity”. The only legal recourse is if the animal is a purebred, then one may warn, beforehand, that should it be spayed or neutered against our wishes, we’ll prosecute to the full extent of the law. But if the animal is no purebred, the law does not protect us in most countries and states.
Many shelters require spaying or neutering as a condition for adopting a pet: they have no problem with it remaining caged, and not even with killing it, but giving it to a loving owner who will not do – they don’t even want to hear about.
It is a crazy situation and we need people like you to speak up, of course it does not help that people like me complain, because I won’t adopt anyway. You have to know, Aurora, that many of us are not very attracted to pets, because we have families and can’t handle the extra workload (and who will wash the nonkosher dishes and where?), because we are overwhelmed with human beings and jews asking for help and we can’t help them all, let alone the animals, and also because we were raised in a different outlook from the mainstream western culture and many among us are not interested in pets. But the key point is that everyone’s rights and beliefs should be respected, which also will lead to better care for animals, because, as I said, so many times I would have phoned someone, or a shelter, or a veterinarian. Possibly I’d have even paid some money. I don’t, because the few times I did, it turned out a terrible disaster.
Let me tell you about the one time it worked out: the cat (female) was very old and had health troubles. Plenty of money had been spent on it previously. The owners were moving to another country, and brought with them another cat (its offspring) but this one did not comply with quarantine and import requirements. So the owners asked around, but could not find anyone, they cared very much for the cat (the very fact they spent lots of money on it, shows so) but they had no option, and in the end, arranged euthanasia. I am happy to say someone took the cat instead, and that it lived peacefully the rest of its life, and since the cat was old and sick, no one insisted with the new owners about sterilizing.
But unfortunately I could tell you very different stories, lots of those. In each one of these I did my best, and yet, it did not work.September 7, 2012 8:08 am at 8:08 am in reply to: blessings for animals (in particular, pets!) #895965
I understand, but what to do? I don’t have the time or energy to take care of it. It is unfortunate but if I call anyone who is likely to want a cat in the house, regardless if jewish (probably non observant) or not, this person will right away, or shortly afterwards, have the animal sterilized, which is a very serious prohibition. Nothing works, it does not work have people sign this or that, it does not work giving them money, it does not even work giving the cat to, say, families who feel very strongly about it and who say will never do: they will eventually change their mind or be forced to. Believe me I tried. However, please advise, because if you have a feasible solution, I will do differently in the future, and of course I’ll talk to the rabbi, to my friends, and to whomever I have occasion to talk about the subject.September 6, 2012 9:05 pm at 9:05 pm in reply to: blessings for animals (in particular, pets!) #895963
No words from any of the animal-friendly readers about feasible options? Sometimes I see cats who are obviously abandoned house pets and won’t survive in the streets, I’d be happy to make a phone call.September 3, 2012 2:13 pm at 2:13 pm in reply to: Whistle blowing? #894943
“I just want everyone in our community to know his name, what he looks like and what he’s done. He still seems to be cloaked in secrecy. XXXXXX swears he’s going to call every Rabbi and educator in Valley Village and warn them, and Rabbi XXXXXX not only gave his blessing but told him to do it as president of the shul. The odds seem to be pretty good that [the molester] will reoffend again some day, I’d like to think I’d done what I could to prevent it and without eating out my insides in the process.”
However he trusted the boy to be alone in some quiet and isolated place with a 6yr old. I am sure the girl’s family had good reasons for that, except we can’t guess them. Please post more information. The proper way to prevent is first of all making sure that our children are never put in a situation like that. Then, but only in second place, we have to warn our children. This can and should be done in a general manner: finger pointing is useless and counterproductive, because it gives false security.August 30, 2012 4:39 pm at 4:39 pm in reply to: Whistle blowing? #894867
Chayav misa? I suppose he was watched by two shomer shabbos adult male witnesses, fit to testimony, who warned him and he carried on, and that the abuse was a highly specific one and with certain specifications which we don’t detail because we either know it already, or the coffeeroom is not the place to learn such details. If not, then looks like it’s going to be a bit of a problem for those who accuse him of a capital crime.
And after all, we can’t impose penalties outside of Torah can we?