RSRH

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  • in reply to: Food stamps for avreichim #799365
    RSRH
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    gavra, are you realy using a “psak” (I’m not sure its a psak, as opposed to a general principle, a “klal gadol” that cannot be applied to concrete situations without further evaluation) from the leaders of Israeli political parties to justify a practice by individuals who do not constitute a political party in the United States?

    in reply to: A question about being self- centered #804144
    RSRH
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    [Genesis 1:27]. For Man is [uniquely] capable of being merciful by doing good for and giving to [others]

    in reply to: Food stamps for avreichim #799355
    RSRH
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    In terms of Dina D’malchusa, as long as one meets the financial requirements for food stamps (legitimately meets them, without under-reporting and other common tricks of the MOFES trade), one is, I suppose, legally entitled to recieve and use food stamps.

    Whether one – especially a kollel avreich who is supposedly spending long days immersed in God’s Word – wants to conduct their life based solely on whether or not they are violating the strict letter of the secular law is another question entirely. Even if one is ENTITLED to recieve food stamps, perhaps it is important for each person to conduct a cheshbon hanefesh and decide whether this is an entitelment and right that they should be excercising. We all have the right to burn the U.S. flag, protest same-sex marriage in extreme ways (think Westboro Baptist Church), and to drive 5 mph down a crowded street with many cars stuck behind us. That does not mean we need to do it, or that we should do it. As Jews, we should to the extent possible (depending on our individual situations) strive for more. We shouldn’t be content to meet the bare minimum requirements of good members of society; we should strive to be the finest examples of human beings that we can be. Perhaps that means we shouldn’t always take everything we are “entitled” to. I don’t know. But I think it behooves everyone considering MOFES options to do a real cheshbon hanefesh to determine whether in their circumstances, and considering the choices they have made about how to live their lives, taking what your “entitled” to is really the right thing to do.

    As an aside, early on, my wife and I were in a position as to be entitled to food stamps and WIC. We decided not to take them because by cutting our budget in other places, we could manage. We did, however, take State-provided medical insurance for our newborn child (not for ourselves, we were covered with private insurance already) for 8 months because the expense of private insurance for her – and the dangers of having no insurance – were too much to bear otherwise. 8 months later, as soon as we could place her on private insurance that we paid for ourselves, we took her off the State-provided insurance. Again, each must make their own cheshbon, I think.

    in reply to: A question about being self- centered #804132
    RSRH
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    If this is something that bothers you, you may benefit by reading the works of R. Samson Raphael Hirsch. In his view, our whole purpose – the reason why God singled out the Jewish people, and the reason why we were given the Torah – is so that we will ebenfit others and the whole world through our conduct. Just as God is maleh chessed, so too, we must be maleh chessed; just as God used his creative power to bring create human beings so that they might benefit from acting properly in this world, so too, we must use our abilities to benefit the world around us. This is what is meant by Hashem’s bracha to Avraham that his children will be a bracha – we are tasked with being a positive force for the world around us; to act not for ourselves, but for others.

    [T]
    – R. Samson Raphael Hirsch, Horeb: A Philosophy of Jewish Laws and Observances 247-48 (Dayan Dr. Isidore Grunfeld, transl., ed., 1968).

    in reply to: The Great Debate: Ultra-Orthodoxy vs. Modern Orthodoxy #798681
    RSRH
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    Toi: I wrote 3 YEARS. Three weeks would indeed be an impossible feat!

    I didn’t really say anything too substantive about TIDE, so I am not sure what exactly you mean when you say I am associating TIDE too closely with MO (TuM). Could you elaborate?

    in reply to: The Great Debate: Ultra-Orthodoxy vs. Modern Orthodoxy #798678
    RSRH
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    Toi: The Artscroll biography is good history, but to really understand R. Hirsh’s hashkafa, one needs to study his writings ( a bit daunting, but start with the Nineteen Letters, and continue to Horeb, the Collected Writings, The Commentary on Chumash, Tehilim, and the Siddur – it took me three years to work through all of them thoroughly). While R. Klugman (the author of the Artscroll biography) is a fine historian and talmid chacham, his treatment of R. Hirsh’s philosophy in the biography is necessarily brief and overly-simplified.

    in reply to: The Great Debate: Ultra-Orthodoxy vs. Modern Orthodoxy #798674
    RSRH
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    Stamper: I wouldn’t say he is the antithesis, more like just different. Really, You might look at Chareidism, MO (if you define MO as Torah U’maadah, not as apathy towards halacha), and TIDE as three points on a triangle. None of them are precise opposites of the other, they view different issues differently. At times TIDE is more on the Chareidi side (i.e., zionism; interactions with Reform institutions like JCC or UJA); at times it is more like MO (i.e., interactions with non-Jews, adoption of general modes of dress, education, and speech). The same is true for Chareidism and MO, sometimes they are have similar views on some things, sometime different. All three are entirely different philosophies, but in practice, they have similarities and differences with each other on specific issues.

    in reply to: The Great Debate: Ultra-Orthodoxy vs. Modern Orthodoxy #798668
    RSRH
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    LMA: I think you are missing a mojar point about R. Hirsh with respect to “seperation.” R. Hirsch was a proponent of separation from non-Torah observant Jewish institutions/organizations. He was NOT a supporter of separation from non-observant Jews as individuals, and he was also not a supporter of separation from non-Jews or non-Jewish institutions. In fact, he saw separation from the non-Jewish world as a perversion of a proper Torah approach and a product of the Ghetto of the Middle Ages.

    R. Hirsch distinguished between things NON-Jewish, and things UN-Jewish. Non-Jews should be engaged and interacted with in order to fulfill our mission as an Or Lagoyim. Similarly, non-“frum” Jews should also be engaged and interacted with on an individual level to encourage Torah observance among our own people so that we may be a united Or Lagoyim projecting a single Torah-true vision to the rest of the world. Un-Jewish institutions (i.e., organizations, schools, shuls, ect. run by Jews who reject Torah observance) must be avoided – not because they may influence us, but because our associating with them gives an apperance of legitimacy to their non-Torah outlook.

    in reply to: Hilchos Yichud Question #795799
    RSRH
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    Perhaps I am mistaken, but I I recall back when I studied hilchos yichud that one man MAY be misyached with two women as long as one of them is someone with whom he could be misyached if she were alone. In this case, a brother can, of course, sleep in the same house as his sister, and therefore can also sleep in the same house as his sister and his sister’s friend, provided of course that no other yichud issues develop – i.e., sister leaves friend alone in the house with brother while she goes out for a specified extended time; or brother and sister’s friend seclude themselves in the same room – locked from the inside – while sister is still in the house.

    in reply to: Charliehall? #1219803
    RSRH
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    B”H his professional career is doing quite well and he has been in various locations in the U.S. and around the world at conferences for the last few weeks.

    in reply to: Egalitarian Minyan? #820797
    RSRH
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    Bar Shattya:

    See, e.g., Kiddushin 38b-39a (discussing whether the din of orlah in chutz la’aretz originated as a custom or traditional practice, and concluding that if it did, there is room to mattir such produce); Sukkah 44a (discussing whether the use of aravos on Hoshana Rabah is a halacha enacted by the nevi’im or a custom, and if it is a custom, no brachah should be made when the aravos are beaten); Yerushalmi Megillah 1:5 (concluding that various customs instituted for Adar 1 do not have the force of binding halacha because they are simply a custom).

    The point is not that custom is NEVER enough, but that the fact that something is just a custom, without more, May not be enough to justify the continued practice in the face of strong reasons to stop it.

    in reply to: Egalitarian Minyan? #820785
    RSRH
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    BTW, its worth noting that there are distinctions to be made between kedusha, kadish, and other parts of davening that require a minyan of MEN al pi halacha, and other parts of davening that do not, and the fact that men only lead those other parts is likely based in minhag and a vague sense of tznius (not clear cut halacha of tznius, but the feeling of what is and is not appropriate). This is why, in some ORTHODOX shuls, rabbonim have allowed so called “womens minyonim” to take place, where women daven together, with one of them leading the tefilos, but without saying anything that can’t be said without a halachic minyan. In those kehilos, the very real feminist pressures are such that such accommodation were necessary to avoid greater harms. – But the need for accommodation did not justify any changes in actual halacha.

    So perhaps OP should reform the question:

    Accepting that a minyan is defined halachicly as a body of 10 adult males, why can only certain parts of davening only be said with a minyan?

    in reply to: Egalitarian Minyan? #820782
    RSRH
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    Peacemaker: Its funny how an answer like that (which I assume is supposed to buttress the practices in question) actually undermines the continuity of our traditions. When a practice is explained and justified as HALACHA, it is very difficult to justify a change in that practice, no matter how pressing the reasons for change may be. But when you go and say “tradition alone suffices” and claim the practice warrants no halachic justification, you open it up to change because minhag and tradition CAN be changed when there are pressing reasons for doing so. For example, if 90% of frum girls would be expected to go OTD because they are not counted for a minyan or allowed to daven for the tzibur, then if these restrictions were mere minhag, there may be some justification for a posek to allow a change in order to prevent the takala of 100s of young girls leaving the fold (eis laasos). If the practice is justified in halachic terms, however, it is much, much more difficult to justify any change, regardless of the consequences.

    in reply to: A Lack Of Sensitivity #795188
    RSRH
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    For some people you may be right, for others, I think, you are dead wrong.

    Some people like to just be told what they need to do, when and how they need to do it. They are happy to comply, and do not want (or are mentally unable) to be bothered with the details of how the “Daas Torah” determined what should and should not be done according to the halacha. For these kinds of people, too much information surely deadens the senses and ruins the uplifting feeling they get from performing the ratzon Hashem.

    Others NEED to understand the mechanics of how the halacha works. This doesn’t mean that if they don’t understand the logic of it they don’t do it; it simply means that whereas some people crave the spiritual high of Torah observance, they need the intellectual high of understanding WHY the halacha demands X and not Y. For these people, the avodah is only enhanced by knowing the WHY of the halacha (not so much the reason God commanded certain things but the logic of why a particular psak says X and not Y).

    Merely discussing something does not give it legitimacy – and even if it does, perhaps that is a necessary risk in order to find the TRUTH. If we can’t discuss various halachic options in a reasonable way in the context of halachic debate (provided that in the end, we ACT based on the proper consensus of our own poskim), then the debate will never ocure, and we won’t really know what the Torah wants of us.

    The din of a zaken mamreh is instructive: Even after the Sanhedrin paskins a certain way on a particular issue, someone may go and verbally disagree with them – and even publicly teach that the halacha is not as the Sanhedrin paskined. He is not a zaken mamreh until he ACTS contrary to the Sanhedrin’s psak or directs others to do so. — We can always talk and discuss, that’s how we learn and that’s how we grow; it is our ultimate actions that count in the end.

    in reply to: Cooking for Yamim Tovim during the Three Weeks…. #790334
    RSRH
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    Hmmmmmm, good question. Can you cook a nice roast for shabbos chazon during the nine days? Obviously yes. I think you may just be looking for issues.

    in reply to: Women and Gemara #788409
    RSRH
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    I think the different perspectives here have a lot to do with how each side views limud hatorah. The more yeshivish end of the spectrum, those like shlishi that staunchly oppose women learning Torah sh’bal peh maintain a view that the point of limud haTorah is simply to learn. There is no further aim. Consequently, the more public role that women have in the modern world is of no consequence. For whatever reason, God commanded that learning gemarah is for men and not women, and like other gender roles ordained by God (dayanus, kohein gadol, smichah, serarah, child birth), this does not change with time.

    The more modern (YU types, if you will) end of the orthodox world like simcha613 maintain the view held by many rishonim that “the goal of a person’s amaylus in Torah is not that he should simply study a lot of Torah; the goal is to be able to practice the Torah” (Rabbeinnu B’chaye on Avos 1:17 – there are many other similar sources). In other words, we study Torah in order to understand how to properly navigate through the world around us (a world we can and should enter and engage). Since we need Torah to tell us how to act in the world, the more we are engaged in the larger world, the more Torah we need to know and internalize. On this view, women not learning Torah sh’baal peh during the period of the mishna and gemarah makes sense – you don’t need to know much beyond practical household halacha if you spend most of your life keeping up the home. Indeed, as the gemarah says, for women to spend time learning in depth Torah sh’baal peh under such circumstances would be a complete waste of time (tiflus) since has no need of the Torah’s instruction to that extent in her everyday life. But now, when women (in some circles more than men) are in the work force and engaged in the larger non-Jewish world, they MUST learn in depth and prepare themselves to handle the challenges of the real world as God would expect them to.

    nature of womens’ rol

    in reply to: Shemoneh Esrei L'Chuppah #789595
    RSRH
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    The Mishnah is certainly applicable, but we should recognize that shomna esrei l’chupa is an application of a principle, not the principle itself. The principle of the Mishnah, as I think WIY was getting at, is that one should proceed to get married as soon as he is physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially able to do so. In mishnaic times, that would appear to have been sometime around 18, so that’s what the tanna wrote (why would he use any other age other than the one known to him from his own experiences in his own time?). Nowadays, we recognize that the mishna’s principle, if applied to modern people, would usually indicate an older age.

    in reply to: We can't win #787606
    RSRH
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    Popa, you bring up siman 2 (I LOVE siman 2). Doing so raises a problem of jurisdiction. While a beis din in Israel may be able to exercise power under siman 2; and its legitimate authority over Israelis might even allow private Israelis to beat a m’sarev get after a beis din rules he must give one, its not clear why an Israeli beis din’s ruling should have any power in the U.S. A beis din has to have jurisdiction and power over parties and geographical locations. In the absence of true smichah, this can only be accomplished by kabbalah by individual litigants for a particular case, or by a beis din’s being generally appointed by a kehillah to exercise judicial authority over that population and locale. Undoubtedly, an Israeli rabanut beis din has this kind of authority – in its area of jurisdiction. But an Israeli beis din’s rulings would seem to not have binding authority in the U.S. unless confirmed by a beis din of competent jurisdiction (and according to R. Moshe Feinstien – I will try to find the exact citation – virtually no U.S. beis din has general jurisdiction over a given population or locale, and jurisdiction depends on parties accepting a particular beis din to adjudicate their particular case).

    in reply to: Taa'os Akum #784298
    RSRH
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    Popa, I’m confused, if OP had paid the 5 cents per can, that money would have gone to the State, and would have been paid back only if and when the OP had returned the cans for recycling. Lets assume that the OP, like most people, doesn’t typically return the cans; then his failure to pay the deposit has deprived the State of 5 cents per can. Even if OP does ordinarily return the cans, and decides not to do so this time because he hasn’t paid the deposit, he has still deprived the State of the time-value of the money he would have paid up front.

    in reply to: Momeni rugs and shatnez? #783755
    RSRH
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    apushitayid: The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch is not a sefer for practical psak in individual situations. Like the Mishnah Brurah, the Kitzur very often rules l’chumra on all matters in which there are differences of opinion among the rishonim and achronim. A good posek, however, when presented with a concrete situation is able to weigh all the circumstances and provide a ruling that is unlikely to be so cut and dry, and more unlikely to be categorically l’chumra. (I am not attacking you comment, since you did end with a comment suggesting the OP ask a rav for a practical psak; just making a general observation about many yeshiva-educated people’s tendency to jump too quickly from what they can read in a sefer or two to a practical psak halacha in a concrete situation).

    RSRH
    Member

    Are you serious? Bottled water is about $1.50 if you buy by the gallon, and even cheaper in the 10 gallon jugs you get with a water cooler. You are paying for the added cost of packaging, labeling, ect. the larger number of 16 oz bottles, as well as for the convenience of having a bottle that you can carry comfortably so you don’t have to lug around a 1 gallon container.

    in reply to: Why Is Tzitzis Mandatory? #794879
    RSRH
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    Take a look at the Gemarah at the start of the fourth perek of Menachos; as you study the sugya with the rishonim (or at least when I did), and carry it over to the primary halacha codes (Rambam, Tur, Shulchan Aruch), the follwoing framework seems to develop:

    1. M’dioraisah, there is a positive obligation to wear tzitzis IF and ONLY IF you are wearing a qualifying four cornered beged during the day time.

    2. If you wear a four cornered beged without tzitzis during the day, most opinions hold that you have been m’vatel an asei (failed to perform an obligation) b’shav v’al taaseh (passively rather than actively), but NOT that you have been over an issur aseh (an prohibition that grows logically from a Torah obligation, but which is not spelled out in the Torah), and certainly have not transgressed a lo sa’asei.

    3. According to only one rishon (I believe it’s the Ran, but will have to check), wearing a four cornered beged without tzitzis during the day is an issur asei.

    4. No rishon holds that there is an obligation to wear a four cornered beged in order to wear tzitzis, or that the failurre to wear a beged that obligated you in tzitzis is any kind of problem – not even a passive bittul aseh.

    5. That said, it has undoubtedly become a minhag (perhaps on the level of minhag yisrael) to wear a four cornered beged in order to be obligated to and to actually wear tzitzis.

    6. The minhag (yisrael) to wear tzitzis should not be mistakenly thought of as normative halacha – even d’rabanan. It is a minhag, and like most minhagim (depending on there strength) it may be set aside for individual special circumstances. Thus, the common practice of not wearing tzitzis while play sports, gardening, or doing pother strenuous work that causes one to sweat. I have also heard of p’sakim not to wear tzitzis given to people with even minor sensory issues for whom wearing tzitzis is unusually uncomfortable such that is disturbs their ability to go about their daily routine.

    7. It is therefore difficult to understand the views of some robbonim/roshei yeshiva who expect tzitzis to be worn at all times regardless of what a person is doing. However, such views may be explained by those rabbnim seeing a particular need for tzitzis to be worn as a means of social cohesion and constant connection to Torah, regardless of whatever else a person may be doing (work, sports, ect.) – which after all is exactly what the TOrah tells us tzitzis are for.

    in reply to: Keeping your maiden name #781214
    RSRH
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    I don’t know whether or not it is accepted, but my wife did. Not legally – she changed it to my last name when we got our marriage license – but of r all practical purposes she uses her maiden name – for work, school, existing official documents like driver’s license and passport that has not come up for renewal.

    in reply to: Same gender marriage- immoral? #781269
    RSRH
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    abcd2: If my child comes home and asks me about the couple down the street, my answer is simple: “My child, I simply don’t know *why* its wrong. There seems to be no *rational reason* why homosexual couples cannot legally commit themselves to each other’s physical, economic, and emotional well-being. I can’t explain it to you in rationale terms. However, I have made a conscious decision in my life to follow the halacha. I believe firmly that this is what God wants of us for our own benefit. I try hard to understand why God wants what he does. Sometimes I just don’t. Sometimes what God want’s seems unjust, dare I say, morally wrong. And sometimes my emotions get the better of me and I don’t act the way God would have me do. But my child, I try hard never to forget where my obligations lie. Whether or not I understand or can explain the halacha, I do it anyway. I believe God has instructed me to do so. I know how hard that must be for you sometimes; it is for me too. I just hope you will learn to appreciate this lifestyle and these laws, and to believe as I do that whether or not we understand *why,* we must still try our best to do.

    in reply to: Is this muttar? #780792
    RSRH
    Member

    He may be joking, but it’s an intriguing shailah. You may have to look into the civil union/marriage laws first. In many cases sham marriages for legal benefits are criminal fraud. This happens often in immigration settings, where people may “marry” a U.S. for the sole purpose of getting fast-tracked for citizenship status. Immigration officials often do extensive investigations to determine whether it is a real marriage – did the couple date, did they invite family to the wedding, do they live together, do they know about each others’ backgrounds, ect.

    So two yeshiva guys doing this may be fraud, aside from any other more complicatted halachic issues related to maaris ayin.

    in reply to: long davening #780672
    RSRH
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    Patur,

    My point was simply rhetorical. **IF** davening for an hour and missing classes is not the right thing to do, the person doing it will likely not find that out because she will spend all her time davening, and will miss the class were other students learned to do other wise.

    I am not saying that that is the case here. Merely that your line of reasoning is flawed. Its like saying actually cooking is far more important than anything I could ever learn in culinary school. Of course it is, but if you never go to culinary school, you may be cooking wrong the whole time, and then where are you?

    The same is true here. It may be that davening **properly** is far more important than anything you will learn in school (I think that’s debatable, but I’ll let the more chassidish/spiritually-minded here assume that point). But if you don’t go to class, you won’t know whether the way you are davening is actually the proper way or not. If it turns out that it isn’t, well now, a fine mess you’re in!

    in reply to: long davening #780669
    RSRH
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    “Davening properly is more important than anything a girl will learn in school”

    That seems like just the kind of belief that would come from not learning anything in shcool.

    Are you implying that anyone not davening shemona esrei for an hour is not dovening properly? If so, fine. But if one can daven properly in less time, and such a long tefilla is merely a hiddur or personal preference (assuming its not counterproductive in itself), then yes, there is good reason to think that other things might be more important.

    in reply to: long davening #780651
    RSRH
    Member

    sarbarah2: I get the impression that you may perhaps be **too** focused on what seems right to you and what your personal priorities are, and not sufficiently focused on what God’s priorities for you are.

    Chazal tell us “meimis atzmo l’Torah” – kill yourself for Torah. This can be understood in many, many ways, but one interpretation is that our greatest task in life it to truly subjugate ourselves to the Torah’s demands on us. We need to conquer our own will and our own value judgments and replace them with God’s will and God’s value judgments.

    You may sincerely believe that davening shemona esrei for an hour several times a day “is one of the most important things” you do. But is it? What does the Torah say? Is davening for several hours a day instead of for a more typical length of time really more important than attending your classes on time? What about when it comes time for you to get a job; will davening a one hour shemona esrrei be more important than getting to work on time as your employer expects? Whether or not it is right to rely on siyata d’shmaya (which one poster mentioned, but which, as was pointed out, was reserved for the chassidim rishonim) is not really the question. Even if you had the right to rely on God to make it all right because you daven so well and long, is that really what the Torah expects of you?

    I am not trying to answer one way or the other. My point is simply that you seem a bit too set in your ways. You seem to be looking for justifications for your practice and unwilling to consider whether what you are doing and the way it is affecting your other obligations is really the right thing to do. Please, talk to a rav, or someone else that you trust to give you an accurate portrayal of what the halacha expects from you here – not just what will feel good. Explain the situation – your desire to daven long, the affect it has on your schooling, the tension it will likely cause between you, your teachers, the school administration, and your parents. See what he/she says.

    in reply to: long davening #780556
    RSRH
    Member

    OP, while being able to develop the kind of kavana and feeling needed to daven a 1 hour shemona esrei is commendable, in life we do not have the luxury of devoting ourselves so completely to a single focus. One of the greatest challenges in life is learning how to balance our many competing obligations, to fulfill each one of them to the best of our ability, without neglecting others. We need to work and support our families; we need to learn; we need to help our spouses; we need to care for our children; we need to do chessed in our communities; we need to look after our immediate families; we need to daven with kavana. The list is endless, and each obligation pulls us in different directions. We can’t to all of them all the time, and we can’t focus too strongly on any one of them to the detriment of others. A one hour shemona esrei is praiseworthy, if that sort of teffilah is your niche, but you can’t use it as an excuse to not do other things required of you – whether at home, work, or school.

    Developing a proper balance is one of our hardest tasks in life; we never really succeed, but we have to try.

    in reply to: Chumras #792597
    RSRH
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    RABBAIM: Its “chumros” like this that cause embarrassment and denigration to the halacha. No one disputes that “asu s’yag l’TOrah” has a valid place in the halachic system; and no one disputes that each individual, using their own good judgement (hopefully they have some of that) can and should make those fences that they, knowing themselves, feel are needed in order for them to keep within the bounds of halacha. The problem is when chumors – especially personal chumros – cease to be mere chumros, and instead become issurim gamurim. This trends very close to baal tosef. Unfortunately, many people don’t know enough and cant distinguish between a d’oraysa and d’rabbanan, takana, gezeira, minhag yisroel, chura, and just plain kannaus. They lump them all together, and just to be on the safe side, make them all yeharog v’al yaavor. This is not Torah. This is individuals remaking the Torah in their own image instead of remaking themselves in the image of the Torah.

    in reply to: kosher films, do they exist? #777023
    RSRH
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    “There are a bunch for women and girls.”

    Oh, are women and girls not obligated to follow the same rules as men and boys?

    in reply to: Yibum & Chalitza Today #776335
    RSRH
    Member

    I can’t speak for all cases, but in cases where the irreligious brother refuses to do chalitza, poskim have some very inventive ways of being matir the woman to remarry. They try to pasul the first marriage, relying on numerous sfekos, and some more radical poskim might advocate being mafkia the original kiddushin based on the fiction that she would never agree to marry the first husband if she knew how things would turn out (the latter is a very slippery slope). Money, of course is always used to entice the brother to cooperate.

    If I recall correctly, in Ashkenazic communities, and many sfardi ones as well, a brother cannot opt for yibum over chalitza – yibum is simply not an option, and the bais din will exert proper pressure (similar to a mesareiv get) to get him to perform chalitza.

    in reply to: Attempt to Ban Bris Milah In San Francisco #768111
    RSRH
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    Sorry, but the Supreme Court will likely never hear this case. The law, if it passes, most likely DOES NOT violate the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment, which only prohibits the government from passing laws that specifically target religious practice. Here, the City of San Francisco has any number of neutral and secular objectives with which it can justify a circumcision ban. As Poppa pointed out, there may be a Due Process claim here, since parents could argue that the law infringes on their privacy. The problem is, Due Process does not protect people from acting in a way that the State sees as harming others in a direct tangible way. I assume the City will be able to provide sufficient evidence that the ban is needed to protect the physical integrity of the child.

    Really, the issue is not particularly novel or substantial in constitutional terms, and it will likely go no further than the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

    The State constitutional claim is another matter entirely. I know next to nothing about California constitutional law, so I can’t comment meaningfully. based purely on the language, however, it seems that the California Free Exercise provision likely provides no more protection than the First Amendment.

    in reply to: Dismay – Japanese Injustice Travesty and Tefillos #767238
    RSRH
    Member

    While I concur entirely with the sentiments expressed by the OP regarding the terrible plight of these imprisoned young men, I cannot agree with his condemnation of the Japanese. God has commanded all the nations of the world to create justice systems. To mankind’s credit, many nations have followed those instructions and have created civil and criminal justice systems, as well as laws that govern their citizens’ conduct. Some nations, like the U.S. and other western countries have systems heavily weighted to favor defendants, while others, such as Japan, favor the prosecution. The latter prefer law and order at the expense of harsher sentences and the conviction of more innocents, while the former elevate individual protections of social order.

    Unfortunately, these young men made a grievous error, and ran afoul of the Japanese justice system. I hope and pray that they fair as well as possible during their ordeal, but we should not use this incident as a platform for denigrating another countries justice system, especially one that is not arbitrary, unequally applied, or inherently unjust.

    in reply to: Segulos #766381
    RSRH
    Member

    Excellent!

    in reply to: A Serious Situation #766355
    RSRH
    Member

    Certainly! I would hope that a young person with a talent for music would become a truly professional musician and composer. Such a person, guided by halacha could show the larger musical community that good music need not be injected with sensual overtones and imagery that glorifies violence, infidelity, promiscuity, and debased human behavior. He could demonstrate and exemplify that music can be used to inspire man’s soul to do good, to feel for other, ect. I would hope that someone with a talent for and natural inclination towards medicine would become a doctor or medical researcher. Guided by halacha, he could use his position as a platform to show his patients, fellow doctors, and the larger medical community how medicine ought to be practiced, recognizing God’s incomprehensible fashioning of the human body and the natural biological and chemical world. The same is true for artists, architects, fashion designers, lawyers, accountants, businessmen, philosophers, mathematicians, engineers, farmers, truck drivers, ect.

    We exist not for ourselves, or to satisfy our own desire to learn by sitting in kollel and learning without offering any tangible contribution to our communities and the larger world around us. We exist to be mekadesh shem shamayim, to demonstrate through our adherence to Torah law in every aspect of our multifaceted lives that mankind can and should strive for perfection in every area of human endeavor guided by God’s law. God has given each of us a unique abilioty and disposition so that we may fulfill this task within our own small sphere – whether in the law office, medical practice, college classroom, accounting firm, trading floor, or rav’s office.

    We would all do well to perform an honest cheshbon hanefesh, by evaluating our personal abilities, inclinations and character. We would do well to strive to fulfill the particular task that it seems God outfitted us for. How haughty and self-absorbed would we be to discount the way God made us and try to become something we are not, cannot, and should not be. The simple truth is, we are not all suited to be rabbonim, poskim, dayanim, and teachers of Torah. Some are suited to such positions, but most are not. While we must all learn in order to live our lives as God would have us do (lilmod as minas laasos), 90% of us are likely erring dreadfully to believe we must not live our lives in order that we may learn.

    I don’t suppose we will ever agree on this. For you, the act of learning Torah is the best thing one can ever do, and it takes precedence over all other obligations. For me, learning is a never-ending journey to discover how God wants us to conduct our earthly lives; we cannot live properly if we do not learn how to do so, but we can also not live properly if all we do is learn how to do so.

    in reply to: A Serious Situation #766351
    RSRH
    Member

    stuffedcabbage: AniOd is right! If you truly have a great mind, analytical abilities, writing and speaking skills, by all means, spend your life learning and teaching Torah. I will be the first person on line to support you. But if you don’t have these extraordinary abilities, go learn a profession and make a living doing something that your natural talents make you suited to excel at. Be koveah itim yom v’layla. But don’t just learn Torah; live Torah! Show your coworkers, partners, clients, and employers what a Torah life looks like.

    God has given us all unique and particular talents which we must use in our professional capacities to be mekadesh Hashem and enlighten the Jewish people and the world as to what Torah life is all about. For those of us whose natural abilities warrant a Torah profession (toraso umnaso), they should go and study for their proffesional lives, and then practice their profession by writing, teaching, lecturing, and serving the k’hilah’s Torah needs. Those whose natural talents do not lend themselves to a profesional career in Torah ought to do something that maximizes their potential and fully utilized the gifts God gave them for the benefit of others – whether as doctors, lawyers, teachers, plumbers, mechanics, architects, programmers, or academics.

    in reply to: Secular Studies In Mesivta #765243
    RSRH
    Member

    HIE: If the yeshivos do not provide adequate and rigorous secular studies, and push their talmidim to master these subject through tough exams and enforcing attendance, you won’t have to worry about the high school years being a bachur’s “prime years” to learn. That bachur will be unlikely to be able to hold down a decent paying job or support his family. So his whole life will be “prime years” for learning.

    in reply to: Chometz Vs. Radiation #763233
    RSRH
    Member

    I’m probably debasing myself by even commenting on this semi-ridiculous scenario, but . . .

    Find a piece of chometz on pesach: Cover with a napkin, pick it up, flush it down the toilet, clean more carefully next year.

    I’m not sure what running out of your house would accomplish; you would still have chometz in your reshus (though not yours, obviously, since you hopefully were mevatel it prior to yom tov).

    Now radiation, I don’t think flushing it is the best option. Considering HOW it is damaging, a safe distance is probably your best bet.

    C’mon people, making yourselves crazy about errors in cleaning judgement that you cannot correct until next year is not what simchas yom tov is all about. If anything, the best tribute to your commitment to Torah would be to deal with the unwanted stray noodle the way the halacha instruct you to, and not go crazy because in your own mind you have just committed every yeharog v’al vaavor in the book and then some. Allowing your personal feelings about the terribleness of the chometz to override the Torah’s instruction about how to deal with it is not much better than chomping down on a bagel because you REALLY wanted it.

    in reply to: Starbucks! #967128
    RSRH
    Member

    I was pleasantly surprised by the cRc release. They explain the issues clearly and concisely; they make clear that there are many bases upon which to be lenient, even according to their stricter shitta; and they state their official chumra position in a text box offset from the rest of the piece so that readers can distinguish what cRc holds as an institution from what they agree is the actual halachic standard.

    The piece is obviously coming from a place where the cRc wants to be more machmir on this issue (which is fine), and there are other poskim that are more lenient than the mekil cRc views. Nevertheless, kol hakavod to the cRc for issuing a detailed and explanatory statement of the issues rather than a blanket statement couched in terms of a ban, as seems to be the current trend.

    RSRH
    Member

    sm29: I have to second yid.period’s comment. There are many historical, sociological, and anthropological explanations for the Jewish people’s survival over the course of three millenia. Our survival is not a “proof,” it is merely an example of God’s guiding hand for those that already believe that hand is really there.

    Also, there is not a single science-based “proof” that I have heard that cannot be explained away by someone that knows enough of the scientific literature. The problem with bringing “proofs” based on “secular” knowledge is the (1) that knowledge is always changing, so what is a “proof” today will be discredited tomorrow, and (2) the academic community is so large and diverse that for every conclusion and theory you find to support or “prove” God’s existence, you will find many other approaches that undermine that “proof” and tend to disprove God’s existence.

    Thats why these kinds of proofs typically do not satisfy curious, critical, well-educated, academic minds.

    RSRH
    Member

    truth be told: I don’t believe you understood what I was saying. All I said was the critical thinking Jews are not usually satisfied with the “pop” answers and “proofs” given by the typical kiruv professionals. Many of these answers have serious factual and logical flaws, especially to anyone familiar with modern critical philosophy and science.

    My point was simply this: For a really bright individual, its not a matter of proof; no proof can really prove God’s existence or the Torah’s truth. Many of the proofs indicate these conclusions, but they do not unimpeachably prove them. At the end, it is a matter of choice to believe in God, or to act in accordance with the Torah. Its not something that an be compelled by proofs. I would imagine that for all the greats, there was no proof; there was a choice. And thats what makes them great!

    RSRH
    Member

    To all those pointing to Discover, R’ Mechanic, R’ Kellerman, and other such figures and/or organizations: These “proofs” may satisfy some, but really bright critical thinkers can easily take apart these supposed “proofs” as to God’s existence and the divinity and truth of the Torah very easily.

    For such bright thinkers there usually is no proof. There is belief and a decision that a Torah observant lifestyle makes the most sense and is the most productive and fulfilling form of life. Good intellectual taamei hamitzvos sefarim may help with that. Try R. Hirsch’s Horeb. Also try some of R. Solevetchick’s works, like Halachic Man. A bright person can argue with these as well, but with bright people, the only option is to get them thinking. The choice in the end is theirs – as it should be.

    in reply to: when are you planning to change over your kitchen for Pesach? #753976
    RSRH
    Member

    Not until motzai shabbos hagadol, and then kashering on sunday night . . . here here for procrastination!

    in reply to: Bochrim Spray-Paint Over Not Tzniyus Advertisement #759861
    RSRH
    Member

    Not in a million years.

    in reply to: sushi-making tips #747956
    RSRH
    Member

    1) Wear gloves when you handle the rice,and wet them before working. It makes it much easier to get the rice to stick to the seaweed and not your hands.

    2) Cover the bamboo mat with plastic wrap or put it in a large ziploc bag so that the rice doesn’t stick to the mat when you roll it.

    3) Use plenty of rice.

    4) Do not over stuff the inside of the roll.

    in reply to: Flowers for Shabbos #746531
    RSRH
    Member

    When I first got married, I was makpid to buy flowers every shabbos – nothing extravagant, just something tasteful. As time went on I stopped buying them so often and last week I realized that I had not bought any for nearly six months! I immediately ran out only an hour before shabbos to pick something up. With God’s help, I will make sure to buy a small arrangement each week, and perhaps something a bit more special for shabbos mevorchim.

    in reply to: Purim Seudah #744547
    RSRH
    Member

    BBQ

    in reply to: Taking Medication on Shabbos #744497
    RSRH
    Member

    c’mon, csr1, I think I am pretty good on checking my spelling, grammar, sentence structure, ect. when posting here. Mistakes slip through. I think most readers understood what it should mean. If not, it should have said “relieve.”

    But thanks for reading my post so attentively 🙂

    in reply to: Taking Medication on Shabbos #744492
    RSRH
    Member

    Every Rav will have there own views regarding specific medications.

    I was just listening to a shiur, and as a side point the speaker mentioned that R. Y.B. Solevetchick’s view on this topic was that one MUST take prescription medications; one MAY take over the counter medications to relieve a very oppressive condition that makes it difficult to function over shabbos; one MAY NOT take over the counter medications merely to relive discomfort such as an ordinary headache, minor cold, ect.

    Again, every Rav has his own specific rulings.

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