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  • in reply to: Where Can I Donate Used Seforim? #622486

    Thank you all for the suggetsions.

    in reply to: Where Can I Donate Used Seforim? #622480

    Thank you all for your posts.


    1) Used means not new but in conditions varying from almost new to average, but all perfectly usable. None in any worse condition than the avearge set of seforim that has been on the shelves of a bais medrash for several years.

    2) Miscellaneous means things like: a number of single gemaros of various mesechtos, divei Torah seforim, some assorted rishonim and achronim the kind of seforim that might fill a single bookcase of a baal habayis. (It is basically the seforim of a niftar which are for the most part duplicates of seforim his children already have, and would like to give away.)

    3) As for shipping, that sounds kind of expensive, do you know of anyone who might be able to transport them from Brooklyn?.


    in reply to: #620917


    I would like to believe (and I do believe) that your experience in a heimishe office was the exception rather than the rule.

    However, you rasie an important point. There are many people who believe that when their young daughters first enter the wrok force they are better off (i.e. safer and more insulated) in a cozy frum office in Brooklyn, than with a large firm in the city.

    I beg to differ.

    In the contemporary corporate enviroment of harrassmant litigation, the human resources departments are practically paralyzed with fear over lawsuits. Managers are subjected to constant training and advisories on the topic of harrassmant and harrassment is so broadly defined you can barely look at anyone without risking your career.

    This is compared with the small frum office environment where the coziness often breeds an inappropriate amount of familiarity and where respect for applicable laws and due process is all too often sneered at as something the goyim need to worry about, not us.

    All other things being equal, I’d much rather have my daughter work in a big company.

    in reply to: Do we really need Seminary in Israel? #621078


    I’m sure you mean everything yopu’ve said lishma, but I have to tell you, I don’t think you grew up in the real world.

    Earlier whaen I asked why you thought sem in EY was “essential to a jewish girl” (your words) one of the things you said was:

    “Our generation is also into making things easy and as simple as possible. Some things u learn in seminary such as independance u can learn in life experince, but if were so into making things as simple as possible, why not in this area as well.”

    Later on, you replied to Gavra with:

    “Maybe a year or seminary would have supported me for 2 years of kollel, but I still think it was worth it because if it wasnt for that, I would not have married someone in kollel at all”

    So let’s get this straight some of the reasons seminary is “essential” and “a must” because:

    1) It teaches you independence.

    2) We might as well make things a simple as possible

    3) Without it you might not have married a kollel boy.

    Well I hate to break it to you but:

    1) There are alot of folks out there who don’t see being shipped off around the world for an all-expenses-paid 12-month party, as an independece-building exercise. You, like many young kids, confuse being away from your parents, with being independent. True independence comes with responsibility. Having to do you own laundry doesn’t cut it. Who do you think learns more “independence” the seminary girl, or a girl who works after HS because she knows she will have to defray some of the cost of her own wedding.

    2) You’ve got to be kidding. Simple for who? The kid, or the parent slaving to pay for it.

    3) Let’s assume you are correct. Is marrying a non-kollel boy a fate so awful, it renders sem a “must”.

    in reply to: Dating Dilemmas #621294


    I was being facetious. I don’t see anything wrong with a chosson and Kallah discretely complimenting each other.

    I think what many of these issues come down to is that this generation seems to have lost its ability to apply the concepts of:

    1) Hamachmir yachmir l’atzmo, and

    2) Chanoch L’naar al pi darko

    Our current leaders seem disinclined to allow young people to ever take the chinuch they have received and ever use it to make an actual decision. (This is partcularly puzzling given that this chinuch was provided by those same leaders. It doesn’t say much for the confidence they have in their own ability to be mechanech.) The result is that we find it easier to just issue one-size-fits-all chumros, guidelines, bans, etc.

    Now, some will ask “What about Al Ta’amin B’atzmicha?

    That’s true.

    That’s why we need to have a chinuch and to use that chinuch wisely. I don’t think it is intended to mean you can never make a decision.

    Same old, same old.

    in reply to: Do we really need Seminary in Israel? #621048

    Bored@work said:

    “Having just returned from Israel this past year I would say seminary is an essential thing to a Jewish girls life”

    This is the kind of statment that truly baffles me. I simply cannot comprehend how any reasonably intelligent person can look at the experience of the last 1 1/2 generations of frum life in America and make a statement like that.

    Forgive me if I make any insensitive assumptions about your family but let me ask:

    Is your mother over 50? Did she go to seminary in EY? Is she an eishes chayil?

    Perhaps the answers are yes, yes, and yes. Fine. But surely the overwhelming majority of frum women you know from the the last generation (those now between 45 and 65) are wonderful jewish wives and mothers, are proud of the American chinuch they received, and somehow managed to become such people without the benefit of a year in EY.

    Again, I’m not going to quibble with the question of whether going to sem in EY is a positive experience. I’m sure it is. I simply want to know how so many people can be so (willingly?) blind to the simple reality that our very recent history proves beyond any doubt that it is not “an essential thing to a jewish girl’s life”.

    Now of course that is just my Daas BalHabayis. Well, for what its worth, within the last three years, I have personally asked two well-repected New York Rabbonim for the feelings about girls going to EY and both expressed misgivings about whether it was , on the whole, a good thing. But again, just to be clear, let’s assume it IS a good thing, my key point is IT IS NOT ESSENTIAL – IT IS A LUXURY AND SHOULD BE TREATED LIKE OTHER LUXURIES. Which means, first and formeost that I would suggest the following rule of thumb to 12th grade girsl. If at any time in the last 12 months you have heard your parents having a stressful discussion about money, do not ask them to send you to EY. If they offer, fine. But don’t ask.

    in reply to: Dating Dilemmas #621288

    Squeak and Torahis1

    Yes, obviously chaimberliner is wrong when he failed to recognize that a mother or sister are Arayos.

    Perhaps he was actually thinking of a different lomdus. While all of them (including the kallah) are assur to him., the kallah is a davar sheyesh lo matirin and for that reason we need to be machmir on complimenting her.

    in reply to: Do we really need Seminary in Israel? #621034


    I have no doubt that learning in EY is, for many youngsters, an unmathced experience. This is a refrain repeated often by those sending their daughters. For those for whom the money is no object, it helps justify the extravagance. For those who struggle to pay for it, it helps ease the pain. At the end of the day, however, it is an extravagance. Perhaps its an enriching one, but it is just one of many enriching extravagances, that I could imagine in a world of unlimited resources and time. The real question is why did this particular enriching extravagance go from luxury to necessity (There can be little doubt that it is largely because no one wants to be the parent who has to tell his child “Sorry, but we just can’t afford it.) And in doing so, have we done more harm to our community than good. As with so many other frum trends, we really need to ask ourselves if the COMMUNAL price we are paying is worth the benefit derived especially in comparison to the prior generation that seems to have turned out just fine with only a sliver of its consituency having spent the year in EY.

    in reply to: Do we really need Seminary in Israel? #621032

    I think it’s pretty clear that seminary in EY is really nothing more than a trend that has been fueled by affluence and solidified by peer pressure. On its heels, an entire industry of seminary-related businesses have sprung up and an increasing portion of the frum ecomnomy is being tied this trend. As with so many other economic trends, it is the middle-class that gets crushed to the point where the frum middle-class now has yet another unaffordable “must have” with which it must contend, along with all of the negative things that come along with it (job stress, sholom bayis stress, stress-related health issues, etc.)

    …and Shindy, I don’t thnk there has been an increase in the number of girls staying home. I think if you take a casual survey of people you know, you will find that over the last 10 years or so the percentage of girls in a typical northeastern Bais Yaakov type graduating class that go to sem in EY has increased from about 60% to over 90%. The trend is so near-universal at this point, that american seminaries are actually closing down because they simlpy can no longer attract a critical mass of girls with which to run their businesses.

    in reply to: School system and scholarships #620913

    G-A-W said:

    “Embarasment tactics” should only be used after asking a non-nogaih Rov, (from outside the community) and only in cases where there is no reason why the family stopped paying.”

    Just as a point of curiosity, I would love to know the name of any Rav who would be matir embarrasing the children under ANY circumstances involving the parents failure to pay tuition.

    Have a Good Shabbos.

    in reply to: Dating Dilemmas #621261

    Geshmakenstein asked why a guy has to walk a girl to the door if you wouldn’t do that for anyone else.

    This is a valid point. Indeed, you can assure the gir’s safety by making sure she gets into her house as we all do for just about anyone else we drive home.

    The answer, however, is becasue we submit to a differnt standard of “mentschlachkeit” when we date. There are numerous little things we do (or don’t do) once we are married that we would not have done when we were dating, or we wouldn’t have gotten a second date.

    No need to worry. Once they are married, I assure you he will drop off his wife and simply watch her go into the house from the car.

    in reply to: Dating Dilemmas #621239

    My two cents:

    My initial reaction to some of these was “not on a first date”, but then, that’s based on the habits back in “my day” when you weren’t necessarily engaged after 5 dates.

    Anyway here goes

    1) going places like bowling or shooting pool on dates:

    Not on a first date:

    2) complimenting guy/girl on clothing (i.e. nice tie , or nice necklace) if Ok what date is it acceptable?

    Depends on how the compliment is worded, but probably should be reserved for a point when you are deliberately trying to convey taht you see the relationship as progressing. i.e. probably not a first date.

    3) guy walking girl out of car when returning from date:

    Always. Basic mentschlachkeit.

    4) sharing a portion of food when eating out

    Only when you are both very comfortable with each other. Again, for those who would ask. What’s wrong with it? The answer is, nothing technically. But these things convey a sense of intimacy that shouldn’t be abused if you are not quite comfortable with other already.

    5) Is it ever allowed to be asked to be taken home

    As others have said already. There are probably more diplomatic ways to do it. The only reason I could see for disposing of the diplomacy is if the guy/girl does/says something beyond the realm of acceptability. Use your judgement.

    in reply to: Good Jewish Torah Links #830413
    Member (hundreds of lectures and shiurim on this site)

    in reply to: School system and scholarships #620907

    G-A-W said:

    “Then the principal would lose his job. If no one was willing to do it, the school would close and no one would have a school. That may be better than embarassing a child, but the money must come from somewhere. Some chovos (electric, insurance, etc.)(teachers!) must be paid or the school will close. If this is a way to get the parents to take responsibility and raise the money (via a Tzedaka drive, possibly (as I have seen done)), this may be the only way.”

    I realize that there comes a time when sensitivities come up against hard financial realities. If that were the case something would have to be done. However, speaking from personal experience I can tell you that I was subjected to these “embarasment tactics” on more than one occasion, and I assure you that the situiation was far from desparate and far from having exhausted all other avenues. When I was singled out, my parents had not been given any advance warning that this would take place. I suspect that Shindy’s family’s experience was similar. All I’m saying is that we are running Yeshivohs not loan sharking establishments.

    And BTW, I doubt a principal would lose his/her job for, politely, expressing such a sentiment. Let the adminitrator’s office do their own dirty work.

    in reply to: School system and scholarships #620904


    Perhaps you are right about the principal acting on intructions for the bursar. Perhaps I can understand the bursar’s perspective. He is a financial officer not a mechanech. However, if the bursar has a “Rabbi” in front of his name (which I’m sure he does) how can he engage in such behavior? How can the principal be complicit in it?

    If I were the principal, I would have said to the bursar, “Rabbi so and so, I understand that you would like the children of Mr. so and so rounded up like criminals and sent home. Please go round them up yourself, or have your assistant do it. I am not going to take part in being mevayesh these little neshomos over money.”

    in reply to: School system and scholarships #620899


    Your story of your childhood experience gives me a pang of pain and rage at the same time.

    I was also subject to similar public humiliation tactics as a result of my parents financial stresses.

    Yes. It is a problem. And we need to ask some painful questions:

    1) Is such beahavior tolerable from an alleged mosod of Torah?

    2) Have the pricinpals and admininstartors who try to combat tuiotion delenquincy by taking it out on the kids, asked a sheiloh of legitimate poskim before doing so?

    Yes I understand that our yeshivos have a mammoth finiacial burden to deal with, but they are yeshivos, not utility companies.

    What kind of Hashpaah do you think you have on a child when he is told that his holy status as one of klal yisrael’s “tinokos shel bais raban” is being temporarily supended becasue his parents are behind in their tuition.

    I’ll tell you what kind of hashpaah it has. It is an episode of intensely painful embarrasment that stays with you even after you are a “reasonably” well-adjusted adult with a family and children of your own. It leaves you davening that your children will hopefully make it through the chinuch system without being subjected to the kind of nonsense that you were subjected to.

    With that said, I will say, that IMHO, our yeshivos, teachers, and rebbeim, are by and large much more sensitive and caring than some of the disfunctional psychos who roamed the classrooms a generation ago.

    May we all be matzlilach with our children.


    Get an IPod and fill it up with shiurim. There are all kinds of shiurim and lectures available for download, from the Daf to Halacha to Hashkafa. You name it. Then listen to it while you’re on the treadmill, or whatever.

    in reply to: Chazon ish and neurosurgery #1099158

    Here we go again.

    First my disclaimers.

    1) The Chazon Ish zt”l was a tzadik, Gaon, and Kadosh – not that he needs my haskama.

    2) People of the very rare caliber of the Chazon Ish are quite possibly endowed with kochos and siyata dishmaya, that is beyond normal.

    Having said that.

    1) That fact that the story has been told does not create a chiyuv to believe it. It is a personal choice.

    2) It is at least as likely to be untrue as it is to be true. (There are some serious problems with the story, at least in the version told above.)

    3) One’s choice to believe it or not believe it reflects more on their personality than on their level of emunah.

    in reply to: People Who Can’t Write Properly #665851

    Blue Shirt: Thanks for the blast from the past.

    in reply to: People Who Can’t Write Properly #665850


    Thanks. I appreciate the candor. Good Shabbos.

    in reply to: Timche es Z’ Amalek: UNBELIEVABLE #620378

    Native Israeli,

    I understand your point.

    The problem is, what happens when we here a story about an innocent todler the child of the nicest people in the world being hit by a car? Should our emunah be weakened, ch”v?

    Obviously I mean the question to be rhetorical. I think what Matisyahu, myself and others here are reccomending is that we exercise emotional restraint when it comes to stories. That’s one reason why we think a dose of skepticism is a GOOD thing. We each occupy a very small sliver of time on this world in Hashem’s grand scheme of things and looking to make sense out of the few events we are here to witness, is often counterproductive.

    in reply to: Divorce Crisis #697186

    You’ll need to define your crisis a bit better.

    Is it that you think:

    1) there are too many divorces?

    2) there are too few divorces?

    3) the divorces are too hostile?

    4) there are too many recalcitrant husbands holding out on giving a get?

    in reply to: Kids At A Kiddush Crisis #620155

    As long as we’re griping about kiddush manners how about this.

    After you help yourself to a portion at the serving table, GET OUT OF THE WAY SO SOMEONE ELSE CAN GET FOOD TOO.

    It never ceases to amaze me how people who have already filled their plates just stand their so as not to, G-d forbid, loss their prime position for getting doubles.

    in reply to: People Who Can’t Write Properly #665836

    Yanky 55.

    It’s true that the percentage of yeshiva guys with poor langauge skills is annoying and I share that anoyance. However, I disagree with your assertion that it is worse than that of the general population. Perhaps you work in the professional world and are accustomed to interacting with a more educated segment of the population. However, the idea that yeshiva guys on the whole have worse langauge skills than the rest of society is absurd. When was the last time you tried to communicate effectively with a customer “service” representative from a utility or from a municipality? Sometimes it’s enough to make you want to bang your head against the wall. And these are people with steady jobs

    Also…you probably realize (and if you don’t, you should) that, for better or worse, web forums have an unoffical protocol that allows for more typos and misellings so as not to bother particpants with double checking everthing they type.

    Kol Tuv.

    in reply to: Timche es Z’ Amalek: UNBELIEVABLE #620373

    Sorry for taking this thread off topic in my last posts, but the point is the same.

    Those of us who are skeptical about this Amalek story are being criticized by those who believe it for what they perceive as our lack of emunas chachomim or lack of emunah in general.

    This completely misses the point of our skepticism.

    We are not skeptical because we don’t think there are gedolim capable of such things, or that such things are impossible.

    We are skeptical for the same reason we are skeptical when a coloful postcard arrives in our mailboxes screaming “You Have Won ONE-MILLION DOLLARS !!”. In other words we are skeptical because by and large these stories tend to be false.

    The fact that Rav Chaim Kanievsky shlit’a has his named attached to this story doesn’t add any credibility. (Wasn’t there a recent letter published by a member of his family disavowing Rav Kanievsky’s connection to any number of tzedakos or kol korehs notwithstanding the fact that his picture and/or name is attached to just about everything coming out of EY?) In this day and age anyone – and that means anyone – can tell any story they like in the name of anyone they like with little concern for reprecussions. With a modicum of skill on Microsoft Word and Adobe Photoshop it can all be made to look like the real thing.

    Actually I don’t think it is us skeptics who needs a reality check on our bitahcon, I think it is those people who fall over themselves to believe every one of these stories the minute they see the light of day. I, for one, don’t see that as a sign of bitachon, I see it as a desparate need for proof in the existence of the spiritual.

    A related story is told over about Rav Elchanan Wasserman zt”l regarding his involvenment in the famous dibuk incident with the Chofetz Chaim. (As an aside, that is one story I do believe because it was associated with the preeminent gedolim of the day, and it was corroborated by the fact that Rav Elchanan zt”l himself repeated it and was further relayed by some of his talmidid who heard it from him in subsequent years, notably Rav Asher Katzman zt”l.) The story claims that Rav Elchanan was once telling the story of the inciedent to a group of his talmidim and when he finished was annoyed by the look of amazement on their faces. He took this to be a sign of something lacking in their bitachon, because he felt that, if they had stronger emunah, they wouldn’t find the story so compelling. Supposedly he avoided telling the story after that because he didn’t like the idea of bnei torah getting an “emunah boost” from the telling of a spooky story. He felt bnei torah should be above that.

    in reply to: Timche es Z’ Amalek: UNBELIEVABLE #620369


    You continue to miss my point.

    I didn’t say that gezeirosav shel chachomim cannot influence things. I only said that we don’t have to belive that such gezeiros or curses were involved. Especially when there seesm to be so many fuzzy versions of a story that would have to be no more than 65 years old and when many people close to those supposedly involved are still alive. If we were talking about a claim that the chasam sofer and R’Akiva Eiger put a curse on Napolean, that would be harder to verify. But don’t you think there must be some living talmidim of Rav Aaron who could claim to have heard him say this? Have you ever met such a talmid? By the way, I’d love to know the circumstances of why Rav Aaron and Rav Leizer thought it so important to collaberate on a Kennedy curse. I would have thought they were too busy with Hatzaloh work at the time.

    I welcome anyone reading this thread who has any connection to an “old” Lakewood talmid to see if you can get verification of this.

    So so far we have:

    Rav Aron

    R’ Leizer Silver

    Rabbi Jacobson, and

    the Satmar Rav

    Anyone have anyone to add to the list?

    The real question is not why people would question the story, but why do have such a need to believe the story.

    If the story was well founded with hard facts, details, and dates, then perhaps it would give us insight into schar and onesh because we would know exactly what prompted the curse. But just to say that the Kennedys, among all the rabid anti-semites on the scene at the time, (Father Coughlin comes to mind) somehow deserved “special” treatment is pointless. It seems far more likely that this story evolved after 1968 (by which time three Kennedy boys had died) when someone retrofitted some vague story or anecdote to fit the facts.

    in reply to: Timche es Z’ Amalek: UNBELIEVABLE #620359

    To Nameless, who said:

    “TVT, Please don,t be an ‘oiberchuchme’, If you dont believe that the Kenendy’s were cursed, then how do you explain the devastating misfortune that befell almost every memeber of that family, coupled with the fact that the old man was an outspoken anti semite?

    Yes, thre was indeed a delegation of Rabonim who put acurse on the Kennedy family. We (in our religion) DO NOT BELIEVE IN SUCH COINCIDENCES, BUT lets not waste time and energy disucussing the Kennedys,”

    I think you miss an important point. I of course belive the misfortunes that have befallen the Kennedy clan are the will of HKB”H. I also belive that it MAY be related to their patriarch’s anti-semitism – or it may not. I’m not a navi, and neither are you.

    I just don’t necessarily belive the story about the curse from a Rav. You say it was a delegtaion of Rabbis. Ok who? when?, and why?. For what it’s worth, Google makes reference to a Rabbi Jacobson in 1937 becasue of an incident on a ship. I have heard MANY otehrs say it was the Satmar Rebbe, zt”l.

    My point was not to ch”v question hasgacha pratis. My point is that convenient and satisfying details that somehow puff up our sense of self-righteousness, like the idea that some Rav cursed the Kennedys, are most often, miscommunicataions, exagerations, or outright fabrications – and there is no obligation or even “frum” haskafa reason to believe them. If Hashem saw fit to punish them, he didn’t need any Rav’s curse.

    in reply to: Mitzvah Tantz, what the prob’ exactly? #620442

    Think Big said:

    “What went on in new York in the 60s and 70s is NO RAYA! the rabbonim had enough to contend with, having just come from Europe. There were so many areas in yiddishkeit that were lacking, that not having a mechitza was a “halbe tzara”. Read All for the Boss to see what challenges they had to fight at the turn of the century.”

    This is classic revisionist nonsense.

    First of all, you downplay the significance of the 60’s and 70’s by comparing it to the 1920’s world of “All for the Boss”

    The you mention how the Rabbonim had just come from Europe.

    Let me guess, you are the child (or grandchild) of holocaust survivor’s who came to the US after the war. It’s natural of you to think that frumkeit in the US began in 1945.

    I’ve got news for you. Rav Moshe Feinstein was here in 1936. By the mid 1960’s he had been here for 30 years!. He attended and was mesader kidushin at many of the weddings we are talking about. I’d think twice before suggesting that he didn’t have enough integrity to object to what he though was k’neged halacha. I’m not saying he necessarily liked it. But if he participated, then he didn’t cosnider it assur either.

    And he wasn’t the only one.

    in reply to: Mitzvah Tantz, what the prob’ exactly? #620440

    I’d like to go back to the origianl poster’s questions which was was the problem with the MT.

    IMHO, the answer is, nothing really. But the more important question is “What’s good about the MT?” Or put differently, Where’s the “mitzvah” in the MT?

    Yes I know, it is a minhag that has been practiced by kedoshim and tzadikim. I don’t question that. But at the risk of enflaming the “minhagim are more important than halachos” crowd, I respectfully say, “No they aren’t.” It’s a minhag. If chazal didn’t see any diference in distinguishing between minhagim and halachos, they wouldn’t have bothered identifying the minhagim.

    In this generation we have gotten so caught up in our fervor to preserve minhagim, that it has often come at the grave cost of the very real and tangible issurim d’oiraisah of “Lashon Horah and Ono’as Devarim”. As we approach Tisha Baav” Let’s take a moment to ask ourselves how many times we have gotten ourselves and others upset over matters of minhagim. Are they really worth such anguish?

    I would propose the following: Unless you happen to be a noted Rebbe, where having a MT is a forgone conclusion, how about trying this novel apporach. Ask the chosson and Kallah how they feel about it. If either one is the slightest bit uncomfortable with the idea, then ditch it. I’m pretty sure the schar you will get for being msameach chosson v’jkallah will outwaeight the lost “mitzvah” of the MT. And if they both like the idea, they go knock yourselves out.

    May we be zocheh to the geulah shleima bimheira.

    Yes. Minhagim

    in reply to: Timche es Z’ Amalek: UNBELIEVABLE #620337

    Cantoresq and chaimsmom are absolutely right.

    Morover when “Jewish Urban Legends” like this are told over (or stories of the supernatural, like those about talking fish) they invariably bring out of the woodwork the following categories of people.

    1) Those who choose to believe the story imeediately, becasue it’s a cool story.

    2) Those who feel it’s obligatory to believe the story becasue they think that if someone so much as claims a story with a jewish theme is true, it constitutes apikorsus to question it.

    3) Those (like me) who assume it to be a bubah maasah, simply becasue most such stories are, in fact, bubah maasos and because there is no obligation to believe them.

    You wanna try an interesting experiment? We have all heard that supposedly Joe Kennedy Sr. was cursed by a Rov that he would live to see his sons die.

    Ok…Who was the Rav, when did he issue his curse, and why?

    Let’s see how many versions we get. More importantly, let’s see what kind of evidence we get.

    Good Shabbos.

    in reply to: Being able to Fargin; Nature or Nurture? #619957

    Josephf said:

    …the takanos were made by the Rabbonim, who certainly you will concede are far wiser than you. So how do you bring yourself to question the wisdom of the Gedolim who established the takanos?…

    Reb Yosef, At the risk of taking this thread off on a tangent I have to take issue with the basic point here. Yes…you are right, the takanos were made by the gedolim (actually drafted by baalei batim and signed by gedolim). Yes…the gedolim are far wiser than me.

    So how can I question the takanos, you ask?


    Have you noticed that almost every single Rav who signed the takanos was a Rosh yeshivah rather than a communal Rav? Are you aware that many communal rabbonim were approached to sign on and flat out refused?

    Have you wondered why?

    I’ll tell you why. because it is not a simple matter. And like so many issued in our community today there can be more than one approach that has a basis in Daas Torah. The simple truth is that if prominent gedolim can disagree so diametrically about an issue, then questioning one side is not questioning the wisdom of the gedolim, it is simplty expressing that your intuition aligns with other gedolim.

    This aplies to ALMOST evgery issue debated on this blog.

    in reply to: Why Yidden are the BEST! #1166271

    Dr. Pepper,

    Loved your post, and the attitude you espouse. I too have been trying to make an effort to be friendlier with strangers.

    At the risk of being a nit-picker, let me pick on one little aspect of what you wrote. I also try to make an effort to extend extra courtesy when I encounter policemen and I also tell my kids to. But I do so becasue they are public servants doing a job most of us would be too terrified to consider. In other words, I thank them because they deserve it. If that, one day, spares me from a ticket, I’ll thank Hashem for the chesed. (My real prayer is that I and my fellow observant Jews will be respectful enough of the law to walk the extra half block rather than park illegally in the first place.)

    I realize that you most likely share the same motivations, I just think your choice of words might have given the wrong impression.

    Good Shabbos.

    in reply to: Should pro-freikeit commentors be given a voice? #625899

    This thread may be the dopiest one I’ve seen yet on YWN (and that’s saying something).

    Apparently edc’s definition of pro-freikeit means ever articulating any thought that questions or is at odds with conventional right-wing yeshivish thinking.

    So, for the record then, you can add me to the list as well.

    Come to think of it, you can probably add a good number other Rabonim and Roshei yeshivah.

    in reply to: Why Yidden are the BEST! #1166263

    Joseph and Feivel,

    I recall a shmooz from my mashgiach wherein he explained (quoting the Kuzari and others) that “Yisrael” is in fact a different category in the creation distinct from other members of humanity. This distinction, however, he explained is a double-edged sword. It is true that we are embued with greater energies and potential (and remember, a goy can, by his CHOICE to be migayer, earn that greater status as well) but that we have the choice to use those energies for kidush hashem or ch”v chilul hashem. He went on to quote other gedolim who noted that all too often the leaders of some of the most corrupt and perverse movements in recent history had been jews who failed to use their greater energies for the purposes of kedusha.

    I don’t think that either of you are really disagreeing with me or the writer of this letter. I think we all agree that we should get up in the morning and make the bracha “shelo asani goy” with the pride of knowing that “Ashrecha Yisrael Mi Komocha”

    Where we differ is in emphasis. The two of you like to emphasize the element of a “birthright” of greater holiness. Yes we do have a birthright to greater kedusha. But when the emphasis is on what we are entitled to for free, rather than what we must work for, and when the emphasis is on saying things like “the inherent tumah that permeates the umos haolam” rather than on the notion of “chaviv adam shenivra b’tzelem” that often becomes a recipe for chilul hashem rather than kiddush hashem.

    Not long ago, dozens of residents of Boro Park engaged in a riot against the local police over an incident that essentially was a minor nuisance that was blown way out of proportion. It was an unmitigated chilul hashem of the worst order. I can’t help but think that the perpetrators of that riot were more likely members of the “we are born hollier” school of emphasis than of the “we must work to realize our greater potential for holliness” school of thought. And if I’m right, I’d much rather be a member of the latter.

    in reply to: Out Of The Mailbag: (Get Education!) #619711


    You began your original post with the following lamentation:

    “Ohh, my dear American Jews. How great have we fallen. Where have our priorities gone”

    I can almost hear your anguished sobs.

    Maybe you don’t see that as a condemnation or as judgemental, but I think most reasonable people would. And this outburst was prompted by nothing more than someone raising the question of whether more people would be well-served by pursuing a higher education.

    So don’t give us your disingenuous backpedalling now to say you were only trying to put olam habah on the map. I see numerous bnei torah heading to their chavrusos and shiurim at 5:30 am every morning before heading off to work. I suspect that olam habah occupies as prominent a place on their map as it does on yours. As I said in my first response to your questions, parnassah occupies the minds of all kinds of frum Jews with very sincere hashkofos. Face it. You (and many like you in this generation) see working people as inhenerently second class. Aside from having no historical precedent, this attitude has done absolutely nothing for the klal yisrael but increase divisiveness. Yes. The Rambam lived off his brother. But I’m guessing he never for one second considered himself holier than his brother.

    Your self-righteous histrionics contribute nothing to the discussion….except perhaps to soothe your own conscience.

    in reply to: Out Of The Mailbag: (Get Education!) #619701


    2 questions:

    1) Why do you assume that the fact that an American Jew so much as wants to discuss the issue of education and parnassah that this means that his priorities are our of whack? It’s a discussion. That’s all. And it’s a discussion that is on the minds of all manner of frum Jews accross the spectrum. Agudas Yisroel of America has resources dedicated to job placement and referrals. Does that mean they are not machshiv Torah and have no bitachon. People like you really need to stop having anxiety attacks simply becasue people want to discuss the realities of Olam Hazeh.

    2) Who says that someone who gets an education and works is not investing in his Olam Habah? My understanding is that doing those things – and indeed all things – in a manner that is mekadesh shem shamayim, is in iteslf, an investment in Olam Habah.

    in reply to: Out Of The Mailbag: (Get Education!) #619698

    As usual, we have a chorus of people reacting to this letter with their “kanaus” for Daas Torah and belittling the writer for having the chutzpah to express his “Daas Bal Habyis”

    The amazing thing is that with this issue (and so many others) we take at face value the popular “perception” of where “good”, “ehrlich”, and “frum” daas Torah stands on the matter, without, I suspect, the slightest shred of real evidence in the form of open honest communication from contemporary Rabomnin. We are quick to challenge the letter writer about whether education is good for everyone, but we don’t stop to ask whether “no education” is good for everyone.

    As for Daas Torah, it’s not that simple. There are numerous Rabomnim and Talmidei chachomim who wholeheartedly endorse the idea of pursuing an education in order to pursue a career. Perhaps some of these rabonim don’t qualify as “gedolim” in the eyes of the commentors here, but I’ll tell you what, I bet they know more than those commentors.

    The bottom line is:

    Stop assuming that complex issues have one right answer for everyone.

    Stop assuming that the consensus of opinion from your local loudmouths reflects daas


    “Aseh Lecha Rav” and consult with him.

    in reply to: Why Yidden are the BEST! #1166253

    This debate about “better” has degenerated into subtle symantics. I think the point Torahis1 is trying to make is that none of us should confuse the superior mission that klal yisroel has as a nation with there necessarily being anything inately superior with any one of ourselves as individuals. Each of us has a POTENTIAL for greater accomplishment and an OOPORTUNITY/ RESPONSIBILITY for greater kiddush hashem than our non-jewish neighbors. But in the sense that the word “better” is often understood to refer to simple “mentschlachkeit” we should not delude ourselves into think that it is a birthright. We all have to work on ourselves and when we get too caught up in thinking that “mentschlachkeit” is automatic, that is when we risk behaving in a non-mentschlach manner.

    in reply to: Out Of The Mailbag: (Who Are Our Camp Counselors?) #619573

    As Dave375 in connection with Rabbi Reisman, once upon a time choshuva bnei torah were camp counselors and there was nothing wrong with it. It wasn’t just Rabbi Reisman. It was countless rabbonim and Roshei yeshivah including Rav Yisroel Belsky, Rav Laibel Katz, Rav Nosson Scherman, etc, etc, etc.

    The issue here is not what is more important: learning or being a role model. To frame the question that way is a deflection of the real issue. The real issue here (as with so many other issues currently facing the frum community) is why we think that we doing things so much better than they were done a generation (or two) ago. I don’t know what the exact optimal balance is between learning and being mashpiah. But one thing I do know: If all of these Rabbonim and Roshei yeshivah were able to spend summers as counselors with the full blessing of their own roshei yeshivah, and with no apparaent detriment to their deveolpment as gedolei torah (actually they would probably say that it contributed significantly to their development as mechanchim) then we should probably pause for a moment to consider why we think we are so much smarter (and frumer) than they were.


    As several posters have pointed out, the problem is shared both by the women who want to dress this way as well as (and perhaps even more by)the husbands who approve of it.

    Rabboisai: It’s wonderful that you find your wives attractive. Do you really need the affirmation of your friends as well. I doubt that a single instance of enhanced shalom bayis has ever come from that. Tell your wife what you think, tell her how special she is to you, thank Hashem for what you have, and rejoice in the hapiness that comes from maintaining privacy.

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