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  • in reply to: A Possible Explanation #1853848
    yichusdik
    Participant

    It has literally been years since I posted here. I look at these “reasons” and “explanations”, and I shake my head. ‘plus ca change, plus c’est le meme choses’.

    HKBH brought this upon the world just as he brings every wonderful and every terrible thing. He has a ketz in his plan and this is part of the path towards it. If there is anything to learn from it, perhaps it lies in these things that have become self evident during this time.

    1. The hedonist on the beach and the illui in the beis medrash can have few things in common beyond having two arms and two legs. But one thing they do share is that willful ignorance of vinishmartem meod lenafshoseichem can kill either one of them. It is each person’s responsibility to safeguard their health and that of their loved ones, to do their own hishtadlus in this respect. It isn’t a matter of communal guidance from someone else who isnt a medical professional or not listening to one. It is a commandment mideoraisa for each one of us. The consequences of not taking this personal achrayus are rachmono litzlan abundantly and horrifically clear.

    2. Generosity is vital, but gratitude is paramount. We say thank you to HKBH every day. He sends us sustenance, inspiration, food, medicine, treatment, first response. He sends us the means to offer help to the deathly ill through donating plasma. If someone sent you a gift through a shaliach, would you not thank the shaliach?

    3. What you do choose to do impacts others. What you choose not to do impacts others. If you choose not to socially distance, YOU are responsible for the consequences, not the person or the rov or the kol koreh who told you to ignore it, just as surely as the pastor in Louisiana or the partygoer in Daytona. Spreading the virus if you had an opportunity to avoid doing so is a transgression. It’s a perfect example of a Laav she’ein bo maaseh. And while you can go learn gemorah makkos to determine if you are chayyav malkus for it or not, you’ll have to answer to HKBH at the end of your days about the lives you may have taken.

    4. There is tremendous chesed being done on behalf of those who are mourning, those who are old and infirm, those who are housebound, those who simply need someone to talk to because they are alone and scared. This has brought out the best in us and we should all be proud of our community for always giving, especially b’eis tzoroh.

    5. Suffering is a terrible thing. It is terrible for everyone. The playing field is level, now. HKBH has determined that the tzadik and the bulvan are both potential victims. In some things all of HKBH’s creations are the same. So, please remember. Pride does not have to be Gaivah.

    I’m sure there are many more lessons to learn that have nothing to do with sheitels, or mamzeirim, or anything else. You want an explanation? HKBH is the beginning and the end, and all he does is for a reason. He doesn’t share that with bosor ve’dom, not anymore. Learn what you can from the experience, but don’t have the arrogance to think you know the reason.

    in reply to: Eida Charedis Against Participating in Knesses Elections #1787923
    yichusdik
    Participant

    It’s amazing. As the French say, plus ca change, plus c’est les meme choses – the more things change, the more they stay the same. I’ve been pretty quiet here for a long time, not having as much time to interact. but this caught my eye, because Rav Teichtal’s sefer – the sefer of a Gadol who was not saved from the Shoah-with its svaros and innumerable sources and the emotion of one seeking HKBH’s rachamim in a terrible time, has made a huge impression on me. But I see that nothing has changed. Joseph is up to his old tricks. Something nagged at me in reading his long winded reply, so I did a little checking. His post is plagiarized – without attribution even to the site, let alone the author, from his old standby, the frumteens website, indexed and posted at frumteendex on Sunday, August 27, 2006. Aside from the judgementalism leveled against the Kodosh R’Teichtal HYD, Isn’t it ossur to do what you just did, Joseph? I’ve been told that R’Moshe Feinstein considered plagiarism an issur Mideoraisa. I’m looking for the source as I write.

    If you want to have a discussion of the halachic validity of R’Teichtal’s work, it is valid to say he was in the minority of Eastern European Gedolim of the pre war period. So saying his sefer isn’t halachic, while incorrect in my personal view, could be true, but using that logic one would also have to say that minority views in mishna and gemara or in disputes between rishonim or achronim that aren’t the ultimate halacha are also “not halachic”. Are you prepared to say that? Sounds disrespectful to me, but I guess I’m not well versed enough in the halachos of respecting talmidei chachomim to know for sure.

    But to say it is not serious? This great man wrote from the depths of the gehenom of the ghetto, pleading for yeshuas hashem, and you, Joseph, in your holiness, wisdom and experience have the temerity to say it is not serious? I’ll be sure to be mispallel for you this RH so that you might in some way earn HKBH’s forgiveness for this haughtiness.

    May HKBH have rachmonus on his children, and may we witness the conclusion of the geulah bimheiro biyomeinu.

    Thanks, I’m surprised I missed that

    in reply to: Can a frum Jew go on birthright? #1764770
    yichusdik
    Participant

    Wow, visiting the kedoshim who gave their lives to save Jews. Sounds reprehensible. Could lead to, who knows, hakoras hatov or ahavas yisroel! We wouldn’t want that now, would we?

    in reply to: Tzniut Problems In The 5 Towns #1671707
    yichusdik
    Participant

    DY, I think you might be deliberately obtuse here. I didn’t offer an opinion on whether the mosdos should take money from a thief, a mechallel shabbos, or someone who doesnt adhere to tznius. That wasn’t my point at all. My point was and is about the posters HERE, and what they say about the pollution of the machne by people in the 5T and elsewhere who don’t dress in a tzniusdik fashion. About whether THEY are so outraged by this breach of communal tznius that they will demonstrate that outrage by not taking money from the “guilty” parties THEY are talking about, or asking the mosdos and leaders they are aligned with to demonstrate their righteous outrage in the same way.

    You turned it into something else, and set up my “hypocrisy” deflecting attention from my point. I won’t be obliged to satisfy your deliberate reluctance to address my point.

    in reply to: Tzniut Problems In The 5 Towns #1671681
    yichusdik
    Participant

    Neville – his question was answered. See my response above.

    And so, in the willingness to take funds from those who are not adhering to standards here publicly proclaimed as the measure of whether a community is being polluted or not, my question has been answered too.

    in reply to: Tzniut Problems In The 5 Towns #1671640
    yichusdik
    Participant

    DY, I have done, though I am working for a great Jewish organization that is not directly in the kiruv field at the moment.

    In most cases, I would not turn it down. As I indicated above, I do not put myself, my community, my employer(s) or my ideals on a pedestal, and proclaim them to be the standard by which others should measure if they want to be considered “frum” “heilige” “erliche” Jews. So without that baggage, I can make a nuanced determination, with the input of the halachic authority of the organization, with my conscience, with the standards set by the board of directors of the org, and with the law of the land. Because I am not trumpeting my actions as the gold standard (or indeed the standard for anyone other than myself) I won’t suffer from that aroma of hypocrisy that is so hard to avoid once one has stepped in it.

    in reply to: Tzniut Problems In The 5 Towns #1671619
    yichusdik
    Participant

    Please don’t be disingenuous, DY. I didn’t say it was stolen, I said it was “like” buying an esrog with stolen cash in that it comes from an impure source. That it is dirty. And respectfully, DY, I’m neither being ridiculous, nor deserving of such a shot. Its a serious moral question.

    And before you ask how I would act, that’s not the point. I don’t hold myself or my element of the community up as a standard far above others. These posters do exactly that, so, I’m putting their morals to the question that their posts engendered.

    in reply to: Tzniut Problems In The 5 Towns #1671567
    yichusdik
    Participant

    Truly don’t know if the OP is a troll or not.

    And, objectively speaking, Individuals in the 5 Towns and many other places have an obligation to themselves and to HKBH to make better choices in what they wear, no doubt.

    Some of the comments from righteous, heilige posters here from communities and environments that justifiably see the immodesty here described as a pollution that must be stopped from infecting their community, they make me wonder…

    Are your mosdos still soliciting funds from these families who don’t meet your standards? Are the Baalei Tzedoko in the 5 Towns, among the MO and CO who wouldn’t get the Omud, let alone an Aliyah in your shuls, still among the most important and substantive donors to your Yeshivas, your seminaries, your schools, your camps, your community safety nets? Because from my experience, they are exactly that, and they have been for a very long time.

    Do you not find taking their money whilst proclaiming they are polluting the morals of am Yisroel to be even slightly hypocritical?

    It seems to me, that if you have the courage of your convictions, it is dirty money. Its like buying an Esrog with stolen cash, and your mosdos are better off and purer if you don’t ask for or take their money.

    So, the next obvious step for those who take this issue as seriously as they post about it, is to go to those who collect for these communal mosdos, even to the roshei yeshiva and manhigim, and DEMAND that they stop taking this filthy lucre.

    Who’s first?

    in reply to: The Killing of Nahal Haredi Soldiers and the Anti Draft Protests #1661015
    yichusdik
    Participant

    Joseph, Joseph, Joseph. Still plagiarizing from Frumteens without attribution. I thought you were beyond that already.

    in reply to: The Killing of Nahal Haredi Soldiers and the Anti Draft Protests #1648476
    yichusdik
    Participant

    Neville –

    Thank you for your clear response. I’ll agree that rhetorically, my anecdotals and yours balance or cancel each other out; but I’ve also looked at and referred to the two most important studies on Orthodox Jewish identity in the past two decades, maybe ever, and I haven’t found evidence to bear out what you are saying, while finding evidence that even when an individual’s level of observance is lessening, he still identifies as observant.

    I don’t agree that usage immediately adapts definition. If I accept that the shifting usage is not deliberate and self serving , it still fits into several of the categories of Blank’s typology for semantic change. I’m not a linguist, so I can’t get more specific; I couldn’t say with confidence which is likeliest; but one of the things that is accepted across the board is that the change is almost always an evolutionary process, one which does not happen in the space of a few years. Your example using the word that has now entered the common lexicon has taken over 100 years since it came into less parochial use.

    As for your assertion about how the Modern Orthodox (who as you know are not monolithic in their views) use the term chareidi, Yes, I have encountered it used negatively, but I have encountered that in centrist orthodox contexts too. Importantly, it is uncommon, in my experience. For myself, I think all of these subsets are ridiculous. One is observant or one is not. One may be stricter in one’s obervance, or less so. One may be more inclined to follow or adhere to the worldview and practice of one manhig or another, but that is more precisely defined, in my opinion, as a function of identity rather than observance. Which leads back to my point that when the word “frum” has been conflated with other variables which give it rather more meaning than a description of a standard of halachic practice, it doesn’t reflect anything more than the preferences and prejudices of the user, even if these are unconscious.

    As for offense: I know who I am, where I came from, and who I’ll have to give account to in the future. I’m neither threatened nor offended by what you call yourself. You can call yourself an angel or a broomstick if it makes you happy. Not my business. What you call others? Well, if your sense of self identity depends on how you define others rather than how you define yourself, you’ve got bigger issues than my concerns with linguistic precision to deal with.

    in reply to: The Killing of Nahal Haredi Soldiers and the Anti Draft Protests #1647834
    yichusdik
    Participant

    Neville, I’m not addressing the other elements of the issue posted about because though I am confident in my perspective on the IDF and the participation of eligible draftees, I don’t feel it is necessary or useful to try to convince others on this issue that I am right and they are wrong. I respect most of the opinions I have seen in this thread even though I disagree with several.

    You seem to think that its just semantics, that these words are defined by their anecdotal occasional usage, and “whether I like it or not” there has come to be a trend to define modern orthodox out of the definition of “frum”.

    Well, the modern orthodox aren’t doing so. In almost 50 years of being in and around Orthodox communities ranging from chassidish to yeshivish to modern orthodox, I have never encountered a single individual who said I am observant but not frum. Further, nothing in the massive surveys by Pew in 2013 and Nishma in 2017 indicates that MO self define as specifically “not frum”. Even the smaller proportion moving left in the surveys maintain their self identification. And the use of the phrase, “too frummie” doesn’t just suggest but actually means that it is a different point on the spectrum THAT THEY ARE IN that is being described as less desired.

    There has come to be a trend? Perhaps a trend among those who prefer to be vocally judgmental about others and insist on a definition that incorporates unzer and andere thinking. But not a trend among those, as you said including chabad, for whom achdus and building on common interests are paramount considerations.

    Orwell warned about the misuse, abuse, and abduction of language. It’s something that those in or seeking power, especially totalitarian regimes do to covertly shape opinion and assert supremacy. It is disheartening to see it being done within our community without (I hope) nefarious ends but similar disregard for truth and clarity.

    in reply to: The Killing of Nahal Haredi Soldiers and the Anti Draft Protests #1646688
    yichusdik
    Participant

    “outed” “MO” “anti-frum” “extremist”
    Neville, its not the precision or clarity I’m seeking that has been triggered. Clearly something she said triggered YOU, otherwise you wouldn’t have used these provocative and contextually negative terms.
    Language evolves. Facts don’t. That which generations have deemed to be frum practice remains so, thus using the term to describe something different isn’t evolution, it’s falsehood. As some might say these days, its Fake News. Now, I don’t know if you intended it with arrogance, or innocence, or ignorance. Or all three. I assumed innocence, so I wrote questioningly but not confrontationally above. If you’d like to disabuse me of my being don l’kaf zchus, please, continue with the sarcasm.

    in reply to: The Killing of Nahal Haredi Soldiers and the Anti Draft Protests #1646574
    yichusdik
    Participant

    Neville Chamberlain – Please, tell me, who gave you the right to arrogate exclusive use of the word “frum”? For generations the word has meant “observant”. It has encompassed the entire spectrum of halachic Jewish practice. Yeshiva bochrim – frum. many, many soldiers in the IDF, frum. Mrs. Sara Levine, frum. You, frum. Me, frum. students at BMG, frum. Students at YU, frum. Students at Bais Yaakov, frum. Students at Frisch, Moriah, or BPY, frum. chasidim -frum. dati-tzioni-frum.

    To paraphrase a line from a children’s movie from many years ago ” I do not think it means what you think it means.”

    Language is elastic. when one twists it to promote or achieve one’s own ends, it eventually reverts back to its original shape and meaning. Frum is frum, and beyond that we are all still responsible for one another even beyond the definitions of observance. Responsible for the ol of learning torah, and responsible for the ol of defending am yisrael physically as HKBH has made possible and essential. And shockingly, the two responsibilities are NOT mutually exclusive. hundreds of thousands of FRUM Jews have done both for longer than the medina has even existed.

    And every single one of us, every Jew, should have Hakoras Hatov for the fallen, HYD, who demonstrated this, every day of their service.

    in reply to: Who else is getting sick of YWN telling us what to think #1641524
    yichusdik
    Participant

    @whitecar, lol. I’ve been posting here since 2008, but not so much lately.

    The moment one begins to write, they form their own perspective, and deliver it even when they fervently want to be objective. There is essentially no such thing as complete objectivity in writing news, commentary, or headlines. To expect it is unrealistic, to demand it is foolish, and to consider it disgusting, well, considering the examples you brought of Berlanders and Lev Tahor, I think your disgust is misdirected.
    And as far as it goes, there is some degree of objectivity attempted by the editors. I can recall posting something that wasn’t very flattering about the actions of a particular Rebbe of a particular chasidus many years ago, and even though their editorial bent was not particularly favorable to that chasidus and that Rebbes shitos (including, aptly, his direction on “how to think”), they wouldn’t post my comment, feeling it was disrespectful. Though I disagreed, I respected their prerogative and their standards.

    in reply to: Who else is getting sick of YWN telling us what to think #1640621
    yichusdik
    Participant

    In all seriousness, it may be that many who ascribe to a world view where they turn to others for not only halachic and hashkafic guidance but also for guidance in “how to think” are particularly sensitive when they see such coming from a media source.

    It may seem obvious but it might be worth considering gathering all the halachic and hashkafic guidance you can, then gathering multiple perspectives on news that is relevant to you, and then FORM AN OPINION OF YOUR OWN BASED ON ALL THE POSITIVE INFLUENCES AND OBJECTIVE FACTS that you have at your disposal.

    I think and hope that’s what YWN has in mind.

    in reply to: Why does it seem we downplay winning the battle? #1639267
    yichusdik
    Participant

    I believe that there are several reasons why the battle has been downplayed, some of which have been touched on here. The overarching issue is this. For good reason, the chachomim in the post churban and post bar kochba period recognized that the exercise of the national/peoplehood aspects of Judaism’s responsibilities was dangerous, potentially threatening the survival of the Jewish people. So they determined to emphasize the personal, familial, and congregational aspects. That involved a complete shift from the beis hamikdosh to the beis medrash, as the focal point, from the shulchan in the BHaM to the shulchan in the home, from the kehuna to the rabonus, from the meticulous performance of korbonos to the meticulous study of Torah shebe’al pe. (The question of re-emphasis now in a time of Jewish sovereignty in eretz yisroel is a very important one to grapple with)

    Thus in framing the story – from the time of the first Seder we’ve always been about making these stories fascinating to our families – that which was relatable to the people had to be more about neiros and less about swords and battles.

    A second possibility – ambivalence about the chashmonaim. By the time that the customs of chanukah were being formalized, the chashmonaim had usurped the kingship from the descendants of Dovid Hamelech, begun the process of hellenization, and essentially invited the Romans to become involved against the greek faction of Demetrius. It is not widely appreciated that the war with the Greeks and their Jewish supporters did not stop with the capture of the beis hamikdosh, – the Greeks continued to send armies into Judea, succeeding in killing several of the Macabi brothers in battle, and they occupied the Acra fortress overlooking the Har Habayis on the northwest themselves or through proxies pretty much until the Roman influence began. So the fruits of the “victory” were less clear and harder to demonstrate than the miracle of the lights.

    Finally, it has long been my question about Chanukah – How much did the “victory” cost us? HKBH acts in history, and within his cheshbon this was a conflict between the urban and the rural, between the elite and the farmers, between the Yerushalmi kohanim who were hellenized and the outliers who were not, between the coastal cities and the hilltowns. It was a civil war, and like all civil wars, it had long lasting consequences. Because of the pushback by the Greeks, the ascending Romans got a foothold, which became a tyranny. It led to the churban bayis. Because the chashmonaim coopted the monarchy, every rebel movement for 150 years was led by a davidic claimant, including the one which eventually morphed into christianity, and we know how much that cost us, up until the present day.

    Division has been our yerusha since the brothers sold Yosef into slavery. Chanukah and more specifically its aftermath seems to be yet another manifestation of that.

    I’d love to hear a good reason to celebrate the victory as well as the miracle of the lights. I think its just as important, and the sovereignty of the Jewish people demands it. But history tells a harsh tale, so maybe we’re better off focusing on the neis of the lights until we can be unified AS WELL as sovereign, and bring the era of Moshiach tzidkeinu bimheira biyomeinu.

    in reply to: Election Results 2018 — Republicans Do Better Than Expected #1624115
    yichusdik
    Participant

    Joseph – did I say anything about Obama? I don’t care about Obama. I don’t need to hear Trump talking points about better than him or locking her up. I wont be gaslit by you into defending Obama either.

    In a nutshell, not losing as terribly as you think you could have is not a victory to trumpet, unless you are so insecure that you need to convince yourself that something that is simply and objectively a negative referendum on your presidency is actually a thumbs up.

    The most important statistics I shared were the huge net voter swing away from republicans across the board, even in districts they won, and the shift to democrats in the suburbs. You can temporize all you want, but I listened to several REPUBLICAN commentators this week who saw these issues as huge problems for them going in to 2020.

    I frankly think the leadership of both parties are useless or worse. The only real hope I have coming out of this election is that more veterans were elected this time than at any time since 1946 and 1948. Those veterans learned how to work together for common goals on the battlefield, and they accomplished incredible things as a legislature.

    in reply to: Election Results 2018 — Republicans Do Better Than Expected #1623377
    yichusdik
    Participant

    There’s no joy for a sensible person in The Democrats picking up more than 35 seats IF neither party works with the other for the common good of the electorate. Those who govern have to do more than win elections. And every important piece of legislation even on Israel/Jewish issues (Jackson-Vanik, covert help for soviet, syrian and Ethiopian aliya, Iron Dome funding) happened because both parties worked together. The republicans didn’t play ball when they had both houses, and stymied themselves several times without the democrats help. Now the house is in democrat hands, I have no more confidence in them to avoid partisanship. They showed poor partisan judgement on how they handled the Kavanaugh evidence, and it blew up on them.

    That being said, POTUS was simply wrong on the numbers when he claimed victory in the elections.

    Fact: Democrats won control of seven governorships. The republicans gained one. 87 state legislatures held elections in 2018, and the Democratic Party gained control of at least 350 state seats and seven state chambers. Democrats gained unified control of seven state governments and broke unified Republican control of four state governments.

    Fact: over 6 million more total votes for democrats than republicans in Federal races.

    Fact: most seats picked up by democrats since the Nixon administration

    Fact: about a 10% average shift to democratic candidates in ALL races, even those the republicans won. That is an incredible shift.

    Fact: republicans got slaughtered in suburban electoral districts. democrats picked up at least 22 seats in this fastest growing element measured by population density. 121 million people live in suburban districts, and at least 83 million of them are now represented by democrats.

    Fact: The republicans picked up one seat in the senate. NO ONE was predicting they were going to lose senate seats. Nat Silver, the noted statistician who tracked probabilities right up to the election, gave the Democrats only a 15% chance of increasing their Senate Tally. That is only 2% lower than the probability he calculated for the republicans to increase their house seats (17%) . So it is misleading to characterize accomplishing something you were 5 times more likely to accomplish than not as much of a victory.

    in reply to: The Pittsburgh Massacre And Rabbi Aderet #1612479
    yichusdik
    Participant

    Boruch Hashem for the return of Ruach Hakodesh. I’m glad that someone has such certainty about the ways and purposes of HKBH.

    Also, glad someone is making the distinctions between unzer and andere. Somebody should. The murderers sure don’t.
    .
    .
    .
    .
    I don’t know about the rest of you. To me the kedoshim were – are – all unzer.

    in reply to: Who Originally Sang V’Haviosim? #1517333
    yichusdik
    Participant

    On second thought, Yerushalmit is probably right. I grew up in Toronto and definitely listened to Pirchei Choir music around that time. Im probably mixing it up with a London Boys Choir album I’m sure we had at the time. And I think it may have been just a year or two before the Miami/Toronto collaboration album.

    in reply to: Who Originally Sang V’Haviosim? #1517203
    yichusdik
    Participant

    I think it was the London Boys Choir, also known as the London Pirchei choir, maybe 1977 or 1978

    in reply to: Challenge: Help Me Find an Intriguing Hagaddah #1495648
    yichusdik
    Participant

    Best I’ve used in a long time is the Rabbi Jonathan Sacks Hagaddah. Includes both commentary on the text and stand alone essays.

    in reply to: Yeridas Hadoros #1451766
    yichusdik
    Participant

    I’ll try to maintain the decorum that seems to be escaping you, K-Cup.

    If it needs elaboration, I read Hitchens for years and years before he passed away, both his articles and his books. I studied Russell in school, read him in different contexts afterwards, and while I am familiar with several instances where he describes his approach in agnostic terms, I was also familiar with the scale he gave, which, it seems to me, is pretty close to absolute in its assertion of non-belief. I mentioned Sartre, and I could have used Camus as an example ( I have read much more of his work) , but as you know, not all those writers and philosophers described as existentialist were atheists, so I didn’t, for example, use Kierkegaard. As for “knowing a lot about existentialism” because I took two courses on it, I didn’t make that claim, and I don’t appreciate being gaslit.

    I’m actually not that interested in Dawkins. Referencing him and these others spoke to the point I was making to Oyoyoy, that’s all.

    Also in the context of the discussion, these authors, and several more I am not as familiar with addressed the issue of belief within the context of the 20th century, its movements, its horrors, and the way in which most if not all of them built upon the religious, political, and social movements of the past – where the earlier generations of non believers and their philosophies resided. Hence their relevance in discussion of previous generations of thinkers.

    As I indicated, I was responding to oyoyoy’s assertion that today’s atheists were at a low level. In the context that is escaping you, it is the corollary of the Jewish experience we are discussing. I thought he was talking about the philosophers who discuss belief and non belief, while he later clarified to me that he was talking about the average Joe, who we both agree doesn’t even think about belief enough to consider himself an atheist or not. We’ve come to a mutual understanding. You, however, seem to need to tear a strip off of me. I hope that it gives you some satisfaction.

    in reply to: Yeridas Hadoros #1451583
    yichusdik
    Participant

    Ah, K-Cup, aren’t we clever. Typing on my IPhone and I used Bertram instead of Bertrand, and dropped an L in his last name.

    All of the authors I mentioned read the same authors of the past and have quoted them, on both the theistic and atheistic sides. I don’t need to compare if they are doing it themselves and involving past philosophies in their works. I would have thought that was obvious, but alas, no.

    I’ve actually had the experience of hearing Christopher Hitchens speak in person – though it was about politics and not about religion. His adversarial report on Mother Theresa for thew Vatican in opposing her beatification was brave and eloquent. I read his columns in the Nation, Vanity Fair, and The Atlantic, and of the several books of his in my library, the best is “Why Orwell Matters”.

    I’ve read almost everything Orwell ever wrote, and his “Politics and the English Language” has been influencing how I write for almost 30 years. I’ve even lectured on using its principles in current political advocacy to dozens of university aged participants in programs I have run. His novels are some of my most dog-eared paperbacks.

    I only own one of Bertrand Russell’s books, “A History of Western Philosophy” but I have read several of his more well known books and essays on philosophy, science and his particular criticism of Christianity.

    I admit that I haven’t picked up a book by Sartre since I was 25, but two university courses on Existentialist philosophy and its application in post war political discourse were enough to give me a good sense of his perspective on God.

    As for Dawkins, I’ve only read “The God Delusion” and found it occasionally lucid but oddly misdirected. When he writes about God with every negative adjective he can think of, he’s describing Man and his choices.

    Of all of these I found Dawkins the least interesting, most dogmatic, and most absolute. But when Russell describes himself as 6.9 out of 7 on the scale of atheism, I feel comfortable describing him as an atheist rather than an agnostic. I wonder where you get your scale.

    Oyoyoy, It wasn’t clear that you were referring to the average Joe. I understand better now what you were saying. But I think many of the average Joes you are describing don’t necessarily fit the bill of atheist, or even agnostic, because they haven’t and don’t care or think enough to put the time in to actually articulate what they truly believe., and that’s sad. As an aside, I wasn’t advocating that you read what I read. For me, it has strengthened rather than weakened my emunah to, as Sun Tzu suggested, “know my adversary”. But I acknowledge that isn’t an approach advisable for everyone.

    in reply to: Yeridas Hadoros #1450849
    yichusdik
    Participant

    oyoyoy, You make the point that today’s atheists are at a low level. I find that curious. Do you have any evidence for your assertion? Because if you have read Bertram Russel, or Christopher Hitchens, Jean Paul Sartre or Richard Dawkins, you will find that though they come to dramatically wrong conclusions, and when specifically addressing the issue of HKBH make several dramatically wrong assumptions, these are among the most articulate and informed non-Torah scholars of the last 100 years. Russel and Hitchens especially, because unlike Dawkins they write about much more than atheism, and unlike Sartre they avoid existentialist philosophy and the determinist outcomes it presupposes. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of 20th and 21st century writers who are more articulate than Hitchens. Maybe George Orwell, but he was likely an atheist as well, certainly an agnostic.

    My point is that you don’t have to diminish an individual’s acumen in comparison to earlier generations to conclude that he is wrong. He can be brilliant and utterly wrong, too. He can even prophesy and be inspired by HKBH, as Bilaam was, and be utterly wrong.

    in reply to: Yeridas Hadoros #1448624
    yichusdik
    Participant

    I agree significantly with Joseph here. As a nation we may aspire to more or better or higher levels, but we as Jews have, it seems, always recognized that we stand on the shoulders of Giants. I think it comes from our prayers and supplications that have always first reminded ourselves and depended on HKBH’s recognition of the Tzidkus of our Avos . That degree of humility though not always evenly held is a distinction that if other groups do so I think they have been influenced by the Jewish experience.

    What, though, are the implications of the concept of Yeridas Hadoros? Are we capable of less? Are our needs more? Can we say that now when there are more Jews learning more Torah than at any time in our entire history, more Jewish Hashpo’oh on the Umos Haolom, and more inklings that the geula is nearing that we have descended to a level of tumah below our ancestors? Maybe. Maybe we are closer to the geula because we need it more now than ever. Maybe we need to measure ourselves against our potential, and that is where we are lower. Yes, there is more Torah being learned than ever, but what could we have accomplished, and not yet reached. Yes, there is more Jewish Hashpo’oh in the world, but could we not have accomplished more, brought more peace or more righteousness to the world?

    I think that the most logical understanding of yeridas hadoros is this. Our potential grows, but our accomplishments do not keep pace, or even diminish. And with every passing generation, the potential gap grows, with our accomplishments as a Jewish generation achieving only part of what we could have and part of what our parents could have. We have more resources and opportunities now. How are we going to use them?

    in reply to: Teshuvah #1446604
    yichusdik
    Participant

    One does tshuva because one has transgressed. Has charata; owns the responsibility; and takes it upon themselves to be a better person and not revisit the transgression. One does NOT do tshuva because of financial woes, health problems, or financial abuse. That approach makes the individual relationship with HKBH transactional. While the national relationship with HKBH is by definition transactional, the individual one is not and cannot be. It is one of pure supplication, request, pleading for HKBH’s mercy and help. Not conditional, not with any strings, not with a promise based on circumstances.

    A few months ago I was in a circumstance where my life hung in the balance, and not by a small margin. As I lay there on the hospital bed awaiting emergency surgery, I had the stark, clear realization that there is no bargaining with HKBH. “if you save me I’ll do this” “I’ll do that if I survive” There is no IF. HKBH had it in his power to save my life so I asked him for his mercy, and he granted it. And in giving me the gift of life, he gave me the opportunity to do more mitzvos. But not because I bargained with him, rather because its my responsibility as a Jew, just as it is to avoid transgression.

    BH I have made a full recovery, and I am grateful every day for HKBH’s gift.

    PS, Lightbrite, I don’t think you meant it this way, but I find it obscene to consider suffering from spousal abuse as a specific indicator to do tshuva. The person’s spouse is an abusive evildoer, who has full responsibility for what they do. Your assumption sounds too much like blaming the victim.

    in reply to: FAST APPROACHING: The End of Secularism in Israel #1438822
    yichusdik
    Participant

    SO, RoC, in the face of factual statistical evidence from multiple sources well beyond the ICBS you present…opinions?

    That’s a well reasoned argument.

    Now, if you had said, it is my HOPE and BELIEF that Israel will shed its secular character in the near future, I would have no argument with you. I would likely applaud you. But to assert a “fact” and then ignore or dismiss evidence? Maybe its just me, but I have a hard time understanding your confidence.

    in reply to: FAST APPROACHING: The End of Secularism in Israel #1438606
    yichusdik
    Participant

    RoC, when you brought this topic up in July 2016, I cited three studies and copious statistics from several sources including the ICBS that contraindicated your premise. Though a critique from Joseph convinced me to clarify one element of my conclusions (thank you Joseph) there was no material argument or evidence by any of the posters that challenged the facts. You even thanked me for bringing that info into the discussion, to quote you: “You certainly have contributed some quality analysis on this topic you deserve a blessing from the rabbi of crawley!”

    So, RoC, what has changed? Is there new evidence that challenges the statistics?

    in reply to: ashkenaz #1424826
    yichusdik
    Participant

    Actually, Mdd1, I should clarify. though I indicated matrilineal descent wasn’t always followed in practice, I meant that Jewish men apparently did not always look only to originally Jewish women to marry, and in that respect didn’t always follow what we would expect. I did indicate that the evidence in mitochondrial DNA proves this, but I also said that these women would have converted, which didn’t and doesn’t impact matrilineal descent. I thought that was clear and it wasn’t. I apologize for my reactive post above.

    in reply to: ashkenaz #1424825
    yichusdik
    Participant

    Joseph. Genetics indicate to us what is inherited from the male side and the female side. It is not only possible, but indeed likely that traits like hair and eyes could be and were inherited from both male and female sides. There is no contradiction.
    And DNA is DNA. it is HKBH’s building block for living things. It isn’t about some professor or another. It is willful blindness like you seem to be advocating here that leaves Jewish women carrying the BRCA genes who are more likely to develop breast cancer and other cancers without adequate knowledge, access to early diagnosis and early treatment, and ultimately a higher mortality rate than could have been avoided, because a professor is trying to make a name for himself with the latest theory. My mother z’l was such an individual.

    Mdd1, that is not what I wrote. I wrote that the admixture of non-originally Jewish female DNA (as evidenced through mitochondrial analysis, which only passes from the female side) would have been accomplished through conversion. I did not make the claim that matrilineal descent was not followed. Read carefully, quote properly, and if you can’t do either, please reconsider your participation in the discussion. The only thing that is outrageous is your willful misreading of my post in a lackluster attempt to discredit what you don’t like.

    in reply to: ashkenaz #1424527
    yichusdik
    Participant

    Read Jon Entine’s Abraham’s Children. The closest genetic relatives to diverse Jewish populations, both Ashkenazi and Sefardi, are Levantine Arabs, from Lebanon, Syria, Israel. Another issue, which we will have to reconcile with our received history, is that genetic evidence shows remarkable continuity among male inherited genes in Jewish communities over the last 2000 years, but significantly less on the female side, indicating that matrilineal descent has always been a command or demand, but not always been followed in practice especially in medieval and pre-medieval times, with significant conversion and influx of non Jewish women into the gene pool. Another thing that is delicate but we must understand is that there is a reason for chezkas kashrus among a community that was ravaged and assaulted over so many generations, and whose women were often subject to the worst depredations. If you are looking for a reason why non-“Semitic” features entered our gene pool, that’s a good place to start.

    in reply to: Is “half kiruv” worse than the desease? #1356455
    yichusdik
    Participant

    Even within organizations, its not a settled question. For example, from personal experience, NCSY had a debate and open forum at a staff conference six-seven years ago, with one side making the case for focusing on a few who will make a complete and quick change in their life to frumkeit, vs reaching exponentially more people and giving them the tools to make appropriate Jewish choices in ther lives, and guiding and moving them towards frumkeit if they are inclined to do so. Both sides were represented by some of the leading kiruv rabbis in the OU/NCSY orbit, and both made a good case for their side.

    in reply to: Tznius Problem? #1356490
    yichusdik
    Participant

    Any individual who finds good reason to increase their personal approach to Tznius will be fixing the alleged problem. Any group who wishes to educate on the matter will be successful if they do it with without being extreme, and by being compassionate. Any group who wishes to force another or cause social difficulty to another in an attempt to impose a different level of tznius may be able to blackmail or otherwise strongarm compliance, but will be damaging individual relationships with HKBH in the long term.

    in reply to: Is “half kiruv” worse than the desease? #1356319
    yichusdik
    Participant

    Here’s what the Lubavitcher Rebbe said in 5751, according to the Chabad.org discussion on tinok shenishba

    “However when one stresses and emphasizes the disadvantage of those who are non-observant, also adding warnings of punishment and retribution, Heaven forbid, not only is this not the way to strengthen the keeping of Torah and mitzvos, rather it weakens observance and distances the non-observant from doing teshuvah.”

    in reply to: Is “half kiruv” worse than the desease? #1356299
    yichusdik
    Participant

    You’ve set up a straw man. Kiruv professionals and volunteers who are not of the same approach as you don’t lie, or say that which is incompatible is compatible. In my 25 years experience as both a volunteer and professional in kiruv and in other areas of Jewish professional work, What I have seen is that these professionals and volunteers, from Chabad to Aish to NCSY, see a process, not an abrupt black and white moment. They encourage Jews to take on one mitzvah at a time, and focus on what they ARE doing, rather than on what they are not doing, and the process brings those mitzvos that are most challenging in to discussion and then observance as well, in time. I know of several baalei tshuva who are very successful, who support mosdos from Kiryas Yoel to Yerushalayim to Los Angeles who have been mekarev in exactly this manner, and have grown in their frumkeit to the greatest heights; what’s more, because of their journey, they understand the need to keep striving, and have an incredible anivus about their yiddishkeit and their success . But hey, if you feel empowered to contradict the approaches of the Lubavitcher Rebbe and Rav Noach Weinberg, zichronom livrocho, be my guest.

    in reply to: Additional Societal Casualties Of The Shidduch Crisis #1348364
    yichusdik
    Participant

    The OP writes:

    “Not long ago frum marriage partners put their best efforts into making a marriage work even they weren鈥檛 initially the most ideal match. In today鈥檚 disposable generation, people have less motivation to put in the work to stabilize & create marital harmony. Still, divorce came with a stigma & remarrying with someone of another failed marriage can be difficult. ”

    Now, if the OP is speaking from personal experience, I can’t argue. But if the OP is making assumptions, He’s clearly not following the opinion expressed by Hillel Hazokein in pirkei avos (2:4).

    There have been immature people in every generation. There have been those for whom commitment is meaningless in every generation. There have been people who lack seichel in every generation. Many of these brought these character weaknesses into their marriages, and what is worse is that they failed to take personal responsibility.

    And there have been people of faith, commitment, and maturity who worked at their marriage and failed to sustain it – in every generation. Boruch hashem that they encounter others with more understanding and discernment than the OP who help them learn from their challenges and build a successful life with a new partner, of whatever age and life experience. The zivug and the happiness they build is what is important in strengthening their commitment to HKBH and to strengthening their community. Not some speculative calculus about their motivations.

    “People have less motivation”?

    Spoken like someone who is well intentioned, but better at speculation than certainty.

    in reply to: Mazel Tov! #1344416
    yichusdik
    Participant

    Mazal Tov!

    in reply to: Calling cops on frum neighbor #1338249
    yichusdik
    Participant

    This one isn’t so straightforward. Not a liberal or conservative thing, either.

    First, though, if one calls the police in the Medina Shel Chesed with a bill of rights and the rule of law, is it still mesira? Not so straightforward.

    Second, on the other side. Yelling and screaming doesn’t necessarily constitute “raglayim ledavar”, so either waiting until you have a clearer picture or asking a competent, aware, and unblinkered halachic authority for advice could be a good idea. That is, unless you hear someone say “I’m going to kill you” or something like that. Then asking your Rov or waiting for more evidence is indeed standing on the blood of your neighbor.

    Third. Speaking to a Rov doesn’t necessarily mean you are asking a shailah which you are then obliged to adhere to. You can ask for advice as to what should inform your own decision making from a halachic POV, you can ask quite a bit that isn’t “tell me what to do, please”.

    My personal opinion, all of this being said, is to be near certain you have cause for alarm before calling the police. Use your head. Ask a Rov for guidance or advice if you must, but YOU are hearing or seeing this, not someone on the other end of the phone. It is unfair to that Rov to expect him to make the best informed decision about the situation based on secondhand “evidence”. And finally, if you are convinced that someone is being endangered, don’t call hatzolah. Call the police. When HKBH calls you to account for it there might well be a saved life on your account to balance any possible halachic breach.

    yichusdik
    Participant

    Being able to conceive and bear a child is a blessing. And it’s never a sure thing until the baby is born healthy, so it should never be taken for granted. The tzaar of someone who wants kids but cant bear them is overwhelming.

    BUT

    I must take issue with those who consider it an “affront to Hashem” if a woman does not want to bear children. Simply put, you have no idea why such a feeling is expressed. The individual may have suffered a trauma, or abuse, or neglect as a child or young adult that makes the thought of raising a child into a world where she has suffered so much an abhorrent thought. The individual may simply be terrified at the responsibility.

    Pirkei Avos says in the second perek not to judge another until you have been in their place. Hillel Hazokein said it! I can not see how anyone can bring themselves to argue with this. Not only becasue it is the wisdom of Hillel Hazokein, but also because of the obvious logic of it.

    So, those of you who feel it is an affront, who are you or any of us to judge that? Have you walked in her shoes? Doesn’t HKBH rule with compassion and understanding?

    So what would I say to her? I would say that I pray that HKBH brings her happiness and fulfillment in her life.

    in reply to: Psak of Rav Kook on Chazal vs Scientists #1274218
    yichusdik
    Participant

    Many years ago, I had the privilege to have Rav Avishai David as my magid shiur, Rosh Yeshiva, and for about a year I was honoured to learn with him b’chavrusa. I recall many many distinctive discussions about his experiences with the Rov zt’l, and with his beloved teacher R Aharon Lichtenstein zt’l.

    I would be interested to see the makor for the statement that “when it comes to hashkofoh we stay away from the Rambam”. I never got the impression from him that his experience learning from and with the Rov envisioned shying away from challenging hashkofic texts ESPECIALLY from the Rambam. That being said, I haven’t seen his sefer that was referenced, and he may have come to that conclusion.

    I’d add one thought. Though it has – and has had since the time of the neviim and the anshei kneses hagedolah and earlier – vital importance and power, and for some it is one of the most important elements of their personal observance of mitzvos, Emunas Chachomim is not the end all and be all of Yiddishkeit. Emunoh in HKBH is.

    in reply to: Should I Bother Taking My Wife To A Beis Din #1273584
    yichusdik
    Participant

    Please consider giving the get and moving on. Marriage is a partnership. If one partner doesn’t want to be a partner anymore, you don’t have a marriage, you just have collective responsibilities.

    One more thing. You can’t change her (and she can’t change you, though she doesn’t seem to want to. She just wants to leave) Only she can, and she’s expressed pretty clearly she isn’t interested in changing her mind or stance. So you are banging your head against a wall again and expecting a different result. That doesn’t seem to be rational.

    Whether you convince her (which I doubt she wants) to go to therapy together or not, I agree with zaltzvasser that therapy is a good idea for you. And I would say that considering her religious observance a religious therapist would be good for you two if you go together, I think you can find a good therapist for yourself beyond that milieu. Hatzlacha!

    in reply to: The Meeting With the Pope That Is Now Viral #1271890
    yichusdik
    Participant

    I’m with Joseph, mostly, on this one. While we can clearly see that John Paul II took the changes of John XXIII very seriously about not prioritizing proselytizing Jews any more and of describing us as “Elder Brothers” . That doesn’t go very far at all in mitigating 1700 years of persecution and murder, of laying the “legal” framework the Nazis copied in their anti Jewish laws, and of normalizing Jew hatred for century after century in Europe. The Catholic Church has a lot more to do before its change of tune can be “appreciated”.

    I have read and heard that the present pope is a good, humble man. Maybe so. but unduly honoring him as pope, rather than as a good and humble man, honours the Catholic Church, which, as Joseph wrote, has been murdering us for millennia.

    in reply to: Yom Ha’atzmaut 馃嚠馃嚤馃憤馃憙 #1269285
    yichusdik
    Participant

    The capacity to defend oneself and one’s community with the intervention of HKBH is worth celebrating, when such capacity has been absent for millenia. The celebration of the end of the conflict resonates too, because more importantly than victory, it can be a celebration of the beginning of some semblance of peace, or at least the temporary absence of violence.

    Finally, more than one gadol, more than one Rav, more than one educated Jew, more than one simple maamin have looked at the events of the past 100 years and seen the indications of the Ikvesa Demeshicha. And the concepts of overcoming shibud malchuyos along with the clearest of kibutz goluyos are so clear that an Iver could see them.

    Now, the period before zman hamoshiach (and which one are you talking about, Ezer, ben yosef or ben dovid?) isn’t exactly clearly defined in our tradition. One thing that seems clear though, is that it is a time of tumult, confusion, and conflict.

    I believe that we are in the time of ikvesa demeshicha. It would be simplistic and perhaps foolish to draw a perfectly straight line from the founding of a secular state to the onset of a messianic age. That is precisely the context – tumult, confusion, conflict – out of which the geulah will come.

    However you see the medinah, the fact of its existence and the context within which it was created indicates to me, at least, that we are approaching the geulah, even if its two steps forward, one step back.

    And, to me, that is worth celebrating. If for you, it’s worth saying kinos over, at least you are doing so because the ultimate geulah matters to you.

    in reply to: “Yom HaShoah”-A Zionist Fraud #1265332
    yichusdik
    Participant

    Moderator, I don’t question your prerogative about not posting anything. It’s totally your call. Your response to my query, which I appreciate getting, however, should be accurate.

    I didn’t make any comment, hateful, disgusting, or otherwise, about an adam gadol in that post at all. I suggested a look at a well sourced scholarly work which questioned the accepted narrative, and which backed up their investigation with facts. And I suggested it could be useful to consider more facts than have been presented in this thread. It is your prerogative to consider elements of that work hateful and disgusting. Elements of this thread are equally or perhaps more hateful, and certainly more directly so than was my blocked post. I wonder at their continued presence.

    By the way, while there is criticism in the work I referenced, there is also praise and acknowledgement that at least part of the accepted narrative is accurate.

    In any case, I wish you a good shabbos, and a good shabbos to all here, including those I disagree with.

    in reply to: “Yom HaShoah”-A Zionist Fraud #1265267
    yichusdik
    Participant

    I get a post not being accepted and not posted. I don’t get it going up and then coming down.

    I don’t get it going up in the first place. Probably, whoever approved it did not understand the reference, and therefore did not realize that it was a disgusting, hateful comment about an Adam Gadol.

    I’ll only say further that there are scholarly works which dispute the perspective of the OP, with primary sources and references. Apparently you’ll have to find them yourselves, because even referencing them without links is problematic. Oh, and there’s this. I hope the moderators are ok with the Novee Yoel.

    讜职讛指讬指讛 讘址讬旨讜止诐 讛址讛讜旨讗 讬执讟旨职驻讜旨 讛侄讛指专执讬诐 注指住执讬住, 讜职讛址讙旨职讘指注讜止转 转旨值诇址讻职谞指讛 讞指诇指讘, 讜职讻指诇-讗植驻执讬拽值讬 讬职讛讜旨讚指讛, 讬值诇职讻讜旨 诪指讬执诐; 讜旨诪址注职讬指谉, 诪执讘旨值讬转 讬职讛讜指讛 讬值爪值讗, 讜职讛执砖讈职拽指讛, 讗侄转-谞址讞址诇 讛址砖旨讈执讟旨执讬诐
    讜执讬讛讜旨讚指讛, 诇职注讜止诇指诐 转旨值砖讈值讘; 讜执讬专讜旨砖讈指诇址执诐, 诇职讚讜止专 讜指讚讜止专

    Yoel, 4: 18, 20

    in reply to: Is it okay to marry a Zionist? #1264597
    yichusdik
    Participant

    Is it OK to agree to a shidduch with someone who rejects the words of the Novee Yirmiyahu, particularly perokim lamed and lamed alef? corollary of the question.

    in reply to: “Yom HaShoah”-A Zionist Fraud #1262212
    yichusdik
    Participant

    Ugh. The falsehood and hate fueling this OP has truly pained me. I’ll daven for the neshomah of the person who posted it. I fear he will need the tefilos.

    I’d point out that though I disagree with Joseph’s perspective expressed here, I understand the perspective on doing the commemoration in Nisan, and see that it could be justified to criticize the timing of Yom Hashoah (though zahavasdad makes a cogent point), though I may not agree that it was done dafka l’hachis. I’m not be reactive simply to a differing perspective, just to the unfortunate sinah in the OP.

    Let’s all daven for the elevation of the neshamoss of the kedoshim, every day, for the unity of am Yisroel, every day, and for the geulah to be completed, every day.

    in reply to: need kiruv advice #1246776
    yichusdik
    Participant

    Yekke2, my personal understanding is that my philosophical approach and attitude towards Torah and Mitzvos is relevant to me and to the people who I interact with. They are less if at all relevant to Yossel in Monsey or Shaindel in Gateshead.

    Here’s the controversial part. I think that many if not most of us here are products of a good or great Jewish education, built by the mesiras nefesh of our parents and grandparents, and by the incredible leaders of the sheairis hapleytah since 1950. I think that we are the products of their hashpo’oh, and of any other hashpo’os our parents saw fit to expose us to. I think that with those influences, with the guidance of a manhig or manhigim that the individual trusts, and the immersion of living in a Jewish environment, most of us are well equipped to make choices about how we express our Jewish ideals. They won’t all be the same. In fact, everyone’s expression of yiddishkeit will be at least a bit different, because personality and circumstances come into play as well.

    Thus, within the parameters of Torah and Mitzvos, there is not one specific mindset. We are all ships in the same fleet, led by the ultimate admiral, going from the same port to the same destination. All the ships are different, some have more sails, some fewer, some are faster or slower, some bigger or smaller. But we have the same set of orders, and that includes how we deal with things that come upon us on the way. As long as we agree on the destination, and as long as we are working from the same set of orders, I don’t see the point in telling the other seafarers what their mindset should be.

    in reply to: need kiruv advice #1246557
    yichusdik
    Participant

    Nechomah – Though I was involved as a teacher, volunteer, chavrusa and host for Aish for many years, I am not blessed to have come to it as a Baal Tshuva. Though each of us in our own way is or should be chozer bitshuva on an ongoing basis, I grew up and was educated in a frum environment and community.

    Lilmod – You and I have different approaches to Kiruv, though there may be some intersectionality. One thing I have moved away from is absolute statements. I gave my opinion on what is needed to be successful and whole as someone involved in macro-kiruv. It is based on experience and on the wisdom of others whose whole lives are immersed in kiruv. But I don’t assume there is no path other than what I suggested.
    You wrote – “Rebshidduch鈥檚 situation is a macro-kiruv situation and she should not be involved until she has some of the above qualifications. She should certainly wait until she has attended seminary for a MINIMUM of one year.”

    I broadly agree, but I don’t know about minimums and maximums. I do know she needs a mentor, and not an anonymous one in the coffee room like you or me.

    You wrote “However, there is something important to point out. I attended an Aish HaTorah seminar at which the presenter made sure to deliniate the differences between Aish haTorah鈥檚 hashkafa and mainstream Yeshivish hashkafa. If you have been involved with Aish HaTorah, I am sure that you are aware of those differences.”

    Having had the opportunity of learning and working throughout the broad spectrum of the observant world, from chareidi to the left fringes of orthodoxy, And working professionally in Jewish communities beyond the observant elements of it, I am more than aware of the differences, be they subtle or black and white, between the many beautiful elements that make up the whole. My experience and my friendship with dozens of people who are at once both Yeshivish and Aish-involved (or involved with other kiruv organizations that also have a different taam) tells me that the strategic differences between the yeshivish and Aish hashkafahs are very small, though the tactical approaches are often quite different

    “If Rav Noach Weinberg zatsal was your Rav, then you can and probably should follow him. But please understand that most Frum Jews will and probably should choose to follow the mainstream Yeshivish hashkafa (if in fact there are differences).

    Kiruv has been a part of my life for a long time. For part of that time I was involved through the Aish framework, and particularly as it related to how to teach and be mekarev, I learned and used R’ Noach’s mehalech and reached out to him for answers to questions as they came up. I wouldn’t characterize him any more broadly than that as my “Rav”, though the respect I had and still have for him is enormous.

    I take issue with your use and implied definition of “frum” Jews. You don’t have a monopoly on the term, specific or colloquially used. Neither do I. I choose to use it, as many if not most do, as a loose definition most akin to “observant” which goes far beyond the Yeshivish world both towards the chassidish world and towards the centrist or modern orthodox world. (BTW, I dislike all of these labels. observant works for me). I don’t think, thus, that “most frum Jews should follow the mainstream Yeshivish hashkafa.” is either true or even desirable. As I and many, many others define it, that sounds presumptuous. Within the machne of shomrei mitzvos, elu voelu divrei elokim chayim.

    Lilmod, the following statement of yours truly troubled me. “Rav Noach Weinberg zatsal was a big Tzaddik, but I鈥檓 not sure that he should be quoted as though he was the Gadol Hador and everyone has to follow him.”

    As many who have been here longer than you can attest, I’m rarely interested in the My Gadol is bigger than your Gadol absurdity that often takes place here. I question the entire structure that has been built up around these manhigim, where access is restricted, askonim are paramount, and its impossible to know even if a letter or pashkevcil has actually even been signed by the quoted Gadol.

    I certainly did not and do not make any assertion as to Rav Noach’s suitability for that description. It makes not an iota of difference to my incredible esteem and respect for him. Lilmod, he should be quoted as an expert, if not the foremost expert, in kiruv in the last 60 years. As I wrote, no one, with the possible exception of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, had a better understanding of the needs of those who are rechokim, or the capacity of the observant world to bring them closer to Torah. Whether that makes him a Gadol hador in your eyes is irrelevant to me and to the discussion.

    But as such, I quote him as among the highest experts and Torah authorities on the subject of kiruv. If you want to be involved in kiruv, it behooves you to learn his mehalech – as well as that of the Rebbe, as well as that used by AJOP, by NCSY, by individual powerhouses like Jeff Seidel or R’Yom Tov Glaser in Jerusalem. I don’t expect you to learn to mountain bike or surf as well as R’Yom Tov, but I do think that every one involved in kiruv should see how he has a hashpo’oh on thousands of rechokim every year. Eizehu chachom, halomed mikol ish. And even more so when that ish is the expert of the generation.

    Does everyone have to follow him? Who said so? not me. I quoted his words to me. As someone else wrote, the Lubavitcher Rebbe said something similar. As I love to point out, every Jew has choices. You can choose to follow him, or not. bechira chofshis is a wonderful thing.

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