Wednesday, May 29, 2013
The sages advised that במקום שאין איש השתדל להיות איש. Since Blogging Buddy Bray has taken another absence, and no other jbloggers are discussing this, I feel it is my duty to note some Praise for the Parisians.
As the world rapidly turns more and more towards Sedom, I feel honored to note that upwards of 300,000 People Paraded in the heart of France opposing same-gender marriage.
1 Papa, 1 Mama...
Perhaps the Moslem influence is finally being felt?
Friday, May 24, 2013
Rabbi Yaakov Bender has written a much needed article on drinking in our community.
What people must realize is that children look up to their parents and mimic their behavior.
Parents must practice what they preach.
"I vividly remember a commercial that used to play on radio many years ago, where a deep voice would ask a number of children: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” The children would invariably answer: “I want to be a policeman just like daddy.” “I want to be a doctor just like daddy.” “I want to be a lawyer just like daddy.” And finally, “I want to be a fireman just like daddy.” And then the deep voice would resonate with one question addressed to all of us out there, listening to the commercial:
“Daddy, do you smoke?”
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Brooklyn's Chassidic community has long Battled the Bloomberg administration regarding keeping their neighborhoods spiritually clean.
There were previous successes in removing Bike lanes that cut through this area, which were opposed for several reasons. Firstly, the Chassidim did not want collisions between speeding Bicyclists and the many children and pedestrians that inhabit this area Furthermore, they did not want the scantily clad Bicyclists destroying the spiritual aura that permeates this region.
The new CitiBike sharing program once again threatened to infiltrate this region, yet according to the NY Daily News, the Chassidim have seemingly Blocked this program from their Blocks.
In other bicycle news, Chai Lifeline's Bike4chai now enters it's fifth season. Bikers will travel 175 miles over 2 days to raise money for Camp Simcha. What began as a simple ride by one counselor 5 years ago, was followed by 39 participants the second year, and has now mushroomed to 300 participants. Last year 1.8 million dollars was raised! I wish I could swap my Blogger-seat for a Bicycle seat and join them.
In any event, what is somewhat mystifying is that well over one third, over 100 bicyclists hail from Brooklyn! I wonder how many of them live in the 'Burg?
Sunday, May 19, 2013
We are the people of the book. From time immemorial, the Jewish people have always had a high level of literacy, despite their host country's desire to keep them from attaining higher education.
Along with this desire to keep Jews out of colleges, has been the double edged sword to have them somewhat educated in the basic Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic, so that they could engage in commerce with the natives of the land.
Yet this always received stiff opposition from the rabbis, as the inability to communicate was a safeguard against assimilation. Additionally, any time spent on disciplines other than Torah was suspect and viewed as time wasting.
Many within the Jewish community felt that Jewry would benefit by becoming acclimated to Modern Society, but just as many felt that we must keep our distance for Torah and our way of living to thrive.
This debate raged in 1782 when Rabbi Naftali Hertz Wesseley printed his Divrei Shalom V'Emes, which featured reasons why secular knowledge was necessary, yet his opponents were vehement in squashing his arguments.
Another attempt was made in the 1840's in Russia when Max Lilienthal met with the great Roshei Yeshiva and Rabbis of that era in a vain attempt to get them to update the curriculum.
This debate has been recently renewed in Eretz Yisrael, whereby the Yesh Atid party, under direction of Yair Lapid has directed the Orthodox Ner Israel graduate Dov Lipman to assist in introducing changes to the Chareidi curriculum.
In some ways this mirrors the great debates of yesteryear. But in other ways, not. This is different from Russia trying to Russify their subjects, whereby the Czar should not be telling Volozhin how to run their Yeshiva. In Israel, however, the government is paying for the education, so perhaps they do have a right to dictate how to spend taxpayers money. It seems like they are willing to let them teach what they want, as long as the participants are willing to pay for it.
In any event, RNHW was chastised, Max Lilienthal was run out of the country, and Dov Lipman has earned the contempt of his alma mater.
לא ימושו מפיך ומפי זרעך ומפי זרע זרעך אמר ה' מעתה ועד עולם
Monday, May 6, 2013
A recent article in the Yated causes me to ponder: When is it appropriate to publish LH?
The Chofetz Chaim lists 7 conditions that must be met in entirety before one can relate derogatory information about another:
1. Absence of any doubt as to the truth of the incident.
2. Absence of any possible factor to render the action permissible.
3. The necessity to admonish (if possible) prior to relating the incident.
4. The narrative must be accurate.
5. Beneficial intentions.
6. Use another method whenever possible.
7. Punishment must be according to Torah Law.
Several recent incidents have once again shown the power of the internet and how it can be used and abused to further one's agenda.
There was a story about a politician who used the power of an online newspaper to elect/promote himself and downgrade his opponent.
There was a story about a rabbi who promoted his own candidacy for higher power and allegedly concocted stories about great rabbis of previous generations that they orally approved of lenient Halachik practices.
Google recently upgraded and labeled certain parts of Israel as "Palestine".
The upshot of all these shenanigans shows remarkably how much power is the hands of those who hold the reins of the Internet. I have advocated many times that the Agudah should maintain a web presence. Grab onto those reins. I understand their opposition, but I believe that they should - somewhat akin to their position vis a vis present day Israeli elections. "We will oppose the Zionistic state, but now that it has become a reality, we need to deal with it."
Furthermore, I think it is high time we had a "Blog Posek". Similar to Shmiras HaLashon hotlines, one would send questionable posts to be screened prior to posting. Having a picture of the Chofetz Chaim on your blog is nice, but actually keeping away from LH is nicer.