Sunday, November 17, 2013

Dialogue - For Torah Issues and Ideas - Fall 5774/2013 Volume 4 - (Dialogue Deems Discourse Desirable)

Dialogue I
Dialogue II
Dialogue III
Dialogue V

The latest issue of Dialogue is a Dandy! Just when I thought that Dialogue was in Demise, my copy arrived with over 300 pages jam-packed with hot issues of the Day, in addition to a real Dose of Dialogue regarding the Torah-science Dispute.


Rabbi Aharon Feldman's Speech to Israeli Generals, explaining the Torah outlook of why Chareidim refuse to be drafted, is heartfelt and helps us understand why compromise is not an option. Rabbi Feldman's second article deals with Observant But Not Religious in what he deems to be the number one problem facing religious Jewry today.

Rabbi Eytan Kobre bemoans the superficiality of various religious practices, and pines for the olden days, when Yomim Tovim were appreciated more because one worked on building a Sukkah (not pre-fab like today) and one worked to make Pesach, not make reservations at some hotel. Gain through Pain: A proposal for Contemporary Orthodoxy. This article really reminds me of the kind of essays one used to read in the now defunct Jewish Observer.

Choosing Faith over Folly: The Mekubalim Phenomenon is penned by Rabbi Yaakov Hillel, one of today's real Kabbalists, as an effort to curtail the proliferation of fakes and frauds who prey on the vulnerable.

Rabbi J. David Bleich in The Challenge of Faith Commitment, notes that our external religiosity is much stronger than in earlier years, but we must also train out youth in the Internals - Emunah, Bitachon etc.

Rabbi Zev Cohen in The Vaad - An anchor in the Turbulent Sea calls for setting up Vaadim, as a way to keep the spirituality gained in Yeshiva after one has gone out to the working world.

Rabbi Aharon Lopiansky discusses the setting up of our Siddur in The Endless Dimensions of the Siddur.

In Kabbalah and Halacha, Rabbi Zev Kreines explores the dynamics of integrating various aspects of Kabbalah with Halacha.

Dr. Lee M. Spetner in The Limits of Evolution, opens up the science-Torah section with his scholarly article on the shortcomings of the theory of Common Descent, concluding that it is false.

Rabbi Natan Slifkin, in Letter to the Editor, responds to Dialogue volume 3 where Doctors Betech and Maya had argued that the biblical Shafan is the rabbit. Rabbi Slifkin argues that rabbits were not native to Israel, hence when Dovid HaMelech and Shlomo HaMelech refer to the Shafan, it must not be referring to the rabbit, making the hyrax the most likely candidate. As for the Torah referring to the Shafan as a Maaleh Gaira, he invokes Dibra Torah Kilshon Bnei Odom.

Rabbi Dovid Kornreich, in The Betech-Slifkin Shafan Debate - An Assesment argues that the Shafan needn't have been native to Israel, as the Divine is all-knowing, and furthermore, Dibra Torah Kilshon Bnei Odom is not appropos over here. Also, rabbits may have been imported to Israel, of which we see other examples of imported animals in Tenach.

Professor Dr. Jonathan Ostroff - Shafan Hyrax or Rabbit joins the fray and argues that Shafan could well be the rabbit, even though it doesn't chew the cud in the conventional sense, but he agrees that caecotrophy - the re-ingesting of food pellets could well work with the Torah's definition. He disagrees with Rabbi Slifkin regarding the fossil record and dislikes the hyrax option, as the hyrax is not Maaleh Gaira in any definition.

Rabbi Yechezkel Spanglet discusses computer/internet addiction in Addictions: Underlying Causes and Recovery Options.

Rabbi/Doctor Benzion Sorotzkin discusses Same Sex Attraction - Beyond the Rhetoric, reiterating the theme from last issue of Dialogue that it is political correctness which drives much of the homosexual lobby, not necessarily truth.

Rabbi Mayer Twersky further discusses some of the fallout from the previous issue in Judaism and Deviant Behavior.

Other letters include more responses to the homosexuality issue and Lo Sisgodedu.

Rebbitzen Esther Farbstein laments Yet Another Destruction: Jewish Books in Hungary.

Rav Yechiel Goldhaber completes the magazine with the second part of his hebrew article discussing Secular Marriage in Italy and France. פולמוס נישואין אזרחיים באיטליה וצרפת In this issue, unlike volume 3, the hebrew article pages correctly read right to left.

I am very impressed with this effort, as there are many hours of intellectual thought awaiting the reader. They have engaged in some real dialogue and for the first time have featured a woman. I wish them much Hatzlocho in future issues.


Available in Seforim stores or call 410-367-2567

Disclaimer: I am not associated in any way with Dialogue.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

GET Grievance Generates Gossip

Much virtual ink has been spilled in recent weeks regarding using a GET as a weapon to keep a woman an Agunah.

There was a time when Agunah meant that the husband could not be found...lost in battle or the like.

Today, Agunah has come to mean a woman whom the husband has not given a GET, and remains chained and unable to remarry.

Whereas many claim that a GET should never be used as a bargaining chip, I can understand a scenario where it may be legitimate.

Suppose a woman after several years a marriage tires of her husband, a generally caring man and wants out of the marriage. She refuses all offers of marital therapy and chooses to take the husband's house and children, poisoning them against him in the process.

Yes, it is true that a GET should never be used as a weapon, but neither should a wife resort to such action, and unfortunately many do. While I normally agree that it is wrong to withhold a GET, I can understand that sometimes you need to fight fire with fire.

Democratic (Chaim) Deutch Deserves District

Despite Gerrymandering of the Brooklyn Districts, Chaim Deutch managed to pull off a stunning win in the 48th District, comprised of Manhattan Beach, Sheepshead Bay, Brighton Beach and Midwood.

Despite the fact that only Midwood is heavily Orthodox Jewish, and Manhattan Beach, Sheepshead Bay and Brighton Beach are primarily made up of other minorities, primarily of Russian descent; and despite the fact that there was a Russian-Jewish candidate with strong credentials, Chaim Deutch was still able to beat these odds and emerge victorious.

This win restores my faith in the Orthodox Jewish voter, who came out in force to support one of their own who has done so much to make this district a better place to live. Chaim created the Flatbush Shomrim Safety Patrol, helped many when Super Storm Sandy Struck and assists many other organizations, especially those involved with troubled youth.

From the

“Chaim Deutsch did more than anybody else for the community, more than any elected official, more than anybody,” said Manhattan Beach Community Group president Ira Zalcman of Deutsch’s work after Hurricane Sandy. “I told him people were hungry, there was food, I told him people were cold, he was there with blankets, he was there with heaters. His ability to mobilize forces and get the things that people needed is amazing.”

It is comforting to know that someone who truly helps others will now be in a position to help even more.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Reichman's Riches Rejuvenate Religion

I was quite surprised to see that although the passing of Paul (Moshe Yosef) Reichmann was covered in the press, it was not covered to the extent that I thought it would be.

I salute this great Baal Tzedokoh, who contributed untold millions to so many institutions.

Everyone knew that his handshake was his word. Binding.

Yehi Zichro Baruch.
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