Friday, October 23, 2015

You See? She Was Right!

Yesterday, I published a guest post from my sister Dinah Paritzky. She stated that people should tone down their hysteria over the terror attack in Beit Shemesh, arguing that she is more likely to get in a car accident. And she was right! Today she got into a car accident!

I am in the ER with her right now. It looks like nothing more than whiplash, thank God. Fortunately she has retained her sense of humor. She saw the irony of the incident in light of her blog post yesterday, and asked me to write this post.

The rationalists will take this as evidence that she was correct. The non-rationalists will take this as evidence that you shouldn't give yourself an ayin hara!

21 comments:

  1. Refua shlema to Mrs Paritzky...a Hero of Rationalist Labour! She has gone well beyond the call of duty in illustrating the point in her guest post and deserves a permanent position.

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  2. B"H she has only whiplash. Refuah shlemah.

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  3. Oy Dinah, I wish you better and sending lots of love. xxxxx

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  4. Boy, you rationalists sure go to great lengths to prove your point! Refuah Shelayma!

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  5. The pasuk says- כשגגה היוצא . Do you also deny a pasuk? Or אל תפתח פה לשטן.

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    1. That's not what the Passuk is actually saying. The phrase may be used that way as a Drush, but please don't call this "denying a passuk."

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  6. She saw the irony of the incident in light of her blog post yesterday, and asked me to write this post.

    This must be one of those British humor idiosyncrasies :)

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  7. I remember shlichim promoting Israel trips to us always through in the line that "we were far more likely to get into a car accident than a terrorist attack". That was reassuring - until I got to Israel and realized that there were a truly scary number of car accidents.

    Refuah shlaimah to your sister.

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  8. I get the idea that a non rationalist might say that she may have given herself an ayin hara. I don't understand what you mean when you say "The rationalists will take this as evidence that she was correct". As evidence that what? That car accidents are more common than terrorist attacks? The argument is an argument of numbers. Meaning, if you do the math, accidents are more common. The fact that it happened to her specifically does not prove anything. Does not sound like an argument for a rationalist!

    Having said that, the concepts of Ayin Hara, Al Tiftach etc as well as other related ideas are found in the Talmud. Even a rationalist believes in God and that he runs the world in a spiritual way aside from the physical and scientific way. I don't see how one can simply weasel out of it by yelling rationalism.

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    1. The Gemara in Pesachim (110b) says that עין הרע won't affect a person if s/he's not makpid about it (but you should still be concerned about it).
      כללא דמילתא: כל דקפיד, קפדי בהדיה, ודלא קפיד, לא קפדי בהדיה. ומיהו, למיחש מיבעי

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    2. Isn't that referring to sheidim/zugos not ayin hara?

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    3. #1: You are overthinking a humorous statement. Of course a single instance of anything proves almost nothing.

      #2: The Rambam did exactly what you say and the G"ra attacks him for doing this. He reads astrology and other superstitions in general out of the religion. You can find an example of how he did it here: http://people.bu.edu/dklepper/RN242/rambam2.html

      I know that you may search and find sayings of some individual sages in the Talmud and Midrashim whose words appear to maintain that at the moment of a man's birth, the stars will cause such and such to happen to him. Do not regard this as a difficulty, for it is not fitting for a man to abandon the prevailing law and raise once again the counterarguments and replies (that preceded its enactment). Similarly it is not proper to abandon matters of reason that have already been verified by proofs, shake loose of them, and depend on the words of a single one of the sages from whom possibly the matter was hidden. Or there may be an allusion in those words; or they may have been said with a view to the times and the business before him. (You surely know how many of the verses of the holy Law are not to be taken literally. Since it is known through proofs of reason that it is impossible for the thing to be literally so, the translator [of the Aramaic Targum] rendered it in a form that reason will abide. ) A man should never cast his reason behind him, for the eyes are set in front, not in back...

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    4. @AK--Yes, I see the context in the Gemara is dealing with shedim and zugos, etc. But the Wikipedia website on עין הרע (in Hebrew) cites that statement in Pesachim as being the basis for Rav Ovadiah's allowing certain things that are otherwise shunned because of עין הרע (they bring the specific case of calling up a father and son, or two brothers, up to the Torah back-to-back).

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  9. Whiplash can be quite debilitating. Please pass on my advice to do as much physiotherapy and the recommended exercises as she can find time and resources for. Refuah Shelema.

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  10. Probably more apropos to say אל תפתח פה לשטן. Refuah sheleimah.

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    1. So to take the analogy a bit further, the Satan goes to God and says "look, this person mentioned that car accidents are more common than terrorist attacks." Then God says what? Is there some violation in making a truthful statement? It seems that there should be some element of sin involved.

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    2. I can't of course rationalize Hashem's workings, but I guess it's something like the requirement that a person not put him/herself in a dangerous situation, because the person is judged at that point. If they're saved from the predicament, it comes at the expense of that person's merits.
      Similarly, if a person calls for Hashem to punish someone, Hashem examines the deeds of the person making the request as well.
      (I don't know how it fits in this case--but I do wish Rabbi Slifkin's sister a refuah shleimah.)

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  11. Should have seen that last sentence coming.

    Speedy recovery to your sister

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  12. It is 1941 and the Germans are bombing Moscow. Most people in Moscow flee to the underground bomb shelters at night, except for a famous Russian statistician who tells a friend that he is going to sleep in his own bed, saying that "There is only one of me, among five million other people in Moscow. What are the chances I'll get hit?"

    He survives the first night, but the next evening he shows up at the shelter. His friend asks why he has changed his mind. "Well," says the statistician, "there are five million people in this city, and one elephant in the Moscow Zoo. Last night, THEY GOT THE ELEPHANT!"

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    1. Hahahaha! The Copenhagen Interpretation, or a wave-function collapse phobia in action under...um, field conditions!

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