Tuesday, January 14, 2020

An Inspirational Event?

There were several Siyumei HaShas in the last few weeks. Some of them created a lot of inspiration and received a lot of publicity. Others received somewhat less publicity, but are more deservedly a source of inspiration.

All the Siyumei HaShas are an incredibly testimony to the Jewish People's passion for Torah. It's simply incredible when many thousands of people get together to celebrate those who day in, day out make the time to study a difficult page of Gemara.

My father, of blessed memory, did not grow up in a religious home and did not have the benefit of a yeshivah education. While he became religious at a young age and always learned Torah in various settings, it was only when he moved to Israel and decided to plunge into Daf Yomi that his studies really took off. Every single day, for nearly twenty years, he walked a half-mile, no matter what the weather, to his Daf Yomi shiur. And there are countless thousands of people like him! Truly incredible.

But the Siyumim, as events, were also taken as being inspirational in another way. They are presented as examples of incredible achdus, unity. The tagline of the Agudas Yisrael Siyumim in the US and London was "One Nation, One Siyum." And they are also presented as a kiddush Hashem with regard to the decorum and good manners of everyone presented. There was a letter widely circulated from the operations manager of Wembley Arena, which hosted the London siyum, stating as such.

Alas, the truth is not so simple.

It's not that the letter from Wembley Arena is a fake, as some people thought. As far as I can ascertain, while Agudas Yisrael apologized to Wembley Arena for disseminating it, it was simply an unauthorized letter.

There's a different problem.

Yes, there was incredible decorum and good manners and unity at the London Siyum HaShas. But do you know why?

It's because the Chief Rabbi of Great Britain wasn't invited!

That's right. Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, was disinvited from the largest Torah event in Britain. Had he come, some other rabbis would have made trouble, and so Agudas Yisrael decided to disinvite the Chief Rabbi rather than stand up to the other rabbis.

Why? What was the Chief Rabbi's terrible crime?

In September 2018, Rabbi Mirvis backed LGBT sex education at Jewish schools in the UK. He published guidelines stating that despite prohibitions against the act of homosexuality, the Torah still demands "sensitivity to the feelings of everyone, including LGBT+ people" and there should be a zero-tolerance approach to either homophobic or transphobic bullying or disregard for the wellbeing of LGBTs as well. He also stated "Young LGBT+ people in the Jewish community often express feelings of deep isolation, loneliness and a sense that they can never be themselves. Many are living with the fear that if they share their struggles with anyone they will be expelled, ridiculed and even rejected by family and friends. They may even be struggling with a loss of emunah (faith, trust in God) and the fear of losing their place of acceptance and belonging in the Jewish community." So because he tries to help young people who are caught in a terrible situation, he is persona non grata in certain circles.

Now, at this point it might still be possible to judge his opponents favorably. Perhaps one could argue that they maintain such a strict and sacred approach to kedushas hamishpacha that they do not want to invite a high-profile person who is famously associated with dealing with non-Torah behavior in this regard.

But that defense falls flat on its face when you find out who was invited to sit at the dais and was featured with a photo in the official souvenir publication.

Rabbi Chaim Halpern.

For those who don't know, Rabbi Chaim Halpern was infamously arrested in 2013 on charges of exploiting around thirty women who were coming to him for "counseling" sessions. Ultimately the police did not find sufficient evidence to prosecute and the charges were dropped. But five senior rabbanim in London, including Dayan Chanoch Ehrentreu, conducted a personal investigation and wrote that "We are confident of our conclusion that the Rav concerned is not fit and proper to act in any rabbinic capacity. This unequivocal decision was taken after painstaking and extensive investigations, including interviews with alleged victims." (Incidentally, Dayan Ehrentreu, who is one of my personal heroes, pulled out of attending the London Siyum HaShas after discovering that the Chief Rabbi had been disinvited.)

You can put Rabbi Chaim Halpern on the dais and in the brochure, but not Chief Rabbi Mirvis?!

So, I don't think that the Agudas Yisrael Siyum HaShas in London is a great kiddush Hashem. And I know a similar, albeit somewhat less serious, story with the Siyum organized by Agudas Yisrael at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, but the victimized party personally asked me not to write about it.

However, this doesn't mean that one shouldn't draw inspiration from the Siyum HaShas. It's just that one should be contemplating a different siyum, one not organized by Agudas Yisrael.

During "Siyum Season" there were three Siyumim held in Jerusalem at Binyanei HaUmah. One, ran by my former mentor Rav Mordechai Kornfeld of Kollel Iyun HaDaf, was synchronized with the MetLife siyum. But there were also two other Siyumim held that week, which you won't read a word about in Ami Magazine or HaModia or Mishpachah.

At both of these other Siyumim, there were thousands of people present. There were outstanding, inspirational speakers of tremendous intellectual and moral stature. There was nobody disinvited because of their attempting to help people in need or because their haskafos don't fit within the narrowest of boundaries. These events were an inspirational Kiddush Hashem, through and through.

So why weren't they reported in the aforementioned publications? Simple. The first one was held by the Religious-Zionist community, and these publications try to avoid acknowledging the existence of Torah in communities other than their own (Mishpacha sometimes breaks from this policy). And the second was a siyum for women!

Yes, that's right. Thousands of people, mostly (but not entirely) women, crowded into Binyanei HaUmah to celebrate women that completed the entire Shas. (Read the articles here and here.) Just the idea of it gives many men the heebie-jeebies! And the youngest woman to finish Shas was a girl of 17, who started when she was ten years old!

Now that's something to be inspired by!

177 comments:

  1. This was your big quandary? You think people (who care about what goes on in England) were not aware of the Rabbi Mirvis situation?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When you say "you think people...", you have to mean "you think ALL people..." Surely you know that there will always be some people people out of the loop.
      Plus, this wasn't only about Rabbi Mirvis but about Rabbi Halpern.

      Delete
    2. I repeat no one left because of Rabbi Halpern, remember they all know him. So you can make all the fuss you like about him on here and say they shouldnt have invited him, the people who attended not the people on here who dont know him at all are the ones to decide. And it seems they all decided he should be there. Either you think they are all perverts, or maybe they who know him, know more than you lot, about him who dont and still give opinions. Newcomer

      Delete
    3. You can't know for certain that some did not attend because of him. Absolutist statements will bite you.

      Delete
    4. Nearly eight thousand tickets were sold, and the room looked full.I didnt say everyone attended, I said no one left. Which they all would have done if the CR attended, led by the top table rabbis. Newcomer

      Delete
    5. "When you say "you think people...", you have to mean "you think ALL people..." Surely you know that there will always be some people people out of the loop.
      Plus, this wasn't only about Rabbi Mirvis but about Rabbi Halpern."

      And what was the terrible consequence of telling the truth about it?

      Delete
    6. Actually, precious few would have left to Rabbi MIrvis. But they were scared of those precious few.
      If the Aguda had an opinion about Rabbi Mirvis, it would be one thing. But they don't. They were just scared of those few who do. And that is terrible.
      Jason from Jersey

      Delete
    7. You ought to read posts from someone from the UK like me before posting. Newcomer

      Delete
  2. You have oversimplified.

    Jewish schools (not just chareidi, by any means) are under substantial pressure to include in their curriculum these sexual matters, contrary to their ethos. You know the detail.

    That booklet by the Chief Rabbi has been used as substantial ammunition by inspectors and similar that there is nothing wrong with their demands. Ultimately causing much damage to the schools losely associated with the Agudah and its community. As well as more moderate schools too.

    You need to present the full picture.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would be quite happy if every single one of those schools was shut down and the children forced to attend private (what Americans would call public) schools. Allowing Jews to suffer to the point of suicide is simply inexcusable. These schools are teaching immorality of the highest order.

      Delete
    2. You missed the point.

      Delete
    3. The full picture is that gay Orthodox students who have committed no sin are shamed into hiding or sent to conversion therapy where there are sexually abused. The only way to combat that is with public guidance from Rabbis to treat gay Orthodox teenagers with respect. If it is contrary to their ethos to stop the persecution of gay orthodox students, then their ethos are out-of-line with halachah.

      Delete
    4. --or sent to conversion therapy where there are sexually abused--
      You lot here have been brainwashed to believe anything bad about chareidim.
      Newcomer

      Delete
    5. per david oshie above: " then their ethos are out-of-line with halachah"
      if only r' moshe feistein had had the wisdom, insight, and most of all, the torah knowledge of david oshie, the entire jewish world would share the brilliant, humanistic point of view. but as it happens, in the igrot moshe RMF takes a very different perspective. then again, what did he know about halacha, especially when compared to DO?

      Delete
    6. @Duh: I know of no Orthodox thinking who have dealt with homosexuality who agree with Rav Moshe. The reason is obvious: we know that gay people really exist and they know that they are gay from puberty. Here is R Aharon Feldman totally contradicting Rav Moshe. : "I believe that the course you have taken is correct: you must refuse to deny your nature as a homosexual while at the same time refuse to deny your Jewishness. There is no contradiction between the two if they are viewed in their proper perspective.Judaism looks negatively at homosexual activity, but not at the homosexual nature. Whatever the source of this nature, whether it is genetic or acquired (the Torah does not express any view on the matter), is immaterial. This nature in no way diminishes or affects the Jewishness of a homosexual."

      Delete
  3. Apparently, this was a difficult thing to reveal. At first I thought you were alluding to Sinai revelation, since it makes a lot of people happy to think that G-d chose them. In reality, a Midrash write that Abraham discovered G-d and that Moses wrote the Torah in inspiration of the divine wisdom of G-d, thus the Torah is certainly holy. Also, G-d does not aid people but it is the laws of nature, since world functions according to the laws of nature.

    Actually, this had nothing to do with religion per se. Imagine a great leader who saved countless lives but at the same time his morality was gutted. JFK was such a person. He helped end the Cuban missile crisis and committed adultery. Can the American people know his character and yet understand the impact of his political influences? Or, to put it differently, can people understand the truth?

    They should have invited Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, as we should respect everyone, even gays. Additionally, the Bible never condemns gay marriage as the Bible never mentions marriages. The Bible does however condemn a man sleeping with another man when they are not married. Nevertheless, it is shocking that the event invited Rabbi Chaim Halpern, a sexual criminal. As for the Siyumim with women, it is possible the media went silent in this matter since women are prohibited to study Talmud, Torah, become rabbis or even take part in most religious practices. This, of course needs to change. Rabbi Dr. Israel Drazin wrote excessively about the treatment of women in his book called Mysteries of Judaism.

    Additionally, my grandfather used to say that when religious communities, church, and rabbis reject women to become ministers or rabbis, they are losing half of the god brains of humanity. When Rabbi Kook disparaged women, another Rabbi wisely said that half of the entire Jewish population are women. I agree with the sages of the Talmud that women should be respected and treated fairly, including gays. We should even respect animals for they too have feelings. Thus we should not bring back the sacrifices. For G-d does not need nor want sacrifices. Respect animals for they also have feelings.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. From Newcomer
      No we should not respect gays we should hate them. That is what the gemoro says. And if you dont believe in that you are not Jewish and have no place here.

      Delete
    2. Gay people were born with a yeitzer hara that most others don't have. They have a responsibility, as do the rest of us, to follow halacha. The fact that many of them unfortunately don't live up to that nisayon is not a reason to hate them, any more than we hate people who don't succeed in keeping Shabbos or any other mitzvah of the Torah.

      Hashem created this yeitzer hara for a reason. I have no idea what that reason is, and I suspect it will take a gay person with serious yiras shamayim to figure it out.

      Delete
    3. Newcomer, in case you didn't know this site is called Rationalist Judaism. Most of the Jews here are Modern Orthodox Jews. Also, hate speech should not be tolerated and Jews are not judged by their beliefs but their actions and behavior.

      In respect to gay marriages, many will argue that the Bible prohibits it. Actually, the Bible does not mention marriages. There is no ceremony, a procedure is not even hinted. The practice of marriage started later in Jewish thought.

      Thus it is unrealistic to say that the Bible only describes marriages between a male and a female. However, the Bible does consider a man lying with a man an abomination.

      Nevertheless, we should respect every person, regardless of religion, race, gender, sexual orientation (gay or lesbian), age, and culture. Be good to all. Respect animals; they also have feelings.

      Delete
    4. I'll be pleased, Rabbi Slifkin, when you enforce your policy of no "Anonymous" posts.

      Delete
    5. Anoymous: thank you for making up a new halacha which actually contradicts the Torah. Gay Orthodox students are committing no sin and hating them is completely antithetical to the Torah. They often unfortunately sent to be sexually abused by closeted gay men in the name of "conversion therapy".

      Delete
    6. I have quoted what it says in the gemoro. If you want to know where ask your seventeen year old lamdan or anyone else having done the daf or ask google.
      If you dont like it dont blame me. I am no more than a messenger by the name of newcomer.

      Delete
    7. My name on here is just as anonymous as Sedgwick in black letters. Newcomer

      Delete
    8. I will add that whatever reason you will give for them doing what they do, and however much their 'strong' yetser 'forces' them to do it, that doesnt change the fact that one must hate them if they do it. Newcomer

      Delete
    9. You can call this site what you like, and make up your own religion, but you cant call it 'Jewish' if it goes against the Torah and that included the gemoro, and being born Jewish makes no difference. Others were also born Jewish who made new relgions like some are doing on here but did not call them Jewish. Newcomer

      Delete
    10. Other new religion like the one you are contemplating or trying to adapt the Jewish religion to are also based on 'loving the sinner'. But for some reason this only applied to those belonging to their new religon. Others were killed for not belonging even though not being sinners. Newcomer

      Delete
    11. The Jewish religion believes in punishing sinners even with death, and when this is not 'technically' possible in hating them. Having a huge yetser hora is not considered a mitigating circumstance. Everyone knows that if they 'marry' then end up sinning and usually even without marrying. You all know it but dont want to and dont want to be reminded by me either. Being called 'rationalist' which is none other than a 'nicer' name for apikoros and kofer doesnt change this fact. I must add that we hate people who dont succeed in keeping any mitsva. But I suppose with abominations the hate increases. The reason we have a yetser hora in this world is to conquer it not to submit to it. Otherwise without one we would be angels with no place here. The practice of marriage was always in Jewish 'thought' and the bible does mention marriage and how to perform it. You imply that respecting gays is like respecting animals, I agree with you, although not that what you compare them with women. It sounds that even you agree that they are not men. Newcomer

      Delete
    12. @Anonymous Isaac Betech, is that you?

      Delete
    13. Newcomer wrote, "that doesnt change the fact that one must hate them"... That is the very sin of the Nazis!

      As you probably already know, I am a fan of Maimonides. And Maimonides was a universalist. He felt that all people, even the Greek pagan Aristotle could teach the truth. Indeed he called the man a prophet! "The truth is the truth no matter the source." If you want to call it [rational Judaism and this site] a "new religion," then so be it. Like it or not, it is the same Torah as Moses and it is definitely 'Jewish.' Also, I never said gays weren't human. But you did equate rational Jews [including Maimonides] to apikoros! On what basis do you make such pronouncements. Doesn't G-d alone decide the fate of each person? Or have you now decided to play the role of G-d?

      Delete
    14. Also, the Torah requires orthopraxy, not orthodoxy. Orthoprax Judaism does not require faith, philosophy, or correct beliefs but it emphasizes proper properly, to be moral. Judaism itself never judges a Jew by what s/he believes but their behavior, how they act. Thus, it is no surprise that Maimonides was orthoprax.

      Delete
    15. We seem to have a different Maimonides.
      Who did believe in killing sinners not liking them
      Newcomer

      Delete
    16. We do have different Maimonides....
      My Maimonides was a rationalist....

      Delete
    17. @Turk 2:19AM,:
      Al ken ya'azov ish ... vedabak beIshto
      If not marriage, at least a committed relationship. Male female relationship.

      Delete
  4. R' Natan, did you decide yet whether or not to reveal the big secret you were talking about for the last couple days?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm very confused...what was all the handwringing over whether to reveal some big secret...that you link to from the jta and has already been revealed in the major media outlets?

      Delete
    2. I never said it was a secret. Just that most of the people gushing over the letter from Wembley don't know the real story.

      Delete
    3. R Natan, you're incorrect - (1) in what way is your revelation the "real story" of the siyum? Yes, it's an aspect of the siyum, but it hardly diminishes the good points in the letter, which are still true. (2) everyone in London knows about it.

      Delete
    4. How does your "real story" change the significance of the letter from Wembley?

      Delete
  5. I cannot agree with you.
    When people attend a siyum, they have no idea who is on the dias, except for two or three famous rabbis. They are not coming to celebrate this or that Rabbi. They are celebrating their love of Torah and learning, and commitment. In that goal, it was certainly a display of unity.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All Jews who learn Gemara are unified, even sex abusers! But not, God forbid, those who want to follow halacha in treating all Jewish children well. We must separate from them.

      Delete
    2. There were no known "sex abusers" there. If you hint to someone who was accused of abuse of which police found no evidence, you probably confused the terms "abuse" and "accused".

      Delete
    3. @Lazar, what you are saying makes no sense. 1) The Rabbis in question will not report to the police and those who cooperate with the police are ostracized. 2) Not every abuse is prosecutable. If a Rabbi takes advantage of his position to convince women to have sex with him, that is not going to be prosecutable. 3) Rabbis don't condemn other Rabbis like that except in the most extreme circumstances. If he had abused only a "few" victims, they would not speak out like that.

      Delete
  6. From newcomer
    I dont normally post here but I will make an exception.
    Dayan Ehrentreu as a member of chinuchUK, an organisation with the CR has ruined, has surprised me at not attending.
    There were many others not organised by Aguda but by Dirshu, which you are unaware of. And since Dirshu paid for them and provided a full meal which is more important than the hadran and speeches, they were much better attended. Also Dirshu in daf yomi groups also test the members and pay them.
    You have already written about the new Koren talmud which your posters say is mainly for women. Since they dont (and cant)use artscroll, it is no more than 'doing' the daf and not learning it.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I think you are overreacting.

    One can definitely celebrate and be inspired by the great kiddush hashem of the noteworthy behavior of the attendees at the Agudas Yisrael siyum. That pride cannot and should not conflict with disappointment and/or disgust at another aspect of the event. The two are entirely unrelated.

    More importantly, I think it's wrong of you to imply that the event would not have featured decorum and good manners and unity had Rabbi Mirvis attended.

    Would people have brought weapons that would have needed to be confiscated? Would there have been drunkenness, boisterousness, and rowdy behavior? Would the attendees have refrained from thanking the organizers? Because those were the three things that Ms. Syrett was so impressed with in her letter, and none of these were caused by Mirvis's disinvitation.

    (The only *possible* change is that the middle one might have read "There was only one incident of rowdy behavior, never have we had so few etc." instead of "no incidents". Is that really that much of a difference?)

    So I don't think you're being fair, at all, to the event. You can be disgusted with Rabbi Halpern's presence. But that doesn't change the fact that it was a massive kiddush hashem.

    ReplyDelete
  8. From Newcomer.
    If he would have attended many people would not have come, or gone away. It anyway was very badly attended, consider the Manchester (your home town)Dirshu had 3/4000 people with a full meal at minimal cost, whereas the London Aguda one couldnt get 8000. You can all say on here the people would have been wrong but that wouldnt make them come and stay. Also the CR should stick with his LIMMUD conferences where no Agudist has ever attended. Those are his bedfellows not the Aguda. I noticed your Manchester RY was on the list of speakers at the London Dirshu one but never came. No went away because of Rabbi Halpern's presence, what does that tell you?

    ReplyDelete
  9. From Newcomer
    The queen and the PM (whom the CR helped to win) have both so far not made him a lord. He has been CR long enough and entitled to become one like his predecessors, they both seem to know something.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I sympathy with people who struggle with their orientation, especially the transgender, however coming out publically in their support like the rabbi did is bizarre. The Orthodox community educates its young that normal sexual desires are brought about by the יצר הרע, which is supposed to be either an angel to tempt the mortals or the Satan himself. The rabbi will do well to address this issue befoe I can trust him on the LGBT.

    Women aren't meant to serve in the army, the governmen, vote or learn the Talmud. It's against their nature and brings about the destruction of a civilization. Women are created for love. Having said this, there is no reason to supress the information about their siym. In fact, it's a very curious item and I would like to know more about it.

    Yakov.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Women are required to learn all halachos that apply to them. How many women do you know who know zeraim, kodshim, and tahoros at all, let alone well? Until they do, they are obligated to learn.

      Delete
    2. Have you ever considered converting to Judaism?

      Delete
    3. The gemoro says in King Chizkiya's times all children boys and girls knew taharos so there cant be that much to learn. You are mistaken they dont know have to know it what you term 'well' but just to be sure they keep it. Similar let us say to a kitsur not an MB, that doesnt take that much to learn. Newcomer

      Delete
    4. Yakov, we agree that transgenders are biologically male or female, regardless of sexual orientation. See Ben Shapiro and Jordan Peterson. Nevertheless, we are obligated to respect everyone, even gays. It, therefore, follows that Satan or evil angels do not temp people. Actually, Rambam admitted that demons do not exist. For it would be illogical for G-d to create "evil forces or devils." And it's not against the nature of female sex to vote, take the reins of government (ie the Queen), or to learn Talmud or Torah.

      Delete
    5. To your particular interpretation, whatever it may be? Never.

      Yakov

      Delete
    6. @CY

      I don't know any such men either! But good luck teaching them.

      Yakov

      Delete
    7. @Turk Hill

      Well, that's what I was saying to begin with: that R. Mervis would have done well to address the prevalent and bizzare notion that sexual desire has a Satanic origin. Intel there is an understanding of healthy sexuality, it's hardly possible to know how to deal with deviant behavior.



      Being respectful makes practical sense. Nothing stops us from stoning someone, while being respectful at the same time.

      Yakov.

      Delete
    8. @Yakov

      Still stuck in a primitive age where stoning is done simply because someone thinks differently than you. Haven't you learned to reason? In the Arab world, women are often stoned because they were raped! Do you wish to return to such a state? will the messianic age be an age where homosexuals are killed? Do you know who killed homosexuals? Adolf Hitler. In that sense, how will we be any better than Hitler who slaughtered six million Jews in the Holocaust!?

      Homosexuality is a defect in the brain, not satanic. That is stupid.

      Also, I'm sure gays would rather be disrespected than stoned to death. You have to think, man!

      Delete
    9. So all the women who vote for Agudah and Shas are sinning since according to your version of Halacha they are not allowed to vote. Similarly all the members of the Moetzet Gedolei Hatorah are "Avaryonim" since thet encourage "frum" women to sin by voting. Also Bruriah was wrong when she told R. Meir not to ask Hashem to kill the Avaryonim who were harassing him. Is that all correct since it is a direct consequence of the statements you made.

      Delete
    10. Mates, I'm sorry this is getting rediculous. I would expect that we wouldn't get to this juvenile back and forth. I'm not commenting on this issue anymore. Have a great day!

      Yakov.

      Delete
    11. @Yakov

      I agree that most men (me included) don't know halacha as well as they should either. That's my point. In theory, men have a higher obligation to learn than women. In practice, until we achieve universal literacy in basic halacha, men and women's chiyuvim look very similar. It's like bentching: men are obligated mideoraisa, women miderabbanan, and there are nafka minos from that difference (zimun primarily), but in practice everyone has to bentch.

      Btw it's not just zeraim kodshim and tahoros. Even in the basic things like Shabbos: most religious Jews know the halachos of bishul, but how many know the halachos of oreig or oseh batei nirin? How many people know Choshen Mishpat, which applies to everyone every single day?

      @Newcomer

      Learn mishnayos keilim be'iyun. Then go through the stuff in your house and identify which things receive which kinds of tumah. Then, by all means, come back and tell me tahoros is easy. This is practical halacha lema'aseh that affects men and women equally.

      Delete
    12. I dont know if you bother reading what I write before replying. I wrote that all boys and girls knew it. So if you consider it so difficult how do you explain that? Or dont you believe the gemoro? ולא מצאו תינוק ותינוקת איש ואשה שלא היו בקיאין בהלכות טומאה וטהרה
      https://he.wikisource.org/wiki/%D7%A1%D7%A0%D7%94%D7%93%D7%A8%D7%99%D7%9F_%D7%A6%D7%93_%D7%91
      You have to realise it is me you are replying to Necomer.

      Delete
    13. Of course I believe the Gemara (though there are obviously limits, when it says תינוק התינוקת it doesn't mean a 2 month old).

      At that time it was actually practical, so they learned the halachos by seeing how their parents kept them. Just like kids now absorb hilchos bishul or kashrus. At the moment we don't have a parah adumah, so these halachos are mostly not practical and you can't learn them that way.

      Delete
    14. I have already replied at length, something similar to what you say. So your post makes no sense to me about oireg, choshen mishpat and also keilim. Make up your mind. Or do you mean a woman has to learn it since it was once practical even if it isnt today. And since the men dont know it (quite true even if her husband is an MO rabbi)so she has to learn it.
      Anyway which man (and I may add which rov) knows choshen mishpat that you expect women to know it.So far no MB has been made on it (only a very,very small part,by one person)although we are not short of ones on yore daioh, because no rov knows it and you expect women to. I suppose that is typical MO thinking leave the learning to the women. I have stated exactly what a woman has to do and 'learn' in plain English, perhaps you do the same.
      I think I should add that I dont believe in kollell. If one gets paid for learning he should give back to the community by writing seforim which can be of use to them. There are many seforim that should be re-written, if not most, and this should be the work of those in kollell. In a university I also dont believe that one be there without producing anything. If anyone else can make sense of what was written please oblige and explain. It is soon shabbos here and I would like to reply before then.

      Newcomer

      Delete
    15. I am absolutely NOT saying to leave the learning to women. I am saying, in plain English, that men have to learn everything and women have to know the halachos that apply to them. I didn't think that was particularly controversial.

      Unfortunately, the level of learning in our current society is such that 99% of men and women don't know the halachos that apply to them.

      The weird cases in the Mishna Berura are there because they might actually happen. All of them have probably happened to someone in history. I can say from personal experience that some of the greatest satisfaction from learning is when you get into a weird situation, recognize the case from your learning, and follow the halacha because you knew it. And yes, they might actually happen to a woman on Shabbos when nobody else is home and she can't use a phone. If you don't know the halacha, how can you possibly keep it?

      Is it likely that you'll find a great deal on a grape vine and want to buy it for your backyard, and you'll suddenly have to know halachos of Peah, Orlah, and Kilayim (and yes these apply even in chutz laaretz, Orlah from a halacha lemoshe misinai and the rest miderabbanan)? Not particularly likely, but possible. I'd bet that the majority of Shomrei Shabbos, men and women, wouldn't even know that those halachos exist.

      Is it likely that Mashiach will come today and we'll ALL have to keep our kitchens in accordance with the laws of Tahoros? I sure hope so! How many Jews are prepared for that moment? Honestly, if Mashiach would come right now, most of the Pesachim - the first ones in over 2000 years - would probably become tamei just because people don't know the halachos. Personally I think that would be a tragedy. (NOT Mashiach. The pasul Pesachim.) Remember, we pasken that Pesach Rishon is equally obligatory for men and women.

      If we lived in a society with the proper level of learning - where all men and women knew halacha lemaaseh - I'd be totally on board with you. Men should learn, women don't have to, except to review what they already know so they don't forget.

      And on the flip side, in a situation of extreme poverty, where there's barely enough time for anyone to learn and make ends meet, I also agree that men should take most of that time, because they have the obligation to learn AND the obligation to know halacha, while women only have the second. But that's an extreme bedieved that just means everyone is ignorant.

      I believe the most underappreciated sad scene in Fiddler on the Roof is when Tevye says "an eye for an eye leaves everyone blind and toothless." Nowadays any 7 year old with a Little Midrash - despite all the shortcomings of Little Midrash - knows that's not true. He recognizes the shortcomings - the last verse of "If I were a Rich Man" talks about how he'd spend his time learning - but practically he wouldn't be able to do it and survive.

      In most Jewish societies today, Hashem has given us the bracha of lesiure time, so there is time to learn. Unfortunately, most people still don't know basic halacha. For that reason, both men and women have to learn it.

      Delete
  11. Dear Lord.

    Do you ***perhaps*** think there is more to the LGBT+ agenda than "demanding sensitivity to the feelings of everyone" ???

    My goodness, it's obvious that LGBT is just a manifestation of a larger culture war which Efraim Mervis just defected towards...

    ReplyDelete
  12. One of your best posts. The tolerance of sexual abuse goes hand in hand with the persecution of gay orthodox youth who have committed no sin. They are sent to "conversion therapy" where they are sexually abused by closeted gay men. Fits perfectly into the ethos. Rabbi Mirvis earned his Olam Haba in one moment with guidelines.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Conversion therapy helped many. Anyway, the UK government requirement is not about "not abusing gays", but about teaching to kids "normality" and acceptability of gay relationships. And R'Mirvis helped the government push it. I personally think he lost his place in Olam HaBa.

      Delete
    2. Lazar, the arrogance is yours. Who are you to say who gains or loses their share in the World to Come? G-d alone decides that.

      Delete
    3. There is zero evidence that conversion therapy has converted anyone. The biggest proponents who claimed to have been themselves cured turned out to be lying: https://truthwinsout.org/news/2018/11/41044/

      Delete
  13. For those who want to understand how gay orthodox youth are abused in Orthodoxy, please read this article: https://www.newsweek.com/life-and-death-jewish-exgay-therapy-organization-406898

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Read this article by Dr. Sorotzkin: https://drsorotzkin.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/eng-ssa.pdf

      Delete
    2. ash, it is against the rules of the game to confront a secular ideologue with rational arguments or scientific/historical facts.

      Delete
    3. @ash: He's promoting conversion therapy and denying the existence of gays. You can't get less factual.

      Delete
  14. Of course we could focus on the 8,999 other who attended the siyum in Wembley. We could focus on the tremendous atmosphere. We could focus on the gathering of people from all walks of life, chassidim, baalei batim, yeshivishers and bums.
    I quite like the chief and disagree with his exclusion. The organisers should definitely answer for their handling in this matter but then again these were all volunteers who gave up their free time to put together a very good event.
    i thoroughly enjoyed the siyum and felt enlivened by the memorable evening. I feel bad for those who missed out.

    Why do we need to focus on the very minor negative unless of course we have a problem with 'black hatters' as a whole?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If he would be like previous UK chief rabbis who were gedolai oilam it would not be minor at all. I dont know how you 'saw' 9000 when there wasnt even 8000 there.It is available on https://livestream.com/FreylichVideo/events/8952184
      for those who are still feeling bad of having missed out. The main speaker (chairman) was from Manchester like the US Aguda one. Maybe next time since they all like Manchester they will choose you. Newcomer

      Delete
    2. Which chief rabbis were gedolei olam? Which ones have Torah opinions that are still discussed amongst Talmidei Chachomim? Which ones have written seforim on any standard? (A peirush on תרגום יונתן בן עוזיאל should not qualify)
      Jason from Jersey

      Delete
  15. A bit anticlimactic. I was expecting more than a typical disinvite of someone the chareidi world doesn't like.

    ReplyDelete
  16. David, do you not understand there's a difference between being understanding of gay youth (which I fully support) and being celebratorily flamboyant about one's alternative lifestyle (which I find disgusting)?

    Unfortunately, what was once promoted as "gay rights" in the general world has become a obligatory baal to which all are required to prostrate themselves lest they be proclaimed as a bigot. And what was once a call for mere tolerance has now become an agenda to offensively mainstream the gay lifestyle as normal and healthy, which it is not.

    Can you fault the Orthodox mainstream for opposing tolerance for gays, after you see what tolerance led to in the secular world? I for one cannot.

    (While I fully support tolerance and understanding for all sexual deviants who wish to overcome their challenges and follow halacha, I don't believe regarding homosexuality as healthy, normal and mainstream helps those Orthodox Jews who battle with this challenge.)

    (This has nothing to do with the "conversion therapy" debate. While it most likely doesn't work, regarding homosexuality as normal and not a real issue doesn't either.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ash, we agree that tolerance is essential, we should respect everyone, even gays. However, I think gays should not boast about their homosexuality. That is a private matter, not public.

      Delete
    2. If a man displays a picture of his wife, is that flamboyant heterosexuality? What about a gay man displaying his picture of his husband?

      Delete
  17. About those who seek to dig up and expose dirt on others Rabeinu Yonah writes:

    ודבר שלמה המלך עליו השלום על דבר התשובה. ופרט בו הענין הזה. ופתח פתח דבריו ואמר (שם כח) בעלוץ צדיקים ורבה תפארת ובקום רשעים יחופש אדם. פירוש הצדיקים מפארים ומכבדים בני אדם. על כל מעלה טובה הנמצאים בהם. והרשעים מחפשים מומי בני אדם ושגאותם להשפילם

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Natan, what would you respond in your defense for dredging up this dirt? What toeles do you see in doing so? Otherwise doing such is the middah of a Rasha as Rabeinu Yonah writes.

      Delete
  18. ...women, crowded into Binyanei HaUmah to celebrate women that completed the entire Shas...Now that's something to be inspired by!
    So, you go against Rambam: Anyone who teaches his daughter [Oral] Torah, it is as if he taught her tiflut (Hilchot Talmud Torah 1:13).
    Not to mention Gemara Sotah 20a (I wonder if they learnt this daf?) and Shulchan Aruch.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I imagine these women know 'tiflus' whatever that is, already so it cant harm them anymore to learn torah. Newcomer

      Delete
    2. Actually, you go against Rambam. Maimonides was orthoprax. In fact, the Torah requires orthopraxy, not orthodoxy. In his first volume of Mysteries of Judaism, Rabbi Dr. Israel Drazin explains that women are often treated unfairly in Jewish religious circles. They cannot learn Talmud, read the Torah, nor take part in religious ceremonies. This is unfair. As a good Jew, I respect women and agree with the tlmudic sages that women should be treated fairly and have the same rights as all men. For example, many ultra-orthodox haredi men mistreat women. This is a problem and you can read about it online. Rabbi Gil Student once wrote to me explaining that he used to knock on the doors of the haredi yeshivas, begging them to open the windows, to make it a good environment for the students to learn. They didn't listen to him and what happened? They've become the new Catholic priest caught with sexual abuses. And you cry about gays and women reading Torah!?

      Orthoprax Judaism does not require faith, philosophy, or correct beliefs but it emphasizes proper properly, to be moral. Judaism itself never judges a Jew by what s/he believes but their behavior, how they act. I myself take small issue with gays and transgender people as biologically, a man who transforms himself into a woman is still a man, yet we need to respect everyone.

      By secluding yourself in Talmud study and abandoning society by disparaging women is not fulfilling the Torah's mandate and certainly not doing G-d’s will when you belittle G-d’s people. A woman I know teaches Torah to 1,000 people and explains the Bible better than most rabbis. My grandfather, bless his memory, uses to say that half of the good brains of the Jewish world are women. In short, the Binyanei HaUmah reading of Shas is a victory for women.

      Indeed Rabbi Eleazar said women are "endowed with more understanding than men."[1]

      [1] Genesis 2:22 says that G-d created(vayiben) woman. The Hebrew equivalence of vayiben is bina, understanding.

      Delete
    3. Lazar, much like a teenager coming up with existential questions, you think that nobody has addressed these issues throughout the ages! Already in 1990 (and probably before) Frisch High School in NJ put a leaflet explaining the halachic position in their Open House portfolio. As Talmudic programs for women multiplied over the following decades - including, but not limited to: yoetzot nida*, to'enet rabbanit*, and GPATS (the Stern College post-grad program) - do you really think nobody has come up with answers to these??

      *And just to head off any argument on this issue, the yoatzot merely answer questions, they do not pasken. The to'anot simply act as legal aides and advisors to women in divorce court, they are not on the Bais Din.

      Delete
    4. Hello, what century do you live in? *Every* version of Orthodox Judaism has incorporated the systematic Torah education of women in blatant violation of the Rambam and the Gemara in question.

      Delete
    5. I have given a lengthy reply elsewhere. What exactly does asking a question mean, and what is a reply if not a psak. What different types of questions are there. Newcomer

      Delete
    6. *Every* version of Orthodox Judaism has incorporated the systematic Torah education of women in blatant violation of the Rambam and the Gemara in question.
      Gemara, Rambam ans Shulchan Aruch refer to Oral Toral as I clearly noted. Can you site any mainstream OJ (and I don't mean "open orthodox") school teaching girls Gemara?

      Delete
    7. David Ohsie, I'm astounded to read you say that Orthodox Jews across the board blatantly violate the Rambam and Gemara in question. Gemara and Rambam (and if I'm not mistaken even S"A Y"D 246), all unambiguously talk about a person teaching his daughter Torah; not people teaching Torah to woman in general (as opposed to their own daughters). See Talmud Torah ch. 1 note 55 by Rav Kafich where he, as one example, makes clear that the only restriction is upon a father to his daughter. There's other sources as well but this more than suffices for the topic at hand, particularly as Rav Kafich has also addressed the topic of women learning Torah in general at length in other places, e.g., Collected Writings p. 102-105 and Masorah L'Yosef vol. 8 p. 62-65.

      Delete
    8. @Anonymous: "all unambiguously talk about a person teaching his daughter Torah; not people teaching Torah to woman in general (as opposed to their own daughters)." Sorry, this false and makes no sense. You can't teach your daughter Torah, but you can send her to school to learn torah? The distinction that is made is a woman may pursue her own studies, not that the father can have a shaliach do the teaching.

      Delete
    9. @Lazar: 1) That is a reinterpretation to get out of the problem. The sources don't say oral torah. 2) The Bais Yaakov movement was created in opposition to the desires of the Rabbis. The ones who supported it did so as an emergency measure because so many women were being lost. 3) Plenty of oral torah is taught even in the most right wing schools. They learn Ramban and others. They will avoid putting a daf gemara in front of them, but e.g. my daughter, when attending a moderately right-wing seminary, had to do a research project which required some Gemara (agaddic portions).

      Delete
    10. Also @Lazar, the Daf Yomi involved women volunteering to learn on their own and therefore would according to many interpretations would be permitted, as opposed to parents sending their kids to school to be taught torah which would be prohibited. The reality is that the prohibition has been transgressed because the alternative would be a massive exit of women (relative to men) from orthodoxy which is what started to happen in Europe.

      Delete
    11. Dunno if people are reading this thread anymore, but I know offhand of a few Orthodox schools that teach girls Gemara. I only say a few because I only know details of the few communities in which I have lived. I'm sure there are dozens.

      But for starters, as I mentioned, there is the YU Graduate Program, the yoetzet program, and the toenet rabbanit program. In addition to the dozens of junior high and high schools.

      Delete
    12. and to Newcomer (it would be helpful if you just put your pseudonym in the Name field instead of hiding it in the text of your comment) who asked "what is an answer if not a psak" I suppose that is a good question. But everyone has asked their friends and family members advice or opinions on things before they got to the Rav. Also, the Yoatzot do not look at mar'os (as far as I know), so they do not give psak about a specific situation. They respond with advice for the woman asking whatever crazy question and then suggest that she ask a rav when appropriate.

      In any event, it is better to ask someone knowledgeable than sit on the question, believing it to be unnecessary or to be too embarrassed to ask a rabbi. If a sympathetic woman can be that sort of outlet, then that's great. And as having some measure of social anxiety myself, I totally see that there might be a large sub-population of women - often young and newly married - who are less than inclined to routinely discuss with a male rabbi details about their hormonal cycles.

      Delete
  19. 1. The Wembley letter is of no significance, bc drunkenness has never been the yetzer hora of us orthodox Jews. Thus, while this lady in England might have been impressed at the lack of drink, we ourselves know it was no great accomplishment. We have other problems we need to work on. It's like (e.g.) complimenting African Americans for their lack of tax fraud.

    2. Re the feminist siyum and the gay thing - you're just substituting one extreme's problems (charedim)for the problems of the other extreme. A ladies siyum is nothing to be proud of - in fact, its kind of pathetic. And the gay thing also - this is an extremely hot button issue, over which you presumably know Jewish tradition has very strong words for. You are in no position to judge what the right approach is in this difficult period. Even if - purely arguendo only - the London Agudah were all wrong and you are right in the correct way to handle R. Mirvis, in no way does it alter the importance of the Siyum.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How is the women's siyum "pathetic"?

      Delete
    2. "And the gay thing also - this is an extremely hot button issue, over which you presumably know Jewish tradition has very strong words for". Tradition has no strong words for a 13yo gay student who is committing no sin by any definition of Judaism. It does have strong words for those who oppress others with their words.

      Delete
    3. david oshie,
      "Tradition has no strong words for a 13yo gay student who is committing no sin"
      if he is committing no sin, then in what way is he gay? no one in judaism refers to someone as gay merely because they have an attraction to a particular sin, just as we don't refer to someone who feels like killing his mother in law as a murderer. you are deliberately obfuscating to pretend that people are misrepresenting judaism when they are doing no such thing.
      if you can't promote your views without lying, maybe your views need to be reexamined.
      an observer

      Delete
    4. Observer - its pathetic for more or less the same reason the sages long ago condemned a man whose wife makes Kiddush for him, or said that a man dominated by his wife is already a dead man. If someone can't understand that, what can I say? Its pathetic.

      David Ohsie - I think the commenter below you neatly pointed out that either someone's not actually sinning, in which case he's not actually gay, or he is, in which case he's not "committing no sin". You cant have it both ways.

      More to the point, RNS should not pretend that the homosexual lobby is just another sin out there, no different than any other. Again, long ago the sages already saw that the flood - symbolized, then as now, by the RAINBOW, where colors have no boundaries, and flow into one another - was caused by the final step of legalizing gay marriage. I don't blame the London Agudah one bit for taking a strong stance against it. That's their decision, and they are entitled to it. RNS, in attempting to use this too as a club with which to attack charedim, is flailing, and perceptively so.

      Lord knows there are plenty of ills in the Charedi community. The items mentioned in this blog - essentially, opposing feminism and homosexuality - are not one of them.

      Delete
    5. "he sages long ago condemned a man whose wife makes Kiddush for him". This argument makes no sense at all. Women are Chayav in Kiddush. How could this show that they should not learn Gemara. The gemara speaks negatively of a man who has to rely on his wife to say Birkas Hamazon for him. This is not because a woman is saying Birkas Hamazon, which she is Chayav in. It is because with no zimmun you are supposed to make your own and this man has not educated himself to say in and must rely on his wife.

      Delete
    6. @observer @df: Being gay means that you have desire for sexuality, intimacy and companionship with the same sex in the same way that most people have for the opposite sex. Gay orthodox youth exist and they are shamed for it, and you denial of their existence is part of that shaming. While I don't agree with everything he says on the topic, I'll quote R Aharon Feldman: "I believe that the course you have taken is correct: you must refuse to deny your nature as a homosexual while at the same time refuse to deny your Jewishness. There is no contradiction between the two if they are viewed in their proper perspective.Judaism looks negatively at homosexual activity, but not at the homosexual nature. Whatever the source of this nature, whether it is genetic or acquired (the Torah does not express any view on the matter), is immaterial. This nature in no way diminishes or affects the Jewishness of a homosexual."

      Delete
    7. Being gay means that you have desire for sexuality, intimacy and companionship with the same sex in the same way that most people have for the opposite sex.

      Status: lie.

      Delete
    8. Another silly GM assertion backed by nothing.

      Delete
    9. Let's examine:

      1) Sexuality. Gay men want to be buggered. Anthopologists studying gay subscultures concur that there is a massive imbalance between the proportion who want to receive rather than give. Normal men do not want to be buggered at all. The claim that "Being gay means that you have desire for sexuality with the same sex in the same way that most people have for the opposite sex" is therefore categorically false.

      2) Companionship: The modal range for number of partners among homosexuals is 100-500. Does this sound like they have the same desire for companionship as normal people?

      3) Intimacy: What does this even mean? If you mean that normal people like to do the same stuff as homosexuals, no we don't. I can get graphic, but maybe you have enough shame to stop with your pro-deviancy propaganda.

      Delete
    10. 1) I don't really believe that there is such a concurrence, but that is really one of the dumbest arguments you've ever made. Yes, straight men don't way to receive anal sex from other men. What does that tautology have to do with anything?

      2) Again, I don't believe your stats, but you are ignoring the fact that until recently, gay marriage was not permitted and gay sex had to occur underground. Do you really imagine that straight men, unhindered by marriage, would choose to turn down sexual partners? They don't do it now even when married.

      3) I'm not surprised you don't understand intimacy.

      BTW, do you actually know and talk to any gays or lesbians especially married ones?

      Delete
    11. 1) If it was true that "Being gay means that you have desire for sexuality with the same sex in the same way that most people have for the opposite sex" this would mean that men want to be buggered by women, but this is not true, so you claim is not true.

      Sex with a woman and being buggered do not have anything particular in common, by conflating them under the term 'sexuality' you are creating an 'anti-concept' which indiscriminately includes both beautiful, healthy behaviour and revolting disordered behaviour. Your argument is logically parallel to 'Alcohol is a drug, and crystal meth is a drug, therefore a toothless meth head who lives under a bridge just has the same desire for stimulation as a normal person who drinks wine'. The only difference is that wine and meth have a lot more in common than sex and buggery.

      2) Now you libel normal males by claiming that we would all be screwing strangers in cinemas and toilets if we weren't 'hindered by marriage'. In reality, most of us would probably like a mistress or two if we had the money and could get away with it, but have no desire to live like homosexuals. Indeed, typical homosexual behaviour among normal people is called 'sex addiction' and those afflicted (who usually have underlying mental health disorders) go to therapists and support groups for it.

      3) No. If you want to libel mankind by saying they have 'the same desire for intimacy' as homosexuals, define what you mean. In the meantime, here's an article by a gay man *in a relationship* about the troubles he has had with intestinal parasites as a result of licking [sic!] other mens anuses.

      4) I went to non-Jewish schools and universities. I have known plenty of homosexuals. You can fool naive people in an orthodox bubble with your 'they're just like everyone else' lies, but it won't wash with me.

      Delete
    12. You really are an ignorant fool. You think that sex among gays is not really sex? There are lots of fools out there, but the problem is that this foolishness literally kills Jewish kids. It's sad.

      Delete
    13. Actually, what really kills buggerers is letting them indulge their desires. Active buggerers are 200 times more likely to get HIV, 30 times more likely to get syphilis, 15 times more likely to get Hepatitis B, and 17 times more likely to get anal cancer. Even if it was true that repressing buggerers made them depressed (which it isn't really, they are pretty much just as depressed post liberation as before), we would still be doing them a favour by repressing them.

      And, no, buggery isn't sex. At best, it's a sort of hellish parody of it.

      Delete
  20. David Ohsie is correct, Conversion Therapy is basically a scam run by predatory homosexuals, who are never in short supply. In general, anyone who decides it's their passion to work with OTD teens, or depressed people, or unhappy marriages or whatever should be watched like a hawk. Ordinary, non-perverted people don't enjoy hanging out with messed-up, dysfunctional people. For every tzaddik who does there's at least two predators.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gay orthodox youth are not messed-up, dysfunctional people. The do face challenges from a society that calls them sinners because they were wired up in a different way.

      Delete
    2. No one calls anyone sinners "because they were wired up in a different way."

      Delete
    3. @DF: What planet do you live on? Gay orthodox youth have to keep their status a secret. GM above just called them perverted and dysfunctional. Rav Moshe claimed that anyone who has a sexual desire for the same sex must be really engaged in sinful rebellion because no one could really just want that.

      Delete
    4. No - lots of people have desires for forbidden things. In fact, everyone does. No one is ever called a sinner merely for having such desires.

      Delete
    5. @DF: You have no clue what it is to grow up gay in Orthodoxy. You can repeat again and again that no one shames gay Orthodox youth, but you will be wrong every time. Start here: https://itgetsbetter.org/blog/story/ytzzq9rwhqa/

      Delete
    6. @DF: Have you ever read Rav Moshe's teshuvah? I found this translation quickly, but read the original: "The desire for homosexual relations is against natural lust and even the wicked do not have a desire for it itself. Rather their entire desire for it is only because it is something prohibited and the yetzer harah seduces them to rebel against the will of God." https://s3.amazonaws.com/images.shulcloud.com/111/uploads/ariel/Derashot/K'vod%20HaBriyot/Homosexuality%20and%20halakhah%20SOURCE%202%20modern%20sources.pdf

      Delete
    7. Thanks for the great link David Ohsie. It's a shame I'm not still in London, so I won't be able to see AJ at 'Ru Pauls Drag Race UK'. He seems such an amazing role model for gay Orthodox youth.

      Delete
    8. Read the Igros Moshe in context. He is talking to a straight person who committed certain acts while in college. He writes that those acts were not a product of normal lust, rendering the sin more sever than others. He was not offering an opinion about gay people, he was not saying that this deviance is never normal amongst a tiny subset of the population.
      Reb Moshe is one of the most misquoted poskim in history, because he printed every single chidush, and people read them without a sense of context.
      Every single teshuva that I have read before learning a sugya, and then again after learning a sugya, has shown me that they are two different texts. A person can think he has read an entire teshuva, until he becomes knowledgeable in the background of the teshuva.
      Jason from Jersey

      Delete
    9. RMF is right though, is he not? It isn't normal, by definition. Neither is it normal to be attracted to (eg) one's mother in law, yet some people are. It doesn't mean any such men are called sinners, though. In fact, why would even know about it, other than close confidantes (who certainly wouldn't call them sinners)?

      You seem - on surface; we don't know each other - to have drunk deeply from the koolaid currently prevalent in certain segments of liberal America, which actually celebrates homosexuals as though they were heroes, or patronizes to them as though they alone, among all the people on the globe, are unable to control their desires. That's not the Torah perspective, has historically never been anyone's perspective, in fact, and in another few years, when the backlash comes, it will once again be viewed, correctly, as the deviancy it is. Sympathy is one thing; Acceptance is another.

      Delete
    10. @Jason from Jersey: 1) I just want to make it clear that I completely disagree with Rav Moshe. 2) Nevertheless, that is what he said. I haven't read the Teshuvah for a while, so I'm not prepared to argue whether you can read in more liberal interpretations, but I think you'd be forcing it. It makes no difference, because the right wing who cite Rav Moshe here use it in the way that I describe. My point was simply to demonstrate that there is plenty of anti-gay animus in Orthodoxy irrespective of so-called sinful acts.

      Delete
    11. @DF: "RMF is right though, is he not?"

      1) No he isn't. Frum teenagers who engage in zero sexual activity (save masturbation in some cases) know who they are sexually attracted to. Those who are gay know that they are sexually attracted to the same sex, and often desperately wish that they were not, since frum society does not condone even admitting that you are gay. They are not rebelling against God in any way at all as Rav Moshe declares. (Not to be to hard on Rav Moshe. He was a product of his times in this way. Most Rabbis today who know anything about the world won't go the same extreme that Rav Moshe went to).

      2) Frum kids talk to each other about girls. They talk about what kind of girl they want to marry. They talk to their parents about shidduchim at some point; when to start dating, etc. The typical frum gay kid is shamed and has no one to talk to.

      3) If by "normal" you mean "usual", then it is unusual to be gay in that it is a small percentage of the population. By that definition, all of our greatest Talmidei Chachimim were "not normal" in that they there had rare intelligence. But then there is nothing wrong with being "not normal". I would add that Rambam lists Arayos under the category of Chukim by which he means things, like trief food, that are OK to want as long as you don't do them. As opposed to Mishpatim like murder where are you deficient just to want it.

      4) You are completely wrong about the Torah perspective on sexuality and self-control. There are many halachos that point to the fact that we cannot expect *any* people to remain celibate. Hence the mandate to marry young to avoid sin (pre-marital sex). Also all the other protections against prohibited consensual sex, like the Yichud laws.

      5) You are also wrong about history. Homosexuality has been tolerated to varying degrees over time. You are overgeneralizing from Christian influence. There is not more reason to expect a backlash against gay tolerance than there is to expect a backlash against the emancipation proclamation.

      Delete
    12. RMF is right, regarding straight people who fool around in college. Gay people, who have some quirk in their system that leads their overpowering sex urge to other men, instead of women like most of us, are following a taavah, and their sin may not be looked on as strictly as RMF looks at his case. It is disingenuous to quote RMF about gay people, he was not a conservative xtian, and he did not have Billy Graham's beliefs about 'pray away the gay'. He did not offer an opinion about how gay people got that way and how to help them.

      I am not saying it is impossible for gay people to overcome their urges. Why should they be different to all of us? But none of us is really willing to condemn ourselves to a totally celibate life. Someone who is condemned to such, should be recognized as in serious pain. I feel really bad for such people, and I wish a solution was available. That is why I don't think that those who research reparative therapy, if they are doing it honestly, should be condemned. Because they are saving people from emotional torture. If the other choice was just being gay and living with it, I could understand the opposition to it. But that is not the other choice for a Jew. (If the organization is dishonest, then they are equally worthy of opposition and condemnation)

      Jason from Jersey

      Delete
    13. You speak very crudely ("prost") which is not the way discourse is conducted in the orthodox community. Perhaps you are not orthodox, which explains a lot. If you are though, you should exhibit some of the "respect for others" you claim to support (particularly when those "others" are actually the majority and its a matter of nivul peh) and respect their sensitivities. Learn how to use a euphemism.

      Everything else is all predicated on the absurd fantasy you've created that only homosexuals have forbidden desires. Please. You have no idea whatsoever how many normal people (what you would call "heterosexual") have desires for taboos, including homosexuality. Some of these taboos might not be prohibited by Torah law - though others are - but they are socially taboo, which makes them just as unattainable. How do all these people deal with their desires? Simple. THEY DEAL WITH IT. And there's really nothing more to talk about.

      Frankly, you don't seem sure yourself of what you're advocating. So what exactly are you saying, clearly now? That everyone should just write Leviticus 18 and 20 out of the Bible?

      Delete
    14. DO - Reb Moishe is not talking to anyone's agenda. People are extrapolating from his words. He was talking about a certain case. He was not talking about all cases. I am not saying he agrees or disagrees with anyone's agenda. I am saying he does not mention it. He does not discuss it or deal with it.

      Boys do talk about whom they want to marry, but not at high school age. That is not a matter of acceptable discussion.

      You must understand that the Charedi world is not the outside world with a black hat. Sexuality is ignored in teenagers, so it does not develop at all. People may feel slightly off, but they are not clear as to their own desires at all. That is why the issue of gay teens is a non-issue in Yeshivos. Because there is no frame of reference. In the non-religious world, people are experimenting and discovering themselves during their teens, and at some point, homosexual attraction will emerge. In Charedi yeshivos that will happen much later, during the shiduchim age of post 21.
      Jason from Jersey

      Delete
    15. Jason from Jersey - teenagers are teenagers, no matter what world they belong to. But in the secular liberal world today, those professing homosexuality are celebrated, coddled, and in some cases given legal privileges. they are made to feel special. Thus, in those teenage years, when hormones are running wild, kids are encouraged, explicitly or implicitly, to think of themselves as homosexual.

      The same exact kid, in the religious world, would not experience any of that nonsense. He may indeed experience pangs of feelings or attractions towards another young man. In fact, I would say it is MORE likely he would, in that all-male world, than in the mixed secular world. But he knows its a fatal attraction, and so - the moment passes. Not "repression", as the shrinks would have it. The moment passes. The young man marries and lives a normal life.

      Delete
    16. @Jason: I don't want to rehash Rav Moshe. Your interpretation is forced and not one that anyone else gives, but you have a right to your opinion.

      As far as this: "That is why I don't think that those who research reparative therapy, if they are doing it honestly, should be condemned." There is nothing more to research. The stuff doesn't work. The group that was endorsed by Rabbis (JONAH) was actually closeted gay men abusing the kids forced into the camp. Another famous Orthodox therapist in Florida who claimed to have a method that worked was actually looking for partners on gay dating websites. The therapy itself further shames the people who are involved. They are gay. Why should they think that there is something wrong with them? There isn't.

      Delete
    17. "Sexuality is ignored in teenagers, so it does not develop at all." This simply isn't true. People develop sexuality whether or not they are allowed to express it openly. In fact, even straights, especially girls, are shamed for their sexuality in right wing Orthodoxy and hurt by it. Not acknowledging the existence of gay kids is a terrible form of shaming. They grow up thinking that no one is like them and that they have this shameful problem that they can't tell anyone about. Everyone know that your job is to grow up and get married and have kids. They are terrified by the fact that something is terribly wrong with them. Again, please watch this video to gain a better understanding. Some of these kids were from very closed societies: https://www.jqyouth.org/video/gets-better-gay-orthodox-jews/

      Delete
    18. @DF: Your suspicions are incorrect. I think that my language was appropriate to the topic. At work, I'm the guy who won't use profanity.

      Moreover, the suppression of even constructive discussion of sexuality in Orthodoxy has had terrible consequences. In Charedi Israell, one can't publicly disseminate information about breast xancer, because the use of the word breast, even for important medical purposes, is forbidden.

      Kids are also more vulnerable to sexual abuse and unable to accurately describe their abuse because they don't have use of the normal non-euphimistic vocabulary of things like penis and vagina.

      Delete
    19. @DF: To the substance: "Everything else is all predicated on the absurd fantasy you've created that only homosexuals have forbidden desires." Of course not. Most single men have sexual desire for women and they are prohibited to all of them. But they have a way out which is to get married (for which there is a whole system to assist with). Gays and Lesbians have the same sexual desire, but no halachically permitted partners. So they are in a completely different situation. Most people don't "just deal with it".


      "That everyone should just write Leviticus 18 and 20 out of the Bible?" The bulk of gay Orthodox youth are not violating Leviticus 18 and 20. But they are shamed anyhow. Frankly you don't seem to sure of what you are protesting. It is really violations of halacha or "social taboos" as you therm them which derive in great part from Christian ethics?


      Delete
    20. @Unknown: "But he knows its a fatal attraction, and so - the moment passes." Please, please, please educate yourself. Gay kids exist. The moment doesn't pass, because it's not a moment. You are aiding in the destruction of Jewish Neshamos. Please don't.

      Delete
    21. Sorry, the comment above addressed to Unknown is from me.

      Delete
  21. I wasn't aware of that nice Wembley letter before, so thanks for publicizing that.

    I can't seem to find any mention of a kerfuffle over the publication of this letter, though.

    ReplyDelete
  22. There is large difference between Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and Rabbi Chaim Halpern. The former openly legitimated mortal sin. The latter, although being suspected, was never condemned by any authorized court.

    One minute, you may ask, but five senior rabbanim in London wrote that "we are confident..."! Does not matter.

    To proof why it does not matter, simply consider the opposite. Rabbi X that many things believe he is pedofil and serial rapist, and many evidences circulate in the network, but five senior rabbanim in London, including Dayan Chanoch Ehrentreu, conducted a personal investigation and wrote that "we are confident that MrX is innocent". Would you care? Would you be comfortable with honoring him and inviting him to an important event? The answer is obvious: just recall your reaction to rabbanic investigations about rabbi Berland.

    For my great sorrow, there are no authorized and reliable courts in Jewish nation at this moment. And no true "gdolei ha-dor".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your logic makes no sense. Rabbis generally cover up abuse especially by other Rabbis. When even Rabbis agree that another Rabbi is no good, then you know that things are bad. If you wait for court, you'll never be protected because those Rabbis will never turn another Rabbi over to the authorities, and many abuses of power are not even legally proscribed.

      Delete
  23. It's very easy to call out problems in others. In Rabbi Slifkin's own community - not so much. That would require genuine courage, not performative snark.

    From Rabbi Slifkin on the Cypriot sluts (I'm referring to the boys here - whether they are rapists or not, they are assuredly sluts) - not a word. They're from his good, wholesome, da'ati le'umi community - they can do no wrong.

    From Rabbi Slifkin on a long line of da'ati le'umi political and religios leaders promoting junk science "conversion therapy" - nothing.

    From Rabbi Slifkin on Netanyahu's continued support for Ya'akov Litzman - not a word. This is the Ya'akov Litzman whose corrupt power shields a rapist from accountability for her crimes, but Netanyahu pretends to be the tough guy (although really he has never made any serious attempt to dislodge Hamas' and Hezbollah's grip) who will bomb large civilian residential tower blocks (this he will do with relish) so not a word.

    From Rabbi Slifkin on Netanyahu's corruption problem - not a word. This is the man who criticises fake letters, but is sanguine at the prospect of multi-million dollar fraud at the public expense being condoned at the ballot box.

    This blogpost is easy, empty words, which, while entirely correct when viewed in narrow isolation, does not come from an ally, friend, or benefactor of the LGBT community willing to effect change.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Cyprus boys were NOT dati-leumi.

      Delete
    2. @The Hat: We need all the allies we can get on LBGT and abuse issues in Orthodoxy. Let's not add purity tests. R Slifkin did put up a post about R Drukman and Elan and also about some abuser in Bet Shemesh, so he is not inactive on the abuse issue.

      Delete
    3. Am I really supposed to find it credible that Rabbi Slifkin genuinely wants to come out and express support for the very tough decisions Rabbi Mirvis took 6 months ago with the line that: well, maybe unholy but not as bad as Chaim Halpern is a helluva way of doing it.

      Rabbi Slifkin cares about LGBT people like Neturei Karta care about human rights, or like the Ayatollah cares about Martin Luther King. Political convenience, not convinction.

      These are real people with real issues in every community and this carpet bagging is in bad taste. It doesn't advance anything for anyone.

      Delete
    4. @The Hat, I don't speak for R Slifkin, but that is *not* what he wrote. He made fun of the notion that there is anything at all wrong with R Mirvis position: "So because he tries to help young people who are caught in a terrible situation, he is persona non grata in certain circles." He then uses the comparison with Halpern to show that the opponents of R Mirvis are hypocrites and not really banning him because of any supposed anti-Torah view, but either anti-gay animus or for political reasons.

      Purity tests are not helpful.

      Delete
    5. This blogpost was about a siyum which failed a purity test. And you will answer - well - my purity test is more pure than yours. A purity tests for purity tests if you will. So siyyumim are a good thing without purity tests, subject to purity tests on the purity tests where a threshold is set at the prominent involvement of Chaim Halpern.

      Correct. I agree.

      And by the same token, blogposts about sexual abuse and LGBT rights are a good thing subject to purity tests about rank sectarian carpetbagging.

      We can all see what Rabbi Slifkin wrote. It's undeniable that Rabbi Slifkin raises the LGBT issues exclusively as a weapon for his latest sectarian rant against charedim. Which is something even you must conceded he does rather a lot of.

      I'm not accusing Rabbi Slifkin of being opposed to LGBT rights. I'm accusing him of being materially indifferent to them except when it suits his obsessions, which is not being an ally to LGBT people in his community, or in the Charedi community.

      Delete
    6. @The Hat: Perhaps, I don't know. I do know that he made an anti-abuse post against R Drukman who is a leader in his own community. I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on big-tentism.

      Delete
  24. Rabbi Slifkin.
    Why do you allow newcomer's posts to be published. He clearly is not following your criteria?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry, I haven't been following the comments so closely

      Delete
    2. I cant help it if you dont like my post I know they give you a guilty conscience and that is their purpose. But I do put my pseudonym to every post, just it is not written in blue like yours. I think this follows your criteria. They are no more anonymous than anyone else's here who does not use his real name. Newcomer

      Delete
    3. R Slifkin will allow the post as long as a pseudonym is used. "newcomer" adds his name to every post of his. The content of his posts are terrible, but R Slifkin doesn't censor content.

      Delete
    4. Thank you for allowing my 'terrible' posts. Those who complain about my being anonymous really mean because they are 'terrible'. Well if he really doesnt 'censor' content let me see if he allows this. I also post elsewhere as R Slifkin knows and I get the same complaints there about my 'terrible' posts. All that means to me is that you all have a guilty conscience of what your false Jewishness really entails. I cant post so often,so I will again reply to a previous post. The problem with MO is like women they learn everything literally except creation. So what does it mean a woman has to learn her dinim. And how is it possible that even a child can know them. Women have always been trusted to open a chicken and of course niddos without ever opening a sefer. The idea is that a woman has to know what a 'normal' chicken looks like that is all. And the same with keilim. She doesnt have to learn the whole mesechta of every possible one. The idea being a woman has to run a kosher household nothing more nothing less. As long as she knows what is 'normal' that is good enough, and that even a child can learn and be 'bokee' in.
      She will therefore know when a problem arises and ask her husband (not a rov).If he doesnt know then he has to ask the rov not her. He is in charge of the household not her. My daughter went to university not seminary. A woman does not have to learn torah and never did. Only today failed chareidi rabbis who cannot teach boys, teach girls instead for parnoso and have come up with this idea. I have plenty to add to this, about women learning especially to nidda which the daf yomi recently 'finished' (and hardly anyone of them even started) but I dont think it is suitable for this blog, where no one wants to know anyway. Newcomer.

      Delete
    5. Newcomer, maybe your posts are “terrible” because you say things like this, “one must hate them [gays],” and disparage women.

      Delete
    6. It is not me who made up these things but the Torah. I cant help it if you find the Torah terrible and I dont 'disparage' women.
      Newcomer

      Delete
    7. Actually, the Torah requires orthopraxy, not orthodoxy.

      Orthoprax Judaism does not require faith, philosophy, or correct beliefs but it emphasizes proper behavior, the need to be moral. Judaism itself never judges a Jew by what s/he believes but their behavior, how they act.

      Another insight is that most people cannot handle the truth and feel threatened by it. Although the Torah contains many laws that were not ideal, a careful reading of the Torah will show that the Torah demands to be updated. Thus, for example, the sacrifices were a concession. And the Torah does not disparage women.

      Delete
    8. Orthoprax Judaism requires following all the commandments. Yes, that includes sacrifices according to the halacha.

      Delete
    9. You seem to be firmly entrenched in your belief that beliefs are unimportant.
      The problem is that the Torah does emphasize correct beliefs. Both in תורה שבכתב and in תורה שבעל פה. A person who does not believe in the basics of תורה מן השמים or תחיית המתים is considered a non בן עולם הבא amongst others. The Rambam codifies these things, both in Yad and in פירוש המשניות. There may be other opinions that quibble over the details, but the basic idea is there.
      וידעת היום והשיבות אל לבבך כי הוי"ה הוא האלקים אין עוד
      That is a belief, not a practice.

      Jason from Jersey

      Delete
    10. We agree that it is important to have correct beliefs. My point was to demonstrate that Judaism focuses on behavior more than beliefs. In fact, although the Torah emphasizes correct beliefs, people can generally believe what they want, so long as they obey the rabbinic enactments as the rabbis explained them, for what matters more is proper behavior.

      Delete
    11. You are contradicting yourself. People cannot believe what they want, the Torah proscribes beliefs as well as actions.
      There are more actions to do than beliefs to have, that is why there is more time and space devoted to actions. But without belief in Torah, actions are pretty much worthless.

      Jason from Jersey

      Delete
    12. Judaism does not judge people by belief but by proper behavior, actions and the observances of certain mitzvot. It was not until Rambam penned his 13 fundamentals did dogma enter Jewish thought. Thus, Jews can believe whatever they want[1] so long as they follow the biblical enactments as the rabbis explained them.

      [1] Saying that should not be mistaken to reject Torah or even G-d. Although people may accept or reject philosophical views, they should believe in certain fundamentals about G-d. It follows that the rest of the 13 principles Rambam penned for the multitude.

      Delete
    13. Actually, Newcomer, one of the reasons for increasing the permissibility of women learning more Torah is exactly the fact that they go to University. Many have written - including here on this blog (see the subsequent post on the antirationalist manifesto) - that learning science makes one go off the derech. How do you think the decision to stay frum will go if one has a degree level understanding of the world but only a grade-schooler's understanding of Torah? That is, in fact, what exists in the great Science vs Religion debates, after all, people who know only one side and belittle the other side. Those who know both are comfortable with both. In order to lead to a greater proportion of modern educated women STAYING frum, we need to balance their advanced secular education with advanced Torah education. (And yes, even among women, who have Bina Yeseirah and possibly certain emotional connections, and even if your daughter personally was unaffected...)

      Delete
  25. Oh wow, now that I know there wasn't as much achdus at this event as I might have thought there was, I definitely lost my emunah completely and threw out my yarmulka. Thanks a lot Rabbi Slifkin.

    /s.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Is this site here only to promote the rationalistic tradition? It appears from this story that its goal is also to take (revengeful) shots at the charedi community.
    I am not saying there are no problem in the charedi community, there are. There are also many in the dati-leumi community. One who wishes to see the bad, will find many stories and newspaper articles.
    As a reader, I get the sense that the blog author relishes in finding stories the highlight Charedi faults.
    Right now there is a very beautiful story on yeshivaworld of a young charedi man who did a tremendous kiddush Hashem. Would such a story ever appear on this blog? If the goal here is to really proper behaviour, why not quote this story? (https://www.theyeshivaworld.com/news/featured/1822999/how-37500-caused-the-anti-chareidi-israeli-to-change-his-mind.html)
    Rabbi Slifkin - I beg you to do some serious soul searching. As a member of the dati leumi community - should you not seek to find the good in others? You seem to have developed a critical eye to only see the bad.
    Do you really want to be the source of promoting so much hate? Is this not one of your primary critiques of the haredi world? Does this blog really convince people to be Torah rationalists and follow the Torah tradition of seeking peace and justice, or has it become a den of haters and an address for finding dirt on a large segment of klal yisrael?
    Rabbi Slifkin, please take some time to rethink if your site is increasing love of Jews or leading to greater hate.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know you asked for Rabbi Slifkin’s response, but here is mine. Surprisingly as it may sound, after talking to much of the haredi community, I find more “hatred,” if you will, in their views. For example, the haredi community seems to “hate” gays or “hate” the fact that women can participate in religion. In fact, one of them, called Newcomer posted this exact statement to me here, writing that “one must hate them [gays],” while another wrote, “Being respectful makes practical sense. Nothing stops us from stoning someone [gays], while being respectful at the same time.” Imagine. Storming someone with respect! That’s like saying the Hitler killed Jews with respect, what kind of an augmented is that!??? Killing innocents is evil, whether respected or not.

      But don’t take my word for it. Scroll up and read the comments for yourself. Of course, this is not to say ALL members of the haredi community are hateful, not by any means. But if your going to attack Rabbi Slifkin and claim he needs more spiritually, then you need to point to an example where he uses the word “hate,” as I have done. Otherwise, you can’t call this him, and this site (rationalist Judaism) hate speech.

      Delete
    2. I can only repeat that this is not my doing. Newcomer. If you dont believe in the Torah choose another religion. And women 'cannot' participate in 'religion'. They cant make up a quorum, are not trusted as witnesses or judges and as I wrote are not meant to learn either. I can only repeat my daughter went to university not seminary and she did not get her herself brainwashed. Newcomer.

      Delete
    3. Actually, like it or not, the fact is that the Torah requires orthopraxy, not orthodoxy. Regarding women, women are often treated unfairly in Jewish religious circles today. For example, they cannot learn Talmud, read the Torah, nor partake in religious ceremonies. Newcomer here shows his contempt for women [half of the Jewish population] when he writes that women are not meant to learn either. His fanatic religious beliefs become contradicted when we look an many famous scientists who were women, for example, Hypatia correctly discovered the heliocentric model thousands of years ago.

      I respect women and agree with the talmudic sages that women should be treated fairly and have the same rights as all men.

      As Rabbi Eleazar correctly said women are "endowed with more understanding than men."

      Genesis 2:22 says that G-d created (vayiben) woman. The Hebrew equivalence of vayiben is bina, understanding.

      Delete
    4. @Turk Hill
      ואהבת לרעך כמוך - ברור לי מיתה יפה.

      Can you imagine?

      Yakov.

      Delete
    5. You claim that women are treated unfairly in Torah Judaism. (BTW, Maimonides does not treat women any better, and he clearly states that he is not reflecting the trend of his times, rather the Torah's view.)
      Who told you that fairness is a virtue in Torah? I have found no sign of it. People were created for their divine purposes, and everyone should just get on with their job. Fairness is not a virtue, and if the Torah is unfair to certain people, it is because their job entails it.
      Jason from Jersey

      Delete
    6. I think that women should be respected and have the same rights as all men. Fortunately for me, many Jewish sages felt the same. Unfortunately, not all ultra-orthodox haredi men agree with me.

      Did all of the talmudic rabbis think women were inferior?

      People are people first, then Jews and Judaism. In any religion, no two people think alike. There are always some sensible men who will argue that women are human beings and make up half of the Jewish population. They deserve the same rights and respect and consideration as all men. Even the Torah recognized the great accomplishments of women, for example, Deborah was a general and led men into battle.

      What did Maimonides say and did Aristotle also agree?

      In the Guide, 3:48, Maimonides wrote that women may have weaker minds, but felt that this would improve. In his medical writings, he supposedly "admits" that women cannot become ambidextrous. How can such an intelligent person err here? Even Aristotle, whom Maimonides extolled: “Aristotle reached the highest level of knowledge (prophecy) to which a man can ascend (become prophet),” held negative views about women. Why?

      Surprising as it may sound, Aristotle wasn’t only a philosopher, he was also a careful scientist. He never drew up conclusions based on speculation, he always examined everything, be it people, philosophy, natural law, metaphysics, society, etc. So why does he state that women are inferior to men? To be clear, he writes that they have fewer teeth. Could he not check the mouth of any women to see if this observation was true? Is it possible that these wise men could be so ignorant of the feminine sex? Do these people (females) not make up the other half of humanity?

      I believe the answer lies in the age in which he lived. In short, he was a product of his time. Aristotle relied on many erroneous philosophical presuppositions. But he advocated right for all people. Had he lived today and had the scientific methods, he would surely change his mind. Maimonides likewise would change his mind also if he were alive today. Maimonides advocated universalism. But many of his views back then were based on his contemporaries, which were wrong in many ways. Sadly, he was unable to see the human potential in half of humanity. Nevertheless, people should not point to Maimonides’ philosophical writings for their support. If Maimonides lived today, he would surely be at the forefront and champion for women's rights. For he was very sensitive to the rights of all men, whom G-d had created in His image. Indeed, his favorite philosopher Aristotle was a non-Jew. You would be mistaken to call Rambam a bigot. In fact, he wrote that humans have an obligation, a religious duty to develop their minds, even women, he wrote, would eventually will be able to do this. Thus, like Aristotle, he only held the views that he held because he was a product of his time and he was unfortunately misguided by the primitive science, ignorance, and prejudice of his day.

      Delete
    7. @ajleibow

      "I am not saying there are no problem in the charedi community, there are. "

      Why aren't the gedolim addressing them?

      Delete
    8. @N8ZL: Because they don't see them as problems.

      Delete
    9. Turk Hill, your beliefs notwithstanding, the Torah quite clearly does not agree with your 'equal right'. Men can divorce their wives, women cannot divorce their husbands. Fathers can sell their daughters into temporary slavery, not their sons. Men and women have different jobs in marriage, the Torah considers it a non כבוד הציבור for a woman to read the Torah in public.
      These are all decided halachos. I don't know what kind of apologetics you have been reading, but the source material is quite clear.

      The basic right to life and dignity is indeed equal. But that does not include the right to 'equal pay for equal work'. A woman's life is equal to a man's, all things being equal. (if neither of them keep mitzvos, that is true. If they both keep mitzvos, it is the life of the one obligated in more mitzvos whose life takes precedence. Regardless, the murder of each of them, as well as a newborn baby, is an equally capital punishment) But above life and basic dignity, men and women are not equal in the Torah.

      The Rambam, when he describes the job of a wife in marriage, states clearly that this is in opposition to the prevailing opinions amongst the Goyim of his millieu. He is not representing them at all.

      It seems that you are trying to shoehorn the Rambam into your own worldview.

      Jason from Jersey

      Delete
    10. The Torah recalls the great achievements of women. For example, some talmudic rabbis had the opinion that the matriarch Sarah was superior to Abraham and Eve to Adam in intelligence.

      The Babylonian Talmud, Sotah 20a, captures this moment when Ben Azzai said that women can and should be taught Torah, saying: “A man must teach his daughter Torah so that if she drinks [whenever she acts] she will know that her merit will suspend her punishment [she will know what is the right way to act].”

      Thus, ben Azzai insists that women learn Torah and that all people, no matter of sex or religion, are equal and created in "the image of G-d."

      It is significant that ben Azzai insisted that the basic teaching of the Torah is that all people, no matter their sex or religion, are equal before God. He was also known to cite Genesis 5:1: “In the day that G-d created adam [humanity, including females], He made him [all humanity] in the likeness of G-d.”[1]

      [1] Midrash Sifra, Kedoshim 4; Genesis Rabbah 24; Jerusalem Talmud, Nedarim 9, 41c.

      Delete
    11. You claimed they are equal and then quote some instances in which they are equal. Nobody denied that in some instances they are equal. They are equally lauded, yet don't have equal rights. Mentioning the cases in which they get praise is insufficient. You have to apologize away the cases in which they are unequal.

      Your quote of Ben Azai is disingenuous. The halacha is clearly not like Ben Azzai, as the same Gemoro tells us. Using half-quotes is quite telling of an outside agenda.

      In fact, you have actually proven the opposite. Being created in G-d's image does not mean that you have equal opportunities. If a person treats someone else differently due to gender or race, that has not denied G-d's image in that person. As you so eloquently show.
      Jason from Jersey

      Delete
    12. Jason, as I previously showed in my comment above, Rambam held the views that he did because they were the norm in his day, as they were in the days of Aristotle. You would be mistaken, however, to say that he would think the same were he alive today. Regarding the Torah, a careful reading of the Torah shows that it is against these practices and that G-d wanted people to learn from the Torah that they should change the Torah laws, for many laws were later changed by the rabbis for the necessities of the later times.

      Delete
    13. Again, why does the Torah, not contemporary mores, allow a man to divorce his wife, even against her will, and disallow the converse?
      How can you comfortably claim that the Torah believes in equal rights?
      Jason from Jersey

      Delete
    14. Again, a careful reading of the Torah shows that it is against these practices and that G-d wanted people to learn from the Torah that they should change the Torah laws, for many laws were later changed by the rabbis for the necessities of the later times.

      Delete
    15. @Jason from Jersey

      I'm always trying to learn more. I couldn't find where the Torah "disallows" a woman to divorce her husband.

      Delete
  27. http://somehowfrum.blogspot.com/2020/01/dialogue-debates-doctors-doctrines.html

    ReplyDelete
  28. An argument against Daf Yomi by Rabbi David Bar-Hayim:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=kV4V9xAA5tE

    ReplyDelete
  29. You seem to be a perfectionist.
    Yes, it was not perfect Achdus, but it was more than that of a regular day. Most people interact with people of similar beliefs, orientation and lifestyle as themselves, and here they got to celebrate with a large group of people who are not similar to them. They celebrated their similarity with black hatted baalabattim from Golders Green, shtreimel wearers from Stamford Hill, knitted yarmulke wearers from Kinloss and Hasmonean talmidim. Mancunians and their quirks, as well as Geordies with their ideas. All got together because all learn the same Gemoro.
    Excluding Rabbi Mirvis was wrong, but it does not negate the fact that for the average Joe, this was an experience he would not otherwise have.
    Jason from Jersey

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What 'quirks' do Mancunians have and how many do you know apart from R Slifkin, or do you just mean him. And again what 'ideas' do Geordies have. Whom do you know from there, the mashgiach perhaps? Newcomer

      Delete

Comments for this blog are moderated. Please see this post about the comments policy for details. ANONYMOUS COMMENTS WILL NOT BE POSTED - please use either your real name or a pseudonym.

Frum Racism

Growing up in England, I saw much more racism against Pakistanis and other groups than I saw against blacks. But I saw racism against blac...