Thursday, April 30, 2020

When Charedi Spokesmen Misrepresent What Charedim Really Believe

An article in Ha'aretz by none other than Rabbi Avi Shafran, Director of Public Affairs for Agudath Israel of America, responds to the criticism of the charedi rabbinic leadership for delaying the closure of yeshivos. Rabbi Shafran complains as follows:
"Those leaders were ridiculed for taking seriously the Talmud’s teaching that the “breath of the children” exhaled in their Torah study verily upholds the world. But here’s the thing – and it’s a most important thing: We Haredim really believe that. It’s odd that liberal-minded Jews tend to allow others their particularistic beliefs if those others follow any one of a myriad of belief systems. But not if they are their fellow Jews (believing, in fact, in what has been called Judaism for millennia)... Yes, we Haredim actually believe that children’s learning Torah maintains the world."
As usual, there are a number of distortions tightly wrapped up here.

First is that he is trying to conflate very different things. The Gedolim were not ridiculed for taking seriously something that "has been called Judaism for millennia." They were ridiculed for saying that cancelling yeshivah studies and forcing the students to study at home would be more dangerous than coronavirus, because "Torah protects." Which was something that they were later forced to retract, because it was indeed ridiculous.

Second is that charedim do not "really believe" that yeshivos protect from coronavirus. Some of them might believe that they believe it, but none of them really believe it. In fact, charedim don't believe that Torah protects from any form of illness - that's why they want the same medical care, and suffer from the same illnesses, as everyone else. They just didn't believe that coronavirus was a serious illness that threatens them - it was something "out there," not something that was part of their own world. That's why some insular chassidim show a total disregard for coronavirus even if they are not in yeshivah. Those who realize that coronavirus is actually a real danger shutter the yeshivos.

Third is that the reason why liberal-minded Jews who allow the particularistic beliefs of others are nevertheless intolerant of certain charedi beliefs is not due to hypocrisy or intolerance. And it is wrong for Rabbi Shafran to insinuate such an accusation. Rather, it is because charedi beliefs affect the rest of society! When Bnei Brak's hospital is bursting at the seams and forced to send patients to other hospitals, this drains resources from other communities.

Fourth is that it is simply false to claim that protection against coronavirus is identical with traditional teachings about the world being maintained by children learning Torah. It is reading a maximalist interpretation into the Sages' words that was never intended. Their statement that the world exists for the sake of children learning is simply their way of saying that it's a very important part of our society. (There's a similar statement in the Gemara about the world existing for the sake of circumcision!) It doesn't mean that during summer break, or a pandemic, there is a metaphysical effect that causes the world to break down, and that it's therefore reason to keep schools open and increase the chances of infection.

Fifth, since after a while they did indeed close the yeshivos in order to protect against coronavirus, what does this demonstrate? Surely it shows that they themselves conceded that their position was incorrect. In which case, it was indeed appropriate that they were originally criticized for it. And, as my friend David Sedley pointed out, it surely means that they need to re-examine their belief that divine, traditional Judaism teaches that students must learn Torah in yeshivos in order to maintain the world and protect from pandemics.

This leads us to another problem with Rabbi Shafran's article. He complains in this article, as he often does, about a false accusation that charedim believe the Gedolim to be infallible. But Rabbi Shafran only accepts the fallibility of Gedolim in abstract theory. In practice, he maintains that one may never actually say that they made a mistake. Even here, when the Gedolim themselves backtracked, he won't concede that they were wrong!

After making the false claim that charedim "really believe" that yeshivos protect from coronavirus and maintain the world, Rabbi Shafran proceeds to make another claim about what charedim "really believe": "Yes, we sincerely believe that Torah study protects Jews no less than army service."

Um, no, charedim don't sincerely believe that at all. Again, some may believe that they believe it, but nobody actually believes it. This was demonstrated most clearly during one of Gaza wars, when a charedi yeshivah from Ashdod relocated to Beit Shemesh and announced that they would be providing a spiritually-based "iron dome" for Beit Shemesh. Of course, this raised the obvious question of why they didn't stay and provide it in Ashdod, where it was actually needed! No charedi yeshivos went to provide protection for the South - because they don't actually believe that Torah protects even them, let alone others. That's why the Torah Town of Kiryat Sefer, over the Green Line, has the exact same security systems as every other moshav. They will fabricate all kinds of creative ideas about the interplay between hishtadlus and Torah's protection, but the bottom line is that they don't actually believe that it protects in any kind of meaningful, practical sense.

I've actually written to Rabbi Shafran about this. I pointed out that since he is the mouthpiece of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah, who are experts on such things, he should provide a long-needed service for both the charedi and non-charedi communities, and ask them to provide an elaboration on their view of exactly the parameters of how "Torah protects no less than army service." After all, if it's such a powerful, real-world operational force, with enormous practical ramifications of being (allegedly) the real reason why charedim don't serve in the IDF, surely they should be spelling out what it means exactly.

Some of the parameters that they should clarify are as follows: To what extent is it geographically related - traditional sources indicate that it applies primarily to the city where the Torah study takes place, so what are the ramifications for where the yeshivos should be located? Does the protective effect of Torah even apply when the Torah student is not studying - does it apply during the night, and during vacation? Does this protection apply under all circumstances? (Responsa Radvaz 2:752 greatly restricts the extent of the Gemara's ruling about Torah scholars being exempt from contributing towards security, including stating that it does not apply in cases where the rabbis consider themselves in need of protection). Is the intent of the person studying Torah relevant - do you have to mention for whom you "have in mind"?

The IDF can give precise answers as to the parameters of the effectiveness of their forces. If you are claiming that Torah study is of equal or greater effectiveness, you have an obligation to do the same. (See my post "Parameters, Please!" for an elaboration of these issues.)

Just as the real reason for the coronavirus delay had nothing to do with Torah protecting, so too the real reason why charedim don't serve in the IDF is nothing to do with Torah protecting. It's because they fear the harm that it would do to their way of life. That's an understandable fear, although of course it must be accompanied with an acknowledgment that if the price is too high for them to pay, they should pay it in other ways.

But it doesn't help anyone when spokesmen for charedi society, who claim to be enlightening people about what charedim "really believe," do nothing of the sort.

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113 comments:

  1. Sounds like your letter to R' Shafran was Telling him what you think, rather than actually asking for a response. Which he correctly can assume that you will poke a mock any response he would provide. Natan, self respecting people don't respond to you because you mock and engage in immature debate.

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    1. No mockery or immaturity here. Lots of valid points. Shafran is a waste of space. I'd love to hear his responses, but I can assure you they will not be honest.

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  2. You will not get answers because your questions are unanswerable in any way other than metaphysical magical thinking.

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  3. This reminds me of the time when a mystic told me, (who I will not name him for sake of privacy,) that "cancelling yeshiva is more dangerous than coronavirus because אם לא בריתי יומם ולילה חוקת שמים וארץ לא שמתי the world would be destroyed without constant Torah study." I responded that that is what Charedim thinks they believe. Charedim cannot really believe that, even if Zamir Cohen insists that that is what they believe.

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    1. I encountered a shul 'rabbi' once give this talk to his lap-dog congregation during a 'shiur'. It was a mostly baal teshuva (95%) out-of-town place of professionals. I listened in amazement as the allegedly intelligent people swallowed this nonsensical b.s.

      Thats when some of my major opinions started taking shape about the so-called rationality of judaism, the leadership of 'rabbi', and the inherit gullibility of b.t.'s who so emotionally want to be part of 'the program' that theyll sell their souls to be kicked around intellectually by bossy rabbis.

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    2. Anna, like any religion, there are people (but of course not all) who will prefer mysticism over rationalism. But there are many 'rational' rabbis who could help bring them back to rational Judaism.

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  4. Throughout this post you claim over and over that Rabbi Shafran's presentation of the chareidi belief is that the study of Torah acts as protection from coronavirus. That is a gross misrepresentation of his words; he says nothing of the sort. Please read his article again, carefully this time. He says that the perspective of chareidim and their leaders is that Torah study upholds the world and is to be compared to an essential service like electrical grids and tap water. You spent most of your post criticizing and ridiculing the belief that Torah study is an effective antidote to the virus, which Rabbi Shafran never claimed, and I suspect never would claim. Please clarify what he wrote, and what your specific criticism is.

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    1. It's a bit difficult to write a response to him because what he says the Gedolim said is actually very different from what the Gedolim actually said. Rav Chaim Kanievsky and others said that it protects from coronavirus. And the Agudah says on its website, "The koach haTorah generated by tinokos shel bais rabban is inestimable, and is urgently needed in times like these.” But even if you want to say that the Gedolim were saying that yeshivos keep the world running, like electricity, the same objections can be leveled. No, they don't, and No, nobody believes that they do.

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    2. The phrase being used by the Gedolim was "Torah protects and saves." Rabbi Shafran distorted what they said.

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    3. Why does that make it difficult to write a response? Say exactly that- that what he says the gedolim said is very different from what the gedolim actually said- and then cite the source of your knowledge of this, of course. But honesty does not seem to be an interest of yours anymore, and I'm sure i'm not the only one to have noticed this. As I commented above, you entirely misrepresented someone's writing, and then proceeded to refute (and mock) his non-existent argument. I try to avoid personal insults, but I have no word for that other than sleazy. And then you respond by saying "yes, but the same objections can be leveled etc"!? Perhaps, but your dismissively haughty tone can hardly be employed against Rabbi Shafran's actual words. You are doing very little to dispel the notion out there that your main purpose on this blog is to attack your perceived enemies. It's time to act like a big boy.

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    4. This exact phrase was used by the Agudah to keep the schools and shuls open for an extra week after the rest of orthodox jews closed down. Rabbi Shafran is their official spokesperson. It's all the Agudas website.

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    5. One reason the Gedolim are such fakers is that what they actually say is so vague that, on the one hand, a true believer can interpret their words maximally ('the Torah protects'); and on the other, when after careful examination the words turn out to be trite and meaningless, the critic can be rebutted by pointing out that that 'they didn't exactly say that.'

      Being vague is a trick of the con-man.

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    6. @A Yid Much of the Rabbinic leadership of the Charedim community said that "cancelling yeshiva is more dangerous than coronavirus." This cannot be further from the truth. More importantly, no Chareidi rabbi actually believes this. Nor do they believe that the world would be destroyed without constant Torah study. Like it or not, Charedim unconsciously reject this view, they do not believe it, even if they or Zamir Cohen insists that they do.

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    7. Mr. Fozziebear: Your words seem to be a bit vague. Which Gedolim are you referring to as personally being a 'faker' or 'con man'? Perhaps it would be helpful if we can go through some of the teachings of Rav Chaim Kanievsky (who has published numerous books), or those of his father, the Steipler Gaon, or his uncle, the Chazon Ish, and you can explain to us which specific points might be objectionable?

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    8. Walter I would love to review the teachings or Rav Chaim Kanievsky regarding this pandemic. There was a famous video of him telling his grandson Yanky to keep the Talmudei Torah open, although it is extremely vague exactly what he said or meant. If in addition the this extremely vague comment he also published a tshuva which we could read, please share how we can get it.

      Over the past weeks I've seen many published Tshuvot by many rabbis on how to respond to this pandemic, but have not seen anything published in the name of Rav Kanievsky - please show us where he made his opinion known in a clear and detailed manner.

      It's not a question of whether he is a faker (he clearly isn't) it's a question of whether he gave specific, non-vague rulings on these critical life-and-death issues.

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    9. Michael Sedley: this is precisely my point. Rav Chaim Kanievsky has published numerous sefarim: detailing the entire Seder Zeraim, a comprehensive, innovative and inspiring Sefer Mussar, and works that encompass nearly every area of Shas, parts of which are quite obscure, and Mesechtos that many readers of this blog have never heard of. The same is true for his family - Rav Yitzchak Zilberstein, the Steipler Gaon, Rav Eliashiv and the Chazon Ish. Yet, fozziebear and others are content to dismiss the Gedolim as 'fakers' and 'con men' based upon a report that he found fourth-hand on a Facebook page or 'charedi' website. Yes, criticism may be appropriate regarding the decision-making process during times of crisis in the Charedi community. It is indeeed unfortunate that the entire world waits for Rav Chaim to sneeze or cough and then to see how it is reported on the internet. It is truly sad however that these reports are the only connection that most people have with Gedolim. Perhaps if more time was spent studying Seder Zeraim with the commentaries of these Gedolim rather than mocking them on social media, we would all be better off.

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    10. I realize that Rav Chaim is a tremendous Talmid Chacham, I have not have the privilege of learning his Sforim, but I understand that they are scholarly and show the depth of his learning. But I don't understand how useful that is when there is a life-and-death situation that required an immediate halachic ruling, and Rav Chaim is unable to define exactly what the correct behavior is.

      If someone if a follower of Rav Chaim, how is he supposed to know whether he should go to a minyan tomorrow, and if so how he should act in the minyan. This is a life and death question, how is someone in the Charedi world supposed to know what to do?

      In recent days I have read tshuvot form both chief rabbis as well as other senior rabbis (such as Rav Rimon), with clear guidelines as to who should attend a minyan and who should stay home, how the minyan should be run, and many other urgent issues, they also have a direct way to contact them if anything is not clear.
      Where is the equivalent in the Charedi world. Did you daven with a minyan this morning? On what basis did you make the decision to daven with a minyan or to stay home?

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    11. I would like to know, seriously, why the published (alleged "great") works on "obscure topics" makes him great. He writes about things that are not verifiable, falsifiable, testable, or repeatable. He writes things about ancient texts and ancient worlds to which we have no access. Yes (perhaps!) He's greater at putting together a certain class of logic puzzles than many other people are capable of doing. But how does being a coherent science-legal fiction writer make him an expert in public policy?

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    12. Even your alleged correction is a stupid lie.

      Torah study is torah study. It brings meaning to those who do it and want it to. It performs no intrinsic essential function whatsoever. You can assert your correction/lie as much as you want. Presumably even according to your thinking, Terach's grandfather's sister lived a meaningless and worthless life.

      I posit instead that it is YOU who lead a worthless life for supporting the unsupportable.

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    13. Perhaps study Nefesh HaChaim of Rav Chaim Volzhin and then an intelligent conversation based upon knowledge would be more feasible...

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    14. Perhaps you should study carefully the Nefesh HaChaim of R Chaim Volozhin, and then a more intelligent and knowledgeable discussion would be feasible

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    15. Perhaps study Nefesh HaChaim of Rav Chaim Volzhin and then an intelligent conversation based upon knowledge would be more feasible...

      Perhaps you could explain, in summary, what he writes about Torah study that is anything more than unverifiable opinion.

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    16. I really have no common ground to discuss Judaism in a rational way with someone who posits that Nefesh HaChaim is 'unverifiable opinion'.

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    17. Walter, I withdraw my comments in an apology for being מבזה תלמידי חכמים.

      I shouldn't have said fakers or conmen. I should have made my critique in a better way.

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  5. While in the general macro sense Torah learning may very well "protect and save", but the truth is no one has any idea how learning "upholds the world" as a matter of cause and effect. (Throughout Jewish history, there have been gaps - sometimes of hundreds of years - when there was very little Torah learning and the world was just fine.) Proving (or DISPROVING) the concept in a mechanistic/scientific sense is a fool's errand.

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  6. Ya, literally this guy's job is to spew complete garbage in diplomatic language. I doubt he himself believe what he writes so why would you take him seriously?

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  7. See this interesting article on this subject https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/belief/articles/covid-haredi-magical-thinking

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  8. Avi Shafran is 100% right about left wing hypocrisy, but everyone already knows that (except, apparently, RNS) and I dont know why he's still playing Uncle Tom to anti-religious sites like the Forward. It's like he's stuck in the 90s, and still thinks "letters to the editor" mean something.

    His biggest mistake, though, is accepting the narrative. History, and not far off history but near-term history, will prove the Chassidim right. Other Jews knuckled under, and compensated for their cowardice by self-righteously telling themselves they were doing the right thing. The real zealots took a page out of the Yesvektzia and did their best to malshin on others. Meanwhile, the chassidim perceived what a lot of people perceived but were just too intimidated to act upon, that the doctors really dont know or understand the virus, taht their views keeps changing, that there is total disagreement in govt as to what is helpful and what isnt helpful, and the whole thing is one gigantic farce. While we're all sitting here allowing our children's education to suffer possibly God knows what kind of long term harm from this madness, the chassidim are quietly opening up their schools, in small classes, and eventually they will be left alone.

    Whatever. Whats been done is done. I personally am sick of it all. I cant speak to Israel, but the US basically committed suicide to placate, as usual, the baby boomer constituency who were most at risk to the virus. They certainly have no problem working or staying at home, they've got no kids to raise. If quarantines were needed, THEY should have been quarantined, and everyone else work and take ordinary precautions. Those chassidim you keep talking about? They're looking better and better all the time.

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    1. Yes. 60,000 dead in the US and the numbers are still rising and the "chasdidim" (actually it's Haredim as the "chasidim" are part of the Haredim)" are right to take a chance with their lives and anyone who might come in contact with them. Once again, the total arrogance and ignorance of Haredi philosophy is on display in your post. You argue that medical authorities do not understand the virus and I can accept that there is still some confusion as the medical system comes to grasp with the epidemic. But that is the way science always work when it is confronted by a new, complex phenomenon. However, the medical authorities do know a lot more about the virus than they did when this epidemic first started. And that is also part of the way science works, a self correcting endeavour that works to uncover nature's processes. But most of the Haredi leadership have no knowledge of science, let alone the intricacies of specific fields such as medicine or virology that apply in the case if Corona and their followers should just take their leaders word for it that they know MORE than the medical authorities who have been deeply involved in investigating this epidemic since it started? That's an outrageously foolish response. Would you reverse the position and say that someone untrained in Talmud should be dictating to a competent Rabbinic authority about what some tractate actually says and meansd? Now I expect some condescending, arrogant, ignorant reply from you with logical holes large enough to drive a car through. If this is an example of Haredi logic it is now wonder that so many have actually become sick from the pandemic.

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    2. JD,
      "Would you reverse the position and say that someone untrained in Talmud should be dictating to a competent Rabbinic authority about what some tractate actually says and means?"

      i wonder if you appreciate the irony of using that example on a blog dedicated to exactly that proposition.

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    3. DF is not completely wrong. Every rational person can see slow the 'experts' were to take minimally damaging steps like shutting down national borders and how quick they were take devastating steps like imposing national shutdowns. Every rational person can see how keeping the NYC subway open while persecuting people minding their own business in a park is wicked and evil. America's policy is to combine all the worst elements of a herd immunity policy with all the worst elements of a quaruntine policy because America is a failed state. There's really no shame in violating policies that make no sense.

      But regarding Israel, DF is completely wrong. Our policy has been extremely successful and we are on the road to reopening with very few deaths. Charedim didn't screw this up, but they nearly did and there must be a reckoning for this.

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    4. Gavriel,

      "our policy has been extremely successful"

      Much to early to claim anything like that. A bit arrogant really.

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    5. Anonymous, if I understand your comment, I would hardly say that RNS is an untrained authority in Talmud. He may not have, in your eyes the same stature of the Gedolim, but he can, based on his many years of study in both Talmud and science, question their logic and reasoning when they apply their authority to a sphere of knowledge in which they are completely ignorant. This is sadly the legacy of the philosophy of Da'as Torah. And RNS does so in a fully respectful manner. Or do you believe that the concept of "papal infallibility" applies to the Gedolim? In other words do you think that the Gedolim can NEVER be criticized? Do you believe that they never make mistakes? Simple statistics connected to the infected in Israel and elsewhere, where Haredim live and follow the tenets of the Gedolim show that they indeed did get sick at higher rates than others who did not listen to the Gedolim.

      Gavriel, in a complex situation such as Corona where we are still in the dark about many things, there is no doubt that there will be many contradictions in policy and action. However it is better to err on the side of caution; so yes, I agree keeping the NYC subways open is stupid, but I do not consider telling people in the park to NOT congregate (obviously without verbal and physical abuse) to be "wicked and evil". The US is hardly a failed state. The US is a confused state because there is no consistency in policy about Corona. Israel is a much smaller country with easily controlled borders and a central government that has taken control of the situation, without the conflicting influence of other governmental levels. This is why Israel has been successful until now in combating this epidemic. May it stay that way. (And we still don't know how badly the Haredim will be affected by the Corona, as the epidemic is still ongoing) BUT we do know that it will be worse for them than other Israelis because they believe, arrogantly, that their knowledge trumps all).

      Shabbat shalom to you both.

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    6. DF - I agree with you about R. Shafran's writing pieces for the Forward or Haaretz. The Chareidi author Haim Walder related how he wrote a piece for Haaretz, and was inundated with hate mail - from the paper's "liberal" and "tolerant" readers.
      But for that matter, why do you yourself continue to send comments to this website, when you receive responses similar to ones that R. Shafran receives?

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    7. Left wing hypocrisy is real but in this case irrelevant. Don't fight the wrong battle. Right wing hypocrisy is the issue here, with life and survival being on the line.

      Also, what do you mean, only quarantine the "Boomers"? Sure, older ppl are the ones more at risk for getting very sick, but EVERYONE is at risk of actually catching the thing. We want to absolutely limit the transmission, not have it simmer in a healthier Petri dish only to bust out at a later date! And of course, there are plenty of cases of deaths of not-old people!

      (Anyway, on that issue, America cannot have differentiated decrees - anything that smacks of discrimination would get smacked down.)

      On what GM said:
      I'm not sure what it means to say that America is a "failed state." I mean, I live there, and it happens to be probably the best place to live on the whole planet -in general- with regard to things like personal security, economic opportunity, comfort, etc. Sure, there are problems, and there are people who are disadvantaged, but even they live WAY better than many other places on the globe.

      Even in comparison to Israel - in the US we complain about the DMV, but to my understanding, that pales in comparison to many Israeli civil service functions, requiring multiple trips to the post office, misrad hapnim, the local army base, the shuk, and possibly Knesset. But I'm not there, so maybe they no longer do "protektzia." (Or maybe the Earth will orbit the sun.)

      No shame in violating policies that YOU BELIEVE do not make sense? Really? Let's say you are right, and the policy is wrong. Is the Chillul HaShem worth it? Is the risk that maybe the policy is not wrong worth it? And of course, since the policy is more right than wrong, how do you honestly defend blatantly going against safety guidelines! Funeral after funeral is being held electronically, and all of a sudden 1000 people have to gather together - I assume this is what was being referred to?? (Sure, Di Blasio's response was dumb and possibly dangerous in its own way - it was an inciteful comment in a venue that wouldn't get to the people it was directed against, but that doesn't make the crowd at the funeral correct.)

      No argument on the fact that Israel's response was pretty good. Actually - that helps prove that universal quarantine, and not just for Boomers, was correct.

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    8. Skeptical Rationalist - I've grandfathered this blog to myself because I am the longest tenured commenter. I've been here since the beginning. Also as others have noted, there's a quite surprisingly huge amount of ignorance among the commenters [probably most learned ones leave] so I feel a kind of obligation to stay. Also of course I DO agree with many things RNS says, and certainly I learn things here as well.

      JD - you toss around the number "60,000 dead". Just yesterday I read it was 40,000. You just accept such claims uncritically? That's not how a rationalist thinks. How many of those were elderly people about to die anyway? You know no one ever dies of "old age", there is always an official reason, right? That's how we get numbers telling us that millions of people die from the flu every year. The real question is how many young people in the prime of their lives have died? There have been some, of course, but the question is how many, and in what areas. Once you determine that, if it can even be determined reliably, ask yourself was that small number concentrated largely in NY worth destroying the economy, causing lasting and possibly permanent damage to education, to the social fabric (including dating) of society, and our religious life in partcular? Not even close.

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    9. "The real question is how many young people in the prime of their lives have died?"

      Who made that 'the real question'? Eh?

      I daresay your 'question' is almost 'goyish' - the kind we hear in so called 'conservative' media or egotistical people. People died - the susceptible & elderly died - front line workers died - Jews died in the UK & US far above the national averages. More than 20% of the Jewish old age home in my home town of Amsterdam died to date. It is incontrovertible that far more people have died (and will continue to do so) than would 'ordinarily' have (even of old age or similar), the deaths have, based on current figures taken many years off of the lives of those who have passed (ie. a 70yr old who statistically may have expected to live to 80). The # of deaths are likely underestimates - not covering those who died in their homes for example.

      But your 'real question'....boggles the mind really.

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    10. JD,
      You say, "I would hardly say that RDNS is an untrained authority in Talmud."

      Are you kidding me? He is no authority at all. Just going to yeshiva may make one conversant in Torah discourse, but certainly not an authority of any kind. It takes much more than just being in yeshiva.

      "He may not have, in your eyes the same stature of the Gedolim". It is not an issue of stature or "how big". It's an issue of "kind". They are Gdolim in every respect. RDNS was arguing against the Gdolim when or before he was thirty; and even today he is not a Torah authority by any standard.

      "he can, based on his many years of study in both Talmud and science, question their logic and reasoning when they apply their authority to a sphere of knowledge in which they are completely ignorant." (#1) There is questioning as in asking, and there is questioning as in doubting validity. RDNS does the latter, and when he says that they have a right to their opinion and their ways he means that they have a right to be ignorant and live an ignorant way of life; this is clear from his writing. (#2) RDNS does not simply question their logic, he rebukes them. (#2) RDNS does not know what they do and do not know - not about the Risonim and not about science. (#3) In any case, there are a significant number of charedim who are versed in science and in Torah (some of them more so than RDNS) that do not agree with RDNS and do agree with the Gdolim.

      So anonymous's question on you still stands. And let's rephrase it for your comfort: Would you reverse the position and say that someone who is not a Torah authority should be dictating to a true and great Torah authority about what some tractate or passage actually says and means?

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    11. @DF:

      It is absolutely ludicrous to claim:
      History, and not far off history but near-term history, will prove the Chassidim right. Meanwhile, the chassidim perceived what a lot of people perceived ...that the doctors really dont know or understand the virus, taht their views keeps changing, that there is total disagreement in govt as to what is helpful and what isnt helpful, and the whole thing is one gigantic farce. Those chassidim ... They're looking better and better all the time."

      Ludicrous. Your post demonstrates neither knowledge of public policy, the reality of what is happening (DEATH) to so many charedim/chassidim, politics vs science, and the absolute ignorance of the chassidim in related to anything happening in the world. Asinine.

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    12. Much to early to claim anything like that. A bit arrogant really.

      Israel has one of the lowest per-capita fatality rates from COVID-19 in the world. Given that was the objective of all the restrictions, it has most definitely and objectively been a success.

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    13. (#3) In any case, there are a significant number of charedim who are versed in science and in Torah (some of them more so than RDNS) that do not agree with RDNS and do agree with the Gdolim.

      Name one person who is well-versed in science that disagrees with Rabbi Slifkin with respect to the "Gdolim"'s understanding of science.

      I have no doubt you can find Charedim that agree with the Gdolim. The question is, "are they right?"

      Delete
    14. Agree that Haredim look absolutely terrible in this matter.
      I'd like to circle back to Torah protecting in general: did it protect us over the past 2000 (ok, 3000) years from Temple destructions, Crusades, cossack uprisings, blood libels, assorted pogroms and massacres, topped off by the Holocaust? Noone studied Torah at all these past 2000 years? Based on our history, it sure looks like that.
      Finally, if Torah study protects, why did all the Polish yeshivas run to Vilna in an effort to escape the Nazi invasion? Why did the Mir feel the need to run east through the Soviet Union? Wasn't their intense Torah study enough to save them?

      Delete
    15. There are two policies that make sense:

      1) Crush the virus, then put in place measures to protect your country from importing it again until such time as there is a vaccine or effective treatment.

      2) Allow the virus to take its course, implementing the minimum of social distancing necessary to prevent the healthcare system from being overwhelmed and protecting vulnerable demographics as much as possible.

      For my part, I'm a supporter of (1), but it does have a fatal flaw, namely that if no vaccine or treatment is available within 2 years, you will almost certainly have to give up and it was all a waste of time.

      However, America and other western lolocracies are not capable of doing either (1) or (2), with the odd exception of Sweden. What they are, in fact, doing, in the name of 'saving lives', is spreading out the deaths so it doesn't look so bad. That's not worthless; it allows, for example, ofr people to buried with dignity rather than in mass pits, but it does not justify throwing 10s of millions of people out of work and confining everyone to live inside like trolls. Indeed, a policy that leaves the major disease vectors open so the important people in New York can do their important banking while sending armed police to arrest people in trailer parks for having a play-date (not a hypothetical) is utterly obscene. People who try, however inarticulately, however scientifically illiterately, to express the plain truth that it is all wicked and senseless and crazy are shouted down, if not censored outright.

      That, right there, is your failed state.

      Delete
    16. To Meir Moses (which includes the suddenly appeared "Chaim Stern", a bad choice of a fake name sock puppet) - you are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts. And you have no idea, whatsoever, what the facts are. How is it, for one example, that just five months ago tens of thousands of people were said to die each month from the flu, even with vaccines available, and yet no one thought it was a crisis. And where have all those flu deaths gone, by the way? All of a sudden, as if by magic, no one is dying from the plain old flu anymore. In fact, no one appears to be dying from anything at all anymore, including old age. Nope - they're all dying of the CoronaVirus. 90 year old unhealthy men that die - must be Coronavirus. Does wonders to build up statistics.

      You have shown yourself a rabid, almost obsessive hater of Trump (and Bibi) and the politics of CV19 are well known. Trump was flying high, and the economy was roaring. There is middle ground, of course, but take it to the bank, the more one hates Trump, the more one believes the Coronivirus is killing everyone in sight. (That includes RNS, who has frequently posted his disdain for DJT, though his hatred for him is - ahem - trumped by his hatred of charedim when he's in one of those moods.) Amazing, isn't it, how political opinion's influence one's view's on everything.

      Delete
    17. How is it, for one example, that just five months ago tens of thousands of people were said to die each month from the flu

      I understand you are probably thinking of worldwide deaths, but here’s a snippet from Medscape about flu deaths in the US covering roughly the same span of time as we’ve been dealing with COVID-19.

      For the 2019-2020 influenza season, 55,000 influenza-related hospitalizations had been reported as of early January 2020, and 2900 attributable deaths had been reported at that time, including 27 pediatric deaths.

      As one can see, the US has suffered at least an order of magnitude more deaths attributed to COVID-19 than it has of the flu.

      Delete
    18. Avi: Dr. Akiva Tatz is quite well-versed in science and was mevatel himself completely to a number of gedolim. The same is true for Dr. Meshulam Hart, the renowned doctor in Bnei Brak, and Rabbi Asher Weiss, who was extremely close and submissive to Rav Shteinman. Your attempt to portray yourself and Dr. Slifin as the intelligent ones, is like a used-car salesman pretending to be a closet intellectual.

      Delete
    19. Dr. Akiva Tatz is quite well-versed in science and was mevatel himself completely to a number of gedolim.

      Did he ever have to explain science to those Gedolim, and did those Gedolim accept what he told them? Being mevatel doesn't have to mean he accepted their understanding of reality when it contradicted what anyone can see for themselves. And if he did, in fact, do that, he was a moron, and I can't account for morons.

      I don't know why you can't understand that accepting a Rav's understanding of Halacha does not mean one accepts the Rav's understanding of anything else. Most of science has little to no application in Halacha. Just because you wouldn't expect RCK to host a forum on astrophysics doesn't mean he doesn't understand the Halachic parameters for determining Shkia. (Determining Shkia does not require accepting the heliocentric model. Discussing astrophysics pretty much does.)

      Delete
    20. Avi: Yes,I know for a fact that Akiva Tatz has discussed science on numerous occasions with Torah scholars who are recognized as gedolim. His esteem for them has not diminished as a result. The same is true for Rabbi Asher Weiss. I don't know who you are, but I doubt that the world honors you as less moronic than Rabbi Akiva Tatz, who is highly respected by numerous people who have encountered him, in all walks of life.
      The issue here on today's blog is really not related to science, nor the secular expertise of Gedolei Yisrael - rather, the dismissive, disparaging and demeaning manner in which you have expressed yourself here, portraying the entire Charedi world as foolish and their Talmidei Chachamim as worthy of ridicule. All this is really more of a comment on yourself, and whatever axe that you need to grind, or perhaps some personal family trauma that you must unload.

      Delete
    21. I'm a little confused as to what you are trying to prove from Rabbi Tatz. Yes, he was mevatel his daas to Gedolim who deny that there was an age of dinosaurs. What does that prove? There's no shortage of brilliant people who are "mevatel their daas" to unreasonable things/personalities due to some religious or personal drive. It doesn't mean that they are correct.

      Delete
    22. "Name one person who is well-versed in science that disagrees with Rabbi Slifkin with respect to the "Gdolim"'s understanding of science".
      My response was Dr. Akiva Tatz. As you know, but keep hidden from the public, there are many others as well...

      Delete
    23. Ah. It's true, it was not smart for him to say "Name one person who is well-versed in science that disagrees with Rabbi Slifkin with respect to the "Gdolim"'s understanding of science". You can always find people who will be mevatel themselves for other causes. The fact that Rabbi Tatz wants to be mevatel himself to Daas Torah is not the slightest indication that there is scientific basis for denying the existence of an Age of Dinosaurs.

      Delete
    24. RDNS,
      You wrote: "There's no shortage of brilliant people who are 'mevatel their daas' to unreasonable things/personalities due to some religious or personal drive. It doesn't mean that they are correct."

      That's right. Only you are right. Becuase if a medical Dr. or some other person highly educated in both science and Torah disagrees with you, it must be because they are unreasonable. They must have some other drive. Unlike you and modern rationalists who have no other drives like being porek ol yir'at Shamayim and Malchut Shamayim and worshipping kochi v'otzem yadi, because as long as we can attribute natural causes to everything and have everything under the domain of natural human intellect, we can depend on ourselves. No, you have no such drives.

      Delete
  9. Slifkin vs. Magid

    See Shaul Magid article today in Tablet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a trashy article. It says that charedim (unlike their critics) were following the Torah view that prayer protects you. Of course that's not the Torah view. The actual Torah view is that keeping mitzvot protects you. In recent weeks charedim decided en masse to reject the mitzvah of pikuach nefesh. The Torah view is that they should be punished not rewarded for this, and of course that's what happened.

      Delete
    2. It is indeed a trashy article, the type of patronizing garbage one can find anywhere. His central point can be summed up thus: "Yes, the chassidim are ignorant neanderthal buffoons, but they were following their outdated superstition of a religion, so us enlightened ones should view them favorably." What he should and could have said is that the Chassidim have seen that on one knows that they're talking about, and so they're not going to commit suicide for risk factors that are at best hazy and uncertain, and at worse, wildly exaggerated. As I type this, in fact, the Mayor of NYC, Deblasio, is doing a great job of proving beyond doubt how little govt should be trusted.

      Delete
  10. Rabbi Shafran is a polemicist/apologist for hareidi positions, no matter how unreasonable. A quick Google search of his articles shows that he's also argued that, for example, there is no clear link between metzitzah b'peh and fatal herpes - https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-the-case-for-oral-suction-1.5311296


    ReplyDelete
  11. Rabbi Slifkin, didn't you read all about these parameters in the parsha Ki teitzei

    "When you sit and learn Torah against your enemies"

    Oh, wait. That's not what it says, is it?

    ReplyDelete
  12. "Rabbi" Avi Shafran is like a Japanese dead-ender, sitting for decades on the beach of some remote Pacific island, attempting to record the movement of enemy ships, but confused and mystified by the contrails criss-crossing in the sky above his bald sunburned head.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Since you agree that the spiritual effects of Torah learning can't be quantified, how can you then argue that saying closing the yeshivos is more dangerous than coronovirus is ridiculous. How can you possibly know that according to your own logic?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It doesn't matter, as the point is that not even Charedim believe it.

      Delete
    2. Because the empirical effects can be quantified, you thickie.

      Delete
    3. I think the Rationalist argument is that the quantification is zero. The question is to those claim that it is nonzero - clearly they do not believe it is infinite, as they run away from physical danger. So to them is put the question, how much does it work?

      Delete
    4. Why I hate this blogMay 1, 2020 at 5:08 PM

      Rationalist "Judaism" as expressed on this blog has failed to quantify Rambam's infallible equation of Schar and Onesh for Jewish nation and individuals, and has failed to quantify the role of Bitachon, thus relegating it to non-existence in any practical sense, and until it does quantify these things, Rationalist "Judaism" might believe it is Judaism, but it isn't.

      Delete
    5. R' Slifkin should read "Why I hate this blog"'s comment. That people receive this impression is an example of a tone issue.

      Delete
    6. Teacher of charedim who trespass blogsMay 3, 2020 at 5:52 AM

      I have a much easier task for you, Aharon: Can you tell me why a Jewish man is incapable of learning Torah if the doors to his yeshiva are closed? Surely, he must have at least 1 sefer at home that he can learn.

      There is no reason that closing the yeshivot eliminates Torah learning from the Jewish people. None.

      So even if you believe irrationally that somehow the learning of Torah will be a medication that prevents coronavirus infections, (despite there being now Torah source to suggest this is the case), no one has impaired this "medicine" by closing down yeshivot.

      Delete
    7. What's rational about Judaism, again? Is it the washing of hands for "ruach raah"?

      Delete
    8. @Aharon:

      Your attempt at counter-argument is totally looney tunes. My friend is keeping a banana in his ear because he knows it keeps away the elephants. Oh, you mean the mechanism is so powerful and unmeasureable that it defies science or counting? Wow, it's basically unproveable that it is ineffective. Therefore it isn't subject to any criticism of lunacy at all.

      Seriously!? How did you get out of 10th grade? How do you function in life?

      Delete
    9. It's the 'three times' for ruach raah. And Rambam ft the three times out for exactly rational reasons. See Marc Shapiro's book on studies on maimonides...

      Delete
  14. Talmud Shabbos 119b

    אמר ריש לקיש משום רבי יהודה נשיאה אין העולם מתקיים אלא בשביל הבל תינוקות של בית רבן

    Translation

    Reish Lakish says in the name of Rabbi Yehuda Nesiah : The world is only sustained by the breath of young children (studying Torah).

    Context of this statement

    In a world without printed books and very few expensive manuscripts whose accuracy were questionable, Torah texts and values remained in existence due to the fact that children learned all of this material by heart.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How does a "rationalist" explain this?

      אמר ליה רב פפא לאביי: דידי ודידך מאי? - אמר ליה: אינו דומה הבל שיש בו חטא, להבל שאין בו חטא.

      Delete
    2. Easy. If you're learning with bad intentions (הבל שיש בו חטא), then your learning probably won't lead to Torah texts and values being preserved.

      Delete
    3. So Rav Papa and Abaye learned with bad intentions? And failed to preserve Torah texts and values??

      Delete
    4. I real rationalist doesn't have to explain it at all. The context is one Amora lecturing to another, and attempting to make a convincing argument to him. You cannot reasonably claim that one has better access to the ultimate answer to the argument, as they are discussing their optimal outcomes and trying to create drashic arguments to force their opinion. It cannot be proved either way, so it is irrelevant to just about anything out of that context.

      Delete
    5. So if I understand you correctly, a real rationalist would say that there is no halachic consequence to this discussion?

      Delete
    6. Even a non rationalist knows that most Aggadah gemaras dont have a halachic consequence.

      Delete
    7. But Rambam (Talmud Torah 2:1) says this:

      וכל עיר שאין בה תינוקות של בית רבן מחרימין את אנשי העיר עד שמושיבין מלמדי תינוקות, ואם לא הושיבו מחריבין את העיר, שאין העולם מתקיים אלא בהבל פיהם של תינוקות של בית רבן.

      Seems like a pretty serious halachic consequence...

      Delete
    8. A rationalist says it's polemics.
      A fool takes it literally.

      Delete
    9. The Rambam is also being polemical.

      Delete
    10. Dug yourself a hole there before you saw the quote, so you accuse Rambam of engaging in gratuitous polemics. Nice.

      Delete
    11. Polemics aren't gratuitous. They are a communication tool. I merely observed that the Ramnam was being polemical. Anyone with above 5th grade reading skills would notice that.

      Delete
    12. po·lem·ic
      /pəˈlemik/
      noun
      a strong verbal or written attack on someone or something.

      Delete
    13. its a shame you didn't scroll down to the second of the two meanings given by google, or you would have seen this one...

      the art or practice of engaging in controversial debate or dispute.

      Delete
    14. Why was this considered controversial, and who was the target of Rambam's polemical debate or dispute?

      Delete
  15. Personally, I can't believe that it took you so many words to say what we all know, that Shafran is dishonest.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He is not.
      He just honestly does not believe what he says.
      And what does one not do for Parnosso?
      Especially in those difficult times...

      Delete
  16. Your argument that charedim don't believe that Torah protects them because you see that they also take physical precautions is the equivalent of saying that Jews who work dont really believe that their parnassa comes from Hashem because if they did they wouldn't work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The claim that "Torah protects" only comes out when someone is trying to make Charedim do something they don't want to do. (Such as enlist in the IDF, or follow rules meant to save lives.) That makes the claim ring just a little hollow.

      Delete
    2. Of course parnassa comes from Hashem but not by a nes. Tefila minus hishtadlus is a big fat efes.

      Delete
    3. The Rambam himself says in Mishneh Torah (Hilchos Avodas Kochavim 11:12) that "Torah protects" (I'd be surprised that someone hasn't quoted this yet):

      A person who whispers an incantation over a wound and then recites a verse from the Torah, who recites a verse over a child so that he will not become scared, or who places a Torah scroll or tefillin over a baby so that it will sleep, is considered to be a soothsayer or one who cast spells. Furthermore, such people are included among those who deny the Torah, because they relate to the words of Torah as if they are cures for the body, when, in fact, they are cures for the soul, as [Proverbs 3:22] states: "And they shall be life for your soul."

      It is, however, permitted for a healthy person to read verses [from the Bible] or chapters from Psalms so that the merit of reading them will protect him and save him from difficulties and injury.


      At the same time, it's obvious that עולם כמנהגו נוהג: A person driving a car has to keep his eyes on the road. Taking his eyes off of the road in order to read out of a sefer tehillim won't ensure that he doesn't get into an accident!

      Delete
    4. כל המשים על לבו שיעסק בתורה ולא יעשה מלאכה ויתפרנס מן הצדקה הרי זה חלל את השם ובזה את התורה וכבה מאור הדת וגרם רעה לעצמו ונטל חייו מן העולם הבא. לפי שאסור להנות מדברי תורה בעולם הזה. אמרו חכמים (משנה אבות ד ה) "כל הנהנה מדברי תורה נטל חייו מן העולם". ועוד צוו ואמרו (משנה אבות ד ה) "אל תעשם עטרה להתגדל בהן ולא קרדם לחפר בהן". ועוד צוו ואמרו (משנה אבות א י) "אהב את המלאכה ושנא את הרבנות", (משנה אבות ב ב) "וכל תורה שאין עמה מלאכה סופה בטלה וגוררת עון". וסוף אדם זה שיהא מלסטם את הבריות:

      This is the real issue. While there are heterim that allow one to take money to study to be a Rav or a Shochet or whatever, all who choose to learn in kollel as an open-ended matter are sinners. Now, one can pull out the magic tinkok shenishba get out of jail free card or whatever to excuse individual Charedim, but, as a system, there is absolutely no doubt whatsoever that kollels incur divine displeasure. Charedi rabbanim who publicly instruct people to join kollelim are in the same category as Jerovam ben Nevat.

      We may, in fact, reasonably surmise that the closing of the kollels brought about divine mercy and was responsible for the success of out national efforts to control the virus. By the same token, we must fear that as these houses of iniquity are reopened, G-d may once again turn his hand against us. (The same goes for minyanim too. Praying without kavanah is an extraordinarily serious aveirah and there is no doubt that the institutionalized performance of this sin bfarhesya is responsible for many of our woes as a nation).*

      * If you have a nusah that takes 90 minutes to say properly and only give people 35 minutes, you are effectively forcing them to pray without kavanah. It is impossible to overestimate the gravity of the offence when crowds of people profane the name of Hashem by "saying" Aleinu in 30 seconds as they rush to take of their tallis.

      Delete
    5. Yehudah P: Possibly nobody has quoted it because of the first paragraph you quoted! How the use of Torah as a magic balm is AGAINST true Torah values. As you said: it's obvious that natural order is basic.

      Delete
    6. Gavriel M: It is good that you have cited an often misconstrued Rambam in Hil TT 3:10. What it actually says is that one who commits to learning Torah IN ORDER to make money is guilty of using the Torah as a tool for personal profit. Despite what they write in Haaretz, there are very few individuals who enter Kollel for that reason.

      Delete
    7. @Walter

      That's idiotic.

      Delete
    8. @Yosef R.:"How the use of Torah as a magic balm is AGAINST true Torah values. As you said: it's obvious that natural order is basic."
      I don't understand what you're trying to say. Let me rephrase the Rambam:
      Muttering words of Torah as an incantation is against Torah values. But the merit of reading the words of Torah--as the mitzvah of learning Torah--may act to protect him from difficulties and injury.

      Also, there is a statement in Gemara Sotah (20a) where Ben Azzai says that a man should teach his daughter Torah. Why? If she should have to go through the ordeal of the מי סוטה, the merit of learning Torah may save her from an instant death:
      שאם תשתה, תדע שהזכות תולה לה

      Delete
    9. The Kesef Mishneh on that Rambam distinguishes between using Torah with the intention of making a sick person well (which is wrong to do), as opposed to the merit of learning Torah protecting a person who is healthy from harm (which is permitted).

      Delete
  17. Rabbi Shafran is right and so are the gedolim. Yoshiyahu the king was also right but died in battle for being right. They are all right in theory. In practice no one learns today that makes them all wrong.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @newcomer:
      Thanks for that contribution. You've convinced me. I was a "show me" kind of person for a long time, and someone who wanted to use my brain to analyze the data, and someone who had healthy skepticism whenever I read the horoscope in the newspaper, but now I see that it's completely unnecessary.

      Are you, in fact, "Rabbi" Newcomer?

      Delete
    2. I dont understand your post. Maybe someone can explain it to me.

      Delete
    3. Um, Yoshiyahu died in battle for being WRONG. He misunderstood the nevuah of not having a sword raised in the Land. He then pulled the ironic move of trying to use a sword to prevent it. Didn't Yirmiyahu tell him to not object?

      Perhaps this is the first documented case of interpreting a poetic/moral statement (that there will be no sword which really means that Bnai Yisrael would not have war) as a literal one (that there will be no actual army, even one just passing through). I guess Yirmiyahu was a rationalist.

      (Actually, he kinda was.)

      Delete
    4. That is not how I understand why he died. He was right in theory but not in practice.

      Delete
  18. Evacuating an area doesn't mean that what was evacuated did not contribute to overall defense. It means that a better contribution can be effected from a different location. Consider for example, the President of the United States and the Joint Chiefs of Staff meeting during a time of war. I think you would agree that they are contributing to protection of the country (despite not physically wielding weapons). Yet if there was a threat to the White House and they evacuated to the bunker, I don't think you would say that this shows that they don't believe that they contribute to protection. It shows that their work doesn't save them from an imminent attack but it contributes to the overall protection of the country.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not sure I get your argument. Don't Charedim argue that their Torah study protects the place(s) in which they find themselves? If so, there ought not be a single instance when they genuinely feel the need to evacuate that location. After all, their uniquely important Torah study protects that place. How can you compare that cosmic force to the sensible actions of a White House staff meeting? They're not studying Torah.

      Delete
    2. Agree with zfriend. The contribution the Joint Chiefs have is their decision making, not their physical presence. They could be on the Moon but as long there is rapid communication, there is no difference from being in DC.

      Delete
    3. @zfriend No, I think Charedim believe that Torah study provides general protection, not that it provides an impenetrable shield over the area in which they are studying.

      Delete
    4. @Yosef That's the point. Not all roles require being on the front lines.

      Delete
  19. All you rationalists out there please explain these gemaros, 1. berachos 5. אמר ריש לקיש כל העוסק בתורה יסורים בדילים הימנו שנאמר ובני רשף יגביהו עוף ואין עוף אלא תורה שנאמר התעיף עיניך בו ואיננו ואין רשף אלא יסורים שנאמר מזי רעב ולחומי רשף אמר ליה ר יוחנן זו אפילו תינוקות של בית רבן יודעים אותו שנאמר ויאמר אם שמוע תשמע לקול ה אלקיך והישר בעיניו תעשה והאזנת למצותיו ושמרת כל חוקיו כל המחלה אשר שמתי במצרים לא אשים עליך כי אני ה רופאך.

    2.eruvin 52. אמר רבי יהושע בן לוי וכו' חש בראשו יעסוק בתורה שנאמר לויתן חן הם לראשיך חש בגרונו יעסוק בתורה שנאמר וענקים לגרגרותיך. חש במעין יעסוק בתורה שנאמר רפואת תהי לשרך. חש בעצמותיו יעסוק בתורה שנאמר ושקוי לעצמותיך. חש בכל גופו יעסוק בתורה שנאמר ולכל בשר מרפא.

    If you could please give an explanation other than that chazal based themselves on the science of their times I would greatly appreciate it. That one is almost as overused as charedim saying that Torah protects.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What does science of the time have to do with it.
      In any event those statements are empirically false. So I guess so called rationalists would attribute some different clever meaning to them, and everyone else would pretend to take them at face value.

      Delete
    2. Any pain or problem that you get in life is for a reason. If you want to discover what עבירה you are doing which causes that problem, you need to be עוסק בתורה.

      Delete
    3. I would love to take credit for this explanation, however it is from R Simcha Bunim ...

      Delete
    4. The answer is quite simple. What today is called learning isnt real learning. The gemoro talks about real learning.

      Delete
  20. Reish Lakish and Reb Yochanan had an 'interesting' relationship. You can trace this throughout shaas, as each remains true to their personal dogma; here the redactor of shaas stays true to form as biblical verses are used (and sometimes abused) as they are called as 'witnesses' to support an opinion. This is but one example of their sparring and one-upmanship in their interactions. I have to accept this as literal truth as much as any other Greek symposia discussion.

    Reb YbL didn't have anything to numb the pain when he went to the medical man, so he suggested some distractions.

    ReplyDelete
  21. “Some of them might believe that they believe it, but none of them really believe it.”

    Evolutionists believe that mass extinction somehow stimulates evolution, in the past consistently causing life to leap forward to more advanced forms. For example, an asteroid strike wiped out the dinosaurs which cleared the way for man to evolve.

    https://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/massextinct_04

    So why don’t evolutionists encourage global warming or nuclear war? Why don’t evolutionists at least suggest this as a possible benefit for example saying “Well it’s too bad that we will have no direct descendants, however on the bright side this may pave the way for super intelligent turtles who will conquer the galaxy.”

    I think the answer is obvious.

    Some evolutionists might believe that they believe in evolutions, but none of them really believe it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Huh?
      Sounds more to me like evolutionists believed evolution happened and they don't want to be the victims of a catastrophe that evolves humanity out of existence. How are those in any way contradictory?

      Congrats on the very creative new straw man argument, though.

      Delete

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The Noah's Ark Challenge

Question: Which home of Biblical creatures measures 100 cubits in length, 50 cubits in width and 30 cubits in height? The most common wrong ...