Sunday, April 25, 2021

Is it Permissible to Punch a Rabbi in the Face?

Is it permissible to punch a rabbi - a senior rabbi in a prestigious yeshivah - in the face?

That's the kind of thing that is going on in the Holy War at Ponevezh Yeshivah these days, between followers of Rav Kahaneman's son and followers of his son-in-law. It's actually just the latest chapter in a long-running physical battle between different factions in the Litvishe charedi world. No doubt the rabbis and yeshivah students involved in such violence have all kinds of technical pilpulim as to why their actions are not only permissible but even a mitzvah. 

Still, for the rest of us, including the vast majority of charedi society, such actions are far beyond the pale. Even to ask the question "Is it permissible to punch a Rabbi in the face?" is horrendously offensive.

And yet I just came across a question that is no less problematic. It was the title of an article in a mainstream Torah journal put out by Machon Aliya, a prominent charedi organization for training people to work in various careers involving practical halacha - an organization with several branches and thousands of graduates.

"Is It Permissible To Steal From The State?" That is the title of one of the articles in this journal. And the article spends three pages engaging in pilpulei halacha regarding this question and its various applications. The good news is that the article concludes that due to the preponderance of opinions against it, it's best not to. The bad news is that the article not only raises it as a serious question, but presents numerous arguments to legitimize it, and at no point whatsoever does it stress the fundamental issue of v'asisa hayashar v'hatov, of ehrlechkeit, of the basic moral norm of being a law-abiding citizen. And this in a journal of organization dedicated to practical halacha!

The article begins by noting that according to most (charedi) halachic authorities, the principle of dina d'malchusa dina does not apply in Israel, since it is an anti-Torah government. Still, it notes that since there are those who say otherwise, there are grounds to be stringent. The next paragraph adds a story about how hishtadlus does not obligate one to engage in dishonesty. A nice point, but still missing the wood for the trees.

Then there are several paragraphs of intricate discussion about getting on the bus without paying, and about there are additional grounds to permit an adult to pay with a children's pass, and about how stealing bags from a supermarket might be permissible because (in Israel) the money for bags goes to the Environmental Protection Ministry, etc., etc.

The article then gives a different reason why stealing from the state might be problematic. No, again, it's not because it's fundamentally immoral. This one - from the famous Rav Yitzchak Zilberstein - is that if the state has less money, they are going to raise taxes, which itself is theft, and one is thereby causing the state to engage in theft! If you didn't grasp how shocking that is, read it again.

The author proceeds to note that it's not clear that such an argument would apply on an individual level, since the state will not raise taxes due to an individual taking money from it. Ah, so it won't cause the state to engage in theft, so you can engage in theft!

The article notes that based on this line of thought regarding what the state does with people's money, others argue that it is actually a mitzvah to steal from the state, since one is preventing them from using the money for anti-halachic purposes! But, the author responds, this is a poor argument - because the state might well recover its losses by cutting budgets to religious institutions rather than stopping anti-halachic programs.

Then comes perhaps the most remarkably revealing section. The article notes that according to several views, the state is not entitled al pi halacha to claim taxes, and one is therefore entitled to steal from the government to recover the taxes that were illegitimately taken. However, one is not entitled to steal back more than was originally stolen. And since, states the author, charedim receive far more in government benefits than they pay in taxes, they therefore cannot steal anything additional!

The author notes parenthetically that there are those who argue that charedim are not living off the state, but observes (correctly) that such arguments do not withstand scrutiny!

Following this extraordinary reason as to why charedim should not steal tax money back from the government (which apparently would not apply to others!), the article notes that this argument wouldn't apply to dodging paying taxes in the first place.

And so on, and so on. The article continues to discuss various other points, such as the problem with charedi MKs voting in favor of any taxes, since all taxes levied by the State of Israel are illegitimate. Until finally the article wraps up, noting briefly that since many Poskim adamantly prohibit stealing from the state, one should not rely on the minority opinions who permit it.

It's horrifying that such an article could appear anywhere. And it's appalling beyond belief that it appears in a journal put out by a prominent organization training thousands of people for positions in practical halachah. And it's simply mind-boggling that such disparagement for the state is written by someone who acknowledges that the charedi community lives off the state!

More than anything else I've seen, this perfectly encapsulates the fundamental problem with the charedi world. It's an utterly myopic approach to Torah, failing to internalize it as Toras Chaim, not even imagining how to apply it to a Jewish state with a growing religious minority. No wonder some of its members in its most prestigious yeshivah end up punching rabbis in the face.


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124 comments:

  1. " they are going to raise taxes, which itself is theft"

    Where did this "torah" come from, Ayn Rand?

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    1. I have to look closer at the article but Rav Herschel Schachter frequently presents in the name of Rav Soloveitchik an argument why tax evasion in a country like the US is not gezel akum but stealing from Jews (both are of course forbidden but one may be more forbidden). If tax evaders lead government to raise taxes on everyone, then the evader isn’t robbing the non-Jewish government but also all the Jewish citizens. It isn’t that taxes are inherently theft so much as one person cheating and someone else paying for it is theft.

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    2. Iirc he says that it’s like a large partnership and you’re stealing from all the partners
      Kt

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    3. I wish! These people are "libertarians" only if it benefits them.

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    4. Did they forget about Thou shalt not steal?

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  2. That article reminds me of the joke that premarital sex is forbidden because it might lead to mixed dancing.

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  3. "If you didn't grasp how shocking that is, read it again."
    The implication is that we must do everything in our power to prevent such theft via tax hikes. We must make sure to do what we can to reduce gov't expenditures which are the root cause of illegitimate gov't theft. Welfare, subsidies & other other handouts are the polluted by-products of theft. The lifestyle that requires & demands such evil funds must end now! Lapid & Lieberman have now been kashered & Gafni/Litzman can join them in a mehadrin theft free coalition!

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  4. I feel objectively more strongly about the Jewish 'maves l'Arabiyim' folk marching with violent intent to Shaar Shechem to start another Intifada than an article whose conclusion is correct and whose only fault is being couched in terms of the universal Halachic system rather than subjective conceptions of right and wrong.

    If you really care about personal conceptions of right and wrong why in the parsha that was just read was there a death penalty for gay men who were born that way? Justify that, Rabbi Dr Toras Chaim!

    'Ehrlichkeit' is a notion that rich Jews with the luxury of a choice can use to put down poor Jews who have to choose between the state and putting food on the table for their family.

    I'll believe your moral compass isn't naked sectarianism when you apply it equally to the violent racists and insurrectionists, to the homophobes and gay bashers, from your own side.

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    1. "Born that way". "Homophobes." It's impossible to reason with someone who just mouths the party line that's been handed to him.

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    2. The immutability of sexual orientation is an empirical fact. They're not doing it for an easy life, Nachum - your lot take care of that. They were born that way, whatever late bronze age tribal traditions you may have heard read to the contrary. Man evolved from ape, the world is billions of years old, and gay men really are immutably gay.

      I'm afraid your edgelord friends in America have moved on from hating gays, and are now, without a trace of irony, attacking trans people for erasing gay identities. Kahanism really is anachronistic, even in Trump's GOP.

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    3. Interesting that I never heard of this parsha that puts men to death for merely being born with certain inclinations.

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    4. I think his question is very appropriate for this blog that deals with rationalism just not this post. And I doubt RNS will deal with the more obvious issues of a rationalist Torah so he sneaked the question in here

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    5. Wow, you really don't like me, Hat. I can't imagine why. I don't even know your name. Open your heart to love, and I'll engage with you.

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    6. Nachum, it's really very simple. From his perspective everything revolves around class warfare, and he sees you as a member of a different class.

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    7. It's even simpler, Reb Dave. Gay men are born that way.

      Now, you could make a theological argument that gay men should remain celibate. Very specifically, you could. But The learned Rabbi Dr could not. He regards as spurious the argument that God put fossils in rocks which resemble an ancient world but which actually was created 5,781 years ago. I would tend to agree with the Rabbi Dr that the theory is not intellectually satisfying. It seems odd to create non-existent dinosaurs. And it seems intellectually odd to me to create gay men and ban them from intimate relationships.

      Nachum, when religious Jews don't face retribution and discrimination for their political beliefs, I will disclose my identity. Your beliefs about gay men are a matter of public record, on Times of Israel facebook comment sections.

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    8. @The Hat
      It doesn't seem so strange to me. Are we not using fossilized oil all the time?
      And are there not people attracted to all types of things the Torah prohibits? (non-kosher food, stealing, married women, and so on...)

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    9. @The Hat
      And regarding your first commentary, you and RNS are wrong to put this in terms of ehrlichkeit. This is plain theft, however much sympathy we have for poor jews (note that taxes in Israel are not so high that you can't put bread on the table when you've paid them).
      That being said, homophobia and gay bashing really are a big problem of our communities, but I don't recall RDNS saying otherwise. To the opposite he defended here chief rabbi Efraim Mirvis in the Siyum Hashas controversy.

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    10. I think we all understand the difference between being born into starvation; and being born into a world in which certain food is kosher and certain food is not. Intimate relationships aren't exactly analogous to the relationship with food, but there are similarities. It's a value judgement as to whether that disconnect between the biological body and the Torah is sufficiently odd so as to cause a crisis of faith (or less dramatically, in my own case, a form refusal to be bound by laws I know are immoral, notwithstanding that where human dignity of others is not in question, I keep Halacha and regards it as binding).

      I do not understand your point about oil. Rabbi Dr Slifkin, you and I will seem to agree that the presence of such oil indicates that the world is very much older than the traditional model.

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    11. @Jew Well. I've just understood what you meant about the oil. It's true that oil is useful and valuable. Fossils of bones, shells, imprints in rocks, and in fact the strata of the rocks themselves serve no obvious useful purpose.

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    12. @The Hat, there are lots of things (most things?) on this planet that serve no useful or obvious purpose. Kal v'chomer other planets and stars. Is that proof against Creation? Of course not, we don't know the purpose of everything or even most things. So there is no greater question from fossils, imprints, strata, more than anything else.

      BTW, I believe some fossils and bones are actually very valuable, in the same way gold, silver and diamonds are.

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    13. In fact rather than defending Rabbi Mervis' position on homosexuality Rabbi Slifkin used it as a rhetorical device to attack Charedim with the charge of hypocrisy (having regard to the presence of Rabbi Chaim Halpern at an Agguda siyum dais.) Rabbi Halpern was arrested but never prosecuted for sexual abuse).

      The argument essentially treated sexual abuse as equivalent to homosexuality.

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    14. Everyone believes planets are planets. Not everyone believes fossils are fossils. Some posit that fossils that look like they are millions of years old are actually 5,781 years old. The natural question is why would something so odd be created? Bishloma oil, as it is useful. But why create fossils etch aren't. And the same with a gay man, with same drive to loving intimate relationships as everyone else. Why create something that isn't useful?

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    15. So you are just asking, what is the purpose of fossils looking like they are millions of years old? I can ask, what is the purpose of that star millions of light years away? Isn't it odd that it was created? The point is, it's impossible for us to know how Hashem should or should have not created things. It's impossible for us to know the purpose of almost anything in the universe. So asking "why did Hashem make fossils that look old?" assumes we can think of a better Creation that would include (A) no fossils or (B) fossils that don't look old. But assuming we can think of a better creation is erroneous.

      Also, keep in mind that according to science, almost all geological features look old. Continents, oceans, mountains, the crust of the earth itself, all of these supposedly formed over millions of years. In a young-looking earth, these wouldn't exist, or they would look completely different. So again, are we wiser than Hashem that we can ask "why didn't You make a completely different Creation?" or "I understand why You made everything else look old, but at least don't create fossils, they seem to have no purpose".

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    16. @Happy
      I don't usually agree with you on this blog, but here you made my point probably better than I would have.
      @The Hat
      Regarding Chief Rabbi Mirvis and Rabbi Halpern, the point was to show the hypocrisy of those chareidi leaders who should at least treat those two things as equals. But he himself made it clear he sees no problem with what Rabbi Mirvis wrote and said.
      As for the value judgement, I want to tell you that I really and totally respect your viewpoint, and especially the fact that it doesn't make you abandon halakha altogether. But personnally I think that God did not create us equal in regard to sin any more than in most other regards, because otherwise the notion of sin would have been pointless, but that divine justice is designed accordingly. We all face hardships and challenges, and yes some more than others, but for a believer, it is not without purpose.

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    17. Ha. A guy who tracks down various comments I've made and not-so-subtly threatens to expose me over them moans that *he's* the one at risk for ostracism.

      Truly it has been said that if the Left didn't have double standards, they'd have no standards at all.

      Oh, and I'm starting to catch on who you are. You should change your tag from headgear to neckwear.

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    18. Nachum, nothing I've done could be reasonably construed as an effort to dox you or threaten you, subtly or otherwise. I didn't search you out - I just have a receptive memory, and there aren't that many people with antagonistic anachronistic views on gay people named Nachum.

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    19. Ah, I think I get what the problem is here. I apologize for personally offending you with my horribly anachronistic views.

      (Although you should know that some people take that as a compliment. Me, for example. God, for another.)

      I warn you, don't try to track down other places I've posted, or you'll probably get really offended.

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    20. My own view is that you should be free to offend me, but not to *grossly* offend an *objective* observer, which is the current law in England and Scotland. I am neither a free speech nor a safe spaces fundamentalist in that regards.

      You haven't posted anything grossly offensive about gay people and I think you should be free to continue. By way of example of how this law operates, someone who sings a Holocaust denial song and posts it on YouTube could expect a suspended sentence of a few weeks. I'm not personally offended by anything you wrote about gay people, or about Palestinians, but in respect of genocidal musings on the the latter case you have probably commited a criminal act under the Communications Act of posting grossly offensive content were it not for lack of jurisdiction.

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    21. This may come as a shock to you, but I don't live in Great Britain. And if that's the law there, thank God for that, because I am- as any decent, freedom-loving person should be- what you snidely call a "free speech fundamentalist." I think people should be able to post Holocaust denial songs to their heart's content, and that nothing good is accomplished by banning them- quite the opposite, in fact- to boot. (You know who got locked up for such crimes regularly? The actual Nazis, in the 1920's.) That you are not is telling.

      Anyway, I'm feeling very uncharitable to you and your allies these days, considering that they're trying to destroy my alma mater, the oldest yeshiva in America, one way or another.

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    22. If you really care about personal conceptions of right and wrong why in the parsha that was just read was there a death penalty for gay men who were born that way? Justify that, Rabbi Dr Toras Chaim!

      ירדה תורה לסוף דעתם

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  5. Your criticism may be correct in general, but I believe this particular publication is not the right address for your frustration.
    The mechon under discussion is by its very nature much less "extreme" than much of the old-school Charedi public, and should probably be associated with some form of "charedim chadashim."
    I believe that the entire purpose of this article was to combat the attitude that they perceive in the hard-core Haredi community. Since they are trying to have that effect, they cannot simply say, "those rabbis who permit it are wrong." No one would listen to them. They therefore "concede" the point that there are rabbis who permit it, but urge people to be concerned for the "stringent" opinion, as well as the other points they make. They are trying to effect change from within the classical haredi mindset.

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    1. To me, the fact that this goal seems to only be attainable in this disgraceful manner, is already a reason for frustration. We would like to think of orthodox jews (chareidi or not) as upright people, who don't need crooked casuistics to not dodge taxes.
      And besides, the idea that דינא דמלכותא doesn't apply is ridiculous, and I don't care which poskim wrote it. No one ever said them allegedly being anti-Torah changes anything. This is just plain theft, and those who do it are just demonstrating what the mishna says: איש את רעהו חיים בלעו

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  6. Is the first picture from a video available online ?

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  7. What's your complaint here? The article is engaging in a halachic discussion. Since there are some poskim who permit, obviously, saying "it's immoral, etc" will not help. You may think you know better than those poskim, but that's just ridiculous.

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    1. @happy, here we go again. RNS's point as i understand it: rabonim are supposed to be the moral and halachich/talmudic leaders. The Charedi world (for reasons constantly discussed on this blog) is half baked. We get brilliant talmudists without any musag of derech eretz and erlichket. Halacha is not a moral guide by definition it needs to be applied in conjunction with common sense of which the Charedi world has none.

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    2. It's the shocking and outrageous hava amina in the first place

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    3. Did you look into those poskim and see their halachic reasoning, before deciding it's a shocking and outrageous hava amina (or maskana, in their case)? Why glorify ignorance of Torah, as opposed to knowledge of Torah?

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    4. People getting worked up like they've never heard of a counter-intuitive halacha before

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    5. Is there any reason to think that their halachic reasoning has bearing on the amorality of it?

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    6. Happy, ever heard of נבל ברשות התורה ?

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    7. "Happy, ever heard of נבל ברשות התורה ?"

      ??? That means we can't have a halachic discussion about whether something is muttar or assur?!

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    8. Halacha explicitly places the value of male life above female. It explicitly permits slavery. It permits paedophilia. Pre marital rape is a civil matter, unless it is embarrassing to a high status Cohen father, in which case it is a capital offence executed with Games of Thrones-esque cruelty. Consent is not required to marry off minors. Marital rape is merely a matter of poor etiquette. Stealing from Gentiles is also not actionable.

      Don't get precious with your novol birshus hatorah about a hava amina when so many maskonos in the Halachic system offend natural justice and notions of universal human dignity.

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    9. There is no such thing, @RDNS. The Ramban says it would have been ברשות, but then the Torah forbade such appalling behavior under the command of קדושים תהיו. Thus, one is simply a נבל שלא ברשות התורה despite what they believe...

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    10. Happy that's like saying why not discuss whether there's a problem of pnuyos going to the mikvah (luyei tzur there isn't a clear issur). It's all fine when the discussion is purely academic, but it certainly should not be lemaaseh. The same here: a discussion in learning about the issur (if there is one) is fine. But it should be clear that the discussion is not lemaaseh.

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    11. @happy, you grasp at straws to defend the indefensible. "Counter intuitive halacha"??? This isn't a theoretical pilpul for the sake of tickleing their brain. This is an honest reflection of an unapologetic worldview.

      The Charedi apologists at it once again.

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    12. Dave, why shouldn't there be a halachic discussion of the possible issue of a pnuya?! Just because YOU already decided it's assur, so it can't be discussed? And in the end, the article said it is lemaaseh assur, so what's the problem?

      BM, sorry, the Torah isn't for the sake of "tickling the brain". And the Torah needs no defense or apologetics. You claim to have gone to yeshiva, yet say such ignorant things.

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    13. The concept of נבל ברשות התורה is a much distorted part of Torah. It does not mean that a person can have some other yardstick for right and wrong, other than the Torah. Subjective feelings of morality are not included in נבל ברשות התורה. The Ramban explains his point. He means don't be a fresser, just because the food is Kosher. Do not lead a life of hedonism. Cheating on taxes may be wrong, but it is not hedonism.

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    14. @Dave actually, I'm pretty sure your example is a question that comes up lemaaseh.

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    15. Wow, Zichron, do you realize that you just confirmed the exact problem that this post was about? For you, hedonism is a bad value, but dishonesty isn't!

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    16. @RDNS
      The concept of נבל ברשות התורה is much more in line with a mystical conception of judaism, because the kabbalists wanted to forbid many things allowed by traditional halakhah. That's why it's only found in the Ramban.
      The Rambam, however, wrote that קדושה is attained by restraint, and it follows that the מצוה of קדושים תהיו prohibits overindulging. And I think here the traditional Rishonim would agree with him to say there are only permissible and forbidden acts, just that some depend on context and some are absolute.

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    17. I have no idea how you managed to misconstrue my point like that.
      Dishonesty is wrong, but it is not adultery. Neither is it idol worship. It is just dishonest. It is not the idea of drinking tea cold, as distasteful as that may be.
      It is also not נבל ברשות התורה, because it just isn't.

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    18. ZD not sure if I agree with your point above, but what you just said now will fall on deaf ears. According to rationalists, one who is mechallel Shabbos, but has a job, is better than one who keeps Shabbos, but learns in kollel. Since the former contributes to society. It's a totally different way of thinking.

      So kal v'chomer, dishonesty is worse than idolatry and adultery. It's not even naval ber'shus haTorah. It's not even naval shelo be'rshus HaTorah! It's against ethics, which is much worse than any aveira in the Torah!

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    19. Lol. B"h we have posters like happy who seem to be a less advanced version of Dovid kornreich. Suck post will lead people to see the critiques which will ultimately make room for true answers/understanding as it did me.

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    20. "Dishonesty is wrong, but it is not adultery. Neither is it idol worship. It is just dishonest."

      ZD Sure your not an idiot? You talk as though stealing isn't prohibited in the Ten Statements. It is.

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    21. It is not an issue of worse and better. It is just different.

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    22. ***********************************April 27, 2021 at 4:28 PM

      @the Hat

      "Pre marital rape is a civil matter, unless it is embarrassing to a high status Cohen father, in which case it is a capital offence "

      I don't think that is correct. Pre marital rape, as in pre-erusin, is always a civil matter, even for a bas cohen. You are confusing pre-erusin with between eirusin and kiddushin.

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    23. Fair point, I conflated for added rhetorical blast which was bad practice.

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    24. @Hat, רמב"ם הל' סנהדרין טו,יג [יא] כל הנשרפין, עשרה; ואלו הן--בת כוהן שזינת תחת בעלה....

      Shmuel, רמב"ם הל' גניבה ט,א
      כל הגונב נפש אדם עובר בלא תעשה שנאמר לא תגנוב. פסוק זה
      האמור בעשרת הדברים היא אזהרה לגונב נפשות....

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    25. Happy,
      I never said it shouldn't be discussed, I said it shouldn't be discussed lemaaseh. If you think I'm wrong, ask your local yeshivishe RY and ask them if that's a discussion for lemaaseh and tell me his (calm) response

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    26. Dave, not sure what you mean. Gemara, SA, and poskim are full of such discussions lemaaseh. Of course my local rosh yeshiva would have no problem discussing the issur/heter of a pnuya lemaaseh, it's Torah like anything else.

      What you seem to be saying is that other people shouldn't discuss certain halachos, simply because YOU have already concluded one way or the other, even if they agree with your conclusion! Which is very strange.

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  8. Ok Natan,
    Now what? You've been posting about the
    problems in and with chareidi society for quite some time.

    Is your lifestyle perhaps better, more moral? Every group has their unique issues and problems.

    You want to fix the problems? You have the wrong audience here. You are an excellent writer, write about these issues in a respectful way addressing the chareidim themselves. Publish it under a pen name and distribute it to your target audience - have the cost of the publication sponsored if you will.

    However, this platform however entertaining is not for real change!

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    1. Agreed. Seems more therapeutic than productive activism. I catch myself doing this too.

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    2. How do you know he doesn't do it?

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  9. Well so much for the Mosiach coming anytime soon Even if he did, various groups would try and control him to their advantage. And you people really believe all Jews will be united. Ha, don't be silly. Insofar as cheating, stealing, etc from the a govt...well it depends on what govt you are talking about. If it is a govt that is corrupt and terrorizes its own people and others like in Africa, South and Central America then yes. If it is corrupt, like here in good old Israel, then it is a mixed answer. As Israel is becoming like the above mentioned portions of the world. A govt who fails to act in favor of its citizens and or goes against the freedom of those people is an immoral one and should be changed

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  10. A few years ago I was walking to a Shalom Zakhor at a friend's home that bordered the main street neighboring a haredi neighborhood. As I got to that street a car was driving perpendicular to that street and all of a sudden I heard the shouts of young children scouting from the top of a few of the buildings screaming "Shabbes, Shabbes!!!" and soon afterwards dozens of adults joined the children and the shouting became very loud and frankly intimidating (I should note however that no stones were thrown). As I walked under one of the buildings from where the Shabbes shouts were coming, I looked upwards and shouted back in reponse: "Mas Hakhnasa, Mas Haknasa!!!" as if to say that each community has its own sinful activities...and interestingly, their shouting stopped, and so did mine :-)

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  11. If the state is illegitimate, then we should see it as a junta, as a gang that systematically robs innocent people. A theft back from such the gang is not more than an attempt of a man to protect his property. What is a problem?
    Not matters whether it is permissible or not to punch a rabbi in the face, if he is beaten he can beat back hi offender to protect himself.
    Obviously, the statement that the state is really illegitimate is highly questionable, as the article points.
    Now it is up to you to reject my comment under pretext that I am insulting Bibi :-)

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  12. This article reminds me of an argument I had with a resident of Ramat Bet Shemesh Bet years ago after a very violent protest.

    I told him that throwing garbage, burning garbage bins, smashing bus windows etc is a massive chillul Hashem. His response:
    "Ah you think that it was a chilul Hashem, but I am telling you it was actually a kiddush Hashem!!"
    Unfortunately many charedim have found heterim for massive chilul Hashem by calling their actions a kiddush Hashem.

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    1. Saying smashing windows is a kiddush Hashem is a good excuse to smash windows. They don't think twice if G-d wants this.

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  13. Halacha is always dispassionate. That is how halacha works. You are taking a halachic discussion and bringing it into the realm of a blog, distorting its meaning
    Hospitals triage patients. The average layman would be shocked at the cold calculations made by doctors when doing so. But that is the way it is done, that is how the sausage is made.
    When halacha is being discussed, the only yardstick is halacha, not morality, ethics, or anything else.

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  14. If you really had a problem with distasteful hava amina, with novol bireshus hatorah, rather than a permanent ayin ra towards charedim, you'd presumably have objected to this gentlemen's musings on the subject of rape and murder. He's after all only responsible for the ethos and mentality of around around 150,000 active service soldiers, rather than a dusty obscure journal somewhere.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eyal_Karim

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know if you want to hear anything but if you are amenable to the prospect, the following links might be of interest to you:
      https://seforimblog.com/2009/01/marc-b-shapiro-thoughts-on/
      also: https://seforimblog.com/2010/04/marc-shapiro-r-kook-on-sacrifices-other/

      Delete
    2. All fascinating and thoughtful but equally applicable to the daati leumi and Charedi Halachic tribes. Only a myopic or disingenuous sectarian would write this article without realising those in glass houses have no right to throw stones.

      Delete
  15. This is a remarkable argument: "Then comes perhaps the most remarkably revealing section. The article notes that according to several views, the state is not entitled al pi halacha to claim taxes, and one is therefore entitled to steal from the government to recover the taxes that were illegitimately taken. However, one is not entitled to steal back more than was originally stolen. And since, states the author, charedim receive far more in government benefits than they pay in taxes, they therefore cannot steal anything additional"

    If they really think its theft, then they are in receipt of stolen property by taking gov't benefits - an avera the Rambam says is impossible to do yeshiva for.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I heard from Rabbi Yisroel Reisman on numerous occasions that although taus akum is muttar, Rav Pam very strongly cautioned not to rely on it. Even if something is technically permitted, that does not mean that it's appropriate to do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In other words, you are REALLY allow to cheat gentiles but you probably shouldn't do it.

      Delete
    2. Isn't טעות עכו"ם a gift from heaven?

      Delete
    3. @zdub I heard it being said that it was allowed when the Gentiles were lawless idol worshipers, but today, when we are treated equally and the Gentiles are civilized, it doesn't apply. As always, there are shitos.

      Delete
    4. טעות עכום is not cheating, it's just to leave the gentile with his mistake. Actively cheating is prohibited, and the reason why טעות is not is because it's like רבית: the Torah only forbids it between jews, who are brothers and equally bound by it, meaning no one will do it to the other. But gentiles are allowed to do it to us, therefore we also.

      Delete
    5. There's not that ethic of reciprocity with nezikin. The damage done to a Gentile's animal isn't actionable; the damage done by one is. The gemara in Bava Kamma 38A quoting the of story of the two sergeants seems to be frankly ashamed of the situation.

      Delete
    6. @The Hat
      The gemara just before gives two answers. They don't satisfy me either, but I get the idea.

      Delete
  17. The governments have always levied taxes and people have always tried to avoid them. Nothing will ever change. Everyone and everywhere does it (there are exceptions obviously). Human nature and circumstances are unlikely to change. The chilonim are no different then the charedim. This is a theoretical discussion, lemaaseh avoid all taxes that you can and still people on the whole will pay more then they should and the government and the politicians will steal their money. Politicians are crooks and thieves by definition. Silly discussion. I'm not going to work to give 50% to the government and neither will anyone else that I know and the rich, who manipulate the tax code, the laws and the politicians pay the least. You pay what you cannot avoid and this is just fine. If you end up paying nothing, good for you that you had good luck.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I'm reminded of the shooting at the Chabad House of Poway by a white supremacist. The incident garnered sympathy for the Jewish community in the US--everyone felt that they are really unjustly under attack.

    But then, more recently, the rabbi of the Chabad House, Rabbi Goldstein, pleaded guilty to tax fraud.

    Once caught, people lost all sympathy for Rabbi Goldstein--in fact, it "proved" the white supremacist right!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And where have you seen on a mainstream website where people now justify the shooting because of Goldstein's (and compatriots) tax frauds?

      Delete
    2. @Yehuda P.
      רובם בגזל is true for both Jews and Gentiles. Churches are no different then synagogues. People expect more from the rabbies, but tax fraud is something that almost everyone commits. The problem is that the Jews are very smart and the religious are steeped in the Talmudic dialectics. That takes their malfeasance to a higher level. Jews outperform in every area.

      Delete
  19. Listening to this video, I cringe every time I hear the title "Rabbi" in "Rabbi Goldstein":
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0FmSWB-JYo

    It's only common sense that tax fraud/tax evasion in Israel is a massive chillul Hashem.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Maybe in Germany it's a Chillul Hashem, but in Israel it's practiced and understood universally.
    https://www.gov.il/he/departments/news/sa020221_1
    Going after the hard working little guys:
    https://m.calcalist.co.il/Article.aspx?guid=3766232

    ReplyDelete
  21. I find it interesting that no one here has wondered whether the article R' Slifkin cites was written as a satire. I, for one, am not prepared to rule out the possibility. Indeed, the fact that this joke may have gone over so many heads underscores the brilliance of the piece as satire!

    ReplyDelete
  22. I never hear chilonim agonizing over avoiding taxes- they just do. The religious are mefalpel and then do it. There is no difference. To excoriate the charedim for something that is a universal practice is dishonest.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The difference is that other people, as you say, just do it. They don't make a shittah out of it. They don't formally proclaim that it's okay to be unethical.

      Delete
    2. I can assure you that many Jews and Gentiles from all sorts of different walks in life don't pay taxes.

      If they're rich enough, they concoct some cock and bull story involving an Isle of Man trust and call it tax avoidance. Sophistry is not a uniquely Charedi disease, and loan benefit trusts of the type UK doctors, amongst other rich daati leumi types, indulge in, do not work.

      Delete
    3. People who claim to be the protectors of true torah judiasm are under much greater scrutiny than someone who doesnt make that claim.
      For obvious reasons, a cop throwing garbage from his squad car is much worse than if done by an average citizen. And likewise if someone who claimed to be shomer torah umitzvos and dressed that way as well (ie charedi) did the same thing it would be just as awful.

      Delete
    4. Yes, because they aren't trained to be concerned by the morality of their behaviour. Charedim, who are trained that everything is an Avodas Hashem and בהשגחה פרטית need to analyze the issue and justify themselves in a perverted manner. Like I've said: this is the way of the world since forever. It's always been so and always will be, the rest is commentaries. The rich and the powerful are the biggest tax evaders - has always been this way and always will be. This is human nature. You are neither a zadik nor a roshe - just a tinsky creatue fighting the evolutionary battle of survival and there is no right or wrong in this battle. The fittest will survive. This is the way of G-d.

      Delete
    5. Here, have a laugh. My friend has just got his son in the number one yeshiva and the kid cannot do a leining. He used connections with rabbonim and donors and he did it! Corruption, say you? Not so fast, how is this different from the rich getting their kids into IVY league by their donations? It's the way of the world and nothing will ever change. Charedi and the general Jewish claim to a superior morality in financial matters has no historical basis because it's the evolutionary pressures and not דינא דמלכותא or any other דינא that will determine human behaviour. Yes, it's possible for a society to evolve to be a meritocracy and have a relatively high level of transparency and honesty, but Mediterranean and Semitic people have not taken that evolutionary road.

      Delete
    6. There's a difference between using loopholes and engaging in fraud.

      Delete
    7. To have a major donor ask for a student to be accepted is a loophole now?

      Delete
  23. It is time to recognise that a large part of the Haredi leadership are enemies of the state. As such they represent an existential risk to the life of the population. And what does halacha say about responding to the threats to lives of a Jewish community!

    If the next government still includes Haredim then the future of the state and its very existence in say 25 years' time will be in serious doubt. In the words of Cromwell "“you have been sat to long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, i say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!.”

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The secular state is the enemy of Judaism and the Jewish Nation, the Haredi leadership is fighting defensively. There doesn't seem to be any solution to this problem. May not end well.

      Delete
    2. And when the right care more about integrating Charedim then settling the post 1967 territories they will stop voting for the status quo. But until such a time noone who voted for any party on the right apart from Lieberman can complain about self inflicted existential threats. If you really wanted them to depart you'd vote for it.

      Delete
    3. The Arabs who are citizens of Israel are the real existential threat. It's clear even now: without their seats in the Knesset, there would have been enough seats two cycles ago for Netanyahu to form a coalition.

      Delete
    4. I think the bit where you haven't fully explained your thinking is why not having a Netanyahu government is an existential threat to anything or anyone.

      Delete
  24. Shame you didnt quote Shulchan Oruch that avoiding taxes is muttar.
    Dont blame the charedim! Forward your complaints to God who made these rules

    ReplyDelete
  25. Check this out, mates:
    https://www.bankingdive.com/news/israeli-bank-Hapoalim-fine-tax-evasion-soccer-bribery-scandal-DOJ/577301/#:~:text=Bank%20Hapoalim%2C%20Israel's%20largest%20bank,bribery%20and%20money%20laundering%20scandal.

    So the Bank



    HaPoalim, the workers'bank, is fined 900 million $$$$ for tax fraud and bribery. All the soccer federation officials have lost their jobs, their names are public and good luck to them ever finding a job in the field, not a single banker lost his job and the ones responsible remained anonymous! The rich and powerful get off and the little guys are thrown under the bus. Some justice system we have! Again, it's always been this way and always will remain so. In this jungle that we live in a man should follow his own laws, which are the laws of evolution. I have to survive, procreate, support my family and put my kids through kollel and having to pay taxes or follow government laws will not stop me from doing so.

    ReplyDelete
  26. https://www.paymentsdive.com/ex/mpt/news/israeli-bank-pleads-guilty-in-hiding-76-billion-from-the-irs/?

    7.6 BILION DOLLARS IRS fraud buy the workers'bank. How was fired and went to jail? Don't make me laugh now - obviously nobody. A plea bargain and a white settlement and back to bussiness as usual devising new and devious ways to defraud customers, governments, jews and Gentiles and why not? What's the worst that can happen? Nothing.

    ReplyDelete
  27. 'In fact, as The Times of Israel reported last month, for almost a decade Israel has played host to the activity of an online trading industry, a great deal of it fraudulent, that has fleeced hundreds of millions of dollars, possibly billions, from hundreds of thousands of customers globally, while Israeli authorities have opted to look the other way. At the time of this article’s publication, the Justice Ministry had not responded to the allegations in the lawyer’s letter.'

    Let this sink in, mates. Hundreds of thousands defrauded if billions, but no, it's some rush yeshiva, who claims to have 50 students instead off 30 to get more government money which is the problem. Again, who is going to prison for this?
    https://www.giambronelaw.com/site/news-articles-press/news/giambrone_in_the_news/times_of_israel_binary_fraud/

    ReplyDelete
  28. Years ago, while I was a physics major in college, I taught Earth Science in a few different large yeshivas in Brooklyn. All high school students in New York are required to pass a certain number of science courses. (As an aside, I was explicitly - as in writing - directed not to mention anything about dinosaurs, fossils, or the age of the earth, which was rather awkward to say the least in an Earth Science class.)

    During one year, the answers to the upcoming NYS Regents exam were stolen. Many students readily admitted that they had access to the answers... and this was done with the aid of their parents. I once even "discussed" this with a parent who felt that this was fine, that their child needed to get rid of this course. It apparently never occurred to them, as I saw it, that this would have a deleterious effect on their entire moral outlook on life, on fair play, on cheating, on being a good person.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's funny how RMF's teshuva about cheating on Regents is ignored:

      Igros Moshe CM 2:30

      הנה בדבר שאלתו על מה ששמע שבישיבות מתירין להתלמידים לגנוב את התשובות להשאלות במבחני הסיום שעושה המדינה (רידזענס) כדי להונות ולקבל את התעודות שגמרו בטוב הנה דבר זה אסור לא רק מדינא דמלכותא אלא מדין התורה ואין זה רק גניבת דעת שג"כ אסור כדאמר שמואל בחולין דף צ"ד ע"א שאסור לגנוב דעת הבריות ואפילו דעתו של עכו"ם וכ"ש הכא שהוא גניבת דעת לכולי עלמא אף לישראל אלא דהוא גם גניבת דבר ממש דהא כשירצה לפרנסתו במשך הזמן להשכיר עצמו אצל אחד לעבוד בעסקיו ורוצים ברוב הפעמים במי שגמר היטב למודיו דחול והוא יראה לו התעודה איך שגמר בטוב ועל סמך זה קבלוהו שזהו גניבת ממון ממש

      http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=14678&st=&pgnum=241&hilite=

      The teshuva continues, but the gist is that cheating on exams is stealing from one's future employer.

      Delete
    2. No employer cares what you got in Regents.

      Delete
    3. Perhaps. But they care what you got in your college degree which you only got into because of your Regents.

      Delete
    4. @Yakov

      Perhaps not, but presumably they care whether your Regents results (whatever they may be) were obtained honestly vs. through fraud.

      Delete
    5. Nice post of RMS tshuva. But the gist is not just that it's preparation for future theft from an employer. He plainly says that the act itself is wrong, whether stolen from jew or gentile.

      Delete
  29. Today, there was a story about Askonim urging people not to use fraudulent documents to get into Israel now. Ostensibly, it was only because people are getting caught and into trouble. Not because it's shekker, against Dinei D'malchusa, and a Chillul Hashem. So, the story was sort of telling.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Israeli Tax Authority itself is famous from the very establishment of the state. Read this. Charedim are small fry.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. https://www.globes.co.il/news/article.aspx?did=1001290692

      Here is the link.

      Delete
  31. Perhaps they care, perhaps they don't, but the Evolution doesn't and that is what ultimately drives human behaviour.

    When I was a programmer I had a gig where I would train entry level guys to be able to claim 2 years of programming expirience in my company and confirm that expirience to the future employers. There was no way to get an entry level job without it. Once an agent figured it out and asked me what would happen if he were to report me to my management? I just laughed at him: 'Nothing, obviously. If I'm in charge of the technical interviews what does this tell you, my friend? Also, this particular fellow has a PHD in Economics but being from Russia needs to retrain. He is an asset to any financial institution that hires him. I'd never met him in person, the design of various brokerage systems was explained to him over the phone and he demonstrated remarkable abilities. He is an excellent candidate and you should place him without concern.' Guess what? The agent was smart enough and offered to work with me in the future and I earned a tidy commission.

    Frankly, it's hard to understand all these minor concerns with Regents and charedim paying taxes. Israel is a corrupt society, it reflects who we are and we, the Jews, like all our Mediterranean neighbors, are corrupt. We evolved to be corrupt, it's in our genes together with the highest IQ in the world and other positive traits. Greece, Lebanon, Italy, Portugal, Israel are dysfunctional Mediterranean nations. We cannot put our house in order and we have shown the same pattern of disfunction through our thousands of years of existence.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Can someone explain to me the rationale that dina d'malchusa would apply to gentile governments, even wicked ones, but not to a Jewish one?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes. According to some rishonim, dina demalchusa is predicated on the idea that since a government can refuse to allow someone to live in their country, living there by necessity indicates acceptance of the laws. But every Jew has an inherent right to live in Eretz Yisrael, so living there does not indicate this acceptance.

      Delete
    2. It's all foolishness and bitter politic resentment.

      Delete
    3. Jew well: This is a discussion in the rishonim from 800 years ago. It has nothing to do with politics or Zionism.

      Delete
    4. @Yehoshua
      Sigh. Maybe you should try to actually look at the sources before engaging in serious discussions?
      The discussion you're referring to is about wether there is דינא דמלכותא in ארץ ישראל or not, regardless of the government's moral standings. One opinion is that דינא דמלכותא depends on ownership of the land (which by the way is the feodal conception of power, unheard of in antiquity), and therefore ארץ ישראל is excluded (even though it's not written in the Talmud. The power of the Jewish king comes therefore only from the Torah's command: שום תשים עליך מלך).
      However both the שולחן ערוך (by adopting the Rambam's wording) and the רמ"א (by including מטלטלין in דינא דמלכותא) did not rule like this opinion, but that דינא דמלכותא is related to acceptance of the rulership by most of the people (and in the state of Israel, the rulership IS the people, at least officially), and therefore there is no place in the world where דינא דמלכותא doesn't apply.
      The עדה החרדית in Jerusalem and the batei din in Bnei Brak don't hold of דינא דמלכותא in the state of Israel. The former say that it doesn't apply to the wicked zionist entity (but it seems they agree to follow it when it's for the people and not against any rules of the torah. The example they give is... taxes!). The latter say that the Chazon Ish would have said it doesn't apply, maybe because he held of the minority opinion, or because he agreed with the Eda.
      Therefore I say it again:
      It's all foolishness and bitter political resentment.

      Sources:
      ראשונים הסוברים כי יש דינא דמלכותא בא"י:
      משנה תורה גזלה ואבדה ה,יח; רש"י גיטין ט:; רשב"ם ב"ב נד:; ר"ת בתשובה ואו"ז פסקי ב"ק תמז משמו; ועוד...
      ראשונים הסוברים שאין דינא דמלכותא בא"י:
      אור זרוע פסקי ב"ק תמז בשם רא"מ; חדושי הרשב"א והר"ן כח: רא"ש הגוזל ב', י.
      טושו"ע:
      חו"מ שסט,ו-ח ועיין שם ביאור הגר"א לה.
      ראה גם שו"ת חת"ס ח"ה, מד
      and this sefer:
      http://www.daat.ac.il/daat/vl/dina/dina01.pdf

      Delete
  33. To read the text version of an earlier draft of the aforementioned article on robbing the state in "Aliyah", go here:

    https://www.hyehudi.org/%d7%9e%d7%95%d7%9e-%d7%91%d7%a4%d7%a8%d7%98%d7%99-%d7%94%d7%9c%d7%9b%d7%94-%d7%91%d7%a2%d7%a0%d7%99%d7%9f-%d7%9c%d7%94%d7%a6%d7%99%d7%9c-%d7%9b%d7%a1%d7%a3-%d7%9e%d7%9e%d7%93%d7%99%d7%a0%d7%aa/

    ReplyDelete

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