mail-jewish Vol.65 #30 Digest

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Mar 2, 2022, 1:40:06 PMMar 2
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Volume 65 Number 30
Produced: Wed, 02 Mar 22 13:40:04 -0500


Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Crazy dog?
[Joel Rich]
Has Reform Judaism failed? (3)
[Martin Stern Prof. L. Levine Immanuel Burton]
Hostage Taking in Texas (was Has Reform Judaism failed?)
[Joseph Kaplan]
Measures (in gzeirot)
[Joel Rich]



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From: Joel Rich <joeli...@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, Mar 2,2022 at 09:17 AM
Subject: Crazy dog?

Some of you may have heard the story sourced below from Rabbi Jachter:

> A charming anecdote that occurred in Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik's shiur at
> Yeshiva University in the 1970s (reported by Rav Yosef Adler and many others)
> is often cited in support of the common practice to be lenient. The Rav stated
> in the shiur that toothpaste is not Rau'i L'achilat Kelev (unfit for canine
> consumption) and thus one is permitted to consume it on Pesach even if it
> contains chametz. The next day in shiur a student raised his hand and explained
> that he conducted an experiment the night before. He related that he placed
> toothpaste in his dogs feeding bowl to see if his dog would eat it "and
> indeed, the dog ate the toothpaste!!" Rav Soloveitchik simply responded: "Your
> dog is crazy".
>
> This story illustrates the ruling that we cited last week from Rav Soloveitchik
> that the standards of edibility are not determined by aberrant behavior.

I"ve heard Rav Schacter say many times that they often wondered about some of
the Rav's practices only to find out that they were directly from the Shulchan
Aruch. I"m sure I am one of the few who didn't realize that the Rav's response
in the anecdote is really sourced in the Chulin 49B where the rabbis rejected
Rabbi Shimon's proof that a snake will drink brine by saying that the snake he
saw do so was a foolish snake and thus one can't bring a proof from that case to
general snake behavior. In case you're one of the others who didn't realize this
was the source, I thought it was worth mentioning.


KT
Joel Rich

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From: Martin Stern <md.s...@ntlworld.com>
Date: Sun, Feb 20,2022 at 01:17 PM
Subject: Has Reform Judaism failed?

Irwin Weiss wrote (MJ 65#29):
>
> On this continuing thread (last MJ 65#26), the event of this past Shabbat,
> where a person entered a Reform synagogue in Texas, holding hostages during
> Shabbat services, emphasizes several things to me.
>
> 1) The crazy American media has uniformly said that this was not an
> "Anti-Semitic" act. Really? The assailant here didn't choose a grocery store,
> a Walmart, a gas station, a church, a barber shop. Rather, a small synagogue.
> Coincidence? I think not.
>
> 2) Anti-Jewish people lump us all together. Doesn't matter if we are Torah
> observant, Chassidim, Reform, Conservative, Modern Orthodox. We are all
> enemies of them. This has obvious historical precedent which does not need
> to be spoken.

This is quite true and is the underlying motive for Israel's definition of
who is eligible to immigrate under the Law of Return.

> 3) We could say, "This happened to these Reform Jews because they were live
> streaming their Shabbat services, in clear violation of Shabbat prohibitions".
> Or, we could say, "We are going to love and defend our fellow Jews,
> irrespective of the way they practice, how strict they are in their observance
> of Kashrut or Shabbat or mitzvot in general".

It is not their degree (or lack) of observance that is crucial. With an over
74% current out-marriage rate, it is questionable whether many of their (at
least younger) members are actually Jewish at all.

> I vote for the latter. I vote for inviting these people to our homes for
> Shabbat dinner or lunch, and including them as guests when we have weddings,
> B'nei Mitzvah, and so forth.

Why restrict this to those non-Jews affiliated to Reform?

> And, as Leah Gordon said, many Reform Jews do good deeds, support the state of
> Israel, and so forth.

So do many non-Jews

> (And, some Jews who are careful in their observance of Kashrut, Shabbat, etc.,
> cheat on their taxes, commit immoral crimes against innocent youth, and are
> otherwise engaged in illegal activity - fortunately, this is a minority of
> persons).

One finds 'bad apples' in every group unfortunately.

Martin Stern

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From: Prof. L. Levine <lle...@stevens.edu>
Date: Sun, Feb 20,2022 at 02:17 PM
Subject: Has Reform Judaism failed?

In response to Irwin Weiss (MJ 65#29):

Inviting them to our homes has halachic problems.

Suppose they have to drive to your house? Are you allowed to invite them?
While Chabad does invite people that they know will violate Shabbos, many
non-Chabad poskim say one should not do this.

How do you know that they are halachically Jewish? If they are not, then
what are you accomplishing by inviting them?

You must make sure that your wine is mevushal.

What if they bring you food as a gift that is not kosher? What do you with
it, so that they are not insulted?

Professor Yitzchok Levine

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From: Immanuel Burton <ibu...@policeboxes.com>
Date: Sun, Feb 27,2022 at 11:17 AM
Subject: Has Reform Judaism failed?

In MJ 65#29, Irwin Weiss wrote in connection with the hostage situation
in a Reform synagogue in Texas:

> 3) We could say, "This happened to these Reform Jews because they were live
> streaming their Shabbat services, in clear violation of Shabbat prohibitions".
> Or, we could say, "We are going to love and defend our fellow Jews,
> irrespective of the way they practice, how strict they are in their
> observance of Kashrut or Shabbat or mitzvot in general".
>
> I vote for the latter. I vote for inviting these people to our homes for
> Shabbat dinner or lunch, and including them as guests when we have weddings,
> B'nei Mitzvah, and so forth.

Precisely. How can anyone say that this happened to these Reform Jews because of
X, Y or Z? I don't think one can unless one has a hotline to God, and it's
counterproductive to engage in what is essentially gloating. It also doesn't do
much for one's own character development to gloat.

The Four Sons in the Haggadah are listed as, "echad chacham, echad rashah, echad
tam, ve'echad she'aino yodeah lishol" - one is the wise son, one is the wicked
son, one is the simple son, and one doesn't even know how to ask. I once heard a
talk from Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis (now the Chief Rabbi of the UK) in which he asked
why the word "echad" is repeated each time when it's not actually needed. He
answered that it's to show that each Jew, regardless of status, is equally
precious in Hashem's eyes.

I agree fully with Irwin Weiss that condemnation of Reform Jews is not the way
to go, and that we should love and defend our fellow Jews. It is certainly
important to show a unified front in the face of anti-Semitism.

If one wants to help someone become more observant, then a gentle approach is
needed. I have a friend who was not raised in an observant environment, and he
used to come to stay with me for Shabbos every now and then. He once commented
that when he was in school they were taught about all the things one may not do
on Shabbos but were not taught how to celebrate Shabbos, which made Shabbos seem
like an imposition, but when he saw how Shabbos is celebrated in such a way that
there isn't actually time for any of the forbidden things, e.g. using one's
computer, he saw how enjoyable Shabbos actually is, and that it's not an
imposition at all. Whereas not every outreach effort is guaranteed success,
showing and leading by example is still the right approach. One can lead a horse
to water but one can't make it drink - good luck pushing a horse.

Immanuel Burton.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Joseph Kaplan <pen...@panix.com>
Date: Sun, Feb 20,2022 at 03:17 PM
Subject: Hostage Taking in Texas (was Has Reform Judaism failed?)

Irwin Weiss had a very thoughtful post (MJ 65#29) about the shul hostage taking
in Texas. I agree with all the points he made except the first: "The crazy
American media has uniformly said that this was not an 'Anti-Semitic' act.
Really? The assailant here didn't choose a grocery store, a Walmart, a gas
station, a church, a barber shop. Rather, a small synagogue. Coincidence? I
think not."

The media did no such thing. Rather, an FBI agent made that comment tentatively,
in the first news conference after the situation ended, and later higher level
FBI personnel corrected that and said that it was, as is obviously the case, an
anti-semitic act. American media obviously reported on that news conference, but
the American media that i read and heard did not make that assertion themselves.
So no, the American media was not crazy about this and the FBI made a
soon-corrected mistake which some, who clearly never made a mistake in their
lives, have blown out of proportion.

Joseph

----------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Joel Rich <joeli...@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, Feb 22,2022 at 11:17 PM
Subject: Measures (in gzeirot)

As part of this weeks Gruss Kollel shiur with Rav Bednarsh, I asked about his
statement concerning why measures (in gzeirot) dont change with changing
reality. He articulated three possible approaches:

The first was an extension of the Chazon Ish, who held that the definition of
treifa was fixed by the state of veterinary medicine at the end of the 200 years
of Torah (Chazon Ish E"H Hilchot Ishut 27:20). I would add the possibility that
this approach could be a subset of a theory that, even when there are reasons
given, a legal system may choose to decouple the reason from the measure and
therefore, even if the reason changes, the measure stands.

The second approach is that when the rabbis gave a nigleh reason for the measure
there were also other nistar reasons that we are not privy to, therefore the
measures dont change.

The third approach was that a properly constituted Sanhedrin would change the
measure. They wouldn't frequently change because legal systems tend to be
conservative but when the reason changes the measures should change.

Guess which he likes, which I like and tell me which you like?


KT
Joel Rich

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