Sunday, August 31, 2008

Chareidim vs Secular II - allocating classrooms in secular neighborhoods

YNET reports:

The question whether or not one child and a dog are worth more than 10 children ignited a heated argument in a Jerusalem council meeting Thursday evening. The topics thrown around during the argument included army service and Nazi Germany, and it all began because of a kindergarten.

Jerusalem city council meetings are known for their temper, but with the mayoral elections coming up, it seems like the boiling point is getting closer by the day.
In recent years, some secular residents of Jerusalem have been arriving at the meetings in a bid to have their complaints heard. On Thursday, the secular residents of the Kiryat Yovel neighborhood came to protest the plan to place several caravans which would be used as a kindergarten for ultra-Orthodox children. According to local residents, this is an attempt by the haredi residents to take over their secular neighborhood.
This time the members of the religious coalition in city hall foresaw the future and filled most of the seats in the meeting hall with their supporters. Dozens of Kiryat Yovel residents were left out of the meeting and city hall.
When the discussion turned to the subject of the kindergarten, things started to get ugly. The most heated exchange took place between city councilman Rabbi Avraham Feiner of United Torah Judaism (UTJ) Pepe Alallo, chairman of the local Meretz faction.

'Shame on you, you anti-Semite'
Rabbi Feiner called towards Alallo, "We, thank God, have 10-12 children. Where are these children supposed to study if not in their kindergartens? And you, what do you have? One child and a dog?"

Alallo responded by saying, "This dog pays more taxes than you do! Pays more property taxes than you!"

Feiner responded, "The question of a Jewish takeover was present in Nazi Germany as well, and that question is present here as well."

After Feiner made this comment, a commotion broke out in the meeting hall. Some members of the audience even tried to approach the different councilmen present but were held back, and were eventually escorted out by security.

"Shame on you, you anti-Semite, may your 10 children serve in the army like we did," cried out one of the secular members of the crowd.

The discussion itself was accompanied by catcalls from the audience, and as a result went on for a considerable time. All requests by the residents of Kiryat Yovel to cancel the planned kindergarten were rejected by council. In the last several weeks, ground work has begun in the location of the proposed kindergarten, and local residents have been attempting to stop the construction. [...]

Chareidim vs Secular - allocating unused classrooms

JPost reports:

The latest episode in the saga of the lack of educational structures for haredim in the city is taking place in Kiryat Hayovel. About a week ago, the municipality placed two caravans in a public plot on Rehov Warburg to serve as kindergarten classes for haredi children. It didn't take long for the area's largely secular residents to voice opposition, with the chairman of the neighborhood administration, Kobi Cohen, saying he felt "betrayed, humiliated and outraged" by the development.

"For years I have been known for my tolerance and my unshakable attitude that a child is a child, no matter whether he is haredi, secular or Arab. Every child in this city deserves the best affordable education and I have credentials for having acted accordingly, including many cases where I had to convince my constituency, who were not exactly ready to accept those compromises," says Cohen.

"But this time they've gone too far. Rabbi [Deputy Mayor Yehoshua] Pollack acted like a thief in the night, exactly as if his only goal was to upset the tenuous and fragile relationship between haredim and secular in this neighborhood," continues Cohen. "You can quote me on this: As long as I am chairman of the neighborhood administration here, neither Pollack nor any other haredi will force on us any caravan or any other solution that doesn't suit us."

The struggle to secure educational structures for haredim is not a new one. Since the creation of the state, the haredi education system has operated largely independently of local, regional and national guidelines, setting its own curriculum and securing some of its own funding - including for the construction of its schools. Trying to raise donations to keep pace with the number of pupils enrolled, haredim often find themselves without classrooms for their children.

The result has been a trend of last-minute, interim municipal solutions - including offering empty classrooms in otherwise non-haredi schools and areas - which over time become permanent arrangements, arousing the anger of secular residents.

"It's as if they [haredim] have some special watchers units - as soon as registration is on the decline at a school in a secular area, they come [to the municipality] and request one or two classrooms, and once they obtain it, they come back and ask for the entire building," says Meretz city councillor and Comptroller Committee head Pepe Alalu.

"Don't get me wrong," he adds. "They [the haredim] genuinely suffer from a lack of classrooms, it's just that they are not acting as if they really want to solve the problem - I would say it is the opposite."

According to a municipality-commissioned report drafted in 2006 by planning specialist Moshe Cohen, the process of taking over state school buildings is part of a systematic plan to entrench haredim in secular areas.

Page 24 of the report reads: "Haredi institutions might serve as groundbreakers to create new haredi communities in surroundings where they had no foothold before. The haredi institution - usually a yeshiva - will be set in a surrounding where there are no other haredi institutions or haredi dwellings, but the location of that educational institution, in this case a yeshiva, will become a source of attraction for additional haredi families to join in."

The report was never released or debated by the city council.

IN RESPONSE to queries from In Jerusalem, Dor Fuchs, head of the construction department of the haredi branch of Manhi (Jerusalem Education Administration), said there was no way he or anyone at the department could know exactly how many classrooms were lacking for haredim. "Since the haredi education system is recognized but unofficial, anyone can open a school or a Talmud Torah [haredi elementary school]. The only thing needed is a safety permit for insurance purposes," he explains.

"So if after one or two or five years a haredi principal says he has three times more children in his institution than when he opened it, mainly because after a while he gets fewer donations from abroad, and he now needs public money, there's nothing we can do about it" other than to allocate more money, he continues. "This education system is not planned, [problems] are not always anticipated and we always have to face situations on the ground, usually emergencies for lack of classrooms.

"Every admor [head of a sect] wants his school or his Talmud Torah, and there's no law that forbids it."

Fuchs says that according to Manhi figures for the haredi sector, about 90,000 pupils are expected for the coming school year. "But the problem is the [lack of] educational structures," he says. "In the regular education system, there is no need to build a new school every year - there are already existing buildings and the most that might need to be done is annual renovations.

"We [Manhi] have an estimation, and I stress it's only an estimation, that we're lacking about 500 classrooms [for haredim] for this year," he continues. "But there's no way we can tell what it will look like next year. It's also because the key to calculating the space needed for new schools is different for haredi schools and secular and religious state institutions.

"The average [non-haredi] school at the Education Ministry is 1,400 square meters for 16 classrooms. For reasons I cannot understand or explain, the construction department at the ministry allots only 750 sq.m. for a 16-classroom [haredi] school."

The result, says Fuchs, is that at haredi girls' schools it's not unusual for there to be more than 45 pupils in a class. "So when we know, for example, that the Ort School in Ramot, which can hold 1,500 pupils, stands half-empty, and has been for a few years since fewer secular pupils are registering there, while we are experiencing such a difficult situation, it's not hard to understand why we keep on asking to be given these empty classrooms," explains Fuchs.

"And what's more, as far as the Education Ministry is concerned, that's exactly its position: It doesn't care if the empty classrooms are in a haredi, religious or secular area; it says that if you have pupils without classrooms on the one hand and empty classrooms on the other hand, please make use of them before asking for more money to build."

Pollack has a more straightforward take on the situation. "One thing is clear," he says. "We have babies. You, the secular, obviously are busy doing something else - you're not having babies - so we need the place for our kids."[...]

Life support on a timer?

Bartley Kulp suggested Rabbis:New Life support tech 'murder' in JPost

To Rabbi Eidenson, this is a an article that is rife with halachic, hashgafic and political issues.
A technology soon to be introduced in local hospitals that automatically turns off life-support systems at the request of terminally ill patients has been denounced by a prominent group of rabbis as a desecration of God's name. 'Timer ventilator' allows patients the choice to have their life support cut off automatically. The technology is "tantamount to murder," according to the rabbis, who are aligned with the Ashkenazi haredi community's most respected living halachic authority, Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv.

"If the Health Ministry goes ahead with its plans to implement a technology that shortens the lives of terminally ill patients, the nations of the world will say that Judaism condones transgressing one of the Ten Commandments - Thou Shalt not Kill," Rabbi Ya'acov Weiner said last week. "That would be a terrible desecration of God's name."

Weiner, who heads the Jerusalem Center for Research, Medicine and Halacha, made the comments at a conference on Jewish medical ethics, organized by the center for the past 11 years, that brings together religious doctors and Halacha experts. Weiner and other rabbis who spoke at the conference, including a senior representative of Elyashiv, said the Terminally Ill Patient Law, approved by the Knesset in 2006, contradicted Jewish law.

They specifically targeted a technology condoned in the new law that allows a terminally ill patient to choose to be connected to a ventilator that is automatically turned off by a timer at a future date. The timer ventilator, which is in its last stages of development, will be introduced in hospitals in coming months. Meanwhile, proponents of the "timer ventilator," including many Orthodox rabbis and doctors, argue that while Jewish law prohibits pulling the plug, it permits refraining from reactivating the ventilator once it has automatically been turned off by the timer.

However, organizers of the conference said that "greatest rabbis of the generation" reject the use of the "timer ventilator." They said that in addition to Elyashiv, other prominent halachic authorities also opposed it, including Rabbi Moshe Sternbach of the Edah Haredit and Rabbi Zalman Nechemia Goldberg of the High Rabbinic Court. Rabbi Yehoshua Neuwirth, an author of a definitive book on the laws of Shabbat called Shmirat Shabbat K'hilchata (Observing Shabbat's Laws), told a contingent from the conference who visited his home on Tuesday that use of the "timer ventilator" was "murder," organizers said. [...]

Conspicuously absent from the conference, which took place in Jerusalem's Bayit Vagan neighborhood, were rabbis and religious doctors who support the use of the timer ventilator and had backed the Terminally Ill Patient Law.

Dr. Rabbi Mordechai Halperin, who was a member of the Steinberg Multi-Disciplinary Health Ministry committee that helped prepare the legislation, said many prominent rabbis supported the use of such ventilators. The committee was headed by Prof. Avraham Steinberg, a neurologist and halachic expert. "Many halachic authorities permit the use of the timer on condition that it is activated before the terminally ill patient is initially connected," Halperin said. "Once the patient is hooked up to a ventilator without a timer it is forbidden to activate a timer. In the legislation it is specifically stated that doing so would be a punishable offense. "The other conditions for allowing the use of the timer are that the patient is in severe pain and that he expressly asks for the option of using the timer," he said. The spring issue of Asia, a journal of Jewish medical ethics, features letters from two prominent rabbis supporting the use of the timer ventilator. One of the letters is from Rabbi Avigdor Nebenzahl, former rabbi of the Old City of Jerusalem. The other letter is from the same Neuwirth whom the conference organizers had claimed was adamantly opposed to the use of the timer ventilator. [...]

RaP & Reading Comprehension

What follows is a comment by RaP regarding 1) my alleged mission to destroy chassidus 2) my hypocrisy at using Chassidic sources 3) his obsession with my apparent incompetence or lack of contact with reality.

RaP it would be nice if you used your intelligence for something other than your gross misreadings of my postings.

Recipients and Publicity's comment "Jesus & Shabsai Tzvi fell from high levels of holi...":

Dr. Eidensohn/daas torah I have a question for you: After you have spent so much time earlier quoting source that negated and devalued Chasidism, such as your famous citation from the Klausenburger Rebbe that latter day rebbelach are like headless floundering fish, and dwelling as you did on the GRA's opposition to the Baal Shem Tov and all Chasidim, so then, is it not rather odd and hypocritical of you to quote sources that cite the Baal Shem Tov and the sayings of Chasidic masters that explain and knock down the places of Yoshke and Shabtai Tzvi in the eyes of Yiddishkeit?

After all, since you have proven beyond any shadow of a doubt that you are a die-hard misnaged who opposes Chasidism through and through for many well-sourced reasons that you have provided, so how can you then turn around and, as if you assume we have amnesia, spout the sayings of the Baal Shem Tov himself as definitive slapdownds of Yoshke and Shabtai Tzvi, and why have you not searched for sources in the GRA and among non-Chasidish seforim to prove the same points you were making?

If you assume that the Baal Shem Tov and Rav Tzadok are reliable and respectable then you also need to assume that their modern-day heirs in the Chasidish world are entitled to THEIR interpretation and practices of the Baal Shem Tov's notions and innovations, namely the stress on the role of the Tzadik in the lives of his Chasidim. The TANYA is the central ideological source book for ALL Chasidism, while there are variances, the TANYA in nistar and the Shulchan Oreuch Harav in nigleh are the hashkafic/halachik/mekubaldikke iron sources that divide ALL Chasidim from the non-Chasidim. Take it or leave it, by why flog a dead horse? While you are a capable writer, you are incapable of rewriting Jewish history!

It is intellectual chutzpah on your part to cite the master of the Chasidim to slap down Chabad who practice what the Baal Shem Tov preached to the n-th degree albeit in a way that is not comprehensible nor palatable to non-Chasidim. Chasidim and Chabad adore and in some ways "worship" the Baal Shem Tov and their Rebbes down to the rebbelach of our own times (if it is repugnant to you, worship your own gedolim, starting with the two Ree Moishes you admire: Feinstein and Shternbuch), so that to cite the words of the original Chasidic masters in essense and in the context of the flow of your posts, against themselves, makes no sense and is both highly disingenuous and no doubt quite offensive to a Chasid, not to mention it is a logical fallacy to take for oneself SELECTIVE teachings and imply them to be axioms strong enough to negate an entire CHASIDIC movement, that swears allegiance to the Baal Shem Tov and has certain kabbalas from him that noone else has (attributed to Rav Hutner when questioned why he chose to learn from the sixth Rebbe), like Chabad.

It is time for you to let go of the anti-Chabad bone that you have bled dry, you are no longer convincing anyone as you insist on fighting lost wars that have no real meaning because everyone has chosen their teams and like it or not are cheering them on, no matter what you or others say.

Punctuation - why doesn't a Sefer Torah have? / Radvaz

Radvaz(3:643 #1065): Question: Why doesn’t the Sefer Torah have punctuation which would prevent misreading it - since Moshe was also taught the correct way of reading it at Sinai? The answer to this question is found in the confrontation between the angels and Moshe at Sinai (Shabbos 88b). When the angels tried to prevent Moshe from receiving the Torah, he asked them why they needed it since they didn’t murder or commit adultery. They agreed with him and let him have the Torah. The obvious problem is why weren’t the angels fully aware that the Torah wasn’t relevant for them? It would seem therefore that the angels have a different reading of the Torah which is relevant to the spiritual world. In other worlds the punctuation they had was according to the names of G-d as our sages have said that the entire Torah is comprised of names of G-d. Therefore the angels had to be informed that there was an alternative reading which was in accord with a physical world. Once you know this fact you can understand the answer to the original question. G-d commanded that the Torah be written without punctuation so that it could be read either in agreement with the spiritual or the physical…. The correct punctuation was transmitted as part of commentary of the Oral Torah to the Written Torah. Without the punctuation the Torah has many possible meanings. However the punctuation was only written in chumashim as an emergency response so that this knowledge shouldn’t be forgotten – as was the rest of the Oral Torah. This principle that the Torah has many possible meanings and readings explains why the Oral Torah wasn’t written and why there are stories in the Torah which seem unnecessary… We are required to believe that there is not even a single letter in the Torah which doesn’t have profound secrets and combinations of letters which are beyond our comprehension… We must constantly be aware of this principle…

Friday, August 29, 2008

Anonymous comments - automatically rejected

Garnel Ironheart's comment to "Chabad - how to moderate comments?":

Okay guys, look. At the bottom of this comment screen you have four options for leaving a name. One is called Name/URL. Click on that and you can choose a screen name but you DON'T have to choose a URL which means your name is untraceable.

But pick a name, guys! It's hard to keep track of so many anonymouses. Or is it one guy who's especially pleased with himself?

Starting now - anonymous comments will be automatically rejected. Resubmit them with a name

Jesus & Shabsai Tzvi fell from high levels of holiness to sin - through pride and anger

Shivchei haBesht(#66) Rabbi Joel told me… that Shabbtai Zvi came to the Besht to ask for redemption. Rabbi Joel said in these words: “The tikkun is done through the connection of soul with soul, spirit with spirit and breath with breath” The Besht began to establish the connection moderately. He was afraid as Shabbtai Zvi was a terribly wicked man. Once the Besht was asleep and Shabbtai Zvi may his name be blotted out, came and attempted to tempt him again, G-d forbid. With a mighty thrust the Besht hurled him to the bottom of hell. The Besht peered down and saw that he landed on the same pallet with Yeshu. Rabbi Joel said that the Besht said that Shabbetai Tzevi had a spark of holiness in him but that Satan caught him in his snare, G‑d forbid. The Besht heard that his fall came through pride and anger. I was reluctant to write it down, but nevertheless I did so to show to what exent pride can be dangerous. [in Praise of Baal Shem page 86-87

Rav Tzadok (Machavos Charutz #1):...Therefore the Torah has to command us "Be Holy" You might mistakenly think that means as holy as G-d...[See Vayikra Rabba 24:9]. When a person has reached perfection in holiness until he is comparable to the angels through his free will - the Yetzer HaRah does not leave him alone ever and seduces him with the thought that he can be as holy as G-d literally (mamash). Because of this a person can fall from the greatest heights to the lowest depths c.v. This is in fact what happened to Jesus and Shabsai Tzvi - the name of the wicked should rot. Because of their excessive asceticism their imaginative faculty grew and they thought that they could compare themselves to G-d. This all came about because they saw themselves as holy people....

ספר מחשבות חרוץ - אות א
ועל זה הוצרכה תורה להזהיר קדושים תהיו יכול כמוני תלמוד לומר וכו' (ויקרא רבה סוף פרשה כ"ד, ט') כי כשהוא בתכלית המדריגה מקדושה עד שידמה למלאכי השרת הוא בכח הבחירה שבו אין היצר הרע מניחו לעולם כלל ומסיתו שיוכל להתקדש כביכול כמוהו ממש, ומזה יוכל להפילו מאגרא רמה לבירא עמיקתא חס ושלום כמו שקרה להאיש ולשבתי צבי שם רשעים ירקב על ידי ריבוי פרישותם גבר כח הדמיון שבהם לחשוב שיוכלו לדמות לעליון ובא להם על ידי שחשבו עצמם תחילה קדושים, וזהו שורש הסתת הנחש שמתחיל במועט עד וכו' ותחילתו במחשבה ודמיון ובלבוש החיצוני של מחשבה אלא שנוגע לכל מדריגות שבמחשבה כדאיתא שם:

Peace Now are informers (moser) - R' Yisrael Rozen

YNET reported

Rabbi Yisrael Rozen, head of the orthodox-affiliated, non-profit Zomet Institute, has expressed perhaps the most strident censure possible in Judaism for Peace Now activists, who are fighting to uproot settlers from the Migron settlement.

"Such tale-bearing is known in Hebrew as 'moser' (informer)… Individuals who have sunk to this lowest level of behavior were despised and shunned (in Jewish tradition). They are considered worse than heretics or apostates," wrote the rabbi in an article published in "Shabbat BeShabbato", a leaflet distributed in Israeli synagogues weekly. Rozen wrote that, according to halacha (Jewish law) the punishment of such tale-bearing was death. The rabbi quoted Maimonides, who wrote "a person who turns over a Jewish person or his property to Gentiles is a moser and has no part in the world to come… It is permissible to execute the moser even today when there is no capital punishment… it is permissible to kill the moser before he informs… If he has been told not to inform and insists on informing, then he who executes the moser first has great merit."

However, he immediately followed this statement with a warning against taking the law into one's own hands, stating that "the trial of capital offenses is the office of the court and it is not the duty of individuals to implement this particular halacha."[...]

In response, Peace Now Secretary-General Yariv Oppenheimer said that "the legal authorities must not stand for the phenomenon that is evidenced by alleged rabbi Yisrael Rozen, and not allow such incitement and calls to murder."

"Peace Now will continue in its struggle to put a stop to the illegal construction of settlements and the struggle for a sane future for the this State of Israel. The organization will appeal to the Attorney-General in order to file charges against the rabbi and his dangerous words," he said.

Chabad - how to moderate comments?

I have just had an exchange with Rabbi Oliver regarding my moderation of comments. I will simply post the exchange and hear the responses. The question is simply whether all negative comments about the Lubavitcher Rebbe have to be suppressed or is it sufficient for me to edit out the obnoxious comments but post the remaining comment to show both that someone has strong feelings about the matter and two that I will block obnoxious comments. If it is generally felt that it is better to block the entire comment as Rabbi Oliver is demanding - I will implement that policy. On the other hand if editing out the obnoxious comments is acceptable than I will maintain the current policy.
Rabbi Oliver wrote:
"he wanted absolute power"?! That wasn't edited out. The whole tone of the letter is the exact opposite of respectful dialogue and mutual understanding that you say the blog is intended to promote. I'd appreciate it if you'd write a blog post making this clear, just as you did (several times!) complaining about what you believed to be Herschel's inappropriate language.

2008/8/27 Daniel Eidensohn

I edited out the obnoxious words and made sure that it was obvious that I edited the comment. I think it is more respectful to post an edited comment than to block it entirely. Other comments that I could not edit I have blocked.
However if I get a few more letters like yours I will agree to block them altogether.

--- On Wed, 8/27/08, Yehoishophot Oliver wrote:

From: Yehoishophot Oliver
Subject: Re: [Daas Torah - Issues of Jewish Identity] New comment on Chabad - Respects non-Chabad gedolim?.
Date: Wednesday, August 27, 2008, 3:40 PM

Dear Rabbi Eidensohn,
Why do you allow such posts through at all? This is nothing but blatant lies and disgrace of a great Tzaddik and talmid chochom. I thought you respected the Rebbe and wanted to do something to reduce sinas chinom, not increase it?

2008/8/27 Anonymous

Anonymous has left a new comment on the post "Chabad - Respects non-Chabad gedolim?":

>>A total lie. The Rebbe was tolerant of the approach of others, and always encouraged them in their derech, saying nahara, nahara upashtei.

YOu have been caught already on twisintg the truth, and here you are clearly lying. The Rebbe clearly expressed that those who did not learn Tanya are missing something upstairs. That is intolerance toward other people. [edit]

>>What totally twisted nonsense.

I know, what the Rebbe said was totally [edited] And you are twisting the above passage too, as we will show.

>>Actually, the Rebbe had full respect for the custom of other groups to sleep in sukkah, and never ever dismissed it, ch"v.

This was not the issue. The issue was the Rebbe's incredible [edited] toward those who thought he was wrong--calling them, for example, messengers of the Satan, and, in another instance, accusing the gadol hador of not wearing kosher tefillin.

>>He always said about all other groups' minhogim: "nahara, nahara upashtei." On that occasion the Rebbe was upset at those who sought (and still seek) to DISCREDIT the Rebbeim of Chabad for following the minhag not to sleep in sukkah, as if they are violating Shulchan Aruch ch"v, when they have their halachic reasons for this custom.

The halachic dispensation for not sleeping in a sukkah and the so called minhag not to sleep in one are two completely different things. One is enshrined by halacha and the other is shtus, hevel, and was never supported by anyone.

>>The Rebbe pointed out then that Litvishe gedolim throughout the generations had peaceful, friendly interactions with the Rebbeim of Chabad, and certainly never spoke against them in this way, and that those who promote this question are simply introducing flames of machlokes for no reason!

The rebbe [edited] had nothing to do with any charedi group. And the friendly interactions with chabad stopped because the rebbe refused to have anything to with them, ostensibly because he wanted absolute power.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Dead Sea Scrolls on internet

New York Times reported:

The 2,000-year-old scrolls, found in the late 1940s in caves near the Dead Sea east of Jerusalem, contain the earliest known copies of every book of the Hebrew Bible (missing only the Book of Esther), as well as apocryphal texts and descriptions of rituals of a Jewish sect at the time of Jesus. The texts, most of them on parchment but some on papyrus, date from the third century B.C. to the first century A.D.[...]

The keepers of the scrolls, people like Pnina Shor, head of the conservation department of the antiquities authority, are delighted by the intense interest but say that each time a scroll is exposed to light, humidity and heat, it deteriorates. She says even without such exposure there is deterioration because of the ink used on some of the scrolls as well as the residue from the Scotch tape used by the 1950s scholars in piecing together fragments.

The entire collection was photographed only once before — in the 1950s using infrared — and those photographs are stored in a climate-controlled room because they show things already lost from some of the scrolls. The old infrared pictures will also be scanned in the new digital effort.

“The project began as a conservation necessity,” Ms. Shor explained. “We wanted to monitor the deterioration of the scrolls and realized we needed to take precise photographs to watch the process. That’s when we decided to do a comprehensive set of photos, both in color and infrared, to monitor selectively what is happening. We realized then that we could make the entire set of pictures available online to everyone, meaning that anyone will be able to see the scrolls in the kind of detail that no one has until now.”

The process will probably take one to two years — more before it is available online — and is being led by Greg Bearman, who retired from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Data collection is directed by Simon Tanner of Kings College London.

Secular terrorize Chareidim

YNET reported

Ultra-Orthodox Jews picnicking in park located in secular neighborhood of Jerusalem suffer verbal violence at hands of residents who blame them for 'taking up entire playground,' force them to leave

The struggle between secular and Orthodox Jews in the capital has reached the public parks. A family of ultra-Orthodox Jews attempting to spend a relaxed day in a park located in the secular Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hakerem were driven away from the area by a number of residents.

The family arrived at the park with its children in tow on Monday evening, and attempted to have a picnic.

The moment we arrived and sat on the benches at the entrance to the park, an elderly woman arrived and told us it wasn't nice of us to take up the entire playground for her children," one family member recounted.

"We didn't want to fight with her, but other people began arriving and yelling at us. One woman sat next to my brother-in-law so he would get up. The secular Jews surrounding us began arguing over whether or not we should leave. Some said no and some said yes."

The chaos upset the family. "The children began to cry because they were frightened by all of the yelling around us, so we went to the other end of the park where we thought we would have peace, but they just followed us," said Moti, one of the family members.

He added that when they attempted to light a small grill to prepare food they were told to put it out immediately, but even when they did so, the yelling continued. The family then decided to leave the park.[...]

The Jerusalem Municipality responded by stating, "We strongly object to all cases of racism and violence. We hold educational programs aiming to encourage coexistence and a dialogue among the different sectors of society in the city."

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Modesty Squad targeted by Jerusalem police IV

Ultra-Orthodox Jews rioted in Jerusalem on Monday in protest of the recent arrest of Shmuel Weisfish, a member of the haredi community's chastity squad who was allegedly involved in the torching of a store selling MP4 players in violation of a ruling of the Orthodox Court of Justice.
Demonstrators set garbage cans on fire on Shmuel Hanavi, Dvora Hanevia, Hanevi'im and Shivtei Yisrael streets in the capital. Police officers dispatched to the scene closed the streets for traffic and cleared the roads, some of which were reopened a short while later. A court ordered that Weisfish remain in custody until Thursday. He was arrested about a month ago.

Another pashkevil distributed within the haredi community last week read, "The zionazi police arrested yeshiva student Shmuel Weisfish for his alleged participation in activity aimed against those who pollute our camp, such as the stores that sell profanity. The safeguarding of the Torah is considered a crime in this country of Sodom and Gomorrha. The haredi sect will fight back against its accusers.

However, a source in the Orthodox Court of Justice told Ynet that the haredi public "opposes the attacks on the store and is against the riots carried out by the extremists."

According to him, the Jewish extremists are looking to "ban films altogether so everyone will study Torah, but some community members want to listen to a song or watch a movie. The extremists do not understand this."

The source further claimed that the extremists' actions are undermining the Orthodox rabbis' authority.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Chabad - Rebbe & prophecy II/Israel only?

The following is a question raised to defend the idea that the Lubavitcher Rebbe could be a prophet even though he was never in Israel

Rabbi Ariel Sokolovsky's comment to "Chabad - Rebbe & prophecy/R' Gil Student":
If Moshe Rabbeinu the greatest prophet ever became a prophet without ever setting his foot in Eretz Yisrael how can one entertain this as a requirement for other prophets?

Also it would seem to place limitations on G-d's omnipotence since according to this G-d can only communicate with people from Eretz Yisrael or in Eretz Yisrael etc.

Here are some sources which state that prophecy is limited to Israel

Sifri (Mishpatim #32):
A prophet from your midst - and not from outside of Israel

ספרי (משפטים לב): נביא מקרבך מאחיך כמוני יקים לך ה' אלהיך. מקרבך ולא בחוצה לארץ. מאחיך ולא מאחרי'. יקים לך ולא לגוים ומה אני מקיים. ירמיה (א:ה) נביא לגוים נתתיך. בנוהג מנהג גוים: אליו תשמעון. יבמות צ וש"נ אפי' אומר לך עבור על אחת מכל מצות האמורות בתורה כאליהו בהר הכרמל לפי שעה שמע לו: (סליק פיסקא):

Ramban(Devarim 18:15):
A prophet from your midst - This alludes to the fact that there is no prophecy outside of Israel

רמב"ן (דברים יח:טו): נביא מקרבך מאחיך כמני טעם "מקרבך", לרמוז שאין נבואה אלא בארץ ישראל, ולכך יאמר בה הכתוב (ישעיה כב א) משא גיא חזיון, וכמו שהזכירו רבותינו (מכילתא ריש בא) וכן טעם "מאחיך", כי השם נתן לך מעלה על כל העמים ולא יתן רוחו רק עליכם כמוני, שאני מקרב אחיך יקים לך, תחתי, וכן מנביא לנביא, לשון רש"י ואמר רבי אברהם, כמוני, שאני נביא השם, לא מעונן וקוסם ויתכן שיהיה "מקרבך", לומר שתוכל לבטוח בדבריו שהוא מאחיך מקרבך וכן על דעתי, "כמוני", שיהיה נאמן לנביא לה' ותאמין בו כאשר אתה מאמין בי, ועוד אבאר זה:

Mizrachi(Devarim 18:15): Our Sages teach in Sifre "A prophet from your midst" means not outside of Israel which alludes to the fact that there prophetic ability does not rest anywhere except the Land of Israel

מזרחי (דברים יח:טו): אבל רבותינו ז"ל דרשו בספרי, "מקרבך ולא מחוצה לארץ" רמז, שאין נבואה שורה אלא בארץ ישראל

Sefer HaIkkarim(3:11): Just as the spark of sunlight striking a mirror reflects it back so that it can illuminate dark places, so is it with G‑d’s illumination which comes to a prophet. It can reflect on to others who are not deserving of prophecy and enable them to receive prophecy. In my opinion this is the reason why prophecy is found amongst the Jewish people rather than the nations of the world and why it is found only in Israel and not other lands…

ספר העקרים (ג:יא): וענין צורך האמצעי בדבר הזה הוא ע"ז הדרך כי כמו שמהכאת ניצוץ השמש בגוף זך בהיר כמראה המלוטשת יתהפך הניצוץ אל מקום חשוך ויאיר המקום ההוא על ידי ההתהפכות ההוא מה שלא היה מאיר קודם זה כך השפע האלהי שכירד על הנביא השלם יתהפך ממנו על הבלתי ראוי ויהיה זה סבה אל שיחול הרוח הנבואיי על הבלתי שלם או בלתי מוכן לכך ויתנבא ואף בזה ההתהפכות יהיה הרוח שיחול על היותר מוכן גדול ממה שיחול על מי שאינו מוכן: ולפי דעתי שזאת היתה הסבה שתמצא הנבואה באומת ישראל מזולתה מן האומות ובארץ ישראל מזולתה מן הארצות וזה כי מצד הארון והלוחות שהיתה השכינה שורה עליו היה מתהפך הרוח האלהי כדמות ניצוץ השמש המתהפך והיה שורה הרוח הנבואיי על האיש שתמצא בו הכנה מה בדמיון מה שהוא בארון והוא האיש שימצאו בו דעות התורה הכתובים בלוחות הברית באמת כמו שהיה זה בנבואת שמואל שהיה שוכב בחדרו שהיה לו ובאה אליו קול הנבואה מעל הכפרת אשר על הארון שהיה אז שם בשילה והוא עצמו לא היה יודע מי הקורא שלא היה משער בעצמו היותו ראוי לנבואה שישמע קול בעת היקיצה במראה הנבואה ולזה היה קם ממטתו ללכת אל עלי עד שעלי הבין זה מעצמו כמו שאמר הכתוב (שמואל א' ג') ויבן עלי כי ה' קורא לנער:

Regarding Moshe's prophecy Kuzari (2:14) says that Egypt and the Sinai were considered part of Israel.

כוזרי (ב:יד): אמר החבר: כל מי שנתנבא לא נתנבא כי אם בארץ הזאת או בעבורה כך זכה אברהם לנבואתו הראשונה כאשר צוה ללכת אל הארץ הזאת ויחזקאל ודניאל בעבורה נבאו אכן שניהם ראו עוד את הבית הראשון ואת כבוד השכינה אשר כל ימי היותה שורה בבית ההוא היה כל אדם המוכן לכך מצד הסגלה מגיע לנבואה אשר לנבואת ירמיהו במצרים הלא היתה בארץ ובעבורה כמוה כנבואת משה ואהרן ומרים כי סיני ופארן שניהם בגבול ארץ ישראל הלא הם על יד ים סוף ודבר האלוה היה ושתי את גבלך מים סוף ועד ים פלשתים וממדבר עד הנהר והנה מדבר הוא מדבר פארן המדבר הגדול והנורא והוא גבולה הדרומי של הארץ והנהר שהוא נהר פרת כמו שנאמר והנהר הרביעי הוא פרת הוא גבול הארץ...

Moed Koton(25a): R’ Abba opened his funeral address: “Our master deserved that the Shechina should rest on him but the fact that he lived [outside of Israel] in Babylonia prevented this from happening.” R’ Nachman objected to this assertion by noting that Yechezkeil prophesized outside of Israel. R’ Nachman’s father refuted his son’s objection by noting that there is a doubled language that indicates that Yechezkeil was a prophet before coming to Babylonia [and therefore he was able to continue being a prophet even outside of Israel - Rashi].

מועד קטן (כה.): פתח עליה רבי אבא: ראוי היה רבינו שתשרה עליו שכינה, אלא שבבל גרמה ליה. מתיב רב נחמן בר חסדא, ואמרי לה רב חנן בר חסדא: (יחזקאל א:ג) היה היה דבר ה' אל יחזקאל בן בוזי הכהן בארץ כשדים! טפח ליה אבוה בסנדליה. אמר ליה: לאו אמינא לך לא תיטרוד עלמא? מאי היה - שהיה כבר.

Torah Temimah (Devarim 18:15):
When the Jews came to Israel prophetic ability was nullified outside of Israel as is explained in the Mechilta

תמימה (דברים יח:טו הערה סח): דמשבאו ישראל לא"י בטלה השראת הנבואה בחו"ל כמבואר במכילתא פ' בא פרשה ראשונה:
Mechilta (Bo Parsha 1): Until the Land of Israel was chosen all the lands were fit for prophecy. However once the Land of Israel was chosen – the other lands were excluded. Until Yerushalayim was chosen for the Temple all of Israel was permitted to have altars. However once Yerushalayim was chosen it was forbidden to have altars outside of Yerushalaym.
מכילתא דרבי ישמעאל בא - מסכתא דפסחא פרשה א

ועד שלא נבחרה ארץ ישראל היו כל הארצות כשרות לדברות משנבחרה ארץ ישראל יצאו כל הארצות. עד שלא נבחרה ירושלם היתה כל ארץ ישראל כשרה למזבחות משנבחרה ירושלם יצאת ארץ ישראל שנאמר השמר לך פן תעלה עולותך בכל המקום אשר תראה כי אם במקום אשר יבחר ה' אלהיך (דברים יב:יד