Thursday, March 3, 2016

Shabbos; When Is Burning In Gehenom, Good?! by Rabbi Shlomo Pollak

Guest Post

The famous Dyybuk- in the times of the Chofetz Chaim- said, she was not protected from her trauma even on Shabbos, because during her lifetime she didn't keep Shabbos....

Indeed, the Chidah in his Sefer Chomas Anuch in the beginning of Parshas Vayakel brings from The Zohar in Parashas Terumah, this same concept- if you didn't keep Shabbos, Shabbos doesn't protect you...

However, the Gemarah in Sanhedrin (65b) brings a story that even a gentile, who certainly never kept Shabbos in his life, is protected from Shabbos...

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  1. This is a stupid question, while the goy did not keep shabbos, they did not desecrate it either.

  2. My thoughts exactly!

  3. I did not listen to audio, but are we required to believe in supernatural things like dibbukim? Is that one of the 13 Ikarim?

    What bothers me is that the Chareidi world often gets hung up on kabbalistic concepts that may belong to other olamos, the rules of which they claim to know very well, but somehow, when it comes to this world, right in front of our faces, they don't bother to learn its rules. Those are the laws of chemistry and physics. They go further and actually forbid any secular education past 7th or 8th grade.

    I can't think of any greater chesed than learning math and science which can be used to cure terrible diseases, like cancer, paralysis, blindness, etc. This is, of course, in addition to the benefits for making a parnasa that secular studies provides.

    I think we need fewer experts on other worlds, and more experts on this world.

  4. When it comes to torah, no question is Stupid, c"v.
    perhaps the protection comes from actually keeping the Sabbath.

  5. I appreciate your creativity but most jews are in gehinnem less than 12 months. so for them gehennim not burning on shabbos would work to their detriment like the goy.

  6. Politically IncorrectMarch 7, 2016 at 10:55 AM

    Oh, hi Barry, was wondering where you went!

    What bothers me even more is that the Chareidi world is so numb, only taking advice from a line of archaic rabbis. .....and didn't bother talking cues from Barry Jacobson. ........

  7. We had supernatural good times, right after we accepted the Torah on Mount Sinai, see

  8. Dear Rabbi Politically Incorrect,

    That was certainly a spirited defense (no pun intended) of a system which favors teaching dibbukim and gilgulim over math and science. Unfortunately, often the Chareidi world seeks to argue according to perceived rank, rather than on the merits of the arguments. While this topic is very complex, and actually requires a book (which I am working on), I am glad to write a guest post at some point. I have also been writing in the Five Towns Jewish Times (Google Judaism, Right and Left by Barry Jacobson, and follow up comments and essays) on this point.

    Sadly, many people are suffering under the current system, and coming to the USA to collect money for their families, because they can't find a job, due to total lack of secular education. As any Jew does, I have a chiyuv to speak out when fellow Jews are in pain. In addition, as before, many are also suffering from terrible illnesses, which nobody yet knows how to cure, and we need trained researchers.

    So despite being a nobody, that will not stop me from speaking out, as the system will not change from the top down, until such time as the little guys raise enough of a ruckus to make their voices heard.

  9. Politically IncorrectMarch 7, 2016 at 10:22 PM

    Calling me Rabbi Politically Incorrect, maybe I can call you Dr. Barry or Rabbi Dr. Barry ;-)....nice try, but need to voice total dissent for this approach: Klal Yisroel since the giving of the Torah works with Mesorah. .....'common sense' or 'logical arguments' *alone* do not suffice. ...

  10. Exactly, and we have a mesorah starting with our avos that we do chesed. And part of chesed is giving everybody a parnasa and a refuah. Remember that Avraham Avinu served three idol-worshippers a feast. Chesed comes before religious issues. And Moshe Rabbeinu was chosen because he rescued a lost sheep, etc. Rivka was the right shidduch because she also fed animals.

    I am merely restoring the original mesorah.

  11. Politically IncorrectMarch 8, 2016 at 3:51 PM

    Ah, so all the geonim, tzadikim and rabbinic authorities have erred. ....not making sense o_O.......

    More importantly, Mesorah works with an *unbroken* chain. What you are doing is historical investigation. We must follow *directly* from the last generation whom we accepted our faith......otherwise one can *literally* build a bomoh..

  12. Sorry, that is a pseudo-mesorah. The mishna and shulchan aruch make clear that chayav adam lelamed es bno umanus, and kol torah shein imah melacha sofa beteila vgoreres avon. The shitos of Rebbe Shimon bar Yochai in Brachos 35, and Rebbe Nehorai in Kiddushin 82 are not lemayseh for hamon am, only yechidei segulah. In earlier time, one could learn to spin clay at pottery wheel. Today, need more advanced training. Look at any job ads, and see how many want someone with barely an elementary school education. Just like there was no mesorah to brush teeth, but when toothpaste was invented, we adopted it because of older mesorah to take care of body. There was no mesorah to drive cars, but we adopted it because it would save time, and preventing bitul zman was an older mesorah.

    There was an unbroken mesorah to do chesed for others and for family and to make a parnasa, which today absolutely entails secular studies.

    It is like when certain people wanted to insist that Yiddish should be the language of Eretz Yisrael. They were going to subtsitute the pseudo-mesorah of hybridizing European languages, even after we left Europe, and ignore the true mesorah of Hebrew, which was spoken by the Avos.

    If you have kashyas as to why this posek or that disagrees, you should ask them directly.

  13. your incredible concept of mesorah of chesed trumping halacha has nothing to do with Judaism but rather some myth that people who reject halacha try using as a club against the Shulchan Aruch.

    Look at the Netziv's haskoma to the Chofetz Chaim's Ahavas Chesed where he rejects your idea.

    Halacha is not subordinate to a secular concept of chesed nor is subordinate to a concept of darchei no'am.

    If you want to know what to do as a Jew - your first question is not whether the New York Times approves.

  14. Politically IncorrectMarch 9, 2016 at 6:47 PM

    Thanks so much Da'as Torah. (A bit of a strain on my fingers for the response that is called for, hopefully later I can respond adequately. ...)

    Was a bit nervous where you have been for the past 2 days. Also, anxious about updating the Tamar saga. Btw, did meet Monday with Rav Miller. Hoping for a good ending. ...and soon...

  15. Who met with Rav Miller and for what purpose?

  16. Dear Rabbi Eidensohn, Why must you create divisions, where none exist? The Rambam says the highest form of tzedaka is to give someone a job. Presidential candidates also say that they want to provide jobs. It is a basic human need. Why inject frumkeit into such a straightforward concept?

    Nowhere does the Netziv say that Halacha is not subordinate to a secular concept of chesed or to darchei noam. If anything, the halacha raises the bar for chesed even higher than what a human might say on his own. I.e., the Netziv says that humans will help a poor person with a loan, but want to at least get some interest in return. The Torah says, you cannot charge interest, but must totally do the loan for the sake of the poor man with no benefit to yourself..

    The gemara in gittin 60 or 61 which I saw quoted in a piece by R. Aharaon Lichtenstien in Tradition says that every single mitzva in the whole Torah is for darchei shalom.

    Furthermore, even if we granted that darchei shalom doesn't override any halachos, what halacha ever said one can't work, or get training for a job? The halacha says one must train his son in a trade, which by definittion involves secular studies. Is learning how to spin pottery any different than learning how to work in a science lab? And the entire gemara discusses numerous cases of workers getting into legal disputes with each other, and going to rabbanim for a psak. Were all those workers reshaim, because they weren't learning? Atu birishiii askinan?

    So unfortunately I don't understand just about anything in your entire post. I think you have allowed frumkeit to distort your good judgment.

  17. Politically IncorrectMarch 10, 2016 at 12:33 PM

    I did. I asked him where he thinks the situation is going with Tamar and I'd he thought it would be resolved. He thought it would.

    I also asked him what he thought of some fliers that were distributed regarding same. He, though, between you, me and everyone here, was for his letters and other rabbinic letters to be distributed. Rav Dovid Eidensohn's, he felt people won't take to.......he didn't say though, after repeated questioning that he agrees or that it's ossur or that those who put it out should ask mechillah. He almost seemed to laugh at the last one....

  18. Politically IncorrectMarch 10, 2016 at 12:46 PM

    Nowhere does it say that Halacha is not subordinate to secular concept of Chesed. doesn't have to, because it already says, " Istakel b'Oraysoh uboroh almoh"...the world follows the Torah's blueprint, the blueprint of Sechel Elokus, not vice versa.

    But. far as your conviction is concerned, the Mishnah in Brochos says ,"One who says "Your pity should reach a bird's nest", that we shush him". The Gemara explains that he makes the Torah superficial Rachmim, while they are in essence gezairos.....that's for even non secular Rachmim, certainly for secular!

    Also, I was trying to tell you that Mesorah means giving over Torah from generation to generation, in this comment of yours and others, you overlook that and go straight to the sources, while ignoring the 'sources' or givers of the Torah in between, who properly interpret the Torah and know specifically in which scenario to apply it...

  19. Politically IncorrectMarch 10, 2016 at 12:49 PM

    According to this, Barry, why not bring a korban on a bomoh like Avrohom Avinu did? That's where you end up without Mesorah.

    Please See my comment below to your latest...

  20. I once asked my Rosh Yeshiva about the role of these ideas in halacha, eg emotion, chesed, etc. He said there are not external factors that influence halacha, but internal. But it remains to be clarified and defined what these factors are, eg Darchei shalom, tikkun olam etc.

  21. We know exactly in which year the bamos became forbidden (2488). and the Torah explcitly told us about the switch. When did the halacha change that one can not learn to make a living? Please provide year and documentation.

  22. Yes, the kashya from kan tzipor is a good one, and I am well aware of it. But as you know, A) there is another opinion that the problems was shematil kinah bmayseh breishis. Engenders jealousy among other creatures. B) May only apply in davening, and may only be because one can't say definitively what the RBSH's cheshbon is. But still a good kashya.

    However, the preponderance of sources say that the entire purpose of Torah is for menschlachkeit, including the ones I already mentioned. Why wasn't Moshe chosen based on his hasmada? It was because of menschlachkeit to brethren and animals. Chazal say the hallmarks of a Jew are Rachmanim, Bayshanim, Gomlei Chassadim, (not Masmidim).

    The fact that you are willing to acknowledge that the traditional sources support me, is already a big achievement for my point of view. As to why your baalei eitza do not follow those sources is a kashya you had best ask them directly.

    The bottom line is that yeshiva bachurim are being poisoned by krum, thundering "mussar" shmuezin that try to convince nice, kind boys that there is a raging battle between the Torah's values and simple menschlachkeit, what the rest of the world calls kindness. They are ruining pure neshamos. The ultimate goal of the Torah is kindness, period.

    You may find a difficult chazal here or there that may give an opposite impression, but they must be understood and explained. Rebbe Akiva and Hillel both told us what the major principle of the Torah is. The current situation is very sad.

  23. you obviously didn't read the Netziv's haskoma that addresses your problem

  24. I absolutely did, and quoted from it earlier. The only thin the Netziv says remotely along the lines you suggest is that in a case of the product of an intermarriage where the mother is Jewish, the child may have to serve the mother first, rather than the father, which is the normal protocol. But he still must serve both. And as a matter of fact, the gemara learns the extent of kibud av vaem from a non-Jewish idol-worshipper. How in the world should we learn about how we holy Jews should perform a G-d-ordained mitzva deoraisa from some random idol-worshipper? So you see, in fact, that the entire goal of the Torah is plain-old universalistic kindness.

    So it is high time that yeshivas should stop with this divisive nonsense about how Western notions of kindness is in conflict with Torah values. and I might add that this fallacy is the cause of all the heated infighting which plagues much of the Litvishe and Chassidic world. If they would realize the ultimate goal of the Torah is kindness, they would stop all this constant fighting with each other "lshem shamayim".

  25. you either didn't read the whole thing or you didn't understand it

  26. Your turn. Cite exact words where he denigrates the universal notion of kindness, and says Torah is incompatible. All he says is that in addition to universal notion of kindness, which is positive, there are additional requirements of chesed, as well, which come from the Torah.

  27. Barry I am not sure why you don't understand what the Netziv is saying. He states very clearly that there is no chesed if it is contradicted by the Torah.

    וכמו כן הוא במצות הלואה למי שנצרך. דאע''ג שהיא חובת האדם מכ''מ היא חוקית ג''כ. וא''כ יש בזה כמה דינים מה שאין דומה עפ''י שכל אנושי שהיא חובת האדם. ונ''מ לענין איסור נשך. דמצד דעת האדם. אם יש לאדם מעות שחייו תלויים בהם. ואינו יכול להלותם בג''ח כי אם להלוותם ברבית למי שהוא בעל שדה או סוחר. ומצד חובת האדם הוא ג''ח גדול ומצוה להלוותם ברבית הראוי ויחיה גם הוא גם חבירו במעותיות. אבל הזהירה תורה אותנו ע''ז שאסור לקבל נשך בשום אופן. וא''כ א''א להלוות ולעשות זה החסד

  28. The question from "al kan tzipur" is not a question. The issue is that we should not attribute traits to Hashem, but the point of the mitzva is certainly that we should learn to have pity on creatures. This is all in the Ramban al Hatorah on that parsha as well as in other rishonim.

  29. See my response above.

  30. What he is saying is that if a person does not have enough money, so that if he would lend out his money, would not be enough for himself, but he could manage if he would charge interest, it is still not permissible, and he shouldn't lend the money. What is preventing the loan is lack of funds. The Torah doesn't want to make an exception, because possibly will lead to loan-sharking and will end up hurting more poor people in the long run, than this single loan will benefit. But if the lender is blessed with more funds, then he should by all means lend the money interest-free.

    This does not contradict kindness. It is actually trying to enhance kindness for as many people as possible. Yes, the Torah does have foresight, but the goal remains chesed.

  31. Barry for an intelligent person - it is amazing you can't understand the Netziv. You are so convinced of your point of view - you are trying to twist the Netziv around to be in agreement and are ignoring what the Netziv is saying . But the Netziv doesn't agree with you or your interpretation.

    He states that human feelings can be the source of obligations - as long as the Torah doesn't contradict. In this case human feelings say it is important to help by lending the money. But he can't afford lending without interest. Human feelings of chesed say that it is better to lend even with interest and help your fellow man. The Torah say NO The Netziv says that halacha trumps human feelings.

    Chesed is not the goal - it is to live in accord with the halacha. If there is no halachic guidance or contradiction from halacha - then human feelings provide the guidance. BUT HALACHA - EVEN IF IT CONTRADICTS HUMAN FEELINGS - DETERMINES WHAT WE DO!

    This is the opposite of your point of view which is not Orthodox Judaism but rather secular humanism.

  32. First, there are some inaccuracies in your translation. Maos shechayav teluyim bahem does not mean that he makes his living from interest. It means that he needs this money to survive, because of his own pressing expenses or investments. He doesn't have enough for himself. In this case, the only way he could help the poor fellow is to charge interest, or else have to turn him down. So the Torah says better to turn him down. The reason is probably what I stated earlier, that it will hurt the poor in the long run.

    But the ultimate goal in this world is chesed. Not because I said so, or the Netziv said so, but because Hillel and Rebbe Akiva said so, zeh klal gadol batorah. And what is interesting is that Rebbe Yannai said to Rebbe Akiva that zeh sefer toldos adam is klal gadol mizeh. Because vahavta lreacha kamocha mihht give the impression it is only for Jews. So Rebbe Yannai says that my pasuk which concludes with Btzelem elokim bara osam teaches that all humans have a tzelem elokim, and one must be kind to them.

    The problem with secular humanism is not that it's a bad thing. It is that it would not be possible without the Torah. People would eat each other up alive. Once the Torah and Judeo-Christian values were in place and became established, and allowed society to flourish with just laws and values of kindness and modern innovations, then along came some people and said, what do we need religion for, let's just be kind. But the fallacy was that without religion, the world would have been a chaotic, backwards place, where no technology would have developed. It would have been as in certain parts of the world still today, where violence is rampant, and quality of life is primitive. The secular humanists were looking at the end results, and trying to copy the results, without understanding the process that went in to creating those results. They didn't come out of thin air.

    Nevertheless, there are those in the Torah world who make the opposite mistake. That the laws are there to serve G-d's ego, and we should fight with each other about who is holier. That is just as foolish. The halachos are to create darchei shalom, and talmidei chachamim are supposed to be marbim shalom baolam. To fight over Torah is exactly the opposite of its intent.

  33. Even with the clear reality staring you in the face - you refuse to acknowledge it. Your description of a mesora of chesed etc etc - is simply wrong.

    Take responsibility for what you say and acknowledge that your description is wrong

    Halacha takes precedence - even if it seems from our perspective that it is lacking in chesed

  34. In NO way, is this about being "HUNG UP" in "dibbuk" .....

    These are established concepts from credible sources, (the "Chofeitz Chaim Dibbuk" is the most exotic and well known, but not by any means the most creditable) with real life Halachic implications (Maariv on motzei Shabbos, kabolas Shabbos, etc...)....

    So, while your rant regarding our community's lack of focus on preparing the next generation for the world they will live in, is important.....THIS SHIUR IS NOT THE PLACE TO PARK IT.

  35. It is not clear how credible the Chofetz Chaim Dibbuk story is.

  36. The entire goal of the Torah is kindness and humanism, Nobody is saying one doesn't have to follow halacha. One doesn't need the Netziv to know that I can't take my elderly neighbor shopping on Shabbos, unless life-threatening emergency. Nevertheless, mitzvos are for the good of people, or the greater good. So, on shabbos, I can spend more time talking with my family about chesed, and learning, which motivates chesed. Then, the end result may be that I'll do more chesed during the week. So the break on shabbos actually benefits and increases chesed in total.

    Of course, learning is important, if it benefits chesed. But unfortunately, today, many have adopted cowboy hashkafas that make an imaginary war between learning and rest of world. So in Israel, they bash the medina, and elsewhere they bash Western values. Instead of learning kindmess towards the countries that host them and give them so many services, they don't have elementary hakaras hatov. They place a wall between the Torah and the hamon am, instead of treating their brethren with with love.

    Far better to study secular subjects and contribute positively to world than to only learn and contribute hatred. That was never the goal of the Torah. It was to promote ahava and achva. (I am not referring to any person, individually, but to a general attitude.)

  37. I heard it from a talmud chacham who heard it directly from Rav Elchanan Wasserman.

  38. That's fine. Even if the whole story NEVER HAPPENED....

    ...The discussion regarding Gihenum on Shabbos, is still well sourced, in Halachic sources, Mifarshei Hatorah, Gemarah, and the Zohar...

  39. you are wondering all over the place in an incoherent deviation from your original point

  40. This is a response I made 6 years ago regarding the Brazilain Dybuk

    There are conflicting accounts regarding Rav Elchonon Wasserman's attitude toward the Chofetz Chaim's dybuk. Some say that he believed it was real but said that there would be not future occurrences. Rav Yaakov Kaminetsky said he saw a letter from Rav Wasserman who said it would not occur again because just as the spiritual level declined was the impure level inclined. So Rav Yaakov held that Rav Wasserman would say that it could happen in very spiritual communities. On the other hand there were others who said that Rav Wasserman did not like talking about the subject because he didn't think the dybuk was real.

    In short the issues is not witnesses but the evaluation of whether this was not a normal phenomenon. There were plenty of witnesses to this dybuk just as there were 11 years ago to the previous dybuk of Rav Batzri which inhabited a woman and fascinated all of Israel. She later however said she was a fraud.

  41. Nope. point is that goal of Torah is kindness. Kindness includes being able to make a living and not telling one's students to go door to door, instead of getting a secular education so they can support their families in dignity. Kindness also includes trying to cure diseases, not only sending food packages to dying patients. This also involves getting training in science and math.

    Yes, there should be some full-time learners, whose role is to instill ahava and achva in the rest of the nation and resolve disputes, so they can work together on doing chesed and giving parnasa to the poor, and helping the sick. This is the real purpose of Torah, not to tell people who work that it is assur and they are bad Jews. The entire purpose of Torah is to maximize kindness and productivity in the world.

  42. No complaints on the shiur or magid shiur. Didn't even listen. Complaint is directed at group of people who elevate supposedly supernatural concepts (which the Rambam would most probably outright deny) over natural concepts which are useful for chesed purposes (which the Rambam included in his Mishna Torah, such as the orbits of the planets according to the science of his day.)

  43. nope! a goal of Torahis kindness but is is not the only goal. Therefore the rest of your analysis is simply not true

  44. Look, a little guy like myself just follows basic sources like Rebbe Akiva and Hillel (and a host of others, like kol sheruach habriyos nocheh heymenu, ruach hamakom nocheh heymenu, etc.)

    I am sure there are high-falutin sources that may indicate otherwise, but those are way over my head.

  45. that is called cherry picking - it is a rather poor excuse for scholarship.

    If you don't get the whole deal so it would be better if instead of making grand descriptions of what you think Judaism should be - that you show some elementary humility

  46. In short the issues is not witnesses but the evaluation of whether this was not a normal phenomenon.

    Rav Elchanan said he was sent to by the Chofetz Chaim to take of it.


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