Friday, April 30, 2021

44 people killed in mass stampede of people during Lag Ba'Omer celebrations in Meron

44 people were killed and dozens more were injured on Thursday night in a mass stampede during Lag Ba’Omer celebrations on Mount Meron.

Paramedics from Magen David Adom and United Hatzalah provided treatment to the victims, including several who were unconscious, and evacuated them to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem, Rambam Hospital in Haifa, Ziv Hospital in Tzfat, Poriya Hospital in Tiberias and the Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya.

Fighters from the Home Front Command's rescue brigade, medical forces from the Northern Command and a number of Air Force helicopters with medical teams are assisting in treating the large number of victims in Meron.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

בית הדין ביטל את הוכחת היהדות של המיסיונר

 בית הדין בפילדלפיה הוציא פסק מיוחד בו הוא מבטל את יהדותו של מיכאל הכהן מהגבעה הצרפתית שהתגלה כגוי ובעבר חילק חומרי מיסיון | וגם כיצד בקלות ניתן להערים על הרשויות בישראל ולהוכיח יהדות? |

Trump and Scott Walker Linked Up For One of the Great Public-Private Scams in American History

 Not to pile on Wisconsin, which is being battered by the pandemic and continually harassed by President* Superspreader, but The Verge has produced what may be the definitive account of how the state was swindled out of its socks and underwear by Foxconn, the Taiwanese tech company that the president* and departed homunculus Scott Walker promised would convert Wisconsin into a magic kingdom of 21st century technological whizbangery. This, of course, has turned into one of the biggest public-private scams in American history, and one that living Wisconsinites have bequeathed to their posterity. Hold onto your gob while you read it, because it will be smacked, repeatedly. We begin.


'They demolished my house for this?' Residents outraged by the Foxconn factory that fizzled

 In 2017, Mount Pleasant officials had used the promise of 13,000 jobs and $10bn in private investment by 2023 as justification for forcing hundreds of residents from their homes and turning the property over to Foxconn. Officials vowed to transform the sleepy rural village into a bustling, hi-tech hub for manufacturing known as “Wisconn Valley” – a promise that appealed to many in the state who have suffered as traditional manufacturing jobs have disappeared.

 Instead, the project imploded in slow motion. Few jobs have materialized and Foxconn has not submitted new construction plans in over a year. The LCD screens that were supposed to be made there aren’t being built in its “factory”, which is 20 times smaller than proposed and now zoned as “storage”. After Foxconn failed to meet its job creation targets, Wisconsin’s governor, Tony Evers, last month pulled a deal that would have handed the company nearly $4.5bn in incentives for completing its plans.

Rav Dessler and proper chinuch

 Rav Dessler (Michtav M’Eliyahu 3:360-361 written 1949): Education of children regarding corporal punishment. Question: You have written that the latest scientific research has a fundamental problem with the use of corporal punishment. They say that it is natural that children imitate what their parents do. Consequently if they are given corporal punishment then they will learn the improper lesson that they should hit those who act against their wishes... Answer: The secular researchers are mistaken because of two fallacies in their reasoning which cause them to misunderstand the true nature of the matter. 1) The first mistake is that they think  that man is born without any characteristics at all [tabla rosa] and therefore a person’s nature is totally determined by what he learns from his environment. In other words they mistakenly believe that a man acquires his personality entirely from his surroundings. This is not true. The Torah says “At the door sin crouches”. That means that even before a child is born that there is an instinctive attraction to evil. Our Sages note that when Rivkah was pregnant with Yaakov and Esav  - when when she passed the temples of idolatry that Esav pushed to be born. See what the Maharal writes on this. That means that there is an aspect of instinct without conscious awareness or thought at all which are part of a person’s nature that he is born with which he has to fight against. It is obvious of course that the social environment can strengthen characteristics and that he can in fact learn from others. However the primary characteristics do not have to be learned from others because they are innate. 2) The second mistake is that they think that it is necessary to develop independence in children. This is an incredible error. In fact not only do they no need to learn independence but they need to learn submission and humility. They will in fact learn by themselves pride and murder. But to teach them “there is no one like me” (Yeshaya 47:10) is the approach of Edom  and the approach of murder and theft.

Torah and Shalom bayis

Rav Dovid Moshe Steinwurzel was an important rabbi dayan and teacher at Bobov in Brooklyn. He was always thinking about Torah. One day he arrived to teach at Bobov and  his students asked why he was carrying a paper bag? He was surprised because he normally did not go around carrying a bag. He looked in it and was shocked- it was full of garbage and he had carried it from his home in Midwood to his class in Boro Park on the bus. He then remembered that just as he was leaving his house his wife and asked him to take out the garbage. He had forgotten about it until he arrived to teach and was asked by his students.


Sen. Tim Scott takes on politics of division during GOP rebuttal: 'America is not a racist country'

 The only Black Republican senator, Scott has talked openly about his experience being targeted by police, including getting pulled over seven times in one year.

Biden promises to lift 'left-behind and forgotten' Americans with his ambitious economic agenda

 President Joe Biden spoke directly to working- and middle-class Americans who "feel left behind and forgotten" in a rapidly changing economy in his first address to a joint session of Congress, promising that his ambitious economic and infrastructure plans amounted to a "blue-collar blueprint to build America."

Addressing many of the voters who abandoned the Democratic Party to support former President Donald Trump, Biden made the case that his economic plans are squarely aimed at improving their economic fortunes while strengthening America's position around the globe and positioning America to compete against other world powers like China.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Chareidiyos & IDF: Breakthrough or Breakdown?


Chareidi Women Working at an Israeli Air Force Base: Breakthrough or Breakdown?

-- And the Imperative to Fight End the Military Draft for ALL Girls, Including Secular

Iyyar 16, 5781 / Tiferes She'Be'Hod, Parshas "Emor el HaCohanim" / Apr. 27, '21

By Binyomin Feinberg

It was recently widely reported in Israeli media (e.g. TV News12, Ynet April 8, '21) that the Israeli Air Force has, over the course of several years, developed a group of Chareidi women who perform very sensitive high-tech military work as paid employees of the military, at a military base. Secular Israeli media understandably hailed this as refreshingly positive development, enabling Chareidi women to secure careers that (a) purportedly accommodate their religious lifestyle while also (b) providing financial independence and (c) reportedly making a significant contribution to the physical security of the State of Israel. This unusual initiative was spearheaded by an ostensibly Chareidi woman, Ester Solomon, who received a Yom Ha'Atzmaut (Israeli Independence Day) award from the Israeli military for her "trailblazing" work in recruiting over a dozen 
ostensibly Chareidi women to work in this group. Solomon is officially involved with organizational work aimed at providing Chareidi women the "benefits" they're missing out on by not serving either in the Army or Sheirut Leumi (National Service), both of which Chareidi girls generally avoid - in compliance with the Chareidi Rabbinic leaders who have declared both as prohibited.*

On closer observation, however, not everything is as rosy as it may appear to many casual observers, as we explain in brief below. 

(* P.S.: Recent events have revealed the foresight of the Rabbinic pronouncements against the Israeli drafting of girls. Every step towards breaking the taboos of the Israeli government drafting girls into the Army leads the government to advance more of the same, inexorably leading towards mainstreaming the notion of religious, even ostensibly Chareidi women serving in the morally corrosive Army environment.)

At the very least, a few warnings are in order:

1) ANY initiative aimed at drawing Jews (either the recruits or others) away from Torah - in this case,  towards accepting the Israeli government drafting girls - involves a prohibition of the highest magnitude.*

(* For a sample of Torah sources addressing prohibitions of that which leads one astray from Judaism, see Shabbos 116a: Rabbi Tarfon and Rabbi Yishmoel; GR"A Orach Chaim 334: 26-28; Teshuvas HaRosh 19:17; Tosofos Pesachim 25a, Avoda Zorah 27b, Tosofos Shayni; Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Daiyoh 155:1; Teshuvas Maharam Shik O.C. 304; Sefer "MiYemini Michael" on Pesachim 58:12,13; cf. "S'dei Eliyahu" on Shabbos 116. To illustrate the severity of the prohibition against that which potentially could lead to apostasy, the world renowned  "Chassam Sofer," in his responsa on Yoreh Daiyah, 76 (quoted by the Pischei Teshuva on Y.D., siman 155) prohibited healing remedies employed with intent to draw the recipient away from Torah, even for those facing life-threatening conditions.)

A review of the publicly available information on some of the operative organizations, ATIDA and Atid Yisroel, as well as a letter on "Shalhevet" stationary, apparently signed by Mrs. Solomon, indicate that there is a concrete effort to integrate Chareidi women into the Israeli military, incrementally. Any accomplishment in that regard, however seemingly harmless, and even seemingly beneficial, leads to the next, more ominous steps.

How specifically would this celebrated 
Air Force development lead to the latter? 

2) This ostensibly Chareidi Air Force program will most likely be cited by the Israeli Supreme Court as evidence of their bizarre pronouncement in early 2019 that serving in the military does not conflict with the lifestyle of religious girls. The fact that these women are ostensibly being paid may be easily dismissed.*

[* as in the expression attributed to a famous WWII era British statesman, "Madam, what you ARE has already been established, we're now just quibbling about the price." (The full context of his remarks is not appropriate for  publication for this readership.)]

This legal landmine could explode in the Supreme Court in the course of any legal case involving a religious girl being drafted that makes its way up to the Bagatz (Israeli Supreme Court). We ought expect the unexpected. Advocacy organizations be warned: your planned forays into the notoriously leftist Israeli Supreme Court may harm tens of thousands of religious girls.

3) Additionally, the "wonderful" and truly historic precedent set here - over which Ms. Solomon waxed eloquent at her timely Yom HaAztma'ut award - will be leveraged not only to offer an OPTION to Chareidi women, but also to eventually establish a MANDATORY alternative to Army and Sheirut Leumi. Once there's a "religiously acceptable" manner of making a contribution to the military, it will become required of all religious girls. Of course, politically connected families may initially evade the obligation. But everyone else will suffer - just because these ladies opted to secure hefty salaries "to support their husbands in Kollel".*

(* as if the continuity of Torah requires the financing of this camouflaged concoction of the Army Draft Office.)

4) Consider the emotional and psychological impact that this female Chareidi taboo-breaker has on all of the courageous refusenik girls - often isolated and abandoned by the Chareidi estsblishment - enduring harassment, persecution, terrorism, incarceration in military prison, abuse by the military police, prison and justice systems. These courageous souls, often with no family or community support, are putting everything on the line to stand on principle. Now, enter some comfortable, well-paid Chareidi women - whose community connection to political parties provided them the leisure of avoiding both Army and Sheirut Leumi easily, sans mesiras nefesh - and THEY volunteer to work for the Army proper - on an Army base. Thereby they are pouring cold water on the stigma of religious girls in the Army. How do those two pictures combine?

And Where is Mrs. Solomon and other involved ostensibly Chareidi busybodies when it comes to helping those most needy and deserving of it, i.e. the aforementioned refusenik girls (e.g.: "IDF: Stop Persecuting Olga": ( Wed, Mar 3, 2021 ),, - risking so much to stand against the often brutal abuse of the Israeli Army and it's Sodomesque justice system?

If they would feel the pain of all of the girls and women being persecuted by the human-trafficking professionals operating out of the Army Draft Office, would they indeed wax so eloquent about the wonders of working for the Army? Would they pontificate about their contribution to a cause "greater than themselves" while being paid hefty salaries (shochad or es'nan) to serve as useful idiots to advance the forcible draft of untold numbers of other girls - and to advance the doomed Army attempt to decimate  the remnant of authentically devout girls risking all to avoid compromising with Army dictates to appear for a Rayon Dat [religiosity interrogation (see )]?

°  In addition, on careful observation, Solomon's public statements, organizational work and associations strike one as infused with self-focused ambition, and unbecoming of a genuinely Chareidi woman. In fact, it's hard to imagine many non-Chareidi women taking such revolutionary [or subsversive] steps, as described above, in part. Are we being played?

°  Now that we see how extensive the inroads made by the female military draft crusade into the Chareidi community are, we have the wherewithal to challenge those who until now have remained blind to the spiritual devastation being perpetrated under their noses. The question is: what is the most effective response. One central element of that response is described below: pushing for an end to the female military draft altogether, for non-religious girls as well, and, as per the Brisker Rov OB"M, even more so for them.

Part Two: A Real Solution

Not One Girl Left Behind:

Straight Shooting from the Brisker Rov, in the Jewish War Against the Israeli Army's Female Draft

"Let them close all the Yeshivos - rather than (allow the Israeli Army to) draft even one girl!"

This encapsulates the reaction of Rav Yitzchak Z'ev Soloveichik, OB"M, the world revered sage.of Torah Jewry, known deferentially as the "the Brisker Rov"
  to the objection raised to his refusal to sacrifice any girl to the draft - including non-religious girls. In fact, the Torah giant (quoted by Rav Aharon Soloveichik OBM (d. 2001), quoting Rav Michel Feinstein OBM, cited in Sefer "Yeled Sha'ashuim," p.348-50) was even more vociferously opposed to drafting non-religious girls than religious ones. The reasoning is simple: the nonreligious girls would fall further and faster in the notoriously immoral, exploitive Army environment than religious girls would. [Even if one would argue that that situation has somewhat changed nowadays, his sage observation clearly still applies to many "Mesorati" girls (traditional girls, who tend to be more "religious," rather than particularly "observant" of Torah precepts). His observation likely applies to a significant swath of "non-religious" girls as well.]

If religious parties would conform their actual policy stances to these positions articulated by the Brisker Rov, and act on the ideals of the Torah - they would sincerely push for exemptions for all girls from the military draft. If they would actually do that - we'd all benefit in multiple ways. It would attain a win-win-win scenario, for values- voters of all stripes, as well as for all religious communities (including Chareidi, religious Zionist, Mesorati), as well as for Chiloni (secular) residents. It would also advance core defense, national security, economic, social, and demographic interests. This is all the more true inasmuch as the Israeli Army does NOT need women.

1) In addition to being true to Torah, and making a true Kiddush HaShem, a sincere campaign to exempt all girls from the Army would undoubtedly yield a marked decrease in antireligious sentiment.

2) That antireligious animus has been serving as much of the fuel impelling the antireligious edicts across the board. Once the nonreligious and traditional Jews would see that we religious Jews are sincerely following the aforementioned approach of the Brisker Rov, and thus prioritize exemptions for their girls even more than exemptions for "our" girls - much of the drive would be taken out the ongoing, escalating antireligious campaigning.  Thus, even self-interest should dictate that the religious communities urge those who operate under the mantle of being representative of our views and interests to actually do so.

3) Furthermore, such a female military exemption campaign would very likely prove successful, if properly pursued.  That's because most Chiloni (secular) girls most probably would not mind, or definitively prefer a military service exemption. This is one positive legislative initiative that should enjoy broad-based support. Most Israelis would much prefer the bona fide "Equality" between religious and nonreligious girls getting military exemptions - over the false "Equality" of women and men BOTH being drafted into the  exploitive Army environment.

4) If passed, ending (mandatory) the female military draft altogether would likely remain law, inasmuch as it would be extremely difficult for any subsequent government to convince those girls who just obtained freedom to volunteer to give it up.*  Anyone who (Chas VeShalom) feels compelled to enlist in the immoral Army environment would still be allowed to. But how many female Israeli voters (other than hard core "Equality" advocates and their dupes) would actually want to impose an obligation on all girls to give away that part of their life in the Israeli military?

5) Some people may be more effectively moved by the argument when articulated thus: By removing religiosity as a criteria for girls being exempt from military service, they would eliminate the core problem behind the ongoing escalation of the female military draft. The main factor empowering the Army to make increasingly intrusive inroads and harass, persecute, incarcerate, draft and abuse more and more religious girls is their ability to - in effect - decide who is "genuinely" religious - and "religious enough" - to meet the standard of the law that exempts "religious" girls. The aforementioned proposal takes that ability off the table altogether.

°  Ending the female military draft in toto would perhaps be the most effective strategy to address the horrific statistic of about 40,000 Israeli abortions a year, totalling over two million babies killed by other Jews in the State of Israel. The State of Israel was founded on the rhetorical backdrop of the Nazi Holocaust, whose abortion legacy has continued till today. Most other pro-life legislation would be in constant danger of being undone by subsequent governments. Elimination of the female draft would most likely not. Thereby, the Jewish People would benefit from untold additional families being started, and started earlier, and growing larger than is currently the case. Now, due to the mandatory female draft of 18-year-old girls, tens of thousands of potential mothers fail to get married, do so late, and / or otherwise have smaller families.

° Such a law would save tens of thousands [and eventually hundreds of thousands] of girls from the Israeli government military-draft strategy known as the "melting pot:" using the antireligious-dominated Army to form a "new Jew," which bears little resemblance to what the Torah requires of us.

° Another windfall of such a campaign is that fighting the female military draft in toto is a perfect way to stand with all of those all of those resolute refusenik girls enduring persecution by the Israeli Army Draft Office. If they suffer so much, in refusing to bow to Army Draft Office dictates, bullying - and even terrorist tactics - then we must demonstrate that we'll turn over the world to save them. One of the best ways to do that is by fighting for the elimination of the female draft altogether. Then, even if we don't succeed immediately, we still make important gains in the war against the Army crusade against future Jewish mothers.

The opportunity is ours now, perhaps only for a very short time. The future of tens of thousands of potential Jewish mothers lays in the balance.

Biden says 'America Is Back,' but 'America First' has haunted his first 100 days

 But the biggest challenge Biden will face in striking this balance between America First and returning to the world stage will be reinventing the country's China strategy. Under four years of Trump, the US had an on-again-off-again relationship with China. It ended mostly "off," and in confrontational competitiveness, with little collaboration.

Biden's posturing against China may not be as bombastic as Trump's, but it doesn't appear to be very different either. In an interview with the New York Times last year, he couldn't help but accidentally utter "America First" in his own remarks on China. It's a difficult phrase to avoid. "I want to make sure we're going to fight like hell by investing in America first," he said.

LGBTQ students sue Yeshiva University for discrimination

 A group of students and alumni is suing Yeshiva University for discrimination, claiming that the university violated New York City’s human rights law when it refused to recognize an LGBTQ student club.

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in New York County Supreme Court.

Biden cuts off press questions: 'I'm really gonna be in trouble' if I keep answering

President Biden said he would be "in trouble" if he continued to take questions from reporters during a rare back-and-forth with the press Tuesday afternoon.

After speaking about new federal health guidelines for mask-wearing for vaccinated and non-vaccinated individuals, Biden answered a few shouted questions from gathered reporters at the White House.

"I'm sorry," he said, after listening to questions about his own mask-wearing and a potential summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. "This is the last question I'll take, and I'm really gonna be in trouble."


Tucker Carlson, Unmasked

 But Carlson doesn’t object to the state harassing people or exercising undue power. He delights in it, as long as the state is harassing the people he hates. The cruelty, as my colleague Adam Serwer has said, is the point. This is the lodestar of the Trump and post-Trump GOP, which values owning the libs above all—not merely rhetorically, but with the fist of government. Thus Trump asserted that he had the authority to override state and local coronavirus shutdowns (before hastily backtracking when it became clear that he had no such power). He sought to involve the federal government in decisions of colleges and universities in order to muzzle speech. And he celebrated police violence, even as he moaned that he was the victim of overzealous law enforcement.


New Debate Over Masks Trending On Social Media Following Rant By Tucker Carlson

 It began after Fox News' Tucker Carlson on Monday suggested it was "unacceptable," "dangerous" and even potentially "illegal" for children to be forced to wear face coverings outside. Carlson further said that viewers should report such sightings to the police or child protective services, even as it is still recommended that masks be worn at all times by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For the record, the CDC encourages children two years and older to wear a mask when in public or when they are around other people they don't live with. Health experts have also said that the vast majority of children are safe when the masks are worn properly. However, Carlson made numerous dubious claims – including that wearing of masks can lead to low oxygen levels.

Fox News host Tucker Carlson claims making children wear masks is ‘abuse’

 Carlson also said “the only people who wear masks outside are zealots and neurotics” and said seeing a vaccinated person wear a mask outdoors was like “watching a grown man expose himself in public”.

“Your response when you see children wearing masks as they play should be no different from your response to seeing someone beat a kid in Walmart,” he said.

“Call the police immediately, contact child protective services. Keep calling until someone arrives. What you’re looking at is abuse, it’s child abuse and you are morally obligated to attempt to prevent it.”

'Completely fabricated': Burnett calls out GOP's false conspiracies

Tucker Carlson encourages viewers to confront those wearing masks

Dr. Patel On Tucker Carlson’s Latest Rant | Deadline | MSNBC

GOP Incapable Of Assailing Biden Agenda Resort To Made-Up Controversies | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC

Haredi ‘rabbi’ accused of being a covert Messianic missionary

Allegations have been made that an ultra-Orthodox ‘rabbi’ who admitted to being a Messianic missionary in 2014 has continued to cling to the Messianic movement & operate as a covert missionary.


Reform rabbinic giant disciplined for inappropriate relationships now accused of ‘sexually predatory behavior’

Rabbi Sheldon Zimmerman, who was senior rabbi at Central from 1972 to 1985, resigned his position as president of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Learning in 2000 after the Reform movement’s Central Conference of American Rabbis ruled that his relationships had broken its rules. But neither CCAR or HUC provided details of the misconduct at the time, leaving the impression that Zimmerman had simply had consensual affairs, and he went on to serve as vice president of the Birthright Israel program and rabbi of the Jewish Center of the Hamptons.


Tuesday, April 27, 2021

A haven for paedophiles: The ultra-Orthodox settlement where Malka Leifer hides

 “She carried on molesting children here after she was freed! They let her return here, to my home. To my town!”

Leifer's psychiatric defense

A PSYCHIATRIST who is due to be called as an expert witness by Malka Leifer’s defence team has previously stated that the former principal of Melbourne’s Adass Israel school “never committed the crimes” and that that she was being pursued by a “lynch mob”.

Dr Brian Trappler of New York, who gave evidence in 2015 that Leifer was not fit to face extradition proceedings, is scheduled to testify on Wednesday night (Australian time). 

When asked how he knew she was innocent, one of his responses was that those calling for her extradition didn’t look frum.

“Just looking at their pictures and listening to their comments should give you an idea that this is not a Heimeshe or Chareidi crowd,” he wrote.

He likened them to the Women of the Wall group in Israel, and wrote that there is a “a cultural war between the Women of the Wall against a chareidi grandmother who left the shtetle to support her husband who’s spent his entire life learning in Kollel”.

Trappler also argued on Facebook that people shouldn’t sign a petition calling for Leifer’s extradition.

“I suggest that before the lynch-mob commits the ultimate crime of Mesira (reporting someone to secular authorities) they pause to realize that this case is not what you’ve been told.”

However Australian rabbinic authorities, and others across the world, disagree with Trappler.

“[The Rabbinic Council of Victoria] affirms its halachic position that the prohibitions of mesirah (reporting crimes to the civil authorities) and arka’ot (adjudication in civil courts) do not apply in cases of abuse,” the Rabbinic Council of Victoria stated in 2010.


Chris Wallace Repeatedly Grills Kevin McCarthy on Trump’s Jan. 6 Rage Call

Days after the deadly Capitol riot, McCarthy said on the House floor that Trump “bears responsibility” for the violence, adding that the then-president “should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding.” At the same time, while saying Trump’s actions deserved a congressional response, he declared that he didn’t support impeachment.


Rackman's aguna solution is unacceptable. RabbiJachter

Even if Rabbi Rackman's idea were acceptable in theory, its implementation contains a significant practical problem. It is often very difficult to formally produce incontrovertible evidence that someone physically abused his spouse (see Rama, E.H. 154:3). Proving that someone had an abuser personality is even more difficult, if not impossible. Similarly, it is exceedingly difficult to prove that one who denies his wife a get had a sadistic personality at the time of marriage. At the very least, the dayanim must see psychological records documenting these tendencies from before the marriage. In Rav Moshe's responsa regarding impotent and institutionalized husbands, official medical records proved the women's claims. On the other hand, The Jerusalem Report (August 3, 1998) disclosed that Rabbi Moses Morgenstern issues his rulings merely based on the woman's word, undoubtedly an unacceptable practice.3See, for example, Teshuvot Noda Biy'hudah (vol. 1, E.H. 54), cited in Pitchei Teshuvah (E.H. 157:9). Rabbis can rarely obtain private medical files in today's litigious society, for doctors do not generally release these records to clergy with the same ease that they may have done in Rav Moshe's time.

Rackman's aguna solution was rejected by Modern Orthodox also - Rabbi Norman Lamm

It was this question that applied to the Rackman efforts in relieving the plight of the agunot. It was his genuine compassion for the agunot that led him to misapply and misinterpret key elements of halakha. Thus, Rabbi Soloveitchik (“The Rav”) publicly berated him in 1975 at the annual convention of the RCA and was to an extent responsible for his failure to achieve any further promotion in communal office that might have been in store for him. Yet Rabbi Rackman acted respectfully to the Rav, who was seven years his senior, “but not by sacrificing the autonomy of my soul. I dare to differ with him—and still do to this day.”

But it was this powerful opposition by the Rav, combined with certain other considerations, that shattered Rackman’s dream to succeed the late Dr. Belkin as the next President of Yeshiva University, and which led Rabbi Rackman to turn to Israel as the President, and later Chancellor, of Bar Ilan University. These factors should not be overlooked in writing the history of those stormy days when the destiny of Y.U. was being determined.

While I personally admired the motivation of his efforts on behalf of the agunot, I was dismayed by his latest move—essentially a continuation of his position years earlier—namely, the establishment of the grandiloquently named “Rabbi Emanuel Rackman-Agunah International Beit Din L’inyanei Agunot.” As a student of the Rav, I learned from him never to allow one’s reason and logic to be overwhelmed by someone’s great reputation (a legacy of his eminent ancestor, R. Hayyim of Volozhin.) I therefore studied the situation and would not have automatically supported my Rebbe’s broadsides if I disagreed with him. But much as I held Mendy in genuine esteem, I found too many weaknesses in his argument, some startling, especially in his public actions. The people he entrusted with this new Beit Din patently were not of the level that such innovation in halakha required. The approach he innovated was to annul the marriage of the couple, thus no divorce was needed. But this was agonizingly irresponsible for a man of Rackman’s stature, for many reasons. One was that in making it so easy to break up a marriage, trivialities can knowingly or unknowingly be disguised as serious agunah situations. With the relatively easy availability of an annulment, all genuine outside help—whether by rabbis or professional counselors—may be rejected in unspoken reliance on an annulment. In a word, it makes marriage itself casual and unserious. If one were to accept fully the Rackman “solution,” it would mean that the number that had so far been “released” from unhappy marriages, would increase many times over so that there would be no reason for the whole institution of divorce, because one could easily obtain his or her freedom by applying to the Bet Din for an annulment, often when casus belli can prove to be frivolous. Much as that would be helpful to the few

agunot, it would be tragically destructive to Jewish home life for many decades to come. By making divorce superfluous, you paradoxically make marriage itself unstable and even unnecessary, as it is always accompanied by the silent prospect of an annulment at the first sign of marital discord. The marital bonds are not strong enough in our times to bear the pressure of this additional burden. No wonder that the overwhelming number of Modern Orthodox Rabbis—let alone Haredi Rabbis—will not recognize such annulments, leading to horrific consequences.

Rabbi Emanuel Rackman, champion of halachic justice, dies at 98

Using disputable Talmudic precedents for annulment, he dissolved over 100 marriages without the husband's agreement. Rackman admitted that one of his goals was to prod the rabbinical establishment out of its slumber on this painful issue, yet insisted that the Bet Din's technical solutions remained within the halachic envelope. Rackman said that "the neglect of agunot by the rabbinic establishment is alienating people from Judaism. I am fighting for the glory of Torah and the halachic system, and my solutions will do more for the future of Halacha than the stringency of its mandates. I certainly feel that I can meet my Maker on this!" Unfortunately, Rackman's Bet Din was mismanaged, and Rackman failed to substantiate his Bet Din's actions in a learned teshuva, a formal halachic position paper (although others have now begun to do so, most notably Prof. Aviad Hacohen, dean of Shaarei Mishpat Law College.) Nevertheless, his legacy on the treatment of agunot is considerable, and I believe that Halacha will yet come around to his view.

GOP and Fox News Spread an Insane New Lie About Biden Banning Meat: A Closer Look

Monday, April 26, 2021

Mesira permitted for danger to community


Rambam (Hilchos Chovel u’Mazik 8:11): …. Similarly all those who distress the community and harm it – it is permitted to hand them over to the non‑Jewish government to be beaten, imprisoned and punished. However if the person is only disturbing an individual and not the community – it is prohibited to hand him over. It is also prohibited to cause the loss of the property of the moser – even though it permitted to cause the death of the moser himself. That is because his property belongs to his heirs.