Sunday, July 30, 2006

Are you claiming to understand Gods ways?

Over here, I quoted: "R' Weinreb talked about was the importance of not talking in shul, and the potential impact of such behavior on the war."

Someone (of course, anonymously) left the following comment: "Weinreb must be a sick man. Some Jews are gonna die in the war because I talk in shul? Sick, really sick thinking."

My initial response was to delete the comment. I then decided to rather challenge it. By the time I was done, I thought this actualy might be "post-worthy".

So here goes:

Your lack of understanding doesn't make him a sick man. How about contacting him directly and asking him your questions before attacking him?

Your statement of "Some Jews are gonna die in the war because I talk in shul?" is saying that you fully understand Gods ways and it can't be that God would do that.

Great. Being that you are such a Mayven on what God would do and what he wouldn't do, please explain us the following:

1) Holocaust
2) Katrina
3) 9/11
4) Tsunami victims
5) So many young children and young people who are sick
6) So many young children which die or are killed
7) So many young people dying leaving behind Yesomim and Almonos.
8) Etc Etc...

When you can explain all the above, I'm willing to hear your opinion if God punishes for talking in Shul.

והוי זהיר במצוה קלה כמצוה חמורה, שאין אתה יודע מתן שכרן של מצוות

I don't see any reason why this Maamar Chazal shouldn't apply in the reverse too. That one should be careful in "minor" aveiros the same as "major" ones, for we don't know the punishments of aveiros (the punishments that God himself gives to us).

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

What would you do?

The other day as I was walking on the street, a Black man stuck his hand out to me and asked for a quarter.

I gave one to him.

My thoughts: Its was definitely worth the 25 cents, to have a Goy think highly of Jews. Now of course, this doesn't mean that one should run around passing out quarters to every Goy on the street. But once this Goy had already stuck his hand out, I thought it would be a Kiddush Hashem to give him one. To show him that Jews are compassionate people.

Would you have given him a quarter?

Is God "talking" to us?

Over here, Hirhurim links to a statement from R' Weinreb:

"R' Weinreb talked about was the importance of not talking in shul, and the potential impact of such behavior on the war."

Someone commented : "I find this to be a repulsive notion - that talking in shul has any connection to causing evil in the world. To me this is a sick theology. Just my two cents worth."

I responded: "Here's my two cents:

I was in court the other day for Jury duty. Some observations:

  • "all rise" when the judge comes in.

  • He's always addressed as "your honor".

  • "close your cellphones" when court is in session.

  • "put down all reading material when the judge is speaking"

There was no need to announce to all, to keep quiet when the judge speaks.

I wonder what would happen if in middle of the judge speaking, someone would answer his phone and talk loudly on it.

Kal V'chomer when we are sitting in front of the almighty god, no one should have the audacity to speak during davening.

It therefore shouldn't be such a shock, that if our respect to God is lower than the respect our fellow gentiles have for a judge, that God might be inclined to "talk back" to us.

Why we don't understand Chazal

No doubt, that "Chazal vs Science", is probably the biggest debate argued about, here on J-blogs.
All agree that Chazal were men of great wisdom. Hence their name - Chachomeinu Zichronom Livrocha. The questions arise when the basic meaning of their statements don't concur with our current knowledge of science and how the world works.

I would like to propose a theory, to explain why that is.

The first thing we have to acknowledge, is that wisdom comes from God.

כי ה' יתן חכמה; מפיו, דעת ותבונה

"חכמה" is generally associated with the brain - the brain is the source of our intelligence

I would like to show you that there exists another source of חכמה.

Yuma 39:a

תנא דבי רבי ישמעאל עבירה מטמטמת לבו של אדם שנאמר (ויקרא יא) ולא תטמאו בהם ונטמתם בם אל תקרי ונטמאתם אלא ונטמטם

"An Aveirah is "M'tamtem" the heart of a person".

Rashi: אוטמת וסותמת מכל חכמה

It (the Aveirah) blocks the person from all wisdom.

The Gemara is clear that an Aveirah affects the heart - מטמטמת לבו. From where does Rashi get, that it affects חכמה?

I believe the answer is, that there is another source of חכמה, called חכמת הלב which God dispenses to those he chooses to.

Shemos 28: ג ואתה, תדבר אל-כל-חכמי-לב, אשר מלאתיו, רוח חכמה; ועשו את-בגדי אהרן, לקדשו--לכהנו-לי.

Shemos 31: ו ואני הנה נתתי אתו, את אהליאב בן-אחיסמך למטה-דן, ובלב כל-חכם-לב, נתתי חכמה; ועשו, את כל-אשר צויתך.

Shemos 36: א ועשה בצלאל ואהליאב וכל איש חכם-לב, אשר נתן ה' חכמה ותבונה בהמה, לדעת לעשת, את-כל-מלאכת עבדת הקדש--לכל אשר-צוה ,ה

The Gemara in Eiruvin 53:a describes the greatness of the "Rishonim" - the earlier Chazal:

אמר ר' יוחנן לבן של ראשונים כפתחו של אולם ושל אחרונים כפתחו של היכל ואנו כמלא נקב מחט סידקית

R' Yochonan said: The hearts of the "Rishonim" were like the opening of the Ulom......

I believe that the intention here is that those "Rishonim" had חכמת הלב like the opening of the Ulom...

There is no doubt, that the advent of modern technology is a result of the huge amount of חכמה which God has granted us. I would like to propose, that the tremendous חכמה we see today in the world, is חכמת המוח - Wisdom of the brain, and not חכמת הלב - Wisdom of the heart.

The reason for that is based on the above quoted Gemara Yuma and Rashi, that Aveiros block the heart from wisdom. In today's bitter golus, none of us can proclaim to be free of Aveiros. Therefore, our hearts are "blocked" from חכמת הלב, and therefore, we find it extremely difficult to understand the depth of Chazal, whose wisdom was derived from their special God given חכמת הלב.

Recently, I had the opportunity to ask R' Avrohom Schor Shlita a question. I asked, "People ask me if Midrashim are to be taken literally".

He answered: "Tell them, that when they will learn "enough Torah", they will understand".

At first I didn't fully understand his answer. I think with the above, I understand it better. Once someone learns "enough Torah", he will be Zocheh to חכמת הלב, and then - "he will understand".

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Boruch She'kivanti

On this comment thread, I asked Happywithhislot:

The Gemara in Brochos 54:b says that Og Melech Habashon picked up a huge stone and threatened to kill all Klal Yisroel. A 'Nes' occurred and some type of bugs ate out the area where his head was........... and then Moshe Rabbeinu killed him.

Happy, do you believe that Klal Yisroel was threatened by Og throwing a huge rock and were saved by a 'Nes'?

Happy promptly responded: "Answer is no. I've definitely seen and heard rishonim who explain away the whole mountain neck thing as a moshol."

I asked him back:

Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 218:1 paskens that when one sees "the stone that Og was going to throw at us", he is required to make the Brocha "She'asah Nissim La'vosainu Ba'mokom Zeh" WITH SHEM AND MALCHUS (He must say 'Hashem Elokeinu'.)

How can one make a Brocha on a Nes which never happened??? According to you, isn't it a Brocha Le'vatalah???

I just recently saw that the Maharal in Gur Aryeh brings this proof. Being that the issue of taking Midrashim literaly is so controversial here on J-blogs, I feel it would be worthwhile to quote the actual words of the Maharal.

The Maharal quotes the above mentioned Gemara Brochos 54:b and then says:

ומפני שאמרנו שכל מדרש מדברי חכמים נפרש על אמתתו, צריכין אנו לפרש המאמר הזה על אמתתו. ואם שנמצא מאמר זה, שזה אמר בכה, וזה אמר בכה, אבל דברינו הם דברים ברורים באין ספק. ונראה מדעת רבותינו ז"ל כי כמשמעו היה, שרצה לזרוק אבן שהרי אמרו רז"ל שהרואה את האבן ההיא חייב לברך על הנס שעשה הקדוש ברוך הוא, משמע ומוכח שהקדוש ברוך הוא עשה נס עם ישראל כשהיה רוצה לזרוק אבן

(The following translation is my own)

"And because we have said that all Midrash from the words of the Chachomim we will explain them in its truth, we therefore have to explain this passage in its truth.... And our understanding of our sages is that this passage should be taken as its understood, that indeed he (Og) wanted to throw the stone on them, for Chazal have said that one who sees that stone is obligated to make a blessing on the miracle that HKBH did,


The Maharal is clearly stating that this Midrash should be taken in the literal sense. In the above mentioned Gemara Brochos, the end of this passage is that Moshe Rabbeinu was ten Amos tall, he took his staff which was ten Amos tall, and jumped ten Amos and smote Og and killed him. I don't see any reason to differentiate, that the part about Og picking up the stone should be taken literaly, any more than the part that Moshe was ten Amos tall, when these two Midrashim are in the same paragraph. The Rambam, Ramban, and Abarbanel all have different explanations how Adam Harishon etc literaly lived such long lives. If Adom Harishon lived for 930 years, I don't see any reason why not to believe that Moshe Rabbeinu could have been ten Amos tall.

P.S. The Biur Halacha clarifies the above mentioned Halacha by asking - how is it possible for a human being to have been able to pick up such a large rock? And he answers, because Og was the son of the "Bnai Malachim" and therefore he had superhuman strength. Apparently, the Mishna Brura also understood this Midrash/Halacha literally.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

To all my bashers - HAHAHAHAHA!

Take a look at the picture above, and tell me why President Bush is looking at Tony Blair with such disgust.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Things that irk me

I get very irked when I see people walking into shul with their shirt flying.

I don't care if you come to shul in a blue shirt, brown shoes, straw hat, no hat, whatever. Just don't come wearing a pink tie. I CAN'T STAND PINK TIES. What's next, pink suits??? With matching pink Rockport's??? Its scary how some designer in Italy decides that men should wear pink ties, and everyone follows. So why do all the skeptics have a problem with us RW wearing black hats? If your willing to wear whatever some Joe Shmoe decides is fashionable, I'm willing to wear what my Rosh Yeshiva decides is fashionable.

What's the difference?

Anyways, getting back to the issue at hand, it says "Ha'chon Li'kras Elokecha". "Prepare yourself to stand before God".

The least one could do is tuck their shirt in.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Its about emunas chachomim

On Hirhurim, someone wrote this comment:

"How do we know that the Maharal did not make a golem? How do we now that the Chofetz Chaim did not exorcise a dybbuk? The same way we know that no one has been abducted by aliens and that there is no Bigfoot. COMMON SENSE."

I responded with:

Err, common sense also dictates that seas don't split, food doesn't fall from heaven, and rocks don't turn into wells. Its not about common sense. Its about emunas chachomim. One of the 48 kinyanei Hatorah. If you lack it, you lack an understanding of Torah. And if you lack an understanding of Torah, your opinions are worthless.

Need I say more?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Lakewood Yid meets the Godol Hador!!

The Godol Hador anounced his anonymous presence in Lakewood, Ihr Hakodesh. No way was I going to pass the oppertunity of getting a Brocha from the greatest Godol ever invented. So I e-nvited (invitation via email) the Godol to meet with me! The Godol expressed his concern that the Lakewood Kannoim might pelt him with the newly banned issue of the Jewish Observer, so we agreed to meet in a top secret location with no possiblity of any neighbors spying on us.

We had a pleasant meeting. We shmoozed a little, argued a little, and agreed on nothing. Well, I shouldn't say nothing. We agreed to disagree!! Just kidding. He happens to be a nice friendly guy. He even used to be Charedi. But Nebach, some skeptics "Drayed him ah Kupp".

I offered the Godol a tour of BMG. He politely declined as he expressed his interest in getting home in one piece.


In middle of one of the many topics we discussed, the Godol revealed to me his weakness! He can get easily persuaded by a good argument!

Therefore, I appeal to all my readers who comment on the Godol's blog not to give up hope!

If we can come up with a good enough argument, we might convince the Godol to become the "Uri Zohar" of Blogvelt!!

אל תתיאש! אפילו חרב חדה מונחת על צוארו של אדם אל ימנע עצמו מן הרחמים

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