Volume 57 Number 57 
      Produced: Mon, 21 Dec 2009 16:19:01 EST

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Chareidi Internet (3)
    [Akiva Miller  Jeanette Friedman  Alex Heppenheimer]
global warming; spousal abuse; data! 
Global Warming? 
    [Ed Greenberg]
Torah Reading on Chanukah (2)
    [Alex Heppenheimer  Ben Katz]
Two Birkat Hamazon questions 
    [Mark Steiner]


From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Mon, Dec 21,2009 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Chareidi Internet

Stuart Wise asked:

> I am somewhat perturbed by the proclamation by rabbanim
> in Israel who have made so-called chareidi Internet off
> limits. It seems to me that aside from feeling like
> something the Taliban would do, why is it not a concern
> that so much  strictures would drive people away from
> Judaism, or, at the very least to the  non-"kosher"
> Internet.

I often find that my questions are resolved when I investigate the presumptions
that I used in forming my question.

In this example, I see that Mr. Wise is working under the presumption that "is
it not a concern that so much strictures would drive people away from Judaism,
or, at the very least to the  non-"kosher" Internet."

I would like to suggest that this presumption is in error, and that these *are*
very real concerns to the rabbanim involved. However, they are also very
concerned about the dangers of allowing people to continue using even the
"chareidi internet".

I am not sure what is meant by the "chareidi internet" in this context. My guess
is that it refers to various filters and other mechanisms designed to keep
certain content unavailable. My understanding is that none of these filters are
foolproof. Therefore, it comes down to weighing the options: Are the good things
which the internet has, worth the risk of the bad things which the internet has?
It's safe to say that anyone reading Mail-Jewish feels that the risks are

But I really have no logical argument against those who feel that the risks are
too high. This is not an objective question; it is a matter of opinion. And my
opinion is that while the benefits do outweigh the risks, anyone who thinks that
there aren't any risks is mistaken.

Akiva Miller

From: Jeanette Friedman <friedmanj@...>
Date: Mon, Dec 21,2009 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Chareidi Internet

The Psyscher Rebbe said that anyone who obeys a rabbi blindly is committing 
 avodah zorah and that any rabbi who demands blind obedience is also 
committing  avodah zorah. He said we have to live in the real world with real 
people, and  not cut ourselves off from worldly society. He didn't say to "be 
of" worldly  society, just that we need to live in the world with other 
people, and make  responsible choices.
It is only since the Holocaust that Jews have been commanded by their  
rabbis stop taking achrayus for their own actions and that the rabbinate  has 
been laying one chumrah after another on them, passing them off as minhagim  
and halacha, demanding that it's their way--or as Martin Stern is  painfully 
aware because of what happened to him at his shul--the highway. 
As Reb Yoeli  ztl told my mother before he died, he could no longer  take 
responsibility for those chassidim who have gone over the limits of  sane 
Judaism into a place that even he didn't recognize. (He said  actually the 
meshugaim and their mishigassim.)
It is clear that with these chumros, the "leaders" of the Jewish people  
don't trust the "learning" which they instill in their students. They don't  
believe in their students' or their followers ability to think for themselves 
or  in their Torah training. They don't believe in their students'  midot. 
As a consequence, they don't prepare their followers to make  responsible 
Torah choices. The rabbis make their choices for  them. Each new edict proves 
Perhaps it would make sense to reexamine the real history of Chanukah to  
find out how and what really did happen when religious zealots, in order to  
destroy "the assimilationists." ran rampant in Judea. Both times the Jews  
were engaged in civil wars--fighting with each other about religious  
extremism--and the enemy took advantage. ie. Divide and conquer. 
Rome needed to pay the gladiators and the expenses of the ever-expanding  
Empire. Israel had rich resources. The Jews were fighting each other and the  
Romans got what they needed, then left the land in ruins.

From: Alex Heppenheimer <aheppenh@...>
Date: Mon, Dec 21,2009 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Chareidi Internet

In MJ 57:55, Stuart Wise <smwise3@...> wrote:

>I am somewhat perturbed by the proclamation by rabbanim in Israel who have made 
>so-called chareidi Internet off limits. It seems to me that aside from 
>feeling like something the Taliban would do, why is it not a concern that so 
>much strictures would drive people away from Judaism, or, at the very least 
>to the non-"kosher" Internet.

I can't speak to the actual issue, both because I haven't heard of the details,
and because obviously I (and the rest of us on this list, for that matter) are
not following this ruling. (Nor would any of us be expected to do so, unless our
respective rabbanim came out with a similar proclamation.)

But saying that "it feels like something the Taliban would do" is, frankly,
neither here nor there: halachah is a self-sufficient system, and isn't
determined on the basis of what other groups do or don't do. To take one
example, the Torah prescribes the death penalty for various sexual offenses and
other sins, and that remains a real part of our legal system despite the fact
that the Taliban have been internationally condemned for the same thing. (It is
true that we can't impose the death penalty nowadays, but that's because the
same Torah law that imposes these penalties says that they require the existence
of a Beis Hamikdash - may it be rebuilt soon! - and a Sanhedrin headquartered
there, both of which we lack today. But it's not because "society has evolved
beyond that" or any such idea.)

For that matter, and apropos of the holiday we've just finished celebrating,
consider Matisyahu's killing of the Jew who was about to bring an idolatrous
sacrifice. Were that to happen nowadays, no doubt the headlines would all be
screaming about the fanatic, murderous Taliban-like Jew, and many solemn
editorials would be written about the importance of religious tolerance! And no
doubt quite a few Jews would also be uncomfortable at being tarred with this
same brush. Yet Matisyahu's action was fully in keeping with Torah ideals, and
it sparked the Chanukah revolt and saved Judaism for all time; so we recall his
action gratefully, just as we do with Pinchas' killing of Zimri and other
"vigilante" Jews.

Kol tuv,


From: <leah@...>
Date: Mon, Dec 21,2009 at 03:01 PM
Subject: global warming; spousal abuse; data!

In M.J v. 57 #56 I was astounded to read two posts that are divergent in
their topics but well-aligned in their complete absence of supporting

1. Global Warming:

Baruch C. Cohen comments that he thinks global warming is not only
incorrect scientifically, but also against Jewish belief systems.
I would like to see Mr. Cohen's statistics for the former statement. I am
not aware of any mainstream, peer-edited, scientific group (government,
university, or NGO) in any country that denies the evidence for (1)
increased CO2 emissions since the Industrial Revolution, and (2) increased
global average temperature as a result, as distinct from geological-time-scale
fluctuations.  A beginning reading list of sources would be:

EPA:  http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/science/pastcc.html
MIT:  http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2009/roulette-0519.html
Stanford:  http://solar-center.stanford.edu/sun-on-earth/glob-warm.html

As to belief in Gd, surely taking care of our planet is like taking care
of our bodies.  We have a responsibility to use our resources as carefully
as possible!

2. Spousal Abuse:

Rabbi Meir Wise asserts that the first domestic abuse was Eve beating
Adam, based on a commentary on B'reishit.  Leaving aside that this is not
the simple meaning of the text [fruit-sharing/offering], nor even a
universally-established commentary, it is not really meaningful in setting
the parameters for discussing the facts of spousal abuse today.  We could
say that the first sibling relationship resulted in fratricide - this does not
mean that most brothers kill each other (!).

In the United States, according to well-regarded sources, spousal abuse is
overwhelmingly quantitatively biased against women.  According to the
U.S. Department of Justice, between 1998 - 2002, 84% of spousal abuse
victims were female.  Not only that, but many of the men who were abused,
were abused at the hands of male abusers (gay male relationships), making
the number of men abused by their wives even smaller.  (Something like 15%
of men in gay relationships are abused by their partners, but of course
those statistics are not out of the same total, so it is not zero men
abused by their wives, just less than 16% of the abused population.)

Roughly twice as many husbands kill wives as the reverse, even according
to sources that are trying to maintain that these numbers are not as
skewed as others say.  (Some estimates are as many as 9:1 wife:husband
murders.)  These numbers (the 2:1 and the 9:1) are both available among
the FBI statistics and they are heavily quoted by "fathers' rights" groups.

The most recent data I could find for Israel indicated that in 1992, at
least 150,000 women went for help after spousal abuse.

It is pretty appalling that someone would whitewash such clear data with
"well, I don't really want anyone to get hurt but you know, women are
violent too."

It perpetuates yet another violence against women when people talk about
how truly, women are the ones in power.  Unfortunately, the data bear out
the reality, that women are far more often victimized.  I believe that it
is because women are (1) more physically/economically vulnerable, and
(2) lower in social/religious status, particularly in susceptible
populations.  I further believe that by denying the data, men are able
to ignore these two problems.  I didn't really know about Yael's prayer,
but I am sure glad she wrote it; it's about time.

--Leah Sarah Reingold Gordon


From: Ed Greenberg <edg@...>
Date: Mon, Dec 21,2009 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Global Warming?

> From: Baruch C. Cohen <adbarcoh@...>
> The 1st of the Rambam's 13 Principles of Faith is "I believe with perfect 
> faith
> that God is the Creator and Ruler of all things. He alone has made, does make,
> and will make all things." Further, when we daven before the Shema, we say:
> "Hamechadesh betuvo bechol yom tamid maasei bereishis" "In His goodness, He
> renews daily, perpetually, the work of creation."
> Do these principles mean that there cannot be a real crisis of global warming?
> To my limited perspective, besides the fact that I think the "scientific
> evidence" of global warming is nonsense, I believe that the idea of the world
> eroding based on global warming is inconsistent with the above beliefs in
> Hashem. What are your thoughts?

Please understand that I am not arguing global warming with you. 

This seems a really dangerous attitude.  It assumes that no matter what we do,
Hashem will clean up after us. It seems to relieve us of any responsibility for
environmental care. After all, whatever we do, Hashem will "renew" it for us.  

On reading your post, it occurs to me that nothing says that when Hashem "renews
daily, perpetually, the work of creation" he has to renew it to any better than
he found it the day before. 

You're entitled to your opinions and interpretations, but the sort of license
that the this interpretation seems to imply scares me. 

Ed Greenberg
Los Angeles CA


From: Alex Heppenheimer <aheppenh@...>
Date: Mon, Dec 21,2009 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Torah Reading on Chanukah

In MJ 57:55, Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...> asked:

>The Minhag of the Torah reading in Israel during Chanukah is that the Kohen
>has the first part of that day's Korban read, the Levi the second part, and
>the Yisrael the entire day's Korban reread. Outside Israel, I understand
>that the Yisrael has the next day's Korban read. Can anyone explain what is
>involved here?

The Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 684:1, records both possibilities: the Mechaber
(R' Yosef Caro) gives the first way, the Rema the second. As is often the case,
the practice in Israel follows the Mechaber.

Elsewhere (Orach Chaim 137:6, and Mishnah Berurah there :19-25),it is ruled that
a later oleh who just repeats what an earlier one has read (without adding at
least two new verses) doesn't count towards the statutory number of aliyos,
"except with the [portions about] the bulls offered during Sukkos, because it is
impossible otherwise" (since each day's portion contains only three verses).
Also in 282:2 (and M.B. :9) there is a dispute between the Mechaber and the Rema
as to whether it is permissible to call different people to read the same verses
(again, where it is possible to do otherwise); the Rema rules that this is not
allowed, except on Simchas Torah.

So it may be that with the Chanukah readings, the two possibilities reflect
these two opinions. The Mechaber might say that since the statutory portion for,
say,the third day of Chanukah is that of the sacrifices offered by the third
tribal prince (of Zevulun), then the reading must consist only of that section;
since it has just six verses, necessarily the third oleh will have to repeat the
portion again. Whereas the Rema might counter that the next day's sacrifice is
also thematically close enough that it can be appended to today's reading, and
therefore it's preferable to give that to the Yisrael, rather than make an
exception to the general rule about repeating verses for different olim.

[It's also possible that the Rema's way is meant as a nod to the idea of
"sefeika deyoma," that outside Israel we have a formal doubt as to which day of
the month it really is. (This is the same halachic reason that we observe two
days of Yom Tov outside Israel.) It is true that we're not being totally
consistent about this, because after all (a)there are eight days of Chanukah all
over the world, with no variation between Israel and elsewhere; (b) in that case
we should be reading the account of the _previous_ day's korban, just as we do
on Sukkos; and (c) on Shabbos and on Rosh Chodesh (where we don't need the extra
verses) we just read that day's korban. But nevertheless, it may be that when we
do need to provide something for the Yisrael to read, we might as well take
"sefeika deyoma" into account, and add another day's reading.)

Kol tuv,

From: Ben Katz <BKatz@...>
Date: Mon, Dec 21,2009 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Torah Reading on Chanukah

From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
> The Minhag of the Torah reading in Israel during Chanukah is that the Kohen
> has the first part of that day's Korban read, the Levi the second part, and
> the Yisrael the entire day's Korban reread. Outside Israel, I understand
> that the Yisrael has the next day's Korban read. Can anyone explain what is
> involved here?

I always thought that the Torah reading on Chanukah mimics the Torah reading of
succot; thus, the same way we read for the sefeka deyoma [uncertainty of the
day] (only) during hol hamoed succot, that we do the same thing on Chanukah
chutz laaretz [outside of Israel].


From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Mon, Dec 21,2009 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Two Birkat Hamazon questions

As a P. S. to my previous posting, I have now looked at two Ashkenaz
siddurim: one from 1519 (Prague), and one from 1536 (Augsburg)--in both of
them the expression hay (not hey) ha`olamim is used at the end of
"yishtabah" and other places.


End of Volume 57 Issue 57