Friday, December 23, 2005

Yaakov Mencken Publish My Comment! (Day 1)

Yaakov Menken is quite skilled at a dishonest game. He publishes bad arguments on his site and then waits until his readers have moved on to new posts before publishing the rebuttals.

A good example is our current disagreement about the meaning of the words Esav soneh l'Yaakov. I submitted my rebuttal to his rediculous contention ("Toby Katz didn’t mangle anything at all, she merely knows how to read Rashi and Medrash.") at 11:21 this morning. Immediately afterwards I rewrote my comment as a blog post, and sent it to Yaakov by email. He has responded to the email (though not to the argument it contained) but he still has not published the comment.

This delay allows his readers to imagine that I had no answer for his argument which, I must presume, is his intention. And if he publishes my comment after Shabbos, as I suppose he will, it will be too late. His readers will have moved on to other posts believing that his interpretation of the Rashi is correct, and that I had no reply.

This is intolerable, and I'd like you to help me make sure Yaakov gets the message. If you have his email address, please write to him and let him know that you don't approve of his tactics. Tell him you want to see my comment published, not deep beneath the original post where it wont be read, but as part of a new post where the argument can be seen and discussed.

I intend (fingers crossed) to run this post every day until I hear from Yaakov.

Update (Yaakov has published the comment, but he still won't address the point)

YAAKOV MENKEN: DovBear claims I am “mistranslating.” Since he portrays himself as familiar with Jewish texts, I find it hard to imagine that he is seriously arguing that the word “halacha” literally means tradition, rather than law. Any Israeli schoolchild can correct him on that one.As such, any time one sees “halacha” it is not merely a story passed down, but a rule. Maasei Avos Siman L’Banim applies. The Shulchan Aruch doesn’t discuss it since it is not something we can control or change. But the Gemara, on the other hand, certainly does.

Comment by Yaakov Menken — December 23, 2005 @ 4:20 pm

DOVBEAR: I refer you to the Saperstein edition of Rashi published by ArtScroll where this Rashi is translated as follows: "Though is a known fact that Esav hated Ya´akov, his mercy was aroused at that moment, and he kissed him with all of his heart.” In the notes, the editor makes it clear that the subject of R’ Shimon’s observation is Ya’akov’s brother, not the nation (Edom) descended from him. Moreover, if this was meant to be a lesson about nations and not an observation about people, the text would speak of Yisroel and Edom, not Esav and Yaakov.

(I went from memory earlier when I said Saperstein had halach translated as “tradition.” They have it as “fact” Not law, Yaakov, but fact. And as I said, the editors make it clear that Rav Shimon’s intention is to say that though it’s a known fact that Esav the person hated Yaakov the person, “his mercy was aroused at that moment, and he kissed him with all of his heart.”)
So much for Yaakov and his Israeli schoolchildren.

Comment by dovbear — December 24, 2005 @ 6:36 pm Your comment is awaiting moderation. (note the time, please.)