Monday, August 29, 2016

Sauce for the Cross Currents Goose

Try not to smirk as you read Yitzchak Alderstein's latest Cross Current piece in which he expresses all kind of shock and hurt over the anti-Zionist egg throwing incident at the Satmar camp, writing:
How many more Satmar kids will be taught not that they are proud bearers of their communities banner, but that they are the only authentic Jews!
He seems to have forgotten that his blog is dedicated to the proposition that the only authentic Jews in the world are those that belong to his own sect, and that he and his co-bloggers have been throwing intellectual eggs at Open Orthodoxy and WOW for years. Those who doubt this are invited to review his own "Beyond the Pale" series of posts from 2007.

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Monday, August 22, 2016

Moshiach is here... now what?

Let's say the Moshiach arrives, and just for fun, let's say he's a strict Maimonidian.

Will all the people who pray to angels, and engage in kabbalah, etc, etc  suddenly drop their deeply ingrained ideas and beliefs, many of which have a strong emotional component? I doubt it..

Or let's say Moshiach is a Satmar. Do you think Lubavitch and the Religious Zionist (not to mention all the heterodox sects) will just say, "Whoops, I was totally wrong about everything I believed and held dear. All the things that made my Judaism meaningful are bunk., Stand by, while I reprogram myself and change my entire emotional and intellectual make-up over night."?  Yeah, right.,

Think, for a second, about Matan Torah. 40 days later there were still idolaters in the camp. Did Moshe try to win them over with charm and politics. Did he muster better arguments?  Did he elect to live and let live? No! He sent a squad of Levites to kill 3000 of them.

Won't the same thing happen, but on a much larger scale, during the first phases of Moshiach's reign?

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Would you call this tasteless?

Some are excusing this woman's choice of musical accompaniment, but I think its inconsiderate (at the least) for someone to make you to think about Auschwitz when all you want to do is watch a hula hoop routine. 

While watching the rhythmic gymnastics all-around final this afternoon, I was struck by the music used by Bulgarian gymnast Neviana Vladinova in her ho ...

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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Will anyone post something dumber than this on the Internet today?

What requires us to believe that women have more bina and less daas? Is that a new ikkar emunah? Also what tests have been done to confirm the truth of this? And finally actual feminists don't insist men and women are the exact same. They insist that women should be afforded equal rights and opportunities.
Also, the very worst female Olympian in Rio can beat you by a mile. So stands to reason there are women with far less bina and far more daas than you, as well. And if that's the case what do we gain from generalizations that hold back those women and force them into roles to which they are not suited?
Also, as no one really knows what "daas" is it seems pointless to limit women or to deny them opportunity (beyond what the halacha minimally requires) on the basis of that aggadic statement about women having less of it.

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Monday, August 15, 2016

Tisha B'av thought 5766

The guy who never learns Torah and never wears tefillin has nothing to be ashamed of on Tisha B'av. He can stand, unashamed and equal, alongside all the other Jews who also aren't learning or wearing tefillin on Tisha B'av.

The guy who doesn't greet because he's depressed or ashamed can stand together with the rest of us on Tisha Bav. And so can the guy who doesn't groom. On this day, none of us shave or shower or wear fine clothes.

If Shabbos is glimpse of Gan Eden is this a glimpse at death? All of us equal, unashamed of our shortcomings, without our clothes or our personalities or our adornments or our learning to hide behind?

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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Nine days of siyums

Another attack on the Kuzari "proof"

The traditional history of Ireland that is found in Celtic mythology involves sequences of conquests of Ireland by giants, gods, and finally the human ancestors of the modern Irish. This extraordinary account of the history of Ireland was accepted as accurate throughout the Middle Ages! Needless to say, the story has no historical basis. And yet millions of Irish people once believed that their ancestors fought a war against the Tuatha De Danaan gods and drove them into the hills where they magically remained invisible.[Source]

How did this idea enter the collective Irish consciousness?

According to the Kuzari argument, there are only two possibilities: Either (1) it actually happened and individual Irishmen passed the story along father to son; or (2) At some point in history one person, or several people, presented this story to the Irish people (your ancestors fought a war against the gods) and they accepted it as truth.

According to the Kuzari argument, (2) is impossible.

Therefore, according to the Kuzari argument, the story of the Irishmen fighting gods is true.

Um, what is the Kuzari argument?

For those joining the blog late in it's very long, quite august life, here is a brief outline of the Kuzari argument in bold, with the problems stated parenthetically:

1. The Jews kept mitzvos during the time of the Judges and Bayit Rishon. (No evidence)

2. The Jews would have only gone to the hardship of keeping those mitzvos if they believed the mitzvos were received from God via revelation. (No reason to think they viewed the mitzvos as a particular hardship; no evidence they actually kept the mitzvos)

3. The idea that the mitzvos were received from God via revelation was part of the collective consciousnesses during the time of the Judges and Bayit Rishon. (No evidence)

4 The idea could only have entered the collective consciousnesses if it was true or if it was introduced to the others by a specific person or persons at a specific time. (Not true. Popular stories form in many other ways.)

5. People don't accept stories about their ancestors that are presented by outsiders, because they will reply "If that happened to my ancestors, why didn't I ever hear about it from them?" (Irish History example shows that people DO accept stories about their ancestors as true, even when they aren't)

How men watch gymnastics

I agree that this is 100 percent how men watch gymnastics.

Meanwhile women watch gymnastics going, "Do you see how fat her thighs are?"

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Monday, August 08, 2016

Sauce for the goose

It seems to me that if we non-Likud loving Americans are 100 percent never allowed to speak about Israeli politics because "we don't understand" and are "sitting in armchairs in NY", any American-Israeli who is stupid enough to support Trump should likewise be told to keep his mouth shut.

Also, I think that if you're the sort of American Zionist who picks up and moves to Israel, you probably are a little bit more inclined to think racist thoughts than the average Joe (your core idea is that Jews "belong" somewhere, after all) which may help explain why that cohort hates Obama more than average

The Republicans estimate 85 percent of Americans in Israel will vote for Trump.
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Friday, August 05, 2016

What aren't you #neverTrump?

Koch brothers, Romney, Bush and now the Harvard Republican Club is also ‪#‎NeverTrump‬.

And meanwhile many of my GOP Jewish friends are unswayed. I think their recalcitrance comes down to two things:

1) 25 years of anti Hillary propaganda made a dent

2) Taught in the 80s that Republicanism is cool, they haven't been able to adjust to the new reality. They are the equivalent of the often bemoaned liberal democratic voters who fell in love with FDR and were never able to vote GOP again. Not incidentally these same guys also won't wear slim suits.

The club, which calls itself the "oldest College Republican organization in the nation," said Trump represents a "threat to the survival of the Republic."

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Wednesday, August 03, 2016

What a great day!

Dear Mommy,

Today at Camp Agudah we got visited by some Rabbis. They had a secret meeting and we got to peer in through the windows. It was cool. Send more nosh.


meeting in Camp Agudah of Moetzes Gedolei Hatorah (July 2016) from Agudath Israel on Vimeo.

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Monday, August 01, 2016

Letters to the Yated

Dear Yated,

I'm a moron and my so-called adult child is weak and helpless. He was offered the opportunity to meet a girl whose parents are clearly shallow nitwits. Should I force my son to go through with it? 


Confused 'n Stupid

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Who still has not tossed Trump overboard?

Last night a top Trump advisor told Twitter that Khizr Khan, that sweet old Muslim man from the DNC, is an agent of the Muslim Brotherhood. Presumably this lousy slander is the Trump organization's new approach to dealing with the political damage Khan is causing after insulting his wife, and mocking the Gold Star family's sacrifice failed to shut him up. Is there anyone sentient who can't see how beyond the pale these people are?

I mean look at the roster of Republican elites. Bush, Romney, McCain, Kasich, the Koch brothers - all of them are sitting out this election. Is the sane and responsible Republicans won't support Trump, what's your excuse?

The Donald Trump campaign's response to bereaved Muslim American military father Khizr Khan's speech at the Democratic National Convention has been, sh ...

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