Wednesday, January 19, 2022

ANYONE SHOCKED: YWN has a victimization complex

I think that this video probably does show a cashier mistreating a Hasidic Jew, but I also think that this minor offense barely qualifies as "News" and that maybe such a popular site should commit itself to doing something other than making Jews feel insecure, assaulted and angry. Is this the new world? Every argument between a Jew and a non-Jew is going to be labeled HATE and plastered all over the Internet to reinforce our feelings of vulnerability? Not to go all arm-chair Freud on you, but how much of this has to do with having survivor grandparents?

(I also think that its hysterical when YWN tries to act all journalistic by saying "Sources Tell Us" as if he's in touch with some kind of official spokesman, when really its Yoeli down the block via WhatsApp. )

(and while we're pointing out funny things, what about this: People like YWN tend to de-emphasize racism against black people, or claim they deserve it, yet this ANYONE SHOCKED headline seems to be saying that its all anti-Semitism all the time. If a black person said it was all racism all the time, would YWN buy it?)

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Some responses to the "top" kiruv arguments

Over on the social network, someone identified the following three arguments as top proofs used by kiruv experts to prove the truth of the Torah. My responses provided below. 

a) Shemitah - How could human beings possibly give themselves assurance that they'd have enough food to last with one year being unable to use the land? They had to have had a divine promise to even think of initiating such a thing.
Well, there are two problems here... (1) we don't know for sure that anyone actually kept shmita during bayis rishon or sheni and (2) other ancient cultures seem to have had similar fallow years (at least on paper, we don't know to what extenet those were kept either) But it seems to be represented in Ugaritic texts as a four year cycle and in Assyrian texts as a 7 year cycle. So "how could Assyrian and Ugaritic human beings possibly give themselves assurance that they'd have enough food to last with one year being unable to use the land? They had to have had a divine promise to even think of initiating such a thing." Right?
b ) Aliyah LeRegel - How could a nation mandate days for everyone, presumably including guards, to leave their usual posts for such occasions. It would be prime time for their enemies to attack! The only thing that can truly offer assurances of protection during that period is Hashem.
Again, who says guards left their posts? You're assuming something as true for which no evidence has been shown. Besides which, look at Kings! The Northern Kingdom as a whole gave up the pilgrimage festivals a good 400 or so years before the destruction; the Southern Kingdom was led, usually, by idolatry-loving Kings who had no use for God or his holidays; and the people, for the most part, were sinners who ignored God, and his festivals. We're even told that from Solomon to Josiah Passover was pretty much ignored. Given this description, I rather doubt that any borders were left unprotected.
And as for the second temple period... well, unfortunately, the Second Temple Kings were largely corrupt, and largely Hellenized. Many had Greek names, tolerated High Priests who weren't, in fact, priests, and demonstrated an indifference to God that was protested by the people and decried by the Rabbis. Do these sound like men who would trust a divine promise and abandon their borders?
ALSO Ancient campaigns were launched in the late Spring, when the weather was good, and when food was easier to find. An ancient army marching in winter would quickly starve, or freeze. Therefore, almost all ancient campaigns began after Passover, and by the end of the summer, ancient armies were almost always settling in for the winter. Based on this, it is HIGHLY unlikely that any ancient country -divine promise or not - was attacked at Passover or Sukkot.
c) Kashrus - The four animals listed in the Torah as having split hooves that don't chew their cud (I might be mixing it up) are the only four species ever discovered for that to be the case with. It's one thing to argue that the Biblical authors only knew the animals in their neck of the woods, but how could they have known for the whole world?
Um they didn't.
1) A hippo and peccary have the same foot structure as a pig, and like a pig, do not chew cud.
2) The llama and alpaca chew their cud and have no split hooves (well, they do, but the torah doesn't consider the camals split hoof to be a "real" split hoof)

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Why is Efram Goldberg allowing an avowed missionary to speak in his Boca Raton shul?

Why is Efram Goldberg allowing an avowed missionary to speak in his Boca Raton shul? What good does he expect will come from this? And how much does his own blind devotion to Donald Trump have to do with this terrible decision?

*What maga crazies sound like to the rest of us*

Maga crazy: Jim, I think you're a cow.
Jim: Are you for real? My wife says I am a man.
MC: She's part of the conspiracy.
Jim: Well, here is a signed note from my doctor attesting to my being male.
MC: He's just afraid of being canceled.
Jim: But there is no evidence at all suggesting I'm a woman.
MC: Its definitely out there, only the media is covering it up.

Tuesday, January 04, 2022

Judaism is polymorphous

"I dwell among my people,” said the Shunamite woman, one of the most affecting incidental figures in the Bible, to Elisha. She had no need of any intervention on her behalf with the political or military powers, she told the prophet; the people with whom she lived, the group in which she was a member, was sufficient to her needs. (She was the mother of civil society.) I have always cherished the concreteness of her statement. It is a lucid and elemental affirmation not of an ideal community, but of an actually existing community. The objects of one’s allegiances should not be imaginary, or made unreal by fantasy or ideology. One may differ with, and even despise, aspects of one’s society, but solidarity is premised on a generosity of attitude, on a warm inclination to commonality. Every community has a boundary, but the boundary must not be so wide as to be hollow or so narrow as to be ugly. The search for perfection in love is a prescription for a loveless life. There are conservative American patriots whose contempt for the mores of their fellow Americans is so great that they may be accurately described as anti-American.
But it is not my country that provokes these reflections, it is my people....
The American Jewish community is the sum of the identifying Jews who live in America. In one way or another, and simply for not surrendering or disappearing, they are all saving remnants. In this sense, sociology is identity. And the political and religious variety of the Jews of America is the most obvious fact about them—but it pains the nostalgists and the dogmatists, who see no glory in a plenitude of Jewish dispensations and regard diversity as a historical and ideological disappointment. They prefer to delude themselves with legends of a lost uniformity of opinion that never existed. Quarrel has always been a Jewish norm, and controversy a primary instrument for the development of Jewish culture and Jewish religion. But there are those, the heresy hunters and the truancy hunters, the real Jews, the true Jews, the last Jews, who refuse to accept the community as it empirically is, to engage with the cacophony and its causes, and instead they haughtily promulgate definitions of inclusion and exclusion, certifications of authenticity and inauthenticity. Most of their fellow Jews are, for them, for one reason or another, traif. What sort of expression of peoplehood is that? We are a people, not a sect.
The orthodoxies and the bubbles and the closed loops and the echo chambers are everywhere. Every current of thought, right and left, cleaves to its own—and what dissidents we all are!. Brothers and sisters, get used to it. Whether or not we are perverse, we are polymorphous. The exclusion of an opinion is not a refutation of it. There is honor in the mainstream and there is honor in the margins, if a view is held with intellectual integrity and with a sentiment of belonging—which is not easy to do, since the reason of the mind and the rapture of the heart often compromise each other. Even the man who denies that I am his brother is my brother. That does not make me a fool. It makes me a Jew.