Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Tipsy Jews

I've been following Dovbear's Twitter account for a few weeks. The experiance has brought to mind a philosophy quote which I can't seem to find, but its gist was that there is no idea so far fetched that some philospher hasn't at some point in time sincerely believed. I think that I can now clearly say that one will never find an opinion, so far fetched that some #Yeshivaguy does not sincerely believe is the one true version of Judaism.

Of course it is easy to hold any opinion if you just refuse to let Logic/ Common sense/ Reality be a meaningful parameter in your choice of beliefs. 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Radical Jews

So which religious group thinks they can censor the bible, and disagree with a thousand + halachic judgment?

Yes I'm talking about the Artscroll translation to "Song of Songs" (שיר השירים). For those of you unfamiliar with it - Artscroll's own website describes it as:

"The first English translation faithful to the allegory that is the Song's authentic meaning. The ArtScroll Series presents the comments of the classic giants of ancient and contemporary times in a logical, comprehensible manner, like a master teacher on an exciting voyage of intellectual discovery. "

A translation faithful to the allegory that is the Song's authentic meaning should be read as a translation where every part which might be understood as referring to a woman's body or expressing romantic love/lust between a man and a body is censored out.

I have no real problem with this method - were it presented as a commentary. However and despite all of their explanations and warnings - it is clear that they are simply too embarrassed to present the original text as is.  Their authentic meaning translation is essentially censoring the original text from the English speaking reader.

De facto - Artscroll seems to pasken like those rabbanim who thought that the song of songs should not be included in the bible. Only the most close minded and insecure Judaism would feel the need to protects its readers from the words of Solomon. Such a mindset places zero belief in its readers abilities.

 I can think of few things more radical then censoring the bible.  

Friday, April 15, 2011

Blogging Passover Vacation

I'm afraid that I'll probably not be able to post much during Pesach and the week after (Vacation). I wish everyone a Chag Kasher Ve'sameach.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Bad Pun Watch

Harav Amsalem has finally launched his new movement/party:  AM SHALEM (עם שלם) lit, the entire nation.

Cinema and the Crucification Nails

Yet again, the media is willing to believe any crazy man who claims to be an archeologist. The current story that is making its way through the media is that the nails used in the crucification have been found.  The proof seems to be too silly for anyone to have taken seriously - Nails were found inside Caiaphas tomb! clearly they must be from Jesus!

Stories like this make the mind wonder, how close to the truth "The Life of Brian" really is. Is it only a matter of time before someone finds the shoe of the messiah? (Warning some language issues and one naked old man mostly covered up).

NT BLOG has found another Brit-Humor reference that is appropriate:

Les Matzarables

Way better then a Maccabeats Pesach song - Sesame street sings a Pesach song, to the tune of "Master of the House".

(HT: Michtavim blog)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Haggadah or Aggadah?

Why do we talk about the הגדה (Haggadah) of Pesach, but normally say Aggada (אגדה) for all other uses? according to the Academy of the Hebrew Language, both terms are identical. The early Hebrew was הגדה, however as Aramaic became more influential people started using the aramaic form and started to use the word אגדה.  Even in recent times you could find both spellings of the word used to describe the Pesach (H)Aggadah.

So, next time an Israeli  instructs you to say Aggadah without a Heh, you can tell him that he is the one who's Hebrew has been corrupted!

Worth a Read 12.4.11

Sorry I've been behind on blogging, but Pesach cleaning (and the fact that Gan starts their Pesach vacation a few days early) have been keeping me busy:

  • David Thompson explores one academic's Feminist journey into La La Land, in his post "Men have abortions too!". 
  • Jewish Ideas Daily has an interesting if unsatisfactory post analyzing modern Jewish guilt over the concept of being a chosen people
  • Natan Sharansky writes about the Arab Spring and calls for the free world (I thought that terminology was long gone) to engage the true democratic reformers in the arab world.  (Via: JewishIdeasDaily).
  • Is "The Giving Tree" a masterpiece, or a story of selfishness and abusive relationships?
  • Back to La La Land, Normblog catches the Guardian living in an alternate universe where the Israeli-Palestinian conflict seems to be about regional supremacy, and not about anyone wanting to kill the other. 
  • The 2011 Absalut Haggada. A Haggada combining some serious scholarship, with some pop culture references and humor. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I guess I've been proven wrong!

Well Bibi has cancelled his meeting with Bieber -after the singer refused to meet with children from southern Israel. This is a humbling experience as my post here has been proven completely wrong in just a matter of hours. 

I am happy to have been proven wrong on this matter - Good for Bibi!

Quote of the day

Quote of the day goes  to Communications Minister Moshe Kahlon, when asked why despite his popularity he does not try to run for the leadership of the Likkud:

"I have many more years of sitting at the dust of the feet of Netanyahu"

A humble politician?

Bieber and Netanyahu - Oh Baby

Teenage pop star Justin Bieber is set to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu this evening (wed). What is troubling me is that I can't shake the thought, that Netanyahu - recently declared one of the 18 smartest people in the world - is more excited to meet Bieber then Bieber is to meet Netanyahu.

Oh baby..

(Side note: If you look at the Ha'aretz article you can see that they seem to alternate on how they spell Beiber.)

Posts I Started Writing But Couldn't Finish

There are a few posts that I've got rough drafts for, but that I can never quite get around to posting:

  • When are Halachic Fictions illegitimate?
  • Out pricing Pesach From Jews. 
  • Did Rabbanim believe their own midrashim, Part 2.
  • Rabbi Akiva and Aggadah. 
  • April Fools posts for Other J-Bloggers (Wasn't near to being finished, will now have to wait a year).
I've attempted to write every single one of these posts, but when I looked them over, I've always found that either I wasn't saying anything original, or that I had not made up my mind sufficiently to post them. I'm hoping that posts 1 and 2 might get posted in the coming days, but otherwise it seems I'll have to wait a long time to post the last three. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Why There's a Hechsher on Bleach

The answer is quite simple actually. $. In other words Badatz - the most accepted Hechsher in Israel, admitted that they give out Hechserim for Pesach to all types of cleaning products,  even when there is no halchic need for one.

"It comes from the public"  says, Harav Avraham Joseph who is in charge of "Products that are inedible" in the Badatz. "The factories hear the demand" of the public and ask us to give a Hechsher. Bleach of example, is a product which is inedible and poisonus, and to begin with has no fear of being Hametz. It really "Doesn't need a Hechsher", explaind Joseph, "That is also how we answer people who ask us directly."...
The Rav from the Badatz sees nothing wrong with unnecessary and expensive supervision of the Badatz "Ultimately the Badatz has a purpose - to serve the public. If there is a public demand, we are here to give the public the service that it needs and is interested in."  
It would be one thing if I thought that this was a case of making money on halachic ignorance. However I strongly believe that the Haredi public knows better. These are very basic Halachot, that most educated Jews if asked should be able to answer. What we have isn't a case of Halachic ignorance, but rather a case where social pressure is forcing people to buy a Hechsher they know is nothing but a worthless stamp. This already poor public, spends even more money just on appearances. Everyone knows Bleach does not need a Kosher stamp - but god forbid my neighbor will see that I dare to have a bleach without a Hechser!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Cohens Behaving Badly.

Ynet has an interesting Cohen divorce story.

A couple who got married in England, found themselves a few years later in the Israeli Rabanut, with the husband demanding a Get, and his wife refusing. The husband, being the Halachically minded type,  suddenly remembered that he was a Cohen - and that his wife had been previously married. Since  Jewish law forbids a Cohen to marry a divorcee, the Beit - Din must force the couple to divorce. From the Ynet article it is unclear how exactly the couple managed to hoodwink the London Beit Din, and get married in the first place, but the husbands new found respect for his priestly caste did not fall on deaf ears, and the  Dayanim were sympathetic to the argument.

The wife, desperate to save her marriage, came up with two counter-arguments: the first was that this was the first that he she had heard of her husband being a Cohen - an argument that even if true, wouldn't really help her. The second argument however, was the type that really makes you proud to be a Jew! she claimed that her husband's mother had slept around with some non Jews. As such - his father was forbidden halachically from marrying his mother - and their offspring are not considered Cohenim (חללים - I know I'm not being exact here). Not to be outflanked halachically, the husband quickly retorted that it was not his mother, but his grandmother who had been living the promiscuous life. As such he was a Kosher Cohen, and g-d forbid that he should remain married to his divorcee wife one moment longer!

The Beit-Din ruled in his favor and forced the wife to accept a Get. (i.e divorce)

A great day for Halacha. The more interesting question would now be, can the wife sue the husband for misrepresenting himself all of these years?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Breslov Hassid on "Israeli Idol"

Israel's version of American Idol, had a Breslov Hassid audition. It was painfully bad, but happy in a Breslov manner. He has gone back to signing and jumping by the road:

Worth a Read 8.4.11

Jews Celebrating Passover. Ukrainian lubok, XI...Image via Wikipedia
  • Jewish Ideas Daily has a good piece on Harav Tau - Rosh Yeshivah of Har Hamor, and basically the leader of the Hardal movment. Menachem Mendel has a good collection of writings that continue to explore the Haral Dati-leumi split in Israel (and you can also see my collection of links on this topic here).
  • Torahmusings delvs into women's changed status in Halacha. Weirdly enough much of it echos what I posted only two days ago regarding women and Seder night.
  • Was there a gay caveman? I first saw this blogged yesterday, and though to myself, who could believe such silly evidence. Well I have an answer.  A classic case where flimsy evidence is interpreted to advance a political agenda. (But he was buried facing EAST!)
  • Polygamy in the muslim world - two approaches (Via Thedailydish). Weirdly enough I've heard both approaches used to explain Polygamy in Judaism. Just goes to show that there must be a kernel of historic truth in there.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Prayer For Salvation From The Wrath of the Maccabeats

Composed as a public service:

Oh Lord, Our Father who art in heaven,

We the community of Jews who do not find the Maccabeats to be "the best thing ever", beseech you. We fear that the coming days shall bring great hardships on our ever dwindling community - for all omens point that the Maccabeats will release a new Pesach themed song. Is our Maror not bitter enough? we urge you to be merciful- even the plagues of Egypt lasted only a week, while our suffering by their candlelight and unnamed purim song know no end! Painful as the boils with which you punished Egypt their catchy new tune is sure to be hummed and buzzed by all our trendy Jewish co-workers, like the Locusts that covered the Egyptian field, their song will be embeded, forwarded, tweeted and "liked" by all those who have succumbed to their clean shaved goodness. Our father, show mercy on your flock of Jews with good musical taste, for already there is not a single teen age girl in our midst. As it is stated in your torah "I will put none of the diseases upon thee, which I have put upon the Egyptians; for I am the LORD that healeth thee" (Exodus 15:26).

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Women Leaning During the Seder - Halacha and Changing Social Norms

Leaning in Pesach is considered a sign of freedom. During Passover all men must Lean even the poorest of men. However while the poorest must lean, must women lean too? in other words are they considered "free"? The Halacha has changed a few times, representing the change in women's status.

The Gemarah in Pesachim 108 A states:

A woman in front of her husband need not recline, if she is esteemed she must recline.
אשה אצל בעלה - לא בעיא אינה צריכה הסיבה, ואם אשה חשובה היא - צריכה הסיבה. 

The gemerah states that a woman does not need to recline while eating (hasavah) during the seder, if she is in front of her husband (unless she is an esteemed woman). Why not? Rashbam gives two possible explanations:

A. Because a women is subjecated to her husband ( the hebrew is hard to translate כפופה לו).
B. In the name of Rav Achai Gaon: Because it isn't the women's custom to lean (when pouring wine).

From Rashbam's first explanation it can be understood that a women needs not lean during the seder, because she isn't really free - her husband's fear is upon her (אימת בעלה שכפופה לו). So are women free?

Ashkenazic hallacha did a double step. The Tosfot (As mentioned in the Meiri on the daf - though not in the tosfot we have today) state that today all women are considered important. Ergo they all must Lean. This is somewhat surprising since the Rashbam lived during the same period and geographic location as the Tosfot. The opinion of the Tosfot is accepted by the Rama in the Shulchan Aruch, but it comes with a catch. The Rama states that in his day women do not lean - because they go by the opinion of the Rab"ya (ראבי"ה) that leaning on Pesach is no longer a mitzvah since people no longer lean while eating.

Sepharadic Halacha also did a surprising twist.  Originally the Shulchan Aruch (אורח-חיים, תע"ב, ד) copies the gemarah, and paskens that women need not lean unless they are important. This is despite the fact that Rav Karo mentioned the opinon of the Tosfot in his commentary on the Tur ( ס' תעב ד"ה אשה חשובה).  However later Sepharadic poskim accepted the Tosefot (who are Ashkenzaim!), and paskened that all women are now considered important, and hence must lean. ( מקור חיים , ח"ד עמ'95 as well as Rav Ovadia - though he brings a different reason).

The bottom line is that all denominations accept today the opinion that all women are considered "Important". What else is interesting is that if we accept the Rashbam's interprentation of why a woman must not lean (and this is the dominant explanation) then this is a clear case of a halacha changing due to the changing social norms.

Hat tip: Ya'acov Gertner article available here - though he interpreted the opinion of the Rashbam differently.

Random Jewish Musings

A random halachic musing from today:

Is eating meat cooked in its mother's milk any worse then just eating meat followed by Milk?

In other words, is breaking the letter of the law, worse then just breaking the halachot gleaned from scripture?

Worth a Read 5.04.11

  • Historian Victor Davis Hanson in a post called "Kingdom of Lies" bemoans western double standards. And oh yes, he bashes Goldstone in there too:
The Goldstone Report, I thought when I first scanned it, was worse than most undergraduate research papers I have graded — and therefore I expected it to be praised by the international community. And it was until even the author, like the rare guilty undergraduate who confesses to plagiarism, wants his signature off the report. But then long ago I got used to Israel being damned by reporters, NGOs, and the UN and EU types as apartheidists, racists, imperialists, and Nazis in direct proportion to the fact that visitors to the Middle East usually prefer to go Israeli cafes, hotels, and hospitals. Reporting on the West Bank is a 10 AM-2 PM day job, with a commute back across the green line. Half a million Jews ethnically cleansed in the 1960s from Baghdad, Cairo, and Damascus were opportunists; half a million who fled to the West Bank twenty years earlier are still recently arrived refugees. But then I don’t know why Jerusalem is a divided city and Nicosia is not; or why the Kuril Islands or East Prussia are not similarly said to be “occupied”; or why the fence in Israel is worse than the fence in Saudi Arabia.
  • In another Goldstone post, Jessica Montell (B'teslem) makes a new point (but only in passing)  -
The Goldstone Report’s shortcomings contributed to a polarization that left little room to address the complexity of the issues involved. The Israeli army was either a gang of criminals or the most moral army in the world. Operation Cast Lead was either flawlessly executed or a crime against humanity. Goldstone’s op-ed presents an opportunity to break down these false dichotomies and generate a more nuanced understanding of the operation, both in the domestic Israeli discourse and among the international community.
  • Wolfish Musings asks if our torah is exactly the same as Moshes's. Quick answer, probably not. However some people need convincing. 
  • Can Women answer a Zimmun with men? An article in Hakdamot claims they can. Harav Gigi (Rosh Yeshiva in Gush) agrees, Harav Melamed (Rosh Yeshiva Har-Beracha) doesn't and Harav Meidan (Another Gush Rosh Yeshivah) is sitting on the fence. I've read the original article, and I recommend it as being thoughtful, and asking the right questions. 
  • When will there be a religious majority in Israel? 2030 according to Professor Sofer. (Who views this as a disaster)
  • Rav Shlomo Amar states that all psychic powers are false. This is in connection to the ever more popular Nir Ben Artzi. 
  • David Thomson on "Ignorant Teachers, a New Socialist Ideal": "Knowledge, competence and the ability to explain – none of these things will be needed in our socialist utopia. Children will simply inhale education or absorb it through osmosis. On reflection, a couple of the teachers at my old comprehensive were particularly unskilled at explaining their thinking and struggled to remember facts. At the time I had no idea this would soon be regarded as a cutting-edge educational strategy."

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

What The Exodus Would Have Looked Like In Google?

This is what the exodus from Egypt would have looked like if it happened today.

HatTip: LifeinIsrael.

Like A Deer bleats (Bells)

Odds are we have all sung the psalm 42 during a Seduah Shelisit: 

As the deer longs for streams of water, so my soul longs for you, O God.
כְּאַיָּל תַּעֲרֹג עַל אֲפִיקֵי מָיִם, כֵּן נַפְשִׁי תַעֲרֹג אֵלֶיךָ אֱלֹהִים. ג צָמְאָה נַפְשִׁי לֵאלֹהִים לְאֵל חָי מָתַי אָבוֹא, וְאֵרָאֶה פְּנֵי

the Hebrew word תערג is normally translated as "LONGS", and that is the common usage of it. The most famous use of the word appears in the sabbath song sung in most communities on shabbat, Anim Zemirot:
אנעים זמירות ושירים אארוג, כי אליך נפשי תערוג. 

However does the word תערג actually mean "LONG?"
Rashi on tehilim has the following explanation for תערג:
לשון ערג נופל על קול האיל כאשר יפול לשון נהם לארי ושקוק לדוב וגעה לשוורים וצפצוף לעופות".

"the word OREG means the sound of a deer, much as a Lion Roars and a bear (growls?) __ and bulls bellow and birds tweet"

The same explanation is given by radak and Metzodat tzion. A dog barks, a deer OREGS. According to wikipedia the sound a deer makes in English is called "Bells". This changes the meaning of tehilim, in that we are not longing for god, but rather describing the passion with which we will sing to him.  I'm not sure most people would sing quite as passionately if they understood that they are saying that they wish to bleet like a deer to god, and yet that is what they are saying. 

For anyone wondering what a deer sounds like, I found these Youtube videos. I suspect the second one is closer to what the Tehillim had in mind:

Monday, April 4, 2011

Goldstone's Mystery Week.

Politico is quoting an anonymous source claiming that the Yediot Story about the New York Times refusing to publish Goldstone's article is false, or at least a part truth:

A source familiar with the paper's dealings with Goldstone says this report isn't true. The Times saw a very different op-ed by Goldstone about two weeks ago, just one in a series of articles he'd written trying to clarify and finesse the meaning of the report; the paper rejected it because it said nothing new, the source said.
That version didn't contain the crucial repudiation of the report's central thrust, that the Israeli Defense Forces targeted civilians intentionally and as a matter of policy.

One thing that does stand out - what exactly was Goldstone writing just a few days ago? if Politico is to be believed it would seem that Goldstone had changed his mind literally in the last few days.

Shedding some light on the mystery is Prof Avi Bell:

Last Monday, I debated with Richard Goldstone about the controversial Goldstone Report at Stanford Law School. Three days later, Justice Goldstone finally admitted, inThe Washington Post, that, contrary to the report’s assertions, Israel did not intentionally target civilians. A Palestinian outfit called the International Middle East Media Center carried a story this weekend lamenting that two “racist Zionists” at the debate – Peter Berkowitz and I – were responsible for convincing Goldstone of the error of his ways. Sadly, this is, at best, only partly true....
Goldstone said during the debate that no one has disputed the report’s factual allegations. But this is demonstrably false and Goldstone knew it, because he was looking right at me when I reminded him of this fact during the debate. He did not repeat the claim in The Washington Post.  [markings not in original - BoT]
So as recent as a week ago, Goldstone claimed that no one has disputed the factual allegations.
Another view of what I can only assume was the same debate is given by Noura Erakat -

Just last week, I had the chance to speak to Goldstone at Stanford Law School where I participated in a debate on the report featuring him as a discussant.
Goldstone seemed struck by recent revelations made in Israel’s investigation of itself that its murder of 29 civilians in the Sammouni home, where approximately 120 civilians had taken refuge, was the result of negligence and not a deliberate attack.
He emphasised that had Israel participated in the investigatory process rather than boycott it, it would have been able to contest the mission’s findings before the report’s release thereby correcting its alleged bias.
Judging by this it seems that Goldstone had at least the begining of the change of mind he would express in the Washington Post Op-Ed - as the basic points he bases his new Op-Ed are already present. However it is clear that at least a week ago Goldstone had not yet decided to go quite as far as his Op-Ed and clear Israel from the charge of intentional targeting of civilians. 

Since it seems that only a week ago Goldstone was not ready to make clear statements in line with his Op-Ed, we can only ask what changed during that week?

Thoughts Regarding Goldstone

Ynet reports that The New York Times refused to publish Goldstone's retraction - insinuating that it was because it went against the Paper's liberal agenda. If this is true, it is certainly a sign of just how low opinion of Israel has sunk.

However, I'd like to focus on a different part of the article:

Dr. Alon Liel, a friend of Goldstone's from his days as a Foreign Ministry representative in South Africa, went a step further and said that Goldstone has "been through hell" and that has contributed to his decision to publish a letter of regret.
"He was being constantly harassed, received threatening letters, and was forced to change his phone number and email addresses," Liel said. "When Israel decided to boycott him, it was an overwhelming insult.'I'm a Jewish judge, a respected Zionist – and Israel doesn't trust me?' He was a broken man.
"I'm not saying that the threats he received and the hell he went through are what made him publish his article, but there is no doubt in my mind that it influenced his decision."

The personal attacks against Goldstone were harsh. However by choosing that line of attack, we have made his current turn around seem to occur under duress. Has Goldstone really changed his mind, or have 3 years of personal attacks finally reached his breaking point?  The fact that he has voiced his mind in a single short opinion piece, and not in a televised or lengthy interview, does give an impression that he isn't acting from his own conscience.   I think that if Goldstone really has changed his mind, he has the moral obligation to explain to the world at large his reasoning.

Preorder your Sacrificial Lamb for Passover today!

You can now preorder your sacrificial lamb for passover - on condition that the  Mikdash be built. The "Institiute for the Rebuilding of the temple" has made agreements with owners of lambs, to keep enough lambs for people to sacrifice during passover.  Why do you need to preorder your lambs? most lambs in Israel are tagged at birth  with a clip in their ear- which would invalidate them for the sacrifice.

This has been a hot topic this year, with Harav Shemuel Eliyahu calling for every Jew to perform the Pesach Sacrifice.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Worth a Read: The Goldstone Edition

Judge Richard Goldstone has published a Washington Post article, where he seems to regret certain claims made in his infamous UN report. Most Notably:

The allegations of intentionality by Israel were based on the deaths of and injuries to civilians in situations where our fact-finding mission had no evidence on which to draw any other reasonable conclusion. While the investigations published by the Israeli military and recognized in the U.N. committee’s report have established the validity of some incidents that we investigated in cases involving individual soldiers, they also indicate that civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy. 

Melanie Philips in her charecteristic style is quick off the bat," By his own admission, the man stands revealed as at best an abject idiot and at worst a moral and judicial bankrupt." Ron Radosh follows a similar line, and doesn't believe that there is anything Goldstone didn't know when the original report came out,  Yaacov lozowick points outToo late The damage has been done, and no retraction now will alleviate it, not unless, perhaps, the judge spends the rest of his days trudging from TV station to TV station, from newspaper to newspaper, from campus to campus, and insists that the original reports was an abomination."
Ha'aretz argues that Goldstone's recantation is a sign of a larger shift in Western opinion,  Ynet quotes an unidentified military source, that seems to think Goldstone's retraction will lessen judicial risk for IDF officers (It won't).

Ed Lasky makes the point that everyone will suspect that Goldstone's new view was made under duress. Memri brings a palestinian source already making that claim.  

Raffling Sifrei Torah

Over shabbat I noticed the following two advertisements in the Alonei Shabbat:

It is hard for me to pin down why I am so uncomfortable by the act of making Sifrei Torah prizes, and yet I am deeply uncomfortable with it. Both myself, and the other people in shul to whom I pointed out the ad  felt that there was something amiss, yet none of us managed to translate our knee jerk reactions into coherent explanations. One person even stated that had they been giving away a Shas (Talmud)  none of us would have reacted - so why is a sefer torah any different?
A torah scroll is not the same as a Shas. Halachiacally and socially we treat a Torah Scroll differently then a Shas - so much so that when a scroll is destroyed we mourn for it. I would argue that the feelings of wrong caused by these raffles is that they objectify the Sefer Torah. As weird as it sounds I feel a Torah is Scroll that is a He/She, not an It.The "Donate you might win a Torah" attitude, makes winning a torah sound like an act as simple as winning an Ipad. Buying a torah, or donating one are normally highly emotianly acts, or expressions of deep spiritual commitment, "Winning" a torah, just isn't. It treats the torah scroll as an object like any other - you might just win one without any real effort. Making a Sefer Torah a prize somehow brings its monetary attributes out into the forefront. It objectifies the Torah. What is next - collecting coupons at the supermarket toward buying a Torah?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Worth A Read 3.04.11

I'll do a big Goldstone collection tomorrow, until then here are some of the more interesting posts of the weekend:

 Sayed Kashua, An Israeli Arab, writes about hiring a Jewish cleaning lady,  (ht: Negev Rock City), Jpost has a story of one of the earliest accounts of Jewish women, from the Jewish military colony of  Elephantine in the 5th century BCE, (No mention of her cleaning),  Jacob Neusner, tries to see all three monotheistic religions as different points on the same graph (A must read - if I'm courageous I'll blog on this during the week), Some soldiers save a Doe ( A deer, a female deer) from being made supper,  (Ht: Yourish)

Friday, April 1, 2011

Lead Codices (plates) - A Fake.

It was fun while it lasted. Paleo-Judaica has published a letter with what looks like damming proof that the Lead Codices, are in fact fake. Sad thing is that it seems they were not even a good forgery.

For an alternate, April fools version of the Codices, go here.

HT: PaleoJudaica.