Saturday, December 10, 2016

Purim 1980

בלילה לפני זה הגעתי לירושלים אחרי סעודת פורים בישיבת שעלבים, עדיין קצת שיכור. לא היו אוטובוסים, והלכתי ברגל עד הבית של דוד יוסף ודודה לאה ע"ה ברח' עזרת ישראל, ממש כמה מטרים מערבה ממקום הצילום. קשה להשיג תחושה רוחנית יותר עילאית מללכת קצת שיכור בפורים בחוצות השלוגות של ירושלים!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Hafganos In Kikar Shabbos Brings Traffic To Halt

These are not "Charedi" Jews. They are not even "Orthodox" Jews. They are, however, an embarrassment and a shame that brings calumny on other good people who, by dint of similar garb, are associated with them.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Kavu'a Again

See these two posts:

I referred to these posts in the course of a chevrusa today. And I found a comment on the latter one that I did not notice previously:

AnonymousSunday, June 30, 2013 10:33:00 AM

Hi, I have used this understanding of Kavua before, it is quite elegant. However how does it fit with the Kavua of the mouse in Pesachim which just came up in Daf Yomi?

This sugya is cited by Prof. Moshe Koppel (cited, in passing, in the second blog post above) in his essay at

The gemara (9b) discusses a scenario where nine piles of matza and one pile of chametz are lying around before Pesach. A mouse comes and takes a piece from one of the piles and enters a house. However, we do not know if it took chametz or matza and thus are in doubt whether the house must be checked once again for chametz. The gemara distinguishes between a case where the mouse is seen taking a piece directly from one of the piles ["kavu'a"] and an instance where the piece snatched by the mouse was first isolated from the piles ["parish"]. These two cases are said to be analogous, respectively, to two cases considered in Ketubot (15a): "If there are nine stores which sell kosher meat and one which sells non-kosher meat and someone took [meat] from one of them but he doesn't know from which one he took, the meat is forbidden. But if [a piece of meat] is found [not in a store], follow the majority." Thus if the majority of stores from which the meat might have originated are kosher, the meat is permitted.

The question is a good question: Where is the "moral hazard" in the case of the mouse?

I think the answer may be found in a word in the Rambam (Chametz u'Matza 2:10). The Rambam does not understand the case as one in which piles are just "lying around." He begins the halacha with the word heini'ach - he placed. 

I would suggest that it is the involvement of the owner of the house that places him in a situation of "moral hazard."

There is another possibility, not as elegant, that this case is different because the owner will be compelled (or not) to redo Bedikas Chametz. Accordingly, his "negi'ah" is his "moral hazard."

From Another McMullen Supporter

The election results are very depressing for a Hirschian like me. Please look at these paragraphs from a NY Times article about the Orthodox Jewish vote in Brooklyn:

Orthodox Judaism preaches the importance of strict moral behavior, but Mr. Stern said that he was not dissuaded by Mr. Trump’s very public peccadilloes, such as his multiple divorces and a recording of him talking about groping women.

“I think that’s not appropriate but I think he’ll handle better the situation of our country now,” Mr. Stern said. “I don’t really care that he’s not a model.”

Ms. Chizhik-Goldschmidt said that the Orthodox judged non-Jewish politicians differently.

“I don’t think people expect gentiles to follow those rules,” she said. “People are not looking to the United States president to be a representative of some sort of morality in the way that other Americans might. People are looking for a strong leader, a tough leader.”

Rav Hirsch clearly would not agree with the sentiments expressed by those people but rather with the sentiments expressed by the Rav in his McMullin endorsement. What can we do to change this kind of thinking?

I am also concerned about Trump's demonization of the Other. Many of our people feel comfortable knowing that Jews weren't among the groups he demonized. Is that reflective of the Torah ethic: until they come for you, don't worry about anyone else?
I would be grateful for any thoughts about this matter. Thank you.

I would love to see the sentiments expressed by the Christian leaders cited in the article below expressed by our own rabbonim. It's really sad if we should have to turn to Christian leaders for reiterations of Torah values during an election season!

I did see a similar statement condemning Trump signed by 40 Orthodox leaders but they are almost exclusively of the Open Orthodox variety. What happened to the Hirschians?