Thursday, 31 March 2016

Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu Banned From Campus Over Israel Criticism

From RRW

"Ultimately, groups like Minnesota's JCRC, the right wing fringe group Zionist Organization of America, and the increasingly embarrassing Anti-Defamation League, who have all attacked Tutu for his criticism of Israeli policies, will face the consequences of smearing Tutu -- a hero to millions and leader of a movement that was known for the massively disproportionate involvement of numerous South African Jews."
Comment: notice how ZOA is characterized as a Right Wing Fringe Group......

Monday, 28 March 2016

On the Political Stupidity of the Jews » The Tikvah Fund‏

From RRW
"This contradiction between the two ways of thinking is a problem for American politics, since Smith’s perspective frequently clashes with that of Burke within the Republican Party. It is obviously, and very dramatically, a problem for Israeli politics, where those who have an appreciation for the importance of freedom frequently have difficulty understanding the role played in a healthy society by tradition, and vice versa.
Yet oddly enough, Adam Smith and Edmund Burke were friends who admired each other’s writings and, to the best of our knowledge, did not see them as being in conflict or fundamentally contradictory. Moreover, throughout the nineteenth century, conservatives in Great Britain had no problem regarding them with equal respect. How did they manage it?"
https://tikvahfund.org/uncategorized/on-the-political-stupidity-of-the-jews/

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Mussar: Re: One's Money

first posted January 12, 2013

Courtesy of Derech Emet Group.

Chovot HaLevavot, Shaar Avodat HaBitachon, Intro, page 360:

...he [a person with correct trust in G_d] views it [his money] as a deposit that he was commanded to use in specific ways and for specific purposes for a limited time.

If it stays with him a long time, he will not become arrogant because of it [or sin rebelliously because of it] and he will not remind the people who he was commanded to donate to [the recipients of his kindness] about. his goodness [that he gave to them], and he will not seek repayment or thanks or praise, [because he was only doing his job by helping others].

Instead, he thanks his Creator for having made him an agent [literally, cause] of kindness.

CHRONOLOGY:

Chovot HaLevavot was written around year 1040 of the Common Era by Rabbi Bachya ben Yosef ibn Pakuda, who lived in Saragossa, Spain.

Chovot HaLevavot was written in Arabic. and later translated into Hebrew.


Best Regards,
RRW

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

United with Israel: And the Descendants of Haman Studied Torah in Bnei Brak


The defeat of evil was, perhaps, not best expressed in the deaths of Haman and his sons. It was, perhaps, better expressed in that descendants of Haman eventually learned Torah in Bnei Brak. In regard to this, please see my latest post in the United with Israel blog at http://unitedwithisrael.org/and-the-descendants-of-haman-studied-torah-in-bnei-brak/

I am sure this will also be up on the UWI Facebook page in the near future. Please feel free to comment here or on one of the UWI sites.

Rabbi Ben Hecht

Christopher Plummer Searches for a Nazi in ‘Remember’‏

From RRW
Review: Christopher Plummer Searches for a Nazi in ‘Remember’

In Atom Egoyan’s psychological thriller, two men realize they were both at Auschwitz and plan revenge against a camp official.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/11/movies/christopher-plummer-remember-review.html?mwrsm=Email

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Donald Trump at AIPAC

From RRW

The response of some to Donald Trump's presence at the AIPAC conferance. What do you think -- of his presence and these responses to his presence?

Rabbis organize boycott of Trump’s speech to pro-Israel group
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/rabbis-call-for-boycott-of-trumps-speech-to-pro-israel-group/2016/03/17/8e2f2ea6-ea14-11e5-a6f3-21ccdbc5f74e_story.html

Protest Is Planned for Donald Trump’s Speech Before Pro-Israel Group
http://www.nytimes.com/politics/first-draft/2016/03/18/protest-is-planned-for-donald-trumps-speech-before-pro-israel-group/
Donald Trump at AIPAC: Join Us in Standing Up Against Divisive Rhetoric | URJ‏ http://www.urj.org/blog/2016/03/18/donald-trump-aipac-join-us-standing-against-divisive-rhetoric

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Nishma-Parshah: Vayikra and Parshat Zachor

Take a look at what's on
for Parshat Vayikra and Parshat Zachor

P. Vayiqra - Shemen for M'nachot and the Mystery of the Pach Shemen
http://nishma-parshah.blogspot.ca/2016/03/p-vayiqra-shemen-for-mnachot-and.html

P. Vayiqra - Lirtzono, Kofin Oto ad she'omer "Rotzeh Ani
http://nishma-parshah.blogspot.ca/2016/03/p-vayiqra-lirtzono-kofin-oto-ad-sheomer.html

P. Vayiqra - Two Mussar Maxims from Torah T'mimah
http://nishma-parshah.blogspot.ca/2016/03/p-vayiqra-two-mussar-maxims-from-torah.html

Vayikra: Progression and Regression
http://nishma-parshah.blogspot.ca/2016/03/vayikra-progression-and-regression.html

Parshah: Vayikra, "Leviticus, Sacrifices, and Dialectic"
http://nishma-parshah.blogspot.ca/2016/03/parshah-vayikra-leviticus-sacrifices.html

Parsha: Vayikra, "Catholic Israel"
http://nishma-parshah.blogspot.ca/2016/03/parsha-vayikra-catholic-israel.html

P. Vayiqra - The Torah on Infallibility
http://nishma-parshah.blogspot.ca/2016/03/p-vayiqra-torah-on-infallibility.html

  P. Vayiqra - "Qorbon
http://nishma-parshah.blogspot.ca/2016/03/p-vayiqra-qorbon.html

Parshat Zachor: Choice in Destruction
http://nishma-parshah.blogspot.ca/2016/03/parshat-zachor-choice-in-destruction.html

Re: Is Parshat Zachor d'Oraitto? - 2
http://nishma-parshah.blogspot.ca/2016/03/re-is-parshat-zachor-doraitto-2.html

Is Parshat Zachor d'Oraitto? - 1
http://nishma-parshah.blogspot.ca/2016/03/is-parshat-zachor-doraitto-1.html

Leining: Is it zeikher or zekher?
http://nishma-parshah.blogspot.ca/2016/03/leining-is-it-zeikher-or-zekher.html

Zachor: Zeicher vs. Zecher 5
http://nishma-parshah.blogspot.ca/2016/03/zachor-zeicher-vs-zecher-5.html

Zachor: Zeicher vs. Zecher 4
http://nishma-parshah.blogspot.ca/2016/03/zachor-zeicher-vs-zecher-3.html

Zachor: Zeicher vs. Zecher 3
http://nishma-parshah.blogspot.ca/2016/03/zachor-zeicher-vs-zecher-3.html

Zachor: Zeicher vs. Zecher 2
http://nishma-parshah.blogspot.ca/2016/03/zachor-zeicher-vs-zecher-2.html

Zachor: Zeicher vs. Zecher 1
http://nishma-parshah.blogspot.ca/2016/03/zachor-zeicher-vs-zecher-1.html

Parshah Ki Teitzie 9/11, Amaleik, Honesty and Anti-Semitism
http://nishma-parshah.blogspot.ca/2016/03/parshah-ki-teitzie-911-amaleik-honesty.html

 

Documentation Vindicate Trump’s Claim of 9/11 Muslim Celebrations

From RRW
Post 9/11 Celebrations‏
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_TwEaF5Jh0&sns=em

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Dear Ted Cruz -- Part 4

Please first See  
Dear Ted Cruz -- Part 1
Dear Ted Cruz -- Part 2
and  
Dear Ted Cruz -- Part 3

*****


 From RRW

My comments, on the above, in outline form:

1. The terms Jewish, Christian, and Judeo-Christian are essentially "red herrings" or "strawmen" terms....

2. R Gruen‎wald's positions seems to be identical to that of the Progressive / Liberal. They typically take their cues - as do most liberal Jews - from the NY Times, etc. And not from the Torah. It is Jewish in the sense that most Jews in the USA actually profess Progressive Liberalism.   Dennis Prager, among others, has protested this phenomenon

3. Ted Cruz and R Poupko do share a common value which I will call "Traditionalism". This movement is best articulated by Edmund Burke and his followers. Those values include patriotism and resistance to radicalism, EG the Jacobite‎s of the French Revolution

4. There are common Jewish-Christian values EG the sanctity of human life. 

NB:  There are differences in details, EG between the extreme Roman Catholic position against all abortion vs. the highly nuanced position of Orthodox Judaism. Both sides see life as sacred and manifest their policies by weighing several key factors differently.

 

Monday, 14 March 2016

Dear Ted Cruz -- Part 3

Please first See  
Dear Ted Cruz -- Part 1
and  
Dear Ted Cruz -- Part 2

*****

The essence of these two articles is actually, simply, a disagreement over moral perspective. One sides with Ted Cruz's moral perspectives and one doesn't. But thrown into this mix is the use of the term "Judeo-Christian" with the extension of the argument becoming an implication, through the use of this term by Ted Cruz, that Judaism is in agreement with Cruz's views. The Rabbi who disagrees with Ted Cruz thus is further upset because Cruz is presenting views with which the Rabbi disagrees but also is doing so in a manner that implies the Rabbi's inherent agreement as a follower of Judaism. The Rabbi who favours Cruz, alternatively, finds solace in Cruz's use of the term for, thereby, his personal position is strengthened for he is not just one in agreement with Mr. Cruz but is further seen as abiding by his own Jewish values. What the two articles really show, though, is not only the problems in the use of the term "Judeo-Christian" but the very problem in the modern use of the very term "Jewish" (and the term "Christian" although that is not our issue").

Let me first state that I have always had problems with the term "Judeo-Christian". It is, in my opinion, a misrepresentation, implying some common base for Jewish and Christian values. In fact, if there is an overlap between Jewish and Christian values, it is simply because Christians, in their break from Judaism, decided to maintain some Jewish values in their new faith. It is not some common organic root. In presenting their new perspective, Christianity also expressed other values contrary to Judaism. Furthermore, even in regard to the values Christians maintained from their Jewish roots, they offered new understandings reflecting their new faith. There may be points of overlap but that should not be seen as reflecting some common perspective or base as implied in the term "Judeo-Christian". This is untrue and misleading. There may be points of convergence but to assume a common base has, to me, always been problematic.

This would seem to imply that I would be strongly supportive of Rabbi Gruenwald's article. In fact, on the simple issue of the term "Judeo-Christian", I am basically in agreement. Rabbi Gruenwald's real objective, however, is to critique Ted Cruz's values, further strengthening his argument by challenging any connection between them and Judaism. In response, Rabbi Poupko's argument, and his use of the term "Judeo-Christian", is thus really to show that Cruz's views actually do connect with Judaism and there is reason to support them because of this. What all this actually shows, though, is our avoidance of confronting the modern lack of clarity of what is meant by the term "Jewish". (Let me make it clear; in this regard, I am speaking solely in terms of language, not authenticity.) Different people have different meanings in regard to the term "Jewish", even as they perceive the term to only have one meaning. It is for this reason that I advocate for the use of adjectives in conjunction with our terms for Judaism. See, further, my Adjective and Non-Adjective Jews at http://www.nishma.org/articles/introspection/introspection5761-2-adjective_jew.htm. The fact that I would describe Rabbi Gruenwald's values as reflecting Conservative or Reform Judaism does not mean that I am in agreement with him or validate his view. It is helpful to do so, though, because I can then explain my Orthodox values with better clarity. I can respond to his arguments by stating that he is applying his definition of Jewish which is not mine and is not universal. I can then honestly describe Mr. Cruz as expressing views that are somewhat in accordance with certain understandings of certain forms of Judaism but not in accord with others. He then can't challenge Cruz for attempting to connect with other perspectives of Jewishness.

This takes us back to the term "Judeo-Christian". Rabbi Poupko's response is really to challenge Rabbi Gruenwald through promoting the fact that those values with which Rabbi Gruenwald has problems actually flow from Jewish values, i.e. Orthodox Jewish values. But why not just say this directly. The fact is that Mr. Cruz's values which may overlap with Orthodoxy still flow from Christianity and, as such, really have a different base. Even as there may be a good amount of convergence, I am still sensitive to the points of divergence. The challenge of Rabbi Gruenwald should not be, then, the Jewishness of Mr. Cruz's viewpoints but the more honest retort -- that there is a divergence in moral opinion within the Jewish world -- which we also actually try to avoid. There is not one Judaism and one perspective of Jewish values. We disagree. The challenge against Rabbi Gruenwald should then be to stop implying a monolithic vision of Jewish values with which everyone agrees. This is a challenge that could be voiced against many. The issue is not whether Cruz uses the term "Judeo-Christian" or not. It is that Rabbi Gruenwald is incorrect in presenting his values as the singular perspective of Jewish values.