Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Women Rabbis: No Problem?

That seems to be the opinion of a prominent Orthodox poseiq!

Read and listen for yourselves (see link there).

Just when you thought you could pigeonhole people into acronyms... ;-)

Friday, February 22, 2008

Left Wing Modern Orthodoxy

I decided to make a blog post of my definition of Left Wing Modern Orthodoxy so I'll always be able to find it when once again I will need to explain the difference between the halakha-observant philosophical stream of LWMO and the sociological phenomenon of lax observance and lax philosophical inquiry known as MO-Lite.

For a more detailed essay explaining LWMO, see Rabbi Avi Weiss's article on Open Orthodoxy, although I don't necessarily agree with all the details there — which is probably why while I self-identify as Left Wing (or sometimes Left-Leaning) Modern Orthodox in general, I usually don't self-identify as "Open Orthodox" in particular, institutional affiliations notwithstanding. ;-)

So here's Steg's Short Explanation of LWMO:

Left-Wing Modern Orthodoxy is...
  1. a generally positive view of general society (i.e. asks the question “what’s out there that can make me a better person/jew?” as opposed to “what’s out there that i should avoid in order to be a better person/jew?”)
  2. a preference for lenient halakhic opinions over stricter ones, especially for the sake of preserving community
  3. a differentiation between halakha and sociology; i.e., just because something “hasn't been done” doesn’t mean it’s forbidden, and if it’s not forbidden, and there are good reasons for it, do it! (this tendency is commonly found in issues of gender and women’s roles)
  4. a valuing of integration over isolationism, both in cooperating with other Jewish groups and in views on interacting with Non-Jews
  5. an acceptance of academic methodology as part of learning Torah (such as Critical Talmud study, and Literary Analysis of Tanakh)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Finally Finished the 3 Hours Waiting Post

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Happy Purim Qatan!

For this Purim Qatan and Shushan-Purim Qatan, God (who, btw, is a Trickster Deity), is giving us a particularly unique kind of mishloahh manot — a TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

End of Year Prayer

בָּרוּךְֿ הוּא הָרַחֲמָן הָרַחוּם1
אָבִֿינוּ בוֹרְאֵנוּ יוֹצְרֵנוּ2 הַצַּיָּר הָעֶלְיוֹן3
בּוֹרֵא עוֹלָמוֹתֿ וּמַחֲרִיבָֿן4
מֶלֶךְֿ מֵמִיתֿ וּמְחַיֶּה5
מוֹרִידֿ שְׁאוֹל וַיָּעַל6
הוּא יְנַחֲמֵנוּ מִמַּעֲשֵׂנוּ וּמֵעִצְּבֿוֹן יָדֵֿינוּ7
הוּא יְנַחֲמֵנוּ מִצַּעַר הַשֶּׁבֶֿר
וּמֵחִסָּרוֹן עָמֹק כַּתְּהוֹם
הוּא יְעִירֵנוּ בַשַּׁחַר
וְהוּא יַשְׁכִּיבֵֿנוּ בָעֶרֶבֿ
בָּרוּךְֿ הוּא הַדַּיָּן דַּיַּן הָאֱמֶתֿ8
שׁוֹפֵֿט כָּל הָאָרֶץ9
מַשְׁפִּיל הָרִים וּמֵרִים בְּקָעוֹתֿ10
מַשְׁקִיט תַּרְעֹמֶתֿ יַמִּים11
וְצוֹרֵר רוּחוֹתֿ עוֹלָם12
הוּא צָרַר אֶתֿ אָבִֿי בִצְרוֹר הַחַיִּים
וְהוּא בְעִתּוֹ יִצְרוֹר גַּם אוֹתִֿי
יִתְֿבָּרַךְֿ שְׁמוֹ לָנֶצַח עַל מַעֲשָׂיו
יִשְׁתַּבַּח שְׁמוֹ לְעוֹלָם בְּפִֿי בָנָיו

וְעַתָּה יִגְֿדַּל־נָא כֹּחַ אד׳ כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבַּרְתָּ לֵאמֹר
זְכֹֿר רַחֲמֶיךָֿ י׳ וַחֲסָדֶֿיךָֿ כִּי מָעוֹלָם הֵמָּה

  1. לפי הפתיחה של בני־דודינו המוסלמים „בסם אללה אלרחמן אלרחים“ (בשם האלו׳ הרחמן הרחום)

  2. לפי הברכה הרביעית שבברכת המזון — „הל׳ אבינו מלכנו אדירנו בוראנו גואלנו יוצרנו קדושנו קדוש־יעקב“

  3. לפי בבלי ברכות י:א — „מאי ,אֵין צוּר כֵּא׳ ֵנוּ‘ [תפילת חנה, שמואל א:ב:ב]? - אין צייר כאלקינו.“

  4. לפי בראשית־רבה ט:ג

  5. „מלך“ במקום השם לפי ברכת גבורות שבעמידה

  6. זו והשורה מעליה מקורן בתפילת חנה, שמואל א:ב:ו

  7. לפי בראשית ה:כט על הולדת נח

  8. לפי נוסח הברכה לשמועות רעות

  9. לפי בראשית יח:כה — „הֲשֹׁפֵֿט כָּל הָאָרֶץ לֹא יַעֲשֶׂה מִשְׁפָּט?!“

  10. לפי ישעיהו מ:ג־ד — „קוֹל קוֹרֵא: בַּמִּדְֿבָּר, פַּנּוּ דֶּרֶךְֿ י׳; יַשְּׁרוּ בָּעֲרָבָֿה מְסִלָּה לֵא׳ ֵנוּ. כָּל־גֶּיא יִנָּשֵׂא, וְכָֿל־הַר וְגִֿבְֿעָה יִשְׁפָּלוּ; וְהָיָה הֶעָקֹבֿ לְמִישׁוֹר, וְהָרְכָֿסִים לְבִֿקְעָה.“

  11. כמתואר בשיר „התרדוף נערות אחר חמישים“ של ר' יהודה הלוי

  12. בניגוד לחוסר־יכולתם של בני־אדם המתואר בקוהלת ח:ח — „אֵין אָדָֿם שַׁלִּיט בָּרוּחַ, לִכְֿלוֹא אֶתֿ־הָרוּחַ, וְאֵין שִׁלְטוֹן בְּיוֹם הַמָּוֶתֿ...“

Friday, February 01, 2008

I Am Crazy Frum... Because I Wait 3 Hours

Expect an explanatory halakhic discourse when I return from spending Shabbos in the fabled mile-high (but incredibly flat) city of Denver, Colorado.

Denver's a nice place... if you're a yeti.

Or even if you're the Goblin King.

Have a good Shabbos!

Anybody seen Amishav?

Sorry I haven't updated this post since I got back... been preoccupied with the end of the year of mourning for my father. I hope to reveal the halakhic punchline some time this week.

Sorry it took so long to get back to this, I've been unusually busy and bombarded with RL stuff lately.

Anyway, here's the scoop, in the spirit of Purim Qatan and venahafokh hu’ (everything getting turned upside down)...

In the Babylonian Talmud, masekhet Hhulin 105a, Mar ‘Uqba makes the following statement:
When it comes to this issue [waiting after meat before dairy], I am like vinegar made from wine compared to my father. If my father were to eat meat now, he wouldn't eat cheese until this time tomorrow; but me, it's just within this [meat] meal that I don't eat [cheese] — but I eat it at the next/other meal.

This is the basic source for waiting after eating meat before eating dairy, and there are two schools of interpretation and application:

Rambam, in Mishneh Torah, book of Qedusha, Laws of Forbidden Foods 9:28, says:
One who ate meat first — whether that of a land-animal or a bird — may not eat milk afterwards, until there will have passed the amount of time for another meal, which is about six hours...

The Tosafot, commenting on Mar ‘Uqba's statement, say:
But I eat it at the next/other meal
Not [necessarily] at the next regular meal, one in the morning and one in the evening —
even immediately, if one clears away the table and says the Blessing [After Eating], it is permissible...

So basically, there are two opinions — when Mar ‘Uqba says that he "waits until the next meal" before eating dairy after meat, R' Moshe ben Maimon claims that this is a quantitative measurement of time between the morning meal and the evening meal, “about six hours”. The Ba‘aley Hatosafot, on the other hand, explicitly reject that view, claiming that "until the next meal" means exactly that — until the next meal, whenever that occurs (even immediately!).

Now things get a little tricky.

R' Moshe Isserles, in his mapa ("tablecloth") to R' Yoseif Karo's Shulhhan ‘Arukh ("set table"), testifies that the common custom in his part of the world, i.e. Ashkenaz, particularly Poland, is to wait one hour. In his more detailed Darkhey Moshe, though, he quotes the Hagahot Sha‘arey Dura:
Many people are accustomed to act more leniently [than the Rambam's requirement], and make a compromise of their own invention, waiting one hour after a meat meal. They clear off, bentsh, and then they eat cheese even though we have found no reason or hint for this time limit [in any authoritative work]... Anyway, who could stop them, since after all the Tosafot and the Ra’avya (R' Eli‘ezer ben Yo’eil Haleivi) allow [to not wait at all]!

Now, what about waiting 3 hours?

The source of this custom is unclear, but it very likely may be a further development of a compromise between the Tosafistic and Maimonidean lines of reasoning — waiting the length of time from one meal to the next, but not necessarily between the big morning meal and the big evening meal; just from lunch to afternoon tea, for instance, according to the culture of various Ashkenazic countries.

So let's add it all up.

Why do I claim that waiting 3 hours makes me crazy frum, frummer than almost everyone else?

There are two opinions: Rambam and Tosafot.

If you wait 5, 5h1m, 5½, or 6 hours, you're holding like the Rambam.

If you wait 3 or 4 hours, on the other hand, you're basically holding by Tosafot. But Tosafot don't care if you wait at all, just that you clean out your mouth and your eating area and start a new meal! So you're holding by Tosafot... and then being mahhmir and following the baseless stringency of the common folk of Ashkenaz to not just clean up and clear off, but to wait as well. And not only are you waiting (at all, for no reason!) — you're waiting until the amount of time passes for the next naturally occurring meal instead of artificially jumping the cultural gun and starting a new halakhic meal before it's actually time to eat. Waiting 3 or 4 hours is holding like Tosafot plus two levels of hhumra — that's much frummer than simply holding like the Rambam!


The halakhic analysis in this post is serious;
the tone of discussion is meant for entertainment only.